Sunday, November 30, 2008

Only Grudgingly So

Apparently our country is in turmoil and big shit has happened. Every self respecting blogger has a thing or two to say about the terror attacks in Mumbai. And although Nanga Fakir has absolutely no shred of what colloquially goes by as 'self respect', he thinks that it will be totally uncool not to write a post on what's hot these days (though it's done only grudgingly so).

The people are up in arms. Bloggers are in a frenzy. Panels emerge spontaneously on TV stations offering instant analysis. Hotshot writers bemoan the sore wounds of "their city", Amitabh Bachchan sleeps with a pistol beneath his pillow (woe to the Thackeray's and the terrorists. After all, Amitabh's no Rajnikant). The Sharmajis and Sahani-sahabs all over India meet in drawing rooms and discuss how awesome it would be if the Khans next door would drown in their own vomit. Hip youngsters light candles and mourn the dead.

But it's amusing to see so many people outraged (many of whom I know well) sporting fancy, distraught and sometimes unintentionally funny status messages like "Question to Terrorists - Are 72 virgins worth all this shit?".

If a question were put that way, even Gandhiji might be in two minds, let alone a bunch of hormone addled twenty year olds. Those not turned on by such prospects must be closet homosexuals of the kind who cry after seeing Dostana; and our regular, terrorists-next-doors are anything but gay wimps. I can easily imagine such message sporting friends asking the question to terrorists (with self righteous indignation, one might add) and see the terrorists, just like Cartman in the Casa Bonita episode, close their eyes, smile smugly and say "Totally!"

[Don't get me wrong. I think it's totally cool that fat, rich, well-fed Indian kids in phoren lands, have to ejaculate, every now and then, status messages that show how sorry they are for their motherland's sorrows and how badly they want to fuck the terrorists and Pakistan over.]

What is also amusing is that top notch journalists and media big shots like Larry King and Rajdeep Sardesai hastily convene 'serious' panel discussions with pulp fiction writers like Deepak Chopra and Shoba De respectively who in turn offer deep and original insights into the problem of terrorism. (Why the fuck was Chetan Bhagat not invited? He even sells more, I'm told).

Apparently something needs to be done. Nanga Fakir is ready with suggestions.

For the rich, fat, guilty slob of an expat: Follow the news around on blogs and websites. Get fellow expats together, drink a little red wine and discuss the problems that plague India and offer ingenious solutions. If possible, gang up on a lone Pakistani and beat the shit out of him.

For the pulp fiction writer/socialite: Get ready to be featured on Barkha Dutt's special. Dress modestly and look serious. Try hard not to make a fool of yourself (read: "Don't speak").

For the young kid in his mating season: Protesting is the latest cool thing you could be a part of. Light candles, wear iridescent armbands, wear a pained look and strut around with a hip, stylish and liberal vocabulary. Your search for a mate is guaranteed to terminate this protest season.

For the common man: Don't take it to heart. Get busy living. Or get busy dying.


A hilarious post from the The Fake Blog of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala titled Shivraj Patil's Answering Machine.

Another very good post by Kartik Krishnan at Passion for Cinema.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Odour of Corruption

To all slog bogs, with love.


<*teary eyed junta tries to thank Nanga Fakir and the ladies overpower him with kisses and all*>

<*"Yeah whatever", he says and retracts into his corner*>

SatyaVrat, if only you'd discovered it a few years ago!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

His Best Yet

Sunday 8 am.

Monday 3 pm.

31 hours.

His best performance yet!

In these 31 hours, he visited strange realms of which he remembers next to nothing, shouted out "constant, constant", followed by "" and met and talked to Amitabh Bachchan who'd decided to visit him in the garb of a disgruntled Thakur.

Congratulations to Nanga Fakir for bettering his previous best of 22 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

<*Clap, clap, clap*>

He had also participated in a science fiction story writing contest hosted by the Scientific Indian. Although his sadass story didn't win a prize, it has been featured and is due for publication.


<*Yawn, yawn, yawn*>

He thanks friends who read and commented on his effort:

(in alphabetical order)

Ira, Man, Mayank, Pandu, Prabha, Ra, Shandy (who hated, hated, hated it!), Somnath, Tejo, Vatsa, Vicky.

<*Thanks, thanks, thanks*>

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Lost World

Michael Crichton died yesterday.

Jurassic Park was one of the most brilliant early science fiction reads a fifteen year old could hope for. Ian Malcolm still remains one of the most memorable characters in Nanga Fakir's hall of fame. His morphine induced rants in the latter half of the aforementioned book was one of the most electrifying experiences a reader could have hoped to have.

Sigh and goodbye!

NYT's obituary.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some Recent Additions -- Part 2

Part 1 here.

A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean): Directed by Kim ji Woon, this has got to be the best horror movie I have seen. There is hardly anything scary in the movie. No shock effects, no sudden appearances of ghosts from under the carpet and no instances of deformed, gelatinous blobs hell bent on revenge. What makes this movie a brilliant watch is an exceptionally awesome story, a spate of crazy twists crammed in the last half an hour, and an eerily executed, heartbreaking ending.

Since what attracted me first to this movie was its poster, let me post it here.

Dumplings (Cantonese): The extreme cinema movement has kept churning out one demented movie after the other, especially in the psychological horror category. Fruit Chan, in a subtly humorous vein, delivers a big bad punch on all the refined sensibilities that modern civilisation takes for granted in this brilliant movie about lust, foetuses and borderline cannibalism.

Highly, highly recommended!

Deconstructing Harry (English): Woody Allen is, and has been for quite a while, a genius - pure and sublime. Blending cerebral humour, philosophy, drama and romance in equal measure, his films have never failed to delight me.

There is all that is awesome in a Woody Allen movie in Deconstructing Harry and more. Brilliantly witty one liners (see sample below), the neurotic Woody Allen character as the famous writer Harry Block, failed romances, ensemble cast and the usual twisted humour on philosophically heavy subjects should make his legions of fans worldwide fairly satisfied.

However, what also pervades this film are open sentiments of self hatred, deep pessimism and borderline misanthropy. It is interesting to note how despite every scene being very funny, all his characters are so damn wretched. This seems easily the most dark, funny, witty and merciless indictment of the self obsessed Woody Allen by himself in any of his movies.


Tradition is the illusion of permanence.

Sister to Harry: You have no values. Your whole life, it's nihilism, cynicism, sarcasm and orgasm.
Harry to Sister: Y'know, in France I could run on that slogan and win.

The woman murmurs wistfully about having the freedom to be together,
Man (Harry Block): Mmm, sounds great. Now open wide.

The Isle (Korean): This has got to be probably the most intensely brilliant love story I've seen. To say that it is a rather unusual and non standard romance is pointless since Kim ki Duk dons the mantle of the Director. It contains very little dialogue, progresses at a laid back pace, has scenes of breathtaking cinematographical beauty, has random acts of animal cruelty and contains some not-very-gory but awesomely gruesome scenes -- all trademark Kim ki Duk features, to be found in nearly all his films.

What is best is that despite such incongruities, the overall mood of the film remains romantic and humorous. Kim ki Duk pulls off such contradicting extremes effortlessly and makes this film a must watch.

The Purple Rose of Cairo (English): It is not without reason that this film is in "All time 100 best films" list by Time magazine. About a character in a film within a film who manages to escape to the real world during the Great Economic Depression in America, it is more a tribute to cinema than anything else. Jeff Daniels and Mia Farrow are brilliant in this funny, sad and nostalgic masterpiece by Woody Allen.

Instructions: Check out the Dev D trailer in the Featured Video, worship Anurag Kashyap five times a day and watch the movie as it comes out on 19th December '08.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Some Recent Additions -- Part 1

The following are some recent additions to the My Favourite Pictures list. Nanga Fakir exhorts his friends and readers of this blog to put them on their playlists, for needless to say, he thinks each of them (without exception) is a veritable masterpiece.

This post also highlights his growing fascination with movies coming out of places like Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong and the new movement of extreme cinema.

He also wants those interested to note that the such movies are not for all people's taste and that some could find them positively repulsive and distasteful. He politely asks such people to jump out of the window and take a dip in the manhole.

Visitor Q (Japanese): Made by Takashi Miike, the Japanese director who has been described by Quentin Tarantino as the one of the greatest living film directors of our times, this film is a perverted, bizarre take on creating harmony in a remarkably mega-super-ultra-dysfunctional Japanese family. The theme is the same as that used in the comedy movie Bawarchi by the awesome Hrishikesh Mukherjee. But when processed through the psychotically crazy brain of Takashi Miike, this becomes a grotesquely brilliant black comedy. Definitely one of the most crazy mindfucking experience Nanga Fakir's had. Ever.

Vengeance Trilogy (Korean): As a standalone movie, Oldboy was crazily brilliant. But actually, it is second in what is referred to as the Vengeance Trilogy -- three absolutely brilliant cinematic pieces by the great Park Chan Wook (Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance). These movies are stylistically immaculate, suffused with aesthetic violence and a subtle, dark humour that runs underneath the gory and surgically precise surface. If you want to see revenge elevated to the status of poetry, you know what to do.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (Korean): Kim ki Duk is another bête noire who is considered demented and deranged by even those among the 'elite' arthouse crowd. People routinely vomit, faint, walk out in protest etc from his movies. His movies contain minimal dialogue and scenes of breathtaking cinematographical beauty and routine animal cruelty. But for all his perceived misogynism and fascination with violence, Kim ki Duk is, above all, a supreme genius.

Spring Summer... is a break from his previous violent movies in that it is a deeply philosophical and mostly silent account of the lives of two generation of Buddhist monks in a crazily beautiful floating monastery. Exceptionally brilliant.

Happiness (English): This film does all that is thought taboo. It jokes about rape, pedophilia, death and depravity in such a way that it is impossible not to laugh out aloud. And yet, it is not a comedy but more of a dark satire, perhaps angry and amused in an equal measure. The casting is brilliant and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Dylan Baker, along with the rest of the starcast, give dazzling performances. Todd Solondz is a supremely talented Director you want to watch out for. This movie is easily one of the most brilliant I have watched ever.

Gozu (Japanese): Takashi Miike dazzles again. This movie is totally crazy, darkly comic, bizarrely outlandish and more surreal and totally out of syllabus than the works of David Lynch. Coupled with the usual outrageousness and over the top humour that Miike suffuses his films with, this would be a strange, roller coaster of a mind bending experience should you decide to see it.