Thursday, December 24, 2015

seedhi si yatra/ A simple journey

साकार > निराकार > निरंकार

Today's message : We first focus on the tangible - the mantras, the breath, the shloka.. then slowly, the intangibles take over - the joy of meditation, the peace that one gets. From there, we move to Nirankar - where we ARE the Brahman. And it doesn't matter. There is no accomplishment. Only a sense. Or lack of it.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Review of Bajirao Mastani

Like all Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, this one is grand.

The music is given by Bhansali himself. And Pinga, the song, truly does stand out. But the rest of the music is not memorable.

As an experience, it is complete. When you leave that theatre, you carry back a story. That travels with you. Which is what good story telling is all about. If you are like me, you will also cry in some parts.

Thankfully, the movie completely underplays the mush and focuses on the political milieu that led to the tragedy of the love story.

Ranvir: What a performer! When I entered the movie, the thought in head was that the hero was a casting mistake. But 10 minutes into the movie, I knew it wasn't. This man *was* the character.

The casting is, in fact, perfect. Every single actor does justice to the character. And every character does justice to its existence. Like a chess board, the pieces are balanced, their juxtaposition carefully crafted, their interplay, mesmerising like a dance sequence.

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika are both perfect. No surprises there.

But what totally, completely blew me away was the background score. From traditional Indian beats to the final battle - where Western classical music was used. If you close your eyes, you will not know that you are sitting in a Hindi film.

And I would especially like to mention the use of light in at least 2 sequences - the battle of Bundelkhand and the imprisonment of Deepika at the end. In both places, light was used to generate an effect of its own.

At the editing table, I can only imagine the agony of the person who would be responsible for cutting out pieces with so much beauty. They made one mistake though - Ranvir positively did not need to sing and dance. No really, that song is an eyesore. The music, choreography, the whole thing.. its 5 minutes of pure torture. The concluding sequence in the Narmada river which is a Ranvir solo also should have been edited to a much shorter duration.

A Bhansali film is an extravaganza - a sort of feast for the senses and the heart. The entire experience of Navarasa. It manages to weave a coherent story. And tell it well.

When your heart goes out to the man who, in spite of being the most powerful man in the Maratha Empire, cannot get a name for his son. When you look at a woman saying "Khuda Hafiz" to her child for the last time.. and something inside you snaps, you know you have taken your heart to the Adventure Park, and treated it to the roller coaster ride.

This one is a must watch! For adults only. Children not recommended.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

sai ki kahaani

एक साईं था।  कहीं से आ कर , एक गाँव के पास रहने लगा. न किसी से दोस्ती, ना काहू से बैर. अपनी रौ में रहता था. लोग आ कर कुछ खाने को रख जाते, तो खा लेता. ना रखते, तो ना खाता. कभी मांगता न था. कुछ कहता भी ना था.

धीरे धीरे, लोग साईं को बड़ा मानने लगे. उसके डेरे पर लोग खाना रख जाते. सर झुकाते, और चले जाते.

उन्ही दिनों, गाँव की एक लड़की हामिला हो गयी. गाँव वालों ने बच्चे के पिता का नाम पूछा, तो डर के मारे उस ने साईं का नाम ले दिया. लोग बहुत नाराज़ हुए, बहुत गुस्से में आये. पर भगवन के बन्दे को मारें कैसे? बच्चा पैदा हुआ, तो लोग उसे साईं  के पास ले गए. साईं से ज़िम्मेदारी लेने  को कहा गया. साईं बोले, "मेरा है? छोड़ जाओ. "

लोग गुस्से में बुदबुदाते हुए, बच्चे को वहीँ छोड़ आ गए.

अब साईं रोज़ बच्चे के लिए दूध मांगने गाँव की ओर जाते थे . मर्द लोग तो हिकारत से मुंह फेर लेते. औरतें बच्चे के मुंह को कुछ दूध दे दिया करतीं।  साईं दूध बच्चे को पिलाते , उसे पुचकारते , और सुलाने की कोशिश करते . वह बच्चे का ख्याल रखने की पूरी कोशिश करते थे .

उधर बच्चे की माँ से रहा न गया. बच्चे का असली वालिद जब लौट कर गाँव आया, तो उन दोनों में बात हुई, और लड़की ने जा कर सारे गाँव को बता दिया की बच्चा असल में किस का है. उसने ये भी बता दिया कि साईं का नाम सिर्फ इसलिए लिया था, कि लोग उसे और बच्चे को मार ना डालें.

अब गाँव वालों को बड़ी ग्लानि हुई. बच्चा किसी और का, और हम ने यूँ ही साईं पर झूठा इलज़ाम लगाया!

बच्चे के माता पिता और गाँव वाले मिल कर साईं के पास  पहुंचे, उन्हें सारी बात बताई, और बच्चा ले जाने की बात कही. साईं ने सरल मन से कहा, "मेरा नहीं? ले जाओ!"

This is a folk tale that I heard as a child and it had a deep impact on me.


Monday, December 07, 2015

Review of Tamasha - the Film

Perhaps the critic in me speaks before the viewer .

The use of music is great, the cinematography does justice to the location - Corsica, France. The mimicry act by Ranveer adds to the viewability. But I couldn't help missing Nargis Fakhri in a similar role in Rockstar. I think Nargis did better. And Ranveer was repetitive.

And... you can't make up for a non existent, weak script. A strong story, perhaps. A boy finally comes into his own after abject failure on all fronts. But it didn't leave that strong an impact. There were too many distractions. Or maybe I am not qualified to watch the fillum.

As a viewer, good light hearted fun, excellent locations and some amount of wit.
The "Let me find my own  destiny" storyline is now done to death - Almost as much as "rich boy-poor girl" or "lost in mela" plots of yesteryears.
All in all, for the same story, Rockstar was better. WAYYYY better.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

ਹੜ - Floods

Is letters written on sand
is the gently blowing breeze.
There was once
a flood in my courtyard
The name was washed away
But Love remains
right where it was.