Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Board View of Life ; Why I never get Bored !

Here are some interesting snaps I have shot over the years. Some were deliberate. Some were inadvertent and some simply lucky ones. But looking back, all these snaps tell some stories.

A Picture can speak a thousand words. I will not dwell so long; a few words will suffice!

This can be considered as second part and pictorial version of one of my earlier posts:
Bored? Read the Board !

Once in a Blue Moon

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

5 Reasons for the Sudden Death of Raavan !

The much hyped Mani Ratnam movie 'Raavan' has died an instant death at the ticket counters. In fact Reliance Big Pictures has lost over 100 Crores thanks to Raavan and Kites, another over-hyped movie that ended up as a dud.

We have witnessed the immensely stupid madcap 'House-full' and the half-baked Political Potboiler 'Raajneeti' turn into Big success stories. But why did Raavan not work? Till the day of release, it had everything going for it and then it was sudden death. Experts have given a list of reasons for the debacle. I am not an expert. These are the 5 reasons for an average movie buff who grew up watching Mani Ratnam.

1] Mani Matters: When it comes to 'Money Matters', Mani matters much less compared to his critical mass appeal. He has made many critically acclaimed movies down south. But most of his movies have done only average business at the box-office in the Hindi heartland. In fact, his movies like 'Dil Se' and 'Yuva' were commercial flops. His last movie, 'Guru' too was an also ran. You can't judge the worth of a Mani movie based on Money Matters alone.

2] Age is catching up: No, not with Mani, he is only 53. But his audience has grown old. I still am a Mani Ratnam follower. Having grown up on Mani's movies since Agni Nakshatram and Geethanjali to Guru, I can talk for my generation. The generation that adored Mani has grown into their late thirties and even mid-forties. It is not this crowd that decides the fate of movies today. It is the teens and the twenty somethings who make a hit or a flop. And they couldn't relate to a story of a a shrieking beauty sandwiched between her Polygraph loving husband and a demented looking tribal warlord.

3] Marriage of Inconvenience: Mani tried to marry Indian Mythology to Stockholm Syndrome. The Dravidian spirit of the Tamil audience can accept Sita developing a soft corner for her captor Raavan while being held a hostage. But it is tough to expect rest of India to accept the role reversal in Ramayan; even in the year 2010. Without mentioning his inspiration and without the name Raavan, Mani perhaps had a better chance to succeed.

4] The Beauty and the Beast without Star Power: Vikram is a Gigantic Star on Tamil Screen. Junior Bachchan's Star Power in Hindi Filmdom doesn't quite match up to it. If sincerity and earnest nature were enough make a Star, Aby's Baby would have ruled Bollywood. But he perhaps lacks the X-Factor. Playing the Beast, he came second best to Vikram. And his more famous wife just couldn't carry the film on her slender shoulders. So while Raavan bombed, Vikram's Raavanan is doing fairly well in Tamilnadu!

5] North South Divide: In spite of making pretty decent movies, South Indian Directors get a raw deal from the predominantly north oriented press and electronic media. Taran Adarsh is an honorable man. But he uses different yardsticks to review different movies. He gave a four star status review to Sajid Khan's masterpiece in imbecility called 'House-full' and one and a half stars to 'Raavan'. Is there a design behind the Critics being too harsh on Priyadarshan, Ramgopal Varma, R. Balki and Mani Ratnam? I believe there is something in it! Let me be pardoned if I am wrong, but this point needs some consideration.

Finally we have to face the truth that Mani Ratnam's Raavan is truly dead and buried at the box office. This wasn't his best movie, but it wasn't his worst too. We haven't yet forgotten Tiruda Tiruda! So I sincerely hope Mani will rediscover his magic soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sorry I am late !

Sorry I am late !

This must be the most used or abused line in India. Being punctual hurts here. I have encountered innumerable occasions when I had to sit twiddling the thumbs while waiting for important people to arrive. We don't have value for time in this country, especially when it is other peoples' time!

Why, even our Rulers and Police want us to be late! The other day I saw an interesting board displayed by the Traffic Police, "It is better to be Mr. Late than Late Mr. - Drive safe!".

I get a phone call at 6:30 one morning, "Doctor, it is urgent. My son has fever. We will be there in five minutes". I said, "Okay, come right now. I have to go to hospital by 7:15". I went ahead and finished my morning chores and finished breakfast. No sign of the 'urgent' guy.

My car was halfway out of my gate at almost 7:25 AM. A bike blocked my way out and the father was screaming at me to halt. He parked his bike right across the gate and was demanding me to see his son. I told him, "See, I told you to come straight away. I waited for you all this while. I have to be in hospital by 7:30. So I can't see the boy now. I am already running late"

And he went, "Sorry I am late. I met my friend on the way and was talking to him. Just forgot the time and so we are a little late. But you have to show some humanitarian consideration!". I told, "It is beyond me now. The hospital pays me to work there and I can't be late. As of now, you give him Paracetamol syrup 5ml every 6 hours. You have to come later in the evening or show some other Doctor".

He retorted, "I don't need your certificate to see other Doctors. There are thousands of Doctors around". I couldn't be wasting any more time and told, "Very well, you better clear off my way and do as you wish". He withdrew his bike and I could hear him utter loudly in Malayalam, "Enthu Doctor aanu eeyaal, Kannil chora illatha oru janmam" that is loosely translated as "What a Doctor is this? A birth without blood in eyes" !

For someone who arrives 45 minutes late for an appointment, he expects the Doctor to show humanitarian consideration. When it comes to considerations, people conveniently forget that Doctors are human too. The same people will create a ruckus if the Duty Doctor is late by even 5 minutes to see a case of Viral Fever in the Casualty of a hospital. We have witnessed this too often.

We always see people complaining of Ministers, VIPs, Actors and Government Officials coming late as a habit. There are so many satires and jokes on this subject. But how punctual are we? The common man in our land is the most unpunctual of all the people. In fact anyone who is a stickler for time often becomes a butt of ridicule.

I had two friends who always reported late to duty; very often late by more than an hour. They regularly  reported with "Sorry I am late". I had to suffer these guys in the name of the sanctity of the job and in the name of friendship. Whenever I countered them about the delay; they would say, "Common Shenoy, we are Indians and we are like this only!"

One day, I came to know these guys had planned for a 6:00 PM Cinema show. I was the one on night shift and had to relieve them from day duty at 6:00 PM. They were pretty sure of me reporting at 5:45 PM because Shenoy is never late!

Well, I chose to be late on that day. I went on to take an elaborate shower at 5:45 PM and then took my own sweet time to get ready. I never bothered to answer the frantic ringing of the phone. I even heard the knock on the door of our bachelor quarters, but didn't respond. And finally I reported to duty at 6:15 PM!

Both these guys were hopping mad. "What is this Shenoy? You always talk about time and punctuality and all that nonsense. Where has your sense gone today? We had booked for a movie today and you have robbed us almost half an hour. So bad!".

I just told casually, "Oh I am sorry, I am late". One guy was furious and shouted, "What sorry, you don't know how it hurts. We have waited for this movie since long. And now we will miss first half an hour. What is the use?".

Now it was pay back time. I said, "Well, my dear friends. It always hurts when someone else is late. I have seen my plans go kaput several times just because you people came late. Today, the roles have been reversed. Next time when you are late; remember other people too have their life, their plans, their homes and their aspirations. This is the first time I have reported late to duty and this will be the last time it will happen".

I have remained true to my words. It is true that punctuality often hurts. It is frustrating to wait for people and then hear them say, "Sorry, I am late. Really sorry Okay?". I know a senior Doctor who is chronically late. He always arrives in a hurry flashing his 5 fingers and saying, "5 minutes, 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 5 minutes, 5 minutes".

By repeating the '5 minutes' six times, he tells us to ignore those 5 minutes. In reality he is late by thirty minutes that is the product of 5 X 6! He is never bothered by any conscience! But for me, it is neigh say impossible to arrive late anywhere any day and any time. I am not blowing my own trumpet here. I am just telling my weakness for this trait called punctuality.

After so many bitter experiences and endless waits, am I ready to change? Will I make others wait? Is it necessary for someone to be late to be important? No!!! I will choose to wait rather than be late and feel like 'Dirt' from within!

Thanks to mobile telephony, short messages and internet access on the telephone; you can always express yourself on the 'Orkut' or the 'Facebook' or go 'Tweet Tweet'! You can retain your sanity and your health! You can't change the world, change the way you approach the world! Better Late than Never !

Friday, June 18, 2010

All Roards Lead to Hell; Part-1

Kochi is a city of 200 million potholes of varying sizes interrupted very infrequently by remnants of what has been certified as 'Tar' by the PWD ! Welcome to Monsoon Tourism in God's Own Country. Ayurvedic Massage for the battered backs is our USP!

This was my status update on the Facebook after I had a frustrating drive through the disgusting roads of Kochi.

Some of my friends liked it. Some thought this was exaggerated and some others thought there were other places even worse. Dr. Uma Shankar, my senior from Bellary Medical College who now lives in Mangalore thought it was worse in his place. 

Dr. Shafeeq Mohammad, another friend suggested I should write a book on this subject. Well, a book is a long haul. I will settle for a blog-post. For all those who doubt my assessment and sincerity, here I am with illustrations!

The First snap was taken on the morning after the first downpour of the season.

The next three are taken just three days into this monsoon season. 

Click on the picture and you'll see the 'BIG' Potholes ! 

Birth of Potholes

The ill-fated Thammanam - Pulleppady road looks like this

These snaps were shot over a stretch of 2km

This one is a Crater - Am I exaggerating?

This is the state of the main and new arteries of Kochi. Lesser said about the older ones is better. I am not exaggerating one bit when I say there is not a single 1km stretch of road in Kochi without at least one crater large enough to sink a two-wheeler.

A 22 year old boy lost his life in a bike accident this week. Another of his mates is on the ventilator fighting death. It is very easy to blame youngsters for recklessness. But how much of a role our roads have in these tragedies? Needs a study!

It is such a pity not a single Politician worth his starched and well pressed khadi shirt has died in a road accident in Kochi. I am not being mean, just a tad too bitter. 

The road-rage is worsening by the day. The two wheeler people are careless. The Three-wheelers are callous and the private bus drivers behave like law unto themselves. This will be a matter for another post altogether! 

But why do people behave so badly on the roads? The answer is simple, "Bad Roads turn perfectly sane people into Bad Drivers"!

In Kochi, there is a new slogan: "All Roads lead to Hell"!

As the Monsoon progresses, these potholes will graduate into craters and then valleys. Trust me, I will be back with more status updates and illustrations if one of these craters doesn't swallow my poor little Santro along with me. I believe I will survive like most of Kochiites! And like Inspector Bharath Chandran, I pronounce, "I will come back" !!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Remakes Please; We are Indians !!!

Every time a Hindi movie hits the screen, we see references to some Hollywood, Korean, German, Italian or Antarctican movie on the Reader's Reviews page.

It is quite obvious the current potboiler 'Rajneeti' derives inspiration from 'Mahabharata'. In fact it is a Political version of the 1981 Shyam Benegal Classic 'Kalyug'. But our critics are hellbent upon drawing parallels with 'The Godfather'. That is why I decided to write this.

Though I am reasonably comfortable with all the South Indian languages and Hindi, English is the only offshore language I understand. Because of this lacuna, I am severely handicapped when it comes to bragging about which foreign language movie has inspired our latest native hit.

This applies to South Indian movies too. Kannada and Telugu filmdoms have thrived by making carbon copies of Tamil or Malayalam originals. Very often the inspired versions have raked in more money than the originals. The best case in reference is the stupendous Rajnikanth hit 'Chandramukhi' which was a remake of Kannada hit 'Aaptha Mitra' which in itself was inspired by the Fazil's 1993 hit 'Manichithratazhu' in Malayalam.

Fazil's one time junior Priyadarshan remade an almost parody of this movie with the immensely forgettable 'Bhool Bhulaiya' in Hindi. The indignation of Malayalees and converted Mallus like me apart, we have to accept the fact that all the three remade versions grossed big money; much bigger than Fazil could ever imagine when he made his original! The people of respective states and the entire Hindi heartland endorsed the remade versions often  denounced by critics and the 'Anti-Remake' activists.

So what am I going to express here? Very simple, a good plot with a tight script and decent narration can win the audiences anywhere in any language. But if you don't understand what is being talked in a movie, half the fun is lost.

Something like 'Pushpak' happens once in a life time. It is very important to understand the language. Imagine movies like 'Sholay' or 'Saudagar' minus the sensational dialogues. They wouldn't be iconic today but for those gems!

I remember two Tamil boys from my senior batch watching 'Saudagar' in 1991. They couldn't understand a single word of the exchange between Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar. One of them went on pestering me, "Aye Machcha, what are they talking da?". The other even suggested, "Why don't they put subtitles da?".

My experience with subtitles has been pathetic. They distract like hell and are often downright wrong. I decided not to watch subtitled movies after an exasperating encounter watching RGV's 'Sarkar'.

My other problem is with English movies. Their culture, lingo and mostly the accent are alien to me and many like me. In spite of my love for the English language, I am a die hard 'Desi' in taste when it comes to Movies, Music and Mundiyas. Brown is my favorite color, not white! So even the best of Classics sometimes come out as drags because the dialogues go over the head.

This is why I like guys like Vikram Bhat and Ananth Mahadevan. They might have copped a lot of flak and been branded as plagiarizers or copycats. I actually look at what they have done as translation. Some vernacular classics have been translated in to English and many more foreign languages. Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana have found a place in world literature due to translation.

Some very popular novels of Telugu and Malayalam writers are regularly translated and published in other languages. Those intellectuals who don't complain about these works of remade literature, become holier than though when it comes to remade movies. Kannada and Telugu film-makers have always faced this discrimination.

There also is a lot of mud-slinging among the public too. When a Tamil movie is remade in Kannada or Telugu, the Tamil netizens go hammer and tongs at the lack of originality and so on. They conveniently ignore the fact that some of their biggest hits were remakes from Malayalam or even Hindi!

I am a huge admirer of original work and Indian literature in vernacular languages. But what is wrong in borrowing a good idea from another language or region and presenting it with native colors, ethos and language? I don't understand French or Korean languages and am too old to learn new languages. So I will be definitely happy if someone presents some good movies with Indianized vision.

This isn't in defense of of many of those horrible remakes released every Friday in every language in India. More than 3 versions of the Unfaithful have made it to the screen in India. But only Mahesh Bhat's 'Murder' starring the temptress Mallika Sherawat and serial Kisser Emran Hashmi made the cut.

This is in support of some of those very decent recycled versions from other languages and cultures that have managed to entertain us. Even Sholay was supposed to have been inspired by 'For a few Dollars More'. I haven't watched the English movie. Not only me, but an entire nation knows Sholay is a legend!

We are a people who translate European jokes into Indian languages, put a Sardar in place of the Pole and circulate them through SMS. But a hint of inspiration in any movie and we go, "Another of those copied craps". I sincerely believe we should chuck out our double standards.

I would prefer to watch a decently made remake which I can understand rather than a Classic which I will not be able to understand one bit! One thing though, please acknowledge the original work and pay the royalty or IPR where it is due.

Finally, even with the best of intentions and efforts, some inspired pieces of work may not inspire the audience. That doesn't mean we have to condemn the whole genre and keep watching insipid native stuff or subtitled Latin movies.

'Dil Hai ke Maanta Nahin' was a cute recycled version of Raj Kapoor - Nargis classic 'Chori Chori'. And 'Chori Chori' too was inspired by the 1934 Hollywood Classic 'It Happened One night'. If we look back, we have 3 good movies to cherish.

No Remakes Please, We are Indians ! The word 'Remake' sucks. I prefer to call these movies "Inspired" or "Translated" !

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Everything will be fine !

Growing up watching Hindi movies was but natural for me. My whole family in this southern most district of Karnataka was enamored by Hindi movies. As I grew up, I realized, Hindi movies were as popular in my native place as the local Kannada movies.

The first movie I remember vividly is 'Amar Akbar Anthony'. It has stayed with me because of the unbelievable but still the legendary drunk scene of Amitabh Bachchan. I became an instant fan of the Bachchan on that day. That was in 1977. I still am amazed by this giant of a Man!

But this post is not about me, Bachchan or so many of his acts. This is about Hindi movies. Legendary Ashok Kumar also known as Dada Moni once told that the dialogues in Hindi movies contained just about 600 words. I have grown up to be forty watching Hindi movies and many more in other Indian languages.

After watching nearly a million Indian movies, I have been able to predict most of the movies halfway through the first half. For example, I knew Aamir Khan was Phunsukh Wangdu in 3 Idiots the very moment Silencer Chatur uttered this name. Even some of the best whodunits have failed to surprise me. But the fact is I still enjoy these movies!

Am I blowing my own trumpet? No, just establishing a fact. Our movies, even the best and the so called original ones are mostly predictable. But what the heck, we still love them; at least I do! So which is that one line that must have been the most oft-repeated one in Hindi movies? Let's just take a look at some of the sequences from movies of different times and we have the answer.

The Doctor visiting a sick patient examines him, gives some injection and then says, "Humne dawai dee hai, ghabrane kee koi baat nahin hai, --- ----- -- ------"

The boyfriend sitting in a park tells the worried girl, "Jaanam, Hum hamesha saath rahenge. Zaalim zamaana kuch bhi kare, lekin hum kabhi alag nahin honge. Tum chinta mat katna, --- ----- -- ------"

Father of the bride worried about dowry demand just before the wedding. The Hero walks to him and says, "Kaka aap himmat mat haariye, paison ka bandobast ho jaayega, aise chinta karne se kya fayda? --- ---- -- ------"

Mother worried about her son's unemployed status. Father while munching on dry rothi says, "Bhaagbaan, tum chinta kyun karti ho? Agar uske naseeb me naukri likhi hai toh ek na ek din zaroor mil jayegi. Bhagwaan ke ghar der hai andher nahin, yakeen mano, --- ----- -- ------"

Friends in hospital. Father of one guy is serious. His close buddy, usually the hero says, "Abe tu aise kyun moonh latka ke baitha hai? Kuch nahin hoga tere Papa ko. Hum sab tere saath hain. Poori koshish karenge, tum dekhna, --- ----- -- ------"

These are just five instances. I can go on and on giving examples. Anyone who has watched even a handful of Hindi movies can predict what is "--- ----- -- ------"

These are my favorite words too. The whole of humanity lives on expectations. Those who are going through good times will cherish the moments and wish things remain the same forever. Those who are going through tough times will wish, pray and hope for better times, for things to improve and for everything to be alright.

This is what the legendary Baba Ranchor Das tells his friends in 3 Idiots, "Keep your hand on the chest and say All is Well. This gives the courage to face challenges!" As far as I am concerned, this is absolutely true. Since childhood, during every adversity; I have always prepared myself by convincing myself, 'Everything will be fine'!

I managed to tide over a really difficult period in my life when I joined Medical College in 1988; thanks to Bobby McFerrin! Ragging, hostel life, hostile food, new people and the enormity of the Medical Course had all but demoralized me. But these positive lines helped me come out stronger.

All is well very well might have become the phrase of the nation. But I have always loved the original Hindi version that has been used from time immemorium and perhaps ad nauseum! But I still love it and it is my banner on my blog and will remain so forever. I am a die-hard optimist and hence will be wishing 'Everything will be fine'!

So on this 'World Environment Day', here I am wishing every disturbed soul, every worried mother, every exam going student, every patient waiting to go under the knife and to every single human being threatened by Global warming,...
"Sab Theek ho Jayega" !