Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mirzya: Celebrating the fragrance of eternal love

Please note: This is not a review of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's latest film, 'Mirzya', and there are no spoilers of any sort.

A round of applause for actors, Harshvardhan Kapoor & Saiyami Kher - 'Mirzya' doesn't seem like their debut film.

There are two magicians who make this film a thing of beauty, a joy forever: Gulzar Saab & cinematographer, Pawel Dyllus. Needless to say, a hat tip to the director, Mr. Mehra for pulling off a love story in an age when eternal love is a rarity lost somewhere on our digital timelines and limited attention spans.

As a hopeless romantic, it has been my constant pursuit to understand the phenomena that love is, and it will remain so till I am alive. Thanks to 'Mirzya' I have found some deep insights into the feeling of love, as it celebrates the eternal fragrance of love. The only thing I have always wanted is love - this give and take of love has been the most used currency in my life, to the point that I think that I have never worked for the want of money, or have stopped working if I had a lot.

It was always the love I felt from the employer (immediate bosses) and the colleagues.

Give me love, and I will love you right back till death do us apart. For me love is and will always be forever a constant. I discovered my idea of love while watching 'Sadma' as a kid, I still don't know why I cried throughout the entire climax, because I was too young to know anything beyond food and poop. I can only guess that perhaps a love of mine from some other lifetime reached out to me though that gem of a film that 'Sadma' is.

Later in my life I was filled with the fragrance of love when I watched 'Sagar' - I think I was sold by the fact that love makes you do the craziest of things with no expectations whatsoever.  As Gulzar Saab has aptly put, there are only three witnesses of love. Sample this:

The thing about love is that it gifts us with memories galore, and moments of intense passion, to the point of no redemption. There's a quote, "If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt - only love." This line resonates throughout 'Mirzya,' and I have felt this too. Those who have been reading my blogs would know about Rani, the love of my life, who went through this trauma, just because I had locked up my heart for the longest time, because I knew I couldn't take another heart break.

At least not in this lifetime.

“Doonge dard judaiyan de, kad lende ne jaan…”
[The wounds of separation run deep and take the life out of you]...

Sadly, this 'Hichki' thing really doesn't let you sleep well.

If the love is real, it reaches out to the lover through the sheer power of the universe. Rani found me when she was a popular radio jockey at Dubai, at the prime of her career. I was just a rookie writer-day dreamer, with hopes of becoming a filmmaker. I could understand how in 'Mirzya' the lovers reunite even when they have been away for two decades, the two soulmates will reconnect at some point in time, their geographies be damned, with the same passion as before.

“Gol gol ghoome zameen, aave na jaave kahin…”

For me, 'Mirzya' highlighted the eternity in love which seems to have lost its relevance in our time. The thing is that though the way we dress and talk must have changed, but the concept of love will always have the same fragrance as ever. In a recent interview for The Hindu, Gulzar Saab said -

 "The change is in what you wear, the way you live, in your relationships. A different period means a different culture. So your behaviour pattern will also have to be different. Speed has altered; the rhythm of life has changed. There is such a lot of gadgetry. Earlier, it was like someone has gone to the city, there will be no news, close ones will wonder when he will be back. Now you can talk on the phone anywhere, any time, any moment. You fly in planes. When will you come back from abroad? Well today if you tell someone in the morning to come, they can reach by the evening. This is the speed of life. But the speed of a heartbeat is still the same. Dil aaj bhi usi rafter se dhadakta hai [the heart still beats at the same pace]. That is eternal. Aapke aansoo usi rafter se behte hain, nabz waise hi chalti hai [Your tears fall at the same speed, the pulse moves the same way]."

Dil aaj bhi usi raftaar se dhadakta hai. That is eternal. Aapke aansoo usi raftaar se behte hain, nabz waise hi chalti hai.

I couldn't agree more, Gulzar Saab! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sholay review by a soldier of the Indian Army

This analogous post may interest the faujis...
Enjoy the perspective...😊

As part of grooming of Young Officers, a CO showed them Sholay  and asked them to write a Review on it......
Here is what a bright Spark wrote......

General area Ramgarh was under the Command of Thakur Saab. Thakur Saab had no regular army, instead he lead a group of untrained unmotivated farmers, a transport incharge Basanti, as a Runner he had Ramu Kaka.

This general area Ramgarh faced threat of raids by the Company strength commanded by Gabbar Singh. Gabbar though had a company under his command, yet at any point of time he only had a section strength at his disposal with rest of the men deployed on various missions. As his Scout, he had a well trained Samba who always remembered the count of men. The adm requirements were taken care by Kalia who consumed Namak and Gaali on a regular basis. As recreation activity Gabbar and his troops played troop games and saw cultural items like

1. Where they shot their men and tested their luck factor and called it Goli 6, Aadmi 3.

2. Dance performances by Basanti by keeping her love interest a hostage at gunpoint.

To counter the attack/raids by the troops of Gabbar Singh. Thakur requested for an attachment of Buddy pair from Special Forces who were specially trained with high OQ, named Jai and Veeru. They followed the duties as a buddy pair religiously and on occasions of conflict decided it upon tossing of a coin.

On the first occasion of interaction between these SF men and the Raid party sent by Gabbana, SF men had taken secure tactical positions in Mutual Support and attained total surprise as the raid party had to retreat without accomplishing their primary task of collection of adm stores  forcefully from the people of general area Ramgarh. This retreat hurt Commander Gabbar Singh's ego and as a result he gunned down his three own men while playing the game Goli 6, Aadmi 3. To reply back, Commander Gabbar Singh sent a patrol whose primary task was to find out the strength of the troops employed by Thakur Saab and to make a good attack plan. On observations of the patrol it was decided that a full scale attack be conducted on the Holi day and Commander Gabbar Singh would lead the troops himself, after briefing them. Commander Gabbar Singh's troops attacked general area Ramgarh while the celebrations were going on and there was no one to pass alarm for Stand To, as a result of which Gabbar attained total surprise and had caused chaos among the people of Ramgarh. Because of the high quality of training received by Jai and Veeru and proper employement of Fire and Move tactics the area Ramgarh was saved from major defeat. They fought valiantly in buddy pairs against the 2 sections of Commander Gabbar and prevented any possible loss of life.

As the mission set by Commander was not successfully accomplished, he decided to take transport incharge Basanti as hostage. A rescue team of 2 was sent by Thakur Saab to rescue Basanti. This lead to a full scale combat between the two troops and the ground became of tactical importance when the two troops got separated by a bridge over the river flowing west to east.

Due to lack of proper transport, only 1 could go with Basanti back, and on toss of coin it was decided that Veeru would rescue Basanti and get reinforcements and till then Jai would   stop the enemy troops from charging further ahead by taking defiladed posn behind a rock. After firing a few rounds, Jai went out of ammunition and due to the unavailability of second line of ammunition the tactical importance of the bridge increased and Jai's primary motive became successful demolition of the bridge, which would deny the enemy any advance. Jai had a grenade at his disposal but the grenade malfunctioned and didn't blast, and only last few rounds left with Jai could have fused the bomb on being accurately fired at. Jai being the marksman could shoot the grenade at the exact point which blasted resulting in complete destruction of the bridge. But in the process Jai was severely injured and upon arrival of Veer u became a martyr succumbed to his injuries. This angered Veeru and he headed towards the area where Commander Gabbar's troops were stationed all alone in full Josh and high Morale. With the help of his zeroed weapon Veeru could make proper use of his ammunitions and hold true the slogan "One Bullet, One Enemy" in every engagement. On successfully killing most of the troops of Gabbar he later had to face the challenge of hand-to-hand combat with the well built Commander. Veeru even won this combat all due to his high morale and his training at Special Forces.

Lessons learnt are:
With a zeroed weapon, a reliable buddy and proper training any task can be accomplished.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ek khwaab samjha tha

Ek khwaab samjha tha
A Keyrun Rao original

Khwaab se jaaga hoon main umron baad
Galti se jisey pyaar samjha tha maine
Dil mera chheel ke gayi hai kuchh aise woh
Jisey maine apna yaar samjha tha kabhi
Na jaane ab kahaan kho gayi hai woh

Aaj toh roney do bahut der tak mujhe 
Aansoo toh ruk bhi nahin rahey hain mere
Meri saansein baaqi hain ab tak jaane kyon
Kuchh sunaayi bhi de raha hai tujhe?
Itne sawaal hain mere, koi toh jawaab do

Veeraan se din hain mere, andheri si raatein,
Abhi khatm nahin hui hain hamari baatein,
Ruk jaao meri palkon mein bas ek raat aur
Aao hum kucch karein thodi si aur mulaakaatein

Bas ek khwaab sa samjha tha tujhe,
Ab thodi si neend ko hum ab roz taraste hain,
Kahin nahin hai tere jaisa koi khwaab mein mera 
Teri yaadon ke bina, mere naina ab baraste hain 

Khwaab se jaaga hoon main umron baad
Tujhse milne ko meri rooh kyon tarasti hai,
Tere jaane ke baad bhi mujh mein qaid hai tu
Teri muskaan ab bhi meri saanson mein basti hai.

Ek khwaab sa samjha tha tujhe, jaane kyon?
Tujh se bada mera koi sach bhi to hai nahin
Ek muskaan mujhe de ja kuchch der ke liye
Us se bada bhi mera koi aaj sach hai hi nahin 

Original song here:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dear Vishal Dadlani, it's too late to quit!

Dear Vishal,

Like millions of your fans, I have been following and loving your work since 'Wo pehli baar,' 'Allah ke bande,' and of course, post 'Jhankaar Beats,' my love for your music was cemented forever. Needless to say, equal credit for the music also goes to your partner-in-crime, Shekhar Ravjiani, as well, but let me save that fanboy story for another day, and immediately get to the point.

Artists who have a vested interest in mainstream Hindi cinema have been forced to keep mum about their political opinion. Then there is another breed like me, who for the longest time either thought politics was either boring or too uncool to even care a damn. Despite the fact that I am an educated Indian, I still don't have a voter's ID, and I haven't cast a single vote yet - I am 36 years old.

I know it's a shame, but you, Vishal, shook me up when you first rose up, and voiced your support for  AAP. Suddenly you made me realise that it is okay to have an opinion, and it is even better if you stand up for what you think is right. There have been many leaders and legends who have been saying this for ages - the same words of wisdom coming from you, made it relevant for many like me.

Anybody who has been following your work and thoughts, on and off social media, will know that you are a bloody hardworking guy, who takes time out and stands for anything and anybody that / who stands for what's fair, reasonable, logical and right. You have been the person who has wit, sarcasm, and a sane (sometimes insane) of putting your thoughts across, irrespective of the outcome.

Your fearlessness has been an inspiration for many like me, who would have otherwise kept shut and go on with their lives. It is all thanks to you that today, I have got to a point where I voice my opinion (on and off social media) and faced the ire of trolls and bhakts, who surprisingly / shockingly existed in my friend list. If not for you and your unique ways to take down your trolls, I wouldn't know how to deal with them - I have learned so much from you.

When I read that you are biting the dust, and crawling back into the voiceless zone, I felt let down by my hero - seriously let down. You have been giving hope and voice to millions like me, and now MY CLIENT WANTS CELLO TAPE BACK. Fuck you, for leaving us all mid way. I really hope you rethink this decision and continue to be the awesome person that you have been. If you decide to go mute, I am sure I will never cast a vote ever in my life.

Just a reminder:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

FAN: Thank God, Shahrukh Khan still can!

Disclaimer 1: Have been a huge Shahrukh Khan fan, just like many others, who discovered love with him, in Aditya Chopra's DDLJ.

Disclaimer 2: I still continue to love SRK, despite his films. His last film that I remember watching like a crazy fan was 'Chak De India' - I watched it at Urvashi theatre (Bangalore) seven times back to back, over a crazy weekend. Have lost count of times that I watched it on TV over the years.

I am few of the lucky SRK fans who watched DDLJ at Maratha Mandir in its 1000th week. It was an evening I will never forget, and like all other good things in life, I only have Rani to thank. Coming back to being a fan of Shahrukh, let me admit I have skipped most of his films post Chak De. India!. I took a leap of faith with Dilwale, but came back embarrassed. The SRK of Chennai Express & Dilwale are not the SRK that I had loved, and still continue to do so.

I don't know how this works, because an actor should be loved for his films, no? May be it is the thing that they call - connection - mera connection bhi solid hai. Post Chak De, India! I have only waited for his films for the interviews he gave (print and video all included) during the films' promotions. I know he has his justified reasons for doing the kind of films that he has been doing, but please count me out. Since Chennai Express was first announced, I thought that I will have to make do with his interviews and inspiring speeches only.

Things changed when Fan was announced, and I was privy to a little more info about the film than normal fans (again thanks to Rani). I thought it would be a game-changer for the Shahrukh the actor, that I loved to bits. After watching Maneesh Sharma's Fan, I can only say that, Shahrukh still can act - like the supremely talented guy that he is. To pull off a Guarav Chandna like he did, you have to be a bloody good actor - it's not every actor's cup of tea.

What do I say about Fan the film? It didn't work for me as a film, but as a fan of SRK, it was an eye-opener. It left my eyes open wide. I could not believe the spectacle that had unfolded in front of me. My Shahrukh had delivered a double whammy, both as Gaurav and as Aryan Khanna too! There is no point nitpicking the flaws of the film, but what I came back with was an actor so flawless, who took jokes at his own superstar image, in a way that only he can, and has been doing all these years.

As a fan it has always been embarrassing for me when friends poked jokes at most of his recent films, but now onwards, his double role in Fan will be my way to get back at haters. Thankfully I am not even a fraction of a fan like Gaurav in Fan, but I still try & defend him whenever I can, but how long could I keep on talking about Chak De, India!? Mr. Maneesh Sharma and Adi sir, thank you for giving us fans this film. We all owe you this one, big time.

Now looking forward to Raees & the Imtiaz Ali film.

Dear Shahrukh Khan, I love you... all over again.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kapoor And Sons: Miss the moments, miss the pictures.

I just turned 35.

The same day that Shakun Batra's Kapoor And Sons released.

Date: 18th March, 2016.

I still feel all of 15.

Some dispute here, as some friends and relatives think that I have only turned 5, but that's besides the point.

I just came back home after watching 'Kapoor and Sons,' light hearted and teary eyed.

Haven't written in a long time, hence sorry for the gap. Have been working too hard trying to make a living by all means legal. Basically writing things that I will never get credit for in this lifetime. No, I am not complaining, I love my job and everything about it - even the portions that I can't take credit for. I love my life the way it is. I might have been happier with a grandpa a-la Chintuji in K.A.S.

Coming back to Dharma Productions' Kapoor And Sons, I was sold out the day I watched the trailer. To be fair, till about 6 years ago I was the guy who watched 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham,' and cried each time the 'brothers on the bench' scene played out - I would cry my eyes out. I have this thing about family bonding, though I have been way too detached to my immediate family most of my life.

Films like Swarg and Baghbaan have consistently made my cry like a baby waiting to be fed. I cry a lot while watching films, especially when Jai dies in Sholay, or Tina in Mr. India. I am an emotional fool, but I am a shrewd fool, I don't cry very easily. That's the thing about 'Kapoor And Sons,' I held on till perhaps the last hour, and then I cried my eyes out... slowly but copiously.

I am still an amateur when it comes to family dynamics, though I have been blessed with a perfectly imperfect family. I had convinced myself that my kid brother was an adopted one, years ago. I still don't know how my parents managed to live together all these years. Arranged marriages, I tell you. All this, till I got married to the love of my life, Rani. I suddenly became the elder son.

I love my kid brother, and I am proud of all his accomplishments - but it always hurt that he was the perfect son that I could never be. I revisited that hurt in Kapoor And Sons. Actually so many scars that I had buried deep down within, years ago, just came tumbling out while watching Rahul and Arjun in Kapoor And Sons. Sometimes I wish all parents had only one child. HAHAHA

Silly me.

And then there is this whole thing about being your own person. I am glad we are perhaps the last generation where our career choices will not be governed by those of our parents or relatives' kids. There were very few relatives or friends who had anything to do with me when I had joined the BPO. Even less, when I chose to write for a living. It didn't help that writing pays so less.

While my cousins had bought apartments and cars, and subsequently had babies, all I had by then were a few boxes of books and DVDs as my material possessions. I had my baggages, just like all those men and women I saw in Kapoor And Sons. We all need to lose our baggages, once in a while - it makes us lose weight, and times can give us wings to fly. We need to fly away from our nests too.

That is mandatory. Fly away, if only for a bit.

Let's talk about the moments - only a few of the priceless moments make their way into pictures. This was perhaps the biggest learning from Kapoor And Sons. There are moments that we want to capture and preserve forever, and there are some we are ashamed of, or choose to ignore. I was home last Diwali, and I miss taking a few more pictures with my family. Who knows how long we are here?

Let me just say that watching Kapoor And Sons was an experience where I spoke to myself more than what the film or the filmmaker spoke to me - or may be that was the genius of Shakun Batra. A story so universal, of all our lives put together in less than three hours. There are some films that need to be preserved for posterity, this one was one such. So many moments, one beautiful picture.

One family, Kapoor And Sons, since 1921.