Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thoughts on Rockstar

I saw Rockstar last week. Late night show at the local theatre after a busy day – we were tired and in that strangely receptive stage where the mind doesn’t interrupt too much, butt in to filter, analyse or slot. The viewing left a few swirling images in my head that I have been trying to coalesce into a blog post, but it wouldn’t happen.

I liked it, I think. I’m still not able to write about it coherently but a few points:
  • First, very happy to see Imtiaz Ali back – he had lost it, I feel, with Love Aaj Kal… had become too bemused by his previous success but the sureness is back. Rockstar is a very different movie from Socha na tha or Jab we met but the theme – success and satisfaction – which he had touched upon* in Love Aaj Kal is back.
  • I found Rockstar to be a rather touching story – Jordan’s that is. Intense but not knowing it… seeking, desperately seeking – not success but maybe fulfilment. Finally success comes, and with it, fame – a many fanged beast. Ranbir Kapoor was a revelation. I liked him in Rocket Singh and I loved his projection of Jordan in this one – angry, vulnerable, nice, spiritual, unwise, urgent, desperate, frustrated, unhappy, explosive. 
  • The love story, which I later learnt from an interview, was supposed to echo the Heer Ranjha saga, was a let-down. I felt annoyed that it hijacked the second half, dragging us away from the singer’s transformative journey. Nargis Fakhri, though pretty, simply didn’t hold. Some shots simply shouldn’t have been okayed.
  • I see now that Heer was necessarily required to be married to keep with the love story it was shadowing, but I thought her character annoyingly vacillating. Unaware, unfair in that despicably cowardly way, that typical portrayal of femme fatales – the ‘Jules et Jim’ variety, Shweta calls them - capricious, wilful, unreasonable, stupid, destructive.
  • I loved, simply loved the Hazrat Nizamuddin sections. How amazing, how liberating to live like that, learn like that, be like that.
  • The music was disappointing – it held in the movie but I don’t remember any of them, which for AR Rahman is very surprising. I think he needs to return to melody. Urgently.
  • And then, of course, Shammi Kapoor, who in a brief role, so nicely deepens our understanding of the Rockstar’s inner quest.

*PS. Just an aside about this song from Love Aaj Kal, which leaped outside its context for me (I rather disliked the movie). About the things we think we want and what happens when we get them. It’s not very subtle and very few of us go that spare at the first sign of boredom but hey, well, it’s one song.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The listener, who listens in the snow

Moving from the eternal:

sab dharti kaagaj karun, lekhni sab banrai
saath samudra ki masih karun, Guru gun likha na jaaye
- Kabir

to the seasonal again. Haiku poet David Caruso saying:

snowflakes . . .
no two winters
quite the same

I have held this poem close to my heart for a couple of years now. That we don’t actually get any snow here is quite beside the point; the reputation of the snow flake precedes it, the very word brings up a fragile, ephemeral pattern of irreplicable beauty.

Snowflakes. The poet throws in the word – and the world of the poem. Then as you settle into a generic mind of winter, he reminds us that no two are quite the same. He is very right. I can remember the winters of at least four years past, and I fancifully find myself in a tableau. In something like a snow globe, perhaps. Standing stock still in the middle of winter, and the events drifting around me – one year’s events nothing like another’s. And I, filmed in gentle time-lapse, every time caught up in new insights, losing and gaining, dissolving and building, changing, changing, changing.  

The winter of 2009 comes to mind again, brings not quite pain but the memory of pain:
a nursing home blanket
over all her sharp edges —
- Jennifer Gomoll Popolis

This winter is going to be different too – it may even be beyond words.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Tailorbird Update

We were late with bringing in the clothes from the clothesline and the buckets, and I have frightened Mr India away.

Of course, you know India from here. We hadn't given him a name then, not quite realising that this was to be such a long relationship as to require these niceties. But he has been visiting regularly, putting the back verandah out of use for us every evening. The name was bestowed recently by my 7-year-old niece who caught sight of him and then asked to see the species properly in the book. 'Oh, he's green and white and orange,' she said, 'I think you should call him India.' So we do.

Today, he was alert but stayed as long as I moved about some distance away but I was too ambitious - I reached for buckets less than four feet from him and he flew off. He'll be back, of course and, what's more, bring the missus with him. (Yes, our bachelor has settled down and our hopes that he would leave to make his adventurous way about the world have evaporated, for he brings her daily, and we will probably see their fledgelings too.) Now that winter has set in, he comes earlier every day. It used to be 6.30pm, now he's settling in by 5.45pm. He gets very bashful if we catch him at him - awkwardness at this shameless infringement, no doubt - but by eight or nine, he hardly notices us unless we are very loud.

Monday, November 07, 2011