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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

Is this the internet we want to save? Think again.

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Over the last few weeks Facebook has been bombarding me with notifications that my friends support the Free Basics platform. Then started the circus about how bad this is for all of us, with most people showing their concern on various platforms, by sharing videos and articles mushrooming by the minute, all trashing the Free Basics platform. In their opinion, internet is a democracy that shouldn’t be tampered with. They say Facebook is acting as a gatekeeper, a dictator, building an internet that is a silo of the larger internet, furthering its business interests in the garb of doing social good for an unsuspecting audience. According to them, Facebook is nothing short of an evil imperial emperor. I find most of their arguments very cute…they remind me of this line from the movie Seven Samurai: “What's the use of worrying about your beard when your head's about to be taken?” Forget the ‘about to be taken’ bit; in our case not many realize that the

Maggi and the Tyranny of Truth!

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I love Maggi noodles. Government says it’s harmful. Nestle's been saying it’s safe. Who do I believe? I was home alone, and hungry one night. A pack of Maggi stared at me from the kitchen shelf. Not knowing what to do, like a new age selfie kid (am I really one? maybe) I asked folks on Facebook to help me decide – to eat, or not to eat.  You can view that post here - click to read The answers were many. Some serious, many in a lighter vein, but all of them set to certain patterns. Patterns dictated by how seriously they took the threat of Maggi having an impact on my, or for that matter anyone else’s health. If I were to classify the answers into 4 broad categories, this is how they would seem. Pattern 1: Risky for your health. Don’t eat it. Pattern 2: You’ve been eating this for ages, nothing happened till now. Eat it. Pattern 3: You’ve been having worse. For instance Delhi air pollution. You are doomed anyways. Pattern 4: It is all

PK meets Interstellar: No space for ignorance!

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What is this Dancing Car? That was one question my son was repeatedly asking while we were watching the movie ‘PK’.  Though old enough to grasp basics of the world around him, the concept of a dancing car in ‘PK’ was alien to him. No wonder, the child’s curiosity kicked in and the above question followed. There was no convincing answer to give him. Similar is the state of PK, our alien from outer space. His childlike curiosity constantly questioning the world around him; learning answers the hard way – much to his bewilderment and our amusement. PK questions many aspects of our world, but there is one thing I am particularly keen to explore further - the conclusions he arrives at during his quest to reach god. God exists, but a medium (religion & rituals) and messenger (god men) to reach god are unnecessary. Is PK right in saying so? Maybe…but his childlike innocence can’t be a good enough reason to completely believe him. How can we b

Happy New Year: Making Sense of Nonsense!

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Kids laugh 300 times a day. Adults laugh only 5 times a day! There is no scientific data to prove it, but everyone seems to believe the above numbers. Kids indeed laugh a lot, are happier and seem to have more fun than us adults. Thanks to the pressures of growing up, we often end up losing the kid inside us. The reason I speak about kids and adults in this post is because I find it very amusing to see the extreme reactions to the latest Farah Khan movie Happy New Year. Happy New Year seems to invoke a strange phenomenon - a battle between the kid and the adult within us. By now, I am assuming you already know who you are – the one who laughed out loud while enjoying the movie, or the one who laughed reading the spoofs and reviews of critics who trashed this movie. One is the kid inside you reacting, and the other is the adult. Through this post I would like to explore this phenomenon further. It will probably help explain why I like this film and why you mi

Divine Science driving star studded blockbusters!

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He won’t stop – that’s the literal translation of ’Aagadu’, the title of a Telugu movie that released last weekend. True to its name, the movie was unstoppable at the box office, netting close to a million dollars on the day of its release in the US. An unprecedented number for an Indian film, leave alone a Telugu film. I was constantly bombarded by Whatsapp updates from my friends in the US who flocked to the screens in droves as if their lives depended on this movie. Closer home, the story was no different - despite negative reviews from critics and 140 character experts on Twitter, the film marched on triumphantly. I watched the movie in a Delhi NCR multiplex which was packed to the brim - a rarity in this part of the country. Craze for the movie wasn’t surprising. Aagadu is after-all a big budget movie made by a popular director with a successful track record starring one of the most charismatic heroes of South India - Mahesh Babu - the central reason for the