Saturday, June 28, 2008

Via Darjeeling

The movie verges on the boundary of good and a tad boring. The reason for this tricky combination is that the film has brought together some very convincing actors but the story fails to engage the audience enough.

Without delving much, here's the basic framework of the film: Sonali and Kay Kay are on their honeymoon when one of them disappears. A policeman (Rabin) is called for investigation. Period. He recalls the incident to a group of friends and a session of speculation begins.

The film literally takes off with a rough start (courtesy a rash driver) and remains engaging for a while. It's at the adda session in Ranu's (Rajat Kapoor) house in Calcutta when the pace begins to falter slightly. As each narration differs only in some intricate points and most scenes and shots remain the same, a sense of redundancy piles up somewhere in the middle of the film. Though the story gears up again towards the end, to finish off on a teasing note.

Vinay Pathak (Rabin) with his cigarette-sniffing act repeats the magic characteristic of him. Rajat Kapoor (Ranu) looks wow in the new look. Sandhya Mridul (Mallika) looks rather too bored and sullen. Sonali Kulkarni (Rimli) plays the part of a pampered, rich daughter well, but newly married Rimli's character is not very likeable on the whole due to her soft, overtly sweet drawls most of the time and the occasional hysteria. Proshant Narayanan (Kaushik) (guess a few 'r' and 's' are missing, but nevermind) is good, so is Simone Singh (Preeti). Parveen Dabbas (Bonny) disappoints with a rather drab and dull performance, which was also incidentally expected of his character at most points of time.

Given that there are certain people who like ambiguity and insist on it with a creative compulsion, we can assume that it was intentional to leave the viewer with a set of unanswered questions. But a little more detailing would not have hampered this intentional ambiguity. The end is such that it will probably compel viewers to review the characters as per their own perceptions, discuss, debate and ponder on. Via Darjeeling is an ideal prelude to a round of discussions.

The film is more about the perception of mystery than mystery itself. And had this rather interesting idea been worked on more comprehensively, the movie would have been more appealing.

But why doesn't Via Darjeeling cross rightaway into the 'good' territory? The redundancy when the friends speculate their own versions, for one. The story versions could have done better with more punch (I loved Kaushik's version btw, and the conversation thereafter) or more variations in the shots. Secondly, all the characters could have been etched better.

All said and done, I am waiting for friends to go watch this movie so that we can discuss things out. Am really keen to know what they made of the story. In fact, in spite of the tad boredom, Via Darjeeling gets all the more interesting after it ends. There's much fodder to let the brain start ticking away after the credits roll.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

CoralDraw experiments

I have been listlessly fumbling with Adobe photoshop and getting more and more saddened by how people love to complicate something as relaxing as drawing. Anyways, with my limitations that allow me to crop and adjust image size, I doodled some drawings using the lovably easy Paintbrush. Have put these up to accompany the scribbles on the other blog which gets very rarely visited :(...
So be there, have a look while I find something to post on this blog.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The last article on 'Writer's block'

"There is no story which has not been told before, or that has not been imagined by Vyasa in his epic Mahabharata. So whatever you write cannot be entirely your own. So said the old woman. So says Pamuk. So in essence, all our efforts at novelty can ultimately bear the brunt of being labeled as plagiarism only if some eccentric book devourer puts his mind to proving the point.

There is nothing novel worth talking about, given that the thousands of years of history of human existence has witnessed, has been almost pickled to a pungent perfection of knowledge mixed with scorn about all the possible combinations of human relationships and their fall-outs. And so, it is a tad discouraging to know what me and you are doing (i.e thinking to write and sometimes writing to think) is only redundant work. All that need be said has been said before.

We writers are merely here for we humans are a peculiar race, a majority of which needs to be told what to do, what not to do, and most often this majority derives a masochistic pleasure on being told things are not done the way they should be. We merely need to be told things a thousand times over in order to convert a truth to a lie and vice versa. Since ancient times, people in power got stories crafted to suit their own motive. Writers helped them meet their end by writing according to the briefs given to them. With a little skill, legends essentially remained the same to the prospective buyer who flips pages leisurely to taste what is in for platter, but once the copy was bought, once it was invested in, and then when it was read (at times grudgingly so for a book bought and not read seems unusually heavy on the pocket), the skillfully altered nuances of fact and fiction were successfully thrust in the mind of the engrossed, ignorant reader. Altering bits and pieces here and there, history changed. And when it had changed enough, when the new powers thought it right to invest in a re-run of facts, members of our clan were employed again to tell 'new stories'.

Writers often end up being dumb mediators of thought and idea they fool themselves in believing is their own. Thinking thoughts and raking up extinct ideologies versus the so-called new schools of thought is nothing but the mechanical pursuit of masking the present life with a sense of achievement. Most ideas that gain momentum do so not because they are worthy ideas, but because a few smart people decide it is profitable that the idea propagate. And so, old stories and revamped to be presented as a new and novel idea. So, my dear friends, this is reason enough for you and me to put an end to our writer's block".

Thus said the old man in the last article of his much-read column called Writer's block.

His fame was in part due to the attention attracted due to the many charges of defamation, libel and plagiarism that thronged his career and which he faced with dignity, wit. Till he died of a comfortable old age in a sprawling villa placed at a location conveniently cut-off from civilization, he wore a mischievous gleam that seemed to own up an acceptance of the accusations. But a gaze of aloof shrewdness (that often signifies wisdom acquired of an age of reading and age itself) immediately followed the momentary mischievous gleam and dismissed the enquirer instantly of any further questions, or doubts.