Thursday, November 23, 2006


It was a boring weekend when I rented out the DVD of BAWARCHI starring Rajesh Khanna.It was the nth time I was watching this classic, yet I was glued to the television set,like I had never seen it before. There were some thoughts that crossed my mind,when I saw the careful,soul stirring treatment meted out to each scene and the impeccable attention to detail.

My mind then scanned back to other movies from the same decade and I arrived at the common denominator.It was Hrishikesh Mukherjee,the director of the film,popularly known as Hrishi da,by one and all. I realised that as a person born in the 1980s, I would not have consumed this diet of films if I was not a film buff like I actually am. I realised that many from my generation would not be aware of the brain and the genius of the man behind these epics. Hence this article.

There were 3 clear milestones in Hrishi da's career graph. The pre ANAND era,the ANAND era and the last one was his waterloo.

The films from the pre ANAND era are not ones which I have watched,so I cant comment. However the other 2 eras are ones where I am a little qualified to comment.

The second era started with ANAND. The story of a dying man living the last few days of his life with an infectious smile,with the heart of a lion appealed to one and all. It was to be his best piece of work,a master piece. Look out for the scene where Rajesh's character dies and the cassette in the player calls out "Babu Moshai".Little piece of brilliance that.

The other movies in this era comprised of Namak Haram which pitted Amitji and Rajesh, the legendary Chupke Chupke, which made an adoring husband into a driver to impress his wife's jeejaji,a young girl's infatuation for her favorite film star memorably captured in GUDDI, a female version of ANAND in MILI, the best comedy I have seen in Indian cinema,the flawless GOLMAL and the natkhat and chulbuli KHUBSOORAT.

If I look at all these films with the microscope,I find that all of them had the same backdrop. The big lower middle class joint families of the 80s.This is something I found easier to connect with rather than the opulence of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's DEVDAS or any other modern movie. The ambience had an I-have-seen-this-before-and-I-know-this kinda feeling.

These films were thought provoking,each one of them having a message embedded amidst the magical moments. They compelled the common man to take cognizance of the issues faced by his ilk.These films will be timeless,because as they say you should never forget your roots.

His waterloo came with the rise of Amitabh Bachhan and films became more hero centric,the character actors started playing the support role.The family theme of Hrishida was considered obsolete by the then producers,but hell it was to be Indian cinema's loss. Hrishi da couldnt master this genre and all but faded into oblivion.His last film in the 90s was a shocker,but then at the age of 80,you cant fight age,generation and your contemporaries.

Hrishida, I feel will be judged by the ANAND era which reinforced that family movies were still the in thing and the feel good factor was still prevalent.

Undeniably,one of the greatest directors in Indian cinema, I salute Hrishi da.

Adieu sir and thanks for those everlasting and influential memories. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


As I rushed into Sanjaynagar's Vaibhav theatre first day first show to watch "Don" my mind ran amok with thoughts,among them were "Will SRK do justice to the role portrayed and brought to life so brilliantly by the Big B or will this movie turn out to be another also-ran in the list of remakes".

I was already 5 mins late and by the time I entered someone told me India's has-been and Bangladesh's superstar Chunky Pandey had come and gone.The first scene I saw was SRK playing golf(the poise in his pose would have made Tiger skip a heartbeat :)) and kills the guy whom he suspects is the spy and as it turns out he is on the button.The auditorium at this point in time is engulfed by whistles and all sort of animal sounds because DON has smelt blood and they have too.

I have seen the old DON atleast 5 times till last count and with each scene,till date, I wonder why the director Chandra Barot couldnt carve out another classic movie post DON.It was rivetting with a thrill- a-minute theme and boredom was as rare as a Federer loss.As I began to follow Farhan Akhtar's version I couldnt but observe the comparisons my mind was making.

The focus shifts to Kareena and her boyfriend and his sister Priyanka.My dil went "hmmm" at this point.Lucky boy I said.But was he really lucky? SRK kills him and throws his body into a "was-that-a-swimming-pool".

Kareena then tries to dance to the classic "Yeh mera dil pyar ka deewana".Is that a remix, Shankar? Listening to this rehashed version Kalyanjibhai would have turned in his grave.
I heard a couple of friends yell "Hey she is obeseeeeeeeee da!!!!!" and they were dead right.Helenji was a dancer par excellence and the comparison was glaring.

After 2 mins,DON does the thing I was waiting for most,he kills Kareena's character and with it the audience breathes a sigh of relief.

Then begin the twists and the turns.Boman chases SRK and SRK becomes Vijay paan eater,Priyanka shows that she too can fight and the audience is fully into the movie.I am too.
The first half ends and when you have the wordings "INTERVAL" on the screen,there is a crucial twist to the tale and everybody is in love with the movie.With bated breath all await the second half.

When I saw that twist I said to myself "This will either make or mar this film.No two ways about it" and I hoped it would be the former.

But what follows after the interval is utmost disappointing fare.Farhan,for all his talent from DCH,shreds Barot's DON to pieces and tries to go his own route.I am sure even the biggest of SRK's fans must have felt let down by on-goings in the second half. Why Farhan why? No one would have blamed you for making a scene to scene remake.We had paid our money wanting it to be a good film,not necessarily a I-will-try-hatke-but-may-fail second half.

As I walked out of the theatre I felt that this was a movie which was right up there but disintegrated in front of our eyes in the second half.

Boman Irani as the inspector is brilliant.He matches the role played by Iftikhar in the original and dare I say it rises a notch above.

What one of India's finest actors Om Puri was doing in a tum-chor-ko-pakdo-main-dekhta-hoon kinda role I cant fathom.

Priyanka is good but Zeenat was better in the original and Helen's trance was streets ahead of Kareena's treadmill dance.

Now coming to the DON.

SRK,India's biggest superstar(not the best actor!!) tries his best to be the DON and succeeds to an extent.He tries to chew paan and dance to the "Khaike paan banaras" number but looks as clueless as Greg Chappell has been with the Indian team in the past 5 months.

When I begin to drive back home I realise why everyone idolises Amitabh Bachhan.I am one of his very ardent trillion fans and this film sorely misses him.SRK--well tried, but dude, there is no shame in coming second to India's greatest actor,he with the magnificent screen presence and the enchanting voice.

Don lives on and he is Amitji.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I thought it would be appropriate for my first ever blog to be about my college,the place where I picked up a few traits like street smartness,studying smart(and not hard) and knowing about the college-ki-murgi dal barabar syndrome.Love you BMS on that count.. :)

The journey began in 2001.I was confident that my CET rank would be somewhere in the 300s and that I would get an admit in Electronics in my dream college SJCE in mysore.But come the physics CET paper and life got screwed.I dint want to leave home for computer/info science in SJCE and decided I will do my engineering in Bangalore.Also I had made a decision that I will not take a payment seat.For a rank of 853,a seat in BMS or RV or PESIT was unthinkable because I was adamant about the evergreen branch of Electronics.

Suddenly someone told me that UVCE(University Visweswaraya College of Engineering) was a very good college,the oldest one at that.The name dint ring a bell to me but I was told that my uncle studied there long time ago. One call and a few parleys later,I still wasnt convinced whether I should indeed study there,because of the BU tag.

Come the first round of counselling and I was in two minds whether to choose UVCE or another college in south bangalore which a moron had told me was very good.It turned out that the particular college was not at all special and generally roped in people in hordes if they had a longshot ranking.

I made a tough decision that I will go to UVCE,located in the heart of this great city,Bangalore.

Now started the tough time.Whomever I met thought I was going to RVCE and not UVCE and when I told them it was UVCE,they were candid and went"UVCE na? adu bangalore university alva? adu chennagilla anta keliddini" and I went in my mind "nan karma.decision final aytu.innenu madakke agalla".As a parting repartee they tried to console me so as to think,saying that this was old news and may be its gotten better now. But the wounds were inflicted and the damage was done.

When I entered the college on 1st October 2001,my preconcieved notions were only justified.It was located in the heart of the city yes but the campus was sprawling and well maintained(pun intended).It looked like it was Visweswaraya's dream project and that they had not made any changes to it after he left mother earth. The windows were scary to say the least and antique to put it best.

2001 was a time when on campus placements were at the nadir and UVCE was known for its good placements being a government college.This was another decision that drove me to KR Circle.

Classes were about to begin that day and we had a cross section of people pouring in.The rich,poor,middle class,aunties,uncles,but strictly no eye candy.It felt strange after being in the midst of a glam crowd in my previous college in Mangalore.

As days went on and classes came and went,we got used to the sound of automobiles zooming past us when class was in full swing and it became a part of life almost.

Time passed by and when I turned around, I found many other people who were in the same boat,some worse off. As we formed a gang of our own and started cribbing about the college and consoling each other to study we began to realise that we were getting better.

The apathy of the college authorities,if taken in the literal sense was enough to drive you mad,but surprisingly it made us independent and we began to ignore the negative points.

There wasnt any spoon feeding going on and I have never learnt so much from discussion with peers.This was a new setup and it was slowly sinking in.

Then came the fun time.Bunking classes,eating food in a morose canteen,exploring all the movies in town,going to each others place for timepass were a part of the strict regimen.

The college was least bothered about us but we somehow thrived in the environ.It gave us a reason to smile,to enjoy,while at the same time remember that exams were serious business.

Internals were always fun time and for details have a look at
in the internal matters section.

The icing on the cake was great placements in 6th and 7th semester where most of the eligible people got placed on campus,which reaffirmed our faith in our college.

The irony is that after we pass out of college,whenever I go to meet my friends on weekends,I see some strange faces whom I never saw in 2001-05 there.Before I continue they are indeed my classmates but only that their trips to college has increased manifold now, after passing out because they realise its importance now.

Before I get emotional on the subject,I would like to end this blog.

Hope it has made a small place in your hearts. :)