Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Harvest of Questions

Harvest of Questions
By Faridoon Shahryar

Greed is insatiable
And so is curiosity
The ability to Reason
Is dictated by
The relative willingness
Of the ego-infested mind..
I reap the harvest of questions...
Why can't I travel business or first class?
Why don't I live in a more developed country that values human existence?
Why do I have to hate and distrust Jews just because I'm born in a particular religion?
Why do I have to prove my loyalty by verbally bashing the neighbouring country?
Why being selfless is considered as madness or foolishness?
Why can't people learn from History rather than swearing to repeat the horrors of the past in a new context?
Why is Love looked down upon frivolously while Hatred is considered a sign of logical intelligence?
Why can't I rise above my own trivialities, look within and raise the bar of sensibility?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijaan:Heartwarming Handshake Of Brotherhood

Bajrangi Bhaijaan:Heartwarming Handshake Of Brotherhood
By Faridoon Shahryar

"Nafrat bahut asaani se bik jaati hai, lekin mohabbat...," trails off Nawazuddin Siddiqui at a crucial moment in Kabir Khan's 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. Nawaz plays an ambitious television reporter in a small town in Pakistan who helps Bajrangi (Salman Khan) in ensuring that Munni (Harshali Mehra), a little Pakistani girl reaches her home in the faraway hills. It is true the stories of love and togetherness between the two warring nations are seldom celebrated but hate mongering and jingoism is lapped up by trigger-happy news channels and byte-mercenary politicians on both sides of the border.

'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is a landmark film for it tries to bridge gaps between people of India and Pakistan without being preachy or moralistic. It is an extremely entertaining film but entertainment need not always be song-n-dance and popcorn-cola-jokes that don't last long.

Salman Khan delivered one of his finest performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Khamoshi'. After that film, 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is the film that taps the acting brilliance of Khan. Credit must go to Kabir Khan to have taken risks by not falling in the trap of what-the-distributors-want in a Salman Khan film. There are two brief action sequences, no item songs and a brief romance. In other words, Kabir completely breaks the formula that makes Salman such a safe blockbuster bet at the box office. Enough scope is given to Nawazuddin to display his magical brilliance and the kid Harshali Malhotra delivers a stunning performance (without delivering any dialogue). Om Puri shines in a cameo too. The presence of a strong support cast enhances Salman's performance greatly.

Somehow one can equate Kabir Khan with Raju Hirani. A wonderful concept, backed by good writing, superb execution and this heady concoction is enmeshed in the cushion of outstanding entertainment. Kabir has chosen breathtaking locations in Kashmir. The introductory sequence has some aerial shots atop the lofty mountains and honestly Kashmir is surely worth being called Paradise. Kabir also displays the power of the media in bringing people together. He highlights NDTV in bringing in a positive change in a certain context in the film. In recent times this Indian channel has faced a strong opposition from certain political quarters within India for its honest reporting and it is notable that Khan chose this channel instead of any more 'agreeable' one.

The story by S Vijendra Prasad is the fulcrum of the film. Screenplay by Kabir Khan, Vijendra Prasad, Asad Husain and Parvez Shaikh is very engaging. It must have been a tough call of locking the final screenplay taking the various sensibilities into account and how not to be insensitive to anyone's beliefs. Dialogues by Kabir Khan and Kausar Munir (additional dialogues) are excellent. They will make you laugh, cry and engage attention all at the same time. Aseem Mishra is another hero of the film. His brilliant camera work is a big highlight. Be it capturing magnetic Kashmir or the grungy Rajasthan lanes, Aseem brings alive Kabir's vision excellently. Pritam's music is a highpoint. My personal favourite is 'Tu Jo Mila' (thought provoking lyrics by Kausar Munir and evocatively sung by KK). 'Zindagi' and 'Bhar Do Jholi' are my other favourites from the album. Julius Paekiam's haunting background score is a character in itself.

'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is a must watch film that will stay in your mind long after its over. The egotistical politicians on both sides of the border will keep on stoking the fire of hatred. If you want genuine people-to-people contact and a chance to let Love do the talking,  then this film will hold hands of peace in front of you. It is up to you if you wish to put your hand forward and feel the warmth of brotherhood. Take a call.

Star Rating:*****

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Musical Midnight; An Angry Sea...Prayer For Phuket

It's 5 am on July 16, 2015. I am sitting outside a pool villa in Pullman's Resort I'm Phuket, Thailand. The night shift for the film 'One Night Stand' is going on. The sea waves are lashing against the rocks underneath the Resort. They've been aggressive about displaying their passion for the last five hours or so. It rained as well for some time. Very strange sort of sounds are being made by animals. The entire area is totally swamped by trees. It is a forest area after all. I managed to sleep for maybe an hour or so. Over all it is a very unique experience that is surely unforgettable.

An hour before midnight, I ventured out of the Resort for a walk. I saw a small pub where a group of boys played live music. I listened to a boy belting out a Thai song while his friend played acoustic guitar. Somehow they could see that I'm passionate about music too. I sang a couple of songs with them, clicked pictures and shared them on instagram. It is great to make new friends. We were unable to communicate in the same language but the language of music is universal.

The sea waves are making outrageous sounds. Tsunami had struck Phuket in 2004. I just happened to see the video of what really happened that fateful morning on December 26 at Patong beach, Phi Phi Island and in Indonesia. It was absolutely devastating. It is kinda scary. Looking forward to the morning now. We must thank God for his blessings and pray that ourselves and our loved ones never fall prey to the havoc of Nature.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stunning Nai Thon Beach, Playful Rain, Sand Castles For Posterity

It was a beautiful day. In every sense of the word. We spent the entire day at the majestic Nai Thon beach in Phuket. The waves roared all throughout the day and the white-foam-aided-green-water held me captive. There's so much to discover, for each sea wave is different from the other. The forever energetic zeal is infectious.

The interesting part was that rain once again played games with us. I did a couple of interviews while it rained gingerly. While we had an awesome desi lunch, we were treated to a sharp spell of rain and we ate amidst spraying-n-flying rain drops. It was simply fascinating. And romantic to the core.

The sea was choppy. The waves naughtily engulfed me as I stepped somewhat into the sea. I laughed-out-loud. The shoes were drenched and so was the jeans. It was difficult to walk on the soft sand as the legs got sucked inside. Nevertheless, it was an experience in self discovery. Watching various changing hues-n-shades of the sky and how it affected the sea colour was relaxing. Someone had made a sand castle. Before the high tide ruthlessly washed it away I quickly clicked its picture. We don't realise it but our lives are like sand castles that are destined to be washed away. Some sand castles are worth being documented and remembered for posterity. I hope I am one such sand castle.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Funny Rain, Frothy Sea, Communication Issues

It is funny how the rain in Phuket hammers down in a sudden gush. The God's rain machine doesn't change gears, it just directly hits the top gear. If you're out in the open, be rest assured that you'd get drenched. And it was a rainy day out here. The even more funnier aspect is that it usually doesn't rain for long spells. It pours heavily and within no time the heaven's flood gates close down.

We headed towards the location of the shoot of 'One Night Stand' at 5 am in the morning. The majestic sea welcomed with open arms with gushing white waves scampering towards the shore. During the course of the day, at many an occasion, I gazed at the frothy waves and the amazingly green water. It was very calming.

Whenever you visit new places, the charm lies in meeting new people and developing an insight into new cultures. The online production team from Thailand is comprised of hard working professionals. They are totally committed. Even when it's raining you could see the commitment they bring to the table. Language is an issue as most of the people don't speak or understand English and the ones who do understand and speak a bit of English aren't too proficient in communicating their thoughts.

Our video cameraman Tahir hurt his elbow today. The ice pack, the ointment and medicines are sorted but tomorrow morning will give a clarity on how his elbow will react. Hoping for the best, since for a video cameraman, right elbow is his bread-n-butter.

It has been a long day. Time to doze off and catch some sweet dreams. Good night!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Exotic Sea, Caressing Breeze, Priceless Images For The Memory Bank...

A good night's sleep after a tiring day of hectic travelling is the best recipe for getting into a good frame of mind. It was a bright and sunny morning and I leisurely prepared for the long day ahead. As we moved towards the location of the shoot of 'One Night Stand' the greenery all around calmed me immensely. The exotic resort (an hour's drive away from the main Phuket city) is simply breathtaking as you can see from the picture. The greenery all around seems to have reflected in the colour of the sea and the clarity in the water is hard to miss.

I spent most part of the day soaking in the glorious sea in my mind. I'm sure I shall revisit these fascinating images for a long time to come. I kept on observing the frothy waves and how they made circular jumps (each being different from the other). Post lunch I dozed off on a rocking chair. The cool sea breeze was very relaxing. As the sun prepared to descend, the sight of the placid ripples in the Resort pool overlooking the sea was another image that shall stay in my mind for ever. Apart from the work, I also caught up on some reading. I plan to read a lot more in the days to come.

The swim in the hotel pool later in the evening was very relaxing. After an early dinner, I am going off to sleep shortly since its going to be an early morning shoot tomorrow morning. Hope you're enjoying my Phuket diaries :-)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Cloud Of White Beauty...Touchdown Phuket!

It was a very early morning, sunlight filtered through the emergency door window and I peeped out to look at the fascinating sight of cotton white clouds hanging in the air languidly. This image always leaves a lasting impact on my mind and I guess it is one of the reasons why I look forward to air travel. Even though I couldn't catch much sleep on the Mumbai-Bangkok overnight flight but the morning surely energised me. I was travelling by Bangkok Airways for the first time. Their on ground service in Mumbai wasn't impressive but their in flight service was really nice.

The flight was delayed by an hour and we had very less time for our connecting flight to Phuket. On top of it we also had to get our Visa-on-arrival at Bangkok Airport. It was rather swift but they took 1200 Thai baht for priority service but they gave a receipt of only 1000 baht. For a reputed international airport, it left a sour taste. Flight to Phuket is a breezy one hour. The distance of the main city from the airport is a good forty five minutes and the greenery on the way is definitely pleasant. It was hot and humid when we arrived in Phuket but half an hour later it was pouring heavily.

Indian food is a blessing whenever you're travelling to countries like Thailand, Singapore or Japan. Somehow the local food there isn't up to my liking at all. I'm glad we could have delicious Indian delicacies both for lunch as well as dinner. The remaining day was spent relaxing and getting acclimatised with the city. We shall start covering the on location of the Sunny Leone starrer film 'One Night Stand' from tomorrow. I really hope that we could find some time to check out the beautiful beaches nearby. Hearing great things about Phi Phi Island. Fingers crossed. Hopefully I'll be regular with my Phuket diaries too :-) Thanks!