Thursday, 18 July 2013

Movie Review - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

After Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6, much was expected of Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra's next flick and it hasn't disappointed. Rather, I'd say, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag surpassed it's hype.

But before I put my thoughts about the movie, let me say to them (movie critics) to KINDLY rise above the overly exaggerated approach of meticulously analysing a beautiful inspiration like BMB and tainting the efforts of an inspired filmmaker. Please!

Just how many of the Indian filmmakers choose to inspire than to mint?

When Milkha Singh himself watched the premier of the movie in London, he couldn't hide a tear. And that, to ROPM, was the true reward of his creation. It pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

Ok... the review... here it goes..

*** Spoiler Alert! ***

The storytelling
Despite the celebrity status of the Flying Sikh, I doubt whether many knew the lows and highs of his life. Movie's first challenge was to highlight the struggle of a boy to make good of his life, let alone to strive for being a national sports hero and the story did full justice to that. The depiction of how the boy, who was once reduced to a bum out of tragic circumstances, pulled himself together, believed to earn a life, fought, stumbled, muscled, ran and sprinted through the crests and troughs of a teenage life, and that too with a self-assuring smile, came out beautifully. The best part was how the protagonist's latent spirit of "fearlessness" gleamed through his condition of "helplessness" without being portrayed explicitly. The screenplay of a solo toddler sniffing off a herd of much older antagonists with just a stare felt so true and believable. Quite a memoir for me. I rarely clap in a multiplex (full of super civilised gentry) but at that moment I couldn't resist the uncalled-for-action-in-their-eyes.

The screenplay
The mix of flashback, present and flashback-in-a-flashback gelled well with the screenplay. It was never a confusing approach (except to them). Rather, the different strands of timeframes seemed a natural knit into a linear unraveling of intrigues and awes. The bit of VFX just added the right proportion of salt. The sword & horse nightmare scene needed support of the after-effects to induce a high tide of rage in the audience. I won't call it overly tech-dependent approach on part of the director. To make a classic masterpiece would come second to create a justified biopic in my books.

The Romance
Lately, the frequency of a romantic buildup in a rustic Indian landscape has caught more eyeballs than those in a concrete jungle. For an instance, recall the highly mischievous act of a shy Don furtively touching the hands of a female in The Gangs of Wasseypur 2. Another memoir. Such subtle instances induces more pheromones than by a three hour long romantic boredom. Really. Similarly, however short, the romance in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, has just enough material to compel a smile, a wry, an exchanged squint and a tear. (Well, the greatest romantic stories ever told have been tragic in end ). It not only had tips for the starters and the stalkers but also had pensive interpretations for the experienced professionals in the matter.

The Run
To make a sport based movie, wherein the sport involved is not cricket, is a herculean task in India. More so, when the sport is a mono-event type like sprinting. In that view, the movie pulled off the track-and-field scenes really well. Second only to the evident dedication of Farhan Akhtar in bringing out the different phases of the physical attributes of Milkha Singh, the thoughtfulness behind those shots was the biggest plus point of the movie. Every other such shot was different from the last and full of variations. Everywhere, it kept the audience engaged. It moved them in their seats, kept them abreast of the other runners' position while focussing on Milkha, made them feel short of breath at finishing lines, accelerated their heartbeat with high bpm soundtrack and even finished a whole running event without a thud or a mutter. It gave space for hungry-for-inspiration souls to connect to themselves. Right there, lies the beauty.

The Comedy
The inclusion of notoriety, wry humour and some standard punchlines in the convoluted timeline of the movie kept the audience adrift of an otherwise serious storytelling whenever needed. May be those vouching for a masterpiece-like creation would have asked the editor to truncate these portions, but for me, these jolly moments cemented the serious bricks well and weren't unnecessary. More than that, very subtly they gave us a very strong message of enjoying oneself even during the tough times.

The X-factor
The X-factor was revealed in the promo itself. The six packs, the strenuous training sequence with a heavy tyre tied at the waist, the Ladhakh scenes, the push-ups with a foreign babe on back had enough masala to attract the non-ardents in the cinema halls. But, in fact, the promo served to be a good impostor. The movie stumped me with with a more than expected solidity and originality.

The Realities
Few subtleties of human relations can only come out of a real life story. His sister's constant motherly affection, his first trainer's sweet scoldings, his sharing of punishment with the childhood friend, his childish revert to the second trainer during Asian Games, the stalking along the railway lines and his never-revealed feeling for the hottie in airline indeed fused reality in the drama.

The Verdict
I would not try to write the message of the story here otherwise we would go back to zero, that is equal to the driving force of a daily food for thought. One must watch and live the 185 minutes to etch his/her personalised take of the movie in the mind. To the young-at-heart-folks, if you have even an ounce of adrenaline flowing through your lymphs, then let it rush. Give yourself a chance to change gear and run. Give yourself a chance to fly like the Flying Sikh. Go and watch.

Jai Hind!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Thanks Blogadda!

Well, what a pleasant surprise to be featured on blogadda. This evening I got this surprise email from them, saying I'm chosen for the notable newbie award. Thanks blogadda! You made my day :)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A pen in hand

It's mind boggling. I found an old yellowing notebook in my cupboard when I was cleaning it to make space, and without any reason, I just skimmed through its pages. And in one of them lied a one page write up in my own handwriting with the headline "A pen in hand". And I kid you not, I don't remember that I wrote it, leave alone remembering the thoughts in those lines. Icky feeling! Like someone else came in my mind and guided my hands to write it. Uhh.. I often get such feelings when I go through mails that I sent four or five years back. Isn't it strange to be taken aback by a thought that came out of your own mind? Anyhow, below is that small writeup(without edit). It my sound weird or incorrect or poorly edited when you read. Never mind.

A pen in hand

The power of pen is so elusive. I've had it for some years in my hand. And only now can I realise its true power. Where was I heading? Why did I learn typing? I'm a pretty fast typer. May be it's the side effect of gaming that seeped into me. Computer gaming. No, I shouldn't deviate in that direction. I've to stay here. So, power of pen. How is it different from power of keyboard. There is no research to be done on who receives it, the product of writing. Rather it's the process of generation of thought that is getting tweaked. A pen in hand is like the subconscious talking to me so fast. I've written this big bullshit in less than 2 minutes. So fast. My brain sends pen a message. Hand in work. Fingers forming pressure on the pen in a systematic way that we learnt in school from nursery to may be 1st or 2nd. And now we're accomplished. You see, there is no dishonesty involved because it's our honest childhood learning in play. However, when we type, we fudge as we learnt that somewhere in high school(i know it's sad to hear). We were mixed breeds by then with convoluted and complicated thought process. We are not who we are but the mix of our acquaintances. Really. No matter how ungiving and steady you are, you are not pure. And if you are in search of that pristine, of that original being of yourself, then grab a pen... grab a pen... and let it do the talking... to you... because my dear friend..Pens don't lie. 

Pens don't lie

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Equations in love

Bare and bold
he walks in the acid rains.
Passion warming the cold
and love filling the veins.
Wrapped around gold,
his accomplice is a flower
for whom his palm unfolds
and shields her from shower.
But the shield is double edged,
it may scratch the thread
it may guard the aroma
From reaching out to himself instead
As the two souls tumble downhill
together on sand,
their fingers may get unclutched
and make them misunderstand.
But the hearts stay together
no matter where they land,
no matter what they say
If, but, whether, can or and.
Both may shed tears
but it only catalyzes
the positive swarm against fears
when in her absence, he analyzes.
Sometimes he wobbles and sleeps
with thoughts of depart,
but all the haze clears by one look
at those divine works of art.
Both acknowledge this “fun”
of facing those word bullets
fired from the other’s gun
These fights are cute
Aren’t they?
as they rekindle the same
togetherness of the first day
When they clutched palms
referred as “night and day”
sitting on the wall beside
the far-off water bay.
“The company has been eventful.
Honey, ain’t it?
It made my life beautiful”
He said “Thanks for being part of it”

-- This poetry is a work of fiction

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Welcome Strangers

Sometimes a short conversation changes the course of life.
We all have some theories and counter-theories inside our minds and they just keep fighting. They perplex us. They stagnate us. Be it the context of career or relationship or conflicting dreams or conflicting personality traits or pragmatic vs ideal thoughts or principles vs adaptability or confusing buying decisions, we keep getting in the labyrinth. And coming out of it often seem impossible. You are already in some of these mazes. Aren’t you?
Well you just need to talk. Talk to different people. People from varied backgrounds. Do a survey. Meet a stranger. Make a new confidant if you don’t have one. Tell him /her about your dilemma/circumstance. Someone somewhere said that meeting one stranger a day is one of the greatest hobbies that you can inculcate.
All in all you must bring in the dynamics of change, of a stirrer, of someone-to-show-you-the-mirror, of someone-to-show-you-the-unseen-world-in-the-medieval-period. And only in that dynamic state would you encounter vision, decision making power, thoroughness of knowledge and strength of character.
Infuse thoughts. Attract ideas. The tagline “An idea can change your life” isn’t untrue.
Most of the time, when you encounter a new head, you receive ideas that just fit in your circumstance and the way forward becomes strangely obvious. That’s why you must keep getting those conversations, however uncomfortable they may be, going. But, if you are a lonewolf and you don’t want more wolves in your private enclave, then just read. Read biographies. Read about a similar personality or a person with similar dreams or one who dealt with a similar problem. Know the minds of the greats. Know how they think. Converse with them. Books when read well, becomes a lively conversation.
Mind you, I’m not asking you to randomly send facebook friend requests or to call unknown numbers or to add unknown google ids to your chats. You need to step out of the door man. We are social animals, not social media animals.
So, where to find such eligible conversant? Where to find a would be confidant? Where to find wolves?
Yes, I know it is a difficult question to answer it convincingly. But let us have that intent. Since, where there is intent, there is attempt. What I’m trying to converge to is, why can’t we have a stranger meeting club? No forms. No registrations. Just come and meet.
Now there is already a service called “Meetup” that arranges meetings but they are contextual or interest-based. Hereby, I’m ideating a TOTAL STRANGER club. I think it is a lot better than telling the GoodReads community about the books you are reading currently.
May be it all sounded like bullshit. Spare me if it did. I just had to write something on this boring afternoon.
See you.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The child

Back bent forward.
Head down. 
Bumpy road speeding past under the wheels.
"Practice makes the man perfect" 
"Practice makes the man perfect"
"Practice makes the man perfect" murmured Manu as he paddled his bicycle faster and faster. Against the autumn wind, carrying a heavy school bag on the back, he cut corners fluidly. Still four kilometers to go, he accelerated. More. He defeated scooters, motorcycles, cars, trucks and kite runners. He manipulated barriers of fruit vendors, rickshaws, cows and wandering commoners without braking. "a cube plus b cube plus three a squared b plus three b squared a" he shouted to himself "What's that, haan? Tell me ..tell me". Airborne dead leaves followed him for the answer.

In ten minutes he reached the school, parked his bicycle and ran towards the assembly courtyard. All students were already lined up. He stealthily appended himself at the end of his class's line. A few strides left to him, in the corner, stood a huge mango tree. School's head boy shouted to commence the pledge from the stage in front. Manu threw forward his right hand as did the other students. Just then a squirrel jumped over and across his shoes and whizzed towards the mango tree. It zig-zagged over the path with its tail pointing skywards. Manu watched it climb up the tree with full concentration and didn't utter a single word of the pledge. And he paid for it. A house-prefect caught him red handed.

[Eleven years later]

Manu was staring at the blank cells of Microsoft Excel's New Worksheet. He dragged the cursor around to let himself know that he was still alive and didn't die of meaninglessness. "Why on earth I am doing this" he murmured. He turned his neck and glanced right and saw his colleague preparing the Daily Status Report. He felt so lazy and wrenched that he kept his neck in that position. He noticed a wrinkled forehead, a tunneled view into computer screen, haphazard mouse clicks and key strokes. In a whim, he got this strange feeling that he himself has been a waste "ox" worker. "How? When?" His breath shortened with the realisation. He hurried to the lift, pressed G and wrote a message to his boss that he has to go out for today.

It was 3 O'Clock in the afternoon, roads were sparsely occupied and Manu was accelerating his motorcycle with back bent forward, head down and occasional speed breaker speeding past under the wheels.
"Who am I"
"Who am I"
"Who am I"
he shouted and even the most self involved passerby noticed a freak. He zig zagged on the straight plush road, fiercely overtaking even those with exotic speedsters. Today the child owns him. He drove until he reached the biggest bookstore in the city- CROSSWORDS. He entered the shop in a jiffy with half tucked shirt, loose tie, shaky hair and open mouth. He was hungry of his ideal self. A female shop attendant who had received no flirty comments from fellow attendants for a while, watched him wander around the store. She decided to break her boredom, approached Manu and broached "Excuse me sir, you need any help?" Manu turned back, found a good looking girl giving him good looks. But his expressions didn't change. He wiped sweat off his forehead and said wearily with a dead face - "Oh yes, I need one Class Eighth Algebra book".