Monday, June 27, 2005

Paheli, Not Progati

Since I have already taken a break from writing Progati, and done two taggies, I'll continue it for now. (For those few of you who are following Progati - the remainder of the story still exists only in my mind- it has yet to be put on paper, or microsoft word for that matter!)

So,what is this post about, if it is not about Progati? It is about Paheli. Shah Rukh Khan's Paheli? Rani Mukherjee's Paheli? Amol Palekar's Paheli? No, its about a woman's Paheli - Does she have the right to choose, to take a decision? And if she does take a decision, do the men support it?


Paheli is the story of Lachi, a newly wed whose husband leaves for business the day after their wedding. And then she has to choose between loneliness for the next five years or the love of a spirit who has taken her husband's form. Well, it is no suspense that she chooses the latter, and the rest of the film potrays their relationship and the effect it has on their lives. A tad unconventional, and very very progressive - its tough to believe that this story was written decades ago! (For the sake of those who are planning to see the film for themselves, I am not divulging any more than the media already has)


Coming to the film itself, the most remarkable thing was the authentic period setting! Right from the sets to clothes to props, the bygone era is well captured. There is a splash of colours across the screen - as if a painter decided to empty his entire pallette on a single canvas. The movie opens at a brisk pace,and becomes sluggish later on. The music is strictly OK, and none of the songs leave a lasting impression. The dance sequences are repetetive. A mention of the costume designer here - its a great job done. The special effects are neat and simple, just enough to keep the flow going not more, not less.


The film packs in as much star power as possible, and the list does seem impressive - Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Juhi Chawla, Suniel Shetty, Anupam kher, and Amitabh Bachchan. But guess who walked away with the maximum hoots and catcalls? Rajpal Yaadav! The hall erupted into laughter the moment he appeared on the screen and in the five odd minutes that he occupies the screen space, his comedy charms!

Anupam Kher's potrayal of the greedy, money-minded Baniyaa is impressive, whether chiding his son and brother for spending money or trying to solve the baffling puzzle of recognizing his real son and the fraud, he is just too good.

Juhi as the young mother whose husband walked out on her seven years ago doesn't have many scenes and dialogues, and walks through her part gracefully. She is looking lovely in the film. The make-up is kept to a minimum in this film, and all the actresses look nearly natural.

Suniel Shetty as Juhi's husband does a two minute cameo, and speaks about three lines. Except the hideous red streaked hair, nothing about him is worth writing.

There are a host of television and theatre artists, including a veteran marathi theatre artist and Sharvari Jemenis who made a big impression in her marathi film Bindhaast, but most of them are wasted in the film.

The hyped appearance of Amitabh Bachchan as the shepheard who solves the villagers' dillema falls below expectations. As the brash illiterate with a common sense, the Big B does not impress at all. Though when compared with the rest of the cast, his Rajasthani accent sounds the most authentic, his eccenticity definitely doesn't.

Rani Mukherjee gives another powerful performance, you can see her transition from a young innocent bride to a mature woman to a mother. Whether its pain or happiness or jealousy or indecision, she doesn't need words to do it for her. Her eyes are enough to do the job! Beautiful rajashani ghagras and antique jewellery that forms her costume eliminates the need for make up. She makes full use of the screen space allocated to her, sounding quite rajasthani, and charming the audiences.

And finally, Shah Rukh Khan rocks! With the same get-up, the same look, the same Rajasthani accent, he creates two different characters on screen - the loving spirit Kishanlal and the money minded flesh and blood Kishanlal! He has shed his usual antics - a mile a minute talking, his lopsided grin, they are all mising in Paheli. He manages to play both the characters fairly, and refrains from being partial to any one of them. The audiences forge a connection with both the Kishanlals, feeling the joy of the one who finds love with Lachi and the pain of the one who is living a lonely life. In one frame you celebrate the spirit's love and in the second you cry out for the human pining for his wife and family. Surely one of his best performances.

Lastly, Amol Palekar has done a good job. Fusing art cinema and commercial cinema, he is definitely expanding his reach. This is his biggets directorial venture so far. The story has been handled with sensitivity, and never for a moment can you see a bias, he doesn't profess that Lachi's decision is wrong or right. He has simply raised a question in the film, and is sure to leave the viewev thinking - What would you do in a situation like this?


I liked the film - did you?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tagged - again!

I thought I'd escaped this one...but DJ tagged me!

Total Number of Books I Own -
Many! Never really sat and counted. Most of my books are my inheritence - inherited from my Dad (Along with the love of reading)

The Last Book I Bought -
I don't buy many books. Most of the books that I own are either gifted tome, or like I mentioned above, inherited from Dad! But I did buy one recently. It was a Dan Brown - Digital Fortress.
The Last Book I Read - That would be digital Fortress again. Although I have started another one- The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me -
Well, I read Fiction, Fiction and only fiction :)
The Potter series - These have to be at the top of the list. J K Rowling's potrayal of the magical world is so convincing that you almost begin to believe it exists. Everything about the potter series is unique - right from her long winded sentences to the extremely believable characters. Her attention to detailing is immense and her innovation can be seen in everything - right from spells and chants (no abra-ka-dabra here. We have alohomora to open locks, Winguardium leviosa to leviate objects and lumos to radiate light from wands!) to curses and charms (cheering charms, silencing charms, bat-bogey hexes!) to magical sport (Qudditch!) its all there in her books. And the best part is, each one of her books is deeply interwined with the others, and yet are complete in themselves.

The Fountainhead - I read this book long ago..... long long ago..... but I still remember what Howard Roark taught me - you don't need to fit in. Your uniqueness is your biggest asset. Believe in yourself and you can quonqer the world. Ayn Rand weaves in and out of philosophy and story in this fantastic book of hers. A must read. (I haven't read the other acclaimed Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged, but I did manage to read a play by her - It goes by the name of The Night of January 16th, and is simply awesome. I vaguely recall a Zeenat Amaan - Shekhar Kapur starrer based on this play)

The Rainmaker - This is my favorite John Grisham work. Though I have read many of his novels, the tale of Rudy - the young rookie lawyer remains my all time favourite. Its laced with believable characters - his over enthusiastic business partner, his 80 yr old landlady and the victim of domestic abuse who he falls in love with. If you read this book and like it, please don't watch the movie. They've butchered the story. I only tolerated it because of Matt Damon!

Love Story - The Classic Segal. The tale of Jenny and Oliver that I read again and again and again......

Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons - They are teamed as one because they are a series. The web of fact and fiction that Dan Brown weaves leaves the reader spellbound. These two books are page-turners all the way. Robert Langdon as the celebrity symbologist professor hops all over France, England and Italy, either saving the world, or his own hind!
Here, I would like to mention Deception Point and Digital Fortress too - Though being the stuff that best sellers are made of, they pale out in comparison to the Langdon series.
Incidentally, Dan Brown has a fixation for D - All his novels begin with that alphabet. And going by his books, the fixation extends to murders, mysterious codes and gorgeous women with IQs over 170!

Lord of the Rings - The mammoth tale of magic, mystique and triumph. Though boring at times, the completion of this saga definately gave me a satisfaction of having completed the book!

The works of Sheldon - I am a huge fan of Sheldon. i love not just his books, but also his series I Dream of Jeanie. My fav Sheldons - The Other Side of Midnight, Memories of Midnight and Tell Me Your Dreams. I just love the powerful women characters he creates. I just love the mystery he maintains throughout. I just loves the way he continually leads the readers to believe one thing throughout the book - only to stump them in the end!

Five Point Someone - Chetan Bhagat's foray into writing. A world of young adults. Its funny, realistic, and pretty much captures the life in an engineering college - Right from overload of assignments and quizzes to rotten canteen food!

To Cut A Long Story Short - Though I'm not a huge fan of Archer, I've enjoyed reading his short stories

And finally, all the kiddie books I've read - Right from Tinkle to Archies, from Nancy Drew to Hardy Boys, from Famous Five to Animorphs - I've relished them all.

Five Books I Want to read (This is a section that I have introduced!)-
The diary of Anne Frank
The world according to Gwarp
Kane and Abel
The Prodigal Daughter
Lajja

Tag Five people -
This part is always a toughie..........
Gaurav
Priyangini
Colors
Saba
I Take No logic
I'm being a good girl and tagging only five.............!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tagged................

I thought I'd escaped... But apparently I haven't! I've been tagged too!

THREE NAMES YOU GO BY:
After my Namkaran , it was Ankita
Anksy or Anks is how I'm known in blogsville
Anku or Anky is what my old school friends call me

Uh oh, that was five not three.... Hmm, so lets make up for it later! ;)

THREE SCREEN NAMES YOU HAVE HAD:
Screen names? That as I understand it is the name of a character portrayed on the screen...
I've never had screen names - but I've had stage names, in the school plays when I was a kid... chalega?

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
Three physical things? Ok....

My brain - for its sheer logical capability ( now whoever says that this is not physical, ahem brain is physical part of me)
My hair - yeah, it sounds repetitive but I really do like my painfully straight, dark brown long hair ( and I'm not the only one who does, lotsa ppl do!)
My voice - I've been told I have a rather sweet one!


THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
I'm going to keep this simple.... don't like rambling on and on abt my shortcomings!

The stubborn fat....
My oily scalp.....( just runs up the shampoo bills!)
My teeth....
THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE :
The Indian mythology - a fascinating mix of tales and lessons.......
The geet-sangeet and naach-gaana......every punju loves that!
The values we hold - in spite of being exposed to modern western morals, we cling to our Indian values.....

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU:
Snakes
More Snakes and
Yet more Snakes
LOL......That was just to emphasize the extent…. Heres the real list -

This is what everyone is scared of - losing my family and friends, not just physically, emotionally as well....
Never finding life lasting true love ( I was once told "Ankita, you are a hopeless romantic!")
Snakes ( what did you think, it wouldn't feature in the real list?)


THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS:
My cell phone - am addicted to it!
My cuppa coffee - am addicted to this too..... look at my blinkie!
Something to read - be it an Archie comic or a Harry Potter or a Da Vinci Code or a Sheldon or a blog.... I must read everyday!

THREE THINGS YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW:
Green kurti - its ally shiny, with sequins on it :)
Beige trousers - with six pockets, no less!
My hair loose - Its falling all over my face....



THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP:
Compatibility.......
Love.......... long lasting love......
Acceptance of who I am and how I am......
TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
I just went through a break-up..............
I have another blog, which I write under a different name..............
I have no self confidence...............

Now try figuring the lie out..... but hey, I'm not telling you!
THREE PHYSICAL THINGS ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX THAT APPEAL TO YOU:
Physicality never really appeals to me.......no seriously, its the wit and humor and the charm...... so I'm foregoing this one..... like I said in the first question, I'll make up for it later! :)

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO REALLY BADLY RIGHT NOW:
Go to sleep................ Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
Take a vacation...............
Read a really really good book............. Or write one! ( Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking - at least write your story first.. then think about writing a book!)

THREE CAREERS YOU'RE CONSIDERING:
Am not considering any of those.................fantasizing is more like it!
A voice over artist..........like I mentioned, I'm said to have a good voice!
A rocket scientist............No, I was just kidding........ A painter maybe!
Style advisor to Aishwarya Rai - No, this time I'm not kidding...........Just saw her number 'Kajre Re' from B&B............... not to mention the debacle of Cannes last year................. she seriously needs some style tips................!!!!!!!!!


THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO ON VACATION:
A beach............. any quiet white-sanded beach............where I can lay on a hammock and read in peace...........
To a city as vibrant as mine............
To the moon?????

THREE KIDS NAMES YOU LIKE:

Only kids? No. I like the names of certain grown up ppl too........
Ankita - means the one who is loved bty her parents
Anshul - means the first ray of the sun thjat falls on the earth
Aariya - means peace

(Yes, I have a fascination for the letter a...... and the meanings of names...)

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
Live a full, happy life..............
Laugh everyday............... And make others laugh......... ( no, I'm not planning to be a stand up comedian)
Do something that leaves my mark upon this world.............. something to remember me by!

THREE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO TAKE THIS QUIZ NOW:
Hmmm.......... Lets see, who do I know who hasn't taken this quiz or hasn't been tagged? Noone............. all of you have! :(
Three ppl.........

Anu
Red
Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Can't think of anyone else ppl...................

Whew! finally done it!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Progati - The tale of Progress (Part V)

"Ah, there she is. Someone I thought you'd be interested in meeting."
"Who?"
"The winner of best fiction - Progati"
"Progati?"
"Yeah"


I looked in the direction Neel was pointing towards and found the green sari clad lady deep in conversation with the chief guest. Looking at their animated faces, I could figure out that they were probably having a debate. As we neared them, snatches of their debate fell on our ears.

"What do you mean by not enough women writers? Who are Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mahashweta Devi and Manjula Padmanabhan? "

I halted as I heard the voice, and stared at the mouth that had spoken, the eyes that sparkled, the hands that had gestured. I couldn't make a connection between this obese garish lady standing in front of me and the enigmatic Rewa. But the connection was undoubtedly there. It had been nagging at the back of my mind ever since I laid eyes on her, and it was laid bare by her words. And yet, I couldn't quite believe it, that this was Rewa. That Rewa was Progati hit me a moment later, and that didn't surprise me at all. After all, hadn't I thought of Rewa when I first read Progati?

"And have you heard of Anita Desai, Shobha De, Kamala Das, Amrita Pritam and Shashi Deshpande?"

The man had been struck by Rewaitis, I thought smiling to myself. Rewaitis was the term people used in college, to describe the condition of the poor soul who entered into a discussion with Rewa, and could think of no counter-arguments.

"These are the famous ones - only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many women writers around. You shouldn't make off-hand remarks about there not being enough women writers, specially in a setting like this, where you are going to be heard and quoted", Rewa went on. Once she started of, there was no stopping her, just like the old days.

"Oh come on dear, all he wanted to convey that women writers should be encouraged and supported. Surely you don't disagree to that!" said the tall, authoritative looking man who had just joined to debating duo, or rather the debater and her victim. This man was easy to recognize. I was surprised to see him there and more so seeing that after all these years, he still looked the same. Almost as if time had forgotten to brush over him. The image of Rewa standing on the stage facing Nabin flashed through my mind, for that is who she stood facing even now!

"That's her husband. Nabin Mukherjee", Neel whispered into my ear
"He is the chairman of Kaymes Industries"

Nabin and Rewa married? How was this possible? They couldn't satnd each other in college.