Sunday, 20 April 2014

2 STATES - Enjoyable but too long

While Chetan Bhagat is no literary genius he is a great storyteller and definitely has a great sense of humour. He is also lucky his family hasn't disowned him or objected to being bandied about in his book. I remember Gerald Durrell saying in his subsequent book after "My Family and Other Animals", his sister Margo was often asked " So now, which animal are you?" So I feel any author who actually writes about his family albeit with lots of affection and absolutely no malice runs the risk of getting brickbats from his own family if no one else for writing about them so publicly.

But it is the honest simplicity of his story that I suppose makes him one of India's most read contemporary authors today. It is also the ordinariness of his life that makes his stories worthy of becoming movies. After the success of 3 Idiots and Kai Poche, it was only to be expected that one day the story of his own marriage would become a Bollywood script.

The Plot

So we have Arjun Kapoor looking decidedly ordinary acting as Krish Malhotra, the stereotypical IIT IIM student who falls in love with Ananya Swaminathan played by Alia Bhatt. As is to be expected, the two have an inauspicious start when our hero comes to the rescue of the heroine who is unable to stomach the slosh served as sambhar in the IIM hostel. Making it quite clear to Krish that she has no intention of falling for an IIT dude, the two embark on a simple friendship which deepens into love. Coming from typical Punjabi and TamBram families, the two encounter stiff resistance from both their families, the seeds of hate being sown at their very first meeting at the convocation. Such situations normally call for a runaway marriage, but our hero and heroine being honourable and respectful of their parents, refuse to take the easy way out  but work towards getting their parents' approval. So Krish relocates to Chennai to get to know his future in laws better and to ingratiate himself with the family that strongly resists him. But Ananya gets Krish to tutor her brother for the IIT entrance exam thus ensuring that he comes to their house every day. He also manages to get Ananya's mother to perform "professionally" at his Bank's function.  Krish finally gets a chance to break through his father-in-law's reserve by offering him help with a PowerPoint Presentation. With the barriers finally broken down, Krish proposes to all four of them, accepting the fact that he not only had to marry Ananya but also her family!

With one half of the battle won, it remained for his family to accept the "Madrasin" as she is referred to and Krish decides to take her home for his cousin's wedding. Ananya's visit to his home doesn't go down too well especially with his mother who feels that her son has been ensnared, but eventually her spirited confrontation with the the groom makes her a hero in Krish's family's eyes.

But both the families still had to meet! So the couple decides to get both families down to Bombay for a combined holiday. This proves to be a disastrous idea because instead of getting things sorted out, it actually makes things worse forcing the young couple calls  off their relationship.

Eventually Krish's father with whom he has a rocky relationship comes to the rescue and plays cupid and the couple manage to get married in a beautiful ceremony by the seaside.

The movie

Despite the brilliant acting by both Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, excellent support by the parents, great dialogue and an un-exaggerated account of the differences between the North and the South, the movie gets too long and tends to drag particularly with the song and dance sequences that could easily have been left out.

I also couldn't figure out where the Psychiatrist comes into the picture especially since Krish, who wants to commit suicide, eventually leaves the clinic with his twins, obviously pleased with the way things turned out.

The verdict

I was surprised to see this movie running to a packed house for a 9.30 Sunday morning show at Inox, particularly the large number of men in the audience, because even though this film tells a man's love story, it has a strong chick flick quotient. However, this is a movie worth seeing - well cast, well acted and tastefully done. 

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ladies who tea

Birthday Leftovers
Birthday Leftovers (Photo credit: yvestown)
Life completes a full circle. When we were little girls the only entertainment we were allowed to go to were birthday parties which were generally always tea parties. Of course we were never served tea but since we were out from 4-6, it was generally referred to as a tea party. Soon we graduated to school socials, birthday parties, jam sessions, dance/disco parties (as they were referred to), then dinner parties and finally lunch parties.

But now when most of us have developed appetites smaller than our waist lines, we have gone back to meeting for tea - after we've done with our afternoon siestas and when all we really do is catch up on  some conversation over a cup of tea.

So life has truly completed a full circle when we've once again begun socialising over a cup of tea!

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Congress Grass - Time to be weeded out

In the mid 60's when my father was posted to Pune's Military Hospital as a Dermatologist, he noticed that several of the patients had a funny kind of rash which they only developed when they were posted to Pune. On close examination and careful documentation, he established a link between the rash and a weed called Parthenium hysterophoros a weed which was hitherto unknown to the Indian sub-continent but introduced through the largesse of the PL480 program under which the US exported tonnes of wheat to the starving Indians. Unfortunately they also exported seeds of this weed which was instantly dubbed Congress Grass because it was so difficult to eradicate.

This weed is aptly named because like its namesake, the Congress Party is so deeply entrenched in our system that it is truly hard to weed out. I am totally disgusted by its Ad campaign on TV - touting progress to farmers, empowerment to women, electricity to every village and other lies - I mean they were in power for most of the time and they had promised these things every time. What were they doing all this while and why should we believe them now? Honestly even the haze of alcohol, the promise of my own house or even a mere sari or computer will not tempt me to press the button for the Hand that doesn't give but only takes.

It is high time we weed out this Congress that not only causes a rash of scams, ineffectiveness and nepotism but perpetuates a rule of dynasty and hypocrisy.

The time to weed out the Congress has come.

Cast your vote!