Category Archives: Films

Lessons MARVEL needs to learn

So I have seen all the films that Marvel produced under their ‘Avengers’ banner and- they were average. Last weekend I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and it didn’t impress me much. Well the usual funny one-liners are there, so is an incredibly attractive cast but there is nothing new. Sure the weapons are more advanced, the explosions are bigger, the suits are better but there is nothing deep in it.

 

People have this conception that a superhero movie doesn’t need to be emotional- that exotic locations, endless action and an average plot are enough for making a superhero movie. And those people would be right. But think about a superhero movie that did have emotions- The Dark Knight series by Christopher Nolan.

Now compare it with every other superhero film you have seen. You get my point? So here are 10 lessons that I think Marvel should learn to make their film-making better:

  • Don’t kill a character that people don’t give a shit about:

Spoilers: So at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron one of the new Avengers is conveniently killed to fuel the other avengers. Just like how Agent Phil Coulson died to fuel the Avengers in the first film.

  • If you do kill a character, don’t fucking bring him back to life:

When you kill a character in The Vampire Diaries or Supernatural and they come back to life, it makes sense. These are shows that have plot-lines that are constantly teetering on the edge of life and death. Even in Sherlock,he actually FAKED his death so bringing him back made sense. Off course bringing back Moriarty has raised some questions in my head but we will have to wait for Season 4 to resolve them.

  • Don’t repeat things!

This goes with simple things like a 360 degree shot of Times Square that I see in every single superhero movies to the whole heroine gets kidnapped by the villian and so hero kills villians in order to save her. Here’s the thing- you are an enormously wealthy organization which has the resources and talent to actually take some risks! Then fucking take them! Don’ follow the same old rusted formula of making a blockbuster, make a genuinely good film for once.

  • Don’t put in female characters just to make dicks hard

Look at this:

Does she look mildly formidable? Does she look like she can take on the villian? Does she look like she can save the world?

Now THAT’S  a woman I don’t want to mess with!

 

 

  • Stop relying on just humour and action:

I know there are people out there who will pay $100 to watch a toothpaste if it is manufactured by Marvel. There are also people like me who enjoy being entertained by action and comedy but expect a bit more. Off course there should be emotions but can you at least give us something more than sarcastic, half-heartedly recited one-liners? Can you give us some clever actions and not just bang-bang-bang? For action inspiration watch any Jakie Chan movie made specifically in Hing  Kong. For comedy watch Inside Amy Schumer and not Seth McFarlane shows!

  • Stop proclaiming that your films are feminist.

Hey Marvel here’s the thing- you create shitty female characters, give them almost no depth, put them in skimpy clothing, give them the fight scenes that look like graceful dance moves and then you expect women to find it empowering. Well we will decide what we find empowering, individually. You do not have to tell us what we should/should not do collectively. That is the exact definition of a patriarchy.

You take conventionally attractive actresses, cast them as  conventionally attractive characters and then have the audacity to call yourselves ‘feminists’. Let them take on the big villian, even if they die doing it. Let them lead the group for once. Let them be the impulsive, reckless ones. Why does Black Widow have to be the emotional core of the group when Hawkeye gets the mind-blowing stunts. Why is Black Widow called a slut for having feelings for one Avenger, but Tony Stark is never held accountable for sleeping with everyone? Is it necessary for Agent Hill to bark orders in high heels?

Hey if you’re going to make a mainstream superhero flick with American Pie mentally and if the audience are willing to accept- making it the second highest grossing movie ever then it’s okay with me. But at least don’t  shamelessly call yourself ‘feminists’.

  • Give us female villians!

No I’m not talking about the conventional ones- the once that are attractive, intelligent, will-kill-you-in-your-sleep-after-sex villian. Give us a female villian with depth- someone who cries but also kills mercilessly, someone who is caring towards her children put slices people vertically, someone who is hungry for power but not for selfish reasons. Give her a tragic backstory, give her a developing arc, give her a reasonable motive, give us a villian with a philosophy and you will see the audience rooting for her instead of the good guys. For inspirations see Amy Dunne from Gone Girl

and Azula from Avataar: The Legend of Aang (that’s a fucking cartoon on Nickelodeon and it has better characters, plot-lines and action sequences than any of your superhero movies, shame on you Marvel)

Also look at how adorable Kristen Stewart looks as Loki! Awww!

Kristen is my girl! Ain’t nobody hatin’ on hurr!
  • Give us a Black Widow movie:

And please don’t treat her like a piece of shit!

  • You did a great job with Bruce Banner’s character arc, now do that with everybody.

Look Marvel here’s the thing- I ACTUALLY LIKE THE AVENGERS. I do! I think all of them are hilarious, and smart and full of potential. They’re endearing characters individually but when you put them together- only Iron Man seems to be in the lead. He’s not even the character with the most interesting story, that would be Captain America!

He’s also not the character with the best skills, that would be Hawkeye! He also doesn’t have the best body, that would be Thor! Then why is he EVERYWHERE? Bruce Banner went through incredible character development- please do that to everyone’s character.

  • Stop adding more people to your cast

Do you know why I gave up watching Game of Thrones after the third season? Because I couldn’t keep up with all the new faces on the show. The old characters that I had grown attached to receded to the background and these new character I knew nothing about took their empty space. Instead of bringing in more people why not explore more dimensions with the same old people? Huh?

Now that I’ve ranted about what I didn’t like, tell me put into gifs all my favourite moments:

THIS was awesome! Give us more Black Widow badassery!
And THIS!

So all in all, take some risks Marvel!

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Yugant (Marathi word: a particle showing ascent)

I always had deep respect for regional cinema in India. Coming from a marathi (a language commonly spoken in the state of Maharashtra) family watching regional films made in our langauge is a tradition. I always felt that regional cinema in India was better than Bollywood cinema- the industry that brought India on the map of the world. I have seen a lot of marathi films and comparing them with Bollywood films I’ve noticed:

  • Bollywood films have a herculean budget compared to marathi films
  • Bollywood films are made keeping audiences residing in metropolitan cities in mind
  • Marathi films are made knowing that they will mostly be watched by audiences in rural India
  • Bollywood films are about protagonists belonging to a higher economic class- people with access to foreign education, destination weddings and sports cars
  • Bollywood films are realistic- protagonists reside in villages, work in fields and struggle to provide two full meals to their families every day
  • Bollywood is ‘aspirational’ cinema enticing people with expensive houses, exotic locations and scantily clas women
  • Marathi films provide the actual picture however bleak and unappetizing

‘Jogwa’ directed by Rajeev Patil

For the past couple of decades the marathi film industry has produced marvellous movies on a shoe-string budget. They have received many honours at prestigious national and international film festivals. They all have reflected evils in the marathi socitey and propogated a positive social message. But also all of them have comparatively failed to garner the money they deserved at the box office.

‘Natrang’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

‘Jogwa’ ( a love story between a Devdasi and a man forced to dress like a Hijra) directed by Rajeev Patil, ‘Natarang’ (the biography of a poor farmer forced to become a transsexual performer due to his financial condition) directed by Ravi Jadhav and ‘Kaksparsha’ (the story of a teenage widow) directed by Mahesh Manjrekar all received unprecedented success at film festivals but underperformed at the box office.

‘Balgandharva’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

May assumptions were made- the lack of money, the absence of stardom, the serious subject matter and the extreme realism was turning the marathi audiences towards Hindi cinema. The industry had plenty of talent but most of the films suffered from lack of entertaining elements or understated marketing. Several films were released without the audience noticing their existence.  Then the tides turned when films like ‘Balgandharva’ (the story of a legend of the marathi stage) directed by Ravi Jadhav was released. It had a massive budget, an envious collection of designer clothes and a hero that the audiences were familiar with.

‘Balak Palak’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

But Jadhav was a risk-taker and he next released ‘Balak Palak’( a film about early teenagers being exposed to pornography). As usual it received critical success but earned only Rs. 3.2 crores in two weeks. It established Jadhav’s position in the industry as a film-maker that the audiences knew was going to deliver. He learned his lesson and next released ‘Time Pass’ (a teenage love story between Dagdu and Praju) with more mainstream elements- a plot revolving around a love story, an external conflict provided by Praju’s father, item numbers and fantastic music. The film quickly became a rage- college students who preferred to watch Hindi films with their friends went to see Time Pass, the songs were played at every processiong during Ganesh Utsav, the dialogues were recited by 5 five-year olds. The marathi audiences returned to marathi cinema and Time Pass earned Rs. 6.60 crores in the first weekend.

‘Time Pass’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

Then came ‘Lai Bhari’( a story of twin brothers separated at birth due to a promise made to Lord Vitthal by their mother)  directed by Nishikant Kamat- it was basically a Bollywood movie made in marathi. It has an enormous budget, a popular hero, brilliant music by Ajay-Atul, explosive action sequences and an emotional attachment to marathi culture. It did not receive critical acclaim but earned a staggering Rs. 10.15 crores at the box office in its first weekend. It broke the records previously set by ‘Duniyadaari’ (an average movie about a group of friends) directed by Sanjay Jadhav and Time Pass. It survived a fight with Bollywood films- a vulnerable David not giving up against a suffocating Goliath. It showed the world that Marathi cinema had the potential to earn an unfathomable amout of money if people were willing to invest in it.

‘Lai Bhari’ directed by Nishikant Kamat

Then came Time Pass 2 (Dagdu and Praju reunited after 15 years) the first ever sequel in Marathi films directed by Ravi Jadhav. The film released on 1st May in Maharashtra and did everything perfectly- the characters people were already rooting for, music that immediately became popular and extensive marketing done by the producers. Inspite of having a cast that not many were familiar with Jadhav kept the audience’s attention because they were invested in the unfolding story. Finally Time Pass 2 defied all logic and broke all box office records set by marathi films by earning a shocking Rs. 3.70 crores in ONE DAY!

‘Time Pass 2’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

I saw the film yesterday and it is extremely entertaining although fails to excite those who look at films critically. But you win some, you lose some. Although the quality of these ‘popular’ marathi fims is not as good as the critically acclaimed marathi films it is definitely not as poor as Bollywood films either. They provided marathi audiences with something they were pining for- entertainment. Respected Bollywood director Imtiaz Ali once said, “There is nothing wrong in making films that people want to watch”.  It has made marathi-speaking people proud of their regional industry and non-marathi speaking people aware of its existence. But most of all it has proved that the marathi film industry is a force to be reckoned with.

Decoding the real ‘Cool Girl’

When I was preparing for my semester exams last month I came across a point that said ‘Media studies helps us question, criticize and analyze subjects instead of taking them at face value’. This is definitely what we have been taught (but most students don’t really care enough to apply it in real life) to do about all the things that interest the world. We have studied soviet-era journalism, nazi propoganda and even present-day publicity- the most important thing that I learned was that 90% of what you see is fabricated. Just like in The Hunger Games when the team behind each tribute design how every one of them will be showcased, based on the kind of emotions they want to evoke in the audience, that is exactly what PR agencies do in reality as well. According to me, the biggest PR miracle of our generation is convincing the ordinary audience that Jennifer Lawrence is ‘just like us’.

I believe you!

I have been suspicious of this beautiful, funny, smart, talented and ‘down-to-earth’ girl from the very beginning. I never jumped onto the ‘Jennifer Lawrence is my bff’ bandwagon, I happen to be a rather cautious person naturally. First we will discuss her as a person, then talk about the way the public has perceived her (spoiler: it’s shady). Lawrence earned her first Oscar nomination for ‘Winter’s Bone’, she was equally talented at that time. But the first time when people noticed her ‘quirky’ personality was when she starred as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Lawrence’s nonchalance, borderline unprofessionalism and utter disrespect for personal hygiene was quickly accepted by people.

You’re not funny, you’re dumb.

Every other actress in Hollywood works out every day of the week, maintains a healthy lifestyle and follows a strict diet. That is the only way you can have an ‘attractive’ body. Jennifer definitely has an attractive body but she always pretends like all she eats is cheese-burgers. She has claimed previously that she would punch anyone who enjoys exercising. But if she eats junk food all day and never hits the gym, how does she have a body perfect enough to put on the cover of Vogue? You see, she doesn’t! She goes to the gym and eats healthy just like every other actress but pretends to not be so uptight to seem like every other girl. That’s the trick!

You’re allowed to say that only because you’re hot.

She recently stated in an interview for US Weekly, “I would just rather have somebody that has the same taste in reality TV, I do love my Real Housewives. New York Housewives — and Beverly Hills, New Jersey, and Atlanta Housewives. I mean, I love them all, but Miami — oh, my God! Miami is really special.” With a heavy schedule there is no way she gets time to watch all the above shows, but she claims to anyway- because every other woman in America does. About her personal life she added, “[I want someone who] isn’t afraid to fart in front of me [rather] than to have big, passionate love.I’d rather have just a peaceful time. [Those relationships] are deeper because you can be your true self with somebody, and somebody can be their true self with you.” So you are only being yourself if you stuff a hot-dog in your mouth while reciting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Apparently if a lady enjoys eating gluten-free food and does that in front of her husband, she is not being herself?

*white girl voice* OMG she’s just like us!

Does ‘being yourself’ mean being the worst, most annoying, degrading version of yourself? If you want to be a better person for someone, if you want to improve yourself, does that not count as ‘being yourself’? Does wearing sweatpants and discussing butt plugs contribute as honesty? Does talking about intestinal problems on national television make you cool? The truthful and dejecting answer is yes- you see it isn’t very complicated. Lawrence’s PR guys have made her a dream girl- they have built the exact opposite of the ‘innocent, decent, girly girl’ trope that the media used to prefer.

So down to earth

Lawrence pretends to be like any ordinary girl but she isn’t- her personality is simply a performance. Now you may argue that she doesn’t seem fake but she has an Academy Award at home for ‘Best Actress’ so duh! Men want her, women want to be her- but she’s not really her. She is playing this person who everyone wants and no one can see it. She is ‘flawless’ because she is like most of today’s lazy women, so if you are not like the majority then you are ‘flawed’. This ‘evading the mainstream’ practice has become so mainstream, not doing it makes you ‘uncool’.

And work out in the gym for 5 hours, but you won’t mention that!

This ‘cool girl’ has become the old ‘girly girl’- it is equally suffocating, demanding, challenging and demeaning to women who have different tastes. Since Lawrence heads this army of fake cool girls, anyone who likes doing yoga will be attacked. But at the same time, if you accept your body even if it is not up to the mark, you are criticized for being arrogant. Or if you choose to crib about your body being undesirable, the same people criticize you for being insecure. Also if you ditch exercise altogether, they will call  you fat. This ‘cool girl’ trope is demanding all the women to fit in a mould built with utmost strictness. This ‘cool girl’ persona is forcing women to behave in a certain way so they can convince the world that they are a ‘cool girl’. The problem is not Jennifer Lawrence, the problem is our gullibility.

That’s something all of us can relate to isn’t it?

We women (even those who call ourselves “feminists”) have extremely misogynistic standards- we love it when a 5’7 inches blonde blue-eyed beauty says that she loves McDonalds. Why wouldn’t she say it? She’s fucking gorgeous! But if someone oversized like Melissa McCarthney says something similar, we would only criticize them for being unattractive. You see, you are only a cool girl if you eat junk AND maintain a size zero. Whenever women hail Lawrence as a hero, it baffles me because

a) she is abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous, so even she ate the entire Trojan army alive she will still look gorgeous

b) women who want to be ‘cool’ like her are NOT, so they will have to spend equal amount of time in Subway to eat carbs (so they can brag about ‘not giving a shit’) and in the gym to actually lose the calories (because secretly they do give a shit)

Soooo relatable!

You see here is the problem- another unrealistic standard that women have to reach to be accepted. That itself is misogyny- the belief that a woman has to be a certain way to qualify as a woman is gross. If we like Emma Watson, we want to be classy. If we like Kate Moss, we want to be skinny. If we like Christina Hendricks, we want to be curvy. Why can’t we ever be just us? Just because Gwyneth Paltrow eats kale, doesn’t mean we all have to start writing books about the importance of kale. Just because Kim Kardashian wears a particular brand, doesn’t mean we have to sport the same logo. Just because men find ‘cool girls’ attractive, doesn’t mean we have to be one!

Everyone loves her because she is weird AND hot. If she was just weird, no one would care!

We don’t have to live our lives trying to live up to the standards that other people built for us. We are all mature, capable, intelligent human beings who can decide their own good. We are all able of taking responsibility, making decisions and pulling strings of our lives. So why should we let a celebrity tell us, who we can or cannot be? Why do we give a piece of paper (fashion magazines) the power to make us feel insecure about our bodies? Have we really become so obssesed with being someone else that we have completely forgotten the unique, beautiful, complicated and flawed creature we truly are?

P.S: This is not hate propoganda, this is ‘open-your-bloody-eyes-and-see-the-nasty-truth’ propoganda.

Why feminists should watch Gone Girl

Art is not supposed to reassure our beliefs, it is supposed to make us reconsider them. So David Fincher’s latest thriller ‘Gone Girl’ has got feminists all over the world spiteful and aggressive. I haven’t read the book by Gillian Flynn on which it is based yet but I’ve been staying in constant touch with the backlash on the internet. I already know certain things thanks to the extensive discussions and my proximity with Tumblr- Amy and whatshisname are married, Amy gets kidnapped, police frame whatshisname, in the end he discovers that Amy is alive and killing it! But plot of the movie is not the point! The point is how it has affected modern society- clearly based on the above description Amy is a psycho and so all the “feminists” (I put that in double quotes because I identify as one myself but I disagree with them at this point) assumed that Amy is a representation of all the 3 billion women on the planet. This is absurd and ridiculous and fantastic at the same time. Because for the first time we actually have a woman who is worthy of being called a ‘villian’ and we also have women who are so appalled by it.

Here’s Amy looking like a completely ordinary student

These “feminists” are under the impression that no woman in the world can ever do anything wrong- that the possibility of having a fictional character who is so frustrated that she fakes her kidnapping is zero. They assume that every woman is happily married, happily sacrificed her career, happily making pancakes for her children, happily prioritizing her family’s needs over her own, happily compromising her dreams for her loved ones sake. I agree that a lot (almost all) women do it- some are genuinely happy but some aren’t and Any Dunne is one of them. Why do feminists think that any female character should only be portrayed in a positive manner? Why should she be either an innocent school-girl like Lolita? Why should she be a desirable outcast like Hester Prynne? Why should she be an independent professional like Bridget Jones? Why should she be an immoral whore like Anna Karenina?

*looks suspiciously at Jennifer Lawrence*

The answer is- because men find it attractive. “Feminists” have fought constant battles against being objectified, being stereotyped, being pushed into a category. Yet we divide ourselves into ‘Nerdy girl’, ‘Sporty girl’, ‘Girly girl’ or ‘Cool girl’ depending on which one we think men would find most attractive. I think this is where the flaw lies- the belief that we can only be one of those girls. Why can’t a girl have pink nail-paint on her hands while hitting a home run? Why should we assume that a girl who wears mascara cannot solve an algebra equation? Why should we have to choose between being ‘hot’ or ‘smart’ when we can be both!

Gillian Flynn’s writing is so straight-forward-no-cupcakes-no-unicorns, it’s definitely for the faint of heart!

Coming back to ‘Gone Girl’ Gillian Flynn has given us a remarkable character in Amy Dunne mainly because she is dark- dark, and twisted, and fucking unforgettable. We have had villians before but they were all driven by one thing- money, power or sex. We have never had complicated female villians such as Hannibal Lecter. There are so many male anti-heroes who are rapists, serial killers, criminals, con-artists, assasins in literature and our society accepts them immediately. The problem is not with society, the problem lies in us. Men know that one fictional character who eats babies doesn’t represent every man on Earth, so why can’t women be equally reasonable?

Isn’t that something all women have felt?

The argument is not if Amy is ‘good’ or ‘bad’- she has framed her own husband for murder, she is definitely bad. But this is where our own morals come in and the lines between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ get blurry. My theory is that those who have heavily criticized Amy, can relate to her the most. They can see their bottled anger, their dissatisfaction with marriage, their shattered dreams, their hidden insecurities reflecting on a woman who is externally perfect. They can see their own evils manifesting into a blonde, blue-eyed, beauty who anyone would kill to be with. Amy’s internal struggle is who they are and Amy’s exterior is who they are struggling to be. They hate her because they hate themselves. For the first time a female author has given us a female character that reflects the dark side of our sex and I think we should be supportive.

Author Gillian Flynn

Modern women have defined feminism to suit their convenience- today being a feminist means listening to ‘Beyonce’ and watching ‘Girls’.But the core of feminism remains that women are equal to men and that is why we should all be proud of Fincher and Flynn. We all have our own explanations of feminism and we are all entitled to it- but here we have something new, something fresh, something that can change the way women are seen. Flynn has given us a story that has got so many people taking, friends are sitting down over a beer and discussing gender roles, essayists are compiling words to squeeze in their thoughts over the portrayal of Amy. People after so long, have come to realize that women, too, can be complicated. That is the biggest achievement for David Fincher, not awards or earnings, but the satisfaction of making a generation aware that outside their feminine utopia where every woman is designed like a sims character- there is something powerful and dangerous.

See how it looks like he is literary manufacturing her the way he wants?

I think feminists should not be offended, defensive and hateful because a) basic human decency b) we have been complaining about not having better female characters in movies and now that we have one, we are saying she’s not up to mark c) my biggest reason why feminists should watch ‘Gone Girl’ is because Amy is not attractive. Okay she is gorgeous but men don’t fantasize about her the way they fantasize about Black Widow and I think that is a remarkably feminist component. So we can have sassy female villians as long as she wear high heels? We can have kick-ass superheroes as long as they wear skin-tight suits? We can have “strong female character” as long as they are played by curvy Scarlett Johannson? Nah, give us a woman who fucking makes men piss in their pants. Give us a woman is really is a nightmare and doesn’t just use is as a song lyric (#BurnTaylorSwift). Give us a woman who is can do anything to get what she wants (even fake her own death). Don’t give us a villian who fits in the men’s frame work if how a sexy villian should be, give us a villian who is genuinely dangerous.

Finally seeing it on Saturday!

We always complain about not having ‘strong’ female characters- immediately criticizing Bella Swan for being a mary sue. Now we have a ‘strong’ character in Amy, so watch if she is borderline psychotic? She is three-dimensional, well-rounded, described in painstalking details and chillingly realistic. Keep cribbing all you like but out of all the female characters in literature- Amy is easily the strongest.

10 Fave Tumblr Posts on Les Miserables

My obssession for Les Mis has risen from the deep ocean like a Kraken. I had seen the movie in 2013 and I honestly thought it deserved the Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture than boring Argo. This was the first time I saw a serious musical and I thought Tom Hooper had really presented film-lovers with something to cherish for years. I had seen Argo around the same time and two days later I forgot about it. Les Mis is the kind of movie that stays with you, for days, for months, even your entire lifetime. Every time I hear ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ it send chills down my spine. Now, almost 2 years later, I’m still crying over the fate of Le Amis d’ABC.

The worst is that I cannot even talk about how passionate I am because no one in my family or friend-circle have even heard about Les Mis. I don’t live under a rock, I just live with a bunch of idiots. But when no one understands, Tumblr understands. On this website I found people who are still dedicatedly following Les Mis and often discussing it with each other. Out of all the heartwarming posts I’ve seen on Tumblr these are my faves:

This post makes me sob every time I read it and I read it at least once a day. I cry for the 22 year old young boys who sacrificed their lives for equality in 1832. But I also cry for all the children of today who are forced by circumstances to pick up a weapon. The Barricade Boys didn’t mean for the revolution to become so bloody, but once it started they didn’t want to stop either. Yet, at the end of the day they were just little boys fighting for what they thought was right, and it was. They didn’t know how to fight, they didn’t know how to hold a gun. But one thing they knew was that they were ready to die for what they believed in. And yet, they were just children.

Yes this scene really kills me, I mean the Barricade Boys are capable of killing, but they are also human beings. Seeing the blood of their childhood friends splattered on the floor, hearing the loud gunshot aiming straight for their heads, smelling the fear among the bravest of the boys must have crippled them. Anyone would be scared, anyone would be horrified. But they didn’t abandon the fight, they knew they were going to die. But they also knew that freedom was worth it.

I think by this point you can guess that my favourite part of Les Mis was the revolution and it was also I think the most ‘miserable’. The worst part was that the Barricade Boys were fighting for the freedom of the people and when the Barricade Boys were dying it was the same people who abandoned them. They died, everyone dies. But they died alone, believing that they failed.

Now I want to talk about the movie itself, what a magical piece of art it was. (Still can’t believe Argo won, fucking hell!) The music is mind-blowing, the cast is singing live (brownie-points for that), the sets are spectacular, the scenes are realistic, the poverty in Paris was hauntingly captured and Tom Hooper’s film will always be one of my favourite. There are several scenes in the movie that stole my breath away- Fantine’s ‘I dreamed a dreamed’, Valjean’s ‘Suddenly’, especially ‘Do you hear the people sing?’. But I cried the most during the finale and these weren’t sad tears, these were happy tears. To see all the people who died unfairly standing on the barricade proudly and singing of a better tomorrow was just too much to control.

It is needless to say that the one character who left a permanent mark on me was Enjolras. I have been a huge fan of Broadway star Aaron Tveit (he was stunning in ‘Rent’, ‘Wicked’ and my personal favourite musical ever ‘Next to Normal’) and I was looking forward to seeing his Enjolras. After seeing the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts of Les Mis on Youtube and countless other Enjolras’s on the web, I was a bit apprehensive it he would be able to pull it off or not. Again it is needless to say, but my baby killed it!

My favourite thing about Tumblr is that it pays so much attention to detail. I remember being up in the morning at 5 am to watch the Oscars because that is the time it is aired in my country. I remember my whole family was asleep because they couldn’t care less. I remember being completely mesmerised by the cast’s performance, especially Aaron’s. But the flags at the end really gave me goosebumps.

Another character who really scared me for life was this little bastard. Gavroche is barely 9 or 10 years old but he is singing about how fair death truly is. It comes for everyone, the rich as well as the poor. Poverty forces people to grow up so fast doesn’t it?

995ca-tyrion-books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a parting present these are some of my favourite passages from the Brick. Enjoy (I mean, sob with me):

The wording is so thrilling, you can actually picturize the entire scenario right before you eyes.

This part. I mean, it’s not I need a heart or anything Hugo. In what is easily the most romantic scene in the book—don’t talk to me about Marius and Cosette, okay—Grantaire appears as Enjolras is cornered by soldiers and about to die. Although he probably could have escaped death—the soldiers had passed him by—he approaches Enjolras and asks if Enjolras will permit him to stand at his side for the first and last time to die with him. Enjolras finally accepts him, and they go down together. Now that I’ve made you cry uncontrollably here’s some funny ones.

Aww why hasn’t anyone recorded this?

Frozen and Les Mis, my two favourite things.

This one is my absolute favourite. I know this post is long but the book itself is 1500 pages, what exactly were you expecting. Sometimes I think I’m really silly for obssessing over fictional scenarios and characters but then I realize, Hugo witnessed the barricades of 1832. The names changed, but what he wrote in that book is what he saw. An Enjolras watched broken hearted as his friends fell, a Combeferre stood and gave a great speech, a Marius saved the barricade, an Eponine died in the arms of someone she loved, and a Grantaire fell standing next to his hero. They might seem characters to me, but that night in 1832 they lived.

The Last Of Tolkein

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

This week in rather important to me- the final posters for ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’ is out, Scotland will most probably gain independence and also I’m getting a drastic haircut on Thursday. I was only 6 years old when the alternate universe of J.R.R Tolkein’s limitless and detailed imagination along with Peter Jackson’s faithfulness to the original material and brilliant execution left me breathless. I didn’t understand much back then, neither the deep philosophical  underlines in the text nor the lessons in morality. The only thing I saw a little boy destroying forces far beyond his control and for a little, naive girl that was enough. After the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy I never expected Jackson to pick up another book by Tolkein (and in most cases I always complain about sequels because they do not involve taking any risk) but I was glad because I wanted more of Middle-Earth. Their values, customs, mythologies, beliefs and most of all dragons. Now I’m facing the fact that this could be the last ‘Tolkein thing’ ever produced and I’m in a slight state of sadness. Nevertheless the posters fucking mind-blowing so feast your eyes and bow to the might of imagination and dreams!

The Girl Who Read Too Much

I have an exam tomorrow so I blew off half my pocket-money (yes I’m 19 and I still get pocket money) on a book sale today. Although it was generously and annoyingly sprinkled with Danielle Steele (her ‘A Good Woman’ was fantastic) and James Patterson (I haven’t read any of his yet) I somehow with my keen sense of sight and eye for detail managed to find a few precious finds. Some of the books I wanted to buy were torn, soiled or bent at strange places and yet, like some divine miracle I picked up 11 books I can’t wait to read. So here are my september finds:

1) The Vigrin’s Lover by Phillipa Gregory:

IMG_20140905_185921If you have been reading my blog for a while, you must be well aware that I have an unhealthy obssession with Tudor History. Whether it is reading Suzanna Dunn, watching ‘The White Queen’ or researching about the history of the Tower of London- I’m passionate about it all. So obviously any book spree has to start with a book about this scandalous dynasty. Previously I have read Gregory’s ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, ‘The Other Queen’, ‘The Constant Princess’ and ‘The Boleyn Inheritance’ and all of them have been marvellous. So I can’t wait to read this one (desperately waiting for my exams to end).

2) Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult and

3) The Pact by Jodi Picoult:

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I was reluctant about reading Picoult because I had heard that she writes about family dramas and I already have enough of that. But then one fine morning I began reading ‘Salem Falls’ and my life changed forever. Yes, she writes about family dramas but not the ones that you read and forget. Her books make characters pop out like one of those children’s books and even after you finish reading the book, they still linger in your thoughts.

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4) The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall:

I have heard songs about the beauty, wit, humour and suspence in this book. Countless recommendations and frustrating searches later I finally found it today. I am already impressed at the vibrant and colourful art (what? I’m a kid at heart) and the story is something unique.

5) The Almost Moon by Alice Seabold:

Two years ago I read ‘The Lovely Bones’ and I had never felt so grateful to have a supportive family and loving friends. I cried and cried and cried till I didn’t have any tears left. She is a gifted author she really is. I was still reluctant but then I turned to the first page and the first sentence read ‘When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily’. I immediately put it in my basket and heaved a small prayer.

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 6) The Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier:

I had seen the painting years ago and I always wanted to know the story behind it. Today, the stars in the sky aligned and I found this beautiful classic hidden beneath heaps of obscure Mills and Boons reads. History, romance, scandal and an eloquent author- the perfect recipe.

7) The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night by Mark Haddon:

I feel infinite respect for authors that choose protagonists who are not straight, white or males. We already have so many redundant plot-lines and recurring characters so coming across something different is refreshing. The lead character in this novel is an autistic, 15 year old who is attempting to solve a crime. Riveting isn’t it?

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8) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:

I had read ‘The Penelopiad’ and heard praises of ‘The Blind Assasin’ but so far Atwood is one of my favourite feminist writers. I have read some of her short stories and they are so quietly brilliant and thoughtful I genuinely can’t wait to read this.

9) Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden:

When I was 11 I saw a heartwarming, gut-wrenching movie about a japanese prostitute which gave me sleepless nights for weeks. It made me question the purpose of our sex- Are we really made to be exploited by greedy men? Is our beauty only for their entertainment, their attention? Will my destiny be decided by a stranger who will become my ‘husband’? 8 years later, I found the book it was based on and let us see how many more existential questions it arises in my brain.

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10) Asura- Tale of The Vanquished by Anand Neelakanthan:

In the recent years Indian literature has transformed from regional works meant for elite, educated audience to best-sellers written to appeal readers of all generations. After reading The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi and The Krishna Key by Ashish Sanghi, my faith in Hindu mythology is restored. Asura- Ramayana written from Ravana’s perspective, is a new break-through in Indian publishing scenario and I have high hopes from this read.

11) The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue:
What should I say about Donoghue? Her works in the LGBTQA genre have opened my eyes to an entire universe where there are no boundaries, no rules, no consciousness. After I read ‘Room’ (which is mind-bogglingly brilliant and I just can’t, I just uff…) I want to read every word she has written.

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Now that I have my exam tomorrow and another last paper on 9th, I can’t wait to dig into my treasure of used books and discover new tales to dream of. Now let me go back to my hopelessly boring studies and then I’ll dive into a deep literary slumber. Wake me up when September ends!

 

 

And then there were 7

Today The Daily Post forced me into a state of chronic frustration and existential dilemma by asking me that if there was ‘one’ object that my friends would immediately identify me with, what would it be? And quite honestly it sounded like ‘If we found your completely burnt dead-body, by noticing which object can your friends identify that it’s really you?’. It is not very polite to pry on other people’s death but at the same time, thank you for getting me thinking about this. There are simply too many, that is my problem- it is either too many or none. So here are 7 objects that I always have with me wherever I’m going.

1) My Rayban Aviators

Now we talking!

I live in Mumbai and the temperature here is boiling hot, so I have to wear glasses unless I want to get cancer of the eyeballs. I actually got this pair for my Father on his birthday last year, but he always forgets to wear them. So I use them instead, they are the typical, good old gladiators and I love them because they have this vintage appeal to them.

2) My pink leopard print scarf

Here it is

Is there any girl in this world who doesn’t feel fierce in a leopard print scarf? Mine is not the usual fiesty scarf though, it has soft pink undertones and uncanny leopard spots. It is also made of chiffon and I use it to cover my hair everyday from the harmful rays of the sun.

3) My purple spectacles

#Nerd

Oh yeah, I am four-eyed! My parents bought me a laptop when I turned 17 and naturally a month later my eye-sight was so terrible I was in dire need of glasses. I hated them when I got the pair, I would forget wearing, cleaning them regularly and taking care of them. But now after almost 2 years they have become a part of my personality. Captain America has his shield, I have my glasses.

4) Red lipstick

You so lovely.

I have tried nude, berry, peach, pale pink and coral but red puts me in an instant state of sexy. No it doesn’t physically change any of my features (I look like a scrawny, specky git all the time) but they work wonders on my mentality. I also don’t press the lipstick aggressively on my lips, I simply dab it on few spots and then spread it all over my lips with a cotton bud. But it’s surprising how a bit of colour can elevate my self-confidence.

5) My usual green bottle

Keep it up Louis

Never, never, never step out of the house without a bottle of water! I leave my house in the morning and refill my bottle twice before I get back home. I cannot emphasize enough on this, drink loads and loads of water.

6)  Some chocolate

OK Professor

Just in case the dementors attack. Also there are many children begging on the trains, I do not like giving them money because they will probably buy cigarettes or give it to their parents who will only spend it on alcohol. Instead I always keep a few loose chocolates or  small bars of candy, it brightens every child’s face.

7) A heavy book

*blinks*

Duh!

I wish I was one of those people who can distance themselves from objects but sadly I am materialistic. Not in a ‘I want a BMW, that is the motive of my life’ sort of a materialistic but a ‘don’t throw away my old blue jeans because it is my favourite jeans’ materialistic. I have a pink and white top which I splattered some paint on while decorating for the college festival and I never removed the paint because it reminded me of all the amazing memories I created during the fest. I am not generally very emotional or attached to people, but there are some things like my first cell phone or my mockingjay necklace which will remain special.

Scent Of A Blogger

Today The Daily Post very subtly asked me what my love potion would smell like. In ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ a love-potion is a drink that can make the drinker fall in love with the maker. Whenever anybody gets a whiff of the Love Potion, it smells like a combination of their favourite things thus making them curious to gulp it immediately. But off course if everything was so easy it would’ve been called ‘Twilight’, love potion cannot create ‘love’ it can only create a very strong attraction or lustful passion.So here is a bunch of smells that really makes me put down my defenses and gets in a surreal mood.

1) Coffee

21 Of The Most Mesmerizing Food GIFs

My favourite smell is obviously the bitter but mild smell of coffee, the smell that attacks your nostrils when you enter a cafe, the enticing smell which comes from the mouth of someone who just took a sip of espresso, the hypnotizing smell of coffee beans in my hand when I am making my morning cuppa. I have no words to describe the smell of coffee except it smells like a ‘busy night’ (pun intended).

2) Chocolate

21 Of The Most Mesmerizing Food GIFs

Do you know that some people’s voice sounds like chocolate? Whenever Benedict Cumberbatch mumbles it feels like he is smothering me in chocolate and licking it off my body (sorry for the terrible imagery). But I love chocolate, the smell of a freshly unwrapped Dairy Milk bar, the smell of my mom’s homemade chocolate cookies, the smell of birthday cakes. Ich liebe schokolade!

3) Fresh flowers

9 Delightful GIFs Of Flowers Coming Into Bloom

I don’t care which flowers, whether it’s the half-dead rose from my bedroom window or the chrysanthemums imported from Amsterdam. I just love waking up to the smell of fresh flowers in the morning.

4) Peanuts

22 Gifs That Will Make You Really Hungry

Don’t pity the dead Harry, pity the living and above all pity those who have a peanut allergy. Some people hate peanuts, I hate those people. I mean PEANUTS! Raw peanuts on a beach, boiled peanuts in rice, roasted peanuts when it is raining, peanuts in Snickers!

5) Melted Cheese

22 Gifs That Will Make You Really Hungry

And on the third day God said, ‘Let there be cheese’ and people around the world rejoiced. Whenever I am in my college canteen I always fight with the dude who makes grilled sandwitches because he never puts enough cheese.

6) Tomato Ketchup

I don’t even like tomatoes! But I am one of those nasty people who put ketchup in everything. It’s just so tangy and refreshing and can make bird poop taste delicious. But if tomato is a fruit, shouldn’t it be called tomato smoothie?

7) Fried potatoes

21 Of The Most Mesmerizing Food GIFs

Has there ever been anything more magnificent than the smell of hot french fries fresh of the fryer? French Fries just ought to make you feel better about life. How little things bring enormous happiness!

8) Spicy Ramen

21 Of The Most Mesmerizing Food GIFs

I have less items of clothing than the varieties in which I can cook Ramen noodles. I cook them when I am alone and since I don’t know how or what to cook I just whip them up in two minutes. They smell like ‘independence’ and ‘not needing anyone’.

9) Seasonal Fruits

21 Of The Most Mesmerizing Food GIFs

Fruits are my mid-meal snack and I love the smell of plucking mangoes off trees in my village farm, or collecting blueberries in the forest or simply buying kiwis in the market. The smell of freshness and the dewy mist on them is spectacular.

10) Petricor

The smell of rain, I have no words to describe it.

If you mix all the above ingredients, it will result into a disturbing salad with a yucky taste. But individually, all the above smells can make me drool and get on my knees (pun not intended). What is your favourite smell? Make makes you weak? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Around the world in 5 books

Today The Daily Post asked me to go through all the black and white adventures I have been on in books and select three which I would like to actually experience in reality. For the sake of this post let us all assume that I am a very brave young woman who jumps into dangerous situations without a thought instead of the whinny, pouty, sulking wuss that I actually am.  First they give me such an incredible inspiration for a post and then they tell me to choose only three. So I’m going to cheat a little and instead select five of the fictional adventures and events that I would like to experience.

1)Go to Neverland with Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie
Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ was my first childhood bedtime story and will always be my favourite fairy tale. When I was a kid I always believed that I liked this story because of the obvious attractions- flying, mermaids, pirates and never growing up. But as a teenager I learned in psychology that we all have two selves inside us- the one who we are and the one who we want to be. After some self-introspection I realized that Wendy, the ordinary Wendy who is responsible, thoughtful and caring but bored with her life is who I am and Peter, the daring, mischevious and hilarious buffoon who never grows up is who I want to be. That was when I realized how truly deeply these ‘stories’ affect us on a subconscious level. So yes I would love to  have a stranger jump into my room (but not stalkers) chasing his shadow and taking me flying through the clouds to Neverland.

2) Be a student of Hogwarts in Marauder’s Era.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling

My childhood was rather simple- I do not remember going to the park with my friends or going on picnics with my family. I remember being curled up on my bed and crying over Sirius Black’s death. Like most people from my generation, my entire childhood can be described in two words- Harry Potter. So I would love to actually be a student of Hogwarts, be a chaser for the Quidditch team, learn to fight monsters in Defense Against Dark Arts and finally (oh finally) find out what my patronus is. But as much as I love the Harry Potter books I want to live in the time of the Marauders. I honestly believe I do not belong with the Golden Trio saving the world, I belong with Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs causing trouble for poor McGonagall.

3) Be a Queen of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis

Wars are bloody and wars are brilliant. When they happen in books they are the most excellent plot twist which changes the course of the whole story but when they happen in real life they only cause death and destruction. I would love to live in Narnia amongst fauns who dance and centaurs who are warriors and trees who direct me to my destination. But most of all, I would be immeasurably honoured to live alongside Aslan *bows*.

4) Save France with The Three Musketeers.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The way I related with Wendy and Peter at a psychological level, this book affected the sort of people I was looking for to make friends with. D’Artagnan is one of my favourite characters in plays along with Hamlet. He is impulsive, rash and mindlessly jumps into situations of trouble. He is also a bloody awesome swordsman and a trustworthy companion. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas in my all time favourite play and I would love to live in 17th century and fight carry out dangerous liaisons for Louis XIV with Athos, Porthos and my favourite Aramis.

5)Go ‘cluing for looks’ with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My favourite mystery thriller, my favourite TV show, my favourite pair of cheekbones(sorry I’m getting carried away). I don’t want this adventure for the adrenaline of solving crimes but I want this simply to witness the unreal genius of Sherlock Holmes. I would love to have him read me analytically and I would proudly beam at him as he revealed things about me even I wasn’t aware of. I would honestly sell my soul for this to happen.

we are all explorers trying to find ourselves
We Heart It

One of my friends who is majoring in ‘Child Psychology’ told me that I am addicted to books because I am unsatisfied with my life and damn straight she’s right! There is nothing spectacular about waking up everyday with the same family, going to the same college, interacting with the same friends and doing the same things over and over again. How mundane, pointless and forgettable! But books ah, they are like time-machines. They transport you to another time, another place and introduce you to characters who leave a mark on your heart. Stephen King was right, books truly are a uniquely portable magic.