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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Zenda - Movie Review

Movie review of Marathi Movie 'Zenda' (Flag)

In my opinion, Zenda does not revolve around the Thackeray family issues that led to upheaval in the politics of Maharashtra. The story includes the events (from real-life) that happened when MNS formed out of Shivsena. The focus of the film, however, is at a lower level. The film essentially talks about the smaller trees that collapse when one big tree is fell.

This is where the movie is different. It is not talking about the 'split of Shivsena' at all. It is talking about the 'split of loyalties' of the party workers, the branch heads and the others. It is here that the movie is VERY different from the political films that we have seen. The movie scores full points from me on this count.

The characters based on political leaders in Maharashtra are very interesting to watch - the actors have done a good job. The character based on Narayan Rane was called 'Sadaa Malvankar' in the promos. The last name, however, has been changed - dubbed out to something else. (For the ones who did not know, Rane's son Nitesh Rane had raised an objection) The performance by the entire cast is superb. You remember each and every character very clearly.

The story is well-taut. One does not get bored ever. The movie is unbiased - it does not assume any political inclination. The movie keeps its focus on the characters and their minds, their dreams and the change of dreams. The screenplay takes cues from the incidents related to Sena-MNS and weaves the story around them; that makes it very interesting to watch. The title song is SUPERB and repeats in parts through the film. The 'Saawdhan' song is also good and well-shot. The item number (which has strange words like 'Ababa Patil aala') looks totally out of place.

The movie kept me wanting for more and there came the spoiler - the climax. It was not even abrupt to set the audience thinking or something. When the lights of the theater lit, I asked my friend, "Is the movie over?" He smiled back at me and nodded. I thought the climax was too politically correct / ideal to look true. They did have a moral to convey but it did not appeal to me at all.

Overall, the movie is intelligently made, very interesting to watch if you are well-versed with the politics of Maharashtra, interesting otherwise as it talks about party workers and their mentality. Don't expect much from the climax and do tell me what you thought about it after you see the film.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mothers # 3

"Mom, I need my space.. Please leave me alone....", he said as he shut the door on his mom's face. The mom grimaced and went to the kitchen - to make her son's favourite pasta.

Twenty minutes later, he heard a knock on his door.

"What is it, mom?", he shouted not bothering to get up and open the door.

"I've made pasta, beta... "

He sighed.. "She just wouldn't leave me alone", he thought to himself. "Mom! Keep it on the table. I'll eat when I want to.."

His mother went back to the kitchen. She wiped her eyes with the end of her pallu only to realize that she had no tears in her eyes. Her cheeks were, however, red.

The tears finally appeared when she heard the main door of the house banged shut. She picked up the empty plate from the dining table and placed it in the sink. She remembered her son sleeping with his head on her lap when he had hurt his knees on the playground at the age of eight. She would pat him to sleep and only then go to sleep.

Today, her son was lost in his own world and every question from her was an intrusion into his space, his privacy. He had grown up and maybe she should too, she thought.


Five years later, the phone rang. It was her son.

"Mum.. it's so hectic to be working here. Things were so good at home... There's no one to come back to.... Mom, missing you.... I need my space. My space, my place, on your lap...."

The tears in the mother's eyes appeared sooner this time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Natarang - Review

I divide the post in two parts: A regular review and what I felt personally after watching the movie.... because there's something I took home from the movie...

'Natarang' makes me feel proud of the fact that I understand Marathi, the language of laavani, the language with enchanting maadhurya ('Sweetness' does not have the 'maadhurya' which its Marathi synonym 'maadhurya' does). The movie sweeps you off your feet as it takes you along on a journey of a mad artist.

'Natarang' belongs to Atul Kulkarni throughout. You see him as the passionate farm-help.. and just then you seethe transformation in the body language of the character; then you see him helpless, happy. I simply cannot stop applauding for him!

Other actors like Kishor Kadam, Sonalee and the actress who plays Guna's wife play characters that are different layers of this story... or perhaps different sides. The music of the film wows you with some amazing numbers - 'Khel mandala' is a beautiful slow track while 'Vaajle ki baara' and 'Apsara aali' are some amazingly picturized and sounding laavanis.

The story is an amazingly entertaining ride. However, the climax looks abrupt and feels like a forceful happy ending. The snapshots of lavani artistes as the end credits roll are superb - their eyes look empty, almost hungry.

The movie is a must-watch. The DVD/VCD will surely be a collector's delight.


With his eyebrows neatly shaped, Guna sits wearing a white kurta and pyjama with a notebook in his hand. He is writing the script of his new play, a play where he will, yet again, portray the lead dancer's effeminate sidekick, the naachya. Guna says, "Pratyek manasaat ek baai aste. Ani pratyek baait ek maanus." (There is a man in every woman and a woman in every man.) He goes silent. But then, through his eyes, you hear him screaming. Screaming with helplessness. He is a man in every sense. A man who stuck on to his passion for tamasha (A Maharashtrian folk art), a man who was man enough to play a naachya. You see the man who sits with pride in the slender feminine body. You see the grit in his eyes - the determination to do everything that his passion demands.

Even if it means ripping his self-respect off.

You hear him scream at the thought.

And then you wonder if it was him. Or if it was you yourself who screamed... Almost horror-struck to see the strength that passion generates in a person...


To Harshu, a smiling angel of a friend.

We belong to the era of virtual social networks. I know of people who have got into a competition with one another to reach a mark of friends count on their facebook/orkut profiles.

You really want to count your friends? Go ahead. Count them correctly, however.

Your friends aren't the ones in your profile listing.

Your friends aren't the ones who are in your profile listing and say 'hi, how are you' to you...

Your friends are the ones who are in your profile listing, who say 'hi, how are you' and to whom you can dare say, 'not good dude'...

Your friends are the ones who you are ready to show yourself to - sans the mask that you would wear otherwise. Even if they are only two or three of them, it is these friends that make life worthwhile.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Photo blog 2 : Bharatiya sanskriti

The picture on the left is a poster of the film 'Kurbaan' - A poster that was considered inappropriate according to 'Bharatiya Sanskriti' (Indian culture).

The picture on the right is the photograph of a Before-Christ-dated carving from a Buddhist stupa kept at National Museum, Delhi. I have clicked the picture on the right.

When I saw this piece of relic at the museum, it so reminded me of the film poster. Temples and other religious places in Hinduism have depicted human forms in a very bold manner. This is because Hinduism believed that body is a temple too. It was surprising to note that the lady in the statue was shown with complete back nudity. (I cropped the picture below the waist.)

A Bharatiya sanskriti that regarded love as a divine act and depicted human figures in sensuous poses in their temples and other places of worship, today burns down Valentine's day cards and drapes a sari around Kareena.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Incomplete sentences

On a piece of paper, "Dear Shashank, Please forgive me for whatever I ha". The sentence is not completed.

In an email window, "I want to talk to you mom.".. Backspace. The sentence is deleted completely.

"I want to take dad to Malaysia for a holiday. But I know he wouldn't come. He's too busy with work to spend time with me...", in someone's mind. The sentence is never expressed.

The world is complete with incompleteness - incomplete stories waiting for an apology, an initiative, an attempt to reconcile; incomplete relationships succumbing for want of expression of the depth that exists but remains unseen; incomplete journeys dying out because of tired companions..

And there are incomplete sentences like the ones above floating around too. One sentence out of these completed and the incomplete stories too will move towards completion....

You have many incomplete letters in your closet, incomplete SMS drafts in your cellphone, unspoken thoughts in your mind.

You have an apology in waiting, an initiative to develop a relationship, a compliment to show that you care. All this in the form of incomplete sentences in various forms.

Complete a relationship today. Complete a sentence today.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Photo blog 1 : Toilet

Note: Fast food joints inspire giving rise to fast blogposts. Quick to write, quick to read. Photo blogs are

Picture Credit: Aditya Joshi

Colgate and Cadbury have always been the synonyms for tooth paste and chocolate for Indians. May be because they were the earliest entrants in the market. Ditto for Amul which stands for butter. Now here is a picture that I clicked at Red Fort.

Little did I know that the word 'toilet' now translates to ... not just 'shouchalaya' but 'sulabh shouchalaya'! Brand brand ki baat hai pyaare...

Little(r) did I know that there exists a company called 'Sulabh international' that is behind all the sulabh shauchalayas that we know of. And why did I think the 'sulabh' in the 'sulabh shouchalaya' was for sulabhataa (ease) of the act of downloading.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Window

Note: Returning to my favourite class of blogposts - the incomprehensible ones. :-p

A huge glass pane separated him from the running trees outside. He was looking at them with a thought on his mind. He wanted a mirror. He did not know why - but he wanted it badly.

The train came to a screeching halt at a station. He stuck his nose to the pane of the window and looked around on the platform. It was unlikely that he would find a person selling a mirror on a railway platform, he knew, but he could not stop himself from looking. The train slowly moved out of the station and before he realized it, picked up speed.

He continued to look out of the window - hoping to find what he was looking for. He soon got lost in his own thoughts. His eyes were open but he could not see.

When he got back to where he was, the day had dimmed - hence, the glass pane was dark on one side and reflected all the light on the other side. The other side was him. He was staring at his face. He had found his mirror.

It is indeed true that we get things we want when and where we are least expecting them.

3 idiots - Movie Review

'3 idiots' is undoubtedly my most awaited movie of the year - one of the reasons being the fact that I have loved '5 point someone'.

I have my opinion regarding the current spat between Chetan Bhagat and the makers of 3 idiots. I write this review being impartial w.r.t. that. I have also mentioned my opinion regarding the movie - but have kept it to the end (I mean, a movie is good or not is not dependent on whether it is a copy or not. Because in that case, I should not love many Bollywood movies. :-p )

Rajkumar Hirani works on his superhit formula again - give a mantra to make people happy, have a character which is unconventional/rebellious yet spreads a lot of love and joy around him. In Munnabhai, it was the jaadoo ki jhappi, in 3 idiots it is 'Aal iz well'.

Pre-release, I was hooked to the music of the film - repeatedly heard 'Give me some sunshine' and 'Zoobi doobi'. 'Give me some sunshine' is a number which proves that a guitar and strong lyrics can make a song really successful.

Some comedy scenes in the movie make you roll on the floor laughing - the 'chamatkar' scene being one of the funniest ones. The Ranchhoddas twist takes you by surprise. The climax starts off with a non-hero Sharman running away with a to-wed Kareena from the shaadi ka mandap and that's when you know it's really not going to be very conventional. It only gets better when 'Funsuk Wangdu' comes into the picture!

Aamir Khan is constantly under focus in the film. No wonder people are loving his performance so much. I mean, when you have the limelight on you, you are going to look as fair as a fairy! Nevertheless, Sharman Joshi and Madhavan definitely stand out. Boman Irani's character looks like an extension of the angry school principal from Munnabhai 1 - just that here the 'evility' has been toned down to some extent. I have been an avid fan of Mona Singh and was pleasantly surprised to see her in the film.

The friendship between the three characters which was the soul of the book comes out well in the movie. The movie claims to make a statement about the current education system. It does so to some extent.

MANY jokes from the movie are stale. They are either from cheap SMS forwards or from '5 point someone'. So, they didn't really make me laugh. I could only smile. What were the writers thinking when they copied a joke directly from a television advertisement (where the student puts his paper in a stack of papers after an examination). Chori karo, par kam se kam pakde mat jaao yaar!

By the way, whoever said that '3 idiots' is LOOSELY based on '5 point someone' has horribly mistaken. I do not know what the contract between Chetan Bhagat and the makers of the movie is. So I would not comment on who is right. But, the makers' claim that it is only a loose adaptation is TOTALLY wrong. Several jokes and the key scenes are lifted from the book.


Overall verdict : Both the Munnabhais made me laugh and cry a lot. 3 idiots did not make me cry at all, tickled me in parts. It entertained me nevertheless. Not worth the hype - definitely should make a good watch.