Infinity in the Palm of My Hand

Saturday, January 31, 2004

March of the Sinister Ducks...

March of the Sinister Ducks
by The Sinister Ducks

The March of the Sinister Ducks was written, performed, and recorded by The Sinister Ducks, a band who included Alan Moore the comic book writer and Bauhaus member David J. It was released in 1983. (UK links: Alan Moore, Bauhaus)

Everyone thinks they're such sweet little things
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Soft downy feathers and nice little wings.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

But there's a poison I'd like to administer,
You think they're cuddly but I think they're sinister.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

What are they doing at night in the park?
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Think of them waddling about in the dark.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Sneering and whispering and stealing your cars,
Reading pornography, smoking cigars.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Nasty and small undeserving of life.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
They smirk at your hairstyle and sleep with your wife.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Dressed in black jackets and horrible shoes,
Getting divorces and turning to booze.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Forcing old ladies to throw them some bread.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Who could deny they'd be better off dead?
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Look closer and you may recoil in surprise,
At web-footed fascists with mad little eyes.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Its been quite a while since I have so looked forward to the release of a Hindi movie...with a cast consisting of Pankaj Kapur, Irfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Tabu (I can't even remember the last time a movie had such an extraordinary cast of superlative actors), this will certainly be a great experience...hopefully will get to watch it soon...

Sunday, January 25, 2004

This one is a classic...

Had the divine opportunity to watch Jaani Dushman...this is a must-see...for only then will you know how really bad some directors can be even when the resources are far, the worst A-circuit Hindi movie I have ever seen...absolutely no semblance of any script being involved in its production, extraordinarily bad performances, a completely asinine, disjointed and staggeringly contrived narrative...not even a shadow of any good sense...take into account that this was the relaunch vehicle for the director's son, and it becomes even more spectacularly amazing...

Maria Sharapova...

Looks quite cute and is a decent player...hope she doesn't go the Anna Kournikova way...maybe sounds a bit sexist, but watching pretty ladies play good tennis is always loads of fun and very exciting...

Saturday, January 24, 2004


Here is a Hindi movie (after quite some time) that is designed as a
regular masala entertainer, but which, in spite of some glaring
flaws, manages to prevent itself from sliding into complete inanity.
Yes, it does suffer somewhat from the "where do we go after the
first half" syndrome, but thankfully, the second half is still
engineered well enough to entertain and hold the viewer's interest
even if only in parts...which means that even though far from
perfect, it is definitely worth seeing.

The first half is well done. It is well writen and well executed.
The narrative is fast, slick and gripping with some well-woven
twists and holds the viewer's attention abundantly. The story is
tightly knit and proceeds at an ideal pace. The tension present on-
screen is palpable. The action sequences are well-executed,
especially the one involving the cattle fair. The introduction of
the main characters is done adroitly and with just the right amount
of screen time. The dialogues are pretty much relevant to the
situations and thankfully bereft of any heavy duty melorama. The
humour is contolled and well-timed and does not disrupt the
continuity. Pretty close to an ideal first half for a Hindi thriller.

Which brings us to the second half, where suddenly Raj Kumar
Santoshi loses his grip on the narative, making it hurried and
contrived and the movie slowly begins to become tedious. Cliched
situations combine perfectly with cliched dialogues one after
another (good guy being surounded by mob talks them down with a
speech, bad cop turns into good cop after being given the
usual "integrity-honesty" lecture etc. etc.) with all the good guys
becoming the usual examples of do-gooder egotism. The action too
deteriorates to the extent of becoming laughable at some out especially for the glaring, visible presence of
wires in quite a few high flying sequences. But gratefully, there
are enough moments reminiscent of the first half to partially
preserve the viewer's interest. The main twist towards the end can
be surmised quite some time before it actually happens and does not
really account for any thrill. However, the last scene of the movie
itself is fairly perceptive and significant, but a somewhat poor
execution and Santoshi's need to explain it in words instead of
letting the viewer be his own judge ruin the effect in part.

Aside from the first half, where Santoshi really scores is with the
casting. Amitabh Bachchan is perfect as the blend of a cop sidelined
throughout his tenure and a man who has only been a witness to his
family's life thanks to his professional commitment, a person who
looks at his entity as one big failure and who has that one last
shot at making his life worth something. The exquisite combination
of pain, self-doubt and determination that he brings, especially in
the scene where Akshay Kumar admonishes him for putting everyone's
lives in danger is exceptional and further qualifies his status as
one of India's best actors ever. Akshay Kumar is not really a great
actor, but Santoshi makes him look perfect by giving him a fully
tailored role. Tusshar Kapoor is tolerable which is saying a lot for
him, and Santoshi uses his pasted innocent look resourcefully.
Sabhyasachi Chakraborti, who comes from Bengali cinema, manages to
skillfully bring depth to what would otherwise have been a very
steeotypical role. Aishwarya Rai is just about passable, and as
usual does not bring anything special to the role...really can't
figure out all the hype that has surrounded her recently. Ajay
Devgan does not have much to do other than look the part of the
villian and he does that just sufficiently well. Even though she
only has a couple of scenes, Tanuja delivers with extraordinary
power, brilliantly etching emotions with her eyes. Lara Dutta (in
the item number) flaunts and shakes her well-endowed assets enough
to make up for the lack of fluidity and grace in her dance. The rest
of the cast is adequate. The cinematography is good, and so is the
background music. The movie could have done without any songs but
their presence is not much of a distraction.

Final word: All in all, Khakee entertains in spite of its flaws and
inadequacies and is definitely worth watching.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Movies I watched today...

Yasujiro Ozu's

Tokyo Story - Poignant tale, simple story, sometimes a bit slow, but has some profoundly moving moments

I Was Born, But... - This Ozu classic is another proof for my belief that a good comedy with an underlying serious message is by far the most powerful movie one can make...the humour makes you drop your guard before Ozu hits you with the irony and unfairness so prevalent in everday life...beautiful!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

An ode to a classic...

Sukanya Verma of Rediff finally gives Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron the name it so rightfully deserves - The Perfect of my all time favourites, a classic of Indian cinema, the perfect Indian satire, perfect casting, perfectly written, perfectly executed, perfectly performed - a divine pleasure to watch even if for the nth time...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

And this is lovely...

This is stupid...

Monday, January 19, 2004

Music I'm listening to right now...

I like Euphoria a lot...if there is one band that has managed to successfully create "Hind-rock", it is Euphoria...very much like how Junoon has created (so wonderfully) "Sufi-rock"...and with three good albums, Euphoria are definitely not a one-hit wonder...

Sunday, January 18, 2004

From Saddam to Musharraf...

The rekindling of the peace process between India and Pakistan definitely has its roots in the war in Iraq and the subsequent capture of Saddam Hussein...Mr. Musharraf does realise that US support is never permanent and its "friends" have a habit of turning into its "enemies"...he might be afraid that time is running out for him as far as US support goes, hence probably the haste in trying to bring India back to the negotiating table...even if that is the reason, its still a good thing, as long as it materialises into something concrete and not into something trivial like the Simla Agreement...

The inanity continues...

After the IIM's, the government is now also toying with the idea of reducing the fees of the IIT's...

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Virumandi again...

The reviews are pretty good...have to get my hands on it somehow...

Movies I watched today

Man Follows Birds - Glorious, haunting and very memorable images, not depth in the story, but still definitely worth watching...

The Fall of Otrar - A good history lesson, but fails to engage...somewhat of a disappointment

Friday, January 16, 2004

Movies in the year 2003...

Yeah yeah, this is a bit late, but if you know me, then this is a bit early...

Must see:
3 Deewarein

Worth Watching:
Darna Mana Hai
Jhankar Beats
Koi Mil Gaya
Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon
Munnabhai MBBS
Tere Naam

Rules-Pyaar ka Superhit Formula
Waisa Bhi Hota Hai - Part II

Another Media Circus...

I can't believe that people are actually turning on their TV's to watch something as stupid as the live telecast of MJ getting to court for his child molestation on channels like CNN does not primarily mean things that are relevant to your life and things that concern you...its just a waste of time for the most part...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Reduction of IIM fees...

Another example of politics getting the better of good a country that has hardly any resources allocated for primary education, the government continues to subsidise graduate and post-graduate they're reducing the fees of IIM's from Rs. 150,000 (already subsidised from Rs. 400,000) to Rs. 20,000...and the reason being given is increased access to the not so economically well-off...
I am all in favour of increased access to education for the poor, but in a country that doesn't have enough primary schools, how does the government think that the poor will suddenly be able to jump straight into the IIM's...and given that almost all of the students spend big bucks on coaching classes for the IIM entrance, how are the poor ever going to be able to be competitive in any way?
This step would just mean that students who can easily afford to pay Rs. 150,000 will now get world class management education while paying peanuts for it, and the government will continue to allocate resources to the IIM's that should instead be used for primary education...yeah, I know that the money would come from the IIM corpus, but even that money has essentially come from government subsidies over so many years...
Fee reduction would make sense if the concept of student loans is introduced. Given that on an average an IIM-A graduate gets a starting salary (annual) of about Rs. 700,000 and IIM's have an almost 100% campus recruitment, why can't the government recover the fees from the students after they get jobs? Fee subsidies makes sense only as long as it is implemented through low interest student loans or some such scheme...I am pretty sure that IIM graduates can easily afford to pay Rs. 150,000, if not the full fees of Rs. 400,000 after they are recruited...
But then again, this is election year, and the BJP needs the middle-class vote, so why am I even bothering with reasoning...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Just heard the soundtrack of Lakeer as I was writing the previous post...very very disappointing...ever so often A.R. Rahman comes up with a soundtrack that is totally unimaginative and soporific, this one is a perfect example...and to think that Filmfare actually said that the highlight of this movie will be its that case, I don't think I'll be wasting time and money over this one...

Peace in Kashmir?

Will there ever be a resolution of the Kashmir problem? Well, sooner or later there will be, if not a peaceful one then a violent, destructive one...they have a really good chance of doing something sensible right now, but the problem is that with all the hype that is building up, both the politicians and the media have begun to simplify the whole issue...after all the mess created by both countries (yes, both...India has its own fair share of blame to take in creating the problem), do they really have the courage to pay for their mistakes? they really have the guts to come up with a solution?...I am not talking about just the governments, but everyone else too - the opposition, the people, come with any solution will mean that the people will have to show a lot of insighfulness and understanding...if LOC is made the international border then Pakistan will be unhappy, if Kashmir is made free or given to Pakistan, India will be unhappy (and the government will most probably fall)...there is obviously no solution that will be completely fair and that is what makes discernment and objectivity on the part of the people all the more important... only if the people are perceptive enough will there be a solution...and as far as the politicians of India and Pakistan are concerned, here is a plea - please don't fuck this up by making it a political issue...please don't start clamouring for credit in bringing peace to the region... please don't do this with an eye on the next elections...please don't start aiming for the Nobel Prize...for a change, let this be something you do just for the sake of doing something right, something good, something many lives have been lost, so many resources have been expended, its about time you stopped messing with this...please...

Ek Hasina Thi...

Ek Hasina Thi looks good from the promos...Ram Gopal Varma is one of the very few producers whose movies I look forward to...not that they are always good...he has given his share of duds like Raat, Daud, Mast, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and most recently, Bhoot...but his efforts in giving more substance to Bollywood movies are not only very laudable but also make him unique in this industry...he is needed more than anyone else in Bollywood right now...hope his latest one does not disappoint...

Monday, January 12, 2004


Getting to watch Chris Rock live yesterday was a smashing experience...he is the definitive king of stand-up comedy right, witty, insightful and irreverant, he will have you laughing every single minute of his performance... he gives a rat's ass as far as political correctness goes and that is why he is so good when it comes to controversial topics...bang on target every time, he is one of the few comedians you will find worth quoting on topical issues...most stand-up comedians rely on stupidity and silliness (for example, the very over-rated George Carlin, whom I got to see last fall...yeah, he has his moments of brilliance, but each such moment is followed by 10-15 minutes of brutish stupidity, which makes his performance pretty much suck on the whole), he relies on wit and insightfulness...his irreverance means that sometimes his jokes are "targeted" towards the less priveleged like the poor, the disabled, prostitutes etc...but if you really enjoy Chris Rock (and don't just say that to sound hip) then you will easily understand that those jokes are actually targeted at society's apathy towards those sections...
He has come back to stand-up comedy after a long time and that is what made this opportunity even more special...
What a performance! Will always remember this one...

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Nothing new, just another goes on as usual...have decided to do some things this year, really hope will be able to do them...

Friday, January 09, 2004

The Indian cricket team does it again...

Somehow they seem to have mastered the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...time and again, they play so well in the face of difficult targets and come so near to achieving a great victory, and then somehow manage to collapse as soon as victory is in sight and they can feel the consequent pressure...they can never lay claim to being a great one-day team unless they show that they can accomplish the end, no matter what the circumstances...

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


Was it my fault? Yes...for I lost my temper, even if only momentarily...I had my reasons, and what was happening was wrong to me, but I should not have lost my temper...that completely made it my fault...and I was doing so well controlling my anger...this is what idleness does to me...
Should not happen again...should not...under no circumstances must I lose my temper...

Red Pollard by Nora

You hardly were around
Quick star, dark storm racing lightning circuits of the track,
But when you came home, you came in gusts,
In gales of loud and louder,
Until the banging of your heart,
Your midnight valedictories from the roof
Took up the moon's room in my night;
And days, you shouted down the sun.

When you'd leave, you'd leave enormous silence
In your wake.
The volume of your absence struck
The world deaf-still.
Even now that you are nine years gone,
I have to listen with extraordinary care
To hear the starting gate's bell gash air,
The thudding of those hooves less thundering than you.


WE never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.

The heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the cubits warp
For fear to be a king.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Virumandi - Half review of the music

Why do I call this the half-review? Because I don’t understand Tamil and hence can’t review the lyrics, which to me are as important as the tunes themselves...
Having said that, Virumandi is an album worth buying even if you don’t know Tamil... the melody present throughout the album is exquisite...Illayaraja brings to modern Indian film music what other music directors so often lack - simplicity. No synthesiser laden tunes, no artificially heavy beats, just fine melodies. Yes, I do like ’’modern’’ music, but many a times the heart wishes to listen to something simple...whether calm and soothing or peppy and energetic...either way, simple and natural. And of course, Shreya Ghosal’s voice is always a very attractive add-on. This girl is fabulous...yes, her voice is not very suited for non-melodic songs (those are best left to Sunidhi Chauhan, another very talented youngster), but when it comes to melodies, she is the best new singer in India...and to think until recently I could listen to her voice for free at the annual Durga Puja festivities in our colony (yes, I lived in the same colony as her)...
Another fine, fine album from the genius called Illayaraja.


So looking forward to Virumandi...hope after the half-hearted Hey Ram and the completely asinine Abhay, Kamal Hassan gets back to what he was associated with for so long - great cinema...for those of you who don't know, Virumandi is actually Sandiyar (the name was changed due to some caste issues) and is supposedly a sequel to Thevar Magan (which was remade in Hindi as Virasat by Priyadarshan)...even though Thevar Magan was made by Bharathan and not by Kamal Hassan, his accomplished performance (along with Sivaji Ganesan's, of course) was one of the main reasons for the movie's greatness...Thevar Magan is amongst my all time favourite movies, and I really hope Virumandi will do justice to its claim of being a sequel to such an extraordinary movie...

Reality check...

I am turning back into a self-sanctimonious, constantly complaining bastard...and I would hate to go back there... my new year resolution is to get back to being at peace with myself...


Quite often the very people whom you hate and criticise are the ones responsible for ensuring you can hope to have a future...