Category Archives: Entertainment

Pushpa – The Rise movie: This is not a review

Today I will talk about “Pushpa – The Rise” movie. I saw the movie some time ago and have been thinking of penning my thoughts. For the readers, let me tell you that this is not your usual movie review. I don’t know what decision you will make after reading this piece, as this piece is more relevant if you have already seen the movie. This article will however give you a perspective.

How is the movie?

It would not be an understatement to say that the movie has no soul. Well, when I say, “having soul”, I mean something that affects me or lingers with me deeply and not just scratches me on surface. If I go through an entire scene without being connected to it, I feel there is something lacking in that bit. For “Pushpa – The Rise”, unfortunately, the entire movie is sum of such bits. I have nothing against the story, as all such Masala entertainers are supposed to have similar stories, which is essentially anything but a story. There is a masala movie template I feel, and what the filmmakers are doing is simply filling up that template. I understand, it is a journey of a man who has been wronged by the system making him vulnerable and arrogant. The man is weird, which is what makes such movies interesting. The man is everything that normal people like you and me would want to become in a parallel world. I guess, the filmmakers know this fantasy and play around it – with their movies.

What is my problem?

My problem is not with the masala movie that it is. My problem is that the movie is not good. To prove my point, let me tell you that one of the finest movies I have seen in quite some time is KGF. And I believe that the movie deserves all the success that it got. The thing is, whenever any movie is successful for the right reasons, there are similar movies that ride on the wave and become successful although they don’t deserve it. It is like a wave that engulfs not only what started it but also anything that comes on its way. With the success of KGF, the appetite of Indian audience for such over-the-top, brash, maverick, unapologetic masala entertainers touched sky high. The filmmakers know this. And they keep dishing out movies to satiate this appetite. When a man is hungry, he likes almost anything. This really sums up the success of even average movies post a mega success of a similar movie (which actually deserved success).

Let me take a moment to thank people who do not jump on such bandwagon and be themselves despite recognizing evidently where the world is heading. Remember, how everyone started creating action movies after Salman Khan did “Wanted”. We know “Wanted” was Salman Khan’s ultimate lease of life. It catapulted him to the status of “Superstar”, one more time. During those times, there was a deluge of such movies and everyone wanted to hop on the trend. There were very few people like “Sharukh Khan” who refused to work on similarly themed movies. Why? Because that man is a trend setter and not someone who follows a trend. So, a big shout out to the man.

So, what is it that I am trying to suggest?

All I am saying is that every successful movie is not good because there are many things that drive success. Sometimes, we just feed into a hype and get engulfed by a wave as described earlier. A smart and discerning individual like me can make out if we truly like a movie (which should propel the movie to success) or if we should ignore it because it is just a substandard piece that is being presented in the garb of entertainment. This is what is called a matured audience; that gives where the due is to be given.

What’s wrong in making such films successful?

If you like such movies, then you certainly need to improve/uplift your taste. Let’s just say that you are settling for too little. The problem with the success of such movies is that the other deserving movies fail. And, if you keep feeding into what is being thrown at you, you will forever be fed that. To get good movies made, you need to fail the bad ones. My suggestion would be to be more discerning, quality-seeking, and demanding from our filmmakers. Only then we will get to see movies that deserve our attention and that deserve the success in return. Let’s fix this.

Everything that is wrong with diversity

I recently read an article about Priyanka Chopra saying that some north easterner should have played Marry Kom instead of her in the movie. Some people said it is very brave of her to have acknowledged it publicly. Even when the movie was released, people had raised questions about the casting of the movie. They felt the casting reeked of racism. Notwithstanding that, the film was a huge success.

What troubles me?

What I don’t understand is why people talk good but don’t do good when they have an opportunity. Is it not convenient to say somebody else should have done it instead of not doing it and paving way for someone else? However, is this clinging on to convenience wrong? The question is, why would anyone on earth let go of a great opportunity. Are we born to always make sacrifices and pave way for the less privileged? Even if we do that (make sacrifices), who determines if the opportunity has gone to the deserving. Had the role gone to a north easterner, what was the guarantee that she too wouldn’t have been privileged in her own circle. Are we trying to suggest that regional cinema (regardless of the state) is a perfect merit-driven-talent-recognizing industry? Also, was Priyanka Chopra (at the time of that movie) successful enough to let go of a great script. Wouldn’t she have betrayed herself by doing so had she made the sacrifice. The choice with us is always simple, whoever gets the fish, eats it. And it is perfectly fine if they eat a lot and a lot. They can later say that they should have shown a bigger heart, but at the time of actual doing, not sacrificing is perfectly fine. And why is her acknowledgment being praised? Why some people jump on this pseudo concept of forced diversity and inclusion when in the actuality every human being is hungry for success.

The concept of movies is simple. Actors are cast on their ability to make a film successful. Not to serve any other purpose. The director of the movie felt that Priyanka Chopra was the right choice, so he bet his money on her. He wanted to earn money, so he hired a star. Had he hired someone else, he would have made less money, or the movie would have flopped. He went after success and it is absolutely fair.

Is there anything wrong with Priyanka acknowledging it?

There is nothing wrong, it just seems to suggest that our actions and words don’t align. And it is perfectly fine if they don’t. Priyanka Chopra has become who she has become by utilizing and grabbing every opportunity on her way. She didn’t just settle for Bollywood, she went and achieved success in Hollywood. She has the hunger for success, and she shouldn’t lose that hunger and start making sacrifices because it is what is expected of her (or from every successful person). There is this underlying expectation that successful people should sacrifice so that others can benefit. This notion has been glorified and is the cornerstone of all such debates. Did Priyanka Chopra rely on someone else to give her all the success on a platter. Priyanka made her own way. In a Bollywood that was fascinated with white skin, she made her way and conquered it. Despite all the odds she made it.

So, is the system always fair?

Off course not. The system is tilted. Few people make more money. Few industries make more money. Few countries make more money. It is never perfect. Successful people can indeed change the system through their acts. However, let’s not determine what, when, and how they should do it. It’s only you who should determine when you should become a giver and in what way. Let’s not put a moral baggage of sacrifice on successful people or a moral baggage of accepting things in hindsight. Also, why the onus of bringing change is always on stars. Audience can choose not to watch movies if they find them unfair, but apparently their collective conscience remains unaffected.

Should Priyanka Chopra not give back to Bollywood?

She should if she wants. But let’s not judge her only on the grounds of what she gives back. Let her run after more success. Let her grab more opportunities. Let her be selfish. Let her earn more and more and more money. Her becoming successful (however she defines success) is also bringing glory and global acceptance to Bollywood. Isn’t she becoming successful a reform in itself? Has her success not already fueled change in Bollywood, and dare I say Hollywood? And with regards to reforms and changes that we need in Bollywood, it’s a collective effort and the audience should be the driver above anyone else. Once we (the audience) start making sacrifices, things will fall in place.

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Remembering Irrfan Khan on his birth anniversary

Just realized that today is the birth anniversary of Irrfan Khan. The actor who broke boundaries and glass ceilings to become one of the most appreciated actors from both commercial and artistic aspect of movie-making. One of the few actors who got into Hollywood and did pivotal roles. An actor who could get into the skin of any character and own it. An actor who could play a rich evil businessman and a small village dacoit with equal panache. A man who uplifted small content-driven movies with his brilliance and helped them achieve commercial success. Irrfan Khan epitomized the success story of a struggling actor that Bollywood so loves to glorify when the success has been achieved. In fact, it is sort of a chain reaction when success fuels more success and then everyone embraces it to get their pie.

Irrfan starred in several epic movies such as Piku, Paan Singh Tomar, The Lunchbox, Haider and so on. Wherever he went, he left a deep impression by his subtle acting skills. Acting skills that were very unlike Bollywood (not to say that Bollywood has bad actors) in the sense that they were mellow (had a peculiarity) and never felt outlandish. Also, there appeared honesty and truthfulness in his characters that was marked by sheer lack of over-enthusiasm such as displayed by some of the newbies of Bollywood when they seem to think they are acting. He indeed was a breath of fresh air and was liked by people of all age group.

It’s not wrong to say that the actor got his due late and that when he was at the peak of his career, ready to enjoy the stardom, health caught up with him. In my heart of hearts, I feel that success was slow in catching him and that he should have been a success much before had he got the opportunities earlier or if we as audience were matured enough for good content and acting; and demanded it. After all, audience taste is what drives everything including the opportunities.

Now that when the man is not with us, let’s pray that India keeps creating such talent and that such talent finds its way to the top sooner. Also, let’s hope Bollywood and Indian Cinema keep recognizing such talent and give them the opportunity to display themselves to the world. I think that is all such a talent wants and something that it should rightly get.

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What Sushant Singh Rajput’s death teaches us?


• That there are people who can take advantage of anything to further one’s agenda – Beware of them.


• That we are ignorant about mental health issues – Anyone can suffer from any problem.


• That we are a patriarchal society – Stop finding easy excuses or culprits. Go to the root of the issue. Things are not always as we want them to be.


• That we are strongly biased, and logic is the least used faculty – Apply logic and not instinct.


• That Bollywood has its share of problems – Bring reforms, structure, and have more acceptance towards everyone.


• That choosing to not react regardless of who you are is a personal choice – Don’t judge people for their personal choices.


• That choosing to react the way you do regardless of who you are is a personal choice – Don’t judge people for their personal choices.


• That not all celebrities or rich people are evil – Rich doesn’t mean evil.


• That not all general people are good – There are a lot of stupid people around us.


• That TV journalism (largely) is evil and agenda driven. – Don’t watch it.


• That we don’t respect the law and let it function – Trust your institutions, stop gossiping. If you have a different viewpoint, raise it objectively.


• That we enjoy drama and sensation – Curb this inner instinct.


• That we are essentially either blind followers or trolls – Stop that.


• That we love to hate – Stop that.


• That we need a tragedy to realize the value of a person or his talent – Appreciate talent at the right time. This is for the people who became Sushant Singh Rajput’s fan after his death.


• That we are always waiting for an opportunity to start hating people – Stop that.


• That we have some sort of inherent hatred for people who are successful than us – Get over it.


• That we love to make people fall – Don’t enjoy seeing people fall. Even if someone has done wrong and he or she gets her due, just be gracious that justice is done. Don’t enjoy that.


• That an unsuccessful person always thinks that he or she didn’t get what he or she deserved because of the flawed system – Stop blaming your failures on everything else except you. Maybe you were not good. Maybe others were better than you. Maybe you are meant for something else.


• That the system sometimes can actually be unfair – Maybe you were hard done. But then, never lose hope and constantly work to fix the systemic issue as per your ability.


• That you are more than what you become or what people know you for and all other shit – Just have a go at life and keep going.

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Who will win Big boss 14: Rubina Dilaik or Rahul Vaidya?

The Big boss season 14 is in its final leg. The two people who seem most likely to win the show are Rubina Dilaik and Rahul Vaidya. While Rubina Dilaik has appeared to be seen as a strong headed woman in the house who knows what is right and wrong, Rahul Vaidya is seen as someone who is emotional and slightly mellow. Both have displayed characteristics that are appealing to different senses.

Who is going to win Big boss 14?

Answering this question is difficult at this moment. Though I feel it’s Rubina Dilaik who has greater chances of winning the Big Boss. She seems to have captured the imagination of general public. She has a vocal personality and she is a great communicator. That is her strength as well as her weakness. She has kept herself open in the show in terms of sharing her turbulent relationship and also wore her dominant personality on her sleeve.

Who should win Big boss14?

I would want Rahul Vaidya to be the winner of Big Boss 14. He seems to be more correct to me than Rubina Dilaik. When I say correct, I don’t mean about being real or being expressive, or being outspoken. I think both Rubina Dilaik and Rahul Vaidya have been good at expressing themselves, it’s just that Rahul Vaidya is more behaviorally correct.

What do you mean by being behaviorally correct?

Everyone knows that Rubina Dilaik has impeccable communication skills. However, the problem is that she thinks having great communication skills is the key to solving all the problems in life. She fails to understand that understanding someone and being able to set aside your ego are bigger virtues than communication. That, I think is the primary reason she has problems in her personal life too.

What does the winner of Big boss 14 tell us about the audience preference?

Aside from the fact that the voting is driven largely by their followers, who blindly follow them, if people genuinely vote for Rubina Dilaik, it once again proves that we value communication over everything else. Communication which is just a tool to conduct yourself takes precedence over who you actually are. Appearing to be correct is more important than being actually correct. A strong personality is more appealing than an average personality. Nobody bothers to seek underneath the exterior. Nobody wants to study further.

Is Rubina Dialik suffering from superiority complex?

I don’t think having a superiority complex is a problem. It is when you make people feel inferior is when you are going wrong. Rubina Dilaik is very comfortable with words and has an enviable vocabulary. When she puts her point across, it is usually loaded with wisdom that she may have gathered in her life. Obviously, people who don’t have the gift of gab, might think of her having superiority complex. So, it might be wrong at times to say that she has a superiority complex. The actual problem is using a rich communication to justify a plain wrong. That she often does. It is like using your favorite tool, that you are so good at, even when it is not required, and when it simply won’t work. Its like using a sword every time when a needle would do the job rather. This puts thinking people off.

Is Rahul Vaidya a deserving winner of big boss 14?

Among the current lot, yes, he is. He might have gone out of the house in a weak moment, but he has shown good game throughout. Moreover, like I said, he is behaviorally correct. He has made good relationships in the house, but the problem is again of personality. He is not as strong as Rubina Dilaik. He doesn’t have the personal problems that make people root for him. To put it simply, his journey is not as dramatic as that of Rubina Dilaik. And I fear, people like drama more than simplicity.

Do you think Big boss is just a show where people are not real, and you can’t make any assumptions about their personality based on what they do in the show?

First things first, Big boss is not scripted. It is a show where different people are put together in a house and yes there is a price money, so their behavior is tuned towards this larger objective of winning the price amount. But real life is also like that, you always want to win something (money, growth, respect, promotion, pride, ego etc.), and our behavior is always, even though subconsciously, driven towards achieving this goal. Big boss simply makes this objective clearer. The people who are in the show and the way they behave is exactly how they would behave when they are out of the show, if put in a difficult situation. Big boss can be a very good lesson in sociology where you know how people can behave when the stakes are high. Didn’t you see people fighting when they tried hoarding for sanitizers, and toilet rolls when COVID 19 was at its peak. Those were very sane people with sane minds put in a tough situation. We don’t call that scripted right?

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Battleground twitter

When twitter first came to India, it was just a microblogging site. Though it still is that, technically speaking, but it has assumed far greater importance in our communications, then we initially assumed it would. Initially it was just a fun site for connections and light banter. People thronged the site to share one liners and cool excerpts. The very small word limit made the messages precise and easily consumable. It was a happy social space.

What happened now?

With the influx of celebrities and political bigwigs, twitter became a conversation domain where emotions were expressed vividly. The fans, the trolls, the neutrals everyone flooded twitter with the intention of getting heard. Every communication now definitely finds its way on twitter. It gets magnified either for good or bad.

What exactly is the problem?

Twitter is just a medium. Let’s understand it. Like any other medium, people might use it for good or bad. The way we censor and penalize bad behavior in real world, we must do it on twitter too. However, there is something called “freedom” that we all, so freely enjoy, something that we must continue to enjoy in our expression. Blanket bans on accounts that seem unaligned to a majoritarian view must not be the only criterion on blocking the accounts.

So, what is the solution?

The solution is simple. We must restrain accounts that are in violation of the law of the land and let the acceptable dissent flow. We must not tarnish a larger movement, regardless of its merit, because of the fringes. It’s the weed that we should remove and not the crop. Remember weed grows regardless of a thing being good or bad.

Are the conversations on twitter real or manufactured?

Both. It might be organic or manufactured. However, none of it is a problem till it’s in violation of the law of the land and poses security threat. A manufactured dissent will die its own death as it won’t find any takers in the long run and because people are not really committed for it. The moment these people will switch off their phone, they will go back to who they were. If it is organic, it will flourish outside twitter too and reach the masses.

Why celebrities are silent? Is it justified?

Celebrities have influence and they can take stand. So, should they do so? Are they morally bound? To answer this question, we first need to understand, why we want them to speak up. We want it because we feel that they can steer the vehicle toward a particular direction which we feel is the right one. We think that they fear the repercussions, and that is the reason they are not speaking up. If we protect them from the backlash, they would be happy to speak up. This is what we think. This might be partially true, but what if the polarization itself is not real, if the hate itself is not real, if everything is orchestrated with a design that has a short shelf life. If there is no genuine problem, then there is nothing that needs to be fixed. If you know that it is all for a show, and you are not interested in the show, then you might not want to be a part of it.

Can people boycott the celebrities and bring down their large empires?

I don’t think that it is true. This can be a social media phenomenon where people can dislike a particular video or unfollow a celebrity if he appears to take a particular stand that’s against a majoritarian view. However, we need to understand that the real fan base remains loyal throughout. I haven’t encountered one individual who said he earlier liked someone but now dislikes him on account of his views. You will eventually be liked for your work than anything else.

Okay, real fan base won’t go, but what about young susceptible minds? Will a star loose out on new potential fans because of specific views?

There are no susceptible minds. People are smart. You need to understand the conversations that are happening in the ground in every household. Whenever a person is saying a particular view is correct, there is another view that says otherwise. So, there is a sane and thorough debate going on at the very root level. Don’t think people simply consume what comes from the top.

But there must be multiple views that come from the top for general people to analyze the pros and cons properly right? If one view is heavily propounded, the other view simply loses the game.

That is partially true. That’s why it is also important to speak up. But this is a larger point of diverse democratic conversations that should come from Journalism and politics. People should take part in it, but it’s these institutions that hold the responsibly of keeping the conversation pure and unbiased. And I still feel even if the correct view is less spoken, it still makes itself obvious and people understand it. Such is the nature of the truth. It eventually gets you. But we do need equal space for all views.

Would you request celebreties to speak more?

It’s totally their prerogative.

Can people ride the social media wave by aligning themselves with a particular view for their own benefit?

They can try. However, it wouldn’t last long. it’s very difficult to take the love and hate of social media very seriously. A like in your twitter post would not translate into the person liking the post seeing your movie. He might be liking the post out of fun or compulsion, who knows. Even if the person is genuinely liking your post, he might like you for your views, but hate you for your work. That can also happen.

So, what is the final solution?

Have more democratic conversations. Give space to other views. Allow dissent. Allow multiple viewpoints to flourish, so that everyone can form their own opinion.

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