Sunday, October 25, 2009

"The Death of Indian Democracy"

Recently, the results of the assembly elections of three states are announced and as was being speculated, Congress won the elections at all the three places. Where in Arunachal and Haryana, Congress won with its head high after performing well in the last term, in Maharashtra, the victory for Congress didn't come due to their performance at the helm rather it came besides its performance which in no way was up to the mark.
Congress was up there in the government in Maharashtra for the last two consecutive terms amounting to a total of 10 yrs. There was a complete list of failures for the govt which were going against them and included the suicides of farmers, the meagre situation of electricity, the hiking prices, the terrorist attacks, and above all a double anti-incumbency. Despite all these factors and many more others, Congress led alliance managed to get the majority seats in the elections and are again forming a government for the next five years.
Watching the performance of the government the result of the elections must be bewildering but when seeking the answer to this bewilderment comes into the mind one question, whether it is Congress' victory or BJP's loss. Now, this is a very important question to be answered in the context of democracy in India. A government that has failed on all the posts for 10 consecutive years, if manages to be in power again is a serious question in itself to the democracy.
In a democracy, the government is, no doubt, important but the more important aspect is the opposition. Being people's rule, Democracy is not only about government being formed by people's representatives, but it also has to have a machinery that makes the government answerable to the public and this machinery is what we call the Opposition. In the path of constructiveness, criticism is the best guide. This makes opposition as responsible as and some times even more than the government itself.
In Maharashtra, if the 10 yrs of Congress governance have been bad the opposition is even worse. Except for protesting against the north indians, the opposition (paticularly Shiv Sena) have never been seen bothered about the policies of the government. If this was the scene in Shiv Sena, the other pillar of the opposition in Maharashtra, the BJP have been in a phase that is probably the worst in its lifetime. The internal conflicts that came so superficially in the party after the General Elections debacle has started to show its consequences. Losing Rajasthan, getting only 4 seats in Haryana and now failing to grab the golden chance of anti-incumbency in Maharashtra have all exposed the real status of BJP as a national party. Going with this speed, maybe I am exaggerating somewhat, in the next decade we are only going to see BJP as a party restricted to states like Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh only.
The most disheartening thing about results of this election has been the response of BJP to this loss. They have hit a new low for their standards here in being bad losers. Having lost such an opportunity, BJP is still not ready to admit to its failure. An important top national leader of the party Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, after the loss, is found on a national news channel saying that this EVM, the electronic voting machine, has become electronic victory machine. I don't know what he really meant by saying this. If he was raising the question of some technical faults then why not his party has got any benefits anywhere; are these faults predujicially engineered in favour of the Congress, I don't really understand. If this was not what he meant then it must be a question on the Election Commission itself and then it is even worse a situation.
The failure of the opposition to cash in on a golden opportunity like this and then not admitting to its failure is nothing but its failure in imparting its duty to the motto of Democracy. If this remains the scene in the country all the times, it really is nothing but The Death of Indian Democracy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inside Man

As far as my taste of movies are concerned, I am a big fan of suspense thrillers and have seen most of the films in bollywood of that genre and some of them from hollywood also (mostly the murder mysteries and the famous 50s 0r 60s black noirs). This film, Inside Man, is again a suspense thriller directed by Spike Lee but this time its about a bank robbery i.e. a perfect bank robbery.
There are times after watching such movies when I am left spellbound but watching this movie for the first time some 10-11 months back I was not only spellbound but was completely shocked. Since then I am thinking of writing something on this but everytime before starting I watch it once again and something interesting happens to me regarding my view on this film. This change of my views is so drastic that presently I am holding a view that is completely contrary to what I had when I first watched it. Well if that happens to everybody I simply don't know but this is a very regular affair with me. Very recently, I watched 'Perfect Stranger' and wrote a full blog of praise on that and now when I think of that movie, my opinion is a lot different than what was written by me.
Anyways, coming to Inside Man, I have already said about my experience when I first watched it. I was so overwhelmed by the movie that I right away watched it again. I was completely shocked right from the start of the movie. The movie started off with the audio of famous hindi song 'Chhaiya Chhaiya' in the opening credits. I was so shocked that I stopped and checked whether I was watching the right movie or not and found out that it really started with that and then provoked me to browse and search for details of this song on internet and found out that in an international poll conducted by BBC about most popular songs of the world it was 9th in the list.
Coming back to the movie again, the opening scene with Clive Owen introducing his character Dalton Russell was a terrific scene. What followed was some 2 hours of terrific screenplay and a suspense that was enough for raising goosebumps on several occasions. It looked to me a completely different movie with something really great in it. In very short, this was how I felt about the movie at the first sight.
Nevertheless, as I went on watching it again and again, my opinion kept changing. Now, when I think of it, it only looks to me as yet another Hollywood movie with NYPD and some private agent engaged in denying a holocaust; something like Volcano or Men In Black or Mission Impossible or the ever famous in India, Spiderman to name a few. Well in these cases there is somebody fighting against some paranormal power in order to save the city as well as his own pride. Inside Man also seems to be one such thing with one difference that here there is no paranormal power to fight with but again you have a paranormal plan of a bank robbery to deal with. You again have a hostage situation, NYPD officially entitled to deal with it but a private detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) is there whose job is at stake and has to crack this case in order to revive his career as well as marry his girlfriend and above all you have the extraordinary robbery going on.
These are only small points that I could recollect about this movie. All in all, for a first timer it is quite an entertainer as a suspense thriller. Clive Owen and Denzel Washington are good at their job. Jodie Foster' character is a waste and others have very little to do with this. Full points to the story and screenplay and direction is also above par.
For somebody who doesn't believe in putting much thought into movies, it is a great experience but somebody like me who thinks what was good or bad about the movie this is just another hollywood flick.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Wake Up Sid!!!

These days in bollywood, its becoming a fashion now for established producers to give break to new directors, the new age ones with serious talents and for these new age directors it again has become a fashion to bring to us a movie based upon the life of 21st generation youth, about their aimlessness in life, about their kinda weird approach to relations and towards themselves.
Now, since this is becoming a fashion it is getting somewhat stereotyped in bollywood for such movies. You have a handsome young guy in his cotton printed t-shirts and jeans, spending hours and hours in front of his Apple laptops and loves to feel the breeze over his face from the window and roof pan of his Honda CR-V and when asked about what he does, his reply is "I spend my papa's money." Now, to go with this son-of-a-rich-man, there has to be some rich man as his father to take care of the bills of his credit cards and who has, obviously, yet another story of starting his career with a ten rupees note in his pocket. Then, as he is worried about his son, the relationship between them is not a perfect one and hence as a link between the father and the son there has to be a cute sweet mom who wants to be her son's friend by speaking her tooti-footi Hinglish. To go with all of these there must be one chhotu to pull the curtains off in the morning when the sun rays starts disturbing that guy in his sleep; some friends at the college to pass his time off and make use of his credit card and above all one lady who is career oriented, has her ambitions in life and changes that guy, makes a man out of that boy.
Well, this story must have been looking like the first half of Lakshya but wait, this is Wake Up Sid, first-timer Ayan Mukherji directed new release from Karan Johar. This is the story about this stereotypical character Sid, Siddharth Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor) who says "who cares about tomorrow" and why should he if he has credit cards in the pocket whose bills are being paid without problems by his father. This wikipedia article gives the synopsis of the plot.
Even if the movie is a stereotyped bollywood new age film, it is fresh and doesn't bore you. The acting from everybody is simply perfect. Ranbeer is improving with every film and Konkana, with every film it seems that she has given her best but in the next one she simply outperforms herself and thats what she has done here too. It seems that if sometime she does underperform in some film then it would be the top breaking news on AAJ TAK. Anyways, Supriya Pathak, the Konkona of early 80s, looked too cute and sweet as the mom. Anupam Kher as the father is brilliant, of course, it is also obvious for him. The debutant director Ayan Mukheji's work is highly appreciable and for Karan Johar, I think its better to get out of Shahrukh's shade. I think he was ruining himself with Shahrukh Khan and his style of even more stereotyped bollywood dramas.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is refreshing and youthful. All the songs are beautiful and the one 'Iktara' composed by guest composer Amit Trivedi, the emotional atyachar fame, is the best for me. And then, once again, another of the 'stereotypes' of today's bollywood, you have some old numbers playing every once and often in the film and no prizes in guessing, yes, Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Ye is again there but this time with this there are some others also that includes Hemant Kumar's ever-beautiful 'Na Tum Hame Jano.'
All in all, a good movie that worths watching............................................

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Perfect Stranger

Perfect Stranger is a 2007 murder mystery starring Halle Barry and Bruce Willis. Going into the film, I had no idea what it is all about except that it had Halle Barry. Being frank enough, I was searching for some erotic scenes on Youtube and Berry was just a random choice from a whole bunch of Hollywood actress. I got to find some scenes involving her though not so erotic ones. From a not-so-large list of scenes I finally randomly selected Perfect Stranger and thats how I got to find this movie.
'Perfect Stranger' is about a secret and about how far one can go to keep a secret a secret. It is a suspense thriller with Halle as Rowena Price, an undercover journalist busy in getting interesting news involving secrets of some of the most influential people of the society. Dejected by the rejection of one of her such stories due to the infulence of that 'influential people', she leaves her job and incidentally meets her childhood friend Grace Clayton (Nicki Aycox) who hands her another interesting story about advertisement tycoon Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) whom she is dating with. After a few days, Grace is found brutally poisoned with belladona and then Rowena with her associate Miles (Giovanni Ribisi), a professional technobrat, starts her operation against Harrison Hill in order to collect the evidences related to Grace's murder and to prove that Hill is the offender. And with it, starts the whole series of physical and internet chat room disguises and leads to a highly convoluted storyline with a shockingly surprising ending that is worth kept secret at this place. I would certainly like everybody to watch it and experience the suspense themselves.
Well for me, the movie was a real good experience. I, being a fan of suspense thrillers, liked it very much. The acting by different actors is awesome and for me Ribisi as Miles, the hacker has done the best job with his role. The background score keeps very well alive the essence of a thriller. With the story line, there have been several reviews at different places like NY times, Metacritic, Rotten tomatoes etc. describing it as too convoluted to be good. Well, I was completely surprised by the story itself in the first place as I watched the movie but this comment in the reviews and the generally negative reviews were even more surprising for me. For me, it was just as much convoluted as a murder mystery should be.
Well, whike watching, I was being reminded of Basic Instinct sometimes but was only because these both are murder mysteries. Where Perfect Stranger is more about the mystery and secret, Basic Instinct looked more about sex and perversions much like the thrillers we have here in bollywood especially in recent years with either Imraan Hashmi or Mallika Sherawat or even sometimes both of these. Anyways, Perfect Sranger was undoubtedly better than both Basic Instinct and its bollywood counterparts.
I don't really understand what actually caused such a negative review about the movie but in my opinion this movie worths watching.......................