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Paheli - No Riddle

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 by Blogpur

It's really no riddle why Paheli got chosen as India's Oscar entry. From a list that included the likes of Sachin, Anniyan, Veer Zaara and so on, its damn obvious that a "good" movie is going off to the Oscars - not that it is going to win. The only other reasonably good movies mentioned were Swades and Black.

Most people will be wondering why Black didn't get the go ahead. As far as I'm concerned, Black is a lukewarm disaster that doesn't really have any weight to it. It's far too stereotypical, eccentric and unabashedly dogmatic for my liking. The story is also ripped straight from an American film: "The Miracle Worker" - not that that makes it a bad film - half of Kamal's films are "influenced" by other films whether they be American or Japanese or French.

I just didn't buy into Black. What the hell was that post modern Indian setting? It mixes fantasy and realism - that mixture just doesn't work too well for my liking. Granted the cinematography was good - but compared to Paheli?

Swades was a good effort from Gowariker, but like so many efforts, it had some sections which were totally unwarranted. The romantic angle (the cornerstone of any nutritious Indian film) was definitely out of place. The generator idea, had a good premise which became a damp squid. It became far too stereotypical. However there were some absolutely fantastic pieces of filmmaking in that movie here and there. The section where the train comes to a stop and the boy selling water comes out - sheer class. Swades should be congratulated for tackling a rather taboo subject and showing the world what real India is - not what is shown in Black or Dhoom or K3G or K4G or K5G etc etc etc...

Out of these 3 definitely I would recommend Paheli for sheer visual inventiveness, a story which (although thin) is something that I haven't seen and daringness to have a female centric story in a rather male dominated industry. The film is also very "Indian" in that it is rooted in culture and tradition which can't be said about the above. More than anything - Ravi K Chandran's camera weaves magic. The p(a)laces shown are beyond beauty and into another realm. Mysticism is brought out perfectly and the film succeeds admirably in what it aims to do. Call me a romantic - but this is one of my favourite Hindi movies of all time.

Rani is perfect - in fact she is better than Black, in more ways than one. SRK, well continuing on this infamous tradition after Swades, he decides to act aswell. Here and there, SRK the star, did turn up, but for the most part - he is both entertaining and engaging.

Paheli going to the Oscar's is a wonderful choice - however I strongly doubt the chances of it winning. But like Kamal says - how does it matter? We don't need foreign judges of our films and we must work to make the National Awards equally well known. With Saif winning this year - at least we can be assured that they are equally stupid.

The Birth of Electricity

Monday, September 19, 2005 by Blogpur

In 1780, Luigi Galvani, joined 2 different metallic wires to a freshly extracted muscle of a frog. Galvani saw twitching and thought that the muscle created electricity. This was wrong. But it was the birth of something special - something that would forever alter the way people live. In honour of his findings - the Galvanic Cell was named so.

However, Alessandro Volta wasn't quite happy with the findings of Galvani. Volta demonstrated that it was the wires which made the frog's legs twitch, not the muscles. He then sandwiched a brine soaked piece of cardboard in between Copper and Tin metallic plates. This was the first real Galvanic cell. He later achieved greater currents by making the cell bigger by stacking more and more of the above. Volta, incorrectly, thought the contact between the metals was creating electricity. In honour of his work the Galvanic Cell was also named the Voltaic Pile.

Humphrey Davy took Volta's idea and conducted experiments on it. In 1800 he electrolysed water. He correctly explained that the chemical reaction was the source of the electric current. He also stated (correctly) that these reactions were decompositions. Davy improved the Voltaic Pile and used it to decompose many substances. He prepared Potassium and Sodium metals by electrolysing fused Potassium and Sodium Hydroxides.

However, the biggest of all these men was the giant of Physics and Chemistry himself: Michael Faraday.

Responsible for Electromagnetic Induction with this Iron Ring experiment later in his career, Faraday in 1813 worked on relating the amount of electricity generated to the amount of substance used. This was particularly difficult as he had no Ammeters or Voltmeters. He developed an electrolytic device for measuring electrical charge - a cell in which Sulphuric Acid was electrolysed and the Oxygen emitted collected. The volume of this Oxygen gas was measured. This cell was connected to the cell he was initially working on. He said that the electric charge was proportional to the volume of gas formed in his Sulphuric Acid Coulometer.

And thus, the first working batteries, which our AA batteries still abide by, was created. It took 4 geniuses - masters of the genre...


Saturday, September 17, 2005 by Blogpur

Would you rather be the best of the worst or the worst of the best?

Training the Laggard

Monday, September 12, 2005 by Blogpur

We Sydney-siders are used to a train system that is absolutely pathetic. The trains never come on time - that is if they do come at all. There are not enough trains and they take forever to get to us to Uni and Office. It indirectly resulted in the Transport Minister getting fired.

Well, as of Sept 4 a new timetable came in and since then (shock horror) the trains have been on time and they do appear. They are more frequent now. However this has one serious problem as eloquently stated by Mr. Richard Handa (Sydney Morning Herald 10/9/05):

I am fed up with this system, I am going to work late now because I can't count on the trains being late, I keep missing them and this is a serious flaw in the Rail System - someone better fix this up!

Couldn't have said it better myself!

2001: A Space Analysis

Monday, September 05, 2005 by Blogpur

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey will go down in cinematic history as one of the finest films ever made. In 1968, the film was released to mixed reviews, indeed after some 35 years the film has gained status as Kubrick's masterpiece and a film of such power and idealogy it is hard to dispute its cinematic license. Combining heavy philosophy, irony, superb visuals and a certain horror aspect, the film successfully demonstrates what a serious imaginative journey can mean in today’s world.

Perhaps proof that imaginative journey’s are indeed just as powerful as physical and realistic journeys comes in this film where no words are spoken for over the first half hour and even after that 75% of the film features no voice at all, yet the film has a profound impact – this has taught me that not everything has to be apparently stated, many of the images created for a person can set them on an imaginative journey far beyond the reaches of a realistic and physical journey.

HAL is an aloof, egoistical and “flawless” one eyed computer who pretty much runs the space shuttle on which is Dave, an astronaut. A situation arises where HAL’s integrity is questioned, in this instance Dave and his co astronaut say that the problem is with HAL and his “infallibility” is scrutinized. HAL notices this and turns against his crew killing one and nearly killing another. (Sound similar to Cyclops from Homer’s Odyssey?) Kubrick is perhaps trying to tell us that computers if used too much could cause our downfall. This has shaped my understanding of the imaginative journey as it has told me that the imaginative journey is a powerful and emotional way of teaching and warning an audience of events, effects and purposes. This point is also touched upon in the Coleridge poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The Monolith figure which changes apes into more violent beings, nearly kills some human explorers and sends the humans on an intergalactic wild goose chase is perhaps Kubrick’s explanation of what is happening in the world

The final sequence in which Dave the astronaut sees himself ageing rapidly, coming face to face with the monolith and ultimately becoming a baby which is in the womb poses some interesting questions about where the ultimate reality is and who is the most advanced… the baby or the man? However Kubrick’s choice of the baby is quite disturbing as this is no ordinary baby; in the foetus of the mother (who or what we don’t know) this baby has its eyes open! Is Kubrick hinting that when we die we are ultimately and quintessentially enlightened beyond human comprehension? Certainly these grand concepts are explored and have shaped my understanding of imaginative journeys as being a universal medium that can highlight and gratify any possible theory or ideology.

At the end of Dave’s Experience:
The cyclical evolution from ape to man to spaceman to angel-starchild-superman is complete. Evolution has also been outwardly directed toward another level of existence - from isolated cave dwellings to the entire Earth to the Moon to the Solar System to the Universe. Humankind's unfathomed potential for the future is hopeful and optimistic, even though HAL had momentarily threatened the evolution of humanity. What is the next stage in man's cosmic evolution beyond this powerful, immense, immortal, space-journeying creature?

Now which physical journey can pose such serious and thought provoking questions?

(Further reading at 2001 Internet Resource, some information in this article has been influenced by this site.)


Saturday, September 03, 2005 by Blogpur

Thanks to Preethi my spirit of rekindling my past has been re-awoken. Not that it is some extremely big past or a past steeped in the record books. But it is a past nonetheless. I'd like it if some of you guys passed it on. Here it goes:

  • Do You Remember the Name of Your Very First School?
    • Model Farm LKG, Nashik, MH

  • How about the name of your first friend at school...
    • Phillip. I still know him and still see him regurlarly.

  • Who was your favourite teacher?
    • I forgot the name.

  • What subject did you dread the most?
    • Biology. Hands Down.

  • Did you participate in co-curricular activities?
    • Yes. Debating, Public Speaking, Chess, Music

  • Which was your favourite sport?
    • Jeez. I'm Indian, I'm male and I'm from the age of Tendulkar at his prime. What do you think?

  • Which places did you visit on a school trip?
    • Canberra, Snowy Moutains, and various other places in rural Australia. This all happened in my last 2 years of schooling; in Australia.

  • Now, there must a boy/girl whom you hated the most and never wanted to see again in your life, who was it?
    • A Lankan guy named Rudi.

  • You must have had a close friend, without whom you thought you could never live and then you both moved on, lost touch and now only wonder in which part of the word he/she must be in…who is it?
    • I have no-one like that. Thanks to the wonders of MSN Messenger.

This was quite an interesting questionarre. Thanks Preethi for putting me through it.

I am nominating for this tag:





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