Thursday, October 17, 2019

The NON-INDICTABLE SINS OF TRUMP

He got in and there is very little that can be done before 2020.  There certainly were enablers, some of whom you can read about   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2017/07/trump-enablers.html

Any president should be allowed some mismanagement and to some degree all of them are guilty.  Too bad life threatening mistakes are legal, but at least some mismanagement can be amended with a new election.

Trump is admired by a significant portion of the population while others prefer to look elsewhere declaring that politics either bores them or is too much.  Unfortunately his mismanagement (much of which is deliberate) affects everyone and not just Americans.  Many people would add to my list, but in my mind he is guilty of GROSS mismanagement that needs to be punished.  Here are a few.

Pulling out the Paris Climate Agreement.  This is a global problem with global obstacles in the form of vested interests and ignorance.  United States despite a relatively small population contributes a major share of the problem.  They fancy themselves as global leaders and in this case I believe they should be.  While blaming China and others it is the U.S. that would make the most progress by setting an example.  Most other nations would follow their lead.  Obviously some of his supporters have a vested interest, but everyone, especially in the future will suffer.

Pulling out of the Iran agreement is inflammatory.  Not perfect, but the imperfections are more than tolerated when found elsewhere.  To build on what has already been agreed to not only by American negotiators, but also from Russia, Britain, Germany, France and Germany means other entities with their vested interests are  being ignored.  The purpose was to cut the proliferation of nuclear weapons that threaten us all.  Trump is catering to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Spreading hatred against minorities especially immigrants.  Many Americans think their country should be white, but in truth diversity is strength.

Supposedly some people believe Trump is hurt that anyone would question his legitimacy and feels threatened by the suggestion that Russian helped him.  Maybe so, but nonetheless Russians seem to influence decisions.   They are the ones who want to break up international co-operation.

 Vested interests are put in positions of power over finance, consumer protection and the environment.

The judicial system is being changed as something they are most proud of.  Many voters assume this will make abortion illegal and further assume it is the best way to minimize abortion.  At the same time they are tightening what Planned Parenthood can do.  I maintain the best way to reduce abortion is to increase sex education, accessibility to contraception, parental leave, financial assistance for young parents, health care for all, all things resisted by conservatives.

Obviously Trump wanted to please the anti abortion group that tends to be a one issue voter.  But the Supreme Court deals with many other issues and a conservative dominated court tends to favor big business and executive power.  It is galling that Mitch McConnell was able to stymie an Obama nomination.  Also that the Republicans rushed in Kavanagh despite some concerns that were not adequately addressed.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

China and the NBA

How would you believe a few words, "Stand for Hong Kong" could cause such a response?  There was the Chinese end of it and then there was the NBA response.  No question that money rules the world.

The Chinese public never knew of the brief Twitter as it was blocked.  Also they do not get an honest explanation for the Hong Kong riots.  When you are autocratic and with enough leverage you can force your will on anyone who wants to do business with you.

The morals of the story are obvious in that powerful bullies don't worry about morals.  Plenty of others have commented on the morals.  What can be done?

As long as we worship money (and it is pretty important to me) we are obligated to do things we would not otherwise do--including much of work or keeping your mouth shut.  Looking around the world many established companies (and those hoping to gain traction) see China with its huge population and growing middle class as the best available opportunity.

China has its own sensitivities.  They feel they are overcoming humiliation and resent any reminder vestiges.  Having colonials impose their will on the Chinese people who felt they had a glorious history can make you a bit touchy.  There are different languages, different cuisines, but they are united under an autocratic government. We hear of conflicts involving Tibet (the Dalai Lama is my hero), Taiwan and the Uighurs.  To "control" the population the authorities have imposed censorship not only within their nation but to outsiders hoping to make inroads.

On one side of the bargaining table are greedy entrepreneurs salivating over the huge numbers of potential customers.  On the other side is someone wanting to please their customers (their citizens wanting a higher standard of living).  It may seem uneven between our side and the Chinese, but we do have things they want--our markets, our technology and ideas, our resources and some of the razzle dazzle we take for granted.  On top of that there is a natural human craving for more freedom.

Can the tail wag the dog?  We do have leverage.  The Chinese like lots of western things including the NBA.  When Yao Ming  made it to the NBA that generated a lot of national pride as well as interest in basketball.  A few other Chinese have played lesser roles.  A few years back, Jeremy Lin (of Taiwanese heritage) created "Linsanity" where he won a number of games with the last shot.  Many Chinese people would be upset if they couldn't get their NBA "fix."  It is doubtful that Chinese would give up Olympic aspirations for basketball which ensures interest will continue.  Everyone wants to see the best and aspires to be a part of it.

Adam Silver did salvage a little dignity by declaring individuals have the right to express themselves.  On other issues he has been very commendable and one can hope he will get back to form.

Citizens of the world are better off when we share culture.  Westerners love cheap Asian goods and exotic culture.  It is a two way street which most of us enjoy when we are able to expand our interests.  The Chinese are no different.  They are just fascinated by different cultures as we are.  All efforts to boost cultural exchanges are to be encouraged.

What we have that Chinese people want as much as anyone is relative freedom.  We can pretty well say whatever we want, listen to whatever we want, seek pleasure in whatever direction.  They don't fully know this, but we can try to expand their awareness.  When they cut off coverage of the Houston Rockets (and NBA champion Toronto Raptors)and LeBron James there are bound to be disappointed people, including people with some measure of power.  While we are being seduced by potential riches they are being seduced by western culture.

Technology is being used to create another iron curtain or maybe one should say cyber curtain.  China can try to isolate itself, but that will create resentment among the people.   Hong Kong is unique, but they are perhaps on the front lines of freedom.  If they can hold out it will be harder and harder for authorities to keep the truth from the rest of China. 

Perhaps this issue got my attention as I love basketball and have been involved for over 60 years.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/06/my-60-year-love-affair-with-basketball.html

The Chinese are bringing more of the culture to the rest of the world with movies.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2014/08/chinese-cinema-is-peek-into-their_1.html

The photo is from a Chinese movie I thought was well worth watching with some insight into one child policy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Douglas Sirk, a more appreiated director after his death

 When one explores older movies, history brings out things that are long forgotten or taken for granted.  The name Douglas Sirk repeated itself a few times and my first notion was he must be some sort of art movie favorite.  Lately my feeling is that he was a manipulator of making stories enjoyable, but to point out some of the foibles of American society.

After his retirement his reputation rested on a series of movies that are considered "melodramatic."  Some critics had a low opinion of such movies, but later, after he finished in Hollywood his style was more appreciated.  Jean-Luc Godard and Rainer Werner Fassbinder praised him from Europe and slowly he was recognized for his contributions.

Born in Germany in 1897 of Danish parents as Detlef Sierck, a name used for his early German films.  At age 14 he developed an interest in both theatre and cinema. He studied law University of Munich, but switched to University of Hamburg to study art and philosophy.  In 1922 he directed his first stage play.  His first  feature was shot in Dutch and then in German.  His films were admired b Dr Joseph Goebbels, but in 1937 left Germany.  His first wife was a Nazi sympathizer and denounced him for marrying Hilde Jary, a Jewish actress.

He left Germany as a well respected director and had learned much that carried forth to his American career.

In 1941 he and his wife reached Hollywood.   His first U.S. directed film in 1943 was "Hitler's Madman," an account of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by Czech resistance fighters.

"Summer Storm" was released in 1944 adapted from an Anton Chekhov novel.  Starring George Sanders who had a sarcastic wit, much used in this film.  In 1944 he did another film, "A Scandal in Paris" with Sanders.  George Sanders proved to be reliable and was later in at least two more films.

In 1947 Lucille Ball was the lead actress for "Lured," a serious movie, but a viewer can appreciate Lucille's timing. 

 Next come the films that Sirk is best remembered for.  In 1954  "Magnificent Obsession," with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, a couple that he brought together a year later for "All that Heaven Allows."

In 1956 Sirk was involved with "Never Say Goodbye," but not credited as he was called in for a re-shoot at the request of George Sanders and the studio.  He also was responsible for bringing in the leading actress Cornell Borchers from Germany.

"Written on the Wind" was also in 1956 again with Rock Hudson, this time with Robert Stack, Lauren Bacall and Dorothy Malone (who won the Oscar best supporting actress).

A year later he reunited  Rock Hudson, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone for "Tarnished Angels."  William Faulkner whose novel was the basis approved it has a good adaptation.  Noted for airplane sequences.  Rock Hudson endeared himself to Robert Stack by a surprise towing of a sign "IT'S A GIRL by stunt pilot to commemorate the birth of his first child.  Rock Hudson also insisted on including a young Troy Donahue in the cast.

In 1959 Sirk wrapped up his American career with "A Time to Live and a Time to Die" (from novel by Erich Maria Remarque) and "Imitation of Life."  Starring Lana Turner at a critical time in her personal life one critic called this the saddest movie--read more at: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2014/08/the-power-of-sad-movies.html

Uncomfortable with the Hollywood lifestyle (such as nude swimming parties) he  left with his wife for Lugano Switzerland in 1959.  He was a supervising director for 3 German shorts before his death in 1987 in Lugano.

His most remembered films were considered "women's pictures" what today we might call chick flicks.  They contained all the elements; romance, tragedy, melodramatic music and crying.  Dig a little deeper and some critics appreciated his technical skills.  He was a subtle social critic.  His films depicted strong intelligent women.  Other themes included upper middle class snobbery, hypocrisy, racial tensions and faulty masculine ideals.

Rather than rely on monologues he hired actors based on personality with emphasis on getting on with the other actors.  He used lighting and mirrors to help create moods.

No person succeeds in life without  a supporting team.  Altogether he directed 5 actors to Oscar nominated performances with one, Dorothy Malone winning.

Rock Hudson has a reputation of a glamour boy, but Sirk saw somebody he could work with.  His looks and his voice helped make him one of the most popular stars from Hollywood.  Aside from the movies cited Rock appeared in several other Sirk directed movies.  He was nominated for an Oscar with "Giant."  He later starred in a successful tv series, "McMillan and Wife."  After he was diagnosed with AIDS he donated $250,000 to help launch the National Aids Research Foundation.  He had been quoted saying that Sirk was like a dad for him.

Music played a strong role and the key composer was Frank Skinner.  Frank had a very prolific and versatile list of  musical scores.  He was most famous for music for horror movies.  He wrote the scores for "Magnificent Obsession," "Written on the Wind," "All that Heaven Allows." "The Tarnished Angels," "Imitation of Life," and at least two others.

Sirk had at least three interesting cinematographers that supported his efforts.  Like Sirk, Eugen Schufmann had been born and trained in Germany.  He moved to France in 1933 and  in 1940 he moved to the U.S.  He had developed a process for optical special effects that was eventually replaced by newer techniques and materials.  He joined what amounted to the wrong union and found that due to regulations he was not credited for many of his movies.  For Sirk he handled "Hitler's Madman," "Summer Storm" and "Scandal in Paris."  He won an Oscar in 1962 for "The Hustler."

Russell Metty first got into the film business starting as a lab assistant and then became an assistant camera man and by 1935 RKO has hired him as lighting camera man.  He handled one of the highlight scenes from "Touch of Evil" and had gone onto get an Oscar nomination for "Flower Drum Song" and an Oscar win for "Spartacus."  For Sirk, he handled some of the more well known films, "Written in theWind," "All that Heaven Allows," and "Magnificent Obsession" plus 7 others.  He worked on many television series such "Columbo," ""the Waltons" and "Rich Man, Poor Man."

William H Daniels directed 4 films for him including "Lured."  His fame is established for the 21 films he directed with Greta Garbo and winning an Oscar for "The Naked City" in 1948.

When we watch movies it is very difficult to appreciate how the thinking and work that goes into creating a mood.   Douglas Sirk is now regarded as an excellent artist, but many fans already loved his films before the critics came on board.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

ARJUN REDDY AND KABIR SINGH

Both "Arjun Reddy" and "Kabir Singh" have garnered a lot of attention, but seemed a bit scary for me.  Nonetheless the marketing seemed too much to ignore.  And it just happened that Netflix carried both of them.



First up for me was "Arjun Reddy, " the original and at times I wasn't sure I saw what I thought I saw.  The ultimate proof was that "Kabir Singh," the remake had many of the same things in pretty much the same sequence.  A number of the items must have been testing censor boards.

One scene had the protagonist scooping up ice cubes and putting them in his pants so that he appeared to have wet his pants.  Another scene depicts using an electric razor to cut off male pubic hair.  There seems to be a steady dose of drinking, smoking, cocaine and morphine.  Swearing (in multiple languages (English, Hindi, Telegu, Kannada, Tuli) were constant.

The hero in both films was egotistical, obsessive and had an explosive temper.  Not the typical hero.  From time to time this behavior contrasted with deep concern for patients and an acknowledgment of logic.  The heroinne in both cases was attractive, modest and somewhat resistant until the inevitable capitulation to the hero.  Their first encounter was mind boggling in that the hero (I am using this term loosely) interrupted a class, centered out the heroinne who he had no previous contact with demanded she move to the front, then selected an overweight girl to sit beside the heroinne saying such girls made the best friends and throughout this experience spoke in a language not known to the instructor basically telling the rest of the male students that she was his girl and they were not to interfere with this relationship.   Before too long they were living together despite college rules against such things.  She became very attached to him and vice versa.

It took awhile but her father who had met the hero rejected the idea forcefully and arranged an almost immediate marriage for his daughter.  The father was concerned about caste and the immoral behavior.  From there the movie follows the moral downfall of the hero into drugs and drinking.  At the same time he is so talented as a doctor that all is forgiven, or mostly forgiven.  That is, until he falls so far his medical licence is taken from him.  Although will tell anyone his love is undying is not against straight sex.  One dramatic scene is when a major movie star offering sex declared she loved him, but he very harshly rejected her as he was not looking for love.  After all this drama (and more not related) the movie has a happy ending.  In some ways it seemed like a big cheating, but its saving grace was the powerful homage to undying love.

Is it realistic?  Not in my reality, but by its dramatic thrust it makes for compelling viewing.

The common link between the two films is Sandeep Reddy Vanga who wrote and directed both.  To be allowed such artistic freedom and a big budget it was really surprising this was his first film as writer and lead director.  His background is in the Telegu film industry but he did study at the International Film School in Sydney, Australia.  He did work as an assistant and associate director  in two earlier films.  While filming "Arjun Reddy" his son was born and his name became Arjun Reddy.

The lead actor for both films is very critical as he has to be believable, but not go overboard with a very violent, but nuanced character.   Both versions found such an actor.

Vijay Deverakonda had done a few Telegu movies starting in 2011, many of them comedies and he was credited with being a natural.  He has been a playback singer in two subsequent movies.  His career seems to have taken off.

Shalini Pandey played the Telegu heroinne as her first film.  She has followed the path of many southern actresses and has gone on to do movies in Telegu, Tamil and Hindi.

Shahid Kapoor was given the Bollywood lead by the director after viewing Shahid in "Udta Punjab" but one of the financers had wanted someone else.  Shahid was a very good choice.  He had been in a lot of romantic comedies, including "Jab We Met," a master piece with ex girl friend Kareena Kapoor. In contrast to "Kabir Singh" he appeared in "Vivah" where he played a young man whose father arranged a wedding with the full blessing of both families and Shahid's character.  Shahid had established a reputation as perhaps the second best male dancer in Bollywood, but it wasn't enough to sustain his career and he played in a few duds.  In the last few years his acting was recognized more and more.  He was excellent playing the troubled Kabir Singh.

Kiara Advani played the heroinne.  She had established her reputation in "M.S. Dhoni:  The Untold Story."

Both versions of the story have been top financial successes.  There are plans for a Tamil version.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Impeachment

What a dilemma!  Doing the right thing could backfire with disastrous consequences.

Assuming the Democrats finally go ahead and publicly impeach Mr Trump and carry the House of Representatives it is further assumed that Mr Trump will retaliate and unleash even worse measures and very possibly get re-elected as we also assume the Senate will reject impeachment.  Meanwhile he will stall as much as possible thereby strengthening the case for obstruction.  He will try to run out the clock.

The merits of the case are very obvious.  It also seems that many people will ignore them in favor of what they believe Trump has done on their behest.  Stood up against the Mexicans, minorities of all sorts, reset the judicial system to abolish abortion, legistlate tax deductions and maintain their gun rights.  Not impeachable, but very troubling was dropping out of both the Iran agreement (which more people can appreciate was counter productive) and the Paris Climate agreement.  It is obvious these decisions were not in the interests of Americans.  Less obvious to many is that the deficit is on track to increase dramatically.

The retaliation seems very likely, but an examination might be worthy.  For the Republicans who dared to vote against him--they will be primaried and likely to lose their positions to Trump's rabid base.  On the other hand this may further tip the balance against Trump and the Republicans.  His base seems to be somewhere around 30%, fairly well situated to take advantage of the electoral college, but that includes a lot of voters who are concerned about his morals but like his results/efforts.  And there are also the apathetic voters who felt their vote wasn't worth the effort but now many will be upset and fearful of what the president might do.

Some Democrats are in sketchy territory.  They are the ones where Trump triumphed in 2016 and they squeaked by in 2018.  Some of them might well lose, but again other factors will play a role.  Trump supporters that have been disillusioned and the apathetic voter now realizing their vote could make a difference.

A frightening possibility is a civil war.  Trump will claim his enemies are acting against the constitution.  An election loss was rigged.  I have been impressed how his base overlooks all his many faults.  They really believe there is a conspiracy of established corporations, poliitical powers  and anti-Trump media.  The electorate has been polarized more than ever and it is difficult to imagine that either side would accept any outcome.  There doesn't need to be organized warring armies to do permanent damage to American ideals.

What are the Democrats to do?  They will be hated by Trumpists and upset their followers who fear the result.  If not sooner the issue will come to a head this Thursday when information legally required is to be delivered.  Maybe it will and maybe even it might exonerate the President.  At best any evidence legitimizing Trump will be suspicious.   The context that is already known is pretty damning.    The Mueller Report, despite being dismissed actually already contains impeachable evidence.

A lot of big money (especially fossil fuels, private prisons pharmaceuticals, gun manufacturers) will have to make a decision that may be increasingly difficult.  Do they support the president who represents their vested interests or do they take a longer view and support the good of the country which might be necessary to maintain consumer support.

It boils down to how well the Democrats present their case.  It is likely they will develop an audience comparable to that for the O.J. Simpson trial, but important to remember although the evidence was pretty damning he got off.  One concern has to be not to appear partisan.  The Corey Lewandowski hearing was handicapped with grandstanding of elected politicians while the best points were made by legal experts whose efforts had little public awareness.  So far he escaped contempt of court.

Television can attract a bigger audience than did the Mueller Report.  There is sure to be clever and loud objections to the evidence.  Unfortunately nothing will be accomplished during the trial and that will of course be blamed on the Democrats.

In a matter of hours this blog can be outdated.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Comparing Two Grannies Korean and Telegu

A few years back a Korean film, "Miss Granny" was available on Netflix and got my attention.  An interesting story with some pleasant music, but what really I remember is how the main character reminded me of my wife's Grandmother, known as Nanny.    More recently saw another version, this one in Telegu and titled "Oh Baby."  Starting to research the two movies it was learned there are several versions I suspect because of the interesting story.
You can find the story in Korean, Telegu, Mandarin, Filipino Indonesian, etc.

Nanny sold us our house, babysat my two children and hosted many family gatherings.  I used to shovel her sidewalk and dig her garden.  Mind you, she is not exactly the same as the two grannies in this film blog, but she is a strong woman. and a superb Italian cook. Enjoyed life and her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  A porch companion was Uncle John, a widower formerly married to her sister who was a handy man saving us tons of money and made our home more livable.  In a real sense Nanny is an inspiration for this blog


Similarities between the two films.  A 70 year old, meddler, loved deeply by her son, upsets her daughter in law.  Her son can't bear to ask her to go, but his daughter is blunt to let granny feels unwanted.  The Granny works with and has a widower friend from her childhood.  He is thought of as an uncle.  When through a fantasy intervention she gets the body of a 20 year old.   She has a beloved grandson with a somewhat screechy band that she takes over and turns out to be a big hit.  She is approached by younger men and in the Telegu version is responding and doesn't want to give up her new life, but does tell her old friend, the widower next door as he is about to bring in the police as he thought the young woman had kidnapped the older woman.  The family looks for her while the band reaches the finals and the grandson on his way has an accident.  Both movies use the same mechanism in dramatic fashion to restore her to herself.  If you are inclined to cry at sad movies you probably will shed a few tears towards the end, BUT it ends with a big laugh

Both movies a blood transfusion fills the role of a fulcrum. The need for one forces a life changing decision.  Still a part of the overall fantasy, but changes the mood temporarily.

Another element from both films is discrimination of old people.   The younger version criticizes a young man criticizing an older man who was flirting with the young granny.  The whole film projects the idea that it is better to be young, but it also points out that elders deserve respect.

I remember the basic story from the Korean version, but inevitably have forgotten a few details although the newer version helps bring back some details.  The difference in film time is over 30 minutes so it seems more details were added in for the Telegu version.  The Telegu version has a more extended romance with a younger man and more family conflict  In the Korean version her grandson attempts to attract the young granny and in her thoughts his grandmother says they are the same lines used by her husband.

Music is important.  The old granny feels she could have been a singer, but never got the chance. In her youthful version she becomes a popular singer.

In the Korean version, the music is by Mowg who won an award for "Miss Granny."  Also provided music for "Burning" and "Masquerade."

Mickey J. Meyer did the music for "Oh Baby"  His musical career began with symphonies and piano pieces, but he admired Hans Zimmer, Enio Morricone and A R Rahman and gravitated to films, mostly Telegu and Malayalam.  His music is described as slow moving, lacking thumping beats, but popular.  The background music was much appreciated.     

The original writer is Dong-ik Shin and he is credited with some of the new versions of his script, but not for "Oh Baby."  Dong-hyuk the director and co-writer, sometimes also gets credit with newer versions.  He wrote and directed "Silenced," one of my highlighted movies from 2018 blog.

"Oh Baby" was of course adapted with Laksmi Boopal handling the Telegu dialogue and song lyrics.  Gopimolan supervised the script and director Nandini Reddy also was involved in the writing.

Nandini Reddy has overcome barriers to be a female director.  Started with a children's film and then found it difficult to get work until a year later directed a movie in Kannada. 

Cinematography in "Miss Granny" was handled by Ji-yong Kim.  He had been a camera assistant for a joint Korean-American film "Okja"  Other films of  his included "The Age of Shadows" and "Silenced"

Editing for "Miss Granny" was done by Na-young Nam who had also done "Mother" and "The Good, the Bad the Weird."

"Oh Baby" had Richard Prasad in charge of cinematography and Junait Siddiqui handling editing.

In both cases the actress who played the younger more active version of Granny  was central to the plot while the original Granny was played by a veteran respected actress.

Eun-Kyung Shim played the rejuvenated Oh Doo-ri  won a few best actress awards for this film--did her own singing--also appeared in "Train to Busan" and "Masquerade."  Oh Mai-soon, winner of several national awards played the original Granny.


Laksmi, a vertern actress played the older grandmother.  She has done 400 films including Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.  She turned her back on Bollywood as she felt she would only get female stereotype roles and preferred more socially relevant roles available to her in southern India.  Her daughter Aishwarya ironically has the role of the beleagured daugher in law.


Samantha Ruth Prabbu played the young Swathi.  As is common in India she has a backup singer, Nutana Mohan taking care of the songs very well while Samantha lip synched and danced in some cases.  First noticed her in"Eega "(most unusual story line involving a lover reincarnated as a housefly as her lover, but very popular).  Samantha is bilingual in Telegu and Tamil and has won awards acting in both languages.  She has made money as a brand endorser and model and since 2012 has channeled much of her money through a charitable trust to help pay hospital bills for young children, pay for patient flights to the Taj Mahal and to meet film celebrities and boost awareness of haemophilia.  She is a delight to watch.

The story requires you to take a leap of faith, but if you are willing, either film will make you laugh and perhaps cry.  It might also remind you of some older person who meant a lot to you.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Article 15

Ayushmann Khurrana has always added to the value of any of his movies I have watched.  One element is a cheerful outlook and comic timing.  In Article 15 he puts forth a different demeanor.  He is in  a position of authority, even privileged and assumes an air of confidence.  He also explodes with expletives (more on that later).

The focus of the movie is discrimination against Dalits, formerly known as Untouchables.  For me there were new details on the caste system.  Article 15 of the Indian constitution makes discrimination based on race, religion, caste, sex and place of birth illegal.  The law can only force so much compliance and attitudes will always influence outcomes.

There is a bit of a mystery, but really the audience has a pretty good idea of the guilt and the real heart of the story is a conspiracy to shut down an investigation.  Ironically some Dalits have achieved higher status (perhaps as tokens) including one of the police officers (who is part of the conspiracy).  There are political efforts paralleling the investigation that focuses on a political alliance between the Brahmins and the Dalits.  Ayushmann says that India consists of 30% elite castes being supported by 70% of lower castes.  During a few setups us outsiders realized that there are many gradations of caste hierarchy that allow even low castes to feel superior to those even lower.

The movie ends strangely when Ayushmann gathers a bunch of his crew around to celebrate the success of the investigation and served out some food.  The men and women were of different castes, but the key was when the cook was asked her caste and the answer was obliterated with a horn blast. after which there was laughter.

Regarding the expletive, it is the English form of the F word.   When first uttered in a fit of disgust one staff when asked by a naive non English staff what it meant he was told "get out" which in effect it did.  However when uttered under different circumstances (more annoyance than disgust) the same non English speaker started to leave .  The original explainer retrieved the man who thought he had been commanded to leave.  My understanding of Hindi is confined to about four words and I have often wondered when the subtitles offer an euphemism if they were hiding the F word and on the other hand when the F word or its many variations have made it to the subtitle if it was actually not as strong a word in Hindi.  

Director,/writer/produceer Anubhav Sinha is known for his interest in social issues.  In his previous movie, "Mulk" the focus was on discrimination against Muslims.  Several IMDB reviewers commented on negative political trolls for this movie.  Prior to this some of his film credits included "Ra.One," "Gulab Gang" and Tum Bin...Love will Find a Way."

 Mangesh Dhakde handled the music.  He had grown up with a father who operated a music school and at an early age met many musicians and was familiar with jazz, Western and Indian classical as well as Brazilian.  Prior to this movie Mangesh did the music for "Mulk."

Ewan Mulligan, the cinematographer got his career started in England where he did a number of shorts with the occasional movie and tv series.  He has been involved with a number of Bollywood movies and made contact with Abunhav Sinha and worked on "Tum Bin 2" and "Mulk"

Yasha Ramchamdai, the editor got started with shorts and location editorial jobs.    As an editor he as mostly involved with tv series..

Ayushmann Khurrana seems to select good movies.  See http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/12/ayushmann-khuranna-actor-to-watch.html  This movie represents 3 big hits in a row from "Andhadhum" (one of my top 3 for 2018), "Badhaai Ha" and now "Article 15."He now notices he has less time with his family and with 4 more films to be released over the next year there will be no relief.

Ayushmann was ably supported by Manoj Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sayani Gupta (enjoyed her in" Margarita with a Straw"), Kumud Mishra and Isha Talwar among others.

This has proved to be a very relevant movie.