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Bangladesh's Oscar and Grammy winning film
'Hit. Make it a hit they said. Or get hit by a hitman. Hit me baby one more time. Okay, so that's a totally different tangent altogether. Or is it? It could so be the theme song. Considering this is Bangladesh, Britney can throw metaphorical legal spears at us all she wants but she can't hit diddly squat.'

Confused? We're talking about making a movie, such a movie that will revolutionise the Bangladesh film industry. Like all movies ever made. But this one really will. 'Really' and thus spoke Riddler Scout, the director of the latest greatest, bestest film ever made. Ever. Really. Rising Stars caught up with this debuting director who obviously had not directed before. But that never stopped greatness from happening. Look at Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme. They had no training to be actors and they became directors. That too without training.

When asked why he didn't pick more successful actor-turned-directors to emulate such as Mel Gibson, Amir Khan or even Sylvester Stallone, Scout ignored the question by putting on his sunglasses and looking dramatically to his left. Maybe he knows enough. After all, these days good acting is all about posing well.

Before the interview could begin, a great stumbling block had to be overcome. Riddler Scout had the initials RS and so did Rising Stars. All the questions and answers would end up prefixed by RS. Confusing? To solve this we set up a committee to resolve this matter and called it 'Resolving Setback (RS)'. After months of juggling the three different RSs we decided to go with Rising Stars, Riddler Scout and Committee respectively. Phew.

Rising Stars: “So what makes it different than any other movie churned out by our beloved FDC?”

Riddler Scout: “It has something for everyone. It's a cross cultural-action-suspense-tragic-melodramatic-horror-thriller-comedy-musical-documentary. And it's sci-fi. Even the dogs will love it. It's got Snoop Dogg in it.”

Rising Stars: “You do realise Snoop Dogg isn't really a dog, right?”

Riddler Scout: “Really? They told me he was good for the movie. They say the movie will revolutionise the film indust…..

Rising Stars: “Right, right, right, I think we covered that. So who are this 'they' you keep referring to?”

Riddler Scout: “The stakeholders. The public. The critics. The demographic. The core influencers. The macro perspective. The…….”

I realised that the director had spent a lot of time with the marketers and had caught up with some industry buzzwords. Big words that make people sound more intelligent than they could be. Powerising words. See what I did there?

Rising Stars: “Tell us a bit about the story. Why will it do all that revolutionising kaboodoodle?”

Riddler Scout: “Well, I can't really tell you much. But it's a cross cultural-action-suspense-tragic-melodra…..”

Rising Stars: “Right, right, we've been there too. Can you just tell us the story darn it? Why on earth will I pay my hard earned money to pay my internet fees and download your movie via torrent and watch it? Why?” By now I was starting to get all riled up.

Riddler Scout: “See, I created two fresh cultural icons and put them together to make a cross cultural-action-suspense-tragic-melodra…well, you know. They are called ...wait for it……Batman and Chuck Norris.”

Rising Stars: “But they're two established characters in pop culture.”

Riddler Scout: “I don't know. I don't read pop culture. These are original. Batman is a man, a super hero, with the power of a bat. A cricket bat. Chuck Noriss is a bad boy who kicks Ace.” Scout puts on his sunglasses again, a really tough thing to do considering he never took them off in the first place.

Rising Stars: “Ace?”

Riddler Scout: “Yeah, that's the bad guy. The villain of the piece. Every good story needs a villain.”

Rising Stars: “Ace is such a lame name.”

Riddler Scout: “Well, our writers had a better name along that line, but they had to tone it down to Ace because the children are watching. Think of the children man. They are the future tense.”

Rising Stars: “So this Batman and Chuck?”

Riddler Scout: “Right, they get together to show that together, we can kick Ace no matter what.”

Rising Stars: “So how did you come up with the characters?”

Riddler Scout: “A man named Tarequis Primus told me that characters like these make everything relevant. Put Batman in any classic for example. Batman and Prejudice? Gone with the Batman? Dil Batman Chahta Hai? Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Batman? Awesome, eh?”

Rising Stars: “So what can we expect this movie to do to our minds?”

Riddler Scout: “It will be mind blowing. Er, wait, you expected me to say that didn't you?”

Rising Stars: “Sigh, yes, everybody does. I think we're done with the interview.”

But readers, don't be disheartened, considering how we get pirated movies within minutes of the release, we managed to get you a pirated script of the movie within two minutes of its release from the writers' mind. Yeah, we're that good.


The Script

Proposed title: Action Men/ Why So Chiria(s)? Required Bangla translation: Baanor Keno Baanor? English translation of that: Why monkey be so monkey.

Opening plot: Two little twin cousin brothers play happily in big lawn. They go to daddy, tell him they want to go to local fair. Everybody sings. (insert happy song).

Scene 2: Enter the villain called Ace. He kills parents in some manner. (Writer's note: Gun shot? Deranged charging elephant at fair? Lightning?). Ace kills the parents so badly that their Facebook accounts are deleted in the aftermath. Sets the stage for revenge later on.

Then comes classic plot twist no one can imagine: Two little boys run scared, get lost in fair.

Scene 3: A rickshaw puller takes kindness to one brother. Rickshaw puller decides economy is so good, he can feed, clothe, educate a random kid found running on the streets.

The National Cricket Team adopts the other boy. They figure the kid has potential to get to the World Cup some day. If not, he can wash their jerseys.

Rickshawpuller kid grows up to be Chuck Norris. (Writer's note: Employ spinning wheel to avoid showing actual growing up) Rough, tough, bearded and always in denim. Like a macho 80's hero.

Cricket boy grows up to be Batman. He is the opposite of Chuck Norris. He is always happy. Takes on secret persona to fight crime. Wears cool outfit. (Writer's note: check online for cool happy, oh-so-flashy outfit).

Scene 4: They go to college. They sing and dance. Insert song about college. They fall in love with the same girl. Secretly, she is one of twin sisters. Insert Celine Dion everywhere.

They fight college bullies. They fight each other. They fight Global Warming, a villain who is also brother of Ace, deadliest villain of all time. They fight the girls. Maybe not. (Writer's note: Maybe the girls can fight? Mud? Oil?)

Scene 5: Brothers find out they are brothers. (Writer's note: How? Birthmark? Common song they used to sing? Facebook, while playing Farmville?)

Scene 6: They find out about Ace. They want to avenge parents' death. They get ready to kick Ace. They train by running, doing push-ups, sit-ups and always giving thumbs ups and victory signs to each other. Insert 'Eye of the Tiger by Survivor'.

Scene 7: Ace's layer. Lair? Liar? Hideout. It is inside a warehouse that is inside a volcano inside an underground place. Decorate with cardboard boxes, empty alcohol bottles, drums, guns on walls, sharks, lasers, nuclear weapons, pygmies with sharp teeth.

The heroines are tied up to walls in scanty clothing. They sing and dance. Heroes come crashing in through a wall made of glass and bricks. They kill goons. Insert explosions. Ace is kicked. Will everyone survive? Will good triumph? Will Ace escape unkicked?

The End
Interview, Script Piracy and Poster Design By E.R. Ronny


Dhakaversaries

The (sort of) sudden anniversary atmosphere that seems to have popped up from nowhere is infectious. So, why do we celebrate anniversaries? I mean, I get that the day we important people were born is... well... important, but none of us even remember that day. Death anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, the-day-we-first-went-out-versaries... yeah they're all very important but for a change shouldn't we celebrate other memories too, say important firsts in Dhaka?

The Day We First Ate Chotpoti from a Roadside Stall
The day the first chotpoti stand was introduced to the streets; that should definitely be something that should be celebrated by all of us. Of course no one remembers that fateful day, but one anniversary we should definitely celebrate is the first day we had our first rasta-r pasher chotpoti or fuchka. If you're a die-hard fan of fuchka you'll remember the details where you got it, what it tasted like, how you tried to cram the entire thing in your mouth and your jubilation on the day you finally succeeded.

The Day We First Went on the Flyover
For all of ya'll fancy people who have been on bideshi flyovers and chuckled at our flyover, shut it. As long as you didn't chuckle, it's okay. Remember when the Mohakhali flyover was being built and we were all just, “Wow, a flyover in Dhaka”? Remember how we stared in awe? Remember the day we first rode on it and you could see EVERYTHING? Even the hideous pink building and the billboard ads? We should definitely celebrate the anniversary of that day.

The Day We First Journeyed Across an Over bridge
Some of us were forced, maybe some of us just wanted to see what it was like at the top or maybe it was a combination of both. It really is different up there. The steep, metallic stairs that look like they're going to cave in at any given moment, the dodging around strangers so that you don't bump into anyone (heaven forbid), the view of the cars streaking (or crawling) by, the hunched up people who are trying to take your money either by begging or by selling all sorts of wares they have spread on the over bridge floor - it's all part of the scene. Some of the over bridges are decent, except for the whole it-might-fall-down-at-any-moment thing but as long as it isn't crowded, the view is... different. Besides, this is the day we braved the Over Bridge, it should be celebrated.

The Day We Had Our First Rickshaw Ride
A lot of us never travel in a rickshaw, being perpetually contained within our cars. Some of us do travel by rickshaw either occasionally or frequently. For those of us who absolutely never travel by rickshaw, it's a shame. The rickshaw ride is an essential part of growing up in Dhaka, and besides, rickshaw rides are amazing (I will not say magical for fear of taunts from certain people). It never fails to surprise me how slow and relaxed riding in a rickshaw is, if you ignore the bumps on the road.

These are but a few of the days we should celebrate, days which defined us in strange ways and yet these are the days we always fail to remember.

By Sifana Sohail


The Curse of Life

It (it must be an it, for genders pull it into the region of testosterone and oestrogen, from which there is no return) has realised. After many futile minutes of argument, and a sound like the splitting of the aorta (it no longer believes in heartbreak), it has come to an irrefutable conclusion. It is during a rare moment of procrastination when the epiphany comes, while it is taking longer to conclude its business in the toilet, in order to prolong the absence of a certain textbook from its life. It had avoided the knowledge for months, the higher areas of its brain insisting to the sensory parts that what it was seeing, hearing and feeling was completely incorrect. It was absolutely adamant that at any moment it could drop this obsession and resume life as normal.

But now, now the truth has hit it in the face and sent impulses darting along the axons of every neuron, right to the cell bodies of its delinquent mind. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:

It is a bio student. In structure, in nature, in function. It has specialised so utterly, down to the very organelles of its cells, that now it is nothing but an organ system that digests insoluble chunks of life and churns out soluble particles of biology.

The signs are numerous and varied. It can't sit down to eat without calculating the energy value per gram of the food, or lecturing its mother on the importance of vitamins and minerals (deficiency of Vitamin C causes scurvy, anaemia is due to lack of iron). It can't swallow without imagining the bolus travel down the oesophagus to the stomach, where pepsin will break down the proteins into peptides. Standing up makes it feel the antagonistic movement of muscles in its legs. Power cuts make it think of relaxing circular iris muscles, and contracting radial iris muscles, until they ache so much that it wanders around with its eyes shut. And then it bumps into things, and those blasted pain receptors elicit profanities from its lips, but even these it cannot speak in peace, because the words somehow form detailed and frighteningly scientific graphics on its retina. In fact, it can't bleedin' (ah, now it is thinking of platelets and fribrinogen and blood clots) breathe without worrying about gaseous exchange.

It is a bio student indeed.

Now, once it has been freed of the duties of denial, it reminisces of the olden days, when life was simple and full of ignorance. In those days certain things were so just because they were so. And if it wasn't just because, it was magic. It breathed and it lived. It ate and it crapped. When it was dark, everything was black, and when it was light, everything was coloured. Plants grew towards the sun because they felt like it.

And that was all there was to it. There was no respiration, no capillaries, no phototropism.

Then it made the choice. The life-changing choice.
“What're you choosing?:
“Bio.” Laughter, uproarious laughter.
“WHAT?”
“Umm, Bio.” More laughter.
“You're kidding, right?”

It was not kidding; it seemed a reasonable choice at the time. The young amoeba assumed knowledge was a good thing to have.

The young amoeba couldn't have been more wrong.

And so now, procrastinating on the toilet, it has regrets. Serious, serious regrets. For even as it turns around to throw up, it is thinking:

ANTI-PERISTALSIS, ANTI-PERISTALSIS.

By Grasshopper


Rage Against the Machine

I've been battling with my spell-check for centuries now. It irritates me with its cocky air of eternal, unending knowledge. Computers - devices made by man should not possess the authority to gloat before man - its creator. This spell-check should be trembling with fear as it humbly points out, with all due respect, that I may have made a small error in my hurry. It should then ask if I would like to check it out now, or should it mark it for later reference. Or perhaps, I should like to ignore it completely. After all, perhaps, it was a deliberate mistake. The master knows best.

Instead, however, this insolent creation chooses to blatantly point out any error I may have made without even considering the possibility that it may have been intentional. How would it know, with its inferior intellect, whether or not I meant to spell occasion with a double 's'. I may be a teacher typing out a worksheet for my students where they have to find out spelling errors in a passage provided. No, instead of considering the variety of reasons for the error, it underlines it in bold red.

Then there are foreign languages. This spell-check considers itself to be a master of English. Let's give it the benefit of doubt and say it is (it's not). That doesn't mean it has a magical knowledge of every other possible language ever known to man (and machine). If I choose to write some words in Bangla, it's my own discretion. I'm a citizen of a free country. I can do as I please. It should not be so smug as to suggest that I made a spelling error. It only makes it look stupid in the eyes of everyone. I'm very well aware of how house is spelt. I was writing 'hoise', it's a Bangla word. Not that I expect the spell-check to understand.

Also, while we're on this topic, let me also firmly state that I am perfectly able to spell my own name. It isn't any of the odd and outrageous spellings that the spell-check has to offer. It's spelt the way I spelt it. I know. It doesn't. It should just learn to accept it.

Then comes grammar. A spell-check, in accordance to its name, should not even trifle itself with complex matters such as grammar. Yet, here the matter of its gargantuan ego presents itself once more. It believes itself to be ridiculously adept at learning all the infinite rules of grammar. Naturally, being a computer without the ability to actually think, some rules contradict others and thus had to be left out of the intricate programming. Cue frustration. I am allowed to use a comma here instead of the semicolon you keep insisting on because, in ways beyond your comprehension, the two sentences are linked.

Spell-checks are stupid, but they do save time.

By Selzilla

   

 

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