Sunday, 10 November 2013

SUPER Disappointment...

Krrish 3…The hype, the anticipation and over the hill superhero expectations finally made way for a movie that turned out to be a disappointing and a mercilessly boring watch. The story failed miserably to keep me and my friends engaged.The disappointment was acceptable as we had expected the same, given our preconceived opinion about Bollywood films trying to swim in troubled waters. Then RaOne and know Krrish 3, both shamelessly showcase the ineptness of Bollywood in pulling off such superhero movies. The genre is surely not Bollywood’s cup of tea yet. The movie was two and a half hours of boredom, unexciting action and blatant, shameless theft of Hollywood.

Spiderman, Superman, Batman! The plagiarism was (as usual) so open and so easy to guess.  Poor and untimely songs made the flavor even sourer. Hrithik seemed to be the lone fighter with his good looks, acting and as always with his benchmark physique and dance moves. But it was too bad a superhero plot for even sturdy shoulders of Hrithik to carry.­ Priyanka Chopra served no real purpose as is the case with actresses who just for namesake are tagged as heroines. But hey, PC’s contribution was invaluable!! Isn't her giving birth to a child (to be noted: that also a boy) the ticket for Rakesh uncle’s next in the series? Hope it’s not.

The baddies were equally bad. Maanwars, the desi name surely didn't hide the shamelessly stolen concept. Kangana as Kaya with her uncorrected diction ensured she caught attention at least by the attire she wore. Flashing her cleavage and her barely clad body seemed to be her prime motto in every scene. Her falling in love with Krishna (Hrithik) in a flash again showed that Indian movies simply cannot do without love. Shooting an entire song in a desert terrain in which Hrithik and Kangana come up wearing different costumes with every passing second was a bit too much for Kangana’s slight sense of voluptuousness. The other three mutants frankly speaking were completely spineless!! Perhaps Kaal needed to invest a little more of his brain while creating these idiotic maanwars. An action sequence of Krrish with one of them (the frog one) was highly stupide. The maanwar with his frog like ability was time and again showed in helpless light when Krrish repeatedly pulled his protruding tongue to the extreme!! And the other maanwars were just left as mere spectators as if devoid of any significant power. Vivek Oberoi as the main villain KAAL equally fizzled out as the rest. He should perhaps continue playing gangster roles which actually he does the best. Nor did his created mutants have enough power and nor did he himself. Even after beating invalidity, his powers (which he highly boosted off) should have produced a more interesting climax, but the final action scenes were really unappetising. And last but not the least, a big ZERO for the crappy costume of Kaal. It seemed to be made of trash and it deserves to be thrown in trash.

Director Rakesh Roshan ensured that the movie didn’t miss the much priced Indian emotions of fatherly, brotherly bonds and concerns about one’s child. Advertising A-Z brands seemed to be the only success of the movie. Talks about the film earning 1000 crore can be easily be dismissed as the film itself. It will be good if Krrish doesn’t expect anything in return for his goodwill.

The consolation to takeaway : “the superhero is within you”!! That is the thing to believe in, as it's tough to find any superhero stuff in Krrish 3 for sure. L

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Going AGRA...

We were at the fag end of our college life. In those days I and my close friends were always in pursuit to go places and accumulate memories for future. College curriculum and money did pull our enthusiasm at times but envisaging the busy professional life ahead we then knew ‘it’s now or never’.
It had only been a few weeks that I and a very close friend of mine had returned from the Maha Kumbh. For us, asking money from our families for another trip was out of question. With just a month left for our beloved college life to end we continued tolerating our boring classes and labs. But soon a plan was to pop up.

The plan was to visit Agra. A group of 5 of our classmates had actually come up with this and four of us were optimistically invited to join them. Initially thoughts of gong to Agra did summon a great interest in me and I could unmistakably sense the same in others. But soon our system tripped. As stated before, money was an issue and seeing my disapproval my other friends also came up with a negative response. Suddenly each of us had some or the other reason which was toppling the plan. Being very close buddies meant either all four went or none of us went.  The plan was pre matured but we didn’t allow it to fizzle out. We reviewed it frequently to keep our interest alive. Seeing the other group plan and book their tickets, we finally decided (unanimously) that we had to go. Even thoughts of missing out a wonder like Taj Mahal were painful.

The base was set. After we convinced our families for the trip finance it was time to book our tickets. We had to make up for the delay in making up our mind. We spent hours at night analyzing and planning our itinerary. We chalked out trains from Indian Railways which would best suit us. Fun part was that we maintained privacy and ensured the other group didn’t get the slightest hint of our changed plans. We also ensured that we boarded the same train from Kolkata to Agra as they did. Rough calculations to estimate the least budget sufficient to manage the trip were made. We finally came down to 2000 rupees. May sound very less but that was what we could cough out. Having less and managing more adds to the fun. Doesn’t it? After patiently spending hours in long queues we booked our train tickets. All set and done we then keenly awaited the day of our departure.
It was 4th April Thursday. Magadh Express which we were to board was scheduled for a 1pm departure from Sealdah. Just because of our lagging attendance we were compelled to attend a first half lab and then eventually hurry up with our final packing once we returned to our hostels. A quick lunch and boarding the timely bus ensured our arrival at the station just on time. We filled our empty bottles to avoid buying water. Cost cutting was an invisible companion to accompany us. With less than 10 minutes in hand we scurried for our compartment. 

We kept a sharp vision to ensure that our co-group didn’t catch a glimpse of our presence. Finally we get our respective seats and by then the train had already started its journey. We took half an hour to get ourselves settled and then finalized that it was time we gave the other group the much awaited surprise. They were seated not so far, rather just in the next compartment. Feeling very anxious we approached them.  A hard slap on the back of one of them was enough for him and rest of the group to turn their attention towards us. Seeing us they were completely left agape. None of them were ready to believe that we were to accompany them to Agra. After revealing them our planning and how we wanted to surprise them, they were left completely astonished but nonetheless were thrilled to have us join them. Now we were a single group of 9 (final year college mates) heading for Agra J
College friends are the best ingredients one can get in his/her life. Having them in a tour adds cherry to the cake. Sharing our food, buying eatables from hawkers, fighting for cost cutting and not to forget the endless gossiping, all these ensured that we never had a null moment during our journey. Photo sessions had already started, courtesy to the two cameras we carried. Getting down the train at smallest of the stoppages, standing beside the compartment door (at times precariously) and getting clicked individually or in groups (striking next to perfect poses) was such fun. 

The train was catching speed. It was evening and the sun was dying down at the distant horizon. There I was standing at the door with a transgressing look. The train whistling past the trees, the wind hitting my face and playing with my hair. Life couldn’t get any better, I told myself.
Later at night we had to content with the not so good pantry dinner. Then it was time to retire to our respective berths for a tight good sleep. We expected to reach Agra the next day before noon, a thing we were all eagerly waiting for.                                              
                                                                                                                     ………… be CONTD….

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Speak the NEEDFUL...Please....

Rahul Gandhi was a cult figure right from the time of his birth. It’s his ancestry to blame if not to be grateful to. Being the Gandhi scion it was imminent for others (at least Congress supporters) to look up to him for the top spot. Obviously he is the Chosen One for Congress but definitely not the Best One. His looks backed by his dimples, well clipped beard might be an attractive asset (especially for a politician) but his speeches don’t serve that similar cynosure. 

Rahul’s oratory gets tough to take when he hits the emotional pitch of his. And mind it, it’s more often than not that he coughs out his emotions. For a listener it is puzzling as in whether to sympathize or be shrewd and expect deliverables, not personal feelings. Inclination to the latter is obvious as the electorate is in no mood to commiserate with emotions and that also of Congress which is hit by anti-incumbency and failures on various fronts. This is good enough to out -weigh whatever emotions Rahul tries to invoke frequently in his speeches. It’s a big no to ‘emotional blackmail’ as there are emotions of crores of Indians to be attended to. Talks about core actions and not beggar for compassion will induce the electorate.

The pattern of Rahul’s speeches continues to revolve around the same recipe. First lionizing UPA’s schemes, then nose diving into his family history and a few digs here and there at the BJP. He seems to be a young boy speaking earnestly from his heart and on way hitting a strikingly philosophical pitch!! Stating power as poison, talking about assassination of his grandmother and father, crushing his own dreams for India, threat to his own life or be it highlighting his emotional mother at time of passage of Food Security Bill, all instances follow his patterns of oratory. Might be a bit harsh on him but surely for a top post like that of PM he needs to shed his naiveness (be it pretentiousness or not). But the first big thing is that is he vying for the top post? He continues obstinately refusing to throw his hat into the ring. The doubt- whether he will or won’t continue to bewilder us. The answer to this doubt will decide whether he is worth listening to and whether the poll pundits are right in assuming Rahul as Congress’s PM candidate.  It’s time Rahul decides and allows us to make up our minds.

At the same time Rahul Gandhi does deserve a few accolades as well. Dismissing the ordinance meant for saving tainted politicians (except for the way he did it) was commendable and was a good use of his supremacy in his party. But as a PM candidate or at least as the Vice President of Congress he needs to come up with more matter. UPA-II’s dismal performance can’t be over looked and its better if Rahul doesn’t attempt to do so in his speeches. Accepting short comings audaciously and presenting bold remedies is what the electorate desires. Just indulging in a negative campaign against BJP will in no way help Congress cover the distance. Rahul needs to be more responsible in remarks he makes. Take for instance, him stating that ISI is reconciling with the Muslims of Muzaffarnagar. Such baseless remarks are not expected from Rahul Gandhi. Better if Digvijay Singh comes up with these and not Rahul !!

Harping on his family tragedies more often than not does no good to an electorate which is heavily populated by youth who, frankly speaking are more interested in the future rather than in the past.

It’s high time that the speeches made get more specific about country’s problems and their solutions. And more importantly it’s the action that needs to follow the words!

Monday, 14 October 2013


Today, politics in India is marked by fire spewing politicians who are more often than not found decrying words of their rivals of other political parties. That’s the league of leaders India has stooped to after all these years of Independence.

 Even 15th August (this year)wasn’t spared! The platform was duly used as an opportunity to belittle rather than induce thoughts of remembrance for those who had helped India achieve the glory. Being the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Mr Narendra Modi continues to be under scanner and so does his words trailing his ideology. A point of his, on 15th August which caught attention was his strong (as usual) denunciation of Manmohan Singh for praising the Gandhi-Nehru family and forgetting the numerous others who had equally devoted themselves for India’s freedom.To an extent it’s true (and thus unjust) that we often attribute Independence to just Gandhi and Nehru and in process (inadvertently) slightly side line numerous others. This might just be because of Congress which eventually saw many more powerful Gandhis who haven’t let the surname (and thus the hierarchy, if not the dynasty) go oblivious. Or it simply might be because of one’s lack of knowledge about great men which Indiahas witnessed. Whatever be the reason, extracting petty political mileage out of such things, seriously undoes what those great men dreamt about modern India. Even politics and personal ambitions were part of their era, but history is evident of their putting the country first over any other thing. That was undoubtedly the reason why leaders of that time were more coherent and revered by all religions and communities across the country.

Modi presented his desire for building an iron statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Statue of Unity (the proposed name), 182 metre high would be the tallest statue in the world (also beating the Statue of Liberty).Although the nomenclatureclashes heads on with its New York competitor (rivals at least in height), the name is apt for someone who did the herculean task of forging India from about 500 princely states. But definitely, just building a mammoth statue doesn’t mark imbibition of principles the great man stood for. It’s very similarto a lonely, forgotten picture of Mahatma Gandhi hanging on one of the walls of a police station. The only difference being 182 metres of iron and splurged public money which repays them hardly with a mere colossal structure.

The next thing that tingles is the thought that could have Modi ever (even in his dreams) have proposed a similar statue of Mahatma Gandhi or (to be more harsh) a one of JawaharLal Nehru.? The answer is an easy no and in stricter terms never. Admiration is something which is upon ones discretion but the same in politics is forcefully governed or better to say dictated by politics itself. Sardar Patel is the best fit for Modi as Vallabhbhai Patel’s differences with Nehru then can be coercively aligned with that of Modi or the BJP against Nehru’s descendants (Sonia and Rahul Gandhi) that is the current Congress.Be it him being the better choice than Nehru (for post of PM) or be it his differences with Nehru (on issues of Kashmir and China), Sardar Patel, very calculatedly is used by party like BJP under Modi to oppose Nehru family’s (Congress’s) continuance in Indian politics. One might argue that it’s a very harsh thing to question one’s choice for admiration, but surely it’s the underlined politics which attracts such cynicism.

Modi at the same time shouldn’t forget Patel’s abhorrence of RSS and other Hindutva organizations. Patel clearly blamed them for stoking violence during India’s freedom and also for assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel undoubtedly is the beacon of united India. Commemorating Patel and also satisfying RSS’s agenda is shamelessly contrasting. 

History is evident of Patel’s sacrifices for the nation. Allowing Nehru to be PM can be projected by many as a compromise but it was no big deal for Patel to comply with his ideal – Mahatma Gandhi. Despite the differences the mutual support Nehru and Patel showcased for each other cannot be overlooked. For them it was the country which preceded most of their desires. 

Without holding any bias against or for any party, the wish of most Indians today is to look up to leaders similar to those who are much talked about of being followed and idealized.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Gym Visuals...

Workout at times can be the trickiest thing one can indulge in. Everyday exercise is recommended for good health but there is a thin line between daily workout and bodybuilding. Seeing chiseled, oil smeared,  ripped bodies of men like Hrithik, Salman or any other  such ‘hunk’ can easily make a man crave for a physique similar to theirs. But even transforming those dreams into some pre matured form of reality requires extreme dedication and patience. I hit the gym every alternate day if not daily. A muscular body which satisfies my eyes and which carries any attire I don is all what I want. What prying eyes of others feel is important, but is secondary to what the owner of the body feels and that’s me. Good hot bod of a favourite hero acts as an inspiration and a sort of milestone which one would like to reach one day. I might be the wrong person to comment correctly on how far I have reached, but it’s not the thing that I am often interested in. An idle mind and inside a gym an idle body can often end up concentrating on others rather than on self. Come on!! It’s something everyone does!! What a sincere gym session requires can turn out to be too demanding for many. My experience says that in a gymnasium you can end up in doing any of these two-either take up the pain of building your body or take up the pain in seeing others build their body. I being a follower of the former except for my initial hard fought days doesn’t strip me off my personal sensitivity to judge others who are toiling in the gymnasium. I attribute this abeyance to laziness of mine (at times) and my innate tendency to compare myself (here my body) with others.

Rotate your eyes and you can find a good variety of guys in the gym trying to achieve their bit.
A site that draws my attention at any moment (especially in the gym) is of someone walking in wearing a tight outfit. Gym is a place to look better and thus taking pride in your hard earned accomplishment is obvious. But magnifying muscularity by draping the tightest T one has in his stock can make him look immature and equally amateurish. Ultimately it’s the physique which determines the suitability of what one wears. Stout build and a tight-under sized gym vest along with the ‘hard to contain’ peeping pouch and at times the rebellious undies can be a really bad combination.

 Relentless dumbbell lifts to achieve pumped biceps is another very common practice. Craze of ‘dolle sholle’ explains why biceps turns out to be the most important part of the body’s anatomy. For a beginner it turns to be the sole body part to concentrate on and the only way to mark onset of his body building. Free hand exercise goes for a toss and other parts remain unattended to. Biceps become huge while rest of the body remains disproportionate (usually marked by a protruding belly). This is more embarrassingly exposed when one decides to wear those tight tees.

The other thing which shouts for my attention in gym on any given day is sound of someone grunting!! Awwwwwwwhhhhh, Ehhhhhhhhhh….Comeohhhhhhonnnn….Hearing those painful shouts your curiosity makes you turn around spontaneously to see who the guy is!! Who the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the gym is??  What freaking exercise is he doing and what humongous weight is he lifting?? Either the answer disappoints you when you find the guy doing the same exercise you could have done in a less exaggerated fashion or it impresses you when you find him doing something currently out of your bodily range…Nevertheless it’s not a private gym to shout in….So please try not to be Sharapova or Serena Williams…

It’s more fun to hit the gym during a festival season. Vibrancy of the approaching festivity can be easily sensed in the gymnasium too. You will get to see dozens of new faces but your experience avoids you from expecting them at gym on a regular basis. Those few weeks prior to the festival marks the short stint of such joinees. A few days in which they can at least pump up their biceps and thus look attractive to the festive crowd especially the girls is at the top of their motto. Obviously the thinking is in line with the preconceived notion of many that body does the talking!!!!

But before cynicism burdens me any further it is better I spend time inspecting myself and get overburdened by the physical weights of the gym instead.

Monday, 23 September 2013


"An eye for an eye makes the world blind". What Gandhiji’s golden words alluded to can be universally applied to any human society across the world. Talking about India what's disconcerting is that, the issues which churned violence at time of Gandhiji are still equally prevalent in modern India even after 66 years of Independence. India can be proud of its secularity but this secularism at many instances got diminished to just a feeble form of tolerance, blown off by the smallest of sparks.

Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh-50 dead and about half a lakh people forced to take refuge in camps!! Harassment of a Hindu teen by a Muslim boy was rumored to have started the entire gory chapter. The Muslim boy was killed by the teen's brothers and in retribution the two Hindu boys were killed by the Muslims. What followed is riot and bloodshed claiming lives of 50 and hard earned property of thousands. Although the reason behind the spark is contentious and both the communities involved have come up with their own versions, the form it took was horrifying. It is doubted that a minor tiff between boys of the two communities might have triggered the mayhem. Whatever be the initial backdrop, the incidents which subsequently transpired were extreme forms of vindictiveness. Incidents of women being teased are unfortunate but occur very frequently in our society. Same is the case with minor quarrels given how quickly people get offended in these days. So most of us would agree to these issues being trivial and such incidents engulfing peace of the community only highlights the deadly volatility lurking in our Indian society. Initial revenge (to the extent of killing) followed by a spree of killings on communal patterns have taken lives of thousands of innocents in the country. There is a very thin line separating secularism and communalism in India. Everyday society treads cautiously when it comes to communal divisions. But over the decades many petty issues have spiraled into big communal clashes. Would scenes in Muzaffarnagar have been that violent if the issue had involved a single community?? Definitely, not. An issue which should have been closed by immediate and appropriate police and administrative intervention was allowed to be fuelled even further. The usually latent animosity existing in minds of people residing in areas like Muzaffarnagar has been highly shaped by the communal history of the place. The cumulative factor therefore enables an otherwise petty issue to spark off a big conflagration.

In the case of Muzaffarnagar riots the political parties as expected have just bickered and have done nothing except for trading the blame for inaction and deliberate escalation. But definitely its the police and the government which are to be held accountable and responsible. Samajwadi Party being the government can't play the blame game just as any other political party. It is the ruling party and all the powers required for action were in its hands. SP's complicity and decision to go easy with one community to consolidate its minority vote bank has taken it nowhere. In 1990's Mulayam Singh earned the sobriquet of 'Mullah Mulayam' for his stand to protect the Babri Masjid. The order to shoot kar sevaks at Ayodhya on 30th October, 1990 further earned Mulayam the trust of the minority community. But this time around, both Hindus and Muslims have been equally on the losing side. Akhilesh Yadav government's has thus been facing flak from all parties and most importantly from the common people of all communities. Its routine appeasement policy didn't save its face as it failed to take action when it was most required. SP has thus turned out to be the biggest loser and the riots giving the much hyped CM a big blot on his tenure. The SP's appeasement policy only shows its insecurity backed by the party's lack of substantial development and administration in the state. 
Bodies butchered beyond recognition, doctors reporting horrifying conditions of dead bodies found shows the anarchy and uncontrolled slaughter that took place. The police's inaction further escalated the tensions. Politicians of all parties marking their party's support by freely delivering fiery speeches added fuel in large quantities. Provocative posts circulated on networking sites undeterred did the same. Warrants were issued for the sake of action but no leader was actually arrested at the right time. The politicians dared to arrest them and the police just submitted to the situation powerlessly to avoid any political backlash. Top police officials were blamed and suspended just as a token of the government's action. 

But knowing the obvious fact that political power pulls the strings of police in this country, shouldn't the politicians be actually suspended? Every police personnel has to budge to their pressure to hold on to their tenure and posting.

In the case of Durga Shakti Nagpal SP was so farsighted that she was transferred in a jiffy. 41 minutes was boosted as a record time in which decisions regarding her were taken. But despite getting alerts from Central agencies regarding brewing communal tensions in Muzaffarnagar, no action was taken or more correctly, no action was allowed to be taken by the government. In almost all riots which have ravaged India, dozens of Commissions subsequently set have raised fingers on the complicity of politicians and the alleged role of police in blindly following their orders to go slow on the situation. Be it the Nanavati report of 1984 anti Sikh riots, Srikrishna report of 1993 Bombay riots, or reports of Gujarat riots and others, all have pointed out to the connivance of political parties in giving shape to the situation according to political benefits and their communal ideologies. 

If the so called leaders of Indian politics want to do something for the people apart from their languid lip service post such riots, they should urgently look into the implementation of police reforms. The Supreme Court's directives sought to achieve functional autonomy for the police (through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a "buffer body" between the police and the government) and enhanced police accountability (both for organizational performance and individual misconduct. Setting of a State Security Commission, fixed tenure for top cops (to have someone who is conversant with the area), grievance redressal authorities in each district are few of the desired features. The reluctance of state governments is understandable as the reforms will rob the political parties off their impunity. But the Supreme Court needs to push for its directives with stricter deadlines. The Supreme Court's ruling on tainted MPs and MLAs is a silver lining. It snaps the network the gundaas, criminals and other gangs have developed with the bureaucrats and the government.

Wooing one community (and in process alienating another) by playing tokenist politics has always been clouded by insecurity. Providing better administration, security and inclusive growth is the only way to create a healthy political environment and a healthy democracy. More importantly it's the best way for a government to credit its incumbency!!