I really liked MNIK

Yes, really. As a moderate Muslim, I’ve had my fair share of harassments post 9/11. Though I’ve chosen not to be too vocal about it, watching the movie couple of days back really unfolded a story that countless Muslims like me faced around the world. One that of being labeled a terrorist or looked upon with suspicion all the time. Of trying to justify what you are not rather than what you are.

My name is Khan dwelled on this subject beautifully. On stereotyping on basis of name or religion.

Questions are always asked as to why Islam is such a violent religion. It actually is not. It is of peace and compassion. For fellow Muslims. For fellow humans. For humanity. Finally someone has depicted this in true light.

I know how it feels when someone looks at you top to bottom with that look in his/her eyes. I’ve had my baggage rechecked all over again at airport security after officers ask me my name. I had pressing questions from immigration officers before stamping my passport. I’ve had people asking me if Masood Azhar or Abu Salem are my relatives. I’ve had strangers ask me questions on things I’ve not done or even thought off before. I’ve accepted this as a trade off for being who I am.

MNIK has touched on terrorism, hijab (veil), jihad (religious war), charity (zakat), public service, compassion, love etc. It has touched on how one can be misguided or be guided and how it is a choice. MNIK has touched upon the lives of millions of ordinary Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism or terrorist activities yet are branded as one.

MNIK has shown that there is nothing wrong to follow a particular faith or religion. And that it is a deeply personal thing. And everyone is entitled to his or her set of beliefs.

Edited to add: Also read what Maria has to say on the same subject at http://cut-to-cut.blogspot.com/2010/02/it-was-khantastic.html

Main Kab Saas Banungi

Misleading title, isn’t it? Don’t worry. I am not that desperate. Definitely not to be a ‘saas’ (mother-in-law). So am I then going through a mid-life identity crisis? Nope. Well…

Main Kab Saas Banungi (MKSB) is a show currently televised on Sab TV. Now, why would I even bother to know the existence of said serial, specially with the word ‘saas’ in it? As if the ‘K’s were already not enough! Well, last evening, after I got back home, I turned on the TV and was onto my usual channel surfing, when my mom walked in the living room and asked me to switch to Sab TV. That’s my cue to hand her the remote and get my ass out of there! But I decided to stay on. I wanted to find out why millions are hooked onto these endless, useless, senseless saas-bahu sagas. (For the record, my mom is not one of them!)

And I was in for a pleasant shock! MKSB was nothing like the dreaded Ks. This is one hell of a funny comedy series on the relationship between three generations of saas and bahus. No backbiting, no vamps, no scheming, no revenge, no extra marital affairs, no coming-back-from-the-dead stunts, no rebirths, no dramatics, no crap, no no.

On the contrary, this show encourages family values. The bonding between saas and bahus is represented in loving yet mischievous & comic ways. Brings to fact that all saas-bahu relationships are not strained. There are happy families out there who are living amicably together. This series shows the positive side of the relationship. And is funny.

Much needed refreshing change from the utterly disgusting shows that run on national television at prime time. Hats off to Deepti Bhatnagar for coming out with this concept. We need more of this than the K trash by that Ekta whatever.

I don’t promise to follow MKSB regularly. More of a HBO-ESPN kinda guy. But wouldn’t mind switching to Sab TV every now and then.

Mallu Discount

We coined this new term yesterday. No offense to all the mallus out there but just couldn’t help ourselves. Come stay in the gulf and you’ll know what I mean.

Anyways, we (me and Amit) went to watch Ghajini last night. Decent-to-good movie I’d say despite the whole world going gaga over the movie and Aamer’s performance. Why I say this is because of the so-called ‘Mallu Discount’ factor. So what is Mallu Discount?

Mallu Discount is nothing but the South factor. Let me explain. Indian cinema defies logic – all genres inclusive. Even the most realistic of movies seem to make no sense at times. There are exceptions but I am speaking of the vast overwhelming majority. Singing & dancing around trees, fight scenes, romance, acting (read: overacting), larger-than-life characters, item numbers, cleavage & finally climax (no, not that one!) – these are all the essential elements of Indian movies. Put this all together and you have a masala bollywood flick. Multiply this by a factor of 10 and you have a masala ‘south’ movie (Pot-bellied actors added to the list!). This south factor is what I call ‘The Mallu Discount”.

So while watching Aamer pull off some absolutely nonsensical stunts last night, I turned to Amit and frustratingly remarked, “Kya horaha hai yeh sab? Kuch bhi kya!” (What’s all this? Anything?) And in his typical quick wit he replies, “Chod na yaar. South ki picture ka remake hai. Mallu discount de de!” (Let it be. Remake of a South movie. Give some mallu discount!).

We both burst out laughing. The movie suddenly became more tolerable to the extent that I ended up saying to my bro, who had tickets for the next show, that it was a decent movie. Definitely worth a watch.

Mallu discount helps.

Boiler Room

I first saw “Boiler Room” nearly 3 years back. And it’s been on my laptop ever since. If you are a hotshot sales guy, this is the movie for you. I’m not gonna give details about the plot or anything else. Just posting excerpts of my favorites scenes.

In this scene, Jim Young (Ben Affleck), who is the Head of Recruitment, gives a pitch to a room full of new applicants about the job, the firm and why they should work there. So here goes:

Jim Young: OK, here’s the deal. I am not here to waste your time and I certainly hope your not here to waste mine. So, I’m gonna keep this short. Become an employee of this firm and you will make your first million within three years. OK? I’m gonna repeat that. You will make a million dollars within three years of your first day of employment at J T Marlin. There is no question whether or not you will become a millionaire working here. The only question is how many times over.

You think I’m joking? I’m not joking!

I am a millionaire. It’s a weird thing to hear, right? Tell ya, it’s a weird thing to say. I am a fucking millionaire. And guess how old I am? 27. You know what that makes me here….a fucking senior citizen. Lucky for me I happen to be really fucking good at my job or I’d be out of one. You guys are the new blood. You are the future big swinging dicks of this firm.

Anybody tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t fucking have any.

They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!

You want details. Fine. I drive a Ferrari. 355 Cabriolet. What’s up! I have a ridiculous house in the South fork. I have every toy you can possible imagine. And best of all kids, I am liquid. So now you know what’s possible. Let me tell you what’s required. You are required to work your fucking ass off at this firm. We want winners here. Not pikers! A piker walks with a bell. Piker asks how much vacation time you get in the first year. Vacation time? People come and work at this firm for one reason – to become filthy rich. That’s it. We’re not here to make friends. We’re not saving the fucking manatees here. You want vacation time? Go teach third grade.

Your friends are shit. Tell ‘em you made 25 grand last month, there not gonna believe you. Fuck them. FUCK THEM. Parents don’t like the life you lead. Fuck you. See how it feels when you’re making their fucking Lexus payments. Now go home and think about it.

Think about whether or not this is really for you. You decide it isn’t? Listen, its nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s not for everyone. But if you really want this, you call me on Monday and we’ll talk. Just don’t waste my fucking time.

OK, that’s it.

Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na – Movie review

Saw the latest from Aamer Khan banner last night. Here are my ratings:

(Does not contain spoilers)

Arc: (Low)ish – (High)ish – (Low)ish

Star power: 2 (All new comers. Some cameos from Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Sohail and Arbaaz Khan, Kitu Gidwani and Rajat Kapoor)

Mumbling quotient: 9 (Sounded clear)

Bladder: 7 (Depends on the size of your coke! Just over 2 and a half hours)

Artistry: 6 (Not the typical Rehman ……but yes, it does come in flashes here and there. ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ is a nice foot-tapping number. Otherwise, overall, about average. Some scenic locales add freshness to the movie)

Sadism: 0 (A romantic comedy – what sadism?!?)

Originality: 1 (Very common story line. Every couple of years a movie like this comes out. Infact Genelia played a very similar character in Tujhe Meri Kasam with Ritesh Deshmukh)

Incomprehensibility: 0 (If you can’t figure this one out, stick to Tom & Jerry, dude!)

Humor: 8 (Now, this we have in plenty. Some clever, some ‘duh’ and some spontaneous – its all good)

Scariness: 0 (You don’t need to carry NTG)

Suspense: 0 (No prizes for guessing this one!)

Overall: 7 (The movie is predictable. Imran Khan looks good and makes a promising debut. Some characters look out of place but this is a light script so it really doesn’t matter. It is an enjoyable movie but only for those who don’t take cinema too seriously and are looking for plain entertainment. Movie defies logic more than once. But again, it’s just a movie guys. We need a few like these as well. So just chill and enjoy the popcorn!)

Movie review – Sarkar Raj

I saw Sarkar Raj this weekend. Thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I think it was a fitting sequel to Sarkar. It was well connected and thought through. Had interesting, almost intriguing, twists and turns. I am rating the movie using a mechanism I thought about a few weeks back. Does not contain spoilers. Ratings are subjective.

Arc: (Low)ish – (High)ish – Really (High)

Star power: 9 (Aishwarya looked completely out of sorts though. But yes, both the Bachchans steal the show! A couple of new faces show promise as well)

Mumbling quotient: 9.5 (Crystal clear)

Bladder: 10 (You can make it all the way. A little over 2 hours I reckon)

Artistry: 8 (Camera angles, background score, cinematography and direction – Bang on!)

Sadism: 8 (Justified)

Originality: 6 (Maybe some dust from The Godfather series has rubbed a bit)

Incomprehensibility: 9 (Makes sense all along)

Humor: 2 (Hardly but unnecessary)

Scariness: 1

Suspense: 7 (Can keep you guessing)

Overall: 8.5 (Would have been a 9 if Ash wasn’t part of this project)