Sunday, February 22, 2009

THE 70 mm DREAM

This post is for Jolene, who introduced me to Saawariya and its timeless story. Although I have attempted to put my interpretation of Saawariya across in words as best as I can, I feel I have not been able to do complete justice to this masterpiece. Nevertheless, the words are heartfelt and I hope you like it Jo …

In a well kept archive, the 70 mm larger-than-life dreams of many a director and visionary find abode. Year after year, they add to an already Himalayan stack of film reels. Some are taken out time& again, and the dream relived. The others are banished to the quoted realm of failure, nestling spiders and their intricate webs. In this banished realm of dust, cobwebs & anonymity there may lie a masterpiece, which was never recognized as one. But the haze will fail to mask its sheer brilliance from one who has the ‘eye’ for it. Saawariya turns out to be one such ethereal dream, an amalgamation of madness & brilliance. 

The world of Saawariya is dark& gloomy, yet light & mirthful. It is multicolored in its vibrancy yet monochromatic in its hue. This is a place you know cannot exist, a place ever changing, crackling with energy and at the same time static & still, just like the fantastical possibilities our dreams throw up. And yet, there it is, with its other-worldly-yet familiar magical mood. In this ephemeral world live two ordinary-yet-extraordinary people. 

One, the delinquent, fun-loving, philanthropic Raj, who believes in making everyone smile. He spreads joy to one and all irrespective of who or what they are. Everyone is an equal in his mind and he’s blessed with the silken voice that makes your heart ache for more. The second is the confused, alternately scared & fearless lissome lass Sakina. She has madness seeping through her laughter, and cries at the sound of a drop from the faucet joining the water in the fountain.  Her smile can light a thousand lamps, her tears can melt a million resolves. She has literally “fallen” in love with a stranger she met merely for a few nights and is in a hopeless abyss she does not wish to emerge from. She’s all that and more, and yet, you never know what she has on her arsenal next.
The peals of Sakina’s laughter & the melancholy of her sobs claw at Raj’s heart. Friendship brings them together and soon he falls in love with her, well knowing she’s one with another. He is the quintessential good guy, one you would want to adore and at the same time chide for being naive in love. He is innocence & charm personified, and  serenades Sakina with his honest-to-goodness voice. Masha Allah! Still, he’s human, and in a moment of weakness when he realizes his affections might go unreciprocated, he burns the letter from Sakina to her lover and sabotages her hopes of ever meeting her ‘stranger’ again. 

Lost on umeed, she turns to Raj for support, and in the bargain, maybe even starts loving him.

You want to scold Raj for trying to woo the girl of his dreams by such nefarious means, but his sincerity & true love pull your raised hand back. Saawariya becomes the story of two youngsters with their own interpretations of love and how far they are willing to go to win that love. In this play of emotions, your sympathy starts drifting towards Raj. In spite of what he’s done, you wish he would become one with Sakina. He almost does, until Sakina’s past comes back to catch up with her. And in that one penultimate moment, Raj is wiped clean from her memory and left there, heartbroken, watching the boat sail away with her & her ‘stranger’ in it. In that instant, your heart breaks too. You hate Sakina for having left someone as pure as Raj, who but committed only one folly to save his love. The pain of losing it is felt not in Raj’s words which he does not utter, but in his silence - pleading, begging, cajoling her to stay. A moment’s hesistation, and she’s gone. He’s alone once more and his life becomes clouded by the hue pervading the landscape – blue. You feel the sadness dragging you down. But you know that Raj is a good chap – ek Allah ka banda, and that he will be back soon, with his guitar, his soulful voice, his carefree dance and his unmatchable love. In that moment of emptiness, a smile comes across your face knowing that he’ll be all right…

Doli mein bithaake

Sitaaro se sajaake

Zamaane se churaake

Le jaayega ek roz tera udaa ke jiya

Saawariya

Saturday, February 21, 2009

THE PALETTE OF THE GODS

Image courtesy : pinkpanther27, www.deviantart.com

After having savored the little joys of the railways, road travels and towns recently, it is another day at the airport. Ho-hum, I think. Flights have become so drearingly monotonous that my foolproof POA is usually to sleep through the hours - before I know it, I’m at my destination. However, this particular flight turns out to be neo-exciting, thanks to the pilots who are generous enough to invite me in the cockpit & make me feel at home in the cramped environ. 

The setup is imposing!  There are switches, flip panels, lights, gears, dials, radar displays everywhere. The cockpit resembles a war room straight out of the dozen Hollywood movies I’ve watched. I am instantly impressed by these charming & sophisticated pilots- these brave, well-informed & focused men, who carry a great responsibility on their shoulders every single day, and who face everything, even the possibility of the loss of their lives with a smile & a to-die-for attitude.  They explain how the entire system works – the auto pilot, the navigation, the de-pressurization etcetra and I try to absorb as much knowledge as I can. The icing on the cake is the view from the cockpit. . I wonder, if God would ever sit on the clouds and look down upon his creation, this is probably how the world would look to him, tranquil and peaceful (and I wonder, how, of all days, do I forget to bring my camera along on this fateful day!!!). I preposterously attempt to explain in words what my eyes witness that evening. It looks like the palette of Gods, with colors so appealing and the mergers so heavenly- It reinforces my belief that there is definitely a higher power which has created the beautiful world that belies description by the greatest of wordsmiths & philosophers. When the plane turns, so does the horizon, as if slipping off the slant of a table. The loss of orientation is unnerving and for a while, the definitions of up and the down do not apply anymore. 

The clouds part way as we descend slowly, and the millions of city lights lay scattered across the landscape like tiny pieces of crushed glass. The descent creates a plummeting sensation which brings a lump to my throat. I recall a similar dread while on a Ferris wheel as a child. I buckle up & grab whatever I can to prevent myself from tumbling over, and the pilots reassure me with a calm voice & a charming demeanor. Once on terra-firma I’m the last passenger to leave, and I take away with me fond memories and smiles for miles & miles.