Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jagga Jasoos

I am so glad I saw Jagga Jasoos in theatre. I had to rush in the 2nd weekend, coz I was not sure it would last another week. Ekdum 1st class movie. Am so glad it was made and released.

The doomsayers have been predicting, that the long-delayed movie won't last. Now I hear, it took 3 years of production and release. Arre any online project also takes 3 years to implement. Movie are large physical efforts. Especially movies of this scope. But we can't make out that from the movie, cause lead roles appearance remain consistent in the movie. Thanks to workout lifestyle. And looking at such a complex movie from making point-of-view, I can imagine why production took so much time ?



First thing I liked was the latest trailer. The adventure scenes were enough for me to decide on theater viewing. I needn't wait for reviews to decide on that. And because I love Ranbir and Katrina individually and definitely as RanKat.

Despite rumors, I did not see much similarity with Tintin (and I am a qualified Tintin fan-expert). The village mystery, circus, military outpost, train and plane sequences are staple for any adventure movie. That's what we go to see. Kids are still talking about Fire, Knife-throwing, Eggs and Clock-tower mystery. Makers must have done something good if kids are impressed. And I am thankful movie treated death causally. People were getting killed in shootouts but no one lingered on it, so it has escaped notice. Except that I bring it up.



There are so many artistic elements. So much work has happened. And not just good prod design or set. Just crafting of each of the scene and its execution. JJ world was definitely an extension of Barfi world. Same hilly woodsy town in the first half for Manipur. Same serenity and soft visual tones. Visually all scene are so well composed. Activities which can be simple actions, are done in interesting way, so mind never wanders.

Special callout to using technology - CGI (when older Ranbir visits the house playing his childhood memory in Phir Wohi song) and oil painting matte finish for clock tower mystery. They used retro props for nostalgia - dial phones (no cell phones at all), old plane and train. So time period wise this movie is just a happy place of your pleasant memories. Adventure is covered in the second half which completely moves to Africa/Morocco, with a stopover first at Kolkata. Director Anurag Basu sneaked in a reference to Bhilai, Chattisgarh as well, a town he grew up in.

Using a fairly recent historic event (90s) as backdrop was brilliant. Loved it how they incorporated multiple languages in the movie - Ranbir speaking Manipuri, Katrina singing in African.

The dominating thing in the movie is music of course. Technically there are like 4-5 songs. But the rest of the dialogues are all sing-song rhymes. All of it. And it was good too. All except the children backup singing and dancing for Sutradhar - that cheery overload was irritating. End movie credits for music ran for like half the time. Obviously so many were involved in the music. Shillong & Africa choir among others.


Only after the movie release, T-Series has blessed us with Audio jukebox. Earlier it was difficult to find a decent video song too. Except Galti se mistake and Ullule.  Tushar Joshi is lovely in Musafir, and gives just a hint of Shaan in his voice. Kids have been giggling non-stop at Galti-Se-Mistake dance steps. I love it for the Bihu beats & instruments. And the modern dance in Ullu Ka Patta. Group singing/chanting Khaana Khaake is so catchy; its the new ear-worm. Now waiting for more videos after I overheard kids singing Chocalaty Chunnu. There are no lyrics yet too for these other songs.

Due to all the singing, and I only realized it much later, I did miss Ranbir's voice. An angry tantrum is his signature and this one had it, but without his rant. Missed that. It was like English-Vinglish without Sridevi dance.

I know my review is not going to help anyone decide on whether to watch this movie. But I loved the movie and again, am glad it was made. More so as it's an Indian movie with catchy beautiful Hindi songs, using a fairly recent historic event as backdrop for the overall mystery and traveling through interesting locations. I could use this movie, to showcase the good part of Indian movies to my kids.

Update 7/28:

So Thrilled ! Yesterday I tweeted the link to this review, and Director Anurag Basu liked that tweet !!!!!!! Its like receiving a reply to fan mail #OldWorld. But totally unexpected !!!

 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Paddy Harvest

My Aunt shared these photos in our Udupi family Whatsapp group. Totally stumped me with nostalgia. I have seen all of these activities in my Ajja-Ajji's house. All during my school time summer vacations.


Not my Ajja's actual house, but it had similar architecture.
I knew little then, about these activities. I will blame my Mom of course, cause she didn't want us kids lolling in the hay, and then be itchy all day and scratch our skin off.

But these farming activities were the taken-for-granted things for us, and ever the constant of life. And hence, now it pinches me when I look at the pics. Who knows if they continue doing this ? Will I get to see them again ?

Best monsoon means easier tilling of the slushy fields.


Planting paddy saplings.



After harvest, paddy is thrashed to separate the husk and rice in a pile.


These activities take up all the verandah and surrounding spaces.

Rice/paddy is then packed in rolled balls. I need pics of those.

  

Mangalore cucumber, harvested and lined on the ceiling, hanging on strips of coconut leaves.


All pictures from the internet; no credit to me or anyone I know. At least some of them have watermarks.  Of course I didn't have any digital camera when I have seen these activities. And now I don't have any opportunity to see them. Hence, God bless those admins of FB pages (BeautyOfTulunad) dolling out full-on nostalgia.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Starter Pack for Trail Wanderlust

When your daily sights are cars, architectural marvels and kitchen chores.
When you longing look, at the trees lining your daily commute.
That's when it's time to hit the trails.
Run or hike or walk in there and be reinvigorated back for life.

If that's not an option. If TV and books is still you go-to. Then feast on the below and make do till the next chance.

Madhumati

Images of the mist-laden jungles, trails, brooks and waterfalls in song Aaja re Pardeshi.
And there is more in the rest of the movie.




Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

One of the classics which was a must-read for a few school years.
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And the recent Jungle Book movie, immersed in deep jungle images only.

For added nostalgia, there is the TV animation show, which played the Hindi-dubbed version in the late 90s. Apart from the Anime drawings, it's most remembered for "Chaddi pehenke phool khila hai" credits song - Gulzar's quirky lyrics on Vishal Bharadwaj's music, Mowgli's voice and Nana Patekar as Sher Khan.


Jim Corbertt

His books are the real thing. His life was in those jungles in Northern India. Each story in every book of his is a total trip through every nook & gnarled root of some jungle. His devotion to everything jungle is the core of who he is. Oxford publication print copies are awesome quality. Special mention for the lovely black and white illustrations inside.



Phantom comics

At one point I was suffering from an acute bout of Phantom nostalgia. I was longing for the yellowing crumbling pages on which Diamond comics printed Mandrake and Phantom. I am managing with this library copy of 1920s printed on supreme quality paper and hardcover.
Mandrake was interesting for the magic tricks he performed while saving others. And Phantom universe was rich with his bravery, and the ensemble in his stories. Mainly his location were those thick jungles of Ivory Coast, along with beaches and some quick trips to NYC.

 

 

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I read it in 2015 and wrote about it. It is an account of her through-hike of PCT, mixed with her past in Minnie. Reading through it, is like being out there in the jungle hiking too.


Hunger Games

First one specifically. Every time Katniss escapes to the woods, its such a relief to us reader too. And then when she faces the same jungles in the Games, scary as it is, we know she will survive it.



Additonal readings / views:

Monsoon in India - 30 drool-worthy photos by Blogger Neelima Vallangi

Gaya Days in Sanctuary Asia magazine.
"Sanctuary’s Lifetime Service Award winner of 2016, S.E.H. Kazmi is synonymous with Jharkhand’s Palamau Tiger Reserve. However, in the early days of his career, he served in the Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary, a little-known wildlife sanctuary now split between Bihar and Jharkhand. Here, he narrates charming and thrilling anecdotes from those initial years in Chotanagpur's dense forests."