Friday, May 6, 2011

Himalayan trek, Osama, Obama, Kanimozhi, Feminist poets & I Am...

I go climbing mountains for 10 days and look at all the things that happen behind my back. As soon as we got back to the hotel from the Himalayan trek, I was informed about the death of the world’s terrorist number one. I was totally disoriented after climbing up and down and the lack of toilet facilities while trekking had added to my head feeling all addled. So when one of the youngsters in the team told me grimly that Osama had been hunted down in Pakistan, I confused the man with multiple wives to be the US president. My first reaction was ‘OMG, there’s going to be repercussions. I am sure the US will declare war on the rest of the world.’ Everyone present in that lobby looked at me strangely but I took it to be something they were doing out of habit. All through the trek they had looked at me in a similar fashion because I was always chanting aloud- ‘Dear God, I don’t know why I did this but if I come out of this alive, I will turn into a good person.’ I guess God believed me and took away Osama instead. But I am not sure whether I was all that wrong in assuming the US president to be a terrorist. Maybe not Obama but Rambo Bush definitely qualifies to be in the most wanted list.

I wish Obama had waited for one more week to carry out the covert operation. That way I wouldn’t have missed Arnab Goswami or Rajdeep Sardesai giving their silly interpretations after the event. They are such entertaining gentlemen. They do this voice inflection thing, raising and lowering it alternately in order to drive home a point. I am sure both of them thundered afterwards whether India will have the guts to take a leaf out of the American adventure and embark on a similar operation. Of course we shouldn’t listen to these silly chaps. It’s much better to be on the sidelines and watch the souring of the love story between the ex allies. Since we Indians are Bollywood trained, we can always sing a background ditty ‘Do Hanson ka joda bichad gaye re...’ Very apt, don’t you think?

Behind all these frivolities, my heart goes out to the citizens of Pakistan. They are caught between the devil and the deep sea. If they support the US, the Al Queda would get them and if they support Osama’s outfit, Uncle Sam will take their trip. They hardly have any space to manoeuvre a peaceful existence for themselves.
Another of those sad news is about the great feminist poet Kanimozhi’s imminent arrest. No one’s talking about her poetry any more. Not even Barkha Dutt. And we all know how much she supports poets, even bad ones like Kapil Sibal. I haven’t read any of Kanimozhi’s poems because they are in Tamil but I believe they are quite firebrand.

I came across one of those written by a young poet in English. It had lines like ‘the man in the bus stares at my breast.’ I don’t get it. A creep staring at the body parts of a woman is sexual harassment. He should be slapped and not have lines in a poem dedicated to him. I hope Kanimozhi doesn’t write such senseless lines. In any case she will be in an all women prison so no man is likely to stare at her. Hopefully she will organize a kavi sammelan inside the prison and have Sibal as the chief guest. Dutt can cover it live for NDTV, enraptured expression et al.

What I didn’t miss after coming back is ‘I am’ by Onir. I should have but since it covered serious issues like child sexual abuse, I thought it was my duty to watch this one. The film turned out to be a damp squib. There are four stories crisscrossing each other. The first one was quite nice with Nandita Das and Purab Kohli in it. Das wants to have a child through sperm donation and Kohli is the young donor. They meet even though they are not meant to and the encounter is both funny and touching. Das is self assured as always but it’s Kohli who walks away with the acting honours. He is very good as the confused young man getting slowly attracted to the character played by Das whose child he is meant to ‘father.’ The next one has Juhi Chawla and Manisha Koirala and is set in Srinagar. Chawla plays a Kashmiri Pandit who was hounded out of the valley with her family as a child and is forced to go back to sell her house. Koirala plays the friend she left behind. The situation has tremendous possibilities but not much of the potential is realized because both the actors find it difficult to cease being divas. So they spend much of the time in the segment walking the minefield streets of Srinagar as if they were walking the ramp for Rohit Bal. The child sexual abuse segment again fails to deliver. Anurag Kashyap is very good as the abuser but the rest of the cast sucks. Shernaz Patel playing the mother of the victim hams it like anything. Patel is a competent actor but here she is reduced to a caricature and grimaces and winces so many times while delivering the few scanty lines the script accords her that you end up wondering whether she had a stomach upset on the days she was shooting. But the worst is reserved for the last segment.

Try and get this if you can. Rahul Bose is a successful corporate professional in Bombay. He picks up a hustler one evening and buys him dinner. Then they go for a drive. Bose can’t take the hustler home because his parents are visiting. So now we know that he has kept his sexual orientation a secret from his family. Next he parks his car in a lonely street and takes off his shirt and proceeds to pile on to the hustler. So now we know he is also stupid. A burly cop intercepts them and slaps around the indiscreet lovers. He also threatens to put both of them behind bars. Bose agrees to bribe the cop and hands over his ATM card to the hustler to withdraw the cash, presumably with the password. So now we know he is really really stupid. Bose and the cop are left alone with each other after the hustler goes to the ATM and Bose instead of putting on his shirt again stands provocatively next to the cop with his arms around his chest like he was Mamta Kulkarni posing for the Stardust cover. The cop gets turned on and forces Bose to give him a blow job. Later Bose discovers something that he should have known all along when he set out on the misadventure. That the cop and the hustler are partners in crime. And he is devastated. Seriously. What is gay about the whole thing? Won’t a pair of heterosexual lovers have the same experience if they were making out in a car and the cops intercepted them? The Delhi court has allowed two consenting adults of the same sex to make love but in the privacy of their homes or at the very least in a hotel room but certainly not in public places. As for the actors, Bose is plain terrible especially when he is giving coy angles to the cop. But both Arjun Mathur as the hustler and Abhimanyu Singh as the cop do a commendable job, though that’s not enough to rescue the concluding portion from drowning the impact some of the earlier segment leave behind.

One more thing happened while I was away. Rediff brought out an interview of mine about ‘The Boss is not your Friend’. Going through the comments thread I realized some ‘bosses’ have been as rude to me as I have been towards them in the book.

Life always evens out things.

1 comment:

  1. Because the Himalaya, home of the snow, is the most impressive system of mountains on the earth, and for centuries the setting for epic feats of exploration and mountain climbing, are a world into themselves.


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