Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Jungle Book

Cast
:
Neel Sethi
Voice Cast
:
Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o,
Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken
Director
:
Jon Favreau
Cinematographer
:
Bill Pope
Screenplay
:
Justin Marks
Based on The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Editor
:
Mark Livolsi
Music
:
John Debney
Producer
:
Walt Disney Pictures
Fairview Entertainment
Release Date
:
April 15, 2016
Length
:
1 Hour and 25 Minutes
Language
:
English

My Thoughts
Director Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book narrates the life of Mowgli in an Indian jungle in the midst of wolves, panthers and bears. He leads a happy life as one among them until the menacing tiger, Sher Khan warns the wolves that letting a man live in jungle and nurturing him is against the laws of jungle. He threatens to hurt all the animals if Mowgli is not submitted to him as prey. The wolves under the guidance of Bagheera, the Black Panther, bids adieu to Mowgli. The movie describes the story of Mowgli during his half-hearted journey towards the man village. Does Mowgli reaches his destination – the movie answers this question through an interesting screenplay.

The screenplay is often gripping, most of the chase scenes are well-choreographed and editing is well done. The incident with Bandar-log was lagging. Bill Murray’s voice for Baloo is soothing and caring. The Baloo looks cute too – no wonder that Teddy Bears are universally loved! The sweet voice of the slithering Kaa, rendered by Scarlett Johansson is mesmerizing. The animation of the animals is commendable. They come across real and lively. The sceneries are nicely captured. The background suits the mood of the film.

However, the 3D effect is disappointing. Most of the times, it doesn’t feel like a 3D film and the huge pair of glasses remains as the only reminders of that fact. The movie is also not displayed full screen, making the view a little irritating for the audience in the corner seat. The anglicized pronunciation of the Indian names (Baloo, Bandar-log, etc.) was really irritating. The voice caste must have been trained to pronounce the Indian names in the right manner. The cinematographer should have taken care of lighting aspect. Most of the times it is too dark and doesn’t give a sense of what is being shown. Especially, the scene involving elephants and Mowgli during a night in the Jungle.

Little Neel Sethi as Mowgli looks like the Mowgli described in The Jungle Book. The voice to the animated animals are rendered by famous Hollywood stars. They instill emotions and feelings into them.

In short, the movie is less than two hours long, holds your attention and entertains you. It makes the adults nostalgic and takes them back to their childhood days. The children would surely enjoy it.

Take your friends and family along. Read The Jungle Book!

Rating
3.5/5

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Darasuram - Airavateswarar Temple


Darasuram is located near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. 

The Airavateswarar temple was constructed by the Rajaraja Chola-II in the 12th century AD. 

The front mandapam is carved in stone, in the form of a huge chariot drawn by horses. 


According to the legend, Airavata (White Elephant) is said to have worshipped the Lingam. Hence, the deity is named after as Airavateswarar.

It is also believed that Yama (Lord of Death) has also worshipped the Lingam while suffering from a burning sensation all over the body due to Rishi's curse.  


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Forget You

With my heart and soul
I tried to forget you.
What was it?
Love or belongingness?
I often pondered.
How did you become a part of me?
I never realized.
Like the mighty waves,
You came to me.
You drenched me with your love
And you left me damp.                    
Wet pillows and sullen eyes
Became a part of me.
I still try to forget you.
The more I try, the more I think about you.
The more I think about you;
The more I fall in love with you.


Friday, 22 April 2016

Fan

Cast
:
Shah Rukh Khan
Director
:
Maneesh Sharma
Cinematographer
:
Manu Anand
Editor
:
Namrata Rao
Music
:
Songs: Vishal–Shekhar
Background score: Andrea Guerra
Producer
:
Yash Raj Films
Release Date
:
April 15, 2016
Length
:
2 Hours & 22 Minutes
Language
:
Hindi

My Thoughts
Maneesh Sharma’s directorial venture Fan with Shahrukh Khan in double role (as the superstar Aryan Khanna and fan Gourav Chandna) is a testimonial to what an actor can do to a movie.

Gourav is a twenty-something years old Delhi boy who idolizes the superstar Aryan Khanna. He believes that he is the biggest fan of Aryan and has only one ambition in life – to meet the star and take a picture with him. When Gourav wins a local talent show and goes to meet the star, the story moves to the main plot. As an attempt to impress, he assaults Aryan’s fellow worker who speaks against the superstar and forcefully records an apology video. Gourav also let Aryan know that he was responsible for the video. However, Aryan considers this mindless activity as a crime. He also refuses to spend few minutes with Gourav stating that it is his life and he would decide with whom he would like to be. Gourav being someone who has dedicated all his life in following the actor, finds such response heart-breaking. Gradually, he graduates as Aryan’s biggest enemy whose only aim is rip his stardom away.

The story is interesting and unique. But, the screenplay is a little lose - a superstar running across the streets unnoticed, really! The editing could have been better. If the movie was little less long, it would have been much better. The chase scenes were dragging. The background music is brilliant and I wish that they showed the Jabra song as a part of the credits at least. The cinematographer translates the local colors of Delhi, Mumbai, London and Dubrovnik in the big screen.  

Shahrukh Khan as Gourav and Aryan Khanna is both the show-stopper and the show-stealer.
As Aryan, he is himself, depicting the ups and lows of a star’s life. He expresses the dilemma of being a star. He understands that he would not be what he is without his fans. He also acknowledges and is grateful for that. At the same time, he also carries an air of arrogance.
As Gourav an obsessed fan and the look alike of Aryan is unbelievable! Although looks could be attributed to prosthetics and computer tricks, his dialog delivery, mannerisms and body language bring credibility to the character. Shahrukh Khan presents himself so differently that Gourav doesn’t come across as the Shahrukh Khan we are familiar with. Both the characters have shades of grey; it is commendable that Shahrukh Khan agreed to play such a role - a welcome relief from Ra One to Dilwale.

For today’s generation, Shahrukh Khan is a part of their daily life. Some of his dialogs are a part of their day to conversation style. They believe that he is the epitome of romance and that he is a good hearted person. Fan gambles this image and they win! Of course, more as the fan than the actor reiterating that there is no actor without his/her fans!

In short, Shahrukh Khan proves why he is the Badhshah of Bollywood
Go for it! You will get to see the Shahrukh Khan of Baazigar days!

Rating
3.5/5


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Little Things


“Live every single day doing something relevant; single days sum up to make great ages!”
― Israelmore Ayivor, Daily Drive 365

Little things matters...
If only laughter matters, why smile?
If only moon matters, why stars?

It is letters that come together and makes words.
Each letter has no meaning if they stand individually.
They derive meaning when they join hands with others.

And any relationships derive meaning when you share small little things...
These little things lend together and make a beautiful camaraderie...

See the greatness in littleness!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Chariot Kolam


Here I am presenting…
A chariot Kolam - unique and vibrant.

Hope you like it!


PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  

Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.



Friday, 15 April 2016

Roots of Relationship

Roots of our relationship is nurtured
With the wetness of our kisses
Dampness of our tears.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Mrs Funnybones

Details of the Book
No. of Pages   : 248 Pages
ISBN               : 0143424467 (ISBN13: 9780143424468)
Language        : English


From the book blurb
Good morning, it’s 6 a.m. and I am wide awake because the man of the house has decided that he needs to perform a series of complex manoeuvres that involve him balancing on his left elbow. When I fell asleep last night, there was a baby lying next to me. Her smelly diaper is still wedged on my head but aside from this rather damp clue, I can't seem to find her anywhere. I could ask my mother-in-law if she has seen the baby, but she may just tell me that I need to fast on alternate Mondays, and God will deliver the baby back to me . . . Full of wit and delicious observations, Mrs Funnybones captures the life of the modern Indian woman—a woman who organizes dinner each evening, even as she goes to work all day, who runs her own life but has to listen to her Mummyji, who worries about her weight and the state of the country. Based on Twinkle Khanna’s super-hit column, Mrs Funnybones marks the debut of one of our funniest, most original voices.


Author
Twinkle Khanna is an Indian interior designer, newspaper columnist, film producer, author and former film actress (Source: Wikipedia)


What I think
To begin with, I loved the title and the cover page. The former is wacky and the latter is catchy. And the author’s name is sure to attract many potential readers.
Mrs Funnybones is a tiny book with several little chapters where the author has talked about her teenage days, times when she was acting, her married life and most importantly her children. There is a sense of realism all through the book. Some words profound.  

Writing about the trivial matters that happens in day to day life, looking at life with a pinch of sarcasm, laughing at the ironies that our lives throw and laughing at oneself is something that most of the bloggers possess. They write about their experiences, fill the gaps with some exaggeration and add some philosophical angle to it. Their language would be super perfect, narrative different yet simple and I bet that most of them have a good reader base.

Wondering why I am deviating? What am I saying? Well, Mrs Funnybones is like a compilation of few posts from a blog.  I had a feeling that the author is lucky; she has the star status, married to a box-office champ and hence, she sells. I don’t deny that she writes newspaper columns (I have read only a couple of articles), but a book? I am not sure. I read the book because a cousin suggested that it is super funny. I don’t deny that. There are some super funny moments, some which would surely make you laugh. And the book needs just two hours of your time!

In short, the book will surely entertain. But it would also make you feel bad at the realization – rich become richer; famous people become more famous!

Rating
2.5/5

Some words that stole my heart
©       Nothing in life is sacred except laughter.
©       Life is full of contradictions. We crave security and independence in equal measures.
©       We may have potholed roads but at least we have many people willing to travel with us on them.
©       Love in any relationship, family or an intimate friendship, is only about putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own, and that, my friend, is just as simple and as complex as you make it.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Let your Imagination Float!


When Mommy dearest got the opportunity to make a kolam (which is rare because I am mostly around), she seized the opportunity. And this kolam is a testimony of why I am what I am. She is a bundle of talent and an inspiration… Ammaji – you rock!!!

PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  

Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.


Friday, 8 April 2016

Ki & Ka

Cast
:
Kareena Kapoor
Arjun Kapoor
Director
:
R Balki
Cinematographer
:
P. C. Sreeram
Music
:
Ilaiyaraaja
Mithoon and Meet Bros Anjjan
Producer
:
Eros International
Hope Productions
Release Date
:
April 01, 2016
Length
:
2 Hours & 6 Minutes
Language
:
Hindi

My Thoughts
Director R.Balki’s Ki & Ka handles a refreshing and a progressive subject – the man taking care of the house and the woman working in the office. The trailer was smart and grabbed people’s attention. In a times where advertisements propagates that men should also share the “load” with women or that the husband could work as a subordinate to his wife, this movie takes an idea that could sound absurd to many and almost impossible to all. Come on, can any of us imagine a house husband who would be the pillar of support to his wife and helps her not only to follow her dreams but also to seize them! However, Ki & Ka handles this controversial and almost impossible subject wonderfully. The pitch is set right from the first scene.

Kia (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is an ambitious woman who thinks that marriage and children would stop her from going where she wants to be. Kabir (Arjun Kapoor), a topper from IIA-B, is confident that he doesn’t want to run in a rat race and eventually die. He wants to be like his mother, a housewife, who did almost everything to make a home out of the house. When these two people meet, no sparks emit; but a comfortable camaraderie happens. They get married against the wishes of Kabir’s father. Soon, Kabir becomes the home maker and Kia the bread winner. Through Kia, Kabir becomes famous. Later, he becomes the inspiration to many through his motivating speeches. He becomes the face of gender neutrality. Kia starts feeling jealous of him. She thinks that he does almost nothing and yet grabs all the attention. She believes that he doesn’t deserve so much appreciation. Would Kia and Kabir accept their respective roles and carry on together or would they fall apart? This is forms the rest of the story.

The negative response for Ki & Ka forced me kill all the expectations. Also, the director has a tendency to spoil the screenplay by overindulging in the idea (Remember the melodrama in Cheeni Kum and the monologues in Shamitabh). I went to watch it with an open mind. But, thankfully, the script was handled well. It spends equal amount of time to take us through the lifestyle of both Kia and Kabir. Even the climax looked real. Married people don’t fight forever or hate each other all of a sudden because of a few mean things they utter in anger.

The relationship between the characters are well established. Everyone knows their priorities. The screenplay is not redundant and often shows the clichés with Kabir in it which looks refreshing. The background is good and the songs are okay. P.C. Sreeram’s cinematography gives a rich and classy tone for the film. The close-ups shots brings out the best of actors. The editing ensures that there are no bore moment.

Kareena Kapoor Khan as the workaholic Kia looks graciously aged; yet beautifully fit as fiddle. Her outfits are smart. She sometimes carries a little bit of Jab We Met Geet like charm! Arjun Kapoor as the homemaker gives his 100% and becomes the dream husband to all the girls.

Having said that, Kabir’s obsession with trains could be annoying. Toy trains run across the living room, kitchen and bed room. The interiors is done like a railway station. Kabir’s ringtone is that of a train’s sound. It is understandable that a man may not decorate the house in the same way as woman. Still! I hope now you understand what I meant by the director’s tendency to overindulge in his own idea.

Further, bigger issues like how the similar relationship quotient would be handled after the birth of a child is not mentioned. In fact, in a scene where Amitabh Bachan (in a cameo as himself) asks Jaya Bachan (Cameo again as herself) if Kia and Kabir have children yet. There are hints that the couple don’t prefer to have children, which is good to simplify the storyline. But, isn’t that a subject worth discussing while putting across a new family model?

To sum up, the movie is worth a watch. I am sad that the movie received bad reviews. I tried to find what could be the reason. Then, I concluded that the reviews were written either by men who don’t want to be like Kabir or women who are already married/committed to men who know that such an idea would remain as an idea. But, I ask, what is wrong in appreciating a story that is so different; so impossible? Of course, we have become progressive enough where men and women share their load, where women multi-task and all that. But can there be men who would shed their male ego and understand that being at home as well as taking care of a home is a full time job? Ki & Ka presents such a man before us. Why don’t we just see what he does and how he manages? Why should we not untangle ourselves from the accepted societal norms? Why don’t we teach our sons that it is okay to be a man and so house chores? Why don’t we tell our daughters that they can be career oriented because they have also spent equal time as men in studies? Why don’t we just tell our children to follow their dreams?

Why don’t we just watch Ki & Ka!

Rating
3.5/5


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Kali

Cast
:
Dulquer Salmaan, Sai Pallavi
Chemban Vinod Jose
Director
:
Sameer Thahir
Cinematographer
:
Gireesh Gangadharan
Music
:
Gopi Sundar
Producer
:
Hand Made Films
Release Date
:
March 26, 2016
Length
:
1 Hour & 54 Minutes
Language
:
Malayalam

My Thoughts
Sameer Thahir’s Kali is a story that focuses on only one emotion – anger. The screenplay is as clear as the title. It is about how menacing and damaging anger could be not only to the person who feels the anger but also to the near and dear ones.

Kali is Siddharth (Dulquer Salmaan) and his anger management problems. We are shown glimpses of various circumstances where he loses his temper (from his childhood days) and how he handles them. Thankfully, Siddharth and Anjali (Sai Pallavi) comes across as a couple in relationship from the beginning. Although we miss to know how they met each other and such other intricacies, it feels good to see a matured relationship. It is better to see life after marriage and the related nuances and problems.

The first half of the film spends time in establishing the character of Siddharth and his relationship with Anjali. Several incidents are woven making it interesting. And, the second half centers on the night in a Highway on the way from Cochin to Masinagudi in Karnataka. It transforms into a road trip mode and how that journey transforms them and their life forever.  The cinematographer has done a commendable job during the scenes shot in the night. The Chenda in the background whenever Siddharth loses his temper is appealing. The songs are beautifully choreographed with montages. The editing is always crisp.

Dulquer as the angry young man depicts the emotion at its perfect best. The way he strain his brows, the voice modulation when he yells, the strain in his voice and the animal-like body language is well conveyed. His physique makes it believable when he beats up people. Special appreciations to the actor for agreeing to play a character with such a gray shade.  Sai Pallavi as the patient, understanding and loving girlfriend/wife is charming. She continues to look an extension of Malar Miss (Premam fame) in modern clothes. Her hair is unkempt and face is free from make-up. Just before the climax there is a scene where she drives the car across the Highway in the night. The fear, helplessness and anxiety is beautifully shown by her. However, there are some scenes where we wish that at least a bit of talcum powder should have been used on her face. Chemban Vinod Jose as Chakkara is scary in his own real way.

In short, the second half is where the aspects come together to produce a sample of how adversely anger can affect people. As audience, we feel tensed, helpless, scared and what not. Kali wins there!

Done miss it!

Rating
4/5

PS: This is my 100th movie review! Hurray!!! J