Thursday, October 22, 2015

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Mumbai peeps why are you finding yourself bewildered over this quite an unusual sounding story title from yours truly? It's been over a month since the marketing team of Disney started seeping through your attention to eventually translate into motivating you into buying some time for yourself and your family while giving it a dekko.

It's the first one ever for India and even if you might have heard countless eulogies from all of your NRI friends and relatives about the great Lion King but you still haven't been able to find your way to New York's Broadway or London's West End to experience the sheer extravaganza of "The Show" you should find yourself lucky enough to be presented with this opportunity to soak in some sheer audio visual treat for all of your senses.

Let me confess that I had built quite high expectations from the show as I was desperately counting on the hours and minutes leading up to the show time. From the moment I sat in the dome @ NSCI, Worli and the famous baritone voice started the prologue of this 130 minutes long delight while the story's canvass unfolded itself I knew that I am in for a real good time.

Having a vernacular background it was a serious ask for me to truly appreciate as to what was going on since it was a true blue musical and as such its narrative had to be mostly relying on all of its characters talking in a heavy tone while dancing all the time. The fact that I didn't ever read this popular Disney story made my life further complicated. But after those initial uneasy moments the show's enormity took over and I would simply glide through the smooth transitions of stage effects. Slowly the story also began to sink in as the amazingly talented Indian artistes started making it look like it was their home territory by birth!

For the uninitiated, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

Since getting launched in 1994 this show has been a very highly successful one for Disney and till date it has been played for the audience of 28 countries. In India Disney made a tactical change by hiring the local talent for the entire star cast and oh boy! All of them have proved themselves to be the hidden gems with their truly world class performances. Over 100 local exhibitioners just lay opened an outlet to show their brilliance which I am sure would go a long way in changing the common perceptions (read insecurities) about such a beautiful genre of magnifique all round experience.

The sets which incidentally gave an impression of abundance could put even Sanjay Leela Bhansali to shame. Such was their grandiose scale coupled with simply uncompromising production values that to keep both the eyes open without even letting them blink didn't seem to be a challenge. The lighting effect has to be seen to believe.

So what are you thinking yet? Open that BookMyShow app and just book it for one of the 10 shows to be staged between today and 1st Nov. The base tickets of Rs. 1000 have already been sold out for all of them but you could still find few seats in the 2000 category which also I am sure after getting the word out (yesterday or today) would be picked up in a mad rush. It also establishes that the 'other' SRK i.e., Siddhartha Roy Kapur sure knows where his money and faith should go into reaping rich dividends later on. He has left no stone unturned into making way for the unparalleled production values for the show. If you don't get a ticket of denomination 2000 also don't forget to calculate how much notional savings you could make in the recent Billion Dollar sale shopping. You would be instantly motivated to shirk away any miserly thoughts as trust you me, every penny spent on this pioneering show is worth the expense. Just don't think too much!

(C) Rits Original @

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Madison Square Gardens to Shark Tank – Modi thunders dawn of a new world order!

Madison Square Gardens to Shark Tank – Modi thunders 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 the mere drop of a hat. At the same time I can never claim to be any virtuoso when it comes to accepting a salsa (or rumba or waltz or ballet or even bhangra) challenge from anyone in my neighbourhood. Still, I am sure that many of you would agree with my assessment of the last Sunday’s dance performances @ Shark Tank as being merely ‘enthusiastic’ (not the kind that the ‘once’ haughty N. Sreenivasan used to see his son-in-law as) and amateurish at the best. Their choreographers would have earned a serious rebuttal if these acts were to be staged in front of any of the everyday Indian dance reality shows’ judges some of who claim to think from their ‘intellectual’ hearts when it comes to such touchy discussions like OROP. But please spare a thought for these poor souls (I am referring to the dance performers here) who don't have regular access to any of Shiamak Davar or Sandeep Soparikar extravaganza (mundanely called ‘classes’) to hone their skills on popular Bollywood numbers. It probably was these young guns’ maiden public exhibition.

That the not so amazing audio feed on the local broadcasters didn't help the cause is also I would like to live with. As I am writing this NaMo just rotated his index finger to a thunderous applause with an implied air of self approval! Here also, yet again, quite cheekily he referred to some ubiquitous Indian damaad (son-in-law) who doesn’t need any introduction to even Donald Trump (or may be our very own Alia) and whose corruption sagas have reverberated the pillars of parliament so often to stall its proceedings.

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 on the entire West Coast for their respective ‘largest’ crews for the past few days is also besides the point. That precisely one year ago, on the very same day (but on the Eastern side) 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 a forgotten footnote.

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 63 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 (just the way he did during his last flamboyant exhibition in Manhattan) with just one stroke of his pen! That's the power a true leader manager is expected to wield. Quite unfortunately, our politicians of the yester ‘era’ (hopefully with a new era now emerging we have the luxury of calling that as 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, yet again 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 resonating 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! Half of them were simply as amused as our very own Indian Diaspora and were gleefully taking part in the proceedings. It’s quite a different story that back in Delhi few bickering Congressmen were having a tough time for the past few days in making a presentation to their Diva, Her Highness on what all nits could be picked from this an otherwise absolutely spellbinding charm spell of the great tactician. They already had found one during the town hall discussion with the great Mark but the deplorable way in which one of them questioned the very plight of one mother and tried to discount it as nothing more than a social drama was to be seen to believe. It truly proved beyond reasonable doubt that all of them have already given up on their political relevance as their stature in current scheme of things (and in near foreseeable future as well) could at best be deemed as ‘marginalized’! What a pity these guys are making of themselves!

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 (in conjunction with its year old precursor), 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 last year and once again it indeed sounded music to my ears on 28th Sep. when after "the speech" got over one emancipated young listener at the Shark Tank did indeed compare it with the "originally famous" Narendra's Chicago speech over a century ago.

Do I stand having redeemed myself today, precisely 500 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