Monday, February 21, 2005

Tetherballs of Bougainville

The New York Times describes 'The Tetherballs Of Bougainville' as: lava seems lukewarm compared to Leyner's red-hot riffing on the ephemera of popular culture."

now on a normal day i would have ignored a review but the back cover enticed me with:

'Say you're thirteen years old and your father is about to be executed by lethal injection for a murder committed with a shoplifted hand-blender when you learn that you have only one day in which to submit your entry for the prestigious Vincent and Lenore DiGiacomo/Oshimitsu Polymers America Award, which is given every year for the best screenplay written by a student of Maplewood Junior High School. The problem is, you haven't come up with the title. What do you do?

If you're a kamikaze humorist Mark Leyner, you turn your predicament into a demented product that might be called a novel, if that definition can be stretched to include a hybrid of memoir, screenplay, and movie review (with a little classy poem thrown in). Navigating the remotst tributaries of popular culture, airing our most appaling and outlandish appetities, The Tetherballs of Bougainville is all the funnier because it tells the truth about who we are, right now.'

i dont care what the truth is as long as i did not have to defend not reading yet another indian author writing in pretentious english (about eminently unsuitable boys or achaar scented incest in the backwaters), or a non resident indian penning more ghastly short stories about the indian experience and then dissing india because they were so 'nu yawk'...

this book made me forget every cliche and recreated the magic that fiction could really be.

i even stole one book happily from the extensive library aboard Carnival Cruise Lines (after they conveniently lost my laptop), and thank god i did as the book is not available on amazon or powells any more.

other books by Mark Leyner are:

Et Tu, Babe
I smell Esther Williams
Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog
My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist

like a rabidly hungry canine, i devoured all his books. after tom sharpe he is the only one that managed to convert me to putty.

altho i do freely admit to reading and being completely absorbed by Across the Nightingale Floor and all its sequels... some morantic part of me that refuses to be squished i think...and also to having read all the No.1 ladies detective agency series (positively hated the short stories by the doctor though)...

but then i absolutely watch all big bee and srk films, and write love a few brain cells are clearly not breathing.

however...partially distrcated by 'trishul' on sony, i have realised that i do not remember why i wanted to write about Mark Leyner in the first place. maybe i need to sleep. but the sins one is about to commit will keep me awake i am sure...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Light on Black!

It was early morning when the telephone rang. not having prepared myself for a social lie ' i'm busy maybe some other time...' i happened to answer, 'no...i'm free, bolo!' to this friend who happily proceeded to take advantage of my truth and rope me into seeing a film with her. Black!

as my friend Vee from Austin explains..."it's another version of 'The Miracle Worker'. Having read the play and watched the original theatrical release with 2 award winning performances, had aboslutely no desire to see another re-interpretation, albeit a desi one. So much for all the hype about something completely different, something that had never been done before.(?) Et tu, Bhansali?"

Now Vee is a movie buff,I mean she can 'movie sequence' like she programmed the damned game and in comparison, i can barely connect two or maybe three films...(the game is film sequence and you can download it from the lifetimetv web site), and when she has this opinion about the film when everyone is gushing, I thought it would be a good film to catch.

i am in the theater, and six coffees later i have no desire to use the ladies' as the damned water has been released through tears. my head is so heavy from the obscene color maniplation (not to be confused as copying off the big K's three color coded films red, white, and blue) of black and white. i have a headache and i feel grossly manipulated.

headache because everyone acts over the top. the dad hates the disabled kid, the mom is over the top illogical (one minute agrees with the dad, next minute she's kowtowing to AB), the house where the kid stays is like a library or a museum (the photographs are far too many, placed too high... did people in the house climb up ladders to view the photos?)...

I love films but i am very suspicious when copious tears are deliberstely induced by the director...looks like the dialog writer was directed: aisee lines likho ke har line par aansoo aa jaaye! close your eyes in the film and you might see shades of kadar khan there...give me sholay or deewar or even veer-zaara's 'aisa des hai mera' for that matter for dialogs that touch the heart! why, i can still recite dialogs of AB's old film Trishul...

i think the almost knee-jerk reaction to films like this one is "wow" simply because it deals with disability. hence the assumption it must be good.

"how can you laugh aloud at rani's chaplinesque walk? she's blind!"
" see how beautifully she's trying!"
this is what someone said to me as i got up to get my nthcp of coffee. i was hoping the bloody story had moved forward by the time i got back. it doesn't it gets worse! one of my friends is visually impaired, and i DO NOT SEE HER WALK LIKE THAT. and its not 'cute' or 'good direction' to have a slly chaplin film (very obviously a directors cheap trick)play at the stupid cinema theater..who's he 'kid'ding!

and what's with the weird clothes? if it's a period film then AB's clothes are buttoned all wrong. too few buttons on his jacket. and the stupid kid (sorry, just rolling the eyeballs skywards and behaving like a cheap exorcist imitationor even throwing food about is not acting, it's being a brat) wears skirts. what kind of mother puts skirts on an accident prone disabled kid? she should be wearing pants! the horrid princess leia hairdo on rani is just as bad as it was in star wars...

at film school one is taught to write out character definitions on a page to help understand progression or growth of character. eg. how will he/she dress, react to social situations etc..try figuring out the dad and the'll go crazy!

has anyone seen kamalhasans hindustani, chachi 420? or govinda's movie with multiple roles? sunny the spy or even anil kapoors fat-man make up...the prosthetics were far far superior in any of those films than this one, and this one happily gives credit to some chap for his obvious and hence shoddy make up. and what a horrendous white wig has been given to amitabh bachchan so it matches the hospital white! one did not know the disease wasted hair color as well as the brain!

given that there's nobody like amitabh bachchan. but he limps too the moment he starts doing a shake-the-head a la veer pratap singh from yash chopras latest...

forget about black. i'm betting long names for movies are soon going to make a comeback...after all black did not work, neither will sheesha or bewafa or any of the stupid movies... and we'll continue to put or hands on each other's mouths, and confound the dumb waiters at restaurants by mouthing "woaaater!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Get Off!

Get off that merry-go-round!
It’s for people half your age!
Get off that table!
Stop that dancing!
Stop that drinking!
Stop that singing off-key!
Join the matrons now!
Your turn is done!
The sun has set,
on your parade!

Cant you see?!
We were just,
Too polite to say it!
But now it’s time,
To hang up those dancing shoes,
To put away your clown hat,
To pick up that walking stick,
And settle down quietly
in that rocking chair.

It’s time to complain
About the nasty weather,
of tired aching joints,
and sudden pains,
faltering eyesight, fine print,
And lack of civilized company.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


my dreams are too endless,
my mind knows no fatigue.
i do not want peace with you,
i want you.

Friday, February 04, 2005

the prophesy

the awakening

when water shall touch you
you shall be marked with fire

he will walk with you in search of words
and you will sift the words for him

you will heal his fractured spirit
and he will bring to life yours

the acceptance

and you will want for nothing
if you begin to accept this your fate

fight you must for unpractised are you
the ways of fire may singe your soul

for the fire could blind you to the calls
the fire could take away the healing

temper the fire with your cool waters
let willingness mingle fire and water

the realization

fire shall rage stronger by day
memories of water soothe the nights

waters in turn shall be tamed and calm
for fire shall make strong the healing

just fifteen days before a year is marked
the water shall with fire willing meet

all else shall be put to wait
water-fire fire-water shall part not again.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

coffee, you and me

Once, I hid safely
Behind smirks of coffee
And crackling conversation.

Once, my dangly ear-rings
Distracted those wanting
To look deeper.

Once, my brazen hair
Outshone happily, everything
Between my ears.

Once, my eyebrow
Raised artfully, quelled
All attempts at intimacy.

Still wondering why,
I let you unravel
This carefully knit personality,
Over mocha and samosa.

(an apparently better version of this is on caferati...)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

page three, dahlings!

i would absolutely hate to have a sullen, unhappy, miserably made up, badly dressed reporter wander thru my beautifully turned out page three party. even tho she is the daughter of a very very dear friend of mine, who would rather be seen dead than wander about a party dressed like a JNU drop out. yes, yes, dahlings. I finally saw 'page three'.

and loved the film. really really loved the film. the drivers were real, their language was so cool i wish i had taken down some of the lines. i wish i had written some of those lines. i cannot stop laughing about one of them calling his boss 'doberman' because i am reminded of not so long ago when a friend called her husband 'gabbar'...i absolutely luuurrrved the cop with a short fuse and a degree from ferguson; he was so sooo manly, i forgave him his profuse perspiration. i loved the creepy movie director who asks in a deadpan voice, 'degi kya'. i loved the karva chauth party. i loved the socialites. i loved when dolly thakore says, "show me something in white". i loved the snivelling secretaries of hunks. i loved sandhya mridul. even loved the ingenue from dilli. i love atul kulkarni walking to lecture konkona in kolhapuri chappals. i wish i had written the maachis exchanging scene between the policeman mister bhonsle and atul kulkarni. i loved everyone except our oily bengoily babe who was practically in every frame of the film.

don't know what madhur bhandarkar was hoping to get out of having the 'jhi'-like konkona sen wander around the brilliantly shot parties. she was so sullen i wanted NOT to gossip with her...i suppose he probably needed approval from the arty set...but she was so yukky i wanted to make a 'cold cream mein kitnee chipchipahat' wala 30 seconder...her make up was oily, i checked my own t-spot several times thru the film. and so many close-ups! shudder! atul kulkarni looked cleaner than her. hasn't anyone informed her of an oil-free face-wash?

everyone around our sullen (someone slap her! she has a job, and she cribs and cribs and cribs!) reluctant page three girl grows up as a character. the dilli girl, sandhya mridul, the various boy friends, the editor, and why, even the socialites manage to grow as characters. while crib queen just wanders about in clothes my bandra maid would not wish to be seen dead wearing. i mean what's with khadi gramodyog type kurtas? looking at her awful clothes, and worse ear-rings, i know for sure that she would not have the sense to figure out if wore a dated armani or a brand new araiya outfit to the party.

i know page three reporters who are so smart, so quick on the uptake that she looks out of place. she has no special dialogs, so when she makes that one smart crack as she tells the 'mate' 'lock the door next time', it seems like someone else said it.

sorry i sniggered when i saw her best mate and her boy friend make out. 'bound to happen!' cooed a silly co-ed sitting in the row behind us. 'they are so sexy and she is so eeeek!'

and i protest vehemently if anyone calls this acting:

she lands up in a madh bungalow where children are 'working'. her expression as she opens the bedroom door should have been that of a suicidal fish surprised at the worm that came with the hook, not as if she really expected a puja.

she is at an underwear shoot as a reporter. she looks like shes auditioning for balika bodhu, she simpers and smiles so coyly i want someone to tell her there are page three reporters who could tell you they've seen naked pool parties and would never bat an eyelash in surprise.

she even reacts badly when she is asked to be crime beat babe. i would be thrilled, because that's what i wanted, and to be training under the newspaper's best crime guy...she looks as if she were being made to drink castor oil.

so, should you see it?

But, of course! if the film were so bad, would i have wasted my time sitting through it? have walked out of naach and have asked people to stop munching popcorn when we were watching schindler's list, so would i tell you to see it if i had not loved it?! with neverland in the theaters which is goooood? i would have told you go see shark tale, or even the incredibles in hindi, or watch a re-run of kuch kuch hota hai- on sony tv...

go see it! but spend only the morning show money. 50 bucks is way too much already for the torture of seeing the sullen babe.

maybe she should be cast in and as 'phoolandevi II, the return to death valley'

maybe i would cast the girl who does the society pages for the Mid-day instead...

maybe i would cast the decomposing body of parveen babi instead...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Blame it on the kimmam

methinks the khan and karan johar ought to do a 'lata mangeshkar' on the errant nandy babe. on the other hand maybe the entire film industry will automatically do a 'lata mangeshkar' on PNC...

what's a 'lata mangeshkar' you say? our very catty nightingale had once effectively killed competition from bole re papihara babe from the south by simply saying: shan't sing for anyone who asks her to sing.

i was also wondering why we have not heard a peep out of that pony-tailed self-styled management guru who insisted he was going to storm the film world by his well-researched film...the film came and went and no one including the audience cared...i don't think people even bothered to review it...only khunnas is, why are we so tolerant of fake guys like arindam chowdhary, and don't ask him to go back to his books or in the very least stop calling himself an expert or cut his pony tail off as an old fashioned prayaschitt...

maybe we should have a little more decency or self control and not show beautiful women in a state of decomposition... am speaking of parveen babi...even if it sells newspapers...

have suffered this control mechanism within that will not allow alcohol to get me off balance, neither will it allow the weed to work...but have discovered an old fashioned high called kimmam. it's going to help me thin-slice everyday life. and if you have not read blink, you will not understand what i am talking about. so until then, i leave you to fester...