Happy. Thank you. More Please!

I’m home (read: RAK) for two weeks! I have been reading, talking to my bratty sister, devouring mom’s awesome food and, well, having a good time! In short, I am happy. It sounds almost surreal to say that. But I actually am happy. For now, atleast. Anyway, so, I have also been watching quite a lot of movies. Last day, I happened to watch one that I really, badly wanted to blog about. So, here I am. Sometimes, amidst the flurry of superhero, horror, thriller, comedy, drama and romance movies, you come across something refreshing. Predictable yet different. Happythankyoumoreplease (2010) was one such movie for me. It’s a romance-comedy-drama film that I stumbled upon while checking out some other flick in IMDB. The synopsis seemed interesting and I added it to my to-watch list. For the past 3-4 months, it had been gathering virtual dust in my laptop, until I decided to watch it yesterday. And I’m glad I did! There are three parallel stories in the film, told seamlessly, delving into the lives, relationships and problems of a handful of characters. Sam (Josh Radnor, who is also the director-writer) is a struggling writer who develops a complicated friendship with a lost child. His best friend, Annie (Malin Akerman), an Alopecia patient, tries to fix her messed up self-image and, in turn, her love life. Sam’s cousin, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend face certain problems in their relationship. Also in the picture is Mississippi (Kate Mara) – a charming, young waitress with issues of her own – who Sam falls for. OK, so, I know it sounds completely cliché. I agree, it is. And yet, I absolutely loved it. It felt like a breath of fresh air to me with its simple premise and extremely likeable, not to mention relatable, characters. I really don’t know why I found it so good. Maybe it just happened at the right time, like, I probably needed something light after the bout of “heavy” movies I had been watching. Perhaps, it’s because I found a genuinely feel-good movie after a long time. Or, maybe, it’s truly as awesome as I think it is! Whatever be the reason, it doesn’t really matter. Because the bottom line is: I loved the movie! It’s refreshing, light, happy, warm and…(the best part) even uplifting, in some ways. I think I could see bits and pieces of myself in the characters and their difficulties. The dialogues are another aspect I really liked. Sample this: “I realized the problem. You write short stories… and I think you like living short stories, but I’m kinda ready for the novel.” I was also quite taken by the music; some of the songs had really interesting lyrics. By the time the end credits were rolling, I was feeling quite happy in a way I can’t seem to explain. Probably because  it’s not usual for me to feel that way after a movie. This one, inspite of being predictable, had a lot more sense and warmth than many other rom-com-dramas. It’s not even about that, to be honest. You don’t always come across a light-hearted movie which actually lifts your mood, even makes you feel…inspired-happy, for lack of a better word. That’s the effect Happythankyoumoreplease had on me. And I can’t remember the last time a movie made me feel so good! So there! I think I’m done with the gushing. Your turn! Oh, that reminds me. I hate the “like” option WordPress has enabled for comments. Maybe I am overreacting, but I suppose I can still have my say. Earlier, the only way to respond to a comment was by, well, replying to it. The plain old reply in words thing. Now, you have the option of merely “liking” the comment, offering the gesture as a possible response. I hate that! It cuts off conversation! I suppose it might be Facebook-inspired. But then, it’s fine in FB, because you can conveniently end an unnecessary comment thread by just clicking the ‘like’ button (I do that all the time!). I don’t think it is required on a platform like WordPress where bloggers actually intend to communicate. And, that marks the end of my rant. For now!

Have you seen the movie? Let me know what you think. And, while you’re at it, I’d love to know what you think about the “like” option for comments, as well. 🙂

Vendetta of a different shade

Banter alert! My thoughts are all jumbled up because so much has happened. I think I’m trying to give it some comprehensible order by writing it out here.

I had an amazing experience of what it would be like to do what I love doing. I interned at the tabloid of a newspaper for two weeks, as part of my course. And, I loved it! Their stories weren’t exactly my kind but that didn’t really matter since I was just too glad about the experience. I wrote a few stories and got them printed as well! The joy of seeing my name in the byline for the first time was something so exhilarating; I still can’t stop myself from smiling wide when I think of it.

Things weren’t all hunky-dory, though. There was a lot of shit happening on all possible levels (personal, emotional, blah blah) and I tried my best to hold myself together. While it wasn’t easy or pleasant, I have to admit, I did learn a couple of necessary lessons.

There were so many thoughts and incidents which made me think, “I should blog about this” but once the moment passed, they seemed irrelevant. Or I forgot about them. Which is downright ridiculous and irresponsible, I know. I suppose trying to recollect atleast some of them would be one way to redeem myself.

As of now, one of the most predominant thoughts on my mind would be about the Hindi movie Badlapur. I watched it last night. I can’t decide if I liked it or not. I had read this review on Firstpost right after the release of the movie. I was intrigued enough to decide to watch it. So, I did. As I progressed through the movie, I understood what the writer had meant in the review about many aspects.

Badlapur started off with a tension-filled, fast-paced scene but gradually lost the tempo. While Varun Dhawan has certainly managed to break the mould, he does lack the nuances needed to portray a character of such depth and intensity. But Nawazuddin Siddiqui definitely makes up for it and then some, although his role does seem a tad repetitive, as mentioned in the review. I loved Huma Qureishi as Jhimli, perfectly depicting the subtle shades of the character. I’m no expert to talk about technical brilliancy, so I’ll leave that part to those who know better.

A screenshot of the scene

A screenshot of the scene

One of the most touching scenes, for me, was the one in which Raghu (Varun Dhawan) comes back to an empty house, after the death of his wife and son. The commonplace clutter of a home, framed pictures and photos, leftovers of a dish…all of it seem to accentuate the pain of loss that has just begun to set in.

What struck me as most interesting was the concept of revenge that director Sriram Raghavan has laid out. The protagonist and antagonist don’t engage in climactic stunts or bloody battles. Their encounters are few and far between, and the physically violent ones almost rare. A moviegoer accustomed to stereotypes would associate revenge with something more severe, like I did. It took me a while to realize that this was going to be different. Yes, there are a couple of brutal murders but Raghu’s vengeance is of the silent and brooding kind. Which is, definitely, a refreshing change and my favourite aspect in Badlapur! The climax, apart from being sort of subdued, seems to bring into question the relevance of his need to avenge and what he ultimately gained from it.

There are flaws, of course. But I felt Badlapur stands out from the spate of commercial Bollywood films for its singular depiction of the age-old emotion of revenge.

The Shining: Which Truly Shines – Movie or Book?

I thought that soliloquy might have just managed to save my blog. But looks like the ‘saving’ is still under way.

Last day, I wrote in my diary, after quite a long time. And, I don’t know if it was the myriad thoughts already in my mind, bursting to be freed, or the way the pen floated so smoothly over the paper (LOVED the feel of it) or even the mere act of writing…but I ended up writing a lot. Like, a lot. And not just normal diary entries; the ‘lot’ included random thoughts, some crazy, some profound. At the end of it, the process of emptying all those thoughts onto paper felt so great, so relieving…so much that I couldn’t stop smiling and feeling happy. And that also gave me  this longing to blog. Which is why I’m back here, nearly one month after I promised myself I would try not to neglect my blog!

The book I’m currently reading is ‘The Shining‘ by Stephen King. I saw the movie a few months ago. I kept seeing it in all the ‘Top the-shiningHorror Movies’ lists and decided to watch it (being the horror-movie-fan I am). Unfortunately, I didn’t like it much. I was disappointed, to be honest. Yes, it might probably be because I was expecting a real horror movie. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t figure out if there were actual horror incidents in the movie or if they were all just the characters’ imaginations. I’d call it more of a psycho-thriller than a horror movie.

But the book is an entirely different case! There were quite a few instances in the book which gave me the chills (and I’m only halfway into it!). It pulls you pulled me into the life of the Torrance family in a way the movie didn’t. The characters have a depth that they lacked in the movie (in the movie, I couldn’t figure out if Jack Torrance had a streak of insanity right from the beginning or if the hotel/the ghosts did it to him)…a depth that makes you understand why they act/react the way they do, that makes you see sense in what happens to them. It’s a lot different from the movie in terms of situations, characters and plot. Jack Torrance seems to be a much more emotional person, deeply attached to his wife and son, more than I remember him to be in the movie.

Well, I did some googling, and, turns out I’m not the only one who didn’t like the movie so much.

Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was not a good adaptation of his novel and is the only adaptation of his novels that he could “remember hating”. 

… King suggested that he disliked the downplaying of the supernatural element of the film, which he felt took the “bite” out of the story and made Jack a less sympathetic character. According to King, he viewed Jack as being victimized by the genuinely external supernatural forces haunting the hotel, whereas Kubrick’s take viewed the haunting and its resulting malignancy as coming from within Jack himself.” 

Sometimes, I wonder why exactly books turn out to be much better than their movie adaptations. The experience with ‘The Shining’ offers one possible explanation. A book can delve deeper into characters than a movie, giving you a lot of background with which to understand more about a person – his traits, behaviour, idiosyncrasies. This is particularly true in the case of books made into movies. The book would have drawn out a complete portrayal of the characters, giving you a perfect grasp of why they acted in the way they did. The movie can hardly achieve this kind of detail, considering the limitations the medium has, as compared to a book. So, when someone who has read the book watches the movie, they see semi-detailed characters, interesting situations omitted/altered, less sense in the way the plot pans out.

 

Whatever reviews might say, I’d skip the movie and go for the book any day! 🙂

Care to mention the movie-adaptations which, you felt, lacked the depth of the book?   

Another Feather in my Blogger’s Cap :)

Olaaaa! (Merlin effect; Olaa used to be her ‘Hello’ for a while…I miss her). 

Guess what? Susan from mywithershins has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! And, like always, it has made my day! Thank you so much, Susan. It’s a great big deal, especially because I haven’t been very consistent in my blogging lately. Heartfelt apologies, readers. But, after work and everything, at the end of the day, I feel so drained. And so not in the mood to sit and write out something that makes sense. Anyway, thanks again, Susan for dropping by often, sharing your thoughts and, of course, for your most generous nominations.

Accepting this award comes with certain rules, as always. Apart from linking back & thanking the person who nominated you, it involves sharing 7 random facts about yourself and nominating 7 other bloggers. So, let’s get going.

7 Random Facts About Myself

1. I love sharing random facts about myself, because then I have to think more about myself, come up with uniquely random facts that I can share out here.

2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lucky Ali. I’m fascinated by him, his life, his voice, his music, his thoughts…basically, everything about him. It’s something I can’t explain.

3. I’ve realized that I don’t want to restrict myself to one specific career line for a whole lifetime, that I want to try my hand at a lot of different things. After reading The Zahir by Paulo Coelho, The Best Laid Plans and The Sky Is Falling by Sidney Sheldon, I’ve always harboured a love, a secret desire to work as a war correspondent, someday.

4. Some of my perceptions are contradictory to each other, which kinda confuses people when they try to understand me. For instance, I’m not very fond of kids but I love the act/process of childbirth. There was a time when I considered going for obstetrics (even though it didn’t last for long).

5. I can go on talking about books, movies, music and my perceptions… And by go on, I mean go on forever!

6. Ever since I started blogging actively, I have been checking out a hell lot of other blogs. And I have, slowly, developed a love for photography. Kiran and a colleague found it natural that I should be interested in it, but the realization was sort of surprising for me.

7. Kiran shared this quote on Facebook. And I fell in love with it.

“You are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while” – Eckhart Tolle

Now, for the 7 lucky nominations. Do check out these blogs! I think they are awesome!

Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices 

Tinkerbelle

Gargi Sharma 

Anarya Andir’s Blog

The Middlest Sister

vagabond-esk

Your Daily Dose

Now, That’s An Idea!

Well, before you ask, I’m feeling a lot better. I guess the writing out really helped. 🙂 I watched this fun movie today, laughed a lot and got no time to dwell on my sadness. It has this crazy song which I’ve been humming ever since I saw it…and in short, the day has turned out to be far better, happier than yesterday, definitely.

I read some random blogs…and even found some that I truly loved, beyond a one-time read, that is! 🙂 And…guess what? I’m meeting Saba tomorrow morning *super-wide smile*. That was just the thing I needed. She is one person I love being with. Because she exudes a kind of positive energy and…I feel so happy when I’m with her. Not like I’m not happy being with my other friends. But being with Saba is special, in its own way. So, looking forward to meeting her! 🙂 What are your plans for the weekend?

I’ve been thinking about topics/stuff I could blog about. And I did come up with a couple of possible thoughts but I’m just not in the mood to talk about anything in specific. Perhaps it’s my good ol’ laziness.

But guess what? I’ve an idea. Why don’t you give me a helping hand? 🙂 A helping idea, to be precise! Well, what I’m implying is: if you have any possible ideas which you would like me to blog about (maybe because it’s interesting/not blogged about/you just want to know what I think/whatever), any ideas at all, do let me know, in the Comments section. And better yet, you could also post questions that you would like me to answer (personal or otherwise, though I could choose not to answer some overly personal questions). Come on, this is your one awesome chance of getting a post on your choice of topic in my awesome blog! 😀 Pour it in, people!

The After-Effects of Reading A Thought-Provoking Post

Just when I thought I had understood all the joys that my blog could gift me, I discovered another one. 🙂 Now, I’m seriously wondering if this will ever come to an end. Not that I want it to.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I go through the Freshly Pressed posts everyday. Today, I read a post that struck me in ways more than one. It’s basically a film review but something so different from what I had expected – Film Review: ‘This Is Not a Film’ highlights Iranian filmmaker’s talents while under house arrest. There are a couple of lines in this post that I loved: “The need to direct is in this man’s blood. It’s an energy that simply cannot be repressed, no matter the threat of jail.” True talent can never be suppressed, whatever you do to a person. Jafar Panahi (the director mentioned in the post) is a living example for that. He is an Iranian film director who has made some critically acclaimed movies (that have won many awards). In 2010, he was given a 6-year jail sentence and 20 year ban on making or directing any movies/screenplay/giving interviews.

The iranian filmmaker member of the jury of th...

Jafar Panahi

I love the way his talent and his need (not a want or desire or longing, but a necessary need!) to direct has been portrayed by the writer of this post. He is described as someone who is kept alive by his zeal and talent to make films. People like that are rare to find; people with such brilliance in talent, such dedication and love for what they do. I don’t understand why a man like Panahi should be under arrest/ban. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Especially with so many people protesting against it and demanding he should be released! I hope he gets released soon and continues to make good movies. By the way, the Amnesty International are collecting signatures as part of a request to reverse the sentence imposed on Panahi. This was mentioned in the other post as well, but just in case you overlooked it, you can join the action here.

Apart from these thoughts, reading this post made me realize something. I used to read the newspaper daily (almost) and knew atleast a considerable bit about what was going on in the world around me. But, after joining college, I lost touch with everything related to the world outside. I lost the interest to keep myself informed, I lost the motivation to find time for it…and well, I just lost contact with the whole world. I still haven’t regained it, though I’ve begun trying. And this post has super-motivated me, now! More than that, it has pointed out to me how much I’ve missed, how much I don’t know about what’s going on out there. Blogging has begun to keep me informed about current affairs/happenings around the world (which is a function basically associated with newspapers, news channels, media…you get the idea!)!!! That’s something exciting for me. Because I had never thought of this aspect, never considered blogging could be so much more than expressions put into words. And now, not only has it begun to inform me but has also given me that necessary push to start regaining what I had lost.

I don’t know when I’ll stop saying this:  I LOVE BLOGGING! 🙂

A Labour Of Love (& Friendship & Lots More)

I hope I don’t turn into this full-time movie reviewer (or whatever those people are called!). Anyway, there’s a movie that I want to mention (in detail, that is). It’s not exactly a movie movie. It’s a short film named ‘Vazhikatti’ (a Malayalam word meaning someone/something that shows/guides you to a path), created by the final year boys of two classes at my college (most of them being my classmates). Why I’m doing this is because I know the efforts they put into this venture, and I want to do what I can to contribute to it, no matter how small or insignificant it maybe. And writing a post about it seemed like a great idea to me. 🙂

Let me first introduce you to the person who directed this short film – Shalu V.S.

Mekhavarnan (protagonist), Shalu (director) & Abraham (supporting actor)

He is an extremely talented young man, around 21 years of age, and aspires to be a movie director someday. He is so dedicated to fulfilling his dreams and has such awesome ideas. Since we’ve been in the same class for 3 whole years, I know how much this means to him and to the whole crew, which is exactly why I feel so strongly about supporting their efforts. Knowing each one of them makes a huge difference in the way I see the film, because they are guys I talk to and spend time with, on a daily basis. Used to, that is (since college is over).

Let’s get to the movie, shall we? So, Vazhikatti is basically a Malayalam short film (duration: approx. 30 minutes) that conveys a meaningful message. It might not be anything extraordinarily new, it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before. Sometimes, when we are busy travelling a certain path, we forget to look around…and most often, need to be guided onto the right path by someone. It could be a random person, a passer-by, a friend, a relative, anyone. This is the concept behind the movie. It revolves around the life and dreams of Mekhavarnan ,  the protagonist, and portrays how he  becomes successful, helped by a simple advice.

While it may not be anything incredibly notable, if you watch it, keeping in mind that it was done by a bunch of 20 or 21-year-old students (who have a lot of other things to be busy with), I think you will realize the level of their talent. Anyway, I loved the acting, even though their inexperience/unease before the camera is kinda evident in some scenes. The dialogue delivery could have been improved; it seems sort of forced and less natural. Mekhavarnan (the main character) has done a great job; in fact, I guess everyone gave it their best! Even those who did the supporting roles have done it with a dedication that surprised me. 🙂 I was impressed by the cinematography, done by Dhanish. He is one of my very good friends… and man! I was amazed by his work! He is the fun, easy-going kind but when it comes to something to do with a camera, photos, editing and the like, he surprises you completely! Loved his work in the movie! Anooj, another genius in these aspects (& an ardent movie-lover), has done the VFX and hats off to him! I don’t know how he works magic with visuals, but he does it, and he does it great!

Shalu, Martin & Dhanish

The music by Basil & team is beautiful! No other word to describe it better! I loved the background score in so many scenes, and the song (at the end) is strikingly impressive, coming from such young (& amateur) guys! When it comes to direction, Shalu has been completely dedicated and totally into it since the beginning. He has done a great job. For someone so young and lacking in experience, I was awed by his knowledge and ideas. He has a very clear idea about what he wants, what he has to do…and puts in his mind, body and soul into what he does. I sincerely hope his dreams come true. All of us (girls at hostel) keep talking about how, someday soon, we might be watching his movie and commenting about how we were classmates once. 😀

I know I haven’t named everyone who worked behind the movie, nor commented on every aspect of it. Anyway, thumbs up to the whole crew behind Vazhikatti. There are flaws, imperfections. But they have done their best and the outcome is awesome! 🙂 The movie is in Malayalam, and although subtitles are provided, I suppose not all of you might enjoy watching it. Anyhow, do try to watch it, if you can. But above all, please support and encourage them in their future ventures!

For those of you who would like to watch it, here’s the link: