Monday, 3 December 2012

Movie Review- Life Of Pi

   Life of Pi is based on a fantasy adventure novel written by Yann Martel. Conceptualizing this storyline and making a precise movie out of it is hard to imagine.
 In retrospect- the movie is more of a journey than a story. A grown up Pi (Irrfan Khan) reminisces about his tale. It begins with a young Piscine Molitor Patel, (Ayush Tandon) and how he spent his youth in Pondicherry. Unworldly and innocent, he is often the subject of ridicule of his peers. Although his parents (Adil Hussain and Tabu) raise him as a Hindu, he learns to embrace three religions, much to the incredulity of his father. Throughout the movie, his faith in God and the belief that he will protect him remains unnervingly steady. Lush French Quarters of Pondicherry, the time spent in school, the times Pi spends in his and a couple of shy moments with Anandi, a dancer, comprises his childhood and the actual happy parts of the movie.
     Eventually, his family decides to start a new life in Canada because of political unrest in British India. Pi (now portrayed by Suraj Sharma) and his family embark on a journey by ship, along with some animals from their zoo. Tragically, just after a few days, the ship meets a storm and capsizes. In minutes, the atmosphere in the theatre changes from lackadaisical to anxious. Pi manages to hop onto a lifeboat, but knows nothing of the fates of his mother, father and brother although it is certain they have drowned and died. 
After the storm, Pi regains consciousness on his small lifeboat. But he is not alone.
  In this bizarre turn of events, throw in an injured zebra, a hungry hyena and an orangutan, all trying to survive on that small lifeboat. In the process, the hyena kills both the orangutan and the zebra; and just when you think that there can’t be any more animals, from under the tarpaulin emerges ferocious Richard Parker: a hungry adult Bengal Tiger who, of course, kills the hyena.
  Frightened, Pi constructs a small raft using flotation devices and tethers it to the lifeboat. So begins his agonizingly long struggle for survival, with no one but a hungry tiger to keep him company and a few pages of paper for him to vent his thoughts. He manages to catch some fish and regularly feeds Richard Parker. But soon, the tiger begins to accept Pi’s presence on the boat and a cautious relationship develops between them.
  While adrift, Pi discovers an island inhabited by carnivorous algae and meercats. But even on a perilous island, far away from any human being, Pi never loses hope.
  After 227 days, he washes up on the shore of Mexico with Richard Parker in tow. Pi collapses, on the sand, exhausted, but Richard Parker simply walks out of the boat, without a backward glance at his sole companion, which hurts Pi more than he would have thought.
  Through this movie, Pi has you convinced that you can survive the worst if you have faith in God. It is definitely over hyped as far as the story is concerned. The story-line is slow, but gripping. In terms of animation, the movie is a visual delight, thanks to the director, Ang Lee. It transcends all limits of cinematography. The cast have certainly showcased their skills. It depicts brilliant scenes of the ocean in its many moods.
  Life of Pi makes you want to believe in what logic tells you is impossible. It makes you want to sympathise with a character that is fictional. It is a journey you will want to make, albeit knowing you never will. How this movie manages to remain unreal yet surreal, is a mystery in itself. And believe me- your favourite animal after watching this movie will be the Bengal Tiger…for a long time.

-Aditi Mukund
  FYJC (Arts)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sitcom Review: Modern Family

If you ask me to explain Modern Family to you in a line, I’d say it’s about this large, unconventional, DYSFUNCTIONAL family trying to lead their lives in the most natural (or normal) way possible. But natural is not possible when it’s them we are referring to. I suppose I can safely say that these actors know what they have been doing all this while. Right from our misunderstood Columbian boy Manny, to the character we all so love, Cameron, the creators have made sure that their characters are unique and in unison, deranged. Now believe me when I say this- This show is insanely amusing and you DON’T want to miss it!
Modern Family is presented to the audience in a mockumentary style which depicts the essence of three interrelated families dominated by our beloved old man, Jay Pritchett. He is a very intimidating man, very much like an ex- Army officer who likes things done in a certain way and gets all cranky when things get out of hand. He likes to remind people who’s in charge. Typical Jay. He is married to Gloria, an extremely attractive Columbian lady (a little too attractive for Jay, a lot would agree) who is abso-flippin-lutely in love with her husband. Gloria is a puzzled yet strong (one would say so, after watching her effortlessly chop a rat’s head off) woman with a delightful accent and she is hot, enough said.  Gloria’s son, Manny, is probably the most misunderstood of them all. He is not your average teenage boy. He is not interested in dirt bikes, or hiking (especially not hiking) or anything of that sort. Well, let’s see. This seems more like him- Poetry, drama and fretting over what kind of clothes he should wear. You can also find Manny many a times, trying to woo the ladies, quite unsuccessfully but I’m sure he’s getting there.
Jay had two grown children, Claire and Mitchell, who have delightfully painful families of their own (who only add to the tamasha). Claire is, well, a control-freak. She is one of those moms who worry about anything and everything, especially her kids. But then again, I would too if I had kids like Alex, Hayley and Luke. She is married to an understanding, amicable klutz, Phil, a shining example of a glass-half-full kind of guy. In one of the newer episodes when Hayley gets arrested, Phil acts perfectly sane, trying to calm a furious, uncontrollable Claire down. He likes to know that his kids look up to him as more than a father, a good friend. Why? Because he is so “hip”. Phil’s lack of attention and cluelessness makes him one of the funniest characters on the show. “I am Phil Dunphy, and I am not a pervert. I, like a lot of men in this town, enjoy making love to my wife. I mean, their wives. Not me, them! I know I should just sit down and stop talking, but I'm still standing, and obviously I'm still talking, and you're all looking at me, so it's too late, now is it?”
Their children make their family the most chaotic of all of them. Hayley is the eldest of them all. She is the rather stupid, clueless, yet pretty child of the Dunphy clan. She is the kind of girl who is extremely popular in school, has a good-looking (or so people think) boyfriend, who is stupid and inappropriate in his own innocent way. Quite weird, those two. Alex is the really smart one who makes all the right decisions. Unlike her sister, she is not very comfortable about her social skills and hence freezes up in front of boys. Luke, the youngest, is known for his foolishness. Risk-taker, that one. He likes to do crazy things like blow up birdhouses or start a fire in the chemistry lab.
Last, but definitely not the least, we have our favourite gay couple, Cameron and Mitchell. Cameron and Mitchell have a dramatic (you saw that one coming, didn’t you?) yet natural relationship. They live together and a have a baby girl, Lily, who grows up to be quite a mess herself. Mitchell is an environment lawyer and the, if I may say so, relatively sane one in the family. He has an OCD problem, which Cam takes complete advantage of, and likes to play it safe at all times. He analyzes the situation carefully while the other men happily like to jump in, offering to beat someone up. Cameron is my favourite character, hands down. He is as gay as they come. But at the same time, he is also the persistent and confident one who will go to any extent to protect his family. He is the funniest of them all with his gasps and weird remarks- “I like meeting new people. We still keep in touch with some of the people we've met. Like Elunga, this man we met while in safari in Tanzania. We send him some of our old T-shirts. He was a nice man when we met him, but from his latest pictures we suspect he's become a warlord.” Quite brilliant for a straight guy, no?
All in all, I have to say I love this show. It’s honestly refreshing to watch something so funny, yet not too mainstream, especially after all the ridiculous tele drama we are subjected to these days. Unlike what cynical snobs (I believe you know them as critics) all over the world say, I think Modern Family is extremely entertaining and downright hilarious and it just keeps getting better. I would personally recommend it to each and every one of you.
Till then, remember Phil’s, err, Phil’s-Osophy- “When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like ‘Whaaat?!’ ” - Nimisha Nair XII A (Arts)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Diwali: Illuminating worlds forever

We think about it, we feel it, we know it’s time…

The mild tinge of euphoria in everybody’s heart during Diwali. As we perceive the glorious fireworks, the immaculate tandem in which magnanimous earthen lamps are marvellously juxtaposed outside homes,
the vibrant lights of diverse shades permeating luminance in every direction, the excitement and splendor with which people shop, clean their homes (an otherwise hum-drum affair), decorate their homes with colourful Rangolis in all their embellishing zealot which seem truly inviting, the traditional garb featured in full swag and the ever alluring sweets – that highlights the essence of Diwali!

The festivities commence over a period of five gusto-filled days, embarking with Dhanteras, Choti Diwalia, Lakshmi Puja, Padwa and Govardhan Puja and draw the curtains on Bhai Dooj, with glorious and memorable adieu. The auspicious occasion brings in blithesome aura in everyone’s lives, one that’s only propounded progressively with a sense of happiness and satisfaction which we welcome with open arms into a heartfelt hug. Diwali not only symbolizes the triumph of good over evil but also brings out the true spirit of oneness among people, because this festival --in all its conventional beauty-- has no age, no race and everybody is welcome to bask in its exuberance. Right from the ghettos to the great high rises; from the kids to the seniors, people throughout the globe indulge in the jubilation, expanding its ambit furthermore every consecutive year. It’s a grandiose celebration of life and goodwill, because you only live once, remember? We all take abode in warm little moments of life and the positivity that this festival carries can be surreal at times, forever etching a veritable sense of contentment that is anything but ephemeral.

There were times when bundles of sparklers, bombs, rockets, chakris were lit with a wide smile. Unfortunately, most of those are made up of matter that contribute to an unfavourable alteration of our surroundings. Its Diwali! Thine, mine and ours and the word we ought to embrace is ‘Eco-Friendly’. I hardly doubt if it would reduce one’s joy in any way, the money we’d normally, and rather effortlessly squander on those momentary joy-packets could feed a hungry child somewhere or even be a significant endowment towards the rudimentary establishment of their future – one with a radiant spark that was missing hitherto. The nuances of the festival and its characteristic atmospheres and nitty gritties can be amusingly flummoxing. No matter how many chocolates we consume, everybody has a favourite ‘mithai’ that gets them salivating every time they think about it, and our taste buds are not content until they savour the divine Ladoos, Barfis, Jalebis, Gulab Jamuns, Kaju-Katlis and the other innumerable mithais. The truth is, the latest Chinese lanterns may replace the traditional ones, the electronic stores may offer better discounts this year, the fun-filled Diwali parties may be out of crackers, the bulk messages sent via cell phones may replace the age old get-togethers, but it’s not in our power to pacify change, all you need to remember is that no matter how many cold winters come by, spring’s never too far away. The facets may have changed, but the underlying quintessence remains the same. The veritable conundrum of ambivalence can be solved with the simplistic propagation of either part, to solve the dichotomy.

Have a safe, enigmatic and most importantly, memorable Diwali!

- Anjali Shah
 Anjali Shah is a twelfth grade Arts student. She's an aspiring lawyer and she'll be a regular blog author for us.