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Awakening with Bhrama Kumaris (Day 1097)

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I had the privilege of attending a couple of Murlis at the Bhrama Kumari centre, Mumbai in the last few days and reproduce what I captured from the discourse in my own words. If there is any confusions it is in my interpretation.

 Yog explains the skill or the art of listening. Unfortunately, in present times the word Yoga is a highly misused and misinterpreted word associated with physical exercise and meditation.

There are innumerable definitions of life. For some it is struggle, for some, it is a game and for some, going through misery it is a curse. The fact is life is not a baggage – it is not negative emotions or expressions that can be resolved instantly.

Human life is the most precious avatar. It is more precious than a diamond and everyone born in this avatar is privileged. The human body and the mind are connected. There are endless debates whether the body brings unrest to the mind or the mind causes anguish to the body. The truth is: a healthy mind resides inside a healthy body.

(To be continued)

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Movie Review: Hindi Medium

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Film Review: Hindi Medium

Date: 19 May 2017

Director: Saket Chaudhary

Writers: Zeenat Lakhani, Saket Chaudhary 

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal

 Rating: 3.5 stars

 

First thing first, after a long time comes a film where the title, the poster, and the content are in sync. It reminds you of Basu Chatterjee cinema where the message was paramount and the filmmaker unfolded a simple story that touched your heart.

Writer-director Saket Chaudhary has done this successfully in Pyaar Ke Side Effects/ 2006 and later in Shaadi Ke Side Effects/ 2014 but this time he surpasses all expectations as he chronicles the  pathos of Hindi speaking parents Raj/ Irrfan Khan and Mithu/ Saba Qamar struggling to find admission for daughter Piya/ Dishita Sehgal into an English medium school.

The admission is the single focus of their lives and to obtain it the couple is willing to go to any limits which include / long queues/ bribe/donation/ coaching class/ extracurricular activity and even a makeover of the image.

In the first half on the wife’s insistence, the couple shifts out of their ancestral home in Chandni Chowk to the elite Vasnat Vihar and live a branded life where they eat/speak/ dance in English and Mithu becomes Honey but the plan fails miserably.

Post interval, the desperate parents seek to final resort ‘Reservation Quota’ and move into a lowly neighborhood Bharat Nagar striving for daily wages/water and ration. It is in the slums in the company of Deepak Dobrial and family that Raj and Mithu learn lessons of life!

What works is the refreshing screenplay and novel characters. The hero is a flourishing businessman who sells original copies of acclaimed designers; his wife is a wannabe. Director Chaudhary with writer Zeenat Lakhani serves you an engaging narrative, packed with emotions and laced with delicious details right up to the ring tone of your hero.

Adding spice is Amitosh Nagpal’s dialogues and super timing of the actors and Sachin-Jigar’s music.

Irrfan Khan is adorable when entertaining his client at the shop, entertaining when addressing a call from wife as Mata ka bulawa and admirable as his indulgence alters to exasperation. As his dramatic/ambitious wife Saba Qamar is extraordinary but the one who breaks your heart and moves you to tears is the ever dependable Deepak Dobrrial!

So is there nothing wrong with the film, of course there is, the first half is stretched and the second half is predictable, particularly the long speech in the climax but the merits and the message outnumber the flaws. After a long time comes a film that is wholesome entertainment and addresses a conscience in crisis…!

A must watch for all parents/ teachers/ students so that we stop discriminating people by language.

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Movie Review: Half Girl friend or Half audience?

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Film Review: Half Girlfriend

Date: 19 May 2017

Director: Mohit Suri

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor

Rating: 1.5 stars

 Madhav Jha/Arjun Kapoor has a problem communicating in English and convinces the faculty interviewing him for a college admission in Delhi to allow him to express in Hindi, they do and Arjun explains that that he wants to study sociology because he wants to change his village and India.

In the next scene, he is on the basketball ground trying to make friends with Riya Somani/Shraddha Kapoor.

The love story moves from the playground to canteen/ night outs and film shows and while he often tells Riya about his discomfort in English, we never see him encounter any problems during classroom/exams perhaps because it is not important to the plot.

Over to the hero and heroine, Riya thinks of Madhav as a buddy but Madhav thinks of Riya as a beloved and to avoid further misunderstandings, Riya has a solution: She tells Madhav that he can think of her as his Half Girlfriend whatever that means!

The biggest problem with the film is that it cannot determine whose story it is.

Is this the story of Madhav and Riya, then why complicate it with subplots of their parents? Is it is the story of Hindi v/s English or the small town/v/s big city divide, then why distract it with other issues like domestic violence/divorce/ girl child and yes even shauchalay??

The story travels from Delhi to Patna and Varanasi to New York and in every city there are two new songs, never mind that we don’t remember the city or the lyrics. Despite good compositions, good locations, successful stars and best efforts from all, the film make no impact!

Half Girlfriend is half baked, illogical and unconvincing…

Some years ago writer Chetan Bhagat wrote a book called Five Point, It is now time to address the same points to him:

Point 1: What is a Half Girlfriend and is it logical to define any relationship within boundaries? Point 2: Is a subject like this relevant in present times when youngsters are more buddies than lovers?

Point3: So what if a girl visits a boy’s Hostel and takes a nap in his room? Is it as dramatic as made out to be in your film? Does anybody in reality really care what happens with whom?

Point 4: Why is Riya judged as an escapist when she is the only character in the story who consciously concludes every relationship before terminating it?

Point 5: Is this really a love story because it seems more like Hide n Seek plot combined with Tracking Signs!

I rate Half Girl Friend with 1.5 stars and leave it to you if you wish to be the Half Audience of this film!

 

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Signature Move (Day 1096)

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American film “Signature Move”, starring Indian actor Shabana Azmi will open the 8th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film festival – South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBTQ film festival. Signature Move directed by Jennifer Reed also stars Fawzia Mirza and Sari Sanchez (from the hit TV series Empire). The opening night film will be screened at Mumbai’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema on May 24, 2017. The five-day film festival that will screen 147 films from 45 countries will be held in South Mumbai at two venues – Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise.

blog thursday image 2“This is a deeply important story about love and families. One of these families is South Asian – such a beautiful culture. I am so honored to be a part of this film and to bring it now back to South Asia,” said Jennifer Reed the director of the film.

Shabana Azmi, plays a “sweet and TV-obsessed mother in Chicago” whose daughter (played by Fawzia Mirza) falls in love with a Mexican woman (played by Sari Sanchez). Shabana Azmi is acting in an LGBTQ film 21 years after the acclaimed film Fire (1996). According to Jennifer Reed, “the film is a lesbian love story between a desi American Muslim immigration lawyer and Mexican‐American bookstore owner in a peaceful diverse Chicago.”

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