Monday, April 30, 2007

Cant we get original ? Rip-off or reverse-engineered ?

Before making my decisions .. I did a quick reverse check .. Would Hollywood be plagiarising Hindi Movie Titles into theirs ??? Yeah and this is what I got which came closest to a rip-off (with some 'slight' modifications in their titles ) . Jiyo aur Jeene Do (1969) and Live and Let Die (1973) . Certainly they were 'inspired' by us ! ;)

Now there is more .... Jeeo Aur Jeene Do (1982 ) ( a reverse rip-off ) ( Jitendra and Reena Roy ) should not be confused with the Sailesh Kumar, Tanuja one .( 1969 ) ... How many more to come ?? Am still hunting for interesting rip-offs. Do you have any submissions ?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Free Write #18 - Regret

Another bout of depression and old memories. This time, it was more intense ... the emotions sunk deep into his heart ... the venom slowly dripping into his system .. never was it more painful than now ... He bit down the pain .. closed his eyes and let the moment pass ... It was so very painful.. He wept. He so wished she was near him.

Wisdom suggested silence ... But inside he knew it was not the time to be wise... sometimes following your heart is the wisest thing to do. Regret is .. hell on earth - He wouldn't have agreed more. Regret- the uninvited guest who comes in the wrong time.

He remembered the first time he met her. It was the same. Silence. Uncanny silence. Silence was painful then. Silence still is painful tonight. All those three years passed in front of him like a flash.

Its the primal instinct of every man to go for the best ... So did he, three years ago. There was, however, no instincts working in favour of him tonight. He was just another animal happy to have survived the temporary onslaught of irrationality.

Sighs, Regrets and Self-pity. Enough.
He poured away the drink and went to bed. It is never too late to start again. Sleep. Tomorrow will be another day.

Let bygones be bygones ...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Bollywood ending

I dont hate bollywood movies .. I just hate the way they end.
But then again looking at the 150 minutes of adventure, emotion, music, sex and drama packed celluloid life, it is pretty good a bargain for Rs.80-100 . Looking back, it is important to get it all perfect and happy at the end of the movie .. because as we know, it is difficult .. or almost always - impossible in real life. So I started watching the lesser known Bollywood movies, lest I should end up totally incapable of enjoying and appreciating the simple joys of life. Soon I grew bored of them, boredom grew into contempt, contempt into revulsion and further into hatred. ( Iam not a Hollywood movie evangelist either)

I hate the way movies glorify violence. I hate the way they bring in a perfect ending to every single two-something-hour episode. I hate the way they portray a wrong image about life. I hate the way they tell you that life is fair and everything ends well. I hate them because they say that good always triumphs over the evil. I hate them because they mix the emotions so well that people love to feel emotionally vulnerable.

For a moment I kept aside my prejudices and gave a fair look into these movies .. Maybe there is something in them that make people want for more. What makes Indian cinema uniquely different ? And why hasn't the essential 'formula' never changed over the ages ?

a) Songs in Indian Cinema
More than an additional source of revenue for a movie, the songs that come with the movies are more of a historical residue. ( Songs featured from the time man began to speak in the movies. ) There is a song for every occasion- be it a funeral, birthday, festival .. or my favorite - the judaii scene. It will definitely take another research why Indian movie goers cannot live without 5 songs in a movie. But for these songs .. there would never have been a better teen pass time called Antaakshari - What better way to entertain yourself when you are on a four hour journey with 3 girlfriends of yours ? ;)

b) The catchy dialogues ( usually re-used a hundred times)
These can also be used as a quick guide to understand the context if you have missed the previous 3 minutes of the movie.

"Mein tumharey bachey ki ma banne wali hu" ( usually accompanied by very loud background music .. )
context : The duo have an illegitimate affair and the lady is pregnant , .. usually the guy is unwilling to marry and the lady is unwilling for an abortion.

"Kanoon kay hath bahut lambey hothey hein " -

context : The much wanted criminal is finally nabbed by the cops ( can go upto 25-30 years of chase and being in the hit list). The scene might usually be that of an old but influencial and powerful criminal ring leader being handcuffed by a very law abiding and 'clean' policeman with 3 or 4 constables overlooking , and old Mahindra jeep in the background. This might be soon after a bloody confrontation between the two sides ( usually with lots of bullets zipping across and the death of a couple of cops )

"Kuthey ... Mein thera khoon pee jaonga"
Attributed to Dharmendra??. The next scene is definitely going to be violent.
Another reason why the dogs in India ( esp North India) are malnourished.

Tumney Is Khandaan ki izzath ko mitti mey mila diya.
Literary translation : ( You have mixed the Family izzath ( supposedly a strong binding agent ) - with the local sand. ( Didnt you know the chemical formula for the binder was a family secret ?? .. you duffer !)

Yeh Shaadi kabhi nahi ho sakthi .
context :
1) either the rich son tells his dad about his intention to marry a poor girl. ( or vice versa ) or ...
2) during the muhurat of the wedding, some old nobleman dives in to the wedding scene and just as the bride is about to be garland'ed' .. he shouts ... "Nahiiii .. Yeh Shaadi nahi ho sakthi" ( everything stops and the camera zooms in to the elderly mans face )

c) The length of the movie.
Take this : Sholay was 3 hrs 25 minutes .. Lagaan was 3 hrs and 40 mins and LOC Kargil was 4 hrs 15 minutes !!!!!!
Do we really need a 3+ hour escape from reality to entertain ourselves .. really? But looking through the list of the longest movies, I get consoled that not a single Indian movie features in the 10 longest movies. ( longest being a Chinese movie , running time : 27 hrs ! )

d) Absolute lack of variation
Barring the occasional diversions from the norm, we have our 'ready-made-templates' for the actors - Movies are made for the actors. Sometimes the story lines are made with some actor in mind. Can there be a Hrithik Roshan movie where he does not have a dancing number ? Johnny Lever cannot handle ( never ever ) a serious role. Pran is always a villain. Sunny Deol is always angry and hot blooded.

But then again ... an Industry as big as a nation, watching a Hindi movie over the weekend is not that bad an idea.

Trivia :
Of the top 20 All time earners in Bollywood ( adjusting inflation) , there were only 3 movies made post 2000 . - Gadar, Dhoom 2 and Munnabhai-2

Friday, April 27, 2007

Eyes so Deep

I saw an ocean in your eyes
And an island in your heart
I sailed all day and dreamt all night
Only to find a barren soul
I will never look into those eyes again
I will never look into those eyes again

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Public Paparazzi

Did you see the latest offering by rediff to woo in more committed readers ?
Send in your pictures with celebrities and they will feature on this page of rediff ..
Its definitely a novel idea and Andy Warhol's idea of the 15 minutes-of-fame time-contracted to the "three seconds of fame" draws realization among the indian readers.

This one pic definitely caught my eyes .. Salman Khan .. and no surprises if he poses for a candid picture bare chested ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Do I look like a Mallu ? No … you sound like one.


I base my observations on a few people I know that I often can relate to as ‘quintessential mallus’ ( including me ) . Any semblance to any other ‘mallu’ alive shouldn’t be taken as marks of offense/insult. Garv se kaho hi tum mallu ho. ( apologies to BJP : Garv se kaho ki tum …. )

A scientific approach to finding some answers

Recent turn of events in my life, when some one notices the occasional nasal tones ‘in some particular vowels and syllables’, when I use English as a mode of verbal communication, has set me to (sit down and) think about why only Mallus are assaulted for their innate 'abilities' to talk from their nose and accentuate on certain vowels .

French and German accents are considered sexy. ( for that matter Eastern European accents too ) . British/Australian accent is a turn on. American is real. Chinese as natural. A north Indian accent is more likely to be dismissed as the “Indian norm”. Even the ‘horrible’ Bengali-English accent is not as suspiciously or menacingly looked (down?) upon as the Mallu-English accent.

What makes Malayalam as a language different ? And where does the difficult-not-to-miss Mallu accent originate from ?

The peculiar case of extra vowels .

English has 5 vowels and 21 consonants
Hindi : 11 vowels and 35 consonants.
Tamil : 12 vowels and 18 consonants
Bengali : 14 vowels and 29 consonants

While Malayalam stands out distinctly with
16 vowels and 37 consonants !!! ( Iam wondering if there are any other Indian language with this many vowels or consonants !)

Does the extra vowels hold a reason for their nasal influence ? ( More research needed before I come to a conclusion)

Or could it be that the two special vowels (/äu/ and /ai/) taken from Sanskrit hold the key ??

The English influence on Mallu “expats”

Any Mallu who is not brought up in Kerala has to have a non-mother tongue which invariably becomes his first language ( and which is often English ). On the other hand, for a quintessential mallu brought up in Kerala, it is definitely Malayalam . English features as a very distant second language. So they are trained to use those difficult vowels from age Zero. Probably the first few vowels did contain the genetic modifiers .

Adding to the general indifference shown by Mallus towards the knowledge of their own language, not knowing how to read and write in Malayalam is rather considered not as a sign of disgrace but an essential factor contributing to your “urban-ness”. ( I learnt these two soon-disappearing-art at a very later stage in my life … with very conscious effort by finding a teacher during spare saturdays and sundays and taking me over 3 years.)

Quick Linguistical Discrimination Test

1. A mallu will have trouble telling “Roam in Rome” ( essentially sounds the same for him) ( Ref : Plaint of a Mallu )
2. A mallu will be immediately stared upon when using these words - College , Lorry, Omelet, Orange, Onion.
3. A monkey is sometimes pronounced Mangi.
4. Queen ….. is sometimes Kyuun .
5. Gulf is Gelf. ( for anyone who has gone to Dubayi )

Future Plan

Some day I plan to write an intelligent software which asks you to dictate few words / phrases and then calculates the obliqueness from the normal accent and locates you geographically with the help of your accent. ( The software will ‘jemb’ into ‘conglusion’ if it’s a Mallu taking the test. )

Cross references

To attribute unique accents to Mallus is not just biased but criminal . It exists all through the Indian subcontinent.

- Bangalis say “God Shave the Queen”
- For 'Andhrites' and people from Orrissa/Bihar, there is no ‘z’ there is only ‘j’
( A compressed file is a JIP file not a zip file.)
- thirty is thirrtty for a north Indian .

and did you forget the Bangalore English ?? so soon ?

As I always write … a quick and dirty way to escape these nuances in accent is to
‘roll the ‘r’s and flatten the ‘t’s.

To end it all with a Mallu Joke …

Why did the Mallu cross the road ??
-Simbly .

Articles worth reading :
Spot the Mallu, anywhere by K. BALAKRISHNAN ( very essential research material ;) )

Wisdom Blocked and wisdom Blogged. ( references )

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Free write #34 - The two lovers

And then they were lying beside each other staring straight onto the heavens like two tired lovers ... softly chanting each other's names ...
It sounded like a litany ... but every time she whispered his name into his ears, it had that depth of wanting ... it had that depth of craving .. and everytime it was gnawing deep into his heart ...

He knew it was true .. and it was true indeed. He could feel the longing in those words... She wanted to be hugged ... so did he. He moved over to her lips and bit them like a lustful lover, and bit her neck like a hungry hyena sinking its teeth deep into a carcass.

She closed her eyes and tried to live the moment as if something like this would never happen again in her life time. She lived every moment of it. It was ecstasy far beyond words could describe.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Windows for $3.

Microsoft has announced a windows suite ( XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home , Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office and Windows Live Mail desktop ) for $3 as a part of its Microsoft Partners in Learning program (PiL, a $250 million investment) in developing countries across the globe.

What does this mean for the Software world and primarily for Microsoft ?

a) A truly Windows-based-sub-$100 pc is more of a reality with the major chunck of financial burden posed by the costly softwares is removed
b) MS has a renewed push to combat piracy of its costly Windows OS and suites.
c) Software race against their new free goodie giver- Google - over its online Office like doc management tools gets a reasonable look.
d) MS extends its reach to difficult regions of the developing world.
e) subsidy based software sales ( with additional revenue coming from ads inbuilt in software and OS??) becomes a prime mode of sales .
f) Finally, Mr.Gates enhances his philanthropic image.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No Hug, No Kiss ; We are religious fundamentalists !!

Furore over display of physical intimacy?? has rocked the past weeks in Pakistan ( when the tourism minister, Nilofer Bakhtiar, earned a fatwa from radical Islamist mosque for her hugging a French parachute-jumping-instructor ) and in India ( right wing Hindu nationalist party,Shiv Sena burnt effigies of Richard Gere for kissing Shilpa Shetty during an AIDS awarenewss event in Delhi )

This is what the Islamist fundamentalist had to say about the minister hugging the instructor ... "Hugging is an illegitimate and forbidden act and and the minister has committed a great sin .. " .. and this is what Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had to say about the Richard Gere-Shilpa Shetty episode "not at all in keeping with our culture and tradition" (Shiv Sena has demanded the arrest of Gere for "hurting the sentiments of Indians ")

I thought our culture was a very tolerant one ?
Next stop : What will the rightist christian fundamentalist protest against ?? You guess ...

Latest development : (April 26 2007 ) : Arrest warrant issued against Richard Gere . ( court appearance on May 5, 2007 ... )

Bowling for Virginia ?

Univ of Texas ( 1966) ( 16 deaths )
Jonesboro School, AK ( 1998) ( 5 death)
then came Columbine (1999) ( 15 deaths )
now it is Virginia Tech ( 32 deaths ) ( minus the killer )

All have one common thread .. the shooter just wanted body count and had apparently no particular reason on targetting anyone specific .... and these could have been avoided with stringent guns rule ... ( Most of these firearms where bought from Sears,Walmarts and other places where you buy toys,chewing gums and toilet papers. )

Still the NRA is not budged . Didnt the messiah of conspiracy theories, Micheal Moore, prophesies about more of these kind 5 years ago ?

What US needs is ..
a) Ban on firearms in public places
b) Freeze on selling of weapons in supermarkets and shops
c) Buy back of already existing arms in the community ( as done in Australia, 1996 after the Port Arthur killings)

Virginia Tech Shootings does not give a new dimension to the status quo .. it just thickens the need for something drastic and an end to America's fascination for guns. During the personal computing era it was .. "A PC for every home ...." and now it is a gun in every hand. Whats next ?

Other Readings

Profs from Harvard School of Public Health concluding that Americans feel much safer in a places where guns are not allowed.


[1] The big list of school massacres .
For the timeline of how it happened, Virginia Tech homepage says it all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Smoking out the evil

How many cigars/cigarettes does James Bond smoke ?
Ans : As many as 60 a day !! ( Morland Specials ) [1]

My grandfather quit smoking at the age of 75. He died at the age of 93. He didnt have to use nicotine patches, neither did he sip on cold orange juice everytime he had a craving. It was an overnight decision.

Personally I dont have anything against smokers ... even when I have to be a passive one. People who smoke because they think it is cool, or because smoking gives them a pseudo sense of relief , like a placebo relieving you from headache or because it gives them the three-seconds-thrill, miss the whole point in not smoking ... and would always do it.
People should not be persuaded to give up smoking, they should not be deprived , they should not be isolated ; for that matter nothing is as powerful as they realising it themselves. But they should never be coaxed into smoking.

The WHO even accused the bollywood for 'promoting' smoking as a 'cool thing to do'. Will the bollywood ever budge ? Definitely not given the fact that few of their awards are sponsored by major cigarette making brands.

What is it like to smoke ?? When asked this question , someone told me ... its like the first 3 steps that you take when you are out of a roller coaster ride . ( I asked myself .. how long should the rollercoaster ride last to make you feel like that ?? )

Reasons to give up smoking #47 : It only takes 8 hrs for the carbon monoxide and nicotine content in your blood to reduce to half. [2]

Good news and Bad news : For a regular smoker, it only takes a year for the risk of heart attack to lower by half. But it takes a whooping 15 years for the risk of heart attack to reduce to the same level as that of a non-smoker.

And finally if you are smoker and tried quitting ... here another place where you can find tips to quit smoking .. ( definitely you have seen others like this )

Latest News : April 25 2007 : Govt to set up tobacco regulatory body for effective implementation of anto-tobacco laws. Read More here :
References :
[1] Wikipedia - List of famous smokers
[2] emomtional health - Some misconceptions about smoking

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who will look after your children Mrs. President ?

The 2008 presidential candidates are certainly unique in their own ways . No Macho Texan cowboy image , no heroic last action heroes and no powerful millionaire image.

Welcome to presidential elections 2008 . The year of change. This time the democratic candidates are certainly of a different built – either be the case , we would have a “first” of sorts . – The first woman president or a person from the afro-american roots.

A recent statistics showed that Mrs. Clinton had raised 26 million as election campaign booty for the party while Obama finished a close 25 million. Certainly if these figures could translate themselves into votes, Mrs. Clinton could well be on her way to be the next president of the United States .

But the battling question still remains – Are Americans ready for a female president ?

How is Mrs. Clinton perceived by the conservative Americans especially in the Mid West and Central parts of US ? When motherhood is an asset for a candidate, cold, calculative and ambitious ( often attributed to Mrs.Clinton ) are certainly not a trait that the electorate are looking for a in a woman. ( Though it is treated as a positive attribute when the person in question is a Man. )

What the Americans want is a strong Caucasian – arrogant , assertive , powerful and determined – flamboyant and intelligent MAN – who can carry forward the repressive image that United States today portrays itself to be. – Will Mrs.Clinton be able to wear that hat ? Lets wait .

And iam pretty curious to know what Bill Clinton would be called if Hillary is elected President ... First Gentleman ?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

SEZ – to be or not to be ( Part 1 )

The recent row over SEZs have little to do with real concern for the poor farmers . As they say “its all part of a game – a political game”. A quick look at the pros and cons of the SEZ dilemma that India is facing today -

  • Drawbacks

a) the compulsory land grabbings means lower selling cost for lands for the farmers. These low priced land acquired for “public good” exchanges hands into government agencies , real estate developers and then to private industrial institutions and in this journey, their prices multiply several folds. Undoubtedly somebody in this process makes huge profits. Its just a matter of common sense to understand how much of the cut in profit the farmers might get .

b) With all the investment benefits , tax holidays , import duty cuts and service, sales, center and state tax benefits, think who really makes the biggest benefit ? ( And how will the government (ultimately the public ) ever make a ROI ? ) ( Don’t tell me the increased FDI will eventually work out !! )

  • Why are SEZs needed ?

a) We draw the example from the land policies / government acquisitions and the policies on SEZs in China which have resulted in very rapid progress and development , thrusting China to the super power status . Even after the 234 proposed SEZs come into being , it will take up only 0.1% of the farmlands .

b) These would attract ( mind the word – attract ) an investment worth Rs.300,000 crores and generate 4 million jobs.

With other factors which still need to be thought about and discussed – ( to be covered in a later part ) –have you made up your mind yet ? What is your stand today towards the SEZ ?? Go for it or go against it ?

Monday, April 09, 2007

50 years of Dravidian politics

Trivia : Which is the first democratically elected communitst Government ?

If you said … The EMS government in Kerala , 1957 , … WRONG.

We had British Guiana , 1953 , under Dr. Cheddi Jagan and even before it … San Marino, 1948 …. I used to take pride that I come from the place which had the first democratically elected Commie Government … now the myth is busted and my pride lowered.

However .. it’s the 50th year of the first democratically elected Communist Government in the Country. – Look back 50 years into the past – and you see EMS and the communist government – How ironic … in Gods own country the cimmunists prevail !

50 years of Thalaivar .

Another southern state which has come to limelight is TamilNadu with the DMK supreme K Karunanidhi completing his 50 years in the state Assembly … As always … this too doesn’t go without a controversy . The AIADMK head J Jayalalithaa has appealed to the president not to accept the invitation for the state-sponsored-celebration of the supremo’s 50 years in the state assembly saying “he has actually served only 38 years” … Now the President is in a dilemma .. to come or not to come ?
For the AIADMK it’s a direct question … Mr.President , Do you want a second term ?

Monday, April 02, 2007

My 'sweet' Jesus

Catholic pressure groups have come to picture yet again . This time in NY, to ban the exhibition of Cosimo Cavallaro's 6 foot chocolate statue (90.7kg , 485460 Calories ) of Jesus on the crucifix. ( no crucifix though )

Another similar incident on covering up of human anatomy - The US DoJ spends 8,000 to cover the semi-nude 'Spirit of justice' statue .

What ever happened to freedom of expression ??

"Florentino is so in love with Fermina that he eats gardenias and drinks cologne so that he can know her taste. He becomes drunk on the cologne, and his mother finds him the next morning, in a puddle of his vomit, in a cove of the bay where drowning victims are known to wash ashore" - Love in the time of Cholera