Monthly review: March’22

Pradyumna Madan Dinni
6 min readApr 1, 2022

End of the financial year, the beginning of the Summer season, and the birthdays of people I love, I had a good month of 31 days in the name of March this year. And the much-awaited and majestic RRR released.

I watched a couple of movies, roamed around Hampi on a short solo trip, resumed reading books and did many things. Without much fluff, let’s get to the pointers, shall we?

Movies & Shows

  1. Maaran

I kickstarted March with Dhanush’s Maaran, streaming on Disney Hotstar. Even though I didn’t have many expectations for the movie, I had trusted Dhanush and the filmmaker, the young sensation (well, not anymore) Karthick Naren. On the day it was released on Hotstar, I finished my work early and started watching it, waiting for at least one scene to work for me, but none worked. Disappointed with what they made.

Courtesy: Hotstar.

I wish Karthick had his tricks with the screenplay or story, but it fell flat. There was no solid work visible from the writing, and Dhanush, too, seemed uninterested in his performance throughout the movie. Not even one scene was interesting, which is sad. Hope they come back with the material in their next outings.

2. Shor in the City

Having watched 99 this year, I was curious to watch all the films Raj & DK directed. I hopped on to Shor in the City, one of the best films I have seen in the recent past.

Admiring the director duo with the kind of films they make, the characters they create, the quirky dialogues they write, the character arcs they bring inside the story. I hope I’ll watch their entire filmography, understand the world they create with depth, and come up with a blog post. Wish they keep doing awesome work :) This movie is available on YouTube.

3. Valimai

H Vinoth has a fanbase in Telugu states, thanks to the honesty with which he made Khakee. While he made the remake of Pink with Ajith, he could have avoided this movie altogether. I was appalled by the way he made this movie.

The premise is on the lines of Khakee, a cop trying to catch a notorious gang causing unrest to the people. They target the cop’s family, and he is on the mission by disobeying the orders of senior officials to put the gang behind bars.

I felt it to be a poor remake of Khakee with an unwanted cast, deviating story, and unwarranted budget. Though people appreciated the work of cinematography and action sequences, I feel all of it is a waste if you don’t have the base, Story.

The combo has another movie in the making, and let’s hope they come up with a better project now. Valimai is streaming on ZEE5.

4. Nachavule

While discussing the release of RRR with a community of film buffs, we appreciated Rajamouli’s subtle dark humour in Eega. One of the fellow members recommended watching Ravi Babu’s Nachavule.

Shot entirely in Ramoji Film City, Nachavule deals with how the youth treats relationships and partners and has a handful of characters. It is an out and out entertainer with dark jokes, rib-tickling comedy scenes that may not bode well with the current generation. From the opening scene to the ending scene, it has quirky dialogues and sarcasm. I enjoyed the movie!

Apart from these movies I watched for the first time, I had time to revisit two films — Rajamouli’s Eega and Kamal’s Uttama Villain.

I made a few observations while watching Eega this time, and I don’t want to divulge them in this blog. Will write a dedicated blog post on Eega because it has that much content.

Coming to Uttama Villain, I didn’t watch it in its entirety. I randomly played some scenes, and this caught my eye this time.

There is a scene where Vaishnavas and Shaivas debate on the place where Uttaman goes after his death — to Vaikuntam or Kailasam. Remember, Kamal brought the conflict between these two communities in Dasavatharam.

Coming to the shows, I watched Manu Joseph’s Decoupled streaming on Netflix. Hardik Mehta directed it while Madhavan and Surveen Chawla played the leads. I wrote about the show here.

I made a genuine mistake in that blog. I mentioned that I didn’t know about that show until the week I saw it, which is a lie. One of my friends (Vivek) suggested watching it when it got released, but somehow I forgot that message.

Books

After a short break, I am back to reading books. I started reading two books: Story by Robert Mckee and Working Backwards by Bill Carr and Colin Bryar.

Story by Robert Mckee is a textbook for wannabe fiction writers to understand the basics of a story and the process and tools for writing a story. I finished a quarter of the book, hoping to complete it this month.

Working Backwards by Bill Carr and Colin Bryar is a book written on Amazon’s culture, processes, approach to solving problems, leadership, and hiring. I started this book but didn’t make much progress yet. But so far, it is a good book to read.

I didn’t complete any books this month. Hence, I will elaborately write about them when I finish reading them.

Other Stuff

Trip to Hampi

After a long delay, I went on a solo trip to Hampi this month. Though it wasn’t the first time I had visited Hampi, this visit felt special as I roamed around places alone at my pace. I compiled the itinerary and details of the places I visited here. Do give it a read.

I came across this post by Zerodha’s founder, Nithin Kamath, about his wife and Zerodha’s CQO, Seema Patil, diagnosed with cancer. More power to the couple. You can read more here: https://seema.page/.

YouTube Content

Finally, I watched the entire conversation of Gautam Menon with Mani Ratnam. The conversation is casual and refreshing. Both filmmakers spoke about Mani’s approach to films, his treatment of characters, and music. It is like a summary of the book Conversations with Mani Ratnam by Baradwaj Rangan. Here’s the interview:

Speaking of Baradwaj Rangan, he recently moved from Film Companion to Galatta, starting a dedicated YouTube channel Galatta Plus for conversations on Indian cinema. Guess who his first guest was? It was Rajamouli! Do watch this interesting set of questions from BR, answered by Rajamouli.

Just before writing this blog, Galatta Plus uploaded an interview of BR with Karan Johar. I never thought I’d watch Karan talking for more than 30 minutes, but glad I did. A pleasant chit chat about Karan’s films, what he wants to do in the next ten years, and his thoughts on regional cinema. I liked the conversation.

Whether you know it or not, AIB was acing the game of YouTube for several years when YouTube wasn’t even a more significant thing for us Indians. They were early and made brilliant, subtle, and honest videos with sarcasm. I watched many of them recently. Sharing two of them here:

Before we end, IPL is here, which means, we have RCB entertaining us on YouTube. Yes, I am talking about Mr Nags (Danish Sait) at press conferences and player interviews.

Until we meet next time with a new post :)

Btw, this is my 50th blog post published on Medium. I’d not have thought I’d publish 50 blogs in 3 years on a single non-monetary website. If you are reading this, thank you! This is all I can say.

Gratitude to all of you for reading my blogs and encouraging me to write ❤❤❤

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