Sunday, February 12, 2012

connelly tosses in another cinematic reference

But without challenging the temporal dimension. In the latest Mickey Haller novel The Fifth Witness, Connelly tosses another nod of appreciation to Matthew McConaughey's fine performance as Mickey Haller in the very watchable adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer, the first Mickey Haller book. Connelly had been very pleased with the adaptation and McConaughey's performance so this reference is no surprise. It also happens to be very current -- the film was released in March 2011 and the book was released the following month. Connelly's note of appreciation was dated November 12, 2010.

(page 115 of the hardbound edition) "One more thing," the producer said. "I was thinking of going to Matthew McConaughey with this. He'd be excellent. But who do youthink could play you?"
I [Mickey Haller] smiled at him and reached for the door handle.
"You're looking at him, Clegg."
I pulled the door closed and through the smoked glass watched the confusion spread on his face.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

manneys memories

Reading an eloquent blog post from JR is how I find out that one of the defining bookstores of my life in Pune is closing down. After all these years of standing strong while chains sprung up around it. While Adidas stomped over Naaz. While Planet M came, conquered and collapsed. While Landmark appeared and crossed the street. While Crosswords sprouted and withered across the city. I am sure more happened, but all this is what I remember from my visits back to the city. The distance made a regular yet infrequent relationship with Manneys even more thin-strung.

The last time I was there (a few months ago), I still enjoyed browsing the sections generous in their selection; I am sure I would have found some gems in stacks of the discounted books. I had, however, found succour in the marvellous library sales here in the US and there was no way any bookstore back home was going to beat a box of hardbacks for $10. I still enjoyed digging through the large section devoted to Indian fiction in the English language, only because this was one of the few bookstores that did not think Shobha Dé defined the section. I still enjoyed browsing through the offerings in the entertainment section. I didn't have to reach up or squat anymore. I had grown taller over the years. The shelves also did not have as much dust as memory told me they did years ago. This was the store that I had bought my cherished copy of Hitchcock, the collection of interviews of the master by Francois Truffaut. A gift coupon (won either in a competition of some kind or in one of the games of general proficiency in school) helped, because it was an imported edition (no Eastern Economy Edition for such things).

Jaunts to various raddii stores also yielded gems of different kinds, but Manneys was one the places that I liked going if I wanted a fresh edition and not a used book.

Things have changed so much since then. Flipkart has started changing the way things work and I had found myself using Flipkart more during my last visit and refraining from buying things on impulse from Manneys (or from Crossword or Landmark, for that matter, except for a few items languishing unfairly in on a discount table). All the other chains got my attention only for the music and the movies. With the kind of product that companies like Moser Baer and the like are churning out, however, it seems more prudent and unfortunate to go seek uploaded rips and spend the money at special film festivals or second-run theatres.

But I digress.

With Manneys shutting down, we are left with just a few bastions of yore. The International Book Service near Sambhaji Bridge is one of them. Once again, it's all about the memories. For a generation that is more used to the chains and the air-conditioned inclusion of toys, music, movies and a host of other things that really have nothing to do with books, neither Manneys nor TIBS will have much to offer. The bibliophile, on the other hand, will once again find out what it means to be in a minority. You might just find yourself joining the crowd.

Thank you Mr. Mani for something that was an important part of growing up in Pune.

Monday, February 06, 2012

RMIM Puraskaar 2011: the results are out

The results for RMIM Puraskaar 2011 are out. A big round of applause to Vinay for continuing to nurture this wonderful idea. (Disclaimer: YT was on the jury this year). Take a look, vent, rave, applaud, curse and do whatever it is you'd like to do. It's all in good fun and nothing faux serious like the Filmfare Awards.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

agent vinod: chor machaaye shor

A new teaser is out for Agent Vinod and this one is handled by the Bollywood machine. T-Series stamps its logo in the most innocuous top right corner on every single frame so that when you blink after the teaser, you will see the logo in the darkness. Good job, morons. We get a rehash of items we have already seen and relished in the first trailer and then a wave of déjà vu rises as the club song hits us. A set that looks nice and is lit well cannot elevate the spirits already dampened by the customary scantily-clad lass covering her knockers with a low-cut pair of disco ball shoulder-boulder holsters, sashaying away and tossing lusty looks at the camera (or our hero, or both). The annoying voice of Neeraj Shridhar (as trademarked by Pritam, who, unfortunately, is the music director for the film) stomps the rusty skewer even deeper. And then your jaw drops. You recognise the melody that all the male posturing, the female wailing, the loud electronic beats have been trying to hide. It's Boney M's Rasputin. Pritam's back to his old tricks. No wonder the song's called Steal the Night. A little Googling tells you that this time Pritam's got the official stamp of approval. It's called "buying the rights":

"We have taken the rights of Boney M's Rasputin. However, our song is based more on the Serbian folk song Ruse Kose Curo Imas. Even Rasputin draws inspiration from this song. A Turkish folk song Uskudar'a Gider Iken also has the same melody. Famous Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam's song Shukno Paatar Noopur Paaye is also based on this folk tune."

The short version: hey, look I've been inspired by so many things and have created a wholesome earful by blending my influences so well. The other short version: Remember how Anu Malik played five songs based on Raag Shivaranjani to counter the accusation that he was a copycat? This is my version.

If this is a sign of times to come, I am worried. I just hope that video was just a piece of promotional fluff and won't feature in the final film in whole. I don't mind a diegetic appearance (because Agent Vinod seems to be busy with other things during the song).

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