Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.

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Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.

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I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.

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I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.

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I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.

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Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.

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Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.

The Beach When It Rains… For Chaitri

There was a stage in my life when I loved to run around in the rains and get drenched.

Now I love to stay indoors and listen to some Petrichor appropriate songs (different from rain songs). And therefore I do not have a recent memory of the beach and rains together. I have one from a while back though. .. And it’s a moment I try to recreate here.

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The third year of college was an incredible year for me. If I were to plagiarise, I would say it were the best of times and the worst of times.

Therefore, once it ended and I was done with seeing docs, I decided to take a group trip. And this one was to Kihim and Korlaigadh. Also, whoever had heard of going to a beach in the rains?

Nevertheless, I went ahead with the plan. This post isn’t about the trip, though it was magical in itself. This post is about the beach where I got drenched to the bone.

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I’m a beach person. I’d been to Alibag before, and therefore to Kihim too. Yet, this time was different. Earlier I’d been with friends, and this time with strangers. And I guess that made all the difference in the world.

If you’ve been to Kihim, you’d know that it’s not the cleanest of beaches. It’s dirty, muddy and attracts the kind of crowd I don’t get along with- the drunken revellers who seem to be a constant presence on the beaches.

And ordinarily, I’d complain endlessly about these to everyone in the vicinity. However, as a stranger with a bunch of people who didn’t know me, I shut up. And if  you know me, you’d know that’s very difficult.

And then, as I tenderly entered the water, it started to drizzle. It’s frustrating at first, when you want to play in the waves but the rain hits your head… The first instinct is to run away and hide.

But imagine not being able to see the waves because everything in front of you is just… Water. So you give in, you let go.

I don’t remember too much from this trip, except that when I took a bath later, I still felt like the waves were moving me around. It was a Holi with the rain shower and pichkari-like experience.

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I don’t think I’ll love the rains on the sand too much now. I don’t even think I’ll love getting drenched either. But that one time, just that once, I didn’t really mind it so much.

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Yes, it says sukhi aatma.

Day 29: Mere Dil Ka Tumse Hain Kehna

Movie: Armaan (2003)
Song: Mere Dil Ka Tumse Hain Kehna
Music Director: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (SEL)
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singers: Chithra
Actors (in the song): Anil Kapoor, Preity Zinta

Last week when I took an unplanned break from blogging about movies, I asked my friends at Bookhad for some help with songs. After I said the songs from DCH would be one, Aroop suggested this one! 🙂

Armaan is a movie I saw some time last year, and was immediately reminded of all the hospital dramas on TV. Indian and the American ones. Why do we have so many love stories in hospitals? Is that the most “happening” place? Wonder what my doctor friends feel about this.

Anyway, Preity Zinta in the movie and the song! Watch her! Her look, the way she acts as a deranged patient first and then a jealous, conniving wife is one of her career best, in my opinion. Watch this song and see the twist in the “samjhe” where very casually she threatens that if you don’t remain mine, then… Clearly, killing herself or him is not a very cheery thing to put in a seduction song, but she does it!

The funny part about this song is, unlike the usual where the actress gradually strips to up the “hot” quotient (pretty funny in my opinion), Preity actually begins in the bath and then her dresses keep getting longer! Wow. The best portion of the choreography for me though, is the part where she picks up the knives and forks and leads Anil Kapoor to the bedroom! Talk about living under gun-point (there’s a Tamanche pe Disco joke here somewhere, but I’m way to tired).

I will take a minute here because I have to appreciate Anil Kapoor. That man will be 60 soon and is still going from strength to strength. There was a time in the mid-2000s where I thought his career would slowly fade away after the string of nonsensical movies he did. Look at him now! 24 was a brilliant show for Indian TV, and don’t forget his debut as a director with Gandhi, My Father.

My only grouse with this song is SEL‘s choice of getting Chithra to sing. This is a snazzy, fun song that would better suit Sunidhi Chauhan’s voice. Instead she sung the soft from the movie, Meri Zindagi Mein Aaye Ho, my favourite from the movie! Nevertheless, enjoy the video here:

Day 27: Meri Neend Udd Gayi Hai

Album: Kabhi Yeh Kabhi Woh (2002)
Song: Meri Neend Udd Gayi Hain
Band: A Band of Boys (ABOB)
Music Director: Leslie Lewis (Though I could be wrong)
Lyrics: I’ve no clue!
Singers: Karan Oberoi, Sudhanshu Pandey, Chaitanya Bhosale, Siddharth Haldipur, Sherrin Varghese.
Actors (in the song): ABOB.

Taking off from my previous posts about albums and non-film music in India, here’s A Band of Boys – India’s answer to the boy bands of the West.

ABOB was for all practical purposes good looking men (most of them were models) who could also sing decently. All their songs fall in the mainstream pop genre and they came from a talent hunt similar to Channel V Popstars.

While I remember Sherrin from Movers and Shakers, he was the vocalist of The Rubber Band, I have no clue which movie I’ve seen him in (I swear I saw him in one). Interestingly, Siddharth Haldipur’s brother Sangeet was in Aasma; the duo later turned music directors for movies and if I am not wrong then Aa Zara featuring Yana Gupta/Jacqueline Fernandes is their composition (confirmed by Wikipedia).

Karan Oberoi was in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi and Sudhanshu Pandey (my favourite of the five) was a model whom you can still see in a lot of ads and I keep spotting him in movies such as Singham and Singh is King. For most part I was happy that at least he was still on TV unlike the others. That’s till I saw him as one of the back-up dancers in Lungi Dance. He’s to the immediate right of SRK in the first scene and then to the left and keeps meandering throughout; and the one who puts the straw in the coconut that SRK is holding at 00.16 etc. Watch the Lungi Dance video and join me in my disappointment.

Anyway, Meri Neend was ABOB’s biggest hit which gave competition to Kaliyon ka Chaman, but my favourites also included Gori, Aa Ja Meri Jaan and Nain Katari.

The songs from this genre, are different from the ones I mentioned in the Lucky Ali post. Simply because those were primarily about the music, these are about the videos! ABOB cannot sing, and VIVA!, Aasma were more about the packaging than the singing (though the singers did well individually – Anushka Manchanda, Neha Bhasin, Neeti Mohan are still on the film circuit).

Ganesh Hegde’s Main Deewana is the only song I distinctly remember being close to the teen-following the bands enjoyed. Though Hegde’s video was much better than all of these bands put together! Adnan Sami, Falguni Pathak, Fakir’s Maahi Ve, Bally Sagoo’s Gur Naal Ishq, Bombay Vikings etc. are my favourites in this category.

You can watch Meri Neend here (sorry for the bad quality):

Au revoir, Montréal!

This post was written on my phone at Montreal airport when waiting in the long queues for check-in and then security. However, due to some reason, it just got saved in my drafts and never got posted! So, though it is late, here’s my farewell note. 

P.S. If you find it soppy, it is because I did cry at the airport. I didn’t bawl, but I cried a little. :’)

An hour away from going back home, I think I should say my farewell before it’s too late. I will miss you Montreal.

I will miss smiling at random strangers and exclaiming “Bonjour!” every time a person initiates conversation. Quickly followed by “ça va bien?”DSC_0067

I will miss the extra fifteen minutes every morning in leaving the house to check the weather and dressing appropriately.

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I will miss seeing snow. And miss being frustrated by snow!

I will miss your abundant statues on every corner.

I will miss the culture of get-your-food-to-your-workplace instead of eat out everyday.

I will miss the love and care of the people who were absolute strangers to me 60 days back.

I will miss the Metro with it’s complications in ticket fares and a distinct odour that reminded me of hot water pouring on plastic.

I will miss the breathtaking scenes of the city from Mont Royal.

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I will miss being aloof and lost in my own world because I never understood what people around me were speaking.

I will miss the music and the art that thrives on your street.

I will miss the curiosity of people on what I was doing in a Francophone University with no knowledge of French and immediately helping me out with directions and making sure I was absolutely comfortable.

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I will miss you streets full of graffiti and even mundane walls being turned into pieces of art.

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I will miss the labyrinth  that is UQAM and finally giving up and starting all over again by going down to the Metro.

I will miss the chocolate vending machines that were just enough to give me energy but not too much to give me a sugar high.

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I will miss the friends I made.

I will miss the people I met.

But most of all, I will miss you Montreal. The city that’s my first home away from home. The first time living alone. The first of many experiences I had here. And no city could have been more perfect or more welcoming. Thank you!

A bientôt Montreal! 🙂

Day 26: Tanhayee and Jane Kyun

Movie: Dil Chahta Hain (2001)
Song: Tanhayee and Jane Kyun
Music Director: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (SEL)
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singers: Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Caralisa Monteiro(chorus)
Actors (in the song): Aamir Khan, Preity Zinta

Remember Dil Chahta Hai? The movie that made people go to Goa every summer break as a rite of passage in college? Remember the music? Remember the opera singer? Remember Saif and Sonali in the flying step?

It would be an understatement to say that this is an album nicely made by SEL. Perhaps their best, in my opinion, tying very close to Johnny Gaddar (though the song by them that I can never forget is Aasman Ke Paar from Rockford. A movie both unappreciated and never given any importance to..pssst.. watch the video!)  DCH is the one movie I can definitely say bought a lot of new things in the Hindi film industry. Better music, better story, better hair cuts, shooting abroad and my favourite: Farhan Akhtar (behind the scenes).

If you’re wondering why the two contrasting songs, then I won’t blame you. On Tuesday, the day this song was to be posted, I had a lot of funny experiences. Some that I can laugh only in hindsight. Tanhayee was the background music when I thought I would be stranded at Amsterdam airport and miss my flight (more on that later). Jane Kyun was the one that got stuck in my head when after I boarded the flight, since I was thinking of DCH. Not only is Jane Kyun my favourite of the movie, it is also the one of the songs in which  SEL have put a lot of effort in, in my opinion.

I hope you know that they used the Australian aboriginal instrument – Didgeridoo- in this song. It’s the sound you hear at the start of the song. My favourite part, obviously, is Preity Zinta. Yes. The bubbly, sweet, simple looking, curly-haired Preity! 🙂 Especially in the part where she moves from the blue dress to the red top, her smile is something to die for.

As for Tanhayee, it’s Sonu Nigam all the way, yet again. If Shaan can make you smile, Sonu Nigam can make your insides crumble. I think the only other time I felt the exact same was Satrangi Re from Dil Se and may be a little less of the same in the sad version of Kal Ho Na Ho (don’t watch the video unless you want to see SRK overact!)

My favourite lines from Tanhayee:

Kyun aisi ummeed ki maine, jo aise nakaam hui,
duur banayi thi manzil, toh rastein mein shaam hui.

(Why did I hope for something that failed so,
I made my goals too far, the evening set on the way to them)

Watch the video here:

The lines that don’t leave my head from Jane Kyun:

Pyar toh khair sab hi karte hain,
Jaane kyun aap hi mukarte hain.

(Well, everyone loves,
Who knows why only you deny it.)

Watch this song here:

Day 24: Dekha Hain Aise Bhi

Album: Sifar (1998)
Song: Dekha Hain Aise Bhi
Music Director: No clue!
Lyrics: I’ve no clue!
Singers: Lucky Ali
Actors (in the song): Lucky Ali.

One of the best part of being born in the 90s was that I was a witness to a curious shift in the mindset of Indians and India. Not old enough to comprehend it then, I realise now how the new economy affected all that we consumed. Through movies, songs and even everyday reminders in our lives.

Lucky Ali, Shaan, Silk Route, Junoon, Strings, Euphoria, KK were the albums I grew up on, the album music culture that died a little after early 200s. The kind of music I sorely miss today in the time of remix! Remember Puraani Jeans? A song I totally comprehended almost 15 years after I first saw it.

Carrying on with my theme from yesterday of travel and being alone, here’s my favourite Lucky Ali song (after O Sanam). It’s a mix of messages like all his songs. There is lonliness, re-birth, love, mystery and the part I love the most – no resolution! His music videos are poetry, they’re short stories from bigger epics – just an episode from life. Yes, I do miss these music videos where women gyrating was not a given. Nor was Chaar Botal Vodka (whatever the aim of that be).

Raise your hands if you miss the entire phase of pop music and artists who existed outside of the film business! 🙂

You can enjoy the video here: