Distance.

It only takes one restful weekend and certain distasteful experiences to understand the importance of being coldly distant and detached from work and people.

Maybe, now, I will do better at work since I care and feel lesser.

Update 101

1. The Circle

There were 2 reasons why I wanted to watch The Circle – (i) Emma Watson; and (ii) the idea behind this technological thriller – an all encompassing intrusive software that blurs (no, actually, extinguishes) the line between public and private (do I hear the name of a similar tech company that we use on a daily basis?). The movie has a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so that should have warned me, right? However, no, I had to watch it – Emma Watson wouldn’t make star in such a crappy movie! Plus, it has Tom Hanks! This had to be good! Fact is, it stunk. It tanked. It tanked on all fronts – storyline, plot, editing, climax (rather, anti-climax) and what have you. In all fairness, the only good thing about the movie was Emma Watson but that might just be my bias.

The fundamental issue with the movie which had one of the most interesting storylines in a long time was that it failed miserably in depiction and in playing out the entire premise. So yes, you have this intelligent software which can rapidly analyse data and you have technology which can provide you this data through invasive means such as these tiny circular cameras – what do you do about it? You go transparent. You put every single second of your life out there for the public but shouldn’t that be voluntary? Is it not grossly egregious that strangers have access to every single second of your lived reality? A camera that looks inside my house is definitely invading my privacy but so will the same camera if I was in a beautiful scenic hillock enjoying a quiet moment. I could “choose” to capture that moment and paint it as a I deem fit for the world to see but that should be my choice and that is probably what The Circle should have tried to do – to explore this debate surrounding privacy and this constant urge to stay connected.

It does none of that but just ends on this bizarre note where Emma Watson says hi to a drone while kayaking by herself finding solace in the fact that everybody is exposed. It fails to tie in the premise of the movie with the climax which I certainly wasn’t expecting. So much “unfulfilled potential”.

2. John Wick: Chapter 2

I slept through the first instalment of this fast-paced and edgy series but this one I loved. It has it all – cars, guns and a hell lot of blood and gore. At the end of it, you just feel for the guy. Leave him alone! He just wants to stay alone in his palatial mansion with his dog. It’s a simple movie. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a trained assassin by the best of the Mafia. He is wounded and hurting after the death of his wife. Different segments of the Mafia piss him off at one point of time or the other and contract him to do bad things like kill, wound and maim other people. In this instalment, an idiot chooses to steal John Wick’s car which he is personally attached to just like he is attached to his wife’s memories and to his dog. Needless to say, Wick is pissed and goes on a killing rampage. However, that’s not where things end.

When people hear that he is up and about, they hire him to kill other scions of the Mafia and, well, you know the rest. There is a traitor involved and before you know it John Wick becomes the hunted instead of the hunter. It’s a fast movie and doesn’t keep you guessing. It’s all out there – the hidden motives, the gun battles, the Mafia customs and decorum and John Wick’s helplessness. Like I said, you got to feel for this guy. I particularly liked the sleek climax which had the classy museum exhibit with the mirrors. Chasing people through mirrors and people colliding into them was fun to watch. It has this butch villain woman and one has to give her credit for being tough but stupid.  At the end of it, John Wick ends up killing somebody on neutral territory and he now has to pay for it as the whole world (apparently everybody is connected to the Mafia in this world) is out looking for retribution. John Wick limps away sadly.

I loved it, I simply did. Simple movie with good action – Keanu Reeves’ dead pan expressions suit his character perfectly. Dialogue could be better but that’s not the point, is it?

3. Wonder Woman

 Gal Gadot. Enough said. No actually, wait. Gal Gadot equals Perfection.

If it’s possible to have a girl crush, Gal Gadot would be it. To use a word I never thought I would use – she slays! Not only was Gal (yes, my friend – Gal (what an interesting yet un-generic name)) 5 months pregnant when she shot for the movie, she has played each action sequence perfectly. In all fairness, what’s with David Thewlis as Ares! The costume and the dialogue was lacking but who cares when you have Gal Gadot swishing her long hair around and lasso-ing villains left, right and centre. I have heard a lot of people comment on the success of her role and this movie hinging on the Wonder Woman costume but then these are the very people missing the point. How else is a woman supposed to fight the bad guys if she was dressed any differently? Cat Woman wears lycra! Anyway, that’s a side-bar if you pay attention to the context and premise of the movie. Admittedly, I found the precocious and innocent side of Gal Gadot irritating (if I kill the God of War, War will end) and her support of human beings based on her love for Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) even more jarring but the way I could reconcile it is by understanding that Wonder Woman is a Goddess after all. I guess I expected more out of a superwoman movie. This is Wonder Woman! Okay fine, I relent, yes, she is a wonder and just perfect.

I loved it all – the sights, the action, her acting, her accent, her stride, her sway. Like I said, girl crush.

4. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Mixed feelings about this one but solid points for nostalgia. Stars Hollow and its citizens are irritating as ever, especially, Kirk and his stupid pig Petal. You must be wondering why I watch this show – it’s a favourite. It’s drama, emotion, slight hint of comedy but more importantly, it’s a portrayal of life and relationships. The relationships are stupider in the show but how else would you make good TV. GG is my guilty pleasure plus it reminds me of my Mom and how I am with my Mom. If your Mom is your best friend, you would appreciate this show.

The best part about this revival is that Rory the over achiever is now depicted as having real-world problems – the kind of problems you and I face. No wait, she always had real world problems before also but they were always bizarre like having to deal with too many boys (actually, that might also be a real-world problem). This time around Rory is shown as a failure with no proper career trajectory (hi-5 Rory!) having done small bits here and there (hi-5 Rory) and, finally, having to deal with existential crisis at 32 (way ahead of you in that department!). She is also cheating with Logan on his fiancé also on her own non-existent boyfriend. Lorelai Gilmore tries very hard to be the old Lorelai but she isn’t the same upbeat person. Emily Gilmore softens much like cheese with age.

It’s pretentious (what’s with the references to Wild? –  I see what you did there!) in bits (Rory downing shots of whiskey!) but what the hell, it’s comforting. It’s like putting on your favourite blanket and drowning in some good old nostalgia as you travel through time and sometimes logic to Stars Hollow. I ignored (fast-forwarded) the annoying bits (the nonsensical town play and just about everything to do with the town) and was rewarded with some good old-fashioned drama. Lorelai gets married to Luke, Rory finds direction by writing about her Mom and herself, Emily chills by herself away from the fake world of money, Logan is perfect (why didn’t you marry him Rory!), Jess still loves Rory (to think she would have lesser admirers now but no!), Luke is…boring and the others are just there which brings me to the climax. I have three letter – W.O.W. It’s the circle of life adjusted according to the time but wow.

If the producers ever read this, you better make a third revival season. This cannot end like this. (Spoiler Alert: Rory is pregnant outside wedlock (like Lorelai) but at 32!) !!! *utter dumb-founded disbelief*

 

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears… – Des’ree

Thank you radio – desperately needed this on a glum Monday morning.

My two cents after watching Ae Dil Hai Mushkil twice two weeks apart:

At the outset, why did I watch ADHM twice? The first time was, well, the first time. The second time was to keep A company plus I didn’t quite mind watching it again or so I thought until I actually watched it and lost interest at the very beginning itself. I felt embarrassed that I had recommended this movie to A but, thankfully, he found the second half sensible. Of course, I disagree – ADHM first and second half is utter bullshit. Maybe it’s the lack of depth of feelings in my cold soul or maybe I am just juvenile or maybe it actually sucked. Notwithstanding all the other reviews, here’s why I think it’s the latter:

(Forgive my constant use of bullet points – after entering the legal profession, I don’t quite understand any other way of penning down my thoughts)

  1. Wealth, wealth and wealth – This movie is about the wealthy for the wealthy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not wealthy by any means but I couldn’t quite empathise with any of the characters. One of them belonged to a family which owned a private jet, the other to a family who could afford a trip to Paris and stay in a three-star hotel and the other a poetess living in a mansion in Vienna. Oh also, the other minor character is a world famous DJ with a presumably rich family because he has a grand wedding with the aforementioned trip chick. The characters don’t do much except look pretty, wear good clothes, have oodles of fun and experience myriad deep emotional feelings for each other. I mean who needs a job?! Who needs a bank balance?! Isn’t that stuff for the poor?
  1. I like you enough to have sex but, wait, you kiss me like you would your family – Anushka Sharma (trip chick) does little all day except attend dance classes, date and quote deep Murakami-esque thoughts (“I don’t like sadness and I definitely don’t like happiness– I like the middle path which is…life” – wtf!). In the first scene she appears more than willing to hit the sack with Ranbir Kapoor (private jet dude) but is so completely turned off by his kissing that she spends rest of the movie denying any physical attraction to him (“You are my everything, you are my family, you are my ‘best friend’ but I don’t feel that way for you” – Ouch and ouch). His fault, obviously. I mean, c’mon, he is a bad kisser! And who wants the rest of the package anyway – good lucks, shit load of money, good voice and proper TLC.
  1. What was going on? – One big incest fest, I tell you. I didn’t quite understand Ranbir Kapoor’s obsession with Anushka Sharma whom he just met around 3 times and one of them entailed a trip to Paris sponsored by her family. It definitely wasn’t love at first sight but some overcompensation of feelings over his jilted Mom. Extremely disturbing as he is unable to understand how the two most important women in his life could reject him again and again and again… Anushka Sharma had to run away and deal with cancer to pry him off. ‘Nuf said.
  1. Once bitten twice shy (not) – Anushka Sharma may have just played one of her least feminist roles till date vis-à-vis NH10 and Sultan. Disappointing run for an actress who usually portrays strong women, she quotes some bullshit on junoon (craziness?) in love and justifies falling in love with Fawad Khan, getting cheated on, marrying him and almost tolerating being cheated on in a quick series of events. Marriage reformation attempt 101 – fail. Her inner woman finally wakes up (quoting her) and she decides to walk away from the marriage. Oh also, this is after she severs ties with her rich family and breaks Ranbir’s pitiful heart.
  1. The Goddess Mrs. Bacchan – The highlight of the movie, Aishwarya Rai, thankfully, has more sense than Anushka and literally throws Ranbir out when she realises that she is falling for him or maybe she just got bored of him. Although it isn’t the latter, the flawless gorgeous beauty is why you should watch ADHM. Just ensure that you don’t try to understand why a middle-aged, confident, beautiful, wealthy woman decides to turn into a cougar for someone as pathetic as Ranbir Kapoor albeit he is a better bet than her ex-husband – Shah Rukh Khan (some abstract artist). Huge round of applause for SRK – he tries very desperately and endearingly to act all he could in his five minute scene but, sorry bro, this isn’t your movie. Also note, based on what I could glean from their over-the-top urdu dialogues (kaamil et al), SRK had also cheated on ARB. Surprise, surprise. Not.

All in all, leave that brain of yours at home. Let it engage in some deep philosophy or in su-do-ku; bring the rest of yourself – your eyes and heart, specifically. They could use a break from your laptop screen and your dreary ‘poor’ life. After all, with Karan Johar, everyone is rich and everything opulent and every feeling a lifetime in itself.

 

Love. L-O-V-E – the four letter word that makes the world go round. Love – simple but always complicated. Love – makes everything better. Love – the best feeling in the world.

It’s amazing how we shy away from something so pretty fantastic, warm and enriching. I love Love. I love the idea of love, the feeling of being in love and, most importantly, being loved. It makes even the stupidest song on the radio sing for you and your heart is just overwhelmed by the feeling…until you meet boring, drab and repetitive work. But wait, I love work too! What did I say? Love does make everything feel better.

So, if you’re having a bad morning or a torrid night, here’s sending you love. Wherever you are today and no matter in how horrible a situation you are in, here’s some love and some faith and some hope for happier days.

Thank God for love! Thank God for family and thank God for you, A. 

Over the past week, I caught up with old friends – Meredith Grey & Co. I don’t quite recall why I quit hanging out with them but it felt so good to catch up on their lives and their drama. Shondaland warmly welcomed me to Seasons 11 and 12 with warmth and understanding as I navigated through episodes of sheer drama. There is no other word for it, except, Drama. It’s messy, fun and unnerving as each character’s life unfolds in highly scripted yet effective Drama. There! I said it again but that is expected from someone who is known for that kind of television. Don’t get me wrong when I say that kind of television because that would be hypocrisy – I am in the midst of Season 12 as I write this and I am itching to get home to complete the season so yes, I have to admit, it’s good TV. Good TV can be characterized in many different ways. While some may prefer serious stuff (for instance, Homeland which got ridiculous and long-winded in Season 5), others prefer sitcoms (I do!), few others like legal drama (say, Boston Legal – good stuff!) but some prefer good old-fashioned high-strung Drama. Grey’s Anatomy currently in its 13th season epitomizes Drama (I have got to stop using this word!). It has everything – adventure, romance, comedy (kind of), action, all the quintessential elements required to make a TV show but here’s where Grey’s strikes a marked departure from other shows and enters the Hall of Fame of TV shows. It milks human emotions, plain and simple. It makes you realize that life is messy and that people are messier and that’s just okay.

While this may seem cliché and Shonda has the disastrous but wildly popular Scandal to prove that she can’t get normal human emotions right all the time, she has hit it out of the park with Grey’s. Having said that, the level of tragedies that happen to each character, particularly, the iconic Meredith Grey, are too high and prove that Shonda sometimes loses the plot and that this is just pure fiction to be watched and forgotten. Some parts of Grey’s however do stick with you as they represent the utter fallibility of humans in their different human roles, as a doctor, as a wife, as a mother and as a friend. Not to forget, sometimes, life actually hands you lemons. Actually, in the case of Grey’s, it’s raining lemons and bombs and debris and stuff. It borders on the ridiculous when Meredith Grey gets attacked by a patient in Season 12 making you wonder whether Shonda & Co. were lucid when they made that episode. I mean, they just killed her husband last season but that also makes Mer super-human as she bears the brunt of just about everything and the others just sort-of revolve around her with their own lives while pacifying her and taking care of her almost non-existent three children. The other thing is that the show sometimes is too damn obvious! Mer’s 3rd child is born a year after her husband dies! Reincarnation! although the kid is then named after her dead Mom who tried killing herself. The carousel has to stop turning somewhere, Shonda (Grey’s aficionados will get this one!).

One of the good things about Grey’s is that it also targets social issues – gun violence, racism, LGBT rights, PTSD among other issues. It’s an impressive and tall list of issues and the resolution of such issues is always idealism or a naturally spoken sermon by one of the characters. So, for instance, the issue of gun violence is shown in the context of kids being exposed to guns and misfiring the same while playing. It showcases remorse, guilt and concludes with a mixed message on banning guns. This depiction of social issues can also be seen in the somewhat-dark-yet-superficially-light You’re the Worst which recently aired its master episode on PTSD. It reinforces the point of the television which although is pure entertainment material has a greater role to play in disseminating the right kind of message. A marked contrast from pure-entertainment shows like Big Bang Theory which in its own way is educational, the evolution of shows like Grey’s is a welcome change in the world of air-headed and nonsensical television. It’s time that Hindi television took a cue from this development and stopped airing of shows of human beings turning into bumble bees and birthing devils.

I love Grey’s. It’s not exactly your dose of light and funny but in the real world of grown-ups, it is like your supportive blanket. It reminds you that life can be so much worse (Meredith Grey’s many attempts to die) but that it can also be equally beautiful. It’s important to rise every single day with that knowledge and while we may pulled by the dregs of the past we need to carry them forward because without it we wouldn’t be who we are today – messed up, confused, indecisive, selfish, insecure, hurt but at the same time wise, bold, fearless, independent, happy, calm but, most importantly, ourselves.

There! I ended the post like a typical Grey’s episode.

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” – Joe Fox

I need to visit a Starbucks.