Friday, October 10, 2014

Naseeruddin Shah in 21 Jump Street, Ahmedabad getting bored.

Note: This post was written on 10th October and all thoughts expressed were born and died on this very day.

Just finished watching the movie 21 Jump Street. One year earlier this movie would probably not have lasted the whole time in my room. But today I found it pretty enjoyable.  Yesterday I was reading ‘And then one day’, recently released autobiography of Naseeruddin Shah. Even if the book would have been written an year earlier and I was reading it then, it seems the level of enjoyment would have been the same. But complete trust is never recommended though and so I am unwilling to completely trust the book to get me out of the sheer boredom of today.

The movie is about two newly appointed cops who have been sent undercover to a school to bust the source of drugs among school students. One of them is the typical dude and confident sort and the other nerdy, insecure sort of guy. They exchange their identities in a comical situation. The nerdy guy then gets to do plays and sports whereas the dude ends up in a chemistry class with a lady teacher who develops something for him at the first instance. And then things keep happening and finally they catch up with the ‘dealer’. In between the nerdy guy falls in love, they get expelled from their police duty and there is a bit of Salman Khan type of fight in a party. I guess the writers would have taken some inspiration from Hindi movies. It ends up with the ’yeh dosti hum nahi chhorenge’ kind of emotion between the two cops.

‘And then one day’ is brutally honest and humorous. It makes me laugh every 2nd or 3rd page. Naseeruddin Shah has led an interesting life  ‘Anyway, academic rock bottom was hit when in the final exams of Class 9, I fared abysmally and actually gave in my trigonometry paper empty, with an inscription that I hoped would amuse the examiner: ‘If you know the answers, why ask me? And if you don’t how do you expect me to?’

His recollections are vivid in detail ‘My imagination, at age three or four, was helped along greatly by Ammi’s maternal aunt Nani Baji in Sardhana, sightless and a great storyteller, who would spin for us magical yarns at bedtime. One night after the storytelling session, I had a dream in which I saw orges and fairies and flying horses and vanishing castles, the kind of things she told us about from the Tilism-e-Hoshruba fantasies. When I returned, on a magic carpet I think, I saw myself being transported back to my bed through the ventilator in the cavernous room where we slept. When I awoke I saw a shaft of sunlight coming though the ventilator along the exact trajectory I had travelled.’

In between there is logic ‘In cricket one mistake could be the difference between humiliation and glory. In the movies everything turns out right. You could put your faith in a superhero and rest your head on a pillow and sleep.’

He has had his struggling experiences. Anybody who has seen or read some of his interviews would recollect that he is quite satisfied with his life and considers that he was at the right place at the right time. One gets this feeling while reading the book. His tensions with his father and his being a no-gooder early have been referred in a number of ways and provide a reference frame for his love for acting which gave him an identity or rather allowed him to borrow many identities. There are experiences of his sexual encounters which started since schooldays. One of the best parts is where he realises that theatre is his calling after having failed in a lot of things in his life. People interested should read it for some inspiration if not anything else. I have not even read half of the book but am sure that until this book is unfinished I have something to go back to for my recurrent boredom.

Ahmedabad is a wonderful place if you are a very good person. This may not be true in other cases. Of course work is the same in its most basic form, doing something of supposed value in the eyes of society by using your brain or your body and rarely both.  With regards to relaxation, one has ample options of relaxing here like good and sober people. Alternative options are not accessible to common folks like me. Added to that if you can't spend much then you need to do things to relax like write random blogs with misleading titles. I just wonder what Naseeruddin Shah would have felt if he was a student here. My guess is for him Bombay would always be close by!

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