3 Aug 2004

Censor Board - The Biggest Bore

Posted by Oblivion in General | 12:44am


The whole concept of censor board absolutely bores me. No, I don't have such a high opinion of society that I entirely question the need of such a board. But I'm questioning its functions. Its definitions of violence, vulgarity and obscenity are very confined, and strictly conservative. What should it censor? And what should be the criteria to arrive at the decision? Since it is applied to movies, should it not be its responsibility to not just categorise, but inspire too?

Censoring is almost always associated with sex. If we think deeper, its effects are more harmful than useful. There is already an abnormal amount of suppression of sexual impulses imposed by society. And for all such people, who are usually obsessed, justifiably so, movies act as an outlet. And if they are denied that vicarious pleasure, after having spent their money and having come with many expectations, they come out of cinemas more frustrated. It doesn't need one to be educated in psychology to see this; it just needs common sense, which, unfortunately, is not so common. For such movies, the board's function should just be to classify it with certification. It's meaningless to cut scenes. The people who make enjoy it, the people who act enjoy it, the people of censor board enjoy it, and all of them are paid for doing so! Then why should the common man, who actually pays to watch that movie, be denied of that!!? Ridiculous!

People go to watch porn movies for only one thing - and you know what. They do not obviously go to study techniques in cinematography or editing. Damn it! And porn is not same as vulgarity or obscenity.

Does that imply that I'm suggesting they should let pass any level of vulgarity? Interestingly, 'vulgarity' is quite relative and subjective. So, I don't venture to define it. What I'm implying instead is to discourage 'out of context' scenes and demand filmmakers to think better ideas.

What kind of 'cuts' would I recommend if I were on the board? I'd not let pass even a single music video. Crap! Junk! Garbage! Do you call them music videos? Then what should one call Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall? Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror? Madonna's Frozen? Maksim's Exodus? Enigma's Back to Innocence?

And, interestingly, those artistes blame the demands of the audience for coming up with such bullshit! It's just filling up the fact that they actually are dumb heads without an iota of creativity. I suggest them to watch the songs from Mani Ratnam's movies and get some ideas before wasting money on some audio-visual shit.

Secondly, I would not let any of the movies that focus on factionism. Violence is not just gore and blood, the fixation for divisive labels like caste, religion, nationality, etc is more dangerous, though subtle, form of violence. So, all those movies in telugu that lay undue emphasis on regional and casteist bias, and all those bollywood fare that so mindlessly glorifies India and condemns Pakistan would not be allowed by me. And all those 'love' stories (God! I am fed up with them!) that glorify persistence and obsession won't be allowed either. It is these movies that do more harm than, say, a Basic Instinct with no cuts.

Ok, I call it 'cut' for today!



Current Mood: Happy
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24 Jul 2004

Untitled

Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:43pm


Is there any job that I would not take up, no matter how much I am paid? I had been thinking about this for the last two days, and, surprisingly, I haven't found one as yet! Is there any job that I would take up, no matter how less I am paid? Yes - that of a filmmaker. But I feel I should know the answer for the first question with as much certainty. If not for anything else, at least for the sake of some interesting intellectual occupation.

Current Mood: Happy
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22 Jul 2004

Thought for the Day

Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:20pm


When a certain amount of something is useful, and the difficulty of obtaining it is diminished, instinct will usually lead an animal to excess in the new circumstances.

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17 Jul 2004

Love and Responsibility

Posted by Oblivion in General | 12:16am


Does love have responsibility and duty, and will it use those words? When you do something out of duty is there any love in it? In duty there is no love. The structure of duty in which the human being is caught is destroying him. So long as you are compelled to do something because it is your duty you don't love what you are doing. When there is love there is no duty and no responsibility.

Most parents unfortunately think they are responsible for their children and their sense of responsibility takes the form of telling them what they should do and what they should not do, what they should become and what they should not become. The parents want their children to have a secure position in society. What they call responsibility is part of that respectability they worship; and it seems to me that where there is respectability there is no order; they are concerned only with becoming a perfect bourgeois. When they prepare their children to fit into society they are perpetuating war, conflict and brutality. Do you call that care and love?

Such a genius is JK! Why doesn't anyone 'see' something that is so clear!? It's a paradox that will confound me for ever.



Current Mood: Happy
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13 Jul 2004

Fundamentalism

Posted by Oblivion in General | 5:42am


Mr Gardner is best known for Frames of Mind, a book published in 1983 in which he expounded the idea that the mind is not a unidimensional phenomenon whose development can be measured by a single IQ test. He proposed that we have “a multitude of intelligences”—for example, linguistic, mathematical, musical, spatial and interpersonal. Each of these is independent of the others, and each develops at its own unique pace. He describes the fundamentalist as someone who “voluntarily decides that he will no longer change his mind in any significant way”.

All the ballyhoo about 'change' notwithstanding, people are actually quite conservative in their thinking, and are absolutely unwilling to change their minds. They accept societal mores without question, and any suggestion that begs for a new way of looking at is actively avoided. Strip them of their beliefs, ideals and conclusions and they will die. A conclusion/belief/ideal closes the door. And the deeper its roots go, the more fierce the person becomes at protecting the same. He closes his mind. Essentially, anyone with conclusions is a fundamentalist. All of us have conclusions. So, all of us are fundamentalists. It's a collective neurosis.

Yes, nobody would dare to agree. But then, accepting that demands absolute honesty. And honesty and fundamentalism don't go together.



Current Mood: Happy
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9 Jul 2004

Moment of Bliss

Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:27pm


It was the dead of night when I decided to stop by, after five hours of uninterrupted drive, at a dhaba to have a cup of garam chai. No vehicle in sight on either side of the straight, long road. The moon was full and the sky glowed with a heavenly radiance, with stars strewn all across it at random.

We were five of us. Friends. Three of them took out the box of cigarettes and lighted their way to glory. All of us were damn tired. It was the most pleasant of breezes that filled the air. The trio arranged themselves comfortably on the rope-made cots. Rakesh, not at all quiet otherwise, became quite quiet as he sat down on the wooden bench, seeming to appreciate the beauty of the sky. And I reclined on the other wooden bench and looked up. The wonderful sky, splattered with the golden stars and that gorgoeus light of the full moon!!

That was my moment of bliss last week. What's yours?



Current Mood: Happy
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9 Jul 2004

Fundas of Good Driving

Posted by Oblivion in General | 3:49am


Recently, while an article about Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) made interesting reading, it makes me wonder if it would work beyond a threshold of traffic density, or in conditions of unorganised traffic. Traffic in most parts of the metros and the country at large, in India, does not yield to any mathematical analysis, courtesy the overtly mismatching ratio of vehicular population to the road length. Accidents are common, and traffic jams are accepted as inevitable part of the drive. With hardly any breathing space for vehicles - effectively meaning the least headway* possible -, it demands an unfailing and continuous alertness on the part of drivers.

It would be, to my mind, certainly interesting to see the recommendations of Dr Davis's computer model for such a scenario. Meanwhile, I find three factors that would, if rightly followed, help avoid jams and accidents in almost any kind of traffic -

1. Maintaining linear trajectories
2. Anticipating the speed of other objects on road accurately, and perhaps most importantly
3. A cool head
 
Anticipation seems to be the key. All animals are good at anticipating the time and distance of an approaching vehicle. The more accurate one's anticipation, the safer his drive will be. And this becomes easier if everyone maintains linear trajectories - the model followed in the speed-lane system. So, now should it start with the realisation on the part of drivers or with the authorities widening the roads and devising a more strict traffic code? The former is possible and easy. The latter involves a lot of urban re-planning and money.
 
*Headway is the gap, measured in seconds, that a driver puts between himself and the car ahead


Current Mood: Happy
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2 Jul 2004

Facts and Observations

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:26am


A friend sent this. Funtastic!! Happy reading!

- They call our language the mother tongue because the father seldom gets to speak
 
- Regular naps prevent old age... especially, if you take them while driving.
 
- Having one child makes you a parent; having two, you are a referee.
 
- Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is husband!
 
- I believe we should all pay our tax with a smile. I tried - but they wanted cash
 
- A child's greatest period of growth is the month after you've purchased new school uniforms.
 
- Don't feel bad. A lot of people have no talent.
 
- Don't marry the person you want to live with, marry the one you cannot live without… but whatever you do, you'll regret it later.
 
- You can't buy love . . . but you pay heavily for it
 
- True friends stab you in the front
 
- Forgiveness is giving up my right to hate you for hurting me.
 
- Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
 
- Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired
 
- Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she'll take it anyway.
 
- My wife and I always compromise. I admit I'm wrong and she agrees with me.
 
- Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others.
 
- Ladies first. Pretty ladies sooner.
 
- A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
 
- You're getting old when you enjoy remembering things more than doing them.
 
- It doesn't matter how often a married man changes his job, he still ends up with the same boss.
 
- Real friends are the ones who survive transitions between address books.
 
- Saving is the best thing. Especially when your parents have done it for you.
 
- Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.


Current Mood: Happy
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18 Jun 2004

Googly?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 4:47am


It started with Google (by this time, it is common knowledge that it is the first-mover in many things online). The earth-shattering (virtual earth, I mean) news that it will open its services in e-mailing and that it would offer users a space of 1GB. To make this service “free”, Google will raise money by putting advertising links into the e-mails. To tackle Yahoo! it will try to establish a continuous relationship with users. To fight Microsoft it will encourage users to store their files not on their personal computers but on Google's remote machines.

But before it could go any far, the strategy proved to have taken off on a bad start (or, is it too early to conclude?). While Gmail is still far from being launched, Yahoo! has already increased the space to 1GB. It has a distinct advantage over Google, in that it will use the registration information of its 100-million strong user-base, both to attract new users and to retain the existing ones.

This evening, Rediff also made the move. Now, rediffmail users have a 1GB mail-island for themselves. Make your mails swim, fly, jump, and increase their life-expectancy! Is Microsoft also contemplating to simulate this in Hotmail?

In this scenario, will Goggle retain its first-mover advantage? Or, will it prove to be one of the worst debacles online? Or, interestingly, by a far shot, was it just a 'googly' bowled by Google to give the big players a scare? In any case, we don't have to wait for long to know the answers.



Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

15 Jun 2004

Chance or Choice?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 6:13am


Is sanity of mind dependent on one's education, upbringing and environment? Or, is it independent? If it is independent, why doesn't everyone have it in equal measure? Is it because although it is independent, yet it is susceptible to getting affected by the outcomes of circumstances? If it is dependent, then it implies that attaching reverence to great souls is useless, for they have become great only by a chance combination of circumstances. This, although sounds logical, doesn't sound convincing to me.

Is it right to assume that anybody else in the place of Prince Siddhartha would have taken the same decision to walk out and eventually become the Buddha? This is utterly immature a statement. Ergo, it takes 'something else' on the part of a human being to enlighten that spark of 'intelligence'. Is there a technique to do this? Can this be taught? It cannot be taught. Millions of people must have read the Buddha, but we never had another Buddha. So, it cannot be taught. So, it is independent of one's literary abilities. It has to be discovered by onesels. Hence, Buddha's statement - 'be a light unto yourself.' How did he come upon this? What is 'that' he had? Sanity, once found, never leaves. Because then there is nothing holding on to anything, so there is nothing to be lost. The consciousness moves into a wholly new plane - a plane of no return.

Passion is the secret, I guess. Who do you think is the most sane/rational soul who ever walked on this planet? If I were to name, I'd choose - Buddha, JK and Russell.



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9 Jun 2004

The Fastest Generation!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:17am


On occasion, it occurs to me if any other generation preceding ours (this needs clarification. By 'ours', I am referring to those born between the years 1970 and 1980) or any ones in future would witness as many changes at such a rapid pace as we happened to. I'm sure I'm missing out many things else, but the following is the list of things that, to my mind, justify my feeling:

1.We lived in times when radio was an indispensable part of our daily life
2.Having a telephone was a luxury
3.The balcony ticket in cinema was Rs.5/- (average)
4.Petrol came at Rs.20/- a litre
5.The shopkeeper would return the change of 5 paise
6.An entire colony of people would gather to watch chitrahaar on the television
7.Water was free and plenty
8.Writing letters was an eagerly awaited activity at weekends

Modes of communication have seen incredible advancement. We have seen it all - radio to TV, phone to mobile phone, letter writing to e-mail, cable, SMS, virtual love, online dating, history-as-it-happens on the World Wide Web, ...

Change in the value of rupee happens at a normal pace - and is, on the average, similar for every decade, so it is not a big thing to actually mention. Every generation, indisputably, comes with unique privileges that are denied to others. Nevertheless, our generation seems to stand out in the case of witnessing the most rapid of changes. It might not sound very objective to many, and it may also lead some to infer that my knowledge of history is quite limited and my observation, not quite deep. Well, every opinion, for whose support no mathematical data exists, can be contested in that spirit and it is not, logically, possible to refute either, in spite of the fact which side observation seems to favour.

If there is some kind of material on this topic, I'd surely like to take a look. Not at all to source reaffirmation, but solely because it makes for an interesting reading of the steps in human civilisation and the genius of man, in a wider sense.

[I have, as it seemed inevitable, focused on only that part of the population that could afford, economically, access to all the aforementioned accessories. In doing so, I had to, naturally,  eliminate two groups - the one that could afford them quite easily and the other that finds affording a minimum of them impossible]



Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Fur Elise

8 Jun 2004

How to Name It?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 5:53am


What do you call a society that doesn't feel the loss of a poet? Dead, callous and unaesthetic? Or, does it reflect the 'new-age' priorities? Why am I asking this? Because, on Sunday, I expected ToI and The Hindu to come up with features on Dom Moraes and it seemed like it was a deliberate move on their part not to. Well, of course, I'm exaggerating, courtesy the amount of disappointment. 

For many people, it might not look as big as I'm making it out to be. Most people would readily forgive, assuming emotions go that far in the first place. But then it troubles me - why a certain actor's wardrobe or a political misadventure makes it in color to the front page while the death of Dom Moraes, one of the great writers we had, passes off as silently as his life and death were!? 

So, I'm asking myself - what do you call a society that doesn't feel the loss of a poet? Is it same like asking - what do you call a man who doesn't have a heart for poetry? 



Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Mouna Ragam

4 Jun 2004

Farewell, Dom!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 11:38pm


Dom Moraes is no more.

'We start out as white slime and end up ashes' -- Derelictions

So, all the poets are gone?



Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Anveshana

3 Jun 2004

Mani or Money?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:18am


Here's what Mani Ratnam said when he was asked how he feels when people criticise his film (source: Rediff.com) -

"You want to hit them first. (laughs).

After the anger has gone away, you try and find out whether there is a valid point in what they are saying. You know the ins and outs of your film. When I see a film, I have an opinion. Everybody has an opinion.

If you wanted to make a film the way you want, you go ahead and make it. I am here because I feel I can make a commercial film from my perspective."

The last sentence should silence all those critics who review a film and write just about anything, out of sheer impatience to meet the deadline, taking support of stupid metrics.

When it's a Mani Ratnam film, should it matter if it makes money or not? He makes great stuff. Period.



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2 Jun 2004

Reel Blunders or Real Demands?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:17am


Let's accept - mediocrity rules in Indian cinema. Barring a Mani Ratnam flick in a year or two, or a Shekar Kapur film once in a blue moon, or a Varma's good attempt in equally good time, is there anything that we can take pride in? Where is that breed of sensible filmmakers, who rely more on storytelling than special effects or masala effects? Karan Johar is hailed as the greatest thing to happen in recent times!!! (Hello to all those who agree! does anyone remember Satyajit Ray please?) Ask any filmmaker the reason for the same, most of them would not even dare to acknowledge it. On the contrary, they would dismiss it as a foolish question. The remaining few would blame it on the audience. "We give what audience asks us", would be the most-oft repeated quote.

Ask the audience and they would say "we enjoy what we get to see". True, it is an evasive atitude to blame audience. So, who is the culprit? It was not very long ago that one could watch brilliant stuff from filmmakers like Kundan Shah, Ramesh Sharma, Aditya Bhattacharya, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Govind Nihalani, etc. Yes, some of them make films even now, but the product is appalling for their standards. Only Mani Ratnam seems to hold the ground firmly, although Yuva pales very much in comparison with his pre-Roja films. Vinod Chopra seems to have forgotten how he made Khamosh or Parinda. Hrishikesh Mukherjee doesn't come with the magic or intensity of an Anand or Abhimaan.

It is not to say that there are no good movies any more, but the ratio is very low. Is is because of a downfall of the collective creative psyche of the filmmakers? Is it the undue preference for box-office success that is affecting? It's good in a way, for every such dip in creativity results in the birth of a great filmmaker like Satyajit Ray. That is the only consolation I find to stand this otherwise pathetic scene of Indian cinema.



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