Monday, March 03, 2014


If you are interested in the journey, the road, the potholes and the wobbles, you would love Highway! While I was watching it, kept thinking that this has to be Imtiaz Ali's best film till now. I know a lot of people would look back fondly to Jab We Met as their favourite Imti movie, and it was indeed delightful (especially the first half) but for me this one works more. Cinamatography, sound, dialogues, acting, screenplay, direction, in fact everything apart from music and the last few minutes is as perfect as is directorially possible. Imtiaz bro, you rock for coming up with such an unusual movie on a relationship \m/ It's a much wholesome take on two people who are thrown together and feel something for each other...(some spoilers ahead) There's attraction, love, past and present baggage, fulfillment of absent father and mother figures and much more...Yeah, it's all these relationships-in-one...Everything is out there and yet barely tangible because of the deliberate vagueness with which their back stories, their inner turmoils and they themselves are presented to the viewers..

It's amusing to answer the question, "what are your plans for the future?" I don't plan at all so I am not clear what lies ahead. It sounds absurdly blurry and directionless in today's world where every move is planned to the second...for next billion seconds. This unplanned life however, is delightful coz there is a scope for lot of spontaneity and freedom, however I am not this way for the thrill and joys that the spontaneity brings. It's just the way I am. If I need to, especially on the professional front, I can be a diligent planner and executioner...I don't understand this contradiction.

I always believed that life needs to be more than just a checklist of things to be finished every day and more multidimensional than procuring and checking a bunch of personal and professional bucket-lists. Just like being honest makes our present more simple, being spontaneous makes our present more continuous. As Sahir says,

इस पल के साये में, अपना ठिकाना है 
इस पल के आगे फिर, हर शय़ फ़साना है
कल किस ने देखा है, कल किस ने जाना है 
इस पल से पायेगा, जो तुझ को पाना है 
जीने वाले सोच ले, यही वक्त है कर ले, पूरी आरज़ू

People should realise that living in the moment can not be planned. I have realised that but haven't found a way of mouthing off this thought process without it sounding like a long-winding sales spiel justifying my life's apparent lack of direction, so I shrug and say, 'who has time for future!' and hope that the inquirer has forgotten the question in the wake of the laughter that follows.

A very weird thing happened recently. A grant proposal for early-career researchers to submit their proposals to be considered for a postdoctoral fellowship was making rounds on various mail lists. Apparently, the call as well as the people advertising this were found to be phony. How would they benefit from such a phony grant call? It's an ingenious way of plagiarism of ideas. All young postdocs and faculties are either racking their brains, or having raked enough have come up with a new and brilliant idea (so we think) are now safeguarding it so that we are the first ones to do it. We have to let go of our best ideas while submitting grant proposals, taking a leap of faith that they will not be leaked and used by others working in the field. But a phony call like this will immediately give the recipient a bank of 50 or 100 new ideas from all over the world in the subject of desire. It's a very good and timely wake-up call to check people's credentials before discussing ideas with them.

Taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone is an oft-preached, rarely practised philosophy. Working with people who are dissimilar to you, in a place about which you don't know much, in a discipline you are not an expert of, is an essential part of growth and development. Professionally, sometimes we don't have control on our work areas and topics since experts are preferred, but we have a lot of say in where and with whom we work. One reason why India is on rise is that as a society we are ready to fill niches that are left vacant by people and societies that are very particular about the kind of opportunities they want to use, where they want to do it and with whom. We are extremely flexible and better still, adaptive of new things, which is an awesome quality to possess.

A beautiful lost song to relish:

Chaand Madhdham Hai: Railway Platform (1955)/Lata/Madan Mohan/Sahir


rathchakra said...

Beautiful song...had not heard it before, great find!

Ajit Kulkarni said...

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\outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 Finally got to watch Highway and loved it. Agree that this is Ali's best film. Such an emotional roller coaster this was. I thought both Alia and randeep have brave performances ...I could completely feel their state of mind, especially was moved in two scenes : when she is on that big boulder by the gushing river, and when randeep breaks down outside the hut where she is making a meal for him. Wanna write an Independent post of my own on the movie.