Sunday, September 28, 2014

#Modi@Madison - Dawn of a new world order?

#Modi@Madison - Dawn of a new world order?

I don't actually concede that I have two left feet for the simple reason that I never feel shy of shaking more than just one of them at merely hint of an opportunity. At the same time I can never claim to be any virtuoso when it comes to accepting a dance challenge from anyone in my neighbourhood.

Still, I am sure that many of you would agree with my assessment of today's dance performances @ The Madison Square Gardens as being merely enthusiastic (not the kind that N. Sreenivasan sees his son-in-law as) and amateurish at the best. Their choreographers would have earned a serious rebuttal if they were staged in front of any of the routine Indian dance reality show "pseudo" judges. But please spare a thought for these poor souls who don't have regular access to any of Shiamak Davar or Sandeep Soparikar classes in their neighbourhood to hone their skills on popular Bollywood numbers. It probably was their maiden exhibition in public.

That the poor audio feed on the local broadcasters didn't help the cause is also I would like to live with. As I am writing this line Mr. Modi just rotated his index finger to a thunderous applause with an implied air of self approval in, "None of you would have slept here on the day India's recent general election results were announced!"

That performances of these so very excited young NRI kids won't be able to draw any critical acclaim or a nomination to "America's got Talent" is not the point. That what all of the daily "prime time" usual suspects (including the Barkha's, the Arnab's n the Rahul's) have been boasting about the number of rooms booked @ Manhattan for their respective crews for the past few days is also besides the point. That a certain Rajdeep could still (stage) manage to get himself hackled amid all the festivities and thus got trended on Twitter more (yeah, albeit briefly!) than the guest of honour himself is also going to be reported as nothing more than a footnote in the massive media reports on Monday.

What truly leaves indelible mark on the intelligence of both a discerning listener and over the common jurisprudence is much beyond the now established (beyond any doubting Thomas's) trade mark charisma and impromptu oratory skills of the country's "first" worker. In the 67 minutes he gave to himself (the audience world over wouldn't have minded if he chose to double the dosage) he not only successfully touched the emotional cord of the Indian diaspora but also took some "on the fly" (to the best of my available info) decisions to make their lives easier with just one stroke of his pen! That's the power a true leader manager is expected to weild. Quite unfortunately, our politicians of the yester "era" (hopefully with a new era now emerging we have the luxury of calling that one) believed in one dictum only, "Power corrupts & absolute power corrupts absolutely!"

This indeed was a master stroke for not only did he oh, so beautifully mocked fun of his own Visa (status) being denied by the US authorities but indeed discounted it as something that shouldn't be restricted for any of the attending (PIO) audience. I am sure that it would keep reverberating the consciousness of the scores of present US Congress representatives half of which would in some way have played a part in that decade old decision over which better sense prevailed, just in time. That's what is called caning a tiger in his own cave!

If I were to handpick just one key take away from this "presentation" without a PPT it would be the fact that quite a sizeable target audience, both physically present at the venue and the wire-listeners, would love to find itself having sold over this sales pitch for "India", the product with a deadly concoction of three D's i.e., Democracy, Demographic dividend and Demand. I won't be surprised if the entire event, its built up, the brouhaha & palpable excitement, ultimately leading up to the opera like performance by the "Maestro" gets included in the Harvard's curriculum shortly, of course with the intended objectives having been already achieved by then.

Yours truly had earlier composed the following piece on 20th May this year and it indeed sounded music to my ears today when after "the speech" got over one emancipated young listener at the Madison Square did indeed compare it with the "originally famous" Narendra's Chicago speech over a century ago.

Do I stand redeeming myself today, 130 days after having dared to commit some form of a blasphemy? The jury is already out on this and it only bodes well for our great nation.

I never was an atheist but have been shunning idol worshipping since long. Is it too late for me to convert again? Not really! And it wouldn't dent my ego one bit to embrace a new form of theism openly.

Vande Mataram!

(C) Rits Original

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Khoobsurat - indeed!

Khoobsurat - indeed!

There are few words which convey absolutely the same meaning universally. No matter which language you speak if you could get their translation, localized to your own dialect right they would evoke similar emotions cutting across such man made barriers. 'Khoobsurat' indeed is first among such equals. We might not get overtly ecstatic on hearing this mundane word which might lack any of literary aristocracy but one must be in complete disarray if s/he doesn't get a more than barely noticeable contortion between his or her lips and a twinkle in eyes on observing some khoobsurat phenomenon around.

This weekend's reincarnation of the Bollywood's way of portraying civilization's khoobsurati was a mighty and bold adventure for it ran the risk of being labelled its worthy predecessor's illegitimate child. Ah! I am referring to the obvious recollection any one could have i.e., of the Hrishi Da's sumptuous original offering in 1980 (and not the 1999 version which at the best could find its mention in film journals' footnotes) which my generation first relished few years after it coming to life thanks to the omnipresent (and omnipotent as well) Doordarshan. Then of course we didn't mind helping ourselves with its extra servings as and when we were presented with them.

Circa 2014. This is the age of even the older generation using Skype to connect with their folks in the hinterlands of Rajasthan. The nostalgic Lambretta makes way for the convertible BMW. But the thoughts and traditions of the royalty still remain firmly itched to the colonial times. It requires the chutzpah of the careless physio to disturb the equilibrium and challenge the cohesive strength of "goontha hua aata"!

This is a feel good delicacy all through its 130 minutes of running time. There never is a dull moment and for all its over the top characterization where everyone is sort of competing with each other, treading in a risque mode of eventually rendered marginalized in the process they all are surprisingly believable! That's the result of a heady concoction of a tight screenplay and restrained (read mature) performances of the leading protagonists.

Nobody could have essayed the "devil may care" role better than the bubbly Sonam. She is vivacious and doesn't think twice before speaking her mind (and heart) out. Her raw energy is well complemented by the suave Prince charming played by the import from across the border, Fawad and what a debut he has made! Kirron Kher has copyrighted the Punjabi mother's role over the last decade and Ratna Pathak Shah, with her snobbery adds tadka to this delectable curry.

Soft & peppy music keeps sprinkling itself (without any interruption in the smooth flow of the narrative) like chilli flakes on the even otherwise tempting cheese pizza. And make no mistake. It's a pizza that could be shared by all the family members while superseding individual choices yet not compromising on the normally elusive after taste that stays with you for a long while.

For its extremely universal acceptability potential it gets a perfect ten on the REndex. Just go for it even if you haven't hit a nearby screen in ages. I bet you won't curse me. If you do so, I accept the eventuality of public ridicule in advance.

(C) Rits Original