Monday, December 30, 2013

The Firsts in 2013

    I have never been a reflecting kind nor have I ever made an attempt to challenge myself with new year resolutions. But 2013 has been a witness to several firsts and the experiences that tagged along have not only inspired me to reflect on the year that went by in a blink but has also coaxed me to add a bullet to the list of the firsts by promising myself to take chances and move out of my comfort zone  in the coming year.

The firsts that 2013 offered me:

1. The year began with an end of a longing that had left me restless for years together. The news of moving to Bangalore marked the beginning of a year that offered me peace I had longed for.

2. My association with wine dates back to the year 2010 when I tasted red wine for the first time in an Indian restaurant in Malaysia but I experienced its exquisiteness and the sensory bliss when I attended a wine tasting festival. Music, food, wine, my entertaining (That is what I console myself with for all the craziness) “Gangnam Style” performance and great company. What more can one ask for!

 3. I had brought myself to realize the importance of good health in the year 2010 when I shed the extra pounds that had been my companion for years together and decided to make it a way of life. Determined to be fit, I had worked out in the gym like a crazy woman, had taken the diet under control and had succeeded in motivating myself till the time I reached my target but it was only in May 2013 that I discovered the joy of running. I managed to run a 10k Marathon without training (Met with a small accident a month before the marathon). A healthy way of life pays off in the long run. It was a lesson learnt.

4. Writing has been with me since I was 11 but the energies always spent on trying to fit in led to identity crisis which continues till the present day but now that it has been identified, half battle is won. 2013 inspired me to try my hands on different genres: Travel Writing, Event Reviews, Movie Reviews, Book Reviews to name a few. The blog is livelier than it was in 2012.

 5.Movies have entertained me since childhood but they, for some reason, couldn't induce in me the love and desire to explore new genres, eras and languages. It meant nothing more than a break from school, homework and running around. 2013 enlightened me with the fact that I was looking in the wrong direction, that the movies I had been watching all these years were mere entertainers and not love inducers. I discovered the actors and the directors who are near perfect, the stories that make you one with the characters and the dialogues that make your heart race. I discovered the real meaning of movies.

6. I was bitten by the travelling bug in 2011 when I moved out of my home town. It was the year when, apart from the short trips to Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, Goa and sorts, I was exposed to the term 'Road Trip'. In the following year, the trend continued. In those two years I managed to touch the Western India, not to the heart's content but as much as circumstances permitted. 2013 took me to the East coast, Auroville. The experience was inexplicable. It deserves to be credited with the inward change I have experienced post the trip and the addition of the the Travel tab on the blog.

 7. 2013 was a year of freebies. I started participating in some contests soon to grow weary of them but managed to win a few prizes in the process. Although I missed on the real travel this year (except Auroville), I virtually travelled the world with the free a year long subscription of fox traveller magazine. Food coupons won by a foodie is as good as an expensive gadget won by a gadget lover.

8. The number of times I have sneezed in the last six months of 2013 if weighed with the collectively measured sneezes in the last 27 years of life, the former would undoubtedly outdo the latter. I did not expect myself to take such a long time to adapt  to the weather of Bangalore.
9. Having missed on the Seva cafe experience back in town, I got an opportunity to be a volunteer in Seva's Bangalore chapter. I met some wonderful and inspiring people. It was an enriching experience.

10.The last month of the year was remarkable. It gave me the strength and inspiration  to  reflect on the year 2013 with ease and look forward to 2014 with hope, determination and a new zeal.

      The Resolution:

      Instead of setting direct goals, changing the attitude would be a better strategy to work on the weaknesses. Hence, I would give up on

1.  Procrastination
2.  Negativity
3.  Anger
4.  Comfort zone
5.  Fear

    With the hope of writing new chapters and creating new memories, exploring new horizons and spreading love in the coming year, I wish a HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Movie Review: Sunset BLVD

Movie: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Genre: Drama, Film Noir

Director: Billy Wilder

Writers: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder

Cast: Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Feature films come with a certain age of their own barring a few which get etched in your psyche as long as you exist. Sunset Boulevard falls in the latter. A 1950 American film noir, Sunset BLVD is a tale of love, dreams and giving up on them.

Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a silent actress after being side kicked by the advent of talkies, lives in a constant state of denial and recluse. Dreaming of a comeback, a term that she hates and prefers a return instead, she appoints Joe Gills (William Holden), a small time struggling writer trying to make his ends meet, as a script doctor. Max (Erich Stroheim), the then director who made Norma a star, is an epitome of love and loyalty. Being her first husband, he chose to be Norma's butler in order to stay by her side for life.

Norma falls in love with Joe and Joe, out of desperation, continues being her companion only to be shuddered out of his pretentious identity by Betty (Nancy Olson), a script reader and his friend director's girl. Towards the end of the movie, a heinous crime is committed ensued by complete madness that haunts you for a at-least a night.

Gloria, a powerhouse of talent, has effortlessly brought her larger than life character to life with her magnificent performance. Her flamboyant nature oozes our through her dramatic gestures and a stern voice except for a few instances when she falls weak. She, at one point says, “I am big. It's the pictures that got small.” reflecting the illusionary life she lives and the fame and glamour she had once experienced. She has undoubtedly stolen every scene of the film. The transition from a comic performance to being in a fit of rage within a fraction of a second in the Chaplin scene is commendable. 

The dark, witty and cleverly written script coinciding with the gloomy black and white makes it a masterpiece. Had it been made in color, it wouldn't have been as enthralling. What allures the audience even more is the metaphorical narration by Joe with a slight tinge of dry humor throughout the movie. "Come think of it, the whole place seemed to have been stricken with the kind of creeping paralysis... out of beat with the rest of the world... crumbling apart in slow motion." justifies the above made judgement.

This queer combination of humor and eeriness makes it a classic film of all time. The closing line of the film, "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." seals the deal making it virtually flawless.