Fear has a name in Abraham Ezra!

Director Jay K latest is a rare horror film where the story has little significance then the prism of human endurance.

The story takes place in a dilapilated house in Fort Kochin where rests Priya and Ranjan, an antique piece of woodwork and some creepy undertones.

Priya does not merely act weird, the ghost of the forgotten past of Ezra make her buy the antique piece out of loneliness. There is ghost in it, and the makers make it clear right at the start.

That is one of the positives of Ezra; that they save the irony for only the important occassions.

When A C P Shafeer Ahammed walks into the proceedings, studying forensics with a discerning eye, things get really edgy.

Tovino Thomas holds up the loose ends tight and Prithvi Raj and Priya has the grisly chemistry. In turn the outrageous thought of mixing the real with the fantastical takes a U turn.

For Ezra 2.0 I present this challenge:

“The difference, maybe, is between great art and great craftsmanship. Bergman’s exploration of the lines of love and conflict within the family of a woman dying of cancer was a film that asked important questions about faith and death, and was not afraid to admit there might not be any answers. Friedkin’s film is about a twelve-year-old girl who either is suffering from a severe neurological disorder or perhaps has been possessed by an evil spirit. Friedkin has the answers; the problem is that we doubt he believes them.”

(© Roger Ebert)

Dear Ezra,

What happened to your parlance?

Shadow says — “Mystery never Cheats.”

A piece of ingenuity from the outrageous Neil is preceded by a slice of mystery, only to follow the seemingly punch-drunk right through. If American Gods is a Hard Read, the fault lies with one man – Neil Gaiman.

This is the Author’s Preferred text with 12000+ junk words, something which is amiss in the award winning version. (Nebula, Bram Stocker, Hugo, and SFX.)

That explains the blurb, the analogies, the sales pitches, the author preface, and so forth. Snap out!

Neil lands right bang in the middle in the first page itself, only to catch you napping. He makes it clear, such things needn’t exist in the Author’s Preferred text of any Novel let alone American Gods. To make you travel through the land of the gods, the silhouette of a Syocamore steals the book Cover.

The Sycamore is just one of the wicked  iconographies speechifying the nature and existence of the Almighty. The other one being, the statue of liberty.

Apparently, that ilk is just the fuel we need to figure out “Shadow” whose subtext read: “Don’t fu*k with me enough, that his biggest problem was killing time.”

You must cheat the time aspect to affiliate with Mr. Wednesday the man with clear interests in the atrocities of counterculture. Reading it through, I kept wondering why name him Wednesday?

Shadow met him on a Tuesday, on a plane. And perhaps Mr. Osama is too afriad to leave a gasp-a-minute inference on the Ameican Gods. My warning for those wanting to read forget the “Good God” platitudes….

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Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and the ATM Counter.

Meryl Streep on the Globes reminded a long forgotten George Carlin stand up. Without reverting to paraphrases, let us just say Carlin mastered the American counterculture, long back. His jibes were untimely, yet relevent to the extent of its ingenious articulation.

This inference may seem sexist, only if you choose to push the rewind button. Streep did that off with her head, and no wonder the president-elect took the banter to Twitter. He must. For the immediate future has it, the post-truth must take over the reigns at The White House. And, so it should bore down Hollywood….

La La Land….

La La Land….

With Oscar bells ringing aloud ……

Why would Sophie take advantage of her creative choice?

I am gutted because I get to read this in The Hindu, the best national paper in my country.

“Streep had won the right to do that. People even criticize Mahathma Gandhi.”

Viola Davis

P.S. ATM കൗണ്ടറുകൾ തുറന്ന് കിടക്കുമ്പോൾ, ആശാനിട്ടു തന്നെ വേണോ?
P.S. To put it politely, they have reached the threshold of the RBI.

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The Dhoni Squat.

“If you manage to finish off 51 games, and leave 49 unfinished — you are still a good enough limited overs finisher.”

What made Dhoni special is this ability to think clearly, where most ponder possibilities. It suited the shorter format of the game, yet no one took the mantle forward as well as he did. I know his away Test stats would be wanted amidst all the great ODI numbers. What I also know, alongside two world cups and a Champions Trophy — Dhoni led India in 199 matches at a win/loss percentage of 59.57%. Which includes the underrated 11 wins on the trot, in the two world cups combined (2011 to 2015).

Enough said. For a world cup winner, especially, those are phenomenal numbers. May Virat rise up to the occassion, and bring laurels for the country if not in the same Mahi Way.

I am not a huge fan of changeovers, yet can’t help but feel this resignation was on the cards. You could virtually sense this coming, when Dhoni the batsman had gotten candid about his finishing frailities of late. That is true. It is only recently Dhoni would admit to his losing the midas touch, having set them up, for the Dhoni squat.

How long Dhoni has been doing that both behind, and infront of the wicket with the thinking caps on? No one could outwit him in either forms, not even the Bangla Tigers needing 2 to win from 3.

Out of all the Dhoni finishes, that was probably the classic. If you take the context out of the equation it is as classic, I think, as the sixer in Wankhede. Especially being Dhoni the wicket keeper captain, standing way back behind the stumps. If I remember it precisely, just as Hardik Pandya set himself for the long run up he got his gloves off to perform the squat. That was a brave thing to do against someone of medium pace, now turn, fast bowler.

You could virtually say that about all his career. When swinging through the line of the ball with 18 from 3 balls flash by the wayside in an IPL game for Pune. For Dhoni the batsman that version of the squat comes naturally. Let us hope he resumes from where he had let off.

P.S. With the resignation now, maybe Dhoni feels it is time to wind up that mischievous act. Maybe there is an acme in the knees, not letting him put the thinking caps on and hare past opponents. Like his own movie title, the answer to that is also an untold story.

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Phogat and The National Flag.

The victory chants from beyond the akhada (ringside) is a moment of pride for an athlete. For the Phogat played by Amir Khan, they cause inner prejudice. Dangal is concerned with the psychological aspect of victory not just the visceral. To watch Amir grapple with some of them is to reminisce a Gandhian rhetoric from 1910 – “What did they see?”.

Wait before you throw pebbles. Dangal may not be anti Gandhi, yet something about Mahavir Phogat lead me to think so. For starters, he is the kind of patriarch who pit his own daughters against the chota bheem to raise them strong as an alpha-male. In fact, it was Gandhi who once termed American bout sport uncivilized.

To realize Dangal takes place in Haryana, the misogynistic native of Geetha and Babitha, is to think through the movie.

On hindsight, these two grow up to win an international medal for the nation and the movie uses sport genre tropes to provoke you. Unlike in Chak De India, you ought to be disengaged by the provocations and forced narrations than vise-verse. It is in the nature of the film, hence the two can only be judged on its individual capacity. Being a responsible Indian I was inspired by Chak De, yet feel the uninspiring Dangal is a far better film.

That is because somewhere in Nitesh Tiwari’s symbolic climax is Amir Khan having bouts with his own temperamental problems. Which may or may not lead you to certain assumptions.

Assumption 1: Phogat say the purpose of bout sport is entertainment. Despite that, he forces the daughters to the akahada and beyond to show the savage in all of us. That assumption takes place in between the film.

Assumption 2: Nitesh Tiwari skillfully weaves you into its magical realism, to make you think Phogat is no patriot. And, that one needn’t be a patriot either to win big for the country. These are the thematic’s of the film, and I loved Dangal up to a point for exactly this reason. Then comes the big one, the movie’s minor indiscretion. Or, maybe it’s ingenious takeout.

Assumption 3: They play the national Anthem. And, Amir Khan mirror the human myth through myriads of facial expressions.

Aiyoh! Relax people. After all the analysis is being done and dusted with; you should also take into account two factors. One, Khan is no stupid to leave a glaring error in the script. And, two, the Phogat is a man with misconceived notions of Gandhian ideologies. On hindsight, or not. There. I repeat. To watch Dangal is to think through the movie and grapple with the mind. Mine was grappled all right. 🙂

Goodbye 2016. Year in Review.

Neil Gaiman began the original version of “American Gods” candidly. The author’s preferred text contained some inklings to his methods to the madness. And, what would have been sales pitches on the blurb finds an ideal place on the first page.

Everything mysery is build on that term ‘vanity’ and what Gaiman does is actually an acute marketing strategy. God forbid the writer turn reader understood where he is coming from, lest it become the “best seller.”

Jokes apart, I come from a world where the writers perspective is being flogged to the threashold. When the cyberspace vultures gets underway, they need long and insightful stuff mixed with crisp content. They need the message, the means to the same shall be moronic and one dimensional.

The last time, and the only time I had experienced the writer’s perspective is when I had a chat with Prem Panicker on Twitter. In a state like Kerala, you would have to go a long way to find English Journalists with sinew. He has written the transcription to M.T Vasudevan Nair’s “Randamoozham.” But, that is to say it was all him.

He was a college drop out, someone whom I had been following since that blog on Azhar way back in 1999-2000. I couldn’t understand it fully then, yet something about opinion moved me. The years since 2011 till 2013-14 India were ordinary for the Test Cricket, and I had stopped following it for high art.

Roger Ebert came fleeting in. I absolutely cherished reading Anthony Lane on The Newyorker. Still think Lane’s wordplay is one of the finest writings on films, mainly because his is the antithesis to Ebert. Enough with opinions on movies at least, 2016 taught me weird lessons than any other year.

It was my foray to the cyberspace content, one that I wouldn’t forget easily. The spur-of-the-moment nature is not one to be amused, but there is honesty. The challenge lies on engaging the reader by means of faith, not opinion, and give a solid enough reason to watch the damn movie. Think Ebert, and Lane were successful at it just as the guy next door. 🙂 2017, Here I come.

 

Say hello to Test Cricket’s Nair Prodigy

nair-303-runs-live

Give it up. A young man has scored his maiden Triple-Century in his third test match, and I think the best way to pay dividends to him is to be an audience.

It was an innings that combined audacious stroke play, an array of nonchalance, and solid temperament. The blind spot? Hardly did I prognosticate Nair to be reaching the threesome figure mark, not even when he pulled off three uncanny reverse sweeps against tawdry spinners. He got more confident as the innings went past the three figures, luck favored him thrice during that knock. That is of less significance, because for all of us in Cochin it was a case of third time lucky. (Note: The eventual scorecard read 303, which is 17 runs shy of an Indian Record.)

The same luck would evade Lokesh Rahul whose 199 I thought was at equal considering the circumstances. Such is Cricket, it makes the openers accumulation to mere numbers especially when the Middle Order wakes up from the slumber. For a certain Mr. Virender Sehwag, India’s medieval Triple Centurion, slumber read: “Possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

Vintage Viru overlooking the Vantage Point

The takeout from Sehwag’s two triple tons seems entirely different a decade on. The outcome of Multan 2003 or Chepauk 2008 was imminent, from the way the bowl left the bat of the Nawab of Nawafgarh. Of, course. Sehwag hardly moved his feet for he had a vision, both mental and eyesight, which oversaw everything cricket from a vantage point.

That is why Sehwag’s batsmanship have overcome the real “sub-continental homesick blues” during 2003-2010. Spectatorship, crescendo and unpredictability become commonplace in cricket when a batsman is on song. Sehwag sang from the songsheet and made the test cricket prevalent for all of us.

Karun’s Version of Vantage Point

Let us appreciate Karun Nair’s temperament. More than the fours and sixes at stake for the English bowlers, you may have noticed the way in which he ran them ragged, to fro and in between the crease. No real rush, no sense of urgency  even as the ball raced through the plush outfield of the Chepauk Stadium. The happiness and discipline were evident from his demeanor that speak of modern Indian batsmen with a hunger for runs.

The man Karun replaced in the squad just about found his, before he got injured and ruled out of the series. It is going to be interesting to see whether “Raw hit” would eventually overhaul the power of hitman version 2.0. Don’t you like the idea of a superhero batting unit with the thirst for accumulation?

Lead by the Galacticos Kohliacos?

The Fellow Malayali

Sure, as lunch turned into Tea time unknowingly I too felt standing up to an ‘original Malayali’ who, for once, scored the magical figure. Regionalism aside, I felt that mainly for the way he played like Karun Nair the batsman we had seen in Domestic cricket. (Note: He plays for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy, i.e., pretty much Kerala’s outskirts if you think about it.)

Two shots stood out for the lazy elegance: A gentle waft to a jaw-dropping bouncer over Joss Butler, the stand-in keeper. And, a cut shot through cover by merely lunging side-on not forward.

Moral: 10 Years post Viru, the bravery of the younger batsmen has risen. Say Hello to Test Cricket’s Nayar Prodigy, if you dare.