Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Short Story Series: Episode 3: After When James Meet Amanda

This is a day I will never forget in my life. The day I learnt that I will never have Amanda in my life anymore. She has moved on and found someone better in life. Why did I bump into her today? My life was good until the moment I saw her today.
Seeing her today gave me a glimpse of hope that maybe we could make up for lost time and work out a relationship, only to know at the end that she is with Mike. It hurts, it hurts so bad than the time we actually broke up before.
As she left I immediately left the mall to go back home. I wasn't able to think straight and felt I just needed to sleep things off and hope this never happened. As I reach home trying to put my thoughts aside to get some sleep, hoping I will just forget that I met Amanda today, I somehow just couldn't do it. Her smile, her eyes, her warmth and her voice was all lingering in my mind.

I grab my car keys and drove to the nearest pub downtown. I thought maybe with a couple of drinks, I would be able to get some sleep tonight and not think about Amanda. I had my usual Jack Daniel's on the rocks sitting on the counter pondering on how things could have turned out for me.

After having one too many drinks, I was starting to feel the world around me being a little light. I knew I already had enough to drink and would call it a day to go home and sleep. As I was about to enter my car, I begin to hear some sound coming towards my right, a couple of meters away from me.

Initially I wanted to ignore it, but than I heard a lady shouting "I have had enough of you David! I can't take this anymore" followed by the guy screaming "You know what Jessica, get the fuck out of my place tonight! That's it I am leaving you! We are over!" and goes on to slap her!

Usually I would just ignore this situations when it happens. Being an introvert that I am, I hardly would bother to interfere into another person's personal issue. After all scenes like this is normal at a pub. So much so no one at the pub even bothers to get themselves involved in it.

Yet on that day, for reason I don't even know, I had the urge to step in and do something about it. I don't know who this girl was or what is the issue between them, but I just had the feel I should protect her. And so that is what I did.

"Dude back off man, don't you go hitting a woman" I said, in to which he replied "Who the fuck are you, are you sleeping with my girl. This is my girl, I'll slap her or I'll kiss her it's none of your business so back off!" Honestly I was stunned, I felt stupid getting into their problem. He was right, who am I to get into their problem. So I thought it was best I just left the scene.

"What do you mean your girl? Seconds ago you just broke up with me and chased me out of the house and now you are saying I am your girl? No way David. I am fucking done with you and your bullshit. I am leaving" She said and she continued to me, "Would you mind giving me a lift away from this place. I just need to get out of here." "My pleasure. I will drop you where you need to go" I said.

"You know what Jessica, go ahead, go with any random guy you see. You can sleep with him for fucks sake. We are done" he screamed as he stormed off in his car". I was amazed with the way he dealt with his girlfriend, well in this case now who his ex girlfriend.

To break the awkward silence, I introduced my self to her, "Hi I am James, I live around the neighborhood. I am going to grab a quick bite. Do you want to follow me for a bite else I will drop you where you want to go."

She said, "Since he wants me out of the house so that means as of this point I am actually homeless haha. Yeah sure lets grab a bite and I'll figure something on the way. By the way I am Jessica and thank you so much for stepping in just now or else I don't know how it would have gone down tonight. Thank you for liberating me from his clutches James."

We drove towards a nearby cozy cafe which I usually go for my supper bites. It was a little late but since I was a regular, the shop owner entertained us although he was preparing to call it a night. He took our orders and went off to prepare our meals.

Me and Jessica begun talking and I felt an instant connection towards her. It was as if I knew her for many years and it was very easy to open up to her. We finished our meals and the shop owner told to just pulled the shutter down when I am leaving before leaving. Well it is not the first time he has done this, since I am a regular here he often asks me to close the shop up for him as I come in for my late suppers so that he can head home first.

With the place for ourselves we went on talking and talking without realizing the clock was running away. I started to open up to her about my relationship with Amanda and my encounter with her today morning. Meanwhile Jessica spoke about the struggles in her relationship and why it didn't work out.

Just like that, an amazing bond was born between us. Up to few hours ago we were total strangers and now we are talking about our relationships in a cafe up to 2 a.m. Realizing it was getting late, we decided to leave the place as I closed the shutters down and made our way towards to car.

Jessica asked me if I could drop her a couple of blocks along the way to a friends place for her to put a night before she plans about her next decision. I was happy to do so and drove her there. I dropped her off and she leaned in to give me a peck on my cheeks and thanked me for everything today

With that she made her into her friends place and disappeared into the house. I drop off there to my place with such light and happy feeling in me. It was something I never felt since I was with Amanda. I knew I had develop a crush over Jessica. It is true they say, food bonds people.

It was only at that point I realized that I never asked Jessica for her number to call her out on a real date. How could I be so stupid and forgotten date. Well I wasn't the smartest person in the dating world and this sums it up. I knew it will look very weird if I were to drive back to her friends place just to ask for her number so I couldn't do that.

But something told me that this wouldn't be the last time I meet Jessica. I know for a fact that somehow I will bump into her soon and that time I will take her number. After all, thought becomes things and that's the law of attraction.

For the first time in a very long time, I went do bed with such happy feeling  and fell into such deep sleep. Why? Because I knew tonight was going to be the beginning of a beautiful story called "When James Meets Jessica".

Monday, 25 July 2016

Compilation of "Under The Spot Light"

The Kabali review post marks my 8th film review post on my blog and I felt its time I made a post compiling all my film review post under one article and rank it from its lowest ranking to the highest ranking
At the same time I would like to say a big thank you to those who reads my films reviews and has constantly ask me to write a film review whenever a film comes up. It's your support that has help me kept going writing reviews despite many people on social media mocks people who writes reviews. Thank you so much guys
I will post links to each film review I have written  at the beginning of the post and do a short paragraph about the film again

8th. Romeo Juliet (2.7/5.0)
What was meant to be a romantic comedy film turned out to be one of the film I will always despise. The film had nothing special and was sent out to show how woman are after money and looks in a relationship. The climax of the film was perhaps one of the worse I've seen including very degrading towards the female gender. 2.7/5.0 seems to be a higher score for a film of such quality
7th. Mass (2.96/5.0)
Surya is a fantastic actor no doubt but after Varnam Ayiram, his director selection has been extremely bad.. Films like Singam and Anjaan would serve well with the commercial audience but the film was just agonizingly painful to watch. Things never got better with Mass as well. Venkat Prabhu is a director I rate so poorly and Mass justified why I feel so. The director seemed more lost than the audience in the film. How on Earth Surya was convinced to act in a Venkat Prabhu film is perhaps one of the greatest magic trick I've seen
6th. Theri (3.4/5.0)

One of the biggest blockbuster of 2016, surprisingly ranks a low 6th on my review list. When I saw the film I absolutely loved it especially because it is a Vijay film. Vijay is an actor I rate very highly and there is more to him than just commercial films. Everything seem right in the film except one thing, the story it self. Despite the directors best effort to make the film racy and entertaining, it was nothing more different than you average commercial film plot. Things were predictable from the moment go and that is what pulled down my rating for the film. A particular highlight of the film was the father-daughter scenes.
5th.  Uthama Villain (3.65/5.0)
Honestly if I were to writen a review for Uthama Villain today, I would rate it much higher. It took me a couple of months to truly understand what this film is all about. It is indeed a great masterstroke by Kamal in terms of the story. Original when I wrote the film, I rated the "Uthama Villain" portion extremely lowly. Boy I was wrong and it surely deserves a much higher rating. This film will go down as one of Kamal's under appreciated film in years to come just like Hey Ram and Anbe Sivam
4th. Idhu Namma Allu (4.1/5.0)
The first of 4 films to hit the 4.0 above rating in my review. Idhu Namma Allu was perhaps one of my favorite movies of the year due to it's light hearted and easy going content of the film. I was never a fan of Simbu except for his film in VTV, but in this film he shows that there is a quality performer in him. The only downside of the film was the unnecessary extension of film in the second half after Nayanthara, Simbu, Andrea and Jai meets up. If the film were to have ended there I would have given it a much higher rating. Everything else from that point onwards was painful on the eye to watch
3rd  OK Kanmani (4.4/5.0)
OK Kanmani was the 1st film review post I wrote on my blog and it was due to the good feedback from that post that got me going on writing film reviews. Mani Rathnam is a genius and he shows it why in this fil.m. He captures the essence of today's youths relationship touch on a taboo topic on in living relationship. Both bold and genius Mani Rathnam is. His ability to bring the best of his cast is why this movie was rated highly by me. It's an extension of Mouna Ragam and Alaipayuthey.
1st. Papanasam (4.5/5.0)
       Kabali (4.5/5.0)
Joint first are both Papanasam and Kabali with the highest rating of 4.5. It is no surprise that it is the movies of two of India's biggest actors, Kamal Hassan and Superstar Rajinikanth. Papanasam was a remake of a Malayalee film which touches around how a simple family deals with the prospect of murder and how far would a father go to defend his family realistically. Kamal and Gauthami was immense in the film. The plot and pace was fantastic and keeps you glued to the screen
Kabali was Thalaivaa's latest film and it will always be one that stays close to my heart as it honestly captures the struggles of the Malaysian Indian Community. Although it was expected to be a out and out gangster film, Kabali was actually the story of a man who had lost 25 years of his life in prison, comes up to reconcile with his family and at the same time protect the welfare of Malaysian Indians. I will always call it as a mature version of Baasha. It was Thalaiva's best performance in many years as an actor
That wraps up my post. If you feel that I should write a review about any past films, please do comment and I will do my best to watch the film again and write a review even if it is an old film.. Thank you for support guys, you people have been amazing readers

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Under The Spotlight: Kabali

The moment we all been waiting for has arrived! Rajini is back on the big screen and the little kid in me was screaming in joy being able to see Rajini once again. I for one knew that this was not going to be your regular Rajini film, but this was going to be an out and out Ranjith film and boy was I right. Nevertheless I was waiting eagerly just to catch a glimpse of Rajini, his trademark walk and of cause his glorious smile. Every time Rajini laughs or smile and I just lose my mind. So much style so much grace from the big man.

Without much delay below is my review and I will try to keep the Rajini fan in me and do my best to give an unbiased review. If you haven't watch the film please stop reading this post and come back after you have watched it as I wouldn't want to spoil it for you

Story Review
Despite the hype around the film after the teaser was released and the comparison people was making of Kabali towards Baasha, I knew for a very fact that we are going to get a very different Rajini in this film and that was what happened

The film hits out with a little backstory of who Kabali is and who are his rivals are. With that the tone was set for the film as how this film was going to pan out. Upon his release from jail Kabali was quickly caught up with the struggles the Malaysian Indian community are facing today and how the mafia world is evolving today and those dominating it are his arch rival.

As gangster would do to remind people that they are back in the business is to send out a loud and clear message to the rival and Kabali does that in superb style. I for one was not expecting that to happen. Kabali wasn't just the do good be nice gangster but he was someone who would fight for his community and would have no qualms for shooting or killing someone when it comes. Just like how a real gangster would.

The film that shifts the rivals trying to get back to Kabali by employing an assassin and how Kabali tries to rebuild his gang back again. At the same time Kabali spares time for the school which takes in school dropout and young gang members which tries to reform them before sending them back to the community

In a way that is Kabali's dream, that the Indian community are in a decent position, away from drugs and gangs. What seems to be his ideology is that he has to walk down the dark path and get things cleaned up in order for the future generations to stay away from it and be successful

What follows next is blast to the past of Kabali where he learns some facts about his family and how he tries to make things up for the death of a friend. With the films builds towards the climax which would be between Kabali and his rival.

The biggest win of the film is the realism factor in it. If you are a Malaysian, you cannot deny the scenes shown were not true. Even the way Kabali carries himself or how the fights happen and all makes perfect sense as if it was real gangsters were to do it.

Reading it here may not some as fantastic as it was watching the film in real but trust me if you put the Rajini fan of you out and went in to watch a quality film, you are in for a treat. This is not a film tailored for the Rajini fans. You won't see Rajini flying around fighting 20 goons at one time, you won't see much punch dialogues from Rajini, you won't see Rajini romancing a young heroine

Whatever typical things you expect in a Rajini film, you will get the minimal of it which is what makes it even great film to be watch. This is a film made to show the world the struggles and difficulties faced by Malaysian Indians and the dark side we are left to face with.
Rating: 4.7/5.0
Director Review
Pa Ranjith

Who would believe that this guy is only 3 films old in terms of directing. What an honor would it have been for this guy to direct perhaps the biggest actor in the world in only his 3rd film.

It would have been so easy for him to cave in his normal style and just make a film utilizing the commercial elements of Rajini and it would most likely be a big hit and seal his status as a top director

Instead I praise this man for doing just the very opposite. Instead of fitting his film into Rajini, he made Rajini fit into his film. That it so gutsy especially for a young director. He stayed loyal to his usual crew and principal in terms of the story and convinced Rajini to get into the role that he wants

Another praise Ranjith deserves is for his extensive research and study of the Malaysian Indian community. Through out the film a lot of small elements were infused in to make it so realistic. For example he made Rajini speak Malay is certain dialogues, the fact that gangsters control through 3 main outlets; parking lots, drugs and prostitution. He goes a great length to ensure even the food served looks like Malaysian dish.

He was excellent to highlight the plight Malaysian Indians faced from back than today. For example the inequality in wages, the demolishing of temples, the struggles students faced to enter government universities and the drug element among youths.

The only drawback for me was the pace of the film, certain parts of film could have been shorten or simplified. One scene that comes to mind was the search of Kabali's wife. It was long and draggy but I never mind a single bit of it because those sequence of scenes was well used to express Rajini's emotional side of acting. One he was largely criticized in the past of not having it. Pay close attentions to those scenes and you would see what a wonderful performer Rajini is

Ranjith was absolutely wonderful and he was the real star of the film. Thank you Ranjith for going great lengths to show the world the struggles we have been facing. You have done something our entire government have been trying to deny. And there is no stronger voice to highlight our plight other than having Superstar to be our "Leader"

Rating: 4.8/5.0 
The Cast
Superstar Rajinikanth

Whatever stereotype or accusations that has been thrown at him in the past have been broken in this film. I remember critics telling that he is old and he should doing a role of his age, how can he be fighting huge groups alone, he is so poor when comes to emotional scenes and he should not be romancing actress of younger age.

Guess what, he broke that all. Here you will see an old age Rajini who is aware that he is now old and only has a limited time left. He can't go out there and fight people like he used to and will need people for it. At both young and old Rajini, he never once is shown romancing his heroine.

In fact the chemistry between him and Radhika Apte was fantastic. Even the scenes where he talks about her or thinks about her were brilliant. It was another side of Rajini that has been hidden for a very long time. The bond he shares with his gang and his daughter was a treat to watch.

The way he communicates to the students of the school and how he faces upon his rivals were all different. Each time he is on screen with a different set of cast, you see a different shade of him. The Rajini that speaks to his rival is not the same Rajini that speaks to his gang, He has that variations which so many underestimate

My favorite scene of his has to be the climax scene where he delivers the following dialogue to the villain. I swear I had Goosebumps. It was amazing and uplifting with the feel of Rajinism

After all he is the Superstar and there is a reason why he is in such position. Thalaivan Da!!! He is the people's champion
 Rating: 4.9/5.0

Radhika Apte & Dhansika

Prior to this film, I have no idea who Radhika Apte was and had no idea what to expect from. But from her first scene of hers I felt in love with her character. I will remember her as Kumudhavalli rather than Radhika Apte more and that was because the strength of her character. The scenes where she speaks boldly to Kabali, scolds and of cause the scene she seems after 25 years. Wow that was some amazing performance

On the other hand, Dhanshika played a very bold, brave young gangster girl. Just like how her daddy is. It was hard for me to like her and I guess that is because of her hairstyle lol. As an actress she was fantastic and the scene showing her closeness and rapport with Kabali was her best performance.

 Rating: 4.2/5.0
The Rest

So many other actors in this film deserves lots of credit for their performance. It's a film with a large cast and yet nearly everyone had enough screen time. I was so impressed with Rosyam Nor's performance. He was awesome as one of the mafia. I hardly knew that "Jeeva" was actually Dinesh, huge credit to him for his transformation for the role. John Vijay gave a solid performance along with the villains. Although I felt Kalaiyarasan could have had more screen time and importance

Rating: 4.0/5.0
The Music
Santosh Narayanan

I would be honest here, when the songs were first released, the only song I enjoyed was Nerrupa Da and I found the rest as average at best. After hearing a couple of times I started to develop a liking for the songs but I never felt confident how Ranjith would fit the songs into the film.

How wrong could I ever been. The particular highlight for me was the "Maya Nadhi" song. The build up to it, the emotions of the cast and the timing was perfect. These things happens only when the director and music director are in sync.

Meanwhile the timing of the Nerrepu Da songs was brilliant. It will get your blood pumping with excitement when the songs comes and the whistling BGM with Rajini screen presence was another highlight.

 Rating: 4.3/5.0
Final Verdict: Kabali Is A Film Dedicated For Malaysian Indians. Truly Nerrupa Da. It's A More Mature Baasha

Final Rating: 4.5/5.0

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

How Early Will You Send Your Kids To Kindergarten?

Yesterday while driving in the afternoon, I was listening to THR Ragaa as usual and it was Suresh's session at that time. The topic he was talking about was something that caught my attention very much. He asked, "Should Kids Go To Kindergarten Once They Are 2 Years Old"

I thought about calling in and weighing my opinion but couldn't get the line through thus I thought why not write it as a blog post and thus here am I doing it.
Throughout the show, those who managed to call in gave some very valid points for their decision whether is it to send or not to send kids of the age of 2 to kindergarten. Most of them were actual parents and some were talking about their childhood as well.
Well I am not a parent, but basing on what I have seen around before and imagined myself as a parent one day in the future, I personally felt kids at the age of 2 should not be sent to kindergarten just yet. Before I explain why I just summarize why people feel it is good to sent kids to kindergarten at such tender age
Most people feel that it is good to send kids to kindergarten as earlier as possible because they want their kids to start picking up education as early as possible as education is the key to a better future. They want their kids to have the competitive edge in knowledge as early as possible in order to excel in studies.
While some wants their children to start early so that they have a longer time to learn things and at the end of the day they can learn more and be smarter than the average. In a nutshell, they key point they raise is that they believe the earlier the child starts to go to kindergarten, they have a better chance of being intelligent.
Me on the other hand feel that no, kids should not be sent that early to kindergarten and I have my reasons why which I will lay it out in the following points
1. How much can a 2 year old learn in kindergarten?
In all honesty, how much can actually a 2 year old learn in a kindergarten? I feel that even if a kid starts kindergarten at the age of 4, it is good enough for the child to gain the fundamentals to education to prepare them for primary school. At the age between 2-4 there is too much of a learning gap among the kids.
That doesn't mean kids below the age of 4 should not be exposed to any sort of learning or education. This is where parents have to play a role. Parents needs to spend time with their kids and teach them things. Dear parents please please please take some time of your busy schedule and spend some time with your kids.
Play with them when you are at home and there is a lot parents can teach their kids while playing at home before even the kids start going to kindergarten. There is numerous of fun and interesting methods to teach kids with toys or songs. Parents got to do that instead of just giving your smartphone or tab and let them play some useless games or let them watch some crap videos on Youtube.
Parents are the first educators for a child and parents need to start doing that. Something sad I have noticed among young parent these days is that they think that, if I send my kids to school and tuition my part is done and I don't have to worry about their studies because I've done all those things.
What young parents fail to realize is that, school and tuition only is not enough. Parents need to put in an effort to their kids. Speak to them, guide them in their homework, check on their school work and so on. It sounds old school but it works. Parents have to stop being lazy and start acting like parents
2. Burnout Factor
My second concern about sending kids so young to kindergarten is that these kids might get burnout. I have seen kids who has five days of school, 5 days of tuition, 1 day of sports lesson and 1 day of music lessons all cramped into 7 days.
I understand you want to enhance their talents or skills, but please don't suffocate these children. For heaven's sake they are children. Especially for those below the age of 4, these is their chance to actually live a stress free life, because once they start school the stress is going to pile up for the rest of their life
I have seen kids get so burnout where they have to drag their legs to school, tuition or this additional class. They have it for 7 days a week and yes they are burnout at such tender age. Which is why I feel it is important not to send kids to kindergarten that young and even once they are in kindergarten, I don't think they need tuition because there is where parents have to step in and be their educators at home
There are a couple more reasons why I wouldn't send my kids to kindergarten below the age of 4, but those are minor reasons and these 2 are the main reasons.
Thanks for reading and share your thoughts too!