Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review of What's Your Rashee..

Sanjeev Kumar had Naya Din Nayee Raat, Kamal Hassan had Dashavatar, and PC has What's your Rashee.. EXCEPT , that PC has not quite learnt her craft enough to be 12 different people - yet.

The story has potential, but lacks the punch required to make it a full feature film. The logic of seeing one girl from each Raashi does not quite... come across.

Harman Baweja has a freshness to his presence that is quite nice. He also, to my humble eyes, appears to be an actor to watch out for. PC is a good performer and a not so good actress. Meaning, she has screen presence, but she does not quite impress as an actress. 12 roles is soooo beyond her current prowess as an actress, that i am surprised she overestimated herself.

The other actors barely get any screen time. Even the characteristics of each raashi dont quite make it to the screen, only the 12 looks of Priyanka. The makeup and the costumes deserve special mention. It is not easy to create 12 different looks for a single person, but the effort is very commendable.

To Ashutosh Gowarikar : Forget about what my rashee is dude, what's your point???

If the idea is to make a slapstick comedy with some socially relevant content thrown in, the socially relevant content works, the pointless comedy does not. Sure, there are guys who want to decide their shaadi on the basis of 12 raashis, but Harman Baweja looks too intelligent to be one of them. And so do we.

Final Rating: Nah. Does not work.

Friday, September 25, 2009

ऐसे ही..

When old favourites come to mind...

आँख से दूर ना हों, दिल से उतर जाएगा
वक्त का क्या हैं, बदलता हैं बदल जाएगा
- a sher that someone very dear told me ages ago

मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ, पल दो पल मेरी कहानी हैं,
पल दो पल मेरी हस्ती हैं पल दो पल मेरी जवानी हैं

कल और आयेंगे नगमों की खिलती कलियाँ चुनने वाले
मुझ से बेहतर कहने वाले तूम से बेहतर सुनाने वाले।
कल कोई मुझ को याद करे, क्यूँ कोई मुझ को याद करे,
मसरूफ ज़माना मेरे लिए , क्यूँ वक्त अपना बरबाद करे॥
- from that famous song.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Review of Dil Bole Hadippa

The ingredients were there, the setting was perfect. And yet, the meal was not. That’s how a chef would describe this film.

Yash Raj Films, good performers. What else do you need?
Apparently, that small little thing called a “Story”.

The other thing that irritated me about this film was the stereotyping of the Punjabi culture. Especially because it came from the people who brought to the screen, one of the best, most subtle depictions of a Punjabi house - in DDLJ.
Rani and Shahid are just not “Punjabi” enough – or perhaps it was a problem of characterization. Obviously, making women in Punjabi hinterland wear Bihari “lehngas” did not help either.

Notes to Yash Raj Films:

  • The theme of “Videsh Vs Desh ki mitti in a Punjabi village” has been done to death. Please!
  • The story of videshi, well to do ladka falling in love with a village belle is ALSO done to death.
  • Not all Punjab villages are caricatures of blue, red and orange.
  • Some of the art direction was VERY flawed. I can point out hajaar mistakes, but let's start with the Baisakhi vaala mela.
  • The theme of girls being as good as boys was superb!! Rani’s dialogue at the end, was great because it was brief and hit home.
  • The moment of the film? When Rani Mukherjee looks at Shahid, midway through the song, and realizes that she is falling in love with him.
  • Shahid is not an actor who usually disappoints in the acting dept. This was a rare occasion. The accent, which was an obvious accessory, was missing. The usual screen presence was also not entirely there. But what was missing the most was the chemistry between the lead pair. Except in moments. When we see Shahid, we only miss Shahrukh Khan that much more..
  • Rani is a fantastic performer and in this film, she has done her best. Expressions, body language, “look” – u name it. This is a Rani we have never seen before. And yet, we do not think Vira Kaur at the end of the film. Looking at her only makes us miss Simran that much more (note – Simran, not Kajol.)
  • Rakhi Sawant is the surprise package of the film. She is really good.
  • The Costumes! Someone please tell the designer that even in dream world, Punjabi women wear Salwar Kameez and Punjabi men wear the Lungi, at least sometimes. Just like clothes made the character of Veer in Love Aaj Kal, the characters in this film are slaughtered by their designer wear.
  • The spoof on Shahrukh and Salman was superb!

The film has its gloriously funny moments. That is the biggest reason to see the film. If Rani's Bikini dance is any part of your inspiration, save your money. Its hazed out and really nothing exemplary.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why exams are a GOOD Idea..

Exams are dead. Long live the Exams.

When one sees what we are doing to the “exam system” – one can only think of this:
  • An idea is not responsible for its abuse.
  • It is not the thief who is punished, but the one that gets caught.

I will divide this post into 2 sections. In the first, the advantages of exams as an idea. In the second, lets talk about the things that we are doing wrong, and the exams get blamed.

Part I: Why exams are good
1. Exams instill a sense of achievement that is absolute. They are not relative. In the grading system, it is all relative to the performance of others. Which means that the need to sabotage the performance of others is inbuilt into the system. Further, the reward for sabotaging the performance of even one more student, is high enough to be tempting. Goodbye collaborative studies. I do not want anyone to know how much I know. Goodbye to Maggies shared in overnight study sessions.

2. Exams make us get close to our books in a way few other things can.

3. Year end exams force us to remember a wide variety of subjects, over a huge curriculum. And Viola! We can do it too!! At that age, when the brain is still learning fast, children and young people need a wide variety of subjects, and a certain progression of challenges. That is what is provided by quarterly, half yearly and annual exams.

4. More than anything else, exams taught us to handle pressure and to come out unscathed. The achievent was not so much in topping exams as it was in getting through them.. we always knew we'll make it, of course, but the sheer sense of achievement and celebration that gave us. Later, when we were preparing for other, more difficult pressure situations, both academically and in life, it helped to have experience.

Part II: Things that we do wrong, and the exams get blamed.
1. Rote Learning.
We force our children to rote learn so they do better in exams. We forget to tell them to understand what is written in the book, and then not memorise. I had an aunt who made me do that. She forced me to read the chapter and understand what was written. The reward was tempting too – do this and you will never have to memorise a thing. You don’t have to memorise something you understand.
For us, homework takes priority over everything else. My aunt wrote in my homework book (no kidding, she actually did that):
“Writing all these answers will leave her with no time to read and understand the chapter. I am making her do that. Tomorrow, you can ask her the questions in class, and let me know if she doesn’t manage.”
The teacher understood.
How many of us force our children to take that long winded path through understanding? The short cut through guide books, model papers and tuitions is so much simpler.
Just for the record, I have never had to spend time or money on a single guide book. Not once.

2. Constant Comparison. The need to do better than the others does not come from the exam system. As mentioned above, the exam system does not even compare one child to another. We do that. It comes from homes of parents who want to believe they have given birth to Superman merged with Barbie. We are the ones comparing even more than the children themselves.
When there is a suicide of a student, the cause is perhaps the level of acceptance and expectation in the circle of the child, NOT the exams by themselves. Changing it to grade will not change the level of expectations.

3. Inability to share the learning experience. Remember the time when you would learn and your mother would ask you questions thereafter? When your mother would make your model paper for you? When your father would come home and check your report card and discuss it with you? In those days, parents shared the learning experience with the child. Their studies got revised as they constantly complained “What he is doing in Class 4, we never touched till Class 7.” Hear those complaints any more ? I don’t. Parents and children are talking a lot more, but its not in the language of a shared learning experience. And its not just about books. If the child goes dancing, parents drop them and pick them up, but they don’t practice the moves with their children. This means that , as parents, we do not know what the child is expected to learn, and how s/he is doing it.

4. Higher Teacher – Student ratios. There are just so many more children! Teachers were always a harried and underpaid class of professionals, but the current ratios are incredible. Add to that the advances in course content and we have a potboiler! We just need fewer kids in schools. For which, we just need to have fewer kids around. Does no one find it disgusting that we have the youngest population in the world – meaning that in the last 25 years, we have bred with a vengeance. As soon as the government stopped talking “Population control” , we started creating the population. STOP. NOW. Exams are not responsible for creating herds where clutches alone can be sustained.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What made my day today..

This.. http://dilbert.com/most_popular/

and This: http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/inappropriate_witticisms/
Some of those things are sooo not funny (Open mouth. Insert foot. Run for cover on foot 2)
तू बुरा ना माने तो मैं कहूं, तेरा शुक्रिया के दिया सुकून
जो बढे तो बढ़ के बने जूनून, मुझे वो खलिश भी ज़रूर दे...
- Jawed Akhtar

And some super quotes heard from people around:
  • Zero tolerance..which shud be in offices and factories...we are implementing it in life!!!
  • Pink glasses - looking at life through an optimistic perspective॥
- Heard from a colleague.

I close my eyes to the world... and then open my world to you...!
- Yam of Maddening Silences. My favorite person in the world!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The new Esha Website is up!!

Yes.. the new site is now up!! I think its totally totally cool!!

A Vote of Thanks

A BIG thanks to Aditi for calling up one fine day and volunteering to design this site for free.. then, for excusing my delays, and for coming up with such a winner.. hats off to you!

To Nisha, for taking time out of being a mother of two adorable daughters and her house, to maintain Esha’s website. For volunteering to do it and doing it consistently all these months..

This is the second time that something really BIG has happened for Esha with zero contribution from me.
Please do go to the site, and tell me what you think.. http://www.braillecards.org/ AM WAITING TO HEAR!!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Logic Puzzle

Beird Waker, the celebrated poet, finally won a Booker for his thirteenth anthology of poems. In the post event party, you are in the circle surrounding the poet when Miss Gee, another guest, asks him innocently, “Do you actually remember the order in which your books were published?” This one liner sends the poet into a monologue:

“Aah, let’s see.. I got the Booker for "Figments", which, as you know, is my thirteenth book.. but the first was a book called "Candy Floss", which, if I may say so, appears rather puerile when I read it now.. "Bubbles" was right after "Silence", but way before "Kingdom" . "Horsecarts" was after "Durian" but before "Kingdom" again. "Echo" and "Reverberations" were next to each other. "Mindreading" came just after "Reverberations" and just before "Glenfiddich", but even Glenfiddich was before "Kingdom" for sure.

"Oppression" was my bestseller, but sadly it wasn’t the first book. I wish it was, it came a close second, but by then the market already had a perception about me.

"Elephant Song" and "Echo" had 2 books between them. "Silence" and "Elephant Song" had as many books between them as did "Bubbles" and "Durian". But, "Bubbles" was definitely published before "Elephant Song".”

Can you help the much bewildered Miss Gee with the correct order of the books?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Assortment of favorites..

हंसी अक्सर कई ज़ख्मों के टाँके खोल देती हैं ...

It is much better to grow things on land than to blast things out of it.

नज़्म कभी कागज़ को देखे
और यूँ मुंह मोडे
ज्यूँ कागज़ पराया मर्द होता हैं॥
(Amrita Pritam)

Grass is nature's way of saying "Hi!"

The only way out of pain is through it. The only road to Dawn passes through the night.

दिन और रात के हाथों नापी एक उमरिया ...
साँस की डोरी छोटी पड़ गयी, लम्बी आस डगरिया ॥

We are such little men when the stars come out.

Do you ever get the feeling that Life is a party...
... and our invitations got lost in the mail? (From an old Archies card)

The opposite of song and laughter is seriousness... seriousness is illness.. I have not seen a serious tree, a serious bird, a serious sunrise. I have not seen a serious starry night.

Where there are no Can's, we ought to cling to Might's.

There are no moulds in God's workshop. (Moi!)

As usual, the most favorite at the end (Amrita Pritam):
रिश्ते हमारे पास कोई वारंटी नही लाते, ना ही रिश्तों पर शर्त होती हैं, न कोई contract. हम नही जानते की रिश्ते आज हैं, कल होंगे या नही। आज के रिश्ते की खूंटी पर हम कल का कोई सपना नही टांगते । पर सपने फिर भी कमीज़ की तरह रिश्तों के गले में आ पड़ते हैं। और जब हम रिश्ते की लाश को नहलाते हैं, तो बहुत सारे आंसू, उस कमीज़ को उतारते हुए निकलते हैं॥
Come, Life, Let's talk.

You and I
have shared
such a love-hate relationship.
We should enjoy talking
while the love phase is on.
Tomorrow, one of us may hate the other again.

Why were you so unjust to me, Life?
Was it because
I never betrayed
what you were doing to me?

Why did I hate you , Life?
When you gave me
everything a person
could possibly need?

Why were we so unfair to each other, Life?

Why did i always want to get rid of you?
Why did you never come to me?
Why did I live so little,
and breathe so much, Life?

See, there is so much
that we can discuss
- perhaps to mutual benefit.
Come, Life, Let's talk....