“How did Hollywood’s most storied franchise also become its most prominent champion of female empowerment? For the second year in a row, Lucasfilm is releasing a Star Wars movie with a woman as the lead -Felicity Jones’ reformed thief Jyn Erso in Rogue One, following 2015’s Rey (Daisy Ridley) in The Force Awakens.
Consider it a natural outgrowth of a company whose executive team, led by Kathleen Kennedy as president, is more than 50 percent female. “When you have a balance of men and women, there are all sorts of things that enter into the discussion,” she says, calling the Rey-Jyn doubleheader a “coincidence” that the studio (and parent Disney) embraced. “Because women are always in story meetings, [no one has] to go, ‘Hey, what would a woman think?’ ” says creative executive Rayne Roberts. “The reason Rey is strong and technically capable and compassionate and driven is that the women who were in that room, including Kathy, reflect those qualities.” Adds Jones, “Kathy has given women the kind of roles they’ve always dreamed of.”
“You have to cast a broader net when you’re interviewing and looking at possible prospects,” says Kennedy of the trick to achieving gender balance. “In the creative community, there’s no excuse for not making a more equitable environment. It literally comes down to companies that just aren’t trying hard enough.”
Note to readers: recently Kennedy justified Hollywood not hiring women directors for the Star Wars series by implying that a director needs experience with big budget franchises or else they’re not “set up for success.”
That’s simply not true with male directors. Gareth Edwards directed Monsters, an indie sci-fi film with about 3-5 minutes of effects. Hollywood gave him GODZILLA. And what’s he doing now? STAR WARS ROGUE ONE.
So what do women directors need? The same shot that male directors are given on their way up.
There shall be comments and criticisms in a short while from now on the film under question - ‘PIKU’. But I have pleasure in putting out one by Subhash K Jha, who has caught, what I would consider the very core of this effort with such amazing dexterity, that for one sitting at such distance, would be difficult to imagine.
There is one small and perhaps insignificant observation made by him, that was my input in the film, and one that was not in the script, noticed and written about in the critique, which would never have been noticed by any. But he did.
I would put that as an exercise for the Ef ..
See if you can spot it and if you do, write and let me know ..
Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Deepika Padukone
Directed by Shoojit Sircar
Rating: *****(5 Stars)
Could this really be happening? The opening credits feature the long-forgotten sound of the Sarod and Sitar mingling into an excursion into a state of enraptured ecstacy which you thought was dead with Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Pinch me, slap me! Is this really the film that it purports to be? A simple elegant elegiac tale of a hypochondriac over-possessive father and his harassed embittered daughter.Nah! Who makes films about elementary relationships any more? Who, except a filmmaker who isn’t afraid to let his characters discuss bowel movements as though it was the most exciting things to mull over in life.
In Piku Shoojit(Vicky Donor , Madras Café) Sircar brings back a quality in our mainstream cinema that seemed to have gone with the whim.
There is an innately gentle quality to the storytelling in Piku , like a breeze on a humid summer night that blows through your hair while you are sleeping on the rooftop counting the stars.
Speaking of the stars, Shoojit is exceptionally blessed to get the kind of immaculate cast that most directors only dream about. More about that later. Suffice to say at this point that Piku works , as every actor big or small is inured to the director’s vision of a world where domesticity is a domain that drives human life forward.
And drive is what Irrfan does with such casual elan that you forget he is in it as a reluctant outsider. By creating a character who can look at the blunt selfishness of a father who won’t let his daughter have a life of her own, the script expands the domestic vista without scattering its precious and fragile mundaneness.
Piku is a film with an exceptionally keen ear and eye. Shoojit, with the help of his writer (Juhi Chaturvedi) and a cinematographer(Kamljeet Negi) travels from Delhi to Kolkata(by car, if you please!) without the touristic curiosity of Imtiaz Ali’s cinema. There is a charming inevitability to the shifting locations as the car driven by Mr Desi trots across multi-lane highways with a silent and efficient inevitability.
No fuss, no frills , Piku’s lyricism flows out without pause for effect.Dinner table conversations in Delhi and Kolkata capture different sounds of the crockery. How does the sound designer do this? And where on earth did composer-singer Anupam Roy find the creative strength to bring back such a homespun sound of music that he injects into the souls of his characters?
I have to confess that at one point in the narration I thought the sheer weightlessness of the drama would overpower the narrative. A miracle happens to the characters’ lives every time they threaten to crumble under the burden of their ordinariness. They renew themselves through a karmic cycle which the film’s narrative holds close to its chest.
Piku is an exceptionally intimate character study.The three principal characters bare their frailties on camera as though they were part of a reality show that had no cameras. The emotions are raw and unabashed. The three principal actors sink into their roles like monks bathing in the holiest water on this side of the Ganga.
Mr Bachchan’s eccentric Bangla gentleman’s patriarchal car-wreck of a character who won’t let his daughter breathe or breed, could have easily become a caricature. With extraordinary fluency and vigour Mr Bachchan turns his selfish patriarchal role into an occasion to explore the ‘route’ cause of the craggy journey parents take when they become over-dependent on their children.
Deepika’s Piku is filled with an implosive anguish that blurts itself out unannounced when we least expect it.Even when she isn’t doing anything on screen, she makes you look at her. Deepika gets better with every role. Here she imbues her embittered standoffish character with a sense of pride and dignity that no domestic strain—not even a father who obsesses over his bowel movements– can snatch away .
But I’d say it’s Irrfan playing the father-daughter’s reluctant driver who has the toughest role. Into the story of domestic disharmony he brings a detached bemusement that somehow makes life seem tolerable even beautiful.
In many ways what Irrfan does to the script is what Shoojit’s film attempts to do to the identity of mainstream Hindi cinema. Balancing on the edge of quirkiness,smothered by the sheer ennui of everyday existence, the characters somehow create a spatial harmony for their dreadfully unexciting lives.
This is a world so comfortingly familiar and yet so fresh and vigorous you would want to take it home with you. Piku is as emotionally rich and satisfying as any movie experience can get. Shoojit Sircar again confirms his place among the most invigorating filmmakers we have today. His appetite for nuances is admirable. To cite an example,the way Mr Bachchan’s faithful man-Friday sits awkwardly in the car next to him is a posture derived straight from a middleclass household.
The actor Balendra who plays the man-Friday or Moushumi Chatterjee who plays Mr Bachchan’s firebrand( married-thrice-wouldn’t-mind-fourth) sister-in-law seems to know he or she is part of a journey whose end is known and yet not the least robbed of excitement by the knowledge of mortality.
Come, embrace the quaint disarming world of Piku and her over-demanding father. If you miss this one you miss a glimpse into lives that live their span without aiming for glory.
So I am notoriously kind of meh about Hamlet. So much so that I almost feel like I should hand back my Shakespeare card. I have always felt that the play seems a bit unfinished and unsettled. There are so many different versions of the text that I can’t help but think that Shakespeare was never satisfied with it. What’s more, I find the female characters to be frustratingly underwritten. So. I wanted to challenge myself to come up with a Hamlet that wouldn’t make me angry. This is the result.
Gelgar realized quickly that he had a penchant for thinking too much. It was a recently-developed habit, he was sure; he had spent his childhood not thinking at all, and most of his teenage and young adult years thinking only when necessary (though once joining the military, he’d found that thinking too much about certain things could be detrimental, anyway). Now, though, he thought too much when he had spare time and nobody was around to talk to.
With one exception, of course: if Rene was around, he’d still think. A lot. Too much. He’d talk to her and he’d think about her at the same time. In fact, she was almost all he thought about, when he did think, and by virtue of Rene being the subject, Gelgar felt sure that thinking about her at all in the way he was considering her…was thinking too much.
He really needed to cut it out.
But it was difficult, because they’d gotten close, and she was around a lot, and she enjoyed things like reading to him almost as much as he enjoyed letting her read to him. So they always ended up together doing things, and he couldn’t really figure out how to ease out of it, even though he knew he needed to.
He needed to back off because he was thinking about her. Thinking too much about her. It wasn’t as if his thoughts extended to wondering about general things concerning Rene, either: he thought about her ‘cuz he missed her, and he missed her anytime she wasn’t within sight, sometimes.
He found himself just idly thinking about her—about just being with her, touching her shoulder, kissing her—and he dreamed about her, too. Sometimes his dreams were perfectly innocent and sometimes they weren’t; he found it hard to look her in the face after the latter dreams, not because they had been particularly detailed or anything (because Rene’s face was always shadowy, though his dreams had more than memorized the way she felt when he held), but because he felt guilty for having them.
He knew it was probably stupid, because he’d dreamed of her before they’d grown close, and had never felt even remotely guilty for it—just a twinge of embarrassment, perhaps—but things were different, things had changed, and he felt sure that he knew her better than he had ever expected to know her.
Not to mention that now there were feelings there that hadn’t been there before. Feelings intermixing into his dreams was something he found extremely hard to deal with. He was used to nightmares—and almost preferred them to the sort of soft, almost romantic dreams he seemed to be having, lately. No matter what the dream involved exactly, it always had that soft kind of feeling to it. Hell, even when he dreamed about tying her up, it felt that way to him. Like they were two lovers doing something they thought would be fun. Soft and pleasant yet still half in shadow, and when he woke up from these dreams, he personally felt, more than anything, distressed.
Because he could control a lot of things in his life: how he acted, even around Rene, even when he wanted to do nothing more than kiss her…but he couldn’t control his dreams. And they were pleasant, but they were lies.
She liked him well enough, definitely. But she didn’t feel the same way toward him that he felt toward her—and he was trying to respect that, trying to keep his own stupid feelings from ever being an issue. But it was hard when his dreams cast her in that kind of light, because he did want it—that kind of relationship with her.
And looking at her after that shit was horrible, because she trusted him, and dreams like that were a betrayal of that trust. He was afraid, sometimes, that she could almost see it—like she almost knew.
At least Henning left him alone—didn’t ask questions, didn’t laugh at him, didn’t even offer to talk about it. That was a relief. And it was also a relief that he didn’t dream of her every night…but it was often enough that he felt it was a problem.
It was one such morning that he avoided even going to breakfast and only showed up at lunch, when he’d successfully pushed the dream out of his head and felt like he could face her without feeling like a piece of shit traitor. The mess hall during lunch was always unpredictable; during nicer days, sometimes people would go outside no matter how cold it was, and the sun was shining, so the tables closest to the windows were full. He found Rene at the table the squad usually sat at—and it was kind of nice because it sat, at the moment, anyway, in a patch of sunlight.
So he joined her and expressed relief at it being a Saturday, which meant no early drills (and also meant he’d been able to put off facing her); they talked for a little while, and he ignored the mail call, because naturally he never got mail—and wouldn’t be getting any ever again, probably.
It still hurt—that thought—but not like it had. There wasn’t anything he could do about it, anyway.
But then he heard his name, and when he raised his hand, a letter was given to him.
Since Rene was the only squad member sitting with him, he decided it wouldn’t hurt to see who it was from.
The handwriting didn’t look familiar at all, and the seal on the back was—
He almost dropped the letter on his plate, but caught it at the last second.
“…Hah,” he said, feeling suddenly stressed as he held up the wax seal on the back for Rene’s inspection. “What—did your mother write me to tell me off or somethin’?”
Summary: Karma Ashcroft is practically a household name, currently being one of the biggest music acts in the world. Amy Raudenfeld is just a semi-closeted lesbian in a suburb in Austin, but when Karma accidentally sends her a message on kik, the two of them hit it off really well, and strike up a correspondence where they eventually share almost everything with each other… aside from their names and backgrounds.
Shadow gear had been waiting for almost a month before the mission came in and when it did Levy was bouncing off the walls
“Guys! It’s here!” Levy ran up to Jet and Droy who were sitting at a table with Gajeel who quietly ate his iron “it finally came in!” Levy slammed the paper on the table and shoved it in front of her teammates
“really?” they looked down at the paper and the biggest grin crossed both their face “whoa it did, when did it come in?” Jet asked
“Mira said it came in this morning, we need to get going. Now!” Levy grabbed the paper as Jet and Droy stood and bolted out the guild doors but before Levy could get away a large calloused hand grabbed her arm
“what’s with all the excitement, ain’t it just another mission?” Levy’s turned her head so her hazel eyes would meet his red ones
“but that’s just it, it isn’t ‘just another mission’ we’ve been waiting for this mission for over a month” Levy’s eyes sparked with excitement, she got jittery in his hold which she only did when she was excited about something or at least really excited
“a month? Why haven’t I heard about it?” He was rather skeptical as to why they were so excited over something like a mission, maybe it payed well?