Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I quote:

"Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien." –

Don’t ask me why I add this here, but I just felt like doing so. Its one of the most beautiful bits of poetry I’ve ever read. And by the way, Keats was wrong here. It wasn’t Cortez – stout or otherwise – who had his crewmen looking at each other with a wild surmise. Balboa was the first to set sight on the Pacific. (But Balboa never got down to telling me whether he’d got his crewmen worried about his sanity when he stared at the Pacific. Its a moot point whether he ever stared at the Pacific at all.)

The travails of a reluctant filmi journalist

Sitting back and reminiscing on the life of sin that I have led for twenty whole years, quite a few incidents which have scarred me for life spring to what passes for my mind. But on closer introspection, I realize few experiences have been as tortuous as the day I reviewed Boys!

Reviewing Boys:

This was my first movie review assignment ever, and I was rather excited. After coaxing my forever cantankerous bike to start up, I rushed to the preview of the movie – hoping it would be something about the making of a neighbourhood rock band.

The preview theater was located in a corner of hell, more popularly known as Vadapalani. The very fact that they would preview a movie there points to the marked lack of respect the media receives in today’s world. As I entered, I realized that the theater was not without its redeeming features. The producer had been kind enough to supply us journalists (as I proudly noted then, with the ‘us’ very prominent in my mind) with lots of food.

As I rushed there, tongue lolling in anticipation, I realized that the food had been designed to cater to the dregs of journalism – who were the only kind who bothered to attend these previews anyway, as I later found out from mother,. There was no caviar, for god’s sake! And the Naans, sushi and Malai Kofta were also conspicuous in their absence. All I could espy was a swarthy man cooking dosa after dosa, lacing each with a little honest sweat from his brow. Another man was frying vadas, but at least he wasn’t adding his sweat to the mixture – probably because the oil, blacker than my principal’s heart, would suffice to leave most of the media with indigestion.

I hesitated at the threshold. Then, in a moment of decision, I stepped in with a confidence that became me well and strode right to the man making (and distributing) the dosas. I spurred myself on to eat here for I felt it was rather an honour to be treated to free food by someone like Shankar – after all that was recognition of journalists’ importance (and by extension, mine). Secondly, Shankar was making too much money anyway. But I was primarily driven by hunger, greed and a sharp awareness of the fact that I had exactly six rupees in my pocket with me.

I picked up my dosa and wandered off, expecting to see small groups of media men nibbling away at their dosas demurely while waxing eloquent on the situation in Upper Chechnya. What I saw instead was a scene right out of Dotheboys’ hall – if that’s the place I want. Men all around me were pushing dosas in their entirety right up their hatch, almost choking themselves. The situation in Upper Chechnya was immediately forgotten, the suffering masses there left alone in their sorrow, in the rush to get more dosas and vadas before the supply gave out. I watched with great amusement and slight disgust as a bearded man, sambar and masala smeared over the fungal growth, pushed aside three other men to get the biggest dosa among the three on the stove. The disgust however grew, and metamorphosed into terrible embarrassment when I realized that I had prided myself for being part of this elite group till a few minutes ago, and had spoken at length about my ‘exclusive’ preview invite to all and sundry.

I should have, by all rights, placed the plate aside after having the little I had placed on my plate and settled back to view the melee – the quintessential pucca sahib. But I didn’t. Setting aside such thoughts as elitist, I joined the rest of the proletariat in the mad rush to the dosa stand; pushing, heaving and generally making a nuisance of myself. I ate three of them – rightfully earned in the glory of battle. Satisfied, I let out a small, uncouth burp. But I realized I was a mere minnow as far as burps went. All around me was an army of experienced belchers, who could have out-belched me in their sleep.

Then, I walked into the theater, looking as suave as one had just fought tooth and nail for his food and belched later could. The theater décor, which I had hoped would put Mayajaal to shame, looked as if it would be put to shame by Ganpat Ram (which, for the uninitiated, provides cheap, risqué entertainment for Chennai’s masses for the nominal price of ten or so bucks.)

But I reassured myself that the movie would more than make up for it. After all, I had identified with the song Girlfriend, just like thousands of despos around India. I was sure the movie would appeal right to my heart.

I seated myself right next to a few dignified men and women who appeared to be the kind who were likely to carry on about the people of Upper Chechnya (about whom I am greviously worried, make no mistake). I had just about settled down when there seemed to be a tremendous explosion to my left, right where a particularly dignified woman was sitting. Turning around to ascertain the cause of the explosion, I realized that it was the woman’s vocal chords which were responsible for it. With a savage war cry, she stepped all over me and rushed towards a man (who I later found out was Shankar) and a curly-haired boy who looked suspiciously like a small time ruffian (Bharath, who proved himself to be one when he actually got CAUGHT copying in a university examination recently – I mean how stupid can you get!!?).

I had just about thought the stampede had ended when the rest of the dignified crowd – dumping the problem of Marxist Cuba by the wayside – rushed towards the man. Not one of them missed stepping on my toes.

After the man had given them their bites, quotes or whatever it is these journalistic ninnies call it, they walked back to where they were. Once again , they were meticulous enough to crush my toes better than Waqar Younis’ yorkers could ever have.

Nursing injured toes, a digestive system which had begun to show ominous signs of going on strike, and shattered illusions about the glamour of film journalism, it was a somber me that watched the credits at the beginning of the movie.

And the movie – the less said the better. Around forty minutes into the movie, I wished to get up from my seat and boo. As a prelude, I laughed out aloud when the hero was getting really mushy with his ‘fig’. I received three glares, five askance looks and two ‘shhhh’s. I sunk deeper into my seat and watched the rest of movie in disbelief, trying to deduce whether they had ever written a screenplay for the movie at all.

To see what I had to say about the movie at that time, please visit : (You may note upon reading the piece that I was considerably kinder to the movie than I would have been otherwise. I was stricken with diarrohea only after I’d sent the piece in. )

Epilogue: After all that had happened, I had the misfortune of having to watch Boys again (!!!) on a friend’s birthday – ostensibly her ‘treat’ - where I paid my way in and was treated with five bucks worth of popcorn. I consoled myself by deciding to boo and comment with gay abandon. I had just got started when my friend admonished me that I was with ‘girls and would have to behave appropriately’ (read ‘like one’). In fact, she was kind enough to point to another chump who seemed to have tears in his eyes – overwrought at Munna being arrested by the Yellow Brigade*, no doubt – and tell me that was the way I should behave.... Need I say more...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Why I never wrote a blog before, and why I shall never (and why I am!)

The first statement above is incorrect, for it is a falsehood, pure and simple. I had written a blog once, long ago, for the Sulekha Saarang blog festival. As I have famously stated earlier, I write for profit, and not for pleasure. This is based on the simple axiom that the profit supplies the pleasure in copious quantities. Blogs therefore were a strict no-no. They wasted precious minutes that I could have spent reviewing Sullaan, or other such intellectually stimulating movies – which would have, to use an expression, raked in the moolah. But the Sulekha Saarang Blog Fest was a glorious exception. Here was, thought I, an opportunity to make money while blogging.

Motivated by the green eyed monster that passes by the nom de guerre of money (ok ok I know jealousy is the green eyed monster but can I have a little creative license please?), I wrote feverishly, getting up but to walk around in little circles thinking of what I could cook up next. The discerning reader who has followed me this far looks up from the screen at this moment, scratches a thoughtful chin and wonders – did our dashing, gallant hero succeed in this epic struggle of his? Why does he not tell me more? Well, be it never said that Siddhu Warrier snatched the cup from the waiting lips of his readers (if any). Yes, I did win the cash – and in case you decide to join the multitudes clamouring hoarsely for a treat, it would do you good to note that the last time I had given a treat was sometime in 1965. (Good looking women reading this blog – don’t despair - please message me, I’m flush with greenbacks. And if I’m not, I’ll beg/borrow/steal.extort…)

To move on to more pressing issues, I think it is time I clarify my stand on why I never shall write a blog. Here, it must be noted that:

a) the author is an intellectual (though some may like to see a ‘pseudo’ prefixed to that)
b) the author is, most importantly, insane and should not be held culpable for what he says and does
c) if you’re still offended by what follows and decide to sue the author, the author wishes to make it clear – as he has done in the past – that its all Musharaff and the ISI’s doing.

I feel that today there are just too many blogs. Anyone who can type faster than 30 words a minute, can string words together to form (reasonably) coherent sentences, and finally writes something which one would not dismissively wave away as gibberish (at least not immediately) is writing a blog today.

As far as the criteria listed above are concerned, I stand as follows:

a) I can type faster than 30 words a minute. In fact, on last count, it was 55. In fact I can type with my eyes closed or even with my eyes turned up towards the ceiling fan – something which my friends claim I never stop taking about.
b) I passed my English exams in my 10th and 12th standards, and even managed to scrape through with stunning scores in the 60s in my University Examinations. Therefore, I can state with supreme confidence that I meet criterion # 2.
c) Criterion 3 is where the problem lies. Just like in the CAT where I consistently failed to clear a single cut-off – something which has led me unrelentingly down the long road to perdition – I just cannot write sense!

This, dear readers – at least those of you who’ve stuck it this far, is far from being it. There lies, deep within, a reason as a result of which I shirk from putting finger to keyboard.

To put it plainly, ‘когда в Риме, сделайте, поскольку католики делают’, which is Russian (I couldn’t find Latin translators anywhere on the web) for ‘When in rome, does not do like the Romen do’, in case you did not know.

Well…I guess I (and the mentally retarded translator I used) don't have to elucidate any further...

I am one of those people that you read about only in the last pages of gossip rags, the kind whose names are taken in shocked whispers. For I have been scandalous indeed. I have never read (and WILL NOT read) the Da Vinci Code and think that the English Premiere League is a society of politicians. I would have probably written a blog if only another twenty people around the world did so and just another twenty read it. But any activity in which millions of people indulge in with abandon is most definitely passé. In this blacklist would fall several such activities – including watching cricket, K serials, every second division football match and F.R.I.E.N.D.S, listening to Backstreet Boys, reading trash generated in copious quantities by such doyens as Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer, masturbation (er… maybe not masturbation) and yeah, most scandalously, writing blogs!

Then, why, my faithful readers may ask, do you type this? Are you not desecrating the sanctity of your principles, violating every single precept you claim to stand for, by typing away here?

To answer that, I could fall back upon a stupid dodge I’ve actually heard people use and say, ‘Hey…Just generally, ok..?’ But no, I shall not! I realize that I owe it to whoever is kind enough to read this far into my blog to answer truthfully. And the answer is, well, I’m supposed to be working on a project but I haven’t progressed very far and am too bored to even try. So, I decided to follow rule #1 in the war on boredom:

If thou art bored, thou shalt do somethingst to bore others

That’s explanation enough…

Siddhyor Dostovesky