Archive | November, 2009

I and the Me Within

26 Nov

I try to measure the overwhelming depth of the ocean,

And with a sly deception shudder at my fantastic obsession.

The Me Within opens his wings, flies high in the sky,

Lovingly callous about the miles treaded by.

*

I weave around myself, an aura of hapless piety,

Adorn my helplessness with a cocoon of sincerity.

The Me Within emancipates – out of the golden cage,

To soar the mountains steep with an astounding rage.

*

I look at my past with guilt, remorse and sorrow,

And search outward for an excuse that I could easily borrow.

The Me Within looks ahead never to turn back,

His burlesque gestures mock at me for the pluck that I lack.

*

I live in a world of purity, of rituals, of rights and of wrongs,

Content with the legacy of my notes, happy with the tyranny of my songs.

The Me Within is mischievously charming, gamboling in between,

And I hear his whistle blowing, humming a tune so serene.

*

I count my days, count my time, and count my blessings, to win,

And relinquish the countless moments of joy, scared of committing a sin.

The Me Within is a careless lad, who happily loses with a smile,

And brandishes his joyful hat, every once in a while.

*

I wish I could be like him, and he’d live my life like me,

I’d paint the sky with freedom, and dive through the depth of the sea.

Reality shrieks yet again, with her deafening draconian din –

When he leaves me, and I leave him, I’d meet the Me Within…

Movie Review: Harishchandrachi Factory

19 Nov

After the horrendous experience of watching a wreck, there was just no way that I could deny an invitation from a friend to attend the NA premier of Harishchandrachi Factory (Harishchandra’s Factory) – India’s entry to the Academy Award 2010. South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) has been doing a praiseworthy job in this part of the world by getting the best of Asian cinema to the western world and giving them good amount of publicity and befitting awards. Harishchandrachi Factory was the closing night film of the festival and the director of the film, Paresh Mokashi was present for the screening. Ever since the news broke of the film being selected to be the official entry to the Oscars, it had surely gone on my wishlist! 🙂

Harishchandrachi factory is a joyful depiction of how Dadasaheb Phalke, rightly known as the father of Indian cinema, made the first Indian motion picture – Raja Harishchandra in 1913. The screenplay has been adapted from Dadasaheb Phalke’s biography written by Bapu Watve.

Phalke’s journey can be seen to be one full of adventures and entertaining encounters. His comely personality and eccentric zeal has been portrayed in an unmatched way by Nandu Madhav in the film. The story importantly unfolds the superstitions that prevailed in the society pertaining to films in that era and the social stigma that revolved around “moving pictures”. Dadasaheb had to face both social and political hurdles in his journey to make his dream come true. But, Paresh Mokashi has not created a melancholy portrait of his struggle. Instead he has enunciated Dadasaheb’s pluck in an awesome way. Undeniably, some cynics may not really approve of portrayal of his struggle in a cheerful way. In my personal opinion, the subtlety with which two mutually opposing emotions have been painted on the celluloid by Mokashi deserves a sincere applaud.

There are scenes which are creatively enriching in every way and which linger on the viewer’s minds for a long time. In 1913, it was impossible to find a lady actor to play the part of Taramati, Raja Harishchandra’s wife in the film. It was traditional in Marathi plays then for men to play female leads as well. The comedy involved around the inhibitions that actors in Phalke’s film had around shaving off their moustaches is rib tickling, yet not slapstick. The way Mokashi has showcased Phalke’s intelligence and intellect is simply spellbinding.

There are unconventional and interesting metaphorical props used as well which only put forth the intellectual sensibilities of Mokashi as a film maker. For instance, the use of a patriotic marathi poem (“Ek tutari dya maja anuni”) to convey resurgence of hope whenever Phalke was hurdled by an obstacle Or the use of appropriate slogans by revolutionaries in the background to depict the year that is being shown.

Vibhavari Deshpande, who plays Phalke’s wife in the film, has done a fantastic job of portraying a character that is strong, yet submissive, audacious, yet timid and hopeful, yet worried. Every shade of the character has been decorated with beautiful anecdotes and dialogues. Music has been used very effectively throughout the film. In spite of the fact that there is no song in the film, the catchy background score only acts as a catalyst to the entertainment quotient. The facet of the film that grabs your attention with fascination is the art direction. To recreate an era of pre-independence has always been challenging for art directors in India and Nitin Desai rightly deserves all the accolades that he has won for this movie.

The film has a joyous charm that remains intact throughout. We are talking of an era when India was under the rule of the British. An ordinary film maker would have undoubtedly made an attempt to aggrandize the atrocities committed by the British. But, what makes this film extraordinary is the fact that, we don’t see a loud and gaudy expression of any sort.

We rather see the director talking of a man who was enterprising, venturesome and courageous enough to have gone all the way to London in that era to learn the technicalities involved with film making. We are talking of a man who was strongly determined to reach his goal no matter how arduous the pursuit was.

Paresh Mokashi is a highly acclaimed thespian in the marathi theatre circle. Harishchandrachi Factory is his debut film. His journey of creating his first film has also been a challenging one if not as challenging as Phalke himself. To a large extent, we see Mokashi relating well to Phalke throughout the film and his heartfelt love for cinema is seen in each and every frame. What a splendid start of the career in film making!

After the screening of the film, there was a Q&A session which clearly showed how infectious the humor and the warmth of the film were. The film is slated to release early next year all across India. Dubbing the film in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam is also on the cards.

Harishchandrachi Factory is surely a must watch for all the movie lovers. We all owe it to the person who sowed the seeds of cinema in India – Someone who continued making films in India in spite of attractive offers from the western world only to ensure that the motion picture industry in India gets established. In true spirit, the doyen of the largest film industry in the world. Hats off to Phalke and Thumb’s up to Presh Mokashi for giving us a chance to celebrate Indian cinema in true sense.

My rating:

[Guest Post]: Stilletos on Glass Floors

11 Nov

This is the first guest post on my external blog. The following post has been written by a very close friend of mine, Puja. She stands for the modern, suave and independent woman of today and presents an extremely interesting analogy to state the penchant with which the woman of the twenty first century perceives, persists, emotes and sustains.

Read on..

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Stilletos

I remember watching fashion shows on television as a kid sneaking away from the omnipresent parental discretion whenever possible; however the conditions were propitious only rarely. I was always fascinated by the glitter and the shimmer; and what attracted me most was the footwear that the beautiful ladies wore – pumps, flats, wedges, sandals, stilettos and more. I found stilettos the most interesting in the entire footwear species as it tested the model’s skills to walk at such “heights” without flinching a nerve and look so relaxed all the time, an achievement in itself for the lesser mortals unexposed to these experiences.

What always amazes me is the way they are able to maintain their balance and walk with such élan on the ramp with literally Eiffel Towers under their feet! Forget these graceful ladies; even regular college and office girls are able to manage the daunting task, (for a lot of people), effortlessly. The higher the heel of your stiletto, higher it is on the attractiveness scale and also on the risk factor, be it the ramp or the road.

In deeper sense, these high heeled ornaments, symbolize strength to me. They show the inexplicable intellect and pluck that the woman of this era flaunt. I very closely relate this to how the lady corporate honchos manage their work with immense competition from their male counterparts, having to face the biases and most of the times being judged as someone who is more relationship oriented and are tagged as too soft to take harsh decisions and thus being ineffective. Yet, they are able to walk on the tightrope of the professional and personal life beautifully (in most cases) and have carved a niche for themselves in the corporate world and in our minds.

The task of the ladies at the CXO level is as good as walking on a ramp with numerous spectators and lot of expectations from the designer, just that the ramp is replaced by the vast responsibilities, spectators by the stakeholders, and the designer by the organization as a whole. The only difference is on the ramp you have to ensure you do not lose your balance and collapse, and in the corporate world you have to break the glass ceiling to reach the highest echelons of success. Here, the high heel is you arsenal of the knowledge, skills, traits and motives that you have or have developed over a period of time. The more you are experienced, the taller is your stiletto’s heel. The names which come to my mind at this point are Ms Chanda Kochhar, Ms Shikha Sharma, Ms Naina Lal Kidwai and Ms Ekta Kapoor. All these lady leaders have been able to give their best shots to their work, managing their lives well and being extremely successful.

We all are aware of those wannabes in the ‘stilettos’ class. The ones who put on an accent just to flaunt their attitude, those who may not really have enough to carry on the expensive lifestyle that they depict, but surely have a lot to flaunt – a fancy car, expensive clothes, et al. But what comes with the high status is a sense of responsibility towards their work and completely committing themselves to their cause. It just reinforces the fact that those who have achieved these great heights by their own metal know how to carry themselves on the glass floors, those who don’t, fail miserably.

An example I would want to point out would be Ms Indra Nooyi, who although has achieved great heights in her professional life but her personal life hasn’t been that well managed. The way a model if not able to balance on her heels may end up falling down and taking away the charm of the show, similarly a lady honcho may also not be able to cope up with biases inspite of being equally capable, may not be able to manage this pressure and end up burning out in the process and again show all the existence of the glass ceiling.

At the end all that is left with them is a plethora of crushed glass shards, each one showing the reflection of their own souls. To conclude, I believe that with success, comes responsibilities, you ought to have a sense of both, to be able to walk on glass floors.

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