Saturday, January 29, 2011

A MOMENT TO THINK


As the end credits rolled down on Dhobi Ghat, I leaned back in the reclining seat & pondered over the 90 minutes just gone by. This was cinema at its simplistic & realistic best, with some very competent work in every aspect being its enduring pillars. This was also a film that felt oddly incomplete. Yet, in its' paucity it remained poignantly beautiful in its apt casting, near-flawless acting, a lilting background score and the brilliantly shot visuals of parts of Mumbai that we might never get to visit in real life. When I moved to Mumbai 4 years ago, I wanted to explore all the tourist destinations without fail. The curious nomad in me even went to the extent of going it alone when friends came up with one excuse or another for not making it. Somewhere down the line, the eagerness has dulled, the excitement now a pale shadow of what it used to be and the fear of being clustered a cardinal deterrent. Was it also this reminiscence of my past in this city; some recent, some long traversed that moved me? Or the fact that I've always been a sucker for hyperlink cinema? Or that I'm finally falling in love with this city?

Some or all of the above could be true. But for all the nostalgia & respect the film aroused, it ended for me in the most filmy manner, undoing some of the good work that had gone before it. However Jolene, a good friend, an astute mind & a self-professed Mumbaiphile, had this to say to convince me otherwise:

The ending seeming filmy could be metaphorical really, a life-goes-on kind of ending; given that the central protagonist has reached a low point in life where he has suffered personal loss, is literally washing the megapolis' dirty linen, realises how bleak his possibility for becoming a movie star is, and is in love with a woman who's intrigued by someone else. So he runs onto the streets, hero-like, overcoming all obstacles, finds her and gifts her the means to drift away from him (a kind of resignation, and also a subtle way of telling her how he feels about her). The end symbolises the true spirit of Mumbai: whatever happens, we move on.

A friend rued the fact that he'd have to watch it again with his wife, another found the depiction of the locations in the film in bad taste. Yet others warned me not to watch it as it was too slow and were aghast to know I already had & had in fact, liked it. Whatever the true intent of the climax may be, the film succeeds in lingering inside you long after you've exited the cozy darkness of the theatre. As I sped on the now empty roads leading back home, something good from Dhobi Ghat remained etched within me. So I say, thank you Kiran Rao, for a real, unique and melancholy experience. May your tribe increase.

*****

Courtesy: Vergessene Traenen
An anonymous reader was irked by my last post, The Chinky Factor. This is what he/she had to say (abridged):

If you are offended by being called Nepali/Manipuri/Malaysian/Chinese, I am offended by the fact that you find it offensive for being mistaken as these races and nationalities. I found "DEROGATORILY", the word you used to describe your emotion for being called as such, unacceptable. How about the fact that you feeling such is not a derogatory remark to these races? You try to come out as a victim here but who is the victim of your words right now? Please think twice before you write such things in your blog.
Wow! I'm glad the post DID evoke this reaction apart from the encouraging ones (much appreciated). However, my dear friend, if you'd check the phrasing of my sentences again carefully, you'll realise that nowhere do I state that I get offended on being mistaken for another race. What I DO take offense to is the tone & intent of malice while being called as such. I'm sure you understand what I mean, being a Nepali yourself. We could make it so much easier by saying that we are human beings & not a clothing line to be differentiated by our origin or price tag after all, but we know it isn't all that simple. No one's trying to be a victim here.The Chinky Factor is a response to a question asked of me many times over, and a hope that someday, things will be different.

*****


And in conclusion, I'd like to thank each & every one of you out there who've showered encouragement for my current dancing stint on Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa. Deep within, post Indian Idol, I knew I would sing, host, act. But dance??? No way! November 2006 in Bangalore was the first & last time before Jhalak that I ever attempted to move my now-not-so-left two feet. Those six sessions of salsa were liberating but also a source of some embarrassment (I was the proverbial tortoise in learning & my partner was none too amused. Needless to say, I never returned for the next batch). Four years on, being pitted against the likes of Yana, Sushant, Krishna et al is surely daunting, but as my dad always says, “Do what you love. And while you're at it, don't forget to have fun!” I am having fun & learning so much, primarily that if you put your mind to it, nothing is impossible. So keep watching and keep the love pouring in :)

24 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:36 PM

    Hi Chang!

    I'm so glad that you've updated your blog!

    Frankly I couldn't even get myself to go and watch the movie, I thought it's not my kind at all. Friends were really disgusted with the pace of the movie. Maybe it's the art type of movie, you know. After reading your thoughts I'm definitely going to catch it after my boards, which, sadly, begin in about a month.

    Thank you so much for clarifying my doubt in a previous comment on your dancing background :-)

    I'm loving you in Jhalak, you're doing really well! Hope you win! muaaahhh! Heard you got a 30 yet again and that really made MY day!

    P.S: Have you ever considered being a film maker? It's the perfect career for a person like you, having such varied creative interests and such vision.

    Loads of Love :-)

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  2. Hey Chang! such a pleasure to read your blog. All the best for all the upcoming jhalak dikhlaja dances. I'm rooting for you! :D

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  3. Nice review, Chang! I've yet to see the movie. But I do see the city in all its diversity quite often, as I work in documentaries. So I am quite interested to see the city in this film.

    I liked you in 'Badmaash Company'. It was quite a complex character, must have been interesting for you to do.

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  4. Hey Sir,
    This is a fan of yours from Rourkela, I hope you remember the place. Your performance in JDJ is something that I wait for every week, but yes, even your blogs are something that I wait for.
    I would like to suggest that you try writing a book...I feel like every field you will also excel in this..
    Thank you,
    Shreya

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  5. hey meiyang,
    wow so u finally updated your blog!!:);)
    i too liked dhobi ghat and my friends thought that i had gone nuts to drag them for a movie like that, but now its good to know that there are more people like me in this world!!:D;D
    and regarding jhalak, i think u deserve to win.... cheers..

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  6. Hi Chang...nicely written as usual.....u r superb singer,gr8 actor,excellent anchor...brilliant writer...nd u proved in JDJ that u r nice dancer too....u r so talented man! consider myself lucky to b 1 among ur fans...though i cud nt watch al of ur performance in JDJ being in hostel bt don't miss it whenever possible.....d way u wrote about Dhobighat..i m curious to watch it....i wud luv to read a book written by u Chang...u shud try dis too,all d best fr ur cuming performances jst keep rocking!

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  7. HI!!
    I am watching jhalak dikhalaja :) i ONLY watch it because of you :) Im not a big fan of indian stuff, even though my parents are from bangladesh who understand all of this. i guess i do, but im more into the chinese pop and korean pop. When i saw you on the stage of indian idol, i was like, is WHO IS THIS PERSON?! and went online to research u, but i didnt know your name. If you debuted on china or EVEN korea, you would have been a HUGE hit. i would probably fangirl over you ;) im taking chinese in school, but its really hard. i am at a very basic level, like 你好。我叫Arobi。 我十四岁。i hope you could read atleast that. but if you dont, i wrote, Hello. Im Arobi. i am 14 years old :) im very young but a very big fan of yours.

    i dont know what the tones or characters are for your name. But CHANG MEIYANG FIGHTING!! All the best and GOOD LUCK!

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  8. hello,
    you are awweessommmee twesome in jhalak ....i never imagined you dancing like this when i saw you dancing in indian idol3 on the day when ganesh hegdey came to the show............now when i see you on jhalak..it seems u have been born 2 dance..n u r dancing from centuries.........you are awesome chang........n God will ,ofcourse reward you for ur hard work..dont worry you r 100000% winning the show..n thanxx to marisha..shez lovveelyy!!
    Love n best wishes...
    shruti

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  9. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Hey Chang,

    Best of luck for your upcoming performances! Heard Sushant, Yana even Mahi are not well. Aap please apna dhyaan rakhiyega, please take a lot of care of your health.

    Love you loads and loads and loads :-) muaahh

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  10. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Hello Chang :-D

    Just read a news article that said ki while other contestants were bad mouthing Sushant after his re-entry, you did not join the league and remained the amazingsly simple and GREAT person that you are. I'm proud to be your fan, i've seriously fallen in love with these qualities of yours :-) Please always be the same. inshallah you will win, you are very deserving. Dontit worry if you don't, such is life, and your fans support will forever be with you. Your coming this far is also a treat to us!

    Please always remain this amazing. Love you so much. Bestest wishes for the Grand finale ....bubye and take care!

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  11. Anonymous11:42 AM

    Hey Chang ! awesome work at Jhalak .. You're an awesome person ! A true Superstar ! :) !
    a dentist, a singer, actor, anchor, and now a Dancer !
    You rock dude ! :)

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  12. Hey Meiyang,

    Geared up for THE FINALE....:)

    ''BEST OF LUCK''

    Although more than luck i like your Attitude...,

    I really admire your THIS Attitude...it brings up the 100%....and eventually giving a habit of 100%....and then naturally expecting to get that one best thing from life...the one which you want from within and core of your being...living with that radiance in you, you show yourself out from the rest...and one which connects you with everyone.

    So...put together what you have got up till now..your weaknesses....make them up...your strengths...brighten them...and put a signature which is your own.

    Then....,

    Seal it with A smile.

    God Bless.

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  13. Anonymous7:34 PM

    congrats! love you so much!

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  14. Anonymous8:18 PM

    Hi Chang,

    Times of India already published an article that you have won the competition in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4.

    Heartiest congratulations to you and Marisha.

    Keep up the good work.

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  15. hey rockstar you just did it....................
    way to go

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  16. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Congratulations Chang! :-)
    Well deserved win by you both!
    Your sincerity is definitely your USP!

    I hope you excel in everything else you take up in life!
    Hoping to see more of you in more 'jhakaas' stuff! ;)

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  17. CONGRATULATIONSSSSSSSSSS!!YOU PROVED IT!!!ANYTHING ELSE LEFT OUT 4RM UR MULTITALENTED LIST..SINGER,DANCER,ACTOR,DENTIST...N MOST OF ALL THE WORLD'S SWEETEST N CUTEST N BESTEST HUMAN BEING!!
    NO,,,NOTHING LEFT!!
    LOVE YOU LOADS..
    ENJOY.
    SHRUTI!!<3

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  18. Hi! it was such an awesome feeling to watch you win! i can only imagine, what you and Marischa are going through.
    To be honest, i've always been a Sushant fan, but in the grand finale... you converted me! On Monday, before the show started, i was looking forward to Sushant & Sampa. But by the end of the evening, i realised that, while Sushant was consistant, his performances were not Grand Finale worthy. You, on the other hand, were simply brill!
    I'm not a huge reality show watcher. In fact, i dont even watch TV that much. I was aware about your popularity with Indian Idol, never heard you sing until Jhalak!
    But im a fan! and im sooo proud of you. Marischa ofcourse deserves a whole lot to teach a non dancer (like u claimed) like u.
    Thank you for making my women's Day! :-) You deserved to win and i deserved to watch such a supremely entertaining performance on women's day!

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  19. Chang! Many congrats on winning JDJ. I have been supporting you from the beginning! I LOVE your simplicity and sweet nature.
    Please do update the blog with experiences of your winning moment.

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  20. Hey Meiyang,

    THIS IS IT....:)

    Congratulations......:)

    Hope to c u more amidst glitz and glamour...,

    Wish u a lovely journey...in this Grand Life.

    Cheers'

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  21. Anonymous6:37 AM

    you proved yet again , NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

    congrats on your well earned win you were worthy of the crown :D

    lovely write up too.
    have been trying to reach you , pls pick up calls form London :P

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  22. Anonymous8:26 PM

    Chaaaaaaannnnnnngggggggg!!!!

    OMG you won, and does that not make me crazy with happiness!

    I think you were the most deserving contender. However articles have been floating about the show being rigged, which is not making me exactly happy:-(

    I don't like seeing people questioning your victory and calling the show rigged. For the first, it basically means I faltu mein spent all my money on voting for you. Secondly it's not really fair. You've won and whether you were the most deserving or not is a personal judgement, but nobody has the right to blame you or call your victory rigged and stuff.

    A very small request from a very very big fan. Please put up a blogpost on what you think of the whole issue of your victory being rigged etc.Please. Love you loads.

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  23. I have to admit, the first impression I got from the Chinky Factor blog when you used the word "derogatorily" was also that of the comment you quoted, but thanks for making it clear.

    Congrats on your win in Dancing With the Stars. I learned about you years ago when you hosted Indian Idol (I only watch what I can in the internet), I thought you were just a random Chinese who can speak Hindi. Turns out you were a previous contestant! That's pretty awesome.

    - a fan from the Philippines

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