December 31, 2014

The Beauty of 'Ugly'

Everyone has shades of grey (sic). How much grey till it looks ugly though?

Anurag Kashyap has called Ugly his darkest movie.
The greys are, indeed, dark enough to be ugly and painted with precise brushstrokes to make the art stay on your mind long after you have witnessed it.

The dark can't be seen into. It makes one blind, curious, or scared; sometimes all at once.
All protagonists in Ugly are blinded... by ego, rage, greed, lust, envy... mostly a composite of these to various degrees. Yet they're reaching for a common end, each in a uniquely twisted manner.
Whether they get there or destroy each other on the way is a thought that floats on till the narrative winds-up, after a series of acts that affect you... very much!

With the actors performing their best, smooth frames, and a background score that complements the story; Ugly is Beautiful.

Is a movie 'good' if it entertains you? Ugly won't. It will leave you disturbed. It may make you want to revisit your priorities.

November 27, 2010

The Journey... Chapter 1: The Beginning (part 2)

‘You don’t belong here.’

“Excuse me?”

‘Said what I see.’

“I guess. I’d rather hang out with a group of friends.”

‘What else would you rather do?’

“Sing, act, model…”

Another glamour bug. That’s what he called the wannabes... Bugs around incandescent light… or flames. Just that they don’t know the difference, and flames burn. None would live to see the day anyway.

‘So you are a glamour bug.’

“Excuse me!”

‘You want to be famous… want the lights on you.’

More likely she would be consumed by a light.

“Haan, I want to be famous. And I’m sure I’ll be, with my talent and the hard work I’m willing to put in.”

Don’t they all, love! Of course, with a little extra sometimes.

“What about you?”

‘What about me?’

“Like, what do you do?”

He was losing interest. Looking around. Looked back at her.

Long hair, doe eyes, a cute stubby nose… orange juice, about to finish.

‘Let me get you a refill.’

A part of him said get it… a small part.

A year later, Ron would realise he’d better not have listened to it. About half a minute later, he put another glass of juice in her hand. They touched, barely.

The other, bigger, part had told him to get away.

‘I’m with the ABB Group. I look after marketing for their electronic media.’

ABB Group is the largest media conglomerate in Eastern India.

“Wow. You’ve studied management and all?”

How intuitive!

‘I’m Ron, by the way.’

“I’m Priya.”

I know. Abhishek told me.

“Priyanka Gupta.”

Abhishek, who must be somewhere with his drinking buddies. Made a note to call him before leaving. Priya didn’t seem to know anyone else in the party.

Time to say the last thing. He wasn’t sure he should, sure it will work though.

‘Hey, I’ve to leave now. But I really don’t want this to be the one time I’m seeing you. Why don’t you have lunch with me tomorrow?’

For lunch on a Sunday with a dumb glamour bug, he didn’t need to work a better line.

“Okay.”

‘I’m glad we met, Priya. See you tomorrow.’

Glad he was, despite the uninteresting talk. Ron knew most of them at the party… Shook hands and moved on with his bottle of beer, until he met her.

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A façade as he sweet-talked through work. A façade he’d developed over the 2 years at IIM Bangalore. No friends… Acquaintances, at best… Most would trample you for a quarter of a grade point, much less a coveted job on campus… May be any job.

A sense of clinical detachment had made him survive. Reinforced, with work.

He liked wearing clothes to office his peers in suits craved for, handling responsibilities people half a decade older were generally considered. And then… there was the cold underneath.

What was said wasn’t meant. What was meant wasn’t done. What was done wasn’t meaningful or desirable… Or both.

Appearances mattered more than anything. And ‘I would do anything to…’ was not a line anymore.

Or may be Ron was just a loner.

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November 11, 2010

The Journey... Chapter 1: The Beginning

Ron and Priya

The Story of their Love

The title of the first MS PowerPoint presentation she made. He had shown her how to use the software. She was practicing.

Two people of different personalities.

Priya, a bubbly fun-loving girl. Ron, a typical IIM guy.

And now they’re together, enjoying every moment of life as it comes.

Ron saw the slide. Basic, she needs to work on fonts and background.

That’s what he would think if it read anything but this.

He just looked at the kid and smiled.

Priyanka Gupta… Priya… Khushi, as Ron called her...

She was always a kid to him. Starry eyed, with dreams to fulfill. Unpredictable, impulsive. All he had to do was take her in his arms for thoughts to melt away. But they kept coming back now. She was going through a rough phase. He tried to understand, help her work the way. He was so hopelessly in love with Priya though, might soon lose the objectivity that let him see through her fluctuations.

This was, of course, much after the beginning.

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August 2009. Aqua, the pool-side bar at The Park in Kolkata.

A late afternoon party Ron went to chill out and drink beer.

‘Abhishek… It’s good to see you man… Been long!’, formality to a rather boring acquaintance.

‘Hey… Hi’, a couple of fleeting words to the girl. She didn’t seem to hear.

“Let’s go get a drink.”

She stayed back.

‘Are you seeing her?’

“Not really, Priya is a friend from where I stay.”

Priya… Hmm

“I wish she was my girl though. Isn’t she hot?”

Ron hadn’t noticed her enough to qualify. Turned around.

‘I’ll just join you back,’… and walked towards Priya.

Long hair, doe eyes, a cute stubby nose… orange juice.


to be contd...

November 05, 2010

The Journey... Prologue

“Of course I want you to go, it’s a great move!”

‘You’re more important…’

“I’ll try my best to come, I told you”

‘Yeah, Delhi should be better for you too. Work… Music… everything.’

They went to Dakshineshwar, a Kali temple near Kolkata. He prayed for togetherness. Thought she did the same. Her eyes said it… Sad eyes. He didn’t want to leave. But she’d be with him soon…

That night, Raunak Basu came to Delhi.

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“You mean nothing to me”

Two weeks of trying to understand what that meant. She picked up her phone a few times, spoke in fewer words.

“I’m going to Patna for a while. Will speak to you tomorrow when I reach.”

Waited for it… Three days, four, maybe.

Hey number aata vyast aahe, thode nantar call kara (This number is presently busy. Please call after some time.)

She was in Mumbai… Why didn’t she tell him?

He called her more than a hundred times that day. She answered once…

“Ron, it’s none of your business. I don’t want to talk to you right now”

Didn’t see where this came from. Felt cheated and flawed, alternately.

More calls in vain… Vanity, expecting her to pick up…

“Must be cursing me for what I’m doing to you. Are you happy now that I’m crying here alone in misery?”

That one sms made Ron forget all his woes and think of hers.

“Look, it’s nothing. Said it just like that. I’m working with a production house here. I’ll call you tomorrow, low on balance!” And switched off her phone.

October 13, 2009

Random Musings 2

live like you have fifteen lives, even a cat has nine
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power is relative and can be transient... respect, on the other hand, stays
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different/ unique?
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some things are not possible, whoever said 'impossible is nothing'!
the key is to know one's own limits, and those of nature... one can defy neither... but therein lies our greatest ignorance
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can there be light? where's it dark anyway?
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wishes can be horses. do you deserve to ride them?

July 27, 2009

Random Musings 1

Innate style is rare... Most acquire it
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No matter how hard one tries, there's an indifferent limit to rising beyond one's abilities... Not living up even to one's natural abilities, however, is too common
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Impossibility is redundant... It's all about the wish
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Life has a purpose; but waiting for it to reveal itself, or even searching for it, is futile... Just live it well

May 11, 2007

Metro

Move over American Beauty and other narratives of dysfunctional societies, we have our very own Metro now.

Did you ever try that horse-ride in a sehra into a mumbai local station?

How about a 38 year old virgin who looks at a 30 year old virgin at the 'wrong' place, says he did so because he'd never properly touched a girl in all those 38 years. She rejects him because of that, by the way.

A career focussed guy twiches when the object of his affection sleeps with his boss in his flat (pardon the confusion about the male pronoun and watch the movie for clarification, at your own risk of course), but backs the boss. Promotions and venture funding are more important. Suddenly has pangs of conscience, doesn't mind the no money and no work, goes after the girl. Coincidentally, the girl realises she's found true love in him at the same time.

The wife feels so sorry that she almost slept with another man, while the husband has been fucking around without regrets.

A bunch of guys with heads full of hair break into song and guitar routines out of nowhere. I take a personal objection to that, and the hair. (the songs complement the movie's moods, true, but there are just tooo many of them)

(the scenes above are introduced in a random order, to let some interest remain in the movie)

Metro
actually makes for a good watch till the intermission. Beyond that, somethings go awefully wrong. You can see the movie wane, and what i mention below characterises the nadir.

Irrfan Khan conveniently walks out of his marriage to be; while Shilpa chooses to stay in a practically nonexistent wedlock, a bastard husband notwithstanding. So much for chauvinism! Feminist talk? Naah, i'm a plain individualist. But following one's heart doesn't mean stampeding on others'.

Mr. Anurag Basu, you got the idea just right. Stray stories, however, do not always interweave seamlessly. And when you try to force them together, they do not forge into an urban classic.