15th November 1998
I'm baaack!! But I must confess, it feels kinda strange getting back into the writing groove after such a long break. Not saying that I haven't been taking breaks whenever I felt like it anyway, but I'd managed to get out of it so completely this time, that it feels strange to actually sit down and write again. But that familiar itch to sound off seems to be back, and hopefully, that should help keep the old kidney churning for a while.
Though I hate to admit it, it's been a rather boring time off. I promised myself that I would use this little break to do all the stuff I needed to do but couldn't find the time for. Well, the break seems over, but I still haven't done any of the stuff I wanted to do. But I think that's absolutely typical though. When we have stuff to do, we complain that we don't have the time to do the other stuff we want to do. But when we have time off we'd rather do nothing and still complain. I guess that gives us something interesting to bitch about while we do nothing - an added bonus.
I hadn't realised how difficult it is to spend time doing nothing productively these days. For the first few days of my freedom I was at a loss as to what on earth to do. Then, as I sat in front of the TV looking for inspiration, I discovered Hindi Films. That in itself is nothing spectacular - you'd have to be an utter moron not to be able to find a Hindi movie on Sri Lankan television. But that discovery led me to another. You see, I hadn't realized how little credit I had given the Hindi film industry until I actually started watching Hindi films. I used to think that I could make a pretty good Hindi Movie myself if I had a boy, a girl, and a decent looking tree. How wrong I was. Hindi movies are not really the ludicrous collection of half ideas that they appear to be. If you really think about it, you'd realise that these movies follow a well-structured formula.
Your average Hindi film consists of three main figures, who we shall for the moment call (1) The boy, (2) The girl, (3) The villain. Now that we know the basics, we can go further into the subtleties of Hindi cinema. If you've ever been confused, let me put things straight by explaining the crucial parts of a movie, and how the three main characters fit into the grand scheme of things.
* Girl: Absolutely gorgeous. Just the right mix of sexy, sweet, feisty, adorable etc ... In other words - just the kind of girl that reminds you all the time that she is an actress. Paid to fall in love with Boy.
* Boy: Poofter. Floppy-haired, arguably good looking (but if you're arguing, make sure that you aren't arguing with the average girl. Because to her, he is 'Soooo cute', and there is no argument) gets to woo girl, and gets paid for it.
* Villain: Bad dude with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Has a mandatory physical defect, and a complex which comes from having a mandatory physical defect.
* The plot: The loosely-thrown-together story line which shows the audience a connection between boy, girl and villain. For example, boy falls in love with girl. She, obviously not having the chance to get out much, also falls in love with him. For the simple reason that there needs to be a story, villain also has a mild obsession with girl. Villain, simply because he is the villain, tries to bump off boy. Boy and villain fight, boy wins, boy and girl run around trees happily ever after.
* Fight sequences: In Hindi films, there are some universal truths about every fight sequence. First, if guns are involved, the hero is always at a terrible disadvantage when it comes to firepower. He usually has a puny revolver with a few bullets and has to face opponents with automatics. But the opposition always manage to miss him, whilst he manages to permanently damage at least one of them with every bullet. If there are no guns, it is an accepted fact that the hero (even if he is a supposed to be a tea boy), knows a complex martial art which can do damage without him actually having to make contact with any part of his opponent's bodies. The opposition is done away with in order of importance. The less significant henchmen are lain flat with one blow, the significant henchmen take between 2 & 3, and the villain's lieutenant puts up a fight but is also done away with. A fierce battle with the villain ensues. He is finally defeated and has to add one more physical defect to his list.
* Dance Sequences: Like fight sequences, these are essential parts of a Hindi film. They have nothing to do with the plot, but over the years, have provided a good opportunity for India to show off her vast resources of trees. But this image is unfortunate as a majority of the dance sequences in the movies today have very few trees and a lot of stems...
There's more to this lesson boys and girls. But not today. I hear Asha
Bhosle venting her lungs on the tele. Gotta go. I'm hooked.
By Ayesha R. Rafiq
There's a new reason why you should visit the Blue Elephant at the Hilton within the next two months, and it's not because it's the last time you'll be able to see the 'Blue' as it is. Yes, it will be undergoing refurbishment in January, but it's also got a hot new DJ all the way from England, who's guaranteed to keep you rockin' and rollin' through the night.
Rachel Allen, the 28-year-old Britisher from Sussex is into her seventh year of disc jockeying, and loves every single minute of it.
Working for an entertainment agency in Singapore called 'Inova,' she's here on a three month stint, and more than eager to give us a taste of her style.
What's life like as a disc jockey? 'Well, it's tiring. Everybody thinks you're just up there playing records and having fun, and that it's a great way to earn some money, but it's really a lot more than that. A song only lasts about two minutes, and within that time, you've got to pick the new record, you've got to mix it, you've got to talk to the crowd, it's not easy, but I still love it," she says.
Through her job she's visited East Malaysia, India, Singapore and Sri Lanka so far. Her travelling doesn't give her much time to keep in touch with the folk back home, 'but they're only a phone call away.'
But doesn't she feel lonely sometimes? Yes, she says, but she feels she's got to do all this and travel as much as she wants to now, while she's young and has no responsibilities like a husband or a child.
She enjoys being a DJ despite its down sides. Working from 11.00 p.m. to 4.00 a.m. and sleeping till 1.00 p.m. the next day is not everyone's cup of tea, and doesn't give her much time to see a lot of the countries she's visited.
But she likes the action and the life, especially as she can always join the party goers for a drink during one of her breaks.
Rachel says the Sri Lankan audience is a little more difficult to please than the English one, for the simple reason that one gets so many varieties of people in a night club here. Everyone wants a different kind of music, and you can't really keep all of the people happy all the time, she says.
"But generally I find that the people here like a strong beat, a lot like the salsa, or the baila as they call it here, in addition to soul and dance music, and it's nice to be able to play a variety, whereas in England people are more into dance music."
Although Rachel is here for a short while, she plans to see as much of Sri Lanka as she can, and also hopes that in time, more women will be seen on the Sri Lankan night club scene.
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