Monday, October 31, 2005

Guess it

'Janey bhi dho yaaron' is a classic hindi movie which will appear in the list of top 5 all time comedy movies of any hindi movie watcher.

Here are few pictures from the final chasings... Let me know if it reminds you of any Tamil movie :D.

First car arrives at the lonely house

First group of people rush into the building

There is a open view balcony on the top floor

The second group arrives

The third group arrives and they take the stairs to go to the top floor

Different doors in the house is used to do make each group move around without noticeing each other.

Fourth group arrives

commotion in the balcony

They bail out by jumping from the balcony

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Guess i have ruffled some feathers with my previous posts.I just wanted to share my perspective of things, which runs contrary to what the majority beleives.I wanted to write more on gandhi.But guess i will save it for later....

Friday, October 28, 2005

Myths and beliefs

Lot of interesting thoughts that sprang out of the last few posts. one interesting one was the comments of Zero, who raised a point on the previous post on how gandhi will be mythologized and how krishna could have lived but he might not have been the man the stories talk about.

This reminded me of a story in "Freedom at Midnight".Freedom at midnight was based on well researched materials and the diaries of lord mountbatten. The british govt which had so many articles on the lifestyle of the prince and kings of india, had to burn all those articles when the kings demanded it, before the british declare independence to india.So much of the information regarding the lifestyle of the kings were lost.But there were some of them that escaped the fire and lord mountbatten also had written many of the interesting things in his diaries. Here are some of the incidents from them, Iam quoting them not to offend anybody, it is just to drive home the point on mythology.

One king of south india used to assemble all his subjects in a stadium on the full moon day.The king will come in a black horse all dressed in black and will go around the stadium and his subjects have to worship him. The prince truly believed that he was the son of god and he made his people compulsorily worship him.

One other king of punjab or some other province used to give audience to his subjects in his darbar on his b'day .The Birthday darshan is special cause, he will come with a golden breast plate and just the golden breast plate. The subjects where made to worship his manhood as the ultimate shiva lingam.

Well we won’t hear about these kinds of incidents of our kings and queens from our own writers, we need a foreigner to write about it. The point here is when ruled by king you don’t have a choice, you have to do things how ever degrading they are, otherwise it is your head will roll.

What if a king who thought he was god and made his people worship him and made his poets write stories about him.If he is successful in brainwashing a whole generation of children’s to believe in that, then you got a whole set of beliefs and these beliefs, mythologies will be passed down to the later generations. Unquestioned the stories will be believed, improvised and made more divine. Later riots and wars might take place to save the sacredness of that lunatic king. Rama the king of ayodhya or krishna the king of dwaraka could also be an example of this... maybe, who knows.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Gandhi and God

This is regarding my previous post on temple for gandhi
In a tribal religion like Hinduism, the concept of god comes with rituals, mythologies and belief's. The true intention of any religious idea gets lost in the sweet coated over the medicine and the message never reaches the common man. Every godly person or object comes with its own pack of mythology which runs contrary to the scientific facts. Atleast i for one don’t believe lord krishna lifted the govardhana mountains with his fingers or showed the world in his mouth.So the world of gods is something fictitious, doubtful, but if one wants to embrace it on the whole without asking questions that is his choice.

But gandhi on the other hand is not mythology, he is not fiction, he is real, he lived in the real world(1869-1948).By idolizing and making him god.You are mixing two worlds, you are taking him out of the real world and putting him in a mythological world.If you seperate things clearly as Fiction and non fiction, there wont be any confusion.

Idol as a reminder is also unacceptable. There are lot of statues for him, pictures are there.One can always use them as remainders. why build a temple and do pooja for him?.I wish the guy who built the temple opened a library full of books on gandhi or wrote a simpler, children's version of 'my experiment with truth' or freely screened gandhi movie to everyone. But he didn't.

I want the children’s to study him in history books and not in mythological ones.I wish the children’s sitting there in that temple will understand gandhi as a human being and question him as a whole.It would be great if those kids ask the question, whether someone can follow his teachings now?. How, true can one be in this fast world etc..

But you know what that kid at the temple is going to do.He is not going to do any questioning.All that he is going to do is close his eyes and pray

"Oh God Gandhi, make sure i pass the maths Paper in the Final Exam".

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Off to vegas

guys,Iam off to vegas.will resume blogging and replyto the comments later next week.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Gandhi inspired by kushboo

Question: How can i forget someone's teachings?.How can i make sure i dont even attempt to understand someone?.

Answer: Make him a god and workship him.


That's right, in last week vikatan there was an article on a temple for gandhi in erode, tamil nadu.


Seems there is a statue for kasturibhai also in the same temple.Yes, they are following the great hindu tradition of giving equality to women in divine things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Life Below the line


70,000 Indian millionaires...and growing Page 1 headline
-The Times of India, June 11, 2005

"The bottom 400 million is a disappointment and a social responsibility, and while it harbours value (maybe not a fortune), it is a difficult market to tap."
-Economic Times, March 26, 2005

An intresting article in outlook on how the mainstream media is forgetting the people below the poverty line.The people below the poverty line have simply become a market, a source to sell things too. Read it here

Related article in hindu

Friday, October 14, 2005


I read V.S.Naipaul's "India - A Wounded civilization" and since then i have been in a limbo on how to write a review to that book.The reason is the thought that my review should do some justification to an awesome book like that.Then i decided to put it away for a while and write the review, some other time.Before i could get out of the wounded civilization thoughts, i read samskara.And this one again placed me at the same position.It is again another book that is hard to write a review, for it is not a run of a mill book, it is a literary achievement that has been analyzed and scrutinized by many.I didn't want to add this one also in my list of, "too be reviewed books".So i wrote my stupid 2 lines on this Book.I wrote the above lines to let u all know that the book is a lot lot more than what i am going to write.

This controversial novel by padma bhushan, jnanpith Dr.U.R.Ananthamurthy is a landmark book in the indian literary history.It tells the story of a decaying brahmin colony. The colony in question is the agrahara of durvasapura ,where around 20 madhava brahmin families live.The problem starts on the question of who has to perform the last rites(samskara) of Naranappa, a fellow brahmin, who took to un brahminical ways of drinking, eating meat and womanizing. The acharya of the colony is made to decide on that.what follows is a closer look into the aghrahara and its hypocratic brahmins.The novel later moves on from the problem of the samskara(last rite) of a dead man to the samskara(transformation) of the acharya.

The book is divided into 3 parts.The first part leads to a sin being committed by the acharya.The problem that the agrahara faces at the start is a great imagination by the author and he plays with various characters to bring forth the various bad things of the community.

In the second part it is about the sin and immediate aftermath.The book changes from a general one which was addressing the community as a whole to something that talks more about the acharya.

In the third part it is all personal.It is all about the acharya, and his attempts to get redemption for his sin.The acharya, who is on a quest to find answers for his personal questions, comes across a low caste man names putta, who accompanies the acharya to his destination. This character becomes an important one in changing the views of the acharya and provides him with answers for various questions.

This is a short book, around 140 pages.On a first look it might look like yet another brahmin bashing book. At least that is what i thought.Even though it is partly true, this book is lot more than that.

What is great about the book?.The book works on multiple levels.It tells an interesting story, a social commentary, does good characterization and all the other things of a good novel. But that is just one dimension of it. The book is also philosophical, it asks a lot of questions like how to lead a right life, the validity of the customs , who is brahmin? etc. Also the book is filled with allegories and points to mythological stories, for examples. Above all the book gives space for you to imagine, analyze and conclude things for yourself. The book is open ended and there are so many events and characters which provide us with so many pointers for imaginations and conclusions.There is hardly a character or a line which does not convey an idea.This is a complete book, rich with various literary components.

For example, in the 3rd part where the acharya is going through a transformation(The first 2 parts are less philosophical compared to the third where the acharya goes through the transformation).The confused and pensive acharya walks out of the agrahara and wanders aimlessly through a forest. There he meets a villager named putta on the way. Putta who walks with the acharya for company, compulsively sticks to him and takes him to a festival fair. Putta lives in the moment, he enjoys the various small amusements available in the fair. He goes to see a half snake-half women show, bets and wins in a cock fight, eats dosa from a local restaurant, buys ribbon for his wife and donates money to a beggar. And when putta is doing all these things the acharya is thinking about his sin and how it could be corrected.

For a normal reader the behavior of putta might sound something that is mundane and a usual habit of any villager. But when we think about what the acharya said at the start of the third part
"yoga is the stilling of waves of mind....May one's life be like that of a sunshine. A mere awareness, a sheer astonishment, still floating still and self-content, like the sacred brahmani-kite in the sky.Legs walk, eyes see, ears hear.O to be without desire. Then one's life becomes receptive. Or else in desire it dries to a shell, it withers, becomes a set of multiplication tables learned by rote.That kanake, illiterate saint-his mind was just one awarness, one wonder,that's why he came to his master and asked:'You want me to eat the plantain where there's no one.Where can i go,where can i do that?.God is everywhere,what shall i do?.God has become to me a set of tables, learned by rote. Not an awareness, a wonder as he was to Kanaka-so no more god for me."
You realize that Dr Anantha murthy uses the normal festival setup to drive his point.The acharya does not participate in any of the things that putta did.The acharya thinks that it is a sin to watch a show or participate in a cock fight.So he stays away while putta enjoys himself.Putta talks about how he fights with his wife and later buys a ribbon for her.He bargains with a goldsmith for the acharya, he asks the acharya to eat with the brahmins while he waits outside and donates alms to the cripple beggars. when all these things where happening the acharya was just WATCHING ,putta lives in the moment and by all his acts at the fair he becomes a complete human being. Whereas in the kaleidoscopic picture of the festival fair the acharya is a viewer, who stands outside the action and watches time pass by. It is the same in the life also, he is a viewer but the kaleidoscope is just bigger. When the acharya is accumulating good karma for a better life after his death, putta cherishes the god given life and lives when he is alive.

On another level if you compare these two characters of Acharya and putta and there experience at the fair.It is an interesting contrast study. The acharya is an Upper class Brahmin, where as putta is a lower class mahler. The acharya is an intellectual, who is called the 'crest jewel of vedantha', where as putta is a pimp. The agrahara is supposed to be pure and residing place of all good things(Heaven) where as the fair is the residing place of all sins(Hell).The acharya who comes out of his agrahara after crossing a forest lands in the fair.In the forest, the buffer between good and bad he meets Putta, who takes the acharya on a sensual tour, a feast to the various senses to make him realise what he is missing in life.

Again this crossing of forest by the acharya could be viewed in the context of the different stages of a hindu human life. BRAHMACHARYA, GRIHASTHYA(married life), VANAPRASTHA(retirement into forest), SANYASA(Renunciation of pleasures).Here the physical crossing of forest can be viewed as the vanaprastha stage of a human being. And when you look at from that point. You can know that the acharya is mixing the various stages of a human being.

This is just one small part that i wanted to talk.The whole book is like that, this small 140 page book expands into a much much bigger one as you start analysing it.The book starts its multiple meaning for every thing that is conveyed in the book right from its title samskara.

The book is simply fascinating with its characters. Narannappa, putta, acharya and many more characters from the agrahara are beautifully sketched. The book brings forth the characters and incidents so vividly. Also this is a book that reach's the western reader as a indian regional book and not as those books that are written with western audience in mind.It evokes anger and hate against the practices of the upper caste people of that agrahara.

This book is kind of similar to Herman hesse's "Narcissus and Goldmund"

The Acharya who wants to acheive god by the scriptures and naranappa who wants to acheive god by loving the life given by him can be related to narsissus and goldmund.The book is philosophical at times and puts lot of deep questions, without providing any answers.

The book was written in 1965 and made into a movie by girish karnad later.This book is still a powerful one which talks a dig at the brahminical attitudes.I can imagine the amount of protest he would have got in 1965 when it was released in kannada.

The translation of the book should be mentioned.Excellent translation by A.K.Ramanujam.It is a multilayered deep one and an excellent character study.

Dr U.R.Anantha Murthy


Dr.UR Ananthamurthy Bio
Dr.UR Ananthamurthy's interview in outlook
Ananthamurthy on the best indian writers of the century
Dr.Ananthamurthy against BJP

Thursday, October 13, 2005

'Blinking’ Amman idol attracts crowd

"CHENNAI: People have started thronging the 42-year-old Paindiamman Koil at Nadukuppam to witness the temple deity, allegedly ‘blinking’ her eyes." However, conflicting views prevailed among the people about the ‘miracle,’ with most of them claiming to have seen the goddess ‘blinking’ her eyes, while another group stating that they had not seen anything of the sort.

Incidentally, the temple priest sided with the latter group.It all started last Friday evening, when kids, who were playing on the temple premises, spotted some ‘flutter’ in the eyes of the idol.Though they were initially scared sensing it to be something ghostly, people soon started flocking from all parts of the city to witness the spectacle.

Local people said that they had a difficult time controlling the crowd on Friday night. Despite many denying that the goddess blinked her eyes, people kept turning up at the temple till Wednesday, in the hope of witnessing what is termed by many locals as ‘the divine occurrence’.from newindpress.

Chennai, 21st century.......

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Two awesome Bloggers

The blogosphere is buzz with two awesome bloggers,who stood up against what they felt was wrong.Is India starting to see the power of the blogs??.

The bloggers that iam talking about are
Gaurav sabnis and Nimish advani

Gaurav sabnis a well known blogger was threatened with a law suit for carrying an article against IIPM.What action did he take?.Read it here.This issue is still developing with the IIPM people stooping low.They have created fake blogs are are leaving nasty comments on the female blogger rashmi bansal who first wrote about IIPM.

Nimish Advani was the unfortunate software engineer who was beaten up by the railway cops.His ordeal and the support he received from the internet here.

Kaps call to fight for gaurav sabnis
Narayanan's earlier call for nimish

Monday, October 10, 2005

On Beauty

The booker prize winner will be announced today.The contenders are

1)Kazuo Ishiguro for Never Let Me Go

2)Julian Barnes for Arthur & George

3)Zadie Smith for On Beauty

4)Ali Smith for The Accidental

5)John Banville for The Sea

6)Sebastian Barry for A Long Long Way

Kazuo Ishiguro seems to be on the lead in the people's prize.But Julian Barnes is predicted to win.Let c.

I read Zadie smith's On beauty.It is the story of howard Belsey, a white professor teaching art history at wellington college in boston.The story revolves around the growing rift between him and his black wife kiki because of his adultery, the life of there 3 childrens, and about monty kipps another professor who has opposing views to that of howard.

Zadie smith has weaved the tale around so many things like, conservative,liberal ideas, boston universities, affirmative action,art,rap etc.But the book as a whole was totally unintresting and boring.I had a feeling of watching a chick flick all through out the book.

The book is hyped and i dont think it deserves a booker prize nomination.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dear Frankie

This is a sweet, sensitive movie about a single mother trying to protect her deaf son.No don’t imagine a emotionally charged movie. This UK movie does not go the route of usual emotional ones but it rather underplays the emotions and brings forth a nice story. Like any good story based movie, it has less characters and focuses on the story. There are some real good scenes in the movie especially a kissing scene between the mother and a stranger. The movie ends positively. A sweet and well made movie.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Being regional

Taking cue from Nanditha Das post here on regional cinema.Mukund has posted a blog here on how "hindi cinema does not define Indian cinema".Even though i agree with his intentions, i completely oppose his arguments. And his arguments are just not his, it is a reflection of many peoples views.I have heard these kind of arguments so many times. I thought, through mukunds post i will answer some of the misconceptions against hindi movies Visa vis Tamil movies.

Before i begin i question the basic assumption of all the hindi movie bashers. Everytime you guys compare, you only talk about the mushy mushy romantic movies in hindi but when it comes to regional movies you talk about directors like maniratnam and balachander. why dont you compare a sharukh/salman/aamir khan movie with a chimbu, vijay, S.J.Surya movie??. you know what?. on that case i would rather see a khan movie, even though it is dumb, stupid and uncreative at its best, still it is non vulgar, non degrading and aesthetically better than the movies of those tamil actors. Atleast the hindi movie has successfully separated soft porn and family movies, whereas tamil movies are still in the masala mode.In what way is a rajini movie superior to a govinda movie? they are both stupidity at its best, just because one is your favorite hero you guys are arguing that it is a diverse movie.

you want to talk about maniratnam and balachander then compare them with satyajit ray, mrinal sen, shyam benegal ,govind nihlani, sai paranjpaye, syeed mirza and hrishikesh mukerjee. But you don't, u compare them with the directors of the khan movies and are happy to declare that the south directors are superior. The more quality hindi movies you see, you will understand from where balanchander, kamal and maniratnam lifted there stories.
"The so-called "regional" cinema has showcased Indian culture far more than Hindi cinema has done (especially the ones coming out now, many of which are financed by the underworld). What has been good about the said "regional" cinema is that it has mostly wanted to reflect reality (the social, economic and cultural reality of everyday life in India) as opposed to a totally cosmetic, unreal one that Hindi cinema has been portraying for quite sometime now (it would look to foreigners as though all Indians came home in a BMW, wore Armani suits and Gucci shoes and would take off to the US/UK at the slightest hint of boredom)".
Again the same scale is being used, shyam benegal and govind nihlani are not considered as hindi directors, they are somebody who don't belong to hindi movie at all. And what realistic movies did tamil nadu and andhra is making??. Poor rickshaw puller T.Rajendar pulling rickshaw with levi's jeans and nike shoe is reality??.Are rajini/vijay/danush/ajit/chimbu all making realistic movies??. Even in tamil, if the hero is bored he goes to switzerland to dance in lungi and banyan, what is the big difference. well, if you want to talk about movies like 'autograph' then you have to talk about rituparno gosh's 'raincoat' and not the khan movies.
"Movies in the south, especially Tamilnadu and following its footsteps, in Andhra Pradesh occupy a large part of the consciousness of the average person on the street - in his gestures, in his walk, in his repetition of "punch" lines and in his blind adulation and reverence to even elevate his favorite actors and actresses to Godhood."
Mukund is completely off the map here.I find all the above as signs of the audience being illiterate and lacking the intelligence to separate art from real life.There is nothing to be proud about here, it is actually a thing to be ashamed off. In rest of india, tamils are still those crazy movie buffs who built temple for kushbhu and blindly made CM out of dumb actors. On that aspect, i think hindi audience are far more civilized.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Romantics

Romantics by pankaj mishra talks about the coming of age of samar.Samar a graduate student moves to benares.There he meets two foreigners women, west and catherine.The novel slowly develops characterizing these three and one of samar's college friend rajesh. All these characters including samar are romantics who have a longing. Samar who later moves on to pondicherry and dharmashala comes back to give after 7 years to give us an update on what happened to all these romantics.

This book has a few good things like the realistic way in which mishra deals with the characters and backdrop.The characters are not sensationalized and the city of benares is not made exotic to appeal to the western audience. Rather than quoting many of the western authors that the character samar reads, pankaj quotes faiz ahmed faiz and Iqbal.He shows the distance between his view of benares and the westerners view of mystical and spiritual benares.

He has borrowed naipauls words here and there, when quoting his fathers retirement into pondicherry ashram he say it as the 'hindu retreat', a naipaul language.Other than that, his simple language, uninteresting characters and detailed description of day to day things makes it plain and boring.Iam guilty of being a reader who needs some plot,intresting character/backdrop or some central theme to find the book intresting.A romantic loosers coming of age is not my favourite theme, so I found the book dull, boring, simplistic and painfully descriptive at times.

If you want a book that doesn't confirm to the usual norms of plot based stories and are looking for minimalism,style and simplicity maybe u can try this one.

Pankaj mishra

Monday, October 03, 2005

Moral Police

The latest incidents like the dinamalar party photo's, anna univ dress issues and the kushbu issue is the much talked about one on the blogosphere.

Many of the people or on the idea that these are wrong.Me too, but i kept thinking about that and some thoughts popped in my mind.

#)If the same incident would have happened 15 years, would it have got this much response??.I think maybe not, it would have only bought a response from the elite rich and upper middle class people, but because of the economic & IT growth more people are becoming rich and more people are aware about the outside world and these incidents are affecting more people.But at the same time the peoples who didn't get affected by the IT wave are still at the same place, they were 15 years before and for them it is still a bad thing.Are these incidents signs of the growing divide between the well informed people and the non informed??.Is this the first of many differences that are going to come out??

#)It is fascinating to see that so many people thinking on the same wavelength, before blogoshpere these people might not have got connected with each other on one issue.With the blog's they are able to.Blog's are bringing like minded peoples together and now more voices are being raised.Are these early signs of the blogs influencing the politics??. No we wont be able to do anything like that is happening in USA, but maybe, maybe we will be successful in influencing some people in the news media.

#)Whenever a change happens there is always resistance, very hard at first then they slowly accept the change and it becomes the new norm. So are these things the initial resistance before accepting the attitude of the new generation??.

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