Its been a while since I've written anything at all. I was therefore wondering what to write. I've made this list of things that I need to do everyday. I got a printout of it today in the form of a checklist. The check list has 10 tasks and I've only completed 3 today [:-(]. I expect to consistently hit 8-10 in the coming weeks.
Getting back on track, since I havent written for a long time, kindly forgive me if I am rusty. I was looking for a topic and I happened to remember commenting on Shradz' blog today about Swades. So I thought I should write on that.
I remember we saw Swades first day, last show. I knew it was going to be a house full show. Most tickets would be prebooked. So I had asked my friends if they would be coming so that we could book advance tickets in the morning itself. Sadly, everyone was non committal and by evening, I had shelved plans totally. It sucked coz I really wanted to watch that film. The promos had been so rivetting !!
In the evening, one of the guys whom I had asked for the movie called up. He said lets go. I was a bit snappy and I said "yeah right...like we own the theatre or something !! I am sure we wont get tickets for the whole week !". I dont know why but he had confidence that we would get the tickets. I thought he had lost it. SWADES, the most awaited film of the year, first day, current tickets?????? NAAH !!
We gave it a shot anyhow. We went down at 9:00 p.m for the 9:30 show. I dont know how but we managed to get tickets to the lower stall in row "L". I didnt know where the heck row "L" would be. Turned out to be the third row from the screen !!
We lowered ourself (literally) into the seat at the prospect of watching the movie like we would be watching a tennis match.
The accordion piece that plays in the background for the credits started playing. The setup was huge, the cinematography excellent. The music had some haunting feeling to it. I had a hunch I was going to like this movie....REALLY like it.
We were unfortunately in a pretty low-end rundown sort of a theatre. We had one joker in the stands who stood up every few minutes to shout out his expert commentary on everything from the boat to Shahrukh's shirt to Gayatri Joshi. Surprisingly, all 3 of us we so engrossed in the movie that we didnt notice him too much.
As the film rolled on, we came to the point of the song "Yunhi Chala Chal" and everyone was screaming at the top of their voices on seeing Makarand Deshpande. Thats when I realized that I wasnt the only one who liked that song [:-D] !! I'd watch the entire film once again just to hear the 3 songs in the theatre with that amazing bass and surround !!
1 and a half hours and we came out into the corridor in the interval. In the cigarette smog (not ours, none of us smoke), we discussed how strongly the movie had been done till that point. Shahrukh is still in his NRI mould at this point.
Post intermission, the scene changes drastically. I dont remember when this particular scene was, before or after the interval but it is a most moving scene. Shahrukh's visit to the poor villager is amazingly done. The journey amongst the commonfolk, the story of the humble and hard working villager's downfall, his humility, his helplessness....I will tell you all frankly, I was totally moved. I consider myself to be rarely prone to extreme feelings and theres been hardly a movie that has made me think twice. You will find all such movies in my favourites list in m profile here.
While coming back from the villager's home, Shahrukh drinks his first sip of water from his motherland. Sorry for putting that in dramatic words but thats how I saw it. Again, the scene is brilliantly shot. The little boy selling water seems to be a representative of a lot of the working lower class that does all these all jobs 12 to 15 to 18 hours a day just to earn a piece of bread. Again, it makes me feel like such a loser beacause I can do nothing about it. NOTHING.
We hear the "Yeh Tara Woh Tara" song beautifully done by A R Rehman and we concentrate on the lyrics which are for a change (from movie song lyrics these days) meaningful.
When Shahrukh says "India is not the greatest country in the world.....but we have the capabilty to make it great". It made me feel like standing up and shouting (like that drunk moron across the hall), shouting "Yes yes, its true...I;ve said that all the time". I dont know how but Ashutosh Gowariker seems to have got the EXACT pulse of the typical urban educated Indian's mindset. I feel if everyone in our country just concentrated on doing their jobs to the best of their ability, we would no longer be a third world country. It seems everyone here just seems to try and find ways to shirk their responsibilities and that makes me furious sometimes.
I see this to be related to the "brain drain" issue. All the students in the high profile universities like IIT and IIM get highly subsidized education. Where is the money for this subsidy coming from? From your pocket, from mine, from our pockets...the tax payers' pocket. Now, when these people are studying with MY money or lets say, the nation's money, we all expect something back from them. Most of the people go out to the west never to come back. Of course, they send in measly amount of foreign currency but what good is that? If we lose all the good talent, who is going to set up industries here? We desperately need these people to be here and start a revolution. Sadly, a lot of these people are selfish and just look at their own gain.
In my opinion, everyone getting higher education should be bound by contract to work for a minimum of 2 years in their own country and people in the high-profile institutions like the IIT and IIM should be bound for 5 years. Everyone argues that these people dont get enough money here. Thats a load of crap. Who pays an IIM graduate less than a 6 figure salary? There is a lot of money here too. We just need the will to do something for the country. One more restriction that we can have is restricting people who've lived out of India for more than 20 years or so from owning any property in India. You might think this is too harsh, even Talibanistic. Realistically, many countries all over the world have a compulsory military service period for their citizens. In India, where everyone breaks signals unless theres a traffic cop to enforce the law, we need everything to be done by force. People never follow rules when they are laid down. We still cross the tracks and avoid the overbridge. My maths teacher who was a really inspirational guy called all this "Slavery Mentalilty". Hes said we as Indians always seem to shirk responsibilities and take the easy way out which is more often than not, following orders.
This might be a really controversial topic and I might have stirred the hornet's nest in this post but really...this is just my opinion and I always practice what I talk. I NEVER throw chocolate wrappers, bus tickets etc. on the street. Every day, my pockets (or in my college days, the topmost comparment of my scatchel) are full of small pieces of debris that I tend to generate. Its not a big deal but if everyone did the same, there would be no clutter lying on the streets. APJ Abdul Kalam says the same about our mentality. When we go to Japan, we dont spit on the streets, we dont throw waste around the corner in singapore, we dont dump garbage outside the garbage bin....we all behave like perfect gentlemen. But suddenly when we are in India, we start to do all these things. Is there any justification to this? No justifications but the only explanation which I can imagine is that if we did all those things in all those places, we would really get our you-know-what whipped by the authorities. So this takes us back to what I just said....slavery mentality, the need for enforcing everything. Why cant we just follow the rules? Why cant we wait until the signal timer shows 0 seconds to green before we hit the gas? Why do we always have to wait for others to take the lead? Why are we scared to accept the responsibility of leadership and face the music? This might seem out of place but I really admire Saurav Ganguly for doing EXACTLY this !!
Enough preaching !! Getting back to Swades.
Swades finishd in 3 and a half hours at 1:45 in the night. The song "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" was still playing in my mind as I came out of the theatre, rode my bike home, prepared my bed and went to sleep. Next day two of us decided to give the UPSC and give IAS a shot (sadly, I missed the forms this year and I feel like kicking myself for it. My friend submitted the form though).
Life got back to usual in a week but a few things still stick in my mind. I still look at all the 5-6 year old kids on the street and think I am loser coz I cant do anything for them. I thought up another resolution. I will skip all our now-regular trips to multinational-junk-food-joints and save up the money that I would have otherwise spent. I could then give this in bulk to someone. Maybe I could give 300-400 bucks to a little beggar boy and maybe he could buy a kit and polish shoes. Not a big deal again but yes, something is better than nothing. I still havent got down to doing it but I hope to start soon.
I now realize after writing a MARATHON post that this wasnt about Swades at all, its about what I really feel. Maybe I am a patriotic guy. ARE YOU ??