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It’s been a while since we have gone to a multiplex for a movie. I feel it’s lost its charm. Or we have grown older and lazier. Actually, it has to be a bit of both, and Hyderabad is quite lousy when it comes to ticket availability, especially since there are way too many movies releasing across Hindi, English and Telugu each week, for the screens to have the same one running for more than 2 weeks. Which means, you either book your weekend movie on Wednesday morning, when it lists, or forget about it. We have been opting for the latter.

But it isn’t as tough with Amazon Prime, Hotstar and Netflix ensuring the movies release not too late in the day.  So unless it is an Avengers – Infinity War kind of movie, or a movie by Nolan, which one has to watch on a big screen, we don’t.

Of late, I have taken to watching movies in my solo-TV time, which are short time slots of 15-20 minutes mostly. So I watch them like a series. I even watch a couple of series in my solo-TV time, split into further mini shows, because most of them last for 40 minutes or longer. But this isn’t about the shows, it’s about the movies I have watched recently. Alone, which means they cannot be highly rated Hollywood movies, or thrillers, or artsy (non-drama) stuff, because those I watch with the Dude.

I first watched Pari – a bad, bad choice. First of all, I don’t like horror movies. And God knows why I chose a terrible Bollywood horror movie to initiate myself into the genre. And I even did full justice to it too, sitting in a quiet, darkened room all by myself, and watched it in one sitting, but nah. It didn’t work. Some sounds and effects were creepy, but Bollywood did the unbelievable of getting sentiment even into an evil spirit and ruined it for me. I would have rather watched Tashan again, if self-torture was my eventual motive. I had a headache that evening.

Then, I watched October. I knew it was a cry-fest so I stepped well prepared into it. And Shoojit Sircar is a dependable man. So, while I finished it in several sittings, it was a good movie. A moving, emotional drama, where I have to say, Varun Dhawan was phenomenal. I love movies with well etched-out characters and limited speaking, and this was one. Ofcourse, it leaves you heartbroken at the unfairness of it all, but it is not a movie that will shock or surprise you. You  see it coming and yet, when it does, you are left all misty eyed. Total thumbs up.

The next movie was The Only living boy in New York. I watched this one in maybe two sittings. Maintaining my streak of watching offbeat movies with dysfunctional characters and dysfunctional relationships, this one atleast left me smiling. It had biggies like Kate Beckinsale and Pierce Brosnan, who played their supporting but important roles very convincingly. So yes, I would recommend this to people.

Then, on reading recommendations for the Edge of seventeen by more than 2 people, I watched this movie as well, though I’m pretty much off teenage and high school dramas. I was most pleasantly surprised, and it wasn’t one of those usual glossy teenage movies which I have enjoyed aplenty until some years ago, but have grown out of now. It had a decent storyline, again – dysfunctional characters and set ups, and good actors. Yes, this made me come out smiling too, though there were some parts that were high on emotion.

Which brings me to the most disturbing movie of the lot – Young adult. This is a 2011 movie starring Charlize Theron – and not very highly rated for obvious reasons. The movie wasn’t the greatest, but it had the ability to envelop you in a sense of morbid existence, that the protagonist is going through in the story. I always think that’s the trademark of a good movie, or a book. It’s ability to create an atmosphere of gloom, doom, or happiness in your life, as you watch or read it. This did that, so full points for that. Otherwise, not so much to talk about here.

Now I am watching Phillauri. Another Anushka Sharma starrer, that was’t very highly acclaimed or rated. This one’s a light movie, but I am already bored. However, I don’t leave movies mid-way so rest assured, I will be finishing it. But I am already on the lookout for the next. There just seem to be a lot more options since we have accessible Netflix account now too. So there are a lot of movies, but to pick the ones that I can watch alone, isn’t the easiest.

Anything else I should be watching?

Candles bujh gayi, ab sab me cake batte hai

I turn thirty three today. That is a big number. And while I don’t want to make this a boring, contemplative post, I think I will end up doing just that, because didn’t we talk about writing for yourself and all that? Or may be not. Anyway. So this would be the last of the early 30s, before we step into the mid-30s, because that’s how I have it laid out in my head. You know – 30 is well thirty. And what follows is neatly split into sets of three, early, mid and late. So basically, this is the end of my early thirties and Oh My God if this is not scary I don’t know what is. Actually that’s an exaggeration, I can think of a lot of scarier things but I will choose not to today, because today’s my Happy Birthday.

I have always been excited about my birthday. It’s the timing of the thing; it’s like cozily encased between all our big festivals and then followed by the holidays in the West, making the whole 3 months feel like one big celebration. About the birthday itself, well, I haven’t asked for more than a cake to cut, and this year I had two – the perks of having your mom in the same city who also purchased a brand new oven last week. Other than that, I think I’d usually want to be left to do whatever I want without being disturbed – and now that sounds like my expectations from life in general.

At this point in the post, I have realized that I cannot and will not make this into a birthday post, reminiscing my birthdays of yore, now that there have been many. Instead, I will deviate into utterly disconnected topics after I mention that I have actually not taken the day off and am at work albeit without any work to do because that’s how your last week of your notice period works.

Back to the disjointed observations, I have currently been obsessing over Gerua, the brand new song from Dilwale, featuring Kajol and SRK – a couple that epitomized Bollywood romance for me for a long time. Apparently, it still does, which can be explained by the fact that I wrote a whole post about SRK-Kajol and the impact of their movies and music and chemistry on my Bollywood brain – only I did not post it because stats say some folks still read this blog. Anyway, I think the song is awesome, though the visuals, which look like they are not real at all, might be heavily impacting my judgment here. The Dude thinks the song in itself isn’t great but then I’d think an alien taken over him if he admitted to liking music so typical of the Karan Johar brand of movies. Bottom-line – I love it.

I have also quite liked the songs from Tamaasha, though I tend to just listen to two on loop – one being Mika’s Heer toh badi sad hai – a slap in my ‘What the hell is this Mika chap’ face, because the guy has some talent in his own niche genre. And the other being ‘Tum Saath ho’ which features the ‘cannot go wrong’ Arijit Singh and yesteryear favorite Alka Yagnik. Both absolutely different and absolutely brilliant numbers by ze Maestro A.R.Rahman, himself. Other than that, I think I am getting picky when it comes to music. Unfortunately no complete album has bowled me over after Lootera, and perhaps Highway. I am waiting for another magic by Amit Trivedi.

I am quite looking forward to watching Dilwale, because as I already mentioned, there’s something about the SRK-Kajol combination. While I haven’t liked SRK stand alone for a long time – can you blame me? Ra-one, Chennai Express, Happy New Year;  I think this one will work, and I pray it does. Actually, I pray it works for one particular person – that is Mr. Rajeev Masand. The point is that The Dude and I have a tacit agreement to follow Mr. Masand’s ratings when it comes to deciding on a movie. The only time he has let us down was when he rated My Name is Khan (the last SRK-Kajol movie) a 4, and it sucked so bad that there was no air for anyone else left to breathe (Haha that was a joke if you didn’t get it). So our base rating expected from him is a 2.5, though this can be challenged by the Dude. A 3 is good to go.

The last movie I went for without checking its review was Katti Batti, a movie that promised so much because damn it, Kangana Ranaut was in it. And then halfway through the movie I decided to focus my attention on ensuring the Dude did not file for a divorce as soon as we stepped out. I mean, there are movies that stay bad throughout, and then there’s Katti Batti. It starts bad, and it gets worse, and then it’s worse still and by the time it ends you think so this is what dying feels like. So no more movies before the reviews are out even if Quentin Tarantino has directed it. Oh wait – I have scenes from Sin City 2 flashing before my eyes now. Perhaps the Dude won’t leave me after all.

Now that I have successfully turned my birthday post into a mini Bollywood movie and music review, I will proceed to closing the deal before we head into another direction. That and I think I should in general leave for the day and spend the rest of it like Birthdays are meant to be.

Yes; I meant sleeping. What else do 33 year olds do anyway?

Mere paas ma hai

I am a Bollywood child. I took a long time to be initiated to the world of Hollywood. And even longer to World movies, which by the way I still don’t think I am into, because somehow, it is tough for me to watch a movie where the lip sync is off, and I have to solely depend on subtitles. ‘Amelie’ was an exception but there is not much being said in the movie anyway, so I managed.

But Bollywood, I swear by. I was introduced to Bollywood movies at a very early age, and my mother’s favourite memory is of me accompanying extended family to watch Dimple Kapadia starrer ‘Saagar’, where while the whole cinema hall went into a silent stupor as the beautiful actress bathed in the sea, and then stepped out marginally clothed, I broke the magic of the moment by squealing “Yeh Aunty yahaan kyun naha rahi hai, inke ghar me bathroom nahi hai kya”? Google says I was 3 months short of turning three then, so yes, like I said, very early.

The love continued to grow, and my personal first memory of watching a movie in the cinema hall is ‘Mr. India’. The parody song which I went to learn in sequence and by heart then, remains etched in my memory till today. “Arun Bhaiyya” was a hero in my head, and “Mogambo” scared me shitless. The very cool aspect of going invisible and bonking horrible bald villains on their heads with Hanumanji’s statue, priceless. And of course, those many tears I shed when little Tina gets killed because of that bomb in the teddy bear, right there in my head. Then there was ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. While my sister insisted on watching the “Prem-Suman” movie every time the TV was switched on, I was now capable of admiring the squeaky voiced  Bhagyashree’s , gauzy, frilly ‘frock’ from “Mere rang me”. That, and a lesson on how pigeons have a photographic memory, and they will hurt you back if you hurt them ever.

Post this, we moved cities, and my dad declared that we would no longer be visiting cinema halls, because they were not safe enough. So the only way we could watch new movies now was to rent a VCP, and two video cassettes for the day, and mostly, the print would be awful. But that didn’t deter us, and we would religiously watch whatever we had brought, scrunch our eyes to make out the outlines, try hard to listen to the dialogues, and eventually like the movie by default.That’s how I watched ‘Deewana’, feeling all smug that my namesake was perhaps the prettiest actress ever , ‘Bol Radha Bol’, where I couldn’t have enough of “Tu tu tara” and Juhi’s atrocious green and pink  gaon-waali clothes, ‘Aankhen’ (oh-so-funny, look there is a monkey!), and ‘Hum hain Rahi Pyar ke’ (Wow! A south Indian character for the heroine, and she speaks good hindi, AND, wait for it, she is fair (Gasp!) Wait till my classmates watch this!) out of the top of my mind.

This went on for 3 years, and when ‘Jurassic Park’ released (Hindi me), my dad conceded to take us to a movie hall again. References to the “Badi Chipkali” apart, this was an awesome experience after a long time. And marked the beginning of a new era, where on random Sunday mornings, we would pester Dad for a movie, and then rush to “Mottai Uncle’s” place to pick up the day’s copy of ‘Dainik Jagaran’ for the movie listings.Then, we would all pile onto the scooter (later a shared ‘tempo’) and go to catch the pick of the day. This was invariably my choice, since the little sister pretty much accepted what I said. So there was a long barrage of Akshay Kumar movies, as now I had realized that you could actually fancy actors, and didn’t always have to root for how pretty the actresses were. And fancy Akki, I did. So a few good movies, and some really rotten movies later (I picked ‘Jai Kishan’ over ‘1942 A love story’, beat that), I got over the “I will only watch Akshay Kumar movies” phase and accepted that there could be other movies out there.

Then came DDLJ. This was a turning point which created an even bigger space in my heart for Bollywood. DDLJ was the complete package. Hello, there was SWITZERLAND! Zurich! So exotic. So romantic. So Sigh. So real right, I mean obviously one had to fall in love with the guy who was a super flirt, and annoyed the hell out of the girl in general, but like changed for her! Right? Right. And wow, pretty clothes, and Eu-rail  It also helped that I was in n a co-ed school which was highly into crushes, and Archie’s cards with hearts on them, and “I really like you and want to make friendship with you” stuff at the time. So, all that, combined with the “Come, fall in love” declaration, well, added up to quite a lot of filmy daydreams, where you were Simran (obviously!), and there was a Raj waiting for you. Only the ones who eventually did approach you were super short, or bad at studies (yes, that was a criterion), and hence rejected.

Anyway, starting then, Bollywood was all about the larger than life glamour for me. Locales, flimsy chiffon sarees in the snow, huge havelis, large groups of backup dancers with synchronized steps and clothes.The movies also impacted our lives. Like one of friends grew her hair after maintaining a stylish boy cut all her life, because of the universal fact that guys choose girly girls over tomboys (credit: Kuch Kuch Hota hai). I, thankfully restricted myself to wondering if my current crush at school would see my 5 years later (I didn’t want to wait for too long also) and sing “Dekho yeh pagli, bilkul na badli”. Or if any of those boys around who were awesome at annoying me, actually had the ‘Raj’ potential, because you know, there is a thin line between love-hate and all that. Heh..

And so it has stayed. My obsession with typical Bollywood movies. This is not to say that Bollywood does not give us realistic movies, it does, and  more so these days. I watch these ‘intelligent’ movies as well, and enjoy them too. But with time, I have come to realize that I actually love Bollywood movies much more for the niche genre that they have built for themselves. The  whole drama, the exaggerated emotions, impromptu song and dance, the elaborate sets, the “British museum turned into a college”, and  the shiny costumes. Because when I start watching such a movie, I know beforehand that I am about to enter a world where 17 year olds wear designer brands, and their biggest worry is that their boyfriend of four years is not taking them seriously enough, because when I was 17, I had board exams. Or a world where an Armani suit donning, extremely good looking billionaire, falls in love with this hitch pitched Mithai shop owner girl, because he sees her dancing on the road when India wins a cricket match.

In short, the impracticality of it all. The unrealism. The whole “this is too exaggerated to be true” aspect. Pretty, but silly. Fun, but duh. Awesome, but ‘Seriously?!”While some might think that this is what makes Bollywood’s commercial offerings extremely dumb and inane, I think this is exactly what makes it hardcore, unadulterated entertainment.

Because if it is reality you’re looking for, you always have life to get back to at the end of the 3 hours.

You were on my mind, at least 9/10ths of yesterday

It’s 2:47 PM on a Wednesday afternoon, and I am listening to Juno’s soundtrack, and at the same time alternating between typing this post, and gazing out of the windows at the skies, which have turned a very lovely shade of grey.

So this post is going to be pretty much about Juno. There is something about this movie, that makes me watch it over and over again, every time it is aired on TV. That thing which makes me all warm and gooey on the inside, and tear up towards the end almost every single time. Ok, make that every single time by default.

There is a lot of love in the movie I feel. It’s there in so many frames. The story is simple, it is actually a tad worrisome, if you consider that it is about a 16 year old who gets pregnant. It’s scary, because though movie deals with it very lightly, in reality, this might be the toughest thing ever. So this girl, decides to give up the baby for adoption, because that’s the best thing for her and the child, and picks a couple from a Penny saver advertisement. The months that follow, till the baby’s birth, is what make the movie.

Back to the fact that this movie shows warmth and love at so many levels. My favorite scenes are pretty well laid out, I never miss out on those. There is friendship, between Juno and her best friend, who she is able to talk to and tell her worries knowing very well that she’ll always be around. Then there is father-daughter bit, when the father gets all angry and protective as soon as he comes to know of the latest development in his daughter’s life. Or the bit in the end when Juno has delivered the child and the father says something to the effect of‘ Someday you will be back here, and doing the same thing on your own terms’. It’s lovely.

Then I also love the relationship as depicted between Juno and her step-mom, who is definitely one of the cooler characters in the movie. When the ultrasound technician makes a derogatory comment about her step-daughter, she immediately jumps in to shut her up.

Of course, there is Paul Bleaker, the father of the baby. The guy appeals to you, and looks like the softer one in the relationship, considering Juno is quite the toughie. He never hides his appreciation for the girl, who rarely bothers to acknowledge, but does depend on him for a sense of security. When Juno tells him she loves somewhere before the movie ends, it’s cute, in a way teen love can be. Also, when the baby’s born, and the narrative says ‘ He just knew’ , and that he decided not to see the baby, because it was not theirs , and they lie on the bed while Juno is crying, man, tears, every time.

There is of course the adoptive mother and the baby bit. Jennifer Garner as the woman who was always a mother, but just needed a child was heartbreaking. When she is all worried every time she bumps into Juno. When she speaks to the baby in the womb and it kicks. When she asks in the end ‘How do I look?’ while holding her son for the first time, once again, warmth is all one can feel.

Also, Juno and Jennifer Garner, though not very often in the same frame, had their bit, when Juno leaves the note saying ‘If you’re in, I’m in’ and when she follows up her statement that the baby was never theirs, with ‘It was always hers’.

The music, with and without the movie, is awesome. How the most simple dialogues in the simplest of sequences make you smile is what the makes the movie even better. There is no in your face comedy, but there is a lot of humour. II doubt if there  was any scene where I laughed out loud, but every scene touched a chord.

I don’t know if the post made much sense to anyone who has seen the movie, let alone someone who hasn’t, but the last time I watched it, I made a mental note to write about how wonderful it made me feel. So here it is. And if you have not seen the movie, do give it a shot! Oh and the title is from one of my favorite tracks in the movie, so check that out too.

It’s the time to disco

Today being Thanksgiving, is a day off for The Dude. So, what is the next obvious step? Yes, I work from home. Like he says, I do not like to give him time off at all. Poor guy. Only, love is above all, so he is busy with his first love, and I am here with my Laptop. Yes, he is drooling at the markets, and hooked to the TV and the computer, and I am in the bedroom, which has been darkened with all the curtains, and thankfully for the second TV and Wifi, I have sufficient entertainment.

So I thought I would give a shot at this tag that I have seen in multiple blogs. The one where you answer the set of questions using random songs from the player set to shuffle? Yes, that one. Only, my Ipod is dead, so I have to use my Itunes, which has this whole library of 2000+ songs. So expect some really weird music, and answers.

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay” you say:
Seekho na, nainon ki bhaasha piya – Shubha Mudgal
And then they never ask me anything, because I have scared them off. Or they will think I have some sort of hearing disability.

2. How would you describe yourself ?
Aaj main Khush hoon – Khamoshi
Well, now I will prove that I have a reading disability too.

3. What do you like in a guy/girl ?
September Maadam – Alai Payuthe
I am trying to read this as, I like people born in September or something, because that way it will tie to The Dude, otherwise, it will further reiterate what we found out in Question 2.

4. How do you feel today ?
Desh Mere Desh mere, meri jaan hai tu – Legend of Bhagat Singh
Yes, I am in a particularly patriotic mood today. And no, it doesn’t matter that the shuffle did not play the second song here, though it would have made more sense.

5. What is your life’s purpose ?
Soni Soni Akhiyon wali – Mohabbatein
Eep! That just doesn’t sound right!  No, no, there is no pretty eyed girl who is my life’s purpose. That’s just creepy. Eep!

6. What’s your motto ?
Nakhre – Action Replayy
Hmm, I would not disagree. Really. As in that is an important part of my life, but calling it my motto is taking it a bit too far.

7. What do your friends think of you ?
Kaash Koi ladki mujhe pyaar karti – Hum hai Rahi pyaar ke
Again, I think, this means that my friends think of me only when they are thinking of that song, as in they need some sort of an Agony aunt, and I do play that role pretty well!

8. What do your parents think of you ?
Maine Payal hai Chankayi – Phalguni Pathak
Eh? I don’t have an explanation for this one.

9. What do you think of often ?
Tohe leke Saawariya , nikal chali re – Soch
The question is not why I would think this. The question is, why is this song in my library? Does anyone know it? It actually is catchy, I heard it now. But it had Raveena Tandon, and Sanjay Kapoor in it. So, isn’t that a good enough disqualifier?

10. What is 2 + 2 ?
Jee le – Luck
Wow, I am so glad I did not do this before writing CAT. Or for the matter, any exam.

11. What do you think of your best friend ?
Aye Khuda – Paathshaala
I don’t know. And I don’t like this. God is definitely not my best friend (he knows it), so I cannot think why I would think this of my best friend.

12. What is your life story ?
Badmaash Company – Title song
Muhahahaha! I don’t know if this is right, but it is cool!

13. What do you want to be when you grow up ?
Stop and Stare – One Republic
I am grown up enough I think. And I have no time to Stop and Stare. Hmph.

14. What do you think when you see the person you like ?
Tujhe Dekha toh ye jaana – DDLJ
Awww. Though I wouldn’t want this to be my thought for every person I just ‘like’. I am sure The Dude wouldn’t too.

15. What will you dance to at your wedding 4th anniversary?
Gore Gore – Hum tum
Yes, because in 6 months time I would have lost my entire music collection except for this one sad song from Hum tum. So we’ll dance to it. No other explanation.

16. What will they play at your funeral ?
Maiyya Yashoda – Jhoota hi sahi
Ooh, I like the beats of this song! So if people are playing this, and dancing around, I wouldn’t mind it. As long as it doesn’t look like an obvious celebration.

17. What is your hobby/interest ?
Pee loon – OUATIM
What is with my purpose, and interested being this way? Not done.

18. What is your biggest fear ?
Ooh Lala la – Sapnay
I am too scared to say it! Ooh la la!

19. What is your biggest secret ?
The Dance of envy – DTPH
*Rolling my eyes* Yeah, that is my biggest secret. That when I am dancing, Karishma Kapoor will come and dance and undermine me. Yes. Or is it that I am the envious kind? Thinking.

20. What do you want right now ?
Baat meri Suniye toh zara – Kuch na kaho
People have got to start paying more attention!

21. What do you think of your friends ?
Enundrum Punnagai – Alai Payuthe
I really don’t know the meaning, so I will refrain from commenting about it

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think ?
Are are yeh kya hua – DTPH
Apt. In a weird way.

23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person ?
Boss kaun hai – Jhankaar beats
Finally we have one answer that makes so much sense!

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing ?
Dil bole Shikdum – Dhoom
This too! I will actually sing this!

25. What will you post this as?
It’s the time to Disco – KHNH
I guess it is, tag over!

That’s done, and it is time to go and prepare a thanksgiving meal comprising of Onion Parathas. So Happy Thanksgiving people!