Monday, 30 April 2018

Introducing Arush

Cute teeny-tiny hands and feet have come to meet us.
We have been bestowed with our lifelong cherished toy.
You are our little bundle of happiness, cheerfulness and joy.
We can keep watching you sleep or giggle entire night.
You’re each and every little movement fills us with extreme delight.
Our days and nights won’t be same anymore.
We will cuddle and hold you so lovingly and so much for us to explore.

Introducing Arush

This feeling neither can be penned down nor can be compared to anything else. It is a like a first ray of sun caressing through the night and eradicating darkness. It’s like that first drop of rain which brings smile to faces charbroiled under the treacherous sun.  

Yes, we have been blessed with our bundle of joy a week back.

 Our baby boy had arrived in our laps on 12th of March. We had been waiting for this day with bated breath and anxious joy for last 9 months, from the day we learnt that Jayeeta has conceived.

First 3 months of pregnancy were absoultely critical, and we were extra mindful of Jayeeta’s physical activities and her diet.  We had decided to have our baby’s delivery in cloud nine Old airport road.

By god’s grace initial scans were all normal and healthy. Second trimester was bit relaxed for us and we ponder on the thought of visiting our hometown Kolkata during this time.  This also ensured Jayeeta to spend some quality time and getting cossetted in her home with her close and dear friends and relatives before delivery.

We came back from Kolkata just at the beginning of third trimester. Third trimester is again a delicate phase and carefulness resumed in our daily routine. Unfortunately, the mid pregnancy blood tests revealed Gestational diabetes for Jayeeta. This made us little anxious and Jayeeta had to be on strict diet and exercise.

As we were slowly approaching towards the d-day we kept on experiencing feelings mixed with pleasure and anxiety. By the end of February both of our parents had arrived, and the countdown had started. Jayeeta also had her baby showering ceremony at the end of February.

12th March was the was decided to be the delivery day. We had already done all the arrangements and formalities required for hospital admission.
I must say that the whole delivery process was very smooth and seamless. Everything was taken care by cloud nine. And by god’s grace we were blessed with our bundle of joy at 12:45 PM 12th March.

We brought our baby back to our home on 14th March with a car ornamented with balloons and sticker by Cloud Nine. Bringing him to his home was the most wonderful feeling for me. It was similar to time Jayeeta had come to my humble abode in Bangalore after marriage. It made my family complete.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Leading up to Oscars 2018

I just managed to bring out this post just before the 90th Academy awards (Oscars) night.  This time around i did not get enough time to ponder upon the movies at length and write a detailed report.  So, i would quickly capture my thoughts about these movies.

Out of the best picture nominations i haven't watched Ladybird so i will keep that out of the fray currently.

8. The Post

The Post is like a perfect recipe where every ingredients is correctly measured and mixed. Bring Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep into one film and what do you get ?. Obviously an Oscar worthy movie. The post delved into the much talked of 70s the Vietnam war.

7. Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman stars as  the quirky and gregarious Winston Churchill in this wonderfully crafted historical period saga "Darkest Hour".  Everything again is like a magic carpet for this movie. But i felt both the movies "The Post" and "Darkest Hour" are usual gambits for Oscar and we have seen these kind of movies a lot.

Watch this movie for Gary Oldman. I never felt that i was watching Oldman but was looking back how Churchill was. Gary Oldman surely is the best contender for best actor.

6. Get Out

Some Film pundits predict that "Get Out" is the winner at this years Oscars. For me also it is a great movie, storyline has a breath of fresh air, awesome acting Daniel Kaluuya (another Best actor nomination). But still loses on the in terms of actual topic depicted in the movie in comparison to other best movie contenders.

Watch this edge of the seat thriller for its novel plot and Daniel Kaluuya's astounding performance.

5. The Phantom Thread

This one is again the combination of Paul Thomas Anderson and great Daniel Day Lewis casting its magic spell over us after There will be Blood  Its a story of renowned dressmaker (Lewis) who is confronted by fragile yet strong willed woman Vicky Krieps.  Phantom thread perfectly captures the feel and ambience of 1950's London.

Considering it as the swan-song of the greatest actor (Lewis) of our generation , academy might consider giving him the best actor award.

4. The Shape of Water

Benecio Del Toro is a well known for his creativity and is a celebrated director. The shape of water is a wonderful tale of amalgamation of underdogs in 1950's of America with a political underpin.

Sally Hawkings steals the show with her resplendent portrayal of character of a lonely mute Janitor "Ellisa". Its a story of a relationship between her character and a human like but not human creature. Ably supported by an ensemble star-cast of Richard Jenkins (nominated for supporting actor), Octavia Spencer (for supporting actress) and Michael Shannon.

Watch this movie Benecio Del Toro's immense creativity at display.

3. Dunkirk

Acclaimed  mega movie maker of our generation Christopher Nolan first time dabbles into the war genre. And has created an unique war movie "Dunkirk".  Nolan has been successfully able to impart his signature style in this movie.

Academy may well give Nolan his long due Oscar (missed on Dark Knight) this year.

2. Call me by your name

Luca guadanigo has made a very aesthetic and subtle movie "Call me by your name" to depict human relationship. Its a story of a love relationship between a young seventeen year old Italian boy(Timothy Chalamet )with an older visiting American boy (Arnie Hammer) set in a backdrop of lush green sprawling Italian country side.

I won't be surprised if Timothy Chalamet pulls through the best actor award.

1. Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Its a story of a grieving mother trying to get pending justice for her murdered and raped daughter and her stubborn fight against the authorities. This a story which is true in portraying the human nature . It essays that every human being has a flaw and has a good side to him/her.

I expect most of the oscar awards to Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri specially the best picture, best actress (Frances McDormand is superb here), best supporting actor (Sam Rockwell).

This quickly rounds up my thoughts on this year's best picture nominees.

Don't forget to tune into Star Movies (if you are in India) to watch 90th Academy awards

PS: is the image sources for images used in this blog.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Beyond Kurosawa

My foray into cinema of a particular language is through an eminent director who made movies in that language. For e.g. Ingmar Bergman led me to Swedish movies, Fellini opened the door of Italian Cinema to me, Truffaut helped me to sail on a French Riviera. Similarly, I took a plunge into Japanese culture by holding the hands of the great cinema maker Akira Kurosawa. Watching a movie of some different foreign language has always given that unique experience and an unexplained thrill.

I have always admired Kurosawa and his ground-breaking work. Probably I will capture Kurosawa’s works in some other blog posts. But this one is about looking beyond Kurosawa in Japanese cinema. And It is specially inspired by two wonderful movies I watched sometime back “Onibaba” directed by Kento Shindo and “Hara-kiri” directed by Masaki Kobayashi.

Harakiri aka Seppuku (1962) was directed by Masaki Kobayashi who was fresh after his monumental movie series The Human condition, and eventually landed into another masterpiece. Harakiri has a very plain simple theme where an old poverty stricken ronin comes to a clan house to commit Harakiri. Harakiri  or better known as seppuku at those times was a way for a Samurai to die gracefully and was an act of redemption. Some more details about this coveted practice are here. 
But what appears a simple desire to commit Harakiri by the old Ronin is not that simple and has some convoluted motives. This movie keeps swinging between the facets of principles, self-respect, humanity and justice.  What astounds me is the way story unfolds layer by layer and the impact created.

Old ronin’s role is marvelously played by the Japanese movie industry’s stalwart “Tatsuya Nakadai”. Nakadai,  who was at that time the most versatile actor and was specially endorsed by Kabayashi. Later he goes on to feature himself in movies of prominent directors like Kurosawa and Hiroshi Teshigahara. In 2015 he was awarded with the “Order of culture”, Japan’s most significant award given to people with significant contribution to art and literature.

The second movie I want to dabble with now is “Onibaba” directed by Kaneto Shindo. This again takes us to Japan’s Medieval age where Samurais, clans, honor and deceit prevail. If you search for this movie, then this movie is enlisted under the horror genre. But just restricting this movie to a single horror genre will be an injustice done to it.
This is a poignant story of two women (daughter in law and her mother in law) who keep killing war racked Samurais and then make money by selling their belongings. They have to resort to this hideous act  just for their survival. The movie then actually changes when their neighbour (who was also fighting along with their son and husband in the fight) comes back and has his own intentions.

Younger of the women is instinctively attracted towards the young man after he makes some invitations to her. This closeness amongst the younger ones creates a sense of insecurity and apathy in the older woman. Her minds keep pondering on how will she survive and on her future.

Onibaba introspects deep into human psychology and their reactions under different situations.  This movie also stands out for the unique ambiance in which it is set in. The swampy vast grasslands consisting of tall intimidating grasses, the never-ending war, human’s effort to survive, all exemplifies this ambiance.  The movie ends with the one of the most psychological and philosophical scene ever created in a movie industry.

Japanese cinema are very easy to watch but they create very deep impact with their simple story-lines. Maybe its same as like other Asian language cinemas like Iranian or Chinese. There is neither the surrealism or neo-realism of European Movies or nor the usual flamboyance of Hollywood movies but they create their own course and are very easy to comprehend. They fully resonate their culture and mannerisms and that what makes them different.

Do witness these movies if you care for serious cinema and want to venture into resplendent Japanese Cinema.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Race to Oscars 2017 - Part 2

Academy has been consistently rewarding the best picture awards to the right movies for some time now. I like Academy because it is impartial, it is objective and has always embraced  movies of varying concepts . Though there have been some controversies about the predispositions Academy posses, but in my view they are trivial and Academy is right on most of the times.  This is a good article on tasteofcinema on how Academy got right on some of the occasions.

I am also doing my bit by providing my ranking and a brief review of this year's Oscars best picture nominees. Rank 9 to 5 have been already decided and you can find the review here.
Also please participate in the poll created right to the post and cast vote for your choice

The 5 films i am going to review now are brilliant on their own and they deserve a dazzling standing ovation for their achievements.

5. Lion

Lion is a story adapted from the autobiographical book of Saroo Brierely's "A Long way home". Its a simple  plain story of an Indian boy who gets lost in Kolkata , gets adopted by an Australian couple in Hobart and then his journey to trace back his roots.

This movie is as flawless as it could be, it has scenes directed in multiple languages and set in different geographies but all are nicely tied together with a same thread. Dev Patel plays the role of Saroo who gets lost in Kolkata and then gets fostered by the Australian couple of Nicole Kidman and David Wenham. After 25 years he starts tracing back his roots in India from Australia using Google earth and visits his village. Dev Patel has shone through the movie and shows why he is considered one of the best actors of this generation. As a result of his emotional and brilliant portrayal of Saroo he wins an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

Dev Patel is aptly supported by the supporting cast of Nicole Kidman , Rooney Mara and Priyanka Bose. Special mention for Nicole Kidman for coming out of her usual grand glamorous roles and for providing her subtle touches in the movie .Her performance has earned a Best supporting actress nomination this time.

4. La La Land

Damien Chazelle's ambitious musical La La Land comes next and  it has already swept everyone off their feet. Its a love story of a Jazz musician (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Emma Stone). Its a story about their ambitions, their principles and all about music. La La Land has already got 14 Oscar nominations this year and i am sure its going to sweep all the technical categories like sound effects, editing etc.

Music by Justin Hurwitz is catchy and heart warming. "City of Stars" is still ringing bells in my mind. Damien Chazelle has already proved his mettle in "Whiplash" which i felt was a better movie than La La Land.  His subject matter expertise in Music is well proven and i am excited for his future projects.

Special mention must go to Emma Stone who i felt made the movie of her own. She is turning into one of the finest actresses of this generation. Her expressions and body language depicted the perfect blend of fragility and excitement of a person passionate about movies. She is a definite Oscar winner for Best Actress for me this year. Story is nothing new, its a kind of boy meets girl story but the treatment of this story deserves a standing ovation.

3. Manchester By the Sea

Unassuming, Unassertive, Stoic and deeply melancholic is "Manchester by the Sea". It starts slowly and continues to unravel the story by going flash backs. Its a story about how a stoic person Casey Affleck comes to terms when he is given the responsibility of looking after his teenager nephew as his brother dies from a chronic disease.  Affleck who has his own set of demons to deal with has to now confront his nephew and deal with his childish ways.

This is a very slow and strong movie with a stupendous performance by Casey Affleck.  It was not an easy role to portray and he has performed it with aplomb. I was really amazed and moved after watching this movie. For me Casey Affleck should get his first Oscar for best actor this year. Michelle Williams in one scene has acted marvelously and has moved audiences with her acting. This has earned her best supporting actress nomination. Special mention must go to director and art director who has captured the cold and somber Manchester to further add to the melancholy of the main protagonists.

2. Hacksaw Ridge

Mel Gibson is back and how has  he come back i.e sitting in the director's chair. Hacksaw ridge is a real life story of war medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield of Social Network fame) who was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. This tells the story of how Desmond Doss a  saves lot of life in the battle of Okinawa. He was initially ridiculed for not picking up the gun as he wanted to save people not to kill them . Eventually at the end by saving numerous life he becomes a war hero.

Commendably supported by the the star cast of Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington and Huge Weaving (in a very small but powerful ) role. What sets this movie into a different plane is how Mel Gibson has shot some of the war scenes. He has given a fresh treatment to depiction of war situations and how people react at that time. At times gory and visceral some scenes were quite shocking at first to see, i felt no body has captured war scenes like that before.  The initial training scene i thought was inspired from Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket and was shot well.This story was a long time pending one to be shot and was given to Gibson specially for his ability to shot combat scenes (Apocalypto , Braveheart )

Andrew Garfield already has a very good year with Scorsese's silence in his back and has rightfully bagged the best actor nomination. He may end up winning it this time.

1. Arrival

Arrival is a science fiction movie based on Ted Chiang's story "Story of your life". Probably the best science fiction after Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey. We have seen usual stories of aliens invading earth and retaliation back by people in earth, but this movie offers a fresh perspective on alien- human relationship.  This movie has scientific, emotional and political notion to it.  The political undercurrent flowing through the movies makes it more exciting to

Acted by ever versatile Amy Adams who already has a very good year with Nocturnal Animals on her back. Arrival for me is the best movie to come out this year and deserves the best picture.

Director  Denis Villenueve had already made crucial impact in past in both French movies as well as in Hollywood. (Prisoners, Sicario). He was  surely on the verge of a masterpiece in Hollywood and he has achieved it with Arrival. I am excited to see what comes from in future.

I have to say movies in this list are all very good and have their unique flavor to them. A person inclined towards science fiction may gorge on Arrival as the best movie or a person deep buried into music might want to root for La La Land as the best one. So it was a quite arduous thing to come up with a  ranked list but be sure i that have considered all aspects and realms of movie making. Hope you enjoyed reading the both the blog posts.