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Friday, March 2nd, 2007
11:12 pm
Trip to Udupi Beaches (Part 2)
DAY 2 (18th Jan 06) : 7.00 am : I was the first one to get up in the morning. Went to the next room and asked Risaf, Nishit and Jayakumar to get up. The reason for my getting up early was because I had planned to pay a visit to the famous Udupi Sri Krishna Temple. I freshned up very fast and set out to go to the temple so that by the time I return back to hotel other guys will be ready for the trip to Malpe. The receptionist at hotel gave me the route to the temple, It was as a walkable distance from the hotel we were staying. It was a different feeling walking through this city and I would like to mention here that Udupi is one of the clean city I have visited. Walking through the narrow street I reached the temple, the religious chants comming through the loudspeakers had a very soothing effect on me. The place is well-maintained, well-managed. It was surprising that even in this huge crowd, the calmness prevails. The sacred tank, MADHVA SAROVARA, is a beauty to look at. The darshan queue was not too long and after waiting for around half hour I got the darshan of the Lord. Here we have to look at the deity through a window. This window is popularly known as NAVAGRAHA KINDI Which represents the nine planets of the universe. From the window one can see the image of LORD SRI KRISHNA as a small boy with the churning rod ( Kadagolu ) in his right hand and rope in his left. The temple was completely roofed and it was dark inside but through some holes on the roof sunrays were comming inside and it looked as if the temple roof is held by these light pillars. There were some other small temples near to the main temple but I did not visit because I felt that it may take more time and will spoil our plans. I bought some prasadam and returned back to hotel room.
Everybody were ready as the prospect of visiting the island was the top priority in everybody’s mind. . We had the breakfast from the Hotel where we were staying as it was free. We then rushed to the bus stand to catch bus to Malpe. On the way Trevor gave the idea of buying a ball so that we can play at beach. We got a bus to Malpe and reached there within 15 minutes. We got down at Malpe with our luggage strapped behind us, the sun had risen above the tree line and gave no signs of calming down.

Myself and Nishit purchased some eatables like biscuit, cake, etc because we knew that there is nothing available on the island. As soon as we walked further we saw a lot of fishing boats at the ferry ghat .

There was smell of fish creeping in in from everywhere. We inquired a person about the booking office for getting boat for St Mary's Island. He showed us the way to the ticket booking office, pointing to a small pathway besides a small ramshackle booth. While walking towards booking office we saw the fishing boats unloading fishes from boats to other trucks. The ferry service from Malpe to the St Mary's Island is done by Karnataka Fisheries Limited and they charge Rs 75.00 per head. The lady at the booking counter informed us that there should be a minimum of 30 people for the boat service to be carried out. Right now there was only 17 people including five of us. we have to wait for 13 more like-minded people to assemble before we can commence our trip. We started playing volleyball near the booking office counter and inbetween inquiring at the booking counter if any more people has come to take boat. It was already 11'o clock and we were running out of patience because all our travel and plans will be spoilt if we couldn't get the boat service. The lady at the booking counter gave us another alternative that the 17 people can share and contribute a total of Rs 2100/- and all can make the trip. We were ready but another group was not ready to give Rs 125/- per head. Suddenly we had a sense of relieve, a bus load of around 50 school students and teachers came to go to the island. We purchased the tickets and boarded the boat. The boat had good seating arrangements, Himesh Reshamiyya songs were being played loudly on speakers, the boat even had a TV and DVD player. We made comfortable in the boat. The school children were making noise like birds.

I was very much energetic as this will be the first time I am going to travel for 25 mins in sea and to a remote island in sea.The boat cruised at an even pace; slowly the sea covered us from all the sides. The deck swayed vigorously at times, enough to make us grapple for the nearby handrail. A small empty motorised boat was trailing behind us all the time which we thought that was for safety purpose. we waited for the events to unfold by themselves. After 10 minutes of travel we got the first glimpse of the island.

There was a clear patch of sandy beach visible in between the rocks and the coconut groves on the back. Our steamer came to standstill some 100m ahead of the island and it was then that we realised that we would now be ferried in the small boat to cross the shallow waters. The island was maintained in a better condition for visitors and I felt that the island is a stage that is ready for a concert. Finally we set foot on the island, the person who was driving the boat announced that everybody needs to be back by 12.30pm which mean we have 1 hour of stay on the island. All five of us did not waste much time and changed our clothes and we went straight away to the opposite side of the island (200 meters from the end where we landed?? The island is that small).. Myself, Risaf and Trevor climbed some steep rocks that had some nicely formed natural steps and took photos. We walked along the length of the island and reached what seemed to be the furthest point into the sea. Then a, khaki wearing guy came and waved his hands to get back more to the middle of the island. The rocks rose up in a stepped fashion, in clusters, following an inherent hexagonal pattern. Amazingly some of the freestanding rock faces had these hexagonal facets right from the top to the bottom, which we all could not help wondering about. The rocks were arranged like a set of cigarettes together in a packet.

On the middle of the island there were a few bamboo framed thatched shelters for the tourists. The rest of the place was the all encompassing sea in its true splendour, the waves were making rhythmic music by splashing against the rock faces. At one place we saw a lot of red crabs. We looked at the time and were surprised that we had already spent one hour and it is time to return. The school children and other visitor were slowly getting on the return boat. Myself and Risaf went to the Boatmen and asked if we can stay longer and if there will be any return trip in the evening , the boatment asked us to contact the office. A few other visitors who wanted to stay back joined us. Risaf contacted the office over mobile and they agreed that we can stay back and there will be a return boat at 4.00 pm in the evening. We straight away jumped into water, for the next two hours it was full of "masti". We played volleyball in water. We were joined by a couple who were on honeymoon trip for playing. We shared a lot of jokes, meanwhile Trevor was giving Jayakumar and Risaf a few tips about swimming and floating in water. Soon it was 4.30 pm. We were tired, the cakes, biscuits etc were over. At 5.00 pm the return boat came and we packed ourselves and started our return journey. On the boat we could watch the beautiful sunset.

Watching the island fade away and the beautiful susnet over the Arabian sea made all of us speechless. We reached Malpe beach and from there we returned bo our Hotel room by Autorickshaw. We had a good bath and all of us were feeling very hungry. We packed our luggage and cleared our room bills and went straight to the nearby Bombay Hotel. Everybody ordered for Chicken Biriyani because outside the hotel it was written that "Special Oil-less chicken biriyani Available". You can make out the intensity of our hunger by the speed by which the biriyani and side dishes vanished from the plate :-).. It was already 9.00 pm and we walked towards the Bus Stand. The Bus arrived at 10.15pm and we made ourselves comfortable on our seats. We had a deep, sound sleep and when we opened our eyes, it was 6.00 and we had reached outer Bangalore. We were again caught up in the usual traffic jams and honking vehicle horns. We got down at Majestic Bus Station and parted ways to our home. While riding back home, I could still hear the sound of waves hitting the rocks, the smell of the sea, the sunset, the laughter of my friends, etc....
Tuesday, December 26th, 2006
2:30 am
Trip to Udupi Beaches (Part 1)
Myself and my office friends were planning for a get-together since a long time but unfortunately it was not getting worked out. So during the first week of this month myself and Risaf planned to make a trip. Now the next question was, Where to go? Both of us digged into google.com and tried to get information about some exciting place for visit. We checked details about many places in karnataka also we checked a lot of travel photographs on travel sites. Our main aim was to make this tour a memorable one and should be adventerous. After a lot of search on various websites, both of us hit upon the idea of going to Malpe Beach. The main reason for our selecting this place was because it had a exotic island nearby, called St. Mary’s island, where the rocks have emerged as hexagonal prisms. I was a also excited about travelling in sea for around 20 minutes and going to an island and also enthusiastic about this rock patterns. Finally the trip members rose to six, alongwith Risaf, Trevor, Nishit, Sreejith, Jayakumar and myself. When we made a further search about the bus route and nearby place in Malpe we came to know about Kaup beach which had a lighthouse and also the Maravanthe beach. The captivating photographs of these places and description given by various people in travel sites/ blog made us more enthusiastic to visit them. Myself and Risaf spent a lot of hours getting the details about the buses and about the trip plan like when to go, which bus to take, where to go first, food, hotel details for stay, etc. Here I would like to make a special mention of Risaf because it is he who contacted the other colleagues and managed to make a very good arrangment for the smooth running of the office works for two days in the absence of we six guys. I would like to thank Geetha, Raghu and Hassan who worked extra hours in our absence as without their help this trip would have been practically impossible. So everything was set, It was decided that the trip will be of two days, First day we will be visiting the Kaup Beach and the next day we will be off to St Mary Island at Malpe in the morning and at Marvanthe Beach in the evening and catch the evening bus back to Bangalore. Risaf got the to and fro tickets booked through KSRTC. It was decided that everybody has to reach the Majestic Bus stand at 6.45am on 17th Jan. Myself and Risaf were in night shift duty on 16th Jan, so finished our work and left at 4.45am on 17th Jan. Went home, packed the dresses, loaded the camera and after getting freshed up left to majestic on my bike. On the way picked up Risaf and while we were going to majestic we got the first set back of our trip, Sreejith called up and said that he will not be able to make for the trip as his stomach is upset and not in a state to travel.

DAY 1 (17th Jan 06) : We reached majestic, parked our bike at pay and park place. The other three guys - Tevi, Jayakumar and Nishit came on time. We all boarded the bus and made ourselves comfortable at the respective seats. The condition of the bus was horrible, it was a ultra deluxe bus but the outer body of the bus was full of rust and cracks. The glasses were sealed with adhesive tapes and glues :).

The bust left the Stand at sharp 7.20am. The sound of the engine of bus was very loud and the speed was worse than our local BMTC bus. Risaf and Jayakumar were soon lullabied to sleep maybe due the sound of the engine or due to the night shift on previous day. I was enjoying the sight seeing through the window and once the bus came out of crowded Bangalore city premises, it was a great relief to watch the greenery and the small mountains etc. I was continously taking photos of the scenic beauty through the moving bus.

At 9.45am, the bus stopped at a road side hotel at Adichinchunagiri area for Breakfast. All of us were very hungry because none of us had anything in the morning, not even tea. All of us had idli, vada sambhar for breakfast. Actually I wanted to have a Masaladosa but it seemed that I will have to wait, so switched over to Idli, Vada. The bus moved ahead and we cracked a lot of joke with the bus conductor about the condition of the bus. We had a gala time cracking jokes, some very animated discussions and at times breaking into peals of laughter and also enjoying the beautiful sight seeing on the roadside.

At 10.30 am we got a break at Hassan when we all took time out and brought some snack items and fruits. Risaf and Trevi got hold of sudoku in Times of India, and we were enjoying the fresh air that was striking us and making us feel like a free bird in open space. We reached a place called Nelliyadi at around 2.00 pm and had lunch from a hotel which was horrible, somehow we just had rice and curd and moved ahead.

The bus took the route of Hassan – Sakaleshpur – Mangalore. We continued our journey talking about different subjects. The journey was not different to other journeys until we entered the area of Sakaleshpur. From here the journey was different in two ways; one the quality of roads was not good due to poor maintenance which was a challenge to our backbones and secondly we entered into an area where the beauty of nature is mesmerizing. My eyes were locked at the windows to capture the beauty of the nature. The coffee estates, the pepper plantations, and trees are really good and the roads are horribly bad.

When we neared Mangalore, we had to undergo one more test at BC Road of Mangalore. The condition of the road was also very much worst and somehow we reached Mangalore. I enjoyed the small rivers that were flowing parallel to our bus route near the Mangalore area. After crossing the Mangalore are the bus was amost empty. The bus conductor informed us that the bus stop of Kaup Beach comes ahead of Udupi bus stop, so we planned to get down at Kaup. We got off the bus and inquired the auto rickshaw driver about the beach route, he informed that it is around 3 km. Five of us adjusted in a single auto and reached the Beach. The glimpse of the vast sea and clean beach made us forget all the tiredness and refreshed us with new energy. We enjoyed the sheer beauty of nature, sounds of the waves, sensuously caressing breeze. The beach was not crowded and the sea was also calm. It was around evening 5.00 pm and the sun was slowly going down.

The main attraction was the lighthouse situated on top of a 12-metre-high boulder and the majestic 34-metre tower is painted with white and black bands. We climbed the winding stairs of the tower and reached the top of the lighthouse. The view from the top was breathtaking - the sight of the sea, the scattered rocks and the aerial view of the green land was a fantastic. We watched the sunset from the lighthouse - the hot red sinking into the sea. The waves were hitting the rocks and the roar of the waves was as if the sea was crying.

We climbed down the lighthouse and had a walk along the beach. Walking on the soft beach sand with waves kissing our legs was a different king of pleasure. We then played football on the beach, not with a ball but with a empty plastic bottle. It was getting dark and we went to a small hotel on the beach and had some snacks. We took a auto back to the bus stop and we immediately got a bus to udupi which is only 14 kms from Kaup. It was around 7.30 pm when we reached Udupi bus stand. We went to a nearby hotel named 'Udupi Residency' , took two double bedrooms. The rooms were cheap and well maintained. Our clothes were full of sand from Kaup Beach and we were very much tired of the travel. All of us had a nice bath and freshned up. After taking bath we had a small walk in the streets of Udupi, the city looked very clean to me and the roads were quite wide. All us were feeling very hungry as we did not had good food during our travel, so we decided to have dinner at the hotel where we were staying. We ordered ......fish fry, fish curry, prawns, rajali kabab(that was delicious), navrathan kurma (it was horrible), steamed rice, chicken item etc. The dishes were not too good but as were very hungry we were attacking on the dishes over the table.We went back to our home at around 11.00am and went to bed as we had to get up early the next day for the remaining part of the trip. So I just closed my eyes with the picture of the scenic beauty during the travel, the view of sunset from the light house and the sound of the waves vibrating in my ears.

To be continued........

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
9:52 pm
The Son's Room
It has been quite a while I have touched my blog. But I noticed from the count on the webcounter on my blog that still some visitors do visit my blog. So here I go again .....

Today I watched the Italian Movie 'The Son's Room'. The film is produced and directed by Nanni Moretti. THE SON'S ROOM won the Palme D'Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The film moved me emotionally and had my tear glands ready to overflow. The movie can be compared to Padmarajan's ' Moonampakkam', and Mahesh Bhatt's 'Saransh'.
Moretti, plays Giovanni, a psychoanalyst and has a group of patients who are sad and hysterical. His beautiful wife Paola (played brilliantly by Laura Morante) works in an art publishing house and is the mother of two teenage children, Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice) and Irene (Jasmine Trinca).
The film starts by showing this calm, healthy and happy family, who enjoys the dinner together, enjoy the music together, the father and son go for jogging together. In between we see Giovanni's interaction with different patients. He listens to his patients very calmly and uninterested. We feel that Giovanni is more interested in his family than listening to his patients.
The tragedy strikes when one day Giovanni has to change his plan of going with son for jogging and instead has to attend to one of his patient. The son goes for scuba diving and gets killed in an accident. The family is pushed to the death zone. Giovanni, along with grief, struggles with some guilt because he canceled a run with his son to go on an appointment to patient. He also tries to find out the reason for his son's death, fault in the equipment for scuba diving, but it doesn't give him any comfort from the encompassing grief. Giovanni is consumed by his own grief, he decided to leave his practice. Irene vents her anger with pulling up a fight at her basketball championship game, which result in her month long suspension from the team. Paola finds other ways to fight it, by talking about Andrea but trying to shut the chapter, it too doesn't help. There are signs of family breaking since the happiness has faded away, sorrow pushing the family member to disconnect, pushing them to weep in bedrooms, changing rooms, all alone, secretly. They organize a funeral mass to shut the doors to grief, but the memories tickles into their life via unknown letters, some new pictures, some old secrets, fossilized grief lives pertaining to Andrea.
The film in the end shows that how the family overcomes Andrea's loss.
There are some brilliant scenes in the movie : The scenes where Giovanni interacts with the patients and the patients tells their stories. After the death of Andrea when one of the patient tells the story of her husband and kids, Giovanni bursts into tears.
The scene where after the death of Andrea Giovanni goes to a carnival park to forget his grief but inturn finds himself isolated and left out in the midst of the colourful happiness around.
In another scene Giovanni finds that everything in the house has a crack and he has not noted this during the happy time .
The scenes are very simple but it make a big impact on emotional level. Take for instance the scene where after the death of Andrea, Giovanni goes to his son's room and plays the music on his son's music system. He continously keeps pressing the remote and keeps playing the same music again and again. The background score is also excellent that is with the mood of this film.
The Son's Room, with all the sorrow and grief, shows how the dead never dies, and how we continue to live with them. This was a movie where even though there was some technical flaws but the screenplay and the emotional content of the script is so strong that it overshadows the technical shorcommings.
An excerpt from Nanni Moretti's interview " I wanted to tell this story in a more classical, but not conventional, style. I really care about it and feel it's very close to me. The family's deep pain doesn't unite them, but tears them apart. For the figure of the psychoanalyst, I wanted the sessions with patients to be credible. American scriptwriters, afraid of boring the audience, are always taking him out of the office. I made two definte choices about the film: to set it in a small town and to put the doctor's office on the same floor as his residence. The first was important because, not only have I shot Rome in every possible way, but away from Rome I have more concentration. And when you lose a son in a smaller community, you feel the warmth and solidarity around the family. The studio is on the same landing as Giovanni's apartment to show that for him to do his job, he needed his family and vice versa. In his home, he can't separate himself completely from the suffering he works with. "
Monday, October 9th, 2006
12:48 pm
Watched the malayalam movie "Classmates". Almost all media reports that this movie is the hit among this year's Onam relases. Many of my friends told me that this is a very nostalgic campus movie. Anyway myself along with my wife went to watch this movie. My opinion after watching this movie is that this could have been the best malayalam movie based on a campus story to date. But the film just falls short of becomming a masterpiece.
The story is about a group of students in the chemistry batch of 1991 in a campus that has active and violent student politics. The movie begins with a college reunion of this batch after 15 years. All them have changed and on that reunion night, a incident takes place (I dont want to reveal the suspense). The movie then cuts back 15 years earlier in the campus and we come to know the story of this individuals. There is a typical kerala college, lovers, loveletters, strikes, election, friendly and unfriendly teachers, hostel etc.
The main drawback of this movie is that it does not work at an emotional level. The film does not have the same emotional effect as that of the old campus classic "Sarvakalasala". The best thing I liked in this movie was Indrajit in the role of "Pious", he has done a wonderful and faultless job. Balachandramenon, kavya and prithviraj was a total miscast. Towards the end the new actress Radhika who acted the role of a muslim character "Rasia" is commendable. The song "ente khalbile" is okay and Rajiv ravi's camerawork is excellent.
Director LalJose could have done better if could have handled this excellent screenplay with more care. (I feel that he could have told the narrative in a Roshomon style). The film is not structured properly and some of the scenes look forcibly incorporated and the love scenes looks very much outdated fashion. But this movie is far better than the recently released campus stories Nammal, Swapnakoodu, Niram but does not match the level of Bharathan classic Chamaram, Venu Nagavally’s Sukhamo Devi and Sarvakalasala.
Thursday, August 31st, 2006
12:39 pm
Close Up
Abbas Kiarostami's Close-up (1990) is the real life story of a poor and unemployed Iranian man named Sabzian who is infatuated with the world of film. One day, while riding the bus, an older woman (Mrs Ahankhah) sitting next to him notices that he is holding a book on film script in his hand. The script is of 'The Cyclist' by the renowned director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The woman, too, is a lover of cinema. In fact, her whole family is. The woman and Sabzian start talking about the script . Rather than tell Mrs Ahankhah where he purchased the book, he claims that he is the author. The fellow has an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Makhmalbaf himself. He pretends to be Makhmalbaf--because he does look like Makhmalbaf and, more importantly, he feels like Makhmalbaf.
What follows is the story of how the character insinuates himself into a middle-class family's life over a period of time, even holding acting lessons with them and having ongoing discussions on cinema, until they slowly start to realize he is an impostor and call the police. We the audience catch up to him and to the family after the fact. Our antihero has already done his time in jail, where Mr. Kiarostami first interviewed him. The director then proceeds to reenact the affair from its beginning to end.
No professional actors are involved. Each person--the main character, the family members, the newspaper reporter who originally broke the story, the policemen who were sent from the local police station to pick up the pretender--plays himself or herself. The story and the views of both Sabzian and Ahankhah family member is told in flashback. I really liked the natural face of Sabzian. Almost all the scenes are unforgettable. some of the noteworthy scenes are :
**The scene where Sabzian is travelling in the bus and when the old woman asks him why a director of his stature must use public transportation, leaving Sabzian (alias Makhmalbaf) to explain that he is trying to get new ideas for his new film.
** The scene in the end when Sabzian's lie is caught and is forced to patiently wait for the arrival of Mr. Farazmad (News Reporter) and a pair of police officers. He sits there and looks through the window and see that the reporter and the police is comming to catch him. Sabzian fully expects his moment of capture.
** Another scene is where the taxi driver is waiting outside the house of Ahankhah for the reporter and the police to arrest and bring Sabzian. While waiting the taxi driver picks up some flowers from the roadside and there is a discarded empty tin lying beside. He kicks that tin and it rolls over the road making a sound. I somehow liked the shot with the tin rolling over the empty road and the fading away of the sound. Brilliant!!
** Another noteworth scene is the falling of tearful Sabzian into the arms of Makhmalbaf after the trial. Makhmalbaf asks, "Do you prefer being Makhmalbaf or Sabzian?" Sabzian replies, "I'm tired of being me." Makhmalbaf's encounter with Sabzian is recorded with faulty audio equipment. Sabzian sits on the back of Makhmalbaf's motorbike and both ride to the Ahankhah's house. The conversation between them cuts in and out.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
10:13 am

Watched 'Rashomon' again for the nth time :-). Rashomon is story telling at its best. These 90 minutes unfold wonderfully and leave you wondering of what you have seen. The genius of "Rashomon" is that all of the flashbacks are both true and false. As in 12 Angry Men, here too the Director makes the viewers to create their own conclusion after watching this movie. So I bet that all the viewers would have a different version or understanding of this film.

Rashomon (1950) struck the world of film like a thunderbolt. Directed by Kurosawa in the early years of his career, before he was hailed as a master. It went on to win several awards including the Academy award for best foreign language film. I read in some article that before filming this movie when Akira kurosawa gave the script to his assistant directors, they were unable to understand the story. Rashomon is essentially repetitive as the 'same' tale is told four times, but you never get bored of seeing it again and again. The narrative is that strong and the performances are top notch.

The movie begins with a heavy rain (One of the best rain picturisation I have ever watched. I will be writing about the best rain picturised scenes in my future post). A wood-cutter, a priest and a villager take shelter under the ruined Rashomon gate during thea heavy downpour. They talk about the trial of a murder case that was held in the court on that day. A samurai has been murdered and his wife raped and a local bandit is suspected. the woodcutter and the priest introduces the flashbacks in which the bandit admits that he had killed the man for his wife, and then narrates the incidents that had happened. Later, the wife comes and tells her own version of the story which differs from the bandit's version in many ways. Then, the dead man speaks through a mediator and tells the third version of the story. Which is the correct one?

When the villager is updated with all these three stories, the wood-cutter comes up with a fourth version of the story. He had been a witness to the entire incident but hadn’t told the court about it since he didn’t want to involve in the proceedings. Soon, we come to know that the wood-cutter's story is also not complete. We cannot make out who is lying and what is the truth.

Kurosowa's screenplay is the real gift and the same method is adopted by many writer/directors in movieworld for e.g. 'the usual suspects', 'courage under fire' etc. The cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa is excellent. The beautiful capturing of the rain and the scene where the woodcutter walks through the forest with an axe and the camera follows him with the sun playing a light and shade web through the leaves of the forest is amazing.

Rashomon is one of the greatest films ever made, by all means. My being a movie craze has a lot to do with this movie and even today each time this subject and the treatment of this movie appears fresh.
10:11 am
Bye Bye Hrishida

"Babu moshai!!!!zindagi aur maut to uparwale ke hath mein hai jahapanah!! ise na to aap badal sakte hain na main..Hum sab to rangmanch ki kathputliyan hain...jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon mein bandhi hain...kab, kaun, kaisa uthega..yeh koi nahin bata sakta....ha ha ha ha ha"
(Rajesh Khanna in Anand)
Check this nice post on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies.
Monday, August 28th, 2006
12:42 pm

Last night I watched Deepa Mehta's Water, a very good movie got stuck because of cheap, dirty Indian politicians. The local politicians did not let Deepa Mehta shoot the move in Varanasi and did lot of hoo ha…but finally the movie completed but it could not get released in India…not even Music too….. Ms. Mehta was not able to resurrect “Water” until four years later, and only then in neighboring Sri Lanka, where she shot under a fake title, “Full Moon,” so as not attract attention.
The movie is all about Widows and how do they live…the story takes back to 1938…starting with a very touching scene…
The family is going somewhere in a cart, the kid is enjoying in her own world, someone is trying hard to keep one old person alive…the kid has no idea about what was happening, she was happy with her sugarcane…
After sometime…her dad comes and tells her…”You are Widow now”…the kid surprisingly asks him “For how much time?”
This was one of the touching scenes of the movie and then the movie adds array of touching and shocking facts which we never knew…The girl Chuiya is sent to widow house to stay with other widows…the world where Widows do not have life…they starve for food, they cannot enjoy with other people…and they turn to prostitution…
The movie throws light on exploitation of widows by rich brahmin people….the movie also tries to show the love between Narayan (who is educated) and Kalyani (who is widow)…but the main aim of the movie was to show the exploitation on widows by other people..how they were dragged to prostitution….
I found this movie perfect from all point of view, music (only songs) by A.R.Rahman was just too good, the background score of the movie was also very good….
The movie was shot very well..I just loved the colors and great cinematography…just amazing…On the acting part, the Kid Sarala who acted the role of Chuiya is toooooooooooooo good. I read somewhere that, Ms. Mehta auditioned 50 girls but chose Sarala, an 8-year-old from a tiny village on the Sri Lanka coast who had never before acted.

Friday, August 11th, 2006
7:26 am
Nokia Care sucks !

"It takes years to get a customer, and seconds to loose one"
Nokia customer care centre at Infantry Road, Bangalore stands tall amidst the other customer care centres.You want to know why? Read on....

To start Nokia being the number 1 in India, most of the bakras purchase Nokia fones. The Services. Wow! Nothing to speak about it. The best description about their care is **BullShit**.

Let me explain my experience with them On the 10-July-2006 (Tuesday), the ill-fated day, I get properly drenched till the second layer of my skin while driving to my office from home. I reach office and find my mobile totally wet and non-functional. As per my friends suggestion I open up my mobile and keep it for drying but later also I find that my mobile is totally dead.

On the 12-July (Thursday), I went to the Nokia authorised customer care centre at Infantry Road, Bangalore. The security at the ground floor asked me to go to the first floor. I entered into the first floor at around 7.15 pm. The security at the reception gave me a token number. The room had a partition with a glass. On one side there was three rows of chairs for the customers to wait and on the other side of the glass was the customer support executives sitting with a computer on their table and calling the token number sequentially via the electronic machine. There were four counters but only two counters were having the executives. I waited patiently for my token number to be announced. After a long wait of around 45 minutes, my token number was called. I went to the counter and gave my mobile and explained the problem. The executive sitting was also a mallu guy and he gave the million dollar smile and said that they cannot guarantee of making it serviceable (I remembered the usual dialogue in bollywood movies "Ab upparwala hi kuch kar sakta hai"). He made a job sheet and said that they will carry out the initial inspection and inform me about it within 5 days. There will be a service fee of Rs 56/- irrespective of whether the instument works or not. I agreed for everything and came back home with a positive hope.

For the next 5 days I waited patiently for a phone call from the customer support but to my disappointment, I did not receive any call. They had mentioned a toll free number that was not at all working. There is another mobile number that was mentioned on the jobsheet which did not exist at all. I then tried the website to track the status of my mobile, but the site was also down.

On 24-July morning at 11.00 am I went directly to the customer care centre. I went directly to the first floor and I was surprised to see the crowd there. There was nobody to guide me where I had to contact and inquire about my handset. I went to the security guard and he asked me to check with the cashier. I noticed that instead of two male customer support executives as on the other day, three female executives were at the counter. Anyhow I went in and met the lady at the cashier counter, without looking at me she just took the jobsheet from me and started going through her records. She checked three register and asked me to go to the second floor which is their stores and despatch section.

Climbing the stairs I entered the second floor. The security guard at the door asked me to get a token from downstairs. I went to first floor to collect token but they informed that I had to collect a different token from the ground floor. I came down and the lady sitting at the counter ground floor (For your information the counter is nothing but two chairs and a table with computer and a printer occupied by two female representatives under the staircase) verified something over her computer and gave me a token. Token number 62. Our of curiousity I asked her if my handset has been repaired, she replied that you need to check at the second floor.

I went to second floor and again waited there for another half an hour for my number to be called. I saw that many annoyed customers were shouting at the counter. My number was then displayed on the electronic machine and I rushed to the counter. A lady at counter took the jobsheet from me and and handed it over to another assistant. I was eagerly waiting to hear about the status of my mobile phone but to my surprise for 20 minutes I was kept standing at the counter. I did not ask or loose my patience with the representative as many other customers were already on that job. After half an hour the assistant handed over my jobsheet and told me poiltely that the mobile is not ready and I can collect it the next day at 11.30am. I was speechless....is this what they call world class customer service. I asked the person if there is any scope of getting the mobile repaired. And the reply that I received would have made anybody faint. He said "Sir, the person who is incharge of repairing your mobile is on leave today, and we are unable to locate the instrument". I did not speak a word and came out of the place.

25th July morning 11.00 am , I again went to the office. By now I was well aware of the formalities, I took the token from the counter, went to the despatch section waited for another 45 minutes for my token number to be called. My token number was called....went to the counter...gave the jobsheet....she gave that to another assistant.....after around 15 minutes my mobile came to the counter...the representative told me with a gentle smile that "Sir, this mobile cannot be repaired as everything is destroyed and is beyond repair". He made me sign on some register and papers and asked me to pay Rs 56/- at cashier counter and collect the mobile. I have to go to the cashier pay the cash & return to the despatch section & pick my mobile! And I was really surprised to find that cashier counter is on the other floor from the despatch section!! Oh My! Why would their be a cashier unless you need to pay to take your mobile from despatch section? But still cashier is faaaaaaaaaaaaar way from the despatch section. Pathetic design.

Upon reaching cashier, I was not surprised to find that nobody existed there. Well, Nokia has given me enough surprises to last a life time. After sometime the lady cashier came to the counter, I paid the service fee. She gave the print command on her computer for the receipt of fee and here comes the next surprise..PRINTER IS NOT WORKING..She did try some simple methods to start the printer but it was continously getting struck. At last she wrote something on the jobsheet and asked me to show this at despatch section to collect my instrument. I went to the despatch section, showed the jobsheet and got my non-functional, dead instrument. (I remember the scene from the bollywood movie 'Saraansh' where anupam kher tries to get his son's dead body from the airport authorities). At last after wasting many hours of my life I could get my Nokia phone back...My friends asked me why I did not shout and blast on them? Becoz there was....
.......this lady who had been standing (*like a punished school gal*) near the executive for over 5hrs
..........this guy over there had been holding his laptop & his Nokia N90 mobile from before I came in
..........this fatty out here has been waiting to find out where has here mobile battery vanished
.........this old man standing next to me having trouble in finding out atleast some entity to hear his complaint
..........three guys who are comming for the 4th time to get a replacement for their Nokia 6600 that had software problems within a week of its purchase
.......a college going student who was continously asking why nobody is available at the customer support number mentioned on the jobsheet
........and all the helpless guys who had bought the Nokia mobile and were waiting patiently outside the counter for their token number to be called.

In short, Nokia Care sucks.....

Current Mood: angry
Wednesday, July 26th, 2006
12:11 am

The weekend I watched the movie 'Kalyug'. Review from Mouthshut.com

KALYUG is one of the ’ ’best films’’ made by Shyam Benegal and taking into consideration Shyam Benegal’s oeuvre, Kalyug must be something special to deserve that tag. IT IS... KALYUG was produced by Shashi Kapoor who in his producer’s phase made some really good cinema like Junoon, Kalyug, Vijeta and Utsav.. its another matter that none of them did well commercially though they did get a lot of critical acclaim and bagged a host of awards.

Kalyug tells the story of two feuding business families-one led by Raj Babbar and the other by Victor Bannerjee.They are both cousins incidently and the patriarch of the whole family is their grand-uncle played by AK Hangal. Raj Babbar who has too honest and retiring a disposition finds it difficult to acquire the smart and shrewd ways of the corporate world. He basically lacks the guile and craftiness to take the family business forward much to the chagrin of his wife Rekha. His younger brother-Kulbhusan kharbanda assists him but the person who actually runs the show is their kid brother Anant Nag who plays a driven and highly ambitious person who hates to lose.

On the other hand,Victor Banerjee is a person who will do anything by hook or crook to get one-up on his cousins.He does not hesitate to use devious and even diabolical means to beat them in the game of business.In this he is assisted by his brilliant and loyal manager Shashi kapoor who does not really endorse his ways but is too burdened by his debt to protest.Victor Banerjee has a life-long gripe with his cousins as he feels he was unfairly denied his right of leading a unified and undivided business by his cousins.He knows the dark truth of his cousins’ birth.They are not really his uncle’s children as his uncle was impotent-they were fathered by a Swamiji whose ’’sewa’’ their mother-Sushma Seth did.Victor Banerjee therefore considers them ’’bastards’’ who had no rights whatsoever on the business..

Does this story sound familiar..does it ring a bell..yes the narrative of KALYUG is heavily inspired and derived from the Mahabharata..with the 2 estranged families who fight till they completely destroy each other..Its a clever interpretation of Mahabharata in the modern context..where Raj Babbar is the self-righteous Yudhistir,Kulbushan Kharbanda is the simpleton Bheem,Anant Nag is the highly skilled Arjun,Victor Banerjee is the diabolical Duryodhana and Shashi kapoor is the loyal Karna-the illegitimate son of Sushma Seth. Shashi kapoor is incidentally called karan in the film and to make matters even more delectable there is a passing reference that his marriage proposal was rejected by the very snobbish Rekha-Draupadi.

This film wonderfully extrapolates the incidents of Mahabharata in the narrative making the going-ons very interesting.The film moves at a brisk pace and you never feel the pace of the film sagging.Considering the complexity of the plots, the film still manages to very skilfully examine and delve into the protagonists’minds.Its very adroitly done-with minimum of fuss and some wonderful dialogues by Satyadev Dubey..not the ’filmy’ kind but everyday language is used...

The film’s ensemble cast put in spirited performances-be it Victor Banerjee who hits just the right pitch to play the arrogant,refined yet spiteful Dhanraj.Anant Nag shows his inherent restrain and underplays his slightly flamboyant role.Raj Babbar mercifully doesn’t ham and neither does Kulbhushan Kharbanda-think Mr. Benegal held them on a tight leash. Rekha plays the snobbish,unhappy-with-her-husband,hard as nails,uppity character with flourish . Shashi Kapoor shows what a wonderful actor he was..wish he had done more roles like this..instead of the happy-go-lucky poor man’s Shammi Kapoor roles he specialised in.. The rest of the cast puts in some good performances..watch urmila matondakar as the young parikhshit...:)

The direction by Shyam Benegal is unobtrusive..he creates a complex web and draws the viewers in it..slowly but surely..there’s no look-at-me technical wizardry of Ram Gopal Verma in his directorial touches. Incidentally Ramgopal Verma said in one of his interviews that his ’Company’ was inspired by ’Kalyug’ . Cinematography by Govind Nihalani and Background score by Vanraj Bhatia are the other highlight of this movie.
Sunday, July 16th, 2006
2:48 am
Mumbai's Lifeline
The local train - the lifeline of Mumbai that was attacked on 11th July - has been used by filmmakers to symbolise many aspects of Mumbai city. Local train has been used as an anchor by many filmmakers. I am highlighting some of the movies that featured Local train.

In Half Ticket, Kishore Kumar steals a ride in the train by posing as a child.

The local train played a significant role in Basu Chatterjee's Manpasand where Dev Anand spots the talented daatun-peddling Tina Munim.

In Zanjeer, Pran escorts a potential witness, to the city, by local train. Unfortunately, the witness is thrown out of the train.

In Ramesh Sippy's Shakti, the local train forms the backdrop of a fight between Amitabh Bachchan and a few lumpen elements who harass Smita Patil and try to outrage her modesty.

In Page 3, the local train served as a meeting place between a journalist and an aspiring actress.

J. P. Dutta's Hathyar which showed Sanjay Dutt seeing his dead father lying in between railway tracks, amidst the whizzing locals.

In Ram Gopal Verma's Company, Vivek Oberoi convinces his friends that how they will work under Malik (Ajay Devgan) in local train compartment.

In Anant Mahadevan's Dil Vil Pyaar Vyar, also has Jimmy Shergill in a car pursuing Hrishita Bhatt who insists on travelling only in a local train, rejecting his offer to be dropped by car.

Mehul Kumar's Jaago is based on the true incident of the rape of a minor in a Mumbai local train in which no spectator came to her assistance.

In Milan Luthria's Taxi No. 9211, John Abraham gets Nana patekar stuck in his taxi on a railway track and a local train smashes it.

In Shaad Ali's Saathiya, the hero searches for the heroine by repeatedly travelling in local trains eventually wooing her. Later, in a heart-breaking scene, he is shown walking up and down the station searching for his wife who never arrives.

If anybody has any addition to the above list, please comment.

Current Mood: content
2:47 am
Last Monday myself and my wife went for shopping and as it was already late in the afternoon we decided to have our lunch outside. We went to Nandini Hotel at Domlur circle,Bangalore. Amid heavy rush the floor supervisor accomodated us in two seats at a corner. As we were very hungry, we decided to order for Meals and with chicken as side dish. I randomly went thru the long menu and decided to order for Chicken-65. After giving order and anxiously waiting for the meal I wondered why is this dish called Chicken 65. Why not 01 or 10 or 100, why 65?
For those who have never tried this dish, let me make it clear that it is a chicken fry with lot of masala esp ginger.The next day I decided to check it out on the net - why is it called chicken-65?. I got a few interesting results like :
Story #1 - Some one tried to cook a whole chicken in a pot with 65 dried red chili peppers to make it hot, and then adjusted the spices by adding lime juice to make it more palatable.
Story #2- an expert cook states that 65 chillies are used for every kilo of chicken.
Story #3- According to a waiter, the recipe, which originated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is best made with a young chicken exactly 65 days old.
Story #4 – It was first made and served in a bar in Kerala in 1965.
Story #5 – It was first served in a hotel on NH 65 (NH 65 runs from Ambala in Punjab to Pali in Rajasthan).
Story #6 – 65 ingredients are used to make the dish.
Story #7 - The name comes from the 65th item on the menu at Buharis hotel on Mount Road Chennai.
Story #8 - Indian soldiers needed something quick and easy during a war in 1965 and the unanimous choice of the soldiers was to have deep-fried boneless chicken pieces dipped in yogurt and spices.

I am unable to come to a conclusion and it will always remain a mystery. But it is really delicious and those who want to try it can check here.

Current Mood: anxious
Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
1:45 am
City of God (Cidade de Deus )

I hate violence in real life but I love violent movies. I saw an excellent movie this weekend, 'City of God'. It is a Brazilian movie about a young boy growing up among the gangs at a slum outside Rio de Janeiro, and his dreams of escaping to become a photographer. It is a very violent, heartbreaking and beautiful and bloody gangster movie based on a true story. After watching this movie I searched and came to know that Rio de Janeiro is a city where tourists are very much afraid to visit.
The film starts off with a brilliant sequence : A visual shot of a butcher knife against a sharpening stone with a tingling sound. Then the screen goes black. Again the same image is flashed for a few seconds and screen goes black. After flashing the same scene for three times we see a skinny chicken watching its former companion being throat cut with the knife. The other chicken manages to get free and starts running on the narrow streets of the slum. It is chased by a group of gun-toting gangster kids.......... and the movie rolls.
check here for the brief review of the movie and also check the official website here.
Full marks to director Fernando Meirelles (his debut film) and cinematographer César Charlone (Even the dust looks beautiful in this movie). Nearly all of the actors are nonprofessionals. The filmmakers conducted yearlong workshops preparing the cast, which was partly composed of street kids with experiences much like those of the characters they portray. The film is brilliant from beginning to end, and keeps the blood pumping. If you liked Martin Scorsese's 'Goodfellas', 'Taxi Driver', 'Mean Streets, and Tarantino's ' Pulp fiction' then do watch 'City of God' because it cuts like a butcher knife — the sharpest one.

Current Mood: content
Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
11:38 pm
Sleeping Beauty

Title : Flaming June,1895
Artist : Frederick Leighton

Current Mood: artistic
12:37 am
Matrubhoomi - A nation without women

         Yesterday I watched Manish Jha's 'Matrubhumi - A nation without women '. I would like to warn everybody that this movie is very Intense and disturbing. I would advise people with a faint heart not to watch the movie. The movie does not have any jhatka-matka or dances set in Switzerland. The movie will shock and stun you with the violence. Now after this warning let me tell you that this is the best and original script that I have come across from Bollywood in recent times. Let me give out the story.
            The movie's opening scene shows a lady in childbirth. The husband and the villagers are waiting anxiously outside the house. The lady gives birth to a child and the people waiting outside start celebrating as soon as they hear the new-born baby cry. The midwife bring the child outside and announces - "Its a girl". The father of the child and the villagers are stunned. In the next shot the girl child, still crying, is immersed in a big bowl of milk and killed, ...female infanticide which was (and still is) so rampant in Indian villages.
Mathrubhoomi - A nation without women - The title comes alive. This is Manish Jha's movie on female infanticide.
              The movie is set in the future where female infanticide has run so rampant that there are hardly any women left in the country. Directory Manish Jha takes us directly to a village where there is no women in a population of say 5,000 adolescent and unmarried menfolk .There had been no weddings in the village for past Fifteen years.
          A group of villages are gathered in front of a stage and cheering and shouting. A man come to the stage dressed colourfully as a woman and starts dancing (to the tune of main aayee hoon UP, bihar lootene) sending the male audience to raptures.
         The next scene shows the male audience (both young and old) watching pornographic movie in TV. The audience compalin that they are being shown the same movie for the last three days and thus we can make out there desperation for a female company.
           The director gives the clear picture of the village which does not have any women through various scenes like families of men fight over women, parents dress up their young boys as girls to marry them off and claim dowry, men copulate with animals, and women are only used for procreation.
         The film centres around powerful family landlord (Sudhir Pandey) and his five sons. The sons are desperate to get married. The village panditji who is also a broker informs the father that there are no women left anymore in any villages nearby. The Panditji is a homosexual as one of the scenes indicate.
           The panditji locates a girl named Kalki from the neighbouring village and informs the landlord. The landlord gives rupees 5 lakhs and 5 cows to the greedy father of the girl and gets his five sons marred to the girl (in an awesome marriage scene). After the marriage the sons sits together and discuss who gets her for each day of the week (One of the brothers does not want Friday coz he is on vratha!) and at last the father also claim for one day of the week and also gets to spend the first night with the girl. We then see that the girl is used each night by the sons and father just to satisfy the secual needs. Only the youngest son respects her, so the girl likes him. The brothers comes to know of this and inturn they kill him. Kalki decides to run away with the help of scheduled caste servant boy but the brothers comes to know about this and kills the servant boy. Kalki is chained along with cattles. The younger people of lower caste decides to take revenge of the servant boy's death by raping kalki. she is also raped continously by father-in-law and her husbands night after night. she becomes pregnant but still people abuse her.
        Finally the villagers and the landlords and comes to know that Kalki is pregnant and there begins a friction between the lower castes and the landlords and the caste war breaks out in village. Kalki gives birth in this violent backdrop...to a girl child...movie ends...
          The movie is very disturbing but it is a view about how women are treated in many parts of India. Performance wise, everybody has given a natural a excellent show. Tulip Joshi as Kalki is brilliant. The role was really tough but she has done good justice to it. Other actors like Sudhir pandey, Sushant singh, Piyush Mishra and others (I dont know the names) performance is very natural. Cinematography by Venu and background by Salim-Suleiman needs special mention and maintains the tempo of the movie. And finally Directory Manish Jha, simply brilliant. He is one guy to watch out for. If interested in a serious matter, watch this movie.

Current Mood: calm
Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
1:35 am

        Fifteen years ago a hindi movie named Sadak was realeased starring Sanjay Dutt and Pooja bhatt. I watched the movie and was going through the review of the movie in a film magazine and remember that the the author of that film review had compared this movie to an Hollywood movie 'Taxi Driver'. Since then I had read a lot about this Martin Scorsese movie but was never been able to watch it. I used to check with all CD rental shops but could not get this film. 
        Today morning as usual I searching for good film in the video rental shop and to my surprise I saw the DVD of ' Taxi Driver'. I immediately rented the DVD, went home and watched it. After watching the movie, I could easily make out why this is rated as one of the masterpiece by Martin Scorsese and Rober De Niro team.
           It is really a hard hitting also disturbing movie. The film did not win any academy award though it was nomintated in some categories. The entire story of the movie can be best described by the tagline of the movie - "On every street in every city, there's a nobody who dreams of being a somebody." Robert De Niro gives a wonderful performance as nighttime taxi driver Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable, but rather special guy who wants to clean up the politics and crime in New York city. I am going to give some of the quotes from the movie.

  • Travis Bickle: The days go on and on... they don't end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.
  • Travis Bickle: June twenty-ninth. I gotta get in shape. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on there will be 50 pushups each morning, 50 pullups. There will be no more pills, no more bad food, no more destroyers of my body. From now on will be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.
  • Travis Bickle [Into the mirror]: You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who do the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh, yeah? Ok.
  • Travis Bickle: I'll tell you why. I think you're a lonely person. I drive by this place a lot and I see you here. I see a lot of people around you. And I see all these phones and all this stuff on your desk. It means nothing. Then when I came inside and I met you, I saw in your eyes and I saw the way you carried yourself that you're not a happy person. And I think you need something. And if you want to call it a friend, you can call it a friend.
    Betsy: Are you gonna be my friend?
    Travis Bickle: Yeah.

Check this video.

Current Mood: cold
Thursday, June 29th, 2006
4:13 pm

"kulichu pachappattucharthi nilkunnu bhoomi
chirichu nerukayil ummaveykkunnu sooryan"

Current Mood: creative
Tuesday, June 27th, 2006
5:05 pm
Not One Less
Last week I bought and watched the chinese movie 'Not One Less'. I have never heard about this movie but I decided to buy it as it is was directed by one of my favourite director Zhang Yimou. And believe me I was really mesmerised by this movie. There is nothing special about the story but Zhang Yimou's magical treatment is what makes this movie very special.

Let me briefly give the story : The film is set in the present, in a small village in Hebei province. When teacher Gao is called home as his mother is not well, the village mayor hires Wei Minzhi as Gao’s temporary replacement. Thirteen-year-old Wei is barely older than her students. she does not have any teaching experience. But her stubbornness and determination know no bounds. Intially teacher Gao does not like the idea of keeping Wei as substitute because he is afraid that the students will leave school due to inexperienced Wei. The Mayor tells that it is impossible to find another substitute as nobody is willing to come to this remote village. Teacher Gao at last agrees and allows Wei to stay and take class for a period of one month.

The school is a one room classroom with a black board and some desk and benches. There is a room attached to the classroom which is the work place, kitchen and bedroom of the teacher. Teacher Gao gives 30 chalks (one for each day) and asks her to daily write a text on the blackboard each day and ask the student to copy it.The conversation between Gao and Wei is very interesting and is one of the highlight of the movie. The Mayor and Gao though unsure, promises Wei that she will given 50 yuans if all the 28 students are there when Gao returns after one month. 
     Initially Wei writes the text on the blackboard and ask the student to copy it. She locks the classroom and guards the door from outside so that nobody goes outside. As the film progresses we see that Wei becomes friendly with the students. There is an interesting scene where the Mayor brings a sport coach from city who wants to take one student with them. As Wei does not want to loose any student, she and her student hide her from the eyes of Mayor and sports coach. 

     One of the student, Zhang Huike is forced to go to city and work as child labour because his mother is bed-ridden and in financial debt. When Wei comes to know about this, she and her students plan to bring Zhang Huike back from the city because she can only get the 50 yuan if and only if all the students are present. Wei makes some money with the Help of the students. It is very interesting see the students and Wei making various methods to calculate the money required for the bus ticket and in the process the students learn maths. Wei arrives in city and tries to locate Zhang Huike. Ultimately she reaches the TV station and tries to put an advertisement in TV by contacting the TV Station manager. The scene where Wei waits at the gate of TV station and tries to find out the Station manager is sure to strike everybody feelings and stays in our mind forever. The TV station manager is impressed by the determination of Wei and features her in a famous TV program. Zhang Huike sees the show and thus Wei and Zhang Huike is united. The TV producers return Wei and Zhang Huike to the village along with the donations received and chalks for the school. 
     The neorealistic movie does not have any professional actors, all the actors were amateurs, real-life students and people of varied professions. Wei Minzi and Zhang Huike were actually were students in a rural school. The Mayor was really a mayor of a village.The TV station manager was infact a TV Station manager. And surprisingly Zhang Yimou kept the name of the characters as the actors itself. Many of the scenes were shot with hidden cameras in real location and natural lighting so that there is a sort of realism and fascinating uncertainity. As Zhang Yimou was himself a cinematographer earlier, I need not describe more about his eye for the shot perfection. The village scenery, with a old school and the hills as backdrop was the perfect stage for the story. The film is based on a novel "There is a sun in the sky". I felt that the DVD should have added some extra features on the making of the film.

Current Mood: calm
Thursday, June 22nd, 2006
4:20 pm
Stop and Think
  This arrived in my email. I decided to share it .

  The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. 
     We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. 
     We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. 
     We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. 
     We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. 
     We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice.   
     We have higher incomes but lower morals; we've become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are the times of tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships.  
   These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. 
    These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses,but broken homes. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you , and a time when you can choose either to make a difference....or just hit 'delete'.

Current Mood: calm
Wednesday, June 21st, 2006
5:20 pm
Trip to Shravanabelagola

Last week myself and my wife decided to visit Shravanabelagola, the ancient statue of Lord Gomateshwara (Bahubali) which is said to be the tallest monolith in the world. I consulted my office friends and also searched on internet to know about the route and the history of shravanabelagola and the bus timings. We decided to go on a Saturday as it was my weekly off-day at office and my wife planned to take leave. On Saturday early morning we woke up early at 4.30 am, packed the travel accessories and got ready for the trip. I was very much excited as we will be going out of this busy city,concrete jungle, traffic jams for few hours. The previous night it had rained heavily and it was still cloudy in the morning. 
     We started from house on my bike at 5.30 am, reached Majestic Bus Station(I like to ride at early morning hours as this is the only time you can get clean and empty roads in Bangalore), parked my bike at pay-n-park. I was told that we need to catch a bus to Hassan and get down at Channarayanapatna and from there need to catch another bus to Shravanabelagola. When we went inside the bus stand and inquired with the Driver of Hassan going bus, he informed that there is a direct bus to Shravanabelagola. It was very nice to hear that and we got a direct bus to Shravanabelagola which was to depart at 7.00am. We were the first passenger to get inside the bus. As there was still time left for the bus to depart, so we went and bought some snacks. Soon the bus got filled with passengers and the bus started at sharp 7.00am (I was surprised to see the punctuality).
      The travel was very pleasant. The road was very good with big trees on both sides of the road. The sun was playing hide and seek in the overcast sky. The greenery outside was very refreshing for the eyes. Coconut and sugarcane plantations were there outside. My mind went back to my native on watching the natural beauty outside. The bus halted at a hotel near Adi chinchinagiri Medical college for 15 minutes. Both of us just had a coffee from there. I noticed on the way that almost all the houses had dish antenna. 
     We reached Shravanabelagola at around 10.15am. I asked the driver about the last return bus to Bangalore. He informed that the last bus depart from Shravanabelagola at 3.00pm. From the Bus Stand I could see the Vindhyagiri Hill and the temple over it. we could see people climbing the steps as small ants moving. Shravanabelagola is a small town and has many small shops at the foothill. We went to a hotel (Raghu Hotel) which is near the entrance gate to Vindhyagiri Hill and had Masala dosa, vada and a tea (and it was really good). I could see that most of the people were from the West and North India. 
     Shravanabelagola is a historical and one of the most important Jain Pilgrimage centre and the 9th Century Statue of Lord Gomateshwara is on the top of the vindhyagiri Hill. 
       The Vindhyagiri is said to be one single solid rock and the 58 feet tall statue of Bahubali is said to be carved out of a single rock. There are two main hills - Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri. The sharavanabelagola town and a pond (Kalyani pond) are inbetween the two hills. After having our breakfast from the hotel we started our journey to the top of the Vindhyagiri hill. At the entrance it was written that footwear are not allowed, so we handed over our footwear at footwear counter. Steps are carved on the hill to climb till the top. There are approximately 630 steps. There are some special palanquins available for people who are not able to climb the hill on foot. It is a wonderful experience to climb barefoot because as you go up the view of the town and the vast distant hill and lands is indescribable. As were halfway, we could see the temple on the adjacent hill chandragiri and the beautiful pond below. Lot of coconut trees were visible. I took some snaps of the mandapams and temples and the carvings on the rocks. There were some scriptures written on the rocks, I could not make out the language. I could see a lot of pictures of Hindu God and Goddess on the rocks.     

    We then reached the top of the hill and entered the temple and got the glimpse of the Bahubali statue in full. I looked at the statue and felt that the vast blue sky was the perfect background for that statue. The statue is a marvel of architecture with its simplicity. The statue is made thousand of years ago and was made with primitive tools (In 981 A.D., Chavundaraya, the minister of the Ganga King Rachamalla had this statue carved). I was thinking how perfect the architect would be because a single mistake of the tool might have made them go in search of another hill and rock and restart the job. Gommateshvara, or Bahubali, is the son of Adinath, the first Jain tirthankara. He won everything from his brother and could have become an emperor; and yet, in utter selflessness he returned everything to the brother. Bahubali is the ideal man who conquers selfishness, jealousy, pride and anger.      
                                                                                                    We sat there at the temple and I was looking at the face of the statue. There was a small smile on the lips of the statue and the eyes were staring at eternity. I was thinking how long has this statue been standing there facing all the rain, storms and still staring straight. Many devotees were performing Abhishekam on the statue with Milk, turmeric, flower etc and it was a great sight. We sat there for sometime. When we were about to leave, I had a strange feeling, I was thinking that the statue will be there in the posture for thousand of years and people will keep comming, sit, pray and go back and they will die. 


       We then climbed down and it was afternoon, the sun was really getting hot. We climbed down the hill very fast. Had some juices to beat the thirst and heat and then we climbed the next hill -Chandragiri hill. It is comparatively smaller hill but there are a lot of temples on the hill. We rested for a while under a huge rock. This hill got its name from Chandragupta Mourya, the 300BC Indian emperor, who left his throne and walked all the way to the hill from his capital at Magadha. He spent his last days in a cave on the top of the hill.Then we walked to the ancient Jain temple nearby. I was surprised to read in a board placed there that this temple is 2300 years old. I think this would be the oldest building I have ever seen. We walked through the temples and climbed down. It was already 1.30pm. 
           We visited another Jain ashram nearby. I purchased a book on history of Shravanabelagola and Lord Gomateshwara. The visit made me more curious about the Jain religion and there culture. Though my wife got tired of climbing the hill, she very much liked the trip. We came back to Bus station as the last bus to Bangalore was at 3.00 pm. At Bus station we saw a lot of college students and they were making a lot of noise. Afterwards we came to know that one among them was leaving the college and so all his friends has come to see-off him. The bus came on time and we got seated. As the bus was about to leave I saw that the college students were getting very emotional as their friend was departing, some of them were crying, the boy who was leaving was hugging each and every friend. Inside my mind I felt that I am leaving this beautiful place with a lot of memories and outside the college students were giving emotional farewell to the friend. On the way back it rained inbetween and I watched the rain drenched scenic beauty outside. 
       We reached Majestic Bus station at 6.30pm. We took the bike and returned home. Again we were held up in traffic jam, vehicle horns, traffic lights, crowds and lot of noises. I was thinking of the peaceful moment a few hours earlier. I was tired but inside I was planning for my next trip. 
     ". . .travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." -Miriam Beard

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