28 January 2006

Rang De Basanti... totally rocks!

Wow... what a movie!

With this movie for Bollywood has finally come of age! When I first read the cast, I wasn't too sure that I wanted to watch this. With Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Anupam Kher, Om Puri, Waheeda Rahman and few other well known names in the mix, I was mentally prepared for a typical (if stylish) Bollywood potboiler, with an item number or two, plenty of dishum-dishum, a very typical villain with the requisite bizarre appearance, subplots within the plot, and subplots within the subplots too.

The story begins with a young British filmmaker, Sue, heading to India to make a film on the young revolutionaries who made an impression her grandfather, a British police officer in pre-independence India. In Delhi, with her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), she runs into DJ (Aamir Khan), Karan (Siddharth), Sukhi (Sharman Joshi), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor) and the Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) who joins them later. She hopes to realize her dream of a making a film on Bhagat Singh, Azad, Rajguru etc.

But, contrary to the expectations raised by her grandfather's dairy, the youth show no particular feelings of patriotism for their country. They view their country as a rampantly corrupt hopeless case. They even poke fun at her attempts to make a film. Playing their historical roles changes their perspective about their role in the present.

Madhavan, as Sonia's IAF pilot fiance, is the sole voice of conscience.

Spoiler alert!!!

Madhavan's death in a MIG crash brings the friends' conscience to the forefront. The events of the past, in the roles they play in Sue's movie, shape their present. They are forced to grow up overnight and take a look at the world around them. It's their call to stop being passive observers, and to take action. The five put aside their don't-give-a-damn attitude and start to undo the slurs on Madhavan's reputation. Their reasons and methods might not be the right ones, but their hearts are in the right place. There is a seamless integration of the parallels of the past and their actions in the present.

It was heartwarming... and heartbreaking. There were moments of personal sentiment there. I was really amazed by the spontaneous applause at the end of the movie.

There is absolutely no preachiness (a la Swades) or justification of the actions of the protagonists. The changes wrought in them are portrayed brilliantly. Their motivation to do what they did might not have been for all the right reasons, but thankfully neither was in unrealistic.

Anymore and I might just end up giving away the entire story!

I was so amazed with this production. Every single thing was absolutely perfect, from the headliners on-screen to the technical team off-screen. The music was good too. There were the requisite songs, but they were rather unobstrusive. Surprising for a Bollywood production, there was no screen hogging by any of the headliners. The script was snappy and brisk.

Definitely worth watching.. more than once, imho. Don't miss this one!

My arguement with Arun:
I believe this won't do too well, as it's rather a sophisticated movie, without the usual jhatka-matkas. Arun believes that I underestimate the taste of the Desi cine-goers.

20 January 2006

Kids these days

The last couple of days have been one of THOSE days... When Aditi seems to have made it her mission in life to be an absolute imp.

Yesterday I had to go shopping to restock my freezer. Since I was going to a neighbourhood mom-n-pop kind of shop, I decided to take her along. Before I could pick out basic jeera and rye, the little one had dropped a bag of atta and was coated in white dust! Since I paid for it anyway, the storekeeper gave me a towel to dust her off.

On the way home, there was this fiasco on the bus. Aditi found the curls on the head of the elderly matron, sitting on the seat in front of us, absolutely fascinating. Before I could stop her, she pulled the lady's hair, and had it in her hands. I've never been so mortified. Thankfully, the bus pulled into a stop, and I gave the lady her wig back and got off with all my baggage! So what if I had a much longer walk home. For some reason Arun found that hilarious. He just couldn't stop laughing. Apparently it's funny because it happened to someone else!

Today she thought it would be funny to pour chutney AND curd in the sugar dabba.

sigh.... terrible twos in full swing.

I just hope the threes are better.....

A long time ago in a blog not so far away....

I am so amazed that there are actually people (all of one) who read my blog regularly and poke and prod to see if it's still alive or not.

Since I haven't blogged in ages, here's an update on what's happening in our lives.

Arun's got a new job as Assistant Professor at Keio University. So we're all moving bag and baggage to Tsuruoka, Japan, sometime in late March.

We took a 3 week holiday and went to India. Mysore being the totally hip place that it is, there was a Japanese teacher who lives on the same street as we do. So there was this total crash course in basic Japanese. Now I can confidently point out cars, buses, trains, tell someone whether a book is on, under or in a table, count apples, eggs and fish, but not people (not yet thanks to the complicated numbering systems) and go to a store and ask for the price of this or that! Once the two of us catch up on our assignments, we could of course say more!

There was the unexpected (condolence) trip to Chennai, which put an effective damper on high spirits for the rest of the holiday. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Worse things were still to come after we returned to Singy. Turns out there were heavy incessant thunder storms. And wiring in this apartment block being not all that new, power tends to trip frequently. And since no one was home to turn it on again, each individual thing in the freezer started growing its own ecosystem. All my sambar and rasam powders were a total write-off. So were the other assorted masalas and any other thing that was there. There was even a grey film of something on my salt! I still don't remember why I stuck the salt and sugar in the freezer, but there you go. The sugar had turned an interesting greenish gray. Revolting I know.... but a pretty shade all the same. Imagine going to Nalli and asking for a saree in the shade of fungus-coated sugar... hehehe

Our dear friend D, who is doing some research on some weird types of fungus whose names I can't pronounce, wished that I'd told him before I cleaned the freezer. So next time this happens, I'll just call some research Institute and ask them whether they need any of the life forms growing in my freezer.