Monday, January 23, 2012

IFFK 2012

It’s better late than never, is what I felt after the eight day long IFFK held at Trivandrum, last month. I always regretted not attending the Festival so far, but my first time was a super-enjoyable experience for me, one that’ll remain etched in my mind for quite some time. I am no critic to judge the quality of movies screened this year, but some of the movies I got to watch at the festival were enriching in several ways. ‘Delhi in a day’ , directed by Prashant Nair was a delightful watch, comprising of a tiny mishap that takes place between an upper class family in Delhi and a foreigner who wants to feel the real essence of India. The director got it right with the casting and by portraying an India devoid of slums and snake charmers. Though, I was advised not to indulge much into Indian films, I couldn’t stop myself from checking out ‘Palas in bloom’ by Shalini Usha Nair which was engaging to an extent. With killer acting by Fahadh Faasil, this book adaptation was narrated through his perspective, which made it interesting in certain shots, like the climax. The final Indian movie I watched was ‘At the end of it all’, a Bengali movie that was a total art movie cliché. The initial innings looked promising, but it got too boring with stereotype characterization, where in, almost all the characters spoke poetically, not to forget about a dragging narrative.

Among various categories including an exclusive list of football films, ‘Games of their lives’ came as a surprise as the synopsis given in the handbook was of a completely different one! This documentary told about the development of football in North Korea. French master Robert Bresson’s films were featured in the retrospective category and his ‘Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne’ was a decent black and white experience. Depicting a vengeance filled extra marital affair, this one highlighted French culture of women of those times, which was aptly supported by subtitles. Denying it of unnecessary melodrama, the characters had a balance between emotions like ego, innocence and pride. ‘The Puzzle’ spoke of a bored housewife who leads a monotonous life and finds her true calling in solving jigsaw puzzles. The written material has been well adapted on screen and also has really good performances by the main leads.

My favourite pick from the Festival films has to be Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’. Every character was simply interwoven within the storyline, connecting with the spectator in an empathetic way. Farhadi is directorially brilliant in his flawless style of narration and kudos to the realistic cast. I couldn’t take my eyes off for even a minute, despite having to keep in pace with the subtitles and facial expressions. Adrian Sitaru’s ‘Best Intentions’ was another flick with unintended humour that came out of serious situations. It juggled with subtle comedy and an over anxious protagonist. The movie mostly comprised of long shots, where in, the leading character had long dialogues to deliver, doing justice to his neurotic personality in the film. But it lagged in few places, yet, stroke back with funny punch lines. ‘The First Grader’ is based on a true story, beautifully directed with the non- fiction element intact. Though, it doesn’t boast of a great technical side, the movie on a whole was very inspiring with some impactful dialogues, speaking of how empowering education is. Visualizing Columbian country side in a modern day portrayal of daily life, ‘The Colours of a Mountain’ is a simple story of a nine year old’s world. In the context of a larger, dangerous issue of the killing of civilians, all that matters to the children is a damn soccer ball. Even in this earthbound hell, a huge round of applause came for Manuel as he risked everything to get his ball.

I had my share of good and not-so-good movies, but watching them with friends and loitering around Kairali theatre for snacks and shamelessly waiting for a free auto is all too memorable to be forgotten. As inspiring as some of the movies were, that enriching it was to share it with friends of the same mind set. Like they say, great minds think alike :p

Monday, January 16, 2012

If not now, when?

I love my Samsung Google Nexus S phone that operates on Android. It's super-efficient, has thousands of smart apps, and is my best buddy when I'm away from home. I can 'like' on my own photos and can even send free SMSs internationally. Today, it is my virtual buddy, and what scares me is that maybe in the future, my only buddy.

You know what the irony is of this technology? The smarter your phone gets, the dumber we soon are prone to be. Being an ardent user of this technology, and a Facebook addict, it's only recently that I realized how small my world literally is. Be it from news updates to downloading songs and playing games where pigs are apparently in war with birds, smart phones and the internet have made many of us absolutely dependent on it. There was a time, back in school, when I used to talk to my best friend in class, after I'm home and before I sleep. My mother would ask me what's there to talk so much. But, that was the kind of bond I used to share with my closest of friends. Today, we speak around once in two weeks, and inevitably end the conversation with 'keep in touch' and the like, which I never thought would have to use it with her. My parents often complain of how silent I've become. and perhaps , now I realize it's because I'm so pre-occupied with socializing on the internet , and when outside… on my smart phone.

Giving it up is not a solution, as one will be called primitive if done so. Age old uncles and aunties will have a problem with this technology, scaring you away with latest findings on how cancer prone you are with radiations emitted by cell phones. Some might say it lacks personal touch and by saying that, I wonder what personal touch was there during times when a pigeon would deliver letters. Funnily, none of this can scare away net savvy people like us, and no matter what cancer can be born out of whichever gadget, even on our death bed we’ll probably not forget to ‘update out status’.

All said and forgotten, one thing that really scares me is how dependent I have become because of this. Also, how many of you can remember your closest friend's birthday without peeping into your phone calendar or Facebook for birthday reminders? Honestly, I don't even know what my land line number sounds like, because I don't need it anymore when I can converse freely over Skype with my sister who lives seven seas away. What's amazing is that everything from pins to pizzas are accessible today- just a click away. It saves time, too. I don't need to stand in a queue at the railway station when I can 'e-book' it. Nor do I need to go to book exhibitions for latest collections when I have Flipkart to deliver it at my doorstep. The internet is so cool, that I can catch an AR Rahman concert on YouTube for free, while other loyal fans take the trouble of paying hefty amounts to catch a live glimpse of him. All this is even better with a smartphone and 3G connection, which apparently is the new method for birth control ;) One of my professors had joked once about how net addicted today’s generation has become, that if we are asked of our grandparents’ names, we’d probably have to Google it up. Lately, I’ve realized how handy all this is when you have to constantly be in touch with people related to work and otherwise, but look at the amount of time wasted. At my age, I can see a lot of youngsters who aren’t equipped with such luxury, making most of their time travelling around, experiencing the real sun and earth. However easy our life is today because of this, I seriously think we must intend on spending more time outside with real people in a real world, as we may not realize what we’re missing on the outside. It shouldn’t be too late to regret, right?

We really are missing out on a lot, sometimes, when we take all this for granted. Unarguably, experience that comes with a personal touch leaves an immortal impression. There's so much to explore and enjoy outside the world of web. It's time that we stop confining ourselves to gadgets and gizmos and go out there. We might say that we're making life much easier with everything just a click away, but we're missing out on the real way of doing things that could probably make us stagnant and isolated with no memories left for the rest of our lives.

P.S. Samsung Galaxy Note is just amazing! Checked out my friend's phone and it has amazing storage power and a good enough camera. In fact you can even send mails in your own hand writing and its so much fun to play angry birds on a screen as huge as that :P. It's been rumoured to be better than iPhone .. do check it out, whilst you detach yourself from these gadgets after reading my post :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year !

Nothing has changed, yet, so much has.. people, circumstances and emotions. It's amazing how we end up happy with the same person we despised before and how we can't get enough of this happiness. I don't know how fast the year passed by, but what changed with it was my life, my ambitions and most importantly- who I am. How expensive is it to buy happiness for a lifetime? Is it always about compromising and being settled with whatever you're given? Or.. is there a field out there that's beyond what's right and wrong, like what Rumi said?

Toot ke bikharna mujhko zarur aata hai
Varna ibbadat wala shahur aata hai

Sajde mein rehne do, ab kahin na jaunga
Ab jo tumne tukhraya tho sawar na paunga

It's a new year, calls for new innings, new opportunities to become a better person and everyone deserves to be happy. Wishing you all a fabulous year ahead.