Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't talk to me unless you speak American!

It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.

The opening voiceover of Crash (in the voice of Don Cheadle) is one of the few gentler hints about the thesis of this film by Paul Haggis. A fine ensemble cast spars with some well-written vicious incisive dialogue as the film takes us into the heart of the tumultuous beehive of racial tension in America (situated quite appropriately in Los Angeles, home of other films about pragmaticism and morals like Training Day). Our key characters keep bumping into each other while they are trapped in the gumball machine choking in the smoke of lies, a stupid medical insurance system, the pain of a broken family, general ignorance, temper and the corrupting taste of power. The bulk of the film proceeds after being triggered by a flashback. But even in the opening scene in the present, we get an idea of what's in store. Graham Waters, a black cop, is having an affair with his Latina partner Ria (not really ever understanding that she's neither "white" nor "Mexican"). Their car is rear-ended by a car driven by an Asian woman. As another cop takes stock of the situation, the Asian woman's accusations prompt a racially tinged mocking outburst from Ria. The words are few and harsh. There's no candy sugar coating the bitter pill. You get an immediate sense of being slapped with what you'd rather just read about and hope were over soon. The rest of the film doesn't help matters much. The proceedings are disturbing, yet always engaging and often curiously amusing. Haggis deserves plaudits for his ability to mix candour, humour and shock into an intelligent film.

Although the coincidences that support the narrative may invite criticism for contrivance, they serve a greater purpose: they define a small universe of people plagued by fear, helplessness, doubt and hate thanks to actual and perceived racial differences.

Each character goes through moments, either overt or subtle, of being either the victim or inflictor of intolerance and hate. And there is a chance for each to enjoy being able to remain level-headed in the face of such viles. Yet, these never happen in a fixed sequence. It's all mixed with the fate of the other players, and this gives the film's scenes an interesting balance. There's never a sense of right or wrong. If anything, there's a consistent sense of empathy for each character. Because such intolerance is also a child of social conditioning and it's hard to blame the conditioned for all the effects.

The film shares the motif of a crash with David Cronenberg's disturbing film in 1996 (an adaptation of J G Ballard's novel -- the real downer was being forced to eschew the Elizabeth Taylor reference) that explored a surreal link between raw sexuality and car crashes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

all roads lead to ... here???

[a sequel to a previous post of a similar nature] [aka more roads people found to this humble zone]

* Not sure how much I wrote about the carrier[sic] graph of sai paranjpe

* download Raju srivastava comedy from Star One channel? Honestly, I have no idea how (apparently they're talking about this guy)

* residential address of sonu nigam: Hmm, after all the bile I've spewed against him I doubt he'd divulge that piece of information ...

* saajan mera us paar hai: A reminder that I need to revive my memories of Ganga Jamuna Saraswati?

* Learnt about the word from Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel; should this page on containing a sole search result for steatomammate represent some success my attempts at encouraging usage?

* combination of music director bappi lahiri and anand bakshi: Would include things like Jyoti [remember that movie?] and Yodha (remember that Amit Kumar song that went duniyaa me.n jiinaa hai to (with the ta na na na naa ta na na na naa refrain)?)

* sooraj ki pehli raat ka sex: Speechless ...

* address and phone number of dvd libraries in khar,mumbai: so far away from me ...

elsewhere, meghana naidu tickles the funny bone (no pun intended) by asserting that she can act as well. In addition to talking about the similarities between Black and Rain. Blind girl, blind girl. An extract:

"I and Himanshu (Himanshu Malik) participated in a rigorous 20-day workshop and Amol himself took great pains in ensuring that I had the perfect body language. It was a bit difficult in the first three days but gradually I got used to the idea of walking on the sets with my eyes closed.

Lata, however, hits the truthful side of the spectrum by noting on her 76th birthday (Sep 28) that her voice is very average (yes, indeed; in the present tense, her voice only gives her extra points should she apply for membership to the X-Men)

Apurva Apoorva (Nov 21, 2005: that's how the credit reads on the soundtrack CD sleeve) Lakhia, the zorino responsible for the flaccid dingleberry called Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost is back with yet another movie featuring Amitabh Bachchan (it's time now to give a movie extra points if it does not feature the Big B in any shape or form -- aural or visual -- or any references to any of his movies). The movie is called Ek Ajnabee. This time the seed entry on Wikipedia achieves a new plus. It tells you about the movie AL is ripping off (Man on Fire). And guess what? That source movie's a remake itself. Are you trying to tell me that we've run out of movies to filch stuff from? Aw! C'mon now. We can do better than that.

riddled @ the Oscars

In keeping with the fine tradition established over the last several years, the FFI (Film Federation of India) has chosen yet another stumper as the Indian entry for the Foreign Film Oscar. The film is Amol Palekar's Paheli [elsewhere: yours truly didn't care much for it]. Did they choose the film simply because its title would make good copy when reactions poured in later? Predictably some people have applauded the selection, some people have wished the film well, some people have begun to find cans of split (yeah, you read that right) milk to cry over, some people have chosen to be stoic (and let everyone know so). The usual mix and match. No matter what they had chosen, you would have had a sample set of each reaction to deal with.

The chaos that has ensued since only confirms the strangeness of the selection. Rediff's "Is Paheli the right choice?" page boldly includes a shot from Sarkar, which wasn't even in the competition. And the reasons proffered only afforded more chuckles. Vinod Pande, acting chairman of the FFI said, "Paheli has represented the Indian ethos. It is a film based on the Indian language." In fact, his bowdacious answers to a set of stupid questions make me postpone my next Mithun movie appointment. As for that little business about originality: even Paheli doesn't stand up a firm footing of originality. The source material was adapted by Mani Kaul in Duvidha (and I might be willing to wager on that being a much much more rewarding effort than this box office suck-fest).

Anyone following the Oscars closely every year will know that what separates their auto-fellatio from ours (remember the Filmfare Awards?) is that they pull off a much slicker show and also have movies that, all things considered, score over our pieces of dog dung in several departments. After all, the Filmfare Awards never claimed to be about rewarding the craft of filmmaking. They're all about feting moneymakers and people who churn out mind-numbing popcorn product in droves and providing absolutely no room for the hope that we have a discerning audience who will request no more insults to its intelligence.

Our recent selections have indicated that every year the FFI chooses flouting milksops who are woefully incompetent in matters of understanding what it takes to be a strong entry in the Foreign Film category. Despite the sucky nature of the Oscars, this category has seen some great submissions from other countries; submissions that have been more sober than our gifts of eloquent superfluity. And what have we been doing? We have been sending movies like Indian, Jeans, Henna and Lagaan. The first two were massive (correct me if I'm wrong) brain-dead hits from Shankar (and the second in that list greatly benefited from an evident conflict of interest). The third probably got a breather thanks to exploited themes of Indo-Pak friendship and blah blah. There is no excuse for choosing the last one. Lagaan worked at the box office (although still less a success than Gadar) thanks to its mix of things dear to mainstream Hindi film viewers: songs, dances, cricket. And must one also note another implementation of the "satisy everyone" principle at work -- Page 3 was awarded the Best Film award at the National Awards earlier this year and yet another film was chosen for the Oscars. Double standards? What's good for us ain't good for them?

We have interesting films made every year that compete and win laurels at other international film festivals that host some of the greatest current foreign cinema. Yet, our selectors seem to prefer the local pirated video store as their font for candidates for nomination. Clearly, the selection process for FFI membership ensures the selection of balbutient loggerheads with butyraceous brains jectigating in the reniform hallways of mediocrity.

The FFI (an organisation that is as secretive as the KKK in terms of membership, official procedures and the like) seems to have a membership roster that rolls in fresh[sic] blood every year. This guarantees us some entertainment as far as nominees and the eventual pick are concerned; The National Awards have offered some competition of late, but that's fodder for a separate post. This years picks (link courtesy: Amit Varma) include Harmesh Malhotra, Vinod Pande and Jagdish Sharma.

Vinod Pande is perhaps the least harmful of 'em all. His films have dealt with man/woman relationships challenging the norms of society (his last film was the bare-back sex fest called Sins). He also gave us the opportunity to relish two Raghunath Seth soundtracks (Ek Baar Phir, Yeh Nazdeekiyan), gave us a cult box office tank called Star (dil bole ##boom boom##), directed the TV show Reporter (which featured one of the longest series of shots dedicated to a telephone ringing and a man's eventual act of lifting the receiver). Still, he doesn't quite inspire confidence.

Next up we have Jagdish Sharma. This guy has a more exciting filmography as far as B-flicks are concerned. There's Shiv Raam featuring a cop with a bullet lodged in his head in such a fashion that removing it would result in his death; two Arman Kohli vehicles Dushman Zamana and Juaari; the Mithun starrer Bhishma (Bourne Identity anyone?), Sapoot (the song: kaajal kaajal terii aa.Nkho.n kaa ye kaajal) and Judge Mujrim (featuring the ostentatiously funny Jolly Mukherjee song lailaa o lailaa).

Which brings us to Harmesh Malhotra. Harmesh Malhotra actually directed a film in 1982 starring Shatrughan Sinha titled Mangal Pandey (perhaps that's why Ketan Mehta's film figured in the list...). He was also responsible for one of the rare instances of a movie and sequel with Nagina and Nigahen. He directed Phansi ke Baad, which had Lata singing for Anu Malik (then sporting a different spelling) for the first time. He also gave us Mithun's Cheetah. Then there was Sridevi as the village-belle-turned-dacoit Sherni; the standard Jeetendra 90s movie Amiri Garibi (drama, pathos, conflict, shrieking music); the Anil Kapoor/Sridevi version of Heer Ranjha, Paapi Devata with Madhuri dancing to usakaa naam hai piyaa; the sad sad Kismat with Govinda and Mamta Kulkarni; and the increasingly aggravating Govinda romps Dulhe Raja, Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare and Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen.

All this makes these guys perfect candidates to judge the eligibility of a film given their fine understanding of cinema of all kinds. I think it's time we dug up some Ramsay productions and sent them instead. At least we'd get some press for sh(l)ock value.

Faux Coda: The other nominees: Mangal Pandey, Veer-Zaara, Iqbal, Swades, Parineeta, Page 3, Black, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Sachein (Tamil), Anniyan (Telugu), Uttarayan (Marathi), Achuvante Amma (Malayalam), Graham (Telugu), and Kadal (Tamil). Of the ones I haven't seen I have no doubts about rejecting Mangal Pandey, Veer-Zaara. Of the ones I have seen Parineeta, Page 3 , and Black [thoughts] cannot hope to hold even a lit match to HKA [thoughts]. And HKA would have been my choice for a nomination were I forced at gunpoint to utter a title. Can you believe that our list of previous submissions includes Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam, Ankur, Manthan and Saraansh??

Coda: The stupidity continues as Rediff hosts a paean to Black. An extract:

You might have been less threatening had you not achieved self-actualisation; had you not been a masterpiece wrenched out from the depths of your director's being; had you not soared above conventional cinematic norms.
Maybe your passionate creator erred in exhausting his energy to rejuvenate us with soul-stirring melodies. He erred in burning his insides to extract the madness seated deep within your actors. He erred in believing us deserving of his creation.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

eii! abbey! [link and update provided by: Sudarshan]

So, like, there's this Goan singer called Abbey Fizardo. And you know, like, he was apparently on-screen singing khallaas in RGV's Company. But, I'm, like, not going down the RGV path here, you know. What I'm trying to tell you about, you know, is his new remix album called Tarana Pyaar Ka. His first album, Josh had this song called ai sanam. The video for the song, you know, was this big hit. And then he had this second album called Fidaa. Now that was a dud, ya. So, well, the point is, I'm not trying to bring him down. Yet. Since all this pop-shop stuff gets so much coverage, you know, he also got this interview. And then he gets asked all these smart questions, ya. Like "what's the album gonna be like?" and "Did you always know you wanted to be a Musician, or are you self taught?" You know Sudarshan said this was like asking "Does the sun rise in the east, or is the moon white?" Which means that, you know, they managed to find an interviewer who was totally tuned into Abbey's psyche. Totally psychotic, no?

The other answers are also very thought-provoking ya. When he talks about the video for the song taraanaa pyaar kaa he says: It's a story about a school girl and boy who are doing fun stuff in the video. I make a cameo appearance doing what I always I wanted to do-a video where I get to play my Strand guitar. So naughty he is no?

And he even lets you into the key to succeeding in Indi-pop: You just have to have a London passport and they're willing to listen to your music even if it's not Indi-pop.

You know what really gets me, ya? It's when he gives us more information about the title song of the album: The title Tarana Pyar Ka, is from the Anil Kapoor starer, Andar Bhar. I don't know if he's talking about some dirty movie that we weren't supposed to watch as kids, you know, or if he's talking about that copy of 48 Hours. That movie was called Andar Bahar and had RD Burman's music and I know this song was not there ya. Sudarshan agrees with me, and you know, he actually pointed me to a page that had more details and even lyrics. Turns out, you know, it's a song called gu.nche lage hai.n from this Rajshri production named Tarana. The film also has this song called sultaanaa sultaanaa meraa naam hai sultaanaa, which you might remember. No? And you know it stars Mithunda. So cool no? Now I'm really ticked off about his knowledge, ya. Even that lithe-and-light Anamika ripped off some oldie (that RD Burman-composed Mukesh song from Phir Kab Milogi) and even changed the gender of the singer ... And most of those people who bought her album didn't even know. And they didn't even care. Damn sad, ya.

Meanwhile, Juddha is doing wonderful box office business ...

raj kamal is no more aka the gross injustice of modern times

It all started with a post on RMIM. The subject "Rajkamal is no more." "Ridiculous!" is my first reaction. And then I realise I know nothing about the entity responsible for wonderful soundtracks like Chashm-e-Baddoor, Saawan ko Aane Do, Katha and Payal ki Jhankar (straight from memory, so it's possible that I missed a famous release). Then there was the contribution to Saaz (although Yashwant Deo and Zakir Hussain scored more points with their contributions). Googling got me no news items, no articles. Zilch! That was two days ago. Today, a small blurb on the Filmfare online portal showed up. He was 67! RIP.

Which allows me to segue to introducing a blog on interesting movies (thanks to some visitor stats): Parallel Cinema. The reason for the sequitur: a post on Chashm-e-Baddoor. Extra points for an entry on Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro.
more babble and some useful information

After recently covering everything about "empowerment", SRK is back with some more notes on Indian (read: Bollywood) cinema. First, his take on getting offers from Hollywood:

"I am going to be completely honest about this one. It isn't like Spielberg is waiting at Mannat with offers. But that's perfectly okay with me, neither am I dying to play a butler in a Bond film"

Then his take on Indian (clearly he means only Bollywood) cinema:

"I think we shouldn't change our song-and-dance, because that is unique to us and we shouldn't let go off that. Our emotional content is pretty strong too, so that stays. But it's high time that we tell better stories, the pattern has to change. Also the technology has great scope for improvement"

He continues talking about the content of these films (watch the narrative thread and the logical flow):

"We have got to change the way we dress. By which I mean, our films have got to get shorter. A global audiences easily tires of a 3 hour saga. Besides, we shouldn't shut our eye to the fact that Hollywood has screenplays which are scientifically very sound; we on our side have a few loose ends there. Having said that; I believe that our Aamir's and Ash's are no less that them. And this is something I strongly I strongly believe," he states.

He then proceeds to pee on everything he's said so far (and even gets to crack a schoolkid's joke):

"But you also got to understand that we live in a yuppie world. It's a business world, so you got to change your garb. It's like, if you want to go to a world party, you got to wear a tuxedo, Gandhi's dhoti won't do!"

I think it's time for an SRK vs Sidhu showdown ...

Then there's Salman Khan proudly noting that "playing a crazy guy is easy!" while talking about Kyon Ki (the existence of which we recently noted).

It's about a guy who's crazy," he said of his character, Anand. "For me, that's very easy to play. This guy, who killed his wife, which is not true. That part was not so easy."

He even goes on to add:

"When people find roles challenging, it means somewhere they're incompetent ... They don't know their job really well. I didn't think there was anything challenging. What I found difficult with this film was to wake up at 5:30 every morning. Shooting until 8 in the evening. That was challenging."

On an unrelated note, let me point you to more information on how you can disappear in America without a trace.

the lady vanishes? ... and so does a sense of language

BVHK spikes my morning cup of coffee with a pointer to an article about the mysterious disappearance of Chitrangda (for those still in the soggy caves of mainstream cinema, she featured in the wonderful Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and the recently silently released Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow. There's also a related TOI article. The essence of the problem: she appears to have become inaccessible. And the reasons cited include (a) a possessive husband (golfer Jyoti Randhawa) (b) an ultimatum from her in-laws (c) a general lack of "good" offers. Who knows what the truth is? Should she never return, we might lose a rarity in these days: a good and beautiful actress.

Non sequitur: Time to take the Subhash K Jha article apart. They compared her with Smita Patil, and she didn't mind. You must mean "compared to" Mr Jha, since they were, I believe, trying to bring out the similarities and not the differences. And when you go on to note Chitrangda has disappeared from the face of Hollywood, I must ask shouldn't you be present at a place before vanishing from there?. Granted, this was probably a typo. But the earlier example?

But then, who cares?

[update: september 28, 2005] It seems even more official, now that posters of Kal focus only on Chitrangda ... {more}

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

an IDE wanes?

Is Eclipse (Greek verb: ecleipo = 'cease to exist') {source: Wikipedia} all set to go the bloated way of the Mozilla/XPCOM/you_name_it nightmare that rose from the initial offering of Netscape's source code? Version 3.1 has been an improvement in some respects over the horrendously under-performing 3.0 series (which I experienced vicariously thanks to reports from friends and colleagues while enjoying the simple pleasures of 2.1.7)...

Begin Flashback

When I first encountered and used Eclipse I was impressed and pleased. And I wasn't clamouring for IDE snap-ins and wizards for J2EE and UI development (frankly, I'd like to use such one-click tools only after learning what happens under the covers). And Eclipse offered great support for coding with the Java API and conventions. Especially if you were using good old vim for electronic archaeology -- didn't quite scale well given impossible deadlines when you were talking about several source branches inundated with millions of variously commented often intuitively named source files of various genera.

End Flashback

My sweet moments of development quickly went to KDE-on-a-386 hell shortly after I installed release 0.7.0 of the Eclipse Web Tools Platform. This represented an initial offering from the IDE's fold to all those developers who had been consumed by the dark side of commercial IDEs thanks to the allure of wizards, tools and mouse-friendly snap-ins that eased J2EE development (of course, if you didn't have too much of an idea about what went on in this distributed environment, you were competing with the average Visual Basic programmer for mental regression). While the tools contained in the WTP held promise (it was nice to see a lot of the Eclipse features like code assist extended to ugly pasta like JSPs). Soon, though, the White-Screen-Of-Death syndrome (see also: the White Toolbar of Death) became a regular phenomenon. You see, this thing didn't quite scale well when you had a classpath that had as many entries as people in the Indian subcontinent (allow me the hyperbole please). The "cool" feature of automatically recompiling projects soon became an annoyance that took your workstation down every time you changed a couple of characters in the scriplet space. Soon I found myself poring posts on fora and blogs for options to control and optimise Eclipse's memory consumption and garbage collection. ProcessExplorer from SysInternals now became a messenger of bad news as I watched the javaw process iterate through each JAR file in the project classpath. There was nothing I could do. To make matters worse, the WTP subsystem did not have its own vista for configuration. So if I had to turn off the "as-you-type" assistance, I'd have to turn it off for the whole IDE. Nice! For a while, I was stuck with hitting the period ('.') and becoming a man who paused (weak pun there, tinged with some "inquizitive" nostalgia).

This was getting to me. A deadline starting slipping away faster than the eye could see (aah the original figures of speech!). I began monitoring the ".log" file. Entries like the following were rather common:

!ENTRY org.eclipse.wst.sse.ui 4 4 2005-09-20 10:24:13.68
!MESSAGE problem with as-you-type validation

!ENTRY org.eclipse.jst.jsp.core 4 4 2005-09-20 15:50:46.402
!MESSAGE JavaPosition was null!10780

A bug report had been filed about JSP validation and the OperationCanceledException. And another one that seemed to be related to the linear issues with the WTP. What was I to do? Wait? Hell, no!

I reevaluated my situation. Clearly, with the way development worked, all I really really (truly madly deeply) needed was some syntax highlighting for these long tedious convoluted servings of spaghetti and tremulous tofu. So, I didn't really need the WTP. I could wait till they got their act together. All I wanted was good old simple fast Eclipse.

So I began uninstalling the packages. The new "Product Configuration" management console in Eclipse was neat. You could manage plugin and feature installations and updates from here. No more shutdown-delete_files-restart. Think RPM with a nice GUI. The only downside was that some folders and JARs got left behind. Did I say "only"?? Still, it was better than going in blindly all guns blazing. Goodbye WST. Goodbye JST. Goodbye EMF. Goodbye GEF. About 218 folders (and contained files) and JARs later (and after a "-clean" run), I snagged Colorer Take-5, set up some "File Associations", and was merrily editing JSPs at regular speed. Sure, there was no code completion, opening brace/closing brace matching, no way of knowing if the code was fine until deployment. Potentially more round trips. But at least I would be doing something instead of staring at purple morphing into white bands and looking about with embarassment making sure no one was walking about -- can't have people stop and laugh at you for your conviction in a tool that clearly didn't seem to be doing the job right.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

lies, damn lies and statistics

This thing's been doing the rounds for a while: Go to Google's main page and type in either the word failure or miserable failure and then click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. You will be transported to the White House's official biographical page for GWB. As a quick Google Blog post noted, this is merely a bad day for statistics and another example of googlebombing (Yet, such acceptable results *nudge, nudge, wink wink*). Yet, thanks to Google's impressive track record of cool and interesting humour, the "these guys really have a cool sense of humour" comment is not uncommon. Pity. This time the human contribution happened at the wrong end.

The good old combination of the phrase mass destruction and "I'm Feeling Lucky" still works, though. And the regular search gets you the same place as the first result.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

unicode encoding woes

Firefox has issues with rendering devanaagarii (case in point: check out how the i-ligature gets displaced on pages). The fix (as documented on another useful page on Wikipedia) for Windows is simple:go to Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options; on the Language tab, check the "install files for complex script and right-to-left languages (including Thai)" option; be prepared to insert your Windows XP installer CD-ROM and then restart after the file copy was done. I've tried it. It works.

I still haven't applied the fix on my current machine. And an email to my Yahoo! acount containing devanaagarii text showed up as garbage. The fix took me a few minutes to find: View->Character Encoding->UTF-8 [the default was "Western [ISO-8859-1]". I am told that setting this as the default for pages that don't specify their encoding (bad page, bad page!) should cause no issues in general.

My bugbear Rediff (Movies) proved me wrong. I went to a report on the Toronto Film Festival by Arthur J Pais and I kept seeing the article punctuated randomly by black diamonds with a white question mark in each of them. Changing the Character Encoding to the default made them go away. But curious (pun intended) one that I am, I checked the source of the page and what I saw blows my mind. These old pages rely heavily on <FONT> tags. But that's not really as bad as seeing strange tags that seem to be the cause of the problem: <SPAN style="mso-fareast-language: JA">. Predictably, this page was created in every idiot's favourite XML-junk-spewing HTML editor Microsoft Word. Proof: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />. What have they done? Outsourced page edits and design to Japan? Or is everyone in the department using pirated copies of Microsoft Word that came from there?

the Indian village belle of the new millennium?

In an interview with the Indian Express, one-film-down-one-to-go (and LIFO too!) ex-Miss-India (bleargh!) Tanushree Dutta responds to tired questions in often-interesting ways. Deep in the middle is the description of her character in Chocolate [notes on the soundtrack]. It's also the path-breaking description of the new Indian village girl. The saltant saturnalian silage-hewing siren of the season?

My role is that of a ruthlessly ambitious girl. She probably belongs to a small town in India and has gone abroad to make a living. She is determined to make it big. Basically she is a temptress, having a dubious past. She's smart, suave, stylish and also very manipulative. At the same time, there is an innocent look about her which is so deceptive. It's got a lot of shades.

Thanks to a typo(?) we know that bhiigaa bhiigaa saa is one of her "favourite dongs[sic] from the movie" (her other favourites are most likely the rest of the songs on the album).

And finally, here's another sample fragment to whet your appetite (or kill it?):

Which is your favorite ringtone? What's playing on your cell phone right now?

My ringtone currently is in a confused state. For 15 days in a month it is the title track of Aashiq Banaya Aapne and for the other 15 days it is Halka Halka Sa Nasha from Chocolate. I am torn apart between loyalties! If I play the ringtone of one movie, the other movie unit thinks I'm not loyal and vice versa!

Tell the readers why they should watch Chocolate.
We all love eating chocolate. Now you get to see Chocolate. It's mysterious. There is a lot more to it than what you can see and what we have done. To find out what is the mystery in Chocolate and what is Chocolate, you must go and see the film.

Incidentally the interview takes a leaf from Rediff (Movies)'s patent-pending salacious algorithm for marketing interviews by going with a title of No doubt, Emran the best kisser ever: Tanushree.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

two things blog-worthy

The first is an ode to the greatness/divinity of Mithun Chakraborty that came contained in an innocuous email from JR. Includes a mention of the classic Gunda as well as some other less-sung movies along with notes on the pioneering aspects of a few. 'Nuff said.

Finally, after several releases that reflected great laudable care in design and implementation, Google comes up with something that I can be excited about in the long run (although how rewarding this would be versus the usual straight-to-Google searches is something that can be gauged over time). I give you Google Blog Search.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

paapii priyadarshan paratalaa

The last time we saw what P was up to he was (predictably) planning some more remakes. As if he hadn't had enough. There he talked about his ambitious plans to remake Thalavattan, his remake of One flew over a cuckoo's nest. With Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya no less. The interview we had referenced in our last exploration of all things plagiariyadarshan included an update on this front. SRK was out (a sequence of bad timing and then a difference of creative[sic] opinion) and Salman was in. The film's Kyon Ki. A title that tells you nothing and might seem tantalising to some members of the audience, chiefly Salman lovers. Meanwhile, we can only continue to monitor Priyadarshan's Progress on the Path of Personal Plagiarism.
oops! I did it again[September 10, 2005] {the thread thus far}

So I just made yet another (déjà vu; yawn; all that) haul at the library. Small sources of random joy.

* Thanks to sufficient mention on Mount Helicon, I now have the task of reading Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (and I thought it had something to do with Sherlock Holmes in a post-modern way)

* You Can Do the Math ("overcome your math phobia and make better financial decisions") seemed interesting enough as a pick off the shelf (and there's hopefully more trivia about the multitude of named capitalist demons haunting us in the US of A)

* The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki has been on the list for a while, and it helped to have it sitting on the shelf (waiting for me)

* Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden moved up the list in order to furnish preparations for Dansh (looking forward to Kay Kay Menon) and Siskiyaan (after installing the see-through impact-proof wall before the TV screen to facilitate a release of anger and frustration while still keeping the TV alive for future viewings) [more on why]

* And finally on the language front we have The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher (a casual flipping of pages seems to make me wish I dropped acid), The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations ("the complete opinionated guide for the careful speaker") by Charles Harrington Elster (which boasts a note of praise from William Safire: ek-STROR-di-ner-ee), and The New Well-Tempered Sentence ("a punctuation handbook for the innocent, the eager, and the doomed") by Karen Elizabeth Gordon (a book that mixes wordy poetic discussions on matters of usage as far as the suite of punctuation is concerned along with panels detailing the adventures of the cover girl Loona, a duke and duchess, and two people called Rosie and Nimrod).


An IM from Sudarshan and an impassioned email from JR gave me enough warning before I hit the Rediff page announcing a casting update for Vishal Bhardwaj's forthcoming Mr. Mehta and Mrs. Singh. Notes about Aamir's casting were doing the rounds were doing the rounds. But the choice of Kareena Kapoor, despite offering a unique combination, fills me with dread as well. Not really for the choice, but more for the usual press-friendly Big B-style diplomatic statements applauding her acting[sic] abilities[really sic]. Had RGV announced such a casting decision, he would have probably let the magic of the announcement work its own charm. Makes me dread a transformation like Amol Palekar's with Paheli. JR wonders if Vishal's going the Sudhir Mishra way (ref: Chameli). I think the tradeoff there (in terms of statements lauding acting abilities [sic again]) was a bit more acceptable, since we got Kareena playing true-to-life.

Then again, perhaps Ms K has some latent abilities that both Mishra and Vishal saw a spark of. Who knows, to be fair, they might actually provide evidence that some star kids can act.

Friday, September 02, 2005

gas [that's US::gasoline] blues

If you wanna run cool
Yes if you wanna run cool, you got to run
On heavy, heavy fuel

-- [Heavy Fuel/Dire Straits]

So after Hurricane Katrina was done, the ill-fated situation of gasoline in the United States of America got worse. The disruption caused by the hurricane propelled rising gas prices to the $4-$5 mark. The South-East was most affected thanks to problems with incoming gas pipelines (let's not talk about Iraq now, shall we?) causing some gas stations to go dry, others to gouge their prices like bellies at McDonald's. All this causes panic. Inevitable, perhaps. And what about the frustration? The futility of being reminded yet again of the stupidity of car-fuelled (no pun intended) suburbia that has ramped up (to borrow an Americanism) over the years. The gasoline situation is just a hint of the inevitable. People are going to pay for contending that although public transportation is a good idea, they would prefer to spend $$ on gasoline, and sit burning it off waiting in dead lines on clogged expressways (while doing the needful to the environment in the process). People are going to pay for encouraging the development of pedestrian-unfriendly accessibility-challenged city[sic] development[sic] projects. People are going to pay for letting this complacent fatalistic attitude bubble up to their representatives in power, who continue to turn a blind eye to everything except personal gain through political means. Politicians will continue to make the best of the situation. The common person, however, will slide down the tube into an empty tank of gasoline. What country should we attack next to remedy this situation? How about Peru's Chincha Islands? There's a great supply of guano there.

a sample elsewhere: Atlanta Gas Insanity

Even the library system seems to have gone into panic mode ...

On an unrelated note: Could someone let me know if any of the bus services running in Sprawlopolis (aka Altanta) has an extension to the automatic all-in-one machine (swipe passes; submit cash, get ticket; get transfers) that gives you change in case you are unable to furnish it? Currently, the MARTA and CCT buses have machines that are more than willing to take your money, no questions asked. Which means the buses have a steady thin stream of accessory income. Of course, commuters are usually annoyed (or they just shrug and bear it), but who cares? This could be regarded as an incentive to purchase passes (which, I have to agree, are really really convenient if you use the buses for more than simple 1-leg clean trips). But sometimes, basic mathematics will tell you that a pass doesn't give you a decent profit margin for simple 1-leg trips.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

home stale; greener abroad

Rediff presents a list of movies hitting the marquee back home (and in selected theatres here in the US -- chiefly in areas inundated with numbskulls ready with $$$ to throw away). We have Ramji Londonwaley (bad for iTrans), dead-weight adaptation of a KH-penned Tamil flick with strong Bawarchi vibes and guaranteed to lack people gifted with comic timing. I haven't had a chance to sample Vishal Bhardwaj's songs for the film. But I ain't jumping in anticipation of this flick. Madhavan should stick to the South. Then there's Pyaar Mein Twist, which, as is evident from the Rishi/Dimple pairing, is ready to hit the nostalgia jugular. If you need more reason to stay away, how about "this is the same guy who made Plan" ? Then there's the first of two forthcoming Tanushree Dutta [yet another pouts-equal-talent dame; surprise me!] releases bearing a clearly numerologically influenced moniker Ashiq Banaya Aapne. Finally, there's the low-key Kay Kay Menon/Sonali Kulkarni starrer Dansh, one of two adaptations/lifts of Death and the Maiden (the other one being the Neha Dhupia infestation called Siskiyaan). A Polanski lift competing against a fresh Polanski movie. Aah, the irony. Oh well, if only to watch another performance from Kay Kay Menon (and hopefully Sonali Kulkarni's painfully hard accent won't be in evidence in the dialogue ...).

On the other hand, their list of forthcoming US releases (trying hard to ignore the text by the garrulously inconsistent faux-pompous Raja Sen) is much more interesting. There's Cronenberg's A History of Violence. I've been waiting for this one, 'cause any Cronenberg makes for interesting viewing IMHO. Then there's the Nicolas Cage starrer Lord of War, which, although a likely candidate for wait-for-DVD, manages to offer some elements of interest. There's a new Roman Polanski film, Oliver Twist. It's an adaptation , the story's well-known, but it'll still be interesting to see Sir Ben Kingsley exercise his acting chops. And Edward "Watson" Hardwicke's on the roster too. There's a play adaptation in Proof with Gwyneth Paltrow reprising her role from the stage. I don't care much for Miss Paltry (refuse to accept that frail delicate veneer which passes off as acting -- see also: Aishwarya Rai). Yet, there are reasons to try and get a look at the original play's script, and watch the film to study the trade-offs made for adaptation. There's another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration called Corpse Bride, which boasts some interesting technical details on the production front. Despite the strange vibes that prevented me from watching their last collaboration yet, I'm still willing to accept that they can still work the magic.
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