Saturday, December 19
Friday, December 11
Tuesday, November 10
Monday, November 9
Saturday, October 17
Thursday, September 24
Monday, August 31
Thursday, July 30
Monday, July 20
Thursday, July 16
Wednesday, July 15
Monday, June 29
Thursday, June 11
Tuesday, May 12
Thursday, March 12
With the explosion of media, today's world is probably a lot more aware of my profession. It doesn't necessarily hold true for what i do. As such, there is no clean definition for what i do. Broadly put, i write to make a living. My words feed me. After six arguably sincere years of science including four years of professional training to make chips talk, i chose to drop out of mainstream. I started writing copy, dribbling past peer-parental suggestions that it was the wrong career choice. The white-collar dream has always fascinated bong bourgeois and they weren't the least amused by my round-collared meanderings. Honestly, i surprised myself as well. I started young but perhaps i started wrong. Only Perhaps. I risk my modesty here, not that much of it exists anyway, but sometimes the burden of being bright is especially heavy when you don't know where you're headed. When i was younger, much like a lot of us, i thought i could be anything i wanted to be. Strangely as i grew up, i failed to streamline that belief and much of it holds true even today. Only now, i'm a professional copywriter. Partly by chance, partly by choice. Struggling, good and lost in an alien industry armed with pure belief when i could rather have done with some clue.
Even after almost two years, i still wonder how i landed up here. I didn't know too many people in advertising. I didn't know much about it either. I loved ads and stories of advertising. I loved seeing the ad-people on print and television. I loved the fact that there were no rules. Rather, no strict rules. and you could look the way you wanted and wear what you were comfortable with to the workplace. I loved brands and their stories. I always had an idea when i saw an ad, only nothing to do with it. In the last few months of engineering when i was gearing up for the b-school routine, i had an opportunity to "write a few lines" for a small agency. A story-telling session followed in what i later learnt was called 'briefing' in my profession to-be. I liked the money, they liked my lines. More briefs followed and more money. I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was paid for burping words. In the absence of a desirable IT offer or intent for the same, I spent time cracking sums and writing copy. Slowly I started spending more time at the agency writing more than just copy. It was the phase I call ‘my drift’. The job-offer soon followed and was accepted. It was my first job and i had no one senior in what I did. Previous and previously experienced copywriters maintained atrocious levels of copy at the agency and i was their cheaper, better solution. I learnt everything on the job. In a year, i had a body of work spanning campaigns, ads, inserts, innovative media to every collateral that involved a written word. It was a proprietor driven agency so it had its pros and cons. Pros being meeting clients at a very senior level, incommensurate to my experience, getting to create entire pitches, handling accounts, recruiting people and so on. It was inexplicably too much to learn in the first year and probably the only compensation for not joining the big guys who of course would have pushed me through the trainee grind and paid me lesser.
Small agencies have an orbit by themselves. They're trying too hard to survive. Biting more than they can chew and chewing more than they should. They have a strange, self-repeating life-cycle. They find it hard to attract good talent, harder to retain them and are often annexes to the client organisation. They are forever struggling for the big ticket (read big client). When i joined advertising, i didn't personally know anyone from this field. Or from the big agencies. I always wondered what agency culture meant. I'm not racist, but the small agency trap for a copywriter is being limited to the creative exposure of a predominantly vernacular art department. I wasn’t sure where the job was taking me. Today, I have a higher pay and greater say in another agency that is happy to hire me. But the thrill is fizzling out.
I’m at mental crossroads. I see a deluge of people in the big agencies, none of whom I know, doing second rate work consistently well. And some young people doing prodigiously well. I’m missing that creative buzz. I wonder if buying time in this new job is actually losing it. It’s one thing plying your skills ad quite another honing it. There will be a time when I’ll outgrow this agency, if not already, but will I be ready for the big league? We aren’t much different, us writers, from aspiring actors in this city. Maybe just a little less desperate and a little more cerebral. Otherwise just the same. Armed with a promise and a portfolio, trying to get an audition with creative directors across the city. Our screen tests are copy tests and we have awards instead of gladrags. We struggle to land the big roles, with the big cast on a big script. So we settle for small agencies. Smaller brands, smaller budgets, smaller canvasses. They feed us, keep us going.
What keeps me going? It's the glint of hope in my eyes everytime i leave for work, that someday, i'll leave for a bigger place. Pit my wits against the very best and use my work as my ladder. That someday, i'll make it big here before i succumb to the i succumb to the left brain's lust for corporate moolah.
Two years down, I’m still holding on to the belief I started out with. Looking to break in. Only now with half a clue, as the copywriter by chance. No, nothing to do with copyrights :)
Saturday, March 7
Tuesday, March 3
Tuesday, February 24
Monday, February 16
Friday, February 13
Monday, February 9
I won't dissect the movie there are too many reviews anyway. I'll give you a rating. It's a must watch. Now for those who have seen it already and those about to, lets celebrate the non conformist niche that we have carved amongst Indian audiences and more importantly, film makers who partly sympathize with our sensibilities. In breaking the prototype, Dev D is brilliantly conceived as the pill popping snorthead drenched in the misery of lost love and vodka. It's a simple story immortalized by a novel and Bollywood's numerous tributes to the same. But in truth, the reason we all love this tragedy is because we have all been there. Because life in the shadow of a heartbreak is effortlessly dark and we're enamoured by the its trail of decadence. We fall out of the downward spiral and reconcile to the truth of our lives, but that magentic urge to give it all up is an unkindled presence inside each one of us. I have long believed that the greatest thing love does is that it submerges the ego. And when it ebbs, the ego rises like a stubborn rock at the shore. Waves crash into froth but the rock doesn't move. It wounds itself in this tidal tragedy of the heart. To that effect, Dev D brilliantly exposes the ego aspect of the story. While the motive of the story is to highlight the self-destructive guilt trip of the protagonist who burns out in repentance, in retrospect, Dev D does that too but is somewhere, somehow too lost in its own cinematic cause. Breaking the prototype.
The first half of the film is sheer delight as it builds up the story inter weaved with captivating screenplay, cinematography and a bingo soundtrack. In the second half though, towards the end, the movie loses its scheme and screenplay, unfolding as a montage of audiovisuals interspersed with very few dialogues or character interactions. After a point, you want to know the story more than seeing Dev getting high again, and again. It is essential but overdone given the ending the movie chose for itself. It should have been played up a bit more, the ante should've been stepped up. The ending is a bold statement poorly made.
I don't wish to give out too much of the movie but i can't resist spelling out a few magic moments from the film. There is a scene where Anurag subtly underlines his directorial masterclass. Dev, back from London is lighting up a smoke in the evening outside his house and his cigarette is not an Indian manufactured stick but rolled up tobacco, so typical of people coming down from UK. You'd argue it's a joint, but i don't think he'd smoke up so publicly in and around his house. I think it's a great touch. Emosanal Attyachar is probably one of the greatest creative highs to light up Indian movie screens. It's a story in itself and I'd watch the movie again for that stuff. Although dissected and played out in three segments in the second half, the rock version of the fore mentioned song is equally good and brilliantly composed. Also, scene compositions and shot breakdowns of Dev getting sloshed, captured by alternating sequences of focusing and de-focusing or coked, when is evidently high and flying (It's a technique called camera tripping and also the reason Danny Boyle is spelt out in the credits) or the background score when he dips his head under water are testimonies to Mr. Kashap's film making genius. The main leads are cast well and Abhay Deol pulls of yet another super-act. As the decadent Dev, he is effortlessly convincing and hungover and has played it to perfection. Mahi Gill aptly manages the raw, rustic charm of the pind girl and is delightfully in character. Also, every captivating eyes. The surprise is Kalki, strangely attractive with a subtle vulnerabililty in her portrayal of the besotted consort. Her second half performance is truly delightful especially the brief underplayed mush scene with Dev at the steamed momos. But i guess that's the best she got from a script which was rushing the movie to its end.
In summation, Dev D is like a juicy paan that is sharp, strongly flavoured and enjoyable but gets too bland to chew after sometime. But go for it. In the end you'll agree, Dev D is like great sex without an orgasm. You'll enjoy it, but will remain disappointed.
Monday, February 2
Saturday, January 31
With his toothy grin and dimpled face, he's heard echoes and caught dreams. He's cut clouds of the shapes he wanted, to a perfect t. He's read things easier said and he's lost his heart saying.. Maybe. He's learnt subtext before words, but he's still learning to speak. He's still in need of diapers, he doesn't know when not to pee. He spills his food but mumbles a promise, he'll stop when he's three. He's held on to his name, his colour and his games. He's much the same, just a little lazy and lame. When the crawling comes to a halt, he'll take his first steps here. Learn and perfect his walk. There's much to probe, and he's only just begun.
Tonight he's happy, clapping flat with his little palms. He'll manage to blow one of the two candles and quickly phoo at the second one. He's waiting for the cake. The cherry piece. But so are we all aren't we?
Thursday, January 22
It's the greatest truth, more honest than any film-maker has ever told you. The greatest thing you'll ever experience in life is loving and being loved in return. And in the humble theatre of my life - a mile for every inch, a gallon for every drop, a quintal for every ounce and a million for every cent. I love as a way of life and i simply love too much. But i have far more in return. So i'm dealing with surplus. Remember me in your darkest hours, in the loveless grey sunday evenings of your lives (earnestly wish there aren't too many). For i have a heart full of love and more than a hug to spare and your merit is this space at which you stare.
Wednesday, January 14
The truth is i have become lazy, lost discipline, been too indulgent to inertia. So, to breathe life into this blog and punch it with posts till it wakes up with a shudder i'm working out a stimulus package in keeping with current trends.
The first fortnight of the new year has zipped past rapidly in what has been a very adventurous start to the long list of months to follow. From writing b-school entrances to boarding running trains on the way back from a clandestine trip to Delhi with the most special one. This year should necessarily be one of change. It'll start with the blog. It has to change the way it speaks to you. Or to me. The posts on new year resolutions, on delhi and on the most special one are simmering to a boil. There are request posts and pending tags. There's stuff to do with tone and identity. So well, yeah that's more or less where Alternate Perception is headed.
Altough i'm late as usual, it's not too late to wish you guys all the very best for the forthcoming year. I mean happiness, success, love, good place to sleep, good sleep, good people to sleep with, fewer hangovers, more parties and other such fun things. I wish all of that. Hope the recession ends, we dont fall prey to bullets and bombs and have a lot more to write about.
I'm using madness as a protocol this year, so i'll be a little mean. If you dont post with a week of reading this, i hope you land up with tapeworm from the next pork chop you eat. Vegetarians don't smirk. Post instead.
(Look who's talking)