Sacred Games

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Still think that Indian shows aren’t good? Still think they lack creativity. Well, turn on Netflix and check out “Sacred Games”, Netflix India’s first original show. The hope we have had for Indian shows will come back.

The story is very intriguing. Its about Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), a troubled police officer from Mumbai, who gets a tip-off from a ruthless gangster Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), saying that Mumbai will be in grave danger. Thus starts the story that goes deep into Indian underworld, corrupt politicians and police force. It is a puzzle that the lead characters try to solve, hence its called “Sacred Games.”

Direction by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, who are one of the finest directors we have in this country, is brilliant. I read somewhere that Anurag Kashyap handled the Gaitonde story while Vikramaditya Motwane handled the Sartaj story. While seeing all the Gaitonde scenes, one can only remember “Gangs of Wasseypur”, especially since Nawaz and Anurag worked together then. Very tight-gripping screenplay. In no way it dragged. I binge watched it over the weekend, as I felt like wanting to know what happened. The season ended with another part of a puzzle being solved. I have started to wait for the next season already. The dialogues were powerful. I loved the music. One of the best soundtrack I have listened to in recent times. Does anyone have the songs?

Now comes the acting. Saif proves that if he could pick up good projects, he can do a wonderful job. He made the best decision to do this show, because this was one of his best, after Langda Tyagi. Radhika Apte’s role was small, but she managed to make the show more intriguing. Nawazuddin again managed to be the power pack. Neeraj sir, Jitendra Joshi and Jatin Sarna were mindblowing. But the stand-out for me was Kubra Sait, who played the role of Kukoo the transgender. She is a revelation you must watch out for. Another surprise was Luke Kenny, who played the killer Malcolm. He managed to get out of his “Rob” zone. The best ensemble of cast I have seen. I believe teamwork makes a show successful, and its the same with this show.

So Indians, remove the idiot box, and get Netflix and Amazon Prime to see how shows are actually made. And please don’t say that Indian shows are bad, because after watching “Sacred Games”, its going to be all different. I would also suggest my foreign friends to watch this series. There is so much more in India than just dancing, singing, crying and “Slumdog Millionaire” (which is overrated in my opinion).

My Rating:- 4.5/5

 

 

 

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Dunkirk

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Christopher Nolan is a brilliant director, and he showcases his brilliancy again through “Dunkirk.” It is based on World War II. In 1940, during the Battle of France, Germany advances to France, allied troops get trapped in the beaches of Dunkirk. The only way out is via sea, but the Germans have air superiority, bombing British soldiers and ships without opposition. The film shows the tension of the soldiers to fight and to be free.

The movie shows 1940’s and World War II in a very true way. Cinematography is wonderful. Screenplay is tight. Nolan adds the suspense to make it interesting. The music was so apt for the situation. Acting by the cast was strong (I was surprised to see Harry Styles.)

Out of all the Oscar nominated movies I have watched so far this year, Dunkirk would be my top favourite for now.

One of the best films made. Its a must watch!

My Rating:- 4/5

I, Tonya

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I, Tonya makes your heart light and makes you smile. It is based on the life of the famous figure skater, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), who is pushed into figure skating by her mother (Allison Janey). It also shows her abusive relationship with her husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan). Also, the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, her rival, and the aftermath of the incident.

The direction was superb. The actors did a good job, Margot Robbie was amazing as Tonya, she got into the skin of the character very easily, Sebastian Stan was also good as Jeff, but it was Allison Janey who stood out. No words for how brilliant she is. The screenplay could have been better though.

I, Tonya isn’t a masterpiece, but its definitely watchable, entertaining and a must watch!

My Rating:- 3.5/5

Different types of Anxiety, My Thoughts and what could be done

I haven’t gone through depression, but I go through severe anxiety. I know how thoughts can affect the way you think and feel. I know how the heart palpitates, how you run short of breath and how sometimes you feel nauseous as well as acid reflux. Moreover, I know the feeling of being judged for the way you look, for not being understood, and for having thoughts that make you a “negative” person.

After seeing two suicides 2 weeks ago, I realized we need to speak and educate people about Mental Health. I am going to write about Anxiety, the different types of it, the thoughts I go through and what could be done. Here are the different types of Anxiety:-

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This is one of the most common types of anxiety. It is the feeling of being constantly on the edge, worried, anxious, stressed etc. both physically and mentally. This happens mostly without any reason. Most common problems include:- fatigue, restlessness, tense muscles, trouble concentrating on tasks or activities and obsessing over negative and anxiety causing thoughts.

2. Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is when the shyness is intense, and the idea of socializing or speaking with the public, strangers, or possibly even your friends causes you noticeable anxiety and fear. People with social anxiety view public situations as painful and distressing, they live with constant fear of being judged, observed and being avoided. They also have an irrational fear or being embarrased and doing something stupid.

3. Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is when you experience severe feelings of doom that cause both mental and physical symptoms that can be so intense that some people become hospitalized, worried that something is dangerously wrong with their health.

4. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is the fear of going out in public, either the fear of open spaces or the fear of being in unfamiliar places. Many people with agoraphobia either never leave their home, or do anything they can to avoid traveling anywhere other than their home and office. Some people can go to the grocery store or other familiar places but otherwise experience intense, nearly debilitating fear anywhere else.

5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that comes after the traumatic event has occurred. Those living with PTSD often must get outside help, because PTSD can affect people for years after the event occurs – possibly even the rest of their life. PTSD affects people both psychologically and physically. Some symptoms include:- relieving the trauma, responding to triggers, emotional trouble etc.

6. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Those with OCD often exhibit behaviors and fears that are not only confusing to those around you but also confusing to the person with OCD as well.

7. Specific Phobias

Phobias are intense feelings of fear because of objects, scenarios, animals, etc. Phobias generally bring about disaster thinking or avoidance behaviors. Some examples include fear of spiders, blood, planes, thunderstorms etc.

These are the 7 main types of Anxiety. There are more types of anxiety such as Illness Anxiety Disorder i.e. Hypochondriasis (Obsession with the idea of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition). There is also situational anxiety that is caused by new situations or changing events.  For example, some people become uneasy in crowds or tight spaces, standing in a tightly packed line at the bank or a store register, may cause them to experience extreme anxiety, possibly a panic attack. Then there is death anxiety, “feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude (anxiety) when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to ‘be’, as described by one source. Then there is grief anxiety. Grieving people often feel that they have lost their sense of control in life, and they find themselves panicking or worrying excessively about what or whom else they could lose in the future. They also may have trouble sleeping or taking care of themselves, which can put them at higher risk for anxiety. The 5 stages include:- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Now coming to my thoughts.

I faced my first anxiety attack when I was studying in KL. I had finished my exams so it should have been my happiest moment. But instead my heart started beating fast, I was running short of breath, and had nauseous feelings. My mood started to feel dull too. I went to the doctor the next day, did a health check-up, they said they found nothing abnormal, they said it was certain that it was anxiety. After that, I had anxiety for my difficulties, and anxiety without any reason too. I remember when it lasted for one month, and I was in my room the entire time. I only came out when I had to go to college or to get food.

GAD is what I have. Or otherwise free-floating anxiety. I heard its the body’s way of saying its a break. Maybe its because of all the difficulties I have faced in the past. I could handle it then, but those pain which I felt, came in the form of anxiety.

Along with GAD, I also have social anxiety. I have been bullied, cheated, left out by people, was constantly judged for who I was etc. To be honest, during those times, whenever people saw me, they would run away. I also lack communication skills due to my disability. Every time I have thoughts of embarrassing myself, saying something stupid, the fear that people will run away due to my personality, that I will be cheated. The fact that I say sorry all the time, even for the things I haven’t done, is also due to that.

After my mom’s death, all the anxieties increased even more. My main thought was, “I don’t want anything bad to happen.” For the first few months, I had death anxiety. The thought was I didn’t want to die all of a sudden, without seeing anyone, without doing the things I have desired to do, and most of all, not dying young. It came because I couldn’t see my mom before she died. Meditation helped me reduce this anxiety, and I could sleep properly.

I had met a lot of negative people during that time, and my social anxiety increased more. People didn’t accept me back then due to my disability, but I still had my mom, the strongest lady. And now she isn’t there, that brought more pressure to be accepted for who I was. I used to love singing for people as well, but then I shifted to singing just for myself, as I wasn’t ready for more negativity and the feeling of being judged.

I was grieving a lot. The 5 stages of grief turned into anxiety. The fact that I couldn’t see her before she left, that she got cancer at a young age despite being healthy and despite not having a history, got me anxious, thinking how unpredictable life is. Went through each of the five stages, but with the last stage i.e acceptance, this reduced too.

At the start of this year, I was going through some hypochondria conditions. I couldn’t help but worry about my health.  Every small health issue I had faced made me think that it was something worse like cancer. I became very controlling of my food habits. My thought was, now that I have a history, I should make sure that I don’t get it. But soon that also went away.

I already spoke about the physical effects such as heart palpitations, running short of breath, nausea, acid reflux etc. I became very sick last summer. I felt better when I realized that my stress and anxiety were causing this.

But its not impossible to manage. I go for counseling once in two weeks. I meditate every day, or once in two days. I go to the gym 3-5 days a week. I have reduced my caffeine intake. I drink chamomile tea once in two days. All of these help me control my anxiety. However, anxiety isn’t something that will go away. As soon as there is a trigger moment, you get the symptoms again. Hence doing these things are a must.

My positivity, strength, hope and determination got me this far and I am grateful that I have these traits that help me sail through.

I am writing this to help change the stigma. We are often judged by the way we look, and by the fact that we don’t look “depressed” or “anxious”. Sometimes you don’t know what the other is going through. You need to be kind to everyone you meet. Go to them instead of telling them to come to you.

Schools, colleges and work places have the most stressful environment. I read that artists and musicians have the highest number of anxiety, depression and suicide rates. None of these places have a proper counseling center. Not a lot of them are educated about it. From my personal experience, I had to wait because according to them, my issue wasn’t serious. Hence I looked for counsellors outside, and its working.

I also wanted to say one more thing. Due to my anxiety, I may have unintentionally hurt a lot of people. I just want to apologize for being a bad friend due to that. Its that fear of being cheated, bullied and left off. I know that not everyone is evil, but it takes a while for me to come back to my senses. I hope you all understand me. If you can, be by my side, if not, I understand.

My break is helping me in slowly getting there.
Oh and did I say please take a break when needed?

Overall, Mental Health is real. Let’s be loving and caring towards each other. Let’s be understanding.

 

Coco

I love Pixar movies. In every movie of theirs, they have a unique topic to discuss. Their movies are not just for children, but even for adults who, in my opinion, have closed their free thinking.

All of these are involved in Coco, which I consider is Pixar’s current best.

Coco is about a young guy named Miguel, an aspiring musician from a family where music is banned. Due to a curse, he is transported to the Land of the Dead, and he goes to meet his great-great grandfather, who is a musician, to find out about his family history, as well as a blessing from his ancestors to go back to the alive world.

Coco has the best music I have heard on recent times. “Remember Me” is a song I will remember forever. The animation is amazing, the voice cast did a great job. But what I loved the most is the theme. The fact it has Music Therapy in it. How music is used to heal people. How it helps in retrieving memories for those who have dementia and alzheimer’s. The fact that they also incorporated live music, and one-on-one therapy. Another theme I liked was how they depicted life and death. The Land of the Dead is actually “alive” due to the memories the alive people have of them. Its all about how our memories of our loved ones, can be brought alive, by remembering them and honoring all that they would have wanted us to do.

Be open minded, follow your heart, and more than that, love Music! Also find out how Music Therapy works! If you haven’t watched Coco yet, I highly recommend! Its on Netflix!

My Rating:- 5/5

Kaabil

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Predictable story about revenge. Its about a blind couple Rohan and Supriya “Su” (Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam). One day Su gets raped by two people, one of the guys Amit (Rohit Roy), is the brother of Madhavrao Shellar (Ronit Roy), a well known politician. There was no justice. Su commits suicide, and Rohan takes revenge against the brothers.

Hrithik Roshan is the only Kaabil one in this movie. His performance is something that is memorable and must look out for. I also liked the camera work and direction, it managed to add all the thrills. Otherwise “Kaabil” just wasn’t “Kaabil” enough.

My Rating:- 3/5

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Review: Is it the content or is it how TV shows normally are?

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When I heard that “13 Reasons Why” was going to have a second season, I wondered why was it needed? Now when I watched season 2, I feel the same. That why was season 2 needed for this show?

Season 1 had everything that was needed. It was realistically portrayed. Being a bullying victim, I could feel all that was happening on the show. Most people felt uncomfortable watching the show, because it reminded them of their experiences. But I felt more inspired. I wanted to do something about high school bullying and suicides. It had a beautiful end, with a positive message it intended to spread.

Season 2 was the opposite. I feel its the storyline and writing. It was the same thing over again. More bullying/assaults and no justice. Oh and the end…

I guess its with most TV shows. They continue without a proper full stop, by repeating the same content and themes, without doing much. Some shows also get away from their main content.

I always said that “13 Reasons Why” was a TV show, and with these points, it proves to be a TV show which we just watch.

One plus point of this seasons is the character development of each character. It was brilliant. It was good to see most of the characters going through realization and come out stronger. It was also good to bring most of the characters together. The other plus point is the acting by each of the cast. And the trigger warning in the beginning, very much needed.

If they are renewing this show for another season, I suggest they come up with a proper end, to inspire us to make us do something about it, just like how season 1 intended. I would say the same for all the TV shows. Don’t make cash the main priority, if you are running out of ideas, end the show properly, that’s what makes the viewers satisfied.

I would say watch Season 1 if you want to get inspired and stop bullying, assaults and suicides, and if you are going through some of these issues currently, maybe you should not watch Season 2. But otherwise generally, this season isn’t really worth it.

 

Vikram Vedha

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It is the modern adaptation of the classic folk-tale Vikram and Betaal. I love when classic tales are being adapted to modern versions. It is not easy and they did a good job with that. This movie is about a cop and a criminal, the criminal tries to change the cop’s way of seeing things by asking questions. It also shows about corrupt police officers.

Superb direction by Pushkar-Gayathri, we need to see more of them. Very cleverly written, wonderful screenplay and dialogues. The camera work adds more thrill. Madhavan proves that he is not just a chocolate boy, but someone who is talented and can do justice to any role. Vijay Sethupathi, no words for him, he is brilliant! Probably the current top best actor in the Tamil industry. The tension between the two characters have been shown very well.

The movie has all the elements of a perfect film. Please watch this!

My Rating:- 4/5

Tumhari Sulu

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A slice of life film. Brilliantly made, written and directed. A true comedy, that made me genuinely smile and laugh. I also love the songs and how they fit in every scene.

Vidya Balan is from another world. She is just unimaginably good. She owns this movie. My top favourite actress of this time. Thank you for proving how talented you are, each time.  All the supporting actors did a good job, but it was Manav Kaul who stood out with his brilliant acting of a complex character.

“Tumhari Sulu” is a true entertainment. A must-watch! Please watch this, if you are having a low day, or even if you are not. A smile on your face is guaranteed!

My Rating:-  3.5/5

Love Per Square Foot

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Netflix India’s first original movie. A true rom-com. It is about a guy Sanjay (Vicky Kaushal) and a girl Karina (Angira Dhar) who have a similar dream, to buy an apartment and have a space on their own. This quest brings them together.

It is predictable yet simple. It is a kind of movie that is made from the heart, not forced, not for money, like other Bollywood movies these days. The movie’s purpose was for us to enjoy, and its fulfilled! The humor used in the movie was fantastic, what I call “true” humor! Writing and direction was wonderful! Loved the dialogues!

The movie has the best lot of actors! Been a fan of Vicky Kaushal since his Masaan days! Boy this guy can act! Angira Dhar is so pretty, and she can act too! Both of them deserve to go far! The rest of the cast were brilliant, be it sisters Supriya Pathak and Ratna Pathak, Raghubir Yadav, Alankrita Sahai (in her debut), Gajraj Rao, Kunaal Roy Kapoor, Arunoday Singh etc. Kudos to the casting!

The only thing that didn’t work was the screenplay and runtime! The movie dragged a lot! It has a simple storyline, too many unwanted details weren’t needed. With a simple topic, just cutting down on 30 minutes would work.

Do watch it when you need some time off, when you need to cheer up! This movie made me laugh, and I am sure it will bring a smile on your face too!

Netflix should make more movies, and I hope filmmakers make movies more from the heart!

My Rating:- 3/5