Monday, October 28, 2013

Bollywood Saga

A part of being indian is the fact that Bollywood forms a big part of my life. I'v grown up watching comedy classics and dancing to Bollywood numbers at weddings. Not one family dinner conversation goes without a reference to Andaaz Apna Apna, Angoor or Golmaal.

For decades now indian movies have followed a thumb rule. Make everything appear larger than life. Bright colors, hunky actors, stunning actresses, dance, music, weddings, love, fights and everything else that makes our hearts race. Budgets of movies have now reached soaring heights resulting in Box office revenues like never before. 

Big budget movies with big returns. Theses movies are collectively called the '100 crore movies'. That amounts to $16,264,129 as per todays conversion rate!! Revenues of these movies are calculated in multiples of a 100 crores.

Theres got to be a reason how these movies do so well. A formula thats works time and again. A closer look at these movies and I noticed the similarities they share.

So here goes...10 points to make a 100 crore rupees.

1. An actor who has come to terms with the fact that his acting talent will not be utilized in the movie. He meets the prerequisites of good looks and sports six pack abs. He effortlessly delivers over confident dialogues written for his character.

2. An actress who dislikes the hero at first and then gets swept off her feet by his muscles that can tear his shirt when he flexes. A perfect village belle or a damsel in distress.

3. A script-writer who has mastered the skill of separating logic and intellect from a story. He needs to also have the added talent to add fart jokes to 'strengthen the script'.

4. A recently imported dancer, preferably from Eastern Europe or Russia, capable of lip syncing meaningless hindi lyrics. She's obviously more glamorous and provocative than the main actress and has an appropriately picked out name such as Munni, Laila, Chameli, Pinky, Sheila.

5. A song written and sung by the very talented YoYo (first name) Honey-Singh (last name). A song unfit to be sung/heard with kids around.

6. A director who can include gravity defying stunts in fights, songs and comedy. He's probably south indian, making it easier for him to understand the language of the movie he is replicating.

7.  At least a 100 background dancers, forced to suppress their skills to match the challenging belt movement steps finally mastered by the actor. For the extremely talented actors, choreographers have come up with synchronized cheek movement instead of steps.

8.  One main bafoon-ish villain with at least 10 south indian side kicks. They are brought in just to get beaten up by a hero half their size. As dark complexioned as possible, casted merely based on the size of their bellies.

9. A disclaimer that asks viewers to leave their brains at home. This is done because the director has gone through the effort of using his brains in school and understand the exhaustion it causes.

10. A well connected PR company that will make sure the cast is on the sets of every reality show on TV. The songs will be at clubs, on the radio, as ringtones and at every wedding Sangeet. There will come a point when you will catch yourself humming songs about Sheila's jawani while driving to work.

PS: If all the above points don't make enough of an impact, a false scandal ought to do it. So throw one of those in too.

This formula is then applied to an innocent viewer who  has been exposed to so much information about the movie 3 months prior to release. He feels like a social outcast for not watching the movie and then convinces himself that the movie deserves Rs 250 of his hard earned money.

Put them all together and you have a whopping 100 crore collection in the 1st week of the movies release!!

There you go.....10 rules to make a 100 crore rupees. This is what we should be taught at business schools.

My dad reminisces about Bollywood in the 70s. He calls them "my-time-movies". These movies are masterpieces with flawless direction by Hrishikesh Mukherji and Gulzar. Simple yet powerful acting by Amol Palekar, Uttpal Dutt and Sanjeev Kumar. They did what cinema today has forgotten. 4 actors, a strong script and a familiar background score. Thats all it took to make movies that I am blogging about 30 years after they's been released.  

Makes me really wonder what would happen if the movies from the 70s released now. Would their simplicity still strike us or are we all attuned to the '10 points to 100 Crores Formula' ?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Puppy Love

We look for similarities when we make friends. We seek out those who speak the same language, dress the same way, like the same places and eat the same food. 11 years ago I made an Omani (wadi dog) friend, Zappy.  I share none of these similarities with Zappy, yet she’s chosen me to be her soulmate.

Its been 11 years and she still runs up to me with the same excitement and affection as she did when she was a pup. She keeps our relationship fresh and fun.

Imagine a child fling her arms open when you enter your home. That's the joy Zappy fills me with. Moreover, her innocence and love are unchanging

Dogs fill a void in our personalities that we didn't know existed. Once you've lived with a pet, its hard to live without one around. Thats what led me to my gorgeous Diva. 

I brought her home when she was 40 days old. She's a pup from my cousin/friend’s dog. One from a litter of 10 absolutely heart-melting lab pups. I fell in love the moment I saw her. Diva was just too much cuteness packed into one little body.

Other than the colour of their coat, Zappy and Diva share no similarities at all.

 Zappy is cool, calm and collected. She is extremely affectionate but very choosy about who she shares her fondness with. She loves to be left alone. 

If Zappy was in high school, she'd be one of the cool kids.

Diva is one big fur ball of affection and excitement. One handful of food and she'd fall in love with anyone. She begs for attention and petting. She's unaware of how big she’s gotten and still tries to crawl up onto my lap.
Zappy taught me friendship, sensitivity, adaptation and above all companionship. 

Diva taught me to love unconditionally, enjoy every meal like its your last, and display childlike innocence even when you are a mother of 7!

Leaving Diva and moving to Muscat was one of the hardest things I've had to do. I wept for longer with her than I did at my actual Bidaai (post marriage farewell).

I'm sure she knew I was leaving...nothing else would justify all that overfeeding. 

On my next trip to India, Diva turned 3 and was pregnant! (yeah... she had some fun when I was away).  At 60 days she was ready to pop any minute. So, having no prior experience being a mid-wife, I made an appointment with a vet to take her in for delivery. I went to bed that night wondering if Diva even knew that she's pregnant. 

How could she know? She came to us when she was just 40 days old. She had never hung out with other pregnant dogs, never read a magazine or bought a copy of ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’. I figured she had no way of knowing what she’s going through. 

Over the past week, she had gained a fondness for mud and was digging up a hole in my garden. So I bathed her and got her ready to look presentable for the vet meeting

When I got back home that evening, she had made herself a seat in the hole she had dug up and had already delivered her 1st pup! 

She had spent the past 3 days digging up a hole to make an ideal space for child birth! I was so awed by this. Its unbelievable how nature works.

6 and a half hours and 7 pups later she finally fell into deep restful sleep . No fancy delivery room. No exasperated husband by her side. Just her innate smartness and an amateur midwife, me

First time mom and first time mid-wife . We looked at each other cluelessly and led each other through the process. This is a special bond I share with Diva and her pups. One that cant be compared with any other relationship.

She was way more lady-like than any woman I'v seen in the movies. She held her rat-like pups close to her and kept them warm all night.

The pups grew
well over the next few days. I had aspiring pet parents come in everyday.

We decided to keep one and give away the other pups to friends and family that we could visit and see the dogs grow up. 

Diva is a proud mother to Pepper, Aldo, Lara, Rani, Tyson, Bruno and Tiger.

Lara is a year old now and is a black beauty.  Diva steps aside and allows Lara to enjoy all the attention. My favorite mother-daughter duo in the world :)

Love, kindness, compassion and empathy are not emotions that can be taught. Experience the unconditional love your pets have to offer and you will slowly realize that they've
changed you forever

I've fallen
hard in Puppy Love and I know this affairs going to be one to remember.