Tahalka—the Review


Anil Sharma’s “Tahalka” is one of Bollywood’s watershed cinematic achievements, a spy thriller with a strong political subtext that mixes suspense, betrayal, cross-dressing, overacting, phallic symbolism, special effects and pure sensationalism in such an effective way that years later when Tarun Tejpal was looking for a name for a guerrilla newspaper that would ambush the establishment, he could do no better than to pay homage to this genre-bender by naming his rag “Tehelka”.

Continue Reading »


Feet In The Mouth


The blasts are a conspiracy to divert attention from the cash-for-votes scandal. It is not an off-the-cuff remark. I mean what I say,” Ms Swaraj told reporters here.“Attacks in two BJP-ruled states in a span of two days and within four days of the UPA government winning the trust vote have some meaning, and what I am saying is proved by enough circumstantial evidence,” Ms Swaraj said.
When asked if she was pointing fingers at the Manmohan Singh government as being behind the blasts, she said: “I have said what I wanted, it is for you all to interpret the rest. [link]”

And with this the BJP, under the inspirational leadership of Advani, has officially gone off the deep end. To the stellar achievements of Ms. Swaraj, which include saving the moral fiber of the nation by butchering  bharatiya-sabhyata-and-sanskriti-denuding scenes from “Wide Sargasso Sea” and “Lake Consequence”, has now been added the glorious distinction of publicly endorsing the viewpoint of the Arundhatis and the Haskars that Jihadi bomb blasts are actually government conspiracies to discredit the minorities/its enemies. (Mercifully she did not confirm whether the Government of India and Israel actually caused the Tsunami, which is what an Egyptian news outlet once claimed)

Continue Reading »

Once Again And Again


Call it “Indian resilience in the face of terror” or the “manifestation of the spirit of city X” (X= city hit by terror). Or more precisely call it our ability to not really care for anything as long as it does not directly affect us or our loved ones. Call it what you will but what never ceases to amaze me and many others is how the terror unleashed by periodic bomb blasts, that take place every few months with ominous regularity, is totally obliterated from the public consciousness in a few days.

In that after the standard bromides of shock and condemnation are dispensed with,  everything goes back to normal.

There is never a sustained public pressure on the political parties to come up with a policy on terrorism, in the way for instance that different interest groups lobby for reservations. It is as if that people are so busy in appropriating a share of the government pie for their own community (caste, profession, state) that they forget that in order to take advantage of acquiring, for instance an OBC status or a few more districts from a neighboring state for their own, they have to first stay alive.

Continue Reading »

The Dark Knight—the Review


“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

–The Dark Knight

True evil has no cause. It has no justification. It cannot be reasoned with. It just is. It derives its strength from “watching the world burn”. And even more importantly from its ability to spread its dark tentacles into the hearts of the good.

The only way for the superhero to conquer evil is to embrace it himself, to do that “one thing he cannot do”. And herein lies the supreme irony. Cause it is this very act of embracing the blackness that becomes the ultimate testimony to the inevitability of “true evil” —the final monument to its victory.

Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” is a violently disturbing, nightmarish journey into the proverbial heart of darkness exploring evil, good, and the tenuous line that separates them.

It is also one of the best movies to come out of mainstream Hollywood in recent years blending action, entertainment, legend, politics and thought in perfect proportion to form a heady cinematic cocktail.

Continue Reading »

Bol Bhole Bol Tujhko Kya Chahiye?


[Inspired by the song “Bol Bol Bol” from  the Subhash Ghai mega-flop “Trimurti”. For those who have never heard it, here is the song.

Original lyrics:

Bikta hai sona mitti ke mol,
Bikti hai mitti sone ke mol,
To bol bol bol bol bol bol bol
Aare bol bhole bol tujhko kya chahiye?

Aashiq hoon main dildaar hoon,
Is dard-e-dil ka beemar hoon,
Mujko dard-e-dil ki dawaa chahiye


Re-sung in the context of the confidence vote on the UPA government.

Female chorus: Ai Ai Aaaaaaaaaaa………

Deep Voice:

Bikti hai vote sone ki mol,
Bikti hai MP heeron ki mol,
To bol bol bol bol bol bol bol
Aare bol bhole bol tujhko kya chahiye?

Continue Reading »

Pariyon Ko Chod


[Pariyon Ko Chod is the name of a Sonu Nigam album–for some reason I find the spelling very inappropriate.]

In misery after having a wisdom tooth extracted, there is nothing better that I can focus on (read that as take perverse pleasure in) than the misery of others .

Like Sonu Nigam’s misery. Last in the news for having been the subject of same-sex proposals from a Bollywood reviewer (not me), which resulted in what Sonu called “Sonu-spanking”, he was, a few months ago, forcibly kissed [image courtesy desihits] and also scratched by a female admirer in a manner reminiscent of the way Ricky Ponting was smooched by a man during a bat auction, an action that some believe led him to lose his cricketing Mo-Jo.

Of course, Zoom (isko dekho) suggests that the whole kissing incident may have been stage-managed —-as if Sonu Nigam needed to desperately show, for some reason, how much women love him. Needless to say, this accusation is totally false as can be evidenced by footage of Sonu Nigam that shows him distraught and terrified. And as all of us who have seen “Kaash..Aap Humare Hote” and “Jaani Dushman” know, Soni Kudi Nigam cannot act for his life.

Continue Reading »

Kashmir Ki Boli


There may be a few reasons that could be put forward as to why someone may oppose the temporary allocation (now rescinded under “public” pressure) of degraded forest land for the erection of “pre-fabricated structures” to temporarily house Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir.

The first possible cause for objection stems from principle. Namely that the State should not be in the business of interfering in matters pertaining to the administration of religious bodies and that a decision taken by a Governor that directly impact an  entity that he heads (Governor Sinha, who signed the allocation order, being also the head of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board) is ethically questionable from a “conflict of interest” viewpoint. [Offstumped explains it here]

The second  is an environmental one—of the precedence set in appropriating vast tracts of forest land for human use. Though it should be noted that the forty hectares of land under consideration are “degraded” forest land and much of it is already being used by Amarnath pilgrims.

The third is of course the most obvious and the one that has mobilized radical Kashmiris all over the valley— the mass communal hysteria that the Hindus are “re-colonizing” a land from where they have been ethnically cleansed. Of course the pity is that noone here is “owning” the land by any stretch of the word. Nor would Hindus be crazy to come back to Kashmir to “resettle”—-after all our capital is New Delhi and not Tel Aviv or Beijing (two countries who do follow a official policy of demography change through resettlement).  Its not even the case that any permanent structures are being constructed for the benefit of the Hindus—-certainly not one with a computer center, bank and conference facilities as the to-be-constructed Haj complex in New Delhi (cost= Rs. 300 million).

Continue Reading »