Smoke isn’t the only thing you’re blowing…

Picture this in your mind: Tom Cruise staring ferociously at the antagonist, lighting a cigarette and blowing smoke out of his mouth. Now, think of Salman Khan pulling out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and smoking a few of them before going all guns blazing against the bad guys. And finally, think of Ranbir Kapoor smoking a cigarette while reliving the memories he spent with his beloved.

That sounds cool, doesn’t it? Continue reading “Smoke isn’t the only thing you’re blowing…”

Menstrual taboos…

“ All of us were born because of menstrual blood, yet it’s considered impure”

I’ve read close to a thousand articles around the very concept of women empowerment. You see women taking giant strides in each and every sphere of life. Be it work, sport or business, women are everywhere. It’s really heartening to see women finally coming out of the clutches of poverty and making their presence felt. But hold on, there’s one thing that keeps bothering me. I really fail to understand why on earth we consider women ‘impure’ during menstrual cycles?

Continue reading “Menstrual taboos…”

Tackling the bullies…

Student days are tough, not because of all those tests and assignments. Tests and assignments were the least of our worries. The tough time I’m talking about is the tough time kids sometimes give to other kids, something which we call bullying. A majority of us end up facing at least one such incident in our student life. A countless number of children are bullied in India every day, it’s never-ending.

Continue reading “Tackling the bullies…”

A state of intolerance…

 Film making is rightly considered as a profession which allows the creative juices to flow out of people. It provides people with the widest extent of unleashing their creativity. A director puts his creativity to use in an attempt to create a world of his own. A film maker takes all sorts of cinematic liberties (He’s bound to). Historical depictions are subject to a considerable amount of distortion. History is something which is always created. Distorting history can prove extremely fatal. The recent attack on director Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes as a wake-up call that Hindu extremism is no longer a myth, but a harsh reality.

Continue reading “A state of intolerance…”

Film review:Assassin’s creed-A total ‘paisa-vasool’ flick

This morning I decided to go and watch The Assassin’s Creed, not because I’m a big fan of the video game but because I didn’t have anything to do:)

Let us take a closer look at Assassin’s Creed, the film. Assassin’s Creed trailer

An Overview:

The story begins exactly the way stories like these usually do. A convicted criminal being rescued from prison (Fassbender) and learning that the organization which planned and executed the rescue (Abstergo Industries) is madly searching for The Apple of Eden (Now, that’s interesting:)) How these men (and woman as well) go about their business forms the crux of the story.

The Storyline:

The story could have been a bit tighter, but frankly, stories and films dealing with video games and stuff are pretty much ‘over the top’ action-packed entertainers and we want them to be that way. The best thing about the film is that it  succeeds in keeping the viewer hooked and guessing. It’s fast-faced and doesn’t give you an opportunity to blink your eyes. The film keeps you interested right from the beginning till the very end and its 2 hour run-time won’t appear long . The story loses pace on more than one occasions, especially post interval, but ultimately succeeds in delivering what it wants to deliver i.e. entertainment.

Rating:**1/2

Performances:

Fassbender is the star of the show, without a doubt. The film relies heavy upon Fassbender’s heroics and he has done quite a reasonable job. He’s quite similar to the protagonists we have in our typical Bollywood flicks. A guy with  a largely  shadowy past. Marion as Dr. Sophia adds glamour and charm to the film just like Katrina Kaif did in Ek Tha Tiger. The likes of Jeremy Irons and Micheal Williams have been given limited screen-space and you can expect that from a movie which is heavily dependent upon its lead pair.

Rating: ***/5

Music:

The director’s brother Jed Kurzel has composed the film’s music and it has to be said that the film’s music is one of the positives the film brings to light. Jed Kurzel, known for composing music for the highly acclaimed horror flick The Babadook has once again delivered the goods. The film’s music pumps up the viewer’s adrenaline and complements the entire setup. It adds that adventurous flavour to The Assassin’s Creed.

Rating ****/5

Direction:

Justin Kurzel has tried extremely hard to recreate the 15th century setup. The action sequences have been executed really well. The locations add authenticity to the setup. Most of the action sequences are extremely pleasing to the eye. The complexity of the entire plot has been maintained but the wafer thin plotline really leaves you with nothing except action sequences. the VFX team needs to be given a thumbs up for the effort they’ve invested.

Rating **1/2

Overall:

All in all, the film is meant for the sole purpose of entertainment. It is a perfect way to kickstart the weekend. If you’re a fan of Fassbender then you can definitely give it a go ahead. It would surely lure the video game and movie buffs in India as well as in other parts of the world as well. Assassin’s Creed has been made keeping in mind the younger audiences. It’ll do reasonable business (I would like to believe that) because of the popularity of the video game. Overall, it’s a fast paced,action-packed flick. Definitely a one-time watch.

Overall Rating:***/5

Organ trade…

India can be rightly proud of its status as one of  the world’s fastest growing economies but there’s an infamous label that refuses to go away. Despite the country’s best efforts to destroy the black market for illegal organ trade, India retains its reputation as an easy place to buy organs such as kidneys and livers.

Earlier this year, I saw a Bollywood flick titled ‘Rocky Handsome’ starring the burly surly John Abraham. The film struggled to attract audiences, but threw light on the ever-so grave and serious issue of illegal organ trade. The film saw an organized organ mafia active in the Indian state of Goa. The liver was being sold to one district, the heart to another.

There are quite a lot of reasons for this. First of all, the very concept of organ donation is new in India. Furthermore, the western notion of removing organs from people who have already been declared brain-dead is even more unfamiliar. India is a huge country with around 60% of its population still living in villages, so it’s not possible for all of them to know about the practice of organ donation.

The next problem is that not all doctors know how to identify people who can donate their organs. Also, you need to have fairly good connectivity.Imagine that the donor is living in some remote part of Chattisgarh, now to bring him to Delhi and to take out that organ would be a huge challenge.

It is basically due to the lack of awareness. A lot of people believe that organ donation is prohibited in their religion which, in reality, is untrue. No religion prohibits organ donation. And then, there are several horror stories that are a powerful deterrent. Earlier, transplants were misused (they still are) and got a bad name for themselves so, people are scared as well. All of us must have seen it on news channels where patients are admitted to a hospital only to wake and find their organs have been removed.

In the Indian state of Goa, the tourists who overstay after the expiry of their  visas are targeted by  the loan sharks and are tricked into selling their kidneys. In 2016, reports also surfaced from Pandoli, a small community in rural Gujarat where villagers were allegedly pressured into selling their kidneys to solve their financial problems.

Diabetes is rife in India. Untreated diabetes leads to organ failure, necessitating a transplant, but there aren’t enough donated organs to go around. The Indian hospitals receive countless requests for organs from abroad as well.And so the underground trade persists.

Although such illicit rackets have been flourishing since the early 1990’s, the growth and the rising popularity of social media has catapulted the trade into a new direction. Harvesters are openly lurking on dozens of Facebook pages fashioned as Kidney and transplant support groups.

The widening hole between the demand and legal supply of organs is being filled by what is believed to be the world’s biggest organ market spanning across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka,  Bangladesh and Iran. Sri Lanka has become the epicenter of illegal kidney  transplants over the years.

To promote organ donation as a positive practice, the authorities are enlisting the help of Bollywood actors. Aamir Khan, for instance, has pledged to donate  his organs. Earlier this year Sri Lanka suspended all kidney transplants for foreigners after Indian police linked a kidney racket in India to doctors based in Sri Lanka, allegedly operating on Indian donors and recipients.

All of these practices and initiatives have had limited impact over the ever-so-growing business of illegal organ trade primarily because of the fact that trafficking in organ trade is an organized crime. The recruiter who identifies the vulnerable person, the transporter, the hospital staff, the medical professionals etc. The trade is rarely exposed because of the large number of people involved in it.

Societal Taboos – Part I

I find it hard to understand why  LGBT people in India are invisibilised in corporate spaces. I’ve always seen the eunuchs and the trans women struggling  to find an identity in the corporate spaces around the country. I’ve had casual chats with people and I’ve noticed glimpses of hesitation in their voices. They must have felt a bit uncomfortable when the discussion started.

At every turn, the sex in sexuality stands under immense danger of being silenced by our own discomfort. censorship too, has played its part in curtailing the exposure one should get when it comes to understanding sexuality and everything related to it. Throughout my life (Well, I’m just 22 years old :)).I’ve noticed disgust and discomfort regarding the whole idea of sex. Often this discomfort does not come out as plain and outspoken revulsion.  Rather, it becomes a banal dismissal of sex talks as something indecent and objectionable. Sometimes, even words aren’t enough to explain the disgust. The word ‘chee’ says it all.

Much like the turn to describing  reviled things, people, and ideologies as ‘anti-national’, such claims of cultural,and sometimes national indecency amplify the compulsions to remain silent on just about everything related to sex, be it sexuality, LGBT issues or the so-called feeling of ‘desire’.

I read a news article about the “Hug a Queer” rally organized by the LGBT  community at Marine Drive in Mumbai, I read somewhere that there were incidents where the public chided the event organizers.  A lot of people claim that the idea of sexuality is against our culture and our shastras and that it is something that needs to remained confined within the length and breadth of one’s bedroom.

Even the hugs and handshakes between a male and female are considered ‘offensive’ by many people. This entire misinterpretation of culture  and tradition are responsible for our for an alarmingly high rate of hesitation when it comes to talking about sexual health. It is this misinterpretation of sexuality which silences and suppresses newness, knowledge and awareness.

And that’s not all, I read in an article published in The Telegraph that an expert panel working for adolescent education was somewhat pressurized by the ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) to omit the words sex and sexuality from the final document they had prepared.

People often refrain themselves from using the world ‘sex’ openly because of the fear that it might end up offending people and their beliefs. It is quiet disheartening and moreover, disappointing to see that even the use of the term ‘sex’ for the purpose of empowering people with knowledge is being labelled as something offensive and indecent.

The population of India is approx 1.25 billion. It is an assumption that every second, a child is born in India, which clearly means that someone, somewhere, in a supposedly remote town of a lesser known village or town must be having sex with his/her partner. The problem lies in the way the entire concept of sex and sexuality is being presented by the society.

Sexuality is something that is policed and relegated to the private sphere. The reason, I believe, sex and sexuality seen in a largely negative light is because of the countless number of negative messages around the idea of sex that we encounter in our daily life. Sex is something that has always been there in the society, but all the negative chatter surrounding sex right from news channels reporting incidents of rape and sexual violence to news reports throwing light on infidelity. It won’t be wrong to say that the entire idea surrounding sex and sexual health has been positioned negatively.

On a personal note, It won’t be wrong to say that sexual health is an integral cog in the wheel when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Talking about sex isn’t an act of indecency. It is a form of knowledge, a form of awareness which should not remain confined to the bedroom.

The need of the hour is to be a bit more open-minded when it comes to talking about sex. It’ll help people to nurture a healthy and tolerant attitude towards sex irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or beliefs.

 

A state of misconceptions…

I have a  friend whose son is 15-16 years old. He is extremely lonely, depressed and suicidal. He finds it extremely difficult to socialize with people. His parents were more than concerned about him because on several occasions they ended of finding blade marks on his wrists. After trying everything, right from counselling to seeing a hakeem, they finally decided to consult a doctor. Continue reading “A state of misconceptions…”

Of medals and mettle…

As far as India’s Olympic journey is concerned, one thing’s for sure, India’s women are doing their country proud ( with the notable exception of Shobha De 🙂 ) Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and now, PV Sandhu. Women have exceeded expectations and given us something to cheer.

Sakshi Malik won the first medal for India at the Rio Olympics and the entire nation celebrated her achievement on August 18. Malik won the first medal for India (a bronze) and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter in order to congratulate her. Continue reading “Of medals and mettle…”

London has fallen….

The voters have voted in favour of the Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union. This, in all fairness, means that British government would now have to negotiate the terms and conditions of Britain’s departure from the EU. Britain’s exit will affect the British economy, immigration policy, and lots more. It will take years for the full consequences to become clear. But here are some of the most important changes we can expect in the coming months.The process of leaving the EU will take years. Continue reading “London has fallen….”