Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Students of Delhi University: A Serious Overview

A new session has started in Delhi University and anyone who ever visited a college in Delhi must have a fair idea about all that hustle-bustle and enthusiasm among fresh students. More than anything else, it is a moment of great pride for all those who make it to the University – I don’t know about the exact number but there are around 60-65 colleges in the University and every year more than 2 lakhs students compete for the seats (in Regular courses). So, here is the bitter truth – the outrageously high cut offs for admission are there not because DU offers the best in studies or courses but obviously there are not enough number of seats to accommodate more and more students. Well, who cares? I am here to talk about the type of students (Type means something else, politically incorrect version actually). I roughly divide them in three categories.

1.The Muftkhors (Freeloaders): They are the muftis or freeloaders. They have a little to say in every discussion, but when it comes to party or eating out – they are the Super-Charged Electrons which easily gel up with anything positive or negative because it’s about food. They encourage everyone to go out – have the names of best eateries on their fingertips and ultimately they will convince the group to go out. Once done with the first task, they will guide the group to the best places to eat, but then like any other Bollywood potboiler, there is a melodramatic twist. These Muftis will eat well, laugh out loud but they will never pay. When the group is ready to pay – they will either get busy on their phone or go to Loo. If that is not possible then they will play the ultimate trick – they will admit – they don’t have money. So, someone will pay for them – and loyal to their name – they will never pay back.

2.Tragedy Kings and Queens:  First they will appear reclusive. But, gradually they will open their mouth, they will talk about common problems plaguing our country. They are not depressingly over concerned about the problems but if someone would talk to them much – they will open up. And damn – they have a lot to say. In the end, they will convince their listeners – that they are the most downtrodden people, struggled a lot in life and they are here to make difference. Well, those who would tolerate them then might stick with them for a while – others will just run away. And, if you meet them after 2 years – they will be completely changed people – now, they wouldn’t give a damn about world – and their aspirations are limited to going abroad, earning loads of money and all that – which can be labeled Materialistic – well you can call these guys hypocrites. Yes, they also get active in the so-called Social Movements, but their ultimate goal is “Name and Fame”. Only a lucky few manage to get that – because these clichéd strategies have lost their relevance over a period of time. Now-a-days, they get caught easily.

3.The indefatigable breed: They are everywhere and deserve to be there. Full of energy and lots of ideas, they simply define the spirit of Campus – actually, these guys bring in that raw exuberance, which makes everything possible. From Sport to debates to labs – well they can be found anywhere and whatever they do – it shows their determination and sheer zest for life. They make a lot of things possible in Campus. They are good listeners and when they do something they are serious about it. Sadly, Freeloaders exploit them a lot.

Well, I could come up with only three categories. May be, I wasn’t lucky to find fourth or fifth breed during my days in the college.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ram Gopal Verma: An unfinished affair

“Mumbai Ka King Kaun” Bhikhu Mahatre – a line that has been etched in my memory forever and somehow introduced me to a different Indian Cinema of that time. Yes, I was shocked a bit, but more than that felt sheer happiness because for me it was a new and bold experience. We had seen many gangster movies before Satya, but the way it brought the nuance of Underworld on the forefront and presented it with stubborn honesty – simply left me awestruck. Now after all these years, I can say that Indian Cinema was taking one step at a time then to embrace the much needed change and what Ram Gopal Verma did then can be termed as a Paradigm Shift.

Before Satya happened, RGV had established himself as a director with a lot in “Different and Bold” to offer with Rangeela. But, my first serious introduction to RGV’s movies was with Satya – a film that allowed Manoj Vajpai to exhibit his immense talent by portraying the role of a Mumbai Underworld Don. It hit me like a whiplash and somehow left me jolted to the core.

In one epic scene, Bhikhu Mahatre died when he went to congratulate Bhau (main villain) for winning the election. It was a single-shot to the head to kill the most powerful character in the movie – and that was typical RGV moment of the movie – devoid of any preconceived notions. It was a totally different experience for me and I immediately became his fan.

Satya was a cult film during those times. Actually, it appeared a lot different because prior to that Box-Office was mostly ruled by directors like Suraj Barjataya or Yash Chopra or others. Either it was love-dovey Cinema, where you had those typical Bollywood love-stories – too much melodrama, Dreamy song sequences and Rona-Dhona or mind-numbing action sequences with larger than life Heroes and their whims. RGV was not there to join the rat race.

After Satya, I established a special bond with RGV’s movies – they were convincing, different and well ahead of their times – yes, if you compare his work with other directors of that time. With every movie, RGV looked strong and firm in his conviction. I did watch Rangeela later and it simply blew me away. It was not Urmila Matondkar’s skimpy dress or her audacious dance moves in Tanha Tanha yahan par jeena, but the way RGV dealt with the spirit of a free girl was simply staggering with different hues of emotions explicating her aspirations, dreams and uncommon love-affair with Aamir Khan’s character Munna.  These days we have some gutsy directors or filmmakers, who can take the Indian Cinema forward by producing a lot of different stuff; worth mentioning Anurag Kashyap and Diwakar Banerjee, but in those days, we had only RGV and he never disappointed us.

RGV  (Photo Courtesy - apnewscorner)
Be it Shool, Company or Road – RGV simply lived up to the expectations, which soared high with every movie he made. It was all good till Ab tak Chappan, another movie on underworld and police nexus. And then something happened.

I went to watch Gayab and then Naach – and felt disappointed. Whether RGV directed those movies or not, but he was involved with them. In those days, I had a friend who was taking classes with Berry John, who once trained Manoj Vajpai, told me that RGV’s production house is named “Factory” and RGV might took it seriously – it was one movie after another from Factory. Loads of quantity - damage to quality. This guy was on a spree to make movies. Well, his next flicks can’t be called anything but average with “D” and “James”, but then RGV once again hit the chord with Sarkar. There were those typical RGV moments in the flick and it was a good effort in many ways – the director was honest in his storytelling and there were some quirky one-liners like Jab koi ek taraf se ladna shuru karta hai to dushan apne aap hi ban jaate hain. Though, it was a rip-off of Hollywood’s epic flick Godfather - Sarkar was a big hit and what could have proved a turning point in RGV’s career ended up filling him with hubris, which eventually got the better of him. 2007 saw the release of Nishabd and Ram Gopal Verma ki Aag – with latter turning out as Bollywood’s worst movie ever. For someone, who delivered so many quality movies for more than a decade, this last effort brought him to his heels. And, then followed a string of Flops and creepy movies with Department, the attacks of 26/11 and Satya 2.

Yes, we have a new brigade of directors, which has kept our hopes alive for a better and nuance-oriented cinema, but amidst all this – it hurts to see such a fall of RGV. A director of uncommon sense of Cinema could have done a lot better. Now, he is coming up with Ab Tak Chappan 2 – hopefully, it would not meet with the same fate of Satya 2.

RGV gave us so much in different Cinema and kept our hopes alive that Bollywood has a big heart to accept and cherish those who believe in themselves, take risks and defy formula-based cinema.

Many call him Maverick and spontaneous director, whose love for Cinema force him to work tirelessly, but for me he is someone, who has a strong conviction, but gradually paralyzed with his own hubris. Now, at the age of 52, I believe that this great Director can take a break from films and analyze a few things about himself – a walk down the memory lane wouldn’t help and a fresh start amidst present state of affairs can do a lot for him. Yes, he can look back to draw inspiration from those great flicks of his, which enriched Bollywood in many ways. May be its too late for RGV, but he would always stand out as someone, who did a lot in reinstating the faith of many in hard-hitting cinema – when Bollywood was struggling with an identity crisis and succumbing to cliché.