Friday, August 19, 2011

Cleansing the system? Literally.

Keeping aside the debate on whether the Jan Lokpal bill should be passed or not, an interesting 'event' at the protest site outside Tihar jail was reported in the newspaper, today.

Protesters seen with candles and 'charkha' outside the jail.

An MPhil student of Delhi University was seen cleaning the main road and other areas outside the jail where thousands of empty water pouches and food packets had been thrown by protesters after use.

If people could take away this simple message from the anti-corruption movement, the movement would be deemed successful: We've got to do the cleaning ourselves, with or without the bill. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

History Repeats Itself

Not much has changed in 64 years of India's independence from the British empire. 

Year: 1927-28
Lala Lajpat Rai moved a resolution against the Simon Commission, a commission formed by the British government "to look into the state of Indian constitutional affairs", because no Indian is made part of the commission. The resolution was adopted in the Central Legislative Assembly but the government continued with its own proposal of the commission. People all over the country held peaceful demonstrations to protest against the Simon Commission.

The British government imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in retaliation, according to which not more than four people could assemble at one place to protest. Despite the law, when the commission reached Lahore, it was greeted with a sea of black flags where Rai lead the protest. The government resorted to violence and ordered a lathi-charge on unarmed demonstrators.

Year: 2011
Anna Hazare and team move a resolution at the Centre to introduce a Jan Lokpal Bill to keep Indian constitutional affairs free of corruption. The government agrees to hold discussions but drafts a relatively weaker version of the same and continues with its own proposal of the bill. People all over the country hold peaceful demonstrations in support of the Jan Lokpal bill and Hazare calls for a second indefinite fast to protest against the government's draft of the bill

The Indian government imposes Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in retaliation, according to which, not more than four people could assemble at one place to protest. Despite the law, Anna announces he will observe the fast as earlier planned. The government orders detention of Anna Hazare and fellow supporters to an undisclosed location.

It was a fast. Not blackmail.

Monday, August 15, 2011

As I remember Shammi Kapoor

I do not belong to the generation that grew up watching his films, yet, his song and dance sequences bring a smile to my face.

Shammi Kapoor was the second son of theater veteran Prithviraj Kapoor (famous for his role in the epic film, Mughal-e-Azam) who dominated the Indian cinematic scene during the 1950s and 60s.

An impish grin, hypnotic grey-green gaze and flicks of unruly hair falling on the forehead, Shammi Kapoor was a rebellious charmer on screen. He was also the most handsome of the three Kapoor brothers.

Some say he was a versatile actor but I am particularly fond of his dancing style. Crazy and wild, the man danced with a flair that was unique to him. His head bobs that never missed a beat, the uncaring throw of his body, the play of his facial expressions, all seemed to say - lose your inhibitions and just dance.

His comic capers during those sequences never seemed forced or overdone. That was his natural style. He was best at teasing his heroines with a sexy twitch of his lips as if, his mouth was trying hard to break into a smile but his head was saying: I am not done with the teasing yet.

Actor Aamir Khan describes him aptly, "Positive energy and a naughty spirit always flowed out of him."

His madness was rhythmic as his music sense, laudable. In his famous song, "Aasmaan se aaya farishta", from the movie, "An Evening in Paris", he had to drop from a helicopter in the opening sequence. During the shooting, it turned out that the noise of the helicopter was too loud for the song to be audible. So director Shakti Samanta sang the song to him from the ground, several feet below, and Shammi danced and lip synced just by following his lip movements.

Magic was created when another legend, singer Mohammad Rafi, lent his voice to Kapoor's characters. Rafi sung his songs envisaging how Kapoor would react to each word and Kapoor brought life to the words as no other actor can.

Some of my favourite songs are of the dynamic duo -Ye chand sa roshan chehraEhsaan tera hoga mujh parTumsa nahi dekha  Aajkal tere mere pyaar ke charcheBadan pe sitaareIshaaron ishaaron and several more. The two complimented each other perfectly.

Decades later, their songs are still pure delight to romantics, even those who've grown up watching Shahrukh Khan. Shammi Kapoor once said in an interview with TimesNow, "There is no message in my films. You just go home with a tune in your heart after watching my movie."

Today, on August 14, 2011, Shammi Kapoor, the live wire of Indian cinema passed away. May God bless his soul. A man who brought smiles to many faces.