Sunday, April 19, 2015


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The long big worm-like machine was amazing with lot of windows, doors and many people in it. Dipanshu was awestruck by the colossal worm-like machine. There were many other similar worms lined up on different railway tracks at designated platforms with full of people in it, smoking, reading, sipping tea, coffee, soups. Dipanshu went into reminiscence, what he and his friends had done with that little greenish worm they had found in the school garden. It was really fun to pick up the worm with a long stick and the way the poor worm tried to wriggle out of their trap. But this is not a worm, this is something what his Dad and people around call - a train. It was really incredible, God knows how does it carry so many people in it?

Dipanshu hurriedly walked along with his Dad and Mom making way through the crowd towards the long big worm. He saw many people rushing to the platform. The crowd jostled him into the coach. It was Dipanshu's first journey in a train. He was so excited since his parents broke the news to him that he will spend a brief vacation at his aunt's house this time. For Dipanshu, this was going to be one of the most memorable summer of his life. The train inside resembled a small cozy home; he grinned and settled near the window tapping his feet.

Finally, Dipanshu heard someone blow the whistle and the train with a sudden jerk slowly pulled out of the station. The people in the train bid adieu to their relatives and friends on the platform who have come to see them off. Like all the children in the world Dipanshu too was talkative. Within a short span of time he became the blue-eyed boy in the bogie. He was enjoying the new-found attention and the experience of the jerky journey. Trees, bushes, farms, villages, and rail-way crossings flashed past his window. As time passed, gradually the initial excitement was gone. There was no other child to play with him. He looked through the window, bored and quite tired with the world inside the train.

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But for Dipanshu life was not meant to be bored, he found his new play mate among the trees and sometimes behind the small hills. It moved, skipped and jumped high and low, oh my God, Dipanshu realized that the round faced orange-colored Sun was best at its tricks. It was playing bo-peep with him. It was luring and slowly Dipanshu started playing with his friend, whom he called - "Hey Sunny". He liked playing with Sunny because it was different from his friends. This red-yellowish round faced companion always came out from its hiding and took chance to be caught again and again by Dipanshu. And he loved winning all the time. There was no need to run here and there, he just needed to peep through both the windows simultaneously jumping from one seat to the opposite seat.

The green fields, trees, bushes, valleys, and the rivers they crossed all added more fun and frolic to their game. Slowly, the game became more intense and interesting until Dipanshu's Dad and Mom intervened. He was becoming a nuisance to the world of adults. He was pulled away from the window by his Dad thus putting an end to his wonderful game. But Sunny continued to play bo-peep unaware of the happenings.

Dipanshu was guided to the washbasin to wash his face and hands by his Dad. A cool wind was blowing through the open iron door of the moving long big worm-like machine. Dipanshu's eyes were frantically looking to catch a glimpse of Sunny while his face was being wiped by his Dad. There, behind the small bald hill Sunny appeared cheerful, Dipanshu with a lightning speed freed himself from the hold of his Dad and rushed near the door.

There was a sudden jerk... blood splattered over the rails and on the tracks...people shouted, screamed, wailed.... someone pulled the chain.... the long big worm-like machine came to a halt...

The train slowly pushed itself forward after someone blew a whistle and soon it gathered the speed of the wind. The round-faced beaming Sunny appeared from nowhere in search of a new little friend to continue to play bo-peep and say "Peekaboo!", to create their paradise where no one dares to intervene...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Movie Review of Barefoot To Goa

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The Story Frame

Barefoot To Goa is a story of two siblings Prakhar and Dia who dares to cross the lakshman rekha (Boundaries) of the fast-paced, self-centered and indifferent world of adults to fetch their ailing grandmother from Goa. Their journey is a canvas of life revealing the contrast between the urban and rural, the city-lights and the starry nights of the villages, the way people behave, deal with each other and their outlook towards life and things around them.

A school project on Grandmother becomes the platform to convey a beautiful message to the world who talks and lives on instant connectivity.

Why the siblings have to run away from home, what are the hardships they endure during their journey and what awaits them in Goa is worth watching in the theatre. Barefoot to Goa is the first ever commercially released movie by 238 'Proud Funders' from fifteen countries.

Cast: Farrukh Jaffar (Grandma), Saara Nahar (Dia), Prakhar (Prakhar, as Dia's brother), Ajay Chourey (Typist), Kuldeep Dubey (Father), Purva Parag (Mother), Sharad  (Biker), Sonu Chourasia ( Police Officer), Gaurav Patel (Police Constable),  Pankaj Mali (Farmer), Sangita Mali (Farmer's Wife), Rajender Bhatia (Truck Driver), Arvind (Tempo Driver)

Genre: Family, Adventure, Drama, Children

Language: Hindi

Story: Praveen Morchhale

Director: Praveen Morchhale

Producer: Praveen Morchhale & Satyajeet Chourasia (Associate Producer)

Music: Jack Francis, Rohit Sharma

Singers: Yesudas, Tochi Raina

Sound: Bibek Basumatari

Film Editing by: Ujjwal Chandra

Cinematography: John Breakmas Kerketta

Art Direction: Nikita Shah

Theatre Release: 10th April, 2015

Duration: 77 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Mathru Devo Bhavah, Pithru Devo Bhavah, Aacharya Devo Bhavah and Athiti Devo Bhavah (Mother, Father, Teacher & the Guest are akin to God) are the age old teachings that the holi vedas gave us to follow. The movie Barefoot To Goa is a reminder for us that it is relationships and its values that make our life happy.

Praveen Morchhale is successful in presenting an unpretentious movie to the viewers cutting off the melodrama we are overly fed with these days every friday.

The very first frame of the movie sets the tone of the movie - Dadi (Farrukh Jaffar) lovingly making laddoo for her grandchildren and Yesudas's lullaby and its lyrics moves you to tears.

Dadi locking the door, her walking hurriedly through the coconut grove and amidst the banyan trees, passing by the village well, waiting all alone at the bus stop, stopping intermittently to catch her breath, incessantly coughing all the way to the typist office and her painful silence speaks a lot - her loneliness, helplessness, longing for her children and grandchildren, her hope, undeterred belief, values...

There are a few dialogues that happens between the typist (Ajay Chourey) and Dadi that leaves us to sit back and think - "Budappe aur dalti suraj ko andhakar se aakhirkar ladna padta hi", "Syahi se shabdon mai aatma aajathi hi" and "Amrahi ki chaav sab ki nazeeb mai nahi hota".

The camera that captures the minute details of the happenings are truly commendable - the tattered diary of Dadi having her baby son's black and white photo pasted on it, the school emblem displayed on the school uniform and the same displayed on the Dia's school notebook etc. 

Dia and her brother are so convincing! Dia's courage and confidence inspires. Her brother's carelessness finds me sharing the same page with him. His love and commitment towards his sister tags him to fulfill Dia's mission to bring their Dadi back. Their fights, disagreements, dilemmas, fear of not accomplishing their mission, playful acts are so beautifully depicted that it makes one indulge in reminiscence. There are some heart-piercing questions that Dia asks to her brother -"Tu Dadi ko marne dega kya"? Dia's guilt of freeing the birds from the scooterist basket who helped them in the journey are some moments that urges us to follow the dictates of conscience.

The scenic beauty of the road journey is captivating!

The movie has a very good intention with a strong social message but in the process it takes, may be, an unintentional bias towards portraying the cultural and values divide between the urban and the rural lot. The rural folks are more compassionate, caring, selfless and the city people are portrayed as self-centered, unethical, corrupt. The movie could have been less comparative in this regard and could have depicted the  goodness and vices in both - the urban and the rural.

Another aspect that is quiet debatable is the adventurous road trip pursued by the siblings and their encounter with only good Samaritans all the way up to Goa. It may be either the over-protective approach of the filmmaker towards his characters that make him parade a beeline of good people with large heart or it may be sheer luck for the two small angels barefoot to Goa.

The film had the room for more exploration and experimentation based on the beautiful theme; nonetheless, Praveen Morchhales' film truly deserves accolades for its good intentions.

Barefoot To Goa is a must watch for all those who value relationships and who have enjoyed or missed their parents "Bahon ka jhoola and loriya gaake tappkiya dena". It is undoubtedly a beautiful movie with a beautiful heart.

When you leave the movie hall, you leave with the first and the last sentences of Dadi's letter in your heart- "Priya beta Manoj, Aashirwad!" and " Tumhaari Maa".

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  3/5

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

चाहने से चाहत तक

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मेरे लिए चाहना ...
सिर्फ चाहना ही रहा है।
चाहने से लेकर
चाहत तक की सफर
मैंने तुमसे सीखा है।


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तुमसे फासले बनाकर
गुम हो गया हूँ मैं 
कभी वक़्त निकालकर मुझे
अपने भीतर ढूंढ लेना तुम !

गम का कफन

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तुम्हारी हर जागती हुई रात में
तुम्हारी आखों की निंदिया बनूं मैं,
तुम्हारी आखों से निकला हुआ
आखिरी आँसू बनूं मैं,
तुम्हारे दिल की दहलीज से निकली
आखिरी चीख बनूं मैं,
कभी ना लौटने वाला
आखिरी दुख बनूं मैं,
तुम्हारे दिल के आईने मे
मिटती आखिरी तस्वीर बनूं मैं,
तुम्हारे इस जन्म के हर
गम का कफन बनूं मैं...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Movie Review of 'Oru Vadakkan Selfie'

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The Story Frame

Oru Vadakkan Selfie is a story of a carefree, happy-go-lucky young engineering student Umesh (Nivin Pauly) who is infamous for failing in a row in his studies and having the burden of clearing 42 subjects from his three-year stint in his college.

Umesh picking up on the idea shared with him by his college buddy Shaji (Aju Varughese) and  friend Thankaprasad aka Thankamma, a tenth class drop-out (Neeraj Madhav) who is a bus conductor decides to make a short-film believing that it may fetch him luck, fame, money, and one day help him to work with Gautam Vasudev Menon, the noted film maker.

What happens to his attempt to make a short film, how does a beautiful  new neighbor Daisy (Manjima Mohan) and a selfie turns his life topsy turvy add spice to the storyline.
Oru Vadakkan Selfie also showcases how the social media has invaded the privacy of the generation X and how gullible social-media enthusiasts falls prey to people who have vested interest to fulfill. Vineeth Sreenivasan dons multiple hats on and off screen as an actor (Detective Jack in the movie), writer, lyricist and a singer.

Cast: Nivin Pauly (Umesh Manohar aka Uma), Manjima Mohan (Daisy George), Aju Varughese (Shaji), Neeraj Madhav (Thankaprasad aka Thankammma), Vineeth Sreenivasan (Detective Jack ), Vijayaraghavan (as Manohar Umesh's father), Sreelakshmi ( as Umesh's mother), P Sukumar (as Daisy's father), Parvaty T (as Daisy's mother)

Genre: Comedy

Language: Malayalam

Story: Vineeth Sreenivasan

Direction: G Prajith

Producer: Vinod Shornur

Cinematographer: Jomon T John

Music: Shaan Rahmaan

Film Editing by: Ranjan Abraham

Art: Ajay Mangad

Distributors : L J Films & Popcorn Entertainments, Australia
Theatre Release: 27th March, 2015

Duration: 142 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Off late, it is observed that the Malayalam film makers have become obsessed with the concept of force fitting the vices of the social media into every  second movie they come up with. Oru Vadakkan Selfie also has to deliver a long sermon on the flipside of social media - fake names, fake financial transfers, proxy servers, falling in love with people unknown etc. There is nothing wrong in it but then every week if you are dished out the same recipe with a new banner, cast and actors it becomes an over dose to the viewers.

The movie begins with the story of Umesh (Nivin Pauly) and later on meanders into many other sub plots (Harinarayan's (Diasy's boyfriend) diaapearance, land grabbing by a Gounder in Pallani, CID handling a case of economic offence and impersonation, suicide, marital dischord)  and ends up as the story of Diasy (Manjima Mohan) and her miseries in life.

Umesh, an Engineering student is known for his history of failing in 42 subjects in a row and for his street smart attitude to arrange question papers from his sources before the exams. Nivin Pauly is good as an irresponsible son and an aimless youth surrounded by equally dumb and happy-go-lucky friends.

The movie does have a lot of funny moments like: when Umesh asks his college mates "I have a doubt since my childhood, may I ask? What is theta?"; the one-liners 'Maranamass and the 'Kolamass' of Shaji (Aju Varughese); dialogues mentioning their fathers "ithu polorennum entte veetillum undu" (I too have one such piece in my home as well); greeting friends by saying "Enthelaa"; Dollar Harita etc.

Aju Varughese is definitely the centre of all hilarious moments but then it seems he has become the replica of Suraj Venjaramoodu and has nothing distinct of his own to offer. Manjima Mohan as the hapless lass emotes less and could have been better.  
Vineet Srineevasan as Jack the Tracker tries hard to play this not-so-realistic character. If he had spent more time to track where the story line is going he would have either shelved it or would have definitely come up with a better version of Oru Vadakkan Selfie.

The songs - 'Enne tallenda ammava jnan nanna oola", "Aararo niyaaro", Chennai pattanum enikkum kittanum", "Parvanna vidhuve povathu evide" and its music are good.
Oru Vadakkan Selfie is a collage of jokes and one liners picked up from here and there and presented to the viewers marinated with a weak storyline by Vineeth Srineevasan, Prajith and friends.

It can be watched once if you want to laugh without bothering much what the story is all about.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  2/5

Monday, April 6, 2015

Movie Review of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy !

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Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy), Anand Tiwari (Ajit Bandyopadhyay), Swastika Mukherjee (Angoori Devi), Divya Menon (Satyawati), Neeraj Kabi (Dr. Anukul Duha), Meiyang Chang (Kanai Dao), Mark Bennington (Deputy Commissioner Wilkie), Dr. Kaushik Ghosh (Gajanan Sikdar), Shivum (Sukumar

Genre: Thriller

Direction: Dibaker Banerjee

Produced by: Aditya Chopra & Dibaker Banerjee

Production Companies: Yash Raj Films & Dibakar Banerjee Productions

Cinematographer: Nikos Andritsakis

Music: Various Artists

Film Editing by: Manas Mittal & Namrata Rao

Distributors : Yash Raj Films

Theatre Release: 3rd April, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 148 minutes

The Story Frame:

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is a film based on the Bengali writer Saradindu Bandopadhyay's iconic detective series, which was also screened as a television series from 1993 to 1997 on DD National.  The story is about a student approached by his fellow classmate to investigate the disappearance of his father. The student turned sleuth Byomkesh Bakshy on his first case embarks on a thrilling investigation that turns out to be lethal and haunting day by day. This story is set up in the backdrop of 1942 Calcutta ruled by Britishers in India.

The disappearance of Bhuvan Babu leads to a series of dots which needs to be connected to reach the real villain of the story and how Byomkesh does it with his distinct style of investigation is something to watch in the theatres. Murder, suspicion, treachery, conspiracy, nationalism, and revenge awaits you...

What happens to Byomkesh and his case, who is the actual murderer of Bhuvan,  what is the connection between the Japanese and the Indian Nationalists ... I am sure you would love to watch on screen :)

Reviewer's Thumb Mark:

Byomkesh Bakshi, the ace Bengali detective from the 1993-1997 DD National TV Series has been bottled and labeled with a different flavour by Dibaker Banerjee by naming him Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (with a 'Y' instead of an 'i" and an exclamatory mark'!'that evokes more suspense and curiosity in store for the viewers).  Amid air raids and the impending warnings of attacks of the Japanese bombings over Calcutta in World War II era the story of a student turned detective steps on a journey of unraveling the secrets of  rivalry between two-drug dealers (Shangai's Green Gang and Yang Guan)  for supremacy entangled amidst a political movement against the Britishers in India. Never did Byomkesh imagine that he would stumble upon a minefield of dangerous and fatal happenings by taking up the job of a fellow-student Ajit's father Bhuvan's missing case, that too reluctantly.

Neatly  crafted by Dibaker Banerjee (Director) and  Nikos Andritsakis (cinematographer) makes you sit with eyes glued on the screen not to miss the sequence of mystery unraveling added with thrill that pushes you to the edge of the seat wanting more.  The Calcutta of 40's is so beautifully depicted that one can't resist appreciating the work of the film maker in this regard. The cars, trams, billboards, the ramshackle buildings and the streets are a delight to watch.

In the pursuit of including too many aspects of what was happening then, the film portrays many subplots that make the viewers hard to focus with ease. The sequence are missed in the mind and before we could recollect and link, its time to lose another link and therefore leaves room to drift and lose track of the story.

The Villain Yang Guan (Neeraj Kabi) stands apart with his performance especially when he is unmasked by Byomkesh by his logical sequencing of story narration connecting the dots in front of  Sukumar, Dr.Watanabe, Satyawati (Divya Menon), Actress Angoori (Swastika Mukherjee) and Ajit. Yang Guan saying "Sach ke rang dekha hi? ... Laal" makes him look more dreadful when he fearlessly mocks Byomkesh. Meiyang Chang as Kanai Dao, a licensed opium merchant, is noticeable for his short but good performance.

Shushant Singh Rajput as the young Bengali sleuth, Byomkesh Bakshy, definitely manages to create an impact by fitting into the character so well by his acting. "Sach ke aas pass wala jhoot pakadna mushkil hota hi", and it truly seems to be when the sleuth is found to be caught in a maze difficult to come out off. I must say that Sushant handles the pivotal role with great ease.

Divya Menon as Satyawati has nothing much to offer on screen rather she is an ornamental character whom the sleuth asks to be with for the rest of his life in exchange for saving her brother Sukumar's life. Swastika Mukherjee as a seductress adds steam and twist to the plot with her presence in the middle of all the happenings.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! definitely deserves a onetime watch. It definitely may not appeal to some who want to watch movies with a straight and simplistic narration. It may also dishearten die-hard fans of the original Byomkesh Bakshi created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay because of  Dibaker Banerjee taking liberty to fiddle with the character to make appealing to his story line.

When the screen roles with the end titles, the dialogue - "Bakshi Babu Mere Dosti Nahi Lepaye Tho Mere Dushmani Kaise Le Paavonge...", remains there in our mind leaving us to speculate a comeback of Bakshi and Yang Guan in a sequel to settle scores with each other.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  3/5 (Good)