Tuesday, December 31, 2013

While you were gone: November / December 2013

Vanity of vanities.

Life is futile. Case in point - The last 'real' king of the erstwhile princely State of Mysore, art connoisseur and overall pompous guy, Srikanta Datta Wodeyar, passed away after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. This comes a week after he won a hard-fought election at the all powerful Karnataka Cricket Club. For a guy who had seemingly limitless wealth and power, the irony of his end amuses me.

And then when the time comes, we all have to go. Nelson Mandela, arguably the most loved human being on the planet after Mother Theresa, died . And we all mourned. Some in their unique ways. Obama took selfies and we all sat on our moral high horses and tut tuted. Aw c'mon! How many of us can honestly say we haven't done something similar at an inappropriate time?

As Indians, we are used to politicians who speak with their feet in their mouths. After many weeks of seeing Rahul Gandhi in action, we must now appoint him as the head chieftain of our village politics. You want change? You want progressive change? Rahul G is the man!
Don't make him PM, get Modi in power, and have G at the opposition and that could be the start of something good.

Our SC decided to undo any of the good deeds it did over the last year (maybe Santa didn't make it in time) did a double take and put our 'unwanted' back into the dark ages.
Lalu was freed and thanked all for the 'gross injustice that has been undone'. Rabri can now go back to her kitchen.
In one swipe, we have wiped away any sign that we are a free and progressive nation. Rahul might say otherwise, but I doubt if he has the gumption to take initiatives unless we protest.

In an absolute shocking (in a nice way, ofcourse) turn of events, Arvind Kejriwal won the elections at the national Capital and became its newest Chief Minister. That he ousted a chief minister who stayed in power for decades is not the highlight. That he achieved something that was virtually unimaginable just 365 days ago is what gives us the hope that we are not a nation of pushovers.
Kejriwal may not need a certificate from his blindsided rivals, but he got dumped by his former compatriot and that will hurt him for some time to come.
Voters have fought back after years of apathy and this is just the beginning. The torch has been lit and the bonfire is ready. For the first time in history, we are truly ready to be known as a nation of the young who can't wait to set right the wrongs our past has done to us.
We are ready!

But what we are not ready for is when we get stiffed abroad. Ever since 9/11, when Uncle Sam has been suspicious about our curious brown skin and curiouser names. Our celebrities have been fondled at various US airports and we have cried blue murder.
So when an Indian Diplomat was arrested, hand-cuffed and thrown into a cell with murderers, rapists and other white-skinned ruffians, we took offense. And how!

Quick flashback: Devyani Khobragade, acting Consul General and seriously hot PYT, committed visa fraud by misrepresenting facts while hiring a domestic maid from India. She underpaid the maid too and allegedly changed the terms of contract after hiring her.
Well, taken from an Indian context, this is not out of the ordinary. I can name atleast 5 people I know who treat their maids/man-servants worse.
What followed was diplomatic Armageddon. India retaliated so fast that it spun Uncle Sam's head. It was so rare, swift and profound that even our neighbors would've sat up.
What bothers me is how a diplomat from the land of Gandhi, decided to hire a nanny for her children and then treated her as a lesser mortal and how we take offense. See, what rankled our chains is that we are a nation of people where we cannot perceive our middle class being arrested and tried with impartiality. We are so used to being treated with kid-gloves, even when we know we have have done something wrong. Thus the 'anything goes' attitude we are renown for.

And then the skeletons came tumbling out of the cupboard. Apparently, with the way rules were bent during while she was training as a young IFS officer, Devyani is in the league of incredibly powerful Indian women.
Or perhaps we just wanted Uncle Sam to scratch our backs back.
So inspite of breaking the law of the land, and instead of penalizing her, we just moved her to a notch below God. We promoted her to the UN. Aren't we amazing?!

And while we exult our lawbreakers, Kim Jr executes them.
China asserted itself on international waters. Shouldn't come as a shock or a surprise to Americans who have been doing the same for decades since the last World War.

Hrithik Roshan did the split. Van Damme too.

About a year ago, when India was the epicenter of outrage against violence towards women, we all thought it would be the last time, we hear about heinous crimes. Not much has changed. In the months since, we saw grievous criminals go scot-free and others get the wink.

Singapore burned in slow flame. For a city country that seemed so perfect, the riots only proved that people can and will rise against even the most subtle forms of oppression.

For those who have everything in their lives, let's learn to give.

The past year we did have some advertisements that touched our chords, and some hard truths that we have conveniently glazed over..

If you thought education opened man's horizon of thought, think again.
True love? Here's one man's attempt to recreate the magic of his long lost wife
Have some time to kill? Here's the page to be.

Yo Yo Honey Singh, is clearly the flavor of the season. Good for him. And Beiber retired. What?! I know what you're thinking? When did he ever work? Even a semi-trained parakeet could croon better. 


For every blockbuster  Bollywood made, we had two duds (Read Dhoom 3).
For every well dressed celebrity, we had 3 nipple slips and convenient other peeps. 

I hope you all have a responsible New Year eve drinking responsibly, introspecting about your achievements and misses for the year that just passed, ready to accept a new year that is filled with the same hope and promise that every new morning brings.

And while you are at it, here's some food for thought -

Make all you can
Save all you can
Give all you can
Happy New Year, folks!

Monday, December 09, 2013

While you were gone: November / December 2013

'Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country' - JFK.
RIP Madiba

After years of unabated corruption and an economy that is going south faster than Obama's ratings, our unemployed but immensely talented youngsters are finally taking things into their hands.

ATM heists are passe. We now have our youngsters preying on people using the ATM. Earlier this month, a 'well-built young man..' attacked a bank manager when she was using her bank's ATM. She sustained severe head trauma when he attacked her with a machete. He later robbed her and escaped. Last heard, he is still at large. What surprises me are the following -

  1. How is it that CCTV cameras are not monitored real-time?
  2. How is it that we can't nab the culprit? Are we that incompetent? Or are we that impotent?
At the wake of this atrocity, the cops in Bangalore did what they normally do when they have a situation they have no idea how to grapple - Shut Down. Thousands of ATMs across the city shuttered and if you wanted to withdraw money, you were screwed.
But then, unlike bars and discos, ATMs are not something you can keep shuttered. So they opened. And we are none the wiser. ATMs still don't have guards and the ones that have, are senile old men on the wrong side of 60 and can't wield a gun, let alone fire one.
Happy International Men's day, anyone?

Israel was in the cross-hairs again. When will we all accept the fact that blaming Israel isn't going to change anything?
But what changed was - We cancelled the VIP helicopter deal. Big Effing Deal!
O knew that his healthcare website would crash. So tell me this. Is there ANYTHING that he hasn't been briefed on?

And if you were in the Subcontinent, you wouldn't have missed the All India All Hail Sachin bhajjan. And in the great Indian tradition of sycophancy, we tripped over eachother to award Sachin the Bharat Ratna. Seriously!
Next year, the Nobel prize.
But wait, Vishwanath Anand lost to Carlson in a rather tame match. Maybe we must stone his house and ask him to retire.

In our 'Crime This Month' section, we have Jyothi's parents raised a petition to have the juve tried under harsher laws. The SC appears to relent too. Don't hold your breath, though.
Tehelka honcho Tarun Tejpal did a Phaneesh Murthy. Epic mistake.
And out tumbled the skeletons. Some really old. How can we condone 'victims' who make a complaint years after the incident?
Across the Atlantic, Rajat Gupta challenged his $13.9 million fine.
Back home, the Talwars paid the ultimate prize for being what they were - Persistent and unrelenting. Never mind the fact that the CBI once told them they were not even suspects, the SC sentenced them to life in prison. Read 'em and weep, fellas.
And Oh! In a few years, we can also watch their ordeal in 30 mm. And why not. It has all the ingredients for a potboiler - Murder, mystery, sex, incompetent authorities, determined (stone-faced) protagonists and a trial by the people.

Pratibha Patel, arguably the worst excuse for a President, returned all official gifts that she got during her infamous tenure at the Rastrapathi Bhavan. What took her so long?

CobraPost did another sting and this time, unearthed an ugly network of IT companies willing to cultivate the social network for the right price. So that explains a lot of things now.
Bitcoin prices surged past the $1000 mark. Yay!
An enterprising Chinese thief sent 11 handwritten pages of phone numbers from an iPhone that he stole to its owner. Respect!
Scotland will finally be an independent country.
And talking about scot-free, Assange may not face any charges in America. If you ask me, Snowden looks more attractive now.
Uncle Sam, the international moral cop, flexed its muscles against China.
Everytime I think about America's diplomacy with the Orient, I remember 'Beijing 2008', a provocative painting which has been the subject of much discussion.

And the people of 'by-two coffee' went gaga when Starbucks opened its signature store in Bangalore. Okay, can we all settle down, please? Blah!
Delhi and 3 other States went to the polls and the AAP and the BJP packed off the Congress in a reply fitting a stray dog waiting to be euthanized. No offense, Priyanka.

In Bollywood news, Sanjay Leela Bhansali proved that even he can make puke colorful.
Ram Leela is the most expensive (and the longest) anti-dandruff/soft-porn/anti-gun propaganda that struggles to sell the Romeo Juliet story. That the couple kill eachother in the end is the only semblance to the 'adaptation'.
The 'romance' resembles lust, carnal lust. Surely, SLB wanted to capitalize on the real-life chemistry and he sure did. But knowing how Deepika is a gold-digger, this is one (more) on-screen chemistry she will regret in the future.
And Priyanka? She really needed the cash, I guess.
Ranveer, you've got potential. Take our advice and don't waste it!
So SLB, I'd give your 'magnum opus' a generous 1 out of 10 and that's only because you've obviously spent millions on sets. Read a more detailed review of Ram Leela by our guest blogger and movie buff Suparna here.

And so its December! The month of lists.
Stay tuned for 'Ze List 3.0'

Sunday, December 01, 2013

GuestSpeak : Romeo & Juliet : Ruined.

Project: A lousy adaptation of the Romeo and Juliet.

Title: Goliyon ki raasleela-Ramleela

Disclaimer: The character ‘Ram’ in the movie does in no way portray Lord Ram. No animals were hurt in the making, but we’ll show a dead peacock to tease Salman Khan’s taste buds. Evil Mojojo laugh.

No real women were raped or tortured but we’ll show damsels in distress just so we know that it’s India we are talking about and no Bollywood movie has scored well without a woman being irrationally exploited in public. Like, rapists will defile widows too, so there’s something new to watch.

My chores for the day:

  • Sign the most dead actress I’ve seen onscreen who gets ready to do absolutely anything that comes her way for a completely unrelated role in the movie for a dance. An item number. Have her dance to it and annoy my audience. She’s made Pitbull and satisfied him by sitting on his lap but that’s not enough, right?
  • Inane looking people with guns in their hands who shoot anyone who gets in their way. Even a little kid who just pees atop a terrace. “Just shoot at him now! Kill him! THROW YOUR EGO AROUND!”
  • Song.
  • Like every Bollywood movie, we will have a HUGE HOLI celebration! Lots and lots of people will dance in complete synchronization with each other and the air will be coloured in pink and yellow! My lead actress will enter wearing a bra-like something which barely covers anything and MAKE HER RUN. MAKE HER RUN LIKE THOSE BIKINI-CLAD WOMEN IN BAYWATCH! Let her rock that major-Cleave show going on there. She’s done enough by being a party girl in every movie she’s acted in, let me dress her up skimpy in this one too. And NO. Usage of combs is banned in the movie. No.One. Must.Use.Combs. Ram meets Leela, Leela meets Ram. They fall in love. Love at first sight, so romantic. More like LUST at first sight. She must practically seduce him by inhuman bodily gestures, so that at night when he’ll lurk around in her balcony, she can kiss him and almost make love to him.
  • Song.
  • Ah, my boy, Ranveer. Let’s give him a Greek sculpted body, lips that every woman wants to kiss, strong muscular arms and an oiled up chest FOR NOTHING. Just make him jump around like a monkey from terrace to terrace, hang out with his cheap,low-life friends and throw in some porn videos for him to watch to keep him engaged in his nuisances.
  • Song.
  • Song.
  • Song.
  • Song.
  • Yet another song, (WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?)
  • In every, every damn scene must they almost make love. Just touch each other in places and arouse their audience but.must.not.make.love.
  • Must.not.make.love.
  • Ooh Ooh! How could I forget!!! The two will run away, rent a sleazy, skeevy-looking hotel room and almost make love. They will get married and just when he puts sindoor in her scalp, they must kiss. Seal the deal with a long sensuous kiss. How about that? Am I not a genius?!
  • (Dramatic music in the background and temple bells ringing in the distance)
  • Evil Bitch mom strikes!! A loud pompous lady who has her widowed daughter in law take bullets out of husband’s chest with a knife. Every woman, every and every man in her household and under her tyrannous rule must carry weapons. They must show love, pain, sorrow, anger, depression, approval, denial BY SHOOTING THE AIR IN UNISON. Evil Bitch mom dresses up in black, wears heavy jewels, has dreadful bloodshot eyes and manly hands. She must in no way look like woman. Her weakness: Have a child hug her when she’s already caused a lot of collateral damage. Wait. Or I could get some guy to kiss her like Snow Whit was kissed. Way to go, I’m a whizkid with this shit.
  • THEY.MUST.SHOOT.RAM.BEFORE.RAAVAN.IS.BURNT. I am going to write a Ramayana of my own *Pretty Soon* and it’s going to be slick.. The UPites will go completely insane, my movie will gain publicity and Romeo can die.
  • The title can say an ADAPTATION OF THE ROMEO AND JULIET but not even one scene should really be an adaptation. It’s Bollywood. It’s way past Romeo and Juliet. We’ve come a far way. BUT LET’S FINISH IT THAT WAY. Have Leela lock her room, she has her bullet,he has his. Let them make have one last almost-love-making-session, and kill them off.
  • Woohoooooooo! 5 stars! I DID IT! This movie is going to be a sick production. It sure is going to disappoint millions of movie-goers.

The End.


This is a guest post by a budding blogger and avid movie buff - Suparna Havelia.
She describes herself as a very boring person who loves romantic books.

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