Monday, December 31, 2007

Slogan of the Year 2007: The year that was Part 1

Hathi nahin Ganesh hai; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh hai (It's not an elephant, it's Lord Ganesha. It is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.): Mayawati won simple majority in the politically most important state of India (simply because it sends maximum MPs in Lok Sabha) and formed a single party Government in the state after 17 years!

This slogan puts in 1 line her entire strategy of getting the extremes of Indian society: Dalits and Brahmins under one umbrella.

Consider the about turn that BSP has taken since its inception, its former slogan was: Tilak, Tarazu aur Talwaar, inko maaro joote chaar (Brahmins, Vaishyas and Rajputs should be slammed!).

She won and has her eyes set firmly on Delhi now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A question for Gujrat

I don't know if this is the right time to ask this question, now that voting has finished in Gujrat. This question is to open to not only Gujratis but all those people who believe that Narendra Modi is the right choice for leading Gujrat once again.

The most common arguments in favor of Modi are:

1) He is an able administrator who has made Gujrat one of the most developed states of the country and brought unparalleled investment in the state.

2) Barring the attack on temple, there have hardly been any terrorist acts in the state during his stint.

The reason that Modi supporters mostly give for no terrorist attacks is actually a sham and I believe that it has been coined just to suppport Modi's anti-Muslim stance and in a way glorify it. They say that Islamic terrorists don't strike Gujrat because they are afraid of retaliation against Gujrati Muslims.

Why do I call it a sham? Because that's precisely what terrorists want to do! Any state supported (with Modi at the helm of affairs you can be sure of that!) retaliation against minorities ultimately creates more supporters and more breeding grounds for terrorism. So, it is actually an open invitation for terrorists to attack the state. But if this does not happen, I think better thank Gujrat Police and Intelligence rather than Modi!

Now, my question. I won't go in details about how able administrator Modi is and how much development he has brought in Gujrat (however many people actually raise those questions, which Modi supporters tend to brush away with disdain).

Is all that development and those investment dollars worth the communal harmony that Modi's reign of divisive politics has taken the toll of? Everyone can sense the communal divisions that he has created in the state but there is more.

Not much has been reported in the media about his speeches where he address the central Government as 'Delhi Sultanate' and declares Gujrat's economic independence. He challenges the 'Delhi Sultanate' not to take a paisa from Gujrat and Gujrat won't need any thing from 'them'. So now this 'us' vs 'them' is not only with reference to 'hindus' and 'muslims' but also between state and country. Whenever any one raises any questions about Modi's acts or the 'development' either he is declared as a traitor (if he is a Gujrati) or one of 'them';an outsider who is envious of Gujrat's achievements.

Simply put Modi is doing precisely what George W Bush has done: create fictitious enemies and assure people of safety to prove yourself their best bet.

I repeat my question once again: Is communal harmony the price that Gujrat has to pay for its development? And do Gujratis really understand how immense this price is?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Movie Review: Dus Kahaniyaan

In one of my previous blogs, I rubbished Ram Gopal Verma (and dutifully got the brickbats as well!) for his recent cinematic outings,but who can deny that the man refurbished the concept of multiple ’viewlets’ in single film, with ’Darna Mana Hai’ and then ’Darna Zaroori Hai’. However both the films were constituted of only thriller/horror stories (ok ok, I know we mocked ’Darna Mana Hai’ as ’Hansna Mana Hai’ but that’s another thing!).

Sanjay Gupta produced ’Dus Kahaniyaan’ doesn’t come with this precondition and that’s why is different from RGV’s outings. I won’t say that all stories have got completely different shades but atleast they can be broadly classified in different genres, and also they have been treated as such (read there are cliches at times!)

All the 10 stories are completely disconnected with each other and thankfully the directors have neither tried to stretch the narrative unneccesarily nor tried to bind them in a common ending which often leaves a bad taste in mouth.

Talking about the film as a whole it sounds a gigantic effort: There are 6 different directors at the helm, 14 writers have worked on story, screenplay and dialogues, 8 music directors have composed the music, 8 cinematographers have shot the stories, there are a bus-full of actors and there is only one editor (Bunty Nagi)! A point worth appreciating is the juncture when the story title is shown. A very very clever ploy in story telling, it actually enhances the flavor of the offerring.

Let me get in predictable format and discuss each story separately!

Starring Mandira Bedi, Arbaaz Khan and Sudhanshu Pandey this is definitely one of the best if not the best. Short, swift and crisp, this film almost redefines its title. Without any unneccessary frills the story has been executed very nicely by Sanjay Gupta. Verdict: Amazing!

High on the Highway:
Hansal Mehta dons the director’s cap and creates this confused looking tale high on adrenalin and low on content. Jimmy Shergill and Masumeh Makhija star in this hapless story. Verdict: Not Sure!

Strangers in the Night:
Sanjay Gupta starts getting in his skin as you start seeing some skin on screen. Full of bad dialogues this story has some real good closeups of Neha Dhoopia. End of the story is so very different that you almost forgive Gupta for featuring awful looking Mahesh Manjrekar. Verdict: Good.

If there is one reason I would want you not to watch this movie, this is it. The story is absolutely disgusting and enforces the belief that a bar girl is a prostitute and it’s ok to rape her! Pathetic. There is no sensitivity in Sanjay Gupta’s handling of subject and actors Dia Mirza and Manoj Bajpai sleep walk in their roles. There is a twist in the tale but it makes people laugh rather than feel sorry for any of the protagonists! Verdict: Disgusting

Love Dale:
A mandatory offerring in these kind of platters is a ghost flick. Predictable from beginning to end this story and its dialogues are full of cliches (if this was a complete film, I think it would have outdone ’Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal’!). There is nothing remarkable in this story directed by Jasmeet Dhodhi. Aftab Shivdasani and Neha Uberoi outdo each other in trying to look cute while Anupam Kher and Anuradha Patel are in a ’blink-and-miss’ roles! Verdict: Skippable.

Rice Plate: Wow! Rohit Roy couldn’t get a better debut platform than this, directing Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah. Azmi has got her accent just perfect and Shah is very quite yet underlines her performance with his presence. This whole film is worth watching simply for Azmi. Two thumbs up for ’director’ Rohit Roy. Verdict: Fabulous.

Father-Daughter duo of Gulzar and Meghna team up here to play with Amrita Singh, Minnisha Lamba and Parmeet Sethi. And though the basic idea behind this one may seem little far-fetched it has been executed quite well. Verdict: Good

Sex on the Beach:
No, there is no sex, just a beach where Dino Morea lies and drops his Pepsi. The second ghost story which relies on tried and trusted formulae of scaring you. Tareena Patel is the eye candy and director Apurva Lakhia too makes a guest appearance in the end! Verdict: Average.

How many zillion times have we seen an old man visiting his dead wife’s grave (on second thoughts, how many times have we seen a woman doing that? Not once. May be women actually are more intelligent!) bringing flowers (ok, change that with balloons here!) and a sorry card! There is the trademark yellow tint in this Sanjay Gupta (yes, again) directed story starring Nana Patekar (looking as if he is coming directly from the sets of Yashwant!), Anita Hasnandani (man she looks good!) and Rohit Roy (I guess he was coming here after a bad day at sets, hence in a bad mood :) Verdict: Average

Rise And Fall:
Hansal Mehta and Gupta have co-directed this underworld saga. Mehta has filmed the part featuring youngsters and Gupta has worked with his dear friends Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty. Verdict: Above Average.

All in all, the movie is watchable considering that it is hardly 2 hours of running time. My rating: 3 stars.