0

Sharing my new found Studio Ghibli love!

Waiting for Ruroni Kenshin movie (Part 3) is frustrating…extremely frustrating! You know that the DVD’s going to come out in January/February, but still you google it every day. Or is it just me?

1 (2)

Oh Kenshin…what have you done to a poor soul like me??

So, while I was waiting for the red haired Takeru san to drop by in Amazon, I decided to explore some other Japanese movies which I might have omitted in the past. And lo behold I hit jackpot!! I think Am lucky in that way. Good movies always find me.

I have no idea in which world I was living so far, to not know about Mr. Hayao Miyazaki. I just finished watching some of his movies this weekend and I think he very quietly crept into my most favorite directors list.

For other ignorant people like me, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, Animator, Manga artist, illustrator, producer and screenwriter (As per Wikipedia). He co-founded Studio Ghibli with Isao Takahata, another genius Director/Animator.

If you ask me, even though I liked all his movies I saw so far, the one I can’t forget about is Princess Mononoke. What a brilliant movie! And let me tell you, it’s not some little kid’s anime.

Princess+mononoke+is+by+far+my+favourite+ghibli+film+_6066e326b683f19669ad74508c26ab10

The movie concept is the age old fight between Man and Nature, but it’s dealt with a charm which is beyond its years. Usually such movies show a lopsided opinion, but Princess Mononoke, unlike others is not a black and white movie. There are no clear bad guys in the movie. Yes, there are people who make mistakes, but they learn their lesson in the end. Ashitaka, the young hero is one of the best fictional characters I’ve ever come across. He wants to protect nature, but he doesn’t give up on humans either. To add to the cinematic effect, the background score by Joe Hisaishi is absolutely mesmerizing.

List of Ghibli films I loved:

  • Princess Mononoke (Rating: 10/10)
  • Castle in the sky (Rating: 7.5/10)
  • My neighbour Totoro (Rating: 8/10)
  • Kiki’s delivery service (Rating: 7/10)
  • Whisper of the heart (Rating: 9/10)
  • Spirited away (Rating: 7/10)
  • Howl’s moving Castle (Rating: 7.5/10)
  • Arrietty (Rating: 8/10)
  • Ocean Waves (Rating: 6.5/10)

His movies are not everyone’s cup of tea, so I cannot guarantee your enjoyment factor. But, it’s definitely worth checking out. Who knows maybe you’ll end up being a Forever Studio Ghibli fan!!

PS: It’s always better to watch these movies in Japanese with subtitles.

Advertisements
0

Return of the lazy blogger

Since my internet is working fine today and am out of dramas to watch, I decided to finally brush up my blog!! I had forgotten to post this material on the day it was written. (yay…me??)

Working with a brand new keyboard today. My laptop keyboard is literally messed up. Most of the keys don’t work. Am stingy enough not to get it repaired (c’mon…that’s the only thing left unchanged in my laptop!).  Hence the long gap from anything to do with writing/ blogging.

14th June 2014

I went for a movie alone for the first time ever in my life today (Had no choice there since the movie was in my mother tongue which my friends don’t understand). Felt like more drama happened to me in the theatre than in the screen.  *Facepalm*

It all started with the popcorn. It fell down completely on the floor the moment I sat down on the seat. I was mostly worried about how to explain to the person who’s going to be sitting next to me since the damn popcorn fell under that seat. Somehow I sorted out the issue with the seatmate and the movie began.

After an hour, a lady requested me to exchange seats with her as her little girl was walking off on her own and she can control her better from the side. We exchanged seats and I really started getting involved in the movie. Suddenly I felt like there’s something wrong with the way I was sitting. To my utter dismay and embarrassment, my seat had broken and I had fallen on the floor.  Since the lady from before had gone off to the front, I went back again to my seat. The little kid was somehow fascinated with me and started coming and playing with me. How can I ask such a cutie pie to go back to her mama and let me watch the movie? Well I couldn’t…so there goes my first ever independent movie watching experience in drain.

Onto my review of the day:

BANGALORE DAYS

1

Bangalore Days is an ensemble Malayalam movie starring some of the current young stars of Mollywood like Fahadh Faasil, Nazriya, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Parvathy Menon and so on.

I actually watched the movie for the director Anjali Menon as she had wowed me with her short film in Kerala Cafe. And she didn’t disappoint. I loved the little details she added in the movie, like Arjun carrying a mobile with a cracked screen and Kuttan’s typical village way of clapping. The story is nothing to write home about, as I did feel some inspirations here and there from some of the Bollywood movies like Zindagi Na Milengi Doobara and Rock On.  What worked for me was the acting and the character development in the film.

2

The film’s about three cousins, Arjun, Divya and Krishnan who somehow end up in Bangalore for their own reasons. Arjun is the wandering gypsy type with a passion for bike race, Krishnan aka kuttan is the traditional innocent Software engineer and Divya is the fiery but caged new bride in Bangalore. Each of them has their own ideologies and way of life. But, still they are always there for each other. They stumble, they learn and they grow.

Fahadh plays Shivadas, Divya’s husband as brilliantly as ever. He’s a man with a past, and you know how that always turns out. It’s their story wherein I felt the Rock On influence.

Parvathy eases well into the role of a physically challenged RJ who brings sunshine into Arjun’s world. I somehow couldn’t connect with their story though!

My takeaway from this movie is definitely Nivin pauly. He made me laugh in almost all his scenes, either with his dialogue delivery or his expressions.

Movie’s been shown with subtitles now, so non-malayalis, if you guys get a chance to watch it, do take the plunge.

All in all, definitely an enjoyable film for youngsters (What? My dad didn’t even like “Jab we met”! Pretty sure he’s not gonna like this one too!).

My rating : 3/5.

0

Life in India #2

All characters appearing in this article are not at all fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely intentional. Hee.

Mission : Reach bus stand before 8:00 PM

Date      : 30.10.2013

Time      : 6:15 PM

Place     : My room.

I pace around the room asking out loud to no one in particular whether I have forgotten to pack anything. I start to stack away all the expensive utensils inside my cupboard lest I face the wrath of my poor roommate who had kept everything outside for my benefit.

Since I had some bread with me, I decided to have some before I start my journey. I have time, that’s what I thought. After all, the bus only starts at 8:00 PM.

I bid a heartfelt goodbye to my room and lock the door once I finished my pathetic dinner.

Time      : 6:30 PM

Place     : Out on the streets??

I really don’t know what possessed me at the time to go to a mobile accessories shop to ask for an extra pair of ear buds for my headset. The guy was cool enough to give me a pair for free, since I had bought the headset from their shop.

I flagged down an auto-rickshaw coming that way and asked him whether he can take me to my bus stop which is almost 11 Km away from my area. One might be wondering why I am asking the driver whether he can take me to the destination. That, people, is the specialty of the autos in Bangalore city. They don’t take you to the places you want to go to; rather they take you only to the places they are willing to go to. Otherwise, they will shake their head and go off to…who-knows-where! There’s no such thing as “Customer is the king” here… See the difference??

Coming back to the story, the auto driver said he’d take me to my bus stop. He kept the meter on, which put a smile to my face.  At least he’s not planning to dig a hole in my pocket.

He takes me to the main road (which is a one way) and there starts our strange conversation.

Driver:  “Madam, left or right?” (In Kannada)

Me: “Kannada Gothilla” (Trans: Don’t know Kannada).  By the way, this is a one way, you can only go left.

Driver: Oh, so, it is.

He turns left and we get stuck in the first traffic jam at the 4 way junction. He stops the auto and asks the girls in a scooter next to us as to how to reach the place I want to go to.

Me: “Bhaiyya (Trans: Brother), you know Hindi or English? “

Driver: “No…”

I tentatively try speaking in Tamil, which I understand, but hardly speak. Somehow it works and we are able to communicate (I silently thank all the Tamil film actors in my mind). I will put in the rough translations here for better understanding.

Me:  “Bhaiyya, are you sure you know the way?”

Driver: “Oh yes…I know. We just have to go through that road.” (He points to a road in the right)

Me: “That’s another one-way. You can’t turn there.”

Driver: “Oh then, it must be the other one on the right. “

Me: “It leads to the railway station. Where exactly are you planning to take me? I can show you the way if you tell me what you are looking for.”

Driver: “Don’t worry madam. All’s well.”

The scooter girls were listening in to our conversation and gave me a pitiful smile.

Time      : 6:50 PM

Place     : Still on the road… 

We again got stuck in traffic next to a cricket stadium.

Driver: “Whoa…madam, look at those gigantic lights on the stadium.”

Me (Looking at my watch and sighing): “They require those to play during night time.”

Driver: “I wonder how much electricity they use for it.”

Me: “I don’t know bhaiyya. Traffic is moving. Hurry please.”

My driver uncle seems to have an affinity towards buses. He takes his position behind a bus and refuses to move to the other lane, which hardly had any traffic.

Me: “Bhaiyya, there’s a bus stop there in front. The bus will hold us up. Why don’t you change the lane?”

Driver: “Don’t worry beta. We’ll easily get there on time.”

Like I thought, the bus stopped and we got stuck. By the time the driver realized that he could have changed lanes, it was already late.  The bus finally started moving and we again got stuck in the same traffic for the third time in a row.

Time      : 7:20 PM

Place     : …….

Me: “Bhaiyya, please hurry up. I need to report at the bus agency at 7:30 PM.”

Driver: “You are seeing the traffic right? How am I supposed to go?”

Me: “We are getting stuck coz you are trying to follow the buses. Please overtake them. There’s no time for me to spare.”

Driver: “Hmmm…ok.”

Time      : 7:35 PM

Place     : Still a long way to go

I get a call from the bus agency to confirm whether am planning to show up or not. I get panicked and beg them to wait since am stuck in traffic. They laugh and ask me to hurry.

Me: “I have to reach before 7:45 PM.”

Driver: “Impossible”

Me: “Bhaiyya, don’t say like that…you can do it. Follow that ambulance. We have a better chance at cutting traffic if we do that. Also, you are an expert in following vehicles.”

Driver: “Is it so? But, its an ambulance….”(shakes head)

Me: “Bhaiyyaaaaaaa….”

Driver: “ok…ok…will do”

Time      : 7:50 PM

Place     : On the road!

I start to pray for the traffic lights to stay green on my way. Miraculously, it happened and even the driver was surprised at the strength of my prayer.

We reach the opposite side of the bus stop and there’s literally no way for the driver to turn the vehicle through the traffic. I got down then and the driver wished me luck for getting my bus. (Yeah, I would require a lot of that). It must have looked like a scene from a movie for the people stuck in traffic…A strange girl running through the traffic in between all the vehicles to get to the bus stop.

Time      : 7:58 PM

Yup, I got my bus pass and boarded the bus with 2 minutes to spare. Phew!!!!

0

Life in India #1

Incredible-India-campaign-that-mesmerised-the-world

 What in the world is happening to my dear Country??

There’s this constant “you are kidding me” expression on my face every single time I read a newspaper these days. I am a born cynic…So kindly ignore my rants here if you feel that am being disrespectful or something. Being a hard core patriot, its hard watching my own Country going through this phase!

The crimes committed against women here are increasing day by day. Each day, I start reading the news with a sense of foreboding as to who’s the next victim. More media exposure is given to such crimes since the Nirbhaya case in Delhi. Other than some reforms made to certain Acts in the Constitution, I don’t see any other action being taken on curbing these issues.  Where are we supposed to go to if our own country is not safe enough for us? I can’t help be wary of people I see on the road. I’ve been reading certain comments made by my fellow citizens on the net asking or rather demanding for capital punishment for the culprits. But then again do we have the right to take someone’s life? If we do that, how are we different from a criminal??

To all my fellow woman citizens out there, please be safe!!  If you are working overtime till late night, try speaking to your admin people and arrange a company transport for yourselves. No job is worth your life!!

Last week there was a huge hullabaloo over the excavation done by Archaeological Survey of India at Unnao (Uttar Pradesh). The media stated that they were digging up the site because a Sadhu dreamt that there was gold hidden there.  My first reaction was “This happens only in India!!” and then I felt embarrassed on behalf of ASI. Till date they haven’t discovered any gold at the site. Now they are saying all kinds of excuses as to why they started excavation there. Good luck there people!!

Even though we are a democracy, it’s a pity that we just don’t have many good representatives to vote for in any parties. The good ones don’t have the guts or should I say…spine??  So many problems these days are plaguing India…Unemployment, corruption, economic slowdown, Rupee value fluctuation…and some of the Members of the Parliament are busy discussing which serials/dramas to ban because of their incorrect content.  Really people, really?

Speaking of guts, I read somewhere (last month maybe?) that the Brazilian President had spoken up to the American President regarding the NSA spying activities. Can’t help but applaud her bravery!  And what do the Indian officials say on this: “It’s been happening for a long time. No need to worry.”  Ha! Interfering in another country’s matters is not ethical….If countries cooperate in tracking down criminals through such measures, it’s another matter altogether. But, it should be done with a certain level of transparency.

Why can’t we have our own stand on international as well as national issues? Maintaining international relations is great, but we shouldn’t let others take advantage of us. How about being a little bit assertive Mr. PM? What happened to the so called non-alliance treaty??

One can only hope that there will be light at the end of this big dark tunnel that we are in now. Is it too late to hope for a miracle?? *sigh*

0

Onam’s here!!

happy-Onam-2013

Yay……Onam’s here!!

This is that time of the year for us Keralites (People from the state called Kerala in India) when you feel awful if you are away from your family. Well…I can attest to that!!

“Onam” is our State Harvest Festival which is celebrated for a duration of 10 days every year. This year, September 16th marks the 10th day (Most important day) of Onam. Although its a Hindu festival, its celebrated by all the people in Kerala.

There’s a mythological story associated with the origin of Onam. To start from, we, hindus have a long set of “Devas” aka Gods (supposedly the good one’s) and “ Asuras” aka demons (ooh…evil!!).

Once upon a time, our state was ruled by an extremely good and just King called “Mahabali” who happened to be…an Asura!! The people were happy and started worshiping the noble King. Needless to say, it hurt the egos of the Devas, who immediately ran to Lord Vishnu (One among the main three Gods in Hinduism) to whine. Lord Vishnu, taking pity on the Devas went to Earth in the form of a Vamana, a child Brahmin (Lord Vishnu has a penchant of taking different avatars in different times to fight evil. Its said that he’s already taken nine different forms so far and his last avatar will result in the end of the World.).

Coming back to the story, Vamana went to meet Mahabali, who invited him in and served him with a lot of respect and sincerity. Mahabali’s generosity was well-known and therefore Vamana asked for a mere three foot land. The ever generous King promised to give him the same.

Vamana, then proceeded to enlarge his body (duh..He’s a God..He can do anything!) and then measured the land with his foot. The first foot covered the entire earth and the second foot covered the entire heaven. When asked where he should put the third, the poor King kneeled down and asked him to put his foot on his head as there was nothing left to give. Vamana complied, which effectively sent the poor King to the Underworld. Seeing the generosity  and devotion of the King, the pleased lord granted him a boon, whereby he can come to Kerala once in every year during Onam and see his people.

We celebrate his homecoming for 10 days by decorating our houses, arranging creative floral carpets (known as “pookalams” in Malayalam) on the porch, making our traditional vegetarian cuisines (known as “Onasadya”) and indulging in other cultural activities like thiruvathirakali (a traditional dance) and Pulikali (A game involving people dressed up as tigers and hunters).

images

Floral carpet aka Pookalam

We usually make very simple flower carpets at home by using only the flowers that we have around our house. Floral carpets like the one shown above are usually done during competitions where creativity and complexities bring in more value and well..the grand prize! The one below is my desperate creation last year at my workplace wherein I was promised manpower but ended up doing it alone.

IMG_0871

The highlight is of course the food!! The traditional Onam feast aka Onasadya consist of about 12-13 side dishes served with rice on a plantain leaf. We (or rather my mom) try…..and come up with 6-7 dishes at home for the feast. Hee.

images (1)

Onam feast

Onam is also the time when all of us come back home and celebrate it together with everyone in the family. To put it simply, Onam is all about unity, peace and harmony.

So, to all the Keralites out there, wish you all a very happy Onam!!  To all others, if you guys get a chance to travel to Kerala, do it during the Onam. You can see and be a part of our rich cultural heritage!!

0

Random Drama Ramblings #1

Whoa..just realized that I’ve been watching way more Chinese/Taiwanese dramas for the last two weeks than K-dramas… which is kind of strange, at least in my book! What is even stranger is that I’ve been watching one of them (Lan Ling Wang) without subtitles!! (Am not exactly known for patience…hehe)

Lan Ling Wang / King of Lan Ling (till ep 21) 

bcfab744c4677b38 U5204P28DT20130730171444
My understanding of this drama is only based on my visual interpretation. So, some of my thoughts here might feel extremely stupid/ incomprehensible. Well…You’ve been warned!!

Things I like:

  • This drama satisfies my shoujo heart in so many ways. Which is why, even though I don’t understand any of the dialogues, I still am addicted to the series. The story lacks depth, but that’s the exact reason why it’s watchable for me.
  • I like all the leads. Daniel Chan is rocking his role as Yu Wen Yong (YWY)in almost all the scenes he is in. Seriously, he deserves an award for it! (Am I stretching it too far??). But, since I don’t support second leads who are manipulative and cunning, I will not be supporting him with Ariel’s Xue Wu (XW).
  • I have not seen Feng Shao Feng’s previous works. Unlike many others, I actually like him as Lan Ling Wang (LLW). He has this majestic aura/charisma which is good, since he’s also a war lord. He’s got a cute chemistry going on with Ariel, which again, I simply adore to pieces.
  • The CG is actually okay!!

Things I don’t like:

  • To the person who styled George’s and Feng Shao Feng’s hair, why?????
  • To Xue Wu: I adore you dear…but you need to differentiate between people whom you should trust and whom you shouldn’t! come on…you are a heavenly maiden!! Show me some powers lady!! And stop thinking about your fate, like all the time!!
  • To LLW: Aren’t you supposed to be a war general?? You make all these brilliant strategies…how could you not understand the silly plots drawn up that evil girl?(what was her name again??)
  • Daniel’s screen time is just not enough!!

I’ll confess that I was extremely prickly until I saw LLW and Xue Wu get married. It’s that stupid fate thing!! (What.. only Xue Wu can get anxious over that??) I had this feeling that somehow their marriage will get thwarted at the last moment. So, while LLW was showing the paintings to Xue Wu during their wedding ceremony, I was actually shouting here asking them to just freaking marry first and then discuss about the painting!

I generally dislike story arcs with stupid crazy girls plotting against the innocent heroines. Ep 20 marks the beginning of the same arc. So yeah, I was pretty much disappointed with ep 21 (I decided to forgive ep 20, since they got married in that one!). I have put the drama on hold for the time being unless something convinces me to start watching again!!

Love Around (till ep 12)

086045ffce you-ate-my-candy-650x365

Things I like:

  • This is a fun watch. LA is a drama having not many dramatic elements in it. You can just watch it without any worries, coz you‘ll always know that everything will be okay at the end.
  • Lots of cute couples! Am actually waiting for the Fei Li – Jessicca ship to sail. They look so good together!!
  • Things get resolved quickly, so that we can actually move on!!
  • Most of the characters are generally nice human beings.

Things I don’t like:

  • *sigh* If only it had a ….umm…plot???
  • If you guys resolve everything so quickly, there won’t be anything left to show in the drama!

This one is ideal to watch if you have just finished watching an intense drama. Don’t expect too much from it. I would advise you guys to just go with the flow. Then, you might be able to enjoy it like me!!

Good Doctor (till ep 7)

3-Teasers-and-interview-video-for-the-Korean-drama-Good-Doctor Good_Doctor

GD is the only K-drama that am currently watching. Medical dramas are not exactly my cup of tea. But, this one managed to lure me into it within the first 15 minutes of the first episode.

Things I like:

  • A heartwarming tale that touches your heart every single episode. Kudos!!
  • Fast-paced; Complex characters; Good Acting; creepy villains
  • Love love love the cinematography!!
  • Little bits of humor woven delicately in between the screenplay.

Things I don’t like:

  • Not much actually!! But I was not exactly happy with the “Werewolf-girl” arc. Child abuse is definitely a good plot. But, the girl’s getup was so similar to Joonki’s in Werewolf Boy! They could have done something innovative there. (Just my personal opinion!!)

I sincerely recommend this drama to all the people who like stories with heart!! Well, certain plot points require suspension of belief…but then again, it’s a drama!!

And..I would also advise you guys to not watch it while you are having food..(Speaking from experience here!!)

0

Cracks in the Hallyu Armour?

EXO-exo-29950652-1280-655 (1)

When it comes to K-pop, am kind of biased towards SMTOWN artists. I got caught up in the Hallyu wave because of the SM idol group “SHINee” and they still are my personal favorites.

When EXO debuted last year ( or was it 2011? ), I just couldn’t take them seriously because of their concept ( c’mon…aliens, supernatural powers??).  If it’s a concept for the music video, I would have understood or maybe even liked it ( considering my obsession with fantasy genre ). But as a group concept, it’s quite lame. Imagine 12 young guys going on air and saying that they are from another planet called EXOPLANET and each of them have superpowers!!

Things changed for good this year when I actually got enamored by them due to their stint in the variety programme called “Weekly Idol”. I respect and love the group now, as I do know that they are very well organized and have good vocal talents.

But that’s not what I want to talk about here in this post. I’ve been following some of their TV / Radio show appearances. I can’t help but notice that some of the comments they make are kind of racist (just a personal opinion!). Two of the members, Kai and Tao are almost always made fun of for their skin colors. I actually feel offended every time I see such offhand remarks and am sure some of the other international fans might also feel so too..I’ve been reading a lot of comments on the same, trust me!

So, Am I blaming them? No, Am not coz, they seem to be quite ignorant about the issue at hand. For a rookie group, the poor guys have their own share of controversies due to sasaeng fans and what not. The problem here is that nobody’s correcting them. If SM really does have plans for global expansion, they should step in immediately and get to the core of the issue. This is an extremely sensitive issue and shouldn’t be taken lightly at all. They need to train all their young idols as to what is/isn’t appropriate to talk on media. Even though they are young, they also need to remember that they are public figures too. They can’t afford to make mistakes like this, if they want to impress their International fans.

Well…”With great fame comes great responsibility”!!

EXO Fighting!!!