Monday, January 31, 2011


(This is an old article written for Mid Day by writer-director Anurag Kashyap, for your reading pleasure)

I woke up… I woke up on my table… my desk, my chair, next to my half empty glass of rum. There was no buzz. No drunkenness. No sleep. Was I even sleeping? I looked at my watch. It was 4 in the morning. There was a not-yet written script lying on my table… a month past my deadline… What am I doing? I am a writer who finishes a script in 48 hours. Why am I a month past my deadline? Nobody calls, the phone doesn’t ring, I did not pay the bill. My director is hopping mad. My producer? I don’t care for him. No producer cares for the writer, why should I care for him. I am awake you know, I am not sleeping next to my producer’s wife. It’s him… it’s him having a heart attack over the unwritten script. Right next to his wife.

I look out of the window. The monsoon is here. Is it? Well, may be Al Gore is right… Global warming is fact, not fiction… Monsoon hitting Bombay on May 31 indeed. Last monsoon, I was neck deep in water, hoping to be a hero, hoping to see someone drown so I could save him and become a hero. I missed my chance, found the roof of a car to sit out the rain… Goddamn BMC.

I lose my train of thought… Where was I? Why am I? Who? What? Why not?
There is a light I see at Yashraj Studios from my window. May be they are celebrating Fanaa… May be they are celebrating the fact that Black Friday is still stuck. Why do I hate this city? Is it because I love it too much, or is it because it loves me? Tried leaving it, but came back… What is it? What is that Mid Day wants from me? Why should I write? Which time frame should I choose? Now it’s 4.00, no, 4.08 am.

I am hungry… The Railway Restaurant won’t open before 5.05. Maybe I should start walking to the station. Will reach on time. But what about the stray dogs? Oh! They must be sleeping. It’s a Dog’s life. Well, at least the Dog sleeps at this hour. Why is the light still on at Yashraj? Why did the whole industry come out in favour of Fanaa’s release in Gujarat? It was unfair. It was unfair, but wasn’t my film not releasing not unfair? Why did Hrithik get all democratic on the front page of Mid Day now?

Did he not know the meaning of democracy when my films were stopped? Selective support. Selective forthrightness. Selective God knows what! Who am I? Aamir Khan is a bloody hero… even for me. So? Well, he is a hero who gets away… I am a zero who never got away… Like Anil Kapoor told me the other day, “Bandh mutthi hain tu. You are lucky your films didn’t release. What has luck got to do with credibility? I think I should eat something… let me finish my whisky… (Pause)
Let’s go.

Should not make noise when I shut the door. Ummmm… there… Goddamn elevator… Why is called the elevator, even when we descend? Descendor or Descentor? Goddamn grammar! Why do they play that bloody tune in the elevator? Who wants to know, when someone is coming out or going in? Isn’t silence better? Go up without anyone finding out or sink without a trace… Elevators shouldn’t play tunes and watchmen shouldn’t be sleeping…

“Wake up, open the jaali… Why is he looking at me like that? Does he hate me? Well, I come in at this hour. normally… always… Right after my films were stopped… for months at least. Has he forgotten? Don’t make noise…
Will be back…

No noise…

No dogs bark…

That black one is sleeping… Good. A rickshaw? No. I am to walk. Sorry. I walk.
Will the Sun come out today? In the sky… in my life? You know, there is a new law that’s been passed by the Supreme Court, that allows dissent… May be the SC looked up the dictionary. They finally realised dissent is not slander. It’s just _expression. How many know dissent is _expression?

Well… Bhansali doesn’t. He thought my article on Black was slander. Ramu I disowned Kaun and Shool in my interview to Maxim! Why do people think only they can disown their flops? Who are the megalomaniacs here? Well, you can’t make a man understand something if his salary depended on “him not understanding it”.

Why is the cop jeep standing there? Why is he looking at me? Do I look drunk? I should watch my step and walk in a straight line… like a ramp model. Heel follows toe follows heel… Hips swinging… Will he think I am gay? I’m not gay. I’m not happy either. I am not sad yet. Not angry… Cynical, maybe…

Charles Bukowski zindabad. I am just Comfortably Numb. It’s on my T-shirt. Roger Waters zindabad… Home security… Red Indians… defending America since 1492… Who is the terrorist?

Why doesn’t my mind just crash? It talks too much… Non-stop… to me. Am I going nuts? No. I am just walking. I will find my road. It’s only… what? 4.34 am. Not yet. Which time slot did Mid Day want me to write on? They produced Black Friday. Tariq is a good man. He was defeated too by the system. Black Friday did not release. If your system is f****ed, and you know it, clap your hands. I’ve got that T-shirt too…
Ramadoss. He hates smoking. I hate smoking too. Where are my cigarettes? Ah! Found them. I hate smoking because I love it. Not good to love anything too much. Cigarettes, scotch or women… Smoking, drinking and screwing… Nice book.

Why do they always screen Bhojpuri films at Navrang? I should make my Bhojpuri thriller soon. Thriller? Bhojpuri? Are you nuts? Am I… or are they?
Why were the lights on at Yashraj? Must appreciate Adi. When Paanch was banned and I asked him for help, he said, “I don’t speak to the press for anything”.He is the only one who did not come out even for Fanaa. He is consistent. You can trust him. I hope Kabul Express makes the most money for Yashraj… more than Fanaa, Veer-Zaara and everything else. So they will consider non-Yashraj Films.

Must check out Ghoom. Why do they have shots of New York cut to Chaiyya Chaiyya in Inside Man? Doesn’t make sense. Spike Lee has lost it. Who hasn’t? I have lost it completely.

Gitanjali Rao won three awards at Cannes without the industry’s support. They didn’t even invite her to the Indian parties. No one in this industry has more imagination or skill than her. They still do not acknowledge her. Who should I feel sorry for? She rocks. Rest don’t. The press didn’t talk of her achievement. May be they will when they know she is Priyadarshini Rao’s sister… Sad. You have to be somebody’s someone, or else you’re nobody’s no one. I am nobody’s no one.

What a city! I love it. They don’t know you till they celebrate you. They don’t know you till they either hate or love you. They don’t know you till you bother them, till you rock their boat, till you make money for them, till you get a release…
Why I am stuck without a release? I am still making my fourth film. I think I need a wild, wanton, uninhibited, uncensored, unlitigated, unjinxed, un… where was I? What do I need? Am I talking sex here? What has sex got to do with litigation? Orgasm is democratic. It’s for everyone. It’s secular. It’s both known and unknown. It’s between the ears. Other than the other thing between them we don’t normally use.
Mediocrity is good… less mediocrity is great… Good looking mediocrity is celebrated… That’s our cinema. That’s our country. Cuntry roads, take me home, to the place, where I belong… West Virginia… Western Railway Restaurant… Kheema Pav… Chai… five one six… 5.16 am…

This is the only Irani restaurant still alive in Andheri, or should I say still lit up in Andheri… It’s fascinating. The early morning customers are the people who either sleep in the trains or the ones who have walked from the beach. Right across is McDonalds… McDonalds, which now stands in place of the guest house where I spent my first two nights in Mumbai… the 3rd and 4th June of 1993. How I survived this city then… Don’t think it will be possible now…

I knew nothing then, could sleep easily on the road. It didn’t bother me. Today? I don’t know… I look too well-fed… will attract cops… peddlers… God knows who…
Then, they would just say, “Hero banne aaya hai!” Did I come here to be hero? A filmi hero? A real hero? Hero of miseries and self-loathing? I am the king of the little men, I am the king of little dreams, I am the king of little somethings, I am the king of nothing.

Right outside this restaurant was the phone booth from which I would call and harass Mukul Anand. We would laugh at how harassed he was after umpteen calls from wannabes like us… I don’t laugh anymore. I keep my phones off…

Brun Maska… Didn’t have the courage to bite into the Brun for months… couldn’t see why everyone loved it… then came the time when I could afford nothing but Brun… Dip Dip Dip… It was divine. Kheema Pav was seven rupees a plate then… It’s 24 now… The old man at the counter is same, only much older now…

God! When was it that I last commuted by local trains? I can’t remember. Am I forgetting things that I used to live on? For the last seven years, I’ve been so caught up trying to prove a point… Never left the city except for work till Paanch was banned, till I got my passport…

I used to love doing this… must contact the guy who wrote that book about the ad executive living in trains… What was his name? Sh**… He will kill me… loved the book… could make a good film on it… Add my two bits to it… Do I really think, or do I just worry all the time? Still hate Authority…

Some things in life are really unfair. Wish my dad was a rich man… If I was a rich man, what would I do? Buy more DVDs… My room is closing in on me… Like a Hideo Nakata movie… The Room…. Layers of books… walls of them… It will eat me up one day… Room eats up a frustrated writer… I always thought my room made me insular… It’s actually nibbling away at me… All those great books that I didn’t write, All the incredible graphic novels I didn’t sketch… All the movies I did not make… It’s gnawing away at me…

Why is it that UNITED 93, made only four years after 9/11, can release in the US? Even FLIGHT 93, that too, when the case is still on… Why not Black Friday? Why do we make films in this country?

What do our films say, do? Do they really entertain? Do we really have choices? The loser talks again… Shut up… Focus ahead… Haven’t yet started eating… Look at him. Why is he staring at me? Do I know him? Does he know me… from Prithvi? Is he an actor who was rejected for Black Friday? Was he the one who put the curse on the movie? Am I delusional… depressed… Jerry Pinto has not called me yet… I miss New York. Could walk the streets for hours… like I did when I came here in ‘93. Must check out the Chinese stall Prashant used to work at.

Is he the man who stole eight hundred bucks from me back then… Then why is he staring at me… Excuse me… hello uncle… kya hua… ghoor kyon rahe ho… hello, aapse baat kar raha hoon… silence… sh**! The guy has a problem in his eye… Sorry… He is not staring at me… Why should he stare at me?

You meet so many people… It creates a sense of déjà vu. Everyone seems familiar… so familiar that we are afraid to be recognised in our unprepared-for moments… so familiar that we try to be at our best, always… Why do people wear dark glasses? So we can hide our fear in our eyes, or our vulnerability? Or just our eyes?
Milind Soman is naked in Valley of Flowers. Women will love the movie. I should shoot a good sex scene one day. And then watch it in the trial room, before the censors cut it out… What is it about nudity that scares people? Rakhi Sawant is a queen… Her contradictions are legendary… Thank God for contradictions… others are so predictable.. She rocks. Like Zsa Zsa Gabor said about Jane Russel? “She has talent… In fact, two of them.” Was it Zsa Zsa Gabor? When will we have our own Zsa Zsa Gabor? Why, our actors don’t even touch each other during intimate scenes. Why do actresses cover their breasts with a hand during father-daughter hugging scenes? Why don’t we let go? Why don’t I let go? Why do I keep at it — complaining?

I am not Subhash K Jha… I don’t know Sammir Dattani… I should shut up… Who is afraid of Subhash K Jha? Come on Albee, he is no Virginia Woolf. He is no Virginia. He is just, ah… No… stop it.

I should interview Nitish Kumar over the phone and write about Bihar politics from Bombay… That would be my revenge. He follows the dictum… to the D.
Facts must never get in the way of the truth… Doctors bury their mistakes, lawyers hang theirs, journalists put it on the front page…

I wish I was Samir Dattani… Then at least one person would have loved me unconditionally, regardless of my lack of talent.. like my cameraman Nutty says, “Babu, yeh teri maa meri maa nahi hai, cinemaa hai…”

Should head back now… Have bitched enough… Sour grapes, Mr Kashyap… This city needs a hurricane. Maybe if Katrina hits Mumbai, it will be a cleaner city… BMC will be relieved… Katrina has hit Mumbai… in a much different way…

This city wakes up so early… people sleep so late.. or just wander the streets. Everybody is so busy. No one bothers to ask you the time They just steal your watch. It’s almost seven… in the morning… can’t walk any more…
Rickshaw… How can someone listen to Jhalak dikhlaja in full blast at this hour?
“Bhaisaab, volume kam karenge?
“Himesh Reshammiya hai, saar…”
“Mujhe pata hai lekin abhi mood nahi hai…”
“Mood toh sunne se aata hai…”

You can’t argue with them. They have their rickshaw, They want their Himesh. Is there a rickshaw that plays Joni Mitchell? I know one that played Baha Men… Who let the dogs out? Exactly. Who let them out… Maneka Gandhi, my T-shirt says… If we are not allowed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

The other T-shirt answers: Ham and eggs. A day’s work for a chicken, a lifetime for a pig…

Contradictions… Tales of ordinary madness. Charles Bukowski zindabad… The rickshaw driver is a bloody racist. He wants to race the cyclewallah and overtake him, but gives away to the BEST bus… Bloody racist.

Who is the BEST in our industry? Big B… Big Best… Who am I then? The irritating Auto Rickshaw who will find his way eventually… scratching, scratched, denting, dented. But will break the Goddam red light.

Mumbai zindabad… It’s 7.15 am… Look at that watchman, looks like he kept watch all night… Bloody pretender… Doesn’t know his Shakespeare… Rosencrantz and Guildensternare are really dead… Something is really rotten in state of Denmark. I am no f***ing Hamlet. Omkara will rock. Again the Goddamn elevator tune… Sixth floor… Newspapers… Milkman… My room… Good Night.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jhankaar Beats Movie Review

Sujoy Ghosh’s debut film Jhankaar Beats is a little gem that endears itself to the audience right from the opening sequence. A story about two friends, doffing a hat at the much revered Sholay, Jhankaar Beats is their journey from zilch to Jhankaar Beaters. The film starts with the Deep and Rishi participating and losing a music contest ‘Jhankaar Beats’ so the obvious ending to this film would be them winning it. There is no deviation from the obvious but the way things unfold, it is an experience that stays with you for long after you’ve seen the film.

Produced by Pritish Nandy, this landmark film touted as the ‘father of multiplex films’ is a simple story simply told. No razzmatazz, no special effects, this film is all heart and wit. Every character in the film is for a reason. The setting is very urban but still will not alienate the masses and a big credit for that goes to debutante music director duo – Vishal and Shekhar. The music is as much a part of the film as the dialogues. The characters are all quirky and are relatable in their own sweet ways.

Deep and Rishi (played by Sanjay Suri and Rahul Bose)work at an advertising agency and are passionate about music, their idol being R D Burman who they fondly call Boss… the film gets a new dimension altogether. Both the leads are married, while Deep is the father of a child, Rishi, though married is a child himself. Their wives played by Juhi Chawla and Twinkle Khanna respectively are going through their own transitions in life.

In between all this another character Neel (played by Shayan Munshi) is thrown in for the extra effect. He is the butt of the jokes; sometimes he is the joke himself. He is in love with a girl he saw at a bus stand and never has the guts to propose to his lady love (played by Riya Sen). The story moves around Rishi, Deep and Neel getting to their goals, crossing simple and complex hurdles thrown at them by life, with a fantastic sense of humour and a pinch of salt.

Deep is planning to buy an expensive keyboard while his wife wants them to save money for the child they are expecting. Rishi is going through a divorce process despite the fact that he loves his wife so much that he had given her all the tapes of ‘Boss’ that he had painstakingly collected over the years. Neel is just not man enough to say the three magic words, instead ends up saying “mujhe us taklu ke saath sex karna hai.” Amidst all the madness there is a condom campaign to be cracked, a music contest to be won and personal battles to be fought. They do all that, with the trademark madness that makes this film a collectors’ item.

The mood, the tone and everything else is just perfect and lends to the ambience of the film. This is a film that you can watch over and over again and still have that goofy smile pasted on your face till someone throws a ‘mundu’ at your face. Want to know what ‘mundu’ is? Watch Jhankaar Beats.

P.S.: This is the first Indian commercial film that shows a blowjob, but don’t think about sex. Please don’t. Enjoy the joy ride with Boss and his cronies.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kuchh samaan...

A Keyrun Rao Original

Kuchh baadal batore hain
Thode khushi ki boondein
Dard ke bade samandar
Nigal ke baithe hain jo

Phoot ke chhalkenge jazbaat
Sookhe lahu si kaali raat

Kuchh rishte batore hain
Kas ke seene se lagaaye
Chhoot-te hi nahin humse
Jaise laash se latke saaye

Bheegi si muskaan mein
Piro liye hain ye tamaam

Kuchh yaadein batore hain
Meethe namkeen aur rangeen
Baar-baar jeete hain unhe
Jaise bhi ho chaahe kahin

Chhil jaati hai ye khudi
Shaayad sazaa hai badhi

Kuchh zakhm batore hain
Kharonch ke maze lete hain
Nishaan bade gehre hain
Phir bhi kyon raas aate hain

Dard to ab thehar gaya
Mera wo kal ab guzar gaya

Kuchh lamhe batore hain
Thode tanha kuchh mehfil ke
Kabhi to shor tha itna bada
kabhi meri tanhaai goonjti

In sab ke beech jee lete hain
Kabhi sambhle ya gir lete hain

Kuchh duayein batori hain
Zindagi aur khushiyon ki
Saath rehte hain jo mere
Marte jeete jaise bhi

Saara kuchh to ye tera hai
Mera kya hai jo ab mara nahin...