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Not so young Fashion Graduate From National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, India. Aspiring journalist. Amongst other eclectic hobbies, she likes writing and has written several poems and articles over her school and college life and now for a living. She would someday like to be be a more popular writer than just on her blogs. 'Tis a lady of grand splendor, who waketh in my bed every morning while the sun beckons her towards night...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Morning after

कल सुबह तेरी नींद से बोझल आँखों पर,
ठन्डे पानी के झपटो में कुछ पेट दर्द के बहाने सुने थे। 
माँ झूठ सच पहचानती है। 
मुझसे बहाने मत मारो।।।

तेरे नन्हे से हांथो में दूध थमाया था 
वह गिलास अभी भी टेबल पे आधा खाली पड़ा है। 

मैं नाराज़ हूँ की आज इतनी आवाज़े लगाई 
अब भी जागा नहीं है तू। 
आज क्या बहाना है?
बस्ते में टिफ़िन तक नहीं भरा । 
आज खूब फटकारूंगी, 
फिर स्कूल की बस छूटेगी,
फिर दौड़ेंगे पापा स्कूटर लेके। 

दूध कभी नहीं पीता , होशियार कैसे बनेगा?
कैसे नाम रोशन करेगा?
आज कौनसा होमवर्क छूटा, 
अगर आज तेरी टीचर ने शिकायत की 
तो तेरी खैर नही । 

उठ जा मुए! 
सुबह गुज़र गयी। 

अच्छा! आज चला जा, कल पिकनिक जायेंगे। 

अब तो आँखे खोल.… 
कल से सब बोल रहे हैं कि… 

ऐसी क्या नाराज़गी… 
माँ से नहीं बोलेगा?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

'Mamta' to 'Mary Kom': The changing face of women in India

Bollywood's woman – an entity of glamour, beauty, ideals, values and much more. The woman in Bollywood has changed over the century of filmmaking this country has seen.

From a time when only men played women’s characters, we have come a long way to having a female as the only central character in a movie. And yet, more things change, more they remain the same.

Even now, we are subjected to movies where the role of a woman is so trivial that her character could have been done without. 'Singham', 'Holiday', 'Kick', 'Entertainment', 'Humshakals', the list of hit movies without a sizeable contribution of a girl character is endless. Despite all that, the 'gentler' sex has established itself much more firmly than ever before.

Suchitra Sen, Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra starred in a movie called 'Mamta' in 1966 – the characters in the movie were quite forward-thinking for the time. Suchitra (in a double role) decides to escape from the shackles of an abusive husband, she also takes a strong step to bring up her daughter with a good education and a career. The daughter, who does fulfil her mother's dreams, is a commendable lawyer, who is competent among her contemporaries as well as seniors. She is a woman with opinions. A role that was rarely seen in Hindi cinema at the time.

A woman's part at that time was to be the ideal woman who looks up to her man. She depends on his love to keep herself alive. She lives to love him, and cry when he goes away. She, at most, took to stitching clothes to survive, the one thing she is good at. Even today, the depth of her persona is still limited to what the man thinks of her. She was and is supposed to always look good. She is supposed to dress up and stand out for the guy to fall in love with her beauty and not what is inside. This trait of a woman has hardly changed.

Even if the female lead has now evolved to a designer from a mere tailor, or even taken to journalism, or psychology, or is even a business tycoon – she would still dance to the tune of her hero. She also takes off her clothes at the drop of a hat to do a skimpy item number for ogling men making disgusting covetous faces at her - think 'Pinky hai paisewaalo ki' or 'Chikni Kamar'. They have nothing much else to do. They can only stand back and watch their 'better' halves take care of business, while they can sigh at their rippling muscles and high octane dialogue delivery.

We have had sporadic movies based on women. Perhaps, the most popular of them all has been `Mother India'. Nargis made the struggling farming woman, an icon of Bollywood – her stance of killing her own son rather than have him disrespect another woman has been reiterated several times in many movies – 'Vaastav', 'Fanaah' and even at one point the popular television serial 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' had the same theme.

Art cinema or parallel cinema like 'Arth', 'Mirch Masala', 'Bhumika', 'Ijaazat' and 'Daman' had much more depth in their lead characters – women who had layers of nuances. Where their emotions were subjected to situations and not only love life, they had other struggles. These movies are women-centric not only because they talked about women issues – but also they had made their women think, react, express emotions that questioned the society and morals.

Remember 'Astitva'? The movie spoke about Aditi(Tabu) who has had an extra marital affair. The film was a deep insight to the woman's story – how everything we see is not black and white. How in a man's world, a woman's needs and wants are often secondary. The tragedy is mainstream cinema, which even today struggles with the concept. They still often make the ladies look vulnerable and glamorise that vulnerability.

But as a Bollywood buff, I find myself more optimistic than ever. Times have not altered much, but the wind of change has started blowing. More strongly than ever.

More and more filmmakers have started delving into the human side of womanhood. 'Cheeni Kum' had the female lead, Tabu, a 30 something who had the decision-making capability of choosing a life partner, almost double her age. 'English Vinglish' had Sridevi, who played the housewife, who takes her own stand with the help of her extended family to gain respect from her own. 'Kahaani' had a scorned woman out to avenge the death of her husband. 'Gulaab Gang' had a group of women, who fought the system and corruption. 'Queen' had a young girl who broke many societal norms to break free into a self-realised woman. There are many more big budget movies that have made it to the silver screen in the last decade.

With 'Mary Kom', the movement has taken a step ahead. Not only is the movie a Sanjay Leela Bhansali big budget production, the subject is also a real-life heroine. Female sports-persons have often been ignored by the people. That too an Indian who is from the North East – from an oft ignored sport like boxing. Mary Kom - who has represented the country on the world stage for so long now finally has become a topic of dinner time discussion in households across the country. Maybe others would aspire to bring more such heroines to the fore.

It is the power of Bollywood to have more people realise the worth of a woman – a responsibility and risk that directors and producers are now more willing to take. And hopefully the change would influence some others to break stereotypes and bring out the power of the feminine – 'Shakti'.

This article was first published on Zeenews.india.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

'Ek Villain' review: Watch it for Ritesh Deshmukh

Director Mohit Suri has made sure that with the trailers for `Ek Villain` the curiosity is raised to a palpable level. The thriller genre in Bollywood is so unexplored that this movie should come as a breather.

It was good to see the theatre houseful and many others queuing up for a movie that promises neither mushy romance nor comedy. The style of the motion picture is out and out thrill based, and the script and the timeline makes for an admirable tension that has been maintained throughout the length of the movie.

But there is a catch. The filmmaker has not been able to break out of the mould of melodrama that he has so far used in many of his movies. Even though this remake of the Korean flick `I Saw The Devil` is well modelled to suit the Indian audience, and retain an U/A certificate, Suri fails to capitalise on a very well built up interest through his promos, and tight lipped crew.

Sidharth Malhotra plays the brooding Guru with the back story of a heart breaking childhood. Shraddha plays an effervescent and rather chatty girl, Aisha who manages to steal Guru`s heart. Guru leaves behind his dark past, to build a life with his lady love. Unfortunately their love story is cut short when Aisha is tragically killed. Riteish Deshmukh stars in a negative role for the first time. And he is magnificent.

It is high time for a talented actor like Riteish Deshmukh to finally explore movies like `Ek Villain`. He has out-shined and outperformed every actor in the movie and is possibly the biggest reason you should go and watch `Ek Villain`. This might be the turning point for Deshmukh as he would definitely be cast outside his comfort zone in Hindi movies whether in negative shades or in more character based roles in future. Filmmaker Karan Johar hit the nail on its head when he said that this was Riteish`s career best performance.

Sidharth is hardly convincing as a brooding, serious looking anti-hero. He ends up looking much out of his usual garb of a romantic hero. Even in his intense scenes and action sequences, Riteish easily overpowers with his subtle performance. Shraddha`s character fails too with some badly written emotional dialogues which really eat into the thrill of the film.

The worst mistakes are made in casting Remo Fernandez and Kamaal R Khan. Their roles are practically useless in the movie. Apart from very bad acting and some action scenes, Remo has nothing more to offer. And the less said about KRK, the better. It seems that Suri has cast him only to make the audience realise that such men are more loathful than psychopaths serial-killers.

The plot line moves interestingly between flashbacks and present day, almost seamlessly. The cinematography is not that great but the editing is crisp. The only qualm I have with the movie is that it did not need to establish the back stories of each of the actors, they could have kept some in darkness just to leave the audience asking for more. Especially Aisha`s bubbly nature and innate goodness needn`t have a tragedy attached to it.

The music is hummable and definitely a lot of people would love the intense romance, but sounds somewhat tragic and monotonous when put in perspective of the movie. `Teri Galliya` and `Banjara` are really romantic tracks which would be remembered for quite sometime.

The unveiling of the visceral saga has a lot of strong characters and Mohit has done a good job in adapting a foreign film and complimenting it with the drama that the Indian audience is used to. But he has gone a tad over in making a thriller. Maybe, filmmakers should step out of this trap more often and we wouldn`t be too far from making beacons of world cinema.


This Article was first published on Zeenews.India.com

'Kick' review: Watch it for Salman Khan

There should be a separate benchmark for Salman Khan movies. Not only because they are mostly just high-action masala entertainers and the `Bhai` does not venture into other genres any more, but also because his audience simply worship him.

When Sajid Nadiadwala decided to step into the director`s shoes, he pulled out all stops. He has invested everything he could to make the movie look slick and make sure this is Salman`s biggest release of the year. `Kick` is based on a 2009 Telugu blockbuster by the same name.

Devi Lal Singh (Salman Khan) does eccentric things to get a `kick` out of life. He goes to any lengths to get that extra spark out of life, which borders on insanity. He is loved by everyone around, but he does have ulterior motives behind his antics. Jacqueline as Shaina is a psychologist and Devi Lal`s love interest.

Made in a typical south Indian masala style, the entire movie can be summed up in its own dialogue "Main dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahin" (I enter hearts, but can`t be understood). It is all about Salman`s aura. Sajid has fit him into as many frames as possible, and he looks terrific. The actor has not looked this slick in a while now and every time he mouths a dialogue the hall erupts in another round of wolf whistles.

The script is not written with a lot of finesse, although that should not matter as none of the audience is expecting that. The storyline is senseless and has a lot of loopholes, but it is made up for by some good action sequences and over-the-top dialogues that are sure to go down well with Salman fans. The cinematography and CGI effects are not too bad, but the Rohit Shettyesque flying cars and vehicles breaking in every direction has become too cliched and gets boring.

The first half of the movie is slow, with a lot of scenes that could have been done away with. The entry of the `Dabbang` star as Devil in the second half is where the excitement begins. The Robin Hood of modern day Bollywood is a superhero simply because he is Salman. He can jump off buildings and wreck things to get his way without a batting an eyelid. Despite not making any sense, his screen presence is thrilling.

Jacqueline looks rather good paired with Khan – and she is positively vibrant in `Jumme Ki Raat`. That dance sequence choreographed by Ahmed Khan is fantastic and Jacqueline will make your jaw drop. The Eid special song composed by Himesh Reshammiya is already a hit and is going to stay with the masses for a while, although not in the `Munni Badnaam` way. Jacqueline does need to work on her diction, but the exotic accent has worked for Katrina before, so it may not be too much of a problem for her either.

A special mention to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as one does not expect him to fit into this genre of cinema. He is extremely talented and fit into the character`s shoes without any trouble. Here too he has moulded himself as a maniacal villain with all the expected drama. It was fun watching him in such a heavily commercialised venture and we hope he continues doing his brand of cinema too along with big budget flicks.

Salman `Dabangg` Khan, has made sure with `Kick`, that he has another multi-crore hit under his belt. The movie is exactly what it promises - a larger than life Salman Khan movie which the director knows will go down well with his massive fan following. The actor is at ease playing a quirky hero – comic, with a big heart, can beat baddies to pulp as easily as he can romance long legged lasses. If you are a Salman fan – go watch the movie. Don`t expect any ground-breaking, revolutionary filmmaking. This is as entertaining as it gets.

Can Priyanka Chopra be the Mary Kom we know?

The upcoming biopic of five-time world champion and Olympic medalist MC Mary Kom has already started facing flak over its casting choice. Many bloggers and writers have stated that it was wrong of the director to ask Priyanka Chopra to play the role as she looks nothing like Mary Kom.

There are also many blaming Omung Kumar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali of being racist as they did not even consider a Manipuri actor for the role. Possibly. But have these critics paused to think whether it was intentional and not for the reasons they claim?

Let us assume that Omung Kumar decided to audition and cast a Manipuri actor in the role. The argument is justified as Mary Kom herself is Manipuri. There is no dearth of acting talent there as proved by the great cultural scene in all of the seven sisters. The actor would be more comfortable understanding the struggles that Mary had had to face while rising through the ranks to be a champion. But would that have generated the interest of the youth who the movie is targetted at? It doesn`t say much for filmmaking in itself, but the director is hoping that the film reaches the maximum number of people. And that should be the priority of a movie based on an inspirational person. In the long run, it would be best if a few people do take up the sport and/or learn from the never-say-die spirit of Mary.

I agree the north east in Indian cinema is grossly underrepresented. But that is changing slowly and hopefully there would be many faces that would be soon seen on the big screen.

Let`s be honest – none of us would be writing about it if it was not a big budget Bhansali movie which starred a big Bollywood name like Priyanka Chopra.

Sports cinema in India has always been a challenge. Our country`s love for sports has been limited to cricket. Suffice to say a good film on Sachin Tendulkar will not require a big name to sell – provided it is marketed well. However, the theme of cricket did not work for the 1990 Aamir Khan starrer `Awwal Number` or the more recent Rani Mukerji starrer `Dil Bole Hadippa`.

Nevertheless, things did start looking upwards with Ashutosh Gowariker`s historical epic `Lagaan`. The movie changed the way sports-based movies were treated in India. `Chak De`, a movie based on women`s hockey got a lot of critical acclaim. Shah Rukh Khan played the part of a coach with sincerity and sophistication that proved his much questioned acting talent.

`Bhaag Milkha Bhaag`, one of the top 10 grossers of 2013, made sure of the theory that the genre has now started to generate interest in the audience. But are these success stories solely based on the filmmaker`s capability of telling the story? Or has the star power in the movie has made a difference to the people flocking to the movie?

Moreover, did Farhan Akhtar look like Milkha Singh? Couldn`t a Punjabi Sardar have played the character of the athlete better? But it did touch lives. More people have taken to hockey, athletics and other sports because of the mass effect of these blockbusters. Now, hopefully `Mary Kom` would help to do that too.

We have to understand that filmmaking is a business at the end of the day. Bhansali can make his picturesque dance dramas but it would need Aishwarya Rai and Deepika Padukone, even if there is better Gujarati talent available, to generate the 100 crore that the benchmark has now become. And he can certainly produce a great movie on the boxing champion with a lesser known but more similar looking Manipuri actress.

But would that be enough to get the people interested? Would the media be talking and discussing the movie with as much gusto? Priyanka is a good actress as she has time and again proven in movies like `Barfi`, `Fashion` and `Saat Khoon Maaf`.

In a recent interview with a leading daily the actress admitted, “Yes, physically, we do look different, but I’ve really been able to encapsulate her personality.”

We could not agree with her more. She does look very different, she does not share Kom`s Mongolian features, plus she is much taller and built heavier than the boxer. But, if she has indeed worked as hard, living and training for the role of a national treasure like Mary Kom – it would be only fair to let Priyanka and the director try and emulate Kom`s life on the silver screen. It would only help inspire more people, especially girls to step up and work hard to get to the helm of a challenging sport like boxing. It is after all a story of a champion. Whoever is made the face of the champion is irrelevant.

This article was first published on Zeenews.India.com

Why do people love Salman Khan?

“Salman Khan`s brand of cinema”- it is for real!

Other actors try and do cinema to prove their prowess as actors – they want to choose variety and at least once in a while break away from stereotypes. Salman pretends to attempt no such thing. More often than not, producers prefer keeping him in the limelight, give him some stunts to do, a few formulaic dance numbers and voila a Blockbuster is made!

Time and again intellectuals refuse to watch his movies. They say that his movies do not fall within the bracket of good cinema. Salman films are always the repetition of the samemasala entertainment that Bollywood refuses to let go off. And yet, time and again, Salman has proven that it does not really matter.

His fan base is immense, (let`s not get into the Shah Rukh Khan vs Salman Khan bit) and most of their love borders on fanaticism. There is no clear demographic map of the people who pledge their allegiance to Salman. He is not the hero of the elite classes like Aamir Khan has come out to be or as Ranbir Kapoor is turning out to be. Rural population flock to the silver screen to watch Sallu Bhai`smovies first-day first-show on broken benches and sweltering heat. The urban youth loves paying an extra few bucks at the malls to catch his glimpse.

What amazes a lot of people is how this guy, with many legal cases pending against him, remains a favourite of so many? He has been involved in umpteen controversies - blackbuck shooting case in Rajasthan, the 2002 hit-and-run case etc. He is not even a well-settled family man like SRK, Aamir, Akshay Kumar and the others. He has been deemed a casanova and even accused of being violent to his girlfriends. It has also been alleged that he uses his clout to threaten people and get his way. But none of that seems to matter to his fans.

The reason occurred to me while watching `Kick`. He is the ultimate bad boy with a good heart. His fans defend him by saying exactly this. While the other stars stand above and give love to their fans with a wave and a flying kiss. Salman is more of a people`s person, he goes on to meet people half way. He is known not to be diplomatic and stand on a pedestal. He is much more real than other stars. He wears his heart on his sleeve, makes mistakes, has fights and still stands tall.

Most of his interviews are cheeky. He goes on to answer the most controversial questions with a nonchalance which only a few are capable of in the industry. Plus, despite his numerous link ups – he has rarely been caught talking ill about his exes. To everyone who looks at him – Salman seems to be a star, who has been used by many to get ahead in career.

Whether that is true or not, Khan indeed has helped many a young actors to place a firm footing in Bollywood - whether it is all the débutante actresses he works with or helping young actors build their bodies to suit the needs in Bollywood. A big example of that is Katrina Kaif, who shot to fame because of Salman. She had started with a dud in `Boom`, and was almost written off until Salman helped her bag `Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?` in 2005. The list goes on with Daisy Shah, Zarine Khan, Sneha Ullal and now even Jacqueline Fernandez in `Kick`.

Hrithik Roshan and Arjun Kapoor too owe their fabulous abs to Salman. They both have acknowledged how much the `Dabbang` Khan inspired them to work-out right to look the way they do now. Not only professionally, B-Town is all praises for the superstar for standing by his friends during bad times. Aamir and Salman came close when the former was going through a divorce in the mid 2000`s, Hrithik too seemed to have had Salman as a shoulder during his separation with Sussanne recently. Dia Mirza, Govinda and a spate of other Tinsel Town vaasis have time and again received help from Khan whenever they needed it the most.

And of course `Being Human`, Salman`s pet philanthropy project is something that deserves a special mention. With this organisation, he has reached out to the people like never before. He has lent a helping hand to the poor and needy, without even knowing them. While others busied themselves in the glory of their stardom, Salman Khan was the one who made sure he gives back some of what he gets.

It is this quality of being a `bad boy with a heart of gold` image that his fans possibly adore and love so much. He is the people`s star. A hero who looks carefree and stands by what he feels is right. He is not infallible. But he makes up for it with all the charm, his screen presence and making sure he is there when anyone needs him.

Whether you hate him and his movies or not is irrelevant – the masses will adore him and continue to watch the man in action for as long as he is `being Salman`.

This article was first published on zeenews.india.com

Robin Williams: The death of a clown

“Death is paying a debt to nature. The big sleep. God’s way of saying, `Slow down.`”

Journalists are a cynical lot. They are full of self importance and quote, “Bad news is good news, and good news is no news at all”, whenever they are faced with the question of morale. When wars begin, famines happen, corruption surfaces, fights ensue – they thrive. A world in order begets nothing. Not that the media doesn`t like the feel-good stories of love and goodwill, but these don`t earn the bread. People like to hear about what is wrong with the world.

The problem is comics are more cynical than journalists can ever hope to be. They see the chaos as it is. They see through the façades and bigotry of the world leaders; of what this good earth has become. They manipulate words to throw light on the manipulations of this world. They say things as they are, without the rose-coloured glasses, without justifications – laced with laughter. Comics make you laugh at your own shortcomings.

Comics see the worse side of mankind and push it to the forefront. Studies say that one of the most depressed people are comedy artists. As a leading psychologist said, humour is a response to the sadness they feel. The death of Robin Williams (his apparent suicide) has brought that dark side to the forefront. Chris Farley, John Belushi, Mitch Hedberg Richard Jeni are few of the many stand-up artists who died battling mental illnesses, leading to death by suicide or overdose.

But is it just the comics?

Remember Guru Dutt? The man who made classics like `Kagaz Ke Phool`, `Pyaasa` and `Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam`. He made cinema that has stood the test of time. The way he portrayed Vijay in `Pyaasa`, the way the character shaped up, the love he put into the movie – the irony of Vijay`s fame is something no one can replicate. The genius who battled alcoholism, died alone – of an apparent suicide while mixing sleeping pills and alcohol. The failure of `Kaagaz Ke Phool` at the box office devastated him. This would be his third suicide attempt. He was acknowledged by the world – but he was alone. `Kaagaz Ke Phool`, ironically has been listed as one of top 100 greatest movies of all times.

The same lies true for music director RD Burman. He did not commit suicide, but any Pancham buff knows that the man died of loneliness. He is considered the most versatile of all music composers in India – even today. But, in the late eighties the man had lost everyone around him. His musical genius failed while Bappi Lahiri and other disco artists thrived. His patrons were ignoring him and going on to younger composers. He shone one last time for `1942 A Love Story` and died 3 months before the movie released, 20 years ago.

Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Nick Drake, Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse – the list is endless.

Robin Williams was not particularly young when he died. But he was definitely a man who was not done with his art. His audience and fans have not had their fill. He was a man who made thousands like me laugh in `Mrs Doubtfire` and cry in `Dead Poets Society`.

He made me “Seize the Day. Carpe Diem!” Made sure I knew that there was more to art, poetry and literature than to just read `about` them. I needed to experience it. Love, poetry and romance keep humans alive. He told us all about families and how they were all different, but love is the “tie that binds us all”. He enthralled, inspired and entertained. Robin Williams was Peter Pan, Genie and Lovelace... He made characters live for those who watched him on screen.

For those who watched him perform live, I have heard that he could rattle non-stop – flitting from one character to the next in seconds, while the audiences caught their breath from laughing too hard.

I have heard he went on the stage just because he wanted to. Even if amateur artists were performing – he would simply climb on and perform, get the audience to have more fun than they bargained for.

He left a motto – spoken by his character, but no one can deny the truth in his eyes when he said them: “Seize the day because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.”

If people like him—artists, passionate performers can be lonely, there is much more that humanity needs to introspect. This tandem of war and misery, the death of innocent, sufferings of the poor – they all get noticed by the greats of this world. People like Williams, they observe – they internalise – they suffer with the sorrow of the world. They succumb. Robin Williams gave in to this isolation.

If there is anything to learn from his life and his death, then it is to `live`, hard and proper, in our own way. Make the world laugh with you – suck the marrow out of life.

This article was first published on Zeenews.India.com

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Loose Translation of a few couplets from the great poet: Amir Khusro

Don't overlook my misery
Blandishing your eyes
And weaving tales.
My patience has over brimmed
My beloved!
Please take me to your bossom.

Tossed and bewildered
Like a flickering candle
I roam around
Burning in fire of love.

Sleepless eyes and restless body;
Neither she comes,
Nor she sends a message;
Using a thousand tricks
The enchanting eyes robbed me
Of my peace and tranquility.
Is there anyone,
Who would care to go and
Report this pitiable state of mine
To my beloved?

The night of Separation
is like long, labyrinthine curls of your tresses,
The moments of our union
Is short like the life itself.
How do I survive this dark period of separation
Without your face before my eyes?

- Amar Mudi
My father does a lot of poetry and has also published a collection of short poems in Bangla, 
He has also translated several English and Hindi books to Bangla and vice-versa. 
He is a theater enthusiast and a playwright. You can reach him at amarmudi@yahoo.com 
and leave your comments and replies for him.
I will keep linking his books and poetry as his books are not always available everywhere in the world...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not ashamed...

……….I am in the battleground
Trying to fathom my reason for being here.
Is it only the hunger for glory?
I thought, I was fighting for freedom of people like me.

It is true I love myself, but that does not make me misanthrope!
It is you, who ask me to purify;
But aren’t you the one, who, predestined my action?
Aren’t you the one who chose to sit near my head?

I know I will be disgraced for my audacity to stand up against the mighty;
Your loved ones pawned themselves for a moment of glory;
You played your part well.
Wasn’t it cowardice indifference?
At least, unruly human beings will follow my lifeless body

When I leave this battleground, dishevelled, disrobed,
Knowing I was one of them, who was not indifferent.

Have you seen yourself in your recently polished mirror?
While talking about rightfulness,
Aren’t you forgetting that lonely person, whom you left midway?
May be your ‘TRUTH” and ‘PURITY’ have some different sublime connotation…….

She doesn't write very often, but I like posting her poetry so people do read them. 
 I have made a label in her name. 
So you can keep reading her poetry if you wish to just by clicking on it. Labels are down below. Hope you like these poems and comment which may convince her to write more and possibly get published in the future.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2 States review: Contemporary yet strenuously long

`2 States` is the perfect example of how a story in the hands of the right director can be entertaining and can fail miserably if not. The director, Abhishek Varman had a very predictable plot to work with. Perhaps a tad too predictable.

The adaptations that screenplay writers Abhijat Joshi and Abhishek Kapoor`s team made to `3 Idiots` and `Kai Po Che` respectively, while not changing the premise too much, gave the audience a fresher story. Varman makes the mistake of not refreshing the material from which he adopted his début venture.

Boy meets girl, falls in love, want to marry, parents disagree, boy and girl separate, enter unexpected help, boy and girl together again. If we have seen it once, we have seen it again and again and again; and `2 States` is no different.

Krish Malhotra, played by Arjun Kapoor and Ananya Swaminathan, played by Alia Bhatt meet and fall in love on the IIM Ahmedabad campus. They go on to prove that they have a mature perspective on marriage and decide to please the parents and seek their blessing. The rest of the movie revolves around them trying various ways of getting the nod from the elders.

The stars and the supporting cast has carried out their roles very well. Amrita Singh is perfect as the loud, crass Punjabi mother seeking the perfect kudi for her son. Revathy too has played the Tamilian conservative quiet mother to Ananya to perfection. Ronit Roy has possibly played the part of the father who needs anger management classes too many times, this time too Ronit shines in his small appearances. Arjun tried to break out of the mould of angry young man to play a love struck puppy, not to perfection but he manages to look charming enough. Alia has talent that peeks through at times, but her characters does not have enough layers to really make a strong impact.

It would have been nice to have a little more romance, as the much advertised chemistry does exist. The two have an upbeat beginning to their relationship, but the story quickly shifts to the parents. There is just not enough time for the viewers to be convinced of their love. There are the frills of their relationship without being dumped in to saccharine sweetness that Karan Johar brand of films often are.

The expectations of some laugh out loud moments rise with the entry of the parents. Instead, the rest of the narrative depends on the clichés of North and South India. The Punjabi mother is too strung up, and the Tamil – `Madrasi` parents are too judgemental, relatives are meddlesome. `2 States` carries on with the divide with no real issues for too long, more than half the movie. And it can get tiring.

Alia looks beautiful in both the western outfits and the South Indian traditional sarees. Kudos to Manish Malhotra for a fantastic wardrobe for junior Bhatt. Another mention must be given to cinematographer, Bonid Pradhan, especially for the wedding scene at the end. It was romantic and mesmerising the way that scene was shot.

The music in the movie is refreshing. `Offo` is truly sprightly and `Chandaniya` is beautifully rendered by K. Mohan (from the band Agnee) and Yashita Sharma. The trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy recreate the youthful spring with the soundtrack of the film as they have with their previous ventures.

Watch the movie for a lack of any other show to go to with your loved one. Despite the attempts of a modern love story, this 2 and a half hour movie can get to your nerves if you are expecting anything different.
Alia Bhatt in 2 States

'Main Tera Hero' review – Varun Dhawan fills Govinda's shoes

Through the 90s David Dhawan was the ruling king of comedy. With Govinda as his favourite lead hero, and Salman Khan as a close second, Dhawan gave hit after hit even with movies that sometimes made no sense at all. Be it `Hero No 1`, `Biwi No. 1`, `Judwaa` or even the more recent `Partner`, they were all entertainers through and through.

In his son, Varun Dhawan, the director has found a perfect match between Govinda with his comic timing and dance moves and Salman with his perfect body and machoism.

`Main Tera Hero` (inspired from the Telegu movie `Kandireega`) is a typical Bollywood love triangle with a David Dhawan twist. Sreenath "Seenu" Prasad, played by Varun, is in love with Sunaina(Ileana D`Souza). However Varun has an admirer, the don`s (Anupam Kher) daughter Ayesha, played by Nargis Fakhri. Seenu pursues Sunaina, despite warnings that her lover/stalker (Arunoday) was unforgiving and it would have dire consequences. Things take a turn when Ayesha decided to make Seenu fall in love with her.

There is the usual David Dhawan fanfare – a courtship, a kidnapping, a rescue, some action but nowhere does the movie turn too serious or sway from its intended flavour.

For Varun, this should have been his big launch, instead of `Student of the Year`, because it seemed like he was comfortable in his shoes. Ileana was a revelation, as she played a sharp contrast to her role in `Barfi`. And Arunoday Singh, as Angad, gave a decent performance as the love struck villain. Anupam Kher was back in his element as a goofy gangster. Rajpal Yadav (as Peter) is back with a vengeance and Dhawan has used his talent well, and given him the screen time that he deserves.

Highly entertaining in the first half, `Main Tera Hero` slumps in the second. The jokes are slightly in-your-face and fail to make you laugh at times. It seems that Dhawan has tried to re-create the nineties magic by rehashing some of the humour that worked in that decade. The audience should not look for logic and reasoning in a movie like this, and it delivers on that account. But you would definitely want the movie to be a little more fast paced, especially in the second half. The humour also gets forced as we go along in the movie.

The cast of the movie have definitely been given leverage to play their characters with ease, and performances are good all around. They also seem to have had a lot of fun with the movie, especially Varun, as he looks adorable pulling faces and romancing the two lead heroines.

The music of the movie has been well received, `Palat - Tera Hero Idhar Hai` inspired from `Jahan teri yeh nazar` is foot tapping, and Jr Dhawan has definitely filled Govinda`s shoes with some great moves. Other songs too are entertaining but nothing worth remembering.

`Main Tera Hero` is definitely a one time watch and is sure to leave you amused and nostalgic of the 90`s humour; but that's about it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bhoothnath Returns review: Riding the wave of political change

The director Nitesh Tiwari has picked the right time to release the sequel `Bhoothnath Returns`. The wave in the country for a change of the face of politics is high, and the movie certainly takes the ride.

`Bhoothnath Returns` picks up from where `Bhoothnath` left off. A ghost mocked for his inability to scare kids in heaven, returns to the mortal world to try his hand with some urban Mumbaikars. With little success in scaring children, the ghost turns to change lives of the oppressed and decides to do some good for the society instead. As Bhoothnath (Amitabh Bachchan)

Friday, April 04, 2014

Reality and reality television

I am an optimist. Well, on most days I am. And reality TV plays the true leveller in my rather rose-coloured vision I have of my life and things around.

With little time to watch television, I catch up on most of the episodes on the World Wide Web. And it’s easy. Many of the TV channels have online feed of their shows, which makes it easier to just selectively watch the episodes you like.

But what depresses me is what is shown on reality television. Now, these shows are supposed to be unscripted, hence the emotions are likely to be real. So if these emotions are real then we have a relatively dark future. Programmes like ‘Bigg Boss’ show stars cramped in a house for weeks turn on each other, scheme, plot, be malicious and be rude. Turns out that most people think that’s entertainment. Twitter hash tags about the show are trending. It’s all over Facebook, and scandals are rife. It is as if the audience is deriving some strange sadistic pleasure in watching others behaving that way.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Interview - I find inspiration in everything: Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre is one of the most sought after designers in the Indian fashion industry. With multiple brands that she pilots like AND, Global Desi and her eco fashion project – Grassroots, she is possibly the biggest name in contemporary fashion. Bollywood celebrities like Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sonakshi Sinha, Prachi Desai, Esha Gupta and others have been oft spotted donning her outfits exuding panache. She was also ranked in Fortune India’s list of 50 Most Powerful Women in Business 2013.

Aparna Mudi of Zee Media Bureau speaks to her about her inspirations and more...

Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?

Ever since I was a child I wanted to become a designer. My childhood years spent at my grandmother’s home in Rajasthan, which led to a divine connect that I started sharing with that place, the people, the culture; the rich heritage inspired me and still continues to do so. I think it came naturally to me, so I always knew that my love for design and fashion would someday make me what I am today

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer? What inspires you when you are creating your designs?
My favourite part is the process of designing. I find inspiration in almost everything - travelling, music, books,

Friday, March 28, 2014

The art of getting offended

India is a country that has come to take pride in taking offence. Every community has somehow decided that they will boycott something or the other. Where is our sense of humour? Have we decided to forego our traditions and culture of being open to different thoughts and opinions for a few statements made by people who don`t even matter?

It first began with the arrest of two girls from Maharashtra, when they posted something on Mumbai shutdown following Bal Thackeray`s death. What followed was indignation, vandalism, while some were putting up posts in support of the girls and others were `asking for respect` through violence. It was an unnecessary debacle because some people decided to use the law to fan their egos. There are others who sit
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