Thursday, January 28, 2010

To see or not to see, and my two bits on the Three idiots

I really don’t want to see Avatar. But just as I was bullied into submission by the world’s insistence on discussing Three Idiots over all dinners, lunches, telephone conversations and facebook updates, I am getting hustled into a 3D theatre to see a world that has introduced new words into the English language; and there are only so many times I can go to Wiki to figure what Na’vi is, and then what unobtanium is, and so on and so forth.

I am not too optimistic about my expectations. Partly because technology and special effects cannot make me love a movie, but also because the public adulation makes me cynical. Don’t get me wrong – I am no snob. I loved Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code series, and it was their populism that drove me to them in the first place. But my appetite and acceptance of books is way wider than my tolerance for movies, and if I don’t like a trailer, chances are I won’t like the movie.

Take the case of Three idiots which, really, is no masterpiece. In the first five minutes you know the movie is going to stretch incidents to accommodate a point of view. Faking a heart attack to stop a plane has no place in cinema that seeks to be a realistic depiction. That scene alone marks the movie as an exaggeration. Which is not a fault if something is seeking to be timepass fun – but is totally out of place if aiming for grandeur.

And it is slapstick. Giving the villain a lisp, and filling a speech with sexual references, while potentially hilarious, is not a stroke of comedic genius.

Topping it all, 3I suffers from the old Bollywood failing of falling back on lectures through a hero’s monologue even though the storyline alone would be, should be, enough to get the message across. What I’m saying is: if you need to explain a joke, it is a loser joke. And if you need to explain the moral of a story, it is a loser screenplay.

And what’s with the casting of old men as college students? Okay, so Aamir Khan looks seriously unaged. But that is not enough. What makes youngsters look young is not a lack of frown lines, it is a certain something – perhaps a rebelliousness in his ponytailed hair, a boisterousness in her haughty expression, a languidness in the way they walk - some symptom of a nonchalant attitude ... Look at Imaad Shah in Little Zizou. Or Saif Ali in Dil Chahta Hai. Youth is a facial expression, a body language, not a skin texture. In Three Idiots, only Sharman Joshi has that look, perhaps because he actually is young(er).

3I has its good moments too, but I can’t be bothered to list those out coz enough has been oversaid about them. Long story short, if I must spend 3 hours staring at a screen on Sunday, I’d rather it be Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron once again. Instead, it ended up being Three Idiots earlier. And it is going to end up being Avataar next.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Another one, just like the other one

Sometimes I think our computer is an orphanage.

Unneeded software, unloved programs, useless upgrades - just about anything of questionable conception - and my husband adopts it and houses it in our hard drive.

Which all I bear with a step-motherly sigh, but it is the accumulation of gadgets that really gets to me. The latest thing to enter our household is the universal remote controller.

“Just one click!” gushes Vipul, “A single click on this and you can turn on any gadget in the house that you want to!”
“Wow!” gushes me “instead of one whole click on the older remote control which we already have?”
“Are you being sarcastic? This is really something cool!”
“Are you being serious? Have you already bought it?”
“See, you won’t need the five different remote controllers we have any more”
“I didn’t need the five different gadgets they came with either! Anyway, so I can throw those five remotes now?”
“No No, first I need to program the universal remote!”

And that’s where we stand.

He will install the software that came with the remote on our computer, read through the thousand pages of manual every morning before office, sync the remote and the gadgets, find faults, google for troubleshooting, give up, and by the end of it we will find we need six remotes instead of five.

Seriously, boys and their toys! It’s true – all men have a child hidden inside them. If only the damn kid remained hidden.