I am pleased to share that the winter I was whole-heartedly denouncing appears to be fleeting and I hope this is the last I will be seeing of it (at least till next year).

In line with my new year resolution to blog about meaningful and useful subjects, rather than to rant-and-rave, and, also to capture my long withheld thoughts on these tv shows, I am going to write them down here before I scoot down for another evening of binge-watching and binge-eating.

You’re the Worst (YTW)

I found You’re the Worst at a time when I had completed watching Full House and was almost through the first season of Frasier which I found amusing but dry. It didn’t possess the Everybody Loves Raymond brand of humour which had its fair share of episodes which you just wish would end and neither was it adorable like Full House which again went through its own intolerable phase of excruciating cuteness. So, the idea of a young commitment-phobic couple sounded just about right after meandering through Frasier.

I think like life (to hell with it, I am going to get philosophical – it’s my blog!) every tv show has its ebbs and flows, just like every song (albeit the preponderance is greater in pop) has this crescendo that it builds up to leading to this slow tone (totally kills your work-out!) which goes on for about 30 seconds followed by the chorus (yay! let’s go faster on the elliptical). Case in point being Enrique Iglesias.  YTW had one horrendous episode – Sunday Funday and a few stupid scenes dealing with the side characters frugally distributed through seasons 1 and 2 implying that it is good tv. I was skeptical of the show because its central male character – an English pseudo-intellectual arsehole with his many weird references was a total let-down but as the character evolved I grew to love him. I love the central female lead because she is as real as it gets but to be sure she has her own flaws. I like the fact that she ate whatever she wanted and was nonchalant about her sexual needs, almost casual but classy.

YTW sets up this perfect storyline about two people who abhor commitment and you believe it till it becomes so utterly predictable that they end up in a committed relationship. It’s a modern take on every romantic comedy ever made yet it stops just short of being a cheesy RomCom. So there isn’t any woo-er and woo-ee, it’s not your candies and flowers but neither is it without the fuss. So, there are times when the protagonists are chilling with cigarettes after sex and trading their respective stories and also times when they are non-stop texting each other without it being cheeseball-worthy. The side-characters – a bunch of dysfunctional (Note: Everybody in the show is dysfunctional at some level.) weirdos are fun without being overwhelming save for the few times when you just can’t take any more of them but they beautifully in their own way balance the show and season 2 adds dashes of brilliance to their otherwise drab stories.

Season 1 was mediocre at best but season 2 takes the show to a whole  different level and by the end of it you are knocked out completely. Spoiler alert! Season 2 addresses the female protagonist’s clinical depression and you would half expect the guy to flee but he stays and as cliched RomComs end they express they say the predicable three words. The ending leaves you with a warm fuzzy but surprised feeling but there again you have the same boy-chase-girl-to-protect-and-fix-her routine and diminishes the fierce sense of self-worth of the female character.

Then again, isn’t that how relationships work sometimes? While the entertainment industry – Hollywood and Bollywood churn out fiercely independent and sometimes rigidly feminist characters, ultimately, each such character is a sucker for the romance and fuzz of a boy chasing her and somehow fixing her, be it placating her insecurities or fixing her emotionally from the abuses of her past. I will desist from turning this into an argument on feminism and the independence of a modern-day woman but RomComs are generally built on the premise of a helpless yet strong female. All in all, YTW is worth a watch, you might get irked with the English accent but you learn to live with it. Just steer clear of judging the side characters early on.

Married

One episode down and I just couldn’t deal with the useless good-for-nothing-sex-crazy husband. Yes, the show is about the life a married couple with three children. The husband as described above is utterly sex deprived because his hard-working wife who does practically everything around the house is too tired to fulfill his crazy sexual needs. What can I say, I don’t like weak male characters. It was nice to see Judy Greer back in action (remember, The Wedding Planner?!)

Quantico

I now love Priyanka Chopra and have this new-found respect for her because the woman is into everything practically – acting and music and a few more things (I think). She is actually a watered down female version of Farhan Akhtar who is so freaking multi-talented and gifted. I love her hectic work schedule and how she posts these airplane photographs on Instagram (yes, I stalk her occasionally) and how at 33 the woman is fit with a waist size of 26 and how she can talk business but the show…I stopped watching it after episode 4 or 5. It’s another thing that I couldn’t stream it but I just lost interest because it was so teen-girlish.

So, you have Alex Parrish – the genius and the invincible FBI agent accused of a terrorist attack who can do no wrong and then you have the blubbering and foolish FBI who can’t nab her. I would seriously love to be in Alex’s shoes because every single character in the show gives her such a huge ego boost and constantly keep telling her things like “you’re the best”. With such a fan following who wouldn’t believe themselves to be the best. And the rest clearly are dunces and fools with some sordid pasts and fallacies like being unable to do push-ups like Alex or being unable to shoot or not being as perceptive as her. I remember this test where the FBI trainees had to figure out the identity of a possible terrorist; while the rest literally jumped to conclusions, Alex has an ah-ha moment and comes up with this brilliant diagnosis that it all depended on who gave them the clues and how it limited their investigation and la-la-la. Everybody is astounded at her brilliance and laud her for being the first FBI agent to have cracked the test. Wait, what? You all can’t be idiots! But, yes, they are!

Besides the background score which I absolutely loved, the new find Johanna Braddy (the woman’s a stick!) and my admiration of Piggy Chops’ work ethic, Quantico failed to impress and interest me. Well, I will google to find out what happens eventually like I did with Scandal but I don’t think I can bear watching the show anymore.

Homeland

Let me begin my saying just how much I wish I had a mentor like Saul and I wish I was as brilliant as Cary. I loved Homeland! At least until Brody goes to Brazil or someplace, after which, I put my hands up and called it quits. Homeland is about a CIA agent – Cary and her ambition to capture all the terrorists in the world and thwart any attack on American soil having failed to stop 9/11. The words ‘American Soil’ have been used countless number of times through the show and you can’t help but wish it would end at some point.

Not all 45-50 minutes of each episode are great and most of the times you’d rather fast-forward to get to the real action than silently bear through the entire episode. The first few episodes had me thrilled and excited as you sit at the edge of your seat like Cary to figure out Brody and then he just disappoints you. I mean, what is with the Brazil bit?! Brody’s wife -Jessica Brody is the epitome of this perfect wife who is having an affair with Brody’s best friend because Brody was away having been tortured and imprisoned for 8 years. Brody’s kids are screwed up in their own way. Period. Cary thinks Brody is a terrorist and surprise surprise he is! Then he is not because Cary fixes him. Can I again say that I hate weak men?

 

To be Continued…

Brace Yourself! Winter is here.

Winters are supposed to be harsh. They are supposed to make you cold and bitter, right down to your very toes. They are supposed to make you want to curl up under your blanket and shut the world out in every sense of the term. They are supposed to make you resist waking up in the mornings and going about your routine business. They are supposed to make you do a lot many things, but, most importantly, they are supposed to calm things down. Winters are supposed to halt the bullshit and inanity of everyday life; they are supposed to herald the holidays and simpler times where responsibilities, work, cleaning, obligations and what have you vapourise into thin air and leave you with vast amounts of time to do absolutely nothing.

However, the above does not apply to you if you are a lawyer with a boss who is about to take his break and decides that he would like to wrap up a month’s work in a week. This also does not apply to you if you are stressed beyond reason for practically everything in life. This also does not apply to you if you live by yourself and are facing a mountain of housework and fruits to cut for the next day.

All this and more would clearly lead to you becoming a stressed-out, on the edge, over-eating, cortisol producing maniac who eliminates a month of consistent work outs and careful diet. Side-effects include: crazy desire to splurge, binge-eat yoghurt and to lie horizontal in bed all day watching Unreal as if the show’s going to be pulled off from the Internet the very next second.

In addition to you becoming a lazy and fat ass who cannot stop spending/ eating and watching drama, you also become increasingly annoyed and depressed with this strong urge to kick people for being who they are while deeply wishing that it were summer again.

It’s a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away – Beautiful Day, U2

For those profoundly hopeful and busy days.

That moment when you become allergic to every love song on the radio is when you realise that you have fallen out of love with love.

@ Radio, can you just freaking stop it!

After that extremely dark and depressing post, I thought I should do something cheery like write about the movies that I have watched in the recent past. So here goes, from the most recent, as of yesterday:

  1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

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Boy has Tom Cruise aged and how but the man still has that aura of an extremely good-looking meets suave and smart about him. He can still cut an extremely impressive figure in his well-tailored suits which he wears even in the sweltering heat of Morocco. Now, don’t get carried away because Tom might just be the only salvageable thing about the movie as the plot has absolutely nothing to hold your attention. Probably it had to do with the fact that I was in a new but old-school movie hall which hosted a total of 12 people in the so-called ‘Gold’ class and that I had been spoiled rotten by PVR but I absolutely wasn’t interested in the movie. The bit about the Torus was fun and visually pleasing especially with Tom being his dare devil best in navigating the choppy and forceful waters to replace profiles of authorized personnel which will enable his associate access a high-security data vault which is hosted in a power plant (*rolls eyes*) in order to lay his hands on a ledger comprising of the names of the members of a rogue organization (“Rogue Nation”, geddit?) called ‘Syndicate’ (how novel!) which is the anti-thesis of the IMF. My second favourite scene has to be the high-speed bike chase where Rebecca Ferguson (you got to have a chick in the movie!) gives Tom a run for his money, literally, and the poor guys ends up on the side of the road having narrowly escaped ramming straight into her and all because he trusted her though she betrayed that very trust by running away with a copy of the said ledger just in the previous scene (and hence the chase). After several un-dramatic but attemptedly dramatic twists and turns where everybody is out to get the other leaving you to question everybody’s loyalties in the movie, it ends. Thankfully. The fight scenes are lackluster and the characters each have their own trademark way of fighting, so, for instance, Ms. Ferguson prefers to climb on top of the villain’s many minions and ram knives and what-have-you through their skulls/ necks. Tom is too busy running in his suits (a fine sight) and doesn’t miss an opportunity to fall or get hurt and one wonders what keeps him alive but then again he is the only one in the movie whom everyone trusts and is friendly with and is one step ahead and has all the resources (lots of cash and fake identities to go around people!) including his modern hide-out/ technologically-advanced-with-weaponry boat in Austria. There are touches of dry humour which is a bit of a relief considering that the rest of the movie passes you in a mediocre action-packed blur. My question is: why did you age Tom?

  1. Inside Out (2015)

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I love animated movies and this one climbs right to the top of the charts below Frozen. The story behind this movie is that its writer – Pete Docter developed it after noticing changes in his daughter’s personality as she grew older (Wikipedia). The best part of the movie is its very premise and imagined hypothesis that one could have five major emotions controlling one’s brain (and thus your reactions/ responses) which in turn formulate and manage your core and long-term memories. The animation is simplistic but the plot is profound and beyond its years making it a teenage/ adult entertainer. So you have Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger – the five emotions that control your reactions to externalities. Your unconscious reactions in your formative years form your core memories and depending on your situation they could be happy and joyous core memories or an emotional mix of happiness, sadness, anger, disgust and fear. These core memories form islands (for instance, family island, honesty island, goof-ball island) that form the basis of your personality and make you what you intrinsically are – sort of like your foundations of life and things that you hold most dear. Till 11, Riley, the central protagonist of the movie is a happy child until her parents decide to move to another state and start a new life. Due to a set of circumstances caused by the predominance of Joy in her brain (don’t I wish this was true for me), Joy and Sadness are sucked into the parts of her brain storing long-term memories. The brain is then controlled by Anger, Disgust and Fear which lead to Riley running away from home among a bunch of other things until the console via which the emotions direct the responses is jammed and she can’t feel any emotion. Finally, Joy realizes that one needs to feel sad and experience hurt, tears and pain to truly feel joyful and happy. Joy and Sadness finally make their way to the console and make things right but purely through Sadness’ efforts. The movie ends with Riley being a balanced human being who has islands made up of all the emotions and not merely Joy. It does give you a lot of food for thought about the workings of your brain and you wish that Joy would be the one calling the shots more often at the risk of you looking like a grinning idiot.

  1. Frozen (2013)

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I finally got around to watching Frozen and this movie, ladies and gentlemen, is now one of my most favourite movies. I am glad that for once the main protagonist in this Disney production doesn’t end up with falling in love with some prince and living “happily ever after” but rather she goes on to rule a nation single-handedly while being a partially warm ice-princess. The animation is far superior compared to Inside Out and depicts some truly beautiful characters and spectacular views. The plot is borrowed from the Snow Queen but with a lot of variations and you end up with an extremely gorgeous princess named Elsa who has the ability to turn anything into solid ice with her hands. Having inadvertently frozen her younger sister at an early age she is hidden from the world until her coronation. At the coronation ball, after her sister declares her marriage to a handsome prince she had met that day (screams desperate!), Elsa inadvertently (again!) reveals her ability to the kingdom and fearing what she could unleash further runs away to the mountains where she renders the powerful ‘Let It Go’. Elsa didn’t realize that in the bargain she had frozen the whole kingdom over and her younger sister sets out on a quest to seek her out leaving her prince in charge of the kingdom. The sister is accompanied by an ice trader and his reindeer and after reaching Elsa they realize that she has no plans of getting back (The past is in the past… Let it Go!). Elsa, again, inadvertently, freezes her sister but this time in the heart and after a set of circumstances and plot thickening (the prince didn’t love the sister and wanted to lay his hands on the throne by killing Elsa and the sister as he was the last in line in his own kingdom and in any case the sister seemed desperate – sigh), everything, as in a Disney movie is right with the world. Elsa doesn’t need to conceal her ability anymore and the people in the kingdom rejoice at the beauty that their queen can conjure with her hands. What can be more beautiful than that such a happy ending! Full score to the soundtrack of the movie! I can’t stop singing ‘Let it Go!’.

  1. Khoobsurat (2014)

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Sonam Kapoor has been generally viewed as an overly-excited/ irritating bimbo with a terrific sense of fashion. Clearly, I didn’t watch this movie because of her and I do think that is a pretty decent human being; however, I watched it because it is a Disney production! The plot is a simple: Sonam Kapoor (not acting, rather, being herself) is a renowned physiotherapist (who has fixed Dhoni and other IPL players) who is hired by a royal family to improve the motor ability of the so-called Maharaja/ King types who doesn’t want to get well in the first place. Enter a morose and stickler for rules Maharani and the gorgeous prince played by Fawad Khan. Sonam is backed by her mother – the very loud and obnoxious Kirron Kher whose Punjabiness almost makes her too much to take in, literally and figuratively. Apparently, there is only one way to portray Punjabis – loud, obnoxious and pains-in-the-butt. I also don’t understand why they dressed up Sonam in such wacky outfits, really. So you would find that the character doesn’t have any qualms or the sense to dress up in normal clothing while visiting the Maharaja of a neighbouring castle. In fact, she makes sure to wear ill-fitting harem pants with mismatched tops and jackets with loud scarves and some lousy jewellery. The accidental but intentional kiss between Fawad and Sonam is supposed to be heart-touching but it only makes you wonder why. I mean the woman is a famous physiotherapist and an adult but there you find her auditioning for some role in an untitled movie in some remote district and Fawad leaves an important meeting with some Chinese/ Japanese guy to save her. But guess what, he doesn’t have to save her. Turns out he knows the kidnappers and chases them away while slyly drinking from a flask and adds to Sonam’s drunkenness. The bizarre but cute part about the movie is that they depict what the characters are actually thinking vis-à-vis what they’re saying, so, it’s like, “Main jaa raha hoo (I am going)” but in the back of his mind the character is saying, “Mujhe rok lo (Stop me)”. I don’t quite understand Fawad and Sonam’s love story but all the same it’s mildly adorable and endearing save for Sonam’s perpetual foot-in-the-mouth situation. So confusions galore and one extremely brilliant sad song later in the course of which the Maharaja finally walks and reinstates his masculinity (tang adana – putting one’s foot in other’s business *rolls eyes*) Fawad and Sonam decide to get married. I truly hated Sonam’s character in bits especially her over-dramatic over-the-top bullshit when left alone in a room with Fawad for God-knows -what reason considering they aren’t even married and this is India people. She says and I quote, “Tumhe dekh kar bure khayal aa rahe hain Viku” (When I see you, I think dirty thoughts, Viku)” and that tells you all you need to know about the character. Her USP lies in the fact that she is honest to a fault and doesn’t want to live a life with regrets even though it might adversely affect the opposite party. Plus, she clearly is desperate. There is only one reason you should watch the movie – Fawad Khan who pulls off his grim and disciplined princely son routine with ease. Sonam, you are taking fashion a bit too far. I hate your pants.

  1. Bahubali: The Beginning (2015)

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I have never walked out half-way through a movie. In fact, I am always ardently faithful right till the end sometimes even staying for the titles when and if they conclude with a great track (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 where Lorde renders the brilliant ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’) but this is one movie where fifteen minutes in I wanted out. Maybe it was a Friday night and I was tired after a hard week and late night shows are really not my thing (yes, I like to sleep early and but not wake up early) but the blatantly stupid notion of romanticizing the idea that a woman is all about her outwardly appearance and that a beautiful woman dressed in revealing clothes can be a man’s only inspiration for greatness is a killer. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not a feminist and I am all for screaming equality till I am hoarse but c’mon, the woman is a fighter and a darn good one at that. She doesn’t need to wear a strapless bikini top and a skirt, make up her face with organic gunk to be a woman. Before I stray further on this topic, the story simply is about a ripped, bizarrely-strong man called Bahubali who was supposed to be killed as a child but is rescued by a tribal family. The plot is set in a beautiful land with waterfalls and greenery where Bahubali lives with his tribal clan at the foot of the waterfall. Intuitively, he is drawn to the top of the waterfall and finally after being inspired by a mask fallen from the top of the waterfall who he then fashions into a face of  a woman – an apsara vision-like woman leads him to literally climb the whole length of the waterfall/ mountain and he comes across a new land. The above mentioned woman is a warrier and her people are hatching a plan to rescue their head who is trapped in the capital by the cruel king. See, that is where things get interesting. Now, Bahubali is a foolish idiot who seemed to have just hit puberty in the movie. He is drawn to the woman and uncannily enough begins to annoy her by drawing tattoos on her body while swinging from a tree while she is frozen staring at a snake (yes, that is a sign that a boy likes you – he annoys you). She has some deep-seated insecurities as she looks at her reflection in the lake and pushes away thoughts of beauty which Bahubali uses as a leverage. He annoys her some more and before you know it she is dolled up as some decadent goddess who falls in love with him, sleeps with him and trusts him (but we’ve just met and you seem to be some rural fool!) but no one must know. He rescues her from people of the capital who are after her while out-pacing an avalanche and she decides that the task of rescuing their head should be entrusted to him. The man enters the capital, disguises himself and after pulling off a stunt where he lifts a gold statute so people won’t die (just watch the movie already!) inspires them so they start screaming Bahubali. The king is shocked, appalled and irritated (he spent so much on the gold statute and it was supposed to be up like yesterday!) and sends people chasing after this Bahubali. Meanwhile, the captured head who is mentioned above is one fascinating but scary creature as she collects sticks out of nowhere and is in the process of building the cruel king’s funeral pyre. She is very Jaya Bachchan in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and senses that her son – Bahubali (now you know!) is somewhere around. She denounces opportunities to escape and decides that her son will rescue her and burn this shit down. Bahubali hasn’t the slightest inkling so he fights everyone, rescues his mum and is well on his way to her land when he is stopped by the commander general who secretly hates the king and wants to rescue the scary red-eyed woman. Bahubali kills the king’s son and that’s that. It is revealed that he is Bahubali – the son of the brave Bahubali who was supposed to be the king but was killed by… the commander general! But why?! For that we have to wait for Bahubali: The Ending in 2016. The reveal is predominantly the second half which is a visual treat and puts 300 to shame. Of course, some things are ludicrous. I mean how can you watch each detail of the war that Bahubali’s father wins to ascend the throne if you are miles away from the battle field but this is solid Tollywood, people. The songs are ethereal and I particularly like one single female character – Bahubali’s grandmother who dies saving him. She literally holds him out to the sun appealing to the Gods to save him while the river around her drowns her and that is how he is rescued by the tribals. Now, this woman has some serious balls (forgive the language) as she single-handedly rules the kingdom without the help of her physically-handicapped and sly husband while raising Bahubali’s father and her own son. She holds different tests to determine who would ascend the throne and the war with the disfigured/ disorganized rurals (sort-of like Sauron’s orcs and wargs) determines their fate. I loved the second half (post some heavy dose of caffeine) but positively hated the first. All in all, I am intrigued as to why the commander general did kill Bahubali’s father for which I am pretty sure he had some noble reason. As for the insecure woman – she could use a healthy dose of self-respect and self-esteem but hey if you are happy with that top and skirt so be it.

For now, this is Monday face:

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