Just A Happy New Year??

new yr

New Year confuses me. Actually it’s the revelry of the New Year eve that leaves me puzzled. What is it that the whole world is celebrating? That one year has passed and one lasted through it? Or that a “new” year is here and hence it is time for new beginnings? Either way I fail to see the reason behind the reckless partying.

I, for one, never have gone partying on New Year, which for a long time had more to do with sheer lethargy and the freezing weather than any ideological issues. And when I did apply my mind to it, I really couldn’t come up with a reason for celebrating. Or let me put it this way- I cannot see the reason for celebrating just this one day in the entire year.

This is not to say of course that, party or no party, I was always such a spoil sport. As a child, I remember being so very excited about the New Year. There was something magical about growing up in the Shimla of the ‘80s and ‘90s – biting chill yes but magic nevertheless. And if we had a white Christmas and New Year, the magic knew no bounds. With such an aura of fantasy and magic, New Year resolutions seemed tailor made to come true on their own. It was  with great enthusiasm that I would buy a new calendar and a new diary, carefully jot down my resolutions and hope to wake up as a “new” me on the 1st of the New Year. What happened to all these resolutions I really need not spell out- new year resolutions are meant to be broken – the faster you break them, the more easily you can revert to your old, staid habits and ways.

So it was that I came around to questioning this whole “New Year” celebration thing. Why was it that we wait an entire year to let go of the past, welcome the new, and make an attempt at new beginnings? Do we really want to wallow in the self-inflicted misery of pain, hurt and failure for a year before we can bid it adieu? Conversely, why do we want to wait for as long a period before celebrating our joys and achievements and being grateful for all that we have and for making new beginnings?

Perhaps we like such defined, pre ordained celebrations, as we are slaves to landmarks. Time is essentially a continuum but we like to break it into tangible parts with stopgaps, something that makes for easy demarcation, some place where we can stop the break neck speed at which our lives are moving and really take a stock of the situation we call life. Hence, days like “New Year” to make a fresh start or “Valentine’s Day” to express love or the various fasts and festivals to remember the Lord. Rest of our living moments we choose to pass in a haze.

Have I finally woken up to life and found my way out of the haze? Sadly, not quite. I too am a slave of old habits, the most deadening one being of living either in the past or the future- constantly harking back to the past, be it with joy or sorrow, or looking ahead into the future. That the only “time” truly is NOW, be it for reflection, gratitude or for resolutions, sadly seems to be escaping me as well. Am I going to be “celebrating” New Year? Well yes and no… Yes as in I’d like to celebrate each day that has passed and the day I have to look forward to; No as in I rather not just celebrate 31st December-1st January but each and every day. To think of it, it is quite a tough call- to be as reflective, as aware and as resolute for new beginnings ( not to mention as delirious with joie de vivre) throughout the year as one is on New Year’s . Yet it is worth an attempt – life isn’t just a few “special” days scattered throughout the year but each and every day we are blessed to be alive. Let us wish each other, and ourselves, a very Happy Each Day and not simply a Happy New Year.

 

What a Shame Shiamak!!

winter-funk-2013-saket-shiamak-davar-institute-of-performing-arts01382010761

I seem to be breaking a lot of unwritten rules that I had made for myself regarding what I would write about on my blog. Among other things, I really wanted to stay away from writing about particular events but at times you just have to for if everyone decides to keep quiet, there is no scope for improvement ever.

So the Shiamak Davar Winter Funk show took place in Chandigarh on 24th December, 2013. While the show per se was okay (having seen better by both Shiamak and Ashley Lobo), what was appalling, and the reason I am instigated to write this post, is the management and organisation at Tagore Theatre where the show took place. Suffice it to say that the famous Tagore Theatre could have easily been mistaken for a fish market. The crowd started gathering from around 5.30 pm for the 6.30 pm show. With the absence of any member of the organising staff or any security guards at the gate, there was no queue. Whatever queue was made, dissolved in no time as people kept on collecting at the gate in a bunch instead of making and waiting in a queue. Yes the audience should have behaved better and maintained a queue on its own but we all know how well behaved we are in a crowd.

Shiamak shame

Finally when the outer lobby gate opened at around 6.20-25, everybody rushed in with a lot of jostling and pushing, regardless of the children and elderly in the group, only to be stopped again at the entry door of the theatre. The picture you see is of the crowd at this stage. And once this door was opened, all hell broke loose with people making a run to grab the front seats. At the end of this one hour long ordeal, a few who had reached at 5.40pm and stood in a line with only 15-20 people ahead of them to begin with, were probably among the last 20 who could enter Tagore Theatre and were “lucky” to get a seat right at the end.

Collecting the children was as big an endeavour- with only one little exit door from where the children had to be collected, do I need to describe the mayhem that ensued? As if this was not enough, my son came back as harassed with the mismanagement backstage vowing never to take part in any such show again.

Yes, the organisers can wash their hands off blaming the badly behaved parents- we all love to blame others don’t we? No doubt the crowd should have behaved in an orderly manner but when has a crowd behaved well in India? As for the organisers, here is what they could have and should have done-

  1. Why have free seating in Tagore Theatre? Why not sell tickets with seat numbers on it instead? As it is, at Rs 300/- per ticket, it was a costly affair. They could have priced the tickets differently for different seats and avoided this mad rush for seats.
  2. Assuming they didn’t want to be “unfair” by differential pricing, they should have delegated adequate staff and security to ensure that a queue was made and maintained and the crowd moved in an orderly fashion.
  3. Lastly, when it came to collecting the children, why not have the dispersal in the same fashion as the collection was- children assembled in a group under the placard bearing the name of the song they were dancing to.

I doubt anyone from SDIPA will bother to read this. And even if they do deign to read, I don’t expect a response. After all, when you are dancing with the stars, the “Aam janta” doesn’t matter. Yet we do have a right and moral duty to speak up, and perhaps it’s high time we all did. Dancing and choreography skills apart, organising a show requires as much of smooth management for its success. Judging on all these parameters, I would call the Winter Funk Show anything but a great show.

Dhoom Dhadaka…Dhoom 3

Dhoom3 poster

For those of you who have forgotten or just didn’t care to remember, Abhishek Bachchan is the “hero” of the Dhoom series. That this franchisee owes it success to the “anti hero” (villain being too strong a word) – from John Abraham in Dhoom  to Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2 and now Aamir Khan in Dhoom 3– probably explains why Abhishek Bachchan has been cast in all the 3 movies. All the anti heroes shine more in the presence of Abhishek! Yeah that’s a rather nasty dig I guess but that is how it is- Abhishek Bachchan is unfortunately Bollywood’s most famous failure story who seems to be able to a good job only of making others shine in comparison. And yes he does a good job of that here as well.

Needless to say, Dhoom 3 is a through and through Aamir Khan movie. All the others- Abhishek, Uday Chopra and Katrina have their 5 minutes of limelight but that is about it. They may not even exist or could be easily replaced by anyone else without the least bit of difference to the movie. And therein lies Dhoom 3 ’s success and shortcoming. It’s a one man show but the storyline is not taut enough to hold one’s interest around this central character, despite the not so unexpected twist. In fact, if one is attentive enough, one can catch this upcoming ‘twist’ in the 1st ten minutes. But most likely you are going to be too busy patting yourself on the back on having secured a seat and commenting how old Jaggu Dada is looking to really notice it. And does this “twist” make the movie more interesting? Unfortunately no.

Again, unfortunately, in true Bollywood fashion, the anti-hero in this Dhoom movie is an angst-ridden character with a reason behind his becoming a thief. Theft for the sheer thrill of it, which we saw at its best in Dhoom 2, is sadly missing here. Does giving this “reason” make any positive difference to the movie? Quite to the contrary, to my mind it somewhat diluted the glamour of it. A thief taking the cops on a ride just for kicks is way more fun than someone seeking revenge- we have had enough of the latter in Bollywood.

The movie has even more of what the earlier Dhoom movies had- bikes, babes and high-octane chases. Bikes with metamorphosing capacity that can put even James Bond to shame is the only thing to challenge Aamir Khan’s superiority in the film. Abhishek – Uday Chopra duo remain the buffoons they have been so far while Katrina really has nothing to do except shake and show a leg. What a far cry from the Sunehri of Dhoom 2 !

Is Dhoom 3 the best of the Dhoom series as is being claimed ? Personally, I would say no- Dhoom 2 was much better, offering a great balance of everything- action, thrill, romance, dance and drama. And I still can’t forget Tata Young’s “Dhoom Dhoom” of the very first Dhoom movie. The fault, if I may call it so, lies with the director and his perception and handling of the movie as much as it does with the script. In any case, Sanjay Gadhavi did a much better job with Dhoom and Dhoom 2 than Vijay Krishna Acharya does with Dhoom 3. Yet, for what it’s worth, Aamir Khan is in a mainstream Hindi movie after what seems ages and one can watch it for his sake alone.