Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chak De! India

Alright, I agree I am a little late to watch this movie. The experience did leave me with that happy, warm and fuzzy feeling you get after watching a good sports movie. The movie despite its predictability and been-there-seen-that plot manages to engage you till the end. The performances of SRK and the girls who form the hockey team are spot on. In fact the choice to use non-actresses for the hockey team works for the movie. When it comes to acting these girls are rough around the edges which makes their characters likeable. The movie has the right doses of sportsmanspirit and patriotism without going over the top.
For once a sports movie used the services of a real sportsperson as an advisor. The hockey scenes are well choreographed, thanks to Mir Rajan Negi's involvement. The camera work, editing and the background score work hand in hand to create an adrenaline infused viewing experience.

OK, the praises end here. Now Mr Shimit Amin here's my list of "what could have been better and what could have been avoided":
1) The Hockey federation staff was so one dimensional....come on we are not in the 70s era of black or white characters anymore.
2) The Kabir Khan's mohalla scenes are absolutely much so that they belong in a different movie....they seem to have been directed by another person....I almost feel that the producer (Mr Adi Chopra) forced them down the director's throat..if so, you are acquitted Mr Amin.
3) The Vice-captain proposing the girl publicly and she rejecting the proposal seems like a scene from a Rekha-Dimple "feminist" stereotypical movies...I would have slashed it and burnt that part of the film at the editing table.
4) The background score of Salim-Sulaiman does have the nail-biting effect where needed, but in most places its over the top and drowns every other sound. A little more sync-sound would have created a better effect. In fact using the sound of the sport (hockey sticks clashing, shoes digging the turf, players huffing and puffing) would have created an awesome effect.

All in all, the movie kept me engaged and made me cheer. Its a GOAL.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Equal Opportunity Employment?

I was talking with a friend a couple weeks ago about an article I read in a newsmagazine when I was in India early this year. The article was written by an American pilot working for an Indian airline. The article was about the job postings for receptionists, air hostesses, secretaries, etc. The article was mocking at the way these postings described the requirements for the jobs:

"Tall, Slim, Fair, Handsome, Clear Complexion, Between the ages of 21-27, Height and Weight Proportional". The article was particularly taking pot-shots at the "Fair" part. It was addressing a serious issue in a humorous way. I had never taken much notice of this until someone from a different country pointed out to me. I felt ashamed, I felt low, I felt Sorry for all those "not so tall, not so slim, not so fair, not so handsome with an unclear complexion" population which is probably fully qualified for the job, but cannot even apply.
This friend forwarded the attached job posting from today's TOI. I decided to do an experiment with this - I made an American colleague and Indian colleague read it. These are the reactions I got:
The American colleague said - "This is funny!!" She seriously thought this was a mock posting or a practical joke.
The Indian colleague said - "Had not heard about Indigo airlines, so many new airlines in India"
When I explained to the American colleague that this is a real posting she looked at me like I am on drugs. When I pointed the discriminatory aspect of the posting to the Indian colleague, he got the point and realized the bigotry. So in conclusion, if I have to explain this to an educated working professional Indian, how long would it take make a nation realize this?
Our Government has always pushed reservations down everyones throat (including the private sector soon..) to eliminate discrimination on the basis of caste. Can we have some basic laws for all castes, religions, genders for not allowing corporates to discriminate based on physical appearances?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Death of Honor?

Marion Jones pleaded guilty to have taken performance enhancing drugs. She will be stripped of her 3 gold medals and 2 bronze medals that she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was proclaimed as the Fastest Woman on Earth, she was the Golden Girl, she was the epitome of dedication, strength and edurance. Today, she remains as a fallen hero, her honor, her honesty has been tarnished.
Some questions that arise in my head:
Are we too harsh on our sportspersons when we who hailed them as our heroes, our inspirations denounce them as soon as we know they used performance enhancing drugs?
Comparing the Individual achievements in other fields:
Do we take the Oscars away from the film stars when we know they underwent a cosmetic surgery, took god-knows-what to enhance their assets?
Do we not think Cobain was a creative force even though we knew of his addictions? Do we think he could have created that music if he was not high most of the time?
Do Da Vinci's masterpieces become any lesser in our eyes knowing that he was also high most of the times when he was at his creative best?
Could Viriginia Woolf's writing be as creative as it is today if she was not a regular pot smoker?
Most (not all) of the major artists - musicians, artists, performers - were or are regular users of some form of contraband drugs, or have resorted to artificial physical boosters (botox, cosmetic surgeries, silicone implants, etc)

I know I am comparing Apples to Oranges, Sports and Arts - not the same deal? Right? But then how do you measure Individual Achievements? Why is it OK in one and not in the other?

Mind you I am not advocating use of these drugs, I am just questioning why do we punish the baseball stars, the runners, the boxers, the swimmers or any other athletes? Why do we not give the same treatment to individuals from other fields? Why these double standards?
Aren't they all equally possesed with ambition , aren't they all equally driven to achieve or create or push those limits (creative, mental or physical) that were established by someone else?
I cannot answer this, can you?