Inappropriate insult

11 03 2019

I happened to watch an Indian regional movie last week titled – ‘Vinaya Vidheya Rama’.  I was appalled by many things about the movie. Aside from the illogical story and physics-defying-heroic-stunts, one thing that truly triggered me was the form of insult that the villain imposes on men who defy him or his tyranny.  He makes the perpetrators don women’s ornaments – bangles and anklets – in front of everyone. Apparently, that’s the worst kind of offense that anyone can bear, and the whole town, including women, are horrified and distressed by the act.   By comparing them with women, the intention behind that “punishment” is to brand those men as incompetent and useless, and maybe something more demeaning that is beyond my imagination.  I’m shocked to see that kind of totally humiliating and insensitive insinuation of women in the current times and that too in a movie of a top hero and a top director. I always feel that movie makers have a social obligation to condemn or at least not reinforce regressive thoughts and beliefs  given the influence they have on people, especially young ones.





Shuddh Desi Romance

6 05 2014

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Got to watch this movie this weekend. Remember hearing positive reviews from friends about it back when it got released. But frankly, after watching the movie now, I don’t know what to say. For one thing, it’s bold. 🙂

Despite the risk of having dismissed as being from old school, I must say I found the movie irritating. What’s the whole point? I can think of a few:

  • It’s ok to be confused
  • Follow your heart even if it’s confused
  • Take forever to make up one’s mind
  • It’s ok to be irresponsible and commitment phobic
  • It’s ok to keep on acting on impulses until you have realized what’s in your heart and make up your mind about it, if it ever happens

I’m not saying that marriage is the holy grail and one should go for it, no matter what, or that the sooner, the better. I am pretty aware of why many youngsters today are skeptical about marriage and are afraid to take the plunge. Rightly so, I must admit, given the long term and intense repercussions in case of a misjudgment.

But backing off from marriage even after finding the right person – I have really hard time trying to fathom it. Agreed that things can go wrong after marriage, even with the person you (think you)  love, but it doesn’t mean that the alternative of living together – with confusion and commitment phobia – guarantees you better things. It’s only an illusion of happiness. True happiness comes only from commitment and responsibility, in the absence of which there  are always the demons of uncertainty and insecurity towering over you.

Think guys, there must be a reason why the institution of marriage has lasted so long! Fix it, do not throw it away!

PS: Personally, I think that the hero got lot more than he deserved. Just look at him! God! 🙄





Shaadi Ke Side Effects

6 03 2014

Warning: This is a spoiler!

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It’s a decent movie depicting a very real issue in today’s marriages. Well made. Begins with a good and interesting beginning. Takes you through captivating narration until the break. The second half loses its sheen a trifle as it begins but eventually gets better towards the end.

Hmm.. What kind of a cryptic review is this! Phew!!!

Anyways, I have only one point to make about the movie. The urge was too much to resist and hence this unplanned post. 😛

I didn’t really understand why the sensible Mrs. Roy made too much of Mr. Roy’s  secret life. I didn’t understand why didn’t she think about why it happened in the first place? I was disappointed in her.

Whatever Mr. Roy’s intentions were, his response to her mistake/wrong was commendable. He feels that his behavior/absence has made her do it. It may be true or not, but the point is he was thinking about “why she might have done it”.

I don’t condone Mr. Roy’s actions completely, but it’s obvious that she ignored him all the while after the baby happened. She excluded him from her and the baby. She turned into a mother and forgot to be a wife.

In Little women, when Meg does the same mistake – by engrossing too much into the twins, leaving John lonely, John seeks solace in his guy friends and company.  They quarrel a lot.  But there, Marmee comes to the rescue by pointing out to Meg her folly and reminding her of her priorities.

But in this movie, no such realization happens. Mr. Roy is the only bad guy here.  😦

I wonder how come such an age-old wisdom escapes the filmmakers. Maybe they didn’t want it to be too preachy. But if so, what’s the whole point? In the end I’m confused about what’s the movie is trying to convey – what did Mr. Roy learn??

I would rather have Mr. Roy realize this: that it’s not easy to be a new mom. It’s highly stressful – both physically and emotionally. He should be really patient and understanding, and not abscond at the sign of discomfort.

And what about the last scene??  Didn’t she abhor the exact same act of her husband?? 🙄

I completely agree that the “me time” is essential for everyone. Mrs. Roy needs it just as much as Mr. Roy. She let herself lose in the new responsibility  so much and for so long that sooner or later a time came when she really needed a break – just as Meg did in Little Women.

I am all for the “me time” because it’s rejuvenating. But it can also be had with mutual knowledge. Why the need for secrecy, if not for the extra thrill?  😛 Of course, the former works only when each party is understanding and sensible to the other.





The attacks of 26/11

8 04 2013

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Ram Gopal Varma’s brilliant portrayal of real incidents surrounding Mumbai terror attacks of 26/11/2008 leaves everyone deeply disturbed. Even though no amount of imagination, empathy, or even a true depiction of terror/horror in the form of art/media can truly emulate the experience of it, Varma’s film provides the closest glimpse of the tragedy.

It is very difficult not to gasp at the sheer horror of the incident; the ruthlessness, the hatred, and  the audacity of the perpetrators. It is impossible not to shed tears at the lost lives of many innocent people, including little children. How would one react to being in the midst of  a massacre’s aftermath – with dead bodies spewed all around? May be by letting out a loud heart-wrenching wail – just like that policeman at CS Terminal.

Salute to the brave policemen who ventured forward and got killed for that. Salute to people amidst the tragedy who tried to save others despite the risk. Salute to that receptionist of Taj who reached for a wailing child and got instantly killed for her efforts. Salute to that doctor in CAMA hospital who saved so many people, who could respond to the killing of an elderly patient despite the guns aimed at him.

Above all, salute to the Joint Commissioner of Police, who handled the situation well. He expressed exactly my thoughts when he said: “What kind of hatred is this? Can you understand it?” The kind of pleasure the terrorists take in killing people is just unbelievable. Kasab’s explanation on why they do it (I think I need not reiterate here, it’s anybody’s guess) are outright stupid, if not for the countless lives they took and the terror they created all over the world.  I believe that the commissioner’s reply to Kasab in the mortuary reflect the feelings of every true Indian.

People do inconceivable things when they are drunk, are under certain influence which numbs their senses, emotions and conscience. And these people are drunk on distorted religion. Misguided fanaticism is what makes them do extreme things. These particular terrorists are dogs, just as the Joint Commissioner remarked. I say, mad dogs set loose with weapons.

I seriously fail to understand when and where has it all started. What do their leaders really want to accomplish? Do they want to kill everybody who they “think” oppose their religion? Do they want to make a graveyard of this world?   I fail to make sense of their ultimate goal. Does the top person, really believes that what he/she is doing is sacred/justified? Isn’t it madness? Is terrorism the consequence of one man’s madness?

I really hope that the real Kasab has gone through the same horror at the anticipation and face of death as shown in the movie; that he has not gone to the gallows with pride feeling himself as a martyr.

Nana Patekar was brilliant and so were each of the other actors. Once again, Varma – great movie.





Trivikram and his heroines

11 02 2013

I’ve been planning to do this post ever since I watched Julayi. The movie was good. But it couldn’t make a powerful impression on me between the unbelievable and absurd stunts (even the cars perform some of them, besides the men) and the stick-thin, lackluster, and lifeless heroine. The intelligent, analytical, and logical approach of the hero has an exciting effect on the viewers, owing to the stark contrast to the usual portrayal of heroism, in traditional Telugu cinema, through supreme physical strength and aggressiveness. But the heroine stands at the other extreme. Conventionally beautiful but utterly stupid. Cute for sure with pouting lips, and rolling eyes but she seems to lack a personality. Besides mild frustration, Madhu (Julayi’s heroine) has triggered a series of thoughts in me, which made me recall Trivikram’s previous heroines. The brainless barbie doll depiction of the heroines is not a new thing in cinema. But the way it is celebrated and elevated in his scripts is something that made me wince many a time.

A storyteller of considerable stature, who shells out sensible story lines with strong and ingenious heroes, Trivikram disappoints with the way he portrays heroines. I’m disappointed that his lead-ladies pale in comparison. Bhagi in Jalsa is equally or possibly even more irritating than Madhu in Julayi. I almost puke in disgust whenever I happen to come across those scenes on Television. The stupidity and idiocy is one thing but the way it is  shown as cute and desirable is even more frustrating. Same is the case with Anjali in Nuvve Nuvve. Poori in Athadu is quite silly too. (But personally, I like the entertainment she provides in the movie though.) Consider Subbu in Khaleja. Gosh, I get irritated with each recall. From Anjali in Nuvve Nuvve to Madhu in Julayi, none of Trivikrams’ heroines are role models. Oh, wait a minute! Are heroines (especially of commercial cinema) ever supposed to be role models?  Do filmmakers ever realize how hard  young girls of today try to emulate them and be as silly ? 🙂 Just kidding! Or may be not! But who can deny their impact and the influence? Of course, there is an argument that it’s not the fault of the drink, but the people who choose to get drunk on it. I won’t get into it now.

It can be easily deduced, from popular belief and “evidence”,  that men get attracted towards cute, docile, dud-girls because they are easier to handle and help in boosting their own exaggerated self-images. But that can apply for average men. But heroes, who are supposed to be superior beings or at the least greater and mightier than an average man, with extreme intellectual and courage factors, falling for such dolls doesn’t make sense. They would surely be able to handle an intelligent, accomplished woman. Wouldn’t they?

Don’t intelligent and self-confident females make appealing heroines? If that’s the message Trivikram wants to give through his movies, there’s no hope for mankind (pun intended). 🙂 Is this highly dramatic? 😛 Ok, I’ll suppress the drama queen in me for a while . 🙂

There is usually unequivocal acceptance of stupidity in females. Actually it is celebrated. A friend  opined that girls, even when little, don’t listen to reason, and behave stupidly; that it’s in their nature. But I believe that it’s largely conditioning rather than biological or genetical. Any person responds to the cues and suggestions that come from the environment and it’s quite possible that the roots of the conditioning dates back to the early months of  a girl child.

I think when stupidity in girls is so celebrated, ignorant females believe that that’s how they should behave to get acceptance in the society; it becomes a natural attitude because that is when they get rewarded or acknowledged in the society. John Gray in his famous relationship book – Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus – advises women to show perplexity and incomprehension at anything technical, which is more complex than a screwdriver. The man would jump at the opportunity to explain to her or, even better, do it for her. I believe this is a classic. I was, and still am, so amused by this piece of advice. Lol! I’m even more amused by the fact of how well that works. As a relationship guide, I say it’s a killer. 🙂 I sometimes feel that women in general, since ages, in an attempt to please and make men feel better of themselves by indulging them thus, somewhere down the line have really turned into the duds men wanted them to be. 🙂 Well, it’s just an idea that has occurred to me in one of “those” moments. 😛

Of course, lot of stereotypes exist that shape us and of course the future generations. And talking about them  is just one of those never ending sagas. 🙂 This reminds me of a conversation with my 6 year old son just the other day. It ran like this:

Me: I love you

Son: Girls shouldn’t say I love you. Only boys should say it.

Me: (Shocked and perplexed) Why do you say that?

Son: Am I not watching movies?

Me: &%*$^

That moment found me speechless for certain. I’m not sure about the open mouth though. 🙂 Needless to say, it triggered a train of thoughts in my mind. (Again…! It seems it’s not taking much for me these days to make me contemplative. Sigh! Good for the blog though! 😛 Don’t you agree? ) As I remembered Gautam Menon’s movies, I had something to say back to my son –  “girls say it too. You just haven’t seen the right movies yet.” 🙂

Reflecting on Gautam’s movies, I couldn’t help thinking about Trivikram again. What a contrast. Gautam’s heroines are all independent ladies with distinct personalities. They may have their own issues, but only just as any man would have with himself. I applaud him for showing women as the persons they are instead of… you know what. When I first watched his first movie Cheli, the one thing that impressed on my mind is the heroine (Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Reema Sen 🙂 ). I found her amazing and so unlike her counterparts in other movies. Of course, there are a few other filmmakers who portray women well, but I believe they are always outnumbered by those who don’t.





Fun with movies

19 07 2012

Sakuni – a feel good movie. The hero wins with his intellect. The comedy track between the hero and his autodriver friend gives the movie a lighter note despite the serious theme. You won’t feel disappointed if you don’t expect anything radical. The usual “Tamil” flavor exists. Heroine is just ornamental, with unusually less screen time. But Praneetha looked very glamorous and pretty.

 Endukante Premanta (EP) – It’s an OK movie. Quite engaging and entertaining too. Has a supernatural element, which I think didn’t go well with the audience and hence their lukewarm response. I’m surprised why people who can easily accept and approve of slim built hero, usually supposed to be a common man, performing inconceivable stunts and win over dozens of heavily built, tough-looking bad guys, can’t accept certain things. May be they don’t go well with one’s fantasies and innate hidden desires. I would like to understand the psychology behind this. Or may be the movie genuinely lacked something important. Coming back to EP, it’s directed well and logically linked (can’t expect anything less of Karunakaran). Went with zero expectations and wasn’t disappointed. The reason to go for it in the first place is the star cast and the basic expectation of it being a “youth” film.

Cocktail – Loved the movie, though I would have to say that it’s not a perfect one. The first one hour or so seemed more like a documentary with disconnected scenes. The movie gets much better after the interval. I love Deepika and she is absolutely awesome in Cocktail. Her smile lights up the screen. It seems so natural and genuine that it’s a pleasure in itself to watch it. Diana Penty is good. She has considerable resemblance to Sonam Kapoor and also Samantha. It was fun watching the movie. Definitely would like to watch it again. To say something about the subject and characterization, the treatment is mature and the plot reflects and addresses contemporary issues.I have my doubts and questions about various things portrayed and dealt with in the movie, which I choose to save for another day.





Gabbar Singh

21 05 2012

A treat to Power Star’s fans. A complete entertainer. Enjoyed it very much. I must admit I occasionally indulge myself by getting carried away by the charisma of the star(s) and this surely is one such an occasion. It’s an adrenaline rush experience to watch him and listen to people around whistle and applaud at his style, stunts, and dance.

The in-built comedy both tickles and derives quite a few good laughs; Even the punch dialogues are not too overboard. They all make sense coming from Pavan Kalyan. He has it in him – power. He surely has put on some weight and reminded me of Chiranjeevi many times. 🙂

Pavan Kalyan has created magic. Sruthi is decent. Music is great.  My favorite is the title song, with the item song coming a close second.

There is a lot of energy in the movie; na, the hero. Would like to watch it again.





Rockstar

27 04 2012

Watched this movie last night. I’ve been hearing mixed reviews about it right since the beginning and at last got curious enough to want to judge it myself. One of the reasons why I wasn’t so eager to watch it before could be that I don’t hold a particularly good impression of Ranbir. Something about the characters he portrayed in the first two movies of him that I watched (Bachna ae Haseeno, Wake Up Sid) and my conception of his off-screen attitude didn’t sit well with me and I’ve taken a kind of dislike to him. And also may be I didn’t take his break-up with Deepika (whom I admire) too well. 😛 Though it’s a fact that the personal stuff of celebrities gets discussed around a lot, on the face of it, it seems a bit silly to me that I let it affect me the way it does. 😛

Coming to the movie, it appealed to me very much. And what’s more, I finally gave into the charm of Ranbir. He is a good performer and appears dashing on screen. I really liked him in this movie. This film is about an artist and the role of music and love in his life.

Artists think and live at a different level, making them enigmatic to others. An artist’s mind typically holds a lot of romantic attraction for others. All seems attractive on screen and in fiction but at a practical level, many would find it very difficult to truly understand them or be part of their lives. Only very few can make it. Because in reality, no one gives us the privilege of letting us know what’s happening in their mind.  May be only an artist can truly understand another artist. For one to understand them completely, one needs to view things through their lens, think from their level. We can’t comprehend them well from our own frame of reference. While it’s true with anyone, the chasm between the artists and others is usually wider.

A true artist, by the virtue of his romantic nature, is usually a passionate and intense lover. The love between Ranbir and Nargis was beautifully depicted in the movie. There exists a deeper connect between the two, something which overtakes them. They fit like pieces of jig saw puzzle. They feel helpless before the “love, passion, or whatever” between them that at certain point nothing could hold them apart. I found it amazing how she opened up to him the first time (about “Jungli Jawaani” 😉 ) and how effortlessly everything else followed.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.”  – Rumi

Everyone seeks such an intense love and long for such a person in his/her life, but more often than not they are met with disappointment. In fact, many people search for it all through their lives in vain. The problem is that one cannot will it to happen or intervene in any manner in the process; it happens only if and when it happens. Such an intense feeling/emotion/relationship is usually like ‘elixir of life’ to many. The sheer rarity of such an occurrence and the pain and struggle one undergoes in one’s longing for it, gave rise to some practical notions like – no one can make you complete; there’s no “Mr. Right” etc. Nevertheless, the quest continues ceaselessly.

On hindsight, I feel that I didn’t watch the movie with the attention it deserved. I guess some movies are meant to be watched in appropriate and relaxed mood, with nothing to distract you. Will definitely try to watch Rockstar again soon.





Businessman

21 01 2012

Puri and Mahesh did it again. Businessman may not raise as high an uproar as Pokiri, but is good and special in its own way. I found it quite a serious movie providing enough adrenaline rush to the audience as the hero climbs up the success ladder in the business of crime. It’s a kind of universal law that a hero always does right and conversely, anything that a hero does can be justified to be right. Keeping aside the debate about the effects and role of mafia on the society, films made about the underworld aren’t very uncommon, both nationally and internationally. We all loved the empire of The God Father and also the invincibility of our own Don, without any reservations whatsoever. Businessman falls into the similar line but as one expects, the story, treatment, and dialogues are new and refreshing.

As in all kinds of stories/movies, there is a love track in this movie. The hero originally traps the heroine  to serve as an ace up his sleeve in case he gets cornered by her commissioner father, but realizes at a crucial moment that he has really fallen for her and that she means a lot to him. On her part, the heroine, though initially got deeply distressed on knowing the truth about the hero, can’t really be able to get over him and succumbs to his charms. I would have found this track truly “filmy” (read “highly impractical”) and it would have affected my reaction to the movie on the whole. But, as it happened, I read a book called “Mafia Queens of Mumbai” a few months back, which is a collection of real-life stories of the notable gangsters and underworld giants. In that book, I found lot many love stories and affairs, which are not dissimilar to the one mentioned above.

Earlier, in my naivety and ignorance, I used to think that people are either white or black and the so called “bad people” or “villains” are by design unable to do anything remotely sensitive. The thought of them being in love with a woman in a true sense is something I had trouble even imagining. It is easy to guess the reason for my stereotype thoughts – the underlying messages that have been drilled into our minds ever since the childhood through moral stories, epics, movies etc, establish the same thing -that there are good people and there are bad people and that they have almost nothing in common. Being a simple unsuspecting soul by nature, I continued believing it even until recently, which I admit is not actually a thing to be proud of but on the contrary, should be (or rather, is) a source of my chagrin.

The music is not too good. Liked only a couple of songs. It’s neither the first instance that the tunes have been copied nor will it be the last but to discover the act even before one got to listen to the songs for the first time kind of dilutes one’s possible enjoyment of the music. Despite that, I loved the “Pilla Chao” song. Picking the Lion King’s song for copying, is something I feel is stupid. Borrowing from such a well-known track – I think that’s too audacious of Thaman. The song isn’t very melodic and when made into a Telugu song, except the chorus bit everything else kind of made no impact on me. (I love all songs from Lion King though.) I loved the background score. Kajal looked very glamorous in this movie. The songs were picturesque and I absolutely loved the costumes of Mahesh in “Pilla Chao”.





Sri Rama Rajyam

15 12 2011

This beautiful rendition of the great epic by Bapu is just fabulous. Each frame is beautiful. The graphics worked well. Everyone did justice to their roles. Nayantara as Sita stole the show. She was simply astounding. I was really surprised and delighted to watch her awesome performance. Illayaraja’s music was soothing, melodious and apt. His melodies have a distinct sweetness that others cannot quite emulate.

Despite the unanswered questions regarding the treatment of Sita (a few of my thoughts on this here), the charm of Ramayana holds good to me even to this day. It was my favorite childhood read and I never get tired to reading/listenting to/watching the epic tale. It is a story which tells one what to do and how to do, unlike its sister epic Mahabharatha, which tells one what not to do.

Reading Ramayana brings peace as it primarily presents the good and positive elements of life. It is worthy to note that the movie recognized the injustice rendered to Sita and had not attempted to justify it. Given that it happened/written during a time when woman’s role was strictly defined and confined, it is no surprise that the events unfolded in such a way. But having the god incarnation himself to behave so is something that is not easily digestible for those who believe in absolute. I’m not suggesting any alternative course for Rama, and not sure even if such a thing exists given the circumstances. Could it be possible for him to be just to both his wife and his people? My immediate thought was to make him stand up for what he believes – he believes in his wife and he loves her – and somehow make people understand it. But even as I was thinking so, I knew it’s not easy to change a deep-rooted conviction even when God wishes it. There is no evidence that the change had indeed took place, though the people of the kingdom were exasperated and repented at the gloomy state of their king. In this regard, I’m not sure whether Ramayana had been successful in making people change their beliefs. While the kind of love and devotion between the couple is inspiring to all, the trials that Sita had to undergo, with no error of hers, can indeed be perceived as a failure of Rama.

Sita has a very significant role in our tradition and she is deemed as a perfect being whom every woman should try to emulate. I wonder to what extent her personality still holds significance!