Last week, while I was vacationing in Nagpur, I happened to watch ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’. To be frank I regretted every bit of my decision. KANK happens to be one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched. It fails on each front- the story, the story telling, direction, acting, editing, songs- everything.

The basic story- two married individuals falling in love and the repercussions of their actions – is probably ok. However, the director presents it in a very very unconvincing manner. It’s all very bookish. It all looks like someone’s bad imagination. To begin with, there seems to be no solid ground for Maya (Rani Mukherjee) to be unhappy about her marriage. And if there is, atleast it isn’t brought out well. It’s like a forced discord. Maya is supposed to be this- mature, brooding, thinking, serious, introverted person. Oh! By the way, you don’t know this because of the movie, it’s because she keeps repeating this about herself, berating poor Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan), whom she ends up marrying for not a very well thought out reason. The differences shown are very superficial. The Dev-Rhea (Shahrukh Khan-Preity) marriage atleast has some good reason for not working out.

Amitabh is shown very caricaturish, and I HATE it.

You just don’t remember any songs after you come out of the theatre, and the ones you’ve been bombarded with continuously on the television are difficult to place in the movie

It seems like a movie about two losers, but the movie does not generate any sympathy for the two of them. If you tell a story about losers you atleast have to make the viewers empathize with them. Like like … Sunil in ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’. You loved Sunil- with all his blunders, mistakes, failures. You wanted to forgive him for everything, yes, even for those faked marksheets 🙂 Oh! But, how could I forget, “Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Naa” was also a comedy. Whereas KANK is supposed to be serious stuff. In KANK, you feel bored with Rani’s incessant weeping and Shahrukh’s continuous shrieking. Or maybe the movie was supposed to be about “love”. “Love” that does not care for societal pressures. Bold love, brash love. Alas! It isn’t even that.

So, my advice is- stay away from it. Even if you get free tickets along with a dinner invitation in a funky restaurant. Somethings just aren’t worth it.

And please don’t believe those reports about KANK being a hit. A person will have to be braindead to like this movie. I’m not saying KANK will not be able to recover it’s money or it’d lose money. Those days are over. I only want to say, that if you love movies just stay away from it. There are far better ways of spending money and time.

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“Wow!” moment

August 24, 2006

I’m sure most people have, at some point or the other, experienced what I call a “Wow!” moment. It’s like the “Aha!” moment – those moments when looking at a seemingly hard problem in a different light presents one with a rather simple and beautiful solution. The difference being, “Wow!” moments are unexpected moments of simple joy- a 500 rupee note found in a long forgotten winter jacket, waking up cursing yourself on having overslept and realising it’s a Sunday, visting your college after ten years and realising that people still remember you 🙂

Earlier this week I had one such moment. I got a courier from the Income Tax Dept. I naturally opened it with a lot of trepidation, not knowing what to expect; we all have our own not-so-favourable opinions about the workings of government offices. But, to my surprise the envelop contained a income tax refund cheque for the previous year. It was like “Wow!”, they really refund you the excess income tax paid! Though a small sum, this was the first time I was receiving a refund. I know the department does refund excess tax paid back, but you don’t really hear many such stories. Mostly people complain about not receiving any refunds for the excess tax paid- year after year. But, here I was holding an actual cheque in my hand. I definitely felt like celebrating!

Going on vacation

August 11, 2006

I’m going to my hometown Nagpur for a week-long vacation. We decided to take advantage of the long weekend. We leave today evening and will be back to Pune on Saturday. We’re still watching the rains closely, and in case of a downpour we may still cancel our travel. You don’t take the risk of getting stranded in a train with a 1.5yr old 🙂

Happy Independence Day in advance!!

Yesterday I met with a minor road accident. Ever since I started driving to my new place of work, about a year back, this is my fifth accident. Of these five, three have been non-minor mishaps, as I’ve got myself hurt. Other two were rather minor.

1) First one happened just two months after I started taking my scooty to work. I was headed home, driving extremely carefully on the left side/lane of the road; without bothering to overtake anyone. A sumo-wala, driving right in front of me, was looking for a place to park. He found one, and immediately took a left-turn to park the vehicle. The traffic was heavy and hence I stopped some safe distance behind him. This hero suddenly changed his mind and without giving any signal, reversed his sumo. I honked and before I could react, “THOK”; he had hit me. I almost flew from my scooty and landed sideways on the road. He immediately realized his mistake. Alighted from his sumo, picked up my scooty and checked if I was alright. By this time, a small crowd had started gathering. The sumo driver got a little scared and before my head could stop reeling, he got into his sumo and drove off as fast as he could.

The accident left me quite shaken. I had fallen on the road and my head had hit the road. I was wearing my helmet, so no head injury, but my shoulder ached badly.

2) The second one happened the same day as the first. I think I was shaken badly. But, it didn’t look like my fault. The road was uneven due to some repair work (Puneites would know exactly what I mean) and I was trying to avoid a pothole, the scooty slipped on the uneven surface and I fell. Luckily it was a lonely road.

3) The third one gave me a hairline fracture. I had gone to the Pashan market to buy some veggies on my way back from work. None of the subziwalas would let me park my scooty in front of their stalls. So I went and parked it in some narrow corner. When I was trying to get the scooty off, I hit a electric pole behind me. The scooty was laden with my laptop and a big vegetable bag, all placed on the footboard. I know it was probably crazy of me to carry so much stuff on a scooty. Anyway, I tumbled down with the scooty, the vegetable bag and the laptop. It was quite filmi 🙂 The tomatoes and other vegetables rolled all over, the petrol started leaking, the scooty handle had perhaps hit my foot and I was in terrible pain. All the vegetables vendors who had been so rude to me had to come and pick up my stuff 🙂 When I stood up, I realized I couldn’t put my right foot down. I jumped around in one foot- very angry and quite shaken. But, I managed to drive home on my own, laptop, vegetable bag and all 🙂

4) The fourth time, a motorcycle-wala hit me perpendicularly on a crossing. I was snailing through a very crowded crossroad, and this fellow came from the right side and collided with me. Just like that! This time again I was carrying a vegetable bag. Thankfully it only contained leafy vegetables, so no filmi scene. I picked my scooty and all the mudied palak, methi and dhania patta myself and came home.

5) The latest one was yesterday evening. This being rainy season, the roads are slippery. And yesterday evening it was raining heavily. The autorickshaw before me braked suddenly. In response I clicked both my brakes and there…my scooty skid and I was sprawling on the road face down. You may call it coincidence, but this time again I was carrying my vegetable bag, which was full of fruits 😦 My foot got caught in the scooty, I couldn’t get up, my head was reeling, and … yes, I felt quite shaken!

After so many accidents, I’ve realized that the actual experience during an accident feels almost like a dream sequence. That is, from the time that you are hit, falling, hitting the road, till the time you recover. For example, yesterday I couldn’t get up on my own as my foot had got entangled in my scooty. As I lay on the road, I saw the white car behind my scooty and I wondered why that car was standing there right in front of me. I kept wondering why I couldn’t get up and didn’t realize that my scooty had fallen on me. After I got up, I kept feeling my shoulder and kept wondering why my shoulder was hurting and why my jeans were so muddy. A crowd had gathered and people urged me to sit still on the pavement. I looked at them blankly and wondered why they were surrounding me. I kept wondering why I was sweating so much. It was only after I had rested for a while that I realized that my scooty had skid and I had fallen down. Funny. I think it’s been the same every time, though I could recollect my thoughts only this time around. It’s probably the result of my rich experience 😀

Omkara: Go for it

August 3, 2006

Last weekend we saw Omkara. I like Vishal Bharadwaj’s work. Watching ‘Omkara’ reaffirmed my admiration for him. The movie is brilliant. There are few movies I can watch twice, and some rare ones that I can watch again and again. Omkara is definitely one that I can watch many many times; to discover something new every time. To understand the hidden meaning of some dialogue, that oblique reference to someone, to appreciate the song placement, to enjoy the raw, abusive language, that doesn’t sound sanitized for the sensibilities of the masses.

It’s a _must-watch_ movie. However, I have to add, people who are not familiar with the raw, rustic hindi spoken in the villages and small towns of the hindi belt, may miss out on some of the nuances and finer points 😦 But, there is so much more in the movie, that this doesn’t really remain a handicap. The powerful performances by the actors, the excellent soundtrack, the narrative, the superb adaptation will keep you glued to your seats. Vishal Bharadwaj surely treats his audience with some respect and avoids getting into the easy trap of explaining each and every plot and explicitly spelling out everything in the story that is not necessarily shown on screen.

So, catch hold of a hindi friend and head for your favorite cinema theatre! If you don’t find such a friend, what the heck, I wouldn’t mind watching such a good movie in malyalam, so just go ahead and enjoy!