Sunday, 14 October 2018

An Andhadhun...dh Entertainer

An Andhadhun…dh entertainer

After reading the reviews full of praise for the movie and excellent word of mouth recommendations, we decided to watch ‘Andhadhun’.

The film opens with a farmer chasing a rabbit all across his farm with a gun in hand but the rabbit manages to remain two steps ahead, all hale and hearty. Finally the rabbit reaches near a winding highway, the farmer takes aim… and what happens next is conveyed through audio, keeping the audience guessing.

Till the film’s end you wonder how that opening sequence connects with the rest of the film. Nay! The fast pace and the sheer edge of the seat moments in the film suck the audience into the gripping story of a blind pianist, a yesteryear Star and his scheming wife.

Mostly, the film follows a linear narrative; it doesn’t keep the audience in suspense, but still delivers an edge of the seat entertainer. The story unfolds…yes, unfolds is the right word, as the varied nuances of the storyline unfold one after the other in quick succession, making us wonder with bated breath; What will happen next?

The audience pines for the protagonist, a blind pianist, played extremely well by Ayushman Khurana, as his life goes through unexpected and scary twists and turns. Unknowingly he gets sucked into an unexpected crime and is fast losing out on options, as he struggles to outsmart the extremely cunning and scheming killer.

I wouldn’t like to give more of the story, as that would take away the fun of watching this stupendous movie.

Ayushman Khurana is fast turning out to be a Star of alternate cinema and this movie enhances his reputation. He has brought alive the role of a blind piano genius who gets caught in a web of deceit.

Radhika Apte has managed well in this movie, where she plays a supporting cast, at the most. She is an excellent performer but in this movie, the spotlight is never on her.

The supporting cast of Manav Vij and Ashwini Kalsekar, play the roles of a stud Inspector and his loving though eccentric wife, with aplomb.
But the movie is owned by the talented Tabu, and how! It will be a shocker if she doesn’t sweep the awards for this year, for this role of a lifetime. It appears that the role was written only for her. Whether as a loving young wife of the yesteryear Star, or as the woman consumed by lust, or the scheming woman trying to bury the skeletons in her cupboard, she commands the screen in such a way that it appears that the others are just a supporting cast. Fantastic acting at its best.

The music score by Amit Trivedi is like a breath of fresh air in today’s musical world of remixes and cacophony. And the piano rules supreme in all the beautiful compositions.

Finally the Director, Sriram Raghavan nails it, presenting the trials and tribulations of a blind pianist, with aplomb. This might possibly be his best and most successful work in an illustrious career.

So guys, don’t miss this movie! Go for it!

Yatindra Tawde

Thursday, 2 August 2018

A fish pond



I had always known, nay…experienced, that watching the swimming fish, whether in a pond, sea, lake or fish tank is very soothing and reduces stress.

The old woman was lying on the bed. She felt like getting up and roaming about but was not able to. It was as if she was tied to the bed, but she wasn’t.

To start with various tubes were connected to her body. She was on saline and various medicines were being administered through the drip.

But, even if this had not been so and she were hale and hearty, she wouldn’t have wanted to step down on the floor. For, her bed was surrounded by dirty water, freely flowing in from outside. Even the fish took the free ride inside to inspect the hygienic surroundings of the reputed hospital.

Hospital, did I say?

Unfortunately yes. The rains have been incessant but the civic authorities have been extremely efficient and effective in cleaning up the drains. So much so, the fish were gleaming in the morbid slush!

So the old woman passes her time by gazing at the elegant movements of the fish, who have a free run of the hospital, and eases her stress to hasten her recovery.

Last heard, she went back fully recovered, achieved by drastic reduction of her stress levels and the hospital won the award for introducing a revolutionary new method of saving precious life. They named it, ‘Aqua Therapy’

And the fisherfolk are plotting their next netting trip to a hospital, though they take care to handle their tools of trade, like the net, with gloved hands…

Yatindra Tawde

Friday, 29 June 2018

Man Creche


Written with tongue firmly in cheek. To be taken with a pinch of salt...

The zombies are roaming around the shopping malls of the city. 

The ladies are shopping for all types of products which catch their fancy. And sometimes they  are accompanied by the zombies who are left with no choice but to chaperone their better halves. 

And so they come with sleepy eyes and memories of good things which they left behind at their respective homes. Good things like sports channels on TV, video games, novels, magazines and all these along with a cool glass of beer. 

But then an order is an order! 

Once the order comes from their high command, their’s not to reason why. The order comes either in the form of a formal command, sometimes it comes with a sweet smile whereas sometimes it is just to act as a chauffeur to transport the fragile frames of their command centres  from one shopping destination to the next. 

All these disliked commands and the sweet memories of all the leisurely activities left behind at home take their toll, resulting in turning a hale and hearty male into a zombie. 

So this is the community of docile zombies which you see in any shopping mall near you. 

Sometimes the zombie stands beside his female owner but his eyes are on the other such female owners who have their own zombies with them. 

Other times he answers in monosyllables to the enthusiastic questions posed by his owner, “Do I look fat in this dress?”… “no”. “Does this colour suits me?” …”yes”. “Do I buy this dress or the other one with the embroidery “… “This” or better still, “both”. 

Same is the story in jewellery shopping. The owner takes her own credit card for making payments but when the moment of truth finally arrives, the card doesn't work. That's destiny! So the zombie dips into the unfathomable depths of his pockets to get his own cards and do what needs to be done. Sometimes he just sits in the car, hoping that this action will hasten the shopping process but he sits in vain. 

But then people live with the presumption that things will brighten tomorrow. 

And my fellow zombies! Please take out the trumpets and sound the bugle. The day has finally arrived! 

A mall in far off Manchester has come out with a Man Creche! And happy days are here again. You drop the better half to the relevant shop and head to the Creche. 

Or maybe it's the other way round…the better half drops you in the Creche, and she gets a token with a number written on it. 

Your hand is held by a lovely lady, working in the Creche and designated as a Support Worker, who first puts a corresponding token band on your wrist, then  leads you to a table with a game console where you can play your favourite games or read e-magazines like “Car World” or “Times” or any other. 

The Support Workers bring you a glass of chilled beer served on the house. There is even a facility for rest and recuperation in the form of hammocks where you can catch up on your nap. 

And there is also a Premium section where you are given Shoulder and head massages. In India it might take the form of Ayurvedic massages. 

There are table tennis tables available for the sports oriented. 

But guys, don't get into too much of day dreaming since your better half will return shortly, since now the time will be spent  quickly, deposit the token, the support worker will lead you by your hand to the counter, the better half will take possession of you and lead you out of the mall, but not before you have cleared all the bills (don't worry, the Creche comes free). 

Now the only thing which remains are the memories of a time well spent and the stories of shopping which your better half has done on her own, her trials and tribulations faced in trying out umpteen dresses. 

Last breaking news was that the number of zombies in Manchester have reduced and it is now an endangered species.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Raazi



What a mesmerising performance by the Bhatt girl! Carrying such a serious film on her slender shoulders is no mean task. 

She first showed promise in ‘Highway’. Her performance flowered in ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’ and then reiterated her reputation in ‘Udta Punjab’.

But in ‘Raazi’ she has excelled all her previous performances and left the competition far behind. 

While most of her contemporaries continue to be glamorous side-kicks to the Heroes, here is an actress who pushes the envelope with most of her performances.

She has captured the nuances of a real spy who faces many moral challenges while she goes about performing her selected duty towards her country.

Till now, we have come to accept the role of a spy as defined by a glamorous James Bond, outside the Indian shores to the Salman Khans and Hrithik Roshans of our very own Bollywood. It is nothing but a celebration of the Alpha Male replete with the style and swagger.

But here is Alia playing a spy who is delicate, appears so waif, so vulnerable but when faced with life threatening challenges, she takes lives of those who might expose her deceit.

Well played, Alia!!

Rajit Kapoor and her real mother, Soni Razdan, play the roles of her parents with passion. Soni Razdan makes you feel, ‘Why doesn’t she act in more films?’. She is so spontaneous!

Vicky Kaushal, who plays her husband, Iqbal Syed, manages to hold his own in front of the brilliance of Alia. Watch his breakdown scene when he comes to know of her subterfuge and the following scene with his father.

Shishir Sharma plays her father-in-law, Brigadier Parvez Syed, with the required grace and excels in the emotional scenes.

Arif Zakaria! He plays the role of the suspicious Abdul, the house help, with conviction. He is seen on the big screen after a long time.

And what can one say about Jaideep Ahlawat! This role, for him, is a role of the lifetime. He is sure to get more such mentor roles, in the days to come, he is so convincing as Sehmat’s trainer and mentor.

Why doesn’t Meghna Gulzar make more movies? She has handled this movie with such conviction! 

But when you do movies like ‘Talvar’ and ‘Raazi’ , the amount of research required for such movies based on true stories, is bound to be time consuming. Her best movie till date, certainly.

However, there were certain anomalies in a truly well made movie. 

How could she set up the entire wiring for the morse code apparatus in the open terrace without anyone watching? 

How did she get a separate washroom for herself where she installs everything for sending messages?

However, that’s not to take away from a well made, well researched movie.

Yatindra Tawde 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Airlifted!

Airlift!

Three helicopters were put into service. It was quite a unique task for the pilots as well as the support staff. Taking off from the city’s airport, the three reached the highway in time to airlift the gang of six.

These were special type of helicopters with a larger catchment area. After all the task was so, where everything depended upon the area available for the airlift, such was the package being lifted.

And even after deployment of such large helicopters, the area in each was just enough for two. Hence the three copters.

Reaching the copters to the site was the easiest task. The real fun started once the copters had reached.

How do the support staff persuade the package to climb into the copters? That was the million dollar question!

But in the country in which the drama took place, time is of essence. So the support staff took the easiest and fastest route and just shot the package! Oh, don’t worry.

It was a shot of tranquillisers and soon the 6 buffaloes (the package) were snoring away. After that it was quite easy to persuade the buffaloes to climb into the helicopters and reach heights where no buffaloes had gone before.

And that’s how buffaloes are kept clear from the autobahn in Germany. No if’s…no but’s…though it was a quite unbelievable for me, when I read it in the morning newspaper, that some adventurous buffaloes managed to give the creeps to some speed demons on the German Autobahn.

Nearer home, animals of all shapes and sizes manage to walk on the highways as if roaming in the garden.

In fact I have seen some buffaloes sitting prettily in the middle of a busy road, in a city I happened to visit.

When I asked the experienced taxi driver, “How do they manage to sit calmly in meditation on the busy road?”

He just smirked and answered, “The air displaced by the passing cars don’t allow the city mosquitoes to get a toehold on the buffaloes and thus they are protected from deadly diseases like malaria…buffalo malaria”

That logic convinced me about the common sense and wisdom of Indian buffaloes and I promptly went off to sleep in the taxi.

Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 5 May 2018

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? Or a name board?

To be precise, what’s in a name of a wine shop?

The authorities in one Indian state have suddenly woken up to an 69 year old law, which states that no one can advertise…or rather, openly advertise any liquor brand.

Yes, it’s the same law due to which many marquee names advertise so many different brand names of tonic water on TV, which are suspiciously advertised as capable of giving you good times.

So all the legal wine shops which sell wines and liquors legally and openly…since that is allowed; cannot have billboards advertising any of the brands which they sell.

I can see the future…I go in search of the manna which gives me a good time on weekends.

I reach the usual corner of a building by walking on the path well trodden, expecting to see the brightly coloured billboard which makes up the shop facia…but hey! Where has it gone?

I blink my eyes once…then twice. With a lump in my throat, and a quiver in my voice, I ask a neighbouring shop owner, “Where?”

With a compassionate look and a reassuring tone, he answers, “Don’t worry. It’s still there. You only have to look minutely”

That reassurance is music for my ears. With a spring in my step I bound towards my target.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

The brightly coloured billboard has been replaced by a drab little board, which just announces name of the wine shop, the license number and the time of working.

Half expecting them to ask for a prescription, I hesitantly place my demand. And lo and behold!

My demand is met instantly by the shop assistant, who disappears and appears within moments, with my manna in hand, though a tad somberly.

Three cheers to small mercies! I return to my house with my manna in hand, thankful that some things will remain the same, albeit with less glamour.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Innovative Road crossing


Acknowledgement- Sudhir Karandikar

I am a retired person who finds great joy in playing with my grandson. So I make lot of trips to my daughter’s place, usually in the evenings. She stays at the other end of Pune, near Pashan Road. Sometimes I travel there by my own scooter however many times, I prefer going by bus. And for catching the bus while returning back, I have to cross the road.

For those who had seen Pashan Road in the late 80’s and 90’s, crossing this road may seem the simplest task. In those days most of the motorists had not discovered this road; nay, there were not many cars at all.

However now this road is a nightmare for most pedestrians and especially senior citizens like me.

So whenever I have to catch a bus for returning back to my home, I have to wait for a long time to cross the road. It is a routine to wait for a long time, as the cars zip by without giving much of a thought to the plight of senior citizens like me, waiting to cross. And whenever a small window opens up, I take fastest possible strides to cross over to the other side, before another lot of cars come zipping by.

However, one day, the traffic was not letting up and I was just not able to find that minuscule gap in the traffic when I could shuffle across to the other side.

So there I was, feeling quite helpless, cursing my old age as well as the progress made by most Punekars, who were now able to afford more and more cars.

Suddenly I espied a small boy, ambling across the road, sitting on the back of a giant Buffalo, gently poking it to walk faster. He had an excellent way to guide the buffalo to walk in a straight line by poking it behind its ears with his feet, so that the buffalo did not stray into the middle of the road.

Watching this spectacle, I had an Eureka moment!
I called out to the boy to stop. First he ignored, but then curious to know what this grandfather was calling him out for, he stopped.

And within a short while, the giant buffalo was crossing the road, with the boy on top, escorting a grandfather, ambling across.

Ands so friends, I crossed the street successfully inspite of the rushing traffic. After all, which car owner would like to have his car dented by dashing it into a buffalo. And for all the trouble I had put the boy and his buffalo into, I payed him for his services.

Then for some days thereafter I had traveled to meet my grandson by my scooter.

The next time, after almost 15 days, when I had again traveled by bus, I was waiting to cross the road once again in the evening.

And lo! And behold! I saw the same buffalo crossing the road, with a few senior citizens escorting it, coming towards me. As soon as the procession was near me, I could see them paying the boy and then walking away.

As soon as the boy saw me, he waved to me and I waved back at him. He got down from his buffalo, rushed towards a flower shop and within no time, he was again standing in front of me with the widest smile on his face, and a bunch of flowers in his hand.

“Thank you, grandfather. That day you presented me a good opportunity to make extra money. Usually, at the end of a tiring day, I take my buffalo home by this road. I waited for you the next day also to help you cross the road, but you never came”

“But I saw there were other people who were not able to cross the road in heavy traffic. So I asked them and they were too happy with the offer. I was able to help them and in the bargain, made some quick money” so saying, he offered the flowers to me.

“Come. Today my Harya will help you cross the road for free”, so saying he mounted his vehicle, and guided him towards the other side of the road, with me ambling along.

Upon reaching the other end, I offered him money again, but he just smiled and went off with his prized possession!

Yatindra Tawde
I read this in Marathi and was inspired to translate

Mumbai - 2025

Mumbai - 2025 I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my ...