Monday, 29 October 2012

From a Gay Man to Karan Johar- Perspective Check

(Disclaimer: I'm neither homosexual, nor a man. I just know some wonderful men who are. I am also easily angered, especially on any choices being removed from the mix, hence assuming a voice on behalf.

One must always be allowed to choose, how else can we settle the eternal debate

Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey
Cookie Dough ?

Also: Have blog, Will type)

Dear KJo,

Alright, you're one of us and proud of it. That gives you a grand total of two points. It's mostly downhill from here.

It started with the Kantaben joke in Kal ho na ho. While fairly funny, they bordered on stereotypical. Then there was, Dostana, where the only concession was the fact that you made a large storyline around the issue, in main stream cinema.

As adorable as the song was  (ref: maa da ladla), seeing you repeat the act in Student of The Year, compels me to write this letter.

At a time when some closed minds are willing to consider being open, must you project us in a horribly regressive, stereotypical, effeminate and a powder blue suit wearing, light ? (if you did your research well, you'd know that most gay men have evolved sartorial choices, none of which include a head to toe, powder blue suit !)

Yes, most gay men are fabulously groomed and no one appreciates this better than a straight woman. I would rather be gay and partial to pastels than be straight and feel it my jat duty to endorse Ed Hardy. Of course, every Ed hardy wearing muskkle boy, is also sporting shiny, snake skin dress shoes. With low waist, stone washed jeans and a watch with a chain strap so loose, its almost like a man bracelet.

Now were you to represent every straight man like this, wouldn't most of them be horrified and frankly no one come watch your films? Much like it it takes all sorts of smart/ forward thinking/ douchebags to make the straight crowd, it takes all sorts to make the gay crowd as well.

Of course, no one ever assumed that you would make a sensitive film, like My Brother Nikhil. The catch is that  gazillions will watch your film, especially a film as candy floss as Student of the Year. Most of this audience is the Indian counterpart of a Hannah Montana loving generation (tweens)

It would seem a tad idiotic then, to feed their minds with such archaic views of what gay men are like. Especially at a time when minds are mostly closed and debates still fresh !

You must then, repeat after me

1. In my next film , I will not use a sexual orientation as comic relief. I shouldn't need to, I can just use Tushar Kapoor- that will be the audience cue to laugh.

2. I will also, evolve above symbolic gestures like a drooping hand and a man showing excitement by chewing his tie. No one ever does that, except probably Bobby Deol , whenever someone remembers his name from the cast of Dostana.

3. I will not use gay men as an excuse to flash John Abraham's rear. Ok, scratch that. Most gay men and straight women did not mind that. Moving on.

4. I will do my research. And no matter how big the chandelier or the grand staircase on my set , I will not let it compensate for lack of sensitivity.

Otherwise the real Dean Vashishth will get very angry !

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Will of Steel.

I've heard my girlfriends whine about their relationships. A lot. And, I've come to a genius conclusion – the most complicated relationships, most girls I know have, is actually with Food.

Let me state upfront, I know beautiful, healthy women with no eating disorders.

(Key to conversation below:

SYRVC=Sinfully yummy, Red, Velvet Cupcake
HF= Helpless Female )

SYRVC- Hey, foxy lady. How you doin' ?

HF- Oh, don't even think about it mister !. 

I’m not your type. I'm going to start eating healthy. In fact, day after tomorrow I WILL go on that run. If the alarm goes off on time, that is. Or maybe, if work gets cancelled.

That’s right, I would definitely exercise much more, if only work started later. Say, at noon, every day. I would be a gym bunny. One of those girls who exercise in fabulous gym gear.

Anyway, sorry, I’m not interested

SYRVC- And yet, of all the cafĂ©’s in all the world, you had to walk into mine?

HF-  Look, I get it. 

You’re red velvet and you have all the ladies falling and swooning over you. Especially, those emotional ones, at that time of the month. 
But, you’re not my type. 
You used to be, but I have moved on. I’m looking for a life long commitment to health. Not a cop out.

SYRVC- Ah, I see. So, this life long relationship starts after you stop staring at me? 

The chemistry between us could break this glass, you know?

Let me come sit next to you. I’m sure I can help you forget your worries.

Or, maybe you’re just not the kind of girl who can handle me. Oh, well.

HF-  *tee hee* You've clearly practiced your charm, bad boy.
Ok. I guess, I can hang out. 

Maybe just today. It doesn't mean anything. I won't be back tomorrow, of course.
I have plans

*To the server- I’ll have four red velvet cupcakes, oh and a cup of Green Tea please ! Gotta, work on the metabolism too !*

Like  their dating lives, most women and their cupcake (insert, preferred dessert of choice) relationship is a mixed bag of
Torment, Eventual Submission ,Temporary Euphoria , Delayed Guilt and a coping mechanism of nothing but Total and Aggressive Rebound.

Of course, one could always have a healthy, balanced approach to food and dessert.

But what of love and cupcakes, if you can’t fall headlong, truly, deeply madly into them?
If only, to come out a little bit wounded and sick in the stomach, in the end?

I’d word play with euphemisms more, but the cake crumbs are making it hard to type straigghtks.

Red Velvet Cupcake - WIP

Picture Credit: The ever so fabulous, The Purple Foodie

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The coffee's gone cold.

That’s my cue for when it’s over. Say to myself, “ the coffee’s gone cold.” Yes, it’s odd. And No, you may not borrow it.
Losing friends (fluid definition for anyone in your life you care about), is inevitable and unpredictable.  You can lose them multiple times in one lifetime, for most though, once will suffice.

Most of it happens when the light turns yellow. The twilight zone, where you’re not sure if you should Go or Stop. You decide to Go, and well, decisions only ever made sense in retrospect.

There were times when they got lost in loud laughter, amidst clinking coffee mugs, central air conditioning and people who looked like clones of one another. Back then, when you frequented the Uni coffee shop for the Free Wi-fi and irresistible muffins. Somewhere, you left them behind. You think you had enough pictures together, but most of them were polaroids in your mind. God knows, Instagram is more permanent than memory.

And then there were the token ones you lost over chai. There amidst loud canteen chattering, oblivious to the significance of the losing, bit by bit there’s a tectonic shift. Days from now, your friend will not be the same. You just didn’t know it happened that Tuesday, post CTPB class, over badly made chai and extremely spicy Maggi.

There’s the school friend, the one you could never imagine your life without. The one who featured in the glamorous life you were destined to lead once school ended. The one you lose in between vehement declarations of keeping in touch, and good intentions. Lost friendships and apparently the road to hell, always paved with good intentions.

If you pay close attention and plot it on a graph, it always happens around the time the weather shifts. Nature could very well be in on this. You meet this wonderful person and always exclaim that you wished you’d met before. They seem to get you, like no one else, and you spend the next month almost drugged by the chemistry of your friendship. Then, they move, or start dating or you do, or maybe Tuesday comes around. And once again, in glorious subtlety you lose them. The good intentions kick right in, and there are promises of new ‘scenes’, but like the Starks wisely say, “Winter is coming.”

The most painful and dramatic losses are always those that occur surreptitiously. Everything seems like it always was, you meet them at your favourite place and indulge in the same banter on auto pilot. Till one day, one of you senses it, the difference. Awkwardness has set in, and frankly the magic is lost. You lose them over nothing, maybe for nothing and there’s little to do than shrug your shoulders (classic, First World response to real problems). You won’t let it fade away, of course. You will make the customary, revival ‘scenes’. However, the backdrop has really shifted, you’re on the wrong stage,you need to move and please take your props with you !

You say, you prefer if it was one clean sweep. A definitive act of right and wrong? So you could dust your hands and say, “Right then, I’m done here.” First, you’re not God creating Earth, so you probably won’t get a lot of chances to say that dialogue. Second, you’d already lost them much before the definitive act; you were just too caught up texting, to notice.

Yes, you must grow and prosper nevertheless, carry bits of them in who you are, and always, always wear sunscreen.

 But, really, I’d like all of you along for the ride.
 In a big yellow bus.  You from school, you from college, you who I met through friends, you at the place I used to work- my own gang of wonderful misfits, singing Tiny Dancer together.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

How Woody Allen is always spot-on, and why that is ruining my love life.

It starts in the idyllic countryside. It always starts in the idyllic countryside- minor detail of Rome, Paris or Barcelona, notwithstanding.
The city is central to the story, always a fourth character.

In fact, if I buy into the socio- industrial complex which is supposed to rule the world, then Woody’s next biopic is set in Greece. No one needs an economic overhaul more than those guys.

But, I digress.

Woody Allen has ruined my love life.

Do I disagree with the version of love he shows? No.

The problem is, I agree and relate to it, altogether too much.
(I’ll draw inferences from his last three movies to illustrate my point and general grumpiness)

 Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona- There is a little bit of Vicky and a lot of Cristina in the girls I know. The thing is, putting this beautiful conflict of  Calculated Compromise vs.  Hopeless Search for Perfection or being Sensible vs Being You on celluloid, is not making our decisions any easier.

Sure, so many of us will speak like characters from the movie for some time to come. Sure, its heart wrenchingly beautiful to agree with, “ Maria Elena used to say that only unfulfilled love can be romantic. " However, the problem and the debates remain unresolved

There’s Karan Johar, who simplified love for us- stop being a tomboy and maybe you get a second chance., Woody could have done that. But, no siree. He went and romanticised a painful struggle. My painful struggle, and if you’ve read so far, then clearly yours too.

I call it Allen’s romanticised version, because unlike my hero Cristina, none of us continue searching indefinitely.  We throw in the towel and do our best, much like our hard working predecessors did. After all, who knows if Cristina grows up to be a frustrated cat-lady who reads on a rocking chair?

Midnight, In Paris- An epic romance, where once again Allen highlights dissatisfaction beautifully. In delicately beaded flapper dresses, the women highlight what Owen Wilson learns only too late- you’re never going to be satisfied.
 Guess what, Woods? I knew that.
We all know that.
I don’t need to see postcard perfect cinematography to tell me that. I don’t want to be told that there is nothing ahead but permanent dissatisfaction and rueful chin rubbing of what could have been, what should have been.

To Rome, With Love- I entered the cinema hall, begging and hoping for it to be an eternal love affair between a woman and good ol’ Mozarella . It turned out to be, a tumbling, fumbling montage of lies, decadent coincidences, serendipitous misfortunes and delightful cynicism. To Rome with Love, will teach you, that life is real, and frumpy around the edges and mostly you should be careful what you wish for.

Every time I enter the theatre,  I’m hoping that this time, Mr Allen will have solved my problem. That an hour post the interval, a character WILL stand up and say, “ You see, Kakul, this is why you have to do what you’re planning to do.” It does not help, that the only thing that happens is a beautiful depiction of every conflict, all of us have ever faced.

To make matters worse, in reality these conflicts are messy and always prone to bad judgement calls. There is no ironical lament, well-padded with excellent puns, soft lighting or Norah Jones-esque soundtrack.

So, this is my ultimatum, Dear Mr Allen Sir.

Either solve my problems and give answers
Give me a job writing for you. At least then I’m the one messing with other people’s heads !