Friday, April 24, 2015

My thoughts on Ok, bangaram!

So, I watched Ok Bangaram recently and I was going to say something casual and flippant like "Best movie of the year,"  but it's a Mani Ratnam movie and I just can't leave it at that.

Mani Ratnam has been reinventing the way love-stories are made, for decades now and the variety never ceases to amaze me. Amaze as in deeply engulf me into his insanely realistic, celluloid portrayal of life, that I keep remembering little nuggets from the movie now and then and smile at what a genius he is. But I'll have you know that he is not the only genius of this movie. Months before it even released, we all lost our sleep over Rehman's music. Just when I thought I couldn't get over how beautiful Aye Sinamaka is, he comes up with this background score for the movie and you know what genius-personification is.

What can I tell about the movie, without  spoiling it any way? Dulqer reminds you of that stubbled-hot Nagarjuna from Geethanjali (1989), as will Nitya of Girija. The easy chemistry between them, looks sappy sometimes and a bit forced even, but I blame it on the translation. It's easy to look at Adi(Dulqer) and fall for him, but Tara(Nitya) is the true star. The way her eyes dance when she sees Adi, her strong opinions, no bullshit attitude will win the hearts of women like her screen-self, she is a firebrand. There is this special moment when she is filming something for her project work and Aadi comes into frame, and just for a minute second, her lips curl into a smile that is endearing and instantly makes you feel mysterious. She may not have the oomph factor of the regular heroines, but when it comes to portraying love, I can't think of a single heroine in present generation, who can beat her. 

Adi and Tara meet crazily and get into an easy live-in even more crazily. All this while, another deep portrayal of love runs along Adi and Tara's - that of Ganapthi Uncle and Bhavani Aunty. This one makes you yearn for that kind of love, that it's almost masochistic to watch it when you don't have one. It takes a film-maker of great insight to make such a movie. It is not for regular Telugu audience who lament over non-existence of an item song or non-filmy lionization of the hero. 

Special mention for PC Sreeram, another genius. Technically too, the movie is superior in many aspects - the live sound, cinematography, background score. 

I can't really say much without spoiling stuff for your movie-watching experience. Too much awesomeness in this movie, don't miss it.

As long as there are film-makers like Mani Ratnam and Imtiaz Ali, I guess I can sit back and relax with such movies, that won't be blockbusters  let's face it - but ones that can be watched over and over and each time you will find something nice and touching. Ratnam and Ali must be long-lost brothers. The way their movies make me feel is so identical!

P.S : This movie reminded me so much of Love, aaj kal.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Those are not the choices I'll make, but I'll defend your right to make them

Everything these days, especially shit, blows out of proportion and very soon jobless netizens all over the country lap it up like hungry street dogs and everyone has an opinion on it. As do I. If people can be blasphemous, I can throw my two cents there and try to make myself heard too! I'm talking about Aloknath jokes, Sharapova's ignorance, India's daughter...and the latest MyChoice. Coming to the latest part, I am frankly beyond shock now. After well-meaning Indians (who call themselves devotees of Sachin, the God) trolled Sharapova's page bringing overall Indian image to a nauseating low, some of the Indians, who are in top positions like lawyers of this nation, proved the bar could be set much lower and everyone is free to witness the crappy circus of an opinion on a "foreign" documentary India's Daughter. Now the dog version of MyChoice makes me think, stupidity is ingrained.

Generations of Indians are brought up on this diet so much so that reasoning and rationale has been kicked in the guts and natural evolution seemed to stay far far away from many of these species. We hold our fake traditions so close to our hearts and try to keep our ancestors' cultural values that we no longer qualify for Darwin's theory of intelligent species evolution.

Deepika Padukone spoke about the choices she can make. And, those choices can be bad, so what if they are? If everyone is so cognizant of what should be absorbed from media like documentaries and item songs, why are we talking about these flawed choices? Today, if a girl walks on road, lechers won't mouth Ms.Padukone's dialogues from MyChoice, what they will sing are leery songs like Chikni chameli or the more local Soopinchandi....If directors and actors who can influence millions with such songs can get away with such destructive media, because people after all are intelligent enough to discern what's cinema and what's reality, why not cut some  slack to Homi baba!

 If he is talking about a woman sleeping outside marriage is her choice, I'm sure I believe young girls/married women, yet-to-be married women heck all women are intelligent enough and love their spouses/boyfriends enough to not make that choice. If you are a woman reading this, and you love say Deepika Padukone, would you ditch your husband and sleep with another man just because Deepika reminded you of that choice which you can exercise?

What is bothering the people? Is it that sleeping outside marriage, a wholly unIndian thing being advocated by a celebrity of such stature? Did their love for Indian culture take a huge ego-dent because of something that's being done by some men and which has been silently borne by their women for centuries, a choice not Indian enough for women to make? What is bothering them? Her speaking about about choices she says women can make, even if they are mistakes in your eyes? It is a fucking documentary, she is not telling everyone to go have affairs or to not have a baby. They could be someone's choices, even if they sound arrogant. They could be someone's choices, someone who doesn't like the idea of kids, yes they could be someone's choices, someone who can be a player if she wants to. Why would a society not elevate her to stud levels that a male usually gets, but instead calls her names like slut, bitch?

For centuries, women have been oppressed in this country, for whatever reasons. Her menstrual period makes her untouchable, she cannot light her father's pyre even if she's the only daughter and she still can't enter some religious places. Today, things have changed majorly, but still many men are hell-bent in making their women perfect daughters-in-law in order to make them functional as wives. As if girls grow up to be somebody's bahu's, they grow up to be their own fucking selves, not remote controlled, custom-made, abiding-by-inlaws-preferences models. In societies like these, if a woman talks about her sexuality choices, flawed as they are, who are the people talking against them? Who are you lot to judge and make opinions.

If the video bothered you so much, just brush it aside like another item-song, after all , you, a viewer is cognizant enough to discern right from wrong, aren't you?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Holi brings people together

Holi is that time of the year, when I am always on lookout for non-inhibited group of individuals who wouldn't shy away from smearing holi colours, with the help of eggs and tomatoes, if need be. People who wouldn't mind shaking a leg after the colouring festivities or even, during the celebrations. As it turns out, for the last 3 holis I have been having the festivities with total strangers who I'd meet through mutual friends just for the sake of playing holi and fortunately, all three years have given me many colourful memories like egging total strangers and while at it, being drowned in bucketfuls of colourful water some more strangers and then after everything has cooled down, going to meet these very strangers' parents and being force-fed copious amounts of delicious South Indian delicacies and even having this stranger's mom dry my hair with towel, while I wolfed down the breakfast. I will never forget the way those bunch of strangers made me feel that day.

Another holi I recall is last year's, where I had just moved to this completely new city Pune, was going though really crazy personal times and was sitting down in front of my system, thinking about everything when my new set of colleagues (again, total strangers till that moment) pulled me, literally by hand and took me to the common area where everyone started throwing colours at each other, quite civilly at first, and then gauging the reactions and upping the mischief next time. I was wearing my birthday clothes, a set of them I chose very carefully while buying but wore that day, never having the forethought to imagine the way they'd become. We had tons of pictures and by the end of the day everyone had become friends and soon became my lunch group buddies, my movie buddies, my drinking buddies.

Image source : Shutterstock

This holi was with my closest friends and even though no strangers were involved (except for taking our pics :-D) it was no less special. One minute we were watching these girls totally grouped by their friends, getting smeared, screaming in glee, then me and my friend look at each other, both thinking the same thing - 'Hope someone would do that to us' and then all of a sudden couple of our friends jump on us from nowhere and smear indigo purple all over us, mercilessly. Wishes do come true, and how quickly! There was dancing and begging for colours from strangers and then some more stealthy smearing and then some dancing, and I go back to my workstation, I work for a couple of hours and when I am about to leave, I enter the washroom and find myself aghast at the street-urchin lookalike staring back at me in the mirror. 

'', I say out aloud.

A girl who was trying to look less like Incredible Hulk (the girl had green hair and face), mouthed Happy Holi to me(all in the mirror) and pushed her face gel pack across the counter. (I see her everyday, but we never spoke.) I laugh and begin washing myself when a girl in Vermilion walks in and gives the same, aghast expression I gave a while ago, we both wish the new girl Happy Holi and resume our washing. 

I smile at my image, which is now starting to look a bit like me, and think 

"You can never stay away from strangers on Holi, can you?"

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Compassion means to me #1000speak

Firstly, I want to thank all the good folks like Roshni Aamom @ 1000 Voices for compassion  for their excellent initiative and for allowing me to give my two cents.

Compassion to me means different things, but primarily as author Karen Joy Fowler puts it, in the word human being, it's the 'being' which is more important 'human.'

Simple, isn't it.

The most and best part of a human being is being human. It is letting the other person be themselves, irrespective of their gender, colour, religion, nationality, physical limits, age limits. Just accepting them for both - by being something they have no control over(like race, sexual orientation etc) and being something that they can control (like religion, etc). Understanding and making peace with the fact that they made those choices even though we wouldn't make the same ones.

We all want to think of ourselves as good people. That's what gets us disconnected when it comes to compassion. We fail to disassociate ourselves from the compassion that everyone around us deserve. Empathy is missing. We do not always put ourselves in their shoes, when asked to help, we just do what comes easily to us - sympathizing or demonizing. First step to get rid of this is becoming acutely aware of our thoughts and impressions towards others. Once we can control the thought process, we can see how illogical we are and maybe work on that. We may not readily fall in love with them, but maybe be a bit more understanding of his/her situation.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 - the year that was!

I very well remember the way this year started. On such a good note. Dancing with the people I like, swapping stories you'd normally don't, getting pampered in a good way, and finally going to office brightly. Then, I went on a trek to one of the most fascinating places, excelled at rappelling, roamed around an entire day with torn pants, got natural fish pedicure, slept under the stars having one of the goofiest conversations about stars, chances, galaxies and Finacle. I got a tearful farewell from Hyderabad while I moved to Pune (temporarily). Pune was an eye-opener to me in many ways, I learnt a lot of things, saw a lot of beautiful places, met a lot of wonderful people, even had a family trip.

My life suddenly had so many changes, it was so overwhelming that sometimes I would just cry. Most times, I would put on a bravado, keep calm and carry on like I always did get bad ratings, I always fail the people I love, most importantly, people who I thought were friends, always turn around and become complete strangers. But, in that calm I understood what has been happening, all memories sort of fell in place and suddenly made sense. I saw people for what they really are, so clearly that I almost believed I could become a psychoanalyst! Really...testing was never my true calling!

I always wondered why all my single friends are perenially pining for a bf/love/spouse whatever. Now I know. Because once I became single, that's exactly what I started doing - trying to find love. Maybe it's the loneliness. Maybe it's the innate need to find someone that you can call your other self. But more realistically, it's basically just because you've been stuck up with someone for so long, you don't know a world outside of it.

But I decided I won't do something I found basically-pathetic*, only a while ago. I will embrace my new found freedom of being single and revel in it. I will not cool my heels waiting for Prince Charming, I'll wear my fucking high-heels and be a Queen. I will not seek love. Let love find me. Until it does, I will cherish the person that I am and enjoy the life and people around to me.  I will not pine for it, no. Not even while watching movies and reading books. Or listening to songs. They say being in love destroys songs, movies, places, sounds, smells in the most beautiful way. For those bittersweet moments, I thank myself for growing a heart cold enough to bear anything. I am already running towards Masters in the art of disassociation. I am getting so good at it, that very soon the Ministry of Fascinating Singles is going to ask me to come give Ted lectures. I might take them up on it. This gospel definitely needs a wider audience ;-)

This year, I also had a fab birthday, had a great Christmas and I'll probably have a wonderful time on New Year's eve too. If this year taught me anything, it is focus. Focus on the now, focus on the important, focus on the good. I'm 28, and I still have a lot of time to have crushes that might crash and burn or rise and shine, I still have a lot of things to learn to climb up the career ladder, I still have a lot of things and people to be thankful for, I still have a lot of places to see, I still have lot of things to write. I'm single and I feel wonderful!

To a better year and happier times, cheers! :)

* no offense to any fabulous single, I just failed to see why we run behind love, blame it on my ignorance. We are basically loners looking to socialize, I guess!