Saari Bachao

A Story By Deepak Jeswal
A Story By Deepak Jeswal

Film Review

Namastey LondonTum filmein nahin dekhti” cheekily remarks Akshay Kumar whenever he bowls over the prim and propah (well, read not really) British bred heroine with some stereotypical googly. This insouciance and ability to poke fun at one’s own self is extremely heartening and displays immense maturity and confidence on the film makers part. Perhaps the latest spate of overseas success has helped Bollywood shed its fundamentally solemn outlook while giving the most filmi movies; and now it does not take itself too seriously. And all this is paradoxically done keeping every traditional cliche neatly preserved in the script.

Years back, pfizer when Manoj Kumar directed Poorab Aur Paschim he had kept a straight preachy tone. Today, this site Vipul Shah (the director) has inverted that school-masterly intonation to a more friendly banter to present his own version of a similar story. In a crucial patriotic moment, when Akshay Kumar enlists the virtues of India, he doesn’t somberly sing “Hai preet jahan kii reet sada” but simply gives a small monologue, rounding it off saying – tongue firmly in the cheek – that if the British need to know more about the so-called land of snake-charmers they could hire a DVD of Poorab Aur Paschim! Absolutely a brilliant and funny way to put the point across!

Clearly, the film is not meant to be taken seriously, and I am sure Vipul Shah would be embarrassingly shocked if he receives an esoteric review or if someone tries to find subtle meanings and hidden sub-texts in his film. There is no need to exert your gray-cells, for that is not Shah’s purpose.

Built on the premise that you can take an Indian out of India but not the Indianness within him, the film is a light-hearted, fluffy and breezy entertainer, stacked with dollops of humor – some forced but largely genuine laughable moments.

The dialogues are wittily written, and the cinematography is all about bright colors whether in India or abroad. And yes, there’s an excellent shot of Taj Mahal (wish I were here at that time when they canned the scene!). The direction is light, fluffy and fun-tastic.

Both Akshay and Katrina suit their roles. And Katrina’s fragile beauty and the la-di-dah Brit accent charms exceedingly. Upen Patel – as Katrina’s Pakistani friend – has a small role, but is again well-cast. And Rishi Kapoor, the veteran, is absolutely and convincingly delightful! There are the two Brit stars, and thankfully, they aren’t made to speak horrendously accented Hindi – their dialogues carry Hindi subtitles (perhaps, a first in our cinema!).

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is the biggest sore point. The tunes are stale and his voice over the Dolby sound system excruciatingly hurts. Chakna and Rafta rafta could have been enjoyable numbers if he hadn’t sung them.

The film celebrates the current Indian self-assurance to take on the world, keeping all our idiosyncrasies and foibles intact, without being embarrassed or apologetic, and without any extraneous superiority-or-inferiority complex.

So, sit back, pack that pop-corn and Coke, and enjoy the film. You won’t be bored!

Overall Entertaining and Relaxing!

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A Story By Deepak Jeswal

Film Review

Namastey LondonTum filmein nahin dekhti” cheekily remarks Akshay Kumar whenever he bowls over the prim and propah (well, read not really) British bred heroine with some stereotypical googly. This insouciance and ability to poke fun at one’s own self is extremely heartening and displays immense maturity and confidence on the film makers part. Perhaps the latest spate of overseas success has helped Bollywood shed its fundamentally solemn outlook while giving the most filmi movies; and now it does not take itself too seriously. And all this is paradoxically done keeping every traditional cliche neatly preserved in the script.

Years back, pfizer when Manoj Kumar directed Poorab Aur Paschim he had kept a straight preachy tone. Today, this site Vipul Shah (the director) has inverted that school-masterly intonation to a more friendly banter to present his own version of a similar story. In a crucial patriotic moment, when Akshay Kumar enlists the virtues of India, he doesn’t somberly sing “Hai preet jahan kii reet sada” but simply gives a small monologue, rounding it off saying – tongue firmly in the cheek – that if the British need to know more about the so-called land of snake-charmers they could hire a DVD of Poorab Aur Paschim! Absolutely a brilliant and funny way to put the point across!

Clearly, the film is not meant to be taken seriously, and I am sure Vipul Shah would be embarrassingly shocked if he receives an esoteric review or if someone tries to find subtle meanings and hidden sub-texts in his film. There is no need to exert your gray-cells, for that is not Shah’s purpose.

Built on the premise that you can take an Indian out of India but not the Indianness within him, the film is a light-hearted, fluffy and breezy entertainer, stacked with dollops of humor – some forced but largely genuine laughable moments.

The dialogues are wittily written, and the cinematography is all about bright colors whether in India or abroad. And yes, there’s an excellent shot of Taj Mahal (wish I were here at that time when they canned the scene!). The direction is light, fluffy and fun-tastic.

Both Akshay and Katrina suit their roles. And Katrina’s fragile beauty and the la-di-dah Brit accent charms exceedingly. Upen Patel – as Katrina’s Pakistani friend – has a small role, but is again well-cast. And Rishi Kapoor, the veteran, is absolutely and convincingly delightful! There are the two Brit stars, and thankfully, they aren’t made to speak horrendously accented Hindi – their dialogues carry Hindi subtitles (perhaps, a first in our cinema!).

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is the biggest sore point. The tunes are stale and his voice over the Dolby sound system excruciatingly hurts. Chakna and Rafta rafta could have been enjoyable numbers if he hadn’t sung them.

The film celebrates the current Indian self-assurance to take on the world, keeping all our idiosyncrasies and foibles intact, without being embarrassed or apologetic, and without any extraneous superiority-or-inferiority complex.

So, sit back, pack that pop-corn and Coke, and enjoy the film. You won’t be bored!

Overall Entertaining and Relaxing!

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In his weekly column in a leading national daily, prosthesis eminent writer and UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has emotionally implored the nation’s women to save the sari from possible extinction. I echo his sentiments.

Since childhood I have a strong fascination for the sari – not that I indulge in some secret and perverse pleasure in (cross) dressing in them, pestilence but it is the sari’s visual appeal which fuels the fascination. Possibly, pestilence this attraction stems from watching Sridevi cavorting in bright red and blue chiffon saris in Jaanbaaz and Mr. India respectively, during my growing up years. And then all those Yash Chopra romantic films further cemented their allure. Today, the sari has reinvented itself into a style statement, but still I find a Sushmita Sen much more enticing in Mai Hoon Na than her corporate suits in various other films. And the sari lent a unique appeal to Aishwarya Rai’s tall and skinny frame in the second half of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. In the earlier generation, Rakhee was a huge favorite, and despite having a body that most heroines today would scoff at, she was an epitome of polish and poise and possibly with the widest collection of saris.

As Tharoor almost endorses my own thoughts, “the sari is an outfit in which a lady of any size and shape look extremely elegant and graceful you could never be too fat, too short or too ungainly to look good in a sari,” he writes. “Indeed if you were stout, or bowlegged, or thick-waisted, nothing concealed those handicaps of nature better than the sari.” I second his opinion.

My mother always wore saris and she attended some top diplomatic functions in them, always a symbol of elegance and dignity. So some years back, after dad s retirement, when she found a new obsession in Punjabi salvar suits, I was visibly aghast. And I protested quite vocally. Thankfully, she still finds saris more comfortable, especially in summers and has reserved the suits only for winters, packing them off when the mercury climbs. I find her matronly, plump and extremely loving frame accentuated by the lovely Indian dress. And the same plumpness assumes a gross and ungainly expression when she wears the suit.

In my own stories I try to keep the heroine dressed in a sari. In my biggest story on this blog, The Independence Day, the heroine (Naina) wore one for a large bulk of the story, sparking off a row of comments by Anks wondering why Naina would dress so, especially since she is shown to stay in the US for a long time, and more so since she has to embark on an important mission. But that s how I had visualized the character, and frankly, during writing, much of Naina’s appeal would have been lost had she not worn a sari. In WTHMTE, the scene where Mamta rips off her pallu challenging the hero to ravage her would have impossibly lost that raw and wild energy had she been in any other attire. And then there is – forgive me for sounding a bit voyeuristic – a heightened sexiness in unfolding the layers of the sari during love-making, which simply cannot be matched by the antiseptic taking off of, for example, a suit or shirt.

If draped properly the sari gives its own character to the wearer. It is a dress where numerous permutations and combinations of designs and colors are permittable, since the visible portion is large and uninterrupted by any creases or cuts. Indeed, the pallu itself can be a strong statement if neatly pinned over the shoulder, in tight folds, it presents a no-nonsense look; if loosely draped, it imparts a careless casualness; if rounded over the back and tucked at the waist, it shows a woman ready to take on the task with single minded devotion; and – in film and story context – just a pallu hung loose and unfolded can convey the emotional blankness much more than any dialogue would!

I know I am romanticizing it all and can almost feel the ladies reading this seething and muttering harshly that I wouldn’t know the uncomfortable impracticalities involved in wearing the apparel in daily routine life. In fact, Tharoor also quotes a lady saying: “Try rushing to catch a bus in a sari, and you’ll switch to jeans the next day.” And possibly that’s why the sari is nearly fading away from everyday lives especially in the cities. I accept the arguments, and admittedly, they are logical and practical as well.

But my appeal, and Tharoor’s as well, to the modern Indian women is that please do not just relegate this beautiful dress only for celebrations and weddings; I am sure a middle way can be found where a day in a week (or a month at least) can be kept to keep the rush out, and possibly relax in a sari I am sure one day in a month wouldn’t be too tough, would it? Let it not be a rare and exotic dress in its own land.

As Tharoor ends his piece, so do I – “Perhaps its time to appeal to the women of India to save the sari from a sorry fate.”

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23 Responses to “Saari Bachao”

  1. Mehak says:

    Good Morning πŸ™‚

  2. Mehak – Morning ji …and here’s the Superfast Gold to you, abhi toh publish kiya tha post…

  3. Mehak says:

    Gold bahut zyada ikatha ho gaya hai mere paas…ab sooch rahe hu…ek rani haar banva he lu :p

  4. Mehak – LOL sahi kaha…and here’s the chance to earn one more…tmr around 10 am , another post will be up πŸ™‚

  5. priyangini says:

    Hey bhagwan, you too. I am so tired of R saying the same thing over and over again till one day I made him fold one and he was surprised at the length, now his unreasonable requests of wearing a saree have considerably reduced but I will agree with you on one thing, till recently I had not understood what the saree symbolises, for me it was just a dress but when I went to Bangkok and then later to Singapore, on every occasion that I wore a saree, it was appreciated and I felt that I was representing India much better in that outfit.

  6. Mehak says:

    kal bhi…sahi jaa rahe hai aap.

  7. Priyangini – LOL …seems a common male fascination/fantasy ha ha …

    Mehak – Yeah aaj subah do post likh diye, just spread them apart in publishing here … tomorrow’s one is not very long though, just a review of a nice restaurant i visited, so i thought of doing a series on the eateries here.

  8. Mehak says:

    Agree with your views DJ…Voh joh cotton aur chiffon saree’s ke baat hai na….voh salwar kameez mein nahin.

  9. Mehak says:

    Will def be here…vaise Agra se kuch zyada he posts aa rahe hai…*nazar na lage* :p.

  10. Mehak – Touch wood to that πŸ˜€ … and yep both cotton and chiffon saris are very appealing…

  11. anks says:

    I was aghast when I read that article… and wanted to do a post on it… but since you have, let me voice my opinion here… why is the saree considered to be the only Indian garment??? when you have large areas in UP, Gujarat and Rajasthan where the ghaghra is the garment largely worn. Not to mention the suits of Punjab & if I am not mistaken Haryana too…?

    Having said that, I do accept that there is still a majority of the landmass left where traditionally what the women wore was sarees…. good! Now to the men who have been urging us to save the saree from extinction, I on behalf of all Indian women make a similar urge to save the dhoti from extinction! Aren’t you men being a little bunch of hypocrites wading about in your jeans, trousers and Tees and shirts and telling us women – get those sarees out of the closet!

    Come on guys, at least we wear the sarees for celebrations, you have given the dhoti a convenient send-off…. traditional attire for you means kurta pyajama or worse kurta with jeans! Isn’t that double standards???

    And to think that I haven’t even begun about the practicality of wearing a saree, specially in the fast paced life of today. As for the romanticism of the garment, well that’s a personal thing. I knew a friend of mine who didn’t want his girlfriend to wear saree in college because he associated the garment with his mom!

    And DJ, you actually remembered the comments about Naina’s saree????!!!??? Hats off to your memory!

  12. I have been reading your blog intermittently, but am coming back to comment on this one. I agree that the saree is cumbersome to wear and all that, but as Priyangini says above and as I have heard from other girls who have to step out of their known boundaries and then they get to wear the saree, the whole symbolism suddenly comes rushing back.

    However, I do believe that one shouldn’t force this wear on anyone else: not any more than wearing a dhoti should be forced on a male. I wear it rarely — or to be more precise only on pujas and stuff, but it makes me feel good. At the same time, practicality prevents me from wearing it every other day. I suppose the same might go for the saree as well — already it has lost the battle to the salwaar kameez: it might soon lose it to the jeans. And I don’t really blame anyone for it.

  13. vidya says:

    Hi DJ, Lovely topic. For me too, my mother has always been this sari clad softy-softy figure. And I think sari is considered ‘the indian garment’ because, it is the longest ‘unstiched’ piece of cloth that has been developed into a garment status. No other culture has this ummmm…..technique.

    Same with dhothi. Infact some of regions in our country get married in these because they are unstiched and so considered pure. Above the dhothi, gents wear a smaller cloth called ‘angavastram’,

    I do think sari is one of the most elegant and sophisticated thing to wear. The problem is as u stated, it hides all the roly-poly fat. So one never knows, when they have become to fat for an occasional jeans. :))

  14. Juneli says:

    Is it “Saari Bachao” Andolan….. πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰ … just joking

    Your post reminded me my post “Dress Vs. Values” I hope you remember that one and also remember my views on dresses :D.

    I simply love Sari (specially Cottons and Silk :D). No questions and no options. Period!

    But you will surprise to know that I love to wear jeans in day-to-day life. And reasons are already mentioned there in the post πŸ™‚ but I never let go the chances whenever it comes to wear Sari.

    And you know what I also suppose to make a post on dresses once again as the management have decided to have a uniform for us… πŸ™ … (And what the uniform… let it be suspense) and here you have written a post on the dresses and changing.

    Hey you have forgotten to mention about Rangila girl.. she was looking more appealing and alluring in Sari (Films: Judaai and Aflatoon)

    In the earlier generation – Rekha and Jayaprada. Don’t ask about Jayaprada…. The way she wears South Indian Silk saris Wow! ….. she looks so elegant… her looks is sheer delighting… not only that her appearance gives me the impression of goddesses – such as decorated in Durga Pooja. In my opinion till today no one can beat her in Sari – not even the beauty queens.

    I talked so much positive thing about the Sari here but I’m next to Anks – why it’s only for women and not for the men?

    At last, I want to say, Sari will not lost from our culture because all the girls and women love to wear sari no matter occasionally so that of course we will be wearing it less. That’s all πŸ™‚

    Ops so long comment πŸ™‚

  15. Anks – LOL, i can see ur dil-ka-goobar coming out πŸ˜‰ But kya Anks, women look awesome in sarees, and frankly, men dont look all the same in dhotis , unless u hv a great physique to go alongwith it. Plus, somehow i feel that the dhoti had become extinct even in the generation before us…so y allow the saree to go the same way? Ek galti ho gayi, ab doosri to na ho na .:P

    Well i dont know y saree is considered the Indian dress that always gets noticed – prob. it is the equivalent to Hindi (and am i starting off another debate, kya? :P)

    Ha ha , i remember comments from most stories, since i often re-read them…

    Sudipta – And I hv been awfully bad in not been able to visit your blog of late. But promise to make up for it once this goddamn March closing gets over…till then, i m concentrating largely on my own blog to survive πŸ˜€

    You hv put it very aptly… on my part, i hvnt worn a dhoti, come to think of it, i dont think my dad has ever done so too!

    Vidya – Well said! πŸ™‚

    Juneli – This post has attracted long comments πŸ˜€ And yeah, i think we hv been unfair to the dhoti…but then kurta pyjama is still there, and I luv to wear that, even on some formal occasions!

  16. Harshad Jangla says:

    DJ
    You have multifaced blogs with various interests and unique topics which are enjoyable. This one is very good. I remember having travelled in Air India where those beutiful air hostesses look extremely elegant,descent and attractive too. Saree is our national dress.
    Rgds.
    Harshadbhai
    Atlanta, USA

  17. Anju Chandel says:

    Hey, how about “Dhoti Bachao” campaign? Hope you Indian guys still remember and recognise a dhoti from a trouser? … I am sure our desi mundas would look much elegant in dhoti-kurta or pajama-kurta! … At least we females will not complain of any gender inequality or bias or for that matter, hypocrisy πŸ˜‰

  18. Manish says:

    Sari is great but it can’t be saved. Times and tides have changed, but Sari hasn’t evolved. Try wear a Sari and we will know. Its cumbersome in preparing, wearing, ironing, washing. A lot of woman-hour is lost in that. Only reason why women wore it because they looked good in it. But not now. They have other options, though not as good, but trade off is ok.

    I think, lets keep it for occassions. It does wonders. I remember in our school/college days whenever there was a Sari day, even an ordinary looking girl looked so very different. Many a heart would skip a beat. But have she had to wear Sari every day, after a few days she would again be ordinary. I am sure if every lady wore a sari, you would have eulogized so much about Sari.

    So we can’t save death, but urge ladies to wear them at least on occasions.

  19. Harshadji – I guess that’s y i like to call it Random Expressions πŸ˜€

    And knowing Air India, i wudnt be too surprised if the same airhostesses are still around, not young any longer πŸ˜›

    Anju – A warm welcome to the blog πŸ˜€

    Why make everything into some sort of a gender war or an ego issue betn men/women? Certainly that wasnt my purpose, and not even Tharoor’s, if i read his article correctly.

    Wearing sarees enhances a girl’s beauty – take that as a compliment, on face value, and nothing more.

    And if it looks beautiful on the women, and suggesting not to discard it totally, it is just an observation…

    Where does the question or debate over gender equality come into this, is something way beyond my comprehension!

    Manish – Actually, sari has evolved, if you really see what Sushmita Sen wore in Mai Hoon Na – i was expecting some sort of a revival after that. But it didnt happen, because i m sure it is quite an impractical attire to wear daily. But think of it, my mom/grandmom et al did whole lot of household work, w/o much machines at that time and more family members, and all in saris!!!

    For occasions, yes, it does wonders – come to think of, would Madhuri looked that ravishing had she been wearing a bright purple dress in ‘Didi tera devar’ instead of that zari-filled sari!

    I agree with you on one point – prob. i wudnt hv eulogized on the sari if it hadnt been rare. And sadly, i also agree with your last line – it cant be fully saved, but let it not be completely extinct as well!

  20. Prakash says:

    Just a big LOL on this post

  21. Prakash – πŸ˜€

  22. Harish says:

    Ha – what ever you people discuss – Girl + Saree great.

  23. sleeping adjectives 90…

    Hi! http://7.nosyptft.info/94_0.html . Thanks!…

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