Thursday, July 14, 2016

Udta Punjab - Abhishek Chaubey

Found it mostly pedestrian.

4 stories intersect to show the drug problem in punjab. or as a whatsapp forward narrated the story.  A fellow tells his friend , 'udta punjab is about the drug problem in punjab.' Friend retorts, ' what nonsense, there is no drug problem in punjab, sab aasaani se milta hai' . 

Anyway, coming back to the movie, it left no impact, barring a few scenes. There's an arresting ,stylish beginning, and a  pretty good last half an hour ( although it breaks off from the main narrative of a sanskari documentary to move almost into fantasy zone) . What happens in the middle though? The high on drugs tommy-the-singer, the do-good-and-fight-the-system-doctor, the good-but-realistic-policeman, and the caught-in-the-middle-alia-bhatt , why does the whole thing leave no impact? I think a big part is the screenplay. I mean it all just looks like a simplistic story with caricatures, strung together with banality.

The only thing that left any impact was alia bhat, not because it was an exceptional performance, ( for that scenes from 'highway' keep intruding). But perhaps I haven't seen this very often before- all that dark foundation, the exact opposite of the fairness creams. The fight scene which ties back with that little scene you had seen earlier as you saw her traveling. This brilliance of course subsequently loses most of its sheen as you have to see everything explained in a dialogue. But perhaps that standalone spunk is so rare to see on screen, that it leaves an impact, even if its not brilliantly written or enacted.

But what exactly was there in this for the censor board to get its knickers in a twist beats me. I mean it can only be a case of chor ki daadi mein tinka if mr nihalani thought this was an indictment of his hero. If you have a little common sense, its shouldn't be that hard to see the gazillion times his hero's opponents have done their own share of deeds dark and ugly, and dozens of films would need to be censored to whitewash them.

But then these are the times we live in. Watch the censored scenes from angry indian goddesses and then travel in a dtc bus in delhi, and then laugh and laugh and laugh till your tummy hurts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

7 secrets of shiva - Devdutt Patnaik

Haven't blogged for a while, perhaps I needed an appropriate topic to rant about to kick my laziness and lethargy and write. So here goes.

When a cat leaps up to sit on a table, how do you explain that? Well I can write a couple of deep scientific , psychological, philosophical and medical paragraphs explaining this. For eg.

1. The table exerts a natural attraction towards the cat, which stems from the fact that the table is made of a hard substance wood, and the cat is soft creature, and we know that opposites attract. ( attach photo of cat jumping with a bubble explaining how opposites attract)

2. The cat jumped at 11.29 and we know that gravity is temporarily suspended during the period from 11.28 to 11.30. So the placement of the cat underneath the table ensured that the moment gravity was suspended, the cat floated up to the table. (attach photo of floating cat with a clock in the background)

3. The table housed the keyboard, and we know that all cats( male and female) have an inbuilt tendency to shed their seed on a keyboard, over which they have no control, ( only human males can control this tendency ). Hence the cat was driven by a deep instant to jump up. (attach photo of various cats on tables with little blurbs )

4. The cat is a manifestation of prakriti or nature, while the table is a manifestation of purush or pure consciousness. The table is solid, at peace, stable while the cat is ever moving, changing, chanchal.

5. The table is a manifestation of prakriti or nature. It is static, without conscious will,  its choices are limited,  it has no favorites and it is the objective reality of nature. The cat is a manifestation of purush or pure consciousness,  since it is aware, conscious and has the subjective reality of its imagination  It can control is urges, you will find mythology littered with instances where the cat saw a table and jumped.  ( yes I contradict myself with impunity)

I can go on in this vein but unfortunately I am not deluded, or getting paid to write crap.

On the plus side, I didn't find this book a complete waste, because it did have a few paragraphs which resonated, or at least gave food for thought. But just a few paragraphs littered among self contradictory, pseudo explanation-koch-bhi kind of stories and explanations is clearly a very poor hit rate. Maybe I will try another of his books because I have heard so much about them, but I sure hope they don't all follow this self assured, simplistic pseudo explanation ( rather than discussion of various possibilities)