Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mukammal Jahaan.

Somehow in the past week, everything has ended up reminding me of this. Priceless Nida at his best. The endless search of all those friends trying to get married, or trying to stay married, or searching for the better job, the better house, trying to find trade offs, yeh nahi to yeh sahi. From the trivial to the not so trivial... But finally, there it is- the mythical 'complete' world .. it doesn't exist.

kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahaan nahi milta
kahin zami to kahin aasmaa nahi milta

jise bhi dekhiye vo apne aap mein gum hai
zubaa mili hai magar humzubaa nahi milta

bujhaa saka hai bhala kaun vaqt ke shole
ye aisi aag hai jisme dhuaa nahi milta

tere jahaan mein aisa nahi ki pyaar na ho
jahaa ummeed ho iski vahaan nahi milta.

                                - Nida Fazli

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Red Beard - Akira Kurosawa

Was not really enjoyed at all. Having liked High and Low so much, I'd perhaps expected this one to be interesting as well.

A doctor is packed off to a remote hospital full of poor people, run by the enigmatic "Red Beard". His initial rebellion against the rules and his situation is gradually turned to acceptance and eventual respect, as he gets to see all manner of life's cruelties. The stories of the patients  form many of the sub plots, if they're anything to go by, I'd say our sexual instincts are the cause of all of human kinds miseries. Much character development happens, although it seemed a rather haphazard growth in all directions.

But I can't say I saw where, if anywhere, the movie was going in 2 hours ( and it didn't help that there was no fan or AC, and it was sweltering hot - a fact that might or might not have a bearing on my response to the movie). However at the end of the 2 hours, when I'd thought that all the sub plots had been fixed, and the momentous realisations made, and I thought the movie was finally closing, I was a little dumb founded to see the word intermission appear.

Apparently its a 4 hour movie. I say apparently, since I could only watch upto the intermission, at which point both my patience and my sweat ran out. Perhaps its meant for a really lazy afternoon, when you have infinite time, patience, and hopefully electricity. I'll leave that for someone else to judge.

And much commiseration with the fellow sufferer A. Note to self - in future check the movie length before venturing into the unknown!

Monday, April 19, 2010

High and Low - Akira Kurosawa

The immediate reaction after seeing this was that it was good. However the more I thought about it later, the more I'm convinced that it was really great.

Its a little hard to nail down a theme/genre, part social commentary, part crime thriller perhaps. Its set in 60s Japan, where rich shoe maker, faces some opposition to his work ethic. As he digs in his heels, and his son is kidnapped, we see rapidly shifting scenarios, and the movie just jolts you out from any set ideas you would begin to have. There are quick turns, not so much in the turn of events, ( although there are those), but also in your perception of the situations, which keeps the movie engrossing.

All in all, a pretty rewarding movie. Leaves you with much to mull over, long after its over.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Running in the rain!

After a blistering spell of heat, what can be more welcome than a light drizzle?? A heavy shower I'm sure would be more welcome, but then we can all make do with our little bits of heaven!

And while there's lightening and storm and then a steady rain, whats more fun than taking a run in it? Pure exhileration. Yep my timing was awful, but hey I enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I've wondered lately - when does one grow up and become "mature". What do we mean by mature anyway? There seem to be large cluster of necessary attributes for maturity and wisdom- large, vague and sometimes self contradictory.

Its a bit disconcerting to realise, that as the years roll by, although you can see the change in yourself, you can't always assume more 'maturity'. Its a realisation borne out not only by your own experiances, but additionally reinforced by the people much older than you. Nah, they don't seem to be a great deal wiser than some of the youngsters around.

So does older and wiser always hold up? I don't think so anymore. Yes there are some attributes typically associated with youth, and some with age. And yes there are some things we learn with age, but those changes are mostly due to the experiances life doles out to you, and perhaps a few due to the body and mind slowing down.

I think one of the most defining moments was when I realised how stubborn we get , and how set in our ways, as we grow older. Its a strange stubbornness, quite unlike a child's. For a while I thought, it was just me. Then I looked around and saw, that the worst offenders were the 50-60 years olds. And then I began to see other tell tale signs, growing in me, and well established in people much older - signs which seem the opposite of maturity.

Yes, some people seem very reasonable and mature ( again by the wierdly vague standards) but I think thats usually more to do with their temperament to begin with, and very little to do with age. And then of course, we all do have small pockets of intelligence, which perhaps we manage to hold on to.

But all in all, rather depressing to think that as we log in the years, no magical wisdom and maturity will come on a silver platter. Chances are the downslide will begin, and we'd actually need to work harder to fight it!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

A pretty well written book, and I personally liked it a lot since I am an atheist and could see myself going - "Exactly" at various points in the book.

The book takes up the various arguments for "god" and systematically demolishes the ( usually non-existent)  proofs for them. Of course the classic cop out by the believers always is - its a matter of faith, which is supposed to trump all arguments and logic. This line of thinking is also analysed and alternatives suggested, which seem as good as the god delusion.

I guess at least reading a book like this is good to remind myself that being an athiest is an option, and there's nothing particularly "holy" about people's religious beliefs. At any rate their conviction that offences to religious beliefs trump all other offences is just that - their belief. Its a topic as open to discussion as any other, and really under no circumstances can an offence to anyone's humanity overtake an offence to someone's religion.

The insistence on refusing to discuss, and keeping a holier than thou attitude is simply a sign of keeping their head firmly in the sand. And if thats the approach the believers want to take, they really should keep their hands there too!

The Hurt Locker

Did not like it AT ALL. In fact its been a long while since I've felt like walking out of a movie hall.

And considering how well decorated this movie was, the nearest experiance that comes to mind was the huge irritation I felt while watching 2001 a space odessey - the feeling of increasing helpless as to what everyone found in a movie that I could barely sit through.

So in a nut shell - 3 us army guys defuse bombs in iraq. The usual shaky , noisy feel of war movies is there which i don't like much. Then they have the usual mix of misplaced bravado and childlike fear you see in all war movies. Then they defuse some more bombs. And you wonder why on earth are you sitting through this damn boring movie anyway? And then they defuse a few more, and a few more gruesome ones about human bombs and all. Then towards the end, there's some intellectual shit scenes about the important things in life, ( apparently babies are the only things that make the grade) And then they just go on defusing more bombs i guess, I kind of lost the continuity there.

Anyway - story zilch, editing sad, direction sad, new momentous take on things - none, camera - gives you a headache.

Complete waste of time and money. Avoid even on tv and dvd.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Couldn't complete this one. It was quite good in the first half or so that I read- well written passages, and a decent story line.  However I don't think I can stomach much of the heavy going poverty and misery, specially one that would go on and on- its a long book!

A student, struggling to survive in the miserably poor neighbourhood, contemplates committing a crime. There are many characters and sub plots which make the book interesting. However, as I said, the unremitting spotlight on the poverty begins to grate on the story, and I just left it midway.

The theme however is fascinating, what constitutes a crime? Is it always so easy to characterise? Does a crime remain a crime if its a culture? And then of course the second part - punishment. What is punishment - is it prevention? Or forgiveness? Or revenge? More on this another time.

Maybe I'll pick it up again some time.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata

I can say this with conviction now - Nobel prize winning works go wayyyy above my head. The last one had been hard to digest, and this one is just the same.

Set in the snow peaks of Japan, the books is basically about a man who returns there, and meets a geisha. There's not a lot more to the story as such, its full of passages, which I'm sure are supposed to mean something, but didn't quite mean much to me.

Note to self - avoid the intellectual books!