They Came, They Killed, They Conquered

30 01 2006

They knew something was missing. Rather, I should say that they knew that a whole lot of things were missing. They were full of cynicism for the system and the people who run it. They knew that there are two kinds of people who live in this world. One: those who live with the system and die with the system. The other: those who try to change the system. They needed a jolt to bring them out of their slumber. And when they got the jolt, they made a difference that they could not even think in their wildest dreams.

Rang De Basanti is the story of a few such individuals who wanted to make a mark for themselves in this world but were too bogged down by the grim realities of life. What could they do about themselves, their nation, its system is all there is to this movie.

I won’t like to go into the details of the story as it has been written and re-written in almost every review of MouthShut and elsewhere but I would discuss some aspects of the story that I found intriguing.

What bugged me the most in this movie was the pace of the story. The movie, it seems covered only a quarter of its story by the time of the interval as all that we see happening in the first half is the selection of the cast of the documentary film on great Indian freedom fighters by Sue McKinley and the ensuing engagement of Flt Lt Ajay Rathore and Sonia. In between the scenes of the shooting of the documentary film we see the reconciliation between DJ and his gang and Laxman Pandey, the extremist turned idealist turned moderate.

Realizing that it is losing its grip on the viewer, almost as if on cue, the film picks up its pace right after intermission with the death of Flt Lt Ajay Rathore. But what acts as the catalyst for the rebellion that was already brewing within the DJ gang was the subsequent lathicharge by the police at the India Gate where they had taken out a peaceful procession mourning the death of Ajay Rathore and protesting against the comments of the Defence Minister. Its almost as if they woke up from their deep slumber and decided to live the characters that they were playing in Sue’s film. They decide to kill the Defence Minister. The plan is hatched and he is killed in the blink of eye!

Do they try to run from the law? Yes, they do. But only till the time they realize that the Defence Minister is made out to be a martyr of the nation and given the respect that he doesn’t deserve. Their plan to hijack the Radio Station looks foolproof and they are able to execute it without any problems. They confess to their crime and give up their weapon. What they did not realize is that the system that they tried to change was gunning for their throat. To those people who have watched the movie already, I have said enough and to those who haven’t yet watched it, I would say watch it and see what happens next.

The movie has its moments. There is something for everyone. There are plenty of scenes that leave the viewers laughing in raptures. The scene where DJ introduces Sue to his mother as her hone wali bahu is absolutely hilarious. The Punjabi and Jat accents of DJ and Sukhi are a revelation. They both, to an extent, remind you of the DCH version of Amir and his gang but the similarities end there. DJ and Sukhi end up as the most vocal and entertaining of the five.

The Performances

Amir Khan as DJ is excellence personified. What stands out about him is that he didn’t let his character overshadow the rest of his friends. His jovial nature, the line maaro on Sue and his exchanges with his mother bring the comic relief of this movie and at no time does he get overly irritating.

Sharman Joshi as Sukhi plays the perfect foil to Amir with his comic timing. He has done a very good job with his accent given that he comes from Mumbai and the Maharashtrian accent is quite visible in his normal dialogue delivery style.

Atul Kulkarni as Laxman Pandey brings to life a person who is idealistic in nature and is willing to go to any lengths to stand by them.

Kunal Kapoor as Aslam, the poet looks very simple and serious. His acting was good and me thinks that the audience had a liking for him.

Siddharth as Karan is an underrated actor. The cynicism and disgust for the people running the country is visible in his mannerisms. The scene to look out for is the one where he finds his father (played by Anupam Kher) is involved in the Defence Minister’s scam.

Soha Ali Khan as Sonia is good and her camaraderie with the rest of the gang is the thing to look out for.

Alice Patten as Sue McKinley, the filmmaker from UK is all smiles and all work in the first half of the movie. All that she does in the second half of the movie is to search for DJ and his gang while they go about killing the Defence Minister. I thought her grip on Hindi is quite good as compared to the motley crew that were assembled in earlier films like Lagaan and TLOBS.

Madhavan has a very limited role but excels in his brief appearance. He has shown that he has the talent that needs to be exploited well by a good director.

Kiron Kher as DJ’s mother, Om Puri as Aslam’s father and Anupam Kher as Karan’s father have played their respective limited roles with the panache that is associated with such great actors.

The Music
I am not a very big fan of AR Rehman as I have liked only a few of his creations but this is one of his better works. Lukka Chupi has been sung very well by Asha Bhonsle while songs like Khalbali, Khoon Chala, Paathshala, Roobaroo, Tu bin bataye and the title track are all music to your ears.

The Verdict
To say that this is the first big movie of 2006 would be an understatement. It has already made an impact that will be hard to emulate for any other movie this year. I put this movie on my must-watch list well before it was released and I am not disappointed. Watch this movie for the message that it is giving: we need a revolution to bring about the change that this movie visualized, still we must do something for our nation, even in our own small and limited capacity.





Anybody home?

24 01 2006

Looking at the hit-counter that I have installed on my blog I get a feeling that somebody is reading my blogs. I am getting hits from someone who is not commenting on my blogs. Its not that I have recommended my blog to anyone as yet but still I know there’s somebody reading my blogs.





Move over Firefox and Opera, here comes K-meleon

23 01 2006

I am a MS hater. Well okay, by MS I mean Microsoft and not MouthShut. There are a lot of things that I hate about MS. But the thing that I hate the most is Internet Explorer. I have been at my wits end in my search to find the best alternative for Internet Explorer. My search led me to Firefox. It was good, in fact extremely good. But somehow, it refused to work on my computer. Then my search took me to Opera. It too was good and I slowly adapted myself to it. I simply love it for its speed, customization, colours and the fact that it turned free! I was literally in love with Opera. Internet was incomplete for me without Opera. But then I found K-Meleon.

What is K-Meleon?

K-Meleon is a Mozilla based internet browser that can be regarded as one good replacement for Internet Explorer. The browser project was started way back in August 2000 by Christophe Thibault when he released the first version of K-Meleon after just one day of coding. The first ever version didn’t even have some of the basic features of a web browser that we now take for granted like history, context menu, cookie management, MIME types among others. What set it apart from the alternate browsers of that time was that it was based on the Mozilla Foundation’s Gecko browsing engine instead of the older and error-prone IE engine. In other words, it was developed using the Gecko html engine instead of the one that was used by Internet Explorer. As the development of K-Meleon picked up, newer versions were released with an alarming speed, and by 2002 the browser had already been updated 7 times!

The current version of K-Meleon, released on Jan 10, 2006, is based on the Mozilla 1.7.12 code and is largely an improvement on the same keeping in view the security concerns of the end-users. K-Meleon is built under the GNU General Public Licence which means that the developers can access the complete source code if they want to build on the browser.

THE FEATURES

Lower Resource Usage
One of the most important feature that sets it apart from other browsers is it’s comparatively lower memory usage making it a very lightweight component while running under Windows. At the same time I noticed that it was using some of its features very efficiently.

Tabbed Browsing

This is one feature that is taken for granted in most modern day browsers. I heard that even IE’s next release will have tabbed browsing. In the case of K-Meleon though, the tabs are called layers.

Built-in search functions

The browser has a built-in search function wherein by pressing CTRL+G, you are presented with a dialogue box that will automatically query Google and give you the appropriate results. Additionally, there are a lot of other search engines added to it.

Skins

The browser comes with 4 customizable skins and more are available for download through their homepage.

RSS Feed-reader

Another feature that is now taken for granted in most browsers is the RSS feed-reader. RSS feeds keep you updated about the latest happenings on your favourite websites.

Pop-Up Blocker
The pop-up blocker is available though still a lot needs to be done on it. I found that it was not able to close many pop-up windows.

Password Manager
Again one feature that is almost taken for granted. This is very useful though I believe that Opera takes the edge in this respect as it is more user-friendly.

Ad-blocker

Tired of viewing pesky text ads on web pages? Here is the solution. One of the features that is not suitably highlighted on K-Meleon’s homepage is that it has a built-in code that can help block banner and text ads in a jiffy. Whats more, you don’t need to do anything to activate the ad-blocker since it is already turned on!

Speed

While Opera lays claim to being the fastest browser but K-Meleon leaves it miles behind. I noticed that it worked faster than both Opera and Firefox. Of course Internet Explorer is simply no competition at all.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

Pop-Up Blocker
As already said, the pop-up blocker needs to be worked on. It can be quite disconcerting for the user to see an entire webpage load in front of the one he intends to view.

Email Client

K-Meleon simply opens your default email client if you click on the email icon. It can however do well with introducing its own email program on the lines of Mozilla Suite or Opera browser. It can be kept as an optional tool.

Keyboard Shortcuts
Many keyboard shortcuts like those for opening new layers or to go back and forward are still missing from the browser

Download Manager

This has a lot of scope for improvement as there is virtually no support for broken downloads.

VERDICT
Since most Gecko based browsers will remain in a state of improvement for the time being, I guess more and more improvements will be made to this browser as well. I can vouch for this browser for its speed and security. Rest assured, I can sit back, relax and enjoy my browsing experience.

You can download this browser from download.com or from their homepage





Random Note

21 01 2006


Its been some time since I started writing blogs but most of my attempts are half-hearted. And the ones that I wrote with all my heart, I am not willing to show them. I guess in a way they’re too personal. Anyways, dunno how long this blog will go but for today, here’s a photo joke:





Delhi is shivering and I am shivering!

10 01 2006

Its bitterly cold. And it is not going to be any better. According to some weather forecasts the weather is going to stay chilly and shivering for the next few days. Being a Delhiite, I know what they are saying. I know that it will stay that way for the next 15-20 days. Add to it that I am having exams starting later this week. How will I cope with the bitter cold and write my papers? I guess it will have to be done anyway, hope I’ll find some way out for it.

The media is blowing this weather out of proportions. Some said that it snowed in Delhi, some said that it went below freezing point but the reality was that it was like 0.2 degree celcius, probably the lowest ever recorded in Delhi. It seems rather unbelievable because all my life I have never seen the temperatures dipping below 3 degrees in Delhi. This year, it was 0.2 the day before yesterday and 1.4 yesterday. Heaven knows what it will be like later today. Thanks to the hype by the media, the govt. has declared a holiday for primary schools for the next three days.

It actually makes me feel jealous. I remember as a kid, I too used to go to school in such harsh and cold weather. Nobody declared the schools closed in my days. We used to do it as routine and it became a part of our life. Whats the big deal in going to school even in this cold weather? Frankly speaking I have no idea! I remember, my school bus used to go past the Deer Park where it used to be so cold and foggy that we could not see anything inside it. If we can go to school as kids in such harsh weather so can the kids of today do as well. Wonder what happens to Mrs. Sheila Dikshit when she declares schools closed for such frivolous reasons.