Monday, October 2, 2023

Talking Life - Javed Akhtar with Nasreen Munni Kabir

 It's one long conversation where Nasreen asks about Javed Akhtar's life and he speaks candidly about his early childhood in Lucknow, his parents and his relatives, his growing up years, success and so on. He was born into a family that seemed to have a lot of literary achievers- poets and such. His mother and father, aunts and uncles, all were academics if I remember right. He speaks of how clear thinking and emancipated and intelligent his mother was. Then she died when the children were very young and their father married again and sent the kids to live with relatives.

Javed Akhtar's relationship with his father was not a good one and one can feel that there was a lot of simmering anger which he somehow vented in his writings, and perhaps on himself and those around him. His relationship with his brother Salman was tough, by his own confession he was not easy to live with either. His days in school, how he would live on the school premises, college - and somewhere here I was looking for a story which I read a long time ago about a Sardar friend of his who wrote great poetry - that he had seen his family being massacred during partition was a catalyst perhaps. It never came so i don't know if it is true.

One thing comes across though - he was enterprising and had pluck. He would seize the initiative when it warranted.

From there to Mumbai and a hand to mouth existence as he struggled. Sleeping in studios, one crazy story about how he landed up in a hotel room with the great poet, his drinking, the adda they would frequent,  friends who taught him ball dancing and then meeting Salim and taking off. They would write screenplays in 18 days and sell them for a price no one would ask thanks to Salim who believed that they were worth it.

Honest. I guess one of the trilogy speaks about his craft which is something I would be interested in reading about. But yes, a deeply moving story of an angry young man.  His circumstances, struggles, belief in himself, resilience to handle  whatever life threw at him, perhaps his ability to look at life with new eyes each time makes it a very interesting read.

Thought for the Day - Wisdom of the Centuries

 I have this somewhere but its worth putting it down here once more. Its the key to balance, to being centred, to being happy and joyful or whatever one wants to call that state of mind. I feel I need to practice this more and more in my life now.

Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing 

"Don't recall...let go of what has passed

Don't imagine..let go of what may come

Don't think... let go of what is happening now

Don't examine...don't try and figure anything out

Don't control...don't try and make anything happen

Relax right now...and rest" 

The Outfit - Movie

 Highly recommended by Rahul, so I watched. We have a cutter (some kind of a guy who is a specialist in making outfits and has trained at Savile Row), who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and somehow ends up escaping them while messing them all up. Nice. Some backstory, some own story. I wondered at that guy's consciousness - two great starts and he ends up messing them both up. 

Don't ask questions like who's the hero etc. But hey, worth a watch despite my niggling doubts.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Jawan - Movie

 I went to Jawan and sat quietly suppressing my natural urge to comment on SRK. But here i can let go and release my angst. Actually it was not that bad. Bit like Bharateeyudu or Indian as it was called - a vigilante group teaching the corrupt system a lesson.

Starts with a bunch of young ladies who team up with a bald leader with a bandage and hijack a metro - they demand money from a businessman who has somehow been responsible for farmer debts and then - repay them all. Robin Hood then goes on to do many such good acts - health minister etc. Turns out he is a jailer of a women's jail - an experimental jail it appears - full of innocent women who have been falsely accused and incarcerated but who are now committing all sorts of crimes thanks to their handsome jailer. There are some of their back stories and I dreaded that thought that they might show all their back stories. Thankfully they stopped at two.

Turns out that there is another chap - a patriot who was killed by a desh drohi - but did not die and landed in Tibet where he meets a young Tibetan who grows up, becomes a refugee in India and becomes a police officer too. Anyway this man who does not die has forgotten his memory (lucky guy!) and is living a chilled life with his old army pals. The stories intersect and the bad guys are killed.

There was a song sequence after the movie which everyone sat and watched. We bought popcorn for 600 bucks and realised it was stale. When we complained they replaced it. But it was too much to eat. On the way home we opted for bandi idli instead of midnight biryani and found that it was great idea.   

Neeyat - Movie

 Watched this classic which is apparently based on 'Knives Out'. It does make you want to bring the knives out for sure.

The poster tells you how it could be!

So a rich businessman who somehow reminds you of Vijay Mallya is hosting a party in his English villa which is conveniently placed on the edge of a cliff. He invites a motley crew of friends and relatives - a drug addict son who craves for his father's love, his girl friend who looks sober enough but obviously not because she is hooked to this drug addict (and who has visions of one Deepa Challam who died in a factory accident which will play out later), a huge tarot card reader, a solo event manager, a weird assistant, a girlfriend who is supposed to tell jokes but forgets them after the first one, her young associate, one obviously gay loser uncle and most importantly a CBI officer who dresses like a senior high school student and spouts stuff like she is in a quiz. 

Well, people start dying - actually it starts with the death of a young dog who accidentally laps up some poison and dies happily - I would have too if I was stuck with this bunch. Anyway they die one after another in a most bizarre manner and you feel they will all get up and walk because that is how fake it all seems until it is finally revealed who the killer is. (Hey, truth be told, I actually forgot who killed who, but I remember why the detective did what she did)

Anyway, the good news is that that movie ends. Do they actually pay to make such movies? Stupid question - as long as there are people like us watching such movies they will be made. But I think this was one movie I could not handle in one go so saw it in some 10 instalments. The brain cannot take it.     

Thought for the Day - We Tend to Make Things Bigger or Smaller in Our Imagination

 It is what we imagine that becomes our story. Reality could be painful but we could colour it the way we want and it seems bearable, beautiful even. On the other hand it could be beautiful, and we could paint it ugly and mess it up.

Or perhaps it is better not to call it anything and simply look at it like it is. In our eagerness to make it mean something we label them, give the drab reality a name, and voila it becomes that.

Reality as it is may not be bearable to most. Like they say, perhaps truth is not easy to see or face, and hence God gave us imagination so we can escape reality.

In our reconciliation with the truth is our release. The truth that does not exist beyond this moment. 

That is the truth. Now the challenge is to stay with it. The now. Without painting it.     

Sportstar Conclave - Focus Telangana

 This is a lovely initiative by Sportstar, our fav sports magazine, where they tour around the country holding conclaves and inviting sports personalities and administrators to speak about the state of sport. I was invited to speak on why cricket in Hyderabad was at crossroads and my co-panelists were Arshad Ayub and  Vijay Mohan Raj, former teammates of mine from the winning Ranji Trophy team. The program had several sporting icons - Gagan Narang, Mithali Raj, Sindhu, Prannoy, Gopichand to name a few.

Our talk was from 58.25 minutes to 1 hour 26 minutes! Check it out to find out why cricket is at cross roads in Hyderabad.This short thread was on Twitter.

But apart from that, there was a galaxy of sporting talent on the stage. It was good meeting my friend Vijay Lokapalli who moderated our session, Das, VVS (who invited me), Vijay Kumar, Mr Durga Prasad and others.  

Thanks Sportstar for all the good times and good memories. And for this opportunity to be on your panel. Enjoyed it.