Sunday, October 23, 2011


I am struggling to find a beginning. I am fighting to never let it end. And I am trying to let it happen. I know I am stupid. And I know I don’t know how to say it. But somebody does live inside me who wants to say this to somebody someday. He is growing inside. He is restless. He is pushing me hard. But I have lost it somewhere. May be on the road I started walking the previous night. I consider recollecting it and putting back the bits and pieces. Can I do it? I ask myself. And I know I can’t. I could have held it close to my heart. But it was something strange. Something naturally supernatural. I was losing myself. And I have lost a part of it inside me. He is still there disconnected, estranged, lost in his own world, moving in circles, drifting away every time I try and touch it. It hurts. He says and goes further away. He feeds me. And he does speak sometimes. Even shouts when things become difficult. But he had become silent for the past few days. I thought he died. I was happy. But I heard him again whispering inside today morning. Making moves and starting all over. I pretended ignoring him. I tried closing my eyes and dreaming something. But he was there, looking at me strangely. He has never been like this. At least this strange. But yes it was, this time. He questioned me. He expected me to answer. I replied. Something I have done many a times, but have always failed. I tried twisting the words, giving it a new look. I thought I won. But he threw it back. I failed again. I sit back and hold myself. I try contemplating. Where did I get it wrong? I could have let it happen. Was it really so difficult? Isn’t it something which should happen to everybody at least once in a lifetime? I thought it never happened to me. It never occurred. But is it really possible? Is it that it really never happened to me or is it that I failed to accept it? I push myself and smoke the last cigarette left in the packet, lighting it with matchsticks stolen from the neighbour’s room. I see myself enmeshed in the smoke rings. I try holding it inside. But can I really do? It burns. He says and goes further further away. I think it’s time. I must run and never let him go. And I must say it now. After all it’s not a bad word at all. It’s something very beautiful. It has always been. 

I know I don’t know how to say it. I must wrap it before giving it you. But I told you I have lost it somewhere or maybe I never really had it from the beginning. It’s the charm to hold you and kiss you before letting it go. I told you I am stupid. But I know you are beautiful. May be you would understand me someday. You can name it anything. And you can even return it back. But you must know this before I go.

I love you. And I have really missed you…always.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Fuck all the science for a moment and try replace person place and time with body mind and soul. Understanding increases and it increases tremendously. Also understanding the 'other' becomes a lot easier...!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


My new!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


It was born in 70s, mid 70s. The conception was taking place for a very long time but it was delivered late in the mad mad world of 70s. I am talking about what was named the ‘Parallel’ or ‘Art’ cinema. The parallel or the unconventional cinema was a felt need in a world which was becoming largely commercialized and superfluous. It was a promise to portray the reality as it really is without any embellishments of astutely rehearsed and decorated drama. It was a promise to provide new dimension and meaning to Indian cinema. It was smartly called ‘parallel’ so that it could run its own course without interfering with the mainstream. It was unconventional too because of the avant-garde methodology it adopted in saying what it wanted to say. It marked the birth of neo-realism in Indian cinema. It was a dream which was painted by stalwarts like Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, V Shantaram and many others who had to even see it getting tainted in the age of commercialization and style. It would not be unfair if a large part of the credit goes to a man named ‘Shyam Benegal’, a cousin of Guru Dutt, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, originally a documentary filmmaker, who made his mark with his first full length feature film ‘Ankur’ starring Shabana Azmi, Sadhu Meher and Anant Nag in the year 1974. The movie was received with a critical acclaim and bagged Shabana Azmi her first national award. It was a sensitive portrayal of rich poor divide and the place of a second woman in our society. Thus was born a filmmaker who had the courage to be different and stubborn in an era of blockbusters and superstars. There were of course intellectual filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar and Basu Chaterjee who were running a parallel brigade but their cinema still had certain limitations of sticking to the popular and politically correct themes unlike Shyam Benegal who adopted an entirely different format of movie making and often narrated stories that were not only difficult to be told but also had never been told before. He introduced theatre in the arena of cinema. He always worked with his own team of gifted actors. Some of them were remarkable theatre artists of their time and some of them were products of National School of Drama. His actors were not conventionally good looking and attractive but had the vigor and brilliance of representing a common man on celluloid. They wore simple, unfashionable clothes, sometimes even torn, to highlight the poverty and demise of our social structures. His characters conversed in local dialects to connect to the reality and ecology of the subject. Most of his movies were impressive adaptations of important plays and novels. Shyam Benegal was unique in his approach of vividly conceptualizing the entire scenario, bringing it out on screen and reaching out to his target audience.

Justice is well denied and needs to be snatched from the people responsible. In 1975 he used this concept in ‘Nishant’, based on Vijay Tendulkar’s play and introduced Naseerudin Shah and Smita Patil with this movie. The movie was a modern adaptation of ‘Ramayana’ and showed the brutal feudal system of rural India oppressing the poor and miserable section of the village. It portrayed the helplessness of an honest and humble man who has to literally crawl and beg for justice in a dynasty ruled by ‘Ravanas’.
Liberation is highly desired and largely deprived. In 1977 he came out with a brilliantly carved story of a Marathi actress titled ‘Bhumika’ inspired by the book ‘Sangtye Alka’ by Hansa Wadkar and starred Smita Patil in the first major lead role of her career. The film was an excellent portrayal of the complexity of a female mind in a society which drags her in different directions bruising her sexuality and individuality. I must add that Bhumika is one of those rare movies of Indian cinema which has managed to break certain barriers while narrating a controversial and complicated story based on the sexuality and life of Indian woman.
Mahabharata is an everlasting war and a never ending struggle. Nobody could have come out with such an intelligent adaptation of the world’s largest epic ‘Mahabharata’ other than Shyam Benegal who made a multi starrer movie titled ‘Kalyug’ in 1981 with Rekha, Raj Babbar, Shashi Kapoor, Amrish Puri and Anant Nag in lead roles. Kalyug was followed by ‘Arohan’ and ‘Mandi’ in subsequent years.Brothels provide a breathing space to the sexually discontented members of a society which pompously considers marriage an everlasting spiritual and hallowed bonding between two individuals destined to be made for each other. ‘Mandi’ starring Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Neena Gupta, Soni Razdan, Ila Arun, Ratna Pathak, Naseerudin shah, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Amrish Puri, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and other geniuses of Indian cinema was a hard hitting satire on the fundamental social, political and cultural inadequacies of our society.
Our present and future are incomplete without the past and howsoever we may try to get away with it, we are ordained to revisit it someday in our lives. It was Benegal’s 1985 venture ‘Trikal’ (Past, Present, Future), again a multi starrer and a striking illustration of the tradition and chores of a soon-to-be-drifted-away Portuguese family settled in Goa.
Following years Benegal got busy with some of the famous television series of his career namely ‘Yatra’, ‘Katha Sagar’ and ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’. Dreams form a momentous and indispensable ingredient in the lives of middle class people and keep them moving ahead in their hopeless and barren existence as human beings. This was the concept of his next important work based on Dharamvir Bharti’s famous novel ‘Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda’ in 1993 starring Rajat Kapur, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Neena Gupta and Pallavi Joshi in lead roles. The highly experienced cast and talented production team managed to cook up a rich tapestry of semi-dream-like experiences of a young man, entering into adulthood with a creatively written rich and unusual screenplay. In 1994 he came up with a novel project about a loud, vivacious, opinionated and funny, partition stricken woman, ‘Mammo’ with Farida Jalal in lead role. The movie written by Khalid Mohamed was a brilliant take on the mindset of an adolescent boy growing amidst the financial inadequacies of his family and his complex bonding with his old mother and eccentric aunt. ‘Sardari Begum’ directed in 1996 was a story of a popular singer and courtesan killed by a stone thrown by an agitated person starring ‘Kiron Kher’ in title role. ‘The Making of Mahatma’, ‘Samar’, ‘Hari Bhari’ and ‘Zubeida’ were his other noteworthy projects in coming years. In 2005 he directed a biography of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose starring Sachin Khedekar in title role.
Benegal changed his filmmaking format in following years seeing commercial and parallel cinema merging into each other with the advent of new century. His last two movies ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’ and ‘Well Done Abba’ were hilarious social satires on the corrupt and inept social and political system of our democratic set up with new age actors like Shreyas Talpade, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Divya Dutta, Ravi Kishan, Boman Irani and Minisha Lamba in lead roles. His latest works have seen him completely transforming as a filmmaker who still manages to amuse and surprise the audiences while keeping the promise of authentic and unconventional cinema alive. Besides devoting himself into directing full length feature films he has also made some of the very important documentaries including ‘ A child on the streets’, ‘Sinhasta’, ‘Why Export?’, ‘The Pulsating Giant’, ‘Tala and Rhythm’, ‘The Shruti and Graces of Indian Music’, ‘The Raag Imam Kalyan’, ‘Suhani Sadak’, ‘The Quiet Revolution’, ‘Epilepsy’, ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’, ‘Satyajit Ray’, ‘Sangathan’, ‘Vardan’, ‘Animal Reproduction and Artificial Insemination in Bovines’ and numerous others stressing the core social issues and forgotten art forms of our country. Shyam benegal is really the master, master of the unconventional.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Recently I watched the cinema of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez after a long time. And I watched it seriously, very seriously this time. I have always been a great fan of Tarantino and Rodriguez and have seen kill bill, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Grindhouse, Sin City, Desperadeo many a times since I got into this rig. But never had I realized why have they always been like this and made such kind of movies. Their style of filmmaking is very unique and different. But it is also very crude and weird at the same time. These two filmmakers work on a genre of cinema which has never been exposed so religiously by any other filmmaker in the world ever. They are working on something which nobody is working on at the moment and that too on such a large scale. To put it simply, their cinema operates on ugly and crude reality of b-grade stuff which in refined language is called ‘pulp’ or ‘sleaze’. They have made billion dollar budgeted movies based on this ‘pulp’ with some of the very famous Hollywood actors and almost all of them have been a great success. But their success is not the point and matter of concern. What really amazes me is the fact that these two persons are so devoted and faithful to this genre that they have created some of the very great and brilliant cinema out of it. Tarantino once said, “I am not making movies for now, I am making them for forty years from now”. His statement seems to be making some sense for me today after so many years since he actually made it.

Pulp is the opium of masses. It has an importance of its own. Pulp is as important for the society as a whole as art is. And sooner we realize this fact, the better for us. No matter how sophisticated and articulated we try to become, more than 90 % of our everyday life is made up of this pulp. To connect to the pulp is like connecting to the reality. And despite being ugly and coarse, the reality is indeed beautiful. Very few Indian filmmakers have now realized the importance of sleaze in our society. It not only makes the cinema realistic but also gives a depth to it. It makes it universally acceptable and likeable without being pretentious. It kind of increases the holistic beauty and widens the scale of cinema. There is no specific reason to it but Indian filmmakers have always remained indifferent towards this facet of reality. They have always tried to wrap it with the sugarcoated layers without making an effort to expose it naked. It much explains the hypocrisy of Indian mind. One may find the cinema of Yash/Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar beautiful but nobody can say it is ‘real’. The reason is these filmmakers have always chosen to stay away from pulp because they are too afraid of it. This pulp is the reality we breathe in and this reality is the real horror. I regard Ram Gopal Verma as the first filmmaker who made a significant contribution to fill this void during 90s by infusing reality into celluloid with movies like Rangeela, Satya, Company, Bhoot and Sarkar. He used pulp to portray the dark and gruesome reality of the underworld mafia and the Indian society. He was then joined by various other filmmakers like Anurag kashyap, Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibaker Banerjee, Rajat Kapoor, Sudhir Mishra, Raj Kumar Hirani, Chandan Arora, Madhur Bhandarkar to name a few in the list. These filmmakers should be credited to have changed the pathetic show of Bollywood. They can be called the harbingers of neo-realism in Indian cinema. They have used the local pulp to blend realism and entertainment on celluloid. They all have a significant contribution for spicing up the box office collections and giving new life to Indian film industry.

Dibaker Banerjee is the Tarantino of Indian cinema. He has used pulp very extensively in all his movies to such an extent that our world appears pornographic at certain level. Dibaker uses pulp to expose the nasty land mafia and the disconcerting problem of land in the overpopulated north India in his directorial debut ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’. He also exposes the frightened face of middle class man who is scared of approaching police, law and politics to fix his own personal matter. Dibaker takes us further to the crowded, corrupt and obscure streets of Delhi cluttered with naked electrical wires and patched broken houses impoverished with unfulfilled dreams of starving middle class society in his wholesome entertainer ‘Oye, lucky lucky oye!’ He takes us inside to narrate a story of a funny Sikh family and portrays the rampant promiscuity, father son hostility, marital discord, domestic violence, greed, disgruntled adolescence of teenagers and the crippled social structure of our society. In this chaos, a discontented Sikh boy develops an inferiority complex which carries on throughout his life and makes a thief out of him. He also exposes the filth muddled inside the minds of urban middle class people who try hard enough to be sophisticated cultured English speakers but end up just being a laughing stock for others. In this movie, he shows how a young, polite, homely adolescent greeting card girl talks and behaves with her customers. He shows how a sleazy, flamboyant dancer from a backward community of Delhi who performs in extravagant, loud north Indian marriages and functions in front of a crowd of arrogant and snobbish so called rich lads, behaves and expresses herself in real world. Dibaker is the master of this genre. He understands the nuances of cinema. He uses pulp to represent the hollowness festering and breeding in our societies. He used it further in his experimental masterpiece ‘Love Sex aur Dhoka’. He narrated three different stories in the movie based on the themes of its main title named squalidly as ‘Church Gate ki Chudail’, Paap ki Dukaan’ and ‘Badnaam Shohrat’ respectively. He uses a documentary style to portray the unbridled pornography and worthlessness proliferating in our society in the form of false, bloated high society pride leading to honour killings, spurious relationships ending up in deceit and shame, tricky but the only road to success in the world of glamour and the well planned grubby media strategies to shock and scare the audiences. He explains metaphorically how the camera has become the god of this precarious and ill structured world. Vishal bhardwaj uses pulp to bring authenticity in his script and screenplay. ‘Beedi jalai le’ not only brought him his first big box office success with ‘Omkara’ but it also added enormously to the splendor of the movie. This very sleazy item number explains the ethnicity and culture of the region in which the tragedy of omkara takes place. And also the local slangs used confidently and boldly in the movie help it explain further. Similarly ‘Dhan te nan’ and ‘Raat ke dhaai baje’ added raunchiness to ‘Kaminey’ and made it a success. Furthermore, the exquisite detailing in exploring the subtleties and traditions of Gorakhpur made ‘Ishqiya’ a modern classic. Anurag Kashyap uses pulp to create a cult for his cinema. In his unique style of filmmaking, he uses sexuality to portray the complex mindset of modern Indian female in one of the most anticipated movies of my generation ‘Dev-d’. ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ has become synonymous with the modern times' brief relationships based on love and romance. He also uses pulp to represent the rugged and brutal royalty of Rajasthan in his political satire ‘Gulal’. Sudhir Mishra used it in his recent works ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ and ‘Tera Kya Hoga Johnny’ to portray the complex materialism creeping in our society. Raj Kumar Hirani has used it as a hit formula in all his movies right from ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’ to ‘3 idiots’ to expose the politics and mafia behind the education system of our country. There is another very devoted team of actors and filmmakers who are running a successful parallel cinema in this world of commercialization. It includes talents like Rajat Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Ranvir Shourey, Vinay Pathak, Vijay Raaz, Konkana Sen, Naseerudin Shah, Om Puri etc who have made some very interesting and hard hitting movies in recent times and also made them popular among multiplex audiences seeking for instant entertainment. They have used the element of pulp to explore the life style of urban sophisticated societies. Their movies like Raghu Romeo, Mixed Doubles, Mithya, Bheja fry, Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, Phas gaye re Obama, The president is coming etc have established new standards in the genre of comedy and satire. There are some more people on the list who have recently come up with shocking and amazing stuff using this pulp. Shimit Amin’s ‘Rocket Singh’, Navdeep Singh’s ‘Manorama six feet under’, Sanjay Khanduri’s ‘Ek Chalis ki Last Local’, Habib Faisal’s ‘Do Dooni Chaar’, Manish Jha’s ‘Band Baaja Baraat’, Raja Menon’s ‘Baarah Aana’, and Anusha Rizvi’s ‘Peepli Live’ are some other interesting projects worth watching and admiring. These people have understood the importance of pulp in our society and cinema. International filmmakers like Deepa Mehta and Mira nair have always used pulp in a very subtle way in their movies. Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ has an interesting sub-plot of a sleazy love story between a beautiful seductive maid of the house and a hilarious, loud mouthed, dim witted laborer. Deepa Mehta in her controversial movie ‘Fire’ shows a sexually starved servant of the house masturbating and fantasizing about the two leading ladies of the house.Pulp is a genre which should be explored more and more to create better possibilities and prospects on celluloid. It has given a creative space to writers, lyricists and filmmakers to expose the reality hidden behind the garb of hypocrisy for such a long time. Some filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Suraj Barjatiya and Karan Johar still choose to stay from it for a reason specific to their own style of filmmaking. In 80s and early 90s, pulp was used in an awful way to make sleazy comedies, thrillers and dramas. It was a period of great depression in Indian cinema. It was a period when Indian film industry suffered huge financial losses and also the popularity of Indian movies in international market shattered critically. Subhash Ghai and Yash Chopra did their best to recover those losses but their style of filmmaking started fading away by the end of 90s. If there had not been any Ram Gopal Verma, Indian cinema would have continued losing its charm and vitality or it would have completely collapsed in the beginning of new century. So pulp proved as a savior for Indian movies. Indian cinema is reaching new heights and establishing better standards every day. Hordes of young and genius filmmakers have appeared in this beautiful world of creativity. They have realized need of the hour and have devoted themselves in creating a sensible and realistic cinema. Few structures have already been destroyed. And some more will be destroyed in times to come. If pulp is the body, art is the soul. So pulp is something required to be delved in for understanding the anatomy of our society and reaching out to its soul. And both of them are required to create something which we call ‘cinema’.

After all ‘pulp’ is what we all are made up of…