Film review: “Marjaavaan” will crush your will to live

Marjaavaan, Milaap Zaveri’s latest directorial venture, has finally hit the big screens. Starring Siddharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria and Riteish Deshmukh, the film tells the story of Raghu, who works as a thug under Narayan Anna (Nassar), a water mafia don.

Well, could Siddharth and Riteish recreate the magic of Ek Villain? Well, not quite.

Spoiler Alert: It’s no prequel to Ek Villain. (Sigh)

Overview

As stated earlier, the film follows Raghu, the ace hitman of a local Don named Narayan Anna. Narayan loves Raghu more than his son. 

Consequently, Vishnu, Anna’s biological son, falls short of his father’s love. Not to forget, he’s a dwarf and keeps shooting metaphors around height. The story is simple: Raghu is Anna’s most trusted right-hand man and was taken in by Anna after he was abandoned as a child. Vishnu is jealous of Raghu and wants an opportunity to destroy him.

Storyline

Quite frankly, the story has nothing new to offer. Marjaavaan is a standard revenge drama film with half-baked dialogues and mindless action sequences. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra can be seen smashing the bad guys. Also, a few plain and tasteless dialogues have been used to ‘ornament’ a largely mediocre film.

Image result for Music festival in kashmir marjaavaan'

Tara Sutaria, who plays a mute Kashmiri girl named Zoya, wants to transform the lives of slum children. She believes music can change lives. So, our hero converts a Mumbai slum into Indian Idol. Zoya happens to be assembling a troupe for a music festival in Kashmir.

Halfway through the film, the leading lady dies, and our protagonist can be seen crying his eyes out over her lifeless body. The second half is no less painful. Just when you think you have had enough, goons jump into the frame, and you will get to see some substandard ‘dishoom-dishoom’ sequences. Simply put, Marjaavaan’s story will remind you of those over-the-top revenge dramas from the 80s.

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Dialogues

Okay, here’s the interesting part. The dialogues don’t leave much of an impact but do end up providing some unintentional comic respite. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra says: “Main Ek maarunga, Marr jaayega. Doosra Janam lene se darr jaayega.” Post interval, we can see Raghu staring at Zoya’s (Tara Sutaria) grave. At this moment, yet another flavourless dialogue can be heard escaping Raghu’s lips: “Zoya, main badla Nahin, Inteqaam loonga” ( Badle ko Urdu mein inteqaam kehte hain. XD). There’s love, there’s melodrama (a lot of it). Not that melodrama hasn’t worked for Bollywood films in the past, but some uninspired dialogue delivery tires you out eventually.  

The film’s writers are to blame. Not much thought has been put into the writing bit.

Performances

Siddharth Malhotra looks disinterested in the film. His dialogue delivery doesn’t end up creating much of an impact. Also, why is he wearing a leather jacket? Does it get cold in Mumbai? Well, god knows. Rakul Preet Singh plays Aarzoo, a dancer. She looks bubbly and charming but was not given much to work with. Also, her dress sense reminds us of the cabaret dancers from the good old 1980s.

Tara Sutaria looks charming. Her expressions are quite believable. Also, her on-screen presence is bound to instil a sense of optimism. Unfortunately, she has been shown as a helpless young woman. A gush of blood pours out of her mouth after she is shot. Optimism and charm die a slow and painful death, alas!

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Ravi Kishan, who plays a cop, looks quite convincing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given a meaty role. Also, South Indian actor Nassar looks impressive as an underworld don.

Riteish Deshmukh, the film’s antagonist, tries hard to look ruthless, but nobody fears a three-feet tall ball of hair. Also, a villain doesn’t talk in verse, does he? Our villain seems to be obsessed with metaphors around height. All in all, the acting part is weak. The film needed some well-defined characters.

Music

The film’s background music makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s too loud. As far as the soundtrack is concerned, “Tum Hi Aana” sung by Jubin Nautiyal will remain in your playlist for a long time. “Thodi Jagah” by Arijit Singh is easy on the ears. The rest of the songs have just been copy-pasted. Boy, music directors and lyricists need to unleash their creativity.

The verdict

Simply put, Marjaavaan is a hotchpotch of epic proportions. It is not something you’d want to watch. Well, if you wish to kill time, then give it a try. Marjaavaan is a film that could have been a full masala entertainer, but a largely predictable plot doesn’t let it rise above its limitations. 

Rating: 1.5/5

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Our Adversities Only Make Us Stronger…

“If you’re mentally unhealthy in the first place, it’ll affect your body. The first thing you need to do is to accept it, and go through the difficult part thinking it’s a part of a much bigger scheme of things.”- Gulraj Bedi

Confidence is often considered a precious commodity. It is something only a few people are born with, while the rest of us are left wishing to get a taste of it.

Confidence, in all fairness, is not a fixed attribute. It is a fickle companion. It depends significantly on the thoughts that fly through our mind and the decisions that are taken by us. It is an age-old fact that the beliefs we hold and nurture, help us in directing our actions and shaping our mindset.

I still remember the day an interviewer asked a question that caught me off-guard. Well, he asked me when do I feel the most confident.

Now, this question might appear quite straightforward, but the answer is quite tricky. Confidence is viewed differently by different people. A lot of people believe confidence is an external characteristic. They believe confidence is synonymous with appearance. However, if the entire concept of confidence is deconstructed, we’d realize that confidence can be summed up in three words, these are self-belief, security, and trust.

I must also discuss insecurities because a lot of us are surrounded by them all the time. Be it relationship or work; insecurities are bound to keep in out of nowhere. 

Then, there are social interactions. Well, social interactions aren’t my cup of tea, I must confess. I feel like no one cares to be my friend and that not even my family knows me because nobody is bothered to know me enough. But despite insecurities, I feel confident enough. And sometimes, it’s good to have insecurities about something as important as work, because those insecurities make us work harder.

I believe all of us have a unique story to tell. The degree of hardship varies. There are struggles and challenges. I’m sure there are ups and downs as well. There are things we would have liked to have done differently, things we’re proud of. All of that is a vital part of our story. Instead of getting bogged down by the struggles and hardships we are subjected to, we must learn to embrace them.

The game of cricket has taught me quite a bit about adaption. I’ve learned a lot of lessons through cricket. One such lesson I’d like to share is a lesson on adversity. In life, we aren’t given a lot of liberties or guarantees. Our stories may be different, our hardships may also be different, but there’s one common link in all those stories. All of us, at some point and in some way, are bound to face some kind of adversity. All of us have gone through adversities, and the thing that inspires us to keep on moving is the belief that we will succeed.

To keep on moving is as inspiring as it can get. That is a huge accomplishment. Because of all the adversities we face in our lives, we’re left with countless decisions to make. Should I continue? Would I lose belief in myself if I continue?

The biggest problem we face today is: we get things underway, but we find it hard to complete them. That holds true for almost all of us. Whatever we come across in life ends up shaping our mindset. Sometimes, situations and circumstances don’t really go the way we want them to go, but that is exactly where we end up learning our lessons. We just need to make sure that we end up accomplishing the tasks that have already been started. Once we have finished something (despite limitations), we will be really proud of it when we look back at it.

Robert Lewandowski resides in bite-sized moments of brilliance

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Think of Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski’s name will automatically come to mind. It certainly would not be an overstatement to say that this star striker from Poland has been one of Bayern Munich’s most consistent performers in recent times. During the 2018-19 season of the Bundesliga, Lewandowski could be seen eating goals for breakfast. He finished as the season’s leading goal scorer (22 goals).

Lewandowski was bought by the Bavarian Giants in 2014 to bolster the club’s attacking lines. Since the Polish striker’s arrival, they have enjoyed a lot of success. Bayern Munich have been winning the German Bundesliga since 2012-13. In 262 matches for the German powerhouse (across competitions), the Polish star has scored 206 times. Wow, these are staggering numbers. Those following him closely would be aware of the difference he makes every single time he takes the field. He is expected to score the moment he takes control of the ball. No matter how formidable the opponent’s defence lines are, Lewandowski will decimate them within no time.

The moment he misses a scoring opportunity, several media outlets across Europe can be seen losing a lot of ink. Earlier this year, the Bayern Munich forward was criticised by Didi Hamann, an ex-Germany midfielder, for failing to score against Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal round of 16. Lewandowski termed the criticism aimed at him as “flat-out stupid”.

 What does Lewandowski bring to the table?

He is the axis around which other rotate

It has to be said that Lewandowski’s scoring rate is phenomenal. Every time he comes out to play, he ends up making a difference. He spearheads the club’s attacking lines, sometimes almost single-handedly. Also, there is a circle of energy and enthusiasm that surrounds Lewandowski from all possible sides. He brings along a lot of energy and optimism into the side.

The go-getter

No matter how precarious the situation is, Lewandowski will find a way to tackle it. If Bayern Munich is in need of an equaliser, he will come out all guns blazing and score a goal for his side. The opposition’s defence lines can be seen running for cover if and when the Polish great is on song. He scored 14 goals in the first 10 matches of the 2019-20 season. After looking at his numbers, he can be easily counted as one of the contemporary greats.

His ability to soak all the pressure makes him an intangible asset. Bayern Munich have been winning the Bundesliga since 2012-13, all thanks to Robert Lewandowski and his on-field brilliance. He wants to score the moment makes his way out. He wants to win matches for his side.

The fighter

Just one or two bad games do not seem to have much of an impact on him. The moment you write him off, he tends to strike back. Criticism makes him stronger. He is not known for launching verbal attacks and lets his on-field brilliance do the talking. Different people have different ways to counter criticism, and his way is to come out all guns blazing.

The impact player

Robert Lewandowski happens to be the heart and soul of Bayern Munich’s attacking lines. He keeps on scoring consistently.  In numbers are phenomenal, but Lewandowski’s game has never revolved around numbers. He wants to help his side win matches. That is what makes him different from other strikers. His on-field persona happens to be his biggest strength.

To conclude the argument

He too feels bogged down and frustrated at times. He overreacts and makes silly mistakes. Well, he isn’t a wish-granting fairy. Lewandowski doesn’t really care much about being judged by others. This lad from Poland just goes about his business. Simply put, he resides within countless moments of brilliance.

The toothbrush story…

The last time I experienced a severe toothache
I was 16 years old
I had eaten shit loads of chocolate cake
And drank cola
Boy, it was too cold

Mornings were tough
Toothbrushes were rough
Life was a rush (it still is)
We made our way to school
Something without bath and brush

Brushing teeth was boring
But the toothpaste was not
One fine day, I ate an entire tube
In the act, I was caught

Brushing teeth was mundane
It was a pain
I would say to my mom:’brushing teeth isn’t cool’
She would say: ‘You’re a pretty big fool’ XD

Now that I am a grown up
I know that brushing teeth is important
While going out on a vacation
I always keep a toothbrush, a mouthwash, and a drinking cup

Colas and cakes are guilty pleasures
They’re priceless, just like treasure
But brushing teeth is still a boring exercise (very much)
But skipping it comes with a heavy price

 

 

 

Fatal Mist…

Sit in a closed room, close your eyes and imagine this: Salman Khan pulling a pack of Marlboro cigarettes out of his pocket and smoking a few of them before going all guns blazing against the bad guys. After that, think of Ranbir Kapoor smoking a cigarette while reliving the fond memories he spent with his beloved.

Now, think of a man sitting in a dark room. He is too weak to move. Imagine him smoking a pipe and coughing continuously. After that, imagine him lying still on his death-bed, vomiting blood. He’s dying a slow and painful death because of lung cancer. Does that sound ‘cool’?

Every day after having lunch, I have this habit of taking a stroll right outside the office area. It happens to be a great way of keeping yourself up and running. The moment I step outside the office, at least 10-15 people can be seen gossiping and smoking cigarettes with filters lying scattered all over the place.

There’s a young lady I used to work with. Back in 2016, she was in her late 20’s. I must confess I haven’t seen a writer as good as her. One fine day, while attending a client call, I saw her carrying a lighter. She held it firmly in her right hand and was on her way to the smoking zone (just outside the office). The very sight of her making her way to the smoking zone made my heart sink in an ocean of gloom. That’s because I had a crush on her. XD

I followed her while she was making her way to the smoking area. She had one cigarette, which she was sharing with one of her female colleagues. She took a few puffs and passed it to her colleague. I stood there motionless as I saw them smoking and giggling.

I wish I could barge into the smoking area and snatch that cigarette from her. I wanted to tell her that smoke wasn’t the only thing that was being blown away by her. Quite frankly, I didn’t utter a word, but the sight of those giggling faces kept flying through my mind for the rest of the day. Take a minute and look around yourself. You’ll see a lot of people smoking around us. From colleagues to friends to strangers outside Metro Stations, the list is never-ending.

A lot of people hesitate to admit that they smoke. Questions about smoking are often swept under the carpet. Some people might even go on to bully you, saying: ‘Man, grow up’ and ‘You haven’t lived your life’. Now, would someone be kind enough to tell me how on earth is smoking associated with growing up?

Smoking kills nearly eight million people globally. (That’s a huge number). College goers and young working professionals are falling prey to this menace. Earlier, cigarettes were cheaper, and people could light a cigarette almost anywhere. Cigarette manufacturers used to sponsor charity events, discussions and seminars. However, in those days, access to information was pretty much limited, and people weren’t ‘aware’ of the health risks associated with excessive tobacco use.

Today, the cost of cigarettes has skyrocketed, and people can no longer smoke as openly as they once could. Smoking is banned in public places. Furthermore, a warning sign pops up whenever a person lights a cigarette on the big screen.

Why do people smoke?

A common ‘reason’ they give is: ‘Zindagi mein Bahot tanaav hai’ (My life’s stressed-out). I quickly follow it up with another question: Would it fade away after you’ve smoked? What follows my question is indomitable silence.

As individuals, all of us need to decide how we want to live our lives. People need to understand that the real face of smoking isn’t glamorous, and neither is it cool. The real face of smoking is covered with misery and disease. It is a disease that intensifies every time you light a cigarette.

Empty spaces….

I used to remain extremely depressed when I was 18 years old. To be very honest, I was a loner. I felt lonely and tired in a crowded room filled with unknown people. I would go to my apartment and just sit there for hours doing nothing. Everything used to remain quiet, lonely and still. A few creaking sounds made by an old wooden door used to break the shackles of silence.

I used to leave the television on just to feel that somebody was there with me all the time. As many as seven years have rolled by, but my situation happens to be quite similar to what it was back then. The biggest irony in the world is to have 500 friends on Facebook and yet be so terribly depressed and lonely.

In all fairness, there is absolutely no pleasure in being lonely.  The trouble with me is not that I am depressed and likely to stay depressed, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely for the rest of my life. It seems as though there is a hole in this world, and I find myself walking around that hole constantly during the daytime. I tend to jump into that hole during wee hours of the night.

Moments before falling asleep, I tend to feel alive, with a thousand fragments of unspoken thoughts flying through my mind. I have this habit of bringing each moment into the bed with me much like a five-year-old brings pencils and pens. And then, I turn motionless and fall into the depths of sleep, just like a lump of sugar melts away in a child’s mouth.

Well, when I had a closer look at my plight, I realised that there is a huge difference between being lonely and being alone. I reach home at around 8 PM every night and start abusing my Netflix subscription. I also love to roam around aimlessly on a lazy Saturday evening. I have always had to struggle in order to keep myself away from being overwhelmed by people. Well, it is not the easiest thing to do, but you tend to get used to it as the years roll by. There are people who believe you’re ‘egoistic’ just because you don’t talk. Not everybody understands the meaning of silence.

art blog - Shin Kwang Ho - empty kingdom
Quite frankly, no price is too high to pay if you wish to experience the pleasure of ‘owning yourself’. At times, it becomes absolutely necessary for you to take out time for yourself. It provides you with an opportunity to rejuvenate yourself.

I must also admit that I was quite an annoying student and used to ask a lot of questions.  Not much of it changed after I graduated. I was quite an introvert when I started working as a copyeditor for one of the leading financial dailies. Back then, I was untouched by joy or sorrow and used to work tirelessly.

Just because I am an introvert, you’d be thinking that I don’t have friends. Well, that’s not true. I do have a small circle of good friends, and I must admit that I have been quite fortunate to have a bunch of jolly good friends. No matter how dire the circumstances are, they are always ready to help me out with things. I love indulging in constructive arguments with friends over a hearty cup of coffee, but I won’t jump into an argument just for the sake of gaining attention.

Complexity of human emotions, which is hard to be defined in one word, is left as momentary traces on the empty space, after the long agony of the artist’s inner side. The ?complexity‘ is a kind of action which is come by completely absorbing and assim…

To end it all on a positive note, I would like to say that I’ve seen great men being lonely. Ah, I am not saying I am a great man:). I am a lonely little chap who feels shy while eating in front of too many people. At times, people set up extremely high standards for themselves that they are bound to feel lonely. But at the same time, loneliness becomes an integral part of their ability to create something out of the extra-ordinary.

Picture courtesy: Pinterest

 

Is India Paying Attention To Medals Brought Home By Sportswomen?

It goes pretty much without saying that life isn’t a bed of roses for women athletes in India. Despite their best efforts, the gulf between male and female athletes in India keeps widening rampantly.

Take this for an example: The likes on Twitter and Facebook erupt like a volcano, the moment a male athlete wins a medal. Also, it is quite unsurprising to note that male athletes are paid way more than their female counterparts. Back in 2008, Abhinav Bindra turned into a national icon after becoming the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal (individual sport). On the other hand, countless women athletes are struggling to keep their bodies and souls together. Nobody talks about their achievements. Consequently, they end up fading away into the depths of oblivion.

Almost all of us know that R.S. Rathore won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but not many of us know that MC Mary Kom has won as many as six Boxing World Championships. Women athletes keep exceeding our expectations, but we hardly pay heed to all the good work done by them.

It is heartening to note that a considerable number of women athletes have made their presence felt in recent times. The likes of PV Sindhu and Hima Das have taken the sporting world by storm. Today, both these women have turned into role models and cultural icons.

Let us take a look at some of the rising women athletes who have made us proud in recent times:

PV Sindhu (Badminton)

She seems to have answered all her critics with her racquet. In the recently concluded Badminton World Championships, she decimated Nozomi Okuhara in straight sets to win her first gold medal. The world number 5 has won as many as five medals in six appearances at the world championships. Boy, that’s no mean feat.

Hima Das (Track and field)

They say the size of your success is always measured by the strength of your desire. Hima Das, the 19-year-old sprinter, broke quite a few records during the 2018 edition of the Asian Games held in Jakarta by covering 400 metres, in a fraction over 50 seconds. Also, she won a gold medal in a track event during the IAAF World U20 Championships. She is the first Indian athlete to bag four gold medals in 15 days. Wow, these are staggering numbers!

Dutee Chand (Track and field)

She made journalists lose a lot of ink, after winning a gold medal in the women’s 100-metre sprint at the World University Games (Napoli, 2019). The 23-year-old smashed quite a few records after clocking 11.32 seconds in the final and became the first Indian athlete to bag a gold medal at the event. One has to say that this lass from Odisha knows how to handle extreme pressure.

Mithali Raj (Cricket)

The seasoned and wise ‘yodha’ of the Indian Women’s cricket team became a household name after leading her team to the finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. In a career spanning over decades, she has scored more than 6,000 ODI runs. Also, she is the highest run-scorer for India in all three formats of the game.

Also read: How A Community Of Writers Showed Up To Bat For Our Women In Blue!

Sania Mirza (Lawn Tennis)

With three mixed doubles titles in her kitty, Sania Mirza is one of the finest female tennis players the country has ever produced. At the very height of her powers in 2015-16, she ranked number one in the WTA doubles rankings, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat.

After going through all of the aforementioned examples, I believe, it certainly wouldn’t be wrong to say that women athletes in India are outplaying their male counterparts. For centuries, women are being told that they are, and will always remain, inferior to men. I, however, feel that women are way stronger than men (they have always been). Most of us find it hard to come to terms with this fact.

The piece was first published on Youth Ki Awaaz