Monday, October 31, 2011

Microviews: Belly to Brazil

Delhi Belly (2011)

There was one tiny fraction of a moment I really laughed out. Rest of the time I hoped (and hoped) it’s going to get better and it only drove me to the extremes of tedium. The plot was decent enough but the writing, execution and performances were awful (1.2/10). There was a “similar” film (I think it’s called American Bully. Or is it American Pee?) that was more daring and I (faintly) recall it to have had a few more moments.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

It’s a miracle. The thought the Coens are capable of making a bad movie never has crossed my mind, leave alone something this bad (1.1/10). The one redeeming aspect of it is Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance and even that grows thinner as it progresses because it’s all about Tim Robbins(’ character) who’s plain-as-blizzard miscast but even with the right casting, a shoddily conceived screenplay couldn’t have been saved from diving face first into a dry-as-a-bone pool.

Endhiran (2010)

Given our global overexposure, there’s nothing new here; yet, it feels overall almost original. One trouble with it is it’s overly commercialized which is a un-necessity (2.6/10). (Here the benefit of forward keys come in handy but can’t imagine catching it on silver screen where there isn’t such a provision). Another is it is written (or rewritten) for a star which is to say it’s deliberate on cashing in on the cult of personality which is in turn to say the audience can think meaning they cannot.

A Bittersweet Life (2005)

If you ask me, the rest of the moviedom must be inspired by Asian cinema and stop flat-out stealing from it. A tale of mobster morality and vengeance staged to perfection (9.4/10), it’s bloody gorgeous!

Shaitan (2011)

It may be an updation of Kashyap’s never-released Paanch (I couldn’t watch it past the first hour, blame it on the large miscasting and (dare I say) bad songs), but here the ensemble is aptly cast and the music benefits the aestheticity. The silent subplot, what some would call overindulgence, is poetic to me and makes perfect sense. Except for its one psychological cliché, it makes a good fusion of art house and commercial cinema (8.4/10).

Engeyum Eppodhum (2011)

The characteristics of the two female characters (played brilliantly by Ananya and Anjali), the portrayal of them, is very unique, and what with meticulous attention to minor characters that journey in two different buses that are about to collide, the screenplay soars (8/10). A minor quibble would be the presence of the song that involves shoulder elevations.

Ardh Satya (1983)

Some movies never age. Thanks to the ever evasive corruption, this movie remains relevant as ever. A film that’s been used template of sorts for cop flicks since its arrival, shades of it can be witnessed in Shaitan. The atmospheric recitation of the poem remains pivotal (9/10).

Brazil (1985)

Throw in British humor, add to it Gilliam’s inventiveness and if the end result isn’t a chariot of gold on fire that’d be too sad. What doesn’t work everywhere and every time (I’m thinking The Pythons) works here seamlessly (9/10).


Thursday, October 27, 2011

All in the Wrong Places!


The day breaks… the day disintegrates.

Sweepers set ablaze dead leaves. Housemaids jettison bins. Chefs concoct spices. Activists oversleep.

Strategists wake up and smell the decay. Parents spray fresheners.

Saddest is in a coffee bar telling jokes.

Politest says that’s lame. He tells it like it is and you daren’t contradict. Responsible… she sits there affectless. Rudest… the seat’s empty. She’s rolling on the floor.

Day integrates and it’s night.

Mr Saddest is drinking honeyed milk. He’s quiet and is quite weary from telling jokes.

Ms Rudest is on the floor laughing her socks off.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Projection of Personality

You who are deaf to night chirping, you who are thoughtless of earth floating, you who are oblivious to nature, you who are prisoner of slippy senses, you who are possessor of a sleepy mind, wake the frig up!

Agon stirred and shifted his lying one side to another. He partly opened his eyes and, with hindsight, spoke to the little toe of Feline by asking, ‘Tell me, platonic love, is it ten yet?’

Standing almost over him, she said that it’s not and it’s nine. The (so-called) hearing is at ten and it takes half hour for you to groom and another half to commute to the court.

He made his mind up against grooming for the imminent occasion. The very thought of facing the mirror inspired great unpleasantness. So Agon said resolutely to Feline, ‘Wake me up when it’s one past ten.’ And adding, a moment before drifting into a dreamless sleep, ‘Stop the meticulous pedicure and you’ll start looking far less stupid on the inside.’

She leapt twice on the mattress before diving and crashing on it. Guiding her head under an oversized pillow, pulling the velvet drape from a corner, she said, ‘He, the very upset Turv, called in to say he’ll be there in time.’

It was a grumble she heard or something said and she was almost certain it was ‘What for?’

To sit ducks. Perhaps.

Location: Dom

It’s was eleven when Agon stood inside the dock. Noises died, there were whispers and then a presence of silence.

The dome filtered in the beams of low noon that lit the courtroom up bright enough. The judge spoke. It was a coldly warm day and the sweat beads evaporating in slow-motion provisioned Agon the coolness he didn’t ask for. He ran his hand over his peppered scalp. When he held the wooden obstruction his palm made its impression. His hand withdrew and wiped itself on the cotton that he wore. He must’ve forgotten his handkerchief. Judge spoke on.

It was a room of mere five hundred, half the crowd not wanting to wait beyond its want to wait having walked out. On one side of the judge was a statue of Justine poised sword in her hand and a lump in her throat. On the other side was – Talk No Evil, Walk No Evil, Bite No Evil, Bark No Evil – the Three Parrots and a Dog.

Agon’s eyes turning nomadic meandered. There were all kinds of people and one thing they all had in common was they belonged to Planet Dom. All of them gazed at the judge and Agon, alternating between them, except for Turv. He was observing Agon, not wasting a moment on the wigged head. There was the uniformed Top. Two rows behind him was Latisha hands crossed. Right wasn’t there like expected. That’s a man of action, not a man of social (and judicial) presence. Leaning by the window away stood Feline, unmindful of the audience minding her business battling her innermost thoughts.

A while ago when they were on their way he asked Feline, peering into her eyes, what she saw in his eyes. She told him without a second thought what she saw - Quite frankly, an abyss. He expected her to pose the question back to him and she didn’t. She knew, perhaps, what his answer would be.

When the judge ceased to talk, Turv was going to defend rising to his feet. Throwing his hand up Agon gestured meaning ‘No’, without saying so, ‘Stop’ and an otherwise argumentative Turv fell quiet. When Agon stepped outside - assuming he nursed, like the rest of us, an ego - there was a lump in its throat.

Many things the young (namesake) judge said and it wasn’t a speech that quite made a pleasant listening to. It was pronouncement of sorts. An excerpt would suffice to rouse apprehension.

You are a chump who cannot drag himself to a hearing on time… A Doman is a free State Agent and not a free individual agent… You can roam all you want within one thousand miles but here on out you can never leave Planet Dom… The moment you transgress one thousand miles you will have your wrist bracelet replaced with the heavier neck bracelet… You tell us what to do or we will tell you what not to do.

National Bird: Parrot

Feline wasn’t pleased and she didn’t know why. A saffron bandana draped over his head, Agon shook a media person off his presence. Perhaps he told him it wasn’t him he was looking for and the goat he looked for exited one of the side doors. He walked to where Top stood. Behind them was Latisha, bandage over her color bone, hands behind her back, chin up, implying she was looking down on her. Her posture betrayed her trauma.

Those days if you were a Raw Machine you played too rough half the country hated you, so it was all too common to walk limp and move about slinged long past healing time to evoke the hard-to-come-by public empathy.

Feline had aimed for Latisha’s face, what for, to leave her footprint for once. Latisha is too swift. She moved and the misplaced kick left her with an AC dislocation. There were two deaths in the arena that day. They were Latisha’s teammates, skilled second to none, and it came to them by way of Feline’s feet. There was considerable gap between where they stood and the air in the vicinity was calm and tight.

The other side, she saw, Turv handling a media girl. She could say without hearing him talk he talked persuasively for ten minutes without making any definitive sense. When he passed the folks, Agon was telling Top something about the cult of personality that hides behind ideology. When he came beside Feline he didn’t say anything, only shook his head. When Agon joined them, Turv had questions for him. He was baffled by his affectation and the lack of it inside the dock. So he asked Agon what he was thinking all the while standing there to which he answered.

I imagined a mirror between the us, which includes me, and the judge. The judge spoke to his reflection in the mirror. I imagined, yes, but I have no way of knowing it to be true.

For whatever reason, and it doesn’t matter why anyway, just like the judge minutes ago, the media person entered the courtroom and exited a side door.

Population: Fifty million

Three Parrots and a Dog: A Companion Piece

There is a house that homes three cages and inside each cage is a parrot. The hunting dog at the house marches back and forth restless. Stoop it, hunder says one parrot. The cages are suspended at uneven heights. Dog barks at them. Pick on yore one size, scoundrel says another. Over time, the barks grow unbearably violent. Reasonably enough, parrots grow restless. Parrot two, that wasn’t saying anything at all, parrots the barking dog. Parrots three and one follow suit. Dog grows listless and feels vanquished. It folds itself quietly on to the ground. Surely enough, for the parrots, it’s time to snail nap. Time lapsing. Through the glass ceiling seasons pass as parrots nap.

Written for the chip by Agon, director uncredited… (rumored to be Latisha)

This is one depiction of the (propagandist) advert (short film), now banned, that you could catch oftentimes on the skyline of Planet Dom and on the tubes indoor.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Kinds of Objects


She collects antiques and shelves them in racks hidden away so that prying-eyed guests are spared from glares of envy.

The last time they met, she placed the object of her choice – an authentic ivory vessel that looked every which way magnificent – a foot away from her friend from whom it elicited waw’s and mmm’s when she said:

‘Out of all my collectible, this is the best object I’ve got.’

The next time - in a restaurant, under a Turkish chandelier - the friend introduced her for the first time to her beau and while he was away looking for a socket to plug in his iPod she told her in a muffled undertone:

‘He’s only one (of many) best man-friends of mine.’


Monday, October 17, 2011

Child of Night, Child of Time

Moonless night it is, not the darkest.
Motionless trees around, not breezeless.
Neon lambs glow through moisture,
Cold wind blows from nowhere!
A painful world longs to be hopeful.
Bloodshed in a corner, new birth in another.
It rained well not long ago.
Hopelessness takes another breath.
City of hoardings and crossbreeds,
In the midst lays a lone-terrace,
Save a paperback and a lone-soul!

Long locks and blinking eyelids,
Remains there an impression, late into night, gazing,
Gazing beyond the crossroads a billboard,
Board that says pointing to a lady
-Young lady clad in graphic wings-
Be Someone’s Angel,
Thinking nothing.


He is begotten son of a woman.
Knew not whence he came from and why,
Why this form and not a bird’s or worm’s,
Why this world and not another!
Long he sits there reading then standing,
Stands thinking, thinking nothing,
Nonetheless something, soul soothing.
Clad in tropical skin, sunshiny eyes,
Statuesque shoulders, limbs and torso,
His legs akin to pine trunks rooted.
Stands like a supple-fleshed proud tree,
Yet remarkably moves,
Moves as though a lifeless tree,
Hairs like leaves swaying.

This loneliest night shan't be his first or last.
Countless nights like these, many shall come forth.
A child of night and child of time afraid of nothing but living life.
Wronged and pained he is, unique not to him alone,
Indeed but pained for the wronged he is.
Whence come the pain and why!

Be it dusk, be it dawn, shine or rain, fall or winter
-And this he never knew-
He casts from his form nary a hint of shadow.

Composed in ‘05, picked up from the seven-page, incomplete narrative poem “Shadow of a Ghost”, presented presently edited and minorly updated.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Matters, and When!


Mother, she is a Post-Meta Feminist

Father is a Mime Sport champion

Sister is - you won’t believe - a Teenager

For a week, I’ve been a Theistic Buddhist

No one cares what your grades are. One cares even less how high or low your Consumer Rank is. What you are on any given day is all that matters. I have my drop-down list of qualms but these are little things I love about Forty-First Century.


If by a Time-Machine You Go, She Slaps and Other Absurdities


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Missing Finger

Toss it one way it drops limp. Toss it ‘nother way it stays stuck to the coiled rope. Can’t never get this gawdamn top spinnin. Set it spinnin at the tip of Luka’s finger, in the small of Bhagya’s back, on mine lil sis’ palm and much elsewheres, all just months ago. In a shor time if Ai learnt anythin substantial it’s that havin an intact right hand is vital and it matters much too much. And it’s no, no laughin matter strivin to be a lefty.

Am goin number one hans free. A croc, Ai thought barely a babe, bites mine finger off. If only I’d been more inquisitive about the rustle down ther. We were excursionin by the mudflat, bunkin class, pedalin five miles under a red hot sun, all for crave of pleasant weather. Used to ride ther every now and then.

Folks Muthu and Pencil Luka pledge they get the finger back. I have a phantom finger. And for a while I never miss the finger much. They think it could be sewn back up. Open the belly up, save for canes and cans it's spic-n-span, no trace of finger, they come back and say. Must haf been the wrong croc. Next time they go it’s past migration time. Turns out we excursioned much too early.

That time – You Make Do with What You Got – it comes. Folks say, when Ai grow up, without it Ai will super fail at foreplay. If that didn’t mean the play had everythin to do with four fingers, Ai got it, got 'em all, I say. No, no, they say, it’s finger specific. Be that as it may, if that ‘int a ruse may it be, Ai want to javelin before Ai go on to master anythin else.

They go wet if you tell them you throw javelin and wetter if you throw it so well. How Ai know it? Champ of the school and that gal from rooftop pick a random dark corner for chitty chat. Am ther all fours by the fell logs pickin roaches and frags for lab. Heard it from the filly’s mouth. Ai do a sprint and release the javelin off mine five-finger hand, it lands right behind me. Tha faks wrong with it.

Mind the language, Sammy, PEd says. Ai got to take time and show him Ai can spin the top with left as well with right, he says on, only then will he lemme access the equipment ‘gain. No danger to others, mind you, danger to mine own self, man goes on and on. Ai migh take time but am not one for givin up. All said, life would haf been half less busy if it wasn’t for the moment between the blind croc and mine bird finger.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Absent Gods and Devils


To non-answer the non-question

Why there's so much good in the world

In a world of God absence, since who knows when, the presense of good negates the existence of God

The same can be said of Devil absence, evil and the Devil


From Aphorisms for the Wisecracky


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Malick's Yggdrasil

‘Skips channels, mainly, to Discovery, lots of pretty ads for I-don't-know-what, the episode itself is viscerally borderline interesting, having second thoughts about catching the next episode’ said a viewer. The fact that it was a silver screening must be noted. ‘Since the inspired Badlands – pardon the Days of Heaven I haven’t viewed – after the grand Thin Red Line and halfway brilliant New World, it seems the filmmaker has gone soft in the head. Tree of Life is pretentious bollocks.’

Maybe I was fortunate to have viewed it at the comfort of desktop. You’re in an auditorium to watch the film rolling uneventfully, not to watch the disappointed audience walking out when it’s barely ten minutes in. In an auditorium when you could gladly excuse the occasional breaking into laughter if that’s a reaction to a witty narrative, you might not want to excuse the incessant whisperings and what-the-fug-is-going-on’s. It’s best the audience walked out. Even though I do not embrace the aforesaid critique, the reference to testicles in particular, it must be said Tree of Life borders, sadly perhaps unconsciously, on the phallogocentric perspective.

To go from explicating movie-going to explicate Tree of Life, even though I do not mind embracing its concept (rather perceived theological/philosophical concept) of Universalism, I believe it is one of a kind beast that takes itself too seriously and since it is a hard nut to crack it cannot be satisfactorily explicated. The least that can be said about it is its aesthetics and by aesthetics I mean not the CGI but the cinematography that involves the story of the family (the neighborhood) and that is by all means unique. The CGI shots though by no means bad aren’t in the same vein distinct, and how well it segues with the “pivotal” human narrative and to what extent it proves effective remains questionable.

Pitt as father, besides McCracken as son, is well cast, when Chastain as mother albeit good in parts mostly is typecast, Penn as adult Jack is either miscast or underused or both. It’s not meant to be a feature of ensemble cast. The casting of big stars, Pitt and Penn here, is in order to have the selling point high and in that regard it may be a successful venture but as an artistic endeavor it’s rather mediocre.

Films mustn’t be overlong, not unnecessarily. Case in point is 2081. A film based on Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, it’s built around a flawed premise. Though a satire it’s tonally grim and that makes the premise all the more flawed. But what’s done with 2081 makes it make at least remote sense. It is made skillfully as a short film that clocks in at 26 minutes, makes a point, and before you know down rolls the credits. For its runtime of 138 minutes, if not too short, had Tree of Life been given something of a similar treatment, say 80 minutes, it could’ve been effective, if not to make a point, if not to make definitive sense, to make more sense than the little sense it makes.


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