It certainly would be no overstatement to say that today, a youngster’s life has become as complicated as it possibly can. The degree of parental pressure to succeed on the academic front is immense. Also, a vast majority of parents still nurture this belief that choosing a conventional career path is the only way to succeed in life. The slang ‘Mera beta engineer banega’ has still got a considerable amount of steam left in it. Parental pressure often ends up robbing children of the small joys they come across in their lives. Continue reading “‘Wake Up Sid’ is One Sincere Attempt to Highlight The Issues Faced by Youngsters…”
That films are an integral part of our life is no hyperbole. Cinema, because of its wider reach and accessibility, is no less than a mirror which helps us reflect on a host of issues that the society comes across.
The likes of social media platforms such as YouTube have allowed amateur filmmakers and students to come forward and voice their concerns regarding anything and everything under the sun. From blood donation to physical disability to the ever-growing problem of child abuse, countless videos are being churned out by students in with an intent to mobilise public opinion and bring about a desirable change.
Over the years, we’ve been flooded with films and TV series dealing with vampires, ghosts, and other forms of paranormal beings. Some of them have been spooky while others have been nothing less than a laugh riot (no pun intended). Central-American filmmakers seem to be spicing up the genre by adding some Mexican flavour to it. Netflix’s latest horror show titled Diablero, is a great addition to the endless list of horror films and shows on Netflix. No, it’s not similar to “The Haunting of the Hill House”. One can breeze through the series’ first season. The first season is comprised of eight episodes. Continue reading “Diablero on Netflix is for the Demon Lover in You…”
Bollywood films can never be complete without songs and soundtracks. It certainly would be no overstatement to say that songs and music form the heart and soul of a Hindi film. Right from Hardy Sandhu’s ‘Naah’ to Atif Aslam’s “Dil Diyaan Gallaan” saw countless chartbusters.
This year, it has been no different. Bollywood has churned out some top-notch melodies this year around as well. Here’s a list of top 10 songs that have rocked my personal playlist in 2018. I am quite sure 10,000 different people would have 10,000 different opinions. Your playlist could be completely different from mine. Do leave your comments below.
So, here’s a list of some songs from my 2018 playlist
- Dilbaro (Raazi)
While the film became immensely popular because of Alia Bhatt’s stellar act and Meghna Gulzar’s tight direction, the film’s soundtrack too left an everlasting impact on the listener’s mind because of the catchy lyrics and soulful music. Out of all the songs within the film’s soundtrack, “Dilbaro”, sung by Harshdeep and Shankar Mahadevan. The song is penned by veteran lyricist Gulzar, who happens to be the director’s father, and beautifully captures the bond shared by the father-daughter duo.
- Dhadak title track
The song became an instant success because of its hummable lyrics and breath-taking vocals. Shreya Ghosal and the composer duo of Ajay-Atul collaborated to bring us one of the best songs of the year. The picturesque surroundings acted as the perfect stage for the lead pair to express love. The bright and colourful locations of Rajasthan add a majestic touch to the song. Also, a feeling of fragility and rawness portrayed in the song’s music video makes you listen to the song again and again.
- Binte Dil (Padmaavat)
The best thing about Padmaavat’s soundtrack was its richness. You songs symbolizes almost every human emotion. “Binte Dil “, sung by the ever-so-talented Arijit Singh and penned by A.M. Turaz beautifully captures Allah-ud-din’s burning desire to get a glimpse of Rani Padmavati. Ornamenting the song are colourful lyrics portraying a myriad of human emotions, ranging from lust to desire to seduction and everything in between. If I could describe the song in a single word, I’d say it is intimate.
4. O Saathi (Baaghi 2)
How can any list of popular songs be complete without Atif Aslam? 2018, in all fairness, had Atif Aslam’s name written all over it. This lad from Pakistan churned out one hit song after the other in 2018. “O Saathi” from the Tiger Shroff starrer “Baaghi 2”. The film set the ticket windows on fire and emerged as one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of the year. One of the major reasons behind the film’s success was its hit soundtrack.
Playing the song ‘O Saathi’ reminded me of all of my childhood crushes. The lyrics and the music are easy on the ear and do not sound laboured at all. The number is both soulful as well as peppy. Not to forget, Atif Aslam’s mesmerizing voice makes you forget everything else while you’re listening to the song. Also, what makes the song memorable is the music video. Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani are shown together throughout the duration of the song and one has to say that they do look cute together.
This one’s for all the party lovers out there. If you were to take my opinion, I’d say it is one of the best dance numbers I have ever heard. The lyrics are quite catchy and easy to remember. There’s an element of naughtiness portrayed within the song and the lyrics of the song bring out that naughty feeling really well without making it look vulgar. And, and, and how can we forget Nora Fatehi’s electric dance moves? She’s the best thing about the song. Vocals, provided by Astha Gill, Divya Kumar, and Sachin-Jigar are fun and peppy. Also, there’s a sense of rawness that adds significantly to the overall charm of the song. I bet this song would be on every DJ’s list. Going by the song’s popularity, one can easily say that ‘Kamariya’ from “Stree” is the year’s most popular dance number.
6. Dariya (Manmarziyaan)
The film might have bombed at the box office, but the charm of the film’s soundtrack became immensely popular with the masses. ‘Daryaa’ sung by Ammy Virk and Shahid Malliya throws ample light on the pain and tribulation one goes through after parting ways with his/her beloved. The song is notable for its moving lyrics, penned by Shellee. Ammy Virk’s voice complements the melancholic mood of the song. The song became an instant chartbuster in various regions of north India owing to its strong Punjabi essence and flavour. I must confess this one would remain in my playlist for quite a looong time…
7. Dekhte Dekhte (Batti Gul Meter Chaalu)
Atif Aslam gate-crashes this countdown yet again. This one is a recreation of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s qawwali titled ‘Sochta Hoon”. Additional lyrics for the song were penned by Manoj Muntashir. The song borrows heavily from the original version, but that doesn’t take anything away from Atif Aslam, who adds a pinch of freshness to the song with his moving voice. Atif Aslam has always been known for his melancholic and melodious songs and it was no different in this case. The fact that the song’s music video garnered more than 20 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release speaks volumes about the song’s popularity and mass appeal.
Other notable mentions:
- Bum Diggy-Diggy Bum-Bum,
- Dil Chori
- Tera Yaar Hoon Main
- Paaniyon Sa
Before bombarding you with my earth-shattering ideas and opinions, let me tell you that I happen to be a big fan of Dystopian literature. It thrills me to the core when I get my hands on a dystopian graphic novel or watch a film having a dystopian plot. With the contemporary world facing problems such as unemployment, political unrest, insecurity, etc., the concept of dystopia has no longer remained just a part of the fiction.
Back in 2005, when I was a school-going chap, released one of the most influential dystopian thrillers in the history of cinema. (At least, I would like to believe so.) V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, took us into the 2030s, giving us a glimpse of the dark and dingy streets of dystopian London. A cinematic representation of Allan Moore’s graphic novel, the film beautifully portrayed rebellion and revolution in order to overthrow autocratic regimes.
Starring Hugo Weaving and Nathalie Portman as V and Evey respectively, the film was so influential that today the Guy Fawkes mask has become a perpetual symbol of rebellion against totalitarian governments and injustice. Today, the internet, as well as the social media, runs berserk with countless Guy Fawkes images whenever the idea of a protest or an uprise is brought to light. The film, with its gripping storyline, makes sure that you don’t lose interest. It is one of those films which keeps you hooked and guessing right till the very end.
Here’s a look at all the factors that led to the film’s success
A Refreshing Change:
Hollywood has, for long, been associated with the Captain Americas, the Hulks, the Logans, and the Venoms. Indian audiences get attracted to the superhero genre quite effortlessly. At a time when the Superhero genre was overpowering the Indian audiences, V for Vendetta came as a breath of fresh air. It took us through a fictitious autocratic society wherein people were governed using surveillance systems. It further gave us ample reasons to respect and admire democratic governments. A country shouldn’t run according to the will of only a few, it should function according to the will of its citizenry.
The Element of Fear:
Rebellion became a way to liberate the masses. The movie tells us that fickle-minded governments can only be overthrown if people break the shackles of fear. It made people realize that giving in to their fear only makes oppressive governments stronger. It is because fear is the ultimate tool used to control the masses. It further brought to light the tricks governments play to instill a sense of fear amongst the masses. V, disguised as William Rockwood, tells Chief Inspector Finch about the planned attack carried out by Adam Sutler’s party. He tells him how fear became the ultimate tool of Sutler’s party.
A Fictional Representation of Real-World Problems
V for Vendetta is nothing more than a piece of fiction, but the problems portrayed are pretty much real. Autocratic governments, like the one in North Korea, have snatched away the vox populi and commit severe human rights violations. Wars and political unrests have dismantled countless African nations. Autocratic regimes have denied freedom of speech and expression. Those found ‘guilty’ are being executed. Political scenarios have become as complicated as they possibly can. Many countries (Syria for instance) have been destroyed and crippled. Dystopia is no longer just a piece of fiction. It has turned into a shocking reality.
V, the titular character and the film’s leading protagonist, beautifully sums up the need to overthrow oppressive governments when he says:
V, the film’s titular character, is undoubtedly the perfect protagonist. He is a deeply-learned man who also happens to be a skilled martial artist. He is a skilled swordsman as well. Nothing that he does is a matter of chance. He is not someone who’d leave loose ends. All that he does is carefully planned.
Well, I must admit V’s revolutionary speech reminds me of Mark Antony’s speech from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. His ideology is simple: Only a revolution can overthrow autocratic governments, and that a revolution would succeed only if there are enough people standing beside you. His arguments are highly rational and his grammar and diction are as good as William Shakespeare’s. He rightly nurtures the belief that fairness, justice, and freedom are not merely words, they are perspectives.
Furthermore, one could easily figure out that V had developed a soft corner for Evey Hammond. He fell in love with her and confessed the same before dying.
So, to top it all, V for Vendetta, with its tight storytelling and excellent performances, doesn’t only provide the viewer with entertainment. It also makes the viewer learn a few important lessons.
It certainly would be no hyperbole to say that the quality of content available on Netflix has improved quite considerably. 2018 saw some excellent feature films and web shows being churned out for viewers across all age groups. As far as the films are concerned, the American entertainment giant has treated its viewers to some excellent feature films this year around. Right from the Spanish period thriller ‘Gun City, which deals with the countless reasons that led to the outbreak of the Spanish civil war to the Indian romantic comedy “Love per Square Feet”, an Indian romantic comedy that deals with the ever-so-serious problem of housing in Mumbai, we’ve seen some top-notch stuff on Netflix this year around.
Within the crime-thriller genre, Calibre, a film directed by Matt Palmer, kept the netizens such as myself on the edge of their seats. The film is set in the Scottish Highlands and features two friends who embark on a hunting trip. The rest of the film deals with the trials and tribulations both of them face in their bid to keep their crime under the wraps.
The story begins rather simply, with two childhood friends Vaughn and Marcus embarking on a hunting trip. Vaughn and his wife are expecting their first child. Both of them make their way to the Scottish Highlands. The woods appear silent, but there seems to be a significant degree of uneasiness engulfing the highlands. The economic hardships of people, the lack of investment in the area. Both Vaughn and Marcus realize that the place isn’t as welcoming as they thought it’d be.
While hunting, Vaughn sees a deer, lines it up, and shoots, but the bullet accidentally hits a young boy, who happens to be camping in the woods along with his father. Things turn even murkier when Marcus, in his bid to protect Vaughn, ends up shooting the boy’s father. Then begins a game of cat and mouse wherein Vaughn and Marcus try almost all tricks in the bag to cover their crime.
The film’s story is pretty simple. It doesn’t have anything extraordinary, but what stands out in the entire film is the execution. The locations where the film has been shot are beautiful. Another striking feature of the locations happens to be the fact that they do look spooky and secluded. The locations add a certain degree of tension to the overall scenario.
The story might be simple, but it’s quite gripping. Kudos to the film’s writer for adding a pinch of salt and pepper to a cliché suspense thriller. All the ingredients seem to be in place. There’s a perfect blend of suspense, drama, tension, and adrenaline-pumping action. The writers have stuck to the basics and have nailed it, literally. The story is tightly-knit and nothing feels unnecessary. Also, the 100-minute runtime doesn’t feel long and keeps the viewer hooked and guessing.
Take nothing away from the hard work put in by all the actors. The likes of Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, and Tony Curran have pulled off stellar acts to give us one of the finest thriller films of the decade. The actors haven’t relied on dialogues, but on facial expressions. The fear and uncertainty, both of which form the heart and soul of the film, can be clearly seen on the lead pair’s face. There’s no fancy make-up stuff. The faces of all the actors narrate stories. As a viewer, you can feel the tribulations both Vaughn, as well as Marcus, are going through after they accidentally murder the child and his father.
The Dichotomy, the Emotions, and Everything in Between
Throughout the course of the film, there’s an uncanny uneasiness that a viewer can feel. There comes a moment in the film when both Vaughn and Marcus think “Should we confess, or should we not?” There happens to be tension and uncertainty brewing everywhere. Vaughn, in particular, is adamant on keeping the secret covered. He fears for his unborn child and his wife. The mental and emotional toil both of them are subjected to makes one develop a softer side for them. (Come on, you have to feel sad for them. After all, they didn’t murder the boy and his father intentionally. It was an accident. They were at the wrong place at the wrong time, to say the least.
Logan (Tony Curran) tells Vaughn and Marcus about the economic problems their village happens to be facing. There seems to be a severe dearth of investment in the area. Marcus promises to bring business and investment into the village. The locals happen to be well aware of the economic prosperity Marcus can bring in the area. The director hasn’t stretched the issue too much. He’s left it wide open and moves on to concentrate on the characters.
Just about nothing. The film stays true to its purpose. It doesn’t go haywire even once. Also, the climax happens to be quite inevitable but take nothing away from the way it has been executed. I hope there aren’t any spoilers in this review. The film makes for a great binge watch. Miss it at your own risk.
Before I begin, I must tell you that I have always loved watching romantic films. Being a 90s kid, I was fond of romantic movies that showcased love through the lens of sensitivity and innocence. Movies such as Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se’ (1998) and Anees Bazmee’s ‘Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha’ would certainly feature on my all-time favourite list.
Then in October 2001, released Gautham Menon’s “Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein”. Starring R. Madhavan, Dia Mirza, and a very young and charming Saif Ali Khan in the lead roles, the film was a light-hearted romantic comedy film with a pinch of salt and pepper. The film might have bombed at the box office in 2001, but it has garnered a lot of fan following in recent times. Continue reading “Simplicity and Innocence Form the Heart and Soul of Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein”