Masters of Horror—Part 1

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I have been meaning to do a “Masters of Horror” series at RTDM for a long time, with the focus being  superlative Indian horror movie directors like Mohan Bhakri, Rajkumar Kohli, the Ramsays, Kanti Shah and many others. The way I want to go about this is by profiling one movie of each of these masters of the craft. In this post, I look at the art of Rajkumar Kohli by profiling Jaani Dushman (1979), one of the first superhit horror movies in the pre-80s. Depending on audience interest and of course time I hope to continue this series subsequently.

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The Ten Best Horror Movies

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With Halloween round the corner and me working on my horror-suspense novel “The Mine”,  I thought this would be as good a time as any to make a Top 10 List of my favorite horror movies. Plus with Rakhi Ka Insaaf and Arundhati Roy in the news and a consequent mass hysteria regarding  shrinking genitals in the air , what indeed could be more appropriate? So here without further ado, is my Top 10 list of horror movies (Actually 11 because I just could not prune this list), in chronological order.

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Arundhati ka Insaaf

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Yahaan bhi hoga wahan bhi hoga
Ab to saare jahaan mein hoga
Kya… tera hi jalwa

You have seen her at many international forums, performing verbal item numbers for honorariums, regurgitating Chomskian rhetoric at fashionable venues, going around in the forests of Dantewada as part of the “Is Jangal Se Mujhe Bachao—the sponsored edition” and in general being bindaas in front of any open mic that she can get hold of (as long as there is a pressman with a notebook present).

Now India’s greatest reality intellectual queen, the darling of the classes, sedition-uctress supreme Arundhati is coming to your Brahminical Hindu 46 inch flat screen.

Arundhati ka Insaaf.

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Rakhi Springer

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Living in a locality in Kolkata that overlooked a sprawling bustee (an illegal slum), one of the joys of urban life was to witness, from time to time, dog-fights/cat-fights between denizens of the bustee, usually fought out in the vicinity of the Shib Mandir (which housed a Shiv Lingam, a carrom board and a bamboo stand on which was pasted copies of Ganashakti), where in front of a crowd of screaming inhabitants of the said bustee, those in conflict would let loose. Wife beating up drunk husband. Woman shouting at the other woman. Father beating up drug-addict son. Two druggies throwing punches. Mother yelling at daughter caught “red-handed”. Passers-by would stop casually, just listening to the general conversation as the assembled crowd passed judgment, threw out advice, sometimes came in between if the fist throwing became serious  and periodically noisily murmured their taunting disapprobation or whole-hearted approval.

What I did not realize then and I do now is that I was watching advance episodes of Rakhi ka Insaaf, (premiered recently on NDTV Imagine) which has brought to the world of Indian television the cerebral classiness of watching a drunken lout of a husband being beaten up by chappals while he wallows in the drain singing vulgar songs, a show that promises to go where no show has ever gone before. And how can it not? It is after all helmed by Rakhi Sawant, or the “Arundhati Roy of reality television, the God of large-sized artificial things”.

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The Grand Secret OS

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Given the history of technological white elephants that our research agencies have produced, reading about the DRDO’s proposal to create a “closed source operating system” just made me groan.

“We have to protect it (data),” Saraswat said, adding, “Only way to protect it is to have a home-grown system, the complete architecture…source code is with you and then nobody knows what’s that.”

Nobody knows what’s that. A perfect description of government research agencies.

This line does sound ominous, more so given the fact that it is precisely these “nobody knows whats going on” kind of systems that have historically shown to have the most security vulnerabilities which explains why “security through obscurity” (typically explained with respect to cryptography in computer security textbooks) is, in general, a deprecated principle. [Another thing which has gone out of fashion is closed-source, proprietary OSs but try telling these guys that]

Of course, the idea of a “Government of India”‘s very own operating system does sound amazing.  Here are some specifications I think will be implemented (warning geeky stuff to follow).

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Robot —The Review

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Automatons created by humans to discharge hazardous and repetitive functions or as we commonly refer to them, robots have been a persistent motif used to explore various themes of deep significance—-like defining what exactly it means to be human (Philip Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) or the conflict between rational thought and emotion (Kubrick’s “AI”) or the tragedy inherent in human beings attempting to be creators (“Frankenstein”), wherein their imperfections are inevitably reflected in what they make. To that rich corpus of art needs to be added “Robot” (Tamil: Enthiran) in which magical director Shankar, explores in visionary scale, all this and even more—-namely the story of Creation and the relationship between God and his most amazing product: Man.

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May I Make A Few Requests Pliss?

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[This was an invited article in Sunday’s Telegraph in their special Pujo edition. At the time of writing, the electronic version is somewhat garbled. So am cross-posting the entire article]

Pujo is perfect. But then as my geography teacher would say, perfection can always be perfected. And I know exactly how that can be done. Everybody just has to listen to what I have to say and follow through accordingly. Of course, I need to couch my “to-do”s as requests and gentle suggestions, since people are more likely to listen to me that way.

So here they are, my ten “requests” to the world, made with the noblest of intentions, which if honored would make this, the most joyous of seasons, even more joyous for everyone.

Well if not for everyone, at least for me.

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