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.

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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