Life In A Metro

Hosting a conference turned out to be quite a massive affair. A week later, visit this site treatment I am still lost buried beneath the aftermath exhaustion as well clearing up the bills. In between, pulmonologist I took off to Delhi and took a well deserved holiday. That accounts for the long absence on the blog.

Mercifully, more everything in the conference went off with clock-work precision that would make the Swiss proud. True, there were minor goof-ups. In fact, on the day the guests were to arrive, there were several of them (largely thanks to the hotel, who otherwise were extremely good but somehow things went patchy on that morning) but we managed to douse all fires and before the biggest bulk of delegates arrived in the noon we had done the clean-up. When they entered the hotel’s porch, everything was settled the shehnai-and-dhol-and-nagada-wallahs whipped up a resounding welcome note, the girls from the hotel in bright red sarees showered fresh petals, and the cool welcome drinks were served meticulously.

When the hotel fell in step with our energy and demanding levels, the weather played truant. We had prearranged a night cricket match to build up excitement. Before the last over could be bowled the skies suddenly ripped apart and the rains washed away any hopes for the beautifully arranged pool-side dinner. Considering that it was May (and burning hot and not expecting rains) we had been a bit lax in not keeping a back-up venue, though the hotel’s machinery worked pretty fast to provide us dinner at their regular boufet in the restaurant. But mercifully we didn’t need it as the showers stopped as suddenly as they had begun, and we enjoyed a peaceful dinner by the wet pool-side.

The next day I pestered the hotel to keep a back-up arrangement, since the venue for the gala dinner was again an outside lawn.

Early morning was earmarked for Taj Mahal visit and from the bus parking to the monument, we had booked eleven tongas to ferry the delegates, with banners of our company pre-fixed on them. They made a quaint sight as the caravan moved the short distance of about a kilometer or so.

The day passed in lectures and meets, though frankly I didn’t sit through much of it since I was moving around trying to see that no loose thread stuck out sorely. It didn’t. Except that as the evening approached a sandstorm threatened to ruin our grand gala ghazal nite dinner. We had a back-up, but that would have been an awfully low-key compromise. My selection for the dinner was a beautifully kept lawn, surrounded by well trimmed hedges; on one side, there were couple of steps on which water flowed (with colored lights in it), and beyond this was a sort of stage where the ghazal singer would sit. Even though I hadn’t seen the effect I could imagine that it would be absolutely beautiful.

We requested our chief to delay the dinner a bit so that the storm could subside, else we would have to do with our back-up. Mercifully, the wind relented and everything settled down. The dinner passed off without a hitch. Perhaps the biggest success of any party is the way people enjoy it and when guests get up to dance even on some ghazal, you know you have a success in your hand! The ghazal singer, Rajinder Parekh, employed by the hotel, has a mellow voice, with just the right tinge of Jagjit Singh’s tenor and the sound system was of superior quality. A magician, that I had liked when I had visited the hotel scouting for entertaintment options, regaled with his few tricks at each table.

By the time the guests left the next day (after a lunch arranged en route at Vrindavan that s why I was there the other day when the monkey episode happened), we were all terribly fatigued and couldn t stand a minute longer on our feet.

In the end, it was worth all that effort the conference was a success, and I am sure people in our company will remember Agra for a long time to come!

It happened faster than a snap of the finger. My colleague (A.) and I were walking back from Bankey Bihari Mandir with two peda boxes in hand, website A being a few steps behind me. Suddenly a commotion paused my stride. I turned to have a look, angina and found A. harrassed. My first thought was obvious the monkeys had snatched the peda boxes. But closer inspection brought forth an amusing laughter. A monkey had coolly walked off with A’s spectacles and stood near a stone sign board, diabetes and pregnancy chewing the spectacles stem and eyeing us naughtily. A. told that the monkey’s finesse in pulling off the spectacles from his eyes displayed an extraordinary sense of practice and polish.

A helpful hand nearby tried to lure the ape to return the specs in exchange for two mangoes. But the animal was smart. He ran off with the mangoes and the specs towards a nearby building’s terrace. Unfortunately we humans aren’t that adept in climbing pipes, so the helpful person had to climb the stairs but eventually managed to retrieve the glasses.

Next time you are in Vrindavan be cautious and don t take the signs of “Take care of your specs, bags and other belongings”, put up by the town administration, lightly or casually. They truly mean it!

Simian Trouble

Simian menace is increasing in both Delhi and Agra. Here, the hazard is in higher proportion. It’s not exactly rocket science to fathom why so! The entire stretch of Western Uttar Pradesh right up to Delhi is devoid of any proper forest or jungle (unless you count the concrete blocks erupting faster than teenager’s acne as so!)

At our office compound we are surrounded by monkeys, in various size and shapes that create utter nuisance. My car’s rear window wiper is a favorite swing for the kiddo-apes, so much so that I have now stopped getting it fixed. The scooter/motorcycle seats and rear-window stems are their chewing gums . Though they don’t often enter the premises, but once in a while when they do, trust them to walk off with a few important papers. They are ready to snatch and rob anything they can lay their hands off. One huge greedy lot, they are, for sure! Must say though, I quite enjoy watching their antics – from a respectable distance, that is!

At my house the problem is lesser. But it is best to keep the balcony doors closed lest some enterprising monkey decides to pay a visit. I have heard the lower floors get their patronage more; staying on the fifth floor has some little advantages, I guess- though, the pigeons make up for any wild loss I might feel, and that’s a different story altogether!

Strangely, my association with the monkeys goes far beyond the common evolutionary ancestral link that we share. In Nepal too, I was surrounded by monkeys and they often entered my house’s compound (and boy, were they huge!) and here once again I get greeted by them regularly. Perhaps, there is some cosmic design in this too. And this looks like no monkey business!

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If director Anurag Basu’s film is to be believed then everyone in Mumbai is sleeping around in a shockingly loose manner. Relationships sever at the drop of the pant. Honesty and hardwork do not matter. Life is a bitch forever ready to bed, melanoma bite and betray. Come on, physician even I have stayed in a metro agreed it is not easy, infection but it is not really that bad. As a film depicting a slice of life in a huge city, the film is way too simplistic, salacious and rather unrepresentative.

However, if you see the film just about a bunch of characters (I guess the genre of multiple stories is here to stay), who incidentally happen to live in a big city where some insecurities have seeped in them, it works tremendously well. Especially since characters are not randomly selected, they are all interconnected; hence the film doesn’t look loose or haphazard like Salaam-E-Ishq (which remains the worst movie in this genre).

The film is glossy and slick. But that’s just the surface. So don’t be fooled by the film’s exterior. At heart it is quintessentially and supremely old Bollywood stuff, perhaps highlighted best by Sharman Joshi s track, which is nothing but Shri 420(or Yes Boss or Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman) revisited. Ambition is bad and betraying your love for sake of ambition is worse. The scene where he bitterly explains that he has chosen his path to fulfill pitaaji ka adhura sapna (of building a restaurant) is a salute to innumerable seventies film where the angry young man took to the wrong way to fulfill his parents dreams or avenge the wrong done to them. And then there is the filmi climax set at where else? the railway platform, where Irrfan and Kangana seek their respective departing loves.

Yet, despite its back-hand compliments to age-old Bollywood tracks, the film is highly* quite original, not a spoof and certainly not cliched.

It’s difficult to write a review without revealing any details since the characters and their plot are tightly interlinked, which actually is the film’s triumph. The screenplay (by Anurag Basu) is neat and keeps the viewer s interest firmly glued to the on-screen proceedings. Characters connect with each other and the audience instantaneously. In fact, I simply adored the way the film introduces characters and their lives right from the first shot, without wasting time, and adds little details on the way. Sanjeev Dutta’s dialogues do their part well, giving insightful comments at appropriate places and leaving things unstated but hinted at other moments. At times, the film reminds you of Page 3.

The performances are superb. Shilpa Shetty can proudly display the film on her resume (which till date had Phir Milenge as the only other worthwhile mention)- as a housewife caught between a wrong marriage and a wronger romance she comes across very sensitive and mature. Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan and Shiney Ahuja are beacons of new age parallel cinema, and none of them lets the fire die. I love Konkona Sen Sharma – she has a spunk which immediately connects to the audience. Here, she plays a late twenties virgin desperate to get married. Her pairing with Irrfan is the most ideal and sensitive one in the film (though she herself doesn t realize it till the end).

Dharmendra has aged a lot but makes a decent comeback, and so does Nafisa Ali, playing aged lovers who re-unite after years- the track that leaves with you stifled sobs and moist eyes.

Negatives? Yes, a few. First, the character s obsession with love and bed seem a bit too much. Even though Kaykay, Kangana and Sharman are placed in a recognizable office (the ubiquitious call-center); however they don t really have too much botheration about work or its related problems. If I am not wrong, most people have sleepless nights not due to a sexy secretary lying besides them but because of up-coming presentations and ruthless sales targets! Showing them carrying Lenovo lap-tops doesn’t solve the problem ;at least they should work on it as well.

Second, the music is pathetic ** not to my liking. I don’t understand rock at all, and here all songs are from this genre. Preetam and his band come in at regular intervals (as some sort of sutradhar), hair flowing and guitar strumming. At first it looks good and innovative. But by the third song they are irritating and boring, and one wishes the director had chopped off the songs altogether.

Lastly, I am not sure if I am convinced about the ending given to Shilpa Shetty’s character. Either ways she was in a hopeless situation, but which of the two would be lesser one, is an unanswered question!

In all, after Murder and Gangster, Basu has a clear winner on his hands – less dark and manic, more intricate and deep and definitely more entertaining.

Overall- Worth viewing!

[*Reader V informs that Sharman Joshi’s track is inspired from a Hollywood film, The Apartment]
[** I realised ‘pathetic’ is a strong word to use when I don’t understand this genre]

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8 Responses to “Life In A Metro”

  1. Mehak says:

    Worth viewing…def…I enjoyed the movie…Loved all the characters…read Anurag Basu’s interview in Blr Times yday where he mentioned that he does not support EMA & therefore in the end Shilpa Shetty returns to her husband….while watching the movie…well sooooooo bad for Shiney….KayKay character is like….u hate him soo much…but love his performance…ofcourse, Konkana & Irfan’s pairing is the best & they’ve got the best lines too..thats what I felt….

    Well, music pathetic toh nahin laga…yaa Pritam’s band in between got tooo boring after a song or two…I was with a friend & we kept laughing everytime they came…saying…khula nahin hai bhai…aage jao aage..:p

    Am going for Cheeni Kum ….10 baje vala show 🙂 wat are u plans???

  2. V says:

    I agree with you on most of it but would just like to share this info on its being original..Sharman’s Joshi’s track is a comple lift from the 60’s “The apartment”

  3. Juneli says:

    I had posted comment on previous post but something went wrong and there is no comment. And I don’t have time to type it all again as I’m BB 🙁

    Catch you later on

  4. Mehak – Saw Cheeni Kum y’day. The review is up.

    About EMA, surprising since the film is so full of it, that Basu’s chickening out in the end still seems unconvincing 😉 More like a tame Silsila ending than a fiery Arth one!

    About Kay Kay Menon, no doubt he is superb, but I found his role a bit repetitive to what he has done in Honey Moon Travels, only in this one it stepped ahead more.

    V A warm welcome to the blog 🙂 And thanks for the tip, update done on the review!

    Juneli – I hope your comment didnt get caught by the spam guard. I had 700 plus of them, so didn’t really read each one before deleting. Sorry for that!

  5. Manish says:

    Yaar mujhey dekhni hai, per ladkey karan dekh nahin paa raha hoon. Frutrating. But a very nice review. I too love Kay Kay, Irrfan and Konkona.

  6. Sani Thakur says:

    This genre of multiple stories, I think, began with the Oscar winning film last year — “Crash” — or so I feel.

  7. Manish – Zarur dekhna…

    Sani – Quite possible…

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