Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dabbang 2

Director: Arbaaz Khan
Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Prakash Raj

Dabangg 2, unlike most sequels does not let you down. The blockbuster supercop phenomenon has charmed millions of hearts not only because of Salman’s crowd-pulling personality, but also in the way that it celebrates the ordinary and the common. From trouser-pulling to belt-swivelling dance moves, to the motley dance extras that include kids, classical dancers, sabjiwallas and small town shop owners, Dabangg 2 comfortably straddles both the rustic and the urban in its stride. Of course there is the usual Bollywood dose of bone-crushing, body wheeling, slow-motion punches and fight sequences coupled with Sonakshi’s simple and rustic glamour quotient not to forget the cameo item songs by Malaika and Kareena. Prakash Raj as Bachcha Bhaiya adds to the stereotype with his role of the oppressive and the duping politician.

Supercop Chulbul Pandey is transferred to Kanpur and moves there with his wife Rajjo (Sonakshi), his father (Vinod Khanna) and his dim-witted brother Makkhi (Arbaaz Khan). Chulbul’s band of loyal but ordinary policemen consists, among others, of an obese, pizza-eating superior, a senior citizen and an ex-hernia patient. Chulbul and his policemen right many cases which include a kidnapping, a murder and molestation. In all the cases, the details are left hazy while the audience is hurled headlong into the instant handing out of justice to miscreants. Justice in Dabbang2 has nothing to do with righteousness. Chulbul and his cops lie to the media, use violence, break laws, murder with impunity all in the name of welfare. There are only two things that justify them. One is the notion ‘Do unto others what you would have them do to you’; if the oppressors cannot take their own oppression, then they should not oppress. The other is: Salman Khan.

While most of the women in the movie are sidelined as the housewife or the item girl, Chulbul undoes his macho chauvinism by asking his wife to scold him when he orders her around. Chulbul’s charming interjections each time he remembers to ask about other people is an interesting touch. He grabs a fist of groundnuts from the cart-pusher and remembers to ask him about his son, while a gulab jamun in the middle of a fight sequence reminds him of his subordinate who had hernia. With all the right proportions of Bollywood masala and romance, this movie is a power-packed Salman dose.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Affair to Remember

Some of you young Indian women out there might often find yourselves in the excruciating position of falling for a younger guy. What's the problem with that you’ll say.  Of course by 'you' I mean the 21st century, boisterously modern, live-in relationship crusader- the kind of liberal, women’s rights upholder who sips apple martini and puts on vermilion and a colourful tunnel of bangles with equal panache.  Traditions are traditions. No matter how experimental and unconventional you are with your own life, you still want a husband who makes a solid, double digit salary in lakhs per annum. You might respect art and rhapsodize about modernist poetry over a round of paan-rasna flavoured hooka but in the end it’s the guy who pays for it that you want to pocket for your own. Of course, we all want ‘the good life’. Chetan Bhagat has lots to say about that.

But, feminine reader, I digress. The younger guy- he’s the protagonist of this story. He is the one who upturns your world and makes you go through hell. Not only is he younger, he is also lost and aimless. He adventurously defies all that comes to your mind with the word ‘stability’. As a major post-script he also earns less than you do. Social disapproval hounds you in your dreaming, waking and dazed moments. You don’t want to be a good catch. In fact you want to make the good catch. He puts you through the social blasphemy of an ‘ill matched couple.’

But then, the dotted bubble conjures up in your mind’s eye. He has a boyish charm. He smiles his dazzling Johnny Bravo smile and makes the caterpillars go bonkers in your tummy. By the time you reach the butterflies in the tummy stage, he is close enough for you to smell that lingering, masculine perfume that makes your knees weak. He is gentle, and he is harmless- so you think. He lets you be the one in charge. You anyway know more than he does, so you feel, you’ve seen the world more than he has. But even so, his youthfulness draws you. It refreshes the staleness of your own age and point of view.

You’ve discussed all this over a smoke with those intellectual friends of yours. You’ve used big words and complex sentences to sanctify your lust and that works for a while- because to your friends you say that it’s about how he has awakened a new reason to be yourself. Your friends wear the same coloured glasses. They encourage you. Go on, be yourself. Age doesn't matter. But to you it does- behind your brazen modernity, your familial bonds gnaw at you. You imagine social gatherings, what people might say, that pretty cousin of yours who did better than you when everyone thought you would. Those truck-load of expectations. No. This is your life, you say firmly and decide to throw him over. You can't live a miserable life of woeful comparison and the thought of "all that could have been" lurking at every step. Yes, so you decide to throw him over. You waver in dismay. But the feeling of buoyance carries you through those weighty moral qualms.

 Finally you decide you’ve rediscovered how to enjoy life and how to look forward to things. So you think. His childishness amuses your serene superiority, his naivety makes you feel that in some way whether he knows it or not, or accepts it or not, he needs you. Ah, but that damn age difference. Those 3 or 4 slippery years in between. The younger guy is perceptive and persistent. He senses your dilemma. More importantly he senses you have yielded. It’s complicated, you say. With women it always is, he replies with a  wisdom beyond his years that shocks you into admiration. Perhaps you are both even intellectually suited, you check a box in your pros list. He makes you feel special. Ah, but that damn age difference. If only.

And then there are those times, when his puppy dog eyes seem just that. You crave a large, muscular German Shepherd and all he looks like is a furry, little Pomeranian with black beady eyes the size of olives. You don’t want a pet, you want a companion, you explain to a friend with a sense of solemn gravity over a session of deep conditioning hair spa.

Your moral dilemma eats you up inside. Is it love? It can’t be. You send a billion texts to each other with angry, sad, happy, doubtful and neutral smileys. He sends you a kissing smiley and your heart flutters like a paper plane and settles into autopilot. You keep your distance and send a hug instead. He admits finally that he loves you. You hem and haw. What is love, you ask. It’s complicated, you repeat. Like math? He texts. No, you retort. More complicated than math? No, I didn’t mean it like that. Complicated like a girl’s mind- tongue in cheek smiley. You love the way he turns an awkward situation into a joke.

The situation goes on for a while. Your life continues in its tortuous conflicts and you feel you have a lot to think about. A lot to sort. The younger guy is strangely resilient and has found many other fish to fry- and that makes you die just a little. But then, he’s young, you conclude and shove it under the carpet. Then one day you happen to pick up his cell phone and flip through the texts that he has sent to a dozen other girls. Some of them with the same kissing smileys and the same one liners that knocked the breath out of you. But this time they really do knock the breath out you. You don’t want to run to your friends because you have been the fool. Nah, he’s not my type after all, you tell them nonchalantly over the treadmill. You do not want to confide because society has got back to you with a vengeance. Well then, you shrug. Things are the way they should be and you make plans for a movie with your girlfriends.

Friday, September 7, 2012

On Writing

    Nadine Gordimer

  • “Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area.”

  • Gao Xingjian

  • “Writing eases my suffering... writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.”

                                                                         Graham Greene
  • “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition”
    Anais Nin
  • “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.”

The Write Regime

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material.
3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, work joyfully, recklessly on whatever is in hand!
4. Work according to program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can't create, you can work ( I absolutely love this one!)
6. Cement a little everyday, rather than add new fertilizers. This is good for me as I love to begin new things, but never follow through.
7. Keep Human! See people, go places, drink. It's amazing how traveling brings out new perspectives in your life.
8. Don't be a draught-horse. Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the program when you feel like it- but go back to it the next day :) Writers are born with a frustration gene. But thankfully, it's brief in its recurrence.
10. Forget what you want to write. Think only of what you are writing now.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, cinema, come later.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


One day when the roads will lie empty in the darkness of a familiar night,
you will feel that it might have been another day, another time,
a time that has already gone by,
as if eternity deceived you with a second chance...
one day when you will see the streets washed by rain-
or the silence around a streetlight's sepia halo
fuzzy like the ghost of a warm-blanket memory,
something will flicker in the shadows of your being:
maybe a footfall in the hallways of a secret inner chamber
maybe you will remember how you were as a child
and feel the same joys and the excitement of a new adventure.
maybe in the rut of adulthood and the life for wages
you will remember a moment of spontaneity.
and maybe the things that brought you to the place
you are now will reveal themselves and maybe you will find
that you have not traveled as far as you would have hoped
or maybe what you left behind- you did not leave behind at all.
And maybe when you think about a day, a moment, a wish
and who you used to be, maybe you will see that
the little space between who you were and who you are
was me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Writers' Block

One of the best things to do when you're suffering from a writers' block and you're convinced that writing is your true calling, is to READ. Read motivating stuff about writing, read silly stuff about writing read about anything, get addicted to a TV series like Games of Thrones as I have been, watch it with mindless involvement, admire the characters, the plot, the action, the themes, just the way it is conceived and the way the characters are created and given depth. Of course, one of the 12 rules of writing is to write a little everyday. This I guess is my quota for today. Obviously it is not very meaningful or readworthy, the black just eats up a little more of the white space and well. Not every word is supposed to mean something is it? Oh Well. I guess the excercise is what really matters. So stray-reader, who's fumbled on this  blog by mistake, go ahead and do something that makes you happy! Stimulate your mind and do something that makes you say- Voila- I love this and I am at peace with everything around me!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Qui scribit bis legit - He who writes reads twice

A few interesting Latin phrases:

Scribere est agere - To write is to act
Sine qua non - Something/someone indispensable
Sub dio - Under the open sky
Ad astra per aspera - To the stars through difficulty
Ad augusta per angusta - To high places by narrow roads
Aude sapere - Dare to know
Cacoethes scribendi - An insatiable urge to write. (Juvenal)
Confiteor - I confess
Fide, non armis - By faith, not arms
Genus irritabile vatum - The irritable race of poets. (Horace)
Hic et nunc - Here and now
In nubibus - In the clouds
Lapsus calami - A slip of the pen
Memorabilia - Memorable things
Meum pactum dictum - My word is my bond
Mvlti svnt vocati, pavci vero electi - Many are called [but] few are chosen
Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis - Unless you will have believed, you will not understand. (St. Augustine)
Verba volant, (littera) scripta manet - Words fly away, the written (letter) remains

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Write Quotes

"One's writing can only be as good as one's reading."  - Ben Okri

"Reason and taste, two powers of the intelligence, are rightly the supreme gods of the prose stylist, while to the poet they are only minor deities."  -S.A. (The Future Poetry, 16)

"Once the water is deep enough that you must swim to stay afloat, does it really meatter how deep the pool is? "

"The way to rock oneself back into writing is this. First gentle exercise in the air. Second the reading of good literature. It is a mistake to think that literature can be produced from the raw." Virginia Woolf.

"Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die today!"  -James Dean

"If you're not lost then you're in a place somebody's already found." Junot Diaz.