Monday, October 11, 2010

Red Tapism at its Best- Navi Mumbai Airport

Very few infrastructure projects in India have been completed on time. In recent times, the project which is being widely discussed and debated in media circles is none other than Navi Mumbai International airport.

The proxy war between Civil Aviation ministry and Environment ministry has continuously leads to modification and re-modification of the proposed design of the airport. The airport, which was first proposed in 1980s to decongest the ever growing traffic in Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai, has been in the state of limbo ever since. Opposition parties want the government to shift the proposed airport from Navi Mumbai to Rewas or Kalyan which will give the airport the scope to expand in the future. Maharashtra Government argues this proposition on the logic that the drive from the current location takes just 40 min drive to enter geographic limits of Mumbai while others locations are atleast 50 km away from Mumbai.

Who is to be blamed for the delay? Some say CIDCO needs to be blamed for planning without studying airport’s impact on the environment. Some blame the environmentalists and NGOs for always trying to oppose development without the understanding the ground realities and necessities. Few sceptics blame the Centre saying that it has always given preference to Delhi at the cost of Mumbai.

Whatever may be the real reason, the problems lies in the system itself. The Bureaucratic attitude has always been the one of the cause for hampering the development. There is no single window to submit grievances or get clearances for the project. Change in government also meant change in the criteria to obtain permissions. Big egos in governments have always played their part in delay. The ministers and bureaucrats in the government need to realise that the good infrastructure is necessary for the development of country. If they believe that any particular project may cause social or environmental damage, they should act accordingly rather than just sitting on the decisions which would in turn delay the implementation of alternatives.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown" or should I rephrase it "Forget it, it's CIA"


I  recently saw the movie "The Ghostwriter" made by Roman Polanski. It brought  my memories of Polanski's other movie "Chinatown".This blog is not a review but is about  interesting observations and similarities i found in these two movies and style of Polanski's narration.


 "Chinatown" was a classic political drama with a unique story telling in the film noir genre. 25 years have passed and "The Ghostwriter" somewhat possessed a similar storyline. The politics of real estate was transformed to ever-controversial Iraq war in this movie. Both the movies contained part mystery and part political drama.

Ghostwriter, played by Ewan Mcgregor, was hired to complete the memoir of Ex-British PM Adam Lang,played by Pierce Brosnan, when the previous writer and PM's aide dies in a mysterious circumstances. Ghostwriter reaches the island where Lang is staying currently at that moment. At that moment Lang is accused of  handing over suspected terrorists who were also British nationals to CIA. International Criminal court accepts the criminal case against Lang. Through memoirs and other clues left by his predecessor, Ghostwriter suspects that Lang may be a CIA agent since 70s.

Ghostwriter is similar to character Jack Nicholson played in Chinatown who unknowingly becomes part of sinister plot and refuses to let it go. Olivia Williams,  Lang's wife  in "The Ghostwriter" and  Faye Dunaway's character in "Chinatown" were developed in same manner with both getting involved romantically with the Lead Character. These female lead characters were strongly written and developed. The antagonists had a limited screen space but the way John Huston played Noah Cross in "Chinatown" made it to be considered as one of the hated villain characters in history of cinema, which couldn't be replicated by Tom Wilkinson in "Ghostwriter". However the twist in "Ghostwriter" is revealed at the end while "Chinatown" reveals the plot in the middle.

Both the movies ended  in the same pessimist note and somewhat reflected the style of Polanski's works. He always explored the psychological side of all the characters. His characters were always close to reality and storyline is inspired from actual events. However it is difficult to attain cult status like Polanski's movie like "Chinatown" and "Pianist".

Polanski is one of my favorite director of 70s' along with Martin Scorsese. I hope i can write on Martin Scorsese one day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Competition is Sufficient but not Necessary Motivator

I thought i should write a blog with a philosophical touch.  So it begins..

"LIFE IS A RACE. IF YOU ARE NOT IN A RACE, YOU WILL BE LEFT BEHIND" is a  statement quoted by many people, and also in many movies. But don't you ever felt that statement is vague and ambiguous.

First let us understand the definition of race (not the categorization of humankind) as mentioned in dictionaries.
  1.  A contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
  2.  Any contest or competition, esp. to achieve superiority.
  3. A situation in which people compete to be first to achieve something.
  4. Onward movement; an onward or regular course
Race can vary from 100m sprint to marathon or it could be just walkathon or Formula One. Different races take place in different arena and different tracks. So which type of  race would represent the life?

The choice, i believe, is prerogative of each individual. One of my friend said that he "would rather walk alone than run with the world." Does that mean he is out of his mind? I think he is interested in 5 Km Walkathon rather than a 100 m heat.

Let us look into different peoples'  approach towards their race ie life...

Case 1:  Usain Bolt participating in marathon: A person wants to win every stage of the marathon with energy level needed for 100m/400m sprint,thus creating records but he may probably get exhausted  at middle and have to give up the hopes of winning the marathon.

Case 2 : If Usain Bolt participated only in 100m dash in Olympics: This man is smarter. He wins the Olympics/ important tournaments with record-timing but doesn't participate in each and silly 100m dash.

Case 3: Michael Schumacher trying to win 100 m dash or marathon: It a person who is born to race in F1 but by peer-pressure takes part in athletics

Case 4:  Usain bolt's son and nephew also participating in 100-dash:  Junior bolt may be born for marathon/walkathon but society demands him to be sprinter just like society demands actor's son to be an actor.

Case5: Persons participating in Pentathlon: These are the person who love multiple disciplines and though not champion in each discipline individually but collectively they are top contenders to win tournament.

Case6: If Michael Schumacher had Retired after winning just single championship and start cursing Alonso and Raikkonen:  These type of people get satisfied after achieving short-term goals and lose their way, then start blaming other people who are still trying to achieve and win.

Case7: Michael Schumacher comeback: These type of people has achieved lot and still have passion in life and work just for the passion sake and try to win for passion rather than defeating others.

Case 8: 4*100m relay:  The people in this class run a 100 m sprint then pass on the baton i.e knowledge to others so that, indirectly he achieve his goal.


There may be many other cases, but i believe these 8 are enough to understand how each person's life is different from each other and though life is a race,the arena shouldn't be generalized.

Though competition is great motivator, lets not make it unhealthy by bringing in competition in non-conflicting and non-intersecting issues.







Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review : UP IN THE AIR

10 million miles is too huge distance is too huge distance to travel. How much time you need to travel that distance? Ask Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), he knows it since he had done it.

 

Ryan Bingham's firm has expertise in firing the people from their jobs. Company which want to get downsized gives contract to Ryan Bingham's firm to fire people without creating any hassles and complications for that company. Ryan Bingham travels for 321 days across the country firing the people and enjoys the luxury of preferential treatment he gets while traveling. His target is to attain mileage of 10 million air miles. In one of his assignments, Ryan meets Alex (Vera Farmiga). Their meeting leads to a casual relationship between them. One day, Ryan's firm decided to adopt cost-cutting measures by grounding all its on-road employees. Now the company wants to use the technology to fire people just by sitting in Omaha, the location of Ryan's office. This idea is brainchild of Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who has just joined the company. Ryan doesn't agree with this idea since it is difficult to connect with to-get-fired employees emotionally and psychologically through internet. Ryan's boss tells him to take Natalie with him in further assignments so that she can learn the tricks.

The best moments of movie begin from here with Natalie's boyfriend breaking off with her through text message. More hilarious moments follows. Also it appears that Ryan and Alex’s casual relationship is leading to somewhere. After few downsizing assignments, Ryan's boss decides that Natalie has learned enough to do the job herself. So it is the best time for Natalie to use her idea of technology in doing the assignment. Since Ryan has been grounded, he thinks of all his relationships and tries to reconnect with them. He attends his sisters’ marriage along with Alex and also tries to give a surprise to Alex by visiting her home in Chicago.

The end part of the movie begins here with unraveling of twists leading to interesting climax.

 

All the characters were well sketched. Each of the main actors deserves an Oscar nomination, though it is tough for them to win, due to presents of strong contenders. The role of Ryan Bingham was tailor made for Clooney. Vera Farmega underplayed her character and did full justice to it. Anna Kendrick was awesome and most likable character of all.

First half of movie was funny and sarcastic. It helped to build the second half. Second half was more intense. It builds the sympathy for the character of Ryan though everyone want to hate him for job he does.

The music and the songs were beautiful, especially the song shot during the Ryan's sisters wedding.

The dialogues and screenplay was brilliant. Some of the dialogues will become cult. The one dialogue which will always remain in my mind is “Loyalty is not cheap”

My Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Road to Oscars

Oscar night is approaching.  People started guessing and predicting the winners. I thought i also predict for important categories.

Best Feature Film: Hurt Locker

Best Director: Unable to choose between James Cameron(Avatar) and Kathryn Bigalow(Hurt Locker)

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart). Sorry "George Clooney"

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock(The blind side)

Best Supporting Actor: No doubt it is Chritoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire)

Best Original Screenplay : I believe it is Quentin Tarantino(Inglorious Basterds) but Mark Boal(Hurt Locker) can upset the applecart

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner (Up In the Air)

The D-day will only tell how close or not i was.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ISHQIYA- Review

Vishal Bharadwaj has been referred to as India’s Quentin Tarantino. But figuratively speaking, in ISHQIYA , the writing of Bhardwaj is 'hatke', but no way closer to Tarantino's style.

The structure of the film is as follows:
Act1: Setup
The film begins with Krishna (Vidya Balan) who is married and in love with Vidhyadhar Verma. One night a gas cylinder bursts in their house killing -Verma. 
Faraway, Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Baban (Arshad Warsi) escape from the clutches of Mushtaqbhai and run away with the heist money. They reach Gorakhpur  to take Verma’s help to cross the border. They stay as a guest in Verma 's house on request of his widow, Krishna. However, Mushtaqbhai traces them and gives deadline to return money. Krishna coaxes them to be part of a kidnapping plan she has devised.

Act2: Confrontation
They plan to kidnap an industrialist for a ransom and successfully kidnap him. Meanwhile both of them fall in love with Balan. This causes friction among the duo. Krishna ditches them both when they were fighting with each other.

Act3: Resolution
If I narrate this part, I will be guilty of playing as a spoilsport. I found this part of the movie to be weakest among three. In any other film this climax could be called as great but here it is not up to the mark set by previous 2 acts of the movie.

Every character in this movie has been sketched brilliantly with each character  having subtle gray shade.
The movie was not a conflict between good and evil. Instead it is a conflict between wronged person and wrongdoer.

Naseeruddin Shah is brilliant as always.  Post-Munnabhai, it is one of the best movies of Arshad Warsi. Vishal Bharadwaj's movies always have strong leading women. Vidya balan is seductive as well as docile.

The movie is directed by debutant director 'Abhishek Choubey' but not in the single frame of the movie, his inexperience could be found out. The song  'Dil to baccha hai ji' is brilliantly shot.

The dialogues are funny, though some are crude. All the characters are talking in MP-UP accent.
The music is incredible and the all the songs have become hit.


My Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ford County - John Grisham

I have just finished reading "Ford County",written by  John Grisham.  John Grisham's stories are intense as well as subtle. Every story narrated is full of simplicity and subtle comical that will  make you smile.

Ford County is the collection of short stories based in small Southern town of Clanton, whose population is about 10,000. The little town is surrounded by woods and farmland, which is home to poor farmers. The  racial segregation is prominent in Clanton with Blacks residing in the dilapidated low-town.

When I read these stories, I remembered the evergreen stories of Malgudi. Malgudi was also a small town similar to Clanton. The stories of Malgudi brought every minute character to life with enthusiasm. Similarly, Stories of Ford County  gave dimensions to every small character mentioned in the book.

The book begins with hilarious story of  "Blood Drive", in which one of the youth of Clanton is injured in accident in Memphis and has been admitted to hospital there. The county sends three youths to Memphis to provide blood since there was rumor that the hospital in which the injured man was admitted is out of supply of blood. The story revolves around three youths and their misadventures, which includes boozing and attending strip-clubs and also having a fight with bouncers, in their journey to Memphis.
 
In  "Fetching Raymond" , two "sometimes criminal-sometimes not" brothers  along with their mother attend the execution of their other brother, Raymond. The story was about self-introspection by mother and brothers while they were riding towards prison. The story was also about  Raymond's optimistic outlook till the day he is executed.

"Fish Files" is a story of an unhappy divorce lawyer married to a woman from an affluent family in the town. Some corporation wants an out of court settlement with this lawyer's clients, related to the old case, which the lawyer has nearly forgotten. The story describes how this change of fortune helped him to come out of unhappy marriage.

A woman dumps her husband for being simpleton and having  not so lavish lifestyle. Husband gets depressed and goes to casino so that he can forget his wife . He comes to know that casino is owned by a man for whom his wife has left.  He takes the revenge on the casino by winning huge stakes in Blackjack. How he does it explains the central plot of the story "Casino". The story also mentions in details how the casinos had been established by dubious builders on Native Indian's land.
  
There are many more stories which explore the lifestyle of every social class in the town. This exploration  helps us to understand multiple dimensions and interpretations of human nature and its effect on other humans as well as nature. Readers expecting twists and turns with big suspense will be disappointed. Even without major twists and turns, each page in itself is a page turner and thought-provoking.