Chew on it.

Chances are all we have.

Tag: films

Dog days

“Should I get the door?”

You look up, uncertain about the sounds you’ve just heard.

“I’m heading home now, should I leave the door open or are you staying the night?”

The implications of all she’s said may not have dawned on her, but you know now is not the time to mull over each of the tributaries of your thoughts. You nod, and thankfully she intercepts that as a “yes, leave it open” – because you’ll be stepping out of the office and locking up behind you, and trying, trying hard to get some of your old self back.

20 minutes later, the only force driving you out of the door and your reverie of self-pity is that you have to water the plants in your house the next morning. It’s a house now, you notice – it’s not a home. It’s a place where things you own are kept, not where you live and make things happen and cook and feel calm. You wonder when the difference set it. You know when.

Of course, the elevator has a couple of stops to make before you can get in. There’s Anita from upstairs repeating into her phone that, no she can’t hear you. Can you… can you please wait? She’ll text you back. You smile at each other, and in other circumstances you’d have asked her if she’s still planning on negotiating her yearly package with Nadira. But she’s too busy and you don’t care for small talk today.

The street outside is filling in. Friday evenings in this part of town mean that you have to be in the right place at the right time to be able to get anywhere. It wasn’t this way, you note – or perhaps it always was and you’re just in a place to really observe it. There’s a non-threatening drizzle in the air and you know that once it would light up your face and make the world spin with excitement around you but today, you note it as mild precipitation. The walk to your ATM is lined with restaurants. What is this love for Asian food that’s permeating the world? You’re more of a continental food buff but really, these many outlets? And always full, at that. What are people celebrating all the time? Is everyone just a terrible cook when left to their own devices? Is corn syrup really all there is to it? You don’t even know what corn syrup really does.

You pull your coat a little closer to your body having admitted not knowing to yourself. Maybe I should try more of these truth telling moments. Embarrass myself around me. That’d be a change.

The ATM’s a little dark inside as usual, so you peek in to see if there’s a light on the screen… and yes there is. You step in and wait for the card to process so you can get the month’s cash in hand and transfer the rest to your savings accounts. The screen flickers a little and your irritation with the world as it is spikes – irritating because now, your card’s stuck. Irritating because it’s been a relentlessly bad day. Did your tone show on the phone call? Let’s leave that for Monday, but right now, the card’s stuck in the slot and you need to calm down.

You wait for the screen to come alive, but this is it. Of all days, after months of slowing down in function and luminosity, this ATM machine has picked the day you had to put your 13-year-old dog down, to crash.

Of course.

You shrug, set your glasses back, and remind yourself to be objective about this. The ATM machine did not know about Binks. Cannot know about him. You need a solution. Is there a helpline on the machine? Ah yes. You wait for it to be answered. But the call disconnects of its own accord. Try again. Nope. And again and there’s no network, as if there’s a finite quantity of network and today you’ve used up yours. After a little juvenile push to the machine, you step out looking for distance from the issue and help in case anyone can lend you their phone.

The drizzle has taken the time you were in the ATM room to turn into a light shower. For the first time today, you smile. Or you don’t frown. Well, something in your face changes.

There’s a chap smoking a cigarette by the store display to your left. Shouting across a few feet isn’t nice, so you glance back into the ATM and run the distance of a few feet to ask for his phone. When he turns, however, you want to ask him a whole lot of other questions.

What’s your wingspan?

What happened under your eye?

Can I put my fingers in your hair?

You’re about to cross the line of polite staring-going-to-letching so you quickly blurt out something about the ATM-card-phone-yours.

“Is it stuck inside the machine?” Your toes need not have curled at that baritone.

You nod.

“Cancel the card. Sooner the better.”

He punches in a password as the two of you walk towards the ATM. He hands you the phone.

A conversation filled with a lot of verification details about your account and about the problem and about the card and about the ATM and about if you’re sure later, you stare at the phone in your hand. While the relief of the card being cancelled settles in, you realise that the phone owner is still inside the ATM space. His attention, however, is outside and on the rain. It’s even heavier now.

For a moment before you take in the updated meteorological status, you take in the muscle of his back. His grey jacket is stretched over the scapulae and his slightly unruly hair has a sheen of droplets. The ATM must have stilled because phone man turns back inside then.

Look up look up look up.

“It’s coming down heavy, isn’t it?”

Fuck your small talk. To add insult to self-inflicted injury, phone man grunts.

You stretch your hand with the phone in it. He takes it back and your breath gets caught in its shoelaces, so your thanks comes out too raspy.

That, unfortunately, gets him to look up.

“It’s alright.” Why’s the ground rumbling to his voice? “You look unwell” – uhm, okay, but now he knows this isn’t your usual face? – “Do you want to sit down?” –  there’s nothing to sit here but thanks for the suggestion, stranger – “Maybe have a coffee with me?”

“Yes, sure.”

What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?

“There’s one place, down the road, same side, needn’t cross. Three shops to the left. Don’t slip.” He opens the door and makes a dash for it.

 


Next in the series.

Barfi.

I watched Barfi and I liked it. This is NOT a review- I’m not qualified enough, this is an opinion.

I went basically because I’m a Ranbir fan. All drooleth over the guy, you know- who isn’t? Irrespective of whether or not the movie has done well, Ranbir has always done a good job. 5 years, 11 movies- all of which may or may not have done well commercially (Saawariya, Rocket Singh, Rockstar etc.) but you need to see that he’s done well for himself. As Murphy and as an actor. A lot like Abhishek Bachchan (fangirl + logic = He’s done a great job in all movies, even in trashy ones like Dhoom 2 and Dhai Akshar Prem Ke) So I did go to watch him (Ranbir).

He’s expressive, he’s just done yet another great job. Murphy’s a vision of Anurag Basu brought to life by Ranbir. One shot I really loved was the pull-finger-fart one. Notice the high-five after that? There was no shor-sharaaba in it. He just casually puts out his hand and his father puts out his. Unlike other Bollywood exchanges, this doesn’t linger even a moment more. Like in real life. I will try imitating that lubricated move for a long time, but I doubt it will ever be as subconsciously done as Ranbir did it. That and every other shot has been so perfect that I will only fall deeper for this guy and hope to elope with him.

Ileana on her part was decent. I don’t know the logic behind casting her, new face or otherwise- but what I liked about her were the conflicted scenes. The one in which her mother questions her about Barfi, post-horse ride-night. Or the one where she has the ticket in hand. You know she’ll get on to the train, but she waits that one more moment after your heart sinks to make her move. And finally- when she has the choice of not turning around when Jhilmil calls. Ileana is decent, with sparks of good.

Another role I like in the movie was Rupa Ganguly. Subtle. To the point. Like a real mother- irrespective of era and state. She figured her daughter and put the dilemma as simply as she could. And that one moment where her college/youth love interest looks from his lumbering? The recognition? Skill.

But what stunned me most- and I must say the story belongs to her, at least for me- is Priyanka. Impeccable. Precise. Thanks to the cinematographer, even beautiful in her teary-eyed, upset moments. I’ll compare her acting as Jhilmil to Amitabh’s as Auro. Not for a second did I see a fleeting super-stardom peep from the guise of the character. Yes, some critics have called her an autistic child, but I don’t blame them. Autism does make you relate the person to a child- with their awkward control of emotions. I do not like Priyanka, my intolerance of her in most cases is almost embarrassing. I still don’t think she’s a great actress.

The point however, is that Ranbir outdoes himself in every movie. This was another instance. I’ve gone through the feeling 10 times before. But Priyanka is a wreck in most movies. She has performed in this one (If ‘Fashion’ is your argument, overruled). So if for 41 previous miserably failed attempts she’s given me this, I’ll say she’s done a brilliant job-not that she’s a good actress. Hence, credit to the direction and the script.

The saddest thing about the movie, and about the audience that it has been presented to, is that the audience would rather have their dose of happy masala. It’s about time we stopped taking mindless entertainment as a compliment to the filmmaker. That statement only means that the filmmaker has been able to put together some elements that make the normal person laugh and cry and forget about; which, honestly- my parents are very capable of in a single day. Barfi has been presented to an audience wanting temporary respite from their frowns- not to those aspiring to never get their frowns back. I blame neither the filmmakers nor the audience- commerce drives the world. An ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ is necessary for everyone to up their collars. and deepen their pockets.

I don’t know if the movie or the music has been duplicated from elsewhere, and frankly- that is not my concern. I just think that the product I watched, laughed with and gasped out aloud with, as if I was part of the movie and on cue, was sweet. I don’t think it changed my life. I don’t think I will be more sensitive to less-abled people. I just think that as a product it is complete. I liked the music, I sang along with it- and I was concerned where I had to be.

It made me respect one girl in the industry that I had no time or love for, and it strengthened my argument for Ranbir Kapoor and why I think he’s the best we have in mainstream, commercial cinema (the female counterpart being Kareena Kapoor, irrespective of how Heroine turns out to be.)

That’s all.

Mahua

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