Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dark humor at its best

Pipali Live, till now famous for being produced by Aamir Khan, has other things going for it too. This is the first dark humor storyline coming out of Bollywood, and is indicative of the maturing tastes of the film makers, audience, and the censors. The story of a farmer, facing possibility of a suicide, and abetted by the media is an excruciating reflection of our times. Despite the attempt to exaggerate, the irony of the media and politicians playing to the public seems all too real. In more ways than one, the movie reflects the tragedy of India’s growth story. The dispossession of the dispossessed is a continuous refrain in the background, as are the stories of India’s growth capturing the limelight. If the governance does not wake up to these contradictions in practical hard ways, rather than playing to the gallery with inclusive growth tag lines, our country is going to fall on hard times. Will movies like these nudge the dead consciousness of our bureaucracy and political leadership? I hope they do, as the consequences of keeping swathes of people out of the progress charts will be terrible. My favorite line from the movie- the babu’s automatic reflex of resorting to the “ lal bahadur” a.k.a the hand pump, to solve all problems.

Delhi Chronicles

Delhi’s Commonwealth Games seem to be on a roll, despite a shaky start. We suffered months of traffic jams, with the development activities going on frenetically all over Delhi, rushing to beat the October 3rd deadline. Connaught Place was unvisitable for months, even as newer and swankier metro lines rushed to completion. The airport line did not manage to open on time though- I wonder who is going to use this line after the Games- most Delhi wallahs can afford the taxi money which gets them closer to the departure terminal, than the metro will. At the end of the day we have nicely metalled roads, at least on the routes the visitors will use, new street lights on all major roads, a make over for Connaught Place, and some nice ads. There are the Games too, but I for one, can do without them. The trouble we have been through, is just not worth it. I am sure the money could have been used for a much better cause than trying to impress members of the ex-British empire.

Odds and Ends

This year’s Booker Shortlist is:

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (Faber and Faber)

Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador - Pan Macmillan)

In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (Atlantic Books)

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (Bloomsbury)

The Long Song by Andrea Levy (Headline Review)

C byTom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape – Random House)

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