Friday, January 25, 2008

Night life at MDI

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” Pandit Nehru declared to the world when Indian became a free nation on the 15th of August of 1947. He would have never realized that the holy fraternity of B School students would take his words too seriously.

If you are finding my thought process too arbit, I can reframe the famous words for you. “At the stroke of the midnight hour when the world sleeps, B skoolers awake to life and freedom and start their daily chores.” Any one who has been in a residential B school will have indelible memories of friends who wake up in the wee hours of the night, brush their teeth and log on to the internet to catch up with the day’s(oops.. the previous day’s) news.

My life is a perfect testimony to the above statement. Before coming to MDI, I was one of those disciplined (?) students who couldn’t stay awake after midnight even if Scarlet Johansson invited me to her place for the night. MDI, in a short span of around two years has had a disruptive effect on my biological clock to the extend that I sleep at around 5 am only after ensuring that I read the online edition of the local Mallu paper as soon as it gets uploaded!!!

This would be the case with most people who come into a B school. B School life is surely hectic but the very motivation for people to stay up in the night and sleep throughout the early hours should be taken up by research by our fellow FPM students. The interesting fact is that it is not just the academic rigor that makes us stay up all night. Just take a walk through the hostel corridor at around 2 am: you will find 20% of the students working on PPT/ Excel, around 50% glued on to their laptops watching a movie/ sitcoms, 20% doing “bakar” and the rest 10% sleeping peacefully.

This midnight life has its on economic and commercial effects. Prayas, our very own kirana store is jam-packed with customers lined up to buy eatables. Our own lazy “Jhaji” after fifteen plus years of experience in MDI recently came out of his claustrophobic den in the academic block to setup an eating joint that caters to the ‘midnight oil burners’. Arcus makes shitloads of money that would put our average salary packages to shame. Sharmaji has improved his night operations after seeking help from an internal consultant. This comes with its own “subprimal” effect on our pockets too. A student on an average spends around 40 rupees a day on night food (this is under the assumption that an average Mandevian is a non smoker). Simple calculation tells that we spend around 1200 rupees on night food only per month and if you calculate the annual rates, we will get a shock of our life.

Whatever maybe the financial impacts, these night jaunts definitely give you the experience of a lifetime. It gives us innumerable memories and sheds all barriers of time that is in our body system. For the more fortunate ones, night life in MDI has given experiences of a life time which is best explained by Frank Sinatra’s famous song

“Strangers in the night exchanging glances
Wandering in the night
What were the chances we’d be sharing love
Before the night was through.”

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


AKALE was released in 2004. I still remember watching this movie along with just four other people in Trivandrum's Sree theatre I am in the process of digging my old movie reviews and publishing it here.




I am not any kind of conventional film analyst,but after watchin syamaprasads "akale"i can swear tht i would hav made a better film ....
The film is based on tenesse williams"the glass menagerie"(which i havnt read) but from the mood of the movie its sure that syamprasad hasnt tampered with the original.the gr8tst flaw of the movie is tht sprasad harps on the original without introducin any other element in the movie.
The movie starts off in calcutta(any art film directors delite),camera runs thru the hoogly river and the tram way(best place for an aged pritviraj to retrospect) and soon v land @ someplace in kannur/thaleserry where anglo indians and portugese reside in plenty.rose(geethu mohandas) is neil(pritvi) sister- a cripple who has lost interest in life and who confines herself to the four walls of her room and plays with her glass animals.pritvi is a typical 1975 angry young man- a frustrated youth who is ambitious ,reads dh lawrence and more than anythn else wants to xtricate himself from the problems in his house.sheela is their mom who somehow wants 2 get geethu 2 get married off to any " good lookin,non alcoholic" anglo indian youth.
then enters freddy ewans(the producer himself) who brings in a ray of hope into geethus life but finally deserts her.she is grief stricken and never returns from tht dilemma and finally between this pritvi walks out from his house in serch of greener pastures and finally becomes a bearded buji story pritvi feels for his sister geethu after her death is the crux of the story.

the main prob with akale is the approach to the story.the life of geethu makes us sad but never haunts us after v leave the theatre.the relation and break up of freddy and geethu is also half baked....W
hat makes me really angry is tht the film gets over in barely 1 and quarter hr.he could atlest worked on the relation bw pritvi and geethu instead of shrinkin it to a scene or two.i herd syamaprasad say somewhere tht only films based on novels can help malayalam cinema revive, but i think thers no point in makin films like this.his erlier work "agnisakshi "was commendable only becos of rajat kapurs acting and the dialogues(taken ditto from the novel "agnisakshi")...i think syamaprasad has 2 realize tht film making is somethin much more complex than serial n documentary making....

about the acting,geethu mohandas does a really good job.she emotes really well and never looks strained....sheela is just ok.the young pritvi looks good,acts well but the aged pritvi fails to impress just because of his makeup.his dialogues also seems strained...he really has 2 go a far way to reach the league of mohanlal n mammoty...the producer as freddy ewans deserves some words because he scores well as a sober,romantic person.

on the whole "akale" has its good bits but on the whole syamaprasad and co could hav made a far far better movie....the promos on tv are really good but i think thtz not enough to woo mallu audiences.they still remain "akale" from sree theatre, because on a saturday noon i could find only about 25 people in the theatre,most of them hapless people like me who desperately want to see good malayalam cinema.

This is something I had written around 3 years back when SWADES released. Recently digged it out from my Yahoo account. Enjoi maadi :-)

The story is quite obvious from the promos shown on tv.Shah rukh(Mohan bargava) is a Project manager at NASA( thankfully shot really at NASA hq,not at mumbai filmcity or ramoji filmworld).He returns to India to see his nanny Kaveriamma and then many incidents take place which cause a drastic transition in him.The subsequent developments form the plot of the movie.....
The best thing about Swades is the Indian element in the movie.You can sense and smell India rite from when Mohan lands at IGI airport,New Delhi.We have the ubiquitous dhoti clad villager, the sarpanch,etc - reminiscences of a bygone era of Indian cinema.The film is mostly shot in brown giving us a deep sense of the rugged Indian village...
Ashutosh Gowariker has delved seriously into the problems of any common Indian.His strong obsession with the Indian village life is present in each and every frame of the movie-the landless villager and the child who sells water for a pittance at the railway station being some examples.These images bring a sense of nationalism to any Indian watchin the movie...
Ashutosh filmmaking reminds me of the early 80's school of malayalam cinema spearheaded by Bharatan and Padmarajan.He has a story which he deals starightforwardly without any unnecessary subplots...
The biggest problem with the film is its length.The song "pal pal he bhaari" could have been easily dumped into the editors bin...The obsession of the director with the theme becomes a little bit tiresome during the post interval portions....
The best thing to happen to Swades is Shah rukh khan.He gildes through the role and acts with utmost perfection never going overboard.The scene in which he runs from the turbine to the reservoir(executed in one shot i think) completely defines the dedication of the man..
Songs are good but the background music doesnt reach the league of previous rahman classics like Lagaan or Dilse...The ladylead,Gayathri joshi is good and looks quite composed..The supporting cast is also realy good .
This review wont b complete without a mention about the title card.The names of heavyweights like Ashutosh,A R Rahman,Javed akhtar are written in the same font size and design as that of any other technician and this in a nutshell shows us the meaning of the first three words of the preamble to our constitution-"We,the people"
I would rate Swades an 8 on 10 because it has something to tell us all-esp to ppl like us who wait to catch the next flight to the US