Lingaa- Reviewed.


Don’t be fooled by the title, it’s just a farce. We all know that this movie needs no review whatsoever. As you know, I appreciate pure unadulterated entertainment and this movie is just that. (Also, I’m easily entertained! :P)

I could’ve written this entire post in a one line Facebook status, but decided to post it on my blog for the simple reason that poor AR Rahman’s music is so under-appreciated in this whole affair, okay.
I loved Oh Nanba- SPB and Rahman coming together to create the feel of an Oruvan Oruvan or a Balleilakka- Just epic!! Mona Gasolina is super catchy too, Indiane vaa aptly sung by ARR himself is used extremely well in the movie to bring out the right pheel.

There are actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, etc… Rajinikant is not an actor, it’s a phenomenon that you need to experience and absorb and that remains the entire point of this movie. Nobody goes to a Rajinikant movie to talk about cinematography, locations, editing, story, screenplay. Everybody and everything else (Yes, even Sonakshi Sinha’s mile long forehead) goes ignored when this phenomenon occurs. You got to turn that little logic switch in your head off and experience it. You cannot use laws of physics, gravity, math, engineering or common sense.

Special mention to Santhanam for great comic timing. Jagapathi Babu and random white guy make decent villains but nothing to match the evilness that Suman brought about in Sivaji. The female leads are there, Anushka whoever and Sonakshi’s forehead tried very hard and I appreciate their effort!

Is this my favorite movie ever? Probably not. But it’s still a paisa vasool one, because…

Put yourself in her pumps.


Let me start off by saying, I’m not a feminist. I’m not one person who will say “women deserve all the rights and men don’t” But I just want to tell you how it feels to be a woman.

Women are treated different from men in all walks of life, and in all societies. There’s no doubting that. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, is not just subjective, but it also really depends on the situation.
I’m of the firm belief that women and men are entirely different species. Yes, men are from Mars and women are from Venus and neither of the sexes are better than the other. They’re just different and it’s not an apples to apples comparison as many people seem to think.

But what really bothers me, is the fact that a woman is constantly judged based on her looks, much more so than her male counterparts. Recently, I lost quite a bit of weight (Yes, I’m really happy about it!) But the number of people (both men and women alike) who saw me on my Facebook page, and in real life and told me about how much weight I lost… It made me think, I wasn’t offended about what those people said. But all my life, even a slight difference in my weight went noticed by a lot of people, acne breakouts, colored hair, all went noticed… Nobody seemed to miss any of my physical transformations.

I’ve even had idiots tell me “oh you look much older now” or “you would’ve looked sooo pretty if you were thinner” Can’t somebody go beyond that? I’m also a lot of other things, good and bad. I’m smart, I live by myself, have built a life for myself and surviving in a foreign land and working hard to be independent. I’m also awkward, silly and giggly among other things… Nobody seems to notice my personality, they all want to tell me how my love handles look.

And I’m not talking just about myself, honestly I went to an all girls school for 12 years, I know how it is being a girl. I know a lot of women and they seem to constantly complain about this. You hear it on the media that women are raped because of “how they look” (and not because the rapist is a complete piece of s**t that deserves to die a most painful death.) You hear about how women get catcalled and how they are “asking for it.” Girls aren’t allowed to stay out late as compared to boys their age. Every woman has to have a supermodel’s body, the face of a greek goddess, perfectly maintained hair and top of the line attire if she wants to live in society, so that men can ogle at her while she is perfectly okay with them doing so?

In all of this, women are nothing but objectified. Why can’t a woman be looked at for who she is, once. Why can’t it go beyond her clothes or the size of her chest for once? Is it everybody’s birthright to criticize?
She’s a slut if she’s pretty, she’s a slob if she’s not.

After all this, when young girls develop body image issues or eating disorders society bats no eyelid while blaming them for not being grateful enough.

The next time you compliment a woman just take the time out to understand how well read, smart, brave, thoughtful, strong or articulate she is. I’m sure she’ll appreciate and respect you much more. If you have nothing nice to say to somebody, then by all means feel free to keep your foul mouth shut, you don’t know how the other person is affected.

Arranged Marriages for Dummies


I’m at the age where my peer group/family members, are mostly in the “marriageable age.” I feel that’s all I talk about, with people. So, it’s an important social issue. And well… I’ve never heard anything that came close to a fairy tale romance. So I’m writing a tutorial with my expert advice! (Don’t tsk at me. You know I’m one!) Please note: “Love Marriage” and “Arranged Marriage” are not opposite terms. All human marriages require love, else it becomes an agreement, not a marriage.

1. Non-Indians– You don’t get the concept of “arranged marriage” A little bit of history- Typically the bride and groom weren’t allowed to meet till the actual wedding day. You were basically thrown into the gallows and asked to live with and get along and fall in love with this complete random stranger. Sounds scary? Yes, the same for us too, sends a shiver down my spine that somebody had to live their entire life with a random person.
Now it would be completely foolish of me to say that this doesn’t happen in India anymore. We hope and expect educated and aware individuals not to force anybody. Now some Indian you may know may have undergone an arranged marriage but it’s probably very different from what you would imagine. It’s like any other marriage but the only catch is that your parents set you up with the girl. You date her for a bit and then decide. I mean would you rather be set up by your parents or be 40, bald and in a relationship with your TV? Indian parents just want to avoid that for their kids. The idea itself isn’t a bad one but there are things that can go very wrong.
2. Parents– Especially when it’s your first child, understand that you are also noobs. Acceptance is key. You lack the skills to find somebody half decent to set your child up with.
Secondly, understand your child’s needs. Your child is a human and not a potato. They might be trying to tell you something. If you’re still one of those parents who thinks their son needs dowry. Not only is it illegal but it also means you’re a D-bag (for anyone below 18 years of age AND my parents: D-bag means dirty bag!)

Sidebar: How to read signs from your child.
If he/she says “I’m not ready for marriage” Find out why and understand.

Your child may already like somebody- It’s your kid’s life and their marriage not yours. So stop throwing your opinions in places where they don’t belong.

If your kid WANTS to be bald and single at 40, then let them be. They’re probably happiest that way.
The Real Reasons- Understand that your child doesn’t have to be married because pakkada mane padmaja or side road shailaja will talk about them. Again, remind yourself that you gave birth to a human who’s probably fully grown (YES. That’s a mandatory requirement by law)

Don’t kid yourself. You’re the one who will regret it the most.

3. Potential Bride/Groom/Victims– However you want to look at it.
Don’t be against arranged marriage. Your parents USUALLY have your best interests in mind. Let me give you a few pointers.

Communicate with your parents- Don’t expect them to understand you’re gay or that you don’t want to get married if you don’t want to TELL them.

It’s the rest of your life; don’t get pressured in ANY way to make a decision.

Go with your gut instinct. Keep in in mind that “Love” happens over time. Unlike what Amitabh Bachchan said in Amar Akbar Anthony: dimaag ka ghanti automatically ting tong, ting tong- nahi bajega. Basically, if you’re not in love yet, then don’t live under the teenage illusion that your prince(ss) charming is coming for you. If you’re saying “No” only because you are waiting to fall in love. Give this a chance and this might be that person

Remember: Looks fade. If you marry a dumb person, or someone who doesn’t share common interests with you, you will end up having to look at a blank wrinkly face for the rest of your life. Yes. EVERYBODY grows old.

Overall, a marriage in India is a marriage between families, if you’re a stakeholder (parent or groom/bride) be sensible and understand what it might take to make this entire hungama work. Don’t have unreasonable demands. Life is too short to do what other people want you to do. But life is also too short to be too picky.
So, go ahead. Give arranged marriage a chance. I hope this Arranged marriage 101 tutorial was helpful!

What awareness is worth…


If you’re from anywhere on this planet you would’ve heard of the
Ice-bucket challenge for ALS, that’s doing the rounds on the Internet.
All those people who thought it was ok to criticize this action as
stupid, really think. $50 Million has been raised so far. There are a
lot of people in the world who cannot afford to pay $10 for something
like this. It might be easy for us to call them cheap, but I’ve been
there and the only thing I can do, to contribute to a cause like this
is spread awareness.

So, awareness whether you like it or not, is a good thing. After
social media started taking our lives over, we’ve started raising our
voices on opinions a little more. Really, haters gonna hate but we’re
more knowledgeable about a lot of things. Good, bad or indifferent you
know a lot more about the undies that Salman Khan wears, various
diseases or how people are striving for world peace. So overall, I happen to
believe it’s more good than bad.

Moving on, we speak a lot on social media. The extremely
tech-friendly Narendra Modi is tapping into this habit of ours. I
really urge you to check this out. Every citizen of India,
irrespective of whether they vote or not (guilty!) has an opinion on
how the government should function. So there are various agendas where
you can go and post your opinions on job creation, education, cleaning
the city etc.

You can use your location and skills to provide support. It’s really
the educated person’s turn to provide valuable inputs to change
policies. I believe this is an amazing initiative and this is a chance
to really make a difference. You can volunteer to do a variety of
things. Like cleaning up local places, planting trees, cleaning up the
Ganga etc. Not your cuppa tea? Don’t worry, you can volunteer to train
at local development centers to teach students. Don’t have that much
time, or live outside of India like me? Still, don’t worry. You can
help develop content for students to study, especially all you IT
folks out there. OR you can write reports about where you would like
improvement, give suggestions for best practices and improvement in
various sectors.

We are a country of highly educated (and opinionated) people. This is
where we can harness our strength as a people of the nation and strive
towards a common goal, instead of expecting the government to come up with a magical solution. So I urge you to take time this weekend to just do one task or write a few posts. At least sign up.

The next time you meet those annoying uncles who can’t shut up about
how the government is doing a bad job, ask them what they did for
their nation? You don’t need to have time, money or skill to help.
Everybody has to do their bit and there’s no better opportunity to do
that. Please say aye if you signed up. It’s my goal to get at least a
few people to sign up and write something.

Thank you!

P.S: All you Narendra Modi haters out there, special shout out to you guys- Kem cho? Majama?! ;)

ULidavaru kandante- As seen by the rest


This is a Kannada movie I watched over the weekend and I am sure a lot of you might have already watched it but, I thought this movie deserves me to come out of my shell and write this review.

Indian movies in general are not on par with that of Hollywood. I know we love our music and dance. Our favorite kind of movies apparently involves objectifying women and falling in love again. And again. And again. It’s a topic that has been beaten to death and beyond and still one doesn’t seem to get enough of it.

I know I love me some good ol’ bollywood movies like Chupke Chupke, Andaz Apna Apna, Amar Akbar Anthony, and DDLJ! But I also like movies like Pulp Fiction, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Matrix, Silence of the Lambs etc. Darker subjects are less tread upon in India. All movies have an element of romance. Yes, we did have a Kaminey, a Kahaani and a few other movies. But we keep bouncing back to our favorite topic- Love. And item songs.

Kannada cinema was far away from even its other South Indian counterparts. Gone are the days of Puttanna Kanagal, Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, Anant Nag and Shankar Nag. We now have Kannada actors who can hardly speak the language in its purest form, let alone use its nuances to create poetic dialogue or impeccable comic timing.

So uLidavaru Kandante was a refreshing change of pace. It’s a movie that talks about perspectives and how the same incident is looked at differently from each viewpoint. It’s got a very intense screenplay a la Pulp Fiction. It maybe confusing in the beginning, but when you look back it adds up leaving no loose ends hanging. A conceptually brilliant movie and an effort that is laudable.

I believe Rakshit Shelty has done not just a fine job with the direction, but is also an immensely talented actor. The attention to detail throughout the movie is remarkable and takes focus to notice. They have a great ensemble cast, Tara, Kishore and Rishab Shetty pull off great jobs. The music is good and the background score has been used well, albeit a little loud. No tacky music or dance sequences going with the theme of the movie.

I believe the movie could have been edited better because the story moves at a rather slow pace. But overall, this is the kind of movie that leaves a lot of perspectives to discuss. It leaves you thinking and this is the intelligent cinema that I would like to see more of, from the Indian movie industry. The Kannada movie industry has a long way to go in terms of its cinema but this is a step in that direction and I hope Rakshit Shetty makes more such movies.

I would sincerely appeal you to watch it. It’s one of those rare movies that one shouldn’t miss out on.

(P.S: I was recommended to watch Lucia and I haven’t done so yet. I hear it’s a great movie too)

Watch the trailer and decide for yourself if it looks interesting.

Rating: **** 1/2
Grade: V

* awful! Who even thought of making the movie!
** All right. Watchable but you can still do better by staying at home.
*** Decent. Watch it for pure entertainment.
**** Good. Worth the 150 bucks. Now probably 600!
***** We have a winner here. absolute must watch

O- Outstanding
V- Very Good
E-Exceeds Expectations
A- Average

Sepia toned dreams


Year: 2007

She stared at herself in the mirror and felt confident at how sharp she looked in her business suit. She thought to herself “Wow! Now nothing can stop me!” It was her first day at work and she felt that sense of accomplishment that she had done it. She was independent and proud of it.

23-year old Tara reflected on her life so far in the mirror that day. She had come a long way. She was raised to be the apple of her parents eye, she was the diligent first born, the independent middle child and the pampered little baby of her family. She was everything to her parents. But her dream was to stand tall and to be somebody who her parents could be proud of.

Today she stood in her own little penthouse, it was just outside New York City- they say it’s the greatest city in the world, a plethora of culture and vast vividness. Anybody with a regular paycheck may not have been able to afford it. It was a small studio, yet in suburban New York it could cost many a people an arm and a leg. Of course she had put in tremendous effort into going to grad school at a prestigious Ivy League institution and she would be starting her job in the Mecca of the financial world, Wall Street.

At 23 there were very few people in her position. She had her own swanky car. And not just a regular car. She had one that could make that pompously rich aunty of hers red with jealousy. Life could not have been better. She had a great job and loving parents and a loving beau- who lived on the other side of the country in San Francisco but he was living it up too. They both would be the “It” couple with their extremely successful careers.

This was Tara’s dream and she was living it.

They said the hey day would soon be over. But she didn’t think it would affect her, she brushed those aside. She was living in the moment and taking in every minute of her independence and her success. She was what you would call a success and she was basking in it.

Then she saw it come. And how! Recession had hit America like never before. And all Tara could hear about at work were “downsize” “lay off.” She was, but terrified. Tara was a hard working and intelligent woman, she couldn’t lose her job. And living in New York apparently wasn’t as rosy as it seemed to the outside world. When she spoke to relatives and friends, they could not stop gloating about how amazing her life was, yet she felt it. Emptiness. The weather was a struggle, she hardly took her expensive car outside and she was paying a lot of money for things that didn’t matter to her anymore.

She had few real friends in New York City. Her best friends lived in all corners of the world. The love of her life, a 7 hour flight away and her parents, 8000 miles away. Tara worked day and night to keep her job and she did great. She was an indispensable asset to her company. But the fear of losing everything she had to the recession ate her constantly. It was then, that she made a decision. The hardest decision she had made. To give up her dream, to give up everything she owned.

Year: 2014

She walked home, tired from the bus stop. She was in a cotton salwar kameez. She went home and kicked up her heels. Her mother (in-law) brought her a glass of water and asked her how her day was with a smile. She felt the warm hand on her head as she heard “You look tired today.”

Her 3 year old daughter came running up to her and told her “Maa, Grandma, grandpa took me to the park today and we saw butterflies.” She went on to chatter animatedly about the colors of the butterfly and about her little trip to the park.

Tara half listened as her mind meandered. Yes she didn’t look as sharp in the wrinkly salwar kameez. She didn’t have a car that would make her aunty jealous, but she did have a great new car that got her to all parts of the town if she was willing to bear the traffic. But most of all, she wasn’t independent, she was dependent today. On her parents who lived a good 10 minutes away from her house, she was dependent on her in-laws who dotingly took care of her little baby as she went out to work, she was dependent on her husband whose head massages at the end of the day made her sleep oh! so peacefully at night. But they were all dependent on her love and care too. That’s how families functioned.

This was her moment of reflection as she thought to herself. She was so much happier going to work in her hometown. Her ivy-league degree raised eye-brows in any part of the world. She was hired into a pretty high position at a very early stage in her career, which made her work long hours. But she had all these loving caring people to make her dreams come true.

That’s when she realized that she was living in a haze until she boarded that last flight back home. Yes, It was the hardest flight she ever took, fighting every instinct of hers but, sleeping on her husband’s shoulder eased the burden just a little bit. As she sat there staring at her 3 year old, she could not have seen life more clearly, and had it not been for the sepia dreams, she would never have realized the true colors of life.

Vegetarianism et al


(If you’re eating chicken wings or steak or sausages right now, stop reading it!)

I’ve been vegetarian for the longest time. Yes I was born into a Brahmin family who technically aren’t supposed to eat meat but my dad thought I should be given a choice. When I was around 12 I decided I won’t eat meat. I believe I was aware from a very young age that meat= dead animals.

In the USA people ask me WHY I’m vegetarian. They go like: What do you eat? Why would you do that to yourself? And they don’t understand vegetarian. I don’t eat anything that has ever lived. No fish, no chicken, no pigs, no cows. I don’t understand why people find it so hard to get.

I respect people who eat meat. I don’t think it’s wrong. I mean, it’s part of the food chain and we are high up there. But does the human body really need meat? I believe not. Humans have evolved over the years and our stomachs are used to softer and softer food so meat is harder for us to process. So, why put our digestive system through unnecessary trouble, right?

I’m not saying that being vegetarian is the most healthy choice because when I end up going out I have no choice but to eat cheesy, oily, processed food. I could’ve gotten a lean chicken but instead I have to eat cheesy pasta.

Ok, personal choice and all that. But really how many of meat eaters are aware of how their meat is coming in? Do you know how your goat is getting killed? Do you know how much pain the cow might have gone through for you to be able to eat it? No. Because we don’t think about it… But, really we all know and are in denial about the fact that animals are raised their entire lives and kept in harsh conditions and fed all kinds of terrible food just to fatten them up so that they can be eaten.

Read this to learn more about the ill effects of meat production on the environment. R K Pachauri (Alumnus of the NC State ISE department *woot woot* ) has conducted extensive research as part of TERI, as I listened to him speak I was struck with awe because I didn’t know for the longest time, the environmental impact of eating meat.

I believe that everybody makes their own choices and we should all respect it. This post isn’t to tell anyone to stop eating meat but to spread awareness. Be aware of what you eat.

More links: Oprah’s vegan challenge and just for fun (but all surprisingly true!)

Would you give up meat for the environment? Food for thought…