Monday, February 22, 2010

I love Kokilaben...

I really do. Love Kokilaben, I mean. I have been attending a "Gopi Geet' organised by this remarkable lady at the Ambani residence, and marvelling at her composure ( nothing put on about it), as the Ambani spiritual guru, Bhaishriji mesmerises Sreenathji devotees and other invitees with his spell-binding discourses on love and bhakti ( interspersed by his melodious singing). Kokilaben presides over the grand proceedings with enviable dignity and calm. Her sons, the two warring brothers, deftly avoid one another, while their heavily bedecked wives play perfect bahus without treading on each other's toes. It is as well- synchonised as any ballet - not a false move or note. Kokilaben's expression remains impassive and regal, as she micro- manages every little detail, from the splendid shringar ( it changes daily), to the aarti thalis that are lovingly decorated by Rajan,a faithful family retainer.
Hema Malini was Radha personified on the first night as she performed the divine ras leela with a handsome Krishna played by Rahul DeSouza ( well done, Rahul ). Equally impressive was the dance troupe called Prince, two nights later - these are tribal boys from Behrampur who won some dance reality show and have since procured some great gigs, like this one at 'Seawind'.But beyond the grandeur and dazzle, it is the quietly assertive presence of Kokilaben that keeps the five day festival going.
It will be Kokilaben's birthday two days from now. I am sure, nothing will please her more , nor give her as much joy as her sons announcing a reconciliation.... as a special gift for their wonderful mother. It is my sincere prayer that this should happen. Like I said.... I love Kokilaben.
****
This is a column I wrote for Bombay Times.......

"Ever since those horrific images of Qasab with the infamous backpack and that insolent expression on his face, strolling through the CST, casually gunning down innocents, I have developed a strong aversion to that ugly contraption – the backpack. And now after the tragic Pune blasts, the anti- feelings towards this particular piece of luggage have been doubly reinforced. I loathe backpacks – always have. They alter posture, are ugly and ungainly, and most people who prefer them over regular carry- alls, resemble over burdened coolies. What’s worse, since the ‘bhoj’ is strapped to their backs, leaving their hands free, they are often oblivious to the inconvenience that enormous, bulging bag causes to people behind them. I have nearly had my head knocked sideways on aircrafts with the passenger right ahead of me swinging around abruptly without thinking about the potential impact of that ruddy backpack hitting someone right across the face.I wish someone ( P. Chidambaram – are you listening?) would ban the bloody backpack. Chids has already exonerated his own chaps over the ghastly Pune blasts by saying it isn’t possible to check every backpack floating around …. or even those left unattended in public spaces! Forget the audacity of such a remark or the fact that India had received sufficient warnings about the imminent attacks, it was the lethal backpack that once again ripped a place apart. Mujhey backpacks se sakat nafrat hai.
After watching George Clooney delivering several fascinating discourses on backpacks in the hugely entertaining and clever film, “ Up in the Air’’ ( well deserved Oscar nominations for two terrific performances), I was forced to meditate on the subject yet again. Ryan’s character in the movie is far from likeable, but entirely identifiable. He is the Pink Slip guy, whose job it is to fire people – as unenviable a job as any. He is also a motivational speaker whose talks centre around backpacks! He uses an empty backpack as a prop and a symbol to push his audience into rethinking their lives and priorities. That hateful backpack becomes a metaphor for failure and frustration as he graphically demonstrates how it strains shoulders and generally weighs people down. He urges his listeners to review what they stuff into the imaginary backpack without thinking….do we really need all those things? He then pushes them to empty that over- stuffed backpack and lighten their lives. His audience invariably hangs on to every word in rapt attention…. till one fine day Ryan’s own backpack does him in!
Watching Clooney deliver his lines seamlessly, smoothly and with just the right touch of sardonic humour, I wondered when and if any of our celebrated young directors will be able to reach this level of cinematic sophistication. Or even if even one of those big ticket Bollywood producers would have the confidence to back such a project. ‘Up in the Air’ is a fairly depressing and very realistic film about how the aam aadmi in America is dealing with the staggering recession and loss of jobs. Clooney’s character is far from heroic – would any of our top heroes have the guts to attempt something similar? We constantly hanker for international recognition, and while our technicians and musicians are the best in the world, just look at the embarrassing content of our blockbusters! What is the point of boasting about how many crores a film has made, when the film itself is so mediocre? Thank God for regional cinema. Never mind the fate of ‘Harishchandrachhi Factory’ at the Oscar’s. It is still a far, far better film than anything Bollywood has come up with recently – including ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘My Name is Khan.’
*************
Oh come on, Tiger Woods. Stop being such a wimp!! Save those apologies for your wife and kids ( where were they when you addressed the world?). What a shame about Woods and his sex addiction. The man had to go public and crawl in front of the media, when the whole fracas should have ended in private and he should have let his golf do all the talking at this critical point. His fans really don’t give a damn about anything else. Is he out of the woods yet?? I think not.He’ll need more than a superior swing to get him out of this mess.True celebrity means never having to say you’re sorry. Tiger’s agents\minders obviously forgot to tell him that."

31 comments:

Madhu said...

I remember how gracefully Kokilaben has handled both her sons when the Ambani empire was being split. I have no idea how her persona life is, but hearing from you, she sounds like a remarkable woman.

Backpacks! I hate them too but to put a stop to these backpack menace, one would need to bring awareness to the people of dangerous an un-attended baggage can be. But, even if people notice such baggage and report, do we have an emergency hotline where the response is...less than 10 minutes?

Orangesplaash said...

Nice post..brought to light many of the qualities of Kokilaben which remains hidden from the media glare. It was nice reading about her.
Backpacks if handled in the right manner will not become a nuisance. As such they have become an integral part of the traveler's life in Europe and America

Harman said...

Nice!

Theyoginme said...

so right about Tiger woods.. Orchestrated apologies don't have much weight. Sounds like I need to see Up in the Air. As far as Ambani brothers, until they realize that this immense wealth is left behind and they leave this world with nothing, there will be no reconciliation - but it takes two to tango doesn't it, and all our egos.. we are inherently egomaniacs.

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Neelum said...

I loved 'up in the air' too !! Very clever movie as you rightly said.
Dying to see 'Harishcnadrachi Factory' can only wait for the CD to come out or then I'll have to fly back home !!
I hear 'Natrang' is also gathering rave reviews and especially Atul Kulkarni. Have you seen it?

parwatisingari said...

guess what 1988 when I qualified as a dentist, I used to walk around with a back pack then I was the rebel pack. now as you mentioned it puts me off. :(

t o m s o n CHERIAN said...

'Chids' !! hilarious,ma'am!...
I wonder what his wife calls him..
Would it be 'Chid Anna?!!'...or chid macha!!

AaaDee said...

yet to see 'Up In the Air', have always admired the works of George Clooney..

good to know abt Kokilaben

overall a nice post..!!

Sameer said...

Good post and linking a common thread "backpack" with so many varied subjects - from a terrorist to the "Up in the air". Haven't watched the movie yet but seeing Clooney on screen is a treat in itself..so am definitely a game for the same. I completely agree abt. ur take on hollywood movies and the topics it handles. My partner and I were watching a movie called "Vantage POint" and from the minute it started it grabbed our attention. Lots of fights and car chasing scenes and they shot it so realistic. I was telling my partner how our hindi movies would have made more "dhishaw-dhishaw" out of such movies.

Regional cinema - especially marathi cinema is taking a big "shwaas" nowadays. Watched Natrang, Jogwa and Harishchandrachi Factory - all are worth watching movies. You should watch all of these as well Shibhaa. Especially watching Harishchandrachi Factory might remind you of your mom and dad and their lives. I remembered my grandparents and the type of lifestyle they had in that era. Very well made movie indeed !!

Prerak said...

Chalo Tiger Woods ki bat nikli hai toh...ek joke ho jaye...

The Pope and Tiger Woods die on the same day and because of an administrative mix up the Pope went to Hell and Tiger Woods went to Heaven. The Pope explains the situation to the administrative clerk in Hell, and after checking the paperwork admits that there is an error. "However", the clerk explains, "it would be 24 hours before it can be rectified".
Next day the Pope is called and Hell's staff bids him farewell.

On the way up, the Pope meets Tiger Woods coming down from Heaven and they stop to have a chat. "Sorry about the mix up", apologizes the Pope. "No problem" replied Tiger Woods.

Pope: "I am really anxious to get to Heaven"
Tiger: "Why is that?"
Pope: "All my life I have wanted to meet the Virgin Mary"
Tiger: "You're a day late.....!!! !!

ms said...

ah, mz de! what a tangled web we weave when we first start to deceive! (but see how vastly we improve our style after we've been practising for a while!) first the Family's woes, then our family's woes and later still, a family's woes. 'brothers in arms' has a completely new meaning these days, more like 'brothers up in arms'! who ever said that matriarchy doesn't work? and now, about our filmisphere: our superstar has contradicted himself in print. to the detractors of (hold thy breath!) MNIK, he says let the numb$r$ speak for themselves. some time ago when his RNBDJ was a boxo$$ice squib, he said numb$r$ don't mean a thing. we have become accustomed to mediocrity. but there is hope, the land that made MNIK also made dev.d, manorama 6ft under, sikander and ishqiya. so, soldier on, my lovelies! for me, save the tiger campaign has taken on greater significance, especially after his public humiliation, sorry, apology to his - fans! and his ladyloves sobbing about him not mumbling a few words for them! only in america! but, mz de, public apology is a must, remember david mulder duchovny, and our very own MLA after his hippy-hippy shake? now another sensational news: akon (of the "nekkid on de flo!" fame) is in Ra One, a superhero offering with the familyguy (have you read his tweets? god! puts the haus frau to shame). will blunders never cease?

NAT said...

Shobha,

It's no surprise that you have not deleted the comment of that scumbag Prerak. Trouble makers like him have messed up this beautiful country by creating mischief, talking/writing ill about another's Religious belief, even though in jest.

However i am not here to fight, have a verbal dual, as i believe it is like wasting pearls before a SWINE.
I beleive that such rogues are paid in due course. I do not have to spell out, how the high and mighty have fallen.
History will tell you that....
I understand that it is up to me
to decide whether i should go through such trash or not.
Likewise it is for you to decide who uses your space. Thanks.

Norman.

Prerak said...

@NAT

First of all, you are taking it personally, and please read it carefully, it's directed to Tiger Woods. I have high regards for all the religions and you REALLY don't know what length I've gone to work towards religious harmony. I DO NOT need to explain my self to you or for that matter anyone but felt urge to do so as you didn't get the point.
Secondly, you seriously need to listen to world stand-up comedy. I hate when people don't have enough sense of humor and label everything as hurting-religious-believes.
Love and peace.

PS:
1.you needlessly started abusing me but I NEVER get personal on people as I understand there are 6 billion unique ways to see this world.
2.This is not my production, I got it in my inbox from a friend, who has shared that with almost 150+ guys, with at least 6 different religious believes.

Nirbhay said...

@Shobha,
You are really a good writer.You just blogged on "back-pack" and people agreed with it.

WOW!!Keep it up.

malini said...

Yeah true, there is no better consolation for a mother than to see her only two sons reconcile and say 'a gale lag ja' mere bhai'.. Sigh i wish we could all see how futile these fights are between siblings and especially if it is a celebrity fight then its only more gossip material for tabloids to carry.

Wow, I was telling some body recently the same thing, will our actors ever be able to play these kinds of roles and actually underplay and act so naturally. even our best actors are seen hamming sometimes.
Anthony Hopkins in "Instinct" its about this guy who leaves humanity behind to live with animals and how he is brought back and kept in a mad house prison. (am sure you have watched it)
Me too- awaits tat day..
The subjects they choose to make movies about amazes me, and even till date i waiting for a subject as different as what they try. But i guess we are an evolving society, we may reach there soon.. With three idiots and taare zameen pe the somewat different revoution has begun, not to forget farhan akhtars movies too.. new age different cinema, where our hero is an average guy and not a super hero.. (Abhay Deol also represents the new aam aadmi hero)

purple momentum said...

lady, who told you to walk just behind a guy with a backpack; its like you are running your car too upclose to the one ahead of you, and when you crash your bumper, complaining why the hell did the guy hit the break...

try carrying your laptop without a backpack on a bike (nah, you dont drive a bike), or changing railway platforms carrying all the luggage; you ever done trekking or hitch hiking, lady (try doing it, without a backpack)...

btw, 'up in the air' is piece of shit...

stop criticizing bollywood, and start watching hindi movies, gulaal (awesome story, awesome tracks), kaminey (great direction, and screenplay), wake up sid (best photography), london dreams (awesaome script), ajab prem ki gajab kahani (a rajkumar santoshi movie, and superb acting by ranbir), veer (i love salman khan);
the way the movies were made have changed dear...

i think you are over- rated...

sunil golcha said...

hi shobha
i totally agree with your views on backpacks they were always a nuisance for others now they have become a symbol of terror

sunil golcha said...

who is this spineless coward calling himself purple momentum come out in the open and reveal your identity
shobha why dont you block this guy or girl or it from sending such offensive messages

purple momentum said...

@sunil...

you are a funny guy, and stop trying to be sarcastic, you suck at it...

Nirbhay said...

@Shobha,
Where in internet,can I read/see your interview on "Great Bhet"?

Thanks in advance.

Sidhusaaheb said...

Er...Have you ever been on a long trek? Try doing that without a backpack/haversack.

In order to prevent the posture being affected, I'd suggest the kind that comes with a light metal frame.


@Purple Momentum:

Even I don't drive a bike, though I own one. I ride it.

Vinay. said...

your take on backpack is good and amusing.yeh, they remind you of overpaid coolies.

*Aham* said...

Kokilaben might not really be the Aishwarya rai of Guru... but she lives on... Hope someday, she wouldnt be seen just as a shadow or a prop to be used in crises by her sons and hubby.

*******************************

Hema Malini... nahi hi hi hi hi hi... hi.. Amma is a very good dancer, she should stick to it...

regarding her Bollywood innings... I symathize with her... her empathy for Dhanno eversince sholay... shows up in every dialogue .. nahii hi hi hihi hi hi hi...

***********************************
Kasab is no more deadly, a dead letter really he is... wish he was dead too.


***********************************

Our chasmish HomeDude "Chiddu in Mundu" needs to do some homework.. what he states about backpacks might be true... but come on Chiddu Dahling, we expect measures from you... not lame excuses.

Tai Tai phiss... all his plans... up in the air...

***********************************

O! de! I toh so much am in love with regional cinema... Marathi/Bengali/Malayalam top my list of Favs. But it never goes to the oscars ...khair, forget it... even in our country, only the "Bhandarkar Formula" gets a National Award.

***********************************

Tiger... tiger.. vaasna is your right...
May every "Professional" add a lot of spice...

Pan atta... Vaat Laagli Accnture chi, poi pochee Nike.
thank God... Viagra ka sahaara, makes me smile bright.

*******************************
seruiously, he should not apologise. why...?? kashaaala... ???? he having sex with somebody has got nothing to do with golf.

Whoever are the stupid agents... need to take some lessons from our bollywood divas...

remember Bebo ka pappi ... Protima bedi ka famous Marathon...
---- and even controversies like Pooja bhatt ka birthday suit... Pooja bedi ka condom advert.. madhu ka tuff...

etc etc... our ladies have risen above all controversies... and oppositions... to maintain their brand image...

Mast mast... :)

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purple momentum said...

@ vinay...

when a normal person should see a backpack (which is on its back, with straps on the shoulder, not on his head!!!) it reminds of (i think i am pretty normal)energetic young rebellious hearts, ready to take on the world in their stride,the crazy passionate youthful energy that acts the fuel, fighting against the idotic social norms created before our time...

a backpack is the symbol of never ending journey, to never give up, to strive to reach, to go out and move onto your dreams;

and, god, 'overpaid coolies' , only an over paid fatass shitting in office wholeday, could make this association...

purple momentum said...

@vinay...

yeah, this backpack thing is sure as hell amusing...

Sujit Books said...

I hope Harishchandra chi factory gets the recognition that it deservers..Gem of a movie, painstakingly made....you are right, its way better than 3 idiots or mnik...

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