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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cheeni Kum

Older men marrying younger women happens all the time ,we see it in countries like India because of poverty or by customs at least in our villages still ,rich arabs marrying nubile girls from Kerala and Hyderabad was in the news sometime back ,out in the west rich old men are great catches and svelte models would marry them for thier money and wait for the inevitable to happen to land thier millions !

But here in cheeni kum we have a sixty four year old Amitabh Bhachan wooing a petite Tabu half his age and strangely suceeding in his quest
( look guys dont fret and fume that is Amitabh Bhachan )

One has to accept that the big B at this age with a swinging pony tail would give a run to many younger stars because he carries himself with such aplomb and style ,that man is incomparable .

He finally manages to woo Tabu from his Indian restaurant in London where he is also the master chef and a good one at that ,

(now you know where the cheeni bit came to director Balakrishnan .)

Bachan lives in the city of the stiff upperlips with a boisterous mother played brilliantly by Zohra Sehgal and an eight year old precocious little girl suffering from leukaemia whom he loves dearly .

he follows Tabu to Delhi to meet her dad paresh rawal to ask for his daughters hand .

this is where the fun begins ,paresh a firespitting Gandhian and a fanatic cricket fan initially unsuspectingly is friendly to this man from london and a friend of his daughter not knowing his motives but is horrified when he comes to know this man who was four years older than himself would dare to ask his daughters hand !

He withdraws into a shell and when tabu insists she too loves the old man he uses Gandhian tactics and goes into a fast unto death holding his daughters arms tightly to himself .

The fasting scene is made to resemble to that in the movie Gandhi with a crowd outside waiting with bated breath for the result and AB by this time joined by his mother reaches there and walks in with some gangajaal to break the fast ,paresh doesnt budge and AB gives him a bit of his mind and finally diagnoses jealousy as the cause for his stubborness and moves away from there .

by now he gets news that his beloved little one in London has died and is heartbroken and the scene ends with Tabu comforting him after getting permission from her dad for the marriage .

The last scene is where AB give a dinner to his mother ,Tabu and his F in law (who by now has grudgingly accepted the budda as his son in law )in his posh rstaurant in London ,

cricket does the trick of breaking the ice as paresh opens his eyes on mention of the oval and a match the next day .

Music by ilayaraja though hashed tunes from his other movies is eminiently listenable

A reasonably watchable movie .

Monday, November 12, 2007

Love in the times of Cholera ...Book Review

" el amor en los tiempos del colera ." Spanish for "Love in the times of Cholera " is a classic in fiction written by Latin American Nobel prize winner Gabriela Garcia Marquez .In some way MT. Vasudevan Nairs book made into a movie called theerthadanam ( pilgrimage )has a similarity in the sense love that blossomed in youth is carried on into old age

Somehow I never read Garcias novel till date though a close friend prodded me to do it ,at last I did .The film adaptation by coincidence is to be released shortly .

Written in 1985 it was translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman .
the novel is a simple triangle of love but written with finesse and elegance .

The protaganist Florentino Ariza is a meek ,thin ,gaunt, myopic ,born romantic who was into poems and he falls in love with Fermina Dazza the independent willed and charming daughter of Lorenza Dazza who rose from a humble mule driver to a rich businessman .

the change in stature did nothing to lorenzos baser habits and like any hindi film rich father he fiercely opposed any closeness between his daughter and the humble telegraphist who dared to attract his daughter by his episolatory skills ( writing voluminous letters and poems where he poured his love in abundance ) ,

Fermina was promptly removed form the scene and taken to distant lands so that she would get over her unsavoury infatuations ,which did work in the end .

though Fermina was faithful to her lover till she returned back and thier platonic relationship flourished in letters for the three years she was seperated from him ,she promptly put him off as naive and unbecoming of her when she returned and succumbed to the wooing of a young handsome doctor of promise ,to the delight of her father who promptly got them married .

Dr juvenal Urbino the lucky man doted on his wife and his profession where he fought for health and sanitation in those dark years where cholera was rampant .

Florentino never married nor did he forget fermina ,he waited for the day when Juvenal would be no more and he would get back his woman rightfully .

He rose in life joining his uncles shipping business to become the vice president with all its accompanient pleasures .his immense love for Fermina never stopped him from cavorting with women of all age and sizes to a count of 622 by time he became a bald headed 70 .

this was the time when the doctor bade goodbye to the world and our hero had the temerity to ask the widow of her hand for which he had awaited with bated breath for half a century ,she scorned and scorched him for his insolence but Florentino never wavered ,slowly Fermina knowing fully of her doctor husbands misdemanours and acts of unfaithfullness succumbed to the steady shoulder of this lover of her young days ,

the old twosome found happiness in each others company and finally thier romance culminated in a pleasure cruise .

At last in his ripe late seventies florentino gets his love to himself .

Strangely this made me remember "Theerthadanam ."by M.T.Vasudevan Nair which was made into a film acted by Jeyaram and suhasini .In this Jeyaram as a young shcool teacher falls in love with his student Suhasini but thier romance fails to fructify because Jeyaram was from a poor family .time passes ,Jeyaram marries and has his own family ,suhasini is a teacher in the same school ,they never stop loving each other in thier hearts and after they retire suhasini writes a letter to Jeyaram that she would be visiting Mukambika and he too goes there ,the old couple go up kudajadhri reminiscing thier life .

why cholera in Garcias immortal book ?
probably the author thinks lovesickness is like cholera
something which empties you out ,Colera in Spanish is anger ,is it the ire of the lover to the husband who got his beloved ,or does the author refer to the unhygienic rat infested palgue ridden cholera frequented cities wherethese characters lived .the enigmatic Garcia warns readers not to fall in his traps

Film adaptation :

Currently Stone Village Pictures holds the rights (bought from the author for US$3 million) to produce a film version of the book and Mike Newell has been chosen to direct it. Ronald Harwood has signed on to write a faithful screen adaptation. Filming started in Cartagena, Colombia, as of September 2006.[6]
The $50 million film, the first major foreign production shot in the scenic, walled city in years,[
citation needed] will be released in November 16, 2007 by New Line Cinema. On his own initiative, García Márquez convinced singer Shakira, who hails from the nearby city of Barranquilla, to provide three songs for the film.

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