Ae Dil Hai Mushkil .. Very Mushkil to watch

There’s a scene in the movie when Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) and Saba (Aishwarya Rai) are at an art show hosting Saba’s ex-husband’s works and Ayan asks if she can understand this art. Because he clearly can’t understand anything. That is how I felt throughout the movie. It is some form of high art meant for rich and emotionally evolved adults, that in comprehending it, my intelligence crumbled like a cookie kept in Bournvita for three hours.

The movie begins with Ayan being interviewed and the whole story is told through the super long and sad interview. Ayan is a rich guy (private jet rich) and is doing MBA in London but wants to be a singer and has a hot girlfriend. Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) is bold, beautiful, independent and rich enough to come to London to recover from a break-up in Lucknow (but not so rich as to afford private jets). And whattey name-Alizeh- Rightly exotic and earthy! She lives life freely the way those with money can do by going for Bollywood dance classes and hot yoga classes and partying and occasionally sitting alone on some terrace to introspect, because she’s also intelligent. She chooses to use all that intelligence to school Ayan into getting a spine, dumping his golddigger girlfriend and instead following her shenanigans to live life with complete abandon and joy . She uses her wit and charming personality to mutter old Bollywood dialogues at the right time in the movie. Because, hey, a fun and intelligent girl is like that only. At first it’s all parties and dancing and fun-stuff which you assume must be fun because it looks so good and pretty in London and Paris and whatnot. It’s like Rich Kids of Instagram in movie version.

We find that Alizeh the free-spirit still loves that ex-boyfriend, DJ Ali (Fawad Khan) so much that she’s returning to him and leaving newfound bestestesteststs friend and puppy Ayan behind to get married to Hot Stuff. Proving along the way that any woman will leave a nice guy for Hot Stuff Fawad. She then invites Ayan to India to be her family as she gets married in the most lavish Nawabi wedding as can be afforded by someone who’s a DJ and a free-spirit. God, how must it feel to have wealthy parents that you can literally do whatever you want? Except of course find true love and all that jazz.

Whenever I’m doing a book or song or movie with my kids, I ask them one question in different versions to see if they can summarize and pull out the essence of the material they engaged with – What is the main idea or what is this about? My answer after the first half was that this movie is about being massively friendzoned. I don’t feel sorry for anyone but myself and the viewers at this part.

At this point, my brain is thinking – What is this, I don’t even.. And then you get Saba who’s a Shayara. She’s bold, beautiful, independent and rich just like our other heroine. She lives in Vienna while writing shayari. This whole idea of poets and artists living in penury and poverty must be a hoax, or must be based on only ugly artists. Because clearly these beautiful artists are very very well-off. No, rich.

Rai’s whole performance can be summarized thus: Look I’m being sexy with my looks and my urdu words even though my facial muscles cannot move at all. I’m gonna bite my lip in every scene and make-out with Ayan everywhere because we are passionate artists.  Again, this might be high art. Her performance is so understated or subtle or some such thing, that there’s more meat and meaning in her Loreal ads.

There are awkward scenes which I’m guessing are supposed to be emotionally intense or deep or whatever, but just make me say – Bas hamse na ho payega. 

Towards the end, the movie devolves into some complicated love quadrangle that my brain cannot describe with words. The movie is reminiscent of all Karan Johar movies and all those movies where modern young people and millenials have first world problems coming in the way. Music from his previous works play at some opportune moments, so I don’t know if it’s some major spoofing happening, or if it’s some clever attempt at irony or just done because they can.  If this is how modern love is, it sure is a megaclusterfuck. It’s very difficult to like any of the characters perhaps because I have the emotional intelligence of a porcupine.But the characters themselves display the emotional maturity of a protozoan.

Then there are these lines – oh god, the lines. Understanding Hindi and Urdu is not very easy for me these days, so these lyrical gems are completely lost on me.

Pyar mein junoon hai par dosti mein sukoon hai. Translation : Friendship is chills.

Main kisi ki zaroorat nahi … khwaish banna chahti hoon Translation : I want to be desired, because I’m so sexy.

Ek tarfa pyar ki taqat hi kuch aur hoti hai … auron ke rishton ki tarah yeh do logon mein nahi bat’ti … sirf mera haq hai ispe Translation : I’m going to love you, because I can. I can be creepy, but it’s my right. What you gonna do about that?

Kisi ne kabhi aapko suddenly chaata mara hai … phaat … us chaante ko ishq kehte hai … aur woh chaanta aur zor se padta hai jab koi teesra aa jaata hai. Translation : WHAT THE FUCK? CAN I SLAP YOU FOR SAYING THAT LINE?

I’m sure young people all over will put these as their status updates like they did with lines from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and will feel that Karan Johar has given cadence and credibility to their inner most thoughts and feelings. I don’t know why people even have such thoughts.

Even as I write this, I’m still thinking what the point of this movie was. Why? Sure relationships are complicated, but you are just making it pointlessly complicated. This movie made me hate humanity more than I already do.

My review : UGHS. I’m hoping the Vigil Idiot will do more justice.


Eating your own words

“It’s been 2 years since 100 Days of Writing was published. ”

This is what I saw when I logged in here. Logging in was a challenge in itself. It’s been so long since I’ve come here that I’d forgotten not just my password but username as well. After 3-4 attempts I finally managed to log in and saw this ominous message.

I’d promised myself that I’d write slow, write long and write different. I’d also thought that if I wrote 2-3 times a week, I should reach a 100 posts in a year. I thought I was quite good at planning. No, I’m pretty sure I’m good at planning. When it comes to actually making it happen that I lose all that steam and focus. I’ve been wanting, wishing to get back in shape for years now. I get into bursts of healthy eating and exercising and then poof. Work and work travel and other more important things take over. For some years now I have been bemoaning my very visible lack of social life/personal life or any sort of work-life balance. But given a choice, I always stay home and work. Hell, this Friday I was returning from Bombay and on the way I wrote a long, personal and thoughtful email to my team. I considered that as writing. It took me considerable time and energy to write, so it feels like an achievement.

I am either a person with no commitment or inexcusably lazy. Both might be true. But I know I put in a lot of effort into work. 5 years is not a long time, but for me it’s a big commitment. Doing anything for that long feels like a big deal to me. But my commitment to worse habits has been on for longer definitely.

As part of my job, I help people identify patterns of thinking, analyzing habits of actions and thoughts to derive what needs to shift. I read everything and anything on the subject, from the best-selling quickies that tell you you can build a habit in 21 days to the obscure legit ones. But clearly I haven’t applied that to myself. After crashing at work and being diagnosed with fatigue that led to hospitalization (yes, fatigue is an actual medical diagnosis apparently), I told myself that I’ll maintain some work life balance. As a part of that, I put it on my goal sheet (yes, I know what you’re thinking!) that I’ll write more often. At least 1-2 posts per month. I set that goal in July and obviously I didn’t do anything of that sort. As part of a mid-year review, I was looking at my goals and thus was reminded to visit this sad lonely place.

Conversations with friends tells me that I need to have a life. Get out a bit. Meet people and what not. But all I want to do after a long day at work is netflix and chill. By myself. How to muster energy for social talk, when I do that all day at work. How to pour out words when all of them are regurgitated over countless emails. A part of me tells me I should do less of that, and do a little bit more for myself. But that is a small, unheard part of myself.

Some years back I came across this quote by Alain de Botton : There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life. And I took that to heart. I do actually believe in that a lot and I’ve done my share of humble-brag about putting all my life into work. Sometimes, I don’t know why I do that. Sometimes, it’s because there’s no other alternative that makes me feel as important or worthy. Every effort I put into work is acknowledged, and appreciated. There’s no shout-out for making time for self. Being the person I am, I would probably judge anyone who said they are proud of maintaining work-life balance. Who’s proud of being able to make time for themselves? What does that even mean? What is the achievement in giving yourself some TLC?

There seems to be enough articles and “research” that shows it might be actually good to not be a workaholic and have some sort of balance in your life. But, there’s enough successful people out there that you see who don’t sleep and don’t have a life. Maybe that is the cost to making any real difference in the world. I seem to have talked myself into believing that there’s some sort of war I’m fighting in which I need to give my mind, body, soul, blood, sweat, tears, feelings, everything. It’s so rewarding to tell myself that I have worked 100 hours in a week. Shameful to say that I slept for 10 hours.

No, it’s not like I’m trying to prove myself as a woman. From the conversations around me, I gather that superwomen are working a 100 hours and being awesome girlfriend/wife/partner/mom/sexylady/warriorprincess for the remaining 100 hours. While I can be quite competitive in many things, I choose not be so when it comes to sports, sudoku, relationships, health and having fun. (The math shows that if you work for 100 hours, you only have 68 more hours remaining in your week!). Wow, that math does seem crazy. So superwomen and supermen sleep 3-4 hours only I assume. Shameful to say that I slept for 10 hours.

Well, I feel old and tired, so I’m no longer pulling off 4 hour sleep schedules if I can help it. But it doesn’t still leave much energy or commitment to pursue other aspects of life. I don’t think I care for it as much, but I end up whining a lot about the sad, lonely life I’m leading. Yet, I stay away from making any commitment to change this status quo. I’ll just wait for another crash, then run away to the mountains and chill.

I won’t make any grand claims to write slow, long and different. I’ll start with something smaller and achievable. Just write. Write however I wish to but spill a few words on this page. This is a rambling piece of writing that’s all over the place. (My brain immediately thought of how I’d evaluate this using a writing rubric.) But some writing, is better than no writing. For the sake of sanity if nothing else.