Diwali is the time to usher into seamless joy and light the earthen lamps of happiness inside our hearts, sharing dollop of sweetness. A festival that I looked forward to every year and during this time days before the celebration, the vibes were somehow missing and a feeling of gloom crept in.
It’s been a turbulent year for so many among us, and things started to shape positively, yet there has been tiredness as we get to the end of things where many among us are suffering from mental and physical exhaustion. I suffered from an emotional meltdown quite recently with some random thoughts, crisscrossing my mind and happened yesterday when I started crying uncontrollably.
I woke up not in the best of mood and went back to lazing in bed, felt better only after fixing an appointment with my therapist. Still a feeling of anxiety and scared for no reason. I am listening to Mritunjay mantra and Bhagwad Gita Sanskrit verses to keep me calm.
I have a habit of distressing and back to the main theme. A sober Diwali which I normally prefer and this time, the charm was lost somehow till the afternoon.
Thankfully, the low mood changed as I got dressed packed the mithai boxes, visited some friends and neighbors, with some friends dropped in. How our mood alternates from bad to good? Things got going where for the first time we were able to light the diyas before six, doing the Choti Diwali and bhoot chaturdashi lighting 14 diyas for our ancestors blessing the earth before us. A friend called from the UK and we shifted to video calling where she helped in lifting the mood as we spoke about the various things, surrounding life, and the challenges thrust upon us and later spoke to another college friend. The mood was lifted. It’s not that there are no bad days or emotional overhauls which is happening quite often which I believe is a lull phase.
Over the years, I longed to celebrate Diwali which is my favorite festival in India having the best memories of the festival of lights and the place I am based in. This year was quite different since the year took a toll on so many of us. Life is not all spring and bloomy with several challenges where I was detected COVID positive during the first part of the year, accompanying challenges with mom falling ill several times shaking me for the first time, a feeling about being on my own and bracing up with things happening for the first time. I broke up several times and had to come to terms with so many things, a fear of losing someone, the regret of not making the most of things, and faced my first panic attack. It hit me hard that I am suffering from depression and constant anxiety. I mean, if you look at me you can never make out….am quite good at hiding vulnerability or even tears for that matter.
Such things can take a huge toll and make it a task to manage overwhelming challenges, and feeling of emptiness days before Diwali. It can lead to a dip in energy and that’s precisely what happened with my gloomy mood during Diwali. There is so much on the plate right now and sometimes, small things can lead to triggers. Peace and positive energy to one and all.
It all started in the early 90s when Amitabh Bachchan announced his retirement from the industry and pandemonium of sort, yeah that’s the right, albeit fancy terminology used by trade magazines in the 90s.
I remember having a file filled with the cutting of Bachchan posters solos and with actresses, ranging from Sridevi to Madhuri Dixit, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Raveena Tandon. A pack of two rupees Bachchan postcards, cassettes-one favorite was Amitabh Dhamaka lost and renting VCR watching Jhumma Chumma show in London and posters adorning my room. It all started with my Bachchan adulation and fanboy moment.
The first movie I watched of AB may be hard to recall and remember Dad taking me for Mard, Mein Azaad Hoon, the superhit Shahenshah, Khuda Gawah and even Insaaniyat for that matter. A confession to make and as mentioned earlier, I discovered troves of Amitabh Bachchan quite late in the 90s and it’s not that I didn’t watch much during the earlier days, yet my curiosity and enthusiasm weren’t dampened. Rather got more curious when he announced his famous five-year sabbatical, the time I discovered his older movies, absolutely drooling over Don, Deewar, Shahenshah, Hum, Aakhri Raasta, and Agneepath, which I may have watched dozen times or innumerable.
I can write a volume of books on my Amitabh Bachchan fascination and it’s something personal on how he has shaped a generation of fans with maar dhar. The entry scene in Hum was absolutely epic and speak about Tigerism when Tiger Shroff was perhaps a toddler. Such was the love affair. Of course, meeting him was a dream come true. So what, it was a blink-and-miss with three such fanboy moments, once when he visited for the shooting of Hum with a mammoth crowd, jumping the barrier to approach the dais to be lathi-charged by cops when the man himself chided the cops, to shake the hands of kids personally. I now understand how tough it was for him yet that didn’t prevent him to bring a smile on the faces of innocent kids, or Bade Miyan Chote Miyan running after him for an autograph or another time at a cinema theater scampering down the stairs, almost falling down to give him a greeting card I got at a shop down the road, in time to scribble with a pen. I had no camera yet no means to capture the Kodak movement.
The numerous prized possessions would be stealing coins from Dad’s pocket to get magazines like Movie, Showtime, Cineblitz-they featured an interview of Shweta Bachchan from Boston speaking on her Dad-and Filmfare with many cutouts adorning my file coupled with his only album Aby Baby with the famous Eer Bir Phatte.
Thank you Mr. Bachchan for the priceless memories of a tough and unhappy childhood growing up in the 90s.
October is spooky. I ain’t kidding. It’s unbelievable and ghouls conspiring to blow the mind into smithereens. I feel like a shadow lurking restlessly. Unfathomable! Yea! Looking for the perfect right word and power description, yet far from that how the year flitting past with another year almost gone.
It’s been four days into the month and would you believe what we make of things pretending to be lost zombies, the past disappointment, happy and exhilarating moments feeling like a fucking bank account. We are living in such extraordinary times and at times, I wonder whether to be surprised with things or take life as it comes. Someone just wished fulfilling October and think as humans, we harbor hope and positivity that a new season will usher in goodness and do us well. I ain’t no different.
Expectations have always been our strong forte as humans and what’s wrong with that? The past few years have upset us in more than one way and prodding us to take life as it comes. I ain’t no different and hardly have any expectations, unlike the excitement of pre-pandemic times with a tizzy heart going gung ho and whining about the misses on a year that would normally fly by.
Frankly speaking, I dunno what to expect as we will soon usher in a new, except travel and taking a plunge that yours truly would normally not do. The pandemic has changed us and altered our beliefs in more than one way, taking so much from us. One thing I would say is overcoming the pandemic fear and yes, believe it or not, watched a movie the past month after two years. It’s Brahmastra after two years and before that, the last one was Thappad before the world of lockdown and virus struck.
Now, I am feeling high as if smacking or snorting illegal stuff for writing about fears and expectations. Now, I am utter convinced that October is some sort of drug indulged into and getting pretty much high on, lingering past the mind and reaching this level of ecstasy. Seriousness be damned. You gotta believe we are in October and will soon throw away this boring kinda calendar flipping into 2023…typing happy new year and what’s not. Is that some kinda libido we bring onto ourselves?
So much happenings that I could count on tweedle, tiny fingers and it’s just mirage may be, or plainly speak zilch on wanna wheedle time, energy, or unabated enthusiasm for anything on earth. The second part of the year is exuding some powerful vibes and updates…it shall happen soon for I have been surprised in many ways. I keep myself busy with fab yoga, over-exerting and breaking the body twice a week coupled with breathing and pranayam working wonders already to my mental world of triggers, anxiety, and depression.
Think, think…if that’s not motivation enough to slash your enthusiasm a bit for Oktober fest may just be a fad for you are not going to guzzle beer every fucking day. There is something called life, pretty much like this post, hell-bent to flung the illusion on your face that this month is a finishing line.
I am not fretting and rather a desperate attempt for the October hashtag and headlines, getting people reading this pretty useless post that a new and overhyped month is unfurling. Perhaps, to kick me in the ass and reminding about the post I plan to write and a short story lost in translation, buried deep somewhere.
Count the days for still gotta go a long way before we call it a wrap and yes, it’s the month when a good friend celebrates her birthday. This time, I ain’t missing it, unlike the last time and of course, gearing up for Diwali.
It has been quite some time that I haven’t done a personal post about updates on the blog about life and the mundane, multitude of happenings, or simply life in a day or so. It whittles not about a particular day and rather weeks or days with so many things happenings one after the other. I haven’t been able to write for long and despite promising to self, either with laziness, the anxiety issue which is in control for now, and joining the new yoga class.
Yes! I am doing a six months certificate in Yoga at the Indian centre taking a plunge this year which has been super challenging with the first six months and to think, there was so much happening with us being covid positive. Mom fell seriously ill with several hospitalization trips, one after the other, and hit the peak of depression with panic attacks hitting me hard. Thankfully, things are stable now.
After the initial challenges and an extremely harrowing 2022 on a personal level-I am still not calling the year bad-things have started to shape up. What an extreme year, pretty much like me as a person! I have always been someone with strong likes and dislikes, guess events are following me.
Pardon me for drifting! I have this strange habit of doing that and spend three days a week at the centre, twice for yoga and Saturday for breathing exercises. The challenge lies in the fact that I need to master the Sanskrit names for the asanas and of course, got a fab teacher who pushes us really hard what with me being so stiff with muscles and all. A run against time. Lazy me will slowly yet surely arrive.
I got some interesting news to share, am doing my Masters in Mass Communications and Journalism from Amity online, landing 60 percent scholarship from the University. Post the excitement, there are the challenges of racing against time since I enrolled relatively late with plenty of ground to cover. And, to think I am studying after 14 years of life and it’s something I always wanted to do. The digital world has opened countless possibilities for all of us to make things happen and once cannot stay far behind. It’s important to explore, learn, unlearn and re-learn new things with an open mind.
The midnight candles shall be burnt till the wee hours of the morning for the next two years what with work, studies, and less of Netflix or Prime and yoga certificate course. I never had it so awesome and 2022 is finally shaping up. Did I tell you that I finally watched a movie after 2 years and conquered the COVID fear this month with Brahmastra? Absolutely love this movie loads and will be looking to watch more films. I felt triumphant after munching popcorn in the theater and what an elated, aha feeling with movies, masti and magic. It deserves a post.
As you see, this post is a relatively short one and another reason for pushing myself to write since haven’t been doing that only. It’s a shame, I know. The post came after I spoke to a friend yesterday and the wife of my college buddy who asked me about blogging while telling her ain’t even doing that when she prodded to write. Do let me know if you like the topic, “Life’s Day Out” and might make it a regular kinda column.
There shall come a time, day or night, chilly, frozen winter, at the cusp of dawn, sweltering afternoon heat, crescent full moon, when all secrets shall be laid bare and open, like the sawdust, blowing into the eyes, when emotions shall run wild, we shall never hesitate or hold back our words, it may offend the world, yet we shall give a damn, for it will heal hearts, where longing shall cease, burying the past and path, we shall return, cutting the thread that never mattered, swimming in bonds giving immense joy.
Crumpled and torn paper, ashen-faced, beneath emotions, if she could hold a mirror to my face, decoding the restlessness, flung my ink pen in the bin, fluorescent pen, nay, writing with blood-smeared ink, pouring tears, the last letter, curled in love and madness, my obsession for her, her curls, light bulb eyes, iridescent angles,
sensual lip, milky skin, gentle boobs, long, athletic legs, her deep caress, she’s a distraction, imagining our stormy sex sessions, her haunting and sadistic smile, making love to me, demoniac, I can’t do that, writing a love letter for her, sex is weakness, she knows that, licking her, how much I miss her, she’ll mock with lust, don’t wanna give her that power, beguiled heart, I shall bury the secret, writing goodbye, a pound of my blood, knife pierced the paper, now who got the last laugh tormenting the soul, oblique emotions.
The figures are out. Ayan Mukherjee’s magnum opus Brahmastra has been in the making for a long and whose main star attraction is the real-life couple recently hitching, Ranbir Kapoor-Alia, Amitabh Bachchan and Mouni is running riot at the box office to emerge as the much badly needed blockbuster hit where it raked in a terrific opening clocking in Rs 75 crores in two days and soon hitting Rs 200 crores mark.
Moving beyond the box office numbers, it begets an important question as to whether the film’s number has served as an important reminder that boycott hashtags haven’t had much of an impact on Hindi film box office, contrary to what we were led to believe with the shocking flop of Lal Singh Chadha. Perhaps, Brahmastra came as an exception to the norm where it’s one among the last pre-pandemic movies getting on a roller coaster ride.
It whittles down to the idea that movies like Lal Singh Chaddha and a host of shocking flops such as Shamshera have sent the industry into a tizzy of sort whose main fault is the content, which has been neglected for many years. Sadly, the youth couldn’t identify with such movies lacking a connection in building pre-box office hype in terms of ticket numbers or something like Raksha Bandhan that truly belong to the 60s. Such kind of movies no longer works and should never have been attempted in the first place. Star names don’t matter much if one would call it the winning formula. About time for the industry to invest massively in good storytellers, screenplay and scriptwriters.
One thing filmmakers need and must understand is that right now in the new normalcy after the industry has been shut after two lockdowns are that they will not be competing against each other every Friday. Their biggest competitor is now digital, OTT is the new superstar that has already been present and the pandemic has spurred its growth in the country. Face it, the internet is the ‘Bahubali’ as we speak about the economics of filmmaking and if anything to go by and learn from the failure of Lal Singh Chaddha. Why has brand Aamir Khan failed? It should serve as the best education of sorts as filmmakers grapple with numbers to make business work.
The point should not be about ego on insisting to have a Friday release in the face of limited footfalls in a world still afflicted by COVID, numerous OTT channels mushrooming on the market and a high budget when the producer is unsure whether they will recover their price or not. It’s overlooking not just the Economics of filmmaking and silly ways to march into the jaws of fire. In the past, we have had films like Chehre or Jhund doing that among a host of other films when the sure-shot way to recoup the money was to get a straight OTT release and still manage to break even.
Such foolishness should be avoided and this is what Aamir Khan did by being blind and overlooking market realities, if we were to believe the grapevines on insisting to sell the film 6 months later digitally and that too demanding an astronomical figure relying on past success. It no longer works that way. It’s about time for producers to revisit where they should sell, the profit margin and also for distributors to revise the price of cinema tickets if they want the audience back to theatres.
Let’s look at Economics. Case one: Family of four with husband, wife, two kids, and grandparents, a ticket worth 400 bucks at a minimum price, add coffee/coke/sandwich/popcorn blowing 2500 plus bucks.
Case two: Boyfriend and girlfriend/two friends + a friend of either sex, yet again a good 2000 bucks blown. We are living in post-pandemic times. This needs to be reiterated and filmmakers must understand that the public will not be ready to fork out a fortune when they can pay between 500-1000 Rs months on two OTT providers, getting access to unlimited viewing, irrespective of Indian and foreign languages
Do you blame the audience? It’s not about the boycott gang hashtags on Twitter or cancel culture in preventing people from watching movies. Brahmastra as a pre-pandemic film is an exception for it has been able to connect with the Indian masses despite being in the making for a long time. Not every film would be Brahmastra and not even its sequel. The film industry is witnessing a tectonic change, fraught with challenges and trickling down to makers to usher change in terms of paying attention to content which is King or Queen. One cannot compromise content and churn the same old dish every single time. The classic formula is long gone. The audience has changed and will not lap everything thrown at them. The young generation no longer has this kind of tolerance.
The shift is already here. Filmmakers must pay attention to content by exploring new, bold subjects while at the same time, staying true to the desi flavor of filmmaking. Just look at how regional cinema, be it in the South, North East and Marathi cinema has leaped ahead of the Hindi film industry. The latter has lost the art of entertaining the public like it once ruled the roost during the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. It’s about time to create the art that the Indian masses will identify with, retain the cultural ethos of movies, masti, and magic celebrating cinema while curating rich content swooning the audience on its feet in bringing something new that will ring in novelty.
The cancel culture is just a fad, breeding hatred against the film industry where it gets absolutely ridiculous to see such tweets just because something wrong happened. Two wrongs don’t make it right. The super stupendous success of Brahmastra has sent a strong signal and it’s about time that the audience would override anything, sitting next to each other irrespective of religion, caste, creed, or sex to celebrate a cinema-loving nation. I was and am bating for Brahmastra as we celebrate cinema to win over hate. We owe it to everyone associated with cinema and whose livelihood depends on it.
At the end of the day, don’t stay away from the cinema irrespective of whether you choose to watch Brahmastra over Kashmir Files or Kashmir Files over Brahmastra or any other thing. Boycott of any other movies, irrespective of ideologies just doesn’t make any sense at all, and at the same time, market alterations will pave the way for content driven if cinema is to thrive since boycott campaign just doesn’t work and have no impact. Films are not working, irrespective of the stars because the content is poor and nothing else. After all, the audience deserves better, or else digital viewing is already leading leaps and bounds.
Star power will no longer work at the box office, no bhai giri, ghissi pitte formulaic dialogues, blockbuster songs, fresh romantic couples, or action in the climax. The ball is in the court of established or new filmmakers or for that matter, meaningful cinema curators to come up with something new while paying attention to the market needs-don’t neglect the demands of the audience-while revising price of tickets is a need. Think about it or else the industry will bleed. No cancel culture can steal the thunder.