Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5: New Marathi Movies

This is the first of my '5' posts, which will list 5 'top' objects in the topic of the post. 

 In this case, they are the new Marathi movies. 

Marathi cinema has come of age from the turn of the century, and it is all too apparent in these 5 movies that movies that present the slice of the decade:

1. Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai

Is it any wonder that my favorite Marathi movie tops the list?

Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai, starring Mukta Barve and Swapnil Joshi, is a series of twists and turns on a single day in Pune.

Love the two songs : Kadhi tu and Ka Kalena.

Best song:

Kadhi tu

2. Natrang

Atul Kulkarni is one of the most prolific actors that I have ever seen. In this movie, he takes on two diametrically opposite roles, playing the lead character in two very different stages in life and his mad passion for 'tamasha'. If not for anything else, it is a must watch for Atul Kulkarni.

Best song:

Apsara ali

3. Harishchandrachi Factory

How did cinema come to India?

This movie is the answer.

At some point, you expect the angst, but when it doesn't come, it makes you feel so satisfied and happy. A bright take on the life of Dadasaheb Phalke and the origin of the film industry in India.

Background score is truly beautiful!

 4. Deool

Director: Umesh Kulkarni

I've met him only once in my life and it was an experience in treasure. (For his reference, I was the girl in the hospitality team with her mouth open the entire time she was by his side when he came to a program in her college)

I haven't watched Vihir, but after watching this movie and Valu, I'm convinced of his prowess and genius. And he's pretty cute. Those curls and all. So, yeah.

How does a village change? What happens when devotion is lost in the clamour of commercialization? Village politics, religion and devotion mix in this rural drama.

Best song:

Deva tula shodhu kutha

 5. Pak Pak Pakaak

A village boy, Chiklu, whose presence is the synonym for trouble, his spinster friend (more of a harridan than a spinster), a mysterious presence in the nearby jungle.

Pak Pak Pakaak brings out the elements of village life and its humour. It is simply a delight.

Nana Patekar as awesome as always, the beautiful, dusky Narayani Shasti (wherever did she go?) and the child actor Saksham Mone make a superb trio in this comedy.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hang in there, Mr. Kejriwal!

There is something about Arvind Kejriwal that makes you sit up and take notice.

It isn't the way he looks. Pleasant and just somewhere in between. Not the way he dresses, because his clothes resemble that of half the adult, middle class working population.

I feel it's all in the manner he behaves. It's decisive.

He isn't like Arjun to dither on the battle field. He's rather like Krishna, to charioteer the hero and provide him with the necessary support - moral and divine. And that is precisely the thing that he's doing in the JanLokpal Bill movement.

A few days ago, the news reports were inundated with the status of his falling blood sugar and his diabetes. On the fifth day of the fast, he's still holding on, making speeches and looking stern.

Hang in there, Mr. Kejriwal!

We'll get the Lokpal Bill yet. 

Why the 'movement' isn't picking up pace in 2012

The months of July and August 2011 were a good time to be alive in India. For a generation which had grown up listening to the tales of the struggle for Independence, and the movement in the 1970s, the Jan-Lokpal Bill movement was like a dream come true.

Lokpal is 'ombudsman', and the Bill to appoint such a body has been pending in the Parliament for more than fourty years. In December 2010 the issue came to forefront when a group of activists criticized the Government's draft, and made demand for a stronger, more responsible Lokpal body. They drafted an alternative version of the bill, and called it 'Jan-Lokpal' Bill. And what happened in the months of July, August and those following it was nothing short of a political drama. There were allegations and counter allegations, and fasts unto death, and meetings between the activists (christened as Team Anna by the media after the leader of the movement, Anna Hazare). But the most striking thing about the movement was the presence of people in the streets. People, belonging to virtually every part of the demographic descended on the streets across the country.

But despite the government's assurance, the Bill fell through, and the draft prepared by the government was still not to the liking of Team Anna. They renewed their fast-onto—death stance on 25th July 2012. But the momentum is simply not there and the entire movement seems to lack the public favour.

According to me, here are the top five reasons why:

1. Too many issues, too little time

Instead of narrowing down on 'Corruption', Team Anna tackled a variety of issues – first the anti-Congress stance, followed by the demand for resignation of corrupt ministers. Instead of being a movement that demanded a Lokpal Bill, it turned into a movement that demanded general reform. While a movement like that is admirable, it will be slow to progress and lack public appeal.

2. The 'wow' factor

While many celebrities endorsed the movement and there was considerable mudslinging in the political arena last year, this year's movement seems to be lacking that factor. Congress (which had turned into a headless chicken during the course of the movement the previous year) has maintained an almost dignified stance, refusing to comment with the flippancy apparent in the past.

3. Team Anna

The year has done much to show the crack (whether fabricated, or true) in Team Anna. The group consists of activists who have diverse ideologies and methods of functioning. To expect them to behave in a coherent manner is rather presumptuous, but one could at least expect some kind of consistency. The media has been steadily chipping away at the images of the individuals, leading to further disillusionment.

4. Scams that came out

The movement kick-started in the wake of scams of epic proportions. While making a considerable dent to the exchequer, they served as a wake up call for both, the public and the government. The top bosses were involved in all the scams and it signaled that there was something seriously wrong somewhere. 2012 did not provide any staggering scams or scandals, contributing to the lack of the general interest.

5. Media that stood by

If anyone upheld the movement last year, it was the media. However, as the year progressed, the media became severely critical – and unjustly so. If the movement is to succeed this year, we need a fiercely involved media. And after doing the rounds of the news channels right now, I some how doubt it. But being eternally optimistic, I hope the media and the people come out in the favour of Team Anna. 


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Late mornings on the campus

Today was a good day to be alive.

After the lecture was over, we sat on the stone steps of one of the buildings in college. The sky was leaden, and there was just a little nip in the air - not enough to make you reach for a sweater, but that kind, which is quite pleasurable when paired with a cup of tea.

And so we sat for hours (it seemed so, at least) talking and laughing, till all my friends disappeared one by one. I was the only one left - under the overcast sky and the slight wind - and I read a book.

It was beautiful. Not the book, the feeling.

The book was for the English class (which I bunked, but that isn't the point here, is it?) but I don't remember much of what I read. What I remember is the people passing by, the small drops of rain on my skin and the scent of the soil in the air.

It indeed was a good day to be alive.