Sunday, January 13, 2019

Uri (The Surgical Strike) Mini Movie Review



I don't believe in jingoism. Which is why I wasn't sure whether I wanted to watch 'Uri : The Surgical Strike'. The thought of watching yet another variant of 'Let's go kill some Pakistanis', a film which could possibly be politically motivated, manipulative, didn't excite me. I expected the movie to have all the subtlety of Mjolnir (Thor's hammer).

I'm so glad I was wrong.

Rating 7/10.

Vicky Kaushal is a leader in the Special Forces, comes from a fauji family, and even his brother-in-law (sister's husband), Mohit Raina, (remember him from the serial Mahadev?) serves with him. Vicky's forte is planning (and executing) counterstrikes. We get a glimpse of his skillset when he carries out a mission in Manipur, in response to a terrorist attack on an army convoy. Family circumstances compel him to move to a desk job, as his mother, Swaroop Sampat, has Alzheimer's and he wants to spend some time with her before her memory fades away completely. The top brass is supportive and a nurse, Yami Gautam, is provided to help care for her. Then the attack on Uri happens. And a decision is taken to execute a surgical strike.

I loved the way they didn't make the film all about chest-thumping, Indian flag waving, anti-Pakistan rhetoric. I liked the way humour was brought in, on several instances (esp a junior official in Indian intelligence, who develops Garuda). I loved the variety of emotions displayed through the movie - a young girl, yelling even through her tears, her father's battalion's war cry. An officer worried about his mother. A quiet Air Force officer, Kirti Kulhari, biding her time on another desk job.

But, most of all, I loved Vicky Kaushal. You simply can't take your eyes off him (is it too much to hope that our fake film awards recognize this performance?). In a fabulous understated performance, his usually impassive face shows only the barest change, emotion required, but it's enough. And he's very believable in his role, fantastic in the action sequences. I loved him in Raazi, even enjoyed his acting in Manmarziyaan and loved him here too !

I wish there was more shown of the strategy / planning, yes, all of it can't be true / so simple, yes, filmy drama has been infused in adequate doses - but it still works, despite it's flaws. And special mention for the soundtrack (Shashwat Sachdev) !

Kudos to the supporting cast - Mohit, Yami, Kirti, Manasi Parikh Gohil (Vicky's sister), Dhairya Karwa, Paresh Rawal, Rajit Kapoor - and most of all to debutant Aditya Dhar, who has written and directed this film.

I don't believe in jingoism. But stand proudly and sing the national anthem everytime it's played in cinemas. Not for the mess our country is in or the grubby, greedy politicians and bureaucrats (previously or currently in charge), mostly hell bent on robbing, dividing us. But I do it out of respect for our freedom fighters and armed forces, and their dream of what India could be. Uri, for all it's flaws, reminded me of that dream once again. To all my friends who've served, this one's for you !

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Bumblebee Mini Movie Review



Bumblebee, the prequel to the Transformers series (an entire collection based on toys created by Hasbro btw), tells the story of how / why the robots that convert into machines got on Earth. It all began with a cute, yellow VW Beetle. And cute, I guess, is the best one word description of the first 90 or so minutes of it's 154 minute running length. The other words could be cliched, predictable. But it somehow, possibly with the aid of a great 80's soundtrack, finds a way to keep you hooked.

Hailee Steinfeld, the other key protagonist, has her own story. A father who died, a family (a permanently irritated mom, irritatingly sweet / dumb stepfather and younger brother) that doesn't really seem to care. She's stuck in a fairground job that's going nowhere and is miles away from the swish set she'd love to be a part of. And that's when the Beetle and Hailee Steinfeld discover each other, forming a bond that is strong, engaging and, at times, even funny. Jorge Lendeborg Jr is her neighbour, trying quite hard to be her friend. And John Cena is the big, tough, distrustful military guy who wants to blow all robots to smithereens.

Towards the end, though, it becomes, for want of a better word, a Hindi film. Impossible stuff happens. Repeatedly. Kids transform into superheroes (pun intended). And the US Military is shown in a very unflattering light, still obsessed with the Cold War, amongst other gaffes (in a rather mean, unnecessary side dialogue, one of the Decepticons - the evil robots - addresses another one as 'Comrade').

So, cute, predictable, perfectly suited for young teens (especially those who adore Hailee) and perhaps a one time watch for adult audiences.

Rating : 6/10

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Mule Mini Movie Review



One of the best things about this movie is the new light you see Clint Eastwood in. You've become so used to see him be a cussed, grouchy senior, it's actually fun, especially in the opening few minutes, to see him laughing, chatting, joking, dancing with his peers. However, when faced with a downturn in the business, faced with the prospect of letting down his beloved grand-daughter (Taissa Farmiga, I'd liked her in At Middleton, along with big sis Vera, who's, of course, brilliant in Up In The Air) he turns into a drug mule. Someone who carries drugs for the cartel from one place to another. And becomes hugely successful. So successful that he gets to meet cartel head honcho Andy Garcia but also comes under the radar of DEA agents Bradley Cooper and Michael Pena, along with their boss Laurence Fishburne.

How all this, along with solving the problems of his family including a wife, Dianne Wiest (remember her spunky turn in The Birdcage?), who hates him and daughter, Alison Eastwood (his feisty real life daughter), who won't speak with him or attend a party if he's there, is the story of the second half.

I liked the way the film showed how easy it is to get sucked into becoming a drug mule. The works easy, the money's great and if you don't get caught (or until you do), it seems perfect. We see a number of young kids get entrapped this way, especially when they go for holidays to countries known for drug production. And while loving the slow, languorous pace and the fine performances of all concerned, I found the final act, the last third, so to speak, a bit too tame, too easy. Can't imagine that happening in real life (and this movie is inspired by a true story). That brought the overall rating down a bit, else it's good for a chuckle or two, or a relaxed evening watch.

Rating : 6/10

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Mary Poppins Returns Mini Movie Review



Rating 5/10

Confession - I've seen but don't remember too much of the original Mary Poppins.

I get, like the overall message. How we lose our innocence, wonder, curiousity and sense of anything is possible, as we age, grow from being a child to becoming an adult. Am not sure the chosen style of storytelling is the best way to deliver it, especially in today's era.

Mary Poppins (played by Emily Blunt), is a super nanny. For some reason she's connected to this particular family, had tended to the siblings Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer when they were kids and now arrives when trouble is brewing in their life. Ben's lost his wife, isn't doing too well financially (it's the time of the Great Slump), his house is about to get repossessed by evil bankers (headed by Colin Firth) and his 3 adorable kids are having to mature, become worldly way too soon due to their circumstances. Cue the return of Mary Poppins and soon the children are dancing, singing and believing in the impossible once again. The other characters include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep (in little more than a cameo).

Emily Blunt is incandescent, am a huge fan and she didn't disappoint. The kids are lovely, everything you'd want them to be. But the rest of the movie meanders. Too much song, too much dance and too little story. I love The Sound of Music, has to be one of my, if not THE, all time favourites, so it's not that I'm against musicals but (I was mentally comparing) in Sound of Music, almost every song advanced / was critical to the story. Here, there were many instances of song for song's sake. And the story was too simplistic, highly predictable.

Probably a one time watch if you're a fan of the actor or the genre. And definitely worth showing the young ones (upto early teens) - perhaps kids nowadays age too fast and this could be an antidote.

KGF Mini Movie Review



Rating 8 / 10

I didn't have time to watch when it released and wasn't sure about making the effort to go to the cinema vs waiting for it to come on TV.

Boy, am I glad I did! This movie is best enjoyed in the theatre.

The story is implausible, from a macro perspective there is nothing new, yet it is engaging. And it unfolds at a breathless pace- there isn't a moment's rest, something happening on the screen literally every minute and there are enough twists and turns, revelations to keep you invested in the big screen (don't think anyone around me looked at their mobile phones through the film).

Yash is a fatherless child, brought up by his feisty mom, who wants to instil bravery, fearlessness in her son and makes him promise to her, just before her death, that he will become rich and famous one day. His journey takes him to Bombay, begins working for a don and then makes a name for himself. His journey then takes him to Bangalore, where he meets his love interest (Srinidhi Shetty, who plays a spoilt PYT with elan). And then, finally, he arrives at Kolar Gold Fields.

What keeps it interesting is the editing (frequent cuts back and forth, the story being told as a flashback, and even some future snippets - from Part 2), the action sequences (frequent slow mo, brutal, kept simple, and some nice touches of humour), awesome visuals (I think South Indian directors / camerapersons are ahead of their Hindi counterparts in this aspect of their craft) and the sequential introduction of villains. As a kid, Yash believes the Don he works for is the most powerful man in Mumbai. But then one day he sees him saluting someone else. And then, when that journey takes him to Bangalore, he realises there are even bigger fish (or crocodiles), and that he still doesn't have the big picture. Also, quite interestingly, they don't show songs in full, just a couple of minutes at a time, so keeps the engagement going, not letting the story or the tension flag. There are shades of Mr Natwarlal (the mining story), Deewar (Yash as a kid is a shoe shine boy) and the superhero persona of Amitabh Bachchan from his earlier action movies and it's all done well.

Hadn't seen any of Yash's previous films but now want to. His presence, demeanour is spot on. And, given my body shape, am glad his physique isn't about obscene muscles but he's just well built with a family pack !

Monday, December 03, 2018

Mini Movie Review of Le Jeu (Nothing To Hide)




Just how well do you really know your best friends, the one's you've known since third grade. Or your own spouse?

A group of middle-aged friends, who've known each other from school, and their spouses, meet for dinner during a lunar eclipse, and decide to play a game.

All mobile phones are placed in the centre, and every call or text is shared with the group and answered or read collectively. That is, no secrets.

That's the fascinating premise of this Netflix French movie, a remake of an Italian film (Perfetti Sconosciuti).

And boy, does it make you think. The twists and turns come thick and fast, catching you by surprise more than once. It's surprising how much can be revealed just through calls and texts in one night but the movie never feels contrived, thanks to the excellent execution (the camera never lets you feel the entire movie is set in one flat) and brilliant performances (Berenice and Stephane were the best, for me).


Ritu's rating is 8/10, mine is 9/10

Available only on Netflix, be ready for something different !

Nothing to Hide
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7489816/

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Why, for me, India is still the best



Hello, Priya Ramani

Just wanted to respond to your opinion piece in LiveMint (if you haven't read it, click here) which talks about leaving India for a better life

A little bit about me - have lived abroad for approx 11 years, travel very frequently (over 60 countries, been to all 7 continents) + and my son has just moved to London to study (had gone for a couple of weeks to settle him in, so some experiences are fresh in my mind). I'd returned to India in 2006 and, after stints in Gurgaon, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai, my home has been in Pune last few years

Also, a disclaimer - all that I say, as in your article, applies only to people with means.It most definitely doesn't apply to our impoverished millions, those without access to sanitation, shelter and food / water.

Now - firstly, the areas I agree with you. Intolerance is increasing. It has been for the last 10-15 years, and with the spread of social media, has spiked to unforeseen levels, the safety and relative anonymity of various platforms - Twitter, WhatsApp - making people indulge in name calling at the drop of a hat. I completely understand what you mean about living in a bubble - we live in a great one in Pune and it takes a lot to make me venture out. Also, our politicians and bureaucracy has completely failed us, over the last few decades - driven by personal aggrandizement and vested interests, rather than the greater good.

So, why do I still feel India is the best place to be for Indians with means ?

Intolerance - unfortunately, India isn't the only place to be afflicted with this malaise - it's on the rise all over, and I don't just mean in Trumpistan. The Far Right movement has been increasing in Europe too (read this article in Time about Italy, Germany, France, Hungary and even Sweden) and is always rearing it's head in Australia as well. Brexit's immediate aftermath was a 30% increase in hate crimes in the UK (a BBC report based on Home Office statistics - the biggest increase, btw, since they began to record these numbers). Idyllic Brazil just voted in anti-immigration right winger as President too. As history has repeatedly shown us, the slightest of economic downturns leads to a rise in xenophobia. Recent events conclusively demonstrate that we, the human race, hasn't improved on this front despite all our other advances.

Bubble - don't people live in bubbles everywhere ? I remember walking around in Louisville, Kentucky, USA a couple of decades ago and it was startling how there was a complete ghetto like feel to one part of the town, where people of a certain skin colour lived and a completely different feel (with the manicured lawns, pretty sidewalks and white fences that Hollywood shows us) just across the street where people of a different skin colour lived. All cities have dodgy areas too - Los Angeles isn't all Pretty Woman's Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills and a neighbour recently scolded her daughter's fiancee for walking around in Queens at night, saying he was going to get mugged and he should stick to Manhattan. I remember, even in London, we lived in a nice, gated community - that spared us from the vandalism, graffiti and break-ins that afflicted neighbouring streets.

Also, one point you don't mention at all is racism. Not saying that Indian's are not racist (or casteist) but have found other countries no better. Encountered multiple instances for self + numerous incidents for friends.

Now, the points where I feel India scores over the West

Service levels - if you want a cable connection, in India you can get one in a day. In Holland, in 2005, it took 3 weeks to merely activate a dormant one (was renting, and my landlord hadn't used his connection for a while) and no amount of pleading (my kids were arriving in a week) or offering to pay more led to even a day's reduction in the lead time. We arrived in Gurgaon just a year later and sure enough, it took just a day to get TV and internet (there were just 2 providers in Holland and the lead time there was 2 weeks). My son is still struggling to open a bank account in UK - the documents they want and the format provided by his Uni vary just a little and no, you can't combine document one with document two - the system doesn't allow it and common sense be damned. Meeting bank officials is out of the question as a) they open student accounts exclusively online b) even the officials we did meet informally said their hands were tied. Can you imagine this happening in India ? Here you can get a doctor to visit you, if you are unwell. There you have to make an appointment and it's highly possible, has happened to us, that if you have a cold you may get asked to visit after 2 weeks.

Warmth - Am sure there is a study somewhere that links human warmth with the quantum of sunshine they receive (and if there isn't, there should be) - but that's what I missed the most while I was abroad and enjoy the most while I'm here. In Hindi, I would say 'wahan ke log rookhe hain'. Here, I find, overall, there is more warmth and love. The ability to just drop in to a neighbour's place, unannounced. The random chats on a train ride from Pune to Mumbai. The helpfulness of strangers. Imagine you're 5 bucks short of your taxi fare - where would you rather be, in India or the West ?

Finally, being an eternal optimist, what gives me greatest hope for my country is the spread of the internet, and consequently of knowledge, thanks to the lowest data rates anywhere in the world (obviously doesn't include the countries where it's free). I feel the era of e-everything will help dramatically shake off the barriers of the physical infrastructures that have led to many of the ills that plague us. I envision a not so distant future where kids even in the remotest of locations will get access to free education via their mobiles, medical diagnosis will happen swiftly via video calls and for crimes, e-FIRs will be lodged instantly. Fingers crossed, but if e-courts happen (ie trials, at least of lower courts, begin to happen via the internet) + our politicians / bureaucrats are taken to task via the spread of data /
information for failures to fulfil their duties, then our future is truly bright.

I also think my ideal life, going ahead, once my daughter also leaves for college + we can find a solution for my sister (who is handicapped and in our care), would involve a 3 month in, 3 month out kind of format. Probably in places like Sri Lanka, Bali, Brazil, where I can be comfortable in my brown skin and maybe, being a sun-worshipper, in Europe during the summer (the people there change with sunshine).

BTW - wonder how do you / anyone know that 17 million Indians left the country last year, especially as we no longer fill any forms while going out or coming in ? Wouldn't any number also include tourists ?

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Delhi Punjabi Party & #MeToo



(This is a highly fictionalized, irreverent account of a party we, my wife and I, flew in to attend in Delhi, a couple’s silver jubilee anniversary. The trip coincided with the onslaught of #MeToo revelations on Twitter and so the conversation was dominated by that topic, in an inimitable Delhi way. Just sharing snippets. User discretion advised – my wife and daughter enjoyed reading it but for those who take offence easily best not to read further)

Chapter 1 : Setting The Scene

Timeline : Number of accusers : MJAkbar 3, Suhel Seth 1, Bollywood 3 (one producer, one casting director and one director)


We arrive at their place. My wife’s wearing what she wore at our first cousin’s wedding the previous year. When I suggest she may be a tad overdressed she rolls her eyes in exasperation.

Our friends had sent their car to pick us up. We were staying in Gurgaon, they had just moved from Gurgaon to some swanky new pad in Delhi, overlooking the golf course. He was scrawny, diminutive and a Bengali, nerdy, techie types while she was sizzling, fiery, full-blooded Punjabi, taller than him by about 6 inches, chewed and spat out 4 men before breakfast and ran a boutique financial investment firm. They had moved to Delhi to be closer to her work, his office was still Gurgaon. Just like N D Tiwari, and more recently Anoop Jalota, had given hope to millions of Indian men, our BT (Bong Techie) friend had given hope to many in our circle, when he got married to FHP (Fiery, Hot Punjabi) – agar uska kuch ho sakta hai, to hum bhi umeed laga sakte hain (if something can happen to him, we shouldn’t lose hope).

When I had messaged her, asking for their new address, she called back immediately.
“Apurv, what’s your address ? I’ll send my car over”
“(putting it on speaker so that my wife can hear too) Hi FHP ! Nice to speak to you after ages ! How are you ? Just message me your address na, I’ll just take an Uber / Ola ?”
“Apurv – it’s Delhi – Uber / Ola aren’t safe ! Just tell me your address and I’ll send my driver over”
(my wife’s gesticulating in the background – I told you it wasn’t safe and you never listen to me – I don’t know how she enacted it but I got it, loud and clear. The same wife who’s movies I never manage to get during Dumb Charades)
“Oho – I’ll take the metro and come”
“Apurv !!”
(my wife rolls her eyes in exasperation. I can sense FHP doing the same over the phone).

An hour later, her car had arrived. As we walked up to their flat, I realized eyes had been rolled at me thrice already. It was going to be that kind of a night. After the effusive greeting, I look over the crowd. 99.8% of the crowd was Punjabi (apart from his parents who were Bong), everyone was on their third or fifth (apart from his parents who were sipping nimbu pani). It was going to be that kind of a night.

***

“Bhaktawar, Apurv ke liye drink bana na ?”, FHP yelled across the room

Bhaktawar Singh, their fabled barman, who does all their parties over the last fifteen years. Legend has it he never forgets a drink he’s served you. Bhaktawar looks at me, from across the hall. It must have been 4 years since I attended a party at their place. He smiled a superior smile “Sir, single malt, lots of ice and Thums Up ?”. All the men and some of the women turn around to look at me, aghast. My wife, who drinks it the ‘approved’ way, with a solitary rock and a splash of water, slides her hand in mine. What, I never said she wasn’t supportive ?
***
Some of us are admiring the view of the golf course, while meditatively sipping our drinks. BT comes over and points out that it’s overlooking the 13th hole tee off and the 18th green. One of the women ask him if he plays.
“Yeah, yeah,” he responds nonchalantly, “and now I’m going to get serious !”, in a Tiger-Woods-better-watch-out tone !
“You know, I just went and saw the Ryder Cup”, I pipe in, slapping him jovially on the back
“Ryder Cup ???” BT looks at me quizzically ?

***

Chapter 2 : Hashtag MeToo makes it’s appearance

Timeline : Number of Accusers : MJA 7, Suhel 2, Journalists 4, Bollywood 5, Chetan Bhagat 1


“What do you think of this whole Hashtag MeToo, yeah ?”

Tall woman in short, maroon dress is talking to tall woman in short, red dress and tall woman in short, rust dress. Yes, 21 years of marriage does that to you. Helps you distinguish colours. Anyways, I perked up my ears, stopped paying any attention to the group I was standing, chatting with, and single-mindedly eavesdropped.

“I think it’s so sad, na ?” Red dress speaks out.
“What’s sad ?” FHP joins in
Rust dress “This MeToo thing – so sad that women had to go through all that and wait for so many years to speak up”
“Oh, no no, no no”, Red dress speaks again “I think it’s so sad the women didn’t do anything about it then and waited so long to speak up!”
“Totally, I don’t understand at all why they didn’t do anything about it then. I would have slapped them then and there”, FHP announces fiercely. The other women nod. She has. Rumour has it FHP has slapped 7 men. 3 she’s admitted to – one on a flight, one at office, one in a bar (apparently the outraged guy was wearing pink pants and took out a gun but slunk away when she glared at him).
“But what if the guy is your boss and you need the job?” Rust dress wasn’t about to give up.
“I think you owe it to womankind to just whack him so hard, he never tries this with anyone again !”
“Amen !” Red dress
“That’s what I tell my daughter” Rusty
“Bilkul” Maroon agrees “And if you couldn’t do anything about it then, for God’s sake keep quiet now. Show some dignity, na ?
Everyone clinks their glasses.
“You know, BT wanted to put up a sign outside the house”, FHP whispers conspiratorially, “saying ‘#MeToo doesn’t apply to this party’. But I told him it our neighbours may feel we aren’t sensitive to the movement”
“Oh no, we are, we are”
“Totally”
“Cheers !”

***

“He’s going to be the next guy named in #MeToo” is how I was introduced to Burgundy shirt. Open to the fourth button, his chest hair clearly visible, a photo of the curly haired (no, not Suhel) Sai Baba nestled amongst his curls. He shook hands with me and turned to his accuser.
“Arre nahin. My wife knows all about the stuff from 20 years ago. No problem even if they say something. My wife said ‘Main Hoon Na’, don’t worry”
“What if they are from 5 years ago ?”, the gent on his right questions.
“Right now they are happy. They’ll only speak twenty years later !! Then I’ll see what to do”. Everyone guffaws !
Someone furtively points out to me a woman dressed in fuchsia.
“She’s his mistress. His wife (points out another woman dressed in magenta) knows.”
“Oh”, I marvel at both being there at the same party.
“She (the mistress) works for his friend’s company, in marketing. Travels with him for all of his business trips. Even though she has no connection with his work. And on weekends, he’s fully devoted to his wife, doesn’t even look at his phone. Everyone’s happy, including the mistress’ husband (pointing out a tired looking, paunchy, balding guy who’s standing by himself in a corner, drinking).”
“Oh”, I marvel at the arrangement
Just then Study In Scarlett walks over and proceeds to shake hands with some of the guys in our circle (including me) and hug some of the others. But when she gets to Burgundy Shirt, he steps back just as she’s about to hug him and does a polite Namaste. She’s clearly taken aback.
“What’s the matter, BS?”
“Boss, now with Hashtag MeToo, that’s all I’m going to do with all women. Zamana kharab hai, don’t know who ends up complaining”
“What the hell is wrong with you, BS !”
They hug

***

Chapter 3 : MeToo Unplugged

Timeline : MJA 12. Suhel 5. Journalists now lead Bollywood 7 to 6. Ad agencies and corporate also appear on the scoreboard. Chetan Bhagat does a +1/-1 ie one new accuser but he apologises to a previous accuser in the fourth para of a Facebook post promoting his new book.


“But it’s so confusing now, you don’t know what to do anymore ?” says Man in Tight TShirt, placing his hands on the shoulder of Woman in Saree + a blouse that is two sizes smaller than the one Priyanka wore for Desi Girl.
“I mean, is it ok to touch, hug, kiss or not”, another guy, wearing a Bow Tie (the only one in the party)
“Yeah”, says a guy in a Hawaiian shirt, “and if I cracked a joke ten years ago, at office, everyone laughed then. How can someone turn around today and say it was sexist ? That’s cheating !”
This group comprises these three guys and Desi Girl, who has an exasperated air about her.
“Sexist is sexist”, she tells Hawaiian shirt, with a matronly air, while removing Tight TShirt’s hand from her shoulder. “Would you be comfortable saying the joke to your sister?”
“It’s all about consent” she tells Bow Tie. “Bring your hand forward”, she commands him. He nervously extends his hand. “Now, if I bring my hand forward too and take your hand”, she says as she reaches forward and grabs his hand, “then I’m fine shaking hands with you. Else I’m not! Simple !”
She pauses for a moment, eats a gol gappa, then yells – “Bhaiya – aap ko bola tha teekha zyada!”, waiting till she gets another one. Tight TShirt orders a drink refill from Bhaktawar before casually placing his hand on her shoulder again.
“And you also have to be careful where you place your hand”, she tells him, removing his hand again.
He now puts his hand around her waist “But what would be the fun in that ?”
She first moves forward, really close but then smoothly untangles herself, “It has to be fun for both, darling”, she says, while carelessly tapping his face.
Three expressions pass through Tight TShirt’s face, searching for a suitable repartee. But then, not finding one, he quickly takes a cube of ice, drops it in her blouse and before she can react, runs away.
She shrieks, yells a couple of Hindi abuses and begins chasing him while he yells “But I didn’t touch you !”.
The other two guys look at my shocked expression “I think they went to school together”, they shrug

***

Final Chapter

Timeline : NGOs have also made their appearance. Chetan has gone all guns blazing after another accuser, sharing screenshots of a private conversation, instantly dividing Twitterati. Three people are sacked and the first defamation case is filed.


Four women in various lengths of LBDs, from short to mini, are standing near the bar. I can hear them plainly, while getting a refill from Bhaktawar.

“All these women coming out with tales of molestation”
“So sad, na”
“Yes – no one has ever tried anything with me”
“I know, how boring, na ?”
“I mean, hum mein kya kami hai ?”
“Pehle we used to still get a little attention, now with #MeToo, bilkul khatam ho jayega”
“What happened to your gym guy?”
“Stopped since three months”
“And your guy in office, the cute one with specs who used to sit opposite your cubicle?”
“He used to ask me for coffee whenever he went to get one for himself. But now he’s stopped drinking coffee altogether after the office posted #MeToo guidelines”
“So boring !”
They all nod in vehement agreement
“You know what”, one of them perks up. “We should start a #WhyNotMeToo movement”
“Ooh, what a great idea !”
“I agree, I agree”
“Sign me up, Sister !”
They all clink glasses

***

It’s time for the cake cutting
BT and FHP come together and pose for photos, before kissing, cutting the cake, hugging and delicately feeding each other some cake.

FHP moves away, to organize some food and shortly all hell breaks loose. Tight T Shirt runs in and smears BT’s face with cake. Burgundy Shirt goes a step further and arranges a meeting between the two - the cake and the face. Study in Scarlett comes in, taking advantage of BT’s temporary blindness, and smears cake inside his shirt, opening a couple of buttons in the process. Maroon and Rust Dress appear and rip his shirt off entirely. Desi Girl walks in and rubs cake all over his chest, Hawaiian Shirt dunks his drink over him, Bow Tie pulls down his jeans.

I think more would’ve happened but FHP walks back in at that precise moment. Everyone freezes. Tight Tshirt takes a step towards her, with cake in hand but FHP locks eyes with him and glares fiercely, making him wilt away. Everyone moves away from BT, as he covers his bare torso with his hands, standing, smeared with cake, wearing Winnie The Pooh boxers, shrieking ‘MeToo, MeToo’ in his shrill voice as FHP looks on…

***

On the way back, I ask my wife how was the party ?
She shrugs her shoulder, looking out of the window
“Normal”, she said…

Movie Reviews Have Moved to my YouTube Channel



I will no longer be writing any movie reviews, having succumbed to the lure of the quicker, easier video reviews

Those are available on my YouTube Channel

One of my recent movie reviews, Badhai Ho posted here