Veere di Wedding: Review


Now I don’t generally write movie reviews here, but there’s always exception to rules. So here goes my take on this new Bollywood release.

To know more about the cast and the other details, click here.

Movie Trailer

Veere di Wedding
So, this movie was suggested to me as a fun movie to watch with my girl group, which is exactly what I did. It was indeed a ruckus movie about 4 friends and their take on love/ sex, life, & marriage. A good watch with my girl pals. But it doesn’t have to be a girls only movie!

Coarse language alert! The movie has all the makings of a ‘how to cuss’ language class and ‘how to go about casual mentions of romps’ tutorial. So, if you can’t stomach that, stay away please!

Having said that, what really intrigued me is the way the makers of the movie completely eroded the gender lines, and challenged every gender-based stereotype. There’s nothing that a man can do that a woman can’t (and vice versa) throughout the movie. The girls here do everything that probably guys would have done and gotten away with too: from the language, to the topics of discussions; the drinking and smoking, to the commitment issues. It’s the male archetype delivered by the female characters. Similarly, the role of chacha’s consort is feminine, sensitive and very ‘wifey’. Even John’s desire to unite the family is traditionally a women’s role. These are female archetypes, delivered by the male characters. By doing this, the director has completely reversed the roles. And obviously, that reversal challenges what you know or what you have been conditioned to know. So, you (the audience) either allow the mind to accept this fluidity of roles or you reject the idea. The choice is subjective.

Of course, I have to say here that that the movie showcases a society which is quite casual, non-committal, hedonistic and impulsive. But then again, it’s a reflection of our society, or at least a sizeable section of it. You either acknowledge it or be in denial. It’s again the audience’s choice. So, I guess, the movie is about choices.

The ladies in VDW are strong characters, not all their traits are likeable, but they are strong characters nevertheless. At the end, the message I got was: if you love a person, you go ahead with the marriage (or relationship) despite societal pressures and norms that can be stifling.  However, if you don’t, you shouldn’t stay in that relationship, despite the societal pressure to do so.
A tad overboard, a tad too bohemian, but a good one time watch with like minded adults!
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Art Review: Yayoi Kunama


(This is a guest post by our teen reviewer, Anushka)

The National Gallery of Singapore’s new exhibit showcasing the many artworks of famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is yet another testament to the seven decades she has dedicated to them. Separated into four different galleries with its own separate identity, there are sculptures dated from 1972, standing still, next to a glorious explosion of spots. It was completed this year. I personally was more affected by the many boxes and rooms that greeted me with each step.

Gallery A’s display of the Infinity Nets series is not only a perspective into the artist’s eccentric mind, but also a glimpse into history, given that their first exhibition was in 1959. The paintings lack a structure, but rather all take up a canvas in a somewhat dizzying and hypnotic manner. Kusama’s past with hallucinations throughout her childhood is an inspiration for all her artwork, but Infinity Nets is a very clear product of it.

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Infinity Nets (Source: Singapore National Gallery)

Gallery A also explores Kusama’s fascination with pumpkins, which personally, was my favourite theme. The vibrant, youthful colours conveyed a theme of innocence and radiance. Not only were there paintings across the walls, but also interactive installations, where a box is placed inside a room that seemed much like a bumblebee’s home. When I peered into the box, I was greeted with mirrors aligning the walls within, and the bulbous pumpkins aligning the floor.

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Bulbous pumpkin (Source: Singapore National Gallery)

Gallery B is the home of the famous installation where many photos have been taken. Unsurprisingly, there is a line to enter this house of mirrors, where lights are hang from above crating a kaleidoscope of types. The lights shimmer and change much like Christmas lights, the darkness illuminated by what seem like tiny colourful stars. Gallery B also introduced two video installations, however, one being R18 prevented me from seeing it. The one further along shows that Kusama’s creativity was not only explored through paintings and fine art, but also through poetry and music, as a projector broadcasts her own song named the “Song of A Manhattan Suicide Addict”, where she uses her own experience dealing with depression to get across an eerie and uncomfortable song with the familiar pumpkins behind her, a strange contrast of the youthfulness before and this sudden talk of death.

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Life Is The Heart of A Rainbow (Source: Singapore National Gallery)

In Gallery C, we are met with hundreds of paintings adorning walls, some intricately drawn and others colourfully painted the deeper you go. Once again, another room installation meets you, this one transporting us to our childhood days where polka dot stickers are covering a white room, and two sculptures of tulips are placed inside. While yes pumpkins were youthful, this seemed more innocent, and it is a weird jump from restricted videos and images into the mind of a child once more.

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With My Love For All The Tulips, I Pray Forever (Source: Singapore National Gallery)

Finally, Gallery H is a room full of stainless steel metal balls on the floor, and we are clearly instructed to not touch them, to not lie down with them, and to not interact with them in any other way aside from a glance down. The story behind this installation was one I was particularly interested in, and I later learnt that Kusama had acted as a street vendor with these balls all around her in the middle of a street, and tried to sell people passing by their “narcissism”, and it was only then when I realised these were reflective balls. It seemed a poignant way to end the exhibit; after searching through Yayoi Kusama’s mind, we ended up looking at ourselves.

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Steel balls (Source: Anushka)

 

Social Commentary through Films: Interview with Regional Filmmakers


Every region has its own narrative, one that offers a glimpse of its pulse. Dipping in to each narrative, I have felt involved and yet distant at the same time. As if, I am submerged in to a deep body of water, but unable to fathom its depth. However, the more dips I take, the more my view clears. The more I linger, the more I view. My introduction to films of the region was initiated this way and very soon, I concluded that despite the uniqueness of each culture, the shared story of humanity remains the same.

Presenting my interviews with two acclaimed film makers from Indonesia, Nia Dinata and Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo. On the surface, they both are different, but both their film-making styles involve the same need to weave in stories from the society we live in. Both are experts in making their audiences think, feel and ponder at the rules the society makes, the rush for power that divides us as people and the values that make us who we are. The original magazine link is available here

# Interview 1

Nia Dinata 9Source: IndoConnect)

Nia Dinata (Source: IndoConnect)

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#Interview 2

Film maker, Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo (Source: Indoconnect)

Film maker, Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo (Source: IndoConnect)

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These are exciting times of collaborations and shared narratives. I am greedy for more and looking forward to exploring more and more of these regional treasures!

 

My Reading List: 2016


Writers, artists, playwrights, film makers and all the others, who take on the responsibility of observing, commenting and understanding the society in which we live in are doing us all a great favour. They look at patterns in life, in society and in behaviour, and then they analyse it all to give us a summary, coloured by their own bias of course, but a summary, nevertheless. It makes our lives easier. It saves us from having to dwell deep in to the chaotic depths of our own personalities, the complicated mishmash of our own relationships and the unexplained mysteries of many combined lives. In short, they do our introspection for us.

My homage is to the authors today, especially the authors of fiction or perhaps, fact that is garbed as fiction. These authors offer us a glimpse of a collective struggle, they offer us explanation of why something is the way it is and sometimes they influence us to question everything that we know. My reading list of 2016 seems to have shown a pattern, quite involuntarily. Most of the books that I have read have questioned the society’s ways of doing things. They have questioned what is wrong and what is right and they have forced me, the reader to question the notion of truth. Many of these are asian writers but that, I feel has not made a difference to my experience as a reader. What has been consistent, is that I have been forced to think and rethink what I know and what I have believed in earlier. To be honest, I have enjoyed the process immensely! So, here is my reading list of 2016. These books reflect the society in different times and in spite of that, in each era, they have questioned why society’s rules are decided by a handful of powerful people or they have forced me to look at alternate realities and alternatives.

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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

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A Passage to India by E M Forster

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The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

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Dubliners by James Joyce

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Beloved by Toni Morrison

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The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

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The Sun also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif

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Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

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The Bloody Chamber and other Stories by Angela Carter

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1984 by George Orwell

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Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

 

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Wild Nights by Joyce Carol Oates

 

Happy reading! May we always question. May we always want to know.

 

Singapore International Film Festival: Fantasy & Female Empowerment


The longest running international festival in the region, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is back in its the 27thedition to offer a ‘feast for the senses,’ with films that narrate unique stories from the region. This was announced by the Festival at a media conference held at the National Museum of Singapore on 27th October, 2016. This year, SGIFF will screen 161 feature and short films from 52 countries, with 16 world premieres, 9 international premieres and 18 Asian premieres.

Yuni Hadi and Zhang Wenjie at the SGIFF Media Preview (Credits: 27th SGIFF)

Yuni Hadi and Zhang Wenjie at the SGIFF Media Preview (Credits: 27th SGIFF)

SGIFF Executive Director, Ms Yuni Hadi said that the SGIFF continues to be a discovery ground and platform to connect independent films in Asia and beyond. As the leading international film platform in Southeast Asia, the festival strives to foster the understanding of regional cinema by giving a voice to individuals through stories and dialogue. SGIFF is part of the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF) that brings together a rich mix of independent filmmaking talent to showcase the region’s stories through film, throughout Asia and beyond. SGIFF also allows established and emerging filmmakers and industry players to interact and exchange ideas, in order to contribute to the growth of cinema in the region.

(More on my write up on SGIFF. This article was first published in Indoconnect)

SGIFF by Prionka Ray (First published in Indoconnect)

SGIFF by Prionka Ray (First published in Indoconnect)

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