How we hate the dark


I watched the Tamil movie “Sindhu Samaveli” by Swamy yesterday. I had never heard of the movie nor the diretor prior to reading about it yesterday in some forum and deciding to watch it. The movie is based on the novel “First Love” by the Russian author Ivan Turgenev. The movie is about an illicit relationship a woman has with her father in law. Apparently the heroine of the movie, Amala Paul, received death threats and was hurled abuses at by some women in public for the mere reason that she “enacted” the role of a woman who sleeps with her father in law. I guess the audience in many parts do not understand the basic fact that a movie is a work of fiction. Simple misses.

As I always opine post a movie watch, I strongly believe a movie conveys the brilliance of the Director. It is his work of art and talks a lot about his grit, his ability to articulate and his influences (among much more). Here, the director’s mind is easily concluded to be able to run through excessively intense human emotions and get to the base of it. He must have gone through (atleast in his mind if not in experience) a greal deal of the emotions that he so strongly conveys through his film. Everyone goes through intriguing emotions at some point of time in our lives. Sometimes we get deep flashes of the emotions through the experiences of a loved one. But how many of us are blessed with the ability to decode it and understand it? (Here I would like to point out that the use of the word “understand” is meant to carry more depth than usual).

Director Swamy has done an excellent work of placing the premise of the illicit relationship so well in the movie. Clearly if you are even fairly intelligent, you will understand that he is not showing any disrespect towards a father(like)-daughter(like) relationship we expect a father in law and daughter in law to share. He simply presents a particular circumstance in which such a relationship grows mutually between the parties and very strongly also presents its extreme ramifications. It is sexual and it did start with the inability to control a forbidden human desire. He does not however fail to also show a wise man’s perspective of the situation (through dialogues with the family carpenter/mason). But what I liked about even that scene is that it did not throw light on simply the societal implications of such a relationship. But that conversation very simply mentions all the turmoil that it creates in the lives of the individuals concerned. How that should not fall upon any family ever.

Further, the movie does not slip into an overdramatic and emotionally explosive mode when the son gets wind of the relationship. Well here is where the directors capability comes through – the female protogonist becomes aware of the fact that her husband is aware of her relationship through a beautiful written short story by her husband (and published in a magazine) in which he introspects into his suspicions in the light of his love for her and her father. It is enough to trigger that big moment of regret and disgust in her and she proceeds immediately to put an end to the entire suffering. Now the son needs to deal with his father wherein once again the Director proves his skill. It is by far probably the best scene in the film and is fittingly the climax. No drama. Not too many dialogues. But using the ocean as the backdrop, the anger, anguish and the killing realisation that the young boy experiences is beautifully shot like a painful painting. At this point, I was itching to lay my hands on the book to read (in the typicaly russian writing style) the author’s narration.

I am not sure how much of the storytelling is a direct life from the book. To me, as  a viewer, it doesnt matter where it came from and but I am there to watch what is given to me. To get a glimpse of something so dark just to remind you of how fragile humans can be. How people commit mistakes knowing how wrong it is and how it is only a circumstantial temptation. But say what you may, such wrongful acts only lead to death. Physical death. Death of relationships. Death of every strand of life in the living body. So much more. Its unfathomable. Draining to even imagine that emotion in you for a second. Thats when you respect the director, the story teller, whoever. Unless he pushed himself to experience the various emotions in the deepest corners of his existence to make this movie, he may probably have never bared it all as this and been able to show a build up to human follies as this.

(Ofcourse he could have done without the annoying frequent comedy interludes that is menace in movies these days. Just to get the people in. Well this movie didnt since as I said earlier people do not really know that a movie is a work of fiction)

Apparently the viewers took to the movie very badly. How dare the director even imagine an illicit relationship between father in law and daughter in law? Worse still, i hear many reviewers refused to give the movie a rating. Uff. When do we all wake up to realities? Stating a fact that could even remotely exist is entirely different from justifying it. When will people ever gain that insight? Hey, its not that difficult. Just a little open mindedness. But that IS too much to ask of the world today right? Right. A man lacking in intelligence will point out how the movie so visibly shows the wrong in the relationship. The Director hasnt left any stone unturned to show the grave impact it has on the young son. And on the wife. And on the father. What wrong did the director do here? I can only conclude that people really lack logic and simple sense of derivation. Truly wonder how much of the rejection of the movie stemmed from guilt and from complete lack of acknowledgement. I leave it to you to conclude on the guilt and acknowledgement.



Yes, I watched the movie a year after its release. Initial marketing of the movie never appealed to me. Somehow felt the sudden urge to sit and down and watch the movie today. Its a must watch for anyone who understand slove in its craziest, most mindless, raw form. Human behaviour as depicted in the movie may beat logic for the rational mind. Leave out the rational mind I say. Because love does not (for most parts) accomodate logic nor was it created to follow the path of logic and reasoning.

The movie follows the tried and tested (many times over) Hindu-Muslim love story. More movie cliches ensue in the story – initial enemity between the lead pair transforming into love, vulnerability of the heroines’s emotions, an extremely strong willed male melting and withering for his mother, bubbly heroine who is the pet of her household and so on and so forth. But the combined effect of the stellar performances by the lead pair (especially Parineeti Chopra), crisp direction and the music gives a very fresh potrayal of the age old love story.

One cannot help but feel the emotional ride that Zoya (the name of the heroine in the movie) goes on in the movie. You understand when she is so youthful and exuberant. You understand when her family support system gives her confidence and fearlessness. You fall in love when she falls for Parma – the man she knows she better stay away from for familial reasons. But cupid always has different plans. Dont we all know that? You definitely cry when her false sense of power with her family breaks down when she needs it the most. You also completely emphathise and agree with her decision in the climax (not giving it away).

The Director, Habib Faisal, has depicted love in its best form. One may even call it the crude form of love. But thats when you feel the deepest level of emotion, desire and courage that love is capable of triggering in us. Habib appears to have understood that as long as there are emotions in the world, one will never get tired of watching a love story and that love can take such different shapes, forms and colours. He chose a very touching variation of love to give the audience.

At the end, I say its a beautiful presentation of an age old love story.

What I thought of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


Before I begin on the story, script, performances, etc, I would like to express my disappointment at the portrayal of India by Western film makers. Such a cliche. Always the dirty roads, the irritatingly inquisitive people, broken english and what not. Ofcourse just to be nice to India, they always throw in a bit of some good Indian philosophy and touch upon the famous hospitality of Indians in general. In this extremely well connected era, its hard to blame this on ignorance. When I express this opinion, it is not to deny the existence of all such matters in India. They do. BUT there are also various other aspects of India which can be used to portray a developing nation in any given storyline. For example, in the movie Eat Pray Love (please note that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the movie), do they HAVE to show a dirty ashram? I am not big on ashram culture but I do know that there are numerous “clean” and “mosquito free” ashrams in this country.

Well coming back to the movie, it was a pleasant watch. Stereotypical plot of putting together in the same place, a couple of people going through one crisis or the other in their lives. They meet and come together to be the light in their dark lives. Some tragedies. Some realisations. Some dreams come true. Some lost confidence is won back. Same old but still a nice watch.

However I was not impressed with Dev Patel’s acting in the movie. An Indian actor who naturally had the Indian accent may have been a wiser choice. Dev Patel puts in way too much effort to deliver what is demanded of the character and the effort stands out in his performance, but stands away from the character. You see more of the actor in Dev Patel than the character itself. I also did not find the sub plot of his character, his relationships and the hotel he runs to blend too well into the larger intent of the movie. It almost felt like a parallel story running to distract the viewers (for what? I dont know) and to extend the length of the movie (2 hrs in total).

Otherwise, the main characters (the elderly hotel guests) with their respective histories, relationships and confidence issues are a delight to watch. Emotionally and financially frustrated wife who realises that at retirement her husband cannot exactly give her the life she wants. Her excessively supportive husband whose sweetness and good manners keeps the marriage going upto a point. A newly widowed wife who realises the importance of sharing in a marriage post her husband’s death. A heart patient who is looking to reunite, even if for one meeting, with an old lover whose life he believed was scarred due to the unpleasant turn their relationship had taken decades ago. A single man and a single woman looking to hook up, even at their age. An old prejudiced maid who is in India to undertake a hip replacement surgery which she could not afford in UK. Predictably her prejudices dissolve slowly as the movie advances.

The script does justice to the unfolding of multiple events affecting all their lives. Through the blog that Judi Bench’s characted maintains in the movie, some profound messages are conveyed via the stories. The movie also has some well scripted humurous moments. Controlled acting by the main characters (other than Dev Patel) does good service to the script.

A feel good movie.

Diamond Necklace – My views


Diamond Necklace – A movie by Lal Jose
Story of any boy you may know or know of. Believable characterisation. Realistic unfolding of events. Sharp story telling skills.
As summarised above, the story line of the movie is ordinary and conforms to the ways of today’s youth. No surprises there. However, what makes the movie a good creation is the story telling method of the Director and the performances. One man, three women and 2-3 influential acquaintances in his life. Interplay of the three relationships of the protagonist has been woven beautifully into the narrative. Each actress playing the three pivotal roles have made their marks. The Director’s expertise lies in the characterisation of these three women. One is strong and naive at once without drama, one is ruled by emotions but strong and sensible and the third is tainted with innocence that hardly sees the light of intelligence but rooted in values that ultimately acts as a balm. The three women with their individual personalities collectively overshadow the actor.  The actor is a happy go lucky, educated but not very smart (atleast in my opinion) victim of his own follies. He simply goes with the flow that his life takes him in – both when committing mistakes and in correcting them. Its refreshing to see such weaknesses in the protagonist. Most movies tend to potray the main lead to be an exceptional and virtuous human being.
The drawback of the movie maybe the lack of explanation by the Director for certain acts of the protagonist. Personally I did not mind this as I enjoy forming critical view points of the characters in a movie I watch. Infact in some movies its more desirable that the Director lets us believe the emotional run upto certain actions and events in the movie.
Contrary to my expectations arising from the title of the movie, it is not a thriller. But its a simple narrative of an hard hitting lesson learnt by a young man.