Thursday, April 24, 2014

2 States : Alia makes you high, the film leaves you dry !!!

A new trend is sweeping Hindi Film Industry these days, where popular piece of literature is finding their way to being adapted into screenplays. That’s another thing that books written by Chetan Bhagat are hardly piece of literature, never the less one cannot ignore the fan base of this new-age celebrated writer of India. Unarguably, the book in question “2 States” is his best work till date that was also a bestseller had immensely appealed to the youth of India. And the fact, that book narrated Bhagat’s own story was icing on the cake.
No wonder then that 2 States made perfect sense for Karan Johar to bring it alive on celluloid. Johar, who has eye for talent, this time, bestowed the responsibility to first time director Abhishek Varman to direct the film. Bhagat’s earlier books Five Point Someone & Three Mistakes of My Life when adapted on screen not only were critically acclaimed but also went on to be the huge money spinners. So does “2 States” the film – manages to live up to the expectations, let’s find out.

Unlike, 3 Idiots and Kai Po Che – the author’s earlier adaptation, the screenplay of 2 States is 100% adaptation of the original book. The story revolves between Punjabi munda Krish Malhotra and gori Madrasan Ananya Swaminathan, who meets in IIM-A campus, and sparks fly between them. After having their share of confusion and fun beneath the sheets in the campus, the young couple finally decides to commit and take their relationship forward only to realize marriage in India is not just about the boy and the girl. From here on, the story embarks upon the journey of the young couple upon convincing their parents and also coming in terms with a few skeletons in their backyard.

“2 States” has all ingredients of making a good Rom-com: Romance, Humour, Drama and peppy songs. The script has moments which have audience in splits specially interactions of Krish’s Punjabi Mom with Ananya’s Tamilian parents. The advantage of a book is that by design it will be descriptive and hence give more fodder for its reader to feast upon. And hence it is important when it is adapted; it gives the audience a similar effect. And that’s where the movie falters: it fails to create heart rendering moments between couples, or strong emotional scenes that will make audience high. While the  pace is breezy and flows pretty smoothly from beginning to end but it remains a plateau without any memorable high points. One exception being the conflict scene between Krish and his father. Chetan Bhagat’s earlier adaptations worked better as the screen adaptations moved beyond the premise of the books and created moments of their own.
Never the less, 2 States is very much a watchable movie. It’s just that probably the expectations were higher. The biggest strength of the film is its cast and crew.Abhishek Varman lends a solid punch in its direction capturing smaller nuances in great details. Arjun Kapoor as Krish completely fits the character and lends the right kind of vulnerability and softness the character needs. Since the story is told from his viewpoint, his character is also the strongest in the movie in terms of detailing. Not the easiest character to play but this young actor does well. Also watching him play a banker who works in Yes Bank and being an aspiring writer made me smile. Just for trivia sake,Yes Bank shown in the movie is actual Yes Bank office headquarters at Indiabulls Financial Centre, Mumbai.

Amrita Singh is probably the biggest surprise of the movie – playing the stout Punjabi mom and delivers the funniest lines of the movie with aplomb. Revathy and Subhramaniam don’t quite get a chance to portray their immense talent but still shines in their limited role. Ronit Roy repeats the Udaan act with aplomb. But at the end of the day, it’s Alia who carries the movie on her shoulders pitching up yet another terrific performance.  Like Highway, she is again refreshing natural in every scene, despite her character doesn’t move beyond being feisty. She scorches in every frame and looks a diva, especially in the sarees. Her dimple manages to outshine the not so bright parts of the movie. To sum up 2 States, Alia makes you high but the film overall leaves you dry. But never the less definitely a one time dekho !!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Indian Election League (IEL)

The dance of democracy is back. Yes,the biggest and most talked about event in India, bigger than brand IP – General Elections 2014 or Indian Election League. This may be news for some people at least, but that’s that my friends. I chose to draw a parallel with IPL as Cricket and Politics are two subject matters- everybody is passionate about and has an opinion. And both engages power and money at equal stake only that the latter impacts the people of this nation.This election is probably the biggest in last two decades – as it will probably decide the way India will shape up in the next decade. Corruption, Inflation , Development and Security are issues that has troubled each Indian for last few years and everybody from a poor (not a state of mind) to a rich industrialist, has some where been affected by the current governance of ruling party and their indifference and brutal arrogance. While it is true the global environment has not helped matters for India, crippling policy and inaction of present government has taken the matters to worse. What is worrisome is we ourselves the citizens of India haven’t helped either. The crime rates are increasing by day, specially the violence towards women and as society we are downgrading each day.

In India we have two national parties – INC and BJP. Both are perhaps the two sides of same coin. While former offers nothing but doom, the latter is better in some ways probably the execution but not without a tainted past. Left is now memoirs of history but there are small opportunistic fishes in the pond, which changes colour faster than a chameleon. Last year, finally there was seen a silver lining amidst the dark cloud, who liked to call themselves AAP- Aam Aadmi Party. Their intent looked refreshingly different and promised to be the voice of India. But alas, they too got drowned in the glittering glory of publicity. This brings perhaps to discuss another most important element of this election beside political party – Media. Journalism used to be sacred profession until few years back but now it is a glamorous monetary powerful tool which sees itself as a catalyst to create an impact in this democracy by choosing to demand a pie in the already competitive power games of politics.

The ruling party has still not recovered from the ruins of disaster ( read mis-governance) and still discovering the untapped brilliance of its prince, whose intelligence and wisdom can be challenged by a ten year old kid, is back to playing their favourite card of Secularism. The “foreigner” in question knows fully well that this is the only card to stop her favourite “Maut ka Saudagar” from his victory lap to the PM seat. Divide and Rule has been a tested formula since the British rule and most political parties tries to use it to their advantage which is why probably secularism is the most abused term in Indian democracy. Going by my timeline in Face book and Twitter, I wonder how often my friends, distinctly falls prey to this secular pitch of so called secular parties and probably bigger wolves in disguise, who choose to stay behind the barbed wires whenever a riot happens, criticize from a distance and blame everybody else than themselves.  
While we can conveniently blame politicians for everything but we need to look at ourselves – are we secular inside our heart – will we as society allow freely inter-religion marriage, do we allow embracing each other’s religion. One may question that as along we freely allow each other practice their religion we are secular. Are we- then why we feel uncomfortable if a leader of another religion takes centre-stage? I would like to believe if a road or school is build somewhere in India, every community would be able to derive benefit out of it - and that’s why secularism should not be issue, progressive thought and intent should be.

That’s why when AAP talked about – Roti, Kapda and Makan, Bijli and Paani, people took notice and voted for them. Alas they chose to shred their responsibility blaming everyone else and continue to do what they does best – anarchy. And the biggest irony is the anarchist wants their share too in this election of largest democracy. The leader of anarchy needs to understand a simple funda – A strategy which looks perfect on a blue print is of no use unless executed. The theatrics and the race to Lok Sabha will give them short term publicity but if they really want to make a meaningful contribution to Indian politics – they need to adopt a grass root model (something prince advocated but never executed) and build a strong franchise of honest able people, build leaders, fight one by one state elections, and stake their claim in their next elections. Nothing like a formidable opposition in a democracy that keeps the ruling government on its toes. They need to grow strength by strength and foremost a strong base.

This election of course belongs to the Chaiwalla, who also happens to be OBC and incidentally the leading stakeholder of the PM position. Makes pretty picture for the so called class, creed sensitive India. While he may be basking in the current glory, one should not forget he has had a difficult journey himself and not without few skeletons in his backyard. While the judiciary system has given him clean chit, there is no bigger judge than one’s own conscience. And hence it is important, that if India chooses him to be the next captain (based on his administrative track record which even his harsh critic cant deny), he better delivers on all the high rhetoric he promised throughout the campaign in next 5 years and also blend all communities of society like a good chai with flavour of adrak, elaichi and long grove– because he may just not get another chance unlike his wily opponents who may still find ways to creep back into the political system through mergers and acquisitions via the third playing the favourite "secular" card. 
Till then let’s hope: Ab ki baar, janata ke liye sarkar, where development and security becomes the prime agenda for a better India that put its footprints in a grander way in global map. And for that we need to vote and in case you are confused or questioning like me – remember we used to have an option in multiple choice questions in competitive entrance exams – feel free to exercise that: None of the above!!!!!!
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