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Kurbaan – a Review November 22, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in Bollywood, hindi films, india, Jihad Politics, Personal, Review, Saifeena.
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8 comments

Avantika, the heroine of Kurbaan finds the truth of her neighbour, including her husband’s evil terror designs by the most facile manner. She is under lock and key supervised by highly motivated terrorist’s who forget to search her. She in fact has a phone on her!

Still interested? Avantika who knows that a plane carrying a special delegation to Iraq is about to be BOMBED does NOT call the cops – inspite of having a phone!! She calls up a journalist who is traveling on the said plane – who like most travelers switches off her phone before take-off.

Vivek Oberoi’s journalist character (with horrible accents that change like calamitous weather) again discovers that there is a terrorist cell in operation about to carry a HUGE operation. What does he do? He decides to investigate on his own – without informing the FBI. And better still – he goes and informs his editor that he has LEADS but is not going to inform the FBI! You would assume that the editor would pick up the phone and call the FBI. But no sir, he doesn’t. All this after 9/11.

There is more. Even after knowing that the terrorist cell is targeting the Metro Lines and even after the 1st bombing – people in America go about their daily lives. The authorities continue to operate the Metro instead of closing it down and sanitizing it so that our plot reaches it logical ending.

The clothes of course are good. And the locations. Couple of scenes work well. But does it justify the lack of careful attention to screenplay-detail? Seems like that. We are cagey in our criticism until and unless there is an ulterior motive. A taut flawless script is no guarantee of a film’s success. I like Rang De Basanti (at least I did when I last saw it). My friends laugh and mock me, but I still enjoy it inspite of the inconsistencies and flights of fancy. RDB has a sincere charm – the emotions of those characters are infectious and accessible. You are ready to gloss over because you believe in the film emotionally if not intellectually.

That is not possible with Kurbaan’s because its politics exist in a no man’s land. A Pakistani posing as a professor, charms off an Indian psychology professor teaching in the US so that he can take revenge on the white man and his politics of oil. The story of his idyll being destroyed by America is told by Kiron Kher’s character. Similarly Kiron Kher and family’s rage has a backstory set in Afghanistan.

The complex web of the Jihad – Wahabism, invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, the Mujahideen, the Saudi funding of Madrasas, the CIA financing of the Mujahideen, the ISI agenda of funding terror for strategic depth in Afghanistan, the radicalization of Pakistan under Zia, the strangle-hold of the military in Pakistan, the emergence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda – nothing is even remotely touched upon. Kurbaa’s reductionism lays the blame on the door of the US of A. Is it that simple?

Do we see any evidence of what Bhaijaan (Om Puri) constantly asserts – that Ehsaan (Saif) is falling for Avantika (Kareena). NO. It is just a bogey so that when Ehsaan actually does have a change of heart without any reason whatsoever (no it’s nothing to do with the kid that Avantika is carrying) you have to gloss over the obvious lack of motivation. Again Ehsaas, the numero – uno terrorist is surprised by the rigging of Avantika’s bag. Is he a fool or a motivated fanatic?

Is Kurbaan a vivisection of the increasing clash of cultures between Islam and Christianity? NO. Is it a study of radicalization of the world per se. NO. Does India play any role in it? Nothing other than the fact that the film starts in India and the heroine has Indian roots.

Kurbaa’s characters lie in a no-man’s land. Are we supposed to like the film because it features 2 of India’s good-looking, talked-about people who are in a relationship? Good ploy but it fails.

 

 

 

 

India’s Parliament House Abandoned August 11, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in india, Musings, Opinion, Parliament, Personal, Random, terrorism.
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6 comments

Due to various terrorist threats from LET, JEM, HUM, HUJI etc India has finally decided to abandon the hallowed precincts of the parliament house – so far the epicenter of Indian democracy.

A Presidential ordinance has decreed that henceforth whatever little Parliamentary work gets done (after the heckling, walkouts, absenteeism and discussion on the content of sleazy reality shows) will be outsourced to a friendly nation that is not under the threat of extremism. According to preliminary reports of various consultancy firms, the situation looks grim. There are very few nations they say that can pass such an impossible filter.

Arctic and Antarctic is too cold our hot-blooded M.P’s have announced and promptly denounced such plans made by a panel that largely comprised of M.P’s from the north, used to the cold.

Meanwhile the terror groups are disappointed at the sudden turnaround and according to unconfirmed reports, recruitment in LET, JEM has fallen because of the sudden lack of interesting international targets. The de-motivated cadre is being promised newer enemies.

The Parliament House is slated to be converted into a impregnable fortress that no Indian or foreigner can see, touch, admire or destroy.

Comeback May 22, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in india, Indian Elections, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Random, World, Writing.
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4 comments

The comeback. It’s always difficult. Far too many examples around us to not see its relevance and I should add, the difficulty, if not the impossibility.

What should I write on? I had missed the most important and self-sustaining of all – the Indian Elections. Similarly with IPl.

Work takes a toll. I try to be the dedicated blogger – scouring my life and its elements to give me enough inspiration to forget that I am tired and and put some words to all the ideas. But I fail.

Coming back to the comeback theme. Ask Congress or BJP or Manmohan or Advani or Rahul or Prabhakaran.

Who would have thought that Mr. Singh will get what he got? Who would have given Rahul G the foresight to change the tables in UP.  Was Advani or the BJP over-confident? All of them wanted the grand comeback. To register themselves on the consciousness of the nation, but…

Prabhakjaran the man whom the cats envied finally ran out of lives. He thought that violence or his kind of violence will be greater than the miliraty/state violence of Sri Lanka but paid the ultimate price. Perhaps peace making a comeback his with death.

What does the comeback entail? Prescience or luck?

We of course can read the winds of change or status quo. We of course are also blinded by our own prejudices to either be indifferent to it or reject it outright. We of course being blinded read it any which way we like.

Some thought that strength is because of aggression, violence. And paid the price. That to if you reject one you automatically open the doors to the opposite. And failed on both counts.

Aam Aadmi or the Common Man or Woman – was it this much neglected entity who made a quiet comeback? Neglected, a lower citizen, perenially a seasonal electoral favourite it was this X factor that made a comeback – surprising everyone.

They pushed the youth, they sidelined violence and hate, rewarded the meek, silent one and tried to strike a balance – a middle path. It too shall be rocky. So lets hang on.

Exclusive Varun Tape Forensic Report April 2, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in Bizarre, fun, hate, Humor, india, Indian Elections 2009, Personal, Politics, Polity, Random, Society, Writing.
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7 comments

Technical Committee on Lip Reading

The committee members are all watching the Varun Gandhi speech.

Peon comes with a plateful of samosas from Agrawal Sweets. Piping hot tea is also served. Some sealed and otherwise Bisleri bottles on tables.

Mr. Sharma: badhiya hai

Mr. Khan: KYA?

Sharma: arre samosa bhai

Mr. Khan: O.K

BEAT

Khan: samosa baad main bhi khaya ja sakta hai Sharmaji.

Somebody: shhh!

The screening ends

Ms. Singh: aur ek baar dekhen?

Mr. Mukherjee: what is there to see? It is to HEAR?

Ms. Singh: so do you want to hear, Mr. Mukherjee?

Mr. Khan: NAHIN. Main is tauheen ko ek baar bhi nahin dohrana chahta. Saboot sabke saamne hai.

Mr. Sharma: Kyon Mr. Fernandes kya ye tape sach hai?

Mr. Fernandes: prima facie it looks true but…we will have to investigate further before reaching any conclusion because there is a possibility, however slight, that highly capable techno-savvy tech-terrorists, hell-bent on sowing the seeds of division in this great country of ours, and mind you there are quite a few of them, might have tampered so very subtly with the actual contents of this tape, pardon me CD, that what looks true might actually be way off the mark if not completely untrue, so I request patience from the gentlemen here and not to forget the women, how could I forget them that instead of asking me whether it is true or not they should ask – ‘Is it possible’?

Mr. Khan: Is it possible?

Mr. Fernandes: of course it is possible.

Ms. Singh: so what you are saying is that the evidence presented here – in this CD is false?

Mr. Fernandes: I didn’t say that, No.

Mr. Sharma: to phir aap kya bo rahe hain?

Mr. Mukherjee: tum gol gol ghumata hai humko. English humko bhi aata hai. I studied in the Presidency College before you were even born you…confuse karta hai. Kitna paisa diya tumko Sharma ne?

Sharma: Mujherjee babu, zabaan ko lagaam dijiye…

Ms. Singh: oh please…Sharmaji rehne dijiye na.

Mr. Sharma: hamari asmita ko thes pahuncha rahe hain aur aap hain ki

Mr. Khan: aur ye jo bol rahe hain?

Mr. Sharma: kaun kya bol raha hai?

Mr. Khan: yahi…inka to naam bhi nahin liya jaata…kya laajawaab bhasha hai

Mr. Sharma: dekhiye Khaansaab saabit ho jaane dijiye phir bechare par…

Ms. Barat: saabit…andhe hain aap? Forensic ka bahana aur nahin chalega. 10 saal lag jayenge lekin kuch pata nahin chalega.

Mr. Sharma: dekhiye ye haal to pura des ka hai. Ab jawaan khoon hai ladka bhi hai…ho gayi ghalti…chodiye na

Mr. Mukherjee: hum jaata hai…tum log samosa khao, baat karo, mera meeting hai…

Mr. Khan: to kya hua? Ye masla suljhana zaroori hai

Mukherjee sits down

Ms. Barat: Mr. Fernandes. Briefly – is it tampered or genuine?

Mr. Fernandes: you see Ms. B…

Ms. Barat takes out a gun from her handbag and fires in the air. Everybody is shocked and scared.

Mr. Sharma: arre asli hai Madam…

Ms. Barat: KYA?

Mr. Sharma: bandook!

Ms. Barat: NAHIN. Footage asli hai?

Mr. Khan: aap jaisa chahen mohtarma…hamien koi aitraaz nahin hai…

Ms. Singh: is this happening?

Mr. Mukherjee: aah! she is a true revolutionary!

Ms. Barat: FFOTAAAAAAAGE!

Mr. Fernandes: Madam it is genuine, true but you see in India we cannot punish even 1 innocent man…

Fernandes slumps to the table. Everybody is shocked. Fernandes they realize is dead!

Ms. Singh: now what?

Mr. Khan: agli taarikh kabki rakhein?

Mr. Mukherjee: mujhe kya…I don’t care…

Ms. Barat: bandook nakli thi…really see

Mr. Sharma: aap bhi na…khair phir milte hain. Khansaab aapko chhod doon?

Mr. Khan: bilkul, shukriya.

Dear Pakistanis – a letter from India December 9, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in bizaree, Blogging, Hindu, india, Mass Media, Media, Muslim, nation, Opinion, pakistan, Personal, Politics, Random, State, strange, terrorism, World, Writing.
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17 comments

Dear All Pakistanis

Many wishes on Bakri Eid. On this auspicious day I would
like to get in touch with as many of my neighbour’s as possible, considering
that we don’t treat each other with a shred of respect or trust. That is an
over-statement. We do exchange liberals, pleasantries, sweets and cricket
for sure.

We also exchange a whole lot of artillery, bombs and hate.
Courtesy our history. Why to blame history? Why blame 1947 all the time. I have
stopped. How many generations have to die to forget the wounds of that horrible
partition? Nobody has any answers to that?

A little about India. Probably you know a lot
already, but here is a bit more.

We are all angry zealots here.

We have camps here where Hindu’s practice bombing Pakistnai
towns and cities.

The ambition of all rich and poor youngsters who practice in
these camps (yes wonder of wonders rich and poor together – the benefits of a
common enemy you see) here is to spread the saffron flag in all regions of the
world and popularize Hindu Gods all over this glorious earth

India
in fact is not a multi-religious country at all. The Indian STATE regularly
torments people of all other religions

Everyday numerous legions of people who profess a religion
other than Hindusim are slaughtered – the recent attack on churches in fact was
an aberration – what actually happened was – the Christians briefly gained guts
and started attacking the vandals – briefly – that’s the real story

The Indian Media is quite pathetic. It is controlled by a nexus of State/Capitalists/Hindus/Liberals – quite bizarre actually. Orwell himself approves of this combination

We are the most honest lot in the world. Period.

It is a corruption free country. Please check it out for
yourself.

Cricket is actually not that popular in the country. Nor is
Bollywood. All that is hype and projection.

There is peace everywhere in our land. No violence.
Absolutely.

The riots that happen in India are not because of social
tensions and exploitation by various power groups. It is because of deep,
extreme boredom amongst communities who then just do it…following the
empowering American mantra

Babri Masjid was actually not demolished by zealot Hindus.
It was the handiwork of non-state actors from…let me get back to you on this.

Dawood Ibrahim regularly plays cricket in front on his house
in central Mumbai. With the cops in fact.

I won’t go any further because I don’t think you will trust
me. But I am sure you will have your own sources to figure out what is true and
what is false. You will get all the ‘evidence’ needed to satiate your
inquisitive brain. Actually for you all of this is a no-brainer. Isn’t it?

Many wishes and all the best.

Love,

A deluded, chaotic, corrupt, violent, India. Hell, I said
it.

Exclusive Zardari, Gilani, Kiyani, Pasha, Qureshi Meeting Excerpts December 7, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Government, india, Opinion, Personal, Politics, terror, terrorism, World, Writing.
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12 comments

President of Pakistan Mr. Zardari, chief of ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, army chief Kiyani, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Gilani have just seen Miss. Condoleeza Rice to the car.

Zardari, Gilani and Qureshi are waving at the disappearing car whereas Pasha and Kiyani are already walking back in.

Pasha: Mohtarma chali gayi par inka khauff…

Kiyani: Mulk main tangi hai par inki tafri kabhie khatm nahin hoti.

Zardari and Gilani walk back towards them.

Zardari: I had told you Gilli that she will believe me. She trusts me.

Qureshi: yes she does. You are a charmer sir I tell you.

Gilani: Janab mujhe shaq hai ki unhe shaq hai.

Zardari: shaq is not enough miyan…you need proof. Like they say the proof is in the pudding. Where is the pudding?

Dressed waiters rush towards the men and all of them taste it.

All: wah wah. Masha allah!

They have many a round and finally look satiated. They sit around lush surroundings watching more reportage from India.

Zardari: now?

Everybody waits.

Zardari: o.k. We will see.

He walks off. The others also go their separate ways.

Zardari reaches his room and his phone rings.

Zardari: hello

Gilani: Janab kahin jang chid gayi to?

Zardari: Nonsense. India will never attack us.

Gilani: kyon janab?

Zardari: blackmail. Nuclear warfare. Indians are too responsible for their own good. Unhe yakeen hai ki hamare mulk main itne bad-dimaag log hain ki koi bhi, kabhie bhi wo lal button daba dega.

Gilani: sahi sochte hain?

Zardari: isi ka fayda ham uthayenge. Ghabrao mat Gilli, Manmohan is a nice man…he won’t do it. Good pudding, what say?

He cuts the line; falls on the bed and dozes off. Benazir smiles from the wall.

A piercing ring wakes Zardari. It is the phone. That ring is reserved only for the President of the USA.

Zardari thinks for a while, a long while and then picks it up and gives the best accent possible.

Zardari: Mr. President.

Bush: Shut up

Zardari: but, Mr.

Bush: shut up or my drone is nearby. I will bomb your palace, really.

Zardari: you are harsh sir.

Bush: who did it?

Zardari: Mr. President, now really, we, I mean, how would I know?

Bush: how do I know?

Zardari: what do you mean? You know? How do you know?

Bush: should I bomb you?

Zardari: who did it Mr. President?

Bush: you know I used to think that I am the smartest guy around but you guys are the best, really. You are probably the most irresponsible country in the world and you get world bank loans.

Zardari: thank you Mr. President.

Bush: catch them.

Zardari: catch whom Mr….

Bush: SHUT UP you As…

Silence. More silence.

Bush: o.k don’t piss me off anymore. Catch those bearded bastards. LET, JEM, ABCD whatever.

Zardari: but sir, they didn’t

Bush bangs the phone down.

Zardari is left with the receiver in his hands. He looks around, sighs and looks at the Benazir portrait looking at him.

Zardari: this is the mess I am supposed to clean. Why did you die?

Zardari makes a call

Zardari: Qureshi all of them in 10 minutes.

Qureshi, Kiyani, Pasha and Gilani are in the conference room.

Pasha: ab kya hua?

Kiyani: mujhe aur bhi kaam hain.

Gilani: sabr kariye

Both of them shoot a glance at him and then start laughing.

Gilani and Qureshi exchange glances but are unable to do anything. Zardari walks into the laughter.

Zardari: oh…people are in great spirits here. So, shall we begin? Yes?

Everybody nods.

Zardari: who did it?

Silence.

Zardari: let me repeat myself…who did it?

Silence.

Zardari: urdu main fermaata hoon. Kisne kiya?

Kiyani: kya?

Zardari: Mumbai.

Silence.

Zardari: Abhi phone aaya tha America se. Unhe bhi pata hai. Kisne kiya hai?

Kiyani: janaab honge koi. Hamein kya?

Zardari: kisne kiya? Miyan Pasha aap bahut chup chap hain? Apni rai to farmaye.

Pasha: mujhe lagta hai unke apne log, ya to army ya to kaafiron ka kya bharosa. Malegaon ko dohraya gaya hai janaab.

Zardari stares at him.

Gilani: wo aisa kyon karenge?

Kiyani: hamare Pak aur bedaag daaman ko badnaam karne ke liye, aur kya?

Zardari: ho sakta hai. Bilkul ho sakta hai. Par aisa hai nahin. To phir kisne kiya hai? Lashkar?

Pasha: saazish hai janaab. Kaafiron ki saazish hai. Aur koi saboot bhi to nahin hai. Sirf yakeen aur daawon se kya hota hai.

Zardari: Mohtarma Rice ke file shaayad aapne nahin padha.

Pasha: janaab file se kya hota hai. Saboot chahiye. Pukhta saboot.

Zardari: jo pakda gaya uska kya?

Kiyani: uska kuch nahin janaab.

Gilani: saari duniya ham par shaq karti karti hai.

Pasha: duniya ko chodiye janaab.

Qureshi: it is getting difficult you see

Pasha: urdu main farmayenge?

Qureshi: janaab pressure badhta ja raha hai.

Kiyani: to?

BEAT

Pasha: Pakistan is not involved – ye line dohrate rahiye. Isse asaan kaam aur kya ho sakta hai?

Kiyani: na to aap front pe goliyon ka shikaar ho rahe hain aur na hi jubaani jung lad sakte hain. Aap is mulk ke kis kaam ke? Oxford ki taleem kab kaam aayegi janaab? Apne saaf lehje main muskuraate hue kehna hai – Pakistan is not involved bas…

BEAT

Zardari: shabaash Kiyani. Wah mere cheete!

Zardari goes to Kiyani and pinches his cheek.

Zardari: like that Abhishek Bachchan ad ‘what an idea sirji’. Wah wah. I have got it.

Everybody waits.

Gilani: janaab hamein bhi batay.

Zardari: hum…yani ke hum log yani ki Pakistani government ka Mumbai haadsa se koi lena dena nahi hai.

Qureshi: sir…er…janaab hum to pehle se yahi kehte aa rahe hain…

Zardari: farq hai. Pehle hum kehte the ki koi bhi Pakistani involved nahi hai – RIGHT?

All shake their head.

Zardari: ab hum kahenge ki Pakistani hukmuran yani ki government yani ki hum Bambai haadson ke liye zimmevar nahin hain. Kyon?

All think for a while.

Kiyani: iska matlab hai ki Pakistani Army zimmevar ho sakti hai?

Zardari: bilkul.

Pasha: ISI bhi.

Zardari: bilkul.

Gilani: par hamari army ye tohmat kyon le janaab jab wo begunaah hain?

Zardari: begunaah? Come on general. Tell them.

Gilani is surprised.

Kiyani: maaf kijiyega.

Kiyani walks to the side. It is an aside. Zardari joins him.

Kiyani: main kuch samjha nahin?

Zardari: aapko kya lagta hai ki main paagal hoon?

Kiyani: ji nahin…

Zardari: mere paas pukhta suboot hain. Saari duniya ke paas pukhta suboot hain? Aapko pata tha?

Kiyani is silent.

Kiyani: janaab mujhe sharminda kar rahe hain.

Zardari: aapko pata tha.

He joins the others, Kiyani follows

Zardari: to Qureshi…you know what to say. Aap kahenge ki ‘hamari…yani ki Government ki khabar main ye baat aati to hum Hindustan ki sarkar ko khabar karte aur ye haada na hota.’

Pasha: aap hum par tohmat laga rahe hain janaab?

Zardari: bilkul nahin. Aap par ilzaam laga kar mujhe marna hai kya…begum ki tarah.

Pasha: Janaab naaraaz hain?

Qureshi: sir…sir…Dawood ka kya karen?

Pasha: kuch nahin.

Gilani: hamein kuch to karna chahiye?

Pasha: kyon karen janaab…humne jab kuch kiya hi nahin.

Zardari: ENOUGH. Humne kuch nahin kiya. Bambai main blast hua hi nahin. Hamare mulk main koi terrorsits nahin, na hi training camps, na hi LET, na hi JEM…na hi Dawood, na hi Sayeed, na hi Muzammil…ye sab kaafiron ki saazish thi…BJP ki kahein to behtar hoga…elections ke liye…ya to keh dijiye ki aanewaali koi Bollywood film ke liye shooting practice thi.

Zardari walks off.

Patil Out, Pakistan Next November 30, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Death, Governance, india, Life, Opinion, pakistan, Personal, Politics, protest, terrorism, urban terror, World, Writing.
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12 comments

Finally, Mr. Shivraj Patil has put in his papers. Or, as the gossip goes, he was asked by the party president Mrs. Gandhi to. It’s a sad state of affairs that even for relinquishing that thankless post that the entire nation now equates with inefficiency he couldn’t follow his conscience, but had to be asked. Will efficiency henceforth be the criteria for appointments or loyalty, your guess is as good as mine.

Pakistan next. India is on the verge of suspending the ceasefire on it western and northern borders. India should also suspend all trade, bus and air routes to this nation that is absolutely shameless. No wonder its people suffer from the rulers that they get. No cricket. No exchange during Id or Diwali. We are your enemies. You see us as enemies and so shall we. Tough international sanctions must be imposed on this wolf in a sheeps clothing, crying hoarse that they are victims of terror. Manmohan Singh believed this spiel. So did Advani and Atal and were back stabbed by Kargil. Still we believe the the janus in nexus – the administration and the military.

There is a time for peace and unfortunately a time for more stringent measures if not war. A lot depends on how the politicians and political parties. RR Patil must be prosecuted for his statements. How insensitive and callous can the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra get? He is congratulating himself and government for saving the lives of roughly 4650 people as according to his estimates 5000 dead was the target of the terrorists.

Will Vilasrao still continue to be the chief minister to keep other regional satraps out of power. Or will a person with a vision for the state, its people and one who understands the extra-ordinary role that Mumbai plays be allowed to ascend the chair.

I am sure other than some cosmetic measures nothing much will change. The current rage should not dissipate. I went to a citizines initiative in the morning today where people couldn’t come to a conclusion as to the route to be adopted. There are ANGER marches being planned against the government,  both at the center and the state. Most are frustrated with the apathy all around. Will peaceful pressure by numbers of Indian citizens have an impact on the politicians?

If not taken notice, one day it might not be peaceful any more.

India Dying… November 28, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, hate, india, Mass Media, Media, Mumbai, nation, Personal, Policy, terror, Urban, World, Writing.
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2 comments

Mumbai is still under siege. Now more than 50 hours after an unspecified number of terrorists attacked the iconic Taj Mahal hotel – frequented by the rich; Café Leopold, a favourite of the backpacking foreign tourist; CST or VT, the main railway terminal of the city and the lifeline of the thriving business and commercial capital of the city.

As expected, there has been outrage from all quarters. The government is shocked and so is the Mumbaikar. I will not mention the spirit of Mumbai because it is just a media creation. I didn’t feel like working and probably would need a therapist in some time – a victim of terror – gluttony. People are not even feigning normalcy. There is fatigue – with the government and with the world in general.

For not taking the threat of terror seriously. 2 Prime Ministers of the country from the same family have been assassinated; half of the country suffers from some sort of insurgency or unrest; we have wonderful neighbours in the form of Pakistan, Nepal and Bangla Desh and yet…

Inefficient Response Units – although the police force laid down its life fighting the terrorists, it is safe to argue that the Indian police is under-armed, under-trained, unfit and de-motivated to take on such an attack as took place. Efficiency is different from bravado and emotion doesn’t win you a battle.

Good Neighbourly Relations – I don’t want good neighbourly relations with Pakistan or any other state that uses violence as an instrument of state policy against my country and people. We will suffer economically…well, so will they. We will suffer culturally? I don’t care and if we did deeper I don’t think that will be the case. There will be no cricket? So be it. How does cricket make any difference? There are other countries that we can play against; create new healthy rivalries and celebrate our defeats and victories.

Politicians.

People. People who crowd a high – security zone where commandos are trying to flush out motivated terrorists. Bizarre.

Media. Plays an important role and played one in this case also. But the constant emphasis on human interest stories by Barkha Dutt revealed a perverse desire to milk the personal tragedy of people. Not done, especially when done ad nauseum. Plus the marginalization of common ordinary middle class folk of the city. All the shows were populated by the rich of South Mumbai. What was the man on the street thinking? Any idea?

Javed Jaffry – I have always liked Javed Jaffrey but he said something that is a sliver now. When asked what he thought about the terror attack he said something like this – (this is the gist. I am not quoting verbatim) ‘there is a history of injustice in India. People don’t get justice. The British woman complains and her case is put on fast track whereas the others…all this is because of injustice’. He also spoke about Babri, the Bombay riots, Gujarat and the Christians in Orissa.

So for all the injustice that India personifies here we present the attack on 26th of Nov 08.

I am missing something here.

India is not a perfect country. India is not yet a just country. So is most of the world. So, let us arm ourselves and take each other’s revenge. Wonderful concept. Purely evolutionary. The strong will survive…

I offer my apologies, can we sit and talk or do you want to measure the amount of historical exorcisim that will be just right to settle old scores…all of this of course in the blood of young and old, man and woman, boy and girl and oh not to forget the children of course…and then and only then if you are satiated…

Oxford & Me November 13, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Entertainment, fun, india, Lists, Opinion, Personal, Random, Writing.
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This is the Top Ten Irritating phrases compiled by Oxford researchers

01. At the end of the day

02 – Fairly unique

03 – I personally

04 – At this moment in time

05 – With all due respect

06 – Absolutely

07 – It’s a nightmare

08 – Shouldn’t of

09 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science

This is mine

01. You know how it is

02. It’s a pleasure meeting you

03. Mind blowing

04. This is all because of God

05. Is that so?

06. I just knew it

07. This is breaking news

08. Terrorists have no religion

09. Our generation

10. Let’s not reinvent the wheel

Fashion – A Review November 3, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Films, india, Movies, Opinion, Personal, Review, Writing.
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Fashion is…well it’s a film that will divide opinion. All films, the good, the bad and the indifferent do that. But I am not talking about the easy toss-up of opinion that is garnished with popcorn during interval.

Fashion is not a popcorn film. Thank god for that. It is not without its flaws. In fact it has many. Let’s start with them first.

Chandigarh is supposed to be a small town. It is true, it is not Bombay, but the city’s apparent regressive small-towness can’t even be compared with Jamshedpur – where I come from. Priyanka Chopra hails from this stifling small town. Her parents and especially the godfather of hamming Raj Babbar are conservative.

Coming to family – what’s with Kiran Juneja’s cleavage? That was the moment I started to hate Fashion. Initially I thought the reverse angle would rectify this, but no – Juneja’s exposure, somehow communicates, to me at least, the director’s vision – that Miss Chopra’s ambitions – of becoming a model, which are tainted, supported by Babbar’s opposition on moral grounds, somehow, emanates from the mother.

This is just one example of what Bhandarkar does best – pins and paints characters with large brushes of generalizations. Wants to be a success, has ambitions so must be having a promiscuous grain, and if the profession entails wearing clothes that more often than not reveal more than they cover…you get the message.

Coming back – Piggy Chops sleeps her way to the top and forgets the gentle conservative, small – town values that she had landed in Bombay with. She meets and uses people close to her, basically exploits them, so that the ride is quick and at the same time strangely expects a non-exploitative relationship from her exploiters.

Success corrupts her; she becomes a Diva; loses friends, love, contracts and ends up being a nervous wreck….like she is warned by one Shonali, played by Kangana Ranaut. Meghna Mathur’s career, now a spiraling trainwreck, is punctuated by sexual acts…in increasing order of sin…first with Maanav, her ostensible love; then with Arbaaz, the owner of a fashion magazine and the last but not the least with an unnamed black person she meets at a party, fueled by drugs and booze. The last encounter shatters her and she returns home. A dream ends.

NO. The perpetually silent daughter is now given a boost by guess who – Raj Babbar – another convenient and hasty device. She returns to Bombay, mends fences with Mugda Godse’s Janet, becomes mother Mary to Kangana’s Shonali, now on the streets and shorn of all glory and sense fails but doesn’t give up. Our heroine picks up the pieces and in a neat swelling of the chorus and rolling of the drums moment, her redemption is achieved.

Inspite of the facile generalization of the industry and its people – Fashion works. It works because it doesn’t shy away from the dark and gloomy and depressing; a constant now with the director’s films (don’t count Trishakti, Satta, Corporate and Traffic Signal – all 3 fail because of bad casting, acting and his over-confidence at picking a subject fit for an expose). People are shown doing coke, shooting heroine and having sex for the sake of furthering one’s career. People are shown ambitious, manipulative, weak and succumbing to their ambition. They are ruled and are slaves to their desires of fame, fortune and not to some abstract or subservient to some finally excusable family emergency.

Other than Chitrashi Rawat and Raj Babbar, most of them do a good job. Miss Godse, Bajwa, Kittu G, Arbaaz, Harsh Chaya, Ashwin Mushran, Sameer Soni – all do a good supporting role.

And Priyanka the heroine? It is her best performance till date. The film rides on her wispy shoulders and she succeeds – from a wannabe to a Diva to a wreck to her eventual resurrection – she might never get a character like Meghna Mathur.

Which brings us to Kangana. She ends up a cliché she has popularized – of a perpetually tortured woman – addicted to her white line of coke and booze – a Diva on the loose, high on her success. People get tired of clichés. But Shonali’s 1st entry shows that Kangana can walk the model’s talk as good as any. I was impressed.

Her second entry – a hand held / steadycam shot following her full frontal – gave me something that happens rarely in the darkness of a theater – a memory. Vanity, contempt, arrogance, over – confidence, madness, beauty and charisma – the minutiae of her character coalesced in perfect harmony in that walk. When did I see that last?