Tuesday, December 12, 2017



In between two jobs, at home, I have been watching this movie played again and again by various Hindi movie channels, at different times.

In the past, I have entertained and delighted myself with it.
Now, I wonder at it.

One of the best or perhaps The best movie ever made in Indian cinema, I think.
More importantly, I think, such a complete movie it is!
It has all of the ‘navarasas’, the complete range of emotions that humans experience. And more.
There is comedy, there s tragedy. Laughter, anger, hatred, revenge, melancholy, devotion, friendship, romance, sacrifice, heroism, horror, tenderness, gaiety, community living, religious harmony, gravity, frivolity,…
There is story, there are dialogues, well sketched characters, power, thunder, nuance and much more…
For all that it has to offer, and for all that it is packed with, it is such a calm, quiet and gracefully slow movie.
Stealing a few words from Kazuo Ishiguro, it’s a movie that simply ‘knows’ it is great and does not need unseemly demonstrations to prove its greatness.

Another thing remarkable in the movie is Rahim Chacha, the imam in the village, played by A K Hangal.
Remarkable because he is the benign Muslim that the world has forgotten - gentle, wise, compassionate, good tempered, humble, imploring…and much more. So incredibly different from the malignant one in today’s cinema where a Muslim character mostly plays a terrorist’s role or at best a cop or a regular character, somewhat neutral but never benign.

Mehbooba mehbooba is the song I look forward to and do not want to miss. During the recent watching, I took a great liking to the Holi song. Ye Dosti is good too. I dont like the others much.

Over the years however, I have grown either weak or sensitive. I watch only until the entertainment lasts. Once the horror begins, towards the end, I switch to a different channel. I cant stand blood and gore; I pushed myself once, but when they broke a bottle and hinted at Basanti to dance on the pieces of broken glass, I could take it no more.
But most important of all, I think I do not want to watch Amitabh dying.

A dear friend, Nitish, happened to tell me that the movie apparently did not do very well initially, when it was released and also, some critics had found faults with the movie, like Amitabh had not acted well and so on… I and friend had a good laugh over the matter and remarked what terrible fools those must have looked like later on when the whole world was awed by it…

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ladhak & Kashmir 2010 - Day 10 - Zanskar - Karsha Monastery

Karsha monastery is one of the most spectacular monasteries because its a complex of buildings cascading down a steep hill side while maintaining more or less the same width from the top to the bottom like a calendar were unfolding unlike Thikshe that spreads out as it cascades down a not so steep hill.
The vast plain around helps to keep the monastery in view as you start driving towards it from afar, providing a perspective of its location, size and significance in its surroundings.

The Karsha Gompa, the largest in the Ladakh, is dated to 11th century AD, and is supposed to have been founded by someone who translated many Sanskrit Buddhist writings to Tibetan.

In the middle of the Dukhang, encased in glass, is a guilded mandala dedicated to Mahakala; depicting a castle, the mandala is 3 dimensional representation of the abode of Mahakala. It dates back 500 years and was brought from Tibet.

It was the Tamil Christian that accompanied us, and the driver, as I remember.

The motorable road stopped at a point.

To reach the monastery we had to climb a steep path though gravelled, cemented and some stairs here and there. I was happy to see my mother making slow but steady progress on that path without complaining, and actually smiling now and then. I even taught her to walk backwards when her limbs hurt, it was some ‘technique’ I had discovered very randomly and found helpful. She even tried it and reported to my father when we reached the hotel at noon. He had chosen to stay back. For him, it was the same gompa, same Buddha everywhere you went.

We also entered the abode of some monks. There were utensils, a fireplace, and 2 monks chopping carrots, beans and onions on a wooden board.
Fortunately it was prayer time and the prayer hall was peopled. We sat there for a while through the chanting.