Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ayurvedic Dope

A typical morning from my early childhood.

My Mom(with a spoon full of a greasy,black,smelly stuff):Here,have this

Me(my eyes wide with terror):No....please...I don't want to.

Mom:You don't have a choice. spoon is now shoved inside my mouth).

The greasy,black,smelly stuff was something called Dabur Chyawanprash.It was supposed to help kids stay healthy,top their class,score the winning goal on the playground and come grinning back to their homes with an assortment of trophies to proud parents as shown in the ads.Of course, nothing of the sort happened to me.All I got was a bitter taste in my mouth.

My own experiences with the Chyawanprash ended when I grew too tall for my mom to shove the spoon inside my mouth,something that she attributes to the Chaywanprash itself.But I retained an intense hatred for it in the deepest corner of my heart.I had always thought that being an Ayurvedic product it wouldn't be able to stand up to modern diet supplements and future children wouldnt go through what I did .But I was wrong.Instead the Chyawanprash went from strength to strength.From Amitabh to SRK to Sunny Deol,everyone endorsed it.Even Souarav Ganguly attributed his tandarust tan(fit body) and tej dimaag(quick body) to it,when actually what he needs is a quick body and a fit mind.Hope of seeing the chyawanprash disappear from the markets had left me lately.

Therefore it was with great pleasure that I read this .The IOC has forbidden Indian athletes from taking Chawanprash as they contain heavy metals which lead to the production of banned anabolic salts in the body leading to failed dope tests.So there,its not only sona-chandi that Chawanprash contains,there are heavier metals in there.I felt vindicated.And then it hit me.After years of being forcefully fed Chawanprash,my body must be full of banned anabolic salts.I am certain to fail any dope test.My dream of representing the country in the Olympics lies shattered.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Recipe for a novel

Eminent author Chetan Bhagat shares with us his recipe for the Indian English Novel.
1)Take a young Indian male .This guy is an absolute loser,has an abysmal opinion of himself and is down on his luck.These qualities are certain to extract sympathy and even pity from the readers.
2)Add two friends.One of these is a smart,good looking,popular boy.The other is an even bigger loser than the hero.These two characters are engaged in eternal conflict with the hero caught in between.But smartest boy has his way and the rest follow him.Along the way there will be misunderstandings but ultimately friendship will triumph.
3)Add a young Indian female ,hero's girlfriend.She is very pretty but doesnt have much brains.Also she is demure enough to keep her affair under wraps but bold enough to initiate sex with the boy.In short the typical "angel-in-the-kitchen,devil-in-the-bed" that every man fantasises about.The sex scene is there to redeem the hero in the eyes of the readers.
4)Add a middle-aged villain.He is personally interested in screwing the boy's life,and being in a position of authority is capable of doing so.
5)Put the hero and his gang in a soup of a situation,created by the villain.This may be bad marks in college,eminent firing from their jobs or just good old communal riots.After many trials and tribulations,good will ultimately triumph over evil and everyone will live happily ever after.

6)Serve under a cover that says"India's highest selling English author-N.Y times". Of course N.Y times website says"According to his publishers,Chetan Bhagat is the highest selling Indian selling author in English. "
Watch the editions disappear from the shelves!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sarkar Raj

The Bachchans: The new first family of Bollywood.Dad Amitabh was the undisputed superstar in the 70's and 80's;the most prolific actor in his second innings in the new millenium doing as many as 10 movies a year.Son Abhishek after giving 13 duds has given successful movies like GURU and the DHOOM series.He has not given a hit in quite some time and hence needs a relaunch.Daughter-in-law Aishwarya was an international beauty queen and a few makeovers later is one of the highest paid actress around.She has sent the glam-quotient of the family soaring upwards.Poor mom Jaya Bachchan cant keep up and is rarely seen in the public with the family instead spends timehobnobing with the likes of Amar Singh.The Bachchans have recently come under attack for not contributing to the progress of Maharashtra.
The Nagres:The first family in the power politics of Maharashtra.Father Subhash is the original man of honour,dispensing justice and running the state through the chief Minister.He has janta ka pyaar aur bharosa.Son Shankar is the heir managing most of the family's mysterious buisness.In the words of Abhishek Bachchan,"He is a futuristic man in the sense he thinks about the future."He is already more successful his Dad,or so his Dad claims.Both Dad and son have committed themselves to the progress of the Maharashtra.Mom Nagre stays in background making tea and purisfor the freak characters that come to the house.Enter Anita,an international enterprenauer,who wants to step out of her father's shadow with a power plant project(an obvious metaphor for the power struggles in the plot.)
In Sarkar Raj,the ironies and the parallels just dont stop coming.
The director: Ram Gopal Verma. Once known as a maverick director, he has reduced himself to his own parody.His legacy of movies like Satya,Rangeela,Company and Bhoot was destroyed by Shiva and RGV ki Aag.After Sarkar Raj he is finished.One suggests a five year holiday when RGV can still afford it.
The movie:Entirely shot in minimal colours with the camera at the RGV angles which can be:a) extreme close-ups of characters or b)the camera below glasstops,chairs,beds, giving the effect of a sting operation.All of which is supposed to hide the fact that the entire plot comprises solely of set-piece situations.First half-The father-son conflict.Dad Amitabh is against the power plant being made on land taken from the poor villagers.Son is all for taking hard decisionsfor development.Dad reposes his faith in son finally.Son goes about the easy job of convincing people to give up their lands.Then the bad guys blow up the carin which the pregnant wife Tanissha(yes, we were tortured with her close-ups as well) was travelling,which paves the way for Nagre junior to take revenge andfind love in Anita.At which point in second half Nagre junior is bumped off as well,in turn clearing the way for Nagre sr to take revenge and explain away allthe consistencies in the plot with some tarkash-ke-teer,shatranj-ki-bisaat type of dialogues.Every twist in the plot in the movie is predictable.One knows thatman-friday will turn up to be the mole and Gandhian mentor the mastermind of the carnage.There are only two good moments in the movie. First when Abhishek remorses for killing Bhaiyya in the previous edition and last when he stands upto a mob which calls hisfather a thief.Any review of Sarkar Raj will be incomplete without the mention of the three typical Ramu type villains.Sayaji Shinde(Bachu Yadav of Shool) plays a crooked politician who screams and jumps without any provocation.Giving him comapany is Govind Namdeo playing a power broker who spewseuphimisms by the dozen and when asked to explain just says "Aise hi kah diya".Sample these:-

Govind Namdeo:-"Shaadi se pehle hi pataakhe mat chodiye"


Govind Namdeo:-"Aise hi kah diya"

Govind Namdeo:-"Yeh foreign
companies keel ki tarah hoti hain"Abhishek:-"Kahna kya chahte ho?"

hi kah diya"

And my favorite

Govind:-"Bina Ande ke Omlette nahi banta"Sayaji:-"Matlab Shankar Anda,Mumbai
omlette?"Govind;-"Aur hum masala."
But the freakiest bad guy is a Gujrati buisness called Vohra who keeps singing 70's hits under his breath all the time in the movie.The funniest scene in the movieis in which Vohra sings "Gapucchi Gapucchi gum gum" while threatning to bump off Abhishek.
A future project that brings together the Bachchans should be a Hindi remake of the run-away Bhojpuri hit "Sasura Bada Paisewala"