Thursday, July 27, 2006

Superman Returns -- A Wimp !

Warning: This is a very bad review of the movie Superman Returns. It might also contain a few spoilers. The author does not remember.

Superman is back in the building. The fact is that he has been loitering the corridors for some time now and his perambulations have been received with the customary fanfare and swooning. This is my out-of-date, irrelevant and inconsequential review of the cinematic abomination.

The astute reader, after a cursory glance at the title will have discerned that I am have not exactly relished the cinematic endeavour under consideration. Also, after seeing the title, I can envisage the more sensitive section of my readership ejaculating an orotund accusation of me being yet another Beer Drinking Pseudo-Macho Boor. I am an honest man and shall not shy away from the description. I would however urge the perturbed reader to consider the fact that the Beer Drinking Pseudo-Macho Boor(BDPMB) too deserves his abominable place under the sun as much as the fashion designers and the celebrity hair stylists do. The BDPMB is a species of animal which has been much harassed and spurned in recent times. During the golden era for the BDPMB, he was tolerated. His grubby nails and even grubbier jeans were looked upon with slight, sympathetic disapproval. His grunts of pleasure upon the arrival of his favourite lager at the table were looked upon with a variety of mild, condescending disgust. His bad jokes were never laughed at, but never scoffed at too. Times since then have changed. The advent of the metrosexual has thrown into sharp relief the ugly, redundant excrescence that the BDPMB is. Wine is the new beer and the BDPMB is no longer welcome at parties. His sense of fashion too is no longer acceptable. There was a time when movies were made to cater for his tastes -- Movies in which the trigger happy Dirty Harrys would rule the roost and Superman would kick alien posterior with wanton ease. Not anymore. These days, Dirty Harry is happily mentoring empowered female pugilists and Superman has gone all droopy and forlorn. These are trying times and I am a stricken man. I however, shall have my say.

The truth however unsavoury, has to be told and I shall not shy away from it. I have watched many an Ally McBeal episode with more testosterone than this new Superman movie, and that is the truth. One watches a Superman odyssey to watch Superman and another uber-alien/super-villain kicking each other into hyperspace. I am sorry to report that nothing of that variety happens in this particular caper. I was waiting, even while the closing credits were doing their rolling bit, for some sharp image of an oddly shaped villain to spring out from the soft-focus and finally indulge in some serious damage. No such luck. When the whole attempted sensitive love story was over, the caped-romantic-in-tights gently wobbled off into the sunset and I would not be lying if I said that I was left flabbergasted, and with a rather profound question to pose to the person who thought up this tripe ridden drama -- What the hell were you thinking man ? What ?

Continuing in this investigative vein, I also have another very pertinent question to pose -- What was with all that moping dude ? Superman returned to earth after a prolonged five year jaunt in the woods to find the love of his life, Lois Lane happily betrothed to another man. I admit that it indeed is an extremely trying scenario, but there certainly were a number of options that Superman could have explored at that juncture:
(a) He could wallop the living daylights out of the new kid on the block. That would teach the pesky busybody not to mess with the alpha-male that Superman is.
(b) He could royally ignore the old flame, disappear for two scenes, and triumphantly emerge with Carmen Electra as the new girlfriend. That would teach Lois Lane not to mess with the alpha-male that Superman is.
(c) If nothing else, he could have hit the local bar with unprecedented gusto, got suitably sozzled, and then could have made a call on Lois Lane's mobile phone at two in the morning, accusing her of ruining his life. That would at least make Superman feel like the alpha-male that he is, before the alcohol wore off.
Superman however utterly fails to employ any of the above mentioned methods. Instead, the man mopes. He pulls long faces. I would be putting it rather mildly if I said that I am not in complete agreement with such spineless tish-tosh on the part of Superman. Whereas he should have been using his super powers to wallop the rival, (see point (a)) the man ends up super-stalking his lost love. He uses his x-ray vision to peek into Lois Lane's house and uses his super-hearing to eavesdrop on private conversations between Lois and her fiance. I am rather appalled I must admit.

To add vagueness to injury, the plot also introduces the biological son of Superman in the fray. That asinine angle to the story is left unexplored and inadequately explained. I however have heard from very reliable sources that there indeed is method behind this moronity. Having successfully imparted a Notting Hill hue to this edition of the Superman movie, the next edition will sport a Kramer vs Kramer flavour. All I can say is "Pah !". (Am I even allowed to say that these days ?)


Friday, July 21, 2006

Time to Speak Up

The fact of the matter is that a large part of my formal education and my skills are related to writing clever code so that a microprocessor may efficiently access and use peripheral devices. That rather neatly does sum up my areas of expertise. I do not opine on the Indian political jamboree and the form and technique of members of the Indian cricket team because of this very reason -- ineptitude. It is not due to the lack of attachment or emotion but due to the marked absence of erudition and knowledge that I do not venture to comment on the above mentioned subjects, which frankly are beyond my ken. Therefore, I had previously decided to maintain the stolid, silent, gawking silence on the matter of the ridiculous censoring of the and domains and a bunch of other websites by the imbeciles in the bureaucracy and the government. I have however decided against it and as a result, I will make this boring and pontificating exception for reasons which I shall also try to put across. I really do not expect the storming of the neighbourhood Bastille after this post hits the stands mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, my writing is not evocative enough and secondly, if my regular readership (roughly three in number) did decide to embark on an such an adventure, they would be hopelessly outnumbered by the prison guards. What however, I do expect this post to do is notch up my expression of protest, disgust and frustration as a citizen of the Republic of India because now is the time to speak up.

We are a democracy with flaws. Our politicians have been merrily filching public money and buying their children guns -- guns with which they shoot barmaids in the face because they were refused drinks. We are one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Despite the flaws, at the end of the day, there is hope. There is hope because we are a democracy. There is hope because the fathers of our constitution had envisioned a nation with a free, empowered society. It is just a matter of time before our people realize that. It is just a matter of time before we fulfil our destiny. It will not happen in my lifetime or my children's lifetime, but it is inevitable. It is on the cards. The promise of a free, empowered society is our fountain of hope.

There will be people who will deem the blocking of a bunch sites as trivial -- "Somebody must have blocked some sites. What is your problem ?" they will say. Well, here is my problem. When you selectively block a bunch of sites, you are stifling opinion and debate. You are are shutting out certain ideologies since you do not like them. You Sir, have no freaking right to do that to MY society. You are screwing around with a vision and a fundamental right that has been granted to me, to us -- a privilege that I hold sacrosanct. You are destroying my, our vision of the free, empowered society. That is my problem. That is our problem.

In a democracy, one hopes that the functional fourth estate would be that entity through which public outrage would be expressed and viewpoints debated on. The sad truth however is that, when the Indian Government and its entourage of incompetent bureaucrats were walloping the living daylights out of the freedom of expression, the headlines and the news (sic) channels were too deeply involved with the return of Sachin Tendulkar in the cricket team to bother about other unimportant topics like the heavy handed stifling of free speech. That Indian MSM sadly has got its priorities so yellowed, that it is no longer functional.

We therefore now have a scenario where we have a very very scary example being set by the authorities coupled with a dysfunctional, disinterested and boneheaded public press. The government says that I can jolly well select and shut up the opinions I dont take a liking to, and the public press responds with a nonchalant shrug. So, it is time to grab the nearest soapbox, stand atop it and holler. Whatever minuscle platform or forum one might have, it is now the time to put in a word of protest. I know fully well that a handful of writings on the internet like this one is not going to make any difference to the government or the vote banks but we as citizens of a free country and a society will do all that is possible on our part. We will do our bit. We will register our protest. As I have said, now is the time to speak up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blogspot Blocked in India

I am not an erudite man. I am not really capable of unshipping a voluminous discourse on free speech and the functioning of a free society and how I feel aggravated and all that. I will say it the way I can:

The Emperor: [to the Senate] In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.
[Senate fills with enormous applause]
Padme: [to Bail Organa] So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.
From Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Early Monsoon Rains and Other Potent Liquids

Although I am not in complete agreement with this passage-of-time thingy, the sad truth is that time does pass with exacting surety. And while it goes about doing the passing thing, it does strange things to the market value of your mobile phone and even stranger things to Michael Jackson's face. Also, at most times, it changes the people one once knew and the places one once used to live in. Due to this remarkable phenomenon, the exercise of chewing the fat with a close friend after a long long time can culminate in two varieties of experiences. The first kind of experience is very much akin the finding of a significant amount of money in the pockets of an old pair of jeans and the second like the discovery of a putrid pail of ice-cream in the dark recesses of the freezer. I am therefore happy to announce that spending the weekend with ADJ after the above mentioned long long time has most certainly been of the former variety. No putrid ice-cream in the freezer -- just a lot of beer. (ADJ's refrigerator is not now that strength which in the old days moved earth and heaven, and so the freezer does not actually manage to freeze the beer. It just keeps it crisp and cool)

The nature of the monsoon in and around Delhi like all other things is marked by rude curtness. It makes intermittent, squally cameos to make way for steamy, humid sunshine. The last weekend however was a welcome difference. It was late in the afternoon when we finally rose and shone to find the whole of Gurgaon soaked in a continuing slow, silent, seeping shower. There was nothing else we could do. ADJ and me settled down into a couple of rocking-chairs, bought out the good scotch, and watched the rain gently settling into ADJ's expansive terrace. When the good scotch was exhausted, we bought out the cheaper stuff, and then the beer. As we sat there, we talked of time gone and innocence lost. We talked of the evils of not drinking. We exchanged notes on the merits of long, steady relationships and steamy one-night stands. (We both have concluded that both of them are not too bad) We made plans to drive across the country. We called up old friends. While I had easy conversations with a few, some I could not connect with anymore. Specific female anatomies were also discussed and critiqued upon with due diligence and sincerity.

Type of Writer

The all knowing, sanguine www has finally discerned that I am a poet at heart. That does not come as a surprise since I have contributed with some extremely brainy stuff in the past. What however surprises me to a degree is that I am a very leggy woman also.

You Should Be A Poet
You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways. And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery... Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever. You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.