Why ‘Aligarh’ is a great movie

Aligarh is the story of Professor Siras who was suspended by Aligarh Muslim University because he was gay and he was caught making out with a rickshawwallah.

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Now, how was he caught? He was caught because a few guys entered his house, without his permission and recorded the act to expose that he was gay? What right did those men have to enter his house?

Nobody cared to know. Nobody wanted to know.

The movie seems to imply that there was a role of his colleagues in the linguistics department who were jealous of him and wanted to get rid of him and therefore, they hired those men to expose his sexual leanings.

Now, Professor Siras, an over 60 year’s man fought a legal battle and won because the battle was won post the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalizing homosexuality. Unfortunately, for the LGBT community, the Supreme Court overturned the high court judgement and criminalized homosexuality again.

Professor Siras won the court battle against AMU but he was eventually found dead. He did not kill himself. He must have been killed. Somebody who could not bear that a gay professor will be back on the campus killed him. No matter who it was, it was the society who killed him.

I am not LGBT but I cannot understand the ridiculous attitude of the larger society towards homosexuals. There is a poignant scene in the movie where Professor Siras is taking to the endearing journalist Deepu Sabastian, well played by Raj Kumar Rao. In the scene, Deepu asks of Siras, “Was he your lover?” and Professor Siras replies, “Try to understand love. It is a beautiful word.”

Well, what makes us heterosexuals impose our ‘natural’ way of love to everyone else. Nobody has any right to tell others how should they love.

The acting is superb. Manoj Bajpayee was outstanding. So was Raj Kumar Rao. The movie belongs to Manoj Bajpayee. Aligarh is a reflection of our society. It is a reflection of us, the people who are not willing to tolerate people different from us-difference in sexuality, different in religion, believes, race etc.

What a brave movie. Absolutely worth watching.

 

 

Buy Shoes online from Flipkart/Koovs

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I had a rule not to buy shoes online. I am not sure about the rule anymore.

Recently, I bought a pair of sneakers (Puma) from Flipkart and a pair of casual shoes (Converse All Star) from Koovs.

The online buying experience has become much better for categories and products with small ticket size and being a conservative consumer, I do not spend a lot of money for high-ticket purchases online.

Shoes is one category, which I was afraid of buying online. The reason I made an exception is that in brick and mortar stores of brands like Adidas, Nike, Reebok, the price are crossed the roof. They are so ridiculous that they are not even funny anymore.

For example, Reebok has shoes worth 15k and onwards, basis running shoes with some light technology, whatever it is. I mean, you do not buy shoes for 5 years at one go. You buy shoes, use them frequently and buy new ones. At least, I go that way. Secondly, I did not want to spend that much and so, decided to check out online.

So, let us come to the experience. The shoes I bought from Flipkart turned out to be smaller when I wore them. My shoe size is 7 and I ordered 7 but because if the brand size or whatever, the shoes were very uncomfortable.

The pair I ordered from Koovs has a black spot on them, which I could not clean with a piece of cloth. I was not happy since it was a brand new pair.

Therefore, I returned both the pairs. Flipkart returned me the pair of a higher size within a week of the return. Koovs took away my pair, and then returned the pair after a few more days. Flipkart was clearly faster. Although, I had worn the sneakers a couple of times, they took it back, with a bit of hassle, which the person who came to deliver the new pair created. Koovs was not bad either, although it took more follow-up with them.

So, here are the few things you will do well to keep in mind.

  1. Size: Buy the size, which suits you, and do not use the pair if you discover a discrepancy on trial upon delivery.
  2. Read reviews of people who may have bought the same product and have had things to say about it.
  3. If still uncomfortable with the process, do not buy shoes online.

This is a personal account. May be though, this will help you in putting yourself in my shoes, when you buy shoes online.

Piku Review

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Piku is a peculiar Bollywood movie. There are no big scenes, no larger than life characters, and no big plots in the movie. It is a tale of a routine life told through peculiar characters. I wonder if this is already turning out to be a peculiar review.

The key protagonist, Piku Banerjee played by Deepika Padukone is a beautiful Bengali girl, like usual Bengali girls. She is an irritable, fussy girl who works lives with her highly irritable and irritating father. The irony is, in spite of both of them being irritable and irritating, both of these characters come across as adorable and so freaking human. The movie is replete with minor squabbles between the key characters and you almost enjoy each and every squabble while watching the movie.

Rana Chaudhary, played by the brilliant Irrfan Khan is as effortless as an actor that I have no words to describe his brilliance. Amitabh Bachchan is faultless and Deepika is immaculate.

I think it’s the excellence in acting which makes Piku what it is. The plot is simple. Piku lives with her father Bhaskor. Bhaskor is obsessed with his constipation and they talk about it the whole day. It’s hilarious and discomfiting at the same time. Rana is the owner of the taxi company which Piku uses to commute to office is a calm fellow, unless he is dealing with his drivers who refuse to serve Piku-for she drives them mad, leading to accidents.

The second half of the movie is spent on a car ride to Kolkata, with the car being driven by Rana. All the characters are a part of the journey and it’s hilarious at times and poignant at other times.

Alright, enough said, I won’t let the cat out of the bag. I reviewed the movie for I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cheers.

Margarita with a Straw

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Margarita with a straw is a sexual movie. No, there isn’t much soft or hardcore porn in the movie. You still need to go to youporn for that. But, still it is. It is also a movie about heterosexuality and bi-sexuality. It didn’t seem to be a movie about cerebral palsy, which it should have been.

It is because that’s what the main character in the movie-Laila-seems to think of all the time. Laila has cerebral palsy, which means she is physically restricted in many ways. However, that doesn’t restrain her drive to get intimate.

From one frame to another, the writer-director takes us to different expressions of Laila’s sexual or romantic desire. She kisses a fellow friend who has cerebral palsy apparently because he too is on a wheelchair. She falls for one of her band members, who get uncomfortable when she hugs him and not let go. He apparently treated her as a friend only.

She somehow gets admission in New York University and there she lets the professor allow her a guy to type when she can type herself. This scene was cute; however, since it was a continuation of her sexual expression, you almost expect it from Laila.

The movie progresses further. She meets a blind girl who starts to get physical with her, after being her friend for a while. Laila reciprocates and realizes she is bisexual. They develop a relationship. So, at this point, she has a girlfriend, a girl from Pakistan. I am sure RSS will have problems with it.

In the meanwhile, she makes out with the type guy. It just happens, since it’s raining and he helps her go to the loo. Rest is history.

She comes back to India with her girlfriend hoping to disclose her bisexuality and willingness to marry her girlfriend to her mother. She tells it but then the movie takes a sudden pointless turn and her mother starts suffering from cancer and eventually dies.

Her family is a weird concoction of a Sikh father and a Bengali looking mother and what would you call a ‘monna’ brother in Sikh families. Anyways, the father and the brother are inconsequential. I don’t know what purpose they served in the movie.

The movie frankly was overkill and an under kill:
1. Overkill: The sexual desire of a special person: Fine, I am not saying there is anything wrong in that, but that was the highlight of the movie which makes no sense to me
2. Under kill: It was an under kill, which means I still don’t know much about cerebral palsy having watched the movie besides that they may have a high sexual drive

I am not a movie buff. I go to watch movies which intrigue me from their initial looks and it did. I wish the movie had more in store than a special sexually charged person who can’t decide between heterosexuality and bisexuality. Too many issues to handle for the protagonist in one movie.

I need to be even more careful about newspaper reviews now.

Cheers.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2015

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The Jaipur Literature festival is one of the most intellectually satisfying experiences one can have, in India.Delegates and attendees from all over the world converge to attend the festival every year and I am sure they have similar reasons. One of the pitfalls, however, of keeping the festival free for the audience is massive crowds at every session. For the popular sessions like those of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Nobel Laureate V S Naipaul, there was hardly space available to even stand.

In my opinion, the festival can charge a nominal fee. This will ensure that only the ones, who are genuinely interested, walk in and help avoid the disinterested freeloaders who come because everyone is going and not because they are really keen to listen. It is a essentially a festival for those who are interested in the written word and how it impacts our life and I believe that they would be willing to pay a small amount to attend it, if it helps in bringing down the crowds.

Enough for the critical view, I love the festival and have been visiting it for a few years. Therefore, I will now take the time to write about what I totally enjoyed this time.

The V S Naipaul Session
I think Mr. Farrukh Dhondy did a brilliant job at moderating the session. Sir Naipaul did lose himself many times during the discussion and it was for Mr. Dhondy to get him back on track and keep the discussion moving. Mr. Naipaul shared his experiences around early writing, having to learn about non-fiction, comedy and different genres of writing.

It was a fascinating discussion. I was hooked onto every word Mr. Naipaul said. He also narrated a story about his early days at writing when he sat down and finished a piece of work. I had a lesson to learn there. Many a time, while writing, I take a break, which disrupts the train of thought. Now, I am determined to not leave, until I finish this article.


The Rajdeep Sardesai and Mihir Sharma session

It was moderated by Ms. Madhu Trehan. I am a fan of Mr.Sardesai. He is one of the best journalists in this country, along with Ms. Barkha Dutt. The session was exhilarating and enjoyable. Mr. Sardesai spoke about his book and stories of his encounter with the now Prime Minister. He spoke about not getting an invite for the Obama Dinner because he would ask uncomfortable questions instead of taking selfies.

Mr. Sharma is a witty speaker and he took the question on retrospective taxes, among other questions on his book. It was fun watching these two gentlemen talking about Indian politics and its heroes and failures.

Against the Grain
This was a wonderful session. The person who totally inspired and led this session, to my mind was Mr. Gideon Levy- described as the most hated man in Israel by Ms. Meru Gokhale, who moderated the session. He came across as a man of unquestionable integrity and moral courage.

The other speakers on the panel were interesting in their own right, since they all represented going against the grain, except, Mr. Dasgupta, who is a part of the establishment in the current political set up and not quite, against the grain.

There were other sessions also, which led perspectives on the LGBT community and what ‘coming out’ meant, life of Gandhi, which led me feeling thoughtful.

I hope the crowd isn’t that much next year and that a pan masala company isn’t sponsoring it. I will go to listen to the thinkers who grace the Diggi palace with their profound thinking. I will go to hear about the courage of people like Mr. Gideon Levy. They are the fest.