Second in a lifetime movie update.

So, to cope with I’m-not-sure-what, I’ve been on a steady diet of caramel popcorn. Meaning, I have been haunting and making full use of PVR’s 100 bucks Wednesdays, or 160 bucks other days, and spending so much time (and money) ingesting celluloid that I have fine filmmaking leaking out of my ears.

If I may stretch that metaphor a little more, the following are my gleanings from my earbuds.

Since there has been fanboi jizz everywhere about John Carter, The Dark Knight Rises, Ice Age: Continental Drift (haha, gotcha!), I’ll start my rambling from October. Please note, this is standard box office fare, so hold on to your National Market DVDs, ye of Majid Majidi chest-tattoos.

This means I’ll have to skip the quite enjoyable Barfi!. Just stopping to note Ileana’s badly-concealed fake eyelashes. I suspect they were actually invented as forks to be used by war-serving soldiers, but the orders got mixed up. And her wig in her character’s twilight years was as offensive as her head-knocking imitation of the elderly. Actually, no, it wasn’t a wig, it was a whitener, Fevicol, turpentine, and talcum powder streaked tofun.

English Vinglish sent my barely-inner Francophile into a hormone tizzy. (I’m such an unbearable prat, I correct people who mistake macarons for macaroons.) I also loved the motichoor laddoos. And totally wanted to kick the my-wife-was-born-to-make-laddoos Adil Hussain in the nuts. My grouse as a nitpicking bitch was this: Sridevi’s character did not have to appear to be functionally challenged. She just didn’t know English. However, I am deeply in love with New York. I love the cellos in Gustakh Dil. And I will admit there were points in the film where I wanted to give Sridevi a gigantic hug, and follow up with a head-pop and an, “Uh-uh. Don’t let that jerk treatch you like that gurrl.”

Looper made me want to get my (ladies, I called dibs first) Joseph Gordon-Levitt a pair of glasses to cure him of his myopia. Bruce Willis does not squint that much. I have raved to everyone about the kickassness of this story. Full points for script that stuck firmly to the simplicity of the idea. Full points for slight-disturbia atypical of Sci-Fi movies. Full points to Willis playing one of the best assholes on the silver screen this year.

Minus points for Willis’ wifey (too lazy to consult IMDb) flipping the bird. There are few things more crass than featuring the bird, irrespective of how in or out of character it is. Future filmmakers, please remember, the bird is for characters that are incapable of wit and/or are preoccupied with something syphilis-infested in their mouths.

Also felt Emily Blunt’s sudden onset of wanting sexytime (and being indicated to audience as a tug at her dress’ hemline?!) was a laughable, blatant cop-out to explain history and context of her son. If you’re still reading this, it might not really sound like it, but I do recommend watching Looper.

Premium Rush is such awesome timepass. If there is a film this year that thankfully does not take itself seriously, it is this.

Villain cop that looks like a villain from the word go. Mandatory oh-so-fuc.. err.. unfortunate Chinese immigrants. Mandatory white guy superhero. Cyclists shouting lukewarm flirt things into Bluetooth dongles. Latino with no sense of dressing, sweating profusely into her electric blue tank. JGL’s character with a name like Wile E.. As in, Wile E. Coyote. Who is also a hotshot nerd who ditched a promising future as a suit, to, I quote, “get paid to ride. Without gears. Or brakes. Or insurance. Clearly I live in a Manhattan that has no application for reality. Like rent. Or food. Or savings. But hey, I am Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Watch me chicane the shit outta open cab doors and thank god for body doubles and Computer Graaaaaa-” THUD.

Argo is bloody brilliant. Ben Affleck apologizes three bajillion times over for his Daredevilry. Just go watch.

Ted. I was so looking forward to this film. A lot of its ka-pow was wasted on me, because Flash Gordon makes as much sense to me as foie gras. The script sort of galvanized my belief that the idea of a swearing, pot-smoking, who-gives-a-shit teddy is a fantastic idea for a comic strip. Like a truly messed up Calvin & Hobbes. Ted’s character was the exact opposite of what Family Guy’s Brian would have been as a teenage dog. Brian would’ve been a bespectacled social misfit, holed up in his room, listening to arcane Rock from Belarus, reading Freud. Ted, however, would’ve been, and continued to be, a smooth talking, sunglasses totting socialite, the center of the Pop scene, burning books, unhooking bras, mixed up with ‘shrooms and Norah Jones’ night clothes. Sadly, shallow character translated into shallow script. Strictly okay film.

Also, question, why does every film do Mila Kunis’ eye makeup like she came onto their set right after wrapping up at Black Swan?

Skyfall. What a dreary name for a beautiful piece of estate. Oops. That might be a spoiler.

Given most Bond films elaborately unveil the devious clue that is the title, “Skyfall” is an unforeseen delicious twist. A total gobsmack for Bond fans who’ve been weaned on conspiracy theories. Mr. Mendes has done a pretty decent job, giving an unusual, delicate theme to this chapter of Bond. For me, it was like a correction film, a setting of tone for the future film. Martini went cleverly unsaid. Sony’s gizmo product placement took precedence over Omega. Ben Whishaw as geek-guy Q came in to say some really lame things.

My attention flagged at points. Particularly when Daniel I Call Dibs Again Craig stands in a badass tux, at the prow of a boat floating amidst Chinese lanterns. And when he appears shirtless.

I think this has been the year of aging iconic heroes, TDKR setting the trend. Actually, the colours, mood, and feel of this film are all so TDK-trilogy. It does not help that bad-boy Javier Bardem gives a Heath Ledger Joker deja vu. 007 even cheekily throws in a “Storm’s coming”.

The Bond franchise has strictly been sexist about women, but this film’s a little more merciful to the ladies. Not saying they received exulted treatment, but surprisingly, the Bond girl of Skyfall was the one that’s always lurked in the shadows: M.

I did not really like Adele’s song, Skyfall. It felt like a mashup between Set Fire to the Rain and some other angsty I’ll fuckin’ cutchuu song. And I don’t think reproducing the tune every now and then really did much for the film. The title credits, as always, were beautiful. Skyfall is shot like a dream. When I grow up, I want to go on a Bond film recce.

Do watch. It’s a little hard to digest from the regular Bond fare. You actually might have to use your head and heart in this one.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is the best 100 bucks I have spent all year. ‘Nuff said.

Cloud Atlas, from the makers of the two-day-long Matrix Trilogy, (and Tom Tykwer,) is a beautiful mind-job. I’m sorry, I am the sort of person who thinks Source Code was a pretty damn awesome piece of awesome.

But Cloud Atlas. Do you know how brilliant the sound design and editing of this film is? My mind was blown when they transitioned from the beating of horse hooves, into a train chugging on tracks. Have you seen the gorgeous typography of the title? I insist you have a closer look at it, once you are done watching the film. My point of drawing to disparate things is this: the details in this film just neatly and repeatedly hammer in the idea the film’s exploring. I think the Wachowskis are fascinated with the role of coincidence, and by the connectivity of our lives. Remember what they said about deja vu, and how they toyed with Karma in The Matrix?

Trying to articulate what I so love about Cloud Atlas gives me the feeling the title itself captures. Such an evocative image. That to get there, I would need to consult an atlas of clouds.

I would’ve really liked for the penultimate montage of the film to have gone untouched by our scissor-happy censor board. The monologue was brutally maimed. And just why has none of this material surfaced on YouTube yet? Where are all the Wachowski fanbois? Where are the badly designed HTML websites of frog-level-dissections of this film? Or is that generation busy posting pictures of their babies on Facebook?

What movie am I going to torture next? I’m not sure. Thinking of watching Top Cat to compensate for missing out on Moonrise Kingdom. Maybe PVR itself is giving me a hint. Whenever I open their site on Chrome, hoping to check out showtimes, the Google Translate prompt reads, “This page is in Indonesian”. And emphatically adds, “Are you SURE you want to translate?”

A Hundred and Eight

In the season of presidential nominations,
I’m running for a few designations –

Writer. Poet. Photographer.
Professional describer of feelings.
High-intensity leer-evaporator.
Smasher of nonsense ceilings.

DF Wallace Quote Generator.
Multiple bell-jar defeatist.
The Antoinette of Drama Queenery.
The Nilgiri winds of eye-mist.

The atlas of all the right spots.
Perpetual leaver of aunties aghast.
Shaadi.com’s SEO Nightmare.
Wit like the Virar Fast.

Lethal sashayer of saree pleats.
Visual crime police.
Khadi-wearing activist
Of “thank you, hello, please?”

Part-time mood re-decorator.
Marmalade evangelist.
Slice of chilled watermelon.
Male-throat dehydrist.

Sr. Executive Puppy-face.
Tantric caller of cat.
Compliment-netting fisher-woman.
Serial thwarter of fat.

Zero-contact gut-puncher.
Saviour at the ninth-stitch.
Hidden memories detonator.
High priestess of bitch.

Little Bad Girl

The first thing that struck me about the Guetta concert was the sheer number of pretty, young, skinny things that had come, bravely totting numbers reserved for nightclubs far away from mothers’ concerns.

I was amazed. At all the gigs I’ve been to, I’ve never had this much girl company. The only thing that outshouted the speakers this time, was a chorus of squeals. I did not worry about leering creepy men. I did not worry about sweaty armpits and hard-stoned head-bobbers keeling over. I did not worry about my now-inferior smartphone getting whacked out of my back pocket. Why would I? When next to me, was a barely-sprouted-upper-lip boy taking shamefully crisp photographs on his Lumia. Yes, the 800.

This gig was bewildering from the word go.

My first brush was a tee we saw at the gates – an adequately censored phrasing of Guetta’s contribution to parlance with co-conspirators MoS, Fuck Me I’m Famous. Needless to say, sported by a suspect-looking uncle.

We’d arrived right in time. The LEDs lit up, screaming Guetta’s latest album title – and motto – NOTHING BUT THE BEAT. An unshaven, agreeably disheveled, and adorably dirty-straw blond Guetta made an entry. (cue squealing girls – and boys that did surprisingly accurate impressions of said squealing girls)

A few vague teases later, came a mashup of one of my favourite-of-all-time Guetta tracks, Love is Gone, and one of my latest shame-numbers, Little Bad Girl. It was delicious. And it didn’t last long enough. It didn’t even go anywhere. Before long, it trailed off into an unfortunately unyielding foreplay of Love Don’t Let Me Go.

The lineup that followed was pretty much a repeat of that sequence. Snatches of vocals from hit songs, blended beautifully with so-much-deja-vu riffs. Everything diffused before any serious boogie. It looked like Guetta had basically opened up all the channels of all his songs, and had gone apeshit with recurrent patterns in his discography.

Musically, mathematically, you were genius Guetta. But I’m sorry, I think nightclubs here have made me expect differently.

First, the sound setup was not noisy enough. I think the cheapest shortcut to being overwhelming, is to be loud. The setup just wasn’t. We tried three different positions in the crowd – center, off-center, even far back, and the acoustics weren’t hitting any spots.

Guetta, I know it was your first time here. But you should’ve done your homework. You should’ve first seen what your protégés here do with your music. They play you, your three minutes due. They play you, intro, crescendo, and cut apologetically out of your outro, into some undeserving Pitbull.

I don’t know if it’s a problem of song rights with the artists you collaborate with. But I was dying to hear what first got me hooked on to you – your 2004-dated dirty bit with JD Davis, The World is Mine. I’m astonished you picked your scream fest with Nicki Minaj (Turn Me On), over your feel-good bigger-hit with Rihanna (Who’s That Chick).

The strobe-lights and LED work was impressive. The console was mind-blowingly well-done for a space to be occupied by just one man. LED motifs paid a quick tribute to magnetic tapes (yay!) before moving eventually into Pokéball-looking turntables. The text work was beautiful. Guetta’s famous heart popped over and over (silhouetting barely-old oddly-necking couples). My favourite was the play in the “A” from the typography of his name on his album covers. Which, in hindsight, strongly resembles Free Mason symbolism on the Dollar (I’m not under influence, I promise). Every effort had gone into making Guetta look like an Electronica Messiah. And if you were watching, it probably worked.

For me, this was a coming-of-age concert as a Guetta fan – and as a Dance music nut. DJs are not meant to be experienced second-hand, at the scratches and whims of Ladies’ Nights specialists. Guetta, Live, outside the confines of his studio, someone else’s console, or even YouTube, actually has more personality. Something I’d like to witness in an amphitheater, not a Palace Grounds. I had no idea Guetta had touches of Trance in his fingers. Or inclinations towards quiet solos, until today. Even the way he faded in and out of bridges when his fans sang (horribly off-key), had an odd Guetta-fingerprint.

I suppose this is what a Guetta experience is like. Mostly an EDM jam-session. Not necessarily the House party that I’m used to crashing.

But I’m not writing him off. Not until I watch him at an MoS night.
For now, bring on Deadmau5.

Paging No. 7

You will come, one day,
Bright eyed, black haired,
Laughing and learned,
Scornful and sceptical
Of my own scepticism.

You will agree to go Dutch,
Crave an occasional puff,
And walk the right pace,
And stay to my right.
You will say all the right things,
And ask all the right questions,
And to the only answerable one, I will say “yes”.

And one evening,
You will find me seated with a book,
Or toiling over a photograph,
Or some odd distraction –
Hair tied up,
Skin vulnerable,
And you will wonder,
How much water can the cups of my collarbones hold,
When the droplets drip,
Drop,
From the loose lobe of my ear.

You will one day
See the shadows my eyelashes cast
When I throw my head back, laughing
At an incredibly odd something
That only you could’ve said.

You will learn
To keep the bus, train and movie tickets,
You will learn
To hunt for the phone bills,
And the car’s registration papers,
You will learn
To put cheese in my noodles,
And save half the chocolate bar in the fridge.

You will know that I’m sorry
I won’t remember why I’m angry with you,
I may turn away in my sleep,
I won’t always be on time,
I won’t always know what to say.

And yet,

You will teach me the art
Of surprising myself.

But one day, you will come.
Funny, clear-headed, curly-haired.

Eighty Nine

Tell me things I don’t know.
Tell me things I haven’t heard.

Don’t tell me sins come in sevens,
Or that pain is a travesty called heartbreak.

Don’t tell me
I have hours to kill,
But only seconds to count,
Or that the early bird gets the worm,
And the second mouse gets the cheese.
And no,
You still can’t take my picture.

I know,
Skies are azure,
Sobs can be gut-wrenching,
Songs can be soulful,
Silence, deafening,
Prince Charming, a frog.

Tell me, instead,
That I may not, after all,
Have a befitting happily ever after,
Because of an ill-fitting glass slipper;
That when I wake from my slumber,
I will see what I saw last night –
And that it’s quite all right
for things to turn out like that.

Don’t tell me,
My boyfriend is bespectacled
because it hides his intelligent eyes,
But because he is quite myopic
(even about our future).
Don’t tell me,
My grandmother oiled my long hair.
Tell me, instead,
That she would knot peppermints and candies
in the edges of her sarees,
So she could bribe my love.

Don’t tell me a cat is non-commital,
Or cold,
Instead,
Write me a word to call
that wordless call
that comes from its gut –
When I spoil it
with affection.
Please, a word
stronger than purr,
But softer than growl,
A word that probably runs like:
mostsoulful,guttural,nakedresponsetotouch.

Tell me how to love differently,
And how the attempt
is not to show me how to love differently,
But how to love
as only I can.

Don’t tell me passion burns.
Actually, please don’t call it passion.
A crucifixion, a debate, lust, love and anger –
Cannot all be the same unit of language.

Don’t tell me skin is as smooth as silk,
Or hot as a furnace,
Or white as snow,
Or that I burst into insipid gooseflesh.
(can you imagine how repulsive that is for a vegetarian?)
I’m not chocolatey, dusky, or the colour of mocha,
I’m dark brown.
I’m not arithmetically challenged,
I’m awful at maths.

Tell me things no one has told me before.

Tell me new places to go with my mind,
That magic can be trapped
With just an old jam bottle,
And a wandering glow worm.
That on my post-it notes
Are things I don’t really want to do,
And things I’d rather forget.

Tell me what else to do with ketchup,
Other than draw smileys on plates for grumpy waiters,
What else to do with an idle pin,
than probe the thick skin around my thumb’s nail,
Tell me what to collect,
Apart from smooth stones, tickets, twigs, corks, crowns, coins,
Dots, debts, grudges, garbage, affairs, aphrodisiacs, addictions.

Tell me what rhymes with “month” and “rhythm”,
Tell me whether it’s good to be alive, or to be a celebrated fossil,
Tell me why it doesn’t matter why we’re here.

But first,
Tell me where to submit a few ideas I have
For a few new words
The vocabulary could do with.

Eighty Eight

If I were a boy,
I’d save the world like Superman,
My superpower would be
An actual attention span,
I’d start with a bath and clean underwear,
And I’d iron my own button downs –
For me to later tear.
I’d rescue leftovers
From eternal refrigeration,
And if not earn, I’d at least buy myself
A great reputation.

If I were a boy,
I’d spend time on my toenails,
Invest in a good deodorant,
And save me from myself.
I’d think before I talk,
About an ex, a fantasy, a fling,
My pinups, their push ups, her hang ups…
Well, just about everything.

If I were a boy,
I’d major in a language and learn communication,
I’d invent a chemical for my brotherhood –
An automatic injection
Of grace, empathy, profundity and kissing skills,
And the bestselling liquefied edition
Of How to Handle Tears.

If I were a boy,
I’d take the condescension out of my voice,
When I explain the difference between
Dot ball, no ball; soccer and football.
I wouldn’t probe my nose in public.
I’d keep my parts private,
And I’d wolf the whistles out of me.

If I were a boy,
I’d wear glasses
Just for the heck of it,
Write my own pickup lines,
Pull my pants up, a wee bit,
And I’d play a sport,
Not hard to get.
I’d learn, that life isn’t just my t-shirt’s black,
Or white,
But unfortunately, countless shades in between
(At last count, there were at least seventeen
Shades of green
Known to man.
Or was that woman?)

If I were a boy,
I’d snip off my sacred thread,
File a petition
Against circumcision,
And take a loan to clear my parents’ loans,
I’d buy all five of my iPhones.

If I were a boy,
I’d know size doesn’t matter,
The hair on my arms, underarms don’t matter,
My tactfully torn jeans don’t matter,
I’d know –
I don’t need a sixth sense,
I’m safe after seven,
(So what if the concert starts at eight?)

If I were a boy,
I would hitchhike across the galaxy
With just a towel,
Without the need for a sanitary napkin, Ibuprofen,
Hygiene or pepper spray,
I’d count to a billion stars,
Get lost countless times more,
And of course,
I’d never ask for the way.