Bangalore Literature Festival 2013 – Day 1

This was the first time I went for this festival. I got to know only a few months ago that last year Gulzar Saab came to Bangalore, gave a public appearance, and I missed it. So this time I had decided to finally see him. Yep, that was the first and foremost reason for going to the literature festival.

Anyway, the reason told, here is some idea of what I saw on day one.

The day had to begin at ten in the morning, but I was a little early. Deliberately, though I had no plans as to what I’d do there. Things were slightly late too, and the opening ceremony began something around 1020-1030.

There, after the Dollukunita dance, Chandrashekhara Kambara, a Kannada poet-playwright presented a small good-wish speech, while Nabaneeta Dev Sen objected to the use of word ‘bhasha’ as just regional languages in India. Ramchandra Guha gave a little Tamil-in-Bangalore lesson and Ashok Vajpeyi tried to keep the mood light with his short-light talks. Finally when Christoph Bertrams was selling us some Seagull books after Vikram’s someone-even-postponed-his-wedding-for-this-event story, we decided to take a round of book stall, with my G-Mitra Mohit Kataria there too.

After finding and not finding some books, we sat for a few minutes to hear the panel discussion on ‘Vision for India’ but heard only some views of Mohandas Pai, before we were out for something again. And then around 1245 it was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whose full session was watched. The session was okay, but some of the questions from the public were so ordinary that they made Sri Sri look like a genius there.

Farhan at BLrLitFestAround two, it was Bollywood time. Rakeysh Mehra, Prasoon Joshi and Farhan Akhtar were there for a session and Bhawana Somaaya had a good time talking to them, as did the audiences, where Rakeysh said Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was ‘not a true blue biopic’ but an inspired story. Prasoon talked about things that would have been as shown in the movie, had they been at all, taking the example of the scene where Divya Dutta wears Milkha’s India jacket, and Farhan even had to sing four not-so-sureelee lines with an to-the-core besuree audience. It was Rock On title song, if you must know.

It’s simple: Compose. Win. Be known.

Lorien Motion Pictures are coming up with a movie called Kaafiron ki Namaaz, and have announced a contest where You can can compose something for them.

Yes. With the movie, for which soundtrack recording is in progress, and names like Usha Uthup, Javed Ali, Najim Arshad, Kshitij Tarey are all set to be there on the covers, here is a chance for you or your band to share the space on the same cover with an original song of yours if you win the contest.

So if you are a musician looking for a chance, or a band, or know someone who might make it his or her big break, just reach Lorien Motion Pictures at http://www.facebook.com/lorienmotionpictures and get the details.

For any further details you may even tweet to @BhargavSaikia.

Aarakshan: Biased? Anti-Dalit? Anti-Anti-Dalit?

Prakash Jha is a master filmmaker. I mean, fine, he was into some advertising in here and had Star News, Tata Photon and what not in the time when he talks of Mandal Commission and introduction of 27% reservation, but he comes up with a good movie on a sensitive issue and manages to keep it almost as unbiased as it is possible, and gives views of both the sides.

But then, the movie has some anti-dalit dialogs that come from the alleged upper caste people. And again, I would say that Jha has handled things very carefully here because while it’s not possible to make a good movie on the subject without including at least some such dialogs, he has put the counter-views in the same place to keep the balance.

The interesting thing here is that while the villain here are clearly politicians and businessmen who try to get their own profits out of every policy, Jha has shown the plight of everyone who becomes a victim. While on one hand he explains the problems of ‘dissimilar start line in race’ very clearly, he also shows the pain of an upper caste peon’s son who could not make it to the college of his choice because of reservation.

And then, there is his hero who does not want to believe in caste, does not believe in untouchability in the least bit, but asks his ‘Pandit’ peon not to touch his feet saying he’d be a sinner if the peon does that, even though not seriously. But most important of it all, his hero believes that he as a teacher should be above caste etc. but gives free education to those who are less affluent and do not have ‘equal’ means, irrespective of caste, and on the same ground he personally supports reservations so that everyone can rise.

So, in a way, the movie can be called pro-dalit, or anti-anti-dalit as it goes against those who are anti-dalit, but it can not be termed as anti-upper caste. Calling it anti-dalit is not even a possibility, even with the presence of a few anti-dalit dialogs in the beginning of the movie, because while Jha has tried to show the problems and emotions of everyone, including a mother who thinks a rule that goes against her child’s life/career is wrong. Yes, she sounds biased, or rather is biased, but she is true too. And towards the end, he has tried to give a solution as well, though it is not too practically applicable at a large scale and which needs highly selfless politicians which looks next to impossible today.

But overall, I’d say that the movie is almost as good as it could be. And while watching the movie, at some point I was feeling that Amitabh was right in asking Rajdeep Sardesai to watch the movie and then comment, especially in view of the former’s own character in the movie.

(Views expressed here are my personal views about the movie and do not endorse any political or other agenda)

Gulzar: Unke alfaaz kya, parinde hain…

I don’t know if I’m good enough to write something about Gulzar. But I love him, and somehow feel that it’s something that makes me fit to write. And hence, I write.

The thought probably came when I was listening to 7 Khoon Maaf, more precisely when I was listening to O mama, and then Aawara. I don’t exactly know what the thought was, but I will try to put it into words anyway. The thought was of Gulzar, his age, his words, and more thoughts that I do not remember or may not want to talk about.

Well, first thing was, who ever thought Gulzar will be writing Rock songs? Listening to O mama, while I was mesmerized by Vishal’s music and KK’s singing, Gulzar’s words fit in there as if water in a jug. I was thinking that the person who wrote ‘Mora Gora Ang Lai Le’ almost fifty years ago, and then ‘mera kuch saamaan’ two decades after that, is writing O mama today, and with his words alone, is as much a part of today’s generation as a someone born after his fifth filmfare award.

I remember his words from the filmfare awards this year about Vishal Bhardwaj as he said, ‘Ek naujawan ka shukriya ada karna bahot zaroori hai.. isne mere lafzon ko jawan rakha hai’ (It’s necessary to thank a youngster.. he has kept my words young), and I do agree with him. But what is most wonderful is how Gulzar has been able to write those young words while maintaining the same quality that he was known for, say, three-four decades ago. Yes, he still writes lines like ‘Dushman jiye mera, wo bhi gair to nahi,’ in that rock song itself.

And then, there is that thing I yearn for, the way he can use the language. He was the one who came up with things like humne dekhi hai in aankhon ki mehekti khushboo and surili ankhiyon wale, and even though today’s lyricist try to come up with such things sometimes and to some extent, are successful too, Gulzar has that command on language that is still missing with them all. I have loved the lyrics of Prasoon Joshi and Amitabh Bhattacharya innumerous times, but I do not know someone who can write ‘saara din sadkon pe khali rikshe sa, peechhe peechhe chalta hai’ and ‘chhod aaye hum wo galiyaan’ with equal ease, or someone who can even imagine the lines ‘aankhen tez tatayya dono jeebh saanp ka phunkara’ or ‘chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai’ or even a simple sounding ‘dil to bachcha hai ji.’

No, I don’t know anyone who can write ‘ek hi lat suljhane mein saari raat guzari hai.’

That is what I fear. For a life when I will not be able to listen to Gulzar’s songs, because it’s almost sure that during my lifetime a day will come when that pen will no more be writing.

And so, I wish he lives past hundred in all health. And that pen keeps going, on and on, forever.

And here I’ll finish for now the unending topic, with something that I wrote with him in my mind:

bharte hain Roz hawaon mein Udaan,
phir bhi kabze mein unke rehte hain,
unke alfaz kya, parinde hain..

Kalinka. The origin of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Darling.

Oh No, I’m not talking about the Australian river Darling. I’m talking about Vishal Bhardwaj’s already famous song Darling from the movie Saat Khoon Maaf.

The song is actually very much based on Russian song Kalinka, a song written in 1860.

I have no idea how much Vishal is going to acknowledge this in the movie/soundtrack (I hope he does acknowledge), but that sounds very much true. You can listen to the song at the Wikipedia page, and also find a few more links to the song there.

Allah ke Banday: The Must Watch Trailer

And here I find something that is compelling enough to make me watch a movie. Allah ke Banday, the acting debut of the movie’s director, is a something that moves you with its trailer itself. A story of two children who are called ‘born killers’, 11 years after they are put into Jail, for murders as can be easily guessed from the trailer. Interestingly, I can see Sharman Joshi and Atul Kulkarni together after long, in a movie that reminds me of Rang De Basanti. And yes, Naseeruddin Shah looks wonderful as always. Here is the trailer.

Madholal Keep Walking: iExpect

So many big things come in small packages. And the next weekend I expect one more such. This small package called Madholal Keep Walking could have a big thing inside.

It’s not really right to set expectations from something even before it has come, but since we do it with movies directed by Karan Johar and produced by Aamir Khan, I guess nothing wrong if I expect something from a lesser known movie too, even though my reasons might not be very strong.

Madholal Keep Walking is hardly a known movie. I don’t know the producer-director, Jai Tank, for whom it’s a first film. I don’t know the band, not even the star cast. But I’ve heard the music, I’ve seen the storyline, and when I searched some more, I got to know that one member of the cast, Subrat Dutta, won the best actor award at the Cairo film festival, while another, Pranay Narayan, has acted in Black Friday before this. All of these make me feel that the movie has something good for sure. Especially the way the music of the film was so good even though coming from all unknown people, it made me expect something from the movie.

As per IMDb, Madholal Keep Walking is the story of a common man with simple dreams and a routine life, who can be found in any corner of the globe, chasing their dreams and hoping to realize them. Madholal Dubey is one of them. On one fateful day everything changes in Madho’s life. He becomes a victim of an unfortunate incident and their dreams go upside down. He gets scared of death and loses all his faith in God and life. The film revolves around how Madholal and family encounter his fears and deceit.

On the whole, I guess while Aashayein should be worth a watch among the six movies releasing on August 27 (as per the information available right now), Madholal Keep Walking should be worth a consideration too.

Anjaana Anjaani: Musical Surprise?

Siddharth Anand and Vishal-Shekhar look like in a mood to give some huge surprise with the music of Anjaana Anjaani. After the strange demand of Siddharth, of music being not-good-to-listen-for-the-first-time, there is this soundtrack list which I have got and this too has some surprises in it.

For starters, the album starts with a song sung by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. Frankly, I don’t remember which was the last album that started like that. The second thing, Vishal Dadlani sings a hopping three out of six songs. Well, personally I’d like Shekhar to sing too, after his bin tere in IHLS, but he’s not there. And yes, as it had to be, Lucky Ali sings yet another song.
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Dabangg: Tracklist

Salman Khan’s Dabangg is again composed by Sajid-Wajid and this time they are back with a big league of singers comprising of Sukhwinder Singh, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal. Here is the song list of the movie. As per reports and common sense both, Tere Mast do nain is the one to watch out for.

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Lafange Parindey: First look

YashRaj’s next is here. A boxer and a blind girl, sounds different and looks different too. Pradeep Sarkar, the director of movies like Parineeta and Laaga Chunri Mein Daag, has attemped something different compared to his previous movies. The trailer of Deepika and Neil Nitin Mukesh’s next movie Lafangey Parindey is out, and looks good to me.

Sadka Kiya meaning

If you’re not much into Urdu, this one may bowl you over as Sadka/Sadqa has a meaning that doesn’t come easily from the song Sadka kiya. Sadka literally is ‘giving voluntarily in the name of God’. So the lines Sadqa kiya yoon ishq ka actually mean that the person in question has given love in such abundance that the one who takes, finds the giver whenever s/he bows his/her head.

Bit tough to understand, but that was the meaning I could get out of the lines.