Category Archives: “Her” Perspective

“Kaatru Veliyidai”- “Her” Perspective

images

It was a bright Monday morning.

I had planned for a movie afternoon with my friend where we both brought along our moms. We both were the single child, with our mom’s always complaining to us that we hardly ever spent time with them. It was our hectic schedule as students to be blamed with. We singled out on the movie, Kaatru Veliyidai( Amidst the Breeze), the title inspired by a famous Tamil poet, Bhartiyaar’s poetry. We decided upon this movie on a rush, for on the last day of our semester during our outing with our gang of friends at KFC, we asked our friends for a movie outing, for others were too intended to study, and thus, me and my other friend decided we better watch the movies by ourselves and also involve our moms, for more the merrier.

We knew right from the start that watching this movie with our overprotective moms was not the best option, but watching it with friends in the first place was something only we, single ladies could think of. My other friends either in love or married looked at us like we committed blasphemy when we suggested them this movie for our class movie gets together. Well, they had booked this movie out with their loved ones, and we( me and my friend) decided to pull our loved ones along with us to watch this movie.

Not wanting to get side-tracked, I go back to the theater where I was seated with mom waiting for my friend and her mom stuck in traffic to arrive and staring at the screens, while the reviews I had read keep running in my head filling the back story. From this post, you could’ve guessed my love for back story and this story is in no way, did justice to that love. Also, note that this post isn’t a full blown review of that movie.

For it has been over weeks since I last saw this movie and after a countless conversation with mom and other friends, who watched this movie, reading countless movies, I am still lost upon this movie. Being a literature graduate and a writer by choice, I no longer can see a movie for the heck of it. I like finding themes, analyzing character growth and finding out why the writer or the storyteller thought out the story the way he did! During the course of the movie, all I could think was, “Oh, boy! How hard has the legendary Maniratnam tried to decode us, the millennials and Gen-Y’s and still couldn’t get the formula right down to the slates.”

When I was in the second year of college as a literature student, I was forced to attend a scriptwriting class by good-willed teachers who thought it could help me more in my pursuit of being a writer. I never was interested in script-writing, but the workshop did teach me a lesson or two about how Kollywood (Tamil industry) work. They adopt this technique of therukootu (street play) where you combine nava-rasa(9 flavors of expression such as happiness, sadness and so on) to give the audience a filling of completeness— a feeling that was missing even weeks after watching this movie. I am left questioning what the hell happened in the last three hours.

The industry also works on some interesting concepts called formulas. No, I am not talking about math or even chemistry class, but actual techniques that filmmakers and writers in the industry have worked out after constant trial and error method to decode the typical audience. It’s good to know your audience and give them what they want and sometimes, it just becomes too monotone. That’s exactly what has happened with this movie.

Maniratnam, the film’s director choose to play by his strengths and usual themes such as darkness, light, hope and kind, yet strong hearted female, Leela protagonist showing hope and light to a male protagonist, VC. But, this has back-bitted him for the entire movie looked to our audience, especially to the critical ones like me, my friend and my mom a glimpse of some repetitive imageries and a memory down the lane of all the movies that he has directed so on. As one reviewer pointed out, the film just lacked the train imagery, for which was weaved into the plotline when Leela tells VC of her plan to travel by train to somewhere where he can never find her.

Also, the non-linear fashion of narration didn’t work on this plotline, for this was a much simpler plotline of a battle of wits and heart set against the backdrop of Kargil War. A linear plotline could’ve done maybe going by the original of VC just reminiscing his past fully without a break and then with that renewed energy planning for an escape. That could have done much better job, for otherwise the movie felt quite rushed as if the writer wasn’t at his/her best.

647_032217110042

Now, this all said and done, let’s go back to the Monday afternoon where I made up for my missed breakfast with a crème donut that mom brought for me, and saw the title of the movie going up on the screen, eagerly waiting for my friend to join us soon.

Kargil War, 1999

The screen read and suddenly it took me and my mom to days when uncle was a part of that war and the tales he told us about. Introduced as fighter pilot, Kaarthi, the actor who acted as VC, the protagonist soon took us both to the time when I mock flied a fighter plane in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) during our time in Bengaluru. Before we could actually reminisce our times and connection with armies and wars, things roll by and VC is captured. Like the plight of a true warrior caught at war, we’re soon taken to Rawalpindi prison where he is tortured and prisoned. Here’s where VC takes off in a poetic style of reminisce his time about Leela, the only light in his dark life as he recalls.

Like the nature of the hot, passionate romance time flies back and VC first meets Leela when she first nurses him to health after his accident. VC soon dumps his girlfriend who happens to be his superior’s daughter and follows Leela to capture her heart. Leela who is smitten by VC, the mate of her dead brother, is smitten by the image of VC that she had carried in her heart as a teen. This pair was doomed to fail right from the start. VC like the typical chauvinist that he is, and you can’t blame it on him, for the defense in its crude ways instills patriarchal ideas and behavior on men which I’ve noticed first hand. Formed by the British, the men in defense filled with ideas of chivalry are often left to feel that the true duty of a woman is to be domesticated.

VC in a way tries to domesticate the free-spirited Leela who chooses a career to be with the last memories of her brother, choose a man for the image she had in her mind and left him when she realized the reality. Leela and VC both in their own ways are way too immature like they were never ready for this intensity of love. Like they say the right love and people brought together at the wrong time.

Leela seemed to be a woman struck in her past, grieving her brother’s death and finding solace in VC and the lifestyle he provided her with, while, VC was smitten by her beauty and warmth that seemed to be missing from his life right from childhood to then. We’re shown glimpse to the character’s childhood either through dialogues or actually visiting their families and as Freud puts the base of their characters did form from the experience they had in childhood. The director quite cleverly showed us VC’s family when he takes Leela to his brother’s wedding as his girlfriend. He had grown up with a patronizing father making him feel that patronizing others was his only way to feel in control.

Much of Leela and her growth as a character was lost in translation for most of her life is only shown through the present moment and dialogues. Maybe also because since VC was the narrator, the prime focus was on his character than others as such and as emphasized VC was a self-centred person who put himself first and when you put him as a narrator, you’ve to bear with such risks.

What could’ve helped the story was a little experimentation and inclusion of other characters and their back stories. I would like to know if Dr. Nidhi did get RJ Balaji’s character, why she did like him and why he liked Leela in the first place. Maybe a little more emphasize on the backdrop of Kargil war, life pre and post-Kargil war and what actually was the environment for those posted in Kashmir be like? A little focuses on army families and lifestyle, for when else would a civilian get to live and know of such life?

When I saw the teasers, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was definitely expecting some real period movie feels. Like now, 1999 isn’t too far off, just two decades away and when I was 3 then, yet, life did change in a great deal, so did the character and personality of the people. As far as, the visuals, I could see a glimpse of life as it used to when I was 3, but as far as people, I couldn’t see Gen-Y’s but millennial. I couldn’t see the young neighbor of mine who was of Leela’s age when I was 3, but maybe of myself or a glimpse of my friend on Leela. My mom, who though wasn’t of Leela’s age in 99, was still close to the age group and still can’t digest the blatant display of lust on-screen.  It was as much as of a cultural shock as it was when she saw Alia swiping on Tinder in “Love you, Zindagi”. Maybe, they should’ve just met on Tinder in real time than in 98, in an army party, now that’d have made a good story. (Note my dripping sarcasm)

VC was all that I read and saw on novels, tall, handsome, arrogant, brooding man in need of an angelic love interest to save his life. She did save him, not in person, but as a memory. She was that symbol of his mistakes and she maybe was the gift he won when he reformed and forgiven. Until, the end she was an object that only cried to be a human being, set her rights, let her voice be heard. Amidst VC really using her as a trophy wife or GF, she was losing herself and sanity. She needed the much-needed break. But, this quest for self-identity and standing against domestication was a character of 2017’s rather than 1999’s. Maybe, he wanted Leela to be relatable, but Tara was more relatable and realistic.

Both VC and Leela looked fresh out of amateur romance novels that I read online and offline written by amateur writers who take references from legends and classic. On the whole, it lacked originality, the understanding of characters of the time it represented and of relationships of that time.

The ending was forced in itself and dramatic, yet again. I concluded with it that I did read something like this on Wattpad or come up with such dramatic tale when I was a teen. A Happy ending is not when the original pairs bond together, but really when they find happiness either together or on their own. What Leela and VC had was an obsession and unhealthy relationship of dependency. In a way, Leela did create a world of her own, following her passion for serving the needy, but when VC returns she gives into her pangs of loneliness and hope. She takes him in, shows her daughter (who she earlier hinted to have dropped, when VC refuses marriage) and they’re shown in a reunion o the happy family.

If that was all she wanted, she could’ve stayed back and VC would’ve escaped the prison even then for Leela. There was no point in her running away, the entire capture would’ve changed him anyway, and their reunion was unrealistic.

On the whole, when the film ended I was feeling all over the place and that could be quite reflected in this post. I was feeling like the story was rushed without giving the characters time to show their destiny. As a writer I believe in letting my characters guide me through their story, for each character is different. Once again another established writer did fall prey to comfort zones. He could’ve experimented and this could have been a timeless tale of love that overcame ego and war, the internal and external battles of our time.

The end verdict is it could’ve been an excellent tale if executed well; still there were certain places where the film shone bright despite flaws. It could’ve made an excellent movie to screen in some script-writing workshop or How to review a movie or story 101 or even Critical Analysis of a story techniques, where this could’ve acted as a great reference to show how to use symbols such as weather, breeze and characters to guide the story to its time- love is blind and all is fair in love and war. The visuals blinded me, despite it being OOty or Kashmiri, the period setting taking me back in time; it indeed was a visual treat. I learnt so much about techniques and symbols, when I actually wanted to learn more about plot and characters.

To end with, it’s a movie that has lost its beauty for its themes and plotline has been a well abused one and we’re left to wistfully wish, “If only they’d executed it differently, it could have been the most beautiful and fulfilling movie I had ever seen!”

Despite regrets, we had our fun commenting and singing along to Soulful A. R. Rahman’s music, me and my friend singing Alagizhae  aloud and annoying couples around, gushing over Nalai Allai’s singer and reviewing the film over a heavy lunch and way back home. “What let us down,” as we all agreed, “was the music though awesome, never actually fit the plotline and to be frank, felt quite forcefully placed into the movie.”

As all memories of the movie, faded away all remain was the lovely time we spent with our mom and as friends. You can watch it once or even twice to be lost in beautiful visuals, trying decoding simple characters presented in complicated way, and getting drunk on ARR’s music.

That was my perspective on the movie, now what was yours? I would so like to listen to yours, do comment on the comment box below and like, share and follow my blog for more awesome posts like these 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

images

647_032217110042

The Conflict between Inner and Exterior Beauty: So, what makes you beautiful?

girls-beautyredefined-half-2-1024x588Right from a very young age, my parents counselled me only on one thing—that is to be me and let my inner beauty radiate to the world. As a kid, the notion suited me perfectly well, for even the Disney fairytales that I was obsessed with talked of the same notion. Cinderella found her godmother and the Prince charming who lived with her happily ever after. The ugly duckling grew into a beautiful swan and found her happily ever after.

I, like a naive fool believed that one day I, this lanky, tall, skinny kid will magically be transformed into a beauty that the fairtales talked about. Well, did that happen? Sadly, no! For the ugly truth followed in and growing years were never easy. The societal image was too hard to cope. When I was skinny I was teased and later as I grew up into a bulky teen, skinny became in-thing.

So, was it ever easy and comprehensible to a little kid like me born in this capitalist world obsessed with consumerism which is a world which has solutions to the problems that one might never even have in the first place!

Tired of being skinny, drink our product.”

 “Oh, does being dark makes you feel low; use our product for instant fairness”.

I might have been perfectly happy being skinny, dark, but these advertisements and common notions of the society makes me question the very concept of being me and accepting me as I am.

Oh, the horror of flipping through a beauty magazine or blog. Don’t get me started. That’d be like a confession of a shopaholic for all it made me was to question my quirky fashion sense and make me buy all products on the counter and make me look like a clown.

Many teenagers and young-adults like me, today are in a dilemma: To wear or to not wear makeup; To dress or not to dress up?

Such is the state that most of us are pushed to by this society filled with pressures and high standards set by the media. We all want that hourglass figure, fair skin that is being in trend now and then da-da, the trend fades and again we want something else. Can we ever be satisfied with what we are and what we have, like my parents advised me to let my inner beauty glow?

Okay, supposing you’ve finally find your peace and happy with your quirky style, there will always be a group of gossip girls(okay, just people) that would talk either at your back or straight at your face, that either you’re over-dressed or underdressed? Now, the Good Lord, what am I to do?

Well, just ignore them and follow my heart destined to take me where I belong.

Now comes, the conflict of inner beauty. You know those days when you’re update with the trend and fashion and have everybody praising your fashion sense, but you just feel like, ‘Blah. I feel just me. Kill this makeover!’ Those are the days when this conflict raises high. So, which store will sell inner beauty to me?

Forgive this offspring of consumerism. I am so vexed to search for my inner self and beauty in stores. That’s where we all are pushed to. So, to coming to find our inner beauty and let it radiate, I learnt it the tough way, most of us, learn. I fell hard, flat on nose, bullied and made fun for my quirky sense which was nothing but me trying to copy the fashion-bloggers out there.

I stopped being me, which gave the gossip girl a fodder to play with. I was picked upon, bullied and made fun of!

 

Somewhere down the lane, I forgot that fashion beings with you—You finding who you are and letting your style speak for you instead.

With this is mind, remember that now who am I or the media to tell you, what makes you beautiful? It’s up to you to find your definition of beauty.

All the best in your process and in your journey to find your beauty, don’t forget to make the best of it and have fun. Let your heart play along and have fun.

All the best people!!

I wish you good luck in finding your individuality and fashion sense.

dramaworld-0-540x303

The world of soap opera: From her perspective

The drama has always been a part of my life.

I’ve been a very dramatic person, at least a dramatic writer that much I can say!

My mom believes I really do have a good career in theatrics, so does my teachers and friends for I’ve always been well appreciated for my voice-acting and oration skills.

But the drama that I am talking about today isn’t about theaters or operas on stage, it’s more on the soap operas that we see on telly.

I’ve always been addicted to TV. Growing up in a nuclear family, I enjoyed watching different plot lines being played out in movies or soap operas for they helped me daydream better and maybe even create fan-fiction out of those stories. Maybe that’s how I started building up castles on air and wanted to take up story-telling as a serious passion of mine that I hope to build a career upon.

Growing up as every other teenager, I was enthralled by the world of soap operas on TV. I watched them on all languages, my regional language (Tamil), Hindi and maybe even a few English soap operas. Seeing these regional, Indian soap operas, I noticed a common theme, a too-good-to-be female protagonist, arrogant, rich, male protagonist who falls for this beautiful lady(who is way too beautiful inside-out), a really mean set of in-laws. Somehow, these patterns continued and I was falling out of love each day, as to increase TRP(Television Rating Point)

The plotlines are quite the same everywhere. They’re these Mills&Boon styles of romance storylines that we can never get tired of! Club it in with some traditional prejudice or expectations of women to be superwomen that can be the ‘best’ in all sphere was inspiring and scary at times. Often times, my rebellious teen self that believed that my destiny was far beyond domestication and marriage, was unintentionally forced to believe by this depiction that maybe marriage was the end game of it all. I used to ask myself why really am I finding it difficult to tame myself and follow rules. Or why am I too timid at times, and can’t stand up for myself like those female protagonists could do for themselves? Those lengthy dialogues about parampara(culture) or khandan(your dynasty or family legacy) often left me wondering why couldn’t I see myself there?

Somehow, these patterns of self-doubt, criticism and even shame of being too addictive to these soap operas even when I wanted to leave continued to happen and simultaneously, I was falling out of love with these soap operas each day. The reason being that the directors and writers so as to increase TRP(Television Rating Point), often brought in a horribly executed twist and turns like changing the original pairs, making the hero the villain and may other illogical situations. The story never followed the original plotline and it often left me agitated.

Also, it was during the time when I had taken the biggest and best decision of my life to follow my dreams and with my parents support to join English Literature as my undergraduate major. I would proudly say this that literature has made me a good critic and observer of art. I could no longer see things nonchalantly and I started to see patterns perspectives and things deeper than what was visible to the naked eye. The soap operas that just seemed a fancy place to experiment with the different plotline now became a place where I see how media potrays women and culture through their work. I was now seeing sense as how we all were being brainwashed to be a certain way and how our fears and insecruities of rejections were being used to play around and make us feel the need to become that next “perfect” bahu (daughter-in-law), beti (daughter), behan (sister), ma (mother), dadi (Grandmother) and saas (mother-in-law). 

Each of this role expected a certain sense of behavior and if you fail to exhibit it you’d fail the name of your khandan. Lost in the burden and maze of responsibilities women often found themselves caged by the high standard image set by the women. The world of women, even men at times was like a cat on the wall. A woman is judged by the tone of her skin, swell of her hip and strength of her voice. While a man is judged when tears swell in his eyes, passion blinds his love for career and body sways to the music of life. These images are as stereotyped as those soap operas itself! They may not be true in all cases and I’d be the happiest if they were never true at all.

A few years later, in the first year of my college, I accidently found the magic world of Korean and other Asian counterparts like Japanese, Chinese and Thai drama, when one of my classmates suggested that I see a Korean film Seducing Mr. Perfect. It was the perfect cheesy rom-com movie of my style and me, once again fell prey to those addictive movies and drama where I could get a glimpse of a foreign land and its natives without even having to pay a penny or move my butt anywhere. It was too enticing, as it was all the same like my reading or writing hours where I can travel to anywhere in the world, without actually moving out of a room.

I lost myself to the glitter and glamor of life as shown by these dramas. I was star struck by the magnificent build and personality of Lee Min Ho Oppa, I enjoyed swaying to the dance moves by Takumi Saito, engrossed by the powerful and relatable acting skills of Ryoko Shinhara and lost to the magic of Aaron Yan’s double-trouble action roles. I was close to losing myself to the prejudices and societal standards of a foreign land, like when I saw Geum Gan-Di in Boys over Flowers, I thought to myself how cool, happy and bubbly Koreans are! Maybe, I should become like that too. I was once again about to become into yet another stereotype set by a foreign country, but that’s where I learned more about individuality, diversity, and culture.

Slowly, as I grew more attached to these dramas, I once again saw a pattern hidden in these dramas too. Their media was tricking their viewers to confirm to their societal stereotypes. Encouraging images of perfect skin tone, lathered with about 19 skin creams and treatments in the face of the actors be it men or women, skinny women who never seemed to put on weight despite stuffing their mouth with food and well-built men who worked out in gym, inherited money and emotional baggage from parents and over-conscious about their looks.

Was it even giving or showing positive life or lifestyle?

The horror of reality is far away from this glitter and glamor of Hallyu world. Behind every over-achieving kid, be it Kim Yuna, the world-class skater or Ye-bin, the internet sensational kid who stole the hearts of netizens through her innocence and childish charms, there are hidden stories of students considering suicide as an option to escape pressure build in school and homes to excel in studies. There are stories of kids as young as 13, pestering parents to buy makeup or even ask for a plastic surgery so that they look as pretty as their Hallyu stars. There are stories of women lathering creams and face mask sheets in the hope of turning fair and suddenly bagging that “perfect” guy with hot looks and money. Stories of men feeling like a failure for they’re neither as good looking as the Hallyu stars nor as successful in their careers as they’re expected.

You get to hear horrifying stories of North Korean defectors, the ‘feminist’ in China encouraging their women to marry before the age of 25, after which they’d become ‘dried fish’ or the exceptional standards of expectation men have on women and likewise thanks to the Weeaboo and Hallyu effect.

Then, you grow up to understand that boundaries on a map, the difference in skin tone, race, culture, and history of existence as fancy and distant they might sound are just theories put on paper. In reality, we all as whole as people trying to find our individuality in a world that unconsciously influences us to follow it’s rules, societal standards, and system. At the end of the day, we all are human being striving to live our lives they way we dream to be, without even realizing that our dreams have long been corrupted by a system of commercialization. The dream

The dream to be famous, be heard and accepted is just a glimpse of horizon reaching out to which we lose our self, our identity and originality. Perspective can be a very strange thing, it’s like seeing the world from different angles, something even through a colored glass mirror of prejudice. The soap operas, variety shows, and telly’s that we so happily consume as a medium of entertainment, does it really entertain us or is it just another medium to instruct subconsciously to become yet another Harry and Dickenson? Is it challenging our originality to be plain, old, boring Jane and asking us to turn into pale, tan, blondes that all look the same?

If we were to look the same why did God or the creator even create us differently? We could have been yet another Wall-E and Eve? Just another machine created to fulfill man’s curiosity. It’s somewhat a challenge in this Era of Social Media to pick up our self-esteem and stand up for our quirkiness and unique personality. But, maybe a few more dose of soap operas, books and another medium of art, I find myself, my personality and embrace it as it goes.

What about you?

When do you plan on sharpening your perspectives and seeing the danger of this monotone world of extreme black and whites?

Aren’t we all just another shade of gray, with different level of goodness and evilness hidden with us?

My addiction to Asian dramas seems to have made me think about. What has been your story when it comes to Asian drama addiction? Do let us know in the comment box below.

P.S.: Mom thinks I should one day use all these random surfing and understanding of human cultures and perspectives (especially the Asian roots) into some kind of research paper or book publication(maybe on diversity or effects of media on the masses). Well, mom, I’ve taken a small baby step here. Do let me in the comment box below if I should take up on this ambitious challenge. Do you think I can do it?

A huge shoutout to fellow writers, thinkers, and aesthetes who love seeing the world from different perspectives and glass mirrors. Let’s keep perceiving the world as much as we could.

Do like, share, comment and follow to keep in touch with a fellow aesthete.