Bollywood

Most of you who know me personally or follow me on social media would know my love for films.

I have thrived on watching films over the 4 decades of my being. This love affair that started with Hindi Films aka Bollywood and has taken me to Hollywood to Regional Cinema and to World Cinema thanks to the advent of sub-titles.

Hindi Films i.e. Bollywood shall forever remain my first love. For they have made me happy and sad, made me question and also made me hate, all with equal measures. Their music is the only one that I can comprehend for they tap into each emotion and occasion.

Besides the movies the people that light up the silver screen and those who enable them have been inspired entire generations. They have been there to serve the nation: the case in point being actors who have gone to the frontiers to boast the morale of our Jawans amongst others.

However my heart pains when some sections of the media goes on to paint the entire industry as the den of all vices. The industry has some issues but isn’t these matters that plague our society irrespective of the industry. The film industry is an easy target and scapegoat, for there is too much money and lives at stake. One bad weekend can be death knell for a film. Targeting films and their actors makes for good politics and that’s what we are seeing these days.

Sensationalising news on Film Industry makes for good TRP’s. Look what has happened to a particular news network that have been garnering substantial eyeballs and thus filling in their coffers. Like in all other matters they are the Prosectutor, Judge and Jury all rolled in to one.

Well sorry for using the “roll” word, for Rhea has been put in jail for rolling things she shouldn’t have and for that matter no middle-class person should have, after all these are things only the rich and famous do and not us.

For the Film Industry I hope this crisis gives you time to put your house in order or what the hell, Wait !!

People have very–very short memories they are going to come back to watch movies of the very people who are now being shamed and disliked. Till that short time work on good scripts and take us back to the magic of a dark Cinema Halls and lit-up Silver Screens !!

रुक जाना नहीं तू कहीं हार के, काँटों पे चलके मिलेंगे साये बहार के…..

66 Years Later

Rajasthan

1954  

श्री जयनारायण जी व्यास राजस्थान की राजनीती में शीर्षस्थानीय, सर्वोपरि अडिग चट्टान थे. लेकिन राजस्थान की राजनीती में उनके प्रयोग प्रदेश कोंग्रेस को न तो स्वीकार थे न सहन थे. इसलिए सन 1954 में राजस्थान प्रदेश कांग्रेस कमेटी की जयपुर में होने वाली बैठक में, जिसमें खचाखच भीड़ थी, श्री माणकयलालजी जी वर्मा ने एका-एक उठकर कहा, “आज से व्यास जी , मैं आपकी हुकूमत के खिलाफ विद्रोह करता हूँ. आप भी हीरालाल जी शास्त्री जी के रास्ते जा रहे हैं. कांग्रेस की बात आप मानना नहीं चाहते, यह चल नहीं सकता. आपका नेतृत्व कांग्रेस की हथेलियों पर है.”

व्यास जी यह कहकर सभा से चले गए, “तो ले लो तुम लोग मिनिस्ट्री …..”

6 नवम्बर 1954 को श्री जयनारायण जी व्यास विधान सभा में कांग्रेस पार्टी की बैठक में 8 वोट से हार गए और श्री मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया नए नेता निर्वाचित हुए. 13 नवम्बर 1954 को, सात दिन बाद राजप्रमुख ने उन्हें मुख्यमंत्री की शपथ दिलाई. और इस तरह मात्र ३८ की उम्र में राजस्थान में लोकतंत्र वाद ने सुखाड़िया युग का शुभागमन हुआ.

2020

66 साल बाद कुछ ऐसा ही विरोध राजस्थान में फिर दिखाई दिया. जहाँ पहले यह विरोध 55 साल बनाम 38 का था, इस बार यह 69 साल बनाम 43 का है.

जहाँ पहले मारवाड़ से दिग्गज लोकनायक श्री जयनारायण जी व्यास ने मुख्यमंत्री पद से रुखसत की थी ठीक उस के विपरीत इस बार मारवाड़ से ही जननायक श्री अशोक जी गहलोत ने अपना एक बार फिर सभी कोंग्रेस विधायकों के समर्थन प्राप्त कर लिया. आलाकमान के हस्तक्षेप के बाद विरोध थम गया. एक महीन के अंतराल और व्यथित करने वाले घटनाक्रम में स्थितियां अब शांत हो गयीं

हम कांग्रेस जन ने आज चैन की सांस ली है, विपक्ष की सरकार गिराने की कोशिश को पूर्णविराम लगा दिया गया है. सरकार फिर से आम जन के हक में और अपने वायदा पुरे करने के मार्ग पर अग्रसर हो गयी है. 2023 तक की चुनी हुई राजस्थान की जनता को समर्पित कांग्रेस सरकार अपना कार्यकाल पूरा करेगी, यह हम सब का विश्वास ही नहीं बल्कि पूरा यकीन है.

जय कांग्रेस !!

Lockdown Diary

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For starters we all deserve a pat on our back for staying indoors and surviving the first stretch of the lock-down. If not for the foolhardiness of some, things would have been better. However we are still in much- much better position as compared to most of the so called developed countries of the world.

There a few things that I have realized over this period:

  • How important it is to have a hobby – the ones that you can enjoy doing from the comfort of your home, without anyone’s company.
  • The people you call, message and try getting in touch with are the people that matter. Henceforth whenever you have to choose, you know who to hold on to.
  • The neighbors are and will remain our first source of contact in case of an emergency. If we can’t be pals with them at least be cordial.
  • I have survived till date in 2 pair of shorts & T-Shirt and a pair of nightwear. I can also do away with processed food.
  • Those of us who are gloating over the fact that our needs have become less and we can live with these curtailed wants are absolutely wrong. There is a term in Mewari “मशानों का वैराग्य”, all the above feeling is just that. All this back to basics bullshit is till the time lockdown remains. We are once again going to jump head on into this materialistic world with much more fervor.
  • The political leadership will always have the best interest in their mind in times of crisis irrespective of cast, creed and region. We also need to get above these narrow boundaries.
  • There is a saying, “Hands that serve are holier than the ones that pray”. To all the religious leaders – we have enough places of worship what we need more are the Temples of Healing i.e. the hospitals.
  • There are some genuine people who are doing their job and helping the needy. If they want then they must do their publicity, for the others please spare the theatrics.
  • Our elected representatives, who have not stayed in their constituency to monitor the aid-work, have a lot to answer for in the next elections.
  • For other political workers – not everyone needs to be on the field, you can contribute by staying indoors and stop the spread.

This virus that has shaken the world has its origin in China and they have lot to answer for and pay for.

What’s my Caste

“आप कौनसी जाती के हो ??”

This was the second question a farmer asked me when I happen to visit a lake in his village to catch a glimpse of the migratory birds that arrive each winter. Well the first one was where I was from!!

I was at a loss of words, who asks a complete stranger in first meeting about his caste? Or does which caste I belong to define who I am? Or he wanted to make sure whether I was worth having a conversation with?

For the first 2 decades of my life I wasn’t too aware of the caste structures, its intricacies and the prejudices that followed it. It wasn’t something that needed answers while growing up.

Was it because of the privileged background that I came from or was it for the fact that I carried a surname that stood out ?? I am sure the answer to both the above is definitely a YES!!

At home no one discussed it and at my school no one bothered about caste. It was only the Mandal Agitation that bought it out but again it was in the margins only.

It was only after I moved back to Udaipur in 2000 that the caste, sub-caste and the practiced hierarchy was revealed.

I am glad that this factor seldom crossed my mind then and even now. I personally do not want to fit myself into these brackets. As a political worker I keep getting these suggestions to play up my caste equation, for it will ensure that I get a minimum assured support from my ‘community’.

Lucky are those who can play it up for their advantage, I would much rather attach with all the possible identities that the God has blessed me with and not confine myself to one sub-set !!

And till the time I keep doing this, I will always be at a loss to answer a question on my ‘जाती’. Let others imagine my identity, for in my head I will be no different from the one I am standing next to.

BTW the farmer at the end of our conversation offered us some fresh मूली and गन्ने from his farm to take back to the answer of his first question i.e. our home in Udaipur.

RIP – Durga Nursery Road

More than 50 years back my grandparents bought an agricultural land on the College Road – an area that was on the outskirts of the walled city. They christened this farmland as Durga Nursery named after our family’s ruling deity Durga Mata. This farm eventually turned out to be our family’s permanent abode and also a place for my grandmother to test her agricultural acumen by growing varied crops such as sugarcane, wheat, corn, cotton and grapes.

This farmland was the very place where my grandfather was cremated and where a memorial stands in his name and over time even my grandmother was cremated here and here lies her Samadhi Sthal.

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A quaint lane with minimum thoroughfare: on one side was our home besides 2-3 others and on the other University’s residential quarters. As children we were not allowed to venture outside our homes after sunset as there were jackals in the vicinity that would scare us late at nights with their cry. Monsoon was a season where we had company of the reptiles: घर के अन्दर, घर के बाहर. इतनी आदत सी हो गयी थी की जब कोई गेस्ट से सापों का वाबस्ता होता तो brag करते की यह हमारा पालतू है और कुछ नाम भी दे दिया करते थे.

I think it was in the early nineties that this road was no longer being called ‘College Road’ but started being addressed as ‘Durga Nursery Road’. I do not know was it the commercialization of the road that bought about the name change or it was the other way round. It had seized to be a quite anymore.

This road not only faced the ire of rampant commercialization but also the fact that it’s one of the major roads that connects the sectors with the city. We no longer see peacocks dancing on rooftops during the rains, snakes rarely give us company and the temperatures too do not dip as you turn towards this road.

We have buildings with basement but no parking facility in them; high rises with absolute zero compliance with the norms. Coaching Institutes with no parking provision, for their students in their premises.

Last nail in the coffin has been the recent decision by the administration to have a divider running the length of the road. A 60 ft road now gets divided into two, with footpaths and cars being parked on either side of the road and Voila!! We have a road with a pliable width of only 20 ft on each side. This has actually made it a single lane road now.

Looking at the condition of the area and over-commercialization over the past few years, some of my well-wishers have been suggesting that it is no more a livable option and we move out to a quieter neighborhood but have always negated this option क्यूंकि अब जीना यहाँ और मरना यहाँ!!

Or maybe I am saying it too soon!!

 

GAVRI

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After years had the chance to watch and enjoy ‘GAVRI’ yesterday at the residence of Shri Raghuveer Singh ji Meena – Ex MP from Udaipur.

I remember as a kid an entire trope of Gavri performers from the nearby village of Badi would perform at our residence. If my memory doesn’t fail me Kuka, Chapliya were the names of some of these local Folk Artists. What really amused us kids then was these men dressed to the hilt as women !!thumbnail (9).jpg

Times flew by, did manage to get a glimpse of Gavri performances being played here or there and yesterday was really up, close and personal.

For the uninitiated Gavri, is a 40-day long festival celebrated in July and September of each year in the Mewar region of Rajasthan. It starts from Rakhi and concludes 9 days after Ganesh Chaturthi. It is an ode to Goddess Gauri – the wife of Lord Shiva thus the name GAVRI, her blessings are invoked at each such enactments.

Only men perform so they even play the characters of women. This is performed by the Tribal community of Mewar – an area that compromises of South Rajasthan.

 

During the 40-day Gavari season, all players IMG_20190912_131901-01.jpegpractice strict austerities to maintain reverent contact with the living earth and the immanent spirit. They avoid not only sex, alcohol and meat, but also shoes, beds, bathing, and eating greens (which might harm insect life). They eat only a single meal each day during the season. They also cannot go back to their homes during these 40 days no matter what the situation demands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavari 

 

I am sharing some of the pictures of yesterday’s performance.

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The government or for that matter even us, need to share some responsibility to protect and promote these local traditions or it will be matter of time our new generation will only read about them in their textbooks and newspapers.

MISSION MANGAL

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Mission Mangal is part fact-part fiction film about India’s mission to Mars. This success achieved in miniscule budget and by the team of underdogs!!

Following are the reasons why you should watch the film:

  • First and foremost is to celebrate the success and achievements of ISRO. When some people were stuck in cattle there was a leader like Nehru and Scientist like Vikram Sarabhai who dared to dream. It was for their vision and nurturing talent and scientific temper that this mission was managed in a budget of around Rs. 450 crores, less than the budget of the Hollywood Film AVATAAR
  • For Akshay Kumar : For he is the new age Manoj Kumar. SRK and Bhai can have their Eid and Diwali but Mr. Khiladi rules the box-office thru 15th August and patriotism.
  • For the team of underdogs who come together to achieve greatness and proving everyone wrong.
  • To have great back stories about the lead actors tackling themes such as Infertility, Casteism, Astrology, children abandonments of aged parents and most importantly maintaining the home-office equation by working women.
  • For making sure that these back stories never deviate from the main plot.
  • Luckily there are no melodramatic patriotic movements, no forced love angle and no jabardasti ke songs (well they could have had one less)
  • For the great ensemble cast who seemed secure in their roles and didn’t seem to undercut anyone.
  • For Vidya Balan who is in top form, btw when is she not? She is plays it perfectly as a women follows her passion without any guilt of compromising on her domestic front. For me she is the Lady Aamir Khan who can play any role with élan but again that may be unfair she is her own without any comparison.
  • We Udaipurites have to watch this one as our very own INDIRA IVF as they are the brand partner for this film. Watching our home grown enterprise making a mark on the Silver Screen and internationally too is a proud-proud moment.
  • For not making space jargon and science too complicated, by catering to the lowest common denominator.
  • Every story has a hero and a villain and this one too has one. He is the devil’ advocate, American returned , NASA trained Scientist Dalip Tahil. लेकिन थोडा ज्यादा ही negative हो गए.

So you see I have gushed and gushed about this film and you too must  do that by watching MISSION MANGAL !!

The Artist House

“It is also to be noted that standards of morality in a society change with the passage of time. A particular activity, which was treated as immoral few decades ago may not be so now. Societal norms keep changing. Social change is of two types: continuous or evolutionary and discontinuous or revolutionary. The most common form of change is continuous.

However, a practice which may not be immoral by societal standards cannot be thrusted upon the society as immoral by the State with its own notion of morality and thereby exercise ‘social control’.

The words ‘obscene, indecent or profane’ are disjunctive, implying that each has a separate meaning. Prurient appeal is an element of the obscene, but the normal definition of ‘indecent’ merely refers to non-conformance with accepted standards of morality.”

These above paragraphs have been delivered by none other than the Judges of the highest court of the land i.e. The Supreme Court of India.

I quote this judgement in the context of the recent hullabaloo in Udaipur on the opening, functioning and now censuring of The Artist House (TAH).

I have a confession to make here, I have not visited this place even once and there was this one time I did want to go but was refused entry as ‘Stags’ weren’t allowed that night !! Our group of boys (In our head we still are) couldn’t take anyone as our better-half’s had gone for their annual summer pilgrimages ( I hope you do get the joke or else read no further) and we obviously couldn’t take anyone else for fear of its repercussions and reprimands.

However, since then whatever updates I have seen of Social Media about the TAH, I am scared to even venture anywhere near it, for fear of being ‘UNCLED’ by the extremely hip crowd. I mean, to see such a crowd enjoying is something that reminds me of my Mumbai college days of the 90’s. OK!!  Even then I was never the cool kid but of what was still then just a ‘Metro Phenomenon’. And then TAH happened to Udaipur.

Hats off to the guys behind this place for their vision and adventurousness to give such a place to Udaipur. I have family and friends visiting this place with rave reviews.

But the way this place has now been targeted is appalling, if there is a legal problem then so be it and let the owners deal with it legally but I have a problem for this place being branded immoral and a den of all the vices. There is no one set moral system that fits all and even if there is one who decides for me?

The values and morality can’t be cherry picked and please do not impose a warped ideas of what is right and wrong on educated, adult, youths ( I do not know if I fit in the last category) of Udaipur !!

So go ahead and enjoy The Artist House, dole out the bucks and remember they close at 11:00 PM now !!

SHAADI MUBARAQ

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प्रिय नीता भाभी,

सर्वप्रथम आकाश बाबू और श्लोक बिटिया की शादी की बहुत-बहुत मुबारकबाद !!

दो दिन से नवदम्पति की फोटो देख-देख कर मलाल हो रहा है की काश इनकी शादी में आ के उस फूलों वाली फोटो वाल के आगे अपनी तस्वीर खिंचवा पाता, पर यह हो न सका !!

खैर आपके परिवार की दो शादियाँ छोटे से अंतराल में सम्पन्न हुई. एक की वैभवता तो उदयपुर वासी होने के नाते करीब से देखी और अब यह वाली सोशल मीडिया के माध्यम से.

वैसे पहले वाली जैसे चर्चे इस बार नहीं!! ना ही इस बार बादशाह, शहेंशाह और भाई को बैकग्राउंड में नाचते हुए देखा, ना ही इस बार पुरुस्गारी / मेहमाननवाज़ी करते दिखे और ना ही इस बार आपके नृत्यकला और मुद्राओं को देखने का मौका मिला.

वैसे कुछ सवाल जिज्ञासा वश मेरे मन में उठ रहे हैं जैसे की :

  1. यह जो सेलेब्रिटी आप बुलाते हैं यह फ्री में आते और परफॉर्म करते हैं या कुछ मेहनताना लेते हैं ??
  2. अपनी संतानों की शादियाँ कराते हुए जो ख़ुशी आपके चेहरे पर दिखती है वह शायद हर माँ के चेहरे पर दिखती है, लेकिन कई बार ऐसा मुझे क्यूँ लगता है की they all dwarf in ur shadow, क्या आपको भी यह लगता है?
  3. घर घर माटी चूल्हे वाली कहावत तो आपने सुनी होगी, क्या आपके यहाँ भी फूफा / मौसा / देवरानी / ननद का रूठना मनाना शादी में चलता रहता है ?
  4. क्या आप डिज़ाइनरज़ मुख्यतः सब्यसाची को पाबंद नहीं कर सकते आपकी शादी में पहने हुए कपड़ों का सेल्फ-प्रमोशन करने का, बहुत ज्यादा इन-योर-फेस टाइप लगता है मुझे ?
  5. हमारे यहाँ बहु से सबसे पहले लापसी बनवाते हैं, आपके यहाँ क्या बनवाते हैं ?
  6. क्या नव-दम्पति पर अपनी दादीजी को सोने की सीडी चडाने का प्रेशर है ?

खैर सानू की ? आपकी शादी, आपका घराना, आपका धन मुझे क्या ??

अभी आप से इज़ाज़त लूँगा क्यूंकि अभी-अभी मेरी शरीक-ऐ-हयात (बीवी) ने आकाश बाबु के फेरों का सात मिनट का विडियो व्हाट्सएप पर भेजा है जिसको तुरंत देखना अति आवश्यक है.

सासू माँ को अनेकों बधाइयाँ,

आपके परिवार की हर शादी को बारीकी से देखता एक भारतीय

PS : पिछली बार जब ईशा बाई सा की उदयपुर में शादी हुई थी तो एक मेरी FB पोस्ट पर टिका-टिपण्णी से उखड़े एक जानकार को अन-फ्रेंड करना पड़ा था. आशा है की इस बार ऐसा नहीं करना पड़ेगा.

LUKA CHUPPI

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This film is set in the small town of Gwalior and Vrindavan and the whole premise hinges on the “Modern Concept” of LIVE-IN.

The hero is TV News Anchor on a Local News Network where the heroine also starts interning after graduating from Delhi. Her father is a right-wing neta, dead against Live-In relationships and is the protector of Bhartiya Sanskriti. The pair fall in love and the only condition by the heroine is the she wants to live-in before they take the final plunge.

And this very demand takes them to Gwalior, pestered by nosy aunty and sneaky neighbours before being caught by the hero’s relatives and the confusion ensues. From the falsehood about their marriage to the failed attempts in actually getting married with each other haggled on by their relatives.

The star cast starting from Karthik Aaryaan, Kirti Sanon, to the colourfully dressed Pankaj Tripathi, to the Neta/Father Vinay Pathak and the side kick of the hero Aparshakti Khurana play their parts well. So does the ensemble of actors playing the relatives. The songs in the first half seemed forced and unnecessary. And the real peppy song like Coca-Cola gets wasted in the end credits and Poster Chapwa wasn’t there only. That’s certainly unfair.

Movies set in small towns seem to be flavour of the season for Bollywood. So like this genre there is situational comedy, relatives with their own quirkiness, use of local dialect, shot on real location etc. These movies are like the millennium versions of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chaterjee’s films.

What works for me in the movie is the lead pair and their easiness and some of the scenes are really funny. The movie doesn’t real offer anything new what the movies from this genre haven’t offered earlier. But it doesn’t disappoint either.

One of the sadhus when asked about his take on LIVE-IN says “प्रेम है तो सब पवित्र है”, and in another there is this line “मुस्लिम हूँ एलियन नहीं”, with some interesting writing this one is light-breezy film, fulfilling the entertainment quotient for the weekend.