The big sick

Image courtesy – Kumail’s Twitter account.

The advantage of making a good movie is that it doesn’t need in-your-face promotion. People will talk about it even weeks and months after the release. I heard people talk about “The big sick” on twitter a couple of times. Then the other day I saw this tweet which pushed me over to leave everything and watch the movie.

It is surprising that Amazon Prime did not showcase this flick on the front page of prime video. Who decides what goes on front and what gets watched? Shouldn’t we have more of a say in it?

The voice remote on Amazon Fire Stick works like a charm. I found the big sick waiting to be seen. I paused my household chores and began watching the movie.

I have seen Kumail Nanjiani’s work in HBO’s Silicon Valley and hence it was difficult for me to separate the characters of Dinesh and Kumail.

The movie works for more reasons than one. The chemistry between Kumail and Zoe Kazan is fascinating and believable. I was afraid that it was going to fall flat. The supporting characters are really well written especially the parents of Emily (Zoe). I loved the scene where Emily’s mom played by the beautiful Holly Hunter connects with Kumail on the eve of the Emily’s surgery. Ray Romano who plays the father has an awkward sense of humor and his lines work marvelously in the movie. Watch out for the scene in which he tries to say something profound about love and fails miserably.

Zoe is her charming self and eases through the character. She doesn’t have much weight lifting to do. Kumail on other hand had a lot of scenes where he had to dig deep and use his acting prowess. He succeeds mostly. There are few scenes which he wasn’t convincing especially when he had to show is angst at the poor vendor selling burgers. Other than that he played himself on the screen with great conviction.

Kumail’s family portrayal is down right funny. His baseball fanatic brother, the overbearing mother, typical sister-in-law and the restrained father. The scenes on the dining table will make you laugh out loud. Though I felt they stretched one routine a little too far, to the point that it looked repetitive .

The big sick isn’t your typical rom-com. It is much more than that. It has drama, depth, silliness, awkwardness, and above all a lot of humor. It is guaranteed to make you laugh.

This movie also brings the Asian immigrants in the mainstream. We know that US is filled with Asians but they have been represented poorly in the Hollywood movies. Up until now they have had to take stereotypical roles. Much like what Kumail plays in Silicon Valley. They were never the story themselves. Always a sidekick.

But it seems the times are now changing. Aziz Ansari’s Master of None being the another example of the Indian subcontinent actors taking the Centre stage. Can’t leave Hasan Minhaj’s The Homecoming King from this eccentric mix.

The big sick is a new age rom com that is endearing to watch. It is available on Amazon Prime. Add it to your watch list now.

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Meeting Arjun Reddy’s Grandmother

Photo credit: Greatandhra. Com

I had always considered myself unlucky when it comes to meeting stars or celebrities at the airports or inside the flights. My friend who invariably meets someone every time she travels makes it look so easy. This for me wasn’t a goal but I wouldn’t complain if it happens to me.

I was traveling to Lucknow from Chennai on November 4, 2017. I was flying Indigo 6E 847, apparently the best airlines India has to offer.

Just like anyone else I sat near the gate waiting for the boarding to start. I was consciously making an attempt to not use my mobile phone. Why you ask? Let’s just say I don’t like that we have become slaves to our phones. More on that later. Of the hundreds of people sitting in the waiting area only handful were actually mindful of their surroundings. Most of them had a screen to stare into or were listening to music. Nothing wrong in doing either.

The moment they announced the boarding people flocked together and tried their best to beat everybody else to the line. After much effort I got onto the plane. The charismatic and inhumane air hostess welcomed me with a authentic fake smile which obviously dint work for me. I know better. While I was making my way through the aisle, expecting people to behave civilized and make way for others, I saw a familiar face.

An old lady trying to get comfortable in her seat. I couldn’t remember where had I seen her before. By the time I got to my seat at the backend of the plane i realized she might be the actor who played the role of the charming grandmother in the movie Arjun Reddy. Since I wasn’t sure if it was her and also did not know anything about the actor I dint do anything. The only thing I had read about her was a two line reference to her acting career in one of the movie reviews. Hence without giving it too much thought, I got comfortable in my seat and forgot about her.

Four hours later the plane landed in Lucknow. The moment the seat belt sign was turned off people got up in a jiffy, unloaded their bags from overhead cabin space and then waited in a line smelling each other’s odor. I can’t understand why people do that. By saving those 2 minutes how are they making their lives better? More on that later.

I waited for the aisle to get vacant. There were handful of people struggling with their luggage. I walked to the front end of the plane and to my surprise found the old lady standing near her seat. I couldn’t resist and asked her “Aren’t you the actor who played the role of the grandmother in Arjun Reddy”?

She said yes and I could sense a little pride in her voice. Not knowing what exactly to do in such a situation I continued to talk with her as I would talk to any stranger. I accompanied her on her way to the baggage carousels. She was in a wheelchair and an attendant was helping her drive the chair. The next 15 to 20 minutes of my life were enriching to say the least.

We quickly began to converse in Kannada and she told me about her experience of working in movies in different languages. I still did not know her name or anything else about her. She had apparently won an award in Karnataka and was telling me gleefully about the message she delivered while accepting the award. She took pride in saying that she is still earning at 78. She expected people to do their duties and told me repeatedly to allow people to do their duties. I was being helpful and trying to find a trolley for her but she insisted on the attendant to do it. We are paying him and he should earn his money was the reply I got form her. She did not budge in saying that people like me should not try to be extra nice and do other people’s jobs.

She was charming and energetic. Her zeal to talk about her life was exciting to see and it was clear to me that she must have been a strong woman in her hey days. I accompanied her till the exit gate where her family was waiting to receive her. Throughout the conversation I had umpteen number of opportunities to ask for a photo but I refrained. I was fighting the urge to take tbe selfie. The purity of the moment gets muddled when you bring in the moment capture device.

She asked me where I worked and stayed in Chennai. When I told her about the area I stay in, she was surprised and said we stay close by. I don’t remember if she said come over for a visit but even if she didn’t it doesn’t matter.

She introduced me to her family and was checking with them if they could drop me to a nearby place. I said my goodbyes to her and truly felt good for meeting her.

I still did not know her name. I called up a friend from office and narrated the incident to him and he told me that she is Kanchana.