The ‘Talaash’ for a good, Bollywood thriller

The difference between a good suspense thriller and a great suspense thriller is that you can watch the great movie a second time and still have as good a time as you had the first time.
The kind of enjoyment you get the second time will be different from what you got earlier. It’s similar to solving a difficult Physics problem. You know, the kind that you could find in Irodov. You keep looking at the problem for sometime, re-reading it to see if there is a clue in the words that you have missed. If you get it, good. But if you don’t, apart from the disappointment of missing the obvious clue, there is a certain joy that you get on finding the answer. This is similar to the feeling on finding out the suspense in a thriller.
If it is a good movie, once you know the suspense you move on. There’s no real point in watching the movie again. But if it a great movie, you can go back to it and marvel at how you missed the obvious clues, hiding in plain sight.
Talaash is a good suspense movie. Well made, well acted and much better than most of the Bollywood movies that you will watch this year. What lets it down, and prevents it from crossing the thin line from good to great, is it’s script. It’s like it was written by someone who was doing a great job till he realised that he has ran out of time and still hasn’t figured out the answer. And therefore ended up taking the easiest, laziest route to the end.
It’s a shame because it could have been much, much better than it is. Till then, you can only keep waiting.

2LFT, arbit, Movies, music

(2LFT) Why do people like old, hindi movie music?

If given a choice between old and new Hindi movie music, most people will choose old Hindi movie OSTs.

Everyone knows people who start cribbing and reminiscing about ‘the good, old days’ as soon as another tasteless melody starts playing on the telly/radio.

Ever wondered why it may be so?

I mean, the amount of talent available across eras should remain constant, right? It can’t be that suddenly all the talent in the country disappeared with the arrival of the 80s and people started dancing to Ta-thaiya-ta-thaiya and other weird Jeetendra numbers. More so, the amount of talent on display should actually go up because of the various talent hunts that keep going on nowadays. Right?

My hypothesis: People are stupid (Fact). They don’t realize that as time passes, only the real gems created in a period would survive and the crap would get washed away. So the Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi stuff that you hear from the 60’s and the 70’s and are so in love with is actually only the good stuff that they must’ve sung. All the shit created in that period would’ve disappeared over time. So if you ever call the 60’s or the 70’s the golden era of Hindi movie music, remember that 50 years from now, the 90’s and the 00’s may also be called the ‘golden era’ (or whatever they call it then).

This hypothesis also raises an interesting question: Would the drivel that gets created today ever disappear? What with youtube etc. around to capture them and store them for eternity? Shouldn’t we do a voluntary purging (in the name of good taste) of the tasteless music that gets created these days and leave out only the good stuff?

Just wondering.

(P. S. 2LFT stands for ‘Too Long for Twitter’. Stuff that is too long to communicate in a couple of tweets. Basically,  a set of posts where I jot down whatever I feel like, without caring too much about it making sense. Wait. Isn’t that true for the rest of my posts too? :|)


What’s your language?

During the course of my arbitrary browsing today, I came across an article by Vikram Chandra in the Boston Review. Though Mr. Chandra’s motivation for writing the article came from something that would never happen to most of us (how many of us are likely to be accosted in a party and accused of writing books pandering to western sensibilities?), the feelings expressed in the article is something I have experienced many times.

I was born into a household that on a census form would undoubtedly be tagged as “Mother Tongue: Hindi.” But I called my mother “Mummy” and my father “Daddy.” They spoke to me in Hindi sprinkled with English. Sitting on my mother’s lap, I read newspapers in English. English was everywhere in the world I grew up in, and continues to be an inextricable thread in the texture of every day I live in Bombay and in India. English is spoken on the playgrounds, and we tell folk tales in it, we riddle each other and joke with each other in it, and we make up nonsense verse and nursery rhymes and films in it. Along with many other languages, it is spoken in the slums, on the busses and in the post offices and the police stations and the court rooms. English has been spoken and written in on the Indian subcontinent for a few hundred years now, certainly longer than the official and literary Hindi that is our incompletely national language today. I for one hear registers aplenty ringing away in it, and as it is spoken and written more widely, these registers will expand. A language is a living thing. A patois born in soldiers’ camps not so long ago became Urdu, whose beauty ravishes our hearts. To love Urdu for her low origins and her high refinements, for her generous heart and her reckless love, is not to give up Punjabi. What a mean economy of love and belonging it must be, in which one love is always traded in for another, in which a heart is so small that it can only contain one jannat, one heaven. How fearsome must be this empty land where each new connection must inevitably mean the loss of all roots, all family, each song you may have ever sung in the past. Any ghazal-maker, any Mareez, I think, would flee from such a hellish wasteland. But my region, where Kalidas Gupta Raza continues to sing his passion for Urdu, is different. If Hindi is my mother-tongue, then English has been my father-tongue. I write in English, and I have forgotten nothing, and I have given up nothing. And I know the tastes and quirks and nuances of my regional audience, of the people who live in the locality of Andheri, in the colony of Lokhandwalla, as well or better than any Bengali poet knows her regional audience.

I couldn’t help but feel that the first half of the paragraph above would be true for most of us. We grow up in such a bilingual state that sometimes it becomes difficult to clearly say which our language is. I mean, most of the people I know are well versed in two to four languages. As the author says in the article quoted above,“Now, in this, my region, it is very very common for a person to speak one language at home, use another on the street, do business in a third, and make love in a fourth.”

But still, when people accuse you, even good naturedly, of ditching your language in favor of the ”foreign” English, it can’t help but sting you a bit. Especially so when it comes from people you love. And even more so when the cause of the comment is because you like to watch movies and listen to music created in a western language.

Hell, does it even matter what language the lyrics of the song are written in? It’s true that not knowing the language can deprive you of the beauty of the lyrics, but so what? As long as the music captivates you, should you even care that you don’t understand the literal meaning of the singer’s words? In my opinion, a U2 ballad is as beautiful as a Sigur Rós song which is as beautiful as an A R Rahman composition.

Oh, you say you can’t sing along a Sigur Ros song if you don’t know Icelandic? Take Calvin’s advice and make up your own words!

I love loopholes!

Next come the movies. Just because I refuse to consume all the crap Bollywood throws at me, does it mean that I am an angrez? There are some very good movies produced in Bollywood as well as some outstandingly atrocious ones in Hollywood. The trick is to pick and choose your way through.  As long as the visual imagery captivates me, as long as I like the story’s flow, the language can be Klingon for all I care. If you are so worried about not following all the dialogues, just download a subtitle file. Who’s stopping you? And believe me, it DOES NOT make you look illiterate. Only more human.

Lastly, it does annoy me that the moment I try to write in my mother tongue, my hand wobbles like a newly born deer fawn. But it lasts only a few moments before it picks up the rhythm of old. It’s just that a decade of writing exclusively in the English Alphabet can be difficult to shake off immediately. Reading, on the other hand, poses no such problem. It is just that I’ve become so accustomed to reading in English that I don’t feel the need to look for something to read in any other language.Though this is something that I would love to do in the future.

So, if you are not watching movies, listening to music in languages foreign to your own, you don’t know what you’re missing. And you would be better placed doing these rather than telling me what I do and don’t do.

Sigur Rós

arbit, Funny/Humorous, Movies, Uncategorized

Sqrt(3) x Sqrt(3)

Imagine what would happen if one of the characters of XKCD jumps out of the frame and decides to propose to another?

How would he/she do it?

This is how.

I fear that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

As quietly co-waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed.

Kal Penn FTW! 🙂



Yesterday night DT and me were chatting about how we should ditch our jobs and start our own venture. And the first thing I could come up with, as soon as we had identified the sector that we could be in, was the Vision Statement of our imaginary company. 😀

Is something wrong with me? 😦

(P.S. Read an outrageously funny review of the “blockbuster” Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani here. Complete with extraordinary accompanying visuals. ROTFL)

arbit, Movies


The unthinkable has finally happened.


The only recourse that I can see now involves a lot of naare-baazi, striking work, burning of PMT buses and wrecking the premises of the culprit involved.


The “culprit” in this case is one of those 24×7 news channels. Not CNN-IBN, NDTV or one of the better ones. But one of those whose breaking news usually involves a congested nasal cavity of a member of the Bachchan clan and the like.


But what was the “crime” that has me so agitated?


It was midnight and yours truly was unable to go to sleep. You see, the after-effects of 2 years in b-school have not yet subsided. Since the laptop battery had already been drained off, the only recourse I had to pass time was surfing the idiot box. Between MTV and Channel V, a news channel was “analyzing” the to-be-released movie “Sarkar Raj”. Now everyone knows that the prequel “Sarkar” is inspired from “The Godfather”, with an almost one-to-one relationship between the characters of the two. Of course, minor changes have been made in order to indianize the story and the characters. Notwithstanding the painful “RGV ki Aag” and “Nishabd”, Sarkar can safely be attributed to as a proof of  Ram Gopal Verma’s genius.


Anyways, what the lady on the show was trying to do was to point out the similarities between Sarkar and the Godfather. Apart from the usual similarities between the characters, there was something that she said that is the cause of so much pain for me. She tried to show the similarities between the storylines, and in doing so said that in both the movies the younger brother had to kill the elder. WTF!


When the hell did Mike kill Sonny in Godfather? At first I thought that she is talking about Freddo being killed by Mike in the Godfather 2. But that was not what she was getting at, she again referred to the Godfather (part 1), later on in the show. If you haven’t read the novel (or seen the movie), then why don’t you just shut up?


Making up similarities between two masterpieces, just to fill up your airtime, is blasphemy.