Ganesh Talkies – A Commercially parallel film!

First impression: Anjan Dutt must be terribly pissed off with the recent trend in the industry that felicitates 100 Crore club members and he decided to make Ganesh Talkies. Well my second impression was logically reasoned and emotionally verified. Hope you will have a patient read…

Probably, this will be a critical appreciation of the movie – Ganesh Talkies. With all the speculations going on in the market and a huge section of the crowd trying to defend the veteran director, I would like to take a route upstream. It was June 24th, 2011 when his national award-winning movie, “Ranjana Ami ar Asbona” was released. Two years from then 21st June saw the release of Ganesh Talkies, a commercial film as proclaimed by the director himself.

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In a country, where film making is either business or art, the idea was to blend both of them and present something entertaining. A film not only dedicated to the class, but also for the mass. Ganesh Talkies, the recent motion picture by Anjan Dutt was a potboiler with many distinguishable characters that you can relate to. The story was simple, lucid and heartwarming for the young and the young-at-heart audience who would admire the actor, director, singer and song writer for all his credibility throughout the years. It gathered momentum from some wonderful performances by the actors and subtle skill from the director. A candid narration added some adequate flavor to the story telling and one has to admit that the film truly celebrated friendship and nostalgia like many other movies of Dutt. He had the courage to state some unsaid verses in his symbolic honest mannerism and you can easily find him and his ideologies in every scene of the movie. However, did Ganesh Talkies prove the quality and excitements that it created or did it surpass the expectation of the audiences far and wide?

Theory:  We are subjected to a very innovative style of cinema. A film where we have a typical hero and a heroine, however, the story is more about two people from two different strata of the society who were school friends and presently the parents of the protagonists. Now, how would you like the audience to react? A section of the crowd who wished to see some masala story with the major characters hardly got anything to take away and a section of the crowd, who inevitably watches a Dutt film found the item song unjust, untimely and extremely unpleasant to match with the nostalgia and the under-dog love story celebration. The screenplay lacked clarity at various points.

They say the market is a pyramid and to generate revenue you have to attack the base. So, our director did the same. However, with his intellect and perception of world cinema, he could not do away with the subtle features of film making that bagged him the much coveted national award. Here, he unknowingly disturbs the niche audience as well as the alluring new market.

Anti-Theory: We already have a dozen of directors in Bengal and may be hundreds of them in India who cannot think of a film without an item number. May be, they start writing the story after a catchy item number is finalized. Sincerely, the “jhal legeche” number was not bad at all, the depiction and use of the song shatters the entire gravity of the film, to be honest. Trusting the veteran film maker with his tastes and modernized approach, I felt that even the climax was too co-incidental. Raima Sen hardly had a screen presence and Chandan Roy Sanyal was seemingly uncomfortable in the first half of the film.

Even then, I won’t say the characters were excellent, but they were very real. However, it might be a choice for the audience to accept or argue.The alternate love story, the grey promoters in the city, the ageless friendship, selfless love and the captivating local goons fighting for power were equally emotional and hilarious from time to time. Anyone would rate Ganesh Talkies ahead of a lot of films released in recent times for coherent reasons.

Ganesh-Talkies-Bangali-Movie

Story in a nutshell: Pashupati (Biswajit) and Pravin (Rajesh) are childhood friends. Pashupati is planning to marry off his daughter Saban (Raima) to an NRI. But Saban is secretly in love with Arjun (Chandan), Pravin’s son. What happens when both families come to know of their concealed romance? The parallel stories revolve around a lack-lusture single screen theatre named “Ganesh talkies” and some enterprising promoters trying to convert it into a multiplex. A cross -cultural love story with all ingredients to tickle the idiosyncratic relationship of bengalis and marwaris which remains the USP of Ganesh Talkies.

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Suggesting “Jhaal Legeche”

Music and the rest: Unlike other Anjan Dutt movies, music of Ganesh Talkies didn’t turn out to be a memorable record to cherish for a long time. Although, I keep humming the “Na Jaane milo ge Kahan” number now and then, the item song, was definitely an itching experience which persisted even after the “happy” ending of the film. The lyrics of the songs are appreciated by one and all. The camera movements and editing were average baring a few signature scenes that can only be seen in an Anjan Dutt movie. However, as announced by the director himself, it would be unjust to expect anything “extra” from Ganesh Talkies for the same reason that would restrict me to write something about Khoka 420.

To wrap up, Ganesh Talkies is a film that should not be quantified with success pertaining to numbers but hearts won and broken. If this was the maiden attempt of Dutt gambling a different genre of films which is sadly known as commercial cinema in India, I must congratulate the Anjan Dutt for his efforts. The unification of viable (read commercial) films and parallel film making was certainly difficult to achieve and the director, like always breaks off the shackles to deliver something for the audience to chew upon. For those who have seen the movie, I would expect a constructive debate and those who are yet to watch Ganesh Talkies, make sure you don’t miss the transformed Dutt.

A Note to the audience from the desk of mymotionpicture:  In India, creating, endorsing and selling something intellectually crisp and indigenous is becoming extremely difficult. As an audience, if you feel restless and frustrated with the decreasing quality of films, original music, plays etc, do have a look at the mirror and reason your choices when it comes to piracy, downloading, stupid south Indian remakes and everything that disturbs the culture and aesthetics of the city and the country. Look around and let the good film makers derive inspiration from deserving claps and proper recognition. It is truly an ominous sign if sensible film makers of our times tend to change their ways and succumb to shallow stories and superficial entertainment. May be a wake up call!

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Film criticism – Expecting more insight in film making…

In an attempt to describe and rate movies, the basic ethnicity of human instincts gets deceived very spontaneously. A film get released, hits the theaters, welcomed or rejected by audiences and then people speak about its success or failure stories. The entire routine of film making is more than what is described by the film critics in India. I wouldn’t have hesitated to name a few of them; however, a sense of gratification encapsulates my latent wishes. I am not writing this to criticize film critics in India, rather to reform the whole practice of film criticism in India. In one of my other articles in my-motion-picture, I voiced my opinion about development of authentic motion picture criticism in India and here I would like to speak some basic things about a proper film criticism. An expert observation and a comprehensive perception of the entire film should be the words of the film critic who happens to earn his living through these appraisals and excerpts.

I got filmed!
I got filmed!

If Pather Panchali marked an era in Indian film industry where potential contenders are recognized worldwide, the director of the film, Satyajit Ray should be accountable for his contribution towards the development of the film industry. Be it the Mumbai industry (Bollywood) or the prominent regional film industries in India. In one of his writings, Ray spoke about the dicey reviews and unprofessional approach of the film critics not only in India but also a few hailing from some developed countries of the world. In his words, “Since film critics repeatedly said that Pather Panchali was my best film, it naturally evoked a question in my mind; hasn’t the effect of criticism been beneficial to my art?

Long times; many a springs and autumns are wasted. We are living in 2013 and still film criticism in India is merely a profession where the so called intellectuals draw money for describing box office reports and how an item number is so high on the list of a commercial radio channel chart-buster! Pity… In terms of a promising criticism, a genuine film critic should ideally be a bridge between the film maker and the audiences. Some of the films made might not be ideal for the audiences of a particular region. Or, an adaptation from a novel might require some basic changes which should be readily accessible and reasonable to a film critic. However, the critics I read are mostly after the directors if a film fails to appeal in the first week. Similarly they praise some senseless cinemas which might see some bright opening due to the presence of a super star. I would echo Ray again and would like to request these film reviewers to drop their pens and rather establish their identity as someone from the crowd.

A film critic should have the knowledge and insight of the entire process of film making from scripting to editing. He should be clear with his sentences and descriptions which will enlighten the audiences about the pros and cons of a movie. I personally believe that a film maker or director hardly needs to know anything more about his own film. He knows where his movie excelled and what the limitations were. He, as a director has anchored the entire team to produce something that he would expect audience to relate to. In this scenario, if a critic cannot substantiate his words and describe the merits and demerits of the film, it is surely going to irritate the director. A critic, as I already mentioned, should recognize that a film is not a personal creation rather a joint venture. He should understand that a bad movie is not entirely the result of poor direction; a blockbuster is similarly a collective effort where the director should get a major share of the praise.

Black reels hurting arty Indians.The problem does not evoke a sense of emergency among the readers of this article. Accepted! But, as an audience you should also accept your money going wayward. You tend to believe reports from people who hardly connect with the art of film making. Bribes and personal endorsement from the producers ensure the box office results and then after those cold and rough three hours you have a tendency to accept the bleak prospects of a mindless film. A good movie fails to reach more audiences due to the similar reasons. How will the audience assess a movie when the preacher speaks ill of it without knowing the basic aesthetics of film making.

In this entire course of the article, I wanted to encourage new-age film students to come in front and take up the onus of describing films and its deeper implications. Film is a form of art that requires the collective effort of other artists and thus as a critic you should have the understanding of each of those sections, at least the basics. Satyajit Ray’s famous quote on his decision of making music for his films, “Ever since Two Daughters I’ve been composing my own music.” speaks vividly about the importance of a basic aptitude in all the forms of art that constitute a movie.

Motion pictures or films are almost like daughters to a director. They are nourished, fed, molded, reformed and corrected for so many reasons to be that piece of art. The art that causes tears and laughter in the theaters, that creation which demands claps and praises from the audiences and that piece of commerce which will fetch trust and money for the producer who believed in the concept of the film.  So, let film criticism evolve as an art in itself and not a duping profession that manages to draw a salary out of some dead words.

Signing off from the desk of my-motion-picture till critics rises with a new sun as the key-light of scenes and cinemas in India…

 

Kai Po Che – coated with friendship and soaked in Love!

kai-po-cheThe Jailer signed the release papers in the detention center and his friend was waiting to welcome him to the new but geriatric world of “innocent” people. A very veteran and common start for a movie from the makers of Rock-on! However, like me, most of the audience was not ready to judge the book by its cover.  Kai Po Che by director Abhishek Kapoor is a sensible entertainer contrasting the likes of Zila Gaziabad and mindless films like them. Based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel 3 Mistakes of my Life, the movie has evoked certain basic human traits which have actually appealed to a huge number of audiences, teenagers being predominantly huge in the track.

Kai_Po_Che-1Friendship, love and drama are some of the major Indian cinematic elements, which if missed will make the film a sure flop show! Verisimilitude was the catch line of the movie Kai Po Che. Raj Kumar Yadav, Sushant Singh Rajput and debutant Omkar Shastri played Govind, Ishan and Omi respectively. Three best friends, with very different perspective of life yet glued in the bond of friendship portrayed the unsaid essence of companionship. The film and the novel, both are characterised on a very Indian, rather Gujrati background which eventually let the audience connect to the theme of the reel very easily. The Bhuj earthquakes, Hindu-Muslim riots, death of Ishan, were some of the major cinematic turns which made the movie spicy.

Overall, everything is there in Kai Po Che that a bollywood-movie audience can expect. High credits go to the cast and crew whose

Introducing cricket in friendship...
Introducing cricket in friendship…

dedication and endeavor was very evident throughout the movie. The sweet and complete love story between student and the teacher must have been enjoyed by one and all. So do not let this semester go without watching Kai Po Che or else it would be just another mistake of your life! A relief from the general mindless movies produced in India! Hope our audiences stop yawning!!!

My Rating: 8/10.

– Reviewed by Shreya Goswami.

Pen-Guest Author @mymotionpicture.

 

Rejection in the Oscar Awards – Yawning audiences and Duping producers!

We watch movies in theatres and now we have multiplexes to cater our pride and beat the hectic city schedules. But, have we sold our logic and reason to some unknown sheriff from a distant land or are we relentlessly poised to receive whatever trash we are subjected to? The answer to the question seems rhetorical. India produces the most number of films on this planet. However, we are yet to get congratulated by the biggest academy award in films, the Oscars! Let’s ask ourselves. Why?

India’s first ever entry to the Oscar “Mother India” got the nomination in the category of best foreign film, but lost by just one vote. After that it was a long wait of 31 years as “Salaam Bombay” by Mira Nair made it to the list of the last five. Recently, India’s interest in the Oscars was re-ignited when “Lagaan” was nominated but lost to “No Man’s Land”. I said recently to be ironical enough!

It does seem the Academy tends to favour European films with France leading the foreign language film nominations with 34 in total and having bagged nine Oscars, and Italy following with 27 nominations and 10 wins. But the Oscar has also gone to movies with people from Arab, Far East and Slavic backgrounds. Indian films never seem to have fitted the Oscar bill. Satyajit Ray, whom the Academy conferred with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” on his deathbed, never bagged a film-specific award. His “Pather Panchali” won 11 international awards, but no Oscar.

When will India represent Oscars like the ones in Europe and America?
When will India represent Oscars like the ones in Europe and America?

Ironically, Vittorio De Sica, who won two Oscars for “Shoeshine” and “The Bicycle Thief”, had deeply impacted Ray’s work. Even last year’s Oscar-nominated Iranian director Majid Majidi is a self-confessed admirer of the legendary Ray. Besides Ray, many filmmakers and an endless number of films have missed a chance at the Oscars but have gone on to join the repertoire of the finest cinema of the world. They include Jean-Luc Godard and Francoise Truffaut, masters of the French New Wave, and others like Yasujiro Ozu, Michelangelo Antonioni, Mrinal Sen, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Kristov Zanussi, Robert Bresson and many more.

The other Indian to have won an Oscar is Bhanu Athaiya, well-known costume designer from Mumbai. She was jointly named for the best costume designing for Richard Attenborough’s multiple-Oscar winner “Gandhi” (1982). In 2005, filmmaker Ashvin Kumar’s “Little Terrorist” got nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Short Film category. And then in 2006, “Born into Brothels”, a documentary filmed in part by children of sex workers of Kolkata took home the golden statue.

With Indian studios churning out 1,000 films a year, it has the potential to be a film superpower. An Oscar will help in consolidating its power. But most experts say that India is simply not sending its best to the Academy. We still believe in films that make money in box office and we deprive that handful of quality motion pictures celebrating the bogus and senseless Indian films produced all round the year. Leaving a few alternate film makers who are recently making the headlines, the trend of Indian cinema never took the right decision of making and promoting better stories along with quality screenplay and splendid direction. Believe me, the jury members of the Oscar look for strong scripts with tight direction and not stories of ghosts, disabled people or a historic literature that fails to go up to the standards of Gladiator or Lord of the Rings! So, why don’t we send the right ones?

India's recent entry to the Oscars...
India’s recent entry to the Oscars…

I believe the financiers are skeptical  lest they lose this so-called commercial market and the chance of looting the audiences by showing senseless trash for a tedious 180 minutes! The answers are still resonating down your throat, come on and speak it up! India cannot be a country producing films with rain dances! We have a better appetite for movies and we will claim our rights very soon! Investigate!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, expecting disarray in the system of film-making in India…

Top five Hindi movies of 2012

As the entire country celebrated 100 years of Indian Cinema, I joined the party on my discretion and I am happy to figure out some exceptional qualities reflecting lately in Indie movies. The fact that there will be senseless movies in India and “keep your minds at home” comedies is almost accepted country wide. However, the number of quality films produced in India does show a formidable change in trend. Nonetheless the change is positive as well.

Are we missing the rain dances then? Or should we watch more Kahaani-s (real stories) to ensure the establishment of superior motion picture activities in our country, known for its rich cultural values.

I would like to share the top five Bollywood movies according to my perception and the basic reasons why these endeavors should be highlighted. The director of an exceptional movie does play an important role in bringing out life from a story. My list of top five Hindi movies -2012 reflects movies that did justice to the art of film making.

  1. Kahaani
Parambrata and Vidya Balan in Kahaani
Parambrata and Vidya Balan in Kahaani

Genre: Thriller.

Released on: 9th March, 2012.

Writer-Director Sujoy Ghosh took the entire country by surprise along with a handful of Bengali theater actors and one Vidya Balan at the very beginning of the last year. The promising story and an uncanny ending marked the establishment of a new age thriller movie where the audiences were left awe-struck. Nawazuddin Siddiqui (as Khan), Parambrata Chatterjee (as Satyaki/Rana), Saswata Chatterjee (as Bob Biswas) and Vidya Bagchi (deliberately as Vidya Balan) took the story to a different level. Sincerely waiting for Kahaani-2.

USP: Kolkata, Durga puja, Vidya Balan and Bob Biswas!

  1. Vicky Donor
Ayushmaan and Yami in Vicky Donor!
Ayushmaan and Yami in Vicky Donor!

Genre: Comedy/Romance

Released on: 20th April, 2012.

Director Shoojit Sircar made this film with sleepless nights with the fear of rejection as first-time Producer John Abrahim backed him up with muscular enthusiasm. However, the youth section of the society welcomed this fresh story with open hands. The story of a man who serves the society by donating sperms is not on air very often! Ayushmann Khurrana’s chemistry with the doctor Anu Kapoor and his love interest Yami Gupta tickles the right emotions at the right time. The freshness of the story and the approach of the film maker along with the music and crisp dialogues make Vicky Donor worth watching!

USP: Ayushmann Khurrana-the Singer, Anu Kapoor and the music!

  1. Gangs of Wasseypur
A still from the movie...
A still from the movie…

Genre: Action/Crime

Released on: 2nd August 2012.

The story set in the remote village of Wasseypur stands out from most of the action crime thrillers of the year and earned compliments from even the best of film critics of the country. The director, Anurag Kashyap with his candid story telling talent and actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadda and Nawazuddin Siddiqui turned the dice to convert a good cinema into an exceptional piece of film art! Dialogues with rural accent mixed with unmatched cameos from the actor uplifted the story of a gang to an entirely different level.

USP: Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Cinematography.

  1. Barfi
Ranbir in a still from the movie
Ranbir in a still from the movie

Genre: Drama/ Comedy.

Released on: 14th September.

What adjective would best describe a movie like Barfi? I have no idea! Anurag Basu sewed the movie with pearls from his heart and strings from his brain to an utmost level where perfection was not very far. Ranbir Kapoor doing is Chaplin tribute role, Priyanka Chopra (as Jhilmil) acting as an autistic girl and Ileana D’Cruz (as Shruti) portraying a Bong housewife excelled. All the characters were perfectly placed and the movie also saw the last act from veteran actor Haradhan Bannerjee (as Daju). Barfi certainly celebrated love and life and rightly represented India in the Oscars! Or did we have better movies?

USP: Music by Pritam, Acting by Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Anurag’s visual metaphors!

  1. Talaash
Amir and Kareena in a still from Talaash!
Amir and Kareena in a still from Talaash!

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Released on: 30th November.

Reema Kagti’s Talaash is a genuine mystery thriller that took me by surprise. There were instances that still make me feel how good a movie Talaash was. The more than one time watch of the movie also divulged some of the social commentary that the director conveyed in this movie. Amir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee were spectacular in this movie as were the other actors including Nawazuddin Siddiqui (as Tehmur). The crisp dialogues, mesmerizing music and astonishing cinematography certainly help the standard of the movie. The stand out performance of the entire team to create something so uncanny yet so real made me enlist Talaash over a few other movies!

USP: Kareena Kapoor, Amir Khan, opening (montage) of the movie with the song, “Muskaan Jhooti Hai”.

Epilogue:

I enjoyed the last year as some quality movies like Shanghai, Paan Singh Tomar, Chittagong and English Vinglish hit the theaters helping audiences to munch upon something better than over-priced pop corns and obesity catalyzing cold drinks! Although these movies never did business as lucrative as Khiladi 786, Housefull 2 or like any of those typical masala movies, they made an honest effort to uplift the stinking standard of Indian mainstream movies where commercialization is nothing but an excuse to make mindless films! Now do we understand what is still wrong with Indian Cinema?

Signing off from the desk of my-motion-picture till a quality picture gets resonating reflection!

P.S: Links are useful read, go to the top and follow the relevant ones if you wish!

 

Dutta vs. Dutta – A story celebrating Life, Love and Music!

Assess Mr. Dutt.
Assess Mr. Dutt.
Assess Mr. Dutt.
Assess Mr. Dutt.

It is difficult to assess a film in India. It is even more difficult to assess a good movie in India. I am writing this with the hope that whoever reads this, understands life.

Indian movies get released in theaters and then after a while DVDs hit the market. I watched Dutta vs. Dutta thrice in the last few days and realized some of the key factors that differentiate a well made film from something that we call commercial movies. I call them senseless though!

Dutta- jr. - Played by Ronodeep Basu
Dutta- jr. – Played by Ronodeep Basu
Dutta Sr. - Played by Anjan Dutt.
Dutta Sr. – Played by Anjan Dutt.

Should I do an assessment then? I am not a film scholar, although I religiously love films. So, what I would like to portray in this “What I wrote” section is Life as it seems to us and to the man who made Dutta vs. Dutta. Yes, I am talking about the national award-winning director Mr. Anjan Dutt. He has depicted life in the true spirits of life for so many years now, not because he is getting paid. He believes in life that celebrates the fact that we are we and we are alive to see who we are!

I know things are getting complicated. It actually demands an extended discussion. However, let me limit my thoughts and words in the boundaries of cinema and art for the time being. There were movies that were self-explanatory, biographies or auto-biographies. This movie can fit in all those genres, and yet proclaims an organic signature of its own.

St. Pauls, Darjeeling!
St. Pauls, Darjeeling!

My first reaction after I saw the premier of the film in Priya Cinemas was, “Naah! Not up to the mark!” Although, I liked the movie, I thought it was hurried at some points. The story could have been done in two parts. I know I am sitting in this lousy place called India, where good work needs to be referred and endorsed and reckless exertions gets financial applause. I know how things are! Yet, I am proud of the man who had the balls to stand up and tell his own story in such a fearless disposition!

Srijit Mukherjee as Tony
Srijit Mukherjee as Tony

Believe me or not, if you understood life even for a day, you would say this is a real story! Fiction and reality go hand in hand, and as the saying goes, “Reality is stranger than fiction”, I would advocate everything shown in the movie and endorse every story told about every character that comprised Dutta vs. Dutta. No one in this world is a Hero, if he is not a hero in his own perspective. We all commit crimes, speak untrue versions of incidents, hurt our loved ones, fight for hasty egos, shout for something wrong, campaign violence, and dream about other women and wish to have all the happiness in our lives. We suffer defeat; we stand up, shrug our shoulders and start of all over again. What we don’t do is we don’t speak about our defeats in the same way we speak about our victories.

Dutta-bari..
Dutta-bari..

Art is a form that hardly requires a language.  Film art is even more international and Mr. Anjan Dutt, a true legend by all means depicted how a simple and an earthly story can reach a new altitude with the sheer intention of speaking what is true and natural. He told his own story. How he was brought up? Who and What were his inspiration? What odds did he come across? How he experienced love? What made him Mr. Anjan Dutt, the person he is now!

Kaushik Sen and Anjan Dutt in a still from the movie!
Kaushik Sen and Anjan Dutt in a still from the movie!

Let me speak on behalf of the man, “Yes! My mother was alcoholic, yet she was a wonderful musician. Yes! My father was unsuccessful, had artificial egos and had an extra-marital affair, yet he was valiant enough to save an innocent soul and suffer the wrath of an ill-maintained government norm. Yes! My uncle sued my father for a meager property, yet he took the responsibility of the entire family when times were not so happy. Yes! We all have short comings, like every family we too suffered, yet we defeated bad times with our own honest approach.”

Rupa Ganguly in Dutta vs. Dutta
Rupa Ganguly in Dutta vs. Dutta

The story grows in every one of us who fight the odds of life and chase a dream that sometimes become a mere mirage. We convince our defeating morals and come back with rejuvenated enthusiasm. The film celebrated Music; it certainly celebrated the aesthetic features of music. It tells me how dreams can be true even if the worst Tempest hits your heart! The film spoke about the power of music that encompasses a bullet or a gun!

I would like to dedicate this movie to the man himself, Mr. Dutt and to all those who get disillusioned everyday and yet has that lion’s heart to express what is true. The narration done by the Director was heartfelt. Throughout the movie, I could relate every song he wrote in his entire life, every word he spoke, every gesture he made and every smoke he exhaled in my knowledge. It seemed like every character in the movie spoke about the man he is now! To congratulate him for this brilliantly made movie, “It’s simply a Director’s movie” won’t be an understatement! Or should I look for a better phrase?

P.S.: I would like to congratulate the Producer of the movie, Mr. Purnendu Roy and Mrs. Neelakhi Roy for their courage in believing what Mr. Dutt wanted. Congratulations to the entire team of Dutta vs. Dutta. Everyone was spectacular!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, till I gather enough courage to pen down my thoughts..