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books change childhood chilling History language Movies

SHER LOCKED

by:Akhil

A man, widely known for his extraordinary prowess in the field of forensic science and logical reasoning, and also known to be quite arrogant and selfless, is none other than one of the greatest detectives in the world. Mr. Sherlock Holmes. It breaks my heart to inform you that he is a fictional character. But as I delved into the world of the detective, I found that he was not actually a character from a book, but present to us in the form of the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who created Mr. Holmes. It is with great ingenuity that this man invented such a masterpiece, and the world will always be grateful to him for this creation.

Mr. Holmes made his first appearance in the novel, A Study in Scarlet, in 1887. He became particularly popular when a series of short stories, including A Scandal in Bohemia, was released in The Strand Magazine in 1891. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went on to write an entirety of four novels and 56 short stories on Sherlock and his adventures.

Although Sherlock is a man of great mind and skill, his efforts in solving cases would have been shortcoming without the help and support of his close companion, Dr.John H.Watson. Dr.Watson was an assistant surgeon in the British army before he was sent back to England, where he met Sherlock. They had agreed to share lodgings with each other due to financial issues. His intrigue towards the cases that Holmes worked on lead him to many adventures with Holmes and formed a close bond between the two.

It’s not known to many, but Sherlock Holmes was formerly killed off in a battle against his archnemesis, Professor James Moriarty, in “The Final Problem” in 1893. After much protest and pressure from the public, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was forced to resurrect his famous protagonist in another story in 1903. Sherlock Holmes went on to dominate the scene of literature until 1927. From then on, there have been various adaptations of the detective in theatre, television, cinema, books, and even games. The most famous of these was the television series, Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead as the detective, and the movie series, Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. starring as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.

Sherlock Holmes has continued to captivate readers generation after generation, and I believe that he will not stop doing so. I sign off by quoting Dr.John H.Watson, “My god Holmes!! You never do cease to amaze me!”. If you haven’t read any books on Sherlock, I suggest that you take a crack at one and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Categories
chilling COVID-19 life Movies

Coping up with COVID

The world stands in shock while India breaks records every day in the number of COVID-19 cases reported. The last count I heard was 4 lakh cases. We have been locked up in our houses (literally or metaphorically) for more than a year now. No matter to what extent you are an introvert, we are social animals by nature, and it is tough to stay at home. 

But something that helped me cope with this lockdown was movies and social media. I travel from Netflix to Amazon Prime, to Instagram, and then Youtube. These apps were there with me throughout this lockdown and made me laugh, cry, introspect, look forward to something, and boost me up. 

Am I romanticizing my relationship with apps? 

*sad life pro max*

But in this lockdown, I got to experience a whole new stratum of content, which included many podcasts, old movies, web series, T.V. shows, musicals, and many more, and these gave me a massive bag of positivity and hope. 

So here are some of the movies/shows/podcasts that made my life slightly better.

[P.S. I didn’t add Brooklyn 99 as it is a part of my day irrespective of the current scenario, but if you feel slightly sour, don’t even think twice to watch B99]

The internet said so

Once the lockdown started, many professions were severely hit, and one of them is standup comedians. Some shows got canceled, and specials could be shot, and so on. I have always been a fan of SNG (Schittengiggles), and when I got to know that four people from SNG are coming back with TISS, it got me excited. I love a few episodes such as Bollywood, Big Boss, Relationship, siblings, and many more. But two episodes that were cold and felt like a warm hug — Death and We’re in this together. The 1.5 hr episode is just me keeping all my thoughts aside and listening to four friends talk about life and crack jokes. Sometimes it just makes me laugh my heart out and forget about almost everything. 

Geeli puchi and Ankahi from Ajeeb Dastans

Netflix loves the concept of anthologies, and the latest Netflix anthology, Ajeeb Dastans, had many good and bad aspects, but two parts that brought a smile to my face are the third and fourth short films, Geeli Puchi and Ankahi. I don’t want to share any spoilers, but here is a disclaimer, you will fall in love with Konkona, Aditi Rao, Shefali, and most importantly, Manav Kaul (I wish I got to meet someone like him) 

*blushing so much that my face turned pink*

While watching Ankahi, the way they handled the story was so simple yet so complicated, it made me melt gradually, and towards the end, I was floored. Am I a part of the Shefali Shah fan club? Hell yes. Whereas Geeli Puchi made me laugh, cry, smile but mainly root for the characters. Towards the end, I was left in shock. Please watch the 2nd half of Ajeeb Dastaans please. 

Modern Love

This didn’t release in 2020 exactly, but if there is a series that can make me feel good and break me, it’s modern love and specifically the 3rd episode. As each conversation progresses, my heart sinks further and further, and towards the end, it pulls me up as well. There is a certain warmth to every episode that makes me root for the characters. 

[this is a short para because I am scared of giving spoilers]

Kumbalangi Nights 

Some movies make us melt slowly and gradually through the film, but this film grabbed my attention from the first minute. The characters in that movie are so natural and extremely relatable that you just hopelessly fall in love. Speaking of my favorite character in that movie, it’s Fanny, the youngest in the house and the most mature. While I root for the other characters as they have certain traits, Fanny is a person I look up to and seek in a best friend, and luckily I have them in my life. You know who you are. And the movie has some breathtaking visuals and soothing music. 

Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota 

I watched this movie in an empty theatre and Oh my God! This is by far the wackiest Indian film I have ever watched. The movie showed a unique take on the angry Indian men’s portrayal in the 70s through Surya, who cannot feel pain at all. His innocence and his lack of awareness that the world is way beyond the 90s will make you root for him. But the show stopper is Gulshan Devaiah, who plays Jimmy and Mani. This movie has some breathtaking action sequences with is With some of the quirkiest characters and wacky writing. This movie will crack you up with innocence and will bring you to the edge of the seat during action sequences. This movie is criminally underrated. 

I wanted to add more movies and series to this piece, but the list is exceptionally long. In the end, I would like to say, Stay home, stay safe, and we are in this together. With loads of love and to try lifting the mood, just like how all the Brooklyn 99 trivia manages to fit in the iconic scene, I will also do the same.

BOOOOOOOOOONEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

Categories
Movies social society

Female Phantoms

Author: Shreya Volety

After living at home without coming in contact with the rest of humanity for seven long months, I can confidently declare I am no longer sane. That is precisely why I found myself digging down the rabbit hole of subreddits that were all discussing why women are often the ghosts in mainstream horror films. Even movies or shows in this genre that I genuinely appreciate are also guilty of having phantoms that are certainly women. And since I had forsaken the concept of working productively, I went on to make an excel spreadsheet of the number of mainstream horror films that were released since 2000, and how many of them featured female ghosts. While it is possible my data set is highly skewed, the number turned out to be 78%. The others were either psychological horror or were centered around a paranormal genderless creature than a ghost per se.

So why are we as a society obsessed with female ghosts?

A weak, but perhaps tolerable explanation that I found in many places was that, technically it was more convenient, both cinematically and aesthetically, to have a long-haired, pale white, high-pitched female ghost walking around than a man of the same proportions. 

(Everything from this point further, is a personal opinion, and I might be completely wrong, so I request my readers, take it with a grain of salt.)

But what I personally feel is a stronger reason, is that in most of these films the victims of the said female ghost, are men. It is much easier for men to be subjects of violence, especially at the hands of a woman, if she happens to be, well…dead.

Most female ghosts are often vindictive, either because they died as a victim of strong sexual violence, or rape, or because they were burned at the stake for being witches, and in some rare occasions (I’m hoping the creators of Conjuring are reading this) it’s because they fall in love with Satan (yep, Satan). And so they’re generally malignant, looking for revenge, possessing live women so that they could commit the same kinds of violence on the men in their lives. Perhaps it is too much to ask for stories where women return alive from deep, disturbing trauma and then reclaim their agency and strength by not committing murder or homicide. Yeah, it is too much. 

While one could (and I’m addressing the one reader who is thinking this) assume that I’m a jobless feminist (yes, I am both) who seems to delight in highlighting patriarchal undertones in mainstream media, what bothers me about this, is that this such a common trope. 

The Haunting of Hill House, which I personally consider one of the best shows in this genre, also has a woman who seems to (for personal reasons) want to kill her own children. But the original novel that the show is based on, was more interested in showing the journey of a complicated, oppressed woman who finds a sense of ironic freedom in dying and being trapped in a house forever (because paranormal sexism is easier to cope with than everyday systemic sexism).

The recent 2020 Hindi thriller, Bulbbul tries to revamp this idea, but fails spectacularly. It falls into the trap of evil vs good. The movie gives a traumatic backstory to a woman, and then justifies her transformation into a vampire-like paranormal creature that “protects” other women from abusive violence. And that is equally troubling. This constant, almost mindless persecution of the living, that most (dead) women in paranormal stories seem to carry on hardly feels strong or glorious. It is not the way to combat violence against women, and it somehow indicates that patriarchy and sexism operate in isolation, one that ghost lady can fight off by simply killing everyone. And it exaggerates the idea of “emotional, sensitive” women that are so passionate, they choose bloodthirsty violence in the afterlife.

In conclusion (because I have no real conclusion), I would recommend three pieces of horror media that I genuinely enjoyed that hopefully don’t fall into the category of films I just spent the last 500 words complaining about – The Shining ( by Stephen King ), The Haunting of Hill House (the novel by Shirley Jackson), and Talaash (written by Zoya Akhtar).