Monthly Archives: September 2010
Every once in a long long while , along come some unforgettable cultural icons. They stretch the limits of what we think is possible , change our perspective towards life in particular and reality in general , overwhelm us and leave us drained and panting with their awesomeness. You are left with no choice , but to surrender all your senses to the phenomenon that is the icon , suspend all thought , and in general allow yourself to be overpowered by the experience. Mithun Chakaraborthy in Gunda is one such icon. Rajnikanth yet another. Us South Indians , ofcourse , will argue that , Rajnikanth is in a totally different league altogether and that , the two cannot really be compared or even that their names cannot be uttered in the same breath. I would not want to take this argument further , because it is said that , in a typcial room there are around 3056 items , using which Rajnikanth can kill you , including the room itself , and frankly am a little scared and dont want to die. And I can already hear Mithun Chakraborthy yelling at me and that too scares me. So suffice to say that , I have been overwhelmed by both these icons , other arguments notwithstanding.
But this post is not about these icons. The biggest mistake Rahul Dravid made , was to play in the same period as Sachin Tendulkar did. Sometimes , a bigger icon can outshine the smaller ones . If these said smaller icons , were born in another period , then they would have been big icons in their own right. So this post ,is dedicated to bring these smaller icons to light. Specifically , to bring any such deeds as they might have done , which deserve jawdropping awe to light. And in watching some of these , if you catch yourself ,thinking -“Woww..even Rajni couldnt do that.” , dont panic. It is natural. Too long have icons like Rajnikanth occupied our collective imagination. So ladies and gentlemen , we present to you -“The Captain”.
Watch this one:-
Yes , that what I am talking about. Apart from the general rule that , heroes should be old and plump and heroines young and plumper , there are certain other ,more stringent rules , before we bestow the status of a cultural phenomenon on someone. They are:-
1) A general defiance for the laws of physics , because , well …fuck physics.
2) An ability to stretch , challenge , distort , change and demolish your perceptions of the fabric that is reality , because , well ..fuck reality too.
Also observe , in the video that , The Captain , not only emerges unhurt , he also manages to hurt ,another man with the same bullet. And that is ofcourse another quality that we want in our Cultural Icons. Old fashioned , simple and sweet-efficiency. “Hey the bullet does not hurt me …so why waste it …lets kill that bastard , standing there with it. I dont even need to move. I will just look at him . And the bullet will travel in the desired direction. ” Yes , bullets are afraid of the captain too. Ofcourse , if it is between the captain and Rajni , Rajni would anyday take precedence, but as I said , we are not talking about Rajni here.
So that brings us to the next rule:-
3) If a bullet does not hurt you , make sure it hurts someone. Efficiency , is not only a desired but a necessary quality, because , well….fuck bullets.
Observe the confused , expression of the policeman in the end. That brings us to our next rule.
4) Mere mortals should not understand what you are upto , because , well….fuck mere mortals.
I am a South Indian , and specifically from the state of Andhra Pradesh . And for a long while , I had bemoaned the lack of such icons , from my state. At one point in time , I was afraid , I would die , without seeing the emergence of atleast one such icon , from my state. Not any more . Ladies and Gentlemen , presenting to you – Balakrishna .
Did you see that..did you see that.? Now let us see , how many of the rules , that we discussed earlier , did this deed of his satisfy.
1) Defiance for the laws of physics and fucking physics – check
2) Distortion of perceptions about reality – check
3) Efficiency – ofcourse check. He did not do any hard labor , to move that train , he just politely asked it to move back. Ofcourse , some might say that pointing your index finger , is not exactly polite , but then , well…fuck trains.
4) Mere mortals not understanding you – did you not see how flabbergasted Sonali Bendre was?
Also observe , that he is very devout. And God is on his side. Now some might say , this is cheating. I mean you cant invoke God and get stuff done , and be called a cultural icon. Well , allow me to humbly submit that just because , The Captain was not seen to be praying in the bullet scene , does not mean that , he was not actually doing it. May be he was secretly. So I think Balakrishna deserves extra credit for his humility. So this brings us to the next rule.
5) Invoke God whenever you can – it helps , particularly when you need to push tonnes of metal out of the way.
I had in fact , for a long time suspected that , he was just pretending to invoke God . I mean I was pretty much sure , that he was God. And then , I watched this video , and realized , he has a long long way to go , before being called God.
God already walks this earth . Presenting the Captain again..
He meant to say , God not Narasimha.
And I am scared of even mentioning the checklist now.
Trying to poke holes ,into a Salman Khan movie , is like trying to shoot a sitting duck , that is lame and has been tied down to a boulder. It does not take much effort. As Salman Khan himself would have said it , “Tumhare movie main itne ched karoonga , ki confuzze ho jaoge , ki saans kahan se leni hai ..” And the internet and very many blogs are rife with such reviews. And I had complete intentions of adding to that formidable repertoire , when I decided to watch this movie. I had already made up my mind as to how I would write the review , and what clever sarcastic comments that I would throw in. But frankly , after watching the movie , I don’t have the heart to do so. I feel slightly ashamed , when I say this , but I actually enjoyed the movie. (sheepish grin) . So for once , may be this movie of Salman Khan , deserves a positive review.
Ofcourse , it is not to say that the movie is good. Far from it. In fact , I endured flak from my mother , all the way through the drive back from the movie hall , for dragging her to this movie. But then I told her , when you go to a Salman Khan movie , you are already prepared. The movie cannot be good. It can either be entertaining or boring. But good -never. And this one lives upto your expectations. It is definitely not good. But it is entertaining. And supremely so. Yes , the story is a mish mash of rehashed themes , which have been used like only a million times over before. Yes , the characters are mere caricatures with absolutely no depth or even a semblance of different facets. Yes , the narration is rather bumpy . Yes , the storyline is a mere , almost invisible thin thread , that threatens to break at any time. Yes , all of this notwithstanding , the movie manages to entertain.
For one , I am a South Indian. I have been brought up on a fare of South Indian films , and have enjoyed quite a few of them too (even more sheepish grin) . So this whole , good vs evil -macho hero- mother angle-daddy issues- foster brother-heroine role with absolutely no significance whatsoever , is just another day in the movie hall for me. It doesn’t bother me much. I can take it in my stride and try to look beyond the obvious flaws. Well frankly , there is nothing beyond the flaws actually. The flaws are the movie. But you get the point. I don’t mind watching such movies. When they are not pretending to be anything else other than the mish mash of old themes , with a generous sprinkle of masala thrown in. And that needs to be said about Dabangg . It does not pretend to be anything else.
Right from the first moment , the movie sets out to be an out and out masala entertainer. And perhaps , thats what works for the movie. The story ,or whatever excuse for a story that the movie has , is kept simple. The director has made sure , that the story does not interfere with the movie too much. And that worked. It is like a overly spicy dish , that you are eating. The spiciness is what carries the day. You know it is bad for you , but you like the spice , and you tell yourself , that for just this once , it’s ok.
For one , only Salman Khan could have , to use a cliche’ , breathed life into this role. Actually , it was like Salman Khan playing himself. So , no life breathing was actually required. Macho , crazy and unpredictable , he must have felt at home while enacting this role. The role did not demand much emoting or acting from the star , so , that was another saving grace. His dialogue delivery , is stilted as usual , but somehow goes with the role. But he does manage to adequately convey the persona , of a corrupt, macho ,crazy cop who has daddy issues. His comic timing is good , and it works because , there are some witty dialogues in the movie , and some genuinely funny moments , apart from those moments , ofcourse , which are funny because it is Salman Khan. His dance moves are atrocious , as usual , but truth be told , I am in love with that , hands-in-pockets- hud dabangg move. It has the potential to be right up there , with the towel step , in one of his earlier movies. Anyways , all in all , Salman Khan manages to carry off the role quite well.
Dimple Kapadia , as the ageing and troubled mother , is quite unconvincing. I dont know , what research she did for the role , to look the part of an ageing UP housewife , she only manages to convey that she is half retarded . A disaster of a role.
Vinod Khanna is adequate as the foster father. He does manage to convey meanness , when required , helplessness when called for , a mellowing down towards the end too. While the turnaround , in the father -son relationship , is kinda abrupt , who is talking about logic here anyways.
Arbaaz Khan , plays himself again. An idiot. So not much preparation needed to have gone into the role. He is adequate. He moves around the movie like a zombie , and does idiotic stuff , but then hey , he is Arbaaz Khan , so lets cut him some slack.
But the real find of the movie is Sonu Sood. He was the only one , in the movie , trying to play the role , rather than himself. And he does quite well too. As a corrupt ,up and coming young political leader , he is very convincing. His emoting and action seem very natural and effortless , his dialogue delivery quite free flowing and his expressions quite convincing. One of the best roles of his career , so far , am sure. He has proved that he’s got talent.
Sonakshi Sinha , well , she is there. She has only one expression on her face.It is like something sharp is pricking her in the rear side. And her face is frozen in that expression. Even when she is smiling or crying or …wait..she hasnt done much of anything else in the movie. So , yeah she is there. Has one expression throughout , has some songs , and thats about it I guess.
The dialogues are witty , and as I said before , there are some genuinely funny moments in the movie. And the rest of course is made funny by the very presence of Salman Khan. The songs are quite hummable , particularly Hud Dabangg and Munni Badnaam Hui ..
So , if you want a complete no pretense ,complete masala entertainer , go watch this movie. Take it from me , you wont be disappointed. For sheer entertainment , I give this a 4 out of 5. (sheepiest grin ever)
When I die , I don’t want to be burnt. I once , burnt my fingers and didn’t like it. So I assume , being burnt wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience. I would rather be buried , you know , in some nice quiet corner of an out of the way graveyard , a little away from the others. But not too far away of course – graveyards are scary places after all , you wouldn’t want to wander away all by yourself . But yeah , I would want to keep some distance from the others , you know , privacy is important and just because one is dead , I don’t see any reason why one shouldn’t still exercise it. And perhaps the epitaph on my tomb could read , “He wanted to be left alone – you might as well.” And I hope people respect what is written on the epitaph and leave me the hell alone.
I am a private person. I like my space. I do not have an overwhelming urge to make friends . And even with the few I make , I would expect to have my space respected. I like to have thoughts , that are entirely mine and I don’t want to be an open book. I guess , I am the type , who likes to have secrets , not because of anything else , but just because he can. But then , such an attitude towards life , can easily be interpreted as indicative of a hostile and anti social tendency. And I have been called that many times. Growing up in a joint family , I have heard it many times , from my cousins. But somehow , this need for privacy has always prevailed over censure of any kind. Perhaps for me , its like an anchor , you know , some thing that gives me a sense of control over my life. And , censure or no censure , I would be loath to give it up.
The problem with people , in my opinion , is that there are too many of them. Just look around you , they seem to be everywhere. And the bigger problem is , most of them like to make their presence felt. And felt strongly at that. It is almost like , they fear , that they would fade out of existence otherwise. And it can get very annoying. Have you ever wanted to settle down quietly with a book , in that long train journey , only to have a pesky elderly gentleman , interested in the details of your life? Or a noisy family , sharing the compartment with you , who insists on offering you their food , and in return expect you to tolerate their anecdotes of a cousin in the US? Or a neighbor perhaps , who insists on helping you , and to your horror , you realize that in return ,you are expected to tolerate their annoying kids? That’s what I am talking about. And what makes it all the more irritating is the fact that most of these people are very well meaning.
By now , you must have realized that I am not a very people person. I am a manager , by profession , yes , but a reluctant one at that. And people annoy me easily , particularly , people who try to get too friendly too fast. There are various gradations in the level of annoyance that is caused by people. But in my book , the following would be the most annoying, in that order:-
1) Neighbors- in general
2) Neighbors with kids , between the ages of 3 and 10
3) Neighbors who try to get too friendly
4) Neighbors with kids between the ages of 3 and 10 , who try to get too friendly.
The last category , let me tell you , from unfortunate experience , is the worst of all. Intolerable beyond belief. . It is like the worst combination you could think of ever. Is the rat poison ready? Yes …Okay shake it up with some cyanide just to be sure…. You know , something like that..
Now there is nothing wrong with kids , they are nice , they are cute – under certain conditions. You know , like , from a distance , in photographs , when not crying , when not trying to scribble on your favorite novel , when not hungry , when not thirsty , when not in need of having to go , when not upto mischief – the list goes on. When anybody says , “I just looove ..kids “ , I am always tempted to ask , “specify your conditions.” Because I find it impossible to love kids unconditionally. And it becomes worse , when these kids belong to your neighbor. Allow me to illustrate.
There were these neighbors I had once. A couple with kids. Nice people. They were from MP. And it so happened that the lady did not know the local language and knew how to speak only Hindi. Me and my mom spoke Hindi , and this unfortunately , was taken as a sign by her that we should be friends forever. And so it all started. The couple started coming over to our place , started inviting us over to theirs , soon my mom and the lady were swapping recipes and exchanging dishes and in general being good neighbors and irritating the hell out of me. It was not so bad when my mother was around.. My mother lives with me only for small periods of time and rest of the time she is traveling. And so it became worse , when my mother was not around. The nice lady insisted that she would cook for me , and that I should eat at their place and so on. Now all this was fine , still tolerable. It wouldn’t have been such a bad deal , if it were not for their kid who was thrown in as part of the deal.
Yes , they had a kid. Yes , he was between the ages of 3 and 10. And yes , he was the cute but annoying kind. You know , the type you just can’t stand after like the first 5 minutes. He was loud , he was mischievous . Now one might say , isn’t that what is to be expected from a kid so young? Yes , but allow me to submit that , there is nothing more irritating in the world than other people’s kids being annoying at your expense. Trouble is, you cant do anything about it. If it were your kid , you could have done something. Now with the neighbor’s kid , yelling at him , is totally out. That wouldn’t be considered very polite. And in these situations , the parents take offence . It’s almost like you have yelled at them. And if yelling is out , the more extreme forms of physical punishment , are automatically out , otherwise , I would have loved to spank once in a while. And hence , all you can do is politely grin and bear. And that’s exactly what is taken advantage of.
Remember , your only chance of survival , are by acting distant and aloof , not with the kids but with the neighbors themselves. But in this case , that of course , was out. Before I even knew it , I was calling the lady Bhabhi , and the kid was calling me Chachu. And that , my friends , is a line never to be crossed. Once , these imaginary relationships are forged , once the kid starts calling you chachu or bhaiyya , you are trapped. You are obliged to be nice to him. You are expected to smile indulgently , when he annoys you . You are just back from work , and would like nothing more than sitting in front of the TV and laze ? And the kid comes barging in. How you wish you could yell at him , and send him back. Oh no , that not possible anymore . As bhabhi would say , “Ohhh , chotu likes you so much , he always waits for you to come back from office” , you are expected to smile , and at least for the sake of politeness , tousle his hair a little . You want to settle down , with that book of yours , on a Sunday , that you have been meaning to read for a while? How will you , fulfill your wish , when the kid is running all over the house , shouting , pestering you , asking to be taken out , and trying to grab your book from your hands. And hell , he is not even your own kid
And then bhabhi would come in , you look hopefully at her , expecting to be relieved of this ordeal. But no , she would merely say ,”Hope he is not bothering you , he likes you sooo much” . You smile , and say nothing , expecting that , she would understand and whisk the kid away. But then , to your horror , she walks off , and then you realize to your horror , that she is enjoying her Sunday at the expense of yours. And so you resignedly try to resume reading , while trying to save your book from the kid’s clutches.
And so it continues , eternal punishment , for being polite.
And that is why I keep saying , broken condoms are to be feared.