Dedh Ishqiya

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 Dedh was a cuss word in the streets of the small suburbs of Bangalore we grew up in, of the 70s and 80s. And this half measure does need some cursing, much more than the One and half I haven’t quite uttered.
Vishal is an artist who in 2013 has decided to feed us Rotis that are only half cooked. True that even these are better than the Rowdys and Chennai trains that go nowhere. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola disappointed, so does Ishqiya 11/2.
I accept, we went in with the memory of the sweet taste of gaalis and Vidya from Ishqiya, and came out wanting to go back to the old. This 11/2 and not half the fun.
The parts we liked:
The guys are quite good. Naseer and Arshad are good together. Their timing delightful, though Arshad moves like he probably chewed one bhang more than he should have.
The English subs – a very cool idea. If it wasn’t for that, a lot of the Urdu shayaris would have been wasted on us aam jantha.
Vijay Raaz is in good form, he has a lot of screen time and dockhe makes good.
Huma promises but has no support from the script. She is the bodyguard to this petite aging Begum and she plays it straight.
Didn’t much care for:
Madhuri Dixit, there has been much made of her come back. She is all dainty en all.. but she’s quite like a mannequin that was given some lines to speak. Oh, yes, she looks very well preserved and there is even a whole song as the credits run for her to showcase Birju Maharaj’s deft moves, but it held back none, not at the theater I was at anyway. A person from the newspaper a couple of days later wrote that she was more enthused by Madhuri in the 1 minute trailer of ‘Gulab Gang’ more than this movie that she went to see. We sometimes make too much of a comeback: sometimes we expect great brilliance to come after a fading away. If you remember Pukar in 2000 it was more Namrata than Madhuri. And when the barefooted Hussain couldn’t quite get her to ride them horses around that time. Devdas was like: ‘ok, now we are tired, am going home’, and Chandramuki handed the bucket to Paro and left with Nene.
And Madhuri did come back 5 years later, and they (mostly reality shows on TV) crowned her dance queen with the ravishing smile.. and in the last 5-6 years she has been trying to freeze that to her image. Oh yes, that’s it, she does look a bit stiff.. And about that trailer, which pits these 80s girls on the big-screen for the first time, we think they might have waited too long.
There are some cool lines and Naseeruddin does the shayari well and the con man even better. And that time when an old Hakim (yes about 100 years older than Naseeruddin) holds his trembling hands and then just when Khalujaan (Naseer) thinks the Hakim might have gone to the other world in the course of listening to his pulse, the hakim wakes up from deep seance and delivers his cure: the mohabaat (seven course) will do it!
And Masha Allah! Mohabaat does heal!  kicks and lives again.
Oh right, and Babaan (Arshaad) does gets a few stages into Mohabaat and get into Huma’s skirt too.
And these being the 7 stages: Dilkashi (attraction), Uns (attachment), Mohabbat (love), Akidat (trust), Ibadat (worship), Junoon (madness)
and the last stage is Maut (death).
This team that worked on this flick are such heavies : gulzar, rahat fateh ali khan, vishal… and they even get Honey Singh to mouth Gulzar’s lyrics with the banal ‘horn ok please’… no, it is not crass as dinka chika… remember Vishal made Dhan Te Nan (kameney) sound classy, and gulzar got Bipasha Basu to light a Beedi… So, these guys when they pick up dirt, it does breathe life. But the energy and the hooks abandon them here. No – Dil To Bachcha Hai. No – Ibn-e-batuta … Kya Hoga soars some height but doesn’t quite get there.
Oh ok, it is a good outing at the theaters I accept, but it is difficult to settle for anything but the finest Biryani from these folks.
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Of laughter lost … … and smiles regained

Of laughter lost …

The evening was dark
He walked purposefully to his endless nowhere.
The road – dreary and glum
The destination after the self-flagellation
Will be bright. – that promise dying
Every minute, the second it was born .

He saw the mind’s eye taking her away
He moved into oblivion, to picked up in leisure
He moaned his insignificance.
He wrapped himself in self-pity
That thick blanket from the cold.

The weight of the blanket
caused his shoulders to droop.
The warmth of the blanket not reaching his body
His bones rattled on
His shadow tiny and grotesque
In the light of the street lamp

The chants from this lips
Promised him heavens in the afterlife
And in his loud rending voice from
Buoyed with the ripping of his soul
He sent up a prayer, for her

… and smiles regained

(II)

Her smile awaken him
He turned so she wouldn’t see him smile
Pleased she had missed it.
But at her very glimpse
All his darkness had seeped into the drain
As water finding it’s level
From great depths – swoosh!

But he fanned the fumes for her to see?
He found her the hardest to move further from
He moaned his inability
He leaned on her like a limbless on his crutch.
Oh right, he turned his mustachio up to show
He was brave, his machoness was not just stupid.
All vain and still very stupid!

He melted in the touch of her hands.
Cameras from highrises looked into the depths
Of their restless hearts.
His burning hell lying deep inside
Froze over into warm cinder
All the cobble stones blossoming into delicate flowers
To hold their feet.

The handsome dog danced her delight from
Across the roads
The less-loved famished creature
Allowing him undiluted warmth
He saw in her eyes the glades of their memories
His caressing hands on her warm fur had
Borne him many cold morning before.
Today she was happy to watch him go by
The wagging tail soon a full bodied
Gyration of delight.

He let the fumes of the days before
Stay on and stain his beloved
His voice bitter, wrapped in tears and pain
Of his mind’s many, many dark corners.

He held her hands and felt life flow into him
He glowed in her giving.
Burning streaks of his torment fast fading
He clung on longer
His damned yesterdays dust wind, and tomorrows blind
He breathed his today.

He saw the weight she bore much after she
Smiled her bye and turned the corner.
He however light and unburdened
And wearing his stupid smile.

Drank full as greedily as the
Desert sands the first rains.
Even if tomorrow comes
And yesterdays die
Today her smile was nectar divine.