Sunday, September 4, 2011


A collection of CDs covering the entire series of Tamas has just come out. Am going through it right now.

The production values are quite ordinary, but the acting, the screenplay is just fantastic.

Watching people like Harish Patel, Virendra Saxena, KK Raina, and many other familiar faces whose names I can't even recall, who went on to become regular character actors in some of the most iconic Indian films and serials, is amazing.

But, what captures you the most are the images. Tamas is part of the oldest images of my life. The scene where Deepa Sahi jumps into a well, and I haven't seen ahead to confirm if that memory is real, has been one of the most deeply etched marks in my memory. I would have been 5-6 years old when I last saw it.

And the Tamas family getting together in the classic Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video of course. Or I might be confusing one thing from the past with another again.

The film/mini-series is as much a landmark in Indian cinema as the partition was a nightmare on the country's psyche. I have written multiple times earlier how pointless it seems now that so many people died during the birth of two nations that are unbelievably similar. Pakistan and India together would have kicked so much ass.

The fact that India has celebrated Eid this week with as much fervor (though Ganesh Utsav seems to have stolen the thunder here in Mumbai) as possibly in any other part of the world proves that.

To an extent.

I still feel that we are (more than a bit) biased towards Hinduism. Despite the fact that most of us respect religious freedom, we do not realize how Hindu-ized our regular institutions are. We need to balance that gap.

But, I think we are getting there. For me Eid is as much a celebratory occasion as Diwali is. And it's the same for many of my friends. And not just because it gives you an office holiday. Or a Khan film release.

But also because you appreciate what the day stands for.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First Day First Show

Have been reading this rather delightful book called First Day First Show. It is essentially a collection of articles written by Anupama Chopra during her career as a print journalist on the movie beat. For a long time with India Today.

Am not a big fan of hers, mainly because she comes across as too gooey on NDTV. But she certainly is one of the more intelligent people writing (or talking) about films in India. Hell. if she had the foresight to marry Vidhu Vinod Chopra, one of the most successful producers in Hindi cinema, she has got to have some brains.

Anyway, the book, which starts with a rather narcissistic foreword by Shah Rukh Khan (and what else would one expect), covers a fairly comprehensive tract of moviedom starting from the mid-90s.

If nothing else, it just helps you revisit those crazy times when to be able to own a mobile phone was a status symbol, when Devgan (Devgn) and Kajol did films like Hulchul, AB was being crucified for doing Mrityudaata, and Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai was classy. The 90s look as crazy now as the 80s looked in the 90s.

The book is chronologically set and I am just about in the time when the new Bollywood brigade led by Anurag Kashyap is beginning to show its attitude in the 1990s (Satya is making people pee their pants) and Devgn and Kajol have got married. This has covered more than half of the book. So Chopra probably got less prolific with time.

But, exciting times ahead. I have cheated and looked ahead in the chapter headings. And it goes at least as far as Love, Sex aur Dhokha.

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