Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A helping hand from the past…

This is yet again a reminiscence! It’s about someone from the past…someone who was part of the past…someone who’s physically dead…but, someone who’s legacy has outlived him and has the power to spur even a corpse into action, especially if you understand what I mean when I say to be dead and walking and living the life of a corpse…

It was a cold, winter afternoon couple of years ago…I was sitting with a friend in her house in Delhi with black tea in hand and wrapped in blankets. Perhaps, I was in the crossroads yet again (perhaps a new job or an important decision-making hour), but I could hardly think or even feel, except for the warm tea and my own silence, which was deafening. After some talking, my friend just looked at me and told me to turn around and see a label that she had stuck on her wooden almirah. What I saw there broke a dam within; it was the poetry of Paash, a Punjabi naxalite poet who died standing up for his beliefs, who lived for his beliefs and his convictions! Yes, his words reached out to someone in the present and gave her life to dream again to struggle and never to give up…the poem was:

The Most Dangerous

Most treacherous is not the robbery
of hard earned wages
Most horrible is not the torture by the police.
Most dangerous is not the graft for the treason and greed.
To be caught while asleep is surely bad
surely bad is to be buried in silence
But it is not most dangerous.
To remain dumb and silent in the face of trickery
Even when just, is definitely bad
Surely bad is reading in the light of a firefly
But it is not most dangerous
Most dangerous is
To be filled with dead peace
Not to feel agony and bear it all,
Leaving home for work
And from work return home
Most dangerous is the death of our dreams.
Most dangerous is that watch
Which run on your wrist
But stand still for your eyes.
Most dangerous is that eye
Which sees all but remains frostlike,
The eye that forgets to kiss the world with love,
The eye lost in the blinding mist of the material world.
That sinks the simple meaning of visible things
And is lost in the meaning return of useless games.
Most dangerous is the moon
Which rises in the numb yard
After each murder,
but does not pierce your eyes like hot chilies.
Most dangerous is the song
which climbs the mourning wail
In order to reach your ears
And repeats the cough of an evil man
At the door of the frightened people.
Most dangerous is the night
Falling in the sky of living souls,
Extinguishing them all
In which only owls shriek and jackals growl,
And eternal darkness covers all the windows.
Most heinous is the direction
In which the sun of the soul light
Pierces the east of your body.
Most treacherous is not the
robbery of hard earned wages.
Most horrible is not the torture of police
Most dangerous is not graft taken for greed and treason.

Translation by Dr.Satnam Singh Sandhu of Punjabi University, Patiala

Ps: You can see some more of Paash's poems here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Saroja—A Treat Through and Through!

Starring: Shiva, Vaibhav Reddy, Premji Amaren, S. P. B. Charan, Vega Tamotia, Prakash Raj, Jayaram, Kajal Aggarwal, Sampath Raj, Nikita Thukral and Nagendra

Story: Venkat Prabhu
: Venkat Prabhu

I am writing this immediately after watching the Tamil movie Saroja, which was playing on Kalaignar TV as part of their New Year special programs. To say I thoroughly enjoyed the movie would be an understatement! Though I don’t know exactly what they got it right in the movie, it was a wholesome treat!

The movie is about four friends, Ajay, Ganesh, Jagapathi babu, and Rambabu. The two babus are telugu-speaking and are brothers too. What started as just another interesting comedy turned out to be actually a thriller! So, a bit on the plot: these four guys decide to drive to Hyderabad to watch a cricket match, but lose their way and find themselves in extremely weird and life-threatening circumstances. How all of four them make their way out in one piece and also become heroes in their own ways make the rest of the movie.

None of the guys in the movie is ‘hero’ material. They all look and behave like next-door guys! It was easy to believe the movie, and no wonder the viewer is pulled into the magic of cinema in no time. They were no unnecessary fights, pointless dialogues, unnecessary shots that state the obvious, and many such nuances that made this movie truly excellent.

What personally appealed to me was the simplicity of it all, yet the complexity involved in making the whole thing seem so simple! It showed talent, and also how enjoyable the entire exercise (of making the movie) had been to the entire crew! And, building in of the comedy element! Amazing man! Truly, out of this world. I really didn’t know such talent existed here; in fact, in one of the shots, I was referring to how it almost feels like watching some really good foreign cinema; only that the actors spoke Tamil!

Next, the most riveting part of the movie was its pace. Not even for a moment did I lose interest. Every shot was so neatly knit with the next one and the dialogues were so succinct and perfectly delivered.

Now, to the most favorite part: characterization. Let’s take for example the character of the main villain, Sampath. He looks all jazzed up with a big moustache and also carries a gun as he ‘prowls’ around. But, at the same time, there’s a side of him that’s vulnerable and human. It definitely takes a director par excellence (at least in my myopic view!) to bring out such contradictions in a very real manner. After all, in reality, each of one us is a bunch of contradictions! And, I think that’s what made the movie so real life. Another thing about the movie being close to real life was the realization that there are no heroes in real life! It’s basically life and its circumstances, one’s convictions and one’s instinct to not give up without a fight (when pushed to a corner) make heroes out of ordinary people. Yes, ordinary people like Ajay, Ganesh, Rambabu, Jagapathi babu, and, most importantly, Saroja.

Watch Saroja if you want a gripping thriller in which you will roll with laughter through and through, yet remain at the edge of your seat!

Destination Sikkim - Till we meet again

On the third day, we went to the Sikkim Himalayan Zoo. It was day of little rain and much mist. The walk into the zoo was surreal because o...