Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quirky Chhokro: PK Review

PK is a movie that talks about maintaining a good looking physique and a streak of quick adaptability if you find yourself naked among a group of people. And Raj Kumar Hirani does just that, and so intelligently, with the knowledge that OMG! Oh My God had exposed the crux of his work stark naked a good two years ago.

Aamir Khan as an alien on a mission to find his missing remote wanders the streets of Delhi in search of God, the keeper of all things unknown. His search takes him through various religious customs and practices, and the movie reiterates the message from Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar to the tee. However, despite the blow of a used idea, PK holds itself together like Fevikol ka jod.

If there’s an award for intangibles, there’s nothing more deserving than Aamir Khan’s ability to treat every project with the sincerity of first love. To compare the sheer dedication with which Aamir has lived the character of PK with the effort the other Khans put in their projects would be sacrilegious. Right from his silent imitation of dance steps in “Tharki Chhokro” to his airing of frustration at a workshop of god’s idols, it does not pain me to know that Boman Irani and Sanjay Dutt did not get their expected share of screen time.

Raju Hirani comes across as a man whose face could be superimposed on the classic Mickey Mouse watch from Disney; looking at which would make you smile, irrespective of your age, but the fact that it’s always Mickey’s hands that rotate around as needles could be either appreciated as a signature style or be flouted for its lack of creativity. The resemblance of the movie with Hirani’s previous works is so uncanny that you can actually play Zoobi Doobi to the video of Love is a Bhesht of Time and none would be able to tell the difference. The presence of a questioning protagonist who is both quirky and lovable, a lady who serves the role of an ignorable love interest, music that tries hard to bring back memories of a time when lyrics actually mattered but fails to impress, and humor that you can enjoy with your family make this movie as enjoyable as it seems familiar.

However, unlike Hirani’s previous projects, PK dips to the Mariana Trench in the climax. While the first half effortlessly makes you believe in a concept from “science-fiction”, the climax makes it just as hard for you to digest the possibility of “Sarfaraz ko phone lagaao” and everything that follows. It seems like the writers answered the first few questions beautifully on an exam, but scurried through the last for paucity of time.

Overall, the film does justice to the time of the year at which it’s been released, leaving a sweet after-taste after the hotch-potch that was served in 2014’s main course. While both Aamir and Hirani take the cake, the movie leaves you nice and contended, wishing only for a Tapasvi-ji print mink blanket to wrap around yourself in the cold.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Dummy's Guide to Paeri Pauna

While “bending over” and “going down” on your family members may have incestuous connotations in the West, it is quite the way of offering respect to your elders in India. The question of whether to paeri-pauna or Namaste an elder has an answer as simple as that to the question of peanut butter or jelly: it’s best to go with both. However, in this age of time-is-money, here’s a little guide to help you demarcate the paeri-pauna worthy from the Namaste candidates.

The thumb-rule to follow in performing a good paeri-pauna is to remember that there is an inverse relationship between the level of generation and the extent to which you must bend: older the generation, lower you bend.

So, a well performed paeri-pauna on your dada-dadi and nana-nani is one in which you bend it like it’s yoga time and reach for their feet. The chacha-chachi’s, mama-mami’s and bua-fufa’s can be satisfied by just touching their knees. The only exceptions here are the ones who complain of goddey-mein-dard. Their age puts them at a weird stage where despite belonging to your parents’ generation, they’re retired and have grandchildren. In another twenty years, you can expect them to be all: Main toh apne par-potey ko goad mein khila ke jaaungi. With such stubbornness on their part, it is best to round up their generation level and reach for their feet, lest you want a lecture on your sanskaar.

Moving your hands upwards for the even younger generation, it is completely acceptable for you to bust your cousins’ nuts. Most of them deserve it anyway, given how they have to be all good in the eyes of your parents and cause those unhealthy comparisons.

Moving on to more complicated relationships such as friends of said elders, you must touch the feet of all your grandparents’ friends. Given how most of them are above the age of seventy, they are used to everyone touching their feet all the time. It becomes a habit: you try to break it, they break you. So, be in their good books and go all the way. Offering to carry their veges whenever you run into them in the colony gets you extra aashirwad points.

However, there’s no real requirement for you to touch your parents’ friends feet. A warm Namaste with a fake smile that shows such joy on meeting them like they’re doppelgangers of Deepika Padukone will be enough to feed their egos. Unless your parents ask you to touch their feet, which is mostly a subtle hint towards: kucch saal ruk jaao, inki dosti ko rishtedaari mein badlenge. Take some learning from the above and know that even though “Hi, uncle” and “Hi, aunty” seem perfectly fine to you whenever you see your friends’ parents, if it’s someone from the opposite sex you’re trying to impress, remember that the way to his/her parents’ hearts is through their feet.

Now that the basics are clear to you, be careful and avoid some traps that a few relatives may set up. If some elders stop you from paeri-pauning them, not letting you touch their feet with words like, “arrey arrey, buddha banayega humein”, you must not throw in the towel, but keep pushing to touch their feet even if they bend and grab your arms. ‘Cuz if you give up, you will bring immense embarrassment for your parents, who will force you to touch the said elders’ feet, while arguing with them through the words, “arrey, baccha hai aapka”. And if you emerge victorious, you will make your parents’ chhaati swell because of the sanskaars they have raised you with.

Another situation that commands attention is a family function when all the relatives stampede the arena one after the other. You may feel like saving on some energy and keep touching all the pairs of feet, one after the other, as they appear in a continuous order, without even looking up to see who you’re greeting with such respect. I know it’s tempting to bend once and finish it all at once, but watch out for the cousin who will walk in right at the end of the queue and you will end up touching his feet. A slight chuckle might follow, causing you much embarrassment and restraint from busting his balls in front of all the elders present. Be alert to avoid such faux-pas!

And if by now, you’re sick of realizing how you respect others while no one respects you, know that the Golden Rule of Paeri-Pauna applies the other way round too. Younger the generation, least you bend to touch them with your hands. Haven’t your parents been paeri-pauning you on your face all through the years? What more respect do you want!

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