Thursday, December 29, 2005

pickpocket . the marriage of maria braun

ninad, mukul, sonal, ranjit and me sat and saw two films today. the first was robert bresson’s ‘pickpocket’. i had seen ‘l’argent’ and ‘mouchette’ before and this film was also similar with its taut precise tone following a man who chooses to commit crimes because he believes he should be allowed to. i loved the general tone of the film, like i had of the other two films; and the smooth choreography of the pickpocketing sequences.

the heroine of fassbinders’ ‘the marriage of maria braun’ reminded me of the madonna of her ‘true blue’ period. the same kind of hard headed simple ambition and chutzpah as she uses her beauty and her intelligence to achieve what she sets out to do (for the sake of her missing husband). cool quote: “i'm a master of deceit: a capitalist tool by day, and by night an agent of the proletarian masses - the mata hari of the economic miracle.”

both great films, by the way.

more wedding snaps

the powai party

the wedding

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

in the heat of the night . king kong

in the heat of the night is one of dads favourite films from his college days, which means that it has gained legendary status at our place in his stories- everytime a new movie comes along it is compared to the idea of ‘in the heat of the night’ and is invariably not as good. the other day i saw it at home with dad- and it was to be quite honest not the classic it was made out to be- though not that i was expecting it to be- but it was actually quite good. a murder gets committed in the american south and a black police officer from the north helps the local officer solve the crime. a story that revolved more around the race relations than the revealing of the murderer. sidney poitier and rod steiger were terrific.

mukul has been raving about king kong ever since he saw it a week or so back. sonal, mukul and me went off to the hub for an afternoon show. the story is part titanic, part jurassic park, part creatures and a large adorable monkey. its like a classic hollywood adventure movie about human nature and the unknown, love and the untamed wild - at least i guess that’s what all the joseph conrad’s ‘heart of darkness’ quotes were about. i loved the film.. like i was telling muksi it seemed like a complete movie going experience- like a hollywood version of a bollywood film- a little bit of comedy, a lot of love and some great fight sequences thrown in. and the special effects were so fantastic that they did not seem “special” in any extraordinary way. i also loved the slight but definite references to other films and genres of film making- as if so many new films owed so much to the original 1930s film.

a quote i remember from the film- again jack black as the pompous director – “it was beauty that killed the beast”

Monday, December 26, 2005

wedding snaps

wedding reception

the reception was held sunday at mary immaculate girls high school on the basketball courts at the base of the hill. sonal and meghana are both from the same school and their sister superiors strict warnings were watching over the proceedings. people from everywhere turned up. over a 1000 it seems- at last count. sonal was looking jhataak in her new electric blue sari and so was apurva in her black. chinmaya, anuja, suren uncle, meena, adheem, anil mama, venks uncle, prabha mami, tilak and his parents, rajesh, johnny, mukul, ranjit wearing a sexy black, medha.. etc etc. over the past two days medha, priyanka and their parents have been sleeping over at our place along with radhikas parents. its nice to have guests once in a while. its too bad that the only entertainment i can give them is a trip to inrobit.

the streets near the church have all been decorated with lights in front of the shops. it looks lovely in the evenings.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

party at powai

at the college party at pride, irla- a haze of too many long island iced teas and a love fest between rupali, prasad and me leaving me with a throbbing hangover in yesterdays wedding party at powai,where the lawns were lit and my mother and usha maushi played the anxious hosts, the ten pm deadline stopped our feet from moving but kept the neighbors who were overlooking the garden happy. i realized just how weird the faces i make while dancing are in the video sonal shot of me and meghana doing ‘aisa jadoo daala re’. priyanka and medha are adorable dancers; it was nice of aditya bhat to take time off his busy star marketing schedule to come for the party; why doesn’t radha dance?; astad and mukul had a long conversation about astad; hetal has all the moves on the dancefloor down pat; rahul and sushma were 2 hours late in a three hour party; meghana looking gorgeous; sonal looking lovely; all in all a lovely evening.

Friday, December 23, 2005

photo post 2

aditya and prasad

the paperwork for the caa meeting

the caa committee announcing the validation

paul in the canteen


saurabh and namrata in the design cell

third year kids in the canteen


amisha and dhanashree

photo post 1

radha and gauri- vikrams wife at 'sea rock'

arun mama and radha at the 'vanita samaj'

the singing program at the vanita samaj

a view from bandu mamas house at sion

one more from the unbearable concert

foram, neha and ashwini at harmony

the row house at harmony

shakti showing the kids around at harmony

aditi, vikram and gautam at bandu mamas house

radha, rekha mami and neelima- aditis mother at bandu mamas house

since i finally have a net connection in the house courtesy mtnl, i thought i will post some photographs from my cell phone of the past few days

meghana's wedding

meghana got married today in a lovely arya samaj ceremony in the garden behind her house. the mandap designed by hemant mama was red and white splendour against the mango trees on the hills and the morning light casting shadows on the cloth. the colours were all lovely.. meghanas yellow paithani, ashish's off whote kurta, madhavi mamis yellow and blue silk and hemant mama's raw silk shirt.

this arya samaj ceremony is interesting. short, precise and easy to understand- even the pandit was a handsome entertainer. mukul and me with our cameras- mine a still nikon and his a dv cam- were competing with the official photographer for prime position to click photos. the results will be with us in the evening. shall post some samples soon.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

'harmony'. ' bluffmaster'. 'encounter'. taxes. family dinner

monday was a study trip to harmony- shakti’s huge high end residential building at marve beach near the resort. duplex apartments, row houses and a huge bungalow overlooking the sea. a landscaped garden with fountains and the secretary was a bappi lahiri lookalike who lived alone in the penthouse. he welcomed us in because of the ‘pretty girls’ and did not mind if some of them got left behind. we squirmed and ran out to tea sponsored by shakti at the ‘resort’. the borivili gang – dipti, vivek, krina and apeskha and me with huge club sandwiches embarrassed by shaktis generosity.

went directly to mukuls house later where i met his current visitors- a half german half bengali doctor indrajit and his beautiful jewish girlfriend miriam. they were quite adorable. our entertainment for the evening was ‘bluffmaster’ at ‘the hub’. i don’t know why the reviews were so awful. it is perhaps not as nice as bunty aur bubli but, abhisheks suave charm and priyanka chopras hot innocent diva were pretty watchable. so were ritiesh, nana patekar and boman irani. not much of a plot, but i loved the unusual funky remix soundtrack- not to mention the gorgeous bombay city shots.

tuesday, mukul, me and the foreigners went out to ‘sea view’ watching massage boys and gorging ourselves on pork chilly dry before miri had to leave for the airport and the cold wind was too much for me to bear anymore.

for the ‘encounter’ - amit dutta’s ‘ksha tra gya’ and ‘ma pa’. films that he has made at the ftii. stunning visually, i thought- and i did like the idea of the pre existing narrative that exists in our memories of our childhoods- the stories that we were told or that we read, that is a sourcebook from where we construct our own narratives.

in the evening, much to my resistance i went to powai to my mothers office where dinesh geave me and mukul a lecture on tax planning and investments. i managed , i think to follow about 15% of it. the rest, i trust in him.

i cant believe i was dragged off to another family function in the evening.. all the way to sion in bandu mamas penthouse apartment overlooking sion flyover and dharavi. the views were quite something in the night and i drank baileys irish cream which made me happy enough.
i also got me a nice green leather wallet fro the sofa maker gulab’s showrrom on the main dharavi road in which i have all my stuff now.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

architecture orgies and wedding season

this end of december seems like its going to be crazy. not only have i just attended two functions in the past few days for gautams wedding, the coming week there are four events planned.

i hung out all day at andheri on friday so that i could attend gautams big party at sea rock in the evening. i was helped along by amit who came with me to the big materials and construction show at bandra kurla complex. this humongous event has a reputation for promising the world and delivering some dirt. this year the list of presenters was like a whos who of international architects, and finally we had some local architects showing some of their work. ainsley and a few students attended from the fourth year. they seemed to enjoy themselves.

the rest of the college, i.e. almost the entire 2nd and 3rd years have gone to ahmedabad for the other big architectural fiasco of the weekend. 12 x 12- it calls itself- hordes of architects thronging to the self proclaimed mecca of architectural education in india to show 12 minute presentations to each other. sounded like one huge architectural orgy to me; could not stand the thought of being in a place where so many egos would be vying for first place in the strange war between ideology and practice. samira, manoj, shantanu, vandana and pinkish are going too. best of luck to them.

but back to the wedding parties. the sea rock hotel to me was a tacky monstrosity that hung to the tip of bandra, until the new taj lands end came along. the last i had heard of it was that the place had been run aground. i was surprised when i heard that gautams party was being held at it. i arrived there alone wearing my fancy new priyadarshini rao shirt and met the bhats in full flow. vikram, his wife and kid, radha, bhau mama, rekha mami, gautam of course- and some of deepals family. the crowd was mainly gautams considerable friends from work and school and the neighbourhood. the party seemed to be rocking really hard and though i tried dancing with the handful of people i knew there to the bhangda and the bollywood remixes that were playing, my dancing partners were constantly thwarted in their attempts by crying babies or just plain shyness. frustrated, i left- still waiting for meghana who was at a nearby club and refused to come and save me. i have not forgiven her yet for that.

these evening functions tend to take a toll on my mornings. yesterday after college, some design work, a huge kitchen shopping expedition at tardeo, i had to attemd another function for the gautam-deepal wedding. this time it was a singing program at vanita samaj, dadar- just off shivaji park. shamelessly wearing the same shirt as the day before i arrived having learnt my lesson from the earlier night, a little late.. and was still one of the first people there. mom, usha maushi and dharmu mama were sitting the plastic moulded chairs in front of the stage prepared for the occasion but most of the rest of the place was empty. i was dying of hunger and though i could see the good marathi food to the rear, was forced to be polite and wait for the program to end before eating. the singer chose beautiful songs and went ahead and massacred them one by one. in between he regaled us with trivia and history of the singers and composers that we, quite frankly, could have done without- if the man could sing. give me an indian idol contestant any day. the marathi food was good.

and for all you ‘nach baliye’ fans i also met my cousin aditya after a long time. he works for ‘star one’ and he told me that the varun rajeshwari fumble was not rigged and sachin and supriya actually won the show fair and square. he also gave us some real juice on the back stage happenings of the show- that i am far too bored to mention here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

freshers return - colours:black - vikalp and the arts and crafts - 'dastak'

since the net is still not working at home and the mtnl guys have still not come to fix my new dsl connection, i am forced to write this in college in between classes and meetings. paul thankfully gave the school a holiday on monday, so i was at home vegetating, and in the evening went over to mukuls house for some chicken. school began on tuesday with the usual hectic schedule. its crazy the number of things that are going on simultaneously. amit has put together the office as well and now we can actually work in it from 3 pm onwards.

tuesday amit, mayuri and me along with our clients went stone shopping in parle. in the evening a freshers’ return party where i was (as usual) the oldest person around- ‘rock bottom’ at the raimee international hotel in juhu.. a dark basement with mirrorwork curtains and terrible house music. had a margarita for whopping 400 bucks, hopped around a little and left.

yesterday mamta came to college for an encounter. she showed he child abuse film- colors – black’ and her multimedia work. she also showed the iraq stall that we had worked on together for the world social forum. afterwards we went out for lunch to the fancy bengali food place at andheri- ‘oh, calcutta.’

in the evening mukul and me went to the vikalp screenings. the audience has gotten minuscule nowadays and there were hardly 10 people to watch the two films of the day. it really is about the place- bhupesh gupta bhavan in prabhadevi is ridiculously inaccessible even by train and by car there is no parking anywhere. besides which the room where screenings are held is also crappy. hopefully we might be able to host parallel screenings in the institute if things work out. the movies yesterday were both on traditional crafts of the country and their relationships with society- where they emerge from and what role to they take as commodities in our economy. ‘in you pause.. in a museum of craft’ revolved around the indian crafts museum in delhi- correas exoticizing building that cute-ifies all the artifacts in it. the second was a film about madhubani paintings and the women and men who are involved in creating them. not bad- but too long.

also one morning i saw ‘dastak’; this old black and white film where snajeev kumar and rehana sultan play a rural muslim couple who come to bombay where sanjeev kumar gets a job in the corporation. the house that they move into once belonged to a prostitute, and her customers keep coming to it asking for her, finding the innocent rehana sultan instead. the movie traced the gradual disintegration of morality and innocence due to urban life in both the characters. the end was a bit of a cop out, but the movie was actually quite amazing otherwise. and the music was sublime.

Monday, December 12, 2005

accreditation . shopping . ‘dombivili fast’

on saturday the long preparation for the caa evaluation finally paid off. the krvia is now a commonwealth accredited institute. the kids were elated and when the announcement came in the staff room where all the school had gathered, it felt like the last scene in a hollywood sports film. the board had one person from new zealand, one from london, one from bangladesh, one from delhi and one from pune. while they grilled us during the day; in the evening dinner at the club on the first day- they were very funny and sociable. i actually sang ‘ebony and ivory’ with one of them .

now that was a truly great krvia party- a rarity. we went out for beer with them after the announcement at sea view overlooking juhu beach after being lifted by the students in celebration- one by one.. first kausik, then me, then kaiwan, ainsley and paul.. like we were the coaches of an american football team..

yesterday mom, dad and me went shopping fro clothes to inorbit. i thin i have become a designer junkie. bought two priyadarshini rao linen shirts. bright red and green.

also went and saw the new marathi film ‘dombivili fast’. a take on the michael douglas ‘falling down’ set in mumbai. a white collar straight laced marathi brahmin man living in dombivili and traveling the crowded trains every single day to work, reacts violently to the small and larger abuses on civil society by corruption and laziness. well acted, but the reactionary right wing politics were extremely annoying. a crowd pleaser in the worst possible way. the crowd addressed being the pompous self satisfied green eyed and fair aptes and kulkarnis of parle east, complaining about the greedy biharis taking over ‘their’ city, or the corrupt gujaratis and their money minded ways. awfully off-putting in a film that otherwise was interesting a take on the urban angst of the common man. its too bad the common man himself is really not so admirable.

Friday, December 09, 2005

'subarnarekha' again - darukhana ,kelvan, 'wings of desire' , dinner parties , caa exhibition

in the middle of the madness preparing for the caa inspections, i thought i might as well take my mind off it and type an update for the blog. after all it seemed like a lot has been going on, and i will completely forget it if i delay any longer. whats the point in living a life, if you never knew it happened later on?

saturday, i think is where i will begin. subarnarekha is a beautiful film. though i did not sob uncontrollably as i did in the ftii screening room, the images still were able to completely stun me. the kids in my elective seemed interested- but don’t know how much it affected them. i don’t know how such a media savvy audience will be able to put aside its misgivings and revel in the melodrama of the movie. i think i shall talk to them abut it later.

ranjit came over to college and him, mukul and me drove to the eastern waterfronts. ranjit was very curious about them and i had told him that i knew the way. started all the way in the south near vt and drove up to darukhana. the ship breaking yard was as dramatic as ever- though there were no ships there this time. the scarred and burnt out metal landscape is frightening. across the bays on the fingers that reach into the water the shanties reached out over the water on forests of thin wooden posts. the landscape was perhaps too brutal for the photography expedition that was the purported reason for the trip. this was not so regarding the empty warehouses to the north where we photographed ourselves glamorously against the rust of the goods trains.

on the way back we discovered this new road. the mumbai port trust has opened up a connector to mahul past mangroves and salt pans. it is a beautiful ride- a completely different world- the city lies just beyond a clearing of skies reflected in the pools of the salt pans. the city on one side and the towering refineries on the other.

dinner was a kelvan for gautam- my cousin held at usha maushis house in powai. the sion bhats were present in full form. arun mama is adorable. and as an aside - the hiranandani complex mall is much nicer in the evening than it is in the day. chiclets and dudes, motorcycles and mni skirts.

‘wings of desire’ is supposed to be wim wenders masterpiece about longing and love, nationhood and the urge for corporeality. two angels drift in a colourlsess berlin soothing troubled minds and listening to the innermost thoughts of the spirit, until one of them falls in love with a circus performer and craves to feel. simultaneously in the background complex poetry is recited. for me though the mood of the film was hypnotic and some scenes amazing visually the predictable narrative and the simplistic b/w= angel world; color = real associations were a disappointment. i had perhaps expected a more complex film. maybe it was and i just did not get it. i felt like that all the time.

what can i say about the past few days. its been a complete whirlwind of meetings and conversations- one leading into another, preparing the exhibition getting paperwork organized in college. the kids have been working their asses off. its great to see the energy. also on monday went light fixture shopping with muksi at lohar chawl and then for dinner with rumy and his friend peter seidel at the bombay gym. i love that building- the long verandah overlooking the lawns of azad maidan.

meanwhile babu was here from chennai looking slimmer than i expected. john and me met him at the orchid for a few drinks. it was absolutely lovely to meet him after such a long time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

van morrison

in my urge to re build my entire music collection that was drowned in the mumbai floods, i have recently begun downloading a van morrison discography. though i was always a fan i had only stuck to the ‘best of..’ collections with their greatest hits compilations, ‘astral weeks’ – that strange poetic mystical morning music and ‘moondance’ jazzy rolling drifter music. after that i had skipped the rest of the seventies albums directly to the nineties' ‘avalon sunset’ and ‘enlightenment’- which were quite nice- but largely i thought background music. i did not have the energy to explore further into his work and was pretty satisfied. nowadays, on the other hand, his unexplored seventies albums are blaring (when they are not throbbing with prince) on the car radio. ‘its too late to stop now’ – a great live album; ‘tupelo honey’- i love the title track.

it takes a bit of getting used to – his barking soulful voice, and the images do tend to feel a little predictable if you let them- rolling streams, flowing hair, forests, fields and the sunrise, but when you can let go of the hang ups and believe in his words, and his passion for the music- its can be breathtaking. the key word is there, i guess, is ‘belief’-in a great and wonderful god; in nature and her power, the goodness of humankind… and soaked in love- of the eternal kind – wide eyed, innocent, sun drenched and beautiful.

sudhir patwardhan, 'harry potter and the goblet of fire', 'shall we dance?', fashion show

after the udri meeting on monday where prachi, benita and me had a good bitching and gossiping session (though benita was left unsatisfied) mukul and me stepped into the museum art gallery for the opening of the new sudhir patwardhan and gieve patel show. patwardhans work can make my hair stand on end. there was this thing that i was thinking about just yesterday before i saw the show. to be a short story writer that does not care about the ‘event-narrative’- i guess is what you could call it. but rather the characterization- purely. i guess that means that the short story is the wrong form. i assume that no one would want to read a story where nothing happens- but where a time and place is captured. normal people in their ordinary surroundings. in patwardhans work i found landscapes where the people i know and could recognize.

the new harry potter, that we saw at sterling later with kuntals mother was a lot of very dark fun. either this is not a childrens movie- or kids have much more of a tolerance for scary things than even i do- at the grand old age of 34.

yesterday in between college ending and the evening fashion show, amit, mayuri and me decided to watch a fluffy piece of feel good hollywood. i had seen the original japanese version of ‘shall we dance?’ when i was in the us. i remember it very vaguely. a happily married man to (susan sarandon) takes ballroom dancing lessons with stone faced instructor jennifer lopez. typically, there is a dance competition at the end where we get to see some moves. nothing like the amazing ‘strictly ballroom’ but fluff was what we were looking for and we saw a kind of ok version of it yesterday.

fashion is such fun. amrita – amits sister- her college had its annual ‘alchemy’ fashion show at a beach house in juhu. amit, mayuri, amits mom and me had seats in the further reaches from the ramp from where we could see these models walk stone faced up and down the ramp in clothes that ranged form the outlandish to the (almost wearable)- if you have a body like that. the women were on the whole lovelier than the men. they at least seemed ot pretend to buy into the crap that was being spouted as ‘concepts’. the men on the other hand were trying very hard to let their inherent ‘masculinity’ not be compromised by the sequins, the fur and the frills of the clothes- or rather costumes. the weirder the clothes the more square their jaw lines seemed to get. i am thinking, that a fashion show must not be an event to see any clothes- really. i think it must be more like theater where a version of a world imagined is presented through a vision of the people that inhabit that world- their bodies becoming the medium for the message as they catwalk down to throbbing pointless music. the ‘theme’ as it was for the 11 finalists was ‘the east’, and in between the various contestants an old parsi woman was regaling us with the silly concepts of each of them through highly poetic badly written poetic descriptions in english elocution competition diction . ‘the west awakens and rises to the joys of the east.. they stare at the beauty and dignity of the rising sun over the mountains where the coral breaks open to reveal the stars in the ocean… here in the east, technology meets tradition in a smooth blend ,, modernity of the cut and the timeless textures of the bamboo leaves...’ all very entertaining for the first minute and thoroughly annoying immediately afterwards.

such a world away from sudhir patwardhans people- the people i know more intimately. they were the ones in the audience- the mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and friends of the students- wearing their silk saris, and party shirts, made up to the tees; who had caught their trains past flyovers and concrete rcc buildings all the way from thane and borivili- to watch this strange new world perform its act.

and in between all of this a list of third grade celebrities was rattled on like each of them were trophies- one flop wonders from bollywood, tv stars from day time soaps, one time models and businessmen who want to be seen as tycoons.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

letters of recommendation / ajanta, ellora / ‘sin city’/ prince

letters of recommendation are annoying things to write. they have to be constructed so carefully, treading carefully over some rather delicate issues and raving madly about others. i always feel at the end of a letter, that i am describing a weird idealized (not necessarily better) version of someone. i run out of synonymns for good, efficient, brilliant, beautiful (not really) and sexy (not yet) and i wonder whether the intended audience even bothers to read them.

meanwhile, dad and mom have finally decided to go to aurangabad and take that long postponed trip to ajanta and ellora. i remember going there twice- the first time on that drive to amravati from bombay when i was in the first year of architecture. hemant mama’s sumo. the next time with ninads class. the first krvia study trip i went on. nashik and then aurangabad. can remember caressing the beautiful serene sleeping buddha. i cant keep my hands to myself when it comes to sculpture. the stone was cool and hard under my palm. since then it seems they have barricaded the sculptures from the roving hands of people like me. good for them- too bad for me.

mukul and me saw ‘sin city’ last night. saurabh had raved about the look of the film and it was definitely worth watching. like a comic book made into a movie. and like a comic book - not meant to more than a terrific thrill ride with great drawings translated into stunning noir imagery- stark high contrast black and white with bright highlights added for effect. the plot? straight talking good hearted violent men are our heroes, whether they are gangsters or cops; and the women are gorgeous- exotic dancers, waitresses, prostitutes. the story line involved some serial rapists and killers, corrupt politicians and clergy, werewolf children, mutant yellow criminals, and lots and lots of killing. very cool.

i am not really looking forward to next week. while the work in college seems like its gong to get worse with the caa inspection just around the corner, all my prospective clients seem to have woken up after diwali on the same day. meeting at 7.30 in the morning at sai baba complex and all day today- first the lokhandwala flat and in the evening raheja estates. and its only sunday.

in the car, right now, i am rocking to prince. i dont know why so many people are turned off by his pronounced sexiness- its not sexuality (is it?). it does border on the pornographic and like all pornography is alternately titillating, exciting, embarassing, hilarious and silly- but man it is so much fun. funky fun. great lttle songs all over the place-sign of the times (the entire album) especially 'if i was your girlfriend' ' little red corvette' and d m s r from 1999, anything from purple rain, kiss from parade.. the man is a god- and he can play the guitar.

here are two photographs from the goa trip on the drive back in the early morning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

goa photos

chapora fort

at chapora fort

'dil chahta hain' at chapora fort

suman, guru and anita in panjim

our room at hotel shelsta

market at anjuna

the houses of goa museum

the car in front of our hotel- the view from rias

the moon at cavellosim

o coqueiros

shantadurga temple

rachol seminary

mukul in the rachol seminary

the band in the church at rachol

me at venites

dining room at the heritage house at chandor

judith and the palaquin

the hands that hold up the mirrors

a metal ceiling

painted walls

mukul at venites

cidade de goa

margao railway station

dona sylvia