Friday, 19 November 2010

"Ek Chutki Sindoor, tum kyaa jaane Ramesh Babu" has now kind of over running the famous dialogue, "Mere Paas Maa Hain"... Movies are the next favourite to every Indian after cricket. (Well, if not all, but, almost). We dance to their songs; we weep to their dialogues and laugh at their comedy. That's Bollywood for you-a complete masala pack. It's adversary in all sense is Hollywood. The surprising element is how we as audience accept both genres of movie as it is. The truth is Bollywood is in almost all terms the exact opposite of Hollywood, when it comes to everything. (You know exactly what I'm talking about). Ok! Let's compare! Now I want you to imagine, the same Chutki Sindoor in a Hollwywod movie... Will there be one at all? Yes! But the dialogue would say... Hey love, I'd love to stay with you, but, Marriage and rings... Naaah!!!! Let's save it for later part. It just reminds me of the movie 'Nine Months'...where Hugh Grant is petrified with both Marriage and the Dad feeling.

Talking about the same motherhood situation... we have a family 'Naach Gaana'. Thinking of the good old style of portraying a woman-mother to be... she will be asking for 'kaccha aam' or nevertheless puking her head out. (Excuse me for me being so straight! But can't help).When I think of this in a Hollywood style, it reminds me of ' The Father of the Bride', Steve Martin, running the rounds from the hospital to the house along with his daughter and wife. It’s a funny opposite here isn’t it?

In Bollywood- 'The Mother' is the epitome of love, life and not to forget the unstoppable down pour of emotions be it happiness or otherwise in tears. It's amazing how this small tear drop does wonders and melts the heart of her husband, her son, her brother-in-law, her daughter-in-law and not to forget, even the almighty gives in. Since the time I have seen our movies, every mother's introduction shot is either in front of the idol or the door awaiting, mostly, her son or her army returned husband. Couldn't there be another way to portray her love in front of the screens minus the thali and the roonaa. And people, yes, we have won awards based on them. I often wondered if no job would work for me, I'd be an entrepreneur, supplying glycerin to the whole of the Indian industry, and the booming tele-serials. It's a great idea, I feel!

But now this kind of emotion out burst is seen in Hollywood as well. This has taken me to surprise. Now days, most of the movies that the Hollywood are producing is either on terrorism or recession or their favorite 'the end of the world'. And their promos seem to be with at least a couple of tearful scenes and even the men get to cry here. But, I bet they can never beat our Khan's and the Kapoors. Speaking of the end of the world movies, I've noticed something; I'm guessing few of you have as well. Every time we talk of the end of the world... America is the one in attack. Talk about an alien attack, it takes place only in America-first. Or talk about the rise of Super heroes (Superman, Spiderman, Batwoman, and Ironman) what's common? All are Americans. I know this is FICTION...but seems like that's the only place in the world where crisis takes place and to rescue them, the Savior arises- is you know where. I never really understood Hollywood fixation with Superheroes from America. Still discussing about super human's and aliens what does the Indian alien have that Hollywood's alien does not possess- An alien who cries and say's Maa..(You should have guessed which movie we are talking about!). Think! A Crying Alien! What if we have an Indian version of the Transformers? I bet they would be dancing to an item number, since some of our movies do just fine because of them. Or they would be in love with our heroine. And yes, this reminds me of Robo? Wow! He actually did the above all. There you go! The Indian Robo...feels it all.

Film makers like Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair have taken the Indian movies to another level where Raj Kapoor just started. ‘Bold and Beautiful'. Both their movies spelled sensationalism in all its fullness, be it Fire or Kamasutra. But had a nasty response. The aam janta did not like it. So to speak when K Jo tried his hand in extra-marital affair that also bit the dust. Times change and I definitely don't agree that we still talk and show about love and the art of making love as done in the 70's, with a cross of two red flowers or roses (Man, the 70' 80' and 90' were full off those) and we still watch Rose and Jack passionately kissing at the arch of the Titanic. That movie was something else. But what a sham their most intimate scenes are now censored when shown in our national channels. Yes, we hide away, shy away from this. And it's a debatable topic, whether the aam janta can watch ‘it’ or not.

Speaking of love and the rest, let's take a look at our style of first-night. Nine out of ten movies, we have a song, with running around, on the top and bottom of the decorated bed and the room. The milk, the fruits, the decorated fans, the flowers, the agarbathi's and the sweets. (Who ever said, our traditions do not allow us to be open about romance must take a look back to their wedding night). This is elaborately romantic. Can you imagine a Hollywood movie so well prepared. All they do is kiss at the altar, jump into the car, and then jump out of the car and can allow your imagination to do the rest of the job. And I'd never agree to anyone who says, Bollywood is not into detailing? What do you think of the above then?

We discussed about emotions, feelings, Super humans, love and the rest, what remains now to complete any movies is the 'BIG Fight'. Hollywood definitely uses techniques and both their heroes and heroines, well trained in fighting skills. But in our kinda movies, there are at least 2 dozens of villains, fighting against one hero who is presumably, hurt and left with only one gun. He will fight till his death, and, when he falls, a call from his again, any woman related to him, he awakes like a phoenix, reborn and rejuvenated, to kill, them all. I bet in all that action, he misses facts like the same goons come over him again and again. His repetitive screaming shots from different angles, for a few seconds and in slow motion he runs, flies into the thin air and beats the beast. And if he has a revolver, he will run faster than the bullet or to go the South Indian way, will have a custom made sword, from his ancestor’s time, and, he will use only that to kill the enemy of God knows which ancestor. In regards to movies revolving around revenge, no other country can beat the Indian movie land based on revenge. We do have something for revenge.

Intense or am I exaggerating? Nope. That' the typical package of the Indian Masala movie. Heroes are considered God's, whereas only a few heroines have turned into Goddesses. It's all fiction, imagination. Someone rightly quoted, "We know these movies are just imagination. None of these can actually happen. But we love’em! We watch them and delve in the unreal Peter Pan's world, so that we can forget what our worries are". I do agree to this statement.

It's true despite of all the melo-drama of our Indian movies and the heroism of Hollywood movies, we, the aam janta love to laugh and cry with them. We often loathe them and sometimes we love them for the content. This much I can assure you, as long as there remains, dal chawal and achar in every Indian's thali, there will always remain the nach gaana and the rona dhona in their movies. No two ways about it!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The 2010 Diwali marks the beginning of the custom made and fashionable festival after the downfall of recession. The malls have opened their doors with discount offers ever enticing, packed and ready to sell in the most alluring way. So, honey if you have the money you flaunt it! Else, your credit card has become your best friend again.

On a cup of coffee, I just re-winded my memories of Diwali graph on how people celebrated the festival then and now! Those days all what mattered was family. But now the trend has transformed. Diwali 2010, so what’s it all about. Experts call it- The new festive fashion where there is a great detailing of elements from anything to everything. Crackers have been designed from fancy names to fancy packages but the chemicals same. Beautifully crafted packs of sweets, but the sweets, almost the same. Oh! the most interesting one, I personally love the way this one has evolved - the diya's - from the mere clay or mud mould to the electric wired one's and now back to the moulds, at exuberant prices. And why is it so? It's custom made and no two pieces are the same, assures the salesman.

Diwali has not just become an elaborate designer affair but rather a matter of celebration in the most glamorous way! The other day, I was reading in this particular newspaper, that people hire event agencies, they have a theme for Diwali- I presumed it had only one – lights! The theme being – colour Green. So, we have houses and dresses all decked. I am aware that the festival is a five- day’s traditional affair, but the 21st century so-called traditional followers have coined better terms. Diwali is now celebrated in 3 phases: a) Pre-Diwali, (where you juggle between shopping for yourself and cleaning the house) b) Diwali (where you burst and spend all you shopped and send gifts that you have shopped) and c) Post Diwali (Hit the gym to shed for all that you shopped). And in between all of this, we pretty much do manage to fit in the traditions of the five day.

The house decorations, the theme based set up, the sweets and the gifts- I’m amazed as to how the very look of a joyous festival of Diwali has changed, something like that of a metamorphosis. A rather- happy small, joyous festival with family and friends have extended to a loud affair, I mean literally loud. Talk about the soaring demand for consumerism or thanks to the liberalization policy of India, every festival has too much to give to its consumers. This boon for us has a rather shrouding bane. Every decision, choice and even priority has become a competition and even a megalomaniac like me is not spared.

My neighbour asks me - "So what plans for Diwali, this year? Have you finished shopping? Oh! I have a to-do-list, buy sweets, decoration... Do you know any custom sweet guy, who makes traditional sweets? (Before I could answer, she shoots another one... From which mall have you brought your Diwali dress? My God! I need to even hold this gala dinner event for charity! (Halt!!! Charity, from where did this pop up?) She sounded to me like the extremely sophisticated Mrs. Sarabhai and decked up in fashion and style planning a gala dinner for charity cause. I'm a little confused as to how to react here. Whether, to be boring of all her to-do-list or to wish her saying, "Well done, Mrs Neighbour on your fancy-gala dinner-for charity! Believe me; I do encounter a number of Mrs Sarabhai from all walks of life. Let me confess, I am a little petrified by them, as I really am not sure how to answer such dainty darlings.

Do I sound against to people who spend and help? No. I'm all for - if you have, you flaunt it! But, what concerns me is my grey area that is in constant tussle. Its perpetual torture of deciding what has been people's priority this Diwali. Where, the real essence of Diwali, is victory of good over evil, in a spiritual way, people are turning more materialistic in practice, than upholding the reason of the festival. It seems. Every occasion has inevitably become a matter of prestige and pride. To flaunt has become the norm, by default. No one has drafted and formulated this rule, but it is being followed religiously by the word. No one knows where its origin is from but people are blindly following this. Another default element to it- just as my neighbour stressed about is charity. This has become more of a yet another pet show off project. It's amazing how they use the exact wealth to ward away poverty and yet again help the helpless. That, my friend, is the grey area I was mentioning about.

So, apart from the shopping and the buying, the celebration calls for other announcements. For me, it’s all NOISE. One can read parties being held by the biggies in the newspaper dailies, local channels, magazines, parties, which actor is in the city for Diwali etc. Anything for the TRP and circulations gigs. So much has been the Diwali bonding come that we have the Indian cricket team celebrating their Diwali along with the New Zealand team, only in a Test cricket way. Now did the head's ever think twice about, why in the world they need to play a test match when they are supposed to be celebrating this festival with their families. I guess the team deserves a break after their amazing victory over the Aussies. Common, the boys deserve a break.

But this Diwali happens to be really special for the Indian Government, as we have President Obama and the First lady Mrs Obama visiting India. So, the television has something more than just the wishes of the stars and serial actors wishing us their festival's itenary to their fans. One interesting fact is that the whole visit did really remind of me of an ODI's commentary. Obama said that and now Obama does this. Michelle Obama danced with the kids and so on... And so, even the country's leaders are busy entertaining their guest this Diwali.

There is something that we learn from every event. So what do we learn this Diwali? How to beat each other’s scores of party or how well did we uphold this year Diwali’s-theme? The story revolves around the coming back of Rama after 14 years of Vanvas or the end of f Narakasura. On a more spiritual fall, how much does it matter for the return of Rama or the victory of Krishna? We, as a nation, state, family and individual do boast about the great Incredible Indian tradition. But, do we actually follow them. Keep aside the following path, how much does the future-children of our families and the country know the essence and meaning of this festival-that truth is the light, overshadows all darkness and is forever victorious. I’m sure out of every 5 kids for 4 of them; Diwali is all about new clothes, sweets, parties, gifts and crackers.

It’s time we really shake up our traditional values, get into the core out of the noise, for a while and truly understand the meaning of the occasion. This is just not for Diwali-it goes out for Id, Christmas and all the festivals we celebrate in India. It’s not a lecture that you are reading, practically, I had to go back to the Wikipedia to understand the significance of the festival. You may say it’s my fault not knowing the history and I agree. But, this generation are quite unmistakably like me. Running to Google for everything! So, its time we move on from the cacophony and allow the old grandpa-ma folks take a seat, relax sit with your family, and hear the grand stories of victory over defeat. Get together as family- festivals are a big cover up for family get together’s. Make the maximum out of it every festival, everyday!

I wish each you, a Happy Diwali, for the rest of your lifetime. Sparkle up your life!