From Philip K. Dick’s 1978 article “How to Build a Universe That
Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days
Later”
(emphasis mine):

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation
of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control
the people who must use the words. George Orwell made this clear in
his novel 1984. But another way to control the minds of people is to
control their perceptions. If you can get them to see the world as
you do, they will think as you do. Comprehension follows perception.

How do you get them to see the reality you see? After all, it is
only one reality out of many. Images are a basic constituent:
pictures. This is why the power of TV to influence young minds is
so staggeringly vast. Words and pictures are synchronized.
The
possibility of total control of the viewer exists, especially the
young viewer. TV viewing is a kind of sleep- learning. An EEG of
a person watching TV shows that after about half an hour the brain
decides that nothing is happening, and it goes into a hypnoidal
twilight state, emitting alpha waves. This is because there is such
little eye motion.

In addition, much of the information is graphic and therefore passes
into the right hemisphere of the brain, rather than being processed
by the left, where the conscious personality is located. Recent
experiments indicate that much of what we see on the TV screen is
received on a subliminal basis. We only imagine that we consciously
see what is there.

The bulk of the messages elude our attention; literally, after
a few hours of TV watching, we do not know what we have seen. Our
memories are spurious, like our memories of dreams; the blanks are
filled in retrospectively. And falsified. We have participated
unknowingly in the creation of a spurious reality
, and then we have
obligingly fed it to ourselves. We have colluded in our own doom.

(via email from
Anirudh)


When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s
a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when
you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks
are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far
more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the
bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in
business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.

— Steve Jobs quoted in Wired (February 1996)

MahaYoddha Rama

MahaYoddha Rama

It’s Ravana.

Watch the trailer if you
don’t believe me.

Ashok Banker is on a roll:

… But their (Rohit Vaid and Abhimanyu Singh, of Contiloe Pictures)
enthusiasm, love, and passion for the project hooked me. I signed
on, despite myself. Surprising myself, my family, friends. And so
Mahayoddha Rama was born, an animated film for viewers of all ages
(it’s not just for kids, trust me) that aspired to match the quality
of any international animated film, while aiming for
a photo-realistic 3D animation style that hasn’t even been attempted
yet here let alone achieved, and overall storytelling and production
qualities that would make all of us proud–would make every Indian
proud, in fact.

The script was gruelling. Yes, the film was based on the Ramayana of
Valmiki. (Not on my Ramayana books–those are being adapted
separately to live-action films by a Hollywood studio.)

… What we were trying was to reinvent the Ramayana for Indian
filmgoing audiences, through the grammar of all-ages animation. Now
that may seem simple at first, but it’s not. For one thing, there’s
never been an Indian animation film that truly uses the grammar of
animation. Sure, there have been the Hanumans and Bal Ganeshs, and
the like, and they may even have done reasonably well, but they’ve
essentially been compromises between low budgets and a dearth of
creative courage.

Our attempt was much bolder: It was to create a film experience that
wouldn’t simply retell Ramayana, but would reinvent it for a new
generation.

Ashok Banker is a perfect example of how pure passion for a subject
can show in amazing (literary) accomplishments and suddenly the world
is a better place. At least, I am grateful to him for making Ramayana
approachable, captivating and delightful to novel-readers like me. And
now they’re bringing the Ramayana to audiences of this generation in
a movie format. That is terrific news.

I hope I can stop being envious about Lord of The Rings. I hope we can
claim that we too have our own amazing depictions of our traditional
stories. And yes, the movie is in Hindi and is meant for an Indian
audience.

After watching the trailer, I think it’s true that Indian animators
can rock
.

The movie is scheduled to be released nationwide in October-November
2008. Looking forward to it!

P.S. How can one resist such a movie if Gulshan Grover is the voice of
Ravana and Sameera Reddy is the voice of Sita?

Ever since I got into
running
a couple of years back, I have become fascinated with sports,
especially because it is so character-building. For example, one of
the things I’ve learnt (the hard way) is team spirit, both in trekking
as a group and in running (which, in my opinion, was one of the
reasons that lead to ion).

I think every child should be compulsorily part of a sports team,
whether it is cricket, badminton, track team or chess.

I never imagined that Bollywood can produce a good sports movie, but
I’m happy to be proven wrong.

“Chak De! India” is a very good movie. Go watch it.

chakde9


“Run and become. Become and run. Run to succeed in the outer world.
Become to proceed in the inner world.”

— Sri Chinmoy A.C.

It’s been 5 days since I saw the movie, but the title song of Amrithadhare is still playing on and on in my head. As far as I’m concerned, it’s going to be one of those classic songs.

Nee amrithadhare
KoTi janma jothe gaathi
Nee amrithadhare
Ihaku paraku sangathi
Nee illavaadare naa hege baaLali?

About the movie… as usual, some scenes are outrageous, but overall, it’s a good movie to watch with a good message in the end. One of the high points is how Amitabh Bachchan figures in the story.

When you have cousins flying over from Canada and Australia and everybody catches up, you tend to do stuff together. We went bowling and watched Musafir on Sunday. The movie is worth watching just for Sanjay Dutt! He’s amazing. My favorite dialogue of the movie is (in Hindi) "Taqdeer teri chutti pe. Maut teri sar pe. Lekin baatein aisi karta hai jaise zindagi teri bistar pe." … the songs are straight beats and dance stuff but well made. No pretenses are made. The movie is fast and the songs are fast. A bit of warning though, its definitely not a family movie ;)

I watched Swades today. Very well made and inspiring movie. There are no special scenes or jhatka matka songs. Just pure patriotism. Not the in-your-face over-the-top kind but a simple and meaningful way that you and I can relate to. If that’s not your cup of tea, then don’t watch it. Otherwise, the movie just totally appeals to you. It did to me. No matter what you do, no matter how comfortable you are, there’s nothing like home. One of the reasons I don’t really look forward to going to ‘amreeka’ as most people I see around fancy about. If the opportunity came, I might go. If not, I don’t really care. I like it here. Am I crazy to say that?

On a related note, the movie just reminds me of Abdul Kalam’s vision of using technology to improve life in my country India. I hope one day I would be able to contribute to such a vision.

If this post seems like a bolt from the blue to you, don’t be surprised. I’ve had these things in my mind since a long time. It’s just that I didn’t blog about it till now. I can’t help it, I’m a very idealistic person and this movie just brought out that side in me :)

Update
It seems that Swades is a rip-off of the Kannada film ‘Chigurida Kanasu’ based on the novel of the same name by Shivaram Karanth. I am trying to look for details on this.

It was a good day for work. I worked non-stop in refactoring my project and cleaning up the code.

So, I ended up the day by seeing "Ocean’s 12" at PVR Cinemas at Forum with my friend Azmi. The movie’s great. I liked the plot. There’s only word to really describe it – slick. Really slick. And the star cast is brilliant – George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, and many more.

IMHO, Ocean’s 11 was better, but the sequel is still a great movie too.

Plus, the fact that the seats at PVR is so damn comfy helped a lot too.

I’ve been down with fever since the past two days :(

I watched a part of the ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ movie and one sentence really stood out for me:

Men are the head but women are the neck. We can make the head turn any way we want.

Food for thought!

Another interesting one was in the ‘Koffee with Karan’ talk show hosted by Karan Johar, the maker of ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and other big movies and he was interviewing Shah Rukh Khan, the superstar. Karan asks ‘Who is the most beautiful woman in the world?’. Shah Rukh says ‘Aishwarya Rai.’ Karan asks ‘What would you say to the other beautiful women?’. Shah Rukh says ‘There are many more galaxies.’

That was surely a good presence of mind displayed by Shah Rukh.

I watched the "The Last Samurai" yesterday – excellent movie. Those Japanese are so disciplined and honourable and spiritual (well, atleast according to the movie). I couldn’t believe it was actually Tom Cruise – this is the first movie of his that I really appreciated.

Read "The Bourne Identity" by Robert Ludlum – this guy was such a genius – he has the ability to keep the reader on the edge of the seats throughout the book. Inspiring stuff.