Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dishum Dishum

Quintessentially, fights in movies are nothing new and most Indian movies need atleast one 'stunt' scene.
Fight scenes usually play to the masculine need to show power and while most Hollywood movies deliver their fisticuffs very convincingly, almost all Indian movies are a departure from all logic and laws of physics.

What amuses me the most is when I see a fight sequence in a Malayalam movie from yore.
Any keralite worth his coconut will know Jayan, a Movie star of yore. With his unique style of acting and speech I would call him the Marlon Brando of Mollywood.
And in many movies from the late 80's and through the 90's, the hero would inevitably make a mash potato of the villain(s) single handedly. Not that I think the Hero should not have done that, or that I am sympathetic towards the villain. But what got me is how the director would think we would believe in a fight when inspite of much bashing up, the dhoti (lungi) of the hero or the shirt of the villain does not tear or come undone!
C'mon! I avoid situations where I have to wear a lungi/mundu just because I have a huge phobia of exposing my modesty. I remember wearing one to a 'Ethnic day' celebration in college. I had to wear a swimming trunk and loop a belt around my waist just to reassure myself.
But what the heck, these guys in movies don't even need to retie their lungi between all the fights!
Every fold and tuck is neatly in place, after 20 cinematic minutes of fights. And the shirts? Not a button comes off?
Where do they make such clothes? I need some.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realise that this is all make believe, and I really enjoy the comic relief in many of the fight sequences in Comedies. But give us more power to the punch, Mr Stunt Director.

Life is filled with so many serious stuff and Cinema is supposed to transport us far from the mundane realities of life into another world where the fine line between a punch and a pow is blurred with a dishum.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Will Beg for Wealth

A common sight at any traffic light stop worth its salt, as soon as the lights turn red you'll find an army of beggars, slick salesmen selling the latest fad toy and a couple of eunuchs.

Squeezing between cars, dodging the 2 and 3 wheelers that grind to a halt, they knock on tinted glasses peering inside, tug at your trousers and tap on your hands.
All begging you for your attention and a few coins.

What bothers me is how we treat these people.
Of the 14 years that I have been in India, I have seen many many beggars. The number of beggars seem to  have exploded in the recent weeks! Victims of Inflation? I don't think so.
Because they hardly look like the kind of people who would have too much to worry about. Their work hours are highly flexible, they can call in sick and if they do then they get more money, they take their comfort breaks whenever they please and they don't have to bother about any promotions. They get to travel and if they look miserable and horrible, then thats a bonus.

They don't need to worry about unwanted pregnancies because having a miserable looking child tightly hugged in their arms is an added advantage. I wonder where most of them get the feeding bottle that has what appears to be half filled (always) with milk.

Skills? They need to have very minimal verbal skills but excellent mind reading capabilities.
Because I've noticed that in the first 5 seconds that they look at you, they will figure out if you are the gullible type who will fall for their 'misery' and fish for a coin out of your pocket or if you are the hard hearted creature that is not worth their pitch.
I am the second type. Although I am not hard hearted, I shake my heart in the general direction of the individual and they take the cue. Some are persistent and I've noticed that this happens only if there is a female member present with me. Excellent psychological profiling, I must admit.

However, I do notice them. As a habit, I enjoy reading the thoughts of absolute strangers and these beggars, many of who are regulars at the traffic stop at Brigade road seem emancipated yet if you look at them while they are having their lunch or between work (which is when the lights are green) then you'll not see a tinge of sadness.
For many of us, who can have their lunch only at times that are scheduled by our Managers, these people seem to be having it easy. They don't need to wait for the end of the month for payday. If you ask me, I'd say many of these people are richer than any of us. With so much income coming in and almost zero expences, heck, you need to tax these people !

Some of them carry a crutch and feign a limp. What a scam!

Many of them are victims of circumstance. People who shouldn't be there in the first place. People who just want a lot of your money in their pockets.
But who among us isn't a victim of fate and circumstance?
We all have disabilities. Some of us have problems being committed to their partners and spouses, some of us have problems excelling at work, some of us have problems emoting to our loved ones and then there are some of us who will struggle all our lives to achieve the Great Indian Dream.

If people who are not poor but find ways to feign poverty to gain sympathy and thereby our money, would you call them beggars or con artists?
With a action of the hand that simulates eating, our beggars have almost perfected art of living off our sympathy. Kids are a commodity. Handicapped? Excellent. Couple that with the rags, the dried streaks of tears and the malnourished kids that are tied so tightly to the lady, that if not hunger, suffocation will surely kill 'it'. What is happening of that child when he/she grows up? Ordinary people fortunate to afford good health care are reeling with the effects of pollution, global warming, inflation and corruption. What about these kids, who are also our future citizens?
We are slowly but surely chewing our own tail.

When there is so much charity going around and with so many more people giving, why are there so many beggars in the streets of India?
I have seen ordinary people living in squalid slums and dilapidated houses, with little or no money (saved or earned) but with integrity and self respect that disallows them from begging.
With a burning desire to earn a respectable living, they strive to get ahead in life. And sometimes, more often than not their descendants live a better life.

Our inclination for handouts and free stuff, our aversion to anything that resembles hard work and the lack of vocational training that is competitive enables beggars to breed, both in literally and otherwise.

Very few nations are free from beggars but when a foreigner talks and reminisces about India, the beggars are surely going to be one of the sore sights. Of course gathering all of them and 'disposing' them off away from our sight is also not the thing to do. But we need to radically change the way we think and act.
Discourage begging. Encourage entrepreneurship. Provide free health care (Put all our Tax Rupees to better use). Ofcourse we can never wipe off poverty from India, but we can certainly make our Race a lot less notorious.

Next Week, I take on the Eunuchs of Bangalore! Yay!

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