But first, CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE FOR CHANDRAYAAN – 3’S SUCCESS!
It is just fitting that I finished watching the Sony Liv series ‘Rockey Boys’ based on the lives of Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, along with some bits of Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam just a day after the successful landing of Chandrayaan – 3 on the region near the South Pole of Moon.
Although the series is a somewhat fictionalized version, it stays true to the overarching events that showed the birth of the Indian Nuclear and Space Programme over a period of 30 years from 1940-1974. It is a slow-burn kind of series but nevertheless, entertaining. I am just glad that somebody had the audacity to adapt the lives of great Indian scientists and tell whether they were flamboyant or serious or both, which one cannot grasp easily as everything of the past looks a tad bit serious somehow. I am currently reading ‘Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman!‘ and it tells details of major events like the building of 1st atomic bomb or the Manhattan Project as if it was just another day in a manner which makes you nothing but chuckle in amusement.
Talking of the Manhattan Project, I also watched Oppenheimer in IMAX a few days back. And I watched it alone. It is the 2nd movie I have watched alone in a theater, strictly for educational purposes. The first one is, Mohenjodaro, again for educational purposes only. The sheer intensity of the movie makes it an enthralling watch. And it again brings to light the various sides of scientists who are also people after all.
It is indeed a good thing that important scientific events and people get a chance to relive through TV shows and movies. With the amount of progress being made in tech, we take things for granted easily. I hope to see more such movies and series where they talk about sciency stuff. Like ‘The Vaccine War’ 😉
P.S.: What’s more annoying? Brits claiming that India is using its aid to fund the space programme or people calling Chandra-YAAN Chand-Ryan.
Wide-angle shots. A vast expanse of barren lands covered with snow. The crime just happened or about to happen. Great percussion music in the background building up the scene. Characters who indulge you in hyping up the scene with great acting. Tense situation. A bullet about to go off. And then all of sudden, out of nowhere, something totally unexpected shows up and changes the course of everything.
As I write this, hundreds and hundreds of Farmers are protesting against some new laws about 200-250 KM away from where I am. They are staying almost in open in the night and the winter season is in full flow right now. Almost none of them have masks on by the way. And there have already had a huge scuffle with the Government via the Police.
Democracies like ours give us rights to protest. But sometimes the size and motivation of the protests grows larger than what can be handled. Also, there are powers in the authority who believe that such protests are not worth the time and they must be dealt with iron fists. And then there are clashes when both the government and the governed are equally adamant.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a movie by Aaron Sorkin. So you can expect amazing dialogues and conversations when almost all of the movie is a courtroom scene. It deals with the fag end of the Vietnam War when citizens of US were getting tired of the length of the struggle. The war was just being dragged to satisfy the ego of a few but it was resulting in large number of casualties of young Americans. Drafting of youngsters into the army was becoming a big deal. So many voices started to crop up in order to curtail the unnecessary war efforts and pacify the government to backtrack.
Many organisations called for protests in Chicago. A large number of students, citizens, African American rights groups, and the quintessential 70s junta comprising of the Hippies marched towards Chicago to protest
However things turned ugly and violence ensued. The movie deals with the trial of 7 leaders who called for the protest.
I have always been a fan of courtroom dramas and this movie delights me to the fullest. The cast, led mostly by Sacha Baron Cohen and Eddie Redmayne, and supported by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylance, and Frank Langella, is solid by all means. The movie gives you enough ground to understand the serious perspectives of all sides. But the scenes are mostly stolen by Cohen’s one liners which lighten the mood and makes you wonder, what kind of mentality and movement was there, when the name of the revolution was called ‘Flower Power’.
I liked The Trial of Chicago 7. It is a compelling courtroom drama and raises the important debate about Protests and Rights in a democracy.
P.S.: Cohen played Abbie Hoffman who was a hippie rebel. He wrote a book called ‘Steal This Book’. Imagine what happened to the book when people saw it in the bookshops.
Sit down first. This might come as a shocker. I know many people who have watched won’t believe. But hear me out. *crescendo builds*
Dark is Netflix’s first German-language original series. It is not a horror show and the name is totally misleading. It is actually a family show. It is not my place to spoil it for you but I am going to only share my opinion about it below.
You might say, so what’s the big deal in that? But the only deal is that I had stopped watching it after its 5th or 6th season because of forced laughter track and not so funny jokes, and had moved over to grittier shows involving 4 even nerdier and crazier boys (i.e. South Park).
But I resumed it after a gap of over 5 years and finally finished watching all the remaining seasons of the 12 seasons show.
I returned to TBBT as it was still the good old sitcom and it revolved around somethings I find interesting as a fellow nerd;
Science (mostly physics because other sciences are boring)
Comics / Superheroes
A little eccentricity or awkwardness which comes out either like arrogance or creepiness, relatable right!
The intrinsic desire to Mansplain things
Creating such lists
TBBT was the first English TV show I watched which opened a box of so much other consumable content I used to find off-putting. It had many factors which most Engineering graduates would find relatable.
Despite all the tropes, if you stick with the show, it turns out to be the good old TV comedy which you can go back to.
Of course, it is unfair and lazy to write my reviews of 3 movies in one blog post as a movie reviews writer, but I am not a movie reviews writer and I just want to get past this writer’s block so it is what it is. Also, I am writing all of these together because I am going to discuss Cinematography of all these 3 together.
I once wrote off Ayushmann Khurrana as a Roadie. I am not going to take it back yet but I am impressed. Not only by the movie he chooses but also his drastic shift of tone in the recently released movie ‘Article 15’.
The movie is based on caste-provoked-hate-crimes (remember Budaun?) and how an honest new police officer deals with it when everyone else wants to ignore the heinous crime just because trying to solve it might upset the balance and status quo of the society. There have been several Hindi movies on similar narratives but this one stands out. It deals with the biases we all have, but we ignore them like nothing, head-on. It not only tries to shake that upper caste nonchalance and ignorance that we have now progressed and we view everything from an urbanite spectacle, but it also is a fine example of filmmaking. I was sincerely impressed by the fact that the screenplay kept on becoming more interesting the more I watched it. And to top it all, the cinematography was both beautiful and yet scary. It was also philosophical obviously that in order to clean the menace, one has to do the dirty work.
Although, it reminded me of the first season of True Detective but it is a movie to which I was hooked from start till it finished. It was an experience which made me think of my own place in the society and the privilege we take granted for. Well done!
Tumbbad is like nothing you have ever seen in a Hindi movie. I can certainly vouch for that. I had watched this movie last year and I liked it so much that I haven’t rewatched it again, what an irony! It is probably because it is amazingly scary and beautifully weird.
The story shows a range of time from 1918s to 1940s. It is about man’s greed and the lengths one can go to in order to fulfill it. Except for the glaring CGI work at the very climax of the movie, it is an achievement to make such a movie, I felt. The production design, the haunting music, the scale and grandeur, and the performances are all top-notch.
I could have written more about it but it has been more than 6 months since I watched it but I can still not forget the wonderful imagery this movie portrayed. Each shot has been meticulously designed and planned. It is a pity that not many have watched this yet.
You must have also come across a movie which you enjoy like anything and want to discuss that with some friends who have same taste as you in the movies but then you don’t discuss it with anyone and just feel sad because your friends don’t have the same taste as yours and also they don’t get it the way you do. Sigh, me too!
I watched ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’ a few days back and was happily surprised that something like this can exist. Then I read about its director Edgar Wright and thought of watching some more movies of his.
So I recently watched ‘Hot Fuzz’ and what a fun ride it was. Without going into the details of the story, I would just comment about the editing of this movie. Brilliant! The distinctive cuts, the music, the parody, and the overall visual comedy had me in splits. I am going to watch the rest of the movies of Edgar Wright soon, is all.
A word about Cinematography
Since I am a man of not so simple tastes, ahem, I think I am not impressed by a few things which others might do. Same way, they might not get impressed with things which I find very interesting. One of the things like that is movie cinematography. Movies mean different to everyone, we all know that. So, for me, Cinematography: the camera placement, the editing, the subtext matters a lot.
In all of the movie I wrote about in the paras before, Cinematography is a thing which carved its own niche into my mind. Article 15 shows the same grim, dark and scary wide shots of a rustic Village scene multiple times in which the protagonist has to immerse himself into in the movie to cleanse it otherwise his own surroundings keep getting dirtier, representing our myopic view of thinking about our own lives and only dealing with things when we are affected by it. Tumbbad shows grunge from a close-up which shows how greed can turn anyone into a devil. Totally contrasting to the previous two, the editing of Hot Fuzz shows how to make a serious matter funny while adding music to it to transform into something else.
There are so many movies around. Only a few of them make you think about that particular scene and the intention of the director behind them. I like those ones.
I distinctly remember this. I was in a bus travelling towards my office and while it took a U-Turn in front of ISRO office on Outer Ring Road towards Marathahalli, Bengaluru, somewhere far away Mangalyaan was getting inserted into the Mars orbit. I was following the news on Twitter and the event just happened. The Bus completed the U-turn and the ISRO HQ remained as calm as it has always been, as if nothing happened. No fanfare, no bursting of crackers like Diwali or post-elections scene outside political parties offices, not even a single soul but the guards visible from outside. That’s ISRO for you. I looked around me, and nobody was bothered to share my happiness as they were busy in their phones or were dozing off. I sighed and continued with reading more about the news.
That was 2014. ISRO has done a lot since then. They do use Social Media now but still only those who are interested follow. But for the first time, someone has brought them on to a medium which nobody in India can ignore. Yeah, the movies.
So, I recently watched Mission Mangal and felt happy. Neither the movie was mind blowing, nor it was a bore, neither it was 100% scientifically accurate, nor it was completely filmy. It was just a feel good movie with an appropriate amount of stuff which could make your heart fill with joy when you realise that ISRO was able to do this near impossible feat so nonchalantly. Of course, this is just a fictional tale of how the mission came to be. But it surely reignited the feeling of pride that we live among such geniuses of humans who are so good at their job that one can only wish them more successes.
I had brushed it off when they had announced that such a movie is being even made. But I got interested in it lately when the reviews came in and it paid off. I won’t go into the details of the movie as that’s irrelevant. I am rather happy that such a movie was made. There’s a scene in the movie which showed the reminiscences of actors’ childhood times of becoming scientists. That did me. And I believe that’s what have been the intention of making such a movie. Apart from earning money and all.
If even one out of 100 can get inspired from such movies which show human’s scientific prowess while they deal with life’s daily chores, the job is done.
Hoping to see more such initiatives which can rekindle the childhood dream in you.