Archive for April, 2012

  Ta ta tara pum … pum pum pum… tara pum !!!!

Hello folks!! missed me ?? … ya ?? seriously …ole baba le …ocho pocho . Anyways get over it because there is a much more important thing that I will be talking about today. Am pretty sure most of you guys got a glimpse of it by looking at the snap above. Yes!! am going to talk about the movie “The Artist” which rocked the world right at the beginning of 2012 by winning 5 Oscars, 7 BAFTA awards, 3 Golden Globe awards and many more. The French director Michel Hazanavicius and the actor Jean Dujardin have been flying high since then. This is the biggest triumph in their long years of service to the movie industry. I discovered they do not know how to speak English  well and very tactfully they made the biggest Hollywood movie of  2011.

The movie reached that level just because it keeps surprising you in every moment starting from the beginning when after 10 minutes you realize that you are actually watching a silent movie made in the sets of the year 1927. You feel like teleported to that era. You will really not miss all the talking and the sound because it has been replaced by beautiful jazz music which will make your mood jumpy and refreshing. It’s a movie which will keep you glued to the seat not because of the beautiful romantic story of a super famous silent movie star named George Valentin and a rising movie actress Peppy Miller but due to the surprises and the beautiful flow of the movie which is funny, psychedelic, romantic and refreshing. It’s a beautifully acted movie which portrayed how pride destroyed a silent movie superstar when talkies was introduced to the movie industry and how he misunderstood his lover Peppy Miller who was a talkies superstar who got a break in the movie industry because of George. He was so blinded by his pride that he turned from riches to rags and became a madman. He lost all his friends, his only friend was his pet dog who finally saved his life. The movie proved to the world that only facial expressions and good music can say more than dialogues. I dearly hoped the pet dog of “The Artist” won an Oscar for best supporting actor.

I would love to write more about it but I will spare myself for the ones who have not seen the movie yet as it will destroy all the fun. So readers please do watch this movie. I know, most people’s first impression of the movie is that it will be too intellectual because it’s silent and it’s in black and white. Believe me, that’s not the case. it’s a lot of fun. It’s full of fun and surprises and you will feel good and refreshed in the end .Watch it.

Puntang Dechen Phodrang Dzong in Punakha, or &...

Puntang Dechen Phodrang Dzong in Punakha, or "Punakha Dzong" , Bhutan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The authors of this blog recently took two long-overdue vacations. Not together, you understand. We both happen to be of the conventional orientation, thank you very much. I went to Bhutan with family. And unless you failed in geography, you would know that it is a country, not a hill station in India. It’s small compared to ours, but it’s beautiful, and very very different.

The thing that any Indian is most likely to notice is that they take their laws seriously. Smoking in public is prohibited, and you wouldn’t see anyone smoking anywhere on the streets. Sticking posters here and there is also forbidden, and you do see clean walls everywhere. The political parties have to be content with small “Election Notice” boards that are erected at places. Imagine those two laws (both already in place in our country by the way) being followed in our country.

The place, as I’ve said before, is beautiful. Its cold, clean, green and peaceful, and it is kept that way. Bhutan has a near-perfect combination of majestic snow covered peaks, rivers, valleys , beautiful weather, picturesque villages and a modern, functional capital. It could have made a killing as a tourist destination. It refused and preferred to have a life of peace and quiet. Away from most of the rest of the worlds noise, pollution and so called culture. They are happy to live with their own, with just a little bit of rock music and a few foreign made SUVs thrown in.

They have a custom which I really liked at first glance, then wasn’t so sure about. Bhutanese citizens are supposed to be in their national dresses when they are working(whatever the profession is) or visiting any official places. I agree, this ensures a certain amount of dignity, but isn’t it an unnecessary enforcement too? I mean, how would we like it if we were required to put on dhoti-kurta on weekdays? Also, think about how many wardrobe malfunctions that would have caused on the Kolkata metro or a Mumbai suburban local during the average weekday rush-hour.

And finally, the question that still has me stumped is, how the heck does their economy work? They have no heavy industry, neither is the country exactly agriculture friendly. There are no gleaming office buildings. They don’t even make toothbrushes in their own country. Yes, there are a lot of handicraft shops, but they are absurdly overpriced, and the owners do not appear to be the least bit interested in making a sale. A few tourists do come to visit, but the body language of the place makes it abundantly clear that it is the tourists that are interested in the country and not vice versa. And yet, and this is what kills me, every other guy (quite a few gals too) seems to own a shiny Hyundai Tucson or a Toyota Prado. I wish……

Bhutan is a kingdom, and any local guy will tell you with evident pride and a huge grin that theirs is the “Happiest Kingdom” in the world. The reigning king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the fifth of his line, is not just popular, he is practically worshiped all over the place. You will not find a single house, hotel, shop or office building that does not have the royal couple’s picture hanging on the wall. And the people are genuinely fond of him. Apparently, he has done a lot of things for the development of his people and he has shown ample evidence of his love and devotion to his subjects. They just love him back as strongly. Brainwashed? I didn’t think so. They don’t share our disease of overexposure to media. The fit and smartly dressed cops(sigh…) also seem to have little to do except pointing bumbling tourists like us to the right directions with a smile and a lot of patience. The populace seems disciplined, sober and hard-working. And yes, one has to admit, they look happy. And this begs a question. Wouldn’t it be better to be ruled by an honest and benevolent king, instead of suffering the thousands of corrupt politicians in our glorious democracy?