Friday, September 25, 2009

Dil Bole...Mat jaaa

BOMBAY (25 Sep): Last weekend I found myself persuaded by my friends to see the latest circus act -- Dil Bole Hadippa (DBH). And since spending hard enough dough on sure-shot tripe is my favorite pastime nowadays, I duly obliged.

DBH delivers on all expected fronts of a Yash Raj movie. The audience feels like it has been through a lobotomy coupled with an anal probe, where the anaesthetic was replaced by Vogon poetry. Let us look at the checklist for a patented Yash Raj film.

1. 100% Punjabi theme. Check.
2. All Punjabis living/defacating/mating/studying/sleeping in sarson ke khet, and driving either a truck or a luxury car. Check.
3. Lead cast shoddily speaking colloquial Punjabi words to construct pseudo Punjabi sentences that make the ears rot. Check. Bonus points if Punjabi words are restricted to vich, pind, asi, tusi, saada, te, tuada, chak de, balle, lalle-di-jaan, oye-hoye. Any other words are completely banned because Yash Raj Films' pseudo Punjabi department doesn't know what they mean or how to pronounce them.
4. One dimensional storyline with out-and-out good and bad guys, and side characters completely ignored. Check.
5. Stupid misunderstanding at the end, which any living organism with the IQ of an amoeba would easily counter in real-life, but which separates the lead hero and heroine. Check.
6. 4273 Sikh junta who are always around in complete Bhangra gear, should the hero/heroine desire to gyrate at any point in the movie. Check.
7. An intellectually retarded, but emotional "heart of gold" possessing parent. Check.
8. Harvest season going on irrespective of the month of the year, and the farmers singing in the fields in full make-up. Check.
9. Portraying super-emotionality and obnoxious conservatism as Indian and everything good. Check. Bonus points if there is a character who is the antithesis of this portrayal and who by the end of the movie is shown as a loser.
10. Highly retarded characters (usually a relative of the main character, or a servant) providing really boring "comic relief". Check.
11. Sappy emotional mono/dialogue that would form the key turning point of the movie. Check. Bonus points if the lines look out of place in even a 1950s movie.

I could go on, but I guess you get the drift. On the plus side, large parts of the movie do qualify for the "so bad it is good" category. And Rani Mukherjee, who is competing for the Best Actress in the Anorexia Category against Kareena Kapoor, looks "different". Come on girl! Bring on the flab and thunder-thighs! That's what the male crowd paid their 150 bucks for! As another minor plus, Shahid Kapoor has finally transitioned from "so bad I want to kill him" category to "I can tolerate him if he doesn't ham" category. Speaking of hamming, the only truly funny scene in the movie is the one where he emulates the Emperor of Hamming, SRK, from DDLJ.

Yash Raj films also have a proud tradition of possessing gaping logical loopholes, a tradition which they have heavily strengthened with this movie. Cases in point:
(a) When there is a Indo-Pak village-level match, the entire guest village easily gets a visa to visit the host village. That includes Rakhi Sawant.
(b) Every team member calls the captain "Sir", not because he has been knighted, but because he demands so and because the team is funded by his dad (his words, not mine!). It doesn't matter that the captain looks 10 years younger than many of his teammates.
(c) There are multiple video cameras that provide HD coverage of the village-level match. IPL organizers must be crying themselves to sleep on seeing this.
(d) Putting a moustache and turban is enough to disguise a girl as a man. It doesn't matter that there is no other body hair, the voice is still husky, and the chest is still, how shall I say it, merrily pointing outwards.

It suffices to say that I had to watch No Country for Old Men later to nullify the brain damage suffered that evening.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Life of a PhD student

My life in slides. Enacted by Homer Simpson. (Flash-plugin required. Click on a slide to move to the next).

Friday, April 03, 2009

Goa is not what they claim it to be!

[Disclaimer: I lurve Goa/Goans/Goan-food. Mainly because I spend a lot of time within slapping distance of a Goan.]

BOMBAY (3 Apr) So last weekend I found myself boarding a flight to Goa, presumably for attending a wedding reception. However, even a pea-brained monkey knows that no one goes to Goa for attending receptions, and I am slightly better than a monkey. Almost a gorilla, if you will. So the plan was to spend no more than twelve seconds at the said reception, and spend the rest of the stay bathing in (a) Ocean water and/or (b) Beer. Little did I know that my sugary sweet plans will become more bitter than a karela dipped in bile.

It all began when all of my following pre-conceived notions about Goa turned out to be false, thanks to the misleading info given to me by my Goan friends, the tourist brochures, and Goa tourism advertisements:
(a) Every one doesn't wear a straw hat and play Spanish guitar.
(b) People don't sit on their porches all day, drinking feni. (Most do, but not all).
(c) The proportion of non-Catholic population is much more than zero percent.
(d) Remo Fernandes and Mario Miranda can't be sighted just like that.
(e) Hardly 10-20% girls wear skirts, instead of, say 98-99%.
(f) Beaches occupy only 0.2% of the land area of Goa, instead of the expected 97.3% (with the airport occupying the remaining 2.7%).
(g) People lead normal boring family lives in Goa, just like in the rest of the country.

Needless to say I was disappointed beyond measure. But my miseries had just started. For what I saw and experienced next, changed me irreparably for the rest of my life. I am, ofcourse, talking about the oxymoron "Goan veg food". For you see, I belong to the creamy layer of people who perform repulsion-demonstrating acrobatics when offered non-veg food. During my many "veg" meals in Goa, I found out the following:

(a) The epitome of a Goan veg meal, the creme de la creme, the Mithun Chakravarty of the Goan vegetarian cuisine is none other than *hold your breath* the jackfruit. Whereas for me, it is in the category of inedibles clubbed under the generic label of kaddoo.
(b) All Goans are lactose intolerant. This explains the lack of curd/lassi/chhaach/paneer/gravy/(I am drooling now) in any of the Goan meals. Makes you tear your hair and yell "WHYYY! GOD WHY!!" , doesn't it?
(c) There is no difference between french fries and fish fries. This is because they are both cooked in the same oil. In retrospect this wasn't too bad, because the dry potato fries got a smooth passage down my throat helped along by my gag reflex.
(d) Chapaatis are for pansies. Self-explanatory.
(e) Speak and thou shalt be heard, but ask for a spoon and thou shalt be given one tight slap.
(f) The trick to being a good guest is to ask for second and third helpings, all the while fantasizing about Domino's pizzas.

But seriously, and here comes the ass-kissing part, I did love the hospitality in a wedding-waala-ghar, and I did enjoy the food and the company, and I did spend about 7200 more seconds at the reception than the original plan. So all in all it was a wonderful trip. Although someone should seriously follow up on my suggestion of serving a complimentary chunk of paneer to every North Indian tourist after landing. You can usually tell those tourists apart by their smashingly good serial-molester looks.

So long Goa! and thanks for all the fish (fries i.e.).

PS: One more proof that Goa is not what they claim it to be -- not even a single news about a white woman being molested. Yes, I was in Goa. Yes, even then.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A cricket rant

There is an excellent, though long rant on the present state of affairs in cricket. Things are bad for people in general, with all too frequent terrorist strikes and a bad economy. One might look towards cricket as a last refuge, though that too has fallen prey to the hard times.

Only one good piece of news in these glum times --- Australia reclaiming a spot that they so briefly lost to another excellent team. The natural order has been restored. Good to see Australia doing so well inspite of the absence of Gilchrist, Hayden, Symonds, Warne and McGrath.

Meanwhile the Indian sports media is showing its objectivity going gaga over the new found success of the national team. A team that lacks a good second seamer (Ishant is still too inconsistent) and a good spinner (Bhajji? Oh please!). A team with a supremely talented but not too reliable opener whose philosophy is to "hit every ball", which works very well on the pint-sized Kiwi grounds. Nah! this team needs time and consistent performances on fast pitches to become truly world-class.

Now if only they pushed back the boundaries by twenty yards, banned flat pitches as the ones in the West Indies series, and played in stadiums atleast as big as the MCG, cricket would be worth watching again. I wish to see matches where 230 makes an excellent defendable total.

Oh and while I am still ranting, will someone please throw the cheerleaders out!