Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Shake dreams from your hair
my pretty child, my sweet one.
Choose the day and choose the sign of your day
the day's divinity
First thing you see.

A vast radiant beach and cooled jeweled moon
Couples naked race down by it's quiet side
And we laugh like soft, mad children
Smug in the wooly cotton brains of infancy
The music and voices are all around us.

Choose they croon the Ancient Ones
the time has come again
choose now, they croon
beneath the moon
beside an ancient lake

Enter again the sweet forest
Enter the hot dream
Come with us
everything is broken up and dances.

Indians scattered,
On dawn's highway bleeding
Ghosts crowd the young child’s,
Fragile eggshell mind

We have assembled inside,
This ancient and insane theater
To propagate our lust for life,
And flee the swarming wisdom of the streets.

The barns have stormed
The windows kept,
And only one of all the rest
To dance and save us
From the divine mockery of words,
Music inflames temperament.

Ooh great creator of being
Grant us one more hour,
To perform our art
And perfect our lives.

We need great golden copulations,

When the true kings murderers
Are allowed to roam free,
A thousand magicians arise in the land
Where are the feast we are promised?

One more thing

Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light
Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light

A city rises from the sea
I had a splitting headache
From which the future's made

...Jim Morrison

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dhobi ghat. La cinema de art?

In the age of swashbuckling BMW'S and SUV's Dhobi Ghat is a cinematic moped. A light-weight, breezy vehicle that lets you feel the rain fall on the naked skin, with arms wide open; and when it gets dark, it exposes you to the dingy, rat-infested bylanes of Bombay suburbs. All this at a comfortably slow pace (14 minute long takes?). This interval-less ride elicits the heterogeneous character of the city, through the narratives of four different character interwoven at the site of the Dhobi Ghat. You are compelled to ruminate their relationship with the city. A recluse painter-decidedly refraining the chic cosmopolitan urban crowd. A slumdog washerman aspiring to become a Bollywood actor. A small-town girl jostling to find her feet in the abundance of the metropolis and finally, a New York banker- flaneuring the city to ripen her photography ambition, while enjoying her sabbatical. The film enables the contours of the city to map their individual struggles and dreams.

The emphatic absence of a typical Bollywood plot, condenses the film to some exceptionally elegant moments. Sights and moods that facilitates you to trudge on the emotional landscape of the four protagonists.For instance-Munna practicing how to pose ahead infront of the mirror-ahead of his portfolio shoot is both honest and entertaining. If realism is the leading manifesto of an art film, Dhobi ghat manages it effortlessly. After all how many contemporary films attempt to capture the utter abysmal mundaneness of life. Shy's character for me is the most identifiable out of all. Her uneasy, dazed state of mind after an incidental one-night stand with an attractive artist, her hesitance to get romantically involved with a good-looking Dhobi indicate the strength of the screenplay.

diegetic soundtrack, hand-held camera, lucid visuals, lack of closure and long sequences of inactivity reflect director's understanding of art cinema. A deliberate departure from dramatic narrative allows you to engage with the visual language of the medium. Like a modern painting, the form becomes the content. Here i am tempted to recall the chase sequence in the climax, where Munna hurriedly runs to Shy's car. The most fascinating aspect for me is while the film clearly is an ode to the Maxim city, it does not come across celebratory or self-loathing, (as in the case of Slumdog Millionaire). it speaks through its subtlety, reminding me of the effervescence of Lost in Translation and My Blueberry nights.

Having said this very generously, i have to mention of some of the very cliched moments in the film that come across rhetorical/redundant. death of munna's brother due to a gangster skirmish sounds foolish and rather unreal. An unsuited development that doesn't add much to the story but weakens Munna's character-who's grief is very amateurishly dealt with. Mysterious death of this nature unsettles the realistic atmosphere created by the film otherwise. Arun's obsession with Yasmeen purely based on some dusty tapes is hard to gulp. It's totally acceptable for an artist to find his muse in unexplored pockets of life. But for an emotionally stoic person, who is shown to be a failure in matters of love and relationships-breaking down this intensely over a virtual figure (and here i am referring to the way he performs this particular scene) left me with it a straight-face.

However, in these precise incidents, there was a greater potential of falling to conventional drama and predictable twists a`la any run of the mill Bollywood film. Afterall how hard is to imagine Shy falling in love with Munna, who post-interval would have turned into a dashing, sucessful filmstar, thanks to our photographer prodigy. No! instead the film seems in complete control in keeping the disquiet and melancholy alive consistently through th film. The film is as real, as it could get without the ground-breaking exposures and sting operations (No pot shots on Bhandarkar or Jessica ji here). And, conjectures stand correct-Prateik Babbbar effortlessly steals your heart.Lastly, the cherry on the cake award goes to film's incredibly intense soundtrack, that circumscribes film's overall intelligence and subtlety.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wilde Wilde Winters

"..Welcome to new Delhi Indra Gandhi Airport. The temperature outside is 5 centigrades. Hope you have a comfortable stay in Delhi"

It is that time of the year again when saddi dilli develops cold feet, snorts, shivers, nearly freezes and depresses a certain someone me(rubs cold shoulders with me?). There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The sun refuses to show up. The roads are deserted after 7 pm and the cultured family of ours advises us to be mindful of the creatures of the dark a la film noir type. But thats least of my worry. Winter does irreparable damage to my body. When i'm done cracking up like a diseased reptile, I balloon up- ready to explode any minute. The dialectics of hibernation can be understood in two ways:
a. I eat all the time to remain warm
b. I sleep all the time because i've eaten a lot.

It takes one season to turn me from fit to fat, a television abstainer to a wholesome crunchy couch potato. Evil Star-world like channels air 'winter specials' propagating the greatest vice of sloth among one and all. Under adverse weather condition like this, there is no reason to leave the wonderfully warm confines of the bed until you absolutely have to.

'The world may call him a recluse, but he's never been more worldly than now'.

By the virtue of 24x7 news channel, i now save humanity by a twitter update on train delays that i have absolutely nothing to do with. Masterchef Australia has terminated my prolonged curse of being a terrible cook. Yes, ladies and gentleman, i also save humanity by offering them a chocolate-fondue which has been hailed for being finger-licking good.

Perhaps winters aint that bad with a hot cup of Cappacino to sleep with and a chicken soup to wake up to. The rare sight of sun coruscates my room. The mere hope of seeing the sun, gives me reason to wake up before noon. And if the person reading this happens to be my mother, you would know what it means to us. To think of a Winterless Delhi is to deprive oneself of highly sought after Winter break and the enterprises i undertake. Reading Wilde by day and watching films by night. It is also that time of the year when it's reasonable to be tucked in the bed all day long. When you walk away guilt-free for slumbering more than required.

Happy Winters I say.