Everything Happens for a Reason: Karmic Interconnectedness

Have you ever wondered about those moments when you wish for something—a sea breeze, perhaps—and suddenly, your friend calls for a beach walk? It feels like there’s an unseen force listening to your thoughts, understanding your wishes, and weaving them into reality. I call it as hidden blessings, some says it’s the Atma of your dearest ones, maybe your grandma, maybe your childhood friend who died in an accident. Whatever it might be, I strongly believe there is a mysterious or hidden aura around us, that quietly orchestrates the events for us. It’s listening you, and seeking you.

interconnectedness in our daily life
Ghostly reflection experiment

Madampu Kunjukuttan

Recently, I came across a memoir by Madampu Kunjukuttan that reminded me of this thought. Those who don’t know Madampu should try the biographical novel Bhrashtu. It’s the real life story of an 18th century Namboodiri woman excommunicated for adultery — during the court hearing, she shocked the presiding court by naming a score of society notables whom she encountered, it’s a revenge-bound story which exfoliate the hypocratic patriarchal community of 18th century Kerala.

Madampu Kunjukuttan (1941- 2021)

Madampu Kunjukuttan used to frequently visit Mookambika temple between Kollur and Kodachadri during his early writing days. Those trips helped him to introspect and infuse a spiritual enlightenment in Madampu, both as a writer and a spiritual seeker.

Those who have read Aaryavartham or Bhrashtu can connect with my words. From Adikula nathan’s disintegration, Aryavartam is the story of the Adigotras, who emerge as four clans. The sub-plots in an extended narrative style are enough to understand the depth of Madampu’s thought processes.

A Yogi, Madampu & Their Karmic Interconnectedness

During one such Mookambika visit, he encountered a young yogi deeply immersed in meditation at Sarvagnya Peetha. Intrigued by the yogi’s serene demeanour, Madampu approached him and kept three coins there as a Bhiksha (noble donation). Madampu turned back and took a few steps, but suddenly the yogi opened his eyes and called him back.

Kodachadri Hills: Interconnectedness moment between Yogi and Madampu
Kodachadri Hills

With polished British English, the yogi calmly asked, What brings you here with these coins?’

‘I do not know; it just felt right,’ Madampu replied with a smile.

‘Will it always feel right?’ The yogi chuckled, prompting Madampu to respond in his own way, ‘Probably not.’

The yogi grasped Madampu’s hand. ‘Brother, today I thought of this: someone donating 3 coins. In a week’s time, I will go to the valley and buy three handfuls of rice with three coins. That’s enough for me for a week. This money you brought here will fulfil my needs for the week. The grace of my guru.’

The yogi then shared his story. He spoke of spiritual journeys and learnings—of Himalayan expeditions, encounters with Shankaracharya’s teachings, and seeking the essence of Devi worship. He recounted his time studying Sanskrit under Jnanananda Saraswati in Rishikesh.

Then, with those sparkling eyes, Yogi asked, Have you ever heard about my guru, Jnanananda Saraswati?

This question from Yogi, who was a foreigner in Kodachadri, took Madamb back to his childhood. A period even before Madambu’s Upanayana.

Once, during a monsoon afternoon, Madampu and his brothers saw someone at the doorstep. The man was conversing with elders, and Madampu discovered that he was a man from the south, well-versed in Puranas and Sanskrit. Madampu asked his uncle, ‘Who is this?’ ‘Parameshwaran,’ came the reply.

That was the first time he met that genius. 

‘I need to eat,’ Parameswaran said. ‘Clean yourself at the pool, and the food will be ready,’ Madampu’s uncle replied. The family gave him food and shelter. That’s how Parameshwaran lived in Madampu’s Mana for five years! He also taught Sanskrit to Madampu and his siblings.

Parameswaran Unnithan started teaching sanskrit to many children in his area, and finally he married the sibling of one of his disciples. His children went abroad, received a good education, and began a successful career there.

Parameshwaran Unnithan, who had travelled from Kerala to the Himalayas, influenced by Adi Shankara and Brahmasutrabhasya, in search of knowledge, reached Rishikesh, then obtained Deeksha and became Jnanananda Saraswati. The same Parameswaran Unnithan who taught Madampu Sanskrit is the one who taught that young yogi Sanskrit. 

“Do you know Malayali Gnananda Saraswathi?”

Young Yogi asked again.

Yogi’s question awakened Madambu from his past. A misty breeze that came from beyond the mountains in Kodachadri caressed both of them.

I know. He has also taught me Sanskrit. He stayed with us for four to five years. We got his blessings.

Young Yogi’s eyes were filled with tears after listening to this.

“Everything happens for a reason, “Yogi said.

Madampu remembered Yogi’s words. When he got three rupees, the young British yogi said that it was the blessing of the Guru. The sky stood red above Sarvagnya Peetha; it made them feel like Mookambika Devi was showering Vermillion with her blessings.

Philosophies Around Interconnectedness

This interconnectedness and hidden auras which are working for us, can be seen in many philosphies. In Eastern philosphies, it’s called Karma and Dharma. It suggest that our actions and thoughts have ripple effects beyond what we perceive. In Buddhism, for example, posits that all beings are interconnected, and actions (karma) influence future outcomes in a complex web of cause and effect.

Modern philosphies describe it as Butterfly effect. This chaos theory illustrates how small changes can lead to significant consequences over time. It suggests that even tiny, seemingly insignificant actions or events can have far-reaching effects in complex systems.

The most modern word is manifestation; it refers to the belief that through focused thoughts, intentions, and actions, individuals can attract or create desired outcomes in their lives. Recently, in an interview, actor Vijay Sethupathy said he manifested his acting career. I believe the aura around him might have listened and worked for him.

Imagine this: hidden energies or unseen and mysterious Atmas, surrounding us ceaselessly, attentive to our every whisper and thought. They are like silent guardians, fulfilling the commands of our subconscious minds.

When our intentions are noble, these energies conspire to nurture and elevate us, crafting pathways to our desires. When our thoughts are evil headed, their influence can be ominous, steering us towards destruction.

What do you think? Are we mere vessels, or do we wield unseen powers that shape our destinies? Do you believe in this interconnectedness? Have you ever experienced these mysterious aura around you working for your wishes. Share in comments.

Why Only One Pandava Reached Heaven? Read more here.

How to Spot a True Leader: Avoid the Action Fallacy

Who is a true leader? How to identify a true-leader? It’s difficult to answer. But let me introduce you to the concept of a pseudo-leader, which will help you with “How Not to Select a Leader”.

A True Leader Need not be Aberrant all the Time
A True Leader Need not be Aberrant all the Time

Many people think that good leadership is about handling crises and dramatic actions. But this is a misconception. True leadership is actually about who follows; prevention is better than cure. That means preventing problems before they arise. It’s not just about reacting to issues; it’s about planning and making sure that problems don’t happen in the first place.

Lee Kuan Yew or Hugo Chavez? 

Imagine you are choosing a leader for a country. Will you pick Lee Kuan Yew or Hugo Chavez? 

Hugo Chavez: A LEADER FROM Venezuela
Hugo Chavez

I believe many of you might not have heard about Lee Kuan Yew and there are high chances you might pick Chavez because many believe Chavez is one of the best communist leaders, and he transformed Venezuela into a prosperous country, and when he died, the country collapsed.

Why Lee Kuan Yew Will be a Better Choice

But in reality, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, who transformed Singapore from a developing country into a global financial hub through meticulous planning, strict governance, and steady development policies.

Lee Kuan Yew: An example of true leader
Lee Kuan Yew

His leadership was marked by effective management and long-term strategic planning. On the other hand, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose tenure was filled with dramatic actions and bold declarations, Chavez’s leadership included controversial economic policies and nationalisations that, despite their initial popularity, eventually led to significant economic instability and hardship for the country. 

This tendency to prefer dramatic stories or excitements is what I call the “action fallacy.”

The Action Fallacy: Excitement vs. Effectiveness

Let’s look at the leadership styles of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook at Apple. Steve Jobs is known for his dramatic leadership and visionary ideas that brought Apple back from the brink of failure.

Tim cook and Steeve Jobs: leaders of Apple
Tim cook and Steve Jobs

His bold moves, like launching the iPhone and iPad, were revolutionary and are often celebrated. Jobs’ style was full of excitement and innovation, but it also came with a lot of risks and high-profile product failures like the Apple Newton.

A Leadership without Fans

On the other hand, Tim Cook, who took over as CEO after Jobs, is known for his calm and steady leadership. Cook focuses on operational efficiency and careful planning. Under his leadership, Apple has not only continued to release successful products but also improved its supply chain, increased sustainability efforts, and maintained a consistent growth trajectory.

Cook’s approach might not be as dramatic as Jobs’, but his meticulous planning and risk management have made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Image Credit: Statista
Image Credit: Statista

Unfortunately, world is not celebrating Tim cook as the way it celebrating Steve Jobs’ leadership.

In business, this focus on the “action fallacy” has negative effects. Because of this, we often promote leaders who seem to be taking action, rather than those who work quietly to prevent problems. This means we might be rewarding the wrong kind of leadership, which can lead to more issues in the future.

Finding a clear-cut real-world example of the Action Fallacy from business world can be tricky. Let me explain why.

Be Careful Before Labelling Action-Fallacy

Hindsight Bias: Looking back at events, it’s easy to see where preventive measures could have been taken. However, judging past leaders based solely on this knowledge can be misleading. They might have been operating with limited information at the time.

Complexity of Leadership: Leadership involves a multitude of factors beyond crisis management. A leader who seems to fall victim to the Action Fallacy might actually be strong in other areas like team building or strategic vision.

However, let me choose a closer example for you.

How General Electric Collapsed Because of Action Fallacy

Jack Welch, one of the most celebrated corporate chieftains of his time, spent the last few years of his life regretting what he believed was the most important decision of his career:

He promoted Jeffrey Immelt as CEO of General Electric (GE) in 2001, Why did Mr. Welch choose Mr. Immelt as his successor when he had options like Mr. McNerney, who was known for his steady and effective leadership style?

Jeffrey Immelt : Ex-Ceo of Generral Electric, an example of Action fallacy
Jeffrey Immelt

It was Action Fallacy played a role here.

Welch was swayed by Immelt’s charm, political skills, and polished demeanour. Immelt, a former Dartmouth offensive tackle and Harvard Business School graduate, seemed to embody the dynamic and bold leader GE needed.

During the selection process, Immelt’s confident and aggressive approach stood out. Whenever Immelt met with Welch, he was in overdrive, showcasing his ability to take bold actions and make quick decisions. His high-profile initiatives and assertive style made him appear as a proactive leader who could steer GE through challenging times.

Despite warnings from some board members who believed Jim McNerney would be a better choice, Welch was captivated by Immelt’s dynamic persona.

Immelt took over as CEO just days before the September 11 attacks in 2001. His tenure was marked by several critical mistakes that significantly impacted GE’s fortunes. Despite his high-profile initiatives and aggressive strategies, many of his decisions backfired:

How Immelt’s Action Fallacy Spoiled GE

Selling NBC Universal: Immelt sold GE’s majority stake in NBC Universal, including its television network and Hollywood studio, too cheaply. This decision was made in panic during the financial crisis, leading to significant financial losses for GE.

Overpaying for Acquisitions: Immelt made several high-cost acquisitions that did not yield the expected returns. These acquisitions strained GE’s finances and did not contribute to the company’s growth as intended.

Image credit: Fortune & Bloomberg
Image credit: Fortune & Bloomberg

Dismantling GE Capital: GE Capital was a highly profitable yet risky part of GE’s business. Immelt dismantled it but failed to replace its lost earnings, which hurt GE’s overall profitability.

Ignoring Talent: Immelt was known for his “know-it-all” attitude, as described by Welch. This attitude drove away talented executives who felt unheard and undervalued. His inability to listen and collaborate effectively led to a loss of valuable leadership within the company.

Under Immelt’s leadership, GE’s market value plummeted. By the time he stepped down, GE had lost over $150 billion in market value. Today, GE has been reduced to a shadow of its former self, it split into three separate companies. The finalisation of the split occurred on April 2, 2024.

Redefine Leadership

We need to rethink our idea of what makes a good leader. We should celebrate leaders who are good at preventing crises, not just those who react to them.

This means recognising the importance of “boring management” – the unglamorous work of planning, process building, and team building. This is where true leadership lies.

Instead of focusing on dramatic actions and crisis management, we should value leaders who work quietly and effectively to prevent problems before they arise.

For founders looking to identify true leaders, it’s important to look beyond charisma and bold actions. Pay attention to candidates who demonstrate strong planning and risk management skills.

Look for individuals who have a track record of building efficient processes and fostering team collaboration. Ask about their experiences in preventing issues rather than just handling crises.

True leaders are those who ensure stability and long-term success through careful, steady work. Recognising and promoting these qualities can help create a more resilient and effective organisation.

This Is my answer for how to Identify a True Leader.

How to make Better Decisions with Marcus Aurelius Approach, read here.

4 Qualities Startups Seek in Job Seekers

Building a successful startup is no small thing. It’s not just about having a super cool idea or disruptive technology. It’s about the people who drive these first thoughts forward. I believe most freshers from Tier 2 colleges dream of joining a super startup team, considering the amount of learning and exponential growth. But if you don’t have the following three qualities, your expectations and reality may not match well. And many have this question in mind; How do I start working in startup? Let’s see what those three key qualities are that go beyond the obvious skills and qualifications.

1️⃣ Optimism: The Power of Positive Thinking

Most startups operate with uncertainties and challenges. From securing funding to developing a minimum viable product, the journey is fraught with obstacles. In such an environment, having team members who are optimists can be incredibly valuable. Optimists believe in the mission and are confident that the team can overcome any hurdles.

Does it work? Look at Airbnb

Consider the early days of Airbnb. The founders faced numerous rejections and financial difficulties. However, their optimism kept them going. They believed in their vision of transforming the way people travel.

How to work in startup: Airbnb case study

This positive mindset not only kept the team motivated but also attracted investors and customers; as they say, now they belong anywhere. From nowhere to anywhere, Aibnb’s journey happened because of the people who believed it’s possible, and they drive that mission with positivity.

How to Demonstrate Your Optimism During Interviews

During interviews, highlight instances where your optimism led to positive outcomes. You could talk about a project that seemed doomed but succeeded because you and your team maintained a positive outlook and kept pushing forward.

For example, “in one of my previous organisations, when I suggested adding Amazon business as a channel for sales, everyone rejected it since the business is highly dependent on offline markets and distributors, and it would spoil the chain and demand. But what I observed was that there were a lot of government exam aspirants outside Kerala, and we couldn’t deliver books at ease since our distribution channels were only in Kerala and a few metro cities.

Finally, I was able to convince the team with my analysis and data on the serviceable market. In just 5 months, our Amazon sales reached 60% of the offline domestic sales.”

2️⃣ Idea Generation: The Innovators

Startups need new ideas to stay ahead. As a job seeker, being someone who can think outside the box and come up with new ideas is very valuable. If you are not someone who can think outside the box, the exposure that you are going to get will be limited, and eventually the growth will be limited as well.

Start-ups move on two things: investments and disruptive ideas. If it’s depending only on money, fuel will be over soon, and it will impact your career. But if every individual can come up with cost-effective or disruptive ideas and action items, start-ups attract more money, and it will help you in your career. So observe whether the start-up has enough idea generators and rational thinkers, or are you the one? Idea generators see opportunities where others see problems and can come up with creative solutions that keep the company moving forward.

Does it work? Learn from Instagram

Do you know how Instagram became a billion-dollar business? Just because of one idea generator. When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were working on their startup, Burbn, it was initially a location-based check-in app.

Startup story: Burbn to Instagram
Burbn to Instagram

However, they noticed that users were more interested in sharing photos. One of their team members suggested focusing on the photo-sharing feature. This idea led to the creation of Instagram, which became a massive success and was later acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.

Are you an outside-the-box thinker? A start-up ecosystem is best for you. Because you can’t suggest an idea and get it done at a massive firm like Apple or Amazon.

How to Demonstrate Your Innovative Thinking During Interviews

Show your creativity and willingness to suggest new ideas. Talk about a time when you introduced a new concept that significantly helped your previous company or project.

For example, you might say, “In my previous job, I suggested a reverse psychology approach for email marketing: instead of saying we are good, we send mail with subject lines, we don’t have anything special for you, you don’t have to open this if you are busy, etc. And suddenly, our open rate became 40%. This not only increased our engagement rates but also made our users feel more connected to our brand, where we are genuine and transparent.”

3️⃣ “Will You Figure It Out?” Spirit: The Problem Solvers

Startups face many unexpected problems. Your KPIs may change frequently; out of the blue, the team may scrap a project and start a new project from scratch, which may require a new set of skills.

In simple words, a start-up is exactly like a mischievous child; it’s not easy to predict what he will do next. As a job seeker, having a “will figure it out” spirit means you don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Instead, you see these challenges as chances to find solutions and keep moving forward.

So, if you have that “Will Figure It Out” or “This Time Shall Pass” attitude, you are going to be noticed by the team, and people will find a leader in you. Your growth will be faster than you expect.

Does it work? Inspire from Slack

Take the story of Slack. The company was originally working on a game called Glitch, developed by Tiny Speck, a startup co-founded by Stewart Butterfield, Cal Henderson, Eric Costello, and Serguei Mourachov.

Despite their efforts, the game struggled to gain traction in the competitive gaming market. Instead of giving up, the team noticed that their internal communication tool, which they had built to collaborate on Glitch, was incredibly effective.

Glitch game sign up page
Glitch game sign up page

Recognising the potential of this tool, Butterfield and his team decided to change their business focus entirely. They repurposed their internal communication platform into a standalone product, which became Slack. Think about the team; all of a sudden, you are moving from gaming to SaaS. But the team had a different mindset that they would figure it out, and that helped them achieve the objective faster.

The new idea penetrated the market very quickly and disrupted workplace communication by offering a user-friendly interface, seamless integration with other software, and a way to organise conversations into channels.

Today, Slack is used by millions of users worldwide and was acquired by Salesforce for $27.7 billion, highlighting the power of determination and adaptability.

How to Demonstrate Your Problem-Solving Skills During Interviews

In interviews, talk about times when you faced big challenges but found ways to overcome them. Show how you solve problems and stay calm under pressure.

For example, you could say, “During a critical project, our main supplier suddenly shut down. I quickly found other local suppliers, negotiated terms, and I figured out an opprtunity with an upper-hand of negotitation, revamped our existing model of 2-3 suppliers to 24 small suppliers, and used a CRM dashboard to coordinate, and kept our production on schedule, saving the project and meeting our deadline.”

4️⃣ “I’ve Got It” Attitude: The Ownership Mindset

In large companies, it’s common to hear, “That’s not my department.” However, startups need a different approach. They grow when employees take ownership of problems, no matter their job title.

You might be a sales manager, but you should be willing to do a user survey, call customers, and close sales if a team member is on leave. As a manager, you may be required to do 50% of the work as a tele-caller and the rest 50% of supporting the team for their dependencies.

This adaptable “I’ve got it” attitude ensures that issues are handled quickly and efficiently, pushing the startup towards success.

Does it work? Read About Dropbox

Take Dropbox as an example. In the early days, Dropbox was a small team working on a new way to store files online. Arash Ferdowsi, the co-founder and CTO, noticed that the user interface (UI) was hard to use. Even though UI design wasn’t his main job, Arash decided to fix it himself.

Dropbox founders
Arash Ferdowsi on the right

He worked with the design team, learning about user experience and interface design. He spent many late nights testing different designs and getting feedback from early users. His hands-on approach and willingness to step out of his role made the UI much better.

This change made Dropbox more appealing to users, and the user base grew quickly. Arash’s “I’ve got it” attitude solved a big problem and set a good example for the team, encouraging everyone to take ownership of issues.

How to Demonstrate Your Ownership Attitude

In interviews, talk about times when you took initiative outside of your usual responsibilities.

For example, you might say, “In my last job, I saw that our project management tool was confusing the team. Even though it wasn’t my job, I researched better tools, organised meetings, and got feedback. I then helped implement a new tool that improved our workflow and made us more productive.”

This shows your commitment to the team’s success. You prove that you’re ready to tackle challenges and help the startup grow, no matter what your job title says.

In Nutshell

Joining a startup means becoming part of a dynamic and often unpredictable environment. By demonstrating optimism, generating innovative ideas, showing a “will figure it out” spirit, and having an “I’ve got it” attitude, you can stand out as a valuable asset to any super startup team. Remember, it’s not just about your skills and experience; it’s about how you approach challenges and contribute to the team’s success.

Additional Tips for Job Seekers

Showcase Communication Skills: While these qualities are crucial, don’t forget the basics. Good communication is key for any team.

Research the company: Understand the startup’s mission and values. Align your responses to show that you are a good cultural fit.

Be Ready to Adapt: Startups change rapidly. Show that you are flexible and open to evolving with the company.

By focusing on these qualities, you can increase your chances of landing a role in a super startup team and contributing to its success.

Are you still worried about uncertainties? Read more about the cognitive survival kits here.

Budget-Friendly Digital Marketing Strategies For 2024

Effective digital marketing doesn’t require a massive budget; it requires strategic thinking. Let me share some key strategies to maximise impact without breaking your marketing budget. These budget-friendly digital marketing strategies are based on the trends and tools from 2024.


Content Strategies

1️⃣ Develop Resonant Content

Develop content that resonates with your target audience and addresses their needs. This will drive organic traffic, enhance your online visibility, and improve your SEO.

Leverage organic tactics. For example, create a blog to establish thought leadership and improve your SEO. Elevate this further by repurposing this content in different formats.

2️⃣ Leverage Existing Content

Turn existing blog posts into a captivating video or an engaging eBook. This saves precious time and extends your content’s reach. Producing valuable content that addresses pain points and offers solutions builds trust. Creating content designed to address each stage of the buyer’s journey removes concerns and ultimately drives higher quality leads.

Data-Driven Strategies

1️⃣ Leverage Customer Data

Use the data you already have to better understand your customers. Analyse their behaviour, preferences, and feedback to optimise their website experience. Personalised experiences lead to higher engagement and conversions.

2️⃣ Seamless CRM Integration

Ensure your CRM data flows seamlessly into your digital marketing tools, including analytics and paid channels. This enables efficient and precise targeting and effective campaign management. Hubspot provides a free plan for their CRM. Another free CRM is Odoo, even their tagline is Free and Amazing 🙂 sounds cool, right?

3️⃣ Understand Your Metrics

Regularly monitor traffic, bounce rates, conversion rates, and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Utilise these datapoints to reallocate resources effectively. For example, revise high-bounce content or amend calls-to-action to improve engagement and conversions. Test one element at a time for methodical progress and clearer learnings.

Free and Low-Cost Tools

1️⃣ Utilise Free Tools for E-Commerce

For e-commerce businesses, take advantage of free tools like Google My Business, Meta Commerce, and Microsoft Bing Shopping. These platforms can help increase your online presence without additional costs.

2️⃣ SEO

There are many strategies and tactics you can do on your own to uplevel your website to appear on page 1 of Google. Make sure all your headings consist of keywords to optimise your page ranking. Google can read words; it cannot read images, so adding a weekly blog or podcast to your repertoire is one of the best things you can do for your SEO.

Improving your website’s search engine ranking can be done without spending money by using free SEO tools. Google Search Console is a must-have tool that helps you keep an eye on your site’s performance in Google Search results, showing you how to fix any issues.

Another useful tool is Google Analytics (GA4), which tracks your website traffic and user actions, giving you a clear picture of how visitors use your site.

For finding good keywords, Ubersuggest provides detailed data on keyword volume, competition, and suggestions, making it easier to choose the best keywords to target. These tools offer a solid base for boosting your site’s SEO without any cost.

3️⃣ Email Marketing

Implement Email Marketing Campaigns

When it comes to a tight budget, try email marketing. Don’t underestimate your existing database. Segment your audiences and create tailored content curated for them.

Implement email marketing campaigns with tailored content. Personalised emails that offer value to the recipient can significantly boost open and click-through rates, fostering customer loyalty and driving sales.

Bulk Email Sending Tools


Mailchimp offers a free plan that allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers. This tool provides a user-friendly interface, customisable email templates, and advanced analytics to track your campaign performance. Mailchimp also offers features like A/B testing and automation to help you optimise your email marketing efforts.

Brevo (Sendinblue)

Brevo (previously known as Sendinblue) free plan lets you send up to 300 emails per day to an unlimited number of subscribers. It includes features like email design tools, automation workflows, and detailed reporting. Brevo also offers SMS marketing and CRM capabilities, making it a versatile choice for small businesses.

Email Warm-Up Tools


MailWarm is a free tool designed to help improve your email deliverability by gradually increasing your email sending volume. This tool is perfect for new email accounts or those with a low sender reputation. By slowly building up your email volume, you can avoid being flagged as spam and ensure that your messages reach your recipients’ inboxes.


Warmbox is another excellent tool for warming up your email address. It automatically engages with your emails, marking them as important and moving them out of the spam folder. This interaction helps improve your sender reputation and ensures higher deliverability rates for your future email campaigns.

Email Verification Tools


Hunter’s Email Verifier tool is free and helps you clean your email list by verifying the validity of email addresses. This ensures that you are sending emails to real, active accounts, which can improve your deliverability rates and reduce the risk of being marked as spam.


ZeroBounce offers a free plan that allows you to verify up to 100 email addresses per month. This tool helps you remove invalid email addresses, catch-all domains, and spam traps from your list. By maintaining a clean email list, you can improve your sender reputation and achieve higher engagement rates.

Social Media

1️⃣ Consistency on Social Media

Consistency on social media is the perfect strategy to implement inside your business with the least amount of investment and a thousand percent payback. Instagram alone has 2.3 billion monthly active users. Imagine if you can reach and capitalise on 1% of that audience? Would you be able to service them? Chances are, probably not.

2️⃣ Meta Ads

Incorporating low-cost, high-reach tactics such as Meta Ads can help drive brand awareness and traffic. Try influencer marketing as well, where you can collaborate with industry experts. Partner and cross-promote – it’s a win for everyone.

Testing and Optimisation

Use previous campaign data or A/B test on a small budget to determine what works best for your audience. Continuous testing and optimisation will save your marketing budget significantly.

1️⃣ Regular SEO Review

Reviewing and improving website SEO on a regular basis will increase website views and ensure the business stays front of mind and top of search engine result lists.

2️⃣ Website Optimisation

Website Optimisation

Ensure your site is user-friendly and fast. A user-friendly site means that it’s easy to navigate, with clear menus and links that guide users to the information they need. A fast website loads quickly, which is important because slow-loading pages can frustrate visitors and cause them to leave.

Engagement rate is a key metric that shows how well users are interacting with your site. Aim for an engagement rate above 60%, which means that the majority of your visitors are finding your content useful and engaging. High engagement rates often lead to better conversion rates, as engaged users are more likely to take desired actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.


Use Analytics Tools

Using analytics tools is key to making informed decisions about your digital marketing efforts. One of the best free tools available is Google Analytics aka GA4. It helps you track and understand how visitors interact with your website. You can see where your traffic is coming from, what pages are popular, and how long people stay on your site.

Set KPIs and regularly compare performance. For example, you might set KPIs for website traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and average session duration.

By consistently monitoring these metrics, you can make data-driven decisions to optimise your marketing efforts. For example, if you notice a high bounce rate on a particular page, you can investigate and make necessary changes to improve user experience and engagement.

Through creativity, planning, and effective measurement, businesses with limited budgets can achieve impressive results.

Aattam, Who Is The Culprit: Ending Explained

Aattam Movie explained and find the culprit
Refer to this image for a better reading experience.

If you ask me, which is the brilliant Malayalam film from the 2024 first quarter, I would say it’s Aattam. Aattam is a 2024 Malayalam suspense chamber drama. Penned by debutant director Anand Ekarshi, Aattam navigates through the politics of gender dynamics, patriarchy, situational morality & selfishness in humans, within a theatrical setting. If you have seen this movie, most viewers ask a question: Who is the culprit in Aattam. Let me explain the layers of Aattam first, and if you are impatient, just scroll down.

Plot Overview

Aattam is a thriller of accusation and betrayal set against the backdrop of a theatre troupe. The plot circles around Anjali, the group’s only female actor, levelling charges of sexual harassment against a newly joined popular movie star in their team.

A scene from Aattam
A scene from Aattam

What starts as a straightforward allegation soon spirals into a complex web of deceit, manipulation, and shifting loyalties, especially when the proposal of a European tour throws the troupe into moral disarray.

The narrative cleverly employs a classic whodunit structure, yet the way it unveils the innate biases and hypocrisy of its characters is what makes it interesting.

How Aanand, wrote each character is truly admirable; for example, the character Aji (the eldest among them): Aanand constructed the character through micro interactions (mentioning phone calls, his mannerisms, etc).

A scene from Aattam
Transformation scenes of Aji from Aattam

At the same time, Aji’s transformation didn’t go well (someone who doesn’t care about dying suddenly willing to compromise on himself so that he can go to Europe is a bit forced, in my opinion). And all this was just so that he could say what he said at the end.

Finding The Culprit & Theme of Aattam #Whodunnit  

Aattam is not about Whodunnit; by the end of the film, if you are just curious to know Whodunnit, then I would say this film is not for you. This film is not about the sinner; rather, it’s about the sin.

It’s like wondering if Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island chooses to live in a lie or faces the truth in the end. The real question isn’t what reality he picks. It’s about Teddy reaching a point where he prefers peace over constant torment, regardless of whether his world is real or made up. So, he makes a choice that might lead him to a lobotomy, showing he’d rather forget than live with the pain.

A scene from Shutter Island
A scene from Shutter Island

The movie is sprinkled with so many minor flaws in human interactions, be they judgmental, generalisation based on experience, selfishness, hypocrisy, vigilantism, patriarchal mindset, social influence, arrogance, or demeaning others.

A scene from Aattam
A scene from Aattam

Even in the way he shows patriarchal ideologies in all layers of society, for example, there is a scene where a politician requests Madan’s vote, saying, Come and vote for me with the same finger that you have voted for my father.

By the end, when Anjali says: “നീ ആരാണെന്ന് എനിക്കറിയണ്ട. നീയും ആ 11 പേരും തമ്മിൽ ഇന്നെനിക്ക് ഒരു വ്യത്യാസവുമില്ല”

Climax scene from Aattam
Climax scene from Aattam

The director Anand Ekarshi summarises the movie there. But if you are curious to find the culprit from Aattam, I will help you. Scroll down straght to the last sub-heading.

12 Angry Men v/s Aattam

Aattam is very similar to the classic 12 Angry Men, be it the style, theme, and narration. It’s evident that Aanand Ekarshi is highly inspired by 12 Angry Men.

The film 12 Angry Men exemplifies many social psychology theories. This tense, compelling film, features a group of jurors who must decide the guilt or innocence of the accused.

12 Angry men scene
12 Angry Men

Initially, eleven of the twelve jurors vote guilty. Gradually, through heated discussion, the jurors are swayed to a not-guilty decision. Upon examination, the film highlights social psychology theories in areas of conformity, attitude change, and group processes.

Don’t you think it’s the same structure that Anand is following here?

When the inverter stops working, everyone leaves the house and steps outside due to the heat. Later, when it starts to rain, everyone rushes inside the house. These 2 scenes are one of the few scenes in which background music can be heard.

I think the director Anand Ekarshi wants to emphasise these 2 scenes, to show how we change our stance depending on the situation. The whole team was sure about throwing out Shajon’s character initially, but when the London Trip was introduced, everyone changed their stance.

Climax scene from 12 angry men movie
A scene from 12 Angry Men

A similar scene you can see from 12 Angry Men, where they open the windows because it’s too hot inside, and they open up the windows.

This shows that we humans change our stands as per our needs. This is where, I thought it would have been great if there were a couple of women who initially stood with Anjali and then turned their backs after the European trip offer came, It would better show that most people are hypocrites, not just men.

Attitude Change and Persuasion in the First Half

The central route to persuasion is all about logic and reason. It’s where you convince someone by using strong arguments, evidence, and facts to back up your position.

In the first half, you can see that Madan, Sijin, Jolly and Santosh are doing this.

For example, Sijin asks Madan: “What exactly did she tell you”, or Jolly asks: “So it happened not when she was awake”

Peripheral v/s Central persuasion from AATTAM
Peripheral v/s Central persuasion

The peripheral route of persuasion is the opposite of the central route. It’s a shortcut to influencing someone, relying on indirect cues and associations rather than strong arguments.

It targets our emotions and biases, and doesn’t require much effort from the audience to process. Vinay, Aji, Nandan, Sudheer, and Selvan are following this route.

For example when Nandan says: “He will do it, he always shares bawdy jokes”. or Selvan says: ” A sober mind wouldn’t do such things, it happened becuase they were drunk”. Through the use of non-factual, environmental cues, the sick gentleman utilises the peripheral route to persuasion.

Another important factor is Social loafing. It describes a situation where people exert less effort when working in a group compared to working alone. It’s like slacking off a bit because you think others will pick up the slack.

Prashanth and Jolly are in that stage, where they are slacking off with excuses.

And by the end of the first half, you can see group polarisation.

Imagine you and your friends are discussing a movie. Some might initially like it a little, some might be neutral, and a few might dislike it. Through discussion, those who liked it a little might become more enthusiastic, and those who disliked it might become even more critical. This is group polarisation.

Vinay brilliantly polarised everyone in one direction, by the end of the first half.

Moral Disengagement in The Second Half

Throughout Aattam, you are going to witness a few complexities in human behaviours like Moral Disengagement and Hypocrisy.

What is moral disengagement?

Moral disengagement is basically a fancy way of saying someone talks themselves into believing ethical rules don’t apply to them in a specific situation. It’s a psychological process that lets people act unethically without feeling bad about it.

Moral Disengagement from AATTAM
Moral Disengagement

Moral justification: Coming up with reasons why their actions are good, even if they aren’t. In Aattam, how conveniently the characters brought different reasons after they got to know about the European trip.

Observe how Selvan, Madan, Aji and Jolly. For instance, Jolly, the silent guy in the first half is aggressive and says “Just swallow the story in the whole”.

Moral Disengagement from AATTAM

Euphemistic labelling: Using nicer words to downplay the seriousness of their actions. For example when Madan talks about “Tactile Halluccination” he is trying to nullify her arguments in a sweeter way compared to Santhosh and Sijin.

Discrediting the victim: This involves downplaying the harm caused to the victim or portraying them as deserving of the negative consequences.

For example, Selvan saying about Anjali’s drinking habit, Prashant talking about her relationship with a married man, Sijin talking about her relationship, even addressing her as “Set-up”.

Disregarding or minimising consequences: This involves downplaying the negative outcomes of the action. For example, Vinay saying Anjali ” No one did anything to you, let’s believe it like that.”

I really love that scene where Anjali asked the question to vinay: “If it’s not Hari, who was it? , no one raised this question”. this is where the brilliance of the script, in the beginning, everyone was talking about the punishments, but when they realised it’s not Hari and one among them, they conviniently went through the moral disengagement and forgot the whodunnit part.

Who Is The Actual Culprit: Aattam Ending Explained

If you really want a culprit, let me share some thoughts:

In the final scene of the movie, in Anjali’s drama, the culprit confesses while Anjali is holding a yellow cloth. There is only one character in the whole movie who is wearing a yellow dress. Is that the culprit? 

That’s not a rational finding, right?

Okay, one more theory:

Anjali said, there was an intense perfume smell. Guys who fell in the pool won’t have that intense smell.

Jolly, Sudheer, Prashanth and Vinay were the people who didn’t fall in the pool.

Let’s eliminate Vinay, since, he is her lover. Jolly was busy with his video call and was disturbed, so let’s eliminate him.

Now either it should be Prashanth or Sudheer. Sudheer and Prashanth are the ones who got disturbed while hearing this, and went out for smoking.

I believe it’s Sudheer. WHY?

During that party, Sudheer was disturbed by seeing Anjali’s cleavage, that disturbance can be an arousal as well. Sudheer tried to hide the evidence in the first half, without any rationality. Near to the climax, while Jolly is showing the screenshot to others, Sudheer acts like he is seeing the first time. He was in a hurry to establish Hari as the culprit. He consistently avoided involving the police.

Sudheer's key scenes from Aattam which proves that he is the culprit of Aattam
Sudheer’s key scenes from Aattam

Being a smoker, Sudheer knew that Hari kept cigarettes in his car. He likely stole the car keys before the other person retrieved them.

Additionally, Sudheer watched pornography just before the incident. that was revealed later. Madan is asking why Nandhan went to Shajitha’s room, if we place Sudheer in Nandhan’s place, we have an answer: Sudheer might have gone there to see his wife and might have seen Anjali.

So, I believe it’s Sudheer. But let me remind you that the essence of film is not #Whodunnit

“നീ ആരാണെന്ന് എനിക്കറിയണ്ട. നീയും ആ 11 പേരും തമ്മിൽ ഇന്നെനിക്ക് ഒരു വ്യത്യാസവുമില്ല” 👌 { “I don’t need to know who you are. You and those 11 people are all the same to me today.” – Anjali }

Read more movie reviews and analysis here.

8 Movies Which Explain the Ancient Greeks’ Four Types Of Love

The history of Valentine’s Day dates back to the fourth century, when Pope Gelasius 1 declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day. So let me introduce the four types of love from Greek philosophy.

1️⃣ Experience: Four Types of Love

Without experiencing the many forms of love, we’ll always feel a little empty.

The ancient Greeks possessed a complex understanding of love that still holds relevance today.

Their lexicon included four distinct types of love: Agape, Eros, Philía, and Storge.

Examples for Four Types of love
Movies Which Share The Experiences

Four Types of Love: Greek Philosophy

❤️Agape denotes a selfless, unconditional love that extends beyond personal desire and encompasses the well-being of others.

It’s selfless, puts others first, and doesn’t expect anything in return. Imagine helping a stranger without expecting thanks, volunteering, or donating to a cause. I hope you have seen the movie Schindler’s List or Malyalam movie 2018.

2018 Trailer

❤️Eros, on the other hand, represents a passionate, romantic love driven by physical attraction and desire.

The “butterflies-in-your-stomach” experience. It’s passion, intense attraction, and physical desire. Think that first crush, the romantic spark, or the thrilling excitement of new love. Think of a movie like Chunking Express or Njan Gandharvan.

Njan Gandharvan teaser

❤️Philía describes a deep, platonic love rooted in mutual respect, shared interests, and genuine friendship.

Experience that “best friend forever” companionship . It’s built on friendship, shared interests, mutual respect, and understanding. Think movie nights with your buddies, deep conversations with an old friend, or the camaraderie of a sports team. Hope you have seen When Harry Met Sally or kannada movie Katheyondu Shuruvagide.

Katheyondu Shuruvagide Trailer

❤️Finally, Storge denotes a familial or parental love that is instinctual and unconditional.

Think the bond between parent and child, the unconditional love you have for your siblings, or the close connection with your grandparents. Hope you have seen the animated movie CoCo (2017) or tamil movie Peranbu.

Peranbu Trailer

Experiencing all these four types of love is vital for a fulfilling life, as it nourishes and enriches our emotional well-being.

Beginning of a Lifelong Romance

We should strive to evoke these emotions in others and elevate them for one another to create a more loving and empathetic society. These four types of love explains the nuances of love. By understanding the nuances of love, we can cultivate stronger, more meaningful relationships that enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.

So, go forth and experience the four types of love — agape, eros, philía, and storge — and embrace the diversity and depth that life has to offer. And remember, if all else fails, a little laughter can go a long way in matters of the heart.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

So, experience all four types of love, evoke it in one another, and elevate it for one another. That’s the key.

2️⃣ Pain & Redemption

At the core of any transformative experience is the element of pain and suffering. Love, in particular, is known for its ability to inspire profound changes in individuals.

The reason for this is simple: transformation requires the shedding of one’s old self, and this shedding process can be painful. In fact, some of the most significant changes we experience are born out of great suffering.

Movies Which explain the Pain

This is why love demands that we surrender ourselves to a little bit of suffering. Whether it’s the pain of rejection, the agony of heartbreak, or the discomfort of vulnerability, these experiences are necessary to spur on the kind of transformation that love offers.

Suffer For It

And it’s not just romantic love that requires this level of surrender. If we truly love our work, our art, or our craft, we must be willing to suffer for it. We must be willing to endure the long hours, the uncertainty, and the setbacks that come with any creative pursuit.

But it’s not just about enduring suffering for the sake of transformation. We must also take the time to reflect on our journey, to understand why we’re here, who we are, and why it matters. Only by embracing the transformative power of love, and by surrendering to the suffering it demands, can we hope to unlock our full potential.


And so, as we embark on this journey of love and transformation, let us remember that it is not a path for the faint of heart. But if we are willing to take that deep breath and plunge headfirst into the abyss, we may just emerge on the other side, transformed and ready for whatever comes next.

And as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

So, let us suffer a little, and emerge stronger, wiser, and ready to love again.

I recommend you watch Masaan (2015) , Tamasha (2015), La La Land (2016).

3️⃣ Slow & Steady: Mean it

Love is not a commodity that we can buy, nor is it a game that we can play. Love is something that we give, and it’s a reflection of who we are.

Most importantly, it’s a verb, not a noun, it’s an action.

As the ancient Greek philosopher Plato once said, “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”

Love inspires us to be creative, kind, and compassionate, and it can elevate our lives to new heights. However, if we don’t mean it, we risk losing it all.

Fake it ’til you make it

There’s a famous saying that goes, “Fake it ’til you make it,” but when it comes to love, that’s a dangerous game to play. You can’t fake love, and you can’t substitute it with anything else. As the American author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said, “Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.”

If we don’t mean it, we risk hurting ourselves and the people we care about.

So, how can we mean it?

Well, it starts with being honest with ourselves and others. We need to be clear about what we want and what we’re willing to give.

We need to be vulnerable and open to the possibility of rejection, knowing that it’s part of the process.

And we need to be patient and persistent, knowing that love takes time to grow and blossom.

Lunchbox & RBDJ: Indian Movies

Remember, genuine love is not something that we can fake or substitute. It’s a precious gift that we give and receive, and it requires us to be true to ourselves and others.

As the American singer-songwriter John Legend once said, “Love is not just a verb, it’s you looking in the mirror.” So, let’s be honest, vulnerable, patient, and persistent, and let’s mean it.

I would recommend movies like The Lunchbox (2013), Call Me by Your Name (2017).

Read about How you should read the film: The Lunchbox

So love your Partner. Love your friends, Love your family, Love your life, Love your job.

Your Love liberates your inner strength, and that’s the beauty of it.

So, how was your Valentine’s Day?


I had a busy day doing some Ad shoot and campaign management for the marketing.

But tonight, after seeing multiple stories and statuses in my SM feeds, I decided to write something on this.

❤️None of us belong here and there’s not enough time. Let’s Live. Love. Learn and Liberate❤️

The Lunchbox vs. Photograph: Ritesh Batra’s Parallel Narratives

Ritesh Batra took 6 years to release his second Hindi film, Photograph, after my favourite film, The Lunchbox. This time he explained the story of two obedient individuals, Miloni (Sanya Malhotra), who is studying to become a chartered accountant, and Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a street photographer. Let’s see how Batra crafted a different movie from the same set of characters, elements, and geography that he used in The Lunchbox. In essence, both films are narrating the same crux.

Photograph Trailer

Miloni meets Rafi at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, where she allows him to take her photograph. Unfortunately, her family calls her away before he can give it to her in an envelope. Later, circumstances make Rafi ask Miloni to act as his girlfriend while his grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar) visits. She agrees, leading to the formation of an unexpected connection between them. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra perfectly match the film’s gentle mood, expressing much through subtle body language, the setting, and their eyes.

“Years from now, when you look at this photo, you’ll feel the sun on your face, wind in your hair and hear all these voices again. Or it’ll all be gone. Gone forever.”

 – Rafi in Photograph (2019)

Two Parallel Rays From Different Sources

Miloni and Rafi have different backgrounds, yet they are moving in parallel in the same direction. Photograph explained this journey in The Lunchbox style. They both are not sailing in life for what they want; rather, they are living for others. They are obedient people who have followed whatever has been told to them

Miloni was always obedient to her parent’s choices. There is a scene where, during dinner, her family members say that Miloni wanted to become an actress before her family pushed her to study accounting. and her father is surprised. She wears what her family thinks looks good on her. She doesn’t even have a favourite colour in her life. Miloni conforms to her family’s expectations, donning attire they find appealing. 

Similarly, Rafi’s life is dedicated to his family’s well-being. He toils away, shouldering the heavy burden of his village home’s debt and single-handedly covering his sisters’ wedding costs. His unwavering commitment extends to fulfilling his grandmother’s desires without hesitation. His nights remind me of Saajan from The Lunchbox. Both are isolated in their own islands.

Symmetry happens From Asymmetries

The movie describes Rafi & Miloni both living for the sake of their family by killing their smiles; they were on the stage of life where they forgot their smile and were going through a monotonous life. In Rafi’s photographs, Miloni is finding her smile, which she lost in between.

At the post office, while sending off a money order, the clerk gently nudges Rafi to consider his own needs for once, suggesting he keep a little money for himself. “Keep some for yourself too, Rafi Bhai,” she advises. Rafi’s life is a testament to selflessness and familial devotion, painting a portrait of a man who lives not for himself but for the ones he loves.

Contrast in two characters: The position, brightness, and frame are louder than my words

Miloni and Rafi face similar challenges, though their lives began very differently. Miloni comes from a Hindu, upper-middle-class urban family, while Rafi is Muslim and from a lower-middle-class family. Their differences are stark, not just in their religious backgrounds but also in their skin tones and how they dress.

There are even moments in the film where people comment on Rafi because Miloni looks so different from him. Yet, at their core, they are the same: both are kind, empathetic, and lonely yet surrounded by people. Rafi is like a gulab jamun, and Miloni is like a rasgulla—both are sweet, yet distinct to those around them.

As the relationship between Miloni and Rafi unfolds, Photograph explained their progression from strangers to connected souls.

Being the Slave of Own Past

A smile

Miloni seems to live in her past, reminiscing about her childhood. She inquires about farm life from her maid and shares with Rafi her fond memories of drinking Campa Cola with her grandfather. There’s a scene where a doctor remembers her as a young, adventurous lady, visiting with her grandfather, Campa Cola in hand.

A smile again

Even in a matchmaking scene, when a man asks Miloni where she would like to live, she answers, “A village.” Surprised, he asks her what she would do there. She tells him, “I will do farming in the morning and take a nap in the afternoon“. Rafi, on the other hand, feels stuck due to his duties.

Who Do Not Move, Do Not Notice Their Chains

As their relationship develops, Miloni and Rafi start to move away from their obedient roles towards rebellion, each in their own way. What disappoints me is that, like Batra’s previous film, The Lunchbox, Photograph also ends with an open ending, leaving us wondering what happens next.

In the middle of the movie, when Rafi and Miloni go to a movie theatre, a rat runs over Miloni’s feet, making her uncomfortable. This scene quickly cuts to Miloni’s study table.

Initially, we don’t see what happens after the movie theatre incident. Ritesh Batra saves this crucial scene for the end, where they have a brief chat, Miloni asks him, “Don’t you want to continue the movie?” and Rafi says, “I know the rest of the story. They will fall in love, but because of their backgrounds, they won’t be together.”

The open ending of ‘Photograph,’ explained as a choice by the director The director wants us to follow the story in a linear style until the ending scene. Here, it becomes clear that both Rafi and Miloni understand their backgrounds and social status and that they are unlikely to end up together in this society. After recognising this reality and their probable future, they decide to go with the flow without saying it out loud.

Nostalgia is an Illusion

The story brings back memories with its use of public phone booths and the classic kaali-peeli taxis, even though smartphones and online cab services are common now. It feels like the story was meant for the last decade. Because of this, while the movie becomes nostalgic, it might not seem as relevant today.

I noticed something similar in Sriram Raghavan’s “Merry Christmas.” There is a dialogue in Photograph where a cola factory worker says: “Our country is big, but its memory is short.” But Photograph will definitely make sure to recall your memories.

Photographs are Footprints

Another notable aspect of the film is the frequent focus on characters’ feet, especially Miloni’s. When she feels nervous, the film often shows her feet moving restlessly.

Since Miloni doesn’t share her thoughts out loud and stays quiet, these shots of her feet help show she’s feeling nervous.

It seemed meaningful that the gift Miloni receives from Rafi’s grandmother is a pair of anklets, perhaps suggesting a wish for her to express her feelings more loud.

Parallel World, Parallel Events

The world of Photograph is not different from the one in The Lunchbox. Both films incorporate traditional elements like letters and photographs in an era dominated by text messages and selfies. The main characters exist in a state of isolation amidst the bustling life of Mumbai, where everyone else seems to be in a rush, and they are left hoping for a change.

In both movies, loneliness plays a critical role, almost acting as a character itself. Both stories gradually evolve after an accidental encounter, forming unexpected friendships and ambiguous relationships among the main characters.

A mix-up with a lunchbox initiates a classic letter-writing romance between Ila (Nimrat Kaur) and Saajan (Irrfan Khan) in The Lunchbox. Similarly, a random meeting at the Gateway of India sparks an impromptu romance between Rafi and Miloni. In each story, there is a noticeable age difference between the male and female leads, highlighting their distinct contrasts.

Same Templates, Different Emotions

Ritesh Batra employs familiar cinematic techniques in both The Lunchbox and Photograph. The Lunchbox starts with imagery of two trains moving in opposite directions, while Photograph captures traffic flowing similarly.

Notably, in The Lunchbox, we hear Deshpande Aunty’s voice without seeing her, and only glimpse the exterior of Ila’s father. Similarly, in Photograph, Rafi’s interactions at the post office feature only the voice of the postal worker, whom we never see, yet who seems to know him well and speak like a well-wisher.

Batra’s way of intensifying emotional scenes diverges from the age-old Kurosawa technique of using close-up shots of face gestures. He emphasises voices over facial expressions.

In Photograph, Batra effectively uses auditory elements multiple times. For example, the woman on the bus questioning Miloni about appearing on a billboard for Miloni’s coaching centre remains unseen.

The introduction of Miloni’s teacher delays showing his face until the scene nearly ends. When a potential suitor’s parents visit Miloni, everyone’s face, except Miloni’s is blurred. Additionally, in the scene where Rafi encounters the Campa Cola manufacturer, the factory setting is blurred, focusing on Rafi from behind, while the background sounds and music convey the scene’s essence.

Same Characters, Same Elements

In The Lunchbox, Ila says Deshpande Uncle always stared at the ceiling fan because he thought his life depended on it. Deshpande Aunty bought an inverter to keep the fan on forever. In Photograph, we also see and hear the ceiling fan a lot. Even after the very first scene of Rafi, it cuts to a ceiling fan. The movie shows some scenes as if we are looking down from where the fan is. Tiwari Ji took his own life with the fan.

In The Lunchbox, Saajan writes that he spent his whole life standing in trains and buses, and he will have to stand even when he is dead as there are no horizontal burial plots left and only vertical burial plots are being offered.

In Photograph, you can see a similar viewpoint from Rafi, he complains to Miloni about the hurry-burry of people in Mumbai. Even Batra added a symbol for the rat-race life of Rafi and his friends. The door of Rafi’s house opens upwards, making it feel like he is living in a box.

Even the elements of death and those haunting narrations are similar in The Lunchbox and Photograph. A woman jumps along with her daughter and commits suicide in The Lunchbox; In Photograph, it’s Tiwari ji, who commits suicide by hanging over the ceiling fan. Even there is a scene where Rafi’s friend Zakir comments over Tiwari Ji, “No one gets peace in Mumbai, not even in death”.

Even the utopian dreams of lead characters are nearly the same in The Lunchbox and Photograph. In the Lunchbox, it’s Ila and her desire to move to Bhutan for happiness.

In Photograph it’s Miloni’s desire to live in a village. They are yearning to move out of the cubicle life of bustling cities. Miloni connected more with people who came from villages, whether it was her maid or Rafi.

Photograph: A Pause Button

Even sometimes, I felt that Miloni was an extended version of Ila’s daughter in the Lunchbox. Mostly, Miloni’s character is inert in the movie, which makes it difficult to read her motivations. For instance, Miloni agrees to play Rafi’s girlfriend, but the film never explains her reasons for doing so.

Ritesh Batra beautifully packed Nostalgia or “those good old days,” in every frame of The Lunchbox and Photograph. The Lunchbox depicted old TV shows, radio shows, video cassettes, and letters. Photograph shows Campa Cola, softies, kulfi, kaali-peeli taxis, money orders, old theatres, and post offices.

 “I think we forget things if we have no one to tell them to,”

Saajan (The Lunchbox)

Perhaps this is the reason Ritesh Batra includes such nostalgic elements in his movies. By doing so, he leads us down a path where we too revisit our own childhood memories alongside him. Nostalgia becomes even more delightful when we have someone to share those memories with and look back on the times that will never return.

Read more about the Lunchbox here.

Animal Explained: Dissecting the Hidden Philosphies and Patriarchal Ideologies

Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal is streaming on Netflix with 3 hours and 24 minutes of adrenaline pumps. This is not a review, but rather an analysis of the propaganda art and politics of Animal. So, this blog contains spoilers, and if you haven’t watched it yet, skip this.

After Arjun Reddy (2017) and Kabir Singh (2019), two films about a sexually desperate misogynistic doctor with anger issues and Preeti obsession, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga returns with Animal. This time, it’s about a toxic patriarchal chain-smoking engineer obsessed with his father.

Animal movie explained
Animal Movie Poster

The crux of the story is a son protecting his father from animals in an animal park. Despite the script being imbued with his palaeolithic view of human instincts, Sandeep Reddy Vanga managed to infuse it with high adrenaline action, music, and a bloodbath. In essence, the hero is a carnivorous animal in human form, devoid of sin, vision, or empathy, driven only by instincts.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film, although I disagree with a few of Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s perspectives. This film is a commendable mass entertainer.

How Sandeep Ignites the Adrenaline Rush With Animal

Sandeep Reddy Vanga brilliantly incorporates elements that have recently succeeded in commercial movies. Bringing in a weapon dealer, adding a massive gunfight scene, and retro songs like Roja, Punjabi DJ songs & Jamal Jamaloo, created high moments in theatres and on Instagram as well.

The cold-blooded revenge arc, fatherly sentiments, and nationalism (the weapons are made in India scenes) are well-placed. Surprises, such as the bystander-turned-traitor twists and the double climax, the 2-hour (so-called) street fight in the end (a reminiscent of Thallumala) the list is long. The high-adrenaline music is another highlight. Kudos to the long list of music directors from Harshavardhan Rameshwar, Jaani, Vishal Mishra, Shreyas Puranik, Manan Bhardwaj to last but not least: A. R. Rahman.

Forgot to add, the climax scene, inspired by Rolex, is particularly notable. Fans of Leo, Jawan, Pathan, and Arjun Reddy will find Animal a high-adrenaline theatre experience.

Animal’s Anthropology Class & Thrills from the Start

The movie begins with a narration, swiftly moving to a school episode of Ranvijay (Ranbir Kapoor) showcasing his love for his father. One of my favourite scenes follows, filled with A.R. Rahman’s Roja background score, where Ranvijay is now a college boy. The film transitions seamlessly to love at first sight.

Sandeep Reddy Vanga acts like an anthropologist, sharing perspectives on the evolution of poetry. These insights could be used to promote a whey protein brand or a fitness centre. He then progresses Ranvijay’s character arc to highlight his prejudiced and narcissistic nature.

Sandeep Reddy & His Art of Crafting a Predatory Protagonist

Sandeep Reddy Vanga meticulously wrote this character. Ranvijay cries only once in the entire movie. He never shows his vulnerabilities; even when he informs his sister about her husband’s death, he immediately consoles her by suggesting a remarriage. He consoles his wife by stating that happiness is a choice, and there’s a scene where he enjoys biryani made from human flesh (though Sandeep Reddy Vanga doesn’t explicitly show this). With all these elements, Sandeep tells you how umpathetic Ranjvijay is.

I appreciate Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s meticulous crafting of dialogues for Ranbir Kapoor. Ranbir’s dialogues always reflect an animal mindset, like his comments on business expansion or his various lectures. When Ranbir talks about patience and his fights with schoolmates, it reminds me of predators on Animal Planet. Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s portrayal of his hero as a tiger is contrasted with a more dog-like loyalty, treating others as subservient. Sandeep Reddy Vanga has a knack for highlighting character flaws, like Ranvijay’s.

The Subservient Female Roles in Animal Explained

Sandeep Reddy Vanga doesn’t give much importance to female characters like Geethanali, Zoya, or even Reet. They are portrayed as subservient to their male counterparts. Geethanali’s quick fall in love with Ranvijay, perhaps influenced by watching Arjun Reddy, is an example of this. Similarly, Zoya is depicted as submissive to Ranbir’s character. What is most disturbing is that Zoya is even ready to lick his feet for his love.

Rashmika Mandanna & Ranbir Kapoor from Animal

Unfortunately, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s skill seems solely invested in building the character of Ranvijay. When it comes to the character arc, it only moves in one direction, continually ascending. I believe actions should have consequences, but nothing Ranvijay does in Animal seems to have any.

Sandeep’s Reply for Concerns Around Sexuality, Violence, and Gender Equality

Sandeep Reddy Vanga also tries to counter criticisms of male chauvinism. He addresses consent by having Ranvijay touch Geethanali’s feet and give a lecture on the importance of women in the Paleolithic era.

Ranbir kapoor and Rashmika Mandanna from Animal
Ranbir kapoor and Rashmika Mandanna from Animal

If there’s a problem with him slapping her, this time let her slap him. If there are issues with domination and masculinity, let her come to his home, kiss him in front of everyone, and let him praise her physique. He addresses body shaming by giving a spiritual lesson on pubic hair.

If there’s a problem with adult content and gory scenes, let’s have a three-hour blood bath with nudity and discussions of sexual fantasies.

What I really like is the idea of recording the moanings of their first lovemaking and using it to calm his angry wife, that was truly a wow! what an idea moment 🙂 .

So, in simple words, this movie entertains the majority with ease. I was expecting a Tarantino style but got an ultra-mode RGV style. Raw violence, sex, and obsession await you in this movie, sprinkled with a few good father-son sentiments.

The climax scene, with two sons fighting for their father’s honour and love, battling with emotions, and a background song echoing their family connection, made the whole theatre dark and silent without any mobile screen light or murmurs. That’s the power of bringing raw emotions to the screen.

From Ranbir to Tripti Dimri: Explaining Performances from Animal

Ranbir Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Rashmika Mandanna and Anil Kapoor from the Animal movie
Ranbir Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Rashmika Mandanna and Anil Kapoor from the Animal movie.

Regarding performances, Ranbir Kapoor establishes himself as a superstar with Animal. Sandeep Reddy Vanga did justice to Bobby Deol fans, though I expected more from Bobby Deol. My surprise was Tripti Dimri, whose screen presence was mind-blowing despite limited screen time. Charu Singh and Anil Kapoor did their parts as Ranbir’s parents with ease. Saurabh Sachdeva delivered a killing performance as Bobby Deol’s brother, especially in the climax. Rashmika gave a decent performance, possibly her best since Kirik Party

Why is it Animal ? Animal Explained

Let me explain my views on why the film is called Animal by Sandeep Reddy.

The film explores the more primal, instinctual aspects of human nature, as shown in how Ranbir celebrates his heart surgery and how Abrar releases his pain of loss. In Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal park, the lead male characters operate based on the pleasure principle, seeking immediate gratification. The climax fight is reminiscent of the survival of the fittest theory, living in a world where the law of nature prevails.

In this movie, after Papa, SWASTIK is the most highlighted word. It’s their family business, indicating a blend of traditional values and a darker quest for power (Nazi approach).

The tagline of Swastik, “Power, Progress & Victory”, is repeated by Ranvijay during his oath of vengeance. As per psychologist Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow, this tagline could be seen as manifestations of Ranvijay’s shadow, where his animalistic traits (aggression, dominance, the pursuit of power) are embraced and externalised as his personal and corporate ethos.

Animal & Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Propaganda Art

Regarding opinions, my friend argued,

How conveniently do we forget that Scorsese used slow-motion and rousing soundtracks for despicable characters in ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Casino’, and when Sandeep Reddy Vanga does an extreme Indian version of that, it’s suddenly ‘glorification’?

Robert De Niro & Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro & Martin Scorsese

As a die-hard fan of Scorses, I feel Martin Scorsese never portrayed Travis Bickle or Jimmy Conway as heroes, nor did he justify their actions. His characters dealt with consequences, unlike in Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Ranvijay. This is where Sandeep Reddy Vanga falls short as a responsible artist. I believe he is obsessed with certain ideologies and celebrates and promotes them through his movies. Scorsese’s Raging Bull highlighted male insecurity in 1980. Can we expect such a film from Sandeep Reddy Vanga?

Toxic masculinity is a propaganda tool for promoting patriarchal beliefs. Ranvijay’s words to his sister about killing any of her choices he dislikes, and his actions as a school kid stepping in with a gun to protect his sister, and delivering a lecture to his father suggest a patriarchal mindset. That’s where he fails to responsibly handle his craft.

Read about the Yadhoom philosophy & Sriram Raghavan’s Merry chritmas here.

From Seven Samurai to SALAAR: Ethical Combat Dramas

SALAAR is available on Netflix now. Before writing about Salaar, let me tell you: My all-time favourite Ethical Combat Dramas are Seven Samurai and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ (2000). By the way, it’s a new genre that I’ve discovered. 😃 Allow me to explain.

SALAAR poster from Netflix
Salaar on Netflix

What Are Ethical Combat Dramas

These kinds of movies explore complex ethical and moral questions, often set within a historical or cultural context. They dive into themes of honour, justice, and the human conditions.

Central to these movies is the element of combat, whether it’s the swordplay of samurai films or the martial arts in movies like ‘Crouching Tiger,’ or even the Gatling gun action seen in post-‘Kaithi’ Indian cinema. Each film employs intense drama to explore its themes and develop its characters.

The drama often unfolds in historical or fantastical settings, adding depth and a sense of grandeur. Another common feature is their epic scope, evident in their narrative scale, the depth of their themes, or their visual magnificence.

Now, SALAAR, knowingly or unknowingly, belongs to this category of Ethical Combat Drama.

Why Seven Samurai Is a Perfect Ethical Combat Drama

Before diving into SALAAR, let me share why Seven Samurai and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are my favourites in the Ethical Combat Drama genre.

Seven Samurai Title Card
Seven Samurai Title Card

I’ll focus on Seven Samurai, as it’s more widely recognised compared to Crouching Tiger. The portrayal of protagonists in this film goes beyond them being merely skilled warriors; they are depicted as complex characters, each with their own moral compass and emotional struggles. This depth elevates the film above a typical action drama.

Contrast and Juxtaposition

Akira Kurosawa, the director, masterfully uses contrast to highlight the heroes’ qualities. For example, the samurai’s skills and moral codes are often juxtaposed against the bandits’ brutality or the villagers’ fear and helplessness. This stark contrast not only showcases the samurai as protectors but also as warriors of virtue.

A Scene from Seven Samurai
A Scene from Seven Samurai

Dynamic Action Sequences

Kurosawa’s dynamic and innovative action sequences, particularly in fight scenes, effectively showcase the samurai’s skills and bravery. The choreography, camera work, and pacing all contribute to portraying these characters as larger than life.

Heroic Actions in Introduction Scenes

A powerful narrative technique Kurosawa employs is introducing a character in a moment of heroism. This approach establishes their role and capabilities within the story efficiently, without relying heavily on dialogue or extensive backstory.

It leverages the psychological ‘halo effect,’ where our impression of a person in one aspect (like heroism) influences our overall perception of them.

Recall the memorable introduction of the first Samurai, heroically saving a child from a kidnapper. If you don’t check the scene here at 19:46

A Scene from Seven Samurai
A Scene from Seven Samurai

Use of Close-ups to Convey Emotion and Tension

A close-up shot from Seven Samurai

Kurosawa’s frequent use of close-up shots is pivotal in capturing and conveying characters’ emotions. By focusing on their expressions, especially in moments of fear or awe, he magnifies the impact of the situation and the presence of the heroes. For instance, scenes where villagers express fear or reverence towards the samurai are made more poignant through tight shots. This technique effectively transmits the characters’ fear, awe, or respect to the audience.

Symbolic Imagery and Metaphors

Kurosawa also masterfully employed symbolism to deepen his storytelling. He used elements of nature, like rain or wind, to mirror the mood or internal state of the characters. This adds a rich layer to their portrayal.

A Rain Shot from Seven Samurai
A Rain Shot from Seven Samurai

Consider the scenes with gusty winds, which set a tone of unrest and turmoil. The natural landscape is another vital element. In Seven Samurai, the rugged, rural setting underscores the themes of the film: the harshness of life for the villagers and the simplicity and purity of their existence. This starkly contrasts with the life of the samurai, caught between their code of honour and the reality of a changing world.

Oh! Wait! Why am I writing all this while I intend to talk about SALAAR?

Because SALAAR tried all the elements that I have shared in a mediocre way without much conviction.

SALAAR falls short as an extraordinary Ethical Combat Drama, even though it had the potential to be one. As I said, it’s not extraordinary, but it’s still a decent film in this genre, albeit lacking a convincing central character.

The World of Khansaar in ‘SALAAR’

A Poster from Salaar
A Poster from Salaar

Director Prashanth Neel’s strength is world-building. With Khansaar, he transports you to a new world and keeps you engaged with multiple storylines. However, for those who have seen Ugram, there may not be any surprises. They might not enjoy this ‘old Khansaar in a new bottle,’ apart from some grandiose action sequences and a lacklustre actor.

Prabhas With A Hangover & Neel With A Template

Prashanth Neel’s protagonists typically embody a machismo figure who abides by his mother’s words. However, in this film, the mother sentiment is overshadowed by the theme of friendship. I commend Neel for not overusing Prabhas in terms of dialogue or action.

Prithviraj & Prabhas from Salaar
Prithviraj & Prabhas from Salaar

Personally, I feel Prabhas hasn’t given his 100% in his recent movies, seemingly relying on his stardom and compromising his skills and effort. To be blunt, his performance appears as if he is acting with a hangover.

Prithviraj’s Mastery vs Neel’s Directorial Gambit

I want to recognise Neel again as a potential director because his efforts to make Salaar a comeback film for Prabhas are evident, even though Prabhas remains the same. Neel manages to extract the best from Prabhas with his slow-motion walking shots, dialogue delivery, and action sequences.

Prashant Neel
Prashant Neel

In every single frame, Prithviraj, as Varadha, excels, highlighting the contrast with Prabhas’ lacklustre performance. The difference is stark and makes it easy to understand why Neel shouldn’t have cast such a strong performer opposite Prabhas.

Prithviraj’s Game of Thrones Analogy and the Reality of SALAAR

It was Prithviraj’s words that initially drew me to watch SALAAR. Known for films like Lucifer, Ayaalum Njanum Thammil, and Ayyappanum Koshiyum, Prithviraj compared SALAAR to the American epic fantasy series Game of Thrones.

Trailer from Lucifer

However, let me clarify: SALAAR mainly revolves around Deva and Varadha, with other characters playing minor or just fancy roles in the screenplay. This fact alone challenges Prithviraj’s comparison.

When it comes to Ethical and Moral Dilemmas, Combat and Strategy, Cultural and Historical Elements, and especially intricate character dynamics – all hallmarks of Game of Thrones – SALAAR doesn’t quite measure up, except in visual grandeur.

In my opinion, PS-1 & PS-2 would be far more appropriate comparisons to Game of Thrones.

Last But Not Least

In summary, SALAAR presents a mediocre attempt at Ethical Combat Dramas because of its shallow characters and massy star obsessions. But I admit that it treads a fine line between potential greatness and missed opportunities.

While it may not fully live up to the towering expectations set by comparisons to epics like Game of Thrones, it still carves out its niche in a genre rich with few moral complexities and thrilling action.

For those who want to try Ethical Combat Dramas and are looking to explore further, I recommend trying classics like ‘Seven Samurai’ and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ which are masterclasses in this genre.

Merry Christmas: A Tale of Yadhoom, Love, and Mystery

Merry Christmas, directed by Sriram Raghavan, is a beautiful film, especially if you like slow-paced yet engaging movies like the Before trilogy. Merry Christmas uniquely blends the romantic drama of Wong Kar Wai with the suspenseful elements of Hitchcockian noir thrillers.

Merry Christmas Title Credit

In essence, it’s reminiscent of Thiyagarajan Kumararaja’s Ninaivo Oru Paravai, which seamlessly fuses these two elements. It’s not surprising that the director, Sriram Raghavan, mentioned Thiyagarajan Kumararaja as an inspiration.

Retro Charm & A Mood For Love, Sprinkled with Witty Black Humour

Merry Christmas begins with a note saying, ‘When Mumbai was known as Bombay.The film takes place in Bombay during the 1970s and makes you feel nostalgic.

The colours, music, and songs in the film are sync with the era and make the experience even better. The story revolves around Albert (Vijay Sethupathi) and Maria (Katrina Kaif). Two souls wandering in the neon-lit lanes of Bombay, whose lives intersect in a serendipitous Christmas encounter.

Merry Christmas Title Card

It’s more of like a O.Henry short story; whatever you are reading and imagining in the first half will get a 180 degree shift in the later half. 

The movie’s pacing is deliberate, slowly building up to a climax. If you are expecting a thriller like Andhadhun, you may get disappointed. Merry Christmas is a cute black comedy.

Perfect Blend of On Screen & Off Screen Efforts

Vijay Sethupathi is outstanding in his role. Watching him dance with Katrina Kaif, who is famous for dance numbers like Chikni Chameli,’ is a treat for the fans of both. You can’t help but be drawn in by Vijay’s cute dance performance.

The film’s homage to the bygone era of Bollywood, Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’, background score by Daniel B George, all these adds layers to its storytelling, makes ‘Merry Christmas’ more than just a movie set in the 70s. It feels like it truly belongs to that time.

Scenes from Merry Christmas

Cinematographer Madhu Neelakandan deserves a special applause for meticulously capturing the essence of the setting, focusing on even the smallest details. The vibrant red-blue-green colour palette that fills each frame is so catchy and sync with the moments. However, the close-up shots of Katrina Kaif are a bit of a letdown. Personally, I felt that these moments were jarring, as Katrina seemed to struggle with conveying the subtlety of emotions required for these shots.

Sriram Raghavan’s Yadhoom: A Merry Christmas with Self-Discovery

Sriram Raghavan’s Merry Christmas not only shines with performances but also with its intriguing scripting.The movie looks at ‘Yadhoom’ moments – those instances of clarity and realisation of one’s true purpose in life.

Tamil veteran actor Rajesh plays a kind man who took care of Albert’s mother, Celine, before she passed away. He also looks after her apartment. He gives Albert a bottle of homemade wine called Yadhoom.

But what does Yadhoom mean?

Rajesh explains it like this:

‘We spend our lives working, raising families, and doing other things. But we’re all waiting for a special moment. When that moment comes, it’s like you suddenly know what you’re supposed to do. That’s what Yadhoom is about.

Merry Christmas (2024)

Sriram Raghavan carefully places his characters right before the Yadhoom moments in their lives. He shows us how they find out who they are and what they want.

Before he starts his night adventure Albert reads a quote “Night is Darkest Before The Dawn”, this blend with the eastern version of Yadhoom philosophy where challenges and sufferings lead to self-realisation. Hope you have watched Lion King which beautifully portrayed this philosophy.

Albert’s return to Bombay is more than just a trip. It’s a journey through his past and into his own heart. The idea of Yadhoom is key in the movie.

The characters of Albert and Maria are skillfully crafted to evolve towards this Yadhoom realisation. Their interactions, laden with yearning and a sense of lost time, gradually lead them to their respective Yadhoom moments.

Complementary Yadhoom Arcs

The characters, Albert and Maria, are created in a way that Maria is skeptical, fragile and is more sure of her motivations than her decisions, while Albert is almost too careful, yet easy going.

Katrina Kaif & Vijay from Merry Christmas

There is a dialogue from Albert: “I’ve left a lot of things unfinished in life, but never a bottle of chilled beer,”. These complementary arcs in their behaviour is what makes them complete in the end while talking about the agony of remorse and awaiting. 

Sriram Raghavan’s storytelling is subtle, he cleverly uses the festive atmosphere of Christmas to create a striking contrast with the deep self-reflection experienced by his characters. This contrast serves to highlight their personal growth. Initially burdened by their pasts and uncertainties, Albert and Maria evolve throughout the film. They move from being individuals weighed down by life’s complexities to people who gradually come to embrace the concept of Yadhoom.

Yadhoom, Albert and Maria: Philosophical Layers in Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas is more than just a black comedy on screen. It introduces us to the deep ideas of some philosophies.

Katrina Kaif & Vijay Sethupathi playing Flying Wish Paper Swan


For example, the film reflects existentialism. This is the belief that people must create their own meaning in a world that doesn’t have a clear purpose. Albert and Maria are characters struggling to escape their past and the truth, and in the end, they use what happens in their lives to make their own meaning and purpose for their present.


The film also shows ideas from Stoicism. Stoicism consists of wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation.

This ancient philosophy teaches that people should accept what happens in their lives and use these experiences to grow and become better people. We see this in how Albert and Maria deal with their past and how they change to find their purpose. In the climax there is a shot where Maria burns a Teddy and keeps two fish in the flush tanks. The way that night ends was narrated beautifully by Sriram and captured elegantly. by Madhu Neelakantan.

Even there is an instance were, Albert talks about Violence, he says: “Violence is better than the sufferings from non-violence”. This reminds me of Dharma philosophy.

In summary, ‘Merry Christmas’ is not just a black comedy thriller but a philosophical journey that resonates with the heart and mind. Echoing the essence of trendy Ikigai, Existentialism, Dharma,and all other such philosophies, Merry Christmas inspires us to explore our own paths, encouraging us to find our unique place in the world.

Read more reviews and get updates here.