குரங்கு பொம்மை

A local goon trying to wear a gangster’s hat, an old man with loyal submissions and a caring family, a devil in the shape of a man. If the ensemble cast is stitched with these characters, what do you expect? Perhaps, a tepid, outclassed flick. Oops! You will be surprised. It turns out to be a little stunner.

Such scripts have few takers, especially in desperate days when everyone is donning the ‘niche’ title to create the ‘most wanted’ magic on screen. But the ones who eventually make it out of the archives are the ones that keeps our cinema alive. Yes, honestly. Yes, truly. If you ask me, Superstars don’t make Cinema. They bestowed upon for a curiously different reason. Films like ‘Kurangu Bommai’ make the cut to retrieve cinema from the clutches of foregone parody.

Goon is a gangster but human. The devil who looks like man is the real animal of this film. It’s really the deluge of human needs and the gory extent he ranters himself to meet his desires is the real torment of this mini thriller.

The cast. All of them were affable and superb. Stuck to their lines and impeccable expressions from the lead actors (there are actually 3 of them) are believable and insane. I loved watching ‘Bharathiraja’ on screen, as an actor. I was always sure about the actor in him, many years back. This time, he is the nemesis and the protagonist, in a disjointed way.

Tamil cinema, I love you for such films of pure tenacity and dodged thrills.

Trivia: குரங்கு பொம்மை in English is ‘Monkey Doll’.

মা আসছেন

The reverence of goddess is almost iconic and monopolistic in the culture of Calcutta. This for me, is both quintessential and maverick at the same time.

In a man’s world and a country where Gods are God, Calcutta is unscrupulously devout of its goddesses. 

The Woman, The Mother, The Lady. Calcutta is the womb of the holy mother.

It’s Pujo, and I am closest to you when Maa is home.

Calcutta Stories, a tale of life and jubilation.

Encounters with Water

It was humid, sweaty and hot. It led us to the place of perennial relief. Our ‘Massive Friendly Neighboring Beach’!

It was dark but we could see the lights shoving up whine the earthly clouds. Clouds did not have enough water, but the sea did.

Sunshine eluded us but we could walk on the sand and feel it as well. Without too many people and usual chatter around, we felt breathtakingly serene.

The long drive wasn’t essential but we made it necessary. The destination was a delight to look forward then.

More often, let’s do this.

The Reluctant Princess

She was born and raised in a wealthy family. She ever had to worry about anything in life, literally. Born with a silver spoon and platinum cradle, all she had to wait for time to turn towards her path of glory. She had it all, precariously.

She had a penchant for charity and philanthropy at a very young age. She was extremely fond of children, the ailing poor and the differently abled. She had this uncanny ability to connect with people and the masses. Amidst all her flirtations and the gorgeous life she was blessed with, the human candor of one of its kind.

During her college days, she became an avid follower and participant of the charity works the college indulged in. In fact, she made it her own and was integral part of the socio economic genre. Not to forget, she was a brilliant student of academics and life.

In the final year of college, she fell in love with one of her professors and a member of the elite in the state. It was a whirlwind romance, and they got married immediately after. The marriage produced 3 children, and they were the most talked about couple in the town. Well, as it seemed to the naked eye.

The romance and the much adulated marriage turned sour in 5 years. Differences started creeping in their relationship. The professor was accused of infidelity, and she was guilty of neglecting her family values in pursuit of her greater vision. Neither could accomplish the trust and understanding between each other despite multiple attempts of reconciliation from both sides. He was distraught and digressing, she was adamant and falling apart. The marriage was dying. The kids were torn between their parents, and too young to understand the gravity of their parent’s miseries.

She multiplies her philanthropic assignments and starts staying away from home. Under immense scrutiny from friends and relatives, she disjoints herself from all emotional attachments. She however, stays in touch with her children and visits them as and when time permits. After 8 years of marriage and 3 children, their divorce gets finalized by mutual consent.

She moves to a different city, continues with her assignments and projects, visits her children and takes them to vacations. Her assignments and philanthropic work attain immortality as she gains widespread acclaim and adulation in the public eye. But happiness still eludes. She seems to be progressing towards her vision but feels a void inside – mentally and spiritually. She smiles for the people but the sorrow is exquisitely visible.

She starts going around with one of her partners and financiers. Initially friends at work, the relationship grows wherein both start thinking about their future, seriously. She is still not ready, but advances nevertheless. Her former husband and his family feel demolished by her decision. But she doesn’t care. In fact, they both stopped caring for each other years ago. Nothing of substance was left in their relationship.

On a vacation in a cruise with her new found ‘love’, she is trying to bask in the torched sunlight. They look happy with each other.

The same night, a sea cyclone hits their cruise. Badly hit, the cruise sinks. Both of them die in the aftermath, their bodies are recovered the next morning.

Her former husband learns of this accident and exclaims in a typical way. “Death chose her”.

He continues to live with his parents and children in his hometown. He is still wealthy, and owns large businesses in the state. He remains unmarried.

*Inspired by true events

9/11. Change-versary.

Yes. We changed. World changed. Everything else around changed. In fact, I have bleak memories of how this world looked before the apocalypse.

Our outlook to America, our attitude towards terrorism (we now call it global post 9/11), our stand as global nations against one unified enemy. All this changed. And somewhere, it changed us and the way we live. I call it, the ways of our enigmatic life.

9/11 also opened up the floodgates for more violence, hatred and counter terrorism (perhaps, it ended up being counter hatred). Post 9/11 saw undisputed destruction of human lives. Some alive but still dead. It isn’t the number of years, it was those crucifying moments that nailed it. In real terms, that is.

We celebrated the fall of the Satan, but nothing stopped. In fact, it has multiplied. If the world has become a unified household, the anti has become 6-fold, perhaps 10-fold. Not that calamities and torture has stopped or minimalised since 9/11. We have grown monumentally, sadly.

We will continue to fight the demons, within and outside. For how long? May be the question isn’t – for how long. The question is, how far?

When fear is pain

When he went through the ordeal around the same time last year and came out with a courageous smile, I saluted his tenacity and positivity. I was reassured. He has a long life ahead.

One year down the line, and today, I have been thinking hard. After this phone call, I sat and was sitting for a while. Is that it? A man has all the steel to live, but fate is disposing it all.

I fear losing people who are close to me. In fact, I am shit scared. All my notions and spectacular energy falls flat on my face as this fear is taking me apart. It is pain for him, probably more pain than you and me can ever imagine. But, for me, I am scared.

I still have faith. In God, in whoever and whatsoever that is supreme and all powerful and beyond human. Could be science, could be anything else. I don’t know. But I still believe he will sit upright, stand up and talk to me like he did for the last 17 years.

I don’t want to win battles. I want him to live.

Has Apple Dis-Evolved?

I am not sure, but am quite certain. A company and the co founder who were once emphatically accused of ambushing other products are in a wave of jilted revolution. If I can say that.

Even though Apple is a super power and Steve Jobs’s DNA is the foundation of this company. But it is clearly visible that the ecosystem of the company has changed. Well, we call it adaptability in modern, naive terms. But I wonder, how Apple would have shaped up if Steve was still alive. Not the other Steve (chuckles).

Jobs once said, the most beautiful instruments ever produced in this world are our ‘fingers’. But Apple does promote a stylus these days – not saying they vigorously propagate it, but just saying. He was against big screen iPhones – makers like Nokia and Samsung were torched in his keynotes. I hold a Plus in my hand as I pen down these words. iPad was never going to

Make it beyond 9.7”. We now have an almost 13” Pro looming over us. The once spectacularly announced Shuffle and Nano have been relegated to in- shelf status, I am being nice by saying they are not obsolete. I have a gut feeling, the touch will soon be a product of the past though we might still have consumers who like to substitute the iPhone for a cheaper alternative. I would say, it is a poor man’s iPhone.

Mac Mini exists but then, they are like the crocodiles in the zoo. They are visible when everything around is dead and silent. Apple TV is trying to unleash rejuvenation but they are doing it in a painful pace. 2017 is late.

Next week, we might see 3 iPhones. The third one – not sure what it is touted to be but it marks the 10th year anniversary of the iconic phone. More surprises, design changes and iOS 11. But, revolutionary. I don’t think so. In fact, this was Steve Jobs’ favourite word that made the WWDC’s a rage in those days.

Different Pods are making their debut. Air Pods, Home Pods, and of course, the Watch. Never been a big admirer of the watch though.

I won’t give the WWDC a miss next week, but my memories of an Apple Keynote will never be the same again.

Immersed in Self

It is not a lonely place. It’s just that you wanted to be left alone.

You and water, remain separated till you want to. Get together when you want to. The important thing is, you wanted to.

State of mind is an art, you would rather give it a miss.

Taramani – Redemption

A ‘run of the mill’ Tamil film is the usual order of the day, but for films like ‘Taramani’ who try to lend a magic hand beyond furnished boundaries.

Don’t literally sit on the title and wane about the correlation. I think correlation lies in the subject, not in the title. In fact, Harry Potter did not make any sense to me till my little sister and the more intelligent sibling taught me the ropes to understand the finer nuances of a novel and it’s biological adaptation.

Coming back to Taramani. Yes, the title has few connected dots to the name of the suburban railway station it is named after, but that’s it. It rather throws light on the vanity of our relationships we practice in our urban lives. Director Ram juggles, protrudes, yells and mingles the eccentricities of human nature. Needless to quip, our lives are a bi product of our desires and foolish needs. And our growing attitudes towards leading life and judging people around by dress rehearsals is another precarious feather in our pervert hat.

Losing love, procuring another one before losing it for sheer stupid reasons of male ego, treating a lady like a substance. ‘Taramani’ deals with sensitive ethos, few of them very real and very inconvenient to have a conversation on. For instance, seldom does a girl talk about her gay husband to an absolute stranger, even if the stranger happens to be overtly receptive. You can, but generally you won’t.

With a screechy script, relevant narration to some irrelevant depictions, some fresh cinematography and stellar performances from the lead actors, ‘Taramani’ is a watchable film.

But ‘Taramani’ tells me an important story – the railway station will live on forever, like our dreams, filth and caricatures.

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