PJs

They just come by the bucketful. They are way too contagious. Poor women have been afflicted by this malady and they are so good at it that they are giving complex and stiff competition to the resident PJ kings. In the beginning, it does bring the laughs and the money, and also, the babes. Then, just the drink buddies survive them.

In the beginning, there was man, then Oscar Wilde. Then, slapstick tramp, Charlie Chaplin. A Dieter Hallevorden? And then, the stand-ups.

The already dwarfed men, eclipsed by their own breed of averages and mediocrity made the art of PJ-ing a new religion. More often than not, I am expected to appreciate and spare a few laughs, leave alone a smile of intolerance.

For some, it is a compulsive disorder/order. For some, an acquired taste, can we call it art? For some, a comic relief to be different.

PJs have ranged from the corny to the horny to the cocky to the total bullshit kinds. Too much of it is nauseating. A lil’ is relieving. None is bland, anyway. PJ-ing requires perfect timing like any punch line. It also needs Himalayan patience to tolerate and survive them. At any random moment of PJ-ing we know when our audience is with or against us. Some jackasses think punning on words is PJ-ing, I beg to differ. It is not. To pun, intended or unintended requires tremendous wit and versatility. PJ-ing is not an effort at all. Remember the best and oft-quoted ones and know the pulse of your audience. You also have to worry about the backfire bit. Trying to be cute by PJ-ing is deadly and fatal.

For some reason, I'm not giving the full form of this dreaded word.

 

DevD is No Emosanal Attyachar

After decades of iconic status, Devdas has a Second ‘screen’ Coming besides Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s epic inspiration of tragic love lost and the cosmic comparison of two feisty women. Anurag Kashyap’s screen adaptation is not just a refreshing change but coming of age of Hindi cinema par excellence (sorry not Hollywood, Hollywood is not even a benchmark).

People will either love DevD or hate it. It is surreal and psychedelic at the same time.Kashyap challenges conventions, brings alive frustration which is not religion for the angst driven but evidently there. KL Saigal, Dilip Kumar and SRK made Devdas iconic enough. Every guy on the road, in the boardroom, on the bus or in the stall thinks he has been one, however much he hates, he is secretly proud of the Devdas record/stint in his life. You know, ‘the been there, done that’ feeling.

Sometimes, DevD irritated me with the excess Punjabi-ness from dialogue to sexuality (no offence!) Abhay Deol (resident Devdas) does not need a standing ovation. He is a Jat with his acting heart at the right place, head firmly between his shoulders. Mahie Gill (Paro) and Kalki Koechlin( Lenny/Chanda) are superb. Secretly, they have done many hardcore and pro-feminists proud for whatever execution of ‘boldness’ in an otherwise MCP society. Sigh, I hate to confirm this but second wave feminism is still at its infancy in India.

There is no unnecessary melodrama, there is no poetic justice. There is business in everything. There is ego. There is esteem lost and recovered. There is the self, lost and found. There is negativity. There is also some hope. There is pure lust as much as ‘growing-into-love’, shedding of social mores, treading dangerous ground and the bizarre. Music and choreography, arresting and haunting.

London bred DevD, amorous and wild, never knows why ‘Sattu’ earns him a whack. All he is keen is-has she ‘felt’ herself? Lovers/crushes/infatuates who live by phone, separated by distance will shyly confirm this and some might feel outraged. Asking for nude pictures via email speaks of a confederate fed on secret porn and the thrill of the forbidden.

Paro does not disappoint. All that matters is him. She is not afraid caught making out by her father, and stuns the neighbourhood with her studio-cyber matter-of-fact deadlines. The sugarcane-mattress incident makes her a slut and the humiliation of being judged by someone you love most leaves her stoned. The last time you see her smile is at her wedding when she breaks into a jig. Paro does not carry the scar on the head to remind her of her pride. DevD does.

Lenny (later Chanda) who loves Madhuri songs is a happy go lucky schoolgirl sold out on bikes. I wonder if it is her mixed parentage and upbringing which makes her friendly to any Tom, “Dick” and Harry. Children of such mixed backgrounds are usually more outgoing and found to be prone to trouble. The MMS scandal makes her Chanda (let’s not miss the allusion to the moon who is the night goddess). She is a decent girl by all standards, finishes school, bikes to college, and is a bubble gum candy goddess by night.

Some digressions.

Averagely rich Indian men love frequenting brothels and joints, those who can afford have exclusive women to themselves. How many DevDs are there to take the Chandas home and live happily ever after? Or will you be drunk and broken-hearted enough to be a DevD? Not that it is an ask . The controversial question of virginity is, for most men . Getting the perfectly balanced equation of a complete woman is always a challenge for the uninitiated, trouble for the mocking kinds and mystery to the wannabes. Some happy men assume and wish to believe that it’s all in the mind and too utopic and fantasy-driven. It’s a wedge, I say. The factors helping and hindering the search are many.

The use of shades is a brilliant technique. Each character plays a fa├žade to prove a point. The starkness of things that are, the brutal honesty and the bizarre nakedness of acceptance comes sans shades and the brilliant travesty of the narrative reveals then.

The protagonist of DevD is the gold ring, thoroughly underplayed but...

Go watch DevD.

 

Sigh!

The sink takes the painful trickle,

The floor takes the weary tap.

The ceiling, the burden of being stared.

The walls almost feel criminal of having to box and guard you.

 

The furniture feels the creak on its old hinges ,

The doors and windows wish to be treated gently.

The utensils are sample agony aunts,

The crockery, victims of buttery absent minded fingers.

 

The clothesline does not mind being roasted.

Fighting gravity is no mean job!

The portico died long ago,

The veranda doubles up for her.

 

The humanity of inanimate life,

The helplessness of muteness,

The taken-for-granted feeling,

The saga of the mundane.

 

 

 

Billo Barber- yawn, yawn

It’s time we did a stock taking of our love/admiration for SRK and Priyadarshan, separately and together. Billo Barber had slick trailers, the “Marjaani number” almost looked unbelievably ethereal and at mid-40, SRK still looked “physically fit” to move it.

Well, the regional version starring Rajnikanth salvaged some respectability in the last 25 mins, according to my friend. The Bollywood remake disappointed throughout.

Priyadarshan’s kinda stuff is beginning to wane, seriously. One should not expect anything out of his stable anymore, like we used to with RGV movies.

Let me go about one by one.

Lara can’t do a village belle/woman act. Period. Her last one Mumbai se Aaya Mera Dost was terribly forgettable, do you remember? She is not just rustic, enough is an ask and especially if you are playing Billo’s wife.

Priyadarshan’s sidekick comic relief is also getting repetitive. The same mundane fast forward stuff, slapstick-ish and all. 

Get Om Puri some author backed role. He should stop doing favours to friends and retire from acting if this is what the industry is. Has he forgotten what he can do, Dev for instance?

Asrani is fading away literally. The sad truth is such is the shelf-life of such characters- we all do crazy things for a living.

Rajpal Yadav’s over-gesticulating histrionics, if you may please, are not sustaining enough.

The item girls came and left. No we are not talking about Mallika or Malaika or Rakhi. We notice them. It is Deepika in some re-incarnate Love Story 2050- Part 2? Gawd! What is this fetish with Sci-fi and space stuff? Arrey, we don’t understand UP village stuff and space masala mix.

Priyanka in her post-Fashion avatar almost catlike is not as sizzling as she thought she was. Sorry babe! Take a break.

Kareena! God, her unnaturally long synthetic tresses were a huge turn off and her jhatkas were her only saving grace.

Last evening, SRK on Headlines Today went showering praises on his item ladies that each went out of their way to do their bit-the bhaichara and the dosti of Bollywood! Indeed, he was touched to have them on screen with him. For a flagging 46-yr old what better ego boost than to have babes half his age cavorting with him. That should be an elixir for his sagging haggard (metro) sexual image.

I also thought SRK’s cameo should be a cameo, not hogging the camera to pieces. He is there throughout the movie. Does he hate to play second fiddle to the lead actor? He makes sure he has the best cinematic moments and the great lines about everything nice and mushy. It’s a survival trait, we see that and we don’t mind you getting old.

What does our homegrown Bill have to say to all these? He runs away from the madding crowd as expected. Poor Billo, it was supposed to be his fillum and he is eclipsed by a Khan superstar until the end of the movie, so glad the movie finished. He is a method actor, will do all it takes to do what he has to do. His on-screen kids half-obey him until the last frame, his shop goes through the pangs of recession thanks to some zany marketing from competitors. He upholds his dignity of not succumbing to borrowing ways. The simple man prefers to keep things simple. He does not go ga-ga that he used to be/is friends with the now star, then pauper. His value systems are honest. He has some nice warm moments as a doting father and a caring husband. Irrfan Khan’s Billo act is warm.

I can’t believe K-Jo wept at all the dosti bhashaan in the movie. I was not moved,man! Now call me an untrue, unfeeling, insensitive friend.

Betraying Judas

Betrayal is as old as time. Life betrays us when time is up yet we choose to celebrate scores of birthdays. There is a Judas in every atom and aspect of existence.Failed love stories is a classic metaphor. Even blood relations have not been spared. One can only move on and oh yes, cheer up, like my dad says the worst is yet to come.

Being Judas is a way of life for some, a cultured practice for some, and a survival instinct for many. I don’t know my Scriptures enough to wonder if Jesus was emotionally attached to any of his disciples. We know the Son of God loves mankind and died for them.

Being cold and mercurial is a dynamic trait, and if one is philanthropic, quite a toast! What about the less ‘fortunate’ kindly kindred who can’t be Judas and who are emotionally attached to what they do and for whom they do?

Close Judas encounters and heartburn in and around, and a heart-to-heart with a much loved one revealed that it is not a joke to be going through this upheaval time to time. Call it tragic flaw, some of us are little Christ figures. There will be frayed cheating cases but the degree of hurt and scar is much deeper in case of a Judas middling our affairs. More often than not, enemies don’t betray us. It is always people who are extremely close to us, who we are very fond of who take it upon them as a moral birthright to do a Judas. It is a battle of wins and losses, in the end. I see the ruins around me and yes, with a fair share of blame on Judas, I move on. The healing is slow and painful but it does not take away whatever life I have in my hands. It is not so big to bug the rest of my life, at least I choose and want to believe that. But I also do not want to sound like the classic deer that closed her eyes to sinister trouble around me.

Coping with betrayal is not easy. Some go into some emotional exile. Some erase trust and faith from their very existence. Some say, if you can’t beat the enemy, be with the enemy- we have more Judases. Some try to forget. Some struggle to forgive. Some consider revenge. The hurt is enormous, a lesson for a lifetime. Such is the scenario with every betrayal. We commit the same gross life threatening blunder of getting betrayed again. We also betray, sometimes out of choice and sometimes, due to circumstance. Does a Judas deserve a justification? Does a Judas have a conscience? Why can’t one listen to conscience before doing a Judas?

You know what, what goes around comes around.

There is a cosmic payback time.

Why change and harden oneself for a breed of hyenas?

LuckByChance


A beautiful medley of flawed characters. A convincing and heart-warming debut by Zoya Akhtar. The craft is the same, the handling is different. A befitting tribute to the many scores who come and ‘struggle’ in every sense. You do find the sepia dim light world of the ‘behind the scenes’ so fascinating and nostalgic. The names rolled were biggies but the frames of the common man striving as it were for his means for a square meal a day. After the Slumdog mania, this was a refreshing treat indeed. The cameos are delightful, everybody breezed in and breezed out. The casting couch is subtly hinted at. Besides talent, it takes patience to weather the storm and be hailed as the next big thing before becoming established as a star. Until then, you slog as the sister, the nurse, the dancer and the bleh. Konkana(as Sona) delivers a warm performance after Mr and Mrs. Iyer, Page 3 and Omkara. The concept of small town dreams getting mixed in sawdust is not new. Frankly, it’s over exploited. It’s just that city dreams have some lucky channel to see the light of day. Pure fluke.

You have a cynical friend who will always give you the ‘true’ perspective, who will laugh at your chikna pictures, who is content with keeping the actor’s spirit alive by doing a sonny’s role on TV and doing theatre in the evening. You have another friend who you want as an SBI introducer to Mahesh Bhatt and Co. and you arrange a Grandpa’s clock and you are re-affirmed friends for all times. You find a convenient neighbour turned girlfriend who is there by your side under the starry nights when your claim to fame is a finished product from Nand Kishore acting school. You get a lucky pass to a premiere and see the silver world in colored vision. The cheesiest pick-up? line ever-“ I am in this world because of you” leaves Nina Walia(Dimple Kapadia) misty eyed. The presentable elan is evident when she conducts herself as the dominating all pervading yesteryears actress turned manager of a bimbette of a starlet/star daughter Niki Walia( Isha Sharvani), who in Vikram Jaisingh’s(Farhan Akhtar) opnion “lives in a cake”. KJo sums it up well, somebody’s discard prepares a newcomer’s rise to stardom. Climbing the ladder of success is not easy. You kill some, you win some and you make strange bedfellows only to consciously repent and wail later. The gossip is sexless given by a presumed gay journo. He used her and he used her and he also used her. Many ‘hers’ and many ladders. Reconciliation is tough but the best healing power. Even then, some are born to be selfish by nature, the need to cling to people, the need to cheese off friends, the kind to be human and frail, the need to accept them the way they are. Some form of love it is, sigh!Rolly(Rishi Kapoor) as a fading producer brings a touch of those olden days when he tells his wife(Juhi Chawla) that the times have befallen especially when a gentleman's word no longer prevails, only money and big banners earn you respect.His lucky number is 5 and his wife expects him to wear the pearl to keep him calm.His younger brother(Sanjay Kapoor) is a different kind of director and so also, his producer brother-in-law,Sanjay Choudhury(Aly Khan). A pilgrimage of growth for the frayed human conditioning, LuckByChance strikes a chord when Shah Rukh Khan as SRK passes the wisdom never to abandon those who knew you in your tatters.

There is no "happies ending" ala Om Shanti Om but there is an urge to dream and dream,you might strike lucky. Sona realises that when she wins the fridge and the Mumbai skies tell the story of the new poster boy in Bollywood.