Monday, July 28, 2008

Recurring terror?

-By Swetha Amit
26/7: A day which could have been just another date on the yearly calendar in any other circumstance. Yet it chose to ring fatal bells that echo in the ears of people even today. What could have ideally been a birthday celebration of many has ironically turned out to be the death anniversaries of several of our fellow humans. The two forms of terror have mercilessly enticed away numerous lives leaving us pining for our beloved ones.

The unforgettable ferocity of nature which took a fatal turn in Mumbai 26/7 2005 has indeed left millions in a jolt. The unpredictable stance of the monsoons and the inability to control such natural forces has reduced us to helpless beings that can only clasp our hands in prayer. However it is the other form of man made masked terror that makes us ponder and wonder about the barbaric stance adopted and at what cost.

No sooner did people have time to recover from the horrifying serial blasts in Bangalore than yet another one shattered the abode of Ahmedabad. The latter case has left behind damages that are even more severe than the ones caused by an earthquake measured 8 on a Richter scale. The 16 blasts have created a ruthless record of being the maximum to have occurred in one day/place anywhere in the world. The ‘low intensity’ of the bombs has generated ‘high voltage’ and shock waves that have led to a tumultuous situation in the dry city.

Starting from the Pink city, to the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan and then to the recent incidents. Not to forget the inhuman ones that occurred in Delhi, 2005 and the train blasts in Mumbai 7/11. This ‘cycle’ of terror has depicted its brutal form with its barbaric timing of placing it even in front of trauma care centres and hospitals to ensure the rising death tolls. While there were some bleeding in pain, others were bleeding and seething with fury and anguish on seeing such atrocities by those who are supposedly ‘humans’. It’s a shame to see bodies flung about in pieces ripped apart worse than being attacked by a wild animal. The elements of panic, fear and insecurity have engulfed the country to an extent that our so called ‘home’ seems like a wild jungle with Hannibal waiting to prey on us. Every step now spells danger at its extreme form.

It leaves us bewildered and enraged at being used as pawns in the war between the current controlling power and the masked one. The underlying motive exhibits a great deal of a vindictive stance of such individuals avenging for something that occurred years ago. One even of bloodshed is being met with double the mental anguish being inflicted on faultless people especially children who have hardly seen the world. One cannot help but retrospect into the saying by M.K.Gandhi that “An eye for an eye makes the world go blind”. It has certainly led to a blackout of humanity, compassion and consideration as this veil of war prevails into a vicious cycle.

Destruction and aggression seem to be the tools of target to meet such deadly demands which make them seem like children vying for attention from their parents. However it’s realized that these ‘children’ have grown into wild beasts only to resort to brutality in its peak form. On deep analysis of the psychodynamics of such terrifying forms only spell ‘cowardice’ and ‘callousness’ in achieving their motive.

Many of us are striving to achieve our dreams and are constantly battling our inner demons and external realities in order to reach the gateway of success. In this constant struggle, we ‘switch’ of from harsh existence to a fantastical world to unwind only to be woven into the hard hitting occurrences of the ‘stately’ affairs. It’s an irony to note that while terrorists realize their sadistic ‘dreams’, it’s at the cost of ‘hard hitting realities’ that many of us fall privy to without a choice. The only option being to ask ourselves: “who next or rather what next in this case”.
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Jaane tu ya jaane na: Youthful affair

-By Swetha Amit
Love stories have always proved to a favorite amongst film makers. Some have adopted an amateurish and sweet stance. While a few have portrayed maturity of self sacrifice and there have been others which have shocked the viewers with its dark streak of murder and swinging moralities. The latter seems to have ruled Bollywood on the pretext on ‘intelligent’ cinema almost forgetting the animate appeal it once had to win the hearts of its audience.

Aamir Khan Productions’ Jaane tu ya jaane na manages to revive the uncorrupted aspect of a teen romance which blossoms over time into the brink of adulthood, retaining its unadulterated essence. Its key element lies in its vibrant and fresh appeal. And the latter is enhanced with new faces along with the debut launch of a leading actors’ nephew.

The story starts with a bunch of youngsters humming the lyrics, same as the title on their way to the airport. The delayed arrival of a particular flight leads to the high strung and passionate debates of love and its existence. The narration of a touching romance of the protagonists is then introduced to the audience.

Jai Singh Rathore aka rats (Imran Khan) is a simple lad whose non violence stance would make our father of the nation proud and quite unlike his ancestors. Aditi aka meow (Genelia D Souza) is rebellious and a girl not to be messed around with. Showing no hesitation to indulge in a brawl with even the opposite sex showcases the fact of being the complete opposite of her best friend Jai. The inseparability of the twosome leads to everyone believing a romantic inclination between them propelling a proposal from Aditi’s parents only to be scorned and laughed off by the two.

Vowing to find each other their respective better halves, the two indulge in a roller coaster ride. Amidst hilarious antics, awkward dances, interesting characters and wavering emotions, they manage to realize the existence of true love.

Imran Khan seems to be a promising new comer whose boyish charm would score points over teen boppy girls. Genelia D Souza plays her part of an aggressive brat quite well. The film is well supported by certain comic moments by Nasseruddin Shah and wry humour by Rathna Pathak Shah. Also the surprise elements exhibited by the cowboy acts of friendly appearances in the film do not fail to evoke a roar of laughter.

Couple of scenes manages to fix that smile on faces in spite of the second half of the film tapering down in certain parts. The particular one at the disco where Jai intervenes with intelligence to rescue a damsel in distress is priceless. Also the one at the airport where Jai indulges in ‘cat’ calling for his love much to the amazement of the officers.

Abbas Tyrewala retains his commendable job of weaving a good script and screenplay together. Music by A.R.Rahman seems to be catching up with the first track regaining its popularity amongst the chart busters. And not to mention the peppy number of ‘Pappu can’t dance’ groves into the minds of the viewers. The movie tends to portray shades of resemblance to Kuch Kuch hota hai especially in its college romance bits. Certain parallels can be drawn to Chalte Chalte in the narration at the beginning and also the likeness to Dil Chahta hai in its effervescent appeal.

While the film may not be novel in its story line, it certainly promises a well rounded entertainment for the audience. Such a case seems to be a rarity considering the plight of the releases this year at the box office. While the target audience remains with the high school and college goers, its refreshing look, vivacity and spirited feel is what makes Jaane tu ya jaane na a youthful affair even if it fails to tug at ones logic or intellect at times. Especially when one comes out pondering over the generated hype about the actual reason why ‘Pappu can’t dance’!!!
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Thursday, July 03, 2008

The cat call

-By Swetha Amit
The previous night had been a rather late one as a result of the screening of a Rahul Bose film which I couldn’t miss. It was around half past two when I dozed off quietly on my leather couch. The tinkering droplets of rain continued to hit the window panes with an unusual ferocity along with the howling gale of wind. I sleepily looked at the clock which showed 5:30 am. Just as I was about to revert to my beauty sleep, I heard an unmistakable mew.

A moment’s relapse had me pondering if it was imaginary only to hear it again, this time being a decibel louder. Baffled at the proximity of the sound, I slowly reached for the door. I couldn’t ignore the disbelief and surprise in my mind at the fact of a cat loitering on the tenth floor at an odd hour. The elevator was already doing its morning rounds and the wailing seemed to come in the vicinity. As I looked quizzically at the lift man, he assured me of rescuing the cat which according to him was stuck on top of the same.

Just as I was about to shut the door I heard that pitiful cry again in close quarters. My unfounded apprehensions of it being a dream completely vanished like smoke only to result in a vigorous hunt for the troubled animal. Straining my eyes in the darkness of the elevator space, I alerted my five senses in order to trace it quickly. Two pair of gleaming eyes caught my attention and to my horror, the poor little thing was seated in a space between the two elevators. As it caught my eye, it seemed to wail even more loudly in its petrified state.

All the questions about how it got there disappeared as my mind rambled furiously on saving its skin. Helplessness and anxiety engulfed me as I dialed the security from the intercom praying earnestly to the almighty to safeguard it until I called for help. As I waited for the guards to reach, I looked in distress at those eyes which spelt fright all over. My steady gaze seemed to reassure the pet of it being relieved out of its danger zone.

Finally I breathed a sigh of relief at the arrival of the concerned authorities. The terrified mammal froze with fear even when gently prodded by the security personnel. It reminded me of the sudden shock that overtakes a human when pushed into a life or death situation. The senses seemed to stop functioning and harden like clay in a drought weather condition refusing to let anything seep through. After what seemed like eternity, the uptight animal began to allow itself to be coaxed and gradually slipped out of its aberrant disposition.

Watching it scuttle away in agility, it seemed that the cat had a quick recovery after its anomalistic escapade. As I walked back into the living room, I noticed the sudden pause in the downpour and everything seemed to portray an unusual sense of calmness. I couldn’t help but wonder about the series of turbulence that just occurred an hour ago which reflected the saying ‘calm after a storm’. The entire neighborhood seemed serene and depicted the probability of the apartment folks yet to wake up to the break of dawn; and more importantly, unaware of the rather bizarre episode that just occurred.

Shaken by the incident, I sat down on the sofa only to be startled by the milkman’s chirpy ringing of the door bell. As I resumed normalcy of the day’s routine, I led myself to be immersed in deep thoughts.

It made me realize how essential it was to keep one's eyes and ears open always both at the conscious and subconscious level. Such things are mostly taken for granted as we choose to dwell in our dreamy states as a means to escape from the harsh realities. Unwrapping ourselves out of our egocentric worlds and attending to inner/outer calls at times can prove to be beneficial not only for us but also to others. Even if it means assuming the role of a savior of a domesticated pet by responding to the 'cat call' as in this case.
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