December 28, 2010



In the Hindu way of life, there is a belief that what you do on the first day of a new year, keeps recurring (in an exact or similar manner) all through the year. Year 2010 proved that right for this blogger! I began this year by watching the film 3 IDIOTS on the 1st of January. What followed was a yearlong viewing of some amazing films, topping it all with a bumper month in December! I’m sure I missed out on some gems, but I’m glad with whatever I could manage between classes, assignments and exams. Mentioned here are short comments on all the new movies I saw in 2010:

1) 3 Idiots
An endearing story of belief, friendship and bonding that stood the test of time. Directed by the man behind the Munnabhai films, Rajkumar Hirani, this one had everything going for it! From an amazing script (written and revised diligently by Abhijat Joshi and the director) to an encouraging yet taskmaster of a producer (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) to a brilliant cast (with Aamir Khan’s star-power and histrionics adding to the galaxy of performers)! It was the ideal combination of Bollywood masala (replete with a rain dance routine!), emotional saga and brains (real gizmos from IIT).
My only grouse with this film is a small detail which skipped the eye of the assistant checking for continuity. The scene: Javed Jaafri is being threatened with his father’s ashes being about to be dropped in the commode. In one shot, Sharman Joshi drops the lid of the container in the loo. Few shots later, the utensil is returned to Jaaferi, with the lid back on it!:-P!

2) My Name Is Khan
A sappy yet topical KJo film that I took my parents to watch on their wedding anniversary! Review can be read here…

3) Teen Patti
A promising idea which was failed by it's lack luster execution.

4) Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge
An utterly emotional and sweet family film, without the usual OD of melodrama! Took my Mum along for it, review can be read here…

5) Inception
It was G’s ‘goodbye’ film! Review can be read here…

6) Udaan
A lovely work of art showcasing Vikramaditya Motwane’s passion for story-telling. Kudos to Anurag Kashyap for backing it! My favourite part is the climax which shows the power of education and how knowledge can be used for making our lives so much better, emotionally!

7) Peepli (Live)
A telling commentary on our times and the state of our lives. Acute portrayal of manipulation by the media and effects of unemployment. Hats off to Anusha Rizvi for the crisp script and direction. Songs of this film were an absolute winner, too!

8) Tere Bin Laden
The sleeper hit of this year! The film undertakes many political issues which are treated in a light yet impressive manner of story-telling.

9) Robot

10) The Social Network
The less said, the better! Brilliant examples of super-smart and sharp writing which shines through many of the dialogues in this film.

11) Do Dooni Chaar
HABIB FAISAL! OMG! I can’t stop gushing over him and his craft! This is an extremely endearing, warm, sweet and a very identifiable film.


I was really looking forward to watching Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se, Guzaarish, Band Baaja Baaraat and Tees Maar Khan. Saw all of these except the last, because I realised in the nick of time that Shirish Kunder is a hopeless story and script-writer. Wish he’d stuck to only editing reels! As for the others…

Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se
A sad attempt by Ashutosh Gowariker to give us a slice of history. This film could do with a lot more sincerity and an interesting screenplay. I went to watch it in its second week and there were only 5 people in the theatre to begin with. When the film ended, there were only 2 people left, one moi and and another old bearded man!

Saw it immediately after KHJJS…within a gap of 10 minutes! This was the film’s 3rd week and there were about 50 people in the hall…not bad for a film declared as ‘flop’! My main aim of watching this film was to see an SLB work on the big screen. I wanted a sense of his craft and relish the colour pallet he employs. Of course, he has publicly proclaimed that he is drawing more inwards now and therefore the visual splendours of a Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or Devdas will no more be presented to us. My bad luck for not having seen those on the big screen!
This film is a warm tale of struggle for survival propped up by restrained love and dedication. I came across many people who didn’t like it one bit, and others whose heart-strings it chugged. To each his own, then!

Band Baaja Baaraat

OMG! I LOVE THIS FILM! I COULD DIE WATCHING IT! My original intention behind wanting to watch this film was Anushka. Yeap, that’s right! It’s her that I was watching out for! While the promo of this flick was not well-cut, I was super-tempted to see Anushka’s expressions on the big screen. And boy, what a PATAKHA this girl!!!

Anushka, Ranveer and Maneesh Sharma are the B-E-S-T things YRF have offered to us is a REALLY L-O-N-G time!!! Possibly the last time I was super-impressed by a YRF offering was Chak de! India, and that was certainly very long back!

A big round of applause for Habib Faisal for the brilliant screenplay and scintillating dialogues! Perseverance pays..and his stint at YRF is an excellent illustration of it! From patiently writing script/dialogues for some of YRF's lousy and expensive films...his patience paid and he got the perfect opportunity to showcase his skill with the words to us in BBB! Apropos!

BBB has the crackling mix of a realistic story, brilliant screenplay, crispy dialogues, fantastic execution and an absolutely stunning cast (lead + supporting). Nothing to complain about in this flick! I’m sure you get the drift…I seriously can’t stop hyper-ventilating about it!

The best thing about 2010 is YET to come, though!!!!!
Thanks to a tweet by Rajeev Masand, I stumbled across this Bollywood-lover - who understands our films in ways we don’t even imagine them to be! I have fallen in love with this Lady, and don’t be surprised if my posts in the future keep referring you to her posts!

October 7, 2010


Enthiran has hit the bulls-eye in south Indian territory with visitors thronging to the theater like crazy. Most are, of course, fans of Rajnikanth and his antics, the remaining minority is rooting for the special effects. Being the costliest film made in India, it’s also been dubbed in Hindi as Robot and has garnered quite a few accolades across the country. 

The blogger would not like to ‘review’ the film as that is something each viewer can take an independent call on.  Instead, mentioned here are some random stuff that were noticed while watching the film:-
  •    For a 10:00 am show at Big ODEON, Connaught Place, New Delhi, there were barely 7-8 people in the hall. In south India, it is running to packed houses in its second week, too.
  • The lyrics and dialogues of this version have been done by the supremely talented SWANAND KIRKIRE. Of course, his talent is amply wasted. The lyrics are written just somehow to mean like the Tamil ones. Sadly, he couldn’t have come up with better stuff in accordance with the melody, since that wouldn’t then suit the picturisation of the song. 
  • Dialogues of the film have no notable features. In fact, at many places, literal translation and technical Hindi has been used. It leaves one wanting for a more casual translation. Worst case in point: “kritrim shukranu” [artificial sperm].
  •  Superstars can’t do without a moral lecture, can they? Well, somewhere they need to ‘give’ a message to their loyal fans. Rajni’s robot does it towards the end while dismantling himself!
  •  The lead characters zoom around the city in a swanky Mercedes convertible, WITHOUT putting on the seat belt. THAT, actually, would have been a better coded message to give to the million fans who may otherwise be errant car drivers and passengers.
  •   Lots to write about Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. OOPS! ‘Bachan’ is how they spell it in the credits, at the very beginning of the film. If they had to make such an expensive film, the least they could do was to get the name of their female lead right! One wonders, why is SHE there in this film? Many reasons, actually. 

  • It’s better to have someone 37 yrs old rather than a 20-something opposite a hero who’s a senior citizen! Hers is a face well-known in across the breadth India, as compared to say, Shriya Saran, who was Rajni’s co-star in his last film [Sivaji] is 23 years of age and known mainly in Tollywood. She also quite fat, just as they like it down South. [yes, there is a scene done just for showing her cleavage…]
  •  What is it with Ash’s walk? Can’t she EVER walk straight? Those exaggerated hip-swaying movements only make her posterior look broader than what they already are. Her tummy fat is quite obvious in most of the outfits.
  •   In the first song, she dons a beautiful chiffon saree with an ill-matched blouse! Though, it’s only in the songs that the designer has either goofed up or played with a wild imagination, especially in an OTT song called "Kilimanjaro-Mohen jo daro"! For her outfits in rest of the film are quite nice and pleasant, suiting her character and location.
  •  Being a medical student is good enough. WHY was there a need to show her cheating in the exam and then blatantly lying about it? That, by the way, is an excellent un-coded message to give, no?
  •  Last bit on her… looks like she’s been put there to dance [which she does well] AND so that they can unapologetically refer to her beauty whenever the need arises! Her “blue-eyes” are mentioned at least FIVE times!
  • Sun TV’s logo glares into our face. The producer didn’t wanna give up that ONE chance to show off his company’s diversity!
  • People move in and out of that Chennai Dumping Ground, even searching through the trash, WITHOUT a mask around their nose…ew!
  • The much-talked about climax of the film is an OD of SFX and some conceptualization behind it. But, honestly, nothing strikingly ingenious about it.

The director of this tech-fest, Shankar, is being touted as India’s Cameron. The blogger doesn’t agree with this line of thought. Somewhere, ‘Avatar’ rang a bell which is not the case with 'Robot'. Excellent graphics n special effects make not a great film.

October 5, 2010


Touch Me? DON'T Touch ME!

It is all around us, yet we tend not to ‘see’ it. Certainly amongst the most common topics to be brushed under the carpet is the sensitive issue of Child Sexual Abuse [CSA]. Such a touchy topic is being broached on this space for the first time. CSA is a social malaise, rampant not only behind closed doors of so-called ‘secured’ set ups, but also just about anywhere else. It mostly goes unreported, and there are many reasons. The victims are ‘sush’-ed into silence by the intimidating perpetrator, or are simply too ashamed to talk about it. In India, the relationship between children and their parents is quite affected by notions of ‘hierarchy’, often dissuading the victims from sharing their experience.

The perpetrators of this heinous crime usually tend to be someone close/ known to the victim. This makes it extremely difficult for the child to either protest or disclose it to the parents. Children of both sexes are equally prone to being abused. Despite lack of conclusive data, the number of victims comprises more of girls. As matured individuals, the usual stance is that the child should immediately report any such abuse. This is easier said than done. The honour-shame complex runs deep and the un-sureness of positive action also dissuades the child from reporting the crime. Even if the child takes the courage to confide in parents [or someone else close], many refuse to believe it and simply chide the victim away. This may do intense damage to the psyche of the abused, leaving an impression for the life time.

A more practical solution is [and this is a heartfelt request by the blogger] that youngsters should have a chat with their younger friends and cousins about “good” and “bad” touch. It is also important that young children in the family are taken into confidence, and encouraged to clearly spurn any advances as well as report it. Also, male kids need to be sensitized about such issues, so that they don’t grow to be future perpetrators of this heinous crime. 

At an older age, support is essential to rid the victim of any guilt that they may be carrying from these childhood scars. It is preferred that victims reach out to sensitive individuals who can be a trusted confidant. One may avoid disclosing it to their partners, unless doubly sure of support from them. It is extremely important to think before one “reacts” to such disclosures, as it could be hurtful to the victim. The worst reactions include – “You must have enjoyed it too?!”, “Couldn’t you have reported it?” Such callous statements may leave painful gashes in the minds of CSA victims.

A child is still an immature individual, not knowing all “right” from “wrong”. It is NEVER their fault. Child psychology is exceptionally complex and cannot be explained in passing. If you can’t help, it’s better to stay SHUT than make the victim feel any worse.

Recommended Reading: BITTER CHOCOLATE, Pinky Virani

July 23, 2010

Reversal of the Real

Dreams have always been a fascinating area of concern. From Freud to Nolan, people can just never get enough of fiddling with dreams! This movie has generated many kinds of noises around it. The blogger will keep this feedback short and crisp.

It’s a well-conceived movie woven around the concepts of ‘shared dreaming’ and ‘dream extractors’. We don’t know how much of it is true, but everyone will have their concerns! It’s a leap of faith to share your dreams. And dreams have the ability to become your personality, to define you. The power of the sub-conscious mind is a risky terrain, not to be treaded by the faint-hearted!

This film deserves a watch, not just for the stirring concept, but the ability of the director to keep you engrossed with the characters [all convincingly acted] and their mind games, across various levels of DREAMs!!!

Sweet dreams, anyone?!:P!


The Salaam Baalak Trust is an NGO working for the rehabilitation of orphans and juveniles. The blogger visited their centre in Paharganj area of New Delhi. This one is housed in a rented space on the 3rd floor of a DDA building. This building also has other offices of similar organizations. This particular centre has 40 boys in the age group of 6-14 years. They come from variedly underprivileged backgrounds and their upbringing is undertaken by the SBT.

 The    children live in-house in a dorm. There is a computer centre equipped with 14 PCs and classes are regularly held for the children. There are various educational posters adorning the walls. There is an entire show-case dedicated to the various achievements of these kids. There is also a shot of the child who had a role in the ROAD MOVIE, along with its lead actor Abhay Deol and the director Satish Kaushik. One of their star children [now an adult] Vicky Roy has achieved accolades for his photography. He even had a show in New York. That poster is up too, to serve as an inspiration to the children.

The main drive behind the initiative is to make available to these children most of the available faculties for an all-round development. Their background should not be a hindrance for a brighter and better future! When this blogger went there, with a group of ladies, the children performed various dance pieces. 2 of them even sung songs for us! One of the dance items was a very well-choreographed and fairly rehearsed piece on the song ‘BUM BUM BOLE’ from the hit flick Taare Zameen Par.

Many years ago, this blogger was a part of a short X’mas skit done for a group of children from SBT. They must be all grown ups now, but it felt nice to renew the connection with SBT. Hopefully, there will be better associations in the future.

In Search...

Smt. DAYA BAI is a fairly well-known social worker having a long-standing association with tribal people in Madhya Pradesh [now Chhattisgarh], India. Her journey to reach where she is currently, was not an easy one, in the least. It has been an exploration of her inner self, her search for ‘light’, the true path, her calling. Almost70, she humbly admits, she’s still looking for the purpose of her life. That is an astonishing admission from someone with a body of work like hers. But then, it is the journey which adds meaning to life, and not the destination itself!

On the 10th of July 2010, she graced the weekly meeting of SPICMACAY and shared her experiences with us. It was inspiring to hear about the dual pursuit driving it. One being the welfare of tribals, and the other, her continual search for a purpose. It is the latter search which has shaped most of her life experiences. As a septuagenarian, there is undoubtedly a lot she has been through. It is her journey, and never-say-die attitude that made this interaction most memorable.

Despite hailing from a well-to-do family in Kerala, she was not spoilt. She has a twin sister and at the age of 3, she moved from Cochin to the state of Travancore. She was there till the age of 15-16. In her house, inhabited by members of a large extended family, she saw untouchability being practiced. That difference between ‘us and them’ was what struck her, and it was her trigger, the starting point. Five of her aunts were nuns, and that inspired her. She went to the convent too, but did not become a sister.

As a child, she heard a song in Malayalam on the life of priests [missionaries] in north India. “I wanted to be like that, carefree and devoted.” Then she told her family about it, but had health problems. Hence, she made herself “tough”, and then applied and got through the training centre in Hazaribagh, Bihar. When in the campus, she saw tribals doing menial/servant jobs. This shattered her dream and broke her into tears. Then she realized, this was not her vocation!

During the period of her training at the seminary, a sense of sensitivity emerged. On Christmas, hordes of tribal people came from far off for the Midnight Mass. Seeing them, she couldn’t stay in the convent! After the next day’s prayer, she took a resolution – to finish her course, and at the end of it, if she had even a bit doubt, then she won’t take the promotion.

And that’s how it was to be. She finished her course and moved out, did odd jobs to get an experience on the field, and to find the ‘purpose of her life’. She did a BSc from Ranchi. There was one Austrian Sister running a school-cum-training centre for tribals in Chhattisgarh, and she went to her. But, she was given a job in another school. In search of light, she worked across places, including at MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY during the cyclone. So, basically, being in the social work line, she applied for MSW at Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, while she was on field in Bangladesh.

Her application was immediately accepted due to her vast on-the-job experience. But the course, fashioned largely on European and other non-Indian lines, with its strictly academic focus, did not appeal to her. Here too, she considered herself a misfit! Somehow managing to finish the first year, she left on her journey again, this time working in Maharashtra and Haryana. Eight years down the line, after two syllabi revisions Field Work was introduced in the course. And then she returned to do her 2nd year!

It was during the field work for this course that she went to Chhinwada, to do her study with the people of Gond tribe. After random unwelcome experiences, she finally established a bond with the people, due to assistance during childbirth to a tribal woman. Apart from being a voracious reader, she’d previously done a course in nursing too! After having submitted her final paper, she came back to this place. But her attire drove the women away. They weren’t used to draping their saree around a petticoat, unlike her!

But Daya Bai-ji had her trust in God. The village could be reached only by walking a stretch of 23kms through the jungle. People of the Bhil, Saam and Gond tribe lived together in relative harmony and no one was literate. The World Bank had forcefully made them take loans through the local banks for ‘development’. Cheating was rampant in this and the Gondwana tribe had become dehumanized. She was shocked out of her senses when one tribe/ village senior referred to themselves as ‘jungle ke bandar’ [monkeys of the forest]. She was determined to bridge the gap between ‘us and them’.

She came back there for Christmas and started with doing labour and earning with them. Then, by trick, she saw the records on papers and told the people about how they were being cheated. This was in 1981, and she began her participation with spreading awareness about labour ill-practices. A school was set up and a well was dug. There were night classes held for adults, to whom the first word she taught was हक़ [haq, right]. Letting her creative juices flow, she taught Fundamental Rights by means of songs and stories. This launched her active phase and gradually the inferior feeling amongst the tribals started to reduce.

After laying the foundation, she moved on to tackling environmental problems like deforestation and hybrid seeds. Her current focus is on organic farming, planting trees, organic manure [humus], water harvesting by building bunds and diggings pits, etc. A believer in ‘practice what you preach’, she does not use tap water, for it always results in wastage. And, she left the use of soap and toothpaste right after her course at the seminary. She also established a now successful self-help group amongst the women there.

She has received many awards in recognition of her work and is well known in the Kerala press. But progress breeds enemies too. She has many blockages planted in her path, having been tortured by the police, her teeth-broken for filing an FIR and mocked at in the court during a trial. Currently she’s fighting a case against her, which has reared its head after three years. She has published a collection of her poetry and her biography has been penned and published in Malayalam.

By her own admission, she is still searching for the ‘purpose’ of her life. Her journey is an inspiration for everyone, to contribute their bit towards a fair and just society. And, the search continues….

May 28, 2010

Meeting a Madman


How often is it, that we meet people who are classic examples of something?! They are the near-ideal types of a certain stereotype. And what’s better, they even actively justify their position! Consequently, they unabashedly admit to being stuck in a mould, and are very comfortable in their ‘frogs in a well’ condition. Today, this blogger happen to meet one such person!

When it comes to career choices, ‘tradition’ defined success as “qualifying IIT” and “clearing UPSC”. The former meant cracking the uber-tough IIT-JEE, ticket to India’s premier engineering institutes, and latter, becoming an administrator, a somewhat cushy job with official and unofficial perks! This ‘tradition’ still holds VERY true in most parts of this country. Boys [more than girls] are indoctrinated since their tender childhood days to have ‘IIT’ as their target. There are factories set up sleepy towns which unfailingly churn out ‘success stories’ of those who’ve ‘cracked’ it! There are, of course, those who inhabit the periphery and milk moolah from this mania.

Another national hobby is to appear for the awfully famous ‘UPSC’. These set of exams are a window to the almost-good life in INDIA!:P! Not to forget, it surreptitiously authorizes the grooms to demand a hefty dowry in the marriage market. People throng the ‘centres’ of ‘preparation’ in major metros. It has also given rise to a whole industry of ‘coaching classes’ which ‘excel’ in producing ‘toppers’. Everyone’s got their own claim-to-fame students whose passport-size photos are proudly pasted in news-paper advertisements once the final list is announced!

The IIT ‘preparation’ failures lose only about 2-3 years of their early adulthood. The ‘UPSC’ candidates have a bigger window. Their prime is spent in attempting the UPSC and other states’ exams right across till they cross the age limit or finish the stipulated number of attempts. Lucky are those who crack ‘it’ in their first or second attempts. The rest, are…well….just fooling themselves! These ‘traditional’ career choices draw hordes of students to them, in the greed of bettering their life conditions. Very few amongst these are those, who are truly passionate about engineering or being efficient administrators.

The person I met today, is a school teacher in a tier-two capital city. His son qualified for the JEE this year with a rank in the 4900s. He is jubilant! They intend to let him opt for any faculty in the IIT-D campus so that…here’s the big part…he can ‘prepare’ for UPSC!!! [yeah..RIGHT!]

When goaded by the blogger, that once in IIT, it’s a little difficult to devote time for UPSC preps, the teacher replied, My son is a different kind of a guy. He can study for 17-18 hours. Sometimes, even more. Delhi has better options in terms of coaching classes. And he has very few needs. I am sure he’ll be able to manage. And this is what he wants to do, too.”

He went on to humbly rave about the students he had taught. Their success stories in the nationally dreaded ‘board exams’. How his son is highly ‘obedient’. His children do most of their communication to their mother. “A little bit of “fear” is necessary in the minds of students”. And then, very politely, he exhorted my kid-cousin to study hard, so that he can make it to IIT. [HAH! Like there is no better job to do!] By his own admission, We still have a traditional mind-set”.

The resort to ‘tradition’ traces its roots to Indians being highly ‘security-conscious’. Risk avoidance is considered an art, taught right from child-birth. Though, a large section of the upper crust is now exposed to other available options, most of the rest still bask in their ability to fit in the mould. We are hence, mainly content consumers and don’t make much contribution in return. Stifling creativity to trade it for ‘assured-jobs’ has many side-effects. The preference for ‘traditional’ choices has spawned a whole murky network of ill-equipped colleges, astronomical tuition and donation fees and a whole range of wheeler-dealers posing as ‘consultants’ for facilitating admission in mofussil colleges.

As soon as the teacher left, this blogger couldn’t help blurting, “HE IS A MAD GUY! HE RUNS A SMALL-TIME FACTORY AND PRIDES IN THE FACT THAT HE IS PRODUCING ASSES!when said in hindi, this sounds fairly polite!;-)! this, followed by the kid-cousin being assured that he should opt for what HE wants to do, and not what the other so-called well-wishers nee ‘failures’ want him to do. Poor kido, burdened under the unfulfilled dreams of others…not getting to live his own dream!

Disclaimer: this post does not intend to discredit those sincerely passionate students who opt for either of these career choices. it's meant...err...only for the dumb clones!

March 12, 2010



The film begins with elaborate animated sketches talking about interesting and humorous
stuff. The story-line is simple and there are not too many twists and turns. Of course, beneath the perceieved simplicity lies a sharp depiction of today’s times. We have the quintessential urban couple, both of whom work and have a small child. Their life is sufficient, and gets upturned with the arrival of a ‘guest’.

What ensues are sweetly funny moments. No over-the-top comedy for this one. It believes in restrained humour and succeeds in that attempt. Director Ashwini Dhir has done a good job with the visualization of the scenes. The association with Warner Bro.s has been highly beneficial and can be seen in the neatly animated scenes which intersperse the narrative. Some scenes are shot from unusual camera angles, and have the viewer glued to the screen.

Being inspired from a story of the famous Hindi satirist SHARAD JOSHI, there is a take on the major controversies of recent past. It is, of course, done subtly and do not fail to tickle the viewer. For example, reference to medicines having animal fat and bones, ‘savitabhabhi’, the goon financing a movie, kitschy film set and many more! What takes the cake, though, are the songs based on old hindi songs’ tunes. The best is the ‘bhajan’ which is set on the tune of a recent and popular item song, as is often seen in the real world too!

Styling of all the characters is very well done. They seem utterly identifiable and there is a healthy combination of reality and exaggerated imagination. All the actors have played their parts really well. My Mom especially LOVED the acting of Konkona SenSharma!!! Also, Commendable is the acting of Ajay Devgn, who manages to do a very convincing job in this ‘regular’ role, with his average and usually brooding face!

The larger theme of the film does not get lost upon the audience. Yes, a lot of today’s people may find it boring. But, if you appreciate subtlety and gentleness, this film is worth a watch. It also mirrors the common sentiments of today’s urban populace on various levels.

Kudos to the producer Amita Mangat for undertaking this job at such a young age. And she’s humbly added a ‘thank you’ in the beginning to the entire cast and crew for finishing the whole film in 4 months flat. Now, that’s impressive! The blogger could not help noticing a senior from College doing a bit role in this film. She’s Mansi Multani, last spotted in a smaller role in PYAAR IMPOSSIBLE. I hope her next film has a longer role. Long time before she does meatier stuff!

दिल तो बच्चा है जी ...!


The famous literary genius Gulzar needs no introduction in India. And after ‘Jai Ho’ getting the Oscar in 2009, he doesn’t need much of an introduction in most parts of the world! This blogger had the blessed opportunity to be in his august company [with a host of other people] at an event in the national capital.

The Delhi University South Campus organized “A DAY WITH GULZAR SA’AB”, hosted by their INSTITUTE OF LIFE-LONG LEARNING. It was an apt choice of personality in keeping with the spirit of the Institute. Gulzar Sa’ab truly embodies the spirit of ‘learning’ in every sense of the word. An unassuming man of small height, he was simple dressed in a crisp white kurta and white pants. Not entirely devoid of colour, he teemed these with golden mojris having long pointed toes.

The event began with an introduction by the head of DUSC suggesting of Gulzar Sa’ab being a ‘mathematician’. Interestingly, this professor then went on to prove HOW Gulzar was actually a mathematician, albeit in poetic terms! ! The most touching part of this talk was the ‘turning point’ mentioned by him. It was Tagore’s poem “THE GARDENER”. Gulzar Sa’ab’s voice is very composed, grounded, as of one who has seen a lot in this world. This rich experience though does not prevent him from maintaining a child-like inquisitiveness and being a perpetual student.

The blogger noticed the deep respect he has for stalwarts of Hindi cinema whom he holds in high esteem and touched his ear-lobe every time he took an important name. He admitted to considering Bimal Roy as his ‘guru’ and narrating why he does so. The lucid, crisp and interesting description of his journey through the alleys of literature and cinema kept us all spell-bound.

This was followed by a panel discussion on “THE WORD AND THE IMAGE: Cinema, Literature, Culture.” For Gulzar Sa’ab, definitely, the ‘image’ comes first. This can be clearly understood while studying his lyrics as well as films. The word is a mere medium for articulating the thought process. Cinema is a medium that communicates through images. He compared his state to that of a lid on a boiling pan of water. The steam compels you for an expression. Expression arises from the desire to share and there is immense beauty in simplicity.

Being a creative person, he is beyond fixed domains. Artists cannot be, or rather should not be apolitical. As members of society it is their duty to express via art, and provoke too! The subjects of Gulzar Sa’ab’s movies, stories and poetry are a testimony to him practicing what he preaches! The discussion was so riveting, that the entire hall was on their feet, applauding for this greatly simple man. And yes, for the second time ever, this blogger gave a standing ovation to the ‘man of the day’.

Post-lunch, there was a poetry reading session. This definitely had the most heart-wrenching moments of the day. The layers of meaning, evoking vivid imagery and deeply sensitive themes, all tugged at the listener’s heart. Gulzar Sa’ab also has an admirable sense of earthly humour. लाजवाब चुटकियाँ लीं उन्होंने!!! His unassuming and humble demeanour are an important component of his ethereal charm.

To borrow from one of the speakers, this interaction was not just about that facet of Gulzar Sa’ab which is today best known. It was also delved into the realms of History, Economics, Mathematics, Literature and the indomitable human spirit. Gulzar Sa’ab brought with him this aura of positivity and calm. It was a fairly small [around 150-200] crowd and most, if not all, were charmed by his unassuming sense of humour and simplicity!


Rang BARSE!!!:D!!!


Holi is an important marker in the Hindu calendar. Different parts of the country have various significances associated with this date. But, for a kid…it is…simply… The festival of colours!!!

This blogger has tried to be at a different location for Holi every year, for the past couple of years. It always is a pleasant experience because EVERY place has its own unique ‘feel’ of Holi!!! This year, we headed to the famed and haloed campus of the JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY, New Delhi for being coloured!!!

It was an entirely dry ‘playing’, except for being sprinkled with some water by a young cousin. The festival had a somewhat ‘grown up’ feeling for us this time. It felt great saving a lot of water by not playing wet Holi. Of course, that also meant not having too much of residual colours on the skin!

While heading back home, we shared the auto-rickshaw with a Professor from Poland. He was all ga-ga over the festivities and colours! Someone told him that THIS playing in the campus was ‘civilised’. And he was wondering how would ‘uncivilised’ be then! Well, I gave him ample examples of how rowdy and crude could it get!

In conclusion, we had a nice, short and sweet ‘Holi’. It was truly 'RANG BARSE'...and no 'bheegi chunar'!!! NOTHING beats the Surat experience, though! The options for next year are
already being contemplated!

PS: That guy was a Prof. of Sociology and Anthropology!!! Yes, we had common stuff to talk about !:P!