AUTORATURE - A vanishing art!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

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Love them or loathe them, but you just cant ignore them.Nope, I am not talking about the Himesh Reshamiyas of the world, but a tiny yet ferocious automobile called Autorikshaws.Which are also popularly known as Rick,Auto,Rickshaw,Tuk Tuk, etc in different parts of the subcontinent.
Auto drivers are peculiar and typical in nature depending upon the various locations they reside in India. An auto driver in Bangalore might just ignore you in the mornings as he might be busy reading Kannada dailies like Prajavani or Vijaya Karnataka or even Times of India in some cases, nevertheless Bangalore is the only place in India where you can find English speaking autowallas. An auto driver in Chennai ensures that he’ll atleast show some parts of Chennai before dropping you to your destination which apparently is just one road away from the place you had taken the rick (If you are new to Chennai). It’s a different story altogether with Bombay autowallahs, they are the most honest and customer friendly auto drivers I have come across amongst their counterparts in other cities.

Auto drivers are often portrayed negatively in most of the South Indian movies. Few exceptions I have come across are Rajanikanth’s Bhashaa in Tamil and Auto Raja starring Shankar Nag in Kannada. No wonder why we see Rajani’s photos in the auto stands of Tamilnadu and Shankar Nag’s in Karnataka. Auto rickshaws have found their fortunes in Hollywood too; there is a chasing scene in James Bond movie Octopussy in which Bond and a fellow M16 agent Vijay Amritraj elude villains while they are in an auto.

It will be incomplete if I don't mention the creativity of auto drivers, especially when my objective of writing this post is to emphasise and compile some of the interesting slogans on the auto rickshaws around.Since my childhood days, I have been enchanted by the ‘creative’, ‘emotional’, ‘funny’, ‘meaningless’ writings on the back of rickshaws on the Indian subcontinent. Thanks to those creative auto drivers. This unique art can be called as “AUTORATURE” (Auto+Literature), off course, term coined by me!
I feel this wonderful art work is ceasing to exist in some parts of the country. You can blame it either on authorities for restricting auto drivers from writing anything on the canopy or blame it on the greedy marketers like me who are trying to covert every bit of visible property as an advertising space in the name of ambient media.

I have compiled some of the slogans/writings I have found on the Autorickshaws in Bangalore and have also tried to give a rough translation of the same as most of them are in Kannada. I have also put in my comments in red.

  • The new Indian.(What’s your status? Old Indian or New Indian).
  • Preethiyannu konda kolegaathi - Murderess who killed Love (Poor Devdas :( ).
  • God is doing but somewhat wait(Hey Shakespeare, can you can you come alive and explain this to us?).
  • Dhoom 4 – (Ahead of yashRaj movies.But where is Dhoom 3??).
  • Love is a sweet poison – (Thank god I am not diabetic).
  • Trust a snake but not a woman – (Can we trust female snakes?).
  • Don’t vary be happi – (Hey techies around, can you invent auto spell check in PAINT BRUSH too?).
  • Duniya duddina mele preethi bhoomi mele - World rests on money yet love stays on earth.
  • Thandeya nenapu, thaayiya aashirvaada – Dad’s memory, mother’s blessings.
  • Small family, happy family – (how many small families do you have??Be specific).
  • Don't pollute the air - (only autorckshaws are entitled to do so).
  • Nagu yellarigagi, hrudaya obbaligagi - Smile for everyone, heart for only one (I believe he is yet to find his first love).
  • Nothing can change my love for you - (Are you sure?).
  • Mandyada gooli - The bull from Mandya (Beware..It can attack on any color)
  • Manja SSLC, Mahesha P.U.C - (Ooops...higly educated family!)
  • Masthigu kusthigu ready - Ready for both fun and fight (Local Munnabhai??)

I do try to add some more slogans as and when I get to see the new ones, also pls contribute if you come across anything interesting. (pradeepjayraj[at]

A bit of Gandhi in every father..

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

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It was sharp 6pm and I decided to step out of the office. I have been doing it for the last couple of weeks, post my realization that I too have a personal life and it has gone for a big toss. Initially my colleagues used to ask me whether I am on half a day leave, but they have stopped asking as it has become quite regular now. Once out of office, the biggest challenge in front of me was to plan my evening. I did call couple of my friends and tried planning for a movie, but in vein I got a sarcastic smile from them when I told them the name of the movie, Gandhi My father. By then I was quite sure that I am not going to get any company for this movie and headed towards Inox alone.

For a change, I went out without having any pre conceived notion about the movie.I had avoided seeing trailers of this movie in television. For my surprise, this movie turned out to be one of the best emotional melodramas I have ever seen on the silver screen in the recent past. The critic in me was unable to find a single flaw in the movie. Be it the way the story has been narrated or the performance of each and every actor in the movie. Hats off to Anil Kapoor’s guts for taking such a risk in producing a movie on a character called Harilal Gandhi which is neither heard nor seen anywhere. The second person to be appreciated is director Feroze Abbas Khan; he has utilized his skills till the corner of his ability.Akshay Khanna’s acting as Harilal Gandhi is just mesmerizing. Nevertheless, the roles played by Dharshan Jariwal as Mahatma Gandhi and Shefali Shah as Kastur Ba is much appreciated.

Getting little deeper into the movie or rather into the story of Harilal Gandhi itself, I was asking myself a few hundred questions while trying to analyze who was responsible for the disastrous end of Harilal, the eldest son of Mahatma Gandhi. Is it Mahatma who was responsible or Harilal himself?

Recounting couple of incidents from the movie as a normal human being, I somehow felt Mahatma was somewhere responsible for the failure of his son. Despite of all his success as a peacemaker, campaigner, father of the nation, he failed at the task of being a good father for his eldest son.

Being an elder son in the family, Harilal had to sacrifice his studies as Mahatma was shuttling his family between South Africa and India. Though Harilal was very ambitious and wanted to become a barrister like his father, Mahatma never supported him. Be it when he failed to give his son a basic education or be it when he failed to recommend the scholarship to his son. Knowingly or unknowingly Mahatma used his son as a material of experimenting with his values and principles, especially when he provokes his son to go against the South African government’s racism policy though he knew it might jeopardize his son’s ambition of becoming a barrister.

If my objective is to prove Mahatma wrong I get countless examples from the story, but trying to do so, I will prove myself wrong

On the contrary, If you see the flip side of the story, it was Harilal who was responsible for his downfall. It’s very easy to become a victim of circumstances, as was the case with Harilal, and put the blame on someone else for your failures. He was never confident in his moves and was always insecure. After he moved back to India parting ways from his father his negative source of energy was much stronger than his ambitions. He was always scared that he’ll loose against his father. His failures were result of defocus and moving ahead in a wrong path. His whole objective was to win against his father and not to reach his destination. His unclear vision and insecure nature made him convert into Muslim and again when he failed to prove himself as an individual without the name of his father, when he failed to get the support from his new religion he gets reconverted into Hinduism. Though Harilal was always against his father, knowingly or unknowingly he used Mahatma’s name in each and every endeavors of his life.

If you get little deeper into the character of Mahatma, you’ll accept the fact that he was reacting to the circumstances and never forced his son to follow his principles. Instead of trying to exploit the family name in every possible way, Harilal should have been proud to be born in such a family, a family which believed a life of selfless devotion to the cause of freedom and equality, a father who was determined to get the nation back from the hands of English.

If you come out of the movie and see the families around, you see a bit of Gandhi in every father and a bit of Kastur Ba in every mother. A father son conflict is nothing new in the Indian context. Most of the time, like Mahatma and his son’s case, the conflict always revolves around ones career, failures and freedom and like Kastur ba; every mother constantly tries to reconcile father and son.

Coming back to the movie, it will be crime on the part of juries’ if it fails to win at least one Oscar.

Posted by Pradeep A.J 1 comments Links to this post