Sunday, July 21, 2013

Life In May 26 - July 21

Time surely flies fast when you are not looking. But it is also not clear where i was looking all the time :) With that note, here are the highlights -

~ Excellent news - Resumed running!! Ran 16K yesterday at Byalkere Peacock Reserve in rain. Awesome feeling! Preparing for HM at  KTM in September.

~ Birthday was celebrated by doing nothing or rather not celebrated this year. Went to see Man of Steel with team mates. so-so movie.

~ Did my first kite flying! went for kite flying with office colleagues, good fun although my kite flying fame lasted less than 2 minutes.

-- Finished India After Gandhi. Review here 
-- Finished Land of Seven Rivers: A brief History of India's Geography. Review coming soon!
-- Wolf hall not done yet :(

~ Went to Bird sanctuary with Harsh. Good leisurely walk on KTM trail... greenery made it pretty cool. Also stopped at Kamath Lokaruchi and Raasta cafe.

~ Plays : A walk in the woods. Awesome! Review here 

~ Went to TUI spotfixing opposite Koramangala McDonalds. Great experience. Now, the spot has completely changed.

~ Summer of design email course was a big #fail. Thankfully it was not from my end this time :)

~ Movies:
In Theatres:
Ship of Theseus (4.5/5)
Man of Steel (2.5/5)
Pacific Rim (2.5/5)
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2.5/5)
Star Trek2 (3/5)

On TV:
Jolly LLB (3/5 - Only because it is a legal drama : reviewer's bias)
Special 26: (2.5/5)

~ Restaurants:
Gastro Pub in Koramangala has bad food but good DJ
Love Shack in Indira Nagar had bad DJ and no food.
Cafe Thulp 's coffee is excelled and so is its food.
Raasta cafe has good ambience, decent food.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review : Ship of Theseus

Ship of Theseus
Directed by Anand Gandhi

Let me begin by writing that if you have not seen this movie, then please see it. Do not watch its trailer, do not read a single review, do not ask a friend. Just watch it.

There are very few films wherein after the movie ends, there is a feeling which says - "Good job! Arvind" for having seen that movie. I felt proud to have seen this film, i felt elated to be alive to see the film and the fact that this was an Indian film made by an Indian director, shot in India (mostly) is just bliss.

Ship of Theseus is a philosophical paradox which is best explained by reading this Wikipedia page - . The movie explores this subject through three stories and an ending that was so evident but i didn't see it coming. I couldn't. I was not even thinking about it but when it hit me, as it hit, i was floored. The entire theater gasped. oh! It was like a magician's trick.

But it was not merely the ending that had us all blown. There is no way to tell that one story was better than the other, there is no way to measure it. It is like three circles of same radius next to each other. When i focus on one, it seems bigger but as soon as i glance at its neighbor, my entire concentration moves to it and suddenly the other two are paler when compared. Yet, in terms of #scenes that are still visibly clear in my head now, in terms of stills that will stay for a long time in my head, i think it was the monk arc that impacted me the most.

To write about each arc will give it away. No, not the  plot but the joy that you will derive when you watch it. The visuals are stunning. It was like Tree of Life all over again.

I watched most of the movie with head on my elbow leaning forward as if i was attending a lecture. The movie made me think, it took me in and made me open doors within me. A philosophical argument in a film form - People! Cheers! Indian cinema has arrived!

Review: Walk in the Woods

Play : Walk in the Woods
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Rajit Kapur
Directed by Ratna Pathak Shah

"What is history if not geography over time" - Jamaluddin Luftullah

Walk in the woods is a play that revolves around an Indian and Pakistani diplomat meeting in Switzerland discussing a peace proposal between the two nations. Rajit Kapur plays Ram Chinnappa, the Indian diplomat, as a newbie to this process, full of ideas, idealism and hope. Naseer sahab essays the role of Rajit's Pakistani counterpart,  as Jamaluddin Luftullah. Jamaluddin is the veteran, practical man who now understand that this whole exercise is a farce and the only thing he hopes to accomplish is atleast the friendship of this one Indian in the process.

Adapted from Lee Bessing's play, which originally chronicled a US and USSR diplomat meeting to resolve the cold war crisis, it takes little imagination to visualize it in the India-Pakistan context. It was meant to be. As GRRM would write - it is known! But to contextualize in the Indian context, to infuse Hindi-Urdu words at the right moment and then to top it all, to see Naseer and Rajit sahab sharing the stage and act it out makes it an affair not to be missed.

There is just something about plays where there is just dialogue between two people. There are no distractions, no props, no overhead of secondary characters etc etc. One witnesses the core of what a good play is all about - the drama (plot), the script (dialogue) and finally the delivery (acting).  I witnessed it first in Tumhari Amrita. Robinson and Crusoe, the acclaimed Indie play at Ranga Shankara, also has many elements (though it uses a few props), there are movies like Before Sunrise and Before Sunset that also explore it in its own way. Walk in the Woods joins their magical level.

One interesting aspect of the plot is the transformation in Ram Chinnappa as the play progresses. His idealism withers away and is taken over by frustration and anger. It is easy to see but how do you act it out, share it with audience without explicitly mentioning it. Walk in the woods brilliantly uses small incidents to highlight these emotions, there are layers of emotions within lines, one has to just look beyond them, through them to see what is the play trying to say.

In the end, through all the bitterness, this is eventually a tale of friendship. Friendship is the only thing that succeeds in the entire play. The fact that this would happen was known to everybody since the first five minutes, unfolding of events was also expected to a large extent but still it is a delight to watch because there are two brilliant actors who are too good in what they do that there is still an element of surprise in everything they do. Their performance is so sincere that one is immersed in their world and we forego our own anticipations.

Book Review - The Guide by R.K. Narayan

The bliss of having read a book before watching its movie version. The Guide movie is a cult classic, ranked #4 in best Hindi movies of all...