Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New York - A Review

New York, the first big release after the IPL and the T20 World Cup and the rift between the multiplex owners and the producers, elicits mixed reactions.

The plot of the movie is pretty fresh. It takes a fresh look at the impact of 9/11 on innocent citizens. The world dynamics irreversibly changed after 9/11. The movie depicts innocent people like Sam (John Abraham) becoming victims of the FBI's suspicion. It brings to forth the irony that in an endeavor to curb terrorists, the US is unknowingly creating new ones - the ones which has its origins linked to the 9/11. [I had referred to something similar in my post Live to die]The sub-plot of the victimized Muslim employee who was helped by Maya (Katrina Kaif), a human rights activist is very poignant. It shows the emotional reaction to the torture. Sam, on the contrary, gives an aggressive and a well thought of response to the torment. The theme of the movie – 9/11 ke side effects - is very novel for a bollywood movie. Aditya Chopra, the writer of the movies, deserves full points.

The NYSU part was a bit boring – it was like a conventional big budget movie. But the movie started gaining pace once we found that Sam was suspected to be a terrorist. The movie, then, went Don-way. The FBI appoints Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) as an undercover agent to gather evidence against Sam. The RDB style ending was good. Sam and his wife, Maya (Katrina Kaif) are killed by the federal forces even though Sam throws the bomb trigger and surrenders.

Despite having a very strong plot, the movie lacks in keeping up the pace. At times it was just getting too boring. The director, probably, wanted to show that the 'normal' American, NYSU life Sam was leading and how Omar became friends with Maya and Sam. Also, after the disclosure of the fact that Sam was a terrorist, the pace broke down again. Things become too predictable until the end is reached which is pretty unpredictable by the standards of the the series of predictable events preceding it.

The songs are good. It gels well with the movie. They are broken into smaller fragments and are timed such that they appear like background scores and aid the flow of the plot. The songs do not reduce the pace of the movie – the movie is self equipped with sub-plots to do this (slowing of pace).

John, Neil and Katrina did a decent job. Irrfan was playing in his home ground and so was obviously brilliant. Remember him in A Mighty Heart and Slumdog Millionaire?

The best part about the movie was the neutrality in tone it maintained through out. It was very easy for a movie on such sensitive issues to go on either sides. The movie admitted the mistake done in accusing innocent people, however it doesn't encourage the extremist path taken by those impacted. The movie, like any Yash-Raj movie, is very politically correct.

All in all, the movie has a good plot but not so good portrayal of the plot.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CAT – A National Pastime

As a person grows (in age), his desires, craze and hobbies change. Running in the field, playing chain-chain, playing 'pakda pakdi' – basically any simple game which is physically demanding - would attract a primary school student. As he grows up, he take up games like cricket, basket ball and TT. When he enters the college, his hobby becomes grabbing the best girl around. And this continues until he reaches the pre-final year where he takes up a new pastime called CAT. Similar sequence holds for females – from dolls to singing/dancing to boys to CAT. The pastime for most graduates in their mid twenties is CAT.

CAT is interesting. But reasons why people want to take CAT are much more interesting. Bapi wants to take CAT because his mother's kitty party friend's son Bappa is taking it. Sanjay is taking it because his cousin is an MBA and supposedly minting money. Sarvanan is taking CAT because he doesn't know how to play (and hence is not interested in) cricket. Priyanka is taking CAT because her boyfriend is taking it, while Amit wants to take CAT because he doesn't have a girl friend!

Yeah, that is correct. A lot of people are taking CAT because they have nothing else to do. Taking CAT obliges you to be at CITE or any other such place. Haven't heard of CITE? CITE stands for Career Launcher, IMS, T.I.M.E., Erudite. Now, CITE give a great competition to CCDs, Baristas, Aqua Javas and the likes.

People who have 'partners' - hang out at/outside CITE, go to CITE together, come back together, “discuss” the solution of x-3 = 0 together and attend classes together. Not only this, they can go to each others house and study together. This is a really innovative way to get parents' approval. Imagine that your girl friend comes to your place and you go to hers frequently – and that you both are able to impress each others parents! Wouldn't that be great? Isn't it a more realistic and toned down version of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge? For people who are single (and who hate paying hefty stag cover charges) can find that someone special in the class. Now, as mentioned in Dil To Pagal Hai, that someone somewhere is made for you - if they (CATers) don't find anyone that rings a bell in their hearts in a batch, then they can shift batches until they find someone. In case they don't find anyone in any batch, they look out for the staff. They are also good.

Does any of the coffee shops offer these facilities? CITE may be more expensive than the coffee shops but they don't have the 'cool' factor that is associated with the CITE. C'mon, isn't it cool for the mom to tell her friend that her child cannot make it to the french poodle's birthday bash because she has to go to CITE? Can she say the same thing if her daughter is going to CCD or Barista?

As per Miss Lucy – 'adat agar waqt pe na badali jaye toh zaroorat banjati hai' [If you don't know who miss Lucy is you should revisit DDLJ]. This translates to – if habits are not change in time, then they become necessities. So, after going through the rigorous 1.5 yrs course, at CITE a lot of students get 'used to' it. Now, after getting astronomical ranks, they decide that they should give it another shot and enroll for CITE again! They may change from X to Y where X and Y are elements of CITE and X!= Y. They try and try. Year after year. Changing from X to Y. This goes on till he/she gets married. The marriage, however, could be with either one of the 'friends' found in one of the iterations at CITE or, in worst case , a family found one.

Mahatma Gandhi said that the process or journey is more important than the end results. Looks like a lot of people have taken this really seriously. They seems to be enjoying the process of “preparation” of CAT. CAT seems to have become the national pastime you indulge in after your college and before your marriage.

Disclaimer: There is a section of students who know what to do in life and how MBA can help them to achieve that goal. To those, CITE can be really helpful in getting them crack the CAT and hence get an MBA and reach their goal. The above is for those who don't fall in that section.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nothing Fishy

Having stayed in Kolkata for about a couple of decades, I am asked by a lot friends/colleagues - 'why do Bengalis like fish (to the extent of being a fish outside water in case they don't get to eat fish) so much?' More often than not, it's the third question they ask me when i lunch with a new 'friend'.

BTW, a lot of bengalis (humorously) say that fish is vegetarian! A few people, (irrespective of their degree of Bong-connection) however, are not sure if it's vegetarian, non-vegetarian or semi-vegetarian! [see this].

Anyway, getting back to the question at hand: I could just give the 'new friends' the obvious/clichéd environmental/availability/historical reasons [I am not going to say that in detail here]. George Bernard Shaw gave me another reason for Bengalis' love towards fish. The reason being - the word, currently spelled as ef-eye-es-eych and pronounced as 'fish', can be spelled as 'ghoti'!

[As per Wiki] Ghoti is a constructed example used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling. It is a respelling of the word fish, and like fish is pronounced /ˈfɪʃ/. It has,
gh, pronounced [f] as in tough;
o, pronounced [ɪ] as in women; and
ti, pronounced [ʃ] as in nation.

[Again, quoting from Wiki], The Ghotis are the people of western Bengal, who have a culture, traditions, and cuisine distinct from their Bangal counterparts of Bengal.

However, a section of the society believes that the first reference to fish being spelled as jee-eych-oh-ti-eye (ghoti) was seen before Shaw [Link]

In any case, i have got yet another answer to the third question a 'new' friend generally asks - though it is just half an answer.

Looking for a way to spell 'fish' as Bee-ay-en-jee-ay-el to complete my answer.

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