Monday, January 30, 2006

Mother of all movies

I can't believe this is my third posting within 48 hours. A record of sorts for me.
Well this post is about the best movie I have seen in my entire life, and so it deserves more than a passing mention.

When I was a kid in college, I used to hear a lot about IMDB and the top-100 and so on. Names like 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Shawshank Redemption' used to do the rounds very often. Well, soon after I graduated and helped myself to the purchase of a TV and a DVD player, I started my own movie collection. Courtesy the bootleg DVD stores at Palika Baazar, a haven for immoral cheapskates like me. Thanks to these stores, I was finally able to see most of the so called gems like the ones mentioned above and many others.

However, I knew something big was still missing. Firstly, I still hadn't seen a movie that would make me jump out of my pants with laughter, roll on the dirty floor and beat myself senseless out of sheer delirious excitement. Secondly, all the good movies were English, and as a card carrying nationalist, it really pinched me sometimes. So all my life I waited for this one movie, a Hindi movie, 'The One' if you may. That wait was over yesterday night.

Now this movie didn't spend any money on publicity. However the sheer raw talent of this movie was so much that it gained a lot of word of mouth publicity. It was doing the rounds of bulletin boards, some of my friends who had seen it swore by it, and so many reviews raved about it that I felt like checking out what the hue and cry was all about.

So I went ahead and procured 'Gunda'. A typical low budget, made-in-two-weeks Mithun-starrer, 1 good vs 200 evil kind of movie. Five minutes into the movie I was totally hooked. Like a heroin addict who knows that its bad for him, yet he can't stop, I too was acutely conscious of the gray cells that were quietly dying, yet I couldn't look away.

In my opinion, the star of the movie is not Mithun, but the immensely talented dialogue writer. Consider the following gems:

"Mera naam hai Bulla, main karta hoon khullam-khulla".

"Bulla ka naam lekar tune mera khada kar diya hai...gusse se ek ek baal".

And one of my personal favourites:

"Ab yahan laashein (bodies) aise girengi jaise koi bachcha jab pishaab karta hai..tap tap"

The genius of the dialogues lies not in the extremely high quality but in the fact that they rhyme. 25 minutes into the movie, I noticed that not a single dialogue was out of rhyme with its predecessor. Along with the jaw-dropping background music, it almost felt like a three hour song! The extraordinary hamming effort put forward by all the 'actors' also helped the cause.

"Bulla mujhe mat maar...tujhe AIDS se bachaane ke liye main nirodh ban jaaonga"
"Towel ban kar teri kamar se lipat jaaonga".

Sheer genius!

Apart from the great Mithun-da, the movie boasts of a stellar crew like Mohan Agashe, Shakti Kapoor and the Neanderthal who played Inspector Salim in Sarfarosh. Some girl picked on the street plays Mithun-da's romantic interest.

Now, the movie's storyline is predictable yet gripping. Mithun-da works as a coolie in Ooty airport. Yes, thats right! I guess the airport administrators haven't heard about a little thing known as trolleys. Anyway, so with his high paying coolie job, Mithun-da fulfills all his simple pleasures in life like liquor every night and Maruti Esteem. Now things are going fine with him and his family, which comprises of his sister, his girlfriend, his dad and his pet monkey. Till one day he takes pangas with Bulla (the Neanderthal) and co. Like true Bengalis, they continue making noises at one another for the first twenty minutes of the film, without getting physical. However, the dialogues are poetic (as proved before) and the delivery is par-excellence. Bulla throws in a pathetic fake Punjabi accent once in a while which really spices things up.

So these two are at loggerheads, and nothing is happening. Till one day, things get slightly ugly at the sea-port. Don't ask me how a mountain town like Ooty got a sea-port. Bulla decides enough is enough and finds out that he is horny enough to rape Mithun-da's sister. So after some blouse ripping, Mithun-da's family count reduces by one, which really pisses Mithun-da off.

He proclaims that he has fixed the death dates for the five villains in advance.
The relevant dialogue containing the dates is:
"Do , chaar, chheh, aath, dus. Bus!"

This rhyme amuses Bulla so much that he goes ahead and knocks off Mithun-da's havaldaar father. This makes Mithun-da so mad that he stops fooling around with his girlfriend for a while.

"Nafrat ki aag mein jal kar main pyaar karna bhool baitha hoon".

So now Mithun-da is horny as well as pissed off. Well, so much testosterone proves too fatal for poor Bulla and his minions. The killings start and bodies begin to drop on the promised dates. Apart from Dominos, Mithun-da becomes the only other entity who delivers on time.

In the climax, Bulla (who has killed Mithun-da's girlfriend, by the way), along with an army of 2000 auto-rickshaws faces Mithun-da, who, understandably, is alone. So Mithun-da opens the trunk of his Maruti-Esteem (remember the fat coolie paycheck?). And lo and behold! Mithun-da has dozens of rocket launchers with him, the kind which would put Doom and Quake to shame.

So after some pow-wow and boom-dhoom with the rockets, the auto0rickshaws become cycle-rickshaws (consequently, this ticks off the citizens of Ooty, who are left with no transport). Seeing that Mithun-da is playing at God level with the cheats on, Bulla gives up and is swiftly killed by the God.

That, my friend is the end of the movie. Thats three hours well spent.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rocking Karachi

So a friend living in the US of A decides to call me at 9am on Sunday and I negotiate a more humane timing with him and promptly go back to sleep. Well, once woken up I can hardly sleep, so I open up my laptop and begin the daily rituals of blogsurfing. Was reading some really funny articles by Greatbong for around one and a half hours when the hostel erupted with a loud noise. Being a veteran hostel dweller myself, I instantly decoded the noise to mean that (a) A cricket match is going on (b) Either an Indian batsman has hit a six or a bowler has scalped a wicket.

Well Rediff instantly confirmed my claims - Pakistan 0/1 in 0.4 overs. I had barely sat down when the noise erupted again... Pak 0/2 in 0.5, this was looking more like an Indian one-day batting scorecard in the late eighties (remember the failed opening stands!) By now the last shred of stupor had disappeared and as if to make me a believer, Pak was 0/3 in 1.0 overs. I was willing to kiss Pathan at that time at a great risk to my heterosexual image.

No other wicket fell for quite sometime, but the wait was not long. Three more noises (more like explosions) rocked the hostel at even intervals of 4-5 overs. Right now it is 45/6 in 11.4 overs. The Pakistani top order is gone and so is my sleep.

I am just wondering if the caretaker of the pitch has taken umbrage at the comments on the dead pitches of Faisalabad and Lahore. Now I cannot wait to go to my cousin in Chembur and see the highlights on the telly.


Still looking for the starting gun

Had gone to Delhi for a 'special' celebration of my birthday (or 'budday' as they call it in North India). Nothing really special, except that 12-13 guys showed up at midnight, sans any girlfriends/wives, so the gathering turned into more of a bachelor party :) Not that I am complaining.

So I turned 26 on 24th. Big deal. I guess I have crossed the age limit after which you avoid birthdays like the plague. I am reminded of the lyrics of Pink Floyd's Time:

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines

Story of my life. I distinctly remember being a confused chap at 16. Still no closer to clarity at 26. Well, as they say, "its a phase. It will pass on...". Guess I will just have to wait and watch.

Meanwhile, a happy 56th birthday to our Indian republic!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

A weekend less ordinary

Nothing awesome happens in my life. Ever. Atleast not something earth-shattering. But this weekend was interesting enough to warrant a mention.

With my wingmate Raghu in town for the Mumbai marathon on Sunday, I decided to pay him a visit. Now I also harboured a desire to run in the marathon but the registration date was long gone. Anyway, so Saturday was nothing special...just that it was Basant so there was a kite-flying festival in Shivaji Park. A few of us went there, led by the rumors that some small time celebrities would be there. The kites were bad, the background music loud, air thick with dust, and we couldn't spot anyone famous so we did the usual babe-gazing stuff at Barista and CCD and came back. The conventional evening ended with a conventional bottle of strong beer. However, I had decided to wake up early next morning and cheer two of my friends in the marathon.

So the next morning, I found myself at the Metro Cinema, amidst masses of runners, who were attaching bibs to their t-shirts, having a last smoke before the big race or doing general timepass. The excitement in the air was palpable and the crowd was very lively. There were 10 year old kids as well as 65 year old ladies as participants. I was really glad to be there.

In the middle of all this rush, a BMW-X5 came near me and rolled to a stop dead beside me. Now I have seen better SUVs, but I was never seen Abhishek Bachchan sitting in anyone of them :) So, a celebrity-starved Delhi boy like me was pretty thrilled on seeing a big actor from 2 feet away.

Anyway, the half-marathon had already started and after the Dream Run started around 1.5 hrs later, I decided to enjoy the breeze at the sea front for sometime. Soon, the half-marathon runners were returning from their long haul and every one on the sidewalks began cheering them on for their last 1-2 kms. For me, the feeling of having come so far and not run became too depressing, so I ran along with the runners, although on the sidewalk, drawing smiles from some runners and event-organizers. I accompanied them from Marine Lines to Victoria Terminus (a distance of around 1.5 kms).

After the marathon, killed some time in McDonalds with Raghu (who, by the way, had clocked < 2.5 hrs for 21 kms) before going home. Well, home was not to be, and we ended up seeing Wedding Crashers (so-so timepass).

The gastronomic highlight of the day was a visit to Goa-Portugesa, which is 50 metres away from Raghu's house. It is a 26 year old place, highly acclaimed by many international travellers as well as Mumbaikers. The list of visitors includes the who's who of the city. It serves authentic Goan and South Indian food, along with drinks. My first impression of the place was that it would only serve sea-food (which is excellent I am told), but the variety of vegetarian food is amazing too. Had some Goan paneer starters :), a hot spicy Chettinaad dish, and a finger-licking tasty cashew-coconut Goan Sukem, along with a helluva load of appams.

Man! the food (esp. Sukem) was so good, I was willing to work there for food. Will definitely visit the place more often. One interesting tidbit - the menu (which was beautifully designed) contained a story about the place's beginnings. The lady who is the CEO of the place, missed Goan food after moving to Bombay. So she started the restaurant with her husband. And he, by the way, is an M.D. as well as a special police officer and drives a Harley Davidson !! The lady also was a customs officer before marriage. Boy! talk about the force being with you :)

They say that a marathon is going to be held in Delhi soon. Maybe I will get a chance there (sigh).

Hungry and wanting more good food and awesome marathons,