Wednesday, August 15, 2018

आयुष्यात पुढे काय

मी: वेळ संपत चाललाय
तो: म
मी: काही Direction नाहीये आयुष्याला
तो: कश्याला हवीये?
मी: मोजायला. काय काय मिळवलं ते. शंभर छोट्या गोष्टींपेक्षा एक मोठी गोष्टं मिळवणं भारी.


Monday, August 13, 2018


मी: मला शरीरसुख हावय.
ती: म मिळव.
मी: तसं नाही. स्वताचच शरीर सुखी हवाय.
ती: oh. म अवघड आहे.
मी: का?
ती: कारण ते तुझ्या हातात नाही.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

काहीतरी नवीन

मी: बस यार काहीतरी नवीन करावसं वाटतंय
तो: नको करूस
मी: का?
तो: काहीतरी कधीच होत नाही
मी: म काय होतं?
तो: जे करतो तेच होत


Monday, July 24, 2017

Men Without Women

That’s what it’s like to lose a woman. And at a certain time, losing one woman means losing all women. That’s how we become Men Without Women.

The unpredictability of this author is mesmerizing. He begins without any pretext. So much so that the book does not have the usual long and irrelevant waste of pages known as the foreword. Before you know it, the setting is in place. You are already familiar with the characters. Or the central character at least. Which is almost without exception a lonely middle-aged man. The story moves at a brisk pace as you become intimate with the life of that lonely man and his thoughts. And then suddenly, as you turn a page, the story ends. But not before a twist which is delivered more often than not in a single line. A change of perspective or a change of heart.

I generally do not look at the foreword or chapter index of a book but head straight to the first page. So, I had no idea that this book is a collection of six stories. I was almost heart broken when the first story ended. I had wished to be with those characters for a little longer.

Perhaps that is why I liked the first story the most. First love, as they say, can never be surpassed.

As with most people who are well raised, well educated, and financial secure, Dr. Tokai only thought of himself.

Murakami has a beautiful way of building his characters. Though there is a common theme to these characters, each is very different and deep. There is no repetition or overlap. But there is always a dark, restless side to them. Sometimes it is so intense that it is incomprehensible, at least to me.

To be honest, not all stories were that great. But just like music, you don't care for the average. In the end you only care if there was a high point somewhere which made it all worthwhile. Some of the stories will stay with you and some won’t. As one of his characters says, remembering someone for a long time is not as easy as people think.

[This is part of a series of book reviews I am doing for Flipkart]


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lipstick Under My Burkha

Sensible movies are rare. Sensible movies which are well made are rarer.

As I watch the women's cricket world-cup final,  I realize it is every bit as exciting as the men's world cup final. The skill and the attitude are as you expect at the topmost level. Yet many members of this Indian team hail from small towns like Sangli and Chikmagalur. Is small town India changing in it's attitude towards women?

Lipstick Under My Burkha is a story of four women set in Bhopal. Not a small town but not a city either. The direction is smooth and the acting sharp. But what is it about? What is it trying to say? What is the message?

I would like to steer clear of these questions. Or at least I will steer clear of discussing them. I believe they are meant for introspection and not debate. That was the feeling I got through-out the movie. It just shows us four lives. It stops just few inches short of a reaction. We wait for the characters to react, to fight back, to give us some catharsis. But it never comes. Perhaps it is not supposed to come in the movie hall but outside it, in the real world. Where we direct our own plays and act in it.

This movie will not generate a lot of chatter. Perhaps won't do well at the box office either. But it succeeds in making the audience uncomfortable. And that is value for my money right there.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Seasons of the Palm by Perumal Murugan

We glorify the grand and the majestic yet it is the everyday lives that are the most interesting. It is astonishing that the accident of birth leads to such different lives when we are essentially the same.

Sitting in a coffee shop, as I start reading Perumal Murugan’s story of a little untouchable boy I begin to feel the usual sympathy for him. But the story cuts me short. This is not about me or my distance from the characters in this act. It is only about a few friends who meet every day while grazing the cattle for their Masters. It is about the bond between a boy and a mute sheep which is stronger than any bond between humans, yet at the same time, more delicate than the morning dew. It is about a relationship between two boys which looks like friendship but can never be that because they are born unequal and will always stay that way. It is about the earth and a people who live by it. Understand it. Something that most of us living in concrete houses can only imagine.

Who likes things to end? But they do end, there is destruction waiting in the wings, and all that is left finally is sadness and desolation.

This is not a sorry tale. But gloom and disaster always lies about the corner. A lost lamb, a failed attempt at collecting some peanuts from another’s field, a day missed at work can always lead to terrible consequences. But there are consequences for the Masters as well.

The description of the countryside and all its treasures is mesmerizing and flows smoothly. The translation is of high quality. You forget that it is a translation and immediately get engaged in the story. The one sore point I have about the translation is of the use of nicknames like Tallfellow and Stonedeaf. These might be accurate in the cultural context of the original language but feel out of place in English. Much like the hurriedly dubbed Chinese action movies on TV.

Poor strong Belly – she talks tough, sings merrily, but a single fear sits snug and heavy in her heart.

Isn’t this true for all?

[This is part of a series of book reviews I am doing for Flipkart]


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lessons from Sairat (सैराट)

Having seen Nagraj Manjule's first short film Pistulya (Review here) and his first movie Fandry, it was obvious that Sairat will leave you shaken. And that it sure did.

Not because it told us something new. It does not have anything that you will not find in a newspaper every other day. But it managed to make it real for you in those three hours. It somehow takes a small newspaper article about something which happened in an unheard-of village and makes it a part of your life, your experience. That is the hallmark of brilliant cinema.

"लई इगो हाय तुला"

Everyone views great art through their prism, mine is this. Sairat is about the ego. The more successful and powerful you become the more it grows within you. The only person who can keep it in check for you is the person you love. If that person is strong enough to fight with you and make you fight with your own ego then you are saved. Otherwise it will end up eating you and everyone around you.

"Your mother is a quiet women, she makes me listen to my own voice. And it is a voice I do not like much lately." - Trumbo

This ability to be the conscience of someone else is hardly ever respected or praised. But it is a rare gift. I am not saying that you cannot be your own watchman. That you always need someone else you point out your failings. Most people manage to play both roles. But it is particularly hard for people who are most focused and driven. They, almost by definition, do not have any room for a contrarian viewpoint. And a balancing act is most important for such men and women, because they are the ones who are capable of most damage.

Also, if your long lost relatives - with whom you had a great fight the last time you saw them - happen to suddenly show up on your doorstep and are looking grim and silent, smell a rat and get the hell out of there.