Friday, 26 July 2013

My Mumbai Diary : Sorrow of Mumbai

Mumbai Skyline
Mumbai is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, home to total population of approximately 20.5 million and one of the most populous urban regions in the world including the Greater Mumbai region of Navi Mumbai and Thane.

Apart from commercial capital of India it is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia. Mumbai has been ranked 6th among top 10 global cities on billionaire count, ahead of Shanghai, Paris and Los Angeles.  

Maddening Traffic Jams
Mumbai alone contributes to large surplus of India’s GDP. With all the growing population, city suffers with poor infrastructure. On the other hand India's national capital Delhi has transformed itself with excellent roads, word class metro rail service, world’s largest cng bus service. Despite of being a commercial capital Mumbai  struggles big time not just with basic amenities such as transportation, sanitation, green spaces and pollution. Southern block of the city which is also termed as SoBo, where real estate rates are sky rocketing and is one of the most expensive spaces in the world. SoBo is where the money minting population resides unlike Suburban Mumbai which is dominated by the upper to middle class population is more densely populated with expensive property rates.

Mumbai has three major train routes, western, central and harbour. All these three routes look primitive, unsafe.  One of the world’s largest sub-urban rail systems is also defamed for many deaths as commuters fall from train or die while crossing the tracks or even while boarding as they slip from foot board. While public equally is careless about hazards, but keeping serfice and safety in mind Mumbai urban train which is known as “Local” needs massive makeover.
City of Holes
There is also an unending saga of pot holes.Its rare to see an area in Mumbai where men are not in progress. Once the BMC gets road cleared, in just about few days some other authorities like Electricity, Mobile operator,  Gas connection will be spotted digging in middle of the day ignoring complete mayhem caused. Mumbai rush hour stars 730 am and goes till 1030 am, during this hour passing through these patches can be a nightmare especially if you are late for interview or flights.

Mumbai beaches bleed their own sorrows, plastic and entire wastage appear floating and the smell may just give you sickness. Despite of all, the view that it offers is magnificent, wish it was clean, it would have been an urban heaven.

Famous Mumbai Monsoon saga brings life to stand still as commuters find hard travelling and due to poor transportation management, people suffer a lot. Even the major roads will have millions of pot holes, water logging due to poor drainage system.  Authorities do not realise what this city is going through, with other cities progressing Mumbai’s development has paced at the speed of tortoise.

SubUrban Rail System "Local"
Now, let me also talk about the auto-rickshaws, which is a life line for suburban commuters. There is no system or governance; everybody is a king of their own. Service is merely in existence and all looks a pure business. Drivers deny on your face about going to a destination and it can get fucking nerve wrecking at times. Similar stories with the taxiwalas but they are better off than the autowalas yet not a smooth sail.

Mumbai is yet strong, determined and beautiful but it certainly deserves so much more. This city is expensive, what people pay here to rent a studio apartment could even be half of their pay cheque, still this city is full of dreamers, dream-makers, dream-pavers and winners in their own league of life. But standard of life needs to improve.

 I and millions other love this city but It gives me pain to watch this city suffering in this manner, not sure for how long this city can bear the negligence and exploitation. It needs a change, change not to diminish the authenticity but to preserve its aura and charm. Mumbai is not less than New York or London but these western cities are much ahead, Mumbai needs to catch up before it dies its own slow death.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Review: Ship Of Theseus

What is life, what is soul, who are we and what are we here for? And many such questions bubble above my skull after I walked out from the theatre. I don’t really remember when was the last time I had this feeling! I was left numb and it took a while for me to stop thinking about the movie, That's what “Ship of Theseus” will do to you.

Theseus's paradox, is a Greek paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. I do not want to detail out on the metaphor because it is for you to draw and see what it really means and what inspiration will you draw out of it but yes you have to be prepared to handle the various things that it will trigger off inside your head, heart and bones.

Written and directed by Anand Gandhi, man who wrote dialogue for first 82 episodes for historic TV soap “Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and also the screen play for “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki”. Ironically what a contrasting work he has presented us this time where he brings out different interpretation about self  identity, justice, beauty, purpose of life and death through characters drawn deep.  

Starring  Aida El-Kashef, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah on the leads. Egyptian filmmaker Aida El-Kashef who had associated with Gandhi in previous short films `Continuum’ and `Rhapsody in Autumn’. She  convinces and delivers beautifully.

Mumbai-based theatre actor and director Neeraj Kabi, brings you to shivers as you witness him on screen. I can’t elaborate in words brilliance of his performance not to forget Kabi lost close to 17 kilos over four months.

Sohum Shah’s natural performance is commendable, which translates what was meant and imagined giving us a sense of importance to self and life.

Director of photography, Pankaj Kumar puts his best of creativity by a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV yet no one can challenge the visual originality, simply stunning. Music remains hidden behind the story in a powerful euphoria.
It draws you inside, much deeper without even realizing how deep you have been drawn. There was a moment when entire theatre was quietly drawn into the Gandhi’s strong narration; even a sound of chips or popcorn crunch would obstruct the chain of emotions getting evoked.
We have seen many movies but this is not what anybody can imagine what story can do to you. It provokes you, compels you to think the most imperative matter. Gandhi is a winner, a inspirer and a great visualise who has successfully manage to put all together and get us all on-board in his ship of Theseus  Its simple, all you got to do is let it inside you.
I am glad that I made it, I have never been this happy after watching a film, you can’t miss this one, you should not miss! Worth by all means this is my first 5/5 ***** rating . Go get stunned and solve your own Theseus.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Review: D Day

Honestly! I would not have watched this film given the cliché topic of chasing India’s most wanted but it was the song sequence “Mastakalandar” which I happen to bump into youtube and made me think, this may not be the usual half baked action flick and I was right!

When we get to watch best of thriller and action movies made in Hollywood, the poor act of refinement in Bollywood always put me off. Hang in there! Nikhil Advani has put in lot of hard work getting the right context, production and well researched story. I loved each of detailing that was done to give one level up treatment to the story. Most importantly the characters are well crafted, instructed and positioned.

Advani comes across as far matured and talented director in compare to his previous work, Kal Ho Na ho, Salaam e ishq, Patiala house, Chandni Chowk to China.  Starring Arjun Rampal, Irfan Khan, Huma Qureshi, Shruti Hassan and legendary Rishi Kapoor, all of them have done a brilliant job.  Story based out of  Karachi locations - the red light district of Napier Road, the bustling crowded Empress Market to  Qasim Port and most of the Karachi shots were taken in Ahmedabad. While watching I was amazed with the detailing in production, but spoiler came as in one of the shot we see Blue line Indian railways pass through, which could have been avoided.

Movie is factual and nothing is sugar coated or exaggerated. I really liked the way both the nation’s intelligence agencies are shown. The matter of fact is movie doesn't go against Pakistan, the tension between diplomacy is shown tactfully and very impactful way. Movie is a complete socio political satire, from prime minister saying madam to disowning of agents, it brings across a bitter truth of our system. it is so real that you must not miss the last dialogue by Rishi Kapoor!

Cinematography, action sequence is stunning but the cherry on top is the editing. Nothing looks disconnected and all the sequences are well tailored giving a visual treat. I have to mention about the shot where Arjun is hypothetically witnessing Shruti’s death, what a brilliant piece  of art is it.

D Day is entertaining and exciting, a complete worthy weekend maker! For all the ecstatic performance and keeping me intact even at the late hour show, i will go with 4****, a must watch! Go and witness the new age Indian cinema!’s raining good movies this monsoon. 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

My Mumbai Diary : It rains cats and dogs

You must have heard about the Mumbai rains but it’s nothing until you have experienced it. Entire island city embraces as rain sets in by end of June. Monsoon that last for about four months will turn city into a pleasant cloudy concrete garden. Usually warm and humid gets cooled off with the rains and Mumbaikar relish the joy of rain for many reasons.

Mumbai is beautiful during the monsoon. It is refreshing and a misty, cool gusty wind from Arabian Sea adds a delight to have a nice cosy weekend at home, much away from the muddy rush. With rains there is so much to do, from romantic walk on the sea facing promenades of Nariman Point, Worli and Bandra to hot spicy fried chats near chowpaty's the whole some experience is a delight.

Mumbai doesn't have best of infrastructure compared to national capital which leads into a fury of monsoon saga. Its torturous to travel during monsoon as the torrential downpours gets most of the cities low line areas flooded and waterlogged resulting slow to stand still traffic with thousands of people stranded in the bus stations, highways and railway station. People usually carry spare clothes and are usually seen in Bata floaters.

When you are living in Mumbai you have to be really prepared for monsoon. You need to have good pair of shoes, windcheater, and heavy duty umbrella, plastic pouch for your mobile phone and wallet, water proof bag with some biscuits. Now this may sound massive plan but believe me this is how Mumbaikar face the monsoon. Your tiny-miny umbrella will not last more than 5 minutes in hustling windy rains, most of the time it’s upside down and be nothing more than a scrap.

Towards the mid month of June, when heat has drained the city, people are craving for rains to arrive, from national dailies to facebook and twitter, people will rant about when the god damn rains is going to arrive. Many people do believe that good timely monsoon will predicts the coolness of January which in last few years I have experienced doesn't plunge below 18 degrees. As rains will start with pre monsoon low pressure towards south western peninsula, people demonstrate joy and happiness as if it’s a festival long awaited and with weeklong down pour same people are ranting on facebook asking almighty to stop the tap. All the radio stations play some of the best monsoon love songs which make it more lovingly. With lovely walks in promenade to garma garam chai, spicy bhajiyas and vada pavs, Mumbai rains are the best.

I love Mumbai and monsoon makes me more addictive to this city.

Review: Pacific Rim

Guillermo del Toro who had previously gifted us with highly acclaimed Helboy is a brilliant writer, director and a producer. Pacific Rim is a cinema packaged with $180m with visually stunning graphics which doesn't get boring in an entire run show.

Movie set in a context Alien occupying earth. Even though almost every year we have movies depicting alien war fare, Pacific Rim offers extraordinary story in simple and excellent visual narration. What is fresh with Pacific Rim is that Giant robots known as Jaegers appear tall and strong and there ultimate showdown against Kaiju comes alive.
Starring Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket, Diego Klattenhoff as Yancy Becket, Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost and Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, Pacific Rim is quite an entertainer. The two hours of length is a spoiler and feels little dragged towards the end. 

With 3*** I suggest you watch on IMAX if you are into sci-fi movie, if not you can still wait until it’s released on tele.

Monday, 8 July 2013

My Mumbai Diary - Divide-Undivide Class

  Mumbai lives on high spirit, here everyone  runs and  are always running. Like I mentioned before, you have to keep up your pace with city to survive through. If your meter is down and you miss your train, then sorry Mumbai will show you its doors.  Vivid class of people, from fish hawking Kohli womens, to SBI employee or an aspiring model, actor, students from all sorts of life, millionaire to penniless all are cramped inside the old primitive local train boogies.

In one of my journey, I observed the demarcation drawn between the first and second class coaches. First class within itself has variety of people, from security guards of Jewellery shop , government banker, student and mnc employee, all adjust dressed well, playing with there apple iPhone, blackberry, tablets blah blah. Second class, is coach for mass, most of them look crushed like stuffed achar, adjusted to every free space. Women, children's,men, boys, second class is always crowded. They look at each-other and still not care about. 

As train halts, moves, people come in and go, it is just a viscous cycle. Late evenings as rush subsides, when both the compartments look relatively empty, people sitting both the sides, look at each other. Some amount of superiority, some amount of denial. A second class passenger thinking, what is so great about first-class, its just a thick cushioned seats and its less crowded. They don’t really feel guilt about it and as a matter of fact passengers in first-class don’t care but when a shabby looking passenger boards first class, they will surely ask do you have first class pass? many times they board by mistake. Mumbai is only about you, your life, your thought, your career! Rest all becomes secondary. Mumbai teaches you to stand on your own feet because it doesn't let you think anything else, and you have no time. It is the worlds biggest reality show where nothing is scripted.

I have understood Mumbai more whenever I have travelled. There is so much to observe, so many stories to discover. Mumbai is home to a roofless man to man full of roofs, end of the day its your handwork and karma. You work hard and get into first-class. Mumbai is all about choice, good, bad its upto you. You want to bridge your past and step onto your dream, well roll up your sleeves and get going, nobody can divide you. 

Review: Lootera

Yes!! it is a lootera, a complete robber that steals every bit of you and yet leaves you with more.  It loots you with mesmerizing storytelling brought alive by brilliant actors, superb locations, one of Bollywood's best musical composition, heart warming songs, excellent editing and Technicolor. I tell you people, this movie is epic in itself.

After Udaan, Vikramaditya’s attempt to create American writer O’Henry short story “The Last Leaf” comes with great talent where technical aspects of getting the right story, right caste, right production, everything is taken care so well, what leaves at the end is a beautiful prismatic story, which stands out in the herd of hundreds of love stories been made till date.

Set in the 1950 Era, Zamindar’s daughter and a guy who fall in love from the moment they see each other. Their best friends and the slowly growing love is depicted so well that viewer is easily drawn and bound to fall in love as story is narrated. Unlike most of cinema, Motwane has done something different, he has tried to keep it simple and has treated story at its best. Sequence to dialogues, music, it is a masterpiece.
Few more things, where I should pen down will be costume designer Subarna Ray Chaudhuri’s hard work of getting perfect getup of Pakhi as a daughter of Bengali zamindar and Varun as young man whose vougue seem to have inspired from Dev Anand. TV actor, Vikrant Massey debut performance is  pretty well. Barun Chanda as Pakhi’s father has done it brilliantly.

Story initially written by Motwane in 2011, and well after two years it has come a long way and how it has come up! I am Impressed and proud for the fact that we have one more director to count upon. Lot of grandeur that you witness will remind you of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to whisper Vikarmaditya did work with Bhansali on his few projects and that comes across.

Amit Trivedi’s music and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s songs have crowned this amazing piece of work beautifully.  By far one of the best love story witnessed, greatest songs heard and masterpiece in storytelling. Just go for it!! Watch it at least once as I am planning to go again, with 4****, I highly recommended this monsoon! Fall in love and get looted by Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

My Mumbai Diary - Witnessing India in Dadar

Dadar Station is not just a railway station it’s a spot where you will witness entire India. At a given moment of office hour rush, this place is no less than a Kumbh Mela. People from all states, north to south, murmuring in their own dialects, chewing gutkha to a flavoured gum, carrying a nylon bag to a high street wear, wearing Allan Solly to Rupa, Dadar has room for all.

 What amazes me is energy people carry. Travelling two hours one way for everyday job, I guess only a Mumbaikar could do. Is it the choice? Well doesn't seem to be like but one has to keep up the pace. There is a saying if one has to survive in Mumbai, then you got to run and keep running the never ending chase of life. That's how this historic place has made a mark in human evolution. Once you step into this city and you are able to board trains from Dadar station, specifically the Virar fast, then you have done it.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Battle of direction.

        For years we have been thinking, complaining, ranting and many expressions of being in despair. Out of all, kids have grown to be teenagers now, old continue to be older but most importantly poor is still poor and rich is getting emptier in days to come. What I am trying to voice out here is been an everyday affair for all Nepalis. A day would not go where we express our hope towards the institution and every time we hope and express, it is found to be dismissed stating a no concern. 

All we who been through the 01/06, we know that was when the fate for this nation was changed. Then arrived the biggest revolution where militants voted by the people to run a nation, even they failed to deliver not by challenge purely by their own lack of interests and choices. After these many years, lot has happened to our system. It’s getting weaker every hour and has lost sense of direction.

Today I know for the fact, people have lost their interest in politics or who comes in power or goes as it is just a painful cycle. A common man who works day in and out to fetch his daily living is in verge of collapsing. In my recent trip to Kathmandu, when I have visited my relatives, the only subject that they would talk about is getting their kids sent abroad, initial reasoning will be for education but on long term they expect them to settle there, get a Permanent residency so that bears could also go tomorrow. Out of 11 cousins in my family, all have paved their way to North America, Canada, England and two of them in Sweden. And I won’t blame my uncles and aunt for their choices clearly its not what they want but with the growing uncertainty that looks the only way out, though I feel it isn't the only way out.

Whenever I feel home sick, I browse through internet sites, social media to catch up with latest happenings and trust me every time what I see and read, all that comes to me is a disappointment. On the other hand, I was evaluating recent uprising in Egypt and Turkey. They have voiced their anger to the core of Institution and they aren’t seem to be compromising fate of their own identity. All the revolution in Nepal in last few decades been a politically motivated where gainers were Political parties and common man were losers.

Where we now and where are are we heading? what is next for deposed king, ailing president, pissed ex prime minister, confused chief justice, falling economy, uncertain governance, you, me and us, all I ask is what's next?