Movie Review- A Death in the Gunj


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


“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.

Movie To Watch-Silver Linings Playbook


Screenshot (49).png

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.
Screenshot (81).png
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.

Screenshot (454)

Happy Endings !

End of Internals, exams, and College


The dreaded internals I talked about are over. So are my semester 8 exams, and with them, so is college. Yeah, college is over. Still hasn’t hit me, but it is over. Now that it is, I’m spending my time doing the three things which I’ve discovered I have the utmost passion for: Gaming, writing, food and talking, in that order, except talking. Talking assumes different positions depending on my mood.
I’ve planned to hang around before I apply for a job and explore. I’ll be taking a few trips in the coming months, one is already planned for London with my family, and maybe a couple more with my friends. I’ll game a lot, which I didn’t do much of in college for some unknown reason, and write.
A lot of my issues with writing, I’ll try to settle them out now; how I will proceed with my writing, restarting work on my novel, and exploring other options for novels which I put down when I stopped writing back in 2013.
And finally, food. The love of my life and the only reason why I explore new places. The only reason I said yes for London was because of the food (and shopping). Food has led me to new places, new people and amazing moments; most of which can never be predicted or even thought of.
In my absence from the blog, I managed to write a plethora of articles, one new Movie To Watch (Silver Linings Playbook, which Ill be posting right after this), a new Movie Review, three-four new stories, including a new Chats series.
The blog will see a dip in Book Recommendations. This is because since the past four months, books have stopped captivating me and I’ve become bored of reading books. I just pick up a book, read five pages, become extremely bored and then stop. Instead, for the past two days, I’ve started reading stories on Reddit/NoSleep. It’s great fun, and I love the stories the people post there. Absolutely incredible and imaginative, and tense. I enjoy reading NoSleep more then books now.
I guess that about sums up the things which have been going on in my life.
Thank you all for your support for the blog, when I have posted every week, and when like the previous two months, rarely. And when I stopped blogging, 2013-May 2016, with rare occurences. It feels good to be unable to post but still see that people are reading what I have to give, liking it and dissenting on it. Thank you.
Here is to new beginnings and to exploring life ahead and around!

PS-The Sidebars aren’t complete yet, so please don’t pay much attention to that.

Theatre Gallery and Internals


It’s been a long time since April 10 and 11, the two days we had the Theatre Gallery. Though a lot of new posts and stories have been written, right after April 11, I fell into the pit of internal submissions and practicals; and I’m currently binging on Something Just Like This (Damn!!! What a song!).
Right now, I have another test on the 9th, then 13th, then alllll the waayyyyy out on the 23rd. And then it’s done. College will be over. All four years of it; the end. I’m feeling optimistic, I’m not sad about it; college ending doesn’t mean I’ll lose touch with college. It stays, in here(points to the little thing called a heart).
A lot of writing, growing and maturity has taken place over the last month; when I couldn’t post. I want to tell you all about it; the Gallery, the act two weeks before that; the writing for the gallery, the concept and so much more. Theatre is a natural stimulant for a writer. Theatre moves away from the strict code of books and moves to more dramatic; and at times more artistic scenes, more abstract and open ended. Theatre allows for one character to be presented in a million ways by a million different actors, which is fuel for a writer, thinking of the million minus one which were not used. Then again, the scenes in theatre are less real and at times go more into the realm of the stage; scenes which only fit well on the stage and not a book. So naturally, when you spend so much time near a stage, your mind starts making scenes and stories which are more abstract and different from a book. You think of your characters as bigger than life rather than in life; you make them what people aspire to be, not how people are. A tinge of perfection to them, the tragic backstory, the ability to decide to act, and the ability to rise above life and its mundanity.
Some of these scenes and qualities you don’t find in books; so it’s important to be close to the stage as well in order to imbue new styles into your characters. For the stage, you need to write differently than the page; the page will leave you on your own with your mind to imagine, the stage makes you peer into the imagination of another.
I’ll go on in a few seperate posts about theatre and its impact, as well as the Theatre Gallery and its process of writing and it’s concept.
I also had my last practical today, which  went terrible, considering I knew more about the subject than 99% others. Bummer. The questions stumped me and left me shocked. But the day is a success, because it’s my sister’s birthday today ( she turns 25), and also coz I WAS IN THE ZONE TODAY!!!!!!!!!! I was on fire, metaphorically. I made terrible jokes, troubled everyone and everything, and then squashed up a golden opportunity to go to Taco Bell (Me sad. I have sad face while typing. I so sad). This is a learning experience, to not give up an opportunity for food which is there for something which could be there. McDonald’s it is now, sigh.
Till next time world, till next time. Till then, I shall be with my cartoonish and deep sullen sadness of compromising for McDonald’s.

Hectic Week


Whew! The last week has been incredibly hectic and posting on the blog has taken a backseat. On Monday, I had a theatre performance after a longggg time. It was fun and amazing. I’ll post a photo of it, or a video if I get one. It was amazing! I poured all of my Friday, Saturday an Sunday into it. I’m proud of where I got to in three days. It was amazing and exciting.
I’ll be acting again next Monday and Tuesday, i.e. 10th and 11th of April for an event called Theatre Gallery(I’ll make sure to make a blog post about it to tell everyone about its unprecedented awesomeness and scale!). I’ve also poured in all my writing time available into writing for the Theatre Gallery. The characters, the scenes and the feel of it.
And like every final year student, I have job placements; which take up a lot of your time if you go for them. I had three this last week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. A lot of time gone!
I’ve also recently seen two new movies, the Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds Sci-fi Horror “Life” and the Taapsee Pannu starrer “Naam Shabana”. I also recently finished the amazing “Stoner” by John WIlliams. I’ll be getting around to their reviews and recommendations respectively as soon as I can. I also have a couple of new stories in the works, one which I’ve worked on for a week now. Plus, I got a PS4 Pro, so brace yourself for new game reviews and images and gameplay videos! All the time I used to put into writing, I now devote to the PS4 Pro and in some time, also Rainbow Six Seige.
In between all this, I make time for writing and work slowly and steadily on a multitude of pieces.
So, once I’m free-er, I’ll get back to posting with the same vigor and frequency as before.
Happy Reading!

The Changing Man-2


I walked into Clancy’s Bar, like I have every day for god, even though I don’t technically believe in him, knows how long. It seemed more a habit than a tradition or happenstance to walk in this hole of the world and waste away.

I was simply another variable in this cog equation which refused to change, hence I was a constant, and however, I could change at any time, which meant I wasn’t. I could be differentiated, we all could be from each other. We all exist, differently. We were pseudo-constants.

We’re all pseudo-constants by virtue of habits, slowly, parasitically latching onto our existence. And that is the most fascinating thing about habits. They come too easy, but they don’t change as easily and don’t let us change. For example, coming to Clancy’s after a long day at the lab is a habit I maybe exercise too regularly. And another example, the good man I chit chat with always stays sober and available for various pseudo-intellectual musings. He never drinks. Not even under pressure or duress. He cannot be flapped.

Like I said, I walked into this hole again and to say the least, I was unfazed. Cheap country music, lethal tobacco and alcohol in the air, mindless drones dancing and drinking, lobotomised. The owner could have remodelled the walls, but even his businessman mind knows all of us will walk in here and not look the cheap wallpapered walls.

One question that I ponder over, while I search for my good man with whom I could continue my chat with how to be not so asocial. Is living by habit truly living? They say seize the moment, but working in a lab for seventeen years, you learn to plan ahead and not be caught off guard. It slowly becomes a part of you to make it a habit to be aware, no matter how monotonous it feels. If I stop living by this habit, I could maybe start enjoying more but could also kill a few people. And this habit makes my brain analysing what could go wrong rather than the person I’m talking currently.

The good man seems like he knows just what to say. His sobriety is his strongest gift.

I reach beside him, and in a rare moment, I’m caught off guard. My good man has broken all boundaries and turned into a full-fledged variable, though I don’t approve of it. It’s taken away his strongest gift.

“My good man, I though you didn’t drink”, I spoke.
“I don’t”, he responded, he looked shabby. Uncouth hair, a cheap whiskey in his hand and an equally unpleasant smell from his mouth. “But he does”, he said, pointing to the man he was turning into.

He turned back to his drink. And I couldn’t believe it. Of all the variables to change the equation, my good man chose to be it. Whether by his internal mechanisms or by some external stimuli, he believed change was a bit due. And this change in the equation, will lead to some more change in the variables. Which means I might have to change to make it right once again. I find this, well I don’t really know. To be honest, I’ve been caught off guard.

“The usual, professor?” the bartender asked me.

“It’s scientist, hell with it. I don’t know.” I really hadn’t thought of what I would do next. Correcting that I’m a scientist seems much too mundane right now.