The Magic Of Kangana Ranaut 

In an industry where only star kids get the best of everything and outsiders have to struggle, we have a wonderful exception in kangana. She is bold, vivacious, fearless and most importantly real.

I have been following her interviews since the time she was interviewed by Anupama Chopra for the Front row, ironically promoting her movie Krish3 for which she has become quiet well known for albeit slightly for different reasons.

It has been years I have followed any actor as a fan. I think of them as just that now – an actor, who is made to be God like in this country for no reason whatsoever. I mean why are they revered as such? Do they help others? Do they make the world a better place? Do they speak for those who can’t? Do they stand up for what’s right? A simple answer to all these questions is a big fat NO.

Nor are they expected to. Then why all the hullabaloo surrounding them? Especially the males? Are they different from any other non acting males? Do they have something special that males who are not actors don’t have other than a big fat paycheque? They are certainly not good role models who are mostly just self obsessed and promotes unhealthy male image.

For the last few years especially since 2012 we have seen a huge shift in the audience taste. We no longer like the old masala formula based movies. We want content that is meaningful, even if it is larger than life or requires us to suspend our belief for two hours or so.

It is only in the last one year or so, this demand has fully boomed thanks to digital ‘invasion’. People don’t deserve to spend their hard earned money for a ride that isn’t worth their bucks.

So movies like queen, kapoor and sons, hindi medium, Dangal or a Neerja works and not tubelight, jab harry met sejal or A gentleman doesn’t.

Between all this we have the default mode of portraying woman as ‘love interest’ or the ‘ever ready to sacrifice’ or the mother characters to play. Everything has to revolve around the hero even though in real life it doesn’t work that way.

Granted cinema isn’t ‘real’ and it is just a way to enact a fantasy but why should that fantasy require only female dumbness and the males to be the perfect creatures.

The recent AIB video featuring Kangana mocking the sexist film industry is one of the best entertainment I have come across in ages. I love Kangana for that. She deserves every accolades for been gutsy.

I don’t understand why the industry is so insular and nepotistic. Why isn’t an actor who does not belong to the film fraternity not appreciated as the one outside it. Unlike family businesses film industry cannot be undemocratic. Because it is based on talent. Yes hard work and luck plays a huge factor but industry babies already have some of it in their favour thanks to their star parents.

Recently Ali Fazal has been able to portray the lead role opposite Dame Judi Dench (for gods sake) in Victoria and Abdul. How many big stars can boast of the same. But no one talks about it. But Priyanka Chopra playing villain in a tiny role is a ‘Big deal’.Thankfully Irfan khan is getting his due both internationally as well as in India.

So why is Kangana made to be the bad guy by the industry for speaking the truth? I guess it’s cause truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

She is setting a great example for other women in this country to follow their dreams. Am appalled at the other actresses from the industry who are keeping mum or taking a sly dig at her instead of standing up and accepting the truth. It will only benefit them in the long run.

51458367

Truth is all the so called stars in this hindi film industry has a huge PR machinery behind them who makes sure they are seen and heard everywhere. Things that has nothing to do with their talent are talked about more instead. Besides when the whole industry is run by some filmy family or the other why would talent matter. They just want to feel like gods whom the public should worship.

It is high time we as the audience stop accepting these mediocre actors and demand high standards from all the three – actors, directors and writers.

As far as Kangana is concerned I surely hope great success for her, cause a talent like hers should not be wasted because of this self appreciating film industry who can only promote their own.

Female actors too should be given the opportunity to make as much as their male counterparts. If older actors past 40 are employing younger girls in order to save money, how will established female actors start an eco system similar to what the khans do if they are not given their worth just so they can save money?

Especially like Akshay Kumar. His last few films have seen new comers like tapasee pannu or a nimrit kaur or Bhumi padnekar opposite him (not to belittle their talent). Gone are the days when he worked with ‘stars’ like Kareena, katrina or a priyanka. Even alia was paired with shahrukh who is a good thirty years older than her. Just imagine in real life if a girl was romancing someone that older we would either caution her or call her mad. So why this exception in movies? At least make a believable story. Why is she there just to fall in love with the actor? Though Dear Zindagi had a story but that’s besides the point.

This is not just about the hindi film industry but about all the major film industries including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam. Movies where heroes are shown as Macho where they beatup ten fifteen guys in the air, I mean WTF.

Where are these good guys in real life? They are harder to find than diamonds. Trying to find solace in the movie heroes just cause you can’t be one in real life is an unfortunate reality in our country. Let us please stop revering these fake heroes and encourage real life ones and stop making wrong things associated with been a man and masculinity.

What Kangana represents shouldn’t be slotted into “movie promotion” and as someone whose “success has gone to her head”. She comes from a very real place and such voices should be encouraged so that nobody gets slotted in certain boxes and everyone gets to benefit from those who fight for what’s right.

Advertisements

Hindi Medium and The Need to Conform #Movienight


 

Last night hubby and me decided to watch a comedy movie. Having seen most of the movies this year, I was left to wonder which one to watch for tonight. That’s when I remembered we still hadn’t watched Hindi Medium starring Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar.

The story is something like this: Parents want to send their daughter to an ‘elite’ english medium school in order to catch up with other elites in the society. Now I am not part of north India but I have heard they are way too posh and extremely conscious of their image and power. I mean this is the same city where Jessica Lal was murdered.

Coming back to the movie, it is light hearted fun, certainly a bit exaggerated and doesn’t take itself too seriously till the climax when the protagonists begins to sprout consciousness.

It definitely made me wonder what our education system has reached to and the mentality of us Indians. I have always considered English as  a language and nothing more. But maybe due to colonialism we are still stuck in that mode where anything ‘english’ is elite and better.

I have studied in an english medium school where speaking in english was mandatory. We even wore a ‘speak to me in english’ badges on our uniform. I never took it seriously cause I speak three other languages too. I guess it’s pretty common in India to be bi(tri)lingual.

main-qimg-d7a9c9df639767bacd6c396d9951eb99-c

In those days very few people conversed in english in their daily lives but I have to admit now a days anywhere I go, I see people talking to each other in english like its the ‘cool’ thing to do. Am always trying to decide if I should speak in english or use the state language, something I never felt growing up.

In fact I used to be teased in college for speaking in english cause I am not exactly well versed in Malayalam as the native speakers are and now these very people converse in english like their mother tongue has no value.

It is sad we Indians don’t value our own traditions, heritage and culture or for that matter language. When I see the Chinese attempts to glorify their culture or Germany/France, I feel disappointed that we Indians lack that. We have such an ancient and culturally rich heritage that I don’t think todays kids are even aware of.

Everyone is after the image we are been sold to. Every country has it’s own value and it’s up to them to maintain it. I feel being Hindus we have become so liberal that we don’t even value our own system or take pride in it.

Hindi medium only throws light on the education system which itself needs an over haul but for that to happen we as a society needs to change at its core. We need to amalgamate what’s traditional and modern, use the positive and leave out the negative cause as a country we have such a huge potential and we need to propagate it for our own advantage.

I just wish that we value what we have now and nurture it cause one day when we look back we as a country are going to regret having lost everything that once glorified us. Sometimes I feel we are obsessed with this language, why can’t we show the same to our own language?

main-qimg-4b8303bc911ce37815fb8eff0cbd1cd8

Why not give the same importance to other languages too like french, mandarin or Spanish? or the multiple languages in our own country! Besides knowing two or more languages contributes to a persons intelligence. And to me language is just that –  a tool for communication. In a country like India it is significant where multiple languages are spoken, hence english ironically is the one that unifies us all. But why give it an over the top connotations to it?

Back to the movie, watch it for the fun message it gives and the comic timings of Deepak Dobriyal. He is too good. A perfect weekend movie. I would rate it 3.5/5.

What are your thoughts on the movie and the message it shares?

 

Why do we Blog and Should You?


 

To begin with there are lots of blogs on the internet. Some are for business, some are personal, yet there are those who use it in private and one’s that are used for promotional purposes.

The reason I use blogging is for a creative outlet. I love writing. For me it is therapeutic just like cooking/baking is for others (I do love baking). Anyhoo, it is always important to know why we blog.

There are many who have made blogging as a career and kudos to them right. It isn’t easy to be inspired everyday and actually sit and write something. Give it a try and you will know what I mean.

I constantly ask myself this question – why am I blogging? I need to keep reminding myself that I love sharing what I have to say cause otherwise keeping a private journal will do too. You don’t really have to blog just cause you like writing alone.

I love reading other peoples views. Sharing and understanding their point of views. Its what makes the blogging community so wonderful to be a part off. It’s like a little world of our own.

A blog can be about anything. Business, hobbies, some talent/skill that you have. You can always create a platform for yourself before the world comes to know of you. These days, YouTube plays a huge role in advancing ones talent cause lets face it far more people spend their time browsing videos than they do blogs. It is easier to get your attention and you don’t have to spend your energy reading something.

Thankfully, there are still people out there who like to read and jot things down. Blogging is as relevant today as it was when it first started.

images3.jpegSo that brings me to the question of should you blog? Yes and I mean why not? It is a great way to share what you think, your opinions and to inspire others. These days we even have Quora or Twitter to make your views heard but I find it to be quiet shallow and not really helpful in the longterm.

One needs to be clear on why they are making a point and what it means to them. Just typing 140 characters doesn’t bail you out. And Quora is a closed community. You can only view them if you are a member and yet the questions are very rhetoric mostly, but yes there are many helpful ones – no doubt about that.

But one has to understand that blogging is a completely different platform and no one else can provide what it does. Your own unique voice and that matters. Some of the things one must consider if you do decide to blog is that:

  • Be consistent – Nobody likes to follow a blog where random posts about random topics are made. At least try to find your own niche/passion before you start blogging and post twice or more in a week.

 

  • It is a great way to keep writing. For writers it is a boon. You can always share what you write, gain feedback and improve yourself. There is no better way to have an engaging reader base than blogging.

 

  • Among many things maintaining a blog is a healthy habit. It can lead to discipline. More coherency in your ideas and even inspire others to become a better version of themselves. Besides its free and who knows what adventures it can lead you to.

 

So yeah, there you have it. Three simple reasons on if you should blog. I know many who try and give up early and thats cause you set such a high bar right from the beginning. It is not a race and there is no finish line here. Take your time, enjoy the process, unleash your creativity and just have fun.

Share your experience on blogging!

Big Little Lies – First Impression

I have to admit here, I am a huge admirer of Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Yet when I first saw the trailer, I was not impressed. I felt like it was a series customised to suit their respective not-so-important careers in their late age. I admit that sounds so sexist. Of course, I love them both and I still watch their movies but It felt like an attempt to remain relevant.

Anyhoo, then I began hearing rave reviews and even watched one of Nicole’s interview on Ellen where as usual she praised her guests. I finally decided to check out what the deal was. Turns out it was a series based on a book titled – you guessed it right – Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty.

So I finally began watching it and am just on episode 3. So far am mighty impressed. I will follow up with a full review of the series once am done watching. But I loved their characters and it doesn’t reek of any need to gain attention.

I have decided to read the book and recommend it as the book of the week. We have a good weekend coming up and what more do you need but a good book to cozy up with?

Coming back to the series, it invokes the emotions any woman might be going through. Myself included. I guess thats why it strikes a chord among us women. It’s not just the main characters that make a mark but even the side characters too. Everyone feels alive in the series – know what I mean? Like you have seen them before? and don’t even get me started on the atmosphere – its a character on its own.

I highly recommend anyone who haven’t watched the series to catch up and share your views here. Enjoy!

 

Lipstick Under My Burkha


 

Last night as I was browsing through YouTube, I came across a new trailer of L.U.M.B. I had already seen a previous version few months back and even though I found the story interesting it didn’t really pique my interest.

Nevertheless I was aware of how the movie was getting noticed especially in the film festivals including the news that it may even be the opening movie for the Golden Globes.

The famous “Censor Board” which is the CBFC, whose sole job is to give certification for a movie, also masquerades as the moral brigade in our country for movies. The Central Board’s Film Certifications head, Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani is quiet famous for how he wants to keep the audience away from so called filth in the movies. Clearly it speaks of his own mindset rather than the whole country’s.

He is famously known for cutting a kissing scene in the last Bond movie. And recently for objecting to the word ‘intercourse’ in Srk’s upcoming movie – ‘Jab Harry met Sally’. It is obvious he has a fixed mindset.

Though I find no credibility in his views, including that of preserving Indian Values, the reason am writing this post is for an entirely different reason. The YouTube Comment sections are well known for its own trolls and views.

Check these out:

Majority of the male comments reflect what they think about feminism. Since when did short skirts, smoking, having sex have anything to do with ‘Women Empowerment’. It made me question whether majority of Indians – specially male – as to why they have such distorted versions of feminism.

When I saw the first trailer, yes I thought it was bold and frank but it is what reality is. And the new trailer clearly pokes those questions right in your face.

To make it clear, women empowerment doesn’t mean short skirts, smoking, kissing, having sex on screen or using cuss words and such other myriad views. It is the ability of the women to be themselves just as they are and to be accepted for it nevertheless. Just like men are.

I don’t agree with smoking, drinking, dress choices are based on one’s own sense of fashion and comfort and we watch sex scenes in western movies all the time so what is not ‘sanskaari’ about the same thing here?

Do we not have sex in this country? Is that why we have the second highest population in the world? And what is so wrong in it? it is a natural human thing. what’s so shameful in showing it? These very people have no problem in watching porn in their private life but how can you question it when it is shown on-screen and is performed by Indian women? Do they have no needs and desires?

I loved one of the dialogues shown in this trailer –

Screenshot_2017-06-28-10-21-33_resized_20170628_102158004

I truly don’t understand what’s so scary about female sexuality. Why can’t you accept that we too have the freedom to express it. We are not just the roles society has forced upon us that of mother, daughter, sister or wife. We can be more than that and we are.

We are so much more than just what’s expected of us. We multitask like there is no tomorrow. Unlike men who are only expected to provide and protect the family, we women are the one’s who are glue to the entire society. Without us, there is no society. Our roles are hence so much more important if not equally.

It is not rocket science. It is not Math. It is a simple social need to be acknowledged. Are men scared of women? If that is the reason you try to repress us then there is no need to fear us. If you laughed at the first question it means men are not scared of women then why the hell do you care what women do with their lives. what’s the need to control it?

Since I haven’t seen the movie I cannot comment on how the movie contributes to the growth of feminism. But for the sake of freedom of expression & creativity and the freedom for women to be portrayed as they are, it is important such dialogues are maintained.

UPDATE: check out: Interview with Anupama Chopra

What are your thoughts on it? Do share!

 

Celebrating 20 years of Hermione Granger

 

The other day I was reminded of the fact that potter fans were celebrating twenty years of publishing Harry Potter series. When I started reading the books, I was a mere teenager.

I still had no concept of male/female differences but I knew girls were not usually looked upon as bright creatures but rather things to be looked at for their beauty. Been an only child I have never faced discrimination of any kind for my gender nor have I allowed it to subconsciously effect me to an extent.

Of course, I have seen my cousins, friends all go through them. It is always subtle, but sometimes very obvious. In school we are always told to wear our pinafore as low as possible. The Shawl has to cover all the right places. Talking to boys is a strict no-no or looked down upon even though it is a Co-ed institution.

It is always surprising to see how kids can be seen as a sexual being at an age where we are just discovering our own understanding of it. It was in those days that one of my best friends at the time recommended this book to me.

I have always loved reading. I loved escaping into another make believe world and grew up watching Dungeons and Dragons cartoons. The world of magic was always a special place. Despite having no clue what the book was about, I began reading it.

Once I began reading, there was no stopping it. I had to finish the book – know what this young wizard was going through till the end. No other book had captivated me so much as the potter series had till then.

I have always seen myself in Harry. Yes. Unsure of himself, lost, humble, always between two best friends and many such similarities. It wasn’t until Prisoner of Azkaban that I realised what a great character Hermione Granger is.

To be honest, I have never found myself in Hermione. She was snooty, nerdy, miss goody- two shoes and always right! I found her to be a spoilsport in the beginning. And even though she is still all that, the refreshing part about her character was that she was unapologetic about who she is.

She never made excuses for herself and at such an young age knew what she wanted while all I knew at that age was how to quickly finish my homework and watch something on TV.

Imagine the kind of inspiration she is for women who even in their twenties need to be sorry for being true to themselves. She constantly kept pushing her selves and putting her opinions out there without any fear of  judgement. She was who she was – take it or leave it.

Between the two boys – Harry and Ron, she was the only sensible character. Harry had his own demons to fight and Ron, well he was the perfect class clown. They both depended on her. 

Her constant fight for the elves Rights was endearing. She was passionate about everything she fought for. She was that friend who would do anything to help you – without fear or favour.

For young Indian girls, she was heaven sent. Her loyalty, independence, unapologetically witty sense of humour, never shying away from who she is and always putting herself out there with confidence. She was the ultimate wonder woman of her age.

It would be wrong to not mention other female characters in the Potterverse. Namely, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. They both had their individuality thanks to Rowling who etched their characters to such details.  While one was fiercely independent, the other was slightly leaning on the odd side – but both of them had no qualms to show their true selves and neither did they let others judgement change themselves.

Today, twenty years later they are still an inspiration. Particularly Emma Watson who played the character in the potter movies grew up to be an ideal version of Hermione Granger herself. A strong headed woman who is helping the cause of feminism move forward.

images

She has opened up a dialogue for todays women to engage in and is an ideal role model for young girls, something I never had at that age. It is amazing how books can give you confidence and strength and Joanne Rowling gifted the world, particularly the girls the perfect role model in Hermione Granger.

 

What about you? How has Hermione Granger effected you? Share your experience here!