Writing a daily journal is the habit that I had during school, but I left that soon after a month. I kept becoming bad at maintaining records of what I do most: watching movies and reading books. This time around, I planned to schedule books & movies for the month well in advance, but that didn’t work either!

Instead, I thought to maintain a note with a one-line review/thoughts on the books I read and movies that I watch in a month and publish it in the subsequent month to keep track of the time I spent on these two activities.

Disclaimer: I intend to write this every month to reflect on the month gone by and the list of movies/series and books I was into, without spoilers. You can happily read this and check out the books/movies that are mentioned.

Movies/Series

I started with Money Heist Season 5, Volume 1. This happens to be my first web series experience last year (during the initial days of Covid) when everyone was buzzing about Money Heist. I was thrilled and enjoyed watching the first four seasons due to the crazy turns and the narrative style. With much expectations, I saw the V1 of S5 and didn’t find it worth the wait. Let them finish the series without much drag, as it may seem flat for the audience.

Next, I went into the Selva’s longest due, Nenjam Marappathillai. Asked a few friends for the movie in July and finally watched it. Wow, SJ Suryah! His portrayal of an eccentric & evil person is highly appreciated. An actor to look up to with the choice of films he is was part of Spyder, Monster, Mersal, Nenjam, and Iraivi 🙏

This movie has an exciting meta-story which is apparent if you know the story of Jesus and Mary (Thanks to Deep Focus by Film Companion). Selva is back with his kind of dark story and eccentric characters.

Then, I stumbled upon a YouTube recommendation, Anurag Kashyap’s debut, Paanch. The movie is partially based on Joshi-Abhyankar serial murders, and it has to do a lot beyond that plot. The movie speaks volumes about human tendencies, and you can relate the darker characters to the news articles you read every day — one of the brave attempts to make at the debut.

After these, I thought it’s time to finish the long-pending Pirates of the Caribbean by watching the last two parts. I saw them on consecutive days and enjoyed watching both of them. Mermaids, missionaries, curses, and the reunion — I loved them all.

Randomly I repeatedly watch Vetri Maaran’s interviews on various platforms, and this time, after listening to him in one of the interviews, I started watching Aadukalam. The movie is as brilliant as his other films. It manifests the Guru-Shisya relation when ego comes in between both of them and the aftermath of it. I plan to write a separate blog on this movie.

Nani’s Tuck Jagadish was released on Prime, and my entire family started watching it on TV. I cringed at the beginning scenes and immediately moved to another room to watch Piku by Shoojit Sircar. One of the pleasant movies out there, and Juhi’s sensible slice of life drama is what we need to watch when we feel low. It brings a smile to our faces throughout and feels good at the end. Irrfan, Deepika, and Amitabh — what else would you ask for?

Piku. Courtesy: YouTube

I was also listening to a podcast by Ronnie Screwwvala, producer and entrepreneur, who mentioned one of his productions, No one killed Jessica, which is based on a true story.

Opened Netflix immediately and started watching it. It talks a lot about the power of Media and how it can act as a catalyst in bringing justice to the deserved. And you see the contrast nowadays, on how Media is getting sold, and how we are being shown the celebrity news repeatedly. There are a few good media agencies that cover the news that we need to read/consume. One such article can be found here.

My Hindi movie streak continued with Tanu Weds Manu, a rom-com that was a blockbuster at the time of its release. An example of how actors can pull off an okayish script and bring the crowd to the theatres. Whole credit to the lead pair.

From the time I saw Haider, I was in awe of Vishal Bhardwaj and heard about his adaptations of Shakespeare’s works. With Irrfan still in mind, I watched Maqbool, based on Macbeth starring Tabu, Irrfan Khan, Om Puri, and Naseeruddin Shah. This movie is dark, about human desires and yearning for power. Somehow reminded me of Kumararaja’s Aranya Kaandam (the climax part).

With two of Irrfan’s movies, I went ahead and watched Madaari by Nishikant Kamat, his last directorial before his death. This movie is about a vigilante who wants to know the truth behind his son’s tragic death. It is a good movie at a slow pace.

Recommended by my friend, I watched “The Usual Suspects,” a thriller that builds up the pace as the movie progresses. Many Indian filmmakers use this movie template, and you can feel the importance of a screenplay of this kind. If you have patience for the first one hour, you’ll definitely enjoy the movie.

After watching Jaathi Ratnaalu with friends, I didn’t visit cinema halls. I was waiting for the right film to enhance the experience, and here it is Sekhar Kammula’s Love Story that strikes a chord with the target audience. His magic repeats, and we recall the iconic Anand, adding external factors to the Love Story. This is undoubtedly his honest attempt, and you can check out my thoughts on this movie here.

I don’t want to put the numbers and show it off. There wasn’t any plan to watch these movies, and it was about time I watched all of them. Before jumping to conclusions, I also read books this month, all non-fiction.

Books

Finished Short Story by Joe Bunting and a short booklet by Jerry Jenkins — I’ve downloaded them for one year without even turning a single page; thought it’s time to take writing more seriously and prioritise it over social media.

Also, read the long-pending ​​Almanack of Naval Ravikant. This has been a great learning experience while I was reading the book. I was frowning every day due to a few personal issues, and honestly reading this book helped me to reduce my angst on many things I encounter daily. I started trying to be in the moment completely, and you know I’ve been practising it. Hopefully, I’ll park the worries aside until I finish a work that I’m engrossed in. Notes of the book can be found here.

I used to read only paperback books and this time around, I experimented with ebooks and audiobooks. I started listening to Ronnie Screwwvala’s autobiography, “Dream with Your Eyes Open” which majorly deals with his entrepreneurial stints across industries throughout his life. It’s available on Apple Podcasts. The author narrated this entire book, which makes it more interesting while listening to it. You feel like he’s sitting beside you and talking to you. I am yet to finish the audiobook, hopefully, this month.

Other stuff

For good vibes, check out this heartwarming video where SPB meets his fan. Legend for a reason:

I started exploring this amazing YouTube channel by Raunaq, who also happens to be the co-founder of FullyFilmy. I saw his video on Feel good interviews just because there were two of my favourites he mentioned, and I went on to watch Jayalalitha’s interview with Simi Garewal:

CRED came up with a new commercial, this time with the Olympian Neeraj Chopra enacting everyone in the video. Within 40 seconds, they made a quick commercial and quirky satire on everything surrounding him after the Medal win. Watch it here:

CRED is acing the game repeatedly. Copywriting team is excellent in writing a commercial and trolling the situation after Neeraj won the 🥇

An update: After much delay, I created a substack newsletter and imported my blogs from Medium. The experience was seamless, and I hope I won’t delay any further in building an audience for my newsletter :)

Thanks to this month, I explored many new things, learned the essentials of human behaviour, and am looking forward to the exciting October ahead. Will continue writing this monthly review.

Let’s talk about cinema and books