Sunday, December 25, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
Monday, December 19, 2005
Listening to the song Tere bina zindagi se koi shikhwa from the movie Aandhi, one gets transported to an ethereal world. This song is rendered to perfection by the melody perfectionists Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. The song has that enchanting appeal and one can compare the contrast in the songs of today's cinema. I have listened to this song innumerable times, and each time, the song renders a new meaning and neatly fills my heart with solace. This album has awesome tracks sung by the duo. The track Tum aa gaye ho is another piece that can take the listener to dizzy heights. Gulzaar's lyrics makes it a perfect combination of a great musical.
Fast forward to today's cinema. Lata Mangeshkar renders her voice to some meaningless movies like Dil to pagal hai, veer zaara, mohabbatein and other terrible movies. Lata's hoarse voice makes us wonder where has she lost that wonderful voice? Obviously she can't render the same perfection in today's musical. What beats me is why should she continue singing today? She definitely has lost that charismatic appeal in that voice. In any field one should always bow out with dignity, and I certainly don't want to relive my days listening to the latest crap of music from Lata's voice.
Let's see how much more of nauseating music is in store for us from Lata Mangeshkar!!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
The Apocalypse now
City of God
The Bourne Identity
The Legend of Bhagat Singh
and with many more to come...
All in all, a good fortnight that I am looking forward to!!!
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
On a day when one of the world's best batsmen, Brian Lara faced yet another delivery from one of the world's best bowlers, Glenn Mcgrath, history was meant to be rewritten. The fascinating duels between these two has been a treat for the billions of viewers worldwide. It is a different matter that Mcgrath has dismissed him most number of times in Test cricket(15 in total) and it is altogether a different issue that Lara has dominated the Australian bowling attack many a times in the past decade. It is sheer destiny that Lara had to break Allan Border's record for most test runs in Australia against Australia, and by clipping Mcgrath for a single on the onside. Lara's feat today is a result of his stylish dominance over almost all bowlers in the world. The class and style evoked by the master is evident by that stylish backlift when he pulls the fast bowlers through the on-side piercing the gaps with ease. Lara can be attributed to have been gifted with a priceless sense of timing.
Now talks on Lara reminds us of another great batsmen of the era, the Indian prodigy - Sachin Tendulkar. The Bombay bomber is in a league of his own and has dominated bowlers in ruthless fashion. Playing for 16 years is no joke at the international level and he might be the next one in the line to break Lara's record. He will definitely perch himself in a level that would be impossible for the others to overtake in a jiffy. Considering the number of years he has left in him, one can expect a lot from the Indian master blaster. So, this inevitably leads us to the question - Lara or Tendulkar? Let's stack up the stats!!
Lara has played 121 matches and has raked in 11,000 odd runs surpassing Allan Border. He is three short of the world record of the number of centuries. He has an average and figures that do not interest me. We can similarly raise nice figures for Tendulkar to make his resume look good. There are some innings where both the players have beaten the scruff out of the opposition.
1) I vividly remember the first test at Madras in the 1998 Australia tour of India. Shane Warne dismisses Sachin for 4 in the first innings and Australia take a crucial 80 odd runs lead. The second innings witnessed Sachin at his blistering best, a sold 155* against a high quality pace and spin Australian attack. The Australians were blasted out into the black hole created by the Master.
2) A match against Pakistan peps up any Indian fan, and it is easy to imagine how much of a pressure the cricketers of both sides will have to put up with. Madras match again. Sachin notched up an innings of very high quality by putting up 136 runs, a match which saw India go down by 16 runs. This is where one can notice the key difference between him and Lara. Lara generally ends up finishing the match for the West Indies.
3) World Cup 2003 : Team India had to chase 274 runs in The Centurion and Shoaib Akhtar had said in the pre-match reports that he planned to target Tendulkar. But by the first over, the equations had reversed. Tendulkar demolished Akhtar out of the attack by taking 18 runs in his first over. Akhtar and Pakistan were devastated. That was full flurry unleashed.
4) I think it was the 1996 test series against South Africa in South Africa. The touring Indian team had a terrible team under Tendulkar's captaincy. It was the second test match of the series. He wilted an aggressive South African bowling comprising Allan Donald at his best, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Fanie de Villiers. He scored a brilliant 169 at the Cape Town test and also shared a fantastic stand with Mohammed Azharuddin. Sachin also scored in similar fashion about five years later when India again toured South Africa, but this time scoring a superb 155 in the company of his disciple Virender Sehwag.
5) How can anyone forget the Sharjah Innings where he single handedly destroyed Australia in one of the most ripping innings in ODI!Now coming to Lara,
1) A scathing 277 in SCG in 1992 against an Australian attack which boasted of Craig McDermott and Shane Warne. Most of the Cricket Pundits rate this as one of the greatest ever Test Innings of all time.
2) The BridgeTown test match where he single handedly takes West Indies to victory from the jaws of defeat. WI are 105/5 (as always) and chasing a target of 308 in the fourth Innings against the best team of the era, Lara single handedly plucks the match right in front of the Aussies' nose. WI won the match by a wicket and one still remembers the two balls that Courtney Walsh had to face from Glenn Macgrath. Lara had done it again!
3) The innings of 375 and 400 against England where in the first of the two, he creates a world record and in the next he reclaims the world record.
4) The 2003 World Cup where Lara launches an assault of terrific quality against the much hyped South Africans in the inaugural match. His hundred took WI to a victory against all odds. In an earlier instance, in the 1996 edition, he similarly defied a much superior South African bowling attack in the quarter finals to bring up a sensational victory.
Talking about both these players, one can go on and on about the skill and prowess both of them possess. It is a delight to watch the maestros bat. But at the end of the day, after unearthing the statistics and after inevitable comparisons, it seems that Tendulkar has never won a match when the chips are down. He might have gone on to play a big innings but it was somebody else who had to finish it off in the end, unlike Lara who single handedly battles it out in the crease. But both of them give their best against the Australians. It remains to be seen what the future beckons from the blades of two of the brightest stars in world cricket.
PS : Please don't ask me how in the world I had the time to compose a big one!
Monday, November 28, 2005
It is a funny story. Calcutta turns hostile because one of its favourite sons is discarded from the team. Does that mean they are doing a favour by turning hostile to the others. It was a shame to see such a crowd in the best sporting ground in the country. It was the same crowd that reacted badly to Sri Lanka's semi final loss in the 1996 World Cup. These were the same guys who cut loose when Tendulkar was given out in controversial circumstances in the Asia cup test match against Pakistan at the very venue. So, where did they lose all the patriosm in a jiffy? In any case, I don't mean to justify the earlier actions from the crowd, but it just goes to show how things change drastically in such a short span of time. Sachin, Hai Hai and Dravid Murdabad are not the kind of reactions you expect from this cricket frenzy crowd. It certainly leaves a bad taste in front of the international community. If this is the case, there should have been riots in Bangalore when Rahul Dravid was dropped from the one day squad for a year in the late nineties. What about VVS Laxman? Hyderabad crowd should have indulged in mountain throwing (not just stone throwing!!) at the Indian players.
It is the overall interests of the team that have to be kept in mind rather than single out individuals. Sourav Ganguly has been a great player and a great skipper, but that is past as no player can rest on past laurels. One has to consistently perform at the international level to cement a place in the team. An Eden Gardens match is as exciting for the spectators as for the players. This may be the first time that an Indian team was dreading to play on one of its favourite turfs. It would have given a lot of jitters to the team to be hounded like this. I bet they wouldn't mind playing a match even in Karachi for nothing can get worse than this!
Luckily I did not get to see the match. As such, it was disgusting to see the reports in all the news sites. One match not worth remembering!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
A subject that has not been dealt effectively finally finds its way into the folds of Hindi cinema. It depends on the viewer's take on live in relationship. A simple story of a couple(not a married one) staying together just to find out whether they can be compatible in the future or not forms the backdrop of this movie.
Writing a review on Salaam Namaste at this point may not serve a lot of purpose for others, since I guess most of them would have watched the movie by now. But I had the opportunity to watch it after a considerable time thanks to the India Association here. As always, my punctuality deserts me at such moments and I arrived at the Physics seminar hall a good fifteen minutes late. But the good thing about Indian movies is that the viewer can follow the story from any given point. It doesn't matter whether one is fifteen minutes late or an hour late!
It is about two people, Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan, who have divergent set of views and though both of them lead their lives with different ideologies, have mutual feelings for each other. Saif is pretty keen on a long term relationship with Preity, though the latter is very doubtful of the both of them striking good chemistry. So, they decide to live in together for a few days and then see how the relationship takes shape before deciding to tie the nuptial knot. The early days goes on brilliantly before a series of events force both of them to decide whether they are making the right moves.
Now, to watch such a hindi movie after a lot of repetitive, cliched and boring themes leaves us with a pretty good feeling. It is not the run-of-the-mill movie where the hero and the heroine are running around trees and then finally decide to come together at all odds. The subject here is quite touchy and the director(I missed the credits. Remember I was fifteen minutes late!!) has done a good job to portray such a theme with ease. When most of the movies flash the The End message on the screen as soon as the hero and the heroine get together, here the movie ends once the two of them have stabilised their relationship after showing the viewers the pros and cons of a relationship. It is never easy to direct a movie of such a controversy prone subject(Kushboo and Suhasini can tell how controversial this is), but at the end of the day, a nice message is conveyed. But inspite of all that, the movie could have ended on serious overtones instead of getting meaningless comedy elements interleaved in the ending. It was totally disgusting to see Abhishek Bachchan(yes it is Abhishek in a guest appearance) wield his role as a doctor and that too with some slapstick comedy that was irritating.
Saif and Preity have done a terrific job. Dil Chahta Hai has made a big difference to Saif and he seems to fit any role to perfection with his good acting skills and he is one of those few actors these days who has a perfect sense of timing in comedy sequences. He makes it look really casual. Preity is as cherubic as ever, displaying lots of enthusiasm and energy, and springing to life with gaiety. Her display of emotions is truly commendable. It is not one of those movies where the actress has got just a job of pleasing the hero with her song and dance ability. She has a clearly defined role in the movie and plays it to laudable limits. Arshad Warsi, as Saif's friend in the movie, has played a good supporting role. He is the favourite of the masses after his fantastic role in Munna Bhai MBBS and here too, he does not let anyone down with his acting skills. Javed Jaffrey has been roped in for a very small role and I did not find anything exciting about his comedy. The songs are pretty lively and the cinematography is excellent capturing the picturesque locations of Austraila very well.
Overall a decent Hindi movie to watch and the offbeat theme breaks the dull lullaby of the old fashioned themes so often repeated in Hindi cinema.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I will not be delving into the details of the movie. Obviously, everyone should have seen the movie more than once. It is about four sons Michael, Madan, Kameswaran and Raju who get separated at birth due to a conspiracy hatched by their father's brother. The movie basically deals with the tryst of the four brothers in various situations and how they come out unscathed to get together in the end. Kamal Hassan, as Kameswaran is a delight with his Malayali accent. His encounters with Urvashi and her paati(grandma) is a treat to watch. That particular sequence where a fish falls into a sambar in an Iyer aam(house) keeps the viewers in splits. The dialogues etched for that scene is unforgettable. I mean It is too good! Urvashi's oodles of talent is well captured, and no wonder Kamal Hassan speaks highly of her in any interview. Delhi Ganesh, as Kamal's father has done a little cameo. He is such a gifted actor that he fits in a role to sublime ease.
Kamal, as Michael plays a local goon and Madan is a multi-millionaire Kamal. Madan's personal secretary as well as friend is the Bheema of Mahabharata fame. Bhim boy is characterised in a peculiarly funny way, totally different from the angry young man we see in Mahabharata. Nagesh, as the corrupt secretary dons his role to perfection. The final Kamal is Raju, who is a part of the fire brigade. Roopini, Kushboo and Manorama have done a good job as supporting actresses, but it is Uravashi who steals the show with her dynamic prowess.
Kamal of course as expected steals the show. The supporting cast is excellent too. Every actor enacts his role to a nicety. Coming to the dialogues of the movie, Crazy Mohan has come up with unbeatable dialogues. There is not an iota of doubt when he is acknowledged to be the best dialogue writer in Tamil cinema. Ilayaraja's music is highly commendable. Isaignani's music fits perfectly in the movie. The sundari neeyum.. song and its picturisation is the highlight of the movie. Singeetham Srinivasa Rao has crafted a lot of movies with Kamal and the duo share a special rapport that has seen them come up with a number of hits - Apoorva Sahodarargal, Pushpaka Vimana, and Mumbai Express to an extent.
If merry making is the mantra, watch this movie to beat any time blues!!
Monday, November 21, 2005
I sat back today on a real sleepy afternoon not knowing what to do. The film songs and the western musical appeared to fade away in pale insignificance. I wanted something different to recharge my batteries. A gloomy weather is no sign of an active mind. Lethargy grasped firmly in my mind, not allowing me to come out of its clasps. Then, I decided Why not listen to MS? By the way, I assume that everyone knows who MS is, because even a kid ought to know who she is. M S Subbulakshmi of course!!! A half an hour's worth of ethereal music transferred me to the highest echeleon of happiness and peace. Hanuman Chalisa, in praise of Lord Hanuman and Vishnu Sahasranamam, in praise of Lord Vishnu left me spellbound. That was divine incarnation singing. I can still recollect the face in my mind - the large kumkum on her forehead signifying the very embodiment of compassion and peace. She had captivated the billions of people around the world with that magical voice that could lighten your mood and gladden your heart. The only Indian to fill the corridors of the United Nations with her voice, she had achieved what one can only dream of in a lifetime. I don't know any other singer whose voice remained as good as that, even in the late eighties. Her death marked the end of an era, where she dominated right from start to end. It was domination even her competitors must have cherished. But then, who could compete with MS? Her sublime eternal voice fills every Indian household early in the morning to the enchanting Suprabhatam. MS, a once in a lifetime phenomenon, is not human art but divine grace perpetuated in her being.
Roja had the freshness of life. Be it the jingles of Chinna Chinna aasai, or the foot tapping Rukumani Rukumani, or SPB's Kadhal Rojave, Rahman had broken the myth of conservative music. Undoubtedly the best song of the album, Pudhu vellai mazhai, people never knew that such good music could be juxtaposed in cinematic sequences. The music was an instant hit amidst the masses. Rahman had brought out the highest quality of music one could imagine. The cinematography accompanying the musical was nothing short of exemplary.
No wonder, my friend, when he talks of the latest Rahman compositions, he says, Come on! This is nowhere near Roja! That was the first Tamil movie I had seen in the theatre with family and friends simply because of the music. Today Rahman's standards have declined. He is not able to come anywhere close to what he was before.
In a way, my friend may be right, but then you can't get a Roja out of every movie. Definitely, some of Rahman's latest musical have been forgettable. There was a time when only one song in Rahman's album would not be upto the standards but today such songs are increasing in his album. The problem today is everybody is trying to emulate Rahman and that's making Rahman look as if he is getting repetitive. Every person has a Once in a lifetime experience, and Rahman had it in the first instant. Going by my friend, Rahman was at his best for only a single movie in that case!!
Lastly to quote my friend, If Rahman can come up with a composition of Roja's stature atleast once in ten movies, that would be great!
Obviously that would be great, but can Rahman do it?
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The mail in my inbox read Dr. Andrew Bernstein of the Ayn Rand Institute will be speaking on the topic of global capitalism... I had no second thoughts. I am attending this seminar. I did not even know who Dr Andrew Bernstein was, but his affiliation to the Ayn Rand institute was more than enough to motivate me. Having read The Fountainhead, and in the process of reading Atlas Shrugged, I did not need a second invitation.
Let me tell you something. The motivation levels to attend a seminar at 7PM at the Havener Center is no joke what with the temperature tending to sub zero levels. The walk from the department to the Havener center and then back to the department chills. I was one of the thirty odd guys to be present in the hall. The talks on Capitalism was not on an economic point of view alone, but on the fact that how different parts of the world are in a better position today thanks to capitalism. He said how the Asian power houses are emerging due to the advocacy of capitalism. The per capita income shot to a new high in the last fifty years in Japan, China, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and many other countries. He particularly talked about the entrepreneurship friendly policy of the government of Hong Kong, because of which the number of small scale industries sky rocketed. Even in Europe, apart from Russia - mainly Stalin's policies, there were many countries whose economic growth received a staggering boost due to capitalism. Poland, on this front, reaped the benefits. Of all continents, it is Africa that has to shed its confined policies and wake up from the slumber. There were many such examples that kept the seminar going for more than an hour. At the end he concluded with, if one has to support capitalism, then there has to be the following things
- Members from one country should be able to trade with members of the other country without any restrictions
- People should speak about the positives of capitalism
- Freedom to chose what you want - If you are getting a product from a store that offers less price, one is obviously drawn to that store
At the end of the seminar, there was the Q & A session and I wasn't too surprised when there were a host of questions from the audience. One of them asked How do we draw a line to curb capitalism if it is affecting the environment? The United Nations has set up a committee and a panel of environmentalists to look into the effects of Global Warming. What about that? The reply was I believe neither the UN nor the environmentalists. Man is way below nature when it comes to inflicting the nature. We do not have the power to tamper with the laws of nature. Economic growth is in no way related to the environment. We should promote industries in a big way and environment cannot be affected by something as miniscule as that. There are more damaging issues in the world. There should be a committee that has to be set up to study the occurence of earthquakes, sandstorms and tsunamis, where millions of lives are lost every year. There were other questions Should there be government intervention on setting up of new industries to study its bane since human lives are to be given paramount importance? What should be the role of such regulatory bodies? How come USA has a huge growth since the government is not entirely capitalistic? Is it possible that the great depression in Europe could have been indirectly due to capitalism?
I would have loved it had there been an environmentalist too. That would have added spice to the seminar. It would have been a classic contest between a full fledged supporter of capitalism and an anti-industrialist(rather an environmentalist)!
Given a good time frame, there might have been lot more questions except that he had to catch a flight from St. Louis early morning the next day. He said Those of you who haven't read the Atlas Shrugged, great! It is like a virgin waiting for it. Grab a copy!
If you want to know more about Dr Andrew Bernstein, you can visit http://www.andrewbernstein.net
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Now, how do things change when you are abroad? Here in Rolla, the Diwali night is almost the biggest festival. People in and around Rolla gather in large numbers to witness the gloss associated with the event. This year, we had the Diwali Nite on 13th Nov, 2005. The auditorium was booked well in advance and the seating capacity of 700 looks miniscule considering the number of people who want a seat in the large atria.
The Indian student community is at the frenzy of activity with almost everyone trying to chip in, in some form or the other to be a part of such a large event. The cultural night has all the ingredients of an enjoyable evening - music shows, dance performances, presentations of the four corners of India, fireworks and not to forget the most important thing - fantastic Indian cuisine.
The food is cooked for about 750 people by the students. The cooking goes on for about two days and it was fascinating to perform the various permutations and combinations to add the right ingredients. To list the food items,
Dum Aloo Kashmiri
Spicy chicken curry
All this well supported by Butter Naan.
Certainly, this is enough to stimulate your taste buds! The food items were an instant hit with people coming back for multiple helpings to quench their hunger for good Indian food. Overall it was a fun filled night, and certainly the right occasion to get together to showcase India. Writing this blog and selecting the photos was a huge effort for me, what with having to take only 5-6 photos from around 600 pictures!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
A world that has become rhetoric,
With farce so often justified,
No real ways to come out with the truth,
Hope you don’t follow the line!
Dropping words that are only mystified,
Neither enlightening nor commendable,
Living with hidden traits and an individuality,
Losing its value over a period of time!
A non-existent peace of mind; where to find,
A sense of belonging lost; you are in a coterie,
Live to appease, but how long?
When are you coming out of the deja-vu?
A fixed pattern that is close to your heart,
It does require a lot of will to change,
You are in to herald a bright future,
A future not to be wilted, witness the sheen!
A long way to go, to face the world,
It is so easy to live the rest blurred,
You just have to break the shackles,
Live to leave an everlasting legacy!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
It was the time of kings,
When there weren't many a thing,
A life full of joy and peace,
Every reason to feel at ease!
Today, the days of democracy,
Where life is getting crazy,
Many a people in the race,
To run the country through a maze!
In the darbar, subjects and ministers,
Many a talks, but none sinister,
A clear solution fell in place,
There was a feeling of solace!
Today, a mess of all sorts,
Leading a life full of torts,
Everyone fighting for fame,
But none to share the blame!
Those were the days,
When law had its say,
Morals and values formed the core,
People followed it without a sore!
Today, people have no time,
Anything other than a dime is a crime,
Morals and values today a sore,
Dime, dime and dime form the core!
True values have lost its meaning,
It is upto us to relive the feelings,
Of honesty, trust and mutual respect
Before it is wiped out; the last speck;
Friday, November 04, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
A remake of a movie is great as long as it suits the masses. Ghajini is supposed to be a hit, atleast according to the innumerable reviews that has been posted everywhere. What is unfathomable is, how can a movie that defies the basic elements of logic can go on to be a hit? There were just too many illogical moments in the movie, that the whole two and a half hours was left so incomplete.
The four of us had planned to watch this movie for almost a month, and after a steely resolve, we decided to watch it yesterday (luckily one guy couldn't make it!). We had a lot of expectations from the movie. Obviously, people were going ga-ga over this madness. I wouldn't want to narrate the entire plot and relive those three hours of absolute torture. It is supposed to be adapted from a good English movie - The Memento. Of course, there is the addition of these comedy scenes and melodrama. All is fine! Ok coming to the story...Surya is a rich entrepreneur running a cellular service provider - Air Voice. He receives the Entrepreneur of the year award and his photos get splashed across every other magazine in the country. Asin is into featuring in ad films and accidently gives an interview that she is in a relationship with Surya. The story fills the tabloids with photos of Asin and Surya. Their future encounters are supposed to be funny. Sury meets Asin and she does not even realise who the genius is. Doesn't it sound foolhardy? Asin doesn't know about it, the members of the crew don't have a clue about it and I guess nobody seems to have an idea of this wonderful entrepreneur. The audience is supposed to roll with laughter! Due to the subsequent turn of events, Surya suffers from memory loss. He gets to remember only the last fifteen minutes and so he figures out what has to be done through a sequence of pictures. The ending is even more disastrous, as there is a particular scene where Nayanthara gets chased by an entire factory of workers. Oops, I forgot! Nayanthara is a medical college student who should have actually been a detective!
Everything is fine in a movie as long as the logic is not buried. Nobody cares little if the hero of a movie jumps fifteen floors, goes bungee jumping from the first floor or wafts through a tornado, but atleast you got to have some common sense as far as the screenplay is concerned. If there is a defect in the script, it just doesn't help anybody's cause. Surya, as usual has done a wonderful job as far as the acting is concerned. Asin looks pretty and her performance is neat. The less I talk about Nayanthara the better. She was really irritating to watch. Just can't figure out where she put those oodles of fat after Chandramukhi. The screenplay is terrible. The music is too repetitive. I think Harris Jeyaraj has to figure out something new to keep his fans going. Or he has to stop trying to emulate A R Rahman. A R Murugadoss, I am sure must have been impressed by the English movie and it just amazes me how cleverly(!!!) he has adapted to the Tamil masses.
At the end of the movie, we were over and out. We did not have any adjectives to slam the movie. The theme is great but the interweaving elements were miserable. One of my friends rightly summed it up at the end of the movie, I hope I have a memory loss of what happened in the last three hours.
I met him in a pretty middle class restaurant at Sai Shakti, Malleswaram, Bangalore. A restaurant that gives a feel of a home with its simple menu and reasonable good price. In front of me was a gentleman, who looked very simple in this simple ambience. What a setting! I was in no mood to strike a conversation with anybody. I was more concerned about my US trip at that point of time. By the way, it was about a month before I got my visa. So, obviously, I had a lot of things running in my head. I was involved in decision making and to be honest, I take quite a long time in taking decisions. As I was gazing in wilderness, I had a voice calling me. I realised that the gentleman sitting in front of me was calling and I had no clue in the world as to who he was. But we struck an instant chord. He was a friendly person, and his experience in life is my age. We chatted about a lot of things. And before I forget to mention his name. He is Mr Mallikarjuna H P, General Secretary, Dedicated Servants Association. The talks ranged over a lot of topics - education, politics and socio-economic issues. That's the end of Part I.
I had mailed him recently to tell him about my progress in the United States. He told me that he is currently in Dallas with his son and daughter in law. I was only too happy to talk to him again. He was pleased to know about my current status here. We spoke for a long time in Kannada and I also had the opportunity to talk with his family. It is always strange how bonding develops in another country. The mutual love and respect among fellow countrymen is totally different than what is there in the native country. We met, we spoke and we jelled. But the fun is we do the same things, but in different part of the world.
One can just not imagine the global village being transformed into a small world, but the truth is out there or here!
Waiting to watch another movie, nevertheless!!!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Even though it is a pretty late post, I think the blame shouln't fall on me. I was waiting for the birthday pics before I could post my entry on this. If you are wondering what this is all about, this date happens to be my birthday. It was not a great birthday eve. I had sickness creeping in the late evening. A bout of cold along with mild fever made me take some home made Kashayam, courtesy my roommate Ramaprasad! I called up home and some of the relatives, and was flat out by 9:30 in the night. I later realised being dragged from my mattress and Lo and Behold, there were the 1300 dacoits waiting for me with colas and honey glazed buns. I received the birthday wishes from everybody, but then every fun element is associated with spanking. Yeps! receiving birthday bumps from all quarters and from a set of desperate guys to kick somebody at anytime is no joke. Believe me or not, one of them even had his boots on when I had to receive the kicks.
It was a nice surprise from the guys to get something as a birthday gift. Later I realised from them that it was a planning that was done in about a couple of hours!
I think I have this penchant of celebrating my birthday away from home quite a number of times. Last year, it was in Kemmanagundi, with my colleagues from Bosch. That was one of the best trips I have had in a long time. And this time too it was no different. Generally, birthdays do not have a special significance in my life. I feel that it is just another day. In fact, I don't understand the fun and frolic associated with this event. Most of them end up partying the whole night on the occasion. But, of course, birthdays can be a special occasion, if special people call up to wish you. Hey, so who's calling?
Age is a number and mine is unlisted
Saturday, October 22, 2005
And finally, you must be wondering what BLO-JJI is! Since it is a blog on bajji, the title now I guess must be self-explanatory!
Nevertheless, truly a fully filling experience!
Friday, October 21, 2005
At the end of the day, we safely concluded the discussion with Pre-marital sex is not at all a debatable topic.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The movie starts off in dramatic style with the protagonist Velu's father, who is a union leader is short dead by the police. Velu has not even grown up beyond 10 maybe. He escapes off to Bombay not knowing what to expect from the big city. There he gets to meet his to be long term friend, Selva enacted brilliantly by Janagaraj. His tryst with the underworld dons and popularity with the poor people is the simple theme of this beautiful movie.
Mani Ratnam has chalked out the role of Velu in various phases - as a kid, as a youth, as a middle aged man and finally as the old man. It is easy to visualise Velu in all the roles. It sticks in memory for eternity. As a kid, he avenges his father's death. As a youth, he avenges the death of his father who adopted him and also, starts to grow in popularity among the poor people. He acquires the title of Nayakar. As a middle aged man, he takes charge completely to help the needy, while in his old age, his duels with a strict police commisioner, Nazar is a treat to watch.
There are various scenes in the movie that are unforgettable and some of the dialogues have gone on to become immortal.
Naalu perukku nalladhu seyyanumna edhuvumay thapilla!!! : If you want to help others, there is nothing wrong. This is the dialogue in which the entire theme of the movie revolves.
Avangalellam niruththa sollu, naan nirutharen!!! : Ask them to stop, I will stop. When his daughter confronts him and asks him to stop all the misdeeds, this dialogue is quoted.
There is a scene where everybody bear the brunt of the police to save Nayakar. When Nayakar is about to surrender to the police, Selva comes up with a statement Ippo poi surrender adaindha, ivvalavu per seththadukku arthamayilla(if you go and surrender now, there is no meaning for the death of all these people) for which Nayakar comes up with an equally stunning statement ippo poi surrender aalayna, iththana naal senjadhukku arthamayilla illama poidoonda(if I don't surrender now, then there is no meaning for what I have done all these days)
And of course, the dialogue at the very end of the movie, Nee nallavara kettavara requires no words to express the beauty of the dialogue, and this is so famous that even the English translation is not required.
According to me, it is very difficult even for a versatile actor like Kamal Hassan to beat his performance in Nayagan. The scene in which he cries when his son is dead is one of the most brilliant scenes. Even Sivaji Ganesan, another versatile actor of his era was stunned by the performance of Kamal Hassan. In every scene, one gets to witness his acting prowess. What can one say as far as Mani Ratnam's direction is concerned. His directorial skills was never questioned and as far as this movie was concerned, he had hit the pinnacle of glory. Only a skilled director like him can bring about such a beautiful sequence to stitch this masterpiece. Illayaraja's music is nothing short of sheer brilliance. The title track of the movie Thenpaandi Seemayile is nothing to beat. The background score of the movie entirely revolves around the backdrop of this title track and not once is it boring. This movie is an epic as far as Indian cinema is concerned. The pulse of the audience is tested to no limits during the flow of the movie. Even the ending of this movie is highly realistic.
Today we have seen many movies that revolves around mafia and the underworld, but I am not sure whether any of them can come close to this greatness crafted by Mani Ratnam. I have watched this movie close to a twenty times, and I try to catch glimpses of this movie even today, when it is played on tamil channels.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Hussain Zaidi's book, Black Friday hit the stands depicting the 12th of March, 1993 Mumbai blasts, one of the many unforgettable days in Indian history. And so did Anurag Kashyap's film based on the book was made. I refrain from using the phrase hitting the stands simply because the Supreme court of India passed a ruling staying the release of the move as it might affect the judgement in the case. This may sound ridiculous, but then we are upheld to act in accordance to the Court of Law. Anurag Kashyap has potrayed the grim realities of that ill-fated day, where hundreds of people were killed in the bomb blasts that engulfed the commercial capital of the country. Life hit a standstill as bombs exploded in all the important places in the city. The rest of the world watched with bated breath as Mumbai catapulted to one of the worst disasters of the century.
The film is all about the Mumbai blasts and the investigation that takes place in the aftermaths of the bomb blasts. Slick editing and narration, coupled with highly realistic facts makes it interesting to watch. Even the characters are sensationally real. No aliases used in the entire movie. The names are used indiscriminately to potray facts as facts. That is highly difficult considering the kind of circumstances that we live in today's society. This movie not only deals with the Mumbai blasts from the investigator's perspective but also gives a clear perspective of what the terrorists really undergo after such an inhumane attack. The director has to narrate the events from a diverse cross-section. The points emerge from the investigation department headed by Rakesh Maria, enacted brilliantly by Kay Kay, Tiger Memon enacted by Pavan Malhotra, Dawood Ibrahim, the pawns of the big guns who implement what is entrusted on them and then of course, from the lay man's perspective. The way the director juggles with the views of all these different narrative points to build a coherent structure, and breaking the boring conventional norms of tortuous cinematic sequences to build a racy encounter supported by facts and only facts leaves the audience witness the excruciating pain that hit the country on Black Friday.
The cast is held together by a set of low-profile actors, headed brilliantly by Kay Kay. When realism is depicted the way it is, the cast has to be equally appealing. Each scene unfolds to a shock and the viewer is fed with events, that gets real all along and and the viewer is in a tough position to digest the innumerable events that gets streamed in each scene. Black Friday ends on a powerful current of Indian Ocean's Bandeh, a phenomenal song that fits the backdrop of the blasts.
Anurag Kashyap hit the limelight with beautifully crafted dialogues for RamGopal Verma's realistic Satya. But jinxed that he is, his Paanch suffered the wrath of the censors. It remains to be seen whether he gets the chance to get this movie to the forefront of the Indian audience, as this is one movie that should not be missed nor messed with!!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
How would you feel if you are travelling in a train at a speed of 500km/hr! yes, that's how I would describe Five Point Someone. A racy book with all the fun elements integrated in a neat package. Chetan Bhagat has come up with a superb debut. What exactly is the kind of life that is being lead behind the doors of the best technological school in India and one of the elite in the world cannot be handled in a more entertaining way.
It is a story of three youngsters, Hari, Alok and Ryan. I wouldn't be going into their academics. Nothing more suffices to explain their academic brilliance than getting into IIT. Obviously they are among the best in the country. It is about life beyond academics. Their friendhsip gels to a nicety on the first day at the hostel when they are ensnared in a ragging session with two seniors. Their bare intentions exposed, Ryan takes the plunge in getting the other two out of the rut from the seniors. This brings the three of them close. To describe the three of them, Alok is a studious guy, who always puts his family before himself. All his thoughts ultimately converge to his parents and his unmarried sister. The decisions taken by him are a clear influence of the kind of middle class environment he has been brought up in. Ryan is more dynamic and can be attributed to have good(or bad!!) leadership qualities. Ryan invariably is the decision maker. He is the one the other two in the group look up to solve the issues. Of course, Alok can get murky at times thanks to his family commitments but Hari is a total Ryan follower. Hari, basically doesn't want to get on the wrong side of Ryan and Alok. He tries to maintain a neutral stand whenever Ryan and Alok have a standoff. Overall, Hari is a very simple person who has a lot of inhibitions about his looks. His static response to a viva question would be in total contrast to the dynamic response of the daredevil of the group, Ryan.
How mechanical can life at IIT be? Anybody would think that life at IIT is only full of studies if you go by what Ryan says in the book. He is totally frustrated with life and feels that the best brains of the country cannot spend four years of their prime time behind these closed walls without any original thinking. The other two do not have to express these views, and Ryan would definitely not get behind their views(literally!). Life changes and so do for these guys, when Ryan decides that one cannot waste away their best days of their life, and they should look for all round development of the self rather than go in for bookish knowledge. So, he comes up with a daily program that has only three hours of studies, while the rest would be devoted for fun. This forms the daily routine upto the first semester, when after the first semester results, this leads to a set of three Five Pointers.
Life just cannot improve for five-pointers at IIT. When you are branded as a five pointer, you are looking at the under-achievers of a great institute. What can they do to get themselves out of the rut? Hari, in the meanwhile, falls in love with the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Cherian's daughter, Neha. His romantic trysts with her is fascinating and fun filled. Whether Hari can hold on to this relationship in spite of the many blunders that he commits, and whether these guys can beat the system at IIT to herald a good future forms the crux of this fast paced book. I refrain myself from using the words novel or an autobiography, simply because it is neither fictious nor it is an autobiography according to the author. Chetan Bhagat has put himself in Hari's shoes, but goes on to say that not everything what is written is true. So, this is a blend of facts and fiction. Obviously not everything is true simply because of the extraordinary incidents that are written in the book. Such things are unimaginable to take place in an institution of the reputation of the IITs.
Chetan Bhagat has come up with a neat book that can be made into an equally neat movie. A lot of reviews have compared this book to the DCH version of a movie. Being a first time author, it is very difficult to guage the pulse of the readers and I think he has got the equations right amidst the young readers. Ryan is the most difficult character for us to guage his identity. He makes himself to be a rigid persona and stamps his authority convincingly on the other two. His C2D model (Co-operate to Dominate) is his idea when they enter the final year of study. Hari is a subtle version of Ryan. The way he gifts Neha on her birthday makes it too exciting. His regular rendezvous with Professor Cherian keeps the reader in splits. Alok's character is to put in simple words - boring.
Overall this book makes for exceptional reading. This is a book that can be absorbed in less than four hours. This makes for continous reading because this book is just unputdownable. Let us see whether Bhagat can keep up his magic in his next venture One night at the call center. Grab a copy of this book for an afternoon bout!!
Sunday, September 25, 2005
A book which effectively deals with realistic issues and perfect embodiment of simplicity and values is found in Bachelor of Arts. R.K Narayan has this uncanny knack of portraying Indian values in the most authentic way. He handles it in a way that no author can do the same justice to the Indian conditions. Many foreign authors have tried and faltered to come to terms with the living conditions here. But, R.K. Narayan has repeatedly come up with books that essays deeply into the emotions of the common man, picking out little things from daily lives that makes a big difference to the reader when reading the book. Be it the masterpiece Swami and friends, where any reader can be attributed to have lead a life similar to that of Swami, The Financial Expert which brilliantly deals about the relationship between father and son or The English Teacher, which explores the intricate association between a husband and wife, and the subsequent agony of the husband after his wife's departed soul, R.K. Narayan comes up with touching themes that leaves the reader in deep introspection.
Bachelor of Arts is a walkthrough of a generation revolving around the main protagonist of the story, Chandran. Chandran is so ominously present in us that it doesn't become difficult to get into his groove. There are times when the reader has to stir himself up with the feeling Oh!! Is this happening to me?!! A story starting from college days of a B.A, History graduate, progressing into that difficult phase where every student faces a huge roadblock in his life - whether to continue studies or not or rather What do I do next?, and then, falling unsuccessfully in love with the girl next door only to think that solitude is the best company before realising that family means a lot more than that of a girl's love, and chalking out a career after the worn-out days of love is the walkthrough of this brilliant piece of literature by the greatest Indian writer of all times.
Chandran's college days are a gentle reminder of our days. Planning out a study schedule for the exams brings memories where we have planned more than we studied. The household of Chandran brimming with life, with his mother, father and brother is like any typical Indian family. The college activities of Chandran are superbly written. The debates of whether historians have to be slaughtered or not, is brilliantly depicted. His friendship with Ramu and their mutual admiration for each other is well handled. R.K. Narayan has also beautifully brought out the fact how college friends do not end up as friends for life. When Ramu loses all touch from him after a few years, R.K. Narayan through Chandran says People pretended that they are friends, but the fact is they are brought together by forces of circumstances. How true!!!
His life changes when he sees a girl, Malathi in the town. He constantly ponders about her at home. His parents become distressed seeing his situation at home. They, to fulfill their son's wish try their best to strike the alliance, but due to the conventional concepts of horoscope matching, ill luck has its claim on the alliance. Chandran is shattered with the developments, and all the more, when he sees his hearthrob getting married. He feels that running away from home is the best thing for him to do. He does run away to Madras, where he carefully eludes staying at his cousin's house, and slips away to obscurity. There, he comes to face with circumstances that makes him realise how foolish it was of him to slip away from loved ones at home. He comes back to Malgudi to a relieved reception from his parents. He realises that he has to take up some responsibilities and chalks out a career, until he really falls in love with a girl and gets married.
This forms the gist of Bachelor of Arts. The reader is constantly in a trance while reading this book not because he is elevated to fictitious situations, but because he is take to stunning reality that places him so close to this cherubic Chandan. I have read this book more than a couple of times and everytime it is a new message that gets embedded in my mind. A masterly book by a masterly writer. Not to miss this book for anything in the world.
A story woven out of wafer thin concept, driven by morals, values and ethics with simple entertainment can be translated to a highly meaningful cinema only by a genius. Ashutosh can walk with his head held high!!! He has come up with a gem of a movie, touching the emotional chords of reality. The fusion of the west and east, and its inextricable separation cannot be displayed in a more authentic way. Swades, starts off in the backdrop of NASA, powered by the big guns of the technological field, with one of its high priority projects managed by an Indian - Mohan Bhargav, in the role of a Project Manager, aptly enacted by Shahrukh Khan. Shahrukh can be attributed to have enacted the role of his lifetime. It was really annoying to see Shahrukh in the usual run-of-the-mill roles as Rahul and what not in every other romantic flick. A highly talented actor like Shahrukh could not have had a better platform to showcase his skills. The sheer agony of having to chose NASA or charanpur to live out the remaining part of his life leaves everyone in a contemplative mood.
Mohan decides to visit India for two weeks to visit his childhood mentor, nanny(whatever) Kaveriamma. The visit to India serves as a double dose, as he gets to meet the woman of his life - Gita(Gayathri Joshi), who is an idealist with contrasting views to that of Mohan. Mohan is witness to the innumerable problems that besets the people of Charanpur. A thing as simple as electricity that remains elusive to the people of Charanpur is not taken well by Mohan. The pathos that fills him when he sees a kid selling water for 25paise at the railway station is one of the best scenes of the movie. It leaves an indelible image on the viewers even after the movie. What can he do to get the country out of the rut? Will he go back to NASA along with Kaveriamma or will he fight for the people's cause forms the crux of this well crafted movie!!!
The actors of the movie have done a fantastic job. Each scene is crafted to perfection. Shahrukh, as Mohan delivers his dialogues in his inimitable style. Gayathri Joshi is a ravishing beauty. The scene where she presents herself during her marriage talks sticks to memory for long. The lagaan actors who play the roles of Postman and cook have done a great job. The rustic countryside is picturised beautifully. A R Rahman and Javed Akhtar have proved once again why they are the best in business in today's cinema. Rahman has come up with titillating tunes, and Akhtar's lyrics are simply brilliant.
All in all, a great movie for all. The critics would simply love such a movie. Whether the Hindi cinegoers are going to love such a movie is another highly debatable topic. A movie with a social message having a documentary touch has never been respected by the cinegoers and whether Swades will change the face of hindi cinema is a million dollar question that can be answered only by the collections at the box office.
A movie not to be missed for sure!!!!
The book driven mainly by a single character, Howard Roarke, an architect who is the symbol of ideals, values, morals and principles leaves us in doubt. Who gets the credit? Howard Roarke or Ayn Rand, the author? Ayn has created Roarke to perfection and his ability to stick to his strong ideals in the face of adversity leaves the readers with a sense of deference towards Roarke. The main theme of the book is whether an individual has to live for himself or should he survive by appeasing the whims and fancies of all around. The latter is referred to as the Second Hander. According to the author, the creativity of the owner is modified by the second hander to get adoration and admiration that would prove to be futile in the long run.
The Fountainhead is a simple story of the life of two different kind of architects - Peter Keating(second hander) and Howard Roarke(creative idealist). Roarke is suspended from Stanton institute in his final year of his architectural study as he refuses to believe in the confined system of education that provides nothing to enhance his ability. On the contrary, Keating sticks to his education which lands him in a top architect firm in New York city. The initial struggle of Roarke reduces him to penury and the roaring success of Keating(thanks to Roarke's help in various architectural drawings) makes him the top architect of the country. There is a stage in Roarke's life, where he has not paid his office rent for two months, telephone bills, electricity bills for the same duration and the remainder of his life cringes on a bank contract that he eagerly awaits. In spite of his hard-stricken financial position, Roarke has the guts to refuse the contract since the committe members suggest modifications in his drawing. This tells us the kind of stance taken by Roarke in the worst of circumstances. He undertakes all kinds of work to keep his life moving, even going to the extent of working in a quarry. At a later stage, he meets the woman of his life - Dominique Francon. They share a passionate relationship and Dominique's mind-duels with Roarke forms a very interesting and fascinating sequence. Howard Roarke's association with Gail Wynand, the owner of the prestigious newspaper The Banner, who also happens to be Dominique's husband, steps up Roward in the success ladder. Whether Roarke is successful to stick to his ideals and live out his life in peace forms the essence of this brilliantly crafted book.
Peter Keating might have been successful in the initial stages of his career, but the latter half of his career reduces him to an insignificant character. He wins the initial battles, but ultimately loses the war unlike Roarke. There are different kinds of people in the world - People who practice what they preach and people who preach what they don't do. There is another category which is totally non-existent - People who do not preach what they practice. Roarke finds his name in this elite category. He sticks to his ideals without any sense of reasoning as far as the society is concerned. He might have earned a very contumacious reputation for this attitude, but this also gives us the opportunity to peek into his reclusive ideals.
The whole book treads on the path of altruism but ends with a high note on egoism. There are two trials that Roarke has to face in his life - One for the Stoddard Case and one for the building explosion case. These are the two cases which present a totally different outlook. In the first case, Roarke presents a photographic evidence, while in the other he presents an outstanding argument to win his case.
This is a book that really gives the reader to ponder whether he is on the right path of fulfilling his dreams. Fountainhead springs forth the virtues of solitude - the ability to think alone. The highly philosophical drama embedded with strong messages is a must read for people who look forward for a book without any tinge of commercial elements - thriller, mystery or romance.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Anyone would get mesmerised by the name of the place and so were we. This was one of the reasons why we wanted to visit the HaHa Tonka state park located maybe 50-60 miles off Rolla. The Council of Graduate students decided that as a great start to the semester, it would be befitting to start off with a nice little picnic and so the place decided to be Haha Tonka.
I got this information from the University website.
In 1904, Robert Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City, MO businessman, was so impressed with the natural beauty of the location that he purchased around 2,500 acres of the land for use as a resort. Synder originally started out in St. Louis and worked in the wholesale grocery business. He later moved to Kansas City where he became involved with the wholesale grocery business, banking, land speculation, and utilities. Snyder owned the Snyder Gas Company of Kansas City and was one of the first automobile owners in that city. In his business dealings, Synder was always said to operate with honor and integrity. Construction on Hahatonka Castle started in 1905. Snyder dreamed of a resort built to resemble the finest of European castles. In order to fulfill his goals, he hired Scottish stonemasons and a European supervisor to complete the project. The entire resort consisted of a 3.5 story castle, stone stable, nine greenhouses, and an eighty foot water tower, all built of locally acquired stone and timber.
The name Haha Tonka stems from the fact that the Osage Indians referred to it as the Laughing waters. We had to trek to the castle ruins. Ruins I say because the castle was guttled in flames in the year 1942. The castle was short lived as it was built in 1922. The beauty of the castle is not awe-inspiring. It is the pathway to the castle that is laid with breathtaking sceneries. Natural springs, nice pathways, lush green, blue waters, a sea of boats engulfed in the lakes and the huge college crowd, made it an exciting and easy walk for us up the hill. We were around 60 of us and the trek was not as easy (just like any other). The (dis)advantage of the places here are the fact that it is not like in India where if you are refering a place to be a trek spot, it is surely going to be a tough shot. The pathways are etched to perfection with signboards placed at regular intervals. Once you reach up the hill, there is no necessity of climbing down since beautiful roads make our work easy. We had our refreshments - soda, chips, burgers, doughnuts, honey coated buns and then drove our way back to Rolla.
Overall it was a fun-filled day of trek and basically getting to know a lot of fellow mates.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
PS : If anybody wants the recipe of this item, get in touch with me :-)