Saturday, August 01, 2015

Fight Club- An All Time Classic




I first watched Fight Club in 2011 on a train journey from Ajmer to New Delhi. After the journey, I was having severe headache- part from the hospitality of Indian Railways and part from the movie. What the hell did I just see? The way it started and the point where it ended did not make sense to me that time (and I still am not sure whether I have connected the dots now). So, I watched it again. And again.

And I became a fan. Now, if you will ask what the theme of the movie is; I might shrug my shoulders. As I mentioned above, I am still yet to find the head and tail of it. There are high chances I never may find it and I don’t care about it. I watch this movie just for the sheer way it is filmed.

The craving for the movie comes for a very simple reason- the passion of the characters. Brad Pitt’s in-your-face dialogues and antics and Edward Norton’s innocence- they seem to relate. I must tell you here that it took me around 4-5 times to notice the fact that Norton’s character did not have a name. It’s all Tyler Durden, some of Martha and Bob. And they all stayed with me.

Brad Pitt has been a gem in this. His portrayal of Tyler, a I-don’t-give-a-shit character who believes in doing what he thinks is right is superbly executed. The dialogue delivery, body language, facial expressions and have all been right up there. It is hard to see how anyone else can have played this role better. Brad just nailed it. And no wonder that one of the sexiest ladies on the planet is her dear wife.

There are lines in the movie which have hit me hard.

The things you own end up owning you.”

“Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted”

“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession…” 

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”

“Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned- Tyler.”

I won’t say that it applies to me but then, there is truthfulness to them which I can’t deny. They are true to the core and may be uncomfortable too, as they try to bring me back to the reality I keep running away from. We are so busy with buying a full HD tv, a king size bed, a decent car and credit cards that we forget that “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”.

Fight Club has influenced me a lot. Sometimes, I want to pick up a fight on the road. I want to be a part of a fight club. I want to hit few people- some I hate; others I envy. Some are relatives and office people; some are ‘friends’. I want to get rid of the tendency of what will be the consequences before doing something stupid, foolish, new. Throughout my life, I have put a lot of constraints on myself. I could have done lot of things differently and I regret that. now, I want to simply let it go.

Unfortunately, life is not a movie. And it works in a very different way; a way which is not always pleasant. I’ll admit- if you will look at the big picture, you will say that I should not have too many complaints with my life. But yes, it could have been certainly better. It could have been violent yet rosy like Fight Club. It could have been what Tyler Durden would say- liberated.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

An Open Letter to Arnab Goswami

Let us laugh at Arnab

Dear Arnab,

I want to start this letter with some pleasantries and good will but it is hard to write (or talk) in that way when you know that the person you are addressing is a freaking nincompoop. So, I’ll rephrase it.

Let us start all over again.


*cracked knuckles*


Dear Arnab,

You pretentious prick!!!! (Feels so good to write).

I never had an opinion on you. Or Newshour. In fact, Newshour is neither a news show nor a debate. It is a circus. There are half a dozen, handsomely paid, monkeys sitting around and you, the madari rants for the entire hour. At full volume, your show is good to drown the neighbour’s wailing kids’ voice but debate? Certainly not. The basic premise of debate is to let everyone speak to do a reasoned evaluation. You and your channel only want you to shout. I read somewhere Newshour is more of a Noisehour. It really cracked me up.

But today, this is not about what you do on Newshour. I really don’t give a rat’s ass to that. You love shouting and hooliganism; your channel loves you (I’ll give this to you; it’s still a better love story than Twilight). Today, this is about #ShamedInSydney.

After a superb World Cup performance, winning 7 games on a trot, defeating arch rivals Pakistan and mighty South Africans; Team India lost to Australia (World top ranked side). After a disastrous tour that preceded the World Cup; nobody gave Dhoni and his boys a chance. But they played as a team with everyone performing and lost to one of the best teams in the world. It happens, is not it? One bad match was always around the corner; unfortunately it came on a wrong day. There will be another WC.

Considering how we Indians are, it was not a surprise when I read news about burning effigies of Dhoni and Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma (can you freaking believe this? It is like when you did not achieve your sales target and your boss blames your wife). This is our favourite pastime these days- burning effigies, ransacking shops, breaking buses, throwing shoes and swearing in public; not to forget singing occasional songs about saving the Indian culture. But you might understand. These are mere mortals, sir. I thought maybe they are not that educated to realize that this is not the right way to express your frustration and anger.

But later, your obsession with TRP and hashtags created something that you, probably, have not foreseen. #ShamedInSydney? Who was Shamed in Sydney? You? TimesNow? The nation is sad and low about the loss but we are not ashamed. And you do not make the entire nation. We are proud of the way they played till they met this hurdle. When you invite people to speak in your show, you should have a mind to listen to what they are saying. Atul Waasan and Arbaj Khan were very vocal and against the rubbish you were speaking. They were not agreeing with you. But your bullying inadvertently comes in. It is baffling that after all the hulla gulla and shor sharaba, the verdict on your show is always what you think. Only your opinion counts and as many have told you many a times, this is what you should do with your opinion.



And all the gentlemen alongside you who believe that because India lost by 95 runs, they did not put up a fight; let me ask you this? Who are you to question their professionalism? Were you on the field that day? They did put up a fight. No sportsman when playing for his nation wants to surrender. And India did not surrender. It is just Australia was better that day. Out of 2 teams, only one had to win. It was not India. Just because you did not get to see a match as exciting as South Africa vs New Zealand the other day; you concluded India did not give fight! Arnab, you should join primary school again and learn some basic reasoning.

MS Dhoni took over the reign of this team after what happened in West Indies in 2007 World Cup. He took a team in shambles and made them world champions, winning T20 WC and Champions Trophy on foreign soil. Even after years of criticism and scrutiny where 125 crores Indians are ready to jump on him; he has managed to sail the ship. And you, after one bad match in otherwise terrific campaign, question his fighting attitude. What a farce! If India would have been ousted in the group stage, I am pretty sure you would have ripped his clothes and personally stoned his house. Lucky MSD!

Your hashtag obsession has certainly come to haunt you, is not it? People might not take too much interest in politics, corporate espionage and scam related debates on your show. But cricket binds this nation. You probably did not realize it or just forgot it and created #ShamedInSydney. And within half an hour, there were more tweets with #ShameOnTimesNow for your very childish rant on Indian team’s performance. That is a very fitting reply to your nuisances. Heard that you have taken down all tweets with #ShamedInSydney. You spit and then you......

I tried to search you on Twitter. I figured that being such a popular figure and influential personality, you must be active on social media. I wanted to talk to you there. Turns out you are not using it. Are not you gutsy enough Arnab? Do you fear people will bash you like you do to the guests on your show? Or you just want to be the king of your own den?

I want to write so much more. I want to talk to you. Face to face. I want to raise this question again with you right across me- did India put up a fight that day? And the moment you start ranting, I want to laugh at you. I may roll on the floor. Although it is good enough for me that majority of the nation is laughing at you and your channel but doing it personally would be so fun.

I will close here. Before that, I will say one thing- you are not a journalist, Arnab. You are no good than the very Hindi channels you blast on being biased or polarised. You are one of them. You are the cream of deluded TV news presenters who think that just speaking from the teleprompter or even spontaneously make you a journalist; you are at the top of this fake journalism pyramid. You are a hypocrite.

I don’t know if you have a child, Arnab. If you do, try answering this question when he or she asks that what you said on Newshour was true. Did you really mean it or it was because you had to; it is your job that asks for it? Whatever your answer is, you certainly won’t come out a winner.


Regards

Tushar

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Society- Why So Serious?



Ever heard of Hindu Mahasabha before they announced that they are gearing up for couples’ Valentine’s Day celebrations and would get them married forcibly? Probably not. Actually these people are so busy in saving and preserving the Indian tradition that they prefer to keep a low profile. Such low profile that even when brutal gang rapes are happening, they keep mum. Rape ho jaate hai, ladkon se galti ho jaati hai. Ladki chote kapde pehenti hai. Indian culture toh theek hai na.

Out of nowhere, the group has now awakened to cater to the society’s needs. They are very vociferous about their intentions. And they are not afraid of anyone. In their work manual, 14th Feb is just another day and young boys and girls should not go out that. And those going out should invariably get married; even before they can find out whether they are the right match for each other or not. Later divorces will do, public humiliation is normal but marriage is a must. Moral police is out again after sparing couple of years. Last time, Bajrang Dal was the saviour.

Speaking of Bajrang Dal, they have taken a year off. When I read about their plans for hooliganism this V-day, the answer astonished me. The group has some internal function on 15th Feb and they are concentrating on it. They don’t have time to see what is happening on the dreaded February the 14th. Jab time milega, tab bhartiya sanskriti par dhyaan dekhenge. Abhi ye busy hai.

Another moral police group stood out when Brahman Ekta Samaaj Sanstha, out of nowhere, filed an FIR against All India Bakchod (AIB). AIB performed a comedy show featuring A-list Bollywood stars. It got in a soup because of highly expletive language used in the show. The group’s argument is that they are misleading the youth and setting a bad example is justified to some, not to many. It is a matter of personal opinion. You will admit it; the show was a lot grosser than what everybody was expecting. But then, when the people who are made fun of are OK with it and laughing with all of us on themselves (takes a hell lot of guts to do that); society, why so serious?

For some time, I forgot about moral policing. It seemed to me they came, tried to create some ruckus and when they did not get enough footage, they left. Unfortunately, they have not. And now, the issues with which they are dealing with are more sensitive and have far reaching repercussions. At a time when there is a positivity in the nation with a new and progressive PM taking charge, these FIRs and self made laws and rules are exactly the things we do not need. And do not need to pay heed to.

This valentine day will come and pass. To keep their words, Hindu Mahasabha will try to create chaos and show the media that they are serious. A couple of years later or in next Lok Sabha elections, their leader will be contesting election with promises to make his constituency next to God’s abode. And in his election rally, some 20 year old kid will look at the candidate, see the career path he has taken to reach and wonder if he should do the same instead of studies. It sure looks easy and effective option to him.

Bas yahi darr hai....

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chetan Bhagat- The Rise and The Fall


My first encounter with Chetan Bhagat’s writings was in mid 2006 when I accidentally found “One Night @ The Call Centre” in one of my friend’s room. At that time, I did not know who Chetan Bhagat was, his illustrative IIT & IIM background and the fact that this was his second book. I picked it, went through acknowledgments and finished the book in 5 hours. Next day, I parted away with 100 bucks from my meagre pocket money and bought “Five Point Someone” and was done with it in few hours.

As per the introduction, Chetan left his high paying investment banking job in Hong Kong and took his first love as his bread and butter- writing. For me, as a 19 year old college student, this was as fascinating as it could have got. You always look for inspiration and idols around you; something that will kick start you. Chetan, if not an idol, was certainly an inspiration. Not that I wanted to write and be a writer but it was more about to be an endeavour for not becoming a typecast.

Moreover, the intro also said that he wants to change the youth of India and to get the best out of them. His writings were to change the people who read it; to rethink what they have been doing and can they make it better? He wanted to inspire the young ones. As I mentioned above, I was certainly hooked to his books. They had nothing fancy in them but addressed the young readers in a way they felt associated. I still recall that I was a bit angry at many things after “One Night @ The Call Centre”. Agreed that the God in that book was superlative fiction but I believe that much of a liberty can be given to a writer.

His books started a trend and every college kid wanted to get published. In my 4 years of college, commuting from Dehradun to Meerut and vice versa; I read about 50 of these books. Not that I liked them but at that time, that was what I could have afforded to kill time in a bus. All by college students and passouts, ex engineers and MBAs, trying to write what they thought was a bestseller. 1 out of 10 was OK, some were manageable. And majority was too bad that I cursed myself for buying them. I very clearly remember I read a book “20 & Still Virgin”. The book had grammatical and spelling errors and I won’t even talk about the premise of the book. Such crap.

The point here is- Chetan had started what he wanted. He was making teens think, to come up with what they think. Many chose books; some debates. Chetan Bhagat was, in his own little way, starting to change India. His books were selling like hot cakes. Although his reputation did take a hit with “Three Mistakes of My Life”; he more than made up for it with “2 States” (for me, his best book till date; humour and satire in ample dose). His books were now coming as 70mm cinema. Sharman Joshi starrer “Hello” started it and although Amir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani will never admit it, “3 Idiots” was loosely based on “Five Point Someone”. The filmmakers never gave this credit to Chetan but the audience accepted (or assumed) it. Life was good for him. What can go wrong?

Well, many things. It is little hard to believe that an intellectual being like Mr Bhagat could make bad decisions and that too when he has done almost everything right. His next book “Revolution 2020” was a strange one. To be honest, I don’t remember what was exactly in it. What revolution the author was talking about- if you find out, be kind enough to let me know. The book looked more of a rip-off from some old Bollywood drama.

That was year 2011. In between, he turned into a screenplay writer and watched his “Three Mistakes” and “2 States” as “Kai Po Che” and “2 States” respectively. Being a huge fan of the book, the movie was such a disaster that I suddenly disliked the big screen. What was a pleasure to read was a pain to watch. And to top it up, I bought the tickets in black. What a waste.

Year 2014 just shooed away whatever good I thought about him for two reasons. He co-authored the screenplay of Kick. Now, writing screenplay for your book is very OK but to write for a Bollywood movie which had no brains in it is a very different thing. What are the odds that if movies like Kick, Ready, Ek The Tiger etc would have been 5 years back, he would have been criticising them in his TOI columns for being such a nonsense and that they are telling nothing useful to his ‘young Indians’? Fast forward to 2014 and he writes one of those senseless script, movie is a 200 crores grosser and he goes home with a fat pay check.

Second reason- when I read his latest release “Half Girlfriend”. The moment I finished it I knew this would also be turned into a movie. The truth is that the book is written in such a way they he knew it would soon be turned into a movie; he wanted this book too on the big screen. Unlike other books of his; this book has so many coincidences which our Bollywood will perfectly digest and there won’t be any need to make changes. In earlier movies, screenplay is not as exact as the book. They have removed/ changed a lot of things to make it commercially viable. Half Girlfriend is a perfect recipe for a movie. And as I have read, Ekta Kapoor has already bought rights to create a motion picture on the already half baked Bollywood screenplay. Talk about creativity.

In 4 years, Chetan Bhagat became something from nothing with his honest but straight forward and captivating writing. Next 4 years, after establishing himself and making his name, he wrote Half Girlfriend and Kick, both of which he probably would not have written and seen in his college days because of the crap they serve.


The great irony. The great circle.

Let Us Get Our Act together

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