Monday, August 21, 2006
99 out of 100 people you meet will advise you against watching this movie, as they did to me. I still went for that one time and perhaps, you ought to, as well.
Like me, you may have been intrigued with the characters of the movie and the director coming on forums like NDTV's We, the people and discussing things other than what you would expect people who have been parts of a Karan Johar production to discuss. I mean, how many times have you seen a Shobha De discussing a Karan Johar movie other than to rubbish it and the ideal family values that it portrays? How many times have you seen a Shahrukh Khan straying from the "I am dream walking into my romantic roles" statements of his to something like "I did not know and did not believe in the character that I was playing"?
Even if you haven't seen all Karan movies, take it from me since I have that you will not find anything like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna if you take your mind in the past. In fact, the movie is as much away from tradition as it could have been. Amidst protests that accuse the movie of showing things in an irresponsible light that may encourage people to take the easy way out of problems and some others that claim that the movie does not show what is real in the Indian context and is too far fetched to be of any interest to the audience, I will like to put forth that the very fact that the movie has been able to raise such aspects and critique means that there is something more to it than being claimed by some.
At no point do I want to say that I liked the movie. I did not and the movie had a lot of glitches and unnecessary package for me to enjoy it totally but that it did provoke some thought process inside me, I can not deny. Unlike its predecessors who have raised the bad marriage question many times in the past, KANK tries to find solutions in the coves that have been unexplored by Bollywood so far. As Karan Johar says in the chat show, his friends and contemporaries (which would mean people like me and others of my age group) are facing more marriage woes than ever before and more importantly, they have no compunctions in looking at the easy way out, get out of a bad marriage.
At the cost of giving away some part of the movie's story (which is not too much of a suspense, anyway), let me point the crux of the matter here. There are two couples not hitting it off with each other and one part each of these couples gets disjointed from the traditional view of marriage and tries and finds love outside marriage. The transition from saying "Family is family" with some conviction to mocking at the same words is what Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is all about. It does take more than three and a half hours to say that and despite this being the worst aspect of the movie, I believe that the job has been done and the message conveyed in as explicit a manner as there could have been.
Right from the Sexy Sam character of Amitabh Bachchan to the anti-tradition, pseudo-modern undertones of the story, the movie is set in the context of the urban young and there, too, the concentration is more on those who have already broken away from the mould, if not in reality then at least in the head. Somewhere along the line, the intended audience of this movie is prepared to let go of the threads that bind them to the Indian way of treating relationships. A stark contrast to earlier movies of Karan Johar that have always shown the weakest of Van der Waal's forces enough to not only sustain, but even mend the most embittered of relationships, KANK shows that there comes a time when even the Indian says "enough is enough".
The best part about such giving up of relationships in the movie is that it is not driven by something very concrete like the man beating the wife or the wife being a promiscuous cheat, but the more subtle feelings of being left out, being forced to make a "samjhauta" are at the back of the redical steps...small things that we all know, make all the difference in real life, as well.
Cut to what everyone has been talking about...yes, the movie is horribly long, Amitabh Bachchan is wasted in a story that did not need him, but for giving it the conviction and stage that only he can provide, there are too many tears and wasteful, repetitive moments, Rani Mukherjee's acting is limited to the use of glycerine and Shahrukh Khan's to being the foul mouthed jerk whose sense of humour is not only foul but without even the last tinge of creativity. The screenplay is non-existent and the dialogues could have been so much more sharper. Karan Johar fails when it comes to details, but I will still say that he gets the bigger picture right.
In terms of the actors, not commenting on Amitabh's blink and I am gone role, rest of the cast has been mediocre, to say the least. The fault would once again lie on the screenplay and the director who seem to fail miserably in infusing any breath of fresh air at any stage in the movie. Agreed that the content and the context did not allow for too many deviations from the stark settings, but the only deviations that are there are too crass and awkward for the actors to do any justice to the same. The careerist bitch played by Preity is so easily converted into the lovelorn wife that it becomes difficult to digest the contrast between one situation showing her leave a job for her husband and the other where she ends the relationship with her husband in a jiffy. Some consistency would not only have done wonders for the movie, but also allowed the actors to give a sane performance. I won't, as I said, comment on what Amitabh Bachchan was doing in this movie so that also leaves Kiron Kher out of the ambit. Honestly speaking, the two were wasted beyond redemption.
Music of the movie works and is quite in line with the story and events as they unfold. All said and done, I feel that though the movie has fallen to the neglect of details, the idea behind it has been pretty brave and unique and as such, it does deserve that one time in the theatres (watching it at home might not be able to sustain your interest for enough time to let the movie impress you in any way). I, for one, will not advise anyone against watching this movie!
Posted at 11:21 pm by Nitai
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Dham dham dhadam dhadaiyya re
Bewakoof aur chutiye me dhaage bhar ka farak hota hai, dhaage ke ek taraf bewakoof to dooji taraf chutiya.
Pardon my language but Omkara could possibly not have been complete without the use of such and more foul language. Shakespeare would never have approved of the same, what with his medieval English ruling the roost as far as the original went, but in the Indian context, if Vishal Bhardwaj had to show the baser instincts of men, he could not have relied on the Gentlemen's language, could he?
And so the scene changes to Uttar Pradesh, the hinterland where an abuse is just another word, a kind of filler that keeps coming in the middle of a long sentence without the speaker realizing the imperfection. However, even though the foul language has been one of the most talked about points whenever Omkara is discussed (mostly in male gatherings), there is much more to the movie than just that.
Othello, as avid readers (unlike me) would know, is the tragedy of the same named character whose jealousy and mistrust gets the better of him, aided, of course, by the wily and innovative Iago who leaves no stone unturned to get his due, at whatever cost it may take. Vishal Bhardwaj stays mostly true to the story despite the fact that his straying from the story on earlier ocassions (refer Maqbool and Macbeth) did not really remove anything from the creative piece itself. However, he got it bang on here, too for Othello, unlike Macbeth does not need any embellishments to be converted into true, Bollywood ishtyle drama.
All that was required for achieving the above was a bit of creativity from the director in terms of imagining an Indian context for age old and eminently replicable feelings of love, jealousy, spite, and the inevitable tragedy. Not only does Vishal perform beyond expectations on this front, he goes a step ahead and makes sure that all his actors are cued in to the change in context that he has imagined for his version of Othello.
Kareena Kapoor as the innocently seductive Desdemona avatar is probably the weakest link along with Vivek Oberoi's Kesu Firangi. Ajay Devgan's Othello-Omkaara seems routine for the actor who can easily open a school for the brooding, less-talking-more-staring scheme of acting. In fact, even though Vivek and Kareena were not anything spectacular, they melted into their roles. However, Ajay seemed the only case where the casting could have been more experimented with. There is hardly any difference between Gangajal and Omkara as far as Ajay Devgan goes. He performs exceedingly well in both the movies, but where is the variety, the different touch that a movie like Omkara demands?
I know that by now, this would have been drilled into all those who have heard anything about the movie at all, but even at the cost of being repetitive, I would like to emphasize, yet again, the amazing effect that Saif Ali Khan has on this movie. The Chote Nawab of Pataudi has done all that he could have and more. As Langda Tyagi, it has been his movie right from the first scene when he discusses the two sides of the thread to the last when his handiwork is all over the climax. Abusing with conviction, making lewd gestures with elan, smirking away to glory on seeing his wily plans work, Saif has made a pretty complicated character out of just another political activist. In fact, replicating the complexity of character of Iago would have been the toughest act for Vishal, given his choice of context for the movie.
It is easy to imagine a complex character like Iago in the Shakespearean context, a person who does wrong and yet does not see the folly is what Iago has always been whenever Shakespeare's original has been adopted. However, to make sure that you get such a complex character in the no-nonsense heartland of politics and brazen violence that leaves no scope for hidden and implicit feelings or emotions, it was required that the director and the actor are in complete sync. And that is what is seen in the case of Omkara. Vishal Bhardwaj, who has also taken on quite a few other responsibilities in the movie (including screenplay and dialogues) has been absolutely spot on, in terms of a lot of things, and getting the story, the actors, the music and lyrics, even the item songs and the item girl Bipasha, are just few of the many things that he does right in this movie.
Music in the movie is very apt and tailored to meet the situation. Not a great hear, perhaps except the item numbers, the songs gel into the story very well, and that to my mind, is the best a song can do in such a movie. Gulzar has surprised his fans (including me) by coming up with the folksy lyrics in songs like Namak and Beedi, and with the choreography pretty much on line, the songs have been enjoyable, to say the least. Videography throughout the movie has been exceptional and very well aided by the background score. The scene where the new Bahubali (sort of a gang leader) is chosen and annointed is a case in point.
I can go on and on about the finer aspects of Omkara because that is what the director and actors in the movie have stressed upon. However, let it suffice to say that if you are on the right side of the thread, you should not give this movie a miss!
Posted at 03:13 am by Nitai
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Continuing from where I left!
The journey never seems to stop but there are so many stoppages en route that at times, it becomes very difficult to maintain the same continuity from one destination to other. While there was a time when I used to think, write, and act in a routine manner, life currently has stopped giving me the same privileges. It has become increasingly difficult to really reflect about anything. Memory seems to have lost the knack of keeping things in limbo for at least as long as there is time to analyze them for whatever physiological gains one might think of.
In fact, even the previous blog post that I wrote here seems so very jarring as I go through it, now that I am writing this one. A clear case of trying to re-create a broken habit is very much evident. The spelling and grammar notwithstanding, even the flow is not the same. The same looks so true of life for me, currently. Full of meeting people, trying to profile the huge number of HNIs in Delhi to scope out further meetings, following up on whatever was discussed in the meeting, a different sort of coninuum is setting in.
Classes on campus, even seminars like the one going on at IIMK right now (http://www.aims-iimk.com), were a part of life not so long ago, a different flow that used to be much more juicy (at least for some readers of this blog). It is not to say that there is no juice in office but as is obvious, any mention of that on such a public forum and I will just be repeating past mistakes, and probably paying a much heavier fine than what I got away with earlier. Adding to the present and the immediate past, there was a different aroma of a little more distant past, that I realized so pleasantly a few days ago.
As I made a business visit to my school, DPS RK Puram, there couldn't have been a more amazed and incredulously happy boy in that school on that day. In fact, the two colleagues of mine who accompanied me on the visit were silently smiling at my antics. I made them go all over the place, trying to visit the places that used to be so dear at one point in time, so very taken for granted in the continuity of life at that instant, that their importance was never so apparent. But this day was different, was in a present so different from that past. The playground, the classrooms, the hostels, even the principal's office brought back so much and so well. I was oh-so-nostalgic that day.
Amongst other stuff, life has been kind to me. There have been things at workplace that have been lucky breaks, to say the least. Right from appreciation for jobs done, to actual probabilities of finally getting along with what I am supposed to do, life seems to be back on tracks, at least the professional aspects of it. Personally, things seem to be at a standstill and probably, they will remain so for quite some time...but more on that a little later.
Posted at 03:31 pm by Nitai
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
My experiments with truth
More than the truth, I would say that these experiments were an indicator to where I stood as far as my job is concerned. Having worked for two years before joining work, it seemed like just an extension of the office culture I already had an experience of...till this date. Cold calling was what proved me wrong and resulted in my coming to the realization that thigns are not hunky dory as they used to seem to be. The prior work experience that I have is to no stead as far as my current job profile goes.
This does not mean for even a moment that I am cribbing about my job profile. In fact, I am probably one of the happiest people from my institute who got what they really wanted. Starting with a sales profile, my job promises to develop into a hardcore marketing thing and finally evolve into some heavy finance fundas. The best part is that I do all this with an eye on my own bottom line alone with no one to really hang the sword at my neck, except my own targets and my own bonus expectations.
At the same time, however, sales start with cold calling and after delaying the inevitable for many days, I finally gave myself a break and jumped headlong into the stuff. And what a jump it was! With responses ranging from "You are bothering us for nothing" to "I have had it, that's enough", it has all been a joy ride so far. There will be people, I am sure, who will listen to a line that is well past the second line of my script but that there are people like these, I have no proof of.
Things had been looking up, otherwise till today as I have been able to dig up a sort of HNI database for myself and have been to some meetings with a touch more of confidence that I used to have earlier during the first of my meetings. People at work have also proved to be quite a team with the initial formation taking no time at all...still waiting for the norming and the storming.
On a personal front, it has been all great going as I went to Bharat Bhaiya's place for birthday celebrations of Bade Papa and Bhabhi's father this Sunday. There is a lot to catch up with as far as movies are concerned and having a football crazy flat mate like Niranjan does not help one bit. Now that another flat mate in the form of Ashu has moved in (complete with the cooler and fridge), I have better hopes of catching a number of movies that will be higher than what I can necessarily consider to be the cause of my demise.
My home (would love to call and treat it as home instead of just a house) at IP Extension is pretty nice, too and has given no cause of complaints so far except exhorbitant charges for housekeeping, washing clothes, et al. Photographs of the place, especially the view from the balcony will follow in the next post. Till then, ciao!
Posted at 03:44 pm by Nitai
Saturday, June 24, 2006
So many things have happened since the last time I wrote a really long post that I have completely lost count of what I have shared with my blog and what I haven't. Probably, it is quite as well that ways, too primarily because it reduces the strain on me of trying to bring the blog up to date. So, instead of boring whoever still checks this place out with the history that included an amazing Backwaters 2006, a great farewell party, some rocking campus placement stories (and some not-so-rocking ones), tales of my roaming all over India for a month and half, and of course, the two months I stayed at home, doing nothing but lazing around, I will come straight to the point, that is the present.
When I say present, however, it does not mean present as present with respect to the current day, but more like the events that are closely related to what I am doing as on this day today. It all started, obviously with my touching base in Bombay (I can not make myself call it Mumbai, as well, just like some other bloggers I have seen mentioning this city in their blogs) and moving into torrential rains of the city airport on board a much delayed flight.
Seven odd days of staying at the four star Ritz (the service was pretty decent but the place reeked of the past, certainly not chic and modern enough for the current times, I felt) and five odd days of attending induction programmes at World Trade Center with a bunch of intelligent, smart, and fun-filled people was what followed next. Life was good as we attended the lectures the whole day and I chilled out with my sister, Priya in the evenings. Priya's journey over the past two weeks has been eventful, as well, right from kicking at a secure job at LifeStyle just because she did not like her role (how can anyone do that to one's first job?), and then struggling with attempts at getting a new job for all of one day till she landed a plum post and salary at Shopper's Stop.
Filled with the Gyan of the different financial product sessions, we were soon sent for practical sessions with the product teams, which was pretty much good fun, if not great learning in the real sense. Whatever it was, it was supposed to get us ready for our jobs as I moved into Delhi with Nishith on my birthday and joined office on the same day. Yes, the day I really joined my job was my birthday (speaks a lot about fate indicating to make this company and job last at least a while for me).
I did have quite a nice birthday celebration of sorts when I went to Bharat Bhaiya's place and there on to Shalini Bhabhi's, who incidentally was born on the same day, month and year that I was (I still maintain that I am younger by a few hours, though). I also received indicators of things to come as on the first day of office, I saw people playing golf in the office (of all places!). Now that it has been nearly two weeks since I joined and the boss has returned from his sick leave and the golfstick has lost its putt, and I have been given my first targets, things are not the same but that is a different story altogether.
As things stand now, I am having a lot of problems commuting to and fro the office. The fact that I have got a place in Gazipur (the one in Delhi, not the one in UP but still seems just as far) coupled with the one that Jerin has been held up from sending my bike here because of an accident he had (poor chap!), makes life all the more difficult, not to mention the crazy trafic snarl-ups that happen on the highway and the alternate approach road to my residence. However, life is not all complaints as the house is really good and the society even better. More over, I am set to meet all my realtives (especially my dear cousins) pretty soon as next week is the marriage of Raja Bhaiya, my Bua's son. A lot to look forward to and update this place on but all that for another day, another time...
Posted at 12:12 pm by Nitai