Thursday, October 27, 2016

Film Review: 31st October

I know this film will be off the screens tomorrow morning, but for what its worth, sharing the review:
31st October, 1984 is not a day to be easily forgotten - in the subcontinent, and elsewhere. Oct 31 to Nov 4, the capital city of India turned into a case study of state sponsored genocide.

Over the years, I have read multiple books, seen countless documentaries and read endless reports to understand, as much as possible, what happened there. This is one more real life account. But one very under-represented aspect of that pogrom, was the brave neighbours who risked their own life, their property and families, to save their Sikh friends and neighbours. This film tells that story rather well.

Also, this is a rare story of survival. The other films I saw were  films of death alone. This family survived, thanks to the humanity of their friends, who crossed a city on fire to come and get them.
What is great about the film (other than, of course, the fact that its  a real story), is the art direction. I love the small lanes with drains on the side, the décor in the houses, the use of old scooters with 3
digit numberplates. Also, the costume design deserves special mention.

In the first half of the film, the suddenness of the entire episode is played out beautifully. It really was like that - people went out to get groceries and suddenly realised they could not go home alive.

But where the movie fails its audience is in its representation. The editing, as the other reviewers have pointed out, is the weakest aspect of the film.

The second is the pace of the film. It drags, and how.

The third weak aspect of the film is that the actual violence was wayyyyyyy more than what is depicted in the film. The violence appears very benign compared to what actually happened. No one was safe inside their house because the rioters had electoral lists in their hands and knew exactly where to go.

The fourth weakness is the music. Seriously, Sonu Nigam singing elegies is as far removed from the needs of the script as can be. The background music could have borrowed from rich Punjabi folk music, but it went back to predictable Opera music.

But is it worth it? You bet! The movie gently speaks some ugly truths that deserve to be spoken. Some things that will make everyone squirm - the victims and the perpetrators. The movie is not a history lesson. Its just a very extraordinary thing that happened to very ordinary people. And that's why, this is a real story that deserves to be told.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

That moment when you get up early in the morning to work, but spend 2 hours reading blogs instead :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


मैं ओ सोहनी
जेडी दरिया विच कुद्द पैंदी
पांवे घड़ा होवे
या ना होवे
महिवाल नहीं
पूरी चेनाब
मैं दरिया विच तां डुल्दी
क्यूंकि दरिया वगदा !

I am the Sohni
Who jumps into the Chenab
whether or not
she has the floating pot
My objective is not
to meet Mahiwal
I jump into the river
because the river is
and it flows.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Heart Attack

दिल का दौरा
अचानक नहीं पड़ता।
बड़े दौरों से गुज़रता है दिल
 एक दिल का दौरा पड़ने से पहले.

Challa... Because i love it!

If there are 2 songs that you can hear any number of times and not get bored, for me, they are Challa and Jugni... The formats lend themselves to expressing everything from everyday folk wisdom to love and the unique Punjabi spirituality...

Presenting.. My personal favorite Challas...

No prizes for guessing that Gurdas Mann original comes first:

And this version... OMG!!

जावो नी कोई मोड़ लियाओ, मेरे नाल गया आज लड़ के...

And this version from a Yash Raj film: (Jab Tak Hai jaan)

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the lyrics of this one...

न विसाल होया, ना जुदाई होइ,
इश्क़ दे क़ैदी दी, ना रिहाई होई
लोको सुफ़ने विच मिलने दा वादा उसदा
सारी सारी रात ना आँख लगदी।
मेरे साह वी थोड़े थोड़े घट आउंदे
मेरी नब्ज़ वी थोड़ी घट वाजदी  ..
यारो आसे पासे वसदा है यार मेरा
दिसदा नहीं ओदी खुशबूआं लब्दा है

Sunday, October 09, 2016


वह: क्या ढूंढ रहे हो तुम?

यह : (कुछ कहता नहीं, घर भर में खोज जारी रखता है)

वह: ओफ्फो! कहाँ कहाँ फ़ोलते फिर रहे हो? कह रही हूँ न! मुझे सब पता है की इस घर में क्या छोटी सी चीज़ कहाँ रखी है! बता क्यों नहीं देते? मैं बता दूँगी कहाँ रखा है! क्या ढूंढ रहे हो?

यह: (उसकी ओर मुड़ते हुए): तुम्हे।
 तुम आजकल मिलती नहीं हो. रहती यहीं  हो,दिखती भी हो, पर होती नहीं हो।  तुम्हे पाने के लिए, कहाँ खोजूं?