aditya kumar's weblog

Archive for the ‘Cinema’ Category

The Woman in Red

without comments

In 1999, I was in the city of Indore, trying to be a graduate. It was a quiet little city in the heartland of Central India. It was “small town India” – it did not have a significant urban population.

During those days, there were no cinema halls in Indore where we could watch English movies. The best and closest we could experience Hollywood was at a movie hall called Neelkamal cinema – located in the old part of the city, near Malwa Mill. The movie hall, the building and the interiors were badly maintained and in shambles but it was the only movie theatre that played Hollywood movies, dubbed in Hindi.

We clung on to what we got because these were little joys that life had to offer. Watching a movie, in those days, used to be a long, delightful affair. Long, because we used to live outside the town and it was a long excursion to the city and the excitement that used to build up was hard to contain. Then, only the best movies used to make their way to the ragged old screen at Neelkamal.

One such movie was “The Matrix”.

Now, I won’t go into the whys and hows of how amazing a movie The Matrix was – I watched it about 4 times later and it had a cult following in years to come. The movie was such that I know people, myself included, who remember exact scenes of that movie, to this day. One such scene in that movie was the woman in the red dress – she comes out of nowhere when a bewildered Neo (Keanu Reeves –
he always has that expression, doesn’t he) is getting a guided tour of The Matrix. She smiles at Neo as she crosses him and as Neo looks back, the lady is transformed into an Agent who has his gun trained on Neo. You can read more about that scene and the woman here.

As the scene happens, the music playing in the background is Rob Dougan’s Clubbed to Death, an instrumental composition that is my favourite track from the movie. Together, with this music and the scene, this was (is) my favourite part of the movie. I used to watch that scene again and again, on dvd.

You may be wondering where I am going with all these long descriptions – of a small town movie theatre and a specific scene of a movie that I saw 18 years ago. Bear with me, please.

A few days ago I realized that the premise of that scene – my favourite scene of The Matrix, was merely a few meters behind my office in Sydney. I can tell you this – my world turned upside down. With joy, of course.

Such was my happiness that I went there, not once but twice, that day. I kept telling about it to everyone I met. While returning home from work, I went there with my earphones on, playing, what else, but “Clubbed to Death”. I walked that path, acting bewildered; acting, oh, so Neo.

I was then left with a sense of wonder that lingers on, even now. Back in 1999, in awe of that movie scene while trying to find the little joys of life, could I, 18 years old, ever imagine that one day I’ll be standing at the very place where Neo met the Woman in Red?

I promise you – not in my wildest dreams.

Life can take you far.

Written by aditya kumar

January 5th, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Cinema,Personal,Sydney

Convenient Stereotyping

with 5 comments

One of the things that I fail to understand, and I have asked myself this a few times, is that why is Goa shown in a light so different than what it really is, by the Bombay Film Industry? Before you jump to conclusions, let me say that I did not mean that the movies show Goa in a bad light, I said that they show what is not true at all, most of the times.

It seems people from Goa have been a victim of stereotyping, something that Bollywood does often. Goans are not the only ones which are generalised. The film industry time and again has given in to the temptations of generalisation. A Goan Catholic will be a drunkard, a sardar would eat chicken with a patiala peg everyday and would be ready to break into a bhangara jig at the slightest of excuse, a muslim man would speak impeccable urdu which would be so much different than Hindustani, which we commonly speak in India (sprinkled generously with English of course) and a Tamil Brahman (if you find one in a Hindi movie), would end every line with a “jee” and exclaim “aiyo!” after every couple of sentences.

So if the latest bollywood film claims that Women are cheaper than liquor in Goa, I would say that this is nothing much but an extension of Bollywood’s convenient stereotyping. Bollywood’s relation with Goa goes beyond stereotyping the typical Goan Roman Catholic to a drunkard. Hindi movies give Goa it’s rightful place as a holiday destination. But not all people go to a holiday to get drunk. Not all people go to Goa and get drunk. There are teetotallers in Goa (I am one, though I am not a Goan but hey I have home there). Bollywood takes it’s actors to Mauritius, shows bikini clad women and clear water on the shore, the lead actors get cosy in a song and that’s all packaged in a 15 minute sequence and sold as Goa. Whats more, the audience is naive enough to believe that Goan women are easy, roam around in bikinis while their men booze all day.

I honestly don’t see much in Basu’s dialogue. As I said, it is basically something they have tried to build up on an already existing platform that has been made by generalising Goa over the years. When they have repeatedly marked cheap liquor and drug peddling as Goan brands, could prostitution be too far behind? For them, it’s a complete package. The pity is, there is a section of naive audience out there, who’d believe it.

Bollywood’s breaking free of this convenient stereotyping would help, though.

Written by aditya kumar

April 5th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Bangalore to Goa by road

without comments

No, I am not going to Goa by road. Well, actually, we did that last month. But this is not a travel post (I don’t do much travel writing these days because, well, I hardly travel as much as I’d like to).

For those who random googlers who frequently hit my blog seeking the route from Bangalore to Goa. Just a short note to post one of the conclusions of our road travel to Goa last month: Take the NH-4 (Pune-Bangalore Highway) till Hubli. Then after you have hit Hubli, take the NH-63 till Karwar. From Karwar, take the scenic and beautiful NH-17, north till you hit Goa! Best way to reach Goa from Bangalore!

Written by aditya kumar

December 22nd, 2010 at 11:23 pm


with one comment

There is this Chinese restaurant I pass by everyday on the way back from work. Last Friday, I decided otherwise. Friday evening, chicken wings on my mind, an unexplored Chinese restaurant — too much to handle.

The already cramped place was now more cramped with my arrival. A couple on the left looked into each other while the soup waited silently on the table — some soup for the soul, that. With the menu in my hand, I finally obliged. All this while, the guy behind the counter, somewhere from North East I guess, was staring at me with cold eyes.

I kept rolling my eyes until I hit upon something that I had never had before: Chinese Roast Chicken. And that is when the confusion started.

“How is this different from the usual roasted chicken?”

“It is roasted.”

“Yes, but how is it different?”

“It is roasted.”

“No, no — ok. How is this different from mughlai roasted chicken?”

“It is Chinese.”

“OK, but what is the difference. ”

“That is Mughlai. This is Chinese.”

A few futile questions later, I head back, without ordering anything. More than my frustration it seems, was the disgust of the guy behind the counter, who probably could not comprehend why would someone even bother to ask the finer things about Chinese Roasted Chicken.

Written by aditya kumar

March 22nd, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Not a drop to drink

with 3 comments

Saturday morning movie shows, perfect for guys like me. Not many people have the tendency to go all the way, alone, to the most secluded multiplex in the city at 10 am on a Saturday morning to watch a movie. Chronicles of Narnia — Prince Caspian, turned out a decent movie. Nothing great about it though. The usual stuff fantasy movies are made of — talking animals and walking trees.

A little before the show starts, thirst strikes and I am compelled to have a drink of water before I enter the cinema. Except that no one is willing to “give” me water. They’d only sell it. Right from the gatekeeper to the boys behind the two counters, no one thinks that it is possible to have a glass of water. Where would you have a glass of water if you were thirsty, I ask. Blank stares. Here I was, going around asking the support staff for a glass of water. And there they were, adamant that I buy a bottle of Aquafina.

Why should I spend money buying an already overpriced 1 Litre Aquafina bottle when I can do with only a glass of water?

So well, here’s another model of India’s economic development. A glittering example of how every little thing carries a price on itself. Probably a century ago, in the west, things like these must have happened and the society there turned to what we call today “materialistic”. How would ours be any different?

Written by aditya kumar

May 20th, 2008 at 1:07 am

Review : Taare Zameen Par

with one comment

Verdict – 8/10

** No Spoilers Ahead**

Bollywood has felt the need for Child Themed movies as much as the fish needs the bicycle. Considering that, this movie comes as a fresh change, something that every movie lover could love forward to. Aamir Khan is his usual brilliant self but it is Darsheel Safary, the kid that steals the show all the way.

Taare Zameen Par is a movie every young couple should watch — Its a movie every parent with a teenage child must watch. Its a beautiful movie because it shows us how parents, with all the good intentions in their hearts, can still go wrong.

The reason why I did not give this a “9” is because I thought the parents role could have been a little more defining. Since for most of the first half, the family of the child plays a role of importance, one hoped that they could carry some of it, if not all, to the second half as well. But overall, by the second half, the story has a good foundation and the protagonist of the movie takes it off from there. The songs are well sequenced and not “just put there”. This has been an area that Bollywood has really improved over the last few years.

Aamir Khan impresses with his behind the screen antics and considering that he directed himself and a nine year old kid while working on a very sensitive subject that must have involved a lot of background research — all for the first time, I think he has done a brilliant job. I will not take away one thing from this man, who for all his brilliance, has often been misunderstood in the industry.

Written by aditya kumar

December 22nd, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Bourne to do it

without comments

The Bourne Ultimatum is, by far, one of the best movies that I have seen in a long, long time. Tell you what, I hope it remains that way.

The Bourne Trilogy has been one of the few critically acclaimed chain of movies. Apart from the fact that all the movies have been brilliantly directed, the stronghold that runs parallel to all these three movies is that they have a well-formed, captivating and ultimately a proven storyline.

There is one more ingredient to the movie that is as important as everything. Matt Damon. I saw Matt Damon’s movie, The Rainmaker, back in 1997 when I was 16. It was special for various reasons. It was my first multiplex experience and it introduced me to an author, one John Grisham, whose books I would go on to read for the rest of my time until I read them all. Matt Damon, of course, impressed me then — of whatever I could judge him. Now I realize, 10 years later, and I am sure of it — This man was born to do it. Rather, Bourne to do it. This trilogy is what Matrix is to Keanu Reeves.

Oh and by the way, the ending also features an exclusive remix of Moby’s Extreme Ways. This song, in one form or the other, has been used in all the Bourne movies to give the final kick to the ending. And some kick it does give.

Written by aditya kumar

September 24th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Posted in Cinema,Personal