Tag Archive: love


Sayandeb Chowdhury

 

 

Film: 7 Khoon Maaf
Director: Vishal Bhradwaj
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Naseruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, Anu Kapoor, Usha Uthup, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Ruskin Bond, Vivaan Shah and Konkona
Rating: Excellent

Vishal Bhardwaj made Maqbool. And that was it. A new school of cinema was born in Bombay. Cinema that was tough, unrelenting, atmospheric, harsh and full of power. In case of Maqbool, and its successor Omkara, the author was none other than William Shakespeare (Macbeth, Othello). By the time he reached Kaminey, Bhardwaj had already acquired a kind of an unsparing vision of a life and its assorted idiosyncrasies that he had harnessed to remarkable effect. Kaminey, the gangster movie about Mumbai underworld and the horse racing mafia was but cool. In 7 Khoon Maaf, Bhardwaj manages to pull his aces together to create what is perhaps most Shakespearean of his films. In what is a virtuoso adaptation of Ruskin Bond short story Susanna’s Seven Husbands, Bhardwaj shows how he has internalised the Shakespearean eye for the imminent and the immanent, to what beauty he can build an atmosphere of genuine suspense even in the everyday, how premonition and clairvoyance resides in ordinary acts of human kindness and insight. And most importantly how behind chilling acts of crime are often the most tragic and lonely of human beings who are otherwise pilgrims of love.
Priyanka Chopra in what is an author backed role plays Susanna to almost perfect effect, falling for love every time when actually there was none. She lives and breathes her role as a love-seeking, vulnerable woman, who gets accosted by and seduced by six brazen men, who turn out to be different from who they were supposed to be. Her vulnerability is however her biggest weapon in her troubled life and as she grows old, she learns to use them more effectively than ever before. And like any woman who has passed not once but six times, alone, through the territory of impertinent men, she learns to use the craft of her sexuality too, even as her bones and skin turn thicker and thicker under her beauteous, if wrinkled skin. 
The story moves fast and uncontrollably towards its denouement, which is nothing short of revelatory. On the way, Priyanka changes her religion twice, visits Kashmir and Pondicherry, get’s married to a Russian attaché and a Bengali doctor apart from a Rajput rockstar, a Goanese General with one leg and a UP police inspector. Her milieu changes from the brazenly feudal world of the landed military, to that of an Urdu poet with special affection for sadomasochism, from the heroin-induced world of skirted rock singers of early eighties Goa to that of naturopathy of a bankrupt doctor. Her only witness and confidante is the narrator, Arun, who remains the distant young lover and the only normative influence in her mad life, perhaps the only one who could have survived her audacious search for love in a battered human landscape that includes her husband and her band of murdering minsters.
The film’s premise and period moves from the swinging ‘70s to 26/11 and beyond and the details are brought out with total attention and care. Ranjan Palit’s superlative, atmospheric photography is the highpoint of the film, apart from, of course, Bhardwaj’s superb ear for music which includes a rock ballad, a sufi lovenote and of course the Russian folk inspired Darrling, which remains the film’s chartbusting number. 
7 Khoon Maaf is vintage Vishal Bhardwaj, sensible, sensitive, powerful and sparsely illuminating of the darkness that we all carry inside.

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Mush ado about nothing

 

 

 

 

 

Men aren’t supposed to like reading romance. That’s the theory anyway… In reality, they do read Mills & Boon novels, but secretly, writes JAYA BISWAS

 

 

It was in a café at the Mumbai airport that I happened to witness this ‘rare’ sight. A tall, plump, middle-aged man engrossed in a Mills & Boon paperback novel titled, Take On Me. The book cover bore a picture of a scantily-clad woman on a beach about to be seduced by a man in swimming trunks. The man reading seemed to relish each and every page, completely oblivious of the fact that he was receiving quite a few odd stares from fellow passengers who were whiling away their time before the announcement for departure. He didn’t care. Perhaps, he was aware of the hypocrisy of other men, who read the same books, but publicly condemn them as ‘rubbish for women’.
Take them or leave them, but you certainly can’t ignore these romantic novels, which have been a part of most peoples’ lives. Hundreds of them stacked in libraries, heaped at roadside book stalls, laid out for second-hand sale on pavements, borrowed time and time again — especially in hostels, where the trick is for one girl to borrow the book and ten girls to finish it in the same night — Mills and Boon books are everywhere. Come on, we’ve all ogled the alluring covers depicting coy, docile heroines with tall, handsome men aching with desperation, anguish or lust, at some point or the other.
But is it only women who read these so-called mushy Mills & Boon (popularly M&B) love sagas? Or are men just as hooked? It is difficult to establish their popularity among men as most will never admit to reading M&Bs. Afsha Khan, a 26-year-old freelance writer from Mumbai, says, “Men are just too proud to admit that they don’t have the patience for descriptive text. They’re more into pictures. They would rather watch a Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or a Pretty Woman than use their imagination. Maybe if M&B came up with a graphic novel with really good illustrations, chances are that they would fall for them.”
However Malay Desai, a college student has a reverse take on men reading mush. He says, “I’m yet to meet a man who owns up to reading M&Bs. Men claim it’s only women who read them because women have no qualms flaunting them. Comparing M&B to well-made films isn’t fair. Rather parallels can be drawn with Indian television’s great afternoon soap factory. Many men watch TVs soaps, but will never admit that they like them. Same with M&Bs. Maybe more men would come out in the open on this sensitive mental orientation if women gave them the assurance that reading mush isn’t ‘uncool’.”
Most men are still not confident of being in touch with their softer, feminine side. And certainly if they are of a more sensitive nature they would never admit it in front of their friends (particularly other men) afraid of being considered “girlie”.
Manish Singh, country manager, Harlequin Mills & Boon India Pvt Ltd, claims that the number of men who buy M&Bs compared to women is very low, “Though concrete data is not available, our research says that the percentage of male buyers is very small, and they normally buy it for others.”
Mr Gautam Jatia, CEO of Starmark echoes this, “Our male customers rarely ‘read’ M&Bs. Around 10 per cent of the total count buying M&Bs are men. However, we have noticed that men usually buy M&Bs as gift items.” 
 The Pregnancy Shock, The Sheikh’s Convenient Mistress, Taken by the Bad Boy, The Billionaire’s Bride of Vengeance, The Millionaire’s Ultimate Catch are some of the most sought-after M&B titles that women lap up till this day, even if it means masking them in brown covers or hiding them inside their study material.
 It is not just men who lie about their liking for M&Bs. There are even some women who claim they don’t read this basic form of chicklit as it is considered low-brow. Suranjana Nandi, a journalist working with a fashion magazine in Mumbai exclaims, “Women of all age groups read M&Bs. They may not admit it but they do. And this holds true for both single women as well as those with partners. The stories are single women’s dream, while those with partners want to know all that ‘could have been’. Therein lies the charm of reading these novels.”
 Interestingly, the reasons behind the popularity of M&B novels are astoundingly mottled. Bonny Ghose (Kolkata), a librarian by profession, cites an example, “Not only do I find young college-goers asking for M&Bs, my mother too is an avid reader and has always been so. However, she avoids the sexually-explicit ones. Mom would rather go for an easy-read formula story after a hard day’s work.”
Mr Jatia couldn’t agree more. He says, “M&Bs are a hit with readers for so many years because they make for quick read, easy connect and the
language is simple, making it convenient for occasional readers as well.”
 Recalls Afsha, “I read my first M&B when I was 13, in the dead of the night when everyone had fallen asleep.  As for why it is such a hit, I think these novels ‘immensely’ improve the vocabulary (pun intended!). My ability to describe things pictorially became increasingly better after my fifth title. Plus, it’s interesting to note how smartly they skirt around certain words. In this case, I’d say ‘reading is believing’.”
 It is no wonder that Harlequin Mills and Boon have grown to become one of the leading publishers of adult romantic fiction around the world for more than a century. There has been a remarkable change in reading habits too, especially in the last five years. Mr Singh reveals, “The readership has risen over the years. The books are available for various moods and cater to all age groups (from 16 to 60 years). The market for English language books has witnessed 10 per cent of yearly growth. Alternative format like e-books has also contributed to increase and change in the readership pattern. The data from other international markets where e-books are a rage, shows that readers are comfortable in downloading the titles and reading them either on PCs or hand-held devices.”
 Anuttama Banerjee, psychologist and consultant at Eastern Zonal Psychological Association (Kolkata), sums up the situation. She explains, “We are all victims of ‘labelling’ by the society. We grow up with certain notions, for example men are associated with qualities like assertiveness, machismo and fearlessness. They are considered to have a practical bent of mind, while women are generally expected to be submissive, docile, romantic and dreamy eyed. And there lies the dilemma. Moreover, it has been observed that men receive a lot of flak and get teased by their peer groups if they happen to exhibit soft emotions.”
Anuttama further adds, “Men have to try hard to match up to the standards set by the society. They prefer to keep it discreet, oblivious from public eye. On the other hand, women have the freedom to express their penchant for romance and no one objects. However, the fact that men read mush cannot be ruled out completely. If they can read women’s magazines, chances are that they read M&Bs too, maybe when their partners are done with them.”
 Girls, all you need to do is keep your eyes open!

Everything is fair in the game of love. If you are a man looking for a date on Valentine’s Day, a little act of indifference on your part will help to hook the woman of your dreams

Supreeta Singh
ere’s some interesting news for men on Valentine’s Day. A recent study reveals that a woman is seemingly more attracted to a man when she is uncertain about how much her man likes her. Conducted by experts at the University of Virginia and Harvard University, the study reveals that if a woman is left wondering about the degree of a man’s interest in her, it would improve his chances of grabbing her attention. In other words, ‘playing hard to get’ is a foolproof strategy to arouse a woman’s interest and keep her hooked.
 Among the many unwritten rules to be followed by both men and women during courtship could be a show of indifference. It really works since it triggers the instinct of chasing a possible partner and winning him/her over. Poonam Jha, a media professional, says, “It is human nature to pursue a thing more persistently, when it’s hard to get. If you get something served on a platter, you tend to take it for granted and soon lose interest. When you apply the same formula to romantic relationships, a man or woman’s apparent aloofness drives you crazy. In the initial stages, it can be an effective method to keep the person, especially women, guessing.”
 Dating has its own code of conduct which at times leaves men and women confused. But when a man plays hard to get, it adds an aura of mystery and charm that women find difficult to resist. According to the study, when a woman goes around with a man who is not forthcoming about his level of interest, then she spends considerable time thinking about him. The more she muses, the more attractive he becomes, at least in her imagination.
 Paromita Banerjee, a student, says, “This is a more subtle psychological tease. A man can easily woo his love-interest with more mushy things like chocolate, flowers or taking her out for dinner. But when a man makes me curious about him, I find it more captivating. It adds to his masculine magnetism.”
 Fed on a diet of amorous tales of passion, women find it a worthwhile pursuit of slowly discovering what teases men. However, an intelligent man would know where to draw the line. Asif Iqbal, a PR professional, says, “When dating a girl one must know that girls love attention but it is important to be careful so as not to drive her away. Change in your attitude will compel her to shift focus towards you as well as the relationship. But you must show your care  in a subtle way even while being indifferent because drastic changes in your behaviour will hamper the relationship.”
 So, is there any way to be appropriately indifferent? The measure of a man’s success with woman he is eyeing, depends on the perfect blend of cool reserve and friendly banter. Supratim Roy, an event oragniser, doles out the mantra, “When you are hanging out with your friends, take her out with you. Don’t show her that you are over-protective. Call her at regular intervals. Let her know that you enjoy her company without forcing yourself on her. Allow her to make moves too.”
 Try it!

 

 

The latest Coke ad, with the classic track, Aaj Ki Raat… has caught the imagination of Gen-Y

 

Ashok Chatterjee

Retro ads are gaining popularity with the Indian marketing gurus. Songs from the 1970s and 1980s are making a comeback in Indian commercials. Vintage is special. Success of Akshay Kumar with his printed shirt and big collars in Action Replayy and Ajay Devgn in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai are enough evidence of the retro making a big comeback in our lives. Advertising is known to capture the pulse of the people. So, the numbers Jata Kahan Hai deewane for the Coca Cola ad, Aaj Pehali Tarikh Hai for the Cadbury Dairy milk chocolate ad or Genelia D’Souza’s New Fanta ad surely grab eyeballs. The latest Coke ad, with the retro number, Aaj Ki Raat… has caught the imagination of gen-next.
The advertisers are not only scoring high with the catchy songs but also leaving no stones unturned in recreating the perfect look and feel. Take for example the Vivel Deo ad, which shows a boy and a girl playing badminton in whites, recreating the song, Dhal Gaya Din, from the Jeetendra-Leena Chandravarkar starrer Humjoli or the Himalaya Face Wash ad where the girl dresses up in retro style or even the Biskfarm cookies ad, where a strong retro concept of patriarchal society comes across with the famous dialogue ‘Pran nath, aap kya kha rahe ho?’.
Shah Rukh Khan has also changed his looks for Dish TV advertisement. He is seen as a 75-years-old man in the ad. He looks cool with a stick.
The ads of the late 70s or 80s still have their brand recall. It is hard to forget the Bajaj bulb ad with the jingle, Jab main chota ladka tha, badi shararat karta tha. Meri chori pakdi jati, Jab roshan hota Bajaj — now, there lies the charm. When ad agencies create ads, their goal is to make a commercial that is catchy and memorable. The use of jingles is to make it linger in your head and remind you of the product.
Another television commercial, which is still fresh in our memories, is the Vicks ki goli lo khich khich door karo number. The ad caught on with the audience so much that it led to a rise in sales of Vicks cough drops. If these were the ‘funny’ ads on TV, the classic Raymonds ad which showed the ‘complete man’ still rings in our head. Advertisers feel the same old magic can be recreated with the new products as well. As ad-man Prahlad Kakkar explains, “I’ve been observing this trend for some time now. It all started with the Close-up toothpaste ad, followed by Fevicol ads and the Cadbury ads. The retro theme breaks the clutter. But if the theme is used in abundance, then it becomes a clutter in itself,” he says.
“In advertising, we have been neglecting the Silvers (the silver jubilee club). Since a healthy 35 per cent of the elderly are the target audience, these retro ads not only make the elderly nostalgic but also get the youngsters notice it. We must always remember the moot point of selling a product is to hook the viewers. And these ads are doing it fine,” Kakkar adds.
But senior account executive, Versus Communications, Rahul Mehra, who also is the manager of music band, Insomnia, begs to differ. He says, “Corporate houses are trying to woo the youth. The IT industry has altered the audience base for products. Youngsters, just out of college are earning high salaries these days, working in BPOs. They constitute a major segment of the Indian population. And this population still loves to listen to ABBA and the Final Countdown for entertainment.”
If Jumping Jack Jeetendra once ruled the popularity charts, today Imran Khan is ruling the roost. The latest Coke shadow ad, features the Break Ke Baad hero Imran doing funny act with the classic Aaj Ki Raat playing in the background. No surprises, it is the most downloaded ad today. The song takes you back to the 1973 film, Anamika.
Talking about the success of the jingles, music composer and audio producer, Drono Acharya, says, “One of the major reasons for the success of these songs is the melody. But the advertisements can go wrong if they make mockery of these golden classics.”
Bollywood singer, Kailash Kher, who has many popular jingles under his belt, refuses to believe that retro is the latest craze for ad filmmakers. “I cannot endorse the view. In order to be different, some advertisers go back to the past for inspiration. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t,” says Kher. 
The person behind successful ad campaigns like the Kamasutra condoms and Emami Fair & Handsome, Alyque Padamsee sums up the phenomenon. He says, “It is just a fad. Agencies copy any success formula. The industry is full of copycats. If one retro-themed ad clicks with the audience, everyone follow suit. Personally, I want to be original,” he clarifies.
Fad or not, retro ads surely have got everyone talking.

 

Jaya Biswas

Film: Band Baaja Baaraat
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh
Rating: Very Good
 
There is a lot to like in this new Yash Raj venture. The story about two wedding planners, Shruti Kakkar (Anushka Sharma) and Bittoo Sharma (newcomer Ranveer Singh), has a natural charm and sweetness that’s been missing from YRF movies for a long-long time.
Debutant director Maneesh Sharma, who has also written the story, takes us out of the artificial studio settings into the lanes and by-lanes of the national capital. The dialogues and screenplay have been written by Habib Faisal, who directed the charming Do Dooni Chaar.
Set in Delhi, Band Baaja Baraat (BBB) is all about two 20-years-old young graduates set to enter the real world. Shruti and Bittoo are as different as chalk and cheese. Shruti hails from a middle class background. She is ambitious, determined and focused and has set goals for herself as she reaches final year of college. On the other hand, we see Bitto as a freeloader with no aim in life. He is more interested in having fun with friends than attending classes.
This rom-com revolves around these two characters as they meet by chance and happen to become business partners. No, BBB has nothing to do with Jennifer Lopez starrer The Wedding Planner.
At first they hesitate to work together considering the complications, as Shruti aptly puts it, Jisse wyaapar karo usse kabhi na pyaar karo (you shouldn’t fall in love with someone you do business with). But they can’t resist taking the plunge, however, pledging that they would never mix business with pleasure. Will they or won’t they is for you to find out…
What makes BBB worth a watch are believable characters and a milieu exuding authentic Delhi texture. When Bittoo speaks of reaping sugarcane in Saharanpur, he plays the character to the tee. The actor is just perfect as an uncouth but good-hearted small-town loafer, who doesn’t have any qualms speaking with his mouth full or pronouncing business as ‘binness’. But when it comes to managing business deals and convincing his clients, he is better than many. As a newcomer, Ranveer is not at all camera conscious.  In fact, at times he reminds us of Ranbir Kapoor in Wake up Sid!!
The first half, in which Bittoo and Shruti set up their company, Shaadi Mubarak, is great fun. In terms of performances, Anushka, who has been ‘okay’ in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi or Badmaash Company, finally comes into her own as the ambitious Delhi girl, who can take on the world.
Unlike other Yash Raj films, the music is average in this one. Save for the song Ainvayi Ainvayi, sung by Salim Merchant and Sunidhi Chauhan, rest have little recall value. Ainvayi is pacey and totally ‘Punjabi’ in essence. This song is sure to have you tapping your foot.
Sadly, the second half drags with too much of altercations between the protagonists, stretched-out wedding sequences and even an item number where Bittoo and Shruti fill in for Shah Rukh Khan!! Can you beat that?
Overall, Band Baaja Baaraat is entertaining. It’s definitely one of the best films you’ll have in theatres this weekend.

ALSO READ:  REVIEW: Watch it for Ranbir-Priyanka’s awesome chemistry

 

Jaya Biswas

Film: Break Ke Baad
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Imran Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Shahana Goswami, Yudishtir Urs, Lilette Dubey, Naveen Nischol
Director: Danish Aslam
Rating: Poor
 
Break Ke Baad, co-written and directed by debutant Danish Aslam starts off well. Over a long title sequence a la Main Hoon Na, we are introduced to the lead characters — Abhay, played by Imran Khan and Aaliya, played by Deepika Padukone — both Hindi film buffs who share their first kiss while watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The first hour-and-a-half goes off like a breeze. But that’s about it.
Imran Khan re-enacts a character he’s essayed quite effectively in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. Here too, Abhay Gulati is a chocolate-faced epitome of patience. He is sensitive; the quintessential Mr Right putting up with his insolent, spoilt, self-centred childhood sweetheart, Aaliya. Imran is charming, but his character — that’s supposed to manipulate the audience into agreeing with him —doesn’t quite work.
Aaliya, who aspires to be an actress, calls her mom (Sharmila Tagore) by her first-name. She’s smart and manipulative who knows how to work her way to get what she wants. Aaliya’s ambition to follow her passion has everyone tied up in knots. Abhay’s mental conflict of working in his father’s business, despite hating it forms another angle to the story. So far, so good. 
Danish has tried too hard to be cool but the effort is glaring. The film’s weak foundation and lack of fun moments make it tedious. The concept of breaks-ups and relationships have been dealt with in far  more mature way in Love Aaj Kal (also starring Deepika Padukone), where the film starts with a break-up and then goes on to focus on the metamorphosis of the couple meeting new people, and so on. At least, it was entertaining, and the conflict in the film proceeded with ease.
The second half, where Aaliya enjoys her time at the university, making new friends and her over-protective boyfriend follows her to woo her back is too much to handle. Tired of a claustrophobic relationship, Aaliya wants space and a break-up! Abhay on the other hand disagrees.
The two friends (Shahana Goswami and Yudishtir) — the owners of the house where both Aaliya and Abhay put up in Australia, are just okay.
There is an overload of content advertising (Kit Kat chocolates, Volkswagen Beetle, Zen mobile). Nothwithstanding the mandatory big, fat Punjabi wedding, clips incorporated from Bollywood rom-coms like DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and other films, Aslam maintains a mellow vibe and concentrates on establishing the close friendship between Abhay (Imran Khan) and Aaliya (Deepika Padukone). And thank god for small mercies, their Hindu-Muslim status is never a subject of concern or speculation here.
It’s always nice to see veterans like Sharmila Tagore and Naveen Nischol lending some warmth to the otherwise insipid surroundings.
Lillete Dubey, as the coquettish single aunt with her tongue-in-cheek repartees, is too good.
The storytelling is superfluous, barely scratches the surface of the characters’ conflicts, preferring not to delve deeper and is unconvincingly served to the audience.
Watch it if you haven’t had enough of rom-coms already.

ALSO READ:

REVIEW: Watch it for Ranbir-Priyanka’s awesome chemistry

 

 

Jaya Biswas

Film: Guzaarish
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Monikangana Dutta, Suhel Seth
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Rating: Very good
 

Hrithik fans can heave a sigh of relief and finally rejoice, for the actor has redeemed himself with his fantastic performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest offing, Guzaarish, after giving a box office dud like Kites.
Guzaarish is one of those films that is not just meant to entertain you, but makes an attempt to shake you by the intensity of its content. Like Bhansali’s Black, Guzaarish too strives to survive on the spirit of a central character — in this case a quadriplegic, whose life depends more on machines than anything else. Yet, the film tugs at your heartstrings because you can’t help but feel compassionate towards Ethan and his lifeless life. It is a simple story woven in a fascinating web of fervent sentiments, superb cinematography and interesting dialogues.
The film sees the return of one of the hottest pair in Bollywood — Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Director Sanjay Leela Bansali is donning the director’s hat after three years, this time dealing with a sensitive subject like euthanasia or mercy killing.
Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) used to be the best magician in town (Goa, to be precise). But a fatal accident left him paralysed and bedridden for life. But Ethan believes in the theory of ‘smile and the world smiles with you’; we see him hosting a radio show ‘Hello Zindagi’ (ironical indeed) where he spreads hope to listeners through his inimitable wit and humour. For 12-long-years, he’s being aided by a nurse, Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who’s also his companion, caregiver and much more.
On the 14th anniversary of his accident, Ethan decides to make a petition to the court for euthanasia (which he humourously calls ‘Ethanasia’). This leaves his best friend and lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) and Sofia in a frenzy. Meanwhile, a young lad Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) enters Ethan’s world with an earnest desire to learn magic from him. Impressed by Omar’s dedication to magic Ethan agrees to pass on his legacy to him.
The indoors as well as outdoors add so much to the film. There’s no refuting that cinematographer Sudeep K Chatterjee has created some really enthralling visuals that’s sure to stay with you for a very long time. The first half is breezy and you don’t realise when it gets over. The second half is a bit of a drag. Like Kal Ho Naa Ho, Guzaarish’s narrative is light-hearted with many funny moments. Sample this: Ethan says, ‘God pe bharosa hai, isiliye I am dying to meet him.’ Also, the scene in which Sofia gives Ethan a leg massage is hilarious.
The songs in Guzaarish are meaningful which seamlessly blend with the situations. Tera Zikr Hai Ya Itra Hai is exceptional while Udi is foot tapping.
Now let’s come to Bhansali’s recklessness. The film’s plot has an uncanny resemblance to the Spanish film, The Sea Inside (2004). Based on the real life story of a sailor-turned-poet Ramdon Sampredo, who became a quadriplegic following an accident, the film dwells on his three-decade long struggle to get the government grant him euthanasia. Sampredo, immaculately essayed by Spanish heartthrob Javier Bardem, had two women in his life, a lawyer and a nurse. One only wishes Bhansali had bothered to change the characters in this one. And not just the plot, few scenes where Hrithik is seen on a wheelchair staring at the sea is a straight lift from Bardem’s film. Again, the scene where Hrithik exhibits his magic tricks on stage is an exact copy of Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.
Also the director must have decided to give his favourite theme ‘blue’ a break and opt for black and red instead, which again we see in opulence — be it Ash’s long frilly gowns, Hrithik’s performance attire or the stage backdrop. We don’t mind it at all!
A unique love story, passion in Guzaarish is expressed with subtle smirks and gentle smiles. Ash’s looks pretty in her classy dresses and aprons. The scene where he burst into a rapturous dance performance in a resto-bar is worth a mention. Suhel Seth as Ethan’s doctor and Nafisa Ali as Ethan’s mom do their parts well. Aditya Roy Kapoor is effortless. After Action Replayy and Guzaarish, this VJ-turned-actor is definitely making his presence felt.
As for Hrithik, Guzaarish is likely to act as the much-required springboard to bounce back.

Fast and the Furious

 

Supreeta Singh

There was a time when the word ‘romance’ evoked a sense of adventure and thrill. It felt like the slow unveiling of a fantastic treasure that only you were privy to. Love was a private affair, an emotion to be cherished, built upon and guarded with jealous pride. The journey from being strangers to lovers and finally being a married couple used to be a step-by-step discovery. It was both arduous and intoxicating. Even a few decades ago, men and women had a certain charm about them – men were expected to be chivalrous while women were painstakingly coy. Many rue that today the spirit of ‘true romance’ is fading away, only to be replaced by a relationship which is more ‘convenient’. There is nothing emotional about it. While it is true that times were different then, life was simpler… yet even now whenever there is a reference of ‘love’ it can still tug at the heartstrings. Ayan Chatterjee, CEO of Futuresoft says that it makes him sad to see how the whole dynamics of courtship, communication and commitment have changed over the years. “This is the age of flings. Men and women neither have the patience nor perseverance to search for something deeper in their relationships. Much of it is on the surface with conditions applied.” Earlier, rules were stringent and young couples were kept under the scanner of the watchful eyes of parents. The young man had to muster enough courage to approach his dream girl whose best friend became the channel for communication. Debika Mukherjee, a housewife and mother of two remembers how she had to devise elaborate plans to fix a date with her then boyfriend and now husband. “I am talking about the early 70s. My husband and his parents were our tenants. I was in college. Since I knew my parents would oppose the match, we would meet at a friend’s place. We would write each other letters and fix up a time and place. My friend would deliver the message to him. When he left the city for his job, we would write long love letters. I would look at his photograph and cry copious tears!” Today, a date begins with an SMS that says, ‘Let’s have a cup of coffee’. In an age of urbanisation and liberalisation, few men and women are willing to walk the extra mile for each other. Thanks to digital revolution that has fostered online communities like Facebook or virtual communication like Skype, the world has come closer. Issues of commitment do not bother anyone. The concept of ‘one-woman man’ or ‘one-man woman’ is also under considerable pressure. Ayan observes, “With so much sharing of personal information on public platforms, the depth has gone out of people and relationships. The wait for the perfect girl or boy is no longer that intense. If you don’t like someone, you just move on to another person. I see young girls come to nightclubs with different guys every week. These women use moneyed men as their arm-candies and the men in turn enjoy other favours.” Samadrita Bhattacharya, an IT professional believes that men and women are ready to compromise with their values and are motivated by their mind and not their heart when choosing partners. “I see a lot of women around me who are not spontaneous anymore. First they think about the man’s social standing, money and future prospects before they even begin to date. If you let your mind decide for you, then what about your emotions? Relationships are therefore more cut and dry than they used to be.” The fairy tale romance is now obsolete. Or Is it?

The EX – Factor

Is it possible to stay friends with a former lover? Read on to find the answer

 

Supreeta Singh

This person knows all your secrets. You are comfortable together. You have shared almost everything. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as you expected. Once, you two were lovers. Now, your relationship is a matter of the past. But does that mean everything is over? Just because you are not lovers anymore, is the friendship that existed between you no longer important? Whether you had a tough breakup or a mutual separation, an ex-lover can become a great buddy once the initial discomfort settles down. Or perhaps not?

Priyanka Chakrabarti
| student: YES If you had a nasty break up, it becomes difficult to be friends with your ex. But as both move-on in life, I think it is possible that your ex might become your best friend because both of you know each other well. I have seen that a lot of times the best advice comes from your ex. So, try being a little more forgiving towards each other and forget all your differences. It will work wonders!

Soumya Rao | student: YES I believe that one can be friends with one’s ex, but the process is not an easy one, and will take a great deal of time and maturity on the part of both of them to settle the matter. First and foremost, you need time to be able to let go of the relationship and truly get over the person. You also have to be willing to realise that as friends, you will not have the same degree of influence or insight into the other person’s life. Most of all, if as a girlfriend /boyfriend you were used to a great deal of importance in the person’s life, you will have to have the maturity to accept that you will no longer have the same and should also be able to see your ex move on.

Riya Gupta | student: NO I don’t think it’s a good idea being friends with your ex. They are like those dark experiences that we wish to forget and if we want to move on in life, we have to erase them completely from our memory. Friendship with them will only invite a troubled state of mind. So I believe it’s not a great idea to be friends with one’s ex.

Debapriya Goswami | marketing professional: NO It’s not at all possible to be friends with your ex. This is not a real friendship. This kind of “friendship” isn’t good and will just make everyone feel awkward and uncomfortable. The worst possible situation to be in when you are friends after a break up is to still hold a grudge against each other but to be passive and aggressive about it. 

Sarvesha Karnani | public
relations professional: YES You can be friends if you give it a gap of a few years after your break up and then see each other again. It gives you adequate time to move on with your life. But immediately after the break up? I think it’s too soon to swap an intense relationship for a mere friendship. You need a transitional phase especially when deep emotions are involved!!
Souradeep Raul Dutta
| singer/songwriter: YES Cconsidering you were in a relationship you would probably know this person really well and vice versa. So I think it’s possible to take your ex as your friend. Moreover, I would consider it a precious relationship since nowadays everyone can be anonymous, thanks to social networking sites. As far as residual emotions are concerned, that depends on the realtionship and the people concerned. There can’t be a general answer to that.

Anupam More | businessman:
YES I think it is possible to be friends with your former girlfriend. Every relationship has both good and bad moments. If for any reason it doesn’t work out between two people, there’s no reason to be bitter about it. One should be realistic about life and try to accept it in a more graceful manner rather than ending it in a fight. Life is too short to bear grudges. One should remember the good times and move on with life.

Indroneel Mukherjee | fashion designer and stylist: NO To get over an ex-lover, the first step is to completely cut off all ties or else you can really never get over. There is too much familiarity between the two people and you end up making up again and again. So if it’s over, make sure it’s really over! I tell my friends all the time, to get over a man get under another man! And that can’t happen if your ex, even as a friend is around.

Film: Eat, Pray, Love
Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Billy Crydup
Director: Ryan Murphy
Rating: Good
 

Shauli Chakraborty
True to its title, the film is definitely about eating, praying and loving. After her divorce and a quick relationship on the rebound, Liz (Julia Roberts) finds herself losing the ability to feel and sets out on a quest to rediscover balance in her life.
The rest of the movie is about her journey, what she discovers along the way and the realisation that ruins can lead to transformation. Her first stop is Italy whose language and culture influences her deeply and begins the healing process inside.
Some scenes shot in Naples and other small eateries are memorable. Like the one where a hairstylist is surprised at Liz’s zest for the Italian language and says she will never learn the language without using her hands. This is followed by a couple of scenes that show people on the streets conforming to the observation. There is another scene where Liz digs into a plateful of spaghetti and rediscovers her appetite. Spaghetti has never looked this sexy before.
After Italy she goes to India and decides to live in an ashram. But here too peace eludes her. She finds a friend and critic in Richard Jenkins and confesses she still misses her boyfriend. Richard snaps back, “Miss him then! Send him a gift whenever you see something that reminds you of him. After that, drop it!” Rushita Singh as Tulsi fails to impress. She plays a typical 16-years-old Indian girl who is being forced into wedlock. Her dialogue delivery is pathetic and emotive abilities better left unsaid.
The next stop for Liz is Bali where she meets her guru and rediscovers love and life. This is where the crux of the movie lies. It is here she deducts what she calls the physics of the quest. There is one dialogue that hits you hard. When her guru tells her to smile Liz exclaims, “I can do that. Its easy.” “No its not,” replies the medicine man from Bali, adding, “Not when you have to smile with your heart, with your brain and even with your liver.”
Javier Bardem as Felipe is suave and impressive. If Julia Roberts is your primary reason to watch the film then Javier Bardem should be your second. Such actors, my dear, are a rare breed these days. He has one beautiful line, “Sometimes to find that balance in life you have to lose all your balance!”
In terms of technique and cinematography the film is brilliant. Director Ryan Murphy sure has lived up to the book. It’s a great movie with some philosophy thrown in — at all the right places.

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