Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

For Technorati

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Had to do this for stats!


Thats for you, baby.

Unlikely Musicians

Friday, November 27, 2009

Music as you may know is a big part of my life. In the past few years especially I have consciously/sub-consciously tried/failed/succeeded many/very few times to create/understand/replicate/modify/manipulate/control/innovate classic/contemporary forms of music. The results of which have been disastrous/astounding/enriching.
I would be inclined to think now, that music is an integral bit of everyone’s lives, whether they know it or not. Whether they try and incorporate some element of it into their lives. I can see an image of a corporate head going for a jam with friends after work. Or perhaps and a woman who finally buys herself the piano that she’s being putting of for so long, just to finally immerse herself into this new world of melody. Or maybe it’s the countless number of people putting their headphones on every time they step out of the house. Whatever it is, people are doing it, and if you’re not, you’ve got to try.

As I was aimlessly driving through the internet in my Powerbook G4 (Something I seem to be doing too much of lately* ) I stumbled upon a certain group of unlikely musicians, The Rock-Bottom Remainders; who were doing exactly what I thought people were doing. Random men and women who strum guitar and play music in general at a very basic level, had come together to jam-up and enjoy each others company and just play some simple songs to break away from their regular lives. More and more people like the afore-mentioned are finding music to be that one thing that they can use to colour their lives. The band I’m talking about have taken regular jamming to another level and has sort of an elite membership: Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Mitch Albom and Matt Groening to name a few. These very successful and powerful writers put down their pens and meet once a year to jam up for charity and the really cool thing is that they really know that they aren’t good at music so there’s always an endless supply of witty jokes about how bad they are:

"We play music as well as Metallic writes novels." -Dave Barry

"People are throwing panties at you. They certainly never do that at my book-signings." -Matt Groening

The point is that while this rock n’ roll band of published authors aren’t very good, they still go at it and have been at it since 1992. And also they are a hilarious bunch of people, so you should check them out for sure.
Music is for everyone and only you. You should first and foremost, feel the effects of the guitar in your hands while you strum it. You should get the feel of what John Mayer is saying when you buy his CD. Another super example of what I’m talking about is how my friend and I formed a band way back in 2008. We’re not too good, but I can speak for both of us when I say, I think we RULE. I enjoy cause I can experiment with new ideas in this relatively pure acoustic-one-woman-managed band but mostly I enjoy cause I get to watch a not that great singer pull out all stops and just sing his heart out. And I realized that much later until we were too busy to meet up let alone jam up. He may very well be the funniest guy I know and we connect on some kind of supreme level, and for that I miss him, and hope he accepts my heartfelt apology for bumming him out all too recently.
Please do yourself a favour and get out there. Buy a Karaoke machine. Or a violin. You’ve got to try.

*Lately = the last 3 years.

2012: The Review

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ello All,
So yes it happened. It came and I saw it and MAN!
What an excellent, excellent film. For several reasons and before I get into them I must say- it most certainly was not perfect. A lot of the times it was melodramatic, a lot of the times it was unrealistic, and for the most part, the family's story that leads the entire plot is far fetched to say the least.
Possibly a hundred close calls, near misses, 'aaaaaaaAAAAAAH! Phew' moments and other such wonderful things a script can give us. The more cynical would possibly use it as a reason to beat the film up though I must say, while it did grate on me a bit, it certainly kept the film thrilling THROUGHOUT, something not many films can accomplish. I can only think of one moment when my eyes weren't on the screen and my heart wasn't racing. At the same time, especially considering the kind of cameras they've used, I expected a bit more reality in the script (ironically a criticism levied against the lead character's book.)
Now for the good parts-
The Graphics were excellent. The solar flares, the tidal waves, the disintegrating crust of the earth and even the exposed core, were all STUNNING and quite an experience. There were a couple of places where I felt the green screen was a bit too evident, but overall, the mammoth task the filmmakers accomplished certainly deserves the capital G in graphics!
The acting was perfect for this kind of a film. More significantly though, the casting was just about spotless. Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson and John Cusack stood out and all played their parts so very naturally and so non stereotypically, there wasn't a single place I wanted to cringe. Even the fringe characters (barring the Indian SATNAM who to be fair did decently enough, it's just that for Indians it's quite blatant how rough his accent and mannerisms were) were superb in their bits, though casting Amanda Peet for her role was ingenius. It was a mature, well restrained performance and certainly one worth lauding.
The direction too was near flawless, though as I mentioned earlier, there's extensive creative license.
Finally, and for me, the reason this movie has outdone past apocalyptic films, the script. I did not expect to come out of this movie, so in awe of the thoroughly detailed writing for this movie. First of all, science wise, it seemed pretty flawless to me, though I'm sure there are gaffs, the film's ending is perhaps the most well thought of doomsday solution I've ever come across.
Second of all, some of the dialogues are just inspired, especially towards the end. The plot elements, like Woody Harrelson's blog, John Cusack's book and the comedic lines are PERFECT. While the brief comedy could easily have been trite and gotten by, the writers have made sure it's pushed the plot forward in terms of revealing important character facets and plot elements. Also, the intrinsic details like how the Cistine Chapel cracks (check out which painting it is, even if the symbolism isn't clear, it looks quite freaking cool) add so much depth to the movie it sucks you right in.
Third of all, the writers have broken so many typically apocalytpic moments, the Statue of Liberty gaff, the 'I'll have a dramatic pause now and it's all good' was broken a couple of times (though abused a few times too) and most importantly for me- NO PUNCH LINES!
It could have been the director, the actors or the script writers themselves who slipped in these little things, frankly I don't give a crap.
This is easily the biggest film of the year and rightly so, though as I've mentioned, it isn't going to change your life, only give you one hell of an experience.
Let me just say one last thing:
Do not make the mistake of missing this one on the big screen- YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!

Of Kindred Spirits and Anne Shirley

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I have wanted to do a post of Anne of Green Gables for the longest time, but the timing was never right. To do proper justice to Anne-with-an-e Shirley and everything she represented, there had to a proper time, place and feeling.

I discovered Anne of Green Gables when I was 10. I had borrowed an abridged illustrated copy from a friend and I felt hopelessly in love. An orphan who was sent by accident to a brother-and-sister, she managed to transform their lives as well as the pretty Canadian town she lived in. Between the ages of 10 - 15, I managed to track down all 8 of her books - dating from her childhood, to the lives and loves of her own children. My collection of Anne Shirley's life has and always will be one of my most prized possession. She was and is one of my best friends. Her colorful imagination, her lyrical flights of fancy, and her all encompassing sense of love makes her far more than a mere fictional character. The fact that she was far from perfect helped too - a perfect person would never manage to dye her hair green, her nose blue, get her 11-year old friend drunk, bake a cake with anodyne liniment etc. Anne Shirley creeps her way into your heart because she is so...human.

One of Anne's pet theories, is one of kindred spirits. A kindred spirit is much more than just a friend. A kindred spirit, is someone who understands unconditionally, without even trying. Someone who becomes a part of your life without even trying, whether you like it or not, because somehow or the other, she/he just knows what you're saying/thinking/feeling. That someone will not only tolerate your incessant ramblings but will manage to acquire the underlying sense behind it. That someone gives you far more than love or friendship - that someone "gets" you, which is much harder to find than love/friendship.

Since Anne Shirley explained the concept of kindred spirits to me, a decade ago, I have been on the lookout for them. And I have found them, perhaps not as much I'd like, but I love the ones I have with a deep deep devotion. My kindred spirits shared a flaw however. They never understood the concept of kindred spirits. I could explain till I was hoarse, I could attempt to shove poor Anne down their throats, and they never really got it. They liked the way it sounded, and thought it amusing that it meant so much to me, but never really understood the significance of a kindred spirit the way Anne did.

But recently, I found a new kindred spirit, one I have never even met. It is surreal in the nicest possible way knowing that you and someone can "get" each other, without ever having met. But this someone, when told she was my kindred spirit, knew enough to exclaim"Anne of Green Gables!" This someone knew what being a kindred spirit meant, and understood enough of Anne-with-an-e's own spirit to know how yay it is to find one. This particular kindred spirit excites me more than the others I have, because if we can "get" each other when we have never met, I would love to know what it'll be like when we DO meet.

At age 10, Anne Shirley became a kindred spirit for life. One of the few fictional characters in my bookshelf to hold that title. But more than that, she paved the way for me to find kindred spirits of my own, apart from her. She taught me that once you find someone like that, you keep them. She taught me that an imagination can be the greatest comfort when you are "in the depths of despair" and she taught me it doesnt hurt to dream, even if you have freckles and red hair.

And most importantly, she taught me to always look at the bottle before you attempt to dye your hair. Green hair is not...becoming.

“Kindred Spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. Its splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world" - Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables

Countdown to 2012

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ello All,
It's hard to know why, but for some reason, we LOVE ourselves a good apocalypse!
As you all will know, in a few days one of the most widely anticipated movies of this year is going to be released. The film ofcourse, is 2012. It's centered around the theory that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and as the saying goes:
"Shit goin' down!"
As far as I can tell, the film is following the same formula that most apocalyptic films follow.
-There's some huge freaking climate change on a global scale.
-Everyone is scared crazy.
-America's at the brunt of it.
-The Statue of Liberty is going to get MESSED UP!
-There is one man who took his job too seriously and lost his family (who still totally dig him, they just don't know it yet)
-The governments are clueless and have no clue how to fix a damn thing.
-Shit goin' down!
What's interesting though, is that until the eighties when the likes of George Lucas started developing CGI and film techniques, there weren't a whole lot of these films, because they just cost too much.
With the kind of technology film makers have at their disposal today though, these films are almost commonplace now. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, we can't seem to get enough of them. Maybe it's the thrill of global destruction. Maybe it's the preachy monologue at the end. Maybe it's the return of slightly older actors in hardcore cool roles. Maybe it's the return of slightly older actors acting as the President of the United States. Maybe it's just the sheer event the film marketers make it out to be.
But one thing is for sure. We love to see how they portray the planet in their messed up futures. We LOVE to see how things change, we LOVE to see where the Statue of Liberty's going to be next. And quite clearly, we love to see big ass tidal waves!
So as a mild warm up for the big event that is 2012, I'd like to run through five films in the past couple of years that have stood out in their own little apocalyptic ways for differing reasons. They are in no order of preference or release date.
1) The Day the Earth Stood Still: I hated it. The film was stupid, one dimensional, preachy, downright silly at times, and quite honestly, Keanu Reeves was acting as Neo all over again. Only this time, he wasn't cool. What the film DID do well though, was it's special effects. The disintegration of everything around Reeves, the atmospheric changes and the monster sized robot were all stunningly done. In fact, it's this kind of film that makes me wonder just how incredible Avatar is going to have to be to live up to it's 'revolutionary' tag.
2) Terminator: Salvation: Another film which let down as far as acting, plot and script were concerned. The environment and machinery shown in the film was freaking unbelievable. The bikes popping out of giant robot shins, the guns, the capsules, the under water machines, were all so perfectly designed and placed, it made the whole film feel SO much better than it really was.
In particular the set design stood out as one of the best I've seen in a while.
3) Babylon AD: You know, in spite of it being a Vin Diesel film, I honestly expected great things from this film. That is until they gave Vin Diesel the chance to speak for more than two sentences. Fact remains though, the graphics and visuals in this film were HUGE. But more than anything else, it was the little things I loved about the movie.
In particular there's the map Vin Diesel uses to navigate. What looks like a peice of paper, gets pinched and stroked much like your iPhone does right now, and the best part is, it actually behaved like one. Only, when he was done, he just folded it right back into his backpack and made way. The other thing worth mentioning about the film is that it doesn't bore us with a pointless explanation about HOW the world's in the state it is, it just kind of moves on to the action at hand.
4) Wall- E: One of the best films made. One of the best sets animated. One of the best detail to characters. One of the most original takes on how we need to litter less. Tough freaking act to follow, though it doesn't compete with any of the films in this genre.
5) The Day After Tomorrow: True, it's from 2004 and doesn't count as 'last couple of years' but let's face it, this is the movie 2012 is going to have to out do if anyone's going to remember it. Super actors, super plot, super graphics and Dennis freaking Quaid!
A cinematic experience to say the least, and I'm one of the chumps who saw it on a laptop!
Needless to say I won't be missing 2012 in a theatre.
And I would hope none of you do either.
Till the day- ADDALAY!

The All of us.

The All of us.