For thousands of years, the group of immortals called Eternals have defended planet earth from the unnatural species of predators called Deviants. But in the present day, one of the Eternals finds out that the deviants still exist and they need to assemble to complete the unfinished business once and for all.
I haven’t read about Eternals in comics, so this film is the source of whatever the director felt to make the use of Jack Kirby‘s creations. So on paper, Eternals, I believe, are the strongest group of superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the group being socially diverse makes sense as the celestial picked his team to find deviants around the world.
A recent winner of the Oscar for Best Director, Chloé Zhao, was roped to work on this MCU project that brought a lot of challenges for the production. Because an Oscar-winning director for a superhero project becomes hyper-interesting as the audience expects the comic-book film to be a well-written and fine productional craft. And then the cinematography, visual effects, and Ramin Djawadi‘s score are other plusses giving a boost to the motive of the story.
But I am looking at the bigger picture. Into its fourteen years of existence and twenty-sixth film in line with the greatest cinematic universe ever, how important is this film for the future? Zhao’s direction does bring new breathing and way of observing a Marvel film but I guess despite having the magnitude of her quality presentation, the plotline is neither apt nor the screenplay is compelling.
If a viewer with a bird’s eye has to scale down a 156-minute film, he/she will certainly realize that there is something really wrong with the film. Let me try to point out why Eternals is not even close to being considered an average film.
One major blemish about the film is the introduction. This group of immortals is new to the audience and we have no idea how they were ever created. A Star-Wars-style intro text is not enough to accept them the way they are. Yes, the intro text emphasizes that they were needed but how these people ever become Eternals, there is no backstory. Instead, we travel time with them and observe how they protect some ancient civilizations and empires from deviants. I felt the dramatizing of old times was taken way too seriously and lost the meaning between the lines. Two of the Eternals are shown to develop a romantic interest in Babylon in 575 BC. Next scene? They are getting married in 400 AD in the Gupta Empire. The same amount of time would have been taken in dramatizing the intro text.
Another factor that ‘may’ have not worked with the audience is that Eternals is very quintessential to MCU aesthetics. They are so close to perfection and lacks human sympathy that was found for almost all the Marvel superheroes in the previous films. Seeing them fighting and killing the deviants straight from the start without knowing their whys and hows makes the purpose bleak.
The middle part of the film is a dead soul. The audience can easily give his/her popcorn to the person on the other seat and leave the theatre giving up. Amongst the team, Sersi (Gemma Chan) was easily the least favorite of all the characters, and she was chosen to lead the group. In the cast, I need to know why such established actors like Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie were part of this project. Especially Jolie, what a terrible waste! Even Kit Harrington is not utilized.
There is no villain in the film. Fine, it is not compulsory to have a villain in a superhero film but the story has to be much captivating; the grip of the screenplay was loose. Eternal is a confusing experiment in which the director struggles to plot the film in a non-linear style and attempts to apply forced humor out of nowhere to keep the audience somehow happy. As the film tries to find its zone of compliments with such an excessive time, the film loses its transmission and drops flat.
Welcome to my world where Sami Naik presents you his annual report about the best things that happened in Bollywood that year. It has been declared that the quality of Hindi-language films has declined due to mainstream commercialism and entertainment which is unfortunately true but believing that quality films in India are extremely less in production, I beg to differ. The prime reason is that the sensible audience has to discover such projects and in the times of streaming services, more chances have increased that a lot of writers and directors, who were not getting the platform, will get offers and earn recognitions from the audience when they release their work. Audience or film critic like me make efforts here by blogging and do justice for people who deserve to be recognized for their quality work.
Since 2014, I have been publishing an annual report into my blog about the Hindi-language film industry of India. The purpose of this report/blog is to inform my fellow cinephiles about the better prospects of filmmaking in the film industry and making them aware of the rich quality of films that either caught the viewer’s attraction and received the deserving praise or unluckily went unnoticed and unrecognized. Following are my previous reports about the best of Bollywood:
My judgments are based on the realistic measures fetched from the films whether those are big or small budgeted, comprised of the ensemble or lesser-known cast. No compromise on quality. Every year, I dig around three dozen potential Hindi films, watch, and judge, pass the reviews and note down the artistic and technical excellence. For 2020, the following 38 films were selected:
There is a scene where Bhonsle is done with the meeting. Bhonsle is fixed in a crowd of 70,000 people during a festival of Anant Chaturdashi. That lengthy scene took six retakes to complete the shot. In all this continuity, Bhonsle becomes a deep muted narration of a revolutionary poet.
The most important consideration for a slow cinema is the camera work which makes the viewers observe the detailing of the smaller portions of the screenwriting. And this is where Bhonsle was very impressive. Visual shots fixing you to the neighborhood like dirty old tableware, a mischief of rats, a loaf of bread near to a street dog, etc are the essentials of adaptable graphics that squeezes you to care this kind of visual bravura.
Axone highlighted the social challenges the Northeast Indian migrants were facing in the capital. Mee Raqsam depicted the fondness of a young girl about a classical dance in a conservative Muslim family and the consequences. Kaamyaab voiced their support for the lesser-known side actors and told an influential story about such an actor who wishes to conclude his career on a memorable note. Ram Singh Charlie gave a painful insider into the circus entertainers and their struggle to survive at an old age after the business is put to halt. AK vs AK was an unusual plot about celebrities taking professional and personal revenge.
But my pick is Chintu Ka Birthday which was astonishingly built on innocent hopes between the screaming agonies of political conflicts. A six-year-old boy wants to celebrate his birthday with his Indian family, and friends in war-torn Iraq in the times when the US military has invaded the country. What is more observing about the story is feeling the agony of one of the great political conflicts of this century through the eyes of the kid who is not even a civilian of that country. That said so, the story indirectly takes you to so many millions of stories of Iraqi children into sparing a thought who wished to live free in those times enough to cut a cake on their birthday.
Many of you have noticed about my film reviews that I concentrate and judge more about the film’s screenwriting. Because it is the most essential part along with the editing which keeps the spirit of the film intact and helps in maintaining finesse.
Halahal, Ram Singh Charlie, Thappad, and Bulbbul, all had the best screenwriting to compel the audience and drive into it. But why I feel Kadakh is the best work from all these? All four films have a story interchanging its parallels whereas Kadakh has time to spend in between the lines of an unusual incident to get a hold of the entire story towards the conclusion. Rajat Kapoor’s screenwriting had smartness of continuity by playing a lively party with well-crafted supporting characters giving the couples a helping hand in a limited time. The audience will feel the misery and stay in the party unnoticed and waiting for the couples’ next steps towards the body lying in the box.
What else can there be the best scene of the year than the slap? Thappad is Anubhav Sinha’s social drama film centering on a slapping culture generally forced by men as a sign of gender dominance over women. Now we as the audience know that Taapsee will be slapped at some time in the film. The excellence of the slapping scene lies in the whole buildup which makes it so special.
Vikram enjoying one of the best evenings of his life, celebrating with his friends until that call which infuriates him and makes him verbally come into a rough argument with his colleague. Enters his wife, Amrita, trying to take her man to avoid the scene until becoming herself a scene and then comes a whacker.
Interestingly, she was nowhere involved in this incident. She became the victim and all the party attendees stared at her. Even after the slap, the scene continues to shoulder her in a slow-motion camera work towards her room with the female members of the family shell-shocked.
This slap scene is the core of the film and that part was directed superbly than any scene I have watched last year.
Barun Sobti was one of the driving forces in Halahal’s excellence. Amongst the other best-supporting roles I have noted below, the only genuine competitor to him was Anurag Kashyap. But Anurag’s capacity as a supporting role was misleading and becoming equivalent to Anil’s leading character despite the plot’s thickness demanding the importance of Anurag’s role as secondary. What makes Barun worthier than Anurag to me is his supporting role justifying in the script and becoming a helping hand to Sachin Khedekar’s role. And Barun gave a realistic look to his role. His body language was more precise to work on the screenplay.
Manisha’s terrific performance was penalized to a shockingly shorter period in the film where the leading roles were given to the amateur actors having a tough time running the film on their own. Manisha’s role had the weight, the charisma of the character who went into the skin and displayed rich body language, accent, and physical performance of a typical Parsi woman.
Surprising, innit? None other than Kumud Mishra. Am I serious? Yes, I am. We have been watching him playing different character roles, most prominently since starring in Rockstar. But expecting to do a leading role? One has to ask the director’s thinking behind considering him for such a physically challenging role. He dropped his weight, he did Chaplin impersonations, he ran driving a rickshaw. And there were moments where Kumud executed so well. That scene where Ram Singh paints his face and gets emotional or when he meets himself and speaks to him, those were the melting points.
There were other actors who did so well like Adil in Pareeksha especially when he confesses his crime, drops my jaws. Sachin surprised me in Halahal. Sanjay did such justice to his role in Kaamyaab. Amitabh with age proved that he still is phenomenal in whatever role he considers to play. Anil Kapoor’s role in AK vs AK was the only tough competitor to Kumud’s as he gave his career’s best performance.
This one was easy for me. No, I am not judging her performance because the makeup was impressive. With this real-life character, Deepika smoked a soul and gave a performance she has rarely given before. She applied a different facial and body language. Notice how she smiles and laughs when she interacts with Amol.
Amongst the best performances I have written below, Deepika’s toughest competitor for me was Taapsee Pannu who had a similar victim card but less severe than an acid-attack which was a face slap. But Taapsee’s most acting minutes in consequences of the incident were gloomy and in despair. More emotional and a little slow.
On his directional debut, I think Randeep Jha has learned a lot of directional techniques straight from Anurag Kashyap for whom he was assistant director in Ugly, Raman Raghav 2.0, and Mukkabaaz. Because you will see some glimpse of Anurag when you watch this Halahal. I am really impressed with the tone of the film on which the story is developed.
Keeping it to hardly 100 minutes, Randeep Jha wastes no time in building the plot and grows it to further implications. And the most important element which the director misses about the film in India, Halahal gets its deserving technical ending, a fitting conclusion.
And now the final winner!!! Six films were in my mind. And after closely observing all of these works, I believe AK vs AK is easily the best film of 2020. AK v AK is about real-life celebrities, director Anurag Kashyap and actor Anil Kapoor, who were not destined to work with each other in the past, and at some event, they throw themselves into a heated argument resulting in a professional enmity. Anurag takes his revenge by kidnapping Anil’s daughter Sonam Kapoor and films his struggle to find her.
This is the funniest kidnapping you will watch in any Indian film. You are watching something you have never experienced. This mockumentary-style cat-and-mouse mystery chase is a blend of suspense, black comedy rich with entertainment.
Other Notable Works:
Ram Singh Charlie
MULTIPLE WINS & NOMINATIONS
Love Aaj Kal
Ginny Weds Sunny
Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa
Chintu Ka Birthday
AK vs AK
Ram Singh Charlie
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
What Are The Odds
(Most of the images used in this blog are produced from the web sources inserted in the image.)
Thank you for reading my annual Bollywood honors report. I will return with a new report next year. Share your opinion below. Stay safe.
I cordially welcome to my 6th annual Bollywood honors report.
In the past three decades, I have observed that many showbiz platforms, especially the most prestigious Filmfare, do not do much of the justice with their Hindi-language films with their ultimate decisions about the nominations and wins. So, many ‘good’ work doesn’t get the credit.
Since 2014, I have been publishing an annual report on my blog about the Hindi-language film industry of India. The purpose of this report/blog is to inform my fellow cinephiles about the better prospects of filmmaking in the film industry and making them aware of the rich quality of films that either caught the viewer’s attraction and received the deserving praise or unluckily went unnoticed and unrecognized. Following are my previous reports about the best of Bollywood:
My judgments are based on the realistic measures fetched from the films whether those are big or small budgeted, comprised of an ensemble or lesser-known cast. No compromise on quality. Every year, I dig around three dozen potential Hindi films, watch, and judge, pass the reviews and note down the artistic and technical excellence.
To be honest, I decided the winner between the three best songs of 2019 unsurprisingly from the same film; Doori, Apna Time Ayega, and Azadi. All three songs were the outcry on social problems and rebel rage. Azadi was the one I felt the best with much deeper commentary.
Yes, it has to be Hamid. People tell me that Bollywood doesn’t make good films. The point is if Bollywood is coming up with quality stories, yes. That is the other thing if viewers are ready to accept or not. Article 15 raised the equality issue and Upstarts was a much-needed push for the people who create a startup with dreams of building it big. Section 375 was a courageous effort of depicting a misleading part of feminism and Photograph was a situational drama about the meeting of two very different people. While Gully Boy was about the struggles of the street rappers.
Hamid is a completely different plot than any 2019 film I have watched. Hamid is an impressive, heartbreaking and emotional story about a 7-year-old kid in Kashmir who has lost his father and his relatives comfort him that his father has gone to Lord to do some work. Desperate to meet his father again, he quests for some source to speak to God in all innocence.
I am much focused on screenplays whenever I watch a film. The entire film can drop your emotions wherever the screenwriting falls flat. It is a very essential part of filmmaking. People hardly know about this film and astonishingly is the best screenwriting against many excellent writings of 2019 for me.
Let me tell you why. In almost 120 minutes of the screen time, writers Ketan and Udai (who is also the director) tell you about some friends who think about creating a startup and convincingly fit all the phases of business cycles. The film neither runs in haste not goes slow. The pace is neutral and the story easily grows on me. It is not easy to tell all the business phases in precision in given limited screen time. And that is why for me, the screenplay of Upstarts is the best.
I don’t know if anyone will agree with me but this film actually had the most contrasting dialogues than any film last year. A young journalist gets an assignment to solve the decades-old mystery about the assassination of the former prime minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri. She gets a place in a committee to dig into this matter where different kinds of intellectuals sit and argue.
So for this kind of political thriller, the dialogues require a terrific momentum of an intellectual conversation, history talks, rumors, blames, heated arguments, bold and bullet criticism, and I believe Vivek Agnihotri nailed it. Impressive dialogues were the main reason that the loud performances of such an ensemble cast doubled the worth of this film.
This may be unpopular or unexpected choice after watching all the films of 2019 but I found this 8-minute shot one of the best things ever happened in Bollywood in recent years.
This is when teacher Anand Kumar orders his students to perform a street act outside the school for 20 minutes strictly in English without uttering a single Hindi word. The next day, the kids strive out in front of the scores of students and get an outrageous response. The spectators roar to leave and the performers refuse. In repetition, the performers somehow finds the way to extend the act by giving an unexpected entertainment for which they didn’t prepare for. The beauty is that Basanti Don’t Dance naturally happens without the teacher’s instructions with the help of the spectators and angry response by floor beatings.
This crazy segment was deep, dark, bizarre and a remarkable commentary of class divisions. This was an astonishing presentation of a mind-blowing provocation against classism. Ganesh Acharya’s superb choreography and powerful performances by those youngsters gave that lengthy sequence a distinguished quality of filmmaking.
Not MC Sher from Gully Boy? I am afraid not. I admit it was, without any doubt, a wonderful performance on his debut but my opinion is that it is the popularity of the character and the performances leading to his favor, especially in the awards function. Tremendous confidence in the role he played but there weren’t many minutes to invest for acting than the focus was on his performance. I think Murad’s other friend Moeen had a much sensible performance.
Another factor that the readers must understand is the comparison with the other supporting roles. There were other actors last year who I believe certainly did better than Siddhant. In my mind, two were the closest in this honor, Deepak Dobriyal, and Vishal Jethwa. Deepak’s case was highly physical and Vishal’s case was mental. Deepak has the experience, Vishal is a 25yo debutant whose incredible villainous role in Mardaani 2 caught our attention. Vishal’s facial performance and killer eyes brought horror in the script and gave a memorable performance which will certainly remind anyone of Ashutosh Rana’s earliest success in Dushman and Sangharsh. Imagine, both Dobriyal and Jethwa were not nominated in this category in Filmfare!
I never thought Ranveer will ever impress me but one thing was for sure that his energetic charisma can get the use of better promises. He needs a director who can develop his acting potentials and here we are. Zoya picked the right man for the role. Ranveer is naturally the perfect Gully Boy.
An escapist and socially furious Murad is lost in the troubles from his domestic life and love affair. Addicted to his passion, he raps his social commentary and inclines towards the changes in the coming times.
I don’t know how did Alia Bhatt win Filmfare in this category. Technically, Alia’s role in Gully Boy is more of supporting as the film is completely centralized on Ranveer as Gully Boy. More bizarre was Bhumi not being nominated for her performance in Saand Ki Aankh but won the critics award.
Anyway, why Bhumi? She plays the role of an old villager and the portrayal is spot on. She brilliantly gets hold of the Haryanvi dialect and superbly adopts the mannerism of an old woman. Observe her walking style, rage, facial expressions and all funny scenes with Taapsee. This is Bhumi’s best performance to date and I found her to be the most impressive in executing her role.
This was a difficult decision. The tie was between Zoya and Shonali. Why I chose latter is because she took a very sensitive subject to its utter depth and also directed a few shots which hit straight to the heart like the couples arguing over transplant in the hospital, Aditi’s first mental collapse, Niren falling on his son’s lap and crying and many more. Shonali had a tough time in developing the characters due to different time periods.
What other film wins this honor than Gully Boy? There is no strong competition. There do are excellent films as mentioned below but none comes close to this. Gully Boy is the outcry from the slums of Mumbai where Murad is stuck in his tense domestic life and for escapism, tries to focus on rapping and does the social commentary.
Gully Boy, from all sorts, was a unique cinematic achievement where the voice of a lower-middle-class common man was whispered and the struggle of street rappers was depicted. I wish Gully Boy had made to the final round of the Academy Awards for the foreign-language category because this film was the most potentially acceptable film from all standards to reach the Oscar.
Gully Boy is full of energy and covers a few significant aspects like parent abuse and child labor. The story, screenplay, and dialogues are so carefully worked that the film easily grows on the viewers. Then the characterization also goes in favor to apply on remarkable writing. Some very impressive characters in the support develop the plot. The brilliance in the musical numbers does the rest.
Other Notable Films:
Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota
The Sky Is Pink
The Tashkent Files
Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil
Mere Pyare Prime Minister
The Accidental Prime Minister
Saand Ki Aankh
The Sky Is Pink
Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota
The Tashkent Files
Saand Ki Aankh
Thank you for reading my annual Bollywood honors report. I will return with a new report next year. Share your opinion below. Stay safe.
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”
[“Mr. Qaisar! We have observed your CV and expect you to visit our office today at 1’o’clock sharp. Regards, William Proctor.”]
Minutes have crossed since I received the message but I am still not accepting that there is still hope. I can still cope.
I am reading the message again. Finger-pointing each and every word. Yes, I am asked to reach at 1.
*LOOKING AT MIRROR*
♪ This time tomorrow where will we be
On a spaceship somewhere sailing across an empty sea ♪
I slowly touch my throat, gulp and feel the movement over there. I shake my head in shock. I am still wearing the shorts I vomited and piddled. The exploding heart has slowed down in these past few minutes. The house is silent. My shrieking ears have gone deaf. Push, my fatty, is returning with contentment by seeing me normal but after sniffing my shorts, she leaves within the seconds disgruntled.
Although, this is just a response to the job opportunity so I must not fall deluded believing that I will get the job. They are obviously calling me for an interview. And there will be many more prospects waiting for their turn. Which means I will not be alone. I will be surrounded by many bootlickers with no quality experience but strong reference. Or I may be adjoined by the candidates with fake CVs who really are digging jobs like me but do not have work experience. But will I get the job? I cannot refuse to visit the office just because I am not prepared for this. Forty-five minutes is too rapid and difficult to manage coming out of a suicide attempt to reaching the office.
A suicide attempt! Yes, Qaisar. A few minutes ago, you were about to take your life with a sorry note to your brother. Is this the sign? Was Qaisar waiting for this all these months? Is this why you lost your job?
Gosh, my hands and feet are still shaking. I feel stomach ache. I have to be sober and try to come back to my senses. Ponder, Qaisar! Ponder! I’ll take the bath and wear the most suitable attire for the job interview.
Oh, wait! My car! *palm slap on forehead* Oh my car! It is at the car repair shop. I emptied my wallet this morning. I don’t have money for transport. It is a very important moment in my life. I see no other solution than asking my neighbor for a favor. And I hope my neighbor be kind enough to lend me some money as I feel embarrassed to ask them every week. I am afraid that one day, I will disappoint so many people when they ask me to return.
I am thinking but I am not thinking. I am confounded but excited. My brain, my throat, my stomach is still sensing the aches. Recovery will take time but I don’t have enough… time. So what I am going to do is prepare a strong coffee and take a quick cold shower.
Relax, Qaisar! Everything will be alright. This message is the indication that I will have good news by the end of the day. Be optimistic, Qaisar! Be optimistic!
♪ I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t want to see
I feel the world below me looking up at me ♪
ONLY 40 MINUTES AFTER ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT SUICIDE
To the receptionist, “Good day, madam. Mr. Proctor asked me to show up at-”
“Aaah Mr. Qaisar! The name is William Proctor. I mailed you an hour ago to join at this precise time. *looking at his watch*”
“Oh! Mr. Proctor! Good to see you, Sir.”
“I cannot share both the titles simultaneously. You can simply call me by my name. But if you still insist, then add Mr. and avoid the first name.”
“Very well Proctor Sir. Ssorry, Mr. Proctor.”
“Are you in haste? Do you have an appointment at two different places at a similar time?”
“No no. Actually, I wasn’t ready for…. Mr. Proctor! Maybe we should discuss the reason I am called for.”
“Mr. Qaisar! Please have a seat in the guest room. Be prepared when your name is announced. Then I will respectfully escort you to Mr. Rodriquez.”
“*nodding* espectflee scort you to Mr. Rodriquez. *losing confidence* Understood. Thank you.”
When I enter the guest room, it is already full of my competitors looking for a white-collar job. As soon as the door opens, they all stare at me. Some of them smirk to make me feel sheepish. I have undergone this all my life. I remember such similar awkward memories like my parents introducing me to their entire ugly extended family in the hometown when I was a kid, or when I was stepping in the school bus and then in the classroom for the first time and in the waiting rooms of the hospitals.
I have been sitting for the past couple of hours and almost a dozen candidates have left. And then, when the time is near to call my name, I realize that I have come to the office empty-handed and looking around hither and thither like a nincompoop. Like a panicked Basil Fawlty. In hurriedness, I left all my project notes from my previous works behind. I look at my palms and then bury my face in it. My palms had the boldness to hold a knife but cannot occupy with the documents. I have badly forgotten the documents on the dining table. *reasoning* Is this why some of the candidates were smirking at me?
I raise and look at myself in the mirror and to my misery, I notice that the visible portion of my shirt between the sides of the suit jacket has visible marks of my old sweat.
“Mr. Qaisar Amjad! Your wait is over. Let me escort you.”
At the corridor, I am receiving a call. Oh my God! It is Nizam! I forgot to call him.
“Brother! At least answer my phone.”
“I.I.I’m so sorry. I am about to give a job invertiew. Call you later, bye.”
I step on Mr. Proctor’s shoe. What a terrible mistake! While I stepped on him, I notice that I am wearing a pair of running shoes.
“Oh, I am so sorry, I.I.I don’t know how did I step on-”
“Never mind Mr. Qaisar. It was-”
“A.Allow me allow me to collect your documents and and *thinking* your coupons, Sir”
“Coupons, Sir. These are, are they?”
“It is coupons, Mr. Qaisar, not coupons.”
Humiliation at its pinnacle! Never came to my attention aaalll my life that the correct pronunciation is kew-pon, not co-pun. And here I slipped my tongue in all innocence in front of this old British gentleman.
“Oh, I get it. A.Actually I-”
“Mr. Qaisar! *grinning* Let me state you a fact which you do not realize while being in a jiffy. You are not the only gentleman who discovers the nervousness of listening about his fate from the interviewer. Did you notice all the gentlemen and gentlewomen who were sitting before you?”
“When they came out of the room, they behaved the same way as you. One of them actually couldn’t reach the interview room and left for the restroom. *laughing* So, you see! You are better than-”
“Thank you, Mr. Proctor, for the tenth consecutive motivational speech. It is very certain that you should take rest from escorting the candidates and drink a glass of water. Now, if you are done, will you please be kind and send Mr. Qaisar to my office?”
“And *smiling* this was the voice of your interviewer. I wish you the best of luck.”
Mr. Proctor leaves me at the door. Bare hands, sweat on my shirt and the running shoes. I have already chopped more than enough onions. I take a deep breath and knock at the door.
*ENTERING THE ROOM*
Tall man *speculating* in his forties of height near 6 feet sporting long hair brushed back and a stubble beard. He is watching polo through his binoculars outside the window with a folded arm.
“Because of *eyeballs down* considering me for the interview, Sir.”
“Have a seat.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Why are you hoarsing?”
“No, Sir. It is just the dryness of-”
“Take this glass of water.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“This morning, I found your response to my offer in the junk mail. I don’t know how that mail moved to that category. But anyhow, I found your CV interesting and informed Mr. Proctor, the one who escorted you, to message you to visit us.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“And now, you will address me, Mr. Rodriquez.”
“Ok, Mr. Rodriquez.”
*CHECKING CV ON HIS TAB*
“Your latest job ended three months ago. Why?”
“My direct manager didn’t honor the agreement. My working hours were fixed for 8 hours a day. But he made me work for 11 to… 10 to 11 hours several times which was not acceptable to me.”
“*scoffing* Not acceptable to you? *surprised* Why? Didn’t your boss pay you overtime for working extra hours?”
“He did. But this led towards work stress *he is listening carefully with eyebrows near his eyelashes* and I was not able to balance my mental capaticy, oh sorry, capacity between home and office.”
If I haven’t committed suicide a few hours ago, my English certainly will make me in a moment.
“For how long were you working there?”
“Three years, Mr. Rodriquez”
*LOOKING IN THE TAB*
“It says two years here.”
“Yes, I think two years. But overall… five years.”
“And you were appointed as?”
“BM. Brand Manager.”
“A Brand Manager. Hmm. Gooood. So what were your responsibilities as a BM?”
10 MINUTES LATER
“I notice you do not bring any folder or document with you which I find quite strange. Even a flash drive of your works supporting your lengthy details would have convinced me. So how can you help me understand your potential as a BM as the oral presentation is not enough, you know?”
“Mr. Rodriquez! Believe me, if I had time to prepare a.for for the interview then I would not have raised your doubts by coming empty.”
“I am not doubting your capability. But it is quite strange to understand that you were not ready for this. Candidates who seek jobs are always ready for the call. *head shaking like NO* I am sorry but-”
*EYES POP AND MOUTH OPEN IN SUDDEN SHOCK*
I am not able to maintain myself at all. My composure is compromised. He shook his head. It is over. I was an imbecile to arrive here with no preparation. I should have requested for a-
“Are you alright? Take another glass of water. Feel free.”
*DRINKS IN ONE BREATH*
“I assume you took my ‘sorry’ as rejection. I was about to say sorry if you mind because I find the response terrible. That is it. That is what I was going to say.”
Duffer you, Qaisar. Duffer you.
*MUSTERING THE COURAGE*
“Sorry to facially embarrass you, Mr. Rodriquez. Actually, this is the first call in three months for a.any job. So I was lost.”
“If you don’t mind, may I discover what have you been doing for the past three months?”
“I will try to sum up in a few lines. Basically, I have arrested myself at home because all my savings have been incurred on my brother’s education, *voice breaking* shopping, bills, rents, etc. I tried to mail about the job vacancies in this time period but failed to get any response. I lost all my money and had to seek help from my friends to pay the rent to the landlord.”
“And did you physically hunt? for the jobs? anywhere?”
“Only one brother with you at home?”
“Yes. My parents left the city due to the financial crisis a few years ago. At that time, I had a job and good money enough to help myself, my brother, and send a few to my parents. Now, they are not aware of my current situation because I don’t want to-”
“bother sharing, heart-breaking account, to the parents, who depend, upon you. Yes yes. Hm.”
“Yes, Mr. Rodriquez. But not that they require my financial assistance currently. They are in a much better situation then they were when they moved back. They are a large migrated family so they have each other’s back.”
“Mr. Rodriquez! You asked about these months and that is why I spoke in length. And I know that this has nothing to do with my work. But thank you for listening to me as a person.”
“Therefore, I sincerely request you to give me time to prepare myself for the next day.”
“You mean Monday.”
“Oh yes yes yes. Today is Friday. Kindly give me one more chance. I promise you will listen to no complaints when you conduct another interview.”
“Do you realize Mr. Qaisar that you are selling yourself pretty quickly? I understand your situation but you do not have to drop yourself that your professional appearance compromise at your current situation.”
“My apologies, Mr. Rodriquez. But my life heavily depends on this job. It took three months to finally get a response. I don’t know what would have happened if I had not received the message. Sir, you are the boss. We have different economic situations. *smiling* You will understand my situation only if you are in my place.”
“*scoffing* In your place? *smiling* In your place? Mr. Qaisar! Are you assuming that the man in front of you has enjoyed an ideal and perfect life? Without any suffering or hardship? Do you ween that employers or those employees in senior positions or those working at some collar jobs with high pay never face difficult situations?”
“I.I never meant that, Mr. Rodriquez? What I want to make you understand is that I am mentally disturbed in my life for some time and that is why I am not able to impress you in a job interview.”
He separates his folded hands, stretches his palms, brings close to his chest and tries to make a point.
“You are mentally disturbed in your life because this is how you feel in the given circumstances. And believe me from your most exhausting brain and heart that I have seen worse cases than yours. Every individual in his/her magnitude of depression and stress behaves and believes that he or she is at the lowest possible form of life crisis. They behave like any normal human caught in flu or body ache. I am not a doctor but a human with the emotional experience.”
“Mr. Qaisar, how old are you?”
“I am 28.”
“28 haan! *grinning* You feel you are facing the worst crisis at 28 haan!? Are your parents alive?”
“Yes. Both of them. Like I told yo-”
“Both of them? *raising eyebrows* Both of them? Now imagine a 15-year-old boy in the hostel been informed that his parents have died trying to save the house on fire.”
I am unmoved for a few seconds and not believing what he just said. I am honestly lost for words but trying.
“I.I.I am sooo sorry to know this, Mr. Rodriquez.”
He lifts from his chair. Inspects outside. No more polo. Fills his pockets with his hands and speaks to me.
“They were burnt in our home where I was born and raised with my toys, cards, cassettes, music player, childhood pictures, drawings, and countless memories. My sister was teaching in the kindergarten as the fire ate our house in daylight. She was six years elder than me and at 21, she agonizingly screamed that it affected her brain and also lost her voice.”
“No more candidates today Mr. Proctor. Inform them to call on Monday morning. Thank you.”
“While *pointing at himself* this prodigy returned from the hostel, myself and Suha, my sister, were taken by my childless uncle and aunt who later admitted me to a better school and Suha, who was not able to teach further after losing her voice, was married to an old businessman. Three years later, I lost my sister in her maternal death. So I was alone at 18. Mr. Qaisar! *grinning* Have you lost anyone in your family?”
“No, I haven’t. My parents are old but alive and my younger brother is with me.”
*TAKING HIS JACKET OFF*
“We humans are a subject of comfort and torture. Somewhere, we are responsible and somewhere, we are put to test. Young man! Realize that you are put to test and your case or crisis is not that bad as many others are suffering. Be thankful Mr. Qaisar! Be thankful! Look at you! Only three members of your family are depending on you. And *looking in the tab* you are not even married, are you?”
“No, I am not.”
He hits politely on the table and sits back on his chair.
“Are you engaged? Or committed to someone?”
“No Mr. Rodriquez, I am not.”
He shakes his head in bewilderment.
“So why are you so depressed? Look at me! *pointing at himself again* I am married with my lovely wife and four kids. 3 daughters and a son. The fifth is arriving soon in a couple of months.”
“Oh congratulations in advance to you, Mr. Rodriquez.”
“Thank you, young man! But try to understand my point here. You are a bachelor and your depression is nowhere close to a married man like me.”
“I understand, Sir”
“No, you don’t understand, young man! *lifts from his chair and stands nearby* When I was 24 and I married the woman I loved. She gave me twins. We were bubbly. One day, the company went bankrupt and it shut down within a week. After all the promises, the owners didn’t pay a penny to me or any worker. It was a recession period but somehow my family and I survived. Some helping hands and some labor force. With work, I was preparing for my graduation exams. But I gave up due to no money. And the family was my obvious priority. It took 18 months to get a new job, 18 months young man!
Today, I am worried about my young girls. Every father naturally is. Every time they see me, they insist to hand them some money and I cannot refuse. And this belief kills me, what if I meet the crisis again? So I have more things to worry about, Mr. Qaisar.”
“It is very understandable that you are a practical man who has encountered more difficult times than me. Maybe I have solutions but I am not thinking that deep to overcome the crisis. But I fear that one day, those who helped me in difficult times may question because it is their right.”
“See, my experience and moral teaches me that when you help someone, never ever expect for a favor in return. Never. And ever. If they are able to help you in return or repay you, it is up to you to accept the aid or money or just simply refuse in good spirits. Your friends at least helped you to pay the landlord recently. That is what you said before, right?”
“Yes, yes, they helped me.”
“Goood! At least you were helped by your friends.”
“What about you? Did you happen to-”
“Yes. *laughing* A few years ago. Before joining this company, I was broke and lost much of my earnings in a failed business venture. That resulted in fake promises to my landlord. For two consecutive months, I sought financial favors from my friends but no help came. It was not their fault because none of them were that financially stable as I was before my business failed.
And one day, the owner arrived at my door. He ordered me to empty the apartment within two hours. Imagine the agony. I was helpless as a husband and unprotected as a father. He was just standing there gazing my hopelessness and I was wandering and staring at the flats in my neighborhood. To my good luck, someone solaced our agitation. One neighbor offered the money to the landlord at the eleventh hour. And then we stayed there. After observing that neighbor, another showed up at our door and gave us some curry. *smiling*”
“Honestly, I am speechless to your accounts.”
“*laughs* Mr. Qaisar! *sits on his chair and both hands on the back of his head* This is life. Always love your family. Always, always love and shield your family. We are different people from different backgrounds for different purposes but one facet which should always remain common is humanity. Someone in the neighborhood was human. I cannot repay him for what he did. And again, if I would ever repay that kind of favor, I do not know if he would accept or refuse in good spirits.
Life has taught me to help people. This reduces the distance between them. Now, you were supposed to impress me by your professional capacity as a BM but thanks to you, Mr. Qaisar, that you forgot to bring your work material to start a different conversation. And this is a very important point that you *pointing finger* must always remember *pause* that things… happen… for a reason.”
“Because humans today have lost themselves in materialism, violence, self-destruction and greedy competition so they don’t realize. But you, Mr. Qaisar, after all that lengthy heart-to-heart conversation, I honestly believe that you deserve a chance.”
*DIAMOND IN MY EYES*
“R.Really, Mr. Rodriquez!?!? D.Do I?”
“Yes, young man! It will be too jarring and discourteous; and I will be evil to send you empty, hopeless and distorted after that *thinking* tête-à-tête. Today is Friday, so you can commence working from Monday. I will put you on trial and will scrutinize you if you really are capable to work as our company’s BM. If things work well and you surpass my expectation, I will make sure that you are paid with all the possible allowances and provide you vehicle and accommodation. *grinning*”
He takes his key, a journal, a handbag. That is it. Interview ends. I get the job. Yes, I get the job!
“Thank you so much, Sir. *shaking head* Thank you sooo much. Much obliged, Sir. *handshakes* I am… I am lost for words and I wish if my parents were with me, I would have invited you to meet them.”
“Otherwise, you won’t?”
“No no no. *grinning* I didn’t mean that. You are most welcome, Mr. Rodriquez.”
He is folding his suit jacket.
“You have no idea how much I am grateful to you despite the fact that I wa-”
“Attaboyyy!! I have your number. See you on Monday.”
Honestly, that ‘Gooood’ was in Palpatine’s voice. But he has surprised me. What a jolly fellow he is. Such a friendly gesture he has. And he also likes NBA! We actually are watching NBA together soon? With drinks? Am I dreaming? Who does this? I haven’t even started working. Is this for real? I hope this is not a prank. I hope he is normal.
“Leaving, Mr. Rodriquez”
“Yes, Mr. Proctor. Please look after the employment formalities of the newcomer.”
“Will do, Mr. Rodriquez.”
“*looking at me* And you! Do not fail me, young man! And never ever give up! See you on Monday. And we’ll plan about watching NBA. Mr. Proctor will also join.”
“Me? *laughs* Oh, I’m afraid I-”
“Come onnnn! It will be fun. This guy has 8K UHD! Even I don’t have at my home. Oh, by the way, Mr. Qaisar! He is Celtics. *sarcastically laughing*”
I am confused. Why is he laughing? And should I laugh with him or not. He prepares to leave.
“I must leave now. It was delectation to have you and speaking in length. Come prepared, Mr. Qaisar. Do wash your shirt and wear a better pair of shoes here.”
He kneww itt! And he still recruited me!
“Welcome aboard, Mr. Qaisar.”
“Mr. Proctor! I must admit that Mr. Rodriquez is a very generous and humble man. He is completely the opposite of my former boss. If we have people with such qualities holding the chairs in most of the companies, we employees can never feel distressed.”
“I wish if the global powers would have been that kind and perfect, there would have been no economic crisis.”
“Is he always like this with all the candidates?”
“Most of the times. Yes. He is fond of making people optimistic. But today, he invested more time on this young chap.”
“You are right. I can relate to your point somehow.”
“And I hope *smiling* that you won’t lose your… job.”
“I am confident that I am staying here for long.”
“It’s 4 and I suggest we should do these formalities on Monday.”
“Mr. Proctor! I am yet to ask about your position in the company.”
“I am the secretary to the company’s GM and also have my say as a consultant. Enjoy the weekend.”
I come out of the building. Then I gaze back at the building to the top. Heavy clouds pouring drops on my head in laziness.
It wasn’t pouring for some time. The weather forecast was sunny this morning. I went to the building empty-handed but I feel that my hands are carrying some weight now. The weight of my fate.
♪ I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world ♪
♪ Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’ ♪
A few hours ago, I was about to take my life. I was lost and hopeless. I had an accident this morning. My phone was not mute. I had no money to reach here. I left my documents at home. My e-mail was on the junk. The interview was semi-personal. And this man under his authority gave the chance I was craving for some months. Maybe he was in high spirits before I stepped in to meet him and he may have thought to make the life of any of the candidates. But the point is *thinking* that things happen for a reason. Things… happen… for a reason.
I am looking around, trying to notice why the vehicles stop at red and run at the green from my wet eyes. I think I understand something. I am clapping and joyously chuckling while still looking around. I am smiling as if I have fallen in love again. I look around the busyness of the city.
Two kids of around 8 licking ice creams at a stall. A woman reading a book on the bench with her poodle sitting near her. The workers lifting bricks and some working on a billboard. I am loving everything whatever I see.
But there are things which provoke me to observe the harsh realities on the same streets. A mime entertains a small crowd nearby and after the act, no one drops a penny to his name. A beggar bundled in torn clothes whines for food and a group of witnesses strangely guffaws over his misery imagining if this is a slapstick. A street singer goes unheard lamenting about the man of words who committed suicide after his poetry fell on deaf ears.
♪ Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley ♪
I help an old woman with a walking stick cross the street on the red signal. She thanks me and leaves. I wave my hand on her back which goes unnoticed. Then a beggar from my back appears to me asking for money. I realize on his face that my wallet is empty of notes. I stare at him.
♪ And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall ♪
“Nizam! Don’t forget to collect your key. I am leaving now.”
“Good luck, brother.”
I have my parents’ blessing. I spoke with them on the weekend and informed about the new job. I pretended that I left the previous job for this and skipped reporting all the jeopardies. Why should I tell them? Why should I?
[“Beta! I am so happy and proud of you. Always work hard and earn good money.”
“Oh yes. Something I forgot to tell you. Mrs. Khurshid came last night at our place. You know her daughter, Saba? She has returned from Amsterdam completing her studies. Maa Shaa Allaah, Saba is such a beautiful-”
My car is still in the workshop because the workers later that day left for strike due to non-payment. The neighbor lends me more money as I informed him about my new job. That day, I called the landlord and my friends to inform about the job. Now I am at peace.
I have my Montblanc business bag and derby shoes of Hugo. And there are no marks of sweat as my attire is laundered. So I am missing no chance to give a better impression this time.
And I am enjoying cool breeze hanging in the bus. Above my head, the sun is hiding behind the clouds… just like my recent past. *smiling* And behind my head, I notice a teenage girl making a video of a sleepy passenger with saliva dropping from his mouth and snoring loudly. The scene catches the attention and his nasal thunders chuckle the other passengers, so does I. I recognize the delight on many faces and suddenly my eyes catch sight of a striking girl in a red and white sleeveless fit and flare casual dress of an unknown brand who notices me after chuckling at the sleepy passenger exactly the same time as I to her. She reminds me of Lauren German.
♪ Black Sabbath – Orchid ♪
As soon as we look at each other, my eardrums hark Black Sabbath’s Orchid. We are not chuckling anymore. We don’t care whose snoring has been funny all these seconds. We are glaring at each other. Her sparkling hazel eyes are inviting. She looks at me as if she is daunted with the unwanted coincidence of the chuckling faces fixing the eyes over each other. Maybe she is augmenting her careless mettle where emotions foolishly wander. Maybe she is making a statement. All my conundrums have vanished.
Oh, wait. Some lady holds her arm from the back. She looks back and they are smiling at each other. And she leaves with her at her stop and doesn’t glance back at me. Maybe she is with her. Maybe she is her sister or a friend. Maybe I am thinking too much. Maybe this is becoming my tendency. I remembered Sakina for a moment when she and I fixed our eyes at each other. Our misfiring chemistry led to abysmal farewell.
Now I realize how stupid I was thinking about killing myself. The opportunity knocked and I got a new job hours later. And that is why we should never lose hope. Because someone above the clouds is very kind to you. He is testing my patience. He is observing me.
I have reached on time and I am a few minutes away from 9. It is the new beginning and I hope that I will fit in the working environment with my new….
*STOPPING AND STARING AHEAD*
Why are the cops patrolling down? What is happening in this building?
I walk a few steps ahead. People on the streets are gathering to observe the situation. I ask a few who are standing near the cops. They have no idea. I have no idea. I am getting late on my first day but I am not allowed to enter the building for some time. I must call Mr. Proc-
*EYES WIDE OPEN*
A team of police escorting a handcuffed Mr. Rodriquez out of the building!
Mr. Rodriquez is handcuffed! The cops are here for him?
Mr. Rodriquez is arrested? What is going on?
♪ Life ain’t always beautiful
Sometimes it’s just plain hard
Life can knock you down
It can break your heart. ♪
My eyes are not believing the scene I am witnessing. I try to reach to one of the patrolling cars nearby.
“Why is he handcuffed?”
What did he do?
He is three steps away.
“M.M.Mr. Rodriquez! What happened??”
He is smiling. Shaking his head. He looks like he was crying before reaching here. He doesn’t look like if he has slept the last night. The cops are making him sit in one of the vehicles.
“Things happen for a reason, Qaisar. Always remember! Things happen for a reason.”
The door of the vehicle shuts!
“Do not fail me, young man! And never ever give up!”
♪ Life ain’t always beautiful
You think you’re on your way
And it’s just a dead end road
At the end of the day. ♪
I stand there as the cops leave the site. Mr. Rodriquez keeps looking at me until he disappears from the scene. I am believing as if he further wanted to say something to me. I am feeling if he is downtrodden by the authorities for being humble and kind to the helpless people like me. The spectators around become pedestrians. The time has passed 9. I am allowed to enter the building. Should I? I can barely move my feet from where I am standing.
♪ But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way
Of taking its own sweet time. ♪
A silence spells for a few seconds then I see Mr. Proctor reaching towards me.
I am dumbstruck but I have to begin from somewhere.
“What in the world just happened now? I cannot believe what my eyes just witnessed. What did he do?”
“Please come to the office and we will speak on this matter.”
Entering the building and the gate from where he was escorted out handcuffed is not helping me make up my mind because I want to know.”
“Please Mr. Proctor! Tell me. What did he do?”
“I hope you realize that this is not the place to sp-“
“What did he d-“
*RAISING HIS VOICE*
“HE HAS MURDERED HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN!!”
[“Always love your family. Always, always love and shield your family.”]
♪ No, life ain’t always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain’t always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride. ♪
It was the 15th of October, 1812 when the powerful and furious army of the Marhattas comprised of Gwalior and Nagpur states numbering a force of 82,000 marched towards the Fatehgarh Fort under General Jagua Bapu, his deputy General Kachua and the Muslim General Sadiq Ali.
From Gwalior, Jagua was joined by one of his officers, Dan Singh. Jagua’s force amounting to 25,000 men was strengthened with 12 battalions of infantry and 30 guns. If that was not enough, the commanders of the infantry and cavalry, Ramlal and Krishna Bhau joined Bapu with their 15,000 men, horse and foot. And from Nagpur, General Sadiq Ali marched with an army of 30,000 men. So that is a force of 70,000 men out of the above-mentioned figure of 82,000. I am not aware what the rest of 12,000 was comprised of.
STRENGTH OF WAZIR’S ARMY AND HIS ALLIES
As compared to the gigantic Marhatta force, Wazir Mohammad Khan was able to convince his Rajput Allies and Sikh mercenaries to fight by his side against the Marhattas. And along with his ever loyal Pathan army, Wazir had a Rajput-Sikh alliance support of only 6000 horse-and-foot, and 2000 men provided by the zamindars of Talpargana and Ratan Singh Thakur. Besides, the other support came from Namdar Khan of Tonk and his 3000 Pindaris. Namdar Khan was the nephew of Karim Khan who was once a prisoner of Sindhia for five years.
Wazir realized that such a small number of force is not enough to fight against them. So he considered a defensive approach and ordered his guards to close all the gates of Fatehgarh Fort with the entire population of Bhopal inside. Looking at the scenario, the enemies encircled the fort and stormed the gates every day or threw rope ladders over the walls at night. When they lifted from the ladders, they were welcomed by the Bhopalis pouring boiling water above them. The other alternative was to throw a barrage of rocks and stones over their heads to dissuade them from climbing.
The enemies cannonaded during the first few weeks. The friends of Wazir had the utmost difficulty in prevailing on him to abandon the tombs of his ancestors where the principal battery of the enemy was afterward raised.
Wazir and his army defended this way for a few weeks but then their spirits met a new low when all of Wazir’s allies, the Rajputs, the Sikhs and the Pindaris decided to quit and withdraw from the fort. I am not aware of the reason but most certainly they realized that was not their war to defend or sacrifice. They assisted as much as they can but being inside the gates for weeks was too much a favor.
Pindaris were in such a distressing situation due to being unable to procure forages for their horses. With the departure of his allies, the army strength of Wazir was reduced from 11,000 to 6,000.
Out of the remaining 6,000 force, Wazir posted and assigned half of them this way;
100 men at the old fort (guarded by Doongar Singh, a Rajput officer)
200 men at the Ginnor (guarded by Thakur Jay Singh)
200 men at the Gondwara gate (guarded by Mir Bakar Ali)
200 men at the Mangalwara gate (guarded by Nanga Sar meaning bearheaded)
200 men at the Itwara gate (guarded by Mulaim Khan)
200 men at the Jumarat gate (guarded by Khawaja Bakhsh)
400 men at the Sondwara gate (guarded by Moiz Mohammad Khan, son of Ghous Mohammad Khan)
200 men at the Humamil gate (guarded by Karim Mohammad Khan)
500 men at Wazir-gunj, a suburb outside the town (guarded by Gulshan Rao)
200 men for Fatehgarh (guarded by Dil Mohammad Khan)
100 men at Bala Fort (guarded by Zalim Singh)
100 men for Fatehgarh’s port (guarded by Soota Khan)
500 men for Wazir’s personal command
Ghous Mohammad Khan, to whom goes the credit of bringing this wrath on his Bhopalis gave up on hunger, depravity, and hardship. Because of him, Wazir had to negotiate safe passage to move him outside Bhopal in comfort under the company of eunuchs and courtesans. It is hard to visualize and measure the level of embarrassment and shame he brought on the efforts of the Bhopalis. His wife Zeenat Begum and her eldest daughter Qudsia decided to stay on in the fort to rally their people in resisting the siege. Qudsia in a few years became the first of the four female rulers to rule Bhopal typically termed as the Begums of Bhopal. Yes, you read it right, Qudsia was the daughter of this Ghous who was so worthless that even the enemies didn’t bother to take him as a hostage.
Many times, the defense of the fort was in jeopardy and the measures had to be taken in haste. One day, the enemies broke into the fort by attacking the guards on the Budhwara Gate. The gate was wide opened for the Marhattas to finally march and enforce a possible bloodbath but Wazir’s commander-in-chief and the most loyal of all the Barrukat Pathans, Sardar Bakhshi Bahadur Khan, bravely fought the enemies at the gate. Bhopali women assisted Sardar by throwing stones and pouring boiling water on them. When the news of the attack reached to Wazir, he came to the rescue and successfully defended the gate. Sardar served severe gashes but his gallantry boosted the morale and augmented the much-needed courage among the Bhopalis.
With the weeks passed, the normal consumption of food was deadly compromised. Bhopalis began to eat leaves and boiled shoe leather. During this painfully ravenous time, Wazir’s loyal Rajput allies, Ratan Singh and Aman Singh, the zamindars of Rajput, helped the Bhopalis by arranging grains enough to feed them. So when the food was required, Wazir would seek help from them and agree to reach on a certain spot after midnight. Then Aman and Ratan (or their men, I am not sure here) would bring cartloads of grain through the jungle to an agreed spot on the far side of the lake overlooked by the fort in the darkness of the night.
On the other side, Wazir with his few loyal companions including Bakhshi Bahadur would carefully leave the fort through the gates and swim across the lake carrying empty mushuks (water bags) to fill with grain and return with weight. These were the times which we will never imagine to exist. Escaping from your enemies by slipping from the gates and trying to reach at a spot on an agreed time and trying to return safely again from their enemies while carrying the weight. Too much to ask but that is loyalty to defend while resisting the siege.
Grains were not enough. Wazir somehow contacted the Hindu corn merchants who were commissioned to supply wheat to the Marhatta army at one rupee for five seers. He knew that the merchants will not supply wheat to the enemies of the Marhattas and that too on this rate. So he paid exorbitant sums to convince the dealers. Therefore, the merchants black marketed the wheat to the Bhopalis at 10 rupees per seer. Wazir risked his life and spent a huge fortune to feed his people, leaving the conclusion on God. Pure madness but the gem of example to determine the leadership.
This continued for six months. An abnormality of a life survival was on the count and many people began giving up or became treacherous due to lack of food and water, and sanitation. Observing the Bhopalis breaking their courage, the Marhattas began bribing the guards to open the gates. Looking at these circumstances, anyone at Wazir’s position would have either committed suicide or waved a white flag but he patiently waited.
Zeenat Begum bravely led the Bhopali women, both Hindus and Muslims, and supported their men’s army. They supplied them food and water, learned musketry and the other arts of combat. The women put themselves to exercise to fill cannons with gunpowder and fire so that made it easy for the men to take rest and let the women, dressed as men, stand to guard at nights.
Zeenat Begum unified all classes of women into one. Under her, there was no difference between the rich and the poor women. They all sat together beside her at the table meeting. She led with examples. One day, Zeenat ordered her 14-year-old daughter Qudsia to give two chapatis to a cleaning woman after being informed that her children were starving for a couple of days. Qudsia gave one and hid the other for her brother Faujdar. When Zeenat inspected, she scolded her daughter.
On the other occasion, Zeenat’s other son Moiz was wounded by the enemy musket-fire and fell unconscious. Her mother came for the rescue, dressed her son’s gashes with her dopatta and loaded and fired cannon herself for several hours until Moiz revived. Yes, it is really hard to believe that she was Ghous’ wife.
A TREASURE OF HOPE
The resistance of siege continued until they tolerated the deprivation. The time length of the ultimate wait in the line of defending the land was outnumbering due to the succumbing of the women and children. After nine months to the siege, Wazir held a meeting and decided to negotiate with the enemies a safe passage for the women and children through Qazi Mohammad Yusuf and Molvi Nizamuddin so the remainders in the fort can launch a suicide attack because there was no other way to conclude of what Wazir decided for his people.
This decision was agreed and both, Qazi and Molvi, were sent to the enemy as the envoys. During all this, Wazir went to a faqeer for the spiritual guidance. Pir Mastan Shah was known as the dancing Pir living in Bhopal for past 12 years. Wazir dropped his turban and sword, and placed at his feet and asked for the final blessing. Inclined towards the circle of devotion, Pir chanted ‘Fatah Fatah, Nacho Nacho’ (Victory Victory, Dance Dance) and indicated a location in the fort to discover and dig. Expecting it to be a God’s sign of the lasting hope, Wazir reached a secret chamber of the fort where he discovered around 500 bags of dynamites. Not a confirmed source but the legacy is that long time ago, an old servant of Wazir’s great-uncle and Ghous’ grandfather, Yar Mohammad Khan hid or stored those dynamites there. Wazir found the courage and postponed the likely surrender for a day making Qazi and Molvi think if they were deceived by altering the agreement.
SADIQ ALI’S DREAM
Wazir assembled his force to revise the plan but had no idea to the situation inflicted around his enemies. Major General Sir John Malcolm has accounted for an interesting turnaround in one of his books about Sadiq Ali.
One day out of nowhere and beyond anyone’s expectations, Sadiq Ali announced that he had a horrible dream about some force from the ground cursing him for joining hands with the infidels against the people of his faith. He was further warned by the force to dissuade from fighting against them as the period of nine months without genuine progress was certain evidence of not breaking the defense of the Bhopalis because they were protected by the divine powers.
With the explanation of such a dream, he ordered his army to withdraw. Dan Singh and other Sindhia commanders struggled to convince but there was no stopping. Sadiq Ali and his army raised the siege and left to Sarangpur.
Moreover, Jagua Bapu’s army suffered a dreadful attack of cholera taking Bapu’s life which further weakened and reduced the opposing force. So when Wazir and his army went on for the final assault finally after nine months, only the weakest force was left. Women from the ramparts fired with cannons. Bakhshi Bahadur bravely fought and faced severe injuries again. Jagua Bapu’s deputy Kachua committed suicide by swallowing the diamond dust.
After nine months of Bhopal’s siege and self-arrest of the entire population, the historic Fatehgarh Fort was not invaded. In one of the most incredible circumstances, Bhopal was saved from the Marhatta Army under the most ideal leadership of Wazir Mohammad Khan and proved to be the true bloodline of his great-grandfather, Dost Mohammad Khan. True to his noble tradition, Wazir declined to claim the title of Nawab. He pensioned off Ghous to Islamnagar.
“Entering in 2019, these kind of stories are impossible to believe to exist. Because things are drastically changed, the soldiers do not wait for their opponents to come out from their place for nine months. There have been many sieges. To my surprise, Bhopal’s siege is hardly available on the internet. Many names I mentioned in the story here cannot be detected by any search engine. Which actually proves that there is still a lot of treasure to gain from the books which cannot be found on the internet. My piece from Hindustan’s history is a favor to the global readers who can treasure this through my blog and benefit to the coming generations. Thank you for reading.”
This book came to my attention when I came to know that he was the cousin of the Nawab of Pataudi which meant that he belonged to the royal house. So when I read about him on Wikipedia, I was reintroduced to his name as an author. One of the books had this title envisaging some blood connection and when I read that some of the women ruled the Bhopal state for more than one hundred years, that knowledge encouraged me to read this book.
Mr Khan emigrated to Pakistan with his mother in 1950. His mother inspired him to write this book and for the research, he used his mother’s library to read all the available books, documents, and manuscripts, even the recorded tapes about his ancestors in the state’s history. No book on Bhopal can challenge the heaviest and rich detailing of this book due to the fact of Mr Khan having the luxury of storing the most authentic sources about Bhopal.
In this book, Mr Khan attempts incredible research and enriches the readers about his ancestors in which four Muslim women rulers reigned over Bhopal between 1819 and 1926. Therefore, the length of the blood lineage of Mr Khan can be traced back to Dost Mohammad Khan of the 17th century.
This blog is not a book review. My reading to this book is merely 60 pages old but what has made my mind to write this blog is to inform you about one of the sieges mentioned in the book which was occurred in extraordinary circumstances. I would like to take you back to the chapters of the Indian history to tell you how the soldiers defended their piece of land. An example which is hard to imagine and nearly impossible to exist today.
We are observing a lot of wars, bloodbaths, riots, protests, ceasefires, political and religious disturbances between any of the two which is dismantling the way this world used to function. In these times, when all our ancestors of the golden periods are vanishing and becoming a part of history, there is a certain possibility that one day there will be no one and nothing to tell the new generations. The history books are already losing its value because of the priorities the new generations are setting to read. So it is the duty of some of us to share a part of history what we have read. Today, I will tell you the story of a siege and try to memorize you the significance of sacrifice. This is about the siege of Bhopal occurred in 1812.
Before I speak about the siege, I must enlighten you about some points which connect you towards the reason behind this siege. I will try to summarize the details.
DOST MOHAMMAD KHAN (1672-1728)
Now I mentioned this name before, Dost Mohammad Khan. This is the man from whom the history of Bhopal is genuinely spoken because he was the founder of the Bhopal state. He was a Pashtun from the Mirazi Khel clan of the Orakzai tribe from Tirah. He was a powerful warrior who fought under the army rank of Emperor Aurangzeb.
After the death of the emperor in 1707, he was employed in Malwa‘s Rajput state called Mangalgarh by Raja Anand Singh Solanki. Solanki’s mother was highly impressed with his service and after Raja’s death, she appointed him the guardian of Mangalgarh in 1708. Dost also married their Rajput girl, Kunwar Sardar Bai, who later converted to Islam and become Fateh Bibi. Dost had 11 children. The most popular of those were Yar, Wasil, Fazil, and Sultan.
By the next year, Dost bought Berasia on lease from Taj Mohammad Khan and built his fiefdom on it. He also built a mosque and a fort and appointed a qazi (judge). He gave administrative assignments to his trusted Afghan lieutenants and persuaded his clan in Tirah to join him and settle in Berasia. By 1712, fifty of his clan people along with his father and five brothers traveled and joined him. Thus, his Mirazi Khel clan became the pioneer settlers of Bhopal and were called Barru-Kat (shrub dwellers) Pathans of Bhopal.
In 1722, the foundation of Fatehgarh Fort was laid by Dost naming the fort after his beloved wife Fateh Bibi. Bhopal’s first mosque Dhai Seedhi Ki Masjid (Two-And-Half-Steps Mosque) was also built inside the fort. This fort has never been conquered. During this period, Dost was entitled as the Nawab of Bhopal for what he did for the state. It was his charismatic leadership by which he created a Muslim state with 90% Hindu population and surrounded by a sea of Rajput and Marhatta adversaries.
YAR MOHAMMAD KHAN (1710-1742)
Six years later, Dost died and his son, Yar Mohammad, became the second Nawab at 18. The post-Dost era was a pretty hard time in the beginning as the Marhattas began dominating over Malwa under PeshwaBaji Rao I. Peshwa, in 1736, fought and defeated the Nizam of Hyderabad. In 1740, Bajirao died and his son Balaji Rao succeeded him. Yar’s leadership lacked the charisma which his father had and his 14-year reign saw Bhopal genuflect towards the Marhattas. In 1742, Yar died of illness at a young age of 32 leaving his Hindu wife Mamola Bai behind. She was the first significant woman of Bhopal’s political history. She didn’t give birth to any of Yar’s but ruled over Bhopal for over 50 years under the name of Yar’s sons, Faiz and Hayat with the assistance of another Hindu loyalist Bijjeh Ram who was Dost’s faithful chief minister. It was ironic to observe two Hindus giving a helping hand to rule the Muslim state over a population of most of the Hindus and invoking the Islamic legitimacy in favor of her stepsons. Mamola herself adopted a Brahmin, Chottey Khan who later became her chief minister.
FAIZ MOHAMMAD KHAN (1731-1777)
Faiz, the third Nawab, was a very religious man whose devotion to Sufism grew to an extent that he lost his interest in the state politics. Mamola ruled under his name for the next 35 years until he died of an illness leaving his wife behind. His wife was Saleha Begum, better known as Bahu Begum, his first cousin. Begum was the daughter of Yar’s brother Wasil Mohammad Khan, the traitor who once helped Peshwa to invade Bhopal.
HAYAT MOHAMMAD KHAN (1735-1807)
The era of the fourth Nawab, Hayat, met serious crisis when he allowed his cousin, Murid Mohammad Khan, to enter the Bhopal state in 1796 (a year after Mamola Bai died). Murid was the son of the conspirator Sultan Mohammad Khan, who once attempted to claim the title of Nawab from Yar once their father died. Murid was a pure villain and treacherous. In 1797, he killed Hayat’s wife and later called Marhatta leaders for support to take over Bhopal state. Hayat summoned Fazil’s grandson, Wazir Mohammad Khan to take the charge. Hayat and Wazir with 1000 tribesmen were assisted by Kuli Khan, the jagirdar (landlord) of Ambapani and defeated Murid in the battle where his other opponents were Bala Rao Anglia of Gwalior, Raghuji Bhonsle of Nagpur, and Amir Khan of Tonk with a force of forty thousand.
Although the opponents tasted a bitter defeat and the Bhopalis defended their state under Hayat but it was Wazir whose heroics earned the highest reputation hoping to revive the legacy of his great-grandfather, Dost Mohammad Khan. Almost 70 years to Dost’s demise and their people missed that leadership quality among Yar and his sons Faiz and Hayat. In fact, it was Mamola Bai most of the times when she ruled with proper care under their names.
Wazir became the deserving commander-in-chief in 1797. He recovered many territories which were lost under Hayat’s rule. His growing reputation became a huge concern for Hayat and his son, Ghous Mohammad Khan. Wazir and Ghous were rivals but Ghous had permission by his father to exercise the powers of Nawab. After all, Ghous was next in line. Wazir had no interest in the power, he was a born warrior who wanted things to go in the best interest of his state.
Sensing a possible threat from the powerful neighboring states of Gwalior and Nagpur who were recently defeated, Wazir negotiated with the British in 1804 to support them against the Marhattas. This may have proceeded in a mutual agreement if Ghous wouldn’t interfere. His enmity for Wazir was so venomous that in 1807 when Hayat died and he became the fifth Nawab, he banished Wazir from Bhopal and made treacherous deals with his rival, Daulat Rao Sindhia. As per the deal, Ghous was willing to surrender the Islamnagar Fort, pay four lakhs of rupees in cash, present an annual tribute of 50,000 to Sindhia and 11,000 rupees to his public officers.
BHOPAL UNDER THREAT
With this deal, the British drew themselves back because they were obviously unsure of Bhopal’s commitments. Looking at Ghous’ impotency, Raghuji Bhonsle took his chance to take revenge from their defeat and sent a colossal force of 40,000 under a Muslim general, Sadiq Ali.
Wazir on his tailless horse Pankhraj took a temporary residence in the Ginnorgarh Fort, an ancient fort built in the times of Gond Rajas. Areas of Hoshangabad and Cheynpoor Barree were taken by the Nagpur army.
Sadiq Ali stayed for six weeks at Bhopal, took Ghous’ eldest son Moiz as a hostage and returned Nagpur. Sindhia besieged the evacuated Rahatgarh Fort. Wazir scrutinized the security on the fort weaker enough to confront and overtake. After taking the fort back, he determined on an attempt to return for the rescue, kick the Nagpur force out and take the control from here.
There was no way the state would trust Ghous as their leader. Wazir accused him of treachery and banished him to Raisen fort. Ghous remained Nawab but with no authority to exercise. The situation was alarming after the omen which Ghous brought on the Bhopalis. In 1812, the states of Gwalior and Nagpur who had differences with each other during this period, resolved their issues because both had a common enemy to deal with.
Daulat Rao Sindhia and Raghuji Bhonsle joined hands to defeat Wazir, invade Fatehgarh Fort and take over Bhopal. Their collective Marhatta army of 82,000 under the generals, Jagua Bapu and Sadiq Ali, marched towards the state of Bhopal to the siege. Bhopalis faced the greatest crisis and the toughest times in their history.
How possibly would Wazir defend his state and his people against the mighty Marhattas this time?
My good morning happens with the shocking news of Qandeel Baloch‘s murder! I am not a frequent visitor nor am I her fan but I have seen her earliest videos on her Facebook page and came to understand that she was one of those human species who chose to post silly nonsense videos to get a swift popularity. Her popularity brought the same arguments about downfall in society’s moral collapse with the repeated questions of “Where is Pakistan going?” and now is reigniting debate about honor killings in the country.
Yes indeed it is a morale collapse among the individuals doing naughty and silly stuff nowadays. Eyes of us men are no innocent to the videos we are fond of. Nope not talking about the videos of the adult industry but generally speaking, female individuals of different ages in South Asian societies have done way more than what the deceased used to do on social media. We have seen them making and forwarding amateur home videos like stripping behind the close doors, naked selfies, courtships in front of continuously adjusting camera and God knows what else for the sake of the demands coming from their seasonal boyfriends despite knowing the fact that there is every chance of the books from her storehouse to be transferred towards the library. But that morality can be corrected, vanishing her from earth is not the solution. Was QB a bigger threat than ISIS’?
Let me justify definition of ‘Moral Collapse’ prevailing in this country by four understood phases of this tragic life cycle.
QB posted silly videos for popularity, many of those alarmed if she had mental issues.
The viewers have/had different opinions and every opinion doesn’t make sense like her. Some turn out to be perverts and some become bonerfide seasonal mullahs who watch the whole video and then declare her ‘gandi’. Some females in the comments recruit her in adult industry or curse with a rolling-pin in hand.
Instead of correcting or ignoring her (because her’s is/was none of our folking business); people all of a sudden become responsible for their khandaan or become patriotic and mullah and begin delivering threats to her. And one day someone kill her and the killer is none other than her brother whose so-called gherat was sleeping all these years.
Most of the people who come to know the news of her death are actually glad, happy and excited as if they have passed some exam.
All four phases explain the collapse in morality. We have no business to what an individual does. I can fully understand from what ‘shame’ her brother has gone through, how his friends, neighbors, kins and society has been treating, teasing and scolding her. But but but committing crime and taking her soul is the most dumbest and disgusting idea. Whatever she was, taking the human soul is not in our hand and Islam teaches us that killing a human is killing humanity.
It is irrelevant, very very irrelevant and nowhere in any condition or space of judgment to kill her just because of your hatred or her business. Just because you don’t like her or she expose her skin too much, does it make you think that she brought shame to your family and your country? And does this reasoning power give you license to kill her?
The regular boners of the deceased’s videos who are now happy for her being killed by her brother under the name of honor killing should from now on mind their own business and should not speak shite about Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The lady won us not one but 2 Academy awards for her documentaries on acid attacks and honor killings in Pakistan and many people from her country criticized her for presenting ‘bad’ image of Pakistan.
Those who are laughing and enjoying her death from now on should also not criticize and emphasize on extreme feminism either people encouraged towards extreme feminism are right or wrong. Because if you can laugh on the death of a girl who was expressing her good or bad freedom in her videos, it makes no sense to speak how much your country cares about women’s rights because I don’t see that happening in this country. Just a month ago, one lady was abused live on TV speaking of women’s rights by a JUI guy while a lady was called a name in the assembly.
We Pakistani nation are just like pleasure-house visitors who enjoy every inch of solicitor’s skin in the courtship and lovemaking and help her strip her clothes. But once we are done, we leave her just over there and even talk dirty about her the other day. Even accuse her for being a public property or root of all evil. World has gone so cruel and planet Earth is no more a safer and peaceful place to live.
Sometimes I wonder why honor killings happen more in Asia specifically in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Jordan. Even when such crime happens in America and Europe, most of the cases associate with the immigrants, or Muslim families mostly coming from Pakistan and Iran. Remember Belgium’s first ever honor-killing trial few years ago? She was 20-year-old Sadia Shaikh, a Pakistani girl who was fatally shot three times by her brother for not accepting an arranged marriage with her cousin to whom she had never met in Pakistan.
Back in 2005, there was an honor-killing case in Denmark that involved 7 members of Pakistani family and friends. 18-year-old Ghazala Khan escaped from her home and married the guy to whom she loved after her declaration of wish towards her family was exchanged with their harsh beating. Two days after the wedding, Ghazala’s brother shot the couples on the order of her father to save the family ‘honor’.
In Brescia, Italy, a Pakistani father slit throat of his daughter 28 times! The reason of murder? His father state that his daughter Hina Saleem had turned from Asian girl into a Western woman who refused an arranged marriage and lived with her Italian boyfriend! Hina’s family buried her body in their house garden.
Honor killing event in Switzerland was more horrifying when a father killed his 16-year-old daughter Sawera by striking axe on her head a dozen times. Reason? A Christian boyfriend!
Britain has many cases of honor killings among the immigrants and Asian Muslim families. Bradford-born British-Pakistani Shafilea Ahmad‘s murder was a much talk in Britain a decade ago when she all of a sudden disappeared from home but months later, her dead body was found. Her parents were found innocent until Shafilea’s sister broke years later. She admitted that the parents killed her due to the reason of not accepting arranged marriage by force resulting in bringing ‘shame’ to the family.
I highlighted only Pakistani cases because that is my concern in the blog as there have been many tragic events from Arab and Iranian families in West as well as Indians. So many tragic events of honor killings I mentioned above have one thing in common i.e., the parents feeling embarrassed that the daughter may/will bring ‘shame’ to her family and entire khandaan. Despite the fact many of the cases which happened in the West, the parents with such pathetic ideology and preferring their pride and shame over their daughter’s life and her choice is beyond my understanding. Living in the west or any country where multinationals live together bring a lot of cultural and religious understandings but such parents in that same atmosphere confuse me with their ideologies. Why on earth the parents do not see what her daughter wants, what she desire and with whom she find her happiness? Why bother judging her instead of giving your blessings? Girls would never run away to make you think of family’s pride and shame only if you accept her what she want. How come killing your own daughter becomes an ultimate solution? Are these type of parents psychopaths or what?
QB’s case is not that different. Just few days ago, she admitted she was married ‘by force’ back in 2008 and also had a son. After the beatings, she divorced and never contacted the man Ashiq Hussain of Kot Addu who first appeared on TV to claim that he is QB’s husband. And today she is killed by her own brother with some sources saying that she had received threats from Mufti Abdul Qavi with home she made some popular selfies a month ago. If the whole chapter of her forced marriage is true then she fell in same category as above-mentioned cases. We have watched girls with such mad cases who met tragedies in the past. Further investigations will clear and let us know further.
Last of all, I condemn the honor killings of QB and victims of all the above-mentioned and not-mentioned cases. I condemn all the crimes and abuses happening in Pakistan and other countries which little children and females of different ages are paying a heavy price for that. It is also terrible to see tortures and killings of Black Americans in recent days. I feel hurt for all the terror attacks happening in the world and extreme pain for the massacre and holocaust suffered by Palestinians and Syrians, and people in Kashmir, Myanmar and many places. The remaining lives you and me are breathing is polluted now and it has become a terrible terrible world. May God answer our just calls, appeals, requests and prays and give patience to the friends and families of those who lost their lives for good Amen.
When producers decide to produce a movie on a very important subject, they should promise that they will choose an experienced director. The biggest reason why ‘Gulaab Gang’ failed to impress on box-office despite casting Bollywood’s two massive actresses, is the direction. Soumik Sen who wrote flop movies like Anthony Kaun Hai?, Ru-Ba-Ru and Meerabai Not Out, is handed responsibility to direct the movie for the first time in his career. Not only did he direct, but even compose music :S How can producers go for a debutant director when industry has some big names to make socio.political movies like Shekhar Kapur (Bandit Queen), Tigmanshu Dhulia (Paan Singh Tomar) or Rahul Dholakia (Parzania)?
Now before I insult this movie, let me give you brief about actual gang as opposed to what you have to expect or already have watched. The name is not Gulaab Gang but Gulabi Gang and was founded by Sampat Pal Devi when she was 20 years old. She is now a social activist from Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. This gang was founded to fight against violence against women. This gang is running for past 33 years and is composed of almost 270,000 members according to Hindustan Times and 400,000 members till 2014 according to Al-Jazeera report.
The movie begins with introductory narration by one of the best narrators in film industry. Nope not Raza Murad, not even Amitabh Bachchan nor Gulzar saab. Who are they? I am talking about Anil Kapoor. Yes Anil Kapoor!! :S The jhakaas guy has delivered his voice for couple-of-minute narration. The village is called Madhavpur which actually is in Nepal :S If I call it Madhavpur Ghed, then it is in state of Gujrat but not in U.P.
Too much fictional work on such an important subject wastes the enthusiasm of watching it. Name of Sampat Pal Devi is Rajjo in movie. She wanted to study but her step-mother didn’t let her. In few seconds, adult Rajjo has her ashram!!! :S For God sake!! Why the origin of gang is ruthlessly ignored?? How come the director just think of making his point to dismiss the logic of ladies in pink saaris holding bamboo sticks. You have to show some piece of origins even if it take 5 minutes.All we know is that they are for protection of women against every violence but what exactly made Sampat Devi form this gang?
Gang’s main members don’t even look that rural as the reality is. The way the gang members talk, few of them are even showing their sexy bellies put a huge doubt of Rajjo’s motto of running the gang. You won’t believe it but Rajjo’s gang is also a group of dancers, they know the song played in the air and have practiced dance steps to play together. And strong-on-paper Rajjo will all of a sudden present her latkas and jhatkas because Rajjo knows the viewers will enjoy all this. Action scenes are very terrible, some gulabi ladies hit men so hard that they even flew away :P
Madhavpur political interference is the heat which blows off when rivalry of two different faces take another stage. Two faces of coin and two big actresses of same era which is the most important marketing propaganda of the movie dumps with a jaw dropper. Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla share the screen for the first time in 28 years and appeared together only 4 times in the whole movie but sadly there was no heat. Director failed to create magic.
If movie has anything to look after for that is only Madhuri Dixit. She brings the soul in Rajjo character. While Juhi Chawla just couldn’t fit in the role nor was she that tough to play the role of antagonist. We have seen corrupt minister or politician a billion times in movies played by men and this lady need no introduction for this role as it is understood that she will bring omen to Rajjo party. In assistancy, Gangor-fame Priyanka Bose and Divya Jagdale did fair job but as I said before, these individuals don’t resemble gulabi ladies. Imagine ladies like Nandita Das, Seema Biswas, Divya Dutta or even Pratima Kazmi being gulabi would bring some realism. Forget all ladies, Madhuri playing Sampat Devi!!! It was just director’s strategy to publicize the movie with Madhuri-Juhi element, the formula which didn’t work.
Another reason of this movie failing in box-office was the international documentary ‘Gulabi Gang‘ which showed true origins and stories of the gang. Sampat Devi herself was part of the documentary. This documentary released in India a week before Gulaab Gang. With origins understood, a fictional or fake movie was discouraged by the viewers. And I will also recommend the readers to watch Gulabi Gang instead of this failed venture.
Once upon a time, an unknown creature from other gola comes to a great nation with many cultures and religions on a research mission. Why did he choose India?? Probably because it is a Bollywood movie and good Aliens always come to India as compared to US.
Dropped on earth in Rajasthan full naked. Nope that is not T-800, that is an alien with no name, no language, but is going to trace the life of earthlings. He wears green remote stolen by a thief who runs away to Delhi.
His super-strength is that he can see the whole life history of a person whose hands he touch which helps him adapting the local life easy. His research mission turns to remote mission as he crosses different shades of life among humans from Rajasthan to Delhi.
With the passage of time, he is named PK. PK’s quest reaches no boundary as he confronts with different people of different faiths and beliefs and in all this trauma, the alien meets a news reporter Jaggu and details his account. No not Jackie Shroff, Jaggu is nick name from Jagat Janani. Jaggu finds PK very interesting and plans to bring him on media where he opposes local godman, Tapasvi Maharaj who actually has his remote.
PK is a comedy-drama movie produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Parinda, 1942: A Love Story) and directed by Rajkumar Hirani (Munnabhai series, 3 Idiots). This is their 4th collaboration as producer-director with all movies achieving huge success with sky-touching box-office collections. With brilliant promos and strong marketing, casting the brand itself Aamir Khan, well-publicized lip-enhancing story of Anushka and cameo of Raju’s ‘Munnabhai’; PK already was a smashing hit before its release and had promised to become India’s all-time highest grossing movie ever to date. By 1st of January, 2015, PK had already crossed Dhoom 3 with ₹264 crore in India and ₹492 crore worldwide in just 13 days.
There is a tremendous depth of take-a-look over the nature of funny asylum. Filmmaker Raju and screenplay writer Abhijat Joshi once again put a load of questions in viewer’s mind like the duo did in the past. They used Gandhi’s philosophy and thesis in a country of a forgotten leader in ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai‘, then took an individual’s brain and heart to break the silence over richly disturbed educational and employment system in ‘3 Idiots’.
Now the writers plot a more common root of religious beliefs and ritualities. India is globally an economic and financial booster among many great nations with a population exceeding over a billion. With that fact, languages and religions play a prominent part in nation-building. But with all social and moral justifications, PK the alien discovers the richness of deception among the majority. That deception comes from their godmen who multiplies their so-called religious business by deceiving those who follow God but not holy books.
PK is an object by a thinker applied on one sector of earth and called ‘research mission’. The flow of script paces towards his various ideologies over a confused state of ‘Call’. In a confound world; PK is disturbed, confused and frustrated to whom shall he call for help when you need. That is the greatest depression of 21st century when a human is effed by state’s politics and law enforcement, and civil war among people of different faiths (sometimes of same faith but different sect). Sect?? yes sect – where school of thought among same people differs and that is what happened in movie as few seconds of Shiite’s Ashura were picturized.
Even India is just an example, godmen are everywhere and people are tremendously tweeting those nuts. PK/Tapasvi scenes are very thought-provoking, specially their last segment of on-air talk show is worth listening. Not only religions but mental understanding between people of two nations are superb. The Indo-Pak affair among larka-larki in Belgium is short on-screen but of prominence.
Minuses? Every movie has, so has PK. Background score has no ears to seduce, songs are way flat. In fact script never demanded songs but being a commercial Hindi movie it is a financially must. Two of the songs ‘Love is a waste of Sperm’ and ‘Chaar Kadam’ already develops heard-before feeling.
I might have less knowledge of internet as I fail to understand the continuity of a video call from house of Jaggu’s father to Tapasvi Maharaj’s center. But more massive error was the talk show which schedule to on air 6pm in Delhi but when calling Jaggu’s lover Sarfaraz in Pakistan, it is day over there.
Plusses are many. Screenplay has already been detailed above as the director has superbly executed the script. Director brilliantly manages to shot highly sensitive religious aspects of the movie in satirical way. Thank God bottle of Vines never reached masjid :P Make-up and costume designing was very creative, PK’s weird match of dressings were well-explained and the over-usage of vehicles sketch a sharp contrast of India’s huge concerns over non-stop population or HIV aids (just another small thought over writer’s flow of ink on paper).
I really don’t see Sanjay Dutt’s heavy-duty on cameo of that prominence. Anyone could have played that role. He surely was picked to bring Munnabhai back to some circuit. I am majorly surprised that this time Raju put Boman Irani in such a minor role as compared to other notable roles in previous Raju movies. Anushka gives life to her Jaggu character and Saurabh Shukla‘s Tapasvi role is just another highlight of his superb CV.
Aamir Khan as PK proves yet again why is he called the ‘Perfectionist’. He goes naked, dresses weird, adopts what he breath. Saying in short, he customise and smokes the role in very AK way. He is an absolute showstopper who will entertain you in the whole movie. His facial expressions have no full stop on limits, the Rajasthani dialogue delivery is remarkable.
PK is a must watch movie, not because it is an Amir Khan movie but also it appeals you to understand. The message has social and religious issues but vehement.
The madness of cricket will reach its peak on Valentine’s Day when Sri Lanka will take on hosts New Zealand. The matches will begin at 4 different times which are 22:00, 1:00, 3:30 and 6:30 GMTs. Sadly for we Asians, we have to adjust our waking-sleeping times due to huge difference in timings.
This will be the second time that Cricket World Cup (CWC) will be hosted in the Oceanian region. The last time CWC was played here 22 years ago; color clothing, white cricket balls and black sight-screens were introduced. This was the beginning of modern-day cricket world cups organized on larger scale.
Since, 2857 ODIs have been played and the game of gentlemen has turned into game of entertainment. Once the game was a battle between batsman and bowler, but now the administration and lawmakers of cricket have moved the momentum by ruthlessly limiting restrictions on bowlers and gifting more favors to batsman so that the spectators and viewers can enjoy the runs and most specifically six-hitting festival.
The format of CWC always changes but this time as compared to the last edition, the format is same. Exactly 14 cricket teams will play 49 matches. Yesterday (21.12.14) I noticed on twitter, former Australian great Matthew Hayden picked his 11 greatest cricketers for any World Cup. That encouraged me to pick my XI and submitted on www.icc-cricket.com.
In this cricketing blog, I present you my Greatest CWC XI by batting order. My formation is 2 openers – 4 middies – 1 wicket keeper – 4 bowlers:
If New Zealand’s Mark Greatbatch was surely CWC’s first pinch-hitting opener back in 1992, then Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya officially set the trend of big hitting and accelerating run-rate at the beginning of inning in 1996. His partnership in 1996 with another hitter Romesh Kaluwitharana became a stage of depression for all the bowlers as both accelerated the run rates from the start many a time. He was ‘Man of the Tournament’ of this edition.
Jaya is one of few CWC veterans who has played 5 or more editions. He played 38 matches, scored 1165 runs, picked 27 wickets and took 18 catches which easily make him one of CWC’s best all-rounder.
Unarguably the greatest batsman along with Brian Lara the world has ever witnessed in this sport after Don Bradman, Gary Sobers and Viv Richards. His career stats speaks the greatness and service of an individual for the game and his runs make one realize how hungry he was, how sharp the blade of his bat was.
The little master and Javed Miandad are the only cricketers to serve their nation 6 times in CWC. The batting genius has most runs (2278), centuries (6), half-centuries (15) and fours (241) in CWC. Sachin was ‘Man of the Tournament’ for his 673 runs in 2003, which is also the most in any edition. He also is the only batsman who scored 4 consecutive 50s TWICE!!
46-matches-old CWC veteran! Punter was one of few who enjoyed 12-year CWC domination. Also he and Glenn McGrath were the only to play in 4 consecutive CWC Finals. He is only the 2nd captain in CWC after Clive Lloyd of West Indies to win 2 back-to-back or most titles. Without any doubt, both the captains led a very dominating cricket team in their times who ruled the world of cricket. He played a superb captain’s knock of 140* vs India in 2003 Final and got ‘Man of the Match’ award.
Ponting is 2nd to Sachin in CWC’S top runs scorer and centuries. He hit most sixes in CWC than any batsman (31). He also enjoys being CWC’s finest captain as per the stats as under his captaincy, Australia’s winning percentage was 92.85%. He led his side in 29 matches and won 26 of them. He lost 2 matches and faced a no-result all in last edition, when Australian domination was ended by new defending champions, India. Australia won every single game in 2003 and 2007 editions under him. As a fielder, he has the most catches (28) by a non wicket-keeper and most in a singe edition (11) i.e., in 2003.
Sachin and Lara surely were the greatest batsmen of their time but will never reach the height where Viv Richards truly was. Richards was one true ambassador of the game in those times when the corporate and big-money pocketers put heavy investment in the game and brought the soul of limited overs cricket. He was a smasher with bat and faced one of most remarkable fast bowlers of his time as compared to Sachin/Lara, that one argument where King of cricket unanimously wins.
Viv was the first batsman to reach 1000 runs in CWC. Among all 13 batsmen of 1000-runs scoring club, he enjoys the best average (63.31). His 138* in Final of 1979 edition will be remembered as one of the greatest WC knocks the batsman has ever played, for which he was also awarded ‘Man of the Match’.
Cricket’s most charming strokes-player ever and one of most stylish batsman ever to grace modern-day cricket. One cannot ignore him in any batting list and I will mention his name in my XI.
Lara is veteran of 5 CWCs and third-highest runs scorer in tournament’s history after Tendulkar and Ponting. He scored 2 CWC 100s and both were against South Africa, and both were fabulous knocks. Lara played his last CWC at home in 2007 unfortunately his team wasn’t that strong enough to make a history and retired with 299 ODIs.
Calm but lively character, Miandad was the name who stayed more in the contest in most critical situations, who occupied the crease to frustrate any bowling line-up. Miandad was the first to participate in 6 CWCs, the other being Tendulkar as mentioned before. He was 2nd to Viv who reached 1000 CWC runs.
Among all 13 batsmen of 1000-runs scoring club, Miandad had the least no. of boundaries hitting only 72 fours and 3 sixes which shows his untiring efforts and laboring mountain of runs between the wickets. For a huge surprise, Miandad wasn’t selected for Pakistan squad of 1992 edition. But he returned to squad in practice matches and the rest is history.
Only a fool will omit his name in this specific XI when it comes in picking a wicket-keeper. Gilly was one of the most destructive batsmen ever played CWC. He played 3 CWCs and won all. His last CWC knock was ‘Man of the Match’ winning monumental 149 in the Final of 2007 edition against Sri Lanka.
As wicket-keeper, he lead the list of most dismissals (52) in CWC which includes 45 catches (also a record) and 7 stumpings. Gilly is the only wicket-keeper/batsman with 1000 CWC runs. Also to his name is most dismissals (21) in single edition and also in one match (6) both achieved in 2003.
A leader whose leadership inspired his team to attempt a miracle and took the 1992 title in front of 87,000 world record attendance of Melbourne Cricket Ground against tournament favorites England. Imran Khan was known for his leadership skills and famously termed his team ‘Cornered Tigers’ when Pakistan heavily needed a major morale boosting comeback. Imran was veteran of 5 CWCs, who led his team in CWC thrice. Pakistan played 22 matches under him, won 14 of them with win percentage of 63%.
Once, Imran was leading wicket-taker in CWC with 34 wickets out of which half were grabbed in 1987 edition. He averaged 19.86 in bowling, which is 2nd best after Glenn McGrath in CWC. He definitely is my captain for this CWC XI with Punter his deputy.
One of the greatest left-arm bowler cricket has ever produced. Wasim Akram known as ‘Sultan of Swing’ was the first bowler to reach 50 wickets in CWC and is 3rd among leading wicket takers in CWC (55). He played 38 matches, which is the most by any Pakistani, 15 of them he captained the side.
Wasim’s most unforgettable performance to date is his heroic all-round performance in 1992 CWC final. Those two game changing deliveries to Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in the final will be remembered for long time and was awarded ‘Man of the Match’. He led his side to the final of 1999 where most of his boys in the squad played their first CWC unfortunately losing to Steve Waugh‘s Australia from where their rule on cricket began.
This might be debatable like a never-ending argument to speak if Warne was better or Murali. Same goes here in CWC. Despite the fact Murali had 68 wickets, I will go with Warne’s 32. He played 2 CWCs and the biggest impact on stage was his back-to-back 4 wicket-hauls in 1999 edition which gifted his side to take the title for the first time in 12 years. Warne was awarded ‘Man of the Match’ in both Semifinal and Final.
Shane along with Geoff Allott became leading wicket taker in any edition with 20 wickets. He has grabbed 4-wicket hauls in CWC four times (along with Murali), which is the most by any.
And my last pick is going to be one of the most deadliest line-and-length fast bowler, Glenn McGrath. He is the leading wicket-taker in CWC with 71 wickets. Also tops the list of best bowling figures of 7/15 vs Namibia in 2003. His CWC bowling average of 18.19 is also above all names and in bowling strike rates (27.5), he is just 2nd to Zaheer Khan.
Glenn played 4 CWCs and reached all the Finals. He along with Ponting and Gilchrist are the only cricketers to play 3 successive CWC finals. 2007 was his last and made another record with most wickets by any bowler in single edition with 26. For this extraordinary performance, he was chosen ‘Man of the Tournament’.
Picking XI for any certain criteria is never easy. Selecting 11 greatest cricketers of CWC history always need a thorough research and achievements by individual. Brian Lara is the only player in my XI who never won the CWC. I believe my biggest omission is Muralitharan who grabbed 68 wickets in 5 CWCs. Sachin, Wasim and Gilly were the most obvious choice. Arrangement of batting order was a problem as Javed usually batted at #4 and Lara played most part of his ODI career at #3 and #4. Gilly who batted most of his career as opener is compromised at keeper’s best slot #7 for the sake of Jayasuriya.
Apply ICC field restrictions new or old, my openers Jaya/Sachin will always be delight to watch together. These two ODI veterans are the only cricketers who have served their teams for more than 20 years this century. Either you bowl first or later, either you have new ball or old, my opening bowlers Wasim-McGrath will be the most ideal and deadly combo on any surface. Captain Imran Khan will be my ideal first change with Warne’s varieties of leg-spinning from the other hand.
With 4 powerful bowlers, I will use Jaya and Richards. Both were slow-arm orthodox but very very handy for their teams. Jaya had 323 ODI wickets and his bowling famously turned the Semifinal match against India in 1996 edition which ended in Sri Lanka’s favor due to crowd’ disturbance. Richards had 118 ODI wickets and his 3/52 in Semifinal match against Pakistan in 1979 assured West Indies path to Final. Still need more hands in bowling, Sachin could bowl many varieties besides fast bowling and had 154 ODI wickets to his name.
I don’t think this team needs a head coach for any CWC, but if asked then I will pick John Buchanan because Bob Woolmer is no more. Hope the readers found the blog and my Greatest CWC XI interesting. You may share your feedback below.