05 February, 2006

Could it be, that Home is where the Heart is?

I just got back from a hindi movie.

"But Mahi, what's so odd about what?"

Quite a few things actually!
For starters, I HATE hindi movies. My friends usually have to drag me kicking and screaming to go watch one. And the movie usually ends with them wanting to hit me because I completely ruin the experience for them, by guessing what's gonna happen next or by laughing at the most inopportune times.

Here's another odd thing - I actually LIKED the movie I just saw.

It's called "Rang De Basanti" (In English it translates to 'Paint it Yellow')
I'm gonna try and not be a spoiler but here goes -
This movie is about the current generation of Indians everywhere. It says what every Indian wants to say, but is sometimes too chicken to say it. It shows what every Indian dreams of being and doing but can't due to circumstances beyond ones control.
It's about how sometimes, you need an outsider to show you what home truly is like- it's beauty and its drawbacks.
The movie is hardhitting yet surreal. In fact I'm surprised the Indian Government even allowed it to run. It's idealistic, its mad, it brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

"Let's grease the wheel over tea,
Let's discuss things in confidence.
Let's be outspoken,
Let's be ridiculous,
Let's solve the world's problems."
- 'So pure' by Alanise Morissette

I've never been madly patriotic, in fact I'll admit to you right now that I'm terrified of India. To me India has always symbolised 'excess'. India has always seemed to be beyond redemption in my eyes. I don't say this out of malice. I've always looked at it from a detached point of view- like what you see is what you get.
But something about this movie touched me and I think changed me in some way but I don't know why or how.
In a scene in the movie, a few soldiers fold the Indian flag, and as I watched them do it, involuntarily I found myself thinking 'That is the most beautiful flag in the world.'
Believe me, I was as surprised at myself as you are, if not more.

Aamir Khan is a genius. All my favourite hindi movies have starred him - Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan even Andaaz Apna Apna. But this movie isn't about him and that's what I appreciate, it's refreshing.
It gave relatively new and unknown actors a chance to shine.

One of the actors is this guy, Kunal Kapoor who plays the character 'Aslam' -

Goodness! Isn't he the most beautiful person you've ever laid your eyes on? He looks like he came right out of a painting. Every expression, every movement was so genuine and sincere. It broke my heart.

This movie has made it into my very elite list of 'Favourite Hindi Movies'. It shows me that for every 100 crap movies that Bollywood churns out, there will always be one that blows you away.
There is hope yet.

I suggest everyone- Indian and not Indian, catch it. It'll change something in you.

I guarantee.

I've also been working on my family tree. It started off as my anthropology assignment but it's taken on a life of its own. For the first time in my life I actually feel like I'm learning instead of just studying.

I drew it out recently and looked at it as a whole. Something caught in my throat.
Who would've guessed that an act as simple as drawing the connections between your kith and kin could fill you with such a feeling of belonging.
It was at that moment when I made a promise to myself. A promise that I would keep this tree and update it for as long as I could and try my best to retrace my roots until I couldn't retrace them anymore.

These two seperate occaisons have something in common. They've both made me think very hard about the person that I am. The place I'm from. My passport says I'm 'Indian' but so what?
You see I've never really thought of India as my place origin. Not to say that I've felt displaced but when I think 'home' and I definitely don't think 'India'. But seeing, no- creating my family tree, watching this movie has definitely awoken something in me.
Not patriotism but more like the curiosity to find out more.

And that's always a start.

There is hope yet.

Add-on - Ok I guess I should've mentioned this earlier on in the post, but I'm gonna say it now before I get any comments and diatribes about being untrue to my country and all that - I have never lived in India before. It's always been half my life spent in Africa and the other half here in Singapore. That's what I meant by not thinking of India as home. For me simply being born in a country and having that stamped on my ID is NOT the same as considering it HOME in every sense of the word. And if that were the case indeed then I guess those of us who think that way have a lot of reevaluating to do. I'm not going to apologize for saying that I don't feel particularly patriotic (not yet at least) towards India. Patriotic Indians out there, don't hate me- Give me time.

Carry on . :P



Blogger Nahuatl did the happy dance and finally said..

Hmm.. I wonder what took you so long to start!!?

Its a shame to never know your roots. Clear up this matter soon.. and come back :)

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Hindustani did the happy dance and finally said..

It took a damn good movie to make you realize your roots? Were you in denial all this while? Be loud and be proud of your great nationality!!

3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous did the happy dance and finally said..

Go. Learn and discover.

My mom took a historical heritage tour of Russia to learn about her roots. I think that had to be the coolest thing to do. To discover those who had come before you then realize that the family tree consists of lunatics, drunks, criminals and the odd sane one had to be pretty special. Yep, my adopted heritage has been embraced fully. The biological one is worse as they're 100% crazy weird nuts - like psycho crazy. Creepy crazy.

Still...take the journey, Mahi. What a cool adventure that would be.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous ds did the happy dance and finally said..

ahhh mahi, you're always looking for a root.

i saw the same movie - and gave it an 8/10. i very drawn out intense movie that fortunately had the acting and filming to cover up the lack of depth in story. the second half was just too far-fetched (not to mention amir yet again playing a college student). But a very different film nonethless.

you should go see this movie Hydrabad Blues if ur confused about ur heritage. i still refer back to that film even to today...

in the meantime be proud of being singaporean-la!

6:41 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

nayan - lol i've made an add-on to my post read read

hindustani - ditto. read my add-on and nope im not in denial. thats a very stupid thing to be in. nope its as simple as me not having lived in india long enough to consider it home. for someone like me its not enough to just be born in a country and automatically feel an attachment to it. and im sure u agree, it shouldn't even be that way.

jenna - im definitely discovering babes! and i won't stop till im satisfied with what i've learnt!

dev - root??!!? u PERV! the second half was far fetched indeed, like i said - idealistic but it's also refreshing in a way? i'm not singaporean devster! :P

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Hindustani did the happy dance and finally said..

I definitely agree with you that you can't develop a sense of patriotism just because you are born in a certain country or are a specific nationality. What I meant by being in denial was this, i've seen a lot of ppl completly oblivious to the fact that they are Indian its as if they are ashamed of it. They are constanly trying to hide their culture and nationality by pretending to be white or african americans. Good to see your not that kind and I'm sure given the time and your new awakening towards your roots you most definitely will generate a pure sense of patriotism towards India.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Nahuatl did the happy dance and finally said..

Nobody hates you Mahi.. we all understand it. I said that coz its gud if you understand about your root.

Rest is your choice. Its your life.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Demi Goddezz did the happy dance and finally said..

hey ! I just came back from the movie ..I loved it.. and Yeah Kunal Rocks! ..:

9:42 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

hindustani - yea i know what you mean by the denial thing coz ive seen it loads of times too..its very sad! haha heres to discovering new roots and uncovering old ones- cheers! and welcome!

nayan - thanks for the vote of confidence! =D (of course no one hates me :P look at my face yaar! how can anyone hate a face like that heheheheeh)

demi - he does doesnt he?!!? i loved that guy who played 'karan' too..all fabulous actors..i hope theyre very successful!

10:53 AM  
Blogger Nahuatl did the happy dance and finally said..

Hmm.. there you go.. shameless self-promotion :PPPPPP

12:49 PM  
Blogger memphis did the happy dance and finally said..

Have never commented on your blog before but this time just couldn’t control
For there is no bigger virtue than realization.

2:53 PM  
Blogger KJ did the happy dance and finally said..

very well written mahi, very well written....

pls watch this video, if u have not seen it already.. touches the very core of ur heart.




6:06 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

nayan - i'm all about self promotion! everyone knows that :P

memphis - thank u sir..you're very kind =).. do visit again

kj - thank u =) thanks for the link babes...the video wasnt loading properly but i'll definitely try and watch it again!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jay did the happy dance and finally said..

I'm Chinese, but as far as I'm concerned, I'll always be Malaysian - yes, even now that I've made UK my home. And I've never had the slightest interest in even visiting China. So don't worry, you're not even close to being alone on this.

6:42 PM  
Blogger memphis did the happy dance and finally said..

kj: 2 problems with this video ...
1.) jana gana mana is India's national anthem and not national song.
National song is Vande mathram.
2.) As per the law ... National anthem sud be played for not more en 52 secs.

although great composition :)

6:49 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

jay - i know im not alone, but i want to experience what i think i'm missing out on..i want to feel that love of a country run thru my veins.
by admitting that, is it already happening? i dont know..

11:07 PM  
Blogger Webmiztris did the happy dance and finally said..

that guy is HOT!

11:27 PM  
Blogger Grafxgurl did the happy dance and finally said..

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Grafxgurl did the happy dance and finally said..

yeah... i totally know what you said was true...i have been in india for the most part of my life.. disliked so many things about it.. especially because what i read about in books about other things NON india were so much ....BETTER , NICER and interesting....and attainable....

went abroad and loved that experience too..

now suddenly im about to go back to the West.....permanently...

and i want to stay back in India ....my heart just wants to be here now.. i cant explain why.... i feel so welcome here...i dont know what it is..i just dont want to leave....its so many things that melted together...presents such an appealing, harum scarum, oddly wrapped package...that one cannot help loving it.....

2:00 AM  
Blogger KJ did the happy dance and finally said..


i never have mentioned anywhere, that it was a national song!!!

u can watch the last 52 seconds of the video, if u want to...


2:10 PM  
Blogger APOO did the happy dance and finally said..

Stop writing this stuff. I cant make fun of it! U take away my reason to live!

3:38 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

dawn - he is, isnt he??? =D

grafx - i for one have never lived there..just the annual 15 day visit to see relatives..its just a bunch of days filled with going here and there with no time to rest! im looking forward to a change in perspective soon!

apoo - sorry =( ill stick to writing stuff that u can make fun of coz between u and me, if im not made fun of (by u) then i feel incomplete.miserable.unhappy.
(that was sarcasm in case u were wondering :P)

3:56 PM  
Anonymous garfy did the happy dance and finally said..

My goodness Mahi you amaze me... Touching post! I agree .. the movie was nice and the actor playing Aslam completely became the character... and I must admit a couple of stray tears rolled down my cheeks.

Worse yet, it makes me wonder about life and work and everything and somehow makes me restless...

6:16 PM  
Anonymous tragicomix did the happy dance and finally said..

what is it about that aslam chaacter? ..my gf went all fuzzy watching him..could hardly speak sraight.. i am supremely jealous!

this post has me so worked up, i think we should all go shoot some corrupt minister, or better still the scriptwriter, or whoever was responsible for the second half plot.

See you all on my motor cycle at 7 am while he is on his morning walk. (his guards will be busy eating vada pav, that one of us will distract them with) This way our violent message will inspire generations to take up violence and terrorism, which has always proven to be the most effective means of getting a message across in a democracy. (eg palestine, afghanistan, sri lanka, ireland, 9/11)

I might be a bit late, coz I will be busy engaging in a spot of patricide,( need to prove my commitment to the cause) but you please don't be late. After all, all you are doing is cavorting with a pretty firang chick, and living it up on expensive bikes, while your mum slaves away at her lowly dhaba. don't forget to hug your muslim friends for the day (that will prove your secular credentials)

and once you are done with that, come with me to america, call yourself hindustani and preach to random bloggers about not losing your indian identity.

see you tomorrow !
tragicomix !

1:33 AM  
Blogger surbhi seth did the happy dance and finally said..

lol...okay mahi... if time is what you need.. i grant u time!! sike.. I'm in the same boat as you mahi.... I haven't lived in India excluding vacations, which mostly included visiting extended family! Very few times did I actually go touring India.... of course...with family! (that ain't the same..coz you go only where your parents take you..whether you like it or not...) I'd rather tour the country with friends who are up for adventure and having a good time...n of course won't back out in the middle of the trip! Neways... I've been meaning to watch the movie myself.. now I can't wait to get my hands on the dvd!

2:59 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

garfy - thanks babe =) it made me a bit restless too..it was quite unsettling!

tragic - ok
1) u were a complete spoiler for all those out there who haven't seen the movie..i hope they dont read ure comment.
2)you confuse me- where in my post have i 'preached'to random bloggers about not losing my (or their) indian identity? next time please read the post closely, understand what it's about and if u have opinions to convey, do it in a more diplomatic manner. the post was someone elses', the feelings were someone elses' and the words were someone elses.
don't disrespect that.

surbhi - exactly! id rather see it for myself with friends!(i'll get over my phobia of getting loast =D)
you definitely should watch the dvd..i highly recommend the movie! but if possible watch it in the theatre, theres something about watching a film like this with a couple of hundred people!

10:13 AM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar did the happy dance and finally said..

What you state on ur blog is on ur own personal space and you dont have to get defensive or put add ons to ur original post. Everyone who has any kind of Indian roots running thru his/her family doesnt have to feel patriotic. Its something that has to come from within and I guess everyone needs to respect this fact as long as the person is not disrespecting India. For that matter the charaters in RDB are also shown to be initially very indifferent towards their country till the death of a friend galvanizes them into action.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

rohan - true i dont have to get defensive but i added that on becoz i dont want (need?) comments here by people who'll keep saying that im indian and yet unpatriotic and blah blah blah.
i dont have to explain why im unpatriotic but at the same time its my blog and i admit i have to take responsibility for what i write..and it wont feel right if i dont respond to those comments, u know what i mean??
about the characters...yup ure right..maybe thats why so many of my friends and i identified with them!

12:47 PM  
Anonymous tragicomix did the happy dance and finally said..

mahima- sorry for the spoiler..and apologies for the disrespect to hindustani..
i was just bored by the whole premise of the film..i wish film makers would be at least a little more realistic right through the second half..

great fan of aamir though..

many a time when i share his sentiment of "koi aukad hi nahin rahi"
must confess..i cried when he cried.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Casablanca did the happy dance and finally said..

Love your honesty. And I do understand what you mean.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

tragic - apology accepted sir
i agree i thought some of the actions taken by the characters were over the top but hell, its part of the movie experience, no? i reckon specially when it comes to hindi movies you gotta be prepared to leave at least half ure common sense and rationality at the door!

casa - thank u ma'am =) have u watched the movie yet??

7:22 PM  
Blogger chitgo did the happy dance and finally said..

i hated indian movies as well, and then saw sarkar and parineeta back to back.
brought back memories of the old movies i used to watch on my dads lap. now many miles away in a tiny country in europe:) your posting reminds me that it's time to get back to the roots;)

9:49 PM  
Blogger Leigh did the happy dance and finally said..

Even though I am a true lover of women, I must say, that is one beautiful man!

12:08 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

chitgo - haha well better late than never! welcome btw!

leigh - =D he isss! goodness i was MUSH whenever he came on-screen

11:55 AM  
Blogger White Magpie did the happy dance and finally said..

Movie was rapchik..

N this is the first time I have seen ye explaining yer statements..Getting older mmm?;) Hehe

3:47 PM  
Blogger Drops Of Jupiter did the happy dance and finally said..

Love you when you dance,
when your feet are in trance..


Oh he is one pretty man...Don't you just want to take him home to momma?

And yes, for every 200 movies bollywood produces there are some decent ones. But for more, I'd say regional films are a better choice.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

magpie - haha probably yea..im getting older..but also..well this topic isnt exactly light..its very easy to get carried away and let things escalate unless they're somehow moderated..so yea...hence the replies and justifications :)

jups - oh i wanted to do a lot more than take him to my mom ;p

9:32 PM  
Anonymous whats_in_the_name did the happy dance and finally said..

Mahi - awesome piece of writing

10:00 PM  
Blogger Ashish Shakya did the happy dance and finally said..

What I loved about the movie was that it forced you to think.It brought some tough questions to life.
What would you do in such a situation?
How much of a hypocrite are you?
Do you have a cause,a passion you're willing to work towards all you life, and even die for?
Do you even WANT to have such a cause?
What will you do when you're pushed out of your college campus into a world of faceless billions?

2:27 AM  
Blogger White Magpie did the happy dance and finally said..

Another sincere reply..Sigh!! I guess you are right :p

2:18 PM  
Blogger couchpotato did the happy dance and finally said..

Loved the movie, too. Expected it to be crap; turned out to be brilliant. Wouldn't mind seeing it a second time, actually.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Mint Chutney did the happy dance and finally said..

I know EXACTLY what you feel. Until recently whenever I went to India I felt more like a tourist.

My aunt pulled me aside this last trip and secretly told me that D was far nicer and family-oriented then the idiot my cousin married. (hee hee)

9:52 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

whatsinaname - thank you sir/madam!

phoenix - exactly..i thinkthats why it struck a chord with so many people, it wasnt in-your-face-patriotism (well not too much anyway) but it was a more subtle for of it that creeped into your consciousness and made u realise that perhaps we're all a little hypocritical sometimes..the questions u mentioned were EXACTLY the same ones i thought of whilst watching the movie.

thanks magpie (i think!)

couchie - u know what...i wouldnt mind either!

minty - lol way to go D! its amazing isnt it?? sometimes the best indians are the non-indians!

10:09 PM  
Blogger H-GaL did the happy dance and finally said..

Movie was excellent...does get you thinking. Reminded me abt some stuff abt the govt the country I live in, that I shall not mention cos I like my freedom. :)
But u know.... that Gulabo woman speaks better hindi than I do.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Nahuatl did the happy dance and finally said..

STOP drooling now!! plzzzzzzzzzzzzz, give us a new post!

U already near scoring half century of comments. This is not cricket! :PP

7:27 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

hgal - :P i know what u mean
i said the same thing when i heard gulabo talking

nayan - haha new post new post...would u believe me if i said nothings been happening???
ok ok lookout for one ....soon

11:43 AM  
Blogger AJ did the happy dance and finally said..

youe style always astounds me. i so wanna get the vcd... cheers for timely movies!, but kunal looks *ahem* rather nice too...

2:05 PM  
Blogger Yours Truly...Conman did the happy dance and finally said..

Well... I loved Rang De Basanti too... it was just a fantastic movie...
But I think you need to see a lot more Hindi movies that are coming out now to know Bollywood isn't crap.
It isn't. Some of the best movies ever made in the world come out of Bollywood every friggin year.
I don't know what it is about Indians living abroad. It's almost as if they're embarrassed to be caught walking into a hall with a Hindi movie going on. Just a typical mindset.
Take Kaante for instance. A re-make but a re-make that left Reservoir Dogs forgotten. The dialogues, the acting, the screenplay. Fuck... it was amazing.
Then Black. It was arguably one of the best movies ever made. Could come in the list in which the Godfather exists.
Sholay. It was released in the early 80s.
Screw the 80s. Lets talk about right now. Aks. You've seen Aks???
Ek Hasina Thi? Darna Manaa Hai? Naach? Bluffmaster?
Fuck what was that movie man... mmm... Starring Amitabh bachchan, Arjun Rampal and Akshay Kumar, in which Akshay and Arjun are blind, and Amitabh makes them rob a bank posing as men who can see pretty well. Fuck. What a friggin movie!!!
Then comedy... Hungama... Andaaz Apna Apna like you said... but Andaz Apna Apna was old... that was the time when there used to be one in a hundred movies that really left a mark.
Hera Pheri - the new one... hell... it's amazing.
I could go on and on about some of the most awesome movies that have come outta Mumbai... really.
Bollywood has changed drastically. Movie makers are now experimenting. Screenplay writers are young.
Fuck... you gotta change the way you think. Just go watch some of the movies I've mentioned man.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

aj - thank u aj ure too kind :) yes pls do get the movie! u wont regret it! (i swear aamir khan should be paying me for my tireless RDB promotion hehe)

conman - lol i have watched about 80% of the movies that you've mentioned and ok yes they were nice but there always seem to be loopholes and lose ends that need tying up- lose ends maybe in the form of shoddy acting or cinematography or the music or whatever
...and that really gets to me because to have that in a movie that people are paying to watch is just an insult to the moviegoers intelligence
(yea yea i know..im such a nitpicker)
yup i loved hera pheri (that was with paresh rawal, suniel shetty and akshay kumar yes?)
that other movie with the blind guys was aankhen..
this is just an individuals opinion - most movies that come out are funny, watchable, have good plots, good acting BUT most of them dont have all these qualities together. they dont run a tight ship and thats what differentiates a 'good movie' from 'a movie that will go down in history' (eg- sholay, lagaan)
i applaud bollywood filmmakers for experimenting, it can only be a good thing for the industry for theres nothing worse than stagnation.
and conman, isnt it obvious from this post that i AM changing the way i think? i wont lower the bar for what i think makes a good movie..but yes i am changing in other aspects!

2:31 PM  
Blogger yep, it's me.... did the happy dance and finally said..

fascinating site - I'll have to visit more

5:34 AM  
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster did the happy dance and finally said..

well....i know this is an ancient post of yours....but I am in LOVEEEE with Kunal Kapoor...and when I saw his pic...I almost had to stop myself hyperventilating...*gasps*....
god he's beautiful....

8:29 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

velma - do visit again!

megha - hehe u and me both! he is gorgeous..i had to fan myself everytime he came onscreen!

9:19 AM  

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