Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Makes a Bengali?

Bijoya Dashami, which is happy Dussehra for most parts of the country, is a day of some sadness for the Bengali. After the intense festivity, the Goddess goes back on Dashami and despite the social gatherings, there is always a bit of melancholy in the air.
I did not know – introspection, even.
Because this Bijoya, I pondered a lot on a question a Bengali friend asked me ‘what makes a Bong?’ And he locked out my penchant for vague, tangential answers with a stern brief – ‘what are the 5 defining things that are required to be a true blue Bong?’
I am inclined to list procrastination first since I promised to write nearly a week back!

Seriously, what defines a Bengali?

Is it parochialism? Not really. Pride about one’s region & race is a very common trait among Indians –where regional identities are often stronger than the national identity.
Is it fish? Or sweets? Cannot say that either. I know many Bengalis who abhor either or both.
Is it sports? Or more specifically, watching sports? But then, a great sporting spectacle unites the country and not only Bengal. And as Bangalore just showed us, packing cricket stadia on weekdays is no longer an Eden monopoly!

So, what are those Elusive Five? Let me try my theories… every one can jump in after that.

Food
The Bengali cuisine is not about fish, biriyani or roshogolla. It is about investing deep thought and taking immense pains to eat well – and equally importantly – feed well.
Calcutta is a place where wedding menus are fixed long before the match. It is a place where people travel long distances early on Sunday mornings to capture the best cut of mutton. It is a place where people get violent discussing the relative merits of their favourite biriyani joints. And the smell of broiler chicken in a meal is a curse that requires seven baths in Ganga to expiate.
Anjan Chatterjee (of Mainland China and Oh Calcutta fame) once wrote about Chitol Machher Muittha (inadequately translated as fish balls made out a particularly fleshy fish) being prepared for special occasions and people considered it to be a scandal if a bone emerged out of any of the fish balls… That’s vintage Bangali for you!
Malayalis love eating fish. But only a Bengali would carry ilish in a cold case on a flight. And only in Calcutta airport, would they let you pass security with that. Hyderabadis invented the Paradise biriyani & haleem. But only a Bengali would know Gati does express delivery of those to Delhi. Every Bengali has at least one hole-in-the-wall joint which – he is convinced – serves the best Moglai Porota in the world and he is willing to defend it till death.
Such passion is, of course, a by-product of the wonderfully diverse Bengali cuisine that straddles a million tastes, uses a billion ingredients and engulfs the five senses.
Think about it, God gave South Indians curd and they made thayir saadam out of it. Bengalis made mishti doi.

Sense of Humour
Well, how many stand-up comedians do you know are Bengalis? Zero. No filmi comedians since Keshto Mukherjee either. Authors? Very few. Bloggers? A few, maybe. So?
Well, I should have said the ‘democratization of humour’. Because I don’t see any other state in India where the humour is so well spread out. The funniest Indians may not be Bengalis but the average Bengali is about a million times funnier.
Recently, I went to the local Bengali Society to pay the Durga Puja subscription. In the 7 minutes I spent there, two gentlemen (who – I am sure – hold very serious day jobs like database architecture and trade marketing) had me and my wife in splits. Allow me an example:
Gent 1: Kothai thaka hoi? (Where do you stay?)
Me: Sohna Road. Oboshsho road nei ekhon. (Sohna Road. Though, there’s no road left now.)
Gent 1: Kothaoi nei. Brishtir joley rasta porishkar hoye gechhey… (No road anywhere. The rains have cleaned the roads.)
Gent 2: Rasta nei. Ektu rustic. (Untranslatable.)
Okay, okay – one more.
Imagine an evening flight leaving for Delhi and turning back mid-way due to fog. And re-starting for Delhi, this time with a CAT-trained pilot. If the flight had originated from any other major city in India, there would have been aggression, raised voices and threats of legal action. I was fortunate enough to leave from Calcutta and overheard the following:
Gent 1: Bujhlen toh, aager pilot-ta CAT pash koreni. (The earlier pilot was not CAT qualified.)
Gent 2: CAT paini? Joint peyechhilo toh? (Didn’t clear CAT? What about JEE?)
This, at 2 AM!

Easy Riders
Bengalis love effortless people. And underdogs.
India admires Satyajit Ray – the legendary filmmaker who wrote his own scripts, designed sets & costumes, composed music, wrote books and was a certified genius. In Bengal, Ray’s charisma is matched by Ritwik Ghatak, who made only a few films and died in poverty of alcoholism. But oh - what films they were! And with what little effort!
In Bengal, the heroes are never the class toppers. They are the bloody swatters, who had no brains and slogged their bums off (gasp – how ghastly!). The heroes are the guys who spent the night before the exams at Dover Lane Music Conference and managed to answer only one question in the whole paper. But man, you should have read that answer. Isaac Newton himself would have sat at that boy’s feet to understand its gravity. Of course, he flunked the exam, the course and is now an accountant at a private tuition centre in Jalpaiguri but I am telling you that boy had the ‘potential’ to become a Head of Department at Harvard.
The word ‘potential’ is a big favourite in Bengal. It brings out all the unsung geniuses (heroes or otherwise) who could have but didn’t.
And even the workaholic Ray reveals a soft corner for the unsung genius, in the way he wrote Sidhu Jyatha (Feluda’s uncle, played brilliantly on screen by Harindranath Chattopadhyay). When complimented by Felu (“If you had been a detective, we would have been out of work”), Sidhu Jyatha responds – “If I had done a lot of things, a lot of people would have been out of work. So, I don’t do anything. I just sit here and keep the windows of my mind open…”
If Bengalis were as rich as Punjabis, they would have thrown coins when this line was first said on screen!

Stories
Every Bengali is a storyteller.
The ‘adda’ is a common phenomenon across India, where people get together for some chat & gossip. But in Bengal, it is an art form – ranging from the organized (where famous authors are invited to participate in addas) to the impromptu (while waiting for the next bus and continuing till the last bus has gone).
If you read Anandabazar Patrika (or The Telegraph), the journalistic style is very anecdotal. More often than not, the reports start with a story. Descriptions of how political leaders were dressed at rallies are again common. And first person accounts are almost de rigueur for most stories. For example, when a Metro snag happens – Delhi’s Hindustan Times runs a story like this (“Longer Metro ride, technical snag yet again”). The Telegraph leads with “Pride Derailed”.
Every mundane, day-to-day event of no consequence gets suffused with suspense and emotion when a Bengali narrates it. A simple interaction with a parking attendant who did not have change can assume the proportions of a Rushdie novel. A joke is not a joke. With a virtuoso performer, a joke can extend over an entire evening – not unlike a raag – interspersed with mimicry, leg-pulling, social comments, jokes within jokes (meta-jokes!) and requests for more whiskey. The stories are always long, never boring and sometimes true, even! But then, the truth is never allowed to spoil a good story.
A famous Bengali litterateur (Syed Mujtaba Ali) was once asked if the story he just recounted was true. He said, “A prince went hunting in a deep, dark jungle. There, he came across a big, bad tiger. The tiger said – Prince, I will now eat you up. This is a story. But tigers do eat humans, don’t they?”

Culture
This is the easiest one to propose and explain. Let’s face it – the stereotype is true. And everybody knows it.
The average Bengali has read more books than the average Indian. Hell, he may have even written more! He has certainly heard more music (not counting DJ music, where Punjabis beat him). He has learnt to play at least one musical instrument (male) or one dance form (female) as a child. He has written more Letters to the Editor. The aforementioned editors also had a higher-than-average proportion of Bengalis. And if they aren’t Bengalis, they will soon be claimed as one.
Only a Bengali will ask what defines a Bengali. And only a Bengali will oblige.
And yes, only in Calcutta can Ritwik compete with Hrithik.

These are – what I think – defines the Calcutta Chromosome.
And while on the topic, Delhi DNA or Mumbai Mitochondria just doesn’t sound so elegant – no?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seven Deadly Films: My Favourite Thrillers

Depending on where you are looking from, the number of movies in the thriller genre can be surprisingly high or depressingly low.
There are so many stories around the hero looking for a tell-tale sign that will reveal his parent’s killer. In fact, three of Ajit’s iconic films – Kalicharan, Zanjeer and Yaadon ki Baraat – had him identified as the elusive killer with a distinguishing mark right from th start and the only suspense was how the mark would be discovered by the hero.
There have also been several films that have a ‘detective’ in the lead role (title role, even) but his sleuthing is more-often-than-not obscured in tomfoolery and gadgetry. Try Do Jasoos and Badshah respectively.

My list consists of films that get as close to a true-blue murder mystery as possible. Barring some minor diversions – brilliant songs that need to be accommodated, star comedians who need to be given screen time and romantic sub-plots that need to be woven in – all of them have a gruesome crime, an interesting investigation and a gripping climax, which have thrown up a suitably ingenious criminal.

Without any further ado, here are my Seven Deadly Films…

Jewel Thief
There were no murders in this film… but then, the title told you that already. A police commissioner’s wastrel son is an expert in gems and his boss’ daughter. All is hunky dory till he gets mistaken as the notorious jewel thief. The two look identical – except for an extra toe – and a deadly game of mistaken identities start. To clear his name, the man decides to infiltrate the jewel thief’s den and all hell breaks loose.
The thriller format is embellished by the many red herrings, some cool locales, rocking cinematography and some very strong cameos. Songs are usually a hindrance in a thriller but here they actually manage to give the taut film some much-needed breathers. Of course, it helps that this is probably SD Burman’s strongest soundtrack.

Teesri Manzil
The film opens with a hysterical woman falling to her death from the teesri manzil of a hotel. Just before the fall, she was banging on the doors of the hotel’s handsome singer on whom she had a crush. Her sister suspects that she was driven to her death – murder? suicide? – by the singer and lands up to teach him a lesson. She meets a funny guy. The funny guy meets a prince. The prince meets a cabaret dancer. The dancer meets a reticent waiter. The waiter meets a detective. Nobody is what it seems. Not even the victim.
You will go crazy keeping track of the brilliant songs and the decoys the film throws up. That’s RD Burman and Vijay Anand on creative hyper-drive… Get out of their way and enjoy!

Ittefaq
In the melodious world of Bollywood, a songless film is bit of a novelty. More so, when the entire cast consists of just two lead players and a few mysterious cameos. And when the protagonist is the chocolate-boy King of Hearts, playing a psycho convict – the film is unique by all standards. An escaped convict barges into the house of a lone woman and holds her hostage. There is a manhunt for the convict and sundry surprises keep happening as the two play a cat-and-mouse game. The twists keep piling up and nothing ends the way it started as.

Khel Khel Mein
The film starts off as a college romance with frothy songs and hockey matches. But then, there is an innocent prank to extort money that goes horribly wrong. There is crooked twist involving a dead jeweler, a typewriter with a crooked letter, lots of people with crooked ideas and the only thing straight is the moustache of the mysterious guy in the overcoat!
A couple of youngsters with guitars are usually enough to get RD all excited and composing great songs. That those youngsters have death staring them in the face is a minor blip geniuses don't bother with.

Khamosh
The classical whodunit features a dysfunctional group in a closed location, where people get murdered one by one. The best ones usually have the most nondescript or the most suspicious characters getting knocked off first. Imagine this group as a Bollywood film crew in a remote location. Add to that professional jealousy, sexual tensions and over-the-top psychosis usually associated with a Bollywood shoot, you wouldn’t have required a detective at all. But this film had that as well, not to mention a sleepwalker!
After Sazaye Maut, this was Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s second thriller and it totally rocked.

Ajnabee
Two hunks married to two babes, vacationing in Mauritius is a perfect setting for the advertised plot of the movie – wife-swapping. But if mystery plots were given away in posters & promos, filmmakers deserve to die starving. One babe gets killed, the other hunk gets accused and you have a standard-issue Abbas-Mustan mystery thriller. Weaving its way through hit songs and headachey comedy tracks, the plot zips from India to Switzerland to Mauritius to Switzerland to a Singapore as alibis, lives and hearts get made and destroyed.
And by the way, there is a bit of wife-swapping in the movie. Go figure!

Parwana
It started off as a love story, with the usual song-and-dance routines. It threatened to become a love triangle and nobody would have noticed it if it had ended like that. None of the three leading actors were of any consequence at the point of time anyway. But then, the suitor killed off his fiancee’s uncle in a fit of rage. He didn’t seem that sort but everybody else had watertight alibis. The court-case was about to end predictably when a strange twist emerged. The twist was cool enough to be replicated - with appropriate credits - in a film called Johnny Gaddar nearly three decades later.
One of the three leading actors went on to rule Bollywood in the coming decades. Seeing the film now, that twist is the easiest one to figure out.

That’s it? Missed out some obvious ones, didn’t I?

UPDATED TO ADD: Though horror is not always mysterious - at least, definitely not in the Bollywood context but all of you MUST read Aditi Sen on Bollywood horror films (in all four parts). And like a true connoisseur, she not only talks about the Ramsays but Mohan Bhakhri as well!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I, Robot? Ai ai yo, Robot!

Okay, let me get this out as fast as possible...
Enthiran (though, I watched the Hindi version) is I, Robot meets The Matrix meets Green Goblin meet Darth Vader meets ASSHOLE.
The films fails spectacularly at two levels. But on the moolah level, it is doing just fine thank you, so all you Rajini fans who have cut their wrists for not getting first day tickets would do well to ignore my rants and move on to queuing up for his 2014 release.

Epic Fail #1: Where is SUPERSTAR Rajni
I was led to believe that this movie starred Superstar Rajnikanth -a paean to the man, the machine, the Botox-box whose epithet and name can no longer be separated. Whose films are like maha-kumbh, where all purveyors of South Indian celluloid must dip to attain salvation. Whose films' runs are measured not in weeks but in years. Whose facial, oral and physical symbols are meant to be imprinted on body and soul. I was once told that it is a good thing that Baba flopped else we would all be typing only with our index and little finger extended! (Reference.)
But in Robot, where was Thalaivar? Except for the title sequence where SUPERSTAR RAJNI appeared in the ESPN font, size 4400 (causing a Tamil member of the audience to scream out loud), I could not find Rajnikanth.
Where was the entrance? Shankar - dude, watch a couple of Raj Kumar movies to see how a hero, a superstar enters a film.
Where was the elaborate putting on of sunglasses (which, this foreigner calls 'more elaborate than Vegas floorshows')? Here, somebody else put it on him.
Where was the swish of the angavastram? And the whiplash of the pointed finger?
Where are the punch diaogues?
And, who is this slightly dark, wrinkled guy with bad skin and strange wigs?
The only person who seemed to have got some Superstar out of the movie was director Shankar, who peddled Rajnikanth to get Sun Pictures to cough up Rs 150-crore for his techno-masturbation. The tragedy is that the rest of the fans were so busy doing aratis and screaming their vocal chords into chowmein that they did not notice either.  
All I got out of the movie was a feeling that tons of money were burnt to make needlessly complicated sets, costumes crazier than Mohan, outlandish locations (along with lyrics involving Mohenjodaro and Kilimanjaro), AR Rehman's worst score (Boom Boom Robot is much worse than the CWG anthem).
The only not-enough-to-be-saving grace was that Shankar has finally moved on from the vigilante-killing-traffic-inspectors-and-capitation-fee-purveyors-in-elaborately-choreographed-ancient-rituals theme.
That's a first step. Maybe he will write a script instead of cheques in his next venture.

Epic Fail #2: The Cultural Baggage of a Superstar
As I saw the film squirming and waiting for what I hoped would be a Supertar Entry, I realised that one needed a whole lot of cultural conditioning to enjoy movies of aging superstars.
For example, my generation never saw Amitabh Bachchan in his prime. We only hear stories from parents, uncles, elder brothers. The legends - wildly exaggerated when they reached us - spread like juicy rumours. His explosive earlier films. The lines of Salim Javed, which seemed to be there for every occasion. The hundreds of rupees in coins that were swept off cinema floors after first shows. The press ban, making him even more exclusive. The Allahabad election. The Amul hoardings. The corporation.
When I went to see Mohabbatein with a South Indian friend, I was seeing the professor of Kasme Vaade, the father of Adalat, the bearded hero of Shahenshah. And he was seeing a slightly caricaturish disciplinarian, who was getting trumped by SRK in almost every scene. I came out predicting his triumphant return to Bollywood and my friend came out wondering if dinner at Hotel Swagath would have been a better idea.
I am sure if Ganga Jamuna Saraswati's crocodile scene had been shown South of Vindhyas, it would have got booed. I got goose-bumps during the same scene.
All I know about Rajni is that he has counted to infinity, twice. And *hyuk hyuk* he knows Victoria's Secret.
I have no experience of Billa (a frame-by-frame copy of Don, incidentally), Basha, Muthu or Annamalai (love this scene, even if I don't understand a jot of it!). I was never lathi-charged in front of Matunga's Aurora Cinema. I never preserved the tickets for my show of Padayappa.
I have no connect with the huge history that holds up the cardboard cut-out when tons of garlands are put around it. I am untouched by the passion that causes aratis to be organised before shows. I never stressed over Rajni's entry into politics and therefore, I miss all the socio-political references (not that there were any in Robot). So, when fans are seeing 150-films-worth-of-ecstasy, I am just seeing a bad wig.
Fans would say this is the evolution of Rajni. He is now confident enough to eschew 'punch dialogues' and grand entries. He is willing to let new directors experiment with his image.
If that is true, then he should go the distance. He should get people in cinemas with his super-stardom and surprise them with some super-acting instead.
(And to know how its done, he can always look at recent references.)

After all, he probably remembers the lines of a forgotten superstar - I will do what I say. I will even do what I don't say.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Quiz Time (2): In Defence of Dadagiri

Having put down my thoughts on ‘good’ quiz questions, I realized that I had disguised my philistinism quite well since a commenter pointed out that Dadagiri (a Bengali TV quiz show, conducted by – who else – Sourav Ganguly) is the worst form of quizzing. Now, TV quiz shows form my favourite genre – not because the questions are tough (sometimes, they are) but because of the host’s charisma.
Also, I would like to distinguish between quiz shows and game shows. The former requires a spot of grey matter, a little bit of listening skills and a bit more of nerve (e.g. Kaun Banega Crorepati). The latter requires no grey matter, no hearing and a passion to demonstrate the lack of them to a million people (e.g. Dus ka Dum).

So, here is a quick recap of 5 quiz shows on Indian television. (BONUS QUESTION: Which film had the tagline – 50 million people watched. No one saw a thing?)

One of my earliest memories of Doordrashan involve Narottam Puri conducting a Sports Quiz (which was called the ‘longest running television quiz show in the world’ on the blurb of his book) where questions ranged from “Who won the gold in Men’s 400m in the Helsinki Olympics” to “Who was at the non-striker end when Bradman got out for a duck in his last innings”.
The questions were strictly in the rote-learning zone but Dr Puri’s genial charm and clipped accent made it quite watchable.
In any case, it was not as if MasterChef Australia was running on the other channel, then!

After a few years, we had Quiz Time and Indian television’s first non-fiction star was born – Siddharth Basu. While the first season succeeded purely because of the quality of questions and competition, Mr Basu’s smiling visage and Stephanian diction did a lot to improve the viewership from the second season onwards. The questions were not really ‘workoutable’ but the general appeal of ‘GK’ in India, the sight of pleasant youngsters from pitting their wits against each other and the Indian family trying to answer questions before the college dudes made the shows a huge success.
For me personally, this was the first time I was hooked to a TV show!

A couple of years back, we had Bollywood Ka Boss. It was a ‘tough’ quiz on Hindi cinema, made quite interesting by the anchor’s (Boman Irani) personal proficiency in trivia of this kind. It was quite obvious he was having a lot of fun himself when he asked questions like “From which film’s song does DDLJ take its title from?” and “Which pair of siblings sang the children’s version of Kitni hain pyaari pyaari dosti hamari from Parinda?”
The show suffered a bit on the production values because Indian TV audience had seen far swankier sets and fatter prize money than on BKB but for Bollywood trivia buffs, this was the best attempt to have something that made sense. (BONUS QUESTION: Which blogger could not take part in Bollywood Ka Boss because he contributed questions to it?)

There are quiz shows on television. Then, there are quiz shows on television. And finally, there is Kaun Banega Crorepati.
Starring India’s two biggest superstars, KBC transcended the boundaries of TV and became a part of its life – evolving its own lingo (“lock kiya jaye?”), own furniture (“hot seat”) and a cult following.
Here, the first host – Amitabh Bachchan – had a stellar role to play. Seen on the small screen for the first time, the Big B was the kind uncle, the humourous cousin, the flirtatious neighbor and sometimes even the superstar. The questions were completed only by his passive hints – the naughty smile when somebody answered wrongly, the quick ‘locking’ when somebody answered correctly and his mock consultations with Computer-ji. KBC was not about winning (then) the biggest prize money offered on TV, it was also once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with Amitabh Bachchan.
My favourite KBC moment is not when Harshvardhan Navathe answered “Who among these does the Indian Constitution permit to take part in the proceedings of Parliament?” but when Amitabh asked a lady contestant, “You had won Rs x at the end of yesterday’s show. What were you thinking about last night?” and she said with a giggle, “Aap ke baare mein…” Sweet!

When a celebrity anchors a show, his personality becomes an intrinsic part of the package and even more so, when the show is named after him. Therefore, Dadagiri is nothing without Sourav Ganguly.
But as a new fan, I find the questions (at least some of them) and the way Sourav conducts the show very interesting. He handles the celebrities on the show with just the right amount of disdain that made him Maharaj and the commoners with just the right amount of chumminess that makes him Dada. He gives away hints as if they are going out of fashion but doesn’t forget to sneer (“Etao parlen na?”).
And the questions are nicely topical. For example, actress Locket Chatterjee was shown a clip from Kuch Kuch Hota Hain and asked “What was written on Shahrukh’s *crooked grin* locket *pause* in that scene?”. Another question featured a song from Gupi Bagha Phirey Elo and the singer had to be identified. The hint was “amader khub kachher manush” (Somebody very close to us). The correct answer turned out to be one of the other contestants on the show!

Hence, my humble submission is that TV quiz shows – especially celebrity ones – feed a lot from the host. And there is nothing wrong with it. The mannerisms, the turns of the phrases and the fan-boy reactions are all part of the package.
After all, it is not only a quiz. It is a show as well.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quiz Time

The first question I ever answered in an ‘open’ quiz was when I was about ten.

To be honest, it was not a fully open quiz but among the clubs of Calcutta. Since Dalhousie Institute was one of the participants, let me assure you a club quiz in Calcutta is nothing like the vodka-drenched Tambola that typically constitutes intellectual pastimes in Delhi clubs.
I managed to answer the question, which even the venerable DI could not answer, simply because I was closest in age to the factoid – “What is the name of Aladdin’s father?”

Now that I have bragged a bit, let me accept that that was not a very good quiz question because it tests only your memory.
Either you remember your fairy tales or you don’t. There is no other way to answer that question.
On the other hand, a really good quiz question tests your memory (remembering at least two reasonably well-known pieces of information), logical reasoning (connecting the aforementioned pieces of information), psycho-analysis and social skills (because sometimes, you also need to know the state of the quiz-master’s mind from your interactions with him before and during the quiz).
And after all that, you need a wee bit of luck.

Enthused by the venerable JAP’s deconstruction of a good quiz and Arul Mani’s reminisces, I thought I will also put down some of my fondest memories of quizzing.

Consider this question for a moment.

How do we better know the friendly cricketer, who used to play for the MCC and was called the 'Tate of India' because he was thought to be as fast as the legendary English fast bowler?
Okay, what are the hints in the question? He is an Indian fast bowler, who played for the MCC. How many Indians have played for the MCC? Very few, right? The Senior Pataudi. Anybody else – because he wasn’t a fast bowler? Did either of Amar Singh or Mohammed Nissar play for MCC?
At this point, you want to buy some time and ask the quiz-master to repeat the question. He starts again and you suddenly hit upon “…know the friendly cricketer…”
Why friendly cricketer? He had a lot of friends? How do we know? Was there some story about him and his friends? Him and friends?
Oh god – wait a minute! That MCC is not in Marylebone. It is Malgudi Cricket Club. This is not about Nissar. This is about Swami and Friends!

Some concrete knowledge – preferably not too esoteric – with some circumstantial evidence and a little bit of joining-the-dots… that should be a good quiz question.
For example, Sholay had a phenomenal record for running for 5 years at a stretch in Minerva theatre of Bombay. Why was Sholay taken off from Minerva?
Okay, so Sholay released in 1975 and ran till 1980 – common knowledge. It couldn’t have been taken off for not packing it in – gut feel. There has to be a emotional reason, then – deduction. Who will Minerva do a favour to? Should be the guys who helped them rake in the moolah in the first place, right? What did Sippy Films do in 1980? Oh – of course, they released their next blockbuster, Shaan! And that’s why Sholay was taken off. It made way for the next film of its makers.

Nice, no?

As the venerable JAP has propounded, brevity is the soul of Twit (and blogs as well), I will stop here. Will be back with more soon.
In the interim, you might as well read my earlier posts – here, here, here.