Thursday, September 29, 2005

Salaam Namaste- A review

Till long after I watched this movie I refused to believe that Salaam Namaste referred only to the radio station Preity worked for. My refusal paid off when I realised that no other title could come as close to the film's theme as Salaam Namaste; Salaam Namaste when jumbled almost gives Masala Sans Meat.
Salaam Namaste is another loose brick from Yashraj Films' flimsy wall. It's got all the unnecesary-but-sufficient ingredients of a Yashraj blockbuster. With directors realizing that the audience no longer accepts plain bullshit, debutant Siddharth Raj Anand garnishes it with some comedy, some hysteria, some bold scenes, and some clich├ęd attempts at appealing to modern sensibilities. But the voice talking about "relevant" problems like pre-marital sex and live-in relationships has chronic laryngitis. The director wrongly assumes that addressing social issues in lavish settings and with lots of oomph will appeal to both the niche and bench audience.
Salaam Namaste is about radio jockey Ambar (a cute-turned-irresistibly sexy Preity Zinta) and chef Nikhil Arora (played by Saif with his trademark nonchalance) who, after having a bitter fight over the radio, get attracted to each other at a party. They decide to live-in but in different rooms. The movie is quite entertaining from the start to when both move from different rooms to the same bed. They succeed in abstaining at first, and then not only taste the forbidden fruit but bite so deeply into it that the inconceivable happens (yes, pun intended). Along with Preity’s virginity, the entertainment ends. She realizes she is pregnant, INTERMISSION is flashed on the screen, and I wait eagerly, anticipating some intense drama in the second half.
The second half follows a beaten-to-the-point-of-pulverization track. Saif doesn’t want the kid but Preity insists on keeping it. They decide to continue living in the house, but out of each other’s way. Meanwhile, Siddharth Raj Anand introduces Javed Jaffrey in a highly intimidating role. How a loafer can survive his lifetime on the back of a lottery is a question the director would love to skip. He does crack some absolutely delightful one-liners, but overdoes his Sorry…Eggjacktly. Anyway, the movie meanders on with high-decibel confrontations, Saif and Arshad Warsi’s discussions on children and wives, Arshad’s married life with Tania (of Who Dares Wins fame), and other trivialities. Preity’s stomach grows enough to house the Indian cricket team, complete with the super-subs, coach, and Dalmiya. But how can that stop her from dancing at 11:45 p.m? Yashraj has to entertain the fetuses in the womb.
Their relationship travels from lust to love to disgust and obviously back to love, and how! With Saif obstinate about not wanting to father the child and Preity equally adamant of mothering it, the former shies away from testing his blood to detect a complication in the child (the director uses some medical terms to appeal to us educated audience). The paranoid Saif finally gets his blood tested by her gynaecologist and gets a copy of the sonograph. He watches the video, and gets all icky about Preity and their twins. The film gets maudlin and Saif does a Shahrukh Khan towards the end, broadcasting his love on Salaam Namaste. He uses the radio and the jobless public to get to his love. He proposes and her labour pains start, and Lo! Who do we see in the hospital? A qualified doctor worthy of a swank hospital? Or a mentally retarded Abhishek Bachchan who jumps about like a brain-dead kangaroo in the labour room? The climax was the last of the twenty thousand nails in the coffin.
Preity was stunning in the first half, but looked awful and acted poorly in the second half. Saif was cool in the first half, and decent for most part in the second. The cacophony they created in the second half was Yashraj’s idea of powerful dialogues. Arshad Warsi wasn’t used well, though he did his bit well. Jugal Hansraj took a role a Bhojpuri tele-serial sidekick would’ve rejected. Javed Jaffrey, Preity’s boss, and Abhishek Bachchan were pathetically crafted characters. The songs were too long and the music was typical of Yashraj Films (read bad).
The movie will definitely work because it has enough steam for men, enough slapstick comedy for the bench, and a little urban comedy for the college junta. Also, star power will take it a long way. But if you think you have finally found a commercial success that is not preposterous, think again. If you think the beggar in your street is well stocked for the month you can buy a balcony ticket. If you think it is a wholesome family entertainer, make sure you’re the only member of your family. If you think Indian Cinema will move ahead with this, you’re probably standing in the wrong direction.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Muckshay's Laws-1

This is the first of many laws propounded by me akin to Murphy's Laws.

If you are booking your ticket at the railway station and you join the shortest line, the other lines move faster than yours.
If you join the longest line, it's the slowest.

Friday, September 23, 2005

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Disclaimer Part 1: All ideas expressed in this article are the author's views on parenting. The author is a 19-year old bachelor with no experience in parenting.

Parents are often called incarnations of God, creators and nourishers of life, embodiments of impartiality and love, etc- and for good reason too (Anybody who can bear babies' tantrums and unpredictable bowels deserves every word of praise the English language offers). Much is said about parents' virtues and their shortcomings. In general, parents are shown as being extremely loyal to their children in that a mother is supposed to dote as much on her rapist son as on her respected and upright son.

But in this process of beatifying parents, are we denying them sentiments natural to common judgement? In other words, are we justified in calling parents totally impartial? If you ask a parent with more than one child whether they hold one of their children in higher regard, you'd need Jonty's reflexes to duck under the flying vases. Their reply, ipso facto a no, is hardly ever objective. True, parents rebuke an erring child, but if all attempts fail, they are supposed to digest their faults with a bucket of salt and continue showering love on them.

Undeniably, some people in the world are better than others. A smart person is better than a fool. An intelligent person is better than a complete dud.
But if parents have two children- one bright, smart, and talented, and the other, an unskilled and naive moron, they refuse to acknowledge child 1's superiority. Acknowledging this is not tantamount to buying him an extra ice-cream, so parents needn't fight to bog down a silent realisation.

When we grow into mature adults with well-defined interests and whims, isn't it possible that our manner doesn't appeal to our parents. If my father is allowed to bitch about a random reckless 24-year old, why can't he inveigh freely against his reckless 24-year old son (assuming that the son becomes reckless after his parents' parvarish and sanskaar, so that Ekta's characters don't say hamari parvarish mein hi koi kami rahi hogi)? Though responsibility might bind parents during their child's childhood, what stops them from dislking a 20-year old adult? Is it the pressure of society that inhibits them from making their displeasure public, or is it that parents are endowed with a you-shall-never-hate your-child gene?

I'd love to get lie-detector tests done on parents and see how much of what I've is true. (At least some Hindi movies show parents disliking their children. Baghban was one; and haven't we heard meri kokh pe laalat hai some 3 dozen times?)

Disclaimer Part 2: If the author's parents read this article, he'd like them to rest assured that they will pass the test with flying colours.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

INACTIVE

I shall be inactive for 2 reasons:

1. My HardDisk and RAM have been stolen.
2. My exams are going on.