Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review of Everest

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Cast: Jason Clarke (Rob Hall), a New Zealander Expedition Group Leader, Jake Gyllenhaal (Scott Fischer, an Expedition Group Leader), Josh Brolin (Beck Weathers, a doctor), John Hawkes (Doug Hansen, a mailman), Robin Wright (Peach, Weather’s wife), Emily Watson (Helen Wilton), Keira Knighley (Jan Arnold, Rob Hall’s pregnant wife), Sam Worthington (Guy Cotter), Michael Kelly (Jon Krakauer, a journalist), Thomas Wright (Michael Groom, an Australian mountain climber), Martin Henderson (Andy Harris), Elizabeth Debicki (Dr. Caroline Mackenzie), Naoko Mori (Yasuko Namba), Clive Standen (Ed Viesturs), Vanessa Kirby (sandy Hill), Tom Goodman-Hill (Neal Beidleman), Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson (Anatoli Bourkreev), Charlotte Boving (lene Gammelgaard, aDanish climber in Fischer’s group), Micah Hauptman (David Breashears, a documentary filmmaker and maountaineer), Chris Reilly (Klev Schoening), Chike Chan (Makalu Gau), Vijay Lama (Lt. Col. Madan KC, Nepal Army rescue helicopter pilot), Mark Derwin (Lou Kasischke), Mia Goth (Meg, Weathers’ daughter)
Direction: Baltasar Kormakur
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Baltsar Kormakur, Nicy Thompson, Brian Oliver
Written By: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Cinematographer: Salvatore Totino
Editor: Mick Audsley
Music: Dario Marianelli
Production Company: Cross Creek Pictures, Walden Media, Working Title Films, RVK Studios, Free State Pictures
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 18th September, 2015
Language: English
Duration: 2 hours 02 minutes

Everest, a film by Baltasar Kormakur, showcases the tragedy of 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. It was on 10-11th May, 1996, when eight people (including a guide and two expedition leaders) were caught in a blizzard (severe snowstorm with heavy winds) and died on Mount Everest during their summit attempts. The data says that over the entire season, 12 people died trying to reach the summit, making this the deadliest day / year on Mount Everest until the 16 fatalities of the 2014 Mount Everest Avalanche and 18 deaths resulting from avalanches caused by the April 2015 Nepal Earthquake. One will be heartbroken to see the mountaineers dying.

This film is the story of people who are very passionate about adventure and especially mountaineering. Two expedition groups led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) had set their target to ascent the mountain and reach the summit on 10th May, 1996. Climbers’ desire was to conquer the unconquered. Climbers, when inquired on why they want to climb, somebody expressed – “Because, It is there”. Someone else said, she had conquered six summits, this would be her 7th Summit. They had all the reasons behind their passion and drive to climb the highest point on the earth. During their chit chats, one of the climber expressed it very beautifully : “It is not the altitude, but the attitude matters”.  

Rob and Scott, two expert climbers, though leading two different expedition groups, decided to join hands together, pool in resources, in case, crisis happened. They lead their groups for the ascent, but fiery blizzards engulfed their adventurous journey, posed a big challenge in front of them. It was very difficult for the mountaineers to endure these harsh conditions, blistering winds, freezing temperature, lack of sufficient oxygen cylinders etc. Lot of heartbreaking scenes are there. It is so sad to see the passionate mountaineers with strong drive for results fighting with the odd snow storm conditions till the end to survive. Ultimately a few of them could not conquer the storm and gave up. It is even more sad to understand that even the dead bodies could not be brought to the base camp.

Frames move from the climbers’ struggle in the mountain to fight the snow-storm to the base camp where people handling the base camp are trying to contact the climbers through radio, encouraging them to keep their hopes alive and courage to survive. The scene, where Rob is made to talk to his pregnant wife is absolutely heart-wrenching.

Who all survive the storm and who all give up? Watch the movie.

I certainly believe that such movies are not meant for review, since, somebody has actually lived these moments of grief, sadness, death, survival, triumphs etc. I just felt that I had lot of confusion to understand each character on screen and recognize their face, due to darkness or faces covered (which was indeed an integral part of the film). Probably, a little background of each character in the beginning could have helped me to understand the characters and their journey in a better manner.

Cinematography is awesome, jaw-dropping with the different angles of the mountains, capturing of the snow-storm, snow covering the bodies of the climbers etc. These scenes will leave you awe-struck and at the same time sad. Minute details are covered with great finesse.

Watch Everest and experience the film. It is not the altitude, but the attitude matters. Dedicated to great mountaineers who ascent the mountains with great passion and drive.

Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Review of Katti Batti

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Cast: Kangana Ranaut (Payal), Imran Khan (Madhav “Maddy” Kabra)
Direction: Nikhil Advani
Produced by: Siddharth Roy Kapur, Nikhil Advani
Written by: Anshul Singhal
Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Cinematography: Tushar Kapoor
Edited by: Maahir Zaveri
Production Company: UTV Motion Pictures, Emmay Entertainment
Release Date: 18th September, 2015
Duration: 140 minutes
Language: Hindi

Katti Batti is a romantic comedy by Nikhil Advani. In the beginning, it appears that the film is an attempt to explore the sweet-sour, love-hate relationship of the lead protagonists, who are in a live-in set up. But, later on the film moves to different domain explaining the reasons behind the katti Batti of the lead protagonists. Katti Batti are the words used by kids. Katti is the word used when kids fight and they decide that they would never talk to each other. Batti is the word which is used when the fight is dissolved and the decision to not speak to each other is not valid anymore. Nikhil explores the katti Batti of the lead protagonists. The Katti predominates in their relationship or finally Batti happens, that is for you to explore and watch. The frames keep moving from present to flash back. If the first half projected the romance between Imran and Kangana followed by their frequent fights and their relationship falling apart, second half is about Imran's pursuit to fetch her back.

The film begins with Payal (Kangana Ranaut) and Madhav aka Maddy's (Imran Khan) sharing some fun moments and capturing the same in camera viz. Quirky manner of getting married by taking the round of fire lit in the waste, using sauce instead of sindur etc. These scenes definitely set the tone of the movie to be a very lighter one, but they don’t generate much laughter. Very soon, we see Maddy being rushed to the hospital, who has drunk phenol because Payal has left him. His sister Koyal comes to meet him in the hospital, and she along with his friend Vinay takes him to hometown to his father Suneel Sinha. Koyal, though younger to him is very protective of him and takes authoritative approach. Both Koyal and Vinay persuade Maddy to forget Payal and move on in life. On Maddy's return to office (he is an architect), he finds that the whole office is sympathetic towards him due to his suicide attempt, courtesy Vinay. The frames in between move to the flash back to explain how it was love at first sight for Maddy. He fell in love with spunky Payal, her independent nature, quirky ways. He persistently followed her and expressed to her that he loves her. Payal transparently conveyed that she is not keen for any committed relationship; it would be just a time pass for her. Maddy was so much in love with her that he even agreed to her this attitude. Five years of live-in relationship - all sorts of doing crazy stuff together, madness and togetherness. But then a series of fights begin. Although the fights are not shown very evidently, these run in the background. Certain events turn the course of the relationship and Payal just vanishes from Maddy's life, goes away. In spite of Koyal and Vinay constantly asking Maddy to move on in life, he is not able to get over Payal. Koyal keeps reminding Maddy that he is not the perfect guy for Payal, there is a huge class difference between the two, Payal belonging to upper class and he to the middle class. Maddy is not ready to forget Payal, since somewhere he believes that Payal still loves him. Without knowing the whereabouts of Payal, he frantically starts contacting their common friends to know where she could be. 

Is Maddy able to locate her? If yes, how? Is he able to win her back? Do they dissolve their fight and say Batti to each other? How does Ricky (Vivaan) play his role in the movie? Does Ricky's presence help Payal and Maddy to reunite?

Imran gets majority of the screen time. Payal gets less screen time in comparison to Imran, and this definitely is not her 'queen' performance. Lot of characters are fillers. Boss of Maddy keeps calling him and his friend Vinay as his Rama and Lakshmana. But he is hardly able to generate laughter. Some other fillers are characters of Deepika (Maddy's colleague), friends Tina, Shweta etc. One more character that of a tortoise is there and how it becomes part of the film, watch it. I wish, Suneel as Maddy' s father, a great actor, had some substantial role to play. Shankar Ahsaan Loy' music is ok. The Sufi song sung by the FOSLA band (Frustrated One Sided Lovers Association) is good. Cinematography is good. I wish, the screenplay could have been a bit gripping with good sense of humour blended with emotions.

All of you may not like the movie, since it is not very high on entertainment quotient. You may like the movie for its last 30 minutes, if you are an emotional person and enjoy watching display of emotions on screen. I also felt that Nikhil took a safe approach to end the movie to show what actually sells emotionally. Overall, the film is OK.

Katti Batti, although with not so gripping screenplay, fares alright with the story blended with emotions especially towards the end of the film.

Rating: 2.5/5 (Average +)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blogging – My Lifeline

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Since last few days, one thought which was constantly coming to my mind was to write how blogging has liberated me. Yes, you read it right, blogging has liberated me. It has become my lifeline. I still was in the process of structuring my thoughts that I saw this announcement from BlogAdda, where the thoughts are welcomed on how bloggers celebrate blogging  (#CelebrateBlogging). Thanks BlogAdda for igniting the thoughts.

What a powerful metaphor of celebration has been used. Indeed Blogging is a celebration. It has become such an integral part of my life now. But if I have to convey how blogging has liberated me, I must convey its prelude as well.

I absolutely remember, I was going through a very low phase of my life. The last quarter of 2013, I was emotionally vulnerable and physically unwell. Hormonal imbalance kept creating lot of mood swings. Body was taking my emotional troubles’ toll on itself, every 10th day, I was down with fever, cough and cold. Was I falling into depression, yes, I think so. I kept wondering, how to pull me out of these turbulent times. Things were not that bright.

It was 31st December, 2013… a very cold night, the whole world was in midst of New Year celebrations, my body was showing its own ways of responding to emotional vulnerabilities, and I chose to slip inside blanket hoping to catch up sleep. Had complete trust that my sleep would heal me, but to my dismay, I kept on coughing, unable to sleep. Turning sides on my bed, a thought came to my mind: Do I want to welcome New Year on a grumpy note or I should own my situations, and do something to bring a positive change to my life. I chose the second option and that moment changed my life forever.

Being a movie buff, I always used to feel the urge to write my opinions, feelings about a movie. I always used to look at reviewers and critics with great envy and imagine myself giving voice to my feelings about the movies. I had even attempted doing short-term workshop on Media Management so that I could try my hand in Print / Electronic Media. But life took its own course, I chose to be an entrepreneur running my Corporate Training Consultancy. Although very happy with professional decisions, personally a movie reviewer always peeped out to express itself. I used to wonder, how, where and to whom I can convey my thoughts and feelings about a movie. And that is how, this whole concept of starting a movie blog came into my mind.  

Being an absolutely non-technical person, sitting on my bed at midnight, I had to google on how to make / design a blog, read articles, made my blog and finally wrote my first movie review – Drishyam (Malayalam movie, which is now remade in Hindi as Ajay Devgan Starrer Drishyam, In Tamil as Kamal Hassan Papanasam etc.). I published my first post on 1st January, 2014, 4 am. I still cherish that moment. I celebrated my new year by starting this blog, and I was on the top of the world. My journey of celebration started…

Little did I know that where my blogging could take me ahead. For me, blogging was just a media of my expression and to combat my own voids of loneliness, pain and to feel satisfied by the very fact that I could use my day in an optimally productive manner.

Today when I write this blog, I have completed almost 20 months of blogging. This has given me lot of space to express myself. I am amazed at the tremendous opportunities available to me as a blogger. There are so many sparkling moments which give me lot of high as a blogger. There are so many reasons to celebrate blogging.

One of the best thing which has happened is blogging has earned me so many good friends, whom I haven’t met in real life but know them so well through their wonderful works. Today, we connect through our blogs, interact on various philosophies of lives, share our interests, achievements, losses etc. Isn’t it a great reason to celebrate?

I started as a movie review blogger, but today, I feel there is no dearth of topics on which I can express myself. It is just that 24 hours at times seem to be less. Every piece of writing, be it on movies, food, book, travel, event, product… when written and gets a ‘like’, ‘comment’, ‘retweet’, it turns out to be a celebration. When my dear friends express that they rely on my opinion, I count it as a big blessing.

Every blogger meet, event turns out to be a celebration in itself. Meeting fellow bloggers, hosts, and celebrities gives immense joy.

I would like to share a few moments of high as a movie review blogger, moments of celebration. The very first connection with the film world started when I wrote review of a movie called ‘W’ and one of its lead actress LezlieTripathy got connected to me. She is a very very dear friend of mine today. This year, got an opportunity to be a Social Media Volunteer for a great film based on relationships – Barefoot to Goa and got connected to its filmmaker Praveen Morchhale. This further got me a great list of wonderful friends. Got to attend IIFA event launch at Delhi and Jagaran Film Festival. Jagaran Film Festival was an experience in itself, watching movies along with filmmakers / cast followed by discussions. IIFA and Jagaran Film Festival was a ‘Selfie-celebration’ for me to meet and click with different film personalities viz. Anil Kapoor, Anant Mahadevan, Pooja Bhatt, Sanjay Mishra, Piyush Mishra, Neeraj Ghaywan (Masaan Fame), Richa Chaddha, Vicky Kaushal, Udit Narayan, Ayushman Khurrana… O, I love each and every photograph with these personalities. Offlate have earned friendship of filmmaker Ra Raajasegar (Jippaa Jimikki) and Tanima Bhattacharya (Saankal)...  Enough for me to celebrate my blogging.

My Selfie Celebration

One of the latest moments which touched me was when my review was quoted in PVR Press release of ‘Gour Hari Dastaan’ in Mumbai Newspapers. And filmmaker Anant Mahadevan tweeted back to me. There are so many moments…

Today, when I write this article, I am experiencing lot of joy. I have been nominated for one of the most prestigious Bloggers’ award (BlogAdda, #WIN15) in the Entertainment category. Winning or losing the award doesn’t matter to me, the nomination itself is making me feel great. Sharing the nomination with fellow bloggers means a lot. I want to just go on and on…

Feel absolutely blessed to get the attention of so many people from different walks of life for my blog – actors, musicians, singers, filmmakers, writers, friends… My blog changed my world positively and the space where I used to be. Blog has fetched me so much of happiness. The word ‘loneliness’ doesn’t feature anymore in my dictionary. I feel so much connected to myself and the world.

So, what do you feel after reading this? Isn’t blogging all about celebration? Indeed it is. For me, blogging is indeed my lifeline.

“I am writing for #WIN15 – BlogAdda’s Blog Awards on how to #CelebrateBlogging! You should too!”

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Inspiration is Within

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What a beautiful theme for ‘WOW’ post today. A great catchline with so much of depth to it. Most of the time, we as human beings feel very powerless in our lives. Whereas, in true sense, we have tremendous power within. Those who realize the power of self can do wonders in life. Gautam Buddha has aptly conveyed it: ‘Whatever we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thought, made up of our thought’. If today, we feel powerless, it is because, we have thought to be powerless.

This WOW prompt has taken me back into memory lane. Our parents bring us up in such a wonderful positive comforting environment that self-doubt takes a back seat. But a real transition happens, when we move from this secure and protective shell to be on our own. I remember, my formative twelve years with parents were so wonderful, got to explore every interest, be it sports, dance, music, studies. But then had to move to boarding school for better education facilities. The lack of competency in English as well as regional language brought lot of shift in me: from a gregarious personality to an introvert, a confident person to a diffident person. A series of incidents happened which reaffirmed my negative self-perception. These complexities clubbed with the complexities of growing teenage years, resulted in so much of chaos inside. I had completely stopped feeling powerful from within. Years went by (almost 8 years), but my feeling of self-doubt, not having a sense of self-worth, inferiority complexes etc. dominated me.

I had a very strange nature. I always felt so diffident to speak to people around me. My all talkings used to happen via the extracurricular activities in which used to participate. I used to feel, why people would be interested to talk to me. Day by day, I was getting into my shell and becoming withdrawn. I used to feel so lonely and vulnerable inside. That is when, one of my professors cum hostel warden called me for chit-chat. During interactions, she said a very profound statement: “You are a very good person, but tell me, how would the external world know that you are good, unless and until you open up and give an opportunity to the external world to understand you.” She gave me a task that every day I must atleast make an attempt to speak to two –three people who might be standing in the corridor and interacting. It was actually very tough task for me, but I started doing that, and slowly, I started developing good bonds with people. She literally tried to bring my gregarious self out.

She wanted me to attend a religious discourse. I very reluctantly attended. A speaker asked the group – “Are you sinners”. We all said –‘No’. But he emphasized and said – “Most of you are sinners”, and further elaborated –“If you don’t love yourself, that is also a sin”.

These two incidents gave me a big insight. All those years, I was actually sinning since I had stopped loving myself, I always looked down upon myself and had developed thoughts / feelings like: Why should someone listen to me, since I don’t strike an interesting conversation, I am not at all physically attractive, so how could one even like my presence etc.

I slowly started making shifts in my thought patterns and feelings and started making a few friends as well. George Bernard Shaw’s statement is so apt : “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” This actually happened in my case. People who come across various walks of our lives become so instrumental in igniting the fire, zeal within us.

I started loving myself, loving things in and around us. I started asking me the very purpose of my life. Thoughts, feelings, actions evolved. Life changed for the better. Today, I believe in this, which one of my dear friend told me one day: “There are two days, which are important in one’s life – the day, when one is born and another, when he / she realizes, why he / she is born.” I have zeroed-in the purpose of my life.

I do feel the power inside. Turbulence happen, but then the power within helps to face the turbulence and make it just a passing phase.

Transformations happen, when we realize the power which we have, since ‘Inspiration is Within’. I am again back to my gregarious natural self, very much a people-person. Today, professionally, being a Life Coach requires me to interact with people everyday and be a change catalyst for them. I am trying to give back, what I received and experienced within. I want to continue this journey forever, inspired from within and making difference to people’s lives. Thank you all who have become the reasons of my transformation and evoked the need in me to create myself.

This post is   a part of ‘Write Over the Weekend’, and initiative by Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.