Monday, June 20, 2005
Everybody has done it. From Rabindranath Tagore to Anjan Dutta (via Bappi-da), Bangla lyrics set too Western scores is hardly a novelty in Bong music circles. While Tagore chose to Bongofy Auld Lang Syne, Dutta's oeuvre includes the Janis Joplins and Bob Dylans. I, Tridib Sen, decided to do the JJ Cales and Eric Claptons. Here's my Bangla version of the cult hit "Cocaine".
Tui jabi to ja,
Ja bokhe ja,
Ganjar kolke de taan,
Kor modira pan,
Tui ekta aasto dab,
Bokhe ja: Go astray. Usually used in the generic sense, as in “bokhate chheleder dal”.
Bhoge ja: metaphor, Go to hell.
Ganjar kolke: Marijuana bong.
Modira: wine, strong spirit.
Pan: verb, to drink. Not to be confused with the noun form, which is a betel leaf preparation that is chewed and then spat out.
Intel: Not Santa Clara-based chipmaker, but a shortened form of the French “intellectual” (pronounced, aa-tel, in a nasal tone). A tag usually acquired in college by dabbling in Leftist literature, world cinema, alternate rock and marijuana.
Aasto: Whole, uncut.
Dab: literally, green coconut. Metaphorically, a stupid person. The allusion is probably to the green coconut’s smooth exterior and its similarity to a brain without any ridges, signifying stupidity.
Khokon: Common Bong nickname, like Tapan, Swapan, Hada, Bhonda, Nonte, Fonte etc.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Shit Happens II: Revenge of the Defecators
Plot Summary: Bananaskin Styworker is drawn to the Dark Side of the Force because he feels the Redeye Council is full of shit. Shit hits the fan after Bananaskin crosses over to the Dark Side. Betrayed Redeye Knights suddenly find themselves neck deep in shit. Even as the other Council members are shitting bricks, Redeye Master OB Van Canopy goes in search of Bananaskin. On finding Bananaskin, OB Van Canopy proceeds to kick the shit out of him. Left for dead, Bananaskin manages to survive, only to be resurrected as Turd Raider.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Watch out! Hollywood, Hong Kong-made flicks are back to make big business. And leading the charge is Kung Fu Hustle’s lead actor and director Stephen Chow. Nearly 30 years after Golden Harvest Productions unleashed Big Boss Bruce Lee on Hollywood, Chow’s intelligently-made Hustle makes the audience sit up and take notice. Of course, in between there were the Crouching Tigers and Rumbles In The Bronx, but then you could hardly call them genre-defining. Chow, of Shaolin Soccer fame, not only succeeds in transforming a regular kung-fu caper into a highly stylized martial arts flick, but manages to raise some genuine laughs with his brand of risqué, sometimes slapstick, humour. But, what Chow particularly excels in is the art of spoofing: lampooning everything from Gangs of New York to Kill Bill, Matrix, even Spider-Man. He even gets a character to say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Chow’s use of special effects is also artful, but not overwhelming. In fact, there is a brilliant slow motion sequence in which two assassins with the power of decapitating people with their music stalk their victim. You can hear the faint strains of the stringed instrument in the background as you see stuff falling apart, flower pots breaking and other scenes of mayhem. Then, a cat jumps off a roof. As it disappears out of the screen, you see its shadow being cut into two and blood spurting out. Chow doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to making fun of the entire martial-arts genre. So, you have one of the villains bloating up like a big, fat toad as it attempts to fight in the “frog” style. A real fun watch, made more enjoyable by the fact that the guy who’s calling the shots understands the grammar of filmmaking as much as he seems to know the art of kung-fu.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Ek machchar aadmi ko hijra bana deta hai. The import of this Nana Patekar one-liner hit me today. I was doing my daily quota of yoga, practicing some breathing exercises to achieve a relaxed state of mind, when all of a sudden there was an ominous buzz near my left ear. My peace of mind was shattered. I jumped up, ready to “strike down with great vengeance and furious anger”, not unlike the scripture-spouting Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction. Pure bloodlust took over. I employed the Five-finger Palm Exploding Mosquito Technique, honed over the years in the sultry confines of the city that inspired The Calcutta Chromosome : A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery. But, try as I might, the critters managed to give me the slip. It was like Val “Iceman” Kilmer trying in vain to get Tom “Maverick” Cruise’s F-16 Falcon in his sights. Nana was right, I was behaving like the proverbial eunuch. It was then that I decided to put my recently-attained knowledge of yoga to use. I paused, went into the crouching tiger position, inhaled through my left nostril and exhaled through my right nostril. Repeated it 21 times. And then, it happened. Like a bolt of lightning, the words of the original dragon — Bruce Lee — flashed through my mind. “You need emotional content”. Lee’s words to his teenaged pupil in Enter The Dragon suddenly made complete sense. I opened my eyes. An ear-splitting “hia-a-a-a-a-a-a-aa” escaped my lips and I was upon them like a Neo on amphetamines. “Thakur, yeh haath nahin guillotine ka blades hain!” Within minutes, my palms were smeared with blood — my own, which the bloodsuckers had drawn from me — and the anal-retentive anopheles had ended up as mangled masses of insect matter. Jo hit hai, woh fit hai!
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
So the lid has finally come off one of the media’s best kept secrets. The world now knows Deep Throat is actually Mark Felt, the No. 2 official of the F.B.I. during the Nixon presidency. The Deep Throat mystery, fed by the images of Robert Redford (Bob Woodward) talking to a shadowy figure who tells him to “Follow the money” in Alan J Pakula’s All The President’s Men (1976), has bred an industry, with ‘experts’ speculating ad nauseam about the identity of the whistleblower-who-would-not-be-identified. Definitely a red-letter day for the journalistic fraternity.