Write & Watch

Salesh Dipak Fernando

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Iswarya  – I had no idea that she would turn out to be one of the constants in my life when we started out.  In fact, I underestimated her presence until I got to know her better. I met this beautiful soul when I was going through one of the worst phases of my life. I was so fragile that a small hiccup would tear me apart. My life seemed like one big bundle of pessimism. I couldn’t even muster the courage to greet new people I met. I hid behind the comfort zone of old relationships and past memories.

And throughout the whole nightmare, this girl made me a part of her daily existence. She would listen to my nonsense every day reassuring me that things would get better.  It was tough but she held on without letting go. Other people would just hear and forget but this girl chose to listen until I got rid of my scars.

It requires a lot of courage to hold on to a person when they are at their worst but she did that as if it was an everyday habit.  The ease at which she understood my turbulence surprised me initially but as I got to know her better I understood why she held on to me firmly. We both thrive on the same emotion – Love.  Love has this remarkable ability to forge unexpected bonds and heals scars and that’s exactly what happened between us.

In a world, everybody is rushing to be part of the race Iswarya reminds me of a beautiful pause button.  She’s someone who can savour life for what is without worrying too much about what lies ahead. No big aspirations or ambition just a life filled with love. There’s an inherent simplicity in the way she approaches life which is very beautiful. I wish there were more people like her around we wouldn’t have to worry about success-failure, winning or losing.

And to date, she remains the only person outside of my family who calls me by the favourite part in my name.  There’s a certain joy in seeing a person do that.

Best wishes Iswarya.  Cherish the love and hold on to your way of life. Good things await you.  


For way too long we have held on to the virtuous woman as an ideal representation of how a woman should be.  Why not take a diversion and celebrate a flawed woman instead. To me, the play didn’t begin until Jeannette came on stage, a woman who is so unabashedly herself despite the constant turmoil surrounding her life.

I know Jeannette for I have been love with Jeannette for a long time without giving her a face and a name. I know Jeannette, a woman who refused to be stripped of her desires. I know Jeannette, a woman who refused to let go of the scars that trouble her. She embraces her flaws in the form of a wedding gown.  Her only ray of rope questions her and demands answers. But she’s relentless and determined to hold on to her flawed persona.

She seeks doom as her only gateway to redemption and embraces the end with open arms. For once she’s not alone there’s someone willing to hold her hand before she closes her hand for one final time. “Save her” her loved ones scream but it is too late for her troubled soul seeks an answer in the alternate world.

We all do that mistake, don’t we? We judge, make choices on her behalf and demand what we deem to be an appropriate behaviour.  Why not leave the choice to her and cherish her presence as she lives her life to the fullest. It’s ok if she messes up; it’s ok if she makes wrong choices. The choice of how to live belongs to her alone. Let her be what she is. Let’s celebrate her free spirit.  Maybe it’s not too say I love you Jeannette before she takes that final step of embracing doom.



I am indebted to this guy for a lot of things, for the number of times he’s saved me from a bad movie, for the number of times he’s literally pushed me to watch the good ones but more than that I am grateful for the sanity he brings to the movie reviewing space. Social media these days has literally turned into a space for one upmanship where people literally scream out the supposed flaws in a movie review if they don’t agree with a review. Ravi remains a rare exception. He knows his space and allows space for other reviewers without being too rude while contradicting a review or a movie opinion. It is a basic social media etiquette but not many follow it. That is my biggest take away from him. He is one of those rare souls who understand my passion for movies

Beyond that, there’s the number of delightful books he highlights on his timeline which almost makes me jealous of his collection. And then there’s that small life-changing event of NotionPress workshop. I say life changing because it gave me a few friends who are permanent impressions in my life. I have always admired them from a distance and it was quite fascinating to watch them in action from close quarters.

Ravi, I love the fact that you are taking your time for your first published work. Let me know when it’s done let’s celebrate together. I love the fact that you remind me of Po’s unassuming charm. I love how you remain so calm despite juggling with so many things. There’s no noise, no scream, just the silence of a person who is sure of his space and gets things done. I wish you well for all that is to come and I can assure you that I will be applauding for you when you get to where you want to be. We haven’t watched a movie together. Now that I have time on my hands we will plan a proper movie outing.

PS : Someday I am going to make you watch all the bad movies that you have missed so far.





Shah Rukh  – The Lover Boy who never grew up.

Dear Shah Rukh,

We grew up watching you. You made us all fall in love even though you were playing different variations of the same role – Raj.  The songs, the way you made the ladies go gaga over your lover boy image made us watch you in awe.  And then Mohan  Bhargava and Kabir Khan happened.  Our excitement knew no bounds. You were trying to steer clear of an established image.  For those who were waiting to see different dimensions of the actor in you those two roles were an absolute treat.

We thought you would eventually move away from the lover boy image completely to transform into a fine actor. But you cheated us. Those two movies which gave us hope were merely false notes as you went back to playing type. Even at that point, Surinder was absolutely adorable. But everything beyond that point became a mess you have created for yourself.

You are no longer an irresistible box office force that you were back then. Bhai’s taken over that mantle with ease.  The perfectionist is very choosy and has gone global with a remarkable sports film and a certain Mr Kumar seems to have studied the tricks of the trade very well to balance commercial entertainers with that one remarkable film every year. He has turned himself into a producer’s darling.

None of them were this relevant when you struck box office gold with one film after another. But you have made them relevant with your fall. You are no longer the charmer we used to adore. You have turned yourself into a star who is so full of himself, a star who doesn’t give a damn about the changing preferences of his fans.  You seem to be playing Aryan to perfection while the Gaurav in us is dying a slow death. You seem to be stuck in a hole of self – obsession you have dug for yourself. Let me remind you that your fans have all grown up.  It’s time you do too. We no longer want to see an overgrown man play the lover boy again.

With Pain,

An ardent fan.



A vibrant young man takes charge of a reluctant team. Not many of us would have guessed that particular choice to hand over the reins to a newbie would change the dimensions of T -20 Cricket around the world.  Many of us would dismiss that Sreeshanth catch as pure chance. But there’s more to that moment than what meets the eye.  Misbhah’s hara –kiri moment gave us a glimpse the young man’s greatest asset as a captain – his ability to spring surprises with his moves on the field, a trait which would be his trademark during his tenure as captain.

He becomes the centre of attraction. The cricketing world prepares itself for consistent reverberations of his 183.  But he surprises once again by giving life to a non-existent role in Indian Cricket – The Finisher.  That was his connecting point to an average Indian Fan. A fan who was so used to seeing his team lose from winning positions after the Little Master set the game up so beautifully.  The fan who would constantly see his team lose from winning positions.

For a change, we had a man who knew how to steal victories from the nose of his opponents, a marksman who knew when to hit his target. The World Cup arrives and the whole nation waits with bated breath. Will we or won’t we? But once again the man chooses to surprise us by promoting himself up the order. A captain willing to take charge and finish it off for his team and for the man who had been the flag bearer of Indian Cricket for a very long time – SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.

The Champions Trophy arrives – A trophy which was supposed to be in its last stretch until one moment of Houdini Act changes it all. He hands over the ball to the worst bowler of the day – Ishant Sharma. What the hell was he thinking? The team is already on the verge of losing the match. But all it takes is one delivery to change the course of the match.  The wheels come as ball lands in the hands of fielders who seem to stand in the right positions. Another Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat and Champions trophy gets a lifeline.  It was the leader’s greatest moment of triumph for the team was entirely his own. There were no traces of the past. They were going to be the future of Indian Cricket.

The Agile Young Man is no longer visible but the never say die attitude might stretch itself for one final moment of glory. You never know. Champions have this remarkable ability to spring a surprise when you least expect them to.  It could be a surprise that the cricketing world has never seen before.

Many more Happy Returns of the day to the warhorse who knew how to cross the final hurdle with ease. MSD – These initials will resonate long after the leader is gone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          




It all started with a Kovai Sarala Voice over. Almost a perfect match. It got me curious and excited all at once. Cinema is often unforgiving to the personalities behind the scenes. While we celebrate the heroes and heroines who enthral us with their screen presence the voices that lend certain to the personalities we adore are forgotten. I don’t blame the audience. It is one of the few perils of celebrating a visual medium.

“What do you aspire to be?” I asked her one fine evening. The reply was immediate ” A voice over artist”.  “I hope you understand the perils of being a voice over artist ?”.  I probe further but she didn’t flinch even for a second. The reply was resolute and firm. “This is what I want to do “. 

I have an affinity towards people with passion. Their journey is fascinating.  The ebb and flow often inspires so many people along the way. And we don’t often credit these relentless souls for the number of lives they touch as they move forward. The drive is infectious.

I wasn’t too surprised by the way we connected. The fact that our conversations were always centred on our passion was a win- win for both us.  It kept me on my toes and helped me re-evaluate my own self every time we had a conversation.

I am a late bloomer so seeing someone start early gives me profound happiness and the fact that the passion is something which will always remain invisible irrespective of the hard work that goes into it makes it all the more inspiring.

I hope this journey gets you to your eventual destination Sinduja. Keep inspiring and best wishes for the journey ahead.



Another book was to be reviewed today but I ended up picking Priyanka Menon’s Served with Love.   Served with love is a delicious cocktail of the three things that often soothe a troubled soul – Food, Travel, and Love. For most parts the book stays true to the Indian Romance template and surprisingly it works very well to a certain extent. I guess irrespective of how many romance novels we read we will never get tired of love

Served with love is a tale of two troubled souls finding each other through love, food and travel There’s a precious fourth element as well which binds the two protagonists together. It adds colour, charm and cuteness to lovely romance. I will keep it under wraps for the readers to pick the book and cherish the fourth element.  Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard are sweeter.

The positives – The details with regard to food make you yearn for your favourite dish especially the desserts – just not fair to the readers but it is delightful. The initial period of romance is pure bliss. The sought of romance that stirs your soul as a lovely curve adorns your lips. The teasing and taunting make you yearn for your own version of the same. The travel spots also strike a chord. 

The closure – The closure had a very special connect to me as a person. An unusual time skip gives a fitting finale. It brought back memories of the good old days.

The Negatives – For a brief period, the book becomes a cinematic cliché which could have been narrated differently or totally avoided to give a different tone to the events.

Pick up the book if you love Indian romances. At 176 pages it’s a short guilty pleasure which will make you feel good.






Wonder Woman : Ah! Here she is. Finally we have a super heroine who can give the men in the Super Hero World a run for their money. What a long wait it had been. But the good news is Wonder Woman is here to stay.

I have still not forgiven Marvel for the way it used Black Widow as a mere prop. But then you can’t blame Marvel their Universe is always jolly good fun and doesn’t stretch your imagination.

DC on the other hand consistently haunts you with the Why question. The dark, brooding nature of their world might even make you uncomfortable. These features were very much visible in other DC films too but sadly those films were marred by a shoddy narration. But in Wonder Woman it works admirably well as a whole. The captain of the ship Patty Jenkins hits the sweet spot as far as the Why’s are concerned.

The narration itself is divided into 3 parts – The Origin, the Amalgamation and the Revelation.

The origin takes us back to the roots – The fear of the mother who takes up the role of safeguarding her kid isn’t too far fetched. But how long will you safeguard the warrior princess from finding her actual purpose? You can’t hide from your destiny for too long. The origin focuses on the questions that haunt both the mother and the child.

The Amalgamation focuses on how wonder woman becomes one among the human beings without losing her actual identity. She sees the world like a new born kid. There is curiosity and innocence as she transforms into a warrior princess. Respect and Acceptance follows as she finds love in the unlikeliest of circumstances

The Revelation focuses on giving Wonder Woman the answers to the questions that haunted her in the beginning. It is here she finds out who she actually is and fulfills her purpose.

Each of the three phases is marked by some wonderful action set pieces.  I especially loved the sequences where she surprises both the audience and her co-actors by taking charge of proceedings. She goes full throttle without holding back to give us a breathtaking experience. And the background score that wonder woman’s surge is truly breathtaking.   

 The innocence that is sprinkled throughout the first half is heart-warming as Wonder Woman wears the mask of a curious kid until the action shifts to the war zone and it fits her very well. But once the action begins the narration is inconsistent but I can happily forgive the flaws for one reason – Gal Gadot.

Gal Gadot is a treat to sore eyes. Much like the film itself Gadot is inconsistent but her charming screen presence makes up for the flaws. Whenever the film threatens to fall flat Gadot’s irresistible aura gives the film the elevation it deserves. I couldn’t blink even for a single moment. Her eyes speak a different language. They hypnotize, mesmerize, haunt you and taunt you. Chris Pine too plays second fiddle with enthusiasm

Marvel doesn’t give you the space to question a character’s moral stand for there’s hardly any time for questions as you drown yourself in their world of escapism. But DC keeps it raw, real, gritty and dark and it’s a refreshing diversion atleast for me. The inconsistencies didn’t seem to matter at all.

I especially loved the closure which is filled with love and hope. As someone who is eternally in love with the emotion called love I found it enchanting. It is personal gratification of a different kind.

 Patty Jenkins doesn’t scream woman empowerment but throws subtle hints at what a truly empowered woman could do. The good news she’s already been signed on for the sequel.

  Go watch Wonder Woman on the big screen to cherish the Super Heroine we richly deserve.



Sruthakeerthi’s presence in my life is almost pans out like a movie where the two of us had to join hands on an unlikely mission – To remind a common presence that she’s awesome. Trust me that was the toughest task assigned to both of us. Whenever the common presence faltered I had to literally scream “Srutha” which eventually became Sru

But we got used to each other beyond the common factor. What surprised me often was her clarity regarding what she wanted in life. I guess by the time she reaches my age she would have fulfilled all her dreams. At her age I didn’t even know what living your dreams meant.  

Her sanity was one of the few redeeming factors when I had an unnecessary slip up.  All seemed lost and I was preparing myself for a trip towards darkness. But she kept my spirits up with constant small reminders of all the good things in my life. Imagine handling two oscillating minds at the same time. It’s a nearly improbable task for a youngster but she did as I found myself again. She’s the first person who volunteered to sing my favorite song – An underrated Illayaraja number. My joy knew no bounds. Finally there was someone paying heed to my request.

I sometimes wonder how today’s youngsters hold it together when life tests them. Even as adversity tests them they keep marching forward with a rare confidence. But Srutha constantly reminds me things are not easy as they seem. The vulnerability of an aspiring youngster is still intact especially when she shoots those beautiful questions on Love. But as far as choices go I can be happily jealous of all her accomplishments so far and give her a warm applause.

Srutha I am guessing we will have to stick together until the drama queen grows up. So be there even if I falter and never ever doubt your space in my life. You have a special place in my life along with the other lovely souls in my life.

PS : My tryst with MOP never seems to end.  I am looking forward to meeting your older version soon. The meet up is long overdue.


What is to be done with Sathe ? One of the very few times you walk into a theatre expecting a play and walk out of an explosive dream. It was very soothing to see to people go all out to hold the attention of the audience for the entire time frame.

The first thing that stood was the way the play was paced. A leisurely start to help us know understand the thought process of the two antagonists. The play grows on you as you get in touch with their everyday struggles and joys and when it reaches the finale the eruption that follows is enticing and irresistible.

Sathe is a haunting and beautiful exploration of the moral tussle within the human mind.  The invisible third eye haunts you, unsettles you and forces you to reflect. The dynamics change with each passing sequence as the questions pile up.  You are in a dilemma. Whose side do you take  ?  Salma or Abhay ?

Abhay and Salma could be you me or anyone we know?   Haven’t we all dug a hole of self – pity for ourselves and fallen into it.  And we blame every Tom, Dick and Harry for the failure when the answers lie within us.  The redemption that we seek lies in how we choose to answer the questions that haunt us.

It felt good to see two actors bring the stage alive after all these years. What was the name of the actors again ? Oh I don’t know and I don’t want to know. To me they will always be Salma and Abhay.



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