Colours of 2018

As I bid goodbye to this year (few hours to go), I would like to remember the year with a sense of mixed emotions.

I enjoyed embracing the usual suspects of life – Instability, greasy starts, disappointments, progressive altar, some wonderful moments with family, watching my son grow another year older, seeing ourselves evolving as parents (my wife is a better parent by all means), and the everlasting hopes of the next year bettering its predecessor.

I am done with words, let’s see my 2018 through these pictures which obviously are far more expressive, more fascinating and much more refined than my quintessential words.

Happy New Year fellas! Cheers.

The Story of Love

Love isn’t your essentials today, it’s a feeling of abounds and benefits, especially with our generation. We don’t believe in classics, our roots are more inclined towards lust and insatiable components (sex is one of them).

Just hold on before you judge me. I am not an anti-love person. In fact, I am a great believer in love per se. But, love isn’t the most sweetest, isn’t the most glorious and isn’t the most vivacious emotion in your life, as it is famously depicted and air-played in our lives. I am not counting the success stories yet, but failures have had a greater impact in my life.

Great, legendary stories of live are the ones that failed miserably and were considered ‘forbidden’ in the legacy of a society. Reasons could be plenty, but what it does prove is that love equally vulnerable to the whims and fancies of the kind of world we live and breathe in. That’s why, failures matter. Such admonishment throws a jinx around which propels people to believe that they might succeed if they do things differently. But, a game to dismantle cannot establish the torrid affairs of human inconsistencies. Human beings are naive, weak and just cannot cope with this battle between love and it’s adjacent factors of ‘status quo’.

As we are generally made to believe and as infamously displayed over by the media and our own unscrupulous society, Love isn’t the indispensable ‘Jesus’ of our times. In fact, quite the opposite. If there is a punching bag for the critics, then it has to be’Love’. Though ‘Love’ claims to be unanimously unbiased, devoid of prejudices, caste, creed and religion, languages and cultures, it remains to been seen if ‘Love’ could come out of its impoverished reputation.

Love has allies – Sex, lust, brood, jealousy, money, power… The list might seem endless as long as you are willing to accept the fact that love is beyond the borders of invincibility, quite tenable, brittle and devastatingly broken between man and his heart. Heart still beats, but love continues to fade away amidst evil tentacles that surrounds our dispensable lives.

Fall in love, but don’t fall for the perils associated with this divine and absolutely torrid encounters. You can give up your heart but life is another game for a different latitude to play around. Not for this one, if I am to be asked.

8

8 is a magical number. No, it’s not my favourite number by any chance of a jitter but it sure is furiously sane for Quentin Tarantino and his rustic yet brilliant and audacious script writing. 8 is just not a number from his classroom, it ushers his school of filmmaking in a way nobody else can.

As people, as individuals, we have stopped talking to each other. We have stopped having conversations in life, we don’t introspect our inner devils and we remain submerged in a world of sin without admitting that we are grossly guilty. Tarantino’s films are about conversations of life. His characters are evil and disdainful, yet so human, besieged of war, hatred, passion and what they call, ‘a diabolical bitch’. Son of a Gun, it is so ‘Tarantino’ when I say it this way.

Be it the smell of vengeance, the unceremonious hatred for the Nazis, the evil ideologies of slavery, the whims and ways of a mercurial gangster in a gang of equally super crazy, mad inhabitants or the way each of his characters infuse excruciating expressions that define the myriad ethos that our lives remain stitched in. – Tarantino is undoubtedly the Master of ‘Neo Noir’ and his ever dispensable characters.

Tarantino and few of his actors bond like ‘holy mother fuckers’ who last for a lifetime. Samuel Jackson is born to act with Tarantino and then die one day, Michael Madsen is an icon in his style of filmmaking, Christoph Waltz gave us his most inspiring and menacing performances with Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio was a fine revelation in Tarantino’s supremely crafted piece of work since ‘Pulp Fiction’. Not to forgot, Uma Thurman in her marauding avatar of a revenge machine in the ‘Kill Bill’ saga.

Invariably, the million dollar question is not ‘What’s next’. It’s the ‘How’ that keeps me hooked and stoned to Quentin Tarantino.

Paradise in Mayhem – S01E01

Bereaved and Isolated

It was death all around, else people would be waiting for the final colossus to come to them and take them away with a whisker of a smile.

It was the time of hatred, just more hatred. We had no time for others, because sooner or later, they will perish and the perils will come chasing.

We waited for our turn. Yes, we are trying to make amends, steal away bit of thunder from the apocalypse and turn a blind eye to the slaughter game that’s tormenting us – when we are awake and when we are not asleep.

The cries, the agony, the contempt, the betrayal, the animosity. This is life, and life is cruel, standing at the pinnacle of failure.

We can see it coming, but we stand still, waiting for the inevitable. Perhaps, something more than just inevitability.

The First Time

Jennifer was equally scared, since her father was a part of the Army and it’s negotiators who were destined for an end that they refuse to see and condemn. 

She is quite an opposite, though. Her mother is her friend and philosopher, but she obviously belongs to a generation that has seen lot of blood and vengeance running through their backyard. She supports her husband, but cares for her daughter and understand that such levels of tedious vibes might as well take a toll on the young girl. She is only 22, and loves poetry.

She is accompanying her mother to the bakery today, its been sometime since she visited the bakery or the main market place, she very fond of fish but her parents don’t buy it often as she has a medical condition and fish is not recommended. But, she still loves them and persuades her mother to get it, at least once in a week. But not when her father is around.

Air of Reluctance

A time of turmoil and prejudice, where human relationships are fragile and time isn’t giving you the space you want to live your life with a feeling of reciprocation. Time is for hatred and terrible things, things you don’t to hear or say or feel, yet all such divisive thoughts get the better of you in  a resplendent, rustic flavour of unjust moments. You remain undecided, people around look pretentious and non conducive, let alone love taking a you turn for such rustic times. Yet, love prevails. Love dangles with a sword in your hand, ready to face the army who is far more powerful and indispensable than you can ever imagine. Yet, love remains your sole and only reason to believe that you will live, and see others live with dignity.

Magic of W

Another Wimbledon final, another magic on grass court. Wimbledon always takes me down the memory lane. Doesn’t matter who wins, but watching players sweating it out in this 2 week juggernaut is nothing short of a spectacle.

Wimbledon has been special ever since my younger days. I remember watching each of the high voltage matches with the utmost of attention and detail, not to forget the post match conferences and match analysis. I had numbers on my finger tips and exactly knew who won and who got knocked out! Yes, those were the days of unblemished joy, where you could just do what you wanted to. Yes, you had those interruptions but we’re largely positive.

Coming back to grass court in Wimbledon. I have seen too many greats playing the game in the last 20 years. But ‘Pistol’ Pete was arguably the greatest. And since my younger days and his rise to the prime collided with each other, he was my hero. And during the nineties, he was almost invincible. Some great rivalries with Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, Jim Courier and Goran Ivanisevic, bit class of Sampras stood out. The only blip in his astounding career was the French Open that eluded him, but he was the Jesus of Tennis for me at that time. Roger Federer, another modern great, was able to overcome this and perhaps he was also one of those grass court champions who was able to break in to the arena of clay. Yes, Rafa belongs to another planet and his range is unmatched, and it is not surprising that their rivalry is one of the finest this sport has ever witnessed.

I have watched the recording of Boris Becker lifting the coveted trophy in 1985, and he remains a favorite too (incidentally, one of the commentators in today’s final). I loved Stefan Edberg as well, in fact, I adore the era of serve-and-volley players. Borg, McEnroe.. I love watching them play even today though the game and the landscape has changed immensely. Power has taken over elegance, tenacity remains the key though.

I have very little of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovich, but they are specials talents for sure as I managed to take sneak peek in to the Wimbledon finals in the last couple of years and they sure are in the right direction of becoming modern greats.

Another final in the Centre Court has come to a close and till next year, I wait for the most celebrated Grand Slam to come knocking again.

Ae Watan..

‘Raazi’ is one of those films that will get glued to your soul for sometime after you come out of theatres. May be, much beyond the streets, your neighbourhood and your living room.

Emotions and the very bane of human existence takes a ‘U’ turn in this sizzling drama that catapults us to one of the most bravest and disgusting stories I have come to know during the notorious battle of ‘Indo-Pak’ menace.

1971 was one of the worst India ever saw. Perhaps, the most valiant and path breaking as well. Some stories will blow your mind off, some will make you cry, some will rip you apart. ‘Raazi’ is a classic culmination of these voracious confrontations, within and outside.

I really fail to understand, how we could disown someone who has been so close to dismantle a great power that threatens to destroy the very country we adore. And that too, so conveniently with a dead statement like ‘they knew what they were signing up for’. That’s ‘Intelligence’ and ‘Hypocrisy’ in the same plateau.

The meaning of war is so beautifully explained, it’s appalling and equally disposes all of us to a reality we know but refuse to accept. Men have honour but no compassion, compassion is driven by the animosity for the opposite nation, relationships are built over the foundation of betrayal, emotions are packaged to triage deceit and conspiracy. In a world that’s born out of war, we want peace between 2 twin nations who never wanted it. Rather, the fire is not from the belly, but from the political powers who are either invisible or compromised, for another one. And, the juggernaut continues.

We won 1971, but we lost our peace forever.

The soundtrack of the film will live, perhaps for eternity. Arijit crooning to ‘Ae Watan..’ makes me believe that doesn’t matter who or how, but patriotism is inert feeling and cannot be bucketed. I and you belong to different places, but we still have love and admiration for our roots. And, this promiscuous feeling cannot be modified or disputed or disrespected. The BGM by Shankar Ehsaan Loy deserves equal applause, matching the intensity of this riveting tale. On top of it, the fact that ‘Ae Watan..’ encapsulates the words of the iconic Allama Iqbal makes it such an adorable classic of our times.

Alia Bhatt is simply outstanding as Sehmat Khan. She epitomises the dilemma, helplessness and the guts of Sehmat, which in itself is a spine chilling character. Mind you, Alia Bhatt is still very young, and at such an age, what she has done with films like ‘Raazi’ and ‘Udta Punjab’ is a revelation. Alia, I am sure your Dad is a proud man.

‘Raazi’ will go down as one of the finest 2018 ever produced. Not for the innovation but for the audacity to bring something so scary and dispensable to the odour of Cinema.

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(Mis)Concept of Taboo

Within our polished and distinguished lives, we have a forbidden segment that society does not want to talk about. In fact, the forbidden subjects find a reclusive and repellent way of surviving in a society that’s made with rules and for people, who follow such rules. It is desirable and despised in the same breath, surprisingly. 

Perhaps, one of the oldest surviving creatures on earth, the ‘Forbidden’ principles are looked through the eyes of the one who is willing to surpass boundaries, transcend cultures, experiment with truth.

There are few gems which make a foray in to the vicinity of the ‘Forbidden’, and dare to explore the cliche. What comes out is disturbing, powerful and staggering.

I want you to watch them, if you have the balls to do so.

Una

A sexually abused 13 year old, who later confesses that it wasn’t really abuse in the first place. But, will a 13 year old understand if she is being abused in the first place is the million dollar question.

Unless, she feels uncomfortable about it, or feels that it isn’t the usual way of cuddling a 13 year old, then she can back off or resist.

It is a story of a dysfunctional individuals, thanks to early exposure to adultery.

Confronting the man responsible for taking advantage of her naive position opens up the pandora’s box to indulge some gross sexual conversations and the sinister intentions of man behind relationships.

Can it be called Love? Or is just, merely, lust and physical atonement?

Thousand questions, unknown answers and millions of eyebrows remain raised.

Unfreedom

How many of us lend our hand of support to bisexual relationships? 

I don’t even know if we do find ourselves acquainted with any other relationship status codes except the usual, conventional, and of course, traditional. – Being straight.

I think we still live in a world were norms are not regulated neither organised. Worst, there are double standards and hypocrisy in the decision of right or wrong.

Yes, I like straight people do but I have nothing against ‘otherwise’ folks.

I think every girl has this sublime right to decide if she wants to get married or not. Even better, she chooses man or woman. I think is the theory of naturals, more than being unconventional or ridiculously shameful. 

Is it a sin if a girl falls in love with another girl? Yes, the mundane answer is ‘Yes. But is it something that you and me get to decide, is the more perceivable question.

Yes the seriousness and authentic of the relationships in itself can be questioned but the basis of judgement and interrogation should not be upon the gender of 2 individuals.

All kinds of people live and have the right to choose their partners.

It’s a free universe, remember? Straight, Bi, Hetero or Homo, you have every right to live and love, that is, the way you want it to be. The aesthetics must be in the right place.

The Art Of Loving/Masters of Sex

People have sex but a thesis on sex? Sounds ridiculous, isn’t it?

But, on the hindsight, why not?

Some of the most intimate, desirable and churning moments in a man/woman’s life comes out of sex.

Then, why not explore the core of human sexuality, understand devious emotion under the skin of pleasure?

Well, both these stories and their real time protagonists exactly did that, obviously amidst, massive criticism and hypocrisy.

Curatively inspired by true incidents, it’s woven with interesting and murderous characters that will often sweep you off the floor, for sheer audacity and conviction.

They did not go down in history as the most influential, but neither did they go unnoticed.

I would say, Bravo!

Fire

Some of the best moments in Deepa Mehta’s trilogy comes out from this movie. A subtle and powerful story of 2 women falling for each other in an environment woven with hatred, chauvinism and lust is recipe for some scintillating moments.

Indeed, Fire delivers, though controversially and effectively.

In a society where women are expected to be submissive and clouded, ‘Fire’ oozes fire, conflicting with boorish men and their quest to kill feminism through turmoil and circumstantial jinx.

No wonder, it took Box Office by a storm and ravaged through reluctant screens.

The Reader

Set in the background of World War II, it is an unusual love story of an elderly woman with young lad. Something which starts off with oodles of lust and physical attraction, it develops in to a more substantial relationship that looks a like having no future. Love.

As much as it’s forbidden today, way back then, such relationships would be placed under buckets like ‘Sin’ and ‘Malicious’. 

It is inauspicious story for auspicious reasons. Again, its love. The boy isn’t in frame of mind to understand why this is wrong and the older woman is so devoid of relationships in her life that falling in love with a young lad who could be the age of his son doesn’t stop her from continuing the passionate relationship with him.

Yes, war brings them together and war separates them. Obviously, such relationships need not understand the complexity of other precarious matters like caste, community and religion. When the clock turns, time sways away.

So did they, but the the relationship never made a dent in their hearts. In contrast, it only led them to understand that all that goes around comes back one day.

Twin Scare

Veronica

I am not a great believer in the occult. But, there have been times of mesmerising helplessness when I start adoring the devil which ceases to exist without the goodness around us.

But, Veronica has nothing to do with goodness, though. It’s about pain, recklessness, human disdain and much beyond, our hemisphere.

I thought the eclipse and the game of calling the spirits conflicted each other well, and quite imminently, become the soul play of this dread woven tale.

You have the usual jittery elements of a horror flick – A blind sister called ‘Sister Death’ who can see what others cannot, a family which is disintegrated due to the woes of a single mother responsible for her 3 children and the unsurpassable quotient of the ‘Occult’.

But the young protagonist of this film, ‘Veronica’, looks believably naive and shattered by the conspicuous elements that consume her life. With the unsurpassable shadows that threaten to take her life away while having to protect her siblings, the character has some glorious shades of vulnerability that takes your breath away.

The penultimate scene when she is on the verge of being taken away, with a pinch of self destruction stands out in this reasonably clouted horror drama.

Annihilation

It is about the precarious conjunction of technology, vulnerabilities and life. Human beings like the unknown, and they despise it as well. The desire and passion to go beyond limits is our fantasy. But such fantasies of deep rooted resistance also comes with fatalities that could destroy the very meaning of human existence.

A research centre becomes an island of death. People go in, they don’t come out. The ones who did make it, are never the same again. Yes, it’s about the genius of human brain vetted with technology and invention. But, at the same time, we are so immersed in a life beyond us that it turns out that we might never return to our self when all this that mattered, looks so refreshingly curious and menacing.

‘Annihilation’ cannot be termed as a ‘Horror’ film, because it isn’t. ‘Horror’ relates to the unseen, unbred and evil. This, has none of them. Yes, the form factor is relevant and remarkably irrelevant at the same time. Though an impression of invincibility looms large over the plot and it’s equally tiltillating and dysfunctional characters, they still look convinced to get flushed and destroyed. They have their reasons to do it as well, which is another testimony to justify their indulgence in this will-not-make-it-back adventure.

Coupled with some stunning frames and close shave moments, ‘Annihilation’ is a myth that threatens to destroy our civilisation with caressing brutality.

Resonance

Looking through the lens, the sun shone bright and undisputed.

She smiles through the dawn, looking at my eyes with hopes to survive, relinquish and live to see the next sunrise. After all, she lives to see the ups and downs. Survival amidst desires.

The sparkling waters, the residing boats, the tempered waves, the towing presence of a structure above that sees life through troubled waters – every moment, every day.

Leaves and branches kissing the sun, the golden path that no one dares to tread across.

Serene. Fathomed. Tranquil. Consumed.