Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009

How can you have a blog and not have a best-of list? There is no answer to that question.
So without much ado, here's my list of 9 things from 2009 - in no particular order.
Call them favourite, liked-a-lot, look-forward-to-more, whatever. I liked them when they happened. I remember them till now. That's good enough for me, as I see Alzheimer's approaching me rather fast!


Indibloggies & Puffin Classics
I tried to be gracious, self-deprecating and all but couldn't. The salesman in me got all hassled and tried to achieve targets. Except that I did not know the target! In the end, I found it quite tremendous that more than 120 people took the pains to find their way and vote for me.
Two more Puffin Classics happened this year with the Notes section prepared by me. That takes the total count to 5 - Ray's Short Stories, Professor Shonku, Swami & Friends, Jungle Book and Tagore's Short Stories. My mother and mother-in-law were mighty pleased to see my name in print on a Penguin publication and when last heard, were broadcasting to all and sundry!


Bloggers becoming Authors
Two of my blogrollers became published authors in 2009 and two more are in the pipeline by the first quarter of 2010.
Bishwanath Ghosh's Chai, Chai got down at all those railway junctions where one always stops but never gets off. Mughalsarai, Itarsi, Guntakal, Jhansi. As an itinerant salesman, I passed by several of those stations a little before or after he did. Therefore, I could identify totally with the seedy lodges, stained bedsheets, alcohol-induced bonhomie and the almost incidental history of towns that everyone knows and no one cares about.
Amit Varma's My Friend, Sancho - for me - was the most predictable bestseller in recent times. I meant the predictability of the high sales and not the plot. A Mumbai crime-beat reporter's budding romance with an encounter victim's daughter was simple, but page-turning stuff.
GreatBong's May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss? promises to be the first extended look at 'sub-altern' pop culture while Sidin's Dork looks at cubicle culture with a vengeance. I am smacking my lips.

HT Blogs
I know Udayan will snigger at what he calls a 'soft plug' but the best thing to happen in the blogosphere this year was the starting of blogs by many of Hindustan Times' editorial team. Editors and journalists regularly blogged, responded to readers' comments and kept alive an intelligent conversation.
On eclectic topics. And with cool names! Sadak Chhaap. @Hindi Heartland. Expletives Deleted. Shoot at Sight. Separated at Birth. Dabs & Jabs. The Delhiwallah. 1/4th of Me. IndiGestion. Page One.
My three favourite ones are Soumya Bhattacharya's Page Turner (on books), Poonam Saxena's By The Way (on cinema and popular culture) and Samar Halarnkar's Daily Bread (on food).
No surprises when you read the topics, right?
A journalist-turned-blogger-turned-novelist, Soumya Bhattacharya published two books this year - All That You Can't Leave Behind (a spiritual sequel of his lovely cricket book, You Must Like Cricket?) and If I Could Tell You (a father's letters to his daughter). Have read the first, loved it and now looking forward to the second!

Amitabh Bachchan in Paa
I hear Hrithik Roshan is moving around in wheelchair nowadays to 'get into' the character for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish. Aamir Khan spent the last year building muscles for Ghajini and this year removing them for 3 Idiots. Everybody in Bollywood seems to be concentrating on one film so intently that they don't have time for anything else.
In 2009, Amitabh Bachchan shot for Aladin (as a good genie in a disastrous film), Teen Patti (as a maths wizard, along with Ben Kingsley), Rann (as a heroic media baron), Binani Cement (sadiyon ke liye...) and Paa.
When you see the film, don't watch his face (which is covered with prosthetic makeup). Watch his body language and listen to his voice. You will realise how good an actor can be with minimum fuss.
You will laugh at the con of the other actors. And if you are a parent, you will cry as well.

Rajkumar Hirani & Anurag Kashyap
Ashutosh Gowariker would do well to note that while he has been making ponderous films providing social and historical perspective and protesting against jokes of awards show hosts, much better filmmakers are at work.
Rajkumar Hirani made us laugh. Made us cry. Think. Cheer. Boo. Love. Hate. Enjoy. In 3 Idiots, he showed a command over audience emotions not seen in any Bollywood director for a very long time. In the end, he made us want another chance because we wanna grow up once again.
Anurag Kashyap made two films this year - Dev D and Gulaal. Both gave the word 'edgy' a new dimension as self-destructive romance and college politics were treated like never before. Sexually liberated, ambitious heroines. Innovative shot compositions. Completely fresh musical styles. And no heroes - only protagonists.


The Small Bengali Film
Thanks to Ray, Ghatak and the several middle-of-the-road filmmakers in Bombay, Bengal has always carried the onus of being the place which breeds 'intelligent' films. Several nice films have been made by some young directors in the last few years but 2009 saw several 'small films' that touched a chord.
Anjan Dutta, singer-composer-filmmaker, directed Chalo, Let's Go about a group of four youngsters (named after the quartet in Ray's Aranyer Dinratri) who start a travel company. They take a motley crowd of wanderlusting Bengalis all over North Bengal amidst chaos, politics and great music.
Rituparno Ghosh made Shob Choritro Kalponik, starring Bipasha Basu but had her voice dubbed by someone else. A slightly stylised film, I did not care for it all that much for, had an interesting story about a career-woman's marriage to an eccentric poet. This was on the back of Khela (made last year), about a director's relationship with a child-actor he kidnaps to act in his film.
Antaheen - the second film after Anuranan by Aniruddha Chowdhury - was an intelligent film about modern relationships. Starring Rahul Bose, Aparna Sen and Sharmila Tagore, the film - though a little slow in parts - managed to make a decent impression.
One film I have heard a lot about but haven't seen till now is Madly Bangali. But from the title, I would say that I will probably like it.


175 @ 35
I turned 35 this year. Over the last few years, I have received several certificates of my old age. My favourite songs from college turning up in retro shows. Barbers wanting to dye my hair. Adults calling me uncle. So on and so forth. And the price one pays for becoming 'mature' is a bit of jadedness that creeps in life. It takes a lot to get excited. Especially in the context of cricket, where there is such an overdose of everything that momentous scores and statistics pass us by without touching us.
It was different on my 35th birthday. On 5 November, Sachin Tendulkar - a man older than me by about a year - played an innings of such scintillation that I had never seen before. I laughed. I clapped. I jumped on the couch. I gnashed my teeth. I called friends and screamed abuses. As the man went on to score 175 in 141 balls - my favourite ODI innings ever.
He could not take India to victory that day but he did something even more miraculous. He made this 35 year feel like 15 once again.
I could not have hoped for a better birthday gift!

Delhi 6
In 2009, Rehman was celebrated and toasted the world over for one of his most mediocre albums - Slumdog Millionaire. A very good album by any standards, except Rehman's.
This year also saw him come up with Delhi 6, an album of mind-blowing range and creativity making it the best album of the year in my book.
Mohit Chauhan's open-throated ode to the dreamer, Masakkali. The abject helplessness of the petitioner in Marammat muqaddar ki kar de maula. And of course, the ode to the City of Djinns - Yeh Delhi hain mere yaar, bas ishq mohabbat pyaar.
Prasoon Joshi matched the maestro with his lovely lyrics and described Delhi eschewing all the cliches. After Rang De Basanti and Ghajini, this is another rocking album from the deadly Prasoon-Rehman combo. Wish they worked oftener!

Bheja Fry
Not the film. I mean the food.
My wife and I have always been big fans of brain (in a gastronomical way). In a physical way, we are fans of stomach! This year, we binged on it throughout.
It started off with an Amritsari food festival in our neighbourhood club in Gurgaon. There is something terribly exciting about a scalding-hot tawa, lots of animal organs arranged along its edge and an expert pair of hands cooking them all together with lots of spice. We got excited.
As if on cue, a takeaway joint called Wah Amritsar opened in the vicinity. Using copious quantities of pure ghee, they served large helpings of mutton chops, chicken tikka and the like. Their most rocking dish is Bheja Masala - best served hot with some chapatis. Slurp!
Towards the end of the year, my wife managed to sneak an Amritsari Tawa in her brother's wedding menu. I say sneaking because the young fellow hates bheja. But when has that stopped us?
Tonight, we have chosen a new year's party venue solely on the fact that it has bheja on its menu!

Calcutta Chromosome wishes its readers a very Happy New Year. See you in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's In a Name?

Seeing James Cameron’s Avatar, I was reminded of the original two Avatars.

One the film of the late 80s, starring Rajesh Khanna in the title role, which had a storyline a little like Baghban because the honest, do-gooder Avtaar Kishen (along his wife, played by Shabana Azmi) was subjected to untold misery by their sons.

The other Avatar is Avatar Gill – the balding character actor without whom Mahesh Bhatt never made films. I am not kidding. From Aashiqui onwards, I am unable to remember any film by the director, which did not have Avatar Gill in it! He made his acting debut on television as Kader Bhai, the tea-shop owner of the delightful Nukkad.

While on the subject, check out this picture from Avtaar's launch! (Hat Tip: Greatbong.)


*******


Which led me on to other thoughts. Like, how many film names are the same in both Hindi and English?

For example, Kidnap. I am sure there has to be at least one Hollywood movie by that name but I haven’t heard of it.

There has been a Professor in Hindi (a delightful comedy starring Shammi Kapoor) but there has been a Nutty Professor in English. There has been a Chocolate in Hindi (almost a frame-by-frame copy of The Usual Suspects) and a Chocolat in English.

There has also been Amelie in English/French and Mili in Hindi. As has been a Wall Street in English. Deewaar and Sadak in Hindi! I know, I know… they don’t count!

So – how many more can you come up with?


*******


While on the subject, how many film names tell you the story almost completely? For example, Snakes on a Plane. You don’t need to know anything else about the movie and there isn’t too much anyway! The title is the story.

I read in a blog somewhere (can’t find it – can somebody point out please?) that so is Robocop.

Three Men and a Baby. Gangs of New York. Die Hard with a Vengeance. All these films are almost completely described by their titles.

Hindi films – on the other hand – depend on rather evocative titles and names. Yaadon Ki Baaraat – how can you guess from the title (meaning Procession of Memories) that it is about three long-lost brothers trying to find their father’s killer (who goes around in two different sized shoes)? Similarly – Sholay, Deewaar, Trishul, Silsila, Kabhi Kabhie, Dil Chahta Hain, Kuch Kuch Hota Hain!

Even Hindi cinema’s longest title – Paap ko Jala Kar Raakh Kar Doonga (PKJKRKD) – is unable to explain the story too well.

On the other hand, Disco Dancer and Dance Dance are quite explanatory. Though the most comprehensively explicable title has to be Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.


I know what you are thinking. One of those bloody lazy posts. Sigh - I know!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ten Commandments

As a misguided tribute to Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, I thought of writing down the 10 Commandments of Sales - as dictated to me by various Gods of the profession with whom I have had the privilege of interacting. As a mediocre salesman (at the best of times), I idolised these dynamic men (who gave me the advice), though I will not identify them for their safety and mine.

Everything is possible. Every-fucking-thing.
Violations of the laws of the land are commonplace. With a little bit of imagination, you can even violate the laws of physics.
This includes simple things like getting post-dated DDs made on bank holidays. It also means you can actually invoice stock lying in State 1 to distributors in State 2. It means doing your entire sales target on the last day of the month. And taking it back on the first day of the next!

A salesman's job never ends.
If it ends, it means he is either dead. Or in Marketing. And both mean the same thing.

A salesman's job has only one kind of punctuation - the month-end.
If God broke the year up in 12 discrete intervals, he meant us to follow them religiously. If a sale has to happen on the 31st, it cannot (repeat - CAN NOT) happen on the 1st. The bloody soap has to go out today. How the hell are people in Gorakhpur going to have a bath tomorrow if the soap does not reach them today? Do it NOW. Remember, difficult things are to be done immediately. Only the impossible ones will take till the end of the month!
What - your girlfriend's birthday is on the 30th Sept? Leave? That's quarter end, boss. Can you change it? Arre - who's asking you to change your girlfriend? Birthday badal sakta hain kya? Our Patna distributor knows the DCP. Usse bol ke kuch karwata hoon...

A salesman doesn't have time for good taste.
International travel = Bangkok. Alcoholic drinks = Old Monk. Movies = Govinda. If they had time to appreciate the bouquet of Sauvignon Blanc (or had the access), they would have been in the fashion industry, no?
A salesman does not have companions to explain Impressionism. Nor the time to get slowly drunk. Nor the patience to appreciate Adoor Gopalakrishnan. He only has a weekend to go to Bangkok, collect the Best ASM trophy, zip through Patpong and back. He has 2 hours after the monthly meeting to get his Vijaywada Sales Officer drunk because the fellow has a train to catch. As for Govinda... achha, is Adoor Gopalakrishnan the Kerala Distributor Association President?
As you notice, the attention span is not conducive to things on slow burn.

Check. Double-check. Triple-check.
Remember, everyone is out to cheat you. Everyone. Wonder why your mom gave you a sweater? Because its winter? Naah - you sentimental sisy! She probably wants those gift hampers left over from the sales meet.
Every invoice, every market report, every display request - check.
While on the subject, did you notice that there is a 's' missing in 'sissy'? Yes? Welcome to sales.

You have to save the company from those guys at the HO. And that includes the CEO.
As the ambassador of the company in the battlefield (which the HO sissies - S not missing this time - call 'frontline'), you know what's best. Those ivory tower fools don't know their knees from a carton of soap and they will tell you how to launch a brand?
Don't listen to them. Pretend to. But don't.

You have to die before you say 'I don't know'.
Which brings me to a personal story when I was on a market visit (which was going well, if I may say so) with my Head of Sales, he pointed to an under-construction building on the beat and asked at what prices flats were being sold there.
I did not stay in that city. I was new to the region. I had no effing clue. But I realised that I could not say, "I don't know". I was not expected to know it. The Head of Sales asked it casually and had no intention to test my knowledge of the real estate market. It was inconsequential. But, still...
Why? You think I don't know? No, sir.
It is because a sales manager is expected to be in control of his territory. And control does not mean meeting sales targets. It means that a pigeon shouldn't be shitting anywhere in his territory without him knowing and selling some detergent to wash the shirt. He is expected to know rents of flats all over so that he can properly estimate how much stock can be sold to shops there. Okay?

There is only black and white. Nothing in between.
Targets are either achieved or not. You are either a salesman or a wimp. Saying, "I could have..." is the same as saying "I am a f***ing idiot who does not know his navel from his dick". No other profession is so ruthless that it refuses to acknowledge a month's blood, sweat and tears when the targets are not met.
Of course, in between the black and white are wonderful philosophers as bosses who can not only make you take tough targets, help you achieve them and manage to assess you fairly when you haven't.
But why have tough targets in the first place? What do you get chasing one?
Listen, Mr Art Teacher - as they say, "Girte hain shehsawar hi maidan-e-jung mein / Woh tifl kya khak girega jo ghutnon ke bal chalte hain?".

If you accept your target without protest, you are a wimp. If you don't accept your target after the customary protests, you are a bigger wimp.
You see, real men do. They make soft moaning noises, but they do. And targets are meant to be tried for, not always achieved. But that doesn't mean that tough targets won't be taken.
When given a tough target, a bad salesman says, "Won't happen." And a good salesman says, "What's the scheme?"

Yeh toh sirf nau Commandments hue? 10 ka target tha.
Arre - ladkon ne bahut fight mara hain, boss. Aap ko toh maloom hi hain, aajkal it is virtually impossible to sell Commandments. Kuch scheme mil jaye toh try marta hoon? Commandments ke primary pe 6% discount dijiye. Should be able to push one more...

And the last commandment is -
You will retain your sense of humour - preferably absurd - at all times.
From one angle, you are the Master of the Universe with a band of merry men, living and dying for you. On the other, you are a speck of dust sitting in some obscure town in Chhattisgarh without a clue when you will see an English-speaking woman next.
Because you never know when you have to say - "Risk toh Spiderman ko bhi lena padta hain. Main toh sirf ek salesman hoon."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Embers: Still Burning

On the way to work today, I heard a riddle on radio.
Q: "Agar Basanti ki mausi Thakur ko rakhee bandhti hain, toh Thakur Basanti ka kya rishta hua?"
A: "Abbe - Mausi rakhee bandhegi kahan???"

I was not so much impressed by the joke as I was taken in - yet again - by the durability of Sholay. For the last 35 years, the film has spawned ads, jokes, riddles, songs, spoofs, films and in the case of Raju Srivastav, an entire career in showbiz!
In fact, I sometimes feel that if there was a law against using Sholay themes, there would be no advertisements (and half the content) on radio.

And why only ads? The film is almost coded in the DNA of children born after its release. So, even now - when Virender Sehwag scores 284 in one day, there are headlines proclaiming "Joy, Viru".

The first take-off on Sholay started in the trade magazines - in the first week of its release. The most expensive film to be made had a very lukewarm opening, on the back of its violent and unemotional storyline. The trade pundits called it Chhole! Somebody else called it Teen Maharathi aur Ek Chooha - alluding to the squeaky voice of the villain.

Of course, all that changed when the film started becoming big. And the first positive take-off was when biscuits started getting advertised as 'Gabbar Singh ki Asli Pasand'. Attributed to then-Group Product Manager, Sunil Alagh (who went to become the CEO of Britannia), Glucose-D biscuits became the first product to be endorsed by a villain.

Very soon, Jagdeep expanded his role of a wood trader from Madhya Pradesh into a full-length film - Soorma Bhopali. The film easily beat Kunwara Baap as the film with the maximum number of guest appearances as almost the entire cast of Sholay and half the film industry landed up at Jagdeep's request.

Then came Ramgarh Ke Sholay - which can rightfully claim the original's legacy of the Greatest Starcast (of Duplicates) Ever Assembled. Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Dev Anand and Anil Kapoor starred in completely arbitrary parts while only Amjad Khan (in a hugely bloated avatar) returned to his iconic role.

Channel V came in the mid-90s and just took off on take-offs of Sholay!
One series was animated (a sample available here) and all the films ended with their icon Simpoo Singh getting all the characters together for a group photograph. They would raise their hands to form the Vs of the channel. The standard joke - of course - was the raising of Thakur's hands.
The other series was live-action, made with duplicates of the lead actors and mostly involved ringing phones in the Thakur's vicinity!

While on the subject of Sholay spoofs, comedian Raju Srivastav has created infinite parallel universes around the film and the material has contributed a lot in his becoming one of the leading comic artistes of our times.
One of his sketches is how Gabbar becomes old and is bullied by Kaalia, Sambha et al.
Another one - at one of the film awards - is about how Amitabh would do the role of Gabbar.
Yet another is about Gabbar kids being interviewed on present-day TV.
And his mascot - Gajodhar - goes to watch the film and returns to regale his friends with the story.

Somewhere in between, advertising agencies joined the bandwagon. In massive numbers.
Thakur bit Gabbar to death, thanks to his strong teeth due to Orbit Chewing Gum.
Dancing competitions on TV have Viru saying, "In kutton ke saamne mat naachna" to the background sound of dogs barking but Basanti ignoring it to say, "Nahin, main nachoongi. Gabbar, botal todo. Main nachoongi." And Thakur adds, "Is ke liye toh mere pair hi kaafi hain!"
So on and so forth...

A film which paid tribute to Sholay and RD Burman in equal measure was Jhankaar Beats.
Even the not-so-explosive dialogues of the film came into everyday lingo. Soch lo, Thakur. Holi kab hain, kab hain holi? Bahut yaarana lagta hain.
The film even had a short quiz played between the leads (Rahul Bose and Sanjay Suri). One asks, "Gabbar ka baap naam kya tha?" and the other replies, "Hari Singh."
The first one says, "Very good. Sholay mein doosra Hari kaun tha?" and the answer is "Hariram naii..."
This is indeed a touching tribute to Hariram Naii (played by Keshto Mukherjee, as the jail barber - a 5 minute role) though my humble submission is that Gabbar father's name (heard briefly when he is sentenced) is probably Bihari Singh. At least, that's what I heard!

That was about a full film. There are innumerable films, which have passing references. The rickshaw in which Shahrukh chases villains in Main Hoon Na was called Dhanno. Johnny Lever in Kuch Kuch Hota Hain calls himself "Angrezon ke zamaane ka tailor".
And Luck by Chance has Macmohan giving away awards at an acting class but ending up saying the three words that made him a star - "Poore pachaas hazaar"!

Though intended as a tribute, RGV ki Aag is probably the biggest spoof of the film with Ramu managing to excise pretty much all that was magical in the original and making an unpalatable rehash of the balance.

Though, there are still people untouched by the film's magic.
My son's name is Joy and some time back, Tina and I were toying with idea of having one more baby. Obviously, we wanted a daughter this time but she was quite petrified of having another naughty son.
"What will we do if we have another son?", she asked in a slightly alarmed manner. "We will name him Veeru", I said.
I think she abandoned the idea of a second baby after that!

End-note:
And the most famous question from Sholay has returned to haunt me - Kitney aadmi the? Apparently, 5 kam they!
Calcutta Chromosome became the runners-up in the Best Entertainment category of Indibloggies by a margin of 4 votes. Boo hoo!
Thanks to all for voting vociferously and writing really sweet things in the comments. Do keep tuning in!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cliche: Jald Aa Raha Hain!

Some time back, I had listed down a series of sequences or styles that were becoming cliches. That was on the back of a few 'new age' films that were willing to explore newer themes. Of course, there were a few problems.
One, every time a filmmaker in Bollywood successfully explores a new theme, it becomes a cliche!
Two, you start missing the old cliches!

For example, one evergreen - but unsung - cliche is the hemming & hawing around a lip-to-lip kiss. It goes something like this...
The leading pair is in - what the newspapers call - a compromising position, more often than not after the hero despatching a few goons. They are murmuring sweet nothings as the hero is trying to get the heroine to do things that would allow the directors to show flowers touching!
Eventually, the hero points to a body part (say, shoulder) where he is hurt. The heroine demurely kisses him there. A bulb lights somewhere. He points to another body part (say, wrist). The heroine kisses him there as well. Now (usually with a mischievous smile), he points to his lip and indicates hurt. Bingo!
Note for directors: For best results, use at least two non-sexual body parts before the lip.

Gosh - its been such a long time since that one!

Anyway, I thought I will quickly list down some more of about-to-be-cliches that have already been seen in a few films and looking good for many more.

The Jihadi Recruitment
Post 9/11, there is a new villain in cinema and Bollywood adopts it as well - the Muslim terrorist. Sometimes he is a cardboard character of villainy and bombast, sometimes he is the chocolate boy dealt unjustly. Either way, he is about to do an awful lot of collateral damage. And he has recruited / is recruiting a group of jehadis for the suicide mission.
The cliche is the recruiting process. You give the prospective jehadi a gun and ask him to shoot an innocent target. He pauses, he sweats, he trembles and eventually takes a shot. Entrance test passed!
What happens to the body of the innocent? You see, the shot was a blank one. The intention was to test the strength of his motivation, whether it was enough to make him shoot an innocent unknown.

The Flunked Hero
What Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor were to Maa-main-pass-ho-gaya-le-beta-mooh-meetha-kar-le-yeh-kya-tum-ro-rahi-ho-yeh-to-khushi-ke-aansoo-hain-beta-kaash-tere-pitaji-aaj-zinda-hote, Ranbir Kapoor is to the Failed Metrosexual! In two successive films - Wake Up Sid! and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year - he either flunked or passed with grace marks, winning millions of hearts outside the campuses of IIT, AIIMS and St Stephens!
He is the guy jiska-marks-kum-hain-akal-nahin and is usually forced into academics (weren't we all?), while his true calling lies elsewhere.
And of course, like all underdogs, he manages to score very satisfying victories - including for his distributors.
By all accounts and trailers, 3 Idiots seems to have three such heroes!

Intel Inside. Bollywood Outside.
The first Hindi film to mention a computer was (in my opinion - and I am happy to be corrected) Trishul. When Shashi Kapoor returned from abroad, he calls Rakhee (his father's super-efficient secretary) a 'computer' (woh cheez jisse sub kuch maloom hota hain)!
We have come a long way from that to the point that it is probably becoming mandatory for Bollywood stars to have an active virtual life. First, it was supposed to be in their real life. But now - thanks to Himesh Reshamaiyya - even film characters must dodge in & out of Facebook and Twitter.
In Radio, RJ Vivaan Shah chats on Facebook while his less-enlightened colleagues are still figuring it out (Yaar, yeh Phesbuk hota kya hain?). His relationship status is 'complicated'. His listeners complain about boyfriends on porn sites. All he doesn't have is a Twitter handle.
I am inclined to believe this casual weaving of online stuff into filmi conversation is about to become a trend.
How long will it last? How authentic will it be? Who knows? After Big B started his blog, there was an avalanche of filmi bloggers. Now, most of the posts have trickled down to near zero (unless a film is coming up) and the stars have moved on to the new hangout in town.

On that note, I will go to sleep. Keep adding to the list of cliches.

And do watch Rocket Singh. I am in the film. So are all the salesmen of the world.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Voton Pe Aisi Baat: Indibloggies 2008

I just realised that I screwed up my chance to win the Most Humourous Indiblog by cracking the pun in the title. But sometimes, a man must stand by his principles and not compromise for material gains.

The Indibloggies have hotted up, with biggies like Amit Varma naming their personal favourites, populist measures being announced and coalitions being formed.
After laughing out loud at the antics of PUB, I sobered up and wondered how I could get a few more votes other than the three I voted myself from Rediff, Gmail and Hotmail. And even that runs the risk of being cancelled - if there is any multiple-voting limit!

My first option - admittedly un-original but potentially effective - is to form JUB (Jadavpur University Bloggers). With the venerable GreatBong and the tangy Sauce! from the same august institution as myself, we could hope to mobilise the Bengali votebank quite effectively.
Except that GB can possibly win this year by using his margins from last year and Sauce, coming from the artistic side of the University, is a little put-off by this shameless vote-grabbing that I am indulging in!

The other option is slightly more original though its efficacy is under a bit of cloud.,
Every day, I get about 145 mails from people who want (a) to enlarge various body parts of mine, (b) to give me millions of dollars (or South African Rands) residing in dormant bank accounts or (c) to help me claim the billions of pounds I have won when my email was selected among the trillions from around the world.
I could write back to these guys (and some very interesting gals as well - especially for Point A) and direct them to the voting URL. Presumably, these good Samaritans wouldn't mind clicking on the link and quickly voting for Calcutta Chromosome.
The downside is that they might also want to know my bank account number and e-PIN but considering the money I usually have in bank accounts, this is still an economically viable deal (as long as those people actually vote)!

The third - and actionable - option has already been activated. By which kind souls have already voted and are continuing to do. A classmate, who is changing jobs, has voted from the emails of his past and current jobs. Can't pretend there are too many like him. Or should be!
Another classmate (from school) is mighty excited that I am still repeating the same jokes from Class XI. Yet another classmate - with a massive and fanatical following on the blogosphere - has given a nudge to his constituency, which is about as big as a mid-sized company. And of course, my sisters are all for me anyway!

Therefore, I stand bemused as a nominee of Indibloggies with embarrassment and greed in equal measure. I thought it would be one of those novelties I would not have to do too much about. But I now realise that the past winners (or even nominees) are too illustrious for me not to try to emulate.

Voting closes today.

Do vote - (for me - shamelessly) in Best Entertainment and Most Humourous categories.

I promise not to crack bad jokes on this blog again. (Pssst... that was to get Mad Momma's votes. Of course, I am lying!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Movies I Like: Agneepath

Agneepath released at a time (1990) when the media was convinced that Amitabh on his way out, right after two high-profile films by two Midas-touch film-making houses (Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra) that did badly (Toofan and Jaadugar). Prior to that, the jury was divided on how well Shahenshah actually did and Ganga Jamuna Saraswati was liked only by die-hard fans. He had an off-beat foray (Main Azaad Hoon) in between as well, which - despite a brilliant performance - did not do too well.
It released at a time when Amitabh was clearly ageing, when people wanted him to push the envelope a bit but rejected the one off-beat film he did.
In Agneepath, Amitabh did not just push the envelope but tried to tear it into little pieces and throw it away!

For starters, it was the first time a mainstream Hindi film had a hero whose age was declared to 36 years (9 months, 8 days and 16 hours - to be precise). After so many years of gasping, wheezing, potbellied heroes prancing around in college, this was quite a stunner.
And, it was the first time Amitabh Bachchan discarded his traditional baritone for a rasping sort of voice. This was like getting Sachin Tendulkar to start playing hockey. But like Sachin who would probably become the leading goal-scorer in hockey as well, Amitabh did an amazing job of doing the voice, which was said to be modeled on Mumbai don Varadarajan Mudaliar.

By the way, does anyone know how Amitabh's character got the rasping voice in the film? No?
Well, a pivotal scene in the film was when the young Amitabh had to single-handedly carry his father's dead body for cremation (as none of the villagers were willing to help the disgraced schoolmaster). And in the straining, the kid's vocal chords got damaged.
Okay - I am guessing because this is never said in the film but Manjunath's cute voice at the beginning of the film gets raspy right after the body-pulling scene.

The story was hardly anything novel - about a kid growing up to take revenge for this father's framing and murder.
The names - funnily enough - were.
Amitabh was Vijay Dinanath Chavan (which is pronounced as Chauhan through out the film), probably the Maratha scion protecting his city (or at least the underworld) from the foreign hand (Kancha Cheena, played by Danny Denzongpa), the South Indian encroacher (Anna Shetty, played by Dilip Shirke), the Muslim don (Usman, played by Avtar Gill) and the man of vague origins (Terylene, played by Sharat Saxena).

In between, there was a romantic-comic track helmed by Krishnan Iyer M.A (strangely, from Kerala University) - played by Mithun Chakraborty in a Filmfare Award winning role but I digress.

Why do I like Agneepath?
It had dynamite dialogue. Period. No other reason.
After Coolie and Sharaabi (both of which were in 1982/3) and to some extent, Mard, we hadn't seen an Amitabh film which had several blockbuster, hair-raising scenes with memorable, repeat-after-ten-years dialogue. Shahenshah had that one line ("Rishtey mein to main...") but otherwise, they had pretty much buried the dialogue-writer (not to mention, the screenplay guy)! Actually, very few Amitabh films have such a wealth of potent dialogues as Agneepath.

And the dialogues started even before Amitabh appeared on screen.
The eponymous poem is one written by Harivansh Rai Bachchan - which is the opening dialogue of the film - is a beautiful one and I remember only the last part it.
Yeh mahaan drishya hain, chal raha manushya hain / Ashwa shwet rakta se lakpath lakpath lakpath / Agneepath agneepath agneepath.
And the climax replicates these lines. Almost literally.

Also, the famous 'Naam Vijay Dinanath Chavan...' dialogue is actually started by the kid Vijay in front of Inspector Gaitonde and then as the inspector crosses over in front of the kid, the adult Amitabh is revealed in a rain of coins and thunder of whistles (at Menoka cinema of Calcutta).
And the scene ends with the even more explosive (or melodramatic, if you are not an Amitabh fan) "Aaj shaam chhe bajey maut ke saath mera appintment hain. Appintment - English bolta hain."

In a fantastic reprise of a dialogue, which Deepak Shirke says when Vijay is a kid, he barges into the slum area where the don stays and says, "Dekho. Socho. Samjho. Yeh ladka aaj chingaari. Kal bada hokar hum sab ko zinda jala diya toh kya karengey?"
And proceeds to burn him alive!

When Amitabh walks into his den after recovering from a near-fatal attack on him, the phone rings. The guy at the other end asks who he is and hearing the name, says - "Tumko toh ludkane ke waastey..."
Amitabh growls back, "Yeh chhe foot ka body ludkane ke liye char inch ka goli kum pad gaya. Maloom?"

To describe a police inspector's loose morals, he tells the Commissioner - "Pandrah sau rupiyah ki pagaar mein ghar nahin chalta toh imaan kaise chalega, Gaitonde saab?"

To explain the secret of his success - "Is duniya mein tarakki karne ke liye naa bolna bahut zaroori hain..."

There is one scene which has no great lines but he transforms with his personality.
He walks into his bosses' den (who were planning to kill him) and says, "Hum ko ludkane hain to ludkao. Hum khayega. Tumhara goli seene pe khayega. Hum mar gaya to yeh kursi bhi tumhara, yeh dhanda bhi tumhara. Lekin, main bach gaya toh..." He laughs ominously and turns to leave.
Just as his bosses sighed in relief, he turns around sharply, takes the gun out of his belt and throws it on the table. Then says, "Hamare tumhare ladai mein jeet iski nahin, iski (points to his forehead) hogi..."

Apart from that, there are several scenes in the film that takes the Amitabh myth to epic levels.
The best example is one where Amitabh reaches Mauritius to meet Kancha Cheena and his entire journey from the aircraft to the yacht is filmed very flatteringly (from low angles, making him look like a giant). Eventually, a grenade is lobbed on his yacht - which drops right at his foot. As Amitabh looks at it almost amused, the yacht blows up. Kancha Cheena pops a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Amitabh emerges out of the azure sea. Walks on to the beach and says, "Waqt se pahuchne ka mera purana aadat hain. Aaj thoda late hone ke liye maafi chahta hain. Kissi ne mere upar keechad uchhalne ka koshish kiya. Isliye maine use pani se dho dala..."
Illogical. And exhilarating.
Oh - he, then, takes off his wet jacket and puts it on the bikini-clad Archana Puran Singh. "Andar chale jao. Sardi lag jayega." Bloody cool!

There is the scene, where he takes four bullets and collapses splendidly.
And the subsequent scenes where takes out his adversaries one by one and drops the bullets at their dead bodies.

And another scene, where he runs - with a sword in his hand - through a mile of slum lanes to save his sister. Incidentally, his chief henchman in the film is Pradeep Rawat (who eventually had the distinction being the only villain to have a film named after him)!

And, the final scene where he literally goes through a 'path of fire'.
The entire scene - which starts with his running form silhouetted against the setting sun and culminates in his running through fire, getting riddled by bullets to pulverize Kancha Cheena - should figure not in examples of great cinema but in the annals of devotional literature, since only God in his various avatars has been eulogised in such a manner.

Look, I could go on. But for how long?
Do me a favour. Buy the DVD and watch it. I promise it will be worth it. Every penny of it.
Think about it. What other option do you have? Watching De Dhana Dhan?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If Elected, I Promise To: Voting in Bollywood

In Anurag Kashyap's edgy Gulaal, a college election takes on epic importance. Hanging in balance is not just the lakhs that can be siphoned off from the college festival fund but how the winner would impact the separatist movement for Rajputana.
Pitting the volatile Ransa (Abhimanyu Singh in a short but brilliant role) against the steely Kiran (Ayesha Mohan), the entire build-up and conduct of the election is played at hurtling pace. The campaigning, the brutal - and abrupt - murder of a candidate, fishing out of a replacement and finally, the subtle rigging to swing the results. All these are paced breathtakingly and filmed in a jagged, realistic style.

Equally jagged are the edges of Omkara - where no election is actually shown but the undercurrent of power-broking politicians, their muscle-men, the boisterous celebrations, the sharp sloganeering are all represent the colours of UP elections like very few films in recent times.

To go back a few decades, Aandhi still remains an iconic film depicting Indian elections in a partly realistic, partly air-brushed glory. With the strand of white in her black hair, Suchitra Sen will always be the on-screen Indira Gandhi despite hectic clarifications that the character was based on Orissa Chief Minister, Nandini Satpathy.
An initially Bohemian daughter of an established and overbearing politician fell in love and married a hotelier. Unable to take the pressure of her father's political ambitions and being a wife, she walked out of the marriage and the town. She came back several years later to fight an election and rekindled her love for the estranged husband. All hell broke loose as her rivals started to dig up skeletons and scandals around this 'affair'.
People tend to remember this film, only for the absolutely stupendous soundtrack but the entire electoral process is reasonably well-sketched - including a satirical song on politicians returning to constituencies every five years. What a pity it was the weakest song of the album!

It may have been the elections for only a village cooperative, but Shyam Benegal infused it with the emotion that normally gets associated with elections in India. Manthan saw the upper-caste Sarpanch (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) getting pitted against lower-caste Naseeruddin Shah in an election to manage their milk cooperative. Such an unequal battle was catalysed by the modern-thinking Dr Rao (Girish Karnad, playing Dr Verghese Kurien's role) and given the social churning that was brought about, the Sarpanch lost this first election he contested (having won the previous ones uncontested).
I remember a beautiful scene after the results are declared where boisterous celebrations break out among the lower castes after the results are announced and Kulbhushan Kharbanda corners Girish Karnad in an ante-room. He pleads Karnad to go back and say that it was the Sarpanch who had won, immediately after which he would resign the post. He could do without the post, he said, but not live with the ignominy of losing to an Untouchable.

In recent times, one of the most politically charged films has been Yuva. Set in the volatile politics of Bengal, the only jarring note is one Bengali politician (Om Puri as Prosenjit Bhattacharya) speaking in a comic Bengali accent while the heroic activist (Ajay Devgan as Michael Mukherjee) and his cohorts spoke in perfect Hindi.
But the Bengal countryside, the rural elections, the strong-arm tactics of the ruling party and the idealism of college theories are brought about vividly. After a maze of depressing violence and machinations by the villains, when the three young men walked into the West Bengal assembly to become three spots of blue denim in a sea of white dhoti-kurta, one did feel a frisson of happiness at the obviously unrealistic situation.
When I first saw the film, I wondered why was it so obviously set in Calcutta? Then I realised, where else?

Two of the most satisfying election films - for me, at least - are Coolie and Inquilaab. Needless to say, they were also the most unrealistic. But then, if you want realism, you might as well go and watch Bigg Boss. Also, the elections were only a small part of the overall package of the two films in true tradition of all Amitabh films of the early-80s (where everything, except Amitabh himself, was a small part of the overall package).
Coolie released in 1982, when Amitabh Bachchan had no stated ambitions of entering politics. Inquilaab released in 1984/5, when he was already in politics or at least, had announced his intentions. But in both films, he metamorphoses into a Messiah for the Masses who wins in a landslide (but, of course!) and promises salvation for the unwashed millions. I have often wondered that the political entries of Amitabh in both films are so unconnected to the initial storylines, they may well have been written half-way through the shooting. Or maybe, on the morning of the shoot!
In Coolie, Iqbal goes from a porter to a trade unionist (for other porters) to organiser of strikes to an election candidate - who then gets blackmailed to almost withdraw by villains (who have kidnapped his mother).
In Inquilaab, the transformation is even more dramatic. Amarnath starts off as a blackmarketer of tickets. He becomes a police officer. He is promoted to ACP in 3 minutes. He kills a dreaded smuggler - Khoya Khoya Attachi - after which he is made the leader of Garibon Ka Party. He wins the elections in a landslide to become the Chief Minister. Whew!
What he does at his first Cabinet meeting is something I dare not repeat.

As an aside, it would be cute to mention a film called Chatpat Chunmun - which I saw one afternoon several years ago on Doordarshan. It was the story of a little girl, Chunmun, who was constantly being ignored - and bullied - by four boys in the neighbourhood. When they boys decide to hold an election to choose their leader, Chunmun is expected to cast the deciding vote (since each of the four boys would vote for himself). How Chunmun converts this voting into a coup for herself forms the basis of a very enjoyable film (at least for the kid that I was then).
Produced by the National Centre of Films for Young People, the film was narrated as a flashback of a lady and the voice-over was done by the body's then-Chairperson, Jaya Bachchan.

One recent film I missed was Chintuji. Rishi Kapoor played a movie star, who arrived at his ancestral village to contest the elections and got embroiled in many complications. By all accounts, it was a cute film that poked fun at two of India's holiest cows - film stars and politicians.

Also, two very interesting films on contemporary politics are coming up - Prakash Jha's Rajniti and Ramgopal Verma's Rann.
The first one has Katrina Kaif playing the young widow of the scion of a political family. She has gone hoarse trying to explain that the role is not based on the life of Sonia Gandhi but her point would have been a little easier to digest if she hadn't worn those cotton saris and styled her hair a little differently.
In what could be his redemption from the debacle of Agyaat, Darling and Aag, RGV has crafted a film on how media changes the equation in present-day politics. Starring Amitabh Bachchan as the idealistic media baron and Paresh Rawal as the unscrupulous PM-in-waiting, the acidic anthem and the fantastic ensemble cast has me waiting for it, quite breathlessly.

The election scene is sure hotting up!

* * * * * * * * * *

So, why this sudden voting-related post?
That is - dear reader - to entice you to go to this page and politely ask you to vote. Given the quality of the other nominees, I cannot possibly ask you to vote for me. But indeed, you should vote.
Already, there has been a promise of a National Bloggers Employment Guarantee Scheme. Also, of a Rum Rajya. Not to mention, promises of a stray television for votes!
Coming from the eastern part of the country, all I can offer - in established traditions of my state - is a B2B day (Bandh to Blog), where the Monday or Friday contiguous to the Republic Day weekend will be declared a national holiday for everyone to stay at home and blog! And next year, we will have a billion nominees for Indibloggies.

Till then, vote for me!
There, I said it. I was lying about voting for the more worthy nominees!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bhelpuri: Musical Medleys from Bollywood

With no mutton and no Youtube, there would have been no need for Sundays. And of course, that I have a hyper-active son means that I need a Saturday as well!
All of Sunday, I searched a million things on Youtube and decided to compile some of the best medley songs in Bollywood. You know, the ones in which there is either a college competition or a family problem that can only be solved with the help of songs - either original or parodies of Bollywood classics!
As I had mentioned briefly here, I have a great weakness for such medley items and felt compiling all my favourite songs in one post is a very constructive way of spending this Sunday. My wife feels that I should have taken my trousers for alteration but don't listen to her! I didn't.

Maine Pyar Kiya Antakshari
Q: How do you say 'I love you' to the man you love?
A: You open your mouth and...
Q: No, I mean if he is sitting in a crowd?
A: You still have to open your mouth, you know...
Well, one of the biggest problems of staying in a joint family and having a Satyanarayan pooja at home (which is attended by about 840 women in ghagra-cholis) is that you can't say 'I love you' to your boyfriend. However, that problem can be easily solved. All you need is a resourceful Manohar bhaiyya and a encyclopaedic knowledge of Hindi film songs.
The biggest draw of this medley is it is actually framed like a conversation - for most part. So, when Bhagyashree sings Jahan main jaati hoon, wahin chale aate ho / yeh toh batao ke tum mere kaun ho?, Salman replies by singing, Hum toh tere aashiq hain sadiyon purane...
And it covers the whole gamut of Hindi music from Jewel Thief to Himmatwala, from Dus Numbri to Sharaabi, from Prince to Mr India.
To my mind, this song was the biggest draw of the film and it was a very satisfying mix of nostalgia, topicality and Huma Khan (in what was her - probably - only non-B-grade role)!

Hum Saath Saath Hain Family Intro Song
Buoyed by the tremendous success of MPK and the horrendous success of Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Sooraj Barjatya made Hum Saath Saath Hain, which gave millions of viewers diabetes and hundreds of distributors bankruptcy!
The only bright spot of this film is the point where Tabu (can't believe she also did The Namesake!) enters Saccharine household and she is introduced to the entire clan through a series of songlets performed by Saif & Karishma and introduced by Ajit Vachani & Himani Shivpuri. And in a completely immodest gesture, there are at least two songs that are drawn from MPK and HAHK!
HSSH is the most re-run movie on Indian television, having made - by now - several times in television royalties than theatrical receipts. And by some cosmic twist, every single time I surf through Zee Cinema where it is usually running, this is exactly the sequence that is on. Which makes it my single-highest watched sequence in Hindi film history. Gosh- what hyperbole!

Mr India Football Medley
What did you do as a kid when an irate neighbour confiscated your football? You pleaded with her. You asked your parents to buy you another. You pooled money to get another. You played badminton instead. Right? Well, that's why movies were never made on you and you did not have an uncle who went invisible! And - most importantly - your neighbour did not work for The Crimes of India.
Whenever I hear this sequence now, I can almost imagine the twinkle in Javed Akhtar's eyes as he wrote Na maangoo sona chandi, hum mange maafi didi or Topiwaale, ball dila. Everybody - on-screen and off-screen - was clearly having a ball as Laxmikant Pyarelal's old albums were rummaged to string together a sequence in which a gang of precocious kids (including Aftab Shivdasani and Ahmed Khan), Anil Kapoor and Satish Kaushik pleaded with Sridevi to return their football. The southern siren - about to become Hawa Hawaii in the film - returned their entreaties with high dose of creativity and energy!

Lamhe Bollywood Medley
A medley must have a theme - be it an antakshari, introduction or begging (see above). And it must serve a purpose - be it saying 'I Love you', getting diabetes or a football (see above).
The medley in Lamhe - Yash Chopra's best film that did the worst at the box-office - did not have a theme but had a vague motive. Sridevi and Anupam Kher were trying to make the ultra-serious Anil Kapoor laugh and they did so by singing Hindi film songs because the NRI was apparently fond of them (as are half the world and their landlords).
So, you had Pamela Chopra and Sudesh Bhonsle doing the female and male voices, the former doing an okay job while the latter brought the house down with his mimicry of Hemanta, Mukesh, Rafi and most notably - SD Burman. I remember laughing my guts out as Sudesh Bhonsle sang O majhi, mere saajan hain uss paar and Anupam Kher floated around in a swimming pool.
Towards the end of the medley, the duo was joined by Waheeda Rehman doing a brilliant reprise of her Guide dance (Kaanton se khnichke yeh aanchal) and it ended reasonably satisfactorily. Only if Sridevi danced to the Ta thaiya ta thaiya song!

Chashme Buddoor Courtship Medley
How do you brag to your friends on how great a time you had with a babe? If you are DU student? If your father is a small-time producer of Hindi films? And if you never really had a great time but only had to make things up?
Ravi Baswani shows you how.
Rather violently ejected from Deepti Naval's house by her karate-expert brother, he passed three hours in a cinema hall after getting bandaged at a clinic. And then, went back home to tell his room-mates the beautiful songs they sang from Dev Anand to Feroze Khan, from Meena Kumari to Asha Parekh. The hilarity gets compounded manifold as you see Ravi Baswani doing the Dev Anand swagger (Chhod do aanchal zamana kya kahega), the Dilip Kumar scowl (Pyar kiya to darna kya), the Feroze Khan shrug (Aap jaisa koi) and the Sunil Dutt sway in front of a piano! Helpfully enough, the screens changed from colour to B&W to sepia as the songs merged from one to the other.
Oh - but how did he explain the bandages? Simple. He got injured fighting goons while his lady love sang Logon, na maaron isse, yeh to mera mehboob hain!

Hum Kisise Kum Nahin Competition Medley
In medleys, boys do spoofs. Men do real songs.
Naseer Hussain never did teeny-bopper romances without at least one musical face-off between the two leads. And for that, he needed a rockstar composer. He had Anand-Milind in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which did not have a medley. He got Jatin-Lalit for Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and colleges jived to the medley. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Manjeet (Rishi Kapoor) - who came all the way from London - out-sang and out-danced several sissy competitors as his girlfriend (Kaajal Kiran) simpered coyly in the first row. Just when the judges gave just 15 seconds for the next competitor to turn up, Tariq Hussain strummed his way on to the stage and sang Chaand mera dil, chandni ho tum. And what a contest it turned out to be!
An unknown female in tight and sleeveless clothing ran on to the stage to give Tariq (musical) support. Kaajal Kiran commandeered her bevy of bimbette friends behind Rishi. Guitars, trumpets, white shoes, bandannas, RD Burman's voice were all called into action as the two maharathis sang to our heart's content and the whole thing stopped only because a heartbroken Tariq conceded the contest.
Why? See the sequence, no?

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar Competition Medley
When Rajput and Queen's combine forces to participate in a college musical competition, can pajama chhap Model School ever hope to defeat them? Never. Not even if Model's star performer is one Sanjay Lal Sharma.
Probably one of the best college films ever made, JJWS just rocked the scene with amazing music, brilliant acting performances and an achey-breaky-love-story borrowed from Archie Comics. And to build momentum for the climax, the first set-piece was the inter-college music competition featuring three separate songs performed by the three main colleges.
Xavier's + Anne's performed a peppy youthy number, Hum se hain saara jahan. Rajput + Queen's performed a hip, pseudo-Goa number - Naam hain mera Fonseca. And the underdog Model came up with Jawaan ho yaaron, yeh tumko hua kya? Naturally, the best song was the last (but only just!) and even more naturally, the snooty judges gave the winning scores to the snootier Rajput. I still remember the gasp my sister gave when one judge reduced his score for Model School.
And if you think this was exciting, then you haven't seen the climax!
Tragic Update: I could not find the complete medley anywhere on Youtube. So, linking only the Aamir Khan song. Would be grateful if someone locates the full thingie.

Ahem... don't miss very cool nominee list of Indibloggies 2008. Thanks to the very gracious offices of Priya Venkateshan, Calcutta Chromosome has been nominated in two categories - Most Humourous Indiblog and Best Entertainment Indiblog.
Just looking at the other nominees is enough to make me feel delirious!