MonthJune 2008

movies you should watch

After attempting to watch a number of movies that just didn’t work out, I barely watched any movies up until a few days ago.

This reminded about the good movies out there that people generally don’t watch because they’re not popular. I hate it when people make blanket statements about Bollywood films all being crap, as if Hollywood makes better movies. People just don’t watch the right films, and don’t stop watching the wrong films.

Iqbal – On the surface it seems like just another sports movie. Which it is. It seems to follow the same formula for the most part. But it’s filmed and paced very well. My favourite character was Khadija, played by Shweta Prasad. Shreyas Talpade was very good, but Shweta Prasad was fabulous! Wonderful acting all around. 9/10.

Khosla Ka Ghosla – I enjoyed this movie a lot. Loads of fun. Real people with real issues. Good songs as well, “Ab Kya Karenge Bhai” by Adnan Sami taking the cake. It’s extra good because the song applied to both the father and the son in the movie. This is one of those movies you know in the first 10 minutes that it’s going to be good. If nothing else, there is one particular scene that makes the movie worth watching. 9/10.

Ramji Londonwaley – Hahahahahhaa. Enough said. But I’ll say some more. The movie is rough around the edges, but still has a dreamy quality to it. There are multiple hilarious sequences, but then there are also sequences where you doubt the director’s abilities. Almost as if it was directed/edited by two different people. All in all, a very fun movie. 8/10.

Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh – Another fun movie. Rajpal Yadav actually having to act more than his usual roles, and he comes through. Good songs as well. 8/10.

Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II – Generally I would feel odd about a movie like this. Because it seems to have been heavily inspired by Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. But WBHHP2’s film makers come out and acknowledge their inspirations (the mention the Coen Brothers). All the parts that you need to see are in the same movie, so don’t worry about the part 2 tag. It’s a very well made film, with great performances by all the main actors. Prashant Narayanan was great in his role, but needs to appear in more movies. Sandhya Mridul (Rani Mukherjee’s sister in Saathiya) was great as well, I think she’s a very good actor. Arshad Warsi was hilarious. This really was a well made movie. 9/10.

Dor – Another one by Nagesh Kukunoor. Must watch. 10/10.

Kaun – I couldn’t walk away without throwing in a Ram Gopal Varma movie in here. I loved this movie because of the situation it was made under. Just three actors and one location. A great story that was very well directed. Manoj Bajpai has to be my favourite actor. 9/10.

There are a bunch of movies I’m missing here. But if there are any here you haven’t seen, then this is a good start.

neeli chatri – blue umbrella

The Blue Umbrella, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, is too much fun.

How does one write the screenplay, compose the music and direct the movie? Fascinating!

I thought the cinematography was very interesting, although dizzying at times. But it plays part in the storytelling process, which I thought was masterful. That’s the aspect I enjoyed most about the movie. The way it tells this story. All this for an umbrella, haha, but the setup and the follow through were really well executed.

Pankaj Kapoor was brilliant. The kids could have been a bit better.

I enjoyed the movie a lot.

9/10

voices that rise

this one’s for you


these are the voices that rise
that come in on a tide
on top a wave
to make you cave
under the pressing weight
of your absurdities
can you hear
the voices that rise?

these are the voices that listen
even against the ticking clock
they sit down and talk
but when time runs out
they stand up and shout
when will you listen
and stop ignoring
the voices that rise?

it comes as no shock nor surprise
your attempts to criminalize dissent
your minds bent
upon keeping at bay
thoughts that resent
your illusions of progress.
this, reflected on the faces
of the cops that you rent
meant
to keep silent
the voices that rise.

lord knows it’s a shame
when you can’t hold fort
you run for the courts
manufacturing lies
that ruin lives
to serve the few
you bend what’s true
so fuck you
as you try and subdue
the voices that rise.

broken

i did, i knew it was coming. and the day has come.

my laptop screen has gone kaput.

now i must make one of the biggest decisions, perhaps the biggest decision, of my adult life.

mac or tablet pc?

update: i ordered the mac (upped the ram to 4GB). also got a itouch to go with it (100% rebate for students going to school this sept).

choti si kwahish

[audio:http://www.jaaduhai.com/tunes/adnan/bol6/pkb.mp3]
[direct audio link]

gulzar ke nazm

These are two interesting Gulzar poems.

The first one is “Maut”(Death) . It’s from Anand, my favourite movie, and it’s recited in my favourite scene in the movie.

maut

[direct audio link]
[audio:http://www.jaaduhai.com/tunes/adnan/bol5/kavita1.mp3]


maut tu ek kavita hai
mujhse ek kavita ka vaada hai, milegi mujhko

doobti nafzoon mein jab dard to neend aane lage
zard sa chehra liye chand ufak tak pohnche
din abhi paani mein ho, raat kinare ke kareeb
na andhera, na ujaala ho
na abhi raat, na din
jism jab khatm ho, aur rooh ko jab(*) saans aaye

mujhse ek kavita ka vaada hai, milegi mujhko

(*) The word “jab” is in the actual poem, however I left it out while reciting.

The second poem needs no introduction.

naam tera

[direct audio link]
[audio:http://www.jaaduhai.com/tunes/adnan/bol5/naamtera.mp3]


nazm uljhi hui hai seene mein
misre atke hue hain hothoon par

urte phirte hain titliyoon ki tarah
yeh(*) lafz kaagaz pe baithte hi nahin

kab se baitha hoon main jaanam
saade kaagaz pe likh ke naam tera

bas tera naam hi mukammal hai
is se behtar bhi nazm kya hogi
——

(*) “yeh” is actually not in the poem. It made it it a lot easier to recite with the “yeh”.

SARS backwards is SRAS

So I’ve been talking about either writing a screenplay of some sort, or filming something for years. I haven’t really done anything to accomplish either. I read Robert Rodriguez’s book and am almost with with a book on writing screenplays. I’m far from writing any stories with any real plot or character development. But I’ve also had short movie clip ideas as well.

I guess I’ll flush out the concepts here, starting with the basic idea. Then expand it into a screenplay type script (this will be good practise for the final screenplay I’ll write someday =) ). Then get a few monkeys together and act it out. Of course it will suck because it’s the first time. But I’d rather do something that sucks than do nothing that sucks. Plus a lot of folk have experience doing stuff like this, and we’ll get their help. Most of what I post on this blog is unedited and unrevised. So this will follow that tradition.

“SARS backwards is SRAS” is an idea I’ve had since SARS hit Toronto. Half the people I’ve told this to have said it’s too risky or it’s bad taste. The other half have liked it. I like it. So I’ll describe it here. I’ve actually typed up half of this in screenplay format, so hopefully soon I’ll complete it.

Here we go. I’ve used the character’s name as descriptions, I’ll change that once we have a better idea.


Scene 1

WhiteMan is in this apartment/room. Lights are off, and the only light source is the television. The daily news is on. The reporter is talking about SARS and how people are trying to keep safe. “Some have taken to masks to protect themselves from SARS. Please remember to keep your hands clean.”

Scene 2
WhiteMan is in hardware store checking out masks. He purchases one (or a set).

Scene 3
Outside the hardware store. WhiteMan opens the mask packing and tries it on. He gets in his car and drives off.

Scene 4
WhiteMan is at work (or school). He’s got the mask around his neck. He’s approaches a group of 5 (or 6) people who are already discussing something. There are two Chinese people in this group and one white person (who is WhiteMan’s friend, WhiteFriend).

WhiteMan joins the discussion. When he’s talking to the non-Chinese people, his mask stays hanging off his neck. But when he talks to the chinese people, he puts on his mask. Anytime he faces the non-Chinese people, his pulls his mask off and around his neck again.

The awkwardness is felt in the air. WhiteFriend pulls WhiteMan from the group and says, “What’s wrong with you? If you’re afraid of SARS, then just keep the mask on all the time!”

WhiteMan with a confused look says, “What?? No. That’d just be rude!”

THE END.


We don’t really need a screenplay like script to do this. We need people and a camera. One white male (WhiteMan), another white male or female (WhiteFriend), two visibly Chinese people and the other 3 people are of other races. Three locations, home, hardware store and school/work.

If you’re interested, we should talk. It’s summer and something should be done.

I’ll post the other short movie ideas soon.

don’t mention it

don’t mention it? i was trying not to, but you keep bringing it up!

friend

i had spent the day
friendless, lonely and sad,
a stranger to myself.

after drowning the day
on the sea shore,
i walked back
to my empty house
on the deserted street.

the moment
i opened the door,
the book on my table
flipped its pages
and said:
friend,
where were you
for so long?

  • gulzar (trans. das)

generally aamir’s the one who posts poems. when i read this, i figured he’d like this one. so here it is aamir, this one’s for you. =)

search is where it’s at

The new Firefox 3 browser is out! You should go download it.

It has a slightly new look and feel, it also uses a lot less memory. I really like how when you’re on a page where you enter a password, it doesn’t popup a window anymore asking you if you want to remember your password. Instead it will continue to the next page, and ask you in a bar if you want to remember the password. This makes things flow smoother and faster. I’ll find out the other changes/features as I use the browser more and more.

The most noticeable change is the address bar, it now uses search to show you the most relevant URL. This means you can type in any portion of a URL and the address bar will show you the matching URLs. In fact, you can even type on the title of a page (that’s not part of the URL) and it will still show you the proper URL matches. This is great for moments where you don’t remember the exact domain name or URL but remember only portions of it. The ability to search is awesome.

This takes us to Google Desktop. This program indexes all the files on your computer and even the web pages you’ve visited. So now, if you forget the domain name and URL, but you remember some of the content on the page, Google Desktop will search amongst the pages that you’ve visited. If you download a file and forget where you saved it, or you forget the exact name, no problem. Just press the CTRL button twice, the search prompt makes itself available, type in your search query and you’re good to go.

You know how when you’ve installed hundreds of programs on your computer and Window’s Start Menu becomes huge! Well now, instead of looking through the menu to launch your program, you can just search for it. This makes life a lot easier.

Addendum
Google Desktop also indexes your email (Gmail email). Which means that you can search for your email even when you’re not connected to the intertubes. It doesn’t index Gtalk though.
End Addendum

Some of you may be concerned about Google indexing everything that’s on your computer and then transferring that data to their grand central database. This is a valid concern, though they say that they don’t do this. But Google already knows everything. Google knows what you want (because you use Google to search for it), Google knows who you talk to (because you use Gmail and Gtalk), Google also knows what you say to the people you talk to, Google knows where you live (because you use Google Maps), Google knows what data you pull in (because you use Google Reader), Google knows what you’re doing on the certain day (because you use Google Calendar), Google knows what videos you watch (because you use Google’s YouTube), Google even knows what blog posts you have in draft mode (because you use Google’s Blogger (though WordPress has but a huge dent here, but Google still has all of those indexed in their search anyway)). Google just knows. Google knows. Google.

Try out Google Desktop (which interestingly and surprisingly comes in Linux and Mac versions as well), it will make things faster to look for. Just give in… to Google. You already have.

fallen

I have trouble remembering things, I forget to pick things up, I don’t remember what I had for lunch last week, I even forget to match socks in the mornings sometimes. But there are some moments that you don’t forget. The event as a whole may not be exact, but certain moments you just can’t forget.

I remember a clear night sky, void of any clouds. I don’t remember with any clarity whether the moon and stars were out. But I’m sure they were, I’m sure they were witnesses.

We had just finished dinner at a restaurant, one you couldn’t classify as a road-side dhaba, but not a high class joint either. It was past 10pm and we were in Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi was just one stop on our tour around Pakistan, but I don’t remember what the other spots were. I remember mountains and rivers and single lane roads (mountain-side single-lane for two way traffic, yes, both ways on the same single lane). I was either 9 or 10 years old, I don’t remember which.

We decided to go for a walk, I remember us stopping at a roadside shack. One that sold packs of biscuits and bubble gum, some also sold soap and toothbrushes. Not exactly your corner convenience store, but I’m sure it was convenient for many. I remember a cigarette lighter hanging off a cord from the roof of the shack. It was for those who purchased a single cigarette to light up immediately. You can do this in Pakistan (and India), you can purchase singles: a single cigarette, a single biscuit from a pack of 12, a single pain killer pill (sometimes even half a pill).

I was asked if I wanted anything. “Spout!” (at least I think it was called that), a type of gum with a liquidy centre filling. Maybe the flavour was mint or maybe spearmint, I remember that the colour was green. Green wrapper and green gum. I popped a couple into my mouth, then I held the packet in my fist, not bothering to pocket it.

We were walking in a group, mummy and baba, brother and sister, aunt and uncle. All of us in one group, not groups of two apart. A newly married couple, the uncle and aunt. I don’t remember if they accompanied us on the trip or if we accompanied them. I don’t even remember attending their wedding, maybe I didn’t. I remember getting along well with the aunt. “Bas theek hi hai (it’s just about alright)”, that became our response to many questions, we laughed every time either of us said it. And we made sure to bring one eyebrow down a little, or maybe blink, as we said the words.

I don’t think we were walking too slow, nor too fast. A gentle pace, if anything. Then, I fell.

This is a moment in which you no longer exist. One second you are present, the other second you disappear. If no one is looking too carefully, no one would notice that you were gone. Before anyone could say, “Look out for that open man-hole” (and nobody ever did), I was gone. I was covered head to toe, entirely submerged in shit and piss. I was lucky, however, people were looking and they did notice.

I’m not too sure what was going on above the ground, but below I was trying to rise up through the substances. I didn’t have much success, trying to move my hands and legs as a swimmer would, it just wasn’t working. My father jumped in. Moving my hands around I was able to find his leg, I held on to it. I remember somehow hearing him call out my name, “ADNAN!!”. At that point I thought he wanted me to let go of his leg, maybe I was causing him to lose his balance? I let go. Of course, he was just calling out my name hoping that I would respond. He couldn’t actually see me.

He found me and proceeded to lift me up. Folk above ground held my hands and pulled me up through the same hole. Later my uncle and brother would tell me that as my head became visible it looked like a monster scene out of some horror movie. I was dripping wet, my hair a nest of sorts, my glasses fully covered and thus my vision blurred. The globs on my glasses were too heavy and fell on their own, my vision still blurry but slightly better.

I quickly located my mother. This wasn’t very difficult, she was shouting and screaming. “Mera baccha!!”, “Mera beta kahaan hai??!!!”, “Mera baccha kahaan gaya??!!!” (“My child!!”, “Where is my son??!!!”, “Where did my child go??!!!”). There were a few people trying to calm mummy down. Nearly everyone else stood still, they were all silent witnesses, not too different from the moon and the stars above.

I went up to mummy and tried to calm her down. “Mein yahaan hoon.”, “Sab theek hai mummy, mein aagaya” (“I’m right here.”, “It’s okay mummy, I’ve come”). That wasn’t enough. Her screams didn’t stop. I remember raising my hands half way, wanting to take a hold of her hands. I looked at my hands and wondered if I should. I noticed that I was still holding on to the Spout packet. Nowhere in between the falling, the swimming, the lifting and the walking did I let go of the Spout. I dropped the packet. Covered in shit, right out of the gutter, you’re not exactly in a state where someone would embrace you. I don’t remember if I held mummy’s hands to calm her down. I’d like to think I did.

wordle play

i love a good wordplay. or a good play on words.

wordle is fun. it’s a different kind of play on words. or play with words. there’s words and playful fun, that’s all you need to know. try it out.

this is the wordle-ing of the “tea drops” post.

tea drops.

What should I tell you about them? I could tell you how exactly they met, or maybe the first time they went bowling? I could tell you about their high school days or I could tell you about all the skipped college lectures. Hell, I could read to you from their yearbooks. But what would you to with that? Would you write this story instead?

His walking stick contacts the station’s platform allowing him to balance coming right off the train steps. The train is silent now, no longer hissing or puffing as it was when it first stopped a few minutes ago. The train is on time, but he had prepared for a 1 hour delay. He takes in a deep breath and realizes that he is early. This is not a bad thing, he’s never had a chance to look around before. All the prior visits have been strictly “business”, if you could call it that.

It’s been 6 months since the last time, he starts to wonder how different she will look today. He wonders if she’ll even show up. They haven’t really communicated since the last time, and because there was no communication, today should still be a go. Surely she would have said something if there was a change of plans. As he wanders around everyone else notices how his walking stick doesn’t really slow him down. It does make walking easier for him, but if you didn’t know that it would just seem like it was for show. Time flies when you’re wondering or wandering, it flies faster when you’re doing both.

He recognizes her by the cross she’s wearing. Her head down and her hair out, last time the hair was tied up. She’s reading a book. So that’s what she does, he thinks, she shows up early and reads. His mind wanders back to the cross that hangs off her necklace. This is the only piece of jewelry she wears now. Through out the years she’s had rings on all fingers (at different times), earrings of all sorts, shiny watches, and even fancy hair-clips. And through the years they’ve all somehow managed to dissolve or disappear, leaving her with just the cross.

He walks towards her and she notices the walking stick approaching. She raises her head to make sure and then she stands up. Neither of them have changed much since the last time. He smiles, his lips part slightly as if he was going to say something, but then they join again. She smiles back. This is them saying hello.

Without skipping a beat they start walking. It’s unclear to either of them what their next stop will be, so they walk in a certain way that shows this condition. Shop and stand owners catch onto this very quickly, after all they make a living from people who’re just walking by. “Bhai sahaab, bhel puri?”, shouts one of them. “Chai paani, chai paani,” says another. She gives him a disapproving look, she remembers that they visited that stand last time. She wants to try and visit a different stand each time, adding a unique flavour to each meeting.

They settle on a stand. “Ji behenji?” asks the man behind the counter, waiting for an answer. She lifts her hand to say something, and feels raindrops on her fingers. She starts to lift her head up to take a look and notices from the corner of her eye a smile forming on his face. She searches for clouds, but the sky seems as if it has none. It’s all one big cloud, she thinks, covering the entire sky. Tilting her head back down she notices that he has his tongue sticking out and flat. Catching raindrops as they fall. She gives him a little nudge with her elbow, the tongue goes back in. “Bhai saab?” the man behind the counter tries to appeal to his sensibilities instead.

She points to the kettle, indicating that they want tea. “Okay, do cup chai,” says the man, pulling out two empty cups. She makes repeated tsk sounds, raises her hand with her index finger pointing up and in that same rising motion she opens and spreads all five fingers. “Acha, ek hi cup,” the man corrects himself. “Dood?” the man asks, and they both nod their heads from side to side. No milk. “Shakkar?” the man now wishing that they had made their own tea. She holds up two fingers. Two spoons. He holds up another, making it three. The sweeter the better, he thinks. She doesn’t object. He grabs the other empty cup, putting down the money to cover it (and a little extra) before the man behind the counter could raise concern, and starts to pour half the tea into the empty cup. He hands the second cup to her. They start to walk again, each a cup in hand with half a cup of tea.

They approach the big cross atop the large gates. The cross not too different from the one she’s wearing on her necklace. They all look the same, he thinks, as he sees dozens of crosses marking dozens of graves. This graveyard is decidedly a Christian graveyard. If the crosses didn’t give it away, the cleanliness would have. This one is far better kept than any of the Muslim or Hindu graveyards in this city. Still slowly taking sips from their cups, they slowly approach their intended spot. This grave isn’t marked like the others. Not marked by a cross, and not exactly a tombstone either. It’s somewhere between a tombstone and a rock. There’s nothing engraved on it. So empty and barren, he thinks, if only someone wrote a word. At the same time she ponders upon how strong and free it stands, just the way it is.

Their cups now hold half of what they originally held. They give each other a quick look, observe a quick moment of silence, then start to pour the remaining contents of the cup onto the grave. The symmetry is not exact, but it’s close enough. I wouldn’t ask them to do it again. They pour the tea till the last drops drop, then leave the cups on the rock. People do all sorts of things near a grave. Some shed tears, dropping tear drops. They, he and she, drop tea drops. Pouring a quarter cup each, but somehow making a whole. The math seems to make perfect sense in their minds. This is how some friends say hello, and this is how some friends say goodbye.

Time does fly when you’re wondering and wandering. He looks at her watch (those can’t be the original straps) and it’s almost time for the next train. She understands from the pattern of his eyes, that it’s time for him to go. They start heading back to the train station. On the way back, they pass by the man behind the counter, who smiles and waves at them. They respond in kind. He had already purchased the return ticket on the way here. There was nothing left, but to get on the train.

The train has already warmed up, he’s just in time to jump on. He forgets that he’s walking with her and starts to hurry towards the train. The limp in his step becomes evident, some of those who saw him earlier in the day now feel content. He doesn’t get too far from her, nor does he get too close to the train. She jogs up ahead of him, turns back and starts to encourage him by waving him in, like she was holding a flag near the finish line. Realizing the silliness of his speed and her air-flag waving they both burst into laughter. It really is time to go. He gets on the train, and the train starts to move. She smiles at him. He smiles back, his lips part slightly as if he was going to say something, then they join back. As the distance between them widens, they both wave to each other. This is them saying goodbye.

into the wind

though the weatherman said
there would be no cool breeze,
it came and it came indeed,
as if God kissed calmness
into the wind.

lone

lightning flashes and thunder roars
the sights i see but the sounds miss me
i know that i can bear my silences
but i cannot bear my loneliness

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