Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Rocket Singh"- Movie Review

I rarely go to movies. But this is one of those that I didn't want to miss out on. Many reasons and I'm going to list them here.

Firstly- Shimit Amin. He has given us the blockbuster- 'Chak De India'. But before that he gave us - 'Ab Tak Chappan'; a movie that will go down as a classic in Indian cinema. Second, I liked the little jig that Ranbir Kapoor was doing in the promo video. And finally, when I came to know that the movie was about a Salesman, I just had to catch it. For the record- My Dad's a sales guy, my Uncles are sales guys, I'm in the same line... so ya... sales kind of runs in the family.

The movie builds up really well. The scene where Ranbir Kapoor is given an intro to the job by his senior is simply brilliant. I could visualize my Dad and Uncles as the senior, and me as Harpreet Singh, looking in awe at the whole thing.

The dude who plays the Senior Salesman was just outstanding. Those are the atypical characteristics of any salesman. He's constantly looking for extra information and he knows how and when to use it. He's building a network with the 'chaay-wala', the watchman etc. He's in on the gossip of the company he's selling to. He tries to sneek in to files. Constantly on the prowl. Constantly sweet-talking.

I even remember my uncle telling me to tuck my tie in to my pocket when we were having lunch. A scene that is almost exactly re-made in the movie.

The performances are brilliant. I don't know most of the cast except for Gauhar Khan. (Yes, she's hot- and that's why I know her!) The rest of the crowd were mostly new faces; but all played their roles brilliantly.

To be honest I am kinda disappointed with the ending of the movie. I wish there were more twists and turns. And the paces slackens considerably toward the end.

The movie has a nice message. But it doesn't get too preachy; which is a good thing. I don't want to reveal too much here.

I still think it's worth a watch. So go catch it. :). Ta-da!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 6th 1992 and Me

The views expressed in this article might be controversial to some. It is not my idea or intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments. I offer no quick-fix solutions. I’m only stating things the way I see them.

I was 7 years old on Dec 6th ’92. I remember school shutting down and we being rushed back home. I didn’t understand what really had happened. I was studying in a Hindu school and the general impression I got at the time was that something good had happened, that something was being set right after a long long time. There was some fear around. But generally there was some kind of pride building up inside all of us.

Since that day I became acutely aware of my Hindu identity. I started looking for religion in people’s names, dresses, habits. I was aware that I was buying my cricket ball from a Muslim shop and that the boy who I played cricket with was a Christian.

As years went by, I got even more radical. It didn’t help that we had moved to the Gulf where prejudice is a way of life. It had reached a state where I didn’t want to be friends with Christians or Muslims. I just didn’t trust them.

But as you grow up things get a little bit more complicated. You realize many things. It’s not only the Hindu guy who treats you well- it can be the ‘other guy’ too. It’s not only the ‘other guy’ who is insensitive and insensible- it can be the Hindu guy too. There are good people and bad people in every faith, caste or creed.

I realized that ‘they’ are not very different from ‘us’. They have the same questions about God and religion that come to our minds. They find it difficult to comprehend the complex web of spirituality and religion with the conflicting views on sexuality, morality, life, death, etc. just like we do.

Leaders manipulate people using religion, caste, nativity etc. The demagogues make you angry, they make you hate, and they control your emotions. When your blood is boiling it is very difficult to make rational decisions. Politicians thrive in this situation. They don’t want you to use your brains. They’re not good enough for it and they know it. The only way they’ll win is to use sentiment.

Looking back at that fateful day I feel ashamed of what happened. I feel cheated and abused. I feel stupid and small. Maybe I was just a child… but it still is very difficult to get over the false-pride I felt at that time.

It might be true that the particular spot is the birthplace of Lord Ram. But can any temple bring back the lives lost? Can any temple/masjid  reverse the decades of suspicion and hatred? Ram and Allah stand for love and peace. Not hatred and war. And let’s be clear- the masjid/temple is not for God, it’s more a political statement.

I’m not an authority on history so I can’t say with certainty if there was a temple before the masjid was demolished. From what little I have read, it was not uncommon for Muslim conquerors to destroy places of worship and build masjids in its place. What we should learn from that- as Hindus, Muslims and primarily as Indians is when we belittle another faith, then the damage that is done lasts for centuries. The cycle of violence, hatred, prejudice is never-ending. We don’t need that. The after-effects of the short-sighted decisions of the erstwhile Muslim rulers of India are still being felt today.

Today- You and I are the rulers of a New India. We have history to learn from. In principle, it is we who make the decisions for the future of this country. So do you want to move ahead or do you want to repeat history again? Temple/ Masjid- is it going to bring peace to our land? Can we try to forgive and forget- at least so that we are not manipulated by the scheming politicians? Please ask yourselves these questions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

mY iNteRviEw!!!

Hey People,

This blog and it's brilliant charming author have been featured here. Do have a look. : )

Thanks for reading my blog. Have a super day.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

My First Ever Improv.

Hi guys & gals. I know it's been a while. Been kinda hectic with the running around for the training and then i've joined this theatre work shop. We're coming up with a pantomime in Feb. Guys and gals in Chennai do come and watch. I'll keep you guys updated with the dates and all that.

I've acted in plays in school. But we were always told what to do and it was fairly easy enacting those roles. But Pantomimes are slightly different. Guys are given roles and they are required to improvise(improv in short).

I chose to try out the villain character... I did a lot of impromptu improv so I'll be recollecting my lines from memory. They might not be exact. But it should be a good read. Here we go.

"I come from a long long time ago... from a place far far far away. I am Dr EVIL!!!....and this is my story.

You see I was supposed to be the hero in all those fairy tales... but for my cursed bad luck.. damn bad luck.

Take the case of Snow White... I was supposed to enter the cottage and kiss her to release her from her curse. I reached the cottage and went inside. I found her lying down. I closed my eyes and bent down and gave her the most tremendous lip-smacking kiss I could have conjured. I opened my eyes and realized I was kissing 'Grandma'. You see I was in the wrong fairy tale... I was in 'Little Red Riding Hood'.

Now take Rapunzel... not many of you guys know that Rapunzel is actually Telugu and I would call her 'Rapu!'. So I went below the tower and I said - 'Rapu Rapu throw down your lovely hair so I may climb and be with you'. Her beautiful long hair came tumbling down and I climbed it and I found myself face to face with the wicked old man. While I was busy fighting the old man, that 'Prince Charming' fellow- without any respect for tradition, enters the tower, uses the lift, picks up Rapunzel and rides away in to the sunset. And they live happily ever after.

Finally we come to Cinderella... and this time I was prepared. I was running 6kms a day and I knew I was going to beat that damn Prince. So we were in the ball dancing away. Suddenly the clock strikes 12 and Cinderella comes running out and I chase her. That slow poch Prince coudn't catch up with us. But what happens? He stops at the stairs and ends up with the glass slipper. And I run after the carriage and end up with a pumpkin. Now I put my hand inside the's nice... it's soft... but it's not Cinderella.

So now using my secret weapon I have destroyed the Prince and enslaved the 3 beauties.

Snow--- you are too SLOW. Sweep faster!
Cinderella... Cindy... Go wash my Chaddi!
Rapu...Where are you?...ah there you are... come... massage my kallu!

And this time... I'm going to live Happily Ever After."