Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Dirty Picture.Literally

So,my end semester examinations got over today.After a daunting 10 days of really bad papers which make you question your faculties every time you put pen to paper,the end,was just a respite,if not a reason to rejoice.So like most exam-unfriendly-student I decided to watch a movie to get my head back into the world again.

The Dirty Picture had been creating quite a buzz for sometime now.And why not? A controversial character,a lot of skin and Vidya Balan and Naseeruddin Shah who created magic with Ishqiya.And if I were to believe the TOI review,(which I managed to read before going to take my exam),called it a "seminal work."Since Tamil is the flavour of the season,and given that it was playing at a theatre very close to my campus(Yes,I am lazy),we decided to go and be wowed for ourselves.

So well,the movie starts."Nakka mukka nakka mukka." The song gives me the splits!I foresee a fun couple of hours.Story unfolds.Small town girl.Dreams big.Runs away day before her wedding night.Comes to big city.Struggles to get into the movies.Rejected time and time again.Until she gets a break.

So she heaves her more than ample bosoms,bites her lips,rolls her tongues for the camera,dances uninhibitedly while her belly trembles like jelly in gaudy attires that leave little to the imagination.Reality,indeed.The South Indian film industry does have a fetish for all of the above.And why not?The audience demands it.Film is but a demand-supply phenomenon down south in spite of all its tall claims about being true to tradition,being stiflingly conservative and puritans.So while men in crisp white shirts and dhotis with the quintessential "tilak" affirming his piety lead a respectable life with his wife in a kanjivaram with a gajra in her well oiled hair,in the other world, he is the one who lusts over the likes of Silk Smitha and keeps his sexual desires satisfied.So society is unfair at judging something it creates and sustains by demand.This is a point Smitha makes in the movie : the hypocrisy of the "sharif" class and a point I had hoped would have been pursued in the movie along with the melancholia of her hapless existence that ultimately drove her to suicide.

But what it became was a tedious affair of cleavages,thunder thighs,Smitha gyrating,drinking,smoking,and sleeping around with men after men after men.I have nothing against any of these.I did not walk into the movie expecting the life of a nun and I'm no prude either.But then, if I wanted to see all of the above,I could have watched a Silk Smitha movie.Why a story on her life?Rather,why arrogate a story of her life?I understand the content of her work is important.But instead of Naseeruddin Shah poaching an egg on Smitha's belly(I will not be able to have a poached egg for long!),a little more light on her inner tribulations,her vulnerability,her helplessness,her misfortunes,her flaws,her follies would have given a better,if not cleaner picture.Forced innuendos galore,some shabby dialog,and cliches after,I reached a point when I wanted the movie to just end.Also with a crowd of hot blooded,horny men of Delhi, shouting disgusting remarks,whistling at every cleavage show,and especially the middle-aged men beside us moaning and well,the rest I leave to your imagination,it was a nightmare.

Naseeruddin Shah is good.Not great.Emraan Hashmi is tolerable surprisingly.But that is all.And Tushar Kapoor is disgusting as always.For the woman of the hour : Vidya Balan.Like the movie or not,she deserves an applause for her courage.To be so bereft of inhibition in a body which is no longer considered pretty in the industry(at least in places other than the South),to be bold and vulnerable,raunchy and wretched,she handles it commendably.

But Silk Smitha had a story behind the glitz and meretricious nature of her existence.She was more than a catalyst under the loins.The film sets out to do that but somehow the message gets lost in between and what we are stuck with is what a slightly modern version of Silk Smitha would have been like.Her affairs,the betrayals are treated as almost customary .While Naseeruddin's portrayal is still believable,Tushar Kapoor should just go "Gayab".His acting abilities were never great,nor were his looks.And while he comes across as a pathetic,disgusting loser as the role demands,it is irritating, for you do not feel like he has to work very hard in doing that.Emraan gets his kiss and is not too cocky,so I could bear with him.But while the oomph quotient was higher than necessary for the movie,the emotional content was measly.At the end,in spite of her tragic death,somewhere along the line,the movie fails to generate the empathy it should have.Sympathy maybe,but I doubt whether that should have been the response the director should have been looking for given Smitha herself was unabashed about her work and the last thing she wanted was pity.

The Dirty Picture might turn out to be a blockbuster.Given by my experience today,men of all ages would flock to see it.No harm in that.All Luthra manages to accomplish is making a film that justifies its title.Literally.But I feel it is dishonest to take someone's story to tell,when you narrate one part and underplay the most important part of it.Sex sells.Indeed.If you want a story with sex,make your own.Do not mask it under a tragedy.Both Silk Smitha and the audience,(leaving out the horny men who were there for a completely different reason),deserve better.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gv Me A Brk!

Remember those glory days when getting a perfect score in your spelling dictation examination was a matter of awe from your peers ?Times when correct spellings,perfect grammar,a well constructed sentence were a necessity for being one of those bright kids.Times when words were not truncated, mutilated or just left to your interpretation.Ah!Those were times when the imperiling tentacles of the SMS-language had not strangled the sanctity of the English language.

SMS or Short Messaging Service,is in keeping with the times.It indeed is a boon in today's daily marathon.Getting yourself across,with the least number of written words.That was the agenda.But then,people stopped having time for typing out a single word.The vowels were the worst hit.People ceased to see their purpose.They became the omitted variables of this age.Some argued that this was in keeping with the spirit of SMS.It was meant to be brief and its purpose,quick response.But then,it confused me.I keep getting painfully long forwarded messages,about values of friendship,love,life and some rather sad and cliched jokes.They are in no ways, brief and certainly not belonging to,what one would call, an exigency.Yet,they are written in the SMS-language which makes it doubly tedious.

I find this situation irritating.It seems like a contagion.Think about it.If you really wanted to thank someone,would writing "Thanks" instead of "Tnx"/"Thx" OR a very generous "Thnx" delay your plans of saving the world? Would adding another "o" and a "r" to " Sry" when you wanted to apologize,make your self-esteem vanish?Can the expanse of something substantial be expressed by just a "Grt"?Do you really care enough to ask someone to "Tk Cr" when you want them to believe that you do?Seriously,whatever did vowels do to you?Do you really mean the three magical words when you do not even have the time/inclination to spell out love and think "Luv" will keep you alive?

And sometimes,in your zeal to be fast and furious,and in your ignorance of words and their connotations,you give us "puritans" heart attacks!What am I supposed to make of a "Cum fast.Cnt wet"!? Sue you for indecent proposals? Ask you whether that's the latest porn movie you got your hands on?Or pat you on your back for the new meaning you've infused into the Beatle's classic Come Together?(Or is it 2gether?)

Some other time,when asked where you are,you say,"In rum".A lovely imagery for me,but then don't get my hopes up if you cannot offer me one!

I abhor it.And I dread the fact that SMS language has now become a part of the written word too.Be it social networking sites or the new age fast(crap) novels,they are here,and seems like they are here to stay.

But seriously,is this our way of saving time?Is this our transgression to being the "new intellectual" where guessing the word is a daily exercise?Or is it just a sorry excuse for our lack of sensitivity for the language,for words,for what they mean,for whom they are meant for?The wide-spread disregard for writing words as they should be, resulting in distortions galore,might lead us to a point,someday,when we will not even have the time(or the inclination) to communicate via words.Maybe,we shall communicate via waves,colours,radio signals or some kind of weird futuristic mode from a bad sci-fi movie.A future that will resemble the remote past and we shall become like monkeys with great gizmos!

I shudder to think of the scenario.I am all for the economy of words.But when words,by itself are mangled,and English becomes a sorry specter of left-overs,it is not unreasonable for a lover of the language and the words to ask these brilliant new-age linguists in their own language to just "Gv me a brk!" and practice some precis writing!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Part Of A Whole

It was just another Sunday.I woke up late.Looked out of my window.It had rained.The bricks were wet.The little white flowers were rain kissed.The guava tree had never looked so green.It seemed I had woken up this morning to "dust my blues".

I sat down with the daunting task of making sense of econometrics and all unexplained insanity that comes with it.My eyes kept going to the window and the little box of rain He had sent from above that transformed the view from my window.

Then it started happening.Rains make me horribly nostalgic.I miss my city more than ever.I miss my room with a view there,although this view too had somewhat started becoming my own.But rains leave me with a void.

I started listening to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay's "Ei Meghla Din e Akla"(Lonely on a cloudy day).Wrong choice.My melancholia had been awakened.I moved on to Nick Drake.I thought a move away from my mother tongue would help me get over it.Didn't seem to work.I hoped it would be "Bryter Layter",but Drake left me feeling restless.He doesn't do that to me generally.I generally listen to Drake,connect at some unseen,intangible level of intimacy and feel settled.But today was different.

I did what I hadn't done for ages.Partly unintentionally,but partly to avoid the outcome which intimidated me.I started listening to this recital of Shudh Kalyan by Pandit Bhimshen Joshi that had been buried in my laptop for ages.And it seemed that a dam had been broken.Indeed,Pandit Bhimshen Joshi always gives me the chills,but today it was different.I had heard this bandish several times before,Shudh Kalyan being one of my favourite raagas.But today,it was all about realization.It was the realization of what I had been trying very hard to keep myself away from : that somewhere within me,my music might have died.

I remember how I used to grumble everyday I had to do an extended riyaaz with the tabla.I remember cribbing to my guru about how difficult it was getting to hold it all together with studies and so much of every other thing to do.She'd just smile and ask me to stretch it only till the point I kept enjoying it.I cribbed to Ma,had huge fights with her,threatened to quit music,stopped listening to classical music in front of her(although my headphones were dedicated to it) and head banged to metal!But I never quit.At least voluntarily.

Since I left home,I haven't had a chance to sit for an extended riyaaz that would leave me drained but immensely radiant in spirits like before.And as Ustad Rashid Khan mesmerised me with his Thumri on one of my favourite raagas,Pahadi somewhere "Baaton baaton mein",I sobbed.

Not because I felt sad.Not because I felt glad.But because I connected to something I had been in love with for so very long.I had always tried to avoid the pain which I had actually felt in not being in touch with that very integral part of myself for what felt like eternity and today.As I write,I find it difficult to articulate what I felt.My hands shook as I tried rather hard to stifle my sobs.Miyan ki Malhar started playing next.I tried to collect myself.And thankfully managed to do so.

I spent the rest of the day listening to one raaga after the other.It seemed that I found a part of myself I had been looking for at the wrong places for all along.It had been with me.Only I had been to stubborn in refusing to see it.Somewhere,in my tryst with classical music,it had become my music.

It was not something I had been JUST learning for a good 14 years,but somewhere down the line,I started living it.Living together causes problems.We fight to give each other space.We take each other for granted.But pull us apart,and it is like a part of you is ripped off you and you cannot cry out,for you forgot your language.It scared me today.What if I had lost a part of myself with my music?Would I ever forgive myself?Would I ever be the same?

Again,this has been the only post I had felt a need to write but have found it rather difficult to articulate how I felt.But I believe,everyone of us has that little corner within ourselves,where we resign ourselves,to create,to destroy,to vent,to celebrate,to love,to mourn,and to live through it.Imagine yourself coming close to losing it and retrieving it just in time.A part of you,you discarded in your blinded state of ignorance,a part that made you whole.

I went through that journey and returned,with the whole,today.The day,my music did not die.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I ain't changed,but I know I ain't the same.

A lot of water has flown down the river.
Five leaves grew into thousands.
Earthquakes struck.
Great men fell.
Grass roots swayed.
And I grew up.
And this time,not by number.
But I feel a change coming.
It's the real deal now.
And I am dead scared.
Scintillating,empowering but yes,intimidating.

I grew up.
I walk on the road alert and alone.I don't wait for two friendly hands on either side dragging me.
For those that know me really well,know that deep down,and quite contrary to what comes across,I am an introvert.
I still am.
But I stuck my head out a little out of snow.
I used to be reluctant to talk to unknown people.Hell,even known ones.
And now,I live with and among strangers.
And I get by.Quite well.
It is like sticking your head out of the window of a speeding car and letting the wind kiss your face.
Dangerous but innervating.

I grew up.
Every time I land myself in a fix,I don't call up Mum,Dad,K and cry.
Don't get me wrong.I do cry.A lot.
Just not,to someone.
I,who was mortally scared of travelling alone in my own city,have now ended up going to distant parts of absolutely unknown territory,where strangers speak in a language unknown.
Courage?That is too great a word.
Compulsion would be more apt.
And maybe,supplication.

Yes,I grew up.
I made up my mind about God and all those starry things above.
I am a believer.
Religion,not so much.
But,yes,I took a decision.
To believe.

I grew up.
I found out the hard way,but yes,I now know "when to walk away,know when to run".
I know how and what to gamble.I know the odds.
I am learning to be patient.
And everyday,I surprise myself,by putting up with a bit more than I had expected.

I grew up.
I moved on.
The last string that held us together,yes,I severed it.
What now?You blame me?
Ah,it does not matter anymore my dear.
'We' don't exist anymore.But guess what,permutations do.
I found some good ones.
So I wish you luck.

I grew up.
I see a lizard.
I do not bring down the house.
I cringe,take a deep breath,and try to shoo it away from a distance.
I switch off the light and see its silhouette against the window.
I shudder.
I keep looking.
For a few minutes.
And then,with the sheet covering my face,as my only defense,I sleep.

No,I am not a self-sufficient,independent woman.
I need every single person I banked upon,I turned to at the first sign of distress.
I'd do the same now.
But only if,me and myself did not prove to be enough.

I grew up.
I had a little more faith.
In me.
In my own,weak,doubting,but resilient,self.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Give me the distance.
The miles between,
The space that separates,
Two souls akin.
For I fear,
Proximity builds walls.

I fear I see your mind at work,
Not familiar as it once was.
Just cold and dirty.
I fear I do not see your heart,
Just a dark hollow.
I fear I hear your lies,
But that is just a four letter word.
I fear I crave your absence
For solace is what I crave.

Give me the distance,
So my vision is blurred,
My hearing imprecise,
As we drift apart.
For I know we’ve burnt our bridges,
But my frail heart still breaks to see them burning.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Here's the deal.
I have a lot of things zooming in my head right now.
Imagine the Jetsons!The wheezing vehicles!
My mind has a traffic jam!
Sadly,neither do I have the energy nor the luxury of a few hours to communicate those with you,my dear reader.
But my mind needs to regurgitate.
So I'm simply going to randomize in brief.
One word.
One phrase.
No explanations.
No justifications.
And NOT in any order of preference.
So well.Here we go.


Green leaves...



Band Baaja Baraat!


Playing footsie.


Tees January Marg


Moment Generating Functions

Purple shorts.


Pablo Neruda.

Banning pink.



Raag Tilok Kamod.




Minister's Son










Eddie Vedder

Rolling Stones

White linen

A Sinking Feeling


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Clean Slate

There’s something infinitely comforting about a blank page.
It has always given me a great sense of freedom.

There is no ‘forward linkage’.
There are no shadows.
There is no past.
There is no scar.
There is no bias.

There is space,however.Space that can contain time.
There is emptiness.An emptiness that can be made to seeth with feelings.
There is no colour,yet the possibility of a rainbow.

And that is why I keep coming back.
For the want of a new start.
Even if eventuality awaits.

(Call me a fatalist.Go on.Do it!)