Monday, April 15, 2013


Cricket and Bollywood are two big things that drive India. I have seen most of the Bollywood movies made right from 1950s to 2007. It didn’t matter to me if the movie was a flop or hit, I watched it either ways. The world of cinema has always mesmerized me. Introduction to Hollywood and world cinema made me realize the depth, flamboyance and beauty of this art form in true sense.

Born in a middle class family, brought up in small villages and towns, lack of understanding of English - I belonged to the majority of Indian population who do not know movies like Matrix, Children of Heaven, Schindler’s List or Elling are being made. Would I have liked or grasped if something like that was shown to me in Hindi? Of course yes!

Getting work in Bollywood if you have some association is a problem with the industry. It is shame to the Indian art and artists to see movies like ‘Desi Boyz’ getting produced just because of connection. The ugly inbreeding of talent leads to creative bankruptcy. Hopefully movies like ‘Vicky Donor’ are setting a good example.

‘Keep your brains at home and then watch the movie’, ‘this movie is made for the masses and not the classes’ are the taglines by many Bollywood film makers. I don’t understand how to do that. Are they implying they were able to keep their brains at home while making the movie?

Being part of an unknown world that someone has weaved with their vast imagination is fascinating. As a storyteller what is needed is the conviction with which they tell a story. They could be showing something completely illogical, unfathomable, unrealistic; it doesn’t matter as long as the audience is convinced by the concept so much so that for the duration of the film they find it the reality (e.g. ‘Magadheera’). As a viewer a lot of bollywood films leave me unconvinced, an example would be ‘My name is Khan’.

No strong story line is a problem with many films, a look at ‘Kahaani’ would be a good idea for the makers. As a woman I feel embarrassed to see the scarcity of clothes in movies and find the item numbers derogatory for the womankind. Subservient characters sketched out for ladies would be another topic of discussion altogether.

I fail to understand the impact of certain ‘stars’ on the junta. Do they really like them or they are not getting anything better? Why do they copy hollywood movies? Why not just dub the original and release the master pieces? New quandary that hit Bollywood is making remakes of old Hindi films. Why would someone want to remake the classic ‘Umrao Jaan’? What a blasphemy! Where are film makers like Shyam Benegal? Where is originality? I hope things improve and we get to watch great cinema in this lifetime.

I might watch movies in 100 other languages but the kind of instant cultural and emotional connection that I feel with Bollywood is unequaled. I long to see the colors, songs and beatific dances, it gives Bollywood a unique flavor. I complain about the senseless stories; Bollywood stars, their overacting all the time but ironically on a rainy, sick, lonely, depressing day a dose of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ is what I yearn for the most, it cheers me up, makes me feel nostalgic. There is no denying, I am a Bolllywood child and hopefully it will be more nurturing :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The oath of Vayuputras

This is the third part of the Shiva trilogy. I found the first two books - Immortals of Meluha and Secret of Nagas ground breaking. They showed that Indian mythology is a woefully underutilized source of wit, wisdom, inspiration and philosophy. They had amazing characters and great drama. I loved the author's unbounded imagination.

I was anxious to read the last part. All is well that ends well and Shiva trilogy's end is disappointing and a complete letdown. Amish has dragged on a three liner story for 550 pages. As a reader I felt deprived of a stunning end to an artistry anecdote. This book is a dud but if you have read the first two parts then you will want to read it either ways. I give it 1/5.