Valentine’s day movies


I am not a fan of Valentine’s day; I have never celebrated and probably never will. But of course, I am not gonna undermine its need, or go to the extent of condemning it. It could use a better name, though. Regardless of the superficial purpose of such greeting card days, including Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, daughter days etc., it certainly helps the economy with its tiny spikes in the consumer market. Also, I believe it provides and small little purposes to otherwise monotonous days.

My idea of Valentine’s day is, to crash on the recliner, grab a beer, popcorn and watch that Hollywood or Bollywood has to offer this year around. Additionally, Sundays are not meant for intellectually taxing stuff. They are dedicated to comedies, romantic or otherwise.

I watched two. Surprisingly, they were genuinely nice ones, worth more than a lazy afternoon time pass. I recommend them to you to watch, they are streaming online.

By Source, Fair use, Link

“The map of tiny perfect things” is now streaming on Amazon prime video is a semi-sci-fi romcom. The skeletal theme is covered repeatedly in many movies before. Be it cute Bill Murray starring “Groundhog Day” or even Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt starrer dystopian the “Edge of Tomorrow”. A temporal anomaly created by singularity by a tiny perfect thing makes protagonists loop their day. He gets a bland non-eventful side of the loop while she receives a sad part of the circle. That is the all the spoilers, for now, please go watch it. Basically, a whole universe, including the parallel ones, conspires to create a perfect moment for them.

The second one is not technically themed movie, but Disney’s Hotstar advertising it only today. JoJo Rabbit, an Oscar-winning period drama, a comedy, war movie, and atypical love story. It is about a boy, a massive fan of the Adolf, borderline fanatic, owing to a generation of long propaganda. He derives his life direction of life from an imaginary Adolf, moral or otherwise. He eventually falls in age-inappropriate love with his someone the very propaganda demonizes. Please watch it, you would love every frame of it. This movie deserves more Academy awards than the only one it won.

[Book vs Movie]Calling Sehmat vs Raazi


Generally, I do not get involved in the business of comparing the movies against the Book based on. The primary reason for that is that I will have to read fiction for the comparison. And I hate reading fiction! Nevertheless, here is an attempt. This is more of a fictionalized biography rather than a novel, hence the exception 🙂

The movie in the discussion is Raazi starring Alia Bhat. She is a nepo-kid with reasonably good acting skills amongst a truckload among quintessentially bad actors and movie makers. For a change, the movie is loaded with decent actors; songs are brilliant with excellent lyrics. Its quite old movie by now and you would have seen it already. The book is based on “Calling Sehmat”, authored by Harinder Sikka penned on fictionalized biographical narration based on what he gathered from actual Sehmat.

On an overall and surface level, the movie captures the essence and sequence of events described in the Book. However, there are a few fundamental differences, which could be deliberate or creative. I will leave you to decide:

  1. The movie does not capture the first chapter of the Book. The chapter is an essential part of the storyline, but the film chooses to leave behind. The book takes its own time, deservedly, to define Sehmat, her love interest, passion, etc. The movie does not care about any of that.
  2. The movie Sehmat is a weak girl who flinches with the pistol backfire, the book’ Sehmat is a cold-blooded determined soldier who is willing to kill, lie, kidnap, and blackmail for her nation which was at war. The Book’s Sehmat does things as her conscious directs her, while the movie’s Sehmat does it as obligations to her Indian handlers.
  3. The movie ultimately leaves put last few chapters, which most probably is to avoid hurting sentiments of a rowdy family lived terrorizing a village in rural Punjab. Also, they probably do not want to show Sehmat owes her newfound sanity to a hermit.

Also read: Letting Meghna Gulzar direct Raazi was the biggest blunder, rues Calling Sehmat author Harinder Sikka

Bahut Hua Samman (2020) – Movie review


A couple of the movies dropped over OTT this weekend. Probably all of you chose to watch Master by Vijay. But, unfortunately, I can not stand that guy. I know what exactly to expect there – he will be shown in every frame of my TV scratching and rubbing his stubble as if its a kind of skin conditions. I wouldn’t say I liked his antics during the 90s and 00s, and now, I most certainly do not. 

The other option was Bahut Hua Samman (2020) with Sanjay Mishra leading the show. I was promised a slapstick comedy with the nostalgia of a mechanical department of engineering college with the synopsis and reviews. It was indeed a comedy movie if you can tolerate lots and lots of swearing referring to female relatives of each other. 

Good actors and direction make it okay for you to sit for two hours and engaged. That’s it. That’s all the good stuff in it and let me dedicate the rest of the post what I observed beyond the silly comedy.

Baba goes for morning dump with a Bluetooth headset

The movie’s prime protagonist goes after a name ‘Baba‘, whose primary pastime is to take digs at capitalism 24×7. His political ideologies fall somewhere between an anarchist and a Marxist. For example, even though he is recognised in academic circles, he is so rebellious that he openly defecates outside his house. Toilets are for the subjugated and the weak. However, he has customised an Amazon Echo which answers to ‘Apeksha’, who apparently is his imaginary daughter in law. He has ready-made plans for rob banks and even to pull down governments. 

Let me summarise a cliched and predictable plot quickly so that you don’t bother watching it. Two useful for nothing college students (Cliché) gets recruited to baba’s idea of robbing the bank. They eventually manage to reach the locker room with the help of a Union leader like figure (cliché) only to find his sand-mafia acquaintances have robbed it already through the front door. They have an ordinary concubine who shows her skin for living and as her hobby (cliché). Then police, politicians, religious leaders, businessmen and academicians hand in glove with this nexus. Arson hoarding Marxist baba saves the day being Rambo and by donating sperm to IPS officer with her kinky husband. !

Let me list what’s wrong with the movie.

  1. The movie’s flow is inspired by 2008 film “The Bank Job” starring Jason Statham. It is easily predictable when a particular locker was tasked to be picked first to gather scandalous document. 
  2. You remember the recent OTT Tamil movie Mookuthi Amman had a protagonist who calls himself as Engels Ramasamy? He was named after Friedrich Engels for his father’s ideological attachment. That was the first clue that the movie is taking a left and will take a swipe at anything stands against ideology. This movie has something similar. Ever since Sanjay Mishra’s character introduced, there is a constant swipe at liberal economy and capitalism. 
  3. Short selling of Shares !! It’s definitely not a joke in India. Even then, the protagonists bring down a publicly-traded company just with the knowledge they gained from a Brad Pitt movie? 
  4. Akhand Bharat Sansthan is the name of antagonists’ company. It is something similar to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali. They apparently invent a super narcotic and inject into all they FMGC products! They do it being a publicly owned and traded company – nice! 
  5. Can you show name a single Bollywood movie where an industrialist is the right person! Go ahead. You can even start from the year India was economically liberalized. Let’s begin with Shah Rukh’s Baazigar or Anil Kapoor Laadla. Apparently, they are evil by default and no exceptions.
  6. Potty Jokes in 2021! My God!
  7. A comedy movie ends with a Moral to the Youth on how to save democracy! Are you kidding me?  

Chane ke Khet mein – chickpea field chronicles


Dear Madhuri Dixit Ma’am,

How are you? Long time.

While I was glancing through your Wikipedia profile, I gathered all the great stuff you’ve been part of. I read that you have been actively involved in promoting children’s education and the safety of women. You also worked towards the social causes such as finding homes for Orphan kids, child trafficking, saving & empowering the Girl Child, etc. There was even a slogan you had popularised – Girl Rising: Woh Padhegi, Woh Udegi. Well done there. If all these were true, which I have no reason to doubt, you might find this post very interesting for weekend reading.

In short, I have a bone to pick with you on the exact topic. This is about a song, one of your most famous one. I hope you remember “Chane ke Khet mein” from the movie Anjaam (1994). Of course, you do. It was a super-duper massive blockbuster song. I remember it was played perpetually by every Autorikshah-wallas, wedding bands, school events and most importantly, middle-class kitchens and living rooms. Kids of our generation used to recite this song by-heart and housewives hummed this while they cooked daal. The Legacy continues to this date, you can see YouTube is filled with its cover performances, including the dance classes. Little girls in their pre-teens perform to this in tictok.

The regrettable part of whole Chickpea field song is, Mrs Madhuri Ji, none of your fans ever tried to understand the lyrics! If they did, it would not be so famous as much as it was or is. I believe you know what I am talking about. The lyrics of this summarizes a few of our society’s most prominent evils, in a celebratory tune!Let me know if you want me to list it down.

  1. It reinforces our obsession with the fair complexion of the skin.
  2. background of the premise is a teen going out into the fields for open defecation!
  3. The most problematic part is that the core concept is unfortunate roughing up of a teenage girl.
  4. And somehow, this song has is a celebratory context and expressed in a for a marriage/wedding event?
  5. How is this a bridal shower song?

Does it even make any sense to you? I can see you dance with your whole heart invested in this song, it’s one of your best dance performances. This indicates what happened to that girl was something to be amazed about, and she is privileged to have gone through it? How appropriate is this?

I believe you were fully aware that these questions will we asked you at some point in your career. And you must’ve been prepared with justification. Why don’t you go ahead and explain yourself? If you get a chance, can you ask Poornima how she felt singing it?

Thanks, Not a fan. – The Bach

P.S.. For the benefit of the readers who do not understand Hindi, here is a translation of the song only for the first few lines.

(I ) was eighteen, innocent and unmarried
(I ) had gone out with (my) face veiled
But (I) got caught and trapped in the chickpea field.
It was a straight-up robbery of (of modesty) in the chickpea field.

First, that evil (guy) caught me by the wrist.
Then he slowly pressed down the finger.
Roughing up and fighting followed in the chickpea field
It was a straight-up robbery (of modesty) in the chickpea field.

I was surrounded by a group of hunters.
Sitting there, were, of known to loot the youth.
I gave up after calling out.

And so on….

Scam 1992 and OTT platform debate


Online streaming platforms (OTT) had a good run of generating quality products, which is almost over now. After producing gems of original content for about half a decade, they are giving up now. They, inevitably have opened the doors to production houses of both Hollywood and Bollywood to crap all over them. To be brutally honest, we saw this coming. Why wouldn’t powerful and nepotistic mafias, which are fueled by political propaganda, not claim of the pie of profit? They certainly would not want to sit behind and watch the lockdown to be lifted and the cinemas to open again.

Take these for example; we get to see Bobby Deol on Netflix, Yay ! remember him? The actor with three wholesome expressions in total!. Abhishekh Bachchan is coming in Series called ‘Scam’; calling him an actor itself is a scam! Netflix thought that we are missing them. The Princess Sonam Kapoor is also making a comeback. We all have seen this trailer of AK vs AK. She is apparently a hostage to Anurag Kashyap in some parallel universe. Her father, with his evolutionary advantage that is only relevant for a 15th-century pirate, runs around the city badmouthing which has already spilt over on my Twitter feed!. Soon we will have rest of the Kapoors and Khans and adopted families of Johar unloading buttload of stuff on an unsuspecting audience. In fact, We already have a show by king Karan based on mundane life events of Bollywood wives of yesteryear non-actors.

Hollywood is not much behind. During this December the Disney spoiled your childhood favorite movie ‘Mulan’ for good. What a BS reproduction of 90’s gem!. The Borat sequel was probably the most disappointing one. Borat was one of my favorite characters in this century. They’ve spent an entire move on political propaganda with the sole intention to contribute to the US election. Now, we’ll see Netflix and Amazon prime religiously bending over backwards to fulfil the socio-political fantasies and ideologies of a spectrum. E.g. Jack Ryan saves Venezuela from capitalism

This is very depressing. Many of TV viewers, such as me, had cancelled their DTH connection with the hope of weekend entertainment needs by OTT, only to find the history repeating itself.

While all these, few exceptions like Sony LIV are operating slightly differently. That, at least for now. They have released a couple of guiltfree, binge-worthy original content. One of such I am a big fan of is the “Scam 1992 – the Harshad Mehta story”. It’s a 10 episode short series, based on the book of Sucheta Dalal & Debashis Basu and directed by Jay and Hansal Mehta and steaming on Sony live.

I would recommend you stop doing whatever you are doing this Sunday afternoon and grab a popcorn bucket and binge this show. It’s that worth your time. This, especially if you have watched and loved two great movies, “the wolf of wall street” and “the big short”, although they are not prerequisites. This has a flavour of the game of throne as well, a pinch of it.

I will not spoil the plot for you. Still, the basic premise of the Series is a ‘rags to riches’ of Harshad Meta who was famously known as the Amitabh Bachchan of the stock market. He goes on to manipulating the equity market through the money market if India. The story covers a wide array of topics, including but not limited to: the loopholes of markets, regulatory shortcomings, political corruption, monopoly of big foreign players and in short ‘way things ran’ back then.

Trust me, you will enjoy it thoroughly. It’s probably the best OTT series since Chernobyl on Disney platform.

What went well

  1. The Story. If you did not live under the rock during the ’90s, you already know what the story is. If you were tasked by your parent to go through specific stock prices and business news of the dailies, you will 100% relate to this. Even if you did not know the back story, Series is presented in a manner that anyone can comprehend it without the knowhow of the stock or money market.
  2. The Casting. “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” – Food critic Anton Ego, Ratatouille. Most actors who cast in this Series came from a modest background but known to put heart into their performance. Let me take an example, Anjali Barot, who plays Mrs. Mehta, was known for the advertisement of vacuum cleaner, mattresses. I am not undermining them. It’s just that Hansal did cast her here, the nepotism infested industry would continue to cast her in the advertisements of 30 sec. There are 100s such characters in the Series, all of them have brought A level artistry as actors.
  3. Pratik Gandhi is the star of the show, I do now know anyone else could pull this off. I must confess that I do not have sufficient words to explain him.
  4. Direction, attention of details, narrations, period part of period drama, the design of characters. All spot on!
  5. Historical accuracy. The story had sent shock waves across the nation, was talk of the town and it even shattered glasses all the way till Delhi. The historical events, the depiction of big shots, characterization all depicted spectacularly. BTW, I still remember some of the scams authored by then government, the Hawala scam, St Kitts scam and this, are its myriad achievements. In fact, you must wait to fit another two decades for UPA2 to come back to power to have such a list of scams.
  6. The Script: the dialogues are so excellent and witty you will continue to think about it for a while. The dialogue delivery is even brilliant. Written brilliantly, delivered even more spectacularly.

They have designed an almost perfect OTT series – a hands-down winner.

As you know me, I cannot help but nit-pick some of the shortcomings. There were few.

  1. Due to the obligation to dumbing down the technicalities of the scan, Sucheta role takes a hit. For or most episodes Sucheta Dalal is portrayed as a glorified stenographer. For most of the discoveries, all she has to do is wait for that phone call or wait for a file to fall into her laps. I do not think that was the case in reality.
  2. One of the critical indicators of period drama is the altitude of the belt buckle and side slit of salwar kameez. If you get that right, you do not even need to indicate the era/year you are narrating. In 80s belt buckle was on diaphragm and slit of sales was on a knee. Over the decades, one descended and other ascended. I think the movie got it wrong.
  3. Mrs Mehta and Sucheta and few more characters did not age through the episodes.
  4. One of the most concerning fact is, did this Series whitewash the scam-ster? Agree that the show does call the spade as a spade for political, regulatory and banks and other government bodies. But when it comes to Harshad, they are a little less harsh.

Here’s the trailer for you.