My 2 cents

Road To Sangam

Posted in Last movie I saw, Lucknow, Movies, Movies I recommend, something I like by urmilesh on January 23, 2011

‘Road to Sangam‘ is a movie that was on my watch-list for a long time now, but somehow I never got a chance to see it, not least because it did not get a major release. Thanks to the Fremont Main Library that had a DVD, and to the lazy Saturday morning, I finally got to see it.

I have been watching a lot of movies that I could not catch up on when they released, and quite a few of the recently watched ones had Paresh Rawal in them – and I am in awe of the man now. I will do a separate Paresh Rawal post soon and so here I will keep my awe in check πŸ™‚

‘Road to Sangam‘ is the story of a simple man who is caught between the turmoil of his times. How he chooses to fight being a part of the herd and follow his heart, is what the film tries to depict, and it does a very good job of it

Paresh Rawal is Hasmat Bhai, the most well-written character and the protagonist of the movie, an expert motor-mechanic and a devout muslim. He lives a non-confrontational life and goes about his job with honesty and commitment. His life is thrown into a turmoil when his idea of religion clashes with the preachers. He believes in honouring his word, finishing the job he started – you can say that an honest day’s work is his religion. But when he is unable to deliver on a commitment due to the local Muslim community leaders calling for a boycott of all work (to oppose of arrest of suspects in a blast case, and the death of an innocent in the stampede following a protest), he begins to question the decrees of those leaders. After much debate, with family, friends and community members, and most importantly with his own self, he decides to follow his conscience. The fact that the task at hand involves the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi makes his resolve only stronger.

The movie is about this thought. Can you follow your conscience against the face of any opposition? Everyone has a limit to which he will listen to his inner voice, as is seen by Hasmat Bhai’s various friends helping him covertly. Hasmat Bhai is the protagonist because his commitment to his inner voice is the strongest. He may have his limits but clarion calls to toe the community line do not define them. It is the genuineness with which this thought has been portrayed that makes this movie worth a watch.

Sure, it has its drawbacks. It gets preachy at times, and the sermon to Mr Kasuri (a very one-dimensional Om Puri) by Hasmat Bhai comes very close to overkill. But most of the times the director stays far far away from pretentiousness. The characters other than Hasmat Bhai are not that well-written and do not engage you as much, except when they are interacting with Hasmat.Β Also, by focusing on one community, the director is providing ammunition to those who might want to dub him partisan. But I feel the story could as well have been set in any community and to look at it with a narrow vision would be a folly.

Paresh Rawal as Hasmat Bhai is a not a revelation since we know how good an actor he is, but it sure is refreshing to see him play a not over the top character for a change. Being from Lucknow, I can appreciate the nuances he brought to the role to depict an Allahabadi, and his portrayal of the internal struggles of Hasmat is too good. Pawan Malhotra, as the Maulvi was a revelation because it took me a while to realize that it is him. The voice that he used, the mannerisms, the expressions, and his diction all added to the character and showed how he could be revered by some and feared by others. Om Puri, as I said, carried the same expression throughout and didn’t have too much to do. The rest of the supporting cast was adequate and the interactions that Hasmat had with them which made the movie watchable.

I would have recommended watching this one on DVD, but sinceΒ it is not running in cinema halls anymore that is a moot point. It is not engaging throughout, and has a few troughs among more frequent crests. But the central thought has been depicted with simplicity and genuineness, and for that you should watch it.


Maya Ki Maya

Posted in India, Lucknow, politics, Something I dislike, Uncategorized by urmilesh on November 3, 2009
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Once upon a time…

Posted in Bangalore, cribbings, Life, Lucknow, Me, My Day Includes, Random Thoughts, Something New by urmilesh on October 23, 2007

I used to be a regular in my local gymnasium and used to treat big weights like small playthings. That was the time when I’d just come out of school and I’d convinced myself that I’m preparing for IIT-JEE (aside – going to the most popular coaching classes in the city and ogling at gals there does not amount to preparation πŸ˜‰ neither does having night-outs at friend’s places in the name of problem solving…this I knew then I guess but realized later). At that time I also used to take time out every morning to go to one of the most famous gymnasiums in Lucknow, Bodyline in Bhootnath (again one of the most crowded and worst equipped hang-out places in Lucknow).

So, I used to get up every morning at around 5 (if any of my current project mates are reading this, YES I am capable of waking up at that time) and head off to the gym. And then for the next 2-3 hours it used to be me and the weights, and the constant scolding of our instructor (Mr Sharanjeet Singh, a man who deserves more than one post to himself). I sometimes used to think, that if I even put half of the gym-dedication (new word, I know :)) into my studies, I may well have been an IITian today; but I never realized why I was not able to do that. It is a bit clear to me now, I used to enjoy what I did in the gym and I was really in to it. And contrary to what my friends would think, very small part of that 2-3 hours was spent in admiring myself in the mirror.

Whenever you are doing any exercise, if you’re doing it properly, each set and each repetition will take all of your strength and all of your concentration, nothing less. If you have any strength left right after a set, then you are not doing it right. And I used to do it with all my heart πŸ™‚

Then, as time moved on, I did not get selected in IIT (big surprise), and took admission in one of the private colleges in the city. I got busy in student life and tried to make myself believe that I am a gym regular but I never was. All through the last 7 years I have been going to the gym on and off but I have never spent one day in the gym which could have matched up to those preparation days.

That changed this week. Or rather, I decided to change that this week. The last 3 days have been physically one of the most taxing on me for maybe the last 7 years, but I once again got a glimpse of the enjoyment that I knew back in 1999. I sure hope I am able to keep that up.

Why am I writing this here? Because I may need to come back here and read this to make myself go on.
Why I need to go on? Because I have been stuck in an unhealthy lifestyle and an unhealthy body for too long and I want out.

I want out now.

Coming back

Posted in General, Life, Lucknow, Me by urmilesh on May 1, 2007

No matter where you are in the world, there is always some place where you know you can go back. And if you are real lucky; that is the place where you want to go back. And if you are like me, then that place is home.

Last year marked an unusually long period away from home from me, and most of it was not planned. I was considered something of a leave specialist in my team, but as things turned out I could not get enough leaves for myself over the last year. But that did one good thing for me, it made me realize how much I miss being home.
I don’t think I am still at the stage where I always want to stay home, I am too much of banjara for that. But I want home to be the place I go back to every time I am returning from a new journey. And it is not long before that familiar place will start changing. as we grow up and become more engrossed in our own individual lives; so I want to make as many journeys as possible before that.

Whoever coined the term Home Sweet Home was bang on target.

Dad’s office

Posted in Life, Lucknow, Me, Random Thoughts by urmilesh on November 9, 2006

I was watching an episode of The Wonder Years with my roommate today. It was the episode where Kevin’s dad takes him to his office to show him what does he do. By the end of the episode Kevin is able to better understand why sometimes his dad comes home all gruffy and why he is so hard on them sometimes, also why he always tried to soothe himself by watching the stars using his telescope for hours.

The episode seemed to be related to me somewhere. I also used to accompany my father to his office sometimes as a kid and was at a total loss to understand what he did before those trips. Not that after that I knew it pretty well, but still I got to know some things.
Kevin was very impressed by the fact that his father is in a position to give orders to others, even though he did not get a word of what he was saying. I used to feel the same sense of pride when I realised that my father is a boss for so many ppl (it helped matters that I never got to meet his boss πŸ™‚ ) and also that he is responsible for taking decisions that may affect a large number of people.
Kevin also appreciated the fact that inspite of everything, his father gave him the attention that he wanted when he was in office, and that made him feel very very good. As it did for me πŸ™‚ coz I guess my father used to make sure that he does not take me with him on one of his busy days, he used to take me when work was light and he had enough time to spare, so that I could be made to feel like a prince.
One thing they did not show in the episode was how people try to bribe the son to try and get a favour from the father. This used to happen a lot with me (us actually, my siblings were also a part of it) and I was never able to make out who was a genuine loving uncle and who just wanted a favour. The fact that my father was in a government office did not help matters :p . But my father never used to take it out on me if I had put him in an embarassing spot, no harsh words…none at all!!! He just kept on trying to make me understand, make us understand why the things that he asks us not to do are wrong. And now I know, and it’s thanks to him mainly (as I am sure is the case with most of you).
Also, Kevin’s dad used to take out his bad work days on his family. Not my father, I never got to know if he had a bad day. He was still the same guy with us. This is something I have not been able to do yet, I carry my work mood home (though there is no wife and kids waiting) and if it is bad then that affects me. I don’t know how he did it!!! Kevin was wondering why his father was like this when he had a bad day, coz he knew for sure that his father had it in him to be a fun guy (because of their vacations). And also why he had to be so hard on his family, the voiceover suggested that Kevin still hasnt figured that out.

Well neither have I.

Wet tyres…

Posted in Life, Lucknow, Me, Random Thoughts by urmilesh on October 28, 2006

When I was a kid we normally used to go for a trip to my native village 2-3 times every year. The mode of transport invariably used to our family car, me in the front seat cuddled in my father’s lap, and others adjusted somewhere in the back (that’s the great thing with amby, everyone fits in).
Since the jorney was along one (not too much because of the distance, but because of the bad roads and traffic), we used to start very early in the morning, something like 3 or 4 am, so as to cover as much distance as possible before the traffic piled up. That meant that none of us kids were actually awake when we started and we woke up only when we’d covered a good distance.
That was not too much true for me, I used to wake up pretty early to a sound that I like very much. It is not some great or extra-ordinary sound but I don’t know why it made me feel good. On an empty wet road, when a heavy vehicle passed the tyres make a strange zzzooom sound that I cannot describe in words. You would most definitely have heard it sometime. It can be made out only when there is little or no traffic, you can’t make it out if there’s the hustle-bustle of everyday traffic all around you.
As I was saying, I used to wake up early and listen to those trucks pass by for as long as I could manage (this was one of the main reason why I fought to sit in the front seat, there was too much of fight going on in the backseat πŸ™‚ ). Then, as time passed, our lifes started getting busier and our visits to my village started being more spread out, so much so that I have not been there since 2004. But even before that we’d stopped travelling the way we used to travel for a number of reasons and that’d made me almost forget about my fixation for the sound of truck tyres on the wet road.
Then after so many years I am living on a house that’s bang on the main road, with heavy traffic throughout the day. Because of some calculations, I have to stay in the hall for a few weeks. Here again every morning i am woken up by the sound of wet tyres πŸ™‚
My roomies think I am nuts, waking up so early everyday (and not getting ready for office..just passing time). I cannot explain to them verbally why I don’t realize how much time has passed when I am looking at vehicles passing by.
Maybe I’ll send them a link to this post πŸ˜‰

P.S. I know many of you may think I am nuts, but that’s a risk I am willing to take.