Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amitabh Bachchan's *cough* work

Even by the breathtakingly atrocious standard of film reporting at Bombay Times, this story is incredible. An excerpt:

Amitabh Bachchan gave a funny dialogue of a South Indian film, "I will hit you so hard even Google will not be able to find you", out on a social networking site.

It became an instant hit amongst the net community, getting repeated, used as status messages and updates across the net. Of course, no one bothered to give credit to the person who set it all in motion. ... We speak about IPR rights in a country where even AB’s work is passed off by the general public as their own!

AB's work?

Monday, June 21, 2010

The wives who stayed behind

Rajni George has written a lovely story about women whose husbands live and work in the Middle East. Towards the end of her piece, George delves on the classic conflicts immigrants grapple with in a beautiful paragraph:

In [a book titled] Kerala’s Gulf Connection, ... loneliness is cited as the most serious problem Gulf wives face, followed by the burden of being the chief person responsible when a member of the household needs medical care or other help. How does one weigh this kind of loneliness against the other kind that both Amisha and Rasiya say they want to avoid, the loneliness of being in a foreign country without a social support system? Every immigrant life is shaped according to how they respond to this essential conflict. The question they are unwittingly responding to, of course, is what makes them happy and how?

I'm going to take a sentence out of context because it reminded me of something. The immigrant experience is inextricably linked to the region's story. When they left these shores to pursue a dream, they gambled that their fortunes would rise and fall with those of their host. Until three years ago they had good times, sailing through the greenest of green stretches life can provide. Until this happened, they could afford to not look at the strides being taken at home. Now the immigrant looks at home from a distance and sees it changed. The classic loneliness of being in a foreign country is slightly altered: It is also the loneliness of knowing that the home left behind has forgotten his absence.

I had the good fortune to meet Rajni, a writer and editor with The Caravan, during a recent trip to Dubai. I was surprised at how she felt about the city and its immigrants from a story-potential perspective. Surprised because I had naively assumed that my decades in Dubai had left me with a unique perspective, and that I could see stories that others couldn't. After meeting her, I wasn't so sure.

I do know one thing. If she decides to write a book on the place, it'll be far better than any literature on the subject so far.

Sabotaging bad movies

Reading a story today about the new old Bollywood meme of rumor and gossip being used to sink movies, I wondered why the firmament isn't called out more often on this lie. When a star becomes part of a movie unit, he goes public with his choices. I'm curious about what drives these decisions. What makes a movie like Kites seem like a good idea? Who sells it? What does he say to make a star buy it? What does the star see? Who does he consult? How does his existence inside this space lead him to believe that a failed movie was not undone simply by its badness? That it was sabotage?

What I'd give to be inside this bubble. Can you imagine the delusion?

The story

When I see a forgotten thing, of whose significance only I know, there’s a tightening in my chest and I think to myself that this forgetting and this discovery are a story. When the excitement fades, I remember that all this is a very old story, and that forgetting happens for a reason. Once the reasoning is over and the time to feel comes, I look at the forgotten thing from a distance, reconstructing the history that surrounded it and my place in it, and I remember that some things are most keenly felt by me only. Words only serve to lighten their meaning.