Saturday, May 29, 2004

Hum Tum

Went for Hum Tum yesterday with Amol. If you haven't been in Ahmedabad before, or if you have, and are thinking of applying for a driver's license, I'd advise you to reconsider your decision. Driving in Ahmedabad is NO FUN! People cut across from the left, from the right, from across... basically if there's two feet of free space, a two-wheeler while miraculously appear out of nowhere (just when you're about to turn), causing you to brake sharply and add one more notch to the wear-chart for your already dying gear-box. Suffice to say, after two bouts of road rage and two nervous breakdowns (on Amol's part) we reached drive-in at 7:45 IST (the movie was scheduled for 7:30, so we were a little early) and settled in for the show. If you haven't been to drive-in before I'd advise you to go sometime this week (god knows what awful movie they'll be screening next friday). It's certainly nowhere near as comfortable as the multiplexes and there're no ACs and dolby surround sound systems but nothing (NOTHING) can beat the fun you can have at drive-in when you're there with a group of friends (okay, so i went with amol. next time i'll take my whole gang and write about it).

Coming back to more important things... Hum Tum's basically a light romantic movie (b m g, l o m, t f i l, l h e a type... which is basically a boy-meets-girl, lots of meetings, they-fall-in-love, live happily ever after type) *ing Saif Ali Khan as Karan Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee as Rhea Prakash. Of course, the cast includes the usual sidekicks like Jimmy Shergill who's one fidgety dude called Mihir Vora, Ishaa Kopikkar who's a perpetually drunk Diana something and ends up marrying Mihir Vora and creates a mega-senti scene, Rati Agnihotri as Saif's sex-bomb mom, Rishi Kapoor (!) as Saif's dad who's more horny than his son (if that's possible), Kirron Kher as Bobby aunty (Rani's mom) who's a laugh riot throughout the movie. The story begins with Saif and Rani at Mumbai airport, on their way to the US in pursuit of higher education (? god that sounds pompous!). He's a budding cartoonist, God alone knows what she's doing. They talk, roam the pretty streets of Amsterdam during a 6-hour stopover and end up fighting and parting in a huff because Saif kisses Rani without her consent. (That's REALLY all there is to the story till then, but it's shot kinda well). They meet in the US three months later in NY. Saif's coochie-cooing with VJ Shenaz behind a tree (God! I'd love to do that) when Rani discovers them and inexplicably, turns out to be an old school friend of Shenaz's and tells her about the kiss. Predictably, she dumps Saif. Three years later, cut to Mumbai. Saif's mom organizes weddings and Saif's forced to help her organize a wedding, which later turns out to be Rani's. Abhishek Bachchan is the lucky groom. Of course, they get happily married with the usual fanfare and songs and leave for their honeymoon. Three years later, cut to Paris. Saif meets Rani (purely by chance) on a train. She tells him Abhishek's dead (this is his best performance ever, critics say). This is about when the movie loses it's tight grip on the story and becomes a predictable Bollywood sob-"I love you but can't tell you"-sob flick. Saif helps Rani return to some semblance of normalcy (this takes about 1 whole hour, and is VERY, VERY boring). They sing senti songs, eat Chinese food in a "small" boutique that belongs to Rani and kiss unsuspecting French children. Saif returns to India. Rani is to arrive three days later (or something like that... I've forgotten the time-frame). Jimmy Shergill (with a bizarre goatee) picks her up at the airport. Saif's trying to set them up, but Rani's the only one who doesn't know ;=) (don't tell anyone). Needless to say, it doesn't work out. (If it did, Jimmy Shergill would have to die!). Ishaa Kopikkar, a sexy drunk chick picks up Jimmy during a lunch meeting (which includes Rani and Saif), and in the very next scene, they get engaged (he is one smooth operator!). Thereafter, a sequence of "unforseen" events lead to Rani and Saif finally getting together. I don't remember exactly what because by this time I was almost brain-dead. Oh, and in case I didn't mention this, Saif also becomes a successful cartoonist cum author in the meantime. Whatever!

Rating: **** stars out of 5 (three for the gorgeous Rani Mukherjee, one for Saif)

All in all the movie's worth a watch, only for the gorgeous Rani Mukherjee. She's obviously slimmed down a bit, and I looove her husky voice. Saif is outstanding throughout the movie. He can make you laugh at even the most cliched, worn-out dialogues and generally does a good job of stealing hearts as the confused Karan Kapoor. The rest of the cast play minor roles, and I feel the movie could've been made without them just as well. Jimmy Shergill needs a shave, Ishaa Kopikkar needs acting lessons. Worth a watch anyway. Happy viewing!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The More I See...

They call me old-timer around here. I've been here longer than all these striplings. Most of the staff doesn't remember why I was brought here in the first place. They just go by what's on my chart... it's been the same for twenty-two years now. Most days they don't let me out of this place. On my 'better days' (at least that's what they call them) a nurse takes me to the park for a while to watch the kids play. They say it's to soothe me, but what do they know? These eyes've been there before, seen it all. Every time I get back from my visit to the park I feel worse than I did before leaving. I guess that's why I don't have too many good days. Those nights I usually can't get much sleep, I think so much.
I read the news about that kid a few months back… Dubey, from an IIT wasn’t he? All he was trying to do was get his highway built, honestly. Poor kid… got killed for standing up for what he thought was right. They don't make too many of them like him any more. I still remember those riots in Gujarat. Thousands of people dead, simply because the government didn't have the balls to stop the riots. Brought back quite a few memories… Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Bangladesh… dead bodies in ditches… trains filled with rotting, bleeding human carcasses. I guess genocide's a word I've never really gotten used to. And there’s the American president now, George Bush, razing Afghanistan and Iraq to dust (Yeah yeah, I know they don't count... they forfeited their votes a long time ago, but still). “Enduring freedom”, he called it… Freedom from what? From whom? From one regime of terror to another? What’s wrong with the world? I've lost track of the number of rapes, murders, extortion scandals and scams I've read about in the last few months. Maybe it's because they're not exactly breaking news-stories. Or maybe it's because there're just so many of them. Reading about them usually gets me started thinking.
What happened to honesty, decency, dignity, honour, respect, harmony, integrity and all those other values? Hey guys! Did you disappear sometime I wasn't looking? The world's changed so much without you, you know. The paradox of these times in history will be that we have learned only how to make a living, not a life. We live in a time of bigger, larger houses, and broken homes. We speak of cleaning the air but pollute our souls. We respect power instead of strength. We have split the atom, but not our prejudices. We add years to life, but not life to years. We have learned to respect old wine, but not old age. We live in a world where roadside latrines become temples and shrines and temples and shrines are reduced to dust and ruin... where the world's peacemakers also get to carry its largest guns. The man in the room next to mine died yesterday. I could still see through the small window the metal stand on which his drip used to be. All those tubes going into his body, keeping him alive. Now the stand's empty. The tubes are gone, just like my old transistor without its wires. I wonder if I'll go the same way. I see the people around me, observe them every morning in the common room. The nurses, chatting about their amorous lovers, the doctors trying to peek up the nurses' shirts, the janitors and ward helpers all wondering how to take a quick nap without getting caught and the other inmates like me. I wonder if they follow the news too or if they're just immune or maybe just pure callous. If they do, how come they're unaffected by all this? How come they're reconciled to the ugliness, desperation, decadence and vulgarity of life around them? Why do they all look so happy? I wonder if I should try being like that sometimes. Reality keeps ruining my life. Or maybe I should stop thinking before I get worse. Before that cute nurse comes back and sees me through the glass and whispers to her friend in a too-loud whisper... "There's the old-timer again... looking happily deranged"

Monday, May 24, 2004

Episode 1

Scene: A dirty room in a hotel called "Seventh Block"... Our hero is surrounded by a group of devoted listeners. He is dressed in a t-shirt that says "NITK, Surathkal. Mechanical engineering" and dirty, faded shorts. The room is sparse, save for one bed and a chair and desk. A book, "How to crack placement Aptis" lies unopened on the desk. This is where it all begins.

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away I lived in a bustling metropolis called Ahmedabad. That was till just after they began live demonstrations of "Project Scorched Gujjus". Last time I checked they were burning each other, just for practice (for the next time, you know). In the meantime, I relocated to upper Surathkal, also known as uSSr (upper Surathkal of the Srinivasanagar Republic). For those of you who don't know where that is, it's just above lower Surathkal. Why upper Surathkal, you might ask. Because I am no ordinary one. I am an anagram. I am Neo. Whatever... (my producer's got that "I'm going to cut you into small pieces and feed you to my daughter's dog" look again) to cut a long story short, I made the most important choice of my life by hurtling off to Surathkal and now that "I've made the choice, all I have to do is find out why", to quote the Oracle (from the Matrix, dimwits!). It's been a fruitless two years so far, but I'm still hopeful. After all, I've survived numerous encounters with agents disguised as professors. They tortured me by putting me through eight hour drills everyday. Early in the morning we would be taken to the ATB (Additional Torture Block) where we would be made to sit still on hard benches that look like they've come from Auschwitz and listen to those devils and their hate-propaganda. They said they were educating us to be model citizens and "engineers of the future". And then I met Dorkpheus. He showed me a whole new world, not so far beyond my own. A world where we could pretend to be in the matrix, and still be out of it. All we had to was zone out (this is easier said than done, first years... so watch out). But then they caught us often. They interrogated us, they intimidated us, threatened to keep us back in the ATB for another year. But we stood resolutely, side by side, in the face of mortal danger. So far they've only tried to throw me out of the matrix for short attendance. But it is my destiny to lead my people out of the matrix in three and a half years. That shall be my salvation. That knowledge shall help me in my quest.

They made me work their machines. Sure they call them lathes and drills... I know better, you evil agents. I saw how you tortured that guy with the hand-file! I was there when you made him do those experiments on your so called "engines". Engines schmengines... know what they run on? Student blood. We sweat for hours on those machines and they fuel your wars. They fuel our own destruction. They endanger our survival each time we enter the electrical machine labs. I've heard about the interrogation sessions you have, agents. I've heard how you throw people out of the matrix for not knowing how to run your machines. How you dismiss the brave ones who try and thwart your evil plans (like that guy who got the polarities on the transformer reversed and blew it up). I know it all, agents. And I'm coming... to show these people how to be free. I am... NeoBond.

Scene: Outside imposing edifice called Main Building. Near Architect's office.

The Oracle was wrong. Destiny has lied to me. I have been sentenced to one more year in the ATB. Help!

To be continued...
(~~~Move Over Wachowskis~~~)
 

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