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Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar" journal:

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January 21st, 2017
09:29 am

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Two Hindi movies
Watched two interesting Hindi movies this week.

I liked Pink, an engaging court room drama that addresses some very relevant questions regarding the ways women are perceived in the society. It has got some excellent performances by all the actors.

Dear Zindagi, set in colorful locales and beautifully picturized, is about how a girl named Kaira (Alia Bhatt) finds it difficult to have longstanding relationships with her boyfriends, and how a psychologist (Shah Rukh Khan) helps her to root-cause her problems to the feelings of being abandoned by her parents during childhood. The film is well-intentioned and is filled with "one liner wisdoms" which one can expect from such feel-good category of Bollywood films. It was also good to see Shah Rukh Khan acting normally, without his usual shivering and eye-brow gimmicks. However, the failure of the film was in the portrayal of the main character, Kaira, as a completely spoiled girl - in fact Alia Bhatt plays the role in the same way she had played her earlier roles in films like Highway and Kapoor & Sons. It was difficult for me to feel any sympathy for her character in the movie, though overall it was still a watchable film.

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January 8th, 2017
08:11 pm

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MS Dhoni - The Untold Story
Watched MS Dhoni - The Untold Story, biopic on MS Dhoni directed by Neeraj Pandey.

MS Dhoni came from a middle class background, and grew up to become one of the most successful and respected captains of the Indian cricket team. Indeed, his life story might be having potentials to make an inspiring film, but I found Neeraj Pandey's work to be strictly mediocre, one that at times looks to be dull and directionless - a biopic made just for the sake of it.

The first hour of the film is relatively better, as it shows Dhoni's schooldays and early cricketing career. We see Dhoni's skeptical father preferring his son to focus on his studies and earn a "secure Government job", but reluctantly agreeing to him pursuing interests in sports, Dhoni getting encouragement from his coaches and group of friends, finishing school exams faster to reach his cricket coaching classes, his friends struggling to drive him to the airport so that he can reach for a match on time, etc. Indeed, there is nothing that would make the viewers feel as "really extraordinary" in these "struggles", and Dhoni's dilemmas in choosing between his work and passion, are also something that most of the people might have experienced at varying degrees, some point of time in their lives. Nevertheless, the narration of these parts is done reasonably well by the director.

The film looses focus slowly. We see Dhoni's romantic experiences, which are narrated not very differently from typical Bollywood films, and a few scenes in which Dhoni meets his old friends and well-wishers after becoming successful. Indeed, there are scenes of cricket - Dhoni's batting displays, followed by series of closeup expressions of his parents, relatives and friends who watch the matches on television; but I could never feel that there was anything "Untold" in this story, or if it was worth telling this story at all.

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January 1st, 2017
08:21 pm

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Organic Manure
Last week I had bought some "organic manure" from a temple at Jayanagar, which they said was made out of kitchen waste and dry leaves in the temple premises. While applying the manure to plants, I noticed that there are numerous tiny shreds of plastic in the manure - like pieces of a biscuit packet, bubble wrap, a small chunk of thermocol, and so on. I thought of various methods to get rid of these, like pouring water over the manure kept in a bucket, etc., but could not find anything that is foolproof and easy.

A few weeks back, I had attended a small workshop at Bhoomi College, where I observed them making manure in a large scale. Dry leaves are a key ingredients for this process. They get these leaves from their campus itself, or from other places. And if we look into the piles of leaves they have accumulated there, we can always see several plastic things - chips packets, toffee-wrappers, etc. - It is not unexpected, but it is such a tedious job to remove these things before adding the leaves to the compost system. And we can never be 100% sure of making the compost plastic-free.

At our home, we make compost out of our kitchen waste. Not more than a small bucket of waste is generated each day, so it is not so difficult for me to take some extra care to remove all sort of plastic or non-decomposable things from the waste before dumping it in the composter; But after a few months when we take out the mature compost for gardening, I always end up seeing something or the other which had escaped me - like a sticker on the apple skin, for example.

It is scary to see plastic becoming such an integral and unavoidable part of our lives, even at a micro level.

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December 30th, 2016
08:37 pm

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Reaping the Fruits!
"I have worked really hard to make this party, what was their role in this? I work hard and they reap the fruits?"

After expelling his son from party, it seems Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav made such a comment, and it looked amusing to me. It is good to see a supposedly "national leader", who was being projected as a "PM candidate" at one point of time, openly stating that Politics is all about working hard and reaping the "fruits" for ourselves.

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07:25 pm

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Vacation
We had a short vacation in Kerala. One day was spent on visit to Guruvayoor temple, where I was going after a long time. We had to spend around 6 hours in the queue for darshanam! Thankfully the people were all very patient and there was no pushing or anything in the queue.

Watched two movies during the trip. Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, directed by Nadirshah, was an enjoyable time-pass comedy film with some humorous performances by Dharmajan and Vishnu (who has scripted the film as well), and I liked the clever use of film music from old Malayalam movies as background for some scenes (like the way the Pramadavanam song was used in the scene of a school examination).

Dangal is one of the finest Bollywood films I watched in recent times, and I think it would be the finest from Aamir Khan so far. The first half of the film focuses on the way the the aging wrestler (Aamir Khan) tries to fulfill his dreams through his daughters, by training them as wrestlers from a young age, and the narrative has a touch of humor. The second half is a concoction of patriotism, father-daughter relationships, generation gaps, a villainous coach, etc. which can create a déjà vu feeling at times, but the film remains engaging thanks to the sincerity in presentation, and those brilliantly executed sequences of wrestling. Aamir Khan gives an excellent performance, and the four girls who played his daughters at different periods of time were also equally good. I especially liked the transformation shown by Zaira Wasim in the role of young Geeta, as she grows from a very reluctant student who is just drawn towards the sport by her father, to a very proud, confident and ambitious wrestler as she starts winning matches.

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December 17th, 2016
08:15 pm

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Queue for Cash
Half of today was spent on the process of getting some money from my bank account. I had withdrawn some amount a month back, soon after the demonetization, but that time I had thought that the "demonetization effect" and long queues for cash would come down by the time I run out of cash again. I never thought that even after one month, the situation would continue to remain the same, and I would have to waste my time once again on the queue.

While so many people are patiently waiting in queues for the limited withdrawal amount allowed for them, in the newspaper we daily see updates about crores worth of new currency being caught from various places as part of "raids". What is not caught, could obviously be much higher than that, indicating that the "rich and powerful" are not at all impacted and they continue to get support from the corruption infrastructure. I sincerely hope that the officials who are part of these rackets are caught, and they should not just be suspended - They should be dismissed, debarred from any form of employment for a few years, prosecuted through a fast-track court and put in jail immediately. In the absence of determined, swift and stern actions on corrupt officials and politicians, the entire demonetization exercise would just look like a punishment imposed on the common people.

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December 14th, 2016
12:46 pm

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Asha Jaoar Majhe
Asha Jaoar Majhe, Bengali film directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, tells the story of a husband and wife (who are not named) living in Calcutta. The husband works at a printing press on night shifts while the wife works during daytime at a bag company, so the time they get to spend together is very limited. The dialog-less film patiently follows the routine of the couple, and the only instance when they are at least hinted to be seeing each other is near the end of the film, which follows a beautifully picturized "dream sequence" for a few minutes.

The 1.5 hour long film would look like much longer than that, because of the slow and detailed picturization of routine and monotonous activities and events, which create a unique atmosphere for the film. So, we see sun setting over the buildings in the city in a scene that is nearly two minutes long, which is accompanied with the usual evening-sounds of the city. In another scene, we see the face of the husband as a series of static images, seen through the moving parts of the press. Later, we get to see closeup scenes of various provisions - rice, pulses, etc. being transfered to containers, and get to know the variations in sound that they make during the process.

Asha Jaoar Majhe gives an extreme account of people who spend most of their time on their work and routine (some, to make both ends meet, while others just for the sake of it), getting that rare glimpse of Life probably once in a blue moon.

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December 9th, 2016
02:35 pm

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Earthquake is Going to Come!!
Rahul Gandhi warns that earthquake is going to come if he speaks in the parliament!!

I think as long as Rahul Gandhi is there in the field of politics, we will have a constant source of entertainment in the form of statements like this.

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December 4th, 2016
07:22 pm

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Chander Pahar
I watched Bengali-English film Chander Pahar, adaptation of a Bengali novel with the same by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. The novel, an odd one among the author's novels which in general portray life in rural Bengal, is all about adventures of a Bengali youngster in the wilderness of 1909 Africa.

I cant say the movie matched the experience of reading the novel, but I felt it was an earnest effort. In spite of the obvious limitations the makers would have faced while making an Indian regional language movie in such a large canvas set in a foreign country, they have succeeded in making a very engaging film that does justice to the original novel.

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November 21st, 2016
08:35 pm

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Dhanak
Set in Rajasthan, Hindi film Dhanak directed by Nagesh Kukunoor tells the story of two children - a brother and sister. The brother had lost his eyesight when he was four years old, and the sister wishes to make him see again during his ninth birthday, which is just a few days away. After sees a poster featuring Shah Rukh Khan, the sister gets the idea that the star would personally help them if they meet him. One night, she secretly leaves home with her brother, and starts a journey hoping to meet Shah Rukh Khan at a shooting location near Jailsalmer.

The narrative of Dhanak begins in a realistic way, but it slowly evolves to some sort of a feel-good fairy tale. The most notable things in this interesting film are the performances by the two child artists who play the lead roles.

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