Friday, February 23, 2007


The Oscar night is one day away and the big buzz on most Indian news sites is around the possibility of 'Water' winning an Oscar for the best foreign language film; never mind that it is not actually an Indian film, but a Canadian movie. I have seen Water and I have to confess I wasn’t so impressed with it. Besides the really good music (courtesy Rehman who must have relished the freedom) and the good cinematography, I was not impressed with it a whole lot. Not the acting from Lisa and John, neither by the often melodramatic treatment or the not-so-subtle demonification of Indian society in the 1930s. I had enjoyed Deepa Mehta’s treatment of Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy man (or was it Cracking India) as she made Earth, heightened by Aamir’s negative turn. I was wondering if this movie really got selected because it’s "made" for the West. I mean, movies that depict the squalor (Salaam Bombay, City of Joy) and social angst (Bandit Queen, Water) of third world countries seem to find better acceptance abroad. Once in a while, a rare Lagaan comes through, and that is the kind of cinema I champion. I want better cinema to win, and it won’t be a big surprise to me if Water doesn’t, even though I have not seen any of the other contenders in the category. Water failed to impress me in a way a movie like Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi did. The treatment seemed more balanced to me, or maybe it’s an inherent bias coming across. Am I alone in thinking that way? Your thoughts are welcome.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I Can't Think Of A Witty Title

Film Unfair Awards
The nominations for the filmfare awards have come out recently. There have been aberrations in the past where the Madan Mohans of the world have won nothing, Mughal-E-Azam lost to Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi, Amitabh didn't win any awards in a year where Deewar and Sholay released simultaneously, not to mention that the only award that Sholay won was for Best Editing. But by and large the awards have been fair until the last few years. This year's nominations leave me saddened. Sample this:
1. Omkara finds no place in the Best Movie department
2. Kareena is nominated for Best Heroine for Omkara though her role was miniscule
3. John Abraham gets nominated for Babul, but not Shreyas Talpade for Dor
4. Omkara finds no nomimation for best music
5. Sunidhi Chauhan gets nominated for Aa Aa Aashiqui Mein from 36 China Town
6. Rekha gets nominated for Krrishh
7. Dhoom 2 is nominated for best music, but Umrao Jaan is not (the latter definitely had better music than the former)
8. Aishwarya gets nominated for Dhoom 2
And the controversial ...
9. Aamir Khan gets nominated for Best Actor for RDB. Shouldn't that be for a supporting role?

I think with the Hindi film industry breaking away from the stereotypes in many ways, there is a distinct need for Filmfare to honour that rather than being populist. What has frustrated me in the past is the inherent acknowledgement of the populism by giving critics awards to those who can't win the popular awards. Other than Filmfare, there are at least 5-6 other major awards that are completely meaningless since the same people end up winning there too anyway, so Filmfare still remains the one I will memorize for trivia purposes :-) I just hope that among the nominations, at least the more deserving win.

Blogger Hacks
Does anyone who uses blogger know of a hack to find out how to get all the queries leading to that blog? I am looking for something similar to this. I have looked around without much luck. I wouldn't be surprised if that is something blogger can't do, but if anyone does know a way, I'd be happy to hear

In the movie Salaam-E-Ishq which I recently saw, one of the stories revolved around Vidya Balan losing her memory in an accident. She stumbles and fumbles through the other three hours trying to remember a single thing, but can't succeed. Akshaye Khanna comes to her rescue by ramming a car straight into her, thus causing her to suffer another accident. At this point, my hopes went up. I was sure she'd get her memory back. But she doesn't :-( It is critical to understand that this is a significant contribution to medical science from Bollywood. Hit me once, I lose my memory. Hit me the same way again, it will come back. The new breed of directors seem to be taking away hope from the hapless millions who can't remember what movie they went in for three hours into it. On a similar note, here's another brilliant life-saving tactic. Tumors in the brain can be cured if a bullet passes through it. Of course, don't you expect that it will take the tumor out with it?

Currently ...
My name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. Brilliant narrative.

Listening to
Rozana sung by Amitabh in the movie Nishabd. I have never heard the man sounding better. Listen to the song, you'll get hooked to it. While at it, the songs of Just Married are also good, especially the lyrics by Gulzar.

At the return back to form of God. I mean Sachin Tendulkar.

What's going on in the ghazal world? Any new albums anyone wants to point me to?