The Recaptured Blog

Amit Sharma: Photography, Travel, Design, Technology, Business, Cinema

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The Babi & The Bhabhi

A scene from Kaalia:

In the year 1981 sir, Mr Big B took Parveen Babi to meet Asha Parekh the Bhabhi. The occasion was to make Babi meet bhabhi for the first time sir. Asha Parekh the bhabhi wanted to judge Parveen the Babi over her housekeeping skills, confusing both Big B and Babi. So Bhabhi asks Babi what she can cook. Babi, who cannot cook, looked helplessly at Bhabhi and Big B, who lied to Bhabhi that Babi can cook everything, especially an omelette. Bhabhi looked at Babi, Babi looked at Bhabhi, and went ahead with what Big B suggested, because of the confusion. Babi took an egg, took a knife, and looked at Big B. Big made gestures to Babi to break the egg with the knife, but Babi kept confusing the gesture, and tried to cut the egg. Big B kept gesturing, Babi kept confusing, and Bhabhi kept looking with more confusion at both Big B and Babi. When this had gone on for a few times, Big B in confused desperation banged his head with his palm, sir, and Babi, misconstruing the frustration as instruction, banged the her head with her palm holding the egg!

The egg was now on Babi’s forehead, Big B was scared, and Bhabhi, having understood the situation, accepted Babi as Big B’s wife.

Phew.

Old City

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A day in one of the old rooms next to the Hooghly river

An Old Cloudscape

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From one of the numerous trips to Mahabaleshwar we did six years ago.

It had just rained, and the smell of baked corn coming from the street vendors was making the atmosphere that much more pleasant. We sat down at the vantage point, and kept watching the clouds drift over the peaks.

You can now buy a print of this from the Recaptured store.

The Tungabhadra

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A panorama taken during our coracle ride on the Tungabhadra amongst the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire.

The Monkey King

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The ruins of Hampi paint a picture of a glorious empire. The monkeys add to the charm. This was taken near the Ram-Sita temple next to the Tungabhadra river.

Select your screen’s resolution:

6 points: Nil Battey Sannata

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A simple small-town film with simple small-world issues. And a hard-hitting question: Doctor ka beta doctor, engineer ka beta engineer,… will the world go on like this? And are our dreams really supposed to be crippled by our current means?

This film was a breath of fresh air, in its treatment and its sensitivity. Money well spent. And here are the 6 points once more:

  1. I loved maths in school. I was probably the geeky chap who was teaching everyone and spouting off one-liners about loving maths and finding answers within questions. Nevertheless, the film connected with me. And if it connected with a math-lover like me, कुछ तो बात होगी.
  2. The film stands on the shoulders of four performances – Swara Bhaskar, not a false step as a conscientious and aware but undereducated young mother-cum-maid (and never have I seen her get a local accent wrong!), Ria Shukla, the ambitionless but street-smart daughter, believable to the extent that you hate her throughout, Pankaj Tripathi, a revelation as the polite teacher who comes with his own cute quirkiness, and Ratna Pathak Shah, in the tried and tested affluent but down to earth and helpful matriarchal figure.
  3. The music reminded me of the style that we know as the signature of Amit Trivedi in places, but isn’t by him.
  4. Agra! Never seen it so beautifully captured. The Taj makes an appearance in only a handful of scenes, but the city is still presented so tastefully – the bylanes, the bungalows, the city’s bustle, and the river flats (I remember seeing such terrain from the window during train journeys as a kid) – everything’s beautiful.
  5. The film stretches a bit in the second half. The challenges keep mounting, and the resolution stays a little out of reach. But in the end, what the protagonist achieves isn’t Hindi-film style absolute success, but just enough to validate her outlook of dreaming beyond what she’s capable of.
  6. The film does get preachy at times, though I understand it’s par for course for such a film. The math geek’s dialogues make him appear a bit too wise. The moment that changes the daughter’s heart is literally in your face struggle porn. And the final scene where the mother explains to the daughter about having a dream went a bit too long, and repetitive.

Flamingoes, an Egret, & a Boat

Flamingoes & an egret from the trip to Sewri Flamingo Point this year.

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One of the old boats tied at the Sewri Flamingo Point
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Isa Khan Niazi’s Tomb

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Near the complex of the famous Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, there’s another mausoleum, whose architecture is strikingly different from its popular neighbour. It is that of Isa Khan Niazi, a Pashtun courtesan in Sher Shah Suri’s durbar, who fought against the Mughal empire.

6 Points: Fan

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A film with two Shah Rukh Khans – one of them is the SRK as he appears in real life, and the other is the SRK from his early movies we all starting loving him from. On to the usual 6 points.

  1. The obvious: Wow it’s got two-two SRKs! And not like Duplicate, where the plot was furthered purely on them looking identical. Here SRK-2 has to take extra pains to pass for SRK-1. Well, the film crew took extra pains to make SRK look non-SRK. Inconsistencies on Gaurav’s look in some frames aside, thumbs up for pulling this off. While Gaurav Chandna looks every bit the 20-something Delhi boy whose mannerisms are like an early lanky SRK playing the 20-something local boy, and who sometimes turns into “indistinguishable from Aryan Khanna” when he intends to (i.e. when he goes “kar ke dikhata hoon“), SRK the real one impresses as being the larger than life, accomplished star that he is, right from his first frame. And Aryan Khanna isn’t shown as a do-gooder, made of the first snow, purely innocent victim here – he has feet of clay, he isn’t perfect, and he could have done a few things in a different way to avoid everything that followed. It’s difficult to root for either of them consistently – which makes it more interesting.
  2. It’s a thriller: The chase sequences, while thrilling, are too long and over the top. Each one of them. The end could have been way way shorter. Also, when we’re watching a film about a film star and a fan, it’s hard to suspend our disbelief when they’re both performing stunts fit for James Bond in every third scene.
  3. The ladies: Shriya Pilgaonkar, Sayani Gupta, Waluscha Dsouza, are present, noticeable, and do well in a film with two SRKs. No mean feat, especially for first-timers(?).
  4. My Name Is Khanna: SRK plays up his “chip on the shoulder with foreign law enforcement” bit again. The dialogues between Aryan and the interrogating police officer, and with the filthy-rich-NRI-patron are fun to watch. In fact, Aryan’s arrogant, borderline obnoxious wit makes him more real.
  5. The Brother: The mimicry of a contemporary actor (and I’m not telling you whom, go watch) is just accurate enough to become uncanny, and by the time you recognise it, it’s gone. Just shows that SRK can act, even when he’s not supposed to act like SRK.
  6. Comparisons with “originals”: I’ve seen The King of Comedy, and I’ve read the story of The Fan. SRK pulls off… wait… he isn’t even trying to pull off a DeNiro here. The archetype of the story has to be similar, but the writer and director have localised the context so much, that it’s an original in its own right (I haven’t yet watched The Fan, so don’t know if sequences, frames et al have been lifted). If you are going to ask Maneesh Sharma and Habib Faisal if this is inspired from the other two, and they say they came up with the story on their own, I’m going to believe them, whether you do or not.

If you were looking for a review of the film, this wasn’t it. You should be reading Rahul Desai’s blog for that.

Also, here are three jokes around Fan that have been floating around, verbatim. I’m looking for three more jokes to complete the list, so if you have any, please comment:

  1. “SRK’s fans are watching SRK’s Fan where SRK is SRK’s fan who tries to kill SRK’s fan [sic] coz SRK’s fan tried tokill SRK, Fan is Indian Inception”
  2. Watching ‘FAN’ right now. It’s just amazing and mind blowing. I will give it three stars out of five. You can also watch it live at your place. Just switch it on and it will start revolving [sic] at an amazing speed on the top of your roof [sic]!! 😃
  3. Kamal Haasan watches Fan. Decides to remake it. Adds a couple of more lookalikes to the film. Multiple fans against one star. – Rony D’Costa

Nescafe Jar

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Experimenting with speedlights on products. Exhibit A – a jar of Nescafe Blend 37.
From 2012.

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