People living in conflict zones globally share a fated suffering of “to be or not to be.” Vishal Bhardwaj’s gut wrenching, powerful Haider is a Shakespearean adaptation of Hamlet. the tragic hero of this tale is no prince but the state of Kashmir. Kashmir land-locked and claimed by the governments of India and Pakistan is burning and burying bodies on both ends of the border. So if Kashmir is Hamlet, Shahid Kapoor plays a symbolic Kashmir as the lead character “Haider” he evokes a beautiful, painful self-awareness; he has an anger fueled insanity in his grief and as moral person he struggles with himself to do the wrong thing for the right reason. Haider is in perpetual agony like his home state of Kashmir, he is born in a conflict zone of a discontent marriage — his mother doesn’t love his father and a sociopath paternal uncle covets his mother. Haider’s personal life plays out the geopolitical rife of war torn Kashmir, nobody belongs to him yet he can’t disavow anyone, lingering between sanity and madness interminably questioning truth and death. An existential backdrop exists in state and self. Cast, cinematography, soundtrack, screenplay, direction amalgamates into art. Pure art. Haider is conscious provoking, controversial conversational art. Like a kaleidoscope, Bashreet Peer and Vishal Bhardwaj’s brilliant writing breaks cliches with storytelling turns bringing light new perspectives. Haider’s dialogues are poetry personified, weighted in introspection and insight but never so heavy-handed it ceases to be relatable. I have seen innumerable adaptations of Hamlet, Vishal’s Haider will continue to haunt me as the most eloquent. tragic, yet hopeful.

My favorite song in the movie “So Jao” riddled my arm with goosebumps. The scratching sound of shovel on snow, gravediggers singing a welcoming song of death juxtaposed on a infectious hummable beat, it palls a devastating dark reality (we really are eventually digging our own graves). Only Gulzar saab of crisp starched whites, the prolific, poet monk could write such a stark, creepy ode in mellifluous meter.

http://youtu.be/OwCZR_15JM0

Hindus celebrate the defeat of evil today as represented by the vanquishing of Raavan. Once upon a time, young Raavan, a brilliant scholar and accomplished man of science and medicine was Lord Shiva’s greatest devotee; after much penance, Shiva granted promising Raavan a boon as long as he possessed the nectar of celestial immortality, no god would ever destroy him. But despite all the prosperity of providence and accomplishment, Raavan fell prey to the only demons he had sought no protection from — his inner self. Indulgent in the ten character flaws (lust, anger, attachment, greed, hubris, jealousy, selfishness, injustice, cruelty, ego) —- Raavan was undone by a mere mortal, himself. And today we celebrate the end of his evil reign but more poignantly reflect that the only enemy that brings our downfall is hidden within. Burn your inner Raavan. Happy Dussehra. (From the Sanskrit: Dasha, ten and Hara, defeat). #HinduFestivals

Hindus celebrate the defeat of evil today as represented by the vanquishing of Raavan. Once upon a time, young Raavan, a brilliant scholar and accomplished man of science and medicine was Lord Shiva’s greatest devotee; after much penance, Shiva granted promising Raavan a boon as long as he possessed the nectar of celestial immortality, no god would ever destroy him. But despite all the prosperity of providence and accomplishment, Raavan fell prey to the only demons he had sought no protection from — his inner self. Indulgent in the ten character flaws (lust, anger, attachment, greed, hubris, jealousy, selfishness, injustice, cruelty, ego) —- Raavan was undone by a mere mortal, himself. And today we celebrate the end of his evil reign but more poignantly reflect that the only enemy that brings our downfall is hidden within. Burn your inner Raavan. Happy Dussehra. (From the Sanskrit: Dasha, ten and Hara, defeat).

#HinduFestivals

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola it’s flimsy filmy funny farcical satire. It is not your mama’s Hindi movie, it’s storytelling that uses literally dark absurdity to reveal the unbearable lightness of post-modern Indian progress and just like in the real world, somewhere in the mess is a tangled love story waiting to obviously unravel; Sigh, real world should have gorgeous soundtracks too. So reduce the entire movie to it’s smarty pants script, thespian Pankaj Kapur and super Shabana Azmi, it’s why I love the movies I love. Clever words, laced humor peeking insight and all kinds of characters, even an imaginary pink buffalo, the movie is *meta* personified. Gulzar, you prolific monk, always spot on, “deewangi sahi, ye khaamakha nahi/majnu toh hain, par khamakha nahi”

#HindiMovieReview #MatruKiBijleeKaMandola

"I could never insult her memory by putting a common label on her love for me. I have passed through various experiences of fire and shadow, the warp and woof with which Providence weaves its strange webs of human personality. But one thing I can say with honest pride; that I have never made light of a woman no matter how she had loved me. I have always been grateful for it all, always looked upon it as a grace — a favor. Her gift of blooms may fade with time, yes, but the memory of their fragrance, never."  Rabindranath Tagore
8 year old Kadambari Devi married Tagore’s elder brother 17 year old brother Jyoti. Tagore was 6 at the time of the marriage and Kadambari and the poet became best childhood friends. As they became older their formal relationship of sister-in-law and brother-in-law surrounded their bond with suspicion. Tagore wrote many poems in her name and admitted she was his muse. Four months after Tagore’s marriage with 11 year old Mrinali Devi —Kadambari committed suicide leaving the poet devastated.  

"I could never insult her memory by putting a common label on her love for me. I have passed through various experiences of fire and shadow, the warp and woof with which Providence weaves its strange webs of human personality. But one thing I can say with honest pride; that I have never made light of a woman no matter how she had loved me. I have always been grateful for it all, always looked upon it as a grace — a favor. Her gift of blooms may fade with time, yes, but the memory of their fragrance, never."  Rabindranath Tagore

8 year old Kadambari Devi married Tagore’s elder brother 17 year old brother Jyoti. Tagore was 6 at the time of the marriage and Kadambari and the poet became best childhood friends. As they became older their formal relationship of sister-in-law and brother-in-law surrounded their bond with suspicion. Tagore wrote many poems in her name and admitted she was his muse. Four months after Tagore’s marriage with 11 year old Mrinali Devi —Kadambari committed suicide leaving the poet devastated.  

I guess everyone likes to think they have good taste most of the time.
On a tired Saturday night, feeling mucky with a horrible cold and nagging restlessness of a bad flu bug, I watch the most awful Hindi movie I have seen in a long time, Housefull.
Even for a Hindi movie, Housefull is at its best compliment, bad improv comedy, its impossible to believe something so utterly nonsensical could be scripted with a pen and then produced —- seriously.  This must be ad-hoc comedy by 8 year olds. Must.
Drugged, hubby and I laughed at a few genuine LMAO moments, okay I laughed genuinely and I am quite sure hubby was laughing at me.  Claims of being part of the paisa-vasool crowd in the atthani seat got me dirty looks, not the sexy kind, more the nauseating, I going to vomit look.
Fully bullied, I went back to claiming to be under the influence, the cocktail of the antibiotics and Tylenol.
Housefull is not a good movie, it drags, devoid of humor, hubby happily forwarded most of it in slow speed, it’s one of those, I can’t turn it off but I can forward it rules I need to get over.
When you are miserably sick and you wonder how it could get worse, wonder no more, there is a song called, “Hush, hush, papa is sleeping”
For those of you still interested in hearing a straight-forward review, there is no plot. The basic premise is that Bollywood’s Khiladi and Casanova is Housefull’s Loser, with a capital L. Full disclosure, I think Akshay is just all manly, best-in-the-desi-style-sizzle and he plays a supremely competent idiot, he does it so well, you can’t quite believe he is all that awkward, clumsy, and jinxy to carry it off. He needed to be more Steve Martin and less Dean Martin, to bring in a Hollywood analogy, he is just too perfect of a loser to be a, well, loser.
But he is “hero” and we kind of know it despite the fact that we are to believe he is so much bad luck that a casino has hired him to work as a bad luck charm for its patrons, that’s the premise. (Wow somebody green lights this crap of a story! Or do rich people make whatever they want, the way they want it?)
When customers start winning, a quick walk on the floors by Akshay has the winning streak all but disappearing. The celestial stars for Arush (aka Akshay) say if he finds true love his bad luck will turn good forever.
The rest of story is all about how Akshay finds his real true love and he is just not able to shake his bad luck with misunderstandings and coincidences.
Logic, even Hindi movie logic, has nothing to do with this movie. There is tons of annoying slap stick and what-has-now-become-standard gay jokes, I consider slur, and none of it funny.
I did laugh somewhere along the way. Stop glaring at me hubby. I plead involuntary.
We never really find out if Akshay’s success in love results in a kismet change so don’t expect to have any loose ends tied.
My advice: watch it, if you must, preferably with a DVD remote with fresh batteries and some pain-killers. You will have to surrender to your bad taste.
But really folks, there are better ways to challenge yourself to not be so serious.

I guess everyone likes to think they have good taste most of the time.

On a tired Saturday night, feeling mucky with a horrible cold and nagging restlessness of a bad flu bug, I watch the most awful Hindi movie I have seen in a long time, Housefull.

Even for a Hindi movie, Housefull is at its best compliment, bad improv comedy, its impossible to believe something so utterly nonsensical could be scripted with a pen and then produced —- seriously.  This must be ad-hoc comedy by 8 year olds. Must.

Drugged, hubby and I laughed at a few genuine LMAO moments, okay I laughed genuinely and I am quite sure hubby was laughing at me.  Claims of being part of the paisa-vasool crowd in the atthani seat got me dirty looks, not the sexy kind, more the nauseating, I going to vomit look.

Fully bullied, I went back to claiming to be under the influence, the cocktail of the antibiotics and Tylenol.

Housefull is not a good movie, it drags, devoid of humor, hubby happily forwarded most of it in slow speed, it’s one of those, I can’t turn it off but I can forward it rules I need to get over.

When you are miserably sick and you wonder how it could get worse, wonder no more, there is a song called, “Hush, hush, papa is sleeping”

For those of you still interested in hearing a straight-forward review, there is no plot. The basic premise is that Bollywood’s Khiladi and Casanova is Housefull’s Loser, with a capital L. Full disclosure, I think Akshay is just all manly, best-in-the-desi-style-sizzle and he plays a supremely competent idiot, he does it so well, you can’t quite believe he is all that awkward, clumsy, and jinxy to carry it off. He needed to be more Steve Martin and less Dean Martin, to bring in a Hollywood analogy, he is just too perfect of a loser to be a, well, loser.

But he is “hero” and we kind of know it despite the fact that we are to believe he is so much bad luck that a casino has hired him to work as a bad luck charm for its patrons, that’s the premise. (Wow somebody green lights this crap of a story! Or do rich people make whatever they want, the way they want it?)

When customers start winning, a quick walk on the floors by Akshay has the winning streak all but disappearing. The celestial stars for Arush (aka Akshay) say if he finds true love his bad luck will turn good forever.

The rest of story is all about how Akshay finds his real true love and he is just not able to shake his bad luck with misunderstandings and coincidences.

Logic, even Hindi movie logic, has nothing to do with this movie. There is tons of annoying slap stick and what-has-now-become-standard gay jokes, I consider slur, and none of it funny.

I did laugh somewhere along the way. Stop glaring at me hubby. I plead involuntary.

We never really find out if Akshay’s success in love results in a kismet change so don’t expect to have any loose ends tied.

My advice: watch it, if you must, preferably with a DVD remote with fresh batteries and some pain-killers. You will have to surrender to your bad taste.

But really folks, there are better ways to challenge yourself to not be so serious.

Hands down the most upbeat break up song I have ever heard from Hindi movie Love Aaj Kal which I found quite meh for a love story (scroll down for review). But I did think the storyline had uber potential, a young, ambitious couple breaking up (versus getting married in typical Bollywood style) figuring out life while questioning their remaining attachment for each other along the way. The lyrics are a good reminder to those recently departed that while it may suck to lose someone you still may love, if it was all that great —it wouldn’t have ended. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

jadoo

जिस जुनून से इश्क़ करते है जादू से कम नहीं
पलकें झूकाके हम तो ज़र्रे को खुदा बनाते है,
तू तो फिर भी तू है
झपकती पलकों से नज़र तो मिलाओ
 हमारी दोस्ती किस बुलंदी पे तुम्हे ले जाती है


We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under.

The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public.

The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. They are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. They are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. This happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. People in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need.

Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark.

And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.

Milan Kundera.

"Baby I should hold on just a moment and be sure it’s not for vanity, Look me in the eye and tell me love is never based upon insanity,”

India: Ram Prabodh Yadav (b. 1970) is sub-inspector (deputy inspector)  of police in Maner Block, Patna district, State of Bihar. Monthly  salary: 10,000 rupees ($220).
The Open Society Institute’s latest documentary photography show, the  most improbably delightful has to be “Bureaucratics,” by the Dutch  photographer Jan Banning. “It started with the most horrible  assignment I ever had,” Banning told me when when he dropped by our  office yesterday. The job was in Mozambique; Banning’s editor had asked  him to shoot pictures for a story on the decentralization of the  administration of Dutch development aid. “That’s not something that  makes your heart beat faster as a photographer,” he noted. To make it  interesting for himself, he decided to shoot portraits of the  bureaucrats themselves. Little did he know that this would be merely the  first leg on an absurd odyssey that would take him through thousands of  government offices, a world tour of what he calls “the shop windows of  the state.” New Yorker

India: Ram Prabodh Yadav (b. 1970) is sub-inspector (deputy inspector) of police in Maner Block, Patna district, State of Bihar. Monthly salary: 10,000 rupees ($220).

The Open Society Institute’s latest documentary photography show, the most improbably delightful has to be “Bureaucratics,” by the Dutch photographer Jan Banning. “It started with the most horrible assignment I ever had,” Banning told me when when he dropped by our office yesterday. The job was in Mozambique; Banning’s editor had asked him to shoot pictures for a story on the decentralization of the administration of Dutch development aid. “That’s not something that makes your heart beat faster as a photographer,” he noted. To make it interesting for himself, he decided to shoot portraits of the bureaucrats themselves. Little did he know that this would be merely the first leg on an absurd odyssey that would take him through thousands of government offices, a world tour of what he calls “the shop windows of the state.” New Yorker