Dec 30, 2008
Dec 23, 2008
Some of the Indian movies that I watched recently , viz., Rab ne bana di jodi, Poo and Mounam pesiyathey, had one thought-provoking thing in common - they had at least one scene where the parent(s) decide about the wedding of a main character. Indian parents, traditionally, have been considering the marriage of their son/daughter as their main responsibility. So, it is not surprising that the mere mention of 'love' meets with resistance - sometimes strong and sometimes weak, depending on how 'different' the lover is, in terms of religion, caste, social status, family background, and appearance. This post is not to support or oppose arranged marriage, but my analysis from a sociological point of view.
Dec 18, 2008
Lemme try to review it the way Suhasini would do.. ;)
The director of this film, Aditya Chopra, rewrote the trend in Hindi films in 1995 with his blockbuster 'DDLJ' which is still running in Mumbai. He brought life back to a precariously placed Yash Raj films which is continuing to make 3-4 films a year. DDLJ was the first among a series of films with an NRI as the protagonist. Aditya followed DDLJ with 'Mohabbatein' 5 years later. Romance was the backbone for that movie too, but it wasnt even half as good as DDLJ. While the movie had good songs and an impressive star-cast, its story was very weak, and its scope pathetic. He took a long hiatus from directing movies and now is back with his favorite hero and a newcomer Anushka Sharma as the heroine.
The story first. Surinder (a geeky SRK with shirt, pant and specs), who works for 'Punjab Power' in Amritsar gets to marry Taani (Anushka) whose fiance dies on their wedding day due to an accident. Taani is very unhappy with the marriage and hence they both live separately in the same house. Taani joins a dance class and prepares for a competition. The introverted Suri wants to somehow win her love and undergoes a total change in his make-over, personality and everything, which make him totally opposite to what defines Suri. When Taani meets him in the dance class, she is unable to identify him as her husband. Afraid that he might not get a chance to spend time with her, he introduces himself as Raj to her and reverts back to his normal appearance at home.
Taani and Raj are assigned as dance partners. She slowly starts to like the vivacious Raj. He starts flirting with her, which meets with her resistance at first. Gradually, as they have to spend time together practicing their dance, she begins to like him. Her behavior is bittersweet to Raj, since he knows that she likes not her husband but the bubbly Raj. He goes to the extent of proposing to her and she agrees to elope with him. The movie ends with the events surrounding the final of the dance competition.
Rab ne.. walks on the edge of a sharp knife for the most part, without trying to compromise on the Indian culture and values. Though the climax is somewhat predictable, I wanted to see the way the events lead to it. After already having starred in a controversial movie like KANK, it is a risk for Shahrukh to enact a similar role. Can't say that his role comes out unscathed. His Raj character crosses the limit in 'testing' Taani by alluring and wooing her. Her anger in the climax is ridiculous, to say the least and is stereotypical of an Indian woman.
The movie suffers from huge lack of logic, which is its next major problem. First is the inability of Taani to distinguish between Suri and Raj, especially since they are the only two people with whom she interacts in Amritsar. Suri's total change in character resembles a multiple-personality disorder, only that in his case, both the personalities are very much aware of each other. Suri's reasoning for creating and sustaining Raj character is very weak, especially since he doesn't do anything to express his abundant love to Taani. 'Seeing God' in a loved one is all too much. This kind of story would have been apt for the era of previous generation only.
'Dance pe chance' has some nice lyrics and good dance; 'Phir milenge' is interesting, but the novelty in OSO's 'Om Shanti om' is missing. Shahrukh's body language is funny and entertaining in places. Anushka is just little more than a pretty doll. Her costumes - both the traditional Punjabi and dance suits are the only ones which add color to the movie. Overall, the movie is a yawn-fest most of the time; better luck, Shahrukh for the next 'My name is Khan'.
Dec 11, 2008
You can google and get loads of impressive info on this 27-year old; I was totally taken aback by his talent on this week's show. And then I came to know that he has already been an integral part of a similar talent-hunt show in the Malayalam channel 'Amrita', called Superstar Global, searching about which I came across this singer Roopa Revathi, who would put the super singer contestants into shame. Watch especially for this video below wherein she sang 'SingAra vElanE' song, with Stephen playing the piano, in front of S. Janaki, no less.
I became a huge fan of Stephen, the major reason for which is the performance below. No wonder he is the best Asian student ever at the famous London Trinity college of music.
I have noticed in the recent months that the new talent in Kerala is amazing. Considering the legends like Balamurali Krishna, KJY, Janaki,Chitra, Sujatha and Jency, I should have known sooner. I first saw some shows of Idea star singer,the first Malayalam singer-hunt show which is currently running in Asianet. Several of the contestants sing tamil songs, that too very well, with near-perfect diction. Looking at this kind of abundant talent in TN and Kerala, I wonder how there can be a place for someone like Madhusree in Tamil cine music.
Dec 6, 2008
Dec 3, 2008
The term 'Designer babies' has been largely used by the popular media (mostly in a derisive way) to define the babies who are genetically tailored in the zygotic phase in order to eliminate the risk of known genetically transmitted diseases and to increase the capacity for certain skills/straits when the child grows up. The U.S. populace is divided over the concept because of the conservative belief of 'playing the God' and socio-ethical issues. My stand on this issue is a policy-based support for the genetically-bettered babies.
Firstly, it is the responsibility of the parents to do the best for their children. One moral/bioethical question that is being asked about designing babies is that it is like violating the rights of a human being and fiddling with his/her rights without permission. I consider that, from the moment a man and woman decide to have a baby, they are interfering with the right of another human being, which is of course not present. By choosing a partner of their own liking, by eating food of their choice during pregnancy, by consuming medicines that would keep the baby free of certain infectious diseases, by choosing a medical facility based on their liking for the pregnancy treatment and child delivery, and by opting for natural or caesarian method for delivery, the parents decide what is best for their child. The society accepts all of that, even though many of such practices have been constantly evolving over the past several decades.
I presume there will be some opponents to this concept, as there are for other controversial concepts such as abortion. It is important for one to be able to defend their decision to the opponents who might very well be relatives, coworkers and/or friends. My defense would be along the following lines: The society doesn’t question if a bankrupt or extremely poor couple decides to conceive a child; no squabbles if a jailbird wants to become a parent; also, the society allows the parents of a newborn or a young child to separate upon divorce; it even permits homosexuals to adopt a child. The future of the child or the consent of the child is never considered, because for the society, the parents are those who become more important than the tender mind of the child.
If one argues that, by genetically doctoring a child, we are tinkering with the child’s freedom of life, I would say that so do all the cases mentioned above. Can we argue that, since a mother and father are required for the conception of a child, the child deserves to have both of them together at home, until he/she reaches a certain age? Can the society ban divorce of parented couple unless the child consents? Can the child sue the divorced or poor or homosexual parents for not providing him/her an ideal and peaceful environment at home? After all, the children didn’t plead the parents to give birth to/adopt them, did they? Under the terms ‘parental responsibility’, ‘parental freedom’ and ‘reproductive/biological urge’, we allow the parents to choose what they want.
Similarly, in a competitive society, the responsibility to give birth a fittest possible child also comes under the responsibility of the parents. Granted, it is a game that can be played only by rich people; I wouldn’t know how much it would be possible for me to be able to spend for the genetic design of my child, but I would do my best to ensure that there is a somewhat level-playing field for my child. In that regard, I would like my child to be born without any physical and mental disabilities and with good intelligence. As long as the purpose of altering the natural genetics of a child is for the child’s betterment, I would support it and go for it. Other attributes such as gender, height, and other physical attributes are the qualities which are governed by me and my partner so I wouldn’t want that to be altered at all. Beauty and physical attributes are left out of the ‘betterment’ criterion, because I consider that beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder, and, what appears to be a positive attribute for one person need not be so for another. So, I would let nature take its own course in deciding those features for my child.
Another concern raised by the opponents of this concept is, they feel that it would take away the excitement of watching children grow to their individual personality, and that it would negate the disease-fighting and adapting tendency of a person if he/she is largely disease-free. I correlate such resistances to the voices raised by the so-called ‘purist lovers’ of sports when technology was brought in to sort-out some on-field decisions, the verdict of which depended only on the referee/umpire’s decision. A famous English cricketer, WG Grace once mentioned to an umpire who had just given a bad decision, “People have come to see me bat, not to see you umpire”. Common sense prevailed, several sports have assimilated technology, and the quality of the sports has become better since then. Similarly, every caring parent will want the best possible life for their children; seeing the children struggle against a disease which could have been prevented, or not being able to excel in life because of limited intelligence would be akin to child abuse.
Such advancements would mean that the level and intensity of competition among the members of the future generation will be quite difficult from what we see in our times. Youngsters and adults, devoid of worries about major acquired diseases and armed with better intelligence will constantly be thriving to excel one another. That doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. One such scientist endowed with super-intelligence might invent a drug for HIV; another physician might invent quick and complete cure for brain tumor; a nanotechnologist might design cheap and highly efficient solar cells or motor vehicles which would save our planet from burning of fossil fuels.
Also, intellectuals along the same league as Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Alva Edison, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud, Richard Feynman, Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, and Isaac Newton may be born. The possibilities are endless. Is it something to be worried? Such people have made the world a better place to live, so why can’t we have more of them in the future? It doesn’t mean that we can expect all these and more such breakthroughs happen by default or in a jiffy. The emphasis would still be on good education, parental care, responsible upbringing, inculcation of moral values and respect for fellow humans.
There might be some developments such as extra-fast athleticism, super-durable sportsmen, and extra-strong anti-social elements. In addition, there is a possibility that, those who cannot afford to have the genetically modified babies will continue to produce the ‘normal’ ones, leading to a divided society based on some new factor. But these are some of the issues that the politicians and sociologists need to consider and work about. American history suggests that, when the cars were introduced for the first time, only the rich could afford it initially; but the society as a whole started working very hard with a goal-driven desire to own a car. This led to the industrial revolution and the U.S. has never looked back since then. Such a phenomenon is highly likely to recur, since the stakes are quite high this time around. And America being a free society is always more welcoming to new developments in science and technology than dwell over the negative repercussions.
I think it is human nature to be circumspect when an extraordinary breakthrough is just around the corner. It is more so the case with conservatives and those who place religion above everything else. The numerous medical advancements that the genetic engineering promises must allow its opponents to let the scientists do their job under the watchful eyes of the Government and eminent scholars.