Bol- A Review

What does a typical Pakistani household look like? How do they spend their day? What are the roles designated for the males and the females? What are their prejudices? What is the impact of society on their actions and choices? How do they express love? How do they make peace with their yearnings?

In many ways, a typical Pakistani household is similar to that of an Indian household. Yet they are very different. Poverty is more prevalent. The male-female differentiation is starker. The confinement of females in their homes is almost prison-like. The yearning for a male child is of obsessive proportion. The double standards in the name of God are incredible.

In this state of affair, would anybody speak up and let the better sense prevail?

Bol is a demonstration of all such things and much more. It’s hard to believe a filmmaker could pack so much in one movie. In 3 hours, we feel as if we lived a totally different life. The movie holds our hand and takes us deep into its world. It throws the distress in our face, so much so that, after the interval, we question if we should continue with this movie-world. Do we have the capacity to bear more? But the honesty of it all pulls us back in and we get ready for another ride through the tumultuous world of people who are similar in many ways to people on our own surroundings.

But can movies have any impact on the real life? Would people let go of the irrationality after watching just a movie? Perhaps no. But at least it can make some of us to think our actions through and allow us to make better sense of the world we live in. On this aspect, Bol does come up triumphant!

Thanks Maa – A review

Is entertainment the only reason we watch movies for? What about the need to know different stories, issues & ways of life? Even if they are presented in a seriously serious way, without a tinge of humor? Would we lap it up?

I guess yes. At least if they are as relevant and eye-opening as Thanks Maa is. It is the story about a lost infant who is found by 3 street kids who make sure the infant gets united with the mother. Or do they?

In the journey, the movie makes sure it has checked almost every social issue- begging, stealing, death of innocence, pedophilia, the pain of separation, and many more. As if it was not enough, it all adds up to something grand, something shocking, something that leaves us transfixed in our seats that we are left with no energy to move. It blows us hard. And we needed to. We needed to be jolted out of our slumber and see the harsh realities taking shape around us.

Throughout the movie, we take the title to mean one thing, and its meaning turns out to be entirely different at the end.

It is sad that such movies don’t work well at the box office. Perhaps, some fault is of the marketing team. They don’t trust the power of such movies well, and thus don’t give them enough publicity.

But then that has been the fate of many other good movies as well. These mostly strive on word-of mouth publicity. So, here I am giving it the word-of-fingers publicity: Do watch it!

Thoughts after watching ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Who are we? What is our purpose in life? What’s our calling? What’s our passion? What are we here for? What are we good at? How do we want to spend our time, our days? How do we choose our profession?

For some, these answers are determined by their education, the exams they crack and the jobs they land at. For some, it is their inherent talent- singing, dancing, painting, etc that takes them forward.

However,for some, it is through the accidents, occurring while they are running away from their lives or somehow pursuing towards their lives, that they find the purpose of their lives.

In Rango, the lead protagonist keeps wondering who he is. And he accidentally lands in a village named Dirt, where he is accidentally made the sheriff. After a series of events, he finally chooses to stay in the village, owns up his task of being the sheriff and declares that this is who he is!

In Kungfu Panda series, Po is accidentally adopted by a goose, and is accidentally chosen as the Dragon Warrior. He keeps questioning his existence and keeps looking for answers. After a series of events & movies, he finally realizes he is all of this- son of a goose, son of a panda, a student, a teacher and the Dragon Warrior!

In Dallas Buyers Club, Woodroof had been wandering through his life somehow, earning money, fixing electricity, cheating people and literally running. He gets AIDS and he wants to save his life. He is a fighter. He studies about the disease. He talks to the experts for advice. He weighs the different advice given by different people. He makes his choice. He decides to take the drugs that are illegal in the U.S. But he also needs money to survive. So, he smuggles the medicines into the U.S., and sells it to the needy. Having never dreamt of this, he becomes an accidental savior. He gets a purpose, and his name gets written in the annals of history.

What does it tell us about our lives and purpose? Can we purposely build a life and find a purpose? Or do we just have to continue living lives on day to day basis, giving our best, and not worrying about it being getting added to something whole? Perhaps, different people would have different opinions on it.

‘Train to Pakistan’- A Review

‘Train to Pakistan’ is a novel by Khushwant Singh. It is set in 1947, during the partition of India. It highlights the confusion surrounding the abrupt division, the bloodbath it led to, and the injustice it caused to many. It also has strong underpinnings for religious discrimination and the nature of theocracy in general. It also highlights the highhandedness, recklessness and cluelessness with which the police system works. It has covered in detail the malady of lust and the issue of child trafficking. The book has also covered the themes of love and loneliness.

Its vehicle of narrative is a train that moves across the hitherto undefined border, and with it, brings the blood-soaked dead bodies. The writing style is quite evocative. It’s hard not to feel the emotions that the writer wants to bring forth. The sense of loss, the violent nature of man, and the irrationality of possessions are palpable throughout.

The book also doesn’t fall short on sensitizing us on the redundancy of revenge. It gives us a glimpse of how taking the high road among chaos could elevate us, and could help in not aggravating the situation further, if not ending it altogether.

Keeping the ending open-ended is perhaps one of its biggest strengths.

Indeed, this book is worth reading; not to mention unputdownable. It has packed a punch in as few pages as possible. It could as well have been titled ‘The Art of Brevity’.

Goodbye Poem

When I left my first job, I was to give a speech. Instead, I prepared a poem (or, rather a rhyme):

Time has wings;
it changes us as it swings;
it surprises us at what it brings.
But it leaves behind memories;
some sweet and some as travesties.

We move on;
we keep going.
Perhaps to think later;
over what we have been doing.

In the bid to stay abreast;
we neglect some basic trends.
Let us pledge to keep it balanced;
between health, relations and talent.

Thank you all for being there;
it was a pleasure coming here!

Let’s Unmask

Perhaps the internet and the anonymity go hand in hand. Ever since the first IP addresses said Hello to the World, the curious among us have taken to the cyber world, assumed an alternate identity and said things that they, under their real identity, won’t ever have. Some say things of national importance, some are just trolls, and yet some use it as a shield against the personality weaknesses, that we all have at one point of time in our lives, and we refuse to admit it. Be it the low confidence in what we are saying, the fear of being held liable to what we say, the awkwardness of revealing the truth, the basic instinct of spicing things up and then pretending to have class, or the looking out for the avenues for non-committal relationships, so that there is always an option to walk out easily.

Isn’t that ironical that in today’s world where everything revolves around identity and personality, we are rather choosing to not be ourselves? Isn’t that in contradiction to the world we live in? The kind of music we listen to, the kind of movies we watch, the professions we have, the furniture we choose, the friends we make- for everything, we make a fuss of being able to see ourselves in our choices. Yet, at the earliest opportunity, we go anonymous on internet and do or say things that go against our personality.

Even if we are being true to ourselves while being anonymous, I still wonder why we would give up on our identity, the actualization of which is supposed to make us happy and content. In movies like Trumbo, people have fought hard to get their identities back, and yet, in today’s world, we are all too happy to be someone else and carry on.

Perhaps, at times, it can be tough to be our true selves and go about our business but then those are the exact moments when we should hold our ground, and let our beliefs drown our fears. For, it’s only by overcoming our deepest fears and pushing ourselves in discomforts that we can have true happiness and inner contentment. It’s time to let go of the comfort of the mask.

Madhushala

What an intoxicating voice Mr. Bachchan has got! One might not need an actual wine, Mr. Bachchan’s voice is enough.

And what a love Mr. Harivansh had for madhushala. It’s pure love, the kind that Bollywood keeps searching. Mr.Harivansh just can’t see anything negative in his beloved alcohol. It can even unite Hindu Muslims (mel karati madhushala). Perhaps rightly so.

Mr. harivansh is a staunch atheist, it’s evident when he writes ‘raam naam satya na kehna, kehna sachi madhushala’. He is, in a way, exhorting his near and dear ones to start drinking when he writes ‘mere shav par wo roye, jiske aansu mein haala.’

Pure beauty indeed lies only in poetry.