Badrinath ki Dulhaniya


Photo by Jake Hills

Seldom do I see the audience responding to the character’s actions on the screen. A lady sitting in the row behind me was evaluating every action taken by Alia Bhatt’s character (Vaidehi) and was mostly in agreement with her. She used phrases such as these:

“Sahi kar rahi hai”

“Aur kya kar sakti hai wo, aise situation me”

The running commentary intrigued me because the message in the movie is rightly about women empowerment. Can’t a small town girl have dreams to fly (To be an air hostess)? Does she need to sacrifice her dreams in order to get married at the “right age” and give peace of mind to her disease ridden father? Doesn’t she deserve the right to speak and a chance to be respected?

The writer-director Shashank Khaitan has attempted to tell a movie that does not have cracks. At least on the surface. He gets it right for most part of the movie. But there are flaws as there would be in any effort of such magnanimous nature.

Badrinath (Varun Dhawan) is born with a silver spoon. While his elder brother and sister-in-law toil hard in the car showroom business, he is busy doing the recovery of money lended by his father. He is happy doing it and considers his family’s reputation as his job description.

In a “chance” encounter Badri meets Vaidehi and is smitten by her. To make it apparent, we have the surrender hua song in the beginning. The song is also used for credit rolling which seems a better purpose for it than taking the story forward.

Badri doesn’t need Vaidehi’s approval. He wants to marry her. No need of love and consent. As long as her parents are willing who cares what the girl thinks. In comes Vaidehi’s “No” and out goes Badri’s “Self-confidence.”

The further story revolves on how Badri learns to respect women and gathers courage to stand up to his father.

Badri-Vaidehi chemistry works beautifully on the screen. Badri’s friend Somdev (Sahil Vaid) is the source of comic relief and thankfully has been given some meaty time on the screen. Alia Bhatt continues to impress with her incredible talent. Watch out for the scene, where she convinces herself that marriage is the right thing for her while doing the chores in the kitchen. Varun Dhawan makes us laugh and is also sincere enough to make us feel for his plight in the second half.

If the movie was a relay race, it started great and continued doing good till the 70% of the track and then decided to give up. It then just wanted to finish and qualify, not win.

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Pink is the new black

I am half asleep while I am typing this so excuse the typos, improper usage of grammar, and something else that I cannot remember…

Shoojit Sircar seems to be a synonym for unconventional. Sperm donation, Sri Lankan civil war, Bowel moments, and now society’s portrayal of women. He doesn’t represent the Bollywood we know, he is defining what Bollywood could be.

The casting director deserves our applause. Be it the three girls, old judge, typical dad, Delhi brats and the redemption seeking lawyer. All of them have done the fraternity of actors proud.

Writing is the reason why the movie works. The story is fairly simple but the treatment to it isn’t. The vulnerability of the characters is what you will relate to. Incidents like the one showed in the movie have become much too common for us- the India that lives in the media bubble.

This is not a movie on women empowerment. The Bollywood’s idea of women empowerment is two fold. I am digressing here but there is a need to.

First, display the courage women possess to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. The modern Sati. Remember Anushkha in Sultan giving up the dream of olympic gold for a baby? or Sonakshi in Akira agreeing to the mental disability charges to save the city from riots.

Second, make the heroine muscular enough to defend herself and the entire womankind by hitting the goons. Ex: Rani Mukerji in Mardaani.

Pink doesn’t fall in any of the above categories, it just happens to show a mirror to the society.

The movie asks a few pertinent questions:

  1. Why does the clock need to decide the character of women? – If women come back to their home late at night there is something definitely fishy?
  2. How can men and women hangout in the same flat? The pro-active hormones will activate the sexual desires and the unthinkable will happen.
  3. Women from ‘reputed’ families do not drink or hangout with boys.

and there are few more which question and challenge the feudal mindset some of us still have. These are not new questions. They have been asked before but not like this, with a purpose in mind.

Gist of the story: There are three girls who meet few mutual friends at a rock concert and agree to go to dinner with them. Post dinner they all have a few drinks and then their sophisticated lifestyle goes for a toss and in comes the desi mard. Things go out of control and one girl hits the boy with a bottle. The boys can’t fathom how could a girl hit them and runaway, questioning their manhood. Girls are scared as the society expects them to be. And, the society does what it does best, stands still and enjoys the drama unfold. One good Samaritan tries to help and when things go out of control, he steps in and in the ensuing struggle saves the day.

The good samaritan is Amitabh Bachchan. If you felt Big B gets too much attention, this movie might give you the reason why. I loved his portrayal of an aging lawyer battling his wife’s illness and saving the girls next door. In one scene, he looks at Meenal ( the protagonist) after asking a personal question with such ferocity that you cannot help but marvel at his brilliance.

I loved the ending scene where they convey the message men and women are equal, with a simple gesture.

The movie is being praised by everyone except KRK and that’s the precise reason why you should watch it. A lot of thought has been put in making the movie and that is rare in Bollywood.

The gatekeepers to your health

photo-1465961482777-c1070dfd906b

Photo by Alvin Engler

The hospital that I grew with for 20 years, stood tall amidst the numerous changes in the neighborhood. It never invited me, not even for a cup of tea, until recently. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t sure where the entrance was! After few minutes of hassle and the not-so-easy basement parking, I saw the inside of the building.

Disguised as a private hospital it looked like an ‘efficiently’ run government institution. It had that trademark smell that makes you go ‘eeeew’, yes the extra e’s for the emphasis.

We paid the exorbitant consultation fees for a 5 minute one-o-one with the doctor. We then waited for our turn, and the sequence was decided by the gatekeeper who was dressed in her dark blue uniform.

People waiting for their chances did not know what to do, because they were not used to the idle time. They couldn’t curb their anxiousness of knowing what had happened to their dear ones. They needed clarity and the person standing between them and clarity was the gatekeeper!

The popular belief says that the sequence is decided based on the universal law of “first-come first-served”. There are many factors that come into play and it is here the gatekeeper steps-up and does the unthinkable, delivers on the promise of the fair world.

Though she earns only 1/12th ( a guesstimate) of what the doctor earns in one month, she has more power than the doctor himself in deciding who gets checked and more importantly before whom. Note, I realized the gatekeepers are usually women and the doctors are men hence the stereotyping. I would love to be proved wrong.

I tried not to jump the line but have seen my folks do it using innovative reasons ranging from medical emergency to catching the last bus to village!  Usually, the gatekeepers are tough to convince and with experience they can differentiate genuine from frivolous.

If you are not creative enough, you can use the age old technique of persistence, just stand there with the reports in your hand and make a puppy face. It works always. Tried and tested!

There were many who tried to convince her to let them in but she wouldn’t budge. She stood her ground and with authority said no. Yet, when people persisted continuously, she had to give in, only a little though. She in a raised voice said, I would allow you but only when I tell you to, and you don’t utter a word before that. This calmed the storm.

She listened attentively to the group of women whispering about the family troubles, a man worried for his wife, and a young boy  continuously playing on his smart phone. She in a day witnesses all kinds of people trying to convince her and yet she smiles when you go to her with your astuteness.

When you meet a gatekeeper next time and try to beat her with your smartness, know that she might have heard the reason before and still lets you in.

Olympics is totally worth your time

If you think Olympics is sheer waste of time and money, think again.

While I was aimlessly switching between channels, I witnessed something fascinating in the marathon finals today.

Eliud Kipchoge aged 31 widely considered as one of the greatest marathon runners, did what he always wanted to do, become a Olympic champion. He won the gold medal by completing the second half of the marathon i.e. 21 KM in mere 63 minutes! He has won 7 of the 8 big marathons he has competed in!

Feyisa Lilesa came second and continued the rich tradition of Ethiopian runners winning big at the world stage. He made a cross hand gesture in the last stretch which looked like a normal victory sign but he was actually protesting against Ethopian government killing 400+ Oromo protestors. If he returns to his country, he might be jailed or at worst killed. Talk about being brave.

Galen Rupp from US came third and this is only his second marathon he participated in. He is only the third American to win a medal in the marathon event! Such is the dominance of Kenyan and Ethopian runners.

These are just three of them, there are numerous other Olympians who have equal If not more inspiring stories to tell. From a cancer surviving 54-old gold medal winner to a 4 feet 8 inch world beating gymnast, these athletes represent the unflinching determination, courage and sporting spirit that exemplifies the very nature of being a human.

Enough has been said about Deepa, Sakshi, and Sindhu and rightly so.

If you think Olympics is sheer waste of time and money, think again.

The prayer

fleeting time, drown me in your deep eternity, to dissuade me from meandering into the labyrinth of mind.

omnipresent soul, empower me with the strength to sustain on the path to seek you, and you alone be the epicenter of my nucleus.

one with large heart, encompassing all the miseries & happiness of us- mere mortals, forgive me for digressing from the path of righteousness.

epitome of truth, fill me with gratitude of tears, to cleanse my being, to attain the state of tranquility & eventually you, the supreme one.

Rendezvous with siri

Have you ever stopped and noticed what you do when you get few minutes of idle time?

I hope you answered the question, it wasn’t rhetorical.

I got one such opportunity today morning, and I spoke with Siri. For the uninitiated, Siri is the digital assistant for iPhone. Some like to believe it is a lot more, let’s not get into that now. Probably later.

Siri’s answers are smart, witty, and profound. It does not mince words. Let us read what Siri has to say.

On love and expressing it

Siri_1

 

On cracking a joke 

Siri_3

 

On key national topics

Siri_4

 

On search for meaning

Siri_5

 

On GOT!

Siri_6

 

I’m Siri

Siri_7

 

There are few other virtual assistants in the marketplace, but there is only one Siri.

 

 

Ground Zero

This is my final attempt to write regularly.

I say final because of the numerous failed attempts earlier. Below are some of the blogging platforms I have used in the past:

  1. Blogger
  2. WordPress
  3. Posterous
  4. Roon
  5. Posthaven
  6. Medium

and a few more. None of the blogs saw consistency in postings. Medium was the only exception to this.

My writing has been all over the place. Facebook bore the brunt of my ramblings.It helped but never satisfied my insatiable urge to express.

This wholesome blog has always been on the “To-Do” list yet it never saw the light of the day.

I give up on giving up.

As with most of my decisions, I gave in to the temptation and bought this domain today and here it is, my new blog “Raindrop is blue”

The name of the blog is essentially an answer to the the album title “What Color is your raindrop” by one of my favorite musicians Tajdar Junaid. No, it is not just a literal interpretation of the title, it is equally metaphoric. No more on that.

If you are one of those curious types, yes the domain name is unique. Thank you for noticing. I was paranoid at the commonality of my name hence I coined this word “rove2mushin” at the brink of an uneventful midnight.

rove2mushin: journey to a state of no mind.

If you google rove2mushin you will only find my digital footprint. Like a boss!

I will be writing regularly on this blog ( read: sparingly ) on varied topics ( read: socially acceptable ) with unabashed passion ( read: unabashed passion!). Expect everything.

For the benefit of those who like to have takeaways:

Takeaway #1 : This is yet another blog from me with slightly lesser chance of failing.

Takeaway #2: Let’s not get greedy. one is enough for now.

P.S: Aditya Patil likes to be called “Adi”, he thinks that makes him cool. Poor him.