Come…Fall in Love (with marriage)

It was my first Hindi film in theatre I guess. It was not the time where Hindi movies were on theatres. So I watched it in a B-grade theatre with mosquito bites.

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DDLJ when watched looks quite outdated because this looks more of a marriage story than love story. This being said with the ephemeral idea of how love in India means finding a person to get married. The things that we are debating now are why there couldn’t be live in relationships, why couldn’t love be there outside marriage, why should love be restricted to just one person and lot of other #mychoice problems. But let’s rewind to the past. It was a time when we were coming out of teachers telling us during Valentine’s Day on how love doesn’t mean having boyfriends and girlfriends but it could be loving your parents, friends etc.

So this was the time period which was sandwiched between these two when we and our parents both were in a stage that Love Marriage is wrong. Better than now because we don’t understand their point on why love marriage is wrong and they don’t understand why we’re rooting for love marriage. So DDLJ happened in a time where there was just plain rage where both are in sync and one wants to out power each other. Read clearly its Love marriage that we are talking about and not Love. That’s a whole different topic. I’ll get a chance to talk on it when the next GVM movie releases I think.

For this generation – in fact even I don’t belong to DDLJ generation, even though I celebrate it, it would have been better if I had been in my teens at least to completely appreciate it – it’d be better to take YJDH and compare it with DDLJ rather than telling how JYDH had taken so many inspirations from DDLJ.

Raj – a rich spoilt brat, who drives Porsche to college, whose dad celebrates his failure in college and drinks beer with him and Simran – Sanskari ladki, who sings Om Jai Jagadish Hari, I don’t know who still sings that out loudly in their home, meet each other when they are on Euro trip. You can’t get a better setting to start a love story. A road trip and two charming people. What else do you expect? The locales are as exciting to watch like that of Jeans where they showed seven wonders.

I even though like SRK post this movie, I could understand why it was celebrated back then. It was like how we celebrate Bunny now. I found SRK far more convincing in his later movies like KKHH, KKKG. I’ll leave it to you to expand all the abbreviations.

I found the first half to be insipid with romance being cheesy and scenes not really working out. If not for SRK and Kajol it’d have been a very tough watch. When I got to interval it felt as if I watched one whole movie. I was completely exhausted.

But the second half of the movie, something I hardly remember, something I wasn’t expecting anything out of it, is the reason behind the movies success. Only when watching now I could see almost every scene in the second half of the movie was taken in some other movie. And how many loose, tight remakes we have seen of DDLJ, need not mention about the inspirations. But of all the movies, even after so many years, this looked like an organic way of making parents understand children’s love. Rest all still looks like acting. Only that it ranges from best to worst.

 

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OMFG

This film is total dope. I’m finding it tough to concentrate to write but it’s like how when you are high and that’s when your senses are completely sharp. I’ve to write a review in present tense for this.

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What a day I chose to watch a film. It’s Sunday night and all I could think of is another horrible week at office. Its seven years and it doesn’t subside. In fact it’s getting to the worst, a peak where there is a sense that something is going to happen, again. It’s the third week of January, probably the time when all the New Year Resolutions break and make you feel naked. At least I’m not completely stripped. I’ve that much control. But yes even my resolutions are almost a failure. It’s almost not all. It’ll never be all. I’m not as confident as a layman to not take a resolution at all. To consider New Year and Birthday, just another day. I’ll continue to make list. I’ll fail. I’ll fail miserably. Still I’ll make list, I’ll make new list. I’ll tick it off too. Like how the grandma says she’d have convinced her parents. Probably the best character in the film.

After watching the movie, I was sitting down and staring, not thinking of anything. Now I’m staring at the screen not thinking of anything. Rarely does this feel happen in me. There were a lot of movies, coming of age movies where I get emotional. I watch it repeatedly to become sad like Premam or Tamasha. But Arjun Reddy can’t be watched again. It’s a single act magic. You watch it once and that’s all.

I’m amazed how the director could make a movie so dope and still make it work. I don’t know how so many liked it. Generally for movies like Tamasha when people didn’t like it, I loved it. I felt special that not everyone could connect with the movie but here I’m happy that people liked Arjun Reddy. It’s like accepting people who are different.

The film is organically dope. That’s some kind of writing. There were lot of scenes excellently conceived. Especially when you see the film as a character study it’s a great lesson. I loved the English lines Vijay spoke. Wow how good can it get. Probably only Matthew McConaughey could come close to it, in his True Detective. The dialogues were something you would heed to it only when you are high on dope, but when a general audience had seen it and liked it, it feels so good. It’s like touching that place in cerebral cortex to make it understand. There are so many scenes about objectifying women, about feeling blood in hands by being surgeon, about his girlfriend pulling the bed to make love, the way he says, “Y beedi is nice”, the dialogue to dean post football fight, the rush of adrenaline, eat and laugh after sex, the music behind it. Wow, just wow. I loved the scene where he talks about objectifying women and this comes in a film where there are lot of kissing and drug scenes. It’s like a slap in the face for people who have item numbers, objectifying women and talk morals about not smoking in cinema. I only wish that he had not said that, “we swear but we don’t objectify women”.

Of course Vijay rocks in the movie. He has a bit of Dulquer in him, in his looks but definitely a much better actor. There is a bit of Dev D in the story but it doesn’t romanticize it as much as Dev D. When knowing that Vikram’s son is going to act, this could be the best gift a dad could give to his son. Bala would love to make a first urban story in this concept. Even Dhruv looks a bit like him. Vijay in fact looks like many. He even look like Thegidi hero Ashok Selvan. But how the movie is going to suit Tamil audience and whether Vikram would overdo it by nurturing his kid too much is to be seen. If this had been an original movie, there couldn’t be anything better than making debut in this one.

The films immediate impact is wanting to smoke. Don’t know how right a feeling that is. It’s not a film where you’d root for Arjun. The premise is great. The fact that it happens in Medical College and he’s a doctor is a treat to watch. Of course he’s hot, like his friend says, he can woo any girl if he stands in the middle of the road with just his underwear. He’s rich and he’s talented. That makes this easy in third person’s perspective but that’s what the film is. If he’s poor and not talented the film would have been short film and ended in ten minutes.

His life is clumsy. Even Italy looks clumsy looking through him. Look how Corsica looked through Ranbir’s eyes. But the fact that all this is for love. It’s just again a bloody love story is hard to digest. I generally don’t like intervals. I don’t even like to go pee while watching a movie but the best thing I did while watching the movie is I took a dinner break 15 minutes before the climax, where Arjun comes back from Italy. It was gem till then but post that, he coming back, the kid being his, everyone uniting. It’s so convenient. It’s too great a film to deserve a happy ending like that damn it.

Generally post watching a movie there would be specific scene, specific instance or the overall mood that would linger in mind but with this movie it’s like that phase after you are drunk where you want to get back to normal but you don’t want to. All that runs on my mind is Dulquers face with Vijay’s confused look. It’s like a jigsaw. I hate that confused face of Dulquer. He’s such a limited actor. But I could pity him now. I could pity my mom who has to listen to my dad. I pity my dad whom I put into a pity state with my cynicism. I pity my family who have to see my like this time and again. I pity everyone.

Pleasure is completion

– Vikram M N

This has been second of the three impending arrears. Just the week before I completed last year’s arrear Rajahmundry and the very next week, the New Year week, I planned for this trek, at the cost of missing New Year Party. I feel bad if it’s New Year and I’m not with my regular group of Arun and Lokesh or with Arun or Lokesh.

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Day 0 – Re-start

12/29/2017

It was the repeat of what I did three months ago but this time there wasn’t a direct bus to Bodi. Idiots. They had cancelled the bus so we took a bus to Theni. It wasn’t as crowded in CMBT like last time so the bus started on time. I didn’t want to repeat the mistake of last time by waiting for the bus to stop in its regular abode for dinner. I asked guys to parcel it in Perungulathur. And boy, wasn’t it the best decision of my life.

So here is the cast.

Chennai Team

Prabha – Trek Organizer

Selva – His friend

Shiva – My Lights On Friend

Richie – His Friend

Arvind – Lights On Friend Arti’s brother

Mani – Aspiring director and my friend from Tadiandamol

Coimbatore Team

Sharmi – Prabha’s friend

Naresh – Her brother

Siva – His friend

Anusha – Dhoni (don’t know for what she’s called so)

Looking at the description, it looks like a film title. ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’

So the Chennai team started on time, everyone were disciplined, they weren’t carrying any unnecessary stuff. May be due to the fact that they’ve already trekked but even first timer Arvind didn’t have big luggage. In fact mine was the biggest, but lesser than last time as I did not have tent. But I didn’t want it to be too light. I had to train for other treks.

In bus Shiva and Arvind had some serious soccer talks which I of course didn’t understand. I slept as soon as I boarded the bus. I was yet to recoup from the previous week’s travel tiredness and an almost there cold. The previous week post the trek too was hectic, thanks to my cousins visit here. I was a bit worried whether I’d get sick for the trek but thankfully I didn’t. And due to all the above factors I had a sound sleep in bus. Only woke up at the point where they usually stop for dinner.

Day 1 – Perfection

12/30/2017

We reached Theni New Bus Stand at 5 AM. In a hurry to catch Bodi bus we left Richie back as he was having a standalone tea. We met the remaining Coimbatore folks at Theni Old Bus stand and reached Bodi in half an hour. Richie reached there in a while. After trying hard for morning ablutions and failing miserably at it, we took bus to Kurangani. There was also another Bangalore group who seemed to be amazed with such low ticket rates of Tamil Nadu State Transport Service. Proud moment!

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We reached Kurangani and everything was still fresh in the memory, including the failure. The room, the restaurant and everything. We were given a room to freshen up, the same place where I stayed last time. And Coimbatore folks took it to a level up and had a bath before the trek. Beautiful, isn’t it. We had our breakfast with a view in an open terrace. Just like last time the food was brilliant. Idly and Vada with Sambar, Chutney was fabulous. Don’t know how they make Idly so soft.  I ate quite a few Idlys and got ready for the trek. Prabha had parceled his share as he was fasting.

We started off in the usual path, everyone together. This time there was water dripping at a couple of places en route so at least we had points where we could fill our bottles. But don’t get mislead by this. Be prepared to walk the whole route with just the bottles you have. Last time we didn’t have any water points. So at first water point we settled, people were clicking lot of photos. Already an Electrol packet over.

The next stretch from First water point to second water point took a tool on Coimbatore gang with Sharmi struggling a lot. But they somehow managed and reached the place after a delay. Prabha and I were walking along them. Rest of the Chennai team had already reached there. From there I led to Othai Maram (solo tree). I was panting as I walked quickly and sun was beating too but reaching there was such a relief. I wanted to reach there first so as to set up my camera and take some extra rest. I did it in the process. Rest of Chennai gang came in quick succession but the Coimbatore gang took a lot of time to time. As soon as they came, they ate and took rest. Lemon Rice was divine.

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We started from there at 3 AM, which was quite late and I was asked to be the sweeper by Prabha. I obliged. That was the wise thing to do. Chennai gang proceeded at a fast pace but for us it took forever to reach. Sharmi and co were struggling a lot. No amount of lies could satisfy them about reaching the destination. After a point it became pitch dark and we were walking only in moonlight. I think that got on to Siva. He who was becoming a trekker by saying the usual dialogue ‘almost there’ dialogue quite often, started to get irritated once it became dark but somehow we managed to reach Kolukumalai by 7 PM. By that time we reached, Sharmi told that she’d need a vehicle to go back the next day. I could see how exhausted she was. I could empathize because I know the pain of it, I was in that position only a couple of months back.

We met with the remaining gang at 7 PM and got to know that they reached by 5 PM. That was quite swift. Their idea was simple. None knew the route, so they wanted to reach some destination before it got dark and they did it in style. After having amazing tea, opting for free Wi-Fi and posting ‘irutarayil moratu kuthu’ selfie, we proceeded towards our tent. I didn’t sit the whole day except for Othae Maram. Sharmi noted that and told me to sit at least once we entered the tea estate J Quite observant.  I wanted to check my endurance thus that move, nothing else.

We warmed down near dinner place and settled for dinner. A very hard Chapati with chicken and Rice. Chicken curry was good but Chapati gave some serious scares so I didn’t ask for repeat. They were thinking a lot about giving a second serve of Chicken. That was quite unexpected. I could see how the place was getting commercialized. But somehow managed to get a second fill and had a satisfying dinner.

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Within minutes we went to tent, stayed for a while at camp fire and I slept first. My usual thing. The stars were beautiful and there were people with loud music partying for New Year but they looked meek in front of us. That’s what walking could do to you. Mani and I settled in a tent and I was telling him, how five starish it looks when compared to Tadiandamol where the tent was wet and dinner was bread. Weather was great, right amount of chill to enjoy and cozy sleeping bag. With aching limbs and satisfying heart I slept really well. Except for once where I had to loo. Somehow I wasn’t worried about the next day, my usual habit, I somehow had a gut feeling that I’d be completing the trek.

Day 2 – Elation

12/31/2017

Day started at 4.30 AM sharp. Coimbatore folks had opted out of trek to Meesapulimala peak. So with the remaining team we started off on the dot. Again great discipline. We had tea near the counter and started the walk. It was dark and cold in the morning and Shiva was wearing sandals which made him feel even colder. Beyond a certain point I, Selva, Richie, Shiva, Arvind and Mani started walking first. As I knew the route I hurried past everyone. Rest of the guys too agreed to the point of covering as much distance before the sunrise. I guess the sunrise point is somewhere before the actual peak but we didn’t stop anywhere and proceeded.

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By the time we reached the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border there was visibility. We could see the peak in front of us. That peak which was not even visible last time around. Selva, Richie, Shiva and Arvind proceeded at a brisk pace. While we were walking we could see the horizon and sun slowly coming out. Everyone were giving different kind of expression. As I was walking last, I could see everyone’s face glued to the mighty sun, the sun which we hate daily. It was so nice to see real joyful elation. It was like meditation. I turned back a few times to view it. It was of course beautiful but I didn’t want to stop before reaching the peak. At certain point, everyone were mesmerized by the beauty of sunrise and stopped to take photo, video, time lapse etc. but I proceeded towards the peak and reach there first. To spread the hands and shout out success inside me felt brilliant. Job done! But Job not Well Done yet as I had to complete the trek.

But those few moments at the peak was brilliant. Mani and Prabha were nowhere to be seen. One of the two guys reached there. It was first time for him too. The view was brilliant but sunrise was the one which stood apart. I haven’t seen anything like that before. We took few silhouettes and selfies and started our way back

The return from the peak was scary due to elevation. We saw Prabha climbing up with our guide. Arvind and I reached in quick succession to the camp site. We met Mani there who told that he wasn’t confident about climbing the peak due to elevation. Not confident both physically and technically. Wise decision to make. Selva, Shiva and Richie too came down at 8 AM. I was getting hungry by 7 AM but unfortunately the breakfast was not ready. We met with the remaining Coimbtore gang who were lazing around. We got breakfast in some time. After hogging we went to tent to finish our packing and Prabha had come by then. But in all, we wasted close to 3 hours there. We couldn’t put our bags in jeep because it would not be possible to take it again to the stream where we had planned to take bath. In the mean time we took a lot of good photos and relaxed before the decent.

We started exactly at 11 AM after packing Parotta for lunch. Within an hour or so we reached Othae Maram and had our lunch there. Parotta was chewy but the peas masala made for it. Shiva and Mani discussed world movies en route. Within few minutes we started off from there and walked at swift pace. At a point I lost track and got doubt about the path so I started walking back, luckily Mani and co weren’t far away so we continued tracing the route to Kurangani. We stopped at two water points to fill water but we didn’t have much thirst while climbing down. Again I made a point to not sit anywhere. Everyone walked real fast and reached our destination in a couple of hours.

We bribed a couple of people there and went to stream. Had a great relaxing cold bath and fish pedicure. Also did some underwater stretches. It felt great but I had to control a lot to not sleep. We had an amazing Sarbat in Kurangani as tea was not available. We couldn’t spot the Coimbatore gang. Everyone there said that they hadn’t seen the jeep yet. So the Chennai team sans Prabha decided to take the return bus to Bodi. Luckily by the time we left we saw our guide who informed us that they were waiting for us to enter the stream. So we started off waving good bye to Prabha and guides.

In bus the locals were talking about certain murder which happened in that area the previous day but we weren’t very excited about the gossip. We reached Bodi before 6. I thought of spending some time in bus stand and then taking bus to Theni but others suggested to reach Theni and finish dinner. That was wise as well. I wasn’t feeling very hungry but we got down at Theni Old Bus Stand and searched for Vaigai Hotel, which a passerby suggested last time but that looked like a star hotel, so went to Hotel Thatti Vilas and had a feast of Mutton Biryani, Kuska, Parotta, Kari Dosa, Dosa, Mutton Chukka and Nattu Kozhi Kuruma. Everything was brilliant. Shiva was asking for Brinjal Curry without knowing that it’s a Bai Kadai dish and not south’s dish. I loved everything except for Kari Dosa. Except that everything was authentic and tasty.

From there we took a share auto to Theni New Bus Stand, something I hate. But we had good time pass. I was lamenting, thinking about another year and life in general. In the meantime having Theni special sweets Paal Bonda and some mittai kind of thinks, thanks to Arvind to introduce both to us. On another side Selva and Richie were discussion about Economy or something which I wasn’t really interested.

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Bus as usual came late and as soon as we got it, wished each other Happy New Year, I switched off the phone and slept. With that much tiredness I didn’t want to be woken up for anything at all. It was a great way to end the year, beaming with pride and satisfaction. All is well that ends well.

 

 

Doesn’t etch in our memory. Still…

It’s always a pleasure to plan up for a Vikram movie, because it would be only me and my best friends. Ithellam Perumaya, kadamai. And on top of it, it was a festival weekend and we were striving so hard to get to theatres by 7 PM from all parts of Chennai. While all the way from office to theatre we were humming the theme music and entered the hall exactly at 7 AM for titles, we were so happy and got our money’s worth. If it could give this much happiness for a Vikram fan, which is like one in million, how would it be for a Vijay/Ajith fan which forms a majority and makes even a very meek movie a hit.

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Sketch works because all you see is Vikram. There are hardly anyone who makes any impact. I think that’s been the problem post Anniyan where he wants to act big. And selects only big movies. He’s proud about it too. Don’t know how long it’s going to last. He’s able to pull off his part because of his confidence. No matter how bad the movie is he’d be doing his role sincerely because he believes in it. A trait which only Manorama has in my opinion.

I think this movie is another template movie where the director would have become his fan while seeing his acting and writes, directing only for him and without taking anything else into consideration. I think that’s been the story for the past ten years. Can’t really complain because even Mani fell into this trap. Ravanan looked like more of guilt ridden story to elevate Vikram’s status because of failing to cast him in his earlier movies. Suhasini still keeps saying about this in every interview. I think normal commercial directors who operate in a formula can anymore make films with him. Either they’ve to be classy, new gen or freaks. Look how brilliant Bejoy Nambiar made use of him in David. Of course it ended up being the biggest failure of his career but for critics this could be the best ever film a mainstream actor can make.

Sketch is an age old commercial film which rides solely on its hero, Vikram. He as usual carries the film on his shoulders, does an excellent job but ends up being egoistic about him being the only person to carry the film on his shoulders. It has a string of villains but you don’t really feel that anyone is going to be a threat for him even though how strong they are either physically or mentally. I don’t know whether Vikram would act even if he gets a role like Batman when there is scope for a villain like mentally strong Joker or a physically strong Bane.

So when the sidekicks die, it doesn’t really stay. Because you don’t feel for them. You can feel for them only through Vikram. Sreeman dying alone had at least some impact but it’s more due to Sethu and not due to Sketch. Excellent actor he’s. But the surprise package here is one of the sidekicks cracking timing jokes. He got a great response from the crowd. Good thing was he didn’t overdo it. But his end was predictable too.

The film falls so on usual masala film blue film, a hero introduction followed by introduction song, followed by fight, melody, a pre interval block, a song immediately post interval and climax twist. I hope the songs were concentrated better. Generally a must in a big hero commercial flick. I don’t remember when the last time Vikram got decent songs in his films when he’s not acting in a film by big director. But the consolation here is the BGM. A terrific one, needless to say he excels in those scenes along with fights. There is a scene where he gets back the bike and rides to the garage, an excellent one, if the same scene had been by Ajith/Vijay the applause would have been tremendous, even though he excels with his screen presence. In fact it’s the same with many other scenes as well.

Even though there was continuity, the films editing lacked a punch. But somehow the pre climax scene compensated for it by making a one truly swift scene. The climax got a bit of scare on everyone. It’s not like how you want your hero to comeback from grave but more of sympathy with a ‘oh no, please’ feeling. But that’s oh no it wasn’t again.

 

 

Space Sells

A film of which I have vague memory of monkeys jumping here and there. I was force fed this movie by my friend, it was one of the first five movies I watched when I got a computer. Needless to say I was bored beyond words. But what I don’t understand now is, now I found it to me one of the most entertaining of Kubrick’s movie, even better than A Clockwork Orange. Still Shining and Barry Lyndon remain to be on top of these two for me.

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The best part about the movie is it works in Space Time. Where things happen slow, emotions less, music nil but tension high. In general in other sci-fi movies it’s not the same. The music is jarring almost in every scene, in every scene you feel like you’re off ground, in every scene you thing as if an imminent disaster is going to happen and deep within you want it happen, whether or not you get a positive or negative outcome from it.

So here in Space Odyssey you feel as if you’re in space rather than watching someone being in space. That’s the biggest achievement of Kubrick here. Even if you’re thrilled with other films, it feels as if you’re in 4D ride but not really up there in space. There is no time to think of anything when you’re kept on tenterhooks always. The changing of antenna control device is classic example of that. It takes place in a relatively lengthier manner than what you get to see in your regular films, on top it there is no music. In fact the acting is brilliant too because you can’t do much when you neither have dialogues nor people around you. What’s even more brilliant is the whole scene happens again when HAL asks them to replace and check. How many times have we undergone this meticulous process in cinema? And not a moment of it is boring.

Of course it poses a lot of questions and the opening scenes look a bit artificial. In fact while I watched the episode it felt like Kubrick was overdoing. I always had this apprehension while watching a Kubrick movie. I wish it had been more philosophical than aiming for perfection. With perfection there is a sense of detachment which happens. It works for certain movies, prime example being Barry Lyndon but with others it proves to be over burden. Even though on one side I could appreciate the futuristic airport and travel to the moon I was like ‘oh not again’ when the airhostess walks on the walk or a Poole goes on for a circular run. It’d have been nice for a lesser organic movie but not for this one. This feels only like a gimmick which would lead to appreciation of Kubrick. How clever he directs, how efficiently the camera is handled etc.

Special mention has to be given to HAL. He’d go down as one of the most villainous character. Nothing but red light, still it brings so much villainy. Can’t define why it happens, may be because of the starring red light, the cold voice or the eerie environment which HAL sets. If HAL’s revenge is as cunning as a human one, his death is even better which almost makes us feel guilty thinking as if we’re killing a life. The change of voice and then the memory going to the initial one is also such a gem.

What happens next is the part which truly elevates the movie. Those few minutes when being pulled into a colored vortex to a space unknown where Bowman sees parts of himself in various stages is eclectic. I think that’s where the greatness of film lies.

 

 

 

 

 

Tad too Worked Up but still… works.

Fresh out of the success of Thani Oruvan, Jayam Raja tries to prove a point from the very first scene. Fat people vs. Fisher men, people who come in car to exercise vs. people who go around doing their job, kids with candies vs. kids running with cricket bat. Typical rich vs. poor template. But trying to be smart, he ends up being desperate. Then there is SK (reminds me of a swear word we used in school) struggling with Chennai slang and forgetting every now and then about it and talking proper English and typical Tamil. In recent times only Karthi seems to have done the job perfectly with Chennai slang in Madras without overdoing. How a literate in North Madras would talk when within group and outside of it. Rest all ended up doing too much.

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And everyone familiar with the album (Even though likeable, still kind of reminds you of some older songs). Which is almost everyone, would then be waiting for Karuthavelam Galijam. No surprise there, it’s the opening song but the situation could have definitely been better and song and choreography too could have been handled a lot better than setting up close up of SKs fake smile a million times.

There is almost a rushed introduction of Nayanthara who almost does nothing other than looking hot in pink shirt in climax. First time I was bored of Nayanthara post her comeback. Too many close up shots and her trademark smile wasted for not so funny sequence. Chemistry absolutely zero.

Yes you guessed it right. As third introduction there was Fahad Fasil scene. He made sure that all three had proper intro. Only that he made it evident to everyone but still Fahads opening scene ends up to be the best scene of the movie. His performance except for the scene where he shouts in angst out of car, was a treat to watch. Right from his name. In the opening scene he scores the moment he gets up. His dialogues makes us ensure we are on a high but the moment he gets up he steals the show. The best thing about him is he’s so subdued, Vikram could have done this scene and got a lot of claps too but to do this so subtly is the reward. Not only this, each and every scene, his expressions, and everything is minimal. Thus it works. Even in the last scene where the whole city lights up, including few in theatre. What was more awesome was to see Fahad breaking the light in his room. That’s Fahad taking on the whole world.

SK has to gain more confidence when it comes to acting. He was nowhere to be seen with Fahad around but that was acceptable. The chemistry with Nayan was more depressing. He generally is really good around heroines with his charm but here it was a total failure. The two scene he hugs and one scene where he has his hands around her waist, he was so not confident and looked like he was thinking what would Nayanthara think if he came a little too close. On the other hand look at Naanum Rowdy Thaan, Vijay Sethupathi was brilliant in combination scenes even though the film revolved around Nayanthara.

The film tries to get into serious mode little too quickly and little forcefully so the gear change doesn’t work without friction. But the director does a fairly decent job. It’s not as swift as Thani Oruvan but the film moves at a decent pace and engages every now and then. And Raja somehow does the climax decently rather than killing the villain in a clichéd warehouse.

Sneha does a beautiful job but it’s not as strong as the Jaya Seal’s one in Samurai. But that’s where Raja scores, it’s not so bad which will make you cringe but bad enough to make you feel bad and evoke sympathy. That’s good way to make commercial cinema. The first rule is to make it watchable.

He also took a commercially viable story which everyone can relate to, made it look like an intelligent film and thus making it a perfect commercial pot boiler. In the end all ends well that ends well.

Velaikaran is not really a movie which I could give a positive review but the fact that I took leave and watched it as a guilty pleasure shows how the movie could work for you. For me the timing worked perfectly, if it had not been on last week of December I would never have watched the movie. That week if I’m not travelling, I reserve it strictly for guilty pleasure and Velaikkaran was one such experience.

It was a long hauled plan. It was even more important because last time the plan was cancelled at last minute and I had to waste a four day holiday at home. So to make it happen and make it happening was amazing.

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Day 0 – Special One

12/22/2017

I’ve never taken leave on the day of travel. Because I would feel like it’s a waste of leave. If I take leave I plan to leave the previous working day. So this was special one. I had some work in the morning so the guilty pleasure was filled to the brim. In fact the whole trip was a guilty pleasure one. As one of my trips had got cancelled I had lot of leaves remaining, plus it was the year end so I let go everything and start afresh in the New Year. So Friday leave was the first of it.

Wasted the day in a lovely manner by packing, watching TV, FB etc. and started pretty early to the central. Still had to shell our multiple*x fares in cab. The roads were busy as it was a long holiday but surprisingly Central wasn’t. As I travel only on long holidays I was surprised that there was very less crowd.

Once in Central we met up with my relatives and logged in to Rail Wi-Fi to check in another new place. Bhuvaneswar Express of course was crowded but not as much as our last time so it was fine. All of us got tickets together in the same coupe so it was fun. We finished our packed dinner within few minutes the train started. It indeed was awesome.

Day 1 – Overwhelmingly Religious Day

12/23/2017

We met with Krishna, friend of friend who in fact designed the whole trip excellently for us. We quickly settled in an Ertiga and Alto and checked in his penthouse. He had in fact arranged two of it but one was big enough to hold 7. After quickly freshening up and having breakfast, not to forget the excellent filter coffee, of which the taste still lingers in our mouth, we kick started our tour.

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We started off for a long journey to Ryali Sri Jaganmohini Keshava Swamy Temple, the route to Ryali was beautiful, and we could see Godavari on one side throughout the journey. There were also shops selling Andhra’s famous dish, Pootharekulu almost throughout the journey. As I have had it multiple times since I have an Andhra teammate I wasn’t interested much. Towards the last part of journey we saw beautiful rice fields. Finally coming to the temple, it was a small but famous one it seems. Severely reminded us of Hayagreevar Temple in Chettipunyam. The priest there insisted us to have lunch so we waited for a while for biometric test and finally had an excellent lunch. In every trip I end up getting food in at least one temple. One of the priest also made sure that we understood the history of the temple by making a passerby translate the story from Telugu to English.

Opposite to the temple was Uma Kamandaleswara Swamy Temple, another temple rich in history. More interesting than that was the Ayyappan Temple behind it. For the first time saw a black Ayyappan deity.

Post lunch we informed Krishna about returning home. He said he’d have the lunch parceled to our resort so that we can have that as the dinner. So in the evening we started off around 4 PM to Pattiseema. Thinking about Krishna’s filter coffee we were searching for tea shops. Luckily we got an excellent tea shop. My uncle had two teas instead of one.

The boat journey from road to Sri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple was brilliant. We shot few sunset photos and took a long walk to temple. The temple had only us inside and every priest in front of every deity insisted us to say our Rasi, Natchathiram etc. So that took a lot of time but I was amazed by the dedication of the priests. Especially the last one, in spite of it being the closing time and only us being there. By far the most dedicated priests I’ve ever seen. And my most favorite place of the all.

The return journey to boat was quite an adventure as the son had started to set and in few minutes it became dark. On top of it the boat got stuck and we were stranded for quite a while which was fun. Finally we reached the resort and had an amazing dinner and sound sleep.

Day 2 – Cruise Mode

12/24/2017

Highlight of the trip is the Godavari cruise. That’s why people throng Rajahmundry. So as expected it was crowded. From our resort to the cruise we had to take two trips because it was a small car. We reached the place on the dot.

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As soon as we entered the boat and settled in the best possible seat we got our breakfast. Idly, Vada and Upma with Upma being the best. Within few minutes the irritating cultural program started. One bro tip. Never sit on the side which has speaker. My ear pained one whole day due to high volume. The cultural extravaganza was an absolute disaster as we couldn’t understand the language and also there was a constant fear of being called on stage. Meanwhile my family was being humiliated.  So I sat on ground floor for major part of the day except while having breakfast and snacks.

We ordered extra non veg items like chicken, fish etc. which was decent. But I liked the veg items even better. While returning we got down at Perantalapalli which housed a temple and interesting variety of bamboo items. I’d have loved to buy them but didn’t as I couldn’t maintain them.

Again while returning I went downstairs as soon as cultural program stared and sat there enjoying the sunset. But the journey was a bit stretched than expected so by the time we came out we were all dead tired. But it was such a relief to see our driver waiting for us. I could see the joy in everyone’s face. From there it was a nice long journey to Krishna’s house. By far my most favorite car journey of the trip was that night. Everyone were tired and happy and felt that the trip was totally worth the money.

But the best was yet to come. We knew that we had dinner ready but didn’t know that it’d be a seven course meal. Every one of us hogged like hell. There were so many side dishes that I stopped eating rice and had one side dish as side dish for another side dish. And then the dessert so it was beyond full. We ended the day with a quick visit to Godavari river and a quick round of Kovvur sightseeing.

Day 3 – Whirlwind Final Day

12/24/2017

It was a very tiring morning to get up but somehow we managed to get up and start by 9 AM. We had sample Pesarattu which was the best I’ve ever tasted. Whatever we get in Chennai are not the real ones. I understood only then. The sample one was enough for us to survive till lunch. We set up around 9 AM and went first to Rampachodavaram falls. It was a nice little falls and to our advantage we had the falls all for ourselves. Most of us took bath and got few photos clicked. We had amazingly unique Chicken Biryani (nice and spicy) and meals. Both Veg and Non Veg options were awesome.

 

Next we went to Jalatarangini waterfalls, another waterfall in Maredumilli but it was more crowded and risky. We did best by taking bath in Rampachodavaram. The road to the falls was awesome with forest cover. Also there was a boating point which was picturesque. While returning we stopped there to take photos and also bought Bamboo Chicken en route.

We reached Rajahmundry around 7 PM and went for a whirlwind tour of the city. Bought the paper sweet famous there called Pootharekulu and had all three types of Rose Milk along with Chili Bajji. Chilli Bajji would be my pic of the day with a lot of flavors.

Tension started to build up as we had only very less time to catch the train. Also the restaurant we went was crowded. After a lot of yes and nos we finally opted to parcel and everyone except me returned home. I took the parcel and went home. By then the luggage were almost pack. We finally bid goodbye to Krishna and family for awesome hospitality. Had dinner including bamboo chicken at the railway station. The train was late by half an hour and as I was dead tired I slept immediately.

I even took off the next day. Another first!

 

It Stings!

I think I’ve talked enough about Technicolor and 70’s films but I’ll do it again because the joy is limitless. During my semester holidays when I shared a small room without fan with God, I mean Pooja room, and had lime rice as food throughout the day so that I don’t have to waste time to go take sambar, rasam and pause the movie, its these kind of movies that I enjoyed the most, out of all the films I watched during my movie marathon. That’s why I like Hitchcock’s color films the most like Dial M for Murder, Rear Window etc. Sheer joy!

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I got the same feeling and relived the moments, and thanks to Karthigai Deepam I also got Lemon Rice to spice up the nostalgia. Icing on the cake here was that the film happens in 30s. That’s even classier.

The film sparks interest right from scene one with excellent framing, right out of a vintage portrait you can do for a Levi Strauss ad. And the camera pan and lowering with some shakes were beautiful to watch, especially the imperfections. And I’ve always like the Point of View changing from one person to another, one subject to another etc. That shift in focus is amazing.

The story is superbly written and it’s not just literal, it happens cinematically well too. The movie takes a good thirty minutes out of two hours to start with the story. Till then it’s only the back story. And every time till then, the hero focus shifts too, we think the first person who takes cab to be the hero, then it shifts to Hooker (Robert Redford), when we start thinking that he’s The Guy then we get to see that he’s also losing, at one point we think that he’s going to take revenge and going to be the master at that but again another person, now the hero, gets introduced, Henry “Shaw” Gondorff (Paul Newman), the wise man comes into picture. Only after he comes into the story we as well as Hooker himself gets to know how weak he’s.

Paul Newman is a Kickass guy, always. But largely goes unnoticed. He’s like Agni Natchathiram Karthik. At that moment people celebrate him but after that he gets forgotten. But no one could have done the role better than him in the movies that he did. That too with the ones with attitude, which attributes to most in the list. Here too he rocks. That wink he gives when he hears about ‘Poker’, that’s heroism.

Caper films are always awesome, especially the well-made ones with Suits and cast who look classy in them. One reason why Oceans would never get boring no matter what. Another thing is the juncture where a team is assembled. I remember one of the soaps that aired in DD Metro called as Hindustani, where they form a team, even that excited me at a very young age, on top of it they train, which is another awesome thing. Here in Sting the formation of team is not elaborate or classy like that of Oceans where Brad Pitt eats countless amount of burgers by the team he gets a team but The Sting’s recruitment was more organic, simple and profound.

Even though the climax is amazing the best part is the ‘Wire’ where you see Paul Newman in full flow and on top of it in the next chapter you see the Betting Parlor fully formed. In the ‘Wire’ chapter, the making of Betting Parlor comes as intercuts which you can’t appreciate as much as you want but in the next chapter it gets revealed in full glory.

There is deus ex machina in the form a man with leather gloves but it’s something you’d love to have, like the hero introduction moment. In fact it was handled so well here that you appreciate the cheater than being sad for getting cheated. Same with the climax as well. You can’t help but love. There was no pleasure than seeing Lonnegan getting cheated, that look on in face was so much fun. It was like taking revenge on a guy who bullied you in your childhood.

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.

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.