Saturday, February 16, 2013

Movie Review: Battle Royale [2000]

Posted by at 10:52 PM

Plot Synopsis: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act [IMDB: 7.8/10]

There are but only a few movies ever made for whom you can claim that: 'read the plot synopsis, and you will not be able to ignore the movie' . This Japanese action flick is one of those. I am surprised, pleasantly surprised by the fact that the Hunger Games was inspired from the similar premises as this movie's plot- young people being controlled to brutally killing each other because only one can survive in the end!

The 'smartness' of the movie is that although the killings are rampant and gruesomely merciless, the director manages to put in elements of back-stories within the kill-sequences, not in an emotional way, but in a more complex, closer-to-the-reality way that would make you feel the apathy of the characters, all the while making you judge the one being killed, through the killer's eyes , knowing that in the just next sequence, the killer will be the victim. Though some of the points were a bit superfluous and the overall purpose of the BR Act remains hazy, you can actually forgive the makers because you will be shocked by the intensity of the story.

Some brilliant performances (Tatsuya Fujiwara of 'Death Note' fame surprises again) combined with a steady pair of hands behind the lenses, makes the movie a heart-wrenching tale of agony and survival.You cannot afford to miss it.

My Rating: 8.5/10 

Friday, February 15, 2013

When a US citizen went to watch a Hindi movie!

Posted by at 12:17 PM
I am a foreign tourist, visiting India for the first time and, I am here to share some really interesting event that I witnessed today. Well this was more than an experiment, as I was going by all the hype and hoopla surrounding this , recommended by my friends who had toured the country in the past.

I went to Rajmandir Movie Theater in Jaipur to catch a Bollywood movie. Without subtitles.

The 6.30 pm show looked good to me. We entered the huge dome of the theater at around 6. The interior designing was impressive- the typical Indian floral carvings and chandeliers could be seen hanging from the ceiling while we had a plush flooring of comforting soft-carpet, with plenty of sitting joints arranged all over.

Around 6.25 , the entry to the theater started. I overheard an old German couple inquire some of the Indians the name of the movie.It was Special 26, and the couple had booked tickets, traveled along, and were moments away from entering the hall-without knowing the name of the movie all this while!

Anyways, at around 6.35 , they started showing some movie trailers. They don't have those red-band, green-band standards for trailers here, but they put up the film certification instead. They showed one really funny trailer involving three guys and one girl, all in really colorful outfits and it was funny, I assumed because people were really laughing their pop-corns off. Then came another trailer that , if I am not mistaken, had Irrfan in it. Don't remember the title but I am sure it contained the phrase '...Gangster Returns' in it. Didn't seem like a Gangster movie though.

The movie finally started at around 6.45 pm. The opening credits was unusually long but I think it was not a  modern-day plot. I was right- it was a story of the late 80s. Director scores a point here. Next, we move on to a no-nonsense business of sequences, and I missing out on a hell lot many things, like- the DIALOGUES! I felt a pang inside every time there was some one-liner (or so it seemed) and the audience went laughing like madmen. But after the first act I got the basic idea of the movie- some conning act was just pulled off, and the people were not really the ones who they claimed themselves to be. I was beginning to like that semi-bald actor's performance.

Well soon enough, a song sequence came up(Punjabi?!) and a troop of french people started getting up. They were soon followed by that German couple and 10-12 more heads started ant-marching in front of the screen , towards the EXIT. "Leave fast!" somehow I was intrigued on what would happen next in the movie. Director, +2.

With another con-game being pulled off by our protagonists as the real cops started pursuing them. Once again I was at loss of understanding as I felt alienated whenever the audience would whistle and clap after some lines flew. Something needed to be done, I wondered.

Intermission came. I called up one of my friends, John, who had tagged Bollywood movies as 'stress-buster if you really want some time off'  and 'wanted to make fun of a group of clowns who would dance , sing , run around , changing costumes in every 3 minutes' . Because he was wrong. This was NOT the Bollywood he must be knowing. The movie I was watching, appeared to be a serious watch and I badly wished I had someone to explain what were some of the ends I was unable to tie. I told John the same.

"I overheard you talking to your friend. I am sorry for that, but I--" I turned around and saw a guy of my age, with his buddies, calling up to me. "I am Vineet. I saw this movie 2 days back, and I don't really need to pay attention to it much. I came here to watch Anupam Kher (the semi-bald guy!) 's performance. I can help you with a blow-by-blow account of the scenes that follow in the second half!"

"You are Godsend, my friend! Thanks a lot! Let's... Let's do this!" I almost screamed with joy. Yeah again, Director,+3.

What followed next was a smooth running of the second half, as I had a great translator by my side, explaining to me each and every single line, the premises of the movie, and by the time it ended with that convincing twist, I had joined the audience with all that laughing, clapping , hooting, and oh boy, was that a good movie!

I am  going back and am ordering some titles with Anupam Kher as the lead, and of course , this one particular title, A Wednesday, which Vineet suggested me to watch, by the same director(he said it was his debut movie).
It better be as good as Special 26.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: 'RIP' by Mukul Deva [Westland Publications]

Posted by at 10:16 AM
      "A power-packed thriller that calls for some serious attention and leads it  readers on with its crafty narration and smart execution"
Back-Cover Blurb: RIP - The Resurgent Indian Patriots:Self- appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundation. Vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and colluding civil servants. Even if it means killing them.Colonel Krishna Athawale and his team of Special Forces officers rally to protect the country from the enemy within. They call themselves the K-Team. And no one is safe from their deadly intent.Hellbent on stopping them is Raghav Bhagat, rogue para commando, gun for hire and Krishnas bete noir.Caught in the crossfire is Vinod Bedi, Special Director CBI. Reena Bhagat, a glamorous news anchor, embittered by her husbands betrayal. And two young boys, Sachin and Azaan, torn apart by the loss of a parent.
Reading RIP called for attention, as it was not just a light-read. You could see the dexterity of the author, his grip on the plot right through the whole book till the end. The best part was, he used the contemporary scenario of our nation as the baseline and executed the outcome from it pretty well. Similarities were satirical at times, with the names of the politicians being different from the real ones yet you could figure out who in real life he/she was. You have to be an army-man to have that kind of 'courage' I'd say.

Since I am yet to read his other works, I cannot really be sure to compare Mukul Deva with the likes of Clancy and Ludlum as of yet, but going by the command he portrayed, I would surely be reading his other works soon.

A critical angle:

I am jotting down some of the high-points of the book:

-Well-developed characters: Unlike most of the titles lurking in the bookstores nowadays(sadly) , the author had the sense of developing the characters so that the readers don't question their actions as they subsequently unfold.

-Speedy narration: It is needless to say that the experience of the author with writing has come really handy here, as he keeps  the narration just as pacy as a thriller should be. There is no 'slow mid-point' which would make you put it down to read later.

-Through the imagination of a movie-freak, you could actually imagine the 'assassinations' as if you were watching a movie!

-Continuity was maintained throughout: The continuity was a huge player that kept the plot from being drab.

-The emotional subplot was a need for Indian readers it seemed , but the good thing was it wasn't enforced on us.

While some low-points as noted by me:

- A few repetitive scenes made sure that the surprises don't bounce onto the reader's face and leave him scandalized, which should be the absolutely essential element of a thriller of this level

- At times the reader was not left to figure out some details all by himself, the author making it a spoon-feeding task. That stole some brilliance away from the peak-action scenes

As always, I would not make a comment on the climax as I believe it'd spoil the overall reading experience.

Final verdict: Go for it! If you are really missing a good thriller of late, RIP will give you some sense of closure.

My Rating: 7.5/10

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Guess who? o_o

Posted by at 3:43 PM
Introducing the first guest post by one of the awesome bloggers who has her patent sense of humor and eerily mistimed smileys! Please welcome, an 'obedient' junior, a friend and a funny tweep-Shriti!

Hello there. First of all, I am not the awesome owner of this blog. Yes, I am not Soumya, I am Shriti aka Zugambi, the weird junior(Nice to meet you)! o: He is my senior. And I have hacked his blog! c': Mwhahahahaha. Just Kidding. o.o

I am here to write a guest post. *does the Gangnam Style* I don't think I need to tell you all about his epic-ness but I will. So let me start with what I think of him. He is one of my favorite people! He is the most coolest and smartest bong. His sense of humor is epic. His blog posts are epic. His reviews are epic. His tweets are epic and his puns are epic and hence HE IS EPIC! c':

I am not gonna lie. He is truly one of those few people who can make you smile and laugh in your saddest day. I am glad I found him on twitter. Well, I am not someone who is talkative. o_o I can't always say what I  want to say. And I am forgetting what I was going to say. But let's stop with emotional stuff. :P

Time for secrets! He is a Bong Pikachu and I am a Bong Pikachu too. And you know what? That makes us Bong Pikachu Brothers!! :O And I am writing this post because he told me that he'd give me dahi vada and chocolates!! c': Mwahahahaha. o_o 

Okay, I'll stop now 'cause I don't know what else to say. I hope you like this post senior. Bye bye. But like it or not. You'll have to send the chocolates and dahi vada anyways! 

Liked it? Well I surely did! *gheghe* Well the blog really needed a good laugh for the weekend so I hope this solves the purpose.

To get featured as a guest author in my blog, mail me at with a link of your blog and a blurb of what you intend to post.Aikaraaammbaa!
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