I have been so irregular on the blog, that I have even lost the right to use the word "sporadic". I dont see that changing soon.
However, I have been writing in Kannada, about films, for the online magazine "Panju". If you can read Kannada and are interested in films, you can read my articles here.
I am pretty active on Facebook (addicted to unhealthy levels, according to some) so feel free to get connected with me there.
So long, blog!
I always loved taking leisurely walks here. In spite of being a busy street, the sidewalk is wide and well maintained. The street is lined with big, old trees that takes care of the scorching summer. Walking is always therapeutic, it helps me gather my thoughts and calms me down.
It took me a while to realize that nowadays I had suddenly started walking briskly at one point in the street. When I wondered why I was doing that, I realized it was because of this old beggar woman. No, she was not annoying or shouting like the organized beggars mafia you encounter nowadays at traffic signals. I can handle them easily. This lady did not annoy the pedestrians or shout loudly to grab attention.
This lady was anything but that. The first day I saw her, I took out a few coins out of my wallet, not even bothering to count, and gave it to her. The next time I was in a hurry and I just walked past her pretending to have not seen her. After that, its either one of these two reactions from me, every time I walk there. At times, I have wondered if I should give her a 10 or 20 rupee note, but have not got around to doing that. I have also felt like buying lunch for her, but I am terrified of listening to her voice or even getting to know when was the last time she had eaten.
If you ask me to describe her, I would fail. She wears this faded green saree, she could be the face of any old woman. In fact, I have never had a proper look at her face. Drop the coins and run, has been my mantra. I am scared of looking closely. What if her face resembles my granny's? I am scared, if her silent gaze asks me this tough question - How could you eat the yummy Corn Jalapeno sandwich while I sat on this pavement? I get back to office, wear my headphone, get immersed in work and push her to some remote corner of my mind.
I sometimes wish that the next time I walk on that street, she is not there!
The quality of reviews for Kannada films in newspapers is abysmal. They say the same things week after week - doing unfunny puns, saying politically correct things and making sure no new perspective is offered even by accident. Here is my mock review of "Kill Bill 2" using the same 'template'!
ಈ ವಾರ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯಾಗಿರುವ ಚಿತ್ರ 'ಕಿಲ್ ಬಿಲ್ 2' ಒಂದು ಉತ್ತಮ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ. ಕಲಾತ್ಮಕ ಅಂಶಗಳನ್ನು ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡೇ ಒಂದು ಮನರಂಜನಾತ್ಮಕ ಮಾಸ್ ಚಿತ್ರ ಕೊಡಬಹುದೆಂಬುದಕ್ಕೆ ಇದು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಉದಾಹರಣೆ. ನಮ್ಮ ಹಾಲಿವುಡ್ ಯಾವ ಸ್ಯಾಂಡಲ್ವುಡ್ ಗೂ ಕಮ್ಮಿ ಎನ್ನುವಷ್ಟು ರಿಚ್ ಆಗಿ ಚಿತ್ರ ಮೂಡಿ ಬಂದಿದೆ, ಇಷ್ಟು ಆದ್ಧೂರಿಯಾಗಿ ಚಿತ್ರ ಬಂದಿರುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ನಿರ್ಮಾಪಕರನ್ನು ಅಭಿನಂದಿಸಲೇ ಬೇಕು.
ಕಥೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಸಾಧಾರಣ. ನಾಯಕಿಯನ್ನು ಕೊಲ್ಲಲು ಅವಳ ಗುಂಪಿನವರು ವಿಫಲರಾಗುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅವರೆಲ್ಲರ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಕೆ ಸೇಡು ತೀರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದೇ ಕಥೆಯ ತಿರುಳು. ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕ ಟಾರನ್ಟೀನೊ ಬಹಳ ಜಾಣ್ಮೆಯಿಂದ ಈ ಸೇಡಿನ ಕಥಾನಕವನ್ನು ಹೆಣೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಚ್ಯಾಪ್ಟರ್ಸ್ ಮೂಲಕ ನಿರೂಪಿಸುವ ರೀತಿ ನಿಮಗೆ ಶಾಲೆಯ ನೆನೆಪು ತರಿಸದಿದ್ದರೆ ಕೇಳಿ! ಮೊದಲ ದೃಶ್ಯದಿಂದ ಕೊನೆಯವರೆಗೂ ನಿಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಬಿಗಿಯಾಗಿ ಹಿಡಿದಿಟ್ಟುಕೊಳುತ್ತದೆ, ಸಲೀಸಾಗಿ ನೋಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಡೀ ತಂಡದಿಂದ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕರು ಒಳ್ಳೇ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನು ತೆಗೆಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.
ನಾಯಕಿಯಾಗಿ ಉಮಾ ತುರಿಮಣೆ ಅಭಿನಯ ವಾಹ್ ವಾಹ್. ಕೆಲವು ಸಲ ನಮ್ಮ ಮಾಲಾಶ್ರೀ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಬಂದರೂ ಬರಬಹುದು. ಆ ಮೈಕಟ್ಟು, ಆ ಅಂಗಸೌಷ್ಟವ, ಅಭಿನಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಚತುರತೆ ಆಕೆಯ ಪ್ರಬುದ್ಧತೆಯನ್ನು ಸಾರುತ್ತದೆ, ಆಕೆಯೇ ಚಿತ್ರದ ಜೀವಾಳ. ಪಲ್ಪ್ ಫಿಕ್ಶನ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಣಿದು ಕುಪ್ಪಳಿಸಿ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನಸ್ಸು ಸೂರೆಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದ ಉಮಾ ತಾನು ಕುಣಿತಕ್ಕೂ ಸೈ ಹೊಡೆದಾಟಕ್ಕೂ ಸೈ ಎಂದು ನಿರೂಪಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಆಕೆಯ ಫೈವ್-ಪಾಯಂಟ್ ಪಾಮ್ ಟೆಕ್ನೀಕ್ ಫೈಟ್ ಬಂದಾಗಲಂತೂ ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರದ ತುಂಬಾ ಶಿಳ್ಳೆ, ಚಪ್ಪಾಳೆ, ಕೇಕೆ. ಹಿರಿಯ ನಟ ಬಿಲ್ ಕರಡೀನೆ ತೂಕದ ಅಭಿನಯ ನೀಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅವರ ಡೈಲಾಗ್ ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಕರ ಪಾಲಿಗೆ ಪಂಚಾಮೃತ. ಎಲ್ ಡ್ರೈವರ್ ಪಾತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಡೇರೈಲ್ ಹ್ಯಾನ ಪಡ್ಡೆಗಳ ನಿದ್ದೆ ಕೆಡಿಸುತ್ತರೆ. ಗ್ಲ್ಯಾಮರ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಮ್ಮ ಪಂಕಜ ಪದುಮರನ್ನು ಮೀರಿಸಿದರೂ, ಅಭಿನಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಪಳಗಬೇಕಿದೆ, ಹಾಗಾದರೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಚಿತ್ರರಂಗಕ್ಕೆ ಒಳ್ಳೇ ಪ್ರತಿಭೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಂತೆ.
ಪೋಷಕ ಪಾತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೈಕಲ್ ಮ್ಯಾಡಿಸನ್, ಗೋರ್ಡನ್ ಲಿಯೂ ಪಾತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ನ್ಯಾಯ ಒದಗಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ, ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಕಾಸಿಗೆ ಮೋಸ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಚಿತ್ರ ತಾಂತ್ರಿಕವಾಗಿಯೂ ಚನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮೂಡಿ ಬಂದಿದೆ. ಎರಡು ಹಾಡುಗಳು ಕೇಳುವಂತಿವೆ. ಛಾಯಾಗ್ರಹಣ ಕಣ್ಣಿಗೆ ಹಬ್ಬ - ಚೀನಾ, ಸೆಂಟ್ರಲ್ ಅಮೇರಿಕ ಅನ್ನು ಸೆರೆಹಿಡಿದಿರುವ ರೀತಿ ಹ್ಯಾಟ್ಸ್ ಆಫ್. ಮೊದಲಾರ್ಧದಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವ ವೇಗ ಆಮೇಲೆ ಮಾಯವಾಗಿದೆ, ಸಂಕಲನಕಾರರು ಕತ್ತರಿಯನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೂ ಚನ್ನಾಗಿ ಬಳಸಬಹುದಿತ್ತು. ಆಕ್ಶನ್ ಚಿತ್ರ ಆದರೂ ಹಿಂಸೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಜಾಸ್ತಿ ಆಯಿತೇನೋ ಅನ್ನಿಸದಿರದು. ಹೆಂಗಸರು ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಚಿತ್ರ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಗುತ್ತಾ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಗೆಳೆಯರ ಜೊತೆ ಒಮ್ಮೆ ನೋಡಿ ಬರಲು ಅಡ್ಡಿ ಇಲ್ಲ.
This was not one of those regular days. He spotted a gorgeous woman in blue dress near the river shore. It was almost as if she blended into the river. Or was he hallucinating? He observed himself being dragged near her as he felt unsure of what to say to her. The woman had a radiating smile, as if she half expected him to approach her.
"Hi, I am Shan", he smiled and stretched his hand.
"Hi, I am Ganga", she shook his hand. The grip was unusually firm, for a woman who looked that delicate.
"Like the river, huh?", he smiled.
"Mm, hmm. Like the river", she said as the radiating smile acquired a tinge of mischief.
"You from around?", he asked.
"You can say that. I was not born here. But I am here right now. Who knows about tomorrow?". The mystery added to her allure.
They walked along the river shore, talking, smiling and holding hands. Nobody knows for how long. How do you actually measure time - in the units called 'seconds' or in terms of 'intense million moments'? Finally, Shan summoned up the courage to ask her hand in marriage. "I can be difficult. I am not demanding. I dont like jewelry, I dont care for your money or your royal lineage. I just love YOU. All I ask for in return, is my freedom - to live the way I want to. Even the slightest threat to that, I am gone" she said with a serious look in her eyes. Shan, madly in love, gleefully agreed to her condition.
They got married and moved to his palatial bungalow. Shan showered her with gifts and his love. Had Ganga asked for the moon - which she did not, Shan would have arranged for a space mission. To say that they lived happily would be an understatement. They dined out together, went for exotic vacations, laughed and talked about every topic under the sun. Their love life was great too! One fine day, Ganga broke the news that she was pregnant. Shan's joys knew no bounds. Ganga was ecstatic, she loved kids too. Or so he thought!
The first crack appeared in their relationship when Shan came to know that Ganga had got her pregnancy terminated. She seemed calm, as if nothing had happened. Shan was devastated, he wanted to confront her. But he remembered the condition, and keep silent. He did not want to lose her. It was in fact, her idea to have kids. He tried to be 'understanding' and thought of finding out what Ganga really wanted.
Years passed, the gap widened. Silence and mistrust seemed to engulf the bungalow that was once filled with laughter. Shan had endured six more of such incidents. This was the last straw on the donkey's back.
One evening, Shan and Ganga went for a stroll to the riverside.
"What is it that you are unhappy about, Ganga?", Shan asked abruptly.
"Who said I am unhappy?", Ganga retorted, while being as calm as the evening.
"But, why? Er, I mean, you have changed so much, its as if I dont know you", Shan was at a loss for words.
"Hmm", she smiled a knowing smile, "I knew this day would come. When I would walk away, and you would not even stop me. Would you stop me if I walked away now?", she started walking towards the river, without even waiting for an answer.
Shan stood paralyzed, feeling numb, unable to react.
"Idiotic female. I gave her EVERYTHING. But she got hung up on ONE thing", a terribly hurt Shan muttered to himself.
"Stupid man! I demanded NOTHING. He could not give me the only ONE thing I asked", thought a disappointed Ganga, as she disappeared from Shan's vision.
Well, we don't have answers to all these and these things are not in our control either. But what about the things in our control? We discriminate against each other on every imaginable aspect.
"Oh you belong to this caste?"
"Come on, you have not visited Europe? Not even once? Seriously?"
"You like Justin Bieber?" (trying to keep a straight face)
"Most of the #### language people are generally ####"
We judge. We discriminate. Its inherent to us, ingrained in us. The thing we should aspire for, is to consciously make an effort to think otherwise.
There is a pani puri shop in the road corner. Suresha is a legend for making the best pani puris in the locality. Ravish, who stays in the same neighborhood , is now a managing director in a big company. He remembers visiting this chaat center regularly with friends during his college days. His work life is so hectic nowadays, he does not remember the last time he ate here. In an impulsive decision which is so unlike him, he parks his brand new SUV, goes over to Suresha and orders for one pani puri, khaara medium. A swanky coffee shop's loss today is Suresha's gain.
At the same time, Nanjappa stops his old auto next to Ravish's SUV. He decides to eat something before going for his night drive. He orders one pani puri, khaara jaasti. Two strangers, who would never meet again in their life, share some silence and pani puri. As they finish their pani puris, they bend slightly and stretch their arms at Suresha with empty plates in hand and ask for some pani.
At that very instant, in some strange way, the world seems a much fairer place!