10 Trends we should bid farewell to in 2017

1. Show Middle Finger to Middle Name.

Dear Ladies, I know it’s your choice but I have to say it’s a horrible one. Adding your husband’s name in the middle on Facebook seems to be the new fad in 2016. Every other person I know (friends, relatives) seems to be doing it post marriage. On one hand, we have women keeping their surnames same even after marriage and on the other we have women who go one step ahead and add their husband’s name too. Personally, I find it regressive and patriarchal. Have you asked your husbands to do the same? Or has the thought of adding wife’s name to theirs even come across to husbands? I guess, No and that explains it all. I seriously don’t understand the joy behind doing this exercise. Hope to see the trend fading away in 2017 or at least husband’s catching up with it too.

2. Arvind Kejriwal should stop being a troll

I know it is wishful thinking and may be even God cannot help me in this but can we please have a well behaved Arvind Kejriwal? In other words, can he start behaving as a Chief Minister and stop blaming the Prime Minister for every damn thing in this universe?  From calling the PM a psychopath to supporting a convict like Lalu Prasad Yadav, he has become nauseating now. There have been times when I had to read his tweets twice just to check if it is him or his troll account (which by the way makes more sense).  Arvind, even Najeeb Jung has resigned now, please be a little tolerable!

3. It’s not about loving our Soldiers

I am no ‘liberal’ but the growing use of bringing in the country’s soldier for justifying everything silly done in the country should just stop RIGHT NOW! Lecturing people to boycott or ban films that star Pakistani actors because our soldiers are protecting us at the border or telling people that they should not crib about standing in bank and ATM lines because soldiers stand at the border for days without complaining is plain stupidity. Can we please stop this false equivalence and let the soldiers be out of the politics? We can love our soldiers & at the same time criticize demonetization or enjoy watching Ae Dil Hai Muskhil. May better sense prevail!

4. Muslim kids & Fancy Dress

Even Lord Krishna and Jesus would have been fed up by the ‘secularism’ shown by Indians. This is an annual ritual when pictures of Muslim parents carrying their kids dressed up as Krishna or Jesus start floating on WhatsApp, Facebook and every damn place you can find. In fact it isn’t Janmasthami or Christmas till we have seen the picture. While I appreciate the multi culturalism and pluralism of our country; we need not be reminded of it every year. Let the kids dress up and leave them. Please don’t shove it in our face. Just chill. BTW, idea courtesy @NameFieldmt

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5. Close the Open Letters 

While I have written some of them myself, I think it’s high time we stop this drama of Open Letters. I say that because let’s be frank, no one is reading them; especially, the one to whom we are addressing it. I don’t have a problem with the format but of late there have been a bombardment of open letters (most of which make no sense) for every little thing that happens around us. Also, let’s face it that most of us are not aiming towards staring a dialogue but it’s just a bitch fest to get more hits on our blog and get some publicity. We should rather write a letter to our loved ones which they might actually read & may be make them happy because nothing beats the old world charm that hand written letters carry. BTW, this was suggested by KarnikaKohli

6. Ramzan vs Ramadan

Again, I have been party to the crime but if I reflect back, I feel this is one of the most pointless debates of which I have been a part of. Ramzan is one of the most important festivals of Muslims and it is called ‘Ramadan’ in Arabic. In India, as Urdu & Hindi have been the language of communication, it is called ‘Ramzan’. Most of us grew up learning it. I of course had issues (still have) with the growing Arabization as Indians started using ‘Ramadan’ but many say that I am over reacting & it’s just going back to using the ‘authentic’ name which is in Quran. So, let’s just close this debate and enjoy Haleem & Sheer Korma without getting into the spelling.

7. ‘Recreating’ old songs

As if remaking old Hindi films was not enough, we now have film makers ruining the old classic songs by ‘recreating’ them. Some of them like Kaala Chasma (Baar Baar Dekho) or Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le (Dear Zindagi) were not that bad but most of them have been a let down. The recent recreation of Rahman’s Humma Humma (OK Janu) was the final nail in the coffin. Can we just compose some original music in 2017? @ThePuccaCritic did a good piece on the same.

8. Who is the best Khan?

Let’s just settle it this year and agree that Shah Rukh Khan is the BEST Khan. We must stop this annual ranting of telling SRK that he should do more films like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Swades & Chak De India. He is a brilliant actor and he was bloody good even when he did DDLJ, KKHH, Veer Zaara and Fan. No one can do a Raj or Rahul like he does and even now when he opens his arms, he creates magic on screen. Yes, even with that hamming. He has style, class and substance. He is THE KING. PERIOD!

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9. The Coke Studio Debate

With a heavy heart, I have to say that Coke Studio Pakistan is a notch above ours. Let’s just accept it guys that ours is still very commercial, Bollywoodish and to an extent wannabish also and we haven’t come up with something that is even close to the magic of Coke Studio Pakistan. So let’s just enjoy the music and keep the who is better debate aside because I just told you who is better!

10. Year End Posts! 

So tired of these year end posts telling us the top moments, the top films, the best shows, the worst actors and all that. Oh wait! Okay. It is still 2016 and I can write one  🙂

On that note, Happy New Year!

Ae Dil Maange More

‘Pyar Dosti Hai’ – Karan Johar defined love for us in 1998 when he made the blockbuster Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Almost two decades later, he revisits the theme of friendship, heart break and one sided love with Ae Dil Hai Muskil. Of course, the characters here are more mature and situations more real. Heck! You don’t even see Triumphal Arch or London Eye.

The film starts off very well and Karan builds on the friendship between Ayan (Terrific Ranbir) and Anushka (Brilliant Anushka) beautifully. Ayan is a rich billionaire who is studying MBA (he wants to be a singer though) while Alizeh is recovering from a broken relationship. They bond over cheesy Bollywood songs from the 80’s, dance on Baby Doll in Yoga classes, do a Yash Chopra film song in the mountains and even sing a Hindi Karaoke in a pub in Paris. Basically, they are mad people and you cannot help but enjoy their madness. While these evoke moments of joy, fun and laughter; there are some genuine heartfelt moments between the two protagonists. Alizeh ‘explaining’ Ayan what heartbreak actually feels like (Keeping a mortal-pestle on his heart) as she has experienced one or Ayan & Alizeh wrapped in a quilt on a cold winter night, discussing their relationship where the former expresses his ‘attraction’ to latter but she believes it’s only friendship are pure gems. I was particularly moved when Ayan pleads Alizeh to marry him at her wedding by keeping a flower pot on his chest to demonstrate the pain. This is Johar at his best. He knows how to manipulate with the emotions and he does that unabashedly, making you reach out to your tissues.

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Second half of the film sees a heartbroken Ayan meeting Saba (Gorgeous Aishwarya) who is a shayara. She writes, he sings and their wounded hearts find solace in each other. However, this is not permanent because first love in a Karan Johar film is not easy to forget and though Ayan is physically involved with Saba, he remains emotionally attached to Alizeh. Even though her part comes with clumsy Urdu lines, she does justice to her role and leaves an impact in a short role. Shah Rukh in a cameo does well and when he says ‘Ek Tarfa Pyar Ki Taakat’ line you know no one does this better than him and how you wish he was young once again.

Johar is a master story teller and he is one of the best we have when it comes to portraying the complexity of relationships but post Aishwarya’s exit the film didn’t work for me.

I am a sucker for Karan Johar dramas and I have never been bothered about the length of his films but how I wish this was a bit shorter. Some of the scenes seemed forced making no sense and I was eventually tired of Ayan’s broken heart act. So much that I stopped feeling for Ayan and Alizeh. I was neither moved when Ayan slept for 2 says in freezing cold on a terrace waiting for Alizeh nor did I feel bad when Ayan cries like a child outside her hotel. I was also bothered about excessive use of Urdu because this is not Karan Johar’s forte and this was him trying to be someone else.

Even though she had a blink & miss appearance in Student of the Year, when Farida Jalal dies in the film, I cried a lot. In fact I still drop a tear whenever I watch it. This is the power of Karan Johar. But he seems to have lost that in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Even after investing more than 2 hours in the characters, I didn’t cry when one of them dies.

It’s not a bad film at all but the Karan Johar magic is missing. May be he should get back to doing what he does best and stop being so real. Meanwhile, I shall probably revisit Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna which remains my favorite Johar film 🙂

 

 

Misplaced Nationalism

Main nahin kehta ki deewar gira di jaa sakti hai par kyun na ek do eentein khiska di jaayein, taank jhaank ho’

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said this in a function held for Pakistani poet Hafeez Jullundhri in Delhi. The entire crowd including Hafeez who wrote the National anthem of Pakistan was moved. What’s interesting is that this was said by one of the tallest leaders of the Indian right and what’s even more interesting is that he would have been abused and called an anti-national had he said this today.

Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is making a lot of noise of late. While many like me are appreciating the music, the excellent chemistry between Ranbir-Aishwarya and eagerly looking forward to the film, there is another lot which is demanding a boycott/ban of the film and the regional party of Maharashtra, MNS is threatening to break the multiplexes if it is released (As I write this, there has been a truce). The reason being a ‘cameo’ by Fawad Khan in the film who is a Pakistani and this comes under the wake of Uri attack by Pakistan where more than 17 Indian soldiers were martyred.

There has been a lot of debate going on and I have had heated discussions on Twitter and Facebook where many support the boycott/ban while many agree with me and are against the same. People are now giving certificates of patriotism and nationalism depending upon which side you are on. I have serious ideological issues with this and I couldn’t help but write this post.

Silence doesn’t mean we don’t love our soldiers

I read a dramatic post recently, where the author argued that Bollywood had remained silent on the Uri attacks. I was frankly quite amused when I read this argument. Terrorism is one of the gravest issues that we face as human beings and we often read about our soldiers getting martyred in sensitive areas like Kashmir and the North East. We also read about the riots that happen in various parts of the country and there is never a day when we don’t read about rape of girls. Precisely, there is a lot of wrong that’s happening around us. But when did it become a norm that we HAVE to tweet or talk about it to earn our certificate of patriotism and if we don’t then it means we don’t love our country and army? A quick introspection would tell us that we haven’t criticized or condemned every attack that took away the life of our soldiers but that does NOT mean we don’t care for them or are not patriotic enough. The same people sometime back argued that the PM cannot speak on all issues (Dadri or Gau Rakshaks) but that doesn’t mean he approves them. How times change! Every Indian irrespective of the political ideology, feels bad at the sight of dead bodies of soldiers wrapped in tricolor and every Indian acknowledges the immense contribution and sacrifice they make to keep us safe. No one, I repeat, no one should question that. We all love India. PERIOD!

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Banning Pak Artists is silly!

Many jingoists have made the argument of ‘economic isolation’ while trying to justify the banning of Pak artists but as they make this argument, India continues its exports and imports with Pak and the Indian businesses continue to trade with Pakistan. India has neither sent back the Pak High Commissioner and nor has it called its Commissioner back. So, why should only artists bear the brunt? As artists rightly say, they are easier targets. I would have happily supported the ban if it helped us in controlling terrorism but we all know that this makes absolutely NO difference. More so, when trade and commerce is going on as usual! I also cannot fathom what on earth means keeping ‘India first’. Because if a Pakistani actor acts in a film, your country becomes second? Who peddles this non sense?

A boycott/ban will hurt Indians     

Though people have made noises about banning the film, thankfully there hasn’t been a ban on the film and while boycotting a film is well within the rights of every individual and everyone is free to do it but it makes little sense. Barring an actor or two from Pakistan, majority of the cast & crew of the film is Indian. If the film doesn’t do well because of the boycott then it affects only Indians who have put in their heart, soul and money in the film. The producers, exhibitors, studio all lose money because of this. Why would any ‘patriotic’ Indian want to do this to fellow Indians? The movie is backed by Fox Star which is a joint venture between 20th century Fox and Star. At a time, when our government is trying to get foreign investments what message do we want to convey to a studio like 20th Century Fox who is investing in India and other potential investors? Doesn’t this hurt the country?

Karan Johar is not a hypocrite

I was deeply disappointed when Karan Johar came up with that video justifying his patriotism and saluting the armed forces. No one should be asked to prove his patriotism and it’s a pity that he had to do so. People who till now had been asking for him to speak up brushed this aside as drama but they were happy that they had ‘won’. As someone who has crores riding on a film and with goons threatening to stop the release of your film, what other option you have but to bow down? It’s easy to sound idealistic and say that he shouldn’t have done this but practically speaking, maybe I would have done that too. When you know that the state cannot protect you, what other option you have? And yes, he is a businessman at the end and he has to save his film!

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The Chief Minister of Maharashtra recently arranged a meeting between Karan and MNS. It was agreed that producers will not cast any actor from Pakistan in future, producers who already have Pak actors in their films will pay 5 crores to Army Welfare Fund and Karan Johar will have a disclaimer before the film that pays homage to the martyrs of Uri. More than angry one feels sad about the state of affairs in this country and it sets a dangerous precedent. Tomorrow, any Tom, Dick and Harry under the garb of nationalism will threaten anyone and will even get away with the non-sense because it’s a new fad now. It is still not a crime to work with Pak actors in India. MHA has not denied visas or issued any advisory that prohibits anyone to work with them. MNS with zero authority in the state of Maharashtra acts like a Goonda extorting money from the producers and what’s pathetic is that the producers association even agrees to this crap. Running a disclaimer before the film honoring the martyrs is also good but I have a problem here because this is FORCED nationalism. Why on earth should anyone be doing this? I am no expert here but I believe that this could have been totally avoided had government taken a strict stand.

I strongly believe that people should be free to work with anyone they want to work with and ADHM and all other films which have Pakistani artists should be released peacefully. But this doesn’t make me any less Indian than the hyper nationalists and it’s high time we stop this stupidity.

India is one of the world’s largest democracy. This was achieved after a lot of sacrifice and our freedom fighters have laid their lives to ensure that we live in a ‘free country’. Though we are not a perfect country when it comes to freedom of speech and expression but we are in a much better space when we compare ourselves to China, Pakistan, Korea and many other countries where the rights are hampered. We should value the freedom that the architects of this nation gave us and we should strive to strengthen them with each passing day.

What better way to end the post by quoting Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action;

Into that heaven of freedom, My Father, let my country awake

On that note, #BoycottADHM #BanADHM #ADHMFDFS