90’s Pictorial Film Rewind: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

ImaanSheikh

For 90’s bolly kids like myself, life would never have been the same if it wasn’t for this particular movie. I know how to weave a friendship band. And I know you probably owned a “C_O_O_L” necklace like Rahul at some point in your life, too.

Today we’re rewinding Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, because rare things feel as good as a solid kick to the childhood.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a beautiful story about the triumph of conformity over everything else. It is a heart-touching film experience which strengthens your ancient beliefs — don’t be yourself, especially if you’re a woman. By the end of KKHH, one finds themselves saying “Jeet hamesha p̶y̶a̶a̶r̶  sari ki hoti hai” (L̶o̶v̶e̶  sari always wins).

As we have learned, all 90’s Bollywood super hits start with a scene where someone’s reminiscing about the good days. That’s what happens here. We see a very sad…

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What If She Didn’t Want To Be Called Nirbhaya?

Cherchez la Femme

 

The Delhi rape seemingly awoke something in the social media-friendly citizens, something that was hidden during the endless rapes committed before. They decided that they could not stand this anymore. Their conscience seemed to – unfortunately, understandably – speak up more for a girl who was so much like them, than for, say, a tribal girl into whose vagina and rectum policemen inserted stones.

This connect was, as I said, understandable. She was a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, hailing from a small family, and trying to support her family at the same time as fulfilling her ambitions. The empathy is natural for the middle-class: it may as well have been any of their stories. And maybe that’s why the shattering of the story hurt them so much – the brutality of rape finally (FINALLY!) brought home the fact that it could Really have been any one of them.

The media…

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Review: Iron Man 3

Rating- **1/2

To be honest, I was expecting a lot more from Iron Man 3. Superhero movies have, clearly, come out of the nerd territory in the recent past and well, geek IS the new sexy, but I wish every franchise wasn’t going over board this to the extent of nauseating poor movie watchers like me. That is what this movie did for me.

I want to start by saying that of all things bright and beautiful, Sir Ben Kingsley is the most of everything that is he supposed to be in this film. He’s funny, smart and even scary when he must be it. The action sequences are great, as expected. Robert Downey, Jr. is swoon-worthy and the movie isn’t slow. But for me, that’s all that is there in the film.

I don’t know if superheroes have been oversold, or if there just isn’t anything new left to portray, but the movie had nothing new. I found it drab at some points. In fact, I thought that the climax did nothing for me. It was unbelievable, in a bad way. The character of Tony Stark has grown, but he constantly falls into some major contradictions. Also, as much as I love the tongue-in-cheek humour that the Iron Man movies have offered in past, I thought that they were only bringing this one down. The climax is full of there sarcastic jokes, which are great, but they only make the impact of what I must feel in that moment diluted.

I don’t have much to say about the film because the film doesn’t have anything that can be spoken about in itself, leaving the other two prequels out.

I’ll just say catch it for the acting, the special effects and for what Iron Man has come to be. Just don’t expect much from the story and the soundtrack.

P.S- Hans Zimmer has ruined my movie watching experience.

Review: EK THI DAAYAN

Review: EK THI DAAYAN

Rating: **1/2

The supernatural genre in Bollywood finally has some freshness in the form of Ek Thi Daayan. Set in the everyday with fear in every dark nook and cranny of a beautiful, vintage flat, the movie convinces you that Daayans may actually exist. The mythological tales and folklore have been spun in modern day Mumbai with so much ease that it is a delight to watch to watch the action unfold! A lift takes people all the way to hell and quirky as it may be, I liked it (Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator may have a role to play in that). The first half is very strong and takes the movie places. For me, the child actors produced more drama and horror than any other actor has in a considerable amount of time. Emraan Hashmi has come a long way since his debut. It seems Shanghai marked the entry of the actor I saw on the celluloid today. His screen presence and his acting talents are both equally impressive. Kalki Koechlin is as effortless and brilliant as they come, even though she’s hardly in the movie. But I can’t complain because for me, this movie is all about Konkana Sen Sharma. Back on the screen after a break, she is everything an actress can be. She is beautifully haunting, never going over board and living up to all the hype she has created with her acting skills. What I loved the most about the film was there was no helpless woman who needed to be saved by a man with a six pack. This movie was all about the women, and Emraan Hashmi’s decision to still be aboard only affirms his ‘manly’ status for me. The cinematography is amazing and I couldn’t help but notice the great camera work. But, I have a number of issues with the film. Firstly, I found Huma Qureshi’s acting was substandard in comparison to the way she was in Gangs of Wasseypur. Also, I was laughing through the seemingly spooky climax. The whole film was so good that I liked it despite the last 20 minutes. They were a disaster. If the last bit of the film had been handled as well as the rest of it, I would probably have a favorite film by now.

All in all, the movie is good, just a little short of being very good. Catch it for all the spooks, all the acting, all the camera work, wonderful use of color and a lead character called ‘Bobo’ and a Daayan called Diana (seriously).

P.S- All the actors and actresses attempting to fake-play the guitar while singing a song should take lessons from Kalki Koechlin.

Seven things which are definitely wrong with the Big Bang Theory

I love The Big Bang Theory. Well, at least I used to. Now, I am pretty sick of it and hope they either stop the show or get more creative. The characters are getting a little too stagnant for my liking and I can’t help but see some major issues that need to be addressed when it comes to this show that I have religiously watched every episode of. I want to be very clear that this is an opinion based entry and would really appreciate if everyone who is nice enough to read through reads it with an open mind.

  1. SHELDON COOPER IS A BULLY– It took me a while to notice this, but it is as true as it can be. He’s mean to his roommate, he’s mean to his friends and he doesn’t even spare his girlfriend. It’s not really about ‘that is what he is like’, it’s more like ‘why the hell can’t anyone stand up against him and teach him a good lesson?’ because just singing ‘soft kitty’ does not make him a young, innocent child.
  2. IT FEEDS ON SOCIAL STEREOTYPES– Every character barring Penny has a surname that we are aware of. The full names and occupations of the characters are: Dr. Leonard Leakey Hofstader Ph.D., Experimental Physicist; Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper B.S. M.S. M.A. Ph.D. Sc.D., Theoretical physicist; Howard Joel Wolowitz M.Eng, Aerospace Engineer; Dr. Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali Ph.D., Astrophysics; Dr. Bernadette Mary Ann Rostenkowski Ph.D., Microbiology; Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler Ph.D., Neurobiology. I wonder if it is because she’s under-educated in comparison or because she has an obviously dyed head full of blonde hair. Penny works at a restaurant because that is what struggling actors, without a degree do. Right?
  3. IT IS RACIST– I cannot stress enough on this point. Rajesh Ramaayan Khoothrappali (really, now?) has a gynecologist of a father who lives in New Delhi with little children working as slaves for him and talks to his ugly kids on Skype with an even uglier tapestry in the background. To make things better his sister roams around in pant suits and dates a white man who can’t get enough Kamasutra. (Side note: If I ever do make a TV show, I’ll have an Indian date an American and get him to pick her from a bar every night of their relationship. Why? Because, well, stereotype is a brilliant substitute for research). Also, what is with that accent? First, no one speaks like that. Second, does it have to be so inconsistent? Now, let’s talk about Howard. A Jewish engineer who rides around on a Vespa because he is cheap. Need I say more?
  4. IT’S ANTI-FEMINIST– What was the deal in that particular episode when Bernadette starts earning more and decides to buy Howard presents like a Rolex? So when women go out with men richer than them and accept presents they are ‘gold diggers’ and when they do the opposite it’s weird. There’s no winning here, right? The women can either be pretty or smart. If you’re pretty, you get a physician from Cal-Tech and you can flaunt your body parts to help him advance in his career. If you’re smart, you’re short with a nasal voice or you’re dysfunctional in many ways and get a boyfriend who is asexual among many other things. But, if you’re smart AND pretty, you’re probably a North Korean spy.
  5. THE CHARACTERS IN GENERAL– It’s almost as if they’re trying to ruin almost every character in the show. Penny appears dumber and dumber. She goes to college but she can’t stop being a waitress for the rest of her life! Leonard barely stands living with Sheldon but won’t move. Sheldon’s character shows some sort of a growth only to go stop and then go back. Raj has become pathetic and whiny and the image of him in his ‘tighty-whities’ is still giving me nightmares. The girlfriend aspect would have been perfect character and story developing point but they didn’t stick to that either. Even Stewart is sillier character from the first time we saw him!
  6. THE PLOT IS ALMOST LOST– There are way too many overused and tired gags. Yes, I get Howard’s mom is a loud Jewish woman, it was funny in small doses but they killed that bit. Raj’s need for liquid courage to talk to girls would again, be funny if used sparingly. Penny’s story lines are the same every episode. And even if there is any progress for these characters, it is too slow for my patience and interest.
  7. SOMETIMES, IT IS JUST PLAIN ANNOYING- Can Raj just start speaking sense, please? From time to time I wish his syndrome of not being to talk to women went ahead and bracketed all of humanity. WHY does he have to be annoying? Also, just ask Sheldon to have ‘coitus’ with Amy! It wasn’t a bad start, but it’s very redundant now. Lastly, can Penny stop looking like she’s doing Leonard a favor by being with him? There was so much more to their relationship and characters which was never quite taken forward.

I wish I could keep liking the show as it started brilliantly and was so many things other shows weren’t (smart and not uselessly romantic). Without bothering to fit in, the show made a space for itself. But over the years, the level has gone down as the racist and anti-feminist content has gone up. I hope the makers of the show buy some old DVDs of their show and watch them before they write the next season. The concept still remains great, so do the actors, if only the writing wasn’t as substandard.

The problem is that this is a hugely popular show and it must continue to cater to the large audience it has. I am not getting into the social aspect of the projection and the undertones of discrimination; I am just talking about my disappointment as a viewer.

P.S- All the people who started watching The Big Bang Theory because of Star World in India, you’ll hate what I wrote for sure. Try to reconsider, think about how you and your culture are generalized and projected, download the rest of the show and then make a judgement.

We Are What We Watch. God, I Hope Not

Recently at an awkward family dinner I realized that I never quite watched a Hindi serial, barring one. The one that I did watch can not really be bracketed with the ones I am referring to here. So, I assume that my rejection was left unnoticed largely because most people around me never watched it either and consequently a conversation on the subject had never really taken place, unlike most of the American sitcoms. Hence I, in an attempt to ‘give it a shot’, wore my adventurous pajamas (yes, they are a thing) and tried to watch the first thing on any channel which I usually wouldn’t dare to watch. I have a way of functioning when it comes to watching a TV show. I watch one or two episodes in one go and then I wait. If the next day I want to watch the same show, I generally finish the season in less than a week. I sound creepy, and maybe I am little bit of it, but the truth is that sometimes I am a bit of sitcom junkie.

In any case, I stopped at some TV show that Tata Sky insisted was called Saraswatichandra (not even kidding) and hence I sat hoping the universe had a plan for me; I’ll just say, it didn’t  The show was awfully slow and revolved around some dude and his eternal love for some woman who cried a lot and ran from one place to another for no reason deemed fit for a sane human being. The dialogues were terrible and to my horror (and misfortune) repetitive. There was a loud make up vamp,( the mother of the protagonist, I’m assuming) who has a sound effect dedicated to her and she walked around looking inside the camera making evil plans and being a conniving, nasty piece of work. Yeah, that is ALL she did. To make things worse, she wasn’t particularly good at doing just that, either. In fact, no one really convinced me as an actor. I, sadly, supposed that it was that specific show that was so painful, so I gave Indian TV another shot and watched Bade Ache Lagte Hain (is it just me, or ew?). The same story went down here too. One episode of each and I was able to surf though most channels knowing exactly what was going on because they are all the same. Therefore, I gave up.

I was disappointed, to say the very least. Why are we so stuck up on the same story-line without any form of originality (or editing)? I don’t mean to sound like a victim of the US’ soft power, but I actually like their shows! A gay man plays a womanizer and he is so good at it, you can’t help but Google several times to make sure you have the right information. I’m not saying they don’t have trash there, they do (read:  Jersey Shore), but what I am asking is when is India going to have a show that appeals to people with its plot and/or acting? We’re missing on a wide variety of fiction genre on television and I doubt that can be denied.

Luckily, the films have fared better in this aspect in recent times. I loved how in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara Katrina Kaif plays a regular woman who kisses a man without the rain and a chiffon sari, exercising the free will even God decided to not meddle with. She hugs her friends, her boyfriend’s friends and flirts with people as a joke over drinks. I was relieved to see that I could see her and believe she was real. If nothing, that was a very well written female character that contemporary Hindi cinema seemed to accept.

I can’t stress enough on the (ill?) treatment of woman characters on TV, now that we’re at it. Why do only two extreme roles assigned to women exist on the small screen of either the home wrecker or the home-maker? What about careers, and getting an education and ambition? Why do all of them have to eventually become sari clad, feet touching ‘good wives’ to a bunch of not very good looking men?  Is that the signal we are giving out to the society? If yes, are we okay with it?

I don’t really have much to say other than a prayer for the minds of those addicted to what I will safely call the Idiot Box. A revolution of sorts, lesser episodes for more creative space, or just shutting the whole damn tedious/repetitive/dull drama down altogether- I BEG THE GODS FOR ANYTHING BUT THIS. I am sincerely waiting to get addicted to Indian Television!

P.S- Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai, I miss you.