31 August 2008

Let the music Rock On!!

Rock On!! is stylish, rocking and different. Yet, far from being extrordinary!

It is very difficult to make a movie on music, whatever form it is. One requires a heart that syncs with the music, one's heart must get absorbed in the music to make such an attempt. Abhishek Kapoor and Farhan Akhthar attempts one with a rock solid love for the rock music.
Each and every scene is a testimony to their love for music, and how!

First things first.... "Rock On!!" is not another "Dil Chahta Hai", It is different, less matured and pretty much of lower quality. Yet, what sells the movie is its look and feel... the 'magik' of music and its effects on people.

Four highly ambitious young men from a college form a band to make Rocking music with their indigenous talents. A Rob, A Killer Drummer, a singer poet and a Joe the lead guitarist represent an energy, a dream, a passion! They all dream the same, a life that is musical and dedicated to music. But the energy of the team get subdued with the energies of individuals subsequently, and the band disperses with a shame, Just when it was getting a proper shape. And the life moves on with everyone ending up in some life that they never wanted, a life of compromises!
As Ramstein's

On and on towards disaster
We have to live until we die
Man makes compromises with life so much that he forgets he is a social being and often ends up as a solo warrier. To live powerfully is not to live alone, and when we understand this, we live as a team, we'll then live for ourselves. Our prosperity is in others' joy! Thats a simple motto of leading a powerful life. The message of this movie is straight and that.

When they come back to perform, that only for once together, they live for themselves, living for others! I am a winner in the race of life when I make my friend a champion! How simple our lives could be!!

Rock on is made bang on these principles. With an amazingly different plot the movie qualifies to be called a 'superb' flick.

When the movie is on music, background music takes the hero's position. That scored by Shankar-Eshaan-Loy is pretty much in sync with the energy of the movie, and its intensity too. It is brilliant, and electrifying. Same can not be said about the lyrics by Javed Akhthar. I am a no big to talk about the lyrical abilities of Javed saab. He is a genious at it, and he does write well. But the lyrics in this movie, doesnt go well with the Rock genere. It should have been more spontaneous. Singers have done their act brilliantly, but I still feel Farhan's voice should have sounded mature for a Rocker! However, thats my view.

About the cast, brilliant performances by Prachi Desai and Arjun Rampal. I have seen only a few other movies by this actor, he seem to be more matured and looks balanced as an actor in this one. He talks little, but makes one feel contented with the silence alone! Shahana Goswami has delivered a stunning performance as Joe's girlfriend turned wife. Farhan and others have done well too, but the characters could have been bettered by the script.
Yes, the script spoils an otherwise a brilliant movie. Script is good too with lots of wonderful moments, but not stuffed enough to make the movie a great one! What covers the pitfalls are the brilliant cenematography, extrordinary editing and the mesmerising music.

A little bit of extra homework by the script writer and the director could have made this one a milestone movie for Bollywood. Yet, this one is watchable, and is different. Check it out soon!

Now you know
That I stood outside your window
Just a little too long.

What you're gonna do
When the hours pass away
And you know that I'm gone.
Well, it may be a week, It may be a day, I'm six blocks over
And I don't know what to say to you.

However, Let the music Rock On!!
My rating - 85%

24 August 2008

The taste of India

click on the image for higher resolution
@disclaimer: I have not compiled picture, but received it as a forwarded message. Thought of sharing it. If you happen to be the creator of this, please let me know.

18 August 2008

Rameshwaram - a letter digitised

Yes.. I write letters, not e-mails but letters.

In one of the letters written to a friend, I had explained my journey to Rameshwaram and the feel of being there. I digitised the same to present here. Read it as follows.

Trip was fantastic :-).

We visited the very tip of India from where Srilanka was at just about 13miles distance. Here, at Dhanushkoti, the actual Ramasetu starts, and also it is here that the Indian Ocean grabs Bay of Bengal in its strife!

Another beach we visited, which doesn’t have waves at all. Obviously, this must be the safest beach in India which looked like a river with salty water. The Bay of Bengal is silent only at this place, which is gigantic elsewhere. The sand here is of unique black colour, that you won’t find anywhere else across the globe. This strange phenomenon is attributed to Rama’s anger against the King of Sea who did not help Rama initially, but later he succumbed when Rama threatened to dry him off. Thus the sea became silent and the sand got its colour as a representation of anger of Rama. Quiet mysterious and belief has no bounds.

Rameshwaram is a small island connected to Dhanushkoti by land. Initially they had a railway connection between these two villages and a shipyard situated at Dhanushkoti from where local ships used to ply between India and Srilanka! And in 1965, a great cyclone swept the whole village of Dhanushkoti. The rail bearings stand as a testimony to the ‘gata vaibhava’ of this place. At that juncture, people from Dhanushkoti moved to Rameshwaram, I mean whoever survived. Today, a gory town of Dhanushkoti with fallen churches, dharmashalas, railway stations and houses, stands affirm. Half the town is buried in the sand that swept it then. A few fishermen still make a living here, and they are not bothered about the visitors who come there. It is said that the Srilankan refugees and drug peddlers, smugglers from the island nation land in India here, stealthily and without anyone stopping them. Crime starts after it is dark. A jeep ride on the sands is a fantastic thing to experience here!

After 1965, people realized they can not rely on the ships to reach Rameshwaram and then they built a railway bridge across the Sea, to Rameshwaram. Eventually, a drivable road was constructed as well. So, the experience of driving on a bridge with water surrounding you is again a uniqueness of Rameshwaram, at least in the Indian context. The railway bridge is named Pamban Bridge, named after a neighbouring village. Specialty of this bridge is, it used to act like a gateway for the ships to cross this part of sea in that era. I mean, the bridge has a gate that used to be opened so as the ships passed thru and closed when the trains would pass! Anyways, now, no ship passes here, so, the bridge is an antique piece that is used only as a train bridge. One can experience this bridge today by taking this fantastic drive from Madurai.

The religious Importance of Rameshwaram is visible in every turn and corner of the place. This has a huge temple with the longest corridor in the world. That corridor makes an amazing 1.3KMs walk in total. The temple complex has 22 sacred wells; those get the water generated as much you remove it from. Each pilgrim goes around the temple and bathes in each of these 22 wells. An extraordinary phenomenon that is unique only to Rameshwaram. The water in each of these wells tastes different and most of the times sweet, though these are situated barely 100 meters away from the sea!

The main deity, Ramanatha Linga, is made of sand, but that has become rock solid. Each and every day hundreds of pilgrims get Ganges water from Kashi and does the abhisheka to this linga. Tough it is sand made it sustains the abhisheka and stays intact, even after ages of existence!

09 August 2008

A ride thru the enchanting mountains.....and an anticlimax!

The alarm was harsh and not welcome.

It seemed as if I went to bed just a moment ago; but, there was no scope for more delays since we had to be back in Bangalore before it is night.

We had a few different routes to choose from, and we chose the Shiradi ghat road. We were worried since we didn’t know if they allowed any traffic there since the developmental work was underway according to the newspaper reports. Uncle was sure that the two wheeler traffic was allowed, but not the bigger ones.

We started by 7 AM, on that pleasant morning, after stuffing ourselves with a good breakfast. It was chilling outside, and as we dented further on the National Highway, the visibility was dimmer! We could hardly see a 50 yard ahead of us. This prompted us to slow down in pace, nevertheless, a wonderful experience to be riding in the morning mist on a National Highway. Traffic was not much at that hour.

Our first stop was on the banks of the Kumaradhara River. River was flowing with its majestic norm; we had a good break from the chilling environs with the young rays of Sun kissing us.

We started again after some 15 mins, and soon we entered the Shiradi ghati road. There was a deviation for bigger vehicles from there, but for the two wheelers, there was no stopping. We ventured ahead on that road which seemed highly mysterious.

The Shiradi ghati has been prettily immortalized by the popular Kannada writer Poorna Chandra Tejaswi. His stories depicting the lives here are amazing, and so we had an interest to experience it ourselves.

We next stopped at a small stream that was descending slowly on a boulder. The road condition was bad all thru the ghati, but of course… the contractors were busy building it afresh.

We had tea at a petty shop on the road side almost at the end of the ghati road. Here, we saw a huge venomous snake that was green in colour. He was busy hunting for food, I guess. He took a note of the curious eyes and hid himself inside the bush! Huh!

We continued our journey and stopped at Sakaleshapura for a quick visit to the temple there. Here, I received a call from my office. The Manager wanted me to rush back to work in the evening, when I was expected to demo a part of my project to the clients!!

The call ruined my joy, and made our next leg of journey a run of the mill kind of ride. We stopped at a few places on the way for lunch and giving a break to the butts. But, the thought of office pissed me off, and I hated myself for picking the call that moment very badly than ever!

Managed to reach Bangalore by 4:45 in the evening; pretty fast ride considering our initial plans. We initially thought of stopping at some more places on the way, but for the call!!

As soon as I reached home, Mother gave me coffee, I gulped the whole cup in a moment and virtually ran to take an auto to office. I dint want to ride anymore that day!

So, a Four-day long ride turned to be a pleasure ride at the beginning, a tense one in the middle, and a teasing one in the end for a perfect anticlimax.

What I got from this long ride was… an education about taking care of myself, handling any situation with patience and peace of mind.

My aunt’s neighbours warned it seems, “When two riders on different bikes, they tend to over take each other and that could be dangerous.”

What my answer for it would be, “Prashanth and I compliment each other, we don’t run a competition, but work like a team”!

Here ends my epic West Coast Ride story.

Thanks for being with me all thru, and be prepared for more breath taking stories in future too :-)

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre -> Udupi -> Udyavara -> Kunjarugiri -> Pajaka -> Katapadi -> KuLayi

Day III:

Kulayi -> Mangalooru -> Manjeshwara -> Ananthapura -> Madhur -> Kasaragodu -> Bekal fort -> Kasaragodu -> Manjeshwara -> Someshwara -> Mangalooru -> Kudupu -> Polali -> MRPL -> Ganeshapura -> Kulayi

Day IV:

Kulayi -> Mangalooru -> B C Road -> Uppinangadi -> Dundya Check Post -> Shiradi -> Sakaleshapura -> Hasana -> Chennarayapattana -> Kunigal -> Nelamangala -> Peenya -> NICE Road -> Kengeri -> Bengalooru

08 August 2008

A marriage beyond all the conservativisms and cultural barriers

A christian, native of America, born and brought up there, fell in Love with an Indian girl hailing from a conservative family. He met her at work.

He followed her all the way to India, and was successful in convincing her parents to get her hand in marriage. Only condition of her parents was that the marriage happens in the Indian style!

He went back to USA, got his parents to India, and the marriage preperations were started.

Meanwhile his friends, wellwishers and neighbours got interested in this strange tie of cultures and booked their flights directly to India. All in all 17 families discented in Bangalore for this extravaganza.

The curiosity they all had for the culture of this land finally turned to Love, looking at the affection locals showered on them. They prepared for the wedding as if it is a celebration of this new found affection.

The Hindu bride was busy shopping sarees for not only her, but also to her in laws and their friends. Her to be husband was to be coronated to brahminism officially with the thread ceremony just before the marriage.

All went well, the groom and his party had a definitive plans to attend the marriage with utmost interest and were fully prepared to patiently follow each and every aspect of the Indian marriage.

The bride's family was nervous on the other hand; this was not only a question of the prestige of the family at stake, but also that of the country at stake! They took cautious steps in arranging for everything related to the marriage. They contacted a host of vedic exponents to learn about what sorts of procedures to be followed, what was the plan in place in sacred texts etc. And every thing was set right in time and the marriage was perfectly organised.

Right from the brilliant fusion of Nadaswara orchestra to the vedic chants mesmerised the visitors. The luncheon contained carefully chosen menu prepared by the best in the business. But not sure how much it appaled the visitors, since they came from a differnt fooding culture. Yet, they all praised the quality of food to be the best.

And the wedding contained all the ceremonies that is performed in a usual south indian marriage; the visitors participating in every thing patiently, and smilingly of course.

Now coming to the point... the "moral of the story" is, the Hindu community is changing, and changing to open itself to that dawn which never sets.

What makes me say so:

  • A few centuries ago, Indians had never known of any conversions.
  • A few decades ago, there was no conversions to Hinduism.
  • Once converted away from Hinduism, there was no question of behaving with that person normally, lest taking him back in to its fold.
  • Once the conversion to another religion happened, Hindus would not even consider drinking a drip of water from his hands!
  • Even if the convert doesn't eat beaf, nor touch the non vegetarian food, he would be considered a taboo from the society.
  • The converts were made to feel neither belong to here, nor to there, and end their lives in the confused state of faith, hatred and sagacity.

Such a community waking up to accepting and allowing 'others' to have a feel of its divine practices....is something miraculous. The good thing about the whole stuff here is that it happened in the Brahman community which is the most conservative of all the internal communities in Hinduism!

I totally appreciate the brave initiative by the groom and her family to honour the real essence of the Vedic living, the "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam"!

Could this well be a beginning of a change that was in waiting for a long time to take place or are the people gaining proper senses to live life like its sacred texts, finally?