Ittefaq-2017

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The “original”-in itself inspired by an English film from 1965,  was made 48 years ago.If you hailed from a movie loving family such as mine, and were born in the 60s or 70s, you will have seen the Rajesh Khanna ,Nanda,Iftekhar starrer for sure. Directed by the King of  Romance-Yash Chopra.
Unusual for its time, it was talked about for no songs and the unexpectedness of the plot.A gripping watch.

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The 2017 version  is very well adapted, slickly shot, sans superfluity and has an unexpected ending which honestly is a bit blah…(but maybe that’s just me-justice being important.)

Two unconnected murders.Two suspects.Two  stories and a cop with 3 days to untangle the mess.He is the factor connecting them…or is he?
Vikram Sethi, a well-known writer is on the run, suspected of having killed his wife.Sidharth Malhotra in a handsome, I’m innocent , boo-hoo believe  me, melting brown eyes avatar. He seeks asylum in Maya’s house-Sonakshi Sinha in a Madonna like look and  trifle seductress mode. The police apprehend him from there, next to another corpse-this time of Maya’s lawyer husband Shekhar.

Nasty ittefaq from him..eh?This onslaught of bodies.

Dev is the cop investigating both crimes. Akshaye Khanna in a great role and in many frames, flashing his father’s charming smile.As he switches between their stories, it gets more and more difficult to figure out the truth….for some discoveries end up being damning as pre-conceived notions can be…….but may not necessarily be the truth.

A conclusion is reached.Arrests are made. And the cases are closed.But then…..the inspector reads a book.Possibly a tad late and it dawns-there are no coincidences.

Not fast paced enough to be an edge of the seat thriller, it nevertheless keeps one intrigued in  a “hmm, interesting puzzle this…wonder who dun it” kind of way. You’re interested and want to solve it, but are not “in” it. You know-how some films just absorb you and you ‘are’ the henchman, the victim, the criminal….you are there.Stabbing.Starting in shock.Looking furtively over a shoulder….Not that level of involvement but not boring either.

Sidharth Malhotra has to evolve as an actor, beyond the chocolaty looks. Sonakshi did well as did Askshaye Khanna who really should be getting more roles.

Don’t compare it to the old one. Watch this for its own sake. You’ll enjoy it more.

 

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Chef-2017

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Roshan Kalra ran away from home at 16 because his dad wouldn’t let him learn cooking and that was his passion. Many years, one hotel management degree (how?!! He ran away to Amritsar- what about money-shoney, exam-shixam?), one divorce and one 10-year-old child later, he cooks in a restaurant called Galli Kitchen in Amrika but seems to be losing his pot—er plot. He punches a complaining guest on the face, draws blood, lands in jail and then is fired….while he is busy screaming at his own staff for their inadequacies.

He heads back to Cochin, where ex-wife and son reside in a gorgeous house. She is a dance teacher and seems to have a significant other, who raises the hackles of chef in a most dog in the manger-ish manner. (This part was handled much well in the original.)

Significant O and ex-w suggest that he takes over a run-down double-decker bus and turn it into “mobile restaurant”. After taking strong offence, stating that he’s a “chef” and not a “cook” and generally behaving like a completely misplaced prima donna, sense prevails and he agrees to the project.

The rest is about the transforming the bus with young son’s help and driving it from Cochin to Delhi via Goa. What they sell is a “rottza”-a pizza made with rotis. The drive is scenic, the locales breath-taking and this part of the film is thoroughly enjoyable. A superbly danceable number by Raghu Dixit is included here.”Shugal Laga Le” is superb.  https://youtu.be/sJTEca51zG8

Roshan Kalra is played by a squarely-rotundish Saif Ali Khan who hams through most of the film though in an odd scene or two-some of his acting does shine through.Padampriya Janakiraman plays Radha-the ex-w. Charming and lovely. Their son Armaan is played by young Svar. Chandan Roy Sanyal plays Roshan’s protégé from New York who follows him to India and joins up with him. Significant O is an almost illegally handsome Milind Soman. Made me want to acquire said bus!

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The director turns the original story of Favreau’s “Chef” on its head and makes the Bollywood version about a chef who’s lost his mojo and is quickly unravelling and resorting to breaking his complaining guest’s nose as opposed to the Original which is about a spat with a Critic and a bad review due to being stuck in a rut and his creativity being suppressed by a short-sighted controlling owner.

Given the fact that this film will have only an urban appeal or understanding, the change of story was mystifying and is in fact detrimental to the film. Food critics and the power they wield on Restaurants is very much a part of modern Indian society. Forget critics, an adverse Zomato review strikes terror into restaurateur’s hearts. Also, other parts, scenes and even dialogues have been faithfully adapted and shot, often down to the exact dialogue almost-which actually could have been changes to make them more believable!

Further, for a film straddling North and South India, there is a deplorable lack of mention and depiction of the vast variety of Indian food. Given that the Chef’s original inspiration as a child was chole bhature, his introduction of it to his son is bordering on insipid. The only food he is ever shown cooking is tagliatelle or spaghetti and the rottza. Almost as if he jumped from chole bhature to pasta and landed in a rottza-ignoring all other edibles en route. A missed opportunity for shooting some of our Indian food. Think the 100 Foot Journey. A minor redeeming scene was him making tomato chutney, which will be tried shortly in the home kitchen. Otherwise…..gah. The sizzle of a tadka. The ballooning of a puri. The steam from an idli…..sooo much possibility. But the passion for food missing.

I say that it was enjoyable but nothing to rave about or deserving a full rant. Watchable with some lovely scenes, some oversimplification and tons of mistakes on actual chefs. Home viewing is fine.

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What does hurt look like?

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What does hurt look like?
Big dilated eyes?
Or a reflection from which you avert them?
Is it the deafening sound of a beating heart?
And you wish it would stop.
Or perhaps the gushing blood in the veins
Which just goes on and on.
Is it the vise around the throat
Of unuttered screams
Or the agony of having to move
When stillness is all you crave?
Is it your lungs doing their bit
When you wish they’d take a break.
Is it having to talk
When you wish you could just stop.
Is it looking but not seeing?
Listening but not registering?
Is it the grey cast of rain
Or the dull haze of a storm?
Is it a heavy dreamless sleep
Or night after night of none?
Is it wanting to run
And having to stay?
Is it having to go from day-to-day,
Struggling till you find a way.
To keep the hurt at bay.
Keep its indelibility
An arms length away.

Storying Happiness

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My love for stories started with my nani (maternal grandmother) who had an impressive and varied repertoire up her sleeve. While bed time stories such as the one coming up below  were a staple of all younger days spent with her, anecdotes from her childhood in Bareilly, stories of the independence struggle,her married life in Lucknow and Bombay and scores of other snippets formed large parts of the days I spent with her.

Graduating from the verbal to the written when older and encouraged by a family of readers (nani included), I made lifelong friends with books early on. Like the story narrated, I re-read the favourites often and have been known to buy a couple of copies extra because you know…can’t lose them!

And a step ahead -cinema and radio programmes too are part of the various ways I enjoy storytelling.Radio-well AIR way back, used to enact plays.And recently, it is Nilesh Mishra who I occasionally tune into and enjoy.

So auditory, written, still, moving and telling-stories form a large part of who I am.

Today then, on the International Day of Storytelling, World Sparrow Day and the International Day of Happiness, this tale told to me by nani, about a sparrow, which made for a very happy memory, seemed a good idea to share.

The Sparrow and the Carpenter

A carpenter used to work below a tree in which a sparrow couple had their nest. They were called Gaurva ji and Gauraiyya.

One day, while the husband, Gaurvaji was out collecting food, Gauaiyya was cleaning up her nest and inadvertently the dropping from there fell on the carpenter. The carpenter got very annoyed and despite Gauraiyya’s repeated apologies, refused to calm down. In his anger, he threw a piece of wood at her, which hit her and she fell dead from the tree.

When Gaurva ji returned with the day’s rations, he searched high and low for Gauraiyya, and got increasingly worried when he was unable to. When he found her lifeless under the tree, Gaurva ji became very sad. He asked the carpenter what had happened and upon hearing the tale, he also got very angry with the carpenter.

Sobbing angrily, he stomped off, wanting to teach him a lesson.

He came across a match box who asked him why he was crying. On listening to his story, the matchbox said it would help him and joined him on his way.

A little further, he met four frogs, who in turn were told the story. They too wanted to help.

Thus, Gaurva hitched them to the matchbox and made a cart and rode on…

Some peas on the ground asked…

“Where are you headed Gaurva ji?”

(गौरवा जी गौरवा जी कहाँ चले?)

He replied…

A matchbox and frogs four,

I head towards my home.

A carpenter harmed Gauraiyya,

I want to settle the score.

(The original rhyme in Hindi goes:

चटक मटक की गाड़ी बनाई

मेढक जोते चार

बढ़ई ने गौरैय्या मारी

बदला लेने जाऊँ.)

 

Prickly thorns further up stopped him to ask where he was going:

A matchbox and frogs four,

I head towards my home.

A carpenter harmed Gauraiyya,

I want to settle the score.

 

Moved at the tragic story and they became part of Gaurva’s journey too.

Thus supported and prepared, Gaurva reached the carpenter, who tried to flee as he saw their arrival.

Gaurva threw the peas on the ground and the carpenter slipped on them and fell. As he tried again, the thorns were thrown on his path and he got injured with their prickliness. The frogs, in the meantime, jumped up and down on him and added to his woes.

The carpenter pleaded for forgiveness and admitted that he had acted hastily. He carved out a wooden “Gauraiyya” which magically turned real as Gaurva ji held her. Thrilled with this, Gaurva ji accepted his apology and also thanked his new friends, who had come to his aid.

He and the new Gauraiyya lived in their nest and the carpenter, continued working below the same tree, though now calmer, having learnt his lesson.

‘Tolerance, peaceful coexistence and kindness make for a magical, happier world.”

_______________________________________________________________

I am told that I listened to this story repeatedly for days on end, yet delighted every time in the चटक मटक rhyme. The concept of hitching frogs to a matchbox and riding off must have appealed even then, my sense of craziness!

And while on crazy, I hail from a family of great spinners of yarns and tall tales and those make for some great, uproarious laughter inducing listening.So stories are part of the old gene pool!Add to that the skill of attracting great narrators and wordsmiths as friends and life is so filled with varied kisse-kahanis and thus much khushi!

Perhaps it’s time I knit some of those yarns into a semblance of stories and share the warmth.

Share yours too?

 

 

Storying Happiness

Standard

My love for stories started with my nani (maternal grandmother) who had an impressive and varied repertoire up her sleeve. While bed time stories such as the one coming up below  were a staple of all younger days spent with her, anecdotes from her childhood in Bareilly, stories of the independence struggle,her married life in Lucknow and Bombay and scores of other snippets formed large parts of the days I spent with her.

Graduating from the verbal to the written when older and encouraged by a family of readers (nani included), I made lifelong friends with books early on. Like the story narrated, I re-read the favourites often and have been known to buy a couple of copies extra because you know…can’t lose them!

And a step ahead -cinema and radio programmes too are part of the various ways I enjoy storytelling.Radio-well AIR way back, used to enact plays.And recently, it is Nilesh Mishra who I occasionally tune into and enjoy.

So auditory, written, still, moving and telling-stories form a large part of who I am.

Today then, on the International Day of Storytelling, World Sparrow Day and the International Day of Happiness, this tale told to me by nani, about a sparrow, which made for a very happy memory, seemed a good idea to share.

The Sparrow and the Carpenter

A carpenter used to work below a tree in which a sparrow couple had their nest. They were called Gaurva ji and Gauraiyya.

One day, while the husband, Gaurvaji was out collecting food, Gauaiyya was cleaning up her nest and inadvertently the dropping from there fell on the carpenter. The carpenter got very annoyed and despite Gauraiyya’s repeated apologies, refused to calm down. In his anger, he threw a piece of wood at her, which hit her and she fell dead from the tree.

When Gaurva ji returned with the day’s rations, he searched high and low for Gauraiyya, and got increasingly worried when he was unable to. When he found her lifeless under the tree, Gaurva ji became very sad. He asked the carpenter what had happened and upon hearing the tale, he also got very angry with the carpenter.

Sobbing angrily, he stomped off, wanting to teach him a lesson.

He came across a match box who asked him why he was crying. On listening to his story, the matchbox said it would help him and joined him on his way.

A little further, he met four frogs, who in turn were told the story. They too wanted to help.

Thus, Gaurva hitched them to the matchbox and made a cart and rode on…

Some peas on the ground asked…

“Where are you headed Gaurva ji?”

(गौरवा जी गौरवा जी कहाँ चले?)

He replied…

A matchbox and frogs four,

I head towards my home.

A carpenter harmed Gauraiyya,

I want to settle the score.

(The original rhyme in Hindi goes:

चटक मटक की गाड़ी बनाई

मेढक जोते चार

बढ़ई ने गौरैय्या मारी

बदला लेने जाऊँ.)

 

Prickly thorns further up stopped him to ask where he was going:

A matchbox and frogs four,

I head towards my home.

A carpenter harmed Gauraiyya,

I want to settle the score.

 

Moved at the tragic story and they became part of Gaurva’s journey too.

Thus supported and prepared, Gaurva reached the carpenter, who tried to flee as he saw their arrival.

Gaurva threw the peas on the ground and the carpenter slipped on them and fell. As he tried again, the thorns were thrown on his path and he got injured with their prickliness. The frogs, in the meantime, jumped up and down on him and added to his woes.

The carpenter pleaded for forgiveness and admitted that he had acted hastily. He carved out a wooden “Gauraiyya” which magically turned real as Gaurva ji held her. Thrilled with this, Gaurva ji accepted his apology and also thanked his new friends, who had come to his aid.

He and the new Gauraiyya lived in their nest and the carpenter, continued working below the same tree, though now calmer, having learnt his lesson.

‘Tolerance, peaceful coexistence and kindness make for a magical, happier world.”

_______________________________________________________________

I am told that I listened to this story repeatedly for days on end, yet delighted every time in the चटक मटक rhyme. The concept of hitching frogs to a matchbox and riding off must have appealed even then, my sense of craziness!

And while on crazy, I hail from a family of great spinners of yarns and tall tales and those make for some great, uproarious laughter inducing listening.So stories are part of the old gene pool!Add to that the skill of attracting great narrators and wordsmiths as friends and life is so filled with varied kisse-kahanis and thus much khushi!

Perhaps it’s time I knit some of those yarns into a semblance of stories and share the warmth.

Share yours too?