Monthly Review: December 2022
December is always exciting for me for various reasons. I plan a lot about how my year should be, and by the team, I bring them to life; it’s already December. I made it a point to travel every December, and it has been going well.
With just a couple of hours left to welcome 2023, I thought to write this Monthly Review blog so that I could publish this before getting to the celebrations 🙂
I took off from work after the 19th to get things sorted on my end. Hence, I could watch movies, complete books, visit new places, and meet up with my friends and cousins to meet & talk.
I’ll try keeping this short as I already covered most of the things in my Yearly review of 2022. You can read it here. Let’s get started with the things I did in December.
I completed one book this month, a Telugu novel, The Writer, by Kommanapalli Ganapathi Rao. So far, I’ve read more than 15 books by Yandamoori Veerendranath, and I’m used to his writing style. I realised it takes time to get used to a new writer and writing style. I could identify the difference in how both writers approach stories, structure, and characters.
The Writer is a good novel, but it took time for me to complete it. I felt it to be shallow at times, but overall it was interesting. Looking forward to reading more writings of Kommanapalli.
Aside from this, I purchased No Rules Rules and Personal MBA books while walking in the streets of Abids, Hyderabad, and could get both of the books at dead cheap prices (not-new books). As a part of Secret Santa, my office friends gifted me three books: Foundations of Screenplay by Syd Field, Akira Kurosawa’s biography, and Exactly What to Say.
I read one book but got five new books on my shelf. I have decided not to purchase new books until I finish reading them. I refrained from visiting Hyderabad Book Fair this year due to this reason. I can’t control the purchasing of new books. Hard decision, but hopefully, it works in my favour.
I watched eight movies this month, most of them towards the end of the month.
My colleague and friend, Yitzhak, suggested that I watch this film. I watched it and was engrossed in it. I liked the movie, particularly the writing and performances. You can find my detailed thoughts on this film here.
I couldn’t watch this movie in the theatres at the time of its release. I was in Bengaluru with my relatives and watched it. It wasn’t up to the buzz it created during its release. The storyline is amazing to explore, but I didn’t feel it would be a remarkable effort.
The performances are ineffective, the screenplay seems all over the place with a couple of gaps, and the writing lacks depth and detail. For its premise, it didn’t keep its promise. Hope they make a kickass sequel in this franchise.
I became a fan of Magizh after Thadam and was looking forward to his projects. He collaborated with Udhay Stalin for this movie. I watched it on Netflix last week, and it was okayish. The film takes off with pace initially, but the latter parts couldn’t continue it.
It has an interesting premise and realistic sequences, but it didn’t feel great overall. I feel Magizh couldn’t ask for retakes because it’s Udhay, and his performance was totally dull. Since I had no expectations, I was not dissatisfied with the film.
I’ve watched Knives Out this year and was impressed with it. As an admirer of Ana De Armas, I loved the movie, and the announcement of Glass Onion was public by then. I was looking forward to watching the movie on the day of its streaming and deliberately didn’t watch its trailer.
Coming to the movie, it has its moments and is totally worth watching. I watched it with an open mind and without any expectations, and it turned out well. It isn’t as great for some people as Knives Out, which is fair.
The first part had a family of suspects, making it far more interesting than having suspicion on friends. I enjoyed both parts.
I watched this movie on Netflix last week. I didn’t know the actors, filmmakers, or anyone who was part of the film before watching the movie. I was biting my nails and constantly worrying about Howard Ranter’s greedy and unpredictable decisions.
This movie shows the unpredictability of human behaviour and how we feel when shit happens consistently at all levels — personal, professional and social lives. A good movie indeed.
I love Shoojit Sircar’s films. Piku is one of my favourite films of all time. Looking at the duration of Sardar Udham, I kept postponing it, and this week I watched it, but not in a single go. I watched it in parts for three days, not because of its duration but because of its content.
Sardar Udham is a biographical picture of Sardar Udham Singh, our freedom fighter. I don’t want to give away much about this film here as I want you to watch it.
I love the narrative decision they took — unfolding the life of Sardar Udham to the audience as the investigation unearths his story in the film. This would be one of the most sincere and honest works in Vicky Kaushal’s and Shoojit’s careers. I couldn’t watch the scenes depicting the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Heart-wrenching and deeply disturbing. Brilliant film.
Touted to be a true blue horror film, Masooda received a good response from the theatrical audience this year. I watched it on Aha this week and felt it to be okayish. Not bad, not great.
I might have felt it because of watching it at home, due to the incompleteness of the film, due to the unnecessary scenes (I felt) in the movie, or due to the movie not taking off for a long time.
Avatar: The Way of Water
I watched it on Prasads (PCX) Screen-6, and it was surreal. I didn’t expect any mind-bending twists or fast-paced screenplay but went there for the experience and was greatly impressed. Thought of ending my movie-watching marathon with Avatar: The way of water this year, and it is mesmerising.
Excluding this one, I wrote and published three blogs this month:
- On Kooman: https://dinnity.medium.com/kooman-c5be60222a05
- On my workation from Pondicherry: https://dinnity.medium.com/pondicherry-2022-72ae54090027
- 2022 — Yearly review: https://dinnity.medium.com/2022-review-8ad99104b4b5
Like Tiruvannamalai, Kukke Subramanya has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I had the fortune to visit the place this month. I went to Mantralayam and had the darshan of Guru Raghavendra.
From there, I went to Kukke Subramanya. With the help of Deekshith, I had an amazing time there and had the darshan of Dharmasthala Manjunatha as well. For a couple of years now, I’ve been visiting a place of Shiva in the month of December coincidentally 😀
I’ve watched three amazing videos on YouTube this month: Two Roundtables and one masterclass.
Film Companion’s roundtable with Kamal, Rajamouli, Lokesh, GVM, Swapna Dutt, and Prithviraj is an interesting conversation about how everyone approaches their work, and discussed the female-centric movies, content, going global, and exploring Indian cinema to reach the masses.
BR’s roundtable with Tamil filmmakers dropped this week and was insightful. GVM’s humility in asking questions and humour in pulling the legs of Vignesh Sivan and Lokesh Kanagaraj. Another interesting conversation on cinema.
Most importantly, I loved a masterclass from Rajkumar Hirani. Please watch this to understand his writing process, his way of directing the actors, handling the pressure, and what every scene should contain. RKH has a good memory and a good sense of humour. Soon after, I watched Anupama Chopra’s interview with RKH about his first film and another interview with RKH and Abhijat Joshi about their collaboration in writing films.
After a long gap, I played cricket twice this month (box cricket) — the first time with my best friends in the first week of December and the second time with my cousins yesterday. It is a great team activity with non-offensive dark jokes, healthy sledging, and knowing each other better. I love meeting my Intermediate college friends at any time!
School Annual Day
I was in Bengaluru for two days with my relatives on my way back from Kukke Subramanya. My cousin’s son, Dhruva (5 years old), had the school’s annual day event, and I went along. Dhruva was hosting the event with this friend, and it was great to see a 5-years old charmingly hosting the event without stage fear.
There were dance performances, and watching the kids dancing incoherently in groups was cute. For the first time, I’ve heard and witnessed the Punyakoti Story. These lovely kids performed the Punyakoti story, which was a treat. I was thoroughly impressed.
Yesterday, December 30th, was one of my most memorable days this year. I had three things to do: Watch Avatar in the morning at Prasads, meet Apurva, and Suresh in the evening for a birthday treat, and play cricket in the evening with my cousins. But it turned out to be a much more beautiful day.
On the way to Prasads, I saw a tweet from Ram Venkat Srikar about him being there and asked him if we could meet. He agreed, and we met! We spoke for about 15 mins and became friends. Cinema truly unites people for good ♥️
I thought of meeting my friend Revanth if time permitted and called him to ask if we could meet in the afternoon. Coincidentally he was also in Prasads, watching Top Gear with his father.
We briefly met and spoke. Even before the movie, the day turned out great. While going to the first floor on the escalator, I saw a person with a familiar face, engaged in his phone, and I approached him. Turns out he is Susruth! Happy Coincidence again! He came to watch Avatar, and we spoke for a short time. Indeed a great day.
In the evening, after watching the movie, I met Apurva and Suresh, and we met Uday and KMG garu. Though I was with them for a relatively short time, meeting friends and talking to them in person was great. Looking forward to meeting them again soon.
After all this, I went to my cousins’ and played cricket from 10 pm to 3 am. Tiring and painful but equally refreshing. Turns out to be one of the longest times I’ve been awake, for about 22 hours. From 7 am on 30th December to 4:30 am on 31st December. A day well spent indeed 😇
2022 turned out to be good for my blog writing. Thanks for reading and constantly encouraging me to write.
I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year 2023. May all your wishes and dreams come true this year! ♥️