One Mind, Many Dreams.

Warning : Reading this may upset people I know personally and who may have said things that I quote so please be kind and use discretion. I love you all, anyway.

I know people, like my best-friend from school, P who did his engineering while I did Architecture – he got a job like everyone else while I still did Architecture because its a longer course (and is still not over – for those who think I’m chilling in Chennai). He just knows he wants to work for the forces. He left his corporate job and is preparing for SSB. I recently (read, July) had the opportunity to act in a Short Play (Short + Sweet, Chennai, 2016 ) and this was, by chance – because I went against my usual habit of ignoring messages and actually replied to a friend who was the director of the play.  Okay, coming to the point, I got a chance to meet other actors, writers and directors. To us, the lay-folk who only enjoy cinema and read gossip blurbs or the Times of India – actors just happen to be and earn big bucks and splurge it on controversies that we can use as ice-breakers at work. But the truth is, getting a job as an actor for a somebody is really tough in a country where every third person wants to be one (Okay, you knew this). I think you can become a politician, more easily, if you’re erudite and tactical enough. SO – I met all these people who just KNOW that they want to be an actor – regardless of where they are right now – they’ve left jobs, homes and families for this. Every text, every expression, every meeting – they only talk about their passion and I’m left aghast. Like, ‘sapne mein aaya kya tere?” (did it occur to you in a dream?). It probably did.

Such crystal dreams don’t occur to me. I’m usually in morbid situations in dreams- running around with people I may/may not know in strange set-ups that may/may not exist.

Every month – I have a new ambition. I get influenced by movies, books, people, magazine articles and of course, social media. Its not easy. They say – trust in the magic of beginnings. I do – but then it fizzles out. And something new takes it place. Its not easy – when you’re pursuing a degree; want independence; super-fast WiFi; good food; social life; a job which feels like a holiday; security – it just doesn’t all materialize in one night on a platter – much like how we’d like it to. Some people just get stuck in the grind of everyday mundane jobs to support themselves and a family. Or run behind their passion – a train they may/may not catch. Or live in the delusion: ‘Aayega – Don aayega”.

Don gaya tel lene.

No parent/well-wisher/aunty/uncle-ji who owns a shop/dhobi-wallah/already-established-friend/Data-scientist-cousin-in-the-US  likes it when you tell them you want to become a Screen-writer or Casting Director – Art Manager – Art Director – Critic – Media Producer – Shift to another city – Get a flat- Buy a dog- etc:-

“Does it even pay well? What – I’ve never heard of it. Its just tricks – to scam your generation into doing odd-jobs no one else wants to do. Are you crazy? Interns are unpaid labor – even the dhobiwallah knows that. Pune? Tomorrow you’ll go to New York also. Pehle na you lose weight and leave that Facebook wagera. Some Hunky Dory became a screenwriter – doesn’t mean ki you’ll become one, too. Please keep your room clean, first. And what about the five years you spent cutting cardboard to become an Architect (or whatever you studied)? Who’ll pay for rent? Accha, leave all this blogging about movies which some other person made and share serious views on your blog. Get married before 25 – movie mein dekha na – that actor also said that only. Kya? How many degrees do you want? PINK dekha PINK? Yahi hota hai  outside world mein – go, go get your flat ab. Accha jao – sab karlo – Director bhi ban jao. Artist bhi ban jao. Go ask your Michel Gondry’s mother if he spoke to her in this tone, ever. Remember Ankita? She’s working in that advertising company – she’s getting married in November. You’re still sending in CV’s to these funny companies. What do you want to do with the rest of your existence? Ja, main nai poochti.

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You got my point. And its all in our best interest. No parent wants their kid lying broke in some dingy corner smoking cheap cigarettes regretting why they didn’t take up that Accenture wala job. Neither do they want you as an added attachment to the house (unless of course you’re a boy, in our patriarchal country). And I agree with them. This is not a rant as much as it looks like one.

Its a dilemma that I realized, more recently, a lot of us are facing but because we want to maintain the status-quo of being happy – we don’t share it. We just write poetry because its a hobby. We don’t tell people that it gives us more pleasure doing than data-entry because poetry doesn’t pay – unless of course you write something that goes viral on scoopwhoop. No one writes Facebook statuses about how they fought with someone who thinks their dreams are worth nothing. No one tells you how much it hurts to lose a job because you could’t focus on your work. No one tells you how bloody scared they are about life, itself. We blame our social status, lack of money, parental pressure, etc – and continue doing what we do best – nothing.

But all that is when you have some tinkering clue about what you really want to be. Thomas Zacharias (okay, I not-secretly have a crush on him and he Instagrams as @cheftzac) knew he wanted to be a Chef. Though it looks like he’s always smiling as he grills salmons and posts pictures about inspiring local cuisine – it took him a hell load of effort to become the Executive Chef of the Bombay Canteen (believe it or not, one of the many reasons for me to want to work in Pune is so that I can go to Mumbai to see this place designed by a firm called The Busride – where I will work, one day.). A snippet of that effort (posted with permission aka DM that he may/may not read, on Instagram) :

On the contrary, another person I got introduced to, thanks to all the weird research I do – is Shanoo Sharma (@shanoozeing on twitter) who is the Casting Head at YRF Films. And she didn’t just land up this job in one year or even two. She has the experience of working as a hair-stylist, bartender, waitress, singer – and pretty much everything she wanted to try. She has no degree to her name and at one (or many) point was tagged by well-wishers as someone who could not stay in one job for more than a year. And look where all that has lead her to. She now gives actors their breaks. She calls her job a holiday and has the authority to work from where she wants, when she wants. She does a job she’s obsessed with and this didn’t occur to her in a dream. She is India’s top Casting Director. Ranveer Singh, Parneeti Chopra, Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt – and many more happened because she thought they could happen. And her story which I read is here .

Closer home, in Chennai, someone I actually know did something out of his dreams. Shyam Renganathan just gave his first TEDx talk in VIT, Vellore – and why? Because he didn’t just sit around moping (okay maybe he may have done that at one point) – when he believed that he could be funny. He didn’t want that engineering life – he stood against joining a B.E course and went ahead to do what he loves doing – he’s now a Standup Comic, RJ, Web Series (Black Sheep)  Actor and I don’t know what more he will do. It was definitely not easy – or fun, when he decided to take a step back and change course. But he made it. Its not an easy world for dreamers but then again, people make it.

And these are just some examples that I’ve stumbled upon. Okay, let’s take Sushant Singh Rajput – for those who are living under a rock / From another country  – he’s a Bollywood actor who recently acted as M.S Dhoni in his biopic. Besides that, he has starred as Byomkesh Bakshi and as a lead character in Kai Po Che, the movie based on Chetan Bhagat’s Three Mistakes of My Life. He didn’t become an actor bas aise hi kyunki sapna aaya. He was first an AIEEE Topper with AIR 7 – then a student in DTU – a dancer in Shiamak Davar’s Dance troupe – a theatre artist with Ekjute – an actor in Hindi Serials – and finally, an actor. This journey was a long and strenuous one. I haven’t interviewed him but I sure as hell know that he didn’t know he’ll be acting as M.S Dhoni in the year 2016 – when he was giving his AIEEE. Not everyone knows for sure. And you know what, its okay.

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You can thank me later.

I say this to myself whenever I get a new idea – that’s daunting – that makes me look jittery and unsure – which I agree I am. But what’s wrong in that? I’m afraid that I don’t know. But at least, I accept that I don’t know and I’m trying to know. I’m giving my everything – I’m working hard and looking at prospects- I’m applying to places which resonate my beliefs, somewhat. I’m looking at originality in a field dominated by trends and popularity.

But that doesn’t stop me at marveling what Michel Gondry does with a few colours, a paper and a video camera. It doesn’t stop me from reading scripts written by Woody Allen and Rebecca Miller. It doesn’t stop me from thinking what Greta Gerwig thought before signing up for Frances Ha. It doesn’t stop me from watching Wes Anderson movies back-to-back noting down things I like – joining FTII forums and discussing Bollywood – watching Anurag Kashyap’s speeches on Film-making – noting down email addresses of Production houses I would like to intern with – sending my CV to Art Management firms just to see if I fit the bill. I’m trying. I don’t know if its right – I don’t know if job security is the secret to success. I don’t know if I’ll ever end up in Mumbai writing films like Juhi Chaturvedi and Gauri Shinde. I also remember promising my best friend, Sarkar, that we’d write scripts for Korean Drama together, when we were in college. Maybe we should have done that.

Its all a bit unsettling when you see your friends going to pursue their Masters in the US, UK and Singapore – or when they post “FMS / IIM – Life be like” pictures on instagram – and you’re still here sitting before a screen.

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Being afraid is normal and so is stalking celebrities on Instagram. Reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (by Mindy Kaling) instead of Lean-In or Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (or whatever its called) – is absolutely OKAY. Crushing on celebrity chefs who don’t even know you exist is OKAY. Reading never-ending tumblr posts on inspiration is OKAY – as long as you don’t lose yourself in another person’s world and come back to your own to build yourself up. You’re not alone. You never will be. Talk to people and get to know things instead of being shy and apprehensive. Throw yourself at opportunities and learn things that can’t be learnt on lifehack or buzzfeed. Get out of your shell and give yourself a chance to feel vulnerable.

It doesn’t matter where we are as long as we know we want to try harder and make something out of this opportunity we call life.

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Tamasha – A quick review

‘Drama’

Our childhood is like a vicious serpent that whispers to us that we are special – makes us believe that we can achieve almost anything we want. And as we grow up- we allow this world; our situations and our own emotional limitations- to crush that serpent under our feet. And now, no one tells us we are special – we face our reality –  of being ordinary, mediocre and simple.

The movie is a cold splash of water on all the Dreamers’ faces who have allowed other concerns of life to subdue the Inner magic that we all hold close to us until one day, we stop acknowledging our true longings-of exploring what excites us. All of us get stuck in a race where we don’t know what we’re running for. And we lose. Not once or twice but consistently until we are just drifting ahead – in the flow, meaningless.

If only we were running in the right race- towards our passion, we’d be so much more better off – complete, happy and grateful for this life.

The story revolves around the above ideology. Little Ved is fascinated by the mythological stories that an old man tells him for some spare change, atop a hill. These stories and the magic they hold in them capture Ved’s imagination. His love for Fiction is not taken well by his Father who belongs to a generation which believes in upholding the values set by their ancestors who suffered the aftermath of the Partition and built new homes from scratch. He is annoyed by Ved’s distractions and wants to mold him into an image of his own. His son bends before his father’s will; gives up his imagination to allow logic and arithmetic to conform him into a person he no longer understands.

Until one fine day, oceans away from his reality, he runs into a fellow traveler. The two of them- in high spirits- decide to enjoy each other’s company in the bliss of anonymity as an experiment and promise each other that they’ll not disclose their identities. Their adventures open them up to each other’s tender realities. What happens in Forsica, stays in Forsica. Or  not. On their last day together, they are bonded by the longing of togetherness and the pain of separation.

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Tara (aka Mona Darling) returns back to her reality in Kolkata – where she is the heiress of a Hospitality Giant and is busied by work whenever she is not thinking about Don – her anonymous companion from Forsica. Its like a part of her still belongs with her Journey and that part makes her feel alive despite her loneliness. She cannot settle for anyone other than him. Four years pass by until she lands an assignment in Delhi – and she has a teeny clue to finding Don. But who does she actually meet when she goes there?

Their past was magic. But their reality? She knows she is in love with him and he with her. But its the personalities that have been misplaced. Pain, separation, bouts of schizophrenic behavior as one struggles to find one’s originality while the other makes this one realize The Truth- the unreal feeling of facing your inner demons who come lashing out at you because you have been bottling up your originality for ages-is what happens in their lives.

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Imtiaz Ali has done an amazing job of amalgamating theatrics with cinema as goes the name Tamasha. This is no generic movie for the typical audience. This is an eye-opener. Ali tries to awaken the hidden dreamer that’s been locked up inside many of us – through a simple-everyday story with hair-pin bends in the plot. The average viewer may lose interest because of a loss of connect. But the ones who connect, will be hooked.

The music composed by A.R Rahman is a pretty decent score – comprising of songs that are skeletal to the movie and not just blind inserts. The songs bring out the essence : pain, humor , frustration and confusion in various scenes. Catchy and beautiful ones that you’ll be singing by the end are : Matargashti and Agar Tum Saath Ho (which comes in a beautifully scripted and performed scene) and the others have a lot of pop-folk elements in it that will either make you laugh or barf. The more romantic ones include : Safarnama and Ishq Me. A deep, meaningful tune :  Tu Koi Aur Hai which will tear you up. The others like Chali Kahani and Heer Toh Badi Sad just support the movie essentially. Parade De La Bastille is , well, a vibrant composition.

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Its a movie that , yes, I’ll watch again if I can. Because it awakens a sense of accepting one’s originality in the viewers. Moreover it has a Wes Anderson charm in many parts. Plus the realism in some scenes will crack you up while deep inside you’re agreeing with the idiosyncrasies of life.

It gets a hearty ***1/2 from me for Imtiaz. Some scenes are so well composed that your eye catches the beauty. The backgrounds, the sets are simply impeccable. The whole coming-together of the various facets is seamless. The past-present infusion. The storyline. Everything

And because of Ranbir’s exceptional performance and Deepika’s portrayal of raw-pain along with delirious excitement in such a , such a delectably elegant way : Another half star.

All in all : A perfect 4. And beware, I’m a dreamer so it struck a major chord with me.

 SPECIAL MENTION : Whoever the set-designer was : Bravo! The entire Shimla segment : The House, the dark school hallway, the hill-top, the Manch where the performance took place : just amazingly nostalgic. 

Forsica was of course breathtaking : the street-view; the cafes and the drive.

And also the theater stage , the Dilli home where Tara stays and well just about everything else.

AND THE COSTUME DESIGNER NEEDS TO BE AWARDED : WHY?

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Hope you liked this one. I urge you to watch it and post your comments below 🙂 

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag- Movie Review

‘My journey into his life through the film, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, made me understand how devastating this loss was for him. However, Milkha Singh’s extraordinary resilience made him step out of the darkness of failure and find redemption. But his catharsis was not easy, for Milkha had to face his inner demons and deepest fears to come through as a winner, in life..’

– Farhan Akhtar

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was just too awesome for words. Farhan Akhtar outdid Himself. Such performance. Lovely dialogues and screenplay. And what music! Simply spontaneous, so much so that you find yourself dancing with them. And the sequences were so surreal that the whole theater cheers for Milkha in the races. Amazing stuff. Glad to have bagged the whole family along to the movies. DO NOT MISS IT. ‪Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra great job  !

So, basically this movie tells us the story of the Flying Sikh…  Milkha Singh… one of India’s best athletes (or, The Best)… Life’s victories, losses, memories and lessons make it worth all the effort. And this movie is all about it. Movie begins with how Milkha Singh loses at the Rome Olympics…and all his glory is turned to ashes and he enters into a shell. That’s when Nehru Ji (our then Prime Minister) receives an invitation from Air Marshal Ayub Khan (the President of Pakistan in those days) for a Friendly Sports’ Championship between the two countries who’d been in conflict ever since the Great Partition. Milkha being the Star of the Nation was chosen to lead the contingent but he blatantly refuses. And thus, Nehru ji sends a party to convince him. And that party consisted of his two coaches who tell us the story of how an orphaned Punjabi boy turned into the Nation (literally translating) … how Milkha bana India.

After escaping from the harsh conditions for Sikhs in his village and ending up in a refugee camp in India… he goes through a really bad time…seeing his elder sister being tormented by her husband. And when he tried to instill sense into his jijaji, he’s thrown out of the house. To fend for himself he starts his career as a thug…looting coal-engines…and grows up to be the perfect jester…with no real aim in life except earning the next meal and loafing around with his bandit-crew until he meets Biro, the love of his life…to win her hand and respect, he must make something out of his life. And so, he joins the Indian Army which turns the lad into a man. This is where his talent is discovered and he goes ahead to compete at the brigade games and then eventually, the Nationals. He makes it to the Olympics, with great difficulty.Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

But his efforts are squandered when one night of what I’d call aiyashi in Melbourne (the night before his Qualifying round) results in loss. He’s devastated and realizes his mistake. And he makes it his aim in life to break the World Record and puts in his heart and soul into preparing for the next games. Training day and night. This makes him the Champion he dreamed of becoming bringing Pride to his country. I love the scene where he enters into another Champion’s room (in his not-so-glam) days before the Brigade Games and tries on the Indian Blazer (a matter of pride to wear around)… and sees himself in the mirror and visualizes how he wants his future to be. A lot of lessons  for us, youngsters.

I’m not telling what happens when he goes back to his village. Well, that’s because the movie has just released and I don’t want to give out too many spoilers.

And then coming back to the present (their present)…they manage to make Milkha agree. But he feels the whole idea of travelling back to the country where his parents were slaughtered before his very own eyes…unsettling. He goes there, anyway…where he has to beat their fastest runner…the tornado of Asia. He re-visits his old village…seeing everything happen again…right before his eyes as he stands frozen and then breaks down. He has come to terms with his past. And is ready to take on life…make a fresh start.

What happens in the race the next day is something I want you to see and ‘feel’…in cinemas. Whether he beats the world record or not?

But the scenes were just so awesome with energy pouring right out!

Coming to the actors, the roles played by the supporting actors…amazing. The coaches did a commendable job and Divya Dutta is always amazing with her subtle yet powerful acting.

Farhan Akhtar obviously stole the show away. The kind of hard hard hard work he has put in the movie to obtain the tree different looks in the movie!!

  

Okay so I’m (shamelessly) admitting to the fact that Farhan looks absolutely stunning with all that muscle. But to imagine how deep he gets into his role…commendable. And now I can proudly say that I now have (finally) a favorite Bollywood Hero. Farhan Akhtar is a consistent performer with most of his movies being raving successes. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Rock On (Oh, Gawd, fun!)… And yeah, his husky voice just adds to the charm. So, yeah, Farhan you set the screen on fire (and I don’t think the film was too long if you were absorbed into it…unless people were too busy being jealous of your perfect torso…’ Inshallah kamar 28’… Pat yourself, this (and I mean ALL your efforts) was amazing. Forever impressed.

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Coming to the fun parts, the movie has a lot of, well, decent comedy. Scenes portraying his early life in his village..with his many notorious adventures with his friend Samarjeet (and his tui)…and looking up to his Father. It’s not riotous…but pretty good. The scenes in the Army Training Center at Secunderabad (well it brought back loads of memories back since we’ve stayed at Secunderabad as a fauji family) It is said that some actual jawans and officers took part in the movie filming. And the Services helped the crew and cast to get the real feel of the Army atmosphere (which is amazing). And the music is just great and spontaneous…fits right into the scene pulling you along with it. I found myself almost dancing with the young recruits in their bunk. Loved it. And Zinda… is one of the best songs. Damn powerful. Shankar Ehsaan Loy have cast a spell on us, yet again. In fact I noticed Loy appear in one of the sequences in Melbourne !

The dialogues now. Well, they were like the highlights of the movie. I’m afraid I can’t quote accurately but :

There is this scene where his coach tells him that not every time will the stone be large enough to get noticed and to work in his favor (when he loses a qualifying race when a stoe pierces his foot…yeah, he ran bare feet)

And then there is the Pakistan scene:

Pakistan’s Coach : ‘Milkha, yeh tumhaari zindagi ki aakhri race saabit ho sakti hai’

Milkha: ‘Yahi sochke toh mein bhaagonga’

Milkha to Biro : ‘Ek din tere Milkha ke naam pe bhi National Holiday diya jayega’

Milkha to his Coach : ‘Milkha ban gaya India’

May not be accurate but yeah, you got the essence. Farhan and Rakeysh and all the other readers forgive me if I quote wrongly, okay?

Of course reviews say its a LONG movie and NDTV gave it a 2 and a half stars…guess the reviewer or critic had had a hectic schedule all week and had plonked off during the movie or something (no offence, I’m just surprised, okay?)and some people called the movie LONG. But I liked it. More than liked it. Highly inspirational. Recommended for people pursuing big dreams.

My Grandpa felt it was the kind of movie that makes your heart feel content when you walk out of the cinemas…

And my Mum thinks its a slap on the faces of criminals, druggies, rapists, psychos etc…who blame a harsh past for their actions. Well, Milkha Singh had one of the most terrible pasts ever. But he came over it. He didn’t throw his life away. I understand he got opportunities and then there was Biro who inspired him to make a man out of himself. But such helpful and triggering moments are present in everyone’s lives and they should give it a try.

This movie has brought an amazing personality’s story to life , again, before our eyes and made it timeless, like Milkha Ji himself was quoted saying. 🙂 After the movie you feel proud to say, ‘Hail India!’

Vicky Donor

Vicky Donor is this new gonna be released movie which is a light hearted take on sperm donation. The storyline follows the protagonist . . . Vicky , a handsome and jolly Punjabi guy from Lajpat Nagar . . . Whose chased around by Dr. Baldev Chaddha . . Trying to convince him to donate sperms to his fertility clinic. And after Vicky does so he falls in love with this bengali banker Ashima . . . But his past creates emotional pitfalls in ties lil love story. . . Will it last despite all there hurdles ? Or will Vicky lose the love of his life ? Directed by Shoojit Sircar and having Ayushmann Khurana . . (a roadie- season 2 , host of many awesome shows like Just Dance ) . . . Is sure to be an awesome comedy hit. But thats not all . . . There s a love story and emotional drama. And when all this is mixed up in a Jar of South Delhi . . With the punjabi tadka . . . We can hope for nothing less than a Full- On entertainer ! Hoping the best . . . Lets see 🙂 by the way . . . #VickyDonor is trending on twitter india . . So yo can check that out 🙂 For more info : http://www.facebook.com/tickydonor . . . Cant wait to see my favourite Ayushmann (whom I ve missed a lot since Just Dance ) on the big screens ! Love you all loads. . Keep in touch for more on this future bolly hit 🙂 🙂 !