Although I try to keep hearing latest Bollywood songs; I don’t like them much. I am not a music buff as such and do not use headphones as often as it is a norm these days. But when in mood (which is primarily when I am little high); I like to hum/listen to old songs; preferably from the days of Kumar Sanu. The 80s and 90s have given us kind of music that we do not hear these days. And once again, it was a privilege of being a kid who grew up in 1990s.
I remember those days. The TV we had at home had 20 channels and somehow, the cable service provider had designed an algorithm which repeated 3 channels in 20. How did he do that, I do not know till date. Luckily, he showed Channel [V]. And that introduced me to the music I moved on to like and adore.
Apart from the Sunday morning Rangoli and Chitrahaar which played old Hindi songs in the major part of the show; Channel V played new Bollywood songs and the independent pop music- both original and remixes. And this pop music of 1990s was amazing.
The one song that reminds me of the beauty of the remixes of those times is Dil Kya Kare by Instant Karma. Remixed by Instant Karma band and beautifully sung by Shaan, a singer ignored these days, the song transports you to some kind of heaven altogether. And it is not just the music I am talking about. If you care to watch the video of this song, that is one beautiful storyline. Maybe it is my romance with the music of that era or this particularly song is really awesome; I hear this song on loop whenever I get time. You can watch the video here. Whatever time I get, I try to hear those classics. There are not many for the simple reason- creating classics isn’t easy.
And it is not just one song, The Punjabi bhangra songs by Baba Sehgal, Mika, Daler Mehndi, Jassi and others had pleasant tunes. Those were the songs that actually soothed the body or forces to stand and shake legs. The mandatory Hinglish rap these days by hip hoppers just take the fun out of the songs.
And then today, I switch on TV to see old songs being massacred by the ‘young fresh composers’. The process is simple- pick an old hit hindi song, add modern beats, throw a meaningless, out of tune rap in between and viola- you have a 5 minute track that hurts both eyes and ears. The murder of the original Punjabi pop Kala Chashma, done by the music composers of the movie Baar Baar Dekho stings me. Youtube says it has 300 million+ views. I really wonder how many were like me who saw the video only once how the fabulous original has been re-created. Sadly, it has been ruined. The numbers will add up on Youtube website but that won’t tell you the pathetic quality of it.
Amit Trivedi, one of the few composers in today’s time whom I like to hear, recently said that music composers these days are afraid of experimenting. And that is why they use tried, tested and approved songs for their movies with today’s flavour. I think he hit the nail in the head. There have been so many disasters- Humma Humma(OK Jaanu), Laila(Raees), Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho(Wajah Tum Ho), Tamma Tamma Loge(Badrinath ki Dulhaniya). Judwaa 2 has two of them. Pick a movie and there is a good chance that you will find one. These guys have even made a mess of Jaanu Meri Jaan song of old Shaan. Terrible.
Every trend loses its charm and changes and I often wish for these remixes to die. And we can have Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, KK again to sing for us more often. And Bollywood can again create timeless classics.
|Nothing to do with the post but it is funny.|
I first watched Fight Club in 2011 on a train journey from Ajmer to New Delhi. After the journey, I was having severe headache- part from the hospitality of Indian Railways and part from the movie. What the hell did I just see? The way it started and the point where it ended did not make sense to me that time (and I still am not sure whether I have connected the dots now). So, I watched it again. And again.
And I became a fan. Now, if you will ask what the theme of the movie is; I might shrug my shoulders. As I mentioned above, I am still yet to find the head and tail of it. There are high chances I never may find it and I don’t care about it. I watch this movie just for the sheer way it is filmed.
The craving for the movie comes for a very simple reason- the passion of the characters. Brad Pitt’s in-your-face dialogues and antics and Edward Norton’s innocence- they seem to relate. I must tell you here that it took me around 4-5 times to notice the fact that Norton’s character did not have a name. It’s all Tyler Durden, some of Martha and Bob. And they all stayed with me.
Brad Pitt has been a gem in this. His portrayal of Tyler, a I-don’t-give-a-shit character who believes in doing what he thinks is right is superbly executed. The dialogue delivery, body language, facial expressions and have all been right up there. It is hard to see how anyone else can have played this role better. Brad just nailed it. And no wonder that one of the sexiest ladies on the planet is her dear wife.
There are lines in the movie which have hit me hard.
“The things you own end up owning you.”
“Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted”
“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession…”
“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”
“Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think every thing you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned- Tyler.”
I won’t say that it applies to me but then, there is truthfulness to them which I can’t deny. They are true to the core and may be uncomfortable too, as they try to bring me back to the reality I keep running away from. We are so busy with buying a full HD tv, a king size bed, a decent car and credit cards that we forget that “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”.
Fight Club has influenced me a lot. Sometimes, I want to pick up a fight on the road. I want to be a part of a fight club. I want to hit few people- some I hate; others I envy. Some are relatives and office people; some are ‘friends’. I want to get rid of the tendency of what will be the consequences before doing something stupid, foolish, new. Throughout my life, I have put a lot of constraints on myself. I could have done lot of things differently and I regret that. now, I want to simply let it go.
Unfortunately, life is not a movie. And it works in a very different way; a way which is not always pleasant. I’ll admit- if you will look at the big picture, you will say that I should not have too many complaints with my life. But yes, it could have been certainly better. It could have been violent yet rosy like Fight Club. It could have been what Tyler Durden would say- liberated.
|Let us laugh at Arnab|
My first encounter with Chetan Bhagat’s writings was in mid 2006 when I accidentally found “One Night @ The Call Centre” in one of my friend’s room. At that time, I did not know who Chetan Bhagat was, his illustrative IIT & IIM background and the fact that this was his second book. I picked it, went through acknowledgments and finished the book in 5 hours. Next day, I parted away with 100 bucks from my meagre pocket money and bought “Five Point Someone” and was done with it in few hours.
As per the introduction, Chetan left his high paying investment banking job in Hong Kong and took his first love as his bread and butter- writing. For me, as a 19 year old college student, this was as fascinating as it could have got. You always look for inspiration and idols around you; something that will kick start you. Chetan, if not an idol, was certainly an inspiration. Not that I wanted to write and be a writer but it was more about to be an endeavour for not becoming a typecast.
Moreover, the intro also said that he wants to change the youth of India and to get the best out of them. His writings were to change the people who read it; to rethink what they have been doing and can they make it better? He wanted to inspire the young ones. As I mentioned above, I was certainly hooked to his books. They had nothing fancy in them but addressed the young readers in a way they felt associated. I still recall that I was a bit angry at many things after “One Night @ The Call Centre”. Agreed that the God in that book was superlative fiction but I believe that much of a liberty can be given to a writer.
His books started a trend and every college kid wanted to get published. In my 4 years of college, commuting from Dehradun to Meerut and vice versa; I read about 50 of these books. Not that I liked them but at that time, that was what I could have afforded to kill time in a bus. All by college students and passouts, ex engineers and MBAs, trying to write what they thought was a bestseller. 1 out of 10 was OK, some were manageable. And majority was too bad that I cursed myself for buying them. I very clearly remember I read a book “20 & Still Virgin”. The book had grammatical and spelling errors and I won’t even talk about the premise of the book. Such crap.
The point here is- Chetan had started what he wanted. He was making teens think, to come up with what they think. Many chose books; some debates. Chetan Bhagat was, in his own little way, starting to change India. His books were selling like hot cakes. Although his reputation did take a hit with “Three Mistakes of My Life”; he more than made up for it with “2 States” (for me, his best book till date; humour and satire in ample dose). His books were now coming as 70mm cinema. Sharman Joshi starrer “Hello” started it and although Amir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani will never admit it, “3 Idiots” was loosely based on “Five Point Someone”. The filmmakers never gave this credit to Chetan but the audience accepted (or assumed) it. Life was good for him. What can go wrong?
Well, many things. It is little hard to believe that an intellectual being like Mr Bhagat could make bad decisions and that too when he has done almost everything right. His next book “Revolution 2020” was a strange one. To be honest, I don’t remember what was exactly in it. What revolution the author was talking about- if you find out, be kind enough to let me know. The book looked more of a rip-off from some old Bollywood drama.
That was year 2011. In between, he turned into a screenplay writer and watched his “Three Mistakes” and “2 States” as “Kai Po Che” and “2 States” respectively. Being a huge fan of the book, the movie was such a disaster that I suddenly disliked the big screen. What was a pleasure to read was a pain to watch. And to top it up, I bought the tickets in black. What a waste.
Year 2014 just shooed away whatever good I thought about him for two reasons. He co-authored the screenplay of Kick. Now, writing screenplay for your book is very OK but to write for a Bollywood movie which had no brains in it is a very different thing. What are the odds that if movies like Kick, Ready, Ek The Tiger etc would have been 5 years back, he would have been criticising them in his TOI columns for being such a nonsense and that they are telling nothing useful to his ‘young Indians’? Fast forward to 2014 and he writes one of those senseless script, movie is a 200 crores grosser and he goes home with a fat pay check.
Second reason- when I read his latest release “Half Girlfriend”. The moment I finished it I knew this would also be turned into a movie. The truth is that the book is written in such a way they he knew it would soon be turned into a movie; he wanted this book too on the big screen. Unlike other books of his; this book has so many coincidences which our Bollywood will perfectly digest and there won’t be any need to make changes. In earlier movies, screenplay is not as exact as the book. They have removed/ changed a lot of things to make it commercially viable. Half Girlfriend is a perfect recipe for a movie. And as I have read, Ekta Kapoor has already bought rights to create a motion picture on the already half baked Bollywood screenplay. Talk about creativity.
In 4 years, Chetan Bhagat became something from nothing with his honest but straight forward and captivating writing. Next 4 years, after establishing himself and making his name, he wrote Half Girlfriend and Kick, both of which he probably would not have written and seen in his college days because of the crap they serve.
The great irony. The great circle.