Sunday, August 9, 2020


A classic whodunnit mystery that’s well performed and meticulously directed.

When it comes to writing a whodunnit story, the biggest aspect is the concealment of the motive of the murder until it’s revealed. This film did that job very well. Till the climax neither the murderer nor the motive was revealed although it’s sprayed all over the film that there are politics involved. For 2 and a half hours it just went on and on without giving any breathing space and kept me hooked. So that’s definitely a winner.

The acting by the ensemble cast is just perfect the casting is done nearly perfectly. A butcher looks like a real butcher, the policemen look real and even the maids are near perfect. Kudos to the casting director and a big thank you for selecting the OTT platform superstars Nawazuddin and Radhika Apte. These folks are ruling the roost I must say be it ‘Sacred Games’ or ‘Ghoul’ or this exclusive Netflix film.

Editing is a big factor that differentiates a great mystery film from a mediocre one because you got to know how much to show and when to cut to keep the suspense going. This film does not let us down in editing. Now, the editor, the master Sreekar Prasad. He is just getting better and better I guess.

The screenplay is tight and the direction is classic. There is a Hitchcock in there and I could see references for David Fincher too. So I must say this is a fine debut by Honey Trehan and hope to see more from him.

The use of lights just amazed me with not one moment having under or overly lit. They are just right setting the claustrophobic mood perfectly.

All in all, this is perhaps the best of the year so far from Hindi Cinema. Now the sad part of these whodunnit stories is that you rarely watch them a second time because once you know the mystery you may not like to revisit. 

So it’s a terrific one time watch that demands 4/5.

Sunday, July 12, 2020


A charming film that conveys a strong message subtly embellished with fun and realism. It's a satire that's realistic and hilarious.

First and foremost, there needs to be a mention of the setting and backdrop. The Haveli (Mansion) named Fatima Mahal in Lucknow becomes the central character of the film, it's contrary to the modern world. It stands tall against the forces of modern materialistic and greedy beings like archeologists and lawyers albeit the collapsing walls. Also greedy are the two main men Mirza played by the ever-reliable Amitabh Bachhan and Baankey played by the flagbearer of new-age Hindi films Ayushmann Khurana. I will talk about these two in a while.

As if the backdrop and the two main characters are not, it's the smart women who outsmart these men and runaway with few jaw-dropping moments. The ending is smartly done by the smartest lady in the film. Not just the octogenarian Farukh Jafar the smartest I believe is the writer Juhi Chaturvedi. Juhi has a knack for the low-key realistic stories and the way she brought this story to life is worth many accolades.  

This is the fourth film I have liked from this writer-director combination. The others being Vicky Donor Piku and October. Hope that Shoojit Sircar(director) and Juhi Chaturvedi(writer) give us many more such films. Shoojit's placing of scenes and setting up the mood and getting the right emotion is pretty perfect. There is never an off-beat moment in the film and that credit I give to the director. I believe he is getting better at his craft. 

The cinematography is worth a mention, the ambiance set up the mood. Although I watched this film at home it made me travel through the streets of Lucknow and took me to almost every corner of the haveli. The detailing is just right and blends well with the narrative and the usage of light is wonderful. Tungsten filament lamps, torches, and neon street lights, they give a strong feeling that there is still a long way to go for us as a country. Also, a mention to Vijay Raaz (Gyanesh) and Brijendra Kala (Christopher) who have done a fabulous job. Indeed all the artists have done wonderfully well.

Now, getting back to the two main characters - Mirza and Baankey who fight relentlessly and never give up a fight are the amazing aspects of this film. They hold the film and yet are split apart by their own vested interests. They own each and every frame they are in. When both are in one scene then it's electric. Thanks to the team for bringing these two great actors together in a meaningful film. 

The title is taken from the puppet show "Gulabo Sitabo" and it's wonderful to see that puppet shows are still being referred to albeit as a metaphor. 

A definite watch. A 3/5.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


A movie that moved me for the way it depicted contemporary relationships.

Marriage is part of life but family is definitely life. This is what I believe. Now the definition of family will differ from person to person. For a few 'family' includes their parents and for a few 'family' to begin after marriage. But once we decide what is family, we hold on to it, despite our own flaws or the spouse's flaws. Family means being there for each other and holding on what we made.

It is definitively one of the best productions I have ever seen by Netflix and on Netflix. Thanks to the director Noah Baumbach and the actors Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver who have given superlative performances. Adam Driver brought tender nuances to his highly self-centric character that made his performance stand out and kudos for such portrayal.

Also, I am appalled and astonished by how biased the system is for women. Empowering women does not have to weaken women but in reality the world over, men got to pay a lot more than women do. Just another day when my friend said 'Separations are tricky', I didn't get it fully but now after watching this film, I got it to an extent.

The separation ordeal between Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) is extremely realistic and indeed highlights today's existing reality. That part although, the most sensitive in the film was also the most hard-hitting. Applause to the director for the way he handled this.

In one dialogue, Nora the lawyer of Nicole says that "The idea of the caring father who dedicates to uprising children and enabling his partner to follow a career is a very recent one as recent as last 30 years" And yet surprisingly, they got to pay hefty sum to the women and this I believe is the take away of the film. This film is a critique of the current legal system for divorce and the way it's all played out is interesting.

The pace is a bit slow and I understand that the content demands it that way. Apart from the pace, I loved all aspects of this film.

A 4/5 for a superb drama on marriage and the legal system. 

Sunday, December 8, 2019


Tarantino is back to doing what he does best, taking time to build and end with a bang.

This is a Tarantino film and there is no doubt about that. The shot composition, the character development, the eccentricities within normal people and then there are guns and killings. This is a really well-made film nevertheless, but for an average filmgoer, it may turn as a tad slow affair as it takes a lot of time to build and eventually, it leaves the viewers on the edge.

The history is known as what happened to Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie) and who has done it. The notoriety of Charles Manson and his family is also known through various documentaries, yet I went to watch the film to see Tarantino's take on the history and boy he delivered in his own inimitable style. Like it or not, he made the film in his way and I salute his courage.

The film is structured with a few conversations that are terrific and memorable. Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) paying a visit to Mason's family (the hippies), Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) learning how to say his lines from a young girl, these stood out in my memory and perhaps enough feed through the film.

Technically, it's superlative, the art direction to construct the period of the 1960s. The cinematography that showed the whole world of the specific period and how the landscape was then. The music oh, I always loved Tarantino's choice of songs and this film is par. If at all, I had a problem it was with the editing, some episodes felt a bit longer than needed and a few just added to length without adding much to the narrative. Acting is supreme and it was wonderful to see Al Pacino, he was just fabulous.

It's definitely a good film that has an edge like any other Tarantino film. It's a different matter that I did not get that edge. Having said that, it's one of the better films of the year. A 3/5 for this.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

हर लफ्ज़ में आपका नाम

लिखने को बैठा पर कुछ लिख नहीं पाया 
क्या लिखे हर लफ्ज़ में आपका नाम जो पाया 

ज़रुरत नहीं

मुलाक़ात होती है आप से हर रोज़ ख़यालों में, आँसू ढूढ़ने की ज़रुरत नहीं 
जब भूलेंगे आपको दिल खुद ही रुक जाएगा मरने के लिए वजह की ज़रुरत नहीं 

Friday, December 6, 2019


The clouds hover as I speak
Over my head filled with thoughts
Of nothing but death and being weak
Come, be my angel, end my draught

Sunday, November 10, 2019


The physical, the psychological and the metaphysical senses would be satisfied.

A Joker is enough for those Super Heroes (Marvel or DC). Joaquin took this character to another level. A director Todd Philipps did more than what Christopher Nolan did with "Dark Knight". It's amazing. freaky and yet a beautiful film. It asks questions on upbringing, parenting, how circumstances around influence the character of a person. It explores, how oppression can make a normal human turn into a rebel or rather a JOKER.

It's definitely not an easy film to watch, it's psychologically disturbing and yet there is deep empathy that develops through the journey of the film. The Joker while attempting to humanize the antagonist in the beginning, doesn't glorify him, it sustains a fear of what could Joker evolve into. He turns out to be a monster nevertheless. It's also a statement on unchecked illness and disturbed childhood and what effects it could have on the mind of a person and what it could lead to eventually.

The film is extremely real sans visual effects and CGI and that I thought was another best part of the film. The cinematography by Lawrence Sher brought out real times, real people, real locations and real emotions on the camera. The movie did not need any tricks to show us what if feels to be just oneself.

The character of JOKER is heavily layered in each aspect. Just the way he laughs is hysterical, funny, empathetic and sad all in a laugh. To bring such versatility to histrionics, I think no one better than Joaquin Phoenix can do. Although his performance deserves an Oscar unquestionably, I doubt he will be ever given the Best Actor Oscar, the best possible chance is to get a best-supporting actor Oscar. The reason I think so, it would set a bad precedent to award a tremendously dark character and the conservative Academy may not do so. I would be happiest if he truly gets an award.

The story has references to Batman - Bruce Wayne but not many so it's a complete JOKER film. Well, I forgot to mention Robert De Niro, he does a cameo that's sweet and memorable. Also, Zazie Beetz brought the human aspect in this otherwise dark inhuman film.

Thanks to Todd Philips for giving us a dark take on JOKER and for making us walk out of theatres with a film that's worth a watch once in a lifetime. Once you see it, it never gets out of head, it's such an impactful film.

A 5/5 for JOKER. My favorite dark film so far of the year.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


So here I go, into the wind
Putting everything behind
Fly I do, into the skies
Away from the joys and cries
In this realm, I feel free
Love to make this a perpetual spree
From where I shall never come back
Just fly with freedom filled backpack
Down there, the town is full of clowns
Wearing so-called tuxedos and gowns
Up here, I don’t have to keep on anything
No-one to ask or feel for a thing
Ashes I have become, murdered by mortality
The freedom it has given from fake morality

Sunday, September 15, 2019


Saurabh Shukla's 'Barff' is about the distinction between truth and faith.

About The Play: Dr. Siddhant Kaul is visiting Srinagar to attend a medical conference. His taxi driver Gulam Rasool, requests him to treat his ailing child. Upon arriving at the village, Doctor gets shocked as there is only one house and the rest of the village is deserted

Language: Hindi
Cast: Sadia Siddiqui, Sunil Palwal, and Saurabh Shukla
Writer & Director: Saurabh Shukla
Length: 90 minutes

DATE: 13th JANUARY 2019

My Review:

A play that raises epistemological questions of truth, belief, and justification.

Although I watched it 9 months ago, the impact is still lingering on and I am guilty of not writing the review all these days. So today, I decided I must write what I feel about it.

The play is about a doctor who is asked to help his driver in the Kashmir Valley on a Wintry Night. What began as a simple conversation between the Driver and Doctor slowly built-up a lot of drama and ended provocatively raising a lot of philosophical questions. Having said that, the format is neither preachy nor philosophical, it's more drama and thriller. Things are not explicit, they are subtle and layered and that's the best thing about the play.

The writing is impeccable, it's very organic and fluid. Never did I feel that something big is going to happen till it happened. The events were as natural as they can be. It showed the vulnerability of humans, the thought process of a common man, the trepidation within each of the characters.

The set was beautiful, it was a single set with two places shown by shifting focus lights, but the simple setup was enough for this spine-chilling drama. The chills come through the writing and acting and not because of the props or set and that was wonderful again.

"What we see is not truth but what we believe is" - this is the essence. The core of the play is about questioning the faith, the belief of each one of us.

This dialogue summarizes the play

"Duniya ke saare Sach, Yakeen par khade hote hain. Aap Yakeen karke dekho, Sach apne aap ban jaata hai. Varna Sach….apne aap mein kuch hota nahi hai, Janaab!"

It's a fabulous, one of the most intriguing and highly intimate plays I have ever seen. Thanks to Saurabh Shukla for giving us a worthy time. Watch the play to believe it whenever you get a chance.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


A plethora of countenances few joyful
Looks galore hardly any soulful
Withered by the mundane and mediocre days
Battered by the busy life’s ways
Cursory gestures at the conductor's behest
Neither a contest nor a protest
I see them all and I see them in me as well
Not so different from a frog in the well
At every stop, some get down while some stay
The story of each one seems the same to convey
All alike give lifeless glares
What’s life when it’s all just empty stares

Sunday, August 11, 2019


What's the fun in watching the same story in just live animation like real animals with hardly anything added.

Maybe if I had watched it another language, I would have had fun, but as I watched in English, I felt like a repeat. Content-wise, I didn't see any change, only the hair of Simbaa flying across the forests was the newer aspect. Experience wise, I watched this in 4D and I did not like projection. The screen was made 4:3 and each end on the right and left were shelved. Not sure if it's in PVR cinemas alone or across theatres, but it did not give me the satisfaction of viewing in a theatre.

If I have to review this, I would copy-paste my review of the original film. Few scenes were added for compliance sake, just to call it new and Beyonce's spirit song was added to the track. That is all, new in the film which was great. It's a product of toxic nostalgia, and those who love to relive their childhood may love this one, but for me who seeks new stories, this was not meant to be.

Nevertheless, it's a film made for the market for this generation kids who missed out the great animated version. Technically, this film is for sure well made, with all animals being created on the computer and the voiceovers were good too, yet the crib of nothing more continued within. Definitely not worth in theatres, I'd rather sit and watch the original online.

An average 2/5 for this old film in new technology.

Here's the link for a review of the original film.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


"Life is nothing but Super Deluxe" - This line stuck me after I watched the film and I believe this line summarises the film too.

Existentialism - "humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe" 
Nihilism - "not only is there no intrinsic meaning in the universe, but that it’s pointless to try to construct our own as a substitute"
Absurdism - "a search for meaning is inherently in conflict with the actual lack of meaning, but that one should both accept this and simultaneously rebel against it by embracing what life has to offer"

I saw an element of these three philosophies in the film.

Super Deluxe emphasises that that there is no pattern to our human lives which are a series of random events. Hence the line "Life is nothing but Super Deluxe".

Just accept the flow of events in life and exist, this is what this film conveyed me. The best part is that it's neither peachy nor pretentious. As the events unfold, the viewer's intellect is challenged and me as a viewer was so engulfed in finding patterns that how many ever I found, I still believe this is still a lot more deeper meaning.

From colors to costumes to camera angles and characters, everything is well thought and put together. The USP of the film is the merging of concepts that are perceived to be so contradictory to each other and yet making the viewers accept "that's how it is and it's okay". The Movie tells 4 stories and tocuhes aspects like Non-Duality, Chaos Theory, Butterfly Effect, Electrons, Aleins, Karma, Schrodinger Cat and what not, this is perhaps the most detailed screenplay that gives spaces in whatever way it could to so many aspects of philosophy.

To mix profanity with philosophy, senusality with spirituality, aliens with humans and ending with the line "The best part of life is life in itself" was beautiful.

Dialogues are beautiful but one line that stuck with me is "Edhi Thevayo Adhi Dharmam" - Whatever is the need that is right and just. Also, it brings out debate of existence of god beautifully I strongly believe that "Tokkite Raayi, Mokkite Devudu" - If you stamp it's a stone, if you worship it's god and that was conveyed with the line "Adhi Kalla Dha Saami" - It's a rock afterall. This happens when one believes that god saved him and becomes priest while another says that a rock saved him.

Every actor is so damn good that I could not believe that there is so much of unexplored talent. The best story amongst the four was the one of Rasukutty and Shilpa. Ashwanth Ashokkumar who played Rasukutty should be given a national award for being the best child actor. I am stunned by the wisdom he displayed playing his character.

The usage of songs is so terrific that I cannot even think how "I am a Disco Dancer" kick started and ended the film. While the film can be called a visual puzzle the background score brims with nostalgic music, the visuals put with music are seductive to say the least.

It's the trailer I found so fascinating that I did not see anything like it before. It pulled me to watch the film. I went and saw this in PVR - Arena Mall, Bangalore and being non-tamil in non-Tamil city, I expected that this film would have subtitles but alas, there were no subtitles. Despite my request, they could not get subtitles and that's my crib with PVR. Hence, I had to wait for this film to be release online (now it's on Netflix) to watch this film again understand it and then write about it.

Since, it released on Netflix I am hooked to this film.

Ideology- “Nothing in the world is good or bad, it just depends upon person who is seeing it”

I believe that every dialogue was written after reading many many books, every color was chosen with a deep meaning attached and every framed was made to convey a meaning. The scenarios are eccentric and so are the characters but to accept them as they are and each other character accepting other's as they are is somthing that I loved.

I accept this film as it is. I shall not rate this film, it's simply beyond greatness. He is the trailer


To give a perspective - (Sorry, I am revealing plot lines now and this is a spoiler)

Would you be okay, if your wife slept with her ex-boyfriend?
Would you be okay, if your mother is an adult film actress?
Would you be okay, if your father has become a eunuch?
Would you be okay, if your friend became an alien?
Would you be okay, if what you believed as god, is just a rock?

It's not worth conveying anything to those comforted by their own prejudices.

So those who are not okay with any of the above questions and are comforted by their own judgement and expect life to be in a certain way, then this film may not be for them. 

Monday, July 1, 2019


Toy Story has one of the finest friends for me in the name of "Woody" (taken from the film's theme song - You Got A Friend In Me) and this is another great installment of the franchise.

The film begins with the song "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away". It evokes my emotion of how I can't let this film franchise away. The feelings I have for this series, which began nearly a quarter century ago with four terrific installments are something special. The series has run from the level of "great" to "perfect" and the fourth installment keeps up with that.

The first film of the series, "Toy Story" was my first animated film in the theatre and there are a lot of memories that rake up each time I watch a film from this franchise. I must also say, that I was fortunate enough to watch all the 4 installments in theatres. Personally, there is always an excitement attached with fear of this franchise, excitement is understood but the fear comes because the bar it has set is so high that I am afraid it each will it be as good as the previous film. Touch wood, so far this has been a great journey. I believe the same anxieties I have gone through were coming out of the film in the character "Woody" and that in itself was surprising and also enthralling.

Is "Woody", still the same and excited as ever, or does it becomes just another boring toy that does not want to be a mere plaything anymore and seek something better? Thankfully, both aspects have come good in the film, and both are etched together beautifully and seamlessly. "Woody" remains true to the character. The guy who has taught a lot about friendship, loyalty, never giving up, yet he needs a better avenue to display his great characteristics and seeks something more than being a toy. "Woody's" fear that he's become obsolete, boring, not special anymore, and otherwise incapable of holding the attention of a child is the same I have gone through and I believe, each one goes through these phases.

We give up on Toys, when we turn teens, we give on gadgets when we turn old I guess. Also, the worse is we give up on parents when we think we are capable to deal with lives on our own and we give up on so many people once our transactions with them are done. In a transactional world, this film franchise stands tall and continues to feed us life lessons on why one should never give up on those who helped them, built them, fed them and have been with them through tough times.

Very few movie series are as affable and accessible to people across all ages and cultures as this one, yet Toy Story has remained rich in the thought provocation aspect with its metaphors, subtle philosophy and words that are worth mentioning at many instances in life. "Woody" is perhaps the greatest animated character ever. Although he never changes the size, color, shape, or voice, yet always manages to stand by what he believes in and that is the true sign of a hero.

My Three Life Lessons from this film are:
1. Listen to your inner voice, it guides you in the right direction
2. Loyalty may not payback as we expect yet being loyal gives a purposefulness to existence
3. If we believe, “Yes We Canada”, then we certainly achieve (Canada is reference to character Caboom)

I am very happy that this franchise has continued to reinvent itself over a span of a time which is long enough for two generations to grow up. This I believe is the true achievement of this. My rating doesn't matter for the finest animated film of the year yet.

From me, it's a 4/5. Wish there was a little less drama and more of action, my wish only.

Here is my review of TOY STORY 3.

Monday, June 24, 2019


An inspiring film that is inspired by the real lives of rappers.

Never a dull moment would be tough for me to say as this film has some uncalled for subplots, which didn't add up at the end. Perhaps the subplots were there to add some lines like "Meri boyfriend se golu golu karegi toh ghoptungi na" (This is pure Mumbai accent and watch the film to get the line). I didn't like a sub-plot of Kalki (Sky) getting into Ranveer (Murad) and also the job aspect of bringing in Vijay Maurya. But apart from a few of these moments, the film is terrific.

The streets of Dharavi, the behavior of the people living in slums, the dialect of the place and the hearts of rappers are captured in a realistic manner. The ebb and flow of the film are fine, barring a few uncalled for aberrations. The writing is as real as it could get at least for the characters, the dialogues are like those we hear on Mumbai streets. It has a vibe and energy that is so infectious and so affable.

The acting is really good, loved Siddhant Chaturvedi (MC Sher), Vijay Raaz as Murad's father and also Vijay Verma as Moeen. But the heart and soul of the film is Ranveer Singh as Murad and boy, he delivered a terrific performance. He just played with ease and the comfort level he exhibited is really commendable. Murad was ably supported by an energetic Safeena played by Alia Bhatt. I loved Alia in 'Udta Punjab' and respected her in 'Raazi' and I am amazed now by her energy and the natural way of portrayal in 'Gully Boy'.

The technical aspects are great, the cinematography, the production work, the locations, the costumes and above all the music. This is perhaps a definitive and a go-to film for a rapper in India for many years to come. Ranveer Singh sang 'Apna Time Aayega' like only he could and that is currently something I fall back as I am growing over it now.

A 4/5 for a good film that is perhaps the year's best from Bollywood. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019


A great film on a World War Two jew survivor and not someone who is a hero or a fighter and that is unique in itself and the best thing about the film. It's as real as it could get.

The Pianist is based on the book by the same name written by 'Wladyslaw Szpilman'. Szpilman is a Polish Jew who is a Pianist in Warsaw and this film is about his survival. He survived through his own instincts, luck and stoicism and this film just showcase the same, it does not dramatize and we witness what Poland went through from 1939 to 1945.

The film does not have any urgency and takes its own time and that for me is the point about this film. I like films that take space and time to set things up. The establishment of the protagonist as the finest Pianist in Poland, the announcement of World War Two and the inhuman nature of the German Soldiers towards Jews, it's done and setup taking a considerable amount of time before the survivor story kicks in and gives us few lumps in the throat and goosebumps.

When I first watched this film, it left an indelible mark on me and even as I revisited this recently, it still feels fresh and left the same impression as it did in the first viewing. Thanks to the writing of 'Szpilman' and the screenplay by 'Ronald Harwood' there is hardly a dull moment in the film.

The acting by each and everyone is impeccable and for his acting as 'Szpilman', 'Adrien Brody' was deservingly awarded the Academy Award (Oscar). The technical departments like the Art Direction, the Sound and the casting are all pitch perfect and they transcend us flawlessly to the times of war and transport us to Warsaw.

One of my personal favorites is the usage of music and the one scene where the movement of fingers (without touching piano) is shot with Piano music playing in the background stood apart and that heart-rending scene won me over.

A 5/5 for this. Can't rate it any less a must watch for many generations to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

STREE (2018) - HINDI

A rustic film that thrills more than horrifies.

I was happy by the end of the film, despite few illogical aspects and the existence of a devil. I was pleased to see an film set in the country side and has those characters itself. There is no camouflage and it's all given to us as it is. In villages or in rural India, there are many stories like 'Stree' being told but to bring it to the screens without much drama is a commendable effort.

Rajkumar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor did their roles well and so did all the supporting cast. Looks like the whole cast is on top of their game. The role that stood out was Pankaj Tripathi as Rudra. He brought out the original flavor of the central India and the dialect, his body language and his appearance enhanced his character and the whole film in a big way. The film comes into it's own since Rudra entered and each time he is thereon screen, a bone is tickled

The originality comes from the fact that a folklore story has been depicted without much frills and drama and in the end there is ambiguity. The only aspect of concern was the length, few moments in the second half were unnecessary I felt. It's a horror comedy that resembles the rural India in it's own fears and scares.

The camera and sound departments did wonderfully well to provide the eerie atmosphere needed for this film. The setting in Madhya Pradesh and the shoot-on-location helped a lot. The locations, the people, the environment seemed authentic adding value to us as a viewer.

This is the second outing for Pankaj Tripathi and Rajkumar Rao together after a wonderful 'Newton' and they seem to have great chemistry on-screen. It's endearing to see so many good actors together.
Despite it's flaws, it's fears and hilarious scares, 'Stree' conveys an important message and that is the icing on the cake.

I liked it when I watched it in theaters and also when I revisited it now. A 3/5 for this.

Friday, December 14, 2018


One of the finest opening scenes, a film has ever got. Great from the word go.

This film directed by Orson Welles, need to be watched multiple times to understand the careful scene setup, the camera angles and the intercuts in the screenplay and how the story moves forward by characters. There is action certainly but it gels so well with the plot that it seems very organic and that's the beauty of the construction of the scenes.

The opening scene of 3 minutes that is continuous and shot with very few changes in angles, and just follows the leads is amazingly done. I suppose it's a superlative achievement in the history of cinema itself.

Orson Welles and his cinematographer, Russell Metty, were meticulous in the construction of every scene, the characters and entangled in the shots that resonate the feelings. There is a sense of claustrophobia in the film depicting that the characters are locked in their own emotions. The story although told linearly, it feels like there are scenes in a loop.

The acting and writing are top-notch. Charlton Heston (Of Benhur and Ten Commandments fame) did a terrific job in the film. I felt his performance in this film as Vargas was more accomplished than his other films. (Benhur and Ten Commandments)

The writing is great too, yet to get to the dialogue, it took me 3 viewings till date Yes, the plot is kind of labyrinth and the direction extremely calculated. So, I was engrossed in these aspects more than the story itself.

This is a great work of art and passion for sure. watch it for Orson Welles, his direction and yeah, he indeed acted too and his character of Quinlan is something that I had cherished for all its eccentricities. I am not sure if there is an ever a director who indulges in his own character as much as Orson Welles does.

A 4/5 for this and definitely a great film.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


It's about an expedition went wrong, the film went wrong too with a straightforward narration.

Although we need more such films that talk about the perils of tampering with nature, there are hardly any coming out. The so-called disaster movies are mostly about what happens when nature turns against us and this one seems no different and that's the sad part. The predictable screenplay and the no surprise narrative made this film a dull affair despite a terrific cast. 

This had an ensemble cast of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal and yet their roles were written with less or no substance. Except for the cinematography which captured the grandeur of the Everest well, there is little that struck me. 

The writing is just laborious as if they wanted to make a film straight from the book. A backstory to some characters and the why was this expedition trying to be made commercial, could have been shown more dramatically. The non-dramatic narration did not work with me. 

Although I liked it, I would go back to the Everest made for IMAX in 1998. I saw that Everest in 2006 and I loved it, this Everest pales in comparison. A 2/5 for this.

Friday, November 30, 2018

96 (2018) - TAMIL

A walk down the memory lane with the first love has never been more mature than this.

To be frank, there is nothing that one can strongly dislike, but for me, the WhatsApp chat messages messed up the emotional feeling a bit. The journey overall was nevertheless beautiful.  It's a film that is emotional and drove the emotions pretty well. It's realistic, subtle and keeps the emotions clean. It never messed up once with the feeling and the love between the teenage Ram and Janu seemed genuine.

I was in school in the 90's so I could correlate to this story, although I never had a love story in school. If ever there was one, then perhaps it would be in this way I think. More of the eye and fewer words. The flashback story was beautifully done.

Above all, I loved the character development in the film. The film began with the song, there is no dialogue nothing, just as the titles ended, the film cut into a song where a photographer captures many aspects of nature. The song was beautifully shot and the music is extremely good. That song is named as "The Life of Ram" and even now, I am listening to that song. It will be in playlist forever I think. Also, never did I see the protagonist directly shown as living his profession. It's for the first time I suppose, I have seen a photographer's journey in a film through a song.

The story seemed very much of Ram till the point Janu entered. She owns the story and brings her own perspective. It acted like the perfect foil for the straightforward Ram. Janu even interprets one scene from 2 perspectives and that is also subtly placed. Felt like 'Rashomon for a scene.

Also, the journey they underwent for a night was beautifully captured in a terrific composition 'Thaabangale'. This song too will be in my playlist for a long time. Just hats off to the entire crew to take a normal story and yet make it one of the most memorable ones.

Director Prem Kumar must be credited and applauded heavily for the right cast and content. There are hardly any dull moments in this film, where mostly we here 2 people talking. Such is the strength of the writing that it would be sad if I had not loved what I saw. He succeeded in making me in fall with the film. The only glitch if any is the duration of more than 2.5 hours.

This film will definitely last as a memory in your lifetime. Thanks, everyone who worked especially Ram (Vijay Sethupathi) and Janu (Trisha). A 4/5 for this memorable film. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


DATE : 23rd NOV 2018


Bombay Jayashri (vocals) 
Abhishek Raghuram (vocals)
Ravichandra Kulur (flute)
Murad Ali (sarangi)
Praveen D Rao (keys/harmonium) 
Anantha R Krishnan (mridangam)
Ojas Adhiya (tabla)

 Yatra - The jounrey within conceptualised by Carnatic vocalists Bombay Jayashri (my Goddess) and Abhishek Raghuram , travelled through my city of Hyderabad and I was blessed to be witnessing their journey.  It was a concert par excellence, I have Bombay Jayashri's concert in 2013 but this was beyond words. I can never find any words to explain how good I felt while at the concert and even now as I write this blog.

Nonchalant notes on Sarangi began the flow in an enchanting manner. I always thought of Sarangi as a melancholy instrument that set pensive tone but the blend it brought was pitch perfect and Murad Ali was too good with the Sarangi to begin with.

The first song of the concert was  Subramania Bharati’s provocative ‘Enda Neramum Nin Maiyal’ in Shuddh Sarang  and I suppose that the raag had something to do with Sarangi. The lift was beautiful and it set the mood for what was to come through for next hour or so.

The song was followed by Marathi bhajan, ‘Tejonidhi Lohagol’, composed by the late Jitendra Abhisheki.  The raag was Lalit. Although I heard the bhajan few years back, this rendition was beautiful and brought the might of the sun to the stage on a full moon night (Yes it was Karthika Pournima)

Next came a medley of a trinity - excerpts from familiar padams Ososi (raag Mukhari), Panimati (raag Ahiri), Aligite (raag Huseni). The rendition just took the flow to a beautiful place where, I wished, this recital could go on like this. The notes chosen were slow and they highlighted the highs and lows of the compositions perfectly. 

Then came the biggest surprise, the most beautiful surprise I ever heard. Before the surprise was the mellifluous prelude of the flute that set the mood for the joy that would follow. The suprise was 
‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’ composed in a new bottle with raag Nand. It was full of life, bubbling and cheerful. I have heard the composition many a time before but never with such jest and adulation. I felt blessed to have heard this rendition live.  Abhishek Raghuram flirted with the notes beautifully and it felt like a composer was making love with the composition he was flirtfully yet meticlulously rendering notes with all the passion expressed in his voice.

The suprise continued with the blend of spring raag Bahar and monsoon raag Malhar, for the composition of ‘Kamala Vadane’. Although a Carnatic composition, this piece was rendered more in the Hindustani in familiar Adi talam. The flute and the sarangi followed, with the interlued of the harmonium adding it's flavor too. 

This rendition was followed by the paddhati of 'Tani Avartanam', the conquest between the percussionist for a good 10 minutes without any break or pause. Both the percussionists Anantha R Krishnan (mridangam), Ojas Adhiya (tabla) were relentless and also breathtaking sans pause.

To close the concert, 'Krishna nee Begane’ was knitted with Lalgudi Jayaraman’s tillana. and Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s ‘Vande Mataram’ closed the concert. 

And then, came the applause that had been heard many a times all through this great concert and I stood there bowing my head in salutation to the God and Goddess and to the heaven, the stage that has given me divine pleasure. It's a night that I shall never forget. 

What struck you throughout the concert was the singers’ brilliant sruti management, a Herculean effort for performers, especially when one is a male and the other, a female voice. This not only involved vocal adjustments here and there, but also at times, for one to sing in the lower octave in long stretches as the other used the regular pitch. Bombay Jayashri dared to sing long spells in the lower register, with power and control. The effect was almost one of harmonising. Not everything worked as well of course, like the attempt at simultaneous singing and sollukattu. Also, a brief introduction to each piece would have added production values.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

ख़यालों की पनाह

फ़ना होजाये हम आपके लिए ,
चाहत भी आज चाहती है वो समा 
ज़रा हटाकर तो देखो ख़यालों की पनाह को 
आपको भी नज़र आयेगा वो समा 

आपके बातों का मेहफिल

सो रहे थे जीवन में जब सोने का साहिल मिला 
सोचा न था जो सपनों में, ऐसा मंज़िल मिला 
सोना भी कुछ नहीं जब आपके बातों का मेहफिल मिला 

आपकी परछाई

दिल के दामन पे छा गयी आपकी परछाई ऐसी 
ज़मीन के ऊपर विशाल आसमान जैसी 
क्या केहते है इसे मालूम नहीं, पर लगता है 
पूरे हुए दिल के सारे अरमान जैसे 

Monday, November 12, 2018


One of the few sports films from India, that stood the test of time.

"Chak De" is one such rare film where Shahrukh played the character the only other film where Shahrukh did that was "Swades". Like Swades, this film too is one of the most memorable films of the last decade (2000-2010). I don't think Shahrukh Khan can ever become a character again, although he says he tried very hard at becoming one. 

Coming to 'Chak De' the film is extremely well written and holds up extremely well all through. It is wonderfully directed and tightly written that kept the film very enjoyable. There are some moments of fun that are done very creatively and help in gelling the team as well the film together. The restaurant scene where the girls become a part of a quarrel is hilarious yet emotional. 

The cinematography is very well done, and considering this as a hockey film of 2007, I felt the camera work is very smooth and there are no deliberate out of focus moments. Casting is another department that deserves a lot of credit. Picking up girls from different states and convincing them to play their respective roles is a feat in itself. The acting of the girls is the icing on the cake.

This is a film that also has a political undertone and there is a message on politics in sports that is delivered subtly. It is the subtlety of narration that won my heart.

I hope, Shahrukh Khan did many such performance-oriented roles. A 5/5 for one of the finest films of last decade and even as I watched it now, I loved it again. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Another terrific film from a master director.

I had seen this film long back in 2005 but when I revisited the film again today, I was surprised. This film is technically good and emotionally terrific. It's the blend that took me by surprise and although the film was nearly 144 minutes, I did feel it was a breeze and the film ended too soon. So much happens in so little time and there is never a dull moment. The editing should be applauded for keeping it very tight and engaging.  Thanks to Michael Kahn, the editor of Munich.

One can interpret this film as a statement on Munich and its aftermath, but it’s much more rewarding is what I think. If we see it with a different perspective, and from the prism of the ghastly terror of 9/11 in NY or 26/11 (nov 26) in Mumbai, then it all makes senses. In “Munich,” a traumatic public massacre staged for maximum media impact stains the imaginations of all who see it and fills them with grief and frustration of helplessness that they are willing to, negotiate with their values. Although, "Munich" is an enactment and only claims to be "Inspired by True Events", it plays a much bigger and wider role. We need a film like "Munich" more than ever now.

I am thankful of Spielberg to have chosen the script and took the responsibility of directing it himself. I am not sure if any other director would have done as much justice as Spielberg has. He being a jew, and yet keeping away the Jew faith, he directed the film unemotionally.

Technically, it will stand the test of time and it must be seen by many generations to come. Especially those who are willing to be a true sportsman.  They will excel in sports but to understand the complexities of life, we need such films that are affirmative and keep the point straight.

A 5/5 for a gem from Steven Spielberg. 

Friday, November 9, 2018



Before I review, I am putting the fifteen suggestions as extracted from the book (reworded accordingly but mostly verbatim).

1. Be a full person. Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by
2. Do it together (Mom & Dad)
3. Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she
should or should not do something because she is a girl.
4. Reject this entirely  the idea of conditional female equality
5. Teach the child to read. Teach her to love books
6. Teach her to question language. Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our
assumptions. But to teach her that, you will have to question your own language.
7. Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that marriage is not
an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to.
8. Teach her to reject likeability. Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full
self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people
9. Give the child a sense of identity. It matters.
10. Be deliberate about how mom engages with her and her appearance
11. Teach her to question our culture’s selective use of biology as ‘reasons’ for social norms.
12. Talk to her about sex, and start early. It will probably be a bit awkward but it is necessary
13. Romance will happen, so be on board
14. In teaching her about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints
15. Teach her about the difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal. Teach her not to attach value to the difference

These 15 suggestions are absolutely doable if a mother determines to implement. Having said that, it's upon the mother and mother alone to determine what she wants for the girl child. Although there is a huge role of the father in running the family, it is emotionally confined as a mother can understand the emotions of the girl child better than a man. I say this because, before becoming a  mother she had been a daughter and she understands, what girls go through emotionally.

This essay is a letter Adichie wrote to a friend who asked for advice on how to raise her daughter as a feminist. It touches upon different aspects like the role of fathers, beauty, sexuality, empathizing with child and societal view of a being girl,.

It is definitely an easy read that is simple accessible and yet very emotional and powerful. The language is very simple while the tone is strong, it is assertive I must say.

It is indeed very accessible who understands compassion and is sensitive at heart.  Yet, if I look at the book from a guy's perspective (of a current husband and probably a future-father of a girl child), I doubt if all the suggestions are practical enough. I have reservations in few of these while I agree to most.

This essay really affected me personally and moved me definitely and I felt touched although, I am not a girl. So, for that I give this book a must read rating. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Waterfall at Tamhini Ghat, near Pune, India. Always Energetic to see the flurry

Thursday, November 1, 2018


A movie that did nothing to me except making me appreciate the dialect of a place.

This is a faction film that runs with the message that “the one who stops a war is greater than one who wins it”. This is indeed agreeable but the way this message is conveyed in a preachy tone is a problem for me. This is a film that has a lot of violence and yet tries to showcase as a soft film where women are shown to be better rulers than men. It’s agreed that women are sensitive and are more compassionate than men, yet that being taken as a primary reason to hand over power did not seem convincing to me.

NTR is indeed a terrific actor but he needs a good script and let me say this “till the day he is constrained by commercial aspects of films, he cannot realize his own vastly untapped potential”. Among all the aspects of the film, I loved the way, the actors enunciated the dialect of Rayalaseema. That's the only refreshing thing in an otherwise typical film.

Trivikram gave me two of the best commercial films in Telugu in the form of “Athadu” and “Khaleja” and although he has the ability he doesn’t want to take any risks financially is what I could clearly see in this film.

This is just okay film and a 1/5 for the acting of NTR and the song “Reddamma Thalli” especially the heart-wrenching lyrics.

Monday, October 29, 2018


An original thriller that spans generations and will stay that stay for generations to come.

It's like the story that we hear from grandmother's and grandfather's as if there was a legend to a place. It's mythical yet fascinating and that is the selling point of this fantasy thriller Tumbbad. Never have I seen a film, where so less is explained and so much is left for interpretation. I have got to know the story of Hastar more through the internet and through discussions with friends than the film itself. That is what made the film extremely interesting and indeed terrific.

The film is publicized as a horror film, I did not feel so, I felt that this film is more a dark-thriller that treads the path of noir films but has its mystique held till the last moment. The acting is superb by each and everyone and apart from the protagonist Sohum Shah (Vinayak Rao), the kid who played his son (Mohd Samad) did an outstanding job.

The story is narrated in rich imagery in a pre-independence period backdrop. This is the most visually appealing film I’ve seen this year. Cinematographer Pankaj Kumar and production designers Nitin Zihani Choudhary and Rakesh Yadav have done a great job in paying attention to the details like the types of doors, the vessels and even the locks used they look antique and authentic. I felt it's more like a Marathi film than a Hindi film and that is indeed a compliment to the film.

Human greed is a very convoluted and underestimated emotion that is rarely captured in modern films and here comes a film that is visually stunning, verbally minimal and emotionally heavy. A definite watch and I am sure this will stand the test of time.

A 4/5 for this film. Go watch it and I am sure, you will be surprised.

About Me

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I firstly declare here that all the content written in the blog is exclusively written by me and I hold the copyrights of each and everything. Be it a poem or a movie review. Also, the videos or photographs I upload or attach are exclusively owned by me. This declaration is important in a world that seems so worried of piracy. The prime purpose of these blogs is to put my writings and photographs on the net. and well to start with.... I live in my mind, and existence is the attempt to bring my thoughts into physical reality, I celebrate myself, sing myself and I am always happy in my own company.....I am not the best in the world but I strive for excellence and thats what keeps me alive... Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself--Friedrich Nietzsche