Monthly Archives: May 2015

Daily Quote-14

“It doesn’t matter what others think of you.

What matters is only what you think of yourself”

– Unknown

The above is easier said than done. We’ve been brought up in a world and in a way that consciously or unconsciously we end caring about how we appear to someone else. To someone you love or someone you want to impress, to someone you want to prove your true worth to, so on and so forth.

How it really works is, if every act of yours is done in a way to make yourself happy, it’ll be done perfectly. Perfect, not to someone else maybe, but to your own self. And every time you do it again, it will be to surpass your own best created record.

And That’s how you become your own hero. And unless that happens, you cannot be an idol for someone else.

Follow your own way and let others follow you as and when they want to, if at all they want!

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Gratitude

Entry for the “Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers” wpid-photo-20150524135809869 Sitting at one of farthest ends of the church, my gaze wandered – across the basilica, across people.

When I listened to feeble whispers, I wondered what each of them was thinking,

I saw a poor man asking for mercy;  A mother shedding a tear for her daughter’s demise.

I saw a rich man making a generous donation; A helpless beggar, slouched in a corner with moist eyes.

I saw a father teaching verses from the bible to his son.

A woman speaking to the priest, probably making a confession.

And I thought to myself, what is it am I here for? Is it to pray or to seek?

I look to my left, straight into the eye of my beloved. I hold his hand tightly, bring it to my lips and kiss it tenderly. And then I say to God- I thank you for letting me come here with nothing more to ask for!

Movie Review- Casablanca

“Here’s looking at you kid.”. This line is gonna stay with me for a long time. And every time I hear it, I won’t skip imagining Bogart and Ingrid.

casablanca

Casablanca is a classic romantic drama from the 1940s by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid and other supporting cast.

This is my first Curtiz/Bogart/Ingrid movie. The old classics have something different. Even though the scenes, plot and dialogues are cliché, you always fall in love with the characters. And more importantly, you somehow feel accomplished for having watched the movie.

The screen presence of Bogart and Ingrid was magnificent, be it stand alone or together. The tough rugged looks of Bogart complemented by the heart melting smile and glowing eyes of Ingrid Bergman.

Rick Blaine( Bogart) owns a nightclub and a gambling place to which all sorts of people come. Agents, expats, refugees looking to go to Lisbon, police, high end customers. Rick is accompanied by the pianist Sam who has been with him since the days of Paris. Rick is an American expat and has been fleeing the Gestapo for various ambiguous reasons- left open for the judgement of viewers.

Victor Lazslo(Paul Henreid)  is a Czech Resistance leader who is on the run, trying to reach the neutral US along with his wife and former lover of Rick, Ilsa Lund ( Ingrid bergman).

The best scenes of the movie for me were those shared by Richard and Ilsa.  The one scene where Ilsa looks at Sam and says. “Play it Sam, for old times’ sake, Play As time goes by” and then Sam plays the Oh so wonderful tune- is one scene stays stays in my mind even now.

As time goes by is such a beautiful tune- the music was used throughout the movie in background and you just never get tired of it. I kept playing it in my head even after the movie got over!

Bogart in Casablanca, famous for his ” Of all the Gin Joints in all of towns in all of world, she had to walk into mine!” was phenomenal. It makes an impact as soon as he says it. Ilsa is shown to be the reason for Rick’s indifference and bitterness shown in the initial scenes of the movie. And running into the reason was overwhelming and disturbing at the same time for him.  The point were Ilsa returns to the club at night and Rick frowns ” Does your Story have a WOW ending?”, you end up laughing and quickly realising the feelings of a hurt man. It is contradicting but that’s the beauty of it. A similar contrast is noticed when Rick says ” Oh It’s Richard, so we’re back in Paris” or  ” I won’t bring up Paris; It’s poor salesmanship”  to Ilsa when she tries to convince him to help her and Victor get to Lisbon.

His personal struggle to retain Ilsa this time, Ilsa’s love for Victor and affection for Rick; her pretension of love towards Rick even now is subtle yet very clear. It isn’t just the expressions that give this away. The ” I’m not fighting for anything any more, except myself. I’m the only cause I’m interested in.” or ”  I don’t know what’s right any longer. You have to think for both of us, for all of us.” have the undertone written all over it.

The point where Ilsa confronts saying Rick, you’re selfish, a coward and immediately checks her emotion , holding back her tears saying  So sorry Rick, you’re our only hope; was filmed so beautifully. Your heart reaches out to the brilliant actor instantaneously.

The climax was as expected- won’t disclose it here any ways! But the one line “Problems of three people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world” followed by the legendary Here’s looking at you Kid was the best way to end it.

Apologies for giving out whole dialogues in this review, but these are just a few which according to me were some of the best written lines in the movie. Couldn’t help but share it!!

Daily Quote-13

“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger”.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

If you look back at all the bad times you’ve gone through, you’ll notice that you’ve had a 100% success rate of overcoming them. So every time you face a trouble, tell yourself, This too shall pass. Every step teaches you a lesson, brings about a change in you, makes you a better and stronger person.

So say Cheers to all the hardships and move ahead with your head high!

Cheers!!

Friedrich Nietzsche is a german philosopher, scholar and a poet of the 19th century, popularly known for his book Zarathustra.

Daily Quote-12

“We accept the love we think we deserve”

-Stephen Chobsky

perls

This is one of my favourite lines. I haven’t read the book but have seen Perks of being a wallflower and I relate to Charlie at multiple levels. And the line makes so much sense. I wonder how Stephen even came up with it.

I have no other explanation to add, no story to tell.  I’m still basking in the beauty of this one line <Sigh!>.

Book Review- A Thousand Splendid Suns

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her -walls.

This is my first Khaled Hosseini book. I have heard that the kite runner was probably his best book. However, since I had already seen the movie, I preferred to pick this book up instead.

a-thousand-splendid-suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book that revolves around two women, separated by a generation, in an Afghan society- Mariam and Laila. It is a journey of their individual lives that intersects at some point and how two strangers become acquaintances then rivals and finally develop a mother-daughter relation.

Below are some of the beautifully lines from the book. If the writing style impresses you, you should definitely read this one.

  1. When the bus jerked forward, she did not turn to see him trotting alongside it. And when the bus pulled away, she did not look back to see him receding, to see him disappear in the cloud of exhaust and dust.
  1. What Mariam felt now, as the loaded clotheslines bounced heavily before her, was sorrow for Rasheed. He too had had a hard life, a life marked by loss and sad turns of fate. Her thoughts returned to his boy Yunus, who had once built snowmen in this yard, whose feet had pounded these same stairs. The lake had snatched him from Rasheed, swallowed him up, just as a whale had swallowed the boy’s namesake prophet in the Koran. It pained Mariam-it pained her considerably-to picture Rasheed panic-stricken and helpless, pacing the banks of the lake and pleading with it to spit his son back onto dry land. And she felt for the first time a kinship with her husband. She told herself that they would make good companions after all.
  1. “You make the night to pass into the day and You make the day to pass into the night,and You bring forth the living from the dead and You bring forth the dead from the living, and You give sustenance to whom You please without measure.” She patted the dirt with the back of the shovel.She squatted by the mound, closed her eyes.

        Give sustenance, Allah.

       Give sustenance to me.

  1. Now Mariam dreaded the sound of him coming home in the evening. The key rattling, the creak of the door- these were sounds that set her heart racing. From her bed, she listened to the click-clack of his heels, to the muffled shuffling of his feet after he’d shed his shoes. With her ears, she took inventory of his doings: chair legs dragged across the floor, the plaintive squeak of the cane seat when he sat, the clinking of spoon against plate, the flutter of newspaper pages flipped, the slurping of water. And as her heart pounded, her mind wondered what excuse he would use that night to pounce on her. There was always something, some minor thing that would infuriate him, because no matter what she did to please him, no matter how thoroughly she submitted to his wants and demands, it wasn’t enough. She could not give him his son back. In this most essential way, she had failed him-seven times she had failed him-and now she was nothing but a burden to him. She could see it in the way he looked at her,when he looked at her. She was a burden to him.
  1. How many times had she, Hasina, and Giti said those same three words to each other, Laila wondered, said it without hesitation, after only two or three days of not seeing each other? /missed you, Hasina Oh, I missed you too. In Tariq’s grimace, Laila learned that boys differed from girls in this regard. They didn’t make a show of friendship. They felt no urge, no need, for this sort of talk. Laila imagined it had been this way for her brothers too. Boys, Laila came to see, treated friendship the way they treated the sun: its existence undisputed; its radiance best enjoyed, not beheld directly
  1. Mammy was soon asleep, leaving Laila with dueling emotions: reassured that Mammy meant to live on, stung thatshe was not the reason.She would never leave her mark on Mammy’s heart the way her brothers had, because Mammy’s heart was like a pallid beach where Laila’s footprints would forever wash away beneath the waves of sorrow that swelled and crashed, swelled and crashed.
  1. Laila remembered Mammy telling Babi once that she had married a man who had no convictions. Mammy didn’t understand. She didn’t understand that if she looked into a mirror, she would find the one unfailing conviction of his life looking right back at her.
  1. With the passing of time, she would slowly tire of this exercise. She would find it increasingly exhausting to conjure up, to dust off, to resuscitate once again what was long dead. There would come a day, in fact, years later, when Laila would no longer bewail his loss. Or not as relentlessly; not nearly. There would come a day when the details of his face would begin to slip from memory’s grip, when overhearing a mother on the street call after her child by Tariq’s name would no longer cut her adrift. She would not miss him as she did now, when the ache of his absence was her unremitting companion like the phantom pain of an amputee.
  1. Laila examined Mariam’s drooping cheeks, the eyelids that sagged in tired folds, the deep lines that framed her mouth-she saw these things as though she too were looking at someone for the first time. And, for the first time, it was not an adversary’s face Laila saw but a face of grievances unspoken, burdens gone unprotested, a destiny submitted to and endured. If she stayed, would this be her own face, Laila wondered, twenty years from now?
  1. Almost ten years had passed since they had last seen each other. Laila’s mind flashed to all the times they’d met in the alley, kissing in secret. She wondered how she must seem to him now. Did he still find her pretty? Or did she seem withered to him, reduced, pitiable, like a fearful, shuffling old woman? Almost ten years. But, for a moment, standing there with Tariq in the sunlight, it was as though those years had never happened. Her parents’ deaths, her marriage to Rasheed, the killings, the rockets, the Taliban, the beatings, the hunger, even her children, all of it seemed like a dream, a bizarre detour, a mere interlude between that last afternoon together and this moment.
  1. Mariam lost count of how many times the belt cracked, how many pleading words she cried out to Rasheed, how many times she circled around the incoherent tangle of teeth and fists and belt, before she saw fingers clawing at Rasheed’s face, chipped nails digging into his jowls and pulling at his hair and scratching his forehead. How long before she realized, with both shock and relish, that the fingers were hers.
  1. “I have a picture of my father,” he said. “I don’t remember him. He was a bicycle repairman once, I know that much. But I don’t remember how he moved, you know, how he laughed or the sound of his voice.” He looked away, then back at Mariam. “My mother used to say that he was the bravest man she knew. Like a lion, she’d say. But she told me he was crying like a child the morning the communists took him. I’m telling you so you know that it’s normal to be scared. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, mother.” For the first time that day, Mariam cried a little.
  1. Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, theharami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings.
  1. That night, they lay in bed as husband and wife, as the children snored below them on sleeping cots. Laila remembered the ease with which they would crowd the air between them with words, she and Tariq, when they were younger, the haywire, brisk flow of their speech, always interrupting each other, tugging each other’s collar to emphasize a point, the quickness to laugh, the eagerness to delight. So much had happened since those childhood days, so much that needed to be said. But that first night the enormity of it all stole the words from her. That night, it was blessing enough to be beside him. It was blessing enough to know that he was here, to feel the warmth of him next to her, to lie with him, their heads touching, his right hand laced in her left.
  1. She watches Mariam glue strands of yam onto her doll’s head. In a few years, this little girl will be a woman who will make small demands on life, who will never burden others, who will never let on that she too has had sorrows, disappointments, dreams that have been ridiculed. A woman who will be like a rock in a riverbed, enduring without complaint, her grace not sullied but shaped by the turbulence that washes over her. Already Laila sees something behind this young girl’s eyes, something deep in her core, that neither Rasheed nor the Taliban will be able to break. Something as hard and unyielding as a block of limestone. Something that, in the end, will be her undoing and Laila’s salvation.

Throughout the book, as you progress page after page, the life of Mariam and Laila starts to seep into yours. And if you feel their emotions from the way this book has been written, wait for it!! Because, it is going to make you cry towards the end. The last letter from Jalil to Mariam was so touching, you feel the pain the father felt for his daughter.

It is a beautiful story wrapped in a beautiful coating of words.

Daily Quotes-11

” Every time you open your mouth to comment on someone else’s life, ask yourself two questions-

A. How am I to say?

B. Who am I to say?

If you have an answer to both, then you’re justly entitled to say what you intended to.”

– Maya Ghosh

It isn’t really a quote. And it is not something that hasn’t been said earlier by many others. The above is just my way of seeing things. Not that I haven’t been part of an age where we discussed people and random events. With time, I outgrew that phase and came to realize the importance of much more in life. No, I’m not a saint- far from it actually. I was just lucky to be surrounded by greater minds at a very early stage of my life.

It is always better to direct your energies to yourself. We can achieve greater heights if we can focus on what we are, what we want to be and what needs to be done to get there.

Daily Quote-10

“If you don’t do a lot of stupid things when you’re young, then you won’t have funny things to talk about when you’re old”

-Unknown

Be Crazy. That’s the one motto I follow. I have a friend, someone who has partially inspired me in my life. Not that I wanted to be like him, but I wanted to live my life the way he did- carefree, living his own dream.

Starting this blog itself was a part of that self realization. I never thought of myself as someone who can write anything- let alone writing reviews or anything in general. Everything that followed- treks, photography, movies, books, travelling started when I realized it makes me feel alive.

Don’t  be pedantic; learn to break the rules! Even if you don’t have things to talk about when you get old, you’ll have instances to think of and smile to yourself.

Daily Quote-09

“The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never ever say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever had”

– Unknown

I’m a very affable person but I don’t make friends easily.  Not that I don’t want to. If you’ve seen the movie Perks of being a Wallflower, I’m like Charlie. I go around putting a big smile on my face hoping to make more friends. But I seldom get any. I have a handful of good friends, like Real good friends and I am glad they could make it through the wall of my life.

With them, I never have to say a word if I’m in distress. They’ll see through even if I put up a fake smile. It is for them, that I can survive even the toughest of times and for them that I can give away the best things of my life. This quote is for all the lovely Heroes and heroines who have added a sparkle to my life and made me a celebrity in my own world!

Thanks for just being there!!

Uttama Villain

I have seen very few Kamal Hassan Movies- mainly because I’ve recently started watching Tamil movies.

With Uttama Villain, Kamal Hassan has made a special place in my heart. And Now I have to watch all the cult movies by Kamal! I understand that the movie was disappointing for many, mainly for those who have a set benchmark which they associate with Kamal Hassan. I was lucky to not have that and hence my judgement won’t be biased.

uttama

Starting with the story- The introduction of a big star, the unexpected news, going back to your mentor and filming one last masterpiece was a very convincing script. the way it was completed was marvellous. The switch between 8th century and 21st century, a serious yet jovial Manoranjan to a foolish , naughty but smart Uttama was a treat to watch.

Performances by everyone was good. Kamal was fantastic. Pooja, Nasser and other supporting cast did a good job too. This was the first movie I have seen of Andrea. her subtle expressions and the silent love in her eyes in every scene felt beautiful. Even with a doctor’s mask on, where we could see just her eyes, the pain in her heart, even though it was act, was very very believable. A special applaud for her! And she looked fab!

Now the high points in the movie- expression of Manoranjan/Uttama was priceless. The one scene where he comes to know he has a daughter and Yamini is no more, he gives a look, tear in his eyes, a vein popping on his forehead and frown on his face, an expression that gives away the choke in his voice. It was really touching. Similarly, when his wife Varalakshmi is in Hospital and he deals with her questions on him and Yamini, with Arpana standing right there was beautiful. The way he responds in a way to not hurt anyone present there. It showed how deeply he loved Arpana, how fond he is of the memory of Yamini and how affectionate he is towards the lady he never loved but has spent most of his life with. One more was when Chokku tells him he never delivered the letters to either him Or Yamini. The anger was evident yet he was helpless and he didn’t want to part with anyone on a bad note be it Chokku or his driver, So gives a forgiving nod. It was all pictured really well. And KH learnt and brought alive the long lost Theyyam – something unique that Kamal did.

Dialogue delivery was out of the world. Since I am not very fluent with Tamil, I had difficulty understanding the 8th Century dialogues and most of my understanding was either with expression or visuals- which served the purpose at most times. When Kamal is floating on a wooden plank and he says, water everywhere not a drop to drink, he is immediately turned by waves and he gives a grin to say “Porum Porum”, I was laughing out loud! That for me was the funniest scene. Now there were other lines from that time when others in the theatre were laughing, but apologies! I didn’t understand what was being said.

Towards the end, when Manoranjan has an attack and he sees his own shadow in a curtain and believes it is death, that shot was brilliant.

The climax was good too. As Manoranjan wants, people laugh while watching the movie while he silently passes away with Arpana looking in through the window- No drama, No cliche lines or loud cries; brewed perfectly.

The background score was good too esp the Uttama Villain theme. The one they play while after a shoot, Manoranjan watches a fish struggling to live, just like him!

It was only after the movie ended, that I came to know that the story is more about the real life of KH. The Margadarsi being K Balachander himself, who as opposed to the movie ,dies himself instead of KH , the love of his life, the forced marriage, the cancer. All great minds write or make a movie that is based on their own life. And only the genuine ones strike a chord with the audience. Uttama Villain surely did for me!

Being new to Tamil Cinema, I thought my review would be very small. Astonishingly, I could write as much as I generally do for any other movie!! Kamal Hassan effect!!