Wednesday, July 31, 2002

It finally rained in Delhi today. Just this morning I was wondering how it was the last day of July and there was no rain in sight. All of a sudden the sky darkened and a cool breeze started blowing. After sometime the wind picked up sending the tall eucalyptus trees into a frenzied dance. For a while I thought the wind would drive away the clouds and the dry spell would remain unbroken. But the welcome pitter-patter of raindrops washed my worries away. In a few moments the rain was coming down in torrents and I did a ‘ghana-a-ghanan’ dance a la Aamir Khan in Lagaan. The smell of rain on parched earth was intoxicating and I gulped it in.
Having been born and brought up in Kolkata, the onset of monsoon was never a big deal for me as it always rained in Gangetic West Bengal even if there was a drought in the rest of the country.
So, this was an entirely new experience. After the long wait, today’s shower was indeed a blessing.
But, to my chagrin I later learnt that this was not the real thing. The precipitation was only a localized phenomenon and the monsoons were still beyond the horizon.
So, by the time I set of for office the sun was out again, but mercifully the sultry heat was missing.
When I reached office and asked the others if they had experienced the rain, a colleague turned around and asked incredulously, “Rain? What rain?”

Monday, July 29, 2002

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas gave me some food for thought besides a splitting headache and a bout of nausea.
1. If Bhansali’s film is supposed to be well-researched, then how come Aishwarya Rai — in the role of a zamindar’s wife — flings all inhibitions to the wind and launches into the “Dola re Dola” number with Madhuri Dixit, a courtesan of all people. I thought zamindar wives in those times would have been more circumspect about exhibiting their dancing talents so freely.

2. Why does Jackie Shroff’s character Chunni Lal flit on and off screen? Shouldn’t the character have been defined more clearly?

3. Why did the characters mouth all those inanities in Bengali? Shouldn’t the director have ensured that they at least they got the pronunciation right? And for God’s sake, Bongs don’t screech “eeessshhh” all the time!

4. Why were the sets so garish? Everybody was calling them ‘opulent’. My foot. ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ was opulent, this just showed a lack of good taste.

5. Also will Mr Bhansali ask his cinematographers to stop taking those bird’s-eye-view shots of whirling skirts. They had novelty value in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’. Now, they look repetitive

6. Can Shah Rukh please take a break from movies and spare us the irritation of seeing perfectly good roles being done to death by him?

7. I didn’t know that the red light area in Kolkata used to be lit up like Disneyland in those times.

8. Also, did you notice, Devdas seemed to be spilling more liquor that he was actually drinking.

9. If there is a prize for ‘Worst Adapted Screenplay’, then Devdas deserves it for perverting Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s passionate love story.

10. And what was such a pathetic film doing in Cannes. Wouldn’t ‘Chandni Bar’ have been a better choice?

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