Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Objectivity - A lesson from Yuganta!

Irawati Karve offers a wonderful lesson in Yuganta, through an imaginative conversation between Gandhari and Dhritarashtra. The scene is one from the last few days of the lives of Kunti, Dhritarashtra, Vidura and Gandhari, as they live together in the forest, awaiting their death. Dhritarashtra says to Gandhari -

'Every person gets entangled in a mesh of injustices. I wronged you. Pandu wronged Kunti. And whose wrong doing was it that Pandu and i should lead such fruitless lives? Can we say that wrongs done to our mothers, the misery they suffered brought this curse on us? Poor Vidura was the only one completely sound in mind and body. But because his mother was a servant, he could not become a king. He did not try to take revenge on anyone for his life's disappointments. Kunti and Vidura were the only two people in our whole clan who were consciously watchful. You feel, Gandhari, that you have been cheated and deceived, but think for a moment: in the three generations of our family every person has been cheated and deceived. I am pleading with you to not merely ask for forgiveness, but to persuade you to give up your fight against life. Give up your anger, not only against me, but against life itself. My injustice to you does not give you the right to do an injustice to your children, to your whole life. How can one wrong compensate another, Gandhari? At least now take off that blindfold. Learn to look at world, at human beings, and at your own past life objectively. Our life is nearly over. At least do not die with your eyes bound'.
I understand philosophy very less, but i was amazed and amused, at the same time, by this conversation. I almost burst out laughing at the line 'in three generations of our family every person has been cheated and deceived'. How ironical!

It is very difficult to digest such learnings ,irrespective of the whether you believe in Karma, luck, fate and other such things. But maybe, just by knowing this point of view, you can be little a closer to implementing it.

Learn to look at life objectively!

Yuganta is a small but beautiful collection of essays on the characters of the great epic Mahabharata. It is an anthropologist's take on their lives, looking beyond the myths associated with them. She takes the critical edition of Mahabharata as a base and mercilessly dissects these characters exploring their motives, weaknesses and strengths.

A good review of the book can be found at

An online edition of the book is available at

Cross posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Fiction that Breathes History

In my, self proclaimed, insatiable thirst for historical fiction or fiction in historical settings, i might have committed a sin today by picking up Ashwin Sanghi's 'Chanakya's Chant'. I was almost dying to read more about ancient Indian history. Somehow i have come to believe that although reading history through the lens of fiction might not be the purist’s way of doing it, it is certainly more enjoyable and sustainable( mba speak :P). So after reading a bit about the book i picked up today, which a lot many have called, just another 'dan brownish' fast paced mystery, i am trying to perform some penance by talking about some of the bests works i have read in this genre.

But before that, let me clarify that i have nothing against Dan Brown or his genre of fiction. It's just that as a history lover, i would want such works of fiction to maintain a fine balance between the truth and author's imagination. Ideally never distort truth, but only fill gaps and in the end clarify and dissect these parts in the work. Somehow all the 'Dan Browns' just do the opposite.
So let's started with the list, the names appear in my order of preference but i must tell you, all of these are great works in this genre.

1. Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children : I had a very tough time selecting between the first two novels in this list and in the end, i chose the one which delighted me more. Some people would argue that a book like Midnight's Children should not even figure on this list, with protagonists having super natural powers and author's own political views trickling down in some parts. But believe me, this novel never distorts history and somehow because the fictional parts being so fantastical, they not only delight the reader but make the demarcation from truth very obvious and clear. Midnight's children is set around events in Indian subcontinent during the 20th century. It starts in second decade of the century and ends just around the Indian emergency. Easily one of the best works of fiction by an author of Indian origin, Midnight's Children will tell you a lot many small things which you would have never read in your school History books. I can go on writing about this book, but i guess you'd find much better reviews of this book at other places on net. In this list i just hope to tell you about books which you must pick up if you love history and fiction!

2. Amitav Gosh's  Sea of Poppies :  Sea of poppies is easily the most extensively researched work of fiction i have ever come across. The book has its own chrestomathy , a diction type guide on what Gosh calls  the 'Hindoostani Sailors dialect'.  Set in 19th century Bengal, this book tells you a lot about Calcutta, the British rule in Bengal, Bengali tradition, the last of Bengali Aristocracy, the Bhojpuri proletariat and their traditions. Calling this book very rich in historical content is like calling Satyajit Ray or Akira Kurosawa just good directors. Bottom line, this book is the gateway to non-revolting 18th century India, essentially Eastern India.

3. Magaret Mitchel's Gone with the Wind : Again a choice which is highly debatable. Many would call this book the best fictional romantic and i can't dare to disagree with them. Even i have always felt it to be one of the most intriguing books with a woman protagonist.  Nevertheless, this epic drama set in 19th century USA, tells you a lot about America of those years and of course a lot about the civil war. If you are one those 'MCPs' who shy away from reading anything remotely romantic or feminist, probably this might be your reason to pick this wonderful piece of fiction. I must clarify here though, that wasn't my reason to pick this book :).

4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of Yellow Sun : I still find it extremely difficult to pronounce the author's name correctly in one breath, but that handicap set aside, the book spells out the best of way to tell the young generation about the tough and gory times in  their country's past. Something that Adichie does mention, she set out to do. In so many ways i think this book is the literary heir of Gone with the wind :)
Set in Nigeria of late 1960s, Half of yellow sun, tells you a lot of about Nigeria, a country almost as diverse as ours and the Nigerian civil war, which was almost as gory as our partition. I am not sure if somebody has written a fictionalized account of our partition which matches Half of yellow sun in its fine balance of detail and delight! I have been searching so much for a book like this. May be Cracking India ,the book on which the movie Earth was based upon or Pinjar could come close. Although i have just seen these two movies, haven't read the novels.

5. Indu Sundaresan’s Shadow Princess: Shadow Princess is a novel which i finished very recently, although i liked it a lot, but i could only give it the last place on this list. That doesn't a take away anything from this wonderful piece of art. The novel is very well researched and lush in its description of Mughal India. Apart from that,  Indu does, exactly what i mentioned an author of this genre should do,. She lists down her research sources, clarifies which items are specifically fiction in the book and even gives logic trail of her imagination of these fictional parts. I just felt that the fictional part of this book could have been stronger and little richer. Still i would put it down as one of the best reads in Mughal fiction, a great alternative to Darlymple which requires a lot of patience and never delights at all.

I am sure there are many more in this list and i haven't added many which i didn't find worthy. All these five books are wonderful works of fiction in their own right, it's just that being set in poignant times in the World history is the icing here.
I am tagging some people i know enjoy reading history or fiction. Feel free to add any worthwhile works in the comments. So next time we are searching for an interesting work of fiction that breathes history, we don't accidentally pick up a Dan Brown

P.S I just noticed that three books in this list, have very strong woman characters or have woman protagonists. Probably Jahanara in the Shadown Princess would have been most powerful politically, but all of them - Scarlet in Gone with the wind, Olaana and Kanine in Half of yellow sun and Jahanara were very intriguing and emotionally very strong characters. I guess it is easy to accept and interesting to read intriguing woman characters! ;)

Cross posted on facebook

Monday, April 19, 2010

Poetry and else

I was never good at languages, neither cared much about literature while at school and it was only in college when i  started reading fiction actively.  My mother tongue is Hindi, my mother still teaches Hindi and writes amazing poems,but Hindi poetry eluded me most of my school life. However, if there was ever a curve to represent my love for poetry it must be at its peak around this time and within the past year, a time, which i dreadfully admit has been quite difficult for me. Dreadfully, because of i fear still, if it will end. I had read somewhere that if there would have been no pain and no misery,we would have missed the best things in art. I can't find that essay now, but i remember it ended by saying that if Kafka and Mozart would have always been happy,Gregor Samsa would have never woken up to find himself transformed into an insect and most of world's music wouldn't have existed. I tend to agree to that.

Anyways coming back to the post; i don't know if this is the reason for my new found love for hindi poetry but i truly seem to enjoy it these days. It's not that i didn't understand poetry earlier, its just that the admiration for the words and their depth has been a new phenomenon.Although i still enjoy the poetry most when it is sung, with good music and voice taking the experience of listening to some beautifully written words almost out of this world.  More so, i have been really enjoying the resurgence of good hindi poetry in Bollywood songs.  Below are some mentions of some of my favorite works in different genres. I am not quoting them here or providing interpretations and translations here. There already many of them on web, i am just linking to the ones i found most appropiate.

As far as Hindi mainstream songs with poetic touch are concerned, Piyush Mishra's 'Duniya' from 'Gulaal', Gulzar's 'Dil toh Bachcha hai' from Ishqiya, 'Tu Raja ki Raj Dulari' from 'Oye Lucky Lucky oye', 'Dhan Tan' and 'Kaminey' from the movie 'Kaminey' and finally 'Aaoge Jab tum' from 'Jab we Met' are some of my recent favorites. I am sure there would be many more and i am in no hurry to find them.Serendipity, i feel, is best in cases like these.

Besides these, Harivansh Rai Bachhchan's 'Madhushala' and Kabir's Dohas have been my all time favorites. Kabir's Dohas in particular, are hallmarks of simplicity and profundity. In just two lines, Kabir touches society,philosophy,spirituality and other realities of our existence. A weaver by profession, he literally weaves magic, if you'd ask me. At this point, let me also give you a link to a wonderful site to explore and understand Kabir's Poetry. Rajender Krishnan through Boloji has not only compiled and translated some of Kabir's best known Dohas, he has also delved deep into subtle meanings of the words Kabir employs and also cared to explore the historical background in which these works were created.  Some of my favorite Kabir's Dohas are 'Chalti Chakki' and 'Guru Gun'. This blog has some of Kabir's songs and links to there modern renditions. Indian Ocean's Jhini Re Jhini is one such beautiful rendition of a song by Kabir with an amazing Fusion music.

Madhushala can be found at various sources, but most famous is of course is Amitabh's short rendition as a tribute to his father. I especially love the verse that says, "Pathik Pyaar se peena isko Phir na milegi madhushaala."

Another great site to explore poetry is Audio Poetry. I found that one back in college while looking for a audio rendition of 'Hazaron Kwahishyein'. It has one of most exhaustive collections i have ever seen. One final mention about a poem that i across through a friend's status message on Facebook.It's titled Jeevan nahi mara Karta by GD Neeraj.  Here is the complete text.

There are ofcourse many poems which i read as part of my course studies in school but not many have stayed, although i would have found them interesting then. As i said above, serendipity is best when it comes discovering new art works, may be i'll discover one them some day. Also, don't immediately click on all the stuff mentioned above. Read , take your time, explore some stuff and then forget. And then one day when you suddenly remember about it, try to search for it and find something new. You'll love it more.

P.S. I recently got a random compliment that it is amazing that i have managed to keep this blog alive for such a long time now.Although i accept it has had many long and short comatose periods,but not counting 2009, during which i never blogged, this is the fifth year of this blog. :)

Most of my friends, advertise their blogs at different places in efforts to draw more crowd and seek more recognition for their works, or probably involve more people in the discussion. Whatever be the intention, there is  ofcourse absolutely nothing wrong with it. I remember when i started this blog drawing inspiration from Nikhil, even i loved to have lot of comments on my blog. But after all these years - i don't know if you can call that growing up or being purely lackadaisical -  i am just content enough to put my thoughts here and forget the rest. May be when i am 50, i'd revisit this page to find out what i was thinking during my early quarter life crisis :D

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

How Do i Know?

Last two years or so have been a terror. I don't how much of me has been lost in the process, besides that,so many weeds have grown, that i have almost forgotten myself and my worth. It is almost impossible to know now. Comparisons have become inevitable and have gone out of hand.  Temporary distractions make it up sometimes but then at the end of day there's something that is always wrong. I am not philosophical, i can't practice that mind art or that 'art of living', but yes there are weeds and there are too many.

As i wade through this agnozing wait, i wonder, was all of it ever worth it or if i was ever worth it.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Biopic or a Biographical drama is a significant genre of film making. Some of the most popular and best known movies of our time fall into this category. A Beautiful mind,Cinderella Man, Gandhi,Schindler's List and many more. Most of them have been DVD/video hits or very high grossing movies. There can be several reasons behind their success, simplest that comes to my mind is that these movies are essentially stories of triumph - they inspire us, they give us hope, they make us think and dream beyond the petty struggles of our mundane lives.

I'll discuss here three biopics which i found really interesting. Not from a cinematic point of view ,but a feature of the character that stood out for me. I normally detest writing philosophical stuff only because i know i am very bad at it,which is almost an understatement because i also know i am a bad writer too, and it precisely makes no sense to attempt a combination of two. So as i try to discuss these characters/personalities below, i will try to be as pragmatic as possible and stay away from any kind of sermonizing.

Let's start with Natarang. Natarang is essentially not a biopic,by that i mean, it is not based on a true story as per known facts. It is the story of a village farmer, Gunavantrao Kagalkar or "Guna", who aspires to be a Tamasha or a theatre artist in his life. He has always wanted to play the role of king and often behaves like one in his normal life; he has a good built and a kind of swashbuckling demeanor. Apart from that he is shown as a versatile artist - who writes, sings,can direct and act really well. Circumstances, lack of resources and an unusual turn of events land him in a precarious situation. He has an opportunity to start his own theatre company.However there's a catch, he has to take up the challenge of playing a Nachya or a 'Pansy'[1] artist,basically a man who performs a woman's role. Imagine,for a man who aspires to play a king, to take up the role of a pansy artist. He has to learn the demeanor of woman,lose a lot of weight and built, and face several other difficulties. I'll let you explore all that in the movie; but the point that stands out here is often our destiny lands us in a situation where we are forced to make choices which are diagonally opposite or much below our aspirations/expectations. Implications of all that,as i said before,fall in a domain which is beyond me.

Next is Patton,based on the life of General George S Patton.What stands out for me in Patton, is portrayal of man who has always believed in his destiny. Patton had several problems most of which can be crudely classified as behavioral. Although one of the best generals of armored warfare,Patton's career was marred by several controversies,mostly due to his outspokenness. At one point he served under people who were once his juniors in army(Omar Bradley and Eisenhower). But i guess Patton, as he is portrayed, more or less accepted his weaknesses, although never really succeeded in overcoming them. However, he believed he was destined to achieve something great as a general and he did that. Initially when the allies landed at Normandy he was not part of the battle but when he got his chance, he proved his mettle. Third army,which he commanded, engaged far more divisions of the enemy in far less time as compared to any other division of US army.At one point during the Battle of bulge ,he removed some corps of the third army from an already fighting position and turned them abruptly north to relieve another division of US army stranded at Bastogne. You can read more about it here,watch the movie,or better still read parts of his diary here.

Finally I'd like to discuss Ed Wood based on the life of Edward Wood, Jr; a very different case.Ed wood loved to make movies.Period.Nothing more to it; he neither had great movie-making skills to boast of nor did he always have sufficient means to them.Most success stories one comes across, are of people who became champions of their field by virtue of their skills or sometimes by chance.Wood was different,i'd like to say he was a classic case of, "I'd-like-to-live-my-life-the-way-i-want,do-hell-with-the-world". Big deal,you'd say,but isn't that a classic case of "Stay hungry,stay foolish".To quote from his page on Wikipedia.
[..]Wood made a run of cheap and poorly produced genre films, now humorously celebrated for their technical errors, unsophisticated, large amounts of ill-fitting stock footage, idiosyncratic dialogue,eccentric casts and outlandish plot elements[..]

In an essay paying homage to Wood in Incredibly Strange Films, Jim Morton writes: "Eccentric and individualistic, Edward D Wood Jr was a man born to film. Lesser men, if forced to make movies under the conditions Wood faced, would have thrown up their hands in defeat."
Back home Kanti Shah would probably come close.

That's it,a very long post,i'd say. I composed it over few days,writing for few minutes everyday. And that's all ,that's one for the season, no more philosophical or even semi-philosophical posts from me for some time.

[1]I have used this word because i couldn't find a proper translation for the Marathi word Nachaya. This word was used in movie subtitles,although, i guess it doesn't exactly mean the same.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Civil Wars

Civil wars can also be cataclysmic in the extent of damage they cause,particularly the ones which involve secession of a small part of a country which claims its independence. The damage caused, albeit isolated to the small secessionist state, is total, wiping out almost everything. I just finished reading Half of yellow sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, centered around the events of Nigerian civil war of late 1960s. This was first novel i read that was set in Africa and the first one after i resolved to pick up of novels from different countries and continents which i haven't touched till now.

I saw Nigeria of 1960s as a country with lot of diversity,grappling with post imperialistic problems which combined with ethnic tensions actually led to the civil war. I feel had India not been partitioned after independence, we might have gone through a similar civil war which would have been even more devastating considering the size of the nations involved and it would have also ended with two separate nations. Also with this context,one might realize,how important were steps taken against Khalistan and how severe can be the Naxalist problems of our country.

Adichie's work is very humane and involving in its approach, to say the least. It is not just a compilation of events, but a thickly woven story,told from three different view points. This combined with the fact that this was an hitherto unknown part of history to me, made the novel an interesting read for me.

There are a lot of countries today that are grappling with with political instability or conflicts with neighboring countries; the world death toll due to human conflicts it seems, was never higher. An argument against this can simply be that in today's information age we are more informed about other parts of the world and hence perceive that death toll today is high. May be the 19th and 18th century were as tumultuous,but because of the communication gaps,the extent of damage at any moment was never perceived to be that big.

P.S I decided to carry on with the blog and will try to post alteast more than once a week. However, i don't expect myself to spend a lot of time posting,hence most of the posts would be short,on-moment-types and as you can read above,hardly structured.

Friday, February 05, 2010


And then suddenly it dawned upon me, that all this while when i thought i was sailing on the sea,failing storms that seemed violent and merciless,i was only trapped in a cocoon that i built when i thought i was awake.The parallax was rather severe.

This blog has been inactive for a very long time now and i hardly see that changing for some months to come. Every time i think about deleting it,the thought that it often serves as a repository of sorts for me,prevents me from doing so.The seahaven should have a door.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sacred Games

Below is a post of mine in one of the orkut communities in a thread related to Sacred games. I had initially of thought of writing this directly on my blog but thought it will be better to put it in discussion.

I have just started reading "Sacred Games" and it has been amazing till now. The central characters of the book, Ganesh Gaitonde (an underworld don) and Sartaj Singh(a police inspector) are very interesting. A distinctive point about the style is the use of Indian languages, especially local slangs, without hindrances like italics, footnotes etc. This adds an extra punch to the narrative.You can read more about the book including reviews here[].
There's another point I’d like to raise in concern with the book, which I would like to generalize to any work of function.There is a context in the book, where a police officer(Sartaj Singh) is searching a woman's house, trying to seek out some clues as well as her black money. Here author writes and I quote,"...Hema Malini and Meena Kumari and a half-dozen other heroines had been caught with cash in their loos."
I am not in any way concerned about Meena Kumari or for that matter any heroine's image albeit I did try to verify this, at which I was unsuccessful.
The point I'd like to make is does fiction writing give the author a free hand to disparage any celebrated figure, living or dead. Also has writing something sensational or something outrightly deriding become an easy way to publicize your work. This second part doesn't concern "Sacred Games" because it was published way back in 2006,and I don't think Vikram Chandra had any such intentions.
I personally take a lot of pride in calling myself a libertarian but I do feel use of such techniques like unnecessarily maligning somebody,a little repulsive.Any thoughts on this?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The reality across the street

One of the major things I miss from my college is a group of art(read bakar) enthusiasts with whom I could discuss those sudden bolts of lightening which came while reading a good work of fiction or say a wonderful movie which I had just seen or may be plain politics. You could always reason out saying that with web 2.0 I could always use my blog or the orkut communities to discuss with like minded people,still nothing can substitute could those wonderful discussions over a single suttah.Besides I can't see myself churning out posts over every single flashes that come up with the fad of the writing skills that I possess.

So while I was reading,Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games it occurred to me with the kind of cocoon I am ensconced in, my only sources of information being the incestuous media and works of fiction /non-fiction which are spurned out of some years of ground research;I may never the know the current reality on the other side of the street,unless I accidentally happen to cross it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Of Books and Shores

There is a wonderful feeling of happiness and satisfaction alike that arises once you start loving the book you're reading,although it has never once happened with me in succession.Mostly after reading a 'good' book I end up reading one which I label as 'bad'. But liking a book or for that matter any piece of art for me depends largely on my mood. It is like the weather on the shore that always determines whether I love the sea or not and take the plunge.

In any case Kafka on the shore is good book,go take the plunge.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

5th Asian Film Festival

The 5th Asian Film festival kicked off yesterday in pune with the screening of 'Poet Of Wastes' by Mohamad Ahmadi.

The festival is supposed to cover the best of Asian cinema in recent years along with tributes to directors like Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman.

Poet Of Wastes:

Poet Of wastes is a story of an optimistic young man in Iran who dreams of becoming a poet,but due to lack of opportunities and rampant unemployment ends being a street cleaner. In course he gets involved with an old poet,whose life is in danger and a lonely woman who is desperately trying to get visa to leave the country after the death of her fiance.

The film scores well on cinematography with some great shots like the one below.The scene shows the girl,disappointed,returning from the embassy, while saber(the protagonist) waits for her on a street that is covered with leaves. As she enters,saber cleans the path by sweeping the leaves right and left,and all the while looking down with his face filled with joy.

The film also highlights the major problems of the country like unemployment,Brain Drain and lawlessness.

There's a conversation between the poet and Saber which goes like this:

Saber: I know you are a poet.Are you famous?
Poet: Don't you see my photo on milk bottles,I am a cow. I am a cow which eats grass and gives milk,and has stayed here while all others have left.

Overall the movie is pretty decent and much better than what bollywood is offering these days.

P.S: The Festival poster at top is of the movie Baran by Majid Majidi,hope to see that movie during the festival.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Of Widows and Puppets

Long time ago there was a widow, with a very famous black and white centre parting, a widow who was once called a witch and a mother of a country, a mother who was probably controlled by her son, and a son who didn't want other men to have their sons. The widow installed a Cambridge educated puppet on the nation’s highest post.

The widow, who was mother of a country, with the help of the puppet, gave birth to a child. The child saved her seat and gave her lot of power over her other child, the country.

Today there’s another widow, a widow who was once called a goddess and a freedom fighter, a widow who before becoming a widow was married to a widow’s son and a widow,who unlike her mother widow,once gave her seat to get power. The widow today, is in process of creating and repeating history. She is installing another puppet on the country's highest post.

But this widow, also Cambridge educated, with a black and almost white centre parting, is cleverer. She doesn’t have a seat but she has strings and puppets, so although she has gained everything, she’ll never lose anything.

Perhaps a lot of the older widow has leaked into the present widow and a lot of Salman Rushdie's midnight's children has leaked into me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Long Tail effect!

This is something very interesting.The Long tail effect has some mind boggling applications,a theory which proves the amazing potential of Web 2.0 and how fast it is growing.

This page provides a better explanation in the context of web 2.0 than wiki. Come to think of it, sometimes when it comes to providing explanations of tech terms wiki isn't that great probably.

Also check out Netflix.Seems quite an amazing business strategy.Why isn't this in news :(

Currently reading: Kafka on the shore.Got to read something by Samuel Beckett,probably this.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Good things that have happened to me recently

1. I finally managed to see Children of Heaven by Majid Majidi.I am yet to come across such phenomenal display of acting by ten year olds. Simple script, absolutely wonderful direction.

2. I finally found Salman Rushdie.

3. Rushdie is getting better as I read.

4. I am probably losing weight :D.

5. Trying to kick the butt

Friday, June 01, 2007

Whose 'about me' is that anyways

Found during one of many random profile hopping on orkut.

about me: check out my testi's....i think thats enough...:)

Can you guess the sex?.

Fine, I am being a pervert and you cannot read Rushdie without breaks,but I almost damaged my spleens laughing on that one!

Why short forms please?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Movies that I am dying to see.

I think this post will be edited and re-edited for many days to come. For some days I have been thinking of making a list of movies which are rated high on imdb(greater than or equal to 8) or which are criticall acclaimed with a great plot and are not in imdb top 250. Most of these films are foreign.

Another subset of this list would really be the movies I am dying to see,dying because I am not downloading and can't do that for atleast 2 months now. Also there is no sweet bastard in this world who would do that for me. Third and may be the foremost reason is that I have ample of time courtesy Daler Mehndi,who is going to sing in my college;my lack of ambition and bad career prospects( I am surely joining IT now).

ok,Lets start with the list,as I said this post might remain at the top for some days to come as I don't think its feasible for me to finish the list in one go. Secondly I am not giving any links and some foreign titles have been translated into English. Films which are there in top 250 have a star against them and lastly the list random and not sorted. The serial numbers do not signify any kind of rating.

1. La Dolce vita
2. La Strada
3. Nights Of Cabiria *
4. Hidden Fortress *
5. Dersu Uzala
6. Yojimbo *
7. The Deer hunter *
8. Raging Bull *
9. Chungking Express
10. Fanny and Alexander
11. Through a glass darkly
12. The sea Inside
13. A man for all seasons
14. Ulysses' Gaze
15. Band of Outsiders
16. Breathless
17. Farewell My Concubine
18. Wild Strawberries *
19. Barry Lydon
20. Singing in the Rain *
21. The Bicycle Thief
22. The virgin Spring
23. Meghe Dhaka Tara
24. Children Of Heaven
25. Day for Night( God French new wave)
26.The Exterminating Angel( Surrealistic cinema,when?)
27.Aguirre: The Wrath of God
28.Phantom of Liberty
29. Katha( I have seen parts of this movie,want to see it again)

Thats it I am tired as of now,more later.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sophie Scholl- The Final Days

I just saw Sophie Scholl- The Final Days. Throughout the movie I just found myself saying two things; What grit and what clarity of thought.She was of my age(21) when she was executed;I wish I could have that clarity of thought.

Two things come to my mind,one related to something I read in a review at Imdb. I can't site the source but the comment goes as follows.
True heroism, like martyrdom, must be imposed by fate, not sought.

I don't know about heroism but true martyrdom should be imposed and not sought for personal glory.

The last rebel movie I saw was 'The motorcycle Diaries". Although it was a good movie,but I didn't like it much because I can't convince myself to follow the cult of Che` Guevera. True revolution,I believe, always seeks peace and never violence. Sophie Scholl I guess would now stand as the best rebel movie for me till I come across a better one.

This quote truly sums up the reason why I revere her. Source [wikipedia]

Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on February 22nd, 1993 that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th Century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I don't know why."
I also wanted to draw a comparison between a scene at the end of the movie and a scene at the end of an Indian movie called 'The legend of Bhagat Singh',based on life of Bhagat Singh,but I after I had written most of the post,my gem of a pc restarted and I had to write from the last auto draft position.

Anyways to sum up Sophie Scholl is much more humane and less melodramatic. It focuses more on Sophie's believe in her ideas and her conscience.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Boy doesn't he look like a film maker,thats Jean Luc Goddard,one of the greatest in the French New Wave cinema.

And I am stuck here with mid-sems now,haven't seen any of his work :(

Thought of applying to FTII yesterday :P.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I finally managed to see Patton and I knew I won't be able to write a review for the movie even before the first half was completed. I don't know why but I haven't been able to review movies which touched me;movies like Ran,Pather Panchali,Nuovo Cinema Paradiso and now Patton. Yesterday during my NMIMS gd,quoted Ingmar Bergman.Here's the quote

Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.

Variant translation: Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.

I think in some way I am experiencing,what he thought.

About Patton only thing I would say is, that George C Scott is brilliant,I loved him in Dr.Strangelove and he has exceeded my expectations in this one.

Although George S Patton might kick me for this or might smile in acknowledgment but I guess its good to keep your mouth shut,when you are not good at it.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I was never through with giving stars to movies,never understood them and those reviews in times.Anyways I just saw Eklavya,here's a small review.Eklavya by the way is a character in the Mahabharata.

Shot in all splendor and awe of Udaipurit is a treat to eyes,with modern film making techniques and some graphics adding the final touch .Good editing and some great cinematography make movie the technically very sound,but the catch in movie making is that scripts and plots are its basic foundation and eklavya's script is pretty trite for that matter.

But Vidhu Vinod Chopra is not a man you could just write off so easily, he definitely is a brave filmmaker I would say. There are two brilliant scenes in the movie which I'd would like to talk about, although as I had already mentioned the movie itself is quite a treat to the eyes. There's a scene where Eklavya shows his magic with accuracy,when throws his dagger to cut a tinkle bell tied to pigeon's legs without hurting the pigeon and catches it when it falls back,doing all this while he is blind-folded.Pigeons have long been in Chopra's movies,may be from parinda.

The second one is the dark scene where Eklavya avenges the death of his Rana and there's absolute darkness in the hall for three minutes,experimentation like that is definitely commendable.Of course finally just one song is a great relief,a transition I hope to see in more hindi movies.

I am not too gung-ho about Amitabh's performance,I was watching Toshiro Mifune's acting in Rashomon again today before I went for the movie,though it would be incongruous to compare the two performances, I would say I don't find anybody in our industry who can come up with a performance like that. Amitabh surely sets high standards in Indian film industry but after watching so much of world cinema,I don't rate this one as something out of this world.

As for eklavya I would say go see it once,the shots look good on big screen,but dont expect too much out of the script.

By the way just for sake of mentioning, now that I have started devoting pretty less time to blogging and as writing is not something that comes to me naturally I know my posts wont make any great pieces of literary work. If blogging is to serve purpose , it would be to help me refine and collect my thoughts and probably serve a future reference to me,of what I have done in my life.

Just came across this weird but brilliant photograph by Philippe Halsman based on painting by Salvador Dali.This photograph was in someway an inspiration for the poster of silence of the lambs.The butterfly in the posters for the movie appears to have a human skull at its center. However, upon close inspection, this "skull" turns out to be at least three naked women (clearly seven in some versions of the poster),much similar the photograph by Halsman.Another great photograph by him is portrait of Einstein looking very sad and this one of Monroe jumping, from his famous series on celebrities.