Friday, November 30, 2007

Random question

How come only birthday has a song for the occasion? What about engagement, anniversary, passing out or getting a job?

It is a man's world alright

Some time back we saw our very first Men's fairness cream adverts. And quite a few of us women rejoiced at the sight of it. It didn't change anything in our lives but felt good that finally fairness (in skin colour atleast) was not just the woman's most desired virtue (it isn't a mistake skin colour is a virtue in this country) anymore.

Couple of days ago I actually noticed one of the ads. The difference between the men's fairness cream ad and the women's hit me.

"Fairever" Ad: Asin is getting no attention from this boy because she isn't fair and Ta daaa this cream with kumkum flowers comes to her rescue to win the boy. The boy who had earlier torn her picture away from his now wants to pose with her and the girl very coyly agrees.

Switch to Nivea's ad for men's fairness cream. Here again the boy is rejected because he is dark and then post cream intervention he's almost Brad Pitt and the girls are falling over each other for him. And he gets to play the cool dude and actually shakes his head and walks away from them.

What the?????

I think it was last year or the year before that about the time Kris Srikanth endorsed Fair & Lovely ad that NDTV had "We the people" discussion on this whole fairness cream madness. And one of the Ad gurus (I forget who) said these ads are meant to be empowering women. At the end of each ad the girl gets what she was denied earlier. That being the star hunt and commentator's job if you remember. But I wonder how he will explain this difference that I just talked of?

It is a victory for a woman when this shallow as a spoon, man who earlier rejected her comes back to her. But the man's victory lies in walking away when the woman who was as shallow as one can be has a change of heart!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Globalisation of a different kind

It always scares me to hear about all the bomb blasts that happen all over the world. I believe it is the single most senseless thing that mankind has invented. But you never really understand how terrifying it is unless it touches you. When I was younger I knew very few people and whoever I knew were all either in Bangalore or Belthangady. Nothing much happened around then. News of one odd accident or an unexpected death was all that came along once in a while to disturb us. Then we moved on.

Now it is different I have made a lot friends and work with a lot of people in different parts of the country, world even. I always felt it was a good thing. But then when terrible things happen in those far away places and you worry about your friends or colleagues it isn't so good.

First time I realised this was when I met a young Kashmiri student years ago who talked about militancy that almost ripped his family and identity apart. I met him just once, I don't even remember his face or name but everytime I hear some news from Kashmir, I wonder about him.

The bomb blasts in Delhi, Mumbai and Assam always worries me. I know a few people there. I am not touch with all of them but it scares me nevertheless. The mindless shooting spree in some part of America, forest fires that go out of control, the cyclones that threaten an entire coastline all these are not just news one hears on TV anymore. It is much more personal.

Srilanka was another country that just fascinated me after I read Ramayana. Then I met two girls from that country who cried when they watched "Kannathil Muthamittal" and told the everyday horrors which shook me up so much I didn't sleep for days. Now I worry about that country too. These days a friend travels to Colombo often on work and I send out silent prayers.

Sometimes I feel I cannot take this anymore. This mindless blood spilling that's happening everywhere it is affecting me. And then I think if this is how I feel when I am miles away from there, what goes on in the minds of people who see this everyday and watch helplessly as violence disrupts their lives?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Filmi weekend

Dil Dosti etc

I watched this Prakash Jha production last weekend for 2 reasons. One It has Shreyas Talpade and two it was the debut movie of Imaad Shah, son of Naseeruddin Shah. The story revolves around these two protagonists. Imaad plays the quintessential cosmopolitan guy with loads of money. He has no particular aim in life but to go after the women (with no strings attached of course) he fancies (he doesn't have much of a problem going after a prostitute and a school girl at the same time.) Shreyas on the other hand plays this very middle class (complete with you fall in love only once attitude) with big political ambitions typical of Delhi University. He's a bihari boy who doesn't mind flaunting his "bihari buddhi." The film plays out the chilled out and at the very same time exciting student life as it is with almost no dramatisation. The film is essentially the juxtaposition of liberal vs conservative. It certainly lacks the cinematic feel but then one cannot tell a story like this with too much drama either. There are three very strong female characters as well. Smirti Mishra is the no nonsense prostitute, Ishhita Sharma , the very sweet but conniving school girl and Nikita Anand is the very ambitious model who falls for Shreyas. These three support the story quiet ably.

There are many telling scenes in the movie.

1) When Imaad takes up the challenge of "doing" three girls in 24 hours when Shreyas was only kidding.
2) When Smriti finally falls for the sweet gentlemanly Imaad much against her beliefs.
3) When Shreyas tells Imaad that his girl friend will not be participating in any fashion show. "Dheere dheere raaste par laa rahe hain" he says.
4) When Nikita tells Imaad she's taking off to London for a fashion show without telling Shreyas but confesses she still loves him.

I liked the movie. It's a welcome change from all the no-brainers that flood cinema halls week after week. Though strictly not for action craving or mush mooning types. It is a very straight forward movie. Oh yeah I loved Shreyas Talpade all over again. As for Imaad there wasn't much for him to do except look ultra laid back and have fun with women and he pulled it off very well. I am looking out for him...good genes cannot just not show up :)

Johnny Gaddar

Oh how I loved this film :D It is a very quirky film and I hope Sriram Raghavan (he also made Ek Hasina thi) makes more films like this. Right from the way title rolls in true 70s style to the references to Vijay Anand and James Hadley chase I loved it all! It is shot very stylishly . I loved the way the main character Vikram played by Niel Mukesh lifts the whole plan from an Amitabh Bacchan movie (I've forgotten which) and gets inventive as the film progresses. I don't want to tell you anything about the story line as it is a suspense thriller except that it is a very cleverly done film. The music is good and the editing even better. Niel Mukesh is a good find. He's the grandson of the legendary singer Mukesh. Playback's loss is silver screen's gain shall we say? The rest of the cast Dharmendra, Vinay Pathak, Zakir Hussain, Ashwini Kalsekar are good. Vinay Pathak especially proves that he can deliver EVERY SINGLE time and Rimi Sen (some one please find her another profession) is ok. The other character which is important for the plot but vanishes quickly is Shiva played by Daya Shetty of the ridiculous yet ridiculously popular TV show CID. And oh the other thing I liked in the movie is the appearance of Kannada and Tamil dialogues. They are delivered stilted but nevertheless not thrust in there for comical (!!) relief so :)

I also watched "Great expectations" and "Breaking the entering" will write about that later.

Postscript: In case anyone's wondering - I've been down with fever and confined to home for almost a week now and hence all the movie mania.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gyaan Vani

There's no fun in falling ill if there's no one to fuss over you.

No am not a drama queen but sometimes when the bouts of cold bother, one feels its not too much to ask for endless supply of hot cups of soups and some cheerful company.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The joys of childhood!

My apartment is on the ground floor and faces the children's play area. This sometimes makes me hate school holidays because I feel like I am in the middle of a classroom without a teacher. Thats only sometimes though. It is great fun to watch these little ones make up rules of a non-existent game and fight endlessly over it :D However, when its not cricket or skating, most of the games are based on TV shows. They have their own versions of KBC with See-Saw being the hot seat and the Slide is where "fastest finger first" is carried out. Once it so happened that I was out on my balcony watching this game and the anchor (on end of the See-Saw :) asked the "audience" the colour of the giraffe's tongue with the options blue, yellow and pink. Unanimously the crowd of 10 children went "what a stupid question it is pink. All animals have pink tongues."

Now that's not the correct answer because Girraffe's tongue is blue-black (can be safely referred to as blue.) I was very surprised at the question itself coming from an 8-year-old but they do watch a lot of TV and for once I was glad that it was probably animal planet or Discovery. Anyways the anchor was now in a fix because the audience was in rebellious mood that he was taking them for a ride. So he turns around and asks me the same question complete with options and I say its blue glad that I did know the answer. Otherwise imagine being embarrassed in front of a bunch of 8-year-olds! Vindicated the anchor continues to the next question while the rest stare at me suspiciously :)

The other games are Tom & Jerry - mostly involving a lot of shouting and running around and various other video game based ones which I am not even aware of! And of course sometimes play "house-house" and "teacher- teacher" V brought up a very interesting point the other day that all these games have to have a name that repeat twice. It is a never house game but house-house :) Coming back to the kids they do get bored sometimes of their games and can't think of what else to do. I know of kids who don't know what to do on weekends when there's not enough people to play cricket with or Cartoon Network is off limits.

I grew up at a time when television didn't exist and the only programme on radio I waited for was "chilipili" (its the sound of birds calling in Kannada) on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. No one could touch me little transistor from Sunday afternoon onwards until 6pm! I would sit on my compound wall with my transistor and listen very carefully. Back then there were no choices of hundreds of toys either. I was almost 11 by the time my brother was "old" enough to play with me out on the streets. So my company was lots of boys who were at least 5 years older than me. That never stopped me from playing every kind of game that was there back then. I honestly NEVER knew boredom! I am listing below some of the games

  • jooTaaTa (what the kids call Tag these days)
  • kaNNA mucchaale (I spy) which we thought was icespys back then :D
  • Dabba (a very localised version of eye spy)
  • lagori (seven stones)
  • kallaa maNNaa? (roughly translated stone or mud? I do not know its English name)
  • choor chenDu (again a very localised version of seven stones)
  • At least 3 types of kunTe bille (hop scotch)
  • kuntu muttiso aata (hop n catch)
  • teacher-teacher - our ultimate way to live out the fantasy of punishing our teachers. Always the attendance register consisted of our teachers who now have to obey us!
  • doctor-doctor - we drew patients on a paper with a lump hidden under that to be operated on.
  • maneyaaTa (house-house) complete with the kitchen set made of mud (not the Barbie kinds). The only ingredients available to us were tamarind, salt and may be green chillies if some one managed to steal it from home. We made everything from it. Tamarind and salt in water was our Sambhar. Tamarind and salt rolled into a ball on a stick was the lolly pop. (Damn my mouth's watering)
  • goliyaaTa (marbles) - Since I was the youngest they would let me win initially :) But eventually I mastered the game and had the most enviable marble collection of over 300!
In school we also played this game "Elastic" a very boring name but it needed the highest gymnastic skills! Somehow this game was restricted to girls only. I was pleasantly surprised 2 years ago when I found out that girls in schools of Arunachal played this game too :) P and I were so thrilled about it but were put in place quickly when 3-year-old daughter of Thupten showed more dexterity than the two of us put together!

We also had innumerable games to play in the class room both when teacher was around and not around :)

Sometimes I wish back in school playing all these games!

One day I asked one of these kids playing outside my house...why do you kids play so much? Of course a stupid question but wanted to see their reaction. By way of answer they all looked at me like I was a pyscho :) But one of them with this tone of "oh you poor grown up" looked up and said to me "what else to enjoy." Life's very simple when you are a child isn't it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Playing catch up

Life has strange ways of catching up with you. You leave something unfinished it will come back to haunt you (Isn't that called Karma?) A lesson I have always known but ignored mostly. Sometimes it is something I didn't say to a remains at the back of my memory...nagging every once in a while. Sometimes it is an unpleasant task of confronting a loved one that I kept postponing. Again left on the back burner to simmer.

But I also believe that I will not be able to finish it till I am ready. When the time is right there is no need to wait. It will happen, unpleasant as it may be but will be over with and there'll be one less thing to be guilty about. The feeling of lightness is palpable.

Then there is another kind of catching up. Catching up with the people who walked all over you, looking them in the eye and say "I haven't forgotten. I might be able to forgive you someday. But you will not do that to me ever again" (well not that Hollywoodish exactly but something like that). A friend who took advantage of your trust and put you in a place where you could trust no one anymore. A loved one who wasn't there when you needed him/her the most. A colleague who screwed you over to save his/her own as*...the list is pretty long actually.

I do take great pleasure in striking them off the list. It isn't the guilt that needs to do the vanishing act here. It is the feeling of betrayal, humiliation and inability to trust that's to be chipped off one tiny piece at time.

This doesn't mean these things don't repeat themselves. Some one will lie to me, some one will make me the scapegoat for their inadequacies and so on and so forth. But hey who said anything about life being easy? I only need some breather once in a while just so that I can get back at them in true Hollywood style (Bollywood style is too melodramatic and masculine for my temperament so apologies.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ta Daaaaa!

So here's the big news!

I have slept very little in the last one week and 3 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours! But for once the insomnia isn't about endless jabbering, movie sessions or just plain depression.

Invite every one to take a look at it and give feedback.

And hey would like it all the more if you could write :)

So off I go to celebrate more than just Deepavali this year. Happy Deepavali!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

TWO days to go!!!

And I have thousands of these fluttering in stomach right now!