Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hindi Film Scenes from a Different Perspective

Like every Indian I am a fan of Hindi films and have grown up watching and savoring those quintessential Hindi films, with lots of family drama, melodrama, action and much more. It’s a proud moment that Indian cinema has completed 100 years. I like to call this cine industry of ours as “Hindi Film Industry” and not Bollywood, for it smells of plagiarism. Bollywood name also confuses many; one of my western colleagues thought Bollywood is named so because it produces B grade movies???? What??????. This was a shocker, and after this incident my resolve to call it Hindi Film industry became even stronger. We make around 1000 movies a year, that’s a hugeeee number by any means. The quality of the movies is questionable though. Indian films and in particular Hindi films have gone through a sea of change, be it subject, costumes, music, action, technology and many more, but something has not changed and I have always wondered why these certain scenes are treated and filmed the way they used to, some 20 years back or even more? Many a times these otherwise serious scenes seem funny to me and evoke laughter in me. Let’s have a sneak review into some of the scenes which you must have seen umpteen times but have not changed a bit all these years. Don't they evoke humor, intrigue in you ?

Scene 1 Hero’s mother on death bed – Mother of the hero has been shot and she is bleeding profusely, her head on the hero’s lap, everyone in somber mood including hero’s friends, the heroine, and a whole lot. The mother starts to mouth dialogues, sample this

Mother: Beta my time is up now, take care, be good. 
In between, she takes few deep breaths indicating her dire state

Hero: No Maa you cannot leave me, I won’t leave you. 
Bhagwan ke liye muze chod ke mat jao,
Tumhare siva kuan hai mera is duniya main etc. etc. 

This goes on for a while..... 

While this is happening, nobody ever bothers to take her to the hospital or call an ambulance, what man why are you fooling around get her to the hospital, move your (beep) get moving buddy, but no, they are hell bent on killing her, and this give and take between the mother and the hero continues for good 5-10 minutes before she finally shuts her mouth for good.

I have never understood this scene and it has not changed a bit over the years The movie makes have not learnt a lesson. No one moves his or her (beep) all this long, or calls an ambulance, just continue sobbing, pitying her and her son. You jackass people have you not been taught in school, if someone is injured, badly hurt, you rush them to hospital? But these dumbo’s around in this scene are not sane and no point in having them around if they cannot do the needful. Why the hell the hero wants such Dumbo’s around or part of his group is beyond my understanding. Hero is no different, competing with his moribund mother on who can emote better and shed liters of salty water. He shows no alacrity in saving his mother, and keeps delaying, mouthing useless dialogues, believe me I smell some sinister plan here, it seems the hero himself does not want to save his mother, for she may prove to be a "kabab main haddi" later. Now that’s the real reason I think I have inferred from this scene.

Scene 2 Lame Heroines – I always think heroines in Hindi films to be a big liability for the hero. You would say why so? Why this sexist remark? The reasons are abound. 

1) First and foremost they get easily kidnapped and the hero is in big trouble.  
2) They simply obliterate all the plans made by hero to score over the villain. 
3) They would blur out most secret information in front of their close friends (read sahelis) which may prove fatal. 
4) They will never listen to the hero, their lover. If he says don’t go there its dangerous for you my love, they would simply ignore it and do as they feel and then get kidnapped.  

Big problem for the hero isn’t it? Why why they have to act such stupidly, when they know they cannot take care of themselves, and this specific scene will prove why I called them a liability.

Firstly the hero has to risk his life to rescue her, that’s done and he has untied, uncaged her from the clutches of the villain, now Imagine a fierce battle is on between the hero and the villain, the villain has hit the hero badly and the hero is on the ground with the villain over him tying to slit his throat with a knife or trying to shoot him with a pistol in his hand, the heroine who is freed now is in the vicinity would do nothing but shout at the top of his voice, Rahul woh tumhe maar dega, Battamij mere Rahul ko Chod de, Rahul main tumhare bina nahi ji sakti. C’mon if that’s the case do something why just shout, get moving, pick up the wooden rod which is lying un attended nearby, shove it into the villain’s (beep), try to hit him with a stone or even tickle him so that he leaves your lover and the poor chap gets a chance to show his bravado, but no she won’t do anything just keep shouting, crying hurling abuses at the villain. I fail to understand this scene in Hindi films why they show the heroine so lame. Seeing her howling and doing nothing during this precarious situation, the hero would also think twice before marrying this lame heroine of his. In frustration he might just shout at her, "Are chup, kyu chilati ho kuch kar, woh banduk utha chala goli, is gunde ko maar nahi to who muze maar dega." Time has changed movies have changed but this scene has not changed, the heroine continues to be a liability for the hero, doing nothing.

Scene 3 Dance extravaganza – This is a master of all scenes. The hero and heroine are romancing in a beautiful garden, dancing or participating in mass drill???. I wonder why they have to do these jumps, somersaults while dancing, why can’t they stick to regular dance steps, and when do they get time to change their fancy clothes? I did not see them changing? Did you? Fair enough it’s their clothes and their wish to change it or not, but but why are those hordes of men and women dancing behind them? Let the hero and heroine enjoy their solitude, why you want to play spoil sport buddies? I have never ever understood this scene with over 100 men and women dancing behind, in front and all around the hero and the heroine, what’s the need, can someone tell me please? Poor lovers they have no privacy even when they want to get intimate. BTW they do get intimate during their dance routine. They will always have time for it; no matter how much tired they are after all those jumps, running around trees and somersaults.  And when they get intimate, is it mandatory for the couples dancing with them to copy them? This is hilarious stuff with the couples moving their lips close to one another, hugging each other all in perfect rhythm. It looks like a massive orgy......

Have you ever heard / seen people doing break dance with pelvic thrusts a la Michael Jackson, in a temple? You might not have heard or seen it, but I have seen this with my own eyes in many movies. Now what on earth forced the intelligent director to shoot such a scene where besides the dancing couple, number of on lookers jump on to do an impromptu jig in the temple premises, to give the protagonists competition? And why did they choose to do a break dance in the temple, are they mad? Doing the pelvic moves in the temple premises is sacrilege buddy? You would be hurting sentiments of many people, don’t you know that? First and foremost I think temple or any other religious place is not a place for break dance or for that matter disco, reggae, samba, rumba etc.; it is predominantly done on a dance floor in a discotheque or such forum. So my earnest requests to all the film makers, don’t torture the audience with this kind of crap. I am pretty sure how much we criticize, this dance masti will continue forever even if it makes sense or not.

Scene 4 Hero the Super hero – One man army is a popular scene in all the Hindi or other regional movies, where this one hero of whatever shape or size is decimating hundreds of goons alone with his fist of fury, or guns if he is lucky to have them. Why this over the top action, can’t we have some action which is palatable to even a loony person? How come this one guy kills all the goons and not get hit or hurt even though the goons have all the WMDs at their disposal? What I infer from this is, either the hero is a close relative of Yam and he has given our hero a wish that he would never be killed or the villain seriously needs to get rid of these incompetent good for nothing goons who cannot kill a single person. The villain needs to have a major over haul of his army, or else his life is in jeopardy. These scenes also show the goons attacking the hero either alone or in a pair. If the villain is so desperate to get this guy killed why not just ask his cronies to let loose on the hero at one go? No human being can survive if he is attacked this way, but no the director has different plans. It’s his movie, he is the one who decides what happens and how, but my dear director portray it in such a way, that the audience would believe it. But no, that’s not done.

One more scene which I fail to comprehend is, the hero is almost moribund but still has enough strength to fight the goons, even lift them and send them to hell, from where does he get so much strength, Horlicks, Boost, Complan, Shilajit? A dying man can barely lift a cup, here he is lifting a good full grown human, how is this my director friend, can’t you curtail this over the top action and portray the hero within his limits? The audience is bored of this and wants to see some new stuff, most importantly believable.

Scene 5 Rich girl falls in love with a poor boy – A big hall, all decorated beautifully, it’s the heroine’s b’day. She is draped in a stunning ensemble but is sad and gingerly chatting with her snobbish sahelis. The father of the heroine in his Armani suit is greeting his over smart rich friends. After this bonhomie he asks her to cut the cake, but no, she wants her love of life the hero to be present, but where is he? He is of course debarred from this party by the father. He does not approve of her rich daughter’s choice of a low class guy who leaves in a chawl and has a younger sister and a mother to look after. The father has also put a notice outside for the hero “Trespassers will be prosecuted”. But what a surprise the hero makes a grand entry amidst lots of chaos and fights with the gatekeepers. Heroine is stunned, those gloomy eyes begin to glow in happiness she runs and hugs the hero. The father seething in anger, but does nothing, since he is strictly told not to disturb the hero for he is going to sing a song now, and not just a song but a melodious song, plus he is also going to show some cool dancing steps. Take that.

Now the cake cutting happens and the heroine eats a piece of cake only from the hero’s hand. Now Now all this time, the father is gnawing, smoldering. How dare this gande naali ka keeda insult me in my own house? But he absolutely does nothing even though he has all the means to get rid of this gate crasher. The hero starts singing, dancing, hugging smooching the heroine, but the father just fumes and is stay put. I always fail to understand this scene, when he detests the daughter’s lover so much why the hell he waits till the song is complete to throw this guy out? Does he like listening to people sing and dance? Or is he a great Himmesh Reshmmaiya fan, that he loves this chocked voice? Or simply it is an event which the event management co. has arranged for which the heroine’s father has paid a huge sum? What is it that stops him from throwing this hone wala damad out of his house and relieving everybody present there of the simmering tension? That’s not going to happen for sure audience.This scene simply amuses me no bounds. And when the 3 stanza’s of the song comes to an end and the hero heroine are in each other’s arms, that’s when the father fumes and attacks the hero and orders his cronies to get rid of this guy. Now what logic is this? The father had every time in the world to stop this song and dance routine and not allow his daughter get close to his bĂȘte noire.  My inference of this scene is, the father does not want to let go any opportunity, where he would get to listen to Himmesh’s melodious???? song and watch some real cool dance steps choreographed by saroj khan. Don’t you think this is the real reason?

Banging head
Save Me From Torture

No matter how much we criticize, compare Indian films with western or other films, we all love Hindi / Indian films to the hilt. We all have loved, relished these scenes, song and dance routines and flocked the theaters to get a glimpse of this cultural potpourri, and we will continue to do so till eternity.

You would also be interested in reading other Hindi film stories

Films versus Films

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Konkan Always

There are some places where I always like to revisit, though I must confess I am not wanderlust. One such place is Konkan. No matter how many times I have visited places in Kokan I would readily accept an offer to visit again. This might not be the case with other destinations.

Konkan Delight
Konkan Delight
Konkan for me epitomizes beauty, serenity, a perfect village life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, no pollution but only intoxicating smell of trees, and various flora and fauna. No traffic snarls or cacophony of innumerable vehicles and their blaring horns, but only sweet chirping of birds, rhythmic swaying of the tress and the sound it creates in co-ordination with the breeze. This is all surreal and invigorating. Konkan is a place where one can unwind and get rejuvenated in no time. It allows oneself to be in complete harmony with nature. The very first sight of the gigantic sea, lush greenery, and the curvy roads which make their way through dense forest evokes awe in me; I get mesmerized by the sheer beauty and I thank the almighty for having us bestowed with this gift of nature to adore and enjoy. I have vivid memories of my stay in Kokan, be it with my family, friends or colleagues.

I had many sojourns, excursions till date at various places in Konkan, be it Harihareshwar, Ganapati pule, Alibaug, Gugahar, Dive Agar, Hedvi and many more, all of them echo beautiful memories, with time spent amidst serenity and beauty. Every time I visit these places, something new comes to the fore, be it food, scenic beauty, temples, forts, or the people. Everything has a history associated with it, especially the temples and the forts, and to listen to them from the locals is a treat; as it has its own charm. The locals will always have one or two anecdotes to share with you, related to the sea, the rain, traditions, simple life etc.

Konkan Waterfall
Konkan Waterfall
For me personally, spending time at the sea is fulfilling. The sea which stretches endlessly, the gigantic waves renders everything so miniscule and compels oneself to let go one’s inflated egos, for there is something more towering, powerful than we humans.  Gazing at the sea also brings to my mind V.D Savarkars poetry which he wrote when he was imprisoned at the cellular Jail in Andaman, for it mentions the restlessness to the sea. The haunting music of this poetry simply highjacks you to a different world.

Visiting various temples and forts in Kokan is another activity I volunteer. The rugged forts built on various mountain tops or in the middle of the sea have weathered many storms for hundreds of years but continue to stand majestically, is a testimony to how developed and rich our architecture was during those years. Visiting these forts gives me goose bumps and a feeling of traveling back to that era when the kings ruled their regions from these fortresses. Sindhudurg, Janjira, Alibaug forts built in the middle of the sea is a must visit. Temples in Kokan also have their share of history, and they echo the historic moments, is what I feel. One more thing that you would notice is, they are very simple without any pomp. This retains the tranquility and the piousness; also most of them have picturesque surrounding which adds to their charm.

Another thing that is unique to Konkan is the ubiquitous paddy fields, mango & coconut farms which cover the skyline. To add to it are kokum, jack-fruit, and many other trees which form a canopy of sorts, not allowing the sun rays to hit the ground. This panoramic view is breath taking and the feeling heavenly.  Locals working in these fields, cattle grazing in lush greenery, those tiny rivulets carrying water into the fields, waterfalls, the cool breeze, and quaint mud houses all contribute to Utopia. This is what I miss in the city life and crave for; strong enough to compel me revisit Konkan always.

Rains in Konkan is one interesting topic of discussion, since elsewhere it just rains, in Kokan it pours down heavily with eagerness to create a land mass with green carpet everywhere.  It’s a sight worth etching in memories for long long time.  The smell of earth, cool breeze is intoxicating to say the least. No wonder many writers and poets have described, revered the rains in Konkan.  If you are a true nature lover, you would know how to enjoy rains in Konkan.

Konkan Mist
Konkan Serene
How can one forget Konkani cuisine, the fish curry, spicy food and various dishes made out of coconut, mango, and jack-fruit? It’s a cuisine of its kind and is loved by one and all. For me having a sumptuous lunch cooked by a local is a treat, and I never miss an opportunity to gorge on it, I get ravenous when I smell it. For me it’s Ambrosia. The foodies would definitely like to visit Konkan for savoring authentic delicacies. You would get to experience a lot of novelties in Konkan, be it dolphin rides, tents by the sea shore, scuba diving (though in nascent stage) visits to the Mango farms (Amrai) to enjoy the ripe, sweet mangoes and many more. All this adds to Konkan’s grand image and people are making most of it.

Many places in Konkan are not that popular amongst the tourist and hence less visited, has helped it stay pristine and unadulterated. Most of times the popularity and beauty of places in Konkan is proving to be a bane instead of a boon, with more and more people flocking to these places, is putting extreme pressure on the environment and the ecosystem. It’s the duty of one and all to preserve the beauty and pristineness of these places for posterity to enjoy.

One can never have enough of Konkan no matter how many times you visit. It would beckon you to come back, again and again. Let us all enjoy the beauty, serenity of Konkan and pledge to protect it till eternity.

Konkan here we come…. Yeh Dil Mange More

Sleaze, Lies and Audio tapes – The IPL Saga

Few weeks back we all were gung ho about IPL, singing paeans, praising it to the hilt, and suddenly everything came crashing down like a pack of cards. The spot fixing scandal raised its ugly head again to torment one and all. The 3 protagonists in this sleaze, allegedly accepted money from the bookies to forfeit the teams winning cause and thus help bookies earn the moolah. This was all discovered through cop’s intercepting conversations between bookies and players. This in itself was serendipity of sorts with cops primarily investigating possible terror strikes by terrorists, stumbled upon conversations between bookies and players. This in turn led them to discover fixing in IPL matches.

With arrest of 3 cricketers and number of bookies across, has opened up the Pandora’s Box and number of skeletons are tumbling out of the closet. This entire saga is becoming murkier day by day with some influential and powerful people playing the villain. This has resulted in fans getting disillusioned and betrayed. Now every match be it IPL or other will be viewed with suspicion, and this is not a good sign for cricket.

Though fixing is not a new phenomenon in cricket, the enormity of this scam in this year’s IPL has shocked many a million, from BCCI contracted to fringe players, bookies, some franchisee owners, underworld, celebrities all have made merry in this year’s edition, at the expense of innocent cricket loving fans, who fast, pray, revere cricketers as demi gods, but who cares.

This entire fixing trap was set intelligently by the bookies, with escorts used as baits to lure players and other officials, and once they were trapped they were black mailed and dragged into the seedy business of fixing and betting, it is also interesting to know that, this trap was laid particularly for players who were vulnerable and could be easily lured.

Only 3 players from Rajasthan Royals team were found guilty and arrested in this colossal fixing and betting ring worth 50,000 crores, is not palatable to any sensible person. There is more to what meets the eye. The 3 tainted players should consider themselves unlucky for facing all the wrath of one and all; having said that, they are the culprits who surrendered themselves to the lure and sold themselves for few lakhs in return. This would prove to be an expensive mistake of their life resulting in them being barred for life from playing cricket.
The shocker of this entire saga was, Vindu Dara Singh’s name coming to the fore as a top bookie who mastered the trade very well and was the conduit between the betting ring and the players.  His proximity to Sakshi Dhoni during one of the match set the tongues wagging when he was arrested. His arrest led to another high profile arrest of CSK owner Guru Meiyyappan. This hand in glove with Guru is revealing the nexus between bookies, players, owners, celebrities, business man and their sinister plans. Person of Guru’s stature had access to every minute detail of CSK strategy, be it playing eleven, the injuries in the team, who would play on a particular day, the batting order etc. This information was worth in gold for the bookies, who in turn used it, to put bets on the games and also influence them by buying players to throw the matches.

Arrest of Guru has enormous ramifications, for he is BCCI president’s son-in-law a powerful man himself who is on a sticky wicket at the moment for various reasons.  The probe is on and might reveal more muck in coming months. Corruption in sports and in cricket is so deep rooted that it would take ages to clean it, provided the BCCI mandarins have the will to do it, for they, too have vested interests in this muck, has come to light. This entire saga has put questions on BCCI’s credibility and cricket as a whole. Many of the cricket greats have come heavily on IPL and demanded its closure, for they think it is the root for most evil in cricket, and that it’s not cricket but sham bang entertainment in the name of cricket. To many purists associating entertainment with cricket is not acceptable. Though some of the cricket greats have other opinions but they are not ready to accept entire blame on IPL for the recent mess. They are of a view; instead of rooting out IPL it is imperative to clean the system, educate players on the ills of betting and fixing and putting in place a strong deterrent, in terms of law that would help players, dissociate themselves from all evils in cricket. For many this is wishful thinking.

Putting an end to IPL won’t be acceptable to BCCI; for it’s their golden goose which is filling in their coffers perennially and helping them wield power over ICC, the world cricket governing body. The damage has already been done, players arrested with their cricketing careers next to over, sponsors talking of pulling out, as they don’t want to associate themselves with something which is neck deep buried in corruption, credibility of the sport itself being questioned from all quarters.  With this negativity and gloom all around cricket, the biggest losers are die hard cricket loving fans who from now on would look at every game through a detective’s lens, and thus robbing them of unadulterated enjoyment. Time will tell if cricket and especially IPL weathers the storm or is blown away never to return.

You would also be interested in reading other IPL stories

IPL Mania