The Conundrum

If you had a choice, what would you pick?

He moved through the tunnel gingerly;  a flaming torch in one hand, and the other numb from rubbing across the cold walls, looking for some support for his tired hands. The water was knee-deep, he had no choice but to do this. He continued his cautious walk, startled once or twice by strange noises that were probably rats scurrying around, or so he hoped. There was no time or place to rest for a while, the water made sure he had to keep moving.

There was a flicker of light, in distance. He blinked hard and fast, to check if the flicker was his imagination – but it stayed. Hope started to grow in his heart, the end was near. He quickened his pace, and began to move faster , oblivious of the splashing water and darting bats.

As he moved faster, the source of light grew brighter. He had a spring in his step now, his exhausting journey was drawing to a close. The dark walls had finally began to get illuminated, the water level receding. He ran, to touch the warmth that proliferated the confines of the tunnel.

He had finally reached, he could see the sunlight coming inside. But he realized he was behind a gate, of glass, that allowed him to see outside. Suddenly, a melodious voice spoke.

“Hello! You are about to enter your land. Please do the last task and you will be free to go.”

Pumped with adrenaline, willing to give his best to the last challenge, he asked ,”What is the task?”

“Please watch one of the movies from the list below. The gate shall open after the closing credits roll off:

1) Mohenjo Daro

2) Ghayal Once Again

3) Housefull 3 ”

via Conundrum

Featured Image: Pixabay

The movie I am eagerly waiting for – Dangal

From fat to fit, Aamir has left his fans flabbergasted with his latest venture.

Even though I am not much of a sportsperson, I love watching sports dramas. Sports drama, when executed correctly, have the potential of turning around the careers of the lead actors. Be it SRK after “Chak De India”, or PeeCee after “Mary Kom”,  Farhan Akhtar after “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” or even Sushant Singh Rajput post “M.S Dhoni: the Untold Story”, their depiction of sportsman valor and vigor resulted in many accolades and established them as “actors” and not just “stars”

In a country like India, where anything other than medicine and engineering requires a determination beyond the realms of normalcy, pursuing sports as a profession and succeeding at it is commendable. Sports not only need a lot of mental endurance, but also require immense physical strength and stamina, and hence the stories of sports’ persons are very heart-warming and motivating.

When I read the word prompt Vigor at Daily Post today, it made me smile because I can’t think of a better way to describe Aamir Khan’s incredible transformation for Dangal, which releases on 23rd December 2016. Now Bhai fans are gonna say “Well Aamir copied Bhai because he did Sultan first”, but even they know that Salman and Aamir really have no comparison whatsoever 😛 (which Salman says himself by the way). Aamir has always been a perfectionist, but this time I think he has surpassed himself. Have a look at this video at UTV Movies’ Facebook page, and decide for yourself:

Isn’t he inspiring? I mean from 97 kgs to 6-pack, that accounts for something right? That’s a lot of mental and physical vigor in 5 minutes! The next time I want to miss a workout, I am going to watch this video 😛 Amazing stuff, and I think Dangal is one movie I am not going to miss, come what may. The real story of an ex-wrestler pushing his daughters to the glory of victory at the international stage in a sport like Wrestling, is bound to tug the chords of the sentimental me!

Are you looking forward for Dangal as much as I am? Don’t forget to let me know!

Featured Image: BollyoodTheka

The relatives He chose for us: Family

2016 seems to be a good year for the content driven mainstream Hindi cinema. After the strong and proud dose of patriotism in “Airlift” and “Neerja”, comes a refreshing take on family and inter-personal relationships from *surprise-surprise* the Dharma production house! I have always felt that whenever Karan Johar tries to rise above the usual run-of-the-mill candy floss commercial cinema, he does a good job. Take for example, “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, which dealt with the sensitive issue of extra-marital affairs of two individuals blessed with loving spouses , or “My Name is Khan”, the struggle of a socially awkward Muslim man in USA, determined to prove that his surname doesn’t guarantee his guilt, or “Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh”, from “Bombay Talkies”, reflecting on the stigma of homosexuality. However, this time, Karan Johar let Shakun Batra take the lead to make a hilarious, and yet poignant in parts, “Kapoor and Sons since 1921”, which is his first outing after the Kareena Kapoor-Imran Khan’s venture on friend-zoning, “Ekk Main aur Ek Tu”.

The movie boasts of a stellar star cast in Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah as the elders of the family, grappling with their own issues of emotional insecurity, trust, and sanity (in case of Daadu played by Rishi Kapoor 😛 ). They are accompanied by two of the HOTTTESSTTT men in the industry today, Fawad Khan and Siddharth Malhotra, and the effervescent Alia Bhatt. As much as Alia is poked fun at for her bad GK, there is no doubt in the fact that she is an amazing actress, bringing life into an otherwise side-character. Fawad Khan is an established Pakistani TV star and his role as the elder, responsible brother, trying to hold everything together in the background of the madness of his family and his own secrets, is something very few actors can achieve in their second film itself. This man is not just good looks, which he is blessed with abundantly, he knows his acting and how! I wonder why so many Pakistani men are so so so good-looking, and so so so married 😛 I wish they let us import some more Fawads. Sigh 😉

Siddharth Malhotra also, for a change, has tried to move beyond his poker face expression and played the younger, and often neglected sibling, with finesse. Your heart goes out for this young man, waiting for lady luck to shine on him, and being a mute spectator to the fact that his elder brother is almost always favored over him. This post, however, is not just a review of the film, for you must have read several of them by now, praising the movie and the cast. This movie made me think and realize that after a long long time, we have watched a very realistic take on the most important unit of any human society; family.

Family – the people God chooses for you, making them your parents, brother, sisters and extended relatives. Around 50-60 years back, it was quite the norm to have a huge set of siblings, who would grow up to be your friends, closest confidants or even arch-enemies 😛  As infant mortality and general life expectancy improved, the number of siblings came down, to the point that today there are families who believe in having only one child, as having two kind of means double the responsibilities, and problems 😛 And yet, I don’t think there is any better gift for a child than a younger sibling, someone to play with, boss around on, quarrel with, be jealous from, or as you grow wiser, discuss everything with.

When I was younger, like way way back, I used to feel envious of all attention my then-baby brother received. But as he grew older, I kind of realized that he is actually fun to be with, for I could direct him to do all the naughty things and then blame it on him later 😀 . Since he was too young and a darling of my father, he was hardly scolded 😛 Add to that the fact that I had someone to tie rakhi to and an excuse for another birthday party every year, for which I was given a new dress each time 😀 Of course, we had our share of crazy violent fights, that included worse sledging than what Australians do to India in cricket, often accompanied by choke-slam moves inspired by WWE. Add to the fact that I would scream for even the smallest of things, including him not giving me the remote of the TV, and one can safely assume what a nightmare we must be for our parents, at times 😉 Sometimes in my fit of rage, I would ask my mom, “Why did you get this guy?”:P To which she would calmly say,”Because your Dad says everyone should have a sibling”.

Needless to say, I didn’t buy that explanation then 😛 It took me years of fights and yelling to finally understand what it means to have a brother. Today, my brother, who has grown up to be a fine young man, especially when he ties his turban, is my voice of sanity. It is so strange to have someone almost 4 years younger to me have such deep insight into my relationships and issues. Of course, we still fight, and he feels I hog all the attention in the house 😛 , there is no doubt in the fact that I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in the world. I can see him shaking his head at this line in disbelief, so yeah dude, I am lying just to be a better sister in the eyes of the world 😛

The thing with family is, they almost always have your back. Your parents are possibly the only people who love you unconditionally, and while they might yell at you or sulk when you do something stupid (in my case that includes not putting a bedsheet on the bed for two days in a row 😛 ), they almost always come around, understanding why you did what you did, eager to overlook your flaws and with time, even appreciating your seemingly-crazy but well-paid decisions. Of course, you may have to convince them a lot more than you initially expected, especially if they feel that you are wrong, but they will also be the first ones to defend you the world and the “chaar log”. Sure, they have expectations, and for that matter, so does everyone, of everyone, and sometimes the expectations can overwhelm us too, but in the long run, one realises that in the Indian society setup, it is family which leads to a concept of community and care-giving, which is very essential for any population to evolve.

Nope, not my wedding! And the one on left is my bro (yes younger) 😛

So go ahead, watch Kapoor and Sons since 1921 if you haven’t yet, and don’t forget to call your husband/wife/mom/dad/brother/sister/grandparent after that to tell them how much your appreciate their presence and value their words in your day-to-day life. And share your reactions in the comment section below!!!!

 

Featured Image : IBTimes

Anybody Can Dance, including Shraddha, and how! ABCD2

A much awaited sequel was finally here, and I absolutely had to catch it over the last weekend. And what better company than people who share my joy for dancing – my awesome friends at SDIPA? 🙂 I have been a regular at the dance classes conducted by Shiamak Davar’s Institute Of Performing Arts, and it is to them I credit my treasure of great people who I have known and befriended over my stay here. More about that in another post!!!

See, how awesome we look in our crazy, windy selfie :P
See, how awesome we look in our crazy, windy selfie 😛

Anyway, coming to the actual review of the movie, we watched it at Cinepolis, which I like over others in the vicinity thanks to its nice seats and cheap tickets, making the whole cinematic experience cushy and comfortable. And we had decided long back, that this movie deserves to be seen ONLY IN 3D, and so we did, wearing our crazy glasses 😛

As you must have read everywhere, the plot is not much to speak of. A team of dancers, branded as cheaters on a dance reality show, approach Prabhudeva to become their guru for the world’s greatest hip hop competition at Las Vegas. This one sentence pretty much sums up the entire story of the movie 😛 In terms of acting, only Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor to some extent seem to be able to hold the fort. But then, who watches a ABCD movie for the acting, eh?

The dance sequences are beautifully interspersed throughout the movie, and this movie is a joy to watch for all hip-hop lovers. Varun Dhawan is a Shiamak prodigy, and it surprises no one to see him dancing so mind-bogglingly well. Shraddha Kapoor, on the other hand, though not as good as Varun or others, still does a good job. Somehow I felt that her moves lacked the strength that hip hop requires. Probably, she was too focused on getting the technique right. But dude, she looks super hot, even better than Varun Dhawan. The “Sunn Sathiya” sequence sees her in the full glory,  and for a second you are compelled, even as a girl, to move your eyes away from Varun’s six packs to Sharddha’s new, slender dancer body 😀

Punit Pathak, Dharmesh Sir, Raghav “Cockroach”, Saajan, Sushant , are all fabulous dancers, and they play a huge, huge role in lifting up the performances in the movie to another level. Lauren kind of has a special appearance, but without her, ABCD2 would be incomplete. However, honestly speaking, ABCD’s music and choreography were more catchy than ABCD2’s. ABCD also utilized the 3D advantage more, and gave us amazing sequences in “Ganpati Bappa Morya” and “Bezubaan”. In  ABCD2, my favorite sequence was “Bezubaan Phir Se”. “Chunar” and “Sunn Sathiya” are nice enough too.

Overall, if you love dancing as much as I do, please do yourself a favor and watch this movie. But don’t try to find sense in the story. Just leave your brains at home and take with you your dancing soul, and cheer for Varun and his team of underdogs, unabashed.

Meanwhile, I am going to listen to Bezubaan Phir Se, just one more time 😛

Rating:  3.5 / 5

A complete entertainer : Tanu Weds Manu Returns

We Indians love our family oriented, naach-gaana movies. They are larger than life; we laugh, cry and dance with them, and take back home with us a cinematic experience. One such very happy, fun-filled and absolutely rocking entertainer has been Tanu Weds Manu Returns!

Now let’s be honest, Bollywood doesn’t do sequels much. But here is a refreshing movie that is even better than its predecessor! To cut a long story short, the story takes up right where the prequel left -what really did happen after Tanu wed Manu? Turns out, not all matches have a happy ending. 4 years later, the bubbly Tanu and cute Manu have been replaced by a raging wife in Tanu and a disgruntled husband in Manu. They decide to separate, and Manu meets Datto – a better version of Tanu, with none of her madness. What happens next, forms the crux of the story.

The story is simple, and at times disbelieving too, but the characters and dialogues more than make up for it. Kangana is the “hero” of this movie, but every actor contributes to the beautiful execution of this lovely film. One character that stole my heart away was Deepak Dobriyal’s “Pappiji”, Manu’s loyal sidekick. His mannerisms, his “gyaan” for his friend, his craziness – without Pappiji, Tanu Weds Manu Returns wouldn’t be half as good as it is. Not to forget, my eternal crush Jimmy Shergill, who played Raja Awasthi, the suitor in line, for the second time, and even better than before!

Some tracks in the story did seem a little unnecessary to me – there didn’t seem to be any sense in continuing Jassi and Payal’s track. But those are minor hiccups in the overall package, where Kangana Ranaut rules the roost as Tanu and Datto – playing two totally different characters with equal aplomb. Kangana has always been a good actress, but in the past I have often felt that her diction is not clear enough. It is good to see that she has been working hard on it, with great results. It is also nice to see R.Madhavan in a Hindi movie after 3 Idiots, and kudos to him for shining in a role that was written to be overpowered by Kangana.

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At the end of the movie, you realize that both Tanu and Manu are more than a little cuckoo in the head and you root shamelessly for Datto – the simple Jatni that makes you smile. But as Kangana very rightly mentioned in one of her interviews, Tanu Weds Manu Returns is not just another sequel. It is a force to reckon with, for it asks you a very complicated question – should you ever find a version of your partner/spouse without their flaws, would you want them instead of your better half? Will you replace your nagging wife or lazy husband or over-bearing girlfriend or boring boyfriend for someone who looks like them but doesn’t have those traits that annoy the crap out of you?

The music of the movie is also fun – peppy numbers that will dominate wedding dance floors for years to come 😛

With two women-centric movies doing exceptionally well (Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns) over a glossy magnum opus(Bombay Velvet), it is indeed a good time to be watching Hindi movies!

Rating: 4/5

Featured Image Source : Eros

Other Image Source : BharatPress

Motion se hi Emotion – Piku

Movies are supposed to be a mirror to our lives. Over the decades, Hindi commercial cinema has produced and promotes movies that portray and ideal, Utopian world, where children love their parents selflessly. According to Hindi movies, there is no greater sin than not taking care of your old parents, after all, ours is the land of Shravan Kumar- the ideal son. We have grown up seeing movies  where “Maa-Baap” were the ultimate epitome of love and sacrifice, who are loved equally selflessly by the “Hero”.

But what happens when you realize that an old father can be selfish enough to keep his young daughter to himself, trapped in his daily tantrums regarding his health, especially his bowel movements? It is with this view that Piku, directed by Shoojit Sircar of “Kahaani” and “Vicky Donor” fame, creeps in stealthily and captures our hearts.

Piku is the story of a young, independent, working Bengali woman, Piku Banerjee(played with absolute finesse by Deepika Padukone), who lives with her eccentric father (and this is the reason why Amitabh Bacchan is a living legend) in Delhi’s CR park (where else, apart from Kolkata? 😛 ). By now you must have read raving reviews of Piku, the superb acting of Irrfan Khan and others, and how it continued to rake in the moolah at the Box Office, till “Tanu Weds Manu Returns” ended its winning streak, and quite rightfully.

A simple story with a beautiful narration, Piku tugged at my heart and by the time it ended, it left me with many things to ponder. In a society like India where families are so close knit, often we see that even after children are grown up and independent, parents tend to hold on to them. They expect their children to revolve their lives around them, and to them it is only fair, since they did that for them too!

Image Source : www.bluegape.com

A lot of people celebrated Piku as the modern Indian woman, independent and self-reliant, brought up with a broad mindset. And yet, they ignore the fact that Piku’s Baba uses her active sex-life as an excuse to drive away potential suitors! Of course, there are a lot of ways to interpret a cinematic experience, people say that Bhaskor Banerjee was quite progressive, but if you ask me, he used “empowering women” as an excuse to tie down his own daughter into shackles of responsibility and loneliness.

At the end of the day, everyone is selfish to some extent. It takes a great amount of love to be truly selfless, letting someone you love go to find their own path. Piku too tried to tie down her father into the customary old-age restrictions of not walking too much or eating oily/spicy food, but she did let him go, eventually. Love is weird that way.

If you haven’t watched Piku yet, do watch it. It is good to see Hindi cinema revolving into meaningful and enjoyable cinema, without being preachy or boring.

Rating: 4/5

Featured image source : Koimoi

Issey Metabolism kehte hain Buaji!!!!!

If you are a 90s baby, you will fondly remember an era of premature Cable Television, video game players, tape recorders, cassettes, VCRs, and that slow inception of CDs.  Above all, you will remember the songs – some cheesy like “Tu chiz badi hai mast mast”, or soulful renditions like “Humko Sirf Tumse Pyaar Hai”. And with the songs, you will remember a voice, that dominated the romantic numbers of 90s – Kumar Saanu.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a tribute to that period. And yet, it is different and modern in its take. It is set in Haridwar of 90s, with its narrow lanes and nosy neighbors, where everyone knows what is happening in whose house. The casting is perfect, with both simple sets of parents, a bua with a slight hint of innocent sarcasm, and of course the protagonists – Ayushmann Khurrana as Prem Prakash Tiwari, the “naalayak beta”, who is an ardent Kumar Saanu fan. Only three things get tears in eyes – his Dad’s beatings, the English Question Paper which has been his undoing in 10th board exams, and Kumar Saanu’s voice. Ayushmann falls into the role almost effortlessly, and it is hard to believe that he is the same guy who played the suave, “Dilli ka launda”, Vicky Donor.

The breath of fresh air is the debutante Bhumi Pednekar, cast as Sandhya Verma, an educated Indian girl, albeit fat, who is comfortable in her own skin. She is smart, she dreams to be a teacher, and wishes to get married ASAP. Bhumi seems like a seasoned actor, and it helps that she was a casting director for YRF for many years. She specifically gained 10-12 kgs for the role, and that speaks a lot about her commendable dedication to her profession.

The movie unfolds with Prem and Sandhya getting married, much against Prem’s wishes, simply because Sandhya is fat and therefore, unsightly. Sandhya tries hard to woo Prem, but gives up when she hears Prem calling her names in front of his friends. But unlike the heroine of yesteryear, Sandhya doesn’t take it lying low. She stands up for herself, and puts people in their place when they are mean to her. Of course, Prem realizes what a douche he is, and tries to make amends. The entire movie is set against a backdrop of “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, a fun competition, which calls for a married couple’s understanding and endurance, with a prize money of 10K INR, a huge amount in those times.sunder-susheel-promo

The movie is splattered with lots of hilarious moments, and the comedy is clean and truly funny. “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” is an attempt at giving us Indians our own rom-coms, and it is worth appreciating. It is a short movie by Indian standards, it wraps up in less than 2 hours. The crisp editing ensures that movie doesn’t seem like a drag at any point and is genuinely sweet and enjoyable. It drives important social messages across, without being preachy. It asks us to understand how little appearances matter when it comes down to judging people, and how an educated woman need not feel afraid of societal pressures and put up with an unhappy marriage.

If you haven’t watched it till now, do so. I don’t have more to say about it, since that would be like giving away everything of a predictable plot. But do watch it for a respite from the likes of “Chennai Express” or “Singham Returns”, for it is good to watch movies that you can actually relate to.

Rating: 3/5

P.S : If you did see this one, don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below!!! 🙂