Me and Cinema - Part 2  

Posted by Vee

Continued from Part 1

The seeds of frenzy for cinema were sown.

My father held that position for a good 4 years till he was transferred to Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. In those 4 years, I watched close to 250 movies. I had a small notebook maintained of the movies I watched beside other details like cast, director, date of watching et al.

Eventually, new releases started hitting the defense theater as well. The first movie ever which I saw on the first day of release was Govinda’s Ilzaam and incidentally it was his debut movie as well. I do not remember much of that but same year Govinda had another release, Love 86 and I saw that movie 3 times. Govinda instantly took over from Mithun as my favorite. Mithun and his Disco Dancer had left a massive impression on me and those days I could be found fighting with my brother for his stance that Amitabh Bachchan can kill Mithun with one punch. There were no arguments on who is better actor; that did not matter to us then as I recall now. There used to be just fights between us for who can defeat whom if they get in a brawl. Another point I used to put forward was Mithun is a good dancer and Amitabh cannot dance at all. For which my brother retorted with this: Mithun is Nachaniya (slang for cross dressers who dance in weddings up north) and Amitabh is real MARD.

All the time he said this, I did something horrible to him (apart from the ongoing punches and kicks we exchanged). Once, while playing in school during interval, I pronto jumped at him, snatched his glasses and threw far away and ran like hell. Or like pulling his knicker down during the assembly, stuffing his lunchbox with sand, emptying his water bottle.

And all this because of he had bad mouthed Mithun.

Govinda after that movie was my favorite for sometime till I saw a movie released much earlier than Love 86. It was Vinod Khann’s Hera Pheri. Well, it was Amitabh’s too but I was never Amitabh's fan. I had seen other movies of Vinod but Hera Pheri transformed me into a bona fide fan of his. And I knew I was his only fan. No one and I say as a matter of fact, no one in my vicinity ever said that Vinod is their favorite. If few did vouch for Mithun or Govinda, no one mentioned Vinod. I now know I was yet to meet some people who were sensible enough to appreciate what an actor he was and thankfully I do now know many such people and particularly few ladies who appreciate a lot more in him than his persona. I know one such who still gets weak-kneed speaking of him.

When it came to heroines, I was absolutely besotted with Sri Devi from then till now. I need a whole different post to talk of her. So, I am going to talk of other few who enormously caught my interest. There was Neetu Singh and her gleaming smile. Dekh Ke Tumko Dil Dola Hai song had three couples; Vinod and Neetu amongst them but not paired opposite. I was not so happy with that information. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoy that song (if not the movie) even now when I see it on some channel.

Bollywood then always came up with movies which were like mind puzzles. Whose son/daughter was born where, raised by whom, finally ending where to avenge whatever crime that was committed by whomever gazillion years ago? And I enjoyed all of them. One such was Dharamveer starring Dharamendra, Zeenat, Jeetendra and Neetu. Chuck all, Neetu was the one for me.

Amrita Singh was another who caught my fancy. I was upset with Mayapuri for calling her ‘Mard Singh’ and I was overtly glad few years later when Jackie Shroff called her the ‘Real Princess’. I am not sure if it was Jackie or someone else. I remember reading that though. Whoever it was knew the real her like I always knew.

As I grew older, I also criticized these very favorites of mine (Mithun, Vinod, Neetu, Amrita) for their idiotic roles and bizarre performances. I knew then, I cannot be anyone’s fan just for the sake of it. I found myself to be blatant in my opinion by the age of 10.

The seeds of unprejudiced position for performances were sown.

P.S. A little diversion here: I am not liking the posts/blogs written on MJ's death and how sad people who are writing these are after hearing he is finished.

When he was alive, none of these people wrote post/blog on 'how good an artiste he was' but post his death everyone seems to be mourning his death out of no where. Be it Shekhar Kapoor, Ram Gopal Varma, Adnan Sami or my fellow blog mates; everyone seems to get up from sleep to say something about him. I like anyone else grew up on his music but I never captured him in my writings all this while; so I see no reason to imprison him in my words post his demise.

I commiserate the sentiment of those who spoke of him. In fact, I did go and comment on few of the blogs which spoke of MJ’s death; but I did that out of friendship with the blogger friend who wrote the piece. I do not wish to offend anyone here by saying this; nonetheless I am finding it very uncanny to read plethora of piece upon his death.

Pakistan All The Way  

Posted by Vee

Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka to win the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Trophy in it’s second season. Pakistan who lost the inaugural final to India in 2007 demonstrated how good they are the team in a match which they almost lost at the end of 15th Over. Cricbuzz reporters after that over wrote: Only Pakistan is capable of losing at this point and only Sri Lanka is capable of not winning from this point. What an ironical statement but I guessed that summed up how Asian teams ultimately choke at the Nth moment. India leads at that is my theory and I stand by it. However, at the end of 17th over it could have been anyone’s game. Many lost faith in Afridi, who by now had just managed to gather 1 or 2 runs if not notorious boundaries and high-flying ones for which he is better known as.

I have been Pakistan Cricket fan since they were defeated by India in 1996 World Cup quarter finals at Chinnaswamy in Bangalore. It was the first ever live match I had seen, despite the fact I was in mid of my Class X board exams and ‘Science’ was 2 days after that unforgettable match. I was over the moon for India’s triumph but I had my heartfelt sympathy for the losing team. I was just 15 then to settle on a favorite. Back then, I had always gone by the fact I am Indian and I need to show my hold up for them. How naïve that was I sense now. As I grew up, I prepared myself for the predictable; wherein, I will be questioned for my beliefs. However, when I still see people holding up to any one for sheer emotional stance, I cringe if their reasoning is not strong enough but I have stopped confronting them.

When Pakistan reached the final of 1999 world cup and were brutally assaulted by the formidable Australian team I was disappointed as a fan. Nevertheless, I also knew they lost to the best side of that time. It was Lord’s and today at the same ground they defeated Sri Lanka and winning by the same number of wickets Australia had won against them 10 years ago, ghosts are finally laid to the rest after that ghastly loss.

Younis Khan
in his most emotional statement ever said before the finals that this win is very important for them and their trouble torn country. Winning is all that is in our mind, he said. And I second that. A momentary happiness but they have something to exult on. And the man who achieved this, of course with the helping hands of other team members is Shahid Afridi. He was the part of the loss in 1999 and he is part of the win in 2009. I cannot see any other sportsman at this moment more joyous than him. He was in his best form throughout and keeping his calm (which is unlikely of him) was appreciable in the close fought match at Lord’s today. The team owes it to him or maybe he was paying back. I remember watching India vs Pakistan Test Match at Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2005 and that’s the only one test match I ever saw live on all the five days. Once, Afridi was fielding at the boundary and I could see him very clearly. Indian crowd booed him endlessly and also threw mouthful of maa-behen ki gaalis at him. I was aghast. Why? Why were my countrymen doing that? Afridi reacted to it by raising his water bottle in the gesture that suggested “Shove it up”. Indians went berserk and gave another round of mouthful. Finally, he was moved to different position; much inside the boundary.

Indians were about to be defeated by then. I tried to reason my mind by thinking the inevitable loss which was about to happen could be the reason for people to behave in such contemptible manner. I was wrong. The public was not bothered about our defeat. I found out; We just love to hate Pakistan Cricket team. I did not like that idea. I was speaking to my classmates after the match and they did not find anything wrong with how few Indians had behaved that day. It was all unsettling for me. I kept my mouth shut. But today I won’t. I have always found them a better team than us. Why I emphasize on 'us' is because all this while I had supported them in mind but this is first time ever I supported them so blatantly and I went into countless arguments for this. For me, It doesn’t matter what Pakistan as a country comes across as to the world and India in particular. When I inadvertently blurted ‘Bhai Log Achha Khel Rahe Hain’ in Pakistan’s favor against their semi-final match against South Africa, a friend in point of fact got hurt by that statement of mine and asked me how could I use term ‘Bhai Log’ for Pakis. For me it was irrelevant, I said it as I would have said ‘buddy’ or ‘yaar’; but he by then had got really upset. I find that stupid. They are my favorites and I have followed their game enigmatically all these years. How can anyone take that away from me? Supporting Pakistan cricket team is not a crime for heaven’s sake. They deserved to win and they did win. End of Story.

Britain's Got Talent, DVD Rental and Bangalore's Night Life  

Posted by Vee

Street dancers Diversity won this year’s Britain’s Got Talent. IMO, they deserved to win after that scintillating dance act in the finals. 48-year old Hairy Angel Susan Boyle for the finals sang “I Dreamed A Dream”, same song which made her an instant star after the first round. Initially ridiculed for her appearance and later for Everything-is-planned ploy which also included the planned shock reaction of audiences and judges alike, she decided to quit the show mid-way. However, she stayed on and came second in the third season of Britain’s Got Talent. I loved her singing but I guess she was hyped way too much. That apart, she has got impressive voice.

My personal favorites Shaheen Jafargholi and Stavros Flatley did enter final but could not reach the final three. In particular twelve year old Shaheen was an absolute delight to hear. Like Susan, he too chose the song he sang in the first round; Michael Jackson’s “Who’s Loving You” and boy was he good? He was enormously attention-grabbing. Greek Irish father-son duo of Stavros Flatley completely entertained with their uncanny dance manner.

Other findings which I enjoyed were: 10-year old Natalie Okri and 11-year old Aidan Davis. Natalie rocked with Jamelia’s Superstar song and Aidan wowed everyone with his delightful dance.

Thanks to and live commentary by Sujoy on his blog, I was able to watch all these great acts on internet. There were many more amazing performances; I have listed only my favorites.

In my last post, many people asked me the source of those movies. Pirated? Downloaded? Well, nopes. I do not download them from net. I am way too impatient for that. And forget finding those movies in your local dvd library. I am member of DVD rental sites Seventymm and Bigflix. And that’s where I get the movies from. This doesn’t work out cheaper but ultimately I it’s worth it. I had been member of 70mm for over two years now. I am not too demanding, in the sense I do not look out for latest blockbusters or famous ones. I look out for movies which are hard to get otherwise and which we hardly get to hear of. There are so many movies being made all over the world and we get to hear of just 15-20%. Where else could I have seen Iranian/Korean/Mandarin/French/German/Persian/Spanish/Japanese et al language movies? In the name of foreign language films, all that gets released in India are the blockbusters of Hollywood, half of which I found absolute crap. Yes, I am talking of Superman/Spiderman, ye-man, wo-man, Harry Potter and many such. They might be having huge followings but I do not like such movies. Of late, the scene has changed and we do get to see some lesser known good ones releasing in India too, ‘The Revolutionary Road’ for example. Yet, the scene is pathetic when it comes to the release of Non-English movies in India.

Am I happy with them? I have heard from few friends from north that 70mm service sucks. Well, I haven’t found any reasons whatsoever so far to discontinue my membership. And definition of suck varies from one to another. My look-outs are usually the Non-English foreign language films and 70mm comes with a good collection of them. For English, I am trying to watch as many old classics as possible. I am going by the decade and I am still on 50s/60s/70s. I half-way through watching the movies of Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor et al. I do not see any other way to watch their movies as I yet cannot afford to buy DVDs of all these movies.

Serviceability too is an important factor, and my experience says these providers have improved a lot in last couple of years. Initially I did face few hiccups but I was patient. Bigflix I joined recently because I wasn’t getting few movies on 70mm. Though, 70mm remains my primary provider. Cinema Paradiso is another DVD rental site, but I haven’t checked out them. My queue in the former 2 is more than 100+ which will take some time to get exhausted. However, Cinema Paradiso is another good one if words of few of my friends are anything to go by.

I do not go by the fact which site provides maximum number of titles. What is the point if you have more number of titles but what you want to see is not there? These are web based, you can check out the kind of movies you wish to watch and decide whether you want to take the membership or not. Makes sense?

Btw, did I tell how Bangalore is progressing backwards? The deadline for pubs/clubs to remain open is 11.30 PM, killing the nightlife. And, not many know that dancing here in pubs/clubs is banned. This wasn't enough that the show timings of the movies have been revised and the last show of the day will be screened at 8 PM. Can anyone beat that? The last show here till now started by 10 PM and in order to reduce the crime (words of Shankar Bidari, Bangalore Police Commissioner), they have decided to end the show at the most by 11 PM for which the show must be at 8. Now, is that rational? I do not even wish to get into the pros and cons of this as I feel there are many people (working ones usually) who would prefer to go for late night show after day’s work. And if not just that, there could be hazaar other reasons. And why any reasons? Do not we have any say in anything? Ending up show 2 hours early than usual will reduce crime. Mashallah.

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