Archive for May, 2007

Most Indians of my generation who think in English would have vivid memories of the wonder years when we first discovered Super heroes in comics. Remember your first brush with Phantom, Spiderman and Superman? I am not completely sure why, but I do remember that Spiderman was my favourite. It could have something to do with the fact that he always seemed so lonely, and caught in some deep struggle within himself.

Later, when the animated teleserial Spiderman was screened on Indian television, it was the highlight of my life every Sunday afternoon.

So, all of that made it especially disappointing to see Spiderman 3. The only good thing about the film was the creation of Sandman. But, a poor script killed all of that. In the final analysis, Spiderman 3 remained another cliched badly told Hollywood love story. I felt particularly sad for the many kids in the audience.

This also made me think of some of the films that I had watched and enjoyed as a child…

Movies that were made before my time, but that I discovered when I was a child:
1. Sound of Music
2. Mary Poppins
3. Ten Commandments – not exactly a children’s film, but it was a great spectacle. So, I never forget it.
4. Benhur – ditto for this one
5. Pollyanna
6. Wizard of Oz

Great movies for kids, made when I was a child:
1. Annie
2. Care bears
3. The Goonies
4. Masoom
5. Chota Chetan
6. Sleeping Beauty
7. Jungle Book
8. Superman
9. Supergirl
10. Young Sherlock Holmes
11. Free Willy

Truly, to enchant a child’s imagination is an art, which only the Masters of their craft master along the way. And when I was a child, all these films did that for me.

Today, as an adult, I know that I was fortunate then, and I salute the great story tellers of my growing years.

I think it’s official now. My search for a publisher seems to have ended with Dronequill. I’ve not been given a date as of yet. But, I have a contract, and I can expect my novel to be in bookstores by the end of this year.

It’s been a long journey. In the course of the accompanying evolution, the book moved from being Gundumani, Gundumani to being Ginger, Soda, Lemon, Pop. The conclusion grew to be more defined. But, the book lost none of its original freshness (I hope!).

So, after a preliminary meeting at my publisher’s house last week, we met to ink the contract over the weekend.

It was perhaps fitting that the venue was my favourite table at Koshy’s. We spent a long time chatting over curd rice (one of the closely guarded secrets that Koshy’s also sells) and ham fried rice. Finally, two strangers who were waiting for a table were roped in as the witnesses for the deal.

And so begins another journey.

Dronequill is a small publishing house in Bangalore, and it does not have the reach of Penguin. But, I am not Arundhati Roy and I’m grateful to life for an opportunity.

Who knows?! Let’s hope that Ginger, Soda, Lemon, Pop brings good things for my publisher and me.

This Ram Gopal Verma film was released in 2002. But, I only got to see it this weekend, and I would recommend it as one of the finer Hindi films made in recent times. It must also be said that no Hindi film director captures the world of the Mumbai underworld like RGV, with the exception of Vishal Bharadwaj. But, then Vishal Bharadwaj is a different kind of director. It is the Mumbai underworld, and yet his films have an international flavour.

The impact of the ‘world of the dons’ is given further impact by RGV’s trademark slick editing and unusual story lines. In an intensely emotionally film, he always manages to strike the right build up. I’ve said it before – when it comes to Indian cinema, RGV’s understanding of the technique involved in editing is unparalleled.

I was also impressed to see that even the minor details of the film were there for a reason. If a knife was shown, it was used. There were no loose ends.

The film is almost a precursor to Sarkaar, without the big stars. Sarkaar is better for being a performance oriented film that uses the brooding presence of Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan. Company is better is better for its depth and complexity of story line. The twists and turns of the story line pull your heart strings more deeply.

The film is also without the harshness of the world of Sarkaar. Here, there is an interplay between the ruthless world of the mafia and the innocence of the love of Kannu and Chandu.

While all RGV’s performers hold their own, this film demonstrates why it is said that Ajay Devgan has been underutilised as an actor.

Unlike in Nishabd, where RGV was completely out of depth with a complex relationship, he understands his subject completely in Company. The results show in the path breaking film in the genre of gangster films that he has directed.

If you have not already seen it, Company is a must watch. Madhur Bhandarkar could also borrow a page from his book to avoid disasters like Coporate.