Dil Dhadakne Do: Board this cruise with the Mehra family!

It’s very rare ( especially in Bollywood) that you walk into the theater to watch a director’s work. Zoya is an exception though because she has shown with both Luck By Chance and ZNMD that she is a class apart when it comes to direction and is an excellent storyteller. So I had to go watch Dil Dhadakne Do and I am glad I chose to.

Dil Dhadakne Do is a treat to watch. The Mehra family is a bundle of conflicts and Zoya portrays those conflicts with such ease and conviction. Some of the scenes in the film, especially the ones with all the Mehra family members together, are cinema of the highest quality. The witty comic scenes in particular, are extraordinary and match up to ZNMD standards. The dialogues penned by Farhan go a long way in making the film entertaining and helping Zoya depict such complex characters and relationships on screen.

When you have a top notch director and such an elaborate star cast, there are bound to be some amazing performances. Almost everyone in the film (including the very fine supporting actors) put up a good show but Shefali Shah and Ranveer Singh just steal the show. Shefali is a fabulous actor and she is perfect for the role of Neelam Mehra. Hopefully, this film marks a new beginning for her and she gets a lot more meaty roles in future.


Coming to Ranveer, how much has this guy grown as an actor over the last few years? He started off well with Band Baaja Baarat but he has reached another level with DDD. He holds the film together from start to finish and his interactions with his parents are some of the highlights of the film.

A couple of days ago I was thinking that for the sake of drawing a comparison, Ranbir is potentially the next Aamir and Varun Dhawan the next Salman. While I do not see any traits of Shahrukh in Ranveer, I am sure he is going to keep doing some great work and I am really looking forward to it.

Coming back to the film, my only complain is that it was probably 15-20 minutes too long. It’s tough to say for sure because I am not able to point out any unnecessary track or scenes. Having said that, it’s the director’s job to find a way to make it shorter and I am sure Zoya must have given it a thought and would have had her own reasons to keep it at 2h50mins. The songs are another aspect which could have been slightly better but the beautiful locations and the dance performances more than make up for it.

Overall, I would say everyone should book their tickets to board this cruise with the Mehra family and their friends, and explore a world full of conflicts, hypocrisies, intricacies and complex relationships. Keep an eye out for those special moments that the Mehras’ create on screen because those are the ones you would like to revisit some other day. I surely will.


A short reply for each allegation against AAP

Finally the LG seems to have taken the decision and the Delhi assembly will be dissolved soon. So we will have re-elections in the coming weeks or months based on what the Election Commission decides. I was just thinking about the arguments that we will see in the coming days and decided to come up with a list of what BJP/Congress/Media will have to say against AAP and AK. Let me know if there is anything else that I can add to the list:

1. AK ran away – Yes he resigned because he was not able to pass a bill. Asked for re-elections as soon as possible. Later he apologized to the people of Delhi and said he should have held Mohalla Sabhas for making such a decision.

2. AAP could not fulfill its promises – AAP is the only party who implemented around 50% of its manifesto in just 49 days. Water, electricity, CAG audit, SIT for 1984, abandoning VIP culture, complete mapping of 900 government schools and their requirements, and tried to introduce their biggest promises of Janlokpal and Swaraj bill in the assembly. Lots of other things were also done in the 49 days and a complete list can be found on the Aam Aadmi Party website. As far as fulfilling promises is concerned, when are we getting 15-20 lakhs in our accounts Mr. PM? 100 days? 150? Chalo we will give you some more time. No Problems.

3. AAP is breaking apart – Yes, Anna and KB are not with us . Yes Binny and Shazia left. But so what? We fielded 400+ CLEAN candidates and 1.2crore+ people voted for us in Lok Sabha. And the biggest proof of unity within AAP is that BJP was not able to break any of our MLAs despite offering crores of rupees. I salute such MLAs!

4. AK sat on a dharna – yeah he did. For women safety. Asking for full statehood for Delhi and control over Delhi Police. Modi sat on a dharna in an AC tent a few years back. Jaitley and co tried sitting on a dharna in Varanasi but failed in 2-3 hours.  And a lot of other CMs have protested through a dharna. Big deal?

5. AAP is B team of Congress – Yesterday a Congress representative was saying AAP is B team of BJP. This has been going on ever since the IAC days. In fact at that time if anything we were B team of BJP because we built the public anger against UPA government. Modi should someday thank Anna and the team of IAC for their contribution in BJP’s victory.

6. Foreign funding – I do not need to say much. Just check the links below:

7. AAP has no vision. Only want to spread anarchy – Swaraj. Jan-Lokpal. Honest governance. Transparent funding. Accountability towards the public. Clean candidates. That’s our vision. For more details visit AAP website, search on YT for AK interviews. Read his book on Swaraj. Visit the FB page or Twitter handle of Jagdeep, Jarnail, Somnath, or any other AAP MLA and you will see a sneak peak of AAP’s model of governance.

8. Arvind apologized to Gadkari – False rumors spread my some people on Social Media. He never apologized and will never do so. Here is the explanation behind the meeting – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw7Srdb9jE8

9. AAP is going the Congress way and getting into minority appeasement – AAP aims to unite all people and the biggest example of this is the following:

At a Muslim function, some guy asked:
“We are 18 crore, what are you going to do for us ? ”
Arvind replied… “We are not 18 crore.. we are 121 crore.”

Here is the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIhjlwhcJHw

Want to read more about why some people hate Kejriwal and the bias of the media? Read this reply –> http://www.quora.com/Why-do-so-many-Indians-hate-the-AAP-and-Arvind-Kejriwal/answer/Rohit-Nigam-3?srid=iNdH&share=1

Anything else? Any suggestions? I will keep improving and adding to the list.

Haider is Fascinating

I do not feel capable of writing a review for an adaptation of Hamlet because I have not studied Hamlet that well and barely remember it. But I am making this post because I cannot stop myself from recommending this movie. If even one person reads this blog and decides to watch Haider, I will be happy.

Haider is fascinating. It’s Brilliant. The story starts of a little slow but sucks you in and you do not take your eyes off the screen after the interval. Those who have seen Hamlet will be forced to compare and judge this movie as an adaptation. But for me, this is Haider. Not Hamlet. And Haider is a very well directed film by Vishal Bhardwaj, who is undoubtedly one of the finest directors in our country. I am happy to know that directors like Vishal Bhardwaj are there to inspire the next generation of directors in India.

The performances are remarkable. Shahid, Kay Kay, Shraddha shine and all other local actors have done well. Shahid needs to do less of the Phata Posters and R Rajkumars and do some interesting roles. He has a lot of variety and has shown immense growth as an actor. Kay Kay is a fine actor and he does complete justice to his role. Shraddha is relatively new but holds her own in front of all the other experienced actors. Her songs and the music in general is another addition to Haider’s appeal. Irrfan Khan shows that you do not need a lengthy role to make an impact.

But Tabu just steals the show. Each and every scene in which she is present is a lesson for all other aspiring actors. You can be part of a 200 crore movie in which there is no substance to your role or look for challenging roles in which you grow as an actor. Tabu is too good of an actress to not get more meaningful roles. I really hope this is the beginning of a lot more good work for her. And I need to visit/revisit some of her previous work now.

I just lov-ed Haider. This is the kind of film that Bollywood should be known for. Not Slumdog Millionaire. Go watch it! Now!

Hum Hain Desi: An evening with a true patriot!

Waise toh aaj Hindi mein likhne ka mann kar raha hai, lekin Devanagiri keyboard dhang se use karna aata nahin aur aise likhne mein maza nahin. Toh abhi ke liye angrezi mein hi switch maar leta hun. Maaf karna Vishwas Sir. Magar aapko humara waada raha ki jald hi hum bhi Hindi mein likha karenge!

I have not grown up in India. Only lived there for 3 years. I had never really heard about Dr. Kumar Vishwas until he took the stage for IAC and then joined hands with Arvind. Ever since then, he has always left an impression with his poems, jokes, speeches and the beauty with which he express himself in Hindi.

So when I found out that Kumar Vishwas was coming to Houston, I had no doubts that I had to attend this one. Within minutes I shot off a message to my friends to ask whether they wanted to come. I was going for sure but to have a few friends tag along would have been better. Thankfully a few were interested and those who missed out will never realize what they missed out on. This was not about whether you like Kumar Vishwas, support AAP or enjoy poetry. It was simply about whether you can take some time out of your “busy” lives, to proudly say ki hum hain desi! Anyways, to each his own.

The week went by. Internship. Online class. A visa application. The usual. But throughout the week there was a tinge of excitement for the upcoming weekend. So much so that 3 days before the evening I had decided that I was going to wear a Kurta Pajama to this event. Something that I have not done for the last many many years. Somehow, it just felt right to wear an Indian attire on this day.

Let’s move on to the actual day itself – August 2nd, 2014. We reached India House, Houston around 30 minutes before the start time and 1 hour before the event started. Aakhir hum hain desi, event time par start ho jaaye toh maza kahan aata hai?

@vish111 – “Waiting for @DrKumarVishwas Excited 😎 #JantarMantar3Aug #AAP”


And then he arrived. He snuck into the room while a few other announcements were being made and took a seat in the front row. Someone else spoke for a while before Kumar Vishwas was finally called on stage. He had to wait for another Houston based poet to do his bit. He looked tired but still managed to throw in a ‘jumla’ here and there. He finally took the mic around 8:30pm and took us all on an entertaining and wonderful journey for the next 3hrs! Non-stop!


What do I even say about the whole experience? In today’s day and age the best way to explain it would be that no one stepped out of the room to take a phone call. No one was texting. The few phones that were out were to record videos. I recorded a few too for fellow AAPians and Kumar Vishwas fans. Will share them soon.

All he did for those three hours was make us smile, grin, laugh and applaud. He cracked jokes, he recited his poems, and most importantly he took us back to India with his Hindi. He captured what all NRIs have in their heart when he said: kya chahte hai NRIs? Bas itna ki humare desh ki sadkein bhi acchi ho jaaye, wahan corruption door ho jaaye aur ek baap apni beti ko raat ke samay ghar se bahar bhejne se dare na. Once India gets rid of corruption and becomes a safe country, every NRI would happily return back.

The best part about Kumar Vishwas is that he is so natural. Of course he repeats some of his poetry and jokes but a lot of it is new and created on the spot. This event was not meant to go on till 11:30pm. In fact from 10pm onwards he kept on saying that this will be the last one but he was in the mood today. He just kept going and going. One after the other. A few of the poems were new and he had not recited them before. One of them he had just written a few hours ago on his phone while coming to Houston. He even pointed out that out of all the events he has had on this tour so far, this has been the longest one. It might sound weird when I say this but how cute does he look when he is about to end and says “us se pehle ek teen minute ka geet aur sun li jiye. mann kar raha hai.” He sounded like a kid who is so excited and this was despite the fact that he had only slept for 2-3 hours the previous night.   Humari kismat acchi thi. Woh aaj mood mein the 😉

The range and comfort with which he goes from an easy to understand poem like Koi Deewana Kehta Hai to a more difficult ghazal is what makes him unique. Maybe there are many poets who write better than him but what’s the point if your audience cannot understand the message? He makes them understand and each line touches your heart. In fact he also joked (it’s in the Hum Chup Reh Nahin Sakte video) that “Log zyaada doob gaye. Matlab log kavita sunne ke bajaye uski picturization mein chale gaye. Aisa na karein, aap yahin rahe.” The event was full of such interactions with the crowd. Such was the atmosphere that you did not want to miss a single line.

A message for AAPians: some of you may have been slightly worried in last few weeks. “Has KV given up on AAP and politics and left Arvind to fight alone?” I was slightly worried too but after watching him today I realized how wrong I was. This man is not an opportunist who has jumped into politics to become an MP and make use of the benefits. He is a true patriot and a true patriot will not leave a battle in between. Especially if that battle is for his Bharat Ma. He mentioned the friendship that he shares with Arvind multiple times, he cracked a few jokes on Congress and BJP and he made it clear that he will keep on fighting. I know how all of us AAPians would love to see him standing with Arvind and campaigning but let us try to understand that it is important for him to return back to his roots. He has not left AAP. He is just returning to his first love which is poetry and the Hindi language. Give him some time. I know my words are not enough to convince a few AAPians but I have no doubts in my mind that he will be the LAST person to leave Arvind.

So how do I end this now? I just want to expand on what I told him when I shook his hand after the event. I said “Thank You Sir”. Thank You Sir for making this evening one of the most memorable ones that I have ever had. Thank You Sir for keeping Hindi alive amongst today’s youth. Thank You Sir for spreading patriotism amongst all Indians. Thank You Sir for fighting on the streets for us. Thank You Sir for your help in shaking up the political establishment in our country. Thank You Sir for everything! If I was just a fan before, I have become an admirer today.

Standing next to a patriot.

Standing next to a true patriot

I have written for one of my favorites today and whenever I do that, I feel that I have not done enough justice to him. I just want to tell you all to go watch him perform some day. I know I will if given a chance again. Actually, I will find the chance. I WILL go again! Hopefully with my family. Hopefully in India. Aakhir hum hain desi aur hum intezaar kar rahe hai us din ka jabh humara desh humme awaaz lagaye.

As my friend said “aise event se pata chalta hai ki aap sach mein kahan rehna chahte ho.” We will be back in India soon and Kumar Vishwas would have a role in that!

Jai Hind!

Update – My feelings the next day:

Phir se uss mahaul mein doob jaane ka jee chahta hai,
Agle mauke ke intezaar mein ‘Alakh’ mein kho jaane ka jee chahta hai

Alakh is his new CD

YouTube Links:

[UPDATE]: I removed the videos due to a request by Team Kumar Vishwas. They are officially uploading some of his videos.

A word on Salman Khan’s Kick

Alright let me make this clear upfront, this is not a review. Salman has clearly told us that there is no point of trying to make sense of him as it is impossible to understand him. He resides in our hearts! Who am I to go against Bhai’s wish? There is no point in analyzing this one and thinking about it from a critic’s point of view. A proper review of Salman’s movies makes little sense because as Rajeev Masand puts it in his “review”: “I didn’t hate it. If that’s enough encouragement, sure, go watch it. But you were going to anyway, right?” People will go watch and the movie will smash all records no matter what the critics have to say.

So let’s come to the point and just talk about my experience of watching Kick. I saw a 12:05am show of Kick in a theater in Houston, Texas. It was not sold out by any means but there was a decent occupancy for a midnight show. Mostly a desi crowd but there were a few Americans and Mexicans too.

So the movie started. The crowd was acting civil as they usually do in American theaters. They put their phones on silent and went dead silent when the movie started. Cut to the first glimpse of Salman on screen and everyone just starts whistling and screaming. “Salluu Bhai” someone yelled out in front of me. “Pandey ji” came from somewhere behind. For a moment I felt irritated and wanted them to be quite so that I could concentrate on the movie but I soon realized that there was no point. This was a 12:05am show of a Salman Khan movie. People had come to enjoy. So I decided to go with the flow and just relish the atmosphere.

And what a great time everyone had. Most scenes were predicted even before you saw them on the screen. But that was the beauty of it. Very few actors can make a film enjoyable even when you know the dialogues and scenes that are coming your way. Salman is definitely one of them.

Despite the nature of the film, it does have its moments of cinematic brilliance. Saurabh Shukla impresses as Jacqueline’s father and his comic timing is top notch. We have found an actor par excellence in Nawazzudin Siddiqui. His dialogue delivery and devilish demeanor is a pleasure to watch. He has a lot to offer to Indian cinema. Salman’s heroines usually do not have an impactful role and it is no different in Kick with Jacqueline. But she does what is required of her. There are many other actors who have small comic roles in the first half and do well.

And what to say about Salman’s performance? He has rediscovered himself since Wanted and he understands what his audience is looking for. They are not there to see Devi Lal Singh or Devil, they are there to see their beloved hero and he never fails to deliver to his audience. He charms as usual, dances like no one’s watching and gives the audience their required Kick of entertainment!

Like Jai Ho, Salman also delivers a social message. It is good to see that he and his directors are making use of his stardom and hopefully making a difference to our society. He has also recently challenged all the other actors to beat him in charity. And he says they can do it.

Kick will break all BO records or at least reach the Dhoom 3 level. Earlier I did not like the fact that such movies do so well while more meaningful films do not get the success they deserve. But I now believe that money flowing into the industry is a good thing! The better these films do, the more we will get to see the so called “parallel cinema”.

So go watch Kick and try not be a critic. That way you will enjoy it more.

Oh just one more thing I forgot to mention. When I walked out of the theater, the Mexicans were humming the tune of Jumme Ki Raat. One desi yelled out to his friend “Pandey ji rukko zara”. There were smiles all around. If the purpose of cinema is to entertain then Salman Khan has done it once again!

Thank you Shazia Ilmi

I saw Shazia Ilmi for the first time during IAC days. Saw her on the stage with Anna and co. But what struck me was her feisty nature on TV debates. It was good to see. It showed her strength and resolve for the issue she was fighting for. She is a strong lady. No doubts about that.

I was happy that she was around with Arvind when AAP was formed. She along with Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh and few others was the backbone of AAP. It was disappointing to see her lose from RK Puram by a very small margin in the Delhi elections. Then came AAP’s plunge to Lok Sabha elections and we started hearing the rumors. She was not happy with party leadership? But we thought she was an integral part of that very leadership?! Unfortunately, it seemed like Sanjay Singh and few others had taken control. Voices of people like Shazia were not being heard. Kumar Vishwas was unhappy too. The good thing about AAP is that all volunteers and supporters know about these problems and discuss on public platforms. But we were hoping that once the Lok Sabha elections were over, we would have time to fix the internal party democracy issues. Alas, that has not happened. Not yet.

So it has led us to this unfortunate day. Shazia Ilmi has resigned from the party and explained her reasons for doing so. Major point being internal party democracy. If Shazia cannot get herself heard within the party then how can volunteers reach to the leadership? It is a very serious issue which has been plaguing the party for a very long time. Everyone knows but in jumping from one election to the other, the issue has been sidelined. And that is why I thank Shazia Ilmi today. For bringing the issue up and putting it in the forefront. The “leadership” needs to take notice of this and act. And by “leadership” I am referring to that one man who started it all and has a vision for the party.

Yes, it has to be Arvind. I feel for him. He is fighting a very difficult battle and in difficult times. As I write this, it has been 60+ hours of him being in jail. But he is not going to break down. He is made of steel. I do not want him to compromise on his principles. Not at all. But when he does come out of jail, he needs to take a short hiatus from active politics. Go back in time. Revisit Swaraj. Meet Anna. Think about the vision he had for Aam Aadmi Party. Get feedback from supporters. Visit people of Delhi without any intent to campaign. And he must do this alone. Because, cheesy as it may sound, he is the chosen one!

Whether Arvind does this or not, I will stand by him because he is fighting a battle which only he dared to begin. But once again, thank you Shazia ma’am. I am sure it must not have been easy for you to take this decision. But I also know that you will be back one day!

Arvind’s Defamation Case Explanation

I was asked by a friend to explain what’s going on with this case and the protests. I have written the following as a response based on my understanding and knowledge. Would love to hear back if there is anything wrong in it or any contradictory views/opinions:

1. What exactly happened inside the court is not known. Both sides have their own story as usual. So I will not comment on the exact sequence of events inside the court. 

2. AAP in 2012, right after their formation, did a press conference with evidence of Gadkari’s corruption. At that time, many media houses also came out with evidence for Gadkari’s corruption. A lot of it is now in public domain (http://aamaadmiparty.org/documents-related-to-nitin-gadkari). I am sure if you do a google search you will find even media articles writing about Gadkari’s corruption and the proofs. Ram Jethmalini (BJP politician) has also said the same – http://news.oneindia.in/…/bjp-versus-bjp-ram-jethmalani… …Gadkari was removed (he resigned just to make it nicer) by BJP from party president position.

3. After the above press conference, there was no defamation case launched by Gadkari.

4. In January this year, AAP came up with a list of corrupt politicians and said that these politicians need to be defeated in the upcoming LS elections. This list also included Gadkari. If you watch video of when Arvind was shouting out these names, a lot of the volunteers were actually adding names in this….it was not only corrupt…also included dynastic, communal etc. which AAP believe have to be defeated.

5. At this point Gadkari launched the defamation case. 

6. I do not know exact procedure of defamation case and whether the one accused is expected to show proof of his charges to prove himself innocent? So was AK asked yesterday to show proof of the charges he made? I am not sure about that….but there is definitely enough proof out there and AAP has competent lawyers to deal with that if needed. 

7. Now comes the bail part. First of all this case is not over, the next hearing is on Friday. So it’s not as if AAP/Arvind is/was losing the case. It’s just that till the next hearing you have to either sign a bail bond to ensure the judge that you will be present for all the hearings. According to AAP and its lawyers, this part about signing the bail bond is not a strict law and its upto the discretion of the judge. In 4 previous cases, Arvind has been granted bail without signing this bail bond based on an oral/written undertaking that he will appear in court whenever he is called.

8. Arvind has on principle denied to file bail bonds when he is not guilty. This has been his position for many many years…even before IAC days. (http://www.dnaindia.com/…/report-rti-activist-arvind…)

9. But the judge this time (unlike the previous cases) decided that Arvind will be arrested if he declined to sign bail bond. So Arvind said he is prepared for that. (anna and arvind have done this in the past too).

10. This cannot be pre-planned or drama as others are calling it unless you imply that AAP influenced the judge and wanted Arvind to be arrested. After the arrest, senior leaders and supporters decided to show solidarity outside Tihar jail (same thing happened in 2011 when Anna was arrested…infact at a much much larger scale with 1000s taking the streets outside Tihar). They were sitting outside the jail, police imposed section 144 and then started dragging senior AAP leaders from their site of protest to other jails and detaining them. Reason for detaining? violating section 144….old way used by Delhi police to disperse any form of protests.

All this is then labelled to be political drama by the media and others. BJP just a couple of weeks ago sat on dharna in Varanasi (they could not sustain it for even 4 hours cuz their leaders like Jaitely couldn’t take the heat)….but that was not drama…that was a legitimate form of protest according to our media and Modi supporters.

Its simple….Arvind lives on certain principles and he will continue to do so. People of Delhi took the streets earlier but now they have given up because they believe it does not solve anything. AK and Anna were the ones who ignited this street fighting spirit amongst our youth, which was also used by the youth in the Delhi gang rape protests. At that time it was not drama, it was revolutionary, path-breaking…nation on streets vs corrupt Congress regime. Now its called drama? A 100 people sitting outside Tihar jail with their leader is drama? A leader staying in jail for 2 days for calling a corrupt leader corrupt is drama? While Gadkari gets elected into parliament? Congress was not only corrupt party…BJP have lots of corrupt leaders too and people like Yeddyurapa were taken back into BJP cuz they were “winnable” candidates. People have given mandate for Modi and are expecting miracles….ok…i am fine with that. But please do not forget that he has people like Amit Shah, Gadkari, Yeddyurapa and many others by his side. AK and AAP will continue labeling them as corrupt..in fact yesterday #CorruptGadkari was trending on Twitter. How many defamation cases will he file? I want to see if BJP can now give Gadkari a position in Modi’s cabinet?

Just one line to end it all –> a strong mandate does not mean there is no scope for opposition. Whether people now chose AAP in Delhi is up to them but I and many AAP supporters agree with this form of protest. As Arvind said when forming party – ab parliament mein bhi ladenge aur sadkon par bhi.