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Monday, December 30, 2013

Films Seen in 2013: Top Ten

Which are my selections for the best films seen in 2013?
You must be wondering.
Let's see if my pick for the top ten movies this year matches yours.
Well, it's easy to guess my favorites because I have already spoken or written about them, be it here or on any of the virtual platforms for exchange of ideas, viz. Twitter, Facebook.

Here's the Top Ten list of mine:

1. Amour (2012)
2. Prince Avalanche (2013)
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
4. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
5. The Master (2012)
6. The Fall (2006)
7. ParaNorman (2012)
8. Ship of Theseus (2012)
9. Shabdo (2013)
10. Shahid (2013) 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's the time to DHOOM!

"Dhoom machale dhoom machale dhoom.....!"
The lovers of the 'Dhoom' franchise have been going crazy ever since the project was announced, and the fans of Aamir Khan were too thrilled to know that the ace perfectionist had finally given his nod for the role of the anti-hero, it being obvious to all that a lot of convincing by the makers was called for.
Well, the film is finally here, the year is about to end and the makers have been screaming loud and clear that Dhoom 3 will be the movie that the loyal followers of the cult desi action series had been eagerly waiting for all this while, with its usual dose of masala, and more.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Day, and although it actually has been an American tradition for more nearly 400 hundred years, I think it has grown in appeal, if not in the exact same observance, around the world.
Here in India too people do wish each other on this day and many of us take the opportunity to pause to pause and be thankful for the bounties enjoyed. 
Some of my friends have asked me what is it that one needs to be thankful for, and my answer would be something that I had read a long time back and has stayed with me, it is: If staying alive is not something to be thankful for, I don't know what is.
Life is too short to be sitting around all glum and miserable. We may keep complaining, as much as we like, that life hasn't been fair to us, but complaining can hardly make us feel better. Can't afford to be cynical all our lives, I don't think even the grumpiest person on earth can be so!
Life fails to be perfect - that's something people would unanimously agree upon - but it never fails to catch us unawares and surprise us with its beauty. Sometimes it is the beauty of life that overwhelms, sometimes I find it heartbreaking; sometimes it's just too much to soak in, to absorb.
I have come to realize that it is not happy people who are thankful but thankful people who are happy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

'The Lone Ranger' - The Fun Western

'The Lone Ranger' is a fun Western...... now does my mentioning of it make you squirm, or raise your eyebrows? Well, you may ask, aren't the Westerns by the very definition of the genre fun to watch? Yes, and not necessarily so. I must point out, dear friends, that there are too many sub-genres - you may either not be familiar with all of them or maybe you haven't been too scrutinizing as a viewer. Those of you who might not have warmed up to the reworking of this time-tested swashbuckler, this particular big budget adventure, were probably expecting something and got something else in return. However, I watched the movie without any pre-occupation, and felt handsomely rewarded. The film pokes fun every now and then but does not fail to thrill one with the cowboy-esque stunts and edge-of-the-seat action. The silliness and the weirdness are supposed to make one chuckle and feel delighted. The presence of Johnny Depp in the film elevates the experience by many notches. Armie Hammer is the pseudo hero - likable just in parts though. Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, and William Fichtner eminently enrich the proceedings in this Gore Verbinski film by their individual portrayals. The CGI job and the 3D effects are neat, and the spaced out treatment given to the screenplay is what had me hooked in the first place.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wholesome entertainment

Wholesome entertainment, unapologetic, unadulterated, absolute fun to watch..... 
'The Wolverine' 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inspirational Fight Flicks

Here's my list of top ten inspirational fight flicks:
'Raging Bull'
'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'
'Kill Bill'
'The Karate Kid'
'Cinderella Man'
'Fight Club'
'Enter the Dragon'
'Never Back Down'

1. Raging Bull (1980)
2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
3. Rocky (1976)
4. Kill Bill (Vol. 1 and 2) (2003/2004)
5. The Karate Kid (1984)
6. Cinderella Man (2005)
7. Fight Club (1999)
8. Snatch (2000)
9. Enter the Dragon (1973)
10. Never Back Down (2008)

Friday, October 04, 2013


Today happens to be Mahalaya....
a day that used to be much significant for me, once, largely because of my Dad. It is a landmark day for all traditional Bangalis, and my Dad was one who placed a lot of emphasis on the age-old traditions. I too happily had grown with the emotional attachment that one has for Durga Pujo and Mahalaya.... the joyance is all nostalgia now....

Monday, September 09, 2013

'Prince Avalanche'

A minimalist tale, with layered character analyses, and dollops of odd humour and genuine warmth.....
that's what the doctor ordered, perhaps, and that's why I was absolutely spellbound, thrilled beyond doubt, to have stumbled upon David Gordon Green's gem of a film:
'Prince Avalanche'.
The verdict is plain and simple: It's fabulous.
Recommended for all fellow film-buffs.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Unbelievable? Maybe Not

My instant reaction, after reading that Robert Pattinson has been battling loneliness, that he has been finding it difficult to grapple with a break-up which was a lot more than a special relationship, that he is crying out for help, was: 
How could it be true
After all, he is virtually one of the most sought after guys, isn't he? 
His smouldering good looks are too die for, no? 
He should have been the last person on earth to be lamenting for companionship..... 
But, on second thoughts...... maybe that's not so unreal after all, they too are humans, these demigod-looking idols, aren't they? They are entitled to be feel vulnerable, maybe more reasons than others, they too can cry nursing a broken heart, can't they? There's nothing worse than a relationship that rots, the smells reach far and wide, and, professionally, that can well mean going through hell...... it's strange even to attempt a return to so-called normalcy, once the balloon of fame has been blown so large. 
A few simple words that I would like to add, based on my personal experience, words that may be heeded to by those who are recuperating after a break-up, after the end of a relationship does not lead naturally to a closure, and feeling liberated seems so illusory, no matter what a brave front one might put up for the world..... What's over is over! So, just get BETTER, NOT BITTER!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Post with a Difference

A lot happened this week, a lot of stuff that I usually do not write about but am penning, I mean typing, at the request of a dear friend who complains that I do not write about the goings on in my life. Well, for one, I do not like blabbering about things that are too mundane. Again, I do not even warm up to the idea of writing things which are likely to have a high shock value for my readers, but which truly happen to be the parcel of my life. Anything in between those two extremes hardly happens.
Another friend of mine, after all the years that we have been friends, complains that he does not approve of me sharing what I call 'cool' stuff via messages as they are un-original despite my claims that they reflect my thoughts and moods. I have given up on the explanations, but I fear I'll be desisting from messaging him randomly in the future. He seems to have outgrown frequent messaging. But let him be.
A significant development on the other hand has been by renewing ties with an old friend, who had severed all ties a couple of years back quite unceremoniously and was later presumed dead. It is he who has said something profound: Time moves on and we later regret... for words not said, for love not shown. Life's too short. So, do what makes you happy!
He also adds: Sometimes, I dream of things which are too good to be true. Then, I wake up....and my heart breaks. I realize that it was just a dream. It makes me cry." His words made me emotional, made me wish to reach out to him and help him deal with his insecurities. Yet, I feel so helpless, so incompetent to do the things that I should have done. I can hardly help myself at times, so the idea of helping someone else in that way seems like a luxury.
Yet another friend of mine, someone who is more like a younger brother, had something important to tell, and I share his words with the world, as I feel they make much sense even when one reads them irrespective of the context in which they were uttered, they could well be a borrowed words, but that hardly matters. He says: If some untold truth is the reason behind our unknown pain, then the weird part is, we don't know we'll be happy or sad once we know them.... when we question ourselves in vain, we need to know that some questions better remain unanswered; while sometimes we can't find answers, the truth is that sometimes we even don't want to.
Oh, this week, I also caught the new movie by Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee) - 'Tasher Desh' (House of Cards) - an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's famous musical! Interestingly, post-screening, I befriended a nice young guy who hails not from Kolkata, and was leaving the city the very next day. We chatted about the film and more. I had loved the film (both of us did). My preparedness (was prepared to be shocked, stunned, stimulated) resulted in feeling rewarded, on the whole. What I liked best about the film was its original vision, the international feel, that had a lot to do with the script having eschewed much, just as it has incorporated much more. Q, according to me, has still managed to retain the core essence of the Tagore musical, not a mean feat, eh?
Tasher Desh

Sunday, August 18, 2013

'Selected Memories'

It was Baishey Srabon, yet again the occasion Rabindranath Tagore's death anniversary, a day that is considered special for all Bangalis, and for all Tagore-lovers. This year was the 72nd death anniversary of the bard, and it was made all the more special for me, and many who share my passion and are possibly my readers, by Doordarshan which honored the bard's memory by telecasting Rituparno Ghosh's 78-minute-long impressionistic documentary titled 'Jeevan Smriti' ('Selected Memories'; with English sub-titles). The documentary, more of Ghosh's take on the bard, was much awaited for many reasons. First, it was the last of the filmmaker's completed projects. It was shot in phases for over a year, and had waited to see the light of day (only seen by a select few in an invitational screening or more) for long. Rituparno Ghosh, known to be a consummate researcher, had worked on the theme for several years before embarking on the actual filming. documentary. It had taken more time and energy than he was known to devote to his feature films. It was dear to his heart because of his passionate association with the bard and his works. He was known to have quite a vast knowledge on the subject that had even made him quite a treasure-house, especially of the nuggets, of information recently. Watching the film, made me emotional. It made me heavy-hearted. Nostalgia gripped me, I felt enthused, was ecstatic at times...... my eyes welled with tears for many reasons. It would be difficult for me to dissect the film for its merits and demerits, I apologize to my readers for my inability to review the film as many would have wanted me to. Consider it my personal incapacity. However, I would want all of you to watch the film, if ever you get the opportunity to do so. It was Rituda's pet project, he had wanted to steer clear of the baggage that we carry with the respect that we have for the fine documentary on Tagore made by Satyajit Ray. He had wanted to traverse interesting facets from the bard's life, his extensive travels, and his many platonic relationships as well. Samadarshi Datta played a young Rabindranath, in his twenties - quite the romantic and formative period in the poet's life, while Sanjoy Nag played the aged bard, there were Raima Sen and Arunima Ghosh in the cast too. Rituda himself had a memorable presence in the film, almost giving one the feeling of a consummation with the bard, as he is found baring his soul, his spirit to us viewers, as his life unfolds. The background commentary has paralleled the dramatized documentation and that too has been enriched by many an actor, including Deepti Naval and Anasuya Majumdar. Rituparno intentionally chose to attach multiple layers, to showcase Tagore's multiplicity. However, he has also banked on the scenes from some Ray films based on Tagore's works, reinstating the obvious association that we, people of his generation and thereafter, have particularly had with Tagore -the creator and Tagore - the individual.