Rizwan…

Trudging along the snowy path
With countless stares tearing him apart
Those eyes, those stares,
remind him of the steel-cold winter
And of glass, of broken shards

Shouts of Moslem and Paki piercing his heart
And those frowns are no less than darts
Killed, butchered, slaughtered, go the news headlines
Framing his men for unknown crimes

Peculiar sights etched in the mind
The world,
as one would expect,
has never been kind…

All he has ever asked for
Is a normal life
Away from the shadows of
Terrorism, poverty, hunger, and communal strife
Is it too much to ask for?
He seems to be shaken,
Right to the core
And his self-respect seems to be snatched, taken

But despite all the tribulations
And the countless human rights violations
He continues on his way
Countless defamatory chants greet him every single day,
but he has nothing to say…

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

For the Lankans, Cricket has Always Been More than Just a Game

A lot has already been said about the violence that had engulfed Sri Lanka during the 3-decade-long civil war. The Bollywood flick ‘Madras Café, directed by Shoojit Sircar throws ample light on the plight of the Lankan Tamils during the bloody war that kept robbing the Sri Lankans of all their resources.

Man wearing anti-genocide shirt among protesters in London.

Sri Lanka turned into a war zone for the most part of the 1980s and the 1990s when the LTTE’s demand for a separate Tamil Eelam (state) was met coldly by the Sinhala government. Rising tensions between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government paved the way for an ugly civil war which tore the island nation into countless fragments. Continue reading “For the Lankans, Cricket has Always Been More than Just a Game”

Rewind, Press, and Play: Bollywood Hits That Ruled Our Playlists This Year

Bollywood films can never be complete without songs and soundtracks. It certainly would be no overstatement to say that songs and music form the heart and soul of a Hindi film. Right from Hardy Sandhu’s ‘Naah’ to Atif Aslam’s “Dil Diyaan Gallaan” saw countless chartbusters.

This year, it has been no different. Bollywood has churned out some top-notch melodies this year around as well. Here’s a list of top 10 songs that have rocked my personal playlist in 2018. I am quite sure 10,000 different people would have 10,000 different opinions. Your playlist could be completely different from mine. Do leave your comments below.

So, here’s a list of some songs from my 2018 playlist

  1. Dilbaro (Raazi)

While the film became immensely popular because of Alia Bhatt’s stellar act and Meghna Gulzar’s tight direction, the film’s soundtrack too left an everlasting impact on the listener’s mind because of the catchy lyrics and soulful music. Out of all the songs within the film’s soundtrack, “Dilbaro”, sung by Harshdeep and Shankar Mahadevan. The song is penned by veteran lyricist Gulzar, who happens to be the director’s father, and beautifully captures the bond shared by the father-daughter duo.

  1. Dhadak title track

The song became an instant success because of its hummable lyrics and breath-taking vocals. Shreya Ghosal and the composer duo of Ajay-Atul collaborated to bring us one of the best songs of the year. The picturesque surroundings acted as the perfect stage for the lead pair to express love. The bright and colourful locations of Rajasthan add a majestic touch to the song. Also, a feeling of fragility and rawness portrayed in the song’s music video makes you listen to the song again and again.

 

  1. Binte Dil (Padmaavat)

The best thing about Padmaavat’s soundtrack was its richness. You songs symbolizes almost every human emotion.  “Binte Dil “, sung by the ever-so-talented Arijit Singh and penned by A.M. Turaz beautifully captures Allah-ud-din’s burning desire to get a glimpse of Rani Padmavati.  Ornamenting the song are colourful lyrics portraying a myriad of human emotions, ranging from lust to desire to seduction and everything in between. If I could describe the song in a single word, I’d say it is intimate.

 

 

4. O Saathi (Baaghi 2)

How can any list of popular songs be complete without Atif Aslam? 2018, in all fairness, had Atif Aslam’s name written all over it. This lad from Pakistan churned out one hit song after the other in 2018. “O Saathi” from the Tiger Shroff starrer “Baaghi 2”. The film set the ticket windows on fire and emerged as one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of the year. One of the major reasons behind the film’s success was its hit soundtrack.

Playing the song ‘O Saathi’ reminded me of all of my childhood crushes. The lyrics and the music are easy on the ear and do not sound laboured at all. The number is both soulful as well as peppy. Not to forget, Atif Aslam’s mesmerizing voice makes you forget everything else while you’re listening to the song. Also, what makes the song memorable is the music video. Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani are shown together throughout the duration of the song and one has to say that they do look cute together.

 

5.Kamariya (Stree)

This one’s for all the party lovers out there. If you were to take my opinion, I’d say it is one of the best dance numbers I have ever heard. The lyrics are quite catchy and easy to remember. There’s an element of naughtiness portrayed within the song and the lyrics of the song bring out that naughty feeling really well without making it look vulgar. And, and, and how can we forget Nora Fatehi’s electric dance moves? She’s the best thing about the song. Vocals, provided by Astha Gill, Divya Kumar, and Sachin-Jigar are fun and peppy. Also, there’s a sense of rawness that adds significantly to the overall charm of the song. I bet this song would be on every DJ’s list.  Going by the song’s popularity, one can easily say that ‘Kamariya’ from “Stree” is the year’s most popular dance number.

 

 

6. Dariya (Manmarziyaan)

The film might have bombed at the box office, but the charm of the film’s soundtrack became immensely popular with the masses. ‘Daryaa’ sung by Ammy Virk and Shahid Malliya throws ample light on the pain and tribulation one goes through after parting ways with his/her beloved. The song is notable for its moving lyrics, penned by Shellee.  Ammy Virk’s voice complements the melancholic mood of the song. The song became an instant chartbuster in various regions of north India owing to its strong Punjabi essence and flavour.  I must confess this one would remain in my playlist for quite a looong time…

 

 

7. Dekhte Dekhte (Batti Gul Meter Chaalu)

Atif Aslam gate-crashes this countdown yet again.  This one is a recreation of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s qawwali titled ‘Sochta Hoon”. Additional lyrics for the song were penned by Manoj Muntashir. The song borrows heavily from the original version, but that doesn’t take anything away from Atif Aslam, who adds a pinch of freshness to the song with his moving voice. Atif Aslam has always been known for his melancholic and melodious songs and it was no different in this case. The fact that the song’s music video garnered more than 20 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release speaks volumes about the song’s popularity and mass appeal.

Other notable mentions:

  • Bum Diggy-Diggy Bum-Bum,
  • Dil Chori
  • Tera Yaar Hoon Main
  • Dilbar
  • Paaniyon Sa
  • Qaafirana

A Melancholic Orange Tinge…

Staring,staring, and staring
At the sun
It has that color
The color I so dearly liked
It reminds me of you
Of the anniversary present I had bought
Of the countess memories associated with it…

As the curtains are being drawn,
I am reminded of you
Of the summer that was spent together
I can recall your gleaming eyes
Oh, I wanted to drown,
In those eyes of yours

All I have ever wanted,
Is your companionship
Is this too much to ask for?
Oh, open those lips
Just let a few words escape through them

As this day comes to a close
And the Chirruping starts fading away
I can only hope, despite despondence
That this diseased orange tinge would die down
And that a shade of golden yellow would take over….

 

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Exuberance, Skill, and Aggression: Remembering Yuvraj Singh

It was a hot and humid evening in Chennai when Yuvraj Singh walked inside the dressing room after scoring a splendid century against the West Indies in the final group stage fixture of the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

The left-hander walked in for a press conference after that match. Yuvraj, wiping off sweat from his forehead, got irritated when somebody mentioned the threat of facing the defending champions Australia in the Quarter Finals. “You can’t be the world champion without defeating the world champion…bring them on,” Yuvi said, the confidence in his voice could be felt, and in a few days’ time, Yuvraj was seen hammering the Aussie bowlers all around the park at the Motera in Ahmedabad during the high voltage quarter-final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

Continue reading “Exuberance, Skill, and Aggression: Remembering Yuvraj Singh”

A Journey Through Dystopia: Revisiting V for Vendetta

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Before bombarding you with my earth-shattering ideas and opinions, let me tell you that I happen to be a big fan of Dystopian literature. It thrills me to the core when I get my hands on a dystopian graphic novel or watch a film having a dystopian plot. With the contemporary world facing problems such as unemployment, political unrest, insecurity, etc., the concept of dystopia has no longer remained just a part of the fiction.

Back in 2005, when I was a school-going chap, released one of the most influential dystopian thrillers in the history of cinema. (At least, I would like to believe so.) V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, took us into the 2030s, giving us a glimpse of the dark and dingy streets of dystopian London. A cinematic representation of Allan Moore’s graphic novel, the film beautifully portrayed rebellion and revolution in order to overthrow autocratic regimes.

Starring Hugo Weaving and Nathalie Portman as V and Evey respectively, the film was so influential that today the Guy Fawkes mask has become a perpetual symbol of rebellion against totalitarian governments and injustice. Today, the internet, as well as the social media, runs berserk with countless Guy Fawkes images whenever the idea of a protest or an uprise is brought to light. The film, with its gripping storyline, makes sure that you don’t lose interest. It is one of those films which keeps you hooked and guessing right till the very end.

Here’s a look at all the factors that led to the film’s success

A Refreshing Change:

Hollywood has, for long, been associated with the Captain Americas, the Hulks, the Logans, and the Venoms. Indian audiences get attracted to the superhero genre quite effortlessly. At a time when the Superhero genre was overpowering the Indian audiences, V for Vendetta came as a breath of fresh air. It took us through a fictitious autocratic society wherein people were governed using surveillance systems. It further gave us ample reasons to respect and admire democratic governments. A country shouldn’t run according to the will of only a few, it should function according to the will of its citizenry.

The Element of Fear:

Rebellion became a way to liberate the masses. The movie tells us that fickle-minded governments can only be overthrown if people break the shackles of fear. It made people realize that giving in to their fear only makes oppressive governments stronger. It is because fear is the ultimate tool used to control the masses. It further brought to light the tricks governments play to instill a sense of fear amongst the masses. V, disguised as  William Rockwood, tells Chief Inspector Finch about the planned attack carried out by Adam Sutler’s party. He tells him how fear became the ultimate tool of Sutler’s party.

A Fictional Representation of Real-World Problems

V for Vendetta is nothing more than a piece of fiction, but the problems portrayed are pretty much real. Autocratic governments, like the one in North Korea, have snatched away the vox populi and commit severe human rights violations. Wars and political unrests have dismantled countless African nations. Autocratic regimes have denied freedom of speech and expression. Those found ‘guilty’ are being executed. Political scenarios have become as complicated as they possibly can. Many countries (Syria for instance) have been destroyed and crippled. Dystopia is no longer just a piece of fiction. It has turned into a shocking reality.

 V, the titular character and the film’s leading protagonist, beautifully sums up the need to overthrow  oppressive governments when he says:

EmilysQuotes.Com - people, afraid, fear, government, threat, motivational, Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Deconstructing V

V, the film’s titular character, is undoubtedly the perfect protagonist. He is a deeply-learned man who also happens to be a skilled martial artist. He is a skilled swordsman as well. Nothing that he does is a matter of chance. He is not someone who’d leave loose ends. All that he does is carefully planned.

Well, I must admit V’s revolutionary speech reminds me of Mark Antony’s speech from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. His ideology is simple: Only a revolution can overthrow autocratic governments, and that a revolution would succeed only if there are enough people standing beside you. His arguments are highly rational and his grammar and diction are as good as William Shakespeare’s. He rightly nurtures the belief that fairness, justice, and freedom are not merely words, they are perspectives.

Furthermore, one could easily figure out that V had developed a soft corner for Evey Hammond. He fell in love with her and confessed the same before dying.

So, to top it all, V for Vendetta, with its tight storytelling and excellent performances, doesn’t only provide the viewer with entertainment. It also makes the viewer learn a few important lessons.

Through my Eyes…

Looking at you,
I realize that there’s something
You’re hiding,
behind that mysterious smile of yours

Looking at you,
I realize,
I’m looking into a mirror
Unbiased, truthful

Everything is just as it appears to be
Without distortion, without manipulations
It’s clear, all of it at once

There’s an enigmatic charm,
that brings us closer
Your eyes narrate stories
Of love, friendship, fear, war, and worship

A melancholic melody
Easy on the ears
Like a song hummed softly
On a cold winter morning

Quite often, I run out of words
And all my attempts to describe you
Turn out to be an exercise in sheer futility
It is like holding a cube of ice in your fist
And then staring at it in utter disbelief
As it melts…

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest