Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Joker in the Pack - an agent of chaos

I watched the Dark Knight again recently, and as always, I love the way it ends. How Commisioner Gordon explains why the Batman has to be ‘The Dark Knight’. But this time around, my concentration was on another character.
It struck me about the characterization of the Joker. I am sure that reams have been written about him, and the amazing potrayal by the late heath ledger. We will probably never see him again, since Nolan has said that without Ledger, he wouldnt bring that character back. So, as a character, this is actually good. There wont be another chance to ruin it. I am a purist that way!

To be perfectly honest, the Joker cannot exist. As a story, a concept that had not been done before, its amazing. “Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos.” (The Joker, Dark Knight)

One of the things that Nolan very rightly avoided was trying to put a background to a character like that. So while Batman has a past, and Harvey Dent builds a past during the movie, the Joker is really a one trick pony. He's the constant. He doesn’t evolve or change.
We dont know how he really became the way he was. He himself talks about his scar, but, as rightly done, in two different instances, with two differing stories. The only common is that his stories are more to evoke sympathy. How he was wronged. Which is quite funny, since he never really wants to fit in. He just wants to upset the order. He's an agent of chaos.
I think that's cool. That’s purely from a story point of view of course. Alfred points out the story of the bandit that just wanted to rob for the sake of robbing. Which is quite funny, actually. Most bandits do have a motivation, to rob for the money. In order to be motivated to do something purely for the heck of it, or to see the outcome, either you have to be an adrenaline junkie, a social scientist or somebody without any real goal in life.
The funny thing is that the I could see the Joker be all three! That’s what I think. The scientist bit is considering he likes to believe he can predict people’s actions which he does Except at the end when the people in the boat don’t react the way he expected. A consequence of another theory, about how individual action is different from collective action. The Hive Mind concept, Crowd psychology or Hari Seldon’s psychohistory.

The Joker’s motivation is purely his own pleasure. Which is all brilliant!
He creates situations where people have to make a choice. The whole movie, revolves around choice and the consequences of that choice. All characters are motivated to make a choice. The Joker on the other hand, never has to choose. He just does.
So its really interesting how if you really look at it, the Joker is actually not really somebody you can ever associate with. He’s not grey. He doesn’t have a good side. He’s just black (on the inside). With a white face. And red lips. And green hair. And black eyeliner. Wow, that’s scary! And so cool! (Story wise of course.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception - Fiendishly Fantastic Film

Wow, still reeling from a fanboy head rush!! Was looking forward to this for a while. This was a movie which had Christopher Nolan put aside a billion dollar batman franchise to make with material had in his head since the age of 16. Well, I am happy to say, this movie delivers. I am so happy, I wouldnt mind if Nolan found some more 'ideas' from within his head and made stuff like this without doing another Batman movie. With a Batman movie, there's a legend to live upto, a mythos to keep check on, but with something like Inception, Nolan has the liberty and, with his solid blockbuster reputation, the resources to do what he wants! I say, give the man, the money and creative freedom! Let him make more of such movies to entertain, and confound (to just the right extent!)
Coming back to the movie, well, its a double tap movie (to use a term from zombieland) - there's enough material in there to make it a two time watch!
It takes all the uber cool technical stuff that made Dark Knight an awesome movie, and added a story with quite some unique angles to the genres of heist (not so much taking as much as putting!), world-within-a-world (lego land with real blocks), dream/reality (life is more complicated in dreams, and dreams within dreams and well...), all-out-tension-building-action-thriller!!
Personally, I loved the zero-g setting the most. Its not really a new thing, having seen similar concepts in a lot of movies. But,take the conundrum of how to make people fall when there is nothing natural to make them fall! Brilliant! And zero gravity body transportation by stacking people together! How cool is that!
Point to note - I love the job profile of the extractor. You have to sleep on the job!!
Lots of layers in the story, and great characters. From the 'huh? Ken watanabe looks old' beginning to the 'huh? so is he...?" ending, this movie builds on a story which the Indian mobile service provider, Idea uses for its advertising. An idea can change your life! (yeesh, i know!) And also, dont play around with your subconscious, it can kill you!
Now, even though this movie has some top notch acting talent, but unlike the Dark Knight where Heath Ledger stole the show, this one is all about the overall package!
So its a movie worth watching!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Baby Chronicles: Heading straight for you

Life keeps changing whether we ask for it or not.

Things happen, even as we hold on to what we got.

Sometimes, change is hoped for, as things get worse

Other times, deviation from norm can seem like a curse

We choose our path sometimes on experience past

Sometimes it just happens and sometimes too fast

So, when faced with the headlights coming your way

Either move away from oncoming or stand and pray

Guess we chose the latter...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Baby Chronicles: Ten Months back...

Wow... its musty in here! Guess nobody's been around for quite a while. This old blog is mostly reminiscent of the good ol days wen I was a carefree bachelor. Things have really changed over the past year and a half. Responsibilities have piled up and somehow I never got the time to write. Its been in the back of my head though that I should.

Speaking of responsibilities and procrastination, I'd been meaning to write about my (fresh, out of the oven about a month back!) daughter. There's a whole bunch of emotions having a party in my head and I seem to have gotten lost figuring out which one was my primary one.

This will probably be a series of posts.

I think when I initially found out, I was driving down the Rajiv Gandhi Salai towards Tidel Park; I was going to office. The wife (henceforth referred to as Leks) had been feeling a little odd about 'that time of the month' not really arriving on time. But, on that fateful day, I guess, I was more pre-occupied with the holiday we were planning. So, I told her not to worry and just in case, we went and got a pregnancy test to check. Leks was worried, so she bought two.

So, anyway, there I was driving down the road on a fateful May morning, little aware of the earth-shattering news coming my way, as my phone rang. It was Leks, and she delivered... i mean, told me the news. Car swerved a little. Auto driver who had been too close swerved and sweared. But, years of road experience (exactly 4) took over instinctively, as my mind left the building.

Like a stupid idiot, I asked her if she was sure. I guess, there's no real way to answer a question like that, other than maybe to say.. "I dont know! According to the legend, a double blue line means something's coming!" but she was nicer. She had tried both of them and they both said the same thing. "Congratulations! You are pregnant".

Having stopped reeling from the news, I swerved again, and the smart auto had already moved behind me thinking I was some newbie driver. I moved slowly to the left most lane and started my trip back home.

That was how those nine months began....

Nine months which filled with all sorts of experiences passed tumultously and then, on January 9th, 2010 at 1:00pm, she arrived.

The beginning. (as against The End)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

WTF Prize of the year goes to...

I cant detach myself from my actions, but can I detach myself from the action of people who make decisions which affect all of us? Is it also so, that these decision makers are put in this place, because, having years of experience and 'wisdom' over the years, are a better judge of what is the right thing to do?

So what happens if what they do.. happens to enter my WTF Moment of the Year! I mean, Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?? I think this definitely re-defines comparison of improbable circumstances. I mean, the dude is in office for a really short period of time, and does mostly stuff to save the US economy. Makes a couple of speeches about peace and nuclear disarmament. And voila! Nobel Peace Prize. Peace Prize???

What life changing and history altering stuff has he done yet? So, what has this committee done? In their post explaining why they selected Obama, the Nobel committee state that... "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."

Vision?? Lots of people have vision... some people even have visions (and not the future changing ones, but crazy out of this world visions). So what was extra-special about Obama? Was George W Bush so bad that the guy who came after him got a Nobel prize just for being a nicer guy?

Obama’s just got started. Why couldn’t they have waited a year or two, and given it to him after he got some results or actually made ifference.

The nominees for the peace prize had to be finalized by Feb 2009. So that means, our newest winner of the Peace prize was in office for about a couple of weeks before he was nominated for a lifetime achievement award. How awesome is that?

Well, I hope that they, in their 108 years of experience, got their choice right. I mean, who knows? We all diss them now and Obama actually does what he he’s been so eloquently speaking about. Then, these guys will look good, wouldn’t they?

So, is their collective wisdom really right?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The End of the World... Really? Not Again!

So the world comes to an end in 2012. Not because Nostradamus said it, although I guess you can never say, coz nobody really knows what he said. This time, it’s because of a whole bunch of dead people. According to some "experts", it’s all over for humanity in 2012 because that’s what the Mayans said. Umm… hang on, but wasn’t it just that their calendar reset or something like that and not that they predicted the end of the world. But convenient, don’t you think? Scream ‘the end is nigh’ and point your finger at a civilization that sort of wound up tens of thousands of years ago and can’t be held accountable if it doesn’t end. Of course, when I say wound up, its not like they were some association or part of a company which shut shop because everybody knows you cant just walk out of a civilization. Or can you? Atleast some recent finds suggest that. These Mayans just got tired of being a civilization and walked off in the middle of lunch on a Monday afternoon. (Not sure about the meal and the hour, but wouldn’t that have been a good time to give it up?) I think it’s a great idea. I am pretty tired of this current civilization myself. Maybe I could get up and just go wild... Anyway, do you know what happened to these ultra ‘civilized’ Mayans? They gave up their ‘barbaric’ ways, found some cool Spanish conquistadors, and they all lived somewhat happily ever after. Makes for a great movie, no? Oh wait! Mel Gibson did that already.

I think it’s a great idea for a civilization to hit F5 after sometime. Humans are among the few species that accumulate history. It’s a good thing, is what I’ve been told. Like Newton said about standing on the shoulders of others and stuff, it seems our whole culture is built on what others did before. So there! We need to keep building on a vast knowledgebase of stuff that happened before so that we can survive today. That’s why people keep referring to times gone by as the “good old days”! Back then, there wasn’t so much to learn. And how old people keep saying my memory is not as good as it was. Of course it’s not, gramps! You never had to remember so much. So in the new-age world of civilization refresh, after a little while, we’ll just reset, and re-invent everything again. This would give so many people so much more opportunities to discover, invent and create again.

But then there is already some new age wisdom. One of the new-age belief systems is called Mayanism. See, we refreshed the Mayans! So, they’re back. But are they good this time around? Well, Mayanism’s basic premise is that the ancient Maya understood aspects of the human experience and human consciousness that remain poorly understood in modern Western culture! So, Mayanists will be, like, really deep, man! In addition, as a New Age belief system, Mayanism scorns academic scholarship, giving preference to knowledge gained through revelation and prophesy and to traditional knowledge. (or what is imagined to be traditional knowledge) Right on! Stuff it to the Stuffed Shirts! Do the voodoo!

And they say that Indians can’t let go of superstitions and primitive beliefs. It begs to be said that some time down the line, when these beliefs catch up with the urban crowd in cities, we’re all going to go to the villages and ‘unlearn’ our progressive belief system!

But it won’t come to that. The world will end in a spectacular disaster of epic proportions in 2012. Roland Emmerich, the new seer who has seen the end of the world in so many different ways (aliens, global warming, godzilla etc) now will oversee John Cusack and Amanda Peet trying to save some of us during this global catastrophe! So book your place now! Atleast you’ll get to see the movie in 2009… and remember, like it says in the movie poster, You were warned! (right here on my blog, ofcourse!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here we go again

it happens everytime. I begin to write and then it petters out. There's no excuse I know but the mind is a weird thing. It gets excited, attempts to create, loses steam and then moves onto something else. So many times have I developed whole novels and movies in my head and then woosh... they disappear into nothingness... really, woosh! havent u had ideas that wooshed away? But mine, well, they dont just woosh and go away. They pop up at a later time just to fill me with a guilt and feeling of uselessness at not having done something about their earlier wooshing.

So here I am. Post my leap into marital bliss (light humor for the wife), I had cut down on my reading. So, it was quite refreshing to catch up on some as recently, I've had some free time (not doing much at work compared to couple of hectic months previously) on my hands. Using my free time constructively (not!), I have done lots of reading. Both official (boring) and unofficial. (ranging from "ho hum" to "oh so funny, snort, snort!") Mostly blogs and such, but I chanced upon some really humorous stuff. This really got to me. I felt the familiar urge to start again.

Its really not so much that I had topics to write on than the urge to just write something. I dont know if that counts as the proper reason to do something like that, but hey, any reason to get going is good enough.

So, here we go... again... may it rain... in spain... on the plain... down the drain... with a fervor to cause pain... umm.. woosh(ed by me)

U get the point.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Delhi - 6

I just saw Delhi 6 and I wanted to put in some words regarding the movie from my point of view. I read the initial set of reviews, and as usual there are some who liked it and some who didnt. I dont have a totally polarized opinion of the movie. It was good in parts with the first half being very engaging, and humorous. The second half, works hard to tie in a lot of the disjoint first half, and bring itself to a rather eventful climax. But the underlying issue that leads to this climax is a little weak, almost forced just to get the story to the end. Ofcourse, the way the movie got stretched at the end was a little too much, and it seems the Bachchans come as a package deal - If you get one, you get another one free! The music is awesome, and you need to see the video of masakali to really appreciate the song. On the other hand, not really. The songs dont take aaway from the movie, and are part of the flow, which is cool. Technically, and dialogue wise, the movie is pretty good. Sonam Kapoor is really good, and Abhishek I guess has done an ok sort of role. I am still a little confused if he's actually like that in real life, because he sure doesnt sound like he had an American accent. It was more like an Indian trying to speak English with a fake accent, like Salman Khan. All the others have done a pretty good job. So overall, I recommend people to watch the movie for the first half, and most of the second half. Its a little preachy, and unfortunately it preaches an oft repeated communal message. But I guess a reminder never hurt any one. The only downside to the movie is the extended post climax section dragging itself to the end of the movie. I would recommend and say its a one time watch.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I want to be cool(ed)!

When I was a small 'un, growing up in the desert plains of Saudi Arabia, I remember a time when the temperature in our area dropped to below zero degrees centigrade. I was really young at that time, and my memories are slightly vague. Mostly remember a blue sweater, and blue gloves and a huge wollen cap that pretty much drowned my head. Everybody kept saying its very cold, but somehow, I kept hoping that it would snow. It didnt, and all i ever got was the frost on the window.
After that, I moved to various places, Dubai, Kerala, Pune, and Chennai, but ofcourse none of these places had a remote chance of being snowed down. Ever. And as time progresses, I feel that my interest in seeing snow are melting like the ice caps in the Artic circle.
Its ofcourse one of those things in India, where when talk of overseas travel comes up, one of the common questions is with regard to snow. If u've seen snow, then u dismiss it lightly like its an everyday occurence. But for people who havent, its still a unique experience the first time around, and lots of photos later, u get accustomed to the fact that its probably not really a good thing especially for various modes of transportation.
I'm, ofcourse, still waiting for snow, and with every trip I take to UK, I always hope that this time there will be snow.
Well, I came pretty close the last time. The temperature dropped below 0 again and there was frost.
It had settled over most of the scenery in the morning, and sort of seemed like somebody had done a desaturate in photoshop on the landscape. The initial reaction was to go shutter crazy and snap a lot of pictures, but i thought i'd wait and see if maybe this time, there might be snow! And my hope as a kid, to see snow, had been rekindled again. But it turned out to be a false alarm. There never came snow. Well, atleast we'll always have had frost!
I am actually a cold person. No, not as in, I'll-walk-by-a-dead-body-and-act-like-i-see-it-everyday cold, but more like, i'd-rather-be-in-antartica-than-in-the-sahara-desert type cold person. I sweat like a whole herd of pigs in the presence of the slightest increase in temperature above 20 degrees celsius. Yes, I come with storage instructions - keep slightly refrigerated at all times! This usually amounts to my clothes being drenched with sweat when most people dont even break out into a sweat. On top of that, i've got a very mild case of Axillary Hyperhidrosis. Wat's that u ask? Well, this wouldnt be an informative blog if u didnt learn something everyday. That's medical gobbledygook for sweaty armpits!! This is obviously a point of consternation for me, especially since I am in the corporate world, and in the diabolically hot land of Chennai. Chennai is also temperature controlled - maintained at a low grill setting of 40 degrees throughout the year. So sweaty armpits, hot city... u get the picture! I reamin indoors whenever I can, because the moment i step outside, its like i took a bath in my clothes.
I recently drove down to Bangalore in my new car (separate post on that one) and everytime I go there, I never want to return. It takes me a couple of weeks of moping, and wishing before I return to appreciate the qualities of Chennai... which pretty much consist of 'Since I am here, I'll stay here. Besides, its a nice place if not for the heat' Yup, Bangalore, despite its growing traffic problems, is still an amazing town weatherwise. And women wise as well, but that's another story.
Anyways, no point in wishing, when I've got Chennai! I guess the best I can do is hope that due to rapid climatic changes caused due to some meteor hitting the earth in Russia, there will be some really cold weather in Chennai sometime... wishful thinking...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight... See it! Its worth it

S, u see a movie, and you feel you need to tell people about it. To share the experience, and help others to share a similar experience... yep, not just misery, even having experiences love company. I saw the movie The Dark Knight today, and boy! Was it a doozie! Its not a family movie, mind you. But its a movie that deserves to be watched nonetheless. It balances fine film making (in the arty award winning sense) with summer blockbuster action. If ever there was a doubt, that films could not be both at the same time, TDK blows away that concept. Christopher Nolan, take a bow. You've made one of the finest movies I've seen in a while. Infact, I feel a sense of deja vu when I say that. I felt the same way when I saw Memento. The writer-director combo of Johnathan and Christopher Nolan come together to create yet another awesome movie.
If Heath Ledger had been around, he would have been happy to know, he created a legacy that would be remembered for a long time. His portrayal of the Joker has raised cinematic evil to new heights. A person with no plan, just a need to perform...
The story is gripping, the action is amazing (watch for the batpod as it runs up a wall and flips over like a martial arts move), and everybody does well. Ofcourse everybody except for the female lead. She unfortunately doesnt have much of a role. Infact, none of the women characters in this movie seem to be well developed (and I dont mean physically).
But yet, its an awesome movie. It motivated me to blog about it, just so that I remember I recommended people to watch it.