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.

 

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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.

Great trips start with greater purposes

– Of course it’s me

Day 0 – The Usual

8/11/2017

As usual the best part is the start. To go check in Chennai Central and mention the point of travel. Even though I’m annoyed by the number of times that I’ve to go to Bangalore as a rendezvous just for the sake of catching next bus or train. I can’t help it.

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It was the regular routine. I could copy paste any first paragraphs from my previous visits to Karnataka treks. Only this time it was more of a leisure trek rather than a proper trek. It was with my regular trek mates with Rajesh being the extra man and John from my office. Soma, who was supposed to join had to miss the trek due to some health conditions.

We boarded the 13:30 train. This time the weather was awesome with overcast and drizzles all around. It’s always good to catch up with old school gossips. This time more from Rajesh. Only after talking for a while, got to know that there was some ideology match between both of us. The general discussions on life, money, marriage etc. was the topic of discussion. Then various leelai’s of Seena did he explain. Just before getting down it started to pour. First time I had come without trek bag and rain coat and this happens but thankfully the rains lessened and we got to a restaurant and ordered meals, curd rice and dosa. It was average.

We then hurried to the bus stand and asked Balaji to hurry as well. All hurry burry led to nowhere as the bus took its own sweet time to come. The 22:15 bus came at 00:15. Bad that it didn’t beat the previous record of 00:30.

There were two things I was most expecting out of the trip. It’s not the beach trail. I knew how it was going to be. It was Airavat and Namaste Café. Latter I’ll talk later. Former was a disappointment right from the word go. Airavat was so hyped but it was just another AC semi sleeper bus with no comfort at all. Of Seater, Semi sleeper and Sleeper, Semi sleeper is the worst. It’s neither here, nor there. Every time they put breaks, you dig in some earth and come back. Though it didn’t spoil my sleep, I had to take all different positions to continue it.

Day 1 – Aandavan Irukan

8/12/2017

John who was coming from Alwaye reached our resort at 7 AM, the time we were supposed to reach Gokarna. But we were at Shimoga that time. So once I sent the photo of the hotel voucher, he checked in. It was told in reception that the other rooms would be available only by 1 PM. In a way good that we didn’t reach on time.

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From Shimoga to Gokarna the ride was pleasant with all greeneries and back waters. En route to Gokarna I got down to loo and I saw my friend Smitha’s doppelganger. I almost thought it was her and went to say ‘hi’ but decided against it at the last moment. Just that we wished the journey was not that long. Anyways nothing much to complain. So once we reached Gokarna around noon we took an auto to Namaste Café. It’s a standard rate for each beaches. Kudle – 100 rupees, Om – 150 rupees etc.

We took a couple of autos and John was waiting there at the gate for us. After some formal introduction to rest of the folks we checked in our room. The ambience of the resort was great but the rooms were average, definitely not worth the six thousand rupees we paid. Rooms had two one liter water bottles + towel and soaps. No room service and even for water we had to pay extra. Now, that’s atrocious. Will tell more in coming paragraphs.

We quickly got ready and decided that we’d have lunch in Gokarna, as anyways we’d have in Namaste in the next few days. Lunch at Pai’s restaurant was decent. Meals, Fried Rice, Onion Pakoda, Gobi Manchurian etc. Fried Rice was worst but rest was decent. Coffee was good too. In Gokarna you can see that majority of the places women seem to be working. It was the same in the case of Mizoram too. Don’t know whether its welcome change but something you’d notice immediately if you go to Gokarna. In lieu of that, Pai’s kitchen was totally handled by ladies.

Post lunch we took a long walk to explore places (mostly temples) nearby. We first went to Venkatramana Temple near to the restaurant, a no non sense temple with priests uttering chants. We followed it with Sri Bhadrakali temple, which was my favorite temple of all. The deity looked beautiful. We were the first to visit it in post lunch session.

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While retracing we took few photos and had Gudbud, a Gokarna special local ice cream. A falooda kind of thing, only that it was not a falooda. It was amazing. We then walked through streets which reminded me a lot of Jaisalmer, we went to Kotitheertha, a pond near Mahabaleshwar Temple where many were performing rituals. It was not crowded and the place looked awesome for photography. Also the other major attraction was the fishes there. One was so huge, I had never seen such a big fish in temple pond before.

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After sitting there for a while we went to Sri Maha Ganapathi temple, the distinct feature about the temple is the standing Ganesha which was cute. I find Ganesha to be the naughtiest of all gods, having the typical charm of fat people.

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Finally we went to the much awaited Mahabaleshwar Temple which had a huge queue, all of them admiring the giant cow en route to deity. It was humongous. Seems Mahabaleshwar Temple is the only one with Athmalinga. It had a unique way of worshiping. Each one, during their turn puts the hand in the hole at the center of the Linga and take the water or whatever material is there inside and put it outside. In one way its great way to clean the idol as well. Throughout the day Abhishekam keeps on happening. And the crowd gets more and more. I found this ritual interesting as well as intelligent.

Inside the Mahabaleshwar temple there is also Tamra Gauri Temple where the style was similar to Bhadrakali temple. To see the deity one has to go inside, take a turn and see. As the idol is facing against the door.

With the temple tour done we set off to beach, sat in wet sand, made our shorts wet, walked to nearby lane and ate everything that we could. Almost everything tasted horrible but nevertheless we wanted to taste everything. In spite of that we wanted to have an official dinner so we had it in another Pai restaurants. Almost all the restaurants in Gokarna are named as Pai, don’t know why. John bought some dress. Even I liked few but wasn’t in a mood. I generally can’t buy before the trek as it’d keep running in my mind.

Post our dinner we took a couple of autos and retired to the room. I went to another room to give instructions were Balaji had told ditto of what I’d be telling. The conversation went like this…

Seena: Cards vilayadlama da? (Shall we play cards?)

Me: Onum Vena (Not needed)

Laughs all round.

Me: Mooditu thoongunga da (Shut the fuck up and sleep.)

Higher laughter.

Seena: Balaji sona moonu vishaythula rendu solitae da. (You told two of the three things that Balaji told you’ll say)

Me: Inonu enadhu? (What’s the other thing?)

Seena: Nalaki kalaila 5 maniku ezunthirikanum. (You’ve to get up at 5 AM tomorrow)

I said the same, asked them to be ready by 6 AM and the day ended with higher laughters. Not before Jana called and invited me for marriage and there was some marriage talks along with that with John.

Even the people who visit holy places wouldn’t have visited so many temples but I somehow get to visit them all before or after the trek and that too with free food.

Day 2 – Beach Please!

8/13/2017

We started the day as planned at 6 AM. I was having mild headache and slight cold. Everyone had gotten ready by 6:40 for so. We started from our place at 7 AM. There was nothing available in the restaurant so we took whatever snacks we had and started walking.

Om Beach

The beach is called so because it’s in the shape of Om. It looked awesome when we started walking down from the stairs. We took some photos, in fact a lot of photos. As the trek was easy I wasn’t forcing the other ones to make haste and as it was the start of the trek, everyone was excitedly clicking.

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It felt like the largest of the beaches. While walking to the end of it we spotted fresh catches. But most of it were small fishes. It was exciting to enter the jungle. Within few minutes there was drizzle and most of them picked their rain coats. I wrapped by camera. But it lasted only for few minutes. It stopped before we got to the Half Moon Beach.

Half Moon Beach

The group which had gone before us were there in the beach. They looked like an elderly group. As soon as we set foot, we tagged the place and uploaded the photos. Apart from us two groups there weren’t anyone in the beach. The beach was small with rocks and all.

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Paradise Beach

Last of the beaches and considered to be the best of the lot, in fact it was the best of the lot. And before the beach we got an awesome spot to take photos. Post that when we walked to Paradise beach, there was a group there already pitching tents, smoking up and cooking chicken. I guess that was the group which went ahead of us.

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Only after reaching there we understood that they in fact were a hot group. The place looked happening with paintings, graffiti, broken walls, chic girls etc. It’d have been nice to stay but many blogs warned of police menace so I didn’t plan for that.

When asked about the next place to the people there, each one said their own story but thankfully a group which were coming from the opposite side gave us a clear picture. We ventured into the jungle again, this time there was no sound of waves so it was even more fun to know whether we’ve gotten lost or not.

Belakan Beach

People don’t go generally beyond Paradise but we did. There was a small water crossing where I had to remove shoes and Balaji fell into it much to the laughter of locals. Again selfies, pictures and tagging. We got water to drink from locals and ate few snacks. We got to know that there is a local bus which comes there.

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There was a beach opposite to our shore. None were there. That reminded me of Heaven’s Mouth from the movie ‘Y Tu Mamá También’. It’d have been awesome to have set up a tent with some foreign chick up there. Also we missed the Light House. It was closed alright but locals were saying it’d have been possible to go by bribing at 5 PM which didn’t happen. You’ll know why in the future paragraphs.

There is no pleasure more than going in bus while on trek. It has happened to us almost at all times. This time too we got the bus stop for ourselves. I was telling it to John, and Prasanna stated the same after a while.

Loved the bus journey from Belakan to Gokarna.

Gokarna Beach

We had some tea and Balaji ‘n’ number of ice creams from Gokarna bus stand, my headache was getting worse. We walked to the beach and started our trek. There was a temple from where the view was amazing but my headache was not letting me enjoy anything. Took few photos and left from that place.

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It was getting humid like hell, we went on wrong route, returned back and took the suggested route. The walk to Kudle through grassland was pretty easy.

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We had lunch at Café 1987 which was cool and Hippie. Food took a good one hour to come. But parathas were awesome. Not so with respect to rest. Anyways it was a nice experience.

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We set foot on Kudle beach in next few minutes. Now my head was splitting, all I wanted to do was end the trek. It was just a couple of kilometers for Om Beach from there. Others were taking a lot of time to come so I was cruising, and as soon as I hit the resort, I took bath and slept.

Post this is a sad story. I developed high fever, not able to sleep, I was struggling to even get up and walk to the café. I didn’t go to café all the while thinking that post completion of trek I could drink celebratory beers, overlooking the beach from Café. It had an excellent ambience. But all I ate was plain rice with pickle, just so that I can eat tables. Namaste Café didn’t have room service and neither great rooms. So 6K for all these, better try to avoid.

Worst is when I got to know that they charged even for hot water. They don’t even give plain water in the table. That’s one thing I can’t digest at all.

Rest of the days – Sick of sickness!

8/14/2017

There is no point writing anything post that. It’d just be waking up, eating, taking tablets and in turn getting feared of all the future trips. What would happen if the same happens again? So the sense of insecurities continued. Met an interesting doctor in Gokarna who gave hope, ate somewhere, took train, watched Tamasha, went to Bangalore, kept on eating, all the drinks stacked up there were just a showpiece for me, ate again, watched GOT in TV, rains, watched videos in OLA cab, ate again, took train, slept, came to office and same old story.

Devil’s Advocate

Nanna nanna nanna naa, nanna nanna nanna naa. If you know what I mean. I’m still humming the song. I’ve been humming the sequence ever since I came out of the theatre, such was its impact. When I thought that no movie could touch Bahubali’s experience this year, this movie broke it. Between the two may be Bahubali might win it for its simplicity but Vikram Vedha is nowhere next to it. But because of few complication, the awesomeness gets a bit less. It’s not all happy faces who come out of the theatre.

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I didn’t think that this movie would be half as awesome as what I experienced. The best part about the directors were, they didn’t try too much to say hidden stories using the title Vikram Vedha. The opening animation out rightly tells that there is going to be a Vikram, there is going to be a Vedhalam. And all the Vikram Vedhalam stories were superbly etched. All the escapades of Vijay Sethupathi were from emotional angle rather than dumb heroism. The first time Madhavan gets into the story for a second, then a minute and then almost till Vedha knocks him out and only in the final scene he does get hold of Vedha in complete confidence. That was the scene where both were in there full powers.

I was thinking this to be another movie like Managaram where they both unite to fight. There is some pleasure when the heroes who fought with each other unite. I thought this is going to be in the lines of that after Agni Natchathiram and Managaram. The last few minutes where they unite and fight were awesome. But the directors took it one notch higher by making it a Mexican standoff. And it was a true Mexican standoff unlike something made just the sake of it.

My favorite part of the movie would be the husband and wife angle of Madhavan and Shraddha Srinath. The independent nature of modern woman and men’s nature of men were superbly done. Much better than what Katru Veliyidai tried to achieve. It was so subtle and sexy. I think Pushkar and Gayathri put all their personal life experience to get a superb matured angle of this relationship. The fact the Shraddha was given a slutty look added to the sexiness of the relationship. Much like how Madhavan does, she’s the kind of girl one wishes to hug tight after a tough fight, what she’d be liking too.

Vijay Sethupathi wins here hands down, this movie is written for Vijay Sethupathi. Madhavan of course does a brilliant job but most of the mass scenes were for Vijay Sethupathi. Also he adds his signature humor to the scenes and makes it even more appreciable. More than all these it’s his subtleness which works brilliantly. In the first interrogation scene he discusses with Madhavan about number of killings he had done. When Madhavan says that he is the lead including the last encounter. Look how he lets out so many emotions. His first emotion is the sadness that his brother was killed, second is he had thought it was Simon who had executed and third, more than the anger it’s disappointment that he has towards Vikram because he hadn’t thought that Vikram would kill an innocent. Even the scene where he escapes from Simon is superbly made. His chemistry generally rocks with his co starts, more than the heroines. The walk after being pushed out of the car tells you all the stories. It feels so good to see an actor who knows what needs to be done. Madhavan gets his due in the Bullet scene. That was built up superbly too, right from the first, giving us a glimpse of Irudhi Sutru feel.

Coming to technical aspect of the film. Music, needless to say was awesome, both in BGM and songs. Picturization too rocked. That Giftu scene where we hear the BGM emerge as song was one of the massest moment of the movie. But special mention has to be given to editing, it was great idea to use top angle shots of the housing board flats to edit scenes, looked like maps of Project IGI. So many movies have been shot in North Madras but nothing used that angle. That gave the necessary classy feel to the movie, much like Departed.

It feels so good to see Pushkar and Gayathri getting their due. For they were the ones who indeed started the Tamil New Wave with Oram Po and Va Quarter Cutting. But it took all these years for them to give such a big hit. It’s no way a film made out of compromise. It’s an intelligent film made in an interesting way. Thinking back its actually confusing who killed whom, which generally doesn’t happen in Tamil cinema. Even if it happens it would be due to loopholes but not due to intelligence. That would be their biggest success of all.

Special Mention: Nalli Curry

When i took an EL

Posted: August 3, 2017 in Just Like That
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There is some pain which has been troubling me on my right chest, right from throat to stomach. Google said it’s not heart attack. I wanted to confirm as I have been telling everyone that I’d die at 29 and I’d die of heart attack. Two different statements which I wanted to make sure isn’t combining. I had this pain throughout the night the previous day. When I woke up, it took me a guilty few minutes to decide that I’d take leave and I took leave.

The first thought in the morning was what if this condition could be something serious and I have only one more year to live. I’ll turn 29 next year. I have so many plans. Have to trek EBC, complete one more grade in guitar, run 15 km/hr in 15 minutes, and run 5 KM in 20 minutes. All these are my part of agenda for next one year. What if this is a serious ailment and I could not do any of these or even one of these. The idea of quitting job looks to be the only good thing that could happen if I fall sick but rest, it’s scary. I am a person who romanticizes death, much like Woody Allen does. Even though he says that he doesn’t like getting old and that he’s scared of death, you find a sense of elation. It was the same with me too. But to really think what would happen if you’ve been given a timeline to your death, then it’s really scary.

I can’t remember the last time I took an EL just like that. Only seven years prior when I had to exhaust 5.5 days of leave by financial year end, I took leaves without reason, that’s the best thing to do. To get up and decide that you are not going to go to office, feels greater than any achievement. After a guilty few minutes even today I felt the same.

Started off with a tea and took morning walk with Dad, I couldn’t walk as fast as him, asked him to slow down, we went across the street and saw a person selling Cow’s milk which I wanted to buy for a long time. We continued walking straight through the road, I thought of asking him to take the path towards beach but without my telling he somehow went that way, thanks to the greens that we had to buy. While walking in the road to Thiruvanmiyur Beach you can’t see the sand first, only waves and today there was a boat on it and waves were quite high. Sun wasn’t harsh, weather was pleasant. The first glimpse of morning sunlight on water couldn’t have been more pleasant. My heart beat rose. I could have just sat there and watched the waves for a long time but I didn’t insist on it because I had done far too many things within the first few moments of the day, that my parents usually don’t associate with me. I told that I’ll be taking leave, join my dad for morning walk, beach entry. They’d have seriously though that something was wrong if I had wanted to get into the beach as well.

There were so many things running on my mind. Could this pain be due to hypertension, will the doctor ask me to quit my job? Would I be talking to a Psychiatrist? Would it be an awesome guilt free session where I wouldn’t be constantly thinking about money being spent on him?

But all these activities culminated into a wonderful morning. This is how mornings had to be spent, outside, breathing fresh air, not sleepily walking to office bus. Without my knowledge I was walking fast, my dad was falling behind. I felt better.

Coming home I read newspaper (no pleasurable feeling than reading newspaper in the morning), updated blogs, shagged, drank tea, drank cow’ milk, checked if I have Tamasha in my hard disk (which I didn’t), I don’t know what I’ll do for the rest of the day. I’ll be less disciplined, go to doctor and hope it’s nothing serious, play guitar, write review, get guitar mark sheet, want to watch Dunkirk in IMAX and don’t know what. May be brood about how things would get normal tomorrow.