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Archive for the ‘Bollywood’ Category

Mr. Thackeray,

This is an earnest request from a non-marathi citizen of India, so you may wish to ignore the suggestions. Your appeal to ban the Pakistani artistes will appeal to many and many will be willing to go with you. If you try and enforce it the way you have done things in the past, by using sticks and lathis and knifes and swords it will not win you any admirers, you will end up losing those on sitting on the fence undecided.

If on the other hand you decide to take a more peaceful approach and appeal to the conscious of the people and ask them not to chip in to the success of films having Pakistani artistes it is likely that you will be more successful in implementing your ban and it will at least not push the fence sitters to the other side. It may actually bring some of your non-fans onto the fence if they do not outright jump into your side.

One needs to keep in mind, nobody likes bullies. It is only the bully’s cronies who will pander to their egos and that because they want something out of the bully and not out of any respect.

It is upto you to ultimately decide how you wish to proceed.

A peace loving citizen who would like to agree with you on this ban.

The ExtrasThe Extras by Kiran Nagarkar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Started the book with great expectations after reading the Cuckold by the same author. This book is very different from Cuckold and it is good not to carry forth any expectation if one has read Cuckold.

The book is about a person called Ravan (Ravan Pawar had been named Ram, but in a moment of indignation his mother renames him Ravan) and a person called Eddie (or Edward Coutinho). Both live one of the several chawls that sprawl Bombay. By quirk of fate Ravan as a child had jumped from the fourth floor and Edwards father who had been drooling at Ravan’s mother catches him safely. In the process Edward’s father passes away and the long history of a cold war between the two families begins.

Both grow up in the same locality but shun each other’s company. Ravan is love with Edward’s sister but is unable to bring himself up to speak to her given her convent education compared to his 10th fail status.

Both are them are laid back and are pushed by their mothers to start working. While Ravan starts off as a taxi driver, Eddie starts off as a waiter in one of the several joints that serve country liquor. Both the mothers are dreaming big for their sons.

One common streak that runs through both of them is that both have musical talent and both wish to become actors in the Bollywood. Fate pushes both of them to join the Extras Union of the Bollywood and both end up as extras in many films. They still continue to ignore one another before fate deems otherwise.

Read the book for more of the story. A decent book. Gives a good insight into the life of the extras in the Bollywood cinema.

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Half GirlfriendHalf Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book that can now be categorized as a typical Chetan Bhagat book. Written from a perspective of being converted into a Bollywood movie someday. Perfect setting for a Bollywood mobie. A boorish Bihari lad comes to St. Stephens, Delhi for his graduation on sports quota. He falls in love with a rich, sophisticated Marwari girl, thanks to their common love basketball.
She does not wish to commit herself as his girlfriend while doing everything that a girlfriend would do and so she is half a girl friend. She also confesses that her ambition is to be a singer in the restaurants in New York. This her way of breaking away from the straitjacketed life she lives at her home. He goes to her house for her birthday. The scenes that play out are similar to what has played out in so many Bollywood movies.

Under pressure from his peers he tries to bed her. She refuses and walks out of his companionship. Either in frustration or under pressure from her parents she gives in and agrees to marry a rich UK resident and drops of college. The dejected Bihari finishes his graduation, gives up a lucrative job in a MNC bank and moves back to his village, where is a Maharaja of sorts, to help his mother run the school.

He happens to meet up with a person from the Gates foundation and applies for grant from them. He is asked to make a presentation to Bill Gates on a tour of India. He joins an English speaking class, in Patna, to improve his speech before presenting to Gates. He bumps into his half-girlfriend and old flames are set alight once again. She is now a divorcee working on her own and she is to work out of Patna.

She helps him with the speech and visits his house and his school. She still remains the half-girlfriend. After the presentation to Bill Gates she disappears from his life leaving him a letter stating she has only a few months to live as per the doctor’s diagnosis. An emotional lover boy finds a set of diaries written by her. He approaches Chetan Bhagat and offers him the diaries that he has not dared read till then and leaves them with him. At first Chetan refuses to read them and trashes them. But then curiosity in him is aroused and he reads the diaries and discovers something. So he calls over the lover-boy and asks him to read sections of the diaries. After refusing to do so he reads them and is stunned.

He discovers that the half-girlfriend is after all in love with him and is not dead. So he sets off to New York (remember her dream to sing in restaurants in New York) in search of her. I guess anyone who has seen Bollywood movies knows what the end would be.

A Chetan Bhagat read.

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A wonderful take on how Bollywood makes a 100 – 500 crore movies.

Shows how hollow we are as Indians. Shows our complete lack of refinement. All that is needed is some skin show and some beats borrowed (stolen) from somewhere.

May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss!May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss! by Arnab Ray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book for the Indian children of the 60s and 70s. The author rambles on about different topics and most of the children born during this period will be able to relate to what the author has to say.
From politics to to sex to Bollywood.
In a chapter on moral policing by certain groups in the various cities of India the author gives the compilation of euphemistic words in the modern world.
Some of these are as follows:
Barber: Hairdresser
Tailor: Fashion Designer
Bank Robber: Investment Banker
Pickpocket: Economic Offender
Mujra: Item Number
Incorrigible gossip: Blogger
Spousal Abuse: S & M
Terrorist: Misguided youth
Wife/Husband: Partner
Casting couch: Talent show
and the best
Code Coolie: Software Engineer

About setting up one’s own B-School
In one of the chapters he sarcastically about how anyone can setup their own B-School. In one place he asks a pertinent question about the existing MBA awarding institutes: “Should we measure these institutes measure by the package of its graduates? Or should we be asking instead: Have the graduates of these prestigious institutes changed the world? Well have they? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. While a few may have brought in a revolution, or half, most of them have done little except prepare reports, made presentations, attend meetings, shout at subordinates and pocket a fat bonus. Most MBA graduates will tend to disagree with the above statement and many of these institutes would be glad to continue to be judged by the salaries their graduates get as they get out of their institutes than what happens to them after 5 – 10 years or what meaningful changes they bring about in the world.
He also observes that the students are not taught to dream. So that when they graduate they know how to valuate complex derivatives but know absolutely nothing about imagining and dreaming. He then goes on to say how he will market his institute as being an institute whose USP will be to teach the students to Dream.
He says how having management “Gurus” to speak for his institute will help, but he goes on to say that if a rival institute pays more then the “Guru” will change parties and start speaking eloquent about the rival. As an alternate he suggests that the owner herself should create an image of a “Management Guru”. How? To quote the author himself “The most important criterion for a management guru is that all his statements have to sound very deep and be delightfully vague. Deep and vague statements have an instinctive aura of profoundness about them that instantaneously impresses.
This is what I call the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ syndrome. This derives it name from the famous fairy tale where even though the citizens see that the emperor is naked they applaud his clothes because they have been told the clothes are such that only the wise can be see them. This is no doubt a very powerful socio-psychological instrument which any management guru worth his name has to take advantage of. The entire avant-garde art industry owes its profits to it. If peple did not go ‘waah waah’ over a blank canvas with a dab of red paint on it or over a soiled toilet seat in an exhibition just because they have been told that this is high art, where would modern artists be?”

One whole chapter is about the tribulations that he went through during the marriage ceremony. In this chapter he states “My first realization was that an Indian marriage ceremony is intentionally kept lengthy and torturous so that no one in their right mind would ever want to get married twice. That is the problem with the western marriages: they are too short and painless.”

One chapter is dedicated to how Bollywood has changed over the years. Some his observations which I enjoyed. “Kareena Kapoor’s name in Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham is Pooja but being oh so la la modern she prefers people call her “Poo”, trying to be with it but perhaps unware that poo typically means excreta ejected through the anal orfice.
In Love Story 2050, the hero tells the heroine hep-ly and ultra coolly. “Tumhari life hai na, its like hotdog without a sausage”, the sexual imagery being unintentionally Freudian”. I confess. I just do not get the new internationalized wannabe Bollywood, a world of burgers, fries, Coke, tank-tops and faux accented American English. Just like I do not get SMS English and why people spell come as cum and then use cum in sentences like ‘Why don’t you and our misses cum together?’.
Maybe I am too old-fashioned. Maybe I am too uncool. Maybe I yearn for those days in which tickets could be bought for Rs. 20, when the pickpockets would jostle you at the entrance and not clear your pocket legally at the soda-popcorn stand.”

Definitely a good read for the Indians born and brought up India during the same era as the author.

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