Thursday, May 31, 2018

Julie and Julia (2009)

Watched 'Julie and Julia' on Netflix. The first major motion picture based on a blog.

What a brilliant movie this is!

Meryl Streep has done such as incredible job of fitting into the character with a distinct sing song way of speaking, waddly body language and all.

There is no 'story' as such, but just two women, one of the past, a great cook, an American living in France, learning and writing about French cooking and one in the present, a New Yorker, inspired by the woman of the past, both shown cooking away to high heavens. The young woman has taken up a challenge - to cook 365 recipes in a year and as she meets her goals, she blogs about it. She meets hurdles on the way, but manages to complete her mission.
And that's why I say this reflects true creativity and talent, to be able to keep the audience charmed and riveted, with simple, routine, everyday details of ordinary people, depicted with skillful perfection.

This is based on a true story. Otherwise, I would have applauded the movie maker's choice of Julie's profession, as a call center worker who answers telephone calls from victims of September 11. Those little conversations she has with the callers contributes to making the movie interesting, though it has a very small share of the screenplay. I mean, if her profession were something else ordinary, routine, it would be like a few spoons of plain water in a recipe in the place of an flavourful ingredient. Its these little things that go a long way in making a movie interesting, especially when there is no conventional 'story'.

These lines and the attendant visuals made me really really hungry.

"Is there anything better than butter?
Every time you taste something delicious beyond imagining and you say what is this, the answer is always going to be butter.
The day there is a meteor heading to earth and we have 30 days to live, I am going to spend it eating butter.
My final word on the subject, you can never have too much butter"

Among many other things, I just loved the subtlety in the depicting of Julia's deep but silent grief over being childless. Not a word of it is every said in the movie, but just a fleeting glance she gives to the stroller in the park and the trembling voice in which she reads out her sister Dorothy's letter revealing she's pregnant and cries afterward saying 'she is so happy' does more than any direct lines ever could. Remarkable subtlety.

It was the weaving together of the lives of the two women that made the movie possible. Neither of the women, by themselves, would have interested the audience much.

Amy Adams is adorable too...

Having watched this movie, I am oh so hungry... Can I get some butter please?


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ladhak & Kashmir 2010 - Day 14 - Srinagar - Chashma Shahi

13th July 2010

This was the first of the so called ‘Mughal’ gardens that we went to see. Chashma Shahi. It was July, apparently the season of bloom and the garden was full of flowers.

My mother loves flowers and she was ecstatic, walking about and looking at all of them.

The key feature I think, was the water flowing from two spouts housed in the brick coloured building inside the garden.
The entrance itself has terraces with flowers plants lining each level. You go up the stairway in the middle and enter the garden.

I did not read the history of the place, knowing it was mostly bogus, crediting some Mughal monster who probably snatched this place away from a Rajput king and then touched up the exteriors before stamping his own name on it.