Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fun and games

One of those rare times when you have nothing to worry about. You know all those things about synergy being just a notion, I never believed that say twelve people getting together could theoretically do the work of a hundred and fort four, but saw that today. The sheer energy of a mob should be enough to convince anyone. Have no clue how it works, but have seen it, so don't doubt it anymore.

Currently reading a book covering the most raging debate in evolution in the most comprehensive way. The Gould Vs Dawkins argument was something I was waiting for for a long time, and suddenly stumbled upon it. Pretty good read actually, but the author ignores the fact that Dawkins claimed humans to be above gene race... pretty untrue, I guess the phenotype extends to the culture, the traditions and even the language, because all of this helps the genes to survive through the generations. Point one, point two being, me wondering how much of my behavior is evolutionary... or rather I guess there are some basic motivations wired into us, and we express them in various ways, blogging, then, could be pretty evolutionary... hmmm food for thought might turn indigestible, will go and eat some puliyore my mom prepared, now that, at least, is evolutionary.

Anti smoking campaign


















I smoke. Its a tit-for-tat world out there... I'd rather I'd cause cancer to more people than to myself. Flawed logic, but at least it helps to keep my mind calmed down....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Reservations protests

Police custody for the second time in nine days. 1) more than eighty at least were detained, not 20 as the media is reporting 2) saw interviews of students talking about lathi charging and the like, didn't catch it on the media, but if it comes, then its false, it was a peaceful protest, but the police put them in peacefully too 3) no one, neither the media, nor the police, nor their peers took them seriously.





So we went to that place just to shoot the whole thing, got plenty of footage, screencaps below, then decided to pretend we were students and went right ahead and entered one of the vans, and took an interview INSIDE THE POLICE VAN ON ITS WAY TO THE STATION. And then we got something that no one else got on camera, the students inside the station, still shouting naras for some purpose they alone could understand.






Ideas of selling the footage to the media were scrapped for better usage, no clue how, but there you go.





1) The protestors arrive. Big myth of police coming in too late. They were there at least two hours before anything happened, the mediapersons followed, and then the news walked right into their hands. Weird way the whole thing works.









2) The protestors are taken into police custody. In fact, the protestors rushed into the vans like businessmen at dadar station... in fact, a few vans left with the protestors actually hanging out from the back.









3) errr... pretty fucking self explanatory







4) In custody... on the way to the police station... after the two of us pretended to be protestors as well...







5) A stern policeman asks us to leave, after we take some footage of the ongoings inside the detention room. This, is supposed to be 20 detainees according to CNBC TV18, Times Now, Zee News and NDTV.






Saare Jahan se accha

Watch the video
So was capturing this flag on the ground, when some kids came up and evened it out on the ground itself, while another promptly picked up the flag and tried to put it on a tree, failed, another came and helped out with impromptu background sounds by the other two. Pretty funny, but more importantly, symbolic. India rocks because of these kids man...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ah

Weird mood now... wondering how it will be when I'll be spent... facial hair and wrinkles brings out wisdom from other parts of yourself... like the eyes...




Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chowky

There are a lot of instances where the media portrays policemen as being brutal people who keep bashing up innocents in their lockup. While this is not true, they do use this image of theirs... for respect or getting the work done. The very threat of torture, or even of the policemen lifting his danda is so potent that it can scare the wits out of anyone.


Unless you know them of course. I honestly believe that the police should be given a pay rise. It is simply pathetic to see them struggling so hard to earn a little extra money. Just came back after spending an hour and a half under the police. We were caught for sitting near the national park without a license. We were smoking and having thums up, and someone complained that we were boozing. So he put us in and started threatening us... the usual dope, calling our parents and making them pay money and that there was another bigger officer on the way who would extort more money from us or something of that sort. Same place, some time ago, a bunch of us friends were simply on a stroll through the forest, when two forest guards, not even policemen, charged us with the offence of disturbing their census - tbe animals are counted everyear. We go off after paying fifty bucks.


This time it was a hundred. The only problem was we had gone after an instantaneous plan, and we didn't have such kind of money on us... a friend came over and helped us out after we gave him a call. Anirudh, who helped us out, warned me against backanswering the police, not because I have the guts or anything, but because I lack the sense about how to talk to them... stupid in such matters actually. Got free from that godforsaken place, and the only sad thing is that yeoor is no longer a hangout now, because of the friggin new chowky that has come into place right next to our regular tapri, and the godforsaken patrols that happen all the time now. Sad shit, this.

Othello/Imkara Comparative analysis/project

Introduction



To Do this is within the compass of man's wit: and therefore I will attempt the doing it.




~Clown






The rights for publishing all the works of Shakespeare in India is with a small publishing house called Rupa publishing. Their main outlet is in the heart of Mumbai, a stone's throw away from Nariman point. Today, this store is all in a tumult A few people file in, responding to a small open invite in the Times of India. I am one of the twenty or so people sitting through a special screening of Omkara. The movie is the only thing in motion… even the staff are silently watching from behind the audience. Vishal Bhardwaj and Shakespeare are sitting side by side in the front row. Shakespeare is watching the movie for the first time. You can see that he is loving it.




After the screening, I buy a copy of a random Shakespearean work just to get his autograph. I go upto him and he points out Vishal Bhardwaj sitting next to him. Bhardwaj is a demure, intelligent man who smiles a little uncomfortably.




This account is fallacious on only a few counts. The author was Ruskin Bond and not Shakespeare. The movie was The blue umbrella based on Bond's The umbrella thief and not Omkara based on Shakespeare's Othello.




Bhardwaj specializes in adaptations, and has already adapted one Ruskin Bond book and two Shakespearean works (the other one being Maqbool, an adaptation of Macbeth). Here is presented, a comparative analysis of Othello and Omkara.






The Idea






I am nothing, if not critical



~Iago






Omkara was a perfect entertainment package. There were concerns about its success and acclaim before its release. I was lucky enough to hear the manager of CineMax Sion talk about the movie before its release. Othello, apparently covered a serious subject, and the people at the theatre had no idea how well it would run. They knew for sure, that a movie like Krrissh would run for sure, and it did, but something like Omkara was given, to be specific a 60-40 chance of success. Shakespeare, unfortunately lacked but one foresight, and that of an anticipation of change in language. When someone interprets, talks about or even refers to Shakespeare, it is deemed a serious subject. Othello is not a serious subject – it is something as simple as jealousy. Neutrino particles or American politics or Mass Extinction, these are the serious subjects. Jealousy is something that is universal. Shakespeare wrote the play so that it could be performed in front of everyone – not only the masses, mind, everyone, and this is the same intention of Bharadwaj while making the movie. This is a theme or a story for everyone… it talks about how humans are undone by things within us… how petty differences result in things that change our lives. It is too early to say if Omkara is a success or not, but if it is not, then it is because of the Shakespeare tag, and if it is, then it is because it tackles the subject effortlessly. Omkara, may on its face seem like Bharadwaj's show, where he has taken nothing but the plot from Othello. This however is not true, not only has Bhardwaj managed to adapt the story effortlessly, but the complex web of meaning and symbolism, all hidden beneath the layers of the original work, have all been brought to the surface – and that is where this movie becomes a masterpiece.






The Title






Can anything be made of this?



~Desdemona






Iago, or Langda Tyagi is undoubtedly the principle character in the story, whether it be the play or the movie. Why then is the play titled Othello, and the movie titled Omkara? It is an unfortunate habit of people to judge books by their covers. Imagine if indeed the play were to be titled Iago, then a lot of weightage would have been removed from the importance of Othello, and there would be no credence to the tragedy of Othello, and 'The Tragedy of Othello' is in fact the name of the play, not just 'Othello'. Titling the play Iago would kill the character of Iago, because everything that he does leads to the undoing of Othello, which is the soul of the play. The movie was titled Omkara because of a poll conducted at an advanced screening… the options being O Saathi Mere, Issack and Omkara. No comments on that one, as democracy is incomprehensible.






Pride, Honor and Jealousy






Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.



~Iago





Iago's jealousy slowly and steadily poisons Othello's mind, working against him while pretending to be on his side all the time. There is no question about this. However, what led to Othello believing in Iago? How could Othello believe Iago over his own wife that he loved? Why did Othello take steps as drastic as killing his wife? And later on, himself? The answers to the first two questions is undoubtedly, Iago's skills as a manipulative and deceitful individual. The answers to the last two, is however not clear. Critics argue that this is because of Othello's honor, of his intention of protecting his wife's honor till the end. He killed himself probably out of honor as well. He probably did not want the state, which he had served well so far, to compromise on its laws and values because of him. Therefore, he put an end to his own life. In the movie, Omkara, however, these questions are answered in a very direct fashion. Omi easily believes Langda Tyagi, because of his absolute trust in him. Omi kills his wife out of spite and anger… he cannot take the fact that someone he has loved so much could cheat on him… he says as much just before killing her, he wonders what he lacked that she wasn't satisfied by him. And then he kills himself in remorse, because he has killed his wife for no reason. The movie brings across aspects which are really difficult to notice in the play. In the movie, Omi is undone because of Billo/Bianca's pride… she comes to meet Kesufirangi/Cassio not because of jealousy of his other bedmates or for her honor, but because she is proud of her relationship with him, and the fact that he values and esteems her despite her profession. She is hurt by the belief that Kesu has lied to her. Kesu, in turn, is neither proud, nor jealous, but is victimized till almost the end, and emerges as the hero in the story. In the play Roderigo is jealous of Othello, and really lusts for Desdemona, however, in the movie, I believe that Raju's pride and honor is hurt more because Dolly backs out after she is sworn to him. No doubt he too lusts for her, but there is also the baggage of what "the people" will talk because of what happened. How far critics have interpreted this to be hidden beneath the layers in Othello, I do not know.





Othello and Iago





I never found man that knew to love himself


~Iago





Othello/Omkara Shukla: Omkara is a man who is slave to many things, the fancies of a woman he does not dare to love before he learns of her love towards him, the advices and the expectations of his seniors, and most importantly, the lies and deceit of Langda Tyagi. Othello is however, his own master, an unabashed lover, a man in servitude yet the Duke makes it look like Othello is doing him a favor and basically someone who is holding his own as an important figure in society. To bring someone like him down, can only be done from the inside, and the lies of Iago manages to do this. Shakespeare wanted to show how deception can undo the best of men, whereas Bhardwaj probably wanted to show how even those in power are controlled by factors they do not fully understand, or even know about which is particularly true in UP.



Iago/Langda Tyagi: Iago is widely considered to be one of Shakespeare's most sinister characters… everything that malice and deceit stands for. The smallest of his words and actions are cunningly directed towards one goal – to bring down Othello. They could have as easily been directed towards completely disgracing Cassio, without bringing Desdemona or Othello into the picture at all, but he chose to undo everyone, including himself. He was at least an ancient to an important man, which is no mean position. Iago is set on one thing… to bring about a great tragedy to Othello. Langda Tyagi is however, a cynic and an opportunist. In Bharadwaj's movie, the audience gets to view Iago before he has reasons to be jealous of Cassio, or have reasons to injure Othello… he is still a rapscallion, someone ready to go to any lengths to achieve his means, someone, who has the world beneath his feet, as shown in an iconic shot in Bharadwaj's film.





The backdrop



I have well approved it, Sir!


~Cassio





Something that takes the background in the move and the play is the political scenario. A Trukey-Cyprus-Venice setting was skillfully adapted into the political scenario at Uttar Pradesh, the perfect way to Indianise a play like this. The interesting thing to note here is how effortlessly both the playwright and the moviemaker managed to use this merely as an almost inert background for the characters and the plot to progress in. I cannot decide on which of the two was the more difficult thing to pull off… expressing the complexity of the scenario just a few stray lines in the play, or of depicting in visually in the movie, and still managing to give it no more importance than a mere milieu for the people in the movie. Achieving either, I guess deserves considerable praise.





Language





But words are words; I never did hear


That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear


~Brabantio





The first time I saw Omkara was on a pirated CD. Someone had held the camera upto the theatre screen, in the stalls of Eros Cinema, and then made VCDs out of the footage. The pathetic print quality came with the best sound possible, because the camera had recorded the audience response along with the movie. The theatre was in an uproar every time Langda Tyagi (Iago) had a sarcastic line to crack, or with the frustrated abuses of the other characters. Omkara is the first Indian film to be released with uncensored abuses, and there may be many reasons why Bhardwaj has done this. One might argue that it was his intention to take the story of Othello to the masses, or such a language was requisite for an authentic adaptation into such a setting. I suppose the best way to look at it is going back to Shakespeare's original. His plays have endured over the centuries because of their universal nature… there have been innumerable adaptations of his work, and that is why he has become so famous. He has become famous not because of interpretations and analysis of his works can occupy critics for lifetimes, critics can be occupied with a comma, for a lifetime – but because they simply never go out of fashion. As mentioned, Shakespeare wrote for humanity, and the raw, even vulgar language that we see used in Omkara, is really not that different from the language used in the original. Although, Iago is the only character with a prominently rampant tongue, whereas it's the lingo of Omkara. This falls in line with the idea that Bhardwaj, after understanding Shakespeare, has brought to the surface those things that are subdued and hidden beneath the layers of text in the original work.





Race





By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman


~Roderigo





Something repeatedly stressed upon in the movie was that Ajay Devgan was half a Brahmin. It was a repetitive allusion, and a confusing one at that. What was Bhardwaj trying to say by making him, in terms of the play, half-black? A possible answer arises out of a debate, that is not raging for four hundred years, but is pretty unsettled for as long. Shakespeare, overlooked making it clear whether Othello the moor was of Arabic Bedouin origin or African black origin – an individual from either race could have been in Othello's position in Venice . Critics have been undecided over this point over the years. Therefore it is unclear whether Othello was from a rich and royal background or not… this is unclear even in the movie, but I believe the reason for Omi to be halves of two races is an allusion to this unsettled debate. The adaptation is marvelous on the count that it portrays authentically what I believe to be the situation in UP, and what I interpret to be the situation in Venice – Cyprus from the play. While people take pride in the purity of race, like does Desdemona/Dolly's father in both the cases, but are not really biased in the lack of it or of a supposedly inferior race, as is the Duke of Venice/Bhaisaheb in both the cases. Another interesting thing to note here is that, in Omkara, while whiteness is appreciated, it is also ridiculed and mocked.



The Story and the Plot





I think this tale would win my daughter too


~Duke of Venice





Langda Tyagi's nature and abilities is not really different from the vamps of the saas-bahu soaps aired on television. There is a primordial fear of being manipulated and without even knowing that we are… this is because the realization that Omkara has near the end of the movie, that it was all a plot by Landa Tyagi is the kind of realization many of us have many times over in our own lives. The theme, on of jealousy, is universal, the concept of an evil manipulator, is universally feared. The story is simple, although the plot is not.



In the movie, Omkara, the people are woven around the plot. They act and behave in accordance with Langda Tyagi's wishes, and he directs them till he is undone by his own wife at the climax. Omkara is all about the unfolding of the story, how Tyagi manages to bring about such a huge tragedy.



In stark contrast, the play, is however about the people. They all have distinct identities and personalities of their own. For example, Bhaisaheb, played by Naseeruddin Shah in the movie, has no role to play except where he steps in to bring about a change in the direction in which the story is going – a twist in the tale, whereas in Othello, the Duke of Venice has a very distinct and important personality. In the play, the plot is just another character, interacting with everyone in the play, with a distinct personality of its own.



Either way, jealousy takes a backseat, although it is the theme of the story. The viewers are not left with questions… they are left with a simple message – all men are weak, and they bring about each other's undoing.



There are many insignificant differences between the movie and the play, Brabantio, or entirely forgives the moor, or at least pretends to do so in front of the Duke of Venice, however Dolly's Father not walks away rudely in front of Omi and Bhaisaheb when he learns of his daughter's affections towards Omi. Roderigo never jumps into the water like Raju does, although he does threaten to. Desdemona is apparently demure and shy and has spurned so many suitors that her father, Brabantio has doubts about her inclination to marry at all – however Dolly is bold and wild spirited and was in fact, engaged to Raju (Roderigo) before she takes up with Omi. There are many more, but these needn't be discussed, the changes in the climax, are however worth discussing.





The climax





O Bloody Period!


~Lodovico





Othello ends with Othello killing Desdemona, and then himself, with Iago under the custody of Cassio thanks to Emelia. However in Omkara, Othello kills Dolly, and then Emelia kills Iago, and Kesu survives to walk upto Omkara, who kills himself.



This change in the story is interesting for one reason. Emilia does not come across as such a strong person in the play, although she literally condemns her husband to death and torture. Here in the movie, Indu loves and dotes on Tyagi as much as Dolly does Omi, and yet kills her own husband when she feels the necessity. Bhardwaj changed the ending probably to highlight on the strength of a character nor fully realized by Shakespeare's audiences.





Conclusion




Nay, it is possible enough to judgement


I do not so secure me in the error,


But the main article I do approve


In fearful sense.


~Duke of Venice





This has been an attempt to analyze and compare two works of art. However a lot of themes, like the sexual connotations (the play did give me the feeling that Iago loved Desdemona), or the references to heaven and hell are not covered. In fact, the areas of overlap between the play and the movie are about the only things taken up in this analysis, the remaining portions of both the play and the movie are ignored. These words might be written with confidence, but it is just my humble opinion, I cannot pretend to comprehend the intentions, hidden or apparent of Shakespeare, or Bhardwaj, if at all one is forced to look at the play or the movie as anything more than entertainment.

The UNShow - episode 1

Watch the video
The unscripten nonsense show. Things start off. Think of the idea, call a friend and things start off.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bad idea

Spotted this at a general store in Ghatkoper.





If superman consumes the contents of this package, he is likely to fall sick. If only fans are expected to know this, then only fans are expected to buy the stuff.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Me

Randomly asked around for something to blog about... not for lack of topics, but because the necessary additions planned (photos, videos etc) are unprocessed or at home, and I am two and a half friggin multiple ST journeys away from home. And the topic was apparently "me" so here goes something:



Umm... not that this is difficult or anything, but doing so would involve into considerable amount of self praise... will just criticise myself to some end for the heck of it. This will be interesting, for me at least. Damn the topic sucks.



1) I am fucking repetetive... keep going back to the same set of things over and over and over again. No idea why, but I find pleasure in reinforcing a point for some reason.



2) I am too picky and choosy and moody for no apparent reason. I realise what I am doing half way into it and then suddenly I realise and am fucked in the head.



3) I am scared of weird things. No insane phobias or anything, but for example, I am scared to take a bath in hot water in case I forget to turn the geaser off and my mom screams at me for wasting electricity. Basically I take a lot of tension over absolutely petty things.



4) I am horribly underweight... and dont take any steps to correct it. Infact, I dont take any steps to correct anything about myself.



5) I ALWAYS, and this is VERY irritating... want to make an impression. Form the stupid tapri wallah to Vishal Bharadwaj (see what I am talking about)... always always out to make some kind of an impression... have been doing this all my life and this is a very irritating part of my own nature... but I like sticking to it for some weird reason.



6) I used to lie a lot. This involves copying from post secret, but really, people thought I stopped, but I just got better at it. Although I did take efforts to cease, and it has come down. The reason I used to lie a lot was point number 5.



7) Have no ambition. Zero. Want to sit someplace alone - like a hut in a european villiage with unlimited supply of water, electricity, stimulants and food, in that order, would be ideal - for the rest of my life.



8) I have a feeling that I am a sociopath, but saying this may just be a display point number 5 or 6.



9) I don't value my friends nearly enough



10) I don't stick to anything, get bored really quickly and change tracks at the blink of an eye. No idea what I want to do in life, except maybe point 6.



11) I don't worry about some things I really need to worry about.



12) I am not self critical enough when the need comes.

Asking a Rickshaw driver media studies questions

Watch the video
Not that it was of much use

blahg2

One of the biggest disadvantages of blogging is the effort that goes into it. In fact, if the web is made semantic, then I wish that our brains could be conditioned to think it terms that the... screw that line of thought... should not blog when I am sleepy. blogging only because there is so much to blog, but so many other things happen before I manage to actually blog, that what I need to blog gets outdated. Experimenting a lot with videos nowadays, recently acquired premiere 2 that does not work, and the worst thing is that while your video files are being rendered, you just go to sleep for lack of anything better to do. Damn. Saw most of Ghoom today. And now I am yawning very badly. Think this is a good time to write another sleep poem. Sleep is very much like being drunk, you lose your co-ordination and your organisation skills... cool shit. Its two forty nine and I have to be awake in two hours to go to college. There are submissions tomorrow, and I am rambling... okie day, the sleep poem: The arms its quivers/ in shivers of strain/ A forehead's sliver/ the throbbing vein/ they long for bed/ drooping eyelids fall/ over the blooded/ tired red eyeballs/ like The moon it nests/ in its violet deep/ And now I rests/ For search of sleep. Will vLog something iteresting probably tomorrow morning. Cheers.

Friday, August 11, 2006

blahg

damned thing. No thikana for so long. Back to normal text blogging. But later. Miss doing this like hell... vlogs will just be in the middle... so cheers.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Making weird faces at the camera

Watch the video
That's Abhi and Me supposedly working on a project.