Monday, October 28, 2013

Elections are Coming

The Elections are Coming.

The biggest celebration of our "democracy" - Elections in 5 states later this year are just the trailer for the grand affair scheduled for first part of 2014.

Already the dirtiest sport of all - political mud-wrestling has started in its full glory. Charges, counter-charges, facts mixed with fiction, on hand some physics defying theories while vegetable prices defy gravity, bomb blasts in a rally of 1 Chief Minister, another injured in stone-pelting, a state getting divided... well its just the beginning of one of the dirtiest battles in Indian political history. Add a trigger-happy social media which knows no restraint. The perfect recipe for disaster. And this is just the beginning. Wonder what else is in store for us.

The following poem (Jungle Gaatha) by Ashok Chakradhar perfectly sums whats happening in the country right now. Certainly worth a listen.  India certainly is no better than any jungle.

पानी से निकलकर मगरमच्छ किनारे पर आया,
इशारे से बंदर को बुलाया.
बंदर गुर्राया- खों खों, क्यों,
तुम्हारी नजर में तो मेरा कलेजा है?
मगरमच्छ बोला-नहीं नहीं, तुम्हारी भाभी ने
खास तुम्हारे लिये सिंघाड़े का अचार भेजा है.
बंदर ने सोचा ये क्या घोटाला है,
लगता है जंगल में चुनाव आने वाला है.
लेकिन प्रकट में बोला- वाह!
अचार, वो भी सिंघाड़े का, यानि तालाब के कबाड़े का!
बड़ी ही दयावान तुम्हारी मादा है,
लगता है शेर के खिलाफ़ चुनाव लड़ने का इरादा है.
कैसे जाना, कैसे जाना? ऐसे जाना, ऐसे जाना
कि आजकल भ्रष्टाचार की नदी में
नहाने के बाद जिसकी भी छवि स्वच्छ है,
वही तो मगरमच्छ है.

एक नन्हा मेमना और उसकी माँ बकरी,
जा रहे थे जंगल में राह थी संकरी।
अचानक सामने से आ गया एक शेर,
लेकिन अब तो हो चुकी थी बहुत देर।
भागने का नहीं था कोई भी रास्ता,
बकरी और मेमने की हालत खस्ता।
उधर शेर के कदम धरती नापें, इधर ये दोनों थर-थर कापें।
अब तो शेर आ गया एकदम सामने,
बकरी लगी जैसे-जैसे बच्चे को थामने।
छिटककर बोला बकरी का बच्चा- शेर अंकल!
क्या तुम हमें खा जाओगे एकदम कच्चा?शेर मुस्कुराया,
उसने अपना भारी पंजा मेमने के सिर पर फिराया।
बोला-हे बकरी - कुल गौरव, आयुष्मान भव! दीर्घायु भव!
चिरायु भव! कर कलरव! हो उत्सव! साबुत रहें तेरे सब अवयव।
आशीष देता ये पशु-पुंगव-शेर, कि अब नहीं होगा कोई अंधेरा
उछलो, कूदो, नाचो और जियो हँसते-हँसते
अच्छा बकरी मैया नमस्ते!
इतना कहकर शेर कर गया प्रस्थान,
बकरी हैरान-बेटा ताज्जुब है, भला ये शेर किसी पर रहम खानेवाला है,
लगता है जंगल में चुनाव आनेवाला है।

Don't think there is any more apt description of our politicians than this.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

MovieNotes: The Lunchbox

Movie - The Lunchbox
*ing - Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddique
Director - Ritesh Batra
Language - Hindi with smattering of English
Genre - Daily Life

Basic Premise
A case of mistaken delivery by dabbawalas leading to an exchange of notes from the "dabba" maker to its unintended recipient. And how a curious friendship/bonding develops between the two characters who are getting to know each other through these notes.

  • The first thing you notice is the realistic way of capturing the everyday life of Mumbai. Travelling in trains, buses, occasionally taking the auto or taxi while trying to get everyday work finished up while travelling. 
  • The next thing which strikes is the almost complete lack of background music. There are background noises of course. And music is not completely absent. Songs do come in through different medium like radio or cassette players or children singing.
  • What makes the movie great? The brilliant starcast  (if you can them stars). And its not just the visible ones. There are invisible characters whom you don't see, just hear or the ones who are talked about but neither heard nor seen.
  • The story moves at its own pace over the course of a month, neither waiting nor jumping along. However there is gentle progression in the way the characters behave over the course of the story.
  • There are random life observations thrown in. Observations which can only come through experience but they are not the of the preachy kind. Just the ones which when you hear, you tend to nod your head along.
  • And finally the ending. What happened next? What did the characters do? All of it is left open. The story is not closed. Like life itself, there is no logical conclusion. Given that the movie depicts just a little passage of life, not coming to any logical conclusion was probably the best part.

Trivial Note - Since when did the famed Dabbawalas make a mistake? What happened to their 6 sigma acclaim? At least the mistake was not a one-off occurence but a recurring one,otherwise they couldn't have come up with a beautiful story.

Rating - 9/10

Closing Note - The hoopla of the film not being nominated as India's entry for next year's Oscars. Not having seen "The Good Road", I am in no position to comment on the merits and demerits of the case. But such controversies are either (a) needless distrations from the film, or (b) publicity gimmicks. And if its (b) then it is insulting to a truly well-made film.

Previously on MovieNotes - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

P.S. - Some weird reason, I also got reminded of Stanley Ka Dabba while watching this film