Friday, January 30, 2009

Fanspeak: Luck by Chance

Had Zoya Akhtar written Luck by Chance as a speech, this is how it might have sounded:

This is us! We have images and we have realities. Sometimes they coincide, but more often they don't. Yes, we have the actresses of yesteryear who were forced into acting and forced to sleep with producers. Yes, there are those who never make it big. Yes, there are those who rise through sheer calculation. And yes, there is a remarkable link of coincidences that shape this business. There are promises made. And made. They don't always work out. We, the industrywallahs do get tired. And we do pretend. We can be double-faced.
I'm not offering excuses for the way we are. I don't want us to be like Hollywood, in fact I'm tired of the term 'Bollywood.' We are a mish-mash of glitter and covers and hard work and dirty politics and a lot of love. And I'm an observer who figured we're one big story that needed to be told, and I've had fun telling it.
That's all.
Both Akhtar kids have perfected the art of subtle, understated scripting. Luck by Chance is driven by its characters and their detailing. The star kid who assures us that being the progeny of the famous is anything but easy, the dominating diva of old-time cinema who works ferociously on her daughter's image...they are all somewhat steroetyped, but very real-life characters of the industry.
The dialogues, as with most Excel Entertainment productions are pretty non-filmy. Farhan Akhtar is known to want his characters to talk 'like people talk' and LBC is no exception, except in some scenes where it only just stops short of being preachy.
Konkona is good through most of the movie, except in her last scene with Farhan, where I feel she could've been more spunky. Dimple Kapadia does a wonderful job. She manages to be insecure, enjoy the attention of a young actor and be determined to remain important by taking over her daughter's career completely. One doesn't know whether to drown her or feel sorry for her, which I think is exactly what the director wanted.
Farhan...(sigh sigh sigh...see, there's a reason I called this Fanspeak and not a review!)...he's definitely grown as an actor. In Rock On, he was essentially a passionate music-lover who lost himself half-way. In LBC, he is selfish, lovable, calculating, cool and utterly focussed. He gets hurt, he sheds tears, he charms his leading lady and her mother to bits, he falls in love, but ditches his girlfriend without a second thought when it comes to getting what he wants. Farhan has the most shades in LBC and he pretty much pulls it off. His dialogue delivery could be better, but he plays Vikram the flirt, Vikram the starry-eyed newcomer, Vikram the calculating user and all the other Vikrams with proficiency.
All in all, if LBC swings on the strength of its cast, with Farhan leading the way. Zoya's done a good job of ensuring that her main characters have purpose and are well-rounded, despite there being so many of them. I'm glad LBC happened, and not just because I got to see Farhan getting out of a swimming pool and to observe that he has a dolphin tattoo on his bicep!
All good wishes to LBC and Excel!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Of Glumstones and meeting-rooms

Vocabulary: Glumstone (noun): a metaphor for the emotional heaviness that occurs when he leaves , the cigarette packet is empty, the 'fat days' and other such life-threatening disorders. Created by: Liquifier

Lots has been happening. Work is becoming increasingly hectic and I am learning to cope with rush and daily pandemonium and return willingly the next day for more. I went for a meeting for the first time in this job today, and it wasn't half bad.

I don't like meetings in meeting-rooms and conference-halls, I've always though them to be stuffy and suited-booted, places where I wouldn't be able to say 'but that's not cool!' tnt meetings usually happened outdoors over ice-cream or chai, or they were one-on-one sessions with Boss which I totally loved.

Today's meeting was supposed to be a full-on blasting session for all the deskies, but somehow it turned out rather nice. The meeting-room wasn't very stuffy, we all trooped in, sat wherever we could and aired out a few issues.

I'm not doing great at work, but I'm improving. I'm reminded of my first 2-3 months at the Store when I would overcharge customers on the card-machine and didn't know how to reload the stapler. I am proud to say that two years after having quit my daily shift routine, I can handle the till and customers pretty well. I'm hoping it'll be the same with this job.

It's like A says, work is work, and whether you're hungover, stoned or heartbroken, you get in on time and ensure the breakfast muffins don't burn. Or in my case, ensure the headline balances and the page is checked, proofread and sent to press by 9:30 pm.

I am also learning that there are some Glumstones that even Meg Cabot and Lays Magic Masala cannot dissolve. Trust me, this was a shock. No matter how tragic my life was looking, Helen Fielding, Betty Neels, Meg Cabot and The Nanny Diaries go a long way in making me feel that I am a total sex-goddess and I will lurch off into the sunset with a half-empty bottle of pink champagne. But there are Glumstones that stay lodged just above your ribcage and deep in our gut. And sometimes you have to take a reluctant peek inside and have some conversations you'd rather avoid to get rid of the damn things. I think it's called growing-up or something equally heinous....

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Antaheen releases today!. Go see the website for more details. Yay for my mashi and all at Screenplay :)

I got

pwetty earrings and a bag for my stepmum. Picked up apple and cinnamon agarbattis (I light at least 4 a day now).
I wandered dazedly around bookshops, managed to read an entire Farhan Akhtar interview without buying the magazine (thank you Manney's!). I mean, not that he didn't look totally cool wearing Dunhill or whatever but not even for my future co-writer am I paying 100 bucks for GQ.
Got a manicure and pedicure. My nails are now so glossy that I could use them as mirrors if my face were a leetle smaller.
Picked up Bhumika and an Arabic movie called Caramel to watch tonight.
Maybe I should've thrown in a visit to the Store, scheduled a laughter session with some of the girls...basically covered all my bases.
Because I still feel like shit


....and that is why I'm sticking to Slash, Mr Darcy and E. The only men who have never let me down!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Gee, I never thought the first wedding I'd shed tears over would be one I was told about second-handedly 6 weeks after it was over.
Akash has never figured on this blog, for all that I've known him for over two years now. He was one of the chief Attention Givers of my life, that's the best I can describe him.
The first time I met Akash, he took my chin in his hand, looked at me closely and went 'theek thaak hain, thoda damaged, but theek thaak.' He loved pink. Once when we were meeting after a long time, he ran across the Store in slow motion (very SRK style) to hug me.
I'd tell you all about how he started working at the Store yada yada and how nice and interesting he is and all, but it all sounds very inane.
Akash-who-I-knew and Akash who-is-now-married-and-never-bothered-to-tell-me seem to be two entirely different people. Oh, I'm sure he still loves pink and is as interesting and nice as ever, but...well, now there will be boundaries. And I'll freely admit I'm jealous that I won't be the object of his attention anymore. Not in the same free-flowing way. Now he has to consider other people before he meets me. And spoiled little brat that I am, I hate being second to anyone in importance!
I feel like Winona Ryder in Little Women when she goes ' Oh, why must we get married at all, why can't things just stay the way they are??!!'
Things don't, and the very very small part of me that is mature and wise and all things nice gets that. The rest of me is plotting to kill Akash with my bare hands for not telling me. If I ever talk to him again that is. Not that murder requires speech, but still.
We probably would never have dated or anything. And it is horrible of me to want to hang onto someone because they so unconditionally took note of me. But I don't want to be the bigger person right now.
So, Akash, in a few days, when I can say it truthfully, I will send you good wishes and plenty of joy. Right now, I'm just going to say goodbye to the you-I-knew. And I'm awfully glad I did.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It was in the song you played, and that you let me steal
a t-shirt from you.
It was in that you wouldn't give up.
No matter how distant I became, you never pushed, you just stayed. It was in that you
never hid that you were sometimes
confused, that you felt it when I didn't call back. There were times when we
would look at one another...and I would
look away
in a hurry.

I didn't want to encourage our eyes.

I was so sure you could never be anyone.

You broke through that certainty.
You didn't develop wide shoulders or a great muscles,
you didn't stride into the room to the sound of a soft orchestra like they do in the movies

in fact you weren't there at all.

It was in our voices, in the moments we both knew

we were smiling together. It was in that you were the first person

I shared a glass with, and it didn't

seem casual.

I'd say thank you, but I'm afraid because that sounds like an ending.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Congratulate us! We got our first gun!

E just got back from a week-long vacation to Mumbai. He's been home only a few hours and I'm realizing that I'd kind of missed being a parent.
The first thing he showed me was a new dart-gun he managed to coax our aunt to buy. It's called the Maverick-something-or-other, and it's hideous. It's the first toy of its kind he's got. We sternly discourage anything resembling a weapon in this house.
He was so excited about it, he went on about how he and his friends had a 'war' - which a friend's sister started (typical! blame the woman!) and how his gun was powerful enough to break down their 'base' and how they had makeshift sandbags 'just like they did at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai...'
It's silly to go back to my own childhood when I try to understand him. Every generation has its own nightmarish experiences that later become part of history.
E's talking in military terms, his slow shift to thinking that to strike out at another is strength...all of this upsets me. But...I wonder if maybe it would be more nurturing to let him learn everything, and teach him to use it positively. Yes, there are bad guys in the fact there's a friggin large number of them! E needs to learn to handle them.
These days...nobody uses the phrase 'too young' anymore. No one is too young to do anything, it seems. Watch a terrorist attack live, have a baby, smoke a cigarette, start earning...
I know so many parents who take their kids to movies that I would balk at letting E see. I don't like video games and PlayStation because they zombi-fy kids.
But our not liking it doesn't really mean E does not have access to it. It's the same with the dart-gun. E would never even have asked for it here in Pune. But he's got that boy-thrill at having it, at the feeling of power one gets from being armed for the first time.
I don't like it. But I don't want his eyes closed against it.
Ah I have missed your worrisome, complicated self.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Up the rebels!, my day was spent trying to figure out my reimbursements, staring incomprehensibly at a tax worksheet that some poor sod who thought I would understand it sent me, missing out on pizza because I went to withdraw money that hadn't yet reached my account and being certain I was going to get my butt kicked for not being dramatic enough with my work.

At least my job's not boring! And I can still come home and laugh, albeit tiredly.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Working Life

The work culture is creeping up on me. Claiming reimbursements, setting up a salary account, wondering how much I'll be able to save and so on. Or maybe that's the money culture. At the end of it, that's probably the only reason I'm doing what I'm doing. I like the work, I have become better informed about a lot of things in the last month than I have ever been before. Basic language skills have come back strongly. But I think my main aim is to work my way to financial independence. Yesterday, a co-worker was telling me that no matter what other job she goes to, she knows she will eventually always return to the news room.
I wonder if I'll ever be that certain about my work life.
I am lucky, though. Nobody shoved me into becoming a software engineer or a doctor. I just happened to be talking to a neighbour who put me onto the paper, I went in for a 'chat' next day, and they thought I might do.
I am having to be far, far less snobbish about writing. I edit and re-write news that I might never have read in earlier days. I make it accessible and make it sound interesting. At least I'm supposed to. And all this must happen before 9:30 pm sans any errors.
Writing, making movies and all that jazz I want to do require one ability above all...that of being able to stick to it. Of being interested in every little bit you create. And that is what my work will teach me.