Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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Saturday, November 13, 2004
Is the candy floss too sweet for you?

Main, Kaidi No. 786, jail ki deewaron se baahar dekhta hoon,
to wahaan ek pari si dikhaai deti hai,
wo kahte hain main unsa nahi,
phir kyun wo apni si lagti hai

The latest offering from the Chopra stable comes to town this Diwali amidst some very high expectations and some tough competition in the form of three more movies making their presence felt the same weekend. Veer-Zaara, as the promos and Yash Chopra's reputation (which is not to be underestimated any day) suggest, is about between an Indian Air Force Officer and the daughter of a Pakistani between the junta of the two neighboring countries of India and Pakistan that goes much beyond the cacophany of political slogans.

Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh is a rescue pilot with the Indian Air Force with an uncanny :-) habit and job of rescuing and airlifting girls from precarious positions. Some day, he plans to fulfill his Babuji's dream of working for the upliftment of their village. All is going well with his life till he rescues a girl who changes his life.

Zaara Hyatt Khan is the daughter of Jehangir Hyatt Khan, one of the influential politicians of Lahore. Jehangir Hyatt Khan has dreams of fulfilling his father's wishes of making their political party successful, at any cost. Zaara's Bebe (played in a short but effective role by Zohra Sehgal) is on her deathbed. Having taken care of Zaara and her family for years, Bebe now wants Zaara to fulfill her last wish of being immersed in India after her death. Zaara brings her Bebe's ashes to India and that is when her bus has an accident and she is rescued and airlifted by Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh, who not only saves her life, but also changes it completely.

In return for the help that Veer provides Zaara in taking her to her destination in India, Zaara promises to spend a day with Veer in his village...give one day of her life to him, as is said in the movie. This one day turns out to be the most special day of Zaara's life with Chowdhury Sumer Singh and his wife Saraswati Devi (the uncle and aunt of Veer who have raised him up) giving her love, respect, and even naming the girl's school after her. Zaara also finds place in the hearts of the Punjabi-Madrasan couple as both of them encourage Veer to open his heart out to Zaara.

Before he can do so, however, comes in Raza, the fiance of Zaara who has come to India in search of her. Our hero, nevertheless, proclaims his love saying that he can die for Zaara if need be, but since she is engaged to be married to someone else, he might as well say good bye for now :-).

Even after the good bye, Zaara can not forget Veer. Zaara's friend and confidante, Shabbo (played in a most effervescent manner by Divya Dutta) calls up Veer to tell him about Zaara's coming marriage to Raza (which is a poltically motivated decision of Zaara and Raza's fathers) and her love for Veer. Veer resigns from Indian Air Force and comes to Pakistan to claim his love. Though he does create a scene at the dargah on the day before the marriage, he is soon persuaded by Zaara's mother (Kiron Kher, in another Devdas-esque role) not to ruffle the lying feathers and return to India. But return to India, he can not, because of certain plots and plans that result in his spending 22 years in a Lahore prison with the news of his death reaching his dear ones.

Veer is destined to live his entire life without Zaara in a prison, but not so easily if all goes as per the plans of the gutsy little advocate, Shaamiya Siddiqui. Shaamiya is going to court for the first time with the re-opening of Veer's case and despite the biggest barrister in town (and also Shaamiya's former boss) as the opposition, she spares no efforts to bring justice to Veer. She even goes to India in search of this justice and in turn, unravels some things that had been buried and forgotten for a long long time.

The story, as can be seen, is not very original, and yet it is not the quintessential boy-meets-girl-loses-girl-fights-bad-men-wins-girl-back-lives-happily-ever-after story either. The movie comes across as a sincere attempt to please the masses. Whether it be the little bit of the wedding festive mood thrown in, or the des prem emanating from the songs in the sarso ke khet, the movie plays to popular themes. The only place where Veer-Zaara fails is probably the elongated sequences of emotions that the characters go through in the movie and the fact that it is, in one word, sweet candy floss.

The music, derived from the original works of Late Madan Mohan, is excellent and haunts the viewers for quite some time (I am still humming some of the tunes). The picturisation is typical Yash Chopra, all green and happy and sunny and rosy. As for the actors, Shahrukh Khan seems to be improving with age and Preity Zinta is becoming more and more beautiful. Rani Mukherjee does the job of walking fast in long corridors pretty effectively and that is the only thing that she is actually required to do in the entire movie.

If the lead actors are not considered, the best performance comes from the supporting artists or the special appearances, as the title says. Kiron Kher as Zaara's mother, Anupam Kher as the prosecution lawyer, Hema Malini as Veer's amazingly beautiful (still!!!) Maate, Divya Dutta as Shabbo, and above all, Amitabh Bachchan as Sumer Singh, Veer's Babuji, are all a class of their own, as they lend to this movie, what the lead actors could never have hoped to provide. In fact, it has been a recent observation of mine that a good string of supporting cast actually sells more than a strong subject with the lead pair performing very well.

For all those who are Shahrukh and Preity fans, the movie is a must-watch...for all those who want time off from their busy schedule to relax and be happy about it, the movie is a must watch. The movie can, however, be avoided by people who want the realistic touch...people who are fed up of too much sweetness in the world...and people who think that this movie is another India Pakistan war movie.

Posted at 06:23 pm by Nitai

November 14, 2004   05:02 PM PST
Awful review man... had hoped for better taste from u.
Personally I thought the music was really bad. Not one song stood out. In fact it was a pain to sit thru some of the songs. Shahrukh himself said he "sleepwalks theu his roles" and it is exactly wat he did. The storyline is incredibally cliched. My recommendation is definitely a "must-not" see.

PS: Hema Malini puts in a really awful acting display.
November 14, 2004   06:36 PM PST
haa haa JC, each one for his own I said, there is a category of people for whom the movie is avoidable but as for me, I do not belong to that category. BTW, I loved the songs.

PS: Hema Malini has never been known for her acting abilities :-)

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