Thursday, March 29, 2012

The cow sagas - part 1, hide the cows!

Once upon a time, there was a milk vendor. He loved the money his customers gave.  But he just wished he could make the cows disappear. Ugly messy creatures, who always had to be fed. Why couldn't the milk just appear magically in jugs?

Today, for instance, he had to spend so much effort , just to make sure that when the customers came, they were greeted with a clean shining dairy, and no cows. So much effort to shoo away the cows into the back lanes.

Still, he was a high performance guy. He delivered.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chameleon - Krisztina Goda

Caught it on the recent european film fest in Bangalore. (many thanks to a, who got the schedules, and the enthusiasm to catch the fest! )

Totally loved this one. Initialy while reading the summary, I'd not been too hopeful about it. We've all seen enough movies of con men who pretend to be rich to woo/con someone, and how it all goes terribly wrong. Luckily a couple of interesting reviews, and the desire to check out the priyadarshini hall at badami house, got us to the movie.

And I must say movie was a prime example of something I've always believed in - its not what you say, its how you say. Or in this context, its not the story or theme, its how you tell it.

Really slick direction, keeps the pace moving. And the characters are always edgy, shades of gray.  Excellant acting by most of them. The main protagonist, the sidekick, the ballerina, the doctor, the actor.  And you're never quite sure where to slot the people, who's the good guy, who's not. At what stage does do your sympathies slip from the 'helpless' women being conned, to the con artist. And slide to the doctor? Are you then wreched away from him too? How about the unfortunate ballerina? I totally loved the constantly changing equations. As he says somewhere - 'Illusion is expensive. But it's worth it.'

I'd say its a must watch.

ps - a chance scene in the movie, made me wonder about another thing. How do we decide whats funny ? In movies like baby's day out, or home alone, the villains get it rather thickly to say the least. But we can't stop laughing. Its sort of easy , because the demarkation lines are clearly drawn ( good blamless kids vs bad thieves/kidnappers) We know where our sympathies lie. So we laugh when the kidnapper gets it badly you know where.

But flip that scene a little, take a blameless vulnerable kid, about to be beaten up, and we'll all flinch. Again, our sympathies are elsewhere, even though the situation is exactly the same.

So , what happens when the character is neither black nor white? What if, as in this movie, you can't easily take a side? Where exactly does someone's pain, cease to be funny, or begin to be?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Letting go.

why do we hold on, so tightly, so desperately? Why do we get so comfortable in that position, that letting go, becomes an exercise fraught with so many hurdles, stories brought into being, just to hold on.

Anyway, sometimes one is forced to let go, and then once the silly arms flailing is over, you realise, its ok. Its not so bad. You can look at how nice it was, while it lasted. Cry over it a bit, and then hey, its not the end of the world. Who knows, perhaps the change will do you good.

And then, after you've lived with the changes, sometimes you even forget why you were resisting so hard anyway.  We try to look ahead, plan things, fear things. And most of the time, life has its own plans anyway. It always finds new way to surprise, pleasantly or unpleasantly. Whatever it brings on, its not often what you anticipated. And sometimes you realised, that the anticipation of the change was much much worse, than the change itself. And after a while, like everything else, you get used to the change.

Funny that all of this introspection was brought on by airtel's pathetic service. A phone number I'd had for ages. Sentimental prefixes. Memories of happier days. Many years of accumulated acquaitances.. and friends. The gazillion places the number lived, for logistical reasons. The off chance, that I'd lose touch with someone, or lose an 'important' update. And then finally, after umpteen humiliations and bizarre customer service responses from airtel, the realisation that I really had to let go, it was after all just a number.

It still doesn't make it any easier to relinquish other positions, but it does shake them..

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kahaani - Sujoy Ghosh

Quite enjoyed it on the whole, although the ending was really strange, almost like the director, writer and editor together fell ill due to some plague which hit the unit, and they outsourced it to mainstream 80s bollywood to finish off the last 10 mins.

But anyhow, I found the remaining parts quite paisa vasool, good pace, good acting, a feel of the city, and adept direction and editing. Vidya comes to our city of joy, looking for her missing husband, and then we go down the journey with her. As the stories come apart, one thread at a time, you begin wondering how many kahaani's are going on.

I hadn't guessed the ending, which perhaps is just as well, because guessing it would have removed half the fun, ( as it did in a wednesday, where i guessed almost right in the beginning) . There were plot holes as one could call them, if you really took apart the kahaani, things that were niggling at the back of your brain, which if you choose to ignore and go with the flow. Agreed fully with this description from Anupama Chopra - "Kahaani is a nifty thriller with an enjoyment quotient that is indirectly proportionate to how long you spend thinking about the plot."

Overall, good fun, good time pass. Definitely worth a watch.

Ah, and how can I complete without mentioning the insurance agent - whoever came up with that casting , utter utter respect!

A twist of lime @ Jagriti

okish watch. Its an adaptation of 3 short stories from Anita Nair, one that I remember reading.

One is the story of two sisters as they go to confession in a church. The second has a typical mama's good boy going to see a potential bride, but the meeting is happening abroad, where the girl's been for some time. The last one has the chance encounter of the wife and the mistress in a parlor.

Decent time pass, worth a watch, but nothing exceptional.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Paan Singh Tomar - Tigmanshu Dhulia

This is just the kind of movie that I missed over the years, specially while growing up. There were plenty of this biopic genre to be found in English cinema, but their settings and their characters could never bring the same familiarity or the lump to throat, which our own milieu could.

But we seemed strangely reluctant to make nuanced biopics. To make use of our rich history, geography, people, language, culture. While mainstream cinema was too simplistic and formulaic, even the so called parallel cinema often refused to explore beyond the obvious, specially for re imaging historical events or people.

So this one, was really an achievement in storytelling and movie making, and not the least because of its superbly nuanced script, which always teeters close to stereotyping, perhaps just to remind you of your own urges for easy answers, but always edges away from the brink, reminding you - this far and no further.

Paan Singh is the athlete from the army, who breaks records, represents India internationally, but finally ends up a dacoit ( or as he reminds us repeatedly baaghi ). These are historical facts. So what happened here?

You can almost feel the Bollywood formula taking over, the evil system, ( for eg kalmadi our poster boy, as if the rest of us are blameless), the evil uncle, the helpless hero, driven by his sisters rape, to pick the guns, with a classic sunny deol/dharmendra speech about canine blood drinking.

Surprise - none of this happens. Its a multi layered script, and a multi layered character, superbly enacted by Irrfan.  For the athlete with no options, a coaching offer was open. For unhelpful policeman, there are other shades of grey in the trainer and the army commander. For those unanswered petitions, there was at least one which was answered. There are moments of subtle emotion, the parting ice cream, the sending of the children for toffees, unexpected and generous amount of humor.  The last scene was perhaps the only slightly jarring note, in this otherwise close to perfect movie.

The closing credits and dedication, are evocative, but happily, the movie is not a one dimensional condemnation of how the system treats our athletes badly, but a many dimensional construction of a life, of its circumstances, and of its choices.

Must watch.  ( A warning, the dialect and diction is very specific, and if you're not comfortable with Hindi, specially its dialects, better wait for subtitles on DVD. And find a friend with a big screen tv to watch it with! )

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Came across this on someone's status today, found it just perrrfect!

Religion is the art of turning unanswerable questions into unquestionable answers.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Descendents - Alexandar Payne

Good movie overall, and decent acting by our man who pretty much carries the movie on his shoulders.

A husband finds his wife in coma, and tries to make sense of the situation he finds himself in. A pre - teen kid, another kid almost all grown up but not quite, the wife who wasn't quite what he pictured. As he picks up the threads and tries to negotiate a financial deal which also ropes in his extended family, the threads briefly intertwine.

I liked the slow pace, and the drama from the subtle everyday things in life, without too much hyperbole, background music, or histrionics.

Worth a watch.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Kickstarting the runs!

So after a brief hiatus in the runs ( just a matter of an year or two !), I took part in a 5 k, and managed to complete it without too much hassle, even if with a fair bit of walking.

Was quite happy with the timing, considering that this was done mostly without preparation, barring the couple of gym runs in the very last fortnight. Was reminded of the last day cramming for the exams, old habits die hard after all.

Hmm, now to see if i can shave off some 5-6 odd minutes from this, while still enjoying myself .

On another note, the irony of a womens day run , sponsored by a hep shot gym, and adding a breast enhancement brochure in the kit wasn't lost on me. So much for womens day. Gah. Note to self - avoid paying for this run next time.