A Random Friday Evening…

The sun is still shining bright as I finally exit the building. The parking lot is empty and I wave to a colleague and start walking towards the car . Five minutes later , I roll down my window , tap my feet in rhythm with the song playing on the stereo and take the salty summer breeze in , which melds together with the AC still warming up to concoct a heady mix that reminds me of peak coimbatore summer with the whiny symphony air cooler.

Madison is a small college town but a minute later , I get hit by the Friday evening Traffic Jam. It takes me two signals and two loops of O Kalala to finally hit the beltline and then it is the weekend officially. Mom and Dad < in-laws> are chatting in the great room, sipping their coffees and ruminating about the days gone past and the days to come. A couple of parathas and paneer bhurji helpings later , the husband comes home and it is evident that he’s had a super draining day. I pour white chocolate liquor into the blender , add ice cubes and vanilla ice-cream and blend it all into a feel good cocktail that we sip as we go about opening mails , paying bills and activating cards . We make plans for the evening and the in-laws settle down to their TV.

The drive downtown is not super bad ,may be because its a Friday. We reach our friend’s apartment , make our cursory greetings to the parents and crowd around the baby , the newest arrival to our gang of work colleagues and significant others . Our phones and laptops lay forgotten , as we play with the little one , breathing in that new born smell and vying to change her diaper. Our bubble bursts when the little one needs to take a nap, and we get back to our laptops , phones , emails and timesheets . The TV drones on , with Jyothika preaching to teachers and students alike . Jokes and jibes are traded and I suddenly feel that this random Friday evening is not that random after all. I smile , close my emails and start writing.

Tyger Tyger Burning Bright

My earliest cricket memory involving Bangladesh is a fine spell of pace bowling by Chaminda Vaas on Valentines Day in 2003 , in the first over of the game. The first batsman was out bowled , the second was caught and bowled and the third clueless fellow holed out to a future Sri Lankan cricket captain and followed the other two. It was and remains my favorite bowling spell from that tournament after Nehra’s 6/23 but a lot of people didn’t see it that way.

Every-time I brought up that particular Chaminda Vaas over , someone in the gathering would invariably end up saying “But that’s against Bangladesh yaar. What is so brilliant about a hattrick in the first three balls against Bangladesh !”. A few of them would nod politely , putting down my admiration for that spell as an eccentricity.

Such was the plight of Bangladesh in 2003 , that they couldn’t win a single match in the TVS cup that was hosted in their country. They didn’t win a single match that world cup , losing their opening game to Canada < a low even for Bangladesh> , before facing Sri Lanka and Chaminda Vaas in that opening over.

Bangladesh continued to be a part of my cricketing memories after 2003 , as a minor actor playing a minuscule role in the larger scheme of things : Gautam Gambhir made his ODI debut against them . So did Aavishkar Salvi who bowled a brilliant first over , took a wicket , promptly got injured and soon faded into obscurity. Ishant Sharma debuted against Bangladesh , so did Ramesh Powar , Joginder Sharma and this future Indian Captain and finisher extraordinaire by the name MS Dhoni.

In the mid 00s , a fixture against Bangladesh was seen as an ideal opportunity to hand out debuts to the youngsters knocking on the team door in an attempt to build their confidence. India often won these fixtures quite convincingly . Bangladesh won rarely if at all . There was that win in 2004 , followed by that world cup upset in 2007 and that Asia cup in 2012.They went on an emotional overdrive post their 2015 loss to India. Rohit Sharma was adjudged not out and Bangladesh as a whole cried foul. They won an ODI series soon after and that nascent switch was turned on. The Bangladesh of 2015 was way better than the Bangladesh of 2003 , 2007 and 2012 , but was so short of confidence that a third umpire’s decision caused huge outrage and an ODI series win resulted in celebrations of a rather unsavory nature.

Today , Bangladesh lost because of a splendid Rohit Sharma knock and some brilliant bowling by Bumrah at death. The bowling figures of Bumrah read 10-1-55-4 and he ended with a brilliant last over , taking two wickets in the last two balls , stranded on a hattrick.

The 48th over was and will remain one of my favorites from this world cup tournament and my preference for this spell will not be put down as an eccentricity , because Machi , Bangladesh could have won it ra but Bumrah came back after that injury scare , and bowled that peach of an over to keep Bangladesh out of reckoning . India beat Bangladesh in yet another world cup match , only this time , Bangladesh was not some 2 bit minor actor playing a side role in a tournament heavily favoring the big three. They came , they fought and they conquered hearts.

The Bangladesh of 2019 is a far better side than the Bangladesh of 2015 . They have won the games that mattered and came pretty close to winning a few others. They are no longer intimidated by huge targets. They have Shakib, Soumya and Litton in their ranks and a quiet confidence in their hearts.

Bangladesh were a champion side this world cup. They beat South Africa and West Indies convincingly and came very close to beating New Zealand and India. Bangladesh knows how to win and has started winning frequently. This is a side that takes its defeats and rain-outs in stride without resorting to national outrage. This is a side on the cusp of bigger and better things to come.

Long live the rivalry.

A take on Happy New Year

On New Year’s day , I woke up to five hundred unread messages on WhatsApp . Five hundred impersonal , generic and formulaic bursts of white noise that I wanted to ignore but couldn’t because they were from people who mattered to me and people who once mattered to me.

As I replied to those inane bursts of goodwill with generic and inane wishes of my own , boredom set in and I dreamt my way across to January 1 of the years gone by , where New year’s day meant something significant.

January 1, 1994 — We did not have a phone at home and therefore we sent greeting cards to our near and dear , following a process that almost felt like a ritual. Sometime in December, Appa would buy a bunch of greeting cards from the stationary shop and a shortlist would be made. Amma would then copy the addresses from the diary on to the envelopes and then attach the stamps using mashed rice as glue. The four of us would then sit in a circle and sign the cards one by one and once we were done , the cards would be slipped into the envelopes and off to the main post office we’d go and slip the cards into the slots meant for the various cities the cards were addressed to. My seven year old self used to shiver with excitement as she dropped the envelopes off , wishing them a speedy journey to their destination. Our wishes arrived the same way — signed greeting cards dropped at our doorstep in pairs , containing warm wishes expressed in the crooked handwriting of the elders and cousins . Birthday cards , at times made an early appearance , causing that extra bit of suspense and excitement as I opened an envelope .

January 1 , 1996 — We had a telephone connection with STD facility that year. Greeting cards were sent out as usual , but that year , we called our relatives that had a phone to wish them in person. Calls had to be short for the STD rates were still steep and conversations were limited to the four of us playing phone relay with every person at home on the other end to wish them a happy new year . Nothing else was discussed < We still couldn’t afford those longer calls> but hearing the wishes in a loved one’s warm voice was something we cherished.

January 1 , 2000 — The Y2K year where writing 00 on the year column of my notebook gave me a secret thrill. The year where we stopped sending em greeting cards and moved on to e-greetings sent to the NRI cousins via the slow and moody dial-up connection we had at home. The mandatory happy new year phone calls were made and we lingered over the phone discussing odds and ends thanks to our upward mobility and lowered STD rates. The excitement of wishing someone had gone away and the calls had become mere formality.

January 1 , 2005 — My first cellphone and the first time I sent out wishes on my own. We stopped congregating as a family to wish people and sent fancy SMSes out well before January 1 . It felt pretty cool to do this. It made me , all of eighteen , feel like an adult . It made me feel that I was coming in to my own , independent enough to make my own decisions.

January 2014 , 2015 , 2016 , 2017 — These were the glorious rinse and repeat years where I partied into the wee hours of January 1st , sent my whatsApp wishes semi-drunk and woke up late in the evening , lamenting the end of the holidays and making elaborate plans to keep up with my resolutions .

And WHOOSH — my mind wandered back to 2019 as the husband kept poking me continuously . I looked up from my phone , eyes and fingers fatigued from typing replies and messages . With a Sheepish grin , he asked me if I could reply to his whatsApp messages too. He didn’t quite know how to manage the deluge of wishes on his WhatsApp . Shaking my head I left the room , wishing that the glory days of 1994 would make a come back.

P.S : I want to write physical letters and postcards this year. I’m not sure that there are people who would like to receive them . But if you are one , and you would like to receive a written post card from me sometime this year , do drop me a note/comment with your address. Let me see if I can surprise you .

96 – A conversation

Love can be one-sided but a love story always has two sides. A man and a woman will have different things to say or have different ways to say things , at least in real life.

That , unfortunately is not the case when it comes to our films. More often than not , you have a man fantasizing about how he would like a woman to respond and 99 times out of 100 the response will be in a tone that that borders the servile. Women do write beautiful lyric but they don’t get the same space or footing and therefore their voices get drowned out in the din. Thankfully , 96 breaks the precedent . The album is nothing but a conversation between a man and woman on equal footing , where their views are given equal space and importance.

Karthik Netha waxes lyrical about love in Anthaathi , elevating the emotion to an omnipresent entity . To him , love is a dance that your mind and heart indulge in as you go about the world , a never ending search that remains your constant companion through life , adapting to you as you change to the rules and roles dictated by love. In Thaabangale , Uma Devi picks up from where Karthik left off . Love and desire have a form and shape she says . They tell their own story she adds , a story in which the racehorse of time takes you to that time and place in the past where echoes of a similar desire and love can be felt.

Yaen is a role reversal of sorts where Karthik gives voice to a woman who is clueless and hurting. Look at the way he paints her portrait  by describing her surroundings – The skies are grey , the clouds are missing , life is a puzzle and the path through it is drenched in tears that are prayers to find the missing. Her eyes are searching for him for he has left the city , but the heart keeps dissuading her search as he has forsaken his roots. The imagery is so vivid that you can envision a woman trying to soldier on despite the pain.

Uma Devi , on the other hand compares separation to a wasting spring  and a long stretch of never ending distance among other things. She compares the woman to the waxing moon of love and that comparison immediately took me back to the famous “Veramendrol valai negizhumme koorai thozhi yaan vaazhumaare” lines that speak so eloquently about separation angst. Vasantha Kalangal is all about Chinmayi and that brilliant guitar in the beginning , but once Uma’s lines take hold , they hold your heart in a vice grip and never let you go.

“Indha Thaamarai kulam neeril thani aaguthe. Athan Sooriyan pagal indri veyyil kaayuthe.

Oru paathaiyil iru jeevan thunai thedudhe. Ada kaalangal thadai meeri thadai poduthey. Nee indri naane dhinam vaazhavadhoru vaazhvaa , vaazhve vaa , nee thaan uyirin uyire “

Take a look at the uvamais in Iravingu Theevaai.  Karthik hails love in Anthaathi, and feels that a content life is one where  love is present in some form of other. Uma on the other hand , feels that a life without her lover is worthless , memories and love be damned. Her comparison of the woman to a lotus isolated in a pond sans her life line is poignant . Her comparison of the man to the sun who’s roasting in his own heat amidst the darkness is equally poignant .

If at all Karthik gets an edge , it is in “Life of Ram ” where his words paint the story of the male protagonist , a man who’s learning his lessons late in life . A man who is a slow learner, but keeps learning and keeps moving on. Karthik’s words help us paint a picture of the man and his past , his present and his hopes for future.  In the larger scheme of things though , this piece does not influence the larger conversation and for that I am super happy.

I set out on a mission to write about the music of 96. It is the best soundtrack to have come out of the Tamil Film Industry so far this year. It also has the distinction of having provided the same scope and space to its male and female vocalists . That in itself is a rarity. Govind then goes one step further and sticks with a single male voice and a single female voice for a major part of the soundtrack. The tunes are lovely , the guitar , flute and violin are soulful and dreamy and yet after multiple repeated listenings , it is the lyric that stands at the forefront – so much so that I am unable to look beyond them. One day , I will write about the music and singing for they deserve their own post. Until then , I am going to lose myself in this conversation and its words.

 

 

 

 

 

Varadan and Chitra

I was not going to publish this post for two reasons. For one , the spoilers would ruin the movie for a lot of people and I wanted to analyze this particular relationship with its nuances , angst , resentment and all related baggage for a longer time before sharing my thoughts for the world to see. But then I had this long DM with PV and I suddenly felt like writing and so here I am. I’d offer one warning though – stay away from my post until you have seen Chekka Chivantha Vaanam and have had the time and patience to let the movie sink in.

Varadan is a selfish man just like his brothers. But what sets him apart is this inherent inferiority complex and resentment against his father who may have married his mother in a Tudor like set up to consolidate power . <It is implied that Senapati murdered his wife’s father , was a serial philanderer and was an emotionally distant father and extremely controlling one when it came to Varadan> .  Varadan is married to his first cousin Chitra and it is implied that his father imposed the marriage and Chitra on him and Varadan resents the marriage and Chitra by extension .

There is this simmering resentment between the two but  there is also trust and he depends on her to hold things together at the home front. Chitra  knows the family and Varadan inside out warts and all.  She is blunt , calls a spade a spade and is his emotional crutch and de-facto second in command. She is his mirror and there is nothing that is hidden from her including the paramour . Chitra knows about Parvati and is probably more than a little hurt that her husband loves to wind down with the other woman and not with her. But you don’t see her cry about it. Parvati , to her , is one of the many paramours and she has probably seen men in her immediate family stray and cheat that she appears to take this in stride.

Her love and complete devotion to Varadan is not reciprocated in kind and one gets the feeling that Varadan probably sees her more as an ally than as a wife and that status quo continues until they have to run for their lives. Chitra refuses to abandon her man and matches him step by step as they seemingly outwit their foes and gain a safe abode. There’s a lull where they indulge in normalcy  : Varadan , Chitra and their henchmen and then she is caught in the cross fire and is fatally shot.

Varadan rushes to the hospital , never leaving her alone for the moment and you see this vulnerability in his eyes that makes you realize that he loves Chitra in his own way. On her death bed she asks him to abandon her and escape to ensure that their kids at least have one living parent and even then he doesn’t give in or give her the comfort/assurance she seeks . He refuses to abandon her and goes on to lament about his mistakes.  In a very vulnerable moment , she asks if he is alluding to their marriage when he is talking about his sins and mistakes . He is quick to say no , but in true selfish Varadan fashion goes on to make that Macbeth like confession and she passes away as he is ranting , denied of comfort ,  emotional assurance or even a few words of love that she very much deserves. Varadan , the selfish man that he is , knows only to take and even in her death , Chitra is deprived of the attention and affection she desperately craves from her man. But once she is gone , Varadan becomes unhinged and goes on that splendidly choreographed rampage and therefore Chitra’s death is in a way Varadan’s death too.

With Parvati , Varadan is dominant yet passive.  She feeds his ego and he feeds her back < literally > .You get the sense that with Parvati , he is probably playing at his version of happy families , where he is the caretaker , the care giver and the man who does not have flaws. One gets the feeling that Parvati is very important to Varadan. Heck even Parvati , Chitra and maybe even Varadan feel the same about it . But once Chitra is gone , taking away that blanket of emotional strength and support , you realize how important Chitra is to Varadan . May be Varadan also realizes the fact only when it’s too late and the situation is beyond salvation.

Varadan strays , not because he is seeking love , but because he is seeking control. Being with Parvati makes him feel in control whereas with Chitra it is probably the other way around. She knows too much about him for his comfort : his ambitions , inferiority ,  baser instincts , selfishness , self doubt , resentment , suffocation are all known to Chitra and even as he takes a lot of emotional support from her , he resents her because she sees too much and knows too much and Varadan simply cannot come to terms with it and by the time he attempts to man up , everything is done and dusted . There is love behind all these smokescreens but ultimately that love is toxic and is not of any help.

May be , there is redemption waiting for Varadan and Chitra in a different universe – one where he is a little selfless , tactful and sensible and one where he grows to love her. In that universe , maybe Chitra and Varadan would grow into Senapathi and Lakshmi . Maybe there is a better world where Chitra has had enough of this family , takes an out from it when offered and is happily settled in Coimbatore with her children away from all the toxicity , venom and violence. In yet another universe , Varadan and Chitra are running the syndicate together , him providing the strength and her providing the brains . May be in all these universes , Chitra is still unhappy as she only knows to give but not to take or may be she is happy , because she gets to be her man’s emotional anchor . One never knows , because alternate universes rarely exist and even if they do , one can never predict which way things are going to go .

Varadan and Chitra are not real but they felt like real people ( thanks to the brilliance of the actors who carried the part with elegance) with real issues and for a few hours after the movie , I brooded about why Chitra was dealt such a poor hand by the God above and why Varadan couldn’t be man enough to acknowledge all that Chitra has done for him and at least try and repay that in kind.

Thank you Mani Ratnam , for making me feel that .

Dear Srinath,,

Dear Srinath,

Or should I really begin with dear Javagal , for to me there are two of you out there – Srinath , the mild mannered instrumentation engineer and Javagal , the wily , menacing pace bowler who used to outthink and outsmart the best batsmen on their day.

My first memory of you is from that titan cup match against Australia where you and Kumble fought against the odds like two clumsy circus fools finding their way through the tight rope. I think it was a few months after the 96 world cup and I had by then been firmly addicted to the siren song thats cricket. I don’t remember much about the match except for Sachin’s 88 and your partnership. I remember elders in my family joking that your families were probably chanting slokas nineteen to the dozen hoping that your luck continued to shine and took us across the finish line. I now realize that it was not luck but sheer determination that got us home that day.

My next memory of you comes from that Ahmedabad test few months later where I pleasantly surprised by the score card reading 0-2 thanks to you. I later learned that you were reverse swinging the ball that day , which is a skill thats still largely mastered only by our feuding neighbors. You became my hero after that spell but then you got injured the next year and fell of my pedestal which has been largely occupied by Rahul Dravid ever since.

I now understand that the 1997 injury was scary and that when you came back , you were not the bowler you were thanks to the Injury. At least this is what I keep hearing from peers and fellow cricket nuts at college . The next three years are frankly a blur. You missed quite a few matches but when you did play there were quite a  few good memories here and there  – A five for against New Zealand , the 200th wicket at Sharjah (?)  and then that comeback to the Indian side for the champions trophy final against Srilanka that was rained out. I still remember your figures from that first rained out final . You went for 6 odd runs and I was like no way this oldie is going to South Africa but prove me wrong you did and in such a spectacular way that I was forced to eat my words until that day in March about a year and half ago when you and Zaheer went bust against Australia. Maybe I should not have worn that India Jersey that day. If I hadn’t may be Javagal would have come out and made the opposition cry. But Javagal didn’t come back. He pulled up his boots eight months later without bowling a single ball after that final.

I have since gone back and read about the previous games. I’ve talked to my dad and my peers who have sung paens to you and have told me how effective you were in overseas conditions. They lament that you were overworked and you let yourself be abused in such a manner for the better of the country and they hope and pray that the same won’t happen to Zaheer ( who has come back from an injury)

Today , we won a test match in Bombay and Zaheer Khan bowled 8 overs and got two wickets and that was the extent of his spell. I wonder how many overs you would have bowled had you played today. I don’t know . I had no chance of knowing because you retired less than a year ago and I guess I will forever hold it against you for not avenging that defeat to Australia in South Africa .

I guess Zaheer will have to do it for you. He is not the experienced statesman that you are , not yet anyway. He is a left arm pace bowler  and you are a right hander. He was the terrific understudy and hunting partner but you were the elder statesman and the kingmaker. He leaked a lot of runs during that World Cup final and you leaked a lot of runs during that World Cup Final. However only one of you will play the 2007 world cup in the land of the calypso.

They tell me Zaheer is also an instrumentation engineer like you. They reassure me that Zaheer will grow and become better. They say that he has an abundance of natural talent that you lacked in and that they will write calypsos about Zaheer as he swings his heart out on our way to the final. That image makes me smile. I hope to god that statement comes true. I hope that Australia will make the final in 2007 , I hope and pray that we do too and in that final I hope for Zaheer to get those wickets and then thank you and say “This is our revenge” – and somewhere in the calypso that is written for Zaheer Khan , I wish for a line or two about you , praising your talent and lamenting the fact that it was recognized only when you were gone too long.

PS : Someday I hope to meet you. In my head it is always at a place bustling with people moving frantically , going about their day to day lives , like an airport lounge or a coffee shop.You would be going through your motions too , no longer the wily bowler who nearly won us a world cup . I will approach you with caution and introduce myself as a fan and then say “Thank you! Thank you for going on when the rest of us didn’t bother to acknowledge you . Thank you for going there and bowling your heart out and thank you for making sure we have fast bowling riches to be proud of.” and then I will walk away with the satisfaction of a fan who finally got the chance to acknowledge your feats and pay her dues.

PPS : Except for the postscript , this blog post was written sometime in November or December 2004 , after a test match win against Australia in Bombay . The only edits I did today was to correct the tenses used and update my dreadful punctuation.  When I wrote this blog post I did know about the pre 96 Srinath, but not a lot  and I did not know that Zaheer would become the great he did. I also did not know that we would fizzle out of 2007 WC the way we did. This post has been languishing in my blogspot drafts for more than a decade until a photo of Srinath shared by Sachin , nudged me along and made me revisit this . I am posting this unedited , as @ungaaya asked me to. I will probably publish a revised version later , adding to the pre-96 Srinath era that I am familiar with now thanks to youtube , ten cricket and all that Jazz. I will also edit the post for the things that have happened since Nov-Dec 2004.

Jab Imtiaz Ali met SRK

You know how they go on and on about Imtiaz making the same story again and again and again — well thats true. Imtiaz does film the same story repetitively but the people inhabiting his story and the journey they undertake are different .Over the course of a decade , I’ve come to enjoy watching these messed up people fight between their heart and head , spectacularly self-combusting thanks to some external catalyst and then trying to pick up the pieces and move on. The reason why I’ve enjoyed this over and over again is because these people are messed up , quirky yet real and relatable. Harry and Sejal are no different , at least on paper .  But in trying to fit SRK in his world , Imtiaz has compromised with his characters and writing and this is the one thing that makes JHMS his weakest film till date.

On paper JHMS is a brilliant film with a cruel , stupid and stubborn woman finding love and kindness in the most unlikeliest places , when she is least looking for it. Sejal , the lawyer runs out of the Amsterdam aiport , catching Harry her tour guide unaware. She has misplaced her engagement ring and wants Harry to take her back to the hotel where she is sure to find the ring. Harry can see that she is visibly upset and tries to reassure her while also politely trying to lay it out that  he is no longer obligated to accompany her as the tour has ended. She reacts horribly , questioning his audacity to refuse her , putting him in the place of a lowly employee who should absolutely follow his employer wherever she deems fit. Sitting in his BMW car , she so casually says ” So its all about money” that you react the same way Harry does – with incredulity . She does not change a bit even when she falls in love with Harry.

Take for instance  , the cafe sequence in Budapest – she is clearly attracted to Harry and half in love with him but there is this classist , snobbish part of her that is repulsed by Harry’s job of a tour guide. She instructs him to act like her fiancé and the fool that Harry is , he acquiesces to her request and almost comes close to asking her about the next step when she puts him down with a cruel ” I’m not that kind of a woman who leaves her fiancé for a tour guide” retort  . Its Harry who is the hurt here despite his tall claims of being a rake and womanizer of the worst sort.

Consider the yaadon main sequence before they are kidnapped by Gas. They are in this club , having an intimate dinner and Sejal is in tears , listening to the sad story of the woman yearning for her beloved who left for India , in search of riches . Yet it is Harry who is the most affected. He knows that Sejal will leave him for the established fiancé and the stability he provides and that he “Harry” will be left yearning for Sejal . Some time later , by the beach he talks to her about his first love – Kulwant Kaur and almost confesses his feelings by expressing his angst at her inevitable departure and she doesn’t get a chance to react at all. Even at a later point in the film where they seem to gel like spouses do and are clearly in love with each other , she claims to be in a dream world , emphasizing that she would give up an ideal partner and ideal life with him and return to the real world. No wonder this hurts Harry and he acts out on his hurt , giving her an out to leave him.

What is so fascinating about Sejal is that she is so casually cruel to Harry and at the same time , keeps looking up to him for validating her self worth . She compares herself to Harry’s ex , the stripper they meet in their search for her ring , random women that she has heard about and cannot stand the fact that Harry finds her ” sweet , beautiful , china vase types”.  She realizes that he is her ideal partner and yet keeps reminding herself and him that women of her class do not fall for a tour guide and keeps bringing up the fiancé who never bothers to stay in touch , when her moments with Harry get too difficult for her to handle. I was fascinated with this woman , her classist , snobbish nature , that messy superiority and inferiority complex that she seems to suffer from , her decision to have a honey moon fling before she settles down as a proper Gujrati wife and the moment that made her come to terms with the inevitability of love. Sejal with all these facets and quirks is criminally ignored in the movie which is about her , because Harry is played by none other than the SRK.

Because Harry is Shahrukh , we don’t see enough of the character’s vulnerabilities and hurt . Heck we don’t see him as Harry even : there is that DDLJ wall Raj hangover around him which he is unable to shed , despite trying hard to achieve that feat. I almost wish that Imtiaz had casted a lesser known star as Harry – Diljit for instance . Diljit would have played Harry the way Harry was meant to be played – a second fiddle , catalyst and love interest to Sejal who grows up , becomes confident, falls in love with herself and Harry and learns to look beyond the social tags associated with people and identify them for they are – fellow humans who need respect , kindness and love . Alas , Harry is played by the Super Star SRK and we are left yearning for the movie this could have been – A story of a woman coming into her own and growing up. Better luck for the next one Imtiaz Saab , but I really liked this one too.

P.S. Its a criminal offense to release such a wonderful soundtrack the day the movie released. Its one of Pritam’s best so far and needed more air time before the release.

P.P.S. Imtiaz has used the songs brilliantly to underline the narrative as usual. Take Radha for instance . The punjabi lines rendered by Shahrukh , talks of a lotahrio who keeps flitting between lovers , yet he is at that point , irrevocably and subconsciously in love with Sejal . The Hindi lines rendered by Anushka talk of Radha and her undying devotion , yet there she is , flirting with Harry , despite having every intention of going back to Rupen. Kudos! Irshad and Imtiaz, Job well done !

P.P.P.S. Movies can be read differently by different people and hence their views can be different. Please give this movie a chance. It doesn’t deserve the vitriol and absolute hate that it has been receiving from most quarters.

P.P.P.P.S I will try to come back and write about some sequences from the movie that I really liked and about Chandan Roy Sanyal’s Bangla gangster at some point.