Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zabaan Sambhal Ke

Ramesh is an ordinary middle class child with ordinary middle class values and ordinary middle class sensibilities. Ramesh goes to a local school and leads a very peaceful life with his parents. Ramesh’s parents are not educated and run a small shop that just saves them from falling into ‘lower’ income group.

Scene 1:

Ramesh gets an opportunity to visit a big IT MNC. Ramesh’s parents were always fascinated by the professional looking, fluent English speaking employees of such MNCs and wished that he gets a job in one of the MNCs when he grows up.

Ramesh enters the office and attends the guided tour. He is amazed at the infrastructure. He thinks he is ‘living’ the movies he saw on Doordarshan. He is awestruck at the fluency in which they spoke English. However, he gets separated from the group. He feels like being in a maze which looks similar in all directions. While trying to get his way out, he gets the slice of the lives of IT professionals.

He hears a man addressing his female colleague as a female dog. He hears a professionally dressed girl laughing and exclaiming at the coitus. As he makes his way through the maze, he sees a man near a coffee vending machine. His facial expression said that he was drinking some really bad tasting drink. However, Ramesh was surprised to hear him say that the coffee drank instead of he drinking the coffee. He sees the symbol of a staircase and walks towards it. On the way, he finds a suited employee asking his colleague to copulate off. He finally reaches the staircase where he finds his group.

Being a reserved person that Ramesh is, he didn’t share his experience in detail with his family.

In the night, after a long day's work, Ramesh’s father urges him to be like the IT professionals he visited that day

Scene 2:

It’s 7:00 am and the mercury reads 40. Ramesh’s father is dropping him to school. He is taking his usual route which passes through a slum. Ramesh sees two women fighting for a bucket of water. The communication which is in Hindi is decorated with expletives. The women did not forget to bring the relatives of the other in the conversation and gave creative adjectives to them. Ramesh was observing the fight with curiosity. Ramesh’s father pulled him and increased his speed. A few steps ahead, a group of children from the slum were playing cricket. While playing, what appeared out of camaraderie, the children referred (in Hindi) to things related to the biological process of reproduction. Ramesh was again listening to them.

Ramesh’s father briskly walks past the slum. He tells Ramesh that people from good families don’t talk in such a language. Only people from slums do so. He urges Ramesh to not be like them.

Ramesh is left confused.

PS: I wanted to write this post a couple of weeks back but was thinking of how to write it without using the actual expletives. Hope, I was able to convey the thought without the use of any 'such' words.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Delhi Belly: After-thoughts

The unconventional name of the movie which literally means diarrhea, first-of-its-kind songs - D K Bose and Penchar and given that it is an Aamir Khan (and UTV) Production gave an impression that Delhi Belly is going to be an unconventional movie. The starting scene showing very minute details of water running down the drain while the bucket is just a foot away, the cockroach (which almost occupied the full screen) eating stale pizza beneath the bed on which is slept a fat man whose depression between his bum cheeks becomes the focus of the camera person further reinforced my initial assumption. After watching the film, i must say, I wasn't right. Neither was I wrong.

I found the interview which Tashi (Imran Khan) took of Anusha Dandekar, who plays a 'pop star' in the film, amusing. Anusha's new songs lyrics are - 'I hate you (like I love you)' which she spells out as ' I hate you brackets like I love you'. This line reminded me of my drives through Jubilee Hills, Road No. 36 in Hyderabad. The road is lined with hoardings of advertisements of ADP. These ads, which have been there for more than two years, are very peculiar. The ads try to position the company as a company that employees love to work with. The tag line goes like - "We like to go to office of Monday. (Do you?)", "My mummy likes to go to office. (Do you?)." A quick disclaimer: I don't remember the exact verbatim of the ads. So please pardon any errors. But I hope you get the point. I am hinting at (Do you?) part of it. I always found the ads a little funny. I never understood the rationale of putting the 'Do you?" in brackets. I initially thought it was a typographical error but soon dismissed that argument after seeing it in hoardings after hoardings. I thought that there a lot of things I don't understand that this one of them. Tashi, the protagonist, by being sarcastic to Anusha on the '(like I love you)' enlightened me that there is a more evolved section of society who have interpreted the meaning of 'brackets' which I am yet to discover.

The narrative of the film is well paced. The dialogues of the films, needless to say, are very contemporary and elicit quite a few bouts of laughter. The music of the film is outstanding. Most of the songs play in the background and takes the story of the movie forward. Acting by each of the actors is awesome.

Coming back to the film: The title of the film is apt as 'Delhi Belly' is central to whole plot. Ntin (Kunal Roy Kapoor) eats unhygienic roadside tandoori chicken and get diarrhea. Because of Nitin's diarhea Arup (Vir Das) has to deliver the smuggled diamonds but mistakenly delivers the stool sample instead. This kicks-off the pakda-pakdi between the three friends and the goons and ends in a conventional happily-ever-after ending.

While enjoying these explicit dialogues, superb camera angles and amazing music, one tends to think where exactly is the story going. Having high expectations on this film, I was hoping that the stories would take a twist and become more engaging. But to my disappointment, the story turned out to be pretty mundane. The line from a song of this film aptly describes the plot - 'Sabun ki shakal mein, beta (plot) tu to nikla keval jhaag'. 

Given that the story is so 80s, I was wondering why no such film got released then. Films mirror the society. Well, I am not saying that people in the yesteryear didn't use expletives. The film however represents who has the cash. Before liberalization/globalization, Indian middle class didn't have enough money to watch films. Majority of the people who had money to watch movies were in their thirties and went with their families and kids. So, the films of the 80s were targeted at the PSU employee, who though in his youth would have used vernacular expletives, still embraced traditional Indian values. India now has a growing upwardly mobile middle class who speaks expletive English and has disposable income. Delhi Belly is targeted at them. And if I were to predict, then only more movies with such 'local' language will be made. Indian cinema is at a transition phase and this film plays a significant role in it.

Overall, I have mixed views of the film. It is unconventional and outstanding in the narrative, music and camera. However, the plot of the film is very ordinary. The film reminds me of Angrez - good narrative and dialogues but ordinary storyline.Watch this film if you want to have a good time with friends. Don't watch it if you are expecting anything more than that.

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