Friday, September 08, 2006

So much furore over a song!

This past week was rather unusually eventful - with once again murder, corruption, sleaze and vote-bank politics dominating headlines. Ho hum, NEWS has become so damn boring, with the exception of Avantika Singh ofcourse! :P .... But as I said, never before have I seen so much of votebank politics (Vande Mataram controversy), murder-cases(Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Matoo, Prof Sabharwaal), etc within the span of a week.

Anyways, coming to the point, the one issue which really did bother me was the Vande Mataram controversy. Read these artciles from Mumbai Mirror - Report1 and Report2. Also read Times of India's Page on the controversy - its a great read.

Now, there seems to be a furore over this song, that to the average man seems completely unjustified. I mean, what is going on people?! Here we are - a supposedly independant and democratic country, a supposedly future "super-power" - and we are fighting on whether Savarkar's portrait must be given place in Govt buildings and on whether we make recitatioon of Vande Mataram compulsory for all citizens!!

I mean, to the politicians, a couple of points -
1. We are short of more than 1,00,000MW of power
2. We are rated 127th in the 2005 U.N. Human Development Index (below Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, etc - but thankfully for our politicians above Pakistan - thats the only thing that seems to matter to our netas)
So you see, dearest Netas, we have some REAL issues on which to discuss and debate!!

The BJP, however, seems to have found an amazing consensus over the song, so much so that the song could prove to be the saving grace for a party that has become the laughing stock of the country - they call it the 'baniyan' party. Obviously, it wants to milch the cow when its giving all the milk. But just imagine when more than one BJP MP was asked by CNN IBN and TimesNOW and NDTV to recite the song and they floundered! They couldnt even get past the 1st line! Ditto with the Congress ke netas! :D

But what really was the nail in the coffin was when BJP MP and former I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was asked to recite the song, his response was so evasive that it transgressed the limits of hypocrisy. Another "sample" among our politicians is the Muslim BJP MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who conjured up a word or two of his own while reciting the 1st stanza of the song, all this with lots of prodding by the journo - what was absolutely hilarious was the journo prompting Naqvi to recite words/phrases which were manufactured and totally out of context. What a great nation we live in! Our netas make mountains out of molehills - thats tolerable - but when they dont know a f**k about what they are making an issue of! Then well, what can I say!

Then there are the Mullahs from the Darool Uloom of Deoband and many other associated Madrassas - they object to recitation of the song because it "goes against Islam". They say that Muslims are allowed to consider only Allah as worth worshipping, that they can only sing praises for Allah - I mean no offense to anyone, but how in God's name (or Allah's name) is the recitation of a beautiful song that praises the motherland be in violation of Islam?! But I am not singing BJP's tune of enforcing it upon anyone (coz they dont know the damn song in the 1st place!), but to offer an excuse by saying "it violates Islam" is not something I can fathom.

But I am indulging in meaningless ranting .... See, I should be coming up with concrete solutions - Infact I have. You know what - Chuck Vande Mataram! Thats right - chuck it - throw Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's beautiful creation out of the window!

Instead of Chatterjee, you know what - we must pick a song from our own Himesh bhai! His songs have an uncanny and hidden reference to our motherland. And besides, Bankim Chatterjee with a beard and a baseball cap can pass of as the great Himeshji! :P

So, here are some suggestions for prospective Himesh tunes that could be adopted as an anthem:
1. Aashiq Banaya Aapne - Himesh
bhai is praising the motherland for arousing the Romeo within him! :P

2. All day All Night, Teri Yaad Sataye - Himesh
bhai recites his 24/7 brand of Patriotism! :P

3. Zara Jhoom Jhoom - Himesh bhai is calling upon all Indians (be it BJP/Arjun Singh or Congress/YFE :P) to unite and 'Jhoom' in the glory of India

4. Yeh Meri Meri Zohrajhabi - Himesh
bhai refers to India as "Zohrajhabi" and then uses words like 'furkat' with his melodious (nasal) voice to confess his love for his motherland :P

5. Naam hai Tera Tera - Himesh
bhai confesses that 'India' resides in his heart and sole :P

Just imagine these songs being sung by 10year old school-children in schools across the country, as they recount their love for their motherland! Just imagine these songs being played in Theatres accompanying a fluttering tricolour on the screen! Just imagine Kajol's son singing these songs Phirangi style in K3G!! :P .... I sure have made the national song either a lot 'kooler' or very corny! :P

I am sure that passions and tempers will once again rise in the country. And the BJP and Congress will make Himesh the ringside joker, who gets all the bouquets and brickbats, as they indulge in a political slug-fest that aims at achieving nothing in particular. And the Mullahs will be quite happy to sing along Himeshji's wonderful tunes. Ofcourse, there will be an open war between Himeshji's loyal fans and the Anti-Himesh brigade, which will threaten peace and stability within the country (quite literally by the playing of his songs). But atleast that way, we dont make a mockery out of a beautiful song called "Vande Mataram".

See, now thats a solution!! Here's looking forward to Himeshji's wonderful compositions as our nation's anthems!! :P

PS: I am not a Himesh fan. Infact quite the opposite - I belong to the "Anti-Himesh Brigade". I chose to satirize Himesh(ji) by offering him my"respects".

PS2: I have provided Himesh fan link so that we (the United Alliance of Anti-Himesh Associatons) can bring it down :P

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Truly, Lage Raho Munnabhai!

The below is a personal account of the events that unfolded on the 5th of September, 2006, which includes the Prelude, the Movie and its Review and an Epilogue.
Any resemblance to the living/dead is strictly NON-Coincidental. To my buddies, who have been parodied in the below post without their permissions, I have only my hypocritic apologies to offer. :P

Main Characters (Strictly in order of importance :P):
Sarvesh Kalkar
Srikant "Chindi" Raghavan
Dhanesh Gandhi
Vishal Prasad
Hariprasad Kumar
Ashwath Rajan

Setting the Stage:
With great difficulty and reluctance, I opened my eyes at 7.30am IST, with the help of the hysterical scoldings of an irate mother and the weary rantings of a disillusioned father. :P .... With greater reluctance I dragged myself to college. And when Ashwath mentioned the idea of watching the 1.00pm show of "Lage Raho Munnabhai" at CinePlanet, Sion, at the cost of bunking classes, I showed such enthusiasm that it belied any reluctance previously exhibited. The problem was that unlike myself and Ashwath, others in the group did not exhibit the same non-chalant and "dont give a damn" attitude towards such trivial issues like attendance (sigh!). Finally, after much dilly-dallying and pooh-poohing, the other characters were convinced that the mission was indeed worth the risk. :P

The Prelude:
So off we set to Sion, the melting-pot of central Mumbai, in an S.T. bus which ironically seemed to be the smelling pot of Navi Mumbai. :P .... We reached Cine Planet at 12.35pm IST, well before the show began and bought the tickets. Having got some time on hand and lots of tiffins and even more hungry gluttons around, we proceeded to decimate each other's tiffin boxes - all this within the external premises of the Multiplex, while in front of the good, the bad and the super-gud-items! :P .... We then went inside the premises where, after a quick visit to the loo (which happens to be a gr8 place for soul-searching :P), we - you guessed it right - proceeded to gorge on more delectables :P
Finally, we were seated in our seats, only to see ads of Gangar Opticians flash repeatedly as we heard in the background, the repeated playing of the (irritating) title song of a soon-to-be launched K-serial! Oh no! Not another one! If the title-song was anything to go by, this will be a new low set by Ekta Kapoor and her demented set of "writers" :P
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (within which I exhausted my Cup-Corn and my Coke was ravaged by all but me), the Censor Board certificate flashed and the SHOW finally BEGAN!!

In between the show, however, it was brought to our notice by the usherer that one of us must be seated in the row behind (immediately behind my seat). Obviously, each person was reluctant to depart such esteemed company! :P .... However, we noticed immediately the presence of a rather attractive bird, which certainly seemed more desirable than the prospect of Masculine company! :P .... Seeing this, Mahesh was courageous enough to offer to take the seat behind. Hardly a few seconds had passed, when the usherer profusely apologized and notified Shri Mahesh to leave the bride-groom's throne and return to his previous seat! :P .... Mahesh, ofcourse was very bitter and disappointed, so much so that, in a style typical to his, he chose to express his anger in a rather profound string of never-before-heard expletives! :P .... That he would continue this practice throughout the day (and perhaps for the rest of his life :P) is no secret.

The Movie and The Review:

Show-Stopper! He's THE Man!

I will keep this one short, coz I am sure that each one of you must either have watched it or must be in the process of concretizing the plans. Such is the power and pull of this franchise and deservingly so.

The Movie starts off with that (in)famous song - "Subah ho gayi Mamu!" and a gag that will leave you laughing your arses off. As usual, Arshad Warsi as Circuit steals the show with his wisecracks that range from the silly to the absurd, but never fails to tickle the funny bone. It then proceeds to slowly unravel both the characters and the plot and switches from one gag to another, from one subplot to another with great ease.

The casting is just spot-on.:P .... Boman Irani as the evil-Builder/doting father delivers another great performance. Dia Mirza and Jimmy Shergill have their bits and essay it with conviction. The oldies group also does its bit with some fine ensemble acting. Sanjay Dutt as Munnabhai is just sublime - his interactions with "Gandhi" are very nicely done. The actor who essays the role of "Gandhi" has delivered a rock-solid performance. But, the one man who steals the show completely is Warsi as Circuit. I hope Mr. Hirani writes many more scripts centering around this great caricature of a gangster's goofy chamcha!

Vidya Balan is ofcourse just a whiff of fresh air, amidst the tanned/exposed and hyped up set of actresses - she blends perfectly into the role and besides, its a great visual treat to see her on screen. However, the one thing that she does wrong is the "Good Mooooorrrrrning Mumbai!" - The phrase is repeated so often and with such an annoying intonation, that you wish to personally throttle Miss Balan (although thats a vey bad idea :P)!

While the 1st half delivers most of the rib-ticklers, the 2nd half has its share of funny moments, although they are far and few. There are many high-points in the movie, so many so that its difficult to pin-point any one. The 2nd half of the movie admittedly becomes too saccharine and sentimental - at times, the situation is dramatized to such an extent, that it becomes a superficial and forced attempt to elicit teary responses from the audience. In that sense, the movie could have done away with less melodrama and a more mature view of the situation.

Another small point that must be made with regards to the melodrama is the annoying practice of showing flashes of either smiling/weeping faces, which accompanies each of Munna's accomplishments. In the 1st movie, they had wide-eyed, smiling nurses and weeping sweepers/ward-boys in the background - thats okay (by okay I mean tolerable). But here, Mr. Hirani employs the services of Barbers and customers at the Barber's, Police Inspectors and regular people - and strangely all the faces were masculine. Mr. Hirani, a feminine face is far more astute at portraying emotions - its not Rocket Science to get that. Atleast the nurses were decent and visually pleasing. Whats with the Masculine attraction, Mr. Hirani?

Where the movie delivers, however, is the perfect blend of Gandhian values, Patriotism and a modern-day India which thrives on individualism. It doesnt overload viewers with a barrage of statistical information or documentary style detached narration or "preachy" dialogues. What it uses is :
kick-ass street-smartness + wisecracks by Circuit and Munna + Gandhi's Teachings + Patriotism
And this results in both 'paisa-vasool' entertainment and also ensures that you leave the theatre with a renewed sense of hope and vigour to your bit for your country. True, that this brand of pop-partiotism and wisecracking-Gandhism is hardly a concrete solution to India's problems, but what the heck! You certainly wanna believe badly that the solution could be a gun-toting Munnabhai and his knife-toting sidekick Circuit.

Bottom-Line: This is NOT as humourous as the 1st movie - it doesnt pretend to be either. What it is though is pure family entertainment at its best. After a long long long time, Bollywood has produced a movie without Raakhi Saawant and item numbers, without crunching explosions and 3rd rate special effects, without borrowed Hollywood/Japanese/Korean scripts. This movie is sweet, innocent and pure, yet street-smart and total dhamaal. Go and watch it with your friends and/or family - this is one movie that everyone can enjoy! Kudos to Mr. Hirani and his team! They have stopped making movies like these!
(Yea, I know, I promised to make it short :P)

After the credits started rolling, we all made our way rather silently out of the Multiplex, each perhaps thinking about Gandhi-Giri :P
Then, Shrikant suddenly purported to see Mahatma Gandhi - he then revealed that it was Dhanesh Gandhi whom he was seeing! :P .... After many more such witless wisecracking, we made our way to Gurukripa, where the paapi pet was fed some more.
Finally, we sauntered our way home, each choosing his own mode of transportation, each knowing that any "Gandhi-Giri" on Mumbai's buses/locals will result in instantaneous death. :P
And so, I conclude an epic event that unfolded on this day, which left us all heavier in the abdomen, lighter in the wallet and thoughtful in our minds. :P

Until some more nonsensical string of words can be formed by this Turing Machine, bbye! :P

Some Links:
LRM Priemere Pictures

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Paradox of Techological "Progress" - Chapter I

This is my first on a series of posts on present day Life/Technological "Progress" and my take on it

A quick glance through the history of Human Evolution reveals that the authors seem to have neglected the most important development in recent times - The practice of distancing oneself from other human beings (and hell! Other living things as well :P) and adopting a third-party, non-living and virtual channel of communication.

Human beings have come a long way - beginning with the Stone ages which saw humans employing some of the most primitive methods for survival, onto the Copper/Iron ages, where life wasnt only about survival, and now finally to the Industrial era, where life has assumed a high degree of sophistication but also a pace that is both blistering and unbelievably restricted.

And now, in the early days of this new millenia, human beings have made a transition into the "Information" era, where all communication happens through the medium of the electronic media.

A new phenomenon, ofcourse are social-networking sites like Orkut, which have experienced tremendous volumes of registrations in the past couple of years. Now, it seems, there isnt a single soul on this planet, who doesnt have his/her own space in the annals of cyber-space (either through Orkut, MySpace, Blogspot or other such services)

Orkut seems to be the rage, with the entire of our college being "connected". I must admit that Orkut is a great place to "connect" with others, to meet new people of similar thought-processes(In this regard, I hav not had much success in locating an equally eccentric and delusional procrastinator :P).

Besides, its a great platform which enables a very conducive environment for Bird-watching, of the non-avian variety ofcourse! :P .... Birds of rather rich varieties visit the place, making it one of the biggest open-air sanctuaries in the world! :P .... And we sure aint complaining!

But, on a serious note, beneath all this hi-tech networking and the blistering "progress" we claim to have made, isnt it an irony, that we started with very little than "Survival" in our minds and here we are, with the same thought of "Survival" and little else. I mean, sure we can "connect", but that connection refers to the superficial bond between two machines linked to a massive and emotionally detached network that we call the Internet.

The Stone Age was all about surviving and in many ways, the "modern information age" is all about survival. Our educational institutes produce an astronomical number of Engineers/Doctors etc, who are all brainwashed into taking up these courses/jobs by a society which has tasted the fruits of economic liberalization too soon, too fast and which now pursues money as a major objective of life. We live in a world, that seems to have lost its value systems and exists more on political spin and marketing than on concrete evidence and/or content. Human life has become a kind of a packaging, where presentation assumes greater importance than the content within. We choose to hide the naked truth under cloaks of sophisticated lies about how technology has helped us to evolve and connect.

Amid all the technological sophistication, isnt it ironical, that more and more people are taking on suicidal tendencies. A recent U.N. report indicates that more people die of suicides than of muders! Now thats a statistic which shocks! In the process of making life "simpler" and the world "smaller", we seem to have forgotten that life is after all a pursuit of one's principles and ideals and that its all about seeking happiness. How can you explain the increasing number of people taking recourse to modern-day 'spiritual gurus/babas', in an effort to seek the "meaning" of life in a terribly fast-paced and at the same time, a seemingly absurd world.

In more ways than one, the pre-modern era had a much more enriching and wholesome view of life than today's computerized and impassionate world. Yes, one might say that those were the days of violent rituals and absurd beliefs, but they were also the days of simple but profound living.

In many ways, there is a need to revive old value systems - lets do away with the superstitions, but adopt the wholesome and simple ideologies that make life a whole lot simpler than current technology would ever be able to achieve.

Some notable quotes that parody technology:
"The drive toward complex technical achievement offers a clue to why the U.S. is good at space gadgetry and bad at slum problems." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind!" - Author Unknown

"I think I should not go far wrong if I asserted that the amount of genuine leisure available in a society is generally in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs."
- E.F. Schumacher

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers." - Sydney J. Harris

And My favourite - the Best of 'em all:
"Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it."
- Max Frisch

Name Change Notification

Hi everyone,
This is to announce the re-christening of this Blog's name from the rather cliched and boring "Total Mind-Chow" to the more unusual "Psychedelic's Paradise". The official baptism was carried out at the time of writing this post, i.e. 16.35 IST on Sunday, 3rd Sept, 2006. :P

Hopefully, this christening brings more readers! :P

Also, there will be some new sections in the blog. These include :
1) Quote(s) of the week
2) Sore losers of the week
3) Captions and/or Dialogue posts
4) Random Thoughts - A section inspired from a great blog I read regularly
etc etc

So, continue visiting!