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.

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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.

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My Two Cents


 

The other day, in fact a week ago one of our neighbours popped into our home. She is not really our neighbour but our neighbours daughter, who lives in the nearby town. Apparently she is looking after the house since her mom is out of station.

Among the small talks, there was one thing that caught my attention which if you look at it didn’t really have to but the fact that it got my attention is why I thought of sharing it with you.

Out of a random topic we began talking about visiting temples and about our religious inclination. It was just a causal mention not even the main topic we were talking about. What she said in response was that she is very progressive in her outlook and therefore isn’t very religious which in turn means she doesn’t visit temples and such on a routine. Of course what she does in her personal life is none of my concern but it got me thinking nevertheless.

Do people in our country – the educated and (so called) liberals think that been progressive and religious go hand in hand? Does becoming less religious mean you are more positive in your approach, that you are an elite of some sort? That you look down upon the ones who are religious?

Am not a religious person, never have been from the time I have been introduced to it. But I do consider myself a follower of Santana Dharma who does believe in its teaching. I don’t know why people of other religion go to their place of worship but to me in particular it is because of the peace I get from the energy in the temple. There is something different in its very air when you enter a temple and pray.

But being progressive has nothing to do with religion IMHO. I mean religion is a part of your identity not your outlook in life. Of course it can heavily influence your views and opinions and that’s where the problems lie. A religion which decides for you is dictatorship in my opinion.

I know our country is going through a so called religious awakening thanks to the ruling party but my point has nothing to do with politics but with beliefs. You can be both progressive and religious. It depends on how you view your beliefs.

To be progressive is not to be biased on the basis of caste, creed, sex or gender, place or religion etc. To treat everyone equally. To not let personal differences come in between your other commitments.

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To be religious is to follow a particular faith which gives you satisfaction, an identity and a structure or a path in life. Every religion has a tipping point and no matter what each will reach theirs.

I don’t even want to start about been secular and religion, two different things stitched together by a party for their own selfish interest, almost ruining this country. This is about a personal belief, that’s all.

Believing your faith to be backwards is one of the downfall Hindu’s are facing today. I don’t know if it’s a British mentality thats still left behind or propagated by secularist but if one thinks so then they have no idea about their own faith and it is high time they study it before they begin critiquing it.

Yes certain customs are backward but it is the fault of the people who made them. Every place has its own custom and it is up to us to eradicate the bad ones, don’t blame religion for it.

If at all I have something to say, it is this: Nobody is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself and similarly nobody is going to respect your religion or culture if you don’t respect it yourself. Change begins with you.

 

Big Little Lies


 

You can find my first impressions here: Big Little Lies – First Impression

This time I will be writing about both the series as well as the book. To begin with the book, its aptly written. The characters are so fleshed out and you have strong reactions to them, like you either hate them or love them. Wonderfully written, Big Little Lies is definitely worth a read. Those who have read it please review or post your opinions here: Book Club

Coming to the series, obviously there are many changes from the book to fit the series mini episodes yet, not much is different. The characters are spot on. Though I did wonder why they didn’t include Fred in it. Besides the obvious difference in climax which I think was better in the series, but we writers have a way to make things more dramatic on paper.

It is not a book/Tv series on whodunnit. It’s about these three women – Jane, Celeste and Madeline  two other side characters Bonnie and Renata. Each of them have their own quirks and thats what makes them human.

Some of the imagery in the show was too much at times, like jane constantly envisioning her run on the beach or someone trying to break-in to her house or others dreams. But I guess it was necessary to “show” how distraught they are in a short time unlike in the book where you have time to draw out these nuances.

It is a wonder how they summed it all up in just 7 episodes. I didn’t, to be honest, think it was just a one off mini series. I expected to have more seasons (ha!) but I was reading the book and watching it almost simultaneously, which I never do but I just had to check the writing and realised this was it.

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I think the reason we have come to like it so much, is cause we can relate to them. We all keep secrets, some are dark and some even darker. We all want to put our best face on and show the world what a perfect life we are leading. I don’t know why we do that, what kind of pressure that is. Just imagine how much we could accomplish if we spoke the truth and helped each other instead.

But no, we all strive for perfection. ‘There is nothing wrong with my life’. And thanks to social media we are even pressurised to “show” it. It is sad that we try to show a make- believe world that doesn’t exist, cause believe me the best things in life cannot be shared or ‘posted’ on social media. It just happens.

The other thing I liked about the story was how genuinely good every character in this book was trying to be. How they tried to help the other women in distress even though they had humongous personal differences. I think it is more of a fantasy since no one is that good to anybody. We like it cause we wish it existed in real life too. I mean how many of us can be really that good to an ex-husbands wife or how many of us will actually defend a woman we don’t like with an abusive husband? How many of us will actually do something when it matters?

It was almost like wish fulfillments. I mean there is nothing wrong in not been perfect. Nobody is but we pretend to be and in turn do nothing about it when it really matters. Another part is obviously the entertainment factor cause I guess home makers think of themselves as leading a boring life and here was a show that showed the dramatic side to them. It was a show about them and how hard everything is on the inside though everything looks perfect on the outside. Nobody knows how hard it is to keep up that facade.

Overall, both the book and the series is worth the watch. I highly recommend it. What I loved the most was the performances. Every character felt lived through. All the actors standout yet nobody is outperforming the other. For all we know they could be our next door neighbors and we were having a peek through their lives. So go ahead and enjoy the coming weekend binge watching Big Little Lies!

 

 

Dysfunctional Family #Kapoor&Sons

We have all seen them, maybe even have been a part of them. Of course there are extreme forms of dysfunctional families and am not talking about the extreme ones. We have seen it in Dekh Bhai Dekh, or American Tv series Modern Family or for that matter Arrested development.

A family is not complete without some of its members been a “little” over the top. I was inspired to write this post when I remembered about Kapoor and Sons movie. By now you must have understood how much a movie influences my thoughts. Am a huge movie buff but its not just entertainment I take it with me once its done. It’s an experience and good movies have a way to make you feel you were a part of that movie.

With Kapoor and Sons it was like actually been there and silently watching all these characters go through their performances.  It was too good.

kapoor-and-sons-rkThere can be no doubt about the fact that my favourite character remains the grandpa played by Rishi Kapoor – the masterstroke actor.

It was engaging yet felt like we have lived this. We have all had that fight or that talk. The sibling rivalry, parental fights and amid all the chaos finding our calm to enjoy that perfect moment when it does show up.

 

Growing up in such a family has its share of impacts, and whats more is that  we even take it along with us for the rest of our lives. I would say my family does qualify the kind of families I have mentioned above, sans the laughter tracks, Ha!

There are worser kinds where it leaves the kids with traumatic effects such as those depicted in August: Osage County; what a wonderful performance by Meryl Streep and the whole cast! The relationship between Benedict Cumberbatch and his mother is just heart wrenching. The ones Meryl has with her daughters is both disturbing and a bit funny. But its so real and it happens.

So what is family and do we need family? Apparently this institution of family was started because the males wanted to pass on their wealth and intangibles to someone down their line and as a slave prospect started this ‘Familia’ which is nothing like what todays family represent and included household servants.

How many horror stories do we read in the news about how family members kill each other or abuse each other or sabotage each other for wealth or power? In fact every day I read about either a son killing his whole family out of vengeance or a father abusing his daughter. Don’t even start with Domestic Abuse cases. So is this what family is meant for? To control each other so much that you destroy the very thing you have in life?

I don’t think family has a longterm value considering every person starts his own family and the previous ones become obsolete and its an ongoing pattern. I guess its just the way of nature is.

For me, Family is support but I have seen families where they pull each other down, like crabs. Especially Indian families, I think they are afraid and insecure. Don’t go up the ladder cause we didn’t. Family is supposed to encourage everyone part of it to reach their potential but I feel sometimes it is the very family that holds you back.

Am a single child but yet I have been pitched against other kids to compete with for no reason. It always effects you cause you are constantly comparing yourself to others no matter what you have achieved. I think that should be stopped cause everyone is unique and nobody can replace the other. Maybe Family had a disturbing origin but I think its up to us to give it the proper rendition it deserves.

So what are your family quirks? Share your (‘funny’) family experiences!

 

 

The Great Indian Parents

The other day I was watching an old interview of the ensemble cast of Dil Dhadkane Do (DDD), one of the better movies to come in the last couple of years.

Honestly, I was prejudiced towards the trailer once I saw it cause I didn’t think these rich people and their problem was any of my concern and so the whole movie was just candy floss.

I, in fact, watched the movie last year but at that time I didn’t have a blog to write down my thoughts but after watching their interview I was reminded of the fact that I loved the movie. It was everything beyond expectation.

Reema Kagti makes wonderful movies, including Talaash and Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, two movies I thoroughly enjoyed and Zoya has a meaningful and different approach to movie making. But this isn’t about the movie that I want to talk about but about what the movie represents. Family.

I think Indian Parents are a different species altogether. I have always wondered why they can’t let their grown up kids just be. I always question these kids who grow up under controlling parents – like do they want to be like their parents or does it happen naturally through years of conditioning?

I can’t imagine being a parent like that and am always dreading if I will be (Only time will say). I mean I get the protection and responsibility they imbibe but once your kids turn a particular age, do you really need to spoon feed everything?

In this movie, there is two particular scene that really stung me:

  1. Where Anil Kapoor’s Character tells Ranbir’s “what have you done in your whole life? You are because of me and without us, you are nothing”, (loosely translated)
  2. Where Shefali Shah’s Character tells Priyanka’s to stop focusing on career and to start a family and also Anil telling her she is not welcome back to the family if she wants a divorce.

I mean why would parents do this to their kids? Why do you expect everything to be about you and not the kids? Aren’t they individuals? Do parents not look at their kids as separate beings? Or do they think kids have to be dependent on them no matter what?

I get the part about our parents sacrificing a lot for us. Every parent does that and that’s what makes you one. But expecting your kids to applaud you and be forever grateful to you is just plain wrong. And so is expecting them to toe along your lines cause you have done such great things for them.

Another part I don’t understand is why do kids still live with their parents! Unlike the old Joint family get up today there are more nuclear families. Yet parents are always there right behind you. Especially for girls who get married and move into their husband’s house, it’s just plain weird having to make such adjustments that the boy never even fathoms.

Why create such uncomfortable scenarios? Why can’t two adults live by themselves? Unless you have a single parent, there is, in my opinion, no need for adult kids to live with their parents. It only prolongs dependency, especially the emotional ones which is what’s dangerous.

Just imagine the benefits of living on your own:

  • You make the decisions
  • there is no conflict of who is the head of the house
  • the value we place on boys cause they “take care” of parents will lessen
  • More time can be taken out for actual bonding with family members instead of having to secretly hate them and create pain for everyone concerned.
  • Emotional maturity – especially for boys who take washing, cooking and such mundane activities for granted since someone else is always there to do it (their mom or sis)
  • Independence!
  • Privacy – No questions on where you are going or to whom you are speaking to or such questions, which only kids need to answer not adults.

I mean the lists are endless. Can you imagine how the whole Indian society would turn out to be if we actually followed this?

I have to agree there is No competition when it comes to their love. They win hands down but sometimes a gift can turn into a curse and we need to make sure it remains a gift. I believe a parents duty is to provide for their children and teach them to survive on their own. My husband and I both believe in this school of thought –  to let the kids just be.

As parents we worry about so much already, isn’t something left best to the kids? They need to discover themselves through their own eyes and not through others. If you watch kids carefully you will know they are hardly scared or insecure or worried about anything. But we force our views on them and by a certain age, they start believing it too. Their outlook on life is smudged by their parent’s views.

Every parenting style is different. No two parents are the same and believe me no parents want to hear that what they are doing is wrong nor do they want to hear parenting advice. Besides parenting comes naturally, no one can be prepared for it till it happens to them.

But certain qualities only Indian parents share and I constantly read on Quora what today’s youth want and believe. They are far much mature than the previous generation. Being exposed to so much in today’s world, they are I think even born ready to take on the world. They talk about stuff that a generation above them wouldn’t have or actually take risks. But still, they have the age old Indian parents who instead of encouraging them, hinder their progress.

I can go on and on about Indian parents but it’s time for a change and I am not going to shy away from it cause change begins with you. Hopefully, I can be one of the parents that I write about but there is still time for that.

What do you think about Indian parenting style? Are you one? Share your experience!

 

 

 

Confessions of a Closet Writer #1


 

This is not a series am attempting to begin here. Though that would be fun huh? I just had to to share my fears as a writer cause I know am not alone. Besides sharing is caring and I would love to hear from others who maybe going through the same emotion as am.

The thing is when I was younger, I used to love reading. But till about the age of ten -twelve what I read was the Archie comics. I have to say thats where my whole English knowledge even began. I was constantly on it once I was back from school. I had a membership in a nearby library and there was this whole section dedicated just to comic books and three-fourth of it was just for Archie comics.

Once I crossed to teenage, despite my love for the comics my attention had turned towards romance particularly to the Harlequins romance series. I used to read them like till I was about sixteen? I couldn’t have enough of them (Apart from the Potter series of course).

So when I decided to start writing, it was inevitably about romance. The kind I fancied in my life. That’s how I began writing. For the longest time that’s all what I wrote and I have to say thats where it all stopped too.

Once I started college, my writing disappeared. I was no longer interested in writing. But I was still a voracious reader. I used to read thrillers, mysteries, sometimes biographies, Sci-fi or fantasy or whatever book I found interesting in the library.

What I feel most guilty about is the fact that I stopped reading for like three to four years. I was so interested in other activities which had nothing to contribute in my life but problems that reading took a back seat.

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So the two most things I loved at one point in my life had almost vanished. It was made worser by the use of smartphones and tablets. I was hooked on to those too. I used to read ebooks but I love holding the hardcover/paperback, their smell is something else. In fact I have always wanted to have a library of my own. Something I hope will become true one day.

It is only in the last two years that I was finally able to start reading and get my zing back. Yet it took another long time for me to start writing which was towards the end of last year. I have to confess due to such a long gap, am not confident about writing. I feel am not good enough.

When I read certain blogs or books, am blown away thinking I could never write like that. In some ways I feel inadequate. Most of the time I badger myself for taking such a long time to realise that this is what I want and love. Everybody is gifted with some talent and this is mine and I took it for granted or wasn’t grateful enough about it that now I feel repentant.

But the good thing about Life is that it gives you second chances and maybe this is mine? Though am no expert at writing, I guess these are probably what I would advise to aspiring writers out there:

  • Write a lot. Anything. For yourself or if you feel like it, share. But keep writing.
  • When you are not writing – Read, like there is no tomorrow.
  • Find your own unique voice. That’s what sets you apart.

So yeah, glad to unload that part of me. But no one has just one confession to make, right? So what about you? what would you like to confess? Share your thoughts!

 

 

A Monster Named Insecurity


Today morning, when I woke up I wasn’t feeling my best. In fact, the feeling was mostly because of some dreams I had. Lately I keep having dreams where am either in an embarrassing situation or meeting people from the past who I have no inclination to see.

Everyone feels insecure. Everyone. I am sure you too have felt it sometime or the other. The thing about insecurity is that it comes unexpectedly. We maybe having a really good time and Bam! it comes smiling in your head for no reason.

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I keep asking my ‘inner voice’ why are you torturing me by reminding me of the things I rather forget. And pat comes the reply – “you conjured me up and you need to deal with it yourself first, I am just a reflection”. Well screw you Mr.Insecurity. I don’t need you to remind me further I need to deal with my own baggage first let alone hover above me, taunting me.

But then think about it. It is the truth. We often feel insecure because we have some unwanted emotions still lingering in us. Some experiences leave a mark on us – for better and sometimes for the worst.

When I was younger, I was blissfully unaware of my insecurity. How I would love to still be in that frame of mind. But past your twenties, it keeps gnawing on you, chipping away whatever confidence you have. It just keeps coming back now and then to haunt you. Like a poltergeist.

I just want to tell others out there, that it is all right to feel insecure once in a while. It’s what keeps us resilient. Keeps us humble.

There is no doubt about the fact that it is our early experiences in life that forms this insecurity. It’s what the voice keeps nagging us with. If only there was a mute button cause honestly I don’t give a f**k about those experiences today. Still it would be nice if we could have dealt with it more confidently uh?

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So what can we do to make ourselves feel better when we are under the attack of insecurity monsters?

  • Smile. Yes. One of the effective ways is to smile and pretend you are happy no matter what. It’s like the Dementors in the potter series. Think of a happy memory and tell yourself everything is alright. Soon you will begin to feel it. Try it.

 

  • Meditate – I cannot emphasise on this enough. This is a way to let your thoughts be free. Give them a free reign for a few minutes so they can stop controlling you. Listen to your thoughts and don’t judge them. Let them flow. Take in deep breaths for around fifteen minutes.

 

  • Forgive and Accept – The past is the past. It can no longer do anymore damage than it has. So keep it there and stop dragging it around. Forgive everything that caused you to feel like you do now and tell yourself that you are good enough. Who cares about what others think of you? They maybe going through the exact thing as you are and is probably putting you down to make themselves feel better. But you are smarter than that, right? So accept yourself as you are and let go of everything else. Life is short enough and we don’t need others to make us feel miserable.

 

I feel so much better just by sharing this with you. Of course this is another way to deal with such emotions but maybe not for everyone? As long as we know what we are capable of and are okay with it, screw the rest of the world. What matters is our happiness, and that’s what we need to focus on.

What are your thoughts on it?