Friday, August 26, 2011

Harishchandrachi Factory--A must watch.

I love Marathi theater but I rarely watch Marathi movies unless strongly recommended by someone whose judgement I trust.Of late,Marathi cinema has been churning out mainly slapstick comedies ,not my idea of fun for sure.I have been delaying it for a long time but Natrang and Harishchandrachi factory were on my wishlist so I ordered both only to be informed that Natrang was not available that day.Late at night,armed with a big bowl of popcorn and a bigger pitcher of  lemon iced tea,we settled down to watch HF .And boy,am I glad I watched it?!Endearing,warm,so simple in treatment!
                                                  A biopic on Dhundiraj Phalke,the movie was much more than what I expected it to be.It depicts Phalke's journey towards making the first movie of India.The casting of characters was near perfect or so it seemed ,due to the effortless performances by the cast.Having seen a British 'moving image' in a local make shift theater accompanied by his elder son,Phalke becomes obsessed with the idea of producing India's first' moving image'.As always,this 'revolutionary' idea was ridiculed by the society so much so that his loyal friends drug his cup of tea to get him admitted to Thane mental hospital.(Is it that old!!) .Jobless Phalke fuels his idea by selling off his possessions .This scenario mostly in our potboilers is projected as a tearjerker and our so called actors ham through the scenes but not in HF.Here, the super cool wife and kids do not bat an eyelid and even end up joking about it.Particularly funny was this scene where  Phalke returns home to see a mourning crowd only to be told that they were mourning the selling off of a family cupboard -(kapaatache gelyaaache kadle ,meaning,we heard that the cupboard is no more).
The film very subtly ,in a flow, highlights the society and its beliefs back then.How movies were looked down upon,how difficult it was to convince women to act in theater and how men were trained to play female characters.The myths and fears attached to trains,the reluctance to shave off the mustache(even while playing a female) and many other things have added to the comic situations in the movie.
I loved Mrs Phalke's character- loving,cool,composed and hardworking.She is an ordinary woman with extraordinary faith in her husband's capabilities.The mood of the movie is upbeat throughout.The passion,obsession and one point agenda of.  Phalke along with his image as a family man is very well portrayed.Cookie and Muffin remained glued till the end without any demands of extra food,coffee etc and enjoyed the movie .
The movie will appeal to non Marathi speaking audience too, thanks to the subtitles.Planning to watch it once again.Very few movies do that to me.Simple, pure and delightful is how I will put it in a nutshell.A must watch!        

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Babe,Snake And Camping Fun!

Dazillion medical camps later ,as a student ,I decided not to be part of any more such non-productive camps.This was decades back and I am no student anymore so when a senile and overzealous social worker friend ( all of that and more in one person) emotionally blackmailed me ,I did the same to a bunch of other people (read-hobbs-the hubby,six interns from my clinic,three staff members and of course Cookie and Muffin as tag-essentials!) and we were off to a very remote village in rural interiors of Maharashtra.

Having spent 24 premarital years hopping from one city to another with dad in a transferable job, small towns and rural scenes are not alien to me but nothing prepared me for what lay in wait this time.We were received at the nondescript station by a proud,self declared, matric- fail ,'taempuwala'.After we loaded our physical selves into and all over it, our tempo looked like this: 
tempo-courtesy google images 

We were piled and arranged like sardines in the vehicle in such a way that the younger bodies fanned out of the sides of the tempo and this arrangement gave the young blood ,ample opportunity to outstretch their arms in air like Shahrukh Khan!

courtesy google images 
I am not sure and I don't want to know why they seated me where they did ,inside the tempo.Thinking  I was privileged,I had short lived tears of gratitude  before I disappeared beneath a pile of smelly backpacks.They even arranged the bags to leave enough air pockets for me to breathe.Breathing and moi are related  at strictly subconscious level and any consciousness in that regard leaves me breathless and I have advertised this fact far and wide for my own safety.Next 30 minutes,I braved  the olfactory onslaught of the worst kind.Air reeking of perspiration,BO,deo, garlicky   pav -bhaji and vada-pao from dinner the night before and what have you...The twenty somethings  held on to each other's halves inside the tempo while the other halves continued with the bollywood tamasha.I recalled the old Fevicol ad :

Two German doctors in the group looked like ghosts at the end of the journey and had to be brought back to the living world .It was just a tin shed and four brick walls in the name of school and it was the only one for miles together.The camp was productive and I am not saying that because I was part of it.It  was just a question of ready resources at that stage and manpower of course, and both we had in abundance.The lack of basic facilities was no laughing matter but in this case ,for city youngsters out in the wild for the first time, it was both,-unbelievable and unbelievably funny.While they jotted down notes for each facility or lack of it,they also exchanged hilarious experiences regarding the same.The enthusiasm was infectious and energy levels,an all time high.

Giggles (German import, giggly girl in short)as she was aptly called,suddenly could not be found and a frantic search ensued.Evening was weary and night fast approaching.Giggles was found stupefied behind the bushes where she had gone to ease her overburdened bladders.She was rendered speechless and stunned by  a kid-snake crawling away a few feet across.Cannon ( another German so named ,as she was always clicking with her namesake camera) slapped her out of that state and all was well .

Giggles could be seen helping around as we assembled bedding necessities  for sleep time, viz.mattresses, old sarees as bedspreads and searched for elevations of any kind on the walls and around, to tie the mosquito -net- strings ,(naada to be precise, borrowed from village belles :D) .When the nets were tied together in sequence and then the whole thing hauled together to be tied to the hooks,nails,chair handles and window grills,the actual purpose of it all suddenly dawned on the two They were absolutely 'in character',Giggles broke into peels of giggles and Cannon went berserk clicking.

Cannon clicked everything in sight from all possible angles, poverty excluded ,team yougistaan  made sure of that .On our way back,Muffin , my son and Cannon were spotted with   their object of interest in a gutter just outside the railway platform.It was a pig in all its guttered glory .

                                                            courtesy google images
Tiny Muffin refused to believe his mother when she said that ,what he thought of as a new  animal species,  was actually a pig.Now this pig was no Babe ,he was as Indian in character as they come..half -and-half. like an order of Pizza  ie gutter side black and other side grey/brown /whatever..The beautiful  image in his mind of a pig called Babe was shattered !

I consoled him and reminded him of another fact of life he had learnt not so long ago..that milk actually is given by cows ,so what if it comes in clean tetra packs to our homes.He still has to come to terms with that but he  thinks aaji's and naani's habit of getting up and pottering about the house at 4 am is cool.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

मंजिलें वही हैं ,वहीँ हैं

वो सबक ही नहीं , ज़िन्दगी की तालीम थी जानों 
बेबसी ये कैसी दोस्त ,रास्ता ख़त्म हुआ हो  मानो . 
एक कदम ही तो  पीछे हुए ,कदम थम तो न गए ,
हौले से चलकर छू  ही लेंगे आयाम  नए.


वे भागते हैं , भागा करें ,
हमें रास्ते रास आते हैं ,
मंजिलें वही हैं ,वहीँ हैं
अब पहुंचे , या तब पहुंचें  

क़दमों को आदत है ,भागें
नज़रें चाहती हैं ..ठहरना 
हसीं नजारों को चख कर, फिर पीना 
क्या हुआ दोस्त गर  तुम पीछे,वे आगे  

देर सबेर ही सही, वहीँ मिलेंगे  जब सभी 
तुमने ढूंढा, या मंजिल ने तुम्हें 
क्या फर्क पड़ता है,
तब.. या.. अभी -अभी .


Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to school!

Watched Stanley ka dabba on Sunday.What a delightful movie!The teachers in the movie, were typical school teachers and I remembered a few special ones myself.Hobbs(hubby) and cookie(daughter) also contributed, we had a late night chat session again, and my post was ready.:p
Mrs M ,the tenth grade math teacher,was a stickler for discipline and in-charge of uniforms.Now,everyone who has ever been to school, knows, that the time taken to reach school from home( five minutes or fifty,immaterial!) is more than enough for students,especially boys to have tucked-in shirts pulled out,trousers threatening to fall down,sauce dropped on the shirt,buttons broken and hair looking electrocuted.Post first recess,appearances are supposed to be ignored ,but Mrs M being who she was,picked on a particularly naughty tenth grade kid repeatedly.
"Why is your shirt out boy, tuck your shirt in now ,tighten your belt and make sure your hair is not unruly.One more time I see you like this,I will take you to the Principal"
That day,post lunch, in the Math period,the teacher was surprised to find only girls in the class.One by one the boys started trickling in ,"Excuse me miss,may I come in?" A nod from the teacher and the boy entered with a painfully slow gait and after a deliberate halt at the teacher's desk,took his seat.The  boy had wet- combed his hair flat on his scalp with a mid parting,shirt firmly tucked inside his trousers which in turn were held high by a belt almost on the chest.As the first boy took his seat,the second one asked permission,then the next and so on .They all had wet flat hair ,trousers riding high and shirt tucked -in.
                                                                       image courtesy google images
The whole foyer saw the scene and the Math teacher had no choice but to join- in the fun.

Once,Mrs. M found a boy emerging from the rest room (if they could be called that, in those days!)  his hair Mohawk styled.Her booming voice could be heard till the end of the foyer"Look at you,you look like a cock. One more time I see you like this,I am going to cut your cock- hair ".After the guffaws and giggles across the tenth grade foyer,she gave the next period off.
History teacher Mr.D,had devised a special method for himself to discipline the kids in his class.He would stand behind the child very quietly,rubbing his earlobes gently, without disturbing his teaching.The ears would feel hot after a while and turn a deep shade of RED from the rub.No,the student getting the rub was not exempted from writing in his notebook while being rubbed!Other students who laughed were next in line for the  'rub'.Not a rude word uttered , no caning or murga pose for Mr D.After the class, 'RED EARS' were tell tale signs of homework not done,'chitchatting' in class,diary not brought etc.The recipient rarely repeated his mistake.
Ms K was very fond of scribbling little complaint  notes in students' school diaries.From a benign,-chitchatting in class,looking out of the window and disturbing the class,homework not done,spilled water on the desk,opening and eating dabba in class(eating without opening?How?),to more serious ,threatening notes.
One particular note, worth noting, read thus,"Poking partner's bottom with rounder."The girl's mom, after a bout of ROTFL (in the privacy of her room of course) had a tough time searching for words to write a suitable apology.It was easier calling up the aggrieved party and share a good laugh with that  parent.The two girls concerned, were busy gossiping on the other line ,injured bum forgotten!
That was years back,when teachers could take the liberty of disciplining the kids.The system had its own pros and cons.Now even a stern word can have the parent approaching the school administration to lodge a written complaint.Those days,parents hardly bothered and now parents are a bother.Today,new age schools with hi-tech teaching aids are churning out smarter kids, but in general I find that flair for writing largely missing.The advantage of the new system is, letting them think on their own about an answer to a particular question and not binding them to someone else's answers.Once I was surprised  to find a one line answer in Muffin's book.It was a personal response question .
Q: Do you think miracles exist?What do you think about miracles?
A: I know miracles do not exist so I do not think anything about them.
The teacher marked the answer correct and respected my boy's opinion.Had he been  part of a regular school ,I am sure I would have been sent a note and he would have been chided for the 'cheek'he had!

By the way, we have many late night laughter sessions but this one was slightly different .Muffin could not believe that I was a naughty kid  and could play pranks.I have to correct that ASAP.
Did not realize, when my serious profession took over my personality.Planning fun things for coming long weekend in August is top priority now.Any ideas?  


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