Avengers Endgame is an emotional good-bye! (Spoilers Ahead)

In Infinity War, when Dr. Strange proclaims there was only one way out of fourteen million possibilities and gives away the time stone willingly, that is what sets the tone for that one possible way to defeat Thanos forever. But be like Strange, he didn’t spoil it for anyone.

**Spoilers ahead**

Endgame is a tribute to all the past 21 Marvel movies, it is a culmination of the amount of effort and thinking that has gone behind creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Every frame is larger than life, every emotion is deep, every character is real. Not even for a moment does the three hour long movie feels a drag. It just floats through, showing us what choice each Avenger made after Thanos’ snap. Some chose to settle, some felt unsettled, some chose to avenge!!

The real hero of the film was the time-travel part!!

When the Avengers go back to New York, in 2014, Hulk get embarrassed by seeing a wild-version of himself, Captain America fights against his own self, then dupes himself while Iron Man gives himself a cardiac arrest and then calls for help. Also when they go to year 1970, we see Stanley,making his last ever screen presence and the crowd erupts with joy; when Tony meets his father and talks about himself, the crowd understands the gravity of the moment. Scenes like these make Avengers: Endgame more than a film, it becomes a feeling.

Marvel movies have still not lost their dry, tongue in cheek humour. This time it is at another level. Never knew Thor could ever grow a beer belly and still wield his hammer or Banner could transform into a calmer Hulk clicking selfies with fans…

There are so many re-unions. Rocket meeting Groot, Iron Man uniting with Spiderman, Natasha meeting Clint… But then, Captain America steals the show!!


Captain America up against Thanos!

There is one amazing moment, probably my favourite 2 mins of the movie, when Captain America suddenly picks up Thor’s Mjรถlnir and single-handedly takes on Thanos. For me it will be the most iconic scene in the MCU, yet. No words can describe the feeling when we see each and every Avenger, the ones that were lost and the ones alive, coming out to fight Thanos‘ army and as Cap then exclaims loudly ‘Avengers Assemble!‘. He is the character which has shaped perfectly throughout the movies and now has even aged admirably… I have no regrets anymore of the fact that Chris Evans had such a small role in Infinity War. He makes up big time in Endgame.

But the best is for the last. ‘I am Iron Man’…

It was in Infinity War that Tony Stark says out to ThanosMy only curse is you‘. Thanos was the one who gave him sleepless nights, who left him stranded on Titan, who took away Peter Parker and all the other Avengers. Indeed in Endgame, the mighty Thanos, who couldn’t be controlled by Captain Marvel, loses to Earth’s very own hotshot, the Iron Man but at a very heavy cost. We get to see Tony die on-screen. I was shocked, surprised but also felt proud. It all started in 2008 with Nick Fury telling him about the Avengers initiate, little had we expected that this would be how if would end.

A special mention to the fight between Clint Barton and Natasha about who is to die for the soul stone. I don’t know if I will ever get to see what happened at Budapest, the place both of them keep mentioning whenever they meet…

And at the end, thank you Russo brothers for giving us a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the end of an epic saga!!

Have you had the Avengers Endgame experience? Do let me know your thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

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Goa was serene (A pint-sized parable)

There was a moment when I stood at a certain beach and could see nothing ahead of me, nothing besides my own self. Only the sparkling water coming and greeting my feet, only the scorching summer sun and raging wind embracing me. A greater sense of calm prevailed, it made me relieve of all my tensions, all my pains, all my sorrows. I felt empty of sadness, yet full with peace.

The place was Arambol, a beach which rewarded me with the solitude that I had seldom found. In moments like these I drifted within myself, contemplating about all that had happened in the recent past, introspecting about what I want to have in the years to follow. It was like an experience rewarded nowhere, only beaches offer me the comfort of looking within myself.

IMG_20190420_141107-01
Arambol beach

As I was visiting a beach after over 2 years (yes, you can feel surprised!), I made sure that I did one really important thing. I decided to take in the essence of where I was, not just the vast expense of water in front, but the rumbling of the waves, the sensation of cool water greeting my feet and warm sunshine everywhere around. I decided to preserve it in my memory so that I can recall it whenever I feel low, so that it becomes the place to look forward to when I would not enjoy being where I would be.

Certainly I never wanted to come back from there.

I wanted to settle near the beach, spend my evenings watching the sunset and at night hear the rumbling until I go to sleep. Life would be so simple, devoid of any hardships. The waves would keep on coming and going back, just like my breath completely involuntary.

But as it turns out I stood there and wondered how do waves get created and why they are unending…

So I researched and found that there are multiple factors causing the ceaseless waves. From the gravitation pull of the sun and the moon, to the winds blowing on the surface of the oceans, all play their part in creating the waves. To know more check it out here.

As much peace I experienced, I felt vulnerable as well. I knew that there can come a moment when a giant wave arises and sweeps me with her unknowingly, making me absolutely unknown and unheard of in the vast blue ocean… But then until that time comes I wanted to stand there, close my eyes and… just breathe…


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Have you had an introspection of yourself while standing at a beach?

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Mard ko dard nahi hota is a tribute to being clichรฉ and yet unexpectedly amusing!!

There’s a childlike innocence in Surya played by Abhimanyu Dassani. When he says ‘Paap ko jala kar rakh kar dunga’, it certain is gibberish but you will believe that he can. The man who feels no pain indeed had a very tragic past. Having lost his mother to a chain-snatcher and suffering from an incurable syndrome called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain, Surya wants to become a karate master and kill every mugger he finds.

Surya’s monologue to himself throught the movie sets the tone of the film.

It is his story mixed with his filmy fantasies which are very amusing at times. The pace is very quick in the first half but slightly slows down in the second.

Vasan Bala (the director) creates a world filled with innumerable movie references right from the action sequence set on ‘Nakhrewali‘ song to the 90s style flashbacks which Surya often drifts into. It goes from one action set-piece to another, inspired by kung-fu style fights. There’s a cliche drunk karate master and a cliche bollywood psychotic villian who are unbelievably played by the same person, Gulshan Devaiya.

Jimmy the villian and Mani the karate man perfectly contrast each other and Gulshan Devaiya gives a stellar performance as both!

Jimmy’s accent is typical Mumbaikar and some of his cheezy one-liners are absolutely hilarious. When his goons start to scream as he orders them to go ahead and kill Surya, he half-heartedly says ‘Aae itna shor maat karo, residential area hai yeh’. He is staunchly poised in his tight blazer and breathes an uncanny arrogance.

While Mani the fighter who once defeated over 100 fighters simultaneously, inspires Surya to take up martial arts. He’s filled with guilt and perhaps always gives up to Jimmy’s needs and demands. It is Surya who makes him realize that it’s enough and he needs to fight back.

Radhika Madan as Supri is refreshing and is equally flawed just like everyone else.

She is Surya’s partner in crime, ready to fight for the world but gives up when asked to fight for herself… That’s the beauty of the movie, Vasan Bala’s characters wear their flaws on their sleeves. Their mishaps will make you laugh and their wrong decisions will make the adventure more fun.

Special mention to Mahesh Manjrekar as Surya’s grandfather. He has the best dialogues in the movie. He stands at every step with Surya and gives him every life lesson in the form of a story. There’s humour hidden in small details and the movie never tries to explain the gags. Watch Mard ko dard nai hota hai for a different story-telling experience, quirky one-liners, amazing roundhouse kicks by Surya and that well-thought of Enter the dragon type finale tournament!


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Gully Boy : It’s so close to being a masterpiece!

There is a certain charm about Ranveer Singh, the way he absorbs a character, blends in the surrounding, gets the accent right and just never lets his rhythm go… Watching him as Murad aka Gully Boy makes us forget he is Ranveer Singh. Trust me, these days whatever he is touching is indeed turning to gold.

But Gully Boy is more than Murad’s rise from the slums to the big stage. It has many more layers in it.

To begin with, the movie has the perfect backdrop, the slums of Dharavi, the youth over there and their problems which are so varied. Zoya Akhtar has made sure the differences between the rich and the poor is shown not just by the appearance but also by their ideologies which are so deeply rooted in every action they take.

Some moments are absolute gem. One of the scenes where Murad is not allowed to enter a pub just based on the driver’s clothes he’s wearing and then he vents out his anger through his rap in the car; it conveys all the fire that is burning within him, about to be unleashed. Another one when he’s driving one of his clients but just cannot ask her why she is crying, what is that she is upset about. The ‘Doorie‘ poem sits so perfectly in that moment. The movie is filled with so many magical moments that it leaves you with goosebumps…

A musical movie needs some soulful tracks and Gully Boy will probably be grabbing all the music awards this year!!

Azaadi’, ‘Apna Time Aayega’, ‘Doorie’, ‘Train Song’ are so meaningful and touch so deeply. The rap battles are a bit weird but very entertaining. Seeing Murad’s initial struggle in such battles is so natural that you want him to do better and he indeed does!

MC Sher played by Siddhant Chaturvedi is a very refreshing character. His confidence is infectious but we can see the overall focus of the movie never slips from Murad’s story. The story does try to raise a lot of questions and also tries to find answers to it. The situations which affects Murad, how it changes him, his relationships and the people around him, is a treat to watch and is in fact the USP of the film.

Alia Bhatt is on ๐Ÿ”ฅ

She’s the surprise package, a fire ready to spread. Watch out for the amazing chemistry between Ranveer and Alia. Though the love triangle and the ending is quite predictable, the movie still holds strong till the end.

Gully Boy is what happens when a good screenplay matches an equally powerful set of characters!!

A special mention to Vijay Verma, who plays the role of ‘Moeen‘, one of Murad’s sidekick. Every scene he is in, the focus completely shifts onto him, that’s the screen-presence he has. He’s funny and he is serious in the correct proportions. Watch out for one scene towards the end between Moeen and Murad, it will certainly leave you teary eyed.

To end it leaving below an amazing poem which comes towards the second half of the movie signifying that only a few choose to travel the road less taken, the rest only regret…

The ‘Doorie’ poem

This is a movie you shouldn’t miss! And if you’ve seen it already, do let me know in the comment section your opinions!

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When you are cruising at 31000 Feet in the air (A pint-sized parable)

I generally fly at night. Unknown, unaware about what comes in the way. Everything appears dark, pitch black and before the black could bore me, I reach my home, given that Pune to Ahmedabad is just 1 and a half hours of journey. But recently I traveled in the afternoon through the city of clouds at an altitude of 31000 feet…

Through the city of clouds

I could imagine the silence and the absolute nothingness present outside. It seemed like colonies of clouds living, occupied in themselves, stretching as far as my eyes could go. The horizon seemed like a distant amalgamation of blue and white. And only an aircraft cruising through the space, through the plenary silence.

There I could sense an absolute peace, the peace that we all run after but can never outrun…

But then my mind asked me:

Are you really sure why the clouds float so freely in the air?

I found a very surprising answer to it, here. Clouds are actually made up of really tiny droplets of water, they are so tiny that there’s no effect of gravity on it… Strange yet surprising. There’s an amazing element of randomness in each one, they are never of the same shape. They grow obtusely and appear as lost and free in space as are the thoughts in our mind.

One of the clouds bursting like a bubble

Life, even in its most meaningful sense can never feel as calm and as peaceful as this city of clouds felt. But everything comes to an end, so did my journey… Speckles of land began showing as the realms of the fictional city merged into the real city when the plane dropped down and finally landed…


Have you ever felt this way or will you be seeing it this way when you next board a flight?? ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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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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