Delhi-6: More Clichés


If there’s one significant line that is worth keeping in mind at the end of a draining re-run of tormenting and heavily clichéd themes-filthy rich guy, simple town girl, impossible love, fill-in characters, overdose of drama, Hindu-Muslim clashes in a small neighbourhood- it is “How can a monkey be a Hindu or a Muslim?“. And the irony is that just right there even a neutral’s view of the Hindu-Muslim conundrum is converted into a drab chestnut. And one wonders whether it is eventual boredom that will lead to the end of the problem as even mutual hatred joins the list of clichés. At least in movies.

A rich young man plans to ensure a smooth return for his grandmother to her family home in the crowded streets of vintage Delhi. He becomes a part of the neighbourhood to such an extent that he is no longer just the admired-from-a-distance, sweet NRI with a crooked Western accent. He falls in love (you don’t know when it happens, how it happens and why it happens), meddles in the personal lives of a few orthodox well-wishers and ends up being beaten to death, like a man who dares to mess with the rigidity of conservatism would. But he does come back alive, of course.

Rakeysh Mehra’s previous efforts have been way better than what he has brought out for the cinegoer this time around. Mehra’s intrinsic focus on how he will patch raw beads into a beautiful necklace lose pace as early as the beginning of the movie. A typically chaotic introduction to innumerable characters, who then keep popping in and out of the screen at unexpected times and an effort to stitch together the culture beauty of Purani Dilli for the audiences leads to a jamboree of confusion that one just cant comprehend. Rakeysh Mehra probably observed the average Delhi life, made a checklist and somehow infused every point from that list into a package. Plot – doesn’t matter. Sense – who cares. Audience – bewildered.

In the middle of it all, you are taught how to slap with resounding acoustics, how to change channels from the TV remote without using your hands, how to jump from one building to another in a congested neighbourhood like a fleet-footed chipmunk chasing a banana-filled truck, how to see through a monkey’s eyes and how to be insane about Indian Idol. The starcast gives a thoroughly average performance. Nobody in particular stands out. Except Sonam Kapoor’s natural Chandni Chowk ki chhorri looks.

The music is impressive, but that is the least one can expect from a man who has just bagged two Oscars for some rather ordinary work in Slumdog Millionaire. A R Rahman’s work in D-6 however is truly worth savouring, as are Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics. But the movie is very disappointing. In an effort to build a cultural beauty and to demonstrate how long-drawn communal conflicts can be erased by projecting a common enemy, Mr. Mehra misses the point, the plot and gives us a rather average Bollywood flick. The dots just dont connect.

Verdict: Avoidable

[Image courtesy: Showhype]

Sidenote: Congratulations to A R Rahman and Resul Pookutty for their phenomenal wins at the 81st Academy Awards.

If you liked this post, you might want to subscribe to the RSS FEEDS

The 25 Things Tag

1) I have lived more than half of my life outside India.

2) Deciding to pursue engineering was not the wisest move in my life. I wish I had the conviction in me to pursue a career in sports, political science or even become a pet detective (Ace Ventura style).

3) I detest fame of all kinds, but secretly dream of hot women screaming my name.

4) My social skills are not terrible, just plainly weird. Sometimes, I dont know why I’ve behaved in a certain way, spoken certain things in public and made certain acquaintances.

5) I like football more than cricket. In fact, I am fanatical to the point that the craze has become an addiction. I cant live without football (playing, watching on TV, brainstorming, gossiping). Period.

6) By posting the same comment five consecutive times on one of my blog posts (an example here), I do not understand your point better than I did after reading it just the once.

7) I am a vegetarian. I have had my spell with smoking. I drink very, very rarely.

8) Sometimes, I like playing the uber-cool fool when I am surrounded by people(women) I wish to leave an impression upon. Sometimes.

9) I dont enjoy being in the company of cynics and sycophants. Other types will do, but these two categories of people make me feel like I need blood donors.

10) Thank God, I’ve reached Number 10 on this list.

11) I think Bollywood plays a hand in keeping India united. On a personal level, Bollywood is not for me (Reasons here). I am your occasionally-found-at-multiplexes kind of guy.

12) I was NOT a bully in school. I did NOT rag anyone in college. As far as I can remember.

13) I do not enjoy dancing, of the type in a discotheque with coloured lights and ‘rocking’ music. I enjoy Garbaa and Dandiya Raas, the folks dances of my home state.

14) During my school days, a history teacher who educated me on the Indian freedom struggle, the World Wars and Mahatma Gandhi was one of my role models. I scored 55 in Social Sciences in 10th. I dont know why (Dont smirk! One of the toppers in my school scored 49 in Social Sciences and 90s in all other subjects). I still believe this was a CBSE-sponsored conspiracy.

15) I hate obsessive love. Simple love is fine. But some lovey-doveys are overtly obsessed with their opposites. I feel life loses pragmatism with this kind of ‘love’.

16) The Fair-N-Handsome effect doesn’t fancy me one bit.

17) I think religion has been misunderstood by people to an extent I had never imagined. And it’s getting worse. And the only tonic is tolerance.

18) I think Priyanka Chopra is very beautiful. And hot. I think Mallika Sherawat is very hot. But not beautiful. In an ideal world, I’d want to marry Priyanka and have an extra-marital affair with Mallika. ;-)

19) When in my teens, MyHotBoard.com was one of my favourite internet haunts. It doesn’t take a genius to interpret what the site was about, from the name of the site.

20) Sourav Ganguly is my all-time favourite cricketer. During the NatWest final in England in 2002, at 146/5 (when Sachin Tendulkar got out), I made an instant bet with my uncle that India will chase down 326. And we did.

21) I try not to lie. But there are certain situations in life where you just cant seem to ‘go ahead’ if you choose to not lie. I also try not to lie in those situations. But what eventually makes me lie is that greatest fear of ‘being stuck’ in compromising situations.

22) Yes, I realize that I’ve wickedly used this tag to promote some of my previous blog posts.

23) I am usually very calm. MS Dhoni, for me, is a soothing brain that one should attempt to emulate.

24) Two things in the world elevate me to instant bliss – 1) making people laugh 2) scoring a goal in a football match.

25) Thank God, this tag is over. I usually dont enjoy tags. Anybody in the whole wide world can take up this tag from here. Dont pile the pressure on me by expecting me to come up with a list. :-)

Stay safe.

[Tag request: Indian Home Maker]

(I have a gut feeling that there may be others who would’ve requested this. If you(blogger/reader/Ram Sene hooligan/Congress stooge/BJP hardman/ISI agent) requested one before reading this post, kindly get in touch. A courtesy link is then a necessity.)

If you liked this post, you might want to subscribe to the RSS FEEDS

Of Pink Chaddis, Pink Condoms & Naked Hypocrisy

So finally, the most significant Valentine’s Day in Indian history is over. There were indeed incidents of violence, which is shameful to say the least, against couples professing their love in public places across the country, but the focus seemed rather on an initiative called the Pink Chaddi campaign which was followed by its adversary, the Pink Condom campaign.

Like mass mobilization movements of the pre-Independence era, the two campaigns have picked up like-minded members and proceeded full steam ahead to promote their ideologically-leaning theories. In fact, that is what is common between the two – ideology.

Reality check.

The Pink Chaddi campaign and the Consortium of Loose, Pub going and Forward Women were hysterical in the promotion of the liberal mindset and their attack on conservatives is apparent, along with veiled potshots aimed at Hindu culture(read comments on their blog). It also forgets that fundamentalism of all religions needs to be fought against, not specifically Hinduism. Indeed, there were many fundamentalist groups that had threatened couples on Valentine’s Day.


Now what happens with the Pink Chaddi campaign – anyone even remotely conservative and loyal to his/her culture is ‘backward’, ‘un-progressive’ and has trapped the country in an inertia of medieval theocracy. Let alone that the person might be a commoner, a wage-earner who has a family of many to feed. But the elitist disregard for the Indian poor is clearly on display with the Pink Chaddi folks.

It is indeed disappointing that the BJP did not do enough to bring the Sri Ram Sene and Pramod Muthalik to justice. “But they did arrest him before V-Day?”, the quintessential Rightist may ask. Well, preventive custody is not justice. It is aimed at avoiding a repeat of the past events for public interest during that particular period when the threat looms large. What about the Mangalore pub attack? Where is justice for that? What was required, if at all, was a protest outside the Sene’s office and the state legislative assembly in Bangalore and calls for ban on such fundamentalist groups.

But we are too happy sending pink chaddis to be bothered about a protest that makes an actual difference and doesn’t just hog all the headlines. The attention by the media is blinding and the Consortium is on the brink of victory. Once the pink chaddis reached Muthalik, the Consortium’s job was done and life is back to normal.

Congratulations Pink Chaddi folks, Mangalore’s victims have justice. Maybe, overflowing boxes of pink underwear will flood the SRS office, block the exits and its members will be prevented from coming out and orchestrating another attack.

The Pink Condom campaign and the Consortium of Assertive and Proud Hindus hasn’t been all over the papers, but only a look at their website is enough to understand that they intend to form a shield against those maligning Hinduism. The Pink Condom campaign conveniently forgets that there may be religious Hindus in the Pink Chaddi campaign who have nothing against Hinduism and are plainly intent on embarassing Muthalik and the SRS.


The Pink Condom initiative also fails to consider the fact that there may be many conservative Muslims and Christians(read comments on blog) who echo similar feelings against the liberal West. After all, if Indian culture is conservative – then it means Hindu, Islamic, Christian and all other conservative religious cultures, doesn’t it?

It hails itself as secular while also specifically defending Hindu interests. Sure, pseudo-secularism is prevalent in India and practiced by many, but to use labels like ‘sickular’ is quite irresponsible and ignorant of the sentiments of the ill-advised members of both campaigns and people all over India in general. Especially, when the fault lies primarily with fundamentalist Hindus like Muthalik & his SRS.

End result – liberals celebrate the success of the Pink Chaddi campaign, while conservatives are up in arms against pub culture and similar anti-cultural theses. Next time the stupid SRS is out there marshalling pubs and attacking women, liberals will bury themselves in the paranoia of hysteria once again(aided by the media) and conservatives will brainstorm and ponder over erosion-of-Indian-culture and blame pub-going girls for ‘provoking’ the mad fundamentalists.

As soon as incidents like these phase out of public memory, Muthalik will walk a free man, the SRS remains as it is and although they must have learnt their lessons, does just teaching a lesson count for justice?

Welcome back to square one.

If you liked this post, you might want to subscribe to the RSS FEEDS

Seven and a Half Rupees

Once upon a time, at one of Mumbai’s many railway stations, I was waiting to board a late train to Ahmedabad. My parents and my sister were with me. We were heading back to our hometown of Rajkot, via Ahmedabad, after a trip to Mumbai to meet a few relatives.

Our train was scheduled at 10:30 pm. And it was around 10:15 pm at the time. As usual, we were seated on the few benches there and I was looking around the platform.

I noticed a little boy, surely not older than five or six, a little farther away. Clad in a torn black t-shirt and brown shorts, the little kid was moving about barefooted, had a plastic bag in one hand and the fingers of his other hand seemed closed around something he was clutching to while requesting others on the station to take up his service of shoe polishing.

Unfortunately, nobody obliged. Slowly, he came over to where my father and I were seated. My mother and my sister had apparently gone for a walk around the station and were not present then.

As he approached us, I noticed that he was holding his earnings from a hard day’s job in the clenched fist. It didn’t seem to be much, as a little kid’s hands can hardly hold too many coins, forget clutching to them.

He was silent. After having been asked to move ahead rather rudely by many of the people he came across, I sensed a natural dejection in him to convince my father and me.

He lightly waved the bag. My father asked him “Kitne me karoge?

Sensing a potential customer, the little kid’s eyes gleamed and he raised two fingers of the hand with which he held the plastic bag and said “Do rupey, saab.“, the other hand as tightly bound as ever.

My father removed his chappals.

The kid then sat down, undoubtedly spurred on by landing a customer, and finally loosened the fist of his other hand. Some coins emerged. He sat down, placed the coins carefully beside him, and proceeded with the job on hand.

The dedication with which he took up the task was a treat to the eyes. Like a thorough professional, he opened his carry bag and out came a shoe polish and a brush. Very delicately, he opened the polish, dipped his brush into it and polished my father’s chappals. What was more wonderful was that he gave it all his time, like a perfectionist, making sure that not a speck of dust remained.

He was soon done. The chappals were as good as new.

My father took out a ten-rupee note to pay the child, who had by now put the polish and the brush into his bag and gathered his previous earnings.

The child observed the ten-rupee note, and looked at his earnings. I could see that the coins were few and he began counting them. It was a small collection of one-rupee and 50-paise coins. One by one he counted the coins and I counted along.

The coins summed up to seven-and-a-half rupees.

The child, with an anxious look on his face and an innocent nod, looked up towards us and said “Saab, chhutte nahi hain.“.

If you liked this post, you might want to subscribe to the RSS FEEDS