Sunday, April 25, 2010


The Red Fort, New Delhi. Loving India just became easier.

Friday, April 23, 2010

La Nausée.

It is almost as if the child can experience and feel Antoine. I don't know if that is a good thing, twisted as it may sound.

Jean-Paul Sartre would have been proud.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sita Sings the Blues.

Written, edited, directed, designed, animated and produced by Nina Paley, 'Sita Sings the Blues' will remain an absolute delight. It is the greatest, most exalted story ever told, the Ramayana. But no, it doesn't stop at being a mere retelling of the ancient epic.
The plot works in more or less four sub-plots, one dealing with scenes from an 18th century depiction of the Ramayana, one being the musical ('20s Blues) version of episodes from the Ramayana, one being a discoursive discussion of the salient points in the epic and lastly, the contemporary parallel. Even so, the film doesn't attempt to be a 'Modern Ramayana', thankfully.
The juxtaposition of all these four tracks together culminates into one of the most sharply edited and beautifully animated film in recent times. What an absolutely brilliant film, and what splendid animation!
What lies at the crux of the films's brilliance is the contextualisation of how the story moves right from the explosive (literally) starting credits to the noisy intermission to the happy rendition accompanying the end credits. You would think that the presence of a four plot structure would make the film end up being clumsily executed and confusing, but you'd think wrong. The film moves absolutely seamlessly, leaving you in awe of the filmmaker and her screenplay. Stunning, on all counts. Also, at all points, I was stuck by the dexterity of how the Blues (an amazing choice of genre) music corresponds, synchronises and adds to the age-old story.
The film raises pertinent questions about the legacy of Sita, Sita in Ayodhya B.C and the Sita that lives through the ages into contemporary life. The Sita whose entire lexicon corresponds with references to immense sacrifices that a woman "has to make". Nina Paley's groundbreaking film raises questions to the very identity of Sita. Why does Sita opt to sacrifice herself, to show she was a symbol of utmost chaste purity by being thrown into the fire by Ram? Why does Sita feel the need to glorify and worship the man who banished her to the forests simply because he wanted the support of all his allays? Is it merely coincidental that Sita finds maximum emancipation and freedom only after she makes the ultimate sacrifice, that of life, to prove yet again that she remained untarnished, untouched by worldly pleasure?
The contemporary parallel story is an example of how Sita and her estate transcended beyond cultures, beyond boundaries and through times. Nina and Dave, the American couple form part of this sub-plot. Dave leaves for India, and gradually distances himself from his distraught wife. She, like Sita, hangs on to the hope he will take her back. She sacrifices her dignity and her pride to get back with Dave, Dave who doesn't care. Unlike Sita though, Nina doesn't have to die to be happy, to be free.
Sita lives on through us. Who she really was, whether she did exist or not, we shall never know. But through Valmiki's Ramayana, Sita's story is one that has been told and re-told. 'Sita Sings the Blues' just attempts to analyse, to question and to glean that Sita does exist in the woman of today. The real question is, however, whether Sita was right in everything she did? Did she not come with her own issues? Is her constant praise of Rama and the willingness to prove herself to be moral result from unconditional love or is it merely an illusion of love?
It is important to remember why Sita is still worshipped and idolised. Is it an attempt to create male hegemony through constant repitition of Sita's unquestioning, dolice self as being the 'Good Woman'? Or is Sita widely misunderstood? Maybe she did choose death over Rama (evident from her appeal to Mother Earth to take her right in if she has never committed perjury) to ascertain herself, her rights and her sadness.
'Sita Sings the Blues' makes you look inside of you, think, and scrutinise the context in which 'Sita' lived and died and still somehow manages to live. A must-watch satire on mythology, on relatinships and, on Sita.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


What an absolutely brilliant film. The genius that Alfred Hitchcock was, he was never an actor's director, a predicament that was heightened in the later years of his career. However, 'Notorious' easily proves that Hitchcock could be anyone, anywhere and at any time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

With a frenzy.

If you, dear reader, are the sort of person who objects wholly to any form of personal rants or discourses, I implore you to please stop reading. However, if you are the kind who enjoys revelling in the misery of another, this is the place to be!
The concern that has me up in arms imploring people and ranting is just that. You got that right. I am distraught because I feel this blog has turned into a journal of sorts. Not a diary perhaps (small mercies), but a personal, intimate journal nevertheless.
"Why is this such a bad thing?", you may feel the need to ask when the Internet has close to 80 million blogs which deal with the personal, with the private. That, dear reader, is precisely the point.
In saying that I have sincerely tried to not make this blog sound too blog-gy, I am not wrong. But perhaps it is time to admit that my plans didn't go exactly as they were planned.
A narcississtic journey to the past always gives you the big picture. So that is exactly what I sought refuge in. After reading through a couple of my archive posts, I was stunned, to say the least. Hence, I was spamming the blog world with copyrighted pictures for the past week.
It is not that I have aspersions about my talent or utter lack thereof, it is just that this was one thing I had to avoid. To me, blogging was an extension of myself, but not of me. With that in mind, I proceded to write, but not to record. I procede to opine, but not to judge. Or so I thought.
Even I am getting tired of my obsessive drawl.

What really should be the focus of this entire crusade is how much we have changed as a society. In my last lengthy post, I talked about voyeurism pervading into each section of the society. But voyeurism is not a one-way process. If people get pleasure from being Peepers into others' personal lives, the "others" too want to give a peep into their life. This process basically stems from an inherent need to gain acceptance, to expand yourself and your horizon, and finally, to brag about how much smarter/prettier/taller you are than the average Joe.
The kind of society I live in has influenced me so much that even in my directed and concentrated efforts to not divulge any of those intimate details, I have fallen prey to the same. My only defence remains the unconscious. Sure, blaming the unconscious was a solution, but only for about a nanosecond. After all, the unconscious too is influenced by subversive details.
When McLuhan talked about medium being the message, I feel safe to assume he didn't see blogs as a tangible platform. But he did see what was to be the outcome of this technological revolution. People are no longer private. People are selling themselves, marketing themselves to an anonymous, judgemental world out there. Obviously, given that context, it seems fair to post pictures of yourself in beautiful clothes, to talk about your take on existential reality (please forgive me, I am obsessed) and to post a discourse on structuralist influences in contemporary society. It all seems perfect.
In my entire discussion, I seem to target the very crux of Internet usage and its purposes. Of course, we are marketing ourselves, let us.
It is startling how an entire society, a collective so huge, keeps falling prey to the new. To the experimental. And to the personal. I am one to talk though.
Perhaps that really is the message. Medium has to be the message, and thereby, it is.