Friday, November 24, 2006

Remembering the Titans! 

I just saw Dhoom 2 and Hrithik and Ash play the "gorgilicous" team of baddies in it. As the suave baddie Mr. A, Roshan Jr. does all things a hero is supposed to do - sing, dance, lip lock and get a happy ending. He also gets ample scope to reveal his toned and tanned body. In one scene of the movie, where the Jr. B and Jr. R get involved in the quintessential good vs evil fist fight, the girl accompanying me to the movie screamed out "Kill him Hrithik!" That blurred the line for hero vs villain for me totally. Agreed, that The King Khan himself had played the baddie in a spate of mid 90s hits. But remember what happened to those characters? They stammered, they got beaten up and they eventually died. A very different scenario from the new Dhoom and Don movies I'd say where the bad guy walks off with the loot and lot. That's when I figured that Abhishek, with his leather jacket and rugged countenance, could never kill the baddie. Coz the baddy had died years ago. Yes, ladies and gentleman, whether you accept it or not, the Hindi movie bad guy has died a silent death and it's time I pay my homage.

I've been adding a dose of Hindi movies to my diet since the age of eight. I grew up watching the likes of Amjad Khan, Amrish Puri, Shakti Kapoor and Sadashiv Amrapurkar. Things were so different then. Like Ranjeet. If he was there he would try to molest a girl and if he would try to molest a girl he would get the crap beaten out of him by the hero. Ranjeet was in some ways the predecessor of Dhoom's Mr. A. I guess he somehow convinced his producers to give him a chance to flaunt his muscular body. Ranjeet always had a few buttons of his shirt open and when he tried to molest the gori in a gory moment, he would open a few more buttons. Too bad he didn't ge a chance to sing and dance ala Mr. A. I miss you Ranjeet uncle.

Then there was Shetty. Aah, what a character he was. My father, who's a phenomenal resource on B tier characters of A tier movies, gave me so much information on the subject. If Dharmendra was in the movie, Shetty had to be there too. And if Shetty was in the movie, then he had to be killed by getting hit with an iron object (varying from rods, to chains, to drums ...) on the head. Years before the Silpas and Sunils brought the Shetty name movie fame, this bald and dutiful villain had done his part quietly (literally, coz he hardly ever spoke any words) in many a hit. We will always miss him.

The villains in eighties and even the early nineties had another trait. They had an evil family and friend circle as well. These days the few villains we have are too much in love with hogging abundant screen time (of the little time they get, that is). The old school villains were all family men. In my early visits to the cinemas, nothing thrilled me as much as an evil Kader Khan tormenting a village that had Jitendra as an "officer" (I loved how he never had a designation other than being officer sahaab) having equally evil conversations with his evil but dumb scion Shakti Kapur and the dedicated munimji Asrani. There was always a moment when Shakti Kapur tried to mimic the same moves on the heroine that Jitendra tried (oh, some moves they were) and would get beaten up black and two shades of blue in the process. That would lead to Kader Khan sending his "men with sticks" to pick up the girl, her blind father, polio struck brother and a motley of other characters from the village of Stereotypepur. Innovative torture techniques like hanging the brother upside down and the getting the heroine to dance under a home made waterfall were then employed. And then there was the icing moment, just before the officer sahab's entry, where Kader Khan would try to force the heroine to marry Shakti Kapoor. Oh where have those movies gone Dinu Chacha?

Sadashiv Amprapurkar was a "family villain" too (unless we are talking of Sadak). However bad Mr. Amprapurkar was he always allowed his college going son to do whatever he wanted (it was sad that all the son wanted to do was to tease girls sitting on his motorbike). There are countless movies where the son is the one that brings the hero and villain against each other. That's what would then bring the "home minister" into the equation too. Oh, where have those movies gone?

And if there is one thing that I miss most abt the villains of yesteryears - it's their names. When did we start naming our bad guys Raj, Rahul and Aryan (aka Mr. A). What happened to Gabbar, Mogambo, Dang, Dong, Raka, Zabisco, Zulmi Singh and the likes? What happened to their trademark gestures. Be it Gabbar's tobacco chewing laughter, or Mogambo getting khush, or Gulshan Grover adding a "bad man" at the end of every sentence. Why did we kill these characters? Is it just me or does anybody else feel sad when they see Gulshan Grover playing the honest brother in a movie now? Come on! That guy used to be every brothers nightmare. What have we done to him??

So this is my appeal to all you kind readers. Bring back the baddies. Bring them back with captions like "badder and better than ever before". Coz we all know, that as cool and suave Roshan junior might be - he can never pull of a "Arre o samba, kitney admi thhe?".

P.S. I'm almost tempted to make the next post a list of 20 ultimate Hindi movie villain cliches. Lesse.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Take a step back!! 

Update 1: Backups are a unisex concept, i.e. all the things that I mentioned about male backups hold true for a female backup as well. It is just painful to write man/woman, or boy/girl-friend across a post. To all the people who thought that I was saying that only men are backups - duh!

Update 2: There are some really hostile comments in the comment space. I find them very funny. Please take some time to read them. Someone has addressed me as man-child - that is so cool :D :D

So we all know the boy friend. He's the sweet guy who gets you popcorn in the middle of the movie and also gets to put his arm around you for the rest of the movie. He's also the guy with the highest probability of getting electrocuted if he forgets your birthday. We all know him. We also know the guy who stands no chance whatsoever. The guy who was whisked away with the line "Sorry, I don't think of you that way." The guy who called you three times and you didn't even care to return one of those calls or even make an excuse to why you ushered such behavior on him. We all know him too. But then there's a third category. A somewhat hush hush and lesser discussed one - that of the backup (oft referred to as a stand by in India).

Society doesn't like to talk much abt backups. The same father who once shrieked with the line "Women in our house don't go out with guys" and has now finally acquiesced into letting the apple of his eye get bitten and chewed by her biker lover, still maintains that "Women of this house don't have backups". Coz let's face it - backups are like comfortable night suits - it's great to have one (or maybe even more than one) but it's not something you want to flaunt in public.

So why even have a backup, you ask? Coz backups have many uses. They can be asked for sudden favors. Remember the day when your boyfriend had a meeting and you didn't have someone to pick you up from college? The backup gallantly escorted you back home in the cab and did not let you continue with the fake act of "I'll pay for my half of the fare" - remember that? Or remember the time when you needed someone to go and pick up the dress you had given for dry cleaning and the backup jumped in to say "Oh, the Dry Cleaners are on my way to work"? Or the time the backup actually spent more on your birthday gift than your actual man luvvah did? So face it, backups provide tremendous utilitarian value. They also come with excellent shoulders that they offer whenever it's asked for. "Raj has gone out with his friends again. These days he behaves very differently ..." that's all the backup needs to hear. You don't even need to dangle a carrot for him. Just tell him that you have a carrot and that you might use it some day and he'll come running around. Not only will he offer you sympathy abt Raj and his meandering ways, he'll support and instigate you and make you realize that there are plenty of other fish in the ocean and all you have to do is leave the shark you are with right now. Oh, how sweet. And let's not forget the greatest value add a backup provides. That of being the rebound guy. We all know how bad the first few days of break ups can be. When both parties use third parties to find out if the the first parties have moved on and are partying. Use the backup wisely then and stick it up to your man ladies. The backup is just like adopting a five year old child. You get an instant child and it comes potty trained too. Wohoooo!

But it is not all easy to maintain a backup. It's quite the tough job I'd say. Coz, face it, no man wants to be a backup by choice. It's like being the ball boy in Wimbledon. You are right in the middle of the action but then you don't get any action yourself. So one has to provide the backup with ample incentives. You can't afford to not return calls to your backup like you would do for a "cast away". You can do that for a few calls but you have to take control of your act before the backup backs out. SO for every five phone calls he makes, you have to return at least three. You can however, then use excuses like "I'm really sleepy" or "My father is getting angry" to curtail the conversations. That's fine.

The backup also has to be given hope every now and then of a possible promotion. He should always believe that he is thiiiiis close to landing the plum job. You have to make him feel that he's doing an internship - that a good display of workmanship will eventually elevate him to a permanent status soon. For this you have to do one of two things - (i) go out just with him on what almost feels like a date every now and then and/or (ii) sprinkle occasional sordid stories of how you are not completely happy with your current man. Never (and by never I mean N.E.V.E.R) heap praises for your boyfriend in front of the backup. Bottom line, even though the back up is a tasty dish, you have to remember that there's no free lunch!!

Finally, a word of caution for all the ladies - One backup is great. Two is tolerable too. But be cautious when you over indulge in backups. A close friend was once part of a quartet of backups. And then one day all four met. They soon figured out that they were all competing for the same position (that kinda sounds kinky). Verbal battles were fought and before anyone knew it - ALL FOUR resigned from their job. The girl in question now has to actually pay for the cab rides herself on week days when the boy friend is out for work. So remember, that too many cooks spoil the dish ... especially when the dish is hot!


Monday, November 13, 2006

A cup of HonesTea 

Thanks to all the kind folks who expressed concern over my absence. I was and still am ... errrr ... hmmm ... well, how do I say this ... suffering from that thing they call A Writer's Block. It had to happen. The signs were there. I've seen several bloggers go through this myself. First, the post frequencies go down. Then you observe some uncharacteristic posts. Funny people turn philosophical. Sarcastic bloggers go mellow. Chic bloggers discuss societal evils. The last straw is when, an otherwise original blogger, responds to a tag. That's it. You clearly know then that the hiatus is coming and a lot of times you just keep revisiting the blog to reaffirm your fears.

So I woke up and looked at the date of the last post. October 26th it said. It was the first week of November then. "Aaaaah! Just ten days," I said to myself. I often spend two weeks between posts. "No problem at all. I'll surely think of something tomorrow." The next day I sat down to write again. I wanted to write on a variety of topics - "Changing fashion for women in India, When to know a relationship is over, the Metrosexual Man ... etc. etc." but I of all people knew that each one of those posts would've been really lame. It would've been just like a Suraj Barjatya movie where I would've just taken one of my old posts and presented it again, only this time with worse songs and an actor who at best can be described as a good backup of my regular star. "In the age of Multiplexes where the cost of a ticket is comparable to a month's school fee, my audiences clearly don't deserve this crap," I honestly said to myself. I still had two days before it was officially a fortnight. So I didn't force crap down my kind readers.

The next day I wanted to take the escapist route. That of headLINES. Lame lines feature aplenty in my day to day conversations (much to the chagrin of people close to me). All I had to do was take a few of them and "stick it up to you". Lines like:

* Studies reveal that too much time on the cell phone can reduce one's sperm count. So I called up all my friends and warned them about it.

* I can't believe that people like Angelina Jolie and Madonna are actually outsourcing adoption.

* A college in India has reserved more than 60% seats for the SC/ST quota. Am I the only one who sees irony in the fact that the college will have a majority of minorities?

came to my head. But by then twelve days had passed. Kind readers who had waited so long did not deserve this. So I decided to wait. Wait till I had nothing less than a classic in hand to unleash to the World. "I would rather have the canvas blank than splash it colors that would scar it. This canvas deserves nothing but the most inane modern art and I shall wait till I deliver it," I convinced myself.

But let's be honest here. As a writer I'm at best mediocre. I'm like Raja Hindustani where I might be a hit suddenly but even I know that I'm kinda crappy. Moreover that thing called age is catching up too (OK, being self critical is one thing Sagnik, but falsely calling yourself old coz you have nothing to write is not a very good thing!!). Most people who started blogging at a time when I did, now have children who are blogging. I have been to Bloggers meets where I could easily pass of as a strict father who was sitting there to escort his young blogging daughter. Let's face it - I have reached a point where I can finally make statements like "What do you people know. I used to blog with your father. We worked hard so that you guys can reap the benefits of a ..." So it is kinda sad.

Bottom line, I still have nothing to write but I surprise myself by writing four paragraphs on that. And that is exactly why I will not shut down this blog. I will not post an obscure post telling you "Enuff no more. Tis not so sweet now as it was before ..." That would mean shutting down the possibility of pouring never-ending amounts of crap on you kind readers and I don't want to give up on that chance. But at the same time I'll be honest. Don't come back here everyday expecting anything good. Treat me, at best, like a Ramgopal Verma movie - there'll be a ton of bad ones. So many, that you'll stop reading me. But occasionally I'll surprise you with a sudden blockbuster. If not for anything else, just to ensure that I can repeat the whole cycle again.

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