Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Talk with Terin Miller :)

A writer, an editor, Terin Miller, is a vivacious person. His all-time favourite quotation, from a book called "Nowhere Men," author unremembered, about refugees "between the wars" in Europe:
"Men look so peaceful when they sleep..."

Here he talks more about his journey into the field of writing:

1. What made you want to become a writer?

I wrote my first short story—one page long—when I was 7. I just wanted to tell a story, so I wrote a kind of episode from my favourite television show, The Mod Squad, and imagined me and my friends as the characters of the show: Pete, Link and Julie. And it all sort of unrolled like a movie or show in my head as I wrote it down. So, I guess I felt the need to try and put what was in my head on paper, and that’s what made me want to become a writer.

2. What are some things you like to do when you’re not writing?

That’s a great question! Let’s see. I’m a pretty good motorcycle mechanic. As I’ve told others, if I couldn’t write I think I’d be happy being a mechanic. I like making things run. Which is why I purchased a barely running, used motorcycle a few years ago and now it runs almost as if it were new. 
I also enjoy fishing—fly fishing, particularly—and I’m a fourth-degree certified Master Taekwondo Instructor. I like teaching, and practicing, Taekwondo.
And I like camping, hiking, horseback riding, cooking, eating, and reading. Also I especially enjoy getting together with friends, particularly creative friends: writers, actors, musicians, painters, sculptors, etc, and discussing both similarities and differences in arts, and sharing ideas.

3. Why did you choose Author’s Empire?

Again, a great question. In a way, Author’s Empire chose me. Quite literally, I’d been trying for years to get publishers in the United States to consider publishing my novels and stories, particularly those set in India, without luck. I even had a literary agent—my first—try and sell American publishers on the idea, but at the time, none were interested. It seems to always take a first, break-through book, and many major publishers just aren’t that interested in taking a risk. They’d much rather have a bunch of writers who “write like” everyone they’ve ever known who has sold millions of books, so they could guarantee their income. I had self-published a couple of my novels set in India when a colleague, an Indian-American, who read my first one and got her relatives to all read it, lamented with me over drinks at a Cuban bar in Manhattan that I should really try to market my books in India. About a month later, the CEO of Author’s Empire, Mr. Kunal Marathe, contacted me on Facebook and we began discussing publishing my books in India!

4. Is there a key person or group that has inspired you in the process of writing?

Yes. I’ve most of my life been particularly drawn to the “literary” writers of the 1920s—Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Hugh Mottram—and, except for Fitzgerald, the idea of stripping novels and language of superlatives and adornment, which had been used in propaganda to get young men to fight in World War I for monarchs and others whose interests they didn’t really share, really, really struck me. I had lived through the Bangladesh war and seen propaganda from both sides enflame passions to the point where it seemed to me dangerous, and that also means I’d lived through the escalation of the U.S. war in Vietnam and known many of my sister’s high school class who had gone to war filled with the passion and excitement and either not come back, or not comeback completely. I determined that if I were to write about the stories and events and people that interested me—love, death, what we sometimes call the “hard” questions—I would try and do it as honestly as I possibly could, trying to avoid either glamorizing it or people to the point where reality disappeared. I also really liked Joseph Conrad’s stories, especially Tuan Jim, and Narcissus, and Kipling despite his propaganda streak, more his humorous satirical streak, as in his description of a widow “taking that pukka step” and using her husband’s ashes as so much phosphorus for gardening…

That’s also what led me to journalism, in fact. Most of the writers whose style I admired had learned at some point working on newspapers. I became a journalist for two reasons: to learn how to write well, I thought, and to have experiences from which to write about. And I’ve done both to my satisfaction. The stripping of adornment and potential falsely coloring language is also what attracted me to wireservices, where I’ve spent at least half my now more than 30 year career in journalism. If you want to learn how to ‘write tight,’ there is no better experience than learning to economize on words for a wireservice.

5. What do you think is your biggest strength when it comes to writing?

Description and dialogue. I have been either blessed or cursed with a near-photographic memory. I say near because I’ve come to realize that no two human beings even ever remember the same incident exactly the same. There will be some common points—the date, the clothes they wore, maybe what they ate—but there will be differences as well. It was raining. It was dry. I’d just come from the gym. I’d just taken a shower. Which is why I write fiction, instead of memoir. Because ultimately, I contend, all memoir has some element of fiction. And nobody can tell me “that didn’t happen that way,” because either they’re dead, or I can simply say “I know. It’s fiction. I made it up!”

6. What message do you want to convey to your audience through your book?

Wow. That must be the one single best question I’ve EVER been asked. Well, I guess, for Kashi, I want to convey to my audience through my book that everyone has a different way of seeing things, of behaving, and that my being essentially a fan of individuality, and personal freedoms, I try not to judge others. But often, especially young people seem to either forget or not realize or perhaps not really care, that as we parents like to say, “with freedom comes responsibility.” In some societies, for instance, it is considered acceptable, or even admirable, for men to have multiple sexual partners and adventures. Yet, in those same societies, it is forbidden for women. And the women who enjoy the company of such men are suspected of improper behaviour. Yet, generally speaking, it isn’t possible for a woman to get pregnant without some man being involved.  Why should men be free to be profligate, while women are condemned or worse for the same behaviour? Because they get pregnant? With freedom comes responsibility. I was taught that from my teen years. Because my parents had lived through The Great Depression, and essentially raised themselves from the age of 10 at that time, and even the mere conscience of my mother would never allow me to get someone pregnant and think, “wow. What a bummer. For her.”

7. What process did you go through to build the narrative of your book?

Memory. Essentially, my writing involves going back into my brain, being where I first encountered the story or the conditions or the characters, and recalling. I often describe to friends my process of writing is almost more like being a reporter and taking notes. I am an unrepented copious notetaker. I can read back to you conversations I had years ago. Verbatim. With no mistakes in accuracy. I can describe people and places the same way. I once helped a young reporter out upon his return to our newspaper office after a plane crash. I asked him what he saw—not the television version of “what did you feel?” In his notes, he’d instinctually and professionally jotted down things like “a baseball cap on the ground near the body” or something. “Did the baseball cap say anything?” I asked. “Yeah. Yeah, it did. I wrote it down…” And it turned out to be the airport jetfuel spot where the pilot had filled up his plane, which gave us the pilot’s name, and then we were able to talk to authorities about the pilot filing a flight plan and learn how many others were on board and even their names (it was, sadly, the pilot’s family) and ages, before accident investigators even had most of it. From a good note and great observation from a rookie reporter. 

8. Are you planning a sequel of this book?

Yes. Actually, there are two. The stories of John Colson, the narrator, have become a triology. But you’ll have to talk to my publisher to learn more about that, because I don’t want to give away any surprises…

9. Some tips for the budding writers?

The best advice I ever received came from my first literary agent, Ray Puechner, of Peeker Literary Agency. He told me to “write as if you’re writing a letter to a friend.” And learn. Read and analyse. Don’t just read because you like the story. Try and figure out why. Why do you like the story? Do you like how the paragraphs, the sentences are written? Is it the writing, or the story, that is keeping you reading? And read LOTS of people and styles. Even languages. I couldn’t believe it the first novel I read of Juan Benito Perez Galdos’, a Spanish writer of the 1870s-80s. The first novel of his I ever read was Dona Perfecta. And in it, in some of the most descriptive and yet precise Spanish I’ve ever read, he tells a story that includes religious and political elements in it that were essentially the conflicts that formed the basis of The Spanish Civil War. More than 60 years later.  And then there’s journalism: learn how to write a simple declarative sentence. “One true thing,” as Ernest Hemingway said. It forms the basis of everything that comes after it. Hemingway is famous for writing a short story in six words. “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” And Hemingway himself loved the most powerful sentence in the Bible: “Christ wept.”

The Bhagavagita and Upanishads are FILLED with powerful sentences. Often, the shortest are the most powerful. I hope readers discover that is also true of novels packed with short unadorned sentences, as opposed to filled with page after page of vague, non-specific words that ultimately convey nothing other than that either the writer, or the publisher, thought words had to cover more pages…


Kashi is a tale of clashes of cultures, relationship experiments and religious and moral differences in the holiest of Hindu cities, just at the time India’s second generation of independence comes to adulthood in the form of Sumita “Meetha” Sharma.
Meetha Sharma, educated, attractive, worldly, the daughter of a wealthy import-export businessman in the nascent new Indian middle-class, desires to be like her American and other expatriate friends. She chafes at “old world” ideas of behavior and conformity and longs to be seen as an equal in society. But her desires have consequences she doesn’t fully realize, especially for the traditional Hindu musician to whom she was promised when she was 13.
A story of a generation of Indians unlike any that has come before them—born in a free and independent country, a country only granted its freedom after much effort and sacrifice by their forebears, a country only granted the opportunity to rise in the world as its former colonial status fades into history.
First self-published in the United States as ‘From Where The Rivers Come’, Kashi won in the category of Multicultural Fiction in the Best Books 2010 contest, sponsored by USA Book News.
It has also received honorable mention recognition in Writer’s Digest 2010 International Self-Published Book Awards, the 2010 Paris Book Festival and Beach Book Festival in the fiction category and the 2009 New York Festival, the London Book Festival and New England Book Festival.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Interview with Ritu Lalit :)

Ritu Lalit is an author with three published books:
A Bowlful of Butterflies, a coming of age story about three fast friend in school,
Hilawi, a fantasy thriller,
and Chakra, Chronicles of the Witch Way.

Here she lets her readers have a glimpse in her journey as a writers, future plans, and also discusses about her latest book:

1. How do you envision your book will impact your readers?

My book, like my previous one has its roots in our very rich vedic culture. That being said, the book is fiction and an all out thriller. It is an adventure story set in a very Indian milieu. My basic motive is to entertain. I do not have messages to give or morals to impart. I am a fiction writer and an entertainer. I hope the readers get their money’s worth from my book.

2. What’s the biggest mistake new writers make according to you?

This is such a hard question to reply to. I am not into giving sermons. That having been said, I find a lot of talent, but the execution is flawed. There is not enough description and nuances in some books. A book has to appeal to the senses. I do not get a sensory fulfilment from some of the books that I have read.

3. How do you make sure the information used in your books is accurate and up-to-date?

I write fantasies. Chakra, The Chronicles of the Witch Way is about magic, it is about adventure, it is a flight of imagination. So there were not many details to verify. However, I did research about the places where this book was set, about structures like baolis etc. Google and Wikipedia helped me in my research.

4. Tell us something about your book?

My book is about a secretive race of people who are born with an active kundalini. Their chakras are open, which enables them to use the elements to their advantage. They can perform astounding feats. And yet, they, like us, live in a world where politicians and leaders are corrupt, their police is incompetent and serves the leaders and not the people who pay their salaries. In such a world, three teenagers go missing. Their aunt has to find them and keep them safe from the whole world that wants them for their powers.

5. Why Author’s Empire?

Kunal was a Facebook friend. I was perhaps one of the first to entrust him with book marketing for my book Hilawi. He did an excellent job. When he entered publishing, I felt confident that he would do a good job with my book.

6. Any plans for sequel of this book?

I hope to write a trilogy. In fact I already have an idea for the next book of Chronicles of the Witch Way.

7. Share some of your interesting memories you lived while writing this book?

During the course of the story, one character dies. I wept. It really broke my heart. Another character, a young girl gets kidnapped and she gets into a life threatening situation. I could not sleep, it disturbed me so much. To me the characters are so real, that once the book was done, I felt lonely, as though my best friends had left.  

8. What is your least favourite part of the writing process?

Editing. I personally edit my books a lot of times before I give it to the publisher. It is extremely taxing and boring.

9. What genre do you particularly like?

A well written tale, fast and engaging is something I love. Fantasy thrillers, good mysteries, a well written crime fiction, I like them all. I also like reading inspirational literature and non-fiction.

10. What was your biggest inspiration behind this book?

Our Vedic heritage was my biggest inspiration. In the olden days, they say yogis and yoginis had immense power; they could walk on fire, sleep on beds of nails, and even curse people who displeased them. It made me think, “What if this power actually exists, and it stems from an awakened kundalini?” And that thought forms the crux of my book.

Latest magical realism thriller by the national bestselling author, Ritu Lalit, and Author's Empire Publications.


The Japas are a race so secretive that their existence is dismissed as a myth. Tales of them abound in our mythology, telling of these men and women, possessing physical abilities beyond belief, playing with elements, with the power to curse and cure. They exist among us, mingle with us, ride our metros, visit our malls, and even go to the same schools and colleges as us.

Parineeta Mohan is a powerful Japni who has turned her back on The Witch Way. She has even brought up her niece and nephew as ordinary people, unaware of their heritage.

Their life changes when the kids disappear along with their cousin Roma.

A shocked and desperate Parineeta has to find them before enemies of her family do, and has no one to turn to but Jorawar, a man she is attracted to but cant trust since he belongs to the sinister organization Pax.

The only way she can fight, win and survive is to embrace her heritage, return to The Witch Way.

Chakra is a deftly woven tale of the power of awakened kundalinis, of evil chimeras who suck the life force of loved ones, of bomb explosions and bloodshed, of the coming of the Age of the Japnis.
~ Abha Iyengar

Intrigue, powerplays and the mystical allure of the supernatural: Ritu Lalit has penned an unputdownable saga that grips and entertains like dynamite!
~ Nandita Bose

Sunday, August 25, 2013

In Conversation With Rajbir Gill :)

Twenty years of commissioned service as a helicopter pilot of the Indian Navy. Retired as a Commander. Followed by couple of years in Offshore fleet of Merchant Navy as a Captain. At present running own construction company. Last but not the least, have taken time out to write romantic fiction, manuscript of first three novels completed yet to be published. In spare time he often writes poetry. 

Here he lets his readers know a little more about himself and his journey as a writer:

1. When did you realise your writing talent?

Answer: From as long as I remember I have been jotting down thoughts and ideas in a diary. During my naval career I did not get time to give shape to these. After taking premature retirement from the Navy, I joined the merchant navy. It was here that I got time to put my thoughts together.

About twenty years back it was during one of those sailings that I started writing in the true sense, and completed my debut novel – In Pursuit of the Woman.

2. Describe the role books play in your life?

Answer: Books tend to transport you to another world especially when reading romantic fiction. Normal life is quite stressful nowadays. Books do provide the much needed relief.

3. Do you try to write without letting your personal biased opinions interfere?

Answer: I do full justice to the character that I am writing about. My personal opinions will distort the character that I am building up, so I do not let my personal biased opinions interfere in my writing.

4. What made you choose Author’s Empire?

Answer: Around the time I was ready to approach a publisher for my debut novel I happened to come in contact with Mr Kunal Marathe. He had selected the first set of books for publication during the year 2013. I offered to send the manuscript for his perusal. Although he had selected the number of books to be published in the year 2013, but he was magnanimous and decided to accommodate me immediately and decided to publish my book.

5. What is your muse behind your book?

Answer: Ever since I started jotting down my ideas and thoughts in a diary, a faint picture of my muse started forming in my mind. With passage of time this picture grew sharper and clearer. Till one fine day it was crystal clear. My muse is the product of my own imagination only.

6. If you were to describe your book in one line, what would it be?

Answer: The elixir of life is love; the book is about that very elixir.

7. How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?

Answer: No two human beings in this world would agree on any one subject. We do have our own opinions and I do respect the opinion of others. Hence I take this difference of opinion in my stride.

8. What do you think is your biggest strength when it comes to writing?

Answer: Telling the story through my characters in dialogue form is my biggest strength. Reason being, when story has a long descriptive paragraph it tends to slow down the momentum of the story. That is something I feel is not desirable.

9. How was the journey in this writing field so far?

Answer: The journey so far has been most fascinating. My debut book has already been released. Manuscript of next two books is ready. Busy with the fourth manuscript. Life couldn’t be better.

10. What is the toughest part of writing a book?

Answer: Writing an emotional scene wherein one of the characters is on the death bed, as the characters that are being depicted are very close to the heart of the author. I as an author do go through all the emotions that are being written about. This at times becomes tough to put down in words.

A novel by Rajbir Gill and Author's Empire Publications.
"A mature love story that garners attention through all its twists and turns."
- Ishaan Lalit


It is correctly said that there is neither a time nor place for true love; one can be struck by its magic any time, especially if one is in a place like Goascenic and romantic. When Lieutenant Dev, a young and dashing naval pilot meets Suman during her college tour to Goa, his feeling of love and tenderness towards her, which he had not thought possible otherwise, grips him.

The two soulmates spend an idyllic time lost in each others company, oblivious to the world. Life could not have been better.

But destiny always has something else in store; it stands in the way where we want to go or what we plan to do. The road of true love is rather a pebbled pathone faces difficulty at every step. In Devs case, the ghost of past relationships surface, which threatens to rip his loyalties apart.

If Dev and Suman were to be torn apart, then why did destiny bring her to his doorstep and made them fall in love with each other?

Standing on life's crossroads, Dev struggles to find a definite answer to his destiny's cruel twist.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Jor ka Jhatka :P

Problem yeh hai ki woh ladki hai aur kya problem hai . Problem yeh hai ki main chahata hoon ki meri life mein koi problem na ho Lekin agar meri life mein koi problem na ho toh yeh uski life ki sabse badi problem hai…& bullshit she is worried yaar use to celebrate karna chahiye, She is in this exactly what she wants. Seriously yaar aajkal jab bhi wo muh kholti man karta hai muh me kuch thus du. Trust me yaar pichhle 6 mahino me I have had it all ,Sab dekhliya meine Kaunsi pyaar, Kaisi relationship? Kahe ki khushiya? Relationship ka matlab ye rehta hai an end to your own happiness .Uske baad all you have to worry about is uski khushiyaan uska birthday uske kutte ka birthday -_- Uska new year to kabhi tumhara bhi new year tha . In ladkiyon ko na koi khush nahi rakh sakta .A happy woman is a myth, Tu batman wali ki dekh le Saala Jab tak saala batman nahi bana tab tak bolti rahi tum toh kuch karte nahi ho nakara ho napunshak ho main tum jaise insaan ke saath kaise reh sakti hu jisdin bechara batman ban gaya us din boli, tum toh batman ban gaye mujhe toh ek normal insaan chahiye tha main tumhare saath kaise reh sakti hu .Sab saalan na in bollywood kahaniyon ka dosh hai Bloody bollywood romantic masaala Ek ladka ek ladki dono ko pyaar hua Dono saath saath Film khatam Iske baad ka story koi nahi batata Iske baad ki kahaani mein batata hoon Iske baad ladke ne ladki ko do din hug nahi kiya To problem ,Hug kiya to cheap ho rahe ho Itna bhi achcha nahi lagta. Saale Shopping khatam nahi hoti inki Pehle cushion laye fir curtain laye cushion, curtain se match nahi kiye toh aur cushion laye mere ghar mein mug itne hai ki unko bechne jaoon toh mahine ka kharcha nikal aaye .Ek to jo cheez lena hai wo leke nahi ayegi do hafte dimag chatenge ki table lena hai table lena hai 5 ghante maal me bitake ek sadhi si chappal utha kar layenge aur fir agle do hafte dimag chatenge table lena hai table lena hai… Office me kaam kar raha hoon Phone aa jayega Phone utathe hi bol deta hoon Baat nahi kar sakta Kitna mushkil hai ye baat samajhna? Do minute karloge to kya ho jayega Are do minute karloonga to tumhe kya milegi meri maa ? Thik se to kar paoonga nahi Aur iske baad I love you bole bina phone kaataan to naatak .Sabse jyada dimaag ki dahi is mobile phone ne ki hai… Kitna ghatiya invention hai saala Trust me I say patta hai saala patta… ek toh …inke ad bhi dekho lo ji 1 paisa per second aur phone karo aur phone karo. aare call sasti ho jaane se baat thodi na badh jati hai karne ko fir iska jawab unhe bhi do tumhare pass baat kyon nahi hai karne ko you have lost interest in me tumhe hoon hoon hi karna atha toh maine tumhe phone hi kyon kiya??? are meri maa mujhe kya pata tune mujhe phone kyon kiya??? jake bharti mittal se puch na…tujhe main bata raha hoon us ad mein kutta nahi kutia hai… wherever your goes it follows .seriously mein shart laga sakta hoon… Tujhe kya lagta hai Columbus ko pata nahi tha wo india nahi jaa raha tha Glati se pahoonch gaya? Usko to pata tha Wo bechara to kahin door jaan chahta tha Biwi ki chakkar me bolna pada India jaa raha hoon Nah to das sawaal poochti Kahaan jaa rahe ho Kyon jaa rahe ho Achcha tumhe pata bhi nahi kahaan jaa rahe ho? Seedhe seedhe kyon nahi bolte ki mujhse kahin door jaan chahte ho/ Aaj tak bechare ka mazaak udati hai duniya Office me kaam kar raha hoon Sms aajayega I love you Thik hai mein bhi sms karleta hoon I love you too Iske baad sms pe sms shuroo abey kaam kya karti hai office mein??? Do sms ka reply mat karna Turant Phone aa jayega Phone mat uthaa To dus min me message aa chuka hoga I don’t think its working anymore Dus min me Babu I love you to I don’t think its working anymore And this is when they are not even down Ab pata chala ye aadmiyon ko itne heart attack kyon aate hain Aur yeh…. gay bande itne successful kyon hote hai??? Because they don’t have a woman to screw their happiness.Log kehte hain na behind every successful man, there is a woman True ,But koi ye nahi bataata ki behind every unsuccessful man, also there is a woman .Aur ye to koi bhi bata sakta hai na Ki unsuccessful logon ka taadaath Successful logon se kayi guna zyada hai is duniya me .Saala Office me kaam kar raha hoon Keh raha hoon late ho jaaonga To khaana nahi khayegi Phir bhooki so jayegi Are mein keh raha hoon na khana khalo Kya karoon naukri chod doon? saale ghar jaao Pehle Inhe manao inhe khilao Uske baad khud ki bhookh to aise hi mar jaati hai. Is sab ke baad bhi insaan kisi tarah Kone me jaake shaanti se baitha hua hai chup chaap to gaya Gadi gadi kya soch rahe ho??? kya soch rahe ho??? kya soch rahe ho??? Are kuch nahi soch raha meri maa yeh soch raha hoon ki tera mooh kaise band karu… kya soch raha hoon camera laga doon dimag mein ?Is sab ke baad We never talk ,We need to talk ,I don’t think its working any more And mein tujhe bata raha hoon You cannot discuss anything with a woman Because they call it a discussion But any discussion with a woman is an argument Aur argument mein toh tu boss unse jeet hi nahi sakta… Because hum aadmiyon ki ek basic need hoti hai To make sense in an argument Ladkiyon ko koi farak nahi padta Sense jaise bekaasi cheez ki wajeh se wo Argument kaise haar jaye Ek to aaj ki baat pe argument aaj hoga hi nahi aaj ki baat par jhagada hoga do mahine baad… Yahaan saala yaad hi nahi rehta hai do mahine pehle hua kya tha??? Ladkiyaan bacha ke rakhti hain yeh chota hatiyar nahi bada hatiyar hai isse badi ladai mein use karenge… Tu kabhi try karliyo khud ko sahi saabit karne ki .Tujhe lag hi raha haoga ki is point se tu apni baat ko sabit karlega Lekin tabhi ek awaaz ayegi Ungli neeche karoo .Tune dhyaan bhi nahi diya hoga Lekin tumhari nadaan si ungli unki taraf point kar rahi hogi And suddenly , the whole argument will flush down the gutter And mudda ye reh jayega ki How dare you point a finger at me? Kisne banaya ye rule Kisne banaya? Saala wo beech argument me tumhe jhoota phek ke maarle to koi dikkat nahi Lekin unki taraf ek ungli point kardo Saara mudda khatam .Wo sahi tum galat .Shaadi se pehle wo nagin tune kyon bhajta hai ? Kyon ki band wala bhi tumhe chetaavani de raha hoga ki kaun aa raha hai tumhari zindagi me ,Inka signature tune hai wo .Ab ye bata wo kya karne aayi thi tere paas yahaan Same cheez mein karoon to ? Uske kisi friend ko call karke Ab ye problems ginaoon to Kahegi tumne merl friend ko call kiya Hmm hmm Tum uski sympathy gain karna chahte ho? Why don’t you go and sleep with her?

Choudary : yaar woh ungli waala scene mere saath bhi hua tha :|

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Raanjhanaa : As seen by me!

Raanjhanaa film in itself is not a profound film. It has several flaws. Therefore, it cannot be put under the category of ‘Classics’ and yet it did a very good business. Audience gladly responded with laughter to certain situations picturized in the course of this movie. Laughter, in a way, is also a symbol of acceptance. The contemporary audience responds to swearing, double meaning dialogues, atrocious scenes, indecent comments, and vulgar expressions, with a smile and laughs out loud. They enjoy such things in a movie and thus, they have gradually become a part and parcel of contemporary cinema. People actually gave a standing applause in the hall for the performances in this movie. How often do you see that? Such indecency shown in the films imposes a big question mark on the mind - sets of the audience at large. Not only audience these days is accepting it but also calling this movie Raanjhanaa as a tragedy. They were coming out of the cinema hall with happy satisfied faces and remarking that Raanjhanaa was a different movie; unlike most of the films it doesn’t have a happy ending. It came to me as a shock as for me the movie crosses the limits of decency at many points.

An article in Hindu dated July 21, 2013, quotes, “Despite its gimmicky, populist and male favouring one-liners, the film may be interpreted within its generic context. Raanjhanaa is the tragedy of an irrational, impassioned, obsessive lover. Depicting such a crazed state-of-mind on-screen requires the lover doing things that go against ordinary and socially accepted expressions of love. Kundan’s wrist slitting is neither intelligent, nor advisable. It is a device that portrays the crazed intensity of his passion. Similarly driving his scooter into the Ganges with Zoya behind is a reflection of his shock and trauma upon discovering that she loves another man, not an attempt to murder.” The question raised here is that - Is Raanjhanaa the tale of an irrational, impassioned, obsessive lover, or thinly disguised male supremacist storytelling?

Kundan is a deeply flawed character. He’s obsessive, selfish, delusional, mercurial, thoughtless, hugely impulsive, self-destructive and bad tempered! While Zoya is a highly self – centered character who mostly uses Kundan for her own interests. She seldom cares about Kundan’s feelings.  Makers of the film have ensured that both Zoya and Kundan are kept real by making them as vulnerable and flawed as we are. Writer Himanshu Sharma has created a hero harking back to the literary tradition of the intensely-passionate-deeply- flawed-self-destructive-tragic-male-protagonist, seen in almost every ‘great’ tragedy in literature be it Saratchandra’s Devadas or Shakespeare’s Othello. Sharma’s Raanjhanaa remains consistent with the generic patterns of the tragic form, as we are compelled to sympathize with this problematic male protagonist who mistreats the very women he loves but is redeemed by the author in a noble death. Here, in Raajhanaa we similarly tend to sympathize with Kundan and therefore support the idea of a crazy lover.

Kundan never becomes a serious figure of threat because Zoya is never shown to be scared of him. Her first response to his overture is a fearless confident taunt and a tight slap. Because Zoya consistently remains unflinching and unafraid, Kundan never fully becomes that sinister, threatening, figure of the dangerous stalker.

Love shown in the movie is more of a violent nature. It is therefore, an unapologetic celebration of crazy love. A story of how love makes otherwise rational people behave in a stupidly self-damaging manner. It is a tale of one – sided love where Bindiya madly loves Kundan and Kundan can only see Zoya. It is an irony that Kundan on one hand remains heartless towards Bindiya and expects Zoya to adhere to his love. 

Looking at the title Raanjhanaa reminds of the legendary love story of Heer Raanjha. However, the character of Raanjha has been highly distorted in this movie. While Raanjha’s love was pure, Kundan’s love is more of an obsession. Kundan is perhaps suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in medical terms like the main characters of movies Darr, Anjaam, Baazigar, etc.

Raanjhanaa depicts the various shades of manhood and celebrates superiority of masculinity. Our mind - sets are still rooted in the feudal system. It also highlights the so many problems prevailing in our society. The movie indirectly remarks on the disorder in the men mind which leads to cases to rapes, acid throwing, and what not. There is a superiority complex in men these days which is a consequence of the feudal mind – sets. What happened recently in JNU symbolises such narratives are well received in our society. 

The kind of lover shown in the movie cannot be accepted in real life, though audience is romanticising Kundan’s character. Somewhere in our psyche, feudal notion of masculinity continues to exist which compels us to appreciate Kundan’s love for Zoya and we fail to realise that it’s his obsession for her in reality. This is the reason we are responding to such narratives and this particular film has done such a good business.

We believe that over the years we have evolved a lot. Our notion of modernity is limited to clothes and technology merely. Also in reality, our evolution is only materialistic, our mind – set continues to be the same. This movie Raanjhanaa gives us a platform for self – introspection.

The concept of love has widely changed from the purity in Teesri Kasam to the obsession in Raanjhanaa. The image of love and lover being populated through this film is very stereotypical of our society. Nowhere does it give us a new way of looking at man – woman relationship. It does not even explore the nuances of man woman relationship or Hindu – Muslim conflicts. 

Zoya’s character has been criticized largely by popular critics for being manipulative, self – centered, cold and heartless. There can be a different way of looking at her character. Zoya was just a very human, totally realistic and thus imperfect young girl dealing with confusing, and contradictory matters of the heart. There is nothing wrong with an adolescent 14-year old being flattered and responsive to the devotion of a young boy. It’s very natural. In words of Swara Bhaskar, “What is wrong if eight years later she has moved on? In fact Zoya’s character is not calculating but naive in trusting Kundan’s friendship; she’s honest about her lack of love for him, about her boyfriend. She’s perfectly frank and sensible when she asks him if he intends to ruin her life for that one childish mistake she made. And when she lies, it is to save Kundan the pain of realizing that Zoya in fact did not reject him because he was a Hindu, that she simply didn’t love him! With Zoya, Sharma taps another classic literary trope- the unattainable lady love, the mistress-on-a pedestal who the poet will never attain but continually pine for. Zoya is finally redeemed despite all her flaws when she says wretchedly in the climax to Kundan that ‘The world will spit on me if I fall in love with you, but I think I have.’ Zoya’s tragedy is that she must plot murder to prevent herself from falling in love with the very man who ruined her life and accidentally killed her fiancé.”

As much as Zoya hates Kundan’s ‘gawaar’ (villager) notions of romance and pulls him up for slitting his wrists stupidly, she does exactly the same thing in a different context later in the film, without quite realising that she is not very different. She just chose to pretend she was intellectually superior.

Raanjhanaa is clearly not the story of Muslim-Hindu relations in Banaras, nor is it a study of the social relations between the numerous castes that inhabit the city, and it is certainly not the story of some student political movement threatening to sweep Delhi’s assembly elections. Different religions are merely used as a background. Even if Kundan and Zoya belonged to the same caste, the marriage wouldn’t have taken place. Nowhere does this film sensitize the audience about communal disharmony. It doesn’t take you deep into the problem; instead it touches it only at the surface level. Raanjhanaa is the story of a boy who like the Raanjha of folklore fell obsessively in love with an unattainable girl. She loved someone else, and he despite initially trying to help the girl unite with her lover, on learning of her lie to him unthinkingly unleashed a tragedy that ruined the lives of everyone involved and found redemption only in death. 

This film, doesn’t give us any progressive ideas and yet the questions that it raises are important. Love as seen these days, is something meant to be taken. There is no concept of giving involved in the contemporary world. Indian cinema continues to depict love as something to get. Women are like trophies to be achieved and acquired by men. Sentiments of women are never given a purview. 

A quote from Umrao Jaan reads as, 
“Tujhko rusva (disgrace) na kia, 
Hum bhi pasyemaan (embarrass) na huye.
Ishq ki rasam ko, Iss tarah nibhaya humne.”

Although, here in the movie Raanjhanaa, Kundan not only causes embarrassment and disgrace to Zoya, but he makes himself a laughing stock too. Thus, from Umrao Jaan to Raanjhanaa love has changed its dimensions.

Heer Raanjha also differed from Raanjhanaa in its definition of love. Raanjha of folklore believed in love as endurance while this concept of endurance is gradually vanishing these days. There was a time when love was not forced upon, rather it comprised of waiting for the beloved to change her mind. True love is when you are not even sure if your beloved will commit to you, but you still wait for her and keep your expression of love subtle. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice your love as shown in the movie Teesri Kasam. There can be several reasons for this sacrifice, what matters is love, love and nothing else.

Love is not about getting the person always; love is about loving the person.

Men now – a – days, believe mostly in getting his beloved even if it involves following her publically everywhere, discussing about her in front of friends and other people as if she is merely a commodity out there waiting to be possessed by one of them. Such mind – sets have created havoc in our society. Male ego is not strong enough to accept rejection. Image of macho created by the Cinema is ultimately harming our society.

Indian Cinema wasn’t like this earlier. Gradually this concept of obsessive lovers seeped into the Indian Cinema from the movies like Darr, Anjaam, etc. Now, the extend is so much that even our societal mind – set has started reflecting this notion of love resulting in the recent JNU case where an educated guy stooped to such a level that he not only brutally murdered the girl but committed suicide too, all in the name of love. Love is slowly taking the form of heroism. 

It’s very difficult to earmark the characters portrayed in this film Raanjhanaa as black or white. We all are shades of grey after all. Every character in the movie has multiple shades too. 

For instance, take Bindiya; in one scene she prays to Gau-mata for Zoya’s death, due to her undettered love for Kundan despite constant humiliation and beatings, and next moment she also participates in the plan to rid Zoya from an unwanted suitor.

Not only love and endurance but the concept of Deewangi has also taken a major turn. The Deewangi in Kundan and Zoya is nothing as compared to the Deewangi of Raanjha, Majnu, and even Meera. Rather the concept of Deewangi has been trivialised in this movie. It has been presented to the audience as a commodity, something that is saleable. We need to stop and introspect ourselves that in which direction are we headed to? 

This film by and large is a signifier of the sickness pertaining in our society. This ailment has ruined our existence in the society. Women are seen as things to possess. We are largely witnessing cases of male superiority existing in our patriarchal society in the form of rapes, recent JNU case, as well as Honour Killing which includes the recent Kolkata Case where a brother actually beheaded his sister’s head and took it to the police station to show that he killed his sister as she loved someone. Such cases leave me bitter. It indicates the abnormality and perversion of human minds. Raanjhanaa reflects to these problems prevailing in our society by the various street plays shown in between the plot. 

Position of women in society is also being questioned. How Zoya’s father slaps her and sends her immediately to Aligarh initially and later tries to get her married without her say. Whenever there is a love triangle in Indian Cinema, one man sacrifices his love for the other. But nowhere the say of the girl is taken in view.

Kundan in my eyes is not a romantic poetic lover. He is more of a stalker, a Roadside Romeo. Problem with Indian Cinema these days is that it has created a melodrama of love. We have started believing that what we see on screen is true love. Media is powerful and it has somehow managed to create a different meaning and identity of love and lover for us. These concepts of love need to be questioned.

Lovers these days have become self – centered. The happiness of their beloved is no longer counted. They have failed to understand the real meaning of love lies in the happiness of the beloved.

Kundan seems to be a lover only till the point where he first proposes Zoya. That moment onwards, the love portrayed gets cheap as he publically holds Zoya’s hand causing disgrace and embarrassment. He lies about his name and has no shame even when Zoya tells him that she will slap him. In fact, he turns so shameless in her love that he gladly gets slapped 15-16 times by Zoya on the street.

The opening dialogue of the movie, ‘Ladki aur rocket insaan ko kahi bhi le jaa sakte hai’ is again stereotypical in nature. Kundan’s dialogue, ‘Humein pakadna muskil hi nhi namumkin tha’ taken from the movie Don, indicates his own perception of himself which wasn’t good. He considered himself as a carefree guy, a brat. Also, this dialogues and various old songs taken from different movies over the journey of Indian Cinema like ‘Bas ek sanam chaiye, Humka ishq hua hai yaaro, Saamne ye kaun aaya, etc.’ hint at the Inter – texuality in the movie. Zoya’s utilitarian attitude is clearly reflected in her dialogue, ‘Do ghante ke liye baat ki hai, 200 ka kaam karne de usey’. Jasjeet’s dialogue, ‘Inn ladkiyo ke dimaag ke hisaab se kuch nhi karna chaiye’ again hints towards male chauvinist attitude and stereotype of men. 

References to Ramayana at several points like, ‘Ramayana mei sirf Sundar kaand nhi hota, Lanka Dehen bhi hota hai.’ ‘Bal kaand samaapt aur Lanka Dehen shuru.’ are merely because Kundan is a son of a practising Brahmin. Also, it says that the playfulness of his life is over, and now the war has begun. It is merely included to refer to the new phase added to his life. 

Inspite of all the criticism, there is no denying that Raanjhanaa is a brave film to explore the crevices of young minds that straddle many worlds — social, intellectual, political and personal — that it is easy to lose your mind in the complex politics of modern relationships. Raanjhanaa has a male – centric perspective clearly and is disturbing as well as emotionally challenging.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hum Tum : Extended!

I and He Series continues...

He - I just want you to trust me.
I - I do trust you.
He - Stop worrying then. We will be together.


I - You love me?
He - No, I live you.


I - Wait for 2 min. I'll be back.
He - Ok baby.
(After an hour)
I - Hi.
He - Uff..Tum ladkiyon ke 2 min.
I - ;)


He - I love you even if you don't know how to cook. In fact I will love you even more.
I - sweet! :* :*
He - yaar agar itne kisses milne waale hai toh khaana bhi main hi bana dunga.
I - :D 


I - I hope you can hear me coz I miss you, everyday, every night, every moment, all the time! I feel you around me. I feel you are watching me. I talk to you in my head and wish you to be there for real...Wow I can write a song after all.
He - Yes you can. You have made my life poetic.


He - Do you need anybody else to talk to when you have me?
I - kisi aur mei wo baat kaha jo tum mei hai. Kisi mehfil mei wo nasha kaha jo tumhari baaton mei hai.
He - Arey waah. Dil chu lia.
I - :P

TUM: Aaj Tumhare Liye kuch khana bana ke lati hoon .Kya Khaoge ?
HUM: wah Parante le aana
TUM: hamesh parathe hi to laati hoon!
HUM: Sandwitch le aana
TUM: usme pakana thode hi hota hai
HUM: Dosa Le aana phir
TUM: usme bahut time lagta hai
HUM: Chhole bana lo
TUM: pehle batan tha ,chhole bhiga ke rakh deti
HUM: Pooriyan ?
TUM: pet kharab ho jayega itna tel kha ke.
HUM: fried rice ?
TUM: last week hi to layi thi
HUM: to jo marzi le aana
TUM: batao na kya laoon
:O :O

She Fell (Fail) In Love...Once Again - Book Review

She Fell (Fail) In Love…Once Again
By Ramesh Tehlani
Review By Ila Garg

The 388 page novel, She Fell (Fail) In Love…Once Again, has been published by Notionpress which is a self-publishing firm. The debut author Ramesh Tehlani, wishes to entertain his readers by sharing his experience of corporate world with real life love stories by mixing imagination and personal development theories.

The cover of this novel is appealing as it depicts a girl looking dejected with certain hope in her eyes. The title is slightly mysterious too.

As I began reading this particularly long novel, I felt as if I’m reading a slightly distorted version of Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes. I was therefore disappointed at first. The initial story was therefore more of a repeat telecast for me. It had nothing new to offer. But soon it began taking turns and got interesting.

She Fell (Fail) In Love…Once Again, is a real life tale of Shreeti Sharma, young girl, working with private bank in small town Ajmer. In search of Mr. Right, she met some people in journey of life and fell in love with them. In expectations of long life bond, she received betrayal with life changing lessons and experiences about Pain, Pleasure, Sex, Spirituality, Social Rules, Ethics, Personal Development, Office Politics etc. After many experiences of failure and betrayal, now she fell in love…once again. This time, will she get long lasting love or will she fail in love, again? In her journey of search she learnt life-changing concepts like: Why Extra Marital Affairs are not wrong... Why Physical Relations without marriage are not wrong... Why women gives sex for love and men gives love for sex... How pain gives pleasure… How to face office politics and recession… How one can increase his/her value in job and society by using ‘Quiwam Theory’ and ‘Why Apple is costlier than Potato Theory’… And other new aspects of life…

This novel in a way explores various bold realities in the evil world we are living in. Themes that are taboo are discussed in the course of this novel. The author has skilfully tackled the complexity of the protagonist’s character.

The author has written a brilliant climax of the story that keeps the readers glued till the very end. The too many failures of Shreeti’s love life is just one of the reasons you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens in She Fell (Fail) In Love…Once Again. It took me a little more time than usual to read this complete novel as it gets too heavy as you enter into Shreeti’s world full of struggles. Her story makes you cry and wonder how men can be this cruel.

To find out whether Shreeti finally gets her Mr. Right or not, what happens to her family, how she keeps earning her livelihood, does she finally gets settled, her belief in love strengthens towards the end or she remains shattered, her father’s predictions were true or was she able to carve her own destiny, does she gets a happy ending or not; you will have to read the novel, She Fell (Fail) In Love…Once Again.

Friday, August 9, 2013

As I looked within...I saw!

Walking down the lane,
Viewing the street with disdain.
My mind loaded with so many heavy thoughts,
Questions are there, but answers are not.

I keep moving, dejected,
Evil happenings keep me distracted.
How can I shut my mind?
How can I keep myself denied?

You tell me, can't you see?
What's going on around us? Around me?
Forlorn, lost all happiness,
I stood there in distress.

I looked at the street,
Found it full of blood shed.
I looked at the people at a distance,
Found them crying profusely.

I looked at the nature,
Found it all in an utter mess.
And then I looked within myself,
I was astonished with what I saw there.

I saw a girl weeping,
She had been raped.
I saw a poor man begging,
He was helpless.

I saw a crowd lying in blood,
They were the victims of a bomb blast.
I saw an innocent bride being burnt,
She was the victim of the dowry custom.

I saw a pool of blood and a knife,
A boy had committed suicide tired of the stress, maybe.
I saw a large piece of barren land,
It was the victim of the selfish men.

In addition, I saw accidents, thievery,
And what not! I saw a lot.
And I wondered where are we living?
And my heart cringes with pain.

I feel hollow, I feel bitter,
I feel so unsafe, and I feel dead.
Lost in my oblivion world,
I try in vain to remove this evil somehow.

I shift towards my poetic delusions,
Frantically trying to find an escape route in them.
But am so hurt, so much disturbed,
That even my poetry has started reflecting my pain.

It fails to calm me down,
It fails to bring a smile on my face.
I wish somehow the clock turns around,
And we go back to what we were!