Teeth

Teeth are important calcium based parts of the body. Primarily their function is to bite, chew and break down food so that it can be consumed and digested. Secondarily they serve as an offensive or defensive mechanism. Carnivores use teeth in hunting to capture and kill their prey. Teeth can also be used in self defence, in the act of biting the attacker.  Generally teeth are present in the mouth; however there is a movie that tells the story of a girl who has teeth in her vagina.

Titled ‘Teeth’, the movie is about a teenage girl Dawn, who has ‘Vagina Dentata’ or teeth in her vagina. The idea of this is not new. It is found in numerous cultures, and is used as a folk story to discourage rape, the idea being that rapist’s penis will be bitten off by the teeth in the vagina.

Dawn is part of a teenage abstinence group, and is ridiculed by some of her class mates for it. Two of her abstinence group friends introduce her to Tobey, whom she grows close to. After swimming together in a lake, they spend time in a cave nearby. They give in to their attraction towards each other and start kissing. Dawn doesn’t want to progress beyond that, while Tobey wants to have sex. In an iconic first occurrence, Dawn’s teeth bite off his penis.

Dawn later befriends another boy, Ryan from her class. Ryan doesn’t ridicule her like most of her class mates do, and is an emotional support for her when her mom is going through health woes. While initially apprehensive, the two successfully manage to have sex. Later, in yet another iconic scene Dawn finds out that Ryan did all this as part of a bet which involved him ‘scoring her’. He boasts of this in a telephone conversation with a friend while the two are having sex; which leads to (as some of you may guess it) her vaginal teeth biting his penis off.

The movie however is about more than just her teeth. There is a scene of a biology class where the text books have a detailed diagram of a penis, but that of a vagina is censored by a sticker. On being asked, the teacher merely says that it is inappropriate to show female genitals. This leads to further doubts and confusion in the mind of Dawn, who is left to resort to internet searches on her own.

Actress Jess Weixler, who plays Dawn, has done a wonderful performance. She is able to pull of the scenes which show her as a frightened and confused teenager, with as much as ease the scenes which show her as confident and in control person. The movie was premiered at the 2007 Sundance festival, and is a blend of drama, horror and comedy.

 

Written for day 20 of the A to Z Challenge

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a movie that I stumbled upon while doing a search on how our memories work.

Joel Barnish (Jim Carrey) is a withdrawn man with an inactive social life. One day on his commute to work, he has an urge to go to Montauk instead of work. On the way back from Montauk to New York he hits it off with Clementine (Kate Winslet), who is the polar opposite of him. She has brightly colored hair, and is an unrestrained person who speaks what she thinks. What they do not know is that they had had already been in a relationship for two years, and when it turned sour they broke it off.

The reason why they are unable to remember any of it is, is that Clementine had had her memories of Joel erased. The heartbreak of the relationship breaking off too much for her to bear with. While Joel was managing to deal with the relationship not working out, he broke down when he came to know that Clementine had him erased from her memories. Distraught, he goes to the same company (Lacuna Inc.) and signs up to get her deleted from his memories.

The way it works is that representatives of the company ask the customer to hand over all items they have that are personally associated with the person that want deleted. Then they ask you to think of the memories associated so that they can form a brain map specific to the person. Once the configuration is done, they attach a computer based apparatus to your head and begin a systematic deletion of memories while you sleep.
This dream/memory world is where most of the movies takes place. Starting with the earliest, Joel goes through all the memories associated with Clementine. The most recent memories are painful, and full of angst with all the passive aggressiveness they had displayed towards each other. The deletion of these memories serve as a catharsis for him. However as he goes further in the past, he begins to recollect all the happy and rosy moments he had shared with her. He begins to realize that the pleasure of these memories is worth living through the pain of not being in a relationship anymore. But being stuck in the dream/memory world, he cannot do anything to stop the process which is taking place in the real world in his apartment.

The memory sequences are absolute brilliance. The narrative of the story jumps across time here. From a scene which takes place in the past, to a scene in the future where the movie started, to what is happening in the present where the Lacuna crew is deleting the memories. The visual imagery as to how the memory gets deleted, and what Joel tries unsuccessfully to prevent it captures the viewer with awe.

The movie however is not just about these two. There is a crew of three working on the deletion, of which Mary (Kirsten Dunst) and Stan (Mark Ruffalo) are in a relationship. The third character Patrick (Elijah Wood), is using the personal files and objects of Clementine that had been given to create the deletion as means to gain knowledge to impress Clementine and date her. This small but very wonderfully told sub-plot is as interesting as the main story line.
We already know that Joel will be unsuccessful in preventing the deletion on account of him not recognizing Clementine in the future when they meet in Montauk. While they start afresh , oblivious to what has already happened between them they receive records of their memories from an employee at Lacuna who believes that the company has done something very wrong, and has sent all the customers their records. You will have to watch the movie to find out how the two of them deal with this disclosure.

The title of the movie is inspired from the poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope. The poem is about the tragedy of a love affair that couldn’t be, and the heroine’s believes that she can only be at peace if she can forget about this love that could not be.

 

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;

 

This is one of my favorite movies that seamlessly combines romance, science fiction and philosophy. I will leave you with the trailer of the movie.

 

 

Written for day 5 of the A to Z Challenge

5 off-beat Bollywood movies to get you started

Movies are an integral part of India. Be it the popular Bollywood which makes mostly Hindi movies, or the other regional –woods like Tollywood (Bengali), Kollywood (Tamil), Mollywood (Malayalam)  and so on which makes movies in regional languages, cinema touches many people. The movies made can be split broadly into two categories: mainstream cinema and off-beat cinema. Mainstream movies are your run of the mill Bollywood movies. They either use well established or upcoming stars, are easy going on the story line (possibly with a bunch of plot holes), and have song-dance routines. Typically these are happily ever after movies, and are meant for enjoyment with friends and family as a welcome break from the drudgery of life. Their main motive is to reach out the most to the average movie goer and make as much money as possible. Off-beat movies are also called parallel cinema or art movies. These are not your average light hearted movies. Most of them involve shunning of the song and dance routines, which makes it difficult for everyone to watch. The movies are thought provoking, and dark. Some may make you laugh, but will utilize dark-comedy or satire to do so. Typically they deal with realism, or the morals and motivations of the characters.  Off-beat movies generally don’t perform that well financially. It is easy for most mainstream movies to make millions for their makers and have wide viewership. Off-beat movies on the other hand are critically acclaimed and well made, but do not gather in as much revenue. These are generally viewed as a means to showcase talent, or experiment.  That doesn’t mean however that they must be taken lightly. Some of the most interesting and thoughtful movies have been off-beat movies. Since people need to develop a taste for such movies, sometimes off-beat movies are made with a touch of mainstream masala. This may be in the form of having famous and popular actors, addition of songs that go with the plot (and do not have uncalled group dance sequences), or some sweetening of the story line. I would like to share 5 such movies with you that I believe are a must watch to develop a taste for more serious off-beat movies. Dev D: This is a modern adaptation of the old Bengali novel Devdas by  Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. The novel has been famously adapted into movies with Ashok Kumar and Shahrukh Khan as the titular character. Devdas and Paro are childhood friends, and develop romantic feelings for each other after Devdas leaves his village for schooling. When he comes back, he is not allowed to marry Paro as she is from a family of lower status. While Paro moves on, Devdas drowns himself in alcohol at the court of Chandramukhi, with the help of his friend Chunni. Soon she develops feelings for him, but Devdas does not return them. The alcoholism takes a toll on him and he visits Paro one last time before he dies.

This modern adaptation is quite different. Paro (Mahie Gill) is much more confident and bold unlike the soft spoken versions before. She can match Dev (Abhay Deol) in his passion and wants him physically just as much as he does. While the parents approve of his match with Paro, a misunderstanding causes the jealous Dev to not marry her. Paro harbours no more feelings for him and moves on. Chandramukhi (Kalki Koechlin) on the other hand is a teen, who has to shift as her boyfriend makes an MMS of her performing oral sex on him. When this becomes public, her family first leaves the country. After her dad’s suicide, she comes to back to the country and lives with his family in the village. Unable to come to terms with culture shock and misogyny, she runs back to the city where she becomes a prostitute under Chunni. Dev meets Chunni over drinks and drugs, and begins to spend time with Chandramukhi. What is wonderful to see is how both the women are strong willed and ready to take control of their lives, and how Dev is brought back on his feet by them. The movie has a wonderful soundtrack by Amit Trivedi which complements the psychedelic take on the novel. Aks:
Aks is the story of Manu Verma (Amitabh Bachchan) and Raghavan (Manoj Bajpayee). Manu Verma is a cop who is given the job to protect the Indian Defence Minister on a foreign trip. Raghavan is a skilled (albeit psychopathic) assassin who manages to kill the minister. Manu and his partner team up to catch Raghavan at the cost of his partner’s life. There is a fight in the jail when Raghavan is sentenced to death, and the two end up shooting each other. While Raghavan is presumed death, his soul latches on to Manu and tries to take control over his body. The movie is about this fight of the two souls in a body, and how Manu has to now save his family and his world from the evil spirit within him. The movie features wonderful performances by both the actors. No Smoking:
Directed by Anurag Kashyap, it is one the lesser known movies that utilize a fantasy dream world. The movie is the story of Kay (John Abraham) who not only is a chain smoker, but a narcissist. His wife (Ayesha Takia) cannot deal with it anymore and threatens to leave him unless he quits smoking. Left with no option he is lead to a rehab centre called the Prayogshala (Laboratory in Hindi) by his old friend Abbas (Ranveer Shorey) who started to smoke with him in the first place. He signs a contract with Shri Shri Shri Prakash Guru Ghantal Baba Bangali Sealdah Wale (Paresh Rawal) so that he would do ANYTHING asked to quit smoking. He is blackmailed into threats that for each time he smokes a worse punishment will dealt onto him. This includes from hearing loss, making his brother with a sick lung to breathe in a gas chamber full of cigarette smoke, cutting of fingers and killing of his wife. One he realizes that the Guru’s disciples have infiltrated his life to ensure that, he has to come up with a plan to escape them. The movie uses fantasy lucid dreams, the concept of karma and souls as well. Delhi Belly:
An air hostess (Shenaz Treasurywala) agrees to make a delivery for her colleague’s friend as her friend is unwell. She gives the package to her boyfriend (Imraan Khan) and his debt-ridden roommates (Vir Das and Kunaal Roy Kapur). The package contains smuggled diamonds which are to be delivered to a local gangster, but is mixed up with a stool sample when one of the roommates gets diarrhoea after some street food. Hence the name Delhi Belly. Taking this as insult, the gangster kidnaps the air hostess. The film is about the hilarity that ensures as they sell off the diamonds and try to rescue the girl. This is a relatively short film that features no intermissions. The movie contains generous use of Hindi curse words, and potty humor. The movie is made by newcomers Abhinay Deo, Akshat Verma. It is one of the few Bollywood movies to have most of its dialogue in English, with generous Hindi curse words thrown in. Gangs of Wasseypur:
Gangs of Wasseypur was shot as one movie which was 319 minutes long. Since it would be difficult to release a movie over 5 hours long, it was split in to 2. The movie is set in the Wasseypur and Dhanbad cities in the Bihar state. Sardar Khan’s (Manoj Bajpayee) father was killed by Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) who is a coal magnate and politician. Khan swears vengeance upon Singh, and promises to not kill him but make his life miserable. While he becomes a gangster in his own right, he is not able to fully deal in and gets the shot to death. After his and his older brother’s deaths, and spurred on by his mother (Richa Chaddha) the youngest heir ( Nawazuddin Siddiqui ) takes on the family business as he tries to exact the vengeance his father couldn’t. The movie is more just than the vengeance over dead family members, but deals with the politics of the region and how people come together or fall apart. The movie has generous use of the local regional language, and curse words. The soundtrack shuffles from rustic songs, old family songs, and some eclectic dance numbers. This one is a must –watch film that cover over 30 years of story. This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda. Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014. You can check the trailer of the film

Shuddh Desi Romance: Review

Shudh Desi Romance is the primarily the story of three characters Raghu (Sushant Rajput), Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) and Tara (Vaani Kapoor) set in Jaipur, and the love triangle between them. The focus for the majority part of the movie is more about the insecurities and fears of commitment the three face. Rishi Kapoor plays the character of Mr. Goyal who is caterer and manages baarats.

Plot Synopsis:

Raghu is a registered tour guide, but also makes money from commissions he gets from stores where he dupes foreigners to buy things at exaggerated prices. Apart from this, he is a baraati for hire. Gayatri is also a baraati for hire and works at a coaching class. The story starts with Raghu and is baarat on their way to Ajmer for his marriage with Taara. In his talk with Gayatri(whom he has hired for his baarat) he confesses that he agreed to get married to Taara because she was good looking, however he now has his apprehensions as he doesn’t know if the two are compatible or not. He learns that Gayatri is an independent woman who likes to live on her own terms, and has had been in a relationship before.

He goes on to confess that he is attracted to Gayatri. He can’t handle the pressure of marrying someone he doesn’t know and runs away, leaving Taara in the middle of the ceremonies. Gayatri runs into Raghu two weeks later, and Raghu still feels the attraction towards her. He moves in to her house and they try start a live in relationship. When the two of them decide to get married, it is not the turn of Raghu to be left at the altar as Gayatri runs away.

Raghu runs into Tara, when he is a baarati for hire. There is an interesting confrontation between Taara, her uncle and Raghu. Taara and Raghu meet in Jaipur, and start a relationship. Taara’s actions bring a better understanding in Raghu as to how it feels when someone leaves you without an explanation. Things turn for a toss when Raghu and Taara run in to Gayatri at another marriage.

The movie starts with a monologue by Raghu in which he breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience. There will be one such monologue by each of the three characters at key junctures of the story. Raghu mulls over the fascination of the nation with arranged marriage. There are four key parts of this monologue:

  • Not only men but women also have desires, and they look for different things when they check out/look for a partner. While in itself it is not the revealing of a hitherto unknown fact, but the admission of it is deviation from many Bollywood movies.
  • Even if a guy and girl just talk, they become Vikram and the rest of the world becomes Vetaal to hound them.
  • He can’t understand why people tell him ‘Zyaada mat socho, bus settle ho jaao.’ (Don’t think too much, just settle down) as if ‘Shaadi na hui, glucose/ ICU ho gaya, har chees ka ilaaj’ (As if marriage is like glucose/ ICU which is a treatment for every ail)
  • The best part was: ‘saara hindustan settlement karane pe laga hai… saatth saal se do padosi se settlement kara nahi paae bade chaudhary bante hain’ (The whole nation is behind getting settled, they couldn’t settle two neighbors in 60 years but still think of themselves as something great)

Another interesting scene of mention is the confrontation between Raghu, Taara and Taara’s uncle at a marriage. While Raghu initially tries to avoid running into him, they come face to face. The uncle creates a ruckus and calls on some people to beat him up. When Taara intervenes to stop the scene, he tells her that she is her ‘responsibility’. What follows is pure brilliance.

Taara goes on to ask him when was it that her parents (who had died quite some time ago) handed over responsibility to him. She says that she alone is responsible for her life, and that doesn’t need help from an uncle who met her only once in the last four years which was also in a marriage. In fact they were doing this not because they felt for her, but they wanted revenge for themselves.

Taara is my favorite character in the movie. While Gayatri is an independent woman as well, Taara shows more presence of mind, an understanding for human emotions, and is the only character who accepts things for what they truly are, so that she can move on. When she is left standing when Raghu runs away, her reaction is to ask for a cold drink instead of breaking down (for which she gives a good reason later).

There are many nuances that are built in the story and dialogues that make it a gem. When Raghu and Taara are to get married and the baaratis ask her to show her face from beneath her ghunghat (veil) someone comments in the back that such a beautiful girl is being married off to Raghu because she is orphan and her relatives want to get rid of her. The opening song sequence shows many different couples in the city, how they are moving about, including wannabes who ogle at girls who pass by or the cops punishing couples found in parks by making them do sit ups. My personal favorites are the monologues by the characters, in which the double standards of our systems are traditions are questioned.

This is why I believe that the star of the movie is not an actor but writer Jaideep Sahni (who also wrote the script), who has written the scripts for ‘Chak De! India’ and ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’ before. Director Maneesh Sharma does a good job. The chemistry between between Sushant and Parineeti is better than that between Vaani and him.

Watch out for the opening song ‘Chanchal mann’

and ‘Gulabi’ which has Sushant and Vaani in different parts of the pink city.