Friday, July 31, 2009

Spell it out in black & white - results show

The results of the last poll are out and here's what we've got. I've included some trivia I dug up on each.

3. Mughal-e-azam
The 1960 epic took nine years to finish, and was the highest grossing movie till Sholay broke the record. Two songs and the movie's climax were in colour while the rest was in black and white. The battle sequences actually had soldiers loaned from the Indian Army. Shakeel Badayuni had to rewrite the song 'Pyaar kiya toh darna kya' 105 times before Naushad approved it. Lata Mangeshkar sang the song in a studio bathroom to get the reverberation effect of the 'Sheesh mahal' (Palace of mirrors) where the song was shot.

2. Do aankhen barah haath
The 1957 movie told the story of a jailor trying to reform six imprisoned murderers, it was directed by V. Shantaram (who also played the role of the jailor). This was the first Indian movie to win a Golden Globe award. It also bagged two awards at the Berlin International Film festival. I reckon we've all sung 'Ae maalik tere bande hum' in school at some point or the other.

And the grand winner is................

1. Chalti ka naam gaadi
This 1958 laugh riot brought together brothers Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar for the first time. Apparently, the success of the movie led them to act in another movie called 'Badhti ka naam daadhi' (sheesh!) in 1974. I have yet to catch that. The totally awesome soundtrack by S.D. Burman (Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si, Paanch rupaiya barah aana, Haal kaisa hai janaab ka, Babu samjho ishaare, horun pukaare) just adds to the charm of the movie.

Thanks for voting, bewdas!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spell it out in black & white

All right, bewdas, it's time for the poll of the month!

This month, nostalgia is the mood at the bar, and in line with that, the poll is to find out which black & white Hindi movie the bewdas like the most. Drop your votes in the comments box. Only one vote allowed per bewda/bewdi.

PS: Comment moderation will stay on till the results are revealed in the next post.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garam Dharam

So SSSK is working on a new series of articles for the Akh-bar, which involves interviewing the Bollywood stars of yesteryear (because the new stars are not worth interviewing) and finding out what they are upto. In this round, she managed to catch hold of our garam Dharamji at his place. Despite having heard that he's turned from Greek god to grumpy grandpa, SSSK is optimistic.

SSSK - Namaste, Dharam paaji...

Dharamji - Huh? Paaji kisko boli? Only I can say all that - kutte, kaminey, gadhe, ullu, paaji...

SSSK - Nahin Dharamji, woh toh main... respect...

Dharamji - Achha achha...

SSSK - So I will start off with the theme of this interview - our readers would like to know what you are upto these days.

Dharamji - I'm just hanging around, waiting... kisi din toh aayengi meri royalties...

SSSK - Royalties?

Dharamji - Aur nahin toh? They steal my ideas and make movie names out of them, and don't even bother to pay me any royalties!

SSSK - What are you talking about?

Dharamji - You tell me, of all Bollywood heroes, who is the most abusive in his movies? Who? Who??

SSSK - Errr... I'm not sure how to answer that... pass...

Dharamji - Arre! Who immortalised "Kutte kaminey main tera khoon pee jaaunga!"?

SSSK - Oh that way! Aap paaji... I mean you, sir!

Dharamji - Wohi toh. Lekin abhi dekho, they have named a movie 'Kaminey' and they did not even consult me!

SSSK - Lekin sir, Kaminey toh common word hai... koi bhi use kar sakta hai...

Dharamji - What nonsense! Imagine if I had said the opening lines of the movie... KAMEEEEEEEEEEEENEYYYYYYYY!!!!!! Film release hone se pehle hi hit ho jaati.

SSSK - Baat toh sahi hai, sir...

Dharamji - They did the same thing with Awara and Loafer too... stole my gaalis... I mean my titles... and did not give me any credit.

SSSK - But sir, Awara released in 1951, you were only 16 then...

Dharamji - Arre main toh bachpan se hi...

SSSK (tries to change the topic) – Achha achha. Aur sir, Hemaji.. what is she upto these days?

Hema Malini comes down the stairs.

SSSK - Arre Hemaji, hiiiiii! Aap hi ke baare mein baat kar rahe they hum log.

Hemaji - Aap kaun?

SSSK - Ji...Main reporter hoon...

Hemaji - Achha achha... you carry on. Dharam, I'm off for the dance show.

Hemaji leaves.

SSSK - Dance show? Wow. Dance show at this age... Kitni active hai Hemaji... amazing...

Dharamji - Khaak amazing! Arre maine toh kitni baar kaha Hema un kutton ke saamne mat naachna, lekin meri sunti hi nahin... bas naachti rehti hai aur water purify karti hai... ab toh betiyon ko bhi laga diya hai... sab baithkar water purify kar rahe hain...

SSSK – Erm… Sir, Sunny and Bobby kya kar rahe hain aajkal?

Dharamji - Woh dono... Apne ke baad main toh sapne hi dekh raha hoon. Sunny ho gaya hai funny. Bobby ka toh poochho mat. Bobby Deol se famous toh Bobby Darling ho gaya hai.

SSSK - But sir, Bobby's career is still going strong... he was seen in the recent Dostana...

Dharamji - Chih! Kya nonsense role tha! Audience is intzaar mein thi ki end mein pata chalega John aur Abhishek toh seedhe hain -- if you know what I mean -- lekin Bobby ka character...

SSSK - Sir!!! What are you saying???

Dharamji - Arre what am I saying? Even I thought that's how the movie would end! Didn’t you see his costumes in the movie?

SSSK - But the movie didn't end like that...

Dharamji - YEAH! And that just made it worse!

SSSK - Sir, pardon me but I think you're overreacting...

Dharamji - Overreacting? Overreacting is better than overacting! Yeh sab mera naam mitti mein milayenge. Soch raha hoon Abhay ko adopt kar loon... Ek yehi dhang ka Deol hai, baaki sab De-owl hain! Ullu de pathhe!

SSSK - Calm down, sir. Why don't you tell me about your new projects?

Dharamji - Projects... Oh yes. I am producing a couple of movies.

SSSK – Would you like to tell our readers about any of your projects?

Dharamji – Hmmm… I wanted to do ‘Main tera khoon pee jaunga’ with Sooraj Barjatya...

SSSK – Erm... how come Barjatya?

Dharamji – Oh, because he likes to make movies with long titles.

SSSK – Ah! That explains it. So how's the project going?

Dharamji - Project? Ha! He says to me, "Sir, main toh sirf clean family films banata hoon… yeh title family film ko suit nahin karega. Can we change the title?"

SSSK – So did you change it?

Dharamji - Change it?! Are you mad? The title is the main thing! It’s like my signature! What was he thinking? Bewakoof!

SSSK – Oh… any more projects, sir?

Dharamji - Oh yes, I’m making the prequel of ‘Kaminey’ with Ekta Kapoor.

SSSK – Prequel of ‘Kaminey’? Kaminey toh release bhi nahin hui aur prequel bhi ban raha hai? How interesting! What’s the title, sir?

Dharamji (shakes his head in disapproval) - Isn’t it obvious? Tum reporters bhi na... try to guess? It's the prequel to 'Kaminey'!

SSSK – Uhh…

Dharamji - "Kkuutte!" of course!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Worn out

According to a study, women spend nearly a year of their lives deciding what to wear.

Pick your reaction:

(A) Oh! (Typical guy reaction)

(B) No! (Typical girl reaction)

(C) So? (My reaction)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

You drive me cra-Zee!

Reason #37 why Zee TV frustrates me...

ps: I totally don't buy the 'The kid wrote it, that's why' theory. Anyone who watches this show will know that the character of the kid is smarter than the entire Zee TV team put together.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don'ts and don'ts

When I was a kid, Mom, in a bid to master written Hindi (she'd picked up spoken Hindi when Dad was posted in UP), had subscribed to almost every Hindi magazine there was. Manorama, Manohar Kahaniyan, Sarita, Sarika, and what not. Every now and then, I'd give them a read too. Of all, I remember Sarita very clearly, a Reader's Digest-sized magazine, which had the crappiest Bollywood section of all magazines, and yet I devoured it with gusto.

The magazine also had a feature called "Mujhe shikaayat hai..." ("I have a complaint...") where people wrote in to complain about other people's habits that annoyed them. It was very interesting to read that feature because every now and then I'd read something and go, "Oh, me too!" or "Oh oh oh I know someone who does this!" or "Oh no, I do this! You mean this annoys people??"

I have a few too. Here are the top five things people sometimes do that annoy me:

- People rubbing birthday cake all over someone's face
- People not telling their kids off when they misbehave
- People turning up late with no good reason
- People talking while they're brushing their teeth
- People scraping the cutting board with the sharp end of the knife

Contributions from bewdas are most welcome. Perhaps together we can put together a list of don'ts to follow, and in the process become better people (aka less annoying to others). :P

Monday, July 13, 2009

A thought-ful post

Lately, I have been thinking about thinking. Or in fancyspeak, metacognition.

Throughout the day, millions of thoughts race across our heads at breakneck speed, sometimes not even pausing enough for us to register them. There are the happy thoughts, and there are the not-so-happy thoughts. The older we grow, the percentage of the latter grows with us. There are a million things to think about, and not surprisingly a large portion of it is again, about thinking.

How much we think! Ugh.

What people in the past thought about us and what we thought of them. What they thought we thought about them and what we thought they about us. What we made people think. What people made us think. What people are thinking about us and what we're thinking about people. What people think we're thinking about them and what we think people are thinking about us. What people will think of us and what we will think of people. What people will think we will think about them and what we will think people will think about us. You get the drift. I could go on, but there are only three tenses. Of course, there's the fourth kind of 'tense' which is what listing all of this has made me. There's just so much unnecessary thinking. And no matter how many times we tell ourselves and the people we care about that it's not worth it, sometimes we just can't help thinking. 'To hell with it!' is an excellent strategy, but it does have its moments of failure.

Most of the time, it's easier when people just express the thoughts in the form of speech. Out with it. Over and done. But they don't. They don't and we don't and all of us just choose to clam our mouths and trap the thoughts in the head. For the better. To keep things cordial. Us confusing them, them confusing us. We don't talk, we think. Because talking would be worse. But sometimes, thinking is worse. To keep on thinking is even worse. Not only does it drive us nuts, all this thinking... is almost exhausting. But it remains, an essential part of human life, to think about things that are not worth thinking about, even though no one really likes to nurse an occasional migraine or two.

So, in order not to think, we do things. We do things in the hope that we can think about the things we're doing, and not think about the things we shouldn't think about. However, this only works if we're actually thinking about what we're doing, and not cheating our way through this solution. And then of course, there's the random wellwisher. One who comes along to invalidate whatever we're feeling with advice as moronic as, "Hmmm... Try not to think about it." Actually, that does give us something else to think about -- how to decapitate said wellwisher using nothing but dental floss.

Sigh. Thoughts. Complex words that do not have a speech bubble wrapped around them. Words expressed in a language no one can understand fully. Can't live with 'em. Can't live without 'em.

However, the best way to get rid of any thought is to blog about it. It's a tried and tested method. For some reason, it helps. Stops right there. We can carry on with life. And that's what I am trying to do. It's not like I have a particular thought in my head right now that's driving me crazy. It's the thinking about thinking that's driving me crazy. And I do hope that after hitting 'Publish post', I can stop thinking. About thinking.

PS: Any 'wellwisher' bewda will be dealt with using the famous thwack of Bhai's weekend edition rolled-up newspaper, or as Viv calls it -- 'weapon of ass destruction'.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dead uncertain

So I open a drawer and find a large dead cockroach with its head half-bitten off.

(No, I didn't scream or run away, I reserve that behaviour for lizards.)

I stared at the mutilated corpse for a minute like a psycho, trying to determine the cause of death.

It wasn't me for sure.

All right, what could it be?? Do I have something more sinister to fear?


PS: Viv thinks it must have tried to hit on a female preying praying mantis.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Come again?

While rehearsing for the dance we did for Shub's surprise birthday party, I realised that this song, even though featuring rather heavily in all our get-togethers, has actually never made it to 'Video of the week' at the bar. Before you do a double-take and yell, "WHAT? You guys danced at Shub's surprise birthday party??", take a look at the video. You'll soon be yelling, "WHAT? You guys danced to THIS at Shub's surprise birthday party??"

Oh the singing. The dancing. The lyrics. The movie title (Operation Diamond Racket). I have no words to describe them.

Presenting, bewdas and bewdis, "If you come today", second only to the legendary Benny Lava.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Second innings

"Hmmm... Aren't you going to work today?"

"Errr... It's Sunday."

"I know. But why don't you go to work today?"

"Because it's..."

Okay, you get the drift. This is a typical Sunday conversation between Mom and Dad. They are one of those typical Indian couples where the wife pampers the husband to the point where he can't do anything by himself, and then she complains that he can't do anything by himself. So on Sundays, when the whole world is relaxing, Mom's work doubles. Every half an hour, Dad wants either the newspaper, or a glass of water, or his glasses, or his slippers, or the remote control, and so on. And like all men, he is not equipped to see that all the stuff is right there in front of him.

And so the cycle continues, and so do Mom's brave attempts.

"Hmmm... why don't you go out and do some gardening?"

"It's mid-afternoon. It's hot."

"I know. But why don't you go out and do some gardening?"

"Because it's..."

Dad retired on 30th June after spending his entire working life in the same bank (do people do that anymore?). At times I can't believe my Dad has retired. I feel as if this doesn't make him old, this actually makes me old. Dad can never be old, he's always going to be this energetic guy going on his morning walks, and writing his columns, and gardening, and not to forget driving Mom crazy.

I sent him an sms today. "I'm writing a post on your retirement. Do you remember when you joined the bank?" The reply came in 10 seconds flat. "29 Sep 1973."

Holy cow.

1973. I looked it up. The year of Bobby and Zanjeer and Abhimaan and Anamika. (Yeah, this is how I "look up" things.) That sure was a very long time ago. 36 years straight. In the same bank. And we get restless and demand a long service award after completing two years in a company. How did they do that? How did they not get bored?

In a way, I guess it was because of the frequent transfers he had. There was always something happening. When I think of the frequency with which I was yanked out of one school and placed in another, I wonder how I coped. In the early years, I remember crying. I missed my friends, my teachers, my schools. I would write long letters to Grandpa listing all the things I hated about my new schools. He would, in turn, completely overlook the plot and mark up all the grammatical errors I had made with a a red pen and go through it word by word when I met him during the summer holidays. Sheesh.

And just when my letters would start carrying a little less anguish and a little more acceptance of the new place, school, teachers and friends, Dad's transfer order would arrive. Time to pack up. Time to move on. Time to start afresh.

In hindsight, it wasn't that bad. It taught me a lot of things, the most important one being -- nothing is forever. Perhaps, in a way, that also helped me pack my bags and move to a strange land at the age of 18, all by myself, with not a clue whatsoever of what the future held. It was just a natural progression of the change I was very used to.

But I wonder how Dad will cope with the new change in his life now. How will he take to being at home all day? Maybe he'll just fill the house with plants. Now that he's going to his own "I built it with my own hands" house, this green-fingered artist has the whole backyard as his canvas. Aside from the coconut trees growing there, he also has the bonsais he had made himself (yeah, he literally "made" the bonsais, and some of them are decades old). I remember him instructing the truckwala who ferried our stuff from one city to another, "Bhaiya, mere paudhon ko kuchh nahin hona chahiye. Ho sakey toh ek aadmi ko peechhe baitha do, pakadke rakhega." After we reached the new place, Mom would do a stocktake of how many pieces of cutlery she had lost to said Bhaiya's crazy driving, while Dad would do a close inspection of whether any leaf had changed in colour or direction during the arduous journey.

He sure was as devoted to his plants as he was to his bank. I remember one of those annoying uncles who crack really bad jokes (everyone has one of those, don't they?), "Sir, bank toh aapki doosri biwi hai! Heh heh heh!" while Mom and I rolled our eyes at each other and Dad smiled politely. But I'm glad I got that trait from him. That deep regard for work. I have been ridiculed because I truly deeply believe in 'Work is workship'. I know we don't stay in one company all our lives anymore so the sense of loyalty is different. But I have found a workaround. To shift that sense of loyalty from the organisation or the people, to the work itself. The actual work that you do. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what you do, and no matter how long you have been doing it. To take something up and do a good job of it. To a certain extent, that actually takes care of all the other negativities at the workplace that bog us down on a daily basis.

So, for someone like Dad (and me too), sitting at home doing nothing is not really an option. It's horrifying, in fact. We get too fidgety. In fact, a month ago he had asked me, "Can you go inside the Internet and find me a retiree-level job?" I like how he talks about "going inside the Internet". To him, the Internet is something that people go into and things come out of, like how last year "worms were coming out of his inbox" (virus attack in his office computer).

So Dad, maybe this could be one of the things for you to do -- go inside the Internet and learn more about it. Forget the retiree-level job. For now at least. Stay at home. But don't drive Mom nuts. The remote control is right there in front of you. Where it always is.

And if I could give you one advice on how to make the best of your retirement, it's this.

Start a blog.