Movie Review: Arjun Reddy

After a long time, 10 years to be precise, I watched a Telugu movie- Arjun Reddy and enjoyed it quite a bit. As a person who doesn’t have too much fluency in the language, scratch that…I can make do if I have to, else I nod my head along to pretty much everything; I didn’t feel like the movie was beyond my reach at all. The only reason that I even ended up watching this movie is because the Lord&Master suddenly announced his wish to watch it and wanted me to come along. That alone was enough to pique my curiosity.

It’s very visceral and quite emphatic; possibly due to being an out-and-out drama and here’s my 2 cents worth:

  • Vijay Deverakonda– total hottie and does justice to the persona of a hot head who always wears his heart on his sleeve and is unapologetic for his emotions, especially when they run wild!
  • Everyone looks so bloody normal, it’s such a refreshing change! The hero doesn’t sport a V or an 8-pack, the lead actress isn’t so-called glam-down…she looks like a normal girl in college. There are no superbikes, no signs of being impossibly wealthy or anything that’s remotely unbelievable. Just normal, whimsical, idiosyncratic and occasionally damaged people.
  • The angst of love- it bites, it rips you apart and it makes you behave with just a touch of madness but the audience laps it up because at some point we’ve all felt a twinge of the same.
  • Rahul Ramakrishna– as Shiva aka the ultimate best friend. His unabashed support, despair and love for his friend forms a mainstay in the movie and despite it being all about the titular character of Arjun, Shiva has a huge role to play and Rahul Ramakrishna does it with aplomb!
  • The music- it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the words, you feel them! The score by Radhan is edgy, it’s soft and it’s imminently hummable. Telisiney Na Nuvvey is stuck in my head although when I try to sing it am sure the words are being mangled horribly! The background score totally works.
  • The supporting cast- the dads on either side; grim, conventional or just biased…are stereotypes to be true but very believable because stereotypes exist for a reason. The grandmother, the friends- everyone fits well barring Kamal Kamaraju as the older brother trying to broker peace and shield his wayward younger brother.
  • The whole energy of the movie- it’s big, it’s dramatic and it’s very unapologetic! And that’s what makes it work.

I’m glad the director decided to use subtitles so people could keep up. There’s only so much you can deduce from body language and nuances alone. But the reason this movie works, despite the running time and at times overly dramatic posturing of the lead character, is due to it feeling real.

The lead actress isn’t a wallflower neither is she very prominent. Except that she is. Even when she doesn’t speak much, or just flits in and out of a scene, her impact on Arjun Reddy is what takes the story ahead. I’d read that Shalini had dubbed all her own lines…commendable given how different the Southern languages are for native Hindi speakers.

At the end of the day, every movie is made to tell a story. It’s made to entertain. And this one does…in spades! Despite all the controversies over the non-issues like liplocks and being tagged as misogynistic. On one hand if Arjun Reddy tells his girlfriend that she should be friends with a fat chick because a pretty girl and a fat girl are an equation that work, he is equally dismissive of a friend’s sister being married off to an NRI who outright objectifies women and demeans them without any provocation.

Everyone who saw this movie, found something they wanted to in it…I was entertained and got good music out of it…not to mention total eye candy! *wink wink* It should be left at that…a story about a brash man who feels deeply, loves deeply and takes on the world and screws up only to get back up again. Nuff said.

 

After A Hiatus…

It has been 22 days since I last blogged or even created a draft.

I wish there was a reason for this kind of a gap but there isn’t anything except for me being unable to gather my thoughts. And now that the thoughts are gathering, it’s akin to a storm brewing.

So I had a long-ish summer holiday with the offspring. We traveled a bit and had new experiences. Defining experiences for me as a parent. Am more confident of being able to chalk out holiday plans for the family without necessarily opting for safe options like a place with access to a pool or a beach. That’ll always be the fallback option but I am happy to say that slightly longer journeys, altitudes are no longer off the table.

On the personal front, I was sluggish to say the least. Didn’t get much done. Took a fraction of pictures that I’d normally have taken on earlier trips and pretty much retreated into the Kindle while still looking for something fun to give me a little impetus.

Speaking of the Kindle, it’s become an extension of my hand and I’m eyeballs deep into authors who primarily write about the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. To say that their books include the wilderness and dense forests and more than average snowfall would be to undersell it. But their tones are quite similar because these geographical areas of United States are very diverse from the sunny parts of the South or the West Coast. They are also quite different in the tone and nature of the people who are depicted in the novels based in the East Coast.

It’s bucolic but the climate, the geography is as much a character in the novels as the actual people themselves. Maybe it’s the weather that calls to me (crazy I know) or my mild yearning for Seattle based on years of binging on Grey’s Anatomy but I’ve had the words Puget Sound and names of small counties of Washington State and Minnesota tumbling through my head.

I’ve also discovered that I need to learn how to scuba dive because taking pictures of the husband and offspring underwater gave me a sense of peace and joy unlike anything in the last few years.

As basic the images were and while nowhere in the neighborhood of work such as this gent, it was still a lovely experience nonetheless and made me want to explore it further. In fact my list of places of hit (eventually) already includes this. Of course if we end up doing this, my main concern will be the offspring wanting to move undersea permanently or not coming back up till he spots all his favorite behemoths.

All said and done, long summer or not, it’s been an experience. Of growth, some backslides and lot of plans for the months ahead. Not a total washout in my book.

 

1-Desktop

Of Deaf Leopards&Animal Scat

I’d overslept this morning and headed out to the gym midday, MLM in tow. Boy! That should have tipped me off exactly what would ensue while driving those measly 4 kms. But by all means, let me wax on and wax off Daniel-San!

Sorry, couldn’t help the last bit. Watched the original movie after ages and have been saying Wax-on, Wax-off in my head. Damn you Pat Morita!

Anyhow, among the less than pleasant traits that the offspring has inherited from moi is his urge to listen to the same song till he tires of it. Never mind others are already stuffing their ears with whatever they can to stop the earworm from advancing, but MLM and I remain oblivious to our surroundings and keeping blaring the songs.

After a few weeks of Fugly- Fugly ruling the roost in the car, I was finally given an opportunity to play something I wanted to listen to. A random selection brought up Vault and Hysteria came on. The little man instantly liked it (YAY!) and asked me who was singing. I often think about filtering my words before speaking to him but I was navigating through midday traffic and thoughtlessly said, “Def Leppard”. And we were OFF!

From laughing his hieney off about leopards being deaf to talking about big cats; I heard it all. I heard about animals marking their territory albeit in the uncensored version aka the leopard does “susu” on the tree and then kicks some sand on the tree with his feet backwards et al”.

Note: Anyone who doesn’t know how kids talk might think it was a very special kind of leopard or it was a mutated one, but “with his feet backwards just means with his back feet.

On we go…once he started talking about the big cats, I had to hear about each animal marking it’s territory, one by one. After the leopards came the tigers, lions, cheetahs, the jaguars, the ocelots, the panthers, the pumas and the snow leopards as well.

Just as he was running out of breath and I was pulling into the parking another thought meteorite hit him with a bang! “But why don’t they poop when they pee?” is the question he wanted answered.

As I herded him out of the car and up the steps I thought to myself, this kid is either going to be a naturalist a la Attenborough or he’s going to be a zookeeper! In any case ‘deaf leopards’ is a moment etched firmly in the annals of mother-son time.

Image result for leopard with headphones

Movie Review: Logan

Wolverine. Aged. Not Healing at the speed of light. Dying….oops! Spoiler alert!

Logan is the most extreme addition to the Marvel comic-movie universe till date. I’d say it leaves Deadpool behind solely because there’s just one of Deadpool and there’s more than one individual who bares their claws in this movie. Else Deadpool was slicker, funnier and definitely the better movie.

The reason Logan didn’t work for me personally was due to the action sequences and the overall flow of the movie being repetitive. It has its share of imposed pathos (C’mon, kids being made guinea pigs to create the perfect soldier is any day gasp-worthy vis-a-vis what Logan was originally put through), a long-lost daughter, Professor Xavier being gaga with fleeting moments of lucidity and horror of horrors- Logan turning into Old Man Logan.

Jackman’s make-up is flawless as a person who’s tried hard to stand the test of time and taken a beating every step of the way. With his angry old man demeanor, unkempt beard and displeased air throughout; he resembles a real wolverine in manner more than ever!

The violence is a bit OTT but it fits in well with the dystopian world the director wants to showcase. My interest in this particular franchise started waning from the first standalone Wolverine movie onwards. Nothing can bring back the kick-ass (literally) fun of Logan and Victor’s face-off with Wade on top of the nuclear reactor!

So while I was moderately entertained for a little over 2.5 hours, it’s finally curtains for Wolverine on the big screen and I really hope they don’t try to make reboots of this particular franchise with anyone else. Old man or not, Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine!

2-0-1-7

The 3 of us (me, Red&MLM) rang in the new year inside a loud, creaky, semi-uncomfortable airport shuttle bus. But I got to wish my folks, my bestie and also make an  SOS call to good friends who came and picked us up from a drop-off point since Hyderabad cabbies decided to be sadistic on the last day of the year and go on a strike.

While I *am* known to bitch and gripe for fairly long periods of time when the fit is upon me, last night’s events seemed quite amusing. Here we were, fresh out of the First Class lounge followed by flying Business Class back home and we stepped out to get lumped in with the rest of the world when it came to getting back home. And lump it we did! And it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be at all.

There was a little boy incessantly asking his dad when the bus was going to move, there a conductor who was loudly asking about tickets and drop-off points and there were people who were (again loudly) discussing the taxi strike and those who were just so bleary-eyed that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything except their face hitting their pillow.

So why was I not grumpy and adding to the less than happy vibes floating around the bus?Well some of the credit for that goes to the champagne I had in the flight and the other was because I was going HOME!!

We aren’t the society creme de la creme by any means. But we’re comfortable. And we’d had a lovely fun and sun-filled week in Thailand. I had behaved like a glutton and was going to need most of 2017 and 18 to work off all that. But I’d really Zenned out while in Thailand and no bus, even one that needed a total overhaul and a muffler change STAT! was going to take that away from me. Add to that my child fell asleep quite quickly even before the bus started to move and it was an easy ride back home coloring mandalas (my latest thang) on my phone.

A lot of the experiences we have in life, the good and the bad are usually colored by the thoughts going on in our head at that time. I’d spent a good amount of time travelling back to India irritated with my child. He was being a brat and I still wanted my Zen bubble around me. But the husband, a great guy to travel with, had intervened throughout, suggested I have some champagne and most importantly had changed seats with me so I was able to get a little more head space away from the offspring and his monster persona.

2016 had been quite a dramatic year. Quite a few things took me by surprise. Shook me up. But most importantly, the shaking stopped. And now I have a whole year to stabilize and look forward to more; memories, laughter or even Zennishness.

So here’s raising the virtual toast to  2017. May you prove to be an outstanding successor to 2016. And may the adventures continue…even if in a bus.

Sláinte

Disambiguation: Need Of The Hour

My son can be a lazy lump. Anything that requires more effort than he’s prepared to put in; gets shoved under the rug (literally and figuratively) and often outsourced to us.

He’s starting to make some strides in reading now and today’s homework has words that distinguish the gender between people viz mother-father, brother-sister et al. That it doesn’t address the third gender type didn’t worry me much. He still mixes up his right and left shoe so am sure we have long walk ahead of us before we tackle that topic.

I was super happy when he wanted to add to the list by bringing in the animal kingdom. So we sat down and started writing out the animals names which have separate terms for their hes and shes. We did the usual ones..lion-lioness, tiger-tigress when my son started naming all sorts of weird “girl-animals”. In order to show him how not everything is called a girl-fox or a girl-whale I told him to look up what a female fox is called; because let’s admit it…if I say thing is white he won’t rest until half the world aka the internet has confirmed it as well.

Now comes the laziness part. He didn’t type it in but used OK Google instead.and got the answer- vixen. Yay for technology and all that jazz.

Then the lump decides to see how vixens look because he thought the girl animals will be different from boy animals (not sure if he was expecting big bows in the hair and whatnot) and told OK Google, “show me vixen” and that’s when a small child’s mouth dropped open because that particular command brought up all manner of busty, latex-clad women instead of the demure, orange-fur fox.

Thankfully he doesn’t have “boy” hormones yet and made a face and asked Google to show him the girl fox. Google apparently does have boy hormones because it showed him girl f****. And after a heated struggle between mother-child and an under-attack laptop I yelled out Jesus Christ!! GIRL FOX!  That too was a bad call because Google turned up images of Jesus Christ of Fox…whatever that means; and studly men appeared in the search.

After that it was a toss-up who was going to be airborne- my BP or the laptop; out the window. And so I counted to 20 in my native tongue and found that it didn’t help a bit. In the meanwhile a small child was wondering why his already excitable mother was looking to strangle the laptop and he started tip-toe away. I hauled him back, opened up Google and asked him to type out ‘what is a female fox called’ with his stubby little fingers and LO and BEHOLD! Eureka and all the gang appeared and there were vixens and foxes raining like manna from the heavens. There were National Geographic picture quality ones, even some Disney ones thrown in for good measure and finally I could breathe again.

Until I heard him evoke Google again saying, “show me a girl whale”. I rushed back in time to see whales AND massive thongs and butt cracks appear on the screen.

Gods of Google: Please put in a disambiguate plug-in for the sake of my sanity.

Book Review: Closed Casket

I am an Agatha Christie aficionado. Rather an afficianado of the characters she has created. I haven’t read up much about her life per se but somehow I pictured her to be a bit like the wax statue of Miss Marple I’d seen in Madam Tussaud’s years ago.

The back cover of her books proved that she was neither that fluffy or was she that sweet-looking old lady of my imagination. But be as that may, I think an author’s legacy ought speak for itself in the books they’ve published rather than someone else hoisting a flag on their behalf; with books that haven’t sprung forth from the original grey matter.

With equal part reluctance and curiosity I bought a paperback of Closed Casket and I stuck to, reading till the end out of sheer stubbornness because truth be told, Sophie Hannah lost me somewhere in soon after the first 20-odd pages.

Agatha Christie’s prose is not torturous. You don’t have to be a connoisseur of the English language nor of the crime and mystery genre to get engrossed in her books. Hannah’s prose, the twists and turns were quite taxing and the kind of play or words done for ‘closed casket’ was worthy of a conceit of John Donne himself!

Her book has a darker feel to it than Christie’s typically do but with half the enjoyment that I’m accustomed to.

So I’ll stick to being a Christie purist and reread (for the nth time) my Poirot and Marple novels. They’re the real deal.