Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hair today Gone tomorrow

My hair cut resembles the feathers of a sparrow that just got wet in the rain.

So i went to the parlour last Saturday and demanded a hair cut from the same person who does it every time.

I never bother to ask for her name, but whenever my hair needs a cut, i dream of her the night before.

To my utter shock and disbelief, she refused to cut my hair. She was actually thrilled to see me, because my hair is now looking exactly the way she wanted it to.

I have been asked to come back after 3 months, by which time i'll go crazy, because everyday is now a bad hair day.

Wondering whether i should change hair dressers or shave off the entire mass of dead black cells (ugh!) on my head that are adding to my misery.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

To Be(g) or Not to Be(g)

The couple boarded the train. He had an electric guitar and a microphone and she was carrying a purse that would have aroused envy in most of the passengers. As the train left the platform, he started singing and she joined him. After a song, she went around asking for alms. When some people gave a rupee and she smirked at them, others hurried gave more.

A study carried out by an eminent newspaper says that Mumbai has beggars who ahem! earn an average of a thousand bucks a day. One such fellow has a family of four and they have forty thousand rupees in the bank, two flats in Mumbai's suburbs, a cell phone and now plan to buy a car, besides carrying on with the family business of begging.

I think the first step towards walking out on the street and begging people for money is the toughest. You have to chew your pride to do it. You have to wallow in self-pity till you can convince people around you that you need to be pitied. I get embarrassed asking my friends for a loan of money when I run short, and I wonder what it must be for sometime who’s asking you to give your money to him forever.

I don't know the specific circumstances that force certain people into begging, but I think it’s got a lot to do with character. On the same train, I have seen one blind man begging and another selling incense sticks. On the same train, I have seen one old man begging and a woman older than him selling combs and clips. I hate it when some young fellow comes and begs for money when a hard day's labour could have got him not just money, but pride as well.

The whole idea of begging disturbs me. I see dozens of beggars everyday and I cannot decide whom to give money to and whom not to.

In Delhi, I used to pass by a temple on my way back from college and there used to be a cripple. My good friend D and I fondly remember that he called us 'Ma'. Often I used to save food from my lunch for him. He wouldn't ask for money. He would be only too happy to eat the food. D was rather fond of him and referred to him as her son. That didn't seem so bad, because he used to sit all by himself and he was exactly begging anyone for anything.

Somehow, I hate this commercialized begging that I encounter everyday. It’s a new morning, the sunshine, and the breeze. Just when you think, nothing could go wrong, you hear 'Bhagwan ke naam se de de Baba' and it jolts you back to reality. We are the 10th largest country in the world in terms of GDP, and the beggars seem to be getting richer, but they won't stop begging. Call it circulation of currency?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Paheli Behind Making a Good Movie

Why does it happen that a movie starring Shah Rukh ‘Badshah’ Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher, including Amitabh Bachchan, directed by Amol Palekar, where the women wear exquisite Tanishq jewelry, and produced by the King Khan still falls flat?

The answer lies in over-confidence. Paheli is a movie that has been made without care or consideration for the art of making films. It is a good story that eventually falls apart because of its reliance on a one-man-show called Shah Rukh Khan. King Khan is a big disappointment in the movie. He looks like Raj of DDLJ trapped in period costume and a humongous ‘pagri’. His dialogues look strained and even the way he woos his woman in the desert reminds you of the way he wooed Simran in Europe.

Badi badi deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain

You are forced to compare Shah Rukh with Amitabh Bachchan and that’s when you realize what a fantastic actor AB is. In the ten odd minutes of screen time, Bachchan grabs our attention as the silly, rustic, ill-literate shepherd who’s bent on doing good. He looks the role, while our Shah Rukh looks exactly like Rahul of K3G when his father disowned him. Sorry Shah Rukh, even the comedy fails to entertain. You’d better go back to acting school and learn how to stop acting the same way in every movie.

Paheli is about Lajjo- a newly wed bride on her way to her new house. A chance stop at a resting place haunted by ghosts is the turning point of the story. A ghost falls in love with Lajjo and cannot get her out of his mind. Meanwhile Lajjo’s husband Kishan Kumar is clearly more inclined towards making money than love and leaves home the next day in search of fortune, not to return for five years. The ghost impersonates Kishan, goes to the house (oops haveli) and declares his identity as well as his undying love for Lajjo. Well, well, wonders never cease in Bollywood and Lajjo agrees to live and love the ghost and to amaze us even more, she carries a child by the ghost!!!! A series of supernatural events powered by our do-gooder ghost occur and all is well till Lajjo’s human husband returns.

Paheli is essentially a love story, but it falls behind its time. Ten years ago a ghost yielding his powers (remember Shah Rukh in Chamatkar?) would have drawn gasps of astonishment, but not anymore. This is not even a movie for children if you consider the emotions expressed by Lajjo and Kishan.

Paheli disappoints because it neither falls into a definite genre of films nor is it timeless. I have been a great admirer of Amol Palekar and I am sure he could have done better than this. Rani Mukherjee acts well, but alas! Not well enough to save the movie. Juhi Chawla makes a comeback after a long time and its good to see her again. Anupam Kher is good as the miserly Seth Ji. MM Kreem’s music is best when he works for the Bhatts. This has been a brave effort at movie making, but the applause must be reserved for something better.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Watch Parineeta

10.This is probably the last movie where we get to see Saif smoking on screen. And boy! He sure looks more desirable lighting up a cigar than his father does shooting black bucks.

9. Only in a movie can you convince an adult, educated girl (that too a working woman) that exchanging a gold chain with a guy is the equivalent of marriage. Even in the original classic, Shekhar had told the 13-year-old Lalita that she was married, out of his possessiveness, while he was fully aware that there was no marriage. Somebody thought of distorting the focal point of the story, but they didn’t think of making Lalita strong enough to insist on a marriage registration?

8. Sarat Chandra Chatterjee died in 1937 and Shekhar listens to Elvis Priestly. I wonder who is supposed to be more flattered.

7. Moulin Rouge – good. Rekha- great, fantastic, fabulous. I love the way she can beat today’s teenyboppers even while doing a cabaret in a sari. Love her for it.

6. The ‘Dhunuchi’ dance – balancing a pot full of burning coals in your hands and mouth. Sanju Baba does it in authentic Bengali style. I haven’t seen too many people doing it so stylishly during Durga Puja, but then not everybody is Sanjay Dutt.

5. Chemistry- shared by Vidya Balan and Saif. It oozes out of the screen till it fills the place around you. They are the stuff that dreams are made of. The lovemaking scene comes as a natural consequence of two people who realize that they are in love. Nothing vulgar about it.

4. Opulent mansions, great lighting, extravagant weddings, fragrant gardens and hold your breadth Diya Mirza.

3. Finally, women get to dress in a sari in the old fashioned way, don’t do a rain soaked wet sari dance and still capture the imagination of the entire nation.

2. Great music- Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Phule Phule’ in Hindi, a bit of Nepalese music thrown in and Rekha’s number- can’t stop raving about her.

1. And the number one reason to watch Parineeta- Vidya Balan! After a long time, we get to watch a mature actress in her debut performance. She exudes dignity in her posture, grace in her movements and she is a beautiful woman.

Sigh! Kaisi yeh paheli zindagani……….