The Curious Case of Netaji

The last couple of weeks saw Google bestowing tributes on a Russian filmmaker and a Mexican Diva.

Today, I saw a Nigerian football icon grabbing this honor.

Google Doodle, thank you!

But I was surprised and disappointed to see that we conveniently forgot to acknowledge that today also happens to be the birthday of a National Hero and a true revolutionary of his times – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

But, you know what, I understand the reason behind such a gross omission.

Google Doodle, it isn’t your fault. It is, entirely ours.

Netaji remains one of those icons who is largely forgotten and ignored by a country which has been a land of folklore and gruesome battles. I think the very reason to believe that he could single handedly bring Independence to a ravaged sub-continent from the ruthless colonial rule was in itself, so scary and hard to believe that we ended up on a tentacle based opinion and denied him the very chance to become that elusive legend that he never graced upon during his lifetime.

With all due respect to the Mahatma and Congress, Netaji was one of the first to voice out and propagate the concept of ‘Complete Independence’. His ideologies and vision to achieve this through the unthinkable (Getting Russia’s attention, speaking to Hitler and the idea to use Japan for INA to make inroads in to the country) is unsurpassable. For all his daring exploits and an inspiration that he was to the young guns, he was shamelessly accused of fascism and betrayal.

Political propaganda, vested interest or personal disdain, Netaji never got his due. In fact, he continues to be a regional colossus with statements of uncertain resonance.

Netaji, Happy Birthday!

I am sorry, it’s not that we have forgotten you, it’s just that we are yet to learn the art of absorbing marauding greatness.

Netflix – My New IMAX

I love Cinema. Cinema is education and emancipation in the same terrain.

Big screen cinema is what I live for. But in the last 18 months, I see it differently.

You call it priorities or indulgence, big screen doesn’t woo me any more.

Streaming is the new moolah in the streets of movie goons these days.

It has it all – Movies, TV Series, Documentaries and some good content for kids.

I confess, am hooked on to Netflix. Totally, completely.

Local cable operators, private set top boxes and channel based content is all gone for a toss, big time.

Cinema halls don’t look inviting anymore, when I know that a ‘Narcos’ or a ‘Marseille’ is waiting to provide all the goosebumps I need tonight.

That compels me to mention how Netflix has kept me busy over the last few months.

My applause could be yours, so please post your comments if any of these enthralled you as much as it did to me. I am listing the toppers only, the complete list might consume you.

Narcos

It tops the category in ‘Netflix Originals’ and remains my personal favourite, head over heels.

Never has been a Drug Mafia’s life been so provocatively captured and produced on screen. Some outstanding performances from lead actors, enviable location shots and some heart pounding sequences makes ‘Narcos’ a blockbuster product.

All 3 series are available in Netflix, gearing up for the fourth in 2018.

1922

I am not a huge admirer of Stephen King, particularly for his approach towards insanity and the subsequent strangulated ways. That said, ‘The Shining’ is one of my most watched films and I don’t think I will ever get over it. ‘1922’ is a close shave to mortality, or may be even immortality. The very thought of killing someone is a sin and sends shivers down your spine, worst if that person happens to be your wife.

The story of a man saddled between his overtly ambitious wife and a nubile son, 1922 takes you on a ride you will never want to go.

The fanatical desire of a man to kill his disinterested wife and protect his son for a prosperous future takes an ugly turn and ends with the demise of the glorious clan – humanity.

I won’t say it is a must watch but if it’s your genre, then go for the kill.

The Sinner

It started off as another run-a-bloc story till it turned me upside down.

A riveting thriller which tells the story of a woman who withstood agony, pain and submission to unravel her own identity. Showing off combination of subtle and powerfully etched characters, this original series will keep you in the edge of your seat, for sometime to come.

Streaming in Netflix.

Diana

The charming princess of people and the most coveted jewel in the British crown, or rather the opposite of it.

The story of Princess Diana is a fairytale one. From her wedding to Prince Charles to that fateful night in Paris, she was an enigma and an angel to this world.

‘Diana’ propels this image and takes a tumultuous look in to her personal life. Quintessentially, this was a bold attempt to crash in to the curious life of one of the most watched individuals in history during those times.

Though controversial and panned by British media for obvious reasons, Naomi Watts delivered the performance of her life as the adored Princess. If there is one reason to watch this docu-drama, it is her.

Streaming in Netflix now.

Full Metal Jacket

I have a penchant for war drama and epics. Not for the blood, but for the passion and madness to protect something which is so universal and vicious in its existence.

‘Full Metal Jacket’ stands out for execution. Discipline can sometimes get to your nerves, it can take you places if you survive the initial hell.

With the Master at work, Kubrick’s trademark exploits remain stunning. And remember, this film was shot a long time ago.

The blood stains, the fireworks, dilapidated locations, edgy characters and the oath of a marine.

By all means, FMJ is a must watch. Remember, it’s a Stanley Kubrick film.

Streaming now in Netflix.

Suburra – Blood on Rome

Another mafia series rolling up your sleeve is interesting. This time, in Rome.

Shot extensively in the streets of Rome, ‘Suburra’ provides a stunning account of the politics and organized crime which treads a web of deceit, corruption and greed inside the Vatican.

Gobbled characters, the struggle for power and nepotism with an overdose of lust, propaganda and extermination is a perfect foil to fuel your inner sanctum.

Come, watch the blood flow in the streets of Rome.

Streaming in Netflix now.

Women of Steel

The year started off with perseverance and oozes of energy.

The story goes like this. Well, it’s not a story to begin with. I must say this, it was an eye opener for mortals like us who just get waned away with dwindled pleasures.

I met 2 women. Well, I can say they are well past their prime. In fact, prime was gone long time ago and here they were, smiling at me, with unsurmountable words of wisdom and a gentle swagger that defines their aura.

These young, old ladies are miracle women to our generation.

One is 97, the other is in the pink of health at 102.

Now, those are staggering numbers.

Age has always been a subject of enigma, distortion and privacy. Face it, we hate getting older. Every birthday is a kind reminder to your ageing lifeline. Yet, we flaunt it with our ego and prejudices. We don’t like being taunted, though.

They have a memory of a whale and the eye of a hawk. They remember everything, doesn’t matter who it is. Like-able or not, memories are still memories.

Memoirs of a 97 year old-

The name of second child of her third grandson, the last time she visited London, birthday dates of almost all family members and an eye for details. If guns were blazing, I would give it to her hands down.

The tale of a 102 year old-

She crossed borders in Rangoon during the war ravaged times, with her children in her arms. But she charms you with her diaspora of memories and faith in God. She had few suggestions for me – take care of your family and respect your parents, they are the reason for our existence and success today.

Words of wisdom these days come in from all quarters but this one was one of it’s kind.

Meeting both of them gives you utmost satisfaction for the very reason we live – to love life.

At this age, I would be sipping Coke in my grave!

Both of them have stark similarities.

They have been through the worst, understand and paved the way through life with limitations and tenacity. Most importantly, they have this insatiable urge to live. And, that is the sole reason for the magic they exude.

Ladies, you aren’t merely the Women we celebrate. You are the giants for generations to look up to and take pride in our tormented and illustrious legacy.

Inevitable 2018, Hello!

2017 was a roller coaster year. Well, I can call it adventurous and tumultuous in the same breath. Yes, you might argue that these expressions don’t quite sit adjacent to each other. But at times, our derivatives stand flawed and undisputed.

Strange are the ways of life, so was 2017.

Indulgent, attractive, celebrated.

Sometimes, we feel excited about things that didn’t work. Perhaps, time is the major player here. We smile when it smiles. But in life, at some point, we all smile. Not really when we want, we don’t get to decide everything in our life, every time. As much as I am a great believer in myself and am self obsessed, I cannot ignore the subtle variations of destiny in my interesting life. I guess, there lies the beauty. And all the joy, apprehensions and agony that supplements the turmoil of the journey, so famously called ‘Life’.

But, all said and dusted, 2018 could be the year of my life. Instincts, gut feeling, not sure what it is. But the feeling remains undisputed. And, I am looking forward to it with exuberance and hope. Hope is good, fear is not. But apprehension, yes. I guess, that’s why 2018 is going to be a massive year of glorious uncertainties.

Keep aside my life for sometime now, 2017 was yet another year with lots of everything – emotions, achievements, disappointments, celebrations.

For each of you, let’s achieve what we always wanted to.

Let’s do what we enjoy the most in our decorated lives. Let’s create the space we always wanted in our lives. If you don’t like something, say it. If you want a change, now is the time to take first baby steps. Respect people but don’t take shit from anyone, especially if you don’t deserve it. Value relationships but make sure the relationship is two fold and devoid of oscillating benefits.

Phew! I know. Words of wisdom for few, Gyan for many and just rustic, frivolous words for those who don’t find a meaning in web of words and spoken partitions.

Let’s take a look at some pulsating pictures that defined my 2017, in more ways than it so appears.

2018, come and you will realize that you are already falling in love with me.

An Adulterated Life

Call girls. Prostitutes. Nymphs. Even worse, sluts and whores. Even an elite bitch works like magic.

Doesn’t matter how derogatory and pervert these words are, whether you like it or not, these words have a life of their own. And precariously, they live amongst civilians like us, living a nomadic journey of sleuth and ignominy. We despise them, yet we want them. It’s a dynasty of ruthless victims and jeopardised lives.

If they are animals, we are of a worst kind.

Prostitution is an industry in itself. An industry that traces its roots back to 200 years (perhaps older taking in to account, the frivolous and lustful nature of the human clan). Despite all the taboo attached to it, it still manages to thrive big and remain pioneers in a money spinning game of lethal flesh and enduring politics.

Coming back to the lives of women who have embraced prostitution as a way of life.

Real time, on the ground.

To begin with, let’s clear the air about this profoundly disgusting profession. It has nothing to do with pleasure, love or the art of lovemaking. In fact, it is devoid of human emotions and chemistry. All it is, is a game of flesh and bones. The woman is just devoured and used, spit and discarded once the capacity to inflict pain diminishes. All in all and significantly put, it is rape with consent.

As I mentioned earlier, here the protagonists are equally hapless and displaced. One craves for the other, for obvious and inexplicable reasons.

It is also a glorious example of the position of women they hold in a society and culture that has been an epitome of mercurial savages with a penchant for vegetable terrain.

Prostitution is an industry manufactured and designed to integrate the turmoil of system. Men need respite, women are used to get crucified and system needs a bait to bask in return on investments. A system relegated to a wicked and inevitable ploy supplemented by an equally disdainful history.

The families of such women are equally guilty. We have families around this world who struggle to make ends meet and the money their women make from this distasteful profession is a welcome boon. But, they equally despise them for what they do and the women are subjected to unsurmountable pain and hatred, which is grossly unfair. They want the cash but they don’t the profession to taint their lives which in itself is the sole reason for their survival. Pretentious, to say the least.

Despite leading a bereaved life of pain and humiliation, this clan continues to grow unapologetically. Redundancy, for one, is not a forte in this world woven with ruthless anguish.

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’.

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