Friday, October 29, 2010

Gluttonous Overload

I watched Endhiran-Robot the other day and came away feeling exhausted. The relentless assault of grandeur and hyperbole for close to three hours had left me completely spent. There was nothing subtle or understated about the movie. Everything was exaggerated several times over to make a point. It wasn't enough to make the eponymous robot fly. He had to leap and swoop and be incomparably aerodynamic. The lead actress couldn't just be pretty. She had to be world class. The songs couldn't have been shot in any old mountain top. It had to be set against the stunning backdrop of Macchu Picchu. About ten minutes into the movie, I got used to such pointless display of excess. And learnt not to expect anything remotely resembling simple or straightforward.

The story is a familiar tale of Frankenstein's monster in which Rajinikanth's Dr. Vaseegaran creates a robot in his own image which turns evil and goes for world domination. Along the way, the robot terrorises spectacularly, romances the lead actress away from his creator and generally makes a mess of the milling human beings around him.

Rest of the characters seemed irrelevant and even uncomfortable in a movie that was rather pre-occupied with its own growing opulence. So I didn't flinch when the bafflingly mismatched lead couple declare their undying love for each other along the sandy dunes of some exotic location. I took it in my stride when the heroine talks about the care home she had set up and one which housed a bunch of perennially smiling women who appeared as if they had been on a diet of anti-depressants and cartoon network. And it didn't bother me one bit when the robot goes on a riotous rampage in the climax. I had long ceased to care. Ah, they could always be rescued by some clever swish of the special effects wand, I reckoned.

Endhiran was a movie where everything was way too much. But even that seemed insufficient.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Inconvenience Of Charity

I understand all too well the awkwardness of asking friends to donate towards your charity campaign. I've received several such requests in the past and each as deserving as the last. But I only have limited resources and fewer friends still. And it is never easy to tell someone you like that you cannot afford to contribute towards their charitable effort because you have exhausted your charity coffers for the year. So I do the cowardly thing by ignoring such requests and wish them well in their attempts to climb Kilimanjaro or run a desert marathon or jump off a cliff in New Zealand.

That said, here I am asking you to remember your favourite charitable cause during the forthcoming festival season. This year, on Deepavali day I will be running the Marlow half marathon. It would be wonderful if you could spare a couple of pounds from your shopping budget towards a charity of your choice. It would be lovelier still if this could go towards supporting some of the wonderful work done by my dear, dear friend Anouradha Bakshi at Projectwhy in Delhi. 

Anou runs a centre for education and support of children from the slums of Delhi. Her stories are honest and life-affirming. Her work is remarkable and she truly deserves all the help that comes her way.

Please do not feel compelled in any way to respond to this post. I really do understand the strains on the purse strings at this time of the year. Still, I figured if I didn't ask, they'd never get. Hence the request.

Thank you.
The Thames as shot during one of my training sessions

Happy Deepavali!