Crime pays, artistically

I finally got to see the ‘City of God’ this weekend. The movie has tons of style, that’s for sure. The stylized violence in the movie did nothing to detract the message. The movie spans across 3 decades, and narrates the interconnected stories of hoods in the slums of Rio do Janeiro and people who are trying to get out of there. The film is based on a true story, and shines a light on the sordid lives of people on the wrong side of the wealth gap.

Movies about organized crime always seem to be critically acclaimed(Godfather is the obvious example). Is it the need to vicariously satisfy our instinct for vice that makes us like these movies? CoG shows us the violence that is bred out of lawlessness and poverty in slums, a situation that could very well be happening at Dharavi everyday. In fact, the movie reminded me a lot of ‘Satya’. (Of course, we Indians had to milk the bhai-log-cow and start making suck-ass movies like ‘Company’ or whatever it is Vivek Oberoi was in…)

CoG also managed to break one of the taboos that prevail in film-making — that of depicting young ‘uns being shot in the leg at close range. The scene is definitely one of the most harrowing in the movie.

For anyone who entertained doubts about CoG being the inspiration for the crapfest called ‘Ayutha Ezhuthu’, they can rest at ease knowing that CoG is more like the first half of ‘Nayagan’ than the one where Maniratnam tries to Shankarize himself.
(Shankarize – now that’s a good word for empty-style masquerading as message…)


212 nights later, he gave up all pretense, and he cried. A single tear crawled down his cheek and the trail of chill it left on his face surprised him. He closed the book in his hand and let the tears crawl some more. “So this is what happens“, he thought. He felt the rejection of love, without having felt love itself. A thousand maybe-I-should-have’s ran through his mind. “It still wouldn’t have mattered“, he thought. “Either you’re on her procreation-possibility list, or you’re not“.

He made up his own hate list. Is it possible to make up reasons to hate a stranger?
He was reminded of her laughter. The way it abruptly began as a chuckle and became a tinkle.

He thought of way his college hat was too large for her head. And he remembered the fragrance that lingered in it afterwards.

The way she looked at him came back to him. Those placid eyes, and the lopsided smile-shrug that hinted Mystery once, conveyed Apathy in hindsight.

He couldn’t think of any more. Weren’t these enough to prove her moral and mental inferiority? He laughed inwardly for having fallen so low. “You percieve dimly after your first true love that it wasn’t true and it wasn’t even love.“,he realized, and thus he lost his Innocence.

And yet he hopes.

Networking not working

Anti asks me, if I think this is real (For those of you uncool enough to not have an Orkut account, it’s an alleged Orkut profile of John Kerry).

Networking software like Friendster, Orkut were supposed to be the next killer apps. There was even Dogster. Lonely Internet nerds and cynical yuppies were supposed to find like-minded people who were friends of friends and do “stuff” with them. Social Networking was supposed to bring you jobs, friends, hobbies, and who knows, maybe even romance. Did anything of this happen to me when I signed up at Orkut?

I spent a couple of hours creating and modifying a profile that would somehow make me seem more interesting than I actually am. And then I waited. Nothing happened. No one emailed asking me if I wanted to go see Bubba Hotep. No one called me up for a game of tennis. No secret admirer sent me flash sites with slow-fade roses. Maybe I should have taken the initiative and mailed my friend’s friend in oh say, Tennessee. But then, what next?

I’m not sure if there is a strong desi community in Orkut. I’ve noticed a lot of south American people, though. Still, the question remains: Do social networking software actually yield fruitful results, or is just an elite version of Yahoo! chat? Dvorak says it better.