Monday, August 08, 2005

Bowled over by Taj

1. Before entering the Taj, we made a trip by Humayun's tomb & Akbar's tomb. Both these would have been beautiful & splendid in their own rights.
2. Humayun's tomb, smaller of the lot is also the neglected of the lot.
3. Akbar's tomb is well encased in one of the best kept lawns that i have seen. The greenery was so pleasing to the eyes.
4. The light was off, when we entered Akbar's tomb; making it more impressive that earlier. Also, the sheer simplicity in the tomb chamber impresses.
5. The moulvi showcased the resonance of the chamber and it made me wonder; How impressive would it be, to sit there and get an opportunity to hear the recital of the holy books.

Taj Mahal:

  1. The most impressive thing of Taj, is that it needs to be seen to believe. The marble structure is not what impresses, but there is something in the air that just does not allow the eyes to be removed off it.
  2. For something designed to be as symmetrical by the great emperor, he himself is the only exception as well. With the Taj being built for Mumtaz, she was placed in the center. When Shah Jahan passed away, he had plans for a BLACK TAJ, an idea that was abandonded & Shah Jahan laid to rest on the side of Mumtaz, thus shattering the symmetry of Taj.
  3. It is said that Taj of today is but the marble skeleton devoid of the gold & diamond that was encrusted in the structure. Made me wonder - if this structure was so beautiful; eyes would dazzle when we were to come in contact with the previous structure.
  4. It is hard to miss the fact that the marbles in Taj are multi-hued. If the Taj was made a pure white marbles, the beauty would have been completely lost.
  5. When the sun was coming down, Taj was just warming-up. The marbles seem to glow in the beauty of dusk & i have decided that i need to go back; to see the beauty of Taj in dawn & in Full moon night.
  6. I have been to some natural & man made wonders in US. The way, these are packaged and marketed always aims to enhance customer satisfaction. On the other hand, in India - selling of Taj was so low that i was just stunned. The road from Delhi to Agra is passable
  • The road from Agra into the city & the Taj was filled with cows, potholes and crazy traffic. Just missed the main ingredient called ROAD.
  • Fleecing of guests is something that i touchbased sometime back. Agra was not as bad as Mamallapuram & that is only because the guests afraid of the man handling, decide to cough up a few hundred rupees to save their skin
  • Lack of good infrastructure - restaurants, parks, family spots, boat rides, entertainment centers built around the theme of Taj. All it takes for the GoI is to invite some good multiplex owners from Delhi & Mumbai for good ideas.

My complaints with GoI remains, but with Taj - none will ever exist.

The Beauty of Taj!

I went to Taj for the first time that i can remember of. I shall let the beauty of Taj to be seen & leave my random thoughts for the next blog!

Onto the stunning beauty of Taj Mahal -

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The 2 Hs - Harry & HAHK

First things first, the sports of the weekend - Ind lose to SL & wins against WI. Nothing surprisingly, except that the batsmen sans Dravid & bowlers are having a great time. I like it that way (bowlers in full flow at season start), a formula that always ends up with India having a great season - remember 1985-86, 2002-03, 2003-04. Kimi won over MS & i like that as well. ESPY awards was telecast (at last!) & it was the kind of ceremony that India needs to kickstart to promote sports.

Also, I watched a debate on CRICKET being of NATIONAL IMPORTANCE & hence private broadcasters should share the feed with DOORDARSHAN. Just the statement written down sounds silly, that a Group of Ministers (GoMs) has been constituted, making me believe that this government is seriously believe that they have misplaced priorities.

On to Harry Potter VI - though being a HP fan, i was not one of those who rushed to the stores: Reason is this - From the first one to the HP V, i have always read it from a borrowed book & that has somehow become a practice with HP. Not that i don't own one, it just happens that i own the entire set & i shall get VI now. As i went through the book, i reminded me of the famous Indian Movie of the 90s - Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (What am I to you). I avoided the movie for a long time because i couldn't stand to see Madhuri Dixit's elder sister Renuka Sawhaney being killed. The same reason why i, after I read a few reviews and knew of the impeding death in HP VI, i wanted to avoid it.

During the heydays of HAHK, i was finally forced to relent & remember making it to a nearby movie theater with my classmates from school & boy, did I enjoy the movie! Throughout the first 30 mins, i was kind of reflecting on the character whose fatality is but sealed & a good reels into the movie, i finally realised that enjoyment lies in davouring the present than to brood of the future. Same was the case with HP; while the first 50 pages of the book was read with regret of the climax, i soon realised that the feeling needed to be shed for me to enjoy the book.

In HP VI, i think i was glad that the humour of JKR is back; something that Order of Phoenix missed. Also, the way the plot thickens, makes me believe that the path she is on, was set way back and she is not trying to improvise to suit the current needs. Terribly funny Chapter I, well thought out plot of You-Know-How , neatly plotted Snape's negativity, maturity of Harry & the increasing wall of seperation between HP & his friends (was surprised that there was little of Neville in this story!).

But the highlight of the book was the vulnerability shown by Albus Dumbuldore. In life, over the last few years - i can associate this character to a few, i know in my professional & personal life & as time passed, the aura of invincability surrounding these people has plainly vanished shown some interesting personalities, a truth that would have been unimaginable earlier. That's a singular good enough reason why i will still go with the brilliance of JKR & HP.

Random Thought: Music maketh Movie!

4 Movies, 2 langauges - 2 classics, 2 contemporary, 3 telugu, 1 English (with a few telugu dialogues a la Hyderabad Blues). While Sankarabharanam & Morning Raga had a running music theme, Anand & Gitanjali relies heavily on music to complement the storyline.

Sankarabharanam has stood the test of time & delivered a resounding board to the movement of promoting telugu classic music, not only in the Disco era (late 70's/early 80's) but also across times of rap, remixes and pop music. A scene in the movie illustrates its stand on telugu & western music. Somayajulla (The telugu singer) is disturbed during sleep by the cacophony called music by the yuppie crowd next door. The yuppies challenge him to repeat their tune & while the classical singer easily surmountes their challenge, they can't repeat a raga he challenges them to. Instead of taking the moral high ground, he educates them that no music is inferior to another; there is beauty in each of them & that's what makes the differnce.

A wane set in the mid-70s & early 80s taking the crowds from classical music towards disco culture & the way the southern region movies attacked it, produced some of the best movies compared to intellectual duds from Bollywood during the time. Swati Mutyam (Pearl produced from 'Swati Karthe' rain), Sagara Sangamam (Oceans Meet), Srutilayalu amongst others from the stable of K Viswanath stroked the interest in Telugu Movies. The wheels of time now turn the other way around & it looks more inwards, towards Indian culture for inspiration than outwards. Morning Raga is a documentation of the same Gen X trend towards classical music (more so, as a disgust from remix that anything else!); It also shows that fusion music is very much possible & will go well with music lovers.

Anand is that fresh whiff of air that Telugu moviemakers have got from the stale megastar, adrenalin pumping, macho action & pseudo regionalist patriotism. The dialogues are very realistic & the accent reflects the trend of the time rather than following 'filmi style'. It is apt to say that not only the dialogues but also the whole movie (except the climax) had a good narration on how an independent girl comes to accept the proposal of a rich guy. Gitananjali is the only Telugu movie made by Mani Ratnam (all others are dubbed from Tamil) and despite the weak plot, stands amongst the best narrated romance stories (2 terminally ill patients - one with cancer & another with heart disorder fall in love & rest, as they say is history!). The only thing that differentiate Anand from a Gen X movie to greatness is that the songs don't gel well with the story & therein lies the difference between a 'Anand' and 'Gitanjali'.

As much as i enjoyed these movies, i felt that musicals in movies are something of an ancient past & unless you have an innovative music director & a great director/narrator, the movies will be hard to digest for the audience.