Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vicky Donor - delivers !

First things first. John Abraham - take a bow.
A hard pat on the back for a fresh concept and a good comedy movie, for a first time producer. Good choice !

Vicky Donor is the story of Vicky Arora, who lives in Lajpat Nagar with his mother and grandmother.
It’s a typical Punjabi family setup. The mother is a quirky old fellow who runs a beauty parlor and takes care of the son and the granny, while the son is a good-for-nothing typical Punjabi Delhi boy. The mother and granny is quite a pair with their saas bahu bickering in the day and to die-for chemistry when they are a peg down in the evening.

Vicky’s life takes a U-turn when Dr. Chadha (Annu Kapoor) spots him and convinces him that he indeed has the choicest ermm sperm quality that can satisfy his clients. Albeit he is an infertility specialist. Dr. Chadha does some really funny renditions of the reproductive cycle, that sperm donation is actually a social service that pays as well, and how actually the entire mankind can be categorized on the basis of different types of sperm!
It is all a happy arrangement until Vicky falls for the very beautiful Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam). Their romance is very breezy and believable. The chemistry is good and the whole Punjabi v/s Bengali wedding is quite a laughathon.  The twist in the tale comes when Ashima discovers that she cannot conceive, and that Vicky was a sperm donor and she wasn’t let in to the secret before the wedding.

The second half is a little serious with the whole emotional, baby, and trust thing, but the cast delivers. The lead pair is promising and can act well, and I actually had to reach for a tissue once.
The movie is a brilliant take on a very sensitive and controversial issue. It’s something that could have very easily gone wrong with sleazy and vulgar humor. But the script is intelligent and tight. You laugh, laugh harder and then some more. The songs are melodious. Pani Da Rang is a complete mush song that turns your heart into a jelly. Ayushmaan has done a great job with the acting, composition and as a singer.

It’s a sin to miss this one! A good comedy movie after a long time!

My rating 4/5.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chicken Soup for the Indian Couple's Soul !

Disclaimer / Caution : This book is an all out mush attack on unsuspecting souls. If love/mush/romance is not your genre, cover your eyes and ears and run in the opposite direction !

Chicken Soup for the Indian Couple's Soul showcases a collection of short, inspirational and very interesting stories of real life couples, their life events and relationships. The stories range from couples whose match was made in heaven, to those who had a typical arranged marriage, to some of the lucky ones who fell in love and got married to their partner, to those who had a tough time making their families approve their relationship, to the not-so-lucky ones who had to go against the world to be with their love of life.

My 'bundle of joy' ! ;-)

The stories capture all the hues of a couple's married life, from being 'just married', to the joys of having a child, to the triumph of having a baby despite a miscarriage or being unable to conceive, to the trauma of the realization of not being able to produce their own progeny, to the boundless joys found in an adopted child, to facing the 'mid life crisis', of discovering long lost love in the autumn years of life, and of coping up with life without a partner when Death cut a love story short. The book is a captivating read as it takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions in the lives of the rich, the poor, middle class, of people with special needs and people with special circumstances.

It doesn't matter whether you are in love, or out of it, whether you are married and happy, or married and separated, you are bound to find it difficult to put the book down as you go down memory lane, or fantasize about your own dream wedding and a happily ever after life. The book captures all nuances of a man woman relationship. Be it falling in love at first sight, or realizing that your partner of 20 years was indeed the love of your life, of being by your partner's side in adverse times, or of conveying those ever elusive words "I Love you" through your eyes. As I read on story after story of exemplary courage people showed, just to be by each others' side, it made me sit up and sent me into an introspection made. Nothing in this world comes easy, not even Love. It takes a lot of effort to keep the fire in a relationship alive after years of being together.

Some love stories were so romantic, that I had the kind of feeling one has while having sinful dark chocolate. While there were some that made me feel blessed and want to appreciate my near and dear ones more than I do now. Those that dealt with death had me in tears. Such beautiful people and stories, and such an abrupt ending. But then, who said life is fair.

The authors Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanse & Rajyashree Dutt have done a spectacular job of collecting these gem of a stories and compiling them into this stunning book that is so aptly named "...for the Indian Couple's Soul."
Here are some of my "mush moments" from the book :

For he finally realized that there was a woman in his life. A woman who was sobbing, but who had shown him her inner steal, a woman who had put  up with enough sense, but was no pushover. She might be dependent on him, but she could still make her own decisions. A woman who was not going to be a small fraction of his life, but his better half. And that was the day Dad finally got married.

As we walked to the car, like lovers, I asked him, 'Why didn't you hug me earlier?'
'Because you became so silent; like a stone.'
'You stopped understanding me; I became quiet.'
'Me too...'
It was then, in an old parking lot that I realized that love isn't harsh and hard like a mirror; it is as mushy, mouldable and pure as mud.

Today, life has moved on without him but my daughter has inherited his smile and my son his vigour. They are preoccupied with their lives and I am reconciled with mine. But when I hear the pattering rain on the window sill, I open up all the locked doors inside and with a swelling heart I feel the rain on my palms, as if someone is breathing new life into my being. The familiar fragrance wraps me in ecstasy and reminiscence.

Today the opera is far from over. There are still many many acts and scenes waiting to be played out; many more characters to be introduced. But when it's time to write the final scene, I hope there's a hallelujah chorus at the end, or a resounding, crashing crescendo accompanied by fireworks at the very least.
After all, isn't that what every life lived together deserves?

PS: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  Blogadda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Does success come to the screwed ?

As I watch episode after episode and possibly every re-run of the famous TV series Sex and the City, I have to admit that it's the most intelligent TV show that I have come across. Every episode is so well crafted out in terms of a story, a buildup and a climax! And much as I like to fancy myself as the next Carrie Bradshaw (:-P), it's a wish minus the frills. Because as much as I admire Carrie's wit, sense of humor, writing and way of thinking, I still have an issue with her being in and out of relationships at the drop of a hat and having a rebound relationship with Mr. Big  more than once. Now the former may be due to a culture difference, but what about love? What was it that made her screw every relationship, even though she was an expert "on paper" per say?

Carrie with Mr. Big
  I begin to think about some other legends and their love/success stories. Everybody knows late Mr. M.F.Hussain's fixation for our talented young actresses, and who even went to on to produce an arty 'Gajgamini' with his then muse Madhuri Dixit. The likes of music maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, yesteryears' actress Smita Patil, and TV actress Nina Gupta have a love child each. And when Ranbir Kapoor is advised in Rockstar with a "Jab tak tera dil nahi tootega, usmein dard nahi aayega, tab tak tu sacha artist nahi banega" (You will never become a true artist until you don't experience a heart break or the pain of failing in love), my wayward thoughts were cast in stone. But is this really true that success comes to the screwed?

I mean, Carrie was screwed in her mind, Mr. M.F.Hussian in his heart and a lot of others in love. We often look down upon the shell life of relationships in Bollywood, and where people keep moving on from one relationship to the other as non-chalantly as we do from one mall to the other on a rather dull day. And it's not the just the entertainment industry. Look at the famous author Salman Rushdie...he writes way too intellectual stuff, and at the same time, keeps marrying these oh-so-hot ladies half his age. Is that what keeps him going? Or is it an outcome of his rather dull life, surrounded by books, paper and pen for company?

Salman Rushdie with ex-wife padma Lakshmi (Ain't she hot?) ;-)
 I can't seem to figure out a pattern here, except that all these people, having an obscenely huge artistic factor in them, are belittled in their persona elsewhere. Wouldn't they all have been perfect had God bestowed these oh-so-creative people with a sane mind that followed the ways of the world they inhabited? But perfection is just God's business. I think even He is insecure at some level. If He made a human perfect enough, wouldn't the spotlight shift? I think even He's screwed enough to bless us with imperfection so that we always look up to Him and Only Him. ;-)

I still didn't want to believe in the theory, and decided to delve in my own self. I read some of my old articles which I had written when I was going through a very tough phase in my life. None of the current stuff even nears the level. So, even for me, I could say that pain bought out the best art of my life. But does that mean if I am happy, I will never be able to publish my best work? Will that happen only if I screw something irreversably in my life, and then only I will be able to churn out some sweet/sour musings of my life and poetically imprint it on paper?

Pray why that is, I still don't know.
If any one of you has an answer, please enlighten me.

Yours truly,
Happy :-D and Doomed :-(

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Relationship Basics!

Now, I am no expert in this domain, and as far as I understand the way it works, nobody is. Ya, we do have relationship experts who advice and counsel us on what is the best thing to do under certain circumstances. But I like to believe that they have indulged in name calling and petty fights themselves, at on odd time or two. After all, they are just as humane as us. But as people (read friends and siblings) around me get into new relationships, and I see them blushing a deep crimson at one time and in the depths of gloom at other because 'he/she doesn't understand me', I have more than a few words of wisdom to share. You know, been there done that! ;-)

Here they go, in no particular order:

1) If you are in a relationship for good (read: long term/getting married), please do not mould it on the basis of how other people would like to see it. After all, you are the one who is going to be the central part of it. Mould it just the way you both can fit in snugly! ;-) (No pun intended :-P)

 2) Set the ground rules. More often than not, all of us are particular about some habits that we absolutely cannot stand in our partner, while we may be able to adjust with some other distractions. Now these things differ from one person to the other, pretty much like one apple from the other! Please let the other person know of  these early in the relationship and save yourself a lot of heart pain.

3) Communication is the key word. Now which relationship in the world does not have fights. Don't shy away from them nor be prepared for one, every second. But if you disagree about something(s) (which I am sure you will, if not, it’s NOT normal!), sit down and discuss. No good came out of WWI or WWII, and nothing of the sort is going to happen with your silly fight too. No point of throwing tantrums, or living in denial, or washing your dirty linen in public. In the end, you are still going to have to sit down and discuss. Better do it the first time around.
4) NEVER GET PERSONAL during a fight! No mudslinging on your partner's character or parents' name calling. Run in the opposite direction if your partner does that. Respect is a very important ingredient in a relationship, more so than love. You cannot love a person until you respect him. 
If your partner has the habit of getting personal, keep your silence and dignity. You will be so proud of yourself some years later, of not having given into the temptation of falling down to his/her level.

5) Save your best side for later.
Now which girl is going to reject a man who looks handsome, smells good, earns decently and is chivalrous as well? Or which guy in his sane mind wouldn't like to take home a girl who is good looking, caring and loves him to death?
But more often than not, people on their best behavior in the early days of their relationship and once they tie the knot or the relationship is a year or two old, the behavioral curve starts hip-hopping. And you will be left wondering as to what changed.
Utilize the time that you get before marriage(esp. in arranged marriages) to know your partner better. Show your bad side too. If your partner can love with your follies, imagine how your life will  be with all the good in you.
Otherwise you will be in for some real surprises later. And all surprises ain't good!

6) Opposites attract, but make sure that you two have at least a thing or two in common. Otherwise, a few years down the line, you will have nothing worthwhile to discuss and only a pile of things to bicker about.

7) Last, but not the least. Show faith in your partner. It is good to keep your eyes and ears open and look for hidden meanings in the sweet (and long) conversations in the initial months, but don't make it a habit of misunderstanding him/her for any and every small thing. After all, isn't your relationship/marriage a leap of faith too?

You may or may not agree with a couple or all the points above. But that's okay. What I have observed and learnt from my experience is that even though each of us are different in some way or the other and so are our mutual relationships, somehow all relationships follow some pretty similar graphs. (I think I will write another post discussing the various kinds of graphs ;-))

I can already see some cynics turning up their noses at the idea of falling in love with a check list in hand. Of course, love is blind, deaf, mute and completely illogical! But it alone is not sufficient for an "and they lived happily ever after" world. After all, people are not paper that you can bundle them up and see under a lamp!

So dearies, once you have fallen (in love), stand up, brush yourself and do consult your checklist before taking the plunge and saying those beautiful words, "I Love You too!"
Ther are no perfect people or relationships in this world. Just the Happy ones and the miserable ones!

All pictures courtesy Google.