Movie Review: Blackmail (2018)

A madcap black comedy that’s refreshing amongst the usual Bollywood shtick of songs and dance-that’s Blackmail for you.

But before I lavish too much praise on it, the movie does suffer towards the end with too-much-a-good-thing syndrome in the form of the same idea being circulated once too many times to keep being interested. Scroll down for the spoiler…

Irrfan Khan is a disenchanted man who seems to have become one of the many rats in the rat race. Zombie-like he stays put at work because going home to his wife doesn’t seem like a balm either.

The one day he does deviate from his late night routine and heads home to catch up with his wife forms the crux of the rest of the story unfolding.

Finding her in bed with her old boyfriend (Arunoday Singh in a musclebound quasi-moronic but humorous turn) shakes him out of his funk and instead of getting mad, he decides to get even; by blackmailing her and her boyfriend. But seldom do things go the way they’re supposed to.

With an oblivious-to-his failings boss (played obnoxiously and ably by Omi Vaidya) and co-workers who get him in deeper trouble by jumping on the blackmail bandwagon; Irrfan’s character is a person everyone ends up feeling sorry for. Even his fetishes of spending “quality time” on and for himself in the loo with the filched images of his co-workers’ spouses don’t deter us from rueing his unending bad luck of getting blackmailed by every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Others in the cast like Divya Dutta (playing Arunoday’s wife) add a punchy feel to the movie and keep the pace from slowing down too much.

Go watch it just to do some “shake-my-head” gestures at a bunch of selfish people; some of whom do get their comeuppance.

Roadtripping: Part Deux

When I was a child, summer holidays were partly spent at my grandmothers’ homes and part of the time was spent in exploring touristy and slightly off-beat destinations in and around wherever my father was posted at the time.

Travelling 6-7 hours in 40 degrees plus temperatures (Celsius mind you) without air conditioning in the car was the norm rather than the exception.

Homemade snacks were packed and once we stopped for loo breaks or tea breaks, a big treat for me would be to have a chilled bottle of a cola. Bliss.

Fast forward to circa 2018 and we’re trying to create some of the same situations for our child. Summer holidays are earmarked for visiting the grandparents or wheedling a visit out of them instead.

Road trips have been started over 400+kms and it’s a huge achievement because this generation of instant-gratification kids can’t always wrap their heads around a trip that doesn’t involve a plane or something over 2 hours or an amusement park.

So despite the chants of “bored-bored-bored” and the whines for junk food and the telly, we have managed to pull off 2 trips to parts of India fairly far away from our home without falling back on the digital media till we reached the hotel rooms. There have been no iPads, laptops, phones to play games on. Just music playing throughout, an occasional creative app for good behavior and loads of outdoor times in the significantly cleaner, fresher air. What more can a parent ask for?

Of course the way the t.v. in the hotel rooms has been greeted by the offspring after we’ve reached our destinations, has been nothing short of an emotional reunion between mother and child! *rolls eyes*

But be as that may, the summer of 2018 will always be a watershed for Red and I. It’s been undiluted family time, all squished up cuddling in the same bed with the brat and having new adventures and making fun memories.

Salut!

Nagpur at night.

The Unbearable Unsightlyness Of Playing

Let it be noted that if I had to do anything amounting to slightly strenuous physical activity vs being bodily harmed, bodily harm would rule the roost.

The most apt description of my gait, run and overall physical movement is quite akin to the drunken hallucination from Dumbo. I kid you not.

Red has despaired and has moved his focus onto the one person whose hand-eye co-ordination can still be salvaged: MLM.

Why am I so bad at it? I honestly don’t know much beyond that heavy bodies take more effort to move and they sweat a whole bunch leading the heavy individual to feel lightheaded, awkward, clumsy and generally NOT GOOD AT ALL.

It’s not that I can’t hit a ball. I can. But then everyone ducks or waits for chunks of the ceiling to start raining down.

MLM’s latest fancy is playing squash (I thought it was the same as racquetball but the husband snootily told me they were different). He’s signed up for summer classes and we thought it would be a good family activity to indulge in. Well…the jury is still out on that one.

I did manage to get a half-assed rally going on with Red but then the ball seemed further and further away and the racquet didn’t seem to want to connect with the ball much at all. Again..left scratching my head.

But after I unwound myself from a striking pose my body had assumed, I found that these were the postures I was getting into. It goes without saying that none of them are optimum while playing squash.

1) Garden Cupid Statue: hark back to the chubby Cupid statues on pedestals, shooting an arrow but with direction changing each time a ball approaches. That’s my pose when I try and hit a ball that’s got lobbed a bit closer to the ground.

2) Hey! I’m Here: all the people marooned on desert isles usually have one moment where a ship passes by in the distant horizon and they jump up and down, waving like it’s what they were born to do. Well, that’s my hands above the head pose while trying to hit a shot that’s rebounded off the walls.

3) I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up: my pose for a few seconds after trying to come out of the first pose

All along, in the background one would be able to hear deep and furious panting…

And that’s after 10 mins of being on the squash courts.

C’est la vie!

Movie Review: Jurassic World-The Fallen Kingdom

Somethings are best left the way they are. Jurassic Park should have ended when they left Isla Whatsit with John Hammond. Julianne Moore was a very discordant note in the second sequel. William H.Macy and Tea Leoni were more believable but the real heroes of the movie were the dinosaurs each time around. But they didn’t set the screen on fire so to speak.

When Jurassic World was made, I didn’t expect it to be as fun and engaging as it turned out to be. It was a worthy successor of the original Jurassic Park in terms of tempo, newness, look and feel. The ending of Jurassic world was so decisive that it didn’t need a follow-up to make it better. The T-Rex defeating the Indominus Rex was a mike drop kinda moment. And then the big guns decided to make a sequel to JW. Why? The first movie made tons of money. Leave it and move on.

With a plot that’s hackneyed, repetitive and more boring than fun and edge-of-the-seat entertainment; this movie scored a half thumbs down in my book.

It started off promising enough but somewhere it lost its way in the same ol’ same ol’ plot about greedy industrialists and geneticists with flexible consciences wrecking havoc in the world at large.

Jeff Goldblum in his cameo does well enough I suppose. He looks appropriately tired of the damn dinos and wishes that they be left to extinction- yet again. But Hollywood intervenes, velociraptors turn heroes (yet again) and more hybrid dinos get cooked up in test tubes (yup..again. As if anything could top the Indominus Rex) and each one is smarter, more tenacious than the ones in the previous installment. With new skills of roof climbing, door unlocking, not skidding on stairs despite their big ungainly claws; these dinos have truly evolved to the level of the bad guys in slasher movies than always keep turning up no matter how many times you try to kill them!

Also, why would someone put Ted Levine in a movie and not give him enough of a role to latch onto?! This guy was Buffalo Bill…show some respect people.

My kid loves dinos. I like them courtesy his obsession that began in 2013. But since I love the kid more, getting him to these movies, even sitting in the less than stellar seats, is something am glad to do. But for God’s sake…keep it interesting people.

Nuff said.

1998

5 girls met. Talked. Slowly at first and then incessantly. They sat in the last benches of most of their classes. Had some adventures. Loads of giggles, some fights. Went through a bunch of guys. Made other gal pals and 20 years later are still around in a pretty good capacity given that work, home, spouses, kids and pets do make their presence felt quite a bit on a daily basis.

College was such a melting pot. You had all the directions of the country converge along with linguistic and religious backgrounds and still found that you fit somewhere; with someone. And you wore each other like gloves and the fit just got better with time with a few mends here and there.

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There were classes where you each were at sea, and then those where you still had the chance to sail through. There were gaffes, bloopers, red-letter days and some days you’d rather really just never remember again. There were fests and fiestas where you met the next few months’ rides in the form of people (ahem..guys) from other colleges and also did a quick dipstick to see if you were on the right end of the social spectrum when compared to the rest of the lot out there. Fashion played a big role. Some were gawked at, some gaped at and some just grimaced at as a bad idea never to be repeated with oneself.

You had days when the homework hadn’t been done and the entire class (barring the usual goody two-shoes suspects) was asked to leave by the lecturer with clenched teeth and furrowed brows. There were classes which were bunked at the proverbial last minute to go watch a newbie director’s movie premiere with no money left for snacks ergo home made lunches came to the rescue…however lame the situation seemed.

These 5 girls had their own idiosyncrasies; they still do but they had FUN! They didn’t have stars in their eyes but didn’t really know what the world had in store for them either. They sat and laughed at the teachers’ often utterly ludicrous utterances and marveled at the sophistication and expanse of knowledge the others possessed. They wrote their hearts out, thought about new things; had their horizons and visions broadened by good books recommended by even better teachers and still managed to sleep through at least half of their graduation.

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Endless sandwiches were eaten along with innumerable cups of tepid coffee which kept the noggin running, however sporadically. They bitched, they gossiped, they cried, they guffawed with laughter and they made memories. In time they shared these memories with their significant others and introduced their friends to the new people they’d share their lives with thereon.

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Twenty years on, on the right side of the dreaded (?) 40s, it’s nice to look back and know there was a time and a place and people who made you carefree, kept you young, foolish (in the best way possible) and buoyant.

Here’s to you ladies…you know who you are.

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Salut!