‘What have you been studying for, all these years?’, the teacher, a rotund and vociferous enthusiast who’d seen his share of things in life, asked the class in one of the few CAT classes that I actually attended. A majority of the class mumbled ‘knowledge’, at which he shrugged and went to the board to enlighten us about the forms and sources of knowledge. The guy beside me, though, disagreed. He seemed to be confused whether he ought to take it up with the teacher. Eventually, he just ended up saying ‘Purrspective’ twice, half aloud. The teacher didn’t hear him. I did.
My midsemesters got over on Saturday, and with the departure of most students to their homes or for trips, making me relate to the Chosen One’s forays into solitude every Christmas vacation, I was (am) to a large extent free, and alone. Come to think of it, the parallels between Hogwarts and the magical haven, as it’s alluded to, where I currently find myself don’t end there. Both begin their academic years on the first of a month, albeit a month apart. Getting to both involves a tedious and bumpy ride through the hinterland. And a majority of the people in their respective countries are clueless about their existence.
It’s funny how the desire to watch a forgotten movie or read a recommended book increases exponentially with the onset of examinations. The lack of time seems to instigate the hidden debate enthusiast within all of us. I remember being hunched outside my neighbour’s window, trying to read my notes in the faint light, because my own room was being ‘rehabilitated’. Gradually, some of my wingies ventured out of their rooms and soon we embarked upon an intellectual discussion which soon turned into a full-fledged argument, with no side willing to back down. I did my best to concentrate on my ‘Neural Networks and Fuzzy Logic’ notebook, but couldn’t help but agree with some of the points and at the same time, appalled by the religious zeal fuelled passionate arguments and the blatant generalizations of the actions of the few. The adverse effects of studying the ‘Principles of Mathematical Induction’, maybe? Also, noteworthy was the stark refusal to listen to the other side’s point of view.
The last few traits are typically attributed to a personality, who has blurred the boundary between journalism and sensationalism. Over the past few years, he has emerged as the champion for the blatant proponents of ‘Bhakti hi Shakti hai’ (No, I’m not referring to Hungama’s answer to Superman), with skewed ‘debates’ featuring him and his entourage, ripping into his chosen fodder for the night. He shouts, displays an immaculate range of voice modulation, seeks an answer for the nation and has most of us either rubbing our hands in glee at the plight of the subject of his attention or frequently adjusting the volume of the television. Lest any stray counter argument manage to make its way through his squeaky bellows, he always has the ‘you are being disrespectful to the victims’ card to play. The only losers in this scenario are perspective and objectivity, two things which moderators and news anchors, of all people, should focus on. Shouldn’t he let both the sides do the talking and then come to a conclusion, rather than brandishing his opinion on national television. A little less instigation and a bit more of moderation, maybe? But who cares when you can get a daily roast on national television?
My persistent attempts to catch almost every odd Bollywood movie and my perseverance with the likes of Mr. Bhagat, which has annoyed and amazed those around me in equal measures, is my way of seeking new perspectives. And of course, making my task as a blog writer easier. There is no sweeter pleasure than having your way of thinking resonate with someone else’s, especially on the big screen, while at the same time, the occasional difference of opinions provides an equally satisfactory contrast.
September brought with it two movies that I’d been eagerly awaiting: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s ‘Pink’ and Neeraj Pandey’s ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’. Pink had me enthralled from the first scene itself, partly due to Mr. Bachchan’s exemplary rendition of a retired, and mentally struggling lawyer seeking justice and the dark screenplay. By giving us a story which is told from both the eventual protagonist and the antagonist’s perspectives, Pink gave the moviegoers ample time to decide for themselves which side’s story they chose to believe. It also gave us in the form of Piyush Mishra, the prosecution lawyer, an embodiment of all the patriarchal excuses and biases that come to the fore, in such cases. The scenes where he tears into the characters of the leading ladies is cringe inducing, yet similar to numerous incidents in recent memory.
That is where Mr. Pandey came up short, unexpectedly. Maybe, it was his relative inexperience at the biopic genre, or merely the lack of Akshay Kumar as the male lead, but for all its real match footage and the vivid description of Dhoni’s struggle, we (I) never got to see the movie which we’d expected to. After reading Rafael Nadal’s poorly crafted ‘RAFA’, I’d concluded that autobiographies did not befit active sportspersons. The movie reaffirmed my belief. With the degree of involvement that Dhoni had with the movie, it was clear that the untold story wouldn’t exactly be bold with its content. But wouldn’t it have made more sense to focus on his rise to captaincy than the fictionalised and repetitive renditions of his love affairs. That said, no one in their right mind can deny the protagonist’s stupendous efforts to get into the skin of Dhoni’s character and his sincerity does lift the film, which has its moments, but begets a sigh at its waste of opportunity.
Onto the trivialities and the cribbing. I had a lot of time to prepare for this blog, considering the sheer number of things that have transpired since I last typed out my thoughts. Amongst others, conversations have lost their appeal and being deemed a recluse is perfectly acceptable. It’s almost like the clock has been turned back, as in the numerous posts which flood Facebook. And Chetan Bhagat’s out with a new book, and that too from a woman’s perspective. The Principles of Induction do hold true for the quality of his books. However, truth be told, his writing may have its flaws (and typos and spelling mistakes) and he may have a penchant for not exactly making the choices which make his life on and off Twitter easier, but he does know how to handle criticism and being panned.
After this rather shaky and cluttered return to form, I hope so do I.