Silver Fox

Names of animals to which humans are likened are not neutral. These have either postive connotations like “a man like a lion” or negative connotations like “rat like”.

A fox is the animal which is known to have to cleverness as well as being handsome. A silver fox is referred to a man who has transitioned to old age with white or partially white hair and look very handsome.

Some Hollywood actors which are in more demand and have a huge fan following seemed to have become more attractive with age.

Shahrukh: KKKing KKKhan

Not for nothing Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan is he called Badshah or king Khan. By the dint of hard work, he has attained the pinnacle in Hindi cinema. He lolls in money; money seems to find excuses to go to him or Amitabh Bachpan. It never leaves them for a second.

The sobriquet of King is an appropriate one. There has been an King Shahrukh in the past; he was the king of kings and his full name was Shahpal bin Shahrukh and he ruled Qaf which was a magical place inhabited by Parees, Devs, djinns, and other non-human species. He had subjugated them all like our incumbent King Khan who casts his spell on Bollywood Parees, Devs and Jinns.

What is Dev? It is a species of immensely huge, powerful, strong demons, mostly violent and brutal; they are invisible to ordinary human eyes, and can fly. They live in Qaf, and are kept in subjugation by Shahpal. Some are cannibalistic. Their females seem usually to be magicians.

What is an Ifrit? Ifrit is a “Demon.” The most powerful and terrifying of the Devs who rebel against Shahpal. “’Ifrit” is normally a species name, but here it is the name of a single individual.

What is Djinn? A djinn is a species of Qaf-dwellers, invisible to ordinary human eyes; they can fly. They seem to be intermarried with the Parees: Shahpal bin Shahrukh’s brother Sabz-qaba is described as a Jinn.

It was the Shahpal bin Shahrukh who invited Amir Humzah- uncle of Muhammad to Qaf. Shahrukh had a daughter called Asmaan Paree (Sky fairy) who ruled after his death and married Hamzah and held him captive by love and violence for eighteen years.

So it is not any overstatement to call our Shahrukh, the King.

Nadiya Ke Paar

A few days ago, while surfing the channels on my television, I suddenly stopped because one of the channels was telecasting the Hindi  movie of the past years. It was called as “Nadiya Ke Paar” which in English means “On the other side of the river”. The movie was a huge hit in its time. Its scoring point was simple and honest plot set in the rural area of Bihar.

The movie transported me to the good old days when we lived in the village in Punjab. There might be difference in the language, features of inhabitants but overall conditions are almost similar. There is family living in a village. The head of family lives with his two nephews. He falls ill and is treated by the village Vaid, who lives in the village situated on the opposite shore of the river. In lieu of the fees of treatment, the Vaid proposes to marry the elder nephew with his daughter.

It is agreed and the daughter comes to the house as the wife of elder brother. The house now has a woman who sets the house right, makes it neat and tidy. She becomes very fond of her brother-in-law known locally as “dewar”. It generally happens in the rural India, that there is a sort of relation between the two of teasing and joking. The dewars generally are spoiled by the sister-in laws. After some time, the wife becomes pregnant. As is the customary, either the pregnant women go to their parents house for delivering the child or some female member of her parental side comes to her and stays there till the child is born and becomes a few months old.

In this case, the Dewar who is called “Chandan” is deputed to go to the other side of the river and fetch the younger sister of his Bhabhi for this purpose. While coming back in boat, they fall in love. It continues to become deeper during her stay in her sister’s house. Once by chance the elder sister comes to know of about them. But it remains in her heart and she does not tell about it to anyone. A child is born to the Bhabhi.

Tragedy happens and elder sister dies in some accident. The parents of the girl decide unknowingly to marry the younger sister who actually loves the younger brother, to the widowed brother to take care the child. But just at the time of marriage, the love is discovered and Chandan is married to younger daughter.

The movie ran packed houses for  years in U.P and Bihar. It caught the pulse of the rustic villagers who again and again visited the theaters to watch the movie. The movie cast almost unknown actors not the stars. It was all set in a village house. There was a boat, few villagers, a river and a bullock cart. It must have been a very low budget film. It became so popular, that the movie was remade after many years by transporting the milieu to city and this again was a very popular movie. It was called “Hum Apke hain Kaun”. Though it was not as realistic as the old version, it celebrated the Indian joint family, family ties and customs of upper middle class. Everyone in that movie seems to singing, dancing and doing pretty nothing except girls and boys making merry.

The music and songs which are an integral part of an Indian movie were very sweet and were situational and graphical. Some of them like the marriage songs were the folk songs occasioned for the ceremony in those parts of the country side. The music was composed by Ravindra Jain. The male songs were sung by Jaspal Singh, the long forgotten singer. He had a very sweet voice and definitely possessed a voice which was superior to many of today’s singers.

Ek Chaddar Maili See

Rajinder Singh Bedi was a big name in Indian Film industry. He belonged to the period when films were dominated by Urdu.  North Indians  were at the helm of Hindustani film industry. Almost all the heroes were from North and heroines from South and Bengal. Story dialogues were loaded with Persian words. I bet if most of Indians except from North India followed any of the dialogues.

Even these days the humor shows make fun of those dialogues by trivializing them for simple and cheap babbling. They are not at fault either because those were the times when communication was not so fast and good and individual languages flowered uncontaminated. Today’s world is erasing many cultures and synthesizing a hybrid culture which belongs to and does not belong to anyone at the same time.

Bedi wrote the dialogues for many big league movies of the yore and produced many of them. But first of all, he was a Punjabi writer and wrote many novels. Of these was one called “Ik Chaddar Adhorani” which mirrored the Punjabi culture and society mores of that time in the villages of Punjab. There was a custom in those days according to which if the husband of a woman died, she married the younger brother of deceased in a ceremony in which she will put a white chaddar on his brother-in-law. This was done to keep the woman in the same family and provide protection to children from the first marriage. Otherwise her life was doomed. As can be assumed woman was forced into this alliance by the mother in laws.

The novel was turned into a movie which cast Hema Malini as the woman whose husband is killed by suspecting brothers of a girl who was raped in an Inn attached to a temple. The Rano which was the central character played by Hema Malini was beaten by her husband daily as he came home inebriated after work. There is nothing surprising in such characters in rural areas. The women themselves begin to like this. After her husbands death she is forced to marry her brother in law whom previously she treated as her child because of his being 10 years younger. The pubescent daughter becomes very zealous of his mother and uncles marriage and even tries to end her life.

Hema Malini herself described her role as most demanding and difficult. Everyone excelled in their roles be it Kulbhusan Kharbanda, as Hema Malini’s husband, Rishi Kapoor who played the younger brother of Kulbhushan Kharbanda and whose shoulders the responsibility of the widowed Hema Malini and her children falls , Hangal as blind father in law , the only one in the family who has soft corner towards the Hema but is helpless against his wife and Dina Pathak as the tormenting mother in law who blames her Bahu for every wrong happening to the family.

Life in Mega Cities through Movies

I am not a film buff. I am not able to watch a movie from the beginning to the end. May be some friend recommends a particular film or it may be good movie is the reason why I watch them sometimes.  There is almost no social life as we are new to this place and I am also not inclined.

Watched three movies in 3 days: Delhi Belly, Dhobi Ghat and Slumdog millionaire. Each one entirely different from another.

Delhi Belly

Delhi Belly captured the life of three friends in Delhi.  The term “Delhi Belly” is used to mean infections in the belly like food poisoning which foreigners especially the Britishers suffered due to taking the strong spicy and unhygienic food and hot weather.

Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat depicts the life in Mumbai: stark contrast between extremes of rich and poor living conditions. The movie moves ahead through the video tapes recorded by a married girl. These tapes are meant to be sent to her brother in USA. The girl narrates stories through which the life in Mumbai is shown. Finally it is found that the girl hangs herself. Based on these narratives, the protagonist of the movie, played by Aamir Khan and who is a painter by profession, paints a series of his work. The story revolves around the South Mumbai and places like Nagpada, Gate of India, Chaupati beach.

Slumdog millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire also revolved around Mumbai’s underbelly brought about through two brothers. The movie by Danny Boyle is loosely based on the book of the same name by Vikas Swarup. The answers to the questions posed in the show propel the story and are the incidents which come across the life of two slum dwelling brothers. It goes into the back flashes in response to the questions asked in the Who wants to be a millionaire.

And I missed again the Mumbai.

A tale of two movies

Booker award winning books: Salman Rushdie’s Booker of the Booker novel “Midnight’s Children” & Yann Martel’s  book “Life of PI” were turned into Hollywood movies. Life of Pi was made in 2012 and directed by Ang Lee. Midnight’s Children was made by Deepa Mehta in 2012.

There is no need to emphasize the caliber of the books. Midnight’s Children is a book written by Rushdie at his creative best. It draws inspiration from his own family life. The main protagonist of Midnight’s Children is born on the night when India becomes an independent nation once again notwithstanding some pieces being cut and carved into Pakistan. Life of Pi protagonist is also born in India. Both the protagonists grow up with the nation.

The story of Midnight’s Children begins from the grandfather’s home in Kashmir, travels to Agra with his newly wedded wife via Amritsar where Jallianwala  tragedy in which thousand innocent people are killed by the army under the orders from Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer. In Agra many developments take place and the family home becomes a hub for freedom fighters. Some marriages take place. Ultimately, one of the daughters of the doctor after marriage with a businessman moves to Bombay where they purchase a house in the now most posh locality of the city from a Britisher. Here the protagonists are born in a nursing home to two different women but are exchanged by the maid who for all of her life live under the burden of this guilt.The life of the Bombay is described so graphically that the reader feels he is living in the city himself.

A Scene from Midnight’s Children

The family except their father moves to Karachi Pakistan where many of their relative occupy very high status in the army. After this the protagonist joins the Army and is sent to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh where a war for independence is underway and Pakistan army is perpetrating most heinous crimes against the women and children. Then he returns with the tamasha walas to Delhi.

Both the books revolve around Indians. Although the milieu of the Midnights Children is the Indian Subcontinent from India to Pakistan to Bangladesh and Back.

The protagonist of the other book is an Indian boy whom the destiny makes orphan when the ship carrying his parents, servants and whole circus animals perishes in the ship crash and leaves to fend for himself on the deck of a boat with a surviving tiger inside the boat itself. It depicts the bravery, wit and presence of mind to survive the travail and ultimately arrive himself and tiger to the soil to safety.

A scene from Life of Pi

I for one have read the Midnight’s Children many times and Life of PI once . Life of Pi movie has done very well. Late Irrfan Khan acted in it. Midnight’s children did not succeed as a movie. Perhaps its canvas is so huge that it is not possible to turn it easily into a movie.