Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dharm-The Review

Whenever I venture out to watch a movie by Pankaj Kapoor I have very high expectations off it. Dharm does not disappoint in any way. In fact far from disappointing it grips you and turns out to be the BEST bollywood product released so far in 2007. It’s the kind of movie that touches you, moves you, probably even makes you drop a tear or two and none of these are forced through melodrama or the standard emotional blackmail ritual that most directors and script writers resort to.

Dharm is a movie about this Hindu high priest Pandit Chaturvedi(Pankaj Kapoor) who is one of the most respected priests of Benares. He lives with his wife (Supriya Pathak) and daughter. One day his daughter brings back an infant home whose mother having asked her to take care of her child never returned. Pandit though unwilling to adopt him and willing to send him to an orphanage finally gives in to his wife and daughter’s undying love for the kid and hesitantly agrees to adopt him.

Slowly and steadily he too grows fond of the child and the kid(named Karthik) become the cynosure of all eyes in the family. One fine morning however their lives are torn apart when biological mother of the kid returns to claim her child. The cause for concern though is that the childs mother is a Muslim. Panditji and her wife are shocked out of their wits and hence he retreats into a shell considering the fact that having not only touched, but also brought up a Muslim infant in his family was the worst possible sin a pious Brahmin could ever commit and tries to cleanse himself. However the shouts and whispers and calls of ‘Babuji’ keep reverberating in his ears.

Dharm smoothly deals with many aspects and blends it all with aplomb to form this brilliant masterpiece. It initially talks about the just, pious, religious and yet caste conscious Brahmin priest who staunchly and almost blindly follows the age old traditions, values and ethics of his religion. It hence talks about the much talked about father-son bonding. Somehow I felt this was depicted in a very subtle and uncharacteristically simple and humane manner. You may actually relate a real life character to this very easily. Especially since it doesn’t involve grey cell crunching monologues professing undying love for one’s son or father. Lastly and most crucially the movie deals with the priest’s realization of his ‘grave’ sin and his attempt to purge himself. Hence it dawns on him that maybe.. just maybe religion is not only following the age old values and scriptures, but it also involves ‘Karma’. If a person is exposed to the evils of the society on the pretext of maintaining religious sanctity, there has definitely been a misinterpretation somewhere. This forms the core of the climax of the movie and it leaves you nothing less than spellbound.

Debutante director Bhavna Talwar and writer Vibha Singh deserve the highest possible applause and recognition for rising above the rest with a film of this stature. Supriya Pathak gives a gem of a performance in her role and Krishh Parekh is lovable in his rendition of Panditji’s son. Mr. Pankaj Kapoor, I have just two words for your genius: “Hats OFF”.

Dharm is a movie that I’ll recommend to each and every one of you. If you miss this, you will have missed if not ‘the best’ at least one of the top three movies of 2007 in terms of critical acclaim. Move over ‘Gandhi my father’ and ‘Chak De’.

My rating: 9.5/10

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Plagiaristic Asses!

Plagiarism has become the bread n butter of many a music director today. In the name of 'inspiration' and 'influence' and many more adjectives tunes and beats are blatantly flicked without even the consent of the original composer.

Such copies have been happening in our music industry right since the days of Bappi Lahiri(reknown for his inspiration from Modern Talking), Rajesh Roshan(loved Rednex a lot!), Viju Shah(an ardent Deep Forest fan) and Anu Malik(Influenced by Los del Rio to the Theme song of Good Bad and Ugly) to name a few.

Pritam Chakraborty.. the new age musical guru is the eptitome of such plagiarisms. The number of songs directly ripped of by him is quite a handsome number and will put even the most infamous so called music directors to shame. I found a really good website where most of his inspirational acts have been categorized and having heard through most of the songs here is a list which are definite copies!
In fact i later realised there is a comprehensive list in wiki itself under Pritam!!

Here is a list of a few songs that sounded like perfect copies!

Movie--------Song---------------Copied From

Dhoom--------ShikDum------------Turkish singer Tarkan's 'Sikidim'

Chocloate----Halka Halka sa-----Jesse Cook's 'Breeze from Saintes Maries'

Chocloate----Bheega Bheega------December by Abrar ul Haq

Chocloate----Zehreeli Raatein----Jal's 'Aadat'

Garam Masala-Chori Chori---------Dr Zeus/ Balwinder Safri's 'Hai rabba'

Gangster-----Ya Ali--------------Guitara's song, 'Ya Ghali'

Gangster-----Bheegi Bheegi-------Prithibi by Bong Band Mohiner Ghoraguli

Gangster-----Tu hi Meri Shab Hai--Sacral Nirvana by Oliver Shanti n Friends

Gangster-----Lamha Lamha----------Waris Baig's 'Kal shab dekha maine'

Woh Lamhe----Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai--Indonesian Band PeterPan's 'Tak Bisakah'

Woh Lamhe----Tu Jo Nahin Hai------S.B. John sung the same song in an old Pakistani film 'Sawera'

Woh Lamhe----Chal Chale-----------'A World of our own' by The Seekers

Bhagam Bhag--Signal---Trinidadian Soca hit, 'Signal for Lara' by Superblue

Raqueeb------Jaane kaise----------Amr Diab's 2003 track, 'Allem albi'

*Kaise Kahein-Aarzoo Hai-----------Aaj Abar by Bong Band Chandrabindoo

*to be noted he used to be a guitarist in the band Chandrabindoo before going solo as a music director in Bollywood.

There are more but few have been cleverly copied by him so that the resemblance with the original is not that evident to the amateur ear. Of course this only lists those tracks that have not been credited to the original artist by him. Recently after recieving lots of flak from various corners of the music industry he has recently given credit to the original music composers in movies like Aawarapaan.

However my point is if music from pakistan and middle east and God knows where all have to be COPIED why cant the producers simply approach them directly for providing music for the movies. I believe this act should be considered to be a crime and music directors copying music ought to be dragged to court and fined heavily for violation of music copyright..something on the lines that Sony Pictures Entertainment are doing by suing Eros Entertainment and K Sera Sera for copying the script of 'Hitch' in the movie 'Partner'. Hopefully this lawsuit will pave the way for more such lawsuits and hopefully a strict non-ambigous international law about plagiarisms.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Go Goaaaaaaaaaaaa

What had been projected as the mother of all trips with an expected attendance of up to 18 people, finally boiled down to just 6. taking two full days off in office wasn’t received too well with the gang n people had to back out(How much I hate the corporate policies!!!). anyway… I was on bench (Ha HA!! *wicked grin*) so my leave was never an issue.

The final six looked like this:

  • Rinky (Ashimaaaaaaa)
  • Swadhina(Mini B.)
  • Souvik(Khilli.. souvik it seems!! :P :P)
  • Avirup(Langto)
  • Dhruba(dadu….old fuck!)
  • Me of course :)

Well we started our journey at bangalore central railway station in a passenger train to Hubli. After some interesting sessions of dub charades that included movies like ‘baba’r biyete dadu’r krodh’ and ‘ho jo bo ro lo hajmola’ and a semi-good nights sleep {semi- cause rinki’s bunk supposedly had bed bugs!!} we reached hubli next day at 9. Luckily we got another train leaving at 9:30 from there to Margao!! The train which was supposed to reach at 2pm reached only at 5.. but no one was complaining much since the scenic beauty that we witnessed was breath taking. This train while ambling along the tracks through the mountains goes past “Dudh-Sagar Falls”(literally meaning a sea of milk). It is listed as India's 5th tallest waterfall, and is 227th in the world at 310 m. It is a tiered waterfall. The water plummets hundreds of feet in large volumes during the monsoon season, forming one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in Goa.The view from the train is spectacular and one will actually get half drenched if he stands on the door facing the falls.

Finally from Margao we took a bus to our first destination.. “Palolem Beach” in South Goa. We took one of the local rickety private buses. There is a different old world charm associated with such buses actually.. adds to the charm. South Goa in itself is a much laid back region without any major commercial encroachments. It’s the kind of place that perfect for a lazy getaway from a mundane and busy life in the city. However Palolem did not exactly turn out to be the way it had been projected by my friends who had been there 2-3 years back. Things had changed drastically more for the worse. The beach was pretty dirty with more cows and dogs than people!! August being Off-Season, the beach-shacks are simply taken off the bamboo posts by the owners!! It seems these shacks exist only between September end to march. Man that was another big shock. Nevertheless we took refuge in this dingy and cramped hotel suggestively named ‘Cupid’! After a brief beach bath (at 6:30 pm.. imagine how desperate we were ;-) ) in the fading light, we got ready for our first dinner. Now this was something we were all looking forward to. Being bong’s, there are two things we dig big time.. sea food and booze! I don’t exactly remember what the others had, but I had 2 large Smirnoff, 1 large signature, 1 vodka based cocktail again suggestively named ‘Love Nest’ and at least 2 large glasses of Port Wine. Boy we were smashed to bits after that dinner, but still managed to go to the beach for a light stroll with some stuff. Lighting up on the beach is always a serene experience and will remain so forever and ever. :)

Next day morning we took another bus to our next destination... “Benaulim Beach” again in South Goa. I had heard about this place from another friend of mine who was already staying there! We reached there around 1:30pm and immediately went for a bath!! Benaulim turned out to be a major revelation. The beach was perfect! It was clean with smooth fine sand and a very tumultuous sea with strong under currents. Not many people we had almost the entire beach to ourselves. We had a major ball bathing there. Even managed to make a sand-castle! We however faced a small hitch whilst making the castle; half-way while digging through it a small white crab wriggled out from no where and refused to budge from the castle. Sigh, the brave warriors that we were, we gave up our plans of finishing the sand castle and headed back to the hotel.

There a brutal shock was awaiting us at the hotel. No food is served after 3pm!!! Well we were all immensely hungry.. and had no option but to book a car and go out in search of food! We reached ‘Colva beach’ for a super late lunch at 5pm. We entered this place called ‘Kentuckee’ right next to the beach. It was the wisest decision in the entire trip probably!! The food at this place was out of the world! We ordered all possible combinations of sea-food! Prawns in peri-peri sauce, Butter garlic Crab, Shark in Rivado sauce, King fish Masala Fry and of course Port Wine to wash it down! I suggest all of you to try out this place if you are a sea-food fanatic! It was getting dark and the only driver in our group (Dhruba) had slight fever. So we decided to go back to the hotel. That night was again obviously spent in a half drunk, half stoned revelry!

In between our 'super busy schedule' of swimming, bathing and boozing we decided to dedicate one full day to sight-seeing. Hence next morning we booked a “Qualis” for a tour of North-Goa and Old-Goa. The driver was a localite named Marshall who made us listen to soft typical romantic Goan music peppered with lyrics of the like:

Roses are red, violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet.. but not as sweet as you!!!!!!

We later realized the reason when for the rest of the day he was seen chatting, blushing and laughing incessantly on his cell. :)
Our first stop was the ‘Basilica of Bom Jesus’ also called St. Francis cathedral. I guess it can intimidate anyone simply with its size, architectural grandeur and of course the presence of the body of St. Francis Xavier kept in well decorated casket. Its a photographers paradise for sure. Another thing worth a watch there is the art gallery with some eye catching paintings and photographs.
Next in line was the “Aguada Fort”. The fort was constructed in 1612 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. It is the largest and best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. It overlooks the Mandovi river and sitting on the walls observing the beauty all around is very peaceful.
This was followed by the much awaited “Dil Chahta Hai” Fort aka “Chapora Fort”. This overlooks in the south over Vagator, north across the Chapora river to Pernem and of course, far out to the Arabian Sea in the West. The view is splendid as usual(As in by then the boundaries between good, better, best had dissolved in me after having been to so many good places in such short notice).
After another hearty lunch we set out to check out the Beaches of North Goa, which are strategically placed one after another.. Vagator, Anjuna, Baga and Calangute. The first two turned out to be rocky beaches with not much opportunity for tourists to bathe. Baga was a super dirty, extremely commercialized beach. However I got a temporary tattoo done here, a silly looking on my left arm! Mini also got a nice butterfly tatoo done. Calangute beach was where we finally decided to tale refuge for the night. We stayed in Colonia De-Braganza resorts which was about 5-10 mins walk from the beach. This is one of the best places I have ever stayed in. It was basically a resort having studio apartments with proper drawing rooms, bed rooms complete with a fridge and TV and even a common swimming pool. All this for 600 bucks a room for 3!! That’s when we finally realized what difference off-season goa rates can make to your trip budget!!

During our stay in North Goa we had initially planned to visit Tito’s, the famous disc. However we realized that most of us were hard pressed for cash! The excessive sea-food and booze had taken its toll. :D Well unfortunately we had to skip that plan and resorted to making full use of the swimming pool, fridge(late night port wine) and Calangute beach (to light up of course!).

The following morning was our last day in Goa. We went for our last bath in the beach. Much to our dismay we were shooed off the beach by the life-guards who claimed that it was not a good time to bathe owing to strong currents!! Crestfallen we returned to out resort and fooled around in the swimming pool for as long as we could. We left Calangute at around 3:30 for Vasco from where we had our return train at 9 in the night. Our plan was to visit the places in and around Vasco before taking the train. However besides the Mormugao harbor the internationally famous natural port, there was not much too see there. We actually had nothing much to do for the last 2 hours there! However I had some shopping to do and that I very much did. I bought 2 bottles of port wine, 1 bottle of cashew feni and another of chocolate liquor to take some goa ‘spirit’ home. He he. :) I noticed an interesting thing in Vasco that I have not seen anywhere else.. 2 wheeler taxis! In a taxi stand, there were scores of Bajaj splendor’s colored black and yellow with drivers ready to take you anywhere in Vasco for a fixed fare!

We finally bid adieu to goa with a heavy heart. The return trip was pretty eventless. We played some poker which dadu managed to lose each and every friggin time! To add to his woes he had to act out movies like “Cinderella” and “Rumplestinskin”. The next time will try to visit goa sometime during the peak season. That’s gonna be a totally different experience all together am sure. Personally speaking I loved South Goa the most. It was not as crowded or commercialized which worked for me. For anyone visiting goa the next time do try to visit Benaulim Beach. It’s still a pretty undiscovered beach. The beauty and peaceful environment might just surprise you.

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