Masters of Horror– Part 3


[Previous editions of Masters of Horror---Part 1, Part 2]

As someone who writes genre fiction (Please buy “The Mine” if you have not yet), I always strive to layer in my elements. In other words, I try to hide the real horror of the story beneath the surface of the narrative such that what is being shown is as important (if not more) than what is being implied. Two levels (the outer and the inner) is the maximum I can handle and that too with difficulty. Which is why I doff my cap to Vikram Bhatt, a true master of horror, who effortlessly handles four, five, six and even sometimes seven layers of horror with consummate ease.

Case in point, Vikram Bhatt’s latest blockbuster Raaz 3 aka Raaz 3D aka Raaz the Third Dimension. It has caught the world by storm, getting reviews from NY Times (link) and LA Times (link), setting box-office records in India and perhaps, most impossibly, reviving the career of Bipasa Basu. Raaz 3 has seven layers of horror, which keen readers will note is the same number of circles of Hell envisioned by Dante. This, I believe, is not a co-incidence because sitting through Raaz 3 is like descending into the deepest depths of the Devil’s Lair.

So what are these seven layers you ask. Well, here they are. In no particular order.

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Potol Babu Filmstar is one of Satyajit Ray’s greatest short-stories.

Its main thesis is that in theater or in cinema, there is nothing like an insignificant role; a truly skilled artist, even if given one word of dialog, can make it memorable.

Sanjay Kapoor is one of our greatest actors. His main thesis is similar.

“Only Indians are bothered about the length of a role instead of its impact,” complains Sanjay Kapoor. [Link]

Very right. As in movies and as in life length does not matter. What matters is whether you can hit, with searing impact that spot which is the nerve-center of all pleasure.

Yes I am talking about the heart.

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Pakistan Round Up


Today’s Pakistan round up.

In days of yore, warring nations like the Rajputs and the Mughals would bring peace in their times as well as opportunities for making crappy historical dramas for directors hundreds of years down the line with matrimonial alliances. In that spirit of love conquers war, this week saw the announcing of the baap of all Aman-Asha initiatives—-the proposed marriage between the spokesman of “all Muslims of the world” Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik (banned) and the over-rated hottie tennis queen Sania Mirza.

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The H-Man


As able to change form and shape as Mystique (see above pictures), as able to manipulate metal and currency as Magneto, as unstoppable as the Juggernaut, as immortal and as surgically enhanced as Wolverine, as able to manipulate minds as Charles Francis Xavier (how else can you explain how pretty women all over the world swoon with O-Reshamia-sms whenever he is present), it was long known that Himesh was even more powerful than an Omega level mutant, making him the most awesome X-Man  in the history of the universe.

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Indian Television's Finest Hour


As I watched the first two episodes of “Rakhi Ka Swayamvar”, I realized I was witnessing history—an aesthetic amalgam of Dali-ian surrealism and Dada-ist anti-conventionalism, a monument to the post-DD “India Shiney (Ahuja)” Youngistan socially and culturally conscious media, the kind of media that gives us news like this:

“There are two things that you notice instantly when you see Deepika Padukone. One is that she is pencil-thin; and, two, she has a love-bite on her neck that is still to fade away.”

Make no mistake. Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, now being shown on the appositely named NDTV Imagine is Indian television’s finest hour. In the past, we have been shocked by Tamas. We have been educated by “Bharat Ek Khoj”. We have danced to “Ek chidiya anek chidiya”. We have cried with Haveli Ram. We have dreamt with Mungerilal. We have flown with Shaktiman. We have become “Putrabati bhava” with Mahabharata. But never have we ever been as moved by anything as we have been by Rakhi ka Swayamvar, as classy as a circus freakshow and as spontaneous as Dick Cheney.

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Maha Patriot


Amidst the tumultuous events of the last few weeks, two patriots have risen from the flames, very different in their perspectives, almost mirror opposites and yet combined, they somehow complete each other (like Batman and the Joker). Or maybe the more accurate word would be—neutralize each other.

One is of course minorities minister Antulay, whose patriotic credentials were never in doubt —after all who could be a greater patriot than someone, who as a chief minister, was convicted of extorting builders to donate to an Indira Gandhi trust. The fact that such a person, even after this, can hold a ministerial post is evidence enough of how high we value his service to the nation.

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Victoria Ki Andar Ki Baat Hain


One of the misconceptions (and that may have been due to a scene in “Enemy of the State”) I had about the US before I came here was that premier lingerie shops in the US (which I then thought was Victoria’s Secret) employed models who live-demoed their merchandise.

This sensualized ideal lasted till my first visit to Victoria’s Secret (let me assure you not to wear their products myself), an experience that was a huge let-down.

Firstly, with an outlet in almost every major mall, I realized that it was not as exclusive as I had once thought. Secondly the only lingerie-clad models you were likely to encounter were two-dimensional black-white representations of beautiful women framed on the walls and under diffused lighting. And thirdly the most shocking thing about the place were the prices on the tags, constituting perhaps the highest dollars per thread  number you would encounter (unless you went to places like Saks Fifth Avenue, which I avoid).

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Piss Piss Bang Bang


Many of us have often accused the Left parties and their minions in the intelligentsia of pissing on the Indian army and the defense establishment at every possible opportunity. Well, in a disturbing development this “pissing” has crossed over from the world of metaphor in to the world of mice and men in a way that is sure to make even the most news-hardened among you hold your nose to block the stench.

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Sonu Hua Madhyam


Austin Powers (Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, 1997):

Yeah, and I can’t believe Liberace (picture to left) was gay. I mean, women loved him! I didn’t see that one coming.

The uneasy peace between Bollywood and the press was shattered as Sonu Nigam, in a shocking open letter accused a prominent Bollywood gossip columnist/movie reviewer, S. Jha of having propositioned him for some homosexual play-back.

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