Just another year, that’s exactly what 2012 was. And like every year it had its own ups and downs. The Mayans and Roland Emmerich were both wrong. Though Mr. Emmerich made a hell lot of money giving us hope about an end a lot of us wanted. The Mayans however will just be remembered as the biggest trolls in history but I still think there was no apocalypse theory – maybe they were just too darn lazy to continue the calendar. Two recent happenings in two countries far apart have shaken the bane of our existence. The Connecticut shooting and the gruesome rape in New Delhi were incidents that shook most of us. We may have different reasons and takeaways from it, but we’ve all been affected in some way and we will not forget these easily.
There is something about protests in this country – when Anna protested against corruption, vague laws were put into force to prevent the same. When people protested against rape, they were watered down. When the Tibetans-in-exile protested, there was no one to ‘water’ them down. Our country is abounded with contradictions – Baba Ramdev who sold ayurvedic medicine to make women give birth to male babies is now standing up for women’s rights. People want public hanging for rapists like there is in Islamic countries, the same Islamic countries where rape is pardonable and forgiven by paying in blood money and marriage. Instead of fighting for equality of women, we’re fighting to increase policing. Policing has never stopped offenders and like always it will affect the common man.
Funny nation we live in.
Talking of coffee shops, there’s a popular coffee brand that is going about telling people that they should stop protesting and should sit down and talk. Also, Starbucks opened its first outlet in India. It looked like a busy railway station for the first few weeks, because like you know, their coffee has Elvis’ pubes and moondust. Moon Man Neil Armstrong left us this year along with a lot of other famous people. Jaspal Bhatti, Whitney Houston, Dara Singh, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Prabuddha Dasgupta, Ray Bradbury, Yash Chopra, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor… the list goes on. Kasab too was executed this year. One of my idols Adam Yauch (aka MCA) of Beastie Boys went away too; it was sad that he couldn’t attend his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. What’s awesome is that he has barred advertisements from using his music explicitly in his will. Lawyers have questioned credibility of the same but I still think it’s a nice way to stick a finger to consumerism.
Tony Scott committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. It’s true that his films were more popular amongst his audiences than his critics. Many like me grew up on them and as did anyone else who grew up watching Star Movies and HBO. Yes, he could never be Sir Ridley Scott but the man knew what his audiences wanted. And I was actually looking forward to Top Gun 2. Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere thanks to Red Bull and I still don’t know why this is anyway important but I’ll mention it since everybody posted statuses about him even though they had no clue about Felix Baumgartner or for that matter, even the stratosphere.
The only thing that made me feel that the Mayans might just be right was probably when I saw Psy’s video of ’Gangnam Style’ for the first time. Yes this K-pop sensation has reached places no other international song has been. From my kid sister’s ringtone to those Brit soldiers in Afghanistan, this song has somehow (and scarily) brought us all together. Most of us don’t know what the words mean or why Psy would want to be a horse. But the fact that the song has been watched more than a billion times goes onto prove that we all have some common ground, somewhere deep within.
Pranab Mukherjee became the President of our great nation in July 2012. His son, Abhijit Mukherjee became the stupidest person on Indian television in December 2012 with his now infamous ‘dented and painted’ comments. He owes this to the greatest man this country will ever see… on Times Now – Arnab Goswami. Arnab himself has been in a lot of controversy this year partly thanks to this article that appeared in a magazine and partly because he is him. Rehashing a famous line from a movie, you either die a news anchor or you live long enough to become Arnab Goswami. (Watch the Arnab-Abhijit mashup here.)
Marijuana was legalised in a few more American states this year, while it remains a huge crime in India, a country where it was legal till the mid eighties and then was banned due to U.S. pressure. The condition of our democracy is still in question though, forget legalizing weed through it. In this ‘democracy’, innocent girls can be arrested unconstitutionally for speaking their minds on Facebook.
The year saw the release of many wonderful movies like Rowdy Rathod, Khiladi 786 and the exceptionally brilliant work of art, Joker. All of these movies had the same actor who plays literally the same character and makes sure that his acting is consistently bad in all of them. Then there was Jab Tak hain Jaan, a mashup of Gustavo Santaolala-like background music and all the clichés that the great Yash Chopra had already shown us. It was his swan song but it didn’t live up to it. There was also a huge debate about how lame or awesome Talaash was. A similar debate raged about Cloud Atlas – to a point where Roger Ebert loved it and Time Magazine named it the worst movie of the year. Now that’s the thing about these movies, you are either taken away by them or you are going to hate them to no end.
However nothing came as close to pissing me off as much as Ishaqzaade. The film itself is well made but what it professes is not only regressive and repulsive but it’s downright dumb. I was going to write about it, but my favourite film critic Raja Sen has already done it in his list of the worst movies of this year and I don’t think I can do it better than him. On television, we still do not know who Ted’s wife is and some of us have stopped caring. Charlie Sheen is back and he is still playing himself on screen. And then there’s news that Sherlock fans will have to wait as long as 2014 for the next season. Funny bit is most of us don’t watch these shows on TV. Thank you Pirate Bay and EZTV.
MTV has no music on it anymore and everything on it is sponsored programming – it’s as if original programming is dead. Even Bring On The Night which was possibly the best thing to happen to Indian television since CID, is branded by Eristoff. Sort of scares me as to where television programming is heading. And the content on the Hindi channels is going worse by the minute. Atif Aslam is fighting Himesh Reshamiya on one channel while a previously unknown Imaam Siddiqui is making his name as a possessed chimp on Big Boss. Yes, TV is so bad that I’ve begun reading more between my Freaks and Geeks marathons. And the down side? I think my mother needs to hit the rehab for her Bigg Boss addiction. And I’ll have to pay for it.
This was an Olympic year and the Olympic opening ceremony was directed by Danny Boyle, starring the Queen. Mary Kom, Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt did us all proud and brought us a few medals but unfortunately even that couldn’t change the fact that a stoned Michael Phelps has won more Gold medals than India has in the last 50 years. It’s only fair that they banned the Indian Olympic Association for not following various regulations.
The iPhone 5 (aka The Light Saber) came out this year. Honestly I’ve become desensitized to Apple making me feel like shit every year when they launch something that is slightly better than the previous generation of the same. I learnt my lesson while buying the iPad 2 which is basically almost the same as what the new iPad Mini is. I gave up and this time when it finally came to me buying an iPod, guess what I did? I bought an iPod Classic which hasn’t been updated since 2009, thinking that this will remain the same (or even better, phased out). However in retrospect, I am pretty sure that Apple is going to launch a new Classic in 2013 just to make me feel stupid.
Microsoft launched Windows 8 trying to bridge the gap between smartphones, touchscreen desktops and tablets. But the whole reason why I liked Windows Phone interface so much is defeated; my desktop is not a phone and I rather have it that way and what’s with hiding the START button?
Before this starts sounding like a rant (which I am sure it already does), I am going to end abruptly.
Yes. Deal with it. It’s 2013.