Archive for July, 2010

July 28, 2010

Homage to Guru Dutt

Dear Vasant (GuruDutt for others),

I am sorry. Sorry for not being there. Not being there, when you needed me. Not me in particular. But it could have been anybody. So why was it not me!! That night after you had separated from your wife, Geeta and gone off to live in a separate flat at Peddar road. All by yourself! How badly you must have needed someone. How badly you must have sought respite from yourself. To take those pills. To take an overdose. Knowingly or in a fit. Conscious of its possible affects or just too possessed to get rid of your thoughts to care about anything. That night when you took them. Thet night when they took you. That night when it became your last night. How sorry I am. But what use is it, you ask. You are right. But what use was it. This taking pills, I say.
To tell you the truth, I was not there when you, well, died. Kinda. I could have been there, to be more truthful. In some other form. Some other body. Some other life. i dont know now. Like I dont know how crafty you really were when you were there. for all I know of you is through the lens of history. And it is a biased bitch, this history. Sometimes in favor, often otherwise. In your case, may be favorable. But then you knew that all along. Didnt you? Thats why you said in Pyaasa, “What kind of world is this where dead are worshipped and living ignored.” Is that why you died? Just because you didnt get enough recognition? Just for that? Whataty pity I would say if that is true. I am sure that wasnt the case. I would like to believe that. Just to let you know, you have become a very celebrated director post your untimely demise. They count you in Top 100 directors of all time. You would be delighted to know that “Kaagaz Ke Phool” has become a cult classic now. It flopped big time when it released. Didnt it. Must have hurt. Big time. For it was so close to your heart. As if you made it just for yourself. For that corner of yours which echoed with no one. You said something to that affect to your cameraman, V. K. Murthy, “This movie is not for the audience. It is for you and me.” You knew it already. Like everything else. I find it a tad too sentimental though. But forget me. Who am I? You hardly cared for the world. I am nothing in comparison.
But I liked you in Pyaasa. Not because I am a shayar of sort. I am but not of any sort. There was soemthing about it. Don’t know what. When you dont know what is good about something but you still like it, it means it is saying something beyond your comprehension. There was sentimentality here too, but just a tad bit okay. I liked you in Saheb Biwi aur Gulam too. Not quite. But just bit okay. I am too used to Shahrukh Khan to like your underplayed characters you see. Blame it on the nineties!

You were always trying to say something which no one quite understood. Nor did you. Or may be you did but were too embarrassed to say it. Somethings can not be said, they have to be understood. The moment you put them in words, they lose their meaning. They exist in that formless state. Like what they say, “maano to sona, na mano to mitti”. You said to Abrar Alvi once, “Dekho na, mujhe director banna tha, director ban gaya; actor bana tha, actor ban gaya; picture achche banane thay, achche banay. Paisa hai, sab kuch hai, par kuch bhi nahi raha.” He didnt get it. How could he. You also said “Life mein, yaar, kya hai? Do hi toh cheezen hai – kamyaabi aur failure. There is nothing in between.” They got this one. But not quite right. They said, you always wanted what someone else had. You always got excited about a new project and then would lose interest. They saw the symptoms. Not the cause. You did it because you were searching for something, which you looked for in every place. Everyone. And almost always felt disappointed. You were looking for that something which will get rid of that nagging feeling in you, of existential loneliness. Its not quite right word but there can not be a right word for this. For this is not expressable. Only understood. Partly. You wanted to have someone, something, the thought of which, the memory of which would stay with you, even if all else will lose you. Even when your own talents, your own will loses you. What will remain of you when all this that is fickle is gone. Nothing. You knew that so well. You said so in that movie of your “Kagaza Ke Phool”, which no one saw. No one likes a sad sentimental story. Just like no one quite liked that part of you. This sad sinking sentimentality. You yourself didnt like it. That is why I am sorry. I am sorry for not being there. May be, just may be I could have been around and understood it. And may be, may be you would still have been around if I was around. May be. Because one never knows about oneself. You may yourself have rejected my proposition of accepting your sad sentimentality. May be. May you rest in peace. Amen.

July 13, 2010

Peepli Live…Chance encounter with a superstar


I have often been accused of thinking too much. I at times wondered why? I mean why I think so much. Not that I thought I think so much but if everyone is saying so then it must be true. No? Anyway, thing is today I realized why. And also what the fuck I should have care for what people say. I think because I think. I dont try to think. It just happens by itself. Thoughts germinate and take shape on their own and it just so happens by chance that they do so within the space called my head.I know I am sounding a bit boring. That is because I am writing not because I want to but because I have to. I met Amir Khan after all today! My writing can not be so pricey that an event like that can not elicit a few paragraphs from me!
Event was Peepli Live press meet and music launch. I was there in some capacity which is neither important nor relevant. I knew Indian Ocean band will be there. I knew Raghubir Yadav and other cast members will be there. As I entered the venue, I was stopped by the bouncer. he didnt know I would be there. I am with *****, I told him. he let me go. I am not sure if he knew who **** is but my eyes were clean, without any fear, honest and straight. He let me go. (I would like to belive he let me go because of whatever my eyes told him, ofcourses chances are he knew whom I knew).
I wandered about inside looking at the preparation. There were cameras, lotsa them. A few people, none of whom I knew. ofcourse no one knew me as well. We were all strangers to each others and that was the common thing between us. We were all waiting for someone to come and fill our day. Soon some came. Indian Ocean band. I could recongnize them from their pics I had seen and also from their concert I had seen a few years back. There was Ragubir Yadav too, sitting on one of the seats. I could recognize him from so many places I had seen him. I was amused but not carried enough. Then he came. I mean Amir Khan. I wasnt ready for it. I just kept gawking at him. he looked just like he looks in his movies. Not much of a difference. There didnt appear anything completely out of ordinary about him. But obviously we know there is something about him. It is not so obviously visibile to everyone. As he moved around, it looked as if all present automatically gravitated towards him. A few clicks, a few handshakes. He took it all in stride. As he came closer to the cameras, everyone turned them towards him. Arre, ise event ke liye rakhiye. Meri to lete hi rahate hain (photo he meant), he said casually. You could see that he is aware of his stardom, of his affect on people and had perfected the art of handling all of it, without least bit of hassle. With a gesture of humility so well perfected over time that it looks fabricated. And also that he enjoys it. This attention. This people acknowledging and his display of casualness towards it. I just stood frozen as he walked past me a couple of times. This time as he walked in my direction, I kept looking. Someone standing closeby went upto him. Shook his hand. Said something. Something nice ofcourse. He shook his head. Said something polite. Smiled. And let him go. I didnt know what to do. I just stood. Gawking. For a brief instant he looked at me. In expectation of a response probably. He was anticipating my move. There didnt happen any. He moved past me. His smile remained intact. I moved away from him. Towards a cushy seat. Soon place was filled with many more stars and starlets. I could recognize a few. Rakesh Omprakash Mekra, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Rajkumar Hirani etc. Then I saw Sherman Joshi. he was standing close to where I was sitting. Someone sitting ear me went upto him. Shook hands, said something. A compliment. Thank you, Thank you, he said. He looked around. At me for a split second. Again the same moment. Expecting a response form me. there was none. I stay frozen.
Then the event started. Everyone got their due. Shutterbugs chased Amir. Those willing to get clicked had to follow a simple strategy. Stay close to Amit. Performance started. But one thing was clear. Media was interested in just one man. Need I name him.
Soon event was over. Everyone went home. I mean after a few drinks and chat-a-chete. I had left early. I couldnt find a reason to stay there. I hadnt thought about what to do there. I hadnt thought about it at all. And that was my undoing. I had even forgot to take a camera. As I travelled back in the local train, standing, holding a support I began to do what I have often been accused of overdoing. Thinking. What the fuck was I doing there. I saw Amir again. Moving in my direction. This time I did something different. I moved ahead. Grabbed his and with both hands as soon as he offered it. Babbled something about me liking his two moview specially, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and Akele Hum Akele Tum. I could see him a bit pleased and reacting that controlled amusement and delight which is again so well perfected that it looks fake. But it isnt. Superstars like being told that they deserve to be so. Again and again. It doesnt matter how many times they have been told so. My telling him one more time would not have been a thing in vain. I thought a few more dialogues being passed between us. But i will spare you with them. I feel a little foolish telling them actually. I also saw myself jumping towards Sharman. Tellimg him that he looks different from screen. He looks leaner and boyish on screen. he looks well off it too. It wouldnt have hurt saying so. Actors like being told they are good again and again. And what the fuck am I fooling myself. It is not for their sake I should have done so. I should have done so because I do not get to meet them on a daily basis. I met once. I let it go. Why? Because I hadnt thought about it. I hadnt pre-meditated it. What the damn fuck. So tonight I am going to (pre)meditate about a lot many of them. Let me see, a chance and sudden encounter with who all should I be ready with. Priyanka (Chopra), (Lara Dutta), Vidya (Balan), Sushmita, Celina (Jaitley), Riya (Sen), Deepika (Padukone) come to me immediately. I think I would add Drew Barrymore and Barbara (Mori) too, to make list global. Hmm…anyone I am mising you think! Let me know. I dont like to repeat the same mistake twice.

July 10, 2010

Its a mad world. No really, I have an explanation.

Things have a strange way of connecting themselves. Sometimes they are really connected but we dont see them. Thats obvious. Often they are not but we see the connection. Not so obvious to you but obvious to everyone else. Predictable thoughts. Yes. What is not is that we live in a mad mad world. It is mad not because it lacks any order but to the contrary. We live in a world which thrives on order, on control, on perspectives, on reasoning. An event is not mad because it is but it will be if we can not find a justifiable reason for its exitence. Examples? Ofcourse. Naxals. Easy one. Mad. Not because they are blowing up CRPF personnel. Because we take notice of them only when they do. And move over it in a matter of nothing. Most of us dont blink an eye, dont stop at the main coverage beyond a few seconds or a miliseconds. They want attention, they need to keep blowing something you see. Shahrukh’s next movie is coming. That needs to be read about. Naxals? Well, its a socio-political problem and a conflict between locals left out of bourgeois economy and a democracy struggling to get them into its fold! Easy. We can uderstand it so we dont need to react to it. People are dying. So what? They do so all the time! Tribals have latest ammunition. So what? All such struggles have sympathisers and they arm them with that. May be Pakistan helps them as well. Its all very easily explanable you see. There is not much we can do you see. Its Government’s job. Does our home minister Mr. Chidambaram knows what he is doing. He should. He is well qualified you see. Even f he doesnt, elections are far you see. Give him time you see. So lets turn our head to why Kites failed! Its simply mad. There is simply no explanable for it. Hritik looked hot. So did Barbara. Direction wasnt poor too. And the technology. Awesome I say. Why the hell did it fail. Beats me. Its a mad world I tell you. You just cant gauge people’s reaction you see. No matter how much of that marketing and research gizmo you do see. There are something still out of reach for science. So much left to do you see. Fuck it. Damn it. Hang it. Whatever. Farmers commit suicide. Not one or two but thousands of them. But you see in a sane world all this is expected. Its not a mad world just because thousands of them hang themselves because producers of food can not find the same for themselves. We have an explanation for this if only you would listen to it with patience, Mr. I dont give a damn. Dont say you see. First begin to see. World needs an order no matter how unorderly it itself is. MNS threatens North Indians every now and then. Goes about breakig their vehicles and beating them up as per their wish. Sometimes it uses North Indian goons to beat up North Indian labourers. It does so because it needs to grab eyeballs and rack up an image. Congress Government lets that happen because it creates trouble for Shiv Sena which in turn is good news for them. Other regional parties from North like it because it gives them  chance to prove their loyalty and commitment towards North Indian lives by taking stance opposite to it. But you see the chief of MNS goes scott free. Also the parties committed to North Indians forget about issues pertaining to their daily livlihood, their sustenance, their right to a rightful life. Posturing comes easy. Belligerence comes easy. Diligence? Perseverance? Forget it. That is not what political parties are supposed to do. Mad you say! Not enough before you hear what the person most impacted by it has to say. The autodriver from Jharkhand. He plied me from Bandra to Kandivali today. I asked him isnt it a pain for him? Not really, he said. Mad, I thought. There are so many pain in life, what can you do about them. It is just one of many. Doesnt really count. Someone is really mad here. Cant be the world. Must be the autodriver. Uneducated he is you see. Doesnt even know what is the real issue for him. Huh! How do you really go about helping these people. Thats why you need to beat them up. Right Mr. Thakeray!