Chester Bennington. Linkin Park. It is so unreal thinking that Chester Bennington is not with us anymore. It feels so, so weird that I will never be able to hear Chester’s voice in a new way again. Like a pit has formed in my stomach which I cannot fathom. That no song ever now released will have a new style of Chester’s voice.
Chester’s death came as a shock, an insanely massive one. My friend, Simran Bodh called me up a little after midnight. At first, I thought it was a call because she was pissed off because I didn’t tell her I had finished “Kafka on the Shore”. I picked it up nonchalantly and asked, “Sup”. Her only words were, “Did you hear about Chester?” And I went like, “What Chester?” And she went like, “Chester from Linkin Park.” And I was like, “Of course I know Chester from Linkin Park (Come on, I grew up with Linkin Park)”. And then she went, “He died.” And I was incredulous. I was like, “Are you mad?” And then she told me to check google and I did. And all the incredulity in me about what she said was torn away. I thought it would be some fucker spreading misinformation or something, like how we had talks of Linkin Park breaking up and stuff. I checked google, and I wrote Chester Bennington, and the second search result read “Chester Bennington death”.
I went silent. I was like, “What the Actual Fuck are you talking about.” I couldn’t believe what I had just read. I checked Wikipedia, twenty different articles and I just couldn’t believe it. I was on call for two hours, wherein I just spent the first hour repeating, “Na he’s just gonna wake up and be like ‘It’s all fine. I’m alive’. You see.” Some part of me just couldn’t believe he was gone. I kept on reading more and more articles, as though it might actually reverse what had happened or that all of them shared a source which was wrong.
The second hour I spent on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, looking at all the messages people left for Chester. So many people had put up so many beautiful things. One person told how he had loved them and he even introduced them to his children. One person put up a video, showing the first song they ever played on the piano: In The End. So many people saying that Linkin Park song’s got them out of a tough time. One person said My December pulled him out of many a tough times and he was sorry it couldn’t pull Chester out of it too. My brother has Iridescent as his pick me up song. If only Chester could see the impact he and Linkin Park have had on all of us, the impact their voice had on us. Maybe.
It was only after he died that I got to know Chester had depression. I knew he was molested as a child and had drug and alcohol addiction issues, but I never knew about his depression. I saw an interview that day itself in which he said (I’m paraphrasing), “There are days when I feel nothing. I want to feel happy, but I wake up and I can’t.”
There are a lot of people who are going around saying Chester is a coward for committing suicide, and it wasn’t the way. But suicide is never the first option, or the best. It is always the last option. When you think nothing else can pull you through. And frankly, even though I’ve never been through it, I feel it is not easy. Think about Chester’s thought process. When he was thinking of committing suicide, how much strength he would have needed. He was leaving behind six perfect children, a beautiful wife, and an amazing team with whom he had been working for the past 17 years (20 if we also count their Xero years). And he still did it, because he saw no other way.
Linkin Park has been a friend all these years. They are the first band I ever heard, and alongside Fireflies by Owl City and some songs by Maroon 5 and Death Cab for Cutie, have greatly influenced a lot of my works, especially my earlier ones. Every piece I write, I make it a point to reference Linkin Park, because it is because of them that I am able to write about things much more mature than my age. The Parks in my blog name stand for Linkin Park.
All these years, for some reason, no matter how different Linkin Park became from their initial sound, they always pulled me back. I had this cycle for every album they released after Minutes to Midnight. I used to listen to it, I was like, “This music is so different,” then I wouldn’t listen to all the songs as much as other Linkin Park songs and then one day I would listen and realise that it is still Linkin Park, even though their music has changed. And I would be hooked. I eventually realised it. It was their lyrics. Deep, and powerful. Every new album, I would see that their music was vastly changed from their previous album and they still rocked it. Every single time. Their lyrics allowed me a view into worlds and emotions beyond what I knew at that age. They still allow me to view into different worlds, and shake me apart with the strength of their lyrics. All the time leading up to One More Light, everyone went crazy. “What is Linkin Park doing,” “They’ve sold out,” and what not. I heard Heavy and I thought it was good. It wasn’t their best song, but I still liked it and it struck a nerve with me. Despite their change in music, they hadn’t really changed. They still kept their songs emotional and from the heart. Then came Battle Symphony, and I was blown away!!!! I was like, “WOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHHHHHHHH!” I can’t even put into words how awesome that song is. Like, Damn! Amazing! And then, they followed it up with Invisible and I went like, “DUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!” Linkin Park has always got it. Both of these songs have somehow crept up to positions 5 and 6 respectively in my “All Time Top Linkin Park Songs”. And every song I hear of Linkin Park’s, I go like, Damn! Even after all these years, their songs are still intact with immense power and meaning. Their songs never lose their charm.
So, when I heard Chester died, I just felt sad. It was upsetting. It was like, losing a friend, and knowing that nothing you could do to help him. If only my writing about my love for him and Linkin Park could keep him alive, or bring him back, I would never stop, never finish this article. And there is no need to worry, because even after I’m tired, or gone or unable to continue, someone else will take my spot. And we would have only stopped when Chester would’ve been ready to go.
There are still so many things I haven’t articulated, simply because I don’t know what they are, and the things I do know, how to write them. Linkin Park for Life! I grew up on the Park. We all did. Some of us grew up and went away from the park, some of us are still there, roaming around. But all of us, we Grew up on the Park.
Rest in Peace Chester, keep rocking wherever you are, until we see you again, and hear your voice in new styles. Godspeed my friend, I will always remember you. You will always be in my memory
So, here I am, in London! It’s been 4 days since my grand arrival to this land of different food and landscapes and buildings. Even before I got here, I knew I would be busy clicking photos of all the food items and shops and notebooks I see and buy here. So, on Sunday night, it struck me. Why not do a whole series of it, on Instagram, Twitter and the blog? I love food, and pictures, and so many people do it, why shouldn’t I also do it in my free time? It will be a great way to spend free time, since it’s tough to write here (I’ve written 2 minutes in the last five days).
So, then I decided I would start the London Food Diaries. Even though it is called Food Diaries, it will include photos of the magnificent buildings, the road side, the Harry Potter WB Tour( Awwwww yessss!! Potter-philes, get excited), the Disney Store and a lot of Star Wars goodies (You didn’t think I would include Harry Potter and leave out Star Wars. Tch Tch Tch.), notebooks which I’ve bought, and of course, food.
I haven’t really thought how I’ll integrate all this into the blog, but I have a clear idea how I’ll do it for Instagram.
Also, I’ll soon be starting a new Instagram account for the blog in some time.
Till then, all the pictures will be on my Instagram profile – shrey_ahuja (hyperlinked with my profile), You can search me on Insta as shrey_ahuja . It’ll be a pseudo-intellectual picture of me trying to appear smart, along with a “Joey doesn’t share food” tagline and a link to the blog.
Right now, I have to go for breakfast, because there is amazing breakfast options here, it’s already 9 AM here and everyone wants to go out. So, I’ll start posting when I come back from hanging around today. Till then, Au revoir.
She was cosily asleep in her bed, wrapped in her blanket. She had a peaceful look on her face, a sleep uninterrupted by frequent alarm sneezes or the need for water or the washroom.
It was eight forty five, fifteen minutes till her alarm went off and she woke up. Her room was silent, no sound to disturb her. All the lights were switched off, only the ambient light illuminated her room. The room had a picturesque and quaint feel to itself, like out of a movie.
Another ten minute passed before a voice rose in her room. “She should wake up any second now”. There was no reaction or movement by the girl. The voice didn’t even faze her. The next five minutes till nine went the same as all the other minutes. The odd voice either had its watch set to the wrong time, or was in the wrong room.
It turned nine in her phone and it started ringing and woke the girl up. She woke up with a sudden jolt. She picked up her phone and turned it off. Her face betrayed her long, deep sleep. She looked shocked and lost; obviously troubled by the loud screeching noise. She shook her head and then readied herself to let go of the momentary shock and start the day.
“You’re getting sloppy”, the odd voice rose again. “You used to beat your alarm and turn it off before it even had a chance.”
“I know. I’m getting tired,” the girl replied nonchalantly, stretching her legs. A second passed, and all of a sudden she became shocked. “Whose voice is that?” She had gotten to the side of the bed, eyeing her room cautiously.
“Mine,” the voice responded without any sarcasm or comedy. It was straightforward.
“Oh ha ha,” the girl said. Her voice was sarcastic but worried underneath. “How funny. That’s a convenient answer, isn’t it? Isn’t our voice always our own.”
“Yes, yes it is,” the voice responded like before. “Aren’t all our voices our own?”
“Great. Now if you could tell me who you are, in proper terms.” She was eyeing her room for any weapon she could find.
“I am you,” the voice rose again.
“Oh hi me,” the girl answered sweetly. “Could you tell me just one thing,” her voice rose till she thundered. “Why are you troubling me?”
“Because you need to get out of the rut you continuously put yourself into. Where you lose all energy and excitement to beat your alarm clock. Where you wake up happily, not shocked out of your wits,” the voice thundered.
The girl was caught off guard. The outburst was the last thing she expected from the voice. She looked blankly ahead and stopped her search for a weapon.
“I’ve already answered that. “There was silence between the two. The voice was waiting for the girl to speak. The girl searching for the answer.
“Where are you?” The girl eventually broke the silence. She got up.
“Follow my voice. I’ll let out a little hum. Reach there,” the voice responded and then started emitting a light hum. The girl followed the hum to its source and reached it; her standing mirror. “Take a seat,” the voice said.”
“My mirror?” She put her hands on the mirror and moved it along.
“No, you,” the voice spoke again. “Have a seat.”
She turned around and pulled a chair. “Me, as in, my reflection?”
“No, you as in your mirror. What, do you think your reflection is you in a different world?” The mirror chuckled.
She let out a little chuckle. “So, you can also be funny. That’s good to know.” She made herself comfortable in her chair. “But what’s this whole thing, you know. You my mirror being me and all that.”
“I’ve never questioned it. It’s become a long standing tradition of ours; and I’ve become too comfortable to actually put an effort and know about it. I’ve always been looking over you; trying to help you through everything I can. I look at you going to bed and waking up every day five minutes before the alarm. And sometimes going back to sleep after shutting it off in the sanctuary of your bed; away from the world. I’ve seen you excited at wearing new clothes. And all the times when you’ve stood lost, with that look of sadness and despair, staring into the mirror while grooming yourself, before you’re suddenly jolted back into reality by some unseen stimuli. All those hours fretting, not feeling good enough, all the phone calls which make you feel happy, feel good, as well as those which steal away your peace of mind. I’ve been through all of this with you. It’s been my sole love to do, from your birth to your inevitable death. I’m always looking over you.”
“What about after when I die?”
“Like I said, I’m you. When you die, I go along with you.”
There was another long silence between the two. The girl hunched over her chairs, fists forming by her sides. She was breathing hard, straining her mind to move towards something.
“Why are you here all of a sudden? Talking to me like this, when you’ve never done it before. What changed all of a sudden?”
“I think I reached my limit. Looking at you go through all this; again and again, with no end to this loop till you are pulled out of it.”
She closed her eyes and thought. She took in a few deep breaths and sighed. Realising all that the mirror was talking about. Day after day of constant poison, the people whom she was with every day. Who put her down, didn’t appreciate her, made jokes about her, shouted at her; drained her energy.
“Why do you let them do that to you? Why do you let them bring you down, tell you you are a mess-up for the littlest of things? They laugh at you when you tell them about your dreams and aims. They poke fun at you, make jokes about you. Try to pull you down to where they crawl and leech. Them and all their incessant alcohol and smoke vapours, their mind numbing and boring conversation which couldn’t even stimulate a rock. Their pathetic waste of time. All you do is go along with it, hiding behind a fake smile, trying to be fine with all this. Why do you let them do that?” The voice thundered its words, except the last sentence it was about to say, which it said gently. “Most importantly, why do you stay?”
She stayed motionless throughout. She heard every word with her eyes closed, and the words played themselves out in front of her. A few seconds later, she spoke. “Maybe it’s because I feel there is good in them. That this is just a phase and they will snap out of it someday.”
“And for that you let yourself get thrown around like a ragdoll?” The mirror thundered again.
“You could be nicer you know,” the girl thundered back. “Screaming at me isn’t going to help.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I thought maybe the screening would get some sense into you,” the mirror apologized.
“I feel bad too. But it’s the hope that they will see the light. That’s why at times I feel it’s okay to be with them.”
“How’s that worked out for you?”
The girl chuckled. “Not too well.” There was more silence between the two, then the girl spoke again. “But it could have been worse.”
“Yes, surely could have been,” the mirror joked.
The girl laughed. “Imagine me, walking around like a zombie, navigating through bars with more zombies like me.”
“That would surely be horrible,” the mirror said unenthusiastically.
“Yeah. But I won’t let that happen. I won’t become a zombie, or what you fear I’m becoming.”
“I know. But it still worries me.”
“Would the worrying help?”
“In ways. It catalyses me into action for you. But not too much worrying. That leads me to anger and losing control.”
“Everyone keeps on telling me what you’re telling me. It’s not easy.”
“Doing what you believe in and standing against the ridicule of others. It’s not easy. It gets too strenuous most of the time if you go at it alone. Talking, like now, helps. Even if it is against what I feel. I let out some things and learn something as well. How to go about it better, or how to improve. And not just here, with my friends, but life as well.”
“Is all this worth it? All the feeling bad, getting up late, being drained of energy?”
“I honestly don’t know. I mean, it’s weird. Do you stay with the friends whom you’ve always been with? Or do you let it all go away? What does one do here?”
“Whatever one’s life has been up to that point.”
“I guess so. Your past dictates a good part of your future.”
“Yes, but there are exceptions. Sometimes you can do things which nobody expects you to do. We all have that in us. That’s why we have reached form sticks and stones to steel and now the internet. Who knows where we’ll go from here? Cosmic beings of pure intelligence? Or maybe beings who only communicate telepathically, or our eyes? Or maybe creatures with no bones, so we won’t have any fractures. And where will we go from there? It’s all endless. And entropic. But fascinating.”
“You watch way too much sci-fi mirror.”
“You’re bad at holding these conversations, especially given how much you loved wondering about all this in your thoughts.”
“I can’t stay the same.”
“But you shouldn’t change to the extent where you start losing all that which made you happy. Are you happy?”
“I don’t know. It’s tough to say. I smile, I laugh here and there. So I know I’m not sad. But happy. Explain happy.”
“Not being sad I guess. We haven’t put much thought into it.”
“Wow. Before you, I never knew I was so smart,” she mocked the mirror.
“Ignorance is a gift cherished only by the complacent.”
“In this case, this line fits. You are what you say,” the girl smirked.
“And I am, in all aspects, you. With my quip, we shall get back to what we were talking about: happiness.”
“You can’t digress, can you?”
“Not by complacent people.”
“I guess I’ll have to get moving then. What do you think happiness is?”
“It’s a state of satisfaction maybe. Not having thoughts plague your mind. Your eyes have a specific shine, glint in them. They aren’t searching constantly for something, or lost deep in thought. It just, feels great.”
“But you can’t be like that all the time. What if you’re deep in thought? Or there is something stressful going on in your life? Or you’re having a particularly deep conversation which doesn’t involve a lot of smiling.”
“Happiness isn’t discrete. It doesn’t come and go from one situation to the other. It’s always there.”
“How certain are you while stating such a thing?”
“I don’t know. Maybe very, maybe not very. All I know is, we used to be happy in the past. We were better than this. Even when we had a bad day, we knew life was still happy. Somehow, I guess that hasn’t stayed.”
“Or maybe we just remember the happy parts of our past and cling onto them? Or we associate happiness with particular qualities. Which, if we stop having, we believe will also take away our happiness. Maybe we’re unhappy because of ourselves. Because we keep on searching and searching for something to make us happy rather than actually setting out sights on what’s there in front of us which we should appreciate.”
“We constantly put so much pressure on ourselves. To be happy, to be who we were. To reach back to where we were, which in actuality moves us further away from it. Happiness is the ease with which life moves. That ease cannot be brought about by pressure. We must struggle in life, but not for happiness. Never for happiness. Happiness brought about by pressure isn’t happiness. It’s something else.”
“What what?” the girl chuckled. “I can’t know the answer to everything. Think for yourself.”
The mirror laughed.
“Given your mind, you deserve so much more than you are getting. You need to go out and get it.”
“But what if I fail? And lose what I am even above?”
“We can never let fear guide us. It takes from dimly lit to dimly lit; always in the safe comfort zone between the pitch black and the radiance. It’s a terrible waste to only look at things from one level of brightness. “
“It is. Life needs colour, lots of it. And perspective. It needs to be big, not long.”
“So, what do you make of it?”
The girl did not respond. She sat in silence, thinking about her answer. She had brought her left knee up and put her chin on it, her arms wrapped around her knee.
The air around them started to become wavy, as though fading out.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to make a plan. See how much more I should stay, and where I am headed to. I think I’ll decide the path only before I set on it, not now.”
The waves became fierce, darkness started to seep into the waves, little images of a room, with light like hers an hour ago moving into the present. A noise started beeping, a high screech.
“Wait, what’s that?” The girl’s focus shifted to the beeping noise. “That’s my alarm clock,” she exclaimed.
“Why, yes it is,” the mirror smiled. “Time to wake up and put your thoughts into motion.”
“What?” She was incredulous. “I’m asleep? Is this a dream? Meaning none of this happened?”
The waves became more intense, and the room from the past mixed in with the present and became more prominent.
“Its status of having happened depends on how you felt it. If it felt real, could it not have happened just because it is not how things are not supposed to happen?”
The waves reached their maximum, and the present had all but lost itself in the past. Frantic, the girl said what she knew would likely be her last words. “Who, are you, then?”
“You,” the mirror smiled.
The waves broke upon reaching their maximum. The waves broke into a quaint, picturesque room, like out of a film, the girl wrapped in her sheet, the alarm ringing incessantly.
The girl, in one swift motion, shut off the alarm and got to her feet.
“Five minutes late,” she said, looking at the phone, which said 9:00 AM.
A Death in the Gunj has created a lot of buzz since its release. To everyone hearing about this film now, it was actually released back in September 2016 for film festivals. It was screened at a film festival in Indian Habitat Centre (IHC) in May this year even before its release. So this film has been around for a long time, and after four months of trying (since February) to get a copy somehow, I finally saw it in the hall. And it was well worth the wait, almost!
A Death in the Gunj is by no stretch of imagination the best film of this year, but it’s still a fantastic one. It is a drama/thriller film, which in my opinion is one of the most mismatched combination of genres, along with Horror/Comedy (I don’t who even does this. I and a few friends of mine stumbled onto this on a night stay.).
A Death in the Gunj is more Drama than thriller. A Death in the Gunj has a huge cast of characters: Shutu (Vikrant Massey) as the sad, troubled (for the lack of a better word) cousin of Bonni (Tillotama Shome), who is the wife of Nandan/Nandu (Gulshan Devaiah), and their child is Tani (Arya Sharma). Then, there are O.P. Bakshi (Om Puri) and Anupama Bakshi (Tanuja) as the parents of Nandu, whose house serves as the location for the film. Then there are friends of Nandu and Bonnie: Mitali (Mimi) (Kalki Koechlin), the weird and sultry friend, VIkram (Ranvir Shorey), the asshole (as in you’ll find him to be an asshole, but most of the characters think he isn’t), and Brian (Jim Sarbh), the friend whom we never get to know. Then there are the comic helpers of the Bakshi’s, Manjiya and I forgot the name of his wife. Apparently no site mentions these characters’ full names or the actors. So they are either not given enough importance, or are not actors. Which feels wrong, because their name should have been mentioned.
The film pays a lot of attention to the characters and the interaction between the characters. It takes its start sloooooooowwwww. I think what Konkana Sensharma did was flesh out the characters by their interactions. For eg- You get to know about one side of Shutu when he is with Tani, and another side when he is with Nandu, and another when he is with Mimi. So, you never truly explicitly get to know the characters well, or what the others feel about everyone, because the relation between Bonni and Shutu isn’t very well fleshed out, and the relation between Nandu and his father only stays at the surface. Or why nobody every questions or says anything about Vikram being an asshole (God he is such an asshole, all throughout. So is Nandu as well, so I guess that’s why they never realise). While I do admire what Konkana Sensharma has done, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a lot missing from the characters. The characters, except Shutu are largely 1D, especially Brian who is 0.5D.
The acting though, by all of them was superb! I came to the acting portion of the movie only two hours after the movie. It felt strange, because I never noticed the acting, even while watching the movie; which isn’t something I do. That’s when it hit me. They were all (the cast) so natural and so lifelike, with their weird mannerisms, stupid antics and their spot on odd 1970’s hairstyles (The movie is set in 1979 BTW), that you never realise any of them is acting.
One thing I did while watching the movie was guess who would die in the film. It says a DEATH, why not have some extra fun? I actually tried to make up reasons why some character or the other would die and how. Also, all of you will get a warning about Paranormal activities at the start of the film. Let me just inform you that there is very minimal paranormal stuff going on. The disclaimer makes it look more serious than it actually is and take it with a pinch of salt. That disclaimer really distracted me, because I kept on thinking that there would be some paranormal element, which there wasn’t. Thank you Pehlaj Nehani.
Konkana Sensharma has overall done an amazing job at direction. I think this is one of the best directorial debuts I’ve seen in my life. I wouldn’t be surprised that she receives tons of nominations for her work here. The pacing of the film is a bit slow however. It takes a lot of time to set the characters up properly, and there are some scenes here and there which could have been trimmed, and shorten the movie up by five minutes or so. It doesn’t seem like much, but those five minutes could make the movie crisper. The cinematography is outstanding as well, to say the least. There were two shots of McCluskieganj which were so beautiful, like right out of a game or a Japanese movie. The trees, the terrain around them, all seen through the mist from an overview. Phenomenal. That is the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in a film.
Even if A Death in the Gunj hadn’t been a debut, it would’ve still been a phenomenal film. There isn’t much to hate on in this film, though a lot to love. It’s a natural film, like the flow of the ocean with some low tides and a high tide.
“I go to seek a Great Perhaps”. There are the last words of a French poet, Frank Rabelais. There words are quoted by Miles Halter in “Looking for Alaska”; in two readings of the book, they have assumed massive importance.
At the beginning of the book, Miles is bored of his life in Florida and aims to go seek a Great Perhaps, a place where he will have adventures and enjoy his life more than he presently is. In all honesty, isn’t that what all of us are searching for in our lives? A grand adventure, where we have great fun and find ourselves.
For me, the Great Perhaps has been college. It has been my greatest adventure, the grandest roller coaster I have been in yet. It’s gone up, it’s gone down, but it’s always been moving; never stopping. That’s how adventures should be, shouldn’t they? Always in motion; never stopping, even for a second. And alas it’s coming to an end too soon after four years. I can silk, or cry or laugh, but at the end, I must accept it. Everything that has a beginning must have an end.
I’ve don’t it all here, coming in from my previous Great Perhaps, School. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and done the craziest of things, some of which are: Making jokes the entire class because I couldn’t write down anything because I had a plaster, Leaving college at 10:40PM after entering at 7:00AM, jumping around in the college all the time, sleeping in classes because I had gone for a morning walk, proposing to my girlfriend in Sri Ram Centre, arguably the best place to do such a thing, putting in four glorious years in Dhwani, organising a Street Play competition with the team and performing at numerous competitions, randomly walking in the streets all the time till late in the night, selling people everything from soaps and shampoos to T-Shirts and sweatshirts, and so many more moments which make life worth living and remembering. I have a tough time recalling everything, because I don’t want to flood this article and because I can’t explain without my voice and my body movement how much many of the little moments shaped me and how thoroughly I’ve enjoyed them and will remember them. I found out who I was, to an extent, and became, maybe, a better person. It’s just like any great adventure should be; memorable, exhilarating, and worthwhile. I wouldn’t change a thing in it; even if I had the opportunity to.
It has prepares me for my next Great Perhaps, leaving college and going out into the world; with all the memories and friends I’ve gained.
It’s not so much the Great Perhaps without you putting your heart and soul into it. Without taking risks and chances; doing what your heart tells you to; without all these little little moments which constitute a great adventure, it is just a Perhaps. Perhaps: The place where there could’ve been fun and adventures. The Great Perhaps is the place we all want to be in, the Perhaps is where most of us find ourselves daily.
Stepping into college, I never thought it would be my Great Perhaps. It all just happened. Al the craziness, all the fun, all the friends, all the fests, all the excitement, all the things which took place. It never occurred what would happen if I did any of these things. Would it add to my CV? Would I be happy doing all this? Would I love doing it? We all just did it because we wanted to. We never cared about the outcome. We just threw ourselves into it. Just like every film, TV, book or video game character dos. Head first, without a care in the world, but with the undying confidence that we will handle all problems life throws out way. We jumped into the water first, then thought what he would do.
I guess this it now. The Great Perhaps is slowly coming to an end. I don’t know what to make of it, how to feel. I guess I’ll know when the time comes. We learn how we deal with some things when they come to us.
So, everyone, go out and seek your Great Perhaps and do whatever you want. Live your life as you see fit. Every place in these years of college is an opportunity. No Photography society in the college? Start one. Want to skip a few classes and watch a movie? Do it. Want to have a great fest? Go organise it. Just do it. Do it with all your heart and don’t care what happens. Be the hero you adore in films and TV and books and video games. Be you.
As I leave college, my last words for all of you are this:
“College has all but ended for me. So now I go seek a Great Perhaps. A new one.”
Ah yes, the last article I’ve ever written for college. This was my goodbye, my letter to the students in the college to cherish this place, and learn from its ample opportunities, rather than focusing and berating it for what it doesn’t have. This was my last advice to everyone there, for college and beyond, to live life like they want. Life needs to be big, not long.
It’s been a week since I saw the movie, and I can’t get through the title without a huge smile creeping on my face. I remember the scenes, the ending especially, and the cute faces of Ayushman Khurana and Parineeti Chopra’s characters and looking at them happy, I feel happy. The ending ingrained in my mind is such an amazing source of never ending smiles.
Meri Pyaari Bindu (Loosely translated to My Lovely Bindu) is a combination of (500) Days of Summer, Forrest Gump and Paper Towns. Sort of. For the initiated, the people who have seen these three films, will notice a lot of plot similarities with them. Those who haven’t, you’ll have it in reverse. The one central narrative element which all four movies share, is that the story is focused on the male lead; his character, journey and emotions. The female lead is explored only as much as she impacts the male lead. We don’t delve into her thought process or the nuances of her thinking.
In our story, the male lead is Abhimanyu “Bubla” Roy, who is deeply and madly in love with Bindu Shankarnarayanan, his neighbour since 1983, when he was four.
Meri Pyaari Bindu is a fantastic film. It nails every aspect of film-making, direction, characterization, acting, songs, plot lines and dialogues! Damn.
It is so immensely engrossing. I have particular habit. In the movie hall, if somebody is speaking, or a phone seven rows in front of me turns on with a white scree, I get distracted and spend 10-20 second on the distraction. Fifteen minutes in, I was so into the film, I could care less what anybody was doing or speaking or thinking. I was laughing almost half the time. It became tough not to laugh at almost every scene. At one point, my mom had to tell me to laugh quietly. I remember hitting my knees on two occasions. The comedy is subtle and has you out of your wits.
At the same time, it has a great mix of emotional, which reveals the characters beyond their comedy.
Honestly, if any one of you came up to me and asked me to tell you a scene by scene synopsis of the movie, I would fail. There is just no chance. I was so hooked onto the movie, so engrossed in the scenes, I forgot to watch them; I was experiencing them. Like I said, you get so lost in the movie, you go from scene to scene, remembering the essence but forgetting what it was about. You can barely sequence the. That was about 70% of the first half and 50% of the second half for me.
Meri Pyaari Bindu is insanely artistic. I don’t think I can put it in terms which everyone will agree to; so I’ll put them in terms I relate to. It has so many elements which go beyond the surface. The scenes use nostalgia, often
accompanied by music to familiarise us with the characters. It uses metaphors to speak to us in scenes. The scenes have a deep magic embedded in them, which makes them feel they are scenes which happen only in movies, when they just as easily do in real life. The dialogues often have meaning beyond the surface, which can only be caught by those who pay attention to the film.
This is another reason why I love the film, because all these little little things add so much layer and depth to the film and make it a rewarding experience.
The movie honestly stands on its writing. The movie tackles a concept so well-trodden (the best inarguably by (500) Days of Summer), it’s impossible to set a foundation there because it’s been so overused, the building might crumble under its own weight. Every scene of the movie risks the foundation. Even if one scene were to miss its mark, it would ruin the remaining movie and nullify whatever has been done.
Plus, Ayushman Khurana and Parineeti Chopra had their characters down to the dot. Ayushman Khurana looked damn cute (and innocent and charming) in his portrayal of the silent, straight, supportive, intense, filled with nostalgia Abhimanyu “Bubla” Roy. Parineeti Chopra’s Bindu Shankarnarayanan is random, volatile and smart. Her character is as crazy and unpredictable as is Ayushman Khurana’s stable and silent. And Parineeti Chopra’s character does it all: be crazy, happy, cry silently and loudly, be sad, be depressed, be edgy and happy (the one where you’re satisfied with life and all it has to offer).
There is one particular complaint I have with the film. Everyone who still hasn’t watched the movie might want to skip it and get to the next paragraph. Early on in the film, the concept of a tape is introduced; wherein Abhimanyu and Bindu save 10 songs each on side of a cassette. These are the ten songs which are the most important in their life. We are only ever introduced to one song, the remaining 19 are never seen. I would have loved had all the songs been used, or at least a few more or the concept been revised to fewer songs so they could have been used.
Like I said, Meri Pyaari Bindu is a fantastic movie, one which deserves multiple re watches. Though beware, its comedy, artistic scenes and unconventional style don’t make it everyone’s cup of tea. It is certainly not a bad film by any stretch, but requires some acceptance of unconventional styles for getting into.
Every once in a while, you come across a movie, with such a positive and optimistic story, a happy ending, it leaves you with a huge grin in your face. The characters have resolved their issues and accepted what they couldn’t resolve. They appreciate all that they have, where they are and love the people who are with them here, and were with them the entire journey. They don’t need anything else. They are happy.
Silver Linings Playbook is that sort of a movie. It’s a sweet, terrific, almost a classical film. It’s simple, beautiful and unpretentious. Years from now, this is one of the movies people will remember fondly, with a smile on their face and warmness in their hearts. People will also take inspiration from this film: You have to try hard and stay positive, and then you have a chance at a silver lining; a happy ending. This movie teaches you how to live your life. It inspires you to try and be better.
Not many movies can have such an impact on people. I talked to many people who have seen this film and they all share similar feelings. Everybody loved the film and took something from it: Happiness, optimism, respect for life, love and acceptance.
The direction and cinematography of Silver Linings Playbook is amazing. The selection of scenes and the angles at which they are shot are amazing. They capture the characters in the frames perfectly. It’s not something which is something you can say is missing in a movie. It just stands out and makes the movie better when it is present. Plus the whole dance sequence. Oh good god how did they shoot that! How in the world? Did Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence dance with the camera? Or were there multiple cameras? The camera gave Bradley Cooper’s and Jennifer Lawrence’s Pat and Tiffany different auras. They had two distinct auras which set them apart. And that was entirely the magic of the camera, nothing else.
On top of that, the direction is phenomenal. David O. Russell knows all he must do in a scene with the characters and there is no hesitation with it. The execution is flawless.
Obviously, a movie so good cannot be so good without a great script. A bad script can never be made into a great movie, everyone always remember that.
A lot of people already know that the lead characters in the film suffer from psychosomatic disorders. Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) suffers from Bipolar Disease. Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) has an unmentioned mental illness. Then Pat’s friend Danny (Chris Tucker) has anger issues.
Also, there are a lot of characters in the film who don’t have a psychosomatic disorders, but feel extreme emotions or have mild illnesses as well. Pat’s father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) is speculated to have mild OCD. Ronnie (John Ortiz) confesses that he often finds himself full of rage and breaks things in his garage. This is why I love this movie, because it shows that even normal people, all of us, are not always normal.
I love this aspect. I love how it portrays people. It doesn’t preach that people with psychosomatic disorders are completely different or require pity. At the same time, it also shows how normal people too have bad tendencies, and that is not a bad thing (at least what I feel, though it always helps in letting it out, either all of it at once, or little by little). All people are the same, and only our judgement and labels separate them. If someone is trying to get better, make their life better, no matter who they are, we should root for them, instead of berating the or putting them down or making them feel bad.
Don’t get my words wrong. This is only what I’ve felt after watching the movie, what I’ve interpreted. Psychosomatic disorders are a theme in the film, but the film doesn’t revolve around them. It revolves around people. Family, love, compassion, acceptance, bridging gaps, and happiness.
I’ve often, time and again compared Silver Linings Playbook to a fairy-tale because that is what most acutely describes it. It’s a story where the characters grapple with situations thrown at them; again and again. And they vary each and every time and not every time can they be solved; but it’s essential to learn from them. But at the end, it all works out into a happy ending. My simplistic typing oversimplifies it, but in all honesty, it is much more fleshed out than this. Its characters are simple, unpretentious and not multi-layered.
I’ve been actually planning to post this Movie to Watch for the previous nine months, but I couldn’t hit the right note till six months ago. Then it took me three months to type it all down. I finally posted, I’m sorry it took so long for me to post this. (You’ll get this after you’ve seen the movie). Watch this movie. It’s terrific. It’s a movie you will always remember, and will fall in love with.