Friday, July 25, 2008

Angel, chemical locha and Germany !

It was 12 30 at night. It was drizzling and chilly.

Angel called me up and started screaming that she wanted to have coffee and that too at a CCD. I had to swiftly put on a pull over and hit the road in no more than 3 minutes otherwise lest spend 3 days pacifying her.

Angel, the only girl whom I knew, was special; stubborn, bubbly and more importantly childish. I knew her from school days and as her name suggests, she was an angel in both looks and demeanor.

Now let’s get on with the dream.

She lived just three miles away from my place. It took exactly 4 min for me to drive to her place. It was 12 34 already and all the CCDs would be closed at this hour except for the one at the old airport but we didn't fancy that as it’s not a cozy place to hangout. We ended up driving 50 miles, out of the city, to buy a cup of cappuccino :)

I would do anything Angel insisted me to do and listen to whatever she said.

I was in love with her. Was she also in love with me? Not sure. Angel looked real dumb at times. Needless to say I loved her for this dumbness. On the one hand she took long to make important decisions as though deciding what to wear for a party and on the other contemplated for hours on simple things such as buying a dress top :)

One day Angel rang me up to say that she is off for a movie with her new found "boy friend" and she insisted that I go along with her.

It came as a shocker to me. Finally I agreed to go a since my love for her and respect for her word won over my frustration. I would do anything she asked. What was most painful was that she was in love with a common friend 'Fatso'. Fatso was fat with fair complexion and wore a pair of spectacles. ( I don’t remember who this person was in my dream).

I mustered up all the courage I had and went along with her, sorry, with them :)

I had asked Suraj to join us for which he had agreed after a lot of reluctance. This was a desperate measure; I had to take some one along with me, ideally a girl, but for the fact that I knew no other girl I had to settle down for a guy.

It was a strange feeling sitting at the back seat while she was in the front seat. Suraj was beside me and fatso was driving the car. The time to cover 10 km to the theatre felt like 10 decades to me. The situation in itself was worse than anybody would think. Fatso had seen us being together all these years; he had seen the intimacy we both had maintained with each other. He too was a normal guy like others. Even though Angel trusted him he always had a scar of doubt in his mind starting from the first day of their 'affair'.

I think we had gone for "Jaane tu ... ya jaane na". All I could see for the entire duration of the movie was Angel and nothing/nobody else. I didn't care to check if anybody was observing me. This might have happened because I had started feeling as though I was losing her. Hundreds of thoughts like 'what next?' 'will it be possible to live without her?' 'am I going to become mad if she goes away?' etc surrounded my weak and empty mind.

After the most dreaded movie ever of my life (due to some various other obvious reasons than the movie itself) she urged us to go for dinner at a famous restaurant at Brigade road, I think it was Hyderabadi Mahal. Angel ordered something for herself, Suraj and Fatso ordered some non veg dishes of their choice and I ordered as I always do the same dish which Angel had ordered. This triggered the brimful of anger to spill over for Fatso. He stopped the dinner in the middle and started yelling at Angel which made me uncontrollable. I could not with stand any humiliation to her. I would rip apart anybody who would make her feel sad/humiliated. He was trying to link an unholy relationship between me and her. At that moment I thought that it was my duty to defend her and gave a strong punch on his face which made him fall badly on the ground. In the heat of the situation Angel tried to stop me instead of him and gave a tight slap. At that moment I failed to understand that she tried stopping me and gave a slap because she worried more about me than the fatso. She didn't want me to make any offence. Fatso got up angrily and left the place immediately. I too went off without looking at her. This was very unusual for me as I always used to take her home before I could reach mine. Eventually Suraj dropped her home.

The fact that Angel didn't love me made me feel like a loser. Angel's sadness having lost her boy friend made me feel even more painful. I felt guilt for her plight. All these factors had a combined effect on me and my work. I took leave for a week and went to my home town. That night I was under depression and had severe head ache. Mom suggested rest and I accepted her suggestion.

When I got up I could sense a lot of changes in my dressing, environment, the way people spoke to me etc. Everybody seemed over sympathetic to me. It seemed as though I was stranded in the middle of a bunch of kinder garden school children. When I observed closely I realized that it was the same school where I had done primary schooling from. All the teachers were trying to talk with me with the same passion that they used to talk 20 years ago. Mom was asking to me go to work as the bus was waiting for me. The name of the bus was "Sree Hanuman Travels" and the place where I worked was a tier-3 town and the firm where I worked was "SBI" and my designation was "Helper" with a salary of 2000 per month. I was dressed in khakhi with no money in the pocket. I saw dad giving money to the bus conductor on my behalf. I was unable to manage my money.

I felt as if I had moved behind in time over night.

I started yelling at all and started speaking in English which amused few people around me. Their reaction further angered me. Where in the world one can see someone being happy when scolded!!

I checked the date. It looked mysterious. I checked again. It read 18 months more than the night I had slept the last time! While the situation was becoming more and more mysterious mom came to my rescue. She explained the events that happened in the last 18 months since the night I slept complaining of head ache.

That night when I slept I was under a tremendous depression of losing Angel which made me lose my consciousness. I had turned “mad” in layman's language or a chemical locha in bhai's language.

Mom and dad were shocked and tried all possible treatments but to no avail; I had become mad and it seemed to be incurable from the outset. They had to raise me again from child hood. They took me back to the place where I belong to and they bought the school where I did my schooling from so that I could start learning again. I don't know why they bought the school itself :)

Few months later when they realised that this is how I will have survive the rest of my life, they used their political contacts to get a govt job in a bank. A helper’s post is all that I could get for my intellect.

When dad and mom realized that I was back to my normal best they literally danced with euphoria!

Immediate thing which came to my mind was 'How's my Angel'!!

While driving to Bangalore I caught up with old friends and got to know that they too had not seen her from the night I went home. I started to feel lonely again. After a lot of struggle got to know that she was in Germany.

Without waiting for anyone I booked a ticket in the next available flight to Frankfurt. Borrowed some money from friends and boarded the flight.

Its not strange for me to land up in a strange place. Thanks to my previous job. Took help from friends spread across Europe to locate her. She owned a boutique and was alone there as if to punish herself. Needless to say that fatso was out of her life on that eventful night. When we faced each other both of us were speechless and eyes filled with moisture. We didn't talk for about 3-4 min. She finally broke her silence and said "I thought you really loved me; how could you leave me alone that night?” I didn't know what to say as I too was about to ask the same question!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Every child is special !

Aamir's presence did make sure that audience make it to the movie hall. But, from that point on it's Amole Gupte's screenplay and
Darsheel Safary's performance that hold the movie "Taare Zameen Par" together.
If we had anticipated so much from a debutant director- this movie justifies it. It cannot get further from what one would expect. It has none of the staples of Bollywood: no fancy camerawork, no glitzy song, no triple star cast; none of the vanities of a first film from a man who could have all of it at a whim. In hindsight it looks easy: success is a powerful negotiator: it commands sanction. Once Lagaan became an international hit, few needed to remember that Aamir floated his own production company to make the film because no other producer would back its harebrained magic.He has put in a lot of effort which is evident from the importance given to very minute details in the movie. The titles just blew me away. The kid's name appears first when the credits start rolling and his performance justifies that.
Aamir represents something harder, more complex. He whispers to people about their better selves. His stardom lies in his craft, his deep, almost uncanny, acumen to reach for the heart of things. The mystique of Aamir is that he is an idealist in an industry that does not require him to be one. That's his magic move. And it pays rich dividends.
How can this movie not be loved!
The screenplay holds you so tight that you are only and only with Ishaan. Even when the songs come, they flow so smoothly in and out of the movie that you don't bother to tap your foot or think if the music is good or if this song was required. Aamir has given utmost importance to the screenplay rather to himself which I felt only he could do. 99 out of 100 directors would have brought in Aamir, the hero, much earlier. His onscreen performance is above average but his offscreen work is outstanding. Its exceptional.
Coming to the performances, as I said before Darsheel Safary is a great find and Aamir as always is Aamir. Darsheel is the most talented child artist I have seen onscreen. I have no doubts that will be a strong contendor to SRK for the best male actor in the leading role award of the year.
The remaining cast of almost unknown actors also works perfectly. Tisca Chopra in particular made me remember my Mom in the theatre when the song Meri Ma was playing, as to say I missed her. The song touched my heart.
After all the bravado about parental mentality and rat-race, it is a bit unfair that Ishaan had to succeed in another rat race to redeem himself. Every child is special, so any need to actually outdo others and prove his speciality? Perhaps the only drawback of the film is its predictability. But then, while its predictable from start to finish, it manages to strike the perfect balance between sermon and story.
I think, more than kids this movie is a must see for parents. Even before the child enjoys the childhood , he is thrown into the competitive world and expected to excel only in academcis. Hopefully this movie will trigger some changes in the way we look at kids.
I thought of telling you people about a chinese movie which I happened to watch a couple of weeks ago. It has the same story line -that of dyslexia- but with few changes like the person who changes the fortune of the kid is his uncle and the kid excels in studies alone etc. Howmuchever I tried I couldn't recollect the name of the movie as chinese names are quite tough to remember.
Technical details apart. After seeing Aamir's excellent offscreen work a distant desire of witnessing an Aamir directorial movie with SRK in the lead role is popping up. Time will answer if my desire will be fulfilled or not. And needless to say that I'm sporting a spunky Aamir TZP hairstyle nowadays.
My advice to all who still haven't seen the movie: Go and watch it now. You dont get to see these kind of great movies very often. Don't be afraid to cry either – most of the movie hall is with you.