Tag Archives: writing

Little Boy – Alejandro Monteverde

So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

As the title suggests, Little Boy is a film about a little boy. The film is set in the 1940s. Ostracised by the kids around him, this boy named Pepper (Jakob Salvati) finds his best friend in his father (Michael Rapaport). The two continue looking at their life through their fantasies until Pepper’s father enlists in his older son’s place for World War II. Now, Pepper is willing to do anything it takes to bring his father back to him. Even if it is totally beyond his control.

Watch the trailer here.

On his quest for bringing back his father, pepper meets certain people who influence him in a great manner.

  1. His elder brother London (David Henrie) who is filled with hostility towards the Japanese, just like the rest of America during war. London is also raged by the fact that he was declared ineligible for military service because of flat feet and that his father has to fight “his war” for him. After some days when the news of his father being taken as a prisoner of war reaches his family, London loses his mind and takes out his aggression on an old local Japanese guy named Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Along with Pepper, London attempts to threaten Hashimoto and gets arrested for the same.
  2. Pepper finds a hero. Just like the one in his imaginary world. Ben Eagle, the magician (Ben Chaplin). Who shows him a magic trick and moves a bottle.
  3. One day in the church, Pepper hears the Bible verse, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move” (Mt. 17:20), and goes to the town priest, Father Oliver (Tom Wilkinson) to learn how to use the power of faith. encourages Pepper to befriend Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). And also gives him a checklist that will make his faith stronger. And which will help him get his father back.
  4. Hashimoto becomes Pepper’s friend and helps him believe in himself. He tells him the story of a Samurai warriors who fought and saved his country from stronger enemies. Hashimoto argues with the priest that what he is doing will not help in bringing Pepper’s father back. And after Pepper completes the list, if his father does not come back from war, he will lose faith in himself.

These characters suggest that the film is also about having a good role model. And also about how through so many adverse thoughts surround the kid, how he makes his own choices and finds his own personal religion.

It is a very interesting term, personal religion. It signifies the personal, one on one relationship with an individual and God. No matter what others tell you about God, you will always have your own idea of God. And your ego will govern your relationship with God. Your ego will tell you whether you are acting in a way that God would appreciate or not.

The film is about a little boy and The Little Boy. It is an uplifting tale about faith and the power of believing in something. And at the same time, it does a commendable job of staying away from preachiness. In the end, it kept everything quite open to interpretation, making us the little boy and giving us a choice to believe what we want. Most impressively, the film points out that there is little difference between faith and magical thinking.

The film is written and directed by Smithsonian Institute Award winning director Alejandro Monteverde. And produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the husband-and-wife team behind “Son of God.” It earned $6.5 million on a $20 million budget. Which is kind of sad.

I watched this film and afterwards like I usually do, I searched for it online. I was stunned. I was amazed to see such negative reviews for a movie of this calibre. And I thought as a person who appreciates cinema should make an attempt to let the makers of this marvel know, that I think the movie is truly brilliant.

Net Effect

They say experience is the worst kind of teacher. The test comes first and you learn the lesson later. But you remember it for the longest of times. Such scars teach you a lot. And more importantly they keep reminding you of how strong you are.

I recently had a bad experience. Something related to the work I do. I had high expectations from the project and it did not work out the right way. Which made me doubt my abilities and my future a little.

It is foolish to expect each and every experience to be awesome. Nobody likes to have sweets all the time. We need something spicy from time to time. Life is not alway sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes covered in grey clouds of doubt. And thank God for that! It makes us appreciate the good parts. It helps us form memories. It helps us grow.

It is not possible to take everything positively. Some things hurt you at that particular time. And the fact that you feel pain is just a signal that you are alive. Nothing wrong in that. But even if you take some things negatively momentarily, make sure that the net effect is positive. If someone hurts you, and you can’t let it go. Store that potential energy in you. Store that energy till it becomes a volcano. Point it in the right direction and let it erupt. Millions of years ago such volcanos erupted and formed clouds of dust and ash and vapour, eventually raining down on earth and creating life! Volcanos are powerful tools of creation.

No matter what level you reach, it is difficult to handle criticism. Because the higher you rise, the deeper you can fall. Bad experiences make experienced players. And I am going to think about the long term positivity the experience is going to bring in my life. I am going to jot down the things that went wrong from my end and also the errs of the client. And I am going to make sure these same mistakes don’t happen the next time. And trust me, there are limited ways in which  you can go wrong. Once you have gone wrong all the ways, you have no option but to get it right.

Cheers to getting one step closer.

Horrible Bosses

My younger brother has a knack for theatre. In February he joined a local theatre group and they are putting up an experimental play. Within just a few weeks, he was given an important role in the play as a replacement. It was wonderful to see him so excited about this. Managing school and rehearsals is a tough task and he was doing it without any complaints.

One day, school got over late and I went to drop him off to the rehearsals. I had some work nearby so I thought I’d wait after finishing it, watch the rehearsals and then give him a ride back home.

“Oh, do I have to start from the basics now? ALWAYS face the audience!” The harsh voice echoed in the building. I peeked inside just to realise that my brother was getting bashed up by the instructor for some silly mistakes.

“Walk properly, like a man. You are a man aren’t you? I am not too sure.”

“Do you think this soft voice will reach the last row? I doubt it will even cross the third one.”

“Call the Janitor. I am sure he will do a better job than this guy…”

Every word hammered his confidence down. And the humiliating laughter just made things even more cruel. He is new over there and I could see that he was trying his best to cope up. If there are any suggestions, there has to be a gentle way to put it forward. He is just 15, trying hard to adjust in a new group. He needs to make friends over there who will make him feel confident. He needs an instructor who appreciates his courage of venturing into something new. He needs encouragement. Not a bunch of bullies who turn this into a nightmare.

A group which already has a strong bonding will never accept you so easily. You have to take special efforts not to be a pariah. You have to laugh at jokes you don’t find funny. You have to do things that don’t interest you. Humiliation comes free in such situations. And there are always horrible bosses. These are the people who can easily make you feel comfortable. Their opinion matters. BUT, they choose not to.

A boss could be anyone who “bosses” over you. It could be a friend who constantly insults you, a teacher who criticizes you way beyond necessary or even your son or daughter who makes you feel like shit. In most of the relationships, there is one dominant person and one recessive one. In a healthy relationship, this position keeps changing. Sometimes, person A is the dominant one and B accepts it and sometimes B becomes the boss. Once one person in a relationship never steps down from his or her dominant position, the relationship turns horrible.

In today’s world, criticism has replaced appreciation. In the constant struggle to achieve more, we have forgotten to sit back and look at what we’ve done so far. If I know people, I know for sure that nobody underperforms by choice. At least not in the start. Let it be a boring desk job or even something you have passion for, naturally you will try to give your best in the start. But when these efforts go unappreciated, things turn sour. Mediocrity steps in. Everybody in the world has at least one unique talent. The tricky part is, most of the times this talent goes unnoticed. Sometimes even by that individual himself. As a human being, I feel it is our responsibility to respect that talent and genuinely tell that person that no matter how small it seems, it matters.

After rehearsals, while going home, I asked him, “Are you okay?” And he said yes.

The next day he was as excited as the day before. He went to the rehearsals. Now, he is doing alright. When I ask him about his rude instructor, he tells me that he has started nitpicking some other new kid. I am glad the focus has shifted to someone else. But I am even more happy about how my kiddo brother treated this whole situation. He stayed positive. He didn’t lose faith in his own abilities. And that really matters.

Not everyone is generous enough to understand what you are going through. Because it takes efforts to be compassionate. But nobody can make you feel bad about yourself if you don’t let them to. If you have a horrible boss in your life, let him be the way he is. Don’t expect him to change his character to suit your needs. And if his opinion makes you feel low about yourself, then seriously f*ck it. Do not give such people the authority to tell you that you are no good. They may be the dominant one in this relationship. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree with their point of view about you.

My younger brother and his reaction to this situation taught me to stay confident about myself and my work. There are people who tell me that I have potential but I am extremely ordinary. Such reactions when come so bluntly hurt a lot. They may be right. They may be wrong. And not my thoughts but my actions to come will differentiate what’s right and what’s wrong.

Cheers to staying positive.

#3 Frank Darabont – The Mist

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft

If you ask me, this the not the director’s well-known comfort zone. But boy I was hooked to my TV screen as I was experiencing this horror. I am a firm believer that one must only watch such films in theaters. So I am hoping that some or the other film festival comes to the town with this movie on the schedule. I wouldn’t dare to miss it.

So just like the director coming out of his niche, let me do the same. Let’s make this post completely out of trivia. Anyway I would not want to spoil the film for you. Just one spoiler – there are actually some disturbing creatures in the film.

1. In the film’s opening scene, the picture David is painting is of Roland the Gunslinger from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

2. The books in the grocery store’s book rack are all Stephen King novels.

3. It was shot in mere 37 days

4. William Sadler played David Drayton in an audio version of the story.

5. Frank Darabont had originally been offered $30 million by a producer to make this film, but with one crippling caveat: Darabont would have to change his planned ending, a conclusion he’d personally envisioned and nursed for twenty years. In the end, he turned to producer Bob Weinstein and made the movie for half the amount, but only after forfeiting his directorial salary.

6. Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Melissa McBride went on to appear in the Frank Darabont The Walking Dead (2010), another post-apocalyptic survival adventure.

7. The first film Frank Darabont has made that is set in “the present,” barring the “framing story” in The Green Mile (1999).

8. Director Frank Darabont wanted to cast Stephen King in a supporting role, but King turned his offer down. The role eventually went to Brian Libby.

9. Darabont had been interested in adapting The Mist for the big screen since the 1980s.

10. Director Darabont chose to film The Mist after filming the “straighter dramas” The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile because he “wanted to make a very direct, muscular kind of film.”

After watching the film I cannot fail to admire the title of the film and also the byline – Fear changes everything.

#2 Timeless Classics – The Gold Rush by Charlie Chaplin (1925/1943)

After watching The Kid I could hardly resist watching yet another legendary film of the Tramp. I wanted to keep my journey as linear as possible but I could not find a good print of Woman of Paris (1923) or Shoulder Arms. I had to settle with this one.

Before we begin, here is some trivia about the film:

1. Chaplin himself declared several times that this was the film for which he most wanted to be remembered.

2. It is the fifth highest grossing silent film in cinema history and the highest grossing silent comedy film with $4,250,001 at the box office in 1926, now that’s a gold rush.

3. The film was re-released in 1942 with a newer music score, tighter edit and a narration by the maker himself. I watched the version with the narration. The new music score by Max Terr and the sound recording by James L. Fields were nominated for Academy Awards in 1943.

4.  The “roll dance” the tramp character performs in the film is considered one of the most memorable scenes in film history used again in many other films as a tribute or just because it’s too good.

5. For the special effects in the movie, a remarkably convincing miniature mountain range was created out of timber (a quarter of a million feet, it was reported), chicken wire, burlap, plaster, salt and flour. The spectacle of this Alaskan snowscape improbably glistening under the baking Californian summer sun drew crowds of sightseers.

I’ve begun to decode his formulae with his second film. What Chaplin does is he creates a very minute complication, something like sharing a shoe with Big Jim or surviving the blizzard and one problem leads to another where the innocence of the little tramp wins our heart.

Throughout the film I hated the character of Georgia. Even her pretty face seems ugly when she laughs with cruelty at our hero. I felt her character non gripping and uni dimensional. It was not just our hero in the Kid but also the kid and even his mother that shaped the intriguiing structure of the film. Over here, it was more or less Chaplin and to some extent Big Jim that felt lovable. Maybe the great showman wanted to portray the utter bargain based world, seeking for something in return from you.

I’ve mentioned the special effects above. For further understanding watch the video linked over here. The best part about all these effects, keeping aside there was no digital film making back then is the illusion that they create. We all know that this, what is happening in front of us is fake. We all know that Chaplin did not make the cliff fall off for his film. But the overall experience including the amount of details put into the act, the music and even the impeccable expressions of the actors make us wonder for just a second, how did they do this?

I loved the repetitive Chaplin style parts which make you laugh even though they are quite senseless. They celebrate the beauty of cinema. I wasn’t quite impressed by the story. Having watched quite a few films on the same premise could’ve hampered this statement. (I tend to dislike most of the classics in the first go due to all the hype!) And I was astonished with the awesome visual effects. In short, I can’t wait for another film by this little master.


#9 Write ups – Jobless and (shamelessly) proud (2012)

Being jobless is the time when you have nothing to do. Absolutely true! But have you ever wondered, how difficult it is not to do anything at all? I mean just not doing anything?

When you are resting, you are resting. When you are watching the re runs of The Simpsons, you are watching them. When you are sticking a finger up your nose finding that hidden treasure, you are doing something. Doing something! There is always a verb in a sentence. Without a verb a sentence is incomplete. And if you agree to that you may even consider that it is impossible to do nothing at all.

Being jobless is the time when you have nothing to do.

Ummm maybe you have to check your facts before calling it true.

What if we somewhat rephrase it just here and there? What if we say, being jobless is the time when you don’t HAVE to do anything. It makes complete sense to me. Because in this short span called life, we never have to do anything! People may put some heavy sacks on our shoulders and command us to carry them. But we can put them down anytime. It is ultimately our choice.

Choice. A choice is what we always have. Decision. A decision is what we always have to make. No matter how much our teacher makes us do our homework we can choose not to. No matter how much our parents force us to take up a job, no matter how much our boss makes us do shitty work… We have a choice. We can always say ‘no’ on anyone’s face and write our own story. Of course it is practical. And of course it has its consequences.

So here I am, watching my favourite movie, sipping hot Bournvita in this weather REGARDLESS of the insignificant advices that float around me. Because if you have faith in the choices you make, if you have the courage to support your intuition then you can stand tall and say, “Fuck you. 2+2 is always 4 in math not in life.”

Jobless and proud: Yes that’s what I am. And that’s what I am always going to be. Because whatever I will do, it won’t be a job given by a random Armani wearing guy. It will be something I have accepted to do. It won’t be an accident. It will be my self-written-destiny… And when you do something you really want to do, when you pour your heart into it, you become good at it and most importantly, find happiness!

Note: For all those who think this just looks good on paper not in reality, the last line in the second last para is for you. (Shamelessly)

#6 Write up – Deep impact (2013)

As kids when we took our first steps, we had our dear ones clapping their hands, cheering for us. Even though we were the ones taking all the efforts, a little appreciation played an important role. On the flip side, if the efforts are not aided by encouragement but criticized consistently there is a high chance of the kid having a limp for a long time.

A seed contains all the essentials to grow up and become a lush green tree. Yet it needs to be sown at the right place. It craves for a fair deal of water and plant food, the heavenly warmth of rising Sun and a little nurture! Now the problem is, the seed cannot compromise for a shrub or a vine if it doesn’t receive adequate nourishment. It is destined to become a grand tree, or nothing.

No matter how different we seem from the rest of the world. After all, we are material things! We can be easily torn but not easily mended. A nonchalant remark by someone close, a pitiful laughter in a small audience, minor embarrassment in public cast a shadow so dark that eclipses one’s entire life.

At a certain age, a person resembles wet clay. Never again will there be so much change and development happening so fast in such a short time. This is the time when rights and wrongs are yet to be defined. This is the time when rigid opinions are not yet sealed. And that is what makes one so vulnerable. So vulnerable to absolutely everything happening around him… And right then every small twitch appears to be the end of the world.

For some, these scars simply act as the painful reminders of all bad that has been and all good that has disappeared. But there exists a minority. A minority, that has declined to bow down due to momentary disappointments. Instead they’ve learnt to convert their memories into an immense power. The power when projected adroitly makes them immune to all stumbling blocks heading their way! The minority that wears these scars as medallions of war are the ones who have no regrets, no remorse; only the final laugh.

If at all there is anything that separates us from the rest of the world then it is undoubtedly our attitude. There are always two parts of the situation – the situation and our reaction to the situation. And our reaction weighs more than anything else. It is perfectly normal to get depressed. But after all is said and done, past is supposed to be treated as past and not as an anchor holding us back. Rather it should be the catapult giving us all the necessary boost to soar high in the sky.

If we perceive the world we choose to perceive

If we make the truth from what we believe

We take the paths our hearts point at

We travel the world with morals intact,

Leave judgment of others to themselves

And take our opinion as a fact

Then that’s what causes a deep impact

#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.