#2 James Cameron – The Terminator

“Should I tell you about your father? Boy that’s a tough one! Will it affect your decision to send him here, knowing he is your father? A person could go crazy thinking about this.”

~ Sarah Connor (The Terminator)

I was a bit sad that I did not find any poster with Sarah and Kyle in it. I was expecting at least one poster with Sarah’s photo.

I watched Aliens yesterday and I made a comment that considering The Terminator came before Aliens, I did not find the visual effects of Aliens that interesting. I take my words back. Within two years, there was a giant leap in this matter. The visuals of Aliens must have been even tougher, yet they look much more credible and blending into the environment. Of course we need to consider the budget and the production houses that produced these two films, as The Terminator was produced by a relatively small company, there must have been budget restrains.

As a kid I always remember watching the second part on television and I loved watching Schwarzenegger as a good cyborg. When I watched the original Terminator for the first time (about 7 years ago), I wasn’t totally convinced with a soldier from the future fighting a machine. Now as I think about it, it makes so much sense.

Fun facts #1: James Cameron was ready to sell this script for one dollar with one condition that he gets to direct the film. Many leading production houses offered him a good sum but did not agree to his condition. Cameron did not have any commercial film under his name.

Fun fact #2: The terminator originally was supposed to be a character with a regular physic so that it could blend into the crowd. The role was offered to Lance Henriksen first and Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to play Kyle Reese.

The film belongs to either the science fiction genre or action genre. For me the parts which I actually remember are the small moments which the lead actors share together. Watching the film after about 30 years from its release, the novelty of the visual impact fades out but the powerful few lines are mesmerizing. That is what the writer director has done to the film.

A powerful aspect of the film, which is exposed in the second part is the dawn of the cyborg. How Skynet forms the concept of such a machine which leads to the disaster of mankind. The same mechanical arm detached from the terminator sent back in time, leads to the development of an entire generation of machines. So ultimately, the genesis of the whole series could be, a man willing to go into the past to spend a few hours with his love accepting that doing so would endanger the whole mankind. Are we considering a love story over here? Well, it is one way of looking at it!

Like they say about Citizen Kane, the greatest part of the film was that the film happened. We need to look outside what the film is and what it meant for Cameron and all of us. Aliens, Titanic and Avatar followed. And all of these films were only possible because Cameron believed in The Terminator. The film introduced us to a filmmaker, who contributed immensely towards filmmaking in Hollywood. And in the words, of the genius himself,

Street kid: There is a storm coming

Sarah: I know!

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#4 Write up – Absolutely free (2013)

Some say best things in life are free. Well, I wouldlike to meet those ‘some’ and so very generously ask for a cheque (as they willno longer need any monetary backing, knowing whatever they require is lyingright outside their doorstep with a free label on it!) If and only if I happento find some canonised saint of this kind, I will believe so.

Starting from a tissue and going all the way up to asquare foot in Cuffe Parade, everything has a price. If we look close enough,we are surrounded by things that are eyeing our bank balance all the time! Newbatteries for the alarm clock, the plumber visiting this afternoon to fix theleaking tap, Internet subscriptions, bike services, upcoming anniversary of ourfolks, overdue haircuts… And what not!

But what about the things that matter the most?

1.     A smile?

2.     A hug from your best pal?

3.     A peaceful sleep at the end of the day?

4.     A kiss?

 

Aren’t these intangible small things amounting morethan anything materialistic, free?

To be very frank, NO.

We have to let go of lots of tears to earn a smile. Wehave to forget ourselves and be a true friend to earn a hug. We need to workhard throughout the day to earn a peaceful sleep. And we need to know a realdeal of cheesy lines to earn a kiss. (Well, that’s the way it is!)

So, would I be on the right track if I say that absolutelynothing is free, you have to earn it? Maybe not always by exchanging it forcash. But by putting in right amount of dedication, hard work and most of all,faith. By investing time in it and being persistent towards it. No blessing isbestowed upon someone without penance.

A Ferrari may not be the best thing in the world. But aFerrari earned by working hard day by day, everyday; looking at the giantposter on the wall before going to bed and saying, ‘someday!’ When a wearytraveller nudging inch by inch towards his stallion finally gets to hear thesound of the throttle, there is no other feeling greater than it. And that isthe best thing in the world. A Ferrari well deserved.

(However the smile that follows that sense of achievementis absolutely free)  

#1 Excerpts – Delusion angel

Daydream delusion, limousine eyelash
Oh baby with your pretty face
Drop a tear in my wineglass
Look at those big eyes
See what you mean to me
Sweet-cakes and milkshakes
I’m a delusion angel
I’m a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
Don’t want you to guess anymore
You have no idea where I came from
We have no idea where we’re going
Lodged in life
Like branches in a river
Flowing downstream
Caught in the current
I carry you, you’ll carry me
That’s how it could be…
Don’t you know me..?
Don’t you know me by now?

Street poet: Instead of asking you for money, I’ll ask you for a word. You give me a word and I make a poem, with the word in it. And if it adds something to your life, you can pay me whatever you want.

Celine: Milkshake

(From Before Sunrise, Dir. Richard Linklater)

#5 Write up – My last relationship (2012)

December always derives the best out of you. It is not just any other month. It is different! Not just in a singular way but by many if not all means.

 

The jackets, which cost you a little fortune come into play.

 

You have those starry nights to accompany you.

 

And you start getting the pure but rare satisfaction of optimising something! Your calendar!

 

I mean don’t you feel overly proud of yourself when you realise that you’ve had a yearlong relationship with the calendar?

 

The calendar! It keeps dangling on the wall all the time. Except the times you choose to take it off and flip it over. Probably just… 11 times every year? When you think of it that way, a year sounds so… quick! We keep thinking that it was just yesterday when we had an awesome New Years party till the time we realise that the next New Years party is, ‘Ow, tomorrow!’

 

We measure length in inches, mass in ounces, universe in lightyears and our life in calendars. Suppose I collect each and every day of my life that I’ve lived. Ummm… It will be a collection of say, 20 calendars. That’s all. All of my life summarised without even missing a day! I know on which day I had a holiday, when was the first lunar eclipse of my life, low tide, high tide and all sorts of pieces which when put together form my life. Voila! My biography is published!

 

Till now, I have stockpiled 20 calendars. How many more can I possibly accumulate? Forty calendars? Sixty calendars? Eighty, max? And then that’s all! It becomes all so scary you know. Like so fast! Like all of these ups and downs and twists and turns and someday, all that it turns out to be, is a bunch of calendars. All that I’ve earned, all that I have spent… Is This. Period.

 

Just imagine yourself. Old… So old that it is impossible for you to imagine anything older than you. And you are surrounded by all the calendars you’ve lived. And in your hand you have your last calendar. And you realise that the next New Years party is, “Ow, tomorrow!”

 

What will you do?

Where will you go?

If you know

That there is no tomorrow..?

 

We keep the calendar dangling on wall most of the time. Except the times we choose to take it off and flip it over. And the sad part is we just flip it over 11 times a year. We don’t consider just looking at the dates that have passed. We don’t take a pause to count the moments, which made us laugh, made us cry… Which made us sad, or dance with joy.

 

Some things are just not valued when we have time. We keep thinking that we’ll have another chance at them in future. But the future falls short for so many chances. You tell me, won’t you lay your head on your mother’s lap… Won’t you audition for that dance show in college… Won’t you order the dessert first? If you know that there is no tomorrow?

 

If we treat every relationship as if it were the last, we pour everything to make it work. So I’ve thought of not attending the Masquerade Party this year. It seems like I want to skip the main course and have what actually counts. The dessert.

#1 James Cameron – Aliens

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.

~ Jessica Lange

Let’s hope that my honesty is not confused with stupidity. I wanted to watch Ridley Scott’s Alien, which supposedly revolutionized visual effects in film. Call it my luck or misfortune that I ended up watching its sequel first. So I am laughing and crying at m situation at the same time.

The Alien film franchise started with Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), James Cameron’s Aliens (1986), Paul Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator (2004) followed and the latest Prometheus (2012) by Ridley Scott is a prequel to the original Alien. And just the way technology advanced, content suffered.

*Talking about the film Aliens, the film is equipped with an uncomplicated three-act structure. The protagonist, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) confirms with Burke “You’re going out there to destroy them, right? All right, I’m in.” and that marks the second act. Similarly, when Ridley decides to go back and get Newt all alone, is where the climax starts shaping.

I would not talk about the visual effects, considering the film was out in 1986, much after the revolution and two years after Cameron’s The Terminator was released. I did not find them too compelling.

This film can be expressed in a flowchart format excellently. Ripley has two options, whether to accept or abort the offer by Burkes. Ripley has a premonition about the android being a traitor, either she is right or she is wrong. Burkes is going to successfully get the alien specimen through the ICC or not. Numerous conflicts form a thrilling composite.

On a negative note, the film started off with absolutely fabulous editing. The tempo of each sequence teased me with the sight of an alien and ended in an anticlimax, which indeed kept me at the edge of my seat. As soon as their mission begins, till the aliens actually show up, I felt the film was a bit draggy and monotonous.

About halfway across the film, I noticed one factor, which gives the film a great advantage over many others in the same genre. A year ago, when I was studying Cinema as a subject in college, I comprehended that any type of cinema, whether it is a neo-realistic cinema or an expressionist one, needs interesting characters. Interesting characters make cinema, an illusion seem convincing and gripping.

Aliens is equipped with extremely well orchestrated characters. We have damsel in distress, Newt; hero, Ripley; lover, corporal Hicks; Judas, Burkes; virago, Vasquez and most importantly, Ripley’s emotional aspect – Ripley as a mother!

I do not know if the makers thought of it while making it or it is a personal opinion about the film. The aliens breed by impregnating. The parasite uses a human body to produce an alien. The climax is a faceoff between the alien mother and Ripley, both trying to protect their offspring. In which Ripley succeeds.

Whether it is Titanic or the Terminator or in this case, Aliens, Cameron always reaches out to a superficial subject and weaves it excellently with human emotions.

*After watching The Terminator again, I realized that I was wrong in judging the visual effects of the film. Visual effects of Aliens are far more superior than The Terminator. Although I couldn’t help but compare the futuristic earth with the Colony in Aliens. Did you use the same set for both Mr. Cameron?

#3 Write up – Halfway across (2013)

For the first time in a long while, we had the windows of our van open; an unlikely gesture for a bunch of tourists in Kolkata these days. But the setting Sun on Howrah Bridge never fails to allure travellers in the search of the picturesque. Clouds owned the sky but the encroaching Sun shined amongst them; made his mark. As I turned my head forward; I saw the slowly illuminating, unexplored world. There I had new buildings, new sights, new adventures and countless possibilities emerging whole-heartedly. Then I looked back and watched my known realm drift away. And then an old question popped up-

“When on a bridge, when exactly do you step out of one end and enter another… When do you leave the old world behind and move into the new one… At what point do you cross over… When, exactly?”

In Mumbai there are bridges connecting the east and the west sides of a precinct. As a kid, while coming back home I used to count the steps while climbing up and coming down. I knew the bridge so well that I would stop at one particular point and I knew, that after this point, I would cross over. I used to stand with my legs wide apart and claim of being at two places at once. I had the best of both the worlds.

But not all bridges have traffic flowing from both ends. Oh, not the conventional ones, but others. The smoke comes out of a cigarette, but never goes back in. When a vase breaks, the pieces cannot be put back together. A butterfly cannot go back in the cocoon it came from. And that’s what makes the halfway point so important! There is no turning back! The point when you are just about to cross over but you haven’t, yet.

Imagine the moment, 98degree Celsius, when water prepares itself to sublime into vapour, but it has not changed yet. There is so admirable vibrancy over there, so much energy, so much potential. One simply cannot understand such an event unless he experiences it. And that’s why I do understand it,right now!

Here I stand, exactly halfway across the bridge, when I’m about to enter the final year of schooling and I know that my education has merely begun; I feel like a bird, standing on the ledge and about to take his very first flight. I am as scared as a kid would be when he had to leave his world, his mother, behind to enter a new world. I am as excited as butterfly to break free from the cocoon.

I am going to keep the windows open now; it is about to dawn on me. As I turn my head forward, I see a slowly illuminating, unexplored world. There I have new buildings, new sights, new adventures and countless possibilities emerging whole-heartedly. When I look back I have my past, slowly drifting away. I am a boy on the start of a long journey whose conclusions are uncertain.  And I hope.., I can make it across the bridge.

#2 Write up – Just Another Heroic Tale (2013)

It is a funny thing, ‘change’. Not the long-lasting, permanent change. But that slight detour which makes you stroll awayfrom your natural way. Making you realize that there is so muchnew,other than what you knew. Change, is not so bad.

Shopping and I do not belong in the same sentence. But then wemen are often gently asked to change by womenAnd although changing clothes would not actually change who we are, the determination of a dyed-in-the-wool woman remains unchanged.

So I found myself in the epitome of where-not-to-be– Colaba market. Where I was introduced to the feminine superpower offending the perfect top in a labyrinth of vibrancy. And the four-dimensional bag that fits every damn thing without making a show of it. Where does the stuff go? I watched in awe.

I enjoyed my role of a sidekick, till the point I saw a really cool Superman tee.I was looking for one since a while, but could never find the perfect one. But every superhero tale needs a good old-fashioned villain – the sales guy!Quoting a whopping 550 for a regular tee.

Too much for a piece off the streets, right?

I wasn’t quite happy. I like one thing, just one, and why does it have to be so impossible?

Andat that exact moment, she appeared. She stood right in front of me, blocking the Sun. And then she engaged into a gory battle of bargaining. The sales guy was good. But she tackled his every attack by saying, “Kya Bhaiyya…” Ultimately,the tee was in for a hundred bucks. I had tears of joy in my eyes. And though I wore the Superman tee. I felt like more Lois Lane.

Wait a second…

Aren’twe boys meant to dominate all the scenes?

I realized that sometimes the toughest of us act like a moody princess. And we wait for our knight in shining armour to rescue us. And there is nothing wrong over there. It might be a little different from our regular stories but what the hell, change is not so bad.

Note: Hey, what do you expect? I am a filmmaker. I exaggerate for a living.

#1 Write up – A rendezvous with LUCK (2010)

And then, it was me…

Again locked in my closet… Broken, shattered & defeated. Why me? I asked myself, “Where did you go wrong to deserve this? Exactly where all the diligence and inclination were short? Why jubilation was not the end of your story?”

Whatever is the situation let it be a minor prick or a major “Heart-Stopping” injury. Whenever defeat comes into the path, the aftereffects are the same as asserted above.

Maybe it simply doesn’t matter how much you strive, you are helpless. You are bounded to stay back. You are required to finish last. You are supposed to take the punches on your face and be kicked out. “IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY”. Because the deciding factor, is not in your hand. You have no control over your LUCK!

After coming across this devastating reality, and referring best dictionaries to know the meaning (REAL MEANING) of luck, I found that luck is something that happens by chance. According to this, my birth was by chance. How the hell was I accepted at the womb’s gate out of a million applicants? I hope I didn’t pay some sort of bribe at that point of time. (I HOPE.) From the slightest bend to the enormous swerve, everything till now was somewhat effected by chance, and so it will be in every later stage.

Knowing this one may conclude that fortunes will just come looking for us though we sit on a couch. And I am certainly unable to prove this theory wrong. But however, a four-leaf clover is of no use for a man who cannot count. According to what I have understood, luck is when opportunity rings your bell and you say, “Hello”! And the only quite predictable thing about this phenomenon is if one wants to be lucky, he must take more chances… be more active… and make even the mighty ‘almighty’ shock and awe by his perseverance.

Thinking about almighty, I recalled a very wonderful theory of balance. Everything in your life strikes balance in the end. It means, the granddaddy of all C.A.s, (The God) will tally our balance sheet with all fortunes and misfortunes. If you feel you are having a very bad luck, have faith. It will change. If you feel, you are having a very good luck, be ready. IT WILL CHANGE.

The destiny written by the unknown always has something unpredictable in store.

And the best or the worst thing is you don’t have to do anything.

You just have to keep breathing. Who knows, what LUCK may bring on the shore!

(COURTESY: Rtr. Tanay Iyer for giving me an opportunity to write for one of the best projects this year, “Expresso!”)

#1 Poetry – I Promise (2010)

I can’t say… That I will never leave you in the roadway

All by your own…

But I promise that I will try my level best to hold your hand

As long as I can

 

 

I can’t say…  That I will support you in any situation

That you’ll be in

But I promise… That I won’t let any situation

Come between us

 

 

I can’t say… That you will be the only charming special girl

In my life

But I promise… That every girl coming into my life

Will remind me of you

 

 

I can’t say… That I will change my path, my dreams

Just for you

But I promise… That wherever I’ll go inside my heart

I’ll be just with you

 

 

I can’t say… That ahead rests a beautiful life for you

And I never will

But I promise… That whatever is ahead in our life,

We’ll face it together

 

 

I can’t say… That I will die without you

Because that’s Just a lie

But I promise… That if you’ll leave me I will live

A life without MY LIFE

#1 Sanjay Leela Bhansali – Guzaarish (2010)

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
~ Anne Frank

This film was not to be missed while it was in theatres. Mostly because of Hrithik Roshan’s well appreciated performance. It was my fortune that today I ran into the idea of watching the film and I had it in my collection.

The film does not spend a lot of time in exposition at the start. We travel with the lead character and go back and forth in his memories till the very end to learn more about his condition. The first watershed moment – when Ethan decides to/ files his petition came to me a little earlier than I had thought. But of course with a powerful title sequence, the inability to control on Ethan’s life was justified.

Hrithik spends most of the time on the bed or on the wheelchair. The little while when he dreams about his past or his non-existent present, are moments to cherish. Through a perfect cast of the protagonist, the makers were able to achieve the vast void between what could have been and what there actually is.

My father argues that SLB treats his film like visual poetry. He indulges himself in the look of the film and the treatment to such great depths that the story has to compromise.

Sophia (Played by Aishwarya Rai) intrigued me the most. And I believe it was recognized with a Filmfare nomination for the best actress as well. Besides that so many characters, including the protagonist lacked the And that is where maybe the movie fails to grip the audience. And I wonder what a great risk it would be to make such a film. And how much conviction it would take to pursue making films in such a manner.

I learnt more about the characters from the frames and compositions rather than what came out of their mouth or what they did in the film. Cinema is a visual medium and the justice to the script, whether it is cinematography wise or shot selection wise is highly commendable.

As I contemplate some more, it makes me wonder about the uncertainty of our existence. A man, who has conquered everything, is just waiting to crumble someday and he does, to such a high beyond measure. We live in a world that is a mere delusion of control. We are as handicapped as Ethan. We are unable to control circumstances. Realising this, at least at once, I value my fragile life a little more.

watching, making and learning cinema. enjoying the process