I don’t go for treks just because I like it, especially the long ones. It’s like my self-evaluation cycle. I keep it into two phases, one before trek and one after it. So failing in a trek leads to a lot of disappointment, not just for the trek but even for life.

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Day 1 – Flight Mode

10/21/2017

After a lot of last minute flight changes by the Great Royal Nepal Airlines I had to cancel my Chennai to Delhi flight and take the 2’o clock one to Delhi. The only good thing was that the food was free in Jet Airways but other than that nothing, didn’t even have air hostess. Air stewards served us. But the 2’o clock flight is lot better than early morning flight where I’d have had to sleep and get up early. I kind of tried to sleep in flight but it was very uncomfortable.

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I reached Delhi airport and it was amazing. Luckily for me my domestic flight also landed at the same terminal, T3 so I didn’t have to take the bus, which I was not aware of till then. One look at the airport and I was like wow. Delhi airport is always fun. Only I wish they extend the free Wi-Fi time.

After checking in I got my passport stamped, which felt good, because I didn’t know that they’d do it. It was fun to check out the duty free shops and number of liquor bottles too. They were for great prices. At around 9 AM Kaustubh called me first but it was Shashidhar whom I first met. After going through every nook and corner of the airport we boarded the flight.

I didn’t like the look of the flight and also it didn’t have push back but food was good and for the first time got beer in flight. But again couldn’t sleep. I was getting more and more tired.

Once I reached Nepal we tried to get cab after coming out of airport campus, but he asked a whopping 700 NPR for it. So we decided to go by bus, after a lot of suggestions we took bus for 15 NPR and then again cab. Our aim to go to Thamel in bus was a failure.

We liked the initial look and feel of Zostel. Soon after getting freshened up I went for a long pending deep sleep and woke up at 6.30 but still was hell tired. Zostel kitchen was closed, which was a blessing in disguise so we went to Or2K restaurant which was quite happening. Also got a having a nice conversation with a cute Israeli girl. Thank you Falafel!

Zostel at night was even more happening, be it guitar, songs or rooftop lounge. But due to early morning flight the next day, I had to sleep early.

Day 2 – Lukla – Phakding: More flight and slight walk

10/22/2017

It was yet another yearly morning start. Kaustubh, Shashidhar and I woke up at 3.30 AM in the morning and got a cab in half an hour. It was funny to see the airport locked at 4.30 AM but people began to swarm in.

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As soon as it opened we checked in the luggage and got to flights. Shashidhar and I were able to take the 6.15 AM flight but Kaustubh had to wait for his turn. The flight wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. Once at Lukla we met Abhilash the trek Leader and Mukesh, the co-leader.

We walked here and there for a while and had breakfast. I had Chapathi which was the worst I’ve ever had. It was so hard that my tooth started aching for the next few days.

There were few who couldn’t get that day’s flight so we started off to Phakding post lunch, after having a detailed briefing. The descent to Phakding was decent but towards the end I started getting tired and also was getting slight headache.

Once we reached Phakding, we did a quick stretching and had Tea followed by dinner. At night again it was getting cold.

Day 3 – Phakding – Namche Bazaar: Where the problem started

10/23/2017

After a good night’s sleep, in fact after three days I had proper sleep. So felt great that day morning. We started off on time and reached the lunch point, Jorsalle. Lunch was the usual Dal Bhat. We chanted our war cry, ‘Dal Bhat power 24 hour’ and had the same.

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Problem started here. Post lunch I felt really tired and was feeling breathless. I was continuously coming at the last. That was so unlikely of me. Towards the end I was panting like anything and had to give off my bag to Mukesh. That felt even worse. Never had it happened with me before.

Finally I reached there, had tea and went to room to rest post dinner. I was also burping and farting like hell, if that was not enough, post dinner I got dysentery and had to go to rest room every half an hour. In spite of that I had a good night’s sleep.

I decided that I would not be continuing the trek that night.

Day 4 – Rest Day at Namche Bazaar

10/24/2017

When everyone went to see to Everest View Point I decided to stay at the tea house and rest. That felt good, especially due to Wi-Fi. Also I had good day time sleep.

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By the time I woke up for lunch the remaining folks had come and Pradeep was busy acting as Trek Leader. But I wasn’t in a mood to enjoy anything. I went along with them for a short walk to museum. Walked quite slowly, was feeling slightly heavy breathing but felt good while coming down. So at night I told Abhilash that I’d continue to the trek and take it forward depending on the next day’s outcome.

But after an hour of sleep I again had dysentery. That’s when I decided enough is enough.

Day 4 – Long Walk Back: Namche Bazaar – Lukla

10/25/2017

I and Divakar decided to return back to Lukla that day, without bags of course. I had to shell out 1500 NPR for that but that was nothing compared to the amount I spent otherwise for the trip.

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It was a slow boring walk. Felt horrible doing that. I have never walked so slow in my life, let alone in trek. Finally reached Lukla airport at 4.30 PM to see the last flight going. Divakar got the flight but I had to wait for one more day.

I was tired beyond words, got a room finally after checking a couple of lodges. With free Wi-Fi and decent dinner it was a good deal. Only annoying thing was the little girl there who locked my room at night but I somehow found out so took the help of people next door to open it.

Day 5 – Lukla to Kathmandu

10/26/2017

Went there early morning for flight but had to wait till 11. I went back again to the hotel and had an amazing conversation with one German gentleman who told that he has been trekking the Himalayas for the part 20 – 30 years and how that helped him in having an organic bypass surgery. I think that conversation is going to serve as an inspiration for future.

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Once I reached Kathmandu I checked the tickets to Chennai and found it to be very high so decided to go back to Zostel. I stayed in Fireflies instead of Zostel, which was even better in facilities when compared to Zostel, just the space was little less.

Had a terrific dinner at Yangling with Buff Sadheko which is nothing but a salad with Buffalo meat which was amazing complemented well by Somersby Cider and Buff Kothey Momo which is pan fried momo, again was amazing. Ate like hell after such a long time and had a sound sleep.

Day 6 – Back Home: Kathmandu – Chennai

10/27/2017

Took an Indigo flight from Kathmandu to Chennai, a horrible one in which I didn’t get any food. After reaching Delhi, browsed again through duty free and went to T1 airport in bus. It took a lot of time. As it was Friday night it was crowded like hell but somehow I got a seat to feast on KFC chicken and Costa’s cold coffee. The former was great but the latter wasn’t.

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The flight from Delhi to Chennai was a mess which stopped at Jaipur once and then came here so a lot of disturbance was there. But I was relieved that I finally reached home after a disastrous trip.

Totally I spent around 1.5 lakhs for this trip, which would be my savings out of all the trips that I’ve done so far and I can’t spend on anything at least for the next one year. Huge huge loss for me.

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It doesn’t.

A super bad movie which spelled disaster in each and every frame. Pretentious and predictive. If not for the Sathyam popcorn I don’t know how I’d have been able to digest the movie. What’s worse is this is only one half and the second one is coming.

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The movie has a proper horror film opening with kids, darkness, attic, sewer etc. In other words uses every horror film template in those initial few minutes. Anyways it was nice. When the elder brother says that he’s going to die soon, the unsympathetic attitude was good.

The Clown does a decent job in whatever time he gets. But this film works better as a teenage story than a horror one. Horror part were all jump cuts and only that. But the kids’ story was fabulous. Wish had made that as a movie.

The fact the second part is gonna have them as grown-ups is even more horrifying. Hoping to not see it.

This would be my best title for my travelogue ever. Thanks to the t shirt quotes I saw over there.

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Day 0 – The Great Escape

9/28/2017

This time it was a tense Thursday with project deadlines and lot of drama in team. My project has more drama than my life. Worst! So had to escape early, as usual for 13.30 train to Bangalore. That has become my regular abode. And for the first time the train got late by half an hour, which time I used to share/read updates in FB.

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I didn’t have lunch, thanks to my guilty pleasure of having Murugan Idly Kadai breakfast in the morning. But the snacks in train this time were awesome. Reminded of my good old days with grandmother when I used to travel to Madurai as a kid and eat everything under the roof. So in the midst of endless conversation we also had Bajji, Bonda, Badam Milk etc.

Weather was awesome, train was late by an hour I think. We gave the window seat to one person so that we can sit together. For the first time didn’t even feel like I missed the window seat, we talked that much. Talked so much that my mouth started hurting (Today’s gyan. There is no such word called as ‘paining’). Admire the energy of Soma.

Once we reached Bangalore, it started raining but not as much as it was doing in the previous days. So we first hurried to the bus stand so that we shouldn’t miss the bus. This we did in spite of knowing that Bangalore buses would never come on time. Dinner was really good for a bus stand restaurant.

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After filling up bottles we went to our platform. Discovered that there is a bus stand outside the bus stand. Bangalore and Bus Terminals. Lots of chicks everywhere. Surprisingly our bus came on time and started in fifteen minutes. Felt great sitting on top of the sleeper and seeing the world outside. Felt as if I was sitting on an elephant. Plus the curly haired girl (who would be my crush for next three days) was at a visible distance from there. So got a nice view before going for a sound sleep.

Day 1 – For the Weather

9/29/2017

Had a great sleep, weather was super awesome. Got up few minutes before Hospet. Roads were bad but felt great from upper berth. Most of them got down at Hospet so I and Soma alone were there in bus. It was a great feel. Things turn up great after morning chai.

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We reached Hampi in about half an hour. It was a majestic feel to enter the land of boulders. It was like seeing Taj Mahal for the first time. We had breakfast there in some tea shop, little did we knew that he’d be our advisor for the next three days. He seemed to be nice guy and Soma bought a really informative guide book in that gap.

As per the shopkeepers advice we went to the boating point and went to the other side of the river. Per person it was Rs. 50, rather than the regular Rs. 10. They are spoiling their own business. Crossing the river we met the person whom we had called and got the bike for Rs. 400 (costly again) and room for the same cost. That wasn’t a room at all, a makeshift hut we got for Rs. 400.

It took a while to get ready. Soma’s excitement started as soon as he saw grass, so we rolled whatever stuff we had but didn’t give any kick. We then took bath and got ready in few minutes and started off our journey. Our first task was to get to the petrol bunk and visit places en route. Luckily our first stop was Anjani Parvat, the birthplace of Anjaneya. Great place with great view. Got few really good clicks. We followed it by Pampa Sarovar, not before being asked for marijuana by a road side peddler, had a mandatory sugarcane juice and the usual free meals in temple. Somehow the gods are always kind on me by providing free food wherever I go. Then we went to Durga Temple. What a coincidence that we got to go there on the eve of Durga Pooja. Colors were great and the music inside was divine.

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We then directly went to the petrol bunk and filled petrol for Rs. 150. We didn’t know that the bike was not allowed in Hampi area so it was waste of money. Lesson learnt, never fill petrol for more than a day’s ride. We took the road straight to Chintamani Temple, it had Ramar’s steps inside it but the boys inside it were irritating, asking for alms. The kid who said that he doesn’t have parents and wanted five rupees for that, turned around and ran free within a second of me rejecting him, Soma settled near the water. There were also an upper middle class family with kids enjoying the surrounding. It was nice to see them living a simple life. Nearby it were the Hachappa Mantapa and Jama Masjid.

We asked a local nearby for the nearby landmarks. He told about them excellently. One good thing about Hampi is everyone talks excellent English. Even though fake, it solves the language problem at least. Then we went to Ranganath Temple which felt like home followed by 65 Pillar Mantapa and Navabrindavan which we saw from a distance. While returning we went to Gagan Mahal which looked smaller than a Kings servant’s place.

I was happy that I could cover all the places in Anegondi side. While returning, weather was awesome with light drizzles, we asked a local about where to eat food, and he suggested Virupapura Gadde, the hippie joint of Hampi. We decided that we’re never going to eat in the place we stayed. Not worth the money. We settled in a nice restaurant called Dudu Falafel with beds and free Wi-Fi. There was one fake server who was talking fake English with fake accent and telling us the story of Hampi. On how rooms had become costly etc. We had a mug of beer each and I opted for a coke and rum too. Gave me correct high. Food was really good too.

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Room looked scary, Soma told about insects getting into ear and wearing earphones so we decided to stay outside, which was not a good idea. Mosquites was biting like hell instead of two layers of Odomos. Good that at least we didn’t get sick but I got up at 1’o clock and started reading the Hampi guide book thinking I wouldn’t be able to sleep post that but luckily I did.

Day 2 – A Day of Walks

9/30/2017

Day started early. Thanks to mozzies. Got freshened up and started off. We had Idly and super spicy coconut chutney is a nearby tea shop. We got to know that we couldn’t take bikes to the other side. So we stayed there for the bike guy to come, sighting foreigners and seeing a kid cajole a Japanese guy. That was a funny incident. He was the kid who showed us the bike. He had somehow spotted a guy from Japan and took him to see room. He had suggested a room for some money but the Japanese guy was insisting for nothing more than Rs. 300. While the Japanese guy was walking past him, he yelled him as “oi Japan…” which was funny like hell. That kept us in splits for quite a long time.

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The bike guy came and we got one liter petrol from him. Another one liter wasted. As it was before 9 AM the ferry person was asking for Rs. 100 per head. And people were giving so much money too. We bargained for Rs. 50 but still it’s high. Hope they learn their lesson.

Once we crossed the river we started off our sightseeing with the itinerary that I had marked. Kadalekalu Ganesha, Sasivekalu Ganesha, Krishna Bazaar (where we took few bad photos), Krishna Temple, Badavalinga Temple, Lakshmi Narasimha Temple (had sugarcane juice and lime soda), Chandikesvara Temple, Uddana Veerabhadra Temple. We completed the places in Sacred Center sans Virupaksha Temple. As it was near the Hampi Bus Stand we thought we could go there at any time.

After a few minutes’ walk we entered the Royal Center by taking a leak against Akka Tangi Gundu. Hope the sisters didn’t mind. It was a big route to cover and our water resources were already empty. We somehow pushed ourselves and covered all the places there which includes Underground Siva Temple, Nobleman’s Quarters, Mohammadan Watch Tower, Palace of Krishna Devaraya, Granaries, Band Tower, Mosque, Elephant stables, Zenena Enclosure (cover this along with Vittala temple and Archeological Museum on same day as this ticket is valid the on all three places. But we couldn’t as we went by walk), Teneali Rama Pavilion, Srinagarada Hebbagilu, Parshwanatha Temple, Ranga Temple, Octogonal bath, Kings Audience Hall, Large Stone Trough, Yellamma Temple, Hazara Rama temple, Mahanavami Dibba and Queen’s Bath before finally hitting the road. Saraswathi Temple, Chandrashekara Temple, Stepped and Tank were in the next left.

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Our next agenda was to reach Kamalapura for lunch. Thali meals for Rs. 70 in the super crowded Sai Hotel was decent. More than the food it was the water which was tasty there. It’s not the only restaurant there, if you walk few meters there are a lot of veg/non veg restaurants but it was crowded may be because its famous or may be because it was the one which catches your attention first. We had a friendly chat with the people who shared our table. We followed it up by a great fruit mixture and an even great conversationalist who suggested how to take share auto if we don’t get bus. But we had all the time in the world so we waited for bus. We used the time to visit the Archeological Museum which was crap but at least didn’t spend an extra thirty rupees for that.

We took the bus from there and reached Hampi Bus Stand and went to Virupasksha Temple, thus completing the whole circle. Temple wasn’t as great as I thought. Once crossing the river, I had to go to room to take bath. Soma said he’d stay back for his Turkish Coffee. I got lift both to and fro. He was in Dudu Falafel, which had become our second home by then.

We wanted to try out another restaurant. We had Nargila Restaurant in mind. And the thought got strengthened by a person we met in boat who said he’d be playing live music there. He has a shop next to the restaurant and sells music goods in the evening there and near the temple in the morning. Ambience of the restaurant was good but it was very crowded. Live music and Bon Fire were done in rounds. Best part was the girl to my right who was continuously making fun of the waiter. She first asked for Smirnoff, the waiter didn’t have a clue what it was, he said only MC was available. She didn’t know what MC is, high class may be, then she asked in local tone, nasha hoga na? Lol. Ordered Vodka finally. The waiter took a long time to deliver but had a funny expression so none got angry. Finally when he came with Vodka in plastic glass, it didn’t look like 60 ml, the girl said that too. I loved her expression.

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Beyond her was my curly haired darling, in addition to curly hair she had great eyes which got lit up in the candle light. I had unprecedented access to look at her face and I kept doing that till I got food. Loved the way she was smoking up, very classy woman. We got our food which was great but having to order separate dish for veg and non-veg made it heavy. We then walked our way to our tent to crash.

But once in our place we got to smoke up all kinds of stuff in all kinds of instrument with all kinds of people. There was an Israeli, Kannadiga, Malayalee and us. Hearing Music Mojo Malayalam songs with rain in the background was awesome. The Mallu couple we met were true to the saying, ‘young and stupid’. They looked very cute together. It kind of made me depressingly happy, like watching a good movie. I don’t generally collect numbers or Facebook IDs of people I meet during trip until asked by them. But I’ll never forget them. Hope they be happy together forever.

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When the guy asked about our departure and we said that its next day, he felt genuinely bad, he said, “Oh we just got to know.” If he expressed that in words, she expressed that in her face. Really cute couple.

Day 3– For the love of all

10/1/2017

Had a very good night’s sleep, thanks to Mosquito net and highness. Soma woke me up telling Smitha had already reached. So we quickly but not so quickly got ready, paid our hotel rent, gifted away my headphones and set off to welcome her. Like she said, it felt nothing different, felt like meeting a schoolmate on the next day of school.

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Initially thought of meeting Smitha at Hampi side but just to give her the taste of it, we invited to this side and reserved the best breakfast for her. German Bakery was awesome again with free Wi-Fi and excellently decorated and tasty food.

We didn’t feel like leaving at all but we had to. We placed our bag at the tea shop, asked him to keep the petrol and bought Bajji for namesake, which was actually tasty too. We started our trip at Monolithic Bull (Nandi) and continued with Kampa Bhupa’s Bath, Yantrodharaka Anjaneya Temple, Varaha Temple, Chakratirtha, Courtesan’s Temple, Acyuta Raya’s Temple (where we stayed a good amount of time and got a laddu as Prasad as well), Kodandarama Temple, Chakratirtha, Sugreeva’s Cave, Narasimha Temple, Ancient Bridge, Two Storied Temple, Inscribed Vishnu Temple, Vittala Bazaar and Vittala Temple. Best part of the day was how relaxed we did these places.

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We had lunch at the much coveted Mango Tree, if you go there don’t miss out on Banofee Pie. And here comes the best part, our trek to Matunga Hill. After all the huffs and puffs the sun decided to play hide and seek and got hidden off completely. This happened after all the slips and falls by Smitha and Soma. Even the photos we took there wasn’t that great. Anyways it was a nice experience.

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The next two hours we sat near tea shop and chatted and followed it up for the next three hours in bus. It was fun using sleeper bus. All of us could sit together. Ever since Smitha came Soma was in full form but his peak form started when the guy behind asked him to switch off light. That continued till the end of trip.

Day 4 – Bangalore Day

10/2/2017

A day of doing nothing. We reached Bangalore around 5 AM and went to Hotel Vardhaman Paradise before 6 AM. It was a total VFM.

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We kept on deciding on where to go. Everyone were lazy so we opted out of Nandi Hills. Oct 2 being a dry day we couldn’t think much of other places. So once we had a nice breakfast near our place we decided to go the movie ‘It’. Booked a cab immediately and went there on time. It’s always a good to go to Sathyam for their Doughnut and Cold Coffee. Film was super bad.

From there we took a long walk to Nandhana Palace where food was great. That place also serves liquor, how good it’d be if restaurants like these serve liquor. We took cab and came back to room. We watched Rang De Basanti for some time and dropped Smitha to Railway station. Back to the room we had dinner with a slight upset stomach and headed for bus. We had to take a sleeper bus and then the main bus at Madivala. Asian Xpress was really comfortable and staff were courteous.

Happy Ending!

For the love of marriage

Just out of the climax of ‘The Japanese Wife’. The movie got me really sad. It’s not a cinematic sadness and it’s not a realistic sadness either. But something in between which makes us forget that it’s a cinema which is making us sad and the same time knowing that it’s not reality. A huge ode to Aparna Sen for achieving that, without doing anything dramatic, without any music and hardly any dialogues. In the end it leaves a question on the future but we’re rest assured that it’s going to be good.

The Japanese Wife

The film had a really earthy feel to it. When I type it I’m getting remembered of ‘Manjadikuru’ all of a sudden. I wasn’t as impressed as ‘The Japanase Wife’ while watching because cinematically it wasn’t great. Here an array of interesting shots were present. Especially loved the scene where Snehamoy Chatterjee (Rahul Bose) talks in phone in the night for that ‘one clear call’. That whole episode was greatly shot.

This is the first film I thought I could call it ‘cute’. I’m not a typical ‘cute’ film watching guy. Because the typical ‘cute’ films like Hachiko looks all forced. But here their relationship was really cute. I loved the scene where Miyage (Chigusa Takaku) brushes off the hardships of Indian lavatory, when Snehamoy tells about how uncomfortable it’d be for her to be in his location.

The film had an interesting nonlinear screenplay but thanks to the small font subtitles I had to scrutinize my eyes to watch the movie. Still I couldn’t miss the beauty of the film which made me forget certain times to read and watch the movie.

Rahul Bose I felt was overacting, more than what was necessary. Raima Sen was a silent charmer and the real fun was watching Moushumi Chatterjee. She was terrific and reminded me a lot of my grandmother.

There were a lot of good scenes and superb editing. I loved the scene where Miyage gets angry when Snehamoy tells about the prostitutes and the scene next to it where he’d masturbate while writing a letter which in turn will lead to the push up scene. These three were opposite scenes but superbly constructed. Her craft doesn’t stop in editing alone. Almost the entire film has great lighting, when they come out of the ferry you feel the slipperiness of the floor and the smell of sand.

Out of all, the final call was the best, where the phone booth of Snehamoy would have been lighted red with lightening in background and post that Sandhya (Raima Sen) with a single lamp and the same lightening makes us see her along with Maashi. That was such a beautiful scene, made me look in awe. The telephony conversation or the voice over is even the more cute because of how they mispronounce each other’s name. Mild Japanese music in the background is soothing, like being in a massage parlor

What was a very good movie till then became an excellent movie due to the climax. I couldn’t swallow my saliva when I saw Miyage in white saree. Just thinking the fate of the household with three widows is depressing but I’m sure that they’re going to be happy together. Also I have a hint of doubt whether Maashi also has passed away because, in the climax Sandhya would be having the house key around her neck. I’d be happy if it’s wrong and Maashi gets to see Miyage.

 

Of Broken Branches and Fallen Leaves

This is one film which would come into spotlight anytime you discuss about the greatest Tamil Films ever made. It’s one of the films which had inspired many filmmakers and fraternities. Notably Mani Ratnam and Rajnikanth. Mahendran calls Rajnikanth his good friend. Mani almost mentions this film in every interview of his saying that’s why he came to film industry. That’s how much people are inspired by Mahendran and his work. In addition to being critically acclaimed, his films where huge hits. That’s what confounds me because I don’t know how so many people could understand the intricacies of Johny, my favorite film of his. Uthiripookal on the other hand didn’t work for me, which too was a huge hit.

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If you ask me a reason to watch Uthiri Pookal. I’d right away tell Vijayan. You can watch the film just for him alone. I’ve never seen such a villain in life. He does exactly what needs to be done. In fact everyone in the movie acts perfectly.

You start hating him right from scene one where he does nothing. His wife is a typical village woman loyal to the husband. In spite of all the misfortunes she had, you can see how happy she gets when her husband takes her out for theatre. Of course it’s followed by one of the most horrific scenes of the film. That too after having had sex. You want her to rebel at some point of time. Want her to be happy at least once, at least in the end but that never happens.

Large part of the movie is unacceptable. Because we’ve undergone culture shift where woman are no longer a slave but this still happens in some places. Not that I have firsthand information but it does happen.

Vijayan in spite of being have showed rude, isn’t a person who can do everything. He has his limits too. For example she wants to marry Lakshmi’s (Ashwini) sister Shenbagam (Mathumalini) but he is not able to, in spite of being the most powerful man in the village. These are the nuances I liked.

Acting wise Lakshmi could be compared to Shelley Duvall from The Shining. Her expressions are very limited but the slightest of smiles by her induces so much emotions within us. That’s the success. You can’t help but feel pity for her. That looks like part of her dad Charudhasan’s trait. Look how he undergoes the threat caused by Vijayan. He’s incapable of fighting back but he does. On the other hand Shenbagam is such a charmer. Her expressions were a treat to watch. Only the songs were needless and dampens the flow.

This movie was considered for his eclectic screenplay due to the flow of events. Yes the flow of events was phenomenal but I didn’t find the screenplay interesting or anything new. The best part about the screenplay would be its coherence. Lakshmi says ‘Neram Varatum’ (let the right time come), whenever asked for her kids tonsuring. And that happens finally during her death. Similarly when the teacher swims, Vijayan’s sidekick warns him about Vadivelu’s (Vijayan) ire because he doesn’t know swimming. And in the end, you know what happens. Those were well written scenes.

Of all my favorite scene would be the one in terrace. It’s a typical KB scene but made in different style. When Vijayan asks her about marrying her sister she says, “what if I want to marry another person” then we hear her mind voice saying, “this is what all women want to ask but would never be able to” It was taken superbly.

Misadventures are the greatest adventures

– You know who

Day 0 – Mode Change

8/24/2017

For a change I was to take bus this time, I don’t know when was the last time I travelled by bus first up to start a trip. I don’t think, I haven’t whenever it was with friends. May be with family, that too only in dire urgency and only to home town. So in a way it was a different experience. Not that I was looking forward to. Trains are the best. Period. But still new is awesome, so wasn’t a problem.

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So the great game of leaving early, cajoling clients etc. happened throughout the day. Trust me, it’s tougher than making Cersei accept to be your ally. But I’ve become a pro at that so it wasn’t a thing to worry.

After getting to know that 3’o clock bus would go to CMBT, got there half an hour before, still it was crowded, it’s a regular affair during long weekends and worst is when the driver refused to keep my big bag in front. So had to toggle around with it.

It took a good 2.5 hours to reach CMBT from office. Not that I complain. My bus is at 18:30 so to spend one hour wasn’t a big deal. I thought of going late to CMBT by taking train but in the end this looked to be the best option.

My friend, Pandi called when I was in bus, we were supposed to meet. As usual he was late and it was a big mess around CMBT, each calling each other a number of times to locate. All thanks to him. By that time Siva had come and located where the bus would stop. For few moments sitting inside CMBT felt good as it was near my previous residence and I used to change bus frequently during my college times.

Once the mandatory tea was over with Pandi, I went inside and met with Siva who asked about my tonsured head. Then I had to change to trekking costume as the plan was to start trekking the very next day. Now that was a herculean task. No not trekking but changing dress. If anyone had changed their dress in public toilet you’d know what I mean. That required certain specific skill like that of magician. The floor is wet, there would not be any holders, you won’t have enough hands to hold everything and further you can’t lean on even a single side of wall. So to come out of it, I felt exasperated.

Post that it wasn’t a big deal, when we got on the bus, the driver asked where we were as he was calling our names, seems the bus was behind other buses. Anyways it’s not because of us that the bus got late. The bus waited a good twenty minutes even after we boarded in which time I had a sweet savory from Tea Kadai. Don’t know what’s it called? Guess mutagose.

The 18:30 bus started at 19:00, not bad. The bus was quite comfortable and there wasn’t as much traffic as I expected. But annoying thing was to go through the same route again. I was okay with the highway but Perungulathur to Mahindra City was annoying. Only happiness was seeing IT women waiting for bus. Also the smell of parotta, vadai, curry etc. was awesome. We asked the conductor whether they’d stop for dinner, as they acknowledged we didn’t eat anything in the middle.

To pass time I watched Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 2 which was horrible, I haven’t watched the first, which made it even worse. It was around 23:30 and they showed no signs of stopping so I slept and immediately at midnight they stopped in the worst restaurant in the stretch. Everything other than that were looking good. We were scared so we resorted to plain milk that too for twenty rupees per cup. Chips was thirty five rupees so we didn’t feel like paying that much for it too. Everything else was scary. We slept immediately post that.

Day 1 – Misadventures, minute by minute

8/25/2017

If only one could think that so many things could go wrong on a single day. Thinking back it looks like a long day. It sure was, I’m sure my friends would agree.

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I got up at Theni and it was just half an hour drive from there to Bodi. Roads were awesome, so was the weather. The place was beautiful. We got down at Bodi and got to know that it’d take more than an hour for Mohan to come. He was coming from Bangalore to Theni. So we were lazing around, having tea, finding the best toilets etc. Then we decided to take a walk. We found a Saravana Bhavan which serves non veg. Irony with a capital I. Then we went along the Bazaar Street and found a good Veg Restaurant in the name of Raj Bhavan. We waited opposite to that restaurant for Mohan. In the meantime I inquired where we can have good non veg food from the flower seller opposite the restaurant. He recommended Karuna Hotel. ‘Arumaya Seivanga’ was his comment.

Once Mohan came we had a feast at Raj Bhavan. We all were very hungry so everyone had two rounds of food. It was amazing. South is the best place to travel as the food would be amazing and to my taste. While eating Mohan told an interesting story. He seemed to have boarded a running bus from Theni to Bodi with huge luggage (Both of us were carrying tents in our bag). One person in bus seemed to have asked him why he was getting on running bus and after inquiring his whereabouts he seemed to have given seat. “Oh Chennai ah… ukarunga…” After sitting Mohan had noticed that person had a Billhook (Arival*) inside his shirt. That story was hilarious.

Post breakfast we filled our water bottles, Mohan bought a water bottle, I don’t know why, and we went to Bodi to take bus to Kurangani. We got to know that for bus we need to wait a good 1.5 hours so decided for auto. One guy said it’s the same twenty rupees for share auto. So we decided we’d go in that. Meanwhile Mohan who so intently was searching only for Kissan jam bought Lion Dates jam.

When we inquired auto to Kurangani, he said two hundred rupees, we asked another one, and he said fifty extra. We thought we were cheated and settled for two hundred rupees. In auto it was good to catch up with travel and other stories of other mates. But Mohan was providing too much details and talking about money. That’s a bad thing to do in an Auto. The auto went on and on, only then it felt like the two hundred was worth it.

Ok so this is where the tables turn. As soon as we got down, we asked the auto driver and another person sitting in driver’s seat about the way to Kolukkumalai. They both showed a way in which we went and there was a security guard sitting there who inquired our whereabouts and said it was two hundred ticket per head which I thought we could have bargained as he gave only two tickets in the end. That thought didn’t occur to me. After getting the money his whole persona got changed, he was very sweet and showed us the start of way. In the meantime Mohan met his old college mate and they exchanged pleasantries.

We started off in the way he said, and like he said there was a water catchment area, from there he asked us to go straight up to a Jack Fruit tree and Old Building. That straight up wasn’t clear, we initially went through some path which was steep and not well trodden. Siva even at the hint of non-green area said that he had seen a trail. Seeing the peak we went in that direction for some time. But the path only got worse and risky after a point of time. Mohan got fed up and said he lost confidence. We went down and asked an old lady about the way, she told something and when I asked whether there is a road there, she said yes, then I told her we wanted to go through forest and mentioned what the forest officer told us. Then her husband asked us to proceed in the way we knew. I think he was fed up.

We went to the same point and this time we went to a place where there was a gate and the trail was clear. We went a long way along that point. The forest officer had told that there would be a depleted building along the way. There was a house there, we thought that was it and we were in correct path but only after going certain distance we saw another house from where a watchman shooed us away.

He asked where were we from, what brought us here, why do we want to climb jungle, people of forests might come hunt us, security dogs will come for us etc. etc. So disappointed we returned back. We thought we’d go tell the forest officer, what happened, but on return we didn’t find him so we went further down for lunch. Only one place was open which served the last of Lemon Rice they had. The Chutney was amazing. To have any food after a trek is amazing. We also bargained a 900 rupee room for 700 and stayed in it. It was a reasonable accommodation.

Once we checked in, we went for a bath in the catchment area which felt great and refreshing, I washed my quick dry’s as well, one big advantage of it. Back to the room, Mohan slept and Siva started watching series, I didn’t want to sleep so I didn’t have anything else to do other than to shoot pictures so shot some decent pictures from terrace.

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Once it was evening we went for tea and in some time for dinner. Dinner was not yet prepared by them at 7 PM. We waited there. As it was Vinayakar Chaturthi we got Pori and Kadalai as starters and then gobbled up dosas and omelets in frenzy.

It was a disastrous day alright but that’s what adventure is all about. Going by an organization, everything getting done by them, nothing to explore and nothing to learn. What’s the thrill in that. We failed but it was fun failing.

Day 2 – Of Sun, Air and Unexpected Luxury

8/26/2017

We started the day early. I got up at 5:30 AM for Siva’s alarm even though mine ringed late at 6 AM. This is the routine. I wake up to the first alarm that rings but it’d definitely not be mine. I tell people not to set up alarm before mine but it doesn’t happen. Immediately after getting up, we went to tea shop so that we can carry forward with the morning ablutions with ease, if you know what I mean. That was quite a success. We followed it up with breakfast of Idly, Vada and Onion Chutney prepared live in front of us, helped by us and served in lotus leaf. Now that was a first. Don’t think it’d have happened if we had come with an organization.

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Post settling bill, morning ablutions part two happened and there was a sense of fulfillment in all of our faces. We started off and went in the path everyone suggested. First identification was a water tank, post that we had locals walking with us for some time till a rock, we were asked to go right from that but there was no real path on right. We learnt out lessons. We followed the straight path up where the trail was clear. Everyone who had gone with guide are going to tell that there is only one path because we don’t see anything other than what we are asked to walk along, but when you go on your own you never know which is right and wrong.

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My bag was too heavy and I felt it that way this time. Sun was scorching, the previous day would have been better to trek but some things are not meant to happen. We thought the zig zag path was only for an hour or so but almost the entire path was a zig zag one till Kolukkumalai. Someone in blog had posted a wrong photo of another zig zag path that lead to the whole confusion. If you’re not providing the right details its fine but don’t spread the wrong ones.

After few hours we reached the lone tree (othae maram), that was a great place to rest. We got few good photos as well. To finalize the trail we went on the right hand side once but it wasn’t the correct one so we took the one going up. Sun was getting harsh so even to wait we were not getting any shade. I loved the moment where in a small shade we three sat and looked at mountains without talking anything. If someone sees, how funny it’d have looked. We spotted an eagle and waited there for some time looking at that.

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Post this, the breaks became frequent but we somehow entered the forest area and when I was about to feel relived I saw a forest pig cross me quickly. That was scary. It was really fast. I didn’t tell about it to others and want them to panic. But that was the exact moment Mohan was stopping for some reason. Somehow we hurried and went for some distance. Siva got a cramp. We started having Glucose from then which felt good. Post that the pain was annoying him for some time. Luckily it didn’t last long and he was able to speed up, in fact sped up faster than any of us in the last stretch. Less baggage also being an added advantage.

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Post the forest stretch two village temples of Iyyanar and Kali welcomed us. It was a great place for the gods and us. We saw the tea estate and tents in few minutes after we got freshened up there. We went to have tea. Had the first of the many amazing teas. Felt great. We were asking about where to pitch tents. The tea maker told there is a place.

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Our happiness lasted only few minutes, before the caretaker of the estate said that no camping was allowed. The only option was to opt for food plus stay for rupees Rs. 1600. We couldn’t bargain much. We settled for Rs. 1400 per head as we didn’t have any option.

I was pissed for a long time. We were fed great. Rice, sambar, rasam, beef curry, chicken fry, cabbage, papad and pickle. And all the while we were thinking where we were going to eat our bread and cheese. Now how’s that for lunch. I was still regretting to have paid so much even though we were treated well because it’s not that we wanted.

It started getting windy and cold then. For the first time I wore thermal wear for a trek in South India. Tents took a long time to materialize. We opted for a three man tent for us so that it’d be warm and a two man tent to keep the bags. The guy who came with tents went away after setting up the three man tent.

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After waiting for a couple of hours we went to have tea who didn’t take money from us as we were staying there and then tea factory, which was a good experience. Staffs there were happy to explain and very humble. No one were after money. We clicked a few good photos and watched what Kodaikanal peak was. It was a good evening.

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After we returned to room we saw that the two man tent was still not set up. Mohan and Siva set it up. We got Gobi Pakoda and Bajji with Coconut Chutney as snack. For the next couple of hours we rested there talking about various trips and stuffs and then went for camp fire which again was amazing. By this time I started loving the place and didn’t feel bad about spending Rs. 1400. Part of it was due the fact we got sleeping mat and sleeping bag around that time. For dinner we had Chapatti with Egg Curry and fruit custard as desert. I asked whether they had any beef remaining. The kitchen staff was shocked. Only then I got to know what we ate was mutton and not beef. But I’m sure it was not mutton. I’ve never had such hard mutton, if it’s one. It was amazing.

We had a sound sleep even though it drizzled and winds were heavy all through the night.

Day 3 – Task Incomplete

8/27/2017

We got up at 5 AM and started for the trek. Siva wanted to go from the path behind tent. It was not visible and we didn’t want to risk. So we took the road and started walking. Had a black tea in the ‘hotel’ above. It was windy and misty all throughout. It got bright in sometime. There were few ascents but it was walkable. We had doubts about the path every now and then.

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We then reached a point where there was absolutely no visibility and winds were heavy. So we returned back to a point where we saw another gang going that way. We told the way is not goable and they went in another path. We went in that path for a while and returned back thinking it’d not be the right way.

Mohan and I had heated arguments about the right path. Map showed a different path. I was saying it’d be the path around the mountains, he was saying otherwise. He was also telling that he had seen videos with so much mist and wind. I haven’t. I don’t generally watch videos. In whatever blog I read, nowhere it was written about the winds or mist.

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So while coming down dejectedly we saw another group climbing. Two travelers and their driver. He was a charming man. He told that the path we went was right. Prasobh who was using tripod as walking stick called us to accompany him. When we told about our plans to walk back to Kolukkumalai, he discussed with their driver that we could join in their jeep. I got really happy.

We accompanied them again to the peak to see if it was possible to climb. We went to the same point and few steps beyond that but the wind was unbearable. Prasobh and co too realized that. We went till the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border, Durai, the jeep driver told that stepping beyond that could end up fatal so we had to return back without even seeing the Meesapulimala peak. But at least now I was not that depressed. I knew at least that what we did till then was right. So I can plan properly when I go the next time. By the time I came back to the border I decided that I’d be doing this again during Dec 30 – 31 weekend, later this year.

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We raced back to our place so that we can finish packing and have breakfast. We had Kal Dosa, Puttu, Pazam and Kadalai Curry. Everything was so freaking awesome. Pazam especially. Keralities have the knack of making it. We gobbled up and headed back to tea shop with our bags to meet with them but we couldn’t spot them. Luckily we got Durai’s no. and called them from someone’s mobile there. We were asked to come to another tea shop, called the ‘restaurant’. That was quite far so were disappointed but luckily we met them after one short hike, which felt great.

We got on the jeep and went on for a long journey discussing Nivin Pauly, DQ, Fahad Fazil, Sivakarthikeyan, Velaikaran, Premam, Angamaly Diaries, Monsoon Mangoes etc.  One good thing about watching other language movies is this. It’d be an easy ice breaker. The driver first dropped them at their place, which was great and then to a Power House, where we’d get bus. Nice of them to have given us free ride. We only had to pay two hundred rupees to the driver for the last stretch.

It started raining, the place was heavenly with mist. A bus to Theni came but we missed because of wrong information from the people standing there. We then shifted to the bus stop opposite it where we could get shade. We got a Kerala bus. We had to wait for a good one hour to get that bus but locals said that to be the most comfortable one. Tamil Nadu bus according to them are not comfortable.

In the meantime… there was a person who was knowing everyone in that area and talking multiple languages and knowing when what bus would be coming. He also told how that part was converted to Kerala during some government. It was fun listening to him. Perks of going in public bus.

We finally got the bus which was super crowded. I went to the last row and stood. Others were in front. After struggling for about an hour I got a seat and even slept till they stopped for tea break. I was so damn hungry and I had Sweet Bonda, Salt Bonda and Tea. All was great.

From there to Theni it was still a long journey. Unluckily Mohan and Siva hadn’t got a seat. Siva could sleep while standing. Mohan was struggling more. Both got seats only during Bodi. From there it was just half an hour journey. I inquired for good non veg restaurant from a local who was standing near me. He suggested ‘Hotel Vaigai’ near Old Bus stand – Theni but we couldn’t go there as our bus was from new bus stand. That bus stand was the worst bus stand I’ve ever been to.

After getting down I asked about the option to go back to Vaigai Hotel but Siva said, “No more travel” and Mohan was tired and hungry. I could see it in the way he galloped food in the restaurant. I too could have had then but I didn’t want to feel hungry till later part of the day. So waited till 7 PM for dinner. Thanks to Siva for hotspot which kept me engaged with last three days messages till 7 PM. Mohan had to go to Old Bus Stand for his private bus. We parted ways. Siva and I went back to same restaurant.

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I had Mushroom Parotta, in Tamil it sounds lot more tangy, Kaalan Parotta. Siva had Idiyappam first and Ghee Roast next as per my suggestion. Kaalan Parotta was actually a mistake. I shouldn’t have had something with so much masala but this again was a trip which went without drinks so at least this much.

The bus took a long time to come. Again hotspot. Mohan went to the Old Bus Stand by walk. It was the right thing to do to kill time. After he boarded the bus, within minutes I slept off. In fact both of us were controlling our sleep so that we could sleep sound in bus.

Day 4 – Monday Morning Blues

8/28/2017

If that day being a Monday was not bad enough, being a Monday after long holiday was even worse. The bus guy was loading passengers. He even took people at Tindivanam so there was no place to even stand. But it wasn’t as tough to get down as I imagined. I luckily had two more people getting down at Mahindra City and none anywhere near. I was skeptical whether he’d stop there but nowadays everyone knows Mahindra City. I got free bus to office and logged in early avoiding the huge traffic jam which was post Mahindra City. Luck me!

*P.S: There is an English word called Arival for our Aruva. Never new before. Got it while trying to google for the right English word for Aruva.

 

Powerless Presentation

A lot was said about the movie. Even Dhanush was saying that if he could accept the critical acclaim of Power Pandi, he should be ready to accept the bashing of VIP 2. Don’t know why it was critically acclaimed at first place. But I didn’t have any interest to watch the movie. The poster was below average, the trailer was really bad and songs were hugely over acted. That was my only exposure of film. Raj Kiran being the lead was another reason I didn’t like it. He still seems to be in Sivaji era of acting. See any close up of his where he doesn’t talk, there is so much happening and most of it is needless.

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So why did I watch the movie? 1) Because my friend Ramya narrated the story and there was something in particular which caught my attention. She said that during Pandi’s (Raj Kiran) road trip he meets with few roadies and one of them while inquiring about Pandi’s marriage and knowing it as arranged marriage says, “Ellam onnum thaan” (It’s all the same). I liked the dialogue and I liked the fact that as a person who had underwent an arranged marriage she could understand the emotion. I liked the way she said that dialogue especially. But only after watching the movie did I know that how good her narration was when it compared to the movie. 2) Nothing major, I was in weekend shift and wanted to pass time, so I copied this film and watched in mobile. I’d have never put more effort to watch the movie.

The whole movie was about the role reversal. A coming of age film of an old age man. Let me first tell about the things I liked. After a school student gets ganja and Raj Kiran asks him, “What he wanted to be in life?” He says, “Engineer Avaporaen”. Pandi replies, “Mayir avae” That was good. And when he meets Revathi for the first time he says, “oru moodi kooda naraikala…” Those were a good scenes but almost everything else was overtly done, especially the action sequence. Don’t know whether Dhanush’s intention was to make it like a parody but action scenes didn’t work at all. It was really bad when Revathi sat with a book for the action scene to get over.

The poster made everyone think about Wild Hogs, which luckily was not the theme of movie. But anyone who had seen About Schmidt would have surely hated the movie. The sense of elation one gets during About Schmidt is tremendous. Here everything looks forced. He repairs bike, ok so he’s going to ride it big sometime in future. He is a stunt master, so he fights big on streets.

As its role reversal between a kid and his father. There were certain scenes taken in clever way. Initially when Police comes to his house. Prasanna would ask Raj Kiran to come down. He’d first peep, then walk, ask “enna pa” Typical of how a kid would do to his dad. Dhanush explains it with a sketch board in initial few scenes through his flashback of what happened when Prasanna was a kid. Don’t know why it stopped all of a sudden. Bad writing and bad screenplay. Then there was the scene where Raj Kiran talks after getting drunk. Best part was the kid saying “waaa” after seeing him puke. Of course he takes his bike and goes away after that.

I felt worse for Prasanna than Raj Kiran. The latter didn’t look reasonable. Revathi on the other hand was a charm. But even she was made to over act and act cute. DD did a reasonable job, in fact looked well than on TV. The guy next door reminded me of music director Nivash but seems it was not him. His acting looked amateurish but it’s not necessary to analyze so much into the film.

The only part which looked good in the movie was the few minutes before the song “paathen”. Dhanush’s forte is teen age romance, be it writing or acting. See it in 3, Thanga Magan Amy Jackson episode and here. He rocks it when it comes to writing a teen age romance. Anything beyond that was a disaster.

Madonna Sebastin doesn’t look super pretty like Premam but she has a sense of sincerity when it comes to acting. Love the way she loves Dhanush in the film. See the scene where she asks him to come into the umbrella (yaen veliya nikirae, kudaikula va) and he asks her to come out (Nee Yean Kudai ula nikirae, veliya va.) Mazaiyila nenayatha vazkae ena vazhka.’ (What’s life if you can’t get drenched in rain?) That was one good dialogue and look how easily he says it. She would have acted brilliantly in that scene. That smile! But the point here is why this scene came and what the next scene. No coherence in screenplay. That’s what Dhanush has to look upon.

The Right Moment

With some movies you’ve to wait for the right moment to watch them, like a Sunday evening, a Saturday afternoon, before the rains etc. but with certain movies, the moment you watch becomes the right moment. Before Sunset is one such movie. Thinking back I think I watched it at the right moment, before the sun set but not in a way I wanted to have watched it, I rather watched in a tiny mobile screen.

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The movie has the idealest of the opening sequences ever, it didn’t occur to me until my friend told me about ‘what more could one want in life’ kind of opening sequence. An author writing his personal story, who had got successful with it, the girl in the story seeing him as an author first, person next, the author knowing that the girl has seen him as an author first, person next. That could be the single awesome moment everyone would want. All of it didn’t occur to me while I was writing Neha but now thinking it feels it’d have been awesome. What’s best is he gives an explanation about the things he write, that’s exactly what I gave even before I had watched the movie, that I don’t live amongst guns and bombs so I can’t write about the same. I can write with honesty only about things I have experienced, how my life revolves.

Jesse and Celine meet again. Oh how happy it feels to write this sentence. Jessie sees Celine seeing her once, twice, thrice and then goes and meets her. The first time even we feel it’s a hallucination, only that it’s not, it’s the same with him as well. The long meet after the wrong thing they did isn’t depressing, isn’t dejecting, isn’t the aromalae moment that we usually associate with love failure couples, isn’t the moment like Autograph where Cheran meets Malliga with two kids and feels sad about her state on outside and happy inside embracing his chauvinism. But here is a meet of two adults which are normal under any circumstance after having anything but normal outing on first go. Beauty.

They set off for a walk, the best thing they know to do, before his flight. I was sad throughout the movie, as it was my second time viewing, as I knew what was the climax but I think I’d have been sad even if I had been watching it for the first time because they are so perfect they just can’t be together. The feelings of missing them after the movie is more than the feeling of one going away from each other. Because we never know when they’ll be back. May be they never will but they will, right.

The first time I watched Before Sunset was on a tiring Friday night, just to complete the series. I was so damn tired I couldn’t enjoy the movie at all but somehow I could remember the feel.

The first question Celine asks his whether Jessie arrived that day, the first question we all have. We buy to what Jessie says first but when we know the truth we feel horrible like how Celine feels. The expressions are the same but she had got a bit older. The first time I watched her in Before Sunset she looked old and unattractive but now I liked her, there wasn’t much difference, probably because I had gotten old too. Or because I had watched Before Midnight too where she had the same expressions with an even older face.

This time they come to the point quickly, they don’t have to have pass on with the initial decency or a phase where they have impress each other. Both are impressed as much as we are impressed with them. So they come to the point. It gets sexual within moments. Celine initiates it. I had a dream the other night where I was asking the leads and Linklater on who’s the hornier of the two. His reply was, in my style, imagine him talking like how I do, “If romantic I can out rightly say its Celine, but horny, both are horny, but to be really specific, it’d be Celine.” Jessie and Celine on the podium have a fight but everyone claps and agrees to his point. A horny romantic girl she is.

I was called ‘a cheeky pervert’ in one of the comments by someone for describing Aditi Rao’s waist in Saratu Vandiyila song in my review of Kaatru Veliyidai. I hope that person doesn’t watch Celine talking and end up calling her something. Or maybe he’d call me a ‘cheeky bastard’ this time for the above paragraph as it’d be considered a taboo, what I said above. Funny people.

The way they talk taboo are the best.

Celine, “Do I look any different”

Jessie, “For that I’ve to see you naked”

Could there be a better teaser moment.

But it’s not only sex, even when Celine describes her work and about environment, it’s as interesting as she describing her feelings. That’s the success.  In fact the distinct difference between Before Sunrise and Before Sunset would be the transition from love to sex. They’re matured individuals, no one wants a-kneel-down-and-propose scene, they both know it hurts, I mean the knee. So why bother when you know what you’re going to do next. I’m not meaning to insult them or sex, the paragraph was written in a way so it’d be catchy but the point is the fuzz over love, that’s done and dusted by this time.

I think it’s the scene in car where Celine talks gets hyper, where Jessie gets sad, that’s where it got me, I was fine till then. But car scene was too emotional. It did as much as what the car scene in Uttama Villain did to me. No words are enough to appreciate Linklaters screenplay. You don’t even have to imagine being a Celine or Jessie to know how it’d have felt. Just watching them and seeing the oh-wow phase in book store to casual addressing while walking to sharing cigarettes in coffee shop to trying-to-get-intimate phase in the park to the getting closer in the boat to becoming sad in car to there-is-nothing-other-than-goodbye-to-say phase while dropping her. It’s all so beautiful. This is one of the movies where you’ll become even sadder when you already know how it’s going to end. The last few minutes from car to her apartment were really tough. And if it was the music room scene in Before Sunrise, it was the stairs scene in Before Sunset.

Sometimes even while writing I feel how well I’m writing. It’s one of those articles. That’s what an afternoon nap can do to you. A world of good. I thought of writing this before lunch but I’m sure I couldn’t have done justice to such a great movie like this. Proud of me.

Life’s a joke, only that it’s not!

I have no idea what I just said, neither do I want to know. While I was recovering from a fever which I got during a trip, I watched this movie in mobile. It’s a sin I’m committing again and again. I knew it within few minutes itself because in the initial scene we get to watch the play in two, three angles. One of which is from the last row. With a tiny screen, you can’t focus on the even tinier subject. So to have sat in theatres would have been the ideal thing to do.

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The film promises right from the first. It takes a bit of courage to have an opening of an unconventional play. Not really a point of interest for many. The voices of Ranbir and Deepika were evident but I wasn’t sure whether they were the ones on stage. Ranbir yes, but Deepika?

I don’t know why Tamasha was hated by so many. I can understand the extreme reactions of Rockstar but Tamasha is more likeable and also a better film as it’s not one-dimensional like Rockstar. Rockstar made me start writing reviews. It never stopped since then. I hope Tamasha does something to me like that too.

The films’ initial vibe was suberb. The working title of the project was ‘The Window Seat’. In an interview with The Indian Express, Ali mentioned, “It’s that thought which crosses your mind when you are sitting by the window seat of a train and watching Ratlam go by and you think, what if I get down from this train? What life awaits me there?” He justified that outside this window, there is a mythical world where one can be what he wants to. According to him, the window seat gives one a chance to drop their present life story and become a brand new person. Later, the film was titled, Tamasha. That thing of getting down at a stop before the destination has always occurred to me and I’ve told the same to ‘n’ no. of people. That’s the reason why I like ‘Before Sunrise’ more than anything. So I loved it when Ali said the same. Even the films subtitle ‘Why always the same story’ was a perfect appetizer for me.

Anushka was supposed to act in this movie but thank god Deepika did as the chemistry was crackling. That too after watching them in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ it was a much matured performance. Before ‘Matargashti’ song she sounded a little bit filmy but during the latter part of the film, especially when she gets to meet Ranbir again and during Agar Tum Saath Ho she was brilliant. See the brilliance of Ali here, she holds him and doesn’t let him go, for a good few minutes, he resists then succumbs, then when out of grasp he leaves. Ved and his practicality in every sense. I loved her character in every other way. She liked him, she had sex, she broke up with fiancé, she spent four years growing her dads company, she finds him again, she goes for dates but she doesn’t accept the proposal. There is nothing wrong in that. She’s not a wet nurse to feed and make him get better. She wanted Don, not Vid. That part was handled in a superb way. In fact when they meet again and Don immediately introduces himself as Vid, there is nothing more disappointing.

This even reminds me of what Ali said, which loved like a definition of girlfriend, “Tamasha has that kind of love which makes a normal person extraordinary, which makes a commoner an artist.” On the plot’s inherent love story, he went on to add, “This is the kind of love through which you understand why you need a woman in life and how it takes you on a journey through which we identify ourselves.” It doesn’t necessarily has to be a woman, a girl friend or a lover. But some person who inspires you by some means.

Rahaman does a brilliant job in this movie. This is not a Rockstar where everyone would go crazy for the songs but it’s more of an emotion. The way the Matargasti music starts in the background when they two have conversation and then they dance and then get into the song and then out of it, it’s beautiful. Then there is Heer, another brilliant song, an ode to Deepika’s effervescence, the way she says no to a guy at party, dancing in room, uninterested but excelling in job, walk in airport and cake in terrace. All awesome. The biggest surprise is Wat Wat… What a song, what a situation and on top of it, what an editing. It goes through all phase of a song and people watching for the first time don’t even think that they are watching a song.

There are lot of shout out loud moments in the film. Typical of Imitiaz Ali, where the expressions are extreme. I loved every bit of it. Best of it was the guitar in the background when Ranbir gives the ring to transgender. I almost shouted even as I was watching in mobile. The way he builds up the scene was brilliant. I loved every time he shouts in frustration but gets back to the book to study. It has happened so much with me, only that it was not due to Maths.

The concept of a storyteller and how all stories are same were explained beautifully and in the end when he says that one has to end one’s own story too was lovely. Ranbir narrating the story couldn’t get better. My friend’s comment on Tamasha being on Anti Parenting was so true.

I don’t know why the films linearity or the structure was so criticized, it made every sense to me. The film is as confused as Vid, every one of us are. Not at a single point we focus everything together then why do we want everything put together in correct order. Just because we lack imagination?

When finally, Ranbir turns a rockstar, doing that dance in office, telling about fungus near scrotum and best of all closing the door before the old lady comes in. it was the best feeling ever. How we all long to do that. Come on who likes to be called a ‘safe guy’ by girls? When his manager says that he’s there in the job only for good behavior, is that even a complement. I’ve lived my whole life like that. No amount of appreciation is enough for Ranbir, he carries the whole film like a child’s play. His best yet. Look how effortlessly he dances around in Corsica even while uttering dialogues. That one part is enough for me to watch the film again and again. I cried realizing that I could never be him.

When I saw the words ‘Don Returns’ on a white paper, my joy knew know bounds. It was like being trapped in a building, held as hostage and see the Bat Symbol all of a sudden. That joy cannot be explained, only experienced.

In the climax when they introduce Ved out from his robot costumes, with a bun, as a storyteller, Ved comes out, gets standing ovation, then there is a lengthy romantic gesture between Deepika and him, they kiss, he blows flying kisses, he bows to her, finally gets down completely for a namaskar, all in front of audience. He’s there because of her. When in Kaatru Veliyidai VC says I love you, I love you, I love you and I love you, continuously ‘n’ number of times. It didn’t work for me. But here I wished I had witnessed Ranbir do all these romantic gestures live.

There is something special about Imitiaz Ali’s stories, there are no boundaries, no definite limits, and all doesn’t trod on single path. Look how beautifully he uses the storyteller (Piyush Mishra) to tell this to us. He told us the same in different way in Rockstar where Jordan plays guitar in every possible place be it temple, mosque, roadside or concert. It’s about the guitar, it’s not about the place.

War Aplenty

The problem with Dunkirk was the same problem I had with Inception. But worse, as I realized it even before watching. Inception was one of the awesomest theatre experience but coming back home and seeing it being compared to Space Odyssey spoiled all the joy. It was worse here because, even before watching the movie, I got to hear all kinds of greatest-war-movie-ever-made tag everywhere.

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Well the problems doesn’t end there. Nolan seems to be so hell bent in having three different timelines. Like Interstellar, it meant no purpose here. It would have been the same, if it had been made in any different way. And there is absolutely no lead characters, the tempo music, typical ones he uses to build up the scene got started right from the first scene where they take a boy in stretcher.

Absolutely no time to settle in and no time to get involved with any characters. The Civilian boat story could have been great because all three in the boat looked to be promising characters but thanks to the rapidness of the film, we never get to spend time with them. Similarly ‘The Mole’ could have been explored a lot more with French and English men, the differences, unity, inside story etc. but nothing of that sort happens. ‘The Air’ seemed to be the reasonable story out of the three but even that had too much of drama but fighter planes would automatically pull us into that phase so it was okay.

Calling it the greatest war movie ever is abysmal. Ok leave aside my favorite Apocalypse Now, which is more about psychology than war. It’s nowhere close to Saving Private Ryan, a Platoon or even a Black Hawk Down. Throughout the movie I was only contemplating what am I missing which so many people have liked. I’m not a person who is no against commercial movies. And I’m not that much an anti-Nolan fan too. All his other movies were entertaining but even the entertainment factor here was missing. Everything looked like something we had already seen. British Naval officer waiting for French, the three storylines, the climax where the Tom Hardy lands the plane. The last one somehow reminded me of the Dark Knight Rises climax. What worked brilliantly in the totem scene has become a signature of his and has gotten boring with time.

Even though not a fan of war movies, one good thing about watching a war movie is the knowledge one would get while researching about it. Having known nothing about Dunkirk, this gives me a chance to know about it and various interesting stories associated with it.

This movie is sure to get Oscar for sound editing but other than that I’m not sure why even the visuals are so hyped. It doesn’t do anything which looked impossible.