Dost- Friend- yaar – humraaz

Friends brought a deeper meaning to my life-

they loved me for who I’m and of course, accepted that I’m mad and

I won’t compromise on my soul and calling !!

love them a lot and

I’m alive and survived because of them.

Thank you to all my friends!!

Happy friendship day!!

Source of image: https://happymothersdayquote.com/friendship-day-wishes-to-best-friend/

Stop it!!

Ive been reading this book by Alan Watts called, ‘Wisdom of Insecurity’. I quote a sentence from the book for reference.

“The hard-bitten kind of person is always, as it were, a partial suicide; some of himself is already dead”.

Alan Watts

I have come across tough people who have collapsed at some point of time. They become helpless and try hard to put an act of being tough.

Stop –

STOP Being so tough. Or rather putting an act of toughness.

STOP Searching for answers. Somethings are beautiful when left unanswered.

STOP – Masking – Unmask- start doing this, no matter how embarrassing it is. It benefits you and to hell with people who do not acknowledge.

STOP- being what you are not.

STOP being right all the time. Don’t struggle so hard to be right.

If you mask yourself too much, a time will surely come when you will be tired of this anti-thesis within you.

You will lose your own identity trying to confirm every time with the masked YOU.

No one is perfect, and I surely don’t want to be perfect.

Love your flaws!!

And something that I do subconsciously , laughing a lot without a reason. Well, what a blessing!! Keep laughing.

When I laugh a lot people think I’m insane and that I’m beautiful but brainless. I’m none, thank you very much!!

Rashmi Malapur

Maharani on SonyLIV

It’s a rare occasion when I feel like sharing my thoughts as a viewer of a film, or series since I’ve lost touch as a reviewer. Frankly I eagerly awaited the release of the web series ‘Maharani’ & began watching it as an admirer of Amit Sial’s @amit.sial work.


Undoubtedly he is fantastic in the role of an overconfident and impatient leader with his sophisticated, and restrained performance. His ability to change his body language based on his character and grasping the nuances of the character take root in his theatre background. I have watched his other performances as well. It’s a pleasure to watch his performances as his connect with the camera and audiences is strong.

Maharani is a tribute to each Indian who believes strongly in the Indian Constitution; it’s spirit and strength. They respect our Constitution immensely and consider it no less than a pious scripture. Our Constitution is a voice of hope and a voice of the Indian polity.

But politics overpowers our polity through populism and bare political ambitious where ideologies take a back seat.
The series shows a glimpse of Bihar politics and the role of the politicians, bureaucrats, spiritual gurus, naxalites, intellectuals and people as mere spectators. It’s clearly speaks about casteism and caste based politics, with the so called ‘rajnaitik daav pech’ and the ‘ayaraam gayaraam’ politicians.

Huma Qureshi @iamhumaq is another towering actress. The ease with which she performs is endearing. She doesn’t perform, she lives the characters. I saw her Malayalam film ‘White’ with Mammootty sir. She is intense. That’s the most befitting word for her. Needless she is extremely beautiful and with strong sensuality plus individuality.
Salute to Inaamulhaq for having played perfectly the role of an honest and daring government official. His casting is perfect and his execution of the role flawless.
Oh yes, Sohum Shah @shah_sohum has done wonders yet again. I loved him in Tumbbad and respect him for believing in such a unique project. It’s the best Hindi movie in recent times.
Kani Kusruti as Kaveri is adorable with her South Indian accent and touches you with her sincerity.
Gripping story written by Subhash Kapoor with lot of thought, holds your attention and builds suspense. Dialogues impact and excite the audiences. The direction by Karan Sharma is a lot more mature and natural. It gives time to each scene and actor to create a lasting impression. That’s the mark of a mature director.

Initially I did find it a casual watch but as the story built up I just couldn’t stop watching it.
Awaiting season 2 when Bheema babu is released from the prison and a different war awaits.
Thanks to the entire team and Sony LIV for creating a great watch!

© Copyright 2021 Rashmi Malapur All rights reserved

Pune International Film Festival- PIFF. Review: ‘The Empty Nest’.

Rapid urbanization in China has compelled young adults to live a lonely and solitary life. In Chinese “kongchao qingnian,” literally, “young emptynester” or empty nest youth is a harsh reality of China’s urban life.

Though the Chinese movie ‘The Empty Nest’ directed by Wei Zang is about an old woman who is an empty nester. It is a melancholic story based on the novel ‘THE EMPTY NEST’ by Xue Yiwei. The movie ends with hope and realization by the central character Zhao Yemie that life is about moving on and not about pondering over the sad moments.

Zhao Yemie is played by Zhu Xijuan, a superstar of 1960s in China

Image: Tom J. Cull (Twitter account)

Directed by

Zhang Wei

Cast

Zhu Xijuan

Zhang You

Zhou lives a lonely life in the city and is disillusioned with life. It’s tough for her to cope with her solitary life in old age. She suffers from urinary countenance and has a strained relationship with her son who keeps calling her. He tries to convince her to move in with him or move to a nursing home. Strained, dejected and lonely she feels hopeless. Zhou hardly steps out of her home and seems to be pushing her neighbours away and rarely trusts anyone.

But her life changes for good and Lei Xiaoding played by Zhang You who sells healthcare products enters her life to rekindle hope and optimism. Initially she distrusts him as well.

Though his caring and warm nature fills her life with joy. He gives her company and together they create some happy moments.

Lei is ambitious and wants to amass a huge fortune as quickly as possible. He cons Zhou who feels cheated and dejected.

The last 15 minutes of the movie are critical where the crux of the movie lies. Zho makes a choice to move on and realizes that she shouldn’t have pushed everyone away from her life.

While she was young her husband had betrayed her and she distanced herself from her son as well.

Actors are brilliant and seem to be living up to their character. Zhu Xijuan and Zang You are convincing. The scene where the old lady Zhao Yemie ties Lei Xiaoding to the chair and demands him to speak the truth is heart wrenching. Lei’s outburst and his pain v/s Zhao’s pain are juxtaposed.

Wei Zang’s direction doesn’t unnecessarily romanticize any scene. He has stuck to realistically picturizing the practicalities of living a lonely life.

Music composer Minami Nozaki’s music playing in the background in the last few moments of the movie express Zang’s emotional outpour.

The movie is simple yet profound, reflecting upon the effects of urbanization and loneliness it can drive people into. The race of achieving success, amassing wealth and the desire to make it big can drive youngsters to resort to dubious means ofcourse out of sheer desperation. It also reflects on the solitary life of empty nesters.

Reflections as a viewer and not a reviewer:

Moving on and enjoying the present moment is the crux of life. We might feel disillusioned about life, but it is just not the end. These moments of despair will end and happiness will revisit your life. But if you shut your heart to happiness you will sulk. So, move on.

© Copyright 2021 Rashmi Malapur All rights reserved

Pune International Film Festival- Review: ‘In the dusk.’

Image: Luxbox website http://www.luxboxfilms.com/

Directed by

Sharunas Bartas   

Written by:

Sharunas Bartas   

Ausra Giedraityte 

Cast:

Arvydas Dapsys as Jurgis Pliauga

Marius Povilas Elijas Martynenko as Unte

Alina Zaliukaite-Ramanauskiene as Elena Pliaugiene

Review:

It’s a lie that we crave for peace and contentment. Inherently we are happy with chaos, the struggle and revolution that brings a new order. We see conflict changing the present scenario and we like being in a dilemma. Do we strive for peace? If yes, then despite the painful experience of two world wars, why do we still witness attacks/ violence? Truth is just like the war; harsh and tough to accept.

Director Sharunas Bartas in the last 15 minutes of his movie ‘In the dusk’ numbs you; it captures the trauma and turmoil; pain people went through during and after the World War II. It is a movie about deceit and distrust.

The movie is set in 1948 in the Lithuanian countryside, where a detachment of Partisans is staying in a forest to resist the Soviet troops.

Unte (Marius Povilas Elijas Martynenko) is a witness to the harsh realities of the post war period while he becomes a member of the Partisan movement that resists the Soviets. He is innocent and views his father Pliauga (Arvydas Dapsys), political ideologies, and killings with raw, innocent eyes, which cannot be rejected as immature. Instead, he asks vital and critical questions. But doesn’t get to know the complete truth though he stays, probing more and ultimately drowns in silence, which is haunting.

The scenes have been crafted with restrained conversations though enough to reveal the realities of life in the post war period- blatant and harsh.

The slow pace of the movie doesn’t bother the audience much as the actors grip your attention with stark, raw expressions and direction, which is par excellence.

Image: Luxbox website http://www.luxboxfilms.com/

Pliauga is probed by his 19-year-old adopted son Unte about his life. Pliauga asks his son to be independent in his thoughts and use his own mind, not to be influenced by anyone or any ideology. Unte’s father reveals his past and Unte has nothing to say but being empathetic towards him.

Pliauga played by Arvydas Dapsys commands the screen with his tough, shrewd nature with a strong sense of self-belief. Scenes depicting the troubled relationship with his wife (Alina Zaliukaite-Ramanauskiene) are somber yet chilling. There is no denying that her limited presence on screen doesn’t stop her from creating a lasting impact on the audience’s mind.

The movie builds the background for the action at the end of the movie i.e., in the last half an hour. When the Soviets arrive asking for money from the already impoverished people living in the forest where the movie is set.

Unte has his questions and asks them to people with whom he manages to hit a conversation. He asks about where the money that the Soviets take from us is utilized? He gets a reply they are taking the money from those who have it and give it to the have nots. Bang comes the next question, “Do you believe them?” The reply is simple, “You have to believe someone.” Unte then asks if they believe in God to which the answer is, “They don’t believe in God.”

This conversation captures vital beliefs of Marxism in few words. Such significant dialogues and conversations make the movie realistic, and it refrains from romanticising war.

Soviets devastate lives of these few Lithuanians living in the farmland set in the forest. The scenes of Soviets killing anyone who oppose or question them are brutal. Infact the Soviets are troubled by their sense of insecurity, distrust, deceit and compels us to ask if the desperation was all worth it?

When Pliauga is probed at the end he stays undeterred and unapologetic. His expressions and reaction to the torture, shake you. The violence at the end numbs the audience. As the movie advances the audience has no clue that the melancholic mood throughout the movie will lead to a brutal end.  

The silence (the subtle tension) throughout the movie ends with a haunting scream. The scenes set in the harsh forest, depiction of the lifestyle, the use of light by cinematographer Eitvydas Doskus costumes designed by Nina Moravcova are brilliant.

The music (composed by Gabriele Dikciute and Jakub Rataj) is melancholic matching with the somber, cold mood of the movie. There is no unnecessary romanticising of the war making the characters heroic.

Truth has a shrill voice. In this movie it comes forth in the form of restrained words and lingering silence.

Reflections:

How beautifully we lie and mask ourselves. Humans love the feeling of triumph and victory. We are constantly in search of this feeling. So, we first start inflicting pain on ourselves and others, pose challenges in our lives and society that lead to wars. War benefits no one yet we are at war with ourselves and others. Countries are at war as human beings we are at war with ourselves. There is always a dilemma and anti-thesis in our lives no matter how much we would love to mask it.

© Copyright 2021 Rashmi Malapur All rights reserved

Two Lips 💋

Im glad I stumbled upon Luisa’s blog. This is her space she shares with readers, which is worth revisiting and cherishing.

words and music and stories

Thomas Hardy (born on 2 June 1840-1928) is acclaimed worldwide as one of the best Victorian novelists (Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd ). He was also a poet, and a much appreciated one, whose poetry is still widely read for its combination of tradition and modernism.

Two Lips

I kissed them in fancy as I came
Away in the morning glow:
I kissed them through the glass of her picture-frame:
She did not know.

I kissed them in love, in troth, in laughter,
When she knew all; long so!
That I should kiss them in a shroud thereafter
She did not know.

The poem, “Two Lips,” recalls Hardy’s relationship with his first wife, Emma.
It starts with the tender reminiscence of the morning when Hardy left the home of Emma Gifford in Cornwall, after their first meeting, before returning to Dorchester.
It continues with…

View original post 246 more words

Mr. and Mrs. Dopplewood

Frank Solanki’s blog and his poem. A wonderful place to cherish.

Frank Solanki

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Dopplewood
Old and aged but going good
Married for more than forty years
But their love so new appears
I asked them what their secret is
If they had any advices
She said, “There are secrets none
Just keep having lots of fun.”
He said, “There is just one advice
Said by an ancient man so wise —
Keep your peace and avoid a fight
What the wife speaks is always right”

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Deluge of positivity

You are not weak when you emote. Emotions are at the core of human existence. In the absence of emotions, we aren’t humans. So why do we deny ourselves the freedom to emote.

We can’t always be positive.

Nowadays the pressure of positivity is enormous. This pressure can aggravate emotional and mental health issues.

To accept that I feel sad today and I’m disappointed then calls for messages of positivity pouring in from all quarters.

This is harsh!!

-Copyright 2021 Rashmi Malapur

How to brief your client about content?

Often when content gets rejected by clients its quite frustrating for the content writer and the client too. Inspite of writing content that is unique and interesting, clients reject the content that you write. After putting in a lot of efforts you fail to decipher where you fell short?

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this aspect of content writing

1) Share your writing samples:

When clients approach you, they might not know anything about your writing style. Though you haven’t written something specific with regards to their market/industry/ they would still wish to hire you. It’s best to share your samples with the client- ofcourse, clients generally do ask for your writing samples. But, knowing the fact that you are an experienced writer they might not ask. But, you should insist and ask them to read your content since that gives an idea about your writing style.

Share varied types of content with them that reflects about your ability to write in different styles, innovate, research, the tone, choice of words, flow of content, etc.

Its necessary for you to explain the client that you will charge for the sample

2) Ask them to share content that they loved:

So, the next obvious progression will be asking your clients to share content they have truly loved and aspire their content to be the same. This gives you an idea of what they expect? Often its tough for clients to describe the content they expect you to write. Unearthing the client expectations is necessary and there in lies the skill of a content write

3) Time involved in the activity:

Clarify it with your client that they will have to invest some time in finalizing topics, discussing what the broad topics the content will cover and reading the content to give a constructive feedback. Many a times the content has to be improved thus, feedback is important.

Before you write content, discuss with the clients about what points they need to cover in the article/blog/website content/whitepaper/case study.

Contact person can be the business owner, brand manager, marketing head/manager or from the marketing or digital marketing team. Since they all are aware of the brand image, target customers and the purpose of the activity their insight can help you write impressive content.

These are valuable inputs that only your client can provide.

Your clients need to understand the value they can add to the content. So, convince them to invest their time too. If they think that just sharing the topics is the end of the activity, content won’t turn out as expected. They need to dedicate some time too

4) Initial discussions:

Whenever you begin discussions ask the client what do they expect from that particular activity. For example, I write blogs so, I ask clients what results or returns they expect from blogging.

Is it to spread brand visibility? Or they expect sales from blogging? Do they wish to educate customers or just establish their online presence? When you know the objective of the particular activity, it is easier to mold your content accordingly.

5) Subject/ profession specific knowledge:

Many a times some products or services need to be written in a particular manner. For example, if you are writing content for a lawyer or a Chartered Accountant though it isn’t technical content it needs some amount of knowledge about the profession or the subject.

Ask your client if they expect you to write in a specific manner.

6) Technical content:

Mostly IT companies expect their content to be technical and they wish you to use technical words. But, its not always necessary to use technical words to explain the concept of the product. It can be explained in a customer-friendly or user-friendly manner. Ofcourse, that is if the client agrees to this view.

But, its imperative to tell the clients that you don’t write technical content (if you don’t have any experience of writing technical content.

If you wish to try your hand at technical writing ask them to share a topic with some basic guidelines and you can write a sample for them.

7) List of topics:

Get a fair understanding about the topics that the client wishes to cover. You can share your suggestions as well. It always helps to understand what kind of topics the client is expecting you to write. You can gauge how much time you would be investing in research.

8) Vital aspects of content:

Understand if the client expects technical or non-technical language.

Topics or points that the content will touch.

Would the content be written in UK or U.S. English?

Understand the audiences- the age group, attitude, country, profession, etc.

Number of articles/blogs per month.

Dates of submitting and publishing the blog.

9) Won’t immediately fetch business:

Undoubtedly content is the king, but without SEO even great content cannot reach the right audience.

Brief your client that blogs, articles, white papers, case studies, and website content doesn’t fetch immediate business. It needs time till you get leads. So, ask them to be patient. It’s a slow and persistent effort in brand building. Investing in content gives returns in the long run

10) You cannot push the client too hard:

If clients aren’t convinced that blogs and articles are beneficial in increasing brand visibility or can fetch leads in the long run, you cannot push your client too hard.

Sooner or later, they will come around.

11) Share your experience:

Always request your client to share their feedback about your content – how your content benefitted their business? Share this feedback with other clients especially before you start a new assignment

12) Avoid connecting clients on chatting applications:

Always document your communication with the client on official emails and avoid chatting applications. An official communication must be done over emails. All the feedback, expectations have to be shared via email.

Rashmi Malapur is a business blogger, content strategist & poetess with over 12 years of experience. She also loves to pen book, film, and theatre reviews & interview individuals.

Her book ‘Positive Sutra: Life says, ‘Never give up’ is a combination of poems and prose that reflect her experience of combating mental health issues.

Why hunting for a good content writer is a big challenge?

Is it extremely tough for you to source a writer who lives up to your expectations or a content writer has penned your website content but its not upto the mark- you simply find it shabby, pointless, and you don’t resonate with it? Uff, what a task it is to find a content writer who could write exactly the way you expect or write content that is in sync with the brand.

There are various reasons why you can get disappointed with the quality of content churned out by a content writer. Here, I’m not considering plagiarised content picked up from various sources. Plagiarised content is certainly not healthy for any brand and is not what a content writer is expected to deliver.

Why hunting for a good content writer is a big challenge?

Have you set your expectations clearly?

No, most often we fail to share with the content writer about what we expect the content to look like? Do you have any sample write up or website content that you’ve simply loved? If you’ve just begun thinking about creating content for your company then its time you surf the internet as to what content is being shared by others. Read extensively and know more about content- read articles, blogs, website content, white papers, case studies, advertisements, social media, etc.

The more time you spend reading, the more you start understanding what content you simply love.

Once you’ve understood what you need, jot down your thoughts about your preferences and share it with your content writer.

That is not my job:

I hear many clients saying, “I don’t have time to read or research because it isn’t my job.” Well, if you don’t have time to build a connect with your clients and build an audience then building a business would be tough. Please don’t hire a content writer if you don’t have time to set your expectation. Since it’s a futile effort to hire a content writer and expect him/her to know what is on your mind.

Content is your voice that reaches the audiences and connects them with you, especially in today’s business world where digital presence is an inseparable part of business.

I’m disappointed with writers:

Let us understand one basic rule-

Writing is subjective and its all about perspectives. You have created a company/ a brand and you and only you will know how you wish the audiences to perceive the brand. The writer has no clue about the brand. Based on your briefing the writer will deliver /write. The writer will pen down your thoughts so its best to share everything that you wish to say to your audiences.

The writer doesn’t have a magic wand to read your mind. So, don’t expect him or her to write what you expect without sharing your thoughts.

What happens when you don’t brief your writer?

The writer will pen down thoughts according to his/ her perception and research. Obviously, the writer will read a lot and understand what is important based on the research. But, the writer’s perception about what is vital isn’t the same as yours. This is the biggest pitfall when you begin choosing writers.

Ask for a sample article:

The writer is experienced so why do I need to ask for a sample? No, that is another blunder that everyone is bound to commit. No matter how experienced the writer, brief him/her about what you expect and ask to write around 300 words based on the briefing. This brings clarity about the writer’s ability to grasp ideas and put them into words that resonate with your branding strategy and image.

I have been a writer / blogger for 12 years now and I understand these challenges. If you wish to know more about writing do keep reading my blogposts.

Rashmi Malapur Jaswal is a business blogger, content strategist & poetess with over 12 years of experience. She also loves to pen book, film, and theatre reviews & interview individuals.

Her book ‘Positive Sutra: Life says, ‘Never give up’ is a collection of poems and prose that reflect her experience of combating mental health issues.