Friday, August 31, 2007

Thoughts on a Friday evening...

Restless people stay unsatisfied underachievers; as soon as they achieve a modicum of success at anything, they get bored and start looking around.

To be truly successful, not only does one need to be innovative and bold and flamboyant but also sometimes persistent and dogged; having the will to do the most mundane things in the world, to get to the top. As we learn soberingly, the most talented aren't necessarily the most successful, and genius is overrated in comparison to will.

The path to success doesn't end with designing the first stone but by relentless laying of the same stone through the entire path.

And retroconsequently, there are those who promise so much, yet deliver so little, leaving us with only the thought of what they could have done with a little less genius and a little more stability. Am reminded of one such man:

"I'm too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don't have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just a Thought

I grew up believing that one reason India didn't do well in sports was that we were too divided, never really gelled as a team, each man for himself kind (point of view deeply influenced by the newspapers which parroted the same thing). But if you look at it, the only times Indians have done well in sports have been team events - hockey, cricket and tennis-doubles! Compared to individual sports (which are many more in number) where we have no past/present world champion to speak of (chess/cue games aren't strictly sports in my opinion), our performance in team sports has been quite better.

Though the data points aren't too many, is it time we question the long-held assumption that we are a selfish nation?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ruk! Ruk! Ruk! Arre baba ruk!

Watching Hindi movies of the mid-90s leaves me dumbfounded. Movies I remember liking at that time now seem to have such juvenile plotlines, hammed acting, pointless sequences and just plain bad dialogues; makes me wonder how I could have watched them then.

Case in point - I happened to watch a few minutes of Raja by Indra Kumar the other day. I remember watching the movie when it came out and liking it. But seeing it this second time was such a pain. There was no visible link from scene to another. Loads of toilet humour (a prelude to the sex comedies we have now), inane dialogues - "ek ladki ka pehla chumban uske mehboob ke liye hota hai memsaab, kisi rahgeer ke liye nahi" - and this dialogue delivered with a wooden face by Sanjay Kapoor floored Madhuri!! Man, I should have been 20 then, would have had better luck with the ladies :)

Similarly, the other day, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was coming on TV. I can't imagine what made me spend my parents' hard-earned money to watch the movie twice in theatres. Watching Laxmikant Berde ham through his lines and assorted relatives talk about how happy, lucky and well-fed they were left me worried about what sort of person I was, growing up.

I understand that Hindi movies reached the Nadir in the 80s with "Himmatwala" Jitendra and assorted Govinda, Mithun flicks which had actresses of the ilk of Jayaprada, Kimi Katkar, Meenakshi, Sonam etc. The early 1990s it seems weren't much better. Now we have the Johar-Chopra-RGV-SLB movies which though have excuses for storylines, generally make it up with better production values and (most of the time) decent acting (though there are exceptions like Dhoom2, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom etc).

Maybe things haven't changed a bit, and I am probably just watching better movies by preselecting them; while I was indiscriminate during my childhood, lapping up anything/everything that came up for viewing. And seeing that a crappy movie like Dhoom2 can make more than a 100 crores makes me realise that there are still children growing up like me; and I fully sympathize with them.

I really like some of the small independent (multiplex?) movies that come out these days. Iqbal, Dor, Pyaar ke Side Effects, Life in a Metro, Khosla ka Ghosla etc are some of my favourites. It is good that economics have worked out in the favour of such flicks, that they can recover their cost without catering to the (really) lowest common denominator. The occasional Chak de India never hurts too.

I guess many directors have the ability to make good movies, but a few years struggling in the industry makes them realise the demand is for masala movies and they begin catering to that, to survive and flourish and as years pass, their instincts go away too. You either need to be really brave or really carefree to make movies you want them to be like. And not many succeed.

But some do. I was watching Chupke Chupke last weekend and sat through the entire movie, and liked it. Hrishikesh Mukherjee made really beautiful movies and Golmaal, Anand, Bawarchi, Khatti-Meethi, Chupke Chupke have stayed with me even though I first saw them so many years ago. I guess he was able to achieve the perfect balance between good and marketable movies.

But then these are few and far between. Most only make up good actresses like Tabu dance to the tune of "Love, love, love, love....tumse love hua".

Monday, August 20, 2007

And the Oscar goes to.......Arindam Chaudhuri!!

Picked up from Google News. Please read the entire thing. I am not in a position to comment on it - mujhe to kehne layak hi nahi chhoda!!

Make way for Planman Motion Pictures THE LAST LEAR!

Immediately in the heels of the Cannes spectacle, where Rituparno Ghosh's DOSAR, produced by Planman Motion Pictures was screened to an enthralled world audience, Planman Motion Pictures announces the biggest thing to happen to Indian cinema this year. Their film THE LAST LEAR, directed by Rituparno Ghosh, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and Shefali Shah, is having its World Premiere at The Toronto International Film Festival this year. This Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri presentation will be premiered on September 9 at the Roy Thomson Hall, the largest and most important cinema theatre in Toronto. The film has been selected for the Gala Premiere, the most prestigious section and centerpiece of the illustrious Festival. Walking the Red Carpet would be Amitabh Bachchan, Rituparno Ghosh, Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri, Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharjee, Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and other cast and crew of the film. A jubilant Prof. Chaudhuri says, "THE LAST LEAR is indeed a very important and powerful film. The story, Rituparno Ghosh's magic and the performances are all world class. This is our next film in our commitment towards fine cinema. I am sure this film will be appreciated as much by the world audience as by the Indians."

THE LAST LEAR, as it is just completed, seems to be only beginning its run now. Over the last 32 years, the Toronto International Film Festival has grown into one of the most important film festivals of the world, showcasing the cream of world cinema. It is an honor for not only the makers, but for the entire nation to be present on such a revered platform. Of course, the entire team is extremely excited about the selection. Says Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharjee, CEO � Planman Motion Pictures, "THE LAST LEAR is a powerful Indian English film, mounted and styled in a way that it appeals to the global audience. We are planning and programming the campaign in such a way that it becomes a truly international presentation from India. We can assure that the Toronto Gala Premiere will just be the beginning of an ambitious original Indian presentation."

In the Mussoorie schedule of the film, there were some intense and difficult scenes that needed to be shot in the mountainous town. As the spellbound crew watched in amazement as Mr. Bachchan, Preity and Arjun enacted some tough scenes, even the animals seemed to have taken a break from their daily activities to watch the mavericks. The only roar that could be heard was of Mr. Bachchans, the only other sound was that of the rolling camera. Says a unit member, "It was amazing! We were all watching Mr. Bachchan perform in stunned silence. Suddenly, he breaks into the song 'The hills are alive with the sound of music', it was so unexpected that we all took a few seconds to realize it and join in. It was a welcome break in the otherwise strenuous schedule!"

Planman Motion Pictures has been consistently making good cinema, since its inception in 2002. Good cinema, as they say, knows no boundaries. Their last release, DOSAR, is making waves at film festivals around the world. Since its release in Kolkata, DOSAR is now highly sought-after all across the world. It has already been an official selection in over ten prestigious film festivals and now after Toronto, it will be screened at Washington followed by a gala screening at The Indo-American Arts Council in New York. Still touring, the film is currently in Europe and in the USA, mesmerizing audiences all over. FALTU, yet another Planman Motion Pictures production was in competition at a Festival in Spain, where it stunned the Western audience with its dazzling visuals and distinct narrative. For Planman Motion Pictures, it's been an exceptionally busy year with Cannes also wanting to include MITHYA (Directed by Rajat Kapoor) in their official programme for 2007. However, the film was not complete then and they didn't want to compromise on the quality of post-production by rushing through it. But MITHYA was showcased at the recently held Osian Cinefan in New Delhi. The attendance there was tremendous, with the overfull auditorium having enthusiastic viewers sitting even on the stairways and blocking the gangways! The audience clapped, whistled and cheered all through the film, a sight that is very rare these days. After a bumper preview response, MITHYA is generating tremendous response in several 'A' league film festivals across the world, while in the home circuit; distributors are all too keen to lap up the film with their best offers.

While these films are already creating waves, Planman Motion Pictures has also just completed the shooting of it's next in the line-up, I M 24. This modern day laugh riot is written and directed by Saurabh Shukla. The next in pre-production right now is RANGEEN, which is a hilarious adaptation of Shakespeare's �A Midsummer Night's Dream'. The film is written and directed by Sharat Katariya of BHEJA FRY fame. Immediately after THE LAST LEAR's grand premiere in Toronto, Planman Motion Pictures would wrap up the post-production of Rituparno Ghosh's comic fantasy SUNGLASS starring Jaya Bachchan, Madhavan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Naseeruddin Shah and Raima Sen. This comic entertainer also promises path breaking music by Kolkata band 21 grams, the lyrics of which have been penned by Prasoon Joshi and the songs have been choreographed by Bosco-Ceaser. Quite a palette this is! Seems like THE LAST LEAR is only the first of many fine films coming from the Planman Motion Pictures stable!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Weekends with Me

Weekends have always been very important to me. From "the dreary desert sand of dead habit" of the weekdays, weekends uplift me. On Friday afternoons, I usually leave early deciding to get some work done on Sunday evening, but as with all "best laid plans", this too never transpires; the work spilling over to Monday morning. But no worries, I am in a really good mood today because I had a really nice weekend.

Started out with going out for dinner on Friday evening with my brother-in-law who was in town - though the conversation dragged on for a bit; he couldn't stop talking about stock markets, IPOs, portfolios, how much money he was making, blah, blah...Thankfully, the food was amazing and I didn't mind as long as my mouth was full. After dinner, he dropped me to my place and I drifted off to a long sleep.

Saturday morning - I woke up and called a friend, whom I hadn't seen in quite a while and made a lunch appointment. I started watching "Stagecoach" and finished it, and had started "Judgment at Nuremberg" by the time he came. We walked out to lunch, and the weather was really pleasant as we talked of college days, and what was happening to so many of our common friends. We found a good restaurant, had lunch and he dropped me since he had to go to office and we promised to meet up in the evening. I went off to sleep and woke up to continue watching Judgment. Meanwhile, my Mama called me up inviting me to dinner Sunday night and asked what my exact date of birth was (?). Anyways, it was a really long movie and before I could finish it; my friend had come up to my place. We went bowling. I like bowling; it is a game where reducing your margin of error can fetch you great dividends, and my specialty in bowling is sending down absolutely straight balls right in the centre, and I was in good form that day. After bowling, we had dinner and he came up to my place. We started seeing "A Christmas Story" but before we could finish it, both of us drifted to sleep.

I woke up to my phone ringing. I didn't recognize the number; it was from my sister's in-laws some of who live in this town. They invited me to a lunch to their place and despite some protests (albeit weak); they were insistent and I had to agree. I drifted off to sleep before they called me up again to give their address. I couldn't get back to sleep so I finished off "A Christmas Story". My friend also got up and after having breakfast, left. I went up to my sister's in-laws place and endured a long painful conversation with some elder members of their family (some concerning my specialization in engineering) before some young people joined the group after which it was more fun. After lunch, I took my leave and returned to complete watching "Judgment at Nuremberg" (amazing movie, btw) . After that, I called up a couple of juniors to get together for dinner and they invited me to come to their place. On the way, I called up my Mama and cancelled the evening plan saying I was too tired to take the long drive to and fro from his place. At my juniors', it was nice chatting up with them after a long time; met with some of their colleagues from other colleges; spent a lot of time comparing one institute to another and post-dinner went off to have some ice-cream. They dropped me to my place; and after watching some TV, I went off to some very peaceful sleep.

This is what a weekend should be like - full of sleep, good food and some good times with friends!!