Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Favorite Movies

First of all, a disclaimer: I am not a movie buff. I do not watch two movies every day; I do not go to KFF or any other film festivals. In fact I rarely go to a movie theatre to watch a movie. Most of my movies were downloaded using the IITK LAN or Bit-torrent. But, yes, I like to watch movies, mostly comedies and romantic ones, also I can bear a few serious ones time to time but action-adventure is not my genre, I find it mostly too artificial, except Bond flicks, because I watch them as flicks and not movies.
Also, I like to watch my favorite movies multiple times. In a choice between a new movie and some classic which I have already liked, I more often than not end up watching the old one again.
And obviously, I am not a movie expert or critic; I can not catch the flaw in script or impact of great camera work easily. So, I am not going to try that. The following is my tribute to 10 all time favorite movies of mine, which I can watch any time of the day, any day of the year. I am going to touch a few things which I remember about them, please do not look for serious movie discussions then you will be disappointed.

The following list is in chronological order not in any order of preference.

Thanks to my father’s influence and ‘Dooradarshan’, I am watching movies of Charlie Chaplin since I can remember. But most of those were his tramp act and not the other ones and I absolutely loved them in my childhood.
So, in Kanpur, as soon as I got my own computer and get connected to LAN through DC++, I started downloading all the Chaplin movies, ‘The Kid’, ‘Modern Times’, ‘A King in New York’ and obviously ‘The Great Dictator’. Chaplin in a double role as Adenoid Hynkel and a Jew barber was just awesome. I loved the movie. Such a wonderful message was given in such a simple way. The scene of Hynkel playing with rubber globe is one of the most memorable which I have watched many a times, even sometimes in You Tube.

This one is another movie which I watch for the first time during my IITK days. I have heard of it before and wanted to watch it. But I knew it is a serious movie and hence kept it untouched after downloading it, waiting for a proper mood. Then one of those days, when I did not feel like going to class, I started watching it at around 8 o’clock and missed my break fast as I could not move for next one and half hours.
This is one of the most realistic movies I have ever seen. In none of the scenes it looked like a movie is going on. The kids playing that pebble throwing game, the general conversation between the people and the traffic flow in the road, all were so simple and real.
My personal favorite part is the relationship between Antonio and Bruno. I liked they way they roam around the streets of Rome to find the stolen bicycle, those small conversations, the rain scenes, and obviously the scene in the restaurant have taken a permanent place in my memory.
I remember the sadness I felt for Antonio when he tried to still a bicycle himself and was caught red handed, when the man decided to let him go then some guy said, “And you can thank God.” Seriously! After that whole day!!
The background music of this film also merits a special mention.


 And what more should I write. The number of remakes has been made of this movie in all possible languages that is the biggest testimony of this film’s appeal. I watched it every time and I find it as fresh as ever. The beauty of Audrey and the personality of Peck will remain forever in my memory.
Don’t want to write anything much, but yes I will remember the message which I got from this movie, ‘World’s Greatest Love Stories do not necessarily end up in a Wedding Hall.’

A man is sinking under huge amount of money. That was the only scene I could remember after watching it for the first time when I was around 10-12 years old. And then I watched it again, in Kanpur (no surprises there) and I loved it.
By then I have already seen some of other ray movies and was well known to his treatment. For me the most interesting part in this movie was not the hero but the unusual mix of fellow passengers in the train. The way they become such a strong part of the movie was mind blowing. Obviously the life story of the hero was fascinating. Uttamkumar was in one of his sublime best and one of the scenes I will always remember when he banged his fist and said, “I will go to the top, the top, the top!”

The book ‘Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen’ is one of the earliest which I received as a kid. As with all my other books in childhood, I have read this one lots of times and almost memorized it by heart.
Then in 1990 I was admitted to the same school as the great Satyajit Ray. Obviously at that time that was something to be proud of and with his Oscar and unfortunate death during early 90s he was pretty much in news. So I also read his biographies and movie lists in various newspaper articles and came to know about this movie.

Now, during the same period DD Bangla started a special summer vacation show called ‘Chhuti Chhuti’, where during vacation every day there used to be an hour long show in the afternoon which included magic show, animation movies, song & dance and obviously children’s movies, both Bengali and English. But since it’s just an hour long show, they used to show the movies in 3-4 parts and that’s how I first watched ‘Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen’, the movie, over a period of 3 days. I still remember in my first viewing the most fascinating scene was the dance of ghosts. To me that was one of the most innovative and creative works of Ray.
Obviously as I grew up with ‘Gugababa’ in last 16 odd years, I could identify more and more mesmerizing aspects of this movie. I have watched it in all possible ways, in DD Bangla, with the ads of ‘Jhharna Ghee’ and ‘Kabj har’, in my local cable, with ads of local jewelry shops and private tutors. Even I forced my then Marathi girlfriend to watch this one; I told her that she has to watch this one to complete her transition to Bengali culture!!

I think this one is the best Bengali comedy film of all time, a wonderful story, some brilliant dialogues and some good acting by very young Ayan Banerjee and Mahuya Roy Choudhury.
But above all there was Utpal Dutta. His antics throughout the movie were tremendous. And obviously he came up with one of the all time great Bengali dialogue, “You will burn the face of the country.”
Can watch it any time and laugh!

The only Hindi movie in this list, but no way less important. At some point few years back my mother actually refused to switch on the television as me and my father was planning to watch it again in the afternoon show in Set Max.
But still whenever it happens in TV both of got glued to the TV sets to enjoy the antics of Ramprasad Dasharathprasad Sharma and Laxmanprasad Dasharathprasad Sharma.
Obviously, it has the great Utpal Dutta, Dina Pathak, Deven Verma and Om Prakash. Keshto Mukherjee as the business man (!!) showed his class in last five minutes!!
Hrishikesh Mukherjee made a number of great comedies in late 70s and early 80s, but this only clearly takes the cake for the best of them all.

By now, you must have realized that in IITK, I have learnt more about movies than Statistics through the number of great movie discussions and movie download sessions! In one of those days I came to know that, previous night around 10-12 of my batchmates have watched a great movie called ‘The Shashwank Redemption’. By that time I have heard of ‘The God Fathers’ and ‘Sound of Music’ and ‘A Beautiful Mind’ but never heard of this one. But all my friends were praising it so much that I was forced to download it and then watched it with another friend of mine who also missed the earlier show. 
And wow! What a movie, so intense, so thrilling and with that wonderful twist at the end.
Morgan Freeman is always one of my favorite actors, and I also liked the restrained acting of Tim Robbins. So I end up watching this movie another 4-5 times in last 5 years and also suggested this one to lots of my friends!

I love animation movies all my life. From the Spiderman in 1987, He-man in early 90s to Duck tales and Uncle Scrooge in late 90s. And in between there were Aladdin and Lion King.
So obviously, once I started downloading movies, I looked for good animation movies. In last five years I have watches the Toy Stories, Shrek, Monsters inc., Tangled and many more but still my favorite is the one which was my first animation movie in my computer, which is Finding Nemo.
I loved the adventure of the fish world to find the little Nemo. I found the story of this movie pretty heart worming along with great animation and great characters, which included a fish that was inspiration for Aamir Khan for his role in Ghajini!!

This is the 10th and last movie in my list but may be one of the Top favorite movies of me. After watching it twice in the theatre in a week, I actually stopped watching movies for a period of six months. I was so overwhelmed that I thought no movie would match the awesomeness of this experience.
Heath Ledger was a master, in this movie he was as mesmerizing as John Denver by his songs and may be that’s why both of them are legend with mysterious and untimely deaths.
Great direction by Chris Nolan combined with smart fast paced story and Heath Ledger made this one as the movie to watch whenever you want some thrill.

My List is done. But as my dear friend Abhishekda always says, any list should consist of 11 members and not 10, here goes my tribute to the greatest Hindi movie of our time.

Kanti bhai Shah is a genious and Gunda is simply a masterpiece. There are only two types of people in the world, people who have watched Gunda and people who do not know anything about movies.
The first 15 minutes of this movie should be made compulsory for everyone in this world to watch. I can not describe this magnificent piece of art with my limited writing power. I can only say that, awesomeness was dripping from each and every dialogue ‘jaise nanni munni bachcha-ki nunni se pisab tapakte hai… tap, tap…’
Don’t even dare to think the last expression was my creation, it was written by the Great Guru KB Shah; I am just a mere follower.
I consider myself lucky to watch this one, now I could do with never watching another single movie in rest of my life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Blogging Life

Today evening, I got pleasantly surprised when Rik asked me about how to choose template for a blog. Rik is one of my closest friends and owner of a wonderful sense of humor. So, Rik writing a blog is always an interesting piece of news.

So while helping Rik, with the instructions to get a template for his new blog, I realized that even my blog template merits a change, my template was old and also had limitations like a very narrow column structure which does not help when you want to add photos with your writing.

So, I also started exploring all the possible template options and after some research which included preview of almost all available template I selected the one, which is called 'Picture Window', this gives a soothing blue background and I was quite happy with it.

So, I changed the template, re-arrange my other gadgets like, 'Labels', 'Logo', 'About Me' etc. and then I felt nostalgic about this blog and decided to walk down the memory lane regarding this blog. Although I have to accept this blog is just 3 years, 10 months and 4 days old with just 31 posts.

I read my first post. I re-lived the happiness and pleasure I got when I found a way to express myself, when I finally decided to blog seriously. I was ecstatic to have my own space in the web world.

And then I saw that I had promised myself to write about almost all the things possible under the sun! If I go in Tarapodo Roy's way and quote myself, I said,

'I will write about the earth and the sea, I will write about the winter and the autumn, I will write about the mountain and the desert, I will write about Tiger Prawn and Pao bhajji, I will write about the casino of Las Vegas and slums of Kolkata, I will write about Harry Potter's wand and Sherlock Holmes' pipe, I will write about Marlon Brando and Rajanikanth, I will write about friendship and love, I will write about the Tajmahal and the Pyramids, I will write about George Bush and Steve Bucknor. I will write about life and death.'

Yeah... too dramatic! I feel now. Excitement for my then newly found toy may be. But what I have actually written in last 46 months? I did a check, check of all my tags and what did I found?

I have written 10 posts about cricket! Not a big surprise considering my love towards the game and players. Also another fact is that my 2 only published works are about cricket only. Those 10 posts include player profile of Sourav, VVS, Harbhajan and Sehwag. Also there are two fictions including one of my favorite 'The IPL Overview' written during the first season of IPL. Even I managed to find time to write one post about the 'Fake IPL Player'.

One of my most searched and most commented post is 'Kopai-e KelenkariO Anyanyo'. It described our 'Once-in-a-lifetime' trip to Shantiniketan in 2008. It was one of those completely crazy trips and we had some very very memorable moments there. It was very easy for me to write that post as so many peculiar events happened in that trip that I did not have to do anything to make my post funny.

I also like my 3 posts regarding 3 of my most favorite Pheluda stories. Those ones also pretty much well read and well appreciated by my friends.

Outside the blogging world my life was very very eventful in last 3 years, with some good memories and some not so good memories, some laughter and sorrow, some new friendships and some broken relations and all those events gave me enough reason to inscribe my random thoughts and that's why you will find 9 such posts and may be this will be the 10th one.

In 2008, with all the excitement for my newly started blog I completed 11 posts, which reduced to 7 in 2009 and 5 in 2010, even first 9 months of 2011, resulted in only 2 posts but then somehow I found my motivation and now I have promised myself write more often.

I don’t know whether any one is going to read this one, but someone manages to glance through it I am sure he would find this one quite boring, so let me make a promise that in my next post I will write about something interesting.

Let’s call it a day for today, Pakistan is trying to change the course of a cricket match from seemingly a no-hope position, which they do quite frequently when they are in Sharjah, let’s see what can they do today.

PS. Started this post by mentioning Rik's attempt to start a blog and here is his first post. Pretty neat work! Keep writing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Have a Very Very Special Birthday

You are a very cool person. In the field, you smiled all the time. When you bat you look like a painter, you just flick your wrist with a bat in hand and it feels like you are drawing a soothing picture with your brush. A very nice, light colored picture. It does not include bright colors, it's not a picture full of darkness. More often than not it's like an uncomplicated painting of a flowing river or a beautiful scenery with mountains in the far end.

One ball, you flick an outside off stump delivery to mid wicket and in the next ball you lean on to the same delivery to drive through cover. You did that and then give a smile to the bowler and your partner. The way we connect toughness with Dravid, Passion with Ganguly, destruction with Sehwag and something grand with Sachin, for you I always connect calmness. You go very easily about your business and keep scoring runs or take most unbelievable catches standing/ diving in the slip cordon.

You love to play against the Aussies. You scored a breathtaking 167 in Sydney in a loosing cause during the 2000-01 tour. And then you have played your greatest innings against them in the return tour. 281 in the second innings in Eden gardens, then 148 in Adelaide Oval, and again 200 in Delhi. But in their last tour in 2010, you have played which perhaps the greatest fighting innings by an Indian cricketer. Those 73 runs, scored in just over three hours with severe back pain are part of Indian cricket's folklore. Last 92 runs of the chase was scored with number 10 and 11. What an effort!
And with 6 runs left you did the unthinkable! You got angry!!

Cricnfo describes,

Hilfenhaus to Laxman, no run, 137.4 kph, Angry Lax A rare sight. Laxman is furious. He is shouting at Ojha. OMG! It was driven to right of mid-off and Raina had set across for the single but Ojah wasn't so sure or so confident.. They both get back in time. Laxman actually used a couple of expletives there! They all get together and now smile. Calm heads now!

And then I realized, yes you are a human being too. You are tough, you are passionate and the way you wave your bat you could have been destructive too if Ojha would not be in the non striker end.

I am sorry I could not write more as I have to go to office early today. But it's because I want to take a couple of leaves in the week of 14th. In my last visit you have scored a century and frankly speaking I got addicted. So I will go again hoping to see Sachin and Dravid and VS but also, I hope you make a hat trick of centuries in Eden Gardens where your average stands till date at a Bradman like 94 plus.

Happy Birthday Champ!! Have a Special Day!!