Dil Bole Hadippa—the Review

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Stardate 2009.10. This is Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. Caught in an ion storm, we have been thrown off coordinates in a remote corner of the galaxy and are currently orbiting a M-class planet…

[Bridge of the Enterprise]

Spock: Captain, I have been able to get some information from the archives about this planet. It is in an Earth-like planet with an nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere called Yashrajton. In this planet, there is always bright sunshine, most of it consists of green fields with yellow flowers everywhere , happy people with nary a worry in sight sing and dance about, the dhol plays always, background dancers magically arrive every twenty minutes, one elaborate family function gives way to another, India and Pakistan exist as brothers and play cricket together for a cup called the “Aaman Cup”, the education system consist of Gurukuls where teachers instruct students in the ways of love,  whenever people break into song (and that’s as often as a man with loose motion taking a dump) they sing in the voices of Sonu Nigam or Sunidhi Chauhan, there is a very limited set of names for people (Veer, Veera, Rohan, Rahul), everyone talks with exaggerated facial expressions and gestures, where a woman will be mistaken to be a man the moment she puts on a beard and a man will be rendered unrecognizable if he shaves off his mustache and most importantly, everything is lovey-dovey.

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Wanted—the Review

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“Wanted” is not so much a movie but a rip in the space-time continuum, a relativistic worm-hole through which the Bollywood of the 80s has crashed into the 2009s bringing back the glory days of single-screen chawanni-flying and CT-marooing dhisoom dhashoom action and chakoom chukum “abhe chamiya ek chummi de ke ja” romancing into the Rs 500 nacho-selling world of fancy multiplexes.

Take that Sanjay Gupta and all you Tarantino- Leone worshipers who think its cool to take inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns and pulp fiction while neglecting our glorious heritage of Garam Halawa—“Wanted” is a box-office cracker raking in so much green that will make you turn wannabes green.

And take that Aamir Khan— “Wanted” is as non-nonsensical as your “Ghajini” but with none of the six-pack “inspired by Memento” pretentiousness that characterized that pile of hot steaming turd.

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That Time Of The Year

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It’s that time of the year.

Durga Pujo.

Jostling amidst insane crowds. Craning necks trying to catch a glimpse of the protima (the idol). Getting my feet trampled by 200 lb mashima from Titagarh. Having my behind worked over by the pickpocket expecting his pujo bonus. Consuming boiled rice sold as “biriyani” and canine meat as mutton roll. Being awash in the bleary-eyed punch-drunkenness that comes not from good old bubbly but from the positive energy that pervades the air.

Not for me.Not any more.

Settled across the Atlantic in Obamaland, a “family man” no less, things are very different.

Very much so.

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Mad Cow Disease

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BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “Tharoor has termed economy class in airlines as cattle class. (This reflects) the insensitivity of the minister. This tantamounts to (causing) deep injury to the self-respect and esteem of millions who travel economy class,” Rudy said in a statement here. [Link]

Yes Rudy sahab. Shashi Tharoor definitely deserves to be hung by his udders. But before that is done pahele us aadmi ke sign leke aao who named “second class” in trains as”second class” in the process hurting the self-respect and esteem of billions of people who travel “second class” everyday, people who go home and weep copiously and wonder whether they are “first class” citizens of the country.

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Lassie Come Home

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I had tweeted this yesterday after Rajnish, a reader, sent me a reference to this Punjab Kesari story which I am sure you shall all agree can definitely be called disturbing.

Titled descriptively as “Nirlajj Ne Nashe Main Luti Kutiya Ki Izzat” this piece informed us of a horrific act of man-beast interaction that cannot be described in English, an act that led to the dog refusing to eat or drink and ending with the police assuring concerned citizens that the said kutiya will not be produced in court.

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The Economy Drive

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James Hacker: It (a economy drive) is very popular with the voters, Humphrey. Gives them at chance to help us to finds ways to stop wasting government money.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: The public doesn’t know anything about wasting government money. We’re the experts.

Yes Minister (episode: The Economy Drive)

Sarojini Naidu once wrly observed that it costs a lot to keep Bapu-ji poor. Now far be it from me to conjecture as to how much it costs to get Sonia Gandhi to travel economy class or her son to travel chair car on the Satabdi Express.

But again that is not something we should even be concerned about.

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Lafda—Rise To Power

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Among my different bad habits has been added one more. That of playing Mobsters Vendetta on Facebook. During this time  I have  not only wondered how addictive this silly game is but also how inherently attractive the concept of a Role-Playing Game (RPG) (originally from Dungeons and Dragons) is in a social context.  Not that people do not already know that well enough considering that Warcraft, which is what is known as  a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG),  is a huge money-making franchise inspiring many other knock-offs including my favorite game of all time “Knights of the Old Republic” all set to become a MMORPG in its coming incarnation.

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The Principle Of It

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And yet another totally insignificant triangular tournament gets underway and people wonder why attendance for one day internationals is dwindling.

However what is worth commenting on, from the perspective of an Indian fan, has been the return of Rahul Dravid into the one-day side.  A year ago, another player of his generation Sourav Ganguly was forced  into retirement  at a time when he was arguably playing the best Test cricket of his life (his best one day form was behind him but he was still worth his place in the side in my opinion) by the present board. Then we were told by the pundits, both at the “Home for Cricket” and on this comment-space and other fora, that the basis of the argument for Ganguly’s continuance ,which relied on recent performances and averages and things like form, was fundamentally flawed.

Simply because this was the new age (Vision 2007 or Disco 82 or Hope 86 I forget what it was called) where the paradigm of cricket had changed so much  that just batting alone was no longer going to cut it, where Ganguly’s undoubted poor fitness and sluggishness on the field were the overriding considerations in his being rendered useless to Team India. In support of this thesis not only was Ganguly removed from the ODI side (and soon also from the Test side) but also Dravid after he had scored 80 runs in nine innings.

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And More Bits of Unsolicited Advice: Getting Traffic For Your Blog

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The last thing one should do to an old man on a bench is to encourage him to dispense unsolicited advice. No sooner than you do so than out comes more and more words of dubious wisdom.

In the last post, I dispensed some very general advice about the art of blogging. In this post, I get a bit more specific, focusing on what I feel is the best way to build traffic for your blog.

For those of you who believe that they blog for their own satisfaction and do not care if anybody else reads it then please skip the rest of the post. But for those of us who desire an audience but struggle to get one (as I did once upon a time and the frustrations of which I detailed previously), here are some general thoughts on the topic.

The most important thing of course remains the same. Good content. Last time I said “If you build it, they will come”. Sure. But if the water runs out and the toilet stinks, then they won’t stick around. Trust me on that.

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