Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cholo Pal(t)ai!

Once again, revolution is in the air in Bengal. And no, I am not talking about Mamata di’s resistance movement to thwart Tata’s “evil plan” to set up a car plant. No. The mamata-tata issue is way too nano compared to what I am talking about. I am talking about the cry for change by a new bangla channel, Star Jalsha. The new dawn is here. And the world better know it. So we sing and dance and celebrate the Notun Bangali, fronted by the most original of them all, drumrolls…err…I mean dhakrolls…Pritam. Bengal is changing and what better way to showcase it than a spanking new channel. This channel, believe me you my friend, is the true face of the new Bengal. Modern, yet rooted in its authentic Bengali roots. Look at the house and attire of people in one of the soaps, as authentic and as real Bengal as it gets. That’s how the women of Tollygunj Rajbadi dress and that’s no set but their own house, mind you. True to the old adage, what Bengal thinks today, India will think tomorrow. So what if the programs look like they are borrowed straight out of one certain Ekta Kapoor’s factory. Remember, she borrowed it from the famous bangali genre of entertainment , Jatra. Jalsha is only reclaiming back what rightly belongs to them. Needless to say, such a noble cause has phul saaport from all the ‘notun’ bangalis of the world, from Bombay to Bansbagan. So we have a host of Bengali celebrities asking the bangalis to ‘cholo paltai’(Lets change) in such joie de vivre that it fills one’s heart. And when Ritu da(?) asks for the change, one chokes with emotions unexplainable. If Bengal ever goes to war, all we need is Ritu da to ask in his inimitable style, and a generation of bengalis will lay their lives on the line like kamikaze pilots. So sit back and enjoy whatever they have done of the ‘modern’ Bengali. But if you ask me whether this is the modern Bengal, then I’d rather put my best running shoes and guru, cholo palai!

In case you wondering which song and dance i am talking to you about, here's the link

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Unholy War

They did it again. The murderers, whatever fancy name they like to call themselves by, are actually nothing more than that. Bloody murderers. They strike again and again and we do nothing at all. Politicians give their customary ‘khed hai’ and ‘kadi ninda’ and ‘compensation’ for the dead and injured number. The ruling party and the opposition will dig their nails deeper, roll their tongues and relish the moment they got yet again to settle personal scores. And we do ‘tut-tut’ and get back to our daily business, happy and content that it didn’t happen to us or those close to us. The so called spirit of Delhi (Ahmedabad, Bombay or any other city) will be back and rolling. Let’s not romanticise a serious problem like this. It’s not spirit, its indifference at best. Tomorrow, we will go back to our offices and try to meet our deadlines for a soap or a dessert ad, as if nothing happened. But for how long? And why?

Sure the root of discontent is too deep and convoluted to be discussed in one single post. It goes deeper and is steeped in bloody history which started much before our independence and has been hounding us for the last 61 years. Different clans of people have fought between themselves for long. Our history is full of shameful and unfortunate incidences of communal riots before the independence and after it. But this organized attacks against people is more shameful and heinous. Why should innocent people die? Why should people be bumped off just as numbers? Oh, we got 25 of yours! How was that?!! Wait till we get 30 of yours. How long will this go on? What is most chilling is the apathy and aloofness we have about the blasts that happen in our city. People are so distant when they talk about it. One will typically hear things like ‘abki baar toh sirf 5 dhamaake hue, peechhli baar toh 14 hue the’, ‘ab dekho kahaan hota hai’. It has become a way of life for us. Yesterday, after the blasts, Barkha Dutt was on TV, reporting from GK. She kept talking about the people who must have come to the market to grab a bite or to buy a pair of jeans. Hell, that guy could have been me. I would have been there in GK buying a much needed pair of jeans, had I not felt too lazy to walk around after lunch. It’s chilling. Its shit scary and but more than that it makes me angry as hell.

What exactly will it take for us, as a society and a nation, to wake up and do something concrete about fighting terrorism and suppression. Nobody has the right to take the lives of common folk, be it hindu extremists or islamic radicals. They are fooling themselves with their ideas of jihad and ramrajya. Why should we pay the price? Its time we did something, its time our government shed its cowardly please-all-and-keep-ruling policy and sock the extremists right where it hurts the most.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Paisa Vasool

Ever realised that cinema halls are a great place to catch up on all the latest ringtones and all the happening gossip? I mean, whats wrong with people?? Why don’t they have simple public place propriety??? Okay, three sentences ending with a question mark. But seriously why don’t they shut the fuck up???? Another one ending with a question mark and yeah, I finally used the f word in my blog. But these people get on my nerve so much I can’t help it. There I am, spending as much money as the person next to me, to have my unadulterated cinema experience. But the person sitting around me always has other plans for sure. Somewhere in the middle of the film, a girl’s phone rings around me. I know its a girl because she picks it up, (c’mon that’s what mobile phones are for no matter where you are, yaar!), and then goes on to tell Rahul on the other side of the phone that she is watching a ‘good’ film with Chetan. And when she is done with Rahul, she turns around to Chetna, her girlfriend sitting next to her and they have a good laugh. You naughty girl, that’s what we call ‘Ek teer se do sheekar’ in hindi. You, my bright friend not only made your ‘guy’ jealous of a crossdresser sitting next to you, but successfully disrupted our film too. But then c’mon, somebody’s having fun. And if I am at all uncivil enough to ask them to talk softly ( I’d be a moron to take away their democratic right and ask them to shut up), either they go, okay(giggle-giggle), yes (like we mean it) or a plain ‘what’s-your-problem-i-paid-for-my-ticket-too-dude’ look which you can’t miss even in the dark cinema hall.

And if they are not talking on the phone, people talk amongst themselves. Somewhere down the line, they decide the film is not engrossing enough but then hey, they’ve paid for the ticket too, so what do they do? Simple, they catch up on gossip. And if that’s not enough, some go ahead and do the ‘cool’ things like throwing popcorns at each other. Its so disheartening to see that people don’t know their film. They just come to catch a flick. Once I was watching Dev, a Govind Nihalani directed, Amitabh starrer. A family which obviously ventured into the hall expecting a full blown amitabh movie got a surprise when they found out that it wasn’t exactly what they came in for. But they didn’t lose heart. So while the prosecution scene was happening on screen, the 8 year old of the family decided to recite a poem. He faltered at some point but his loving mother right on time corrected him. And the father? He must have dozed off. One happy family there.

Another time we were watching Mystic River, a poignant film about a father looking for his daughter’s murderer. Again there again was a gang who would talk non stop and their phones kept ringing through out the film, which they kind of stopped after some of us asking them to shut. And then in the film, a phone rang and pat one of the kids says, ‘ab usko band karne ke liye bolo’ and all of them laughed their heart out. You are too funny, man!.

Another time, another film. Monster, a woman serial killer’s story. A group of college kids, who came into the hall expecting a horror film, were so disappointed that one of them says aloud, ‘she is not a monster, she is a bitch!. And good time was had by all.

But jokes apart. Why people do this to others? How can they be so insensitive? Why don’t people learn some etiquette? Is it too much to ask?