All entries by this author

badmaash company and dabbang (2010) with pocketmaar (1956) - where does it all end?

My husband’s aunts were visiting us. One is 72, the other 81. They like to watch Zee News every night after dinner. Ayodhya was on everyone’s minds. From politics, the conversation inevitably slipped to corruption. It is as if one no longer exists in our mind without the other. Talking of the Commonwealth Games, land [...]

politics in madhopur

‘Raajneeti’ is what happens the morning after a particularly greasy, spicy, mass-produced dinner the night before.
In Madhopur, everyone struggles with constipation. This gives them one set tortured expression and husky voices.

Except for one woman who makes funny faces before, during and after sex. She wants a seat so badly that she’s willing to lick seat. [...]

aadmi ki aurat aur anya kahaniyan (2009) - platform no. nine and three-quarters

After a long day filled with chatter, horns, heat, money, receipts, polite conversations, organization, it took me a while to settle into Amit Dutta’s ‘Aadmi Ki Aurat aur Anya Kahaniyan‘.
The story of a man and his room near a tree (Pedh par Kamra  by Vinod Kumar Shukla) shared by rats, pigeons, kites, crows, squirrels and [...]

I dress therefore I am ….

The other day my brother complained about my mother wearing the rida* when she went out with us.
At an up-market restaurant mainly frequented by corporate types, the staff doesn’t seem too keen on giving us a table. But we persist in waiting. On our way to a table, curious glances follow us. Or perhaps all [...]

30 days in 58 years

A BBC radio anchor was fired in November 2008 for making racist remarks. She called a taxi service to pick up her daughter, and insisted that they not send an Asian driver with a turban as that “would freak out her daughter”. It is true that children, specially babies respond well to face types that [...]

holiday (1938) - two girls with hats

The worst thing you can do to a girl is saddle her with a sister early on in life. The sister is always going to be more beautiful or more intelligent or more virtuous or more cheerful or more obedient or wear better hats - none of which helps in the making of the confident, [...]

i am the very beautiful (2006) - getting up close

At an Alliance Francaise festival of documentaries last year, I chose to go on the day devoted to ‘Love and Desire in India’. A considerable number of films revolved around dancing girls, prostitutes, transexuals, gay people. Sadly, when you watch several films one after the other, that too on similar subjects, you begin to get [...]

to poo or not to poo

While I do understand the need for dog-owners to have dogs, and the need for dogs to defecate, I cannot understand the need for dog owners to have their dogs defecate on a public road. The sight of a dog defecating in the open is only a little less unseemly than the sight of several [...]

the xxx factor

I often feel sorry for the ‘firang‘ producer/director making a documentary in India. Asking the right questions is the key to a good documentary. But when you don’t know the language, you rely on an interpreter to ask the questions and interpret the answers for you. Usually, the result is a 1-line question being translated [...]

a grasshopper’s pilgrimage (2009) - the grasshopper in a local train

Her orange nightie and petticoat looked clean, her matted white hair was tied up tidily; only her nails were black rimmed and the skin of her face and body ravaged with anger, clung tightly to her bones.
I was absorbed in ‘A Grasshopper’s Pilgrimage‘. I did not want to listen to the woman going on about [...]

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