After reading, “the Illicit happiness of other people”

It’s impossible to escape happiness, that was the 400 paged novels major theme; that’s what I gathered from my English professor’s reaction to the book. Then I got hold of the same copy she read, I took a month or so and finished reading it this morning.

I cancelled all my plans for the day and I’ve been floating around the house, watched two movies to get distracted. I liked the book. But it took a number on me, I was sure it’s going to be ans unresolved ending, difficult plot, theme and all that stuff. I feel like I know Unni Chako well enough to see why it ended the way it did, but it still hurts. 

The voice of Mariamma, Thoma, and Ousep Chako were urban, Indian, and very honest. The raw and uncannily real people make this novel a journey through nostalgia. The poverty of the urban middle class, the children from this era, the humour that runs the south Indian cinema and everything seems to be measured and quantified to help enjoy.
The acknowledgement has Manu Joseph thanking more than three editors and  their efforts are wonderful. It’s a book that anybody who’s been in the south of India can relate or see resemblance. The people, places, and  things to do are like the everyday of an average middle class boy.

A book to be read for meeting the young Intellectuals and their path to understanding what life means to them, is a curious journey into their minds. I feel a loss to say what the book did, but I can say for sure, unlike Ousep Chako I see why Unni did, what he did and that’s probably why it hurts.

Ano Hana

Ano Hana is an eleven episode anime series about a group of six children in some small town of Japan. Three girls and boys formed a group called the super peace buster (TSPB) and had a secret hideout on a mountain top that they built by themselves. The series is a very simple and even a little clichéd with both the narrative and plot. But the twelve episodes manage to engage viewers and leave you in tears and it’s moving enough to not worry about being called a sissy.

The lead is a gamer boy who stopped going to school after the first week, Jinta. He starts to hallucinate and sees a childhood friend Menma who’s dead. The eleven episodes are around TSPB and the various complications their relationships had which only made them grow further apart. They do manage to reach out to each other and the unresolved conflicts raise and manages to hurt everyone. In the second episode they play a fake Pokémon fame on Gameboys and the game is called Nokemon.

From Google Search

The love triangle turned into a rectangle and then a hexagon and finally octagon before it unravelled into the mess it was, for the world to see. The dead Menma was a sweet heart who was loved by Jinta and Yukiatsu the boy who is equivalent to the lead but never good enough. The other two girls liked these two boys, while Anjou was jealous of Menma and popularity while Tsuruko was aware of the complication and was better balnced of the emotions she exhibited.

From Google Search

The characters are simple, relatable and in eleven episodes the series manages to get the viewer to cry as it ends. The simplicity and delightful background score is engaging and form fitting while keeping the viewer interested and curious. The series feels slow but the end of each episode increases the craving for the next. The ending provides closure which seems like a rare and arbitrary  in an era where continuing or closure isn’t a free choice or anyway to end something. Even if they say it’s closure, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

On reading Pauline Kael’s review

​To write a review of eight thousand words is definitely a herculean task and getting that piece published while not being am established writer is nearly impossible but Pauline Kael did that with her review on the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. She became an in-house reviewer for the New Yorker Magazine after that review and has held on to that position ever since.
Pauline Kael in Tennis shoes

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The review in itself is well written but that’s a given, the amount of research she’s done is clearly evident, you can’t just write eight thousand words about something without having anything to say or doing enough research on it. There is a lot of passion, love, interest and dedication that Kael has towards American Cinema and that is beyond just watching movies, but has understood the process of making cinema. She talks about the work and works of the script-writer and director, compares their previous works to current work and makes well informed and educated comments and guesses.

Kael’s commentary about the film, actors, script and its writer, and the director are subjected to comparison of their previous work and the present film. This kind of commentary can be made only when one has enough knowledge on the subject and to write like this is both luxurious and cumbersome. Luxurious to write so much about a film and you don’t have to worry about going over-board because in eight thousand words one can resolve any problem.

I’d love to review and write like Pauline Kael, but from conversations about Pauline Kael, I expected to read a kind of Paromita Vohra review, funny, sarcastic and Bitchy. Kael wrote like a polite, young British women; that was disappointing but she’s a smart and calculative writer. The review didn’t give out much about the film like any good review is supposed to but it still justified, debated and argued everything; from opinions she had about all the things being said about the films and the various controversies about the film, and the violence in it.

I’d love to review a film this way, it would be an amazing scoop but the problem will be if I’m expected to write a review on a film that isn’t from Telugu, Tamil or Kannada cinema industry. These are the three industries I’ve been engaging with since my childhood, which is as early as three or four years. I’ve been part of the fan circle ever since, heard all the gossip, rumours, crazy things people would do to meet the stars. I’m a child from the era where we cut out newspaper clippings, stories and mostly pictures of our favourite pictures; this was a thing because the computer and mobiles still hadn’t completely taken over daily lives and people liked touching things that weren’t their mobile, iPad, kindle or laptop screens.

Anyways, I’d love to do such piece on Chireneevi’s 150th film that is coming out in 2017 and everybody has been talking about this film for the last two maybe three years and the pre-production is complete, film shooting has also started. All of this I know mostly from conversation with my family because discussing cinema, politics and general gossip is something we all bond over other than dirty jokes.

When the past bites

​”I want to go home!” Fouad yelled, jumped, screamed and cried while clinging onto the nearest door, window or pillar as Mary dragged the little boy and threw him inside the room and with a lot struggle locked him inside and went to work. Ahmed after cleaning up the paint mess off the floor walked in and pacified the child. They went shopping for groceries and managed to make dinner for everyone else. A scene from the French film “the past” that is stuck with me.

The film is like the scene described in the above paragraph and it only manages to get more complicated after every secret is unraveled. As the characters open up, the plot thickens and the film only manages to make everything more frustrating. Each character is well built and shaped, even with minimal screen time most of these characters manage to leave an impact on the viewer.

The sound score was invisible and so well hidden that it’s existence isn’t even realisable till the closing credits. The colour palette through out was very pleasing and each shot was well framed, drawing emphasis to all the things on screen that the directer wants you to see. This makes it very appealing, visually and the pleasantness is of the right amount to keep all eyes glued on to the screen. The film is Ashgar Faradhi’s attempt to tell us a story we’ve heard of, been a part of or may have just caused. And these are the stories we know but don’t want to talk about or hear about.

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Foutaisas – Silly nonsense

Foutaisas is a short film, about what this one man loves and hates.

The pace at which the film moved was slow, even though each shot was short it felt long. Towards the end it was surprising and exciting, the actor was talking generally or casually and when he got specific about problems or fears and secret pleasure it felt very personal, like he was having a conversations with me personally and spilling his dark secrets as the night vanished into early hours of the morning.
He said things that people wouldn’t admit to and a lot of other things I wouldn’t tell another living beings. The film was exciting and I felt cathartic. It was nice to watch someone else do things you’d never do or say; like admiting his fears, insecurities and cheap thrills, that sent me on a trip of overjoy.

Telugu movie soggade chinni nayana dies of old age

It was difficult to pick a movie that I’ve hated and one that I didn’t watch in class. After what felt like the longest session of soul and mind searching; after yawning four times, scratching my head six times and a suryanamskara I remembered the awful 2016 Telugu movie “soggade chinni nayana”(SCN).

SCN is Ramyakrishna and Nagarjuna starring mythical, horror, thriller movir and it isn’t any of the things it claims to be but a whole lot of fillers where fifty-seven (57) year old Nagarjuna is running after young women flirting with and endorsing promiscuity like south Indian or at least Telugu movies do. The only thing mythical about the movie is the relationship it has to some really bad backstory to an ancient temple’s deity’s jewellery that the director forgot about. Somewhere in the second half of the movie he remembers all the things he’d said the movie is and tries to pack it all in the second half.

The horror in the movie are the conversations Ramyakrisha has with her daughter-in-law about dealing with a workaholic husband (played by Nagarjuna) and why he’s to be loved even if he doesn’t love you or how to seduce him and gives her tips to handle everything better because women have to make-do and that’s life. If this wasn’t bad enough, the dead father’s (also played by Nagarjuna) soul enters the son’s body to seduce the daughter-in-law and help rekindle the son’s love life sparkle, because the father has a lot of experience with women.

I don’t know why I watched the movie, but I have a bad habit of finishing everything I start and ended up watching the movie till the end. The movie’s biggest achievement was accurately help describe and show you what the creepy old uncle who is touchy and feely looks like and all these touchy Uncles would love it.

During the first half Nagarjuna flirts various young and pretty actresses, he’s either flirting with them or the father has had an affair. It in a way signifies the conversation my mother and older cousin were having where the land lord or the village head man or equivalent in not just villages but towns have sex with all the women they find attractive, because they can, something that shocked me but was real.

The movie did talk about the problematic society and its hypocrisy just as it romanticised with all these problematic ideas that were being encouraged. These are elements enough to get theatres full of men and men, jumping, screaming and hooting at attractive men seducing very pretty women. Women who are either submissive or tamed by the hero who shows them what it means to be a real woman. No wonder a sequel is being made, the world needs some balance I guess.

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The brand new testament

Spoilers ahead

A sad girl with a prosthetic arm, an old man with no family, a sex maniac, a murderer, lady with a bestiality fetish and dying ten year old are the six new apostils; to help save the world from the hands of God who’s an Asshole.

Jaco Van Dormael’s the brand New Testament is a comedy that gives you new version of the story, where God is a douchebag with a wife and two children. The first child Jesus Christ is estranged (after he came down to earth) and the other child is Ea, eleven or ten years old. Ea discovers her father’s computer where he makes stupid rules to piss people off for his entertainment, things like the line you aren’t in always moves faster, bread always falls jam/butter side down and the person you fall in love isn’t the same once you’re married. He enjoys the misery of humans, whom he created from his work room on a desktop from the late . On this machine he decides the fate of the world, the disaster that strike the universe and such.

God at his Desktop, fucking with you

Ea is upset and confronts her father who attacks her; when she runs and hides from him in her room, he breaks the door open, whips her with his belt after picking her up and throwing her against the wall. God’s a drunk, violent and disgusting piece of garbage; he walks into the shower when Ea is in it and says “I made you, it is okay.” The movie helps create a god, who is so easy to hate that as the movie ends its cathartic to watch him suffer in the miserable world with hope on his shoulder but no option of escape.

The six apostils are crazy, weird, borderline psychopaths or just the embodiment of the twenty-first century human beings, from a Hollywood perspective. When my classmate saw the lady in bed with a gorilla and later with a child, she was utterly disgusted and shocked out of her mind. I don’t really have a problem because circumstantially and contextually both are consenting adults and what they do is none of my business. Among the others the murderer and sad girl with prosthetic arm fall in love, yay but it’s really annoying that he didn’t end his relationship with his WIFE first. These apostils are fucked up people in a crazy world, which makes it so real and so much more pleasurable when the escapism enters.

The God’s wife is a quite housewife who is afraid of her D-bag husband and has two interests knitting embroideries and looking at her baseball collection. The 12 twelve apostils were eighteen to create a change and start a new world and she does. The new world has trippy sky with floral patterns or mango prints (paisley) or some other embroidery patterns. I was annoyed that the goddess was such a submissive person and stays the same till the end and then it hit me? Why should she change? She’s being herself and even after liberations her interests are same and that’s very cool.


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