Month: October 2005

Difficult, Not Impossible…

I know it is too late to blog about this. I finally managed to catch the movie over the weekend and I just had to write about it.

After all it was about cricket, after all it was about a fighter and it came from a director, whose works I have liked for the simplicity and reality they have depicted. Hyderabad Blues is an all-time favourite. Part 2 was okay, Rockford was decent, and I quite liked Teen Deewarein.

Iqbal comes up as his finest for me, as it dealt with a subject that is so close to my heart.

I will not write about the plot because everyone has already seen it. If you have been as unlucky as me to have not caught it for so long, don’t waste a moment and please see it! I was highly impressed by Shreyas Talpade. I’ve seen the guy in a few Marathi serials and honestly, I was never a big fan of his, but after Iqbal I’m in complete awe. So simple yet so powerful; no dialogues yet he conveyed every emotion, every expression to the tee. Such a joy it was to watch this fine actor!

You cried with him, you smiled with him, you jumped with excitement at his little joys, and you felt his anguish when he went through rejections. Yet, not once did you feel pity or sympathy because he was handicapped. That to me was the biggest winner scored by Nagesh Kukoonor. He did not glorify his handicap. It was one small hindrance and that was it. Nothing further. Neither the parents, nor his sis, or his coaches or team-mates thought it was a handicap. And there in lies the movie’s victory unlike Black.

Maybe, I’m being unfair by comparing the two. However, now having seen Iqbal, Black suddenly looks small in front of it. Black made you symapthise and pity the protagonist, Iqbal made you forget that the protagonist was handicapped. Black went on harping about the struggle and strife she faced cause of her handicap and how glorious she was in all that she did. Iqbal simply told you that no matter what the handicap, one can always excel if one wants to, provided one learns to fight and work hard for it. Success does not come easy; you have to pay a huge price for it.

Black felt larger than life, the whole set, the look, the magnum opus. Iqbal stuck to realities of life.

One scene, which I feel now stands out, is the one where Bhansali proves that miracles happen out of the blue. I don’t deny it, but even then and now it was very difficult for me to digest. How on earth does Michelle type 40 words in a minute, in a fit of anger, when till that very moment she was struggling getting 10 words per min? On the other hand Iqbal does not get the ball to hit the stumps when he faces the batsman for the first time between him and the stumps. He practices daily and then only gets it right.

I’m being a little biased as I’m no fan of Sanjya Leela Bhansali. I am not too much in awe of filmmakers who make larger than life movies. Karan Johar being another one!

Anyways back to the movie. Shweta Prasad and Pratiksha Lonkar played their parts well. I especially loved the way Pratiksha Lonkar tells Naseer with a huge smile, ‘Woh agar naumeed hua to main aapko jaan se mar daloongi’ (If he gets disappointed again I will kill you), and when Kamal the star of the cricket academy calls Iqbal ‘Behra Goonga Sala’(Deaf, dumb you jerk), Shweta Prasad walks up and says,‘Tum kitne bewakoof hon ke tum bhool gaye ki mein sun sakti hoon'( You are such a fool that you forgot that I can listen); and later she and Iqbal gesture to each other, leaving the arrogant Kamal to figure out their language!

Naseer was a delight, as he always is. Yours truly, had the privilege of seeing this fine actor in flesh and blood, perform in his Urdu home production ‘Ismat Aapa Ke Naam’. The crowds he drew, the applause he received and the laughter he created was mind-blowing. The country is blessed to have had an actor like him. What a natural! He does it with such ease that you can’t help but wonder how?

Girish Karnad, another fine actor was in fine form. He underplayed his character so well and with such realism, that you really landed up hating him.

Sadly the system does work that way, and most of the movie was what happens in reality. Life is not that fair. But the movie did highlight that there are ways to overcome the bureaucratic system, and you cannot hide or curb true talent for long. When one door closes there is another one that opens up, we just have to be aware to see the one that is opened. Just the way Naseer thought that all doors were shut when Iqbal did not make it to the team he went for, but realized that another one had opened when the selectors told him that Iqbal could get a look into the Andhra Ranji team.

I also loved the way Nagesh Kukoonoor touched upon the fine aspects of cricket. The Indian team could learn a thing or two from it. There is a fine difference when the batsman comes between you and the stumps, you can keep knocking off stumps all day long but once a batsman comes into the picture, if you fail to read his mind, you fail to deliver the same result.

Naseer’s advice to Iqbal, to think with your heart and play with your mind. To put the ball in the right place such that you make the batsman play to your strength. Learn to read the batsman’s mind, learn to anticipate his next move. Watch the batsman till the end and then decide your delivery at the last minute. Cricket is not merely played on the field, it is also played in the mind and that’s why strategy is important. The Chakravuyh concept in the film was quite interesting.

The way he ended the film was just perfect, the frame froze at the right moment. It is only for us to conclude the heights Iqbal sailed.

And to end it I felt, Iqbal was all about:

  • One man’s aspirations and his struggle to achieve his dream, the one thing he truly loved. No hurdles, no handicap, no disappointments would deter him from achieving it, for he believed he could, for he knew he had people around him who believed he could!
  • A mother’s strong belief and a sister’s faith.
  • A father’s struggle to make his handicapped son lead a respectful life. His realization of his son’s dream and the courage to accept his faults.
  • A man lost in his past, who finally found a reason to live, in the boy who aspired to be what he wanted to.
  • A man determined not to let the young boy to die a death like he did; a boy who had taught him to fight again.

True that many things in life are difficult, but they are not impossible, because even the word impossible says I’m possible:-)


Aashaayen …

Kutch paane ki ho aas aas
Kutch armaan ho jo khaas khaas
Aashaayen …
Har koshish mein ho waar waar
Kare dariyao ko aar paar
Aashaayen …
Toofano ko chir ke
Manzilo ko chin le
Aashaayen khile dil ki
Ummeedein hase dil ki
Ab mushkil nahi kutch bhi
Nahi kutch bhi

Don’t believe me? Go watch Iqbal and you shall!

I love the song, I simply love it! This one and Bavra Mann from Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is playing continuously on my mp3 player.

P.S: Did any one of you notice, how the arrogant Kamal in the movie had an uncanny resemblance to India’s finest and most honest, sincere players: THE WALL! I think Kukoonor got it a wee bit wrong there:-(

Yenna Solla Pogirai

No, I do not know Tamil, I can’t even speak it, but I can identify with a few songs. Most of them happen to be from IllaiyarajaA R Rahman. The ones that were converted to Hindi; where the lyrics went for a toss but the tunes, the melody lingered on for long. When I saw Roja and got hooked onto the album, I was hell bent on getting the original Tamil version. Those days Tamil cassettes were not easily available in Mumbai, or rather, the places I bought the cassettes from, did not own it. There was no planet M or Rhythm house! Luckily my family took a long trip down south, and when we landed in Chennai( then Madras) I was lucky to get the Audio cassette of Roja in Tamil. It is still treasured and I prefer listening to the Tamil version than the Hindi. Roja’s lyrics in Hindi were much better compared to what got churned out later! God forgive them!

As I was rearranging my CD collection yesterday, I came across one of my favourite albums ‘Kandukondain Kandukondain’ after Roja. (Alaiypayuthe is also close, but these two will always be on the top of my list) And I remembered being asked, ‘Yenna Solla Pogirai? Yes, what will your answer be?’, by my friends (couple of them South Indians) after we had seen Kandukondain Kandukondain in the theatre.

The original Tamil version, with English sub-titles. The movie was aesthetic and simplicity personified. Tabu and Aishwarya looked ravishing (The only time Ash was not cold!!!). Though I did not follow the southern film industry; I was well aware of Mamooty’s acting skills and loved the way Ajith portrayed his character. I’m not going to delve into the movie but speak about the songs. Yes, they were the reason that I was so eager to see the movie.

As I did not understand the lyrics, I was first hooked onto the songs by two aspects:
1. The melody, the classical base. Most of them were based on Carnatic music.
2. The picturisation.

I had caught Smayaii and Konjum Minnakale on MTV. Beautiful and heavenly, the latter one. I absolutely fell in love with Kanamoochi, I knew it was a repartee about Lord Krishna. The Carnatic base to it was fantastic. I hoped for two things desperately when I saw those songs:
1. The songs are not dubbed, thereby they are not deprived of their beauty.
2. The movie hits the Mumbai theatres, in the original version, not dubbed.

Both my wishes were granted and our group hit the theatre. My south Indian friends explained to me the meaning of the songs and one of them even searched the net and sent me the English translation. You will love them trust me. Hear them and relate it; you will fall in love with them over and over again.

No girl can say no if the guy sings ‘Yenna Solla Pogirai’
Here are few lines:
Illai illai solla oru ganam pothum
Illai yendra sollai thanguvathendral
Innum innum yennukor janamam vendum
Yenna solla pogirai…?

It only takes you a moment to say No.
To bear the hurt
I will have to be born again and again
Oh! What will your answer be…?

Ondru solladi penne – illai
Nindru kolladi kanne

Do say something, my love –
Or, perhaps, it is best you stay quiet.

The whole song is love personified.

One can dream through Konjum Mynakkaley
Kunjom assai
Kunjom kanavu
Ivai ilamal vazhakaya?

Nooru kanvughal kandale
Aru kanvugal palikkatha?
Kanave kayi serra va!

What is there to life
Without a little desire
Without some dreams?

We may dream a hundred dreams
And perhaps six at least will come true?
Dreams! Join hands with me!

The ultimate favourite and the highlight of this album is Kannamuchhi Yennada.Chitra is mind-blowing in that song, and Aishwarya looks divine.

Kannamuchi yennada yen kanna – nan
Kannadi porul poleda

Why this hide and seek, Krishna?
I am as fragile as glass.

Oh, go hear the song and get the lyrics:-)

Smy Ai Ai Ai: The lyrics are not as superior as the rest but the tune is so upbeat and catchy, you just can’t stop swinging to it, Yenge Entathu Kavithai, though sad, has amazing depth in its meaning, Suttum Vizhi is a soft number and Kandukondain Kandukondain is another light-hearted song.

The melody is the USP of this album, and I assure you that you will never tire of listening to it.And when you hear songs like these, you just wish and are pretty glad that they haven’t been tampered with, by senseless dubbing. The original, well, will be original no matter how many versions you bring out. The uniqueness and beauty will always be retained in the original version. Thank god that sense prevailed on the Producers & Director of Kandukondain Kandukondain!

The songs are one heavenly experience. Go drown in it 🙂 And after you are through, do let me know, Yenna Solla Pogirai ?🙂

How Ruthless Are We?

Arriving late for any ceremony or function in this country is apparently showing off one’s importance. Surely not at this cost!

We make young school kids stand in the sun for more than three hours without food, without water, in the scorching heat of Kanpur? How incessantly careless and negligent are we?

And these inhuman excuses are not acceptable:

  • District magistrate Deepak Kumar said, “No one could have anticipated this. The organisers are human, too; they are bound to make mistakes.” He has ordered a probe
  • After Amar Singh and Jaya Prada came to know about the children, they rushed to the hospital and, with people watching, asked the doctors to “ensure proper treatment”.“We had other programmes to attend and got delayed,” Singh explained.

Apparently have they not heard about prevention being better than cure. They must have had cell phones and therefore, could have contacted the organizers explaining them their delay. The organizers could have organized for some biscuits and water, the basic things and easily available, for these students.

What further depths will we plunge to? And will anyone ever take any accountability for such tragic events?

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