RSS

Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Chatter-Slaying Gossip

Me: Did you hear about the whole Sandra Bullock thing?

Friend (back from vacation): No! Did something happen to her?

Me: Her husband…

Friend: Jesse James? I love Monster Garage!

Me: Yeah, well, turns out he was cheating on Sandra with this skank called Bombshell McGee who’s a tattoo model and might be a bipolar neoNazi who likes to give the Nazi salute to her Jewish kid.

Friend: O_O

Thing I Learned: There is just no place for that conversation to go. Unless it’s to a be-tattooed foursome with someone named Skittles.

Shower. Now.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 31, 2010 in Celebrity, News, Newsmakers

 

It’s Hard Out There

That's right, bitches! S-R-I-D-E-V-I... (and slob)

… for an auntie. You know it. I mean, it’s always hard out there for a chick but as the menopause hits and the muffin top becomes an everyday reality rather than a sign of overindulgence, it just gets harder. Indian women, my mother and various other female relatives tell me, have it easier than their western counterparts because their clothes lend themselves to a spot of emergency artful arrangement when the occasion and the belly calls for it.

Couldn’t prove it by the crowd at the Filmfare Awards, though.

If life can be nerve wracking for us ordinary folk, tinsel town must a special sort of hell. Either you’re the frump who married one of the beautiful people or you’re one of the beautiful people who took a punch to the face from Old Man Time while you weren’t looking. Perhaps you are still one of the beautiful people in which case you’re surrounded by glimpses into your future.

Sign me up! NOT.

On Filmfare night, the younger crowd mixed it up by switching between glam and skank while the more mature ladies were mostly a disastrous mix of over-reaching ambition and what the HENGH? There were outfits that half-starved supermodels in their prime couldn’t have pulled off, and outfits that made you wonder if their stylists hated them.

For the full glory, click to enlarge:

[via Sulekha]

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Newsmakers

 

Uncle Underpants

aka An Explanation for My Continued Distraction:

Raipur’s closest claim to fame, indeed the one time it had justified its dusty existence, lay in its Grand Bazaar. A smelly, crowded, barely two-lane road crisscrossed overhead by ominously looped electrical wires that had a bad habit of falling down the moment the wind so much as sneezed in their vicinity or were touched by the merest hint of rain, not even a blind man would have thought it grand. But the citizens of Raipur were proud of it all the same and the reason for it stood immortalized in crumbling stone on one end of the street, at the equally ambitiously named Roundabout where all three of the town’s roads staggered to a stop to gaze dutifully at the glories of the past as captured in statuary and the glories of the present as conveyed by the ugly yellow building of the Municipality office.

Originally designed as a fountain before the realities of water shortage brought the town to its senses, the statuary in question depicted a soldier in British uniform on a plunging horse being brought down by a horde of angry Indians in peasant gear as one Indian raised aloft a flag with a charkha on it. Constructed in the belligerently hopeful period right after Independence, it stood as an ode to Raipur’s patriotic history.

The story goes that when the Indian soldiers of the Raj began their revolt in 1857, a scout from the British Army rode through Raipur, looking for an escape route for his trapped comrades and their families. He got as far as the Grand Bazaar before a brave native stopped him in his tracks by throwing the first stone. Within minutes, he was dragged off his horse, severely beaten and killed. Whatever routes the British army took, Raipur wasn’t a part of it.

That was the official version, the one recorded on the plaque hammered into the foot of the dysfunctional fountain. The Mayor who’d commissioned it, Malik Sahib of the Bari Haveli, had added the flag to update the legend and marry that tale of a rebellious Awadh to the new nation. Nobody minded because what did one extra spin of the polishing cloth signify when the legend had already been burnished beyond recognition?

Because the truth of Raipur’s defiance was this: an albino mutineer from Meerut, out liberating a nearby cantonment from the tyranny of the British, had decided to pay his ladylove back in his village a visit now that he’d proved himself a hero. Drunk as a drum from celebrating their victory and wearing most of his war bounty, which included an officer’s hat, he’d lost his way in the dark and showed up in Raipur in the morning rather than his village, which lay further southwest. Upon stumbling into the Grand Bazaar, he’d disturbed the peaceful slumber of old Underpants Pandey, the town drunk. The two had exchanged a volley of friendly insults about each others’ mothers and Underpants Pandey had had the final word by throwing a stone at his foe’s head. No doubt the soldier would have ridden down old Underpants and gone on to meet his village belle if the commotion hadn’t attracted the unwelcome attentions of several local hotheads who’d been talking themselves into a frenzy about the rising revolution just the day before.

To wake up the day after to find a man in British uniform try to murder their beloved Uncle Underpants was too much. If anybody had a right to thump Uncle Underpants until he was shitting blood, surely it was them – the ones who had to wash his puke off their doorsteps and whose mothers frequently had to step over his corpse-like body on the way to the temple. What right did an Englishman have to come stomping into their town like this and try to kill Uncle Underpants under their very noses? If it wasn’t just like them! Roused to fury, they rushed to the aid of the bewildered Underpants Pandey and immediately tore the albino hero of the revolt to pieces.

By the time a shaken Underpants could bring anyone to listen to his side of the morning’s adventure, it was too late. The town elders decided this victory over the “English” would keep the young rebels at home, convinced they had to patrol their hometown and keep it safe from the rapacious white soldiers who were sure to follow their deceased compatriot. And so Raipur found its pride and its mothers heaved a sigh of relief as their cocky young blades marched up and down the Grand Bazaar. It could be argued that the real winner of the whole episode was the family of Underpants Pandey, who became a teetotaler overnight.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2010 in Fiction, Personal

 

A Lit Match

The ever-growing scandal about child abuse in the Catholic Church is gaining momentum. In addition to the United States, which made the headlines again this month about a cover-up at a school for the deaf (fair warning: this will make you want to stab a bitch), Ireland and Germany are struggling with emerging scandals of their own as are other European countries.

So far, the Church’s response has been something less than perfect. The Pope, whom most people are now blaming for much of the cover-up that took place during his time as Cardinal Ratzinger, expressed deep sympathy. It didn’t go over very well.

Andrew Sullivan, gay and Catholic, is especially not having it, following the story with the same zeal he has devoted to topics such as the Health Care Reform and Iran. In one of his many posts, he wrote:

So you objectify sex; and masturbate. You cannot have sexual or even emotional contact with a teenage girl, because it is simply impossible, and you certainly cannot have sex with another teenage boy […] so you have sex with images in your own head. Your sex life becomes completely solitary. It can be empowered by pornography or simply teenage imagination […] Many of these tormented men have arrested sexual and emotional development. They have never had a sexual or intimate relationship with any other human being. Sex for them is an abstraction, a sin, not an interaction with an equal. And their sexuality has been frozen at the first real moment of internal terror: their early teens.

Sullivan is writing about young Western gay men who enter the Catholic priesthood. But doesn’t it sound terribly familiar to conservatively brought up Indian ears?* Heterosexual, non-Catholic, male and female ears.

So how long, I thought, before this story finds resonance in India?

Like many a middle class and upper Indian, I have legions of family members who attended convent school, from my parents and their siblings to my brother and my cousins. Most of my friends have attended a Church-run institution at some point in their lives. It’s an inevitable part of the Indian cultural landscape. I’m one of the few who didn’t and I made up for it by attending a Catholic college.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was that the Vice Principal kicked us off the snacks area because we were too loud. (He came between me and my raspberry icelolly!) The worst thing that happened to my brother (and my cousins) was extreme corporal punishment. He got the shit beaten out of him for years on end, which is probably where he developed his advanced death stare with which he frightens people these days. Boarding school gives you skills. And pretty scary memories.

If it got worse than that for anybody, nobody’s talking. Yet. In a recent edit, the Indian Express raises a flag:

Simon Palathingal, a Catholic priest of the Salesian order, was convicted in 2004 of sexually abusing a boy by a Wisconsin court. The abuse happened in the early 1990s. The same man was vice-principal of a prominent Chennai school in the late Seventies and Eighties. Given its record it is possible that the church knew of his leanings and did nothing.

If paedophile priests got away with their crimes in countries with robust legal systems, think how much easier it would be in India, with its endemic corruption.

Here’s what I was thinking as I read that: God forbid. If the Church thinks it has a problem on its hands in the West with their “robust legal systems”, then it really doesn’t want to get caught up in a similar mess in India with “its endemic corruption” because India has a fatal tendency to set fire first and ask questions later. Just ask Graham Staines‘ widow.

Right wing Hindu organizations have long been targeting the Church about conversion (here’s a flashback from the innocent 90s). You can only imagine what they’d do with pedophilia thrown into the mix. It’s kindling just waiting for a stray spark to come its way.

Religion and sex are an irresistible combination for smut as more than one religion has found to its cost. And with Indian cable news being its current excitable self… If the Church really wants to protect itself, it needs to take responsibility and ownership before other people start casting its role for them. I hope I’m wrong but it is seriously not going to be pretty if this scandal hits India.

Especially for its real victims – the children who will end up becoming tabloid fodder and political pawns in a matter of seconds.

*I really need to do a post on the Indian female equivalent.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 27, 2010 in Life, News, Politics, Video

 

Lady Politicians Are Just Askin’ For It

Esteemed Indian logician and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is very concerned:

If the women’s reservation bill were to be passed in its existing form, it would result in flooding the parliament and state legislatures with wives of government officials and women connected with big industrial houses, thereby provoking young men to indulge in eve-teasing.

As a member of Parliament, Mr. Yadav must know his colleagues better than the rest of us.  How wonderful it is to know that Indian democracy is so devoted to proper representation, it sees no difference between Parliament and the odd city street corner. It also sheds an interesting light on his family life: daughter in law Dimple is a budding seat warmer. Following his logic, Mr. Yadav is thus in favor of Ms. Dimple, er, coming to harm. Drama!

Meanwhile, his remarks deeply offended his former BFF and India’s supreme crusader for the honor and rights of women, Amar Singh:

“It is a sexist, Talibani and a cheap remark, which hurts womanhood.”…Singh claimed while the SP chief supports quota within quota for Muslim and OBC women, there have been instances when he has openly favoured “rich and good-looking” women within the party over those who came from humble backgrounds, while distributing party posts and tickets.

Constant companion and yesteryear hot babe Jaya Prada chimed in that nobody had ever said anything to her in Parliament. Someone tried it on with Hema Malini  and they were really, really sorry.*

* Only in my imagination.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Newsmakers, Politics

 

Pudding for Breakfast

30 might be creeping into view, but there are still a lot of things that make me look guiltily over the shoulder in case my mother is standing there with a glare on her face and a dire warning on her lips. Leaving the house, even down the stairs to get my newspaper, without wearing a bra or brushing my hair (Things Nice Girls Don’t Do); staying up late enough to spend the next day yawning (I’m a night owl, so that’s really late – you might call it morning, actually); skipping a meal or substituting ice cream for one (whatchu lookin’ at?); refusing to attend a family function because My Magic Headache made an appearance (happens all the time), etc.

Most of my guilt, however, comes from food. The heart wants what it wants, even if the stomach can’t really take it. Right now, for instance, I’m battling a suspicion that I’ve become allergic to dairy but I refuse to get tested or lay off it long enough to tell the difference – because dairy is right up there in The Good Stuff category. We’ll talk when you’ve found a way to make cheese and rasgullas out of soy milk. Tasty cheese and rasgullas.

Of all my meals, however, breakfast is the one with which I struggle the most. As a child, I needed to be out of the house by seven / half-past seven to catch the school bus and we found out early on that feeding me things at that hour of the day is enough to make me throw up all over the place. It’s probably psychological but I need it to be at least past eight before I can think about eating food. And it has to be vegetarian – I can’t face flesh first thing in the morning. Preferably savory, not sweet. Hot is a plus.

At home, this is easy. Ma makes the best South Indian breakfasts ever and I’m all good. On my own, I don’t like the ready made mixes (they taste funny) and it never comes out properly if I grind things up in a blender or food processor. For picky purists like me, you need a wet grinder – either human or machine. Which is a headache unto itself for various reasons. So…

Granola, pancakes and oatmeal with fruits is the ticket. I’d so much rather just skip it and go straight to lunch! But some days that’s just asking for trouble. So I have pudding instead. Technically, it’s french toast. Make it the way I do however…

Amrita’s French Toast Pudding

Ingredients:

2 slices thickly cut bread (3 or 4 if thinly cut), preferably a couple of days old. If you’re in a position to get your hands on some challah, then there’s nothing like it.

1 egg (for upto 4 slices of thickly cut bread)

1 tsp sugar, heaped, per slice of bread (adjust to liking)

1/3 cup milk per slice of bread

Vanilla extract or other flavor to taste

Butter / ghee as needed (honestly, you’re eating custard for breakfast, substituting oil at this point is not just pointless, it’s ridiculous)

Nonstick pan (to save on both butter and washing up. Use a stove top grill if you’d rather)

Preparation:

In a wide bowl, whip together the egg and sugar until frothy and combined. Add milk and whip some more. Use a blender if you’re too lazy to break out the whisk in the morning. Stir in vanilla extract. Dip in slices of bread and soak thoroughly, coating either side before laying them aside. Reserve leftover eggy milk.

Heat pan and smear a little butter so it melts. Arrange slices(s) of bread so the pan isn’t too crowded to flip. Spoon some of the eggy mixture all over the bread. One to three tablespoons depending on the thickness and size of the slices. Lower heat and allow the bread to cook.

When the bread has caramelized to your satisfaction on one side (never more than a nice brown), pour another few tablespoons of the milk mixture on the bread and sprinkle some butter on top and immediately flip the slice. Be gentle when you do this because sometimes the bread becomes super soft as it absorbs the mix and starts to crumble.

The bread at this point will puff up like a balloon and you wonder if it’s going to splatter all over you. Relax. It’s just bursting with the weight of its deliciousness. This side will take approximately half the time the first side took to cook. Toast is done when both sides are golden brown.

Eat cold or warm and melty, with fruit or with a light dusting of sugar or maple syrup if you’re researching ways to get diabetes. Dee-lish! It’s not like you were going to live forever anyway.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on March 22, 2010 in Personal

 

Because I’m Evil

I giggled my way through this. Reminded me of an acquaintance who once locked her roommate’s nosey little cat into the shower cubicle after he’d tried to sneak in once too many times, and turned on the faucet. I kinda felt bad for the kitty because he couldn’t help being a cat, but… heh heh heh.

I mean, look at the possible outcome:

[And yes, this whole post was just an elaborate excuse to post that pic. Awwsies! :mrgreen:]

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 18, 2010 in Life, News, Newsmakers, Video

 

Urban Warfare

At the end of our holiday, my friend Marge and I found ourselves in a cousin’s apartment, discussing our “adventures”. One of those involved a bar set in the middle of an artificial wilderness. Sweaty, grimy and tired, we gratefully stumbled our way in the dark to what looked like an abandoned heritage building in the middle of the carefully manicured “forest” surrounding the resort and threw open the door to meet the astonished gaze of some adolescent who was doubling as the bartender that night – and about five chipli uncles settling in for their umpteenth drink of the early evening.

“Hey,” the male cousin interrupted, laughing. “What’s a chipli uncle? Is it some kind of ageist thing?”

We gaped at him. A chipli uncle is… a chipli uncle. Who doesn’t know what a chipli uncle is? Granted there is no actual word as “chipli” in any Indian language that we know of – as a matter of fact, I think it’s something Marge invented. At least, if I remember correctly she introduced me to it.

But for those who don’t know: a chipli uncle is the guy who can’t keep his hands off his crotch and his eyes off your chest; he could be younger or older, white or brown, well-dressed or a ragamuffin, but he can often empty a room full of women by simply walking into it; he’s the one who thinks the girls love his off-color jokes and overshares about his bodily functions because he believes in frank talk.

A chipli uncle is the guy on the bus who once told me he “understood” my “psychological problem about being touched” which was shared by “many women” when I asked him to stop leaning all over me when he had a recliner seat all to himself. A chipli uncle is the guy who sneaked his hand under Marge’s sweatshirt to grab her boobs in the middle of a night on another bus journey. A chipli uncle is the guy who interviewed my friend Pops for the position of “personal assistant” and then told her most of her assisting “work” would take place at night.

When caught out, the chipli uncle will actually stand his ground and mumble a series of “sorry”s. I’ll never understand that. I find the whole urge to fondle strangers odd and disturbing but what do they think will the end result? Are there women out there who turn to their attacker and go, “OMG! This is totally my fantasy too!” And when the chipli uncle apologizes what does he think will be the response – “Oh, you’re sorry you molested me? Well, as long as you’re sorry, we’ll just call it bygones then! No harm done! What are you doing for dinner?”

A chipli uncle is the grown up version of the guy who, in his youth, used his allowance to get into a movie theater so he could sit behind a pretty girl(s), squeeze one finger or maybe a couple through the crack between the seats and poke her somewhere, anywhere!, as long as his finger made contact with her body. He’d risk personal injury, glares, brawls, shouting, name-calling, public shaming and penury for a chance to tickle some girl whose overwhelming feelings for him are disgust, rage and an urge to thrust a giant safety pin through sensitive body parts.

“How fucking repressed are these people?” Marge asked me as we giggled in disbelief while comparing war stories. “Imagine being so desperate that you get your sexual highs from poking some strange girl in the back with one finger!”

Between the two of us, we figured we’d been hassled in every movie theater in our hometown, been followed on the streets of multiple Indian cities, and groped on various highways. When we traveled anywhere in India, especially when using public transport, we automatically put on what we like to call our “Do Not Rape” outfits: loose fitting salwar kameezes with high necks, thick dupattas, and (preferably) long sleeves.

It is hellishly uncomfortable, especially in the summer when you’d prefer to wear something sleeveless or light cotton but want to dress so that in case things get really out of hand, the police and/or bystanders won’t diminish the strength of your case by casting blame on your outfit. Logically, we know we could be dressed in a full length burkha and still get felt up. Realistically, however, it’s easier to cover all your bases than expend your energy trying to educate assholes on the finer points of the emancipation of women when you’re already stressed out.

And even with that degree of armor, I don’t think either one of us has ever felt completely safe on the streets of India. Not only do I find myself dressing according to the possible character of autowallahs, taxi drivers and other unknown male passersby on the street rather than my personal inclination, over the years I’ve developed a trick of scanning my surroundings for possible threats.

A friend and I often kid that Indian women would make excellent assassin-spies because our spider senses are so advanced – nobody needs to train us to automatically assess all possible threats. We’re used to weighing our options at a subconscious level just walking down the street.

I don’t know when the humor began to leach out of me – perhaps it was when Marge told me about the time when she and a friend went to see a movie on the first day of its release and she had to make her way through the teeming crowd of would-be fanny-pinchers with piece of broken mirror.

“I could hear men go ‘ow’ all around me as I walked,” she shrugged. “But you know what? You don’t want to get hurt, you keep your hands to yourself.”

I’ve always known that molestation is a terrible thing – nothing like being groped by a stranger to teach you that – and that it’s rampant in India. But I’m so used to thinking of it as an inevitable part of my experience as an Indian woman that the sheer scale of it never quite hit me until I was listening to Marge talk about cutting her way into a movie theater.

I mean, it’s a bloody movie theater! She put on her Do Not Rape outfit (she’s almost always in those when she’s in India) and went to see a movie with a girlfriend. It’s the simplest thing in the world. And yet, she might as well have set off for the wars: donning armor and packing heat.

It’s fucked up.

I saw an ad for the Incredible India campaign in which Aamir Khan exhorts the public to stand up for visiting foreign women who find themselves being hassled. That’s nice and it’s about time. The first thing women from anywhere notice about India is that “eve-teasing” is part and parcel of the Indian experience. But Indian women are the ones who find out about it first.

Molestation is the everyday experience of all Indian women regardless of age, class or chutzpah. You could be a fifty year old woman buying vegetables at the market – and you’ll be plotting your escape route from the seller to the auto stand, strategically avoiding all the men who look like they want to touch and holding yourself on guard against the rest just to be safe.

Your mother, your sister, your wife, your best friend, your blogger – the sisterhood of Indian women is based on our everyday battle against the chipli uncle. The fact that this is possibly the nth post you’ve read by an Indian female blogger on the subject should tell you all you need to know.

 
43 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2010 in Life, Personal

 

Gone Baby Gone

All right, my lovelies! Blog is dark for the next week and a half. I’m a-goin’ on a holi-day! I only hope it’s as entertaining at that video promises. Mwah!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 4, 2010 in Personal, Video

 

Karthik Calling Karthik

The most common question I’ve encountered when introducing fresh blood to the wonders of Bollywood or Hindi cinema in general (it’s usually Bollywood – for some reason, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai works best as an introduction to Indian film) is not, “What’s with the singing and dancing?” or “Why do Indians love knitwear so much?”

It is: “When was this movie made?” Followed by: “The (insert decade here)s? Really?”

It’s not just the content, which tends to be a couple decades behind the current Indian mainstream in a bid to speak to the “real India” (i.e. The Poors who will in all likelihood never want to see said movie even if they could afford it – the 70s are dead and gone, buddy, the heyday of the single screen isn’t coming back. Get used to it); it’s the visuals. They’re dated and tired and look like they were made a decade earlier thanks to the cumulative effects of outdated costumes, garish set designs, and a weird species of English that nobody in India actually speaks (ding! ding! ding! Dharmesh Darshan!).

Farhan Akhtar, as a director and producer (and now actor), is the antithesis of that. It’s easy to dismiss his work as more style than substance but I think he employs his fetish for the ultra-modern and contemporary very well. As a director, be it Dil Chahta Hai or Don, he and his crew weren’t just showing off because they could. I’m sure they wanted to be bigger and better just like anybody else in the movie business, but they used their strong design POV in service of the story rather than use the story as a framing device for all the cool toys they could get their hands on a la the Dhoom series or Blue.

And if movies like Rock On! and Luck By Chance are any indication, then this is the voice of Excel Entertainment, his production company, just as Punjabi-ness and sarson ke khet are now forever the property of Yashraj. In fact, when I saw Wake Up Sid, my first thought was that Dharma Productions had gotten the Excel feel right.

On the one hand, that’s fantastic: “contemporary” is a market that offers infinite growth. Sadly, however, it leaves you without that comforting well of nostalgia to tap into. Nobody is going to come watch your movies because it gives the warm fuzzy-wuzzies to be reminded of what happened yesterday at the office. They’d much rather forget it in a field of pretty yellow flowers where the worst thing that can happen is a maddened attack bee.

It follows therefore that Karthik Calling Karthik, the story of a loser who turns his life around when his alter ego starts to call him in the middle of the night, is pretty hit or miss just like all his other movies. You either like them (and him) or you don’t. If you haven’t liked a single one of his movies yet or “got” them, then this isn’t the movie that’s going to change your mind for you. Even if you did like them or even a few of them, you might not really have all that good a time.

Not because the movie is bad: it emphatically isn’t. But because it’s unnerving.

Karthik isn’t a loser of the kind that we’re used to seeing in Hindi cinema. He’s cute and he’s funny, with the kind of black humor that makes him note – “Well, no friends, no job, this life was a failure. Let’s see what the next one brings” as he prepares to swallow a bottle full of sleeping pills. But there’s little about him that’s truly lovable. He’s a void of a person in search of an identity and it’s creepy to watch him at work.

His life is defined by a childhood tragedy that’s left him with an intense desire to scuttle through his existence on the planet as best as possible without drawing attention to himself. He’s worked so hard at erasing all signs of himself that he’s turned into an invisible man. Rather unusually, he appears to have enough self awareness to understand that this is not normal and he has what must be the world’s most opinionated psychiatrist to talk him through it, but nothing’s working. He’s still the guy who has no friends, no respect, no identity other than the kid who didn’t die when he was supposed to.

When the mysterious Karthik (let’s call him K2), the voice on the other end of the phone who talks him into a better life, starts giving him advice, I felt even more creeped out. When K2 talks to Karthik, he sounds eerily like an abusive spouse even though he’s ostensibly giving Karthik the tools to succeed. “Am I hurting you?” he demands in an early rant as though Karthik is in the wrong for being freaked out at hearing his own voice at the other end of the phone. “Then why won’t you listen to me?”

And I didn’t feel like cheering when Karthik got his life in order – tellingly, the first thing he does at the mall is buy the clothes off a mannequin. Just sees an outfit in a shop window and gets it down to the shoes. Maybe there are actual people who do that (I apologize if that’s you and I obviously don’t mean anything personal by it) but in Karthik, it pointed to a man so devoid of self, he bought one off the rack. Underneath the pimp suit, he’s still the man with no friends, no life and no confidence to speak of – he just doesn’t look it anymore. He’s traded in a life of honest failure for a life of pretend success. Hooray?

Similarly, I didn’t find the romance with Shonali (Deepika Padukone) all that heartwarming either. Deepika is absolutely gorgeous and does much better here than Love Aaj Kal but Shonali is a bit of an idiot. Maybe it’s just unromantic little me but if some guy had been keeping track of my every move for years and writing me emails obsessively for the same amount of time to the point where he can quote them verbatim, I would find it Cause for Pause, not the best thing that ever happened to me. I should note, however, Farhan and Deepika do make it work somehow and are very cute together, perhaps because Deepika is Farhan’s style match in a way that Konkona Sen Sharma and Prachi Desai were not.

Lest you think this all means I hated the movie – you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a sign of how well it worked for me because this is a movie about a man with a serious problem.

**Spoiler**

Going into this movie, I wondered what path they’d choose on the way to resolution. Some kind of paranormal horror thingummy, I thought cynically. Third act is when Rekha shows up a tantrik, that sort of thing. To my shock, they actually went the grown up route and took the depression angle to an organic place. Karthik is a natural over-achiever whose psyche is at war with itself as it tries to autocorrect – not a thrilling place to end up and hardly the kind of ending that makes you turn to your friend and go, “Whoo! Didja see that?”

But here was a happy ending that was earned.

**End**

I had a good time. Going by his debut, writer-director Vijay Lalwani is someone whose work I’d want to see in the future.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video