Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hyderabad Blues

After many, many years today, I had the opportunity to listen to 'tere dar par sanam' from 'Phir teri kahani yaad aayi'. For those of you who either mentally or verbally said 'what?!' to the title of the movie, a quick recap: Rahul 'Aashiqui' Roy, clingy Pooja Bhatt, Mahesh Bhatt directing an autobiographical venture (boy! the man sure has lived many lives, given the number of so-called autobiographical ventures that he's come up with) detailing his supposed relationship with neurotic Parveen Babi.

Nice movie, different storyline (neurotic, clingy, obssessive lovers were a rarity then; this is before SRK hit the screen with KKKiran...) and amazing music. Anu Malik at his very, very best. Sublime, yet haunting. The lyrics I think, had a lot to do with the feel of the movie. Kaifi Azmi (if I'm not mistaken). I know I bought the tape several times over the years. One for home, one for the car, one for the hostel, one for my bro so that he didn't whack mine, several as gifts for friends and 'special' friends.

The story is about a tormented, angst-ridden film director (that's probably the only similarity the story had with MB's life) and a slightly crazed (literally: she escapes from an asylum), terminally ill (mentally) girl. What i loved about the narrative was the absolute lack of background. We are not burdened with the girl's past (except fleeting references to her burning down the asylum and killing about a 1000, I kid you not! people). We are not burdened with the hero's past (and his present also seems to be irrelevant to the narrative and is therefore restricted to an occasional scene of him venting his frustration at the meaningless-ness of being).

In one of the take-offs on alternative healing / therapy (or what you will), the director goes to an ashram (some reference to popular icons of the time rushing off to the Osho ashram for emotional succour) to find meaning and meets the 'crazy' gal and falls in love with her 'quirkiness' (not realising she's actually crazy).

They share some wonderful times till her paranoia makes living with her very difficult indeed and he's forced to break-up with her. And then unable to get over it, makes a movie about it which is acclaimed as the 'first meaningful movie in a long time'.

True to MB movies, this too is riddled with symbology waiting to be discovered by the curious viewer. And there is a healthy dose of irony too. And this is amply demonstrated in the songs. Listen to 'Aaanewala pal' and I guarantee, even if you haven't watched the movie, you will become pensive for just a moment!

Then there's 'Badalon mein chup raha hai chaand kyun' a lovely love song. Not completely mushy, not completely naughty: just a touching mix of the two. Just like the emotion of 'discovering you are in love'. There is an innocence there that will never come back till you fall in love again. So sad.

And finally ofcourse, the ballad - 'dil mein sanam ki soorat, aankhon mein aashiqui de...mere khuda mujhe tu, ik aur zindagi de. kaise karoon mohabbat, do din ki zindagi mein? mere khuda mujhe tu, ik aur zindagi de...'.

Classy, and yet heartwrenchingly poignant.

All in all, a wonderful, wonderful classic. The music, not the movie. Movie would've been great to watch in those days when the concept was refreshingly new and we weren't so cynical in our attitude to movie viewing and movie scripts.

The music however, is something you can pick up and discover, even today. It will find a resonance today and even tomorrow.

Why have I called this piece Hyderabad Blues? Because this is a strong part of my growing up years in Hyderabad. And like mirchi bhajjis, masala chai, bun-maska, Tank bund road, Secret takes me back in time and brings on a mood known as 'Hyderabad Blues'.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Super Series? Super Dud?!

The most eagerly awaited clash of the decade they said! The only chance to beat the Aussies! Eleven of the best players in the world, in a format that just requires 'one' good day as opposed to testing test match conditions.

And the result? 2-0, big margin defeats, return to form of the players in a 'slump' -Damien Martyn, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist (strange that they call it a slump even when he keeps brilliantly and manages to average around 30). In short, the Aussies pulverize the Rest of the World.

And here I was, trying to juggle my schedule, driving my team half-crazy trying to work around the matches, getting labeled a social recluse because I had planned to spend Sunday (the day the final was to be played) at home, away from all distractions.

Wow...what happened? Why are Sehwag, Kallis and Lara not firing? Why are Murali and Akhtar returning with a wicket apiece?

I pondered this long and hard. The only reason I could come up with, was that the Rest of the World is really just that! Rest of the world...not the Best of the world!

No Tendulkar, no Inzy, no Jayasuriya. No Vaas, no Harmison, no Sami.

No, this was not a collection of the best players...this was a collection of the best of the rest, after the best had dropped out either due to injury or non-selection.

Simple question to anyone who cares to debate this. Pollock as captain? Even his own team does not have the gumption to play him consistently (leave alone make him captain).

It is so sad that despite having a really exciting idea, the execution has completely killed the possible magic of a lifetime. Like my uncles talk of the famous Rest of the World vs. Aussies match of their times - 1974 was it?. When Sobers scored that brilliant double century and Lilee took 12 wickets for less than a 100? I have heard so much about it that I feel like I was part of that era. Today, when I have a chance of being part of history again, snatching a story that I can tell my kids, faulty selection and bad planning play a wet blanket.

Was it wise to hold this so soon after the Ashes with Flintoff and Pietersen so tired that they perhaps don't really care? Was it wise to have a match practice lacking Akhtar play? Was it wise to not ask one of the nominees for the Player of the Year (Inzy) to play?

I don't know. All I know is that 'yeh dil maange more'. Maybe the tests will be a different affair. I'll keep my fingers crossed and this time round - no planning! I'll go to work and see if I can sneak into the conference room and watch the match in office :)

Boss bhi khush, team bhi khush, and I manage my own expectations too!