Saturday, August 25, 2012

It roars, whether you like it or not

It will not make you roll in laughter at bawdy jokes or PG-13 innuendos. It does not have dhinchak songs that instantly get added to any DJ's playlist. The action sequences are not out-of-the-world like Wanted, Dabangg, Ready or Bodyguard. And, well, okay, it also has the same-ole story rehashed a hundred times in Bollywood already.

And yet, Tiger roars. Roars in its simple humor. Roars in music that slowly grows on you. Roars as it avoids easy traps of melodrama and mushy romance. Roars in amazingly beautiful cinematography. Roars as it rides as much on Katrina's petite shoulders as on Salman Bhai's machismo.

When you put two of the best looking stars in Bollywood together on screen, you don't ask for much more. But Ek tha Tiger offers more, and offers everything that Salman movies these days don't. Take that from a fan who has seen every shitty movie that ever starred Salman, and has adored all of them. 

It's a simple story, told simply. With some subtle, unadulterated fun.

And, talk about screen presence. Fucking screen presence. Just leave Salman on screen, yeah, and all is taken care of. Mashallah.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bring out the Gunda in you

There are very few things in life that I am really touchy about. Actually, I can consider myself pretty much emotionally dead otherwise, but some topics get me talking.

Calcutta has always been one of them.

It's laid-back, but it's warm, I would argue. People are nice, I would tell anyone who is willing to listen. Men are lazy, but they are progressive, I would coerce them. And most importantly, women are safe here, I would make them believe.

Not like Mumbai where passers-by don't care if you lay writhing on the road in pain, where your neighbors don't even know you exist. Not like Delhi where even women spout abuses in every second word, where the men consider raping any woman they see as their birth-right. Not like Bangalore and Chennai where the auto-wallahs can make you repent why you were born in the first place, where the local populace's antipathy towards North Indians will make you squirm.

But time had to catch up eventually. And it did.

Women are raped, and then they are mocked by the Govt and police for daring to lodge a complaint. Anyone trying to act as witness is also molested, and officers trying to investigate the case are transferred.
Co-passengers turn their head the other way as a child falls off a speeding auto.
People on a busy street in the heart of the city couldn't care less as a gang of rowdy auto-wallahs molest a lady and beat up her husband for daring to protest against their rash driving. Even after the media highlighted the issue, the auto drivers walk free due to political clout, whereas the couple is being tormented.

Ask any person on the road, and he would seem worried. Calcutta is not the same anymore, he will tell you. He is scared, worried and anxious. He is concerned about his own safety and that of his family's.

So, if we have become more and more like the other cities in India, does that mean that we have re-arrived on the commercial landscape as well.. and that like Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, we too will see growth in industry and employment.

The answer is a big fucking No.

We never deserved that, and we don't deserve even now, as I found out today when I tried to enter my bank's premises in the morning. It's an All-India strike called by some union of bank employees. Funny thing is neither me nor any other employee of my bank is member of the union and yet, we were not allowed to enter office by flag-bearers and slogan-shouters. Colleagues in other parts of the country found it funny, it's a fucking strike of PSU bank employees... why is your branch shut? And then they would themselves answer with a smirk, that's Calcutta for you.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Soak No More

She felt it on her cheek,
tiny, wet, stinging,
Her parched skin revolted,
in spasms, short and quick.

Then, there was another,
And a wayward one more,
Her nails dig in her palms,
Of pain, she would not bother.

The drizzle gave way to shower,
And then, rain, ruthless and fierce,
Her clothes clung to her pale skin,
Head sunk, her feet knelt lower.

Then something inside, deep,
Exploded through her eyes,
The rain would soak her no more,
As tears would run, streak, creep.

This poem has been written as part of IndiBlogger's "The Surf Excel Matic #SoakNoMore Contest".

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Of Kajras, Chummas and Mungdas

Item numbers have always formed an integral part of my movie-going experience. And I, for one, take them seriously boss. But then this post is not about the over-the-top item numbers of today.

This is about those songs which made you shamelessly dance away in drunken glory at some point of time in your life, songs which you have karaoke-d with your chaddi-buddies when you were young and innocent, with suppressed giggles and an eye on the lookout - you wouldn't want grown-ups to hear you singing them, songs which when played today seem like a forgotten tune, but then you hum along nevertheless, remembering fun that was of yesterday.


Lemme make it easy. Imagine a group of drunken men dancing - late 20s, early 30s, middle-aged. Drunken men dance like.. umm.. drunken men. But, then, at times, the dancing attains a different level of totally mad frenzy.. when the DJ plays certain item songs. This post is about such songs.

Saat Samundar - Clearly one of the reasons why Vishwatma shouldn't be labeled a forgettable film. No, the song's not on the list because of a gyrating Divya Bharti alone. The lyrics inspire some of the most imaginative dance moves ever.

Jhuma Chumma de de - One song that makes every guy on the dance floor think of himself as Amitabh Bacchan out to woo the Kimi Katkar dancing a few feet away. The flirtatious undertones of the song provide perfect cue for discarding all sanity, and sensibilities.

Mungda - Without exception, all songs of Helen are pieces of majestic art. However, Mungda surpasses all of them in its sheer sensuality. Helen wasn't exactly very young when this song was shot.. and yet, she could easily have given the Sheilas and Munnis of today a run for their money.

Oye oye - If there was one thing that Rajiv Rai got right in his movies, it was to have peppy numbers in place, and make cute looking actresses maro latkas and jhatkas on them. Not surprising then, that a lot of songs from his movies feature on my list. For Oye Oye though, it wasn't Sonam (who Rajiv Rai later married) alone, it was also Nasiruddin Shah's rustic nautanki that made the song what it is. Tridev had other good item songs too (in particular this one where Sangeeta Bijlani seduces the entire theater), but nothing quite compares to Oye Oye.

Tu cheez badi hai mast mast - Clearly Mohra was the one movie that highlighted Raveena Tandon's career in Bollywood. No, she did not play a very important role in the movie. She only danced to rapchik songs like Mast Mast and Tip tip barsa pani.

One two ka four - The only male item song that deserves a mention here. I can't say whether it was Anil Kapoor's moustache (as if he needs any more body hair), a demure looking Madhuri, the sheer narcissism portrayed in the lyrics or some unknown mystery that makes the song a favorite.

Ek do teen - Tezaab could have been a cult movie. Many say it already is. Not me. And I can't decide on what shouldn't have been there in the movie - Chunky Pandey? Mandakini's hamming? And if it is indeed a cult movie, then it is only because of Mohini and her counting abilities.

Kajra Re - It is with a lot of self-control that I have included this song here. My antipathy for the femme fatale who danced on this song is not unknown really. But this song is legendary, alrite, and I couldn't have not included it in my favorite list, in spite of her and a nauseating Abhishek Bacchan. As consolation to myself, I will put up a pic of Rakhi Sawant dancing on this song instead.

Choli ke peeche kya hai - When I was really really young (not too young to not understand what this song meant though), my uncle had gotten this recorded in an audio cassette and would secretly play it when no one was around. To his bad luck, the cassette was soon discovered and promptly thrown into the dustbin. It's tough to decide what makes the song so vulgar (and hence, so interesting to drunken men) - the lyrics, Madhuri's dance, Neena Gupta's suggestive looks or the lust in Sanjay Dutt's eyes. Do watch the video, if only for the hilarious subtitles that I managed to find.

Last Note: This is my list. Your list can be, and should be, different from mine. So Chill, and have fun :-)
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