Monday, June 20, 2011

Bhaag DK Bose, and Grow Up On the Way

First of all, Delhi Belly spokespersons who are going around saying that DK Bose is 'just another name;, lose the charade, please. Do not insult our intelligence by pleading innocence. At least have the courage to accept that you did it on purpose. If it was just another name, why not you choose Ananthanarayan Ramaswamy or Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas? That would have been more fun now, wouldn't it?

There's been a whole lot of hullabaloo over the raunchy, in-your-face lyrics in the above mentioned song (and some others, particularly the one where the beautiful Deepika manages to look like a character from Evil Dead). Frankly, if you don't like the lyrics, just don't listen to it. Lots of people are bothered by the fact that there will be 6-year-old kids who will go around singing this song (I'll be a treat to watch the expression of horror on the parents' faces though). Then again, kids see a lot of material on television which, when we were kids, was considered taboo. And if the kids want to sing it, let them. It's not like they know the intended meaning is it? Anyway, kids have been singing songs that are much more offensive than just an expletive. Don't believe me? 

We all fall down. And never get up.
Go back to your innocent childhood and try to remember some of the nursery rhymes you were taught. Ring a ring o'roses? Brings a smile on your face? Can you see your little self whooping with joy, holding someone's hand (possibly a girl, let's make it even better) while going around in circles? You've been singing about the Great Plague. The Great Plague in 1665 threatened to wipe out half of Europe (the next one was called Hitler) and this song is a reference to the plague and its symptoms. You know what the 'ring of ros(i)es' are? They are the red rashes that used to appear on the body of the victims. Posies were herbs used to ward off the smell of the disease (they didn't have super qualified doctors or Munnabhai in those days). Nor was there Ashok Kumar. The husha husha (or whatever sound effects that our teachers taught us) are sounds of the final coughing and sneezing. You can guess what the 'all fall down' means.

Aww, how cute. Now burn!

Wait, there's more. Remember Three Blind Mice? That's a poem about the killing of three Protestant bishops by Queen Mary I of England (whose hobby was torturing and murdering people). She also burnt 300 other people because they didn't conform to her religious beliefs. Three of them ended up in a children's poem. She is also referred to in Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. Do read up on her. She seems to be quite a character. 

Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill is another one. That's a song about the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - the fools who ruled France in the 18th century, and were completely oblivious to the poverty around them. "Jack fell down and broke his crown" refers to the um, losing of the head and Jill, well, came next. 

(Side note: After people were beheaded, the head was held up in front of its former body, apart from showing it to the crowd. The head apparently has consciousness for 7 seconds and then dies. Imagine seeing your own body wriggling in front of you. That is perhaps the cruelest thing I have ever heard or read in my life.)

Baa baa black sheep needn't even be analysed. The lyrics have Gunda-like subtle references to slavery (Baa baa 'black' sheep, one for my master is a dead give away). Maybe I sound like a conspiracy theorist but you have to put into consideration, the time during which these rhymes came around. Writing always reflects the time it is written in, so it isn't really that hard to put into perspective. Also conspiracy theories make the mundane more interesting. 

Have I ruined most of your childhood for you? Wait for more. London bridge is falling down is perhaps one of the sweetest tunes that my muddled memory can recall. History suggests that it's about the burning bridge of London after the Vikings set fire to it. There is also another, more morbid angle. Apparently there was a superstition that a structure wouldn't last until a human sacrifice was made and used in the construction material. London Bridge seems to have children underneath it, but there is no evidence as such. Humpty Dumpty is supposed to be a cannon that was used to destroy castles. But it somehow collapsed from its support and was too heavy to be lifted by 'all the king's men'. What the horses were doing there, I have no idea.

So we have been happily singing and dancing away to murder, pillage, burning and we're worried about a song? If you're thinking, "Hey, I didn't even know this, so it doesn't count", think again. Remember 'Aand paand teri maa ki ****d? Remember what came after? Ram doot, teri MKC? We were committing religious blasphemy at the age of 11. And we happily laughed at it. Hell, it can still coax out a little laughter. What about Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? Had it been released today, I'm sure some sangh or dal would have filed a PIL barring the film's release since it hurt someone's sensibilities. And I'm not only talking about a song. I'm talking about general loss of our sense of humour.

Who is anyone to decide whose sensibilities anything hurts? And if it offends you, don't watch it. Don't listen to it, ignore it. So what's with all this outrage suddenly? Why is it that when we grow up, we lose all our sense of humour? Isn't growing up supposed to mean that you become more mature? Ironic isn't it, that we cussed religion and tossed it around like a football when we were children (and supposedly immature). Now that we're all 'big' in every sense of the word, we blow our top every time someone makes fun of us, or doesn't conform to what we think is right. So grow up.

If I'm getting a bit too preachy, sorry. There have been far too many cases of people losing their temper over the silliest of things, and it just plain irritates me. It hurts my sensibilities if you will! This outrage has to be relevant. I don't want it to stop, because that's your right (and it also provides entertainment). So good people, take up cudgels, not against the lyrics of this song, but against the mind-numbing repetitiveness with which it's being played across the country - like a woodpecker's rap on the brain, chipping away a small piece every time it hits. 

Image courtesy: www.nursery-rhymes.info and Wikipedia.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shaitan + Pyaar ka Punchnama

We went almost two months without any decent releases, thanks to the World Cup and the IPL (which I'm still miffed about since both my teams lost). May was a month of duds, dedicated to some truly disastrous and horrendous films like Haunted, Luv ka the End (which from the trailer seemed a lot like John Tucker Must Die) and Ready. But I managed to catch two nice ones (films I mean). The first, is Pyaar ka Punchnama. Which is hilarious, and awesome. Especially for all ye guys. Although I have absolutely no experience in romance area, it was good fun. Yeah, yeah, female bashing and stereotyping and all that jazz. But watch it to blow off steam, or bitch about your girlfriend or whatever. More related to that in another post.

Second. I've just come back from watching Shaitan. Having heard only good reviews about it on Twitter, I was going to watch it, come what may, in the theatres. It's about five friends who are totally wild (and sometimes appear deranged) and how one accident changes their lives forever. But man, are those kids totally crazy! The number of complete outrageous and sometimes frightening stunts that the kids manage to pull off is mind boggling. When the kids get into trouble, they have to pay off a cop to cover up the mess their badassery has gotten them into and to do that, they end up digging even a deeper pit for themselves. The flatness of the story aside, what you need to watch the film for, is the sheer brilliance of the camera work. It takes you through a dark, murky world - a world where despondency and chaos is the order of the day, and there are no rules or a moral fabric that holds it together -  a world I'm sure most of us can only dream of knowing. There are a couple of sequences that are executed so well (the corporator scene for instance), that it makes me want to go and fall flat at the feet of the DOP and the director with reverence. Some scenes were so powerful that I wanted to leave everything and break into the movie. Then I remembered that I was too fat to fit into the projector. *laughs at stupid joke and mulls over how fat he has become*

You know that feeling you get sometimes when you just want to throw everything away and unleash? Or punch someone in the face? Or just scream at top of your lungs till the very  end of the world hears what you have to say? Shaitan brings that feeling back. The background score is magnificent (there's also a song by Bhayanak Maut). The characters? Kalki is very likable despite her rebelliousness and cocaine addiction. Shiv Pandit as Dushyant Saha is definitely a good find. Watch out for KC - insane at times, weirdly indecisive and meek at others. I don't know what Nikhil Chinappa is doing here, but he's okay. There's a pretty funny sequence with a cameo from Rajat Barmecha (Udaan) but I think the writers just got carried away there. 

But the best of them all is the macho cop Rajeev Khandelwal. The street chase, the bone-crunching kicks, the head-smashing punches - this guy carries an extra dose of mean wherever he goes and uses it to full extent. The shootout at a Bhindi Bazaar building is jaw-dropping. Few years back, he was the lead role in an Ekta Kapoor show. I hated him (partly also because all of my female friends kept gushing about how good-looking he was). Now, I have newfound respect for him.

I could identify several influences in the whole film - the gory fights with a sweetly remixed version of Khoya Khoya Chaand reminded me of Guy Ritchie. There are several montage sequences a la Ritchie. And the shoot out is a bit like the scene from Chan-wook's Oldboy where Oh Dae Su takes on around ten men at once. Mix in a bit of Danny Boyle and Tarantino. It's fantastic. I'm too lazy to even think of a better adjective for the film. The only thing I didn't like? Kalki's memories of her mother, totally unnecessary and also reminiscent of The Ring. Other than that, it's a cracker of a film - a rollercoaster ride that I wished never ended. 

All in all, watch it. In the movie theatres. It's brilliant. And yes, I suggest you leave all your morality and social codes aside. Because the film has none. 

PS: Kirti Kulhari is hot!