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.

The State Of This World

Disclaimer: This blog post is purely my opinion piece rather than any kind of an indictment on any individuals, societies, or beliefs of any kind. While it is backed by inputs I have come across over social media, it is not being cited as any kind of conclusive empirical data.

I usually refrain from writing opinion pieces about matters which polarize a community on the whole. It’s not merely a thought about any potential backlash but also because the numerous viewpoints floating about often muddy the waters more than show a clear path.

The Gauri Lankesh murder is one of those issues which stayed with me. Not merely because of the act by itself but also because of the tidal wave of opinions that have almost succeeded in drowning out the matter at hand- a journalist was killed.

Whether she poked the sleeping lion once too many times, whether she was too outspoken for her own good or whether it was one of those unfortunate drive-bys that we tend to witness more in other nations; the prevailing opinion seems to be that who she was, what she stood for is what most likely got her killed.

This is what I feel about death: I am pro-choice; which often results in the death of a fetus. I am pro-capital punishment which inevitably leads to a painful death. Whether it’s deserved or not; someone must have once cared for even the most hated rapist, pedophile or even sadistic murderer. And if that’s the case, surely the death of an erudite, opinionated, socially-conscious individual is likely to generate a stronger wave of impact on society overall? There must be a larger mass of people mourning her, her ideals?

A lot of her detractors have painted her as anti-establishment, anti-national, antis galore. But very few have backed up their responses with any kind of evidence to support their stance.

Twitter, the dumping ground of the masses, literatti and the cognoscenti overall, has a huge number of people lauding her death while an equally large number of people seem genuinely distressed that a voice has been silenced for good.

Some tweets (and retweets) of hers do have a rather juvenile (IMHO) facet of her showing up; with irrelevant and unwarranted potshots at the government at power and also groups associated with them.

Case in point: taking a picture of a latrine which has the word “Modi” on it and plastering it on a world-wide social media platform and captioning it as a pun on the Prime Minister’s name surely wasn’t in good taste? But if the rebuttal is “neither was Godhra and its subsequent fallout” then we’re par for course because the locking of horns will begin well and truly!

I am for Freedom of Speech and Expression but never was that freedom given to be absolute! Likening the head of state’s photo with a visiting dignitary as that resembling a “gay marriage” again didn’t seem dignified let alone respectful or even relevant in any way whatsoever! What was the provocation? And ultimately, what it did it prove?

Don’t we have enough valid instances to call out the PM on without resorting to commenting on his married state, his having served tea or having been in the ranks of a society which is a cult only if one chooses to look at it as such.

Is every one who pledges allegiance to the tenets of RSS a bigot? Waiting to put an end to all races to proclaim the glory of Hinduism? Do the members of the Sangh Parivar deserve to have their mothers dragged into a discussion on a public forum, along with the circumstances of their conception? What is the value add?

But I digress. Gauri Lankesh did not deserve to die this kind of a death. She ought to have stuck around, done her bit to shape the consciousness of those she came in contact with and spread knowledge in the most purest form; inflaming minds in the most effective and meaningful manner.

Her written word, her personality would have been a better legacy to leave behind than a cold corpse on the autopsy table.

Those who knew her or her work will probably say that her detractors won’t be able to diminish her aura or her worth. But I feel compelled to ask…wouldn’t it have been better if she had picked her battles more appropriately? Apart from not having to pay such a heavy price, she could have definitively contributed to the kind of society she sought out for herself and everyone in it.

Riding In The Car With A Boy

I don’t have to drive my kid around much since he started going to grade school 2 years ago. By the time he gets home it’s usually late afternoon and then he snacks, plays, does his homework or has play dates in the community we live in so we seldom step out during weekdays.

On the weekends Red usually drives because he’s afraid for his life with me in the driver’s seat and prefers to have me and offspring prattle away while he navigates.

This week I spent a bit of time driving MLM back from school and our conversations were the kind that would make David Attenborough happy.

This Monday I was lectured at about piranhas, where they live, how they’re caught, killed and how they have super sharp teeth. When I mentioned the only factoid I had with me about piranhas being able to pick clean a full human skeleton in minutes, I was pooh-poohed and told piranhas didn’t eat people because they were smaller in size and only bigger fish like sharks ate humans.

Trying to regain some part of the conversation, I told him that piranhas attacked in a group and that’s how they were able to overpower people; I was told with a snappish answer that people shouldn’t swim in the waters where the piranhas live if they didn’t want to get eaten.  Rather a simple and smart solution when one thinks of it.

Yesterday on our way back from school, I was again informed at great length about the Yeti Crab. My kid has a way of bombarding me with questions, seldom waiting till I answer them to shoot out the next one. And so there was a barrage of questions about the lesser-known Yeti crab and all I could think about was the Yeti and so I tried to tell him why the crab was probably named thus. I’m beginning to think that I should just keep my mouth shut because he just refuses to believe anything I say, preferring to hear the sound of his own voice, monologuing away to glory. Great career as a t.v. host on some nature channel droning on about chameleons or Tsetse flies…

Anyhoo, I tried to tell him about the Yeti and he just blew away my words and said that’s so silly and the crab was probably name Yeti because it sounded like a “cute” name. Talk about your empirical evidence!

All said and done, this kind of talk makes a huge difference from the “are we there yets” that he normally churns out every 2 seconds while we’re usually travelling. But imagine having a mini-naturalist inside your car who wants to educate you whether you want to be educated or not!

In the meanwhile, here’s to a good weekend from me and mine and all the animals that are there in my car!

Ode To A Shopping Mall

Today I have seen misery. I have seen faces full of despair, hopelessness and utter exhaustion. I have also seen people look defeated and rundown and resigned to the vagaries of life.

I refer to the crowds outside the waiting rooms of the shopping malls. And specifically to the male of the species who have girlf(r)iends and wives (hopefully both not in attendance at the same time) who have disappeared into the black hole that a changing room turns into on weekends.

These females, usually arms laden with clothes a size smaller than needed, march into the fray that gets them rooms the earliest and park their better and increasingly embittered halves outside with another heap of outfits that would clothe a small county.

These hapless men have handed over their lives, their wallets and most importantly their weekends to these sirens who will ask them two of the most difficult questions a man has to face in his life:

  1. How Do I Look?
  2. Does This Make Me Look Fat?

Both answers must be accompanied by starry-eyed gormless looks of admiration towards the questioner. And in case there was any doubt of any kind, the answers for question #1 can range from – great, awesome, amazing, woohoo hot!! and others of its ilk but must never be- OK or have a shrug or non-verbal that conveys indecision or anything less than adulation. And that ready reckoner was for the b.fs. Husbands already know there is no correct answer. Usually.

Answer #2 is a bit dicey but the rule book (yes, there is a rule book) says that this noncommittal answer is usually good to go-” I don’t think so/or I don’t see it; what do you think?”

Turning the question over to the woman in question may save your hide but in 20% of the cases it may rebound on the victim with accusations of never saying anything nice/complimentary or never taking a decision. Ever!!

Like the time she asked what did you feel like eating for lunch and you said (good naturedly), “Nothing specific. Anything works for me. Choose what you want.” She said, ” Cool, let’s have Chinese” and you said, “Gawd…Chinese again?!!” and kept thinking all through your Sichuan fried rice why you were feeling a distinctly arctic chill in the restaurant. Oh well.

Back to our hapless menfolk…they stand shoulder to shoulder, united in agony; waiting for the love of their life to say the magic words, “Ok..am done.” But they don’t know something more insidious is waiting for them…the serpentine queue where they’ll have to stand for another multitude of mind-numbing minutes till the clothes get paid for and if someone really has bad karma, the significant other will suddenly remember (after the bill has been paid) that the loyalty points have not been added to their card. Because 9 out of 10 times, the check-out person will direct them to yet another understaffed, overcrowded desk to get things done!

Alea Iacta Est (the die is cast).

P.S: If I didn’t have to swat away mosquitoes while I type this out, I’d have written a few lines about the young hotstuff chica whose morale I destroyed by picking up the same culottes she was reaching for. I guess I looked old and hausfrauish enough for her to rethink her wardrobe choices in toto!

Ah! Sweet Youth.

Frankenstein and Kettle bells

Disclaimer: I have no verifiable knowledge that Frankenstein’s Monster ever used kettle bells on those brawny arms of his. However, if he had, it would totally explain why he walked like he had an atomic wedgie going on 24/7!

*  For the uninitiated am going to add a link here about what an atomic wedgie is. If you need to refer to the link then you’re one of the good ones who doesn’t believe in noogies and spitballs either. I’m not posting a picture of the horrors of an atomic wedgie because it may very well fall under cruelty to animals.

Let’s continue shall we? Well…I’ve been quite wishy-washy about going to the gym and I paid for it. Oh boy, did I pay for it! My gym instructor thought I should try out the latest instrument of torture aka the kettle bell.  I tried it and by the end of the routine this was me; praying for deliverance!

knsbwodfeatureimage

Anyhoo, all that praying didn’t get me much. Then. Once I got back home and over the rest of the day it seemed like someone had applied the brakes to my thigh muscles. I’ve heard of lockjaw. And now imagine lockthigh instead. Or rather imagine a short round woman walking like this for 2 days! But much S-L-O-W-E-R!!

Everything about growing older, not eating right, not taking care of your body comes with huge epiphanies. Mine was all the couch potatoness I’ve displayed all these years. I could have read while using the treadmill or just taken out 20 minutes out of my day even every alternate day and done *something*. I didn’t. And fell prey to an innocuous-looking cute, round thing which now I equate with being on the rack!

Jokes aside…don’t go to the gym if you don’t want too much structure and routine. But take care of yourself else it comes back and bites you on the rather sizable glutes you’ll end up having.

People don’t know what lifting weights is till you’re pulling your body up from a slanted plane or holding it up on your elbows while trying to stay steady and not belly flop on the gym mats. Or when your arm muscles jiggle like Jello and you find yourself wanting to melt into a puddle because then you wouldn’t be in any kind of shape and hurt.

But stick with it and the endorphins kick in and it actually does ease the aches and pain. It also makes you want to try out latest bane of your existence, if only to conquer it once and for all!

Till then you put up with your mind saying stuff like this to egg you on-

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

Retroblog

7 years ago I published this bit of rant (scroll down) on Facebook notes. I was more than halfway into my first year as a mother and the mini muffin was an adorable individual who was just getting into his groove as a tiny human hurricane.

The text is all in caps to express my overwhelmed state of mind back in the day. Suffice to say writing etiquette was the furthest thing on my mind at that time!

AVE DIAPER! THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO PLUNGE HEADFIRST INTO DOODOO SALUTE YOU!
NOTE: THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO OR WOULD LIKE TO CONCEIVE/GIVE BIRTH KINDLY BEAR IN MIND PRODUCT COMES WITH A NO RETURN&NO EXCHANGE POLICY!!
1) YOUR CHILD HAS THAT ANGELIC-CHERUBIC FACE SO YOU DON’T SLAP THOSE CHEEKS INTO PERMANENT RUDDINESS.
2) YOUR CHILD WILL TIME THE EXPULSION OF FECES&URINE AT THE EXACT MOMENT WHEN YOU CANNOT GET THE DIAPER ON.
3) THE CRYING WILL BEGIN JUST WHEN YOUR BRAIN SIGNALS IT’S TIME TO REST.
4) WILL SPIT UP FOOD ON THE DAY YOU ARE FEELING MOST CONFIDENT ABOUT DINNERTIME BEING A NON-WWF MATCH.
5) YOUR CHILD WILL PRESENT THE AFOREMENTIONED ANGELIC SIDE TO OTHERS, LEAVING THEM TO THINK YOU’RE A LOON FOR CRIBBING ABOUT SUCH A CUTIE-WUTIE IZZUMS!
6) WILL MANAGE TO MAKE YOUR ANGER GO OUT IN A POOF! BY GOING TO SLEEP ON YOUR SHOULDER, MOUTH OPEN, TEETH SHOWING&CHUBBY HANDS HOLDING YOU TIGHTER THAN THEY’D HOLD ANYONE ELSE.
BOTTOM LINE: ADOPT A TEEN INSTEAD. THEY’RE LIKELY TO BE HOUSEBROKEN.
LIKELY.
ADIEU!