The Secret of Himesh Reshammiya's Power


One of the things I have struggled to understand is the reason for the viral appeal of this man—-Himesh Reshammiya. You cannot surf channels without a glimpse of his visage: the faux-stud look, the beard, the baseball cap and the cockiness. If ubiquity is the measure of success, then this man has reached the top—from pan shops to discos Himesh Reshammiya’s music and his uber-nasal twang blares at you ceaselessly, like the agonizing moans of a freshly castrated donkey. (not that I have ever heard one–just an intelligent guess as to how it would sound like)

So what is it–what is the reason? Is it that nasal accent? Well if that was the case, then Kumar Sanu would be the reigning king today—-but all he got was the very healthy Kunika and a hysterical wife who comes on the telly and says “Sanu… bhogoban sob dekhta hain” in the worst Bongo Hindee.

Is it his sweet deal with T-series by which he is being aggressively promoted, much to the chagrin of people like Anu Malik? But wait—the last time T-series got behind a bearded, smart-alec music-director with pretensions of being a singer (think back to Nadeem in a pilot uniform violating “O Mere Dil Ke Chain”) it ended with a dead body and a fugitive. But not so now.

Is it his mixture of qawwali and modern beats? But even Altaf Raja tried doing it with “Kar Lo Pyar” , “Thora Intezar Ka Maza Lijiye” and the very groovy “Yeh Raat Hain Rangeen Sharabi” —-and what happened to him? Possibly doing live entertainment at Mithun-da’s monarch hotel along with Vikas Bhalla and Anaida.

Well finally, the real reason is out.

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Fanaa—the Review


A strong north-westerly breeze is blowing at a certain velocity. Two helicopters are approaching each other in 3 dimensional space with their trajectories being determined by a time and location dependant non-linear function. A person in one of those helicopters shoots a bullet whose trajectory is defined by another non-linear function. Considering the composition of all these forces, what is the probability that the bullet hits the stomach of a person in the other helicopter? Point to remember: the shooter is not a sniper but a criminal profiler.

Fanaa is all about coincidences, improbable events and way-out absurdities (like a terrorist organization which targets BOTH Pakistan and India). You are not only asked to suspend disbelief but to tear it to shreds. I understand that plot holes are inevitable in even good movies: after all they are not mathematical proofs. However some kind of plausibility is essential for a movie to make an impact. Not so Fanaa whose plot itself is a hole: and a big gaping one at that. (I cannot go into the logical howlers in any detail without dishing out serious spoilers)

Which is a pity. Because Fanaa has a lot going for it—least of which is the hype and the dream pairing. But there are just way too many times in the story when even the most brain-dead of us have to chuckle to ourselves and whisper “Kya bakwaas”. As a result, it becomes totally impossible to consider Fanaa as anything but yet another disappointing offering from the Yash Chopra house of production line cinema.

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Da Vinci Da Gupt Katha


An RTDM exclusive. Remember you heard this here first. I was one of the privileged few that sat through the premier of ” Da Vinci Da Gupt Katha” at the Dannes (pronounced Daance as in Disco Daance) festival held every year at Ooty—-and in a word (okay two words) —it rocked.

Mithun Chakraborty, the greatest actor alive, plays Krishnan Iyer, Ph.D. No he is not the nariyel paani wala from Agneepath but a professor of symbiology at Lund University. The movie opens with Krishnan Iyer delivering a lecture to the brightest students of the world in Paris explaining the origin of the symbol “420”.

At the same time, the curator of the Louvre museum, Kamana (Rakhi Sawant) is being shot (using a gun that is) by a mysterious albino assailant (Bob Cristo) who keeps on whispering “Main Hindoostan ki tubahi kar doonga”. He walks away strangely without finishing the act —- leaving the voluptuous curator three-quarters dead. Knowing she has only a few minutes to live, Ms. Sawant’s character starts stripping in super slow motion—desperate to send a message to the only man who understands nudity, now that Raj Kapoor is dead.

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The Passing Of a Friend —Desibaba


[Originally published November 13, 2005. Reposted because of technical difficulties experienced by many in accessing the old post]

It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the death of an old friend.

Desibaba is no more.

Desi Baba Desi Babes
Is closed till further notice.
Copyright © 1998 – 2005

For those who came in late, Desibaba was the original Indian porn site. But it wasnt merely a “porn site”—it was a landmark in desi pop culture.

Let me explain.

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Earth Shattering Arguments


Our exams often generate and encourage stupidity and push forward the least talented of the lot. I am not an IIT student, and will not pretend to know much about the CAT since I didn’t crack it, but it is rather interesting that almost none of our wonderful IIT-ians (for whom such pitted battled are being fought) have made any earth-shattering discoveries or inventions

I tend to avoid writing posts that are critical follow-ups of posts from other blogs. There are several reasons for that—the principal one being that by discussing such posts, I give them more importance/mindspace than they deserve. As a result, there was an urge to let this Annie Zaidi post about reservations (Update: The OtherIndia website was down for a few hours and it’s up again. One difference: my trackback to Annie Zaidi’s post has been removed–it was there earlier. Ahem ahem.) pass outside my off stump, with a sad shake of the head.

The post itself can be summarized as follows: Since the examination system is bad, merit is not a criterion for admission into IIT/IIMs. Consequently, the “merit” argument cannot be used to deny quotas to OBCs.

I am not going to spend time in analysing the logical consistency of the above argument—-just like I would never worry myself by trying to understand the causalities in “Military Raj” or “Mirchi–It’s Hot”. [Of course it very well may be that so astute is the logic, that "stupid" people like me, who made it through the education system, are blinded by its sublimity and our refusal to comment on it is a blatant ruse to hide the fact that we have been perfectly "gotcha-ed".]

However, there is one line in that paragraph that compels me to comment, and so against my better judgment my bat is drawn in to the shot outside the off, conscious not to edge it to the slips or “play on” onto my own stumps.

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Mithun Impossible 3


Mithun-da’s “Agniputra” had a climactic scene in which Mithun-da’s mother rises from the funeral pyre and dispatches the gloating villains to kingdom come with amazing shaolin moves, then takes off her “mask” and reveals herself to be actually Mithun-da himself.

Thus was born the central thesis of the “Mission Impossible” series of movies where one can seamlessly transition from one person to another by just wearing a mask—Mithunda can become Mithun-da’s mother (everything other than the face is obviously the same), Tom Cruise can become Phillip Seymour Hoffman (an act of modification as sensational as the one from Mithun-da to his mother) and hopefully I can become Hrittik Roshan.

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Bhairi Phunny Language


I know you are a busy person. But no matter how busy you are—-boss standing over your shoulder, wife breathing down your neck, three deadlines at 12 tonight, a baby in a burning building: put everything down and sit back.

And read this(Wild, Wetty Dreams) (link via India Uncut) [Update: the article has since been edited with wetty being replaced by witty. Some samples of the original are below. For the original unedited version, (which was up on Hindustan Times Tabloid): please go here] [Update 2: The HT link is now dead--but thankfully the original unedited version is still available. ]

Yes sirs and madams, it has finally happened. The cataclysm we had all been anticipating. The Ingliss language (Indian English) that originated from the love poems of the famous Bangladeshi (yes don’t point out the contradiction please) brothers Horizon and Verizon on Bangla bulletin boards, gathered steam with “May I do fransip with you?” on orkut scrap books and Yahoo messenger, and then spilled out onto matrimonials has finally made it to the main stream media.

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Buddha Bar


As expected, the Communist Party of India Marxist is slated to win again the state elections in Bengal—increasing its hold upto a possible 3/4 majority. When you consider that this is the same party which has held sway for 30 odd years now, that is some feat in a democratic society.

Many readers of RTDM, on different occasions, have expressed their amazement as to why and how the CPM has remained in power for so many years without opposition of any sort, impervious to anti-incumbency, sympathy waves and other political opinion sweepers that have remoulded the landscape everywhere else.

Now may be a good time to look at that.

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Rang De Basanti–A Deliberately Late Post


During the last Washington DC blogmeet, there was a question as to what my next post would be.

I said “A post on Rang De Basanti”.

When I briefly said (in one line) what I thought of the movie, I was told that, based on the experience of certain bloggers who had expressed similar sentiments, such opinion, publicly expressed, would lead to a deluge of vituperative remarks in the comments section.

Since I was, at the time, already in the middle of a heated exchange on some other topic, I was reticent to open up the Western front on opinion shrapnel. Hence I decided to delay the post—-at least till the “Be The Change—I just saw Rang De Basanti” hysteria died down.

However since quite a few months have passed since then, I think the time has now come to gingerly put my head on the chopping block.

“Rang De Basanti” is an over-hyped piece of tripe.

Yes I said it then. And I say it now.

And here is my explanation. [Spoilers ahead for people who have yet to see the movie]
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United 93


I had talked about a story a long time ago on this blog.

What totally confounded me was an item a TV channel ran after 9/11. One of the unfortunate people who had been trapped inside the Twin Towers sent a voice message (which his family later got) on their answering machine in which he basically says goodbye to them.

I was intensely moved by the story——–but I also wondered why did the family give the TV channel these tapes? Weren’t the last words of a father and a husband something private meant for his wife and daughter ONLY? Why were his wife and daughter on TV allowing themselves to be subject to the questions of an intrusive reporter who kept on asking them how they felt knowing that Mr so-and-so would never come back? I understand the reporter was looking to increase the channel’s TRPs by playing on the grief of this bereavement but why was the family letting their genuine grief be made a public spectacle of ?

Sharing relieves grief. Accepted. But does it really help to do it in this very public, voyeuristic fashion?

I had similar misgivings when I went to see “United 93″, a movie about the last few hours of United 93, one of the ill-fated four flights that got hijacked on September 11, 2001.

Was this going to be another commercial venture seeking to make a quick buck by peddling human misery?

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