Meeting with Umesh Shukla


Who would have not enjoyed seeing the movie Oh my god? It portrays pseudo-religious beliefs and questions the meaninglessness of various rituals. The movie is actually based on a Gujarati play Kanjee viruddha Kanjee which was directed by Umesh Shukla who also directed the Hindi movie version. So when I got a chance to meet Umesh Shukla, I wanted to understand why he directed such a movie. He has also written a number of stories which have been adapted to the screen, My area of research and interest is to understand the reasons behind customs about which I have written extensively, so I geared up to meet him.

He told me that being born into a Brahmin family, the Audichya Brahmin Shukla family, he used to perform all the rituals while he was a young man. But somewhere he began questioning the rationale behind such rituals and wanted to know the meaning of everything that we normally do. He was not very convinced with the answers he usually received. That is when he began researching for the content which later shaped up as the movie. It has received wonderful support from the audience especially the common people and youngsters. It has been translated into Telugu and Kannada staring popular regional heroes. He also spoke of the support he received from Paresh Rawal whose acting as the main character became a huge hit as he convincingly portrayed the role of Kanjee Bhai.

He also revealed that with the success of this movie behind him, he is working on another thought provoking concept of a 102 year old man sending his son to an old age home. I am sure as all his other movies this one too will be enormously successful. Simple themes which actually bring out a slice of life, the daily struggles of the aam janta make the movies thought provoking. As always there are various angles to the same issue and it is best to respect each one’s viewpoint.


Priming the mind using social media


How to break the cycle of habits and start something afresh? Many of us make New Year Resolutions but we are not able to stick on to them for long. This is more so when it comes to things like diet, exercise etc. We want to do it but somehow end up not doing it. I am sure you have all faced these dilemmas and I am not alone in this.  I recently read an article which explains how we can use our social media to help us sort out many things. We use it for a limited purpose for sending messages or forwards. But we can use it to break habits also.

If we start having discussions on our social groups on the need for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, switching over to a healthy food plan etc, then we will be able to take the discussion towards this particular task and it would be easy to follow it. This is backed by research as the article goes on to explain. Exposure to social-based messages promotes healthy eating which can actually increase consumption of fruit and vegetables and reduce consumption of high-calorie snacks. I think sub consciously the mind keeps getting bombarded by such similar messages that it starts attuning itself around it. They call this priming the mind which is an effective technique.

Advertisements make use of this priming effect by floating images of products which we reach out for when we go shopping. So why not use the same trick for getting something good done, I think it is a good idea. Likeminded people can motivate one another.