Thursday, December 03, 2009

Angry young man to sad old man, to...happy young boy!

He was my first style icon. My screen idol so to say. Well, nothing new here; he was all that and more to millions like me. But well, like for all other kids my age, he too was my 'Hero' in totality. There could be nobody else. I'd drive my mom crazy, asking her to buy me/stitch me those 'broom-like' bell-bots, after I first saw him - in Khoon Pasina (Though that was not his first action outing). I modelled all my 'manly' gestures after him: the way he ran his fingers through his hair, the way he stood hands on his hips, the way he frowned when he was disturbed, the way he grit his teeth and moved his jawline when angry, the way....well, the list could go on.

He was the man who changed the direction of action movies in Indian Cinema. He was the man who every guy secretly wished to be like. Girls swooned over his tall stance, his deep baritone, his smile, his ...everything. And guys did street-fights, watching him in Naseeb, or maybe...well, any of his movies in the 80s. Being macho, was being....Bachchan.

As I grew up and the veil gradually dropped off his larger than life image, I mulled over the kind of movies he'd always done his whole life. Action-packed, high voltage, the 'all-in-one' kind of movies - typical masala stuff. Nothing to write home about role-wise or content-wise, but for his superb acting. Of course, there were the few gems early on (Anand, Chupke chupke, Kabhi Kabhie, and then some..but countable). It was only later, much later in his career that he really started experimenting with roles. I think he did a true volte-face with Aankhen...or was it Aks?

Well, long story short (pun wasn't intended at all) - like any good old wine, he also has mellowed over the years, the sharp jawline has given way to a rather soft 'goatee-lined' chin, the crisp and well-defined baritone (remember the Kaalia, Deewar, and Shakti dialogues?) has given way to the somewhat aged and soft voice that is natural of any aging process. But he has acted in all kinds of roles ever since he stepped over to his 60s- serious, angry, sad, hilarious and so on. Oh, and even as a ghost and a genie.

And now life has come a full circle I guess. Tomorrow, he'll be introduced to the world as - a happy-go-lucky young boy. All of thirteen.

All the best, Mr. Bachchan. This time round I'll try (won't promise) to imitate that 'monkey-dance' you do so well in the promos. Haiin??

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saare zameen par...

Imagine if everything came to life..even the inanimate things. Everything.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Diwali...

It was getting dark. Raghu watched the sky painted with all those bright colors. He loved Diwali. Especially those 'rockets', as they went 'whoosh!'

He stood outside the house where they lived years back. A couple and their little son cleared the porch to burn the crackers. He smiled.


"Careful Vivek," The father warned. Vivek nodded happily and continued making circles with the sparklers.

Raghu walked through the gate. Ten years ago, if he'd been careful enough, he'd be here in flesh and blood, enjoying the festival with his parents. They'd left the house soon after his fatal fall from the terrace, trying to duck a neighbor's 'rocket'. He should've listened to his dad and kept away from the parapet. Well...

He noticed Vivek was looking at his parents, the sparkler flame about to reach his finger. He quickly reached out and pushed the sparkler away from his hand.


Happy Diwali, friends. careful, ok? (Am gonna be away till Monday).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Different!

Everybody experiences one 'bubble-burst' moment in their lives. At some point in their lives, I'm sure. For me, the first one happened when I actually saw Usha Uthup for the first time, if you know what I mean. And then many other such instances followed, for various other reasons. But I remember that was my first 'bubble-burst' moment.

I was ten.

Well..the point is - how many times have you associated a voice you heard, to a certain face in your mind? Obviously many times, huh? But have you any time felt that the voice you heard 'tasted' like something you ate? Ok, don't frown - it may be weird, but it has happened to me a couple of times lately.

The new crop of singers, especially girls, have such a range of voice texture that it is impossible to think of them, or at least compare them to the voices of yesteryears. It is a good sign too, we get to hear so many different voices. And they go well with the new faces you see on screen as well. You don't have to cringe when you see Amritha Rao mouthing her lines to...maybe Latha Mangeshkar? No offence, I salute the nightingale and there was a time when I couldn't even imagine any other singer's voice in hindi films. But now...

Ok, enough of the foreword. Here's a list of singers and songs they crooned in the recent past I personally like. They taste...err..sound really yummy. There's a certain 'crack-jack' feel to their voices. Have you felt the same?
  • Shruti Pathak - Mar Jaawan (Fashion)
  • Hema Sardesai - Badal pe paon hai (Chak de India)
  • Aneela Mirza - Say na say na (Bluffmaster)
  • Anushka Manchanda - Golmaal (Golmaal)
  • Tanvi Shah - Fanaa (Yuva)
  • Mahalaxmi Iyer - Kabhi Neem Neem (Yuva)
  • Rekha Bharadwaj - Namak Ishq ka (Omkara)
  • Sunidhi Chauhan - Sajna ji waari (Honeymoon Travels)
  • Bombay Jaishree - Zara zara (Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein) This is a bit older in comparison.
  • Gayatri Ganjawaala & Sunidhi Chauhan - Pyar ki yeh kahani (Honeymoon Travels)
  • Kavitha Seth - Iktara (Wake up Sid)
  • Rahat Fateh Ali Khan - O re piya (Aaja Nachle)
  • Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Mahalaxmi Iyer - Bol na halke halke (Jhoom baraabar Jhoom)...Don't even ask about the movie, though.
I'm sure I missed out a lot more - fill me in... Oh, and btw, no bubble-burst moment happened this time round ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Thirty Six. Phew!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


He cracked his neck, pushed the door open, and stepped out into the rain. The deafening sound complemented the deafening silence he'd just left behind. Both were essentially the same, the din never left you.

He turned right and walked leisurely, wiping the water off his eyes and face. If you passed by him, you'd almost miss the tiny muzzle hiding in his palm. He clutched it tighter and walked across the street to the nearest phone booth.

He had already pulled the handle off the hook, when the shopkeeper in the adjacent building started to holler, "Sir, the phone doesn't..."


The teenager ducked in time, more out of reflex than anything else, as the 'thing' flew over his head, barely millimetres away, making a whip-like sound. Maybe that's why he didn't hear the sound of the explosion. When he rose and turned his head around he saw people screaming. He was confused, he quickly turned all around, trying to locate the cause of this chaos, and then he saw it. The body lay below the phone booth across the street, smoke billowing out of it. Then with his heart thumping he turned around, behind him. The head lay against a wall, leaving a messy trail of blood and brains all over it.


From the half open window, a couple of buildings away, the middle-aged ex-intelligence officer and explosives expert, smiled in satisfaction and pulled the bullet-proof vest off his chest. He shook his head, helping himself to the scotch.

" don't do any homework these days."


Saturday, May 09, 2009

It happened one weekend...

You know what? For all the absurdities, I still have a soft corner for bollywood movies of the early 90s. Case in point - Dil Hai ke Manta Nahin (1991), which I chanced upon while surfing channels yesterday. And sat through it. It was a nostalgic experience given that this movie came out at a time when we were in college, and life was footloose & fancy free.

It was one of those 'assembly-line' thingies the Bhatt camp used to dole out back then. It was good, clean fun. DHMN was supposedly an inspiration of a hollywood classic (ok, stop rolling your eyes) 'It happened one night', which was once earlier made in bollywood before DHMN itself. It was called 'Chori-Chori' starring the show-man Raj Kapoor, and amchi munnabhai's real-life mom Nargis.

It gives a different kind of a high when you see the lead pair bickering and fighting tooth 'n nail the first half of the movie and then falling in love in the end. But DHMN holds a special place in my heart because the first rays of romance were entering my own life, and I remember going to this movie with almost the entire class, and future wife as well. And a movie becomes all the more special when you start relating to the characters, and your life had situations similar to those on the screen.

Well yeah, at hindsight it does seem a bit silly, compared to movies of today which are more technically advanced and realistic (and most times..err..bold, for want of a better word), and given that the movie's hero is so well known for those realistic movies today. DHMN in that sense was the perfect mix, a perfect antidote for boredom, and a perfect reckoner for people hopeful of love. It had all the masala in it, the 'drop-of-a-hat' song sequences, and of course a happy ending. And to top it, you didn't find it embarrassing to watch it with anyone...heck, I could watch it with my neighbor, Mr. R. I couldn't be seen dead with him in any movie hall today. I swear.

Rent the movie today and watch it. You'll smile through the weekend. Trust me. :-)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Scream Test

Shetty frowned as he flipped the various portfolios.

"Damn. Damn, and more damn," he muttered. He should've never listened to that Desai kid. These US-returned youngsters thought no end of themselves. One measly degree from some bloody university and they thought they knew what film-making was all about. MBA too, to top it. He shook his head and wiped his bald head.

"Next," he barked into the intercomm.

The lanky guy peeped his head through the door and stepped in with a meek "sir?"

"Come in," Shetty grunted.

He looked nervous, this guy. Shetty sized him up quickly. Hmm..not so bad actually.

"So, you are..." he pored over his profile, hooking on his glasses on the nose.


"Ankit," Shetty repeated and leaned back, his hands over his head. He looked at the nervous guy's face for a few seconds, a smirk slowly creeping across his own face. "So, you want to be a star, huh?"

"I want to be in this film, sir."

Shetty rolled his eyes.

"No, really sir..."

"You see, Mr. Ankit," Shetty said, leaning forward keeping his hands on the table. "This will be our most expensive movie till date. Special effects. Music. You name it. And we want actors," he said with a typical gesture. "Actors. Not dreamy-eyed stars. And that is why we're interviewing and auditioning new faces."

Ankit nodded sagely.


"I know sir," Ankit interrupted. "And I understand that. I think...I'm..I'm your guy."

Shetty raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah? And what makes you so confident, young man? We'll have a screen test, and..."

Ankit interjected again. "Sir, I'm telling you..."

"Listen young man. I don't like to be interrupted. I'm the director of this film, and I can show you the door, rightaway. Ok? You're lucky the producer of the film isn't here with me today, else..." Shetty wiped his brow with a frown.

"Anyway..what makes you think you're so qualified for this movie? What's so great about you anyway?"

"Sir, this is a horror movie right?"

Shetty nodded.

"Sir, I think I can give it that authenticity. And you won't even need special effects."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yes sir," said Ankit, pulling out his head and placing it on the table.

"You see sir," the head spoke. "I died last year on my way to the same studio, for the same film. And I really want this film. I'm dying to do it, excuse the pun."

Then guiltily, he picked up his head and screwed it back on.

"So, I'll get the role, right sir?"




Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Mom was hospitalized last week for complications related to her diabetes. She's back home now, and doing much better. That sets the context. We all dread hospitals (at least us non-medical folks) for the simple reason that it is synonymous with illness, in some form or the other. But despite being a not-so-desirable place to be in, it can sometimes help one meet some interesting characters. No, not the patients. But the ones accompanying them.

I was keeping watch one night last week, and there's this middle-aged man who sat next to me. I wasn't exactly in a conversational mood, but his infectious optimism slowly warmed me up to him and we got talking about this and that.

"So, what do you do?" He asked eagerly.

"Uh, I'm a software professional. Well, not exactly in that sense - I'm a technical writer."

"Oh, writer. Ok, ok.." He mulled over it for a few seconds.

The next salvo. "So, what do you write about?"

I sighed, smiling. "User manuals."

"Ok, ok. Like that manual that comes with consumer products?"

Here goes. I sighed again.

"Well, technically could compare it with that, but it's not the same."

He nodded. We talked some more about my background, where I studied and so on.

"So, why don't you work in a newspaper? You did journalism..."

Explained. I told him I also wrote other stuff to gratify myself, like writing fiction and stuff online.

"Ah, yes. My niece also does that."

"Yeah? OK..." I nodded.

"She blocks."

Images of a Karate instructor came to mind. Blocks. Maybe she defends blows. Wait a minute. She could also be working as an anti-spammer. Images of a nerd now.

But just to be sure..." uhhh, block?"

"Yes. What you said just now. Online writing. Block."

"Oh, blog!"

"Yes. Block." He grinned.

"'s called blogging. It's a 'g'.." I try explaining.

"Oh. But I'm sure she said block." He had this 'wait-lemme-remember' look on his face now.

"So, what is blog? Is it a website?"

"Well, technically yes, but it's more interactive?" I try explaining again.

Five minutes later...

"Nice. Internet has so many facilities these days."

Facilities. Hmmm.

"So, what do you write in your blog?"

I explained again.

"Oh, good. So do you get paid for it?"

I shook my head.

"Then, why...?"

"Well, there are ways of making money on a blog...I explained some more.

He nodded. And then he went on this trip - he used to write as well as a student, college magazines, articles etc etc. He then turned to me.

"Can I blog too?"

"Of course you can."

"Uh...please give me your email ID. You explain to me over email."

I nod. "Sure." I handed him my business card.

"Thanks. But what do I write?"

"It's upto you, sir," I smiled.

"Hmmm," he mulled over it again.

"Can I write to my old friends?"

"You have emails for that, right..sir?" I said.

"Oh, right." He laughed.

He was silent for a few seconds. I did a shut-eye. Then he nudged me.

"I think I will write poems. I used to, you know."

"Great. That's a good way to start," I agreed.

"Can I write in my mother-tongue? You have all these vernacular software, right?"

"Uh..sure, I think you can. But, you might need assistance from someone who has already done that."

I knew what was coming next, so.."I'm afraid I can't help you out on that one." I smiled apologetically. He smiled equally apologetically. I wondered why.


Then he shook my hand. "Thanks, young man."

I smiled. "Pleasure, sir."

He smiled too and left.

I watched him go, and thought, "Interesting man. I must block this."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Joy ride...

1991 - First year of college. And I heard the laughter. I just had to find out who it belonged to. It belonged to you. I'm glad I found out. :-)

1992 - You came into my life. You became a dear friend.

1993 - We fell in love. We made some nervous promises, we didn't know what the road ahead held for us.

1994 - Graduation. The big bad world waited for us. We held hands and promised to stay together.

1995 - While I did my Masters, you worked; took care of your family.

1996 - Some ups, some downs. We managed to brave it together.

1997 - My first job. The going wasn't easy, but you were with me, and that's all that mattered.

1998 - We got married. A big sigh of relief for both of us. Finally we made it!

1999 - Turbulence in work. I lost my job. You held yours. But mostly you held my hand tighter. I can never thank you enough for it.

2000 - We found it hard to make ends meet. But we had each other. Most importantly, I had you.

2001 - I wasn't heading anywhere with my career. I was distraught. You held me firmly and pushed me to do better.

2002 - You gave us the most precious gift one could have - Aayushi! :-)

2003 - Things were getting better. But you decided to stay home and take care of the little one. I didn't want you to sacrifice a great career. You didn't call it sacrifice. You called it a joy-ride.

2004 - Our little one was growing up. And you were there for both of us. We braved some rough weather.

2005 - In between changing jobs, the one thing that didn't change was our love.

2006 - My lucky break. All because of you. But I had miles to go. And your love was the fuel. That was enough.

2007 - Things were settling down. We looked back at how we'd built our home with love and care. And Aayu made it all the more better.

2008 - You decided to pursue your passion for music. I'm so glad you did.

2009 - Another year, another milestone. But we're far from done. We have a lot to look forward to. I'm sure I'll do it with you by my side.

This Saturday (14th) is when you first came into this world, years ago. Probably the best valentine gift God could've given me? We're gonna be away from the online world that day, right? So in advance, Happy Birthday my love!