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The Law of Uncertainty, Fear and South’hope’!

June 4, 2010

Few days ago, I received an e-mail where the person who had sent the e-mail wanted to meet me to discuss matters of great importance. I had never even seen or heard about this gentleman. The reason behind this unusual request, atleast the way I see it, is that he had read my blog and arrived at a conclusion that my perspective on few things exactly coincides with what he thinks, especially when it comes to movies. Hence, a meeting would be a great opportunity to share ideas, information or just talk about cinema. The gentleman also included more details of what he does and if I am not wrong, he must have been in his mid-30s. This is all the more surprising. I had always thought the older you become your perspective on movies and life itself broadens. What more could a 24 year old contribute to what is already known to a 30 year old? The mail also had few more details on how people-film industry-critics have formed a complex bond which is almost impossible to decipher. Ok…I am just kidding. I made it up..err..I meant the line on bond-decipher jazz! J

I must have received close to 4-5 e-mails from some distinguished alumni of BITS-Pilani after they read my blog post on how I ended up as a film critic after graduating from BITS-Pilani in 2007. Apart from these e-mails, there were more than 20 Facebook friend requests and close to 40-50 more followers on my twitter page. Honestly, I haven’t replied to any of those emails and I haven’t approved 90% of those Facebook requests, yet. I might appear to be a rude guy who doesn’t have the basic etiquette to respond to genuine emails. There is a reason for that. I was scared. I had no clue how to respond to e-mails when you know that the opposite person is impressed with what you have written or achieved.

My friends from college would certify that I was quite shy and unusually calm when I was in BITS-Pilani. I never took an initiative to do something (except for religiously watching films), which means I am not too pro-active when compared to most others of my age. Few more layers around my belly, I would probably look like an ogre. I have even heard from few acquaintances that I resemble a Penguin, especially the way I walk. I suppose I don’t have a camera friendly appearance which is why there are only handful pictures of mine in my photo albums. I would talk and make my point only when it’s necessary, otherwise it’s as good as I never existed. This was yours truly, when he was in college. The day I was leaving campus forever will probably be ingrained in my mind for eternity. Time flies by without your notice especially when you spend most of the time in Krishna, Shankar redis eating Bhujia Chat and sipping chai; or when you spend the evenings in Sky Lawns sipping Pappu’s Double Chai and later head to C’not for some coffee before ending up at ANC for Fried Maggi. The time is 1 A.M and the day had just begun. You head back to your room to watch a movie and smile within when you find your wingies ghotting their asses off for an exam which is a week away. Windows from IP Messenger, Gtalk, Yahoo Messenger pop up when the clock strikes 5 AM. Your bunch of friends spread across different bhawans gather outside the gate and head to Nutan for Chai and put latcha over films, music, art and a lot more gossip. You come back and sleep after sunrise without realizing how many sunrises you have seen or missed. It all dawns upon you on that final day when the non-AC bus (AC, if you are lucky) crosses the gates, that something important has been lost forever. You see flashes of some of the best moments of your life in BITS, all the crazy things you did, the girls/guys who made your heart skip a beat and so on.  By the time you reach Bhiwani, the flashback of your four (or five) years of BITSian life would have passed through your mind and by the time you reach New Delhi, you get introduced to single most important thing which you would have probably never heard of before. The Law of Uncertainty and Fear.

The law of uncertainty and fear cannot be defined but you will definitely know it when you go through the ups and downs of life. There is a false propaganda which most of the seniors pass on to their juniors in college, that if you have a BITSian degree then ‘Life set hai boss.’ I warn you, your senior or friend is bluffing you. Although our isolation (BITS-Pilani is 200 kms away from Delhi, Jaipur) from civilization works out in our favour most of the times, we are at a certain disadvantage when we come out of that Heaven. Since you are from one of the best colleges in the country, people expect you to be a Superman or a Superwoman. When I was working for Satyam Computers, in the first few days of my training I had a tough time convincing people that I am not a bright student. I couldn’t go around showing my CGPA card to prove how terrible I was post my 12th grade (when it came to studies). So, I devised a plan. I would restrict my discussions to only movies and anything related to Telugu Cinema. That’s the only thing I could talk about confidently. The catch is that if you appear like a total idiot while talking about something you didn’t know, then you become the butt of all jokes along with the college. We have no idea how to deal with people and it takes a long time to understand the dynamics of how life functions outside those walls of BITS. It took me close to a year to get into the groove of the so called ‘civilization’. I was still scared and the fear of being insignificant for eternity haunted me. Not that I wanted to be someone important, but then life isn’t all that great when you are one among 50,000 employees.  Thanks to a great deed by Mr.Raju I came out of the organization on June 18, 2009, although it was just the beginning of my sabbatical. There’s a funny line which does rounds on twitter which says, “When Life gives you lemons, you should squeeze them and mix it in your vodka shot”. The philosophy of life couldn’t have been better! Alas, it’s also the toughest thing to do.

On June 18 this year, I would complete a year of ‘partial independence’ from ‘Satyam’. Of course, the ‘Complete Independence Day’ is on December 19, the day I resigned from Satyam and it was also the same day I saw James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’. As I look back and see how things have turned out, it’s been nothing short of a streak of dramatic turn of events. I have this quirk of co-relating everything in my life with what I see in movies. If I could describe how life has been over the past one year, then I think I am pretty similar to NEO from THE MATRIX, figuratively. Look, I don’t look like him from any angle, but there are too many similarities. Both of us are internet addicts. While NEO was adept at hacking, I was spending most of my time watching movies and writing about them here @ hemanthology. One fine day, I came across an e-mail from and they asked me to freelance for them. I followed the ‘White Rabbit’. Few days later, I met my Morpheus. His name is Shyam Prasad Reddy, a well known producer (of films like Ammoru, Arundhati etc). If I can call anyone my guide so far, that would be him. The gentleman has quite an overwhelming personality but when you talk to him you realize that you know nothing about the MATRIX (films, of course!). He helped me to watch Telugu films from a whole new perspective. I used to hate commercial, mass masala films and thanks to the gyaan Shyam Prasad Reddy gave me, I like that genre as much as I admire films like Baanam, Prasthanam, Ye Maya Chesave, Yugaaniki Okkadu. Point is, you can’t be pissed off or brush off film makers, whom you think represent the old school of thought. They have grown up making certain kind of films and everyone has their own limitations, insecurities when it comes to experimenting with new themes. The challenge for a film critic is to accept this fact and atleast try to write about films within those limitations. If I may say, the job of a film critic is very similar to a food critic. You might be in love with chocolate, but when you go to eat vanilla or strawberry you have to accept and understand that they cannot taste like chocolate.

In the next few months starting from September 16, 2009 something changed. I wrote, wrote and wrote. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter the blogs, reviews were being read by quite a few people and bots. One fine day in January this year, I went to Taj Deccan for the ‘Calendar Launch’ of Southscope magazine. It was the first time that I met my current employer and boss(es) Allu Sirish and Vanaja. And I met Vrinda Prasad, who’s now my colleague at Southscope and a dear friend.Apart from them I also met Prashanth Bhat, who’s probably the most read film journalist (English) in AP, especially Hyderabad. Few days after that, I met all of them along with Karthik, Maya at the premiere of RGV’s Rann. I wouldn’t have, even in my wildest dreams, thought that I would be offered a small role in Southscope. Can you imagine what it feels like being interviewed in a cinema hall and getting a job? While I was extremely happy with the warm welcome which the entire team of Southscope gave me, I had this constant fear of going terribly wrong somewhere. As a matter of fact, I still do. It’s not that I would let someone down for the belief they had/have in me. It’s got a lot more to do with understanding the purpose behind what you want to do in life. When someone asks you a question like, “You are from one of the best colleges in the country. Why would you do something as bizarre as film criticism and writing which is totally unrelated to what you have studied?” I am pretty sure every single one of you who’s bitten by that ‘Entrepreneurship’ bug in college would have faced this question, although in a different context. If you haven’t faced that question yet, please be prepared with an answer, because pretty soon you will realize that “Life is a Bitch”. There’s always a fear of someone knocking you down with a bouncer or you realizing that you shouldn’t have begun what you are doing. There’s no such thing as a wrong decision. It’s just the law of uncertainty and fear which governs your mind and existence. Respect both the aspects and it will give you strength to walk a little further before the doubts spring up again. When they do then don’t forget to repeat this routine. Fear and Uncertainty are as powerful as revenge, anger, ego and hope.

While fear and uncertainty in life might take its toll, there’s also a brighter side to it. At some point or the other, you will understand what you are good at. And when you do come to know about that, you try to weave your life around it with hard work and great effort. If you are smart, then you might as well do that with bunch of sugar coated lies. There has to be something which would drive you to walk on (and in most cases, alone). For me, it’s a principle which I used to tell myself when I was in college which goes like “It’s better to be the best in what you are good at.” That way, you come out of the vicious circle of demand and supply which till date is the main reason why millions of students end up taking engineering and medicine and later head to US, UK, Australia, Canada every year. Although there’s nothing wrong in trying to achieve a better life and I am sure there are a lot of people who are determined and focused on doing just that. But aren’t you interested in doing anything else in life? Everytime someone talks about traveling, films they have seen and people they have met, I gasp and wish I could do that someday!

I still have a long way to go, a really long way before I can say that I understand what cinema is and how do people perceive it. Before I do that, I think I will always have that sense of fear. Just for the record, I religiously worship one man, Roger Ebert. He’s one person whom I look up to and say, “Thank you for your eternal love for cinema and film criticism. You are my god and also the reason why I took up writing in the first place.” Right now, I have just begun my stint at Southscope as a full-time film journalist. It’s a job as tough as carving and polishing diamonds. You have to treat everyone and everything with utmost care and respect. Cutting an inch too far or too less takes away the shine. And I have just begun to understand and learn how to be a good diamond cutter. It’s this hope that I would learn a lot more on how to present stories and write with conviction which drives me ahead. Did I tell you how much I love my job and people I work with? Now, there’s no fear and uncertainty in that aspect. It’s pure love for South Indian cinema. True Story!

P.S: “Cinema can fill in the empty spaces of your life and loneliness,” – Pedro Almodovar, one of the finest filmmakers today from Spain. I can totally associate myself with this quote. When there are endless list of movies to be seen, experienced and written about, life isn’t all that bad even if you are single. Loneliness is highly underrated.

Yours Truly,


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12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 8:24 am

    nice 🙂

  2. satish permalink
    June 4, 2010 8:31 am

    hey,i love this inspiring…u have positive attitude..good communication skills ..
    best of luck..way to go….hopefully we can see u as a writer in cinema silver screen…

    best of luck….:)

  3. pavan141 permalink
    June 4, 2010 8:37 am

    hi hemanth I told u when we met that,what i expected to turn out to be hemanth and that is you and love the way you wrote about your transformation from a bit guy to a south scope guy,you have made up to that level and good .but you started as what you believed and may you get all the success and i think you will.Then rember me

  4. June 4, 2010 10:07 am

    Love the way write about these topics. It’s so candid.. it’s so genuine.. it’s so inspiring.

  5. Ankur Grover permalink
    June 4, 2010 11:34 am

    Cheers to your new role…. Good luck

    • Venkat permalink
      June 4, 2010 4:57 pm

      you have taken the road less traveled and i pray for your success so that more ppl can take the courage to do the same..

      cheers mate

  6. Harini permalink
    June 4, 2010 12:18 pm

    Hey Hemanth, it was really lovely reading your write up…Keep it going..I am trying to follow most of your blogs every now and then…(sorry)…but..I totally like the way you write it…anything and everything about movies..:) Good Luck to you!! Keep tweeting!!

  7. Nihar permalink
    June 4, 2010 4:44 pm

    The first few lines of the post made me feel that it was me you were writing about. Then you said, it was a 30 year old which made me cool down.

    A great post.

    The reason why I(or most other BITSians) wanted to meet you is because there are many things that we can relate to in your writings. This post just adds to that feeling.

    When I was in Mumbai a few days ago, in those crowded areas, one thing that was constantly running through my mind was that I was an insignificant person in this world of many many people. I am just one more of those millions who would be probably working for an MNC and earning decent money. But, whats my significance in the world? This feeling is just scary.

    As you said, since we live away from the civilization, we hardly get used to these things and probably thats the reason why we(atleast I) hate the external world(or atleast scared of it).

    Wishing you luck and success in life!

  8. June 4, 2010 6:40 pm

    All the best Hemanth … Your writing is straight from the heart

  9. Kamal permalink
    July 5, 2010 1:04 pm

    I’m sure u will rock in this new career. You have quite narrative skills. I was ‘searching for your review on ‘Varudu’ and couldn’t find it as I suspected. Now that you joined south scope, I’m pretty confident you will conveniently miss out writing reviews on bad films of ‘few’ actors’. shame. pls prove me wrong.

    • Hemanth permalink*
      July 5, 2010 1:11 pm

      @Kamal : You can read my review of ‘Varudu’ @ ….had written it for that website. AND most importantly, you don’t have to suspect my integrity when it comes to movie reviews….I write because I have an opinion to share…it’s got nothing to do with whom I work for. Varudu was an okayish film…it was definitely loud with an atrocious climax..but it had its fine moments which led me think that it’s an average flick which could have been much better.

      AND you are free to agree or disagree with my opinion(s)…just for your info, I am a huge fan of Jr.NTR, Ravi Teja and Venkatesh….chaala… you have more doubts?

      For godsake, don’t jump at conclusions just like tons of others on twitter and elsewhere! If I may add, I write/work for a film magazine…it’s not a family magazine!


      • Kamal permalink
        July 5, 2010 2:58 pm

        Hemanth, Thanks for the prompt reply. I usually like Garimella and Sunitha’s reviews. I happened to read your review (on saleem) for the first time today and immediately got connected. Though your affirmation on unbiased reviews is promising, I would watch it in coming days. I just read your ‘Varudu’ review and I felt it’s not in your style and appeared to be a balancing act while most others ripped off the movie.

        FYI, I’m not a fan of any of the stars today and I hate these so called ‘fans’. These fans are truly the culprits of Telugu cinema because of whom ‘star’ culture is prevalent which is preventing some good producers to produce good cinema.

        All the best to you.

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