Dec 29, 2009

Idiotic! Triple Idiotic!!!

Long time readers of the blog know that we usually don't do movie reviews. For reasons elaborated earlier.

Of course, we have been tempted to break our own rules, as and when we found them convenient. Like here. and here. What use is a rule, if it can't be broken, eh? Especially, when the movie encourages us to play by a different set of rules...

So, here we go... of course, with the mandatory *SPOILER ALERT* warnings, though we suspect that everyone has already watched this movie and is singing its praises on twitter and facebook...

So, here we go...

They show a guy feigning a medical condition to get off a plane. Another guy running out without his pants on (Aside: what's with the pant-dropping fetish throughout the movie anyways?). Apparently, because they are soooo excited at the prospect of meeting their long lost friend. We keep quiet at the sheer impracticality of it all, accepting humbly that we have come to watch a light comedy, and we shouldn't be nit-picking on logic anyways.

A glimpse of a favourite Hirani stereotype is introduced. The muggu-geek who HAS to have a South Indian name. While Swami of the "what is the procedure to change your room?" fame was funny the first time around, this repetition begins to grate on your nerves. Aren't there other muggu communities to pick on? But, leaving regional chauvinism aside (not to speak of personal pride: I have had enough people pulling my leg calling me Swami post Munnabhai... now they might start calling me Chatur... or worse, Silencer!), a huge kudos to Omi Vaidya who played this role, to still make it watchable. To me, he was the best actor on show (with Aamir running a close second). And for him alone, we keep quiet again.

Suddenly, the 'comedy' switches to some nauseating visuals of paunchy men in their underwear. Apparently,  it is necessary for the movie to be realistic to show pot-bellied men since collegians are not the fittest of people around. It is ok to have 40-plus guys playing collegians though. Since we are big hypocrites ourselves (like we promise not to do movie reviews and proceed to do just that), we keep quiet.

There is a stereotype principal with his cuckoo-talk of ruthless competition. Which he proceeds to demonstrate by breaking an egg! (I half expected some Peta beauties to land up there all naked!). Somehow, for reasons I find hard to explain, I absolutely adored the 'Dean' of Munnabhai and really hated this 'Virus' character. Since we can't say why, we keep quiet. And laugh like the Dean did.

And then we go to the supposedly funny gags. Filched from internet mail forwards of all places. Yeah, I have never heard of the 'why didn't they use pencils in space?' before. Or the 'do you know who I am?' no?-so-I-smartly-thrust-exam-paper-into-the-bunch one. Or the 'squeeze toothpaste back into the tube' line. Or even the burkha-clad ladies posing for a pic. This from a guy who gave us the amazing Circuit. Sob. Sob. We are too nostalgic on Munnabhai and Circuit to say anything here.

Suddenly, we go into the sermonizing mode. About the rote-driven education system, about pressure induced student suicides, about price-tag 'watch'ing pseudo dudes, about making your dreams 'click' and not getting 'engineered' by parental pressure, about the importance of making fun of paralytic fathers and poor moms. Oops, scratch the last one. That was apparently meant to be a gag and not a sermon. And we decided, may be we should speak up a bit.

But wait, this was apparently supposed to follow Chetan dude's novel. So, throw in the romance with the princi's daughter, the breaking into his house to talk to his daughter, the daughter giving the keys to his office, the question paper stealing, the jumping from the window and hospitalization etc etc. Since they did not show the sex scene with the princi's daughter, which Chetan had dutifully outlined, we started to howl in protest.

And then all hell broke loose. A pregnancy over webcam (to showcase Airtel broadband?), a irritatingly inane slogan which even induced newly stillborn babies to kick out (in disgust?), a totally Bollywood-ish shaadi-se-bhagaake-jaana scene (what? no guys in jeeps following the runaway bride? note to Kamal: when you remake this in Tamil with Prakash Raj as the girl's dad, please ensure that some guys with handlebar moustaches give the car a good Kollywood chase...) and we were already pulling my hair apart. We decided to strongly diss the movie after the 'Aal is well' pregnancy.

Surprise, Surprise, Aamir Rancho is unpronounceable-name wala scientist. Whoa, that's a kahani mein twist that I never saw it coming. Abbas-Mustan would be proud of you, Hirani Sir. And thus, we end...

Oh no, wait... the movie isn't over till the geek drops his pants. And till, Kareena does the one thing for which she was really cast in this movie... Smoooooooooooch...

As Shakespeare once said, "Aal is well that end's well"
PS1: I did like some bits. Like the chamatkar-balatkar speech. And the breath-taking shots of Ladakh.

PS2: My super boss loved this movie. So, officially, I give it 5 out of 5.

Dec 24, 2009

The Secret of Happiness...

"Merry Christmas. And Happy New Year!"

*Chuckle chuckle*

"Huh, who's that?"

"Some call me God, dear boy"

"Yeah right. And I am the sexiest man alive."

"You do think highly of your sarcasm, don't you, my son? Pity it's not all that good though..."

"ok, ok, no more sar-caustic comments from me. But seriously, who are you?"

"I told you. I am God"

"Hey, didn't we just agree on a 'no-sarcasm' pact?"

"You may choose not to believe. I don't have to prove myself anyway."

"Ok, whoever you are. What's with the chuckling?"

"Oh that! 'Coz of the Happy New Year greeting"

"Why? What's wrong with wishing someone a Happy New Year? What else do you do? Wish 'em a Miserable New Year?"

"So much for the no-sarcasm pact. Anyways, I was just chuckling at the marvelous stupidity of you humans to always wish for a happier future. In spite of knowing that you might end up being as miserable tomorrow as you have ever been."

"Hey, that's called Hope! That thing that is supposed to keep us going in the face of all the hurdles that you throw at us!"

"Hell, I know what it is called. I'm not called Omniscient for no reason. I'm just chuckling at your foolishness. Where has your hope led you anyway? You were born a loser. You are still one and chances are, you might remain one forever."

"Hey, I have a gold medal in academics. And I was awarded the 'Best Student' in my undergrad college!"

"Precisely what makes you a loser, in my opinion..."

"Er... can we also have a no-inconvenient-truths pact?"

"You can have any number of pacts. They'll be as useful as Kyoto was to the world's climate."

"Also, a no-stating-the-obvious pact. After all, we are not Arun Lal."

"Don't ever do that again! Compare me to Arun Lal!!! I'll ensure you rot in hell for eternity!"

"Ok, my bad. Coming back to the topic. If I can't be hopeful of a better future, I won't work towards one anyways. And if I don't work towards one, I'll end up with a bleak future! So, aren't you like, trying to trap me in a self-fulfilling vicious circle?"

"Tip for the day: Re-read the awesome discourse I gave to Arjuna on the battlefield. You ought to do your work regardless of the result. Not just in the hope that it'll lead to a better future."

"Er... I am a banker. I don't do work if I don't see a possibility of a big, fat bonus at the end of the year. If you want selfless workers, go talk to some teachers."

"You see, that's the problem with you guys. You are overtly greedy. You don't work because you love what you are doing. You work for more money, or rather for the 'more money = better life" hope. To me, that's like living on perennial dope."

"Your lecture is more than my little brain can cope. See, I can rhyme too!"

"Shut up and pay attention. I am telling you the secret of happiness!"

"Which is? To live life bereft of all hope? Sounds like a really ecstatic life to me..."

"No, you effing idiot. The secret of happiness is to be ambitious and contented at the same time."

"Whoa! Now you are sounding like one of those inane positive thinking books. The secret to winning is to never quit, but also to know when to walk away from a losing deal. The secret of success is to be yourself and not pretend to be something you are not, but to also emulate role models and imbibe their qualities. Be assertive, not aggressive. Help other people, but know when to say 'No'. Stick to your principles, but have an open mind. And my personal favourite: the secret to a happy relationship is to screw your girlfriend but not impregnate her!"

"Whoa, that was some rant. But I stick by what I am saying."

"Ok, let me process it a bit slowly. The... secret... of... happiness... is... to... be... ambitious... and... contented... at... the... same... time. Still doesn't make sense."

"Ok, let me give an analogy. Imagine you are walking along the road. It's a nice, tree-lined path. You are enjoying the scenic beauty all around. You are... contented. But that doesn't mean you just stop at the same place. You'll get bored soon. So, you walk, at your own pace, because you choose to walk. Not to keep up with your fellow pedestrians. And keep walking. You might end up at an even more scenic place. Or you might end up near an overflowing dustbin. It doesn't matter. The walk is what is important. And that's the 'ambitious' part, your choice to walk... of course, you should have the ability to look at the dustbin and still feel contented..."

"Ok, that just ended up confusing me even more than I was..."

"That was the idea, my son..."


PS1: New Year Resolution for this year is to 'be happy'.

PS2: On a totally different note, long periods of inactivity on the blog can be partly blamed on being timed out at work, it can't be denied that sometimes I feel I have run out of ideas. And that's why I am caught writing stupid posts on philosophy. And of course, on past crushes.who bowled me over. And if you ask me whether spending too much time on cricinfo has anything to do with it, I'd be stumped for an answer. Dismissed.

Dec 20, 2009

"What are we all working for?", he asked, "At the end of it all, what are you working for? A bigger house, a bigger car, a more comfortable life? Where does it all end?"

It was 8.15 pm. End of a tiring day of to and fro with the client, checking things off on a long list of 'things we don't agree upon as yet'. And yet, somehow ending up with a list longer than we started with. Such is the nature of due diligence, we tell ourselves. And then, their Group CFO enters. The man who seems to be able to, with a mere nod of his head, tick off items that we had argued over for hours.

And just when I was getting ready to leave for a dinner meeting with friends for which I was already late by an hour, he starts this lecture!!! One part of me thinks "easy for you to say, sir. You have the bigger house and the bigger car already. And the comfortable life too. And hence, you start thinking of the 'purpose of life' etc. To a guy struggling at the early part of his career, all this is only so much gas."

And I hurry off once the meeting gets over.

Except the thought stays with me. And nags me. Late into the night, when I should ideally be dreaming about Asin, all I seem to be thinking about is: "What are we all working for?"

This is not the first time. Such thoughts occur occasionally, only to be waved off by more pressing engagements. But lately, they have been occurring more frequently than I prefer. Signs of growing old I guess.

My mind refuses to sleep.

Why do people live as if they have a checklist to tick off? Degree, then fancy MBA, nice cushy job, the first car, the first house, marriage, bigger car, kid, bigger house, second kid, promotion at work, saving for the kids' education, their marriage... and before you realize it, your life has passed you by.

But at the end of the day, Maslow was right. That is the MBA part of me, always ready with a matrix or a pyramid to hang my thoughts on.

Image credit: wikipedia.

My thoughts continue to wander. To my first OB teacher, who had a nice way of explaining this pyramid. I don't know if it was original, but I still remember the story.

It went thus... (suitably exaggerated by me, of course)

Imagine you are at a bus stop, late for an appointment. An important appointment. One you cannot afford to be late for. All you need at that time is for a bus to come. No matter how crowded. Simple Basic Need.

Once the bus arrives, and you have clambered onto the last step on the foot-board, hanging by your fingertips with one leg dangling in the air, you start to think "what's the point of going there if I don't reach in one piece?" And you start to push your way in, desperately trying to avoid falling off. Safety Need.

Now you are finally in. You are no longer worried about getting hit by the truck who swerves a bit too close for comfort. And you see a friend of yours standing at the other end of the bus. She is attractive, and you have been wanting to talk to her for quite some time. You slowly start to make your way towards her. Social Need.

And inching forward through the crowd, you start to look at yourself. Adjust your shirt a bit. Tuck it in a bit more properly. Maybe even smooth out your hair. After all, you want to look nice when she sees you. Maybe you take out that fancy phone you have. A little bit of showing off is not harmful after all. Self-Esteem Need.

And then, finally you are standing next to your girl. Making small talk. And wonder of wonders, 2 people get up and you grab those seats. There you are, sitting next to a lovely girl, breeze blowing in from the window making her sweet smelling hair fly wavily, and you look behind and wonder "What are those people hanging out of the door for? Can't they wait for the next bus?" Self-Actualization.

End of story. Back to the subject we were on...

My mind wonders... "Why do I have to go through those steps? Checking them off one by one. Why can't I simply be happy hanging out of the bus? After all, I am going to reach my destination that way too."

And then the naughty part of me chips in, "It'd be nice to have a girl hanging alongside though. I can even crack the "we hung out together" PJ when I meet friends..."

And thus, like every single time I try this, what began as a serious introspection ends in silly, naughty, PJ-inducing thoughts...

PS1: On a slightly serious note, I hope to myself that I won't put up a pic of me posing next to my new car, or write "Moving into my new home!!! :D" on miscellaneous social networking sites... Nothing against the people who do it, but just that I don't want to...

PS2: On second thoughts, if I do buy a Merc or a Malabar Hill bungalow, I might...