Tuesday, June 10, 2008

People, people!

Went to watch Aamir, this weekend, with my brother because I'd heard good things about it overall. The story, very briefly, tracks 24 hours in the life of an ordinary middle-class, educated man called Aamir. An ordinary, middle-class, educated, Muslim man.

This post, though, is not about the movie. It is about watching the movie.

So we get ourselves food and coffee and settle into a half-full auditorium. There's a woman sitting next to me, and next to her, her male companion. Fifteen minutes into the movie, she starts to talk.

It began as a staccato hum of whispers, which I shrugged off as the usual desi jahalat when it comes to auditorium behaviour. The hum rose in tempo and volume. Half an hour into the movie, she starts complaining quite loudly, "Bakwas film hai. Kya hai ye?"

I shrugged it off. Bad manners combined with bad taste, very likely. But did she walk into "Aamir" expecting a campus romance with chiffon sarees? Perhaps, her male companion had talked her into it and she was determined to let him know how much she resented it.

At the interval, she proclaimed: "Not even one hour and the interval. It won't even last two hours."

After the interval, she talked right through - to her companion, on her phone. She laughed at the protagonist as he wandered about the city, hounded and harassed.

She said, "Bombay mein aisi jagah kahan hain?" Her companion whispered something back and she laughed. "Haan, bas in log ki hi."

And a few minutes later, she said: "Kaisi film hai... isme sab musalman bhare pade hain."

Let me translate: "What sort of film is this? It is full of muslims."

Finally, I turned to her and told her I'd appreciate it if she continued her conversation after the movie had ended.

But you know, I've heard of many unlikely reasons for people not enjoying a movie. But this was a first. Oh well, one lives and learns. But people and prejudice... What do you do? Wonder if Raj Kumar Gupta knew he'd come up against this sort of attitude in the theatres?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bits and pieces from the day

Fellow journalist Sourabh Gupta has been blogging at Matiyaburj. He's been doing some quite vivid postcard-posts from Bombay. Go look.

And I found this absolutely lovely poem that somehow fit my mood for the day. Here's a sample:

"It seems to me," said Booker T.,
"It shows a mighty lot of cheek
To study chemistry and Greek
When Mister Charlie needs a hand
To hoe the cotton on his land,
And when Miss Ann looks for a cook,
Why stick your nose inside a book?"
"I don't agree," said W.E.B.,
"If I should have the drive to seek
Knowledge of chemistry or Greek,
I'll do it. Charles and Miss can look
Another place for hand or cook.

And the full version's here.
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