Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Whenever I am asked to name my favourite actor, I stop, hesitate and think. I have no clear favorites, but some names do spring up on the mind. Dev Anand, while he was young, Aamir Khan barring a few seriously pathetic movies, and and Sunil Dutt. Hang on! I liked him in all his movies. So he’s probably my favourite actor!!!!
I can never forget Sunil Dutt in ‘ Mera Saya’. As he cried over Sadhna’s corpse, I would have given my life to be in her shoes. The light of truth that shone in his eyes, when he stood in the courtroom later, challenging the existence of his wife. I loved Sunil Dutt in ‘Padosan’- where he played the simple boy in love with Saira Banu- the winsome lass next door. And years later, I loved Sunil Dutt in ‘Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.’ when he played father to his son Sanjay Dutt. But his most stellar performance must have been in ‘Mother India’ where he played son to Nargis.

Today Sunil Dutt died.

I am told that he championed the cause of the poor and the sick. He was our Sports Minister till today and that he will always be remembered as an upright honest gentleman. I still recall, how he defended Sanjay Dutt when the latter was arrested under TADA and how he felicitated our cricket players in Eden Gardens. I remember seeing him in ‘Jeena Isi Kaa Naam Hain’ where he was so overcome by emotion that it was difficult to make out his words. The Prime Minister has flown to Mumbai for his cremation. There are organizations that have benefited by him and they have come to be with him in these last hours. The media covered his death all day. They say, he was the original actor-turned-politicians. The rest are pretenders. They say he was good human being.

For me its immaterial how he was. For me he will always be Sunil Dutt, who wept inconsolably when Sadhna dies in ‘Mera Saya’ That’s the image that will linger on……

Monday, May 23, 2005

Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki- Of contended housewives and forged bond papers

So I do confess, that after a day of writing CMMI level 5 code, I actually take pleasure in watching Saans-Bahus fighting it out on the small screen and that when I left office at 8pm last Wednesday, my only concern was that Shruti should not be discovered posing as Gayatri during Gayatri’s wedding. Welcome to the world of Balaji Telefilms’ prime-time soaps, where every new daughter-in-law is painted either in pristine white or gory black. Where no episode is complete without a “song and dance” sequence and where the only aspiration of a young boy or girl is to find the soul mate of their dreams.

Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki aspires to structure itself along the lines of a modern day Ramayana. The story weaves itself around Om Agarwal, his wife Parvati and his brothers Gaurav, Ajay and Kamal. Parvati stands for truth and honesty and thereby hangs a tale of ideological conflicts between Parvati and Pallavi (her sister-in-law)

Watch KGGK for the interiors of the Agarwal house, that are guaranteed to awe you. Watch out for the clothes worn by the members of the cast. It comes as no surprise that Parvati goes to bed in a silk sari, replete with jewellery, bindi and makeup. Watch out for girls who seem to be living in jeans but slip into a sari - the day after marriage - with equal √©lan. Contented housewives fish out dusty LLB degrees to turn into legal eagles overnight (Ajay’s wife Avantika, for one) and win their first case against the best of lawyers for their ‘Suhaag ki Raksha’ Money seems to flow like water. People sign bond papers without looking at the contents and the bad guy always gets the entire property transferred to his name with a single signature. And all the male members of the Agarwal household seem to be on personal terms with the Police Commissioner (who is always ready to oblige old friends) and at least one mandarin in the Income Tax department.

It is difficult to say whether KGGK is really a story that could happen in our daily lives. In fact, the far-fetched reality of the story line provides a means of escape and an opportunity to be a part of a make-believe world that could never be true. There are lessons to be learnt of course. Of values, ethics and respect to our elders. Parvati epitomizes the perfect ‘Bahu’ that every mother-in-law would love. Her greatest virtue is that she puts others before herself. However, KGGK portrays the 21st century female as super-woman who can manage a family and career with effortless ease. Shruti and Gayatri handle their careers while being wonderful daughters. Pallavi is chided for being so career-conscious that she could not be the perfect daughter-in-law. Such portrayal creates a role model for women that is impossible to emulate and has negative repercussions on society. Overall, not a bad job, considering that four years into it’s screening, the TRP ratings are still going strong. Next time you see Parvati do remember to say, Touch√©!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It’s been ages since I had a summer break...to be more precise...one year! Last year I suppose I had what I would call without hesitation the longest break of my life so far and boy! Was it not fun!!!!

So I woke up at 5am this morning with a vague recollection that school was not supposed to open before the 18th of this month and that it was no use waking up so early. Baba woke me up an hour later....get up or you'll be late for office....

Poor me!!! The good ol' days of summer vacations....cycle rides in the dark, swimming in the pool just when the sun strikes it big and getting tanned all over.

Sneaking around while everyone's asleep during the noon and stealing mangoes from the fridge and the baton relays in the afternoon.

The kaal boshakhi in the evening...picking up the mangoes that had fallen and the long walks after the storm to the library to pick up the Enid Blytons.

The home work that was done grudgingly; but just in time to watch chuti chuti on TV. Calling up friends, writing long letters to the class mates, visiting grand parents....

Mishti Doi, Pochise Boiskakh, Jamai Shoshti, Raaj Bhog!

Now its the same the year around, the hectic mornings in the train, the evening rush, and the work that never seems to end....I have been sleep walking all these days and I suppose it will go on forever.........