Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kurbaan - excellently packaged action thriller... Not a love story

Had a lovely breakfast with Kurbaan. Rs. 90/- for a wholesome salad of Kareena, Saiffu (as she funnily calls him), Vivek Oberoi, Om Puri and Kirron Kher. It was a good breakfast.

Actually I am still cogitating and yet to fully recover from the after-effects. For the quick busy reader, let me give a quick verdict. It is surely a must watch film. Incisive direction by Rensil D Silva, great looks and tone by the cinematographer - Hemant Chaturvedi and the editor - Asif Ali Shaikh, excellent screenplay by Rensil again and effective acting by the whole cast. Dont delay, Just watch. Its worth it. Only suggestion is that catch the morning show for its sub 100 price point.

Now let me give words to my after-thoughts about Kurbaan. When I saw the promotion, I was dissappointed with the extremely dull & thoughtless idea behind the promotions. Thrillers are not supposed to be promoted this way. You may want to read this. I had a bet with Karan Johar (@kjohar25) that if Saif does not die in the end of the movie, then I will delete my blog. So, of course my guess was correct and my blog stays... How can a movie be a thriller if I can predict the outcome just by seeing the promotion.

Anyways I always wanted to watch the movie. I was sure that it would be a good movie. I was correct. Not only it is fantastically designed (can be compared to any Hollywood movie), but also it gives out a dashboard about the hegemony of the whites and Islamic fundamentalism in an effective way. The vicious cycle thats shown is a reality and so, Rensil, "very well told". Proud of you.

But as the perfectionist that I am, I can't keep wondering a few things. Firstly why is the movie named as 'KURBAAN'. Who gave the Kurbaani? The Om Puri family - no they were taking revenge, Saif - revenge again, Kareena - Of course not, she is the hapless victim. So why is it called 'KURBAAN'. Being a biased person that I am, I dont think Rensil has thought about this name. It has to be the work of a team who cant say no to the leader of the team.

Then, is Kurbaan a love story? It is not. Its an action thriller. Perhaps when project Kurbaan had started, the script was a love story. When it was rendered, love story has become an action thriller. It happens, and nothing wrong about it. But the promotion therefore should be that of an action thriller. "Some love stories have blood on them" is therefore completely irrelevant to the story. In fact, the love quotient was zillion times stronger in NewYork.

Again, why is it shot in the NewYork. Probably its a decision taken with the support of loads of money or the belief that America, London, Swiss Alps (any location outside India) brings in the junta. And presumably, Karan Johar couldnot have known that "NewYork" was being made by Kabir Khan on a similar plot, IN NewYork ABOUT Muslim fundamentalism...

Even though I am writing a blog on the movie, I could not be one with the movie. I didnt feel for anyone in the movie. Even a frequent 'cryer' wouldnt have shed a tear. In fact, I didnt feel at all for the movie. It didnt have any clear message of what it supports or propagates. It was talking both 'for' and 'against' Muslim fundamentalism, American hegemony, terror etc. It is a 'no stand' movie, so you dont feel for the movie and its story.

Actually, action thrillers are supposed to be like that. You see the movie for the action and for the thrill. You would never cry in a Van Damme movie. Kurbaan is just that. An amazingly well made action thriller. It is stylish and has this grey tone to it. The action scenes are well directed and real. The plot surely could have been unpredictable but action thrillers, most often than not, have a predictable end.

Overall, a good movie. Although I enjoyed it, yet it was not complete.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kurbaan - Promoting a thriller

Shouting that Kurbaan is a thriller will only put the movie in that genre. Thats it. It wont promote the movie as a thriller subliminally, emotionally and in that perspective....

Thrill is something that you have to experience... The promotion of Kurbaan is gravely lacking in that respect.

Quite surprised reading Karan Johar (@kjohar25) saying that they have purposefully kept Vivek Oberoi away from the promotion to make it clear that Kurbaan is not a love triangle. I say, how foolish, from my heart. We cannot make a thriller clear of any perception. Let the mass have all kinds of perceptions and then let the thriller shatter them all in the movie hall... It would be interesting to know, hear and read people guessing all kinds of formula...

Oh! what a line! "Some love stories have blood on them". I say, its so cliche, bollywoodish and theatrical. Got a bit upset when I got to know that it has come from KJohar25. I have higher regards for him. But I am happy that @RensilDSilva didnt think of it. Thrill meter would have hit all time low in such a case. At least now, there is still some suspense about how rensil thinks. If at all blood is so important an obsession, then a much better line could have been "Some love stories are written in blood" - courtesy my friend Akanksha. Even thats taking away from the thrill quotient. We could have discovered all that while watching the film. This line had the potential to add thrill quotient but the team (kjohar25) failed here.

I wonder why Rensil DSilva (@rensildsilva) is a bit less visible in the media. Why Kareena Kapoor in her umpteen interviews mentioning KJohar as the director. Come on, he has done Aks, won an award for Rang De Basanti and he was the star copy writer of Mudra Communications belting out hugely popular McDonalds commercials. Enough can be said about him but the point is that a new director can very well add to the thriller quotient, if we design communication accordingly. As Kareena in one of her interviews mentions that Rensil is edgy... so just taking off on that thought brings up great ideas about using Rensil to create a thriller quotient around Kurbaan.
The first poster released also lacked serious 'Art Director' instincts and intuition. Refer the poster in the beginning of my blog. Now see this one. Doesn't it give you a better thrill? Visual communication can speak louder than words. I wonder where this poster is hiding when it comes to huge hoardings... Wonder who designed this. Get a feeling that it is not the same person.

Given that Kurbaan is releasing on the shadows of a successful film - NewYork and conventional logic suggests that they are kind of similar, promotion had a huge role to play to break conventional logic.
I am sure the movie would be a great movie. I have great faith in Rensil and I am sure (I hope) he has been given a free hand in making the movie. I just feel that it would have been better if the promotions were handled better, more strategically. It would have been fun for communication enthusiast like me to experience the media and mass reaction.
I had asked a friend yesterday, would Saif die in the film? She said, "Of Course" If he doesnt, I delete this blog or I have made my point.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Osho on FUCK

Some rubbish that I just read. Read if for yourself how you feel. This is Osho's rantings on FUCK. I believe there is also a video or an audio track on this.

It is actually so much more than that. I find Osho's description extremely lacking in scope, scale and beauty. Fuck is a much greater experience, a phenomenon and an instinct.

Osho says, "It is one of the most beautiful words. The English Language should be proud of it. It is one of the most interesting words. It is a magical word. Just by its sound, it can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love.

It falls into many grammatical categories. It can be used as a verb. Both transitive, 'John fucked Mary' and Intransitive, 'Mary was fucked by John'. And as a noun, 'Mary is a fine fuck.' It can be used as an adjective, 'Mary is fucking beautiful.'

There are not many words with the versatility of Fuck. Besides the sexual meaning, there are also the following uses:

Fraud: 'I got fucked at the used car lot.'
Ignorance: 'Fuck, if I know.'
Trouble: 'I guess I'm fucked now.'
Aggression: 'Fuck You.'
Displeasure: 'What the fuck is going on here?'
Difficulty: 'I can't understand this fucking job!'
Suspicion: 'What the fuck are you doing?'
Pleasure: 'I had a fucking good time!'
Request: 'Get the fuck out of here.'
Hostility: 'I'm going to knock your fucking head off.'
Greeting: 'How the fuck are you?'
Apathy: 'Who gives a fuck?!'
Surprise: 'Fuck! You scared the shit out of me.'
Anxiety: 'Today is really fucked.'

Every morning if you repeat the mantra 'Fuck You' five times. It clears the throat."


You may also like the read this article titled - Why I slept with 1300 women? Quite an interesting take of fuck. Somehow more meaningful than what Osho ranted.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Creativity comes to the deserved!

Creativity often can be seen in the most unexpected places. Thats the beauty of it. Creativity is omnipresent. Not locked in the so called ivory towers of advertising agencies, production houses et al.

Some years back, I had written this little piece when I saw this amazing salesman on the streets of Lower Parel. I was coming out of office for lunch and this branding spectacle I saw just floored me.. and I wasnt blogging then.

Read this.

I see this street boy (un-derogatorily) wearing an umbrella hat - a hat that is a perfect replica of the umbrellas that he is selling on the streets.

He is wearing an innovative manually designed belt which can hold a dozen umbrella hats. The umbrellas on his belt are organised in a way that all the different colours of the hat umbrellas are visible to the onlookers. Incidently, it is holding his trousers too.(what a show-window!!!).

The left hand carrying an umbrella for consumers to touch and feel before buying What merchandising!!!).

The right hand is carrying an open umbrella. He has this amazing talent of rotating the umbrella in great speed (What a clutter breaking event!!!)... Who wont get attracted when a multicoloured thingie is in rotation in your area of vision...

Dont know what prompted him to think so creatively. I doubt that it is his intelligence. I think it is his hunger to earn money for his next meal !!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Transparency & Trust are mutually exclusive

Yesterday, we were having this debate about how important is to talk with accountability. That we should not say everything that you feel like saying...

My brother, who was primarily working on his laptop, suddenly gets up & shoots his salvo. You guys are talking nonsense!! Everyone should be transparent and that he is transparent and that he cares a hoot about what others feel as long as he is transparent. Then he went on to say why Govt should be transparent, politics should be transparent etc etc...

It was good that he went on his speech for some time. It made my Dad - mostly a silent self after Parkinson's got him, utter a sentence that really pushed me to the wall & made me think... and now I am blogging.

He said that "if everyone becomes transparent, it will be difficult to trust people. Our society runs on trust"

My instant reaction was that "wow, this is serious stuff!" But I didnt understand the implications fully. I wondered about how is trust related to transparency. Both trust and transparency should co-exist, as both are virtues that generations have been preaching.

Slowly it dawned on me how correct is my Dad. It became quite clear in my head that you cannot afford to be transparent if you are in a social fabric of friends, family and colleagues. As long as this world and our lives are based on trust, friendships and gossip, we cannot be transparent. If you are transparent, nobody will share their selves, as you would not keep it to yourself; and you wont have a social circuit.

It is actually a big deal to be discreet, secretive, trust-worthy and therefor non-transparent, diplomatic and political.

So you cant be transparent when it comes to the society, your family, your friends and colleagues. Sad.

Thinking deeper, actually you can never be transparent about yourself too, leave the society. Thats depression.

Let me not write further. Its better to live life like it comes to you. I wont say f the ideals, but they should be cursory in the periphery guiding you from going insane to the society at large.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Loving Mumbai - its spirit, its people, its conscience

Mumbai is my home. And I'm lovin it.

On the 3rd of January 2002 with my RX 100 on a train from Ahmedabad, I arrived in Borivali, Mumbai. From then, it has been such a positive ride.

Sure, I had my share of frustrations in the initial initiation to the big bad Mumbai. From getting the bike out of the Borivali train station to traveling in the local train to reach lower parel, the next 15 days were a nightmare. I was not used to such a fast life in Ahmedabad.

With optimism for life and no such great ambition, I started my journey to settle down in Mumbai, to get my rythm back and start my life.

In these 8 years, I moved from Borivali to Sewri (what a relocation; with of all that I had in my Yamaha to a place which is the other end of Mumbai), from Sewri to Shivaji Park, from Shivaji Park to Mahim, from Mahim to Sion and then to my own home in Tilak Nagar, Chembur.

Occupationally, I moved from advertising & media to making ad films, from marketing to online marketing to my current position of Head - Internet Banking, Deutsche Bank. Yes, I work in a bank handling technology after starting my career with an agency handling advertising.

Here, as surprised you might be as a reader, I am also surprised at the opportunities that Mumbai has given to me to discover myself, my talent and my latent interests. I followed my dreams and dreams became reality. With time, money ceased to be an issue for most of my waking hours. I do get greedy at times.

Now thats too materialistic a reason to love Mumbai. Thats not what I wanted to write today. I wanted to write about my experiences, my feelings with Mumbai in these 8 years of living here, of making such tectonic shifts in my life.

The essense is that I have never felt alone in Mumbai. I never felt insecure in Mumbai. It has given life to my will to hardwork, be good, have patience, have faith and keep going.

From that day in 2002, when I found a helping leg to push my empty tanked bike to the nearest petrol station to yesterday when I found a stranger helping my dad (a parkinson's patient) to walk in the dark theatre towards his seat (we were there to watch Aladin & I went ahead to find the row), I have so many good memories of Mumbai and its beautiful people that it fills my heart to become a better person myself. I wish thats an epidemic and everybody is therefore becoming a better person themselves.

Let me jot down a few of my everlasting memories of Mumbai:

# Borivali to Sewri for a 10 days old on a bike in Mumbai was tough. I didnt take a single wrong turn and I found my destination in around an hour and half. In Mumbai it seems nobody has time for anybody but I found time from everyone. Everytime I asked for directions from an autorickshaw driver to an office goer, I got clear directions. From dharavi, I actually found someone who told me to follow him till my destiny. He actually took an extra turn for me. It was such a great satisfying journey, which could have been the worst in my life with 3 bags in a RX 100 with no clue about road directions.

# I am a bit of a crazy bike fanatic. Once I stubborned my way to take my father to the hospital for his acupressure session. While returning, he was having problem in getting onto the bike. Two gentlemen came and help him get on the bike. It was good till then. On the way, he got uncomfortable and was not keeping his balance on the bike. I had to stop somewhere near Goregaon in the WE highway. The magic started then. In a matter of minutes, my dad was brought down from my bike, given water, a stool to sit and relax. After a good 15 minutes when my Dad was comfortable, they again helped him onto the bike and we reached home. I was overwhelmed beyond words. I decided to become a better man myself.

# The fact that I dont have to bargain when I get into an Auto / Taxi is such a relief that we can only realise when we go to Delhi/Bangalore/Chennai. There is of course a slight problem that I ocassionally face. The taxis standing close to office premises wont budge for shorter distances. Once it happened that two girls (quite good looking and so I was observing or you may say leering at them) were trying to hire a taxi. They tried the standing taxis. They didnt budge, so they started waving for the passing taxis. Suddenly I see these two traffic policemen riding a bike passing by the waving girls... What shock me is that they stopped after a few metres to instruct the closest taxi driver to take these girls wherever they wants to go. Now that changed my view about traffic police completely. It is actually such a good life sala.

# I am quite a party animal. And shoulder to shoulder brushes are quite common in any pub in Mumbai. So a few bad looks here and there is accepted to be quite common. For the past 8 years, I have only heard of a few pub skirmishes. I havenot seen them. In Delhi, every pub/party has one fight every night. I may be exaggerating a bit but fights, abuses and quarrels are so much lesser in Mumbai pubs. It is actually fun.

# Last night, in a fit of excitement I left my purse in a paan shop in Bandra. Can you believe that? Yes I managed to do that and fortunately remembered after about travelling 5 kms towards my home. Luckily I have the habit of checking for my purse and mobile every 10-15 minutes. I could only say "WTF, I am screwed." I reviewed my memory and the best chance was the paan shop we stopped. I am still under dis-belief that I have actually got back my purse. God bless the paan walla and I wish he open a paan shop chain and become a paan magnet. Really, that's how magnanimous my wishes are for him.

Let me not drag it now. Just one last line. Mumbai - its people, its spirit and its conscience is really something to be proud of and to be inculcated within.

Dont understand why we say BIG BAD MUMBAI sometimes.