Monthly Archives: July 2015

Finding yourself at 40…..

A couple of weeks ago, I watched 36, Vayathinile. A much lauded movie about a woman who at 36 battles being put down for being old. A childhood friend, who is a career woman, re-ignites her sense of self & she finds herself a new career and re-asserts herself.

At many levels the movie annoyed me, read my review here.

But what I found more disturbing is the many messages that came thru in the movie…

Of course, some of it rankled because I could identify with many of the issues the protagonist faces, as do many other women I am sure…

The choices we make as young women in very good faith, often come back to haunt us. And these are not bad choices mind you, the good ones-

– Moving to another city or country once you get married, for many Indian women of my generation, this was not even a discussion point, just assumed you would. With this one decision, came a host of others, starting a career trajectory again. Sometimes in a new line, because what you trained/worked in may not work in a new place.

– Taking leave to have a family, a great family decision, but often the women’s career is either curtailed, obliterated or dies a natural death.

– Making choices like part time work, working close to home….many of these decisions are made in good faith and for the benefit of more than just the child/children….

But what happens when the children grow up or your circumstances change? Does the time that has passed come back? Can you then start afresh??

The short answer is NO!

In the movie, Vasanthi asks her husband, why he is angry with her for having “mundane interests & work”  when she made the choices for the family……

Her angst is something very real, happens to many women…they get pulled up for  their choices, much much later!

In the movie obviously the situation shown is extreme & probably unrealistic, reality is many women do make work choices that mean they have less stimulating, more mundane jobs, while their husbands may have high flying careers which are exciting- they may then find their wife’s discussion of their days dull OR find it hard to discuss their work at home?

The children too, don’t need a parent as much once they find their wings. And appropriately so, they need to make their own lives.

But what then of the mother? Is it okay for her to expect her husband to appreciate her choices?
Or like the male lead in this film, should he tell her that she did not develop herself enough and he finds her boring?
In many instances, these questions don’t plague women in their 50’s or 60’s….it happens much younger! In the movie she is only 36, which by no stretch of imagination is “old” but it could be too late to start a new professional life!  Or is it….

I was in a not very different position a few years ago….

I had left a degree half done, following the love of my life…at that time it seemed so right…it never occurred to me to anything differently!
While I have always found work, it was a long time before I found something challenging and mentally stimulating….
I have never looked at any job as beneath me…so was happy being a $12/hour telephone operator and a low paid call centre worker for many years… After a series of part time and casual jobs…working close to home, working shorter days so I could pick up kids, taking unpaid leave during school holidays, never going out with colleagues after work, because I had to pick up kids…..I did find more stimulating work, but then we moved…I found work I enjoyed again….and then we moved again……In effect, I was back at the starting line every few years…

While finding enjoyment and challenge in your work is great, what is not so much fun is finding yourself in the same spot forever…
When so much of yourself is attached to what you do and what difference you make to an organisation…

No one is given a bonus for a great meal or a spotless home or even in fact for raising good kids or supporting your partner in their dreams….
It comes across as crass and needy when you point out that you made choices that benefited the other person….And while your family may truly appreciate what you have done, I wonder how many people actually acknowledge or do something about it…

In my instance, my life changed with a single sentence that someone uttered…..I decided to go back to Uni, finish my Master’s and snatch back the things that I put aside….the interests that I had….If I did not take myself seriously, no one else would….And in the end I want to be author of my destiny… And I was lucky that it was not too late to realistically get back in track, had it been a few years later, any steps I took would be too late…even now, when I apply for work, I am weighed up against people 15 years younger than I.

While I found so much empathy for the character of Vasanthi in the movie, I was deeply troubled at her attitude toward her family and others……In whatever you do, never become irrelevant to people closest to you & if you do,  get them out of your life…her acceptance of her husband’s apathy was shocking!

And the sentence that changed my life- Someone said “I will never be caught in a dead end job, my abilities demand so much more”…

Baahubali…….resting on the very able shoulders of Prabhas & SSR

I love a good entertainer….I love movies that give you great value for the $12 ticket …..AND I love it when a movie makes you forget your unwashed dishes and all the things you have to do for 3 hours….

Baahubali managed to tick all these boxes & had the added bonus of some very well toned bodies!

The things it has going for it:

– The mounting of the film, cinematography, production quality are just stupendous! Rajamouli has to be commended for putting together a product that has high quality production values of films like the Lord of the rings, Harry Potter or 300. The scale and grandeur are huge and the scope for slipping many, but he has kept it real for the period of the film.

The set design of Mahishmati. the fortress and battlements are all very well done, weaponry are fearsome. The omni present waterfall in the 1st half of the movie was perhaps overdone, but SSR’s shooting of the waterfall climbing sequences are just tremendous, esp liked the still of Prabhas on a rock face contemplating.

The last 45 min battle scenes have been shot phenomenally, the planning scene, the sequences of attacks were all edited tightly and kept the audience gripped, unlike sequences where arrows fly aimlessly.

Showing the 2 protagonists fighting was also done well, they were shown to make mistakes. The depiction of smart warfare was also well done, importantly he did not show as the good guys always winning or losing in the beginning and then suddenly coming up trumps.

–  The Looks: Prabhas & Rana look amazing! They have obviously trained for their roles, but they look majestic, royal and carry themselves perfectly. After seeing SRK, Salman & Hrithik with 6, 8 and 10 packs and managing to look silly, because their roles don’t call for it, these 2 guys look like warriors. The sequences where they train in war craft and the war scenes where they are using the weaponry are done just right. In the way SSR has directed them, their buffed up bodies don’t look out of place (if you’ve seen Bang Bang & HNY, you know exactly how out of place a great body can look). Nasser’s look is perfect & even better is Sathyaraj as Kattappa- what a fantastic transformation, you forget all the films he has done!
Ramya Krishnan takes the cake with her presence & look. The evil Kalakeya, looks perfect for the evil kings of that period.

– Putting it together: SSR manages to keep the audience in his grip for most of the movie, the opening sequence was great, but slipped a bit when the boy is growing up and the sequence with the seer was pointless. The pace of the movie was spoilt by the 2 needless songs with Tamannah, but once he gets to Mahishmati, the screenplay is just gripping and does not slip. The different threads come together. One of the best stills is Prabhas killing his cousin Bhadra & Kattappa comes racing to kill him, realises who he is and then throws his sword and is on his knees- the whole sequence in the rain is pictured stunningly well. A 120 second moving shot on digital, only 2 toned colors & the water- mind boggling!

.The note at which the movie ends- Deliciously painful! I want to see part 2 now, if SSR keeps the 2nd one as tight as this, it will be an absolute masterpiece.

What was a bit lacking: There was no need for the 2 songs and pretty maiden sequences, 15 wasted minutes!
The initial back story was vague, it took a while to understand why the queen was  mother to both boys. Shivu’s mother, need not have been so shrill.

Overall: Rate it a 4.5/5
Totally kicked that an Indian movie, a regional language one at that is of such stunning quality and effects.
Bollywood has long ruled the roost of mega budget spectacles, but this one demonstrates that when money is spent on production, the product is far far superior.  More importantly similar larger than life productions are often thin on story and while the star gets his due, the producer/distributors lose big time. In this one, the story held its own and the true hero of the film is Rajamouli! Even the title character did not hog the screen space like a Salman in Kick or SRK in HNY- the other characters all had a defined role.

I watched 300 before going to this one, and $ for $ this one was a match! When you compare the budgets of Avataar or Troy or 300 wi
th this one, Hollywood has a lesson to learn!