Under the lamppost!

The most riveting thoughts often comes when darkness surrounds and there is only a small source of light…


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A cup full of memories…

Sometimes leave yourself alone, away from your phone and get yourself a cup full of memories πŸ™‚
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ZERO – From Meerut to Mars, its a slog…

Shah Rukh Khan is 53 years old. He’s been in the industry for 26 years and must have garnered enough experience in filtering the scripts, right? But sadly, this isn’t the case. ZERO is yet another exhaustive affair of slightly under three hours, which, towards the end, compelled me to just do a walk-out. Being an SRK fan, it’s tough to say so…

ZERO is a movie which is ambitious in it’s silliness but cannot justify it.

There is a lot of craziness going on here. SRK is a 38 year old dwarf who charms a Stephan Hawkings inspired motor skills impaired Anushka, who in turn is half Afghani and half punjabi , and then dupes her for a Katrina Kaif inspired Katrina who has just got broken up with a certain Mr. Kapoor and has switched to alcoholism. While Shahrukh has an uncanny ability to make stars disappear from the sky, Zeeshan Ayub is half blind and roams everywhere with a torch to see things clearly…

Wait it doesn’t end there…

There’s a space flight to Mars, astronaut training for SRK, a crazy chimp, two screwed marriages, arguments in zero-gravity, a Sridevi cameo, and lots of cheesy one-liners but sadly none of it is actually engaging.

Exhausting, right? Well there are uncountable cameos in the movie as well. There’s Salman Khan, Remo, Ganesh Acharya, Deepika, Alia, Kareena, Kajol, Sridevi, Abhay Deol, Raghavan, you name it. The movie keeps throwing someone or the other, senselessly. They server no higher purpose but probably to please the single screen audiences…And unexpectedly the ALR-SRK pair missed out on the plot, it’s as thin as butter paper.

Shahrukh has put in everything he could in his acting. He’s danced amazingly, he’s improved his comic timing but certainly it’s not enough.

He has the flair and it is visible in some instances, especially in the climax. But the scenes are not convincing even when the movie tries really hard, I could do nothing but watch in dismay.

The most satisfying moment of the move is ‘Mera Naam Tu’ and its beautiful backdrop. Splashes of rain, an amalgamation of vivid colours and a jubliant SRK dancing with an inherent passion like a kid….

I feel we’ve lost the old Shahrukh.

The pilot Veer Pratap Singh from VeerZaara, the coach Kabir Khan from Chak De India, the scientist Mohan Bhargav from Swades have now been overshadowed by fickle and uninspiring characters. None of them leave a memorable impression. I had always loved him for these characters but I can find them nowhere except in the past…

With a heavy heart, I’ve arrived towards the end. There’s a very fine thing SRK said during ZERO’s promotion. “ZERO is nothing yet it is complete. It comes back to where it starts…” I wish the movie would have been equally deep.


Have you seen ZERO or planning to see…

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Sunil Chhetri did what the football federation never could: ‘Give Indian Football hope’

To begin with, let me congratulate Sunil Chhetri on winning the Intercontinental cup by beating Kenya with a comfortable margin. As Chhetri equals Messi as the joint second highest goal scorer in International football this year, it is a proud moment for all Indians. But today my dad questioned, how many of these goals did Chhetri score against the top teams? A very valid question to which I answered that an international goal is a goal, doesn’t matter against whom it comes!

I am a Manchester United supporter. A club over a hundred and fourty years old. A club which boasts of championship titles, European titles. A club with a history and probably the world’s largest fanbase. But, did all this happen overnight? No. This is only an example… Take Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, these clubs too were at sometime in history nowhere but today they are the giants of their respective leagues.

The point to note is that there’s always a beginning.

Indian Football team has neither got the history nor the quality of football that can make a difference. Our FIFA ranking is 97. We are 97th in Football out of a total 211 countries. Chhetri himself admits the team is nowhere close to the quality of football played by the European clubs. Below is the link to the video he shared!

But Chhetri has a very valid point. He wants us to join them in their journey, he wants us to come and see them play, abuse them, criticize them. He wants our attention and he is so right to demand it.

The European clubs are powerhouses, the media gives them ample of coverage.The matches telecast on online platforms with their paid subscription model. The team’s jerseys sell like hotcakes… But the only coverage our National Team gets is that India slipped a few positions down in the FIFA ranking. There are neither big sponsors associated with the team, nor do they have a cash rich Football board. All this because football, in our country, doesn’t have the visibility which it so badly needs… Can you tell the name of four players from our national Football Team? Oh wait, if you are thinking of Bhaichung Bhutia, then think twice. He retired a few years ago.

Sunil Chhetri so gracefully requested us to come to the stadium, criticise them on their face instead of venting out the frustation on Twitter. He mentions two very correct reaons. First, football being the best sport and second, that they play for the country. This shows the team’s maturity, they are ready to take up the pressure, they are ready to struggle but are we ready to go in the stands and watch a 90 minute game of football with passion..?

They want the attention because it is necessary for improvement. Higher the viewership, better are the revenues, and greater the revenue quicker will be the progress of Indian Football… But responsibilities rest on Chhetri’s shoulders. He has to remember that people will come with a certain expectation and a lot will be required to keep them all hooked. In all senses this video appeal will touch many and make us realise to give equal respect to all the sports.

Sachin and Kohli, also re-emphasized Chhetri’s message and it will certainly give the message more visibility, but why not take the initiative and be there in the stands to cheer the team? It’s time that influential people like celebrities and cricketers also go to the stands and show their support instead of only dropping a video on Twitter!!

I’m leaving below the link to our football team’s Wikipedia page, we do have an exciting history let’s try and catch up on it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_national_football_team


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Kaala : Rajni’s swagger meets a strong screenplay

Kaala‘ (black) and ‘safed‘ (white), the two colours which are antithesis to each other, are at conflict. Kaala (Superstar Rajni) and Safed or Nana Patekar as Hari dada, have old scores to settle as Hari wants to get hold of the land of Dharavi, a place of the proletariant, of the working class of Mumbai. But there’s one man standing against Hari’s dream of cleaning up Dharavi, Kaala, the leader choosen by the people, for the people, of the people.

The highlight of the movie is it’s inherent conflict. The oppression done on the poor by the people roaming in air conditioned cars. Such themes have been widely explored in Hindi cinema and Kaala is no different. What’s different is Kaala’s crisp screenplay. No scene resembles a drag, ample of time is given for characters to develop in the first half. Kaala is a family man, has three sons, a loving wife and an old flame.

Kaala’s swag and style is what sets him apart. A man with a big heart whose action speaks more than him. A man who is widely respected in Dharavi and people are willing to give up their lives for him (many indeed give up). Some of the most dramatic moments are so brilliantly handled by Rajni sir. Also it’s astonishing to see him do amazing fight scenes at his age. No wonder why he’s treated as a God down south.

Nana Patekar, too, is one fine actor in a negative role. You know he’s acted well when you begin hating him by the end of the movie. He’s evil drapped in white, who looks all clean from outside but carries enough filth within.

Only if the movie could have been 20 mins shorter, the impact would have been much more.

A special mention to the well thought and stunningly shot climax. As Hari claims that your black symbolises your poverty and filth, Kaala firmly replies ‘Kabhi meri chawl me aa kar dekh, gandagi bhi rangeen dikhayi degi’ and that’s what he makes him show in the climax. It’s the highlight of the movie.

Go watch Kaala for the amazing Superstar Rajni and some spine chilling confrontations between Nana Patekar and him… On a lighter note, Kaala indeed sets the tone for Rajni sir’s entry in politics. It strikes the right chord to connect him with the biggest votebank of the country.

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Avengers: Infinity War – The most ambitious Marvel movie ever!! (Spoiler Free)

Dread it… Run from it… Destiny still arrives. The mighty Thanos has arrived to strike a balance in the universe by wiping out half of the universe’s population. Standing in his way are, in Thor‘s words, Earth’s mightiest heroes The Avengers. And they are not five or seven but twenty seven in number (or even more).

Avengers: Infinity War is more about Thanos than the Avengers. It’s fair to say that he is at the center of all the events happening in the film.

Thanos, the mad Titan, ready to destroy the entire universe by the snap of his finger has his own reasons to do so. In one of the scenes when Dr. Strange asks him ‘What will you do when all of this is over?’, Thanos softly replies ‘I will sit, and watch the sun-set’… The Russo brothers did the right thing by staging the entire movie from his perspective. Time and again taking us in his past and making us realize why Thanos became so mad about bringing balance to the universe. He is the beginning and the end.

It’s significantly important to point out Gamora‘s character, how she handles the pain her step father, Thanos, brought upon her. Some emotional scenes are very well handled by her (Zoe Saldana), given that Thanos is actually a computer generated purple giant.

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Russo brothers entirely play on the strengths of the Avengers. Each one has a special trick up his sleeve and each one gets a try to contain Thanos.

Tony Stark, the man who still has nightmares about the incidents of New York which happened in the first Avengers movie, portrays the fear, helplessness and rage in the correct proportion as he fights in a new nano-tech Iron Man suit. With his quirky one-liners and almost constant ego tussle with Dr. Strange, some of the finest moments are between them. A special mention to Stark and Spiderman‘s chemistry, a mentor and his ward fighting side by side!!

But then, most of the other characters are underutilized at the cost of giving Thanos sufficient run-time. Black Panther, Steve Rogers barely get a few lines to speak. Black Widow has no dialogues at all. Vision and the Scarlet Witch have pivotal roles but they are not too convincing, trying really hard. The Guardians of the Galaxy are enthusiastic and have no inhibitions about bringing out their madness. Everyone else are just come and go.

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But there’s one guy who stands out. Thor, the son of Odin.

In one of the interviews, Joe Russo mentioned that Thor has one of the most exhilarating role to play. He, filled not only with his rusty sense of humour, but also with vengeance and rage, in one of the scenes exclaims valiantly in Thanos‘s face ‘I told you, you’d die for that!‘. There’s anger in Thor‘s voice and belief in his heart… Watch out for what he is up-to, Thor‘s story is the most amazing of all.

With a large number of battles happening in the cosmos, the movie revolves across planets, switching back and forth. It can be difficult to match up with the pace of the movie. There is so much to grab, every frame is enormous, every character is larger than life. There are innumerable suspenses. One after the other, particularly in the second half. Especially there was one moment in which I was literally out of my seat, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I exclaimed ‘No, he cannot die!!!’

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Watch out for that sudden change in music and you will cheer that the movie is going to take you to Wakanda, also for Bruce Banner‘s exquisite relationship with his inner Hulk and Peter Dinklage‘s cameo (Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones). Oh, this movie has so much to offer that the review can never be enough. Go, watch it in 3D and feel the chill. Will the mighty Thanos get all the infinity stones? Will your favourite Avenger remain alive? This movie will answer it all…

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A Quiet Place review: Who had thought silence can be so terrifying!

A Quiet Place is chilling and terrifying and I got pretty scared watching it, imagining what all could go wrong. Surprisingly my imagination was never enough and the movie has such instances which will raise your heartbeats and send shivers down your spine. Well, I watched it at night so I may be over-exaggerating but it was definitely scary.

A hidden element which is so efficiently used is silence. Because as you must be aware the aliens here are super receptive creatures; miles away a bottle might break and they can, not only trace easily where it happened but also reach the exact spot within minutes. That’s what makes the movie so thrilling, that there is so much to do but no noise to make, there is so much to say but no voice to say. Surprisingly it compels us, as viewers, to remain silent and take in the sound of the character’s breath, heartbeats or the free-flowing river. A fascinating read on what challenges their sound designers faced can be found here.

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The entire second half of the movie is a roller coaster ride, when shit starts going crazy we see Emily Blunt in a brilliant role, carrying a baby in her womb and defending herself from the aliens at point-blank range. Probably the most amazing thing about the screenplay is that no frame is useless. Every scene helps, every characters is polished, be it Millicent Simmonds as the deaf girl, John Krasinski as the fighting father or Emily Blunt as the mother trying to save her family.

Probably it’s all about building up the plot, showing how the Earth has been a lost planet and the dominance the extra-terrestrial species has, going to how someone has survived and the challenges they are facing. Then things go wrong and everything changes. But A Quiet Place is certainly more than that.

The film is also about a family going through an existential crisis. The kids wanting more from their father, the mother having her moments of regrets and how they eventually realize that each one will have to stand up and save the other!!

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There’s one thing common in all alien movies, the aliens are so very creepy (like in Independence Day as well as War of the Worlds). They make very irritating sounds and senselessly kill humans. Man, are we so hated as a species? Nevertheless, watch A Quiet Place to see a refreshing and scary tale of post apocalyptic survival of a family trying really hard!! This one is very different and a highly entertaining movie…

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Ready Player One : An adventure like no other!!

Its the year 2045, a dystopian world where humans no more enjoy the reality but instead live in a virtual reality, the Oasis. Without disclosing much I can tell you this place will stretch all the levels of your imagination. There is so much to comprehend, so much to gasp at; that, as a viewer, you would never want to come out of the Oasis. In fact, the real hero of the film is this place, the Oasis, created by an eccentric scientist, James Halliday (played by Mark Rylace), who devises a big puzzle of finding an ‘Easter Egg‘ (the total and ultimate control of the Oasis).

Spielberg begins the movie by showing the grim side of the planet of our future, but then invites us to the Oasis through the eyes of Parzival aka Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan). A gunter hunting the easter egg and trying to find the glory which he would achieve but not before risking everthing he has.

As the film dangles among reality and the virtual reality, Spielberg creates an enticing drama, never leaving any threads disconnected by making sure you remain at the edge of your seat till the end. A crazy reference to the movie The Shining (with the sequence running almost for 15 mins) or the disco bringing back the Bee Gee’s classic Staying Alive gives an amazing aura to the film.

Almost seventy percent of the movie is shot in the Oasis, or to say, completely animated. But it looks astonishingly real. Watch out for the amazing car race sequence and the fight in the climax, it crosses all the boundaries of thoughts. Also, the cool gadgets that Parsival buys, and uses at the most appropriate times. Besides all this, I appreciate the movie for the freshness of the entire adventure it creates. It reminds me of the Indiana Jones series or also Tintin. Ready Player One is at par with it.

Above all, watch Ready Player One to be part of an adventurous ride which will leave you wanting more and more of it. This one is for repeat viewing!!


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May be ‘Everything’ just wasn’t enough!

Harder … Sometimes giving everything in the world is not enough, sometimes being desperate doesn’t always assure your desperation will fetch your wishes. Call it luck, call it the ‘right time’, it comes when it wants to. Irrespective of how hard you push, the door won’t open until it wants to. But then have I pushed it as hard as I could? Now I’m asking myself the right question.

Blood, sweat, rage, pain all accompany me today. I had the urge, I had the time and I put in everything. You see, ‘everything’ is quite perspective. It cannot be quanitified. My ‘everything’ would not necessarily be equivalent to yours. That might have been the reason. My ‘everything’ was just not enough.

Image courtesy: Jordon Whitfield (unsplash.com)

Compromise, it’s a killer. It has killed many dreams, it has made many weak hearts cry. It’s contagious. The people around you, they indirectly influence your limits. But I don’t want to compromise. I’m ready to even pay the price. I want to cry today for what I didn’t get but come back stronger. The ‘compromise’ will always be there but why not give another shot. There’s only sweat and hours to spend but glory and satisfaction are the ultimate prize.

Three hundred and sixty five days from today, I will get what I desire. Each day will be a battle, each moment will be a test. I am up for it. I know I can do better, I can redefine my ‘everything’ and fight for my desires. I’ll achieve it, not by sheer desperation but because I would deserve it. If today I burn, let me. Tomorrow I’ll come back stronger.

I’m reminded of an Elton John song ‘The measure of a man‘ how subtly it captures the essence of human struggle and inadvertently motivates me.

Sharing a stanza below:

You’ve come full circle, now you’re home
Without the gold, without the chrome
And this is where you’ve always been
You had to lose so you could win
And rise above your troubles while you can.
Now you can love, now you can lose
Now you can choose
That’s the measure of a man’


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