The Lunchbox- How an erroneous ride leads you to the correct destination

A well deserved 4.5/5

As Lunchbox unfolds on the silver screen the viewer is introduced to a wife who is trying her luck with the age-old maxim, ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. Adding that pinch of a new spice, she is cooking a delectable meal for her husband’s Dabba (lunchbox) hoping that maybe the food might draw his attention towards her. Meet Ila, the wife with countless words but sadly no ear pay heed to them except for her neighbor. Unfortunately, the Harvard accredited Dabba-walas commit a folly and deliver the Dabba to a widowed man who has devoted his entire life to the Claims Department of his office. Meet Mr Fernandes the man of few words and perhaps fewer emotions, at least that is what his image dictates. Come the evening and the husband again turns his back on Ila, making her realize that the Dabba reached the wrong hands. The next day, she prepares another meal for the Dabba but this time a letter accompanies the food and thus Ila initiates a series of exchange of letters. Gradually she finds an ally to share her dreams with and he redeems his words and heart back but what can be a befitting culmination to this beautiful affair?

To put it one word, Lunchbox is spellbinding. It aptly captures the essence of the secluded lives that we lead in the modern times, the cemented walls that we have built around ourselves have distanced one being from another. Imagine, letter, a primitive form of communication originates a captivating relation between two strangers, a relation  which is even deeper and meaningful than the one brought to life by marriage. Nimrat Kaur and Irfan Khan have both done an exceptional job in evoking life to the conventional individuals sustaining an unconventional relationship. The neighbor, a voice over (and from what I am guessing she is Mrs Waghle from the television show Waghle Ki Duniya) is an impressive presence. This movie spins gold out of the everyday lives of people exploring the potential of commonplace instances and locales; what makes it stand out is the sheer simplicity with which the story is depicted. Another noteworthy point is the humor and I am talking about the unadulterated neat humor which is a rare appearance in cinema these days.

Take it from someone who has watched 8/10 movies released this year, Lunchbox is an absolute delight and not something to miss out on. A soothing watch with a vivid impression.

I cried watching Kai Po Che, Twice! (Could have cried a third time, even)

Daily Prompt: Moved to Tears.

Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

Daily Prompt: Moved to Tears

As soon as I read today’s prompt, my mind took me back to the day when I cried while watching the movie Kai Po Che. Mind you, I have seen the movie twice in a theater and I have cried twice, a fact that surprises me because when you watch a movie for the second time you know every scene and every dialogue and hence it is improbable that something can stir you for the second time in a row.

Kai Po Che is a captivating movie which captures the essence of three landmark events at the turn of millennium in the background and in the foreplay features the transition of a friendship  in the face of these events. Before I watch a movie, I prefer doing a little research and reading a few reviews. Somehow before watching Kai Po Che I never felt the need to do so simply because I had zero expectations. The movie is an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat‘s novel, ‘The three mistakes of my life‘ which I haven’t read because from what I’ve heard it is Chetan Bhagat at his worst and after I read that lousy piece in the name of fiction called ‘Revolution 2020’ it quenched any thirst within me for anything else to the credit of Mr. Bhagat.

To my utter surprise, Kai Po Che, completely swayed me and it still is the best movie I have seen in this year. Maybe, because of its simplicity and the perfection with which the script was brought to life on the screen. It encompasses the tale of three best friends, Sushant Singh Rajput playing Ishaan the headstrong fellow who is madly obsessed with cricket but unfortunately his fit of aggression has often led him towards erroneous judgments, also ending a promising career in cricket; Amith Sadh playing Omi the gullible guy who values his friendship with Ishaan the most and Raj Kumar Yadav playing Govind whose life is driven by numbers, his eyes fixated on crisp currency.

The three of them begin an academy where Ishaan mentors the local kids in the nuances of cricket, Govind tutors the kids in mathematics and Omi oversees the sale of sports paraphernalia and the infrastructure needs. As the story progresses, Ishaan finds himself a protege in a Muslim kid, Govind the number cruncher chalks down the blueprint of their expansion and Omi’s circumstances drive him towards etching out a career in fundamentalist politics. Gradually, their individual agendas and choices pit them against each other, steering towards a juncture where the only proposition facing them is repentance.

The movie brings forth thought provoking questions, when you see your loved ones dead does it actually give you a licence to pull the trigger on whosoever you deem fit? Can a profit used for morality earn you contempt? Is religion such a mighty force in itself, that it forms the foundation of every outcome of your life?

If you haven’t watched this movie, please do because this movie spins gold out of the straw of the ordinary lives  of its real yet flawed characters. Unless of course you are fond of slapstick comedy, Kai Po Che embodies every emotion within it complemented by crisp narration and authentic adaptation of the events. Not to forget, Amit Trivedi’s music is a delight through and through. This movie is a true reflection of the thought that your actions have consequences, even that last call you made it can be an absolute cliff changer.

Will Batman and Robin endure the testing times? (Suits season premiere)

Once upon a time, Harvey was superman, but now he is batman. And this transition precisely happened when he found himself a Robin in the form of Mike. A naive yet equally cocky ally who could process stack loads of data in a jiffy and at the same pace could engage in quote for quote with him. Sadly the bromance turned bitter when Jessica blackmailed extorted him to go behind Harvey’s back. And from yesterday’s season premiere, what one can easily infer is that Harvey has taken the blow to his heart this time and is far from calling it a truce.

Here’s a quick recap

Pearson Hardman is Pearson Darby now and with a 51% stake, Darby is the one who calls the shots. Sour with his defeat, Harvey does what he does best, bluffs and settles a suit for the thrice the money. Jessica suspects him of quitting soon and her distrust in him, propels him to do just the same. He enters into an arrangement with Darby that if he wins the newly assigned Ava Hessington suit then the non compete agreement be held void and he gets to walk out of the firm as a free man, which he later alters on being reminded that he never runs from a fight. All the while, our rookie Mike is trying to make it up to Harvey but sadly his efforts turn futile. Mike finally tells Rachel everything from scratch, about how he made it to Pearson Hardman and by the looks of it, they are a couple now. Also Mike finds a new friend in Benjamin ( the IT guy who was outsmarted my Mike’s eidetic memory).

From the premiere it is evident that this is going to be nothing short of an explosive season. If they are talking power struggles and transitions in the premiere, then there are major changes in store. But what I sorely miss is the humor- the conversations laced with ‘easy hotshot’, ‘beiber fever’, its okay to gloat but you don’t have to suck at it’, the puppy terminology’. Suits without Harvey and Mike poking fun at each other is hard for me to digest so they better get back together soon.

Paradoxes

  • Jessica who once valued the best closer in the city for his shrewdness, meticulously demarcated for him the difference between leverage and bluff.
  • For someone who has spent five years of their life for getting a golden ticket to Harvard and eventually work as a lawyer in Pearson Hardman, Rachel glibly suggests Mike to quit. Honestly Miss-I-Don’t-Want-to-Go-To-Any-Law-School-But-Harvard-Law, that was pretty vicious.

Humor

  • Louis troubled with his Uniball (pens) replaced by cheap plastic ones is assuaged by a Donna who fools him into making an ink mustache on his face,
  • Louis and Nigel struggle over the Raspberry Granola Bars and the Uniball pens. Louis who manages to replace Nigel as the quartermaster is swept off his feet when he realizes that it was all a ploy, and Nigel is now the new ringmaster of the associates.

Highlights

  • Donna points out to Mike that the only way to call it quits with Harvey is to hop onto a time machine and undo what he did.
  • Mike points out to Jessica that the letter she typed out for the D.A. to expose Mike had her computer’s digital signature on it and if she ever intends on sending it then they are both sailing in the same boat.
  • Harvey and Mike’s confrontation. “Anyone comes to you with any threat at all, you come to me. That is goddamn loyalty.”
  • Harvey’s decision to alter the arrangement and instead of quitting the firm, taking down Jessica.

What am I looking forward to?

  • The day Batman gets a whiff of Robin’s generous bedside manners and tactless talking with Miss goody two shoes, he will be in for a hard time.
  • Harvey working his way up to Specter Darby or Darby Specter.
  • Louis and Nigel have got a real good equation out there and I can foresee wittier banters among the two of them
  • Rachel and Mike’s relation oscillating between his naivete and her self importance.

Rooting for Harvey and Mike together.

Reminiscing the Joy of Fiction

Daily Prompt: From the Gut.

For today’s daily prompt, we are to write about a recent incident when we had a hearty laugh. Instead I chose to recall a few moments from some of my favorite novels that made me chuckle. Have a look.

#1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“Show yourself!” Snape said, tapping the map sharply.

It stayed blank. Harry was taking deep, calming breaths.

“Professor Severus Snape, master of this school, commands you to yield the information you conceal!” Snape said, hitting the map

with his wand.

As though an invisible hand were writing upon it, words appeared on the smooth surface of the map.

“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.”

Snape froze. Harry stared, dumbstruck, at the message. But the map didn’t stop there. More writing was appearing beneath the first.

Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.

It would have been very funny if the situation hadn’t been so serious.

And there was more. . . .

“Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.”

Harry closed his eyes in horror. When he’d opened them, the map had had its last word.

“Mr. Wormtail bids, Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slime ball.”

Harry waited for the blow to fall.

“So . . . ,” said Snape softly. “We’ll see about this. . . .”

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

#2 The trio visit Fred and George’s Store

“That’s three Galleons, nine Sickles, and a Knut,” said Fred, examining the many boxes in Ron’s arms. “Cough up.”

“I’m your brother!”

“And that’s our stuff you’re nicking. Three Galleons, nine Sickles. I’ll knock off the Knut.”

“But I haven’t got three Galleons, nine Sickles!”

“You’d better put it back then, and mind you put it on the right shelves.”

Ron dropped several boxes, swore, and made a rude hand gesture at Fred that was unfortunately spotted by Mrs. Weasley, who had chosen that moment to appear.

“If I see you do that again I’ll jinx your fingers together,” she said sharply.

#3. The muggle Prime Minister meets the Minister of Magic

It was precisely this sort of behavior that made him dislike Fudge’s visits so much. He was, after all, the Prime Minister and did not appreciate being made to feel like an ignorant schoolboy. But of course, it had been like this from his very first meeting with Fudge on his very first evening as Prime Minister. He remembered it as though it were yesterday and knew it would haunt him until his dying day.

He had been standing alone in this very office, savoring the triumph that was his after so many years of dreaming and scheming, when he had heard a cough behind him, just like tonight, and turned to find that ugly little portraittalking to him, announcing that the Minister of Magic was about to arrive and introduce himself

Naturally, he had thought that the long campaign and the strain of the election had caused him to go mad. He had been utterly terrified to find a portrait talking to him, though this had been nothing to how he felt when a self-proclaimed wizard had bounced out of the fireplace and shaken his hand. He had remained speechless throughout Fudge’s kindly explanation that there were witches and wizards still living in secret all over the world and his reassurances that he was not to bother his head about them as the Ministry of Magic took responsibility for the whole Wizarding community and prevented the non-magical population from getting wind of them. It was, said Fudge, a difficult job that encompassed everything from regulations on responsible use of broomsticks to keeping the dragon population under control (the Prime Minister remembered clutching the desk for support at this point). Fudge had then patted the shoulder of the still-dumbstruck Prime Minister in a fatherly sort of way.

“Not to worry,” he had said, “it’s odds-on you’ll never see me again. I’ll only bother you if there’s something really serious going on our end, something that’s likely to affect the Muggles–the non-magical population, I should say. Otherwise, it’s live and let live. And I must say, you’re taking it a lot better than your predecessor. He tried to throw me out the window, thought I was a hoax planned by the opposition.”

At this, the Prime Minister had found his voice at last. “You’re–you’re not a hoax, then?”

It had been his last, desperate hope.

“No,” said Fudge gently. “No, I’m afraid I’m not. Look.”

And he had turned the Prime Minister’s teacup into a gerbil.

“But,” said the Prime Minister breathlessly, watching his teacup chewing on the corner of his next speech, “but why–why has nobody told me–?”

“The Minister of Magic only reveals him–or herself to the Muggle Prime Minister of the day,” said Fudge, poking his wand back inside his jacket. “We find it the best way to maintain secrecy.”

“But then,” bleated the Prime Minister, “why hasn’t a former Prime Minister warned me–?”

At this, Fudge had actually laughed.

“My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?”

#4. Slughorn’s Christmas Party

“But I don’t think I’ve ever known such a natural at Potions!” said Slughorn, regarding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. “Instinctive, you know — like his mother! I’ve only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybill-why even Severus —” And to Harry’s horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them. “Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!” hiccuped Slughorn happily. “I was just talking about Harry’s exceptional po-tion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!”

Trapped, with Slughorns arm around his shoulders, Snape looked down his hooked nose at Harry, his black eyes narrowed. “Funny, I never had the impression that I managed to teach Potter anything at all.”

#5 I’ve Got your Number

“We’re playing Scrabble. It’s a nightmare.”

“Scrabble?” He sounds surprised.

“Scrabble’s great.”

“Not when you are playing with a family of geniuses. They all put words like iridium. And I put pig.”

#6. Can you keep a Secret?

A girl after getting drunk on a flight divulges every secret of her life in front of a complete stranger who later turns out to be her boss. Given below are some of his questions/remarks when he meets her in the office and the secrets that she had disclosed on the flight.

“How’s the coffee?”he asks pleasantly. “Tasty?”

(“The coffee at work is the most disgusting stuff you’ve ever drunk, absolute poison.”)

“That’s a big desk you’ve got there Artemis.”

(“The new desk just arrived and she just took it.”)

I told him about faking the A grade on my CV.

“Why not say we were discussing logistics? “he raised his eyebrow and closed the door behind me.

(“I still don’t know what the word logistics means.”)

Daily Prompt: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma- Curious Connect with Televsion

Daily Prompt: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma.

Each one of us have weaknesses. Uncontrollable rage, sexy Steve Madden’s or a congenital sweet tooth that doesn’t help those extra pounds. I also have one – I am a Television Addict- as much as I cannot study without TV.

When you have been a bright student all your life, most people like to assume that you don’t have a life beyond books. Oddly that doesn’t hold true for me. My connect with television dates back to the day when I spoke my very first word and that was a daily soap’s name. I have grown up watching television, narrating an episode to my mother while she looked at me startled and bemused that how her 5 year old remembers every dialogue with the exact emotion and expression. For the past 15 years, there has not been a show on Indian Television that I have missed.I can immerse myself into a show so deep that sometimes I ignore the fine line between fiction and reality. For instance I watched White Collar’s fourth season finale thrice to take note of junctures where Peter made mistakes and how he could have saved himself from getting arrested.

Most of you might think, what is wrong with watching television that I like to keep it to myself? Sadly Indian shows tend to have regressive plot lines and in school watching soap operas was considered tacky. So watching television became a clandestine affair.

While people switch on their televisions to kill time or take their minds off their lives I have not only seen shows but have also given them a deep thought. I am not dismissing the fact that majority of the shows on air have a very backward outlook but undeniably these are the shows that gross highest TRPs. Google Diya aur Bati Hum or Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and you will understand my point. No matter how aggressively we advocate about women empowerment or caste/creed discrimination, people still hold on to their orthodox beliefs and customs.

I have a friend who firmly believes that one must always look at the bright side and drawing inspiration from that thought I would like to say that there have been some pretty amazing shows or some lovable characters in the not so good shows as well.  Hip Hip Hurray which telecasted on Zee Tv showcased the lives of 11th standard school kids. I think the show was ahead of its time because school affairs, ragging, drugs or live in relationships were never talked about in Indian homes during the 90s. Left Right Left was another path breaking show about Indian Military aspirants (until of course they came up with a second season). Radha ki betiyan kuch kar dikhayegi was a delight to watch every Monday because at least in a single show 19-20 year old girls had ambitions for their lives apart from getting married. I have sincerely followed Chandragupta Maurya week after week because it was difficult for me to take my eyes off Manish Wadhwa who evoked life into Chanakya. I made a mental note of every word he uttered- it was pure wisdom. And for a very brief period, Balika Vadhu was a very well conceived and executed show.

Yes, television has landed me in a few embarrassing situations as well. At a very young age I pointed out to my mother that morning sickness is a symptom of pregnancy (Neena Gupta’s show Saans) or a wedding night authenticates a marriage (Zee Tv’s show Amanat).

On a parting note, here’s another little secret. Sometimes I had other reasons that kept me glued to the TV screen namely, Abhay Deol’s dimples, Vikas Khanna’s humbleness (and the way he pronounced Aalu), Osh Kosh Bagosh Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) or Sushant Singh Rajput’s O Re Piya performance in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 4, all of which by the way make my heart waltz in air.

Raanjhanaa- The strange things that love makes you do!

Raanjhana- 3.5/5

A year and a half ago my friend made me hear this song called ‘Kolaveri Di’ and I just couldn’t understand what was she gushing all about. Then she showed me the video on youtube and all I remember is hitting the replay button over and over again. That was my first rendezvous with Dhanush’s charm.

Raanjhanaa is a tale of a boy, Kundan (Dhanush) from Banaras who falls head over heels in love with Muslim girl, Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) as a child. After 16 slaps, a half kiss and wrist slashing sequence Kundan finally manages to woo Zoya. But once the clandestine affair comes to the knowledge of Zoya’s parents she is sent off to Aligarh at her aunt’s place to finish her schooling. Eight years on, Kundan becomes the blue-eyed neighbor for Zoya’s parents who unflinchingly does odd jobs for them ranging from plumbing to managing a marquee. Sadly Zoya has entirely forgotten the teenage affair so much so that she can’t even recognize Kundan. But Kundan is undeterred and once again embarks on a journey to woo her until she confesses that she has already fallen for the student council President of Jawarlal Nehru University (Abhay Deol). A heartbroken Kundan arranges her marriage as well as fixes his own with his childhood friend Bindiya.

Ranjhanaa does not end here. Kundan and Zoya’s fate makes them traverse a long journey across places that the viewer least expects.

As I pointed out earlier, Dhanush is an instant charmer and if that was his impact in a three minute video then how can he not sway you in a two and a half hour movie. I think Zoya is the most complex character Sonam has ever played. She has a multi-faceted personality, the girl next door with mesmerizing beauty, envious, manipulative in the manner she gets things done through Kundan and the girl who is madly in love. Sadly though Sonam Kapoor can doll up pretty well for the camera yet she cannot act. You find her either laughing most of the time or screaming at the topmost pitch. Abhay Deol or rather the fellow who never disappoints, gets deep into the skin of his character, the headstrong and witty youngster who is eyeing a spot for himself on 9, Racecourse Road. Finally Swara Bhaskar and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub have done an exceedingly well job in playing Dhanush’s childhood friends.The uninterrupted humor in the first half is mostly because of the trio’s tongue in cheek dialogues.

Watch Raanjhanaa for Dhanush, the guy with the unconventional looks but with tremendous acting caliber and who has undoubtedly bagged himself a Filmfare for his performance in this movie.

In one of the scenes in the movie, Zeeshan tells Dhanush, “Pyar na ho gaya UPSC ka exam ho gaya jo dus saal se clear hi nahi hua.”    (Your love is more like a civil services exam that you haven’t managed to crack in 10 years). On a bidding note all I can say is in spite of Kundan’s ten years of relentless pursuit  all that he manages to get in the end might leave you a little shaken.

 

Akbar- He Whose Second Name is Terror

Killing History Softly

The title comes from the teaser of the Ekta Kapoor’s to be launched show Jodha Akbar. Ekta Kapoor has undoubtedly been my least favorite person on television. With her unimaginative plots it is indeed boggling that she has manged to be around in the TV industry for such a long time. With Jodha Akbar she is venturing into an entirely alien territory of period dramas.Inadequate background on historic figures endow the creator of a period drama with a certain flexibility to mold the characters. However creative liberty is one thing and making Akbar sound like Aurangzeb is another. She has let her imagination run out of bounds and etched out a character which is in stark contrast to the most popular Mughal Emperor, Akbar. She has reduced the stature of Akbar to a self indulgent loathsome king who wants to establish a proprietary right on Jodha.

The fact of the matter is that the plot has clear resemblance to the story lines of her previously successful shows like Kasamh Se, Parichay, Kasauti Zindagi Ki where a mean/snobbish fellow marries a coy girl, though they live like two strangers under the same roof yet destiny forces them to walk on intermittent paths and voila love happens. But then comes along a villain who draws the lovers apart, eventually one of them ends up in a prison and a midst  the looming despair and long drawn misunderstandings the female protagonist gives birth to a child and somehow ends up in a totally different part of the globe.

While there is a lot of buzz about this show’s extravagance I am quite sure that it is no different from the rest of her shows and the show will go off air within a short span just like one of Ekta’s former ambitious project, Mahabharat.

On a final note brace yourself to witness the killing of history softly next Monday only on Zee TV.

Connected Hum Tum- PhD in Female Psyche

downloadThe newest show on Zee Tv explores the lives of six ordinary women, each of these women record their most intimate moments and feelings through a camera. The first one is struggling with the transitions in her marriage- her husband shying away from family responsibilities and losing interest in family. The second one once divorce Continue reading