Movie Review: “Guilty’ Will Make You Question Patriarchy, Privilege and Consent

Consent has become quite a popular term in the post #MeToo era and Guilty, starring Kiara Advani, reminds us that men of privilege do not think twice before violating women. Furthermore, the film also throws ample light on the fact that a large number of rape cases still go unnoticed. Guilty, directed by Ruchi Narain, throws light on a set of burning questions that are often swept under the carpet.

An Overview: 

 Less than a minute into the film, we see a college-goer being questioned ( grilled, in some ways) by the cops. The members of a college rock band are questioned after VJ, the band’s lead vocalist, and the son of a powerful businessman, is accused of raping one of his batchmates. All hell breaks loose when Tanu, the victim, posts a tweet targeting VJ. In no time, we see VJ being targeted by various sections of the society, but there comes a point when everybody, even those investigating the case, begins questioning the victim’s claims. 

Storyline:

Quite frankly, the storyline is watertight and doesn’t give you much time to think. It took less than 10 minutes for the makers to establish all of the characters. The best part about the story is: it goes about its business without beating around the bush. A large chunk of the film is narrated from Nanaki’s (Kiara Advani) perspective.

 There are sequences that make you uncomfortable. For instance: one of the students being questioned tells the cops that the victim is nothing more than a f*ck girl. Furthermore, the viewers are also made aware of the fact that Rani, the victim, had ” trouble written all over her”.

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The Film does raise some Important Questions:

Right from frame one, the film succeeds in maintaining a ‘stern’ look and feel. Well, that’s because the director wants the viewers to know that sexual harassment is a serious offence. 

  • Why is a girl called a sl*t if all she wants is attention?
  • Why are rape cases politicized?

Despite a few minor flaws, guilty has its heart in the right place. The narrative of the film keeps swinging to and fro, much like a pendulum. The first half of the film showcases Tanu as the ‘helpless victim’ who has been raped by a rich and spoilt brat. But victim-blaming shows its ugly head and everybody puts Tanu in the line of fire. 

Performances:

Kiara Advani is the star of the show and looks unbearably hot in her ‘punk’ look. She plays the heartbroken lyricist and does so with ease. Also, she comes across as a ‘coconut personality’ and it won’t take long for the viewers to realize that this punk babe has demons running wild inside of her. (Does that remind you of Alan Walker?).

Gurfateh, who plays VJ, the spoilt brat, does everything you could have asked of him. There is that carefree (rather nonchalant) look in his eyes that screams aloud at times. Also, right from frame one, you get a feeling that this guy will get away with the crime unscathed. 

Taher Shabbir enters the scene right from frame one as he begins interrogating VJ’s friends. He doesn’t speak much and goes about his business with the utmost sincerity. Unfortunately, he comes across as a stone-faced investigator who has little or no room for emotions. In short, our investigator required a few punchy dialogues to make his presence felt.

Next on the list is Akansha Kapoor, who plays Tanu Kumar, a girl from Dhanbad, one of the country’s mining powerhouses. She is shown as a headstrong woman and doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. Despite being raped, she chooses not to hang her head in shame (which comes across as a big positive). Akansha shines right from the start despite having a limited screen presence. 

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Here’s the biggest problem ailing this film: despite playing the victim, Akansha hasn’t been given enough screen time as most of the film is narrated from Nanaki’s perspective. 

Direction:

Ruchi Narain does a fairly decent job behind the camera by handling rape, an immensely sensitive subject matter with a great deal of sincerity and maturity. A 2-hour-long runtime does test your patience (at times), but the film deserves a watch for the powerful message it has in store for its viewers. 

‘Guilty’, despite a few minor flaws, ends up holding the viewer’s attention. Watch it for the message it has in store.

कितनी दफ़ा…

Shannon Amidon Contemporary: The Distance 2018

कितनी दफ़ा यह कहे चुके
कितनी दफ़ा तुमने सुन लिया
जो थे कभी मेरे साथ में
अब तुम भी फ़ासले दे चले

तुमको कहीं पे खो दिया?
या फिर मैं तुम्हे यून मिल गया?
के साथ में चलते चले
और फासला मिट’ता चला

जो थे कभी मेरे साथ में
तुम यून जुदा क्यूँ हो चले?
के भूल के भी तुमको हम
दिल से कभी ना भुला सके

एक बार जो मिले कभी
तो फिर्र जुड़ा ना हो सके
तुझे थाम के आगे चलते रहे
तक भी गये तो ना थम सके
तू क्या साथ है, या साथ नही?
तेरी कमी क्यूँ खलती है?
एक बात तो बता दे तू
यह ज़मीन तेरे पीछे-पीछे क्यूँ चलती है?

इक दफ़ा तो आवाज़ दो
राहों में तुम मुझे थाम लो
फिर्र साथ में चलते रहे
और गुम गये ये फ़ासले

picture courtesy: Pinterest

बर्फ सी…

"Melting Snow," by Min Ma 24 x 30 - acrylic $4060 Unframed

तुझे भूल गया
यान फिर याद रख लिया
तेरी बातों पे,
मैं हस दिया

तेरी तरफ मुड़ कर जो रास्ता मिला
उस रास्ते मैं चल दिया
एक पल भी ना सोचा कभी
के वापस ना मुड़ सकूँ
बस चलता चला

जो सहम गये तुझे देख के
लिख डाला तेरा नाम सौ दफ़ा बर्फ पे
के चाह कर भी तुझे कोई मिटा ना सके
तू नशा सा है, बहका हुआ

तेरी याद में, जो मैं खो गया
मुझे पता नही क्या हो गया
मेरे दिल में तू ठहर गया
ना तुझे छोड़ सके, और ना तू मिल सका
क्यू कि तू लम्हा है, बरा सर्द सा
सर्द सी, ये मेरी ज़िंदगी
वक़्त हूँ मैं, ठहरा हुआ…

मैं तुझे सुनता हूँ, अब हर दफ़ा
आ तू पास मेरे, सुना अपनी वफ़ा
मेरे साथ तू रहता क्यूँ नही
क्यूँ है बर्फ सी, ये मेरी ज़िंदगी
तू है एक लम्हा बर्फ का

लफ्ज़ मेरे बिखरने लगे
जब तू सामने आ गया
दिल को तेरी कमी जो खाली
तो यह लम्हा मैने चुरा लिया

तेरे साथ मेरा, दिल जम गया
तेरे बिना यह पल मेरा क्यूँ थम गया
के पास तू रहे जा ज़रा
और धागे मेरी साँसों के, अपनी साँसों में ले मिला
है पिघली हुई मेरी ज़िंदगी
और तू एक लम्हा है, बर्फ का

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

सर्द से लम्हे…

जब रेत यादों से उड़ी,
ख्वाब सब ही बेवजह लगने लगे
और काँच के ये आईने
अब आँखों में चुभने लगे

तू भी यून बदलता रहा
जैसे वक़्त निकलता गया
तेरे पीछे-पीछे मैं भी
आँखें बंद करके चलता रहा

Winter's Sorrow — teapalm

उदासी भारी यादें सभी, उस जगह पे बिखरेंगी
जिस लम्हे में मिलेंगे हम, देख लेना
हर दर्द भी तो टूटेगा, हर तड़प भी पिघलेगी
जिस लम्हे में मिलेंगे हम, तुम देखना

हाथों से मेरे इस पल
क्यूँ ये लम्हे निकल चले हैं?
आखों में मेरी क्यूँ
सब यादें सिमट गयी हैं?

मेरी साँस बह तो रही थी ठीक से
जो तूने लम्हे चुरा लिए
तो गुज़र ना सकी तेरे नज़दीक से
दर्द गुज़रता रहा सीने से, दिल भी निकल सा गया सीने से
चुभती रही तेरी यादें, जैसे काँच के टुकड़े बारीक से

Raining-wallpaper-cool-whatsapp-status-024

Picture courtesy: Pinterest

A Lot Is Wrong With The Citizenship Amendment Bill

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) seems to have taken the country by storm. The Bill hasn’t been received well by the minorities. Many believe the Bill is ‘undemocratic’ and aims to hamper the nation’s integrity.

People believe that the country is fast turning into a majoritarian state (much like the Sinhala-led Sri Lanka). Recently, Assaduddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), tore a copy of the Bill in the Lok Sabha. The AIMIM chief believes that the Bill will divide the country into countless fragments.

The CAB hasn’t been well received by the minority communities because it violates the constitution.

Here is how the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB) violates the Indian Constitution:

First and foremost, the Bill violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality to people (Indians and foreigners). Categorising people along religious lines violates Article 14 of the constitution.

Next, the classification of people along religious lines is unjust. Classifying people based on religion is against the idea of secularism, unless the govt. wants to turn the country into a radical Hindu state.

India is a secular state, and the same has also been mentioned in the Preamble. The Preamble is the guiding light that helps interpret the constitution.

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Furthermore, the Bill also ends up violating the Assam Accord of 1985 by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants (on the basis of religion) who came here before December 31, 2014. The CAB clearly violates the Assam Accord, which says that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh (those who came after March 25, 1971) will be deported.

The CAB will also nullify the impact of the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in the state of Assam if people, who were left out of the final list, are given citizenship through the CAB.

In recent times, the Election Commission and the Assam Border Police have labelled many as illegal immigrants (many of them happen to be Hindus). The govt has proposed to drop all of the charges against the Hindus, which means only Muslims will be deemed as ‘foreigners’ by the law. Earlier, the contracts of those classified as ‘foreigners’ were terminated by the BJP. Now, we’ll have only Muslims standing before the Tribunals, which will make the exercise even more unjust and discriminatory. 

The curious case of the Lankan Tamils

The problem doesn’t end here. More than 2.5 million Lankan Tamils have been excluded from the list. Why isn’t the govt paying attention? The Lankan have witnessed some of the bloodiest struggles in the history of mankind. They ought to be included in the CAB if it is a genuine attempt to grant citizenship to the Hindus.

Culturally, the Tamils in Sri Lanka have a lot in common with the Tamils in India (The language and diction might differ a bit). Most importantly, Indian Tamils will be more than happy to welcome their long-lost brothers from the island nation, then why has the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ denied citizenship to the Hindus in Sri Lanka? And, why is nobody questioning this? Recently, Tamil actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan questioned the govt’s intentions after the Lankan Tamils were not included in the CAB. 

Possible reasons

Tamils aren’t considered a vote bank by the Bhartiya Janata Party. They account for little in BJP’s Hindu Rashtra because a majority of them do not speak Hindi. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is not a Muslim-majority country wherein the Hindus are being suppressed. As long as Muslims don’t come into the picture, the issue does not make it to the BJP’s list of priorities.

To draw the curtains

Simply put, the Bill isn’t a symbol of BJP’s love for the Hindu population residing in the neighbourhood. It is a tool that has been meticulously designed to pin-point the Muslims. The CAB seeks to achieve what the NRC could not. It seeks to disintegrate the country by alienating the Muslims. 

The Knight Before Christmas Sets The Tone For The Winter Festivities

Image result for the knight before christmas

December’s here. Yes, Christmas is around the corner, which means we will get to see some lighthearted comedy films. Also, most of us have started loving title puns. ‘Falling Inn Love’ happens to be a prime example.

Now, we have The Knight Before Christmas, a film that features a Knight who’s on a quest that needs to be completed by midnight on Christmas eve. Well, if you are tired of watching those slam-bang action flicks and want to watch something lighthearted, then The Knight Before Christmas just has to there on your list. Let us take a closer look at the film.

A brief overview

The Knight Before Christmas follows Sir Cole (Josh Whitehouse), a 14th century Knight who gets transported to 2019 from 1334 as part of a quest to transform into a ‘true knight.’ Here, he gets to meet Brooke Winters (Vanessa Hudgins), a cynical teacher who doesn’t believe in love. According to her, knights in shining armour do not exist. The rest of the story deals with Sir Cole’s adventures in the modern world. 

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An engaging yet simple plot

The plotline is quite simple– there’s a lovely young lady who doesn’t believe in love. Fifteen minutes into the film, she bumps into Sir Cole, a handsome knight. In all fairness, the story has nothing new to offer. It has all the elements of a classic children’s’ fairytale. The predictability of the plot does leads to an element of monotony (at times). Watch it, and you’ll be able to predict just everything.

Performances

Josh Waterhouse is the star of this medieval rom-com. He looks perfect in that shining armour of his. Girls are bound to go ‘aww’ over his ‘chocolate boy’ looks while watching the film. He nails his part to perfection.

Let us discuss Sir Cole in detail. He is our knight in shining armour. His name sounds continually like Sir Cool (read: circle) as the other actors mouth it. He comes from Norwich (1334) and lets us know that he was knighted by King Edward III’ six years ago.’ Cole says that he hasn’t had the opportunity to see his parents since he was sent away to be a squire while sympathizing with Brooke over the loss of her parents. This guy can bring down a Christmas tree with a single stroke of an axe. Also, he loves chocolate mead.

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Vanessa Hudgins plays Brooke Winters ( that surname sounds interesting). Less than five minutes into the film, she says, “We all grow up fantasizing about being a princess, and finding true love with a knight in shining armour and living happily ever after, but the thing is, that’s all it is. A fantasy.” Boy, and I thought I was disillusioned.

Hudgins hasn’t been provided with much material to work with despite being the film’s producer, but looks quite believable. Her dialogue delivery sounds quite convincing, and she ends up breezing through her role with ease.

What works

The Knight Before Christmas is your rudimentary rom-com flick. If you wish to enjoy the film, then keep your brains aside. If you happen to search for logic in just about everything that you come across, then don’t watch it. Moving on, the film has a much broader (and moving) message to convey. The film makes us realize how fortunate we are. It motivates and pushes us to lend a helping hand to those who aren’t as fortunate.

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What might not work

Do keep your expectations in check if and when you are planning to watch the film.

The verdict:

The Knight Before Christmas is your lighthearted rom-com that makes for a decent one-time watch. It’s one of those gushy-mushy films that get you in the mood for Christmas.

Rating: 3/5

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