PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – ABILASHA


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Most of the good things in my life are sweet accidents. Destiny has always been kind to me despite the occasional glimpses of chaos. But Abilasha’s story was different. It all started with the sentence below. I dream of a day when disability would no longer be considered a curse, and the people who are differently abled would be given a chance to have a normal shot at life, just like the others.

After a long time I saw someone speaking my own language.  We live in a world where people are constantly obsessed with perfection. Is it possible for the special ones to co-exist ? Frankly I don’t know the answer but in Abilasha I saw a spirit filled with conviction and hope. A  spirit with a never say die attitude. It was time to merge two story lines into one single plot for ours was a common dream but first I had to connect the dots and that meant meeting her in person.

But the big question was how?  Luckily destiny intervened again and VOICES OF THE UNHEARD happened.  And I am glad it did for I realized she wasn’t alone and neither was I. There were many out there who shared the same passion.  We were all in this together.

There are times in life when you need a hand to show you the way to your destination. Luckily it was the hand of a young prodigy. A mere thank you won’t suffice for the way she’s touched my life. But I guess for now that will do. There’s a long way to go and let’s make a difference together one step at a time. 

PS : Our first meet was almost a freeze frame moment. “You are Chetna’s friend Sir ? She queries. I almost blurt out the truth. I want to say “Oh yes I am. But you are the reason I am here. An autograph please”. But a simple Yes was the answer that came out. Perhaps that’s what happens when a fan meets his Superstar. 

 

 

 

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THE CURIOUS CASE OF VIJAY SETHUPATHI


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I never intended to post this one but the Memes haven’t stopped. What is so wrong with Vijay Sethupathi doing 8 films a year? The trouble is most top heroes do only 1 film a year making it an industry norm but have they been successful in delivering a quality product with that 1 film is a huge question mark. If that one particular film doesn’t work it’s a huge burden on the hero and his choice of films. Multiple films give a hero the required breathing space. 

There was a time before the late 2000’s when our top heroes did multiple films a year. It’s a prevalent norm in the Malayalam film industry where even Superstars do 4-5 films a year even today. Then why do we mock a hero who consistently delivers in his multiple avatars. Didn’t we love Vijay Sethupathi as the no nonsense cop in Sethupathi ?  Even in Iraivi he was impeccable as the prey in a flawed premise. Ka ka po saw him lift an otherwise ordinary film with his usual charm. Dharmadurai was all about second chances while the recently released Aandavan Kattalai impressed all of us with it’s inherent simplicity. 

Isn’t it time to celebrate an actor who has been versatile with his choices. There’s another facet which we conveniently ignore. Almost all his recent choices have an incredible supporting cast with some outstanding performances even by actors who fill in with small roles. It’s a welcome shift. At a time when we are conveniently falling prey to hero worship by celebrating mediocre films where the hero is the alpha and the Omega. Vijay Sethupathi has managed to break all the prevalent industry norms without being noticed.

Both Rajini and Kamal have constantly advocated the 4-5 films a year philosophy with KAMAL leading by example by completing films in 30 days. If a stalwart can do so why can’t the younger breed follow suit ?

Before you mock Vijay Sethupathi for his line up of releases. Let me remind you one thing Our Superstar Rajnikanth did 25 films in one year when he was at his peak. I see nothing wrong in an actor’s attempt to explore various genres and at the same time fill his pockets while at the peak of his powers.

You needn’t applaud him but atleast don’t try to pull someone who is trying.

 

VOICE OF THE UNHEARD – THE FIRST CHAPTER


 

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How far would you travel to meet someone you admire ? What if it all goes wrong?   My health was at it’s worst – A bad cold, flu, a voice that had began to sound like Motta Rajendran and a travel half way across the city for that brief moment of happiness. It was a gamble. But I was ready despite the obstacles.

I arrive almost an hour before the event.” You have no sense Salesh. Excuse yourself and come back at 4.00 PM”. I curse myself for being the early bird.  But something else grabs my attention. A bunch of youngsters running around to make sure everything was in order. The energy within the room was infectious. Neither of them had any idea how many people would turn up. But their passion and commitment was relentless and inspiring. At their age I had no idea where my life was heading. But these youngsters had a goal and a purpose and nothing was going to stop them.

The event begins and the voices that spoke were inspiring and uplifting. More often than not we consider the specially abled kids as an inspiration but how about those people who rarely get the limelight. The ones who dedicate their lives towards the betterment of these special people. The event was an interesting insight into their world. Their everyday struggles and small moments of happiness. 

The ramp walk too was unique with each of the participants conveying a worthy message. The finale had an interesting twist. I was asked to speak and tell my story to the world. The moment I had been waiting for finally arrived and it had taken me 5 long years to get to where I want to be. It was short messy narration but I loved the moment. I missed my family and my friends from CBC, Let’s talk life, Blogchatter and all the people who had touched my life in one way or the other. Hopefully atleast some of them would be present the next time when I take up the stage as a designated speaker.

The next time you come across people who are specially abled remember one thing. They don’t need you. You need them to inspire and uplift you. They seek your empathy and not sympathy. A big shout out to the entire team of Voice of the Unheard for a spectacular beginning.  Thalaivar style la solanum na  ” Idhu chumma trailer than. Main picture neenga innum pakala”.

PS: I did have my fanboy moment when I met the star that I was destined to meet. It was brief but a moment to be treasured for eternity.

PINK – MOVIE REVIEW


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Pink isn’t merely a film. It’s a strong statement. It is also a proof of the creator’s conviction in his craft. The film deviates itself from commercial trappings that usually hinder Hindi Cinema to dare the audience. Pink is a difficult film to digest. But the narration is relentless and forces you to put yourself on the victim’s shoes.

The opening act of Pink belongs to Taapsee Paanu. She surprises with an astounding performance which captures the fear, helplessness, anguish and the inherent strength of a woman being victimized.  After a brief sparkle in Baby she re-invents herself as an actress in Pink.

The second act of Pink belongs to  Kirti Kulhari  and Andrea Tariang who are at their best when forced to break down before the law. In more ways than this follow up is of utmost importance. It forces us to re-evaluate our perceptions towards the actual victim. It also shows us how vulnerable we can be when forced to take a stand before the law.

 The final and most important act of the film belongs to Amitabh  Bachchan and his famous baritone. Without his famous voice this would have been just another critically acclaimed film lost in the film libraries. But his presence elevates the film and gives it a whole new dimension. The stalwart underplays letting the girls hog the limelight. His experience shows as he battles own demons while fighting for the girls. The trick lies in knowing when to voice out and highlight the star performer hidden within. He stays in the background for most of the film making the audience wait and yearn for that moment of magic which happens right at the end when he begins the No means No closing statement and he makes a lasting final impression. He makes the final moments his own with a flawless finale.

 A big thumbs up to  Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Ritesh Shah, Rashmi Sharma Shoojit Sircar and team for taking a diversion from the commercial route and giving us a film which we needed. Pink never shies away from baring it all. It questions the misogyny still spread like an epidemic in our flawed system. It questions our moral convictions.

How easy is it to label a woman? We give her an identity based on our own perceptions. Pink is a film which has it’s heart in the right place. Hopefully someday reality too might mirror the actual verdict of the film. But we still have a very long way to go. But I wish, I hope and I believe a better tomorrow awaits the women suffering in silence.

My verdict – A perfect 5/5 for the intent and stellar performances by the lead cast. Go watch it on the big screen.

 

THE CURIOUS CASE OF MAMMOOTTY


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I just sat through the pathetic Kasaba and it raised a lot of questions within as a die-hard Mammootty fan.  The subtexts within Kasaba are so cringe worthy that I found it nauseating. I agree not every film has to have a message. But if the intent was to give Mammootty a stylish makeover why not do it with a good script.  And when an actor of Mommootty’s stature endorses such degrading themes it leaves a lot to be desired

Why does an actor of his calibre resort to mediocre films every now and then. It is definitely not the lack of scripts for Malayalam cinema regularly proves itself by churning out one good film after another. I agree the depth of the good old days is missing but still it’s top notch when compared to other South Indian Industries. Is it the lack of charisma perhaps ?  No absolutely not. The screen presence is still very much intact.

I relished Pathemari which showed us a glimpse of the Mammootty we had lost. He was the one who first embraced the new wave of Malayalam Cinema with Pranchiyetan and the Saint but after that he submerged himself in a sea of substandard films which were made just for the sake of Satellite rights and commercial gains.  What was the need to kill an extraordinary actor ? Since when did he become just one among the pack. 

There was a time when Mammootty and Mohanlal were unstoppable. But Mohanlal has cleverly blended with the times constantly re-inventing himself in excellent films the recent Oppam is a fine example. Mammootty on the other hand seems to have stalled himself. No this isn’t a comparison statement just the anguish of a hardcore fan who clings on to the hope that re-invention is just around the corner. I hope so. I desperately hope so. 

With the charisma still intact there’s a lot more Mammootty has to offer to Malayalam Cinema and I believe it’s never too late to re-kindle the old flame which made him a fine actor.

 

MONEY MONSTER – MOVIE REVIEW


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How do you dress up the mundane and make it look spectacular. Ask Jodie Foster. Money Monster is a bluff which works primarily because of spectacular star turns by it’s leads the eternally charismatic George Clooney and Hollywood’s pretty woman Julia Roberts. 

The plot – A clichéd hostage drama which we have seen many times before. You can almost predict every scene in Money Monster. Yet it’s a clever ploy by Jodie Foster. She picks a basic one line plot where the focus never shifts from either of them. And they do a very fine job of distracting you from the plot loopholes and the deja feel that every scene brings.

It’s a move which could have easily backfired for having an A-lister does not necessarily guarantee box office returns. Perhaps it’s a good lesson too. When you have competent actors who can light up the screen don’t mess the plot with too many complications. Just a simple one liner and a top notch execution would work just fine.  It’s only after the movie ends you realize that you have been tricked into watching another average Hollywood fare. But you don’t feel bad either

And now the big question – To watch Money Monster or not. Definitely a one time watch and a welcome diversion from the barrage of sequels and horror overdrive that we have been witnessing lately. As for those who love George Clooney and Julia Roberts it’s your best opportunity to drool over their charisma, skill and onscreen chemistry

My Verdict – It’s all about the MONEY. Go for it.

My Rating – 3/5 

LESSONS FROM RAJINIKANTH – PART I


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Identify and Retain your Uniqueness: What made Rajinikanth different from his predecessors ?  Tamil Cinema wasn’t new to concept of Mass Heroes. Yet he was different. What is the one factor which sets him apart. His SPEED which ultimately transformed into a never before seen dimension on screen – A STYLE Statement like never before. There have been numerous imitators who have shamelessly copied him in the hope of attaining the same glory. But he has been relentless giving us a new style with each passing film. All the rest of the heroes can do is watch in awe, applaud and play catch up.

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Age is just a number: Rajinikanth is in his late 60’s yet the aura is unmatched. Perhaps it’s an eternal lesson for those who admire him too. If you can retain the same passion even  when age when catches up with you then the grey hairs and weak muscles will merely be another hurdle for you to overcome and succeed.

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Never ever give up on yourself: We all remember the Baba debacle. There were detractors asking him to move away, hang up and retire. I believe some of them even make money out of his movies even today. But Rajinikanth answered them in the best possible way. He came back as stylish as ever delivering one of the biggest hits of his career Chandramukhi. And he gave a lesson for life with the now famous ” I am not an elephant. I am a horse.I will rise up quicker than you think”. He never gave up on himself.

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Appreciate Wholeheartedly: I believe there has never been a greater example of heartfelt apppreciation than Superstar Rajinikanth  in the cine industry. One anecdote which comes to my mind was quoted by PrithiviRaj who was basking in the success of Mozhi at that time. Rajinikanth had apparently called him around times. But PrithiviRaj didn’t pick up the call as he was busy shooting and couldn’t identify the caller. There was a call again later in the evening he picks it up to find the superstar on the other end of the line. The conversation made such a lasting impression on the young actor’s mind that he proudly declares in his interview that no one has appreciated him like the Superstar not even Mammoty or Mohanlal.

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Never Forget the people who shaped your life: Rajinikanth was loyal to his mentor KB till the great soul bid farewell to this world. We live an age where people easily forget and even push away the great souls who shaped our lives. But the Superstar was a living epitome of loyalty. The mentor himself is said to have been very happy that his mentee is the irreplaceable Superstar. 

THE STALKER


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I had my apprehensions about whether to write this one. But I decided to go ahead. A travel back to the dark days – A chapter which I want to erase completely from my life. I was a stalker once, a compulsive flirt too. For two long years I allowed myself to treat the opposite sex as objects of lust, a play thing and I was thoroughly enjoying myself with absolutely no regard to the thoughts from the other side.

I am still trying to figure out why it happened.  And till date I have no clue. People say flirting or stalking is harmless if the line isn’t crossed. My question is WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE?

 I agree there are times when both are at fault. But in most cases you push the other person to a point of desperation. The confidence is lost, fear strikes and there’s a hesitation to do the things that the person set out to. In some cases the victim shuns the opposite gender completely. Thankfully love happened; I came back to my senses and ended up getting a taste of my own medicine.

Atleast it was a lesson well learnt. That failed affair taught me how to treat a girl right. It’s a curious transformation. It is not every day that you see the oppressor stand up for the oppressed. But I still hate that version of myself. Learn to treat a person right without objectification and a word to those who are helpless victims of such nonsense day in and day out. Speak up, confront and if needed expose. Your act might just prevent another person from falling into the same pit.

HOLY GRAIL


Oh my Holy Grail

You were my quest 

And mine alone

The world at my feet

But it is you I seek

I maybe a fading memory

But you were a permanent impression

 

Oh my Holy Grail

The quest lingers

Like a never ending trail

I yearn for those hands

That held me tight

For those smaller moments

Of absolute delight.

Art-Feb 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOP IT


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Stop it already.

It’s her Image and not yours

Every time you mock she retreats

And seeks a plastic version of herself

The mirror lies every time

Is it her fault or yours ?

Why drive her to a state of despair

When you can embrace her for what she is

She might not be your version of perfect

But there’s her version too

A version invisible to the naked eye.