Pyaasa: First impression

Its almost four in the morning and I just finished watching Pyaasa, the black and white classic by the late Guru Dutt.

Its a story about two women in love with the same man. Gulab (Waheeda Rehman) is a tantalisingly beautiful “Lady of the Night” stalking the streets of Calcutta of 1950s for a living. [Kareena Kapoor, go boil your head. Watch this movie for 50 times and you would know how to portray a prostitute. She need not be loud and vulgar like you. She can also be dignified and upright like Gulab. But you looked so convincing in Chameli as you played yourself. The only perfect role for you. Please do not create stereotypes.] And Meena (Mala Sinha) the beautiful wife of a rich publisher, who was also the college mate (and lover) of the brilliantly talented, but wretched, shayar (poet) Vijay (Guru Dutt). Of course, when it comes to marriage, her practical sense takes over her and she dumps Vijay in favour of the fat cat publisher Mr. Ghosh ( played by Rehman).

Gulab falls in awe of Vijay’s talent and falls madly in love with him. On the other hand Mala tries o come to terms with her unhappy marriage.

The editing and direction of this movie is superb. There is not a single instance of exaggeration. In a typical kotha (brothel) a mesmerising woman dances to the tune of music. The shrill cry of her baby is heard in the background. But she must dance on, for money, and satisfy the lust of her customers before she can attend to her sick child. Harsh realities of life. We, the hypocrite lot, who watch porn on our computers, do not realise this harsh reality. The ladies out there who writhe in ecstasy, do that because they are paid to do so, because they have mouths to feed. And not because they enjoy doing it. Given a choice, no one would ever be a prostitute, except the likes of certain (so called) Bollywood queens.

Superb music by SD Burman. What with “Jane Kya Tune Kahi”, “Hum Aapki Aankhon Mein”, “Jane Woh Kaise”, “Aaj Sajan Mohe”. The most touching song I guess is “Jinhen Naz Hai” by Rafi Sahab. Its an anti-establishment song adressed to the hypocrite ruling classes of India, read Jawaharlal Nehru, the greatest hypocrite India has ever produced. [His cursed dynasty is still ruining India. I can never forgive him for the humiliation suffered at the hands of fledgling China in 1962. India suffered a crushing defeat. It was entirely unnecessary and completely avoidable. There was no reason to save the hordes of eunuchs, and shelter their leader the Dalai Lama. People who cannot defend themselves should die like dogs. Lets face it.] I suspect some kind of a pro-Naxal feeling in this song. Its so refreshing to get this totally unflattering view of India during 50s. Most of the movies during that time used to praise the Government, Nehru, Congress, etc. etc. in the hope of getting some political mileage. I guess this is one of the boldest movie ever made with a totally anti-establishment sentiment. The protagonist Vijay does not have any complaints against the individuals. He does not blame Meena, the lover who dumped him for money, the brothers and friends who failed to recognise him for profit, or the fat cat publisher who cheats him. But he has a problem with the society and the system which creates such people, or rather forces people to act the way they do. It the clearest sign of an apathy towards how things were run in India during that time. And rightly so.

To conclude, an immensely watchable movie.

Hunger is the best sauce!

Agreed, but nothing like a good mustard sauce, our very own (Bengali) Kasundi, to stir the real hunger in you. You become a tiger on the table. [Its very up to you if prefer the table to a bed, as one of my friends does. Entirely personal and no arguments.]

Jokes apart, this is the one thing that we share with the Brits (or should I also include Europe in general?) with regards to the taste buds- the mustard sauce. My God. The sharp, pungent taste, the just right bitterness to it, tickles them to the just right degree. Be it the bland British dishes or the Bengali bhat (rice), the mustard is always there to make it more interesting. It braces you up for the daily ritual of hunger management and braces you like none other.

I dont know why I am calling this post the stuff that I am calling. I mean, I could easily have called it the “Ode to the Mustard Sauce” or something in  that vein, and still this article would be relevant.

This entire day was devoted to the pleasures of job hunting. Man, can’t tell you how exciting it all is. This is becoming an almost yearly ritual for me now, for the past 3 years, and I think, I could as well do with a lot less excitement in life. [As it is, my weekends are invariably as exciting as it gets, what with all old friends and a couple of goblets on the better side.] Had to attend a couple of grueling bouts of fencing, with the opponents baying for my blood. At last however, I succeeded in convincing the folks that I was the best deal that they could have for now. So they are happy and I am happy as well. The only small problem was that, two slices of bread, some grapes, a single egg and two narkel narus, not to mention a glass of lime juice, in the morning; and a coffee and a pair of sandwiches (by the courtesy of my recruitment HR) in the afternoon, were all that I ever had. As if I mind.

Dinner was sumptuous. Dal (lentils soup?), button mushroom on potato curry, with generous quantity of rice, with copious mix of Kasundi, and of course, ghee (Indian butter :)). By the way, did I tell you that the great Shila Da brought this bottle of Kasundi for me, all the way from Kolkata?

PS:

Its a real great relief to be writing this blog. I had been writing short quips on the goddamned Twitter. Its so irritating for vociferous people like us. What 140 characters nonsense!