Mumbaistan

28 03 2013

Mediocre and amateurish. I can think of no other words to aptly describe this collection of three Mumbai-based crime thrillers by Piyush Jha. I purchased it almost on a whim from the bestseller’s list on Flipkart against my prudent self warning me otherwise. Even as I was hesitating before hitting the magic button, I remembered that the book was featured in The Hindu with a moderately positive review. That did the trick and I went ahead with the purchase. (Regret!)

mumbaistan-3-explosive-crime-thrillers-Just into a few pages of the first story, I was stuck by the crude way the story was being told,  I cringed at the dull and familiar scenes unfolding , and I distinctly sensed the ‘filmy” style. Indeed I wondered aloud – “outright filmy”. Only then I bothered to check out the author’s bio on the first page. And not surprisingly, I discovered him to be a film director. Ha! This piece of information only made me more weary than before as I went back to the story and embarked on the reluctant journey of treading through the pages. Leaving a book unfinished is something I would do rarely, and that too only after I exerted my utmost will to complete it somehow. My principle is simple -“finish what you start”. It has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, in many occasions I ended up having a better opinion of the book than I started with. On the downside, I had to endure some very stupid books. But usually, I take great care in picking up my reads so, the latter percentage is rather small.

Coming back to Mumbaistan, as I mentioned earlier, it has 3 stories in it. The titles of the three stories shout lack of creativity and/or intelligence and added to my horror:

  1. Bomb Day
  2. Injectionwalla (What!!!)
  3. Coma Man

The first one is about terrorists, police informers infiltrating the enemy gang and busting their plan to blow up BSE. I gagged and almost puked at certain scenes. Above all, the ending. 🙂

Injectionwalla (God save me!) murders his victims by injecting a poisonous drug into them. Actually, he is a hero of sorts as his targets are members of an organ racket, who exploited ,and thereby caused the death of, many innocent people. Initially, he meant only to take the life of a renowned doctor as an act of personal vengeance for his father’s death. But his lover persuades the reluctant protagonist  to go on a killing spree and finish the other members of the racket as well. And can you guess the bait? – sex and blowjobs!! (Speechless! 🙄 😯 )

The last one seems slightly better only because by that time one gets somewhat used to the lousy , unimaginative and bland style. Sigh! It is about a man who gets out of coma after 19 years and ventures out in search of his beloved wife.  In the course of which, he recollects the details of the incident that caused his condition.

Warning! Spoiler below.

Even though the three stories deal with completely different types of crime, there is a common thread that connects all of them. It is this: In all the three stories, it is a woman who masterminds the crime involved. The typical twist/surprise element in the climax!

The contrived stories failed miserably to impress me. 😉

When I say “filmy”, I refer to commercial film stuff. I don’t mean to undermine films in any way (whatever kind they are of). I enjoy them a lot myself. However, I believe that commercial movie stories don’t make good literature. To comment on Piyush Jha – I don’t know about his movies, but I feel that this book is a disaster despite it being a bestseller.

Considering that I’m judging this work a bit too harshly, let’s look at it from a different point of view. May be the book never aimed to become a piece of literary art. May be it only aims to appease a certain section of readers, in case of which it is a success of sort. May be it all comes down to just a terrible mismatch – between the reader and the book. 🙂

Oh, last but not the least. I almost forgot to mention Ekta Kapoor’s review on the book cover. It says –  “A potboiling page-turner packed with three main ingredients: Entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.”

I was almost ROFL upon reading it. I’m sure she didn’t even glance through the book before coming up with it. So cliched! Entertainment????  😆 I don’t see how “crime thrillers” and “entertainment” go together. 😕 (unless they are movies, of course! 😉 )

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Trivikram and his heroines

11 02 2013

I’ve been planning to do this post ever since I watched Julayi. The movie was good. But it couldn’t make a powerful impression on me between the unbelievable and absurd stunts (even the cars perform some of them, besides the men) and the stick-thin, lackluster, and lifeless heroine. The intelligent, analytical, and logical approach of the hero has an exciting effect on the viewers, owing to the stark contrast to the usual portrayal of heroism, in traditional Telugu cinema, through supreme physical strength and aggressiveness. But the heroine stands at the other extreme. Conventionally beautiful but utterly stupid. Cute for sure with pouting lips, and rolling eyes but she seems to lack a personality. Besides mild frustration, Madhu (Julayi’s heroine) has triggered a series of thoughts in me, which made me recall Trivikram’s previous heroines. The brainless barbie doll depiction of the heroines is not a new thing in cinema. But the way it is celebrated and elevated in his scripts is something that made me wince many a time.

A storyteller of considerable stature, who shells out sensible story lines with strong and ingenious heroes, Trivikram disappoints with the way he portrays heroines. I’m disappointed that his lead-ladies pale in comparison. Bhagi in Jalsa is equally or possibly even more irritating than Madhu in Julayi. I almost puke in disgust whenever I happen to come across those scenes on Television. The stupidity and idiocy is one thing but the way it is  shown as cute and desirable is even more frustrating. Same is the case with Anjali in Nuvve Nuvve. Poori in Athadu is quite silly too. (But personally, I like the entertainment she provides in the movie though.) Consider Subbu in Khaleja. Gosh, I get irritated with each recall. From Anjali in Nuvve Nuvve to Madhu in Julayi, none of Trivikrams’ heroines are role models. Oh, wait a minute! Are heroines (especially of commercial cinema) ever supposed to be role models?  Do filmmakers ever realize how hard  young girls of today try to emulate them and be as silly ? 🙂 Just kidding! Or may be not! But who can deny their impact and the influence? Of course, there is an argument that it’s not the fault of the drink, but the people who choose to get drunk on it. I won’t get into it now.

It can be easily deduced, from popular belief and “evidence”,  that men get attracted towards cute, docile, dud-girls because they are easier to handle and help in boosting their own exaggerated self-images. But that can apply for average men. But heroes, who are supposed to be superior beings or at the least greater and mightier than an average man, with extreme intellectual and courage factors, falling for such dolls doesn’t make sense. They would surely be able to handle an intelligent, accomplished woman. Wouldn’t they?

Don’t intelligent and self-confident females make appealing heroines? If that’s the message Trivikram wants to give through his movies, there’s no hope for mankind (pun intended). 🙂 Is this highly dramatic? 😛 Ok, I’ll suppress the drama queen in me for a while . 🙂

There is usually unequivocal acceptance of stupidity in females. Actually it is celebrated. A friend  opined that girls, even when little, don’t listen to reason, and behave stupidly; that it’s in their nature. But I believe that it’s largely conditioning rather than biological or genetical. Any person responds to the cues and suggestions that come from the environment and it’s quite possible that the roots of the conditioning dates back to the early months of  a girl child.

I think when stupidity in girls is so celebrated, ignorant females believe that that’s how they should behave to get acceptance in the society; it becomes a natural attitude because that is when they get rewarded or acknowledged in the society. John Gray in his famous relationship book – Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus – advises women to show perplexity and incomprehension at anything technical, which is more complex than a screwdriver. The man would jump at the opportunity to explain to her or, even better, do it for her. I believe this is a classic. I was, and still am, so amused by this piece of advice. Lol! I’m even more amused by the fact of how well that works. As a relationship guide, I say it’s a killer. 🙂 I sometimes feel that women in general, since ages, in an attempt to please and make men feel better of themselves by indulging them thus, somewhere down the line have really turned into the duds men wanted them to be. 🙂 Well, it’s just an idea that has occurred to me in one of “those” moments. 😛

Of course, lot of stereotypes exist that shape us and of course the future generations. And talking about them  is just one of those never ending sagas. 🙂 This reminds me of a conversation with my 6 year old son just the other day. It ran like this:

Me: I love you

Son: Girls shouldn’t say I love you. Only boys should say it.

Me: (Shocked and perplexed) Why do you say that?

Son: Am I not watching movies?

Me: &%*$^

That moment found me speechless for certain. I’m not sure about the open mouth though. 🙂 Needless to say, it triggered a train of thoughts in my mind. (Again…! It seems it’s not taking much for me these days to make me contemplative. Sigh! Good for the blog though! 😛 Don’t you agree? ) As I remembered Gautam Menon’s movies, I had something to say back to my son –  “girls say it too. You just haven’t seen the right movies yet.” 🙂

Reflecting on Gautam’s movies, I couldn’t help thinking about Trivikram again. What a contrast. Gautam’s heroines are all independent ladies with distinct personalities. They may have their own issues, but only just as any man would have with himself. I applaud him for showing women as the persons they are instead of… you know what. When I first watched his first movie Cheli, the one thing that impressed on my mind is the heroine (Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Reema Sen 🙂 ). I found her amazing and so unlike her counterparts in other movies. Of course, there are a few other filmmakers who portray women well, but I believe they are always outnumbered by those who don’t.