Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kurbaan on Kurbaan!

Sometimes, its not important from where it starts; what matters is, where it ends and how does it reach it.

Yes, that's what Kurbaan is. A movie that executes itself with elegance and ends with grace. A movie where, you care to to notice even the suicide bomber who has a scene of few seconds inside the plane. A movie where not only characters talk but so does characterization. A movie where you don't find an unnecessary "Johny Lever" or too much of out-of-the plot song-&-dance sequences (I think, the opening song to US could have been avoided, but its digestible).

I am a huge Kareena fan. I definitely wanted to watch this movie because its hers. But when I came out of theater I knew I had liked the movie not just for Kareena but for Saif, for Vivek, for Om Puri, for Diya Mirza, for Kiron Kher; for Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Boy! his scenes are suffocative, as they are meant to be), for the story and screenplay writers, for the director, for the song composers, for the background score ( I personally think that is one of the important aspects of cinema, it makes or breaks the scene), for the cinematographer and for all those who had, in minutest way, had contributed to the movie.

Some Critics have shunned it as a copy from such as New York and Fanna. I say, let it be. The strength of Kurbaan does not lie in it being some First-of-its-kinda story. Rather it lies in the fact that when you are watching it, you don't care from where it is copied, but you enjoy every scene, every angle and feel lost in the beauty of it's execution.

I loved the classroom scene where the character played by Vivek debates with other students in Ehsaan's class.

So finally, I think, Mr. Johar has grown up to Cinema. The movie has been written well by him (I hated Kuchh Kuchh Hota hai & Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, except the Kajol Scenes, and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna even didn't offer that; the only good movie was Kal Ho Na Ho, and he was not the director for the movie! Here, I would not like to discuss Kaal, for the simple reason that it doesn't deserve even the mention).

The only issue is, which I think is an issue, in our movies, that the American Indians have such proper Hindi diction, which in reality I haven't seen in people I have interacted.

I just hope, we get to see some more better products from this production house in future!

Till then, enjoy the growth...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Random acts of kindness

“Alright! It was a bad day,” Drishti told herself, standing at Dhaulakuan bus stop, “In next five minutes, if I don’t get a bus, I’m gonna take a rickshaw and go home.”

She looked around. There were three others passengers waiting at the stop. An old man in half-sleeve shirt, a college going cool dude and a lady with a suitcase in hand and duppatta around her face. She stared back on the way from which the bus was expected.

“One more minute and I am gonna take a rickshaw. Huh!” She told herself again.

She was about to start walking towards the rickshaw that the bus arrived and she was about to get into the bus that the lady with the suitcase called up from the back.

“Can you please help me to get this suitcase up?”

“Sure,” said Drishti and pulled the luggage up.

Delhi Transportation Corporation is known for its pathetic services. From whichever stop one gets in, somehow the bus is always overloaded. However today, for a change, two seats reserved for ladies were vacant. Drishti took out Rs. 11 and extended towards the conductor, “Karol Bagh.” The lady with the suitcase also totaled her coins to eleven and collected a ticket for Karol Bagh. They both went on to sit on ladies’ seat, Drishti occupying the window seat. She thought, “How bad is that? I am a young woman and got a seat whereas the old uncle is standing,” then in the next instant she shrugged the thought off, “Whatever. Even if I offer him my seat, some other female at next stop will ask him to leave the seat. So better, I only use it.” She moved her face towards the window, rested her head on the window sill and allowed the breeze to kiss her. In the hot, sweaty Delhi, this was the coolest thing she could expect on the road. When the breeze caressed through the sweat drops, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes and said to herself, “Aha!” This was a feeling similar to what she had experienced when had walked in the sun to reach Lotus temple and sitting inside on the bench near the door, a puff of air had passed through her with a soft flow of music played by some performers out there.

“So I had a terrible day. My work sucks! My boss is a Hitler! My family doesn’t understand me! Oh my, it’s not just the day; I have a terrible life, in fact!” She declared in her mind and the expression of an inner frustration appeared on her face which she cautiously hid.

“You going to Karol Bagh?” asked the lady with the suitcase.

“How the hell does it matter to you!!” said Drishti in her mind, but the words changed on the way out, “Well, yaa.”

“You stay alone?”

What the hell! Why the hell is she asking all this? She said, “Actually no. I stay with my family.”

“Oh ok. I thought of you stayed alone or in PG so I could stay with you…” she paused for a second and then completed, “actually, I am looking for a place to stay.”

“Oh! In that case, why are you going up north? You will find most of the PG accommodations in Gurgaon.”

“Actually my husband’s family lives there. I ran away from there. So if I stay in Gurgaon, they will find me.”

This was the first time Drishti had looked at her properly. She could feel that the dupatta was used to hide something and not as a general use. She asked her, “But why are you running away from your home?”

“That’s no more a home. My husband is devil. He used to beat me every day. Last night, he tried to put me on fire.”

Alright! The same old crap! Now she will ask for money. These rogues, my god! What to say! “So why don’t you go to your parents’ house?” she was shocked that she asked that. It’s none of my business to ask that!

“I don’t want to burden my family. My dad is about to retire and I have four siblings. My younger brothers study in different cities. They don’t know about this. My sisters are yet to be married. So…”

There she is. She is gonna ask for money now. The scene is all set. While Drishti was talking in her head, a cunning smile appeared in her eyes. However she ensured that it didn’t appear on her lips.

The lady with the suitcase told her story to Drishti, who was wondering whether she was being told a real life story of a sufferer or a fiction from a trickster.

When she got down, the lady with the suitcase followed her. They stood at the stop for a second and let the bus pass by. After it was gone and Drishti was about to take her first step forward, the lady called out, “Excuse me!”

“Yes?” asked Drishti.

“Aaa… can you please help me? Actually I have a number of this NGO for women. Can you please lend me your mobile to make a call?”

Now this is too much! Drishti said, “Well, you can use the telephone booth out there.”

“Actually, “I don’t have enough money.”

Drishti didn’t understand why but she took her mobile out and extended towards the lady, who then took a piece of paper out and dialed the number. From other side of the line a voice said, “This number does not exist. Please check the number you have dialed.”

Once. Twice. Thrice. The same response.

She handed phone back to Drishti, smiled helplessly and said, “I guess, the number is not right.”

“Where will you go now?” was the instant reaction from Drishti. What the hell, It’s not my business at all!

“Don’t know. I don’t know anybody here. I…” she looked around.

“Wait…” said Drishti and made a call.

“Akash, Drishti here. Need your help…” then she narrated the whole story to the guy on the other side of the phone line in a very subdued voice. “Can you do something?”

The guy on the other side of the phone said something after which Drishti indicated the lady with the suitcase (which was now kept on the ground) to pen down something.

2 0 9 3 2 0 4 8

“Thanks, Akash,” she said and ended the call. Then she took the paper from the lady and dialed the number.

When someone answered from the other side of the line, she asked, “Is this Gurdwara Sahib?”

“Haanji, who do you want to speak to?” a very manly but soft voice asked.

Drishti again narrated the full story of lady with the suitcase, in the same subdued voice.

The man on the other side of the line said something after which she disconnected the call, and asked the lady to pick her suitcase and come along with her. In that moment when she was picking the suitcase up, her duppatta slipped a bit. Drishti could see her burnt face and within no time moved her eyes off it. They crossed the road and took a left turn. After walking a few meters, they saw the Gurdwara Sahib board. They walked in and asked for the man Drishti had spoken to.

He was a tall, well built man, with long white beard and blue turban. He came forward and folded his hands to greet the ladies.

O ji, I am Kartar Singh. Please, come.”

Drishti had just begun to re-narrate the story that Kartar Singh said, “O Ji, no problem. Bibiji can stay here for as long as she wants. She can work with other ladies here, in the Lungar.”

Drishti looked at the lady, smiled and repeated the statement that Kartar Singh had said, as if the lady didn’t understand what he had said, “You can stay here with other ladies and work in Lungar.” Then she turned back to Kartar Singh and thanked him.

“Ok, then I shall leave now. It’s getting late,” she said to the lady with the suitcase, turned towards the gate and walked. She stopped after a few steps and turned back. She found the lady walking towards her.

“Thank you, didi.” She said to Drishti, “Thank you very much.”

“No problem,” said Drishti. There was a silence for a moment; moments where you want to leave from but you don’t want to go, moments where you want to speak something but you don’t find the right words or at times the right thoughts. Both of them were wondering what to say next and then Drishti said, “Note down my number. You can call me in case you need some help.” The lady put her suitcase down and noted the number on the piece of paper available with her.

When they were done with the chores of telling and writing the number, Drishti asked, “By the way, what’s your name?”


Aasha! That means ‘hope’ in Hindi. Hope for what? After what has happened with her, still? Drishti smiled, “Ok, Aasha. I will leave now. You take care.”

They both smiled to each other and parted.

Next day, when Drishti got up, she was smiling. She found herself free of all complaints.

A week passed and Drishti received no calls from Aasha. “She must be good there in Gurdwara,” she thought. On way back home, she thought, she will go and meet her once.

When she reached Gurdwara, Kartar Singh informed that Aasha had left the place a day before. He didn’t know where did she go but informed her that she was happy while leaving.

“Strange,” thought Drishti.

After around two months, she received a call from Aasha. “Where are you? I went to meet you a few days ago. Kartar Singh Ji told me that you had left? What happened? Did you not like the place? Are you fine?” Drishti asked all these questions in one breath and then suddenly she paused and thought, “Why am I worried? Who is she to me?” A strange smile appeared on her face.

She was brought back to conversation when Aasha asked from the other side of the line, “Didi, you there?”

“Yes, Yes. I am here. So how are you?”

Didi, I am very much fine. And I must thank you. Because of you only I am alive today.”

“But where are you?”

“I am back at my husband’s place, didi.”

“But why did you go there? He wasn’t treating you properly, right?”

“Yes, didi, it’s a long story. I must thank Kartar Singh Ji. He is a saint in true sense. He guided me about my life and how should I take it. He told me, it’s not my husband who is doing this to me. It’s my own karma which is coming back to me through him. I spent all the time in Gurdwara listening to his sermons. He told us that life is not about running away from something but standing still with courage and diagnosing the problem, solving it to its core. He asked me to go back home, understand the issues, discuss and resolve. And that’s what I did. And you know what didi, even my husband said that he missed me when I was gone. He said he loved me. In all his life before this didi, he had never said that to me,” she giggled and continued, “but he said this time. We also then spoke to my mother-in-law. It took some time but we now realize the importance of each one in the family. We are all happy now, didi.”

Drishti could smell the happiness in Aasha’s voice. She said, “very good, Aasha. You have done a good job.” It was the same statement her boss had said a few days ago.

A year has passed since then. While coming back home, Drishti passed the Gurdwara Saheb. She halted at the gate for a moment and looked at the gate.

She thought - What if I had not taken the chance that day? I was scared to get involved in her case. I could have been cheated. The probability was fifty-fifty. I do not know what made me take that chance. All I know is if had not taken that, I would have never got to know this side of life. I would have probably never known how beautiful my own life is. I would have never known there’s reason to every pain. Sometimes, we need to take this chance, a chance that has no scope for calculations of rights and wrongs but asks us to do what we find right in that exact moment, a chance that is born out of your gut feeling, a chance that is nothing but a matter of chance. That night, it was not me who helped her, but she who helped me. She helped me to look within the premise of my own life, to think and understand the purpose of each moment I live by. When she had smiled that night before leaving, I had smiled back at her, and in that moment I realized, I had not smiled for long, not such free smile - a smile that was pure and was there on my face for nothing else but for its sole purpose – to express my happiness. Sometimes, we need to indulge is such random acts of kindness, not towards others but ourselves. I don’t know if I was of any help to her that night, but I am sure she has helped me to re-look at my life, from a new, fresh perspective. Now I live a life, where I see hope against every oddity. And with this hope, I live every moment of my life. Thank you, Aasha.

She let her hairs fall back, when she turned towards the road. She was walking as if enjoying every step taken; was smiling as if celebrating every moment of her existence. Now that’s some life!