Saturday, April 18, 2015

'OK Kanmani': Mani Ratnam's timely reflection of our society

'OK Kanmani' is in every way a love letter to the audience. It's a love story sans superficiality or exaggeration. Mani Ratnam is a filmmaker who believes in picking the right actors for his films. By zeroing in on Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen, the master class director wins the battle.
'OK Kanmani' joins the two leaves of modernness in Indian society and the necessity to stay away from aberration. Aadi (Dulquer) and Tara (Nithya) fall in love just like that... maybe lesser than the time it takes to practice the art of snapping your fingers. But the real story is in their understanding of each other. Of the space they give each other. Of what they expect and extract from each other.
They live together (which will be frowned upon if you suggest the idea to your parents) for a short period only to realize that there's more to their relationship than the immediacy of their planned romantic stay. While Nithya brings in her fears, doubts, and cuteness to her role, Dulquer on the other hand, brings in everyman's attitude to his Aadi.
The portions where the young couple learns the meaning of togetherness from the older couple (Prakash Raj and Leela Samson) through an opening in the doorway is definitely the itch that holds two people close. Leela Samson is excellent in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer's and Prakash Raj as usual is neat on the screen.
What's fascinating about the film is how A. R. Rahman and Mani Ratnam have worked together along with P. C. Sreeram to present this wonder named 'OK Kanmani'. When I first heard the track "Maula Wa Sallim" I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Now I sit agape with admiration. It seamlessly blends into the narrative. Also, P. C. does a fine job. He takes the film a step higher by giving it a flawless touch. A. R. Rahman's faithfulness to his mentor is great. There is not an emotion left unwarranted.
We can squabble over the climax but that's also the point Ratnam makes. This is where the boundary is drawn in India for most of us now. Maybe the climax, for future films and us, will stand as a mirror to the cultural shift some decades down the line. But I still can't wrap my head around the fact that‪ 'OK Kanmani' is given a UA certificate. A terrific love story with a senseless certificate attached to it. Mani Ratnam's timely reflection of our society is the one you shouldn't miss.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This Baisakhi – A Ray of Hope for Kidney Patients.

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is a harvest festival celebrated in the Punjab region. The festival also celebrated as new year in few regions of the country has come with a hope for those looking for kidney donors to save their lives. As the crops are getting spoilt due to rains and government compensation as royal as 63 rupees, trend indicates that many farmers might be forced to take drastic steps including ending their lives.

Two years back a group of farmers sought permissions from the government to sell their organs(read kidney) to settle their debts. According to reports protest leader Gurnam Singh, from the Bharat Kisan Union then said, "It has become increasingly difficult for us to live and the only way out is by selling our kidneys and other organs. The land belongs to our ancestors and is like our mother so we will never sell it. At least selling our organs would enable us to repay debt and live for a few more years and feed our families."

In January this year, Ramesh Khamankar, a cotton farmer in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district walked to his ruined fields and drank from a bottle of pesticide. He died a few hours later. He was 57. His death was not the only case in the country.

According to the National Crimes Records Bureau, 270,940 farmers have taken their lives since 1995.This occurred at an annual average rate of 14,462 deaths between 1995 and 2000. Critics have pointed out that the numbers may be even higher because the figures are understated by the government. They say that several deaths are not reported as suicides and due to social prejudices, women farmer deaths are not registered as farmer suicides.

More than 60% of people in India rely on agriculture for their income, but the recent spate of unseasonable rainfall has damaged standing crops in 14 states and may lead to a big loss in the wheat harvest. Rains at the end of February and March damaged crops in 11 million hectares (ha) spread over Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab, according to a 26 March ministry estimate.

An estimated 6 million ha of wheat crop, nearly one-fifth of the sown area, has been damaged. There has been more showers and hailstorms since the data was released, even as major wheat-growing states began harvesting the crop.

Many districts across the country received excess rainfall compared to normal rainfall during march. Though the rains were wide spread from North to South, states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, few districts of Sikkim, UP, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, received high intense rainfall with more than 50 mm. In other states, the quantum of rainfall received was less than 50 mm over the week.

The unseasonable rainfall impacted the horticultural crops such as Mango, Pomegranate, Apple, Grapes which are at different stages of flowering, fruit ripening and harvesting. The intense storms caused flower drop, damage to fruits and may cause pest and disease problems due to the conducive moisture conditions. Crops which are harvested and left in the fields for collection suffered extensive damage. The seasonal crops, early sown ones, experienced lodging and water-logging problems. Parts of North East states received less rainfall than normal causing moisture stress to the standing crops

The government has announced a package for aid comes as an insult in may areas. Rain-hit farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad district, reeling under severe debt due to crop loss following unseasonable rains and hailstorm, are being handed paltry sums of Rs 63 and Rs 100 as compensation.

Need anyone say anymore !!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mika - A Spoilt Brat

Popular singer Mika Singh slapped a doctor at an event held in New Delhi on April 11.
The Mika Singh Live-in-concert was co-ordinated by the Delhi Ophthalmological Society as a part of the three-day conference. The evening was adorned with songs like ‘Tu Mera Hero’, ‘Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag’ and ‘Jumme Ki Raat’ among others.
While Mika Singh was all praises for Delhi, it’s people and the doctors, who he called “padhey likhey doctor” he asked all the males to gather at the sides – left and rightand the womenfolk at the centre all through his performance.
Towards the end of the show, while most of the doctors were having dinner at the buffet, the music stopped and one could hear Mika asking the bouncers to get adoctor from among the audience onto the stage.
With ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’ from ‘Jab We Met’ still to come from his armour (as was told), Mika ran inside the green-room. There were cries and shouts allover – ‘Kisi band baaje waale ko bulaao, aur woh aapko thhappad maar de? Aise chalta hai kya?”
It so happened that one of the male doctors, aged around 30, didn’t listen to his “staying on the sides” orders and kept on coming and dancing where the female population was standing. Quite annoyed with this doctor, Mika called him onto the stage and slapped him hard.
The doctors have shown unity, time and again. Here too, the doctors united to fight against Mika Singh.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Delhi - A City of Dead Men.

Anybody from Delhi would know what Turkman Gate looks like. It is one of the gates to the walled city, an arched entrance to what many refer to as ‘Old Delhi’ as well. Above all the place is always buzzing like a bee-nest. During day time one of the main entrances sees tremendous rush of people and during night till wee hours of morning there are many rickshawalahs, handcart pullers and many such means are busy moving in the supplies and goods to the old city. The crux remains that the entrance is always full of people.

Now picture this – a few meters from there a man is beaten so badly that he is destined to his death. A small road rage case and someone loses his life! We all know how short tempered Delhi has become following the rat-race to existence. But, no one coming for
help looks like reenactments of 16th December 2012, when many saw but no one came forward to help. Now police says they will take help of CCTVs to trace down the culprits.

Police too has a presence round the clock as the zone falls under sensitive area of Delhi. God only knows what they were upto at that point in time. Later when the tensioned prevailed columns came marching to thwart any attempt to communalise the issue.

Such has sadly become the face of Delhi, which many rightly say has become un-livable. Probably it is time to rewrite the Darwin’s theory once again—Survival of the Fittest should now become Only Killers can Survive.

But before adapting to the New Darwin’s Theory, I would suggest reading Nazir Akbarabadi’s Aadmi-Naama

दुनिया मैं बादशाह है सो है वोह भी आदमी

और मुफलिस ओ गदा है सो है वोह भी आदमी
जार दर बे नवा है सो है वोह भी आदमी
नेमत जो खा रहा है सो है वोह भी आदमी
टुकड़े जो मांगता है सो है वोह भी आदमी

अब्दाल ओ कुतब ओ घुस ओ वाली आदमी हुई
मुनकर भी आदमी हुए और कुफ्र से भरे
क्या क्या करिश्मे कश्फ़ ओ करामत के किये
हद ता के अपने जोर ओ रियाज़त के जोर पे
खालिक से जा मिला है सो है वोह भी आदमी

फिर'औं ने किया था जो दावा खुदाई का
शाद्दाद भी बहिश्त बना कर हुआ खुदा
नमरूद भी खुदा ही कहाता था बार माला
यह बात है समझने की आगे कहूं मैं क्या
यां तक जो हूँ चूका है सो है वोह भी आदमी

यां आदमी ही नार है और आदमी ही नूर
यां आदमी ही पास है और आदमी ही दूर
कुल आदमी का हुस्न ओ काबा मिएँ है यान ज़हूर
शैतान भी आदमी है जो करता है मकर ओ जोर
और हादी, रहनुमा है सो है वोह भी आदमी

मस्जिद भी आदमी ने बने है यां मियां
बनते हैं आदमी ही इमाम और खुतबा ख्वान
पढ़ते हैं आदमी ही नमाज़ और कुरान यां
और आदमी ही उन की चुराते हैं जूतियाँ
उनको जो ताड़ता है सो है वोह भी आदमी

यां आदमी पे जान को वारे है आदमी
और आदमी ही तेग से मारे है आदमी
पगड़ी भी आदमी की उतारे है आदमी
चिल्ला के आदमी को पुकारे है आदमी
और सुन के दौड़ता है सो है वोह भी आदमी!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Belur Math Explosions - Wondering Why!

Belur Math - A Centre of Excellence.
Authorities would be baffled to know who could attack Belur Ramakrishna Mission at Belur Math. Though a crude bomb, the security is beefed up and authorities will have to be extra cautious from now on.

Belur Math is a major pilgrimage site in the state, Belur Math is where Swami Vivekananda spent his last days. The incident will be echoed till long as Swami Vivekananda is being harped upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Security is not something he can deal directly since he is at loggerheads with Mamata Bannerjee.

At the same time Belur Math is a pride of West Bengal and all Bengalis invariably take visitor to the place. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Kolkata. The temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. Beautifully built, the temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. 

The crudeness of the explosives can give an idea of the motive as well. Low intensity signifies a reason where no harm is intended, yet the act will bring every attention to the issue. And if so then who would have done it. Surely there are elements who would like the issue to be raked up.

Investigations only will tell what the real reasons would be. But, the mission is in news for all the wrong reasons. For weeks, months and years to come people will remember the incident and rhe real mission of education, training and other philanthropic activities of the trust will now take a back seat. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Ails Delhi - Part 1

A senior executive of a top IT company was killed after his car rammed into an iron-rod laden truck near the Delhi suburb of Noida recently. The victim, Amit Srivastava, was working with the Human Resource department in HCL Technologies. The Hyundai i-10 that he was driving hit a truck from behind. The impact of the collision was such that an iron rod in the truck impaled Mr Srivastava's body, killing him on the spot. Police say, the truck driver absconded after the accident.

Now this happened when Supreme Court had not intervened and banned such killer contraptions on the road. Since then such incidents have come down. Barring a few isolated sights the highways have been cleared of this menace.

Trucks are probably gone have we done anything for other modes of transportation. For example a bullock cart laden dangerously with all sorts of goods are having a field day. Probably no traffic provisions are applicable to them. Delhi, the national capital has plenty of such vehicles carrying iron rods protruding out threatening rest of the road users. Probably those managing order are at loss under which section should they be booked. Let me tell them if nothing then they can be booked under culpable homicide not amounting to murder. But manpower starved police is looking at other things. They will wake up when someone dies in such incident. 

People traveling on roads are prone to all sorts of accidents and primary reason is that we as a country have failed to anticipate the traffic and its impact. We have failed to live up to the reality on the road. Nor can most road users guess what type of vehicle they will face at next corner. Delhi alone has 48 different "modes of transport" including cows, elephants and camels, as well as cycle-rickshaws and SUVs.

Has any policeman ever thought about the real culprit before charging any violation? When was the last time we discussed about respecting the natural flow of vehicles? We do not design traffic management systems to separate different streams of traffic. If and when we do have a traffic management /segregation system in place, will people stick to it?

On many 4 lane roads we have, there are bus tracks and cycle tracks. But, do bus walahs or the cyclists stick to it? Worse, with all the litter / construction waste/ boulders lying on the road edges.

And till we do it all other solutions will be short sighted and stop gap arrangements.

(More to follow...)