Monday, February 23, 2009

Get a taste of Indian Oscurry

I am not a big Oscar fan. The last time I woke up early to watch a telecast, I was maybe 13. Awards in general have lost their meaning for me over time (My last post mentions one reason; not counting how awards have generally eluded me since I was 13). Yet, as I watched the Oscar telecast this evening from my hotel room in Santa Clara, I had a lump-in-the-throat moment. For all our posturing that our self-esteem does not depend on validation from the firangs, boy! it felt great to hear Bachchan's immortal dialogue on the Oscar stage-- "Mere paas maa hai".

I mean, Rah! Rah! Rahman! That was Wow!

The real lump-moment, though, came when they announced the award for best documentary to "Smile Pinki (2008)". I have obviously not seen it, nor heard of it, given how marketing-dependant we are. Yet, I have never prayed harder for any movie to win. It is extremely heartening to see India colonize the Oscar stage, even small films with no frantic lobbying efforts. I believe Pinki was there at Kodak theatre this evening, although they did not show her. I hope this award gives her happiness. And an audience.

For India's first Oscar glory to be named after Pinki, too, is a fitting tribute to our artistic "history" (wink wink).

That said, I did a little jig and squealed in delight, as the camera panned from apna Lakkhan (Anil Kapoor) to the ravishing Frida Pinto and then to AR Rahman, as he framed the dedication in 3 languages-- hindi, english and tamil! It was a great feeling and not something to be savoured alone in a hotel room; wish I was hooting together with the chavanni crowd in front-stall at Gaiety-Galaxy.

Anyway, the Oscars tonight may do for Indian cinema what "Crouching Tiger" did for China. Of course, I fear this will also lead to many more Hollywoodized offerings from Bombay. For starters, the musical that followed Rahman's award was as Indian as the "chicken curry" served in desi restaurants along El Camino Real in Santa Clara. Why didn't they just call Farah Khan or Ganesh Acharya to hhelp with the choreography?!!

(On a related note, "Lagaan (2001)", in my opinion, had a better presentation, better performances and waaay better music-- everything that represented true Bollywood. Rahman and Aamir deserved to be up there in 2002!)

Here's hoping Bollywood continues to "be itself" and produce the wacky, unique movies only it can. Dances, songs, logic (or lack of) and Gulshan Grover intact. Please don't make Bollywood bland just because the sophisticated firang palette can't take it. They will get used to it, just like they got used to Chicken Curry ;-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jai Ho, Mangte Chungneijang Merykom

I almost felt like copying the whole post. It deserves to be all over Bloggywood. But I am just going to give a link to it. I must admit, I had never heard of this female. Do read Pseudo Intellectual's brilliant reminder here, then come back here.

I am in awe of people who have the guts to do something about their status in life and actually pursue their happiness -- juggling career, kids and community on the way. They learn to take the knocks that life sends their way in their stride. What they are not prepared for, though, is to see the very colors they proudly wear turn their back on them. The colors of India.

As a nation we seem to celebrate mediocrity in Ash, crudity in Bhajji and even criminal celebrity in Raju... but we allow true heroism to be lost in the fires of domesticity. I am sure Mary will go on to greater glory in Boxing. Maybe even play for a different country.

That is the day we will proclaim her as "Indian" and scramble over each other to shower awards on her petite 46Kg frame.