Sheer Melody

A mole's eye-view of the Cosmos


General rambling through IMDB, and noticed, with surprise and indignation that, Black (8.3) has a higher rating than Pather Panchali (8.2).

I am firmly assured that we still have a long way to go before we actually appreciate and understand intelligent cinema.

Update: Rang de Basanti has a higher rating than the other two. IMDB, though a wealth of good resources, never fails to crack me up. Rang de Basanti, of all movies!!!! And Omkara, a much better movie than both of these trashpots, gets an 8.1!!!


Just when I thought Indian politics has reached its lowest ebb, something inexplicable happens and makes it plunge one level under itself. This link just proves that our politicians have time for everything else other than running the country. Running it well is a far cry anyway.

Of course, this does not absolve Indian cricketers and its fans of guilt. The cricketers because it's been quite some time since they came up with a decent agreeable performance. It's been quite some time since Greg Chappell took over the reigns of the team with a view to infusing the Aussie way of life, the Aussie hardboiled spirit, a tenacity and a zeal to win. It's tough to see his serious poker-face on TV, in interviews, dishing out the same bullshit about performances not always the criterion. It's hard to see Rahul Dravid explain debacles with flimsy excuses, when the team has put up more than a dismal performance on pitches which are supposed to be the norm in the upcoming world cup. Most of all, it's tough to see pea-brained cricketing journalists write about the dormant talent in the team, the awesome averages of the batting lineup and the way the team is just a sleeping tiger, waiting to be woken.

Indian cricket is possibly at its lowest ebb at the present moment, and it's high time something good happens, otherwise the World Cup is a distant dream. Of course, the 1983 team was no better, and had a string of dismal performances going into the World Cup.

And of course, the ads. The ubiquitious ads. They are everywhere. Shah Rukh Khan makes a serious face and hoarsely utters "Hoo Haa India". Some other dumbfucks arrive from the opposing corners of the television set to reiterate what India's dumbest actor just said. And thus the Indian team is shown in set features, with clenched jaws and mind-numbing determination as they plunge from one loss to another.

My request to the cricketers: If you don't want to play, please don't play. Lose all the matches you want to. At least get those ads off TV. I am sure people who have lost all interest in watching you lose, would do better than watch your artificial grim faces in lousy and sloppy television commercials.

Give me a tiny break, please. Pretty please?

A day on orkut

Orkut, though still not an addiction is a superlative source of entertainment when you are down in the dumps or when your code just doesn’t seem to work.

The frequently-seen/asked scenes/questions/answers on orkut:

Boy wants friendship: hi, my name is ***, i accidently (sic) came on to ur profile ,but reading ur profile i think u r a very good person to make friendship, so would u like to be my friend

Desperate boy who wants to hide his desperation: i ws going thru ur profile n it appealed me in a way... i found u more simillar 2 me in some ways... while in general i find scraping as a boring job, i came fwd 2 leave a scrap 4 u wd any 2nd thought... n i also expect the same 4m u...i wanna b ur frnd...

Man who wants friendship but is too busy to think of something innovative: hi l like to make new frnds,shall we be a gud frnds?if u interested......

Boy who wants sex but writes friendship instead of sex: hi *** hw r u do u like to frnd'p with me

Boy who knows he is making a fool of himself but still jumps in the well: HI.....i read ur profile (timepass karna tha).... found it quite interesting (maskaa maar raha hoon).... u lookin good in this pic(yaar ab jhooth bhi bolna pad raha hai iske liye).... will u like to b my frnd plzz (chalo aap nahi to koi aur mil jaayegi aapki frndlist mein).... i hope u wont mind me adding u (plz bhaav mat khana, add me )....just check out my profile (kuchh likha nahi waise maine)... u'l find we hav lots of things common (aapki profile padh ke hi add ki hai maine)... bye n take care ( mere bolne se jaise firk pad jaayega )hahahaaaa just kidding ,dont mind.....can v be frnds

Confused boy (mind the multiple e’s in the sweet): Hai sweeet girl ^^^^^^^^^wanna be friend.....%%%%%%%%%

Boy whose first attempt was not successful: hi ***...*** rthnigs how is bangalore ...i have been once there nice place with nice people...i saw u like books ...good..

After the amazingly hilarious introduction lines/pick-up lines on orkut, we shall take a look at a few funny communities.

Himesh Reshamiya’s fan club: This community would have been hilarious enough without the community description, and with a wonderful description, all in CAPS, it is funnier. Himesh Reshamiya’s fans always post in CAPS. For a detailed discussion on this, visit Description: THIS COMMUNITY IS FOR THE FANS OF HIMESH RESHAMMIYA. WHO LOVE HIMESH AND MAD FOR HIS SONGS>>>>>> I LOVE HIM AND I THINK ALL THE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMUNITY LOVE HIM<<<<<<<>

Kannada Sex: Hilarious description again: A community of people who like having sex with kannada people.I believe (sic) tha (sic) Most of The beAuTifuL (sic) girls Are in karnataka. This Community is for whom love sex and love in karnataka. The guy is so excited that he could not run a spell-check on his community description.

Real sex story in Bengali: Description: a site for bangali "chele meye" to share their sextual (sic) experience. This community has only one member.

Bengalooru’s full, go home: Description: This community frequently gets shut down and rises up from the ashes. Post the name change from Bangalore to Bengalooru, the name has changed, alongwith the description. It still does make me laugh. This is a community which seeks to redeem bangalore's pristine culture, nature and Kannada Identity. The enormous influx of thankless immigrants has inflicted a great damage to the identity of Kannadigas and cultural-fabric of Bangalore. Most of these immigrants(Northies in particular [sic]) are notorious for not adapting to the local Kannada culture and neglecting Kannada. Adding to the woes is hospitable and courteous nature of Kannadigas, which immigrants don't deserve. This massive influx has resulted in soaring housing costs, rent etc.,. The refusal of Private Radio channels to air Kannada music, unvailibilty (sic) of theatres to screen Kannada movies are dangerous singals (sic) to the Kannada Soul of Bangalore. We Kannadigas need to assume more dominant role and shun the 'athithidevo bhava' attitude. One can hardly hear Kannada in many parts of Bangalore like ulsoor,Indiranagar,MG Road,Cox town etc It is high-time that we enforce Kannada and Kannada culture in the land of Kannada and clamp the immigrants.

PKaTaNi PoRn SeX MoViEs LoVeRs. Another hilarious community. Description: this community is for ppls those who love to watch & enjoy xxx movies ... but only from pakistan .... here we will provide information about making & geting (sic) local xxx rated movies .... ok then GUY & Girls usssss (sic) this isss (sic) ur own communty (sic)... JOIN & HAVE FUNNN (SIC)

Black, the Hindi movie: Yes, I find this hilarious. I find it hilarious that there are so many people who think the movie rocked. Here’s the description: This forum is for the people who fell in love of (sic) the latest Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie called Black. This movie is not only only about a blind,deaf,mute girl and her eccentric (read mad) teacher but of celebration of indomitable spirit of human mind,about the conquering (sic) the impossible,about love.This movie is also the landmark in Hindi movie with which it has graduated from the mindless flicks. This movie is the testimony of the acting capability of the Power houses (sic) called Amitabh Bachhan and Rani Mukhrjee and the most astounded (sic) performance by an unknown artiste called Ayesha Kapoor, whom my friends still refuse to believe as a normal child....No she is not normal...she is also a Power House... (sic)

Rang de Basanti: Here’s the description: ßë ä Rëßë£....Join and discuss the movie, music and suggest steps everyone could follow to make India more beautiful!

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

The Tagore poem couldn’t have been more out-of-place. Anyways, with all the talk of making a difference and affecting a change, the only thing that happens in the community of over seventeen thousand members is a proliferation of stupid game-threads. Talk of making a difference!!!!

Orkut IS fun.


Chhedis in a village like KGP is an institution. Sometimes a lot more than that.

How does one describe it? A quaint version of a tea-stall which does not server much food, but is a source of sustenance for KGPians in a perpetual state of abject penury? Maybe that’s the best description it could get…

Chhedis is a ramshackle establishment just outside the main campus of IIT KGP on the side of the Puri Gate. There are other stalls in this area, mostly serving Bengali food in squalid, depressing surroundings. Most famous among the other ones was Ashok-Da, who served delectable mutton curry on Saturday and Sunday mornings. However, Chhedis was special. The first time you come to Kharagpur, there is a pretty high chance that you would miss it. But the orientation is quick, and soon you are a regular in the establishment. And things are better if you stay in RP Hall, the hostel closest to the institute gates.

Chhedis, in essence, is just a tea-stall. Which serves food. By food, I mean – Maggi (various forms of it – Egg maggi, Plain maggi, Top Ramen Curry which is a spicier version of the normal maggi but pretty nice, Egg Curry), and the ubiquitous Tinku. For the uninitiated, the Tinku is the KGP version of an egg burger, consisting of a bun cut in half, stuffed with a poached egg and splattered with spicy red masala and a few onions. The first time with Tinku is never a great one, and you wouldn’t like it in all probability. But gradually, with decreasing finances and an all-encompassing time-crunch, Tinku becomes a way of life, and you crave for it, ache for it, and finally, there is a time when a day does not pass without the Tinku. Towards the later years of my stay in the village, things improved (some say they worsened) in Chhedis. It got a brand new look, a fan was installed in the main-area, it got tube-lights for a less shady and a little brighter ambience, and Chhedi bhai started making great samosas.

More than the food, Chhedis was important because it was a meeting place – a place for the infamous adda. It is tough to define adda. Some say it’s an inherently Bengali tradition. Put very simply, it is the act of sitting with friends, normally with a glass of tea in one of your hands, and a Wills Navy Cut cigarette in the other, and discussing about anything under the sun. Chhedis was a hotbed of adda and pseudo-intellectual discussions. The term hotbed probably gives the wrong impression about the place but I guess that’s what it was in essence. Anything could be a topic of conversation, starting from the relentless tyranny the professors wreaked on the hapless students to the seeming scarcity of all things modern and human in this village far removed from civilization and any remnants of it. Topics ranged from good food to mess food, admit cards to HMC politics, BC Roy Hall and its chicken curry to Rabindra Sangeet, Bapi-giri to the next ETMS production, and from WTMS with its deep under-currents to recent developments in the political scene. KGP wasn’t a very happening place, and it was discussion and meaningless conversation which kept us a few feet away from insanity and senility. It was this meaninglessness which meant a lot to each one of us, far from worldliness, far from pleasures, in a seemingly bottomless void.

Chunnu was the cigarette-shop guy just adjacent to Chhedis. He was Chhedi bhai’s son and a nice man. Chunnu had the concept of a khata which was very similar to a credit roster, with no interest. Chunnu never refused a cigarette when you were broke and still wanted one, and never refused you money when you were broke and wanted to drink in Park. The khata solved myriad problems in life, and created several others at the end of the month when the bill frequently touched the thousands. This invariably led to tremendous tantrums at home, punctuated by mindless quarrels and unending lectures on the insensitivity of the younger generation towards the important and value of money as an entity.

All said and done, Chhedis and Chunnu were integral parts of our existence in the haven that KGP was. It was a place to hangout, catch up with old acquaintances who had shifted to different hostels, a place to relax and unwind after a harrowing day at school, it was the place for a steaming hot cup of tea to calm your nerves after an all-night binge on a freezing winter night, and most of all, it was a place where you could go and leave your troubles behind. It had a way about it which endeared itself to you, in spite of everything.

This documentary has some info about chhedis and is worth a watch.

Borat - a review

BORAT was supposed to be the most anticipated movie out here in the US of A and in keeping with popular sentiment; I sat through 84 sickening minutes of irritating racist juvenile iconoclastic comedy.

The movie is called “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” and the only time you see that is during the beginning of the movie. The title of the movie should have given me sufficient idea as to how humorless and painful the jokes were going to be, but I relentlessly sat on and endured. I was never very curious or appreciative of Cohen’s directorial skills considering I actually sat through one of his episodes of the “Da Ali G Show”, which by the way, is just as uninspiring as BORAT itself.

So we have this movie with the supposedly hilarious and rib-tickling title – BORAT. And as the title suggests and the previews suggest, it is about a foreigner who comes to America and is funny because he tries to act ‘hip’. Ok, so this character – BORAT – is a homophobic, Jew-hating individual who comes to the United States from Kazakhstan, where he has a career in television journalism. As is the case with other Cohen characters, Borat is also homophobic, is a foreigner, has a strange accent and obviously makes a fool of himself adapting to the oh-so-American culture. Supposedly, the point of Borat is to make American’s understand their bigotry and twisted principles, but at the end of the day, I don’t see how Borat as a film would manage to instigate such self-introspection by potentially racist material.

The familiar retort to an unappreciative reviewer is the absence of a sense of humor. For me, it was an absence to appreciation of such tasteless humor as to actually make you disgusted. And the I-am-better-than-you-because-I-am-Western-and-you-are-from-the-third-world attitude which shines perceptibly through the entire movie makes it all the more disgusting. And of course you have the trademark scenes with Borat struggling to understand the accent, calling US of A, the US and A (oh! Isn’t that absolutely hilarious?), unsuspecting people cringing when he says stupid things, crazy-foreigner accents. In fact, after a while, you realize that the movie is probably not just offensive, it’s just plain unfunny. In fact, the whole movie is about how Borat travels across the US of A, and comes across everyday Americans, and believe it or not, does something incredibly stupid and offensive at the same time, every day. Among the most painful scenes in the movie is the one in which he is invited to sing the national anthem and finally ends up singing a motley version of the “Star spangled banner” which is in fact supposed to be funny. Believe me, the audience was in splits. I couldn’t even chuckle.

The rest of the movie deals with Borat’s quest for Pamela Anderson, caused by watching a rerun of Baywatch in his first day in the US of A. Also included in the movie are his exploits in sexual behavior with a black overweight prostitute whose face is supposed to make you laugh and not feel sorry. And of course, you have the not uncommon reliance on full male frontal nudity and gay jokes for unbelievably cheap comic effect. Not funny, not inspiring, not in the least rib-tickling. If you want least-common-denominator humor, Borat is great for you. It’s a pity that Cohen could not come up with something more groundbreaking than stupid people exposing their own stupidity on camera. Borat, in plain words is vulgar, gross and top of the list of my puke-fest movies, replacing and overthrowing BLACK by a big margin. There will be a few retorts, namely, “This is satire”, etc. etc. People who think this is satire are clueless as to what satire is. Satire is what Saki wrote. Not what Borat shows or tries to show. Well, if only Cohen could understand this simple fact of life, I wouldn’t have had to submit myself to such indiscriminate torture.

Put very simply, this movie sucked. With a capital S. It was not just offensive, it was utter bullshit. I wish I had walked out, but I guess that’s what a few glasses of beer do to you.

It’s movie sabbatical for me now.

Update: This site has an interesting report on how the opening scenes of the movie were filmed. Paragraph to note: Mr Tudorache, a deeply religious grandfather who lost his arm in an accident, was one of those who feels most humiliated. For one scene, a rubber sex toy in the shape of a fist was attached to the stump of his missing arm - but he had no idea what it was.
I don't know for sure how much truth is there in this story, but even if it's 100% true, I wouldn't be surprised that someone from Hollywood did this. Disgusting.