of Balaji, Baadshah and Bangalore…

Thank GOD am not a believer….

Tirupati is a freakin circus. Thousands of people, whose ages vary anywhere between 6 months to 103 years, are sandwiched together daily in 6 feet wide cages for miles together with no emergency exits or cops or cell phones in sight. Move over, trapeze artists!

It is quite a sight – that teeny weeny ‘people’ bridge in the middle such vast expanse of land!


So what happens if there is a stampede?….there almost was one the other day…or worse, what happens when somebody has a stroke?…Then again, thats just the Rs. 50 queue. So it aint really important. I am told the Rs. 500 “V.I.P” queues are not so long….but hold on for a sec….who the fuck are you to decide that if I dont have the dough, I cant see my God comfortably?

moving on….Saw Jodha a few weeks back, at 9:30 in the morning!! I usually prefer my cinema later in the night, well after the World has called it a day…but my buddy had scheduling problems and so I tried a post breakfast thing…..aint bad at all!

I hate films with commentaries, or a placard at the end saying what happened to the characters, later in their lives…like anybody cares! Thankfully, Jodha dint have the latter….but the former was bad enough. My take on commentaries is that if you cant say it with your screenplay, you are probably trying too hard. The first 15 minutes of the film reminded me of one of my all time fav TV shows – ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’. I did not pay Rs.125 for that though.

Hrithik was awesome. He probably aint gay after all, like I had thought all these days. The man makes a fantastic Akbar. The scene with the elephant was pure panache.

Strangely, the thing I looked forward to most when I entered the theatre and the thing that put me off most during the film, were the same – Rahman. I thought the songs were brilliant and I found myself waiting impatiently for the next song, throughout the film. I almost jumped with joy when ‘Khwaja’ began. However, the background score was horrendous. It seemed as though Ashutosh’s brief to Rahman was “dude, just spray it. I want atleast 125 musicians jamming at any point of time in my film”. Not a single frame passes by in silence….and worse, the BG always gives away the mood of a scene, even before the audience enters it. Makes you yearn for a “Junoon” or “Last Emperor”, mid way though the film!

Ashutosh is an old school guy and I think I love him for that….but I think that also makes him a terrible maker of songs. He (and I think Mani also shares this vice) has an unexplainable urge to lip sync every vocal in a song. This gets pretty tricky when Rahman scores the music, because he experiments with multiple vocal tracks of the same singer in a song. The result – you have 3 qawwali singers in a scene, all singing different parts of the song at the same time and sounding suspiciously like Rahman!! Thats stretching it a bit, boss!

Ashutosh is also one of the few film makers around, who still believes in ‘goose pimple’ scenes. In ‘Swades’, it was the kid selling water at the railway station. In Jodha, its Akbar getting up to dance in trance! WoW!

I loved the film, though. I think I saw endearing romance on the Hindi screen after a long time. Yeah, it was simplistic and it was very long….but I guess thats alright. I loved the fact that the director did not for the most part, move away from the love story into anything else too fancy.

That night, I saw a bunch of film makers (including Ashutosh) on NDTV, defending their right to creative liberty in interpreting history for a film. While I have absolutely no insight into how much of this film is factual, I actually think their argument is pretty ridiculous. If you dont think sticking to historical facts is important for a film maker and if you want the audience to see this only as a work of art, then why bother calling it ‘Jodha Akbar’? Why not ‘Usha Rahim’?

moving on….sneaked in a bangalore trip a few weeks back….and did Purple Haze after 5 years! It was nostalgia all over again….the backlit jimi hendrix, the smell of a decade of pints and cigarretes, the big screen TV playing ‘comfortably numb’, the gobi manchurian and good old rock n roll. I guess somethings never change….thankfully!

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3 thoughts on “of Balaji, Baadshah and Bangalore…

  1. Most common comment is that Jodha Akbar is a waste of time – why waste about 2 weeks watching a movie! Im sure its not a total write-off though – and I am not sure I want to watch it either – might just turn out to be Soda Akhbar: All fizz, no sting!

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