This Post Contains Spoilers.
After Logik’s comment on my previous post, I decided to watch Paanch. It was one of those movies I’ve always wanted to watch, but not finding a copy online in the past put the idea out of my head. I didn’t want to watch it because I expected it to be awesomeness personified; it was more of curiosity – it wasn’t allowed to be released, and recently, I’d watched Anurag Kashyap’s movie for Star Bestsellers – Last Train to Mahakali, which starred Kay Kay Menon, and was rather impressed.
The movie starts off as expected – trippy opening credits – chaotic visuals of Mumbai(?) streets from a vehicle, as shot from a moving vehicle. And then the whole dope and rock n’ roll bit.
The story moves slowly. Until the Kidnapping.
There are five main characters, as the title suggests. It’s mainly told from the point of view of Murgi (Aditya Srivastava), who doesn’t have much to do in the movie until the end. The screen is occupied more by the cowardly Pondy, and the explosive, Satanic, edgy, pure evil Luke (which, midway through the movie, I wonder if it’s a shortened version of Lucifer. One of Kay Kay Menon’s best performances, I’ll say.), and the extremely loyal Joy. And in the second half, by the street-smart money-minded promiscuous Shiuli (Tejaswini Kolhapure).
Nothing redeeming about any of them. They are portrayed as being all about vices, no single endearing characteristic about any of them. No backstories that justify their behaviour. In another movie, you would have Shiuli’s promiscuity being explained by showing a flashback of her parents’ divorce, or being abused, or some such. But not here. The characters are unapologetically what they are.
Long story short, they have a band. And they need money for a demo tape. One of their friends suggests they ‘kidnap’ him and ask his father for ransom. And in one of his many fits of rage, Luke beats him to death. The police get suspicious. Luke gets edgier. Pondy gets cowardlier. They decide to rob the friend’s father. He walks in on them cleaning out his money. They kill him. His policeman pal finds out and confronts them. He is killed too, as is the constable with him. Soon, all four of them get frustrated with everything. They drown Luke. They turn themselves in.
So far, so good. If not sympathize or identify with the characters, you grok them, their motivations, their every next move. They are not deep, or with multiple layers, but that’s the whole point. The movie seems so far like a delicious study of anger, of frustration, of inflicting psychological pain, of forgetting all about right and wrong, of forgetting all about consequences. It is delectably trippy. It doesn’t tell a story so far; it presents to you a collection of fascinating characters together, like a social experiment or something – some points almost bring to mind the Stanford Prison Experiment. Nothing is explicitly said – it’s there for you to see, in the graffiti, in the way they speak, in their body language, in the bloodied dolls with severed heads in Luke’s room.
And at this point, Anurag Kashyap slips. Trips. And makes this your regular movie.
So it turns out Luke is not dead, and it was all a plan hatched by Murgi (yes, pun intended, you can laugh), Luke and Shiuli. And then the cunning woman pits them against each other, and everyone ends up dead and she decamps with the cash, becomes a popstar.
That killed it for me. That really did. The meandering first three-quarters of the movie prepared me for an ending, where, possibly, everyone dies, or where some die and the rest live on…. but not one where people take advantage of each other. If that was to be the highlight, it could have been done in so many other colourful, entertaining, psychedelic ways, keeping with the rest of the movie. There could have been such an undercurrent throughout the movie, if not through Shiuli, through some other character. You begin to feel the last quarter of the movie was ghost-directed by the spotboy or something.
And why was this banned? Because it showed the bad guy coming out smelling of roses? Flimsy. I think Dhoom probably had more sex and violence than this flick.
My verdict: It has its moments. Good dialogues [There's this one bit where Murgi and Pondy try their hand at waiting tables, and there's this frustrating customer who gives a long list of specs about his omelette. To which Murgi says "Murgi ka naam Champa hai, chalega?"] , great acting [As a friend said, Kay Kay has enough in him to have Mogambo running scared]. And the music, one of Vishal Bharadwaj’s best. All the songs are good to listen to, especially the jazzish Kaisa Hai Sheher by Dominique. Along with the visuals, it all comes together to make a trippy watch. A lot of promise, sadly shattered by the incongruent dénouement. Recommended watch. Out of Paanch, I’ll give it Teen. But only because I don’t give full ratings to any movie, and hence everything is suitably downgraded.
PS: The only version of Paanch that is out is a pirated version of the preview copy. Don’t feel too bad about watching that… Anurag Kashyap himself doesn’t much mind. Check out this byte from him: here.
No, not the most-watched yet-unreleased movie by Anurag Kashyap starring Tejaswini Kolhapure and Kay Kay Menon.
It’s time for the annual self-congratulatory pat on the back, for not giving up on this venture for 365 additional days. Yes, The NITK Numbskulls Page completes another year of its existence, and yes, as the title suggests, this page has been going strong for half a decade now. For perspective, I have a cousin younger than that. And if I had begun work on my doctoral dissertation when I started this blog, I might have possibly been graduating or been cursing myself for not. Five years can change a stripling out of school to a full-fledged medical doctor. In five years, you can build a site to be as popular as Youtube. If I had been convicted of certain crimes when I started this blog, I might have been free today.
So while not being so dramatic, five years have certainly made me a different person; I can’t be eighteen forever. I used to be aimless, clueless, and without a plan back then. Now too, I’m aimless, clueless, and without a concrete plan, only more informedly educatedly so. My grammar is better, I’m less lenient with people who are wrong on the Internet, I’m less tolerant of a lot of things. Surprisingly, I’m also more idealistic now as compared to before, less cynical, and don’t fight all the battles that come my way.
I don’t know what more to say which I have not said on this day over the past four years. I wish I could write a flippant ‘I’m turning five!” post where I crack my choicest jokes and make it look effortless, but I guess I take this page more seriously than I should. As the years go by, I feel this place grow closer and closer to my heart. It has been the focal point of my entire online existence for this period. It has been where I have corrected my tending towards smsLingo. It has been where I have expressed myself fully, completely. I have met many delightful people just through this blog.
This page has aided me in my journey of self-discovery. (But heck, what has not?)
So what has our fifth year wrought? Sea-changes in life and living, for sure. Being plagiarized by Bangalore Mirror. Twice. And being flagged by some new WordPress spamfiltering algo as Spam. And when I blogged about it, Matt of WordPress fame commented on it. My posts have been more personal, less about movies and music and books, or so I feel. I haven’t given this blog as much time this year as I did last year, and am glad I’m using my time more productively. Sort of, atleast. For example, I just hastily scribbled this post to get back to coding, while in previous years I did spend an hour writing it and feeling all the nostalgia.
Weirdly, it was being plagiarized that made me wonder what writing here meant to me. Even two years back, I’d've been game to my content being published elsewhere. Now it’s not just privacy concerns and control-over-content concerns that make me more possessive about my content. I am disillusioned when it comes to the media now than then. And I know the extent of energy and thought I put into each word here that I can simply not see someone else reap the benefits of my hard work. And there’s more of that self-important drivel where that came from, but I’ll let it pass.
My other attempts at blogging haven’t gone so well, neither in terms of reach or content. Which leads me to believe that blogging success comes only from lavishing time on a blog.
Where am I going with this? Well, there’s this novel I’ve always wanted to write. Except that I am horrible with fiction. Maybe I’ll be bold enough to present my babystep short stories here, get feedback, and then maybe gain enough confidence to put in effort at something longer?
Till then, I’m content keeping this place what it is – thought receptacle, insanity preventer, good listener and shining example to convince myself I am not that distracted, I mean, I can’t be, I can keep things going for five years and more, right?
And readers. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for sharing, thanks for noticing when my blog disappeared off the Internet, thanks for all the support when I blogged about being plagiarized.
And as always, I thank Goddess Saraswati for all that bestowed on me and pray for more of the same thing, or maybe something different… oh, I needn’t bother… She knows what’s best for me.
For quite some time now, I have been complaining about the utter lack of swanky hotels in Mysore to my Dad. No ambiance, if tried very badly done. Waiters don’t know that starters are to be served before the main course. Some don’t even have the concept of starters. No one gives you finger bowls after a meal. I don’t want to go on about the state or the placement of the washing area. The menu cards are centuries old, some soaked on old coffee or wet with water. Heck, its better to ask the waiter “Whats there?”.
I’ve gotten used to entering names and waiting in queues for a table. The waiter pulling chairs, and handing over napkins after folding them in a triangle. Neatly made menu cards, sometimes leather bound placed in front of me. All of them immaculately dressed. Music to set the mood and good decor. The order taking guy comes takes it and goes, the others serve food and some others come and take away the plates when done. The second guy comes and sets the plates for the next course. All this is done like clockwork. Each table is an island in its own way. Orders of one not affecting anything in the other table. The bill comes in a leather bound folder. Cards get swapped. And I leave, sometimes the waiter pulling the chair back for me. Overall it feels like an evening well spent.
Today, I entered an average hotel in Mysore cursing my dad for not finding a better one. It was an old house convert. Looked very unclean, with rickety chairs (The chairs don’t match the tables!). None of the tables were empty, so we ended up sharing the table. The guy who brought water, spilt it on the table, and took a while to clean. The waiter told us the whole menu. He knew it by heart. I ordered a set masala dosa. My dad, a south Indian thali. My dosa came on a humble banana leaf placed on a steel plate. He brought my dad only a part of the thali saying that he would serve it hot when he came to it. The appalam late, so it wouldn’t get wet on the rasam. He kept asking if we wanted more, of anything, if the consistency was good, like my aunt at her place would. No fuss, nothing. He was even endearing to the cleaning boy when the chap took away our plates, that he could have done it later. In the end it was a very humble bill.
Some one in the hotel business once told me that a set of tables are assigned to a particular waiter, and that that is their territory. I was also told that a certain strict hierarchy exists. If you give feed back less than average in the end, the waiters are taken to task (And hence not to give bad feedback). I don’t know if such rules exist in this place. But it surely felt like home and it was the best dosa I have had in a very long time.
It seems to be ages since there was a cheerful post on this page.
We’ve changed the theme here for the sake of it. Rubric was nice and elegant, and I really love the pen next to the title, but we got extremely, extremely bored of the same look. So here’s a new theme. It’s called The Journalist. It’s not rubric, but this was the one I hated the least.
Anyway, the title is yet another Queen reference – Smile was the name of the first incarnation of Queen. And I’ve said this a zillion times before and will say it again, Queen Rules.
Speaking to my cousins who are in their late teens, I realize I’ve become some sort of relic in their eyes.
I adore Carnatic music. It’s been ages since I listened to any music which is not older than me – Jethro Tull, Queen, Beatles, Bee Gees, Asha Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar, AC/DC, The Doors, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong – it turns out, either stopped performing before I was born (due to death, sometimes due to old age), or had their best times back then… I’m also hopelessly out of touch with the latest music, and despise the new filmstars. And my favourite radio station here is USC’s western classical channel – which music to them apparently sounds like Tom-and-Jerry music. Oh, and I don’t like the newer versions of Tom and Jerry. I also can’t see the point of Facebook. I watch Desperate Housewives like I’m an addict. I can’t follow SMS lingo. I am a spelling Nazi. And, the worst crime of ‘em all, I don’t like pizza now (I’ve grown sick of too much pizza. Yes, that happens). *Sigh* So much for hip-olderCousin-ness. I think my mother’s older cousins are way hipper than me in my cousins’ eyes.
Thankfully geekness counts for something with some of my cousins who ask for help with game development in Python. So far it’s been basic Python STL stuff, but I guess when they discover that the only libraries I use are PyBrain and SciPy, and that I have no clue about game development libraries for Python, it’s going to be a long fall from grace – from the higher echelons of geeky-coolness down to “This is my akka, she’s a nerd”-ness. Especially since they are fast outpacing me in the domain of being able to pull out e-versions of the latest and the greatest in literature from seemingly nowhere. Hmm… maybe I should buy an iPad to get back to being cool.
I’ve been rather addicted to 30 Rock of late. There’s something so unapologetically irreverent and cheerful about it.
Leechblock keeps me off Google Reader, Youtube and a dozen other sites for most of my day, thank god for that. So what do I do? Find new sites to be addicted to. Thankfully these ones don’t have me in a vice-like grip yet.
Topping the list is Fizy.com. It’s thankfully not blocked in the USA anymore. You can look for music online, and make playlists which you can save. You can also share permalinks to songs on Twitter, Facebook, and a few other places. The only sad part is that it isn’t good for phonetic search. So ‘Pyar’ and ‘Pyaar’ are considered two different words.
However, Guruji.com/music totally rocks in that department. Tragically, they are having their offices raided and things just because the websites they search through sometimes host mp3s illegally. They are one Indian web startup I really have grown to love, and they had better not be coming down; it’s going to scare off more entrepreneurs. Totally not what the country needs.
And check out avaxhome.ws if you want ebooks. Rather a good repository. I’m now so used to it that the other day, I was at the student center, when I saw a woman whip out a book with some really curious title that reeked of conspiracy and thrill, and as if out of instinct, I pulled that book out of the website. Of course, I promptly deleted it from my hard drive and made a note to tell the librarian about the book so that I can legally borrow it .
And do you want $8000? Check out Yahoo’s Learning To Rank Challenge: http://learningtorankchallenge.yahoo.com/. There’s still a month left. It is a rather fun contest, it turns out.
One of my favourite bloggers has taken the plunge into writing books now. So many of them doing this now…. I’m struck by an idea. Will it be a good idea to aggregate blogposts into a book? Topicwise? Current-ness of the writing is not an issue, assume that posts will be picked in such a way that even if you read them ten years later, they’d still read current. So tell me. Is this an idea that’ll work? Has it been done before? Let me know in the comments section.Thanks.
And… smile! It makes everyone wonder what you are upto.