She stood in front of the mirror, naked. She looked at her breasts. This was the biggest they had ever been. But she knew that they were going to get bigger. She stared at herself for a long while before she ran her right hand across the entire area of her belly, from just above her abdomen, all the way down to its lower end. It looked bloated and the bump had begun to show through her clothes now. She was five months pregnant, and had just received her scans from her gynecologist. She had dreaded this moment would come right from when she turned into a teenager. And 15 years later, she still wasn’t prepared for it.
“You are going to have a healthy and beautiful baby girl. You just have to keep eating healthy, and get good sleep and sufficient exercise, just like…
1. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.
2. Yuanfen(Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
3. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.
4. Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.
5. Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.
6. La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
7. Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall…
Rock music defines a whole generation and stands for unconventional music, lyrics.. people who were truly outside of society as we know it, trying to challenge conventional wisdom and sticking it to the man.
People say you should be careful what you wish for, because wishes often come true.
I think, Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar, is all about this statement. It’s about how a wannabe is transformed into a true rocktar through the power of love.
The movie starts with a live concert footage of one of the biggest musicians of the world, Jordan.He is a rockstar. He enters the stage with a scratched cheek from a fight he just ran out of. He doesn’t care about the traffic lights, or if someone recognizes him on the bus.. He doesn’t care about the security guards.. He doesn’t care about anything.. except perhaps the music. He’s ready to sing. He’s angry and ready to set fire to the world.
And just then, we see the beginning of Jordan, who was once Janardhan Jakhad or JJ, as his chaploos friends called him. A simple minded Jat boy studying in Hindu college. As the owner of the canteen he frequently visits, Khatana Bhai says, he’s a very halka person. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t think much about the big questions of life. He just lives. He just knows he loves music and he wants to be a rockstar any way he can. “To phir main kya karun… kya karun ki….”
“Jo Bhi Main Kehna Chahun, Barbaad Karein Alfaaz Mere.”
He might already be an artist, a poet, whose words are misunderstood, but he doesn’t really have to say much yet. He sings about how he wants to sing about other’s stories. He has had an average life of a middle class boy, like most of us. He’s a part of the social order, the social system. Like he says, kabhi kabhi crazy kaam kar leta hai, but that’s just momentary rebellion. He’s a part of the social structure he fails to grasp completely. No extraordinary experiences, no pain, no stories to tell. As Khatana Bhai says, he doesn’t have a broken heart.. so where will the music come from?
He takes these words very seriously and decides to have his heart broken. And that turns his whole life around.
He pursues Heer Kaul, the heart breaking machine of Delhi University, but can’t say anything beyond I love you to her. He is just desperate to have his heart broken.. when he doesn’t really even know what it means exactly.
Have you ever had a crush on a film star? or a famous musician? or the most pretty girl/most famous guy in class? Even if you met them, you wouldn’t be able to treat them as a normal person. Your mind would go blank and you’d stare with awe at how normal these people are in real lives.
The thing is that these people are so beyond our scope or understanding that we don’t even consider them normal people, which is why JJ is surprised when Heer shows the normal aspirations of a regular girl about to be married. But he still helps her be the Jangali Jawani for a few days before her Lady neat and clean days. She really is Miss Neat and Clean and in these scenes of Jangali Jawani “trip” is where Nargis really shines.
JJ and Heer start to fall in love and while JJ is too naive to understand this feeling or Heer is just so unattainable in her eyes that even when she asks him to hug her, he doesn’t think there is any way she could actually like him in that way. He sincerely believes that there could be no subtext to this hug, or maybe is just too ignorant. This surity is what actually made him chase her in the first place, because he was absolutely sure she would reject him.
Heer realizes it. She surely does as evident from the scene right before her wedding. And she tells him as boldly as she could, but he doesn’t understand or maybe he doesn’t believe that this could really be happening. And even if he does recognize the feeling at some level, he doesn’t deem himself worthy of this feeling.
“Ye theek hai, ya fir abhi bhaag chalein”
Rest assured, he does return with some things he needs to think about. A void is created in his life, in his heart, and the need to fill this void will form the rest of his journey. Music no longer holds that much importance as he tries to fill the void first by Video Games and then Spirituality.
He tries to be a part of the system again, follow his families wishes, because that’s what we all do, right? We are hammered with the idea right from childhood that if we confirm to the system, everything will be alright. His life will be alright again. He’ll be happy.
But, circumstances get the better of JJ. Getting kicked out his home can be called JJ’s worst and most formative experience. This is the point, when he faces the first true tragedy in his life, and it makes him grow as a person. He finds solace in a mosque and now stands face to face with those big questions of life, he’d never thought about. This is the time when he loses the “halka” tag, according to me, at least. He tries to fill that void with spirituality and the search for oneself. He strives for freedom, not just from the world, but also from himself, his own thoughts, his emptiness. And he finds his outlet in music. This is how he believes he can achieve self actualization. He just wants to sing and that’s it. That desire to be a star is not there anymore . atleast subconsciously. He’s just going with the flow.
He doesn’t wanna confirm to the system, as evident from the whole “Sheher Mein” recording sequence. In the words of Shammi Kapoor,
“Yeh Bada Jaanwar Hai, Yeh Aapke Chote Pinjare Mein Nahi Samayega… Ye Apni Duniya Banayega…”
And he has grown apart from the system now. He doesn’t understand classical music and has no problem saying it. He genuinely thinks it’s all very funny, and he can’t help laughing at it all.
But, when an opportunity arises to go to Prague, he’s ready to sell his soul to the system, to see Heer again. He probably doesn’t know why the desire is so strong, he just knows he has to do this.
Meanwhile everything isn’t well with Heer either. She isn’t fine, she doesn’t know why, her doctors don’t know why, and she’s sorry that people are uncomfortable with it, cause that’s just how she is. This one line is a huge window into the kind of character Heer is and the decisions she takes.
This time, Jordan whisks Heer away and reminds her about the freedom she secretly craves. Freedom from society’s definition of right and wrong, freedom from society’s judgement.. freedom from the system.
Jordan doesn’t care about the divide between him and Heer now, he probably doesn’t even remember it. He just knows he wants to be with her, to hug her, kiss her, love her. His love for her has fully developed into a passion now. A reference to the magic touch is made here, and Jordan really starts to believe that Heer has the magic touch and maybe he possesses it for her too. He probably doesn’t realize the full extent of his feelings for Heer yet. But, he feels complete when he’s with her… at peace… happy.
It is interesting to note, how Heer was the one to initiate everything in Delhi and Kashmir, but now it’s Jordan. And the reason is that Delhi and Kashmir were her wild trip before she became what she was being prepared to be her whole life. A good wife to a wealthy modern person. But Jordan is now separated from the system as we know it, he only cares about his desires and his needs. He truly does what his heart desires and Heer comes along for the ride, because she also craves this.. him.. his magic touch.
But Heer realizes what this is. And she realizes that she has to return to her home, the social setting. That this can’t go on forever. It would never work between her and Jordan. It’s just a joyride.. too impractical. Because that’s what she believes. Because that’s what we’re taught to believe. So she fights with him on purpose, and I don’t think there has been a more honest fight on the Hindi Cinema screen, where characters truly say some things said unsaid or obvious in most other fights depicted onscreen. This is the first time his fame seems like an obstacle to him in the movie.
He says, end it on a good note if you have to. And he’s ready to go to any lengths to make happen what he wants. And so he breaks into her home. This action permanently places him on the opposite side of the system. Now he’s not just rejecting it, he’s struggling against it, rebelling, fighting against it.
He’s had his heart broken, but the transformation isn’t complete yet. He still knows somewhere in his heart that she’ll come to him, that she didn’t really wanna fight with him, that she’s trapped.. or maybe he just hopes.. but the hope prevails.. and that’s why he’s still looking for those birds.
This is what Sadda Haq is all about. His appeal to media, to police, to people, to the system, to just let him be, just let him do what he wants, just let him fill that void which is back.
And the system can think of nothing better to do than exploit him for it. The record company just wants to sell records. The media just wants to sensationalize. The fans just want a piece of him, without really realizing what he’s singing about. They just shout when he screams in agony. His words destroy what he wants to say. There is a brilliant scene where Jordan is explaining to Khatana Bhai that he can’t control what he does, and it’s cut with shots of mobile phone cameras shooting him, showing how meaningless these words actually are to his fans.
He can’t explain what is happening to him. He’s getting all he ever wanted but happiness eludes him. He becomes more and more reckless. He expresses his angst, his anger at the system, his need to feel complete through music, cause what else is there?
This search for peace leads him to singing “Dum Maaro Dum” among prostitutes, this search is what leads him to the gate of his house again and again and this search makes him reach out to his old college friends, who also want a bite of Jordan. He’s so disgusted that he actually walks out after just having photos clicked with them.
Meanwhile his contract with Platinum Records expires and he lets all his frustration out in one brilliant scene where he tears up the next contract they had prepared for him. He doesn’t care about this stuff anymore.
I think the first time he truly, consciously is sure that Heer is the reason behind his problem is when someone else degrades him for it.
One day, he finds out that Heer has actually been very sick for the last two years and is on the verge of dying. Heer doesn’t actually resist her need for Jordan now, because she has been liberated, she’s also free of confirming to this world now. And Jordan believes that Heer suffered from the same problem he did and now that they’re together again, everything will be alright.
“Main Tere Saath Set Hoon Yaar… Itni Si Baat Hai”
He believes in the magic touch.
But don’t be fooled. This isn’t one of those bollywood movies where she’ll be miraculously cured. The doctor advises her mother to be logical, that even though she might look better on the outside, her condition is bad on the inside, and getting worse.
Jordan and Heer are finally together now. In their own world. Without the rights and wrongs of the world. Without his stardom, media.. without her hospitals, illness, marriage. They’re truly happy.
But Jordan’s magic touch actually seems to be the folly of Heer. As her condition seems to worsen, she tries to absorb all of Jordan inside her that she can. And while she is undergoing transfusion, the police come to arrest Jordan, and he finally realizes.. he finally admits,
“Mujhe Ye Sab Kuch Nahi Chahiye.. Mujhe Nahi Banna Bada… Mera Dil Nahi Tootna Chahiye Khatana Bhai… Mera Dil Nahi Tootna Chahiye.. Please Kuch Karo.. Mere Paas Aur Kuch Nahi Hai”
But, his magic touch fails him. And he crashes.
His heart is broken. There’s no hope this time. He’s forever destined to burn in this fire of emptiness inside him. He’s angry. At himself. At the media. At the people. At the world.
And he just looses it. He finally goes all out against the system which destroyed him and hits back.. attacks.. and lets go.. He shows them the middle finger.. Fuck you all! I don’t need you!
He spirals out of control. Drugs, alcohol, vomit. Music seems like an enemy now. It’s what lead to all this. And he watches as his guitar burns, just like him.
Acceptance comes to Jordan as he sings Naadaan Parindey. I truly wonder if he even likes singing by this point of time. He attains acceptance that he can’t have Heer now.
He has to live with this void now. All he’s left with are her memories and the moments they shared, as we witness in the end.
And he stands, with tokens of his journey on his strap, an empty shell, among a crowd of millions, forever longing for that world he and Heer created and shared. He has to live there alone now.
“Yahan se bohot door, sahi aur galat ke paar.. ek maidaan hai.. main wahan milunga tujhe.”
You might say that some characters weren’t explored much or were too one dimensional.
There was Khatan Bhai, a friend trying to protect his friend from the repercussions of rebelling against the world. The record producer, the music maestro, in the form of late Mr. Shammi Kapoor, Heer’s and JJ’s families.
But, I want to say, this is not their story. This is not about JJ’s parents or how his childhood was. This is not a biopic of a rockstar. It’s about Jordan and Heer and how Jordan becomes a rockstar. It’s like JJ said to Heer, “Mujhe to sirf tu dikh rahi hai”. They are the only focus of the story. Nothing and no one else matters.
And Nargis and Ranbir have truly done a great job. Especially Ranbir, who got so involved in the character that he suffered from depression after he completed the movie, because he felt he had given so much to the movie that he felt a void after it ended. And Nargis’ acting is not bad at all. She does shine in a few particular moments and is average in others, but the charm and energy she brings to the scenes is truly irreplaceable.
The second point I want to mention is the music. Indian movies have been using songs as a part of the narrative since the very beginning. Some film makers, like Anurag Kashyap have used music in a very innovative manner, making it a seamless part of the movie.
But, I don’t think there has ever been a movie where the music is the most important part of the narrative, where music tells us more about the state of mind of the characters and their motivations, than their words or actions. A big salute to Mr. Irshad Kamil and Mr. A.R. Rahman for making the music of this film as it has been made.
In the end, I just want to leave you with this song, which I believe is true of many and most artists
P.S. This is my personal journey with the movie, my personal interpretation.. If yours is different, I welcome you to share it.
Edit: I read someone else’s view about the end recently, and it made more sense to me than my own interpretation. They said that the end is actually how Jordan is only able to feel a sense of fulfillment of that void, of completion, of being with Heer, through singing. That’s why he sings that he hopes to meet his lover in Naadan Parindey, and he experiences that moment of completeness for a fleeting minute.. before he loses it again. That is why he keeps on writing and keeps on singing.
I spent a year in Delhi and it has changed me beyond my imagination.. that city has seeped into my personality. I’d fallen in love with it.
I just wanted to mention some special things and places I don’t think I’ll ever forget:
DU North Campus.. this place actually made me wish I’d taken commerce 😛
PVR Priya… cheapest movie tickets 😛 situated in vasant kunj.. awesome place… just used to sit around in the market for hours when wasn’t feeling good..
Karol Bagh.. I’ve already made uncountable no. of trips to that place. Just visited relatives guys.. aur kuch nai 😛
Hauz Khas… lived here for an entire year
Malviya Nagar.. ate here for an entire year
Delhi Heights.. your chicken rocks guys!
The DLF Mall… the crowd was just 😉 so was the food court.. we actually watched the whole world cup in the food court of this mall.
Rajiv Chowk … Ahh.. CP.. it’s the most beautiful place in the whole world… We used to sit there till 11 in the night till the time of the last metro.. even after that sometimes.. then went back to the hostel by auto 😛
Paharganj.. I’ve learned how to bargain.. finally
Rajouri Garden.. awesome place to get Rajma Chawal, and catch a late night movie show 😛
The metro.. Oh my god the metro… I literally spent half my time riding the metro.. and it was never boring, cuz many times you’d strike a conversation with a random person or listen to other people talk 😛 But seriously, if you wanna know the people of Delhi, keep your eyes and ears open in the metro
The late night walks (and hurting legs afterwards)
The vodka sessions
The maggi sessions
The late night talks
The days we spent doing nothing but eating, sleeping and studying
The birthday where we smuggled a girl into a boys’ hostel 😛
The time when we did that more than once..
Our hostel gate keeper… dada you were a life saver
Entering after hours through the back door..
Leaving after hours through the back door.. 😛
Actually making a copy of the key to the hostel lock
The valentine’s day phone call
The endless wondering and day dreaming
The plans we made for the coming years
The serious planning and scheming for some things that seem stupid now
The spontaneous trip planned to the South
How we actually went on that trip 😛
The stupid novels we planned we’d write [still hope we do]
The stupid love story they made up… it still haunts me
The childish, egoistic, but innocent girl 😛
The bonds I made.. friends and enemies
The rediscovery of myself as a person
The people.. whatever you say, delhi is a land of opportunity.. most people are not from delhi, but have migrated, and this city has given them a chance to succeed.. no matter how many people think that delhi is filled with the same type of people.. everyone has their own story and I was interested in listening to all of them 😉
The one guy because of whom all this happened.. my best friend
Itni vyast kyun rehti ho, lagta hai kisi cheez se bhaag rahi ho.. kya wo zindagi hai ya maut, yeh to tum hi jaanti ho. ya fir shaamil ho hi gayi ho tum bhi iss duniya ki chakachaund mein, paise aur taakat ke iss ghinaune khel mein.. kabhi rook kar dekho, kuch log khade hain raahon mein, tumse keh rahe hain kuch, yeh zindagi koi daud nahi hai, manzil to sabki ek hai. kyon rehti ho betaab tum, zara do pal hume bhi to kaho — me
“Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.” – Eckhart Tolle
Hey there. I know I have been ignoring this space for a long time for many reasons, throwing a post here or there. But I have started writing again and I’m gonna start posting again surely as a lot of thoughts and ideas have saturated my mind and my brain is just about to burst. Some of that is bound to leak onto this blog.
Anyaway, Sameer [whose tag can be read here] has been kind enough to tag me, reminding me of the good ol’ days of blogging. Here are my answers to some random 15 questions based on a twitter hashtag #youprefer
1. Night Or Day
Although I always try to be a day person… I can’t help but stay up late.. so night I guess.
2. Facebook Or Twitter
Twitter.. I feel it’s more innovative and less intrusive.
3. Arranged Marriage or Love Marriage
Love Marriage. Even though I might not understand exactly what love is, or how it functions, I am biased towards it. Arranged marriages can lead to attachment which many people might call love, but love is just something else.. it’s that feeling of butterflies fluttering in your stomach, the raising of the heart beat like your heart is gonna jump right out of your chest, as you catch just one glimpse of that person.
4. Delhi Or Jalandhar
Delhi. Yeah, I changed this one to suit my needs. But, I really have fell for Delhi.. and I have no reasons for it.
5. Good looks Or Intelligence
Both? A little bit of both maybe? Come on, we do need both. I don’t mean we all need to be Brad Pitts and Hilary Duffs, but we need to have at least a presentable look. It’s just hard wired into our genetics to develop a certain likability for good looking people. Intelligence might make you successful, but you won’t have very many people to share it with if you aren’t likable.
I’m sure we’ve all witnessed cases where someone good looking might attain something they might not deserve as much as their ugly but more intelligent peers.
6. Money or Respect
You need both. Respect won’t matter when you are starving. And money will never be enough if you don’t have respect. Of course for some people, neither of these matter.
7. School or College
School. Never been to college 😛 Hope it’ll be fun.
8. Perx or Jas
Let me explain this first. Perx was an alter ego I’d developed on the internet which had become too whiny and depressed and loserish. So, I decided to abandon it and start afresh as me.. Jas 🙂 .
9. Drums or Guitar
Air guitar and air drums 😉
10. Tea Or Coffee
11. Art or Science
It used to be science.. but art is slowly taking it’s place in my heart. I guess I’m just starting to change my approach to figuring out the eternal mysteries. I’m starting to explore inwards instead of outwards.
12. Novels or Movies
Movies.. my first love. I enjoy reading only cuz I immediately start forming a script in my head side by side, imagining a whole movie right inside my head. There’s just something different about seeing it, a feeling of reality, a connect, which reading can never provide.
Like, reading about a person or chatting with them or reading stuff they wrote is such a different experience from talking face to face and spending time together. You feel like you are re-discovering that person. So, if I had to choose between the two, it’ll always be movies.
Mind you, I don’t mean movies based on novels are always better, but many times they are.. atleast when a skilled writer and director makes it.
13. US or UK
UK. I don’t know why.. europe just seems like it would be better.
14. Prose Or Poetry
Prose. Poetry is for people who can rhyme. The only poem I’ve ever loved is “After Apple Picking” by Frost.
Drop years are stressful. We had almost zero soical life, we didn’t go to classes much, and we didn’t go out much. All we did was study, talk, eat and sleep(a lot) right there in our own lonely hostel room. Of course it started to get frustrating after a while and we started to fantasize about the places we were gonna go and things we were gonna do after the exams got over. And one day, I said how I’ve always wanted to see the southernmost point of India. That’s how the discussion of going south began.
We planned everything in one night. The cities we were gonna visit, trains we were gonna take, etc. etc. It was an elaborate and wonderful plan made by the three of us – me, my room mate (let’s call him CR) and another friend of ours (let’s call him ST). But when we calculated the money we would need for that trip, we decided to strip it down to just a couple of stations 😛 .
So, after AIEEE we were gonna take the Rajdhani to Bangaluru, visit Mysore, appear for ComedK, and then go to KanyaKumari via Trivandrum. Days no bar… we were gonna freestyle it.. take lifts, travel in local buses, everything you see in travel shows, basically 😛 .
Obviously that didn’t work out 😛 . Our parents needed a concrete plan. Everything was finalized. We’d already booked the Rajdhani to Bangalore, but hadn’t booked the return ticket yet. But after JEE, ST said he couldn’t go anymore and CR said he couldn’t go for so long. So all we had left was Bangalore and Mysore, and that too cuz we had to appear for ComedK.. tough luck. Anyway, Bangalore and Mysore were fine. I booked the return tickets for 9th and we got them in the waiting list.
Meanwhile we also filled the ComedK form.. just as the last date was arriving and there was a problem. The admit card was gonna arrive at my home in Punjab by 1st or 2nd while I was gonna be in the train by 3rd. So, a cousin of a cousin (we’ll call him M) who lives in Bangalore was contacted and it was gonna be mailed to him. And it was also decided that we were gonna stay at his place. Shit. Trip ruined.! or so I thought at that time.
Anyway, Aieee came and went with it’s share of drama, we cleared out the hostel and finally left for Bangalore on 3rd. I wouldn’t say the journey was uneventful. We spent most of it standing at the gate with earphones in our ears, but we still managed to get involved into a fight with the family in our cabin(hey, it was their fault), and made friends with a hell lot of people. The train was filled with people who were going just to take the ComedK.
We were welcomed to Bangalore on 5th by Auto-wallas shouting out 400 and 350 rs. for a journey to M’s place, which cost 180 rs. by prepaid auto. I had a feeling this was gonna be a fun trip.