Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mughal-e-Azam review

There are very few things that I have willingly reviewed. My reaction to most things is monosyllabic so I don't go much further than saying something rocks or sucks. But this movie was so simply awesome that I can't stop raving about it. My first brush with this movie was in the good old days of Chitrahar. प्यार किया तो डरना क्या was a very popular song on this program. At that time, I had no clue why the Akbar dude was getting super angry by the dancing lady. The शीश महल was permanently etched in my memory. Well that was the end of that.

Cut to 2004, when this movie was colourized and re-released. Ever since then, for 3 long years, I had been planning to watch the movie but never actual got down to doing it. So finally last week I put an end to this procrastination and got down to viewing. Needless to say I was blown away. K Asif got the idea of making this movie in 1944, but the movie was finally released only in 1961. It was definitely worth the wait.

This movie is about Prince Salim and his love for the courtesan Anarkali; which is frowned upon by his royal parents. The beauty of the movie lies in its dialogues and songs. Unfortunately, the heavy Urdu made a lot of dialogues go above my head, but whatever I could understand was amazing. And I can keep going on and on about the songs. These songs are actually meant to be viewed, not just listened.

प्यार किया तो डरना क्या is probably the most famous song of this movie and rightly so. This was the first colour sequence in Indian cinema and coupled with beautiful Madhubala ... The song needs to be watched in the context of the movie, and everything begins to make sense. Why the king is super angry. Or like why Salim, who is initially disinterested at the beginning begins to perk up later. The cinematography of this song is simply amazing.

छुप ना सकेगा इश्क हमारा
चारों तरफ़ है उनका नज़ारा

And on cue, the camera pans to glass ceiling above to show many images of the dancing Madhubala. Waah waah ...

Another of my favourite songs is the मोहे पनघट पर which marks the entry of Madhubala in the movie. She was extremely beautiful and I don't anyone in Bollywood can hold a candle to her. The last song of the movie, यह दिल की लगी है क्या होगी , which is a part of the climax is extremely moving, depicting the last meeting of the two lovers.

Looks like what started off as a movie review ended up as a music review, I guess that was always going to happen, since I have been listening to these songs non-stop for the past few days. So coming back to usual review stuff, Prithviraj Kapoor was impressive as Akbar, Durga Khote excellent as Jodha (the perpetually suffering Indian maa of the Nirupa Roy kind). I was not too impressed by Dilip Kumar as Salim. Probably that had something to do with the character of Salim who doesn't do much studappa ( I mean he gets defeated by his aged father in hand to hand combat).

Which bring us to Madhubala. I have not watched any other movie featuring her, but going by stuff floating around the Internet, this was probably her best role. So to conclude, I'll shut my trap leave you to feast your eyes on these:

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I have been watching a lot of movies of late. Here is a list of them. Hopefully some day I'll get around to writing reviews :).

  1. Nishant
  2. Katha
  3. Parichay
  4. Kosish
  5. Victoria No 203
  6. Kissise Na Kehna
  7. Aandhi
  8. Jewel Thief
  9. Bootpolish
  10. Do Bigha Zameen
  11. Daag: A Poem of Love
  12. Mughal e Azam
  13. Thoda Sa Roomani Ho Jaayen

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Independence Day

Nice day this Independence Day. Comes regularly on the 15th of August, giving one a well deserved break. This day, along with New Year and Republic Day forms the three MOST IMPORTANT days for media companies. They can publish all kinds of stories and conduct worthless surveys. In the xth year of our Indepence or the yth year of the Republic of India; it becomes so much easier to begin the first sentence of the article. Good bye writers' block! The more ingenuous among the journalists can probably recycle the crap that they wrote last year.

Its all the same anyway. Bejan Daruwala announces that India will become a super power in 2020. Nice number 2020. 20 years ago, it was probably 2000. The poor chap will be unemployed when we actually become one. Then there are the inane surveys which I could whip up in less than hour. They are usually conducted by impressive sounding agencies. I mean, if IBN-ABC-XZY-DADS conducted a survey, would you have any reason to disbelieve them ? If you are ToI, you can probably publish the same stuff as the results of the survey in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai etc etc in the Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai times respectively. Who cares any way, the survey was there just to fill up the blanks around the ads.

Another interesting aspect of this year's media circus is CNN-IBN's stories on the most significant blah in the last 60 years. I mean, why go back all 60 years and do the hard stuff of calculating everything all over again. Use an algorithm as below

  1. Assume you already have the list for the past 50 years. (Of course you would - if you hadnt dished out mindless crap over the last 10 years, you would be out of business).
  2. Assume that the ordering of events doesnt change. Now this is a very important assumption, which is mostly valid. I mean, if in 1997, you decided that the 1983 World Cup win was more important than the 1992 reforms, the ordering shouldnt change today right ?
  3. Now just pick 2-3 random events from the past decade. You neednt pick more than 2-3 because all of independent India's history was not created in the past 10 years. Otherwise the list might be changed to "Events of the past decade" rather the past 60 years.
  4. Randomly insert them in the previous list.
  5. Profit!!

In the midst of the all hype, you have nonsensical chain messages floating around. Everyone on Orkut should change their profile pic to the Indian flag. WTF!?!! How does it change anything, except show that Indians are a bunch of childish school children who refuse to grow up. The very people who put these flags will not think twice before paying bribes or jumping lines and pulling a few strings or defaulting on tax. Well some might, but not a whole lot of them. So why this yearly charade ? I-Day has become a sad farce, where politicians mouth usual slogans and media publishes the same stories. The aam aadmi gets shafted as usual. Life continues.

In life, nothing is inevitable but change, but apparently someone forgot to tell our politicians and media about it.

PS: I had a brainwave that I will repost this article on the 26th of January. If no chain message is floating around, I'll send out one myself. :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I was never a big music fan and despite some of my friends being the most accomplished musicians in the insti, I don't know how to play even a single instrument (save blowing my trumpet). But this philistine attitude of mine didn't prevent songs from leaving indelible impressions on my mind. On hearing certain songs, I am transported back in time, because of of these songs was associated with a particular phase/incident of my life. And repeatedly listening to those songs at that period probably caused permanent damage to my brain! Some songs which I can recall are:

  • Random kiddy songs : early childhood, when I had lots of tapes with songs/stories for children.
  • Bhajans: Ram chandra kah gaye siya se ... These words bring back shivering cold, foggy mornings of Delhi. The driver of the school bus used to put them on in the morning. For some reason, I cannot recollect him playing this tape in the summer mornings.
  • Songs from Taal : Remind me of a trip to Haridwar. Kept playing the tape over and over again, for a period of 3-4 days.
  • Songs from Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai : Torrid summer months of 2000, which were spent going to FIITJEE. This movie seemed to find flavour with loads of bus drivers. Special mention: Dul Hum Le Jaayenge - A movie starring Salman and Karishma.
  • Dil Chahta Hai and Lagaan: First few weeks of first sem in IIT. Listening to these songs brings back memories of the hot summer months, when I would come back to my room from the insti, passing through A-Parallel where the songs would be blaring.
  • Raaz and Filhaal: The winter months of the aforementioned sem. Laddu Singh played these again and again, day in and day out. There was a time when I knew the lyrics of Jo bhi Kasme Khai Thi by heart. Fortunately, that evil time has passed.
After this point, lots of ppl got PCs and everyone had their own choice of music. No longer were people forced to listen to the latest Hindi movie songs as the LAN had come to their rescue. Recently, with the popularity of Himmesh, all songs have started sounding pretty much the same too (oooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu huzoooooooooooooor).

Commentors are welcome to reply with songs which were popular at other points of time the hostel.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


विद्या ददाति विनयम् विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् ।
पात्रत्वा धनमाप्नोति धनात्धर्मम् ततः सुखम् ।।

Vidya dadati vinayam,
vinaya dadati paatrataam,
paatratva dhanamaapnoti,
dhanat dharmam tatatsukham.

(sorry I was too lazy to configure Indic fonts - just copied from somewhere)

Education gives Humility; Humility gives Character; from character one gets wealth; from wealth one gets righteous (dharmam) life; from righteousness gets happiness.

I school, I was taught that using wealth for charity gives happiness. Things to ponder on ...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Anatomy of a Mousehunt

Our blissful existence was shattered one day when Roomie 1's parents informed us that our kitchen had an unwanted inhabitant - a mouse. He behaved exactly opposite to what children are ideally supposed to, he was mostly heard and rarely seen. He could be heard at night, gnawing away at the cardboard boxes of our TV, fridge and washing machine. Our relations by and large were cordial, we didn't disturb his nocturnal routine and he didn't bug by intruding in our rooms (at least to the best of our knowledge).

But change was underway. The mouse was getting more adventurous. Roomie 1 was once seen blazing a trail out of the bathroom, because the mouse had decided to use the loo at the same time. Yours truly once disturbed his rest by banging utensils a bit too loudly. He responded by streaking between my legs and I jumped, almost touching the roof. Roomies 2 and 3 also reported sightings. It was decided by general consensus that the mouse was HUGE and it was best that we steer clear of it.

Our cook tried to pass off valuable advice, like telling us where a mouse trap could be obtained. Lazy people like us were content to let things be. Roomie 2 after detective work discovered the fact that the mouse was using the kitchen sink drain pipe to gain entry into our house. Recently the poor fellow (the mouse) got locked inside a cupboard in the kitchen and wrecked havoc. But life continued as we were willing to forgive and forget. Till today.

The mouse became a bit too bold for our liking. The absence of Roomie 1 might have contributed to this sudden change. Anyway, on fine Sunday morning aka Today morning, the mouse ventured out of this adda (viz the kitched) into our hall. Roomie 2 and I were going through our mindless Sunday ritual of watching Boogie Woogie. Roomie 3 had gone to buy milk for his cornflakes.

The ritual was suddenly interrupted by the shriek of Roomie 2 - he had spotted the mouse in a corner. This was a particularly crowded corner, with 3 folding beds and 2 suitcases piled there. I quickly shut all the doors out of the hall, except the door leading to the balcony. Roomie 2, a true football fan boldly started kicking the junk in the corner, hoping to make the mouse come out of his hiding. I was content cheer him on. At this point Roomie 3 arrived with his was greeted by this spectacle. After being told was going on, he headed to the kitched. After he came out with a glass (which looks like a mini-jug) of milk, he too joined into the Mouse hunt which underway.

After carefully removing stuff from the corner, the mouse was exposed, he rushed back towards the kitchen, and found the door closed. This sight brought the all the wild life photographer instincts of Roomie 2, who rushed to find his camera. He bravely went close to the mouse, getting closeups and video clips, that would hopefully one day earn him name and fame.

The mouse went around the hall 3-4 times, never once going out of the door that we had invitingly opened for him. Roomie 2, with compassion welling up for the mouse in his kind heart, said that we should open the kitchen door, as the mouse "just wanted to go home". Roomie 3 suggested a novel method to trap it, spread jam on a tray and the mouse will get stuck in the gooey stickiness of the jam. I was merely content to jump about and make noises last heard in the song Hum bewafa hargiz na the from the movie Shalimar. For those who are clueless ... the sounds are Jhinga-lala-ho Jhinga-lala-ho.

After an animated debate among us about the fate of the mouse, we decided to open the kitched door and let him go home. The mouse responded by scooting toward his gandi naali. We too called it quits for the day. We all lived to fight another day, but I have a feeling that this battle between man and nature is not yet over.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Iss desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta :(

The entitlement economy is causing a crisis of selection—it is impossible for India to be competitive globally unless it can put together its best team, regardless of groups the players belong to. Competitive intolerance is beginning to hollow out intellectual and cultural life. And leaving political violence unpunished is not only wrong in principle, but extremely dangerous in practice—not least in the context of caste/community-based entitlements.[Mint]

The author's blog is here.

Do we even need to think twice why educated Indians fly abroad?