Friday, April 26, 2013

Just one of those days...

It's been almost a year since I've written on this blog! Maybe it is that I've been having so much fun with life that blogging took a back seat. That isn't to say life is in the doldrums this fine Friday, but that some thoughts floating in my head are best bashed out on a blog and forgotten then on.

There are some days when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. In the past few hours, I am pretty sure that waking up to the right hand side of mine, was an error in judgement. Nothing really catastrophic but more or less an emotional day on many levels. They say that when one thing goes wrong then the rest will to. So this morning, I suppose brushing my teeth for the morning with my night time tooth brush was where I went wrong.

Essentially it was a day of miscommunication in plenty, magnified by the fact that thanks to technology, many things that are as normal as the sun rising in the east, are considered abnormal. And they say technology makes life easier! Poooeeey. Later in the day, I was also regaled with comments about my character. Not bad ones, just ones that I don't hear often. Maybe it is time for a re-assessment; maybe it's time to take a step back and observe. Perhaps I am too caught up in looking into the future, that I forget I have no control over it. But as I said, time to observe. Besides, thankfully, life has been kind enough to hand me people who love and care for me. Even if it mean telling the harsh truth sometimes. I am fortunate enough to have people who care enough to tell me things that maybe I don't want to hear. And life certainly is kind enough to bring me pizzas and chips, to make sure my worries and troubles melt like cheese.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What’s the good word?

DHNS – Aakanksha Devi

Language matters

From “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” to “aal izz well”, conversational language has indeed come a long way!

No matter what the language, people seem to be more influenced by the film and television culture than they are by literature. This may primarily be due to the fact that around 20 years ago, the television wasn’t as common as it is now. Books and stories were - up until the early 90s - the main source of entertainment for the youth, who now continue to carry the torch of the book culture while the new generation has grown up on television.

The television series ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S.’, which caught the attention of almost all the youngsters at the time, was a huge factor in introducing the city to colloquial ‘lingo’. Words and phrases such as ‘like’, ‘whatever’ and ‘Oh my God’ were popularised by the six characters from the sitcom and from then on, it seems to have stuck on as part of trendy talk.  Moreover, people, especially teenagers, began to emulate the lifestyle of these fictitious characters.

So in doing the things they saw on television, they inevitably began to also relate to the characters. Thereby conversations were not only dominated by discussing programmes but also discussed in the tone and language they were now accustomed to.

Meghna D, a scientist who is a voracious reader says that the reduction in the number of people reading has caused this change. “It’s not really that people are more influenced by film or tv but at a basic level it’s that they don’t know any better.

Literature has taken a back seat. So if you were to speak like Dickens or Chaucer, chances are that only one other person is a group of 10 has understood what you’re talking about,” she says.

So in imitating dialogues, we seem to be losing track of the traditional form of the English language, which according to some youngsters may not be a bad thing.

Vedika R
“In Shakespeare’s time they spoketh formally. Then when the British were here it was Queen’s English. Now it’s tv lingo, the popular culture of our time. It’s quite regressive of people to look down on the new sort of language,” says Vedika R, a student of communication and media.

In addition to just moving away from the book culture, Sahana Das, Head of Communication Studies, Mount Carmel College believes the internet that has had a massive impact on the way youngsters behave and speak.

“I wouldn’t say that it is only television and film that is causing kids or all of us really, to speak differently. I think with the advent of internet, people are exposed to various cultures, languages and media that they pick up from their. And it is not only the language but behaviour too…which is not really a bad thing,” she comments. 

Arjun Varma
Another possible cause for increased colloquialism may well be that film and television characters have mass appeal when compared to the more intangible book characters. Arjun Varma, an independent film maker and script writer says that because there is so little time on hand these days, people take the short cut to literature by watching movies.

“Harry Potter is the best example. Everyone knows about it but has everyone read it? Of course not! I certainly haven’t but I know the dialogues and spells like I know the alphabet,” he chuckles. He also believes that literature characters are looked at as more aspirational.

“People like to be ‘Romeo and Juliet’ but essentially they are ‘Homer and Marge’! So they begin to talk like the characters that are far more true to life…especially like dysfunctional Homer Simpson.” Sahana too feels that language in film and television is more accurate in reflecting the society at the time.

“It’s that film and tv have always mirrored the language of the people while written was considered more intellectual…like the Victorian time. Now however, the lines are blurring and the gap between written and spoken language is fast reducing,” she sums up.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don’t spin the music, there’s ban-galore

Bangalore, June 4 2012, DHNS: Aakanksha Devi

Lost charm

For longer than we’d like to admit, Bangalore has become a deadpan City. From bustling with life until the wee hours of the morning to being forced to close down by 11 at night, the City has indeed undergone a huge transformation.

And the restriction on dancing and grooving to music on a lively Saturday night, is now but a distant memory for most Bangaloreans. Seemingly the worst hit by the situation however, are the music spinning, energy infusing disc jockeys (DJs).

Despite being a City truly appreciative of music, dance and general partying, the fact that DJs have to stop playing music by 11 pm, has disheartened many of the City’s DJs.

Abdul, a popular international DJ who calls Bangalore his home, says that the City has lost its charm. “It’s sad to have to play catchy music when people can’t even sway their hips to a song. Playing in this City used to be a pleasure. And we DJs used to feed off the crowd’s emotions and play what seemed appreciated. Now we’re pretty much shooting arrows in the dark hoping we hit the right note.”

Although there is more to a DJ than just playing music for everyone to dance to, the common perception is just that. While most people wouldn’t think of a DJ when it came to playing instrumental or slow music, they’d certainly look to one to pump up the volume and infuse energy in party-goers. One such dance and music lover is Aditi Singh who likes to go to quieter places ever since the dancing ban was implemented.

“It’s frustrating to just sit at a table when a Michael Jackson song is playing. For me, it’s pretty impossible. Of course, it isn’t DJs’ fault because it’s a government rule but I find it quite pointless to have a DJ playing energetic music when all we can do is try hard to talk over the sound. It’s a little bit like Robbie Williams singing ‘I don’t wanna rock DJ. But you’re keeping me up all night’,” expresses Aditi.

Therefore, the role of a DJ in our City seems all but defunct when it comes to dancing. As Abdul expresses though, it is now up to the sound mixers to change their style and incorporate music that people will enjoy but not necessary feel is a dance remix.

“I’ve started playing mellow mixes and it’s catching on pretty well. But the younger DJs aren’t really trained so they’re unaware of such nuances. They tend to play only numbers they like or can play well. Those DJs will be forced to shut shop or quickly change their game plan,” he suggests.

Others however feel it is fine for DJs to continue playing peppy music because even if they can’t dance, at least the mood is happy and vibrant. And while the point of a party may be to dance, it isn’t the only way to have fun. Media professional Kirthana Karumbaiah is of the opinion that DJs should continue to do what they do with the hope of bringing back the Bangalore of before.

“I think it’s very important that DJs keep spinning because it isn’t only about being a disco city. It’s about having a good time. Indeed they need to play suitable music for the atmosphere but they seem to have adapted well to that.”

Thus, while some citizens are happy to have the DJ blaring dance music, others think that the profession of music mixing in Bangalore, at least temporarily is pointless. Summing up the mixed feeling of most party goers, Siddanth Sharma, a ‘new’ Bangalorean, says, “I think we’re somewhat forcefully listening to DJs. After all there’s no need to really remix Pitbull or David Guetta!

They’re fast paced to begin with! So I’d just play a an MP3 CD. Honestly, the problem I feel is that we’re hanging on to DJs because we’re unable to let go of the past of Bangalore being a party place.” 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Annoying film critiques.

For a long while I've seen my Mum, who reads the paper cover to cover, completely ignore film reviews. And rightly so. There were no reviews at all. They were plot summaries and spoilers. There wasn't any information about the direction, acting or anything about the making of the film. It was down right useless. More of a "if you don't want to watch the film or haven't the time to then read this".

Slowly and thankfully, that changed. But now it seems that, in most papers, the bigger the star in the film, the better the review. Films that are arty and don't star Shahrukh Khan get a star and a half. While the waste of money, nonsense with the King Khan gets a whopping ***** and a MUST WATCH.

Being a film maker - a very little one at that - I still find it extremely painful to read these reviews. I completely understand that there are good films and there are bad films. But the job of the critique is hardly to tell me whether I should or shouldn't watch the film. He can indeed help in my decision by giving an unbiased opinion. Saying DON'T WATCH THIS FILM, only makes me want to watch it more. And cross my fingers that I like it as well!

Recently, I read a review of Dark Shadows. It starred my all time favourite Johnny Depp AND was directed by my other favourite Tim Burton and it was their best, but I enjoyed it. Yet the review had Johnny Depp as a very unrealistic vampire. A "heavily powdered man with deathly dark circles and a bad manicure" to be precise! What? So you've seen a real vampire or are you so influenced by the Cullen Clan that you think that's what all vampires should look like? Diamondesque and red eyed? Jokers! It's a different interpretation for crying out loud! A more "vampirey" one at that!

Anyway, I am not here to defend my man Depp...that's another post altogether! So moving Yes the film critic of before needs very quickly to return. Adding to my woes of awful film critics, with the advent of the internet...everyone is a critic. I mean...some one can absolutely hate this blog yet my ever loving sister and my mother, will continually read it and make opinions without voicing their bad reviews. But when it comes to film and's an absolute war out there. Youtube is a highly entertaining source of amusement. But sometimes it gets on my nerves. People who absolutely despise a certain actor/actress should really stay away from watching the concerned trailer or film clip. It seems logical no? Why would you 'torture' yourself only so you can anger a fan? Do you really have nothing else to do? Surely there's a crossword left on Earth you've not completed! 

But the consolation there is that it's free speech and we all have a right to opinions. Just don't force it down my throat. Just lay down the facts...I'll make my own conclusion. I have a mind of my own thank you very much.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A simple yet powerful narrative

Apr 24, 2012 : Film Screening

Almost documentary in its nature, ‘Elephant Boy’ is a wonderful black and white adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Toomai of the Elephants’.

It was recently screened at the National Gallery of Modern Art in collaboration with the International Music and Arts Society.

The screening also included an informative and in-depth introduction to Sabu Dastagir, the lead actor in the film. The film was directed by Robert J Flaherty and Zoltan Korda and shot in the private forests of the erstwhile Mysore Maharaja.

Brilliant in its narration and cinematography, this 1937 film has a simple yet powerful narrative, that tells the tale of Toomai and his dreams of becoming a hunter like his father and forefathers. A dream that will come true when ‘he sees elephants dance’.

On watching a film that is over 80-years-old, young film-maker and audience member Kiran Ayathan says it was interesting but marginally annoying. “Although I liked the story for its simplicity, I found the British characters highly condescending which ruined the experience for me,” she says.

Although it’s centred around Toomai, played by then 13-year-old Sabu, the film gives a clear insight into the lives of Indian villagers, hunters and of course the British officials.

The village ‘sahib’, Petersen, played by Walter Hudd, starts to hire mahouts, including Toomai’s father, for the annual round up of elephants. On hearing that, Toomai has no one to care for him, Petersen’s heart melts and he allows the boy to tag along.

One night, Toomai’s father spots a tiger lurking about camp and immediately wakes up Petersen. The two go out into the dark to kill the animal. Unfortunately, Toomai’s father is killed in the fight.

The over-the-top cruel Rham Lal is then brought on to look after Kala Nag. Distraught at the death of her mahout and angered by the way she is now treated, Kala Nag lashes out, injuring Rham Lal.

Rham Lal is then paid off by Petersen to keep quiet or else leave the safe boundaries of the camp. Just before the elephant search is called off, Toomai notices Kala Nag sneak into the forest. He follows the beast and is led deep into the jungles, where from atop Kala Nag, sees a herd of pachyderms stomping their feet as if dancing.

On returning to camp, Toomai tells his tale of the elephants dance. Almost patronisingly Petersen says he can now become a hunter. The film closes with Toomai being taken under the able wing of Machua Appa, sahib’s right-hand man, so his lifelong dream can finally come true.

Kripa, who came to watch the film hoping it would be like ‘Jungle Book’, says she was a bit taken aback by the real and authentic visuals. “Sabu is such a natural.

The whole film was very realistic. It was jarring at times but very intriguing,” she says.