Random thoughts, ideas and articles.

Born Free

Let it free My Love,
For it was meant to be free.
The dark night beckons,
With it mysteries and secrets.

It was born free,
So let it free.
For all beings are born free,
Just like you and me.

We are but mere mortals,
Insignificant in the face of freedom.
Who are we to curtail ,
What the Lord did entail all beings.

So let it free, My Love,
Free as the breeze.
To wander from tree to tree,
Set it free, for it was born free.

 

This is my counter review of the Kathy Gibson’s review of the film Raanjhana in her blog. I somehow felt that she might not have understood the essence of the film. Hence, this post is my point of view countering her views on the film.

Hi Kathy,
There are some movies that you watch with the mind and there are some movies that you watch with the heart. Raanjhana is a movie that belongs to the latter.

Not to mean any disrespect, but usually film critics tend to over complicate plots by over analyzing minor plot points and skipping over the major ones. So much so, that they tend to loose the connect that the film tends to make with audiences.

Raanjhana is a movie that resonates with the soul of India. It is set in the heartland of India, with a story that may be the story of many Indians. Calling Kundan a stalker, is akin to calling a soldier a terrorist.(ie. A soldier may be a warrior and hero to his people, but to people the opposing side he is a bringer of doom and terror). It is a view, in keeping with the sub-title of your blog. “The review from an American movie goers perspective”

What may seem like stalking, is the story of many happily married couples in India. Usually most love stories in India start off like this. Somehow, you have managed to equate the innocence of wooing of a girl with the fanatical antics of a stalker. Raanjhana is a movie to be watched with the heart and not the mind.

Kathy, I somehow feel that you have failed to feel the pulse of the movie. Here’s why i feel that you have missed the pulse. (May be the sub-titler of the movie was stalked by a stalker, on the day he was writing sub titles:P)

1) “Kundan doesn’t take the hint and instead acts like a manipulative drama queen.He slits his wrists, then stages a sham marriage to his childhood friend, Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar) to try to make Zoya jealous”.

The fact that he slits his wrists is true. This is out of the sheer desperation and dejection that he feels when, someone he managed to remain true to for 8 years despite the advances of Bindiya. If you recollect, there is a scene in the movie just before Zoya returns, where Bindiya tries to seduce him but Kundan rejects her advances. Sometimes, when something you thought and believed to be true, turns to out to be anything but it, it hurts and hurts bad and the same happened to Kundan.

The other thing that I like to point out is that Kundan does not stage a sham marriage to Bindiya. (I have a feeling that you have been watching too many Bollywood films that you have started generalizing the plots from one film to another, Heyyy I’ve been there and done that too. But this film is different.).

What Kundan tells Zoya is that he will take care of making sure that Zoya and Akram will get hitched, this despite the fact that this is the girl that he waited for 8 years to get married to. He then goes and speaks to Zoya’s father and tells her that it was him that was in love with his daughter 8 years back. (Note: Upto this point Zoya’s father did not know that it was Kundan, who was in love with his daughter. I have a feeling that you did not get this, reading your review.). He then convinces Zoya’s father to let Zoya marry Akram. He then in a moment of madness, decides to get married to the girl who loves him more than anything in the world. Why I say that you got it wrong by calling the marriage a sham to get Zoya jealous, is because when Zoya’s father in the hospital asks him that it was his marriage on the same day as his daughter, he truly feels that he has wronged Bindiya and rushes home. This is why I feel that the marriage is not a sham.

2) Kundan robs Zoya of her home, family, love, and future, all because she doesn’t love him in return.

You forget that Kundan had his trust robbed, when Akram turns out to be a Hindu, Abhay. To wait for your love and then be spurned is one thing and then to have your trust broken by the same girl for who you worked so hard to setup her married can sometimes be painful. (Sometimes I feel that you are a bit too partial towards Zoya in your review).

3) What makes Raanjhanaa more interesting than another recent stalker-as-hero movie, Ekk Deewana Tha, is that the movie acknowledges that Kundan is in the wrong. He recognizes his mistakes, and justice is served in the end.

I’m not sure that you got what the last part of the movie was trying to say. This is what it says:

I had my heart where the fire still burned,
I would have gotten up but for whom,
I would have screamed but for whom,
My Love Zoya, the gullys of Benares, Bindiya, Murari were all slipping from my grip.
A command from my heart could either would revive me or kill me.
But, now why should I get up,
Who will again put the effort to fall in Love,
And then have the heart broken again.
Somebody make a sound and stop be before I slip,
This girl who with saddened eyes is sitting beside me,
If she even today says something,
I promise to God I will come back.
But no, I do not have a mood now.
Only in closing my eyes is there peace,
Only in sleeping eternally is there good.
But wake i will one day,
On the lakes of the Ganges, to play the drum(Dumruu),
To run in the gullies,
Only to fall in love with another Zoya all over again.

So I am not sure what you meant by he realizes his mistake and serving Justice in the end.

4) Yet the fact that the story is told from Kundan’s perspective is problematic. Most of the movie’s second half is about Kundan trying to redeem himself in Zoya’s eyes, though his actions are heinous enough that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

I am not sure what is the crime that you are talking about. The fact that Kundan loved Zoya dearly, why should that be a crime. I think it was as much Zoya’s fault that Abhay dies, because she hid the fact that Abhay was a Hindu from Kundan, when she could have told him the truth when she told Kundan that she loved someone else. So Kundan deserving forgiveness, well why should he deserve forgiveness, when Zoya manages to kill two of her lovers in the film. Shouldn’t it be her who deserves forgiveness. (Like, I said before you are too partial towards Zoya in your review).

5) The fact that he believes his actions are motivated by love is itself a kind of self-administered absolution, a shield for behavior that would otherwise be deemed evil. Perhaps the story might have been more satisfying had Kundan realized during his atonement that what he feels for Zoya is obsession, not love.

Kundan’s actions are not motivated by love, but more by dismay and guilt that he indirectly was responsible for the death of another human being. More so of the girl he loved. You fail to understand that Kundan reached a point in his life where does not know how to atone for his sin. That is why he helps out in the community kitchen and the does work aimlessly in the tea stall providing tea for the members of the party that Abahy founded. Before, finally joining the work of the party. Because, he feels that only by achieving the ideals that Abhay stood for would he truly absolve himself of the sins that he committed.

I totally agree with your views that it was a welcome change to see that the leading men were portrayed by men you don’t look like professional bodybuilders. :)

Kathy, this movie is which talks about the timelessness of love. It is a tale of characters which are complex and made up of many layers that are unraveled layer by layer at different times in the movie. Be it the unflinching friendship of Murari, the at times jealous but always innocent love of Bindiya towards Kundan, the friendship of Bindiya, Kundan and Murari or the pure unconditional love that Kundan has for Zoya. This film also talks about the equality of gender as demonstrated by the way Kundan treats Bindiya, equality of religion as demonstrated by the love of Zoya and Abhay or Kundan and Zoya.

All in all, a film that has so much of depth that sometimes it is hard to take it all in a single viewing. The characters are believable and very endearing.

It is a film that stays with you long after the credits roll. A Bollywood film that finally depicts true love, unlike the over the top romances of Karan Johar. A film that touches your very soul.

Dhanush does a wonderful job and is the perfect fit for the role of Kundan. Sonam Kapoor impresses in parts. Swara Bhaskar remember this name, gives a stellar performance as Bindiya and so too does Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Murari.

All in all, a film that is a breath of fresh air amongst remakes, no brainer comedys, cheezy dialogues, clichés. Raanjhanaa, a film that captures love in its most purest form, and more importantly the spirit of India, that is missing in most Bollywood films these days.

Image

Breaking Dawn

I travel with the gentle breeze,
I am the mover of the leaves.
Wandering amongst the glades,
As was ordained till the end of days.

I have travelled many a mile,
Just to make so many smile.
I am the flicker of hope,
As darkness begins to grope.

I am the guiding light,
To those who were lost at night.
I am hope burning bright,
To those who have lost the fight.

Countless wars I have fought,
Countless wars i have won.
Tis a daily fight I fight,
Against the darkness of the night.

I am the harbinger of today,
The vanquisher of yesterday.
I am a daily prophecy,
A humble servant of time.

I am the rekindler of spirits,
I am the igniter of dreams,
I am hope reborn,
I am the “Breaking Dawn”.

Life’s True Chant

There all alone he stood,
On cold hard wood.
Looking at a noose held high,
For, he was about to die.

He had a beautiful wife,
Whom, he loved more than life.
With her he had a child,
Who, was anything but wild.

His ears began to ring,
When he heard the crickets sing.
To them he was, but an insignificant thing,
But, in truth he was ‘The King’.

That, he had failed in his quest,
Tore into him like swords in his chest.
So t’was in the forest,
He had planned his eternal rest.

He then cursed that fateful day,
On that wretched month of May.
When joined the war,
That would now take his life, in this land afar.

All alone, on the branch he stood,
Throughout his travels he had done only good.
With a noose on his head,
Readying the jump that would knock him dead.

He was all but ready to jump,
When saw wee little ants on the stump.
Their little heads, with pride held high,
Working the lines even though the night was nigh.

Looking at the ants marching along,
The King noticed something wrong.
For all the ants were marching loose,
All of them, to bite into his death noose.

He stopped the little ants to ask,
“Why take up this arduous task?”
To which he heard the little ants cry,
“I move my arms, so that you my brother don’t die”

“We work together on this deathly night,
So that you my King will stand up and fight.
I bite into this rope so tight,
So that you my Brother don’t die tonight.”

So taken aback was ‘The King’,
He had to ask the ants but one thing.
“Pray tell me ‘O Brothers’,
How is it to thee I am a ‘Brother’?”

“When God created the sun and the sky,
And, created the mountains so high.
T’was when he breathed life into you and me,
That you became a Brother to me”

From the King’s eyes rolled down the tears,
With which also rolled out all his fears.
For today the wee little ants,
Had taught him, life’s most beautiful chants.

“Life is not yours to take,
Life is yours to make.
Life is not yours to take,
Life is yours to make.”

A few days back, i was walking down the road, lost in my own thoughts, walking by a roadside shop which sold Chinese electronics including torches, lighters, MP3 players, brushes . As i walked by, a group of little street urchins walked by from the other side, who were oogling at what the store had to offer. i was looked at the scene with an all-knowing smile, which was so reminiscent of my younger days. The days were i used to drool over our favourite toys, through the glass windows of toy shops looking eagerly at the store attractions. But  somewhere at the back of my mind, it did occur to me that why would children be attracted to a shop that sold cheap electronics.

Suddenly, i was jolted back to reality because of a word one of the kids had uttered. i could not believe what I had heard. One of the little kids just looked at an mp3 player and was asking his friend whether he wanted to buy an ‘iPod’.

i could never at so young age recall something so trivial like a matchbox, let alone an iPod. i put it down to, the little complex surprises this journey called life has to offer. it was then that the simplicity, of the complexity of it all hit me on the face.

                    “The genius of a man called Steve Jobs”.

 

It is very rarely in the history of mankind happened, that the name of a product eclipses the category to which the product belongs. The symbolism of calling every mp3 player, bears testament to this very fact.

Jobs wanted to create a ding in the world before the left, and boy, did he create one. The fact that a poor little kid on the road, in one of the developing countries in the world was able to look at a piece of cheap equipment and equate it to the iPod, speaks volumes of the creative genius of Jobs.

To me he was always the man who refined, defined and redefined what creativity and free thinking really means. He was the ultimate perfectionist and the world last true showman. Steve was an entertainer, the likes of whom the world shall never see again. A once in a millennium gem, who i have fortunately have had the privilege to listen to. To millions he was an icon and an inspiration.

Steve appealed to the little qualities in all of us. To some embodied the fighter who never gives up till the last round, to others, he spoke with eloquence of a master orator who could sway audience with his speech alone, to many more, he was the last free-thinker gifted with the clarity of thought  and to some the was a visionary beyond compare.

To me, he was my icon. A role model for, the endless pursuit of excellence. A human like any of us, but gifted with the clarity of thought and purpose. He was the man who truly understood the complexity of simplicity. A steadfast believer in the intuitiveness and innovation. The evangelist of creativity and conformity. He was the man who humbled the mighty ‘I’ and uplifted the lowly ‘i’. He truly was one of a kind. He was the one on whom God did ponder at least once, whether he had achieved perfection.

Steve you were iConic, iNnovative, iNtuitive, iNspirational, iMpeccable, iNvincible, iTerative, iMaginative, iDeative.

Thank you for the bringing in me the “Hunger” of creativity and innovation and making me understand the “Foolishness” of complexity and conformity. i will forever Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish.

RiP

Courtesy: Apple

(PS: All I’s have been intentionally left lowercase in tribute)

The La Tomatina festival seems to be making all the headlines. The tomatoes, the people and the wastage of precious food. One of the comments I saw in reply to a wonderful status message

(Dear Kolkatans…Please boycott the ‘La Tomatina’ festival to be held in Aquatica on the 16th of October. Spain can afford it…India can’t. Its a Royal waste of food !!.. Which could actually be used to feed those 5.6 million children who die of malnutrition every year. Like ..if u agree and help cancel this depiction of fake westernisation.. Go on.. Put it up as your status)

are as follows.

 Party1: “The royal waste of food happens in government godowns only.as per law nd rule, they cant distribute the excess food grains to others,therefore they let it be wasted nd those who are planning to play tomatina festival ,I blv they are paying for those tomatoes therefore the sellers are getting money for that”

This ignorance to the prevailing conditions in our country as well as disrespect to farmers, stirred me to write something in the defense. The conversations of the various participants will be updated as the conversation moves along. Lets see how far it goes.

Below is my reply.

 Me: India is a country where people respect food. If the government is incompetent, that does not mean that we should behave like then too. 

India is a country where kids at a very young age are taught to respect food and value its importance. Instead like you said the people have paid for the tomatoes, so they could donate it to an ashram where the value for the food increases tenfold rather that simply wasting it away.

There are some things that money can’t buy and the blessing of people who are content with a single meal that others have donated is one of them. 

India comparatively may be economically backward, but morally we are way ahead of the so called developed countries. Practices such as the ‘La Tomatina’ would erode the moral abundance of our wonderful country. 

Please boycott the ‘La Tomatina’ and rather use donate the money to a noble cause.

Yours Truly,
An Indian

The discussion continued with the reply of the person who started the discussion.

Party1: @Sujith,I appreciate the donation concept.I blv you avoid Multiplex visit or restaurant visit and u neither buy expensive watches,dresses or mobiles.neither you waste food at home or at any restaurant you visit and avoid all type of luxury you can afford and save those money and donate those.I really appreciate your efforts.Thanks.A normal Human being :)

The discussion was joined but a second party as well. His comments follow

Party 2: Sujith Prathap : You wrote an awesome post dude…There are only few Indians like you, who truly understand the moral and ethnic value of India. I appreciate it. But the little gotcha is, if you have copied this letter to any Govt official instead of raising your voice in FB, would have definitely triggered some action . But anyways keep it up.

SO the moral is : “Boycott all luxury. go for donation”.. :)

My reply to the two of them is given below. Where I introduce my idea of the Economics of Food”.

@<Party 1>: I’ve never wasted food and never been taught to do so. I’ve been taught to do so from a very young age. The wastage of food is a criminal. You are contradicting yourself with paradoxes and deviating from the topic at hand. Let me humour a little more by explaining the concept I call the ‘Ecnomics of Food’.

I still believe that you did not understand the economics of food. Let me put forth a simple concept and hope that you would understand.

You rightly say that the people payed for the tomatoes. But there is also a ripple effect that is created which is the cause of my distress.

Let’s say that every participant to the ‘La Tomatina’ is entitled to 10 kgs of tomatoes at a minimum and suppose there are 100 participants to the la tomatina festival. That makes it 10 X 100 = 1000 kgs.

Lets look at it from another angle. The amount of tomatoes available in the market is 1250 kgs a month, which is available to the public sample of about 300. Since the ‘La Tomatina’ festival would require 1000 Kgs. The amount remaining which is available for public consumption is 1250 – 1000 = 250 Kgs for a month.

If the no of people vying for the tomatoes is 300 (which incidentally the case in India), then each person would get 250/300 = 0.833 which might roughly translate to 4 tomatoes a person for a month. That would hardly be enough for a family of 4 to have a single decent meal.

Since there are so many people vying for so few tomatoes. The seller is definitely going to raise the prices of the tomatoes. So tomatoes that cost 16 Rs a Kg would sell for double or even Triple the price, say 48 Rs a Kg. Such a price rise would be acceptable to people like you and me, but for ordinary Indians it would be a kick in the stomach.

I am sure that even a ‘normal human being’ would be able to understand such a simple concept.

@<Party 2>: So the motto is “Think twice before you invest in luxury, you may not know who you may be hurting in the process and donation is not such a bad thing to do. Try it and you’ll be happy.

This has been sent to a govt official. Why do you think the ‘La Tomatina’ festival got cancelled in Bangalore.

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/3388-bangalore-citizens-against-la-tomatina-take-action

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/191340/la-tomatina-gets-rotten-tomatoes.html

Your Truly,
 A ‘Normal’ Indian ‘Human Being’

Please do feel free to share this link, if people try to spread glorified visions of a so-called festival.

A Tale of Darkness

On a dark and desolate piece of land he sits,
Staring into the dark.
Waiting and hoping.
For dawn to break.

His pulse quickens,
His heart skips a beat.
When he hears the church bell strike,
Twelve times through the night.

He mumbles a quick prayer to the Lord,
And curses the ungodly hour.
When the Angels are all asleep,
And Demons come out to play.

The wind that blows,
Makes eerie sounds.
Echoing with the voices,
Of those gone by.

From the dark and dreary night,
There comes and ungodly howl.
To him it seems,
There are werewolves on the prowl.

Overcome by fear he looks up towards the heavens ,
For divine retribution.
Only to see the pure white moon,
Engulfed by the dark clouds of despair.

To him it seems,
That heaven’s been overrun.
By hells minions,
Coming out to play for the night.

He is surrounded by darkness,
He begins to despair.
His vision now shrouded by fear,
He sees the shadows waking from their sleep.

He sees them dance,
He hears them speak.
Moving like ghosts,
The specters of the dark night.

He feels them come over him,
He opens his mouth.
But, all that is heard,
Is a silent scream…..

He tries to struggle,
He cannot move.
They are all over him,
He can do nothing.

He’s all alone,
Alone in the dark.
Waiting for morn to come,
Waiting, Waiting, Waiting…..

When the morn did finally come,
They saw he was found.
With his face a deathly blue,
Bout his death not a soul knew.

They still say on dark on desolate nights,
He still sits on the desolate piece of land.
All alone, still waiting for dawn to break,
Waiting, waiting, waiting….

The Dark Night.

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