Wednesday, May 05, 2010

blog shifted

I have shifted my blogging activities to wordpress: Luckily the migration was smooth so I have migrated selected posts from here to the new one.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Avatar, Avtar, Bindiya and Collective Memory

Latest blockbuster from James Cameron has created vehement supporters and detractors and I am in no mood to put 10 things to love/hate the movie. There is a hilarious comparison of the plot with Hindi cinema's hackneyed exploitation and revenge stories, though the title of movie taken: Roopa ka Badla sounds more like exploitation,female revenge stories like Bindiya aur Bandook). Celebrated movie reviewer Roger Eberts who don't find novelty in the movie yet loved it. And then there is Great Bong (Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind) , one of very few people who can take dementia to an art form. He posits Avatar is just our beloved Kaka's (our Pusspa lover Rajesh Khanna sahib) classic Avtar with an extra 'a'. Something I totally agreed to.

I loved watching the movie, period. Obviously it had a totally unoriginal plot but Cameron's way of seeing things in the movie was what engaged me. Never for a moment did I wonder that I am watching an oft repeated story. This apart from the 3D experience did it for me.

After reading Ebert's view on rationality of the Na'vi one point in depiction of Pandora's culture intrigued me. That was depiction of collective memory. Conflict of development society vs tribal culture is obvious, if one has progress as its goal then other has harmony. If one has corporate as its collective then its community for the other. That many ancient cultures have ancestor reverence/worship is also nothing new in movies. The list to compare the two cultures is endless and have been depicted in numerous Hollywood flicks & Hindi cinema. The contrast of collective memory is shown subtly when trees are shown to be uprooted and it is claimed it will destroy ancient memory in them. I think this is an allusion to History vs Mythology. Myths and mythology are a form of collective memory where in each generation reinterprets and retells them in their own way thus adding (and even forgetting). Tribal/ancient cultures all over the world rely on mythologies to understand their past, origin and even future whereas development societies always have history to understand their past, science to understand origin and predict future, so in a sense Big Bang Theory and Theory of Evolution are indeed two mythologies.

History with its linear notion of time, textual culture (what is written is true, what is true should be written) and objective reality (what really happened) always conflicts with mythology which always has a jagged if not circular notion of time, oral culture (believe in whatever has been said since time immemorial), A small case in example would be controversy on Adam's Bridge or Rama Setu. People on mythology side had nothing else to claim than invoke the sacred whereas people who had to take sides with history questioned historical authenticity of Rama and the whole conversation went down to dogs.

Well I had hoped if Cameron could have delved more into this part rather than make a typical Hollywood grandeur story, where win/loss takes over delving into nature of things. And that is why I love Charlie Kaufman's movies.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

3 Idiots or Rancho B.E. or Lage Raho Rancho or Hirani's Crusade against the System

Being a Unix enthusiast I was constantly doing a diff between Rajkumar Hirani's previous creation and his latest presentation titled 3 Idiots. Though an engaging watch but it seemed like he morphed Munnabhai into Rancho but you can not change the entire picture with morphing. After tackling a crusade against a system which dehumanizes doctors in "Munnabhai M.B.B.S" and rereading Gandhi in his "Lage Raho Munnabhai" he has turned his knights towards engineering colleges and the system which dehumanizes students.

Though I did not had great grades in Linear Algebra but the concept of vectors and dimensions still intrigues me. The role of basis is much important in this vector toy world, by a simple change of basis one can change the entire game and make millions too. The same vector appears novel or as a popular saying goes nayi botal mein purani sharaab. The coordinates in Rajkumar Hirani's vector space are the chief mercenary, the patriarch, the patriarch's daugher, the message, the miracle, the lesser mortals.

The chief mercenary of the crusade is Rancho who's sole motto in the movie is to convert every non-believer in his do-as-your-heart-says sect. There is nothing wrong in it, the message is good, it is presented well but it permeates every pixel of every frame in the movie. The whole movie looks like an advertisement in which motto is the product itself.

Each frame is a fight between towering but evil-because-he-doesnt-know-what-he-is-doing patriarch (played by Boman Irani in all three editions) and chief mercenary, who by the end of the movie has to make the patriarch realize mistakes in his ways. Patriarch's daughter has to revolt against father, set free by chief mercenary for psychoanalysis of which I am sure Sudhir Kakkar or Ashis Nandy are better suited.

But how are the non-believers converted to become faithful asks the jeering crowd. How are they shown the true light. First there has to be a heart wrenching advertisement line. Jadu ki Jhappi in 1st edition, Gandhigiri in 2nd and now its All ij well. The non believers are not only hankered with proselytizing one-liner message but are shown a miracle towards the end to convert the patriarch.

If healthy dose of Jadu ki Jhappi cured Anand Bannerjee and converted Dr. J.C. Asthana in Munnabhai M.B.B.S. then Munna's Gandhigiri saved Lucky Singh in Lage Raho... version. It was Rancho's engineering and studying-for-knowledge message which opened Veeru Sahastrabudhhe's eyes to the true message. I am not elaborating on the miracle in this post to avoid spoiling reader's movie viewing experience.

But those are just few elements in a movie says jeering crowd. So let the crowd notice that patriarch is final frontier, before claiming victory on him there are lesser mortals to be converted. And converted in the same fashion I say to jeering crowd. There has to be a non-A list actor (Jimmy Shergill in 1st two editions and Sharman Joshi in 3rd) who has his life issues successfully resolved by chief mercenary. Lesser mortal has to be a poor lad from minority community (Zaheer, Victor and Farhan) respectively. There is nothing new in the minority angle, Manmohan Desai used it pretty deftly in his movies. Barring the first edition lesser mortal actually has daddy issues with dad played none other than Pareekshit Sahni (and this is ironical because he himself is a deeya tale andhera). People say movie makers are artists I say they are pop psychologists.

I urge the readers not to think I hate the movie or this is some sort of review/appraisal/derision of the movie. There is neither any claim of go watch the movie nor will I claim do not set eyes on the movie nor will I give some stars to rate a piece of work like many movie reviewers of Hindi cinema do. If you have followed my analysis well you will realize the movie is actually not based on Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone - What Not to do at IIT but yes the man should be given some credit. It is just my thoughts put together which distracted me while watching the film (and if you haven't watched 3 Idiots then why should only I suffer the fate, I leave these coordinates to bother you too).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Rocket in Pocket: Or why Rocket Singh Disappointed Me

Having heard excellent views from many fraands and movie reviewers I finally did watch Rocket Singh. I have been quite selective in watching new Hindi cinema releases these days. Gone are the days when I would visit Rajshree in Gandhinagar for the pure bliss known as Jani Dusman: Ek Anokhi Prem Katha or had stamina to watch Sonu Nigam's thriller suspense Love in Nepal. Gone are the days when I would eagerly go for a mind bending experience known as The Hero: Love Story of a spy or how to kill a man by plumbing a nuclear dravya filled test tube inside evil forener.

Rocket Singh was indeed a massive let down for me. First of all there was no Punjabi number with a healthy dose of Soniye, Manmoniye, Baliye, Mahiye sprinkled all over it. Seriously a movie with a Sardar protagonist and no Punjabi number! You gots to be kiddin me. No stereotypes! No making of tandoor-shandoor, lassi wassi or chak-de-phatte moments.

Secondly there were no grand speeches like Chak De India's 70 minutes (Hawww even Coelho Kaka takes 11 minutes). I mean there has to be a rousing speech by the hero about fate, destiny towards the end of which people get excited like a lynch mob and do the undoable, Baaliwood ishtyle.

Most importantly there was no revolutionary step taken by the hero like pissing on the carpet of enemy by devGUN like Halla Bol and no magical hugs by apun ka Sanju bawa (which has been the biggest factor in the spread of swine flu epidemic, FYI).

What kind of a movie it is when all the characters have a significant role! A hero has to stand out from rest of the crowd from area occupied on the screen to lines in the total script. Don't you think this kind of cinema is threatening. What shall happen of the likes of Johhny Catch-My-Lever, Anupam Kher, Tikku Talsania? Who shall do slapstick comedy or play small so hero could look big?

No plot diversions like the hero teleports to Swiss Vaadiyan, does a quickie dreamy song and comes back in a jiffy. Or better the frustrated hero decides to visit a bar where Payal Rohatgi or Mumait Khan is indulging in burlesque dancing of the highest order which has some deep rooted philosophy in it, like Aa khushi se khudkashi kar le, Love mera HIT HIT mat kar khitpit khitpit. Where would the item grlz go?

No back stories of revenge or past mishappenings? The grandfather dude was humiliated as a salesman in the past so he doesn't want his puttar to face the same fate. There you go fill another half an hour with Daddu's story.

I say Dhawans, KJos, Ghais should unite and raise their voices against such a pathetic movie. No one should be allowed even 100m close to the cinema playing it, it is dangerous for people's mind no! They could get easily weaned from all the junk that is being peddled around.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

खाओ गगन रहो मगन

हमारे प्रोफेस्सर साहब पड़ा रहे हैं की आने वाले सालों में सब काम रोबोट से होगा | रोबोट और artificial intelligence और भविष्य उससे होने वाले उत्पात का नज़ारा तो हमें श्री आर्नोल्ड शिवाजीनगर सालों पहले बता चुके हैं | यहाँ पर बात चली vacuum cleaner, lawn mower वगैरह से और पहुंची इंसानी शरीर में जगह जगह चिप घुसेड़ने की | ये सब देख के तो हमारे रोंगटे खड़े हो गए |

अब automatic vacuum cleaner रहेगा तो बाई का क्या होगा ! खैर वो सब छोडिये हमारी तो एक ही दरख्वास्त है की automatic नाई मत बनाइएगा | इस भागदौड़ के और मशीनी customer care की दुनिया में कुछ ही जगह तो बची हैं सुकून की, उन्हें बक्श दो |

एक महाशय ने वो कर डाला जिसको सुन के हमें कहना ही पड़ा की "ढाक के तीन पात" | पहले तो उन्होंने अपने ही अन्दर RFID चिप डाल ली फ़िर उससे मन न भरा तो अपनी और अपनी पत्नी की नस में एक और ऐसी चिप लगायी जिससे एक में हरकत होने से दूसरे को पता चले | अरे मियां ये सब के लिए तो हमारे हिन्दी फ़िल्म के हीरो सिर्फ़ इश्क फरमा लेते हैं और गाते हैं "जो हाल दिल का इधर हो रहा है, वो हाल दिल का उधर हो रहा है" और ये महानुभाव electronic और surgery लगा रहे हैं | खैर उनका काम वही जाने हमें तो एक ही जुमला याद आ रहा है "को काहू में मगन तो काहू में मगन"

Monday, December 14, 2009

कहानी दो कुक्कुर की

भाई जो भी कहो ज्युरिख्पुर और ज्युरिख्पुर के कुक्कुर का हमारा कुछ तो नाता है | जहां public place में बच्चों और कुत्तों की आवाज नहीं सुने देती वहाँ एक ही हफ्ते में दो मजेदार वाकये हो गए | पहले तो एक सवा किलो के कुत्ते ने हमपे भौंका | कुत्ता भी ऐसा पिद्दी सा की छींके तो खुद को दस्त लग जाये | हमारी जर्मन कक्षा जर्मन लोगों से बात करना तो सिखा रही है पर कुत्तों के बारे में अवगत न कराया | अब हम कुक्कुर महाशय को हिंदी या अंग्रेजी में दुत्कारें और उसे समझ में ही न आये तो क्या फायदा !

खैर दूसरी घटना ये हुई की भरी दुपहरिया बीच बजरिया हमने एक औरत को अपने कुत्ते की गन्दगी उठाते हुए देखा | कुक्कुर महाशय ने तो जहां मन आया कर डाला अब बेचारी मालकिन को साफ़ करना पड़ा, समझ में न आया मालिक कौन है दोनों में | हमें लगा की किये कराये पे पानी फेर देंगी मैडम पर कुक्कुर-मल उठाने के भी special दस्ताने आते हैं | और मैडम भी मेधावी थी, अब इतना बड़ा कुत्ता पाला है तो एक दस्ताने से क्या होगा , अब हम इंडिया टीवी \ आज तक तो हैं नहीं की आपको आँखों देखा और कैमरा कैद विवरण दे दें | पर हाँ ये आश्वासन देते हैं की कैमरा होगा भी तो हम अपने पाठकगण को ऐसी वीभत्स छवियों से त्रस्त न करेंगे

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

नाटकीय रूपांतरण

बहुत कम ऐसा होता है जब आपके कॉलेज के अनुभव आपको पाठशाला की याद दिलाये | जिस lecture में मैं फिलहाल बैठा हुआ हूँ वो शिक्षिका पड़ा तो रही है innovation के बारे में किन्तु पड़ रही हैं एक पहले से लिखे मूलपाठ द्वारा किसी नाटक के अभिनय माफिक| यह देख कर अपने पुराने रसायन शास्त्र (chemistry) के शिक्षक की याद आ गयी जो एक guide book से पढाया करते थे | बच्चों को पता न चल जाये तो सन सत्तर के किसी अख़बार का cover लगा के आते थे | पर आप तो जानते हैं, बच्चा भगवान् का रूप होता हैं और इतने सारे भगवानों से कहाँ कुछ छुप सकता है, एक चतुर बालक ने सारी किताबे छान मारी और वो किताब खरीद कर क्लास के एक कोने में बैठ जाता| बस फिर क्या शिक्षक महाराज दनादन, line by line किताब से पढाते रहते और लड़का line by line underline करता रहता :D