Tuesday, October 30, 2007

who will throw the first stone?

be warned

I take each stone
thrown at me
and turn it
into a chip
for my mosiac paintings

no stone is wasted on me
no stone is wasted by me

Friday, October 26, 2007

half a life

He places his note on the dark, breathing mahogany. It bathes in the sunlight fluttering and swirling around in the wind.
He wishes it reaches her before long and draws a curtain to cut the drift. The note is the harbinger of his misfortune for he is sick. In his long, calligraphic hand he has written what he must feel in the quietness amongst himself.

“If I don’t see you
a part of me walks

Seeing you
is an unbearable

what real misery
love is

and this may not even be love
but some lesser known disease
colonizing me

I will find its name
if you are still there

or abandon this mission
and walk away
leaving half of my self
writhing in pain

if we meet someday
we will join our unfinished hearts
to see if it makes for a decent shape

every crevice can find its answer
every edge its jaded whole”

He galloped away the pain, riding inside a cloud of dust.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Okay, now I am human and thought I had a limit of endurance to the onslaught of movie trailers but I was wrong. I am beyond endurance or I am endurance myself in tinges of blue where a girl with long long legs, (hmm, good camera angle) runs and runs across a blue mossy wall, along a blue pond reflecting a blue moon in a purple-blue sky. She runs and runs away from the boy’s song, I guess.
And the boy! is in a white towel against a blue window in ‘provocative’ transparency. This is the first time I have seen a man in a towel who isn’t following protocol i.e.:
1. bathing when his girlfriend enters and his towel falls and she screams and he screams and hides behind inadequate objects.
2. lying on a day bed, phone in one hand, gun in the other, massaged by four bikini girls.
Here, actually there is a male towel dance! Some points for innovation. (gay icon award, notwithstanding)

And after running, the girl starts twirling till she is shy of the bankruptcy of those twirls. The boy spots the crescent and convincingly complains “Dekho chaand aaya, chaand nazar aaya”. Then, he does his robot dance.

I hear there are 14 songs and ask someone Bansali’s age, wondering if senility happens at 40?

As an afterthought, I pray the movie is different from the trailer and that it has a storyline and makes for good entertainment like ‘Hum dil de chuke…’ (for most part of it).

In the end, I would like to have said, “only the trailer was bad”.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some of us, and the verandah called art films

We gathered under the canopy of mildewed skies, our hearts seeking horizons beyond our own, on which we had but a dim gaze.
We knew there was not much to achieve and we recognized the footfalls of emptiness that came knocking at our door each night and if not, then every alternate day, begging for alms of self-loathe.

We settled in those desperate whonked-out velvet seats, brushed bald in places with overuse and meandered along the path of altered recognition, slipping across its edges, tight-roping a thought, carrying crucifixes, ribbons of grudge and awe.
Some just held on to their breaths, some dozed off to the rhythm of a large fan zzooo, zzooo zzzzo, till the picture-curtain as large as a verandah swallowed our silent dismals giving us new meaning. Dressy or dressed down, they were our own thoughts that came back to us. Why do you think we had different interpretations?
Some spoke into mobiles and got shush-shushed across dark diagonals.
United in grief, united in laughter, we walked away alone, individual, as the credits rolled on. Our cuddled, close-knit consortium was not to be spoken of, only felt.

Some of us:
Sam, you were a liar who searched for employees/writers to employ in your dreamt up, unavailable, non-existing projects. You searched for young women. The younger the better and promised them the things you knew they desired through your well-endowed script. Only that existed not the dreams in it.

Jeremy, you were a film student wannabe. I say a film student wannabe because you still had to learn to learn. You force-fitted earlier lessons on new experiences and refused to give new experiences a chance. But you were cool in your humor because you used Sam as a butt of all your jokes. Sam hated you too but he was evaluative. He would have liked to see if your skills had any use to him.

Baba, you were old and bent and dressed up in all pink khadi, white shalwaar like a branded scriptwriter. I am never acquainted with your work, Baba. I have not reached that place yet where I can sit at the edges of your pen and look into the reflection of your scribbling. But you were present at every place I rolled my gaze. You must be someone great if not to others then at least to yourself.

Actor, you always asked me about the ‘what-next’s’. Was that coincidence? I would like to think so, because you showed no flicker of recognition between one and the next. Clean shaven and chikna, dressed in denim you looked handsome. Didn’t you feel stuffy in that huge jacket worn even at noon or were those your armors that kept at bay anonymity? I looked at you when you looked to see if others were looking at you. But I looked away when you looked my way.

Ponytail, you want to talk but you restrain in the alignment of your purpose. You could have at least asked me my name. Or what I do or if I would have a chai? I wouldn’t refuse, I swear. We have known each other for long - losing and emerging from the crowd of thought, feeling, and dream. Just yesterday, when we crossed over the promenade escaping our eyes, I had this feeling you would miss me if I die and I would, if you. Some knowing happens without words.

-c- Rochelle Potkar
More of us, soon.

(at least that’s the empty promise one should give)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our lovers – flash fiction

appears in the online Shine! journal, Mar '09 issue

Friday, October 19, 2007

The color maroon

Warm as wax, he said, laying her. He drank into the nectar from her lips, one hand playing with the curve of her neck, the other traveling over the geographies of her body. While her lips turned raw and delicate, he moved to her throat, tasting the curves of its bone.
His thick hands moved over her breast, teeth crushing its nipples. He wanted her to return and that’s why he wasn’t too rough.
Relishing the inside of her thigh and suffering his tongue into its moistness.
She glanced at the clock. Another fifteen minutes and it would all end. She wondered if he would let her go. Their clothes lay in a heap on the floor, he still in between her thighs. He entered her now allowing the eager welcome to grip him, licking at the bruises he had blazed on smooth skin.
Time over, she tried to push him away but he rode deeper and deeper into her darkness lighting candles that the winds couldn’t blow away. They were one now, his hands around her waist, fingers entwined in her waist band. She lets out a cry and he unsuccessfully bridges a thumb over sore lips trying to stifle those cries.

Later, he watches her dress. The shimmer of fabric dim the sight of clevage.
She stood naked in front of a large mirror examining the maroon bruises, coating them with blobs of lacto calamine - the New lacto calamine they advertised on TV.
She has another appointment at eight. She drapes a soft silk sari over a deep burgundy blouse and wears her favorite tear drop earrings.

A name flashes on her mobile. He has reached and is waiting for her.

girl interrupted
woman fulfilled

(c) Rochelle Potkar

* a behind-the-scenes interpretation of Laga chunri mein daag.


I imagine you to be who I want you to be.

In that case you are mine.
In that case you are a myth.
In that case you may be a muse.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Black Friday Vs. Laga Chunri mein daag

When I first watched Black Friday on DVD (as I was away when it released in theatres) I couldn’t sit past the first half hour finding the scenes too raw and gritty for my taste. I didn’t connect and ‘a time for everything’ concept was working its magic on me (or so goes the sheepish excuse).

Then, I watched the movie again after reading the book and was glad to know that the force, fear and horror translated through. In fact, in some places Kashyap does even better than a mere translation on celluloid. Like the scene where boys are running after one another and the police are running after the suspect in the opposite direction. Brilliant. It shows how the game of chor-police is still very much on.

Few other quick notes I made:
Tone – mood of desolate (the removed from archives feel)
Passionate concentration with which the movie is made
Dialogs stick to the character’s state of mind
Choices of apt locales: toilets, rooms, hotels, booths, police station, red light area etc. depicting the real environment of the character
‘real conversations’
The characters are as alive as some of the fictional characters like Ellsworth Toohey or the more recent Teza in The Lizard’s cage. (It should be the other way round, I know, where fictional characters should be equated for their realness.)
Indulgence in efficient cinematography in spite of a tight minute-to-minute shot scenes

Striking observation: the humanness of the perpetrators, the victims and the police provide a balanced display without judgment. Clean. A peek into S. Zaidi’s mind: when you understand everything, you forgive everything. (and ironical.)

Word play: passion, light, color, raw

Half of the movie is told through:
TV file footage of the actual rescue operation
Music and song (shows the state of mind of Badshah khan)
Voice over on other occurrences
Narration (by an outside, invisible authority)
Witnesses’ confessions: voice over on the unfolding of those scenes

The chances at comedy: Amitab Bhachan’s dialog playing in the background when a suspect is on the run through the slums. Wicked.
The toilet scene: a policeman standing on either side of the toilet where the ‘suspect’ is shitting
The man at the police station who is shunned every time he gets up to speak to the officer. (Metaphorical)
And the dialogs stick to the book as much as they can. When not they extend very skillfully from the book.

Other things:
The book brings in the context and makes the film more accessible. If I hadn’t read the book, I would have found the film too fast for comprehension. There are too many characters and too many things happening.

Also, the structure of the film is a challenging (from the viewpoint of the student in me) and complex though efficient (from the viewpoint of the viewer in me) one.
Not all details are covered in the film e.g. Rakesh Maria’s life or the back stories of victims like the chaiwalla who dreamt of owning a cloth store some day and supplemented his earnings by selling t-shirts on Saturdays at Churchgate station. Or the stories of the victims’ families.
There was a sense of disjoint but I can’t pin from where that was coming. The editing, perhaps or censorship woes?

Laga Chunri mein daag
When one knows the taste of blood, all there is to say is:
Resources like star power, big banners and generous budgets should to be used wisely.
A patchy film shrouded in mediocrity.

Well the idea was strong, some of the characters well-shaped, but the plot a handicap.
If the end of the story was so important that a call girl finds a husband who accepts her with her soiled choonri and blah, then their relationship should have been developed more than glossing it over with a mere train song and ducks in a pond.
The story didn’t hold together. Good thing I have a short memory span for rubbish.

-Rochelle Potkar

*these movies were viewed on the same day.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Exorcisms of many an Emily

Watching the Exorcism of Emily Rose late last night, gave me the chill. What an engaging story. First: it was based on the life of Anneliese Michel and second: the screenplay by Scott Derrickson (also the director) and Paul Harris Boardman was simply good. The court room scenes through which most of the story is told in flashback unfurls unpredictably through a tight script, intelligent dialog and a fast-paced sequence of events.

The story isn’t an answer to exorcism. Neither a battle of one systemic thought over the other, rather a balanced presentation of science and paranormal with a subplot revolving around the legal moves and motives.

Being a believer in angles, I kept a tiny statue of Michael, the Archangel while watching this film.
In one of the books on paranormal, an author claims that she had encountered Micheal during an OOBE (Out of body experience). She said, he guarded the gates of the soul to see that wayward soul trafficking (demonic possessions) is guarded against.

Friday, October 5, 2007

how many loves are permitted?

Rather dramatic, this poem of yours
or should i say it was, the choice of
crimson that you chose to paint
her neck with, in a faint chain
enmeshed with death or
latent lust that coaxed
life out of her porcelain form;
each tug another act of love.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

a movie that impresses

When you have a movie that has great content and wonderful real-life characters what more can you ask for? Warm Springs is one such movie. Based on the life of Franklin Roosevelt and his life between politics it takes you through a story of [let me use the phrase] ‘triumph of spirit’.
It gave me a behind-the-scene peek into the life of the former President of America who remained at the helm of American operations for three consecutive voting cycles. The film is also (1) a the story of his wife who possesses an underdog-like grit and gumption, subtle stubbornness and simple unwavering vision of what her little world should be like (2) and his best friend and his relentless political ambition and …(3) his mother (a well-portrayed side character ‘twas).
The unfolding of the philosophy of heart-breaking helplessness and the enterprise to change it into something different if one still had to continue living was endearing. This was one movie that really hasn't ended (for me). It carries on at a parellel plane somewhere.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Peace vela, a non-report (of a non-day)

Sometimes one wonders why certain things happen. I had confirmed my attendance at the Peace Mela many days ahead and thought that I was looking forward to hear Javed Aktar, Peter Griffin and Rohinton Daruwala render their poetic thought. This wasn’t going to be that easy.
The day began with fever and tiredness and exhaustion of the previous day's house cleaning and clutter removal drive. I missed the whole morning of 2nd October and woke up at noon. Doing an ‘eena meena mina more’ I still decide to go.
“Horiman circle”, I told the cabbie. He took me to Bombay Gymkhana saying “here’s where all people gather”. A kindly gentleman corrected the error in my path by ushering me with further directions.

I sit on the steps of the Asiatic Library waiting for the show to begin, sipping my diet coke. Soon enough I realize I am in the wrong place. I had to be at Horiman garden at this time. The poetic renditions, for which I had tossed the gold coin, was over by then.
And by the time I check out the Peace Tree I lose my place on the library steps.

I am awarded with one perspective though (presented below) and the occasional male gaze. So all is not lost.

The placards dangling from the Peace Tree are clich├ęd and beaten path. Even David Israel’s poem doesn’t cut grass. Most writings were force-fitted, forced-rhymed and similar in the imagery of non-violence, Gandhi’s philosophy, blood, war, war weapons, war cries, war widows, orphan wails and word play of ‘peace’ and ‘piece'. But there were some exceptions, like:
1. the story about two soldiers who would have been friends had they met at another place, another time: a railway station, probably.
2. the peace a girl gets after tasting her mother’s sweet meats made from pure ghee.
3. (not interesting but certainly different account) of a childhood recollection of learning of Gandhi’s assassination on the way to her town’s customary prayer meeting.
4. Jerry Pinto’s poem is inward-looking and self-involved but cuts through the white noise on the Peace tree. I had a grouse that it cut the reader out and made her feel like an outsider but a strong poem it was.
Two bats silently dangled from the inner branches of the Peace Tree. If they were trying to convey some philosophical message by mimicking the placards, I clearly missed it. But then I missed the musical too.
I was in the right place at the wrong time.

In the night, I dreamt of Jugal. I and an unknown friend were telling him things I had discovered about Caferati. It was a long conversation or rather a passionate confession and I could see Chinese bamboos quivering in the background. That’s all I remember and then another tangential dream where there were scores of flies or insects covering something. I wanted to know what they were hiding but my dream mileage had run out. I was awake into a new morning, looking through sore (conjunctivitis) and sleepy eyes at a ‘come alive’ painting. Someone had created morning calm and set it rippling across the Powai lake. There were three boats pegged onto this translucent surface. Here now peace had arrived, a whole day late.

© Rochelle Potkar
Renaissance Hotel