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.

Redemtpion

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?

Me?

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

Existentialism

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.

Stoicism

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.

Why Only One Pandava Reached Heaven

The saga of the Pandava brothers and Draupadi, their final journey to heaven, unfolds the curtain of sin, love, compassion, and unwavering adherence to Dharma.Here we are looking at why the righteous Pandavas suffered.

The Pandavas anointed Parikshit as the crown prince of Hastinapura. They appointed Yuyutsu as the guardian of the young prince. Yuyutsu, born to Dhritarashtra and a Shudra woman, was a beloved figure among the Pandava brothers. He had shown courage to stand with them on the path of Dharma and was considered a son-like to them.

From Hastinapura, Pandava brothers and Draupadi set out walking in the northern direction. In one word, ‘Vanaprastham’

Pandava’s Maha Vanaprastham

Draupadi: The First Loss

On their journey, the first to surrender to mortality was Draupadi. Bhima saw this first, and he couldn’t bear that. His love for Draupadi was profound; he was the one who loved her most.

He fiercely avenged her dishonour in the Kaurava court with blood. During their exile in the forest, Bhima diligently ensures Draupadi’s safety and comfort. How could we forget the Kichaka chapter from Mahabharatha? Even when Arjuna was hesitant, Bhima prioritised Draupadi. Even Bhima encountered Hanuman to fulfil Draupadi’s desire for a flower.


Bhima washing Draupadi's hair with blood (Image credit: insta/saptasarka)
Bhim washing Draupadi’s hair with blood (Image credit: insta/saptasarka)

Bhima collapsed, seeing Draupadi lying motionless on the earth. But the Pandava brothers knew they had to keep going. When others were walking, Bhima asked Yudhishthira, the wisest among all, ‘Why did Draupadi die? She did nothing wrong.’

Yudhishthira said, ‘Our journey is about more than just living and dying. We shouldn’t think too much about it. Draupadi was good, but she was only meant to come with us until here.’ Bhima said, ‘But she was our wife! She should always be with us!’ Yudhishthira calmly said, ‘It’s not up to us. What happened to Draupadi was because of what she did in her life.

Draupadi: Where Love meets Sin

Draupadi loved all five of us, but deep in her heart, she had a special place for Arjuna, the first one to win her heart. This natural inclination of her heart highlights the nuanced psychology of love and attachment in women. A woman, even if she is with many men, can deeply love only one. Maybe he was her first love, or maybe he was the one who made her wet for the first time or who offered her a shoulder in her darkest hours.

Yudishitra, Wisest among the Pandava Brothers
Draupadi with Pandava brothers (Image credit: Hotstar)
Draupadi with Pandava brothers (Image credit: Hotstar)

Bhima, Draupad’s sin was her lust towards Arjuna, but remember, she was noble and righteous, and that’s why she could travel with us this far. I understand your deep feelings for her. You have always protected her. Only Arjuna could truly win her heart, beyond her physical being. And for the four of us who came after, she never denied us fairness and love. She never showed dislike or boredom for our sake. Draupadi was like a goddess! let’s move on, Bhima.’ 

The Downfall of Sahadeva, Nakula, and Arjuna

During their ongoing journey, Sahadeva was the next to die, followed by Nakula. Yudhishthira explained to Bhima that Sahadeva’s pride in his wisdom and Nakula’s pride in his beauty were their downfalls.

Then, it was Arjuna’s turn. He also surrendered to Yama, the god of death. Bhima again asked Yudhishthira why. Yudhishthira said, ‘Arjuna once vowed to defeat all enemies by himself. This boastfulness and wrath, along with his envy, were his sins. That’s why he couldn’t continue the journey.‘ Then they continued walking

Losses Along the Way: Fall of a Gentle Giant

When Bhima was about to fall, he asked Yudhishthira, ‘Elder brother, I am about to fall. What’s my fault?’ Yudhishthira replied, ‘Bhima, you are dear to me. But your pride in your strength and your love for food (gluttony) were your downfalls.‘ Yudhishthira continued his journey alone, as his brothers’ deaths did not stop him.

Bhima Fighting against Asur
Bhima Fighting against Asur

At Heaven’s Gate: Righteous Among Pandavas

From the day they left Hastinapura, a dog had been following the Pandavas. Even as others fell during the long journey, the dog stayed with Yudhishthira. When Yudhishthira reached his destination, the gates of heaven were ready to welcome him. Indra arrived in his chariot and said to Yudhishthira, ‘Climb into the chariot! There is no one in heaven more worthy than you to join us. Don’t hesitate, Yudhishthira, come with me!

Yudishtira and Indra
Yudishtira and Indra

Yudhishthira told Indra, ‘I’m not completely happy with this blessing you’ve given me.’ ‘What? You don’t want to go to heaven?’ asked Indra. Yudhishthira replied, ‘No, Lord! The Pandavas and Draupadi started this journey together. They all died on the way, and I don’t even know what happened to them. Going to heaven alone will bring me more pain than joy. My brothers are my life, and Draupadi is part of our soul. Please tell me where they are now.’Indra smiled and said, ‘Yudhishthira, the world has never seen a brother as loving as you. You often seemed weak because of your love for your family. Is this really commendable? Is it that hard to let go?‘ Yudhishthira, with a lifeless smile, replied, A person without love for his dependents doesn’t deserve to live on earth. My love for my brothers and Draupadi is beyond my senses. Please help me!

Indra told Yudhishthira, ‘Your brothers and Draupadi were good people. They have already reached heaven after leaving their bodies behind. But they did not have the greatness you have, so you are allowed to enter heaven while still alive. Climb into the chariot. You can trust my words.’ Yudhishthira responded, ‘I have one more request.’ Indra looked at Yudhishthira sceptically.

Yudhishthira’s Conflict of Heart and Duty

Yudhishthira said, ‘I cannot abandon this dog that has been with me until the end of my journey. Please let it come with me on the chariot.’ Indra laughed a little and said, ‘You know that dogs cannot enter heaven. Yet, you insist on this worthless animal.’

‘No! Lord Indra, go ahead without me. This dog will always be with me. If I leave this dog behind, all my good deeds for heaven will be worthless. I will never abandon those who depend on me!

Indra said, ‘You left your brothers and Draupadi on the way. Do you care more for this insignificant dog?’ Yudhishthira replied, ‘My brothers and Draupadi died along the way, and I couldn’t bring them back to life. But this poor animal is still alive and has been with me through this long journey. I cannot abandon it.’ As Indra looked at Yudhishthira with compassion, the dog transformed. It was Dharma Deva, the god of death, who had followed him in the form of a dog. He said, ‘Son, your compassion has filled me with pride. You have passed a test beyond ordinary trials. The world will praise you as Yudhishthira, a name synonymous with dharma. Your words and actions have always been rooted in righteousness, and you have never strayed from this path. Go with Indra.’

Yudhishthira boarded Indra’s chariot, and they soared through the sky, eventually reaching heaven.

The Celestial Reunion of Pandavas

He entered heaven and saw Krishna sitting on a majestic throne, with Arjuna beside him. They stood up and joyfully welcomed Yudhishthira. He found Karna among the twelve Adityas and bowed to him. Karna smiled and welcomed his brother. Bhima was among the Maruts, Nakula and Sahadeva were near the Ashwini Kumaras, and they all greeted Yudhishthira with respect. Draupadi, shining like a bright star, was there with their five sons. They all bowed to Yudhishthira. He saw Drona blessed by Brihaspati and Bhishma seated among the Vasus, to whom he bowed. Duryodhana, smiling on a special throne, stood up to honour Yudhishthira. In heaven, there is no enmity. Duryodhana, having died a heroic death and fulfilled his duties well, had earned a special place in heaven. (Even Yudishtira did a minor sin and he faced some challenges at Heaven, but we skipped that part since it’s too long for this)

Bhavachakra describing the cycle of saṃsāra
Bhavachakra describing the cycle of saṃsāra

Beyond Myths: Love, Loss, and Life’s Eternal Lessons

The reunion with his brothers, Draupadi and Duryodhana, each radiant in their own right, symbolised the eternal cycle of life, death, and redemption. So, this story might be more than just a myth because it reveals a timeless truth: Draupadi’s quiet love for Arjuna, even as Bhima loves her deeply, shows us how complex our hearts can be. It tells us that even wise and strong people like Yudhishthira struggle with letting go of those they love. Finally, it tells us that, in the heart of forgiveness and empathy, lies the true path to liberation, the Moksha.

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The Secret Of Happiness: Mitchell Marsh & World Cup

What’s the secret of happiness? Let’s learn from Mitchell Marsh and his super cool World Cup celebration.

If I were to choose a single image that encapsulates the essence of this World Cup, my finger would point unhesitatingly to this particular scene. It’s the picture of the young Mitchell Marsh, his foot triumphantly planted atop the World Cup trophy. The fact that it was Pat Cummins who shared this moment with the world is far from coincidental 😉

Mitchell Marsh with the world cup trophy
Mitchell Marsh with the World Cup trophy

For many, it might be arrogance or direspect, but in my perspective, Mitchell brought a philosophy echoing the very thoughts and actions of Buddha himself. This philosophy, known in English as ‘Detachment’, embodies ideas of dispassion, disillusionment, and liberation from entanglements. The epitome of this concept, in its most tangible form, was achieved by Buddha in the name of Nirvana & Hindu saints and Jaina aints in the name of Moksha‘.

The Zen of Victory: Mitchell Marsh’s World Cup Philosophy

Osho Rajneesh, Ramana Maharshi, and various Jain saints have extensively spoken about this philosophy. However, Mitchell Marsh, through a single act, illuminated this principle in its most tangible form. Every achievement, whether it’s winning the World Cup or an election victory, is transient.

The essence here is the concept of detachment and the transient nature of events and achievements. Mitchell Marsh’s act is a powerful embodiment of this, showcasing that even significant victories like the World Cup are just fleeting moments in the grand scheme of life. I remember a Zen Buddhist story that may connect this better.

The Tale of Two Monks: A Lesson in Non-Attachment

Two monks, one older and one younger, are travelling together. At one point, they come to a river with a strong current. As they prepare to cross, they meet a young woman who is unable to cross by herself. The older monk offers to carry her across on his back, and she gratefully accepts. After he safely delivers her to the other side, they part ways.

Image from a textbook

After some time, the younger monk questions the elder: ‘Was it right for you to carry that young woman on your shoulders?‘ To this, The older monk replies, “I put her down on the other side of the river. Why are you still carrying her?”.

Cultural Misinterpretations: Respect vs. Detachment

On Sunday, Mitchell Marsh was in the role of this older monk. By declaring the World Cup trophy merely a cup after the victory, he precisely and subtly communicated to us the impermanence of both triumph and defeat. It’s a profound lesson in how fleeting both success and failure are.

Image of Mitchell Marsh shared by cybersanskaris
Image of Mitchell Marsh shared by cybersanskaris

There are those who criticise this scene. They see placing a foot on the World Cup as disrespectful. These are the same people who do not hesitate to remain silent in the face of blatant injustices. They forget that respect is a feudal value, heavily overshadowed by hierarchy. In their view, certain actions, even symbolic, are unacceptable breaches of decorum, ignoring the deeper symbolic messages such actions might convey.

Practising Detachment: Insights from Mitchell Marsh

You might be thinking that this sounds like actor Vijay fans decoding the brilliance behind the popular Tamil movie Leo. Let me tell you, the base of this interpretation is an interview from Mitchell Marsh.

Mitchell Marsh Interview

In it, Mitchell mentions that he has been training with a psychologist to navigate life, focusing on how to become detached from outcomes. ‘Detachment’ is the key concept Mitchell emphasises. This concept echoes Lord Krishna’s teachings in the Bhagavad Gita about acting without attachment to the results. I cannot recall another recent instance where the profound teachings of Buddha or lord Krsihna have been so effectively put into practise.

Feudal Mindset & The Philosophy of Detachment

Our leaders, superstars, and celebrities should all take a leaf out of Mitchell’s book. His approach is a guiding finger to those who revel in the shadows of egoism. Let’s take a closer look at Kerala.

Here, politicians act like royalty, with only the VIPs having access to the Chief Minister and ministers. Bureaucrats often wield their power for personal ego and vendetta, rooted in their attachment to power.

Kerala Chief Minister in a public outreach programme
Kerala Chief Minister in a public outreach programme

Look at our hon.PM Narendra Modi, If he goes to great lengths to maintain his power, it’s not surprising. He has been in power since 2000, and detachment from such a long-held position is no easy feat.

Reflecting on ourselves, can we detach from our past, from our achievements? If it were a yes, we wouldn’t have celebrated Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh, and we wouldn’t have played so many Lofi songs. Letting Go is a skill that we all should gain.

Most of us bask in the glory of our past successes or failures, but true happiness and growth lie in moving on. Growth happens when you let go. This is especially relevant in a society where maintaining status and power often becomes an end in itself. If we can learn to detach, to let go of these attachments, we can find not just individual contentment but also create a more balanced and equitable society.

Live Love learn liberate
Live Love Learn Liberate

Detachment: Here lies the secret of happiness.
As I always say: Live to Love, Love to Learn, Learn to Liberate. This mission makes your life content.

Read more: Rohit Sharma: A Fiery Chapter in the Saga of Indian Cricket

Rohit Sharma: An Emotional Chapter of Indian Cricket

What makes someone a great leader? That’s the story of Rohit Sharma. How did he ace against the odds? Rohit’s journey is more than just about playing cricket.

It’s about never giving up and leading a team with heart. He was not a part of a winning team in 2011, from there to becoming a captain everyone looks up to, his story is full of feelings and hope. 

Rohit Sharma: (Quote: Dead Poet Society)

The Legacy

In the legacy of Indian cricket, two names have been etched in golden letters for their remarkable leadership in clinching the World Cup – Kapil Dev and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. 

Kapil Dev, leading the charge in 1983, heralded the rise of the Indian cricket team on the world stage, marking a historic victory that was nothing short of a fairy tale. 

Kapil Dev

Then, the long wait for glory ended in 2011 under the cool captaincy of MS Dhoni, a man from Ranchi who redefined leadership and brought a new era of dominance in Indian cricket. It was a moment that completed the journey of a legend, the God of cricket- Sachin Tendulkar, fulfilling his lifelong dream of winning the World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar from 2011 World Cup Final

Setbacks to Stepping Stones

In 2011, Rohit had a burning desire to be part of the World Cup team, but fate had other plans. Despite his eagerness and potential, he was left out of India’s squad for the World Cup. How he endured that night as a 23-year-old, filled with dreams yet faced with rejection, is something only he knows.

At the peak of his disappointment, Rohit might have penned down his feelings, possibly as a way to process and overcome the deep sense of letdown.

“Forward, Always Forward, Forward with More Strength”

Rohit Sharma didn’t just stop there. His experience was not merely about deep sorrow from loss. It was also a declaration that he refused to accept himself as a loser. His comeback was as stunning as his performances on the cricket field. It was as if he had donned the armour of a warrior when he stepped back onto the field. His approach to the game changed entirely.

Beyond Boundaries: Rohit Sharma’s Hitman Saga

Once he was set on the crease, there was no one as dangerous as him.
Rohit Sharma’s playing style always brings back memories of Virender Sehwag, especially his fearless approach. Like Sehwag, who would boldly go for a six even on 99, Rohit doesn’t seem to play it safe.

In today’s ICC World Cup Final 2023, Rohit’s innings of 47 runs echoed the same daring spirit as Sehwag’s. He plays like a selfless captain, focused on setting a strong foundation for the team rather than just chasing personal milestones. It’s this quality that sets him apart and reminds us of the fearless cricket that Viru played in the past.

Virendar Sehwag
Virendar Sehwag

But this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any milestones in his career, he rained records, including three double centuries, reshaping not just his career but also the history of cricket.

These years were not just significant for India but brought a change to the entire cricket world. Even in this World Cup, he set a record of sixes. He became the batter to hit the most sixes in ODI World Cups (54).

Leadership in Action: Rohit Sharma’s Defining Moments

In the 2019 World Cup, Rohit Sharma led the team with unparalleled valour, notching up five centuries. His leadership extended beyond the national team to the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, where he lifted the trophy multiple times. Rohit Sharma continued to rewrite history with each of these achievements.

Finally, his journey led him to captain the Indian team in all three formats of the game, a remarkable feat that speaks volumes of his leadership and skill. This story of determination and success found its latest chapter in the 2023 World Cup, showcasing Rohit Sharma as a figure of inspiration and resilience in the world of cricket.

Leading by Example: Rohit Sharma’s Captaincy Masterclass

In the 2023 World Cup, Rohit Sharma led from the front. From the very first ball, his strategy was clear: play aggressively. He ensured that the team got off to a strong start in the powerplay, setting up a good score early on.

Rohit’s leadership was evident in many matches, where his powerful beginnings energised the Indian team. What Rohit started, players like Kohli, Iyer, and Rahul completed, creating a spectacle of teamwork and skill.

Rohit Sharma aka Hitman
Rohit Sharma aka Hitman

But Rohit’s contribution was not limited to his batting prowess. As a captain, he demonstrated remarkable decision-making skills. He skillfully rotated the bowlers, giving the team crucial breakthroughs.

His tactical fielding changes at critical moments were instrumental in swinging the momentum of the game. The 2023 World Cup was a testament to Rohit‘s deep understanding and effective leadership as the captain of the Indian cricket team.

Captaincy Beyond Batting: Inspirational Roots from Dhoni

The last time India reached the final before this was in 2011, a team Rohit Sharma couldn’t be a part of. That team, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, created history. Dhoni’s leadership fulfilled the hopes and dreams of a nation waiting for 28 years. Under Dhoni, India won its second World Cup. The final match against Sri Lanka is unforgettable for Indian fans.

The Winning Moment from 2011 World Cup Final

The iconic moment was in the 49th over, bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara. Dhoni’s six over the bowler’s head sealed the victory, a moment celebrated like no other in Indian sports history.

Gautam Gambhir &  M S Dhoni
Gautam Gambhir & M S Dhoni

At one point, the team faced a tough situation, but it was Gambhir and Dhoni who rescued India. Dhoni was not only the captain but also the star of the match. His leadership and performance under pressure were instrumental in bringing the World Cup home, creating an unforgettable chapter in Indian cricket history.

Gautam Gambhir Innings

Even though Dhoni wasn’t in top form throughout the tournament, he made crucial decisions in the final and other key matches that saved the team. It’s always been like that with him. His reputation as one of India’s greatest captains isn’t unwarranted. Dhoni’s achievements are not limited to leading India to victory in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup. He also led the team to win the 2013 Champions Trophy.

DaDa’s Legacy & The Unforgotten Dream

Before Dhoni, it was DaDa who paved a new path for Indian cricket. In 2000, when Indian cricket was shaken by betting scandals, Ganguly took up the challenge of leading the team. It was a time when even God of Cricket- Sachin Tendulkar, hesitated to take on the captaincy. The Prince of Kolkata stepped up to revive the Indian team, leading fearlessly and bringing back the lost faith of Indian cricket fans. For Ganguly, the team was always more important than individual achievements. He trained his players to fight for a common goal, giving them the necessary support and confidence.

Sourav Ganguly & M S Dhoni
Sourav Ganguly & M S Dhoni

Under his leadership, the team he built reached the final of the 2003 World Cup. However, fate had it that they would lose to Australia. But the journey to that final and the spirit Ganguly instilled in the team remain unforgettable. His legacy is marked by his ability to unite and inspire a group of players towards a collective dream.

Beyond the Trophy: Rohit Sharma, Beloved Captain

The latest hero of this destiny is Rohit Sharma. After the semi-final match against New Zealand, which witnessed Virat Kohli’s fiftieth century and Shami’s seven-wicket haul, former England cricketer Nasser Hussain commented on the game.

Rohit Sharma after 2023 ICC World Cup Finale
Rohit Sharma after 2023 ICC World Cup Finale

Tomorrow’s headlines will probably be about Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and Shami. But the real hero of this Indian lineup, the man who has transformed the Indian style, is Rohit Sharma.‘’ –

Nasser Hussain (Former England Captain)

At this moment, watching Rohit Sharma, a line from the ‘Dead Poets Society’ resonates deeply within me: ‘O Captain! My Captain!’

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Hostar’s Masterpeace: Symmetry and Satire

Sreejith N’s Malayalam web series ‘Masterpeace’ on Hotstar looks like a homage to Wes Anderson.

In the cinematic world, few directors have mastered the art of visual storytelling quite like Wes Anderson. With every frame crafted like a painted canvas and a color palette that capture your eyes.

Anderson’s films are a feast for the eyes and the heart. Don’t you remember ‘Amen’ by LJP filled with quirks, emotions, and political undertones. That’s another example of Wes Anderson style for those who are not aware of this brilliant maker.

This rich element of Wes Anderson’s visuals and narrative brilliance is the highlight in director Sreejith’s latest Malayalam web series, Masterpeace. Compared to Sreejith’s previous flick, ‘Oru Thekkan Thallu CaseMasterpeace is a different experiment inspired by Wes Anderson style of storytelling.

Brief About the ‘Materpiece’

‘Masterpeace’ is a story about a young married couple, Riya and Binoy. They live in Kochi and have problems in their marriage. When they fight, their parents come to their home to help. But, the parents have their own ideas and want to be in charge. The show is satirical sprinkled with some serious moments. Most of the story happens in one day, inside Riya and Binoy’s flat.

Masterpeace Trailer

Religion, feminism, Liberalism, Dowry, Gender Neutrality, Male chauvanism, Intolerance, LGBTQ+, stereotyping of people & even Nityananda swami 😉 . The list is long and never ending, I believe, you will find at least one one-liner from all these topics in a satirical way.

Why You Should Watch This:

A Masterpeace ‘Visual Treat’

As I said in the beginning, that Wes Anderson style is the biggest plus here. Masterpeace is beautiful to watch. The homes, the colours, and the objects in the series are chosen carefully. They make every scene look like a painting, and every artist on the screen looks like a caricature in that canvas.

The series has a special style, you can find a symmetry in every frame just like the way writer Praveen crafted ultra-dramatic characters and Understated or muted characters in every events.

A Unique Story

The series gives a close look at Indian families and how they deal with problems. It’s not just about a couple’s fight, but about how older family members try to solve things their way. This drama gave you some high hopes and entertainment value in the first three episodes.

Humour and Drama

There are many funny moments in the series. These moments feel like they are taken from real-life situations in many typical Mallu families. It will remind you of some family gatherings and personally I felt like it’s laughing riot especially for those who have some ultra orthodox family members.

Director Sreejith made a great comeback with this quirky satirical experiment.

What Could Have Been Better?

Length: While the series starts off exciting, it becomes long. There are five episodes, and each episode is more than 30 minutes. Some parts of the story feel repeated and could have been shorter or edited.

Repetitive Themes: The series with some frsh approaches on how older people behave and how their orthodox views contradict with the neo-liberals. But, after some time, it feels like the same things are shown again and again.

Narration Gaps: Sometimes the voice-over in the series was confusing and slow down the narration. I wondered why it was even there.

A Masterpeace Performance From Ashokan

The series centering around six characters and my biggest entertainment was Ashokan, he will makes you laugh a lot. He hasn’t acted in big roles for some time, but he made a comeback similar to what lalu Alex did in Bro Daddy. 

Maala Parvathi also acts very well as a mother who likes to be in control. These two artists make sure that you won’t abandon this show in midway.

Shanthi Krihna’s & Renji Panicker’s muted characters were overshadowed by the other ultra-dramataic characters in the movie.

The music and camera work in the series are also very good. The director, Sreejith, has made the series look beautiful and quriky. But, it would have been better if the episodes were shorter.

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Human Interactions: Understanding the Lonely Wolf and the Social Butterfly

Today, I want to share a conversation I had with my good friend Venkat. He looked confused and asked me, “Akhil, how do you manage both networking and productivity together?” He made a good point: the most productive people—I call them “Lonely Wolves”—among us often work alone, while people who like to socialise a lot, “the social butterflies,” often focus more on taking breaks. Let’s understand the nuances behind human interactions here.

The Evolutionary Tale of the ‘Lonely Wolf’

Imagine the ‘Lonely Wolf’ as someone who’s skilled at their tasks, but deep down, there’s a fear that holds them back from social interactions. Think of it like being hesitant to jump into a pool. Most people want to try that, but they are scared of the consequences. Maybe they are scared of an accident.

Similarly, here the reason for this social distancing isn’t just that they’re shy or prefer being alone; it’s rooted in our ancient history.
In the old days, if you were excluded or rejected by your tribe or group, it was like being left out in the cold without a jacket. You were vulnerable to the elements and wild animals, making survival really tough.

So, being pushed out or ostracised was, in many ways, a death sentence. Our brains are always trying to protect us. Hence, our brain developed a mechanism that made social rejection hurt, almost as if it were physical pain.

Neurologically, when they think about initiating a conversation, their brain’s anterior cingulate cortex (responsible for detecting physical pain) activates, making the mere idea of a possible rejection daunting. This isn’t mere shyness; it’s a protective mechanism that’s years old.
Yet, once they establish a connection, their brain’s reward system gets activated intensely. The hormone oxytocin, responsible for bonding, is released in higher doses. It’s nature’s way of ensuring that once a connection is made, it’s deeply valued. Hence, they often form deeper attachments, valuing quality over quantity.

Historical Roots of the Social Butterflies

Throughout history, individuals who could quickly build rapport, create alliances, and foster relationships had advantages. They were the diplomats, the traders, and the village storytellers. Their strength wasn’t just in the number of their interactions but in the richness of the tales they carried and shared.

Neurologically, every interaction stimulates the release of oxytocin, promoting bonding, and serotonin, enhancing mood and self-esteem. But it’s not just about these chemicals. Their brains are wired to seek variety. Just as our tongue craves different flavours, their neural pathways relish diverse interactions.

Genes of: Social butterflies vs Lonely Wolves

For social butterflies, their brains have likely evolved to prioritise social feedback. The release of oxytocin and dopamine in response to social interactions is more pronounced, reinforcing their social behaviours. Just as some people have a sweet tooth and relish desserts due to evolutionary reasons (sweet usually meant nutritious and calorie-rich), the Social Butterflies have, metaphorically speaking, a ‘social tooth’. Their ancestors were likely those who thrived and survived due to their social adeptness, passing down these traits.

For Lonely Wolves: Their brain prioritises deep work and introspection. This might be due to a heightened activation of regions associated with focus and task-oriented behaviours. Their ancestors were likely the ones whose survival was ensured not by vast social networks but by their individual skills, deep thinking, or problem-solving prowess.

Nature vs. Nurture

While evolutionary and neurological factors play a significant role, one’s upbringing, personal experiences, and the environment can’t be ignored. A naturally sociable child, if repeatedly exposed to negative social feedback, might withdraw and exhibit ‘Lonely Wolf’ tendencies. Conversely, a naturally introverted child, when encouraged and provided positive social experiences, might develop more extroverted tendencies.

In essence, the disparity between ‘Social Butterflies’ and ‘Lonely Wolves’ can be viewed as nature’s way of ensuring that a tribe had both: individuals who could form quick social bonds and those who could delve deep into problem-solving. Both these traits had their unique evolutionary advantages, ensuring the survival and thriving of the group.

How do we bridge the gap?

For the Social Butterfly

  • The Art of Deep Conversations: Social Butterflies often flit from one topic to another. To add depth, they can practice active listening. It involves not just hearing words but understanding and interpreting them. Instead of preparing the next thing to say, truly listen. This leads to meaningful conversations that leave a lasting impact.
  • Scheduling ‘Me’ Time: A day, or even a few hours, reserved for self-reflection can work wonders. During this time, indulge in activities that promote inner growth – reading, journaling, or even a solitary walk. Embracing moments of silence and solitude can offer profound insights and a renewed sense of purpose.
  • Read: Books can be wonderful companions. They can offer the ‘Social Butterfly’ a world of knowledge while also teaching them the joy of solitude.

For the Lonely Wolf

  • Baby Steps: Social interactions don’t need to be grand gestures. Start small. Maybe a hello to a colleague, a smile to a stranger, or a compliment to a friend. Remember, every long journey begins with a single step.
  • Find Your Tribe: The ‘Lonely Wolf’ doesn’t need to fit in everywhere. They need to find their tribe – a group of like-minded individuals who share their passions, hobbies, or beliefs. When you share a common interest, initiating conversations becomes easier.
  • Seek Mentorship: One way to learn about the nuances of social interactions is to learn from someone who excels at it. A mentor can guide, providing insights into the art of communication and relationship-building.

In conclusion, the digital age, though complex, offers myriad opportunities for both the ‘Lonely Wolf’ and the ‘Social Butterfly’ to grow, learn, and bridge the chasm between them. While their innate natures are different, they can certainly borrow pages from each other’s books, creating a balanced narrative for their lives.

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