This Diwali...

So, there is this tradition at home where all four of us (my parents, my sis and I) come together for Diwali. Well, come together is hyperbole. My parents live together at the place that I call home (in Delhi). My sis and I are often out for work. But wherever we are, we make it a point to come back to Delhi for Diwali. Even if it's for a day, we come back.

We do the Diwali pooja in our kitchen (used to feel like such a big space when I was a kid; now we hardly fit inside. That's the thing with spaces - they don't contract or something, just that we grow up and things that we work with expand).


Coming back.

So, this Diwali was probably the first time all 4 of us weren't together. My sis is away and it was too impractical and too expensive to come home for the tradition.

And I will not lie but I did feel a lump in my throat for a few seconds when I realized that this year's togetherness will not be complete. I even imagined that a time would come when none of us would be around and I don't know who would miss us. Or if there is any meaning to these traditions.

Maybe this is what growing up is. May be this is how the entire world feels like because they don't have enough things to digress themselves with. You know, if I had things to occupy my head with (work et al), I would probably be too busy to even miss my sis. But work has not been too great lately and that means all I had was emotions. And they were running high! I even wrote a post about it!

That's the other thing. I have been writing this blog for some 15 years now. And I have remained pseudo-social. I have spoken about things that are personal and that I often don't tell my friends and all. And I think it has served me well. In the sense, this blog has sort of become that person that I can confide in. I am fucked in the head. I write some stuff here. And then I am ok. This blog is like my best friend that I can confide in and does not judge me and has the answers.

Of course, there are far deeper and darker things that I don't write on a public platform. I write those on this secret blog that no one has access to. It has things that I would be ashamed of if they were to be published in the newspaper.

But the thing is, as I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I am becoming a lot more comfortable with myself as an individual and with my insecurities and my flaws. I am the way I am. And I want to not hide the flaws. I want to see them in the newspaper. I want to blurt yell at the top of my voice and make the world hear about them.

I know that the business I am in runs on reputation and a lot of people may not want to attach their names with mine if I start living my true self. I already get a lot of flak for the way I dress. I don't think I can add more eccentricities to it.

But then, as I go along, I think it's ok. I'd rather be with people that I like to be with and the ones that like to be with me. There are 7bn+ people and the law of numbers dictates that I would find some that respect me for my decisions. And that's what I want to chase. Fuck the pretense. Fuck the attempts at fitting in. Fuck the conformity. I am going to embrace my individuality and the choices that I believe are worth making.

Wow. I digressed to dunno what level.

When I started writing this, I wanted to write about traditions and how they gain importance as they age and how they add meaning to the lives of people. And how people do irrational things to fit into the world's view of traditions. And how someone like me who loved to be so rational that I left things behind to chase optimal results could become irrational to follow traditions. I wanted to use the Diwali pooja at home as an excuse to write about emotions and how they are often meant for people that have nothing to look up to. Or forward to. But I don't know what all I wrote. As I was editing, I realized that I have written about the ideas of conformity and freedom and choice. Heck, are we even free? Fuck, that's another debate for another time.

For the time being, I think I am glad that I back to writing. Wrote an SoG yesterday after almost 2 months. And today this blogpost. And if time permits, another SoG today.

For the time being, over and out!

Where did WAR (the film) miss?

War, starring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff (more on Wikipedia)
A couple of days ago, I did something that is very unlike me - went and saw a first-day first-show of a Bollywood Movie!

When I was told it is an action film and is a story of a spy, I had my doubts - I mean look at Bard of Blood and Family Man. But sometimes you have to do things that you may not want to. And to be honest, while I went for it very reluctantly (an understatement) but I must admit that I enjoyed watching it. I think War probably marks the coming of age for Bollywood action flicks.

Having said that, as a writer, there are a few things that I need to talk about that I could not digest. Please note that there are spoilers ahead. Please read ahead only if you have seen the movie. And if you plan to, please do not read from here on.

So, in the movie, you learn that the person betraying the country is someone from the team itself (as always is). But the traitor has been able to avoid detection because he has taken the face (plastic surgery) and tone (vocal cord modulation) and mannerisms (I don't know how) of another soldier that has died previously.

Now, the thing is, the tool of plastic surgery and vocal cords modulation is one of the laziest things you can ever use to spring surprises and suspense.

If you are a detective, you BETTER work hard to solve the case. You are a superhero, goddamit! Agreed that in the film the lead spy was flummoxed by this plastic surgery and all that. But what did I do to deserve earn answers? 

And more importantly, the audience needs to work hard alongside the detective. It is as important for the audience to solve the case alongside, as it is for the spy. People watch movies (or read books) because when they watch or read, in their heads they are living extraordinary lives (of the spy) that they can never live otherwise.

And finally, as the creator of the story, you better work HARDER to create a mystery that your readers / viewers can solve alongside. It is what gives them release. It is what will make them go wow. This release that the audience gets made Sherlock great. And Poirot. And Reacher. And almost all the detectives / sleuths / spies that we have come to love over the years.

Of course, they go wow when they see all those thousands of abs scattered around. But you are not making an eye-candy flick. It's a spy film! 

The other issue I have with the story is that the character of Tiger Shroff did not get his due.

In the entire first half of the film, he is shown as a person that is struggling, literally dying, to prove that he is a true patriot. And he wants to redeem himself and his mother for the things that his father did.

And the let down is that he is killed without him even getting a chance to get what he seeks! I mean, how DARE you kill a character like that like that?

Like that one - you did so much hard work to build a character and tell us about his wants and likes and all that. I want to fall in love with the character. I want to cry when he dies. In my case, I was laughing because of the frivolity of the plot.

Like that two - you invested so much time in building it and so much effort in creating his story and all that. And then you just killed him, just like that. And you gave him almost zero shot at redemption! Why would you do that?

In a story, you do NOT create a character and tell me what he wants and then do NOT take that character to a place where he gets what he's wanted all along. Of course in the pursuit of his "want", the character may fail (Joker failed to get what he wanted) but he has to die fighting and as the audience, I need to be a part of his struggle. I need to feel for him. Feel happy that he did or did not reach there. Feel sad that he could not reach there.

In #war, he just died. Like died without even putting up a fight. And the worst part? His last act before he died was insubordination. I mean is that great last memory of the second most important character in the story?

Can't digest.

So yeah. That's it.

Phew. I feel lighter now that I have written this. 

Of course, I am absolutely ok with creating eye-candy and with leaving logic behind. No doubt that the film is an absolute treat to watch. It has everything that a Bollywood fan may want. In fact, I would love to make films like that. But then this is very close to the kind of stories I write. And thus I had to speak my mind.

And in the end, I must mention that each piece I write where I critique the work of others must be read alongside this disclaimer by Anton Ego. Read is here.

PS: Even though I am one-half of the TheRedSparrow, this post has been written in my personal capacity.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?