Wednesday, 24 December, 2008

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi: Duality in every aspect.

Many a times in life people want a second chance to create a first impression. To re enact situations, be a third person and like a self puppeteer, translate what is in your head to more appropriate action and dialogue.

Especially in situations when you are intensely attracted to the opposite sex, it is sometimes difficult to be natural when you are yourself, and easier to be what you would like to be, if you are aloof from the moment.

This was my constant thought while viewing Rab Ne Bana De Jodi. While some might find it difficult to digest SRK’s complete character switches, others will relate to the confidence that arises from anonymity.

If you just manage to wipe the sugar coating and filmy gloss, the script sounds twisted. Writing a review is more like doing psychoanalysis of this film. Like the time when a drunken SRK talks to the mannequin, reminded me of a T-Shirt quote, ‘If a person with multiple personality disorder threatens suicide, is that a hostage situation?

Through ‘Tanni’ (Anushka Sharma), Aditya Chopra mirrors the common longing of human beings to have a third witness to their innermost thoughts and through Suri/Raj (SRK) an even more complex mirroring of the desire to be able to catch the unguarded moments of someone else’s life.

Remember an oft spoken childhood phrase? “You go ask her and come back and tell me!” Rab Ne Bana de Jodi is like that. A spy game, where bollywood being bollywood, husband and wife are able to merge their dual lives and live happily ever after.

Also the film seems to have been made by two directors, keeping with the sense of duality throughout. One who kept the worn out Yash Raj banner flapping by throwing in typical long drawn out emotional speeches, with misty eyes and quavering voices and another who put in some lovely comic situations.

Part of the film is full of detestable clichés: The heroic bike scene, the fantasy of the city lights spelling out ‘I Love You’, the ridiculous Sumo wrestler scene and the Karan Johar-esque, grandeur of the sets, not to mention the predictable story that makes you cringe as you watch the film.

Yet there are many quaint bits that will stick in your mind. Like the pen drive around SRK’s neck attached to the laptop, like him fumbling with the Pepsi straw in the first scene, like him placing the rose at the breakfast table and shoving it back again into the vase, and many more that I have now forgotten. Of course the credit goes to SRK, for enacting even the most clichéd comic parts in such a fresh manner. The whole ‘Macho’ theory especially, had me in splits.

It reminded me of the time when we had just entered Junior College. Being the first to turn 16 and get a legal license (!) in the group, I was amongst the few arriving to college on a bike, necessitating everyone to take pillion riders on group outings. The raucous caused by the boys refusing to sit behind a girl and me firmly staying put on the front seat just to defy that reasoning delayed more than a few outings. Of course looking back now, a little less feminism and a lot more delicate behavior would have probably resulted in an earlier sex life, but then that’s what modern day education does to you. Let’s ideals cloud opportunities!

To get back to the film, 30 minutes shorter and it would have been a much better viewing experience. I enjoyed the kitsch of colours and language. Anushka Sharma as you will read everywhere has given a lovely debut, I am looking forward to her next film, so many newcomers turn out to be one time wonders. Vinay Pathak was a little underused, but will now be a staunch contender for all supporting roles I suspect. SRK is typical for most of the film, but the capsules of endearing performances peppered throughout are definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday, 9 December, 2008

Dudhwa 2

A picture is more effective than words and it is much easier showing you the beautiful forest than describing it. This is a horribly late entry, and although blogspot uploading SUCKS, I have no excuse. To read the first part go here.

With marshy lands as well as dense forest cover Dudhwa is a birders paradise. Besides the 500 species of birds it is home to endangered species such as Rhinos, Leopards, Tigers, Swamp deer (Barasinga), Bengal Florican and Black Necked Stork. Being as yet untouched by excessive tourism it is easy to feel one with the forest and notice small things like cobwebs, the lovely pattern of fallen leaves and twisted liana that caught my fancy.

I have already talked about the biting cold and lack of electricity. Such conditions for a compulsive bathing fiend like me are... well... painful. The water made your bum numb. There were people who were shit scared of shitting, for 6 DAYS!Believe me you do not want to live in the same room as them.

At 5:15 am the next day, I was surprised that we were actually walking IN the national park, something I could not do anywhere else. Narrow paths with towering elephant grass . An Elephant could be standing 4ft away from me and I would not know it. Every animal sees you, while you strain to spot one. I can proudly say atleast 2 tigers spotted me during my stay there!

Thanks to the cheap thrills of my sad life though, we hit a jackpot. I thought it would be fun to perch on the roof of the bus, completely forgetting how a continuous driving wind in this climate would make bodily functions like breathing null and void. Peering into the vegetation willing for some animal to appear Trish and I saw the ghostly golden form melt into the bush like magic. The leopard had been trying to cross the path to a waterhole on the other side, when our clanking vehicle disturbed it. For the rest of the day we had annoyingly smug grins plastered on our faces while the rest of the kids threw us envious looks.

Rhino's had to be seen on a perch of a different sort. I was on Pushpakali, whose mahout, Lallan was a peppery old man, good at spotting birds. A naughty baby tusker, Batalik, born on the day the Kargil war ended, followed us. Lallan kept throwing dirty looks at my handling of the camera. But for heaven sake!!!! Balancing in a tiny space 9ft above the ground on a bumpy elephant trying to focus your shot without crashing to the ground or dropping the cam is no mean feat. Especially as you will invariably find yourself on the wrong side of the Elephant with all the action happening the other side. Yet I managed that one decent one in the slide show above!!! Photography kills the naturalist in you, as I was soon made to realize. At first I used to reach for the binocs, but now I grab at the camera to capture through the lens, before observing with the eye. One may say that once the picture is taken it can be observed at leisure forever. It’s not the same thing. We used to jump out of jeeps, run down pathways or stay rooted to the spot clicking as many as 20 pics of the same creature at a time. Photography is like a drug addiction. You have to get your shot, and get it right or you get depressed and irritated. If you manage to get it, it’s the best high in the world.