Rise, young men!!

Damn! I have a lot of lot of issues yaar
I didn’t think I’d end up growing up with so many things I don’t like. I love life, genuinely love life – it’s the biggest gift to be able to think, speak, feel, create…And what we have not done with this gift! It’s just amazing.

We can think about all the rubbish happening out there and not do a thing about it. Speak all the bull s*** out there and then go to sleep. Feel remorse, anger, helplessness at the plight of the world and go to sleep. Create madness, enmity against each other, bloodshed, and go to sleep again…

Amazing! We are too intelligent for ourselves.

I’ve been driving around a lot nowadays for my shoots. And when you drive in an old car, life seems to slow down and you start noticing things… lots of things. And I’ve realised something. I hate today’s youth, I abhor them. Ok! Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. Why? Why not!

I thought after 26/11 we would all come together and try and make things better, especially the youth. What after all those peace marches, etc…

But as usual, we refuse to change.

We eat paan and throw the remains on the road, chew it and spit wherever we feel like painting our roads or other people’s clothes…in fact I’ve started making a photographic art series with the different types of spits!

We love to smoke. It’s so cool. It helps us relax. It’s not a habit… I can leave it anytime. And we will throw cigarette butts out of running cars; we will put the butt on the floor and stamp it. So what if, after a while, the place looks like it has been bombarded by crow sh*t!

Think I’m going to be famous shooting all this…

We still drive like maniacs, because we’re young and we don’t care who has to brake or jump out of the way, especially since papa got me a motorbike. We will be rude to others, because we care a damn. We will not listen to anyone, because we are young and we know everything! We will eat chocolates and throw the wrappers around.

My friends and I go around the country by car for days and we carry garbage bags for the whole trip.

We will burn up and break colleges because it’s easier than studying. We will tease and beat women because it makes us feel strong and then blame it on religion and culture. Culture, my a**!

I don’t remember being like this, or anything like this. I pity the world if ‘THIS’ is what is going to take over us… God help us.

The other day, I read in the papers that the Municipal Commissioner wants to bring down our heritage structures because he wants to promote development. I wonder which village they got him from to make him our commissioner.

Does he even understand that these are the buildings defining our city? It is our yesterday which should guide our tomorrow and tell our children what the city is all about. Not some ugly high rise blocks which will dot our horizon and the only way to see the sky would be to look up like a crane.

There are times I want to leave the country… go away to Tibet and become a monk. But then again, this is my country and I love my country and am scared for it.

The camera and politics

I’m upset. Actually, quite upset. The week started off well. Most of my work got done on time.

I shot with one of my favourite stars – Akshay Kumar. He’s one of the best looking guys I’ve ever met. He has an amazing personality and a very warm person, though he tries to be very professional. I guess that his job demands that – no matter how much of a fun-loving person you are, you have to be professional, lest people take you for granted and you get ‘abused’!

Working with Akshay is like a dream. He likes to shoot early in the mornings, and I love getting up early.

So, I’m at the location at 6am setting up for a 9am shoot. Akshay walks in at the stroke of nine. I just love people who are on time. We have 6 shots to do and normally with someone else it would take me a whole day or more. It’d start with makeup, breakfast, changes, lunch, tea, etc, etc… and we could go on. Well, in this case, the shoot’s over by 10am!

Can you believe it, 6 shots in an hour… must be one of my fastest shoots… hmmm, actually not really. I once shot with a Ms. Universe for a campaign – we finished 6 shots in 15 minutes! But then again, Akshay’s our Punjabi puttar… and I just love shooting with him. I’m biased, but what the hell!

Anyway, back to why I’m upset. Mid-week I was reading The Times of India and I read that the Shiv Sena and MNS are back to what they do best – breaking things, shops, hotels, scaring people, and being the perfect goondas in town.

You have to hand it to them. They are perfectionists. Every time there’s a riot in town, we can be sure it’ll trace back to them. And what does our government and police do? Watch the tamasha like the bhands (Punjabi for bandwallas and dramawallas in the villages) that they are ! I’m really upset. Disgusting.

In the course of the week, while I was attending my friend Sangeeta Wadhwani’s book launch, I heard about the incident where some ladies were assaulted by a self-righteous right wing morale brigade for drinking at a pub.

Who the hell are these hooligans? Where do they come from? What type of families give birth to these illiterate—no sorry – uneducated, pea-brained mongrels, who do not know anything about our culture or sabhyata? We are supposed to be a tolerant country, assimilating every culture and the various people who come here.

We are the land of the Buddha and Lord Sri Krishna. Lord Krishna himself came down to save Draupadi, and these hooligans in the name of Rama are beating up women. They cannot be human beings. They are the dirt, and we need to wash away this muck. And, as usual, our media was taking photos and increasing TRPs while the cops were chewing paan.

All the anger and the helplessness from the terror attacks is coming out. A TV channel asks me what is it that I want to say to our people. I say – Do we really need the terrorists to come and kill us, beat us, terrorise us? Tell the Pakistanis, the Taliban, etc that we do not need you. We are enough to kill, maim, scare, and make the common man’s life hell. We don’t need you.

We are more scared of being a Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Bhojpuri, Bhaiya, or whatever religion or people we are not supposed to be. I’m upset. Upset at us for letting this happen to us. Upset at the parties who have been using religion and caste card for their narrow gains.

Don’t they realise we are on a slow but sure and a scary road to being segregated and becoming a narrow and divided society waiting to explode and burn in this beautiful country of ours?

Can you please grow up and see the destruction, pain and anguish you’ve already caused us? ENOUGH. Please stand up and say we’re INDIANS. And we don’t want your kind anymore.

I’m upset, upset enough to cry…cry for my country…


Yes yes yes… getting it done…
Yes I know you want it urgently… but it’s a physical thing… I can’t help it… it’ll take its own time…

Here we go again… I’m trying to convince clients that photography is not magic. It involves so many things – brand position, planning, conceptualisation, pre-production, casting, execution, post production and final deliveries.

That is the story of my life.

In other things, one of my best friends is down from the US after almost 2 years and I haven’t had the time to spend a proper evening with her…LIFE! We finally do something silly. We catch a 9am boat and head to Elephanta Caves. No signal, no one can disturb us – perfect!

Touch Mumbai shores once more by 3 pm for a meeting at the Times office. I’m supposed to be a guest editor for one of their up-coming projects… hmmm… I think they’re getting lazy and want us to do their work…but then it could be fun.

I’ve been travelling a lot in the city, drive my yellow Volkswagen Beetle and people get curious and weird sometimes. I keep getting interesting people coming up to me to talk and I just love that fact. It forces you to slow down in life and interact and shoot some awesome road scenes.

Last week was a blur – going from one meeting to another, shooting, and then back to meetings. For most part of the week I was upset with all the nonsense going around in the country with self-righteous moral brigades running around, wrecking havoc on the common man and the government and judiciary sitting on their butts while the media raked in the moolah because of rising TRPs.

It’s a dog eat dog world…

This week, I’ve been on a change – a country trip. What can I do… what can we do…small things.

During the week, I also got some silly little 16-year old kids arrested for riding a motorbike rashly, had a motorist fined for breaking a signal and almost killing people, got upset at the watchmen for spitting in our compound, angry at some rich kids for eating paan from Muchad paan wala at Kemps corner and throwing the wrappers around.

What surprises me is that after all that noise, all the kids coming together at the peace rally, we do not seem to have learnt our lesson. We are still brash, negligent, and our chalta hai attitude is not getting us anywhere. We still throw rubbish, we smoke in public, we spit out of cars. India is going into the 21st century! Definitely… bigger, stronger, more materialistic, more brash and more corrupt.Welcome, citizens of the world to the Slumdog Country! Jaihind!