Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Movie Review: Ganashatru

I am very bad when it comes to reviews: interpretation being contaminated with imagination. Nevertheless, I had a wholesome experience of watching and assimilating Ganashatru (Bengali, English subtitles) at NFC auditorium with barely four to five people around. The auditorium reminded me of yesteryear movie halls and that just added to the environment of watching a film that is also as dated in terms of occurrence though not relevance.

Ganashatru is about a righteous but shaky, good-at-heart but unconfident Dr. Gupta who finds that the temple water in his town (Chandipur) is infested with bacteria and likely to cause a major water-borne epidemic. He sets out to bring this to the public’s notice through a report printed in the newspaper. But his influential brother, a temple trustee will have nothing of it. Firstly, the temple's coffers bring in a lot of money and secondly, Chandipur is being marketed as a religious destination.

There are others who stand to gain or lose if the truth about the temple waters is revealed. And these people are in the process of realizing their gain or loss turn by turn; like the editor and sub-editor of the newspaper, the temple proprietor, the doctor’s family especially his equally righteous daughter and to be son-in-law, the publisher and finally the religious public. The polarity of each ones thinking is brought about through engaging dialog and convincing sequence of events. The public announcement which turns the doctor into a public enemy is smoothly depicted.

I didn’t lose interest for a minute except when cracking open the cover of a mint lozenge. I don’t think I need to rate a Satyajit Ray film but I would it would get a 10 on 10 for content, convincing characterization, flow of events/sequencing of thoughts, intelligent dialog, editing (that avoids boredom), and plausibility of the story’s end.

Good telling
Good listening

Rochelle Potkar

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Sex troll

rehashed from 800 lovely words
to 500 measly words

shortlisted as entry 34

Picks of the Day

All books are divisible into two classes, the books of the hour, and the books of all time.
John Ruskin, British writer

When I want to read a novel, I write one.
Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman

Great artists have no country.
Alfred de Musset, French poet

Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment.
Charles Lamb, British essayist

Life is a disease, and the only different between one man and another is the stage of the disease at which he lives.
George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist and critic

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dog diaries [diary entries - prose]

I have four adorable and well-disciplined pets.
The first one is an old, bent male
The second, his son, is a taut, young male
The third, I guess, his mating partner, a young, sweet-smelling female
The fourth, their litter, a whinny little male

22nd June: My oldest male pet is having an affair with Jhonny’s old female pet and must say they make a cute couple. But both of us are concerned about their mating, moreover because my pet is bent and wrinkled and moves about with a stick. (LOL) When I earlier acquired these pets, I thought this old guy was going to rebel against me with his wooden stick. Only after careful observation, did I understand it was to support his unsteady walk.
I am quite worried about this old chap. Sometimes, I want to go with him on his walks but the younger pets revolt.

5th July: The young male is a sweetheart. Well-trained, he follows me around the house and is always up and willing for his exercise routine. He reacts to my command ‘throw’. I make him do 20 throws and I get the ball for him between each throw. Hardwork you see, but worth the while. My guess is if he does his exercise regularly he could stave off the fat from his middle. I can never understand where he loiters during the day but he always returns home before nightfall, his long colorful collar flapping in the wind. If he sees Jhonny on his return outside our door, he will greet him but never touch or hug him. Man, I am forced to conclude, is a faithful animal.

6th July: My young male’s mate is this pretty, sweet-smelling thing. I enjoy all her smells and stick close to her. She has been trained to cook for me and serves me after her mate returns home. It’s an experience having these pets.
They sometimes mate, usually on Sunday afternoons.
Is it common for humans to voice off sounds like us?. Er…I asked Jhonny but he says his female pet doesn’t mate so he would never know. I find their mating sounds rather strange. ‘aaaaww, yew and yewww’
At the Youth Club, they tease me of being over-protective of my female pet.

11th July: Jhonny may be my best friend but it is not actually so. I suspect he envies me my pets. When we were younger he envied me my fur. Only at the Club you would see another side to Jhonny - for he is intelligent and can come up with great ideas. Just the other day he raised an issue on ‘Midnight urchins - a Menace to our pets’. This was when we heard the news on our morning howl broadcast that one of the street kinds had mauled a human pet in the wee hours of the morning.
But it disturbed the members of the Club no end to think of such social issues. Most of the ladies excused themselves, saying they were late for their grooming appointments. “Who wants to discuss these issues? We have better things to do.” I heard them growl.
However, Jhonny got a lot of respect that day from the male dogs, even if grudgingly, for thinking beyond day to day pet problems.

14th July: Today’s my little pet’s celebration. They called all the other little pets from around to celebrate, even the ones that scream on the playground. They blew balloons and I smashed the ones that were extra. I poked my teeth into the soft sugary white thing set in the middle of the room. It was delicious and had all these little sticks pierced into it with lights on them. The little brat loves me too. Loyalty flows in his him just like in his father. I can forgive him for many things: whimpering at odd times in the day, screaming, dropping his food, water, making a hell of a noise. He seeks a lot of attention and Jhonny has shown me ways of wrestling the attention back. “Shit”, he says, “works”. “Shit in another room. That is a way of showing you will not take things lying down” and it works100%.
I like the way my other pets share in my responsibility of taking care of the little brat.

1st Aug: Jhonny, Licki and Pubert are the most active members of the Club. They are working on the study of Pet Care: crotch, ass and mouth checks and are to come up with a list of guiding principles soon.

Pubert, is working separately on his thesis “the changing paradigm of urban dogs” but I aren’t so interested. Sometimes, I feel the female dogs are right in revolting against the choice of subjects studied, discussed and researched at the Club. ‘We are getting too boring” says Twinkle in a low, husky voice. “It would be better if we worked our tails on flea management.”
I wish I could mate her, but she’s with that German Sheppard Raja.

11th Aug: I had a fight with Pubert today. It was after my discovery that Jhonny’s old female pet stores cow piss in a bottle.
‘Why not our piss?” I protested.
“Tommy, you are getting too fussy” he said. “Where is your sense of equality, dog? The poor cows shiver on the road while you live in a warm place with pets at your beck and call. Never mind if some of them like cow piss. What are they going to do with it anyways? Spray some around. Well then, when they do that you can spray yours. Equality, dog. The other breeds look up to us.”
Hfmph! Such kind of sermon I would have to listen to and so I won’t mention it out loud again. Life is meant for bigger things.

15th Aug: The guiding rules of Pet Care: crotch, ass and mouth checks is out. We inaugurated it at the Club today. Licki read the rules to us.
That way we would know of our pets viruses before they do. And I can tell them so when I detect one. Like this other day when my younger pet came to massage my head before a night of peaceful sleep and I sensed that he had a crotch virus. You know the smells. One has to just learn to never mix up regular ones from the new. And the new ones have to be watched out for as long as they are around. I try and do most of the checkups myself, everyday, time permitting. I even smell their mouths if I suspect them of eating my leftovers.

18th Aug: It was a good day. It rained and the smells around the leaves and bushes were great. Especially, the dung and garbage smells, hmm divine.

21st Aug: Jhonny might have less on love because he has only one old pet but he has most of the good ideas for the Club coming up to him. He proposed we take up our observations on pet behavior seriously, so that we can be just as loyal to them. “Goodness should be rewarded plus we want to save them from those noisy boxes.”, he said. ‘That way we would get more time with them’ I agree whole-heartedly.
Last year, we had a tough time bone-storming over how we get our pets’ faces off the noisy box.
Force piss at unexpected places
Loud barks
Night-time growls
Vomit half-digested meals in front of them
The last is to be done only and only in case of emergencies like ‘a match’, whatever that means. (Though, I enjoy watching their expressions during ‘a match’. They whimper, moan, yell or just stay dead quiet, biting their nails or chewing their lips.)

25th Aug: My female pet has just entered the room. She always takes her chance with me when her mate is out. I wish she was a bitch. I would have shown off her smells to Jhonny.
Anyway, let’s get these nails done with now.

(c) Rochelle Potkar