The worst movie in atleast 60 years
A class of tough kids, embittered by the lives they lead and suspicious of all outsiders. A new teacher at their school, perceptive, empathetic and determined. The perfect elements for an unforgettable movie
What ruined it all?
Well, to begin with, Hillary Swank. I’ve always thought that bad acting can’t go beyond Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I recently decided that Swank, with her single grimace to portray euphoria, grief, anger, boredom, yearning and zest is close behind. She completely destroys the movie with her poor delivery – I particularly remember the scene in which she is supposed to angrily compare a caricature of a Black student with big lips, drawn by another student, to the Nazis’ caricatures of Jews with big noses; a terrible scene, not so much because of the terrible visions of The Holocaust that it may bring to some, but more because of Hillary Swank’s forced bout of indignation. Oh, and her grimace.
Freedom Writers is based on the diaries of real Long Beach, California teenagers after the 1992 Los Angeles riots – the worst break of interracial gang warfare. It shouldn’t be so banal, so cliché, so predictable and also, so unreal. Swank marches through the story with a ridiculous smile plastered on her face. No teacher – in America, or anywhere in the world; and I’m sure our teachers would back me on this statement – can possible smile that often. What’s more is that not once are we shown the iron-will in the character that enables her to cope and connect with such challenging students. “Miss G” herself is so incredibly saintly- and her fellow teachers so snivelingly evil - that she’s impossible to believe as anything more than an inspiration-bot. Every student is fundamentally good and easily taught and reformed, and the eventual triumph of the human spirit is so predetermined that it’s not particularly satisfying.
The entire idea of a white-bread teacher thrust among the savages also contributes a great deal to the banality of the movie. The music swells, the tears well up, and one begins to think that if one wanted to see Patrick Dempsey all that bad, one should have just watched Grey’s Anatomy.
Sara Chatterjee (X)
“The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain non-violent and free of hatred.”-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
On March 17th 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso was followed into the depths of the Himalayas by some eighty-five thousand Tibetans. On March 31st, they entered the borders of India, and finally stopped at Dharamsala, sometimes called Little Lhasa. Today, the children, and even the grandchildren of those who fled are still in exile. Since then, they have never entered their country as nationals. Since then, they have never seen anyone that they left behind. They do not know the fate of their own families. They do not know the fate of their home. Some people feel that it was “alright” for the Chinese to take over an entire nation as a part of the program they called “The Great Leap Forward”. In this program, China’s communist leader, Mao Zedong, planned to use China’s vast population to rapidly transform mainland China from a primarily agrarian economy (dominated by peasant farmers) into a modern, industrialized communist society. A part of this program was to increase the land area of the People’s Republic of China. In order to do this, Chinese troops were sent into Tibet. Tibet, being a Buddhist State, did not have a well-equipped army and was invaded by the People’s Liberation Army in 1950. In 1951, the Tibetan representatives, under PLA military pressure, signed a seventeen-point agreement with PRC’s Central People’s Government affirming China’s sovereignty over Tibet. A few months later, the treaty was ratified in Lhasa.
While still an official atheist state, the PRC has affirmed its right to recognize high-level reincarnations such as a tulku in the Tibetan tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism. The PRC claimed that the method of locating the incarnations of the Panchen Lama, the Dalai Lama, and other high level lamas was by means of a lottery where there were names wrapped in barley balls, placed in a golden urn. However, the view of the Tibetan exiles is that this is not the method for choosing the Panchen Lama.
The Dalai Lama named a six year old child, Gedhun Choeki Nyima the 11the Panchen Lama, but without confirmation from the vase lot. The PRC, on the other hand, named another child, Gyancain Norbu, by the vase lot. Gyancain Norbu was raised in Beijing and has appeared in the media many a time. However, he is referred to by Tibetan exiles as the Panchen Zuma (which literally means the “fake Panchen Lama”). Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family, on the other hand, have gone missing; into imprisonment according to Tibetan exiles, and under a hidden identity for protection and privacy according to the PRC.
Once His Holiness The Dalai Lama is no more, some people believe that the movement for Tibet will die out, as will their nationality. For generations, the people of Tibet have been fighting for the freedom of their nation. For years, they have been waiting for the day they will see their homes, their families, and all that they left behind them. Once the 14th Dalai Lama is no more, there will be a 15th, and a 16th and the holy lineage will carry on. Though is is with his support that the movement is strengthened, it is the people involved who are the backbone.
There are many problems for the Tibetan population that are preventing them from getting their country back. Their nation has been stolen. The robber will never give the robbed. The same way, unless we, as bystanders and witnesses to the robbery of a nation, give our support, justice will never be served. It is upto us, the honest citizens of the world to help each other. It is up to us to save Tibet. It is upto us to bring long lost families together, and to make the simple wish of a million hearts come true.
Kunal Datta (X)
My dream is to be a famous poet. I want to be a poet so that people enjoy reading my poems just like I enjoy reading famous poets’ poems. I enjoy all kinds of poetry.
I need to save the poems I’ve written and work and improve on them. My parents would be very pleased and I would be very happy if my poems do become famous and my dream comes true.
If my poems do become very good I can get some of them published in the children’s magazines. Later when I become older, I can probably send them to a children’s newspaper. I will need to build up on my vocabulary so that I can write interesting words in my poems!
Serena Nanda, IV A
Letter To The Editor
Reading the newsletter a few days ago brought back to me some fond memories and the much desired cognitive impetus which has eluded us pass outs for a few months now. I am writing this in response to Ayesha Malik’s article titled ‘The Cult of the Patriarchy’ which appeared in the newsletter on the 20th of July.
First and foremost I vehemently repudiate the presumptuous generalization that Ayesha makes about men being delusional. I assure you, Ayesha that all men are not chauvinists (I have as little respect for those who are as you do); chauvinism is a school of thought that finds fewer advocates than ardent opponents among men and women alike. As much as I want to avoid making a direct rebuttal, you back your stance with flimsy reason and don’t yourself endorse the egalitarian viewpoint you wish to see in the opposite sex.
Your presumption about sport being given greater importance than art too stands on shaky ground. Art as a form of expression appeals not only to the visual and perceptive facet of the intellect but stimulates a much deeper impulse in the human mind. Art depends on a far more complex thought process for its appreciation. The question ‘Why is art given greater importance than sport?’ therefore is a red herring. Not only does it have very little relevance to the issue on the anvil, any comparison between art and sport is largely futile. This ‘importance’ you talk of is a misnomer; sport merely appears to be popular as people find it far easier to relate to.
Gender bias against women is a disease that plagues our country, finding its roots entrenched deep in the cultural labyrinth that is Indian society. The most disturbing aspect of the conundrum lies in the fact that, unlike religious, political or cultural divides it discriminates on the basis of a truly natural characteristic: gender. I prefer to look at the issue from a broader perspective, as a problem, which troubles society at large. The reason why gender bias is prevalent in India, or the Middle East for that matter is that large sections of society don’t encourage its members to think freely. A mind that cannot think freely finds it difficult to disagree with a stereotype. A weak mind will accept what it is told rather than arrive at its own conclusions, formulate its own opinions.
For the moment let me leave you with some food for thought. No individual is absolutely masculine or feminine. Every man has a feminine side to his character and every woman a masculine. That is Nature’s way of providing the essential imperfection, the aberrations, which facilitate synergy between the sexes, making the world go round. To Ayesha I would say this: if it weren’t for us men the ‘clogs’ of your ‘well oiled clock’ wouldn’t turn the full circle.
- Minhaj Adil (batch of 2007)
A while ago, I was listening to the raspy melody of Bright Eyes, when a revelation hit me between the eyes… Genres as we know it have ceased to exist. Music seems to be a haphazard mish-mash that namely comprises of-: a dash of bass (evidently lacking in the case of the bother- sister duo, ‘The White Stripes’), a clatter of drums (virtually deafening in case of ‘Bullet for My Valentine’ ), a clang of the guitar (spectacular and spell binding riffs as in the case of ‘Coheed and Cambria’), and electro- synchronized vocals (read Paris Hilton’s disastrous self- titled debut album, which truly deserves to be binned). An exemplary example, is the feisty, little (literally-5 feet 2 inches) Canadian punk- rocker (?), a beacon of hope in the then-dying ska music scene, Avril Lavigne. She started off as an out and out rocker-girl and now you see her bedecked in pink singing some inane song about boyfriends/girlfriends (we’re losing track here), that may have been ripped off from’ The Rubinoos’ in the first place!! This genre business is way too confusing… The heralded ‘Funeral for a Friend’, screamed their way to the top, with the much loved debut album christened ‘Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation’, but their follow-up seemed a tab bit deviant, from the screamo they readily dish out. Victims of the trans- genre, also include emo- faves ‘Death Cab for Cutie’, with their tinny sound and cutesy vocals the plummeted them to the zenith. Now they seem to hover indecisively, in the nether- land between alternative and punk… Arguably so, some do stick to their genres with slight, rare, permissible variations, a great example is the Aussie-born band ‘Wolfmother’ (they really do add another dimension to music!), messiahs of Christian metal otherwise called ‘Norma Jean’ (no relation with Marilyn Monroe, whatsoever), the power- packed punk enclosure ‘The Yeah- Yeah- Yeahs’ headed by one of the very few women in the trade-Karen O. (whom we’ve all grown to love).
Ria Sen, 12
REFLECTING ON 60 YEARS
Slaved for more than 60 years, entangled in their shackles like monsters waiting to be unleashed and seek revenge. It took more than 60 jailers to clip us of our independence and hinder our flight. Rivers of crimson, smudges of war and blotches of terror, stealing more than 60 lives. It took more than 60 blocks to build our country, and embroider it with honesty, valour, respect, strength and unity. Now it takes less than 60 politicians to loot our country of its virtues, to plague the nation with corruption, anger, hatred and leave no pills or cure. It takes less than 60 celebrities to stir up a controversy, and mislead the youth. It takes less than 60 lakhs to fragment our society. Less than 60 eyes to stare at people who are not ‘like them’.60 glowing bulbs, trickling taps and smoking cars to kill our Earth. It takes just 60 words to motivate people, 60 attempts to convert the impossible to possible. It is easy to have 60 enemies but hard to find one true friend. It takes 60 liars but one honest man to speak up. It takes the death of 60, leading the swirling ashes to give birth to one soul. It may take 60 superstitions, but one undying belief in Him to wand our dreams into reality. It may take less than 60 seconds to break what was made, and more than 60 billion years to join the pieces of the puzzle back together. However, it only takes one voice to fight to save our fragmented nation. It is for us to join those 60 small fragments, back together.
Tara Sen- 9
The Celebrity Obsession
Wikipedia (yes, we did research for this article and everything) defines a celebrity as a widely-recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention. In today’s world, however, this is quite the understatement. Not only do celebrities DEMAND attention, they get it even when it is unwanted. Thanks to nosey fans and the paparazzi, we know pretty much everything there is to know about all the top actors, singers and sport idols.
Marilyn Monroe has got to be one of the most popular stars of all time. Men adored her and women envied her for her immense sex appeal in the movie ‘the Seven year itch’- who hasn’t seen the iconic image of her standing on top of the heating grate wearing a skimpy little white dress? Anyhow, all the stardom got to her, and eventually she killed herself out of sheer depression. Her corpse was shipped off to the nearest morgue, of course. And, in an attempt to be a loving husband, what did the man at the morgue do? You guessed it, he snipped off a lock of Monroe’s hair and gave it to his wife as a present (Can you imagine that? ‘Honey, I’m home, look what I’ve got you!’).
Speaking of hair, remember the time when the idol of millions, our darling Britney Spears went off her rocker and got her head shaved? The hairdresser decided to use this brief spell of insanity to her advantage, and sold the hair on eBay (only half, actually, she kept half for herself… what a lovely family heirloom someone’s hair would make, sigh…). It was sold, needless to say, for millions.
We don’t think anyone reading this article has not heard of Facebook. Thousands of people sign up on this social network every day. Of course, one fine day, one of those thousands happened to be Prince William- it was all over the tabloids. Being adoring fans, we searched the gorgeous future-monarch on Facebook, only to find fourteen impersonators- we shouldn’t have been surprised, seeing as how today’s masses are so into celebrity lives that they pretend to be them.
How could we write this article without mentioning the scandalous heiress of millions, Paris Hilton? She has been on drugs, gone to jail, featured in (numerous) adult films- but nevertheless, everyone loves her. What is with that? I mean, she struts about the place scantily clad, acting like she owns the world- oh wait, she practically does. Put her name on any product, no matter what rubbish it might be, and the damned thing would sell like hot cakes. Let’s face it- the world’s gone mad.
This article could go on forever and ever due to the never ending celebrity scandals presented to us so thoughtfully by the resourceful media, but it’s time we stopped. We conclude by saying- why can’t we enjoy our own lives instead of being totally engrossed in the lives of the famous (and infamous) celebrities? They’re not gods, you know. Stop, people, get a life.
By Diva Gujral, Rhea Sadh and Shaman Marya
1 “Have you read the Harry Potter books?”
“No, I’ve read the movies
Megha Rawla, so truly intellectual
2 “Her eyebrows are giganimustic”
Pradyut Kashyap with a home-made adjective for size
3 “How old were you when you were thirteen?”
Archit Khandpur, we’re not even going to bother trying to insult you as you’ve done a fantastic job by yourself
4 “I am so dumbo”
Manika Gaur, so true
5 “Heads off for you”
Rachit Duggal’s own style of compliment
6 “He roded the bicycle”
Nikhil Pandhi, why would you have saided that?
7 “How did you did it?”
Shivaan Sahni really ‘did it’ this time
8 “I’m not Frank, I’m Ragini”
Really Nadia Shervani, we thought you were Manika Gaur
9 “Sir blowed the whistle”
Alaap Gandhi, strike one
10 “He speeds so fast”
Alaap Gandhi, strike two
11 “I bit my tooth”
Alaap Gandhi, strike three and you’re out!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 4.5 stars
Author: Joanne Kathleen Rowling
“This is it. The last one. The Grand Finale.” These were my thoughts as I waited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at 6:00 a.m. in the morning on July 21st 2007.
The expectations were enormous, the excitement was incomparable. The end of an era was approaching, a golden era of magic, death, laughter and most importantly, love. Love for the characters, love for the author, love for Hogwarts. Harry Potter. We are the generation that has most experienced this revolution. Harry Potter has a cult following, and we are the cult, so naturally the anticipation was colossal, and the pressure to produce a masterpiece was back on for JKR.
And she has not failed!.
Her idea of Horcruxes in itself is a piece of art, and the ideas in the Deathly Hallows surpass all her previous books. She abandons all pretence of light-heartedness in this book, by far the darkest of the septuplet. The deaths surprise us, the manipulation of a certain beloved person makes us resent and rage, yet we finally understand and accept the inevitable manipulations.
A character who’s loyalties were under much debate has finally been absolved of all crimes, proving to really be worthy of trust. Somebody once said, “When you turn over the last page of a good book, you feel like you’ve lost your best friend.” Never had I really experiences this till the Deathly Hallows, because I’ve grown up with these books, they have been my passion, my friends, my solace. To accept the fact that the series is finally over is like accepting death. Something that JKR has really helped the youth of today do.
Though I personally loved the book, I couldn’t help but feel as though the book was slightly hurried. The concepts were spectacular but they were robbed of the true glory that each of them could have. Nobody would have minded reading a couple of hundred pages more in exchange for the prolonged pleasure of reading the last Harry Potter book.
With a ten year span, the Harry Potter books have evolved from a children’s fantasy series to a way of life. It has given a source of comfort to those lacking one, a passion for those without one, and a positive treasure trove for the publishers and the author. It is a cause for excitement whenever anything Harry Potter comes out, be it a book, a movie or even a game.Nevertheless, the dark, mysterious book with its turnabouts and twists, is a must read, not only for long and patient followers of the boy wizard’s exploits but even for the newer readers or those not yet inducted into the magical cult of transporting ourselves into Harry’s world. The cult of reading beckons you.
- Ayesha Malik
Ayesha Malik, Devika Agrawal, Nikhil Pandhi,
Sanjana Malhotra, Arushi Kumar, Meghna Mann,
Sara Chatterjee, Rhea Sadh, Bhavik Singh,
Kunal Datta, Vanshika Wadhwa, Akbar Iqbal,
Avanti Gupta, Soumya Dasgupta, Jahan Adil Nargolwala, Diva Gujral, Tarunima Prabhakar, Mahi Titus, Amba Kak, Arjun Bajaj, Dhritiman Murti, Praavita Kashyap, Ujwalla Bhandari, Shaman Marya, Ria Sen
Editor: Akanksha Chawla
Please forward all your suggestions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to contribute articles and reviews via this email id.