Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Two nights in a row I read news of people I loved and admired re-admitted to hospital because their debilitating disease desired so. Two nights in a row I went to sleep asking and avoiding the terrible question, what if…? Two nights in a row I did not know I would wake up to the ‘what if’ coming true. They are stars, after all, they will be fine. And ultimately everyone has to die, they will too, but not now, not like this, I kept telling myself. But they did. I just didn’t know it would feel like this, so personal even words are saying I will give into the moment and stay silent.

Irrfan was my present, Rishi was my past, not everyone has such a glorious history; only those who share it will know. Between them they encompassed the art and commerce of the mostly silly Bollywood which both simply elevated by their sheer presence. Or even a smile. Where do I go look for them now?


The last time I felt this unnervingly devastated wasn’t yesterday, when I heard about Irrfan. The shared pain on my echo chamber of social media was so loud and deep, it somehow put my pain in convalescence. Irrfan was our present, how dare they take him away, everyone was screaming in unison. Even the ones who are generally rational and stoic about these matters. It was too deeply personal for everyone including myself, his leaving us, but in that collective heartbreak I found some solace to tide over the very, very unfair blow life and death had thrown at me, at all of us.

But with Rishi it feels like a family member has gone away and I am sitting and weeping away unable to wrap my head around what the hell is so devastating about this. The last time I felt this unnervingly devastated without understanding why was when Rajesh Khanna left us. I wasn’t even an ardent fan, just really liked him in everything he had done pre-80’s, everything that I keep hanging onto till date. I wrote about it here. I was mourning an entire era and my childhood he took away with him, making the present unrecognisable. I am sitting and mourning that again as Rishi takes away with him whatever was left of it.

But why am I weeping like a family member has passed on, Chintuji would you know? You, who with that chocolate boy innocence and lover-boy impishness never let me stay depressed for long? All I had to do was play one of your songs, mostly with RD and sing along ‘Hoga tumse pyaara kaun’ as though I meant it for you. I didn’t tell anyone but I did. You, whose manic energy uplifted everything and everyone around you in whatever dismal setting of a film you were placed in? It didn’t matter, your settings, coz whenever you were on screen it was like, ‘tere chehre se nazar nahi hathti nazare hum kya dekhe?’ You, who were so criminally under-rated despite coming from the First Family of Bollywood and being its best lover boy onscreen? When he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 for 25 yrs in the industry, I learnt the last Filmfare he received was in 1974, for his debut Bobby. That is how criminally under-rated he was and I decided to love him a little more from my end even though by then he was a pudgier version of himself, not the perfect lover boy Rishi of my dreams, but still with the same charisma, same charm, same exuberance, same enthusiasm for life.


The most attractive thing about Rishi Kapoor was not his smile, or looks, it was his enthusiasm for life that showed through in every performance. It was infectious, like how. Perhaps, that’s why when depressed all I cared to do was put on one of his songs with Neetu that RD had strung together, and live off that enthusiasm vicariously. Ek main aur ek tu, dono mile is tarah, ke he invariably put life back into my soul that was ready to give up. I still have those songs to go back to but I don’t have you anymore Rishi, and right now I am at a sheer loss what to do about that…

He was the only Bollywood celebrity I followed on Twitter for a long time, not even SRK. Twitter is such an extension of Bollywood PR it is really boring to keep buying those lies even our celebs themselves are not convinced about. But not Rishi, he was real. Fuck, he was real even in that jungle called Twitter and unabashedly so. Taking in all the hate and disdain with the same love he accepted our love. And that infectious enthusiasm for life. ‘I am ready to get back to acting,’ didn’t he say as soon as he was back from that 11-month long stint of treatment abroad? Where do I look for him now?

He was so, so, so good in his second innings. Sometimes, I thought, even better than in his prime. Perhaps, it was about the roles he got and the sincerity with which he performed them. And the accolades kept coming in, finally Filmfare was recognising him too. And he had so much more to give, and I was hungry to take. From the refreshingly honest portrayal of a Bollywood producer in Luck, by chance, to that loud, hammy, vile antagonist of Agneepath, to the cute, vulnerable, authentically middle-class father and husband of Do Dooni Chaar and more, he simply seemed to be this fountainhead of performance that kept giving. Put him in any role and all you had to say at the end of it was, waah, Chintuji, waah! With all heart and smiles. Who will I say that to now?

I feel extremely silly, and adolescent and naïve banging away at my keyboard trying to understand from where is this despair arising. The first time I felt it was with Shammi Kapoor and I have never been able to hear the Rockstar tune he performed without flinching ever since. Next was when Devsaab left us, the man we thought would go on and on living (and making films) even after we stop. He was my first love, I wrote about him here. Then Rajesh Khanna, then Shashi – that other breathtakingly beautiful Kapoor only comparable with his nephew Rishi. And then there was Sri…never mind. She was a piece of all our hearts. Sometimes, I think I will never accept she isn’t around anymore, I don’t, I won’t, I can’t.

Just like their films, and their eras they evaporated, taking with them everything that was special about growing up even in the dead, dank 80’s. And I am left screaming at the heavens at the injustice of it all. It was only films, after all, some would say. They were mere actors, others would say. They were only dream sellers and tricksters of your imagination, many would say. Yes, but then why did they stick so close to reality? Why did they inform life so dearly like it depended on them and their smiles, their styles, their guiles? If they were only dreams, is this how dreams always end? Taking away all those parts of your childhood that you thought would live on despite yourself?

But then, as you find out, they don’t. Those parts go where your beloved heroes and heroines go. And perhaps, it is better that way, they were meant to be together, they will be safe. As for us, who have been left behind, without our pasts and without all those who kept the past breathing long after it was gone, ‘we will always have Paris’. Long live, Irrfan, long live Rishi, and long live all the heroes and heroines taken away from us. I feel more anger than love right now, but as they say, anger is nothing but love that has no place to go so here is hoping all of them are feeling the love wanting to reach them. I have fused my past, my childhood, various parts of my identity and some of my best memories with you and sent them along to keep you safe and remind you that you will be loved always.

And that you will live forever. Wherever you go, we will always have Paris. I will meet you there.

Fatema Kagalwala

Zohra Sehgal, a name that symbolizes liveliness, and truly defines ‘Life’ in every possible way.  The unmatched charm, the animated smile on that expressive face, and the young heart, even at this age it fills every ambiance with so much joy and happiness. Forget real life, look at any of her pictures and you realise that it’s so easy for the camera to capture it.

The living legend completes a century “full of Life” today on April 27, 2012.  Born exactly 100 years ago, Zohra started her career  as a dancer with Uday Shankar, was later associated with IPTA & Prithvi Theater and made her onscreen debut in Khwaja Ahmed Abbas’s much acclaimed Dharti Ke Laal in 1946.

Here’s a rare clip of her onscreen appearance in Dharti Ke Lal.

In recent years she has continued to work in films and has made her unique presence felt strongly in films like Dil Se, Bend it Like Beckham, Saaya & Cheeni Kum.

Hundred & not out, we wish Zohra Sehgal many more years of life…a life that has priceless memories to share, stories to tell and moments to cherish.

Happy 100 years, Zohra-ji!

(PS – ANI recently did an interview with her. It’s in three parts. Click here to start with the first part.)

Pavan Jha

VOTD : Mansoor Khan’s The Third Curve

Posted: January 11, 2012 by moifightclub in life, video, VOTD
Tags: , , ,

We are a strange industry. We rarely get to hear filmmakers, producers or actors talking about anything else other than their films. And when most films are nothing to talk about, it’s the worst place to be in. Sometimes it feels like we are an industry ruled by bunch of philistines – no art, culture, or political interest. Only endorsement they understand is the money making mantra.  Only chicken soup for soul they know is Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. And so this video came as a refreshing change. Filmmaker Mansoor Khan at TedxTalks – trying to make sense of this insane world.

Tip – Rohan Sippy

Not sure when was the last time it happened – so many extreme reactions to a film. From pretentious, fuck boring to one of the best debuts, even best thing that happened to Indian Cinema in recent years.  They said it all. And the critics’ ratings varied from 2.5 to 4 stars. Click here for all the ratings.

Sunayna Prabhu loved every bit of it. When she did cinema journalism in Bombay, she bothered least about films. And when she had nothing much to do after moving to USA, she got so interested in films that she surprised us all. And when she decided to go for screenwriting course at UCLA, it was hard to believe that she was the same ‘dihadi‘ colleague we knew. Now she just loves her everyday struggle with words. She saw Mumbai Diaries ( Note – its not Dhobi Ghat there) recently and blames Kiran Rao for making her so nostalgic about the city. Read on…scattered thoughts from her diary….

Any one with an aversion to evocative text can stop right here. This post is as much an intellectual masturbation as the movie that sent me out groaning to my husband “I’m leaving you for Pratiek Babber”. ‘Mumbai Diaries’ released in Hollywood this Friday and I ran to see it merely for nostalgia but it pierced through my gut and took a bit of me in every beat.

The movie seduced me despite the desolation it portrays. I yearn to return to my city against the threat that I might never have a real friend on speed dial and chances are I’ll empty my heart to a rickshaw driver. I even had a heated argument with a roommate who called it dark, depressing and disjointed! The moment I learnt her favorite movie is ‘Yaadein’, I pushed her out and slammed the door. “Movie whore” she yelled at me.

Character is You

Once I had locked myself in my studio apartment for two months. No cellphones, no radio, no TV, just writing a story that wrapped my whole existence. When I wrote like a reclusive creep, I literally became that woman in my story. I wore reds, smudged more kohl in my eyes and spoke in a husky voice that wasn’t mine. I lived her! When Aamir’s character Arun, wears Yasmin’s silver chain and ring, I get it! When he goes to the beach and writes on the sand, I get it. When she dies, a part of her that he’s been living, dies. He becomes his own muse and that’s why the storm in his stomach! He bursts out the door to seek someone, but cringes and mourns like a baby in front of a neighbor who won’t even blink.

Mumbai is not Madhubala

So many times I’ve walked the streets of Mumbai after a fight with a bare face to the world “No one cares.” Yet, there’s always the flower girl at the traffic light who’ll stare into your eyes like she knows, the Eunuchs who’ll bless you without a penny, and the rickshaw driver will play Burman in the rain. The city has it’s own morphine. Just like the movie, scattered with images of people that make it livable. Whoever says the filmmaker should have shown a bit of Mumbai’s beauty, go take a flying fuck because Mumbai is not Madhubala. Mumbai is that dirty, raunchy, intoxicating temptress who’ll whip you to tears of ecstasy.

“Mumbai my love, my whore!” Don’t all artists ejaculate their inspiration and breathe like they’ve had an orgasm? I do!

Aah Aamir, Ooh Prateik

Also loved Kiran’s choices, except Aamir Khan. Why does he arch those eyebrows and bulge pupils into the camera to prove he’s intense? Leech. He sucked the flesh and blood of his own character. Oh the long drags, perfect rings of smoke, the pompous Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein’s and that cocky grey hair. A twit- stuck-in-Ghajini murdered a delicious, fragile, sensitive character! Aah Aamir – You give men blue-balls and the reason why women never hit the big O! Exhale honey, will you?

Few, very few, snippets of Yasmin Noor’s dialogue through her ‘Mumbai darshan’ videos were corny, but they were true to her character. Yasmin, an immigrant like me, tries to introduce the beauty of a foreign land eagerly to her family that probably has taken her absence for granted. She’s that “outsider” within many of us. I often get philosophical while saying the most trivial things about America. I’ve recorded the streets of Hollywood and Miami while ‘Des mera rangeela babu’ played the background score in my car. Yasmin’s background score is her ‘voice’ “Yeh samunder sab kuch apne aap  mein samet leta hai’ although cringe-worthy, it’s real! Perhaps the director nailed it! My heart flipped out when she talks about the taste of mangoes in the city versus her hometown. Agreed it’s not poetry, but I get it. When I walk into the aisles of American grocery stores and find hormone-injected produce everywhere, I lose my appetite. “yahan ke aam mein wahan jaise taste kahan” That voice is real.

Munna! I don’t care who he bangs – rats, clothes or hideous women. Pratiek is my “bitter-chocolate boy.” Irresistible. Unstoppable. A guy I’d love to remake ‘9 ½ weeks’ with. He’s not just going to eat up those blue-blooded run-of-the-mill kapoors and stone-faced Imran’s, he’ll hopefully force great writers and talented filmmakers to surface. Hope he won’t drink n drive and kill people on the sidewalks, rest assured, in all my dreams I’ll have his babies.

Shai is an Indian-American like me. She doesn’t rely on subtext; she just knows her shit too well. She’s just being a true friend to Munna hoping not to polarize him like her maid Agnes who brings tea in a separate cup for him. Shai connects with Arun but doesn’t ever impose herself into his life. I saw a typical liberal woman, confident of her sexuality. That’s not as rare in Mumbai these days, or is it ?

Loving Strangers

Loved the neighbor. Such a strong metaphor for the people who live next door. None, I mean it, none of my neighbors in Mumbai ever spoke to me. I saw them only in the mornings putting garbage bins out the door. I didn’t care. There are nosey neighbors, but who is committed to your daily life? No one! The mute neighbor runs like an understated theme throughout the timeline of the movie. Gorgeous.

‘Mumbai Diaries’ is a rare mood piece to indulge in. Like the gooey, viscous chocolate lava that makes your hands dirty and leaves a flavor in your mouth that keeps you drooling for days!! Here’s last few words for those who hate this movie like my roommate who called me a movie whore–aahhh aaahhh aaaahhhh yes yes yessss…OMG that was so good! Suck it bitches.

(PS – Just plugged in the “Lovely Strangers” song once more)


Posted: January 11, 2011 by moifightclub in etc, life, Special
Tags: ,

This was suppose to be a private conversation. Screenwriter & lyricist Varun Grover wrote something for Pavan Jha and mailed it to few of us. Loved it, and think am good in convincing (or call it threatening) people, and so, putting it as a post here. By the way, if you know Pavan Jha, you will get the context. And if you don’t know him, then you must. For everything thats hindi film music, Pavan knows it all. He also run the website, and as friend once joked, if it’s a quiz on Gulzar, may be he wouldn’t know all the answers but Pavan will.

पवन जी के जन्मदिन पर, एक छोटी सी कोशिश…

जब कोई गीत बन रहा होगा,
किसी स्टूडियो में, १९५० के आस-पास,
(जहाँ नौशाद साब होंगे माँझा पकड़े, और रफ़ी साब पतंग उड़ा रहे होंगे)

या उसके २० साल बाद भी,
(पंचम और गुलज़ार शीशे के इस पार बैठे, आशा जी और ‘शीशे में आशा जी की
परछाई’ को साथ साथ देखते)
उसे नहीं पता होगा आके जुड़ेगा एक दिन,
वो एक ऐसे खजाने में,
जहाँ उसके साथ होंगे, कई और स्टूडियो,
कई और साज़ और उन्हें बजाने वाले,
कई नामी, कई गुमनाम,

और साथ होंगे,
कई किस्से, उनके बनने के, खोने के, फिर मिल जाने के,
उनके बनाने वालों के, पागलपने के,
किसी तूफानी रात में, किसी शहर की सड़क पर, कोने में,
उनके चुपचाप पड़े पाए जाने के,
जनमने के, दफनाते दफनाते बचा लिए जाने के,

आप पवन जी हैं वो जगह,
जैसे एक पूरा नया देश…या एक सराय..
सिर्फ अलग-अलग स्टूडियो से निकले,
दुनिया घूम कर आये गीतों की…

कई बरस बज कर, थक कर,
उनके आराम करने का मुसाफिरखाना,
जहाँ हर गीत, भले ही वो पूरी बाजू वाला हो,
या थोड़ा सा लंगड़ा,
बेधड़क आता है…

बैठता है, सुस्ताता है,
मुसाफिरखाने के बाकी राहगीरों से बतियाता है,
या खुद ही खुद में, शौकिया, गुनगुनाता है…

कह नहीं सकते, कितने गीत हैं,
जो आजतक मुसाफिरखाने से गुज़रे हैं,
किसी ने गिना नहीं आज तक,
लेकिन ये तय है कि,
हर गीत हिंदुस्तान का,
गुज़रा ज़रूर है.

आपकी खातिरदारी से, पवन जी.


In yesterday’s Mint Lounge I-Day Special Edition Sidin Vadukut had a piece where he argued that Twitter is better than blog. Just 140 characters, say it, over and out. But we don’t agree. What do you do when you have to make a list ? So, we are back to a post which was in drafts for long time. And what better day than I-Day to put it out.

So, here is our list of Top 10 Twitteraties who blocked us in the last one year or so. And some, for damn fcuk funny reasons. Its time to celebrate our gag order and do tell us who blocked you and for what ? In no particular order…the new members of Fight Club Hall Of Shame…read on…

1. Mahesh Bhatt – He makes us feel that Itchgaurd will never make a loss till he is alive. But he gave us some brillant movies too. He is the biggest importer of talent from across the border, at the cheapest possible rate. But we loved his book A Taste Of Life too.

This time he was tweeting about how the Copyright Bill is not good for Bollywood. We decided to burst his tweets, retweeted them with the correct facts, that how its going to stop the exploitation of lyricists, singers, composers and how they will finally be able to retain the copyright of their compositions. With no straight arguements in hand (ok, may be he was busy itching), he clicked the BLOCKED button.

2. Vikram Bhatt – If Uncle is here, can the nephew be far behind! The director delivered more than dozen duds, all in a row. But we loved the HT Cafe covers that he wrote when Khalid Mohamed was the editor there. Aha, that love story also went kaput. Back to our story.

He tweeted – Mahakshay Chakraborty is the next big thing. Whoever disagrees has something coming! And we dared to disagree. Which sane person wouldn’t ? BTW, Mahakshay is MIMOH reloaded! And when we reacted in the nasty possible way, he told us – don’t be in too much of a hurry to write someone’s obituary. You are not even what he is.

But as Arnab Goswami would put it The country wants to know, who wants to be Mimoh or Mahaskahy and why ? Tell us NOW! Not us and we don’t know anyone with such  a wish. But we have to thank him, he made us bit more (in)famous!

3. Shirish Kunder – This is our favourite story! It seems he discovered Adaptation quite late and tweeted that its a brillant film written by Charlie & Donald Kaufman. We corrected him. There is nobody called Donald. He again tweeted that how Charlie & Donald Kaufman were nominated for the Oscar Award for Adaptation. We again corrected him and retweeted that Donald Kaufman doesn’t exist. And don’t expect us to be sober when we are telling you something about someone whom we consider to be the God of screenwriting. And then boom..Blocked.

BTW, we think he shot some of the songs in Jaaneman superbly. His next is JOKER with Akshay Kumar. #JGrin. Get ready for all the puns, Mr. Donald Duck!

4. Sajid Khan – Aha, the gasbag! What do you call someone who made supershits like Heyy Potty and Housedull ? Not Filmmaker for sure. We call him Pottymaker. You need some talent to make such expensive potties and make people eat it too!

The last nail in our  BLOCK coffin – he tweeted that Up In The Air was boring. He could not finish the film and stopped it midway. Ooh la la. Reaction and his action! Last heard, he is MIA on Twitterverse. We have started following the fake one.

5. Suhel Seth – Nobody knows about his day job. But we all know  that he is a fuckall actor (Courtesy Pooja Bhatt). Does he sleep in tv studios ? How come he is such an authoritative voice on everything…from Arundhati to Arunachal and Commonwealth Games to Chinese Cuisine ? Does he have a twin brother ? Because sometimes he is on air at 2-3 channels at the same time. HOW ? Plus, he writes Agony Uncle columns too!

Can’t find the piece now but someone wrote a feature on him and enlightened us about his day job. We retweeted it with all our genuine concerns. The Agony Uncle went BANG! We like his Agony Uncle pose though! Check out the pic here,  on the top left-hand corner of the website.

6. Shatrughan Sinha – Can’t locate him on Twitter now but swear, he was there. Was tweeting about his son Luv Sinha’s Saddiyaan. Guess it was the beta tweeting on behalf of daddy dearest. Ok, so we can cover both the Sinhas together. Go check No. 7.

7. Luv Sinha – Who ? Yes, that should be the first question. But then, thats how Bollylalaland operate. Ok, here is the joke of the century. Luv Sinha has two fan clubs on twitter. Here & here. But then, he can reply in another joke – Even Uday Chopra has a fan club. Aur bolo ?Can we please have one too ? Hands up ?

As we were busy cracking Sadiyaan jokes, the baap-beta duo shouted KHAMOSH!

8. Jitesh PillaaiBus naam hi kaafi hai ? Ok, Test your Bolly Quotient – Tell us the name of one editor who calls Sonam Kapoor as My Shona Chona  or something like that ? Well, if you edit the most expensive and glossy  toilet paper in the country, guess you can do so. We were cribbing about the toilet paper for a long time and finally one day he woke up and did the good tweed of the day!

BTW, did Kalmadi order the same toilet paper  from filmUNfare office for CWG? It needs lot of talent to fill so many pages, issue after issue, with so much shit! Oh yeah, finally after ages they did a nice feature recently where they got Dibakar Bannerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Shimit Amin, Anurag Kashyap and Madhur Bhandarkar together for a delicious chat. But Madhur ????

9. Sarita Tanwar – We love Mid Day for all the sleaze and the goss. But she edits the Hit List. We loved the fact that its editor Abhijit Majumder didn’t compromise his stand after his famous altercation with Amitabh Bachchan.

But how can you let anyone to rate Once Upon A Time In Mumbai 4.5/5 stars!!!?? Even more than Peepli Live and many other such films. We happily crowned her the Jackass Critic Of The Week. And there she went…chore ko toh dikhte hai sab chor!

BTW, a bitchy actress called up to say that by the weekend she was celebrating the success of OUATIM at her best friend and producer Ekta Kapoor’s party. And she makes it to our sHIT List!

10. Like all those morons who dedicate their tweets to Anupam Kher, this one is dedicated to all those nameless and faceless creatures who blocked as for all the right reasons. Go kiddos, make your list and make us more famous. We Love Hate Storys and We Are Family for sure! Aha, KJo always comes so handy! Even on I-Day!

Diving bells and a butterfly!

Posted: July 5, 2010 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, life, RIP, Thoughts

Since last ten days, was completely out of social network. Friends, colleagues, well wishers and readers of our blog sent messages, mailed and tweeted to ask where have I vanished. Was busy with life, and death. May be the toughest ten days of my life. Because its scary when Goldman’s great quote on showbiz seems to apply on life too – Nobody knows anything. What do you do then ? Pray ? But am a born atheist. May be not any more, may be am converting.

Mr S.U.N

Just back from ISKCON, Juhu. Director Anurag Basu and his friends organised a meet to remember Sourabh Usha Narang. The young director who passed away on 26th june after a prolonged battle with cancer.

In the morning, I was in Calcutta. After almost ten days, returned to Mumbai by noon. And then it was straight down to ISKCON. Unlike many others who  were present there, I wasn’t close to him, never worked with him and can’t really call him a friend too. But I knew him.  And I felt like going there. I generally avoid going for any kind of days…birthdays, deathdays and all days in between. Either am scared of something or I get bored easily!

Had met Sourabh few times, here and there. And then sometime back, we met formally, through a producer friend. He was working on a film, looking for a writer. Talking movies in bollylalaland, aha, there is no end to bitchfest.

We started with the film, went back to our school life, college days, his college friend whom I knew and passed him some goss that he was happy to hear and was surprised, his tv days, and the shows which I saw when I was in school/college. And it seemed like a never ending session that day. He asked me to write few scenes – some he liked, some he wanted a different tone. After that, it was a comma, i was told. Never imagined that it will turn into a fullstop so soon.

Many films die everyday – on paper, at producers office, at actor’s house but people don’t. At least, those whom we know. So easily, so early. At 37, that’s just cruel.

It was a sunday afternoon of untold stories and uncontrollable tears that rolled. What happens between two people, remains between them. And with Sourabh, I guess, there was lot that happened between  him and those who were there. Ketan Mehta, Anuradha Prasad, Mahesh Bhatt, Anurag Basu, Vijay Raaz, Vikas Behl, Chetan Motiwalla, Rucha Sharma,  Sachin Krishn,  Sohail Tatari, Vidya Balan and many of his friends came on stage to share those stories of dreams and demons, of fights and farewells, of writing and writhing,  of daaru parties and dramas, of coffee and cigarettes. The list in endless. Some were calm, others took long pauses to gather their thoughts, some left the stage with incomplete sentences and some  just could not control themselves. Its difficult talking about someone with whom you ever shared something memorable.

Kameena chala gaya…Vishal Bhardwaj’s voice choked as he remembered how Sourabh helped him direct his first short film. As he continued, the pauses became longer and he said he will  just wrap it with two songs that he feels like singing  – Paani paani re and the one that Sourabh loved – dil toh baccha hai ji. Rekha Bhardwaj and Ankur Tewari also sang – the songs that Sourabh loved, the songs that bonded them somehow, somewhere.

Saw many known and unknown faces, the auditorium was packed. Its rare in bollywood. Having seen the industry from close quarters in the last few years, have realised one thing – Nobody will come to your funeral if you had a glorious past but you have been out of work. And all the Khans & Kapoors will appear in spotless white if your next generation/company has a great future.  To put it simply, in showbiz, people care about the future, not the past. So, it felt great in a way. Because here it was about a filmmaker who made just one film (Vastu Shastra. He did lot of tv before that) but people wanted to talk about him, share their memories, tell those tales. Every good friend deserves such a goodbye. It reminded me of the essay topic in school which I could not understand for a long time – we live in deeds, not in years.

I used to call him Mr S.U.N. Shine, wherever you are mister!

And as the saying goes…the only difference between life and cinema is that in cinema everything has to make sense and in life, it doesn’t. Aha, life!

Diving bells and a butterfly

The day I got to know about Sourabh’s death, I was in Calcutta. Too much was going on in my life. Someone close (G) was detected with a tumor in her spine. And at an age of 83, every doctor warned us of the risks involved. What risk ? Anything can happen. ANYTHING! They didn’t want to spell the bad word. Solution – Only surgery. Or ? There is no way out. Tumour will keep on growing. So, in worst case scenario – it was slow death in five years or in just two hours. Almost everyone was against surgery. The warnings from the doctor had created more fear. Slow death – no way. Whatever happens, will happen – lets go for it, I thought.

It started with convincing my parents, close relatives and then the most important person – G! No, i cant do anything. But i tried to talk to her everyday to make it sound that there is no risk, its a small surgery, the result will depend on what she thinks and believes in. That’s it. Told her about Roger Ebert and how he survived. About 101 year old director Manoel de Oliveira whose film was at Cannes this year. Lil’ tales of big hope and survival. I was trying to boost her confidence but I was scared, shit scared! Sourabh’s sudden death made it look more scary. Viveka Babajee’s news was all over the news channels. Seemed like the universe was conspiring and wanting to tell a different tale to me. I was trying to run to other side.

Days were spent in hospital, in the night I would try to find a reason to return home late. Because at home, the same discussions would go in loop. Walking down long distances, window shopping and some random films in the theatres saved me.


Baba..baba…baba…baba…baba…she whispered into his right ear. Or at least she thought she is whispering. With every “baba” her voice was growing louder. The man on the  bed wasn’t responding in any way. There were several tubes, respirators and medical stuff which I cant identify, coming out and going in through different pores of his body. The man remained silent.

A security woman came from the other side announcing that visiting hours is over, time to leave. Please hurry up. The woman continued whispering Baba…baba…till the security woman asked her to leave the room.

Next day – I heard the same sound...baba…baba…baba….baba…the man was still silent. Third day, it was the same sound and the same expression. Fourth day…G was shifted to other room. Next day, I saw the woman’s face clearly, at the medical store. Completely calm, expressionless. May be her glasses covered her eyes or may be I need a new pair.

HDU Unit. Bed – 2460

The man on the left side of G’s bed was staring blankly at the ceiling.  Another man standing next to his bed, pulls out the earphones from his pocket, connects it to the mobile phone and puts the plugs  into the man’s ears. I guess it was some music he loved. They tried talking to him too. The man on the bed didn’t respond.

The next day, I smiled and we started talking. Got to know that the man on the bed was in CRPF. Had an accident, some major internal haemorrhage and now he  has stopped responding. Though he can hear. So, everyday, during the visiting hours, his friend and brother come and play the songs that he loved. I asked him what songs. But we were lost in translation. English-Hindi-Tamil-Bengali – there was no common ground. I said Paruthiveeran, Subramanipuram…two of my favourite tamil films in recent past, to connect the dots somewhere. He said Singam. And then Suriya. His first film, saar. I guess he was playing the songs from Suriya’s first film.

Visiting hours over. They quietly took out the earplugs and left. A male nurse informed me that its the same routine since last few days.

Red Rose

Coming out of the lift, saw a man on wheelchair. He had a red rose in his hand.  Think that’s the norm in the hospital, the sign of being discharged. Am not fond of flowers or roses as such, they look best in their natural environment. But this time I am desperately hoping for the red one. The surgery went fine. G survived. Finally a butterfly – it was a big relief. She asked for some hot drink just after she came out of the OT. The nurse smiled. She said was feeling very cold. I informed the nurse that Horlicks is her lifeline.

Was informed today that my G will be discharged soon. She is still under observation but is doing fine. Will she be able to walk again ? Goldman comes to mind again. And that’s the answer from the doctors too. Rest all depends on physiotherapy and her efforts. Yes, I will convert completely if G starts walking again.

( PS – Started writing the post yesterday. Could not complete. Was becoming too heavy. Also, do watch the film The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. Its a must must watch. The last film which blew my mind.)

Pic Courtesy – Am not sure who made that montage. It was put up at the meet along with few others. But whoever did it, thanks a ton)

Finally! After juggling boyfriends right, left and centre & how, (some we have witnessed too and thats for another day), Manisha Koirala (41) tied the knot with Samrat Dahal. And its back to her roots! Samrat (34) is also from Nepal. But who is this Samrat ? Click here to read more about him and his family. Check out the pics in the slide show. Wishing her all the best!

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Blame us for connecting the dots, but are we the only one to spot this strange coincidence –  Manisha Koirala gets married, Arvind Swamy getting divorced after sixteen years of marriage and Mani Ratnam is getting butchered by everyone. Aha, life! The trio who gave us that gorgeous Bombay. Those were the days, the days of raging hormones and then Mani gave us that famous “Bombay run” by Koirala! So, here it is…to good ol’ days…

Also, the way Vidhu Vinod Chopra shot her in 1942 – A Love Story, our heart skipped million beats! Its difficult to imagine what all she could have done with her career and what she did! Now, that deserves a lonnnng post. Till then…kuch na kaho

With a day job that takes care of my bread and butter, and sometimes jam too, I happily give gyaan and quote Kieslowski wherever I can – Filmmaking doesn’t mean audiences, festivals, reviews and interviews. It means getting up at six o’clock in the morning. It means the cold, the rain, the mud and having to carry heavy lights. It’s a nerve- racking business and at a certain point everything has to come second, including your family, emotions and private life.

My roomie who wanted to become an actor once, is now happily settled with a day job and I taunt him, quoting Paash – Sabse khatarnaam hota hai apne sapne ka mar jaana. But then, someone tells me to get up at six in the morning, with cold, rain, mud and carry heavy lights, i will probably turn to other side. Aha, we romanticise everything. Kartik Krishnan isnt. He quit his day job, jumped into the pool where it matters and is trying to swim through. Read on.

Firstly just a clarification – BC refers to Before Christ and not ‘Bad Character’ in the police books or Behe**** in the goon books.

(Note – the word ‘AD’ usually refers to an Assistant Director. Spelt the same but pronounced & meant differently than the abbreviation AD. i.e. an AD film)

Like all ‘outsiders’ in the film industry till 2 yrs ago, I always perceived the easiest way for us to get into the film industry was to go upto an RGV, Mani Saar, Vishal bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Sudhir Mishra etc etc and the other “sensible” directors (whose films we swore upon), prostate in front of them and beg for an AD job. That you might be paid peanuts, survive on vada-pavs & four square cigerettes, was a given (classic milds are for established directors and established ADs, some of whom also smoke the gold flake lights/davidoff lights/B&H Lights – I learnt later). Earlier it used to be haven with the complimentary ‘chakhna‘ (snacks) provided along with a quarter royal stag, which you could ask for as many times as possible in a local BAR ‘aani’ RESTAURANT, without having to loosen your purse – and could even pass it off as a ‘light dinner’. Now it is 20 bucks for peanuts/salad/’kakdi’/chakli etc.

But I’m digressing. Anyways the deal ‘percieved’ was that saying a ‘yes’ to all these factors (low pay,running around work, not so ‘rayeesana shauk’) would be AN OBVIOUS PAY-OFF FOR THE ‘CREATIVE LEARNING’ or ‘kitna kuch seekhne ko milega‘. This perception got strengthened more if you were a struggler like me – no degree in fimaking/mass media/mass comm from SRFTII/FTII/Xaviers/ZIMA/IP University/JMI MCRC and were simply a TY BCom (as they say it in Mumbai – Third Year) dropout/passout, or a former engineer like me. So basically we learn as much about filmaking on the job and eventually pitch our screenpays/ideas to someone willing to listen, in the hope they would may be arrange a producer-one-on-one, and lo behold – before you know we have a film being made. Your film. That would take some time but yes the path was there for the taking.

So we struggle around to be an AD. Approach directors and prostrate (thank god – these days they offer a handshake and make you feel professional and not a ‘bhakt’). Convince them of your bit knowledge and passion for films. In the event that we get the job, great. In case we don’t, we might have to fool around.


It means try and act in short films made by your peers, write some stuff, make short films, and if sometimes you are lucky, play the hotel manager in your filmaker friends’ film in a one scene appearance for three thousand ruppees or so. Anything that either keeps the kitchen fire burning and/or you getting some dabbling filmaking experience. And the tricky thing is, there is no ‘way’ laid down. You have to learn it yourself meeting like minded ‘strugglers’ who rarely drink the Barista coffee @ Yari Road/Royal stag at Adarsh/Madhuban Bar aani Restaurant; working and interacting with them, often for no pay; and fooling around in the creative medium. And in case you are lucky (which I might not), you sometimes also get work in AD.films/corporate films/music videos etc as an AD. (AD-ing in an AD. Film/corporate film/music video pays much more than AD-ing in a feature film, and is usually over 10 times more number of shoot-prep days)

And then you actually get that break as an AD in feature films-

Yeah. You’re on your way. Getting a monthly salary (not much but just enough) and working.


Being an AD has very very little ‘CREATIVE’ learnings.


1.Location recce or Scouting (going to the location and taking pictures to show to the director – maximum coverage from all angles – exterior & interior – sometimes indicating the directions – meaning North South East West)

2. Continuity excel sheet (unless the 1st ADs have generated that beforehand using Movie Magic/EP Scheduling)

3.Day Night Breakdown – which scenes are to be shot in day and which ones at night

4.Weapons breakdown

5.Location list breakdown

6.Email list of all HODs


8.Making sure everything and everyone is at place.

And the like. I’m listing very few of the many such excel sheets/filtering work/running around etc. I’m sure much more experienced ADs can add more (I only assisted on a few months on pre production on a feature film. Why ? I wont get into that)

So you get a bit disillusioned. Luckily if you are from the TY BCOM/BE category, you take it in your stride and go on working. If you are some film school passout – well you have to ask them but I’m guessing there is a jump cut from discussing Godard/Truffaut/De Sica into doing IT related work/organisational – administrative tasks – which might disillusion them too. For once, we feel like we’re in the same boat. But some of the savvy ones know the truth beforehand – Being an AD has very very little ‘CREATIVE’ learnings. So they move on.


Leave the creatives to the Director,DOP,ART director (very rarely is the writer mentioned along side the aforementioned list, but we’ll let that pass too). An AD’s job is executional and administrative.”


“It’s like making arrangements during a family wedding. Just because you run around getting shaadi ka laddoos, printing the cards, arranging liquor for the lousy group in ladke-walas, making sure the dinner is served on time, getting pure ghee for the havan; doesn’t mean YOU WILL ALSO HAVE A SUHAAG RAAT”

Ohh I get it. So basically doing all that doesn’t mean you will be a good groom, just that you are a good guy. Since the groom will simply sit with a plastic smile and wait for the first night. A very different skill set from the shaadi-mein-kaam-karnewale-honhaar-ladka set.

“As an AD, you are executing someone else’s vision, eventually so that you get to know how to execute yours”

But if you start out as an AD, 3-4 yrs and 4-5 films down the line, you have learnt the processes involved in making a film. It neednt necessarily mean the film you make is equally good as the ones who you have worked on, and of course vice versa. For eg: so many of the RGV proteges. Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi & Kal,Aaj Aur Kal; Lagaan & Mumbai se Aaaya Mera Dost/Mission Istanbul.

Recently, unemployment forced me to ask around for work – AD-ing on AD/corporate films. Was also looking around besides fooling around. Had an interview for a 3rd AD postiion in an AD film.

“Yours is a more creative resume. But for a 3 day AD film with 400 odd extras involved I don’t know how good you will be able to handle it.”

That’s a fair enough apprehension. Even I wouldn’t know if I would be capable of handling it.

A friend of mine said – “An AD turned director on his first feature film – was more interested in the things falling in place – all shots getting in time before the light goes away as opposed to discussing with DOP the ‘creatives’. The DOP was getting frustrated.”

So a couple of points

1. Bottom line – Not all good ADs make good directors. They’re different skill sets.

2. If being capable of handling 400 extras, costume continuity, excel sheets etc etc is one of the criteria of employing an AD – then why don’t the directors employ BBAs & MBAs ??? “Because the MBAs are sitting atop corporates deciding how a film should be made” – is what my friend joked. “Which MBA would do a managerial/executional job for the peanuts paid ?”

3. Unless an AD works how will he get experience ? And since 1st ADs are usually looking around for junior ADs who have experience, how will the junior AD get to work ? The Catch 22 problem explained so eloquently by Sachin in Trishul in a job interview to Shashi Kapoor.

4. Why should the fact the prospective AD did some writing/acting jig to learn the craft of filmaking/get titsy bitsy experience/money be a deterrant to his employment as an AD in features/AD films ? Agreed the skillset is different – but cummon man, one can learn. Managerial/Executional skills are easier to acquire than the ‘creative’ ones. Correct me if I’m wrong please.

5. 1st ADs at times get paid more than the writer. It’s a marvel of the industry which I haven’t understood.

6.”You have acting & writing experience on your resume. Why do you want to assist ?”

Hmmmm for these – experience in the process of filmaking; money, money & money; writing rarely pays if at all on time; Acting roles are extremly limited since a friend says “You’re the ugliest guy ever exposed to film stock”

7. “But You have writing & AD-ing experience on your resume. Why do you want to act ?”

Err… Refer to Q 6

8. “Doesn’t it create confusion to the employer as to what you want to do in life ?”

As if the film industry, why even our country, parliament, cricket team act in a Six Sigma Mumbai Dabbawala organised way ! If I’m good at the job should it really matter if I fuck around, beat my wife, walk in my house in undies Ransa style etc etc ?

Or better still – Did you ask this question when you knew I knew Java, MS Project Server, C++, Visual Studio and MS SQL ? Does this mean I cannot code in Java because I knew the other skills ? Or does this imply given an opportunity to learn & work on Main frames, I wouldnt be able to do so ?

Or better still – don’t you also know Hindi, Indian English, American English, Marathi and your mother tongue Tamil/Gujrati/Bengali/Punjabi/Bhojpuri/Telugu/Urdu/Sanskrit or whatever ?


POTD : James Cameron in Na’vi avatar!

Posted: April 14, 2010 by moifightclub in etc, Hollywood, life, News, pics, POTD
Tags: , , , ,

And its all for a good cause! Check it out.

It feels great to know that its not for the movie’s promotion. He is protesting against the construction of a massive dam in the middle of Amazon rainforest. Click here to read the full story.

In Bollywood, every cause comes with a new film release. Post-RDB, we know nothing about Aamir Khan’s take on Narmada Bachao Andolan. And bet with Peepli Live, we will be back to give us gyaan on farmers’ suicide. As the master wrote…Aife aife kaife kaife!

Pic courtesy – Amazon Watch.