Sicario.


A friend aware that I like to watch unusual movies, loaned me a DVD of Sicario.

To call it an unusual movie is an understatement. It is so unusual that it makes it difficult to believe that such things can happen. I suppose that action films do generate some disbelief but this one carries a story that is incredible for its sheer chutzpah.

To start with it defies belief that so many American government departments come together to carry out illegal activities to somehow hurt the drug cartels. It also defies belief that the same group of government employees use freelancing hit men. The word sicario incidentally, means hit man!

Having got all that out of my system, let me however assure my readers that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie, story believable or not. It moves fast as action films are meant to and there are twists and turns in it to keep one glued to one’s seat. And since I saw it at home, it was a very comfortable way to watch it as well!

The film is carried on the very broad shoulders of Benicio Del Toro and for adding some glamour, Emily Blunt is offered on a platter.  Her not being there however, would not have made much of a difference to the tale though some minor adjustments would have been needed to the narrative. The others come in on more or less cameo roles and offer professional performances. Excellent photography and direction makes viewing an enjoyable experience.

If you are fond of seeing action movies this is one which can be called a popcorn movie as Shackman calls the genre of what I call, time-pass movies.

Consumerism.

1. Organised-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.

Consumer protection in India is very strong for those who are willing to take the pains to fight for their rights. I know a number of cases where the consumers have won big settlements from large corporations here and I am sure that it must be the same overseas as well.


2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.

and 3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.

This is something that has overtaken us human beings from the time of the Industrial Revolution which was speeded up from after the second world war when it was discovered that women could also come into the non agricultural workforce. Rather than expand on what has happened elsewhere in the world, let me concentrate on India where we got out of the Socialistic Pattern of Society in the 1990s of the last century and got royally involved in the rat race.

The one word mantra is Growth.  Everyone and his uncle obsesses about growth.  If the GDP growth gets below a certain percentage point, all hell breaks loose and the pundits start baying for the blood of the politicians. And such growth can only come from demand for goods and services constantly increasing to facilitate production of goods and services. So, businesses have come up with the brilliant strategy of advertising overt and covert to keep the demand pot simmering and producing goods and services highly subject to obsolescence so that replacement demand also takes place besides demand for new goods and services.

To facilitate that process, financial institutions get on the bandwagon and offer products, read loans, to make borrowing attractive so that people are perpetually in debt often just meeting interest payments without the original borrowed sum ever reducing at all. Another phenomenon that one can watch is that of the debt servicing going up for individuals as their incomes go up too! A self perpetuating cycle that leads to many of the modern ills.

I am glad to report that I do not contribute to the growth of our GDP. I am in the process of simplifying my life to the extent I can by becoming a minimalist. I refuse to be swayed by advertising for goods and services though I am sucker for advertising for movies and books. In the latter case however, I prefer buying a kindle version and buy hard copies only when I cannot get an electronic version. I however doubt that my splurging on these two items will seriously impact our GDP, the current growth of which is 7.3%, among the highest in the world!

I had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

School Timings.


The inspiration for this post comes from this article that I came across earlier today.

Regular readers of this blog know that I sit in my verandah for about an hour and a half every morning, observing among other things, what happens on the main avenue that abuts my garden fence.

One of the things that I have been noticing for years and have felt sad about, is the way young children are made to catch school buses every morning. I see seven of them every morning catching different buses before it is 7.30 am. The first one has to be ready and waiting for the bus at 6.45 am! Since there are four schools in our neighbourhood, I also see many children cycling or walking to school, besides mothers on two wheelers ferrying children to school. It is obvious that the children resent the early morning trysts and would rather be getting up later.

Though I am glad that I am not a parent having to face the task of waking up and getting the children ready for school at such an early hour, I have always wondered why the schools cannot start say an hour or so later every morning.

On being asked that question, a friend who has been a teacher for decades responded that it is to facilitate closing the schools earlier in the afternoons so that the children have enough time to play games. Should an hour later matter for that to happen?

Golden Jubilee Reunion.

It was in 1967 that 76 of us graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, popularly known as the WIMWI. That is, it has been fifty years since that momentous year for us.

To celebrate the occasion, 33 alumni and some enthusiastic faculty who had taught us then, met up at Ahmedabad last month for the Golden Jubilee Reunion. During that occasion, polo shirts were distributed to all participants, and this photograph shows that class posing on the steps of the famous Harvard Square.

Due to health issues, I could not attend the get together as much as I would have liked to. To somewhat assuage me and to share their experiences while at Ahmedabad, fellow alumni residing in Pune arranged for a get together at Pune on Tuesday. They brought one polo shirt for me too which I changed into at the venue.

The one gent not in the polo shirt is the only one still working and came to the lunch meeting directly from work and could not wear the polo shirt!

76 students graduated in 1967 and 17 of them have passed on. To commemorate the occasion, alumni currently resident in Ahmedabad had not only arranged for the polo shirts, but also coffee mugs with all our photographs printed on them.

Mugs for mugs with mugs on them!

Jolly LLB 2.

I had decided to see Jolly LLB 2 after seeing a trailer in one of the film shows that I had seen earlier. Although it did not come up to my expectations, it is still a film worth seeing if you have some time to spare and nothing better to do.

The film is supposed to be a tragi-comedy-topical mixture but comes across as a potpourri of all three genres with none overly impressing. The messages sent about the justice/legal/police system of the country as well terrorism resonates at the gut level and I understood my first time experience of reaching the theatre well in time but still finding it “sold out” and having to wait for forty five minutes for another show of the same film to start. It was also the first time that I saw the hall about half full for an evening show.

This is a film in which the star attraction Akshay Kumar known for his martial arts skills chooses instead, to show his histrionic abilities. He does that quite well but is easily overshadowed by Annu Kapoor, Sayani Gupta and Saurabh Shukla. In fact, all the others who make appearances in the film appear to act better than Akshay Kumar and I suppose that the Director Subhash Kapoor, gets full credit for this.

The ever present rivalry between Kanpur and Lucknow is brought out in a pleasant way and I became quite nostalgic for both places which have many memories for me.

Though Akshay Kumar disappoints, a movie worth seeing for its “time pass” value.