Sunday, November 26, 2006


zindagi ki udher-bun se hi, mein hi paogay zindagi apni!
joe saamnay hai, satya hai, wahi toe hai zindagi apni!

kuch zindagiyaan aage aage daud rahi hai, kuch peechay peechay.
meri kaisi chal rahi hai? daudti fir rahi hai, khushiyon ki gulliyon mein.

anth mein tera kaun hoga?
shubdh prabudh maun hoga.

Under revision
Offline indefinitely

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sapphire earrings

In the sapphire of your earrings
the cost of my this evening,
sparkles like a canto of conscience.

I've bought your smiles at bargains
that rob my nights of honest sleep
and twitch eyebrows, I'd rather not see.

These notes in your lies amuse me;
peering at me through white wine,
your caricature appears dismal, distant.

After tonight, I will part with your sheets.
But today, I'll dip my tongue in the pallette
of fiery hues; pay homage to sappire earrings.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gnat-like thought

My experiments with formal poetry continue, and now I present a verse in a classic form called villanelle, a nineteen line poem, where we have five stanzas of 3 lines each, and sixth stanza has four line. Two lines repeat, as would be visible in my construction. (It is a rewrite of a triolet I posted earlier)

Under revision

Offline indefinitely

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Umrao jaan vs Umrao jaan

A classic by Mujaffar Ali which relies on subtlety is Umrao Jaan. Each actor and actress performs his or her role with an understatement that is poignant and poetic. Each Ghazal and song is crafted by the finest effort of Shahyrar and Khayyam, performed diligently by Asha and Talat, and picturized most elegantly on Rekha by cinematographer Praveen Bhatt. An era is recreated by attention to detail and where the tale is picturized to captivate both heart and head of audience is Umrao Jaan. Most of the actors, and perhaps all of the team involved in the making of the 1981 classic will call it one of their best, if not the best effort.

A blunder by JP Dutta which tries to show every tear that is mere glycerine effect, where melodrama is to a scale that can shame even the most moonstruck Bollywood fan is also Umrao Jaan. The poetry is shoddier than what most drunkards can spell out from cliched verses they have overheard in public toilets. Javed Akhtar must be asked to repent for committing his name to lyrics, it is a stigma, a sin that has marred his name as a poet for life in my books. No excuse for bad art, especially when you are bringing to life a novel that takes pride in creating a world of poetry. Umrao Jaan was the first great Urdu novel and this movie is the greatest insult we can watch to the concept, language and soul of the novel.

Ruswa, the author of 1903 book, must be crying in agony on watching the disgusting potrayal of both his story, and of his own self (Or if he wasn't Ruswa before, he deserves to be now). Anu Malik's characteristic "aaa" type interludes in the music (I almost imagined him thinking of making some remixes where he can insert words like Its raining, its raining), and music itself has you spellbound in imagining the total lack of imagination that the creative (!) team of the movie has.

More importantly the dialogues that lack depth and character have you initially laughing your teeth out. Then as the endless movie drags on, and your encyclopedia of curses runs out, you have tried moving into every position of utmost discomfort in your chair (and thanks to tea in the interval, you are still awake), you watch Bollywood cinema at its overdramatized, cliched, artless, pointless, mindless self. Brevity is the soul of wit, but you can't explain that to a dimwit.

A casting coup itself is more interesting than any coup worth reporting that took place in the history of humankind. Can you believe it? JP Dutta was able to rope in Suneel Shetty in the role of Faiz Ali, the dacoit. What an evocative face, what a celebrated artist! There is no other actor in Bollywood who could have matched up to his performance (;)) obviously he must have been in Dutta's mind when he planned his massacre, I mean the movie. Naseeruddin Shah is perhaps the best actor we have had and to replace him in an immortal role of Gauhar Mirza would have been hard: so Mr Director decided that it is irrelevant who does that act.

Aishwarya manages to look good, can't help it, was born with it, but does her all to make you cringe at her melodrama, which I could blame the director for. Abhishek does well within what he was offered. If you throw out a good hour of the movie, cut out most songs into half or don't repeat the ones that blare out every few minutes, if you scrap many of the dialogues, you will still find a movie that is hard to watch.

I went in to see the movie with lowest of expectations. I didn't expect any miracles, and didn't see any. I have nothing against actors, lyricist, director or music director of the movie, except that I must shout out my resentment in their doing such a shoddy job. Umraojaan is like poetry. Subtlety is the key. Less is more. To evoke, and not to show. To make one imagine, to make one feel is the basic principle. You may fault on a few things, you must not be allowed to do the crime so expensively, so lavishly. With or without contrasting it to old Umraojaan, the verdict is that JP Dutta's Umrao jaan, as Aishwarya's best dialogue in the movie (comes at the very start) puts it, is "kaun umrao, kisski jaan, aur kaisi ada" (Who Umrao, Whose life, and What Style): WORTH IGNORING.