31 May 2008

Natwarlal Jones

Mr Natwarlal and Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom seem so very similar to me. Besides being great entertainers, the basic premise of the story is the same. I have seen both of them more than 5 times and never got bored. They have both had lots of action, funny scenes and great music... plus, they were both block busters. I remember that both had a re-run at the theaters in Mumbai a good 5 years after their respective releases. Mr Natwarlal could have been made into a comic and his adventures could have continued if it had been a Hollywood product, I believe.
  • Both Natwar and Indiana land up in a village in North India
  • Both of them wear khakhi coloured clothes for most part of the movie
  • Both of them are heralded by the village folk as saviors according to a prophecy
  • Both of them eventually end up defeating a villain involved in diamonds
  • Both of them escape from the captivity of the villain
  • Both the movies have popular soundtracks
  • Both the movies involved children and many animals
  • Both of them have a strong reference to Indian Gods (Krishn and Shankar/ Sankara)
Amitabh's rendition of 'Mere paas aao' was probably one of his first songs as a playback singer. The outdoor locales of Indiana Jones are actually Sri Lanka because the Indian government had demanded some changes in the scripts.

I wonder what I would watch if the 2 of them were telecasted at the same time on different channels. I think, I would go for Mr Natwarlal. :)

25 May 2008


If books are a man's best friend, Guptaji is responsible for arranging my meetings with most of them. He has a large wooden plank balancing over a square wooden crate. One cannot miss this twenty-something round guy while he screams throughout the day outside the Andheri station, standing over his stack of pirated copies of books. A rather soiled handkerchief hangs from his neck, which he occasionally uses to dust his ware. The frequent cutting-chai breaks give him the energy that he requires to shout the usual 'LaaT (lot) hai! Sale hai!', 'Jeffrey hai, Archer hai, Sidney hai, Sale-done hai!'

I used to visit him on Saturday evenings and he would welcome me with a smile. Of late, I just had to go up to him and he would state his recommendations. Surprisingly, he even knew the contents of the books.

'Yeh loh saab, iss mein ek Afghani dost ka ishtory hai, jo uska hi... nahi nahi apun suspence nahi kholega. Iska picture banega dekhna' ... and he told me that even before imdb.com had an entry for 'The Kite Runner'.
'Iska start Indian call centre se hi hota hai. U.S. ki toh phatli hai abhi apne se' ... that was his conclusive analysis of 'The World is Flat'.
'Mama ke paas naya Tintin aaya hai' ... by naya he meant a second copy at a vendor across the street, because he knew that I was collecting Tintin and I could not afford the first hand collection from the Shopper's Stop next door.

Guptaji recommended 'Shantaram' to me more than 2 years back. My first reaction to the width of the book was - 'Abbe kitna badaa hai, sote sote chhaati par reh gaya toh uth nahi paaunga'. His tobacco stained toothy laughter lasted for 5 minutes under his sparse moustache.

He used tell that Sunday evening were the busiest because the Sunday papers carry reviews of the latest books and that boosts the public ka demand. So he would have the book review pages from 'Times of India' and 'Indian Express' under his cash deposit tin box.

I have finally picked up Shantaram and the first few pages remind me of the dusty and humid streets to Andheri station. In fact, that is what makes me want to read the next pages. Hmmm nostalgia!