Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I recently revisited Woody Allen's magnificently shot, moody, sympathetic dramedy "Manhattan". As I watched those spectacular images- drenched in Gershwin's music- wash over me, two scenes etched themselves into my mind with a force that can only come with fond familiarity. The first was the justly celebrated scene of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton walking among the planetarium on a rain-soaked New York afternoon. And the second was the equally effective- and deceptively simple- scene before the climax where Woody Allen, lying on his couch, depressed, contemplates a list of all the things that make life worth living.

I was inspired, and here, in random order, is mine.

1. Scorsese's films.

2. Gulzar's poetry.

3. Jazz.

4. A strong frappe- no ice cream, no chocolate sauce- with good writing to enjoy.

5. Unexpected, random e-mails from estranged friends.

6. A warm walnut brownie with hot chocolate sauce.

7. Her face.

8. Watching a child who has just learnt how to walk stumble around in a store to a beat no one else can hear while his parents are busy shopping.

9. The first rains.

10. The damp onset of spring.

11. Glorious, lazy sunday mornings which combine the possibility of a whole day of freedom lying in store with the urgency of only one whole day of freedom lying in store.

12. Her exclaiming "How did you know that I was just thinking about you?" as soon as she picks up my call.

13. The unending re-runs of F.R.I.E.N.D.S- each episode, with dialogues I know by heart and characters I love beyond belief, feels like a warm blanket I have been using for years.

14. Reading essays I have written eons ago, detachedly musing at the passionately discussed themes which seem irrelevant now, marveling at some ingenious choice of words, chuckling at a forgotten splash of acidic wit.

15. Watching her eyes sparkle as she figures out the murder mystery before the TV detectives.

16. "Indiana Jones", "Casablanca", "The Godfather", "Taxi Driver", "DDLJ", "Swades". Spending hours in front of the mirror after viewing any of these films once again; emulating the leading man and observing the physical similarities between them and me which unfortunately no one else has ever been able to see.

17. Walking, hand-in-hand; irrespective of whether it's around the shining lobbies of a mall on a Saturday afternoon, or across a jubilant park on an Autumn Sunday evening.

18. The arrival of the paycheck after the last few, agonisingly slow and miserly days of each month.

19. The electricity flying through my nerves- faster and faster as the third bell approaches- on the opening day of my plays.

20. The triumphant surge of pride when she laughs at one of my lame jokes.

Mr Allen, what else can a man possibly want? If life, along with all its pain, insanity and disappointments, also has the above around in any permutation-combination, then the ride will forever be worth it.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Hold your breath. Are you ready? Are you sure you want to know? Okay, here goes. These are the confessions of my petty soul, things I am afraid to admit even to myself. Don't complain later that I didn't warn you.

I have never seen a Kurosawa film. I am haunted by both that fact as well as my fear of boredom.

I thought "Dev.D" was a failure, and Anurag Kashyap is hugely over-rated.

I think Shahrukh Khan is a great actor.

My alter ego is a mix of SRK in "Swades" and SRK in "Mohabbatein", with a liberal dash of Holden Caulfield.

I am beyond dreadful at managing my money.

I cannot stand the self-seriousness with which people underline their opinions when discussing cinema. Let me enlighten you, my friend- no one could care less how you feel yesterday's film could have been improved!

I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that- give or take a couple of people- everyone one I know is an idiot.

I have overpowering urges to slap people who believe themselves to be cinephiles, and happily distribute their opinions on what they believe is 'Cinema' without knowing anything about Scorsese, Guru Dutt or Buster Keaton. If you liked "Kites" and/or "Singh is King", I am talking to you.

I am a hopeless romantic, and proudly (albeit discreetly) possess a firm, unshakeable belief in love. I love both "Casablanca" and "When Harry Met Sally". I also love "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai".

I love watching all the mundane chick flicks with my girlfriend, because I love the way her face lights up when she laughs at a stupid joke.

I love shopping. Yup. I truly enjoy the high of holding my girlfriend's hand, walking around a mall, peering into windows, waiting outside trial rooms, nodding at her in approval, and handing over my cards to the tellers.

In line with all those who get money suddenly after a lifetime of poverty, I truly relish the rush the power of money brings to me.

I have huge pangs of insecurity when I read something written in such a fluid manner that I know I could never match it.

I have huge pangs of insecurity when I meet someone taller than me.

I have huge pangs of insecurity when I feel people won't get my weird, off-the-wall humour.

I truly wish more people understood my unfortunate neither-here-nor-there accent.

I am never too bothered by people richer, better looking or smarter than me. But bring me someone who has more films in his/her collection, and watch me panic!

I try very hard to pretend that I know what is going on in the world of sports- in truth, most of it comes from catching sports results on rediff.

I don't know how to hold a cricket bat. I invariably hold it like Aamir Khan did in "Lagaan"- that comes naturally to me.

I would rather have coffee with my girlfriend than beer with the guys.

I have never seen a single episode of "LOST", and don't feel that I have missed anything. I am proud to say that I feel no pressure to watch it, nor any feelings of being an outcast. I also don't feel any need to watch a show in order to be a part of a larger collective.

I don't feel tense or anxious at all for things -like money, careers and success- that give the rest of the world tension and anxiety attack; and that worries me. A little bit.

I am extremely paranoid that one day people will catch up to me and realise that everything I do, everything I say, everything about me is a facade- that I know nothing about directing plays, writing scripts, making films, or anything else for that matter, and my entire life is a process 0f very intricately masking that fact.

There. I said it.