Saturday, January 19, 2019

Petta - Movie Review

The Rajini magic does it again.  Well I wanted to watch this movie for the director, Karthik Subburaj, an national award winner.  He has proved again commercially with the Superstar grandeur with all perfect firecrackers to attract the general (Rajini) audience.

But what helped to keep hooked was the story line.  I don't know how a school boy looking director can make such a racy story line in all his movies.  As expected the story had a lot of twists and turns.  And it keeps coming all the way till the climax.

The whole starring was, in general, a bunch of accomplished and acclaimed actors.  The big labels were Rajni, Vijay Sethupathi and Nawazuddin Siddique.  I was piqued when I saw the name Nawazuddin and he has been given a real challenging character.  His duel in Tamil and Hindi was something to watch.  So was Vijay Sethupathi.  Listening to him speak those Hindi words in the local slang with utter ease put him in place with the character.  However I must say that his role was underplayed.  He could have been used to his full potential.

Then there is Bobby Simha and Sasikumar.  Though I am not sure of Sasi kumar, Bobby Simha too was under utilized.  The Jigarthanda actor was I must say a bit rusted though he has proved his worth in the right places.  The other actor who was quite an underdog in the beginning has travelled throughout this film is Sananth Reddy.  I do not know his name and had to google a bit.  I have seen his performance in Demonty colony and I think Jil Jung Juk.  Overall a big starrer with so many famous faces like Simran, Y.G Mahendran, Megha Akash.  I am pretty sure many would have accepted just for the Rajini starrer as their roles were not so big.

We were about 5 minutes late for the movie and I missed the title card and the electric atmosphere of Rajini's name card.  The second half was even racy as it was fully the revenge taking mechanisms with all the twist and plots evolving the story and keeps up surprised till the last minute.  The songs were totally up to speed and had quite catchy tunes.  Then there is the Baasha tune which reminds me of Rajini when he was truly a God and when not one of his film didn't do well in box office.  But even after around 25 years he still has that quick and stylish  demeanour which hasn't worn off in all these years.  It somehow matches the theme of one man army where our brain doesn't complain that hes too old to perform those fight scenes all by himself.  Well, it was worth the money as all the 3.5 hours in the theatre went up as per Einstein's law of Relativity.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Girls of India: A Chola Adventure

Another book from my kid's school library.  I had not known about this series beforehand so I was curious to read the story.  The author, Anu Kumar, has won Commonwealth prize for her children's books.  This book is a historical novel laced with mystery.  The author has made a good attempt to elaborate the ways of the kings (their lineage, their royal courts and proceedings, the wars fought, the kingdoms ruled, well you get the idea!) through this novel. 

The Chola kingdom is very famous in the Southern parts of India and this story is played during the rule of Rajaraja cholan who is a very popular name in history.  It reminds me of our epic Mahabharata as this kingdom too has its enemies near and far and the battle to throne is constant.  Though the story is lined with imagination, it would not be difficult for any student to understand the lineage of the Chola kings if they would read this story once. 

The story follows through the life of a young girl Raji and her parents.  The plot was handled good and can get the kid's attention hooked as to they try to solve who had done what.  But from an adult's point of view, it was easily predictable as we had been told the same story time and again starting with our epics.  It was interesting to know about the Borobudur islands in Indonesia which plays a vital role in the story.  The author has given a very flowing narration throwing in so many nuances that bring the grandeur of the palace and the kingdom itself.  Since the story is all set in Tamil Nadu I was happy to see Tamil scripts.  While the script read, “நான் மீண்டும் பார்க்க முடியாது”, the translation was just the opposite, "I will see you again".  A very trivial mistake, but it makes you wonder which is right when the story has not fully evolved.  Well for the reader's sake, the translation is correct.

Also it is said Raji's father works on a stone sculpture at first and then it is mentioned as a brass sculpture later.  I had to rewind the pages to check if I got it wrong.  But I think the author had changed it to brass owing to its weight.  I know this is a children's novel and a young mind may or may not overlook these facts.  Altogether it was a good read and would recommend to the middle grade readers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Can love happen twice

This novel is considered the sequel to "I too had a love story" novel.  The author has given a disclaimer that it might or might not be a true story, meaning it is fiction.  When the first one was totally based on his life this one is all his imagination.  Meaning its his creativity in full focus and I am sorry to say I was not at all thrilled at the plot of the story. 

When the author has given himself this honest lover boy image, he totally kills Simar's by portraying her as Horny, immature and whiny.  Well, we can accept the fact that he is healing after his first loss, but I think he should also be more mature and understand that his partner will not or rather does not like being married to him.  I think it would be have been more realistic if he would have walked away from this relationship.

I am from the South India and I do understand Hindi.  But I imagine how the author would explain those sentences to a foreigner, if at all they pick this book. (This is from the house of Penguin publishers!).  I think his loss of words for a better translation or his idea to capture the essence of the situation better, would have forced him keep a lot of sentences in Hindi itself.

The climax was not neat.  It felt forced and abrupt.  Suddenly Simar has a change of heart, because she heard the story from a different point of view.  Well, it can happen.  But still it was not complete more like an open ending.  The author could have taken a chapter or two to handle that situation more better.  Just the fact that this book is fiction was a big turn off to me because I wanted to see if he was doing good or if he had moved on.  In contrast to the previous novel, this novel was unrealistic, mostly erotic and right down pathetic.  Had I not bought this ages ago as a bundle I would not have read this sequel.  I also would not recommend it to anyone.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

I too had a love story

This is a love story like any other.  A love story only the arranged marriage types would understand, with the restrictions that our Indian culture has.  The first phase of the book covers mostly the introductions and the bubbly romances.  So many parts were relatable as the author has just penned down what has happened in his life.  The late night calls, the cheerful singsong voices, the nick names that remain rightful only to you.  It was like reliving those courting days.  Lost in love and to live the rest of the life with the one we have started loving. 

The second phase delves deeper into the closeness of the relationships not just of the love birds but of the entire family.  I sometimes had skipped and skimmed parts of these as I can understand and predict those emotions.  The Last part of this phase just hits you.  I bought this book way back some 5 or 6 years earlier.  Back then this book was a best seller and I wanted to read it.  I did not know it belonged to the tragic genre.  I was choked and out of breath at a few places wishing and hoping along with the author.  Some times its a curse when the beloved departs and we die everyday with memories that just cannot be erased.

Though the author has registered these tragic moments only in the last 50 pages or so, still it is heart wrenching.  The only hope and a kindle to read the second novel is to find out if he has gotten settled and how his life is.  With the brief summary of the second novel, I am expecting it to be as good as the first one.

There is no pretension or in any way make believe as the story is straight out of the life of the author.  The language and the flow is very much delightful.  Honestly I was a little reluctant when I started with the first page of the novel, but I was hooked instantly and read through it in a breeze.  I would recommend it if you are into those tragic love stories like Nicholas Sparks novels.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Pretty Woman

I picked up this book after the Goodreads recommendations.  The summary was gripping like all the chicklit stories and I have a weakness for chicklits.  Its uplifting and inspiring with a lots of romance.  I wanted to read about the weight loss regime and the happy life after that.  But I was quite disappointed.

Rosie is a wealthy girl who had inherited her parents mansions, has a house keeper and doting friend.  She is described as some one with weight problems.  She is a size 14.  I am size 14 and I don't have 9 rolls of fat.  And I certainly don't feel sorry in anyway.  Life happens.  She bought herself a husband and I don't know why she cannot kick him out of her life a lot before.  Suddenly it happens.  I mean he has this repulsive attitude towards her always and she suddenly grows a spine one day.

The character development of Rosie could have been a little better.  Then there is Jack and he is wealthy too.  Just Rosie doesn't know about it (duh!).  There is a spark between them and I would want to experience more of it, like Nora Roberts or Harlequin Books.  This is a Romance novel isn't it?  There are no stolen glances, electric touches, just bland. 

And what about the health regime.  I was a fool looking to be inspired.  This lady has a housekeeper, a personal trainer, has won a lottery ticket, has kicked her wretched husband and yet whines and complaints about life.  I am not sure what makes a blessed person.  After a few months of training she participates in the triathlon and she wins (rolling my eyes).  She competes against a navy SEAL and WON!! (Did I miss something?).  Maybe the author got inspired watching some Bollywood crap.

Then there is Kent, her ex husband.  He goes from being this bad womaniser to a good person.  I don't know what the author was thinking about this character.  It is not developed properly.  Suddenly he turns around and has a halo above his head.  I mean people do change but there is no background for such an important change.  Its like how Tom Cruise says in Jerry McGuire movie, "I ate some bad pizza, went to bed and grew a conscience."

I am an Indian, however I have stayed in the States.  I know the floral arrangements are a big deal there.  There are florist who are very popular for their flowers and arrangements.  But I hadn't heard about these weed decorations.  Agreed there are few here and there in the internet but I am not sure if that would make a very lucrative and thriving business as described.  I have no idea.  I mean why can't one walk around pick some and do the arrangements themselves? Why spend a $50 on 40 cents worth piece.  It boggles my mind.  Any way moving on..

There is this eerie.. I'm sorry, magical part about the tree.  Its haunted with Jack's wife spirit.   But the tree and Rosie are best friends.  I don't know why the author has thrown in a dash of paranormal.  It doesn't sit well with the story and there is no role for the tree other than confront Kent.

Well the bottom line is I wasted 300 rupees.  I wouldn't recommend it to any one.  This is my first and probably the last of Fern Michael's book.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Three Thousand Stitches

When I was in college, I came across an article as an email forward which was written by a little known lady named Sudha Murty.  Actually it was about her life in a kind of a short essay.  It was quite refreshing and inspiring.  About 2 decades back, when internet or even computer was quite a luxury, this email was spreading fast.  Then I had understood she is the wife of Narayana Murty and Infosys is their brainchild.  I was quite smitten towards her.

This book, three thousand stitches is another book registering her encounters in life.  The titular story where she changes the lives of Devadasis is the most remarkable feat.  I can only imagine the threats and pressures that would have come their way.  It is no small step and she didn't buckle under pressure. 

The way she handles these subjects is like a grandmother or mother or even a elder neighbour recounting her days and you listen with keen and rapt attention.  I still wonder how she manages to put down all her remarkable achievements and still not come across as boastful.  It is something to learn from her.  In three handfuls story she writes about Kashi weaving through past and present.  She gives detailed account of the city and manages to make it interesting.  Such an eminent personality and yet she manages to give up shopping. I wonder if I ever will be able to give up such a thing.  I must say that everyone in her family has had an eventful life or she is very good at narrating mundane details in an interesting manner.  As with all her books she has included stories about her father and grandchildren.

This book gives a glimpse of the philanthropic works of the Infosys foundation.  The best one indeed is the funding for the women in distress in the middle east countries.  It was heart wrenching to read their stories, but it sadly it is the reality.  The last chapter about alcoholism was enlightening and scary at the same time.  How a innocent peg can drown a life is truly shocking.  Today social drinking is very common and to read about some real life encounters got me worried about the future of the next generation.

Most of them were warm stories down her memory lane but some were triggers to ponder on the social evils.  Weaving through her past and present she manages to create a book that is easy to relate and something to ponder on.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Moongphali is a book I bought for my kid after hearing rave reviews about it.  Each story is an eclectic mix of adventure, fun, frolic while underlining the virtues like empathy, honesty, self discipline among others.  The author does not preach but every story by itself makes the protagonist a better person through their resolve.

The story are a good span that is not too lengthy but is enough to keep the child engrossed in the plot.  All the stories were really good but I especially like the chapters of Poonam's Chappals, The perfect doll and the hundred rupee note stories.  The story about the clones were weird but it is fiction and any child would appreciate a good imagination.  The stories are refreshingly new set in contemporary India.

The illustrations were too good that we can frame those pages and it will look good by itself.  The DIYs and craft projects at the end of each story is a good memento to carry from the book.  The book is  for 8 years and above.  The English is plain and the descriptions are very vivid.  The plot is too riveting but I doubt if for the kid's age they can find the end of the story predictable.  All in all a very entertaining and educative find every child should read.  A very delicious read, just like its title.
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