Friday, September 19, 2008

Do you get it?

I was not about to write about this movie ( The Last Lear), but the review in the Times of India got my goat. The reviewer obviously did not get it. He obviously prefers the less cerebral, leave your brains at home, numbingly loud movies, and any form of subtlety is lost on him. In fact, I don’t think he is any different than the numerous college students around me, who had difficulty sitting still and just keeping quiet. They, too, just didn’t get it.

You can read the storyline in Mr. Kazmi’s review.

The movie is amazingly sensitive, and a refreshing change from the normal Bollywood fare. It is a director’s movie, where each scene is thoughtfully crafted, and subtly layered, so one has to pay attention. Of special mention is the hugely riveting relationship between the three women spending the night, almost as a wake, for Harry. I found the nurse’s role especially meaningful, as she is able to bridge the obvious social divide between the roles played by Zinta and Chavvi. The sparks between Arjun Ramphal and AB are engrossing in pieces, but the strength of the story is not in the ultimate betrayal, but in the (un) questionable drivers for the role played by Arjun. AB’s character is incidental, a tool, and a diversion to the essence of the storyline. Unfortunate, but true. AB is used to sell the movie, not be its main character, which undoubtly goes to Shifali Chaya, while Preity Zinta does a competent job. The parallel storylines nicely mesh and wind around each other, a credit to the editor. On the whole, a pleasurable experience and… more than Paisa Vasool!

Odds and Ends

The Booker shortlist

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

Delhi Chronicles

How green was MY valley

The streets around my house are incredibly crowded, but it wasn’t like this when I was a kid. Ours was the last house on the street, and unexplored fields stretched beyond. For an eight year old this meant hours of pleasurable wandering around, collecting dirt and grime, and stealing and eating the sugarcanes which the farmers grew. There never was any shortage of playing fields for a game of cricket or hockey. Vacant plots were aplenty, and, depending on the size, were converted into a hockey pitch or a cricket stadium. Despite this, there were quite a few windows broken, when we got too lazy and played the smaller version of cricket in the garden or, worse still, in the house. My dad was quite generous with his hands, and we did get some unjustified thrashings, whenever things went wrong. The dining table could be converted into a table-tennis table when it was raining outside. The streets were uncluttered by cars, and one could drive a cycle while eating a mango with considerable dignity, safe in the knowledge and there was only one more car in the colony, which was standing on bricks for the last two years in any case. We did raid that car once and managed to get inside. The treasures we looted from the car would still be around somewhere in my house. I think I took a piece of chrome which looked like a spoke of the steering wheel.

I feel sorry for today’s kids, and myself. Their only hang out place seems to be the malls, where they will spend my money.

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