Watched ‘Lunch Box’ this evening in memory of the fine actor Irrfan Khan. I remember him from ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Talvar’ and of course ‘The slumdog millaionaire.’ His role in Talvar that I watched once in flight made me change my opinion on the notorious (real life) Delhi murder case. Even today’s picture was such a gem. Irrfan’s character so original like the script. Well crafted. No other actor could have fit in. Just too perfect. That’s what I was thinking.
Mother Goddess cherrypicks the best always from Her Garden.
India is on total lockdown since mid March except for essential services.
How do most of us spend our time.
Watching pix in tv, Netflix and Prime of course. Besides cooking, cleaning, mopping, washing, drying that is.
I am on a picture-watching spree as well. I recommend the following Mallu pix (based in Kerala) plus some Tamil films.
MUST WATCH. You will learn the difference between third rate Bollywood and true and original/authentic Indian cinema which is regional, that way. I just can’t stand Hindi pictures, sorry. To me, Hindi filmdom died with Sanjeev Kumar, Rajesh Kanna, Vinod Mehra and Shashi Kapoor. I miss the charm of Hindi films of the ’70s when Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan were the heartthrobs of ladies. Now I feel like throwing up looking at Kareena Kapoor and co. Can’t get more gross.
All the same, the south Indian films have been getting better and better. Tamil cinema of the 70s was matchless and far ahead of times. Groundbreaking pictures were made. Heavy subjects. Please catch ‘Apoorva Ragangal’ starring a very young Kamal Hasan and Rajni Kanth and Sri Vidya in black & white, in K Balachander’s direction, in Amazon Prime. Comes with subtitles. But knowing Tamil sure helps. Because certains idioms and puns have to be heard in local language.
Growing up on south Indian films, I can hardly stand the hollow pictures churned out by Bollywood. With superficial heroes. Heroes shaving their chests ugh omg!!! Rajni Kanth and Chiranjeevi may be overrated superstars down south, but they are a mere 10% of south Indian film scene. The rest, you have to discover. The magic called Indian cinema can work wonders for you,
I will post the flicks that I have watched since lockdown. Highly and heavily recommended:
Driving Licence (Mallu) (good)
Lunch Box (Hindi)
Kumbalangi Nights (Mallu) (sweet)
Ayyappanum Koshiyum (Mallu) (the best best best, go for it)
Amar Prem (Hindi)
Vikruthi (Mallu) (good)
Lift Boy (Hindi) (good)
Kabhi Kabhi (Hindi)
Captain Philips (Hollywood)
Avatar (watched a 1000 times)
Choti si baath (Hindi)(sweet)
Kaadhalum Kadandhu Pogum (Thamizh)
Nadigaiyar Thilagam (biopic Tamil)
Khatta Meetha (Hindi) (sweet)
Padman (Hindi) (unmissable)
One Child Nation (documentary)
Unda (Mallu) (one of the best)
Sui Dhaaga (Hindi) (one of the best)
Life in a metro (Hindi)
Wild wild country (documentary)
To Let (Tamil)
Varane Avashyamund (Mallu)
Chandana – the daughter of the Elephant whisperer (Sinhalese) (documentary)(for elephant/wildlife lovers)
Mahout: the Great Elephant Walk (Documentary)
Palm trees in the snow
In my watchlist:
Bangalore days (Mallu)
Super Deluxe (Tamil)
Hindi Medium (Hindi)
Anjaam Pathira (Mallu)
Maheshinde Prathikaram (Mallu)
Thannir mathan dinangal (Mallu)
Thondi muthalum drikshashiyum (Mallu)
Pranjiyettan and the saint (Mallu)
Other Tamil flicks I recommend: (no Art/Award film):
Sindhu Bhairavi (1985)
Anbe Sivam (2000s)
Saivam (recent past)
Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa (2000s)
Asuran (caution: violence content) (latest)
Kalyana Agadhigal (1980s)
Poove Poochoodavaa (1980s)
Pirivom Sandhippom (2000s)
Aval oru thodarkadhai (1970s) (b&w)
Avargal (1970s) (b&w)
Apoorva Ragangal (1970s) (b&w) (print not good)
Aval Appadi Thaan (1070s) (b&w)
Oru Nadigai Nadagam Paarkiraal (1970s) (b&w)
Sila Nerangalil Sila Manidhargal (1970s) (b&w)Thanneer Thanneer (1980s)
Raja Parvai (1980-81)
Keladi Kanmani (1990s)
Thillana Mohanaambal (never tire of this classic) (1950s) (eastman colour)
After watching these, let me know why we need Hollywood at all. None of these come under Art film category. Rather, box office hits. Indian regional films can be real good. Sensitive and sensible portrayal of characters. Screenplay and direction a cut above the rest. Great editing with class cinematography. For the art of story telling, you only have to watch ‘Charlie.’ We don’t make sci-fis here sorry. We live in the present, logical world. Not imaginary, illusory. South movies not to be judged with Bollywood eyes. Let me say this, most of the nice and agreeable Hindi pictures have been remakes from south. But I do love mega movies of Bollywood like Padmaavat, not denying. For relaxation at home without headache, for making you pause and think and self-reflect, to be at peace with yourself, to feel good about yourself – you need the south Indian pictures. Bollywood to me mostly is junk. There have been some nice, thoughtful ones like those of Vidya Balan for instance, but a vast majority is utter crap. I am used to watching tanned mustached unruly Tamil heroes with dusky oily haired heroines because, that is how my folks are. I can’t palate the ‘Zindagi na milegi dho barah’ nonsense sorry. It is not my world. I will never belong there.
Anwar Rasheed film, acid biting truth. What is happening in India today, what is happening in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and not just the southern states but in the entire country… this mass hysteria, mass christian missionary conversion funded by the foreign church… the christian mafia owning most of Indian media trying to undermine Indian democratic process especially our general elections with planted and/or bought-over intellectuals, cultivated liberals and left wingers (Award wapsi for instance), with the church as the largest real estate owner in Hindu majority India… etc., etc… This must have been corrected right about the time of India’s independence from the British in 1947. Why is Modi winning. Precisely for this reason. The Hindus of India have finally woken up. Some sections still need a rude kick in their groins to rouse them from their dangerous stupor of ignorance.
The miracle aspect in ‘Trance’ is just the tip of the ice berg really. Catholicism/Christianity today is the biggest selling business-trade and No.1 global mafia. I am aware of this universal fraud for decades now, which is why I don’t subscribe to CRY, UNICEF etc., etc., not even PETA. Every damn single charity like them is a facade hiding missionary propaganda and black money. The masses, especially Indian and African are the scapegoats. How deep this cancer has penetrated into India is mindboggling. From tribal belts in the deep to urban centers on the surface, the evangelical mission/ conversion mafia network is far reaching with its deadly tentacles. At par or even worse than Islamic terrorism. In truth, both the Abrahmic folds are equally lethal. Such a greed! Acquisitions and more acquisitions. Is this all they are after.
Show me one another democratic secular nation (not being inherently christian) where this nonsense is permissible. What is happening in India today is human rights violation of highest order. Bribing and emotionally blackmailing for conversion, trapping the hapless in vicious debts funded by the church (this is true of the lower middle classes of Hindu society), unaudited undisclosed fundings from foreign NGOs, tax evasions,… and more than all the privilege to play the minority card and your whim and fancy to manipulate the majority Hindu in India! This is christianity of you!
Hats off to the Trance team for unmasking the true face of Christianity at least as far as India is concerned. I got to watch in person once, a Filipino catholic prayer. I don’t want to reveal where. I happened to be a guest somewhere in Middle East a few years back. A group of girls started praying. First it started with mild prayers – like a plea. Like a loud conversation with god (!), now that itself shook me to the core. Then the momentum built up. And then the crescendo reached a peak as if the girls were possessed as they demanded and screamed and shouted at god whatever!!! To the extent that I started panicking! Omg, in Hindu Dharma we we sing, we dance by way of prayer but i have never witnessed any tamasha or horror show like this! I grew scared of christianity (as I am of Islam always) right then and felt a relief i was not part of this kind of scheme. My mother worked as a teacher in a catholic institution. I am not totally unfamiliar with church. Upto my 13th year, I was a regular visitor to my mother’s convent chapel. We lit candles during Christmas. But that never made us any less Hindu. Never did I feel any bonhomie with Christ. More like a ritual to me. My faith in Hindu Dharma has been that strong and unwavering. Even as a kid, I remember not trusting Jesus!!! Our prayers were more symbolic. My mother had her share of health woes. We never knew they were grave enough to kill her in a young age. But one thing I remember her telling us was, her catholic convent nuns kept calling her to miracle healing meetings. Yes, even in late 1970s and early ’80s, these meetings happened. We used to laugh it off. We thought of this more like a pest, and we shrugged off the invites. And yes again, we were invited as family to these mass gatherings or healing sessions. My mother was an extremely pious practising Hindu. At the same time she would light a candle in her convent chapel. Like more out of respect than faith. Her catholic colleagues hardly understood that kind of sentiment.
It was only as the years, then decades rolled that I became aware what a conceited web of lies and fraud this christian missionary work is. Brainwashing the unsuspecting. If it has to get to that, they wouldn’t rule out even hypnotizing/mesmerizing the gullible. Many times in my life i have been accosted by evangelists in market thoroughfare or at bus stops or at supermarkets or whatever asking me to spare them a few minutes or accompany them to church so that they could tell me about Jesus Christ. Of course they do it to all Hindus and we grin and bear this atrocious nuisance. It was never my intention to abuse their God, but I always took the opportunity to berate their son of god to them just to drive home a point. I wanted to give them back exactly what they dished out to others. I have been bombarded with Bibles by way of unsolicited mail. Happens to all Indians. Only Hindus sorry. Christian missionaries would open the front gate and walk in our house asking us to convert. They don’t even leave our temples free. In front of the temples, they put up speakers and tell us we are worshiping the satan – i mean, our Hindu Gods. Yes, only in front of Hindu temples, never in front of mosques. You know what will happen if they would only approach any muslim for conversion. Yes, this is India for you. Despite Modi, this is still going on nonstop. Modi blocked the foreign NGO funding for conversions, but the story is different now. One comes to learn that, micro funding to individual christian accounts is still happening in entire India to outsmart Modi’s moves. These christian predators are simply unstoppable.
You just have to follow the Facebook page ‘Noconversion’ to take a look at the Trance like mega meetings taking place along the length and breadth of India to turn this majority Hindu nation to christian. In fact, they have a name for it ‘the Joshua project.’ India is unfinished business for them.
Funny, the christians want to make India christian, and the muslims want to make India shariah country. Joshua project or Ghazwa Hind? These blood sucking abrahamics have the entire world under their thumb, but that is not enough for them. They want now to possess the land of Dharma. They will go to any extreme to see that one of these two monstrous belief systems of theirs is planted in this country uprooting Dharma. Never. Not in a million, million years will that happen. Just see Wuhan. The coronavirus. I am a firm believer, but i believe in Dharma not in the Abrahamic. Never. Dharma will re-establish itself. Dharma needs no fake propaganda or territorial expansion compulsion like Islam or Christianity so desperately seek to survive. Both these have expanded by destroying native faiths, by erasing native roots. They have this urge to wipe the original always and super impose themselves over natives – which is not true of Hindu Dharma.
In the Trance film, the miracle meetings have focused only on fake healing miracles. One major aspect was missing: that of conversion.
Accepted, as such the film is lengthy and can’t go on over this.
Fahd Fazil is an outstanding actor, i grew up watching his father’s directorial delights in Tamil cinema like ‘Poove poochooda vaa.’ Fazil was a gentle director. Nazriya Nazim is as beautiful and youthful as ever. I have never had an iota of respect for Gautam Menon who I strongly believe is a crypto christian himself, involved with mass conversions in Tamil Nadu. His targets are reportedly Tamil cinema actors, etc. How far this is true is not verifiable but somehow, I believe the grapevine reported in social media. Somehow just despise him, don’t know why. As a copycat director who steals from Hollywood, he never impressed me somehow. I want to believe the worst of him!
Mallu pictures are a class apart. So realistic. Sad, they don’t have all India audience. South Indian films are a cut above the rest of the crap. Especially the third rate Bollywood pictures churned out without a soul these days. Resul Pookkutty who won BAFTA, Academy and Oscar awards with AR Rahman for his sound effects was wasted in the picture. Who was he even roped in.
The honesty of Trance is surprising. So very gutsy. Kerala has had nun rape cases in recent past and the criminally accused pastor has been let off the hook. A nun even killed herself. The church in Kerala is all powerful. Communists hide uncomfortable truths.
This kind of honesty also kinds of troubles me at the same time. So here i am directly challenging the Trance team. How many times you mention Jesus so openly and boldly in the picture. How did the picture even go beyond the censor board? Is this an edited version. If so, how about the full length. Do you the Trance team have the same unwavering grit and honesty in you to shout out Allah and make a film on terror? On Love Jehad in Kerala? On the two Hindu/Christian girls brainwashed and converted, and now in Afghan jail after joining a global network of terror? Or even on TJ currently hogging the headlines for their misdeeds? Real life stories. Any takers? Will Fahd Fasil do the lead role. Will Anwar Rasheed direct such a script. Shame on you guys if you do not have it in you to wash your own dirty linen in public. Or are we looking at one more cowardly hypocrite Aamir Khan here. Wonder who financed ‘Trance.’ The source is Middle East???
So is all your show of bravery and heroism limited to only criticizing Hindu or Christian folds? Why do you take us for granted? Because we have the ability to look up the mirror and laugh at ourselves? We are literate? We are sensible? We are responsible? You know what is left unsaid.
So we have to give it the Christians and Hindus of India for receiving such pictures with a standing ovation and grand success. Box office hit. Just imagine a picture on Islam on similar lines, you will know where we score on civilization and culture. On even democracy and secularism. You will also know of the true colours of the communist parties.
Indian christians may be proselytizing like prostituting, yet they are an educated lot. They don’t pose dangers to Indian society. To Indian christians, India comes first like for Indian hindus. Which is why we hindus grudgingly tolerate their nonsense. Can’t vouch for such a trust on indian muslims, sorry.
‘Trance’ has been a great picture with its shortfalls. May be award winning material for future. Must be made tax free for screening all across India. This christian missionary fraud needs to be exposed. Soul vultures feeding on the most vulnerable amongst us. If Jesus Christ wants to convert you to christianity, then he is a shrewd businessman, not god. Jesus Christ is not Stayfree or Whisper dear christians, please don’t try to market him door to door!
I have known western christians and arab muslims. These originals are not at all as fanatical or nonsensical as the Asian christians or muslims are. Respects for them.
Watched this sweet Chinese romance this forenoon. Almost felt like my fave M&B paperback.
First of all I want to raise a point here. What is this term ‘Asian.’ By Asian, mostly in America, they mean Chinese. America also clubs India, Pakistan calling us ‘South Asia’ as if we lack our identity. We are of the Indian subcontinent. Don’t America put us on the same board as Pakis, calling us Indians South Asians. In UK, the grooming gangs of Brit teen girls are Paki muslims not Indians or Chinese or Japanese. The UK media refers to these criminal gangs generally as ‘Asian.’ It is insulting.
So the title made me wonder which Asian this was about.
Also mostly the Chinese are stereotyped as the Kungfu type martial arts people. Their films are monotonous right from the times of Bruce Lee. Jackie Chan confirmed albeit with a difference what was chinese all about. So I was hardly prepared for this picture.
The film is completely shot in Singapore. I have been as a tourist in Singapore for more than a week over twenty years back. That Singapore is now history as I can see. The picture is a recent one – from 2018. Twenty years is a long, long time.
But I have to say, still a lot about Singapore may not have changed especially concerning their street food, train and taxi services and pan Asian culture. I saw a very few other faces than chinese in the film. It does no justice to the inherent multi-cultural set-up of Singapore. Leave alone representation.
Rachel, a chinese american professor with New York University follows her singaporean chinese boyfriend to the island nation to attend a family wedding of his. The infamous Asian snobbishness greets her to her dismay. It is chinese in the picture. It could have been Indian. Such a typical Asian mentality i must say! Omg, have I not been through this grind, married for over a quarter century! Is my family any different! I can author a book on the subject!
Whether Indian or Chinese, we have our way of forcing our dreams and ambitions on our children. I am sorry to admit this is exactly how Indian society is. Our children are not our property. We never realize this and take them for granted. We refuse to give them space and allow them to grow independently. Well this is one side of the coin.
During my four year residence in Malaysia, I have met with equally ambitious chinese parents like Indians. It used to surprise me always. I used to think back then, we Indians found our match only in the chinese! Our cultural values may be different but also somewhat similar in many ways. The elderly dominating the family, the family molding young minds from a tender age grooming them for a future business or profession, arranged marriages, marriages of convenience, extraordinary importance accorded to academics, etc., etc.. South Indians are less muted, but our north Indian brothers and sisters are boisterous like, nobody can enjoy life like them if you ask me. The world thinks we Indians and Chinese hardly enjoy life, but it is so much untrue. Our north Indians have to compete with the chinese on equal footing when it comes to partying! Again, i have been in Malaysia for four chinese new years. From casinos to local pubs to flashy cars, the chinese way of life used to completely amaze me. May be because who i saw then were Malaysian chinese not mainland chinese. Even their supper and dinner rituals every evening used to be a gala event. Every single day it happened without a break. Work hard in the day. Party hard at night. Booze flowed yet for not a single day, the chinese reported late for work. Something Indians can never ever manage. The significance and respect the chinese attached to wining and dining was a surprise to me in those days. Food and eating together were revered not to be disturbed for any reason! Most of our friends then were chinese who came home. It was an other world totally! I never got confused with Li or Chin or Lai or Cheng! Neither did they all look the same!
The kind of crazy rich chinese as in the film, I can imagine. We have such old rich families in India too. They don’t belong in our universe.
I liked the fact that young Rachel cared nothing for Nick (her boyfriend)’s family background. She was clear about what she wanted. She was mature enough to give him up to his mean mother on moral highground. That was stupendous. Her strength of character and integrity touched a chord in me. As she and her friend aver, sometimes some of us have just that left with us- those of us bereft of a family background and social circle that come by default of birth to the lucky few. No we don’t have to wait for anyone’s acceptance where we may never belong in a million years!
In my Malaysian days I knew many hardworking middle class chinese as well. The chinese women especially were very smart. When it came to money matters, the chinese were very shrewd. Corporate empires to side walk cafes, the chinese ran everything as family enterprise. Family restaurants were popular in Malaysia. The families worked as a single unit. I only once told them about my vegetarian habits and how for me, even the cooking pan has to be fresh. They kept it in their memory for our entire period of residence. Father was the chef and daughter was the waitress. Billing was by the son and the wife dishwashed. The chinese family values used to be so much like Indian even if the chinese were more westernized. One thing that cannot happen with Indians is this westernization!!! The south east Asians like the chinese and thai are easiest to adapt to the western influence and culture. Yet like us Indians having Ayurveda, the chinese took only their own herbal medicine. Their cuisine was as indigenous as our Indian. The contradictions were interesting!
The single mother of Rachel who brought up her daughter all alone by herself – this is again a very common chinese trait. Many of their families break up. Loose morality and alcohol are the reason although some may think I am cheeky to say that. But it is the truth. We have this single mother condition now in India too. Very brave and intelligent and hardworking women these single mothers are! However, the joint family sentiments are no exaggeration either. Joint family system is the very fabric of Asian societies be it Indian or Chinese or Japanese. Only in recent times we are having nuclear families. In fact for filing IT returns, we Hindus still have a category named HUF (Hindu Family) – where we can file tax as a single unit. This applies to joint family businesses where brothers may be carrying on traditional trades jointly for ages. Even cousins and extended families for generations may come under a single HUF umbrella. Even now this is common scene in India. Only business families can understand this custom and this breeding culture. Outsiders generally won’t. I am not blaming Rachel here but it is not easy for anyone to get a sense of this mindset unless you live this life.
After a long time I was kind of transported to Malaysia! A male chinese colleague of my husband used to get me my veggie ‘kuihs’ every evening from kampongs (villages) that were tucked in too interior. The dumplings we make in India by name ‘modak’ (kozhukattai in Tamil) but we don’t stuff non-veg filling. Some similarities there. Then the rice eating country people! I used to identify more with South East Asians like Malays, Chinese, Thai, Indos over the wheat eating north Indians for this single reason: they ate lots of rice like us south Indians!!! They can’t do without rice totally! Chinese are also much more than ginseng and fried rice and jasmine tea. And mathematics! There is a humane side to them that is hardly portrayed rightly in films/media. Fortunately, I have seen that side of theirs in Malaysia.
The bachelorette and bachelor parties are now common even in India. Once reserved for the well-off, now getting popular with the middle-class. The richie rich can get away with anything stupid literally. Why can’t we follow just the good things for a change from the west. Why do we have to ape their worst habits. The big, fat Indian weddings are worldwide popular. This film is centered around one big fat chinese wedding. Obscenely extravagant. Somehow I believe in nice warm and cosy marriages not in pompous weddings. Haven’t lavish weddings become showcase of one’s social status. Once upon a time on earth, character and wisdom made masses look up to someone as role models. Today money power is what buys one societal respect and recognizance sadly.
The curse of Asia is: the rich and the poor live side by side without any qualms. You can see dirt poor being the next door neighbour of the stinky rich. I respect the dignity in some poor people and not-so-rich who hold their head high come what may. It won’t take some of us more than a minute to tick someone off for their boorish, haughty attitude who think they are good because of their material possessions and ‘birth conenctions’ but we keep our ground for peace’ sake and for sanity’s sake. It is not worth it.
Finally all is well that ends well. Fairy tale wedding that left me with a good aftertaste! The cast is perfect. Light dreamy magical story. Made my sunday! I must say, our Asian guys have to have some guts and stop being Mamas’ boys!!! Sigh!
Directed by Gautam Menon (No.1 copycat and idea thief from Hollywood and crypto (?) christian allegedly responsible for maximum conversion to Christianity along with actor Joseph Vijay in Tamil film industry), starring Ramya Krishnan as Jayalalitha…. yes, this is supposedly the life story of the most beloved woman from Tamil Nadu by the masses, our ex-CM Jayalalitha Jayaram, who died an untimely (and an unnatural?) death just a couple or more years ago…
Eyes pregnant with tears, i am glued to my screen even though most of JJ’s private life was public as well. Her rise from stardom to the state politics. Her topping the entire state in the school final SSLC board exams, her reluctance to join the showbiz world, her short lived love story, her gradual climb to power with authority and strength… We will never see a woman like her for a long time… I missed Indira Gandhi mostly. In fact it was a working day for us in our school when Mrs. Gandhi got assassinated. But what I missed about Indira Ji, I caught up with in JJ. She was the one and only queen. Queen of the masses. Intelligent, shrewd, with an inborn compassion for fellow women. She did not bow down to anybody. May be that cost her her life who knows.
As ever, I got my first opinion on JJ from my maternal granny. I think she attended JJ’s ‘Bharatnatyam’ arangetram (south classical dance debut stage performance) at RR Sabha in Mylapore. The function was presided over by thespian Tamil actor Shivaji Ganesan, reigning hero of silver screens at par with MGR in those days. Shivaji referred to Jayalalitha, the 15 year old, as ‘thanga padhumai’ (golden doll) that made to headlines in Tamil dailies like ‘Dina Thanthi’ then. Her first film happened almost immediately. This interesting snippet was missing in Queen although i do not expect the director to cover all grounds. Supposedly, JJ’s dance recital pictures in black & white were splashed in Tamil magazines and newspapers that won her her entry into the tinsel world.
Jayalalitha was a contracted actor working with M G Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, who became Tamil Nadu’s chief minister in 1977. Before her for MGR, there was Saroja Devi, and after her there were Manjula and Latha. MGR’s ‘contracts’ were ‘popular’ indeed. It was also common knowledge that Jayalalitha’s impending marriage to Shobhan Babu, Andhra actor, was done away by MGR. JJ was manipulated throughout her life. First it was her mother who stage-managed her, then it was her co-actor MGR before she fell into the hands of some ‘vested interests.’
Shobhan Babu passed away a few years before JJ. Every time I pass his house and his bust (what for??), i can’t help thinking of his love affair with Jayalalitha in the ’70s. In fact on his demise, I half-expected JJ to turn up for his funeral. No chance, still. There was and is a secret love child, now into her 40s, as grapevines had/have it. Shobhan became one more man who hardened Jayalalitha into toughest woman with his cowardice.
JJ’s relationship with MGR may have been an open book but looking at the old black & white and colour pictures that came later, the bond that they shared is pretty evident. There is more than hero worship in JJ’s eyes for MGR. True, she had none to blame. Much of her pain and suffering was self-inflicted. After Vaijayanthi Mala, Rekha and Hema Malini from Tamil Nadu who graced Bollywood, it should have been Jayalalitha next before Sri Devi’s turn. Reportedly she turned down a Raj Kapoor offer on MGR’s diktat. MGR could have made a star out of JJ, but she also in turn seems to have paid a heavy price. A stint in Bollywood could have changed Jayalalitha’s life completely freeing her from MGR’s clutches.
I have no memory of JJ’s film life. By mid ’70s she was already out of films entering the next phase of her life. But it was the time when I discovered pictures. The earliest memory of mine about Jayalalitha is her appointment as propaganda secretary for ADMK. We had a maid in our house when I was a little girl. She was smitten with MGR those days. I remember her spinning colourful tales to me and my sis from MGR picture stories as she hounded the cinemas almost every week. Almost always the heroine of the subject would be Jayalalitha. My fondest memory is pleading our teenage maid to tell us the story of ‘Kannithai’ (virgin mother). Many many more films of those times. This might have been between 1972-1978 )ofcourse by 1978 MGR was already the CM and JJ had quit films since long). This is how Jayalalitha became familiar to me at a very young age. I hadn’t watched a single film of her until we bought our own tv (in 1977) but I had listened to her film stories from a huge fan of hers describing to me scene by scene, dialogue by dialogue. The on-screen and off-screen pair’s unbeatable winning combo was also JJ’s debut film ‘Aayirathil oruvan’ (one in a thousand). They went on to dazzle the silver screens for a decade almost as lead hero and heroine.
I don’t remember having any political opinion on JJ therefore when she entered politics somewhat backdoor. Jayalalitha became a part of active memory for most of us only since she became our chief minister for the first time in 1991. I remember watching live her oath taking in tv. This is however for the next series.
The series closes with a rising Jayalalitha, pushed from MGR’s funeral cortege by Janaki Ramachandran’s kith and kin. Her phenomenal rise in Tamil Nadu politics is national news. The single shove that sent her reeling down the carriage forever uplifted her in public memory as the still was played repeatedly in tv winning JJ public sympathy. That combined with the sympathy wave for Congress after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination (ADMK had tied up with congress for 1991 elections) saw her becoming the state’s first woman chief minister. She was only 43 then. The next series will hopefully start with her ascension to power and her way of conducting administration.
We Tamils have felt safest and securest when Jayalalitha was around. Civic administration was its best – long before Swachch Bharat got enforced. Every ten foot stood a cop on patrol day and night around the city. I was once surprised to find two women constables in Aalaiamman temple in T. Nagar where I had gone visiting (2003 or 2004) for cooking and offering sweet jaggery pongal for Mother Goddess within the temple premises. The temple, even if at the heart of the city, was deserted that noon. Two women cops gave me and my aunt some interesting company. They even drew water with us from the temple well for cooking ‘pongal’. May be that kind of overt security was not the need of the hour but there was not a square inch of the metro that was not under police surveillance in Jayalalitha period. Impeccable law and order. CCTVs arrived later. I have a lot to say on JJ. I have blogged much in the past about her. But nothing is concise enough to put down here. I will keep some info for the next series of Queen. I have seen JJ touch women’s life. In this part of the world, it mattered. It is such a basic but powerful thing that couldn’t be missed. Health center physicians met regularly every week in Rippon Building in JJ’s times. I came to know of this through the car driver of a lady gynaec who used to have an easy time in DMK reign. New born girl babies’ health and infant mortality stats were high on agenda, as JJ took a personal interest in women’s affairs. Never were the health centers run with such an efficacy as in JJ’s period. Even today if you walk into govt primary health centers run by state govt in Tamil Nadu, you can see how well it is run and managed and how hygiene is maintained. And it is almost free or heavily subsidized. Rare to see corporation/govt run clinics on their toes. She put into place a good and functional system regularizing the basics. Hopefully the set-up holds good after her.
Watching Queen, I reminded myself the reason why JJ accorded priority to women’s issues. She became the one true ‘kannithai.’ – the unwed Amma.
Jayalalitha passed away in power on her fourth term as the state’s CM. She returned to power effortlessly not even battling it out tough the final time as her deteriorating health took a heavy toll on her after her brief spell in Bangalore prison. The masses were aware, how much of her wealth was self-earned. Long before she joined politics, JJ was already a star. She was born with silver spoon and attended the finest convent in the city. If JJ had to suffer a sentence for corruption, I wonder what must be the case of EVERY SINGLE INDIAN POLITICIAN. Vendetta politics killed Jayalalitha. Disloyalty shadowed JJ right through her life. What a tragedy. Not having a single human being to love or trust being so powerful, so beautiful, so successful, so classy, so wealthy. The unfairness of her Bangalore prison stint still hurts me and millions of Tamils. She did not deserve it. Okay, let me wait for the next series.
Ramya Krishnan is trying her best to justify her role as Jayalalitha in Queen but she has large shoes to fill in. I don’t have the names of those who have played the roles of younger JJ – first as a pre-teen and upto 15 years first and then as JJ in her twenties. They both have done a stupendous job. The MGR character selection is also good. It is possible that the actors have been chosen for their resemblance to original characters and also for their good mimicking of the stars’ mannerisms. JJ’s pout especially with her slightly upturned lower lip. Very characteristic of her and the one who played JJ in her twenties has tried her best. Still has not got it! Okay almost there.
Back in 1960s or 70s we had no mass media. Only by late 70s and early 80s, most of us got home even a black & white tv set. So it is interesting to watch the MGR JJ scenes being played out. Not much of info on Sandhya, also an actress and JJ’s mother. Not a happy childhood for JJ. Her whole life was an untold tragedy even if she was too good for the state. How could someone have lived such a lonely life entirely, yet become the CM of a male chauvinist province. Who cried for Jayalalitha when she lay lifeless. Which kith and kin. Her loneliness from the start is what breaks my heart.
Jayalalitha Jayaram will always be my heroine No.1. Bollywood did not have the fortune of having her because she was destined for greater glory. Although I became aware of her from the 1990s only, ever since i had paid her great attention. Her upright governance, how she took things head on and made the men squirm at her foot – won her accolades from every quarter. She toughed it out bravely and singly in an all-male world. Not even in my wildest dreams did i think that her chapter would draw to a close so soon. I will wait for the next series of Queen.
There is no point in making this biopic if it is not going to be true or honest enough. I hope the director-producer keep this vital point in mind. I have nothing to say on screenplay/direction because this is a known script. You know what is coming.
The thing is, only women from non Islamic countries serve as field nurses or nursing assistants in any part of the world. Right there the Paki nurse concept fails in the picture Tiger Zinda Hai. Islamic field nurses serving kafir patients must be blasphemy, right! Did the makers of ‘Tiger zinda hai’ realize that. You just committed a grievous one misters. Women nurses from islamic countries may be restricted to serving their own hospitals, and who knows in fact to only female patients. Mostly in Middle East, we see either Indian nurses or Filipino nurses or at least Sri Lankan nurses, none other. Even in India, it is rare to come across a muslim female nurse for the simple reason, the community may not be permitting them to serve non muslim patients. So 99.99% of the broadminded serving Indian nurses are either Hindu or Christian. I am yet to come across a muslim female nurse working for a medical hospital in India. I have to laud the Christian community in India for their service mindedness when it comes to working with the sick. As far as it comes to serving humanity in the most earnest way, I doubt whether muslims have such a generous big heart. To touch and clean a kafir male patient, hold his bedpan. Will a trained islamic field woman nurse do it. Can she do it. Can she change his dress and dressings.. Can she give him a sponge bath. Whole body bath. Just who are you kidding guys. Hindu Dharma and even Christianity for that matter, do not set boundaries when it comes to serving humanity. There is just no limit to serving mankind for us. Producer-director of ‘Tiger zinda hai’ – you made a complete and cruel mockery of one of the noblest professions of the world serving fellow humans who are suffering and who need a healing touch. Show me a single muslim woman staff nurse doing the kind of motherly-sisterly selfless humanitarian service to a kafir male patient. Interestingly, the contrary holds true. Non kafir male or female assistants and paramedics can nurse muslim men or women when they may be sick. One way road.
It is upsetting therefore to watch such white lies like: (praying) (here too!)(Tableeghi jamaat or what) Pakistani muslim women nurses cast on EQUAL FOOTING with serving Indian nurses working in a hospital in war torn region of Middle East. You cannot ridicule the sisterhood of Indian nursing community more. Outright assault on our entire medical fraternity and principles. Pakistanis are world renowned for taking lives, never for gifting life.
Secondly, our intelligence agency doing a job with theirs is insane, an insult to my India and especially our Kashmiris. Just read about a Kashmiri Hindu woman’s travails. How the Pathans came down in 1947 from Pakistan raping from home to home any and every Hindu Kashmiri little girl to granny. India has had a Mumbai 26/11 not long ago. A Kargil before that when our soldiers were captured, tortured to death with their bodies mutilated beyond recognition. India has also suffered multiple bomb blasts orchestrated by ISI in various cities including in our Stock Exchange and in business districts of busy metros. Even for making money across the border, one should not be making such thoughtless films. Oh, ‘Tiger zinda hai’ is not a thoughtless film. Probably it was made after considerable and careful thought to portray terrorists as good samaritans and plant a seed of self doubt and mistrust in the minds of the Indian masses. By whom? I am coming to that.
Thirdly, Cannot digest Pakistan flag flying level with ours. In a real life incident our ex Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did rescue some 45 Indian nurses stranded in war torn parts of middle east. In which Pak had zero role to play. It is reckless and demeaning to credit Pak with anything as good as this one, even if this is just a picture.
Fourthly it means, the film must have been funded by the D gang from across the border, no second thoughts on that. You can guess from the casting crew: Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. To paint a rosy picture of their terrorist intelligence agency, one must be hand in gloves with them. One of them. Why was the picture even released in India. How did our sensor board approve it.
What is the need to project our adversaries to this extent is what I cannot understand. More than trying to show them as THE BEST, the producers have gone to the length of showcasing their spies in good light.
You have to be sick for producing such a trash film, it’s an assault on our intelligence and I felt like puking. Bastards.
Finally showing our own Indian muslim in Salman’s team to be the ultimate sacrificing patriotic guy is the last straw. I do respect some (not all) Indian muslims, but any trust, I will not put in them. I am not comfortable with them. I tolerate because we have to be polite and civil to each other for the nation’s sake. Where such a decorum has to be maintained, and/or if situation demands, I will play up to my expected role.
As far as India is concerned, no combined effort on any front with Pakistan. Pak lies in history. We don’t want to have anything to do with them. Never.
‘Tiger zinda hai’ is out and out a terror project. I regret I had to see it. I regret watching this nonsense. GLORIFICATION OF TERRORISTAN, TERROR AND TERRORISM at its best.
Watched this second world war picture ‘Unbroken’ based on real life story of American military man Louie Zamperini. No idea who the cast were.
Louie is an Olympic athlete representing America in the 1936 games. Later his flight with Phil, Mac and other military men crashes. The duo Louie and Phil survive a grueling and record 47 days baked and famished, adrift in the ocean before being saved (?) by the Japanese military.
The land is no better as the two men discover. ‘The bird’ as nicknamed by the POW American soldiers, is in charge of their garrison. The Japanese man exhibits a sadistic streak isolating Zamp and taking his wrath out on him repeatedly, trying to break his spirit. As the war is drawing to a close, the jail warden fails to break Zamp who undauntedly challenges the cruel Japanese in his own way. From getting battered and bruised for no reason to working the coal mines of Japan to lifting heavy iron bars, Louie’s mental strength is stretched maximum to break his spirit. His stamina, pretty impressive! Without such a stamina to match his unyielding willpower, our hero would have been lost. May be it got to do with his Olympic training. The one and a half month in the sea must also have hardened our man. When all ploys fail, Zamp is tempted with bribes that could change his plight overnight. Louie Zamperini refuses to bow down, remaining strong until the end.
Reminded me of our own national hero Abhinandan who with his MIG downed the F16 flewn by Pak airforce man in the aftermath of Balakot. How proud he made India!
War is over and the the prisoners of war return to America after the ordeal. Louie and Phil get married and have families, remaining friends life long. Louie turns to god as he discovers peace in forgiveness over revenge. He realizes his dream of running in Tokyo Olympics in grand old age (his 80s). He makes peace with his former Japanese captors but Bird still refuses to see him. The film ends here.
War pictures are not my cup of tea. However this one was different. No explicit brutal war scenes that could make one flinch.
War is not rosy.
I only have this question to ask America. So you know war brutality. Still why do you force it on so many nations. How much more oil do you want. I can say this because I am an unbiased Hindu from neutral India. I am neither a muslim nor a christian both by race and/or religion. I belong everywhere and nowhere. I also know that, none can play games with my strong India. That gives me a sense of security.
Hollywood may make a war picture like this one, but Japan won’t. I have never seen a picture on Hiroshima Nagasaki bombings that wiped millions in a flash of a second. There have been Pearl Harbour, The Schindlers’ List etc., etc. They have been good. But nothing from Asian perspective. A coin has two sides.
They say all is fair in war and love.
Neither the First world war nor the Second world war concerned most other nations, especially Asian. As if India’s 1000 year siege under the islamic invaders and the British was inadequate, these wars were unnecessarily inflicted upon us. India was robbed totally by the Brits and left threadbare. And today these guys have the audacity to talk about immigrants. How about returning our stolen Kohinoor diamond Queen Elizabeth? Only UK can royally boast the loots from Asia and Africa with such a misplaced pride. And now a phony care for wildlife. After shooting to extinction nearly most of the world’s exotic species in African and Indian wilds. Natives have always lived with wildlife. Never hunted them down.
As for America, I wonder how many Americans ponder over the Indians wiped out entirely – ethnic cleansed to some ninety nine percent. Who will make films on the Red Indians. Or Aborigines of Australia. Or the Maoris of New Zealand.
Sorry, such pictures still fail to move me. Pretty much like Louie Zamperini, I remain untouched! But I respect the fierce individual spirit of Zamp. This is what captivated me most about the picture. What he endured, how he endured. First of all there was no self-pity. There was no question of giving up on life. His survival was a constant factor. You knew that from his attitude. Revenge lay in mere staying alive, a fellow American POW in Tokyo tells Zamp in their camp. How true. Living well is the ultimate tit-for-tat.
In a nation that is re-discovering our lost identity since Independence from the British, after a terror reign of nearly 800 years under the Moghuls etc., India is only now picking up pieces and trying to move on. War movies therefore have least effect on me.
Sometimes I feel even a sense of anger when I watch such pictures. The goodness of it all, I appreciate. But not having the courage or honesty to tell the whole or entire story comes as a big disappointment. But then after all, history is scripted by winner with additions and deletions replete. Although Zamp impressed me with his physical stamina and mental strength, Bird earned my respect as well, refusing to see Zamp on reconciliation. Japan had much, much to lose.
Close on the heels of Petta, the Rajni Kanth superhit in the cinemas, happened to watch the Pongal screening of Pariyerum Perumal in tv. Nothing to write about Petta except that you see the young Rajni of his 30s-40s from late 80s and 90s with the same inimitable hairstyle, body and action of his. Why, Rajni even goes the extra mile to reenact the cigarette trick for his fans, his trademark style from 1970s which catapulted him to instant fame in Tamil cinema. That brings to your eyes the Rajni who we all fell in love with as school/college kids. He was such a fun in those days (no more now)! Well, Petta is somewhat an attempt to recapture that lost magic for Tamil audience. To some extent I must say, the production team succeeded. The picture is a reminder why Rajni became legend Rajnikanth the Superstar. And now touching 70, he has made the junior actor-directors Sashi Kumar and Vijay Sethupathi look pale and insignificant which is incredulous! I have always loved these two and I admire their current works. They are the best that could be happening to present day Tamil cinema, and yet how Rajni overshot them to cult status is unbelievable OMG! Nawazuddin Siddique’s first Tamil role I hope? He must know he will have to only play second fiddle in south stories yet he has made a brave attempt speaking Tamil without a dubbing artist’s help? The heroines Simran and Trisha are not even in the game! Such is the powerful screen presence of Rajni Kanth that all other stars fade in his presence! Neither has Rajni lost touch with his most natural acting form, that which pulled him to the forefront. In comparison, how unfit and pathetic the bloated heroes of today look! Weak and insufficient – that goes for Nawazuddin Siddhiqui! This is the only point I want to make about Petta: Age is just a number. The vigour and vitality called Rajni Kanth remains with you long after you leave the IMAX studios. Many language people watched the picture, different nationalities. How the crowds come to their feet when the Thalaivaa makes his first screen appearance!!! Kudos to new director Karthik Subburaj for not letting the film drag for a single moment. No time even for humour and romance in the considerably lengthy picture. You don’t fidget for 2.5 hours in your seat at all anytime which could be the greatest scoring point for the director. And finally the cinematography merits a standing ovation: Uttar Pradesh captured at its best. Overhead shots of locations known and imprinted in the memory of Indian masses given a fresh and interesting look and angle. Really appreciate that!
I was aware Pariyerum Perumal received critical acclaim. Because it was screened yesterday the day of Pongal, I was busy and so happened to miss the opening scene and one or two more scenes. Caught up with that mostly in You Tube, yet waiting for a repeat watch.
One of the best of 2018, a clear contender for national/international Awards this year, you cannot relate a story better. Mari Selvaraj who has penned the screen play and dialogues is a man to watch out for. Directed by Pa Ranjith now known for this genre of scripts, the film still meets more than your expectations. I haven’t heard a story told more earnestly. At the end of day, I found myself shedding quiet tears in shame. Rather than vengeance as sought by Petta Rajnikanth, Pariyan seeks introspection. His character is solid. I grew up watching KB films, but I reckon, this generation of film makers is a different breed and their powerful way of storytelling may not subscribe to conventional norms yet their message reaches you across the most impressive way it can. It is not always the sophisticated Mani Ratnam way or KB way but it is raw and bare naked truth that we cannot overlook. Compulsive and lingering.
About the film content, it is tight script with not a single frame wasted. For a reasonably new team this is commendable. No loose ends untied. Not a single extra word spoken. Just what is necessary.
And what a timing! We have just had the 10% reservation quota for FCs passed in both houses in the Parliament which I view as darkest day in Indian democracy. I wish those who pushed for the bill happened to watch the picture.
Wouldn’t want to discuss it anymore. The film comes with subtitles. It has to be viewed with an open and fresh mind. And an unbiased one.
Just that the questions asked by Kadhir who plays the lead role Pari keep ringing in my ears:
Why should I not (come here)?
What is that you (people) want?
I will be here and I will learn what I want to . You can do nothing about it and I will do what I want to do.
Translated into English, the dialogues lose their intended effect. They come out so well in native Thamizh. The hero’s indignation for the injustice he suffers is substantiated and appreciable, still he abstains from nurturing vengeance. Something our communal political parties must take note of. Distinct demarcation between the two emotions that could very well overlap is the highlight of the script. The biggest strength of the story and character.
What a powerful medium Cinema can be. You cannot make every Indian read a book, but you can make them watch a film with a little success. It is only very recently I completed reading the ‘controversial (?!)’ Tamil novel ‘Madhorubhagan’ authored by Perumal Murugan (blog post pending) The author was forced to edit his original script and I got to read only the edited version. The book is now out in English titled ‘One part woman.’
It is heartening to see these new age Tamil film directors emerge bold from shadows. At the same time a word of caution: do not allow yourselves to be carried away or be used as a pawn in any political game by vested interests. Nobody is your friend. I would want our PM Modi to see the picture as well. To really understand what is Indian culture, how basic it is and how it is not the prerogative of the upper caste Hindu. Indian/Hindu culture also thrives at grass roots level: in our villages. Which is why Gandhi called some of us ‘Harijan’ – the children of Hari, Maha Vishnu.
Another well crafted character in the picture: Pariyan’s father. No comedy track but Yogi Babu seems to have taken the place of Vadivel in Tamil Cinema. Way to go! Love his innocence. Jo’s father and the climax of the picture and the final closing note almost like a post script give the story a beautiful and heart warming finish. I was bracing myself for a sadistic twisted end like some of them do: director Ameer of Paruthi Veeran has that cruel streak. Pa Ranjith has resisted it, hats off! Very wise of Mari Selvaraj and Ranjith to end the picture the way they did. This is why the Ameers of the world never win our sympathy. You don’t have to do like Bharathi Raja with his ‘Alaigal Oivadhillai’ kind of ‘they lived happily forever after’ thing. To leave you with the question hanging in mid air is brilliant direction.
“Shocked to watch Vaseline body lotion ad in tv where coolly the comparison is made with Coconut oil and the native traditional cocount oil is pronounced inferior to this chemical Vaseline product which is a petroleum derivative in truth. How Govt of India can allow such a senseless and insulting ad is surprising. Will Vaseline maker compare their products similarly with Olive oil and run such a n advertisement pumping lies in Mediterranean countries. In India you can bash all that’s Hindu and native Hindu/Indian and get away with that. VASELINE, TAKE OUT THE COCONUT OIL COMPARING AD now. Swear never to buy Lever products. Must be sued in the court of law.”
Added this comment: “Request all my friends to stop using Vaseline products until the insensitive and damaging ad is withdrawn . With an apology.”
One thought the world is going organic in a big way. And now this.
The commercial goes on to say how coconut oil lets your skin go dry in less than one hour whereas the chemical Vaseline, product of Lever, keeps your skin hydrated for hours. That a foreign manufacturer has this kind of audacity to present to us Indians such a nonsense and baseless truth is unbelievable.
The nerve these people have (for instance asking us to keep away from savouring Indian/Desi sweets during Diwali for weight-loss whereas Swiss chocolates and the Christmas bakes such as cakes etc., are fine)… Indian media controlled and owned by the Church does its daily dose of mass brainwashing the tv viewers in middle class Indian homes. See how Times Now is degrading Diwali and promoting Christmas in native Hindu soil. Systematically and slyly, cleverly done in a most unsuspecting way. Pictures courtesy (!): Francois Gautier
Eco-friendly green Diwali is fine so long as Eid is celebrated by muslims without animal sacrifice and Christmas by christians sans the christmas tree. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India should dispense unbiased justice.
Not long ago, India’s national/traditional costume dating back by thousands of years and as ancient as the very Hindu civilization was communalized and politicized similarly by none less than the New York Times. What must have irked them is that, the unstitched single piece garment the Indian Sari has survived the brutal regimes of the British and the Islamic invaders before them to this 21st century. The Sari is the ultimate defiance. Defiance as to how Hindu Dharma has triumphed over westernization and universal Americanization and even Islamization. That the Sari just cannot be replaced or removed is a reminder to the rest of the world that we Hindu Indians will NOT toe your line. (that the reporter/journalist is a muslim comes as no surprise just like the Supreme court case for women’s entry to Sabarimala Hindu shrine was filed by a muslim who was more concerned about Hindu women rights over his own women hiding behind burqa).
Multinational designers and brands have made their way into India in a big way post globalization, yet the foreign fashion houses are dismayed they cannot dislodge the Sari from the Hindu/Indian soul. India is a huge, huge market of a 500 million middle class families. So these manipulators leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Hindu institution of India is deconstructed brick by brick. It is important that the Indian nari is disrobed of her Sari, only then the jeans and skirts can make headway.
Sari, the stark reminder of all things native and pedigree…
As for China and Japan and Korea and other Asian nations, their societies are westernized beyond recognition already. Something that is impossible to do with in India. Hindus steadfastly hold on to the Carnatic/Hindustani music, Bharatnatyam/Kathak traditional dances and other native art forms without being swept over by one huge tide of westernization. Even the Arab world is westernized. From their food habits to fashion/accessories and lifestyle. Indian Hindu psyche is impossible to conquer. Education/employment makes no difference to our vast majority. We remain what we are.
The Lever’s Vaseline body lotion/moisturizer commercial now playing in Indian television channels is one more direct attack to destabilize and confuse the native Hindu/Indian. Strike at the base, strike at the core of one’s belief system, shake the confidence. Ridicule all that is original, and super impose the fake ideologies. Lower the native self-esteem. Debase. Denounce. Discredit. Then you win in a big, big way. That is how the Philippines went down.
India is still unfinished business for the west. You have to be either a Christian or Muslim in this world. Belong to one of the two violent blocks. India/Hindu means DEFIANCE. We refuse to follow or accept the Abrahamic fold/faiths. We refuse to agree that God came from Middle East. We refuse to accept both Jesus and Allah. We are here. We are Hindus. Our Gods are our native sons of the soil, our ancestors, our blood forefathers. To Hell with Yours!
This Vaseline commercial is the last straw. Already watching the Colgate Ved Shakthi advertisement and the Hamaam Neem ad., in tv, one feels a surge of anger. How Lever without a care in the world has lifted Ayurveda formula into manufacture (without paying a royalty to Indian govt?) is unbelievable. Such an outright intellectual theft is not something taken for granted or tolerated in America or Europe or Australia. But then this is our India. Here you can unleash a torrent of abuse/insult on anything Hindu/Indian and ridicule/rubbish us to our face taking us for a ride, we shall still remain eternally grateful to these multinationals by making them richer by the day.
Missed out as usual the titles and opening scene which was anyway predictable. Caught up with it later in You Tube.
A wild life enthusiast, the film no wonder appeals to me. Compelling watch for all nature lovers.
Sperm whale and the Elephant both reign supreme in their respective territories. The former roams the oceans as the world’s largest mammalian predator and the counterpart rules the forested lands as the earth’s surprisingly herbivorous and gentlest giant. The duo though have a mind of their own. They neither forget nor forgive, almost blessed with a sixth sense and emotion akin to human beings. Most endangered species today, the two also continue to be hunted down ruthlessly to extinction. Quite like whale hunting, culling of tuskers also has been in practice for centuries. While the whales yielded the precious burning oil (literally) to the then darker world devoid of electricity and gas, the elephant tusks became trophies and intricate and expensive jewelry, the most coveted treasure of the wealthiest of the world.
Whaling goes on in present times unabated as we see in Scandinavian seas/countries and also Japan/China. Elephants are pricey too and elephant poaching still goes unchecked in many parts of the world. While the wild elephant habitat and elephant corridors have shrunk by many times in geographical extent, the high seas are now too very crowded by mariners that whale population is threatened for survival like never before.
The greed of the mankind is alarming and cruel, at the same time the adventurous spirit of the human race in touching greater heights, in reaching beyond, in daring, in challenging, in going out the last mile driven by sheer instinct and guts breaking boundaries and shackles, is amazing. May be the future Homo Sapiens will evolve with mutations to breathe in carbon-di-oxide and breath out oxygen who knows !!!
The picture is a whale hunting tale, not to be compared with the likes of the ‘Jaws’, ‘Anaconda’ or ‘Lake Placid.’ These are creatures of our imagination, brought to life in silver screen. Whereas this is real life story from Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Hero whale hunter is Chase played by Chris Hemsworth who is the first mate of the whaleship ‘Essex.’
The brave expedition gets published in America when a fortunate survivor Nickerson who happens to have joined the whaleship as a cabin boy, is approached by author/novelist Herman Melville.
Period film dating back to 1820 based on the non-fiction, as narrated by the teen survivor Thomas Nickerson who lives unto ripe old age to sell his story to the writer, the mysterious whale hunting voyage is unraveled of its hidden and buried secrets locked away forever in the memory of the deck hand Nickerson. So that’s how Moby Dick is born, inspired by the big white, the most ferocious of all to wander in the seven seas (although vaguely I recall reading about it years or perhaps decades back).
What follows is an unbelievable and daring account of harpooning of whales in the Atlantic and Pacific, many leagues far from the coasts of South America, as whale oil was largely in use as fat for lighting as well as in industrial works fetching gold in bullion markets, in a time before the discovery of the fossil fuel was made in the landfall (to drive the world ever since).
Whaler Chase who has earned the distinction of wearing his whale badges is easily the natural leader denied the command of Essex, much to the chagrin of the pedigree and political appointee captain of the ship, Pollard. Although the two strike an uneasy companionship, the harrowing months at the seas away from homes and hearths and the common hardships faced together foster an understanding relationship between them. What ensues is a touching tale of humanity in the midst of inhuman living conditions, the fighting spirit conquering lethargy and the will to survive. Friendship and team work and companionship cannot get better than this.
The teenager Nickerson is live witness to the whaling expedition as the whalers hunt successfully for whale oil hooking and reeling in to death many a mammoth blue whale from the fathoms of the oceans in bold and nerve-wracking escapades after the captain makes an unwise decision about a squall that renders the whaleship weak and battered to face the perils of the sea in full force at the very start of the voyage. The initial grave slip does its damage as drama unfolds in the depths of the Pacific and beyond as the whalers go in search of schools of whales. In a bizarre turnout, the whaleship gets pursued and hunted down by the massive and legendary 100 foot white whale. Ship wrecked and oil lost, the crew is washed ashore to survive and refit in a tiny and deserted island, from whatever is left over to start their return voyage empty handed.
Absolutely stunning visuals of schools of whales deep in the Pacifics. Hopefully it is not photoshop. Or whatever. The whalehunting is excellent picturization. The walk Nickerson takes like kind of initiation in the entrails of the culled whale is astounding, flabbergasting! Can’t believe humanity lived and evolved through this stage of barbarity!
The narrator stops midway with serious misgivings over the abominations the men committed in order to survive when they run out of food and water as they make their return voyage, sun-baked and thirsty and famished. On prompt from his interviewer, he finally bares terrible secrets that had plagued his conscience for years that make for an incredulous real life story. Moby-Dick is born.
Liked this one better than the ‘Titanic.’ Or may be even ‘Avatar.’ Or the ‘Everest’ or ‘Below Eight’ yet another daredevil real life drama filmed entirely in the Antarctic. Many Himalayan stories nowadays that you actually get to think that Mount Everest is no big deal !!!
My two cents on the film being the best in the category; and more realistic may be because it is true story.
Every Hindu child in India grows up listening to the heroic and self sacrificing tale of the ethereal beauty Chittore Rani Padmini (Padmaavathi). Of Alauddin Khilji’s avarice, cunning and barbarity. As for me, I had my granny tell me about Padmini a million/billion times perhaps when I was a little girl.
Wonder why the picture drew criticisms for positive portrayal of the historical event. The film also justifies why Sati was indeed practised in India for a few centuries. Notably, it was prevalent in border states of today’s India that were prone to mogul/arab/turk/afghan/mongol invasions.
A typical Sanjay Leela Bansali production, it must have been a grand watch in IMAX cinemas. I must be the last to review the film. Watching pictures at home comes with a cost: missing out scenes thanks to domestic chores. Despite disclaimer, Hindu India knows better. ‘Padmaavat’ also is the costliest celluloid picture to be made in Indian history to date. (Catching up with lost bits in Tamil version, it comes as no surprise that dubbed ones can never come like the originals).
Numbers may vary from 14,000 to 70,000 from account to account – but that many Rajput Hindu women were believed to have jumped into fire igniting themselves, committing mass suicide (Jauhar) (Sati) when Mewar was defeated by the Sultan of Delhi (sic) (cannot even come to terms with actual history that these savages once ran a reign of terror in my Punya Bhoomi Bharat), saving themselves from capture by islamists. The historic Sati was led by the queen Padmavat herself when Maharaja Ratan Singh was defeated in the sly in the battle by Malik Kafur. (Malik Kafur the slave himself was reportedly a bisexual as Khilji was, and was in relationship with Khilji).
If not for Padmavat and her fellow Rajput women (as well as other brave Hindu warrior kings like Chatrapathi Shivaji of the Maratha and Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Kingdom), India could be more islamic today and less Hindu in character. Who knows we could have been a sultanate. Hindu kings and warriors who fought by their own ‘dharmic’ traditions saved us from worst fates. Unfortunately and ironically, the native Hindu bravado is played down in Indian history text books and India’s invaders are portrayed the heroes. This is like viewing Hitler and Nazis as heroses and the victimized jews as oppressors. The price one pays for democracy and secularism. Irony is, in India today, if we talk about our traumatic past, we will be accused of hurting the sensitivities of our minorities (who were in all probability force-converted by our invaders at the point of sword).
The one last picturization of the Sati was good enough for me. Salute my Hindu ancestors for their selfless sacrifices and bravery. Hindu dharma forbids backstabbing. War ethics are a separate dharma by themselves. Aliens from Afghanistan unfortunately were less civilized, most brutal as India has witnessed in last 14 traumatic centuries. Hindus are staunch believers in Karma. Karma has been playing out in Af-Pak for decades now, can’t you see. Anything taken from the Hindu – will have to be paid back by tens of hundreds of thousand times with interest. For the simple reason, Hindus do not disturb others on their will.
Bow my head to the queen of Mewar and the bravest Rajputs who resisted surrender and conversion to Islam with their very lives, and defended the Sanatana Dharma until their last breath, owing to whom India today is still majority Hindu!
Dharma won over Adharm in Mewar, even if Khilji’s psychotic army ran over Chittor.
May be the exact sequence of history was not recorded (as it can never be with Period films) and there are naturally quite some artistic exaggerations here and there, but in spite of these superfluous flaws, the picture is extremely well made with attention paid to intricate details – from hand block designed costumes to period jewelry of Rajastan. Filming entirely limited to Rajastan forts. Outstanding cinematography. As I have never been to this part of the country, I have not much knowledge about India’s north west state. Deepika Padukone lived up to her character, doing justice to the role of Chittore Rani Padmini as Padmavat is widely referred to. Good and apt casting with Ranveer Singh playing the bloodcurdling Khilji and Pankaj Kapoor as the dharmic, valiant king of Chittor. Prior to the picture, I was not aware that Rani Padmaavat was Sinhalese. Speaks a lot about marital relations between India and the island nation Sri Lanka over centuries – starting with the times of Ram and Sita and Ravana?
Hurts when old wounds are reopened. MY HEART BLEEDS…Delhiites may be comfortable with forts and mausoleums, but coming from south, most of us like me cannot come to accept India’s turbulent past. Cannot come to terms with the Taj Mahal representing India. If you ask me, we must have Tanjore Brahadeshwara or Madurai Meenakshi or Hampi in Karnataka or the Kailasa temple in Ajanta or the Sun temple of Konark for India’s mascot in our tourism brochures or whatever. It is time to slowly ease out Taj from our conscience and replace it with a monument of our native pride and self-respect.
A symbol of bloody invasion and tyranny and genocide of my own fellow Hindus simply cannot represent my beloved Bharat. BIG NO TO TAJ !