Tendulkar’s Retirement Conundrum and what’s ailing Indian cricket today

Ma-ia-hii

Ma-ia-huu

Ma-ia-hoo

Ma-ia-haha

Alo, Salut, sunt eu, un haiduc

Si te rog, iubirea mea,

primeste fericirea

Alo, alo,

sunt eu Picasso Ti-am dat beep,

si sunt voinic dar sa stii nu-ti cer nimic

Vrei sa pleci dar numa, numa iei

Numa, numa iei,

numa, numa, numa iei

Chipul tau si dragostea din tei

Mi-amintesc de ochii tai

Vrei sa pleci dar numa,

numa iei Numa,

numa iei, numa,

numa, numa iei

Chipul tau si dragostea din tei

Mi-amintesc de ochii tai

Te sun, sa-ti spun,

ce simt acum Alo, iubirea mea,

sunt eu, fericirea

Alo, alo, sunt iarasi eu,

Picasso Ti-am dat beep,

si sunt voinic dar sa stii nu-ti cer nimic
Vrei sa pleci dar numa,

numa iei Numa, numa iei,

numa, numa, numa iei

Chipul tau si dragostea din tei

Mi-amintesc de ochii tai
Vrei sa pleci dar numa,

numa iei Numa,

numa iei, numa, numa, numa iei

Chipul tau si dragostea din tei

Mi-amintesc de ochii tai

An American billionaire of a certain age…

Note: There are spoilers. Both the ones you don’t deserve or need.

Lot many years ago, a young kid named Kabir, walks into his school’s annual fancy dress competition, dressed up just like he would on any school-day. Upon reaching the stage and confusing great many number of parents, teachers, students and the judges just by his any-old-day-school-uniformed-appearance, the guy opens up a piece of paper and starts reciting “dohes“.

That’s it. That’s the joke. Or the lack of it.

A lot many years later, a little into “The Dark Knight Rises” comes a scene which reminds of Kabir and his fancy dress incident. Bruce Wayne walks into a ball full of people wearing masks. Selina Kyle asks him what is he dressed up as that evening. Pat comes the answer:  “Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire”. It made me smile, for though the logic is twisted and the reply, a tad silly, the scene reveals the insight to the entire Batman saga; There is no Bruce Wayne. He died a long time ago along with his parents. The kid that was left crying in the back-alley over his dead parents filled with anger, self-loathing and vengeance against the “nameless-evil-that-is-the-society” was the Batman. Everything else that followed is a long-drawn funeral of young Bruce Wayne.

Comic-book superhero movies are just another twisted way of selling the same old morality tale: The good has to win and establish itself, the bad has to intimidate, loom large before tripping over its own bellicose nature and lose. But what then? What comes next? As Walon once wisely councils Bubbles, the drug addict: “Getting clean’s the easy part. Now comes life“.

TDKR is where life begins for Batman, a man who can only exist in great distress and has not a thing to achieve in times of peace. Forced to be masked as a mortal all the while, bereft of everything he loved and loves (including but not limited to, vanquishing anarchy, chaos and wearing fancy pants),he withers for 8 years. Until, the proverbial excrement hits the rotary equipment dispensing air (well not quite… a petty thief steals his family jewel thereby forcing him out of exile. Talk about “lame” excuses.)

At the end of TDK, we are told that Batman is not the hero Gotham needs, but the one it deserves. There is another place where Joker is seen saying “this town deserves a better class of criminal”. These are delusional men, men who think that they and only they wield power enough save/destroy the city (and consequently the world). For a while, it would seem that their claims are pretty frickin’ legit. But  what they end up doing is belittling/ignoring the fact that society is inclusive and not exclusive of its asocial members. Gotham needs neither its saviors nor its tormentors to survive, their presence (or their absence) means squat to it; life finds a way of sustaining itself with or without external intervention.

In this aspect, Batman is a limited individual, with a distorted world-view of peace, love and understanding.  Little does he realize that the ideals he fights to protect (or thinks he’s fighting to protect) are the ones that kill him. For who needs a masked vigilante guarding over them when the biggest social problem they face is traffic, healthcare and forgetting to pay their phone bills on time.

 Nolan understands that the only way he can conclusively put to rest his “hero” is by freeing him from his mask, Bruce Wayne. Which brings me to his last movie of the trilogy. As an average movie-goer who on an average watches way too many movies to be considered sane or rational, I have too many complaints about Nolan’s last film of the Batman trilogy.

The film could be named “Love and Death -Part 2″ for all anyone cared and it wouldn’tve been too far off from the mark. The implied rule that a superhero needs an equal, if not a greater nemesis to rise above himself is a moot point here, as the only relevant confrontation and the major recurring theme in the movie was Batman coming to terms with his inner-struggle.

The film’s antagonist could’ve just as easily been Riddler or fuckin’ Frankenstein for all anybody cares, it wouldn’t have mattered to the end result, one little bit.

Incongruities, Lapse in reasoning/leaps of faith, tad hilarious fist-fight sequences and at a crucial point. plain juvenile acting (I admit that I giggled the scene when Cotillard’s character died)… Far too many sacrifices just to keep this the “last” film of the Batman trilogy, just to reach the place where the film did.

The price for a “satisfying end”, the full-stop that couldn’t be turned into a comma, is frankly too high. It pains to see a director of Nolan’s stature working hard to protect his work rather than expending energy into more fruitful creative endeavors.

That being said, I feel when it comes to trilogies, the sum of the whole outweigh the individual parts (I still maintain that the Matrix trilogy, when watched as a whole, is a far superior narrative and a satisfying experience than just watching the individual films. But then, like I care)  To that end, Nolan might just have completed the three greatest super-hero films that there is and will be for a considerable period of time.

ps: Speaking of the end, I didn’t want to read too much into the “restaurant scene” and the Joseph Gordon Levitt sequence that followed as it felt more like the director laying out a subtle challenge daring others to follow his act than adding anything substantial to the narrative.

pps: If Bane underwhelmed you (and God knows he did), go here for a far superior Tom Hardy experience

…. Only Boost

3 in the morning. Months have passed since I’ve slept any decent duration of time, since I’ve been home, since I’ve eaten anything that can be called a passable meal. The screen I’m staring at goes into a blur. Everything is a blur. No idea how long I sat there unblinking, eyes half-open, mouth agape, saliva dripping on to the table and fingers feeling up the keys with a vulgar muscle memory of their own.

This must be hell.

The body wants nothing more than to drop off from the chair, crash on the floor and sleep like there’s no tomorrow. The very next instant, the mind counters that impulse with the irrational fear of falling from the chair and not finding the floor…what if I fall into an endless void. Maybe I am falling through an endless void. Maybe all of this, all the things we do as a species are just fallacies sprouting from a fundamental misconception about how life, as we know, should be. Maybe it’s all a big joke. Maybe someone up there is laughing his ass off watching us grind through our existence in utter misery and hopelessness. Maybe I just need more coffee.

Dear God, I need coffee.

Whatever little strength I have left, I apply in dragging myself to the cafeteria. Bastards better have something to drink or I’m burning this bastard place down. The company’s power saving scheme meant that outside office hours, the cafeteria remains half-drowned in darkness.

No coffee…. only Boost” says the cafeteria guy, some poor Assamese (or whatever fuckin’ Northeastern state he’s from) fellow stuck in the wrong part of the country (and thereby giving the phrase ‘trying to make ends meet’ a whole new meaning). No way a local is going to work graveyard shifts at the cafeteria

Make it hot. HOT. Soodu Soodu. Garam banaiyo bhaiyya!” I yell after him as he nonchalantly sticks the radio to his ear and walks back into the kitchen. No use. I already know what I am going to drink; a cold, stale, mildly offensive smelling potion. I light a cigarette. Smoking within the premises gets you fired. Or atleast such is one’s hope.

Ahhhh….. I rock back the chair and exhale deeply. Small mercies.

If only life felt as blissful as this puff of … Wait! Did I just hear someone coughing? I look around the cafeteria. It’s lifeless and dark, as it should be. The Assamese guy returns with the order. Its surprisingly warm and a tad too sweet. Must be his payday.

Half way through the third puff a voice behind me makes me jump “Excuse me, can you please not smoke in here.” It is a girl. Well fuck me! Of all the things one expects to run into, 2 am some Wednesday morning in a barren cafeteria.

Did I just say ‘a girl’? Let me explain. It like when you’re on your way to a well-deserved century on a benign 2nd day pitch, the sun’s out and the bowling’s uninspired. It seems like nothing in the world can stop you from that century when from out of the blue a seemingly innocuous, yet pacy,outside off-stump delivery, which when left alone, 99999 times out of 100000, would reach the keeper’s gloves on the 3rd bounce, devilishly jags back towards you, while you’re holding your majestic well-left, arm-shouldering pose for all the cameras to click. Too late to react, you look on as horror which then gives way to puzzlement, astonishment, anger and desperation, fill your now remarkably vacant mind. To give you due credit, you do recover from your shitfaced-ness and try to straighten your legs which is nothing more than an act of hope….but you know the ball’s gonna hit you smack bang in the center of the pads, below the knee roll. After what seems like 55 years, the impact comes…. followed by the sinking feeling in the gut, then comes the huge appeal and its subsequent upholdment.

As you walk back slowly towards the crease, the anticipation of glory and orgasmic delight still wiggling about like a freshly chopped lizard’s tail, the only thought your mind can conjure up is: “The fuck just happened?”

That thought…is where I am right now. The fuck just happened? Slowly, the ‘a’ in ‘a girl’ was turning into ‘the’. This is dangerous, I tell myself.

Exactly. It’s dangerous not only to the smokers but to the people around as well.” she says (Damnit…caught thinking aloud again).

Sorry, didn’t know anyone else was here. Will throw this off. On one condition though

What?” she asks. The kind of ‘what’ that resembled the one in ‘what-ain’t-no-country-I-ever-heard-of’

That you join me for a Boost. Just 5 minutes.

Glorious cover-drive! I can see that she wasn’t prepared for this kind of sandhu-le-sindhu. It’s a good sign when you catch them off guard, even if it’s for a second. She says Ok and I put off the smoke.

Haven’t seen you in the office. Which department?

“R&D Labs” So that’s why. R&D is to us what New World is to the native African tribes. Freeloading bastards prance around talking about cutting-edge tech shit and such like, while the rest of the labor break their collective heads on some devious queries or non-compliant test cases.

I’m in the QA-COE. So how come you stay back late?” It’s something unheard of at my workplace – R&D guys slogging.

Oh… I checked in late. I like to work when there’s no one around. Helps me concentrate” Ah…I forget that the flexi-timing rules applies to her department. Not to us though. The last time I attempted to flexi-time, by which I mean land in office an hour late, Banerjee took out a Republic day parade on the corridor, sticking a pole up my posterior.

Figuratively speaking.

Great” I say and attempt what humans call a ‘smile’.

You look ill” she says “Tough break,eh?

I’d rather not talk about it now

Ha…So what would you talk about?” Her drink has arrived. I hope the guy kept up with his consistency.

Anything really. As long as its not about work.

…and talk we do. If someone later asked me what were we on about, I wouldn’t know what to say… because sometimes conversations aren’t bound by the subjects that define them. Sometimes people aren’t after any rational conclusion that they wish to arrive via conversing. The journey’s spectacular, why bother about the destination.

Her eyes let out sparks as and when music is being discussed. I can see she’s got a fantastic taste. There is absolutely no hyperbole in her speech. Her insights or whatever she deduces, she lays it dryly with a little wit, here and there. Every 3rd line or so, she pulls a strand of hair back behind her ear and her studs shine out like stars under the solitary bulb light. I try surviving it all, but the smile’s a killer. Even in disagreement, she lets out a disarming smile. By the time she’s realized that she’s been in the cafeteria far too long, I’m a half-melted semi-colloidal human substance, leaking out of my clothes and flowing towards the drain.

Figuratively speaking.

I watch her politely excuse herself and walk back to the steps. I crane my neck to check if she has legs or if she just floats around on a little mobile-cloud like thingy (neither would’ve surprised me). Legs. Win.

No idea how I reached my desk. Not that I care. All I could think of is about…about….about… wait. What did she say her name was?

Two months later:

Ever heard of a theory which says that if you want something truly and sincerely from the deepest depth of your heart, the universe does everything it can to keep you away from it? No? Here, watch this shitwit Bollywood flick.

I can tell you that for no good reason I had to rush to Mumbai, the very next day. I can tell you that I am to stay here until the project I’m executing comes out of the crisis situation it has managed to crawl itself into. I can tell you that Banerjee has made it his life’s mission to run me to death.

I can also tell you that I inquired everyone I know in the R&D. No frickin’ luck. Fuckin’ idiot! Talked in length about octave equivalency and other such nonsense, forgot to ask name.

K” It was Banerjee.

Hmmm?

Take the 10 o’ clock, will you?

Man I really can’t ! Got a clash at 10:30 and I don’t want to be missing that

I’ll cover the 10:30, champ. You get the 10-er

Damn! there goes my only free half-an-hour reserved for smoking. Maybe if I hurry the fuck up during the call at 9, I can sneak in a puff or two. I do wrap stuff up by 9.45 and run to the nearest sutta shop. Lucky it’s just next to the parking lot and one can smoke under some shade.

Hellllo!” I hear a familiar voice say. If ever Illayaraja was looking for a cue to take center-stage and conduct a grand “How to name it” concert, this was it. Maybe its the sunlight or the sugar-rush…whatever it is I’m going completely blind now.

You again… How are you?

I will tell you. On one condition

What?

Coffee with me. Just 5 minutes” I had half-a-mind to tell her that I have a meeting in 5 minutes. Infact, scratch that… I’m lying. I didn’t even think of the meeting up until half-an-hour later when call I up and tell Banerjee that I have to take the rest of the day off as my granny, who’s in town for some reason, just died in a bathroom accident.

That was naughty” she giggles

Ah…Granma wouldn’t mind. Especially since she’s been dead for years now.” … and its true. I mean, the last 5 years of her life Granma moved heaven and earth to get me married (If its the last thing I’d do. You are going to get married, boy! Like it or not – her last words, or the jist of it. Old thing got delirious towards the end). Didn’t happen, much to her dismay and my joy. So yeah, in a way killing her again for a cause she’d relate to didn’t seem that bad an idea.

Hey listen, it’s kinda awkward but I don’t know your name yet. I am …”

K. I know

Ah…” her sources are better than mine.

Friends call me Jina

Jina? I desperately try to classifying her name into one of the compatible castes that can co-exist peacefully with mine. Damn! This is a loose end.

And your enemies?

She giggles. “Jina. That is my name

Interesting

So what are you upto? For the rest of the day, I mean?

Donno… might catch up on some mourning. Didn’t get to do it properly the first time

Wait! I have a great idea.” out of nowhere she’s excited. Calls her boss, tells him (I know its a him…She keeps calling him sir every 2nd line. It’s a bit annoying.) that her grandmother just died in a bathroom accident.

Condolences” I tell her after the call

So where all do you want to mourn?

Donno you are the local here. You tell me

Epilogue (Can I call it that?):

…. And that is how I first met Jina (in broad daylight.. just a technicality…ignore it, it just felt good to be the first line of an epilogue…so). There is a lot more of that day I wish to tell you. That day and years that followed. But I think sometimes such stories aren’t just about the content that define them. People sometimes aren’t in the story telling business to tell other people whats and whys and whens of happenings. To them it’s beside the point….Because sometimes the journey’s so great, that one doesn’t bother about the destination.

Well I don’t

….and I don’t consider myself much the poorer for it.

Epilogue

This was last Tuesday. I had stayed up late the previous night completing the play. It had come together wonderfully well without a single snag, start to finish. Immensely satisfied and pleased, I trudged off to my bed and fell fast asleep.

That’s about all I remember. That and an ill-timed powercut an hour later.

It’s disappointing to be dead, to tell you the truth. I hadn’t counted on an early exit. My writing was just getting back on track. The surgery was becoming a distant memory and I had finally gotten around to talking with my parents after a decade. Why only last month I was thinking of asking her to consider marriage (if it wasn’t too early/fast for her).

Hmmm… I suppose such things happen.

Bleak as it may be, being dead doesn’t suck completely. For one, the pressure of proving myself to the world has completely vanished. Neither am I being plagued by conflicts, distractions and deadlines. Concisely put, this is every writer’s wet dream. If only it were possible,  I’dve published a lot more post expiry.

Secondly the concept of time just vanishes when you’re dead. I find myself everywhere, witnessing everything, all at once. Yep, it IS as nutty and overwhelming as I made it sound; like watching 1000s of movies all at once and losing yourself in the clamor. Good news is, its all expenses paid time travel all day- everyday where one can tune himself into/out of ‘channels’ at will.

Bad news is, watching is all one ever gets to do. Just like how, much as you wish, plunging into the TV screen and punching the shit out of nincompoop reality show contestants/judges is out of the question, I can’t catch hold of my younger self and bash some sense into him nor can I be by her side, holding her hand, as she dies alone in her attic lot many years from now (Did I just say ‘now’ ? Ha, I humor myself sometimes). The vicariousness of it is terribly heart breaking, must say.

Once during my short stint at the army hospital, a colleague (a poet, died of a asphyxiation few years before. Poor thing) recited me his poem about a man watching his own funeral and how it tickled him to see humanity grieving over the inanimate and the transient when all that had changed was that he was ridden of his decaying mortal shell.

This particular poem was called ‘Epilogue’ and was apparently my colleague’s proudest poetic achievement. Back in the day, I was much taken by the idea and even referred this colleague in the right circles and in a small way helped his career take off. Of course, now I know the whole thing is utter bollocks! Without a second’s thought, I’d swap this ‘eternal being of light and love’ with that ever-sweaty, ever-itchy, awkwardly disproportionate, flabby body of mine. The foolishness of romanticizing death dawned kinda late on me.

Sigh.

Would I be lying if I said I died with no regrets? Of course, yes. Every bleeding sod that dies has regrets. I have quite a few of them myself:  Like I never went back to Rampur to study palmistry as I promised myself I would. Never serviced my Fiat Padmini (they let it rust). Didn’t complete pottery lessons. Never learnt to cook. Never got around opening that bottle of Dewars in the cellar. Never paid Keshto a dime for his stunning early morning/late evening teas.

So on and so forth.

I frequently find myself going back to that rainy day when a group of us trekked up Chembra. Bad stomach and a bloodied pair of feet notwithstanding (courtesy: leeches), the ascent was terribly hard. But it was worth it. God’s honest truth, it was! Sitting atop amongst the clouds, I watched as it rained gently down the valley below. There I was, Lord of all things, unchallenged and without fear, commissioning relief to the parched lands below. The rapid expansion of ego felt all too powerful and magnificent; the kinda thing that pours forth all sorts of beautiful poetry and haiku, gets written and gets sold for a decent price to various magazines.

If you’re expecting some sort of an epiphany or a moral to emerge out of the above anecdote…. there isn’t any coming.

We left that place after an hour or two and caught the evening bus back to mainland.

….and life went back to being a blur.

Him?

They say life doesn’t come with instructions.  The ones who say this to your face usually follow it up with a smug smile.  That”s your cue to kick their teeth in. In an ideal world, that is. But in real life, you just mutter ‘so true, uncle. so very true‘ and nod approvingly. That is just what I did as Uncle Poorna (he’s not my uncle. Infact he isn’t anyone’s uncle, people just call him that. Never knew why) bored me half to death with his ‘how-we-raised-kids-in-those-days’ lecture.  Earlier that day (or was it the day before? Not sure), Junior, for reasons that are yet foggy, went bananas and thumped a few of his school-mates, proper. You know how these things are. Young boys get a little physical and everyone kick a huge fuss up.

That last line didn’t come out proper but you get the gist. Anyways, the upshot of the incident was that it led to a “P-T meeting-finger-pointing-fist-waving-duster-throwing-lineage-smearing-police-calling” imbroglio. To avoid further embarrassment the school management hastily called in Uncle Poorna (who also happens to be the Councillor of our ward) as intervening authority.

Everybody listens to Uncle Poorna.

I was quite a “convincer” during my Army accountant days” he laughs. As far as I know all he did the past 25 years (before taking a radical plunge into local politics and settling disputes) was to take a daily commute from Mandaveli to Haddows Road and rub his posterior in some private accountants’ office or something. I know this because my father knew this. But what I (or anyone else for that matter) couldn’t figure out was how this all tied up with him being an “Army Accountant”.

You must be a tougher father. Like your father was” he tells me.

You are very wise, uncle” I hear myself say, not wanting this torturous lecture to prolong. Balls! If I was anything like my father, Junior would’ve fled home the day he learnt to walk (Father’s army background had a profound impact on his parenting and on my posterior, whichever came first).

That evening:

After much pacifying and promises, I returned home only to find the missus going about household duties like it was any other Tuesday, which was good. Except for the fact that my spider-senses were going all Zeenat-Aman-in-Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram on me.

Where is he?” Tact is the key else this can all go south very quickly.

Where else? In his room.

I’ll talk to him.

You better!

Yeah yeah I will. After din…

Now.

Ok ok. Let me freshen..

Now.

I made a mental note to investigate which side of the bed I got up on.  As I reached his room, I do the polite thing and knock.

No answer. I knock again. Still no answer.

Hmmm. I clear my throat and go:  “It’s me, Junior. Open up. We need to talk.

It’s not my fault, pa.

I know. Just open the door. We can talk this through. I have nothing on me, I promise.”  (what was I even saying?) After a few seconds he opens the door. I make myself comfortable in his bed. I never had a room when I was 13.  Or a bed. Father reasoned that sleeping on the floor helped blood circulation which in turn increased mental concentration. In other words his message was: “balls to cushion bed, park your just-passed ass on that hard floor”

So…. eventful day, eh Junior?” As expected, no reaction from the boy. He just stood there in the corner of the room, probably expecting the worst.

Come here. Sit down.” I make room for him. “Let me tell you a similar story about Pa.  I once had this classmate who was filthy rich. Every day he’d get dropped and picked up by this posh car. Neat-clean uniforms, brand new stationery, shoes…you know that revoltingly little-smartass-on-the-block types.

We should be rich, Pa. You know… I’ve always wondered why…

I clear my throat loudly “Where was I, ah…yeah…the boy was such a smartass. For some reason we got into a fight one day and...”

Why?” he interrupts again.

Why what?

Why were you guys fighting?

Donno..Can’t remember…Maybe for no reason…but the point is..

That’s kinda stupid, isn’t it?

Look…that’s not relevant.

If that is not relevant how is this story similar to my situation?

I had half a mind to whoop him then and there.

Ok…forget my story…you tell me yours.

It’s all Inji’s fault

Inzy?

Inji. He was being kinda stupid on the stage and …

Woah…Slow down there son. Tell me everything from the beginning.

Ok. The other day I was telling you about my school day function, no?

Vague thoughts of being hounded for some fancy bell-pants and cowboy hat cross my mind. But that’s an everyday occurrence in the household; me getting hounded for some new purchase or the other. Couldn’t connect an event to this particular one.

I don’t remember it all that well.

Of course you don’t, you didn’t even attend.

Why don’t you tell me about it then?

It’s like this…last month, when they announced the school day function date, we decided to do a dance number.

Wow. You can dance? You never said…

Listen no!”

“Ok”

“So Kalsmuls informs the gang that we can do a dance number. You know…Western dance. But Magudi  wasn’t very comfortable with the… no wait, Magudi was ok with Western but NaathaKosale dropped out and that’s when we pulled in Buddi and Jakkamma. Then there was that whole Tommy and Kani situation which we had no option but to solve. But  it only got worse…”

Are these your friends or are you simply making stuff along as you go?

“Huh…Of course they are my friends” Another thing I love about my kid: Says the first thing that crosses his mind and sincerely expect the world to believe every word of it.

“So finally we decide to have Maria as our dance item”   Aha! Introduction of a female character. No wonder this ended in blows.  Boy is growing up a bit too quickly, I say! 

So I put it as delicately as I could “How is this Maria? Class figure aa?”

“Nooooo its not a girl!! Maria is the latest song by Ricky Martin… They play it daily on MTv Select. You didn’t hear or what?”

Evidently I haven’t.

“Anyway, we inform princi about the song. He was suspicious that it may have bad words. We told him that its a Spanish song so no will understand only.  But he still wanted to hear it. After hearing like 2 lines he told us to stop and asked us to explain what LUPACHI LUPALACHEK MARIA is”

“Huh… What?”

“Who knows!  As we told him, its a Spanish song. Nobody understands anything in it except MARIA!”

Oho

Yeah.  So he rejected it and we decided to dance for Yeshwaraa.  Wait…you don’t know Yeshwaraa also no?

Mental note 2: Must catchup on all Spanish songs on MTv.

I’m afraid I’ve not heard that Ricky Martin song as well.

Ayyo Pa!  Yeshwaraa is that tamil song from the new Prashanth movie

Him?

Yeah. Very deep song about friendship and stuff

I’m sure it is

You see, actually I only joined this thing because it let me bunk classes. But Kalsmuls is a very good dancer and we can’t do what he does. 

 “Never think that way, Junior. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.”

Mad or what! Who wants to put mind in dancing?” Sigh! Thats one thing off the “Beta hamaara bada naam karega” list.

So the idea was to do let Kalsmuls in the front and do what he does.  It worked well during practice but we were nervous; we surely knew something would go wrong”  he continues “So nervous that on the day of the function we panicked and gave entry half-way during the Good Samaritan play

Oh dear!

Yeah… the Samaritan guy ran offstage shouting ROBBERS CAME BACK! ROBBERS CAME BACK! We were standing there, full costume on like idiots with the traveler guy lying down still pretending that he’s dead.

Then what?

Then they played our song to cover up what happened and we started dancing around the traveler guy’s body and that was when I mistakenly poked Kalsmuls in the eye. He started bleeding and was walked out of stage. Two of the dancers followed him thinking this was some new step. The rest didn’t know what happened and each started doing whatever they remember

What a mess!  Nobody intervened?

What do you mean?

What were the organizers doing all this time?

It happened so very quick. Also most of the audience were thinking this was some new kind of show. Thats when it went very bad.  Inji, in his excitement, stomped on the traveler guy’s stomach. That guy finally had had enough, got up yelling and punched Inji’s nose. The Samaritan guy must have seen this and thought that he was supposed to attack the robbers. He came back running from nowhere with a wild scream and pushed me to the ground….” he pauses to catch his breath.

“I think you know the rest, Pa

Later that night:

“So did you talk to him?”

“Yeah”

“What did he say?”

“Apparently its all Inji’s fault”

“What?”

“Long story”

“What did you do?”

“Eh? What was I supposed to do? I just heard him out and told him to keep out of such trouble.”

“Hope you didn’t tell him about that stupid childhood-fight story of yours.”

“Ofcourse I didn’t. Why would I..CMON! That is not a stupid story. It had a moral, an insight into childhood and a subtle yet beautiful realiz…

The missus was blissfully asleep.

Who listens to Zarathustra anyways?

Diwali and the days following it saw Ra.One getting a sumptuous thulp across various internet forums. Long-time denizens of Internet need hardly be reminded that this landscape is built on the ‘shoot-first-question-later’ philosophy. Therefore even without watching the movie, I can understand that a large part of this flak might *just* be hyperbole and the movie might *just* be passable.

Wait. this is not what you think it is. This post is not about condemning the unwarranted extreme positions ‘internet’ critics assume. Nor is this a ‘rational’ counter-argument mounted to defend the common man’s right to willingly fling his disbelief into the Koovam river.

The other day I was reading this review of the film by B.Rangan and his initial point on Rajnikanth and the redundancy of Endhiran intrigued me. Why only limit this to Rajni?  Why not expand it to a broader spectrum? Will the concept of a ‘Superhero’ ever work in the milieu of what we call ‘mainstream’ Indian cinema?  Atleast in the near future, can we bring ourselves to appreciate the ‘Western’ interpretation of Superhero and the rituals it associates itself with?

I doubt it.

For our films still, unwittingly or otherwise, borrow heavily from Rama’s mythology. With Ramayana, the protagonist isn’t some normal 9-5 guy with an abnormal ‘do gooder’ itch, he embodies all that is good in men. He is Rama and it is an existential demand that he pwn badass villainy in the neighborhood while establishing/sustaining the righteous code for his successors to follow. He doesn’t need extraordinary circumstances to fulfill his destiny; he *is* the extraordinary circumstance pitted against the evil mongers (who as we know, frankly, haven’t the slightest chance in hell against him).

Extending the analogy, our traditional on-screen heroes have ‘bleached’ that gray area by their unblemished virtue of their being. To them, “upholding what is right” is not a response to an external stimulus but something that is second-nature/ingrained. In other words, where the west defines its Superheroes by “what they do”, here we see the definition shifting to “who they are”.

Secondly the logic that applies to Batman is denied to Bruce, even though they are the different manifestations of a same entity. This division of logic/ the “idam poruL Eval“ness doesn’t dictate a Rajini movie like say Baasha. Alter-egos aren’t a necessity here, a frill if the occasion demands. Third, a typical superhero  is an asocial being. He/She can only exist as an entity outside the society. What this also means is that if one takes him/her out of the current context and the character still remains homogeneous. But I highly doubt that our heroes can exist in any universe other than the ones they’ve created for themselves.

One could argue that given time and/or the right treatment we can still sell the concept of a asocial “Costumed Crusader” to our public and I’d agree. The first step would be to let the franchise decide the star and not the other way around. I mean what is the need now for someone like Salman, Shah Rukh or Rajni to hide behind a mask to pulp posteriors, when he’s been doing the same, just fine all these years without one.  The second would probably be to eliminate this ‘target audiences are kids especially’ bollock.  Once one assumes that working definition, one is only going to oversimplify the context and make it look like a joke. Why should we be forced to accept that the whole concept is juvenile and not worth the effort to invest our emotions? Just because it doesn’t happen “IRL”? Hello.

Another thing that puzzles me is this act of putting the cart before the horse. A superhero franchise, the point at which it becomes a movie, already has a sizable fan base it had collected from its run as a comic or a book. Therefore as a movie it doesn’t need to invest a lot of time explaining stuff to its audience. But here, its the movie that spawns the franchise and it straight away tries shoving info deep down the audience’s throat without giving the chance to even acclimatize themselves to the myth. Little wonder then that it opens itself to such scorn and ridicule.

Will the scene change? I don’t know. Probably it will, probably it won’t matter. But if anything, I hope that the change comes from outside the medium. Hopefully, our popculture evolves into a more potent and pertinent (lest someone should rue the loss of nativity) organism. Hopefully, our filmmakers find enough incentives to break the mold and cast aside dated-prototypes. Hopefully, the pigs will come home flying.Till then let’s keep the Lulz, shall we?

Sandekh Brandy

Adiye! The onions seem fried. Ippo ennatha seiyya ?”  I yell on top of my voice.

I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear a thing.

Goddamn TV serials! If it were up to me I’d shotgun every “fresh-out-of-beauty-parlor-face-all-day” family member of every Gharaana and end their ridiculous conflicts right in the pilot. But such prompt closures are usual frowned upon by the general populace. For instance, I was fed just saltless paavakKa poriyal and burnt VaazhakKa curry when I slipped this view in a house-party, as an plausible impersonal opinion on how things would pan out ‘if prime-time tv soaps were left to the husbands’.  For 3 days.  I have since tempered my inner Bhagat Singh.

Haaan?.. Pyaaz fry kiya kya?” she yells back.

Facepalm!

 A week before:

Bujju, door lock kar dena. Will be late from office today”  she’s a miracle in the mornings; gets a bazillion housework stuff done by the time I haul my ass from the bed to the nearest toilet in stop-motion.

Hmmm….ya ok. hey pass the newspaper before you go

No answer. A loud thud and 2 minutes later,  I get an SMS from her “kpt milk n stuv… frgt to turn of…. doit’ .  Brush and foam in mouth, cellphone in one hand and the end of towel firmly clasped in another, I rush to the kitchen, trip over the dustbin, fall down and somehow manage break my toothbrush into two neat pieces.  Gah!

Working from home can get soul-sappingly boring, esp if you don’t have an office to go to. I have now spent months wrestling with an extremely tricky plot point with the resolution nowhere in sight. Not that I am losing sleep over it but its annoying to start every day, working back and forth on those same notes .

I head out to the balcony for a smoke. I am worried about hundred things in general and none in particular. What have we done with our value system (from an ethical point of view)? Why are we, as a society, doling out apathy as a holistic cure to all our social maladies? Why does our media favor  reckless opportunism over integrity? Who are these pseudo-intellectuals and why do they absofuckolutely hate my books ? How on earth did that asshole with zero singing talent win the Ultimate Crooner contest?

Same old, same old. Sigh! In other words, the breakfast was real bad; asshole Iyermess fellow had me eating the saltiest pongal ever made. When I did complain about it, he dumped chilly sauce on it as compensation. Like truck loads of it.

Namma otel silly chaas saaptu paarumOi. Divyama irukumNe

I mean, who does such things.

Keeping things simple is my motto for the day. Nice and easy little paragraphs, simple observations, character chit-chat, pump in 1500 words and call it a day.  Here an inch, there a foot and I’ll ride through this mess.

Yes Yes!

That’s it.

Nice and easy little paragraphs.

Fifteen minutes later, I find myself browsing through social-networking sites.  If not for my publisher who thought it wouldn’t hurt for me to have an online presence, I wouldn’t have even bothered registering here.  I don’t update much…except for a few thoughts that come to my mind (typically during late afternoons when sleep threatens to spoil my night-routine and I have to really really do something different to keep myself awake).  Anyways,  it seems that I’ve missed the bus by 10 years. Things here don’t make much sense to me.

Around 2.30, I get a call from her mobile.  This better not be the ‘go-buy-and-boil-milk-before-I-get-home’ routine

Hello

Hello saar”  Male voice. Eh?

Who?

Aashiq saar

Which Aashiq?

Autodriver Aashiq saar.  Saar, yoor misses suddenly crashing in my auto saar. Activa fell saar. she adilegoing under. Leg breaking and I taking to gendrlasphithrii saar, I calling there only

WTF!

Allo…Yaaru pa nee? Tamizh le pesi thole

The last time I ever went to the General Hospital was during the 90s. Grandmother’s mother (0r father? or was it Grandpa’s mother? or was it Thathaa himself?  Anyways, who remembers these things!) was terribly ill and they had her in the ICU.  Hospitals still do scare me. My constitution is not built to handle these places, the smell of tincture induce nausea and pointy needles, an uncontrollable shiver. More than anything, the proximity to blood and death and the ridiculous ease with which they deal with them here is unnerving.  It’s a wonder people come here, of all the places, to get back to good health and what more… most of them actually do.

Accident and Trauma Care Services. The nurse points me to the doctor who tells me that it wasn’t a major injury. A small Patella fracture surgery here,  a lakh there. Some rest, physiotherapy and wooosh! Nothing that our insurances can’t handle.

We go into the theatre in an hour. Simple procedure. I’ll see to it that she’s discharged  end of this week. Palani outside will help you with the forms and  other formalities

There was no Palani outside.

I enquire about the autofellow.He’s nowhere to be seen.He’s left all her belongings with the hospital. Everything seem as it is (as far as I can tell, I never can).Must say, Aashiq is decent. An eventful day. Most of it spent running hither and thither, buying this, signing that, buying this again, signing that again, consoling the oh-my-gods, explaining the what-the-fuck-happeneds, ignoring the oru-nade-Kalikaambazhl-Koil-poituvaadas and accepting the  get-well-soons. She’s not woken up yet.

I convince the in-laws to not stay over. I can manage, I say. Ditto to my parents. Just that mom never ever listens to me.

Ippo sollu da. Enna thaan nadandhudhu?”  Mom’s idea of effective inquiry: Repeat the question until you hear what you want to hear.

 “MaaaWe can discuss later

I must’ve slept for the next thing I know it was early morning. The night shift personnel were leaving and I am told that she’s still sleeping.  I slip out for a nice smoke and a quick tea.  Something about December makes me fall in love with this city. So many things have changed but yet this place remains the same.

Sigh.

You can see her now

Thanks for everything, ma’am…..Means a lot

Don’t be silly. It’s only her job”  this was mom.

Today:

Fucking Youtube cookery videos!  They teach you everything except how to cook. More importantly, they don’t tell you what to do when smoke hits the roof.

Kar kya rahe ho tum vahan?”  a geniune alarm in her voice.  Great success! Not the cooking… managed to divert her attention from the TV.

Aaan… Saambrani daal raha hoon

What?? Are you smoking in there? Aa rahi hoon mein”  Heh. Fat chance of that happening

My Dear SandhegapPraani, don’t bother.  Have some patience, yummy lunch is getting ready“.  Fat chance of that happening too. Must’ve taken mother’s help when she offered to stay with us. Tactical mistake.

Never have I struggled like this in my life. EVER.  Not even when I had to almost stab my heart to convince my high school biology teacher that the diagram was of a cockroach and not a flabby male genitalia.  Cooking is not for the pansies. Hundred things to do and each with a hundred other dependencies and  considerations. All this for a 15-min-simple-thing-one-cooks-every-other-Tuesday level dish.

An hour and a half later.

How is it?” I ask her.  Clever of me to have not tasted it at all. Never take risks when you’re married is how I roll.

Hmmmm”  she replies, lost in thought  “Eatable

Aha…well of course. Love that Sardar chef guy on Youtube!   Must send him a money order or something.

What does that word mean?

What word?

Vahi. Sandhekh Brandy

Huh? Kounsa brandy?

Yeah, the same… what does it mean?

Are you alright?

Arre… From the kitchen you yelled then, no?  What’s that word?

This is one thing I really hate. Pulling random stuff from some…

Oh SandhegapPraani ya?

Yeah, the same.

Asadu, it means you are very pretty”  I do this all the time. She is probably the most misinformed Bharadhiyar poetry fan in the whole world.  I mean, why waste time looking up words, when your husband’s a writer, right? Right? Right? Wrong.

Awww. So sweet. Channel zara change karna

Kounsa dekhna hei?”  I snuggle in next to her.

Zee.”

Ahaan…what is this serial?

Interesting one. Its about this big family and the third son’s wife is actually a.. “

Ah, TV is not so bad after all.

Fools rush

The Commander-in-Chief, rides his chariot up to his King, the Lord of Hastinapura “A boy, you say? That is no ordinary boy, O King.  He is  Soma, the Immortal. Even the Gods are no match for him in the battlefield. The only choice we’re left with is to keep the tenets of Dharmayuddha aside. Dharma didn’t get us here and it won’t get us past him. The rest is up to you. Our troops await your word

The King watches the kid, the murderer of his son, with great intent.  Beyond anger,  a sense of wonder and fear that grips him.  Even a war-hardened mind like his finds it difficult to believe that such unflinching cruelty and relentless fury could emanate from someone so young and lovable and innocent.  The boy stood there, right in front of him, with such unnerving calm. His breathing was sure, his movements complete with purpose and  his  countenance considerably darkened, reminded one of the moon during an eclipse.

Their eyes meet for an instant.

The King clenches his fist and raises his arms, high enough for the Prince of Sindhu to see.

Miles ahead, in the middle of a mad chase and a shower of arrows, a charioteer quietly sheds a tear.

——X——

Loyalty to the Crown.  Loyalty to the Sovereign

Of all the things his father taught him, these words were the ones he considered most important.Now everything is gone.  He had spent the day here, by his father’s blazing pyre. A little ahead he sees an owl perched on a tree hitherto blissfully asleep, now being heckled and harassed by a pack of crows. Bitten, clawed and thoroughly beat, the owl flees to save its life. Everything he believed in, loved to be true ceases to be, leaving a huge void in their place. Nothing to fill it in but the violent flames of the pyre nearby.

Law is what is we make of it, he thinks.  The world has and always will belong to these conniving thieves  of dignity. The Right and the Just have no place here.  Dharma died a long time ago when they shamed the Mighty Patriarch into disarming using an eunuch and then went on to drill his noble frame with arrows.

Something horrible was growing within him.

 He sat there watching the tree for eons, or so it seemed to him. Darkness fell on the land and yet he had not left the side of his father’s now smoldering pyre; his gaze firmly fixed on the tree.

A menacing hoot fills the woods all of a sudden.  He instantly turns towards the source of the sound. Though his eyes couldn’t fathom what was ahead; heart in heart  his hunter’s instinct tells him that something vengeful was flying towards him.

It was the owl and this was her turn to attack. Her execution was short and immaculately calculated. The blinded birds did not stand a chance against her deadly swipes. He watched the whole thing with great thrill and intent.  The universe had given him his answer.

——X——

The stream of blood covering  his eyes was but a minor annoyance. He had long lost his crown, his shield broken, his mace knocked out of reach. He fumbles over what appear to him be his horses; still, unmoving, bloodied and magnificent even in death.  He reaches out to the nearest object he could reach; the wheel of his chariot.  Ahead lay his protectors or whatever that was left of them, riddled with arrows.

He had rode into the formation far too quick and far too deep for his own good. A tactical mistake.  No matter, he thinks, he’s already wrecked such havoc that the walls of the formation still tremble around him. For each level he moved in, he left behind him scores of bodies. Neither the pinch of pain nor prick of fear distract him. The question of death doesn’t even cross his mind. But beyond all the sugar rush of valor and heightened thrill of slaughter,  the disillusioned bit of his soul; the one that stood witness to his acts, silently  mourned at the pointless of it all.  Where was the joy in such a victory and what sorrow if he fell.

With one heave, he pulls the wheel clean of its hinges. Such brutal strength in someone so young, startle the 8 warriors facing him.  Swathed in blood, ribs jutting out, he stood before them sword in one hand and the wheel as a shield in another.

To victory” he murmurs  “To glory!

——X——

The warrior stood before him holding the garland of severed, blood stained heads.  With great effort, the King raises both his hands and accepts it.  Instantly his joy turns into anguish and then into unspeakable horror.

What have you done, my friend?”  were the anguished king’s last few words.  “What have you done!  These are their infants. What have you done, my friend! “

After jealousy, lust, greed, anger and pain, it was grief’s turn now to blind the king’s eyes. Not that he was a stranger to it but for a man to have gambled it all, played it right and yet be cheated out of everything he craved for, appeared to him, plainly cruel.  Soft yet scorn filled words kept ringing in his ears ‘My methods may not appear fair. But I am bound to uphold Dharma at all costs

This is it.

It ends here, in a muddy, filthy bank of this river. The Overlord of the Kurus, fated to finish like a crawling worm.

Numbness overcomes him at a frightening pace.

Time to die.

Scenes from Memory – II

Continued from here.

Sword of Doom [1968]:

Evil mind, evil sword

Arguably the greatest of them Samurai films. ‘Arguably’ because I can never get over Kurosawa’s Samurai creations. But this one’s a bit different. Where those films (most of them anyway) have found sufficient satisfaction in exhibitionism and portraying Samurais as trigger-happy ‘Eastern’ cowboys, Sword of Doom takes a step or two back and establishes thematic proximity to the great ‘The Lone Wolf and Cub’ series by  its relentless examination of the nature of violence and by ruminating on the facets of Bushido.

Death is Coming

 In hindsight, Tatsuya Nakadai’s Ryunosuke Tsukue and Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh are similar men. Both sociopaths; lacking compassion, morality and remorse. Where Chigurh’s lack of fear/calculating calm is intimidating, Ryunosuke’s phobias/delusions trigger actions completely random and vicious. Uninhibited  violence, in both these men, seems just an extension of their being.  These are men of action. Let the world bother itself with reasons, justifications, excuses or framing a context around their acts.

That depends. Do you see me

That depends. Do you see me?

For instance, the lines of Ryunosuke’s father “…the cruelty doesn’t stop with your sword. It seems to have seeped into your mind and body. It frightens me.”

and

Carson Wells  “Do you know how crazy you are?

Anton: “As in the nature of this conversation?

Carson Wells: “As in the nature of you

 …. are essentially 2 dialogue snippets which convey similar meaning.

Interesting to note, how the respective creators  leave the ending of both these characters undefined.  Ryunosuke, both in this film and in the original series, lives on and on, slaying men after women after men. Ditto with Anton. It is as if, they are not men at all, rather a symbol denoting all that is evil and fearful in men.

Ok.  Sorry.

Long ramble nowhere related to the scene in memory so far.

But it feels good now that I’ve written it.

Sword of Doom, again is a film filled with brilliantly shot scenes(I don’t mind repeating this again, there is something about films shot in stark monochrome. It’s not even rational really … so I don’t have an explanation as to ‘why’ I love B&W. But in my case, B&W films linger in memory a lot longer than the colored ones). Ryunosuke Tsukue’s breathtaking, river-like flowing duel in the narrow passageway by the woods or the ‘fight-in-the-snow’ action sequence by Mifune (which I believe one Mr. Mysskin generously adopts in his film) or the magnificent yet frustratingly abrupt climax – all make for fantastic memories to remember.

But ironically, the film’s best moment is a quieter one.

Young Hyoma is seen practicing hard, well into the night. At daybreak, he is to face Ryunosuke, a master of swordplay and an embodiment of ruthlessness and evil.  It would seem that this was a grossly unfair match. Just then, Hyoma’s master, Toranosuke Shimada (Mifune), enters the room, watches his pupil practice and in a matter-of-fact way says:

You can’t sleep because you’re intent on winning. Don’t think about winning or surviving. Be prepared to die . Risk everything and you may have a chance. Now go and lie down with a calm mind

 No false hopes, no pat-on-the-backs, no inspirational speeches to violins being played in the background, no Sattar minute gyan.

Just give up thoughts of winning, be calm, be prepared to die and go the fuck to sleep.

They slip in this seemingly innocuous scene between some important moments in the film.  But then the lines, frugal as they are, capture the essence of Bushido. It tells us how much grounded the vision of the creators is. It tells us that magnificence is as much a  product of ‘flights of fantasy’ as it is of simple snippets of truth.

ps: A cursory Google search reveals how underrated and overlooked this film really is.  A sad state of affairs.

pps: Wanted to club in two more movies but enough ramble for a blog post, I guess.

(Hopefully will continue)

Scenes from memory

There is a theory that says with movies, there exists individual parts or segments which are far greater in value than the sum they eventually form.  That there exists scenes or moments which breaks free – from the medium that defines them/from the context they’re forced to comply. Moments which represent our deepest, most sincere (and oft cliched)  desire to make happiness last forever. Moments when art stops imitating life, starts flexing its muscles; showing life its power to create endless possibilities hitherto thought impossible.

The other day I was talking to an acquaintance about T2 and he said something like ‘I remember each and every scene of the film’ and then went on to describe a couple of scenes. Later that evening I was checking my movie collection and chanced upon the T2 folder. Curious to know how ‘accurate’ my acquaintance was, I played it. Sure enough the scenes he described… he didn’t get them right. This, for a person who’s claimed to have seen the movie 40-50 plus times.

Now I wouldn’t go so far as to imply that my acquaintance here was lying (maybe he was in the strictest possible sense) but maybe his willful suspension of disbelief at the time of watching T2 didn’t translate to a faithful reproduction in memory. Maybe the mind cheats by rose-tinting a perfectly mediocre scene with projections of our own (I have no way of proving this; even repeated viewings enhance this bias rather than diminish it). Maybe all we see are our projections. Who knows such shit! In other words, there is no objective way of looking at a scene and yet end up liking or disliking it. Of course, this thought snowballs into this whole bunch of stuff which I don’t want to get into.  Not at least in this fashion.

Therefore what I set out to do here( before losing my way and meandering around for about 200+ words) is to list out scenes that have remained in memory as wet as love-stains.  Errr….let me try that again. What I intend to do here is to regurgitate some of that visual dumping from my mind’s ‘underbezhy’ in hope of tasting a flavor long  craved for.

Ah… forget it. Read on if you’re still reading this.

The rationale being that such a regurgitation *may* help me find a pattern amongst the general dissonance or lead me to an epiphany containing a subtler truth (as if ..) or if worse comes to worst, simply just help me while away some time.

So… here I go.


Withnail and I [1987] :

A film close to the heart.  For those of us who’ve learnt to love and lose (or just lose),  Withnail is not just another  figment of imagination. He is an embodiment of all my quarter life blues. Someone who I can relate to with the least bit of compromise. My goto tragic hero in times of sorrow and despair. Great many number of times I’ve tried writing about this movie. I’ve failed almost on every occasion for the lack of worthiness (“idhe pathi yosichi paarkayile kavidhaiya vaarthe kottudhu, ana ezhudhum bodhu dhaan…. Abiraami! Abiraami! Abiraami!).

The best I could manage was this.

Brings back such memories of Oxford! Oh Oxford!

Though I love the soliloquy at the end and the building being demolished to the ‘All Along the WatchTower ‘ (a motif that’s oft reiterated in the movie – all things old and romanticized are fast coming to an end), there is this louly little sequence where we see the 3 principal characters taking a walk through the country side.

Uncle Monty, a 50 year homosexual who sees these two ‘boys’ of the 70s as hip, flamboyant (his assumption) and all too ‘forward’ which must’ve been a great contrast to those Oxford years of his youth. His homosexuality then must not’ve been taken too kindly by his family and the society in general (my assumption).

All through the scene we see him reminiscing things gone by, glorifying them with flowery French words.  But underneath that babble lies a deep sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction (which is later expressed a bit more through his farewell letter) probably with himself for not being able to break free of  (self-imposed?) suppression.

The first time I saw the movie, the scene appears quite innocuous but its hard to find a scene which so subtly does  such a strong character establishment without a hint of contrivance.


8½ [1963]:

Nothing left to be said about this movie that hasn’t been said already. By which I mean, there are heaps and heaps of analysis/reviews/reviews&analysis on the interwebs. Best not to dwell on stuff already stated.

This is a movie filled with scenes I simply adore (blame the ridiculously brilliant cinematography and a cast filled with too MANY gorgeous women). Therefore hard to pick one scene.  But I will.

I will pick that one scene which I’d rather forget but cannot.

  *That* one scene where Guido, in his dreams, finds himself wandering in a cemetery, finds his dead-in-real-life dad and pleads him not to leave. Yet his dad slowly walks back to his grave (awesome touch with Guido himself helping his dad down to his grave). Guido, then finds his mother before him. They both embrace which is quite common, given the nature of the sorrowful situation they find themselves in.

….and in a sudden moment of madness (or love or lust or whatever the fuck) she kisses him on the lips passionately. He forcefully breaks away from her grip  and finds that his mother had transformed into his wife .

No

…And that is how, within a couple of minutes, Fellini completes teaching us an advanced course in male psychology along with an intricate view and workings of the Oedipal complex.

 (In related true story, I had to take a 30 min recess after that sequence just to get my head together)

ps: The ‘cigarette burn’ sequence in the Fight Club reminds me of this scene.  Theater le azhuvura andha sinna payalum, manasule irukkura indha sinna payalum sameguy thaan.


Sleepers [1996]:

In hindsight this wasn’t a remarkable film and if not for so many stars, most people (by that I mean “I”) wouldn’t remember it. But the film’s ending is a thing of beauty.  Bunch of friends sitting together in some secluded corner of a bar, joking, singing, having a good time in general; unaware that this will be their last night together. Unaware that life ahead will be shit (Glimpses of which, we’re shown).  But the scene doesn’t dwell on “what will be” but keeps coming back to “what is”.

The Last Supper

It blew my mind away when I first saw it. Not the content, but the way the scene was handled. It is one of the best interpretation of the ‘Happily Ever After’ ending I’ve ever seen .  Yes, there is no such thing called ‘happily ever after’. But one can choose the ‘wheres and whens’ of his film’s ending.

The film ends in a happy place because happiness is a choice.

…and that is(was) an essential learning.

(hopefully will continue)

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