Monday, February 18, 2008

Jodha Akbar is breathtaking

Put down that review that says JA is worth only two stars, in fact throw it down hard. Turn off the radio where people casually pass unintelligent judgement on this masterpiece. We saw it yesterday and loved it. EVERY minute of it.

It is extremely cinematic, sensitive and beautiful. Despite its grand scale its beauty is in the simple things. Ashutosh Gowariker is a thoughtful, conscientitious filmmaker who does not cater to the lowest common denominator for the sake of profit. The film is well grounded and rich in detail. The cinematography is grand yet understated. The sets are like the interiors of the beautiful Rajput palaces in their hey day, breathtakingly beautiful. Every set is like a snapshot from a palatial designer's manual, so gorgeous and tasteful, a feast for the eyes. The language is poetic. The music is fabulous, Rahman zindabad, that Sufi song just lifts me up, I've listened to it a million times and it puts me in a trance.

The casting is just perfect no one else could have done the roles of Jodha and Akbar as convincingly, as Aishwarya and Hritik, they make a fabulous couple. Hritik Roshan portrayed the humanity of the powerful emperor so convincingly, his whole persona was regal, idealistic and sensitive. He looked like a man who was trying to do the right thing and win a place in the hearts of people. He is also very easy on the eyes in his fantastic mughal wardrobe. Aishwarya Rai is perfect, she is just so beautiful and dignified. Her strength and beauty were a true depiction of a proud Rajput woman. Nobody could have done those fabulous Sword fighting scenes, she was just amazing. Together they are MAGIC. It was a real delight watching these two gorgeous people performing. They seemed so 'into' their characters. After leaving the film I really missed the world that it had created...

The portrayal of the confluence of Hinduism and Islam was done in many beautiful ways. Akbar supported his wife's need to continue practising her Hindu faith in a Muslim palace despite intense opposition from orthodox religious leaders...He had the wisdom to understand the difference between faith and religion...what an important message for our world today.

At the very core of the film is the love story of these two amazing forces from two very different worlds. After a long time I was really moved by a love story. I wanted them to get together so badly, I was like a hopelessly romantic teenager. In these times of in your face sexuality the restraint of this gorgeous couple was HOT. Really.

Go watch it on the big screen, you can buy the DVD later to savour it for years to come, but for now don't miss it on the big screen. My only regret was that I saw the film in a multiplex with a very sedate crowd..I wished for the catcalls and whistling I remember in hindi films growing up...I whistled twice much to the embarassment of my father! Papa loved the film, so did Mama but did groan in the war scenes, 'bahut lamba hai'. Rosh my 13 year old niece loved it and my sister love dit so much she is going for it again today..the very next day. Eat your heart out Hindustan Times.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Run fast, jump high..

Here is what DH wrote in memory of dear Sheroo.

Rest in Peace

Goodbye sweet Sheroo, I miss you terribly. It is too painful to imagine home without you. You won't be on the couch, you won't wake me up every morning with your demands for food, you won't sleep by me on the couch and purr so loudly I think my stomach is growling. I will miss your incessant talking, prodding, begging, feed me, love me, let me out now, now, now. I wish I had recorded your sweet sound somewhere so I could always have a piece of you to hold onto...You were my first toddler, so loving and demanding but so damn charming, you always got your way. I will miss your eyes and the way you half closed them and made a whispering mewl when you wanted something special..I know I already dinner but please give me a snack..? I feel very sad and angry about the way you were snatched away from us but I take solace in the fact that your suffering is over. I am happy you lived life on your own terms and I am grateful I was able to be so close to a wild soul. You are irreplaceble. May you rest in peace.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

pit in my stomach

just spoke to D this morning..sheroo is gone. he was out all night just like on several other ocassions but this time it was fatal. He appears to have been attacked by a wild animal and savagely killed. D picked up the pieces. Our first child is dead.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In Bombay!

We've been here only about 10 days, yet already it feels like months have passed. Everyday is full of activity, people, food, noise, smells, auto rickshaws, cows, dogs, crows, pigeons, life, life, life. Anika is very well settled in. She was over jetlag by the fourth day, those initial few days were tough, she missed her father and home. She kept saying 'papa' softly and patting herself with a forlon look. I was so guilty for putting her through it I was ready to take the next flight home. But slowly things changed as she got over jetlag by the fourth day. Suddenly life was a party with all new things to discover. My parents' place is on the 11th floor of a building, her self-appointed play area is the balcony overlooking the sea and a busy college street. She watches the fishing boats in the distance and the cows and dogs on the beach. On the street below, she watches with excitement the hulchul in the morning, the bikes, rickshaws and students. Outside our bedroom window is an eagle's nest that she watches transfixed. Every window is a new adventure, a iearning experience, a game..she is so stimulated and happy. She has new words and long stories about what she is seeing. What an exciting change for little miss suburban American.

The best part about being here is all the love and attention she is getting, she's really basking in it. There's no love like grandparents' love. She gets pampered so much, mama has already stitched her two dresses. She gets fresh meals twice a day and is bought a small toy nearly everytime she goes out!

Wherever we go people comment on how cute she is and try to make her smile. The other day we were stuck in traffic on the way back from Da's place. A man in the car next to ours was making funny faces and making her laugh, for a good five minutes. His whole family joined in, the mother, the grand parents and their toddler, were all sticking their faces on the windows talking to Anika, she was thrilled. From being strapped in a car seat alone in the back seat to this, is quite amazing.

We have a nice routine now, she wakes up, has breakfast on the balcony.

Then she participates in the hustle bustle of the house. The doorbell rings and she drops everything and runs to the door shouting ko, ko, ko for 'kaun aaya?'(who's come?)She greets a long stream of people at the door like a priest, the dhobi(guy who irons the clothes), the doodhwala(the milkman), Sharada, the lady who cleans the dishes and Gudiya who sweeps and mops. Gudiya is a favorite because she cleans while wearing payals(anklets with tiny tinkling bells)..imagine the thrill! After all this excitement I take her down to run around in the garden and play in the park. Then we usually have some errand or the other for which we jump in an auto rickshaw.

The auto is her most radically fun experience..a fast moving car/three wheeled scooter with no doors that has no car seat! Move over Six Flags this is the ultimate roller coaster. The freedom is so heady she squeals. When we reach our destination she is very disappointed. The only way to placate her is to have her pay the ricksahwallah.

On returning home she has nani made yummy lunch while standing on the chair at the table! After lunch she dances vigorously to hip radio mirchi music after which she falls fast asleep for two solid hours. In the evening its time to snack and play again..! Non stop party I tell you. She falls asleep very easily at around 9 every night.

There are other things on my mind about the city and life here. I have some gripes and some thoughts but that intellectualisation takes a back seat to Anika's happiness. I'll write more about ALL that later, for now, all of you who know Anika have fun imagining her antics in India.