Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gha(stly)jini

Alright. I watched the movie despite being warned by a friend that it is a remake of the South Indian movie and not a remake of Memento, the brilliant film by Christopher Nolan. And I got dearly punished for it.

Ghajini, for me, is a 3 hr 15 min torture to be endured. The film is about a guy with a short term memory loss ( This term is wrong though. The guy is unable to convert short term to long term memory. Even Memento got it wrong) who is seeking revenge for his love's (Asin) death. OK, so far so good. But the whole focus in the film is on how Aamir has built his unreal muscles and how he gets to use them. His condition is left to the viewers' imagination with a brief 'he can't remember anything beyond 15 mins' dismissal. So with a series of discrete scenes joined to make a movie, Aamir gets his revenge on Ghajini Dharmatma (Weird ass name) after going through a whole lot of trouble.

There are certain things I'd like to outline. Asin is cute in her bubbly girl role, a role getting pretty common nowadays. But the good girl in her is very illogical at times, like when she forgot to switch off her cell phone when the killers were in her house, and a lot many more I had counted in the hall, but have forgotten now. The police inspector can run faster than a bus. This shows you are watching a south remke. None of the goondas seem to have guns when Aamir is around. They fight with medieval weapons like clubs and swords. Also, Aamir can read two diaries, follow the bad guys, beat about 12 guys in a span of 15 minutes.

I'd have been disappointed lesser if they had actually shown how Aamir accumulated all his data on the killers, as shown in Memento. But the main crux of the film is on Aamir flexing his 8-packs and killing a bunch of guys. Jiah Khan has been dealt a hard deal as a medical student interested in the case, because she barely gets screen time (not that her performance demanded it). She seems more of a journalist than an MBBS student. Why Aamir is shown as a psycho who shouts when he gets a chance is beyond me. I thought he just had memory loss problem and not schizophrenia.

Lastly, I'd like to tell all the people who thought Ghajini was actually good to go and watch Memento. Please do. And then revert back with your comments.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hilake, Milake Nahi!!!!!!


If you are wondering what the hell the title is all about, just translate literally and you’ll arrive at the world famous drink that James Bond drinks. Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. Just caught this bit on TV and felt I had to spew some venom on this.

It’s always nice to see any dubbing of a film, book or a show for a producer. It’s an indication that his work is get5ting more popuropurlar film, book or a show for a producer. Its an indicator ting more popular and is reaching out to a wider audience. But the cultural costs at which these dubbings are made are huge almost amounting to blasphemy. Take Hollywood films for instance. Now a good film like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl becomes Samundar ke Lutere. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone becomes Tilismi patthar (I’m not too sure) and Goblet of Fire becomes Aag ka Pyaala! I’m not actually against dubbing at all. I’m all for cultural identity and localization. But please keep the names intact. Gryffindor has become Garuddwaar and Slytherin Nagshakti. Would we have kept quiet if the West had made an English Mahabharatha and changed Krishna to Chris and Arjun to Adam?

One more thing I hate is the Indianisation of cartoons. For those of us who grew up on Dexter and Swat Kats, we can’t bear to look at the unholy, crappy Hindi versions on offer. Mahabilla Shahar, Bade Miaow, Chhote Miaow, the incredible list goes on. The dubbing artists aren’t anything to brag about too with Dexter’s nerdy accent giving way for a vocal horror in the name of dubbing. I’m not much of a fan of the stupid Japanese cartoons the kids watch these days, but my cousins tell me that Hindi versions of the cartoons are, well, shit to put it mildly.

Book translations are always good for the authors and the publishers as it means more income. I know the publishers don’t really care much for the maintenance of quality and standards in the translations, but trust me, I just got my hands on a Hindi Harry Potter (easiest to get) and it is not pretty. Though I couldn’t read more than 2 pages, I hope that at least the names of the houses have been maintained.

And to my utmost dismay, I just happened to catch a glimpse of a Hindi dubbing of Scrubs on SAB. Watching Dr Cox’s tirade in Hindi and JD’s soporific, emotionless and dry monologues and narrations (one of the reasons why the show was so popular) made me think if the guy (Hindi guy) was actually getting paid for this or was a gun held to his head and a microphone to his mouth.

All said and done, I just wish the TV would return to normal behaviour after the horrendous atrocities that are the news channels and the 3rd degree torture that are the reality shows and the saas bahu sagas.

How I long for those long gone school holidays when I used to play in the morning and watch Medical Detectives in the afternoon and then Swat Kats at 4 pm. Bring back the long lost cartoons and the shows of yore, because the crap pile just gets bigger and bigger in the TV.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maximum (Terror) City


Another ‘26th’ disaster. This date is really turning out to be an unfortunate one. I had just finished with my exams and I turned on the TV (a rare activity I do in the hostel) and I saw the burning Taj and Oberoi, the carnage at Leopold’s and the CST massacre. Taj is one of the faces of the Mumbai shoreline and the first thing that greets people when you enter from the Gateway of India. Leopold’s is one of the oldest hangout places for tourists and Indians alike in the city. And CST, the lifeline of Mumbai, was held hostage by 21 year olds. An attack on these places is a slap on the face of Mumbai.  

Now that the terrorists have been killed, the finger pointing game has started. The first to go was Shivraj Patil, who frankly had to leave given Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bangalore and Mumbai all happened in a span of 4 months. I do remember distinctly reading about a blast every 3 weeks. RR Patil, with his DDLJesque dialogue just revealed the administration’s mindset about the terrorist acts. They have conveniently been accustomed to anything and everything that happens. The typical ‘Chalta hai’ attitude so characteristic of us. 

But the gaffes have continued to flow in like water. Politicians have amazingly started taking things personally with counter attacks being launched on protestors and bereaved parents alike. Just a word of caution for you people. Since you have been elected by us, we have every damn right to question you for your utter incompetence. Maybe we didn’t do it in the most polite of the ways, but I guess that’s not a reason to take things personally. So start acting professionally, else if we take things personally, then there might be hell to pay for you. 

Amidst all the chaos, the real focus has shifted from revamping the structure of the current security system to mind games. Since P. Chidambaram has taken over the Home ministry, we can (and hope to) expect some better measures in organistion from a more responsible and educated person. As for CMsaab, it’s highly foolish of you to take along RGV and your son for a tour to the Taj. It ain’t good PR management. You might be genuinely concerned (otherwise you have no business being the CM) but stupid moves as these and your shocking sarcasm at the press conference (with the videos being played over and over again) leaves little to the imagination about your attitude. 

With most of the focus on the Taj and its restoration, it’s highly imperative (and logical) that we shift gears in CST too. It is the gateway to Mumbai and anyone can enter it with weapons (as yesterday’s mock operation by TOI showed). So checking must be intensive. People who complain of their right to privacy being breached can go home and stay there. We don’t want idiots and cry babies like you to enter the city. Strong measures call for some compromises on everyone’s part in order to ensure the safety in the city. Its very hypocritical when people resent the laws and are the first ones to complain when the law fails. So learn to respect the laws first. 

I have some very honest questions. Why don’t we have a separate NSG unit or any unit for that matter for anti-terrorist operations? This is the 4th time we have succumbed to terror. Why couldn’t the 200 odd commandos storm the Taj and Oberoi when there were only 10 terrorists in all? Surely, there would have been lesser hostages killed. Why were the warnings ignored (not once or twice but 4 times)? There is a serious need for the detachment of security forces from legislation so they can cut the red tape and get into action straightaway. Bureaucracy is the bane of democracy with the bureaucrats leaching the taxpayer’s money in pointless meetings and parties. What I would like to believe is that not all politicians are hopeless. Some might be seriously interested in changing the system but have their hands tied behind their backs by the majority (who we all know in and out). This is the only hope that I have for the city I love the most in the world. This is a highly volatile time where strong actions and not emotions should be the order of the day. 

Lastly I salute the all the officers for saving the city. Never again will I grumble about police checking. I feel immense pride in being from the same Institute as Hemant Karkare, although the Institute seems to have forgotten him. There wasn’t the standard two minute silence in respect or even the slightest mention of him. Shame on you, VNIT. 

Perhaps the admin people were too busy pepping up the college for a future NBA visit.