Sunday, 27 February 2011

Umbrella Man



come, sun, come
now that
I am protected forever
beat down on me 
all day 
  all noon 
all afternoon
try you can
but
you can't
you can't touch me 
I am the umbrella man 
can't touch me 
no you can't 
I am safe forever 
I am the umbrella man   

World Haiku Review: My First Haiku Publication (January 2011)

Hi all,

I just wanted to share my surprise and joy, when by accident, happened to see my December submissions on the World Haiku Review website (January 2011 issue). Out of the four of them selected,have got two honourable mentions, a Second place and a Third Place in respective categories.

For starters, Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese form of poetry. It consists of three lines, preferably with syllables in the order of 5-7-5...

The links are provided below...

Link 1
Neo-Classical Haiku (Among Seven Honourable Mentions)
Zatsuei, or Haiku of Merit (Selection)

Link 2
Shintai Haiku Selections (Second Place)

Link 3
Vanguard Haiku (Third Place)

Monday, 21 February 2011

Movie Review: 7 Khoon Maaf : Wicked, bleary, funny dark chronicle


The head still whirls, stepping out of Westend theatre, at Vishal Bharadwaj’s dark, nightmarish yarn about a woman killing off each of her husbands in the search to pacify her lovelorn heart. Through more than two decades of turbulence and rare happiness, Suzzana is aided in her executions by her faithful servants. By the end credits, she is ready to confess all, in a church though.

The humour is ink spreading on the blotting paper of betrayal, lust and human ruin. Although seemingly far-fetched as a story, the director paints black, dim lights and overcast gray, twilight-akin outdoors where his characters play out their little comedy. So there is a chauvinistic army man, a drug-addicted rock star and a perverted poet to be bumped off in the first half. In their midst there are allegories – be it the 1984 Operation Bluestar or the 1993 riots. The intermission message says – four more to go.

It is post interval that we get more edge in the proceedings, a Russian Spy is made to go down a well, the investigating police officer happens to fall in love with the murderer and goes blind in lust for her. A doctor thwarts a suicide attempt that leads to a chain of consequences. Finally, the narrator of the story meets up with Suzzana, now with silvery, boy-cut hair, and attends her symbolic seventh wedding, that gives away to a dervish-like dance, a culmination of all the haunting visual language the film uses.

Not for a mainstream audience, and purely filled with the director’s creative fountain flowing in each frame, 7 Khoon Maaf is a dark comedy, that could have been more fun and crazy. It is still a mesmerising watch for its unique storytelling, throbbing dialogues and mastery over the visual medium. For the die-hard cinema lover.

Priyanka Chopra gives her best performance yet of her career, the supporting cast are all competent, especially Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Annu Kapoor and Vivaan Shah.

Wintry shroud
A snow-white cat walks over snow, and not a word needs to be uttered, it is a teasing riddle, a powerful visual punch when solved.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Movie Review: DHOBI GHAT: Sparkling, despite weak storyline




A raw yet assured directorial debut by Kiran Rao, Dhobi Ghat is more a documentation of four different lives even as they mingle and then scatter into their isolation, rather than an attempt at telling a singular dramatic story. Contrived situations are rare here. Arun (Aamir Khan) is a reclusive painter, who stumbles upon a set of video tapes of Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), the (newly-wed) previous occupant of the room Arun has recently moved to. Then there is Munna (Prateik Babbar) - washer man by day and a municipality-employed rat-killer by night, who is befriended by Shai (Monica Dogra), an American banker on a sabbatical, indulging in her passion for photography.
There is a lingering in the proceedings, which is outlined well by Gustavo Santaolalla's score. Glimpses of  Mumbai life are insightful, the film begs for more of it. We do get lively street children frolicking when they realize they are been recorded in Yasmin's camera, a family caught in the frenzy of the morning rush - a rapidly made breakfast, a man tucking in his shirt, pulling at his school uniform clad son's hand, and forcing open the door, all in one motion. The gunny-bag draped Gateway of India, the rain-drenched Marine Drive, a leaking roof, all convey soft images, seldom seen on a cinema screen.

Lacuna
The cribbing would mostly be for the lack of punch in the story itself, which replicates the continuity of life, but droops in intensity. We do get a very real, yet brief love triangle, a tragedy revealed - whose effect on Arun is more than on the audience. So, while the visuals and characters have a soothing quality, there is lively Mumbai city literature ( "We have 24 hours water."), the effect in totality, is of delightful glimpses in to lives in the city across classes.

Yet...
Certainly worth experiencing, the film has top-notch performances, Aamir Khan succeeds in conveying the character, shedding the commercial star drab. We only wish Arun was more vulnerable and devastating. Prateik Babbar gets that vulnerable skin in Munna which he uses to great effect. Monica Dogra is a perfect casting choice for her cosmopolitan character, a confident act. Kriti is good as Yasmin, we wish she was more haunting, considering the pathos of her character. We say, no grumbling, a great promising start for Rao, and more risk and verve in the story next time.

Great execution
Munna runs right through the middle of the stuffy Mumbai traffic after an elusive car, and not for one moment does it seem made up. The one masterstroke scene in the film.