White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kabul Express Review

I think we are currently in a phase of the Indian Film Industry (steering clear of the menial “Bollywood”) that film historians will write about as revolutionary times in the years to follow. I say this because of the shift from candy floss garbage movies we were making during the turn of the century. The fact that films like Yahaan, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Black, Black Friday etc. are being made and appreciated, even if, by a small section of the audience, bears testimony to this.

One such film is Kabul Express, made by Kabir Khan, an erstwhile documentary film-maker. The story revolves around a few days in the lives of two Indian journalists, played decently and superbly by John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, respectively. The movie begins with a chopper dropping the protagonists off somewhere within the borders of Afghanistan. What follows is a adventure that our guides will probably never forget, undertaken in a 4x4 called Kabul Express.

The main plus point of the film is Khan’s use of local people for the fringe roles and the liberal use of the local language by the same, and casting actors from their respective character’s background. As far as the characters go, Abraham’s Suhel is not bad, but doesn’t stand out, especially next to the perfect comic timing of Warsi’s Jai, which cuts the tension in the film as successfully as a good actor like Warsi can, making good use of catharsis. However, I must mention Abraham’s one scene, the one in which he stands up for Indian Muslims and gives Salman Shahid’s Imran a pat reply to his under the belt blow. However, both Abraham and Warsi are completely overshadowed by Shahid. He plays the loyal veteran Pakistani Army officer to the hilt. In fact, I am really curious as to what he is like without the whole get up and the Pushtoon accent. Hanif Hum Ghum manages to convey the anger the Mujahideen feels towards the Taliban with aplomb. Linda Arsenio has no major role, and is only in the film as a source of sex appeal, and reaction from the other characters.

Anshuman Mahaley’s cinematography is very good, justifying that you do not need architecture to beautify a place. Very early in the movie, he wakes you up in case you were drowsy, with a scene where Suhel invites an angel-like kid to exercise with him only to find that the kid has only one leg. I guess the credit should really go to the director Khan, but Mahaley manages to capture the emotion of the moment with his camera very effectively. The bright blue sky against the yellowish dirt brings back memories of Ray’s shots of the desert in Sonar Kella, and also conveys the pointlessness of the whole Mujahideen-Taliban conflict. I think the Buzkashi sequence could have been shown better, like in Rambo III, but maybe that was done on purpose, so as not to come off as flashy. The scene where Imran is showered with Pepsi cans serves as a humor element and is beautifully shot, and also shows off the clout of the huge corporation in style.

The lack of substantial music in the film had its pros and cons. While I agree that songs would have been redundant and unnecessary, a stronger background score would have been effective, especially in shots when our adventurers are scampering across the country in the Kabul Express. Like most modern films, it has a song that is not in the movie – a peppy number called Kabul Fiza.

In totality, a good film, barring a couple of holes in the script, such as the sudden arrival of Khyber on the scene and his (as far as I can tell better that mine) Hindi and the fact that Suhel and Jai spend a few days in the remains of a castle when it gets pretty cold at night without any apparent blankets or even Jai’s unending battery supply for his camera. It makes a very slight bow to Coppola’s Apocalypse Now in that the protagonists have to undertake an adventurous journey, but one of the big differences is that the larger than life character travels with them, unlike in Apocalypse Now, where the protagonist undertakes the journey to meet the demigod. I would recommend this movie to all off-beat film lovers, and being one myself, will give it a 7.5/10.

Succumbing to sub-conscious Forces

A very good friend is leaving town, and I am not exaggerating when I say that life at this place will loose some of its color. The decibel levels in corridors at work seem to have gone down. You don’t hear Japanese, albeit pseudo, conversations anymore, or hear of any broken fingers as a result of exchanging punches against each other’s fists, or the sound of dislocated shoulder bones because of the very unique shoulder high fives that were common. No one walks with exaggerated skips anymore, or matches the pink shirt I wear sometimes. Certain pundits on the ways of bedding women have lost their keen (to the unobservant eye) audience. No one swears 30 times in a minute at the lunch time anymore, and hence the atmosphere there is almost as bland as the food.

Let the rant in the previous paragraph not be misconstrued as “senti” crap. At the end of the day, I realize that humans have to constantly seek greener pastures, and if you add the human ambition quotient to the equation, it just justifies something very clich├ęd – the only thing permanent is change, thus explaining the human tendency towards Brownian or random motion. Ergo, humans, some more than others, are governed by random, or impulsive actions. So, for the most part, humans are impulsive. So, wait, Chief’s decision to go to business school is impulsive? How can a process, that is at least 6-8 months in the least, be impulsive?

Another reason, besides ambition, can be the boredom of doing the same thing over and over again day after day. Here I admire government servants who hold the same post for the best part of a quarter of a century or more, or even a school teacher. So, why is it that they don’t get bored? Is it a lack of exposure to the many other options they have? This raises a very serious question as to whether a lack of exposure results in occupational satisfaction.