Author: Srish

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Review

One of the better terms I had come across for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is ‘author sanctioned fan-fiction’. It’s true- the eighth story, nineteen years later is fan-fiction that has been blessed by J.K. Rowling. It has been written by Jack Thorne, but the story has been conceptualized by J.K. Rowling as well, including Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It’s safe to assume then, that Rowling must have had the final veto as well, when it came to the play, for she is the ultimate authority.

The first thing to do when it comes to reading the play script is to not expect it to be a literal eighth story in the sense of hoping it to continue on that magical experience where the seventh book ended for the simple reason that it’s a play and not a book. If we are to believe that the medium is the message, as we discussed in our Harry Potter Workshops then it must be read differently; there will be no beautiful paragraphs describing the many eccentricities of the magical world, no third person voice to narrate what’s happening in the background, no descriptions of the body language of the characters.

As a play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was quite a disappointment- the characters, who I always held in the highest regard failed to move me; the dialogue lacked any kind of depth; the humor was lame and forced and the plot unnecessarily convoluted and relying on earlier troped of reinstating the Dark Lord.

Yes it is fan-fiction, but there is some really good fan-fiction out there, and this one was sanctioned by Rowling; yes it had a lot of standards to live up to, but even regardless of those, it fails to come off as an interesting read. I cannot say about the real, live play for I haven’t seen it; but the book was well, quite simply, a disappointment. It doesn’t read well, the actions and lines of the characters are only there for the plot to take shape, and none of it is natural enough to make us believe in that world.

The dialogues sound especially forced coming from the old characters; Ron is not funny, Hermione rather obnoxious and preachy, and Harry sounds as if he finally let the fame go to his head. The one person that sounded a bit okay was Ginny, and that was only because we didn’t see very much of her in the series, and she seems to have developed a personality in the play. Draco has none of his old flair, and McGonagall doesn’t inspire the same awe.

The new characters on the other hand came off slightly better, primarily because we didn’t know them already, which goes to show that we can’t help but compare it to the earlier books (which is only fair, considering they call it ‘the eighth story’)- Scorpius Malfoy is delightful, and even the growing pains of Albus Potter are understandable. Delphi, on the other hand, is downright comical.

The story’s premise takes off on a bad note- the dysfunctional relationship between Albus Potter and Harry Potter is not believable, and not because Harry can’t be  bad father (he totally can) but because the other two children of Harry’s do not suffer the same burden of their father’s fame as he does. That kind of baggage mostly always comes in lieu of being the only child/son. The few glimpses we have of James Potter show him as a merry little kid, and the same for Lily. James and Lily while mentioned at the beginning, disappear later on in the story- they too could have played important roles in the story.

The plot might have had potential but it was seriously badly built. While in the Harry Potter series each plot turn and twist is justified and later on tied up with overall story, the entire story in HPCC fights for plausibility. The time turned as the main plot device had too many problems- we really wonder how J.K. Rowling gave the go-ahead for this as it tends to rather trivialize the magical world created by her. Even if we were to take the story and attribute it to magic and take it as it is, there really was nothing very engaging about it.

A couple of good points though- the relationship between Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy was one fo the few believable things in the play. Additionally, Albus Potter being sorted in Slytherin too broke the traditional stereotype of Slytherin = bad and Gryffindor = good in the Harry Potter universe, and frankly, could have been the best moment of the play.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was like an old tape playing, the one you wish you hadn’t found; yet I’m surprised when I hear people of saying that it will ‘spoil their memories’ of Harry Potter.

Are you kidding me? Nothing can spoil the memory of Harry Potter and the depth and richness with which it was written, least of all a play which seems more like a stupid, alternate reality as opposed to the eighth story. Rowling may have given Jack Thorne the right to take the story in these weird directions, but the time has gone when Harry Potter was hers alone. Loved by millions of readers, Harry Potter has a life of its own, and as the message of the series clearly states, it’s up to us to see the magic and believe and not be bogged down by what has been shown and given.

Augmented Reality

I thought I was the luckiest girl

In the world

Because the night was quiet

And the stars were bright

There was a light breeze

To blow my hair lightly

So I skipped along the way

With a bounce in my step

In a car-less night

I put my hand through my lover’s

His skin made me smile

I swung his hand

Absent-minded, he smiled

I sighed to the sky

For a beautiful life

When I saw the moon

A flawless circle

As I gazed on

It twinkled so white

And I said to my lover

“Look! Look at that!”

I said as if in a dream

“What?” he asked in wild haste

‘Did you get Pikachu?”

 

By Srish

The Battle of the Bastards

Monday’s Game of Thrones episode, The Battle of the Bastards, has been hailed as one of the best episodes in the entire series, and more importantly, the battle sequence has been described as one of the greatest battle scenes in television history.

Ramsay Bolton employed tactics which would involve Jon Snow giving up his advantageous, defensive  position; Jon Snow fell for it. He charged forward, alone, as Bolton slaughtered Rickon and Jon Snow’s army was forced to follow their commander, straight into the trap laid by Bolton. Bolton’s archers released arrows, encircled Jon Snow’s army with rows and rows long spears and shields as Jon Snow’s army became trapped between that and the mounds of corpses.

Cinematically, the battle scenes were amazingly shot, each and every shot very artistically and mindfully built- but to my mind, it just brought one poem which I had studied in my literature course. The poem was written by Wilfred Owen, one of the greatest English poets of World War I, and was titled Dulce et Decorum est.

The poem is named after the old Latin saying Dulce et Decorum est, pro patria mori, which translates to meaning, it is a great honor to fight and die for your country. For is that not how they make people go to war? Is that not how they convince that this is the right thing to do, that this must be done, that our country must be defended and the other attacked? Do they not tell us that there is pride and glory in laying down our lives for something that is much bigger than us, than our circles of friends and families?

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge

This is how Wilfred Owen begins to describe the soldiers of the Great War- like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed and coughing like hags. They were all ‘drunk with fatigue’ he said, before Owen sees his comrade dying in the poisonous gas. ‘Guttering, choking, drowning’, Owen said, his comrade was simply dying, helpless, in the most pathetic way possible.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Not much glory in gargling from ‘froth-corrupted lungs’, ‘obscene as cancer’ and in ‘vile, incurable sores’, is there?

This is exactly what the Game of Thrones episode showed. As Bolton’s army collided with Snow’s, man fell against horse and there was absolute chaos; heads went flying about, horses maimed, limbs cut off as Jon Snow went about in utter confusion, trying to distinguish friend from foe, killing those who attempted to slaughter him. Blood poured in every direction, arrows rained upon men as swords were wielded without knowing what they would destroy. As Snow’s army was encircled and trapped, Jon Snow got trampled beneath the ensuing chaos buried under heaps of corpses and flailing soldiers who attempted to run and defend themselves. With difficulty, he emerged from within the riot of bodies, covered in blood and grime, only to stare at death in the face.

That, then, is perhaps the reality of wars and battles; not pride, not honor and definitely not the sweet taste of glory- just a bunch of ragged limbs, barely functioning, arms outstretched, trying to gain a semblance of reality, a perspective about the senselessness, all around.

Image Source: blogs.wsj.com

Punjab of the Popular Imagination

There is a stereotype for the people of Punjab that is known across the country; perhaps no other stereotype is as stereotypical as this one. And so that stereotype has played a major role in depicting the entire state of Punjab in the popular imagination, as we know today. Most people know Punjab through the veil of that stereotype, thanks to how it influenced the popular imagination.

That Punjabis are loud-mouthed. That they have a tendency to utter and blabber what they actually feel, that they wear their heart on their sleeves. That they may say things that might not sound great, but they have their hearts in the right place.

The most famous symbol for Punjab is the Golden Temple, which stands for peace and serenity such as you might have never known before; the beautiful temple made of gold which stands shining as much in the night as in the day.

Punjab is also known for its food; oh, the food. The dollops and dollops of butter that they use, the scrumptious choley they cook, the beautiful way in which they cook their chicken, the makki ki roti and the sarson ka saag of course. More than the food, they are known for the generosity they extend with the food, the langars, with the belief that food is meant for everyone, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs.

Punjab, oh, if anyone were to ask me, Punjab is a riot, full of colours, and bhangra, and generous, kind souls, and delicious food, green fields, lots of sunshine, big houses, giggly girls, outspoken men, but a good place, overall a good place.

So I liked Udta Punjab- it swooped in and destroyed the Punjab of the popular imagination and replaced it with a much grueling reality, which hasn’t really been done properly before. We have Amrish Puri romanticizing Punjab as ‘home’ which is, although ever so humble, irreplaceable and Shah Rukh Khan coming in and sweeping away the bride in the mustard fields of dear Punjab in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. Skip that, we have two of the actors in Udta Punjab, Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan, who when last worked in a movie together glorified the very stereotype we just spoke about.

The overbearing, kind-hearted, all-knowing patriarch who gives the way for love, giggly, supportive relatives who like to stuff guests with food, colorful clothes and bhangra sequences, the beat of the dhol which sets everyone in action- Punjab for beginners.

But I loved it how Udta Punjab brought about a new Punjab in the popular imagination, the Punjab of drugs. Corrupt policemen, dirty politicians who’d do anything to win elections, youth wasting away in syringes lying in abandoned fields, girls being forced to go on drugs, families which coalesce and support the men in their family to keep a girl locked up rape her turn by turn.

The people of Punjab here were cunning and sly, not loudmouthed and outspoken.

The picture painted was the opposite of serene; in fact, the only way Alia Bhatt could figure having some peace in her life was through staring at the board of Goa through her window and imagine diving into the ocean.

And the food? Udta Punjab broke all notions about Punjab’s food when they showed Alia Bhatt hungrily gnawing at the leftover chicken bone her captor left lying around.

Although I did feel that Abhishek Chaubey could have depicted the drug problem as a more generalized phenomenon, affecting people of Balli’s age, as opposed to concentrating on individual stories, for the problem affects people at large. It is a sociological ill, not an individual one, and hence, would have been much more appealing.

And yet I am happy to see a new Punjab, away from the Punjab of the Popular imagination, for we must know, and all the four actors’ performances show it as well as it could.

My God

I’ve heard people talk of God

In the great blue sky and sitting in our souls

In the sun and the river

And always, always in the food we have

Serve him, they say, serve the God

And he will be there for you

He will stand by you, and help you

And bless you and make you prosper

And rich

And healthy

And shower you with all that you could need

For you are his child

But you serve him

And you serve him well

You do as per his will

And his purpose

The purpose

He made for generations of humans

For we are all his children

And we are meant to seek his guidance

And he asks us

To abide by his good

And his bad

And your duty, as bid

So shine the light

Take the torch

Enlighten the ignorant

And fulfill the purpose

For it is the will of God

The God who knows all

And Judges all

And creates all

And that is God, they say

That is your God, they say

That is everyone’s God, they say

 

But I feel it in my heart

A different God

I feel it in my veins

In my morning thoughts

When I live a new day

I feel my God

In the love that I bear

For the beauty around

In the people I choose to love

In the people I’m born to love

In the art that I love

The words that spring from love

In the music that moves me

And the pictures that hold me

In rapture, of its creation

And so I seek my God

In the art that I make

In the words that I make

In the tragedies of life

In death’s unflinching gaze

I find my God

In the security of family

In the eyes of that boy

In the desire of my own heart

Which seeks to do some good

This is my God

This, right here, is my God.

 

 

The Magic of Harry Potter: A Writing Workshop

PDF The Magic of Harry Potter Literature and Writing Workshop

The Magic of Harry Potter: A Literature and Writing Workshop

 Your Hogwarts letter has arrived.

A series of ten workshops in which we study a curated list of different themes and nuances in Harry Potter, followed by creative writing workshops- delivered by literary rockstars.

You’ve heard them at literary festivals, you’ve read their articles, and you’ve seen how their books become bestsellers- but did you ever imagine you could study Harry Potter from them? Did you think you could learn how to write from them?

Read on to understand our workshops.

What | A month long book and literature workshop, where twice a week we will discuss the nuances and themes, right from the universal themes like death, love and morality in the books, to various pointed discussions about specific characters. We will follow it up with a creative writing workshop with esteemed authors. The event is targeted at budding writers, literature junkies and Harry Potter fans, who want to improve their writing skills. On the last day, there will be a Yule Ball-styled after-party.

Where | Antisocial, Hauz Khas Village

When | 6th July-6th August, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 6-8 pm

Total Sessions | 10

Duration | 2 hours each

Total Course Hours | 20 hours

Workshop Curators and Facilitators | Srishti Chaudhary and Shreya Kalra

Workshop fee | Rs. 3500

 Teaching Mode | Handouts of critical material, a writing activity/assignment in every class, Group activities and debates in class (sorting people into houses in first class), Power Point Presentations, Video Clips

 Guest Speakers

  • Gurcharan Das- Author of the international bestsellers India Unbound and The Difficulty of Being Good, intellectual, public commentator,former CEO of Proctor & Gamble India, and a Harvard University graduate. He is a regular columnist for six Indian national dailies, and periodically writes for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and
  • Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan- Author of You Are Here, The Life and Times of Layla the Ordinary and Confessions of a Listmaniac, and writer of the ultra-cool blog http://www.compulsiveconfessions.com, Meeankshi’s books have been published by Penguin and Scholastic and she shuttles between Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Sanjoy Roy- Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, Sanjoy Roy is the man responsible for the Jaipur Literature Festival, one of the biggest literary feasts in the world. His company, under his guidance and mentorship, also organize other festivals related to the arts, across India and abroad.
  • Mihir S. Sharma- Opinion editor of the Business Standard, Mihir Sharma is an economist and political scientist and the author of Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy.
  • Parul Tyagi- Author of Hurry Om Hari and Love Will Find A Way, and an active blogger and short story writer.

Goody Bag | Each participant will receive a goody bag at the end of the workshop, which will include a custom-made wand.

Course Schedule

Each session will have a creative writing skills discussion and assignment relating to

the relevant theme.

July 6, Wednesday

The Sorting Hat Ceremony

The Boy Who Lived: The Universal Appeal of Harry Potter- Magic, Reason and Reality

Writing workshop: Introducing universal themes, and Creating the Setting 

July 9, Saturday

Friendship in Harry Potter: “Then you should have died for your friends, as we would have for you!” The Trio and the Marauders- Life and Beyond

Writing Workshop: Friends as plot devices who take the story forward

July 13, Wednesday | Sanjoy Roy

On the Power of Literature and it’s Future Scope in India

Does Reading Harry Potter Make Us Better People?: Ethics and Morality in Harry Potter

Writing Workshop: The “Message” of a Story: Should we begin a story like that?

July 16, Saturday | Parul Tyagi

Love, A Magic Like No Other: Dissecting Love in Harry Potter

Writing Workshop: Love as a central theme to most art

July 20, Wednesday

Albus Dumbledore: The Figure of the Mentor

Writing Workshop: The Figure of the Mentor as a Leading Force of a Story

July 23, Saturday | Meenakashi Reddy Madhavan

A Certain Kind of Feminism: The Contribution and Character of Hermione Granger

Writing Workshop: Creating strong female characters

July 27, Wednesday

The Harry Potter Brand: A Cinematic Journey

Writing Workshop: The movie versus book debate- The Issue of the Adaptation

July 30, Saturday | Gurcharan Das

Learn How to Write from Gurcharan Das

Fan Fiction, Pottermore, and Do We Want an Eighth Harry Potter?

August 3, Wednesday

“Death is nothing but the next great adventure”: Death in Harry Potter

Writing Workshop: Death in Literature, and People’s Response to it

August 6, Saturday

Is It Time to Criticize Harry Potter? Problems Critics Have

The Weighing of the Wands

Hogwarts Diploma Distribution

The Yule Ball

 

CONTACT:

Srishti Chaudhary: +919818889031, srishti.chaudhary2@gmail.com

Shreya Kalra: +91 9910652523, shreya.kalra19@gmail.com

 

 

The Jungle Book: So What Makes You As You Are?

I watched The Jungle Book, and as is my habit, went on to read its reviews. Personally, I found the movie to be very interesting, but for its original story that hails from Rudyard Kipling, not because this particular adaptation was so great. The 3D effects were spectacular, but I was a bit surprised to note the lack of humor in the movie- I certainly felt that there was a lot more scope for a few jokes. Compared to the other animated greats like Tangled, How To Train Your Dragon, and The Incredibles, the Jungle Book fails quite sadly.

Of course, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book has been read, understood and interpreted widely in terms of postcolonial theory and imperialism, for Kipling was the unfortunate author of the poem The White Man’s Burden. But the aspect of the story that I found much more captivating were the results of the nature and nurture effects, which goes back to the old argument concerning the development and growth of any being- what is more influential, the genes or the environment?

In the figure of Mowgli, the debate is personified quite literally. Left in the jungle at a very tiny age when his father is killed by the tiger Shere Khan, Mowgli is almost adopted by the panther Bagheera and from then on, raised by a pack of wolves, and called a ‘man cub’. But Shere khan is determined to hunt Mowgli down and finish him off, for he is sure that the ‘man cub’ will grow up to be a man and be the natural enemy of animals as all humans are, for he believes that the true nature of a man cannot be taken away from him.

Shere Khan has a point-Mowgli might have been raised amongst wolves but he struggles to be one like them, lagging behind as his brother wolves sprint on and the wolf elders try again and again to teach him how to live and behave like a wolf. He is constantly reprimanded for using his ‘tricks’- using to his advantage his separated fingers and agile grip to move around and operate stuff that four- legged mammals possibly could not. He is regarded warily by everyone in the jungle, for quite obviously, he walks on twos instead of fours.

But on the other hand, Mowgli is more a creature of the jungle than he was ever of the human world- he speaks the language of the wolves, the panther, the bear, the tiger and the king of the Bander-log. He runs and climbs faster than any human is probably capable of, having been raised among animals. He’s uncannily adept at picking fruits, berries and honey off heights. But more importantly, he identifies himself with the world of the jungle, rather than the world of the humans, and so, is dismayed when he realizes that he will have to go to the human village in order to survive the menace of Shere Khan.

This, right here was, nature versus nurture, but with convincing arguments for both sides- this embodiment of the debate is precisely why I find Mowgli so fascinating.

Let’s go back to our general daily life to understand what can be regarded as a more influential factor. For Abhishek Bachhan, while having given a couple of stellar performances in Guru and Yuva, could not be said to have possessed the greatness and the larger-than-life aura of his father Amitabh Bachhan? Rahul Gandhi, with generations of political blood behind him, hasn’t really displayed the political cunning and ambition that was expected of him. Sunil Gavaskar, one of the greatest cricketers in the world, never could bring his son even close to the success in the cricketing world that he himself had achieved. These are the examples which not only had great, professional genes, but also bustling environs where their skills could flourish.

To the contrary, we have countless examples which defy odds- Shah Rukh Khan did not have the acting lineage and business acumen that many of his contemporaries did but yet he went on to become India’s star. We are all aware of Modi’s chaiwallah story, how he became the prime minister of the world’s largest democracy from being a mere chaiwallah at one point of time. J.K. Rowling’s is another rags to riches story, where she went on to write the world’s most popular and highest selling book series, while living on the state’s allowance, being as poor as one can be without being homeless, with a child to take care of? It was certainly not the conducive environment that resulted in their dazzling success- then were their parents hidden geniuses that managed to pass on their abilities? Perhaps not- perhaps there are other factors that are in play. Yet it cannot be denied that talent can rise in the unlikeliest of places.

Many years back, Virginia Woolf wrote of Shakespeare’s sister- a sister that he never had. She wrote about his hypothetical sister, who might have had Shakespeare’s genius, but would have died anonymous and unknown because her talents would never be allowed to flourish and develop in a world so stifling to women. She wrote that if a woman is to write, she must have a room of her own and adequate money that would provide her with the comfort to write. A room of her own, she said- the private space free of anybody to introspect and write.

Psychology partly made the answer for me, if not fully. From what I understood, the biological genes set the extreme limits, but the human will and determination is free to exercise within those limits. With a healthy and happy environment, the children do have higher odds of leading more satisfied lives. We cannot possibly overreach our genes, but the limits do give our environments enough scope to lead lives as we would. For not everybody had the comforts of a private room, yet great writing is known to have come up from the messiest of places. For people are known to have survived on lonely islands, swum great lengths and eaten fellow human beings if the time called for it- yet they couldn’t escape the confines of their own biology.

This is precisely where Mowgli becomes so relevant- Mowgli, as a human being, cannot help but use his fingers and limbs because he simply can. But he can easily climb trees and run extremely fast because he had been taught so; he can speak the language because he grew up conversing the language. In the end, he is the most content in the ‘Mowgli way’, his own way of living comprising a mix of both human and animal behaviors. And that is what we must strive for- limited as we are by our own generational advantages and disadvantages while becoming more and more like our parents every passing year, we can always learn from the past and forge a new to the future,  to be set as an example by others.

Fleeting Thoughts on Kapoor and Sons (Since 1921)

I saw Kapoor and Sons over the weekend and was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually a really heartwarming and insightful movie (I also watched Ki and Ka over the weekend but more on that in the next post). Much had been spoken about Rishi Kapoor’s makeup which was apparently done by the same people who did Brad Pitt’s in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and it really was quite brilliant.

I didn’t find Alia Bhatt’s role to be very significant, so I won’t be mentioning her much; Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan were serious eye candy, and it’s worth going to the theatre just for them. In fact, I had a dream last night starring a very good looking guy bearing a striking resemblance to Fawad Khan. Ratna Pathak and Rajat Gupta were their usual genius selves, and everybody all together came out to form a very fun group.

It is the story of the Kapoor family when the dadu, Rishi Kapoor gets a heart attack, so Fawad Khan and Sidharth return from London and New Jersey respectively to the small town of Coonor in Kerala. Old family banter ensues as we observe a family that doesn’t seem very different than ours, and slowly secrets unfurl.

  1. The Portrayal of Family: All families fight. Even the ones containing two boys as good looking as Fawad and Sidharth. Nothing can change that. What you can change is your patience level- the movie helps us see ourselves in a critical light, and reminds us that it would all do us well to shut up once in a while and do things for the other person.
  1. The film sadly comes off as giving the message that you’ve got to love your family no matter what- that’s a bit problematic. By idolizing the unit of family to that extent, the movie sweeps over the murkier aspects of the individuals. Like seriously, the fact that Rajat Gupta had been cheating on Ratna Pathak for a long, long time is not okay, and definitely not something to be forgiven. It should have been shown that it is okay to walk out of a family as well, if the family cannot treat you right.
  1. But hey, they do show that all family members make well-meaning mistakes, that their intention was never to hurt, and intentions, however misguided, do count.
  1. The ending was remarkably good- there is no happy ending, and it isn’t shown as if anything is solved or sorted. There is, however, a step towards acceptance.
  1. In this film, as is done in many others, death is used. In art, the use of death to make people realize, to make them regret, to bring them together, to make them forgive- it is an easy way out. To do all this over a passage of time because you just come to accept a person, that is the more difficult path.

All in all, a very fun watch which raises enough larger questions on the nature of this life. I couldn’t stop crying in the second half; S. couldn’t stop laughing. At me, not at the movie.

You might also be interested in reading my thoughts on the movie Masaan.

Picture source: Koimoi.com

Simal Trail: These Gorgeous Pictures of Simal Trees Spotted all Over Delhi Will Make Your Heart Swoon

These days, I consider myself a safety hazard while driving- all because Simal trees line Delhi’s wide avenues, and I just cannot look away!

Simal Tree, or the Silk Cotton or Red Cotton tree, are native to our subcontinent and bloom and sprout flowers beginning the end of winter in January. But sadly, they shed too just as quickly- the still leafless tree in the winter and spring months loses all these gorgeous flowers by the end of March, and you will often find them lying on car bonnets and adorning the streets.

They are eye-poppingly red and I for one cannot get enough of them!

 

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The Simal and the Sun

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Frosty Reds

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Ready, Set, Simal

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Cherry pop

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Like Magic

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Look at the Reds!

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Red Velvet

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Breath of Fresh Air

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Come Alive

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Over here, please

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Like a Painting

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Red Devil

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Gorgeousness

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Leafless, Flowerful

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Why Anushka Sharma’s Revenge in NH10 is Totally Believable

NH10, Anushka Sharma’s production debut, has a lot up its sleeve, if only you’d care to look- perhaps I can go so far as to say that it is one of the best Hindi thrillers in recent years. An urban Gurgaon couple, headed for a romantic getaway further up in Haryana, witness an honor killing and are chased by the killers, across the barren fields on a fateful night. As has been noted by critics, Navdeep Singh borrows generously from British horror thriller Eden Lake yet makes it his own-the urban-rural divide, the misogyny and patriarchy prevalent in urban and rural India, the social commentary weaved through and through. Yet one aspect of the movie that wasn’t completely embraced by the audience was Anushka Sharma returning to finish off her husband’s killers after running from them all night- surely, any life-fearing person would run to family and friends and seek help from police in the comfort of daylight? Wrong. In any other situation, I wouldn’t have believed that the wronged wife comes back to kill five men- except for this one.

  1. Girl had sass

Anushka Sharma, playing the character of Meera, has been depicted as a very brave character right from the beginning. Returning late from a party one evening, she makes a lurch and escapes when faced with an extremely dangerous situation, when most of us would have been paralyzed by fear. At her office meeting when a male colleague remarks that she might be getting undue appreciation in lieu of being a woman, she calmly gives a fitting reply. While stuck in the fields and running for their lives, Meera never loses hope, not even when her husband is injured and she has to run not only to save herself but also to save her husband whose condition may have been getting worse by the minute. A brilliant scene shows her successfully outstripping Satbir and the gang for some time at least by climbing on top of a hill, and when they notice her there, she actually throws stones down at them, while hurling abuses!

 

  1. In a Volatile State

 The movie not only presents bad omens and builds up the storm for the context, it also does the same for Meera: she is already jolted into a volatile state when attacked while returning alone from her party. From then on, she has rising paranoia and is touchy, always ready for defense- the couple also get a gun license and purchase a gun after the first attack. No doubt that the presence of a gun always keeps you on the edge, ready to spring into action. It was her uneasiness that kicked her survival instincts into action, and therefore the first attack which created this uneasiness, is a genius addition to the story.

 

  1. Exceptional Survival Instincts

 No, Meera was not the one to cow down- in every instance of the movie, she has been shown to have killer survival instincts. In the first attack as she is cornered with two men on a bike in the front and a car on the back who then break her window, she makes a brilliant move, instantly reversing and speeding ahead. She stabs the senior police officer in the eye after realizing he too was harm in one swift move. At sarpanch Ammaji’s house when getting beaten by Ammaji, she again shows brilliant survival by grabbing the child by the neck and threatening to throw him in the well if they don’t leave her.

 

  1. No Exaggerated Killing

 She doesn’t kill any of the killers in a gory manner- except the last one, Satbir, who was already injured and not exactly a threat at the moment. She runs down most of the other killers, and her stabbing of the senior police officer too was quite natural.

 

  1. Nothing to Lose

 As the night progressed, she slowly became a woman with nothing to lose. Everything she had held dear in the world, her husband, was dead, killed in a horrible way by Satbir and his gang; she was prepared to stake whatever was left to her. She became a woman with nothing to lose and that fact empowered her.

 

  1. The Big Trigger

 What triggered her rage was not that they had killed her husband; no it was when she noticed the writing on the wall that she gave a scream of horror. The killers had written in blood, ‘raand saala’ on the wall- they had not only killed him but also defaced his body and the circumstances of his death. Meera couldn’t stand it, and that was what set her off.

One of the best female characters, Anushka Sharma has definitely paved the way for more female leads in this genre.