Go-to films.

I don’t remember who and how I got introduced to the world of Kore-eda. To the world of Hirokazu Kore-eda. And that added a dimension to my life that I never knew existed.

The very first film of his that I watched was Nobody Knows followed by Air Doll. Air Doll left such a long lasting imprint on my heart that I kept going back to it over the years. I found Nobody Knows hauntingly beautiful and eerie. I have never gone back to watch it but I have thought of it over and over again that I have lost my way through my own thoughts.

Still walking and like father, like son, flowed in and I could see myself in the web that Kore-eda created for little, important human emotions, relationships and existence. Something was beautifully crafted out of those little ‘not to be told secrets’ or those ‘we don’t talk about these’ sentences. The stories had their own unique space but his narrative lingered on for days, months and years.

Kore-eda’s films, till date, are my go-to films; of course I need subtitles to understand them but beyond a point I think his work blends in with the need of the hour too .. where we need to acknowledge these little emotions that made us humans to start with.

Celebrity link ups / break ups. 

This Hrithik-Kangana case is fairly interesting. If I bring them down to being two plain individuals and not the celebrities that they are; just as two random individuals, then this forms the basis of what I am going to write next.

Why does it have to be a damsel in distress and a monster man?! Why?! Why does it have to be a powerful man and a not so powerful woman?! Relationships between humans happen all the time. Some last long, some don’t. Some bring out the best in you; some bring out the worst in you. Like a heartbeat, relationships too are conditioned to both the genes and the environment.

There’s no big deal in having sex with whoever you fancy because sex itself is mechanical and is overrated in a relationship. Sex, on its own doesn’t make or break a relation; similarly, promises of marriage or promises of any kind don’t make or break a relation either.

Whether you allow yourself to be an object in any relationship, is a call that you take and a choice that you make depending on your own conditions and circumstances. Like for example (my favourite example), in Sonagachi, a sex worker doesn’t exercise her right in choosing her customer; its money driven. A sex worker’s entire focus, even while she is in the act, is on the money that she’s going to get and her plans for her future. Similarly when you allow yourself to be an user in any relationship, that’s also a call and choice that you make based on your conditions. Like no one can stop anyone in this very world to not have an affair or not to go to a sex worker. It’s like can you stop those men trading women in Sonagachi or can you stop them from abusing or using women?! No. It’s their call, their choice based and hugely driven on and by their conditions.

In a world where on one hand, I have known and seen young girls, as young as 5 years old being sold under a broad umbrella of glittery promises and stability; I find it hard to even read through a woman’s complaints and accusations around promises and uses; especially from a woman who is well established, is educated and is financially capable to earn her bread and butter. More than that, I am disgusted by the media for labelling her as a role model as someone who has spoken her mind and stood up against injustice.

Injustice?! Sleeping with someone by choice and not forcibly is no injustice. Partying with someone by choice and not forcibly is no injustice. Even if all those hanging, kissing and making out were under some kind of a ‘promise’ umbrella, that didn’t work out the way one expected it to be, none of it gives the right to call out words like ‘rape’ or ‘cheat’ or ‘injustice’.

All it does go to show and to learn is this that in this very world, what goes around comes around. The only person that you owe is you and no one else. So when you set out choosing from the vector of choices, you get some right and some are not so right. None of that gives you the right to turn around and be a role model for a man or a woman. None of that gives you the right to play the woman card or the man card either because truth is, you still sit on a broader couch with the right to choose whereas ‘abuse’ is a lot silent and is dealt with in isolation and silence, not through long media interviews or posts.

I keep reading so many opinions on empowerment all the time. I keep reading so many posts that question rituals and find religions baseless. I find it extremely sad and disgraceful that no one has the time and the energy to go and study the roots on which these rituals and beliefs were set up. Most people tend to question the derived versions of the truth and they are also the same ones who mock it, who disregard it too.

Imagine someone waking up in the year 2080 and finding walking on roads to be the most stupid act that humans can possibly do. But natural, by then flying would be so obvious that walking would appear stupid. Think about it, is walking really crazy?! It does serve a purpose to this body that we all live in though!

Hence, while most of us are happy thinking and praising our own egos on how much of a voice, opinion, troll and media coverage we have and get; truth is, it’s all based on derived knowledge. If one literally spends that much of his or her wake time in engaging with and in the real knowledge, one wouldn’t have time and also wouldn’t be interested in indulging or entertaining opinions or judgements of humans around.. Because the more you know, the deeper your desire for silence and stillness is.

And to end this super long post of mine, which I don’t even know why I wrote, but I’ll leave it here saying that it’s about time we move beyond the gender and societal definitions of ‘respect’, ‘status’ and ‘positions’ cards for each of us, with each of us. Turn around and count the number of things and people you love for who they are barring everything! Even if there’s one, you’re human indeed.

TV series : Einstein. 

Bless the souls in my life who get amazingly disturbed if I don’t watch TV or if I am not following any series or watching films. They take it upon themselves to find something to get me on board simply because they want to know what I think! That also makes me wonder whether I should charge everyone that wants to know what I think because that way I, potentially, could become a millionaire 😃 

This bit is about this National Geographic series on Einstein. I didn’t want to watch it at first and then it took a bit of convincing and I was asked to watch it not because of the man but because of his wife, Mileva Maric Einstein.  

I am not a physicist and though I too hold a keen interest in understanding this very universe but I dwell on the patterns and numbers for my curiosity not on the science per se, if I may make that clear here .. But this post is not about science or numbers .. This post is about a woman, Mileva, who married a genius 😊 

Let’s look at Meliva .. A young ambitious woman with a brilliant mind of her own. A father who believes in her and encourages her to follow her dreams. A mother who tries to argue that no man has ever married a woman for her brain while the father gets her enrolled in a school only for boys just because she has a passion and a drive to understand the universe through science. That’s Mileva Maric .. Rather that’s perhaps the most common description of a girl child in today’s world; one who belongs to a moderately functional, economically sound family .. Or middle class as the term is popularly known 😊 so let’s call this girl M. 

M goes to university. Meets a bright young man who falls in love with her because they share the intellectual space. They challenge each other and they take a great pride in writing proofs and developing theories. The man sees her as his partner and they get married. She conceives and they have a child. The man gets busy trying to earn and keep the household running while M gets busy changing diapers, cleaning, cooking and running a house. In the meantime, due to her health and child birth, she fails her exams. While the man passes his university exams, she fails them. However, as a woman with a mind of her own and an inquisitive brain, she does help the man with his work too besides looking after the house. 

Time rolls and one fine day she realises that she isn’t a physicist anymore. She is a wife. She is a mother. She is a clerk to her husband. But the physicist that she had dreamt of, the scientist that her father once believed she would be, she is none of that. 
She meets the woman of her dreams one fine day, a scientist and she says ‘when I was young, I too dreamt to win the Nobel and be a famous physicist like you. Then with kids and house, somewhere I left physics. How did you manage everything?!’ 

M’s dream woman replied ‘I didn’t. My kids never saw me. They grew up without me while I worked in laboratories. I go to bed each night thinking that they probably hate me. But your kids, your kids adore you’. 

And this is where I am going to stop 😊 
Mileva or M or whatever you are called .. You direct your life and nothing else .. There are infinite paths to lead a life. There are infinite paths to love. There are equally infinite ways to define relationships and there are more than one way to happiness, to your own happiness 😊 

None of us are meant to get it all, none of us get it all either. The compromises that we make and the justifications that we provide don’t always have to comply with the world. 

Remember how M’s father pushed her and remember how M’s husband used her thinking she was smart and could push herself, make home and help him with work too 😃 ?!?! That’s how the world is .. You’ll be put through equal amounts of push and pull .. The choices you make and the roads you walk on will always be your own .. Hence, take a pride in them because no one ever walks in your shoes to precisely know your pauses and walks. 


Maacher Jhol – bengali film .. 

I got introduced to the Bengali song, Je tore pagol bole, from the film, Maacher Jhol by a friend. Since then, I have been wanting to watch the film. More like, the lyrics of the song acted as trigger to the film. The song is the opening song in the film and that’s it.. Just as I was going to rubbish the entire film because it was all pretty predictable, I got drawn into this truth of life .. that in order to be somebody, you got to be selfish and self love has to dominate everything. Pretty harsh; eh?! But sadly that’s what was shown on screen 😊 I don’t think I needed a screen to know this all over again but it was lovely to sit through a someone’s story and narrative, which I did like to be honest. 

Maacher Jhol is a story of a man who follows his heart to become a famous chef and comes back to his own country after 12 years when his mom falls ill. From leaving his country, a secured job, to chasing his dream in a foreign land, to coming back home to face his fears and to acknowledge the course of his own life, the film keeps going back and forth in time and is reasonably well made. Some of the dialogues do touch your heart and some of faces on screen are highly annoying like that character Maggie 🤣 She should have been given 2 minutes of the screen time just like her name in the film 😁 The changing concept of power, from a rebellious son to a renowned chef, to an ordinary man full of contradictions is, in my opinion, remarkable. The paradigm shift from guilt to forgiveness is subtle and I loved it ❤️

I am no film critic and neither do I understand any bit of filmmaking but if I were to recommend a good story to be seen on screen, I probably wouldn’t recommend Maacher Jhol as such but I would say that if you really really want to watch a Bengali film, then it’s worth it 😊 It’s available on Netflix!

Zulfiqar – the film 

I had some time on my hands and decided to watch this fairly new Bengali film – Zulfiqar by Srijit Mukherji. 

Few months back when I first saw the trailer of the film, I hated it and felt like puking. I, most wrongly, feel that marketing is an art and few people do it so graciously that I, would even end up buying junk from these great marketing geniuses. 
Then, I saw the film and I made an effort to watch the film and didn’t just give up and sat in comfort with my heavy hard biases. 

Zulfiqar Ahmed – you stole my heart 🙂 

The film, Zulfiqar, revolves around this man Zulfiqar Ahmed; his family, his power, his ethics of running a business and all that happens in the dark alleys of this very world.. When ‘trust’ is up for sale, ‘sex’ satisfies the ego, and ‘blood’ gets in the way of power .. When ‘talking about’ becomes easy than ‘talking to’ .. When ‘premonitions’ are misinterpreted as ‘panic attacks’ .. When ‘being able to move masses’, ‘being able to control people’ becomes an addiction .. That’s when the darkest alleys of a human mind and soul, perhaps, no longer know what it means to be human. 
To me, each character of the film, was like an ‘independent emotion’ in isolation.. The dependency structure of these emotions, the characters, is what bound the film, beautifully .. This is one film where I found ‘love’ to be surreal 🙂 

The songs of Zulfiqar are awesome! I have already bought them on iTunes 🙂 🙂 🙂 And today, for once, I am very proudly going to accept my new probability distribution when it comes to films .. I follow this ‘brtapo’ distribution 🙂 🙂 Named after my non-Normal liking and taste in films and coined by one of my dear friends 🙂 I am proud of it. 

And lastly, I loved the film.

Dhanak, bonds with and beyond normal colours 

Film : Dhanak 

Directed by : Nagesh Kukunoor 

Available on Netflix. 

Dhanak, is a story set in Rajasthan where a young Pari keeps failing her exams to stay in the same class as her younger brother, Chotu, who’s blind. It is revealed in the narrative that Chotu wasn’t born blind; poor nourishment and lack of care by their uncle and aunt after the death of their parents, had an impact on his eyesight and by the time he was 4, he was blind. 
Chotu, now 8, is a die hard Salman Khan fan and even wears a bracelet similar to him while Pari is a die hard Shahrukh Khan fan and on their way to school, they toss a coin, depending on head or tails, it’s either a Salman Khan story or a Shahrukh Khan story on their way to school. 
Life moves on until one day when Pari decides to take her brother to meet Shahrukh Khan in Jaisalmer, who she believes has a cure for her brother and she has promised herself and to Chotu that he would be able to see by the time he turns 9! 
Their journey to Jaisalmer and to the end of the film is simply spectacular and heart touching. It is about love, it’s about trust and it’s about an unfailing bond of human fear and immense belief in goodness. There are moments in the narrative which puts you to the edge of your chair and there are moments where you just want to hug both the kids and cry! The most endearing part of the movie is that it is simply real to the core. Little things like seeing two kids on their own, someone pretends to be nice to them only to plan them to be kidnapped and sold and when a so called goddess confesses to a blind Chotu that she was an actor before becoming a goddess, are simply real. 
I guess it’s one of those films that reinforces the belief in you that if you honestly and sincerely seek something, it seeks you out too and eventually you are united. 
Dhanak has some amazing fusion songs and Rajasthan has never looked so gorgeous before 🙂

(Image courtesy Google images) 

Saala Khadoos – of life and love 

I watched Saala Khadoos, the Hindi Bollywood version of Madhavan’s film. I am calling it a Madhavan film because of his on screen potrayal of the master! I am smitten and completely taken in by it as I too, believe, that this is how and what a teacher should be like. Someone who is able to spot talent and then give in everything to nurture it. 

The film has an interesting concept of sibling rivalry between the older and younger sister where the older one does want to be a boxer eventually ending up being a police officer and the younger one is a naturally gifted boxer but sells fish in a local market to support the family. There comes a point in the narrative of the film where the heartbroken older sister ends up asking and questioning the teacher why he doesn’t teach her the way he teaches her younger sister and he replies very confidently that the younger sister is a natural and gifted boxer. I guess what is to learn out of it is that we can all train and learn the skills to do a particular job but at the end of it all, the one who is natural and gifted will excel without a shadow of doubt. There are no two ways about it; be it sports or be it in general, in life! 

The film moves into the journey and deals with the love, hate and trust trajectories of emotions between a student and her teacher. They fight each other, they fight against their opponents and they fight against the corrupt system. They give a new meaning to the word team and take trust to a whole new level when in the final round, the protagonist in the boxing ring, lowers her guard down, shocking everyone but believing in her master, and they both emerge as winners! 

The film beautifully settles in the relationship of a student with her teacher who she believes in completely, more than herself and he believes in her completely more than himself. They protect each other’s trust and they protect each other’s identity against the worldly demands. 

I guess if that’s how every teacher and student could be, the world will be a better place to learn and to grow. 

(Image has been taken from google images)