Movies that have the power to move you

Today, I had the privilege to watch a movie called, Loving Vincent, a biopic on Vincent Van Gogh. Although it only cost $6 for the ticket, I am still going to call this a privilege, because this movie is one of a kind – it is animated, and each key frame  was hand painted in the style of Van Gogh by over 100 artists. A total of  65,000 frames were painted for this 90 minute movie.

Very few movies have the power to move you, and this was one such movie.

Loving Vincent revolves around his death with its protagonist trying to investigate how it happened. “You want to know so much about his death, but what do you know of his life?”, said a character in the movie. It is common knowledge that Vincent shot himself, but the movie explores other possibilities. “How can a man go from being absolutely calm to killing himself in 6 weeks?”. Well, nobody knows. Not even Theo, Vincent’s biggest critique and brother who supported him all through his life.

Vincent suffered a lot of mental problems, STDs and was also diagnosed with bipolar disorders by experts. he died a tragic death, yes, but he lived a more tragic life.  He painted over 800 paintings, and sold only one whilst still alive. Today, he is known as the Father of Modern Art. Fun fact, he only picked up a brush at the age of 28 as an adult and continued to paint for 8 years! So if you ever catch yourself saying, “I think I am tool old to learn that”, think again. If Vincent could, you can too. But then again, he was a genius… A genius, who was bullied and rejected by society. Misunderstood by society. What loving Vincent taught me was, even if people around you do not appreciate your work, or scoff and ridicule you for it, it speaks nothing about you. It speaks about how society is failing YOU, failing to understand you and failing to fulfill its own responsibility. This movie was so powerful, it triggered all my bad memories with bullying. But I have decided that I am going to care less and less about it. If something/someone makes me unhappy, I am going to be vocal about it. I am going to call out on such people, and remind myself, I haven’t done anything wrong and it speaks nothing about me or my work.

But it also triggered another sentiment – the art in me. Lately I haven’t been drawing much. The last I drew was for a friend for her birthday about a couple of months ago. Somebody I knew laughed at it and called it lame. That kind of depressed me and I thought, have I been drawing in vain all this time? And mind you, I have been drawing forever now. From what my mom told me, during the holidays, I would sit and draw endlessly. I would draw because it made me forget everything around me. I remember, this one Summer holiday afternoon, there was a power cut and I didn’t have anything to do, except draw of course. I re created this Van Gogh –


I wasn’t a painter, and made this with pastel crayons instead. I had only recently discovered Van Gogh and was very fascinated by his style. Of course my drawing does not have the same bold strokes as the original, because I wasn’t using a brush. Although I had made this years ago, I still have it safe here with me all thanks to my sister, because I had a bad habit of making drawings and just tossing them carelessly in my room, making it look like a shabby art gallery. “You need to start respecting your own work’, she said. I have now started to organize my drawings properly.  This movie is going to make me go back to my crayons and drawing book again. Call me lame all you want!

If you get a chance to watch this movie, I urge you to watch it, watch it for the genius Van Gogh is, watch it to rediscover what passion is…


Fun links:

Loving Vincent trailer

This youtube video shows ALL of his work. If you know Van Gogh’s work, there’s so many easter eggs throughout the movie!


Language woes

Ever asked a friend to teach you a phrase in their mother tongue? If not, you should try it, I do this all the time! But be warned, you will NEVER be able to use this phrase in a conversation because:

  1. Your friend will go out of their way to pick the RANDOMEST of phrases.
  2. Seldom will they make any sense.

Just the other day, I took Uber Pool (Yeah, I’m cheap! I also care about the Environment!) and the driver was an old, chirpy American woman. As a normal Uber ride would go, we got chatting and I told her I was from India. She said, “Oh! Back when I was in college at UCSD, all my room-mates were Indian and Pakistani! They taught me a little Hindi!”. “Oh wow! Let’s hear some of your Hindi, then?”, I asked. “Danda leke marungi!”, she exclaimed. “Arre bidu, sab chalta hai!”. She then paused and said, “I’m afraid, that’s all I remember”. I looked at her, and could genuinely feel the remorse she felt at having forgotten more such amazingly incoherent phrases. I decided I wanted to help and added “Patli gali leke cut le” to her dictionary.

When I tell my Desi friends, I predominantly spoke in Marathi and Hindi back in my hometown, the Marathi and Tamil phrases I get to hear make me forget what coherence is. Articulation goes for a toss too. “Shenaat pay ghatla” was the first phrase one of my very good friends was taught. “My boyfriend is Marathi, and he taught me this” she said. Roughly translated, it means “I put my foot in cow-dung”.

“Thayir Saadham!” one guy yelled, as soon as I told him I was Tamil. “Rombave Nalla”, “Naan oru dharava sonna, Nooru dharava sonna mari!” Now that last phrase right there, let that catch your attention. It’s a long phrase, has too many syllables and is of course, one of Rajnikanth’s popular dialogues. I was curious how this guy learnt that dialogue and rendered it with such impeccable ease! “I took a long long time to learn this, my friend was determined that I learn it!”, he said. This friend, clearly, had gone out of their way teaching our common acquaintance the most bizarre Tamil phrases I have heard in the entirety of my life! I don’t even want  to reiterate those here.

My own sister and mother are no better. At least what my mother taught me wasn’t as utterly useless as what my sister taught me. I feel, I am the only one in my family to speak the least languages, and pay dearly for it. “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?”, she taught me to say during our trip to Paris, a couple years ago. When translated to English, it means “Will you sleep with me tonight?”. Amma taught me something less brutal. Amma speaks 6 languages, 2 of which I can only understand, but not speak. “Undal oranganom, orangiyal unnanom”, which in Malayalam means, “If you eat, you should sleep (afterwards), if you sleep, you should eat (afterwards)!” Of course, I am never going to be able to use them, but these are the phrases I use whenever I meet a somebody who speaks Malayalam or French. For my Telugu friends, I have a standard poem that I recite, mercilessly messing up the sequence of the lines and the pronunciations –  “Bujji meka bujji meka eda kelthivi? Rajagaru thotalona meta kelthini, Rajagaru thotalona emi chesthivi? Thotamaali kotta pona turr manthini!” Don’t even bother about the translation. Recite these exact lines the next time you meet your Telugu friend and watch them wince. Works every time. (Poem courtesy my mami, who is Telugu).

Anyway, I think I have come to terms with my inability to speak more than 4 languages. If you’d like to teach me random phrases in your mother tongue or any foreign languages you speak, I’d be happy to learn!