Tuesday, March 27, 2007

vishal bhardwaj's next: julia?

[Muchos gracias to LL for making sure I didn't miss the article]

Buried deep in lucky Raja Sen's coverage of a day of shooting on Blood Brothers is more information about Vishal's next film. The film's called Julia and it looks like Omkara DP Tassaduq Hussain is slated to return for this "out and out entertainer, [...] the kind of film people don't expect from Vishal Bhardwaj"; Vishal's collaborating with Matthew Robbins, whose screenwriting credits include The Sugarland Express, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Mimic [a few notes about that hereabouts]. Mimic was directed by Guillermo del Toro, thus giving us an indirect link to Guillermo Navarro.

This doesn't quite look like a period drama set in the days of World War II on the Burma-Japan border (more about that came earlier), but any news is always welcome.

The Rediff Special is highly recommended; lots of nuggets about Navarro's other collaborations (del Toro, Tarantino, Rodriguez), interesting photographs on each slide and yes, the AIDS short also features Pawan Malhotra and Pankaj Kapur.

Monday, March 26, 2007

the talented patricia highsmith

image courtesy: amazon.com
Book sales are always a great place to land deals. Consider the $1 purchase of Nothing That Meets The Eye: The Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith. This compilation was, for better or worse, my introduction to the author of the Ripliana, the author whose first novel Strangers On A Train had been transformed by Hitchcock into one of his finest films. Perhaps it was the title (taken from one of the short stories in the collection) that drew my attention (although The Talented Mr. Ripley isn't without its own appeal). Or perhaps it was the cover (lovely design). That's in addition to the stories in the collection, of course.

The Ripley canon alone illustrates some of the themes in Highsmith's writing: questions of identity, a very internal world created by an often detached wordscape. There's a sense of Poe to some of the stories and yet the feverish texture of the master of the macabre is replaced by a crisp economical veneer.

The story that I remembered most from the collection, the story that remained to motivate me to pick the book off the table at the sale, is a story called Music To Die By. The story serves up descriptions of murder and the intent thereof in a most disturbingly mundane confection. The events in the life of postal worker Aaron Wechsler seem unsettlingly prophetic now.

The rest of the collection is filled with equally appealing yet diverse material. As a sample, consider the following paragraph that opens a delightful nugget called The Hollow Oracle:

The black mass of the house sprang out of the darkness, and he tripped on the wooden step. He knocked on the screen-door frame, seized the knob and wrenched it back and forth as though he must be let in before a pursuer overtook him. Like a murderer he held the powerful clawhammer straight down at his side, in a grip that made the hammer a part of his arm, welded in the ache of his muscles. He shook the door until the sound grew crazy in the silence, and he stopped, losing then the momentum that had carried him the two miles down the road, the murderer's momentum that had started twenty minutes before, like the beginning of the act itself. In the stillness there was time to hear his own gasping breath, to feel the eyes in the dark behind him. He pressed close to the house, making no sound.

2005 was the year that I saw all of my Ripley films: The Talented Mr. Ripley (whose fabulous opening credit sequence with its wondrous interplay of aural and visual jazz offered an echo of the book), Purple Noon (Scorsese championed a re-release in 1996, but my first experience was a poor VHS copy; I hope to make amends with the DVD) and Ripley's Game (of note is John Malkovich's chilling intellectual reading of the character). I hope Ripley Under Ground gets a release some day. The interesting thing about the films is how different the interpretation of the text and the character itself is in each one, unlike a series like the Bond films, where each new James Bond was forced to comply with a template of attributes thus limiting what he could offer to the character. If the synopsis of The American Friend (the second interpretation of Ripley's Game) is any indication, I'm in for another different experience. That's always something to look forward to.

[April 18, 2007]: cross-posted on Mount Helicon

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

RMIM Puraskaar 2006: the results are out

The results for RMIM Puraskaar 2006 (mentioned hereabouts) are out. Kudos to Vinay for siring this wonderful idea and nurturing it to the finish line. (Disclaimer: YT was on the jury).

Related: RMIM Post 1 and 2 | post on the giitaayan blog

Monday, March 19, 2007

it happens only in india: more videos

Our first entry comes from K Bapaiah's Waqt ki Awaz featuring Mithun Chakraborty and Neelam with enough lipstick to paint the state of Wyoming red. This one's got it all: a melody that recycles the Mithun/Bappi classic I Am A Disco Dancer, a disco floor, undocumented aerobics masquerading as dance steps, Mithun on the drums, Mithun playing the saxophone, ghastly close-ups of Neelam auditioning for a TV show by the Ramsay brothers ... and best of all, Asha and Kishore lending conviction to lyrics that improvise on the key line "I want to hit somebody"

And then we have competition to the Puneet Issar starrer Superman from down south. It's the late great NTR as Huperman (um; how do you explain the H instead of the S on his cape?) and awar waan and won lee Jaya Prada as the damsel in distress (tied to a tree, as it were). Of they go into the sky aided by familiar primitive special effects and another set of zany dance steps. This is the kind of animation that fits in well with Terry Gilliam's work on Monty Python's Flying Circus. Listen to "Superman (man man)," watch physics and aesthetics go for a grand toss, take your time laughing your rear off and then return to the boring normalcy of life.

Mind it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

a time to gain, a song to lose

Leporine pon farr got a boost as clocks in DST-aware Bushland bounced an hour forward on Sunday, March 11, 2007. The triumphant political experiment did not, unfortunately, lead to a Y2K-esque wave of fear and IT jobs (although the computing world was not immune to the tickle of time). But what about the impact on prose, poetry and lyrics? Consider Chris de Burgh's Moonlight and Vodka:

moonlight and vodka, takes me away
midnight in moscow is lunchtime in LA

Moscow standard time is 3 hours ahead of UTC and LA standard time (aka PST) is 8 hours behind UTC: hence midnight in moscow would be 1pm PST. Moscow will go into DST on Sunday, March 25, 2007, which, had the US of A stuck to switching on the first Sunday of April, would have given us only a week when the lyrics would be dead on: midnight in moscow would be noon in LA (Moscow would be 4 hours ahead of UTC and LA would still be 8 hours behind thus giving us an extra hour between the two points). But with the decision to spring forward early, the song's "accuracy" goes for a deep six: lunch in LA gets pushed to 2pm PDT. Instead of a gap of 11 hours through most of the year and a week-long bonus of 12 hours, we are now stuck with a gap of 11 hours through most of the year with a 2 week-long penalty of 10 hours.

Mercifully, the end of the song (global warming notwithstanding) benefits
from being less specific:

moonlight and vodka, takes me away
midnight in moscow is sunshine in LA

Yes, in the good old USA.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

they don't write 'em like they used to

That last post also served as a reminder of how lean and lifeless dialogues in Bollywood product have become lately. Profundity is forced and the befuddlingly hyper-unreal flourishes of grandiose utterances seem to have boarded the midnight train to extinction. Here are a few samples from some obscure (or relatively obscure) films in the Bollywood box of odds and ends. Consider this a nostalgic paean to garrulous prolix, if you will. {NOTE: (beat) below is screenwriting lingo for a pause}

kaale dha.ndho.n kii ga.ndii Kushahaalii aur kaanuun ke shika.nje se baar-baar bach nikalane kii kaamayaabii ne tumhe.n madahosh kar diyaa hai
Suresh Oberoi in Awaaz (1984)

pairo.n se masalakar chi.ngaarii bujhaa_ii jaa sakatii hai, jwalaamukhii nahii.n
Mohan Joshi in Bhishma (1996)

ab pyaar ke lafz tumhaarii zubaa.N se nikalate hai.n to aisaa lagataa hai ki apanii be-izzatii sahan na karate hu_e, KudaKushii kar rahe ho.n
Deepti Bhatnagar in Uljhan (2001)

opportunities never strike always
Vinod Khanna in Pehchaan: The Face of Truth (2005)

agar merii beTii ko ek bhii kharoch aayaa[sic] naa to mai.n tumhaare itane Tuka.De Tuka.De kar duu.Ngaa ki dafanaate waqt maa.Ns aur miTTii me.n fark nazar nahii.n aayegaa
Aaiyash: The Desire (2004)

aag mere badan me.n lagii hai niil (the name of Yash Tonk's character) aur biskuT tum khaa rahe ho?
Neha Dhupia in Julie (2004)

aap kii naukarii kele ke chhilake kii tarah hai ... kabhii bhii utar jaatii hai
Chot: Aaj Isko Kal Tereko (2004)

usane mere gusse ke gas station ko maachis dikhaayii hai
Amrish Puri in Dhaal (1997)

mai.nne tumhaarii ba.nduuk se gaddaarii ke kaaratuus nikaal diye the
Mithun Chakraborty in Shapath (1997)

sar par jab chat na hogii tab ise pataa chalegaa ki aasamaan par jalate huye suuraj kii dhup kis tarah zi.ndagii ko registaan banaa detii hai
Suresh Oberoi in Suraj (1997)

meraa naam jaanane ke liye tumhe.n bahut der lagegii aur jab jaanogii tab bahut der ho chukii hogii
Ayesha Jhulka in Suraj (1997)

in puliis afsaro.n kii iimaanadaarii ke speed breaker par road roller chalaane ma.ngal daadaa aa gayaa hai; ma.ngal aur maut ... dono.n kii ek hii raashii hai
Puneet Issar in Suraj (1997)

ye jazabaat nahii.n hai dost; na.nge haalaat kii aawaaz hai jo tumhe.n sunaayii nahii.n detii
Suresh Oberoi in Awaaz (1984)

dharatii kii kok se ab tak wo lohaa paidaa nahii.n huaa jisase aisii golii banaayii jaa sake jis par suuraj kaa naam likhaa ho
Mithun Chakraborty in Suraj (1997)

jise barfo.n me.n ice cream khaane kaa shauq ho use sardii nahii.n lagatii
Jeetendra in Bond 303 (1986)

mai.n chor kii tarah jaauu.Ngaa aur puliis kii tarah aauu.Ngaa
Bullet (1976)

wo baa-adab thii, mai.n baa-mulaahizaa thaa; magar hoshiyaar meraa baawarchii thaa
Sanjeev Kumar in Manoranjan (1974)

paanii jab tak glass me.n rahataa hai tabhii tak use piyaa jaa sakataa hai
Pehchaan: The Face of Truth (2005)

bure kaam me.n achchhii la.Dakiyaa.N hameshaa naakaam rahatii hai.n
Warrant (1975)

tuu to merii ummiido.n kaa junction hai; dil se dil kaa relation hai, connection hai, attraction hai, action hai, reaction hai ... yaanii tuu merii mohabbat kaa main station hai
Rishi Kapoor in Gurudev (1993)

har case ke baad I become more smart (beat) smarter and smartest
Anil Kapoor in Chocolate (2005)

meraa naam govi.ndaa hai, mahaabhaarat karawaane me.n koii kasar nahii.n chho.Duu.Ngaa
Mithun Chakraborty in Gautam Govinda (2002)

us maa.N ne mujhapar shaq kiyaa aur mai.ne usake shaq ko (beat) shamashaan me.n badal diyaa; kyo.n ki kaalii kii adaalat me.n shaq kii daliil nahii.n maut kii sazaa sunaayii jaatii hai
Mithun Chakraborty in Qaidi (2002)

sex (beat), sex (beat), sex ko hamane apane jiivan se aise alag kiyaa hai jaise suuryoday ke saath samay apane daaman ko a.ndhere se alag karataa hai; ham jahaa.N hai.n wahaa.N sa.ndhyaa naa prabhaat hotaa hai; wahaa.N sab samaan rahataa hai; there is no time, no space, only zero
Mithun Chakraborty in Classic Dance Of Love (2005)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

dhoom 2: dumb and dumber: a sample extract

Given the exuberant celebration of stupidity, the hubris of incompetence and the decadent display of family-friendly T n' A abundant in the film, it would suffice to say that Dhoom 2 makes Dhoom look like a cerebral work of art. Instead of baking insults topped with cherries of invectives, YT finds it a more useful exercise to serve up tapas from the film.

Today's offering serves as exhibit A in the case of Dus vs Dhoom 2: the makers of Dus insist that the screenwriters of this internationally mounted bowl of fungal falafel copied material from the pivotal scene of exposition in their film; alert viewers will recall this rooftop presentation by Sanjay Dutt explaining the hidden meanings of das (setting conspiracy theory research back by a decade). YT believes that Yash-Vinay (who were responsible for the grand heist named Plan) and director Anubhav Sinha may have some fire for their smoke. The extract is presented below for your perusal. Pay careful attention to the philosophical and numerological prestidigitation and enjoy with relish.

[AB: Abhishek Bachchan; BB: Bipasha Basu; UC: Uday Chopra]

is chor kii Kaasiyat isakii nishaanii hai ... isakaa signature. chorii kii jagah pe ye apanaa nishaan chho.D hii rahaa hai lekin isakaa ambition kuchh aur hai ye apanaa nishaan saarii duniyaa pe chho.Danaa chaahataa hai. and that's not all. chorii kii agalii date chaudah july two thousand six.

how can you say that?

mister A ko sirf antiques kaa hii nahii.n numbers kaa bhii shauq hai. Seoul. 5-4-2004. saare digits ko add karo to 5 plus 4 plus 2 plus 4. 15. agalii chorii 15-7-2004. total, aTThaais.

agalii chorii Australia. 28-9-2005. total 44. jaise hii total tiis se uupar ho jaataa hai sir wo total ko add kar detaa hai. 4 plus 4.

forty four.

8. agalii chorii huii 8-1-2006. har chorii kaa clue usakii pichhalii chorii ke date me.n hai. apanii taraf se mister A hame.n challenge kar rahaa hai. problem sirf ye hai ki koii usakaa challenge samajh nahii.n paayaa

tumhaare alaawaa jay. fantastic.

aur mahaaraanii kaa crown chorii ho gayaa thaa 1-5-2006. total 14. agalii chorii hogii 14th july.


how's that?

kyo.n ki jo "A" wo duniyaa pe banaanaa chaahataa hai usakii line mumbaii se ho ke hii guzaregii.

The best piece of dialogue (unless memory serves up another nugget later) comes later on in this hagiography of Mister A. It's a line so deviously brilliant that it's hard to imagine which monkey was smoking the magic mix of weed when he typed it out: use Dhuu.NDhaa nahii.n jaa sakataa; sirf paka.Daa jaa sakataa hai. That translates as "he cannot be found; he can only be caught"; or as JR puts it zero search results; use direct link.

elsewhere: miscellaneous notes about the film's contribution to Bollywood's High Concept movement.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

deutsche auto intoxication

The rebarbative rabbler known in the Circles of the Ailing Ear as The Nose That Goes (On and On) has added another splotch to the list of meaningless achievements that keeps the desii media happy. He's effected the first appearance of Indian auto-rickshaws on German streets. The scoop: a pre-climactic sequence featuring 6 of the yellow-and-black's ilk in his acting début Aap kaa Surroor: The Moviee (no typo that, mind you). It's his way of acknowledging the importance of these patrons of jha.nkaar beats in his success.

The makers of this film might choose to give themselves a few pats for this creative brainwave. Yet, a legendary cinematic work beat them to the finishing line years ago. Who can forget the pre-climactic sequence in Kanti Shah's cult classic Gunda (famously featured in a Pune quiz) featuring Mukesh Rishi and his Red Rickshaw-Riding Hoods facing off with the one and only Mithun Chakraborty? The hero and villain employ audaciously gassy couplets as weapons, before the infinitely-fuelled bazooka makes its appearance. The sequence is reportedly being considered for inclusion in educational texts to illustrate the benefits of harmonious multi-threaded applications as well as in diploma courses on system administration.

elsewhere: A blog dedicated to collecting all the verse adorning rickshaws. An undeniably cool idea.

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