Tag: national anthem

Days 4, 5, and 6 at MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2018

After having enjoyed three films on day 3, I came back to my normal on days 4 and 5. Because I was working, I could only catch one movie per day. This time one at PVR Kurla and the other at PVR Mulund. I can say I really missed the hustle bustle of PVR ICON and PVR ECX.

Day 4 was strictly for Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal while day 5 had me sitting to watch a weird and one of the most disappointing films for me at MAMI this year, Ali Abbasi’s Border. Day 6 was slightly better with Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s The Gentle Indifference of the World and Shinichiro Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead. A friend described the former as a cherry on the cake this year. It is a brilliant LOL film and is bound to make your jaw pain from all the laughing.

MAMI 2018 screening

The screen just before a movie starts at MAMI 2018.

I also observed a few more things these past three days. Here they are in more detail.

Day 4 at MAMI 2018

It was not surprising to see that the queues outside auditorium 8 at PVR Kurla was the opposite of what I saw in the Andheri theaters. Hardly a few dozens had turned up initially, and so, everyone in the standby line could get in.

As usual, I skipped the PVR cafeteria and grabbed some snacks from the Phoenix Market City food court before the show. Rajma Chawal was screened at 8.15 and so began my first true Bollywood experience at the fest this year.

To be honest, it is not as good as Parched (2016), Yadav’s debut feature produced by Ajay Devgn. This Hindi-language drama here has its moments with Rishi Kapoor and Amyra Dastur being the only saving grace, but overall it’s still a cliched story about the father-son relationship. My short review here. If you still want to catch it, it will be out on Netflix sometime in November.

An Issue with the National Anthem, You Say?

Going back home on day 3 was when I read the news about director Vishal Bhardwaj criticizing the Films Division of India (FDI) for producing an erroneous version of the Indian national anthem. He tweeted that the song goes off-tune sometime in the middle, which apparently hurts the ear (I get it) and the soul (I don’t). I stopped following that news thereafter so I don’t know if the ministry rectified it.

I don’t really pay much attention to the song in the first place, but I did so on day 5…

Day 5 at MAMI 2018

I think I was the only one paying extra close attention to the national anthem that day at PVR Mulund. Honestly, I couldn’t pick up the error. But those who have replied to Bhardwaj’s tweet seem to be able to. Maybe they rectified it.

But what is more disappointing is that I had to sustain Ali Abbasi’s Swedish drama Border that day for close to 100 minutes. Perhaps the only film I rated 3 stars out of 10 (spoilers!) this year, it almost put me to sleep. Although I get the theme and what director Abbasi wanted to convey, Border did not give me a pleasant experience. Which again is not a wrong thing because not all films can give you pleasure. Look what The Gentle Indifference of the World did to me…

Day 6 at MAMI 2018

I was at Le Reve, Bandra on day 6 of the fest. A plush theater with some great paintings on the walls. I think Yerzhanov’s Kazakhstani dull drama was equally beautiful but not my type. To describe it in one word: ridiculous. It felt like the makers did not know what to do with the narrative, so they hired a 4-year old to complete it. Maybe that’s what happened. My review on IMDb here.

The second film of day 6 was at PVR Mulund and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Director Ueda’s Japanese horror-comedy One Cut of the Dead is a brilliant zombie experience that only gets better as you move ahead in the narration. I was blown away.

A Lot of People Talking

At the last screening, for the first time, I asked someone to keep quiet. They were sitting right in front of me and discussing the film while it was being projected. I mean, what kind of a monster does one have to be to discuss a film while it’s playing? It was a group of three college students, I believe, who were just randomly commentating the film. As if they wanted to break down the film’s logic.

I truly believe that there should be a no-talking policy at MAMI. Anyone who is caught talking should be thrown out of the hall after one warning. Let them talk all they want outside the hall.

 

The total film counter is at ten right now. I hope to catch at least 3 more films on day 7, the final day, but I’m not sure about the closing film. If I can somehow manage to get a seat, I can confidently say that MAMI 2018 has been the best for me in all these years. TN.

Why I Am Always Late to the Movies These Days?

Some people who know me might think it’s because of my perennial habit of being late (to school, college, dates, and now even work). I assure you it’s not.

It’s because of two things, primarily. One, because of that redundant anti-smoking advertisement that takes you through the disadvantages and consequences of smoking. While we are subjected to that pointlessness only once – at the start – in Hindi films, in Malayalam films, they show it even before the start of the second half. You buy a medium-sized bucket of popcorn using the money you got after selling your house and now you start nibbling at it watching some folks crib about making some pretty bad life decisions. I am 100% sure that not one smoker who has watched these ads has kicked the butt because of them. But, then you would claim that such adverts have been appearing since Marco Polo immodestly wrote the description of the world. I agree to that point, but these days, it’s almost like a short feature film. It’s like to watch a 2-hour long movie, you have to watch another movie, and that too, featuring the Wall.

Secondly, and this one is important, the forceful patriotism. Yes, I have stood up countless times for the national anthem before a film, and still do whenever I am at an event and they play it. But, after the Supreme Court verdict, even my body refuses to give in to the newfound practice of forcing patriotism on people. Only a fool would go to a movie these days and not stand up during the national anthem. The better alternative is to just be late. (I’m sorry, fellow cinema-goers who have to shift in their seats to let me in.) Missing few intro scenes of a film is a lot better than having to consume your dose of entertainment with patriotism and righteousness forced into you by conservatives.

An acquaintance of mine has just stopped going to the movies since the SC verdict, but a cinema aficionado like me just cannot do that. Can I?

The Moral Folks create a National An(a)them(a)

While I have always wondered why our National Anthem Jana Gana Mana is played in the cinemas before a movie starts, I haven’t yet been able to find the reason behind it. All I came up with was that the tradition is being followed since the pre-Independence era, simply out of patriotism. It was the British National Anthem then. After finding many things else but an answer to that wonder, I next wandered to another question: What are the different types of videos that accompany the anthem? There are at least 4-5 different videos that play, the most patriotic one being the Siachen Glacier edition. Unfortunately that one was dismissed recently and now we have either that of the animated tricolor fluttering unnaturally or the one where the two greatest female singers of India sing gracefully.

There are lots of people who crib about the selection of edition when they go for a movie. And if the movie is a big-time bore, they discuss the various editions instead. The clear loser we can deduce from these discussions is the animated fluttering Indian flag edition, hands down. But, the scope of this article is to not care about such people. I am more interested in the guys who take moral policing in their own hands as if we don’t already have enough policemen who are behooved to act against women adopting immoral dressing trends. Whom I like to call the “moral folks.”

Lets keep the actual police out if it and focus on the case in hand: is it wrong to refuse (or voluntarily choose not to) stand up when our National Anthem is being played, irrespective of the place or situation? The debate will be meaningless. The recent cases against people (including foreign nationals) who refused to stand up in a cinema hall during the National Anthem puts light into the lack of law awareness we all have. It is in a person’s intellectual freedom to stand up or not for the National Anthem. It is not something to be dragged into a court or a police station. There are tens of students (at least from where I stand, on a particular day) in my college who don’t care at all when the National Anthem is sung (not played) every morning. Maybe it’s because they can’t hear it as it is sung in the first floor and people here in the third floor are losing the flow or restarting it out in the middle. So, the anthem goes on for about 10 minutes and we reach the climax with a bad taste in our mood. Change the situation: lets put these tens of students in the first floor, near the potential patriotic students (2 males, 2 females) who are singing and you will see all of them following the tradition of halting (if they were walking) and standing up (if they were sitting), and ending it with powerful tri-chants of (Bharat Mata ki) “Jai” with fisted hands in the air whereafter the most physically and visually fit guy (who shouts the chant’s prelude) prides in his strong voice and looks around if all the cute girls (1 or 2) saw how wildly patriotic and strong a man he is.

So, there we have. The students just followed the tradition not only just because they wanted to and to prevent making a spectacle of themselves by not following what every other person seemed to follow without protest, but also because there is a tiny speck sense of patriotism that is evoked from respecting and listening to the anthem. It is an intellectual thing. Ask an Indian which is the most patriotic national anth…? Before you complete the question, the reply will be “India.” Ask a Brit or an Oz or a Scot and we all know what they will say. There is nothing moral about the gesture. If you want to stand up, stand up. If you don’t, lets not be Preity Zinta, the latest voice of our moral folks.

The reason behind not following the tradition could be either an intellectual issue, like I have mentioned before, or a religious issue, a topic which I hate to touch. Taking a step forward and charging a person for sedition for not standing up to attention during the anthem is as bizarre as the laws which these moral folks have created as their weapon. There is only one legal provision relating to dishonour to the anthem and it criminalizes intentional prevention or disruption of singing of the anthem. So, surely, someone who does not subscribe to the notion of standing to attention, without disrupting or preventing others, would never be guilty.

This whole drama concerning our anthem has been a mockery of our own little act of showing patriotism and has been turned into people’s latest anathema by the moral folks. Now, people will stand to attention out of fear. Out of fear for the thing they previously used to love and adore and respect. Between this hullabaloo, we are risking to lose a small but important part of our patriotic tradition. Standing up to attention and singing along the anthem has always been a lovable activity for me and mostly all the people I know, but blame these moral folks, we might have to handle this aftermath with utmost care to restore the national decorum.

Note: With certain sentences, verbatim, from Somasekhar Sundaresan’s October 24, 2014 Mumbai Mirror article “Worshipping false Gods”.