Posts

K.G.F vs K.G.F: Why I like Chapter 1 better than Chapter 2

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This is only a preview; to read the full post download the eBook from Amazon. Link is available at the end of this post. If ever there is a competition to determine who is the biggest fan of K.G.F Chapter 1, I would either win that contest hands down or end up as one of the strongest contenders.   I lost count of the number of times I watched that film, but I am sure it will be over 100 times. As a keen observer of films, and how they work on our psyche, I’ve been fascinated by the appeal of this film. So much so that I’ve started writing a book about it. It’s the second book in my upcoming book series ‘Movies Beyond Stars’ .   As a natural outcome of my fascination for K.G.F Chapter 1, I turned into the unofficial cheerleader of K.G.F Chapter 2 on Twitter.  For a few years now I have been repeatedly saying that Chapter 2 had the best chances of success as a pan-India film compared to all other films, even above RRR.   So, when the big day arrived, I was not surprised to see the outcom

Republic of Akhanda: Where fiction gets real!

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In early 2021 I wrote a blogpost called “The Age of Bhakti” . The summary or core theme of the post was this: When society and its institutions fail...we have no other option but to depend on the divine.   The recent Telugu blockbuster ‘Akhanda’ is a manifestation of the same concept in an over-the-top commercial format.   Most movies operate in the first part of the summary I shared — where society’s institutions fail and a do-gooder hero who is usually above the law of the land comes in to fix things.   In the process our heroes even break the laws of physics as if it is their birthright, and we accept it without questioning or wondering how such things are possible. The whole act of watching movies is a process of suspension of disbelief.   The legendary actor Balakrishna is known to do these gravity and logic defying acts in the most convincing manner and his two previous collaborations with the director Boyapati Srinu have been huge blockbusters at the box office. Akhanda is their

Missing the asli swaad of the original Cadbury Dairy Milk ad

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Everyone’s been going gaga over the new Cadbury Dairy Milk ad — a faithful recreation of its own iconic asli swaad zindagi ka ad from 1993.   The original ad evokes a lot of nostalgia for many of us and this re-creation milks that emotion very well. The twist with the gender reversal is the key point that made everyone fall in love with it.   I however feel there is one critical aspect of the original that the new one completely misses.   Before I speak about it, let’s see what the new ad does.   Here goes…

Citizens of our own little bubbles

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This post originally appeared in my weekly newsletter.  You can sign up for my newsletter here:   Mind u Read Weekly Digest . Too much content The Indian cricket team won a historic test match at the Oval last week. I caught bits of the match on the Sony Liv app. I had a doubt though and tweeted it out… Great win by India again. I have a genuine question. How do you folks manage to find time to watch test matches when there are so many other distractions all over the internet and otherwise? #INDvENG — Kartik Dayanand (@KartikDayanand) September 6, 2021 Most people confirmed my doubt — a majority of them watch it in small bursts when there is some excitement in the game. They get to know about it on Twitter or other platforms and then jump in to watch that segment of the match. This is very different from the way we grew up watching complete matches on DD. Without any other distractions except for power cuts and news bulletins. The choice and ease of access of content nowadays

The Age of Bhakti: A Prescription for Disaster!

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There’s one question on a lot of people’s minds these days: "Is the colossal mismanagement of India’s Covid-19 crisis going to dent Narendra Modi’s image…will his blind followers finally open their eyes?"   The short answer is: NO .   The long answer is complicated.   I said in an earlier blogpost that there are only two kinds of people in this world – those who love Modi, and those who hate him; there’s no one in the middle.   Back then I spoke briefly about those who love him unconditionally despite his many failings. I didn’t shy away from calling them Bhakts. That was more in the context of their anger against the Congress party. There are many other reasons too, but in this post, I am going to focus on what I think is the single biggest subconscious reason why someone turns into a Bhakt.   And mind you, I am not using the word Bhakt in a frivolous manner. I am treating this matter with utmost seriousness. I am intrigued by their condition, and you’ll know why once you

Secret ingredient for great movies - Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo and more!

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What's that One Secret Ingredient that separates great movies from the ordinary ones? I've been mulling about this idea for a long time and the recent Telugu film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo was the trigger that made me post this video. It's not a film review; you don't need one at this stage :) I instead focus on the structure of film making and see what great movies have in common. Do watch the video and let me know what you think; also tell me what other movies do you think fall under the categories that I mention here.

Why BJP will never accept that CAA NRC protests are real

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This blogpost is available as a video on YouTube as well as Facebook . It's my  first attempt at video blogging.  You prefer reading it the usual way; then here it is: Someone wrote to me recently on Twitter, saying he enjoys all my tweets there except for when I criticize Narendra Modi. His Blood Pressure goes up it seems. We both laughed…but I also realized that it’s not just his problem. I get pissed off too, when I see people blindly defending some dumb action of the government. Is it safe to say we both are in the same boat? Maybe – maybe not. It depends on whether we are looking at events in isolation or looking at the big picture. The CAA and NRC debate is a classic example of the same. Most sensible people could put 2 and 2 together and see what this combo could do, and they protested. Whereas others chose to only look at the narrow picture – a part of the issue – and they continue to ask - how does CAA affect any Indian? It is only for refugees of 3 countr

The Altered Reality of Saaho: Why I love the film!

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It’s a little over two weeks since Saaho released. I already watched the film twice in the theatres and I plan to watch it at least one more time on the big screen. I thought it was a kickass thriller, with a screenplay unlike anything we’ve seen so far in Indian cinema. The critics had something else to say though. They all hated it. I suspect that they haven't grasped anything about the movie at all. This blogpost is actually a lament about them and not a movie review in the conventional sense. I speak about the film, but more to set a context as to how the critics went horribly wrong this time. I just couldn’t resist the urge to write about this topic. Here it goes...

The Imposter: Why I don’t like Narendra Modi!

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Our world is split into two – those who LOVE Modi, and those who HATE him. You know who you are. There’s hardly anyone left in the neutral zone anymore. I never had any serious opinion about him in the past. Was no fan of his ever, but I went ahead and voted for the BJP in 2014 in the hope that something good was coming our way. It didn’t take me too long to realize that I made a mistake. I wouldn’t say I hate him, but I just don’t like him anymore. My grouse with Modi arises from a very basic human level of consciousness and it’s different from most of the stories you read about the economy or other communal matters. A laundry list of complaints against Modi is a vast subject to cover but I will be narrowing my focus in this post to only what I feel most passionate about. The rest you are anyways hearing from the opposition parties, and I hope you’ll share some stories in the comments section too. Before I speak further, it is important to first understan

The Perplexing Paradox of Padmaavat

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"Oh no…one more Padmaavat article. That too so many days after the movie’s release" - I can practically hear you say that aloud. Maybe I am crazy, but I have no option other than to share my story with you before I go completely mad. I might also end up driving you crazy in the last section of this post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. My story involves a bizarre paradox - a moral dilemma of sorts. It all started when I watched the film Padmaavat on the second day of its release. I loved the film. The climax choked me emotionally and this was the only time in my life where I wished I had seen a movie in 3D because those glasses could’ve hidden my tears at the end. That’s how much I loved the film. Putting aside the discussions about gender politics, Jauhar or the Hindu VS Muslim trope that’s been doing the rounds, the film and the climax appealed to me at a very basic level as a triumph in tragedy – where you feel sad that the good guys die at the end but als

Mahendra Baahubali and the Fate of Mahishmati!

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I have a confession to make. This is not the Baahubali blog post I originally planned to write. The real one is still lying in my drafts folder...since July 2015. It still remains there because of a strange phenomenon with the first Baahubali movie. After every viewing of ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ it seemed exponentially better than the previous viewing (yes, I watched the movie a lot of times). By the sixth viewing or so I started feeling like  Neo from the Matrix – seeing details, patterns and threads that weren’t easily visible earlier. At one point of time I started maintaining an excel sheet to capture the complexity and intensity of thoughts that started hitting my mind. My blog post started looking like a PhD thesis, and I somehow never managed to publish it till date. Fast forward to 2017 and we already have the second part ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ out. Things are a bit different this time though. I don’t intend to write a thesis on the second pa

Premam vs Premam: When my world turned upside down!

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I watched the much talked about Malayalam movie Premam earlier this year, almost a year after its theatrical release. Though I didn’t understand a word of the language, I instantly fell in love with the film. Maybe it was the music, the locations, visuals, acting, chemistry, love, pimples, Java, or god knows what… the film was pure magic! Later, I came to know it was being remade in Telugu, my native language. I felt it was a bold move, maybe a stupid one too...Premam is a piece of ART, and ART is sacrosanct, not to be tampered with. Were the makers committing blasphemy? To find the answers, I waited with bated breath for the Telugu release. Caught the film during the first weekend, and then the unexpected happened. I walked in expecting to see a ‘copy paste remake’ but what I instead got was an ‘upgraded version’ of the original. It felt as if the original Premam was put on a treadmill and made to lose all the flab, in place of which it grew muscles – muscles calle