Hindi Medium ~ Movie Review


hm

Last Friday, I happened to watch this movie: Hindi Medium. I did have an idea about the subject and so, I knew what to expect from the movie. And then, there are other questions like –

Was the movie good? Maybe.

Did the movie make me think? Not really.

How was the cast? Good.

How was the acting? Good.

Did the movie run in my head after I left the theater? No.

So my verdict – The movie was mediocre.

A good subject but, a wasted story that was a little far fetched from ground reality.

My thoughts on the movie and the education system:

In our country that has no dearth of wannabes who ‘walk and talk English’ as if they are the direct descendants of the Lords of England, there is also another team that sighs on every given opportunity – Angrez gaye lekin angrezi chod gaye. How a language that is not our mother tongue has become an effective tool of class divide, has been effectively showcased by Hindi Medium.

For the business couple from Chandni  Chowk who felt that gelling with the supposedly cream strata of the society, the elite, the urban, the “English speaking” crowd would elevate their status and thereby, help their daughter in making friends, is just one example among the million real life misguided parents living in the cities with utter discontentment and disregard for the very quality of life they are leading. Till this point, I found it real. I enjoyed the initial 45 minutes.

And then, beginning with the ridiculous ways of getting the coveted admission in an elite school run by Amrita Singh, the confused couple try every crooked trick, be it misusing the RTE or, earning goodwill of simple people of Bharat Nagar society for their own benefit. It is only after hitting new depths of shamelessness, they begin to notice that sarkari schools also have come a long way indeed. (Why? When the monkeys of the cap seller’s stories could advise their grand kid monkeys to not drop the caps, why on earth must sarkari schools stay behind in taking pointers from the past?) Point.

It was a little before this juncture, my interest began to wane. What a relevant subject and, how it was wasted away in the second half! Sigh.

Coming to the cast, I am not sure if I absolutely loved Irrfan in this movie (It hurts to say this because I have always loved this artist). But the person who gave me memorable moments in the movie was Deepal Dobriyal. Some of his memorable roles remain etched in my memory. As Thapa in Maqbool, as the conniving Rajoh Tiwari in Omkara, as Dukki Bana’s loyal aide Bhati in Gulaal, as the adorably cute Pappi in Tanu Weds Manu series, Deepak has run a marathon in Bollywood. But as Shyam Prasad in Hindi Medium, he has carved a niche for himself. Adorning the character of a simpleton who is unable to think in grey shades, does not come easily to every artist. And, Deepak has carried the character on his sleeve!

Hum aap jaise nahi ban sakte kyuki Hume kisi ka haq marna nahi ata!

This statement nailed the essence of the subject powerfully. Towards the end, the movie became a drag. Frankly, Irrfan’s speech at the end made little sense to me. The speech did not lack substance entirely. However, it did not leave an impact either. The ending was unreal, dramatic and a bit far fetched. Maybe, the ending was meant to create the necessary awareness on the ‘class-ing’ of English. However, for me the conclusion was an epic fail.

Can you imagine such a reality in our schools in the present? No. Even if we want it, we will not let it happen. Because no matter how deplorable the education system has become, no matter how schools have transformed into money making machines, deep down within we all still believe in the bulwark of our system, leaving aside the branching and enterprising aspects. And that root is, respect for the institution of education itself! Had this respect died, more than 80 percent of the educated upper middle class would have home schooled their children. But since that is not the case, we know exactly what we are dealing with and, we deal with them by whining, complaining and dissing and, yet at the same time believing that things will change for good.

And, no matter how much we all crib about the education system in choicest abusive words, we still send our children to the said good schools because, we believe in the institution of education. Still. That said, sarkari schools have come a long way. But, they have a long rough bumpy road ahead to catch up in the real world. What the movie showed is far far from reality.

So, let’s not over hype or under hype the reality. Truth is – The immediate need of the hour is not a change in the education system. Because, as much as the change is needed, it is not a one day, one year or, a one decade affair.  The change will take much longer than that to seep in, even though it is happening in the present on a small scale. But what has to change is our attitude towards our wards. We need to let them know that as parents and as teachers, we will stand by their success and failures with the same conviction and same faith. That is all we need to work on as parents.  We need to change. Our thoughts need to change. Our definitions of success and failures have to change. Are we ready for that? That is the question to be asked.

That said, the movie had a good collection of comic moments. In fact, the first half was sailing on Irrfan’s shoulders flawlessly with his Chandni chowk charm dishing out good laughs intermittently. His struggles of getting into the skin of the cream crowd does make one sit back and grin ear to ear. And, the second half belonged to Deepak Dobriyal. Dilli me ab bhi zameer zinda hai! People Like Shyam Prasad assert it.

As for the movie, I guess it touched too many c(s)ore points without rubbing enough salt on them. And that is where I felt the glitch in reviewing this movie positively. It showcased the dark side of education system like the abuse of RTE act, forging of legal documents and, even the great class divide that stems from the ability to speak in English. However, it failed to throw light on the real case scenario of the actual Hindi Medium schools that are struggling to achieve their position alongside the English medium ones.

With the title – Hindi Medium, the movie steered exactly in the opposite direction of its goal. It was more into showcasing the so called importance of English speaking, while the idea was perhaps to convince the audience of the otherwise. This is where the movie failed for me. Miserably.

Despite an excellent cast, a very relevant subject and, powerful messages laced with humor, this movie is just a one time watch. Sadly though.

S: Tilottama Shome as the consultant was delightful to watch.

Advertisements

Why I adore Masaan’s Devi.


It has been a while since Trump became the new orange of America, since Arnab quit Times News, since Barkha Dutt left NDTV and since, I have blogged about some serious issues!

A tsunami of thoughts have been creating havoc in my headspace that at times, I find myself engaged in thoughts even when I am asleep. It has a lot to do with the fact that I am truly living in an alternate universe where magic and fantasies are as real as facts and truth. Or perhaps, I am not yet keen on buying masks to hide what I feel. Perhaps, I am not getting along well with the idea of being diplomatically correct all the time! Perhaps, I am just fine as a solitary bird who does not want to be a part of any social circle. Perhaps, being alone in this world without feeling lonely is a very coveted place reserved for a few lucky ones! Perhaps!

Masaan

I watched the movie Masaan yesterday. I have been wanting to watch this movie since long and yesterday, it finally happened. I adore Richa Chaddha. And, I adore Sanjay Misra. Indian cinema has to retain these gems to produce good films that shall influence the society for good. And, yesterday when I watched Masaan, a core issue came to light. The real culprits are not the ones who make mistakes. The real culprits are the ones who do not let people come back to normal life and move on.

There are two parallel stories in the movie. Set in Banaras, the plot revolves around Devi (played by Richa) and, a parallel one is about Deepak, a civil engineer who hails from the cast of people that work at cremation ground, burning funeral pyres. Devi gets caught in a maze of turbulence when she accompanies her boy friend to a hotel room and, gets caught by the police during the raid. But the police take their time to film the act that leads to suicide of the boy. However, Devi lives. She actually survives. Getting through the daily grind, averting her gaze while walking down the street, switching the jobs every time her past catches up with her, Devi plays her ‘silence’ card meticulously. She avoids social interaction, lest her past flares up. However, she is also very clear about her decisions in life. When her father chides her for the fiasco saying “How could you do such a thing?”, she replies candidly without batting an eyelid- “I liked him. I liked to talk to him. And what we did, we were into it, together. He died, I lived. Was his action my fault?”

The character Devi has asked a valid question. Was his action her fault? While the question is contentious, it also brings out yet another pertinent question – “What the character Devi did, was that really a crime?”

Later in the night, I pondered over why people messed up in the head have a different take on normal things. And the answer came through this movie… – What Devi did was not a crime. Perhaps, a careless choice of a place where things could go wrong evidently. A hotel room for sex is like baiting the beast to feed on the live fawn. What were the odds that the fawn could escape? But that said, the crime did happen. Not at the time of the act but after the incident. The crime happened when the police not only filmed the act but demanded a lumpsome bribe from Devi’s father to hush the matter and save Devi from getting a case of abetment to Suicide, filed against her. The crime happened when random strangers approached her with indecent proposals, hinting at searing her future with taunts and shame. The crime happened when her learned Sankrit scholar of a father failed to muster courage and say to his daughter – “Hell with you people! I stand by my child in her rough times!”

Devi moves on and is able to, because she takes charge of her life. Deepak on the other hand, loses his motivation to rise in life when his hopes of marrying his love stare into his face blankly in the form of a dead body that just arrives with the many others. The body is of his love, Shaalu. When he loses his love to a bus accident, his dream of a good life out of the cremation ghat is also burned in that funeral pyre. However, the wheels of time turn and, he learns that stagnancy in life gets you no where.

Happy endings is what people want in real life too. Sometimes, the phrase ‘Satya Meva Jayate’ does not arrive in its truest form when the perpetrators are brought to justice alone. It will have truly arrived only when people like you and me give the much needed support to victims of abuse. To say those words to someone – “We are with you. What happened with you was not your fault. Life goes on and, we will help you move on”, is a big deal.  But yet, we don’t. That is where a society needs to work on. Help the victims. Give support to survivors. Do not stand in the way of people who want to reform and, do good in life.

Be like Masaan’s Devi, my friend!

Recently, there was a discussion in a group about a short clip featuring a 23 year old woman convincing her mother of her decision to be in a live in relationship.

Many of us come from a generation or, have been raised by a generation that believed in the old school of thought – Marriage is a holy union. And, sex is best reserved for it. However, I feel if a woman of today wants to have a different take on it, we should not squirm and instantly jump the gun and, shame the woman. Who knows, live in relationships may be as genuine as marriage. But then again, who knows!

So, when there was a question in the group as to how many women would be comfortable letting their daughters get into a relationship they are not exactly sure would culminate in a marriage, the clarity in thoughts that poured in, was amazing. Many were not comfortable. However, there was a handful who felt that they would not want to barge into their children’s take on relationships. It felt good to see that the winds have changed their direction after a long time and, a change is slowly setting into the new age parenting.

However, as a mother, I do have a small addition to my perception of a woman’s decision in entering a relationship that might be a cross between a casual and genuine one. If a woman is bold enough to take conscious decisions, pertaining to partners, lifestyle and relationships, she must also be courageous enough to bear the consequences without blaming the situation/circumstance/people. Because, when a woman takes a conscious decision, she truly is in cognizance of what she is doing and, why and hence, when the outcome does not favour her, she must take charge of her life instead of getting pulled into the blame shame game. This is where Masaan’s Devi inspires the modern day woman.

If life hurls heart burning hiccups at you, awaken and rise. Take the consequence of your conscious decisions with a pinch of salt and, use your acumen to move on. Women empowerment will happen when women take that lesson of resilience from Devi “Life is going to hurl curveballs at you. They will attack you, dent you, dilute your morale and make you feel worthless. But you must believe in yourself. Because, if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will!”

That said, do watch this gem of a movie! It will change the way you think, for sure!

And, I love this song….. Tu kisi rel se guzarti hai….me ek pul sa thar tharata hun…..

A note to every woman I know (not).


Ever since the motion of  women empowerment in 19th century began in the west, there have been ripple effects in the social dynamics all over the world. Besides, it is not as if we are witnessing a down slide in the society’s perception of women only in the past few decades. If you remember, there was also a time, when Britain, Israel and India were ruled by three dynamic and powerful ladies – Margret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi, all at the same time! And despite all the revolution and revolutionaries from history, certain aspects of the society are still going from bad to worse leaving aside a minuscule percentage of success stories. While we are on the path towards achieving  women empowerment in the truest sense and, we are almost there, there continues to be a severe backlash in the form of violence against women. A few days earlier when I discussed about this topic with mum, she said – “I am fortunate to have grown in better times. I agree, in my time, women weren’t given choices. And yet, some women managed to go ahead and become engineers and doctors especially when teaching and banking were preferred professions for women. And even then, the backlash would end only in tongue lashing. It never went much beyond that! Of course, I am talking about South. I am not aware of how the situation was up North, then. But yet, I believe even there the situation would have been fairly better than in recent times.” We have almost stopped watching news. And, mum feels terrible about the current times. She further says – “When I was growing up, I never had the fear of venturing out alone. And even if I did, I never had trust issues. There was an innate faith that people around will not wrong each other. And today, every stranger brings with him the question – “What if he is dangerous!”As she sadly sighs at the growing crime rates against women, I wonder when did it all start? No, I am not talking about man’s attitude towards a woman. I am talking about the general perception of a woman in the society by all, regardless of gender.

ge

Where and when did the inequality begin?

Before coming to that, let’s talk about issues bothering women today. For a woman, from inconspicuously being groped in crowded places to being subjected to lewd comments and gestures, eve teasing is perhaps the root of all horrors that follows later.  And, if that wasn’t enough, a few spoiled brats assume it is their birthright to mow down people with their expensive cars or, kidnap women returning from work and abuse them on National highways. If there is a hit and run, the driver in the affluent family conveniently takes the blame! There are countless incidents of crimes against women in recent times and, there is no end to it! Then, there are the honor killings. No, I am not even getting on this topic! But I would just say – What respect does an honor demand in a place where fear to think culls all hope and faith?

That said, the whole country has been discussing gender issues for decades! But then, have you ever questioned how such an issue ever cropped up in the first place? Have you ever realized for a fact that a curve ball is never totally unexpected. There are signs of anomalies that often go unnoticed when a curve ball is taking the shape of a snow ball! To put it in simple words, big catastrophes always have small beginnings. Take a look around the world and you shall notice, the setup has always been leaning more towards the patriarchal side. One cannot pin point a time when the rules emphasizing on male dominance actually began. Like we know, women were not always subdued beings in India. There was a time, when they rode as knights, with knights, waged wars, fought wars and, even sacrificed their lives for the nation. So, when did the system flip? The answer lies in almost every home (if not all). Say, we discuss about trivial affairs like lunches and dinner at home. Down south, I have always noticed that the outlook towards women has been more liberal than in the north. And yet, I have come across those minor rumbles when I felt, that a woman is still not treated as equal. For instance, I have observed in a majority of families (still)that when a lunch or dinner is being served, it is upon the woman to serve the family with food. Only after the family finishes the meal, she starts with her lunch or dinner that would mostly comprise of what is left! It may not have necessarily started off as a rule. Because some women enjoying feeding their families first. But then, what may have started with the intention of showering love slowly became a call for duty. And when the thin line of difference between compassion and duty blurs, gender inequality is realized in its truest form. I know many families these days do not follow this protocol. And yet, there are many that do too. And mind well, I am not talking about lower middle class families. I am talking about the educated and higher middle class families with career oriented females who still follow this rule by the book. Now, has it ever occurred to the man in the family – “Why can’t I serve my food by myself? Why is it required that the lady has to feed me and the child first? Will there be enough food for her after we have all eaten? Why can’t we sit as a family and have food together?” The man barely realizes it. Why? He has been raised in a family where he has seen his mother abide by the same rule. And hence, he has already drawn a picture of how his wife should be. This was just one of the tiny examples to begin with gender discrimination. Gender inequality begins at home! Period.

Indian Cinema needs to come around!

Next in line of fire, is our cinema. The prime reason for the rise in crimes against women is predominantly rooted in the fact on how women are portrayed in the cinema. And, I am terribly annoyed at the hypocrisy of people voicing their angst on the suppression of women. How on earth can people advocate for equality in gender while they go and watch approaching fifty or sixty actors romancing women less than half their age? How is it even remotely possible for these people to cheer for movies that have the hero wooing the heroine by hook or crook  while on the other hand, they discuss and dissect crimes against women with such alacrity on social networking sites? If a movie star portrays some steel character on screen and, goes about taking the law for a ride in real life, what message does that actor give to the society? And as long as women objectify themselves by choice, by allowing themselves to be sidelined and letting the actors take away the meatier roles in the script, as a country, we are just halfway away from Stone age!

ic

In South however, cinema has a totally different agenda! Most of the movies revolve around unimaginably funny stunts that appear on every scene at the drop of a hat! Like a lanky Vijay or a skinny Dhanush flinging goons double their size into thin air is not only unrealistic but comic in a surreal way. Of course, logic is blasphemy here! Agreed! But, I simply cannot get my head around how a boy wooing a girl to the extent of annoying her, irritating her, troubling her and then, finally getting her to say a YES, is sold as an idea to the public! Almost 8 out of 10 movies repeatedly show this and, then you expect the youth to be cultured! (Here I have to mention that I almost puked after watching 7G Rainbow colony!) Seriously?  (P.S – I am excluding Malayalam cinema here as it is the lone ranger of South Indian cinema for me that is churning out masterpieces in the real sense while others have trouble deviating from the cliché. Wish Bollywood and others take a cue from them!)

Coming back to Tamil cinema, there have been some good movies too. But they get easily sidelined. Like Rajni’s Kabali has already sprinkled the veteran star’s magic down south because of which exceptionally good movies like Samuthirakani’s movie Appa are not even promoted the way they should be! (I mean no offence to Rajni fans as I too adore him for his awesome work in his old movies like pathinaru vaithinile, apurva rangangal, Thalapathi, Kalakalapu, moondru muduchu and many more).

It is important to understand that cinema has a major impact on the head space of every individual. It may be treated as a stress buster but somewhere in the head, it sows a seed, a seed of gender superiority in the wrong place. I believe, a movie essentially should either have a good message for the youth or, it should have good humor that does not hurt people. But then, humor is a misnomer these days, as it is more synonymous with assaulting a community, a country or a gender with sugar coated jibes. Watch Kapil Sharma’s show and you would know! Initially you might laugh your lungs out. Later, it dawns in the aftermath on how poorly the woman emulated characters are treated in the show! When a Guthi or a Rinku Devi gets whipped or teased, the audience laughs. After all, it is not Sunil Grover who is being teased but the character of the lady he is emulating. Food for thought, no?

kkk

In the past, women centric movies like Bhavana, Arth, Mother India, Andhi, Bhumika, Mirch Masala, Damini, Chandni Bar etc.. kicked off a small revolution in the Indian cinema. But then, who enjoys such movies? Right? A bitter sweet dream it would be, if Indian cinema by a strange twist in destiny churned out more of message oriented movies. Then, a woman may no longer find herself in the pandemonium she has been pulled into in recent times! If script writers feel that public craves for masala movies more, they seriously need to be bumped on their heads! A repetitive replay of regressive plots have resulted in such vicious mindsets today!

When Madhuri Dixit endorsed the advertisement – Ladke rulate nahi, I was initially spell bound by the message. It hit the brief on how we need to raise our sons. However, on analyzing it deeply, I found it to be slightly critical of boys’ emotions in general. And, I wondered why shouldn’t boys cry after all? Who made that rule? When a boy or a girl is born, up till the age of five, their actions are more or less similar except for the basic difference in the gender. Then, why is it that suddenly differences crop up in raising a boy and a girl. For instance, we assume that blue color is exclusive for the boys as pink is for the girls. Even I, who has been raised in an extremely liberal household, invariably drifted towards buying blue colored outfits when my son was born. And, I am not sure how or why it happened. Maybe this is what social conditioning is all about. Although today, I allow him to take his pick and, if pink be his pick, so be it! On a lighter note, he loves only bright yellow, orange and sometimes, fluorescent green too!

Eventually it dawned on me at some point in life that we need to raise our children with the ability to be unaffected by the cacophonous opinions on how a particular gender must behave or, be raised. Like, when you raise children, DON’T EVER SAY – “Respect girls! Respect women! Even your mother was a little girl at some time in the past!” or for that matter, “Respect boys! Respect men! Even your father was a little boy at some time in the past!” INSTEAD TRY SAYING THIS TO YOUR LITTLE BOY OR GIRL – “Respect every life on earth, be it a man or a woman, a plant or an animal. It is life, after all!” Let your child understand the concept of gender on his/her own. Let him or her comprehend the importance of two different genders on his/her own.

Immaterial of whether your child is a boy or a girl,

  1. Teach your child to pick up his or her plate, serve food on his/her own and wash and clean the plates by self after meals. This should be inculcated at an early age, say before they reach six years of age!
  2. Teach your child to cook and prepare basic dishes like sandwiches from a young age.
  3. Teach your child to iron his or her clothes, polish his/her shoes and prepare his/her bags.
  4. Teach your child basic tailoring techniques like stitching buttons. It can be started once the child crosses seven years of age.
  5. Help your child understand the importance of cleanliness at home and outside.
  6. Involve your child in gardening. It will bring him or her a step closer to Mother Nature.
  7. And, help your child understand the power of prayers. Even doctors believe in the fact that the last judgement over a life lies in the hands of the Gods!

Children imbibe what they see. In a home, where a husband loves the wife and treats her like a queen, the child will follow the same when he grows up. However, if he sees his mother being treated like a doormat, either he or she will swing between being extremely antagonizing or, being overtly possessive of a particular gender. Both are not good. So, if we need a society with creative kind and humble children, it falls on the strong shoulders of a woman to realize her extraordinary courage to stick with what her conscience deems right rather than buckling under the societal pressures of an anti-utopian society! The progress of the world solely depends on that courage. For instance, just imagine if the actresses of today threw the towel and said – “Balls! I cannot do such movies! My character in cinema is much more than singing and dancing! I am not some toy or an object! Meet me with a script that highlights me in the movie!” Believe it or not, the entire society shall progress in spades!

And then, instead of blaming the society for a regressive thought process, take a peek into your own home. You might be surprised to see from where the roots of regression are sprouting! If there are no such roots in your home, stay blessed and try to spread the good change. And, if you do find the small roots of archaic vibes sprouting, time to de-weed them!

More power to women who aspire to break free from the shackles of suppression, little or large! Be the change you want to see in the world, woman! It is all in your hands!

we

Amen.

 

Kaaka Muttai ~ Movie review


This review comes very very late. But then, better late than never. And, I have watched the movie two times and, I won’t mind watching it again!

————————————————————————–

I have been wanting to write about this movie and perhaps, the moment has just arrived. The movie isn’t new anymore and yet, reviewing it would still feel like smelling and savoring a freshly baked loaf that has been served hot and crisp from the oven! I watched this movie a month back. Which movie, you may ask?

“Oru muttai ennaku…..Oru muttai unnaku…..Oru muttai kakai ki…..”

(One egg for me…..One egg for you……One egg for the crow…..”

KAKA

I cannot wait to begin raving about this wonderful Tamil movie – Kaaka muttai! (Meaning : Crow’s eggs)

What a movie! And, what a cast! And, what a splendid direction! I watched this movie with my son and, it was a revelation to both of us at many levels. The journey of two siblings in the slums of Chennai that begins with binging on crow eggs to meeting the one goal of their lives – to taste the scrumptious cheesy hot pizza at the newly opened Pizza stop (that was inaugurated by Simbu) is shot with such finesse. Even though the movie centers around the boys’ persistence in getting that one slice of Pizza, it also touches the many inconspicuously malignant levels of an impudent society. It is like watching a blueprint of stark heart wrenching realities like poverty, political cronies, theft, child labor, hunger, alcoholism and, the big bad divide between the rich and the poor. The fact that, despite NOT having the money to eat enough, clothes to wear decently or, an opportunity to study, the two boys NEVER resorted to acts of felony to earn that extra money, totally overwhelmed me. The unconditional love of a mother for her sons, the profound affection of a grandmother for her grandsons, the timely act of kindness by a stranger turned friend – Pazharasam, the unlikely friendship with a boy from the upper class neighborhood and, their sad faces when they see the big tree with the crow’s nest cut down for the new Pizza outlet to be opened, are some of the poignant highlights in the movie. By the way, I couldn’t believe that the landlord was played by Babu Anthony. In my school days, I had a deep crush on this tall actor who played the antagonist in the 1987 movie – Poovizhi Vasalile  {It was originally made in Malayalam and then, was later remade in Hindi as Hatya) Well, I digress by habit! OUCH!

Anyways, I would not narrate the story here, as this movie is at its best if watched, rather than deriving the plot from a review. Every scene is splendidly shot as it rhythmically connects the dots on the big white board of the predictably unpredictable destiny. The music is amazing too. I loved the song – Sel Sel  🙂 I have shared the video below 😀

And FYI, this movie was remade as Half Ticket in Marathi.

5 random movies that have stayed with me.


I hate to admit that I was a big time movie buff while I was in school. And, I love to confess now, that I still am! Let’s say, while I was growing, I was far more interested in figuring out – How on earth did Craig Schwartz find his way into the head of John Malkovich (I watched the movie – Being John Malkovich twice to understand the concept of mind portals!) rather than, indulging in Shakespeare’s theatrical lines on how Shylock  was outwitted by Portia, after the former demanded a pound of flesh from Antonio! Not that, I did not enjoy the play – Merchant of Venice (It was one of the sub parts of English II in my Xth grade) but just that, I enjoyed the sizzling chemistry between Annette and Valmont (Cruel Intentions), more! Now, if you are getting ambushed by the weird analogies I am throwing at you, I might as well just stop and put it in simple words – My love for English partly came from watching Hollywood flicks. (The other part was induced by the amazing teachers I have had in my school) I think I must have watched Terminator 2, ET, Baby’s Day out, Sound of Music, Total Recall, Chain Reaction, Commando and many more, a hundred times! Being a religious fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was in awe of his strength as he upturned a car in the movie Commando, as if it were some toy! Sylvester was a second choice for me even though his looks beat Arnold’s. At the time, I also loved watching many teen flicks like Mean girls, Confessions of a drama queen, Poison Ivy series et al. Let’s say I did not have a particular taste when it came to Hollywood flicks. Intelligent, creative, idiotic, confusing, dumb, I loved watching them all! As I look back on my growing years, a considerable amount of my personality has been molded subconsciously by the movies I have watched.

Comedy, horror, zombie, slasher, action, thriller – I have at least watched one or more movies belonging to all genres. For a long time though, thriller and zombie movies reigned as my favorites. After watching Resident Evil (Part 1), I was totally in awe of the character – Alice (Milla Zovovich – She was phenomenal in Joan of Arc too) and, I often wondered back then, should something like that happen – say, a virus that turns people into mindless flesh eating zombies, what would I do? It is not the gory scenes of the movie that impacted my thoughts, but the profound thought put behind the concept of such a sci-fi! Intermittently, I was also addicted to reading sci-fi stories on the Internet. Don’t ask me, why? I was always more attracted to 20000 leagues under the sea and Alice in Wonderland than towards Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Maybe, I am just obsessed with fantasies and imagination that story tellers churn out. Maybe, those fantasies give me a space to revel in the intricate worlds of sea serpents, white snakes, dwarfs, talking rabbits, disappearing cats, Siamese racoons and what not! Maybe, it just gave me a way out from the grim realities of the real world that was then, synonymous with semiconductor electronics and electromagnetic waves, vectors and matrices! (I spare you further jargons!). Which is why, I intend to post about the 5 random movies that came to my mind today, movies that I still carry along in my head – 

Terminator 2: The Judgment Day (1991)

t2

Did I repeat that I have been an ardent Arnold fan since ‘I don’t know when!’? Oh yes! That physique he sported was apt for the characters he had played all along. He was quite the pertinent choice for the roles that demanded a lot of action and less drama. I loved him in Commando, Kindergarten Cop, Predator, Conan: The Barbarian, Red Sonja, True Lies… (well, the list is endless!) But the movie that made an impact on me was his antagonist turned protagonist role in the movie: The Terminator 2: Judgment Day! I cannot even recount the number of times I have watched this movie. The very thought of a machine beginning to emote because of an instruction from future John Connor to protect himself in the future, felt like one marvelous concept (Well, James Cameron’s movie after all). When I watched that movie over and over again, there was this tingling thought that stayed back in my head for long- What if machines really emoted? Things could swing any which way, like the disastrous and vindictive humanoid VIKI (I, Robot) or, like the gentle Bicentennial Man? To even think about an everyday machine to act on its own, is scary. That said, I totally loved Arnold’s act in the movie. Especially those lines:

“I know now why you cry. (wipes a tear from John’s face) but, it’s something that I can never do!”

An awesome concept, an amazing story line and splendid acting! That movie indeed ticked all the boxes for me J

Mean Girls (2004)

mg1

I know, people must be wondering what! Really? And, I would say – Yes, really! This movie has made the most sense to me than any other teenage drama flick. The challenge of a home schooled girl in trying to fit in ‘the crowd’ has been beautifully showcased. Lindsay alone could do that amount of justice to the character of Cady Heron! And then, coming to think of it, every small town girl is a Cady Heron for whom the glimmer and shimmer of the elite ‘Plastics’ is like a call from the wild! And, as she tastes the seemingly charming lives of ‘The Plastics’, she slowly and steadily transforms into one, with little realization about how it all started in the first place. Eventually, she realizes how being a plastic is way too much to handle than being real. And, while she discovers her long lost individuality, she makes peace with herself and with everyone around her.

“When you get bitten by a snake, you are supposed to suck out all the poison.”

I totally loved those lines. But what I adored about the entire movie is the beautiful, comical and the emotional journey, Cady embarks on to transform from a home schooled naive girl into a feared plastic and then finally into a humbled Math geek (her real self)! The character of Regina George (played by Rachael McAdams) was equally mesmerizing. After all, not all villains on screen exude villainy in such an adorable fashion. Every dialogue in this movie has depth. Remember, Miss Norbury a.k.a Tina Fey wrote the script for the movie!

Marley and Me (2008):

mm1

Ok. I love Owen Wilson. Usually, he fits the bill when it has to be some annoying character whose sole aim in life is to be a royal pain in the neck in the lives of people he loves! Like, if you had a friend like Dupree, who would need an enemy? But then hey! Dupree was a good soul. Just that, his hard times made other’s lives harder. Perhaps, for all the trouble Owens’s unquestionably delightful characters gave Chon Wang (Shanghai Noon), Molly and Carl (You, Me and Dupree) and many more, Marley the lab totally avenged on behalf of all the troubled souls! In this movie, it felt as though Owen Wilson had switched roles with Marley. Speak of a seasoned trouble maker troubled by a pro! But then jokes aside, the beautiful relation between John Grogan (played by Owen) and Marley is that of soul mates who precisely understand why they are the way they are. I totally loved John’s dramatic monologues on the random happenings of his everyday life, with Marley goofing around! The lines from the movie that stuck with me –

Woke up to a kiss from Marley. Went for a walk that turned into a run. Took an airboat ride. Wrote a column about the death of the ever glades. Planted an orange tree in the backyard. Threw sticks for Marley in the park. Watched him swim in the bay. Watched him steal some guys Frisbee. Bought a new Frisbee for the guy. Gave Marley a bath. Went to work with writers block. Hoping for inspiration strike. Nada.”

Marley sure knew about his phenomenal role in John’s life as a writer! It is here, I have to add that I actually cried towards the end of this movie. All those years, Marley had given a lot of love with a lot more trouble. And while he was being euthanized to put him out of his pain, John recounts how it always felt to be alive around Marley. This is a good good movie. A must watch for all, I would say J

World War Z (2013)

wwz1

I have been a forever fan of Zombie movies. Watching one feels like playing a Wolfenstein 3D game! Among the zombie movies, Resident Evil was my all time favorite until I watched World War Z. Unlike in Resident Evil, in WWZ one does not come to know about the source of the horrible virus that turns people into zombies in seconds. Neither is an antivirus that could cull it. The source and the solution remain elusive in this movie and, it is this ambiguity that I liked in this movie. The sole purpose of finding the source leads Gerry Lane (played by Brad Pitt)to understand the nuances of the terrible virus is what the whole movie is all about. There is one conversation between Gerry and the young Harvard Doctor Andrew Frassbach (played by Elyes Gabel):

“Sometimes the thing you thought was the most brutal aspect of the virus turns out to be the chink in its armor. And, Mother Nature loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.” 

Yet another interesting line from the movie is delivered by the Mossad agent Jurgen Warmbrunn: 

Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.

I also totally loved the steely character of the IDF officer Segen (played by Daniella Kertesz). It is her emotional moment on her amputated arm that leads Gerry right to the trick of defeating the un-dead. This was perhaps, the best zombie movie I have watched until now.

Lucy (2014)

lucy

By now, you do know how much I love Sci-Fi. This was apparently the latest I watched and, it stayed with me for quite a long time. Every character in the movie was a delight to watch. Scarlet Johansson as Lucy is back with a bang! Her acting in this movie has been extraordinary. The story of a 20 something student (Lucy) tricked into becoming a drug mule carrying a pouch of a ‘new drug’ takes a dangerous turn when she is kicked in the stomach, in turn releasing massive amounts of the drug into her system. Meanwhile, in some corner of the world in Europe, Professor Samuel Norman (played by Morgan Freeman) is explaining about the enormous capacity of the brain and, how once expanded it can lead to controlling internal and external matter. He makes interesting points about evolution with the example of dolphins –

“Now let’s discuss a special case. The only living being that uses its brain better than us; the dolphin. It is estimated that this incredible animal uses up to twenty percent of its cerebral capacity. In particular, this allows it to have an echo location system that is more efficient than any Sonar invented by mankind. But the dolphin did not invent the Sonar, it developed it naturally. And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today. Can we therefore conclude that humans are concerned more with having than being?”

The question surely makes one think about the way humans have evolved since time immemorial. Proff. Norman further makes a crucial point in these lines –

“For primitive beings like us, life seems to have only one single purpose: gaining time. And it is going through time, seems to be also the only real purpose of each of the cell in our bodies. To achieve that end, the mass of the cells that make up earthworms and human beings, has only two solutions. Be immortal, or to reproduce. If its habitat is not sufficiently favorable or nurturing…the cell will chose immortality. In other words, self-sufficiency and self-management. On the other hand, if the habitat is favorable… they will choose to reproduce. That way, when they die, they hand down essential information and knowledge to the next cell, which hands it down to the next cell and so on. Thus, knowledge and learning are handed down, through time.”

Nothing possibly explains the concept of evolution of life and the revolution man has brought in it, better! The whole movie is about bringing Science and Spirituality on the same plane at a point, where they almost touch each other. The technical aspects of movie are bizarre and seem quite mind-boggling. However, the concept itself is not entirely unbelievable.

After all, Proff Norman puts it brilliantly in the movie – “There are more connections in the human body than there are stars in the galaxy. We possess a gigantic network of information to which we have almost no access.”

There are many more movies that have intrigued me to no end. Would write about them as and when I get time. Signing off for now! Until then, ciao!

 

Bajirao Mastani ~ Movie review


My mother and I love movies with historical themes. So, when we had to choose from Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale, ofcourse you know what we picked! So, did we like it? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

bjm.jpg

Source: Google Images

Whenever we watch a historical movie, it is not just the story but the characters that keep us seated through the movie. I remember watching Jodha Akbar and, I so loved the movie despite its altered adaptation of the emperor’s life. And, why? Because, I took back with me certain instances from the movie that made a memory. Like, when the emperor tries winning back Jodha in the sword fight at her place, reiterating the lines of ‘jay-parajay’ as in why victory is a victory no matter how and how in one of the initial scene Hrithik as a young Akbar pacifies a wild elephant and, his final fighting sequence with his own brother in law are some of the few to name. Same can be said about Bahubali which, is invariably one of the best epic movies made in India. The sight of Queen Sivagami  (played by Ramya Krishnan) brandishing her sword and killing the defector with one hand, as she cradles her newborn in the other, the following scene wherein she breastfeeds both her sons, as she discusses governance with her subjects, then the scene wherein the young Prabhas (Bahubali) jumps wild into the air with a bow and an arrow and, flips to shoot as the arrow accurately pierces  through the middle of the tree on the mountain top are some of the best shots. There are many to list from Bahubali as well. But then, this review isn’t about Bahubali. Isn’t it?

So, coming back to Bajirao Mastani, how was the movie? A one time watch? Perhaps. Technically, the movie was good in terms of the sets, the makeup and the fight sequences. Deepika Padukone could kill with her ‘Mastani’ looks. She looked fabulous indeed. Priyanka Chopra as Kashi bai was something I couldn’t relate to, although she looked beautiful. Did Ranveer Singh do justice to Bajirao’s role? Only historians can answer it right. Yet, as a person with little knowledge of Maratha’s history, I found the song ‘waat lawli’ preposterous considering I understand Marathi well (Only cannot speak in it). It looked like Bajirao had suddenly entered the contemporary era till the song played and then, he went back to the 16th century! I expected the dialogue sequences more in Marathi and less in Hindi. Rather, I have come to believe, this movie ideally should have been a product of Marathi cinema and NOT of Bollywood. Sanjaja Leela Banshali seems to have made this movie in some haste, lest someone else makes it! Also, this movie has focused more on the love triangle between Kashi, Mastani and Rao and less on Rao’s popularity as a warrior. What is expected from a historical movie, after all? That, the audience gets a whiff of who was who and why? Sadly, this movie has not given enough to idolize the great Maratha warrior.

So, was this movie good?

When you watch a movie and you come out of the theater, there is something that tags along with you. You try to remember the scenes. You smile when you remember your favourite scenes. You cry when you remember the sad ones. You are filled with a sense of courage when you remember the ones that exemplify grit. Unfortunately, after Bajirao Mastani, I came out alone with no memories to tag along. Yes, the only saving grace for me is that I chose Bajirao Mastani over Dilwale. Overall, this movie was disappointing.

Rating: 2/5

(The two stars are entirely for the sets)

Now, was this review helpful? Only you can answer.

Now, Read here about the real Bajirao Peshwa.

Tamasha ~ Movie review


The review is late. But, saved it for the right time! 

When this movie was first released, I knew, it would garner enough attention on its ‘first day first show’, courtesy – Ranbir Deepika pair. Somehow, they just click together onscreen. Or is it that, Deepika clicks better with RK than with the rustic RS, onscreen? Well, who knows and, who cares? So, when I flipped through the FB pages, this movie was trashed to bits with opening statements like, “Ok! If you feel Shandaar was a bad joke, you should see Tamasha!”, “I barely sat through the first 30 minutes! What a waste!”, “You can probably watch PRDP. That will make you feel less guilty about paying 150-250 bucks on movies like these!” et al! The comments were so discouraging that I had almost decided that I was NOT going to watch this movie. But then destiny has its designs. Doesn’t it always? Only this time, it was unpredictably pleasant. Considering hubby was visiting, I asked him if he would like to watch a movie. So, with all hopes high on watching some Hollywood flick, we reached INOX and, what do we find? Hate Story 3 and Tamasha! The rest were regional flicks. So selecting a favorite among the two was difficult as, Hate story type of movies were never on our movies list. So, we were left with Tamasha. Considering hubby was on a short visit, we took the gamble, hoping it would pay off. Of course, I was kicking myself after I had the ticket and popcorn in hand as I was beginning to question myself, “What if I couldn’t sit through the movie? Is it that bad? all the money gone down the drain“

And, then the movie began…..

taa.jpg

Review:

Before I give my views on this movie, I have to say a couple of things for people who would want to read this review:

  • One, that I kicked myself bad for not having watched this movie earlier. (Not that it would have made a big difference!) But, I was glad that I finally watched this movie.
  • And, two that this movie is
    • NOT for those who look for a chikni chameli or a sheela ki jawaani.
    • NOT for those who expect a story with villains, love triangles and all the shebang that tags along.
    • NOT for those who love the protagonist as someone with an impeccable personality, zero flaws, looks of a prince and, a mind of gold!

So who would possibly want to watch this movie? This movie is a good pick for those who love the abstractness of simple arts like story telling. This movie is for those who look beyond drama and seek depth in the characters they adore. And, this movie is purely for those who relish the theatrical shades in a story with characters that speak less and act more. AND, I totally loved this movie despite NOT being an RK or a DP fan.

If you sit through the movie with an open mind, you would understand how much this movie speaks about the challenges of an identity crisis that manifests in many people’s lives since childhood. A man embracing mediocrity to earn a favorable position in the lives of people he loves and how, he overdoes it to the extent of severing himself from the true passion and grit that define him, is a common sight everyday. Ved (RK) in this movie is one such man who is battling to reach out to his inner self. And when, a vacation in Corsica earns him a soul mate (Enter Tara – DP) who feels and basks in the warmth and glow of the passion within him, his fight to reach his true identity begins.

Watching this movie makes one wonder, how good can life get if one did what his passion propelled him to do. Sadly it happens for a handful. For the majority, making ends meet and supporting the family is a priority and compulsion that shoves all the passion and talents underneath the worldly burdens. Imtiaz Ali has indeed created a good piece of art that is projected with stories, flashbacks, fast forwards and whatever that falls in between. Surely, this movie is for a class and NOT for the mass. I would just leave it at that!

Rating: 4/5

P.S: Piyush Mishra is a Bollywood gem!

And, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, unleash the talent with           many more character based roles!

And, I so love this song! And, the steps too!

Matargashti…..