February 27, 2013

Vishwaroopam - thoughts and things

I don't watch many movies but I've seen my share of good, bad and horrid (what, you thought I was going to say ugly?!). I don't read reviews and I haven't written many either save for this and this. After all the hype surrounding Vishwaroopam, I decided that I must not only watch it but also write about it at some point. So here goes....a couple of weeks after the experience.

My overall take - the movie was awesome! Well-made and good time-pass especially if you like dishum dishum type of films. The plot, as predictable as it was, was well executed. The action scenes and stunts were really Hollywood-like and not Vijaykanth-movie-like (where bombs go off all around him and he comes out unscathed, or when he stays in the air for minutes kicking those around him while all the time defying the laws of gravity). The first half hour had me in splits but I think you have to be a Tam Brahm to appreciate a lot of it :). The soundtrack was really good - the only full-length song in the film was very well done. Kamal's mastery of music and dance and the interest he takes in researching every single thing to death shows clearly (as always).

Now to the controversial aspects of the film...I don't know anything about Muslim customs and practices. So I did not understand the significance of the shaving of body hair, doing the namaz or any other custom before a suicide mission. If I were a staunch Muslim, then maybe I would have taken offense to it simply because of the casualness with which it is portrayed. There is an implication that it is a norm of sorts, which would make not-very-informed audiences assume certain things about Islam and Muslims itself on a larger scale that is totally unfair. So it's understandable that there was an public outcry but I'm not sure if I agree with the extremeness of it...for two reasons.

One - Movies are a form of art and expression. They should be seen objectively and within the context of the whole. Would this movie have had such an impact on people if Al-Qaeda hadn't been mentioned? If Osama hadn't been shown? If Afghanistan wasn't the battleground? If so much attention to detail hadn't been paid? I'm not so sure. There have been similar-themed movies in the recent past and none took the kind of beating that this one did.

Two - Religion tends to evoke certain responses in individuals. A lot of this is our own beliefs, our own staunchness, if you will, in our views...the feeling that mine isn't that bad and yours is the same or possibly worse if you look at it relative to one another. Those for whom religion (any religion) isn't so important, can maybe view all this very objectively...simply look at it for what it is. A movie...some entertainment...and nothing more. So a large part of this is us...and our inner-most feelings on sensitive subjects coming out as a reaction. Add some politics to this and one person's reaction becomes a nation's outcry and the censor board's pet project.

My conclusion - objectivity is the need of the hour...and not just for movies or movie reviews. :)

February 24, 2013

Qs but not As

What do you do when you realize some things...about yourself, about other people, about your reactions to things, about certain triggers? Like you know that something's going to happen and you know how you're going to react to it even before the event has fully played out. You know it...yet you can't stop it....or you can't change the way you react. Why is that? Why is it so hard to just let some things just be? Why is it so hard to give up that feeling of being in control? Why is it that we end up having expectations of people as we get to know them better? Why is it that they don't react in the way that we want them to? Why does it feel like justification and validity to statements are directly related?

Why aren't there clear answers to so many things? 

February 15, 2013

The thoughtful boy

He always amazed her with his answers...always! And it wasn't like he had to have the last word or anything, it was just the way he talked. There was a bit of truth, a bit of cheek, a bit of impishness and a whole lot of that lovableness all the time. OK, maybe she was extra biased...but still. And that smile...that wide, ear-to-ear toothy grin that made it impossible for her to stay grumpy at him for more than a few minutes!

So the other day, he was having dinner. It was the usual, so there was no fuss or drama. He ate what he liked and that's it. But he was being a tad messy...dropping food on the table mat and the floor. So she said to him, "Please don't keep dropping your dinner on the floor. Ants will start crawling all over the place". He just looked at her and simply said "But amma, if I don't give the ants something to eat, they will be hungry. I don't want them to be hungry. Is that OK? Say OK"!

Innocence, honesty....the beauty of it. Oh, and the art of charming people! Another lesson learned, yet again, from an almost-five year old!

February 11, 2013

Revisits and regrets

We all do it...revisiting events, that is. We revisit memories, revisit incidents...revisit the past in any which way we can. Sometimes, the revisits are intended...mostly when the memories are good. But many a time, unintended revisits happen due to random triggers. Dates, people, places, foods, smells, occasions, outfits, conversations...just about anything!

An intentional revisit is just great, isn't it? It can be both happy or sad but the reason you revisit it is because that particular event or memory is special in some way. But what do you do when you revisit something unintentionally, whether happy or sad? Do you recall the moments that got you there? Or do you push them out of your mind hoping that you will forget them if you try hard enough? Surely, all those moments couldn't have been that bad! You wouldn't have got there otherwise, would you?

"Life is a journey, not a destination". I'm not sure who said that but I believe that. If you didn't experience the things that you did, then you wouldn't be the person that you are. Someone else said "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened".

It's not easy...most definitely not. But through the smiles and the tears, you learn to remember...and to not regret.

February 2, 2013

It takes all sorts

A lady constantly checking her watch,
A young girl trying to get phone signal,
A child restless to ride her tricycle,
Another tossing about a paper plane much to everyone's annoyance,
A couple exchanging coy looks,
An old man with a grocery bag,
A maid waiting to spit out her paan,
A puppy that needs to pee
And a stalled elevator.


Just pause...it's OK! Look around, learn something new, talk to strangers, make friends, help someone...and be patient. It takes all sorts to make up this world. You'll never find out if you don't take the time, take a break, take a few seconds off ... even if it's forced!