Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hero worshipping....

Heroes are the ones who change the history, who rewrite contemporary spaces and inspire a nation to do what they want to do. The most important thing they do, in my mind, is that they create a sense of purpose and romance between the subject and the object. They paint the horizon for the nation to see it glowing and thus start chasing it. It is this powerful engine which then starts driving the society even after the hero has stopped living. This is why they remain great and a nostalgia to cherish.In most modern times, entertainment and sport are the two biggest fields which capture biggest mind share and hence produce most of the celebrities or heroes. Even as we continue debating about their contribution to the building or inspiring of nation, we couldn't ignore them, even in the most hated dreams. Hence, their effectiveness in charging and leading the younger generation in these days are never questioned. Art and entertainment, of which cinema is only a subset has captured the emotions and feelings of so many contemporary societies. We have Beatles, we have "mohiner ghoraguli", we have ravishankar and zakir hussain reverberating the whole nation and Mozart remaining immortal even after so many years.
Similar is the case with sports. They inspire the youth, motivate the laziest of them all and challenge them to dream beyond their horizon. That's why they create fan followings beyond national boundaries and that's why they produce icons after icons for every generations. They transfer their dreams and genes through generations.
Before I was 12 yrs old I never watched tennis. I never had an iota of imagination about that sport, no knowledge about the playing rules and no following for the greats in that arena. But one game changed my whole world. After that it was only tennis, tennis and her matches. I fell in complete love with her playing, her movements in the court and each and every shot that she played. With every winning she made me proud without being citizen of same nations. I prayed for her wins more than I prayed for India, I watched her more than movies, studied about her in all possible articles and magazines more than my studies and cried when she failed to win on rare occasions. But, on all those occasions she never failed to inspire me, even in her defeats she showed tremendous fight and in her winnings showed ample ruthless attitude for the opposition. She coaxed me into watching more of tennis and I ended up watching all macthes for the love of the play. I felt as if I was winning on the court and the day she dropped her racket I stopped watching tennis. I still follow the game but the romance has been missing. That is why she is still my best hero (or heroine?).
My other love and I think for most of the Indians that would be the first love, remains cricket. All its players and icons, every highs and lows associated with it and every win and loss give me that kick which only a glass of old wine could produce. My romance with the bat and the ball, my dreams in those white dresses and my endless prayers and devotions for the heroes had probably started the moment a TV set came to our house. With every passing day I fell more in love with that game, I idolized the heroes and the players more than our own gods. Those were the days when I used to skip everything for the game because I romanced it. I used to woke up early in the morning when India toured down under, stayed awake late night when they faced the charging batteries of Caribbean bowling machines. I respected Sunny and idolized Dev for their fight, fight until death, fight in the defeat and for fight against all odds. I never bothered to check statistics as they never mattered to me, I never watched them because they scored tons after tons or took wickets after taking injections. I watched them because I romanced them, I felt that every boundary hit by Sunny was hit by me, I gasped for more blood every time dev broke opponent's defence.
Those were the best days of my sporting life.
Then came the genius. He took my breath away in Pakistan and almost killed me in Perth. He tore into opponents with utter disdain and for the first time I saw opponent captain saluting a young Indian after his century. I was mesmerized to say the least. I thought god could only play the second fiddle. Times went by and he continued to produce more and more jewels in and out of the field. His shot selection combined with his impeccable behavior outside field, his back foot punch, his on drives and even his ruthless square cuts seemed to me the most artistic strokes one could ever imagine. I was convinced that I was watching god in his own creation.
Then came the fights. Even in my worst dreams I never quoted statistics for my heroes because I never imagined them to fail. I expected him to win me finals but he stopped after the league matches, I prayed for heroics to save a test but he ditched at the last moment, I watched him playing wasting my precious time but he was never the last man standing !! But I kept on fighting. I cheered him overtime he came to bat, I kept him above all suspicions even in those darkest days of betting scandals, I shouted for him being above politics and always believed "form is temporary but class is permanent". Little did I know how I was dying inside and little did I realize how my divorce was imminent. But, one fine morning I found myself to be alone in the room without my cricket yet to my horror I never realized the pain. I wanted to cry for my hero but couldn't bring a drop of tear out of my eyes. I thought I must have been dead.Suddenly I saw my master fighting for the statistic, I noticed a boundary was a tool to reach 10,000 runs rather than slapping the opposition, the fight gave way to team planning and change of guard and romance being thrown out of the window to place reality.
For once in my life, I decided to kill my hero on that day itself.
For me, a hero is a hero till the time he remains a hero. I would rather prefer a gallant death than a prolonged monument of records. I have always worshipped my heroes and hate to see them failing. I only wish he could have realized my pain - the pain that I have been forced to carry with his failures, the pain to justify him under the pretext of statistics, the pain to see him fail and then run for surgery after surgery, the embarrasement of justifying his kingly stature in the face of competition, the agony of seeing opponents dominating him and the shame of bowlers castling him through the gate. I felt all those pains not only when he got injured physically but also when he got out in the most unkingly manner, loosing battle within battles.
Steffi stopped at the peak of her career when she could have easily played for 2-3 more years, easily reaching semi finals and finals of grand slams but retired when she realized she had to compromise on the coveted trophy, got out because she hated defeats. How I wish sachin could have done the same. The least he could have done is continue playing the way he did till the time his physique permitted and then retire. He would have scored less but for me he would have won my heart. I still fight for him being the greatest batsman in the world, but my voice never gets the support of my heart as the romance has long been dead.
I would never forgive sachin for killing my hero under the burden of statistics and ending my romance with cricket prematurely. That's why till date my most cherished belonging had been the poster of Steffi I won in a quiz contest.
I hope my god forgives me for not being a true nationalist.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Investment at risk...

If the investment amounts to - Sunday afternoon, Rs.60 plus some commutation allowance combined with a vagabond yet exam stressed mind what are the returns expected ?
Guess nothing great. Even I didn't expect something marvellous when I went to Chandan, Juhu this afternoon. The only thing I expected was a slow poisoned death, a poison of highest calibre not to have difficulty in digesting or spitting out and good enough to ensure a pretty stay for 3.5 hours under the air condition.But to my utter exclamation these are what I got - 6 heroes and heroines, unthinkable and unfathomable love stories, innumerable plots and sub plots combined into a package called "Salam-E-Ishq".
Before watching the movie I had little respect for the writings (or should I say critical appraisals?) of Taran Adarsh, but after those gruelling time I have to lie if I do not respect his patience, originality about the movie and packaging skills. Hence one more addition to the list of returns.
As time passed and story (if there were any) started unfolding, I had more trouble in concentrating. Even though I am not a very focused person but this one tested my concentration to the hilt, giving a close competition to KANK. As time started crawling, I had a feeling of being cheated. What else do you call it if you expect poison but get what is called "expired cough syrup"? Thanks to recent "modern story lines" I have been privy to some scripts which had been successful in creating rubbish. As I continue watching more and more of present day famous bollywood director's movie I get more convinced about it's power of branding and selling ability. How else could one define the power of some three and a half hour video shoot being able to generate revenue greater than some SMEs in India?Even without any knowledge of arts, people like me could bring out some scintillating facts out of the recent bollywood stable -
Old hero and inconsequential heroine with scant costing in the dress design department combined with half villains and half jokers are essential parts of anything defined as bollywood movie.
In case the production becomes an "ethnic bollywood" one - dress design costs are the maximum creating latest fashion trend. All types of colors creating vision trouble even for blinds, a palace for the hero (bigger than the Birmingham, one premiere at the royal palace is sure recipe for decolonization) and middle class, Indian heroine with strong moral system who somehow has an eye for the billionaire !!
But,cut back to the present movie.
6 stories, 12 people (could have been more if director was changed) with numerous inconsequential dialogues and characters of all ages - combined in a package delivered at your doorstep. As a part of sales promotion comes beautiful locations, exotic wealth (god knows where do all the fathers of heroes work) and thoughtless dance or songs.Pure entertainment at its best when your mind have nothing to do, nothing to think and it refuses to believe what eyes relay - a close competitor for nirvana.
It demystified the very word "Ishq", it showed how horrible it looks if a girl proposes getting down on knee, how a husband couldn't look if his beloved wife is in hospital or how pathetically extra marital affairs could be handled. I couldn't believe that Indian people had to risk everything to love his legitimate wife. Never knew that foreign girls are so desperate for indian husbands and its only the boys these days who fear to get married !! But all these must have been made keeping in mind the greater audiences who feel captivated with such dramatic expressions.
To my horror I realized that I was served only an expired drug that too was not pure. The problem is the future addiction knowing fully well that they are never going to delight you with Hemlock.
Even getting a poison pill must be very tuff for the likes of Taran Adarsh !!!