Wednesday, March 21, 2018

STORKS (2017) - ENGLISH

A good film for kids, wish it was equally good for adults as well.

It has all the ingredients that will make a typical film work but it misses its heartbeat. The heart is in the right place but I wish the heartbeat too was rhythmic. It rises then stays flat and to rise again so that's the wave of the heartbeat of the film. It's likable but definitely not lovable.

The quality of animation is good as it is least expected in any animation film these days coming out of Hollywood. I dare say Animation Industry has become a parallel industry to the mainstream Hollywood and in Animation there are gem-like films. PIXAR is one of the finest places in Animation films while other studios have their hits and misses. Warner Animation Group, the producer of this film earlier made "The Lego Movie" which was fun but this film lacked fun. Yes, there are funny moments but they are not as many as anticipated in an animation film.

I am not wasting more words or time in reviewing this,. But for me, it was an average outing and I am going with 2/5.

PHANTOM THREAD (2018) - ENGLISH

This is the second collaboration of Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson after “There Will Be Blood” and I dare say another piece of art has been made by them.

This is a meditative film. Yes, I felt like I was transmitted to a space where I see very few happenings and hear beautiful music of Schubert and other greats. To say I was taken into trance may be the perfect way to put it. Yet, the ending was perverse at the same time provocative as well.

A mother wants a hyper active passionate and obsessive child to be falling ill at times to show her power and win his/her love. The mother is being mother there, I have no judgement yet it seems perverse from the outside as how is she making him weak and how the child is loosing his/her time towards his passion. Yet, from the view point of mother her act is completely understandable as only his weakness makes her powerful and the child would then realize the value of mother.

Mother is a metaphor in the film and that comes in the form of lover and that is more surprising. Paul Thomas Anderson chose a rather peculiar subject as he always does but depiction is fascinating.

This film definitely rewarded my patience but I am not sure if the audience these days are so patient as me and my friend Raghuveer (with whom I watched this film)

A 3/5 for a good film that provoked some perverse thoughts in my head.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

RAHMAN'S CONCERT IN HYDERABAD (2017)




Terrific show and the great Hyderabadi crowd made this a memorable experience.

Before I thank the GOD, ARR for his superb performance, I would love to thank the well-behaved people of Hyderabad. Hyderabadis love music and more so love ARR and it's proven once again.

My first ARR concert was on Feb 14th, 2006 at the same venue and the next was in Pune in 2009 and now I am attending my third concert of the GOD (I do not think there is any need for me to introduce the GOD).

I am writing this blog to treasure the experience

The songs (in the order of their play in the concert)

Nadaan parinde
Yeh jo des hai tera
Chinni chinni aasa
Matargasthi
Matakali
Tu hi re
Pedave Palikina
Sakhiya
Dil Se Re
Azeen o shehanshah
Chale chalo
Mohenjodaro
Tera bina - guru
Jo bhi main

There was a faith section in which below songs were played

Nammakamiyyara Swami
Arziyan
Patakha guddi

Rangeela took a special place as 3 songs were played

Rangeela Re
Spirit of Rangeela
Rehna Tu
Pyaar ye jaane kaisa hai
Kismat se tum

A medley of these songs followed

Tu bin bataaeyin
O bhavre
Paruvam Vaanaga
Jashn e bahaaraa
Chanda re
Saans mein teri
O ri chori
E ajnabi
Jiya jale
Aawaara bhavre
Ghanan ghanan
Mitwa
Mujhe rang de

Then, there was a small interval with Conquest between Percussionists - (Thaniyavarthanam)

Then, the concert continued with these songs

Randaali - 2.0
Tum Tak
Prema parichayame
Agar Tum Saath Ho
Phir Se Ud chala
Inna Sona Kyu Rab Ne

Mausam - Slumdog Millionaire
Konchem Niru Konchem nippu(tamil)
Rang de basanti
Main albeli
Tu bole
Chikbuk raile
Raga Dance (taal)


Mustafa (this was a crowd uniting song as almost everyone in the crowd stood and started flashing their mobile flashlight)

Urvashi urvashi

Humma humma
Kotta bangaru lokam (hindi)

It ended with "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire.

KSHANA KSHANAM (1991) - TELUGU

A classic and it remains so forever.

One of the finest films by controversial director Ram Gopal Varma, this stands out for the actress that is Sridevi. There couldn't be an appropriate time for watching this, as I watched it in  memory of Sridevi who shook India by her untimely demise. She has gone too soon and I can never fathom that I am existing in a world that's not deprived of Sridevi's existence. "Kshana Kshanam" is one of the finest acting experiences she would have had and as a viewer, this is one of the most happy experiences. To see Sridevi in a full blown comedy and yet fearful way was a delight way back in 1991 and even today, as I write.

The film is a cop-chase comedy with the protagonist Satya (Sridevi) being pushed into a scenario where is being chased down by villains for having details of huge sum of money. She meets a street thief Chandu (Venkatesh) accidentally and how they take on the villains and get hold of money forms the rest of the story. As a story it may not attract anyone on paper but the fun is in watching it.

Director Ram Gopal Varma became a great director, not by great stories but by handling the given concept at hand adeptly. His taking, his narration and the way he creates characters is something that only he could do. Paresh Rawal plays the role of the antagonist and the one scene where he plays a piano and asks for tune remains a classic even today. It is moments like these that have made this film great and it continues to stand tall in Telugu Film History.

Thanks to Sridevi for doing the role of Satya in a way only she could do. Also, special mention to Keeravani for some terrific music that he gave. I listen to the songs from the film every now and then and feel happy about the same. These songs shall be there forever on my playlist.

A 4/5 for one of the greatest Telugu Films.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

THE SHAPE OF WATER (2018) - ENGLISH

A beautiful fantasy love story that is as fluid as water itself.

The intrigue lies in the title itself. Does Water have shape? If not, then why the film is titled so? What has water got to do with a love story? Let’s pause for a while and indulge in watching this film. After the viewing, I am sure all the questions shall be answered.

Guillermo Del Toro is one of the few directions with a terrific imaginative power and the capability to weave those imaginations into a milieu of believable reality. At times, his visuals are more powerful than most of my dreams. His power of transpiring his vision into visuals is something that many directors feel envious about and I thank him because his vision has given a great visual treat in the form of “The Shape of Water”

This a fantasy love story and there is serenity in love. It’s unbelievable in physicality yet believable emotionally. I could understand why a mute girl could find love in a “creature” as against so many humans around. It is much deeper as I am thinking more about the film while I am writing about it and that’s the beauty.

Water has a lot of significance in the film and it symbolizes love making to an extent is what I strongly believe in the film. Eggs boil in water, then bathing in water, then drinking water and then cleaning with water, oh gosh, so many activities and indeed water is the source of life as they say in Spanish, “el agua la fuente de la vida” (Spanish is the directors native language).

Although, I got to know that film is a remake of a 1954 film “Creature from Black Lagoon” and the period of this film is set in the cold war of 1960’s, it’s theme I must say shall stand the test of time and this film needs patient viewing and I am sure all the viewers shall be rewarded unless who hates love itself.

A 4/5 for this love story.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

HINDI MEDIUM (2017) - HINDI

The terrific beginning paled out in the hurried ending.

I didn’t understand why a subtle film like this had to choose “Bhaashan” in the climax to make its point. I believe that the film could have explored other avenues to make its point. So, if I leave out the last 15-20 minutes which I felt was loud and over the top, the rest of the 100 odd minutes were delightful. There is a lot of drama that happens and the sarcasm was in the face and within the context. I liked the setting and the way the story was carried forward. The screenplay and dialogues deserve a lot of credit for this film.

The acting was top notch by the protagonists Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar. Irfan Khan proved once again why he is one the best actors in India. He stuck to the roles well that had to show variations as a rich man and a poor man who is struck in his core values and background. Also supporting cast was good and I take a special mention of Deepak Dobriyal who did a really good job.

The screenplay was fine and the dialogues were well written. The Delhi flavor was evident in the dialogues and their delivery by most of the cast. Also, this being an issue based film in school admissions, the tackling was done well until the end. I felt like the director didn’t know how to end the film and just hurried up a bit. I didn’t feel the climax to be organic and the speech fell out flat. Irfan Khan tried his best but he also couldn’t save himself from those paltry lines.

A 3/5 for a reasonably good watch. 

BHAAGAMATHIE (2018) - TELUGU

A good first half and a yawned climax made this film just watchable but it is Anushka’s performance that made us sit through the length of the film.

For all those expecting spine-chilling horrors, I warn that this is a mix of social drama and horror rather than a pure horror film. Most horror films revolve around a personal story and although for the most part, it seemed like it, once the truth unveiled, it became a social drama. The drama was shallow and did not have the depth to justify the horror and agony that the protagonist had been through all the while in the film.

I felt like I was watching “Arundhati”, “Chandramkhi” and “The Usual Suspects”. (My reference to “The Usual Suspects” might throw a hint on the so-called twist in film) The twists are well-staged but lacked the punch they needed to be memorable.

The film was set in an abandoned mansion, a typical setup for a horror movie, the plot lacked originality and some characters lacked depth. The climax was more or less made up and the moment a man is shown as god-like, our doubts start triggering and the predictability killed the enthusiasm.

Yet another tailor-made and author-backed role for Anushka who is the soul of the movie. Her performance was genuine and she seemed to have understood the nuances of the script and delivered a memorable performance.

A 3/5 for the movie and I must say, the director did the right thing by waiting for Anushka to do this film.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

LION (2016) - ENGLISH

An emotional drama where I wept happily and would love to revisit the film again.

The film is a real story and that's what made the emotions so overwhelming. "Heart-rending", "Heart-wrenching", "Tear-jerking" and many such words would be an underwhelming description of what this film is. This is the story of a boy who lost his family in his childhood and found them back many years later and thanks to technology for that.

The performances are terrific my the whole cast and I loved the special performance by the kid "Sunny Pawar" who played the young Saroo. His performance was full of life and hope. The way he cried, laughed and felt loved was extremely moving and yet realistic. I was so happy with his performance that I dare say, he is one the finest finds in acting from India in recent times. 

This being a film from Australian director with Hollywood production, I expected most of the dialog to be in English while to my surprise more than half of the film in Hindi. Also, most of the film seems to have been shot in India and it showed the real India, I mean the villages, the stone pickers and the lives of the poor. It was heartening and also heartbreaking such is the irony in India and it was captured beautifully.

The film was based in 1986 and then moves to 2008 and I was in awe of the production design. The coal engines of trains, the roads, the poverty in 1980's were depicted realistically with great finesse and detail.

Garth Davis is a director to watch out for, I feel he chooses the right subject matter and makes it believable. He kept the film rooted and authentic and that's where the film scored huge points. I hope to see more such hopeful films from this director.

A 4/5 for a movie that made me sob for a good part and yet made me happy at the end.

रात काट के

रात काट के कितने रात हुए 
खुद से ही न जाने कितने बात हुए 
ख़यालों में न जाने कितने मुलाक़ात हुए 
आपके प्यार में कैसे कैसे हालात हुए 
हर बात पे हस्ते है अब, ऐसे हालात हुए 
ज़िन्दगी में न जाने कितने पल सौगात हुए 
रात काट के न जाने कितने रात हुए   

मौत में भी यादें

एतबार न था हम कभी आपके प्यार को पायेंगे
दीदार न हुई आपसे, बस आस था कि हम मिल जायेंगे
आस पूरा हुआ मुलाकात से, तब से बातों में ज़िन्दगी गुज़ार दी
अब तो हम मौत में भी यादों को लिए जिये जायेंगे 

लफ़्ज़ों कि ताकत

लफ़्ज़ों कि ताकत ये है की, हर दर्द मिटा सके और हर ग़म भुला सके 
कुछ लफ्ज़ ये भी है कि, फूल को पत्थर बना सके और हसी में रुला सके 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

STEVE JOBS (2015) - ENGLISH

A film more about a father-daughter relationship than about Steve Jobs. 

I was surprised but I felt the film was breezy with terrific pace aided by great dialog. 

Michael Fassbender gave one of the finest performances of his career as Steve Jobs. He was ruthless, passionate and to-the-point. He did not put Jobs own ever and I firmly believed he would have loved Jobs personally to portray Steve Jobs the way he did. Kudos to the other cast and especially Kate Winslet who played the role of Joanna Hoffman. Kate Winslet was thoroughly professional, in demeanor, body language and the way she handled Steve Jobs and certainly, this is one of the strong performances of her career. 

Apart from performances, I loved the screenplay. Aaron Sorkin who gave a terrific screenplay with "Social Network" has given another fast-paced dialog oriented screenplay that started in haste and ended in whizz with no-much unnecessary scenes or drama. The film began with a denial and ended with acceptance (only a hint from my review). What the film is about, can be read in Wikipedia and other reviews but to see it is a treat. This is a tight must-watch screenplay. How 2 has passed off so quickly without giving space to blink and yet full of dialog. This is something I am wondering even as I write this blog. 

Danny Boyle has limited the sets to Apple Office and Apple Keynote Conferences mostly and yet and he has done a tremendous job in terms of direction. I would rather say, the screenplay helped him in a big way to just make actors emote to their lines and capture the ambiance through the camera. 

All in it's a fast-paced slick film made with terrific dialog and helped with good performances. But there is hardly anything we can take home about Steve Jobs except his reluctance in fathering a child and finally accepting that he is the father. 


A 3/5 for this and I thank Aaron Sorkin for giving another tech industry based screenplay that is actually good.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

ख़याल-ए-मजबूर

ख़याल-ए-मजबूर है हम और आप भी मजबूर
बेक़सूर रेहकर भी क्यों है, एक दूजे से दूर 
जुदाई का आलम कभी तो ख़तम होगा ज़रूर 
दुआ है बस इतनी की फिर एक मुलाकात हो आप से जान-ए-हुज़ूर 

मन्नत

मन में जो है, जब वो लफ्ज़ बनजाये तो राहत है 
जब कोई उन लफ़्ज़ों को ईमान से सजा दे तो वही जन्नत है 
हर लफ्ज़ में ख़ुशी पाऊ यही चाहत है 
हर लफ्ज़ किसी और को जन्नत दिलाये वही मेरी मन्नत है 

वक़्त नहीं

सवाल इतने है पर जवाब जान ने का वक़्त नहीं 
कोई हमे इस उलझन से बचाये, ये दुआ करने का भी वक़्त नहीं 
करे तो क्या करे, कहे तो क्या कहे 
लिख रहे है कुछ और इसे समझाने का वक़्त नहीं 
भागम दौड़ी ज़िन्दगी है, कुछ बया करने का वक़्त नहीं 

Monday, January 15, 2018

MUKKABAAZ (2018) - HINDI


This is really good cinema. The silver lining strikes again but this time with strong punches.

In most of my reviews, I call Anurag Kashyap as “Silver Lining of Bollywood” and he proves it again with “Mukkabaaz”. Last year there was a film on Boxing that is “Saala Khadoos” and we also had a good film on Wrestling as “Dangal”. Both of them had their own flavor but this film has the touch of one and only Anurag Kashyap. This film is not a success story. I never expect one from Kashyap as that is not his forte and I don't expect him to give us a biographical success story either. Even if he gives us a biography, it would be dark and raw.

The film is set in Uttar Pradesh and it has the flavors of Bareilly and Banaras both being blend well. The dialect, the body language of the people, the office environment everything is authentic and it's heartening to see the lower middle-class environment come to screen without any frills or drama.

The dialogues are amazing and the acting is sublime. Zoya Hussain nailed it as a dumb girl while Jimmy Shergill played the strong villain with ease and terrific body language. Ravi Kishan was brought in more so because of his background rather than his Boxing skills and he played his part well. Above all, the film belongs to Vineet Kumar Singh who played the role of Shravan Kumar Singh. I see a connection as he was born in Banaras and there seems to something to do with his nomenclature as well.  Vineet is terrific and true and I hope he will be an actor who will take Indian cinema many notches up. I appreciate Vineet's dedication and his writing ability as he is one of the co-writers.

The technical departments are all in great form and everything was coherent. The lyrics match the visuals and the sound matches the scene and that was amazing. The sound is what is terrific in all Anurag Kashyap films and this film is no different. Anurag amazes me each time with the choice of soundtrack and I love it.

Anurag Kashyap literally spits on politics in Indian Sports with this film. Although this is his most clean film, he showed how people are being falsely accused and beaten up for having cow meat, how casteism is in ruining our country and how the power of caste is being used. I loved the way he sarcastically used the line “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” - just loved it I would say. He basically knocked it out of the park with strong punches. I hope this film opens up eyes to Sports Federations and Authorities and they weed out the politics from the system and give us true champions.

Salute to all patriots of the nation and to all the sports lovers in the country. I hope this country learns it's lessons quickly and starts building infrastructure and becomes a great nation by acknowledging the true talent and giving opportunities for all those who aspire to make it big. We shall then be great winning awards and medals in International events like Olympics.

Loved the dialogue "Sapnon pe hag chuke ho, ijjat pe moot chuke ho, ab mooh pe thook do!!!" the sprinkling of humor is blended in the language itself than being forced in and that is organic.

A 4/5 for another gem from the man who makes cinema for cinema's sake. I doubt if this will be winning any awards or any monetary rewards but this is a must watch for those who love authentic Indian cinema.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

न मंज़ूरी

मोहब्बत तो ज़ाहिर था उनका, पर उन्हें इश्क़ मंज़ूर नहीं था 
मसरूफ़-ए-इश्क़ का कोई ज़िक्र क्यों करे जब वो मशहूर नहीं था 

एक शम्मा जला

एक शम्मा जला  आग़ाज़ की आस में 
रोशन करने इस अंधेरी दुनिया को 
जल जल के बुझने लगा तेल की प्यास में 
किसी ने परवाह न की उस शम्मे की इस दुनिया में 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

MCA (2017) - TELUGU

A mediocre film peppered with commercial elements.

It has nothing new to offer except that the protagonist is clashing with the villain not for his heroine but for his sister in law. There is a hero, a villain, songs with the heroine and a family the hero must save.

I liked performances of Sai Pallavi and Nani, and there is nothing much I can say about other aspects of the film.

I am not happy to be ending the year with this film. This year has been a good year for Telugu Films as we got films as varied as a commercial blockbuster like"Bahubali 2" and a content-driven film like "Arjun Reddy".

Overall, an average film with laughs few and far in between. A 2/5 for this. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

GRUHAM (2017) - TELUGU

A film for the horror lovers and a one made with standards higher than typical Indian horror film.

I am happy to have seen the film, although I do not watch or even like to watch horror flicks. I do not like horror films because they are basically illogical, they do not have anything to give the audience (except a few thrills and scares) and you do not want to take fear home from the theatre. So I have many a time avoided watching horror films. This year, I watched a few and among all those, I rate this film highly.

The ghosts are shown explicitly and unabashedly at free will right after 20 minutes into the film, we see the ghosts coming every now and then. They have been peppered all over the film and the writer or director did not hold back in any way to do a build up before the big bang. That is appreciable because they did not manipulate the script and they went with their gut and their courage and belief in their script must be appreciated. Despite, too much of ghost, the film was scary and thrilling and that is where the points were scored.

Technically, this is a much better film and the backdrop, the cinematography, the lighting, the art direction and the editing everything gelled well to make a good product. I liked the editing too especially the first half which was a breeze.

Siddharth is back with good content films which is what I thought after viewing this film. I also heard there would be sequels to this and hearing that I was disappointed because I am worried if at all, the sequels would live up to the high expectations set by this film. If they want to make it a franchise, all the best for them but their sequels may not have me as a viewer.

This film is one-time must watch but as many horror films, this also has a very low re-viewing value and that's why I may not see the film again. Having said that, it's a terrific experience in the theatre. So go watch it in theatre is what I recommend.

Of all the technical aspects, I loved the sound design and I am sure that aspect will win many awards in coming days.

It's a good horror flick that will satisfy the nerves of this genre fans. A 3/5 for this.

NOTE: This is a trilingual made in Tamil as "Aval" and in Hindi as "The House Next Door" as I watched it in Telugu, I named it accordingly.

Monday, November 27, 2017

COCO (2017) - ENGLISH

A terrific film that reminds us "Never Forget Family".

Pixar takes the bar higher each time and "Coco" is no different in that sense. Technically, emotionally and cinematically, the bar is set very high. I came out with a feeling that I must be back at the theatre again to watch this and also, very happy to be flowing tears at the end as they came out effortlessly.

Pixar's original films (not all sequels) generally take me on a philosophical ride and leave me there with a lot of food for thought. "Coco" once again touched those philosophical chords and made me remember my grandpa and grandma with whom I used to play when I was a child.

This film is set in Mexico specifically for a purpose. In Mexico, they celebrate "Dios De Los Muertos" that is the day of the dead. I have been in Mexico in 2010 and experienced the celebrations as a witness then. I was surprised by their family values and their belief system. I was not convinced then, how will spirits come and visit us. Although, it's a topic of faith and it depends on each individual, but I swear that for many many individuals who question faith also put family first and stick together as a family. This film is certainly about family than about faith. Faith is only a path to be good and do good. As long as there is Goodness in faith, it is fine.

Technically, PIXAR has again given us the best-animated film of the year. With 2017 nearly ending, I doubt there would be another animated film that is as good as this.

My vote goes for "Coco" go watch the journey of Miguel and yes, family first. A 5/5 for this.

Monday, November 20, 2017

THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS

AUTHOR: AYN RAND
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

“The Virtue of Selfishness” begins with these lines in its introduction

The title of this book may evoke the kind of question that I hear once in a while: “Why do you use the word ‘selfishness’ to denote virtuous qualities of character when that word antagonizes so many people to whom it does not mean the things you mean?” 
To those who ask it, my answer is: “For the reason that makes you afraid of it.”

Ayn Rand wrote those lines and this book is not about selfishness in the conventional way “we” use or think about the word— selfishness. I must agree that we as humans have a high judgmental tendency to form and adapt things according to "us" that is our way of looking at things, perceiving them and applying them and in a similar vein, we applied this to language and thus I believe the word "selfishness" became an antagonizing word.

We live in a world where we love labels. A girl and boy cannot be together without being labeled as "couple" yeah they either have to be boyfriend-girlfriend or get married, without which the world is confused. The society is actually like a kid who is shown a fruit and if the fruit is not given a name, then he is confused. So we got to be labeled "single" or "married", "Hindu" or "Christian" or some other religion or even "atheist". Yeah, the world loves labels and when someone questions the existence of labels the world freaks out. Thus, when the book is named as "VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS" I heard many people asking me the question why I am reading it in the first place and some suggested I should keep myself away from such demeaning thought process and for that very reason, I read the book. 

I am recently hearing a lot of religious factions propagating their own things and in all ways and means, I am afraid that I do not seek nor heed to the conventional thinking of practicing idol worship or any symbolism per say. Although, I do perform some minimal rituals I do not do them for any ritualistic orgasm more so for the people who feel happy when they get to know I do it. So I am "selfish" but not "selfless" as per my ethics, my happiness lies in others happiness and not in any ritual. So there lies the answer for the need of ethics. 

The book began wonderfully with the chapter "The Objectivist Ethics" and explains why ethics are an objective necessity against a subjective luxury. 

I quote from the book 

The avowed mystics held the arbitrary, unaccountable “will of God” as the standard of the good and as the validation of their ethics. The neo-mystics replaced it with “the good of society,” thus collapsing into the circularity of a definition such as “the standard of the good is that which is good for society.”

Also, I subscribe totally to this paragraph

It is not men’s immorality that is responsible for the collapse now threatening to destroy the civilized world, but the kind of moralities men have been asked to practice. The responsibility belongs to the philosophers of altruism. They have no cause to be shocked by the spectacle of their own success, and no right to damn human nature: men have obeyed them and have brought their moral ideals into full reality.

So, the world that we live in is filled with the terrorist of all sorts and they are not amoral but their morals are different and challenging and the responsibility lies with the philosophers than the executors of the acts. 
Thus, I believe this book although written in 1964 resonates even today and I firmly believe that Rand's philosophy is applicable to the current times.

In the next chapter that is "Mental Health versus Mysticism and Self-Sacrifice" that is written by Nathaniel Branden, he totally condemns the thought of self-sacrifice. When a mom says "I sacrifice my time to get my kid ready", then the question that triggers is does she want to be a mom who readies her kid or is she forced to do so?

From the book, I quote 

Do mystics declare that all they demand of man is that he sacrifices his happiness? To sacrifice one’s happiness is to sacrifice one’s desires; to sacrifice one’s desires is to sacrifice one’s values; to sacrifice one’s values is to sacrifice one’s judgment; to sacrifice one’s judgment is to sacrifice one’s mind—and it is nothing less than this that the creed of self-sacrifice aims at and demands.

Okay now I will stop quoting from the book, I already gave away 3 paragraphs and giving away anything more would not do justice for a book that is worth not just buying and reading but also keeping and referring frequently.

Ayn Rand is ruthless is making her point from start to end. She never gets carried away from the context and makes her point firmly and that is what is amazing about this book. Never did I feel out of place or context. 

The essays “Psychology of Pleasure”, “Man’s rights” are sheer genius. Although the former was by Nathaniel Branden and the latter was by Ayn Rand herself, they are extremely well written. Every essay has its coveted place and overall flow of the book is terrific.

Despite the bluntness, if read with a rational mind, this book would be acceptable and will be appreciated as one of the finest books on philosophy and selfishness along with Rand’s another book “Philosophy: Who Needs It”

She is one of the best writers of the 20th century and by far the most influential in my life. 


A 5/5 for this wonderful book.

My review of "Philosophy: Who Needs It"

https://braddugg.blogspot.in/2017/09/philosophy-who-needs-it.html


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SICARIO (2015) - ENGLISH

A flick that cannot be missed.

It gave me thrills and chills that were worth every moment. Although the film is driven mostly by conversations between cops, the anticipation of what action will those conversations lead to was higher. This is an action film that is layered with the desires of characters.

This film is a satisfying, engaging inspection of the drug war with no specific format/rules, driven by superb performances. Benicio Del Toro is one of my favorite actors and he has done a superb job here. I saw Emily Blunt for the first time and I was totally taken aback by her meaty performance. Kurt Russell played his part nonchalantly and a true professional. Others did their job meticulously I must say. Even the Mexican kid who hardly comes for a shot did so well that I was convinced that all the action was real. Nothing feels staged or rehearsed. Kudos to director Dennis Villeneuve for making this film this way.

The opening scene begins with a capture trial and ends with an explosion, from that moment on the film was set to be driven by intensity. There is hardly a dull moment in the film and to say the least, most of the film was riveting. Screenplay by Taylor Sheridan is terrific. It leads from one scene to another beautifully and finally ends in a real conflict. Even the last shot, where a kid is waiting for his father to return had something to say.

Cinematography by Roger Deakins was spectacular. Yes, the scenes, they can be on road, in a tunnel or a conversation between characters, it was all done neatly and the camera never missed a beat. That's what made me engage more into the film. The sound design was par excellence, the shootings, the talks, the silence, everything was designed to drive the emotion. The technicalities are driven by emotions which in turn are driven by the film itself. And this immersion of each department into the film made this film special.

Of all, I loved Benicio Del Toro in the film. A 4/5 for a powerful film on drugs, cops and more.

Friday, November 10, 2017

BANGALORE DAYS (2014) - MALAYALAM

A film that will stand as a cult based on many good things.

The screenplay is wonderful, the music is good, the acting is sublime and the story was brought out well in a realistic and convincing manner and all the way through, it was entertaining. What else do you look for in a movie? This movie ticks all the boxes almost perfectly and I am happy to have watched this. My wife and I watched this together and after the film was over, I thanked her a lot for having shown this gem.

Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salman, and Parvathy are the stars of the film for me and they have done justice to their roles in a wonderful way. Also, each one's profession was different and yet friendship kept them united, this theme was wonderful too. All friends generally don't end up in a similar profession most of the times and in that aspect, the film was realistic. There is an IT professional, a corporate executive, a biker and also a Radio Jockey. Oh, so many lives are entwined wonderfully and each has their importance and their space in the script. There is nothing to take away from anyone and each one has done their part well.

The taking of a film is something that can be studied to understand how multiples stories can be knit together beautifully and more so believably.

A 4/5 for a memorable film.



KATAMARAYUDU (2017) - TELUGU


A disappointing film for me and as I did not find anything worth taking back from the film.

It's a Pawan Kalyan film that is neither entertaining nor conveying a message. It was a lackluster attempt to show something. Now this 'something' is something only the makers would know. 

There is nothing worthwhile that I remember from the film. I watched this on the release day in the theatre on 24th March 2017. Had I written my review then, I would have put more rants more but then, I resisted as I did not think this movie was worth my review. Nevertheless, I put this one out to stick to my discipline of reviewing whatever I watch. 

A 1/5 for this powerless PowerStar film.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

SAFE HAVEN (2013) - ENGLISH

A film that is disappointing, to say the least.

I did not like it for many reasons and the top-most would be manufactured climax and the relationship of the protagonists. I could not fathom few aspects of the film. An alcoholic policeman is not murdered and we are put in a delusion of someone doing as big a crime as murder in the initial few scenes and later on, it turns out, that just a hand has been cut. I was shocked and felt awful by the end as I spent nearly 90 minutes in hope that something bright would happen.

I saw the film with expectations, it is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, it was directed by Lasse Hallstrom (I loved his Hachi) and that made me think, I am going to watch a breezy romantic film. Alas, I did watch a manufactured rather fractured romantic set-piece set in some village which I am not sure exists in today's times. The whole set up looked very artificial and it did not gel with my thought process. Most things seemed unrealistic right from the beginning. The climax was like the last nail in the coffin that made me dislike the film in totality.

A 1/5 for this, can't give more and can't say more either.

ENEMY (2013) - ENGLISH

A psychological thriller that tested my brains and ended with a puzzling scene.

What has a tarantula got with the brain of a man I didn’t get it. It could be an allegory, a metaphor or a hallucination but I was not so convinced by its use as a symbol. Nevertheless, this was a crazy film. The craziness lay in the silence, it is spread in the minds of the characters than anywhere else. That craziness rubbed off on me as a viewer too. By the end, I was astonished by what I have seen for nearly 90 minutes in my life. 

The movie was surreal and also concealed. It had a beautiful wrapping of reality in the imagination of a man and that’s what made this film engaging. The movie moved at a very leisurely pace as if to go the viewer's space to think. Yes, there was hurry whatsoever shown in the film and that adds to the brilliance of the film rather than pulling it down. 

Denni Villeneuve is a wonderful director with a terrific body of work till date. This film made me understand why he is one of the most sought directors. I loved “Prisoners”, “Arrival”, “Sicario” and now this film too.

Technically, the film is brilliant. Although it’s a 2013 film, we don’t see smartphones or any high tech gadgets. There are mobile phones though, now that made me think that the film is set in 2000’s but not later than 2010 perhaps. So putting such questions into viewers head is an achievement pulled off. 

I always felt a great film is a one that will trigger a debate rather than just putting it’s point across well. This film has certainly triggered thoughts and I am happy about it. 

As of now, I couldn’t figure the film. The film perhaps is about one man living with his pregnant wife who has his doubts or maybe it’s about two guys who are exactly same. I don’t know what it really is but whatever it is, this was nice but it gave a lot of work to my head and it was a happy headache. I can just take a cue from the poster and say that this film is about what happens in a man's head.

Respect to Jake Gyllenhaal for his portrayal and conviction in the film. He is a superb chap who does the job if given a challenging role. There were two challenges given and he handled both superbly.


A 4/5 for this film. It's viewing has drained me for sure, yet it has been rewarding.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975) - ENGLISH


An extremely tragic and an important film that's realistic with a terrific performance by Al Pacino.

This is a film about a bank robbery with nearly 90% of the film being set within a bank. Yet the film is very engaging and enjoyable. Thanks to the terrific screenplay and direction by "Sidney Lumet" and to the sublime performances by all, especially Al Pacino as  Sonny. This film is based on a true incident and the depiction of the incident is extremely real. I felt as if there is no drama in the film at all and the element of drama was derived from the circumstances, the action, and reaction for each nuance. The film is extremely detailed to the point that we live with the characters and get to know almost everything about them in about.

The editing of the film must be given credit for giving the viewers time to get in sync with the characters. Although the film felt long in the initial 30 minutes, once it started to sink, the film was a breeze and by the end it was striking. The end was known right from the beginning but to get there with a lot of engaging moments peppered is a job well done.

A lot of credit to the art direction team, who did a tremendous job in setting up the bank. It was perfect in all ways and I could see how a bank in 1972 functioned and what things they used, how each one is placed and how each one's desk is set up too. I was in awe of the set all through the film.

This is a film for the actors and Al Pacino having proven his proficiency through "The Godfather" and few other films were the right choice for the film. The casting was bang on and Sonny could not be played better by anyone else is what I firmly believe now.

This is one of the great movies that will stand the test of time and will be important for many generations to come. I am going with 5/5. Thanks, Sidney Lumet for giving us another masterpiece.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

ONDU MOTTEYA KATHE (2017) - KANNADA

This "story of an egg" is one that is a must see. This is bald and beautiful. A film that is extremely realistic and also makes it’s point beautifully.

Ondu Motteya Kathe literally translates to "Story of an Egg" and it's the story of a bald-headed man who is referred to as Egg.

There is nothing much I can wrong about the film except the length perhaps. It’s a very competently made film considering that it’s a debut film of the director. The director acted Raj B Shetty also acted as the protagonist and I respect him a lot. He pulled off something that is challenging and he did it subtly and without much ado and drama. I salute him for his way of handling the subject so well. The emotions are real and I suppose they echoed so well with me and if there is a reason that the emotions went down so well is that they are universal.

There are very emotionless moments in the film. All through the film I was either crying or laughing or feeling something, that implies there was never a dull moment and that is what makes this simple screenplay even more enjoyable. The songs were made in a context and I did not find anything out of place in the film.

Also, I must say this is one the best tributes to late "Rajkumar", the director put his faith in Rajkumar and it worked wonderfully. Rajkumar indeed was a character through his songs, speeches, and scenes from old films. Each of that innuendo was apt and it comes at the right moment. One point, when our hero asks a question, Rajkumar is silent even that I felt was so apt. Sometimes we can't seek any help and we need to explore our own life and belief in our own path. This message was told in a nuanced way that I was taken aback and rejoiced the moment.

There are many wonderful moments in the film right from the beginning to the end and to enjoy all of those and more, watch this film. I am happy to have seen this. Oh, I must thank my friend Raghuveer's brother in law Charan who showed me the trailer and intrigued me into watching the film. A deserved 4/5 for a well-executed indie film. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

THE INTERN (2015) - ENGLISH

A smart, sweet and clean film that deserves a viewing.

Watch it for the clean and straightforward performances by Anne Hathway and Robert De Niro. More so for De Niro who plays the title role as "The Intern" and is extremely poised. He carries the film firmly on his strong shoulder and delivers pretty well. I can understand how the life of an entrepreneurial woman can be and mind you, this film is directed by a woman.

Director Nancy Meyers has a decent filmography, she was the one who gave a lovable "The Holiday" earlier and a good "What Women Want" earlier in her career. I must admit that I find Nancy Meyers as an accomplished and a well-updated director. The use of technology in the film and how she balances the old mindset with values with the fast-paced generation yet similar values is worth a mention.

I was bought into the film with the sincerity of the actors and apart from the main leads, I loved the kid "Paige" who is the daughter of Anne Hathway. The kid is cute, lovable and so terrific. I hope to see more of her before she grows up.

The casting was good and all the technical departments were decent. I cannot say that I loved but I confess I felt good at the end and it was yeah, a pretty likable film. For that, a 3/5.

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