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Saturday, December 31, 2016


2016 is in its last few minutes. At least that's the case in India. The news guy told us that New Zealand has already welcomed 2017. That's the funny thing about time. It is relative. Like most things are. Pardon me monsieur, for I am not an absolutist.

I am not even sure if i would be able to complete this before 2016 ends here. It does not matter anyway. What difference does a few minutes make? The earth keeps on rotating. The universe probably keeps on expanding. We keep on breathing. 

There are a lot of 'Fuck You 2016' memes floating around. It is funny how we have decided to blame a period of time for our actions and the state we find ourselves in. (Okay I did not make up that last sentence. I read it somewhere.)

Talking about 2016, was it actually that bad? I don't know. If you are cringing about how some of the right wing fringe groups have bestowed upon themselves to act as the defenders of nationalism and patriotism, then you should probably look up to the west. No, not the Westeros. I am talking about the United States. That's what we normally do, right?

The west has chosen as their leader, an extreme right wing advocate, who taught us that global warming is a myth, and more importantly that women are to be grabbed by the pussies.

Are you watching closely? Do you see a pattern emerging here? The world has moved more right-wing it seems. Couple that with the fact that left wing champion Fidel Castro has bid-adieu.

On a minuscule personal level, I too experienced some significant changes this year. For starters, I started working. I also tried my hand at table tennis. If you know me personally, you might be aware that I am not much into sports and games. If you don't know me personally, you just read that I am not much into sports and games. Also, I tend to be a lefty while at games. I am not a lefty in the true sense of the word. I write using my right. But if I am to bowl an over, I would use my left. Same is the case if I am at a game of badminton or table-tennis. 

Since these games do not come naturally to me, my first few days sucked real bad. Some of my co-players were amused at the sight of a left hand holding the bat.

'Are you sure you are a lefty?' I think so. 
'Do you write using your left?' No.
'Try playing using your right hand then.'

As expected, I fared even worse. Like the people of Kerala who chose the left government in a right moving world, I too decided to continue with my left. When the right is not right, you pick what is left. Also, it is a matter of balance. Right and left got to coexist. Well, the rant ends. I do not really have much to say. A new year is in the making. Make it good and happy.


So I was on my way to buy fish, when my maths teacher from school came down there. Before I could say hello, she started shouting at no one in particular - 'Why all this silence? Is this a classroom?' Apparently, she too believed in the balance. I waved at her with my left hand.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Around The World In Eight Days


Oh Hi.

I see that you are writing again.

Well Yes I am trying to. I would appreciate it if you would not peek over my shoulders.

Shouldn't it be  'Around The World In Eighty Days'?

It would have been the case if I were Jules Verne. Seriously, I would like some privacy while writing.

Oh I get it. You are writing about the film festival, aren't you?

Thank you for spoiling my write up. I was keeping the IFFK twist for the end.

Come on. It's elementary, Watson. Go on with your piece. Happy writing.


Around the world in eight days. The ticket cost you just five hundred rupees. What an irresistible offer. I signed up without much thought. So did thousands of others. The trip was to be in the month of December. We waited impatiently. Enter December. Begin festival.

We reached the launch pad half an hour early. All seats were already taken up. Rest of us ushered ourselves to what available spaces remained. The take-off ceremony began precisely at 6. 

The neighboring Afghan was our first stop. There we met Nabi, a fine young ambitious man who was fleeing the country due to some feuds. We wished him good luck. That night we had a long flight and reached Colombia the next morning. Simple village. Mostly religious lot, though the youth have started questioning the religious institutions. The priest at the local Catholic church seemed a grumpy man, and was in a standoff with the villagers. I sincerely hope the folks don't bow down to the whims of religious fascism.

From there, we took off to a lonely place somewhere in the French-Swiss border. The crew decided to take a short break, and thus we checked into a hotel nearby. That's where we overheard a conversation between a private investigator Aloys and a lady. There were discussing telephonic-walking. Though the concept seemed interesting, most of what they spoke did not make any sense. I felt the couple of hours spent there as a waste of time. 

Soon, we crossed the borders of Croatia. A couple of government agents welcomed us there and took care of our stay. Funny people. Their line of work was strange, yet interesting. Overall, the time spent there was relaxing. Belgium would complete the Europe leg for the time being. The wonders we saw there would appear too strange for the normal listeners, so I am not detailing. Let's just say that love is blind.

That night we returned to India for a short visit. Not Kerala, of course, but our journey was through the rural villages of Gujarat. That's when we realized that the Gujarati model of development was not as cool as marketed. Physical and sexual abuse suffered by women at homes, aversion to education, dominance of khap panchayats  all painted a different picture of India.

We flew overnight to the war torn Egypt. Clashes by the supporters of military and supporters of Muslim Brotherhood could be seen all over. Our hearts went out for the civilians of the nation famous for its ancient culture. We planned our next voyage to Mexico as an escapade from the horrors we witnessed here. Mexico was a pleasant space. We camped near a warehouse, and met a peculiar person who had spent 39 long year working at the warehouse. That was his retirement day. How coincidental, right? We may have not seen him if we were a day late.

We traveled south and reached Chile by evening. A lovely lesbian couple welcomed us into their home that night. We sat by the fire and spent the night singing songs. It was fun, though I am not sure the teenage girl Sara approved of it. That's when we thought how could we complete a European trip without visiting the beautiful France. We rushed to Paris that night. Paris may be romantic at night, but beware pickpockets roaming around. Paris brought our weekend to an end.

Turkey was visited on Monday. I remember meeting Elmas, the young girl who had to deal with so much so early in her life. We spent a whole day there, witnessing clear and obscure cases of broken relationships.

We returned to Africa on Tuesday. Not to the war torn Egypt, but this time to the remote village in the middle of nowhere in Ghana. Our hearts were shattered by the incidents experienced there. The whole village was ridden by horrendous superstitions, and exorcists loomed large. Incapable of witnessing the horrors, we ran away and reached Iran by evening. Though developed and rich, what we saw was male chauvinism and strive for freedom of choice. That's when we realized that though culture, language and religion tend to be different, the mindsets of people remained largely similar.

We decided to end the world tour and return home. There was no direct flight to Kerala, so we arrived at Mumbai on Wednesday, where we spent the day. We were having a walk by the lanes of Andheri, when a young woman by the name of Charu showed us the photograph of a person and asked us if we knew him. Apparently, he had gone to her apartment for a painting job. He collapsed while at work, and died later at a hospital. Her story made us contemplate our own identities and existence. Who were we without the numerous cards and documents describing us? Each of the millions of faces we see on streets have a story, but what do we know about them? That was an eye opening experience.

We reached Kerala by Thursday. Before heading to home, we first went to the dense forests of Wayanad to chill. The state police had camped there, allegedly after the presence of Maoist militants were detected. You know what - we actually met one of them in the forest. We got to hear their side of the story too. Perhaps it was all about survival. About the right to live. We returned and did not inform the police about our chance encounter.

With a satisfied mind, we returned home after the week long travel. An enlightening experience indeed.


Nicely put, buddy.


Why did you not tell me about this trip? I too would have come with you.

Oh, did not realize you were keen about stuffs like this. Don't worry, we shall go next year. And with better planning, we could cover more places too.

With Pavo Marinkovic, the director of Ministry of Love.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Movie review : Dear Zindagi

Title :  Dear Zindagi
Language : Hindi
Year : 2016
Director : Gauri Shinde
Genre : Drama, Romance
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role : Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar, Yashaswini Dayama, Ira Dubey

It is all about loving one's life. It is about two roads diverging in a yellow wood and taking the one commonly traveled by, because it is probably the more easier path. Kaira is the soul of the movie. She is young. She is independent. She is a talented cinematographer. And she is hot. We assume her life is picture perfect but obviously it is not. She is going through depression. She doesn't seem to know how to handle her love life. We see the reasons as the plot progresses through the sessions between Kaira and her "dimag ka doctor" Jahangir Khan. These sessions take the story forward.

The entire premise is simple, not trying to be preachy or bigly philosophical. Sometimes it shifts into a rom-com with no melodrama. Overall, the director of English Vinglish is back with another happy watch. Alia owns the role. The young actor is impeccable in character roles. Anyone who has watched Highway or Udta Punjab can vouch for that fact. The role of the mentor was a piece of cake for SRK. Music by Amit Trivedi is pleasurable, so in the visuals of the picturesque Goa.

Source : Google

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Movie Review : Rock On 2

Title :  Rock On 2
Language : Hindi
Year : 2016
Director : Shujaat Saudagar
Genre : Drama, Musical
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role : Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Sraddha Kapoor, Prachi Desai

Rock On had succeeded because it had caught the attention of the youth with its pulsating music and cool ideals. Rock On had succeeded because it had portrayed in an intense and realistic manner. Rock On had ended where Magic had begun, or rejoined after a hiatus. Some years passed by. What happened to Aditya Shroff, Jo, Sakshi, Debby and Killer Drummer? Welcome to Rock On 2.

Rock On 2 begins the show in the serene and mystical villages of Shillong where Aditya leads a rather reclusive life after something went wrong a few years back. (Yeah that’s the same way he reacted after fighting with his friends In Rock On! That’s the way he is. He tries to run away from problems.) The friends do meet occasionally. Sing songs and all that stuff. We are also shown the interaction between be a wannabe musician Uday and the introverted, talented Jia. As the story progresses, music happens.

A discussion of Rock On! series is nothing without mentioning its music. Unlike the prequel, the composers have not gone for an all-out rock show.  Rather, we are introduced to soulful tunes emerging from different cultural demographics. (Ishq Mastana, Hoi Kiw). Still, my personal favorite ‘Woh Jahan’ holds a special place in the movie.

Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Sraddha Kapoor, Prachi Desai and many others have delivered a neat performance. Frames are full of north east beauty.

Rock On 2 may not enjoy a similar success because viewers may compare it with its prequel, which could be called a coming of age classic. Rock On 2 may not enjoy a similar success because the viewers, still under the influence of ‘Bulleya’ or ‘Break Up Song’ have not emoted very well with ‘Jaago’ or ‘Tere Mere Dil’ as much as they had with ‘Tum Ho Toh’ or ‘Sinbad the Sailor’. Rock On 2 may not enjoy a similar success because the current demonetization issues may keep a portion of viewers away from theaters at least for a while. Rock On 2 may not enjoy a similar success a set of narrow minded, blind set of ignorant people is trying to tarnish the movie because of dirty politics allegedly because the producers Farhan and Ritesh said they would not oblige to that goon vigilante Raj Thackeray and his whims.

Personally, I loved the film. At the end of the day, that’s all what matters to me. (Of course Rock On! Was a better experience.)

There’s a scene where a character says “Market me jo bhikhtha he who banta he dil ka tune”. (What sells becomes our favorites). Just felt like mentioning it here. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Movie Review : Zeitgeist The Movie

Title :  Zeitgeist The Movie
Language : English
Year : 2007
Director : Peter Joseph
Genre : Documentary
Watch trailer on Youtube

Zeitgeist film series is a set of three documentary films which discusses various conspiracy theories. Zeitgeist : The Movie is the first installment of the trilogy, which was directed by Peter Joseph and released in 2007.

The movie is divided into 3 sections - the first one proposes theories of how Christianity and other major modern religions designed fraudulent concepts of God by copying concepts from other pagan religions. They propose that religions are nothing but a collection of hollow lies and superstitions, and how people confuse them with scientific phenomenon (like astronomy, for instance).

The second section focuses on the dirty politics of government of the United States of America, and go on to claim that the infamous 9/11 was actually an inside job.

The final section deals with the origin and growth of corporate bankers, how they manipulate emotions to their advantage. The makers accuse them of creating catastrophic situations including economic depression and even the world wars.

Debates are still on regarding the authenticity of the series, and there is no conclusion as of now. If found to be true, this could have huge repercussions on the entire world and humanity.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Free Choice

We and our free choices.
We, who became when two souls made love.
The time was not chosen by us, the place neither.
Our own names are someone else's choice.
We speak the tongue our neighbors speak,
And worship God the way our kin do.

We and our free choices.
We go to school because everybody does.
We act proud of the place we were born.
And fight others born on the wrong side,
where boundaries were laid out by people who passed.

We and our free choices.
Tall. Short. Fat. Slim.
Black. White. Gay. Straight.
Height was not chosen by us, color of skin neither.
Our bodies grow. Hair fall. 
Ageing is a truth not a choice.

An innocuous breath is not our choice.
One fine day, we stop being.
We do not choose the date, place or time.
Thoughts and dust are all what would remain,
Of us, and our free choices.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Movie Review : Pink

Title : Pink
Language : Hindi
Year : 2016
Director : Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Genre : Drama, Crime, Thriller
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role : Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Angad Bedi, Andrea Tariang

One fine day, you hear the title of a movie. PINK. You are not amused. Then you hear the names of Shoojit Sircar and Anirudha Roy Chowdhury associated to it. You are intrigued. People start giving rave reviews about the trailer. You watch the trailer. You see Amitabh Bachchan as a lawyer grilling Tapsee Pannu in a debate that treads on the fine line between intercourse by mutual consent and rape. Excited, you make a mental mote and adds the movie into your to-watch list.

 The movie releases. As expected, there is no wide release especially down south. Luckily for you, it does release in your hometown. You go on and watch the movie. The protagonists are three independent, working women. (you know the ones with short clothes and who roams freely with guys – what do we call them – “items”, right?) Much of the movie is a courthouse drama. Though the storyline gets preachy at times with discourses about morality at times by Big B, PINK gives out a very strong message, something which is very apt at a time when the primary culprit of a brutal rape case justified himself by saying that the girl “asked for it”, and a political party supremo opined that boys tend to make such mistakes and we need not make such a fuss about it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

‘So this is what it has come to be.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, I’d thought that we shared something special. I am still not able to accept that you have left me for good.’

‘Do not go down that lane again, mate. Didn’t I tell you that I am not calling this off? I just need a break for a while.’

‘Why can’t you do your thinking with me around? Be honest with me. Am I not good enough for you anymore?’

‘Let us not fool ourselves, Vishnu. You got to admit that things have not been exactly smooth lately. You seemed to be taking me for granted. So I thought perhaps it would do both of us good if we were on our own for a while. Would give us some quality time for an introspection, don’t you think?’

‘I don’t know. I like it when we are together. It has been a month already. My friends have started asking questions.’

‘Tell them not to worry anymore. Call them over to your place. Tell them that nothing has ended.’

‘Wow. Thank You. Let me call them right away.’

‘Go on.’

‘Vishnu, you there?’

‘Yeah! Why?’

‘Why haven’t you named our baby?’

‘I have.’

‘What is it?’

‘Writer’s Block. Do you like it?’

‘It is apt. But why haven’t you mentioned it at the top?’

‘Would have given away the plot.’

‘Smart. I love you.’

‘I love you too.’

Friday, June 17, 2016

Movie Review : Udta Punjab

Title : Udta Punjab
Language : Hindi
Year : 2016
Director : Abhishek Chaubey
Genre : Drama, Crime, Thriller
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role : Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt

After the seemingly never ending censor-related controversies, social media trending, rational court ruling, newspaper headlines and the condemned leak, Udta Punjab reached the big screens today to huge expectations.

And gladly, it proved worthy of all those hype.

As already discussed, the movie deals with the rampant substance in the state of Punjab. A pop singer who had more success than he could actually handle, A young wannabe hockey player who had to give up her hopes and migrate from Bihar to Punjab to sustain. A corrupt cop who mends his ways after being handed some hard lessons. A doctor with a golden heart.

The lives of these seemingly different persons are connected by a common theme - drugs - and their paths cross at times.

Technically and content wise, Udta Punjab is brilliant. A tight, reality based script is complemented beautifully by the stellar performances of the lead actors, especially Shahid Kapoor (who did a way better performance than the one in Haider) and Alia Bhatt (please give us more Highways & Udta Punjabs and not try to be a glamorous heroine. You ain't Deepika Padukone. But in you forte, you rock.) Cakewalk for Kareena.

The already hit song "Chitta Ve" introduces Tommy Singh aka Gabru in a scintillating manner. My personal favorite portions of the film are the ones involving Shahid and Alia. The song "Ik Kudi" lingers long after the end credits.

Go on, people. Catch it in cinema. Comes with English subtitles, in case language is an issue.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cut-Da Punjab

If you are a movie buff, you would have heard of the censorship issues regarding the upcoming Bollywood feature, Udta Punjab.

If you are a politically conscious person, you would have heard of the censorship issues regarding the upcoming Bollywood feature, Udta Punjab.

If you are a rationally thinking person, you would have heard of the censorship issues regarding the upcoming Bollywood feature, Udta Punjab.

In short, if you are someone who breathes and lives on the planet Earth, you would have a heard of the censorship issues regarding the upcoming Bollywood feature, Udta Punjab. For such is the magnitude of double standards and apolitical agenda adopted by the CBFC.

First, let us be politically correct:
1.       CBFC is not Censor Board. It stands for Central Board of Film Certification.
2.       The Board has not banned Udta Punjab.
Wait, if the movie is not banned, why raise all this hullaballoo over it?

Let’s get the story out. Udta Punjab, directed by Abhishek Chaubey and starring Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan, was submitted for certification about a fortnight ahead of its slated release date, June 10. The Board members, who bats no eye while giving green signals to absolutely sexist lyrics of the songs of Yo Yo Honey Singh (The Punjab feature stands out!) or other songs glorifying booze and stuff (Choot, Yaariyaan, The Shaukeens – see what I am talking about?), wanted 40 cuts if the movie had to be cleared for release!!!

Obviously, the makers were not impressed by that decision, and they approached the revising panel hoping to find logic. (Logic? Bah, humbug!) The panel revised the number of required cuts from a condemnable 40 to an atrocious 89, which included the entire sequence of the already hit song Chitta Ve and all references to Punjab.

Ladies, gentlemen and CBFC members – hear this out. A movie is made on the rising instances of substance abuse among youths in the state of Punjab, and the authorities want to take out all references to Punjab. The fact that assembly elections are due in Punjab the next year and the government would face backlash if the film reaches the masses is pure coincidence.

Image Source : All India Bakchod

Well, if the film could be released after the specified cuts, why are the makers refusing to comply?

Let us put it this way. You visit Biriyani Hut, because the place is famous for biriyanis, and hey! Who doesn’t love biriyanis? You order beef biriyani. The chef prepares beef biriyani. The waiter is about to deliver the beef biriyani. That’s when the food inspector appears out of nowhere and asks the restaurant manager not to mention beef on the menu (You know why.) Hapless, the manager tells you that they are out of beef, but have instead prepared dragon biryani (You are about to point out that dragons are fictional – but then you remember the Khaleesi).

The case with Udta Punjab is only worse, because your renamed dragon biryani would still taste the same, but any single cut on the realistically made Udta Punjab would amount to murder of the film, according to the film’s producer Anurag Kashyap.

Before we sign off, do watch this video made by the president of the CBFC. Even though the intention was to create a sense of pride and skewed notion of nationalism, the 6 minute long video is strongly advised for a really good laugh! This is the work of a person who decides what kind of films should be made and viewed by the intelligent citizens of the nation!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Movie Review : East Side Sushi

Title : East Side Sushi
Language : English
Year : 2014
Director : Anthony Lucero
Genre : Drama
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role : Diana Elizabeth Torres, Yutaka Takeuchi, Rodrigo Duarte Clark

Are you a food lover? Do you like trying out exotic food from exotic places? Then, you are gonna love this film.

Do you watch those small, less-noticed, colorful, feel good movies? Then, you are gonna love this film.

East Side Sushi tells the tale of Juana Martinez, a Mexican woman who quits being a fruit cart vendor, try out many other jobs, and finally become what her heart wanted - a sushi chef. Her path was not easy a bit. She had to convince a hell lot of people, starting from her family, and had to wage her battles over notions that some jobs are gender specific. Well, one could say the movie belongs to the English Vinglish family.

East Side Sushi is one such movie which let the smile on your lips in tact throughout. I have never had any cuisine even remotely related to Japanese, but I felt like wanting to try out sushi, and nigiri, and all those stuff...:)

Diana Elizabeth, who played the lead role of Juana, was a delight to watch on screen.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

AD – After Death

Let’s speak about death, shall we? Death, because some opine that the death is the only reality. I am not too sure on that. Just because everyone we know pass away at some point of time does not necessarily prove death. What if someone is born tomorrow who just happen to live forever? Who knows perhaps a Professor John Oldman lives among us already. Questions about death and what happens after have always pondered humanity. Some believe death is the end and nothing remains after. Several mythologies hold the view that death is merely a passage to an everlasting afterlife, one which is more glamorous than the life on Earth. There is yet another prevalent view that the soul takes rebirth after each death until it gets salvation. If we are to look closely, a myriad of beliefs and theories exist, and the debate has been on for ages. While many other equally confusing questions are now being answered using science, what happens after death is still unknown, as dead men tell no tales. Let us settle the issue, once and for all.

Forgotten. Yes, in most of our cases, we are forgotten after our deaths. A lot of tears happen immediately after death. A sort of numbness prevails for a while. Then they move on. Things get back to normal around. This is the case with the faceless commoner. If you belong to the luckier lot, people would rename stuff in your honor. You would become a road, library, hospital, or even a day. If you are a businessman, your kids may name the business after you. You would become a brand. If you are an artist, you would live through your works. You would become a novel, movie, picture or music. The once real you would be confined to memories, to be rekindled on family reunions and other occasions.

The numbness that prevailed in the lives of your close ones too shall pass in due time. As a famous someone told us in a famous movie, life has to go on no matter what. In other words, life happens after death.

courtesy: idata.over-blog

Saturday, May 21, 2016

1 Year of Vishing!

Hi Vishers,

As you all would have guessed from the title, this post is to celebrate the 366 days that have passed since the inception, or revival of our blog. I said revival because 'Can You Vish' was a blog that I had started some five years ago, when I started spending my free time writing weird stuff. But it was shut down pretty soon as not many people visited the space, and most of the stuff I wrote back then was plain stupid (You see I do not wish to elaborate on that. Am I a narcissist? Self-complacent, perhaps.) Anyway, the blog was dead. Long live the blog!

A couple of years later, when I contemplated the idea of relaunching a personal space, I could not think of any other name than the good old 'Can You Vish'. I have been asked several times by several people what 'Can You Vish' means or why I named the blog so.The funny part is, it was not me who came up with this name but my friends.

Was that funny?

Some of my friends from school and even from college would probably remember me as someone who was too shy to speak with girls. (Yeah, a pretty embarrassing story indeed.) It was not as if I did not like speaking with them, it is simply because I could not. You know that feeling when you try to speak after gulping down an entire jar of Nutella the words get stuck in your mouth, refusing to come out? It was the same feeling every single time. And I did not know Nutella existed in those days.

Obviously, there was this girl at school on whom I had a huge crush. Forget words, I could not make a proper eye contact with her around. My good friends who knew of my predicament came up with this brilliant phrase combining parts of her name and mine. Voila!

The crush too passed in due time, but 'Can You Vish' kind of grew in with me, so much that it was my email password once upon a time. Ouch!

Coming back to blogs, 2.0 was launched exactly on year ago, on May 21, 2015 after giving in to the persistent advises of a few. One year, 70 posts and over 13,000 visits later, this is where we stand now. The growth has been slow. The growth has been steady.

Thank You readers, friends and countrymen, for making the vish a reality. Thank You for being.

Source: Google

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Movie Review : Fan

Title : Fan
Language : Hindi
Year : 2016
Director : Maneesh Sharma
Genre : Drama, Thriller
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role : Shah Rukh Khan

The year 2013. “World’s biggest movie star” Shahrukh Khan joined hands with hit-maker director Rohit Shetty and lady superstar DeepikaPadukone to bring on screen a film by the name of Chennai Express. As the name suggests, the major portion of the story was set in the south, especially in Tamil Nadu. Mindless humor, illogical action and horrendous typecasting were generously thrown in. The critics slammed the movie and its makers. Yet, the aam-aadmi lapped it up, and Chennai Express turned out to be the biggest grossing film of the year. The pattern continued in 2014 with forgettable Happy New Year and in 2015 with the disastrous Dilwale. King Khan scooped so low that he won the infamous Kela Awards, something presented to the worst performer of the year. People started to write him off as a serious actor.

Fast forward to April 15, 2016. Like the tagline of Fan says, it all began with a connection. Shahrukh’s transformation from an ambitious Delhi youth to being the Baadshah of Bollywood was through intense portrayal of varying emotions in movies like Darr, Baazigar, Devdas, Kuch KuchHota Hein, Swadesh, Veer Zara, Chak De, Don and My Name is Khan to name a few. That connection between the actor and scripts with a soul was never lost. That could be the reason why the actor decided to stretch himself for the dual and contrasting roles of Aryan Khanna and Gaurav Chanda when Maneesh Sharma offered  Fan to him.

SRK deserves praise for doing Fan for multiple reasons. For starters, you would not see any of his usual mannerisms or style in the role of the obsessive and ardent fan, Gaurav. Khan has pushed himself very well and has wowed the spectators with an impressive performance. Secondly, it is not a cakewalk for a fifty year old to essay the role of a teenager in a convincing manner. Prosthetic makeup, and ample use of technology including motion capture have been efficiently put into use. Then the point of consideration is that unlike any of his recent movies, Fan is not a purely commercial venture, with unnecessary masala not added to spice up things. People say an elegant heroine and romantic songs are the USP of Khan’s films. You would see neither in Fan.

So, is Fan a perfect product? A classic? Unfortunately, not so. The storyline is loosely what comes to a person’s mind as they watch the trailer of the movie. An obsessive fan of a reigning superstar and how certain circumstances, places them at loggerheads. While the pre interval portion of the movie is engaging and has depth, the storyline reduces to that of an ordinary thriller in the second half. That does not make Fan a bad movie, never. It is just that the plot could have been better executed.

The sad fact is that while a Chennai Express sets the box office ringing, an experimental attempt like Fan does not find much takers. This is not a very positive sign for the movie industry, as quality of the content would decline if money flows only in the masala path. We need to stop for a bit and analyze who is at fault – is it the audience who are ready to spend bucks for colorful entertainers but are hesitant in the case of realistic movies, or does the fault lies with the filmmakers themselves, as it were they who spoon-fed the idea that exaggerated, happy ending movies are entertainment, and realistic movies are for intellectuals? Think, and more importantly, act.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Arsha Bharatha Avengers

Indians, countrymen! Lend me your attention. For I am here to show you how Marvel Comics have exploited our vast mythology to come up with their league of superheroes, known as The Avengers.

As you may be aware, The Avengers consists of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Incredible Hulk, Hawk Eye, Black Widow and Ant Man. What you may not have realized the characterization of each of these superheroes was influenced by our own folklore. 

drink up me hearties yo ho

I assume you to be pretty skeptical at this point. So let us introspect each of them closely (and hopefully wipe that smirk off your face).

Captain America: A veteran soldier who participated in the World War II, and then entered a state of seemingly endless sleep that lasted seven decades. He was recalled by S.H.I.E.L.D when they needed his services for another possibly catastrophic war.

Those who have read The Ramayana would be familiar with the character of Kumbhakarna, the younger brother of demon king Ravana who was awaken from his six month slumber by the Lanka troops to get him ready for the final battle with Lord Ram.

Iron Man: The billionaire philanthropist Tony Stark gets a tad unlucky when he is kidnapped. To escape captivity, he designs a powered suit of armor. When suited up, defeating Iron Man is a herculean task.

If we list out the unlucky characters from The Mahabharata, my bet is on Karna to top the list. He is a master in archery, and is literally indestructible when he wears his armor and earrings gifted by his godfather, The Sun.

Thor and Loki: Marvel themselves have confessed that these two characters have been taken from the Norse mythology. Yet if we are to consider the fact that these two half brothers fight each other, arguing who among them is the true king, one cannot be blamed if he/she is to relate Thor and Loki to Yudhishtira and Dhuryodhana.

Incredible Hulk: Here, the Marvel guys have done a smarter work, as Hulk is a culmination of 2 different avatars from our legends. The brute physical strength of Hulk is an obvious inspiration from Bheema.

But one must not forget that Dr. Banner turns into the all destructive Hulk when he unleashes the rage within. Lord Shiv is also popular for his third eye, which when opened in seething rage lets out an all consuming flame.

Hawk Eye: Hawk is a bird known for its excellent eyesight and ability to locate preys from huge distances. Hawkeye is a master in archery. Needless to say, this "hero" is the Marvel version of Pandava prince Arjuna, who is well known for his skills with the bow and arrow.

Black Widow: I must admit, here the play by Marvel is so subtle that one begins to wonder she is original after all. But on deeper prodding, we can find some similarities with Droupadi. 

Droupadi was also known as Krishna, due to her dark complexion. Krishna means black in Sanskrit. See? Also, Mahabharata suggests that among the Pandavas, Droupadi had a soft corner towards Arjuna. The Avengers too seem to follow this, by showing a special bond between Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Ant Man: The latest addition to the team has the super-power of being able to shrink down to the size of an ant, and grow up to gigantic proportions.

Lord Hanuman is also said to have the exact same powers in both The Ramayana as well as The Mahabharata.

That's it. I rest my case.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Movie Review : Sulemani Keeda

Title : Sulemani Keeda
Language : Hindi
Year : 2014
Director : Amit Masurkar
Genre : Comedy, Romance
Watch trailer on Youtube
Lead Role :  Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev

I sat down to watch the movie with the premonition that the name “Sulemani” had some relations with the Malayalam word “Sulaimani”, which means black tea. To my surprise,” Keeda” apparently means pain, and the title of the film could be loosely translated as “pain in the ass”.

The freshness that was experienced in the title was sustained throughout the 90 minutes duration of the movie. Sulemani Keeda tells us the tale of two wannabe writers, who aspire to go beyond the conventional stereotyped notions of mainstream Indian cinema. The presentation, character descriptions are all based on the realities of today’s society. The story deals with their struggles, both in the film industry as well as in their social lives on light notes with mild dosages of adult humor.

I am not gonna play the spoiler here, but let me narrate something which I felt quite remarkable. Our two protagonists go and meet the son of a Bollywood producer, who asks them to think out of the box and all. But as the story progresses, he is forced to fit into the ordinary. Likewise, the film starts with an unusual style in the beginning and then it adapts a more conventional pace as it proceeds. The take on Chulbul Pandey and Singam was hilarious. 

Happy watch, people.

Monday, March 21, 2016

BatGirl vs SuperGirl: The Race for Justice [part Two]

(Hello people, please read the prequel if you have not already. Thanks)

One of the news channels decided to interview Claire, and she was asked why she thought it was a good idea for girls to drive. To this, she replied that unlike the popular notion, driving was not a hard labor. Rather, driving liberated people as it made them independent.

‘Miss Kent, do you think our women folk are physically strong enough to take up driving?’

‘Definitely. Women are not weak, sir. If you could let me race against men on bicycles, I would easily beat most of them.’

‘What’s your stand on other similar issues, like the prohibition on men dancing, or women folk doing farming, business or entering politics?’

‘Personally, I feel that all gender biases should go.’

‘Then why have you decided to focus on the issue of driving alone?’

‘Someone famous once opined that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

‘Thank You for your time, Claire Kent. May your fight see light.’

Soon after the interview was aired, #LetClaireRace and #GenderNoBar started trending. After lots of discussions, debates, days and nights, the ministry came up with a perplexing proposal. A bicycle race would be organized by the government. Interested men and women would be allowed to take part. If Claire would emerge first beating every other rider, no jobs would remain gender specific. In the case of Claire not finishing first yet beating any other rider, the issue of women being allowed to drive would be legalized. If she were to finish last in the race, everything would remain as it is. Claire Kent agreed. The date was set to twenty-fifth of March.

Though Claire acted cool with it, deep inside she was worried. It had been years since she had ridden the bicycle. She needed to train well, if she had to win at the race. But, she could not practice on road as the unofficial ban was still on. Determined, Claire decided to practice at night. Virtualians were early sleepers.

She started sneaking out at nights with her dad’s bicycle. Claire would ride to desolate lanes and streets so that no prodding eyes would follow her. The day was getting near. She could not afford to lose. One night, she was riding near the central park when she heard the felt another woman was riding somewhere close. The tinkling of the anklets was unmistakable. She stopped and waited. Soon, a cyclist hissed past her.

‘Hello, miss.’

The cyclist did not acknowledge. Claire went on a chase.

‘Miss, please stop. I know you are a woman. Are you too taking part in the race?’ Claire shouted.

The cyclist now turned to a narrow, darker alley.

‘Do not be scared, miss. I just want to chat. My name is Claire Kent. I suppose you have heard my name on TV. Would you care to tell me your name?’



‘Look Out, Claire.’ Shouted the cyclist while pointing north.

Claire had barely looked in the pointed direction when a bat hit her face. She struggled hard to stop her cycle from tripping. The cyclist had stopped. She came running and shooed the bat away.

‘Are you alright, Claire?’

‘Yes. Thank You miss.’ Claire felt the cyclist’s voice vaguely familiar. So was the dancers’ anklets worn by the cyclist. Claire connected the dots, and Brunei Wayne’s face emerged from the dark.

‘Brunei? Oh my, I had no idea. When did you start riding? Are you taking part in the race too?’

‘I did not start riding for the sake of the race, Claire. I have been riding cycles my whole life. I must tell you I concur that our gender notions are a tad outdated.’

‘A tad? Come on! They are a sack of bullshit. It’s great that they had not framed those as hard laws. But Brunei – I had never imagined that you would drive. At school you always seemed reserved and sleepy.’

‘Don’t you think my night life would have a toll on my mood during daytime?’

‘Do you go out all nights?’

‘Most. The chances of people recognizing you are less during night time. I go to parks, beaches, sometimes even for the late night shows at the cinema.’

‘Wow. Look at you, the boring Brunei is actually a night-rider. That reminds me of our little chit chat we had last day. You seemed to be opposing me.’

‘I was not really opposing. It’s just that these people have been living their life a particular way for such a long time, and you are asking for too much change – all at once. Someone famous once said that society only tolerates one change at a time.’

‘You are quoting The Prestige, Brunei.’

‘And Christopher Nolan is famous. My point is I would not let my people descend into chaos, particularly so when the reason for the chaos is someone from outside.’

‘What! Outside? How did you know about it?’

‘Intuition. I always had doubts about you- something about you seemed different. Perhaps it is your skin tone, or your inherent physical strength. When you started making news, I ran a check on the Kents.’

‘Unbelievable. Let me get this straight. Are you going to participate in the race because a foreigner is trying to make things right in your country?’

‘Do not get me wrong, Claire. I have made it clear that I agree with you on the issue. I believe that change must come gradually. Let the issue of female driving be settled for the time being.’

‘Very well. Do you think you would be able to emerge first? Are you strong enough?’

‘Who said anything about coming first? I would be happy if I stop you from finishing first.’

‘That’s easy said than done, Brunei. You just said that “my people are inherently stronger” than the Virtualians.’

‘As I said, I have been riding my whole life. That is something you lack. Practice, Claire. Practice hard. The red letter day is coming.’ 

(whose brand of justice would prevail at the end? Nothing could be said until the race on 25th of March gets over. Incidentally, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice releases on that day. Enjoy.)