Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tees Maar Khan - delightfully irreverent

Irreverent. That word says a lot. Look here, I respect you, but I don’t revere you. So, while I may not insult you, I will sure as hell make plenty of jokes at you. Farah Khan gets bindaas irreverent in Tees Maar Khan as she pokes jokes galore at her Bollywood friends, at the Oscars, at the Khans of bollywood, at the patriotic movies of the 70s, and maybe at patriotism itself – look for the scene where someone says ‘leharao tiranga’ and to your pleasant shock a French tricolor is raised to the sky!

The plot (apparently borrowed from a Hollywood movie) revolves around Tabrez Mirza Khan or Tees Maar Khan (Akshay Kumar), a con-man of renown, who stages a train robbery using a town-full of villagers, an Oscar-hungry movie star (Akshaye Khanna), and Tabrez’s silly girl friend Anya (Katrina Kaif), convincing them all that they are in-fact acting in a movie.

The movie is full of in-jokes, and in-subtelities. At one point Akshay Kumar points to a couple of bony, frail villagers and asks the rest of his cast to develop six-packs like them – a joke at Shah-Rukh’s very bony frame in Farah Khan’s own Om Shanti Om. The star, Akshaye Khanna has a back problem like you-know-who. In the quawwali Aadaab Arz Hai, Akshay Kumar keeps trying to keep Sallu’s hands (Salman Khan in a guest appearance) off Katrina, saying something like, “yeh ab meri hai”. In another scene when Katrina says to Akshay “I love you” – he tells her, “Hey! Not in public!” In the song “Bade Dilwala” there’s a rhyming mention of Yusuf and Madhubala, and promptly Akshay draws a white feather into the scene – a tribute to the famous sequence from Mughal-e-Aazam. Akshay Kumar while pataoing Akshaye Khanna for his plan, pretends to be the Hollywood director Manoj Day Shyamalan – note not just the inversion of Night and Day, but also the classical Bollywood inversion Shyam and Ram! The bit I loved the most is when Katrina says suddenly in the movie-in-the-movie confusion ‘Off with his head’. It would be a fair bet to say Farah Khan’s three kids are reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ right now. What these in-jokes do is that they create some sort of audience involvement – inviting the audience to create the movie experience along with the director.

Credit must go to Farah Khan for plenty of original thought, especially compared to what passes as comedy these days – I happened to watch a cliché-filled House Full on TV later in the evening. The opening sequence has a feotal Tees Maar Khan doing synchronous swimming routines in amniotic fluid, and later there’s the Siamese-twin-gangsters who use an extended earphone, from one twin’s left ear to the other twin’s right ear!

The music is also quite good. Katrina Kaif sizzles in Shiela Ki Jawani. Aadaab Arz Hai is quite a good quawwali, and Bade Dil Waala is full of witty lines. All three songs are superbly choreographed. Bollywood indeed is full of talent!

There are a few sore points – racist and coarse jokes on black complexioned people and gays. But I still would give Tees Maar Khan a four out of five. Go watch it for Farah Khan’s brand of eclectic humour.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Midnight's Children

The last time I tried reading Midnight's Children, I could only get to a hundred pages or so. I had been reading Garcia Marquez before that - One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Love in the Time of Cholera. and I found similarities in style that made Salman Rushdie a perhaps-unintentional plagiarist in my mind. Both Rushdie and Marquez have absurd, fantastical things happening to people in their books - like someone dying by a roof collapsing on their heads, or choking on an not un-seeded orange - perhpas a magnifying-glass pointer at the magic and absurdity in everyday life. Both use a non linear narrative - often saying 'Years later so-and-so remembered' etc, or referring to the future through pre-cognitive half-hints, Rushdie more so, which makes his book of continuous suspenses created and unveiled every few pages - a bit irritating at times. Some story lines are similar too - for e.g. one sister in love with one man, and then he suddenly falls in love with another sister, and the first sister lives a life of envy, waiting for her revenge.

This time around, though I still have not absolved Rushdie of possibly-unintentional plagiarism, I am still able to continue reading Midnight's Children - ofcourse lots of things are different too, and there is a lot of substance to the plot.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I have started out on twitter.
here goes