General ramblings, Independence, India, Movies, Politics

Khamosh Pani

Silent Water (Khamosh Pani in Hindi) handles a very sensitive period in history surrounding the hanging of Pakistani PM, Mr. Bhutton & the rise of the martial laws, under General Zia. The change in the political air of the country and it’s effect on the lives of ordinary Muslims of Pakistan has been portrayed through a middle aged Sikh woman and her not-a-kid-not-yet-an-adult son, who gets swayed in the jihadi direction, all due to radical Islamic influential talks and the in-born need to be powerful.

The movie provides a rare, visual glimpse of the miseries surrounding Sikh families who were forced to move to India during the Partition in 1947. It speaks about the apathies faced by women, who, among other things, were most often mercilessly killed by their male family members, when preservation of family “pride” was deemed more important. The ones who survived faced a life of abduction and rape. We are treated to views of village lanes, Gurdwara, run-down fortresses and Masjids in a small, quaint village of the country. Sikhs from India who travel to the village for a religious tour as a result of an India Pakistan agreement try to re-live their past days, and find old connections, in a miserable attempt to still feel at home. Even though the environment is politically charged, folks who moved into the village during the Partition and folks who moved out, still manage to maintain outwardly humane relations…void of any common thread.

Just when I thought I’d seen all that the director had to show me, the movie spins out into a new direction, when one of the Sikh travelers from India, goes around old shops in the village by lanes, desperately trying to find his sister who got left behind during the Partition.

Kiron Kher has done a phenomenal job, playing the role of a woman, who has nothing in her except for a young son & flashes of her past life. Seeing her in such an under-played role is a welcome treat. It is a far cry from her loud performances in most of the commercial Bollywood movies.

There is a scene towards the end of the movie, which shows the son sitting at the end of the river, staring at on old, battered suitcase laden with personal belongings, being carried away by the river currents. His old flame stands on top of the hill, watching both float away- the lover that she knew as well as her old life. Three decades later, the same boy emerges as a powerful, Jihadi leader. His old lover, now an independent, hard working woman, watches him ruefully on a street side TV set. Top marks to the cinematographer for sealing the emotions so beautifully.

The movie is about a important piece of history, changes in the lives of ordinary people, choices painstakingly taken by women, sacrifices done at the behest of the society and the shame faced at the hands of one’s child.

Link to the movie on Google Videos: Link. I found this movie in the section “Your recommendations” on Netflix. At times like these and at all other times, I love Netflix so much.

Rating: 9/10

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Cartoons, comics, George Bush, jokes, Jokes / Funny Stuff, Life, Politics, Thoughts

Because a Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

and because I want to make use of the 3GB space that’s been generously provided by WordPress, here are some funny pics:

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General ramblings, Indian Politics, Politics, Thoughts

Eliminate Corruption with Rs.0 Note

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The above accounts by the Chennai woman and the software engineer are hard to believe for me. Why did the officers just smile and not demand “real” money? I do like the fact that this is definitely a good step towards eradicating corruption. Whether it’ll work or not, I don’t know.

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General ramblings, Indian Politics, Politics

Imperial Democracy

What with the U.S Elections going on, Rumsfeld stepping down, VA votes still being counted, Saddam Hussein being sentenced to death, and most importantly, Parmanu writing a post on the first manned space mission of India, I thought of posting this thought provoking video. Arundhati Roy talks about U.S Policies and much more. It is pretty long..about 50 minutes. But listen to it for 10 minutes if not more!

Here is the transcript for those who prefer reading her speech.

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General ramblings, Indian Politics, Politics

Saddam Hussein’s death sentence/Ram Jethmalani

Saddam Hussein along with his half brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq’s former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were sentenced to death. Former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan got life in jail and three others received 15-year prison terms.

I am a little shocked. It will be interesting to see the reaction of Iraqi people to the verdict.

UPDATE (12/30/2006):

There is an uncensored video of the Real Execution over here. It’s pretty shocking. Please view it at your own discretion.

In India, Ram Jethmalani has taken up the case of Manu Sharma, the accused in the Jessica Lal case. Not many people are supporting this decision, but what else can you expect from him? He has always had a controversial list of clients. I had the “privilege” of meeting him when he administered a guest lecture in my college in India.

Any thoughts?

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General ramblings, Politics

On Russia- Georgia Relations

After Parmanu commented, I realized that there might be readers who don’t really understand what I am talking about. A brief lesson in history might be useful here:

This link from the Economist does a very good job explaining the current situation in details.

This is an interesting note on Russia-Georgia relations that was written by my friend Alexey Dorofeev in his Facebook account. With his permission, I’m reproducing it here:

I was deeply disappointed with the angry Russian bear when staying updated on the recent news in Russia – Georgia conflict. An “elephant vs. a fly” – this is what the press calls it in Moscow. The most recent actions on Russia’s part involved a ban on flights between the two countries, charges against thousands of Georgian people living in Russia, raids on casinos in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the most distracting news to me personally was a request of police authorities to public schools in Moscow to provide information on all the pupils with Georgian surnames. I am very concerned with an obvious discrimination of people based on their ethnicity, which reminds me of the methods used by the tsarist Russian government prior to the revolution.
Methods used by the Kremlin do not go along with the status of the G7/8 member. Neither do they seem appropriate in the light of the world in the era of globalization. It was a great frustration when I could not order a glass of Mukuzani or carbonated mineral water from Georgia this summer. We know that unilateral sanctions do not work in the long-run. Georgia has lost a great share of its exports this year, but as time goes by there will be new markets discovered. Unfortunately, the Russian consumers will be left without the wine they have been used to since the old Soviet times. In the light of current events the ban on wine and mineral water seems to be a minor issue though.

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