Today morning I woke up to ‘Aaey mere watan key logon’, ringing in the background, while people paid their last respect to Shaheed Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan in Bangalore. I was moved to tears. I felt totally shaken, like I had been when I watched coffins after coffins of martyrs flown in from Kargil. It was grief, and it was anger – as I write this, I feel as I have felt at the loss of a loved one. Major, you fought for us. I salute your valour and your supreme sacrifice. Our warrior was brought home, dead.  There has to be a cost for it. People responsible for it must be made to pay.

 

I have been deeply disturbed by the tragic incidents in Bombay and the heinous crime perpetrated by the terrorists. Last 3 days have been nightmarish. Hoping every moment that the siege ends, lives are not lost and the brave hearts come out victorious, soon. Instead, news poured in every hour of innocent lives lost, NSG commandoes killed, policemen perished. Finally, its over. But the marks are visible, not just on the walls of the Taj but inside every Indian. It has left a blot on the face of our nation, on the face of our leadership. The whole incident reeks of impotence on part of our leaders and their inability to even provide basic infrastructure for fighting terror. Our commandoes were brought in to fight in BEST buses, with no map of the siege location.

 

Thursday night/Friday morning at around 3 a.m. my brother called from the US, worried about my well being and anxious in his speech. I had slept at night after seeing the news about some gang war near Kolaba. He told me that ATS chief Karkare, ACP Kamte and Vijay Salaskar had been killed. My heart sank. I knew this was big, a full fledged attack on Mumbai. Things that unfolded were tragic to say the least.

 

Definitely, its time to salute our heroes, shed a tear for them and their families. More so, it’s a time to introspect. For each of us. For every person who has felt a surge of passion for divisive poetry condemning the Muslims. And for everyone who felt a sense of purpose listening to acerbic speeches that further regionalism. It’s a time to think, and act and behave as a nation and stand united against terror.

 

I pray for peace to the families that have lost their loved ones, and once again salute our martyrs.

 

Jai Hind!

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It was after a long time that I was reading something in Hindi. I have been a great fan of Munshi Premchand even as a kid, and it was my hobby to look for his books (short stories series – Maansarovar). I especially did that on railway platforms while traveling in trains. In case you remember A.H Wheeler & Co.

 

Varun updated his blog with a series of short stories in Hindi. After reading them I felt I had been taken back to those days when words used to mesmerize me. Varun has written these stories in a simple language and as a reader comments – it is full of detailing. I recommend a read of these stories here. With no obvious connection, I am sure the underlying ethos of these stories is hard to miss. The stories assume more importance in today’s scenario when Batla House and Malegaon have become household names.

As a ‘Bhaiyya’ in Mumbai, I am asked by my parents with remarkable regularity – “how are things in Mumbai?” As if there was something terribly wrong!

 

With all the hype surrounding Mr. Raj Thackerey’s statements and the mob spill over in the streets, it was natural for parents back in UP and Bihar to be scared. However, there is no reason. Yet. Things are as normal here in Mumbai as they were always for me. That’s probably because I do not travel in local trains or buses – so I don’t even feel the little bit of heat that the issue has generated.

 

Once while traveling in a rickshaw, (on the day rickshaws were off the street for the fear of MNS) my rickshaw driver started talking about the issue. He said he was from UP and whatever Raj was doing was only politics. He said that it made only the poor like him to suffer. I started explaining to him a few things about divisive politics, about the similarity in the issues of “North Indians” being targeted by Raj and Muslims by his Uncle. And pat came his reply – “Nahi, Muslim ka toh karna padega nahi toh bahut blast hoga saheb”. He said it with so much confidence that I was shocked, and only asked him whether this attitude was fair if I was a Muslim from Bihar living in Mumbai. Double whammy!!

 

He did not say anything after that but made me think for sure. The attitude runs so deep down, that even when ‘we’ are being targeted ourselves, we tend to overlook how ‘we’ have been targeting ‘others’.

 

On a lighter note – The news is KRK’s (Kamaal R Khan himself) movie, Deshdrohi, has been banned in Maharashtra. If you have missed the promos of this movie, then you would probably not understand the gravity of the situation. This movie HAS TO BE SEEN by all! Why should people living in Maharashtra be deprived of this masterpiece?? This is discrimination. We as Indians should all be given a chance to see this movie and cringe – at how bad a movie can be – fighting for the cause of North Indians. Oh we can do better for sure J  Promos have indicated that this would be one serious competition to all bad movies made in the universe. I want to see it for sure.  And also review it.

 

I used to think that Mr. Nitish Kumar is sensible, after this, I am revisiting my assumptions.

My schedule today was pretty packed! Left office at 4 to make it to Prithvi for a play by Manav Kaul (Shakkar key Paanch Daaney, with Varun Bhai. Varun had the tickets done for the show long back, as he is quite a fan of Manav Kaul who’s ‘not yet’ a famous director – but all signs indicate that he will soon be. We then had dinner with Varun’s ‘writer’ friends – Rahul and Amit at a nice Bangali restaurant called Calcutta (or Kolkatta??) Club. After a feasting on Macher Jhor and bhaat and also some amazing kheer (I forget the bengali name – please excuse) we headed straight to Fame for a screening of Dasvidaniya. Varun had been invited by Arshad (has written the script) and we enjoyed the company of the full cast and crew of the movie. Yes! 🙂

It was sure a great experience to meet all of them – *Gloats*- Vinay Pathak and Rajat Kapoor included. 🙂

However, I started this blog not to tell you what I did this evening, but to talk about Dasvidaniya, and Shakkar key Paanch Daaney (SKPD). Overwhelmed as I may be with the company of ‘stars’ I will still try to give an objective opinion here.

SKPD is a really interesting play with an honest script written with a lot of heart. A single actor performance (by Kumud Mishra) tends to get boring sometimes with lack of drama, but SKPD keeps the audience thinking with some brilliant analogies and metaphors – and a steady dose of drama as well. Imagine (mis)leading a trail of ants with five grains of sugar. Life of a simple person, an average Joe called Rajkumar – Jo har cheez main bus ‘theek’ hai, theek.  And whose favourite words are ‘gambhir’ and ‘samasya’. The idea of the play was to show how small things, little thoughts, and insignificant people matter so much in life (like the grains of sugar)   that they actually dictate your directions. Just like Rajkumar dictated direction for the trail of ants!! An honest play which could have been better with better acting. Its a big thing to say for Kumud Mishra but I have to. Overall a good play, great script and a really interesting watch. As Satyadev Dubey said at the beginning – Movie reaches out to you, but you have to reach out to a play, to find your bit in it. I reached out to SKPD and managed to build a rewarding connection. And yes, I bought a book – ‘Tamas’ anad  Prithvi Pheatre Tee!!

Dasvidaniya will find its audience through word of mouth – I am spreading the word here – Please go for it. Its one honest hindi movie that you will watch in a long long time. Its different and refreshing. Tells the story of a 37-year pld unmarried man with a mundane life – who gets up everyday and makes a ‘to-do’ list. Whose top daily priority is as lame asgetting his geyser repaired and buying lauki. He gets his ass whipped everyday by his forever-in-eating-mode boss. The tables turn one day, and he makes another ‘to-do’ list, this time there’s N E H A in the list – his childhood love from Shraddha society Ville parle….. East. 🙂 The way Vinay Pathak finally ‘speaks out’ his love, standing in the rain – without words!! Oh my. I had a huge lump in my throat, and its yet to melt.

Among other things, Dasvidaniya is brutally honest. Acting by this band (they are mostly seen together – remember the Mithya gang??) is brilliant as always. However, I would not call this as Vinay’s best performance, he has done better, but one of his best definitely! Arshad is a young guy and the script seemed quite so with its freshness.(Despite people’s stupid comparisons with The Bucket List and Anand). Overall, Dasvidaniya seemed to have a soul to it. There are  moments in the film whichyou may feel have been dragged, but the effect in totality is amazing. Humor and Emotions – there is no better cocktail. Davidaniya was indeed a great Goodbye! Thanks for this movie – it may lead way for more movies with so much ‘newness’ to them. 

As a parting thought – SKPD and Dasvidaniya were similar in their concept, about little things guiding our common lives. Grains of Sugar in SKPD and the ‘to-do’ list (and dreams) in Dasvidaniya.

My ratings –

SKPD: 2.5/5 and Dasvidaniya: 3.5/5