A Very Quick Birthday Post

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News update 1: I am one year older today. As to how old I am, you should never ask a thirty-four year old guy his age.

News update 2: I will be in India (New Delhi and Kolkata) in the month of March from the 1st to the 29th [dates finalized]. Tentative book reading dates are the 6th of March (New Delhi) and  the 20th of March (Kolkata). Hope to meet a lot of you there.

News update 3: This is still not the cover. Just something I made to pass the time.

Have a happy new year everyone.

The Ten Most Awesomely Awesome Movies Of The Decade [By Genre]

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Some movies are so wildly original, so stupendously fantabulous that they transcend all definitions of aesthetics and define greatness on their own terms, providing wholesome though perhaps unintentional entertainment.

This decade has seen many such works of art.

In this post, I shall try to give them their just deserts in terms of awards, one award for each genre.

Disclaimer: To qualify for these awards,  movies have to have a budget greater than Rs. 5000, have recognizable movie stars, have had a nationwide release in major theaters and have had to be watched by me (which explains why for example Boom is not in the list).

[Long post]

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Three Idiots—The Review

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Dil Chahta Hai was a watershed in the history of Bollywood, purely for how it was perhaps the first time that urban college-going students were shown speaking and dressing in ways that sounded and looked realistic, as opposed to the “Maa main pass ho gya”  good-boy and “Khambe jaisi khadi hai”-singing bad boy stereotype. A feel-good heart warming story of friendship Dil Chahta Hai struck a chord in the heart of many movie-goers and would possibly be in most people’s list of favorites.

Athough I appreciated how different it was in look and feel from old world Bollywood, I  personally did not love Dil Chahta Hai so much mainly because at an emotional level I could not connect with the story of three friends who drive a Mercedes to Goa, go to hep discos and then manage their dad’s business in Australia.

The reason was of course very personal.

I grew up in a middle class family in Calcutta and having studied in practically a boys-only engineering college with friends from similar financial backgrounds for whom hanging out meant a cigarette or a pastry from Monginis while sitting on the green grass, the world of Sid, Sameer and Akash was very much out of my realm of experience, though I understand that many people who go to college would find themselves reflected in “Dil Chahta Hain”.

Just not me.

In Three Idiots, I can say that I finally found a little bit of myself on the screen.

No actually not just “a little bit”.

A lot of me.

Which is why, despite its faults, I loved Three Idiots.

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The Ten Worst Hindi Movies Of the Decade

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Why do a Worst for the year when one can do one for the decade? As the 2000s come to a close, I sit and deliberate on the ten worst Hindi movies of the decade that was—ten trashballs with no redeeming features. It was decidedly not an easy choice to make considering the mind-boggling number of movies that immediately came to mind.

So here they are , the ten worst, with special emphasis on big-budgeted and monstrously-hyped releases .

In the order of when they were dumped onto the world.

[Warning: long post]

Mohabbatein (2000): One of the 90s classics “Jaan Tere Naam” had a song ” Maana ke college main likhna chahiye. Padna chahiye.  Romaaaahnce ka bhi ek lecture hona chahiye. Jo ho romaaahnce period. Love and dance period.”  Mohabattein was a movie based solely on this amazing concept, the “college” of course being replaced by a “school” . Of course no one could blame Mohabbatein for dishonesty in labeling with its apposite addition of the “plural” ein after Mohabbat. Because that was what it was. One love story after another like stakes through the heart. Five of them in total. If gorefest “Saw”‘s punchline was “Yes there will be blood” Mohabbatein’s should have been “Yes there will be love” , so gratuitous it was in its romaaaaahntic torture.

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Thank You Everybody

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Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind won the Indiblog of the Year and the Most Humorous IndiBlog at the Indibloggies [polling statistics here] setting off mass hysteria in the country.

According to news agency Reumors, Kolkata went on a general twenty-four hour bandh, Mamata Banerjee asked for the resignation of the chief minister, Katrina Kaif signed another three movies, three more political parties demanded separate states, two more Bhojpuriyas were beaten up in Mumbai and Zardari got  three billion more dollars in “non-military” aid.

Yes mass hysteria. Of the mundane kind seen everyday.

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We Are Not Worthy

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Shan, a regular commenter here, posts a link on his Facebook page, an extract from a “travelogue” titled “To Hellholes and Back” [Link] which in essence says that India is the “most annoying place in the world to be a tourist” with “sleazy dishonest” merchants, of the type that presumably cannot be found anywhere else in the Milky way.

And if this piece of “hellhole” bit of writing was not enough of the imperial Macaulian “those poor annoying subhuman bastards” perspective of India for a week, we had insanely popular US talk show host Glenn Beck (who unfortunately calls him GB) on the cable news channel Fox News saying that India does not have flush toilets, their doctors graduate from their less-than-reputable institutes and that Ganges sounds to him like the name of a disease. [Link]

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The State Machine

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With KCR’s hunger-strike splitting a state born of yet another hunger-strike in a bizzare demonstration of history recursing itself, the floodgates have opened for every selfless politician in every nook and cranny of India to step up their demands for their personal fiefdoms.

Including myself.

I realized a long time ago that there is no way I can become the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Simply because I dont wear a dhoti, I think Groucho Marx is more profound than Karl Marx and most importantly—-I just dont have the time to rise up through the party hierarchy of cadres, being too busy nowdays playing Fallout 3. I also cannot take the opposition route to Chief Ministership as the opposition wont accept me since I do not sing jibanmukhi songs and I have never acted in a Tollywood movie. Even if they somehow did accept me, there is no way a certain person would ever let me have the position she has organized so many bandhs and stalled so much development for.

Which is why I seek to form a state consisting of the Ballygunj area in Kolkata, where being a “local boy” I think the money that I can make from “administering” the shopping districts and the new constructions would be enough to keep me and my future generations in a state of eternal financial solvency.

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Radio—The Review

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Acharya Jagadish Bose sits in his lab with Sambhu, his old servant and assistant, standing nearby.

Sambhu: Babu, I never quite understood why you never patented your discovery of the radio and let Marconi take all the credit. Why Babu?

Acharya Bose [wry smile]: Well there are many things you do not know about me. Like this machine I have invented called a temperoscope that enables me to look into the future. And before you say anything, no I am not going to publish this anywhere nor even tell anyone about it.

Coming back to your question. Having looked into my temperoscope I have decided I dont really want future generations to know that I was responsible for the invention of the radio.

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The Tiger In The Woods

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The whole Tiger Woods incident with the car crash,  lacerations caused allegedly by his wife beating up with a golf club , the consequent confession and then reports of multiple “girl-friends” has shaken the world and seriously dented Tiger’s image as one of the most corporate-friendly sportsmen. While companies for whom he advertises have kept a studied silence, we got some exclusive pictures of certain other not-so-famous products that he has now started endorsing.

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