Why this Kolaveri ??

My facebook posts are largely divided over the “Lungi Dance” song in the movie “Chennai Express”. While some find the movie insulting the south-Indians, some truly enjoy it. I personally find the songs and the lyrics crass more than demeaning. Off-late, SRK seems to be gravitating towards the southern half of the country, embracing names and food habits in his movies. While his intentions might be( let me assume for a second that he hasn’t totally lost it) to widen his demographic of fans, his characters come off as mocking the southern culture. Though I haven’t watched Ra-one ( hey hey, I’m a SRK fan but not a crazy one), I know there was quite a racket about eating noodles with curd. South-Indian or not, I have eaten noodles with curd at home and I loved it. So I wonder sometimes why some people find it offensive or very madarasi.

Bollywood depicts stereotypes from the north all the time. They depict idiotic characters, terrible movies ( Kamaal Khan anyone?), mock fat punjabi aunties, make stereotypical teary maa characters, give surnames that span 60% of the Ganges plains ( Aggrawal, Gupta, Kapoor, Talwar, etc.etc.), make all christians Briganzas, all biharis Rajpal Yadav, all UP gangsta’s rustic and so on. I wonder why a specific south Indian film irks sentiments and anger? The outpouring of emotions shown by itself elevates the film to a level it clearly doesn’t belong to.( And gives the wrong idea of stardom to SRK and encourages him to keep making crap. Sigh*)
(What about that disaster called Aiyaa? Why didnt all the Maharashtrians absolutely demolish the film maker then? Do we all think that people are as insane as Rani Mukherjee in that movie? Then why the spotlight on this one? )
My point here is that watch it like a movie. It is as far removed from reality as Justin Beiber’s songs are from music. And I ask, what is the shame if tamilians are shown as idli-loving? Idlis are so healthy, they are served in all 7-star hotels. Sambhar is devoured with gusto by everyone I have heard of. Skin-color? You got to be kidding me! English is heavily accented? Everyone in India speaks accented English given we never learn the British phonetics in school. We wear sarees and bindis and jhumkis? One just needs to see T-nagar’s silk and gold shops to understand the craze. ( Nalli and GRT have branches in Delhi too) plus everyone looks good in gorgeous silks! If SRK is bowing to Rajnikanth, isn’t that a sign of things to come? (Who has a fan-base in Japan??) So what if they think we eat coconuts with everything. Even Rujuta Diwekar ( if you don’t know her by now , you either 1. Live under a rock 2. Never watch or read anything remotely bollywood 3. Are not diet conscious) endorses coconuts due to their high glycemic index and encourages eating local food. I don’t understand why the anger. If the movie makers are mocking us for their habits, then they don’t have the cultural depth to understand us. If they are respecting us but getting it all wrong, shouldn’t we embrace them and correct their mistakes? In any case, I never flinch when I’m stereotyped for anything. I just laugh it off. We are just so culturally diverse that it takes a full movie to portray us. If they are mocking our differences, well, we should be the bigger person and laugh at their shallowness.
In any case, the movie will atleast educate the masses about the diversity of our country. Getting angered by the Chennai express movie is like getting upset when a foreigner thinks Slumdog-Millionaire is what India is all about.
It is only a movie!

Watch out for this space while I add lungi dance to my gym playlist… 😀

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Movies, books and more

I’ve organized myself a little this time. I dug out time to relax and indulge a little in my favorite hobbies. Firstly I read a few books. The first one I read was “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. It was after a long long time I read something that was simply unputdownable. I give it a 11/10. The book deals with black maids (help) in white households in South US in the 60’s. The revelation was stunning. They were discriminated, incriminated and abused (not physically though). They lived in poverty with generation after generation of black women who raised the white babies, cooked and cleaned and had their own children looked after by others or sometimes no one at all. The book is set in Jackson, Mississippi and does a beautiful job of describing life there. What stood out is the way the book was written, in three first person’s voices which portrayed the troubles and insecurities of everyone including the white protagonist. I watched the movie as well and Im sure this one will sweep the Oscars for the lead performers, Viola Davis and will garner considerable adulation for Emma Stone as well. The book is obviously my winner given the depth of emotions it portrays. But I will give credit to the movie for capturing the essence rather well. Read or watch, but do catch up with The Help.
I watched a hindi flick after eons. I saw “Mausam”. Basically I was carried away by the trailer since it looked like a decent movie. My verdict is mixed. First half is really very nice, second half drags and the last 20 mins are ghastly. My advice to Sonam Kapoor: please spare us all and become a model. You cant even mouth words properly. The nicest scenes are when you dont have to talk. Shahid Kapur was good though the movie started to resemble his launch vehicle towards the end with some scenes that seriously need deletion. Songs were nice and hummable and I didnt find the story too weird except for the parts where they resort to old world forms of communication. I liked the way political events were woven into the story though once you got the hang of it, you could draw your timeline and expect the next. There lies the major flaw. It was a mushy movie and though the Indian junta dismissed it, I wont. The main reason is because midway through, I saw this trailor of some horrific,gay movie called “Desi Boyz” with Akshay Kumar and some other guy in the lead that instantly increased my appreciation for Mausam. Not bad at all. Just wait till you watch the remainder of the movies that are lined up. Maybe this one will become a hit 😛
The last bit was about this movie Force which released today and by the reviews and trailer looks bad. Cmon, you try to match Kaakha Kaakha? The movie that started my love affair with Suriya and made me sit up and take notice of Tamil movies? That movie was a gem of a movie, good cop story, superb performances, crisp editing and script and some wonderful songs that I still listen to on my ipod. The love story in the movie was so real and believable that you tend to wholeheartedly agree with Jyothika’s explanantion of “its a girl thing” when questioned about the likeability of the hero. That movie was a gem and its a waste to cast a wooden hero like John and a complete waste like Genelia as the leads. Haha, Im NEVER watching this one.
PS: Im midway through this amazing book called Maximum City. (Thanks Apurba for the recommendation).
PPS: I have a niece now! Yoohoo!

Oscar buzzzzz

Its Oscar time! At the risk of sounding partial to hollywood, I am super excited !!. Its even more aggravated by the fact that I’m now convinced that all Indian movie awards are fully rigged. ‘My Name is Khan’? Jesus, I forgot that such a movie was ever made. Kareena Kapoor for We are a Family? I think the next filmfare should be given to my bathroom door. (I think that has much more emotion than she did). Awards are special because not only do they cut across commercial success but are the benchmarks by which actors (not filmstars) actually judge themselves . Music rights, publicity, DVD deals or some brilliant scheme like doubling the movie ticket costs to make up for a phenomenal budget (read: Robot) all cover all the production costs of any movie these days.But awards go beyond that. Its that time when you realize that there were these movies that maybe you missed which had some superb performances in them. For me, it is a time to make and update that must-watch list. Though the Academy Awards projects itself as the ultimate epitome of cinematic excellence, judging them by their decisions last time ,all except Rahaman and Pookutty, were not really that deserving. I’ve read many theories to that, one being that the economic slump caused Indian companies to pump money into hollywood (Have you also read about Disney producing some weird Telugu movies,Reliance entering hollywood suddenly or seeing Columbia pictures presenting some hindi junk? Thats why) and even the academy could not shy away from the funds in return for an award that could do them no harm. In fact it could only increase their fan base in India and maybe help more corporate honchos pump funds into the parched hollywood in return for some half-hearted recognition. Wait, now I remember, wasn’t Denise Richards a part of some Akshay Kumar-Kareena Kapoor crap shot entirely in LA. It fits together beautifully.

So I’ve completely deviated from the topic, but this year’s nominees in all categories seem exceptional. Nearly all movies, except 127 hours and Black Swan I haven’t heard or seen before. I know the Fighter was awesome, since a couple of friends told me it was brilliant.I haven’t watched Rabbit Hole, Love and other drugs (I so definitely am going to when I get a chance),Blue Valentine, the Fighter and the King’s Speech, but they are all there on my must watch movies. This is the thing about the Academy, all the nominees genuinely are good movies, superb acting performances, have exceptional effects or some out-of-the-world brilliant script. (Slumdog Millionaire wasn’t a bad movie at all, in fact it was rather entertaining and had a novel concept). But Bollywood has let me down badly. How can ‘Munni Badnaam hui‘ be the best song with lyrics that go like “Shilpa sa figure,..Bebo si adaa…”? I’ve already given my opinion on Kareena Kapoor and her acting prowess. Case closed.

One more thing that caught my eye was the return of romantic movies to limelight. The last few years have been all about situations, historical occurences, sci-fi etc but no love stories. I like love stories. I like watching romantic movies. One of the movies this year, Blue Valentine looks splendid. Its a simple love story gone all wrong, but a couple of years ago, I’m sure it would have gone unnoticed. The kids are all right, rabbit hole are all family oriented movies. There is a paradigm shift of focus to movies universally liked minus the heavy-on-the-brain type stuff like Inception. I like the trend. Its a personal opinion of course. I know thousands of people are very sad that Inception didn’t get as many nominations as it was expected to bag. And dont even get me started on the actors and actresses nominated. Jesse Eisenberg? Michele Williams? Ryan Gosling? Wowiee.

I’m of course rooting for the Social Network. It is a fantastic movie, high on IQ,pace and inspiration. It is something we tech folks most relate to. College computer nerds, start ups and of course facebook. Add to that a very solid Jesse Eisenberg (I think he is far more nerdy behaving and looking than Zuckerberg himself) and a very very cute Andrew Garfield.

With the probability of actually watching the show live being low, I can only anticipate and wait for the winners. This is the thing about credible awards, they make you believe in them. That is the only thing that stands for real performers rather than star value and salutes talent and hard work. I like that. Very much. 🙂

Band Baaja Baarat!

I think it is a time for serious introspection in Indian cinema esp. bollywood. I watched this relatively lowly publicized flick winning atleast 4/5 in every review and loved it! Really really loved it. This movie reminded me of the simplicity of Jab We Met and met my high expectations. It is a simple story, real people, real words, real scenario and lots of positive energy and happiness. The casting immaculate, dialogues so real and the acting, fabulous. Anushka Sharma is definitely worth more than Deepika or Sonam kapoor and despite being low-key off-screen, she shines on screen. The hero, well I am not even sure what his real name is (I walked into the show 5 minutes late) but is someone who grows on you. Quirky, rowdy, unpolished but so genuine in his actions that you feel you’ve met one Bittoo Sharma somewhere in Delhi. I insist on real so much because I am bored of stupid cinema passed off as futuristic. I loved the story and the treatment, not a scene out of place, dragged, unnecessary, not a song here or there and not even the smooch felt out of place. I call it a time for introspection because this movie has charmed through hearts of people without a hero or a star, without a 100+ crore budget and is definitely one which you can watch seconds. What is the point of so much glitz and glamour and hype and hoopla when the actual content is terrible. Look at Robot or Raavan. Robot made its money because those idiots charged double the money for the show and sold music and every other right at astronomical prices. For what? There is not a cinematic moment there to cherish (not special effects – now that isnt Indian firstly nor does it highlight anything but the excelling graphics abilities of some Indian geeks working in hollywood). Dazzling costumes, blown up mercedes or some stupid jump over a waterfall which gave kerala a slight boost in tourism (that place was already really famous). What is the use of having Aishwarya dolled up in crores worth without any ability to emote, what is the point of a Rajnikanth where his natural acting prowess is overshadowed by crores of effects or a Mani Ratnam who clearly thinks he can revolutionize cinema by making crappy movies, when people really like to see sensible stories like Do Dooni Char, Peepli Live or the latest Band Baaja Baarat.

Ultimately, if the product is good, it will sell. Word of mouth is very powerful and there is only so much the hype, multi-crore budgets,repeated photoshoots and daily interviews will do if the end product is useless. Take a cue bollywood and dont think your audience is brainless. Now kollywood needs some educating, though I’m not even attempting to do that. Rajnikanth is awesome in all those one-liners but on the big screen, seriously guys? ( or are you enjoying it the same way as I do -sarcastically!?)

The awakening

As I sat with my PG mates yesterday, watching a local channel play an interesting plethora of songs both old and new, I realized what I have never explored. Old hindi movies and music. My knowledge in this respect is close to zero ( approaching zero from negative infinity perhaps 😛 )and it was only yesterday when I saw one yesteryear beautiful song “Pan kayo Saiyaan Hamar” starring Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in black and white followed by a crass latest song with nothing but skin show, I realized how glorious and truly entertaining the old hindi movies were.

As I sat asking them repeatedly “Who is this”, “Which movie” and they most happily obliged telling me the cast, the story with delight, I thought that probably the best years of hindi cinema are behind it. An amalgamation of those storylines, performers with the technology of today would have probably made us the biggest and best in the field of cinema. Hollywood would probably have come a distant second.

To think of it, Hollywood has had few themes to experiment with. World Wars, Mafia, Vietnam struggle or racism make up most of thier plots. Compare it with the plethora of ideas we have. Our themes outnumber them fair and square. It is just plain sad that today our movies are flimsy with lots of unwanted glamour and no themes at all. All we do is ape the west or make more glamourized versions of our own old movies.

Who can forget Chupke Chupke, Barawchi, Abhimaan, Padosan, Golmaal, Bombay To Goa, Victoria No.203, Mughal-E-Azam, Naya Daur, Boot Polish and other phenomenal pieces of work? Who can miss the beautiful lyrics of old songs which made perfect sense and are sung and re-sung even today ? Which contemporary song has meaning I wonder ? Love mera hit-hit I ask?

Maybe the older movies were slow (pre-1965) and had tacky production in comparison to today’s technology, but still it makes amazing viewing. Each actor has his or her style, be it Manoj Kumar’s single-expression-for-every-emotion, or the AB’s forever angry young man or Shammi Kapoor energy which made them icons in India. Which hero/ heroine of today’s times has that charm?

I realize today how much I have missed out on. I will try my best and make up for it. Though I can never catch up,I’ll give it a shot. I also want to savour the charm of old hindi movies and those phenomenal actors of the older generation. I wish I could re-catch Chitrahaar or Tarang again. I dont think too many would complain either!

A real tear-jerker

I watched Taare Zameen Par yesterday. I am a person who had watched just a handful of movies in my school-days. Obviously, college is a different story. With hindi movies becoming the last resort to escape from boredom, they had totally lost their respect in my eyes. The last time I remember watching a hindi movie fully on my computer was more than a year ago. (Of course, theaters are a different story). I hardly cry in movies. Frankly nothing moves me enough to make me start crying. The last time was umm…prolly in class 2 or 3 when I watched Anjali . I rofled my way through the rest, sometimes generating angry looks from people seated next to me. (That happened in Devdas!).

Taare Zameen Par is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It was a first. I cried like never before. Such a simple and touching tale. (Im not reviewing the movie..lots of reviews are already on the net). But what touched me the most is that it was such a contemporary situation. The triumph of a 9 year old against all odds and painting being his saviour, it was a movie totally worth a watch. I was surprised at how tears just came to my eyes. It was like all the plugs were pulled out. Almost the whole movie I was just restraining myself from crying. (basically I was trying to hide from my mum, coz I have teased her so much about her habit of crying that she has been waiting ever since to get back at me :P)

Well kudos Aamir Khan. You have a fan in me.

The Beginning of it all…

Today in my most boring lecture till date..I was reminiscent of my start with the “fun” in my college life. Agreeably, the best semester i have had is the 3rd. It was the lightest and the most enjoyable. The 3rd semester will always have a special place in my heart as that was the semester that introduced me to DC or direct Connect. It changed my life.

Even my current blog name is all a result of my hours spent on DC. I wonder what it would have been like to live without DC..( we all had a preview of it here when there was dearth of power ). Initially i was overwhelmed with the stuff I got on DC. All the movies i wanted to see, all the songs I wanted, any TV serial etc etc. Most of my time would go in checking the file list of other people. Those were the days when LAN wasn’t installed in our new hostel. Hours in the common room ( wi-fi zindabad!) waiting to download movies. Still, it was loads of fun.

Then we hit saturation. I still follow series and other current movies, but I have almost exhausted the old (watchable) stuff.When I had seen all I wanted to see and hear all the songs, I turned to the main chat which was a strict all-boys domain. The very appearance of the girls hostel ip on the ip list would generate enough buzz for lots of unwanted pms (private messaging) and attempts of flirting! I slowly learnt to accept all the swear and gradually began to laugh at them as well. I entered the main chat…and had the most fun I ever could.

Then, I was made admin. Being a admin already shoves you into the spotlight, and being a girl admin…makes you even more (un)popular.After a spree of nicks livewire, sizzle, freak show etc…Full Of Life became my permanent nick. I used to get hate pms, ridiculing and what not…but i didnt care a hoot. I was enjoying myself and most importantly having fun with authority!

Today, DC is my biggest stress buster. Hats off trivia bot! It is always fun to log in to DC and pull someone’s leg or make fun of things in general. DC has also given me some really close friends. FOL is my second name here…( i think more people know me as FOL than my real name!) Though Titan hub no longer exists ( thanks to some censoring by our college authorities!), Woodstock hub (my favorite) is still kick ass!

O creators of P2P software!..you have a fan in me….I’m forever indebted to you!

PS: Not to forget the people who got it to this campus. 127.0.0.1 is my one and only love here!