And dad is on TV again

Over the years, in his position as a senior Psychiatrist, Dad has been called by channels on various related programmes and appeared on state and local TV. This evening, I switched between PV Sindhu’s brilliant Rio semi-final victory and Dad’s interview on a Mangalorean news channel. The live streaming helped and I thought I would chronicle this moment. So here is a screenshot capture of the show that tackled the topic of addiction.

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Pax Americana

The Sopranos reaches its pinnacle in Season 6. Truly. Two episodes down and with the Jersey Godfather comatose, you have his shadow loom as large as it did when he was  active. Tony Soprano’s dreams during this time make for a compelling story as he shifts from situation to situation in a travelling salesman avatar. Never have dreams been so engrossing on screen. In the outside world, the burning never stops, nor does the rush of the mafia struggle that takes place clandestinely as various players throw their hat in the ring to take over from the ‘boss’.

This series has lived up to everything it stood for. The unapologetic violence, the unpretentious swag of the Jersey mobs, the loyalty and betrayals and above all – family. Episode 2 of the last season is a wonderful narrative in the stream of consciousness. It could be a tribute to Don Sopranos Psychiatrist too. It weaves from reality to the ‘other world’ seamlessly, giving away few secrets as the characters move ahead. The ending solidifies the goosebumps you feel throughout the episode and with the hauntingly beautiful ‘When it’s cold I’d like to die‘ playing from Moby‘s soundkit you have one of the most beautiful episode closures in this saga.

 

The indefatigable Molly Solverson

A quaint snow covered town. A whole lot of murders. A villain who could be the devil himself. And the lady with the lamp who shines it on clues that define good old police work. The last one is Molly Solverson, one of the best cop characters on television.

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Pic. courtesy: bustle.com

I approached ‘Fargo‘ keeping in mind the Coen Brothers ’90s movie and my love for all things that come out of those dark humoured minds. I was never disappointed as the creators of the show (who didn’t happen to be the brothers) strictly followed the Coen code of story-telling to come up with a fantastic crime drama that saw me watch the whole season from start to finish.

Fargo is a series that takes on the Minnesota landscape and all that its lonely inhabitants stand for. The nuances from daily hellos to uncertain suspicions to paradoxes, as defined by story titles, bring in a slice of life that can be a suitable parable in our time. And you have fantastic leads in Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks and supporting acts from Bob Odenkirk (famous as Saul Goodman from Better Call Saul). There is the primary antagonist, a deliciously devilish portrayal by Billy Bob Thornton. You cannot have asked for anything more evil than the Lorne Malvo character that he portrays. He is the devil with his sense of dark principles and justice absolutely intact. There are hitmen (one of them is deaf), the mob and a whole lot of characters whose inclinations would be in line with themes from ‘Alice in Wonderland‘.

Martin Freeman takes time off from his Dr. Watson duties to give us a William H. Macy-like Fargo performance that makes you feel for and then revile him. His bumbling Lester Nygaard is as fool-hardy as they come but with the presence of mind to survive. And yes, there are major cameos from, surprise surprise…, a comedic pair who put in quite a good law enforcement performance. Comedy Central regulars will get this.

Chief of Police Bill Oswalt brilliantly summarises what Fargo is, “I used to have positive opinions about the world, you know, about people. Used to think the best. Now I’m looking over my shoulder. An unquiet mind, that’s what the wife calls it.”

Of fractures and what not

One week with a fractured foot and I have gone through quite a collection of movies/series on my hard drive. And all that’s on the hard disk needs to last foIMG_20160602_172646r another three weeks. That’s right, I am counting the days before the full leg permanent cast comes off by June 22. A check up at the doctor’s yesterday determined that the injury was an old one that got worse over time. Surprising question was why didn’t I notice it all this time. Last weekend’s excruciating pain and my inability to place my foot on the ground led to an emergency experience that lasted the whole Sunday. Talk about missing the IPL finals.

So on this cheery note, I have viewed and reviewed a few of the gems I came across during the week.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Britain’s most obnoxious radio jockeyindex is at it again. This time on the big screen. I have always enjoyed the foot-in-mouth shenanigans of Alan Partridge (sort of brings memories of a cross-Atlantic contemporary – Alan Harper) and it was time his bloated ego got its space up there. This time our RJ from Norfolk has to deal with a ‘Dog Day Afternoon‘-like situation and in his own incompetent way handles the hostage crisis till the end. With a lot of familiar faces from the TV series, those of you connected to Partridge’s life can relate to the nonsensical brilliance that Steve Coogan‘s character offers. While on painkillers this was a good way to start my recuperation. Oh and I loved the music from the opening sequence.

Sherlock Holmes: The Abominable Bride – My fascination for all things Holmes brings me to the latest offering from Benedict Cumberbatch and co. One of the best portrayals of Holmes, this hour and a half long episode focuses on a specific case from the past interjected with scenes from the present. I cannot reveal more, but say that there are some neat Gothic touches to this tale of a wronged bride along with the usual surprise twists that come along with Arthur Conan Doyle‘s fables. A cheer out for Dr. Watson too and Mrs. Watson. Look out for one of my favourite scenes from the books – The Reichenbach Falls.

the abominable bride sherlock holmes

Amores Perros – Before finding success in the States, Innaritu directed this gem of a tale based in Mexico City. Dogs are the connection between three story arcs that make this film. Loyalty, honesty, love are the themes that emanate strongly from this beautiful, brutal and dramatic featuamores perrosre. Everyone has a story to tell and Amores Perros (Life’s a Bitch) proves what good story-telling is all about. As with Latin American films, the emotions are strong, vivid and portray the ghettos of Mexico to the high life and revolutionary idealistic zeal of the educated. All the while marking the perils that life can hold out to us.

 

Sicario – Staying with Mexico. What a movie! Benecio Del Toro has been a favourite ever since ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘ and the performancesicario del toro emily blunt he puts in here is matched by Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin in a hell of a cartel movie. From scene one you get the feeling that the next shot is going to be the last for the protagonists and it goes on till the end. Never a dull moment, this has one of the best military road scenes when an elite crack team makes it across the US border to bring in a cartel suspect. Del Toro’s silence lurks in every scene and there’s a lot to say in that. His character is the mission and till the end you never guess what his exact role is within the Special Forces. One of the best movies of 2015 and certainly deserved a lot more accolades than it got.

The Devil’s Backbone – Sticking with Spanish revivalism, this Pedro Almodovar produced movie with one of my favourite director’s at the helm – Guillermo Del Toro, brings in Spanish Gothic horror in the midst of the Civil War of the 1930s. Set in a remote orphanage with spookydevils backbone del toro happenings, this tale of war and ghosts weaves its way through the deserted Catalonia region. The horror is real and there are scenes that would make you cringe and sink deeper into your bed. What I loved about this movie was the poetry. The actual poetry that the orphanages doctor brings out in his discussions with the students and the woman he loves. There can be no greater description of a ghost (or Phantasmo as they say in Spanish) than the words used by the good Doctor. Love, betrayal and resurrection in the time of war… that’s what the Devil’s Backbone stands for.

Plebs – Back to TV series. And my favourite genre – Brit comedy. Set in ancient Rome, with all modern day mannerisms, Plebs is a sporty laugh riot with memorable characters to boot. I LMAO on this one. Who would have thought the Romanplebs‘s had such a great sense of humour. From Roman orgies to Cypriot monks, Plebs takes you through the life and times of Caesar’s civilians as they live through gladiator fights, bureaucracy and the occasional refugee who steals the hearts of the protagonists while leading them on. The master slave equations are hilarious and one to watch out for in this comedy. Plebs dabbles a bit with the ‘Carry On…’ humour to prove that Rome was not built in a day.

Open dosas on an open road

Just before the Adichunchanagiri Medical College on the Bangalore Mangalore highway, you will find a guard manning traffic from the divider and pointing a reflector towards a building at the side. This is Hirisave. You turn to your left (if you are travelling from Bangalore) and you see a large building with an even bigger garden and cars and bikes lining the driveway. Welcome to Mayura.

This hotel, run by South Canara professionals with their touch of finesse and polished cleanliness, has been a pit stop for travellers since the last 15 years. Getting straight to the menu – their dosas are brilliant. From the open dosa to the ‘light’ paper dosa, you have some of the best dosas along the entire Bangalore-Mangalore stretch prepared here. Though slightly off the highway, this place has gathered enough of a fan following for its dosas and thali meals that make it a venue to look forward to.

The open dosa is a speciality here and anyone ready for a different experience should try this. The dosa comes along with a huge blob of ‘desi’ butter that makes it literally melt in your mouth. The meals served with ‘desi’ ghee again are a treat and the South Indian thali is a speciality. And then there are the button idlis, tiny idlis served with hot and not so spicy dhal curry. This is a meal that settles well in the tummy specially if you are in the midst of a long journey.

You will find bikers from the Harley-Davidson club or cyclists on their weekend expeditions making a beeline to Mayura. For me, personally an extremely important reason why I make a stop here i because of its cleanliness. I haven’t seen a cleaner mass-serving South Indian hotel in South India. You have to hand it to the management –  spotless washroom, there’s even someone manning the place at all times.

As a group of four, we had nearly all the favourites available at Mayura for lunch. Needless to say we skipped tea and dinner.

Dignity in CinemaScope

Here is an Italian movie, watched seven years ago, once. I have never watched ‘The Consequences of Love‘ again. Such is this masterpiece, that I would rate above all features, and the haunting beauty of it all that makes me stop and just think of what transpired. I no longer wish to see this for fear that my view of this movie may diminish ever so slightly with every watch and make me forget about the plot. Gushing over this movie, I would like to reiterate that this is no run of the mill European cinematic fantasy where too much emphasis is given to the arty mis-en-scene’s and what not. There are moments of art that gel well into the storyline and do not feel forced or patronizing to the visual.

Paolo Sorrentino went on to greater things post this movie. ‘The Consequences of Love’ is set in Lugano, in the midst of the Swiss banks and retired expats who make this a haven of peace and calm, foreboding silence. The film breathes a richness in scene after scene enhanced only by the stars – Toni Servillo and Olivia Magnani. Magnani is one of the most beautiful actresses I have come across and her relationship with Toni’s character never extends beyond a touch. And there lies the beauty of this whole relationship with a backdrop of the mafia, money laundering banks, hitmen and gossiping retirees who come together to conspire and help the film reach a beautiful climax. Without revealing much, this movie is a moving visual spectacle that truly defines what dignity, character and beauty can mean in a relationship going past the ‘hurdles’ of trust.

Paolo Sorrentino went on to win an Academy Award much later but this movie is a masterpiece that will forever remain one.

Saxxy songs from our college days

There are a couple of songs that used to play at every college fest during the late ’90s and the early 2000s. Fun, peppy and with really good music videos to boot. ‘Paisa‘ by Agosh and ‘Kya Soorat Hai‘ by Bombay Vikings. The videos complemented the songs and featured the happy go lucky mood of this period brought about with the raw innocence of an age just getting into the internet/mobile/smartphone mode.

I wonder what happened to Agosh. They were really good and their tongue firmly in cheek video hit the nail on our aspirational heads. Kya Soorat Hai had Prabhudeva‘s brother shimmying around a late ’90s Bangalore and had some major Kwality ice cream product placement. Feast was it? So here are my two favourites on this Thursday evening.