My 2 cents

The songs of Raghu Dixit

Posted in India, something I like, Songs by urmilesh on April 16, 2011

Have been hearing a lot of Raghu Dixit lately. Just putting a small post here to let you know that I like what I heard.

You should get a listen at http://raghudixit.com/music/ and judge for yourself.

Advertisements
Tagged with: ,

Dhobi Ghaat (Mumbai Diaries)

I am not sure if Dhobi Ghaat is an apt title for this movie, just ‘Mumbai Diaries’ would have worked better for me. Or maybe ‘Bombay Diaries’ since no one in the movie refers to the city as Mumbai anyway, not that I am complaining.

Most of our movie experiences depend on two factors – our expectations from the movie and our mood while watching it. This is one movie where these factors become crucial, really crucial. Most of the people watching the movie with me (not just my gang, the entire hall) did not like the movie and were pretty vocal about it (sadly during the movie also), I enjoyed it. This is one movie which wants you to let it be, had no pretensions of being conventionally engaging, does not offer any sort of  closure for any of the lead characters, does not have any larger than life characters and does not have any item song (shudder!!!).

Yet it is engaging and interesting, makes you think enough for it to be called smart, and is funny and endearing in enough places. You are invited to view the lives of young Munna (Prateik Babbar, the best of the lot in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and very good and endearing here) and Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra, simply the most outstanding performer here), through the eyes of Shai (Monica Dogra, looking okay but performing just adequately) and Arun (Amir Khan being Amir Khan). As an added attraction you also get a peek into the lives of Shai and Arun.

Yasmin is the one you empathize with most even though she has the simplest story. You feel for her as she tries to find (or create) capture-worthy experiences in her apparently routine and to some extent boring life. Her interview of her maid and maid’s daughter is easily the highlight of the film, the one scene where even the naysayers in my theatre were hooked. It was interesting to notice how Arun’s attitude towards her story changes as the movie progresses. At the start he had her story at his beck and call, pausing and rewinding as he pleased/needed. But later, the story took over him and ultimately his decision (of moving house) was controlled by the story, a far cry from him having the control.

Munna is next in the list of characters that made you feel for them. He has dreams, and he is working towards them even though it is highly unlikely that he will be able to realize them, he keeps on working towards them. Even adding Shai to the list of apparently unachievable dreams that he has. Where the film succeeds is in making viewers also want the success of Munna. Prateik is endearing and honest in his performance and I feel this is only the second of many such performances.

Shai should have been the more intriguing of the two observers since she is an outsider, more than Arun anyway, but it is Arun who is sucked in more. Shai is in turn intrigued by Arun and is apparently oblivious to the feelings Munna has for her, though she genuinely cares for him and is in no way using him. Initially I felt that Shai was looking at everything with Slumdog Millionaire eyes, but her genuine feelings for Arun as well as Munna made me feel otherwise. Her story is the one that comes closest to a closure in that she has something to look forward to when the movie ends. Munna is looking at a life of responsibility and hardships and Arun is plain lonely, but she has a choice and a chance to pursue what she wants.

The best way to watch this movie would be the way Arun watches Yasmin’s videos, at our own pace pausing/rewinding at will – continue if we are interested or just leave it. So once again I would say wait for the DVD, else you might be in the majority who won’t like this experimental movie.

In one of the pre-release interviews Kiran Rao said she was not comfortable being known just as Amir Khan’s wife. While I do feel she is a talented director, I think she will have to face that predicament for some more time. This movie would not have been made, analyzed so much, and gotten an international release without Amir Khan’s name attached to it. Amir’s name has a certain credibility which ensured that scores of people went in to watch a non-conventional movie on the first weekend of its release and the ones who liked it are a small subset of those people. Even the ones who liked it might not have gone for it had it not been an Amir Khan production. This was an Amir Khan film first for most of us. But looking at it, I feel the audience of a Kiran Rao film is already building up.

Deepawali

Posted in Bangalore, India, Life, Me, something I like by urmilesh on November 5, 2010

I wish a very happy Deepawali to all readers of this blog. And I leave you with one of my favourite Deepawali pics (all time favourites actually) with two of my best buddies. The underlying message is, enjoy your crackers but also care about your (and others’) eardrums.

Have a good one.

Tagged with: , , , ,

Something to think about…

Posted in India, Life, something I like by urmilesh on September 23, 2010

I am the last person you would call religious but I just had to share this.

I was working, listening to songs to drown out the voices/noises of the conference call Nazis around me, without paying too much attention to the song actually playing. And then these lines caught my attention.

Very apt, especially considering all the commotion surrounding the temple/mosque at Ayodhya debate. I am not putting the lyrics here or embedding the video because I feel you’d do well to listen to it.

Tagged with: , ,

Test Cricket

Posted in Blogroll, cricket, India, Permanent Reads, something I like by urmilesh on November 22, 2009

I consider myself a test-cricket fan. Though I do not find enough time now to follow test cricket on the TV, I do try and keep up with analysis from a few places. Kartikeya is one person whose writings on cricket I have come to admire over time and his latest post on test cricket is something I consider a must for all cricket fans.

Maya Ki Maya

Posted in India, Lucknow, politics, Something I dislike, Uncategorized by urmilesh on November 3, 2009
Tagged with: , ,

Counting Day

Posted in India, politics, Random Thoughts by urmilesh on May 17, 2009

My first brush with counting day was sometime in the late 1980s (I think it was the time when Rajiv Gandhi lost power but I am not sure). Those were not the times of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and counting had to be done manually, so it went on for a few days. There were discussions on the TV this whole time (TV meant only DD then by the way) and my father and his friends used to be glued to television this whole time. Everyone used to bring the news paper from his home and the news paper boy was asked to deliver all the papers for those few days so that they had the benefit of the analysis from as many fronts as possible. There were animated discussions, points, counter-points, bets, long winded discussions not leading to any conclusion; and all this came to an end only with a formal declaration of the election results. Being in government jobs, most of them opted for casual leaves at this time; and those who did go to the office, simply continued with the group in the office.

I used to sit in with the group of uncles every chance I got, though I never understood much of what was going on. The constant flow of tea was one major attraction for me (yep I am a tea fanatic since then) but the main attraction was the impression I was able to create amongst my friends because of the time I spent with this group. I would get some sound bytes, and then impart this knowledge to friend in school as well as in the colony, with the air of someone who knew what he was talking about. It really does not take that much to impress 9-10 year old boys anyways; gals of any age are a different story all together ;-). Simple things like knowing the names of more that 3-4 news papers, or 3-4 political parties, or knowing who will be the next Prime Minister (not that complicated a question at that time) was a big hit in the gang.

Switch to today, the counting started at around 8 AM, and by 12 we knew what was gonna happen.
Not fun; not fun at all 😦

vote for me

Posted in In the news, India by urmilesh on April 9, 2009

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister asks people to vote for her so that she can do to the whole country what she has done to the state of UP.

Well that is exactly what I am afraid of…

Tagged with: , , ,

Gulaal

Posted in India, Last movie I saw, Movies, Movies I recommend, politics, review, something I like by urmilesh on March 25, 2009

It is surprising in a way that this is the first Anurag Kashyap movie I have seen (since I watch pretty much anything) but I can only say this : ‘better late than never‘.

One of the most difficult tasks at this time would be to find faults with this movie simply because it has been so well made. And it gives me a bad feeling to know that it will not make as much money as a film good as this should make; but I guess the makers also knew this beforehand.

The movie packed a whole lot in itself and as such can mean different things to different people and the impressive part is that none of these different people would feel short-changed by the director. For me, it was about the extent to which politics has crept into our day to day lives, even in personal relationships. The way Dileep is exploited by Kiran (obvious to everyone but Dileep) and the way Kiran is exploited by her brother Karan (which is not as obvious); reflects at a personal level how the office of general secretary is exploited by Dukey Bana at a political level. In the end the clear winner, or the last man standing, is the one who was the least obvious in his manipulations; which says a lot about how politics is played out.

The strengths of the movie are many: dialogues, songs (used very effectively as background score), performances, screenplay, use of lighting (notice the place where Dileep and Ransa reside, and also the scene when his highness learns of his son’s death…you will know what I mean) and the writing. What’s great is that every character has story and a part to play, no one is a filler. And nobody’s story is dictated out to you, you are assumed intelligent based on the fact that you bought a ticket for this movie.

I would recommend this movie to all who love good cinema…and would like to say that Anurag Kashyap and Piyush Mishra have gained a new fan who is starting his research on them as of now 🙂

Welcome to Sajjanpur – movie review

Posted in Funny, India, Last movie I saw, Movies, Movies I recommend, something I like, Something New by urmilesh on September 26, 2008

There are times when, quite unexpectedly, you discover who you really are; what you really like; when you really laugh…and if you are a movie person like me then most of these times will come when you’re watching a movie. Last weekend told me that my sense of humour is twisted in some ways because I found myself laughing all through Zohan…and I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see that I was not laughing the loudest in my gang; and yesterday I realized that I can even laught at real world problems or very real looking people…only requirement is for a master story teller to tell that story in a funny way.

And Shyam Benegal has done just that. He has taken a setting in a very real world village, not one of those filmy villages you see in movies almost always (Lagaan included). I could very easily think of similar people in my village in eastern UP, and that is when I don’t visit there that often; and he has told their story…no no…he has made us see their tale from the eyes of Mahadev (nice performance by Shreyas Talpade). Their problems, their griefs, their daily trials, their dreams…and while it is nice that we enjoy and admire their dreams….we also laugh at their problems. Agreed the story unfolds in a very light-hearted manner…and there are some places where even the stoic of faces will show a grin….but still, it’s someone’s grief we are laughing at. Did Shyam Benegal realize that the only way he can ensure a large audience for his close to life movies is to view them humorously?? rather than seriously…I don’t know.

Well, this thought apart…the movie is a very nice collage of everyday characters from a village that could be anywhere in India. No one seems to have been cast out of place…everyone has done justice to their part; and in turn to the story. A movie which will not disappoint you…and make you feel that even the highly overpriced tickets at these city malls are justified. One thing I particularly liked was the dialogues of the movie; they have been written very well and the delivery matches the writing. And thankfully, the accent has not been toned down….that is something that adds to the movie.

Go watch…