Saturday, November 21, 2009


Cast: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Runtime: 96 min.
Verdict: This is the best 3-D can get, and I say it doesn’t work.
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

        3-D doesn’t work. Doesn’t work at all. It cannot work. Reader, the screen boundaries have always been a window into an alternate world. When we speak of depth perception, it is implicit that all the action is happening inside the frame, both two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally. As long as the window is small enough to fit within the purview of our gaze, our perception simply cannot be impressed by an illusion that pops out. It is called depth for a reason. Whatever happens, the boundaries of the window need to be respected. Ask yourself, dear reader, when you watch a movie, are you going inside the film, or are you letting the film come to you? Isn’t watching a film akin going near to the window? I believe so, and 3-D and its exponents do not seem to respect that fundamental of movie-viewing at all. Mr. Zemeckis, though, seems to know this better than most. That doesn’t mean he is not guilty of throwing the occasional spear into us. Still, his 3-D tends towards my idea of how it ought to be used. That is, as an alternate way to achieve deep focus. Maybe, even a better way, for 3-D is better equipped to make us feel the effect of depth. But when things start popping out, or their out-of-focus images float in the foreground, it pulls us right out of the illusion. I don’t think there is a way around.
        As a film, I don’t think there is much to say about A Christmas Carol apart from that it is occasionally warm, occasionally funny, consistently involving and thoroughly predictable (No, I wasn’t aware of the Dickens story.) Of course, I assume that you are aware of the tale of the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts that haunt him one Christmas eve. What is interesting is the imagery Mr. Zemeckis conjures up, and how thoroughly brilliant they are, even for 3-D. Scrooge is a wonder of animation detail. His crooked fingers, his crooked nose, the gaunt figure are somewhat of a masterpiece. Mr. Carrey’s voiceover is just about fantastic, capturing a character who is as close to an animated version of Daniel Plainview as this little cheerful Christmas tale would allow. The shadowy Ghost of the Christmas yet to come is a brilliant example of expressionistic nightmare. One is reminded of Nosferatu. I believe children will be scared. The movie is what it is supposed to be, scary when needed, and heartwarming when the time comes. Much discussion has been made of the eyes, something I have been listening to since The Polar Express. Yes, there is scope for improvement, but matters aren’t really that bad, considering most of the emotions and expressions are conveyed. It is the only the stock expression that creates a problem, because when the characters have nothing to show, or nothing to say, they really look blank. But I guess, Mr. Zemeckis is working around the problem, and is getting better at performance capture with each passing film.
        I am not sure I represent the target audience for this film, or this tale. It is too simplistic. I might be only interested in its formal details. But one thing it isn’t is being too Christmassy, or too cheerful, or too saccharine. I can imagine myself as a kid watching it, and I think the film might have made a very strong impression on me. The dark horse chasing Scrooge through the streets is not for one moment funny, like one of them chases we so often come across in animated fare. It is, in fact, serious and often scary. In the relentlessness of it, I felt a certain claustrophobia sneak in. The images are courageous, daring to paint something that would make the parents a tad worried. But one thing I know. If I was a kid, and I was watching this film, I would swear to all my Gods I would never ever betray the spirit of Christmas, or goodness.
        And hey, one more thing. I suffered a severe headache. Cause: 3-D. As an audience, I don’t deserve that.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Om Puri
Director: Rensil D’Silva
Runtime: 180 min.
Verdict: Trash. Absolute wannabe trash. Hateful despicable trash. This film is overflowing with a sense of inferiority complex, and a pretentious political-intellectual stance.
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Romance

        Mr. Johar, I think, isn’t too happy with his existence. Nor is, I suppose, the filmmaker. These men wish they were in some other world, or in some other country. These people wish they were different people with different issues than us. That is why, I believe, they make film that deals with Iraq and Afghanistan. “Deals” is a wrong word. These folks rather display their supposed intellect and political know-how. You see, reading NYTimes, and Washington Post, and watching BBC, and having an opinion on US and Iraq, and Israel and Palestine is very much the in-thing. You see, everyone of us mediocre Indian citizens has an opinion on the Naxalites or blasts or all that related mediocrity, and when one of us makes Aamir, it is hardly pressing. Not them, for they are beyond and above us, dealing only in the real matters. The global stuff. I can imagine these people over coffee tables, in their precious accents, trying to impress the hell out of each other with their just-read excerpts from the morning online edition of NYTimes. Sorry again, not “just-read” but “just-grazed”. Stereotypes have truth to them, you see. After all, these folks hardly have an individual opinion apart from the borrowed one. They are just trying to be global intellects. You know, liberals. And you know, I hate that. I really do. It sometimes wants me to do bad things. Real bad things. Terrible things.
        But, never mind. Kurbaan is a terribly made movie. It is boring. Doesn’t take you ten minutes to figure out you are in one long uncomfortable journey. The opening scene does the trick, and presents you the choice of walking away or staying. The interaction is artificial. And ridiculous. The cheerful romantic tone is jarring, especially after a Se7en-inspired grim credits sequence. You see, there are smart ways of being a wannabe, where you don’t betray yourself through your ridiculous formal choices. Mr. D’Silva doesn’t know any of them. He instead chooses to ask the female character call the male character a swine. A swine? Really? Haven’t heard one of those in a while. Not since young college girls in stupid 90’s romantic actions obligatorily referenced our young dude. Of course they were wannabe times too. But those were stereotypical college girls, with big sunglasses, and you understood. The female in question here is a professor of literature. Still, you choose to stay, for you represent the stupid mediocrity and you are hopelessly hopeful. Twenty minutes of such absolute nonsense fly by, where the lead pair sings a song, and have obligatory erotic scenes (which qualify neither under erotic nor scenes). I have found more spontaneity and more warmth in little porn clips on the internet. They fly to New York, and grace us with obligatory New York festivities. You know how people in New York spend their vacations? By walking on Zebra crossings with ultra-wide smiles. I tried it a few times here, but couldn’t feel a thing. People must be different out there. You see, they paint their faces and make Statues of Liberties out of themselves and dance around on the streets. Life in New York must be fun. That is why our lead pair buys a house in an Indian neighborhood. You are hoping the film might metamorphose into something ridiculously sinister. There is a real terrible movie playing in your head. The trouble is, it is way more fun than what is on screen.
        You stay behind nevertheless. God is disappointed. I mean, the writing is on the wall. You haven’t felt a thing yet. Even Mr. Khan’s man-boobs underwhelm you. His over make-up and overdone hairstyle annoy you. You see, three other Khans have already graced us with theirs. You are hoping against hope, that the movie, in a fit of wannabe-ism, shrugs away everything and displays Ms. Kapoor in all her glory. Doesn’t happen my friend. Anyways, with all the talk of size-zero and stuff, it might be a case of shutting your mouth and let people wonder than to open it and dispel all their doubts. Ms. Kapoor just turns her back on us. And still you choose to stay. You know the movie is trying to cash-in on the actors’ personal lives, and marketing them, like one of those Airtel advertisements. And you let yourself get caught in that. How dumb are you? How desperate could you be? Get a room and watch porn man.
        The next warning comes. In the form of Ms. Kiron Kher, as some Afghanistani woman. You should hear her accent. Neither Mr. Danny Denzongappa (Khuda Gawah) nor Mr. Rajesh Khanna (don’t remember the film) hammed up the khabiz-ka-baccha accent this bad. Useful advice: you see Ms. Kher in a film, you run. You don’t ask, you just run. Run like the wind blows. She is easily the worst thing to happen to Indian cinema, sorry world cinema in more than a decade.
        Still you choose to stay. You deserve it, you dumb schmuck (put on your rhyming cap).
        There is rhetorical liberal politics too. Afghanistan is getting screwed. Iraq is getting screwed. Innocent civilians are being killed. You know, all that stuff. You get that here. Actors actually speak it out. That brings your attention to the writing. You wonder about the script. There is a car-action scene where a supporting actor behaves really weird. I mean, even for a dumb retard, he is weird. The cops stop a car carrying our terrorists, and this dumb schmuck (keep the cap on, I feel real angry man), for no particular reason, starts boiling with rage. You wonder what the script must have read like. What was the filmmaker trying to write? Let me imagine. For that let me name the schmuck “X” because I don’t really remember anybody’s name in here. And in case if I wasn’t clear, it is a film, if you should choose to see, you should forget in haste. Otherwise you might be motivated to join Tyler Durden’s outfit.

SUV stopped at checkpoint. Cops check the SUV. They check behind.
X is raging in anger. Y says –
Calm down man. What’s the problem? Stay cool.
X is boiling.
The cops ask them to step out.
X is evaporating.
He shoots.

        Funny scene, don’t you think? Nah, in there it was inexplicable. But still you stay. Mr. Oberoi enters the frame, and you still stay. The writing is so bad you are sure it wasn’t even written. The performances are awful. Mr. Khan is trying his level best to rein in that brilliant nonchalance of Ek Hasina Thi, but the film is forcing him to act in that binary mode Mr. Bobby Deol does so well. The motivations are non-existent. A reporter wants to take revenge over the loss of his girlfriend, and so decides to blow up the terrorist outfit on his own without informing the FBI, and joins them, and then uncovers the plan, and then informs the FBI, and I had no idea where it was all going. To the bottom of the garbage I suppose, where worms would eat the script and you wish you never ever bought the ticket and wasted your night. Life seems to go in reverse. You think about what could have been. This is such a film. I think you should run. I did. Run away.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
Director: Oren Peli
Runtime: 86 min.
Verdict: A rather instructive exercise in the infinite pleasures of economy. And yes, a still camera is unnerving.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror

        At this writing, the film has reportedly crossed the $100 million mark. Made in 2007, at a budget of $15,000, this is a fairytale alright. One might even claim Paranormal Activity is inspired by The Blair Witch Project. I would say, it emulates that success story all over again, for a new decade, and a new audience. For horror, more so than the thriller, is inarguably the most accessible of all genres. If 2012 were to really destroy our way of life, and future generations were to re-discover this medium, they would tend towards horror. It is the most natural of all genres, and one that shall never experience a lack of interest from the audiences.
        More so, a film like this, or The Blair Witch Project. Movies that create the illusion not of the magnificence or scope of celluloid, but the immediacy of reality. And that is what interests me no end. I mean, this is a home video. Watching a home video is a personal experience. How would you prefer watching a beloved’s marriage video – sitting on a couch with your family and sharing tidbits and laughs and what not, or sitting amidst hundreds of strangers with the footage splashed over the big screen? Come to think of it, how would you prefer to watch your porn? I mean, if given the choice between a shady theater and the warmth of your bedroom, I think the bedroom makes better sense. No, not because it allows you to react, but because it allows you to get involved and enjoy all the more. Alone, that piece of video is for you, only for you, not to be shared. I haven’t watched Rachel Getting Married on the big screen, and I don’t want to. You see, so much of the movie exists within me. I don’t know, maybe all the movies could be personal, or shared. Maybe both ways provide for a different experience. But I fail to understand – How a movie like Paranormal Activity, which is in essence a home video, and which depends upon the illusion that you feel what is happening inside is not just a movie wherein you can enjoy the action munching popcorn but an intense experience that has really happened in some corner of the map, can work on the big screen? It simply should not. But it does. You got $100 million to prove it. You know, is it the marketing or the story itself, I don’t know. I simply am not convinced.
        Never mind. Reader, here I declare that the rest of the review shall contain possible spoilers and I would advise you watch the movie first, and return later. I think watching this film needs you having no idea what to expect.
        Now, when I say Paranormal Activity only emulates the success of The Blair Witch Project, I claim thus based on the extremely interesting example of image composition at hand. In this age of fast cuts, and an active camera, the film represents a revolution. A camera has always been about what the filmmaker wants us to see. He arranges objects, choreographs movements and composes them with his camera so that he can take control of our eyeline and lead our eye from one part to another. This control is often manipulated for misdirection, and when done brilliantly, it surprises us, just like the best of the scary films. Of course, the genre has gone so banal that we come to anticipate every movement, and even predict what the camera is misleading us into, and to what end.
        Not in Paranormal Activity, where the nighttime bedroom sequences with a little timer on the right hand corner have to be one of the most accomplished pieces of image design in recent cinematic history. They are interspersed throughout the film, like say an action sequence in a Bond film, and they are the nigh points. Everything else is directed towards those few moments, wherein tensions heighten and there is an almost claustrophobic influx of fear. A little fade out is the red herring that one of those night sequences is next up, and all you see is an absolute still frame watching the action. I attach the image above for your reference. The camera is always there, right there, during those sequences. No obvious zooms, no formal establishing shots, the scene not following any specific architecture of shot-cycle, no obvious edits. All it does is place its camera at this strategic location in the room, where a young couple – Micah and Katie – find themselves haunted. The image is right there for you to scrutinize completely. It isn’t shying away; it is just sitting there, and making you feel helpless. The complete frame is up for grabs, and you have little to no idea where the action is going to come from, and what the nature of it would be. You would obviously look at the door, and the film shall play on those instincts too. And I shall divulge no further.
        These scenes, by their very design, are relying on absolute freedom to the viewer to imagine the worst. You see reader, the unknown and the unseen is always more fearful than what can be seen. The film follows that belief. The action is almost entirely within the confines of the household, and that in a way cuts you off from the world. It is a principle of filmmaking, or storytelling. You establish it firmly within the context of a world, and you go about creating the world in the background, and narrating the story in the foreground. And although the two actors – Ms. Featherson and Mr. Sloat – are miles away from convincing, they feel believable. You watch only them, continuously, and you get used to them. Audience behavior reader, it is a simple matter of audience behavior. Your mind adjusts. And the film there, starts to play like The Shining. You feel caged in with these people. You don’t exactly mind it, but I believe I was annoyed by both of them at various points of time. Is the film hinting at cabin fever? I don’t know. Much of the film, apart from the bedroom scenes, is by itself harmless, and contains quite ordinary pieces of footage. But as it starts acquiring context, everything inside begins to feel menacing. I think that calls for a greater study on the audience’s reactions. It would be greatly instructive. And yes, I shall share the film on the big screen, and see how it pans out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Cast: Matt Damon, Melanie Lynskey, Scott Bakula
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 108 min.
Verdict: A Soderbergh special. A Damon special. I think it might be a great film.
Genre: Comedy, Drama

        I walk out of the theatre to the parking not knowing whether to laugh, or to cry. You see, I lie. All the time. It is an instinct. Even when I tell the truth, I’m suspicious of myself. That I might be convenient about the truth. I think we all lie. More than to others, we lie to ourselves. Nothing bad I suppose. Often we don’t even know we are lying. How well do we really know ourselves? I don’t know. I’m often afraid of myself, and what I might say and what I might do in a given situation. I practice so hard to do the right thing, mock situations in my mind, so that when the time comes, my habit overwrites my instinct. What is that instinct by the way? What is that thing I’m practicing? Is my instinct to lie a lie, or is my instinct to do the right thing a convenient truth? I don’t know, it is all pretty mixed up in there. I think we all are different people at different times. Or are we the same person acting differently? I really don’t know. I really don’t know if I shall ever find the answers.
        And neither does Mr. Soderbergh. Nor the great performance from Mr. Damon, arguably this year’s finest turn by any actor. Yes, that includes the genius of Mr. Waltz. I claim without a shred of doubt hat there is no other actor who could’ve played the part. Oh, I might be wrong. Maybe the brilliant William H. Macy. There is something in their speech patterns, of Mr. Macy and Mr. Damon. There is something in their eyes. I know not for sure, but the characters they etch with such layers of contradictions, that I never seem to be sure of their morality. Eyes are the windows. Most actors have a fixed pair of eyes. I know the range of a George Clooney. I know the range of an Irfaan Khan. I know the range of a Benicio Del Toro. I can read their eyes. Not Mr. Damon. Not Mr. Macy. These two seem to be something else. I suspect, for various reasons, these two might be two of the greatest actors working today. Or okay, if not that, arguably the two most fluent actors of our generation. They aren’t intense. You see, intensity is something that calls attention to itself. These two actors seem to be a chunk of our everyday lives. They just exist, piling contradiction upon contradiction.
        Roger Ebert, once again, provides a superb bit of articulation of the greatness of Mr. Damon, which might easily be extended to Mr. Macy as well. He says, ending his appreciative review here
              "Mark Whitacre, released a little early after FBI agents called him “an American hero,” is now an executive in a high-tech start-up in California and still married to Ginger. Looking back on his adventure, he recently told his hometown paper, the Decatur Herald and Review, “It's like I was two people. I assume that's why they chose Matt Damon for the movie, because he plays those roles that have such psychological intensity. In the ‘Bourne' movies, he doesn't even know who he is.”
I guess Mr. Ebert chooses to include such wonderful bits is the reason why we read him so often.

        The Informant! is about the real life corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre. The organization in question was ADM. The crime in question is price-fixing. One might be reminded of such recent films as The Insider, A Civil Action and Erin Brockovich. One might even be expecting such a tale. Since it comes from the lens of Mr. Soderbergh, it even seems to boast of the same grainy texture, and the same color palette as Erin Brockovich. Whitacre, agreed to be an insider for the FBI to bring down ADM and its price-fixing scam. But that is just half the story.
        Mr. Soderbergh, one of Hollywood’s true liberals, is looking deeper. He is looking at the simplified nature of those true stories – of Jeffrey Wigand, of Brockovich – and asking himself – Is it just that the corporate, the system that is bad all the time? I applaud that, I applaud that line of questioning, that line of introspection. One might even claim that The Informant! is a noirish tale. I would have to agree, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is cynical in any way. Because it isn’t. It is true. Much of the politics of cinema so conveniently assumes the innocence of the citizen, and the absolute oppression of the system. Even literature. Mr. Soderbergh is hoping to venture beyond that, and shed some light on a completely new facet of the equation. And interestingly every scene is lit, and every scene has an abundance of the light source. I think he is drilling his way onto the real reason behind it all. Till now, it has always been Us versus Them. But really, how different are Us from Them? Doesn’t what drive Them drive Us too? Ever heard of greed?
        He goes about unraveling his point the funny way. And boy, what a hilarious film The Informant! is. The credit goes to the superlative writing, a near masterpiece of narrative clarity and density. Not since There Will Be Blood and Zodiac has there been a script so concise, and yet so vast. It also goes to the great performance from Mr. Damon, and his enthusiastic voice-over. He is speaking to a lawyer and he is wondering about the tie. How often don’t we do that, how often don’t we find ourselves within the control of our meandering mind? Whitacre is not Jeffery Wigand, burdened by the fear of personal losses. He is smarter, way smarter, and he is sharper. And the thing is, he knows he is smarter. He likes being smarter. He has the innocence of a little child. I think there is a competition within him. He asks the FBI to code him 0014. You know why. Yeah, double as smart as you know who. I think he likes being in a situation. So does the film, in an ironical way, and it scores him with such an upbeat score of guitars and pianos, as he marches onto glory. In his own eyes, I think. I believe the trick to Mr. Damon’s greatness is that he doesn’t create so much as an arc for his character, as much as he plays it moment for moment, believing in each one of them wholeheartedly. Method actors put their methods to the whole character. Damon, I guess, believes wholeheartedly in the moment.
        But there is a revelation at the end, which felt like a betrayal. I don’t hold the film responsible, for they were merely serving us the facts. I felt betrayed by life, I guess, for I don’t feel Mark Whitacre’s medical condition had anything to do with it. The judge at the end claims that Whitacre is different from the usual thug. I don’t think so. He is the usual thug. On the emotional level behind his crime, he is no different than us. He has the most loving and understanding wife one could ever hope to have. He has a loving set of parents. But still, portraying oneself has a hero standing against the tides of life is everybody’s notion of oneself. Even if the tides never existed.

Note Added (11-Nov-2009): I think I might have finally understood the precise belief that drove a guy like Whitacre - that he was too good for most places, and most people.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Darshan Jariwala, Smita Jaykar, Zakir Hussain
Director: Raj Kumar Santoshi
Runtime: 150 min.
Verdict: A rather amusing and largely charming cinematic comic from the house of Raj that doesn’t quite earn its title
Genre: Romance, Comedy

        I should admit. Of my preconceived notions about Mr. Kapoor, who I so conveniently and ignorantly assumed was no more than an annoying face. With ever watching only a single film of his. And who I declare now a stupendous actor. There is stuff he does inside this film which I imagine only Mr. Shah Rukh Khan pulling off. Or Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Or his dad. This is a fine young talent who has the rare gift of making the absurd work. With great charm too I might add. And absurd is what he has to dish out in spades. And boy what a joy he is. I had mistaken those perennially raised eyebrows as the over exuberance of a silly kid. Exuberance it is, but over the mark it never is, just like it never is with Ms. Amy Adams. And silly he certainly is not. I wonder what a treat Mr. Kapoor would have been in one of them black and white silent comedies of Buster Keaton.
        And I wonder about Ms. Kaif, a walking and talking showpiece. You get down to the processing room, you pick up every frame she is in, you remove her from them, and you insert any random object. Any. A mannequin. A poster. Of anyone, even Ms. Kaif. A bush. Even thin air. I daresay the results would be positive. It has to be. You see, Ms. Kaif gives this false hope, whenever it is you look in her general direction, that there is a real flesh and blood person standing there in her slot, only to dash them. Anything else wouldn’t do that. I don’t know dear reader, but how much does hollow beauty work for you. Please note that I haven’t used dumb. Dumb equals to something. Hollow tends towards nothing. And hollow doesn’t work for me zilch. You see, I don’t mind a bad actor. A bad actor, I can at least enjoy a chuckle at his incompetence. With Ms. Kaif, I don’t even know where to start. Ah, she isn’t that beautiful anyway. We human beings, by our very nature, cannot stare at an attractive couch for too long. But if you can, God bless you. You shall enjoy this film even more than I ever shall.
        The film. Mr. Santoshi had a notion of making something two-dimensional like one of those Bankeylal comics we would read when we were kids. Reader, two-dimensional not as a limitation, but as an intention. Every emotion, every narrative strand, and every character right there on the surface. There is supposed to be no narrative build-up. Tones are supposed to change at the drop of a hat. Often literally. In my years as a film viewer, I’ve learned that such kind of a narration is the most difficult one to convey. You see, it is all about feeling a particular scene. How well does a scene work? How much have the preceding scenes amused you? You need to in love with the characters for this to work. You need to believe in the place for this to work. There needs to be certain innocence for such filmmaking to work. The good-old 70s entertainer would pull it off with élan. Remember Hera Pheri, where a comic scene (Mr. Bachchan gambling out Asrani) runs into a mystery (Mr. Bachchan running after the man).
        Mr. Santoshi, for the most part, makes it work. Hell, he makes it work all the way. Right down to the climactic fight, which is amusing and often hilarious. Mr. Kapoor makes it work. That fantastic actor, Mr. Hussain (Johnny Gaddar, Sarkar) makes it work. These guys have the chops to pull of the screwball. And, intentionally or unintentionally, Mr. Santoshi starts with them. The opening frames, and little balloons immediately put you into the land of comics. A bandit (Mr. Hussain), dressed in black and white stripes, is robbing a bank. And he encounters the goofy Prem (Mr. Kapoor) sliding downhill on a brake-less bicycle. The town is no place familiar. It has no reason to be either, for it exists solely as fantasy. And Mr. Santoshi is wise. He doesn’t oversell it like Mr. Bhansali did it so foolishly in Saawariya. He does it, economically, through small moments, and always pays attention to keep it firmly etched in the background. And it stays there, in our minds too, that place, magically cutting us off from the reality of the rest of the world.
        But no, the film doesn’t quite earn its title. It is not your next great love story. It is clichéd and stupid, and I didn’t mind that at all. It is about this nice young chap, and the nice young people around. Except for a politician and his son, and some stupid parents pulled right out of one of those fairy tales, everyone else is good. Even the baddie is good. I loved him. God appears, and I was moved. Almost to tears. Such is the honesty and purity with which Mr. Kapoor prays to him. This is not a hilarious film, reader, this is an amusing film. You shall smile, just as you smiled when you read all those silly drawn comics as a child. You shall enjoy a light hearted fare. This should be a time well spent. No more, and no less. And my dear ladies, you should be prepared to fall in love with Mr. Kapoor all over again. I wouldn’t know, but if I was you, I think I would come with my heart parked in my car.

Note: To cynics, like me - Hey buddies, I don’t think there is much problem in including Jesus and excluding a more Indian god in the run of things. I know, I’ve wondered about it, but I don’t want to dwell on it too much. Might spoil the joy.