माझी कविता

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My dear country-wallahs
Today I am again addressing you
And saying please,
Maintain unity, calm and peace.

Other day only
Politician uncle became bored
And told everyone
To put Marathi board

Please to remember
We live in democracy
Please to not listen
To this uncle who is crazy.

No shouting, No rioting,
No biting, No fighting
Protect the diversity
Of our city.

All Indians are brothers
And sisters of brothers no?
Now I will go,
Thank you for listening
Please tell others also!

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Are We Ready For Abhinav Bindra?

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Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal winning performance at the Olympics has been a new experience in more than one way for India. Apart from the first individual gold medal in Indian Olympic history ( i.e. if you discount a gold won by an Englishman representing India way back in 1900), Abhinav Bindra has brought something else to the table which no other sportsman ever has – his own persona.

I’ll be honest with you, when I saw Bindra’s post-victory interviews on TV, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What a pompous brat!” I mean, Hello, you just won the first Indian gold-medalist at the Olympics, you could at least make it look it’s a bigger deal than the National Games! Unsurprisingly a lot of my friends and in fact a huge section of the population apparently seemed to endorse the same view. Before I knew it, all that the media seemed to be reporting was how Bindra had a palatial mansion in Chandigarh complete with an air-conditioned shooting range in his backyard or how he was unrepentant in saying that the system’s contribution to his performance at the games was zilch. And so, the man who was the toast of the nation less than a week ago was looked at as someone who was too proud of himself to be Indian

Now if you ask me, there are two ways to look at Abhinav Bindra. One obviously being the above mentioned way where we compare him to other soft-spoken, seemingly modest athletes who make a statement to the system and naysayers through their performances rather than lashing out at them. The other way however is one we are not used to because it involves looking at someone in a way that is a free from bias. In simpler words, the other way we could look at a sportsman like Abhinav Bindra is to look at him as he is. Forget that Bindra financially belongs to a fraction of the population or that he isn’t a media darling and cut him some slack. Try to place yourself in his shoes. Is it Bindra’s fault that he was born in a rich family with a father who didn’t think twice before letting the cash flow for his son’s career? Or is it his fault that he plays a sport which neither gets media attention nor government support? And most of all, is it really his fault that he dislikes answering the media? Let’s be honest here, our media doesn’t exactly ask the most  enlightening questions. Can we then really blame Bindra for not wanting to drape the flag and sing patriotic songs for the Chaddi-Banian news brigade? Think about it, isn’t it better that he doesn’t feign modesty?  And finally (Pardon me for posing so many questions) – Is there something wrong with Bindra, or is there something wrong with the way we look at him?

I don’t intend to answer any of these questions. I’ll leave that upto you. But I certainly would like to mention something that I have personally realized. And that is the fact that as much as we would like a ruthlessly aggressive, go-getter as the face of Indian sports, we ourselves can’t exactly handle a guy like that. Be it a self-confident Abhinav Bindra, or cheeky Sreesanth or a defiant Dhanraj Pillay, there is still a long way to go before we can accept sportsmen that break the mold, let alone relate to them. As I write this, another outspoken boxer has trounced the world number one and has come of age. I can’t help but wonder when we will.

Singh is Kinng Review

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Call it deja vu, but around the same time last year, I went with the same people to the same theatre to watch the same lead pair in an outrageously high-budget movie which to be honest was a dud save for a certain Akshay Kumar’s on-screen charisma. That movie of course was Namastey London, a movie most Punjabis put right on top of their ‘Must Watch’ lists even before its release. The same can be said for Singh is Kinng… well at least mostly. So what’s different this time around, you ask?

Well for starters, Akshay Kumar (who once starred in horrible flicks with the Khiladi motif) has now become the fourth Khan. The surprise success of Namastey London, Bhool Bhulaiyya and even the hare-brained Welcome is testimony to his Will Smith like ability to make a movie a super hit even when it contains all the ingredients of a thumping flop. Naturally then, there’s a lot more money riding on this one than his previous projects. In fact Rs. 5 Crores were supposedly spent in generating the hype around this movie. Increased star-power and additional publicity aside, this movie has shades of technical brilliance which make even the cheesy action sequences appear not so cheesy after all. In short, packaging and promotion-wise this movie is one of the biggest releases ever in Bollywood. However let’s delve deeper and look at the basics which are unaffected by glamour and big bucks – in other words, the acting and of course, the script.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Akshay Kumar as the lovable, accident prone do-gooder Happy Singh. Akshay makes everything look good in this movie, be it a fluorescent pink turban or a love song that comes out of nowhere for no apparent reason. His comic timing takes corny comedy to a level which yesteryear exponents of the genre such as Govinda never could have imagined. His performance once again makes up for the non-performance of his leading lady Katrina Kaif who does little besides looking good in every scene. Come to think of it however, that’s what she is there for in the first place.

Coming to the supporting actors – Om Puri as Rangeela shows shades of his hit role from Hera Pheri, though I would still consider his Chachi 420 performance as his best supporting act to date. His chemistry with Akshay Kumar makes for a very entertaining first half. Kirron Kher, as is characteristic of her, delivers a fine cameo which I daresay surpasses her ‘Filmi Maa’ routine in the first half of Om Shanti Om. The rest of the supporting actors however are not well utilized. Ranvir Shorey for example, who is a brilliant comic talent in his own right, is wantonly wasted as an oh-so-cliched ‘second hero’. Javed Jaaferi who has a better role however is sadly under-used. And finally Sonu Sood, who is paralyzed for more than half the movie, isn’t allowed to do much in the movie.

The script written (and directed) by Anees Bazmee (who has also written yesteryear ‘masterpieces’ such as Sandwich and Raju Chacha) won’t exactly blow you out of the water. In that regard (along with many others) this movie has a lot in common with Om Shanti Om. The question however remains whether it will be as big a success as OSO?

If you ask this reviewer, I hope it does one count but not on another. My Punjabi heart cheers for this movie but my brain thinks otherwise. So finally, ‘Is Singh a King?’ Mostly, Yes!

Rating: 3 out of 5

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

Will The Real Comic Please Stand Up?

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Testing…1-2-3, 1-2-3. Okay *ahem* Now I’m a guy who loves humour. (Wow really now? A humour writer who loves humour?) Okay, fine, forget that let’s start over. So WHAT IS THE DEAL with Indian stand up comedians? No? Too Seinfeld? Okay okay, last chance! Could stand up comedians in India BE any worse? Crap, that’s too Matthew Perry!

I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell I’m trying to do here. Well ladies and laydas, , what I’m trying to do in this badly written opening paragraph is to sound like our desi stand up comedians. In other words, ‘Confused and Unoriginal’! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s grab our issue by the tetwa!

What really amuses me these days is that ‘Comedy’ shows are a runaway hit on TV despite the fact that 9 out of 10 of our self- proclaimed stand up comedians can’t make a humour-lover laugh (even if both his feet were being tickled by feathers as he watched TV). And mind it, that’s no exaggeration (Sacchi!)

Thanks to the fact that I’m a student of psychology who is well versed with scientific research methods, I have once again, for your convenience, analysed and categorized the different species of stand-up comics in India (What a brilliant placement of a shameless self-publicity plug, no?). After numerous long hours of watching Sidhu bang tables for no good reason and witnessing Shekhar Suman age in reverse, my efforts have finally taken the form of an extensively detailed research journal (which can be yours only for Rs.49,999/- wonly + plus illegal taxes). Being the modest and generous philanthropist that I am, I will share some choicest excerpts with you now for fukkat! Jao, tum bhi kya yaad karoge! Arrey array, don’t touch my feet, continue reading!

1) “Main Shayar To Nahi” Species: The name of these species of stand up comedians comes from their brilliant camouflaging skills. These creatures who were until recently believed to be funny men have been actually discovered by yours truly to be rasta chaap poets! They are found in heavy concentration in various god-forsaken, ‘duur duur tak kutte ka baccha bhi nahi dikhta’ types of Indian villages. They have a tendency to yap endlessly about haseenas, paseena, pyaar, takraar, khar, virar etc. in other words they talk, incomprehensible sparrow-dull rhymes. What makes these species distinctly annoying to an average person with an IQ higher than Tupperware is the fact that these ‘comedians’ recite their short 42 lines poems in a peculiarly monotonous tone, endlessly stretching the last syllable of each sentence.

For your better understanding, here’s an example of a likely poem by these species along with the probable reactions of the helpless crowds…

Arz kiya haiiiiii… (Waah waah! Abhi Arz to kar!)

Ke Maine us se kahaaa… (Subhan Allah! Kya kaha woh aaj batayega?)
Maine us se kahaaa…
Oh my dilrubaaa…
Mere paas to aaa…
Aur mujhe bataaa…

Kya hum do dil ek jaan haiii…?

(Pause)

Usne kahaaa…

* Uaaaaaaacckkkthuuu! *

Mere mooh mein to paan haiii…(Crowd spits out generous amounts of phlegm on shayar! Waah waah!)

2) ‘Makemicry’ Species: Before you scrabble junkies shoot irate emails to my bechara sub-ed saying that I’ve made a typo which they didn’t manage to catch, let me clarify that this is the name of the next species which comes from their profound love for cheap mimicry. Now don’t get me wrong, I love it as much as the next person when I hear a good Saif Ali Khan impression. In fact, I’ll go ahead and do one myself. ‘Wow! What’s da program yaar?’ Coming back to the point, though we all at some point liked mimicry, these species make sure that we stop liking it thanks to their horrible talents. Case histories reveal that 9 out of 10 such idiots started their careers in Comedy after winning talent shows at college fests where the judges were busy ogling at the laydeej. Distinctive features of these species include an utter lack of any comic talent whatsoever paired with the tendency to bleat like a goat crossbred with Shahrukh Khan every 2 minutes. Should we k-k-k-kontinue now, hmmm?

3) ‘Teri Maa, Meri Maa, Nirma!’ Species: Before you break into the ‘Paani mein reh ke bhi yeh kam gale…’ verse, I’d like to once again clarify that this is the name of our next species. These migrant species usually come in pairs from across the border and suffer from what Neo-Freudians refer to as Oedipus Complex 2.0. In aam aadmi terms this means that they are sexily attracted to each others mummyjis which explains the not-so-subtle double innuendo jokes they make at each others mom’s expense.

Here’s an example

1st Guy: Why did the rooster cross the road?

2nd Guy: Kyonki teri loose character waali ammi ne usse akele mein bulaya thaa…muhahahah!

1st Guy: Ullu ke bacche, teri ammi to mere abba ke saath jungle mein mangal kar rahi thi!

Sidhu: Oh guru! Maar suttya!

4) “Band Karo atyachaar, Khao Gainda-Chaap Achaar” Species: Ironically referred to as ‘Hasya Kavis’ on some occasions, these unfunny distant cousins of ‘Main Shayar to Nahin’ Species are great multi-taskers. They can include shots at politicians, raise social issues, make rasta-chaap poetry and include a publicity plug for a C-grade brand all in the same act. As I just mentioned, they supplement their shoestring salaries by endorsing various third class products such as ayurvedic balm, iron sariyas, isabgol and daad,khaj khujli lotions. A cross sectional research has shown that fans of India TV, Aaj Tak and readers of the other three-lettered magazine have a distinct liking for this kind of comedy. Distinguishing features of these species are their unusual middle names such as Narendra ‘Natkhat’ Niranjan, Akhilesh ‘Albela’ Agarwal, and Surinder ‘Sadela’ Shrivastava etc. for example.

The following poem should give you a better understanding of how these creatures operate,

Last week rabies-wala Tommy kuch aisa kaam kar gaya,
Frustration mein aa kar Netaji ko pichvade par bite kar gaya,
Par next night after bite, Netaji was allright,
Aur Tommy bechara mar gaya!

Fir sheher mein mach gayi ha-ha-kaar,
Kaise hua yeh chamatkaar?
Then thanks to sting operation by patrakaar,
Pata chala Netaji gave supari for Tommy’s murder aur balatkaar!
Band karo doggies ka shoshan!
This poem was brought to you by Kutta Chaap Khujli Lotion!

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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Review

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Question: What is common between the Dragon Emperor and the script of The Mummy – Part III?
Answer: Both were best left buried deep beneath the ground where the world was blissfully unaware of them!

I fail to understand what the filmmakers were thinking when they made The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor. Perhaps they thought, ‘Hmm, that Indiana Jones was a hit at the box-office and their lead actor was twice the age of ours. Therefore by the transitive powers of algebra, our movie should be twice as big a hit as Indiana Jones, right?’ WRONG!

For starters, 39 year old Brendon Fraser as Ric O’Connell looks twice as haggard and tired as good ol’ Harry Ford. His performance too is listless and his lines vary between unfunny wisecracks and endless rants about mummies! Add the fact that half the cast of the successful first two movies is missing and you have a very gloomy picture indeed. I kid you not, this movie is sub-standard on all counts. Be it the fact that Rachel Weisz is replaced by a lesser known Maria Bello as Evelyn O’Connell or that the graphics are slightly better than Jaani Dushman, this movie is a damp squib.

Coming to the script, I’m tempted to ask, “What script?” This movie is more like a super-sized strategy game (sans the fun of the games). One of the most major problems of the ‘script’ is that the villain is not a ‘mummy’ but a terracotta army led by a stone-faced (even expression wise) Jet Li whose act keeps falling to pieces just like his terracotta face. Michelle Yeoh as Zijuan the immortal witch who is the second oldest female character ever (the first being Kyunki‘s Baa!) seems like she is posing for one of those ‘Malaysia: Truly Asia’ ads everytime she is on screen and the lesser said about Isabella Leong the better. Oh and did I forget to mention that this movie has Yetis? Yes, pixel generated Abominable Snow Men! I hope you can imagine the depths this movie sinks to now!

Coming to the question of ratings, my impression until the end of the first half was 2/5 which dipped to 1½ on 5 by the middle of the second half but by the end of it, all I can give it is 1 Star along with a sincere request to the filmmakers to never make another Mummy Movie that sucks this badly again.

Rating: 1 out of 5

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!