Friday, February 23, 2007

Stereotypes in advertising

Off late advertisements of an anti wrinkle cream have been all over the place, on television as well as print and the punch line is that “I got my yesterday’s husband back”.

I’ve nothing against any cosmetic product but I am against the manner in which they’re advertised. From fairness creams and acne treatment creams for teenagers/young girls to anti aging products for middle aged women, the advertisements always focus on the bottom line that “use the product and you will get the desired male attention”. This reflects the society we live in as such ads work and after all the advertisement agency wants to make money, not lecture people or break the gender stereotype. But is being beautiful all about attracting male attention? Is getting a man the center of every girl/woman’s existence? I don’t think so.

Maintaining good health, radiant skin etc etc is something one should do for oneself first. Not for any other person or event as then the results invariably will be short lived and such girls more often than not have some self esteem issues.

It’s difficult to bring about a change in the mind set of the majority but it has got to start somewhere. If the mother doesn’t ask her dark skinned daughter to use a fairness cream or raise her with the notion that only fair people are beautiful, chances are she will not succumb to pressures later on in life. Also, more often than it is women who discriminate against other women on the basis of their external appearance and pass nasty remarks. This has got to change. In USA, Dove has started using “ordinary women/girls” in their advertisements and is working towards breaking the “pretty girl stereotype”.

Hopefully, some Indian companies too will start working in that direction…

P.S: Well my holidays ended and I’ve not been able to manage my time well since I’ve gotten back to work. Hence I’ve not put up a post in a long time…

Btw, I saw Eklavya last week but didn’t write a review as, well, it was way below my expectations. The saving grace was Saif Ali Khan and the fact that the movie was barely 2 hours long.

Posted by Sentimental fool

Thursday, February 08, 2007

52nd Fair One Filmfare Awards, 2006 - What a FARCE !

I read today’s (08.02.07) Mumbai Mirror and found that the nominations for the Fair One Filmfare Awards are out, and well … I am very saddened by this year’s nominations (Although my opinion on the nominations matters to Fair One & Filmfare as much as Rakhi Sawant’s opinion on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty matters to Mr.Bush, but anyways.)

Here are my two bits (actually, much more) on this year’s nominations.

Best Movie

Dhoom:2 (what !)
Don (Why ?)
KANK (No Comments)
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Rang De Basanti


Is it necessary to nominate all SRK Movies ?
KanK is hardly “best movie material” & Don’s a remake, neither critically nor popularly appreciated.
Dhoom:2 is no script, all action. Nominating it lowers the already rock bottom credibility of the Filmfare awards.

My Top 5

Lage Raho Munnabhai
Krrish / Zinda
Dor / Khosla ka Ghosla

My Choice: Rang De Basanti, hands down.

Who the Jury will award: Lage Raho Munnabhai.

Best Director:

Karan Johar – KanK
Rakesh Roshan – Krrish
Rakeyh Omprakash Mehra – RDB
Rajkumar Hirani – Lage Raho..
Sanjay Gadhvi – Dhoom:2
Vishal Bhardwaj – Omkara


Krrish & Dhoom:2 should not be nominated because in a film with high quotient of SFX, a director’s job is minimal.

Kank does not deserve a Best Director Nomination at all. What direction was involved in it ?

Other Options

Nagesh Kukunoor – Dor

Sanjay Gupta – Zinda would’ve been a good choice. Maybe the deterrent would be that Zinda is not original. It’s an exact copy of Oldboy (Turkey)

My Choice: Rakeyh Omprakash Mehra

Who the Jury will award: Rakeyh Omprakash Mehra

Best Actor in Leading Role (Male)

Aamir Khan (RDB)
Hrithik Roshan (Dhoom:2)
Hrithik Roshan (Krrish)
Sanjay Dutt (Lage Raho..)
SRK (Don)
SRK (KanK)


Does SRK have to be nominated for all th mocies he does. Last year (or maybe the year before that) too, he was nominated for all the 3 movies he had done during the year – Paheli, Main Hoon Na, Swades.

His performances hardly deserve a nomination. Even his die hard fans loved his acting in Kank. C’mon !!

Hrithik in Dhoom just had to look good, no acting involved.

Lage Raho.. was an out & out Arshad Warsi movie. Dutt had hardly anything to do.

Aamir acted well, but RDB had everyone in almost equal length roles, so he can’t be said to be the LEADING Actor.


Maybe Rahul Bose for Pyaar ke Side Effects.
Sanjay Dutt – Zinda

My Choice: None. If I had to, I would pick Aamir or Hrithik
Who the Jury will award: SRK - Don or Sanjay Dutt – Lage Raho..(equal chances)

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female):
Aishwarya Rai – Dhoom: 2 ( Officially, the worst nomination in History !!)
Bipasha Basu – Corporate
Kajol – Fanaa
Kareena Kapoor --Omkara
Rani Mukerji – KanK


Ash !!!. The lesser said about her acting, the better. The bar has never been lower. She was plastic in the movie. Bad dialogue delivery, bad acting, no expressions. Very Irritating. And, the kiss wasn’t great!

Kareena had nothing to do in Omkara. An article by Mr. S.K. Jha in Bombay Times said that Kareena’s silences spoke in Omkara & her eyes conveyed a range of emotions.
ALlL Bull ! Does not work for me !


Ayesha Takia for Dor. My winner, all the way. The lady was simply superb in the movie. She acted better than the 5 nomintaed above.

Mallika Sherawat could’ve been nominated for Pyaar ke Side Effects. She was quite good. Atleast better than a Rani in KanK.

(All actresses in all movies were better than Ash in Dhoom)

My choice: Kajol
Who the Jury Will Award: Bipasha or Kajol (Bipasha has a higher chance)

Best Actor in Supporting Role (Male):

Amitabh, Abhishek – KanK
John Abraham – Baabul (!!!!)
Kunal Kapoor, Siddharth – RDB


Why John ?

My Choice: Amitabh Bachchan, Siddharth

AB, because I have a soft corner for him. He was fantastic in KanK. Only he could carry it off at the age of 64. And his dialogue – “Dude, any message for mom?” I’ll never forget it.

Who the Jury will Award: Abhishek Bachchan or Siddharth (Abhi has a higher chance, sadly. Siddharth deserves it)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female):

Kirron Kher – RDB (WHY ? She had about 5-6 scenes. Hardly noteworthy!)
Konkona Sen Sharma – Omkara
Preity Zinta – KanK
Rekha – Krrish (Unnecessary)
Soha Ali Khan – RDB

Miss Out:

Gul Panag - Dor

My Choice: Konkona Sen Sharma
Who the Jury will award: Preity Zinta. Konkona might just spring a surprise here. She sure deserves to win.

Best Actor in Comic Role:

I won’t mention all the nominees here.

Shreyas Talpade should’ve been nominated for Dor.
Anupam Kher/ Boman Irani could’ve beeb nominated for Khosla ka Ghosla.
Ranvir Sheorey deserved a nomination for Pyaar ke Side Effects.

My Choice & Jury’s Choice: Arshad Warsi – Lage Raho Munnabhai.

He was the lead actor, almost. He carried the full movie on his shoulders. Dutt just had the Title Role.

Best Actor in Negative Role:

I am very happy that John Abraham was nominated for Zinda.

My Choice & Jury’s Choice: Saif Ali Khan – Omkara

Best Music will go to A.R. Rahman for Rang De Basanti

Best Lyrics will go to Prasoon Joshi for “Rubaroo” (RDB). Though he might win it for “Chand Sifarish” (Fanaa)

Best Playback (Male) – Atif Aslam (Tere bin… Bas Ek Pal) or Zubin (Ya Ali)

Best Playback (Female) – Sunidhi Chauhan (Beedi Jalaile… Omkara)

Well, that was that.

So, we notice that:

  1. Due respect was given to Karan Johar & the cast of KanK for giving us one of the most over hyped & under-delivering movies of the year. The movie, the director & the FULL cast has been given a nomination. (except Kirron Kher, but wait… she has one for Rang De Basanti for a role as long as Akshaye Khanna’s hair!)
  2. The Chopra’s were kept happy by nominated Dhoom:2 for best movie & best director
  3. SRK was nominated for both his movies in a year which even his fans will agree was not good for him as far as acting is concerned. Yes, both his movies made crores of rupees, but he hasn’t acted well in them.

These awards are not a forum of recognizing, appreciating & boosting talent. They are just a big get together where the egoes of the STARS are massaged & given a boost.

Small, but great movies like Khosla ka Ghosla, Dor, Gangster, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, Zinda have been given the cold shoulder.

Compare it with other countries’ award ceremonies like the SAG awards, The Golden Globes, The BAFTA & the Oscars. These awards matter to the Film Making community as they recognize talent, and not star power.

These year's nominations have been the most disappointing in the last few years.

Anyways, lets see how many of my predictions are on the spot.

Going back to the Sabbatical.....

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fleeced by a rickshaw driver

A few days ago I was getting back home in a rickshaw (I live in the suburbs in Bombay), well when I reached my building and was paying the driver, I realised I didn’t have enough change. The fare was Rs 35 and I gave him a Rs 50 note. He started with the usual please give Rs 5 change which I didn’t have. So I asked him to hang on for a bit and went to ask my building watchman. I had barely turned my back and he drove off. Well it was my mistake that I didn’t take the Rs 50 note back from him before taking off on the change hunting spree which was barely 10 feet away!

This is the second time this has happened to me. I obviously feel fleeced but at times wonder if it was my mistake as well. Maybe I should’ve known better and carried change with me or taken the money back before asking someone else for change. As it is there are exposes in newspapers which show that rickshaw drivers tamper with meters and I can vouch for a fact from personal experience that some drivers purposely slow down while approaching a signal so they can wait for a little longer to increase the tariff.

I guess there are a few pro-active citizens who note down the license number of the offender and complain to the RTO, but majority just let it go. I must add that I belong to the “I will crib about it and let go” section.

Thankfully the Mumbai rickshaws are better than those in Delhi where they often don’t follow a meter but the journey fare is decided/negotiated before the start of the journey. Then again, all public rickshaw/taxi drivers are not evil but one can’t help getting angry when they resort to such tactics…

Posted by Sentimental Fool

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rural India 2007

I’ve lived my entire life in Bombay/Mumbai and I’m quite “spoilt” with the comforts of urban living. For the record, I’ve lived in a village a few times (maximum time spent being 5 days) and also gone camping and roughed it out a couple of times in the 22 odd years of my existence, so I’m not exactly daddy’s little princess. But after my recent visit to my mother’s native place I’m appalled by the difficulties people have to put up with in rural India.

My mother’s family of origin has their ancestral home in a village in north Gujarat which is about 130 km away from Ahmedabad. This village has a population of about 2000 (1200 registered voters is what one my relatives told me), only has a primary school, a panchayat house, a temple and I’m not sure about how the postal system there works. There is no primary health care centre, no high school or college, no retail shop. Well there is electricity all day (power cuts are frequent though) but currently the water comes only for 30-60 minutes every alternate day that too at 5 am in the morning!!! This is when the predominant occupation of the people there is agriculture, I wonder where is the water for irrigation. One can move around the residential part of the village (excluding the farmlands) only by foot, maybe a two wheeler can go on a few of the lanes. The plumbing and drainage system there is just about functional. Most of the houses are only about 150-200 square feet in size. The silver lining (at least for me) is that I did see set top boxes and dish antennae so at least they have television and radio for entertainment.

Now I’ve nothing against the simple life but I believe that water, electricity, sanitation and health care is the minimum that the government should provide. After all we’re a socialist sovereign. What happened to the promises of “bijli, pani, sadak”? In fact, last year during the heavy rains in Gujarat, many of the natives of the village suffered from Chikungunya and they had to travel to the nearest town to seek medical help due to absence of a health care centre.

People tend to romanticize the simple rural life and say that city bred people are spoilt or haven’t seen the “real deal”. My maternal grandparents love that place and spend about a month there every year. So they tend to paint a very rosy picture, after all they were born and brought up there. My grand father did try and explain that I just have a mental block and that there are no major difficulties in living there and my grand mother who knows very little English was trying to convince me that my trip there is like a picnic. But I just get very bored there and the moment I leave from home to start my journey, I’m just counting hours/days waiting for it all to end.

Also, the fact that we don’t have basic amenities in many parts of India is nothing to be proud of (Yes I know, even a mega city like Bombay has its share of water problems). I guess I’m thinking more about this today as its municipality election day in Bombay.

On a lighter note, I’ve visited this village 5 times till now and I do have some nice memories as well. I remember when I was about 6-7 years old and went there, everyone was shocked to see a girl wearing shorts (it was summer) and my mother did have to answer some uncomfortable questions. I’m assuming with the advent of satellite television, people may not be so shocked today and there were no stares this time around when I was the only adult female wearing jeans there. But my mother did have to answer questions about my prospective marriage which thankfully is not even under consideration at home. In fact one of my second cousins (my age) with whom I played with when I went there as a child is now married with a 3 year old baby. Some things never change.

P.S.: Since Water, a movie about the plight of widows, has been nominated for an Oscar award, I must add that even in 2007 my maternal grand mother considers a widow to be unlucky. On our way out of the house, a widow crossed our path, so she went back inside and started out again. This is sad but true and there was no way I could convince her that her behaviour was discriminatory.

Posted by Sentimental Fool.

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