Scenes that stay: Love Aaj Kal (Climax)

There are times you watch a film and one particular scene sticks with you for a very long time. It may be because it stumped you visually, had a catchy dialogue or moved you emotionally. With me, it’s mostly when a scene has emotional impact that it stays with me for years to come.

I am a movie buff. I love bollywood and I love watching films at any given point of time. I grew up on the cheesy 90’s flicks and unabashedly admit to watching films like Badshah, Yes boss, Biwi No.1 and even Ghar ho to aisa every single time they air on TV. I try not to miss a good release (and that excludes horrors like Happy New Year, Dilwale, Rowdy Rathore, Bodyguard etc) and catch every flick on the 70 mm screen. Even though I am not someone who cries during a film, I do feel moved or affected just as deeply and keep that emotion with me for a while.

Love Aaj Kal is a fairly good film. I liked it despite it’s flaws. I agreed with what it was trying to say – true love will find a way to come back to you; and once you have found your soulmate (for the lack of a better word) it is difficult to lead life with someone else or even alone; no matter how hard you try. Something will always be amiss. What takes the entire film a notch higher for me is the climax – Meera’s breakdown when Jai finally returns to her.

Pain, fear, relief, happiness – all rolled into one fine moment. I don’t know what it is about this 3 second scene that hits me hard every single time I watch it. It is deeply humanizing and shatters the glorified bollywood reunion of the hero-heroine where people clap as the heroine runs into the hero’s arms. You feel Meera’s pain as she tries to contain her emotions at his re-appearance. It is so brilliantly directed by Imtiaz Ali. It is these nuances that make him the master of the ‘romance’ genre. His films are more about discovering different facets of love than going through the motions of a formulaic film. Even though Socha Na Tha is his best film (After Tamasha, in my opinion) – this particular scene is somewhat of a masterstroke. The fact that she doesn’t breakdown in his arms like the typical heroine would is brilliant writing in it’s own right.

I didn’t look at Deepika the same way after this film. People usually credit the upswing in her career to Cocktail but this film showcased her talent long before. This scene and the one where Jai rants on her wedding day, while Meera stands there resolutely, are testament to her talent.

Special mention to Dooriyan – a song that never goes out of fashion for me. That song is magic.

Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi – Remix l Bringing back the cool

This video has zero depth or meaning. I’ve just used clips from shows/commercials that I always found funny and strung them together.

I’m back to editing after a very, very long time. There were a lot of things I wanted to do with this video, but couldn’t due to time constraints. However, I do hope that you like this and share feedback.

When being a vegetarian was a curse

Being a vegetarian is the new ‘cool’, isn’t it? Apparently the phenomenon isn’t yet global – as seen during my recent trip to Singapore. Now, Singapore is an amazing place. I loved the landscapes, the organized neighborhoods and the amazing amalgamation of culture and technology. But, and this is a pretty heavy ‘but’ (soaked in the syrup of doubt, panic and survival instincts), if you are a vegetarian and want food after 10:30 in the night, you will have to suck it up and sleep on biscuits, my friend.

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Now, there are plenty of Indian restaurants in Singapore. I’m sure there are some that are open late in the night too. But it’s like trying to look for a needle in the haystack in the middle of the night. Forget Indian food, vegetarian food is like an endangered species on that island. I mean, you are visiting for a couple of days and are staying in a hotel. After fiddling around with your Singapore guide map for hours and trying your best to get a simple request across to the Singlish speaking staff in the hotel, you finally manage to find a vegetarian (and hopefully, Indian) restaurant somewhere, but by that time, you are so hungry and tired that the additional 1 hour journey seems like Dandi March in slow motion that just isn’t worth it.

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Key point here being – accessibility. Yes, Indian and vegetarian restaurants are scattered across the island, but they aren’t even 1% as accessible as the local hawker centres that are almost within a km of each other and are open till 3 am in the morning. They’re like chowpatties in Mumbai, minus the eatable food. What do they offer? Seafood and it’s pungent (=disgusting) smell that looms over double the radius of the actual centre. Crabs, prawns, fish, lobsters, shrimps, frogs (?!?!?!?!) are all fair game as far as food is concerned. Mind you, I don’t mean to offend any culture, I just find it hard to imagine for someone to be salivating over a crab or frog. FYI, frog porridge is a very famous delicacy of the streets of Singapore. [Insert poker face emoji]

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So having converted to vegetarianism a decade back, and lived in Delhi for almost 8 years now where my midnight cravings have always opened up a vista of possibilities, (=drawer full of home delivery menus) being a vegetarian and a midnight muncher in Singapore combined to put me through my worst nightmare.

The room service menu was extensive, the veg options however, were limited to an eggplant (baigan) sandwich and garden salad – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, true story. The only veg option the buffet had to offer was the smallest version of the Samosa that you could ever come across, presented on a table like it was some exotic delicacy. There was also pasta in white sauce, which the staff weren’t sure contained beef or not. Usually I love risks, but I abstained from this one.

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Thankfully though, Singapore has a lot of South Indians and consequently South Indian joints. We were lucky enough to be staying in a hotel right next to one. Thankfully for them the term ‘vegetarian’ didn’t also cover chicken and fish. The only minute problem with them was that they spoke only and only Malay, so communicating with them was as hard as watching a local wolfing down a huge crab. So finding another Indian joint elsewhere, without doing a 101 course in Malay first, was out of the question. So we travelled all the way from Changi to Downtown to Marina Bay to Singapore Zoo and then came back and had Masala Dosa at that South Indian joint at 2 in the morning.

And I simply could not understand their obsession with eggplant. Anything vegetarian had to have eggplant in it – eggplant in sandwiches, as pizza toppings, in pasta, heck even in the samosa filling! I have not had as much baigan as I did in these seven days in my entire life. Who the hell likes baigan anyway?

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Clearly, this part of Asia is still way behind on catching up on the vegetarian trend. While the ability to eat anything that moves on four legs is a handy survival instinct, I think in an apocalyptic situation, the thought of eating frog porridge will kill me before the actual apocalypse.

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Reasons why Kal Ho Na Ho rocks my socks. Everytime.

Kal Ho Na Ho is a masterpiece. If I had it my way I would put in it on the No.1 spot on the list of “Movies to watch before you die”. Every dialogue, every scene and every character in this film is genius. From the perpetually cranky Naina to the “she-wants-your-money” Chameli, uh, Camilla. From the forever-butting-into-other people’s-business Aman to the goofy flirt Rohit. From Naina’s “Maar-daala” Dadi to Sweetu’s horny sister. Rohit’s Gujju parents deserve a separate mention altogether. Coz they’re anything but “normal chhe”.

Let’s begin, shall we?

8) 6 Din, Ladki in – Only SRK, dude. Only SRK. Hell if Aman was the prospect I would say yes within 6 minutes. The whole sequence was a win. “Oopar dekho, neeche dekho, doosri taraf dekho, ab apni naak mein ungli daalo..haha! just joking jawaan”. The assumption behind this funda is true though. Girls tend to take it personally when a guy stops smothering them with attention. In Aman’s golden words, “Ladkiyon ke baare mein mera ek usool hai. Jitna tum ladki ke peeche bhagoge, utna woh tumse door bhagegi. Agar tum uske peeche nahi bhagoge toh woh confuse ho jayegi aur tumhare peeche bhagegi yeh jaan ne ke liye ki woh confused kyun hai. Aur isi confused ladki ki confusion ka humein fayda uthana hai” 

Aman’s swag – “Main sunday ko kaam nahi karta”

7) She wants your money! – So dejected Rohit gets attracted to Camilla, or maybe just her legs. They decide to go on a date and the omnipresent Aman decides to butt in. The sexy Camilla, however, is a con artist working with her mom who reels Rohit in by pretending to be in a Mandir while she’s taking a bath in a jacuzzi. Finally, Rohit delivers the smashing lines that make Camilla arrange a one way trip to Mr. India’s oblivion – “Camilla darling, mujhe apne daddy ke paise bilkul nahi chahiye. Main apni zindagi khud banana chahta hoon, aur apne pairon pe khud khada hona chahta hoon. Kya tum mera saath dogi?”

Yeah, I’ll join you when hell freezes over! (did you see what I did there?)

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6) Kantaben – Well this is one iconic character. The actor hardly delivered a total of 50 lines yet the character came very close to overshadowing the film itself. Hardly a single award show passed without making jabs at Kantaben and her homophobia. The exaggerated tremors, temporary speechlessness and the brilliant gujju background music made her one of the funniest characters ever.

“Aman bahar gaya hai! Ladki ke saath! Girl!”

5) Galat Ghar! – Well this scene sends me into a wild fit every time. You have a bunch of insane characters thrown in with another bunch of insane characters. Sweetu’s big sister J.Kapoor gets to put her jism ki bhookh on full display in this scene. Rajpal Yadav makes an entry as Guru who ends up being mistaken as the sardaar sent by a matrimonial agency. While Rohit is mistaken as Guru who was supposed to be Sweetu’s blind date. And when the real sardaar finally turns up, he is shooed away by the traumatized duo of both Rohit and Guru.

Meri aankhon mein dekho, tumhe kya dikhai deta hai?….BATHROOM!”

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4) Frankie Ramdayal – As you can see from the title of my blog, I’m a big fan of this guy. He may not have delivered too many lines, but his presence itself elicited some genius dialogues. The whole exchange between Sweetu, Aman and Naina was nothing short of epic. I won’t write the whole dialogue here, but am embedding this oscar worthy scene in this post.

“Mummy ko bhi saath leke aana!”

AND

The brilliant bhangra group – “Daler chhaddo saanu dekho” Well, lol.

3) Sweetu – AKA Jaspreet Kapoor. With 2 o’s. Iski life ki do problems hain – wazan hai, jo kam nahi hota aur is baat ka ise gham nahi hota. Sweetu, in my opinion, was a rockstar. She didn’t give a rat’s fart about what anyone thought of her figure and unabashedly continued to fawn over guys openly. She had one dialogue that teaches you not to take either yourself or life too seriously.

“Ladka, ladka, ladka! tumhe aur kuch nahi soojta na? Kya hoga, tum usse shaadi karogi bacche paida karogi aur phir? Phir ek din woh tum sab ko chhod ke chala jayega, phir kya karogi? What will you do then?”

“Doosri shaadi karungi, aur kya karungi”

LIKE A BAWS!

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2) Rohit’s introduction – Son of the owner of Dial-a-dhokla has to be a lava of coolness (um, well) He is a loser who still has swag. Poor guy got thwarted by almost every girl he hit on, but in Naina’s words, he never stopped trying! From Julia to the woman in the elevator to the divorcee Geeta to the old woman whom he takes out on a date – he has tried them all.

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1) G-U-J-J-U – This song should have been the song of the year. Even though it is a caricature of the Gujrati community, it does so in an endearing way and is a chart topper anyway! I loved all sequences with Rohit’s parents though. Including the first scene with Rohit’s mom welcoming him home with “Maaro Rohit ghar aaye ho o raam ji” dance and the scene when they go meet Naina’s family – “We have a very big hole” A winner parental unit, ladies and gentlemen.

If you haven’t watched this film yet, then kill yourself with an overdose of The Weasley’s U-No-Poo powder.

Sweetest movie of the year

English Vinglish. It has to be the simplest yet the most beautiful film made this year. I had watched it in the theaters twice but I recently also bought the DVD. Watching it alone without any human presence interfering with my attention made me enjoy it even more. I guess that’s probably because you’re not really worried about time and space at home. You can simply slump in your couch, hang your legs in the air and watch a film. Only suspense and horror films should be watched in a theater.

Anyway, what I love about English Vinglish is that it’s completely unpretentious. It doesn’t try to emotionally manipulate you or try to deliver any strong moral message. It’s a slice of life film where the protagonist could might as well be either you or me. How many times have we come across a relative who really struggles with english and yearns to speak it well? Probably many times. It’s unfortunate that an alien language has become such a major yardstick to judge someone’s personality in our nation now. After all, English is but a foreign language just like Chinese or French or Italian, albeit spoken and accepted more widely. Shashi is a middle class Maharashtrian house wife who, despite being the best mother and the best wife one could hope for, still endures a lot of disrespect (dished out to her by her own family members) due to her lack of english speaking skills. She is also an entrepreneur as she is equivalent to a laddoo manufacturing plant (delicious ones at that) but she is not respected for that endeavor either. Fed up and infuriated by their behavior, she sets out to learn english and prove them wrong.

The film itself is like a breath of fresh air that leaves you with a huge smile on your face. Nobody’s a villain here. The husband is not evil, he is simply someone who has fallen prey to the same superficial culture. He doesn’t respect his wife and consequently nor does the daughter. They both do love her, but they don’t value her. She eventually does earn that respect and it’s a heartwarming moment. Shashi is a character one roots for. She may not be heroic but she’s a hero nonetheless. It is the small things that eventually matter, after all.

Sridevi has always been a favorite. Chaalbaaz, Mr. India, Sadma and Lamhe are amazing films. She, along with Madhuri Dixit, are the only two female superstars that India has ever seen. She still commands attention. She completely embodied Shashi. Not once did the shadow of the superstar she had once been cross her eyes. She made Shashi’s turmoil and eventual happiness both equally identifiable. When I watched it in the theater, people clapped when her name came on the screen in the beginning. I must add here that 2012 has been the year of the ladies. Vidya Balan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor (although ‘Heroine’ was a pile of unadulterated horseshit) and Sridevi. All the men can go take a hike now.

Everyone else in the cast was equally good. Special mention to Mehdi Nebbou, oof! what a cutie! Uske saath mera dil bhi toot gaya 😦 His relationship with Shashi, pure friendship yet bordering on something more, was poignant. Special mention to Priya Anand, the actress who played Radha. Her character was Shashi’s true friend, the one who supported her throughout her road to self-fulfillment.

Out of the songs, Navrai Majhi is my favorite and always makes me happy. Cinematography is so beautiful that I wanted to board the next plane to US and stay their forever. The cameo by Amitabh was totally FTW! It was a little OTT but heck, who cares. The man was kickass and I loved every bit of it (Band karo yeh gober!!)

I think everyone should watch this film, if you have no reason to watch it, just watch it to feel good about yourself. You are the way you are. Love yourself and everything about yourself. Or just watch it for Sridevi *shrugs* Gauri Shinde is a winner all the way. She’s a very sensitive person and it shows. May you direct many more films!

P.S – Sridevi’s voice is still a bit jarring though. Add to that all the surgeries she’s underwent. Why do people do this to themselves? :scratches head: