Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire Plot Fail


This is a screenshot from Slumdog's Wikipedia page, and might be corrected the next time you see it.

Also: my short review of the film.

Slumdog Millionaire Lyrics - Jai ho

I saw Slumdog Millionaire for the first time a couple of weeks before it hit the Indian theatres. My wife had managed to get a downloaded copy from her office. As we watched it on our laptop, I was blown away by the first 15 minutes. I said, let's watch this on the big screen, it'd be totally worth it. She argued that the India release was still a long way away, so we continued watching.

Last weekend, we saw it on the big screen the day it hit India. Our schedule allowed us to watch the dubbed version, and we settled for it. It still was pretty good since much of the dialogue is in Hindi anyway.

My frank assessment of the film: it's very good. Rich cinematography, beautifully paced, well directed, well acted. Dev Patel and the kids were fantastic and AR Rahman's score is of the rare kind that lifts the overall quality of a picture. Hans Zimmer's score for The Dark Knight is another example. If anybody deserves an award for Slumdog, Rahman does. Anil Kapoor was a bit loud - in the film and at the Golden Globes. Reports also say he has developed a clipped accent overnight.

There was a matter-of-factness in the narration. It was authoritative story telling, the kind that respects a viewer's time and intelligence. I find that missing from Indian movies, where the emphasis is not on story-telling but on star actors.

But is the film worth the hype? I don't think so. Would I put it on my Films To Watch Before You Die list? No.

Another thing I don't understand is why some Indians choose to rubbish the film as a westerner's take on Indian poverty. The last time I checked, the story was a perfectly Indian one. Danny Boyle's team only made a film out of it, and a pretty good one at that. I'd endorse it whole-heartedly.

Jai Ho!

I looked around for the lyrics to Slumdog Millionaire's soundtrack and I was appalled by the search results. So I asked the wife to help me transcribe the lyrics to Jai Ho. We obviously couldn't understand the bits in the foreign languages so we left them out. Here are the lyrics. If you spot mistakes, please leave a comment. I'll update this with a credit line.

Jai ho! [x4]

Aaja aaja jind-e-shamiyaane ke tale
Aaja zari wale nile aasmaan ke tale

Jai ho [x2]

Aaja aaja jind-e-shamiyaane ke tale
Aaja zari wale nile aasmaan ke tale

Jai ho [x2]

Jai ho [x8]

Ratti ratti sacchi maine jaan gawaai hai
Nach nach koylo pe raat bitaai hai

Akhiyo ki neend maine phookho se uda di
Gin gin taare maine ungli jalaayi hai

Aaja aaja jind-e-shamiyaane ke tale
Aaja zari wale nile aasmaan ke tale

Jai ho [x4]

Jai ho [x8]

Chakh le, haan chakh le
Yeh raat shahad hai

Chakh le
Rakh le
Aa dil hai, dil aakhri hadd hai

Rakh le, kaala kaala kaajal tera
Koi kaala jaadu hai na

Kaala kaala kaajal tera
Koi kaala jaadu hai na

Aaja aaja jind-e-shamiyaane ke tale
Aaja zari wale nile aasmaan ke tale

Jai ho [x2]

Jai ho [x5]

Kab se, haan kab se
Jo lab pe ruki hai

Keh de
Keh de
Haan keh de, ab aankh jhuki hai

Keh de, aisi aisi roshan aankhein
Roshan dono heerein hain kya?

Aaja aaja jind-e-shamiyaane ke tale
Aaja zari wale nile aasmaan ke tale

Jai ho [x8]

In Hindi

जय हो! [x ४]

आजा आजा जिंद-ऐ-शामिआने के तले
आजा ज़री वाले नीले आसमां के तले

जय हो! [x २]

आजा आजा जिंद-ऐ-शामिआने के तले
आजा ज़री वाले नीले आसमां के तले

जय हो! [x 8]

रत्ती रत्ती सच्ची मैंने जान गवाईं है
नच नच कोयलों पे रात बिताई है

अंखियों की नींद मैंने फूकों से उड़ा दी
गिन गिन तारे मैंने उंगलियाँ जलायीं हैं

आजा आजा जिंद-ऐ-शामिआने के तले
आजा ज़री वाले नीले आसमां के तले

जय हो! [x 4]

जय हो! [x 8]

चख ले, हाँ चख ले
यह रात शहद है

चख ले, रख ले
आ दिल है, दिल आखरी हद है

रख ले, काला काला काजल तेरा
कोई काला जादू है ना

काला काला काजल तेरा
कोई काला जादू है ना

आजा आजा जिंद-ऐ-शामिआने के तले
आजा ज़री वाले नीले आसमां के तले

जय हो! [x 2]

जय हो! [x 5]

कब से, हाँ कब से
जो लब पे रुकी है

कह दे, कह दे
हाँ कह दे, अब आँख झुकी है

कह दे, ऐसी ऐसी रोशन आँखें
रोशन दोनों हीरें हैं क्या?

आजा आजा जिंद-ऐ-शामिआने के तले
आजा ज़री वाले नीले आसमां के तले

जय हो! [x 8]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On censoring India's news media

Vinod Mehta, the editor of Outlook, had said sometime back that the reader is a nice hypocrite. And he's right. We criticise our papers and channels for their journalistic standards, but we don’t do the one thing that would stop these media houses from doing what they do: stop subscribing to them.

The operations of media houses, like any other business houses, are largely dictated by subscriber demand. Had the subscriber demanded greater journalistic integrity, he would have got it. He didn’t. He chose to watch the tamasha – the cat stuck on the rooftop, or the man holding a gun to his own head — but insisted, as he watched, that this programming is rubbish.

Hence, it’s dangerous when the same people ask the government to regulate the news media. Regulation won’t solve a thing. It would only feed more power into the hands of the government to keep critical information away from the public. I’d agree that self-regulation is a way forward, but state-endorsed censorship would prove disastrous.

I agree with Vir Sanghvi’s thoughts in the recent edition of his column, Counterpoint.
One of my concerns is that we have lost sight of the distinction between ‘bad’ and ‘unethical’. You may not like my articles. You may think I write badly. You may not think much of the HT as a whole, even.


The recourse available to you is not legal; it is commercial. Stop buying the HT. Or at any rate, stop reading me. But you cannot demand a ban on me or the paper because you think my articles are crap, or because if I pontificate too much.

It’s the same with TV. To say — as I do — that the channels did not cover themselves with glory is not to say that therefore, they should be censored or banned.
It is plain commerce. Why is it so hard to understand in a country that's known to be good at trade?

Monday, January 12, 2009

The greatest piece of choreography in the history of Indian cinema

No shit.

On Google, I looked up the title of the film, Pyaasi Raat, and found this article on Passionforcinema:
for fuck’s sake this was shot on FILM……it went to the processing lab and they even fucking edited this……..there was a singer….someone wrote it….someone sung it…there was a studio booked for this……someone held a crew at ransom to shoot this….how the hell did anyone pull this off……i soooo want to watch the entire film…….HOW CAN I FIND IT?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy says the second worst poetry in the universe is by Azgoths of Kria. It's so bad that:
...during a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem Ode To A Small Lump of Green Putty I Found In My Armpit One Midsummer Morning four of his audience died of internal haemmorhaging, and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off.

Grunthos is reported to have been 'disappointed' by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilisation, leap straight up through his neck and throttle his brain.
And why am I talking about The Guide? What you're about to see here might just make your intestine make an attempt on your life.

There will be some of you reading this from your offices where Youtube is blocked, so you will see an empty white space above this.

You can see the video on a proxy website. Just paste this link at any of these websites: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Update: A colleague asked me why I was searching Pyaasi Raat on Google. In my defense, I have to say that I decided to search for details of the film after I read its name in one of the comments on the video. I'm innocent. I don't even have two gigabytes of porn on my laptop. God promise!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Shave Your Back

I'm bored of the usual "Happy New Year" and "Thank You" and "Same To You".

You can say, "Shave Your Back To You Too."

I downloaded a nice wallpaper for my workstation.

You can get it off Smashing Magazine's January 2009 wallpapers.