Archive for the ‘Critiques’ Category

The Tale Of The Reality Show

This Passive Pundit has on multiple times berated Reality Shows and everything about them. Yet the fact remains that reality shows are today’s rage. Moreover now, genres of reality shows are starting to emerge, ranging from sport-adventure, business, cooking, comedy, general knowledge to performing arts. Then there are those which cannot be categorized simply because, well, they just have people doing nothing and millions of people sitting at home spying on them (And no the show isn’t on Voyeur TV). Hordes of competing shows each with similar yet slightly different formats to keep the audiences hooked is commonplace nowadays. Famous shows occasionally go international too with different language versions cropping up. Sure one might argue that these shows, apart from entertaining, also provide opportunities to participants to win and gain recognition in their respective fields (Susan Boyle, Chris Daughtry, Abhijeet Sawant etc. ) and again in some cases, earn the out-of-work celebrity some severely needed television exposure (The Kamal Khan types that is).

One look at all reality shows and a pattern emerges. Implying that there are basic features that govern a reality show. This being common to almost every reality show with slight variations. So here goes:


1. The Judge:

Critical, contemptuous, condescending. Almost perfectly describes your average reality show judge. Though some of them do possess sound knowledge of their field of expertise yet their often rude disposition and disdain for the very nervy participant is amusing indeed. Some real talents do get their well deserved applause . But almost all judges seem to have an agenda (probably script written beforehand) of vilifying the performer, often bringing them down to tears. something completely unnecessary. Apparently all matters of acceptable social behaviour are rendered nullified once the camera starts rolling on these reality shows. Then there’s the antics these “judges” perform themselves. Quitting the show on camera, rushing backstage crying, quarelling amongst themselves; these are the asinine stunts which these geniuses-at-work attempt to pull off and completely mocking public intelligence in the process. As if one couldn’t see through these well-rehearsed, often scripted lies that are meant to add spice to the show and keep the audiences hooked. “More (melo)drama continues after the commercial break”, is what the presenter ought to say.


2. The Contestant

One couldn’t completely discount the participants for making the reality show experience so distasteful either. If the judges are blamed to be too harsh on the participants, it’s often because of certain participants who are moronic beyond belief. These people appear to have joined in a cause to humiliate themselves on national television! Their purpose isn’t to actually register a commendable performance, but to gain some time on tv, just for the heck of it. Luckily these calamities are often eliminated in the early stages before they start wrecking our lives along with theirs. But even the talented ones that do make it through sometimes behave in uncultured ways. Again, more often than not their behaviour is dictated by the ever TRP hungry reality show makers who consider public swearing, and brawling amongst contestants as good agents of developing attention.

3.  The Host

What wonders me the most is what might be the criteria that reality shows use to pick their hosts. Maybe any obsessive, excessively jovial, emotionally inanimate jock that tickles their fancy. But again, out of work celebrities are preferred. As if the show wasn’t irritating itself, these harbingers of all things tedious keep appearing on screen to deliver line after line of repetitive monologues that never seem to serve any useful purpose. And each time they start every part of my body seems to scream, “We don’t need your opinion on how the performance was, you cretin!”. Regulations must dictate that this person spend the least time in front of the camera i.e do their job of introducing the contestant and announcing the result and fade into the backdrop. But alas, if it was for reality tv regulations lives would’ve been so much simpler.


4. The Music + The Voice-over Guy:

The insipid  music and the computer-generated-voice like announcer guy add to the sickening experience of the reality show. Drumrolls, percussionary bangs, loud techno sound effects are commonly used. The kind of music you’d expect in a discotheque in fact.  And on the complete flip side, horror, goosebumps inducing, mortal peril, near death kind of music like the type you would hear in psycho killer movies. The arrangements are designed to be catchy too so as to create a unique identity for the reality show. One note played, and you’d know which reality show’s turn it is now to torture you internally. Then there’s the omnipresent Voice-over guy who seems to be watching everything from up above. From a safe distance in fact, yet he’s got all the inside info. No one’s actually ever sees this guy but still everyone eagerly anticipates his golden words. He’s got a scary and irritating voice too. I mean, who ever talks like that in real life? If they did, they’d be laughed at and mocked to no end! But it’s reality tv, so all sense of reasoning takes a corner seat.


In conclusion, the bitter ride that is a reality show is indeed a series of unnecessary, yet knowingly, built in annoyances that divert the attention from the actual show itself. We may complain, but the fact remains that these mediums of mind boggling absurdities are here to stay.


Of Deliberate, Compassionate Conscience and The Following Silence

“Oh Demonic world, we doth behold,
How prices flew? How conscience sold?
How darkness loomed, how grave the shame
All lost in loss, absorbed deep in blame.”

Tainted Telecom minister A.Raja

As I watched a debate on a noted TV news channel last night, my stomach curled up in rage. My conscience mocked, I brooded as the gentlemen and women involved threw brickbats and bouquets at each other. Over what might you question? Passive through we are, we refuse to remain silent when the scoundrel of a thief, plays the kingmaker (read Raja).

Dr. Manmohan Singh has been playing his cards efficiently in the recent past, placing his accomplices under his protective care, ensuring robust protection to those who cement his existence the most.

Brand Congress has seen its image tarnished and tattered in the last couple of months. Be it the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society Scam or the mismanagement at the Commonwealth Games at Delhi; the Congress will find it difficult to resurface to the near-pinnacle location that it had found itself at. With the 2-G scam making a backdoor entry, just at the completion of the games in Delhi, the party has been hit hook-line and sinker.

What would be interesting to the observer is how the chieftain of the herd would retort. Mr. Suresh Kalmadi was sacked under desperate circumstances. Amidst hectic midnight parleys, AK Antony and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, the loyalist faces of the Congress chose Mr. Prithviraj Chavan as the successor to the beleaguered Mr. Ashok Chavan.
Common logic would suggest – Shouldn’t Raja too get the boot? Why not?

As the entire country looks up to this man, the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy for his judgment, we simply wonder- is it really arriving at all? This beacon of conscience and principles is caged within the darkness of silence. I allude a line that I recall from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to the predicament that all of us are in -“The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power”.

Must not the ministry be purged of all its inherent evil elements? Has the stability of the ministry become a greater liability to the esteemed Prime Minister of the nation, than the existence of righteousness? He might have made good beginnings by sacking two very prominent officials of the country, but it just wasn’t enough. He must complete what he had set out to resolve.

The Prime Minister is acting right now towards the upcoming Tamil Nadu, as well as the General Elections much ahead. It is a well-thought out act to garner some precious Tamil seats. However, had the country elected the NDA to destroy the present for the benefit of the future? No, we hadn’t. Dr. Singh must come out with a verdict soon.

Let’s discuss the figures to familiarize you with the loss. The country lost crores in revenue, over seven times the amount upon which various agreements were made during President Obama’s visit. The amount was enough to feed the entire country hundreds of times over. Such was the revenue that the 2G auction could have generated. But alas, the king (‘Raja’) had other plans.

10 Perceptions of the Indian Kind

Just a few days away from India’s independence, we witness changes that have sporadically evolved throughout these years. Changes that have been truly dynamic and changes that have definitely shaped the society that we live in today.

We might have evolved socially, economically and are definitely much more tougher inside than we were 63 years ago. But some things still remain as they were.  We apparently forgot to go beyond the full-stop a couple of times. I have compiled a list of 10 such instances. Hope that you agree and inform us of several more.

So here are the top 10 uncanny Perceptions of the Indian Kind.

1) That all Sardars hail from Punjab.
2) That only white-skinned people are foreigners.
3) That Onion and Garlic fall under the category of Non-vegetarian food.
4) That the character of the groom is judged by his educational qualification prior marriage.
5) That heavy discounts put on some products cannot make the product inferior.
6) That the beauty of a place  is judged by the number of tourist spots located there.
7) That the number of children borne is seen as more of a hobby.
8) That one must possess certain electronic equipment despite having any requirement.
9) That the national anthem might just be Vande Mataram.
10) That the end of all education leads to an engineering or a medical college.
I sincerely hope that we can definitely get over these in the next couple of years. Claim as you  strongly might, these social stigma or utter carelessness are much prevalent in our society today.
Jai Hind!  Jai Bharat!

Independent India?

As this pundit blogs this post, I merely reminisce the long years ago when we made a tryst with destiny- the destiny which Nehru pompously talked of as he declared India independent at the stroke of midnight hour. The days of yore when our forefathers were unshackled from the tyranny of opression. The days of yore when Economic and Social freedom was just within our grasp.

But at the theshhold of our 63rd year of independece, I merely remark – Have we really made a tryst with THAT Destiny? A country plagued by anomalies aboud. A country whose every single process is asymbiotic in nature. A country where the celebration of the flag hoisiting is limited to sardonic speeches, the tempestuous yawns behind the same speaker and the oppotunity for the commoner to rejoice at a very rare paid holiday!

It is remarkable to perceive that our country has more liquor stores that it has primary schools. That drunkards force children out of schools, to enact the role of  wage-earners, merely  to meet their devilish desires – is a shame. That the babus distribute liquor bottles to attract crowds to rallies rather than food and clothing, is an even greater shame.

The Fundamental Rights promised to us  by Part III of out constitution is still a very distant dream. Where is the Right to freedom from exploitation, when realtors, in tow with the petty administration, forcibly evict the downtrodden from their homes overnight? Where is the right to equality when you make reservations to government positions on the basis of caste alone?

All roads in this great nation of ours lead to the footsteps and bank accounts of the top brass alone. Once the common man is sucked into this immaculate vortex, it is seemingly inconceivable for him to return unscathed. A very limited number of honorary men own this nation, whose apparent honorary duty is to bestow these powers to their even more honorary offspring.

At that stroke of midnight hour, our country was gaining freedom from the shackles of a nuclearized nation, integrating itself for the tough roads ahead. Have we fallen back into those days of derision where states are manufactured merely at the behest of sectarian desires? The political leaders of our country are everything but Jan-Sevaks. The are more of Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks(National self-workers), interested in meeting their own devilish needs. Shakespeare once quote in one of his works – “Oh Judgement thou art fled to brutish beassts, and men have lost their reason.’ Judgement has truly gone to the dogs – leaving us , the commoners gaping cluelessly for answers.

Jai Hind!

Jai Bharat!

Random Rantings: Vol 2

Enough stupidity exists in the world today. Quite a lot actually can be attributed to people with little or no sense of general public behaviour (read: celebrities) and who often make a fool of themselves, not regarding the feelings of people like me who would rather stuff a sock in their ears than hear the crap they come up with. So an extension to the already “hit” Random Rantings Vol 1. looks seemingly imminent and with it a new list of common annoyances that nullify the very purpose of human evolution.

1. People who try to make small talk:

Now, I’m not a very sociable person and there’s a reason for that. Like I said earlier, enough stupidity exists in the world today and I wouldn’t want to dip my feet into it if I can help it. Part of that involves limited interaction with strangers because you never know when someone’s going to say the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard and you’d have to live with it for the rest of your life. Its more serious than you think. So if I’m sitting in a corner minding my own business, the last thing I need is someone trying to make forced conversation with me. Sure I’ll let you know what time is it but I will certainly NOT discuss the weather or politics or any topic that tickles you fancy with you. Nor will I let you interview me because neither am I a celebrity, nor do I share my stuff with strange freaks like you. Thats not harsh, thats just a nice way of saying, Bugger off mate.

2. Sms language when used out of place:

I’m not a fan of sms language. But I have to agree upon the fact that 160 characters are often not enough to express yourself and hence the relevance of the sms “tongue”. But what annoys me is when sms language is used outside the realm of mobile texting. It’s everywhere nowadays; Blogs, Social Networking websites, Forums etc. At this rate it wont be long before we say goodbye to proper spellings and dump the memory of them at the back of the already rusting brain of ours. It’s when the dictionaries start including  sms-words, that you know that the language is doomed and no amount of Spelling Bee tournaments is going to help. Imagine a bunch 6 year olds being taught how to express laughter in the near future by their sms addicted teachers: “Kids repeat after me: L O L Z!”

3. Fake Accents:

For me, what’s analogous to spelling mistakes in writing, is fake accents while speaking. I’m probably not the first person who loathes fake accents, but I felt a necessity to mention it here. The simple argument stands as follows: “If God wanted everyone on Earth to speak the same way, he wouldn’t have created the concept of languages and dialects”. There’s nothing funnier (and more annoying) than watching an Indian attempting to recreate an American accent. To him, an American accent is “Cool” and makes him seem “Intelligent and well educated”. Though I must admit that the sing-song Indian English accent does often make us look stupid. Still that is not an excuse enough to be subjecting people to your abject performance of speech that makes it seem like someone stuffed a lot of mothballs into your mouth and then gave you a proper spanking.

4. Celebs that Tweet:

I cannot count the number of times a day I imagine the world free of stupid celebrities. It would be a boon indeed. Twitter is a new way of torturing the already tortured soul of mine, and thats saying a lot since I hardly even use the service! Blame it on the “News channels” and other media for bringing me all the latest tweets by celebrities and force feeding me the utter nonsensical chaos of their lives. Privacy meant something in the good old days, but today if a celebrity says that he/she needs privacy then that would either mean that they’re up to no good, or they’re in serious need of some media attention and publicity. It seems like someones purposely rubbing my nose into the lives of people that I don’t even care about. When SRK takes a dump or what Karan Johar thinks about homosexuality or what Priyanka Chopra had for lunch, I simply do NOT care. Guys, just do your thing in the movies and move on ’cause you are a bunch of glorified losers to me.

5. Inspired music:

Inspiration is a tricky word and there’s a fine line between it and something called Plagiarism. The concept of Inspired music is an oxymoron. Art when copied isn’t art, and thats why you don’t hear about a painting or a book  which is similar to another. There are probably a million permutations and combinations of notes, chords and melodies, yet if someone tells me that a piece of music has been “inspired” from another, ill have none of it. Its just another way of saying “My lazy ass was too tired and out of ideas, so I copied stuff from a place you’ve never even heard of, and added my own lyrics to it”. Common errants in the Indian film industry include Anu “I like to judge” Malik, Bappi “One hit wonder” Lahiri, Jatin-Lalit, Pritam et al.

6. Semi nude models on billboards:

Keep your eyes on the road, is what you’re taught at driving school. But what do you do if there’s a huge billboard of a semi nude, incredibly hot model staring you in your face, trying to sell god knows what product? Who wouldn’t take a peek, a glance? And thats the reason it’s put there as well, for people to look up, get distracted and probably get hypnotized into buying that product. This is an unnecessary interruption in my driving that I can certainly do without. There are a hundred things I need to look out for while driving on Indian roads. I need to avoid animals, potholes, pedestrians, other vehicles, more potholes, and policemen. Shouldn’t there be some kind of legislation on how hot a model should be put up on billboards for distracting commuters? Maybe a really hot one on a highway, and a behenji type on busy roads for starters! If there can be a law against driving while drinking then there should almost certainly be on on driving while ogling.

The Top 10 Superheroes in Indian Politics

As kids, we would gape into the television sets in sheer awe of these strange and yet, unearthly figures. Terrific superpowers, classy villas up on rooftops and yes, the all very promiscouous WAG’s (read Women and Girlfriends) thronging them by their sides. The superheroes had it made didn’t they – Power, Fame and Immortality!! I wish I had some bottle with a dash of superhero elixir in it.
Notwithstanding thoughts, ideas and passions that may seep through our veins ; didnt you know that we had these superheroes in our  very back yard? Sounds incredulous? For all you doubting toms, they’re a train ride away. Yes, they’re all in New Delhi. The elected representatives of the largest democracy of the world. Yes thats them all right.
Statistics and votes apart, what makes them all mighty are a few very good reasons. Truant as they always are, they shirk away from responsibility despite the countless rules framed. That takes a lot of guts, doesn’t it? They’ve got a posse of security( read police and goons) covering their every step. And they’ve got more followers on Facebook and Twitter than this blog has visits till date!! Definite characteristics of a superhero I might add.
The Passive pundits have finally released a list of 10 Jan-Sevaks who trule deserve to be counted as the heavy-weight superheroes of Indian Polity. The list contains the names of only those elected to the houses of Parliament.
1) Sonia Gandhi –  Don Sonia

She is undoubtedly the prima donna of Indian politics at present. She posses a very unusual garb for a superhero indeed. Her Italian Devanagri or her Devanagri Italian can be confusing- leaving the evil doers at a trance. She would then use her pallu to wallop the felon black and blue.
2) Manmohan Singh – Turbanator
Move over Harbhajan, the true Turbanator is here. Leading the life of an Economist whilst day, he dons the blue turban at night – giving dashes of nyctophobia to  goons who upset world peace. A dedicated side-kick to Don Sonia, he his the ultimate managerial taskmaster, who keeps the insanity in his cabinet at bay.
3) Mamata Banerjee – Lady Trainina
She is said to have risen from the sands of the hinterland. An emancipator of the downtrodden from the injustice of the powers-that be. Her war cry of Ma! Mati! Manush! ( Mother! Land! people!) sends shivers down the spine. A very simple attire really, nothing much to brag about. She abhors useless expenditure and, like Santa Claus, is said to provide trains right upto your doorstep if you’ve been nice.
4) Laloo Prasad Yadav – Two Face
The man who held sway at one time has been finding it tough to keep up with publicity. Once the Lord Trainina at the helm, he his now a part of an alliance, all prepared to wage a war to return to the higher echelons of power. I call him Two-FAce as he was once at power, doing good deeds for the masses, but now fights a bitter war to seek justice.
5) Jairam Ramesh – Captain Planet

Ever since the demise of Captain Planet from Cartoon Network, the world desperately needed a hero-figure to “take pollution down to zero”. No, he doesn’t have five planeteers with five rings each and, and neither does he have Gaia, the earth spirit by his side. This superhero might as well have the most enemies at his opposite end – Other superheroes, industrial supremos, environmental organizations – who swear to his oust. But cool as a cucumber with tufts of hair on opposite ends he simply blurts out – ” The POWER IS YOURS”.
6) Kapil Sibbal –  The Che
Viva LA REVOLUCION, is this superhero’s warcry.  He echoed ‘go!’ right  from the very onset, and charged past all-barriers. His revolutionary work much alludes to that of  the legendary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevarra. A superhero not through powers, but definitely one in sprirt. A superhero much to be praised for and not to be mocked.
7) L. K. Advani-Safrroclops

His favourite colour is saffron. Lord Rama is his favourite god. He loves riding the ‘Chariot’ and he goes for weekend trips to Ayodhya, being his favourite destination. He bursts out saffron flashes of light whenever he takes off those glasses of his. He’s  a protoge of Atal Behari Vajpayee, aka Professor AB, who is now mostly confined to the chair.
8) Nitin Gadkari- The Incredible Hulk

A few months ago this behemoth well to be honest, cam out of nowhere in Indian politics. I heard the name first, and then exclaimed in ____, this guy  to lead the B-Men ( read BJP). I wondered what profound sense had driven them to conclude thus?? Nevertheless, A hulk in size , shape and definitely width a punch from his wrist would send the opponent whizzing past the Char Dhams in an instant. Despite an awkward sense during public speeches, for which he he has been repreoached repeately by the opposition, the hulk hopes to keep afloat.
9) A. Raja  – Doctor Do Little

This superhero hasn’t  infact been doing much but actually very little and has been the most nascent of all of these superheroes. He is mostly seen in telecom spectra and holds talks with telecom giants. He has doctored up so much for the BSNL employees, that they’re crying at the hands of uncouthly privatization. He has just retired and we are told , leads a quiet life in the hills near Ooty.
10) P. Chidambaram – Rambo

Fighting terrorists has always been his forte. Guerrila Warfare is currently his newest skill. The Naxals have literally put a price on his head. Armed with hundreds of jawans at his side, the man with miniscule brawns storms into the jungles, seeking to flush out rebels from the murky jungle depths. This Tamil Rambo is uncannily fluent in the Queen’s tongue.So, here’s a warning to the Naxals, the countless terrorist orgnizations in Pakistan with the prefix Al, the terrorist front on the North-East and all the insurgent groups within the Indian borders, beware!!

Shakira – your hips really do lie after all

There are memories back from school days that stick to my head just as those elephants that you might have seen in Fevicol(a super quick drying glue in India) ads. Jokes apart, I am filled with terror  as I remember the massive invigilation that was executed with pin-point precision by the school principal and his ‘Dream Team’ as they were out patrolling the aisles. Then the really strict one,  would holler at the top of her voice – “Don’t Cheat or you will be punished”.

That sent shivers down our timid, frail minds.  So encapsulated in fear were we that this fact remains dissolved my blood till this very day!  Without getting all that carried away, talk of Plagiarism and one name strikes your mind at an instant , yes the legendary Pritam. Who hasn’t remarked at this gentleman and his subtle qualities. Or the ridiculously sly manner in which  the initial refrain was cut and pasted in the title track of Ishqiya being Dil to bachcha hai ji’. We call it plagiarism, the industry calls it getting inspired.

Getting inspired? I was inspired by father into studying into late hours before exams. Pritam was inspired my some X into lifting the melody into his composition. He gets awards and I don’t even find a mention of my work in the obituary section of the newspaper! I mean I really don’t get it.

Plagiarism has found a really new meaning at this year’s  FIFA World Cup. People lift lyrics, some package an old melody into some new bottle You all must have seen Shakira shaking her hips with some African ladies in the ‘Waka Waka’ song. She has by far gained more popularity than any other personality this millenium, eclipsed perhaps Michael Jackson’s popularity post death. A sight for sore-eyes during the World-Cup.

We all must agree  that the rhythm to this song is really catchy. It has fresh zing to it.  But what you did not know is that it is a reckless and gross act of plagiarism.  It is hard to digest that the entire song has been lifted, the lyrics inclusive.

The song has a very uncanny resemblance  to a song by a band from the Dominican Republic – Les Chicas Del Can from the early nineties. The pelvic movements may sway you away into netherland, but we are of the opinion that one must be thorough with ones facts. Do hear this song  on the following URL and observe the resemblance.

As I had mentioned earlier, Plagiarism obtained a new definition and well I extend this extend this discussion on. You see Plagiarism got an even broader definition. Apparently, the previous song was lifted straight out of a song by a Cameroon Band by the same name. It is supposedly a tune that was popular in the Army in World wars 1 and 2.

Do get this song and listen to it for yourself.

It is apparent that all three songs are similar, and chronologically too all the songs have evolved in a rather similar fashion. It is a shame that the efforts of one are reaped as fame, laurels and popularity by the other. Shakira- well your hips do really lie after all.