Sunday, December 25, 2005


So this post is about films. Went to the cinema 4 times this past week! From Friday to Friday.

Watched Paradise Now, for the 2nd time, this time was paid, first time was a screening. Film's about 2 Palestinian suicide bombers, and their journey, sorta. Very interesting film, shot well too. Though disappointed that they didn't take the chance to show the violence of the occupation.

Then I watched Pride and Prejudice. I usually don't like these sorts of girly, romantic films. And this was my first Jane Austen experience. I liked it. AMAZING cinematography, really beautiful stuff. Though it seemed very sudden that he fancied Elizabeth and how she liked him, didn't seem gradual, but lovely shots.

Then I watched Syriana. Interwoven storylines and stuff, just like Traffic, written and directed by the writer of Traffic, innit. Very interesting film, its about the oil trade, done the same way Traffic was about the drug trade. This one had very interesting themes and characters, and didn't make Arabs/Muslims look totally bad. Basically, bad practices by institutions and stuff lead to violent actions from the people? That's the one theme I got. This film definetely needs to be seen again.
And I thought, Stephen Gaghan, he's so lucky, so young. He wrote Traffic, and he wrote and directed this film Syriana, with George Clooney and produced by Section 8 or something. Man, he's got it made.

Anyway, a film that does not need to be seen again is King Kong. BUT, I enjoyed it though. Three hours long, too long, but the film is just MASSIVE. Just HUGE! It's all spectacle, the whole thing. All I knew is that they go this island and there's King Kong and somehow he ends up in NY, so it was new to me, the story. I know they changed the way girl acts toward the gorilla, that she kinda seduces him, whereas in the original she was just scared shitless or something. But, very entertaining, squirmy, scary, and in some parts, touching. Peter Jackson.

Re-reading White Teeth right now. Zadie Smith is a genius. I'd love to meet her in person, to see what she's like. Definetely give it a read.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Not surprised at this

This is 1984. We are the proletariat, being spyed upon by our government. What are we going to do?

Bush admits he authorised spying

President George W Bush has admitted he authorised secret monitoring of communications within the United States in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks.
The monitoring was of "people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organisations", he said.
He said the programme was reviewed every 45 days, and he made clear he did not plan to halt the eavesdropping.
He also rebuked senators who blocked the renewal of his major anti-terror law, the Patriot Act, on Friday.
By preventing the extension of the act, due to expire on 31 December, they had, he said, acted irresponsibly and were endangering the lives of US citizens.
The president, who was visibly angry, also suggested that a New York Times report which had revealed the monitoring on Friday had been irresponsible.
America's enemies had "learned information they should not have", he said in his weekly radio address, which was delivered live from the White House after a pre-recorded version was scrapped.

'Big Brother'

Senators from both Mr Bush's Republican party and the opposition Democrats expressed concerns about the monitoring programme on Friday.
Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee , said there was no doubt it was "inappropriate", adding that Senate hearings would be held early next year as "a very, very high priority".
"This is Big Brother run amok," was the reaction of Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.
Senator Russell Feingold, another Democrat, called it a "shocking revelation" that "ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American".
But in his address on Saturday, Mr Bush said the programme was "critical to saving American lives".
The president said some of the 11 September hijackers inside the US had communicated with associates outside before the attacks - but the US had not known that until it was too late.
"The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and our civil liberties," he said.
Monitoring was, he said, a "vital tool in our war against the terrorists".
He said Congressional leaders had been briefed on the programme, which he has already renewed more than 30 times.

'Illegal leak'

Mr Bush harshly criticised the leak that had made the programme public.
"Revealing classified information is illegal. It alerts our enemies," he said.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Mr Bush had signed a secret presidential order following the attacks on 11 September 2001, allowing the National Security Agency to track the international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people without referral to the courts.
Previously, surveillance on American soil was generally limited to foreign embassies.
American law usually requires a secret court, known as a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to give permission before intelligence officers can conduct surveillance on US soil.

BBC article about Bihari films

Finally something positive said about Bihar.

Move over Bollywood, here's Bhojpuri
By Amarnath Tewary in Patna

Bhojpuri cinema has an audience of 200m. (Pics: Prashant Ravi)
Bollywood is having to take a backseat as the hitherto little-known regional Bhojpuri film industry steals the show in India.
The industry, catering to 200m people who speak the Bhojpuri language - a dialect of Hindi - and live in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, is raking in cash like never before.
Sticking to home-grown Indian family melodramas and throwing in some glamorous faces and slick foreign locations for a contemporary feel, Bhojpuri films are often outperforming Bollywood biopics at the box office these days.
Take, for example, two of the Bhojpuri mega hits of 2005, Sasura Bada Paisawela (My Father-in-Law is Rich) and Daroga Babu I Love You (Dear Policeman, I Love You).
Both did more business in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh than the A-list Bollywood releases, Bunty Aur Babli, a version of Bonnie and Clyde, and Mangal Pandey - The Rising, about the 1857 Indian mutiny.
Made on a modest budget of $65,000, Sasura Bada Paisawela took in over $3m at the box office. Daroga Babu mopped up nearly $900,000 on a similar budget.
Many Bhojpuri movies take about 10 times their costs
With a success rate of almost 100% it is not surprising that Bhojpuri cinema is wooing Bollywood players like never before.
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, presently recovering from surgery, and star actress of yesteryear, Hema Malini, have signed up for a Bhojpuri film together.
Other actors who have appeared in or are about to appear in Bhojpuri films are Ajay Devgan, Juhi Chawla, Raj Babbar, Rati Agnihotri and starlet Nagma.
That's not all - Bollywood's top choreographer Saroj Khan is directing a Bhojpuri movie, director Tinnu Verma is remaking a Bollywood hit, Mera Gaon Mera Desh (My Village, My Country), in Bhojpuri, and Bollywood singer Udit Narayan is producing a Bhojpuri film called Kab Hoi Gauna Hamar.
The four-decade-old Bhojpuri industry is attracting foreign talent too.
Ukrainian model Tanya has already played a Russian girl in love with a Bihari boy in Firangi Dulhania (Foreign Bride). Now 24-year-old Cambridge-educated British actress Jessica Bath has signed for two Bhojpuri films.
The Bhojpuri industry is buzzing as never before - with some 30 films this year, double the number of previous years.
So what makes Bhojpuri cinema tick?
For one, the film-makers have astutely targeted the Bhojpuri-speaking audience at home and abroad - a substantial expatriate population in places such as Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam and the West Indies.
With Bollywood productions increasingly targeting the urban middle and upper classes in India's cities, Bhojpuri directors have cashed in by churning out home-grown local fare.
The industry also has its own stars now - Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishan are the biggest male actors, while an actress from Mumbai (Bombay) Rani Chatterji - originally Sabiha Sheikh and renamed after Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee - is the most popular actress.
Tiwari, who began as a small-town crooner, now has more than a dozen films to his name and charges as much as $90,000 per film.
Kishan charges as much. He has been quoted on an Indian website as saying Bhojpuri cinema is like "home-cooked food".
Vinod Mirani, an editor of a Bollywood trade journal, said on the same site: "Bhojpuri movies are not about Technicolor fantasies. The thrust is towards home-grown subjects. The concerns are largely to do with marriage and family. There's lot of emotions."
Clearly, the formula is working.
"Bhojpuri cinema has finally got its identity and real worth. Now its commercial success is making everybody sit up and take notice," says Raghuvansh Babu, chief of the Bihar Motion Pictures Association.
Bhojpuri movies also make eminent business sense.
"Most Bhojpuri films are made on small budget of usually $50,000 to $60,000 and usually gross 10 times their costs at the box office, which is much higher than any Bollywood hit," Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh says.
Bhojpuri film-makers now claim they are pushing the envelope with themes.
Manoj Tiwari says Bhojpuri films are being made around "gender themes and even a political satire is in the works".
To exploit the industry's potential, there is also a rush now to dub 40 Bollywood hits, including films like Sholay and Deewar, into Bhojpuri.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

books and paradise now

So I bought 4 books yesterday. Don't worry, I know what I'm doing.

White Teeth - Zadie Smith -already read, but I really liked it so I got a copy
The Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri - want to see what the deal is about this author
Down and Out In Paris and London - George Orwell
The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore

An hour later I was across the street to see Paradise Now. I saw it back in October at a screening with the director, who was a very cool, honest bloke. This film gives an interesting and personal perspective on Palestinian suicide bombers. I highly recommend it, for everyone.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I thoroughly enjoy spending time in record shops, either when I'm looking for stuff or looking and knowing I won't buy anything.

Now when I was in one of these record shops (it was Encore Records in Ann Arbor, extremely messy and packed), they had a TV that was playing some old Bollywood film. It had that ugly guy, Mithun or someone, who was big in the 70s/80s? I thought it was funny that they were playing such a film, and it had no subtitles. So this shop that's full of white Ann Arbor intellectuals/music freaks is playing this silly Indian film. When I was about to leave a song came on, and they sang "D! I! S! C! O! DISCO!", and the actor went "I am a disco dancer! I am a disco dancer!". Why the hell is such a film on in such a record shop I wonder.

Rebel Warrior

This here is lyrics to a song by Asian Dub Foundation, one of my favourite bands, off of the album Facts and Fiction or the album Community Music.

Asian Dub Foundation - Rebel Warrior
Written by: das, savale, pandit

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

I’m hear to teach you a lesson
I’m hear to torture your soul
I’m the itch in your side that’s got out of control
’gonna prey on your conscience
You’ll be praying for forgiveness
Seen all the evidence
No longer need a witness
So take my word man
Here’s my sentence
One hundred thousand years of repentance.

Check my anger, it’s real
Ain’t no token
I’ll be satisfied only when your back’s been broken
It’s my burning ambition to burn down your empire
Man I’ll be building you a funeral pyre
The fire in my eyes
If looks coulda kill
I won’t be satisfied until I’ve had my fill.
Check my anger, it’s real
Ain’t no token
I’ll be satisfied only when your back’s been broken

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

Repetitive beats beating against your skull
I’ll be striking you down
To the sounds of the wardrum
The doum!
The doum of the dhol
Taking it’s toll
Null and void is what you’ve become
An underground army with my brothers and sisters
Hand to hand fighting
Building up a resistance
Repetitive beats beating against your skull
Null and void is what you’ve become

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

A radical fusion
Strange alliance
The siren and the flute in unison
’cos it’s a part of my mission
To break down division
Mental compartments
Psychological prisons.

I’ll be sowing the seeds of community
Accomodating every colour every need
So listen to my message and heed my warning
I’m telling you know
How a new age is dawning

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

Ami bidrohi! ami bidrohi!
Yes the unity of the hindu and the muslim
Will end your tyranny
Ami bidrohi! ami bidrohi!

EDIT: I just gotta say, if you're reading this, you really need to hear this song. The way this guy raps, it's just so fast and furious, a rumble. Especially the third verse.

Such a lament

"Lament of the Muslim dance music fan"

Our elbows do not pump,
our shoulders remain straight,
the hips, cannot shake or shimmy
the foot can only tap merely
with desperate hope
"extrovert" must be banished
from our vocabulary
we are muslim dance music lovers
we gyrate for our mirrors only