Much of Mumbai is Experience

Day 1

The Arrival

Drizzle was by my side when I reached Bombay Central. The purpose of my visit was not to gaze at slate sky or get lost in the swarm. However, not everything runs according to your wish. Next few minutes whizzed past as if to send a chill reminder of what it takes to commute at peak hours. Thursday it was and locals were in no mood to make way for your not-so-firm countenance. My confidence suffered a quake the moment swarm of bees took the train hostage.

Let’s not stretch the struggle.

As I was wobbly walking along the streets of Andheri, weather turned even more luring. I was a new bird, but with a travel case tied to its hands. Queues of different geometrical shapes were gauging my confusion. So many outlets for passengers but where are they going? Their waiting is vivid and it continued as the city came to standstill during a long spell of shower.

It is one thing to extol downpour, quite another to hop on the streets after the tears have fallen.

Day 2 

Setting: In and Around Mumbai

Weather: Rollicking

Mood: Somewhat Chirpy

Leopold Café was a surprise package. The café had moved on ever since veiled gunmen planted bullets on the walls. Of all the dishes, chicken sausage stood out. Its neighbor, The Taj Hotel, was too imposing to generate interest. Heading towards Marine Drive was a decision I would never regret. Walking along the stretch makes oneself wonder at the boisterous waves. Girl friends and their boy friends (of all ages) discuss survival and sift through their dreams. Lanky umbrellas of different races give hem silent company. They must have seen the rise and fall of many love stories. I gathered from the locals that the place gets into its colour as night sets in. I left the place hoping for a late night encounter next time.

Day 3

Setting: Mumbai at large

Weather: Showy Overcast

Mood: Pensive in patches

Bandra Band Stand is where we camped late in the afternoon. I stood facing restless waves until the sky turned crimson. Behind me were placid churches. They graced the promenade running parallel to the sea. After a dose of silent divinity and sprinkle of Holy water, we moved forth. A hurried ride to Candies and I was all chuckle. Diffused lights, spirited drinkers and old friends decided the evening’s fate. A dizzy walk in the drizzle and suddenly the city was the last place I would like to leave.

By next morning I was back to me sober self.

Thanks to my sobreity that I realized safety is not an over-rated word in Mumbai and night does not stage a coup against lovers of good life. Mid Day tabloid tempts you with a drama show that starts as early as 9:45 in the evening. Food joints suffer from insomnia, much to people’s delight.

I don’t know if I have fallen for the city.


A Movie and A Tale of Turbulence

One generation of hot-blooded and cold-hearted clan leaves behind its legacy for successors to dust it and keep it shinning. Hence, the pandemonium refuses to take a break. Gangs of Wassseypur 2 deals with preponderance of hooliganism turning it into a vivid biopic of betrayal, goriness, love, fear and death. 

Stretching the line that part 1 had drawn, its sequel harps on the theme of revenge, counter-revenge and the fatality of it. Afzal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddique), the eldest son of Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai), learns about his father’s death and plunges into bloodfest.  After making a belated debut in the business of bloody hands, sounds of bullets and red smudged clothes, Afzal makes a rapid rise, almost to the level of stardom.  He was on the wrong side of law, but on the right side of love. His tenure as a love-stricken lampooner ended with a wedlock with Mohsina (Huma Qureshi).

The breezy romance between them was sidelined by the overbearing presence of factional hostilities. The film asserts what is considered as an open secret – smaller players decide the fate of crime syndicates. Ganglords are but ceremonial heads who can be toppled if men around them start showing their fangs. Trust deficit and easy virtue make the foundation of entire criminal brotherhood flimsy. Every member of the gang (at least as narrated about Dhanbad) fans self-interest and quick to seize opportunity to elevate.  

Afzal is a ganglord who loves his wife, hugs his mother in resolute affection and decides death of every ‘chu####’. The first step to become a remorseless shooter is to imbibe the quality of selective sympathy. The plot reeks of irony. Those who dole out terror, remain under the shadow of fear. You can expect them to empty entire magazine on a ‘mada#####’, but not to safeguard lives of their close ones.

Gangs of Wasseypur 2 is full of symbols for the viewers to identify. The movie represents a society ready to be devoured by the mad hunger for power, for becoming the object of terror, the hunger for seeing others in submission. The story is an unequivocal essay of how society fans the idea of avenging death and how the entire herd perceives it as life’s greatest errand.

The film, in the process of catching up with the past of Dhanbad, has reinstated the fact that backbone of law and order is not as strong as it appears. System of policing cries for help and greed soils the social fabric.

When most of the characters mostly divide their time between doing crass and chasing nautch girls, you can expect some titillating folk songs. Piyush Mishra’s well-etched lyrics coupled with powerful singing bring out the other facet of Dhanbad. The songs are a happy digression from regular dose of gun shots and grenade blasts.

Prolific cinematography is evident in the form of rustic frame that fits the film so very well. The fire pot on the backdrop of blue evening sky and dimly lit alleys on wintry nights add to the aesthetic appeal of this 160-minute film.

Each character had a dream – the dream to become the ruler. However, their hidden craving was to arrive at a juncture when “Ik bagal mein chand hoga” and “Ik bagal mein rotiyan”. Their errand was not spiteful altogether, but the path they chose was beset with viciousness. Untimely end of their lives makes the case for universal prudence and balanced morality.