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Break ke Baad: Dear John

<i>Break ke Baad</i>: Dear John

Dear Movie, we have got to break up. Wake up Sid, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Anjaana Anjaani, I Hate Luv Storys, Bachna Ae Haseeno… and now Break ke Baad, directed by Danish Aslam. The title of which made me laugh because we’ve essentially been watching the same movie starring Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan in turn, over and over and over again.

If I see one more middling movie about a likable pair of youngsters (the male confused yet ultimately correct; the female focused yet ultimately proven wrong) who stumble around in the dark before finding each other without too much fuss… well, I guess I will be well-rested because I’ll just turn over and go back to sleep. It’s not like I’ll lose my temper because that would be an actual reaction which is more than these things aim for.

[Digression 1: That's not strictly true. The first couple of times I saw this plot, viz. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and Wake Up Sid as well as parts of Bachna Ae Haseeno, I was interested. With each subsequent installment, I quickly got over it.]

I’ve been wondering why this is, this utter lack of any response other than a shrug and a meh. Was it the careful result of much planning on the filmmakers’ part – did they deliver the innocuous movie they set out to make? Or was it inadvertent – an attempt to speak Gen Now gone terribly boring?

It finally struck me as I was watching Break ke Baad that (as a member of Gen 10 Minutes Past) the problem appears to be the romance. On their own, as angsty young people, all these movies feature interesting characters.

In Break ke Baad, for example, Abhay Gulati (Imran Khan) is that guy from college who kind of coasted along, uninterested in reaching for anything because he knew his (extremely unvillainous, terribly nice and supportive) father had an office all ready for him at home. And then once he got into that office, it began to pinch because he was like a balloon filled to bursting with all these half-formulated ideas and desires that had never been expressed because he hadn’t even tried to put them into words before. And yet, nothing short of a life-changing event can knock him out of his stupor and into experimenting a little with his idea of self.

Aaliya Khan (Deepika Padukone) is that girl you’re friends with because life is always so much more entertaining when she’s around to fuck things up. Your boyfriend hates her and thinks she’s a terrible influence on you, your other friends wonder what you see in her, and you shrug them off because your friendship is inexplicably based on giggly minutes spent fixing your makeup after throwing up in the restroom of a club or convincing a bartender to slip you free drinks. Everyone else got you really nice, safe, thoughtful gifts of books and knickknacks for your birthday but hers is the one you’ll always treasure – she made it herself, it serves absolutely no purpose (not even decorative because it’s fucking hideous), and is absolutely perfect to remember her by because you know and she knows that once these brief, few years are over, you’ll probably never meet her again although you’ll never forget her.

The difference between these two characters is that when they get to the big screen, Abhay is still sympathetic enough to be portrayed as he is while Aaliya turns into this monstrous vampire that feeds off the emotional energy of other people. In other words, you’ll see those exact scenes in Abhay’s portions of the movie, while the Aaliya I described above is crammed into a few scenes of pottery in a sunny courtyard and drunken revelry in inappropriate places. Even so, there’s a sense of drama lurking under the surface in her interactions with her mother, her frequent references to her adulterous absentee father, her determination to hack her own path and give no quarter.

[Digression 2: Aslam joins his long line of fellow debutant directors in making a movie in which the parent-child relationship comes off as much more genuine and heartfelt. A trend that first came to my attention in Wake Up Sid.]

Drama. Which brings us back to my big problem with movies like Break ke Baad – these are the most comatose romances I’ve ever seen in my life. I appreciate that they’re trying to set a tone that isn’t as hysterical as your classic Bollywood romance can be, with cruel parents and promises to die with sweeping background music. But as much as things have changed, falling in love is same old hysterical business, I’m afraid. Lovers are still fighting over trifles, irritating and boring their friends in turn by assuring them that none of them know the true meaning of love, bursting into storms of tears and accusations and other sappy stuff.

Compare that to movies like Anjaana Anjaani, which turned even the concept of suicide for love’s sake into a drawn out yawn. I know a real life version of that story and it is so much more entertaining. Meanwhile, people in these movies are so articulate, so soft-spoken, so polite I imagine their sex life consists of strenuous cuddling. In Break ke Baad, when Aaliya flips out at Abhay in the midst of the most uneventful beach rave Australia has ever hosted, the best she can do is grit out that she’s on a break in a half-raised growl before throwing the phone on the soft sand of the beach. I mean, she doesn’t even destroy her phone! What kind of tantrum is that for a capricious, self-obsessed creative? And yet, not a single character in the movie misses an opportunity to inform us that Aaliya is indeed all those things.

[Digression 3: Apart from Dev D, which is really a beast of a different sort, and perhaps a bit of Jaane Tu... how come all these cool, hip young folk go to the most boring parties where nothing ever happens? No brawls, no skeevy middle-aged men scoping out the latest batch of teenage girls, no catfight in the restroom, no puddles of vomit in random corners, no idiot adolescent tripping out for the first time and nearly killing him/herself, no cops who've totally been paid off, no sleazy waiters who know all the shady gossip about all the patrons, no drug peddling kingpins recruiting fresh customers... Aaliya would have found much better parties in her hometown of Delhi instead of going all the way to Australia to play with a surfboard.]

I sat there, one part of my brain watching Break ke Baad while the other ran through all the lovelife drama I’ve witnessed over the past year alone and no contest – every one of my friends had a more eventful, drama-filled story to tell. And this includes the ones that aren’t even in a relationship! Hmmm. Maybe I need new friends! :P

Having said all that, if there are young kids out there who’re watching these movies and coming away with the lesson that it pays to treat each other with respect (which, to give these movies their due, is a statement they eventually deliver) in a relationship, I couldn’t be happier. I’d rather watch a million versions of Break Ke Baad than a single Kambakkht Ishq.

 
20 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video

 

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What’s in a Name


6.40 for the good stuff (although it’s Rosie Perez – it’s all good stuff)

Ma: Who were you talking to?

Me: A friend.

Ma: Which one?

Me: Beth.

Silence.

Me: What?

Ma: Is that her real name? I mean, are you sure?

Me (thinking): Uh-oh, somebody’s been reading about the dangers of online predators again.

Me: Yes, of course that’s her name. Why?

Ma: Well, what kind of name is “Depth?”

 
7 Comments

Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Personal, Video

 

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If Only the Movie & I Were Anjaana Anjaani

I was going to write a review of Anjaana Anjaani, but I got bored. Here’s a handy ad that makes the same point – shorter, cheaper and 100% more delicious!

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video

 

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Yup, They’re Married

What do Bollywood stars do when they go abroad?
Duh. They shop.

What do married Bollywood stars do when they go abroad?
Double duh! They shop together, of course!

Ta-da! Meet Aishwarya Rai, currently beloved of robots, and her husband Abhishek Bachchan, fortuitously the patron saint of robots in films. As soon as I saw these pics, I wondered how come I hadn’t seen or heard anything about their little Roman holiday until now – and then I realized that this is no longer 2007 and nobody cares. Oh well. Let us pretend!

The Glamorous Life of India’s First Couple (with-a-Portmanteau-Name)

ABHI: I don’t understand. What are these short, fat, ugly things? Are they edible?
ASH: Ha-ha, of course not! They’re people – common, little people. Eating them would mess up our organic diet.

ABHI: Astonishing! They’re everywhere. Walking upright.
ASH: Stop staring at them, you moron. They‘re supposed to stare at us!

ABHI: You know, it’s not cool for you to talk to me like that!
ASH: Yeah? Who’s gonna stop me? You and your baby pink shirt, flaming orange watch and that murse you clutch like a blankie? I don’t think so.

ABHI: When you talk like that you sound exactly like your ‘roid rage-y ex.
ASH: Yes, well, this scene was a lot more fun and interesting when Sanjay Leela Bhansali was directing and Ajay Devgan was in it.
ABHI: Huh?
ASH: Just wanted to throw that out there. Hey, do you have a white suit? I just remembered some fanfic we might want to try out.

[via]

 
28 Comments

Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Celebrity, Fiction, News

 

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The Shame of Young Adults


Video NSFW

Auntie: What are you reading?
Child Amrita: Gone with the Wind. Have you read it?
Auntie: What?!
Child Amrita: I don’t really understand all of it but I think it’s great! The drama is out of this world! I think I’m addicted to good trash for life now. In fact, I’m gonna get the movie now and watch it.
Auntie: Stop it immediately or you will lose your childish innocence too soon!
Child Amrita: *grumble* When I grow up, nobody’s gonna tell me what I can read or not.

Teacher: What are you reading?
Tween Amrita: The Giant Book of Murder. It’s great.
Teacher: What?!
Tween Amrita: Look, it has sections devoted to axe murderers, serial killers and poisoners. I’m totally going to mine this for information that I will cunningly introduce into my English school essays to blow my competition out of the water!
Teacher: Stop it immediately! Or you will grow up into a psychopath.
Tween Amrita: *grumble* When I grow up, nobody will tell me what I can read or not!

Friend: What are you reading?
Teen Amrita: The Wheel of Time. It’s great!
Friend: What?!
Teen Amrita: Yeah, I’m really into fantasy fiction! It’s like science fiction but better! There’s parallel universes and alternate realities and magic and strange creatures and -
Friend: Stop!
Teen Amrita: Why?
Friend: I dunno. It sounds stupid and I’ve never read any. Here, read Chicken Soup like everybody else.
Teen Amrita: *grumble* When I grow up, nobody’s gonna tell me what I can read or not.

Internet: What are you reading?
Present Day Amrita: Young Adult fiction. It’s great!
Internet: What?!
Present Day Amrita: Yeah, I was too busy reading regular adult stuff when I was kid but now I find that there’s a lot of YA fiction out there that’s really good. So now I’m catching up.
Internet: Stop! Or at least have some shame! You’re reading stuff meant for children.
Present Day Amrita: *grumble* When I grow up…

I didn’t even know I was supposed to feel inferior about it. Should I cover my copy of Mockingjay with brown paper the way some women who read sexy romances on the subway do? What about graphic novels? Are those cool? Or is everybody sneering at me for choosing to read a comic like a little baby?

If only I read less and monitored the reactions of random strangers to my choice of reading material more, I bet I’d have the answers to all these pressing questions.

 
23 Comments

Posted by on September 2, 2010 in Books, Personal

 

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I Hate Luv Storys: A Listicle

<i>I Hate Luv Storys</i>: A Listicle

Punit Malhotra’s directorial debut, the Karan Johar-produced I Hate Luv Storys is an inoffensive little romcom about the inevitability of the love bug. As my attention was unfortunately caught by quite another bug in the theater (see: previous post), I thought I wouldn’t review it.  I didn’t have much to say anyway:

Jai (Imran Khan) is too cool for his name and the romantic Bollywood fare he helps produce, so he calls himself Jay and displays horrible work ethics. Apparently, the job for which he ran away from home isn’t worth putting in his 100% unless it also satisfies his intellectual snob quotient. Expect producers to beat his door down with offers in 3…2…1…

Simran (Sonam Kapoor) is that annoying girly girl whose bedroom is dedicated to her neighborhood Archies Gallery and she’s super into romantic Bollywood fare, which is convenient because she’s the art director for a collection of cliches movie called Pyar Pyar Pyar. (This is supposed to be a satire and it is – the laziest one in the history of them, basically a string of outrageously romantic scenes from various movies cobbled together verbatim so we can laugh on cue i.e. when Jay rolls his eyes.) She’s also Jay’s boss and his instant crush.

If you don’t know where this movie is going by now, you should get your noodle checked coz it’s turned into soup. It’s a frothy little number that rests on the chemistry between the lead pair who’re perfectly charming together even if their tendency is to fizzle rather than sizzle.

Whatever. It’s… pleasant? I dunno. I have a cold. Don’t bother me.

SPOILERS (?) FOLLOW

But here’re a few notes I made about people and their motivations that might be of use to you, young lovers, as you go about your modern dating ways.  It’s too late for Jay and Simran but it might still save you from years of passive aggressive dating. It is presented in the form of The Holy Listicle, the only way to understand anything in these modern times.

1. When someone is nice to you, it does not automatically follow that they are in love with you. It could be that they’re just being nice. But how can you tell? Some helpful clues:

  • He tells you he doesn’t believe in love
  • He makes horrified faces when you ask him if he’s changed his mind about that little detail
  • He is dating other women
  • He gives you romantic advice
  • You are his boss
  • You have previously shot him down when he tried to flirt and then fucked him over in front of his employer so he got the message loud and clear
  • You already have a fiance and he knows that

2. Your boyfriend is not a mind reader. If you want something different or he’s doing something wrong – Tell. Him. Yes, you too can use language for something besides gossip and tall tales. I believe you have the power!

3. Do not date co-workers. It is a path to misery.

4. If you want “magic”, I hear David Copperfield is single.

5. Judge a man by the way he treats his mom. A fucking man-child who won’t pick up the phone when his perfectly nice mother calls to check whether he’s alive is not pinging my radar as a good candidate for a successful relationship.

6. Judge a woman by her previous actions. Did she proposition you while keeping Ol’ Second Fiddle on standby? Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater! ABORT MISSION.

7. Step One of settling down with a man stupid enough to have one night stands in this day and age: ask for a medical check up. Romantic? No. Smart? Hell, yeah!

8. The correct response to a girl who tells you that she’s been pretending all along to be the person you like is not to then promise her that you’re sure you’ll love the real her. Because the real her is crazy and the reason she’s been pretending in the first place is because she knows you won’t like the real her. Put on your track shoes, brother, because the time has come to run for your life.

9. Take a happy ending where you get it. Simran didn’t and look what happened: we had to sit through another hour of pointless plotting.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on July 4, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video

 

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A Contralist

With encomiums ranging from “I believe M. Night can ruin the world” to “a hate crime against film lovers”, M. Night Shyamalan must be glad he doesn’t read reviews – even if mean journalists insist on reading them out to him for entertainment (mine if not yours, tenderheart!) reasons.

But no matter what they say, here are at least ten things they can’t blame him for:

10. He may serve up shit for your kids at the multiplex, but at least he never took a dump in their stockings!

9. He never sold a kid at Walmart. And if he had, he’d have charged a great deal more than $25.

8. He had absolutely nothing to do with Sex and the City 2: Harpies on Sand.

7. Mel Gibson being Mel Gibson.

6. The Great “Save Our In-Utero Lesbians” Panic of ’10. (Religious bigots take a second before commencing to fap, please.)

5. The oil spill.

4. He never wrote:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.

Of course, if he had, he’d have won a prize for it. Congratulations, Molly Ringle!

3. Abhishek Bachchan’s performance in Raavan. It was the faulty editing, you know.

2. Stealing Coco’s job.

1. Aag.

Get some rest, M. Night! Raping eyes is hard work!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 2, 2010 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Newsmakers, Video

 

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