A sip of guilt, epiphany and a first class pass

Being a 25 year old without a job is jaw dropping (in a bad way), especially if your parents were heavy achievers at the same age. This incident took place two days after Ashish (my brother) and I returned from Hyderabad where BITS Pilani screened our much acclaimed film Heels. The day of our return, my wonderful mother cooked enough meal for the three of us and while eating hurriedly (which I usually do), we told her how proud we felt the moment Heels was screened and some other experiences. While the day went well by resting and catching up on some Avengers Endgame theories, the next entirely changed my life.

The day after returning home, I realized that I had to clear pending dues of my fees. So, I gathered all the courage and implored my mother to lend me some money which I would clear month by month, if I get a job. That ‘if’ was killing me for the last three and a half months. I started questioning my ability, even the purpose of my existence. Mom asked some monetary questions and satisfied with the answers, she agreed to lend me the money, which I am supposed to pay back.

Once the dues were cleared, we sat for some tea and the ball dropped on my head – how carelessly I have been spending money for the last three months without contributing a single penny. To tell you a little back story, as soon as I left my earlier job, I promised myself that I’ll start practicing a certain software and shift my field, which didn’t happen, till date. I guess I was a bit shattered with the whole enchilada. Coming back to the present, the so obvious scenario eternally shocked me and that’s when I had an epiphany – content writing. People have been complimenting my writing skills and it made me think about working as a content writer.

The idea was teeth-rattling, going out of my comfort zone, that too in a field I know nothing of. I then reminded myself that I did step out of my comfort zone once and a similar incident wouldn’t repeat. So, I installed Indeed, edited my resume and started applying. To my surprise, out of the 5 places that I had applied, I got myself an interview for 3 jobs. The three job descriptions – even though content – were poles apart. But I had a little chat with the mirror me and decided to interview only for 3nions, a tech firm wherein I could write about technology; usually I vex people about unwanted advice on tec and now I might get paid to do that.

Next thing I knew, I had shed my cocoon and was ready to fly with little to no fear in my heart. So, without wasting any more time, I booked a monthly first class pass to Bhayandar, a journey I never thought I could embark on.


An abandoned purse and a packet of chips

People of Mumbai traveling to and from work are definitely aware about local trains and how jaded yet holistic it is. A distance of 43 kilometers can be covered in just a few minutes, given that you hop onto an accurate train. I’ve never enthusiastically spoken about this particular mode of transport, so why am I given an elucidation about it? It’s akin to how a DC fanatic would start vigorously speaking about how supercalifragilisticexpialidocious MCU movies are (because they are!)

It’s a short sequence of my life that unfolded a few days ago at Mira Road station where I went to meet a friend, Vashishtha. We were supposed to watch Captain Marvel (Brie Larson is BAE!) but it turned out to be a Hindi version so we scrapped the idea. Instead, we showed ourselves in at a McD outlet to eat those extra calories. And as they say, whatever happens, happens for reason. Missing Captain Marvel proved beneficial for me as I got my hands on those dream glares (Thanks Shweta!) After a ride to Mira Road station, I realizes I was a bit late on my way home so I decided to catch a slow train directly to my desired destination.

As I was eagerly waiting for my ride, I saw a woman precariously catching a running train during which, she dropped her purse onto the platform. In order to hand over her purse, I picked it up and ran after the train but in vain. I’m no Flash to catch a running train! A gentleman advised me to submit the purse at a police station but as my train arrived, I chose to take it with me and contact the lady. It turns out, she lived close to me. So I called the lady but the response was invalid. I kept trying; Even sent her a few mess which weren’t delivered.

I carried her purse with me the next day to the office thinking that at least now she might be reached. But that didn’t happen and I felt a burden of some sorts and thus I decided to hand the purse over to the Mumbai Central Railway Police station. On the way back home, I bought two packs of baked potato chips, which I convinced myself to be fat-free (Can you believe?) I then booked an Ola cab for home, which landed right in front me – Thank you, Fairy Godmother! I shared my chips with the gentleman who was to drive me home.

There are times when you feel rapturous for some inexplicable reasons and this was one of them. Maybe being the good Samaritan was the reason or that I got a cab right in front of me, I can’t say.

I am a TEA-totaller

World is a vicious circle, which witnesses infinite possibilities. People are addicted to drugs, some to alcohol; nerds are established book readers or computer experts. While today’s plague points at cell phone addiction (which every smartphones owner is), I’m a tea addict. Yes! Not alcohol, neither drugs but tea. Known as chai in Hindi, my face gets vibrant by a mere mention of this magical word. Tea is a household beverage offered out of manners for guests, it is for me, a holy drink.

I’m sure you folks are aware what goes into making a tea. It’s simple, does not give headache while makings (heals headaches) and is delicious. Just like there are myriads of choices for alcohol, one can choose from hundreds of different tea concoctions which has its benefits. My least favorite is the black tea (swear I’m not being racist) while the type that I love the most is a ginger tea, which is great in winter but I consume it regardless of any season.

Like me, there are other tea fanatics, who worship this beverage and consume it early morning, in office breaks, after a heavy pani-puri or when an owl is creeping you out. The superhero fandoms either belong to Marvel or DC, there’s a similar battle amongst tea lovers and coffee aficionados. Also, one is tremendously judged for their beverage choice (I don’t).
Back home, I’m known for making extra tea, which I drink copiously. There are times when I become selfish and just want to treat myself with a fresh and hot tea only to drink it cold. My friends wake me up at 4 a.m. just to serve me tea and if escapade is hidden from me, they know I’ll boil them with the tea (just a harmless joke).

No matter what happens, even if everything goes south, or I’m on my deathbed, I always have and always will prefer a tea. Cheers to all the fellow tea lovers, and makers, to that extent.

Badla – It’s all about perception

A pregnant woman searching for her husband – Ring any bells? Yes, I’m talking about Kahaani, a beautifully concocted mystery thriller given to us 7 years ago by Sujoy Ghosh, whose editor Namrata Rao won a National Award (the only trustworthy award in the country now). He has striked again, with Badla. A spider’s web, Badla is a thriller tale of a pompous and dubious businesswoman Naina Sethi (the beguiling Taapsee Pannu) accused for a murder whose cool as a cucumber lawyer Badal Gupta (the legend Amitabh Bachchan) put forth a room drama to find the real murderer.

You want to sympathize with Naina, given the arduous environment around her, which has declared her an accused for her boyfriend’s murder, who she keeps referring to as a mistake. The story is simple – a murderer who inconspicuously muderered and vanished into thin air, without leaving a trace. The point is, Naina was the only one found at the crime scene. Enter Badal Gupta, whose area of expertise is ‘creating’ witnesses. Even though the story hints at simple manipulation, this well is too deep to even guess the dip. There are light moments in the film, which do not overshadow the fact that Naina is still the accused. The background score keeps you glued to chair, shifting the tone at the whim of the moment. A special mention to the editor Monisha R. Baldawa, whose editing has a prowess on the film’s presentation, especially a shot where a lighter is thrown, which acts as a metaphor to a drowning car.

Many of you might remember Taapse & Amitabh’s chemistry in the 2016 crime drama Pink. Not much has changed here; Taapse is still the accused & Amitabh is defending her (yet to). So what makes you want to watch them again? The storyline, of course! Pink and Badla are like chalk and cheese. Both the actors give a refreshing performance in what may seem like a same film set in a parallel universe. Amrita Singh plays a mother, Rani Kaur whose son didn’t make it home. Her character has two arcs – a talkative and a decisive being, both of which she plays with enough gravitas. Tanveer Ghani, who plays Amrita’s husband has nothing much to do apart from fighting who’s the best actor amongst the couple. Tony Luke, playing Taapsee’s paramour is nothing to write home about. Much is said about his accent rather than his acting. Badal Gupta always talks about ‘small details’, referencing that the plot of the deception lies in conspicuous yet small details.

Should you go and watch Badla? Sujoy Ghosh fans can rejoice while others should celebrate a good thriller after a long time. Seriously, long time.

Will the CAPTAINS IRON out the BLACK shadow lurking somewhere in an ANT of a world?

What’s with the title, one might ask. I’m just being clever, if that isn’t too conspicuous. I know it doesn’t make sense but I like it and there are a lot of things that don’t make sense work in real life. (Trump’s presidency, for instance.)

So, just yesterday Marvel dropped a brand new trailer for Avengers: End Game and damn it’s earth-shattering. We get to see past glimpses of some of the heroes and their genesis in some black and white ‘oh I remember this vividly’ footages which tells the tale that this is going to be huge. The establishing shot feels a bit post apocalyptic where posters of lost people can be seen. All the heroes who escaped unscathed from The Decimation make appearances in the trailer with some gloomy guilt on their visage but don’t be mistaken – they all eventually gear up wearing brand new white suits (seen in the Ant-Man, which apparently confirms time-travel) and take the mantle to bring back the dead.

The main diegesis of the trailer (or film) is whatever it takes! This is a subtle euphemism to by hook or by crook, which was evident in Captain Marvel mid-credits scene. The other visual details that give away is the difference in the look of the Avengers: Captain America with and without beard, Black Widow with white-greyish hair and a burgundy shade and son on. If you a Marvel fanatic, by now you might have come across BTS and a few leaked toy sets which all form a circle to the upcoming full stop.

Marvel never fails to astound their fans and they not only dropped a trailer unannounced but they also gave us a glimpse of Captain Marvel with Thor, Black Widow & Iron Patriot. This makes me want to time-travel to April 26 as I’m heavily crushing on Brie Larson.

Cut-Edit, Ordeals!

Video editing, for a layman, is consolidating myriad of footages into one aesthetic visual (and audio). When it comes to a movie, almost all technicians are nearly forgotten as the lead characters are the mass appeal for the people. I can say, it’s more than just amalgamation of videos. How do I know? Well, I am a video editor and have my own share of experiences – at a fledgeling office, as a freelancer. But I love my passion the most when I’m editing for my YouTube channel Flick Motions, which has recently garnered a lot of nominations for our film ‘Heels.’ Flick Motions is a collective and creative effort of my friend Ashish Shekhar, because of whom I’ve chosen video editing as a career.

What baffles me is the amount of hardwork editing needs. Although, I slouched a bit, half-assing through my work, I did it with much passion. I got into editing thinking it’s a simple, unproductive job whereas the truth is far from that. An editor decides which footage goes where; his/her perspective either makes or breaks a film (reference: Passenger starring Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt).

So far, I’ve edited a few short films and a lot of cine gossip videos which did nothing out of the ‘box’. Thera is a lot of fun us editors have while editing. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes. One such experience that I endured was not much fun in that moment but looking back, I find it funny.

The date was 7th March 2019. Ashish and I were making creative decisions about our short film Heels. To make it more appealing, we edited out some shots and exported it. The ordeals we faced that night is overwhelming. During the export process (1st export), my laptop gave up on me and shut down due to excessive heat. This happened thrice and so I connected my external cooling fan, which took us to the next step: Watch and upload. After watching the film, content, I upload it in our YouTube channel. While YouTube was processing the video, it suddenly hit me that we didn’t decide on a thumbnail, which is a doorway to any video. It took us nearly an hour to fix on a thumbnail. Once this was done, we were ecstatic that our months of hard work was finally available for our viewers and we watched the whole short film again to make sure there were no loose ends. And enter the thrid ordeal: an unsatisfactory output. We missed an important detail to highlight: music! The volume was set for a speaker experience while on the phone it sounded low. I got a look from Ashish, which said ‘Nah.’ We conversed and decided to re-edit sans the speaker, using a headphone.

By now, I was baffled at every shock that was thrwon at me but this was huge: the editing timeline was corrupted (because we opened the file like a 100,000 times). My mind was like what the hades is happening! The tech savvy in me was prompt to respond and I simply copied the timeline on to another sequence. Voila! What issue? After going through a sea of hurdles, the film was finally uploaded on YouTube on women’s day, with a solid music experience and a ready thumbnail. All this took place at around 4 a.m.

See? This is what an editor goes through. It definitely isn’t an easy job, but having said that, I love the thrill, to act on my whim (also the director’s, sometimes). I know the ordeals won’t end but one thing will always make me strive hard (with some half-assing) – the satisfaction after receiving
inconceivable adulation.

Badhai Ho Trailer Review

You know what drives me crazy? A good trailer spawning a dreadful movie! Seldom come such circumstances when the trailer invokes an undying interest about the film. Badhai Ho is the Kangana Ranaut of trailers – unexpected, honest, witty and blunt.

The story revolves around a quartet family who is soon going to become quintet – with a baby on the way. But there’s a catch! The baby is not of the oldest kid but a ‘mishap’ of the parents. Super weird, I know! The trailer is downright appealing with elements of comedy, astonishment, taboo and damage control.

Ayushmann Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra, Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao shine in this coming-of-age comedy cum romantic flick. Surekha Sikri (Dadisa of Balika Vadhu) gets just 2 dialogues in the trailer but nails the role.

What struck me most is the amalgamation of amazing comic timings and the surprising chemistry of the characters. The trailer is beautifully sewn with comical background music, which signifies that an intended miss call was answered, a clever euphemism for ‘I forgot to pull out!’ Aforenamed fun elements like a mother’s taunt to her son asking when did he get time ‘to do it’, or a reference to the main character’s decision to have a baby at a ‘correct age’ is hilarious. One can witness the social stigma and the societal fear that the elderly couple goes through for the one adventurous night. The only predicament – 19th October is too far to wait for this hysterical flick so, I’m watching the trailer until that day arrives.

Manmarziyaan Review – A perplexing concoct!

Yes I know, the critics are lauding it but it’s just hype! Two and a half hours of excruciating journey on an uncomfortable seat, watching the performances of three of the most talented actors of this decade go waste is saddening. Not a complete waste though, the first half has pace which slows down in the second half. I won’t divulge the details, as everyone knows the movie revolves around a perplexed love triangle. Vicky Kaushal is plain irritating – he’s that good in his acting. The only guy with blue hair in whole Amritsar, Vicky jumps the terrace of the houses to meet his paramour Rumi (Taapsee Pannu), surreptitiously only to get caught and then forced into thinking about marriage or eloping. Rumi is rebellious, for no reason whatsoever. She has shades of a hopeful girl shrouded by a hockey hitting girl. When betrayed by the love of her life, she agrees to marry a ‘Ramji-types’ Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) who is the cherry on this distasteful cake with his silent treatment of suffering yet sacrificing husband.

Every performance and the nuances add to this script-loose film. I was irked with the back to back songs which made me wonder whether this is an indirect non Laila-Majnu musical. Daryaa strikes a chord and made me miss my imaginary partner. One cannot sympathize with Vicky or Rumi, as their love to me seems lust or obsession, whereas, Robbie makes you feel pity for him but marrying a girl knowing she’s still madly in love with someone else was foolish, like jumping in a gorge. These characters are not subtle by any means. They are vulnerable and you can decide whose vulnerability you can put up with. They make you believe in their story, halfheartedly, due to the loose ends the script has.

The half-baked climax makes you want to pull your hair out. For a moment I thought ‘Raske Bhare Tore Nain’ from Satyagraha would start playing anytime given the long, long walk. I’ll sum up saying that the movie felt like someone recommended me to try a particular dish in this famous restaurant, which arrived 2.5 hours later, and tasted opposite to what others were going gaga about it.

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