Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Agent Phil Coulson is Jesus

Agent Phil Coulson is Jesus. Actually he's not Jesus, he's just a run-of the mill human being. BUT HE DIED FOR US!
Norse god Loki killed him while superhumans were busy quarreling among each other. This gave Nick Fury an opportunity to say "He died for us!" and get all the superheros all sentimental thinking his blood is metaphorically on their hands. But its actually on Captain America collector cards - nerd awesomeness. Actually nerd analogue of religious artifact to give purpose to the group.

But what just happened - the humanist Joss Whedon just turned the tables in the human - superhuman- god scheme of things. For once the ordinary human being is at the reason to go to war, um against um, the infamous puny god. (Asgardians please dont hurt us because we hurt your delicate sentiments.)
Avengers are avenging an ordinary human being killed by a god. Put like that - who would think its the idea of one of the most entertaining films ever made? Death of Phil Coulson is the reason that for the first time they come together for one purpose. A noble message - why not join our forces for the good of the human?

Move over Nolan, Whedon's here, he will plant a dangerous idea in your mind, while you're wide awake without a whiz, smooth as a Ninja. A storyteller who made one of the highest grossing films ever without pissing most of the people off. Well played, Whedon, well played.

Lesson 1. Human beings matter. Only question that should matter at all, more important than "Does god exist?" is "What can we do to help human beings?"

Lesson 2. All those directors crying foul about their movies getting banned for various reasons - get crafty with your shiz, yo! Concealing dangerous ideas in movies full of awesomeness is SO much more fun.

On hind sight Batman trilogy seems too highbrow, obscure and pseudo intellectual compared to Whedon's formula for mass entertainment and clever thought. On hinder than hindsight, how can I ever stop loving the flip-a-truck-n-introduce-a-little-anarchy-joker-batman love story?

Update! on yet another viewing of the film, look what I found!

Selvig: "The Tesseract is showing me so much. It's...it's more than knowledge, it's truth."
The sleepy eyed Stellan Skaarsgard had a line which will easily be missed by many but whoooa! Joss Whedon had weaved it so dark and twisted it makes me drool. And its profound in most unlikely places like this. Actually observe how major part of the movie are conversations, especially the first half, most audience which came to avengers would be so bored. But agree with me or not I think above quotation is atheist. For the context its really good you watch the movie again.
Also the Captain America character is the most intriguing. He seems very republican and nationalist. He will say stuff like "Son,...just don't!" and "There's only one God and he doesnt dress like that."
And guess what, he has been asleep for 60 years. In terms of ideology and preachiness, please read between the lines what Joss is saying (or secretly laughing?) about those who agree with Captain America.

Friday, January 25, 2013

For a long time I was brooding on how people are adamant on not allowing books and relationships to change their character and habits. Then I read two quotes which I had already known - "Be the change" by Mohandas and second was illuminating- "You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way - that's learning" by Doris Lessing. I think Lessing's quote will ring everytime I learn something new or old.
By the way how about calling Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi by his first name and addressing his individuality ...flaws and all, instead of the enigma of the imaginary so called mahatma .....and give congress party the finger.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Its so easy being an adult spend hours and hours talking to people trying to change their opinion. One feels as if they are on a mission to change other people and change the world because you feel you are right. There is feeling that you have a noble mission to change the world for the better and you can change other people because you are so wise and you speak so well (especially because you are a teacher or professor) and you have so many years' experience shaping lives.
And you can also shower luxuries and love and cozy cliches of modern life but fact remains that you want to change others but you dont want to change yourself.
I respect that self awareness that you are humble enough to say that there is more to me that even I cannot comprehend. I can be better than even I cannot know. There is more to know and there are ways to live other than known by the world. What I am saying is about the humility even in the pink of things when all is good in life you are brave enough to say "Its possible that there is something wrong with my attitude or if not wrong yet there are ways in which I can improve or change and change for better of myself and my family"

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The worst thing about growing up is to see that all people are not made equal. Time and again people give the proof that men or women, rich or poor, high or low caste, hindu or muslim, so on and so on get treated differently. This continuous assault on reason, common sense and compassion and humanity comes in different forms and shapes.
Rape is one such form when people feel that women deserve less respect because of their sex. Its as if this nation is waking up to the fact that women deserve equality with men.
Organizations of power- the government, religions, corporations and families seem to further divide rather than unite people. 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Of love and respect and sentiments

There was this guy, just like you and me, who was working in a company and earning a living. And he was just another bloke, ...work work, work and apart from that lot of beers and food and good time with friends. Maybe he had a girlfriend and they were really fond of each other.
The worst and most peculiar thing that you can say  about him is that he never read newspaper, or books or any news channels. He could survive very well, yeah, you see he knew enough of engineering or science or language or coding or selling to keep a job that pays for the rent and booze.
X on the other hand is a politician. The writer can safely say that he cannot be arrested for not providing all of the details about X.
One fine day Guy decides, "I dont like X." He says this on Facebook and Twitter and all that. He climbs on rooftops and yells "I don't like X". A man peeing in the street corner was distracted.

So they arrested him and raided his uncle's hospital.

"All that you do is eat chicken, drink beer and watch porn." (This somehow reminded him of an episode from FRIENDS but that's beside the point.) "What have YOU ever done for your fellow Indians? What do you know about Indian politics and history and how things are done here? Do you know how many people support X? By disrespecting X you've hurt sentiments and thats a thing so big the country is lucky it did not lead to bigger riots"

He was so afraid now. He was afraid he might lose his job because no company would hire anyone who's been arrested. His girlfriend would leave him. Which totally makes sense because such stupidity is not a sign of a goodfellow. His friends would mock his recklessness 'cause why would he do such a thing? His parents would be ashamed of him, feel guilty about perhaps not having taught him enough about the real world. How would they answer their relatives?


"I may not know shit, I may be stupid but do I have the right to say stuff?
I have learnt my lesson.
Never disagree. And above all, why tell it to others?"

Friday, November 09, 2012

Trans


Neo: Who are you?
Trinity: My name is Trinity.
Neo: Trinity... [pauses] The Trinity that cracked the IRS d-base?
Trinity: That was a long time ago.
Neo: Jesus.
Trinity: What?
Neo: I just thought that... you were a guy.
Trinity: Most guys do.

There is a certain someone called Lana Wachowski. Matrix can now be watched again for the different interpretations. For the record I am straight. But I am fascinated by the stories where people have changed identities so powerfully and at the same time have embraced art and philosophy. I plan on studying the texts  which served as inspiration for The Matrix. Useful Website.
Renewed interest in the Wachowskis due to the life changing experience called Cloud Atlas.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Joss Whedon is amazing. I was driving and wondering about what he has said. Nothing is more important than how we treat people. Think of keeping faith in human beings in terms of three traffic signals on the road, as in my case it really happened.
On the first signal suppose you get a red light, but its a very small signal and everyone is tempted to  jump it. Many do. But awesome guy that I am I listed to my conscience. You wait for it to be green and go. On the second one 5-10 seconds are past since it was green so you're going a little bit faster lest it turns orange. But one wise guy is jumping the signal and you almost collide with him. Luckily that doesnt happen. And you're on your way to the third signal. If the third traffic signal is red, will you jump it? How can you trust people to do the right thing? If wrong was done to you who would you take revenge from?

 Faith in god means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers. 

Some where one of the early human not killed by wild animals in the jungle after  hunting and gathering thought to himself/ herself that sharing food would be better than eating alone. Maybe they could have fun and dance with each other in the heat or rain or snow when there was no TV or FB.

Point is humanism predates religion. We did not need sky bully to tell us what was the right thing to do and how we could survive, be selfish about that and yet share among our peers and have a good time.

Here's what I know - There is no Justice in this world. The sooner we understand this the better it is for us to decide whats the right thing to do. That burning desire to right the wronged. Undo the undone. It can never be undone. Many lives have been ruined in that desire for fulfilling the need for justice. Society with its cliches and media and advertising would have us believe what is right and what we should aim for, what sons should buy their parents and what father should do for his son and what love means. We need a higher power to dictate morality and define the purpose of life. We want to live in a way that conforms with the environment around us. But there was a time when you asked questions. Your mind was probably flooded with questions and you satisfied yourself with answers from the environment - your parents, friends, media, newspapers. Yet somewhere your chain of question might lead to where Joss Whedon is -

I believe that the only reality is how we treat each other. The morality comes from the absence of any grander scheme... Not from the presence of any grander scheme.
Another good quote is from Daniel Handler -

 "I'm not a believer in predetermined fates, being rewarded for one's efforts. I'm not a believer in karma. The reason why I try to be a good person is because I think it's the right thing to do. If I commit fewer bad acts there will be fewer bad acts, maybe other people will join in committing fewer bad acts, and in time there will be fewer and fewer of them"

So it might sound arrogant - there is no entity divine or not to decide you whats right or not. As quite literal in the first example - you wont get a green signal for the morally right thing to do. So for that there's this thing called responsibility. Do good to others. Dont be unjust. Are we to follow this? Who decides? You. There is nothing up there to make decisions for you. its a void. From sounding arrogant it boils down to responsibility. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Foreign supermodels are Indian actresses?

Nargis Farkhri and Amy Jackson are supermodels draped in Indian costumes, with  hindi voiceovers from an uncredited artist who says all their dialogues. The way the status of Indian actress is diminished that its a sense of justice that Rockstar and Ek Diwana Tha (EDT), didn't garner either praise or revenues. Brands being sold in EDT are HDFC, PVR, Syntel etc. Seduction via visuals, commercialization and commoditization - it extends to the Indian actress as well. People with film-making resources and talents think of the female lead as ...White skinned. Firangi. Body of the supermodel. Is there a turn on in knowing that under the traditional Indian dress is the body foreign woman. Is there a sense of triumph? Are they assuming Indian audience is thinking from their penis? So they cast such women who cannot speak Hindi (or regional languages) let alone act. When did films get reduced to only the functions of pleasure, seduction or style? I mean we've had item numbers since 60s or 70s and Indian woman's place in cinema has never been such exactly a premium (except for the good old false pride and hypocrisy of Mother India or Kabhi Khushi Kabhi ghum) but I find it a shame that when it comes to the female acting itself is now expendable. Quite literally if she doesn't have a voice of her own - its perfectly fine. Who gives a shit.
The original Tamil film - Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya touched me intermittently even though subtitles were patchy. I loved its ending very much. Its curious that the same director - Menon made the Hindi version which has acting so bad its an abomination. The ending is changed from the original and its a strangling of a dream if Menon ever had one with VTV.
I am biased towards foreign films not because there people as shallow as described above don't make movies but because occasionally someone like Steven Spielberg tells you that audience is so much wiser than you think. I've seen predominantly regional language speaking Indian audience - shedding tears for a film called War Horse. We all pine for good storytelling and acting. What we need are films irrespective of language or cultural barriers that touch and appeal to our humanity and higher sensibility.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Atonement ("The story can resume...")

“Find you, love you, marry you, and live without shame.” 
Could a man's life, at one point in it, be summed up in the above sentence? Would that be an indifferent oversimplification or just doing away of the trivial burdens of the rest of the life.
For the past week I have been taken in by Atonement. As it happens with me, I am always "taken in" .... bewitched, by one film or the other and it is a compulsion to watch it again and again till the parts of the whole start becoming smaller and smaller , till they become mundane. The progression is, the parts of the film become bigger, (vis-a- vis the whole) in repeated viewings, reveal themselves, enchant me, and then in further viewing start becoming smaller and mundane (which is sad and I wish I could consciously avoid it. Its possible to avoid it and i'm, working on it) So, I've loved Atonement, the movie. I am reading the novel and haven't finished it. While I'm reading it, the things I  instinctively felt about the tragedy, the story of the film were confirmed by the first seven chapters of the novel (that's where I'm at right now). I cried a lot. A lot. And I havent felt this way about a hero, the way I have about Robbie Turner, and Briony Tallis. I am happy that a character like Briony Tallis was created and am more than pleased with its portrayal by Ronan.
I was in love with the music of the film, especially, Elegy for Dunkirk and the four and a half minute long, uninterrupted shot, a single shot. I cant put into words (that is the reason I have started the study of literature, sentences and words and enrolled for a degree in English) how this single shot made me cry (of course) and touched the unseen parts of my heart. I am now thinking if the fact that its single shot worked against the film in some ways. The shot led me to explore its beautiful and powerful soundtrack and I somehow ended up listening to a lot of soundtracks of many films - among them - James Newton Howard's Sixth Sense. I thought, Atonement would very well fall apart in front of external logic (Do you see how the Robbie being accused of the crime is treated illogically, how can he be raping Lola if the cousins can testify he was the one who found them? Its lame how a bee draws Briony to witness the fountain encounter and a fallen ornament to the library.) But Shyamalan's films are enthusiastically accused and suffer this very argument  and  are disliked because it seems he's losing his touch and critics seem to take pleasure of this sad progression or decline of his career unfolding in front of their eyes.
Never let me go (2010) and now Atonement. I like these movies because they give me pain. Just give me eternal pain and sorrow, destitution, desolation, misery and most importantly, misfortune. A sense of pre determination, fate, loss of control and power over life, something shared by us all, Robbie and soldiers of war - a war which plays dice with lives of courageous noble men of honor. I thought of that part of our heart that says, this is it, this is the misfortune I've been given, because I have done something wrong - a mistake by the library - what my body made me do - the impulses of the body felt so strongly and uncontrollable in the moment. The part of our heart which makes a different choice of emotion - of pain and misery. How can we choose to be sad? unhappy? When Robbie talks with Cee in the cafe before leaving for the war, he confesses his guilt - he wishes he hadnt done what he did in the library to her, and now that act will haunt him and ruin his life.
The case of the film Atonement descends into tragedy because the initial premise of languishing well being and comfort wasn't going anywhere in the first place. What with swims and wasting by the pool...Cee and Robbie were a class apart anyway and Robbie was in debt of Cee's father and that's just not man enough of him. Cee and her mother have nothing to do around the house and what is Robbie doing gardening around after a degree from Cambridge? Who the fuck cares what I think about any fucking movie that comes out in the horde of movies every fucking year? But no-one cares what you think about movies or about what you think about my opinions either. So- what its really about is one's expression and venting. Its a very selfish exercise and nobody should expect to make a living out of anything remotely like this or writing as a whole.
Robbie sees many 13 - 15 year old school girls dead and laid in front of him (it had to be little girls not a random agglomeration of dead bodies) and  nobody held accounted for murder of innocent while his life and lives of millions of soldiers of nations are expendable.
Children. Someone has to pay for the negligence towards children. For, no-one understands how frustrating it is to be a child (Remember what Clementine said? ...that was in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, by the way) and there is loneliness and helplessness when nobody understands your experiences as a child. The judgments about sex and love, intimacy, relationships that children -like Briony - derive, are misguided; but they were taken for granted, always, in the first place. When a child sees the act of love making by chance, he/ she is almost always alone and its always upto him what to make of it. How to deal with the horror or the otherworldliness of it. Thanks to McEwan a story is constructed so that people pay for taking for granted a 13 year old's perceptions. I mean who cares about the perceptions about sex of a 13 year old? Her mother certainly doesnt. Nobody cares to shape them, guide them and show the proper way. I am angry with this world of self help and religious buffoonery which is at your service for your problems of life when you are adults.  Sixth sense was about fears, healing and purpose of life and actions and conditions of a little boy. With stories of tragedy or premise of supernatural writers want to bring to light the confusion of childhood. A play is how Briony is dealing with the concept of love and everything surrounding her - as it turns out writing is the tool of dealing with childhood travesties for her and for the rest of her life, a support. Music of typewriter deftly conveys brutal snap judgments - it is Briony's language. In the end she,- a coward till the very end - a prisoner to the 13 year old self confesses she could not confront neither her sister nor Robbie. She could make a gesture of atonement the only way she knew - through writing. I think our inability to deal with children can be the single most important crime and the source of all our undoing.
The ending is the kicker. What is real? Have we been seeing the narrative of Briony herself? The ultimate vanity of a novelist? Did Briony decide,all along the narrative of Robbie and Cecilia's love that we see on screen? How will a happy ending change you? What purpose will be served by reality or honesty? Who's escape is it, the writer's or the reader's? It was she, the god, who gave them their happiness. In the face of Venessa Redgrave you see the 13 year old who hasnt changed, who still says it like it is, to the brain of a writer.
Could this film touch those who lost dear ones on the last day of evacuation of Dunkirk? Lives which  were changed by chance cruelly, simply swayed like a branch of a tree and a lifetime of love and longing was decreed.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

David Fincher's two sequences

Your honour, take a look at what David Fincher has done. If you look at the second halves of his last two films - The curious case of Benjamin Button and The social network, you will find sequences. These two sequences seem different and they, according to my keen eye, are there for a reason. A reason different than just telling the story of the film.
Most important thing to note is that they are sequences. They are like mini stories, they have a beginning, a middle and an end.
Secondly they're quite distinct from the flow of the story and yet connected to it in a very integral way, as my evidence that will follow, shall inconclusively prove.
They seem to give a new lease of life to viewers' point of view. They rouse their curiosity and give them an experience that is a bit slanting, for the lack of a better word, from what they've been having for the last hour or so.
They are strategically placed in the second half of the film because that is when, its my suspicion, that the attention of the audience is most susceptible to wane.
So first I present to you the Henley sequence from the Social Network.



This is the easier one to talk about. Quite clearly Mr. Finchers' skills as a music video director have come very handy here. A little introduction - till now in the film, Mark Zuckerberg has left Harvard and is working with Sean Parker on is start up. He seems to be in the hold of Sean's billion dollar ideas. Out of nowhere this sequence comes in. Dark blue and cloudy skies, lush green fields and great music to boot. The audience realizes that this is a complete change of scene from the academic environment of the film till now. Literally a different continent altogether. And it has no clue where and why we're here. Music slowly creeps till we see the Winklewii. Artistry of Fincher is in showing the intensity grow. For authenticity's sake Armie Hammer and his body double prepared like a real row crew member for the sake of this less-than two-minute sequence. We feel the intensity of competition grow - the theme of the film. 
The idea of the start up is like floating in the air among individuals and teams of Harvard. Question is who will make the most of it and get there first?
Second one is my favorite, its beautiful and its heart rending. This mini story has been narrated like Benjamin is a preacher, a very humble one at that..God, you gotta love Brad Pitt's voice. The shot shows him feet to the head - waiting for Daisy. We dont know why she's in a hospital. Things go in and out of sequence, depending on occurrence of the events. The director controls the experience that is being delivered to the audience and I have never seen a better example of this ever before. See for yourself - 2:20 to 2:50 -  these moments have been hair raising for me. See how ambient sounds of a hospital effect our emotions at 2:50 - 3:00. In this period I felt pain because we get to see how it could have been.  If only! A dancer would know the world of pain a broken leg can give. Sharp editing - voice over and shot of Daisy's broken leg in the hospital - that is the first sight of her. David Fincher you are genius
This film is about letting go. "Whether its because of accident or design. there's not a thing that we can do about it." Its a small demonstration of the uncertainty in out life. The question is the same that Forrest Gump asked his Momma at her grave. His life was the parable of the same - is life luck or fate or maybe both? On the other hand Benjamin Button's life is about being different - and letting go of the questions and comments about his age, his appearance.
Quite simply Daisy has been hit by a taxi, her ballet career is over. There's nothing she can do about it. But there is a way of narrating the incident. In doing that, David also demonstrates the inexplicable and absurd nature of life.


Come to think of it Bollywood director's use item songs, or songs of any kind to give a new lease of life to the second half of the film. Take a bow David Fincher - you do it so much more craftily.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The grotesque playground

Lets turn everything upside down.
If I am never able to be aware about my deepest fear, my weakest link, my bleed... What is it? If I said something and some one understood it. If I loved a film and someone loved it - shared my feelings about it, asked me questions.... If nobody understood what I wrote... So I refuse to make sense...
If I could say it all. If I died and all the people who knew me died then you know what would happen.
And she had pain. And now everyone is living. You were there for me.You scolded me and shouted at me and fed me and treasured my first movements and my voice and my tears. Where did it all go? What is it that I dont know? What is it that you had kept hidden in your heart? Maybe it wasnt there. If I could have been there. And you told me many more things. About your pain. About your memories. Then there were others. And there will be others. I listen and sway and time and its love and care and joy and anxieties and worries and pain are all gone with it. And there will be other loves and people who will care for me. Or maybe I will be alone and broken plastic and bags will obstruct me from moving. There will be no sunlight in the house and no one would know who were the ones who loved me.
There will be rainbows and dew laden gardens across the fences.
Even the mightiest lick feaces on a busy cackling narrow road. There is no justice. There is no god. I dont know anyone. Nobody knows me. Music, images, and words forget me. I never was. But I was given so much love. So much love! Unbounded, pure and unconditional. There was beauty and freedom. All for me. Nobody else. I didnt realize what hit me. I didnt know what I did? I landed on the other corner of the room. I got bruises on the leg. I was terrorized. I was confused and alone. I knew the faces of the walls. I fixed upon the rays of unlight and wooden edifices of my precious and cared and lonely life. Music came and went. Friends came and left.
There are reasons. There are obstacles. There is courage and need to do things which one doesnt want to do. To compete and make a mark. Achieve. Earn money. More than others. Prove to others. Show them. Work.Work.Work.Fight.Fight.Fight.Fight.Fight.Noble reasons.Upward motion. Goals. Courage taunts. So that you can have. HAVE. Want - the person, the things and the money and the house and the things.
What happens with books vaporizes. Films - basterds, vaporize. Music weeps, vaporizes. I turn away. There is another person. What could I say? The words about what? What matters, why this? I could say what others said and I could do what others did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Authority and 'good,honest,innocent men'


The most important message of a crucifix, was how cruel supposedly sane human beings can be when under orders from a superior authority.
- Kurt Vonnegut


Charles Xavier: Erik, you said yourself - we're the better men. This is the time to prove it. There are thousands of men on those ships, good, honest, innocent men. They're just following orders!

Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto): I've been at the mercy of men just following orders... never
again!
- X Men First Class

What would my Dad have done?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Vinnaithandi Varuvaya

If I were a 22 year old and saw someone like Trisha day in and day out near my house I too would probably fall head over heels for her. But I'm me. Its hard to tell why people fall in love and whats that all about. How is physical attraction love? If people couldnt agree on the life's fundamental questions or were'nt humble to accept the differences then how can there be love? no matter how attractive they are. I'm way past that phase of love at first sight. how the hell does that happen and how do you know. geee...
But the film was very beautiful. I have become cynical about romance films. The one closest to my heart is Eternal sunshine.... anything shallow and pretentious just goes for a toss. and whats shallow you ask .... different blog post for that.
This film has good acting by the two leads, for most of the time in the film. Such films make me optimistic, that probably there's something real to romantic cinema.
This was my first Tamil film that I watched with subtitles. I had seen Anjali and Alai Payuthe. but that was not watching the film in the exact sense of the term.
Anyway, the film is good because it has a soul. A kind of craziness which few i ve seen to have the courage to be honest.
If its Bombay we destroy cinema halls cause we just cant stand that muslim and hindu got married. So the film says yeah its really difficult for such couple to survive. Its got the soul because it goes a couple of layers deeper in portraying the weaknesses and struggles the two have to go through. So the two will conform and will listen to the heart but wont withstand the pressures. They will live with broken hearts because nobody always gets everything. They conformed the way society and families wanted them to.
Towards the end I started loving the pain of staying apart. Its beautiful the way they are apart. No, dont live happily ever after. Thats not your fate. You be there incomplete and broken and in a gaping hole. You see the love which will never be yours and you stay there in your melancholy.
the heartbreak is what works for the film.
If you have to have everything you really need to take tough decisions. If your girlfriend needs to come down to be with you thats a personal front. On the work front you know you're learning the trade of filmmaking as a nobody, the producer may not allow his girlfriend to be on the set. Here I felt the dude really had to step up. That was the point where Jessie lost the struggle and caved in to family pressures. You know what, you want to chase your dream and have the girl of your dreams, you gotta step up. I love both of the characters precisely cause they are so human.
I was hoping that when Jessie says she doesnt like films, for the first time I thought she's just saying so as to repel him. Later it turns out she was serious, which was a bit confusing.
Dont get me wrong I loved the ending. I just hope the director showed some style in the way he showed the shattering the illusion of the two living happily for the rest of their lives.
This reminds me a quote from the movie A single man:

"Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty."

This beauty in weakness and struggle and just the fragility of being human is what I like in this film as I did in the eternal sunshine. As opposed to run of the mill films that worship how heroic the heroes are.
I was chuckling most of the time that I was watching because how frank the film was. I mean how do you just say "I love you" wierd. Regards to the very first line - In that age its difficult to separate the physical attraction from a solid relationship. The guy acted very well. Amazing in fact, the longing, the restlessness im sure many can realte to. As the time passes, where is the "chemistry" that he talks about when he was courting her?. To avoid fooling yourself and your loved one is a challenge.
i was also chuckling because i recalled the fond(?) memories of my time in kerala.
As always rahman's music defines the colors of emotions in new ways. Every song of his teaches me something new and there is a lot I can write about. And I love this tickling as I giggle and listen to 'Anbil Avan' right now - how these songs convey emotions to me when I cant understand a single word.
I love this poster too.
PS: I might as well have addressed this post to Keeths.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm lost,my time is lost


"How many days have I lost?

How can I get back
to the place where I started?

I'm outside a house.
Trying to find my way in.

But it is locked and the blinds are down.

And I've lost the key.

And I can't remember what the rooms
look like or where I put anything.

And if I dare go in inside. I wonder...

will I ever be able to find my way out?"


My pointer - the moment.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A long weekend of my life

Sometimes there is a moment in life when the things start spinning around you. You start seeing something. People are walking, doing their stuff and you have just had a moment. You know something and see something. You dont need a verification. You see it in your mid's eye. All is going on on its own. And the definition of what you see what you believe in and what all is has just received a major overhaul. I dont want to call it a name. The moment I talk about it it starts to seem different to me.
Its something like a concept in quatum mechanics. What the thing is - an electron for example - its existence - changes depending on its observer. Where are YOU when you observe it? Its not the thing - its the thing and the observer - the system between them. So this blog post which you are reading right now, may, may have a different effect on different people on different times that they read(I mean the reading 2 days from the first time that you read it). Just like AR Rahman's music has a different effect and good films have different effect on multiple viewing. This is the biggest funda in life and it applies not just in science.
It happened to me because I read. If it had happened to me sometime earlier it may not have had the same effect. Thoughts grew to that point and when I read a few sentences I had a smile on my face. I was a little delirious.
I had a lot of time on my hands. The school had Annual Day function on Thursday and Friday, so I had four big days. What did I do? I am not going to reveal all that I did but some of that I spent reading and thinking and writing. And this activity sent me into a little jolts of depression - depending on what I read and also a moment about which i mentioned in the beginning.
I want to do here is to give an incomplete description of what I feel and enlist all the resources from which I read, the books the blogs and quotes. It is my ambition to get published someday. And all these are endeavors in that direction.

Long time ago I read this blog post and it set in motion my thoughts about work and purpose in a more focused way. Here is the essay by Hardy. The most important notion I feel is similar to the quantum mechanics thing is that talking about the work you do changes your purpose and your work. Then will the work of your life keep changing once you ask questions and you mind seeks new horizons to explore?

Paul Auster's Invention of solitude sent me into depression for a day. Then brought me back. He showed me the images in Pinochchio. Images from my life and the thoughts about my father were swimming in front of my eyes and it gave me a certain freedom. It showed me how fragile life is. More quotes from this book, here.

Reading Catcher in the Rye the second time wasnt as entertaining. but you see a lot more. you can see past the words. A line struck me, as it happens again and again, I started seeing things.
"Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad."
J.D. Salinger has this rambling way of making Holden Caulfield tell you a story, full with 50s American slang and style, these gems are embedded in the middle of loneliness and aimlessness. I thought its been a decade that I have been struggling with guilt. Even when something good happens I am guilty about it. Why? Because there is this feeling that I dont deserve it. Maybe as the only child I got things, all the things I wanted very easily. So if its heads I'm guilty and if its tails I'm guilty. I love guilt and I wallow in it. This saves you from doing something - anything to get ahead in life.You like being that victim and you persecute yourself. Persecute! Cut to -

Dom Cobb: I know what's real Mal.

Mal: No creeping doubts? Not feeling persecuted, Dom? Chased around the globe by annonymous corporations and police forces, the way the projections persecute the dreamer? Admit it, you don't believe in one reality anymore. So choose, choose to be here, choose me.

I love Inception not for what it is, but for what it means to me. Its not what the movie or anything in life is – it’s the projection that is there in your head that matters. We love to cuddle some projections in our minds. They persecute us, we let them. The game goes on for years! The game will consume your life if you let it. First be aware that all this is there. Then conquer it.

"Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves; when that right is pre-empted it is called brain-washing." - Germaine Greer

I visualize that projections in my head are like bubbles or soft cushions from which I constantly keep bouncing off my actions and decisions. These bubbles you create reactively for yourself. What you need to create for yourself are powerful projections for execution, creation, development and growth of skills. You invent these and they in turn will invent your character. As the above quote says - you have the right to invent yourself. Immediately picture in my brain is that of a mad scientist that is me in my lab, putting projections together - they are chemicals red, blue bright silver and they mix and i start the engines and they rn wild and explode and i control them. I invent a new me. This notion I find very powerful. Dont accept others' opinions without questioning. Protect the projections from getting adulterated.

I get the freedom to let it out spell it out and say yes - it is true. I admit and then comes along another thing that gives me strength to admit the fuck ups.

I was in the book shop and browsing I chance upon two books, completely unrelated and the situation mentioned in the beginning of this post presented itself. i didnt have to open the books, the blurbs gave me the breakthrough.

First I saw House of Cards, it’s a book about the big financial crisis. Written in bold letters was “We all F***ed up!” I said to myself if Nobel prize winners in Economists, Harvard an other Ivy league business and management gurus sat and watched the fuck ups then I think I am allowed to fail. And I said “yes, I admit I wasted my parents’ money doing an MBA that did not amount to anything much. The teachers didn’t teach me anything in Information Systems and I didn’t learn anything. More than anything I am the one to blame. I shouldn’t have taken up the job. I should have taken marketing. I shouldn’t have taken MBA if I didn’t want it. I shouldn’t have taken MSC (Hons) in Chemistry if I didn’t want it. I should have stuck to Medical if that was my passion. Only I am to be blamed if I fucked up. I admit. So there. The truth as it is. So I say if these big guys can get away with billion dollar fuck ups and thousands of job losses, if politicians can swallow crores without burping, if thousands’ deaths can be justified in the name of race, religion and blasphemy then I sure can be given a second chance for the fuck ups of my life.

Then I found a book and got the second jolt. The blurb on a book called Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse reads as follows:

The unhappiness that I need and long for, is of the kind that will let me suffer with eagerness and die with lust. That is the unhappiness or happiness that I am waiting for.

I had to stop doing anything and sit down for this to sink in. This made me write and write and write. All which I cant put up here.

I spent considerable time writing, not just this weekend but the Christmas vacation as well, as I mentioned in my last post. It has given me so much space in my mind. You explore new meaning in life by writing. Its essential for a good memory to write. Meaning of things and purpose crystallizes by writing. You see things more clearly and plan things well. One must devote time for writing, reading what you have written and plan accordingly. At a level of ideas, your mind is muddled, you have this incomplete definition of things and for me this definition is completed by writing.

In the course of last 9 months teaching communicative English at a school in Kochi I have had tremendous change in my confidence. I have gained this love for my voice and I know for sure that I want to teach. I remember this video lecture by Larry Lessig and it reminds me that there is such power in good presentation. I want to be able to do that. That is my aspiration.

I have no qualms telling that I am quite a socially underdeveloped individual. For a major portion of my life I was and probably still am pampered and cared for as the only child. I never had to wash my own clothes and do other things like that. I have spent a lot of time in my childhood being alone, and having nothing to do. It may sound a bit obvious and simplistic but the biggest problem of children is the lack of activity. I see in the school LOTS of children spend HOURS in the school doing absolutely nothing. This is sureshot recipe for all kinds of trouble, bad habits, low self esteem and zero skills just to name a few. I am prone to jealousy, guilt, anxiety, nervousness, little depression maybe (I don’t know), very reactive. I realize the pattern of things happening in my life. Writing helped me find my way of dealing with my persecutions. Films helped my find my way out of the lack of social skills. My friends like Monica, Jammy, Piyush, Jassi, cousins, Ameya dada, Sneha, Sonal, Babbu, Chonki, Appu, Priyanka, Sapna, Hrishikesh, all, just by being there have given my such a support. And after writing I started doing the necessary. Step by step. I stumble, get up, go back, make mistakes again, go down then get up again.

In the Christmas holidays I read Doris Lessing’s autobiography Under my skin. Most important thing I learnt was you don’t need education to teach you life lessons. Her and Ray Bradbury’s lives bear testimony that you learn by finding you own way. Education from books is not even half the learning. That being said, I find once people start working they cant go back to books. They seek answers in self help books because they seem to give instant answers. Never go for short cuts. One needs eye for brave writing, different from mollycoddling inspirational self help, mind open to ideas and comprehension of all kinds of writing. In real life one gets disillusioned by events, nothing seems to make sense. One needs to synchronize book knowledge, principles, opinions with the real life.

And as I teach in school I learn that telling is useless – showing and taking a person through a process is most important.

From Lessing’s life another fact that strikes the most is health – the connection of the mind with the body – the confidence that one derives by the strength of the organs, muscles, by being close to nature one tunes into the rhythm. The sun, the rain, I think I have tuned off from these.

I found that asking the question “what is life? What does it mean?” is futile. Jumping in is the best way. Make mistakes, read, ask questions and listen. There is nothing right or wrong. Once you get some answers you have to live in circumstances, do the deeds, make things work, trial and error to see the meaning of the answers. There is no use knowing. You have to see it in action and I then see the beauty of life. It can’t be described. It’s just to full of chaos and uncertainty and colors and sparks. Everything can be turned on its head and it’ll still be true.

I will conclude by quoting Ray Bradbury. He tells me that each day has these infinite possibilities waiting. Nothing is impossible. Every moment there is the next level of awareness to be achieved.

I get out of bed every morning and explode.

PS: I have told a lot of things in this rambling post. Telling never works for people. Note to self: Even after this you may go down but you know how to get up again. Dont worry if nobody reads your blog and if they do then find it bland and repetitive. We knew this all along Nik whats so great about all this? The usual inspiration crap....... Telling never works.

Monday, December 27, 2010

They threw me out of the coffee shop.





so the christmas in Oberon Mall of Cochin looks pretty neat. This is the the first time I have seen Christmas celebrations.
So I sat in the coffee shop on a Monday afternoon because it was a Christmas holiday. I had a Mocha and the coffee shop guys should take it as a compliment that theirs is one of the best brews I have ever had. And I wrote in my notebook. I had a good time writing. Amazing. Awesome. Terrific. So good that I wrote for three hours.
And then they kicked me out. He said something in Mallu but I got the gist.
I walked back home. I said it looks very barren and bleak and dull and hot and suck-your-life outta-you urban. So I said take photos of this
scene and put it up online. Take all your anger ou
t.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

in life good things are very rare. Interestingly they can be abundant too. It depends on your point of view. The thing is life is full of uncertainties. I believe in that. The chaos, the absence of rules, the improbability, randomness and sometimes unfair and ruthlessness of life and nature. its scary. and its unavoidable. It is so scary and every decision we take we stare at darkness and wonder if we can have faith in something..... something. our gut instincts, god, parents, friends. So randomly we stumble on good and bad things. I recently had a feeling after watching Band Baaja Baarat(BBB) that there is this abundant amount of happiness and love and joy and energy in store in life. Its all out there. Its such a delicate matter. Even as i type this my perspective is walking along a very thin edge. I say its matter of perspective. To be happy and find contentment. Once we have that point of view we can see the abundance.

.. but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst..


Was Lester Burnham or the writer Alan Ball from American Beauty talking about this? this very same feeling that i got when I saw a particular scene in BBB? perhaps...
Nikhilesh you take movies too seriously. They are just movies- thats all and nothing more. but nothing seems real. nothing lasts and nothing is worth keeping faith in. real people are as dramatic as filmi characters and just as unpredictable. so whats the harm in deriving pleasure from the film characters? its all maya. (You seriously lack social interaction niks.)
So I love this movie. in a way that i have never loved a hindi movie before. not even dev d which i cut open and it cut my brain open. This one left me with a little pain. I felt sad, i dont know how to describe this feeling. A little miserable. shruti kakkar and bittu sharma had so much life to them that the movie did not seem to contain it. maybe the pain had something to do with loss of innocence. it had for me elements of friendship, cuteness .... things that have nothing to do with sex. but when the story took the turn towards the conflict, it kills me. there is something raw about them when they fight. the rustic delhi style is of course delicious("Aur bhai Bittoo!?") but that probably has given me the pain i was talking about.
ok i seriously feel there was so much more to the relationship of bittu and shruti. director maneesh sharma showed tremendous promise with the first half but somehow wrapped up pretty quickly in the second half.the song dum dum wasnt even half as good as avain avain. again its painful to see anushka wearing that dress. the end was an anticlimax. i hoped we could see them working together in love - they never do that in the film - they re either working as friends or as rivals but never as a couple in love. what i wouldnt give to see that. maybe maneesh sharma wanted to show how the girl helped shape an aimless loafer like bittoo. in the end again its what bittoo wants - she shouldnt marry chetan because bittoo loves her. but why didnt bittoo apologise in the first place.i wish we could see shruti hurting more than what was depicted. after the break up the characters become caricatures. they are not themselves anymore. anushka had a good scene with the mirror - that was the pivotal scene of the film and kudos to her for that. she has amazing acting talent - we may have in her a comedienne too. a rarity in bollywood.
ok i cant write anymore

Sunday, November 21, 2010

HP 7.1

I watched the social network last week. HP 7.1 the day before yesterday. I will write in detail about the social network experience shortly but right now about HP 7.1. I really wasn’t much looking forward to it. It has been widely acknowledged that the HP movies have been disappointing. The trend which started since prisoner of Azkaban has been disrupted only in goblet of fire. I think movies 3, 5 and 6 have been terribly disappointing. I wish someone did to HP films what Jason reitman did for up in the air. Characters seem soulless. They all seem to be following a trajectory dictated probably by the producers or movie studios. There seemed to be magic in the script only to amuse the 6 year olds.
But 7.1 finally has a bit of soul. Not all. It was the very first film with a really soulful beginning. And I took it seriously. After looking at all three of main characters reminiscing in their homes, I became hopeful and it promised to be a good film. In the film David Yates used handheld camera for close ups, sepecially for Daniel radcliffe giving a really nice and intimate connection to that character. Or so it felt to me. Now most important reason why hp movies succeed or fail is how they are written. And the movie is faithful to the book. What set this fil apart from others is the photography. I am sure everyone was looking forward to how the three would be picturised in the wilderness. I was hoping for more green, dark, damp and mountainous woods. But that’s just me. The job done in open areas here is admirable too. It looks beautiful. The director succeeds in depicting the void among the friends. He has succeeded in inducing realism in this fantasy movie.
I was begging in my mind, please tell us the story of the three brothers. And they did. By Hermione no less. Her voice is amazing I really enjoyed the little animated sequence. The pace is a tad slow. Using a slow pace he has succeeded in making it realistinc but it just climbed a couple of notches for me. Insead they sacrificed detailed accounts of e Gregorovich and the elder wand. Most of the viewers were obviously baffled by such subplots. In the ministry of magic they did not show how ron solved the raining problem in the minister’s office. The movie could have been more dense and detailed and yet slow in the places where it needed to be. It deserved to e slow when they are in the woods. Now audience will always crave for more screen presence of many beloved characters. Director and writer cant always fulfill such wishes but they do have to work hard. We know its hard to squeeze in more time for ginny, snape, bellatrix, draco, lupin and his wife. But you have to! Just look at aaron sorkin’s beautiful work in the social network. All the characters are not only well developed but also deliver a coherent account of the story. Each adds a dimension which is unique. Each has a color and flavour. But we have ginny just asking to zip her dress and snogging. Off you go. Snape with his measured quivers of lips and dead straight eyes delivers two dialogues. Draco reluctant of the dark side is simple terrified to open his mouth. Lupin is in the “save Harry Potter” party hardly speaks apart from shoving want in people’s faces to detect imposters.
Writing j k rowling’s books into 2 hour movie is a tough task. But they signed up for it and they got paid too. So we the fans should be angry for such a shallow job.
One line I liked the most was by ron. The three are preparing to gulp polyjuice potion
“this is barking mad”
“absolutely mad”
Ron: “the whole world’s gone mad….”

A very observation which should resonate in muggle world too. Things hitherto considered crazy are happening daily and that has nothing to do with magic. A very wise quip made me happy.