Monday, December 07, 2009

MF Hussain and the Freedom of Art

I like this man. I do not know much about him. I haven’t met him. I haven’t read about him. I am not particularly an art connoisseur. I haven’t even seen his paintings, except for the odd ones that are flashed in the media. I do not know much, as I said, and hence I can’t be making blatant statements about him - good or bad.

But then I saw Meenaxi. And I formed an opinion - not the adamant kind. But yeah, I was floored to say the least. If there could be poetry without words, this movie had it. The source was MF Hussain and the medium was Santosh Sivan. The result was Meenaxi: the most poetically photographed movie I have ever seen. And, then to add beauty to it there was the art direction by Sharmishta Roy who captured the essence of just about everything so perfectly in the movie. How can I not mention the music? If ever you would want to hear music to enrich abstract thoughts and visuals, watch this movie for sheer inspiration. It is an idea bag. I am sure many of us would have wondered looking at ‘life’ paintings of a market place in a village or just a cart and some people on a street and then been amazed by the sheer detailings that goes in. And then the faded, dull earthiness that is evoked through the ironically colorful picture? Well, if you are a lover of that kind - this movie is frameful of that. It is as if MFH has painted every single frame on a canvas and then let Sharmishta and Santosh loose on the location.

So, with not a bad plot at all this movie does make for a great viewing. I found it particularly enjoyable. So, within a week of its release, when a certain sect of people raise their voice over the use of a song - the brilliantly composed, amazingly delivered and wonerfully sung - Noor Un Ala Noor (pardon my inefficient Urdu); it simply beats the purpose of living in a free country. I was all beaten down and ready to face yet another toned down, force-compromised artistic venture. But then something happened that made me stand up and tip a hat to MFH. He withdrew the movie. He lost a lot of money. The technicians employed were the best in India. Tabu was ‘hot’ in the industry. So, I can bet my words when I say he would have lost a whole lot of money in the deal. But that is what he did. He withdrew the movie from the screens. No comments. No arguments. No compromises.

The movie went international, screened in some festivals and got a few good reviews. Died a silent death, if you may. But the movie shot in 2004 - was ahead of its times. And the man who made it, seemed ahead of his society. He has now sadly moved his base to Dubai, I hear. As I said, I have not followed much of this man. But one move, one movie - made it for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book | A Thousand Years of Good Prayers - 3

The more you get, the more you are left wanting. Such is her art. Such is her power. An enchantress, words her weapon.

What started off as livid descriptions of old Chinese people, is now slowly turning out to be this motley collection of people and relationships. Actually, come to think of it, it is more about people than relationships. It seems to be a concentrated effort to concentrate on people, than the relationships they share. And therein lies the beauty. The next two stories Love in the Marketplace (Story.5) and Son (Story.6) are both about a mother and her child, a girl who has lost her first love in the former and a son who is gay in the latter. In either of the stories, Yiyun spends words generously in establishing characters and people. Their thought process is exposed. Their words are told. Their persona is defined through their actions. And the mothers in their own ways, in both the stories are searching for a child lost in the body that shares space with them. Yiyun's central characters are prominent, either by their strength or weakness, dominance or vulnerability. But every character changes. It is either an incident, or an action by another person. But they change, leaving us wondering about the strength and self-belief portrayed till that point.

In Love in a Marketplace, the protag, Sansan, has lost her love, and it is her own doing. She is unapologetic about it. Doesn't regret it. She has accepted it and now, her mother wants her to reverse her emotions. Ma asks Sansan to go back to Tu (her lost love who married her best friend, Min, on her insistence) because she has waited for her. Ma assumes Sansan has waited for Tu, because in the 10 years since Tu and Min went to America, she hasn't married or met another man. Tu has 'had her' and Sansan would marry only him, Ma assumes. Sansan insists on her 'cleanliness' and has promised herself never to go back to Tu.

"Why do you want to be the best egg seller in the world, ma?"
"I tell the people I sell the best eggs, I have to keep my promise."
"Nobody cares ma, you are keeping a promise that only matters to you. I have my promise to keep", she asserts again.

A promise is a promise, a vow remains a vow she reminisces capturing the essence of the movie Casablanca - which has defined life for her. And then, in a moment of insanity she meets her match, right there at the marketplace. She meets a person who keeps his promise, and she gives him a cut from shoulder to elbow - just as he promised.

The next story 'Son' on the other hand, is about a son who is gay and works in America. He comes, only to spend some time with his mother and they disagree right from the time they leave the airport. Yiyun deviates from her usual style. All character description is done through dialogues. In her earlier stories, her characters reveal themselves in their thoughts and dreams. Not in dialogue. So, here the narration transforms to a movie. We hear constant discussions, arguments and the son talks in punch lines.

"... What I am saying is many things are circulated and recycled. Language is one of them. Faith is another. They are like bills in our wallet. You can buy things with them, but they themselves hold no meaning"

He says, pointing out to Ma's converted faith from communism to church. Talking about either at the time of the other was blasphemous. Ma is hurt - but as soon as they reach home she forgives. No, forgets. Ma has to accept her son for what he is. The son is living an underground life. A life of anonymous identities on the internet. And then she takes him to the church. An incident involving two young beggars changes the son's outlook. He shares his little secret with his Ma. She accepts him for what he is and assures that

'God loves you for what you are, not for what others expect you to be'

He wants to make a joke on her god, but his eyes meet her eyes that are so loving and hopeful. He turns his eyes away.

PS: More on A Thousand Years of Good Prayers here: Part 1, Part 2


I am back in Hyderabad. I have mixed emotions about this place. But this post ain’t about that. There was some problem with my desk phone, and hence my network as the two are connected. So, I called for help to the local network support team at 9:40 am and finally got a response at 11:10. But this post ain’t about that neither. This help was in the form of a newly joined feller who came to me with a Vendor tag. I asked him why he isn’t wearing a temporary ID card, to which he replied he would be getting one today; his 7th day in the organization. And as you guessed, this post ain’t about this incident either. So, I went with the network support guy and was waiting outside the network support room in for about 15 minutes where he was animatedly discussing something with an adapter in his hand.

And I was just outside the room, staring at a poster from a Technology group which I did not know existed in my organization ...

It was an advertisement of MS Office Communicator 2007 (and this is 2009!). In huge letters, the poster read Instant! That caught my attention in an instant alright. So, close your eyes and what comes to mind with the word instant?

Noodles? Coffee?

Ok. Good. Same here. So, they have these photos of instant noodles and a dip-tea (subs. to coffee). And the caption below says something to the effect of ‘Faster than you can make tea or noodles. Redefining Instant.’ It sort of tickled me. I mean, I understand that designing a poster for advertisement is painful. And also that most bad ads are a result of stringent deadlines, and not bad designers as is popularly believed. But, I deviate.

So, how much time do you take to make instant noodles. Maggi claims 2 mins - but every time I have tried I have spent a least of 5 minutes. The cup noodles, whose picture was displayed on the poster, also takes about 2 mins and 40 secs, if you are not too mindful of having it in a saucy condition. So, does the poster claim that if I use MS Office Communicator 2007 (in 2009) I can ping a person sitting across the room in less than 2 mins and 40 secs? Is that what Instant supposed to mean? Redefined and all that? No, I mean. We are talking electrons here and all those electronic signals that travel at crazy, zany speeds nearing the velocity of light. I could mail a person half way across this globe and get an out of office in less than 15 seconds (depending on the auto-send receive settings, of course). I mean, c’mon yaar.

Coming to the dip tea (not Dipti), the fastest I have seen a chai-wallah make dip tea is about 35 seconds. And the tea doesn’t taste good, if you know what I mean.

I mean, what is the poster trying to advertise - that I can ping a person and before he receives it, rush to the vending machine and get myself a cup of tea? Or cup noodles on a really bad day? If Microsoft were to see the ad and interpret as crazily as I have, they would be boiling. Boiling enough to make that cup noodle ready withing a second. And then all would make sense.

Anyway. No offense, of course. This is what happens if we have such posters in an IT company, especially when there are troubled souls standing outside network support rooms.

It wasn't me...

… seems to be world’s favorite game. Not literally, but in spirit everyone’s pointing to everyone else but themselves.

First Arundhati says that the War against the Maoist is a corporate doing, then Indian intel says that LTTE is supporting Maoists and then some guy in Pakistan says India is funding Talibs in Pakistan.

And it’s everywhere, even when Thane’s bridge was to be fixed people were sending each other letters (not even e-mails). At least 2 lives could have been saved. But such is life. And death.

No, I mean what’s going on? Why this blame game? Sometimes I just feel like the whole of mankind needs a restart. You know the good ol’ Ctrl+Alt+Del . I knew Microsoft had the solution to every problem in the world. They are the panacea, not Google. Or Apple.

Hail Windows.

Ok. Whatever.

Book | A Thousand Years of Good Prayers – 2

The more you read Yiyun the more she entrances you into her world of little Chinese people. I am just only done with the next 2 stories (3&4) in her book; Immortality (Story.3) and The Princess of Nebraska (Story.4). If the first 2 stories Extra (Story.1) and After a Life (Story.2) capture the silent lives of the old, the succeeding two stories venture out further.

Immortality tries to deal with many things – all in one sway. Here too, a changing China is in the grind of things. And amidst this grind, we are shown only this one unfortunate son who resembles the dictator. The story starts with the legends of the Great Papa (eunuchs) during imperial times and jump cuts into a small town in modern day China. It is from here on that Yiyun traces the life of this unfortunate son. His life is juxtaposed with the rise, dominance and fall of a communist country; only the small town doesn’t want to let go. For all the guilt and repression that they carry of being fooled by the dictator, they do not want to loosen their grip on their legacy – the unfortunate son who resembled the dictator. Yiyun paints all this in a single stroke of her brush, lifting only to weave the imperial past to the transient present.

Like in Extra, where an old lady finds an unlikely friend in a little boy and almost makes us relive her youth by play of words and phrases; in The Princess of Nebraska a girl (Sasha) is pregnant from an homosexual (gay, Yang). So, from the elderly in the first two stories, to almost an uncannily sketchy biography in Immortality – Yiyun takes us to the world of Chinese youth oppressed by the conservatism in China. The lives and emotions of 3 people (2 homosexual men and a straight woman) lay bare in front of us. Yang, ironically named, has played a woman in his School Opera all his life. They even had a feminine name for him. Yiyun, as a passing comment, has Yang mention about girls

“We didn’t talk. They played handmaids and nannies, background roles.”

And Sasha reaffirms asking if Yang played the princess. Not only are we told about Yang and his operatic history, but the conservative practice of not having the girls play prominent public roles is being subtly underlined. And in the same stroke she presents Yang, the name representing the essence of male – opposite of Yin, as a boy who is now in a seeming disadvantage due to his own sexual preferences. This storyline is interwoven in the narrative which is actually set in America, where Sasha is waiting to have an abortion done with the help of Boshen, Yang’s lover back in China! Yiyun uses characters as devices to elucidate the plot. We end up relating with the people – all the three leads, imperfect in their own ways, and as if to ascertain human nature, we end up sympathizing with Sasha – the one who is having a baby inside and awaiting an abortion, the one with all the troubles in the world.
And the story ends with a flourish, with an absolute beauty of a line that reads:

“Being a mother must be the saddest yet the most hopeful thing in the world, falling into a love that, once started, never ends”

More as I read on…

PS: More on Yiyun | A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Part 1

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chetan Bhagat | What's he got that I ain't got?

I enter Crossword and am greeted by a mountain, and I am not joking, of red colored books stacked right at the entrance. Bang in the middle. I am wondering, who is this John Grisham who has launched a book, ‘cause I swear Rainmaker is the only other book I have seen stacked this way; and that too in a seconds only shop. And then on closer inspection, my wonderment is relieved – of course; it had to be him – Chetan Bhagat. Wonderment didn’t cease yet, one more made its way through: how come there was no hype about his new book?

Not that I am a fan, but this dude deserves a mention; don’t you think? While he is not Chef de Cuisine for connoisseurs with the literary buds he is certainly more than the average Commis when it comes to dishing out desi dishes to suit the masses; and pleasingly affordable at that. I mean, a McDonald’s a McDonald – but ask any Bombay-ite worth his salt and he would still prefer the vada-pav worth Rs. 5 than hog on to the more elite, high-soc and hygienic McVeggie for Rs. 22. Now, Chetan Bhagat hasn’t a repertoire that would make Bernard Shaw tremble in his grave, but he has sold probably more copies than all other non-award winning Indian authors put together – just like the roadside vada pav stall who sells thousands of vada pavs every day as compared to the feeble hundreds sold by McDonalds.

So, what is it that makes him sell, while the other Indian authors at best get a shelf space in Crosswords’ Best Sellers. He hasn’t the wit of a PG Wodehouse, not the zaniness of Douglas Adams, he isn’t half as gripping as Agatha Christie nor a master of thrillers like Robin Cook. He doesn’t even have the ability to write a page turner like Sidney Sheldon or John Grisham. Neither does he have the imagination of Tolkien nor the profundity of Rand. He is, at best, an average Joe when it comes to writing a novel. He was (is?) an investment banker in Wall Street, New York for heaven’s sake which would ideally take him as far away as writing as Shah Rukh Khan is from method acting. But he strikes gold. That is probably what he knows best, striking gold. What he has done is not excelled in writing, but he has excelled in positioning his books. He has got his basics of marketing right where it matters – Target Audience. He doesn’t muddle himself up with thoughts of awards and literary fame. He is modest – he wants to make money. So, he sits down and zeroes in on his audience. Students who have entered junior college, school students who are getting bored of Tinkle and find Hardy Boys too old fashioned, housewives who are yet to pick up a novel of any kind and a hundred other middle class people who find John Grisham’s novels second only to books of law and Jefferey Archer too difficult to follow. Now that he has the audience in mind, he has to price it so that they will buy it. He prices his books at one-half of the rate of any book worth its paperback cover: @ Rs. 95/- a piece. So, he has the audience and the price in place – now for content…

He has four books to his credit: his record breaking debut novel and also easily his best outing Five Point Someone (FPS), the hype of which was so much that the wave carried his next very average One Night @ the Call Center (ON@CC) to the best seller list. His third novel which tried to bring in India’s top 3 items on the ‘Things we are crazy about’ list; Religion, Politics and Cricket, together in one interwoven desi masala ‘The 3 Mistakes of my Life’ (3MML) sold lesser than the previous two – but IMO was much more fun than his ‘One Night..’. His most recent novel – the one that I picked from the mountain mentioned in the opening lines, is titled ‘2 States’ (2S) and is about how cross-state (love) marriages happen in India, IMO the worst book of his lot.

But focus on the topics he deals with – it isn’t individuality: Indians don’t know what that is, it isn’t murder mysteries: we would rather watch an Abbas Mastan movie, it isn’t history: who wants another controversy anyway, and in fact – it isn’t hardcore anything at all. Each of his books is a ‘love story’ ‘cause that is numero uno when it comes to selling entertainment. Right from Yash Chopra to Karan Johar, everyone has used this device with varying backdrops and they have sold movies (and how!) for more than 5 decades. So there is no arguing or denying that fact. Now, adorn a love story with backdrops: these have to be something that the middle class Indian desires every day – a better education (IIT in FPS, IIM in 2S), a job at the call center (ON@CC), a group of friends to hang out with (ON@CC), cricket, religion and politics (3MML) and a cross lingual marriage/ marrying the love of your life (2S again). At the core, there is a love story in each of his books which is painted on a canvas that carries one of the above mentioned backdrops which try to put up a façade so that the book doesn’t go down as yet another love story; now you wouldn’t want that, would you? So, there you are Chetan Bhagat deconstructed, you could write a best seller like you make one of those dishes Sanjeev Kapoor shows you every Sunday on Zee TV, can’t you?

1. Scan the book stores and see which section of the audience has been grossly ignored

2. Price your end product competitively, come what may

3. Write a love story, it maybe your own, your friends’, or even a one you have seen on TV

4. Create a background: choose one from cricket, education, poverty, politics – or to be on the safer side, have a little bit of everything

5. Interweave the love story in such a way that the focus is always on the backdrop – while ensuring that you are having the reader wish that the hero and the heroine get together

6. Tadaaa! You have a bestseller

So, jokes apart. Is it just that? Nope. It is much more. It lies in the narration – simple, uncomplicated and very, very ordinary. None, let me stress, not one of his words would make you go to the dictionary. Not one of his lines would make you read it again. Not one of his paragraphs would make the average reader want to put the book down. It is right there – simple and uncomplicated. You would feel like you are reading a story out of the 6th grade English textbook. But you aren’t – because he is also talking contemporary social issues - today’s issues. He is talking about making love in college dorms, he is talking, with rather political improperness, about Tamil-ians being dark-skinned and Punjabis wanting little more than Hyundai Santros for wedding qualification. He is talking about incorrect politicians in a riot torn Gujarat and ties cricket to religion. He does all this while pretending to be writing a love story. He talks about taboo and also about the taboo. But he checks himself. He doesn’t want controversies. He writes page long disclaimers pretending to be forewords. He doesn’t get too ambitious with his words or content.

He is happy playing a dumbed down writer. He doesn’t want to be in the Booker’s List. He would much rather go stale on the cover page of the book in the book shelves of a million Indian households. He is making a million readers who wouldn’t read, read. He is making housewives read. He peppers his books with his own sensibilities of the socio-economic conditions in India. He might just educate these readers in his own little way. Maybe this is the way he is doing his bit.

And writing not more than what he wants to tell, dancing his way to the banks. The middle-class writer.

This dude, doesn’t he deserve the mention?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three Little Movies

Just a random post. No reviews or anything - caught this movie called Freedom Writers today afternoon on HBO (It's not just TV. It's HBO) :P. And, I was reminded of 2 other such movies which I had liked. Both not too popular but within the small circle that has indeed seen the movie, you will find nods of approval.

One such movie is October Sky. Directed by Joe Johnston (Honey, I shrunk the Kids! and Jumanji), this little movie is about Rocket Boys; a bunch of school kids in a mining town determined to make their own rocket. Supported by a really supportive teacher Miss Reily (brilliantly played by Laura Dem), Homer Hickam, who after watching Sputnik vanish 'forever' into space on TV is inspired to build his own rocket. He forms a team, and starts off on his mission to launch his rocket; much against the wishes of his coal-mining father. Some trials and a lot of errors later, the team does launch it's own rocket. Based on a true life story, this is a real hope affirming, smile inducing movie that hopes to restore hope and optimism back to life. Homer and his team, after having erroneously launched their first rocket now have to perfect the craft if they were to enter the national science fair. Needless to say, they do enter it and the film ends well - with white letters on the screen telling us that Homer goes on to become an engineer with NASA.

The other movie is Pay It Forward. Another small movie which boasts of Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt in significant roles. However, the movie is about Trevor McKinney (Haley Osment, of AI fame; son of Arelene, Helen Hunt) - a 12 year old kid, who despite a troubled family has hope in the goodness of the world. So, when his Social Sciences teacher Eugene (Kevin Spacey, looks stuck w/o a taut character sketch) gives the class a project that has the potential to change the world through direct action - Trevor sets himself onto the task. He meets a homeless guy and wants to help him, enroute which he formulates his concept of 'Paying it Forward'. There are 3 rules: (1) It should directly help a person (2) Something the person can otherwise not manage to do (3) You should do it for the person. And then, once done, the person receiving the help is supposed to help 3 others. It is simple. And before we know, we are drawn in by the films goodness. And though not really saddened by the tragic ending, the movie leaves behind a lingering feeling of us having the power of being able to change the world. Or at least some part of it.

The third movie, Freedom Writers, is again a movie which tells us anything is possible.Set in early 90s, in a racism-torn Los Angeles, the story revolves around Ms Erin (Hillary Swank, endearing in her role) who takes on her job as a teacher in a school which has launched an integration program to get students of all races in a class. She realizes on her first day at school that the set of students known as 'unteachables' are indeed so who need to be kept in class by security guards. There is an unfortunate accident which sort of anchors one of the girls in the class as the narrator and centerpiece. Slowly, but surely, Ms Erin earns the trust of all the students. She gives each one of them a copy of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' and encourages each to record their own past of abuses and victimization. The class slowly becomes a closely knit family. Students who barely attended school, now had hopes of graduating from their sophomore year to junior high. As a final year project, Erin has every student convert their diary into a book and calls the project ' The Freedom Writer's Diaries'.

There is nothing exceptional about any of these movies. The direction and acting is just about 'enough' to carry the movie through. The music isn't soaring, the photography isn't gripping. But each of the three are sincere movies, and by words or by action - the sincerity comes through. You feel good at the end of the movie. There is a lightness about the heart and a sense to do good. Not overtly inspirational, but it lingers on.

For quite some time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book | A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Given to me by a friend at 12:45 am after a nice dinner and some home made tea, this book is written by a Chinese author; Yiyun Li. This friend of mine is a fan of unknown little authors writing vague books. This particular one is a collection of 10 short stories, all set in China. I have read just 2 of them and am in love with the book. Focus of both the short stories have been common people in a changing China; and in both cases the protags are elderly people who are adapting themselves to a change from Marxism to Capitalism.

Stories revolve around everyday incidents in the lives of seemingly insignificant people. The narration is simple and doesn't build up to anything. The sweetness lies in the thought of the author - simple and stuff that we can relate to. In one of the stories, this old man finds a friend at the newly opened stock exchange. And to quote from the book,

"But perhaps this was what made old age a second childhood - friendship came out of companionship easily, with less self-interest, fewer social judgments."

That encapsulates today's times with such beauty; finding friends only to enrich your network. Social judgment is seen as an attribute.

Well, I haven't read the whole book to do a full fledged review; just wanted to share this. Will keep sharing such stuff as I go about the book.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Movie Review: Pulp Fiction

“So you want to hear the Fox Force Five Joke?” she asks. “I am so petrified I couldn’t laugh” Vincent replies. “No you wouldn’t laugh anyway, ‘cuz it’s not funny. But if you want to still hear it, I will tell it”. “I can’t wait.” She goes ahead and tells him the joke – the very joke she was too embarrassed to tell only minutes ago.

Minutes ago, Vincent (John Travolta) and Mia (Uma Thurman) are sitting in a somewhat retro themed restaurant having dinner. Vincent, high on drugs, has to ensure that he sits ‘across the table’ from Mia (high on drugs, as well) because Mia is his boss’s (Marcellus’s) wife and he is out ‘not on a date’ but to keep her entertained. She says that what sets two people who know each other apart from a couple who don’t is that they can share comfortable silences. And to that, he says we don’t know each other that well yet – ensuring that the distance is maintained – especially when there are rumors going around about Marcellus pushing a guy off the balcony of the top floor of a 4-storeyed building because he gave Mia a foot massage. Mia ensures that the guy never gave her a foot massage and that the reason for the shove is known only to Marcellus and the guy. Vincent, still, like any sane man wouldn’t take risks. It is then he mentions her (Mia: Uma Thurman) role in a TV program pilot and she elucidates her character as one who tells an old joke every episode. He wants her to tell one and she is too embarrassed to tell it to a person with whom she can’t comfortable silences. But minutes later, they are back in her room – just finishing off a dance step and staring a moment too long at each other when Vincent asks her if this was the ‘comfortable silence’ she referred to. She doesn’t answer, and we are left thinking whether it was after all. Vincent is seen in the bathroom reminding self to be a gentleman – accept the drink, just one – and go home. A completely freak drug OD accident and adrenaline-stabbed revival follows, which by the way is one of the varied freakish incidents that adorn the movie. Both of them don’t want Marcellus to know. “I would be in as much danger as you” she says, clearly concerned. They promise not to utter a word. This stays between them. They share a secret. They have grown that bit closer. And she tells him the joke. She is no longer embarrassed.

The movie is made up of very real characters like Vincent and Mia, with attached eccentricities. Vincent can’t take curtness, Jules (Samuel L Jackson, brilliant) thinks he has witnessed the ‘hand of God’, Butch (Bruce Willis) would risk his life for his ancestral wrist-watch and Mr. Winston Wolf makes a 30 minutes drive in 9 minutes and 50 odd seconds. What is common to all characters though is the way they choose their words. Every character is defined more or less by their choice of words. Mr. Wolf is a friendly man, who if appears to be curt is because time is of essence – and once he likes you, you call him Winston – not Mr. Wolf. Mia does coke, is the wife of a gangster but wouldn’t use the f-word. Butch calls his lover Tulip which she likes, earlier having called her a ‘retard’ and taking that back. Characters indulge in dialogues, unerringly witty, that appear to beat around the bush but when they are finished you realize that they have made a point and also ensured that it is driven home well. Jules goes on to quote from the Bible in more than one instance about how every man’s duty is to guide the weak and if anyone deters it, the lord shall unleash his vengeance. When he goes on to a monologue with this quote, you continue hearing but tend to stop listening. You do not assimilate the gravity of the quote but are left with a feeling that the quote is really profound. And yet, when he quotes it for the 3rd time, right at the last scene, you listen very carefully. You get the import of what the quote has to convey. It is not just because you are hearing it for the 3rd time – but because the quote makes all sense to the character, Jules, only then too.

The story spans just over a day in the lives of these characters involved in quirky situations. We are even told the time, 7:22 in the am is when the ride starts and 11 in the am the next morning is when it ends. They hold little or no significance, none that adds any layer to the movie anyway. But we are informed about it nonetheless. The story itself unfolds in acts like in a play. But the acts aren’t arranged chronologically. The narrative is non-linear - peppered with unforgettable music bits along with some camerawork that underscores the director’s fetish for all things *pulp* titivating the lives of people who work for Marcellus. The narration is what sets it apart. It just isn’t reversed narration (like in Memento, which again is brilliant). It isn’t the typical ‘flashback’ narrative. It is non-linear; so much so that the last scene is not the last act, if you can differentiate between the two. The last scene is in fact the very first act – and yet is not a flashback. The movie opens at a roadside inn – with two small timers discussing ‘Nobody ever robs a restaurant – let’s do it; right now, right here.” It is where the movie ends too - with the unraveling of the first act and how it ends. What happens later is already narrated. Why, one of the characters is even dead – but yet, when the movie winds up act one – it is a happy ‘ending’.

Gangsters, Fixed boxing bouts, Double-crossing, Freak murders, a Homosexual act, Drugs, God, et. al. – Pulp Fiction is one zany ride. Pulp fiction is sheer entertainment.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Well. Not really. No news. Just an observation, in fact.

I was watching the 8 o’ clock Tamil news yesterday. The lady happily chattering away in chaste Tamil. Or should I say, thooya tamizh? Anyway, I couldn’t get most of what she was saying - which made me wonder at least half the population, if not more would be people who do not fully/ easily understand the language in its purest form. At least not as easily as the spoken form. And, it is a fair assumption, I think that TV news should be more tuned to listeners who do not have access to other media like internet (due to cost), newspapers (due to illiteracy). In which case, speaking in thooya tamizh is just about the last thing to do. I mean, I am all for saving the language and all that - but seriously, not at the cost of it beating the very purpose of the medium used.

[Obviously, a similar argument should be read for Hindi/ Bangla/ and other languages too. Just a disclaimer, just to emphasize that it is the habit - of using language in such a way - rather than the people or the language itself which is under scrutiny]

This has occured to me earlier too - as in much earlier, when I was much younger and much sharper. At a time when I thought I would probably realise when I grow up and gather worldly wisdom, unlike the rolling stone. And yet I do not understand it today. Which obviously implies that I have grown up much like the rolling stone. Or have I?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Absolute Vanity

1. I am not too crazy about fantasy movies. No, not even Lord of the Rings

2. I think Harry Potter is for kids. So is Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, Transformers, etc.

3. I liked Paheli, though. I thought it was a gutsy take and the movie didn't take itself too seriously. Come to think of it, I liked Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight

4. I like to argue. No. Heck. I love to argue. My friend Bomb (not his real name) thinks Amartya Senmust dedicate his Nobel Prize to me (for being the personification of an Argumentative Indian)

5. I vehemently disagree to that. I like to reason. Sometimes the reasoning is very fundamental - so fundamental that people tend to think I argue just for the sake. But I solemnly swear right here, right now that it is not the case. Argue. Reason. Know.

6. I do not argue. I discuss. No one looks at an argument as a discussion. That sort of puts me off. Once they run out of points - they get defensive and retort saying 'you are saying this just so that you win the argument'. And that is when I realize that the other guy/ gal is actually thinking we are into an argument.

7. I can't shut-up

8. I can't. No, really! I can't

9. I have no clue why I am rambling in points - but doesn't really matter does it.

10. I know this is how it is, and yet it surprises me that people form conclusions/ opinions just like that

11. I can't talk in rights and wrongs. I don't believe in them. I have my own theories, which people find to be really weird. They tell that to me all the time. And I continue to formulate new theories. So, people conclude that I like to be weird so I get noticed. As I told, people form conclusions/ opinions just like that

12. I understand this and have accepted this in life - once you get a boyfriend/ girlfriend - you change. End of discussion. I have accepted it. You too, must accept it. Do not see it as right or wrong. It will screw up one of two things - your friendships or your relationship

13. I suck at mastering anything. I can't stay put with any one thing.

14.I have views on religion. But not on politics. I think politics is a much abused word. And so is religion.

15. I believe god has nothing to do with Religion. And neither with spirituality

16. I think going to temple to worship god is sort of amusing. I mean, why preach god is everywhere and then specifically go to a temple to worship. Wait a min., if god is indeed the entity he is made out to be - do we need to worship him at all?

17. I think I am god. Not the Naan Kadavul types; I think more of Anbe Sivam types

18. I know this post is tending towards 'girlish' - but what the heck

19. I think there is a lot of hypocrisy around. That actually doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that the hypocrites are bothered by others' hypocrisy. Sort of freaks me out.

20. I had been to Australia. Good time there. And guess what - the only traces of racism I could feel against Indians was in Indians. I mea, you go to an Indian restaurant and see how the Indian waiters treat the white-skin and then see how you treat you!

21. I say, if my mother is dead against me marrying a girl from another community/ caste, she ain't got no right to talk foul about racism or communism

22. I am not going to marry. Ever. That's a declaration. I mean, what is the need for it?

23. I am happy, not gay. That is a declaration too.

24. I like the rains. In fact, I love them

25. I wonder why most people who read posts do not comment. I just checked my dashboard for the first time - it is pretty cool. Never knew it gave so many statistics. Anyway, my beach side stories - 1 has got over 2500 views (which is unbelievable) and only 2 comments (which is crazily unbelievable). I am not advertising/ publicizing or anything- just mentioning.

26. I never can read my own stuff again. I find it terribly boring. And I am not telling this just for the sake. I seriously can't read my own stuff. I never even used to cross-check my exam papers.

27. I, after having set such high standards, have read beach side stories -1 twice over. It is quite nice. Ok. Now I am publicizing.

28. I don't have a problem with people changing attitudes as long as they accept. Come to think of it, once you accept it I am fine with it

29. I know, that is how it is.

30. I loved the HitchHikers' Guide to the Galaxy (H2G2). It is hilarious. I seriously think it is influenced a lot by P.G. Wodehouse - only that the scale of craziness is a zillion times more

31. I wonder why none of the girls I know like H2G2

32. I wonder why girls like pink

33. I just realized that every single point in this post begins with 'I'. I am sure now that I have mentioned it, none of you would believe that this wasn't deliberate

34. I want to go sprinting in the mornings, cycling at nights

35. I want to learn swimming

36. I know writing long posts is the number 1 put off reason for the reader; but this aint as much for the reader

37. I think Nasseeruddin Shah is the best actor India has produced. I am a sucker for Nasseeruddin Shah movies

38. I never really liked Rahman till Duet was out. Today, I am a crazy Rahmaniac

39. I have been discovering Ilayaraja recently; err... discovering is a HUGE word. I don't know crap about music to say I am discovering or any such thing. But that's ok.

40. I am looking for a possible explanation for this - consider A and B. Both of them good people. Though one is better than the other, under the hypothetical possibility of scoring people over the other, say, B is better than A. Also, assume that all people know this for a fact. There are still people who like A. How? Or why?

41. I am one of them. Ok! I like Nadal over Federer. I like Ajit Agarkar. Let me stress, it is NOT the game I am a fan of. It is the overall package. And I can't explain that.

42. I haven't bought clothes for the past 9 years. Alright. Just once, when I had to join my first company in 2005 after engineering. I mean c'mon I didn't have formals at all.

43. I, when in Mysore during my initial training period in the first job, did not iron my clothes for the whole of 4 months

44. I haven't ever been really scared. The last time I was scared was in my dreams. Long ago.

45. I do not believe in ghosts - but deep inside wish I can meet one sometime

46. I think girls should, in the name of equal rights, protest against reservation for women in educational institutions. Or support the caste based reservations. Or at least not protest that.

47. I like places based on the food it has to offer. Vegetarian, spicy and loads of street food. In that order. Mumbai, Mysore, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad - each of these places has great food. Chennai is the worst of all - with regards food.

48. I ask, and al I ask for is a little consideration

49. I love Mumbai for the precise reason you hate it. So, don't bother.

50. I think Gandhi absolutely rocked.

51. I possibly can't get more random than this

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sachin Tendulkar

I am a fan; never bordered on the fanatic though. Quite frankly, as a boy I took to Azhar the first time I saw him play. I used to mime him ditto on the field, with the collar up and all that. I even used to field in the covers. During my stint as the captain for my society's cricket team, I used to take notes on Azhar's field set-ups and bowling changes and later try to analyze when he made bowling changes. Why he would not have a midwicket fielder for Kumble. And why he would keep changing the field. How he would not talk to his team much. How he would be non-chalant when a field change would work - as if he knew it had to! I was a fan, I think for the first time in my life.

Then came 1996. Theworld cup. Till then, Sachin was like the army. Azhar was the general. Come '96 and Sachin became THE MAN. I fear going into relentless, directionless rant if I start of with the world cup series. I had always liked him. Ever since he walked in with that wire-like frame in 1989. I still remember the smirk on Wasim's face as he measured his run-up. And that bouncer, my heart had skipped a beat. I had liked him that instant. I wanted to be wearing whites and walk into the ground one day. It seemed that if Sachin could, I could too. Then that innings against NZ - the first time he opened the innings in a ODI. He blasted 82 off some 48 deliveries. He had the NZ bowlers scratching their head as the ball soared over all parts of the boundary - Danny Morrison and Chris Pringle wondering what the hell just happened. Believe me - there was a Viv Richards and then a Kris Srikanth - batsmen who were known to belt the bowlers 'fearlessly'. But those who remember this innings, will know what I mean when I say Sachin had redefined fearlessness. Top notch shots. The straight defensive shot that he plays so subtly that you would think the ball would drop dead right there and you could see Pringles jaw drop as the ball sped past him, the stumps, the umpire and between the fielders at mid-on and mid-off. The next ball, pitched short by a well built Pringle to sort of intimidate the little guy. Our guy - all of 5'4" (with shoes on) dances down the track - yes, to a short pitched delivery, brings down the heaviest bat in business with arguably the shortest arms in business too and pulls the ball over mid-wicket (Oh! Yes! He had that sort of time) for a six. And yet, the best scene was that of Pringle wondering what just happened.

Phew. And I better not go into 1998. Sharjah and the history it holds. It was dinner time. I am a slow eater. And that night, I redefined slow eating as one man in the middle wast was redifining human abilities. I need not tell what happened in Sharjah. I now had a God. Someone who can be seen. Someone who can save India. Who can pull us out of trouble - no matter what. A god who exists.

There was this time where many used to say he wasn't the best. He wasn't a match winner. He wasn't in form. He had changed. And what not. Yet, when they were told to look at the numbers for the past 6 months or so - they could see an ODI average of over 40 with a strike rate of over 80. And a test average of over 50 with a strike rate near 60! When people used to criticize or doubt or question Sachin, a smile used to find its way to my lips. The sort of smile Buddha must have sported when people asked him if there were God. There have been innumerable number of blog posts and e-mail forwards I would have received, read and felt good about. Got one today too - from my brother. I have never really shared e-mail forwards in a blog post. But today, I have no clue why, I want to share this...

To all you guys out there, a partial compilation of comments given by random cricketers and other known personalities on Sachin Tendulkar ...


Hashim Amla - "Nothing bad can happen to us if we're on a plane in India with Sachin Tendulkar on it."

Yaseer Hameed - "Sometimes you get so engrossed in watching batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar that you lose focus on your job."

Andrew Symonds - "To Sachin, the man we all want to be" (On an Aussie t-shirt he autographed specially for Sachin)

BBC - Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives "

But the finest compliment must be that bookmakers would not fix the odds - or a game - until Tendulkar was out

Wasim Akram - "Tuzhe pata hai tune kiska catch chhoda hai?" To Abdul Razzaq when the latter dropped Sachin's catch.

Brian Charles Lara - Sachin is a genius. I'm a mere mortal.

Mark Taylor - "We did not lose to a team called India...we lost to a man called Sachin"

M. L. Jaisimha - "The more I see of him the more confused I'm getting to which is his best knock."

McGrath - "The joy he brings to the millions of his countrymen, the grace with which he handles all the adulation and the expectations and his innate humility - all make for a one-in-a-billion individual,"

Anjali - "I can be hundred per cent sure that Sachin will not play for a minute longer when he is not enjoying himself. He is still so eager to go out there and play. He will play as long as he feels he can play,"


Kumble - I am fortunate that I've to bowl at him only in the nets!

Que: Who do you think as most important celebrity?
Shahrukh: There was a big party where stars from Bollywood and cricket were invited. Suddenly, there was a big noise, all wanted to see approaching Amitabh Bachhan. Then Sachin entered the hall and Amitabh was leading the queue to get a grab of the GENIUS!!

Navjot Singh Sidhu - India me aap PrimeMinister ko ek Baar Katghare me khada kar sakte hain..Par Sachin Tendulkar par Ungli nahi utha Sakte.. (You could take the PM of India to court - but can't raise a finger on Sachin)

Waqar Younis - He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also


Allan Donald - Sachin Tendulkar has often reminded me of a veteran army colonel who has many medals on his chest to show how he has conquered bowlers all over the world

Allan Donald's interview:
I was bowling to Sachin and he hit me for two fours in a row - one through point and the other in between point and gully. That was the last two balls of the over and the over after that we (SA) took a wicket and during the group meeting I told Jonty to be alert and I know a way to pin Sachin. And I delivered the first ball of my next over and it was a fuller length delivery outside off-stump. And I shouted catch. To my astonishment the ball was hit to the cover boundary. Such was the brilliance of Sachin. His reflex time is the best i have ever seen. It’s like 1/20th of a sec. To get his wicket better not prepare. At least you won’t regret if he hits you for boundaries.

Peter Rebouck (Aussie Journalist) - On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!

NKP Salve (former Union Minister) - "Sachin cannot cheat. He is to cricket what (Mahatma) Gandhiji was to politics"

Andy Flower - There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One, Sachin Tendulkar. Two, the rest.


PS: The text above is a direct copy paste from the e-mail fwd. I have run a quick sanity check - but still, please bear with grammatical, spell errors, if any.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Movie Review: Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

I have always maintained, 'No story is a bad story'. It is just the way you narrate it. Once simplified, something as seemingly profound as a Fight Club or a Taxi Driver can be made to sound ridiculously silly. On the other hand, there is Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, which try as you may - you can simply not narrate in an interesting way. Yet, when it is put on screen with a bunch of new comers leading the pack, it works. Things which in isolation would seem outdated and downright slapstick, stick together and are pulled off.

That is Abbas Tyrewala's directorial debut for you.

'You want to marry me?', she asks almost in disgust! 'Eew! No!', he exclaims in disbelief that she even thought that way. Just when she shows the slightest hint of relief he blurts out 'Do you want to marry me?' and she now shows the disgust that she earlier restrained. All this while her parents watch them in utter shock & disbelief. And then they start laughing. Sounds cheesy, right? Bland? Cliched, no? That's my point. And in spite of that the movie works. About 15 minutes into the movie I found myself taken to the movie as a child would to cartoons. Why would a child like cartoons? Because it is a place where things which otherwise do not talk, talk and more importantly it is fun. In a very similar way I loved this movie. It opens up in an unassuming way, slowly growing on the viewer. Never, thankfully, never does the movie take itself too seriously. The director knows that the movie is about having fun - and just that. Later in the second half, I was almost praying that, the drama shouldn't go over the top. In some scenes, it does - specially with Genelia and her fiance.

But that's alright. Because there is so much fun packed in the rest of the movie. I went in to the hall to watch this movie only for two reasons; one - Aamir Khan productions. In the sense, I much rather miss a good 'Jab We Met'/ 'Socha Na Tha' once a while than go and blunt my mind watching the hundred others with hunky guys and sweet looking girls. Which brings me to reason number two - neither was the guy hunky, nor the girl too stereotyped. Besides, it had 'Kabhi Kabhi Aditi' and 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' in it. One, an insanely catchy tune while the other one of the finest tributes to Jazz (Let's call the whole thing off). And such good fun.

Abbas's direction is nuanced. In the sense, he has an eye for details. Check out the dance sequences - where Aditi (Genelia) removes her pencil-heeled shoe before she steps on to the dance floor (Pappu can't dance) or where Rotlu (a friend) dances out of sync after Jai (Imran) elbows him in Kabhi Kabhi Aditi. The allusion to Mr. Godot is a tip to a classic play 'Waiting for Mr. Godot' and in fact is Naseeruddin Shah's debut play. I found it neat that the brother has a mouse for his pet and the sister, a cat. And then, there is a cat and mouse game that they play in between them, and right out of a Tom and Jerry episode, they also make up. The one single scene which talks so much about the brother-sister relationship. The way Aditi mouths 'What the F%^k?!' when she sees her brother's room for the first time. When Aditi innocently remarks 'I don't know where and how the last 5 years went by' Ratna Phatak Shah is delightfully funny in retorting with 'On the phone, my child! On the phone.' The poster in Jai's room that screams - 'Deadlines Amuse Me' and that it is the very deadline against which he races in the climax. All these and some more. And it is in these small packages that the movie delivers.

The performances are just about right - well, I did not find Imran brilliant or too natural. But he is likeable. Genelia carries most of the film on her. The support cast either underperforms or overperforms - but that imparts a sense of realism in the movie than actually hamper a scene. Paresh is at ease and Naseeruddin Shah has fun in the little time he has been given. The Khan brothers (Sohail and Arbaaz) have a cameo - quite well woven into the sub-plot. And for once, they do not irritate. Music is simply mind-blowing as you may expect from Rahman - tailored to fit the movie to the tee. Camera and editing are quite unimaginative - but the pace of the movie and freshness that oozes out of the narrative quite covers up for them.

Well, the movie also has one of the 'safest bet' endings of Hindi cinema - Heroine leaving country and hero stops her at the airport - at the last moment, of course. But then the build up to this climax will tell you that it is not a safe-bet move by the director. It is instead a parody, of sorts, in a way a tribute to the Hindi movie climax of yore. While the romance track is the focal point - it is the refreshingly cartoonesque context to Jai and his family which keeps the gear up. Naseeruddin Shah (God, is there a role that could challenge him?) is rib ticklingly funny as the dead father who speaks to his wife Ratna Phatak through his portrait (a la Hum Paanch?). I wouldn't spoil the movie for y'all here - but watch out for the storyline that is built in parallel and how it blends to lead up to the climax.

Friday, April 10, 2009


This is cool. Now I can post blogs run-time. No more opening new windows and logging in and going to the 'New post' page! Phew! Over and above this, it gives me a 'Preview' option to see just how the entry would look in my blog page. Whoa! Rich.

Blog away to glory. Blogspot and other blogging sites are blocked at office. Let's see how they stop this. Hio ha ha!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Movie Review: Firaaq

'Such movies should not be made when it is peace time!' ~Mom
'How come they release such movies just before the elections?' ~Friend 1
'Pure exploitation. People suffered, yaar and these people want to make money out of it...' ~Friend 2

This is what happens when you do not watch the movie before your environment does. Rare occasions these, where I get so many opinions. All hinting at the same thing - yet another riot movie. So there I was, almost 2 weeks since the movie released and already put off by these comments. The only factor that would tickle my decision making faculties was the fact that it marks Nandita's debut as a director. They finally decided to give a nod ahead.

And what a good decision it was. What a movie – I was totally blown away. The movie is much similar in thought and intention as a Mumbai Meri Jaan (or a Parzania even) - to some extent in treatment as well. But, I felt this movie was tighter in narration and notches better in direction. Where a Mumbai Meri Jaan ropes in some amount of commercialism in the form of heavy dialogues and light humor, or a Parzania grips you by showing explicit scenes of rioting, Firaaq revels in subtlety. The plot drives the movie – no story with a start and a finish – is a day; yes, just one day; in the lives of 10-12 people 1 month after the shameful riots in Gujarat. It talks about people in varying age groups from various strata of the society both economically and socially and their ‘day in the life after riots’. Much like Mumbari Meri Jaan - where the director quite nicely portrays the lives of ordinary Mumbaikars after 7/11. Firaaq talks about a young Muslim couple from a lower economic background who have their house burnt, a Hindustani classical singer (lost in his own world refusing to accept the existence of evil) with a loyal helper and a (Hindu) doctor who also forms his only audience, a higher middle class Hindu-Muslim couple, a set of 4 Muslim friends from the botttom social strata, 2 friends - a Hindu girl and a Muslim gir, a Gujju couple and a common friend & of course the little boy through whose eyes we quite start seeing the movie in the latter half.

Where a Mumbai Meri Jaan leaves us with a communally unbiased taste, Firaaq concentrates on the minority group and its suffering, much like Parzania. Time and again the question of ‘Why not cover Hindu’s losses’ is raised; both by the characters in the movie and by our minds in the audience - and Nandita puts a stop to all such questions when one of the character mentions – ‘Yes, our losses – covered by insurance!’ While not all might agree to that statement, I thought the statement in itself is much loaded.

With little or no background score, the onus was on squarely on the director, actors and the cameraman to build tension. All of them do it with ease and élan. Nandita has got her touches in quite a few scenes and certain frames stick to the mind like photographs, long after the movie is over. Not a single riot scene is shown, though the opening sequence is quite bold. Yet, throughout the 2 hours Nandita is able to maintain the tension amongst the audience. The curfew due to a possible riot that evening is shown – and you find yourself just short of gripping the arm of your chair. The scene where a set of young and inflamed Muslims see the pistol for the first time - they place it on a table and gather around it like little children to marvel at the newfound symbol of power. The childlike glint in each eye is superbly captured. The touch lies not here - but in showing the little kid walking across them in the background as if to contrast the blisfully ignorant child's mind to the power-corrupt minds of the youth. The closing scene where the child go backs to the camp, refusing to take part in a game of marbles and taking his seat near Nasser, each looking once at each other, and then the camera zooms in to the child's face as it begins to accept the new changed life is a beauty. The movie is punctuated with profound and poignant dialogues. There is this wonderfully crafted dialogue where Tisca Chopra says 'Our life is packed in boxes...' which seems like a nod to the famous 'Life is a box of chocolates'. Then there is Nasseruddin Shah exclaiming 'The giver (God) is blind!' And, these dialogues bewarned wouldn't come with crescendo backed music or be preceded with pregnant silences. They would be spilled out in the most obvious manner - like you or I were to be in their shoes.

Where in a screen time of 120 minutes one chooses to fit in an array of powerhouse performers - most established directors would struggle to do justice to each. And this is one area where Nandita decides to let the narrative decide. And what a touch of class this move turns out to be. Barring Nasser, each one of the actors shares near equal screen time and establish their characters effortlessly in less than half a minute. Tamil actor, Nasser – one of the most irrationally underused and wasted actors of all time, is seen in a delightful 2 scene cameo – opening and closing. Performance wise – almost everyone comes up aces. Paresh Rawal, Nasseruddin Shah seem to be doing a daily chore while portraying the respective character – excelling in a delightfully non-chalant way. Sanjay Suri essays a character which, if the budget permitted, would have been bagged by Madhavan. Raghuveer Yadav is brilliant in his little character, as is Dipti Naval as the troubled soul. The young Muslim couple is the only underfit (not a misfit, mind you, they were sincere and in any other assembly would have been stand out - but here they fade) amongst this ensemble of brilliant performers. Due credit to Sreekar Prasad who has edited the movie in as crisp a fashion as seen ever. Not a single moment of wasted screen time. Nandita, in yet another display of amazing maturity makes a brilliant film making decision; she restrains from interlocking the lives of the plot holders leading to a high tension climax, which I thought added much more realism while compromising on the masses. The emotions are under check - and the result is a most objective display of a 'work of fiction - inspired by a thousand true stories!'

Overall – for its many moments and freshness in spite of being a follower to Parzania and MMJ; Firaaq stands on its own. It is not as hard hitting as a Parzania. It doesn't have the national/ mass appeal of a Mumbai Meri Jaan. It has its share of charm - not in conten - but in style.

Into the night we all go
Troubled minds and bags
Life as we know, no longer so

Little faces wake up with a grin
The scar from yesterday fades
A new life begins!