Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peepli, Shivaji and our Society !!!

Much is being written, heard and seen about Anusha Rizvi’s and Aamir Khan’s current brain child – Peepli [Live]. Isn’t it ridiculous of the people to make such a stupid controversy about farmers and their issues ??
A film is a form of art. Period. Whether one believes in the ideology the film portrays is a different matter altogether. One should always view it as art or as we say a “Kalakruti” in Marathi. I believe that a Kalakruti should be analyzed simply on artistic grounds it is created with, not on the grounds of social norms, ethics or what is acceptable or likable to a certain group of people.
Natha is a poor, simple farmer. As even his basic needs are not satisfied with the meager income he gets from farming, he is forced to commit suicide. I wonder why people fail to understand or comprehend that poor farmers have to succumb to suicide because they DON’T HAVE MONEY . . they don’t DIE FOR MONEY. How silly and ridiculous it is for all those well educated and so called leaders of the farmers to claim that the movie is maligning the farmers of India !!!
Common guys !!! Everyone is aware of the grave sufferings of the poor farmers of India. If one film is showcasing the plight so strongly and aggressively, it’s a feat which should be whole heartedly supported.
The same issue can be discussed with reference to lots of recent films. Film makers in India are given such a constricted freedom of expression. They are constantly in a pressure that their creation can get into one or the other conflicts in the name of so called social rules. They are losing their liberty to express a story the way they like or feel. The other day, director Girish Kulkarni had an interesting comment to make on a discussion panel on IBN Lokmat. He said that a film cannot be labeled as bad only because the idea expressed is unacceptable or unlikable. It is absurd to ban a movie or protest against the producer, directors only because you don’t like the movie. This is clear cut “Hitlershahi”. It can happen that an artistically excellent film can be a flop only because of the idea expressed is controversial or ahead of its times. But that’s no reason to ban the film or propagate against it. It shows the immature state of the society. This can also severely damage creative instincts of the great artistes. In a way it comes in the intellectual progress of the society because the brilliant minds are not allowed to wander and think freely.
Take for example the book by Mr. James Laine’s book on Shivaji Maharaj. I haven’t read the book yet and I don’t even know what is causing such a big hype. Whatever may be in the book, Shivaji Maharaj is such a great and larger than life personality that nothing, I mean nothing can change the perception after so many centuries. How does it matter whose son he is. . he is great and we all love him.
No one is going to give a damn about where Shivaji came from. Those who are genuinely interested will come to India to Maharashtra to find out. And it then depends upon us, our maturity and knowledge of our history to put forward the best picture to the world. But it seems highly unlikely that we will put forward a united and balanced picture given the current arguments that are making the rounds.
Finally it all comes to one thing. We as a society are still very immature to handle and accept greater intellectual transformation.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mind, Love and Desires

These are some of the excerpts from my Chhottu Uncle's diary !!!
Worth a read and Worth a thought.
I am still unable to realise the entire depth of these words. . may be some of you can help me out.

To bring about a totally new mind
It is definitely possible to bring about a totally new mind. But there are certain indications, certain necessary characteristics which do bring about that quality of newness. They are affection or love and integrity. Most of us do not know what it means to be affectionate. To us, it is a word which we casually use without much significance. Love is of course something very carefully guarded, something with which we ar not so familiar, though we use the word so glibly, so facilely - love of the country, love of truth, love of life and many many loves that we talk about; and I do not think it has anything to do with this. The ingredient - if I may use that word which is absolutely necessary is the quality of affection and integrity. I don't mean by integrity any form of pattern of belief, nor do I mean it as integrity according to the experience through which one has to live; but I mean that integrity that comes about when you begin to observe every movement of your own thought and when no thought is hidden. You do not wear a mask, you do not any longer pretend to be something other than what you actually are; and therefore there is no discipline, no fancy, no worship; and out of that comes the external sense of integrity I mean that kind of integrity, not the man who has belief and lives according to that belief, not the man who is sincere but with certain ideals, not the man who follows a certain discipline or tries to bring about an integration emotionally or intellectually. Such efforts do not bring out integrity. On the contrary, they increase conflict, misery. Whereas the integrity that we are talking about is the quality of seeing the fact every minute, not trying to translate the fact in terms of pleasure and pain, but letting the fact flower without choice, without opinion - out of which seeing comes integrity which is never altered. Now these two, affection and integrity, are necessary.

Love is not a sentiment
Obviously love is not sentiment. To be sentimental, to be emotional, is not love, because sentimentality and emotion are mere sensations. A religious person who weeps about Jesus or Krishna, about his guru and somebody else is merely sentimental, emotional. He is indulging in sensation, which is a process of thought, and thought is not love. Thought is the result of sensation, so the person who is sentimental, who is emotional, cannot possibly know love. Again, aren’t we emotional and sentimental? Sentimentality, emotionalism, is merely a form of self-expansion. To be full of emotion is obviously not love, because a sentimental person can be cruel when his sentiments are not responded to, when his feelings have no outlet. An emotional person can be stirred to hatred, to war, to butchery. A man who is sentimental, full of tears for his religion, surely, has no love.

Why are our desires never fully realized?
This is a very important question to go into because, as you grow older, you will find that your desires are never really fulfilled. In fulfilment there is always the shadow of frustration, and in your heart there is not a song but a cry. The desire to become -to become a great man, a great saint, a great this or that- has no end and therefore no fulfilment; its demand is ever for the "more", and such desire always breeds agony, misery, wars. But when one is free of all desire to become, there is a state of being whose action is totally different. It is. That which is has no time. It does not think in terms of fulfilment. Its very being is its fulfilment.
Think on These Things

Monday, August 2, 2010

Life of a model !!!

This is a blogpost by Shobhaa De' . . .

There came a masala story which had the hungry media vultures scampering – an ageing model’s tragic suicide. Hardly headline news. But there it was, on every channel and newspaper. Poor Viveka Babajee hadn’t received even half this level of coverage during her lifetime as she struggled to keep up appearances, keep body and soul together, in the big, bad and coked out world of Mumbai modeling. She was considered over the hill and ‘finished’ within the glam fraternity – that in itself is a killer judgement. Combine her downgraded professional status with personal traumas, and you have a tragedy waiting to happen. For newshounds, this is another sensational tabloid scandal involving a pretty woman, a rich boyfriend (or many) and a lifestyle that shocks those outside the charmed circle. What most press reports aren’t saying is that what really killed Viveka was not a thwarted love affair but corrosive insecurity and despair.
It is a common story. Some girls can handle it better than others. Some manage to escape. Some don’t. Viveka didn’t. But look around you and you’ll find several walking wounded models struggling to stay afloat…. stay alive. The route taken is familiar – get discovered, get to Mumbai, get assignments. The first two or three years are generally heady and brilliant. The money rolls in, wealthy admirers pile up, lifestyle options multiply… and with luck, Bollywood beckons. All this before the girls reach their sell-by date ( 25 at the outside). Once your shelf life is over, the assignments dry up and even those panting middle aged, married men move on to younger chicks working the circuit. The first sign of desperation is when such a sought- after girl finds herself in the social wilderness and starts looking for lolly from other sources. She has bills to pay, loans to service, and an image to protect. Creditors start breathing down her neck… and with the heat getting a bit too hot to handle, the girl panics. Most times, she is miles away from home, living by herself in a suburban flat without support systems of any kind. She makes alcohol her best friend. In order to keep meeting her new ‘best friend’, she lets it be known she’s open to attending parties thrown by strangers – for a fee, of course. There are shady ‘party agents’ who round up hard up models and small time actresses for clients (mainly prosperous traders from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi) but at least the booze is in plenty even if the money is pathetic. Then come the shadier proposals to spend a weekend in Goa or Dubai – the money is not big, but it covers shopping kharcha. What the hell, a girl’s got to have the latest cell phone and ‘IT’ bag.
From this stage to full time hooking takes no time at all. The stakes are further lowered – but what is on offer is far more addictive – coke. Party girls in frilly frocks are always welcome at power evenings that need a strong glamour quotient – that is exactly the model followed by organizers of sporting mega events worldwide. But there is a catch - the cocktails that keeps these evenings in high gear do not flow out of glasses. The powerful hosts behind these parties know there is but one hook to get these girls to hang on - cocaine – lots and lots of the white stuff. Champagne and coke become the preferred mix. Throw in sex with strangers, and what starts off as a ‘fun’ thing, soon turns into the blackest nightmare ever with no escape. Dirty weekends grow into four and five day orgies. The protagonists are usually society’s top drawer men – industrialists, movie stars, ex-sports people, tv producers. And of course, the fashion crowd from Delhi-Bangalore.This is where girls like Viveka descend into a private hell from which there is no ‘out’. They are literally and metaphorically at a dead end. Strapped for money, strapped for love, strapped for security on any level – they turn the searchlight inwards in search of salvation. Some find it, most don’t.

Viveka’s suicide is being compared to Nafisa’s. And, no doubt there are unmistakable parallels. The main thread involves their respective backgrounds. It was hard to believe Viveka’s family is originally from Satara – a small, obscure town in Maharashtra. That makes Viveka a Maharastrian-Mauritian! What was a girl like that doing in a biz like this? Perhaps she was lured into it with promises of big time success. Ditto for Nafisa, who was also a misfit in the murky world of modeling. Both girls were above average in looks and intelligence. Yet, both got mixed up with men who gave them grief and treated them badly. Both chose a violent exit after giving up on life and themselves. Their contemporaries are made of sterner stuff – some have married ( and divorced) foreigners, others have switched to choreography and event management. Photographs of Viveka’s friends at her funeral, tell their own story. Shockingly enough, some of the girls who showed up to pay their respects clad in pristine designer white , posed for the cameras like they were at a fashion week showing. What should have been a somber occasion was converted into a celeb circus. Viveka’s funeral provided some much needed eye candy and a few photo-ops to the starved media. So much for the current crop of ramp scorchers. Then are still others who fled India and left their old world behind. I was surprised to run into the lovely Shyla Lopez who now lives in Moscow with her Russian husband and a young son. Did she look happy?? Ummmm…. I’m not sure.