Celebrating Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

A short note on my love for the Aamir Khan, Ayesha Jhulka starrer, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. I talk about how it’s a lesson in filmmaking!

Poster from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

If you are an Indian and you don’t know about this film, you must have lived under a rock. It probably is among the most iconic films of all time. While people dismiss it as a school / student rivalry film, I think the right category to slot it in is that of bildungsroman (aka coming-of-age film). It was after all about a boy, Sanjay Lal Sharma (aka Sanju) that had seen just the rosy parts of life and how he was shaken into growing up and standing up for his brother, father and community.

In terms of a standalone film, JJWS had everything going for it – a compelling story that never gets old, a plot with enough ups and downs to keep you hooked, almost perfect casting (with dreamy-eyed small-town kids to the English-speaking expensive-blazer-totting flamboyant privileged kids to the simpleton, the common folks that you’d find in any small town in India to others), music that instantly becomes an earworm, characters that you want to root for (you want Sanju to do well and you want Shekhar to suffer) and a climax that literally forces you to get on your feet and clap out loud!

Even though the film is more than 30 years old and the last I saw it would have been a few years ago, the visuals are so fresh in my mind that I can recall the narrative with scary accuracy. I can reproduce shots as if I am staring at a photo grab from the film. I can relate to (and even empathise with) each action taken by each character in the film – even if the character existed in blank, white or grey. Back then when I was younger, I may not have been able to. But today I can.

I mean look at Ram Lal – the father of Ratan and Sanjay. By the day he is at the school and then whatever time is left, he runs Ram Lal’s cafe. While he holds no ambition of his own, his salvation is in providing for his two sons (one, the picture-perfect obedient and the other, picture-perfect petulant). He wants his son to win a bicycle race and come out on top as a champion. The real desire is not the success of his son but the chase of the glory of the days gone by and the satisfaction of having taken his revenge. He wants to live his life via his son. Even with his flaws, he makes personal sacrifices in the way he lives. He’s saving as much as he can and for that, he’s literally pinching pennies. If this is not how a father ought to be, I dont know what could one be. And despite the flaws, he is perfect and commands respect.

PS: Back then, I couldn’t identify with Ram Lal with as much nuance but thanks to SoG, I have been able to appreciate the limitation of us humans (in our ability to do things) and want of living the life you’ve wanted (and are unable to get) through the life of the ones around you. I understand the need of creating winners, even at a personal cost and the sacrifices you must make to even give these kids a shot at winning!

Look at Ratan. The elder brother. His sole reason for existence is to get his school and thus his father the glory they believed they deserve. He spends all his time, his entire life chasing that one dream. And just when he is almost there, he is left injured. To see the scenes unfold from the sidelines. The injury itself is a result of a freak accident triggered by a frivolous act by his yet-to-grow-up younger brother. And no, unlike the modern-day young people, he submits to fate and moves on. Unknown to him, he plays yet another important role in the film. Probably the most important role. That of the trigger, the inspiration, the reason for young Sanju to want to grow up.

Aamir Khan as Sanjay Lal Sharma aka Sanju

If Sanju became Sanjay Lal Sharma and lifted the trophy, it was not his hard work or dedication or anything. It was Ram Lal’s sacrifices and Ratan Lal’s inability. And no, I dont mean to take anything away from Sanjay. He has had his ups and downs but eventually delivers on his destiny.

Now Sanjay is a curious case. On one side he had his father, his brother, his sidekicks, and the never-leave-my-side love interest. On the other, he had a formidable adversary, tall odds stacked like a mountain and the weight of the monster of expectations on his back. He was bang in the middle and each time any of these moved, he was churned and polished. And oh boy, did he shine like a diamond?

What made the film even more special is those tiny moments that seem to mean nothing and yet added to the layers of the story. There is this scene when Shekhar and his flunkies are at Ram Lal’s Cafe and Ratan is forced to wait at them. There is this instance when Sanju is imagining Devika dancing on top of a car in her The-Woman-In-Red-ish dress. Anjali on the other hand is imaging herself when Sanju is air-kissing someone. Uff!

The music from the film is a tome in itself. An entire generation grew up proposing to their loved ones with Pehla Nasha. Yahan Ke Hum Sikandar made me want to be a part of a school of cool kids. Rooth Key Humse made me pine for a brother that I could be with (sorry SG2 :D). The track was used to break the monotony and showcase the growth of Sanju as a person. There were more tracks – each written, performed and shot as well as any other.

Since the film is from 30 years ago, I found the direction and camerawork dated. But the team got the art spot on. From the sets to the decor to the costume to even the side characters, everything was spot on. I mean look at this signboard for Ram Lal’s cafe.

Ram Lal’s Cafe

The green background and white, serifed text, in all caps is gorgeous. The apostrophe is missing. Maybe on purpose. The RC logo looks like something done in a small town. The blue and yellow shade is in contrast to the green board.

Look at those scarves that Anjali is using to tie her hair. Look at those simple tees and shirts that have their buttons open. The fence they are leaning on looks weathered and looks like something you would imagine at a cafe from the pre-Starbucks era! Each scene of the film seems to have been made with a lot of attention to detail. Exactly the kind of work I would want to do.

Let me talk about the story. You know how a film ought to follow a three acts structure where tension rises at each point. The protagonist needs to accomplish a hero’s journey. And all the while the story must be technically sound, it needs to keep people hooked. JJWS scores on all three counts. In fact, it does it so well that each incident can be plotted on the charts even by a novice writer like me!

In fact, as an aspiring filmmaker, I think this film deserves to be made into a mandatory study. As the film celebrates its 30th anniversary, I can only congratulate the filmmakers for a job done well and invite my younger friends to go see the film!

And as I end this, what do you think of the film? What are your favourite parts? What do you recall the most about it?

Lemme know!

071121 – Morning Pages

A quick note from how I spent yesterday. It was not the best days per se but I am inspired to make today a better one.

Morning! Straight to the point.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Even though I did not get a lot of things done, I was engaged and I was happy. I guess this is cos I met people and talked about work and life.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I am better than zero. And less than 2 of yesterday. I focussed largely on things but I was unable to not context swtich.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I am able to find things that allow me to create opportunties for myself. This is something that has held be in good stead.
    2. I have access to people that allow me to engage in deep conversations about life and all. I love those. These conversations help me evolve into a better human. I am hoping. And this betterness allows me to help the ones around me do better.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work. Mr. Garg, you need to buck up, please! There’s a lot open on your plate.
    2. Work. I mean it.
    3. Work. Really.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am a superhero and I will save Mr. Garg from drowning into the pile of misery that could potentially fall on his head if he does not work.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I met a client and talked to her about how her podcast can go further. I hope they action it.
    2. Decoding Draupadi took birth. Thanks, PS and CM.
    3. Had these amazing momos at Ladaki at Galleria. You must try em when you are there.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had carbs, late night coffee, wine and I dont know what all. Need to avoid these strictly. I wont be able to control today either – I have a lot to do and I need simulants. Sigh.
    2. While I was checking in the hotel, I lost my shit with the front desk staff. I was tired and all that. I shouldn’t have. #note2self.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Not giving up is the only way to get to where you want to be.” – Harshit

What do I want to add beyond the journal? Quick commentary.

In a broad sense, yesterday was a bad day. I had carbs, coffee, and wine. As a friend quipped, Gurgaon is making me into an alcoholic. So, I am glad this trip is ending soon.

The highlight has to be the epiphany that I am at a place in life where I cant do things by myself. I can only give gyaan and hope others would do things. Along with a few colleagues, I am trying to build up a new idea. On that, the only thing am doing is giving gyaan and I am loving it. The team may hate it but I am on a literal trip. I put in less than 5 minutes a day on it and I can see the ball rolling already. That’s the kind of thing I want to be doing. Guess it’s the age!

The other thing that I want to catalog is that I am no longer taking those copious notes that I was taking till before I left for the Base Camp. Guess I’ve been busy? And no, I dont like this. I dont like not taking notes. I dont want to miss out on things. I want my notes to help me remember things. I want to grab each opportunity. This being busy is great (I am thinking less and executing a lot) but I am not building my repertoire. I need to get back to spending time with my notes / dreams / ideas etc.

Finally, the highlight was that I had a fascinating conversation yesterday with someone about life, age, death, and meaning. I wish I could reproduce it here. In one line, the other person thought I was afraid of dying (I was telling her about my will and my wanting to die the richest man in the world and my Memento Mori wallpaper) and I told her that I am afraid of the uncertainty of the afterlife (if there is one) but I know it is an inevitable end that all of us will have to reach at some point in time. And I told her that death inspires me and tells me that my time is limited and I need to act. Actually must write more on this. Let’s see when I get to do this. Adding to #toWrite list.

Ok enough for the day. Need to get going. Need to crunch a week-long worth of things into one day. Let’s see how I do this. May the force be with me. 

As I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Lol!
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 4. Yay!
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 31
  • Money spent – 2999
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 31
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 31

061121 – Morning Pages

A new format of doing these morning pages. Start with journal, add some commentary. And then end with the trackers. What do you think?

7:13. Slept at 4 something. Blame it on all the coffee I had. The good part is that I ate very little and I did not have Diet Coke even though it was a stressful day. So, pat on the back for that.

In terms of the update, I want to experiment with doing just the journal and see what I write. And once I am done with it, if there are things that I want to add onto, will add. And then I will add the trackers. Lemme know what you think of this new format. If these are still interesting for you to read? I mean I am a random guy on the internet. Would you want to read the musings in such an open manner? Is living in public cool?

Anyhow. Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :|. I was not happy per se. But I wasn’t sad either. So that.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 2. I think I did ok yesterday. I focused on one task at a time and I did serial multitasking. If I can amp it up, I will be ok. So +1, Mr. Garg.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I can find a comfortable bed most times I want to. This is a big big blessing. Grateful for that.
    2. I am grateful that I have access to enough water, at a time I want, in a shape I want. And I love sipping onto it. As I am writing this, I am sipping on to warm water.
    3. I can choose how I want to spend my time. More or less. I mean right now, I would like to be with my parents but work demands that I spend time away from them. But within that, I can choose my time and all that. So that.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. I have a lot of important things open. If I can work on and close those, it would be awesome. These things affect my work, my present and my future. All at the same time. It would be great if I could get those things done.
    2. If I can make do with OMAD, nothing like it. And if not that, I need to eat less. And eat well. You know, good things – no sugar, no carbs, no oil etc.
    3. If I could avoid giving into temptations (of any kind, that appeal to any of our senses), it would be awesome.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I can consistently create amazing opportunities for myself and my loved ones.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I could avoid eating kachra. Even though I had the opportunity. And access. And on top. whatever I ate was healthy. I mean I am assuming it was healthy. And I avoided Diet Coke. I did have couple of coffees but that’s ok. I will reduce that also as we get along.
    2. I tried to and successfully avoided context switching. It felt great to actually see things happen. With context switching, I open a lot of threads but I have a tough time closing em. If I can make this a recurring habit, I think I would be happier. So, more of it today.
    3. The cab ride from home to Gurgaon was fabulous. Even though it was dangerous, I loved the speed, the control of the cabbie and the wind in my (non-existent) hair. I just wish I was the one driving. I miss driving. Must get a car soon. #note2self. No, not before I take care of the debt.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. If I could have avoided coffee, it would have been fab. Today as well, I may not able to avoid. I have a meeting that I need to be at where I will be forced to have coffee.
    2. I was up till 3ish. If I could sleep on time, it would have better. I know sleep is important for functioning but I was unable to. Guess I will have to avoid coffee.
    3. If I could end the day with a dinner with someone, anyone, it would have been better. I like the idea of meeting people face to face and I feel off their energy. I ended the day on the bed staring at my phone. Rather I should have been sitting across a table and chatting about plans to take over the world 😀
  8. Quote for the day
    “Leave people better than you found them.” – Anon

What do I want to add beyond the journal?

I would have liked to talk more about context switching. But that’s a subject for another post altogether. Which knowing me, would never happen ;P

Also, the sections in the journal are overlapping. I need to find a better way of doing it. May be I will talk to SM from whom I literally copied this (see this thread) and I will ask him for his thoughts on the overlap. Let’ see.

So, as I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 3
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 30
  • Money spent – 3654
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 30
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 30

051121 – Morning Pages

The the day after Diwali, here are some firecrackers from Will Smith!

8:09. Home.

I Hope Diwali was great for everyone. Here’s to new beginnings and may each of you get what you wish for. In case you know me and trust me, send me your Diwali pics? You would have my number!

So in terms of what to write, for some reason, I am blank af. Let’s see what I come up with in the next few minutes. Lemme dump the things that are at the top of my head.

  1. am starting the lo-carb life today. It would be tough to manage it with all the travel and stress and all that. But I will. 
  2. I am thinking where to go live after 15th Nov. I want to not live at home and yet I want to be close to Delhi. At least till the 10th of Dec. I am leaning towards Gurgaon. Let’s see.
  3. Post the 10th of Dec, I will most probably be in Mumbai for a week or so. Thing is, I am driving to Goa from Mumbai on 21st or something. So I need to be around Mumbai. Lets see. May be Pune.
  4. There’s a lot of work open at my plate. Since I dont have a lot of pressing client calls today, I will probably focus on those and get those done.

While listening to music, Youtube played this Will Smith video where he’s talking about his upcoming book, Will. See the video.

Fuck the guy’s insane!

I have to have to have meet him someday. Universe, please make my dream come true? Not sure what I would do when I meet him, though! 

Of course, the cynic in me says that it’s all coordinated marketing efforts. I mean three-four things all at the same time – King Richard, Welcome to Earth, Best Shape of my life. And now, Will. All in Nov-Dec! All at the same time!

But the dreamer in me says, why not? The guy has what it takes to release all these at the same time! 

And here’s a quote. From Will. I may have used this earlier. “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on a treadmill together, there’s two things – you are getting off first. Or I am gonna die. It’s really that simple.” 

See it here.

That’s about it for the day I guess. More tomorrow.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :|. Even though it was Diwali, I am still unable to find what would make me happy.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I think I was a tad better. I did not multitask while doing whatever little I did. I kept my phone on the side for the large part of the day.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I have enough water to drink when I want to.
    2. There is enough potential work on my plate that makes me want to get up everyday.
    3. I stumble onto people like Will Smith that by their thoughts (at least) are very very inspiring.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can finish pending work, it would be great. To do so, I need to go sit at some Starbucks. Let’s see which one I end up going to. Most probably, somewhere in Gurgaon. There’s a lot open 😐
    2. I am so pumped looking at and reading about Will Smith. I hope all that pump translates into action!
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I will do what I have set out to. Not eat carbs. OMAD. Nothing that fucks my body. I need to be fit af.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. Diwali! My entire family was together. That was amazing!
    2. I went for a walk around my house home. It was probably a 500-meter one but it was great to have my limbs move again. I realised how much I love walking. I wish where I live was more walkable.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I did not do any work. Even though I had the time, I did not touch work. I should’ve.
    2. I would have got some 100 messages about Diwali. I did not know how to respond to those. I am weird like that. I dont know how to be festive. This is the reason I escape on my birthday. I make a big deal out of it. For no reason.
  8. Quote for the day
    See above…

And here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 2
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 29
  • Money spent – 0. Was home and did not spend a single rupee. Yay!
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 29
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 29