Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bhaji Lao Saasta Ni?

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has to be given credit where credit is due. He can paint a beautiful canvas and he is capable to extracting a powerful performance or a few powerful scenes (in the case of Bhai) from his performers. His music used to be peppy and impactful for all his movies. His sets, the best Indian cinema has ever seen.

Now on to the things that I feel he really needs to do better at - for starters, I sincerely believe that he decides the era, the culture (Gujarati, Rajasthani, Maratha etc), decides how many songs he needs to have, what the sets and costumes of those songs need to be, and then tries to squeeze in a story in between the sweeping camera shots of the landscape and the loud percussion heavy music. One thing his stores lack is clarity of emotions. There were several points in the film where some reactions were captured and I didn't quite know what to make of it or where the film was heading. Its almost as if when youre trying to make a "great" movie, you end up forgetting to make a good one.

The accent of Ranveer Singh, sounds reasonably authentic. He speaks Hindi with a Marathi twang which I quite liked. Priyanka Chopra's accent switched on and off depending on the seriousness of the scene. If its serious then it switched back to north Indian Hindi, interspersed with the off Marathi word. Deepika, seems to do justice to all of her roles these days, effortlessly. Her role as a warrior, a danseuse, a mother, a lover, are all played well.

I'm a tad bit disappointed with a couple of formulaic things which I would sincerely like SLB to break - the darkness of his scripts where the lovers always end up uniting in tge afterlife and the editing. Now, I know Indians like bang for their buck, but every movie does not have to be stretched to 3 hours plus to show you how great a job the cinematographer is capable of doing.

All in all, it was a movie I would recommend watching just as I would Baahubali, and other science fiction movies with good production value, because these canvases were meant to be appreciated on the big screen, but this opulent historical rendering leaves you with something missing at the end of the movie. You feel like you've seen a great piece of Indian cinematography with thumpy music and good performances all around, but it needs, some seasoning!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bandra-Worli Sealink

The Bandra-Worli Sealink is a fantastic achievement of this city. It shows that if the Environmental agency, the transport authorities, the municipality, the private sector and fisheries councils can get together then we can build 3 lanes of a 4 km bridge in around 10 years.

Facts aside, I wanted to talk about the driving pleasure on that piece of concrete. Driving on the roads of Mumbai is like leading your life in an unhappy, sex deprived marriage (not that I would know what that's like). It's frustrating, agonizing, painstakingly slow and devoid of pleasure of any kind.

Driving on the BW Sea Link though, is like that little spark that THAT married man needs. It's like, what's the word -MASTURBATION! It's smooth, pleasurable, free, quick and at at the end of it you feel a little guilty (toll naka).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Working in India

I'm guessing that most of you have never owned an ass before - and no - crass conversations about owning someone's booty don't count here. Working in India, is, to my mind, like owning an ass. I haven't owned an ass either but I can imagine what it would be like with my brief stint working here. People are generally smart - like an ass would know how to survive, when to eat, when to take a shit etc. But when you need the ass to work for you (no pun intended again), well you have to really give it a good wanking (sigh - I can't control these innuendos anymore).

Even though you own the ass, the ass knows that you can't do without it. there's a sense of frustration but someone needs to do the heavy lifting. And you don't really want to get a horse, cause let's face it - horses are expensive and race horses - forget it. So that brings us back to the ass (back to the ass - nice nice).

The ass serves a few very limited functions for you - the only way to be successful it to recognize what those are and not expect the ass to, well, I don't know, say play the piano. Not recognizing limitations are going to get you to only going to give you ulcers and a shorter life expectancy or lunacy - take your pick.

Finding horses is not hard in India - if you find one and do get him to work for you and not one of the Parsis who own a race horse stable, try and pay him a mule's salary (slightly more than an ass and slightly lesser than a horse). This will hold you in good stead.

But it's very important, to try and change the culture little by little. Take an additional few minutes everyday and try and explain things to your ass. Make it understand that it doesn't have to just serve one purpose., that there's pleasure in being an ass., even though it's hairy, not pretty, it an still take some serious riding and be of assistance.

Blurb ...

Where I ask is my own little privacy
In a world filled with frivolous fallacy
Everywhere I look, there're faces galore
Rich, poor, happy and torn
Why are we driven by so very little
A few gold coins make our values brittle
Our souls are decaying with cold contempt
Of human life, property, nothing's exempt
Were we always this greedy, green-eyed person
Raping, severing, looting, committing arson
This world is no longer the place it once was
Humans - you and I, are the primary cause
What's it going to take to bring back sanity
Or is the point of no return, not within vicinity
Hope - the quintessential human flaw
Keeps us going, fighting till the last straw
Morose I may sound but that's cause I'm hurting
Don't know why but healing by writing ...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Moving on ...

New beginnings out at my door
Making me wonder what's in store
The past, still throbbing, alive
It's hard, hard not to look behind

Yesteryear had happiness, it had joy, 
Had friendships, independence ... but toying
Never found my place, struggled to identify
Where I should invest and convince myself why

I'm hard to please, but I tried hard
Give it all, held back a shard
In retrospect I'm happy I did - helped maintain sanity
I am to be blamed for my own naivety

Utopia is called that for a reason
Beautiful Spring can't be the only season
I tried to dig hard to find honesty
To forgive, to forget, without indemnity

But everything you wish for doesn't come true
Lessons learned in life are often shades of blue 
Trying to end this post with something wise
In the words of One Republic "It's too late to Apologize" 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Salamanca - Day 2

Should have started writing this a lot sooner but here we are anyways. Haven't written for a while now (seems to have become a pattern really), but life is all about new beginnings. Speaking of which, a new, big beginning awaits. There's a lot of almost every kind of emotion that's associated with it. Leaving behind friends - some will stay in touch over the years and some that will fade in mututal consciousness, a change of environ and the memories associated with the one I had learned to call home-away-from-home for the past 7 years and so many many more memorable intersections in the time-space continuum.

Leaving tomorrow morning for Las Palmas. This trip is turning out to be therapeutic in a few ways. When you need to move on in life, it helps to be immersed in something that you have no expectations from and something that offers beauty on so many different levels.

One thing that I've noticed about myself, no matter how many good memories I have, the thing that always lingers is a feeling of introspection trying to find what are all the things I could have done better. This really is one of the more pensive posts I have written and I attribute that to trying to find honesty and truth in our lives both - inside and outside. We as a species, love to lie to ourself, to others, personally, professionally, sometimes to hurt someone, sometimes to save someone and sometimes to mask our insecurities - it's one of those acts that is only punishable in the professional setting but personally, it's only morally reprehensible - interesting thought ...

In addition to having a few things that I find very attractive in friends, I have really learned to appreciate honesty. In fact it's something that really draws me. Honesty of thought. Honesty of word. Honesty of action. In the words of Paris Hilton - "That's hot"

Thursday, October 02, 2008

You can't be serious...

The first (and only) Vice Presidential Debate was held today in Ohio. This was one of those rare opportunities that you got to see Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska in an unscripted (ha!) forum fielding questions from a neutral moderator.  

In a nutshell, I feel that Palin was adequate, purely because the expectations after the Katie Couric interviews were so low that anything from thereon was an improvement.  Now, what we are looking for here is the No. 2 person who is going to be the leader of the free world (although democracy seems to be a fading notion in this country). What we saw today, was a person on stage who does not understand the question or chooses not to answer it (I don't know which is worse), changes her position on Gay rights while on stage, has zero substance in the entire 90 minutes that she was on stage (probably quoted 3-4 statistics in her entire stint on stage), has more in common with the Bush-Cheney regime than ever imaginable, repeats the same catch phrases like "maverick", "hockey-mom", "executive experience" etc over and over again to cover up for the lack of substance and then comes out and tells Biden repeatedly not to look back into the past? Isn't this another George W. Bush with breasts?

I ask this not out of spite, disgust, frustration or despair (all of which are very acceptable emotions at this point) but is this Hockey-mom, soon to be hockey grand-mom, wolf hunting, wild life hating, "drill-baby-drill "chanting ex-Mayor of crystal meth Town the best that the Republican Party can come up with? I can't understand who needs to be blamed more - the direction-less Palin or the senile McCain. 

Biden, to me was more than adequate. I thought he smiled a little more than he needed to when all he was getting from the other side were snide remarks and twisted truths. He controlled his emotions, kept his gaffes to a minimum, spoke to the issues, backed his answers up with numbers, spoke about the direction this country needs to take and offered genuine leadership that a lot of people felt comfortable with in case something were to happen to Obama the President.

The political dialog in this country has plummeted to the point that the polls are still close ?!?! Shocking is a word that comes to mind.  Is this what this land of opportunity has been reduced to? What happened to separation of State and Church? What happened to objective discussion? What happened to equality? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FUCKING TRUTH!  

Friday, July 25, 2008

Curry Influx

I have been trying to find the right topic to get me back into the blogosphere and it never materialized. I have half a dozen incomplete posts that I thought would signal my comeback but alas they all stay on the back burner in the dreaded and rarely visited "Drafts" folder. Surprisingly the topic that is getting me back into writing mode is something very very near and dear to my heart.

In the short time that I have been in this country, I have seen things change pretty drastically. I happened to come into the US post 9/11. No one knew (or anticipated) how much damage a President could cause. We are all living proof that the elected, so-called leader of the free world has messed up pretty much everything that he wanted to "improve".

Anyways, this particular post is not about the whether the President of the most powerful nation in the world is smarter than a 5th grader or not but it's about the changes, specifically the influence of the Masala Mafia on this nation or as I would like to call it - The Curry Influx.

It seems like each decade belonged a specific Asian country where they established their influence on the American lifestyle. This decade (and perhaps the ones to come) seems like it is the decade of the Indian influence to take center stage.

Call it a coincidence (I wouldn't) that Madonna decides to get Henna put on here hands for the filming of her Video Frozen and travels to Varanasi to learn Sanskrit, Richard Gere Travels to India to return to his Buddhist roots, Bollywood dance is featured on "So You Think You Can Dance" (and is very well appreciated), an Indian comic makes it into he finals of the "Last Comic Standing" and the list goes on.

Don't get me wrong, this is not about an Indian blowing his own trumpet. If anything, the Indian experience and culture teaches a lot of humility and respect and the Indian parent teaches a lot of self deprecation. Put those 2 together and the point I'm trying to get at is that phenomenon is one of joy not arrogance. There is a weird sense of pride in giving something back to the West - the same West that has always held the beacon (and the bacon if you count the numerous porn movies) and almost every imaginable field of note.

The tide is changing - there is not doubt about it. India is booming today and it's footprint on the world is getting bigger with every passing day. Writing this post sitting in California, I feel like a guy who keeps missing the boat time and time again. The first instance was the dot com boom here in the 90s. Back then I was too young and didn't know what the Internet was. My parents are to blame -they should have had me (and not my older sister) first! The second one is the India boom happening at this very moment.

This post is hopefully the start of more to come. So for the millions and millions of readers frequenting this page, tune into both - this blog as well as the Curry influx around you!