Alibaba by Duncan Clark : Book Review

Media describes him as an “Imp of a man” with sunken cheekbones, tussled hair and a mischievous grin. A masterful public speaker , rejected multiple times by Harvard ,his favorite movie is Forrest Gump , his surname “Ma”  is the same as the Chinese word for horse. Yes you got it right its Jack Ma. Duncan Clark’s engaging biography  is about Jack Ma as much as it is about Alibaba; indeed you can’t mention one without thinking of the other.

Born in 1964 to a photographer and a factory worker, Ma grew up a mediocre student in the city of Hangzhou. About the only thing that set Ma apart was learning English, which he would practice by speaking to tourists passing through his hometown. One of these tourists, a vacationing Australian Communist, became a generous benefactor and that changed the life of Jack Ma.

The book covers Jack’s key business relationships in detail, how he along with investors companies like SoftBank, Goldman Sachs  and Yahoo built Alibaba. How he moved along with government on the internet revolution. His famous quote “Never, ever do business with government. Love them. Don’t marry them. “.

In the most fascinating chapter of the book, we read about Alibaba’s battle with eBay. ” Ebay may be a shark in the ocean, but I’m a crocodile in the Yangtze River. If we fight in the ocean, we lose, but if we fight in the river, we win” , that is Jack Ma’s view on this battle. EBay goes on to make one tactical blunder after another and that is clearly depicted in the book. Ebays China adventure , lasting from 2003 to 2006, is today a case study in how not to go about managing a business in a distant market.

All in all, for a sense of how, and how impactful China and Alibaba have become, and for a true lesson in entrepreneurship, read this book.


Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Ecco
0062413406 (ISBN13: 9780062413406)
Edition Language

Movie List of 2018


Must Watch

  1. Denial(2016) – Courtroom movie based  on WW2 concentration camp
  2. The case for Christ(2017) – An atheist trying to prove resurrection was folly
  3. Fracture(2007) – Crime thriller
  4. Glory (1989)– War Movie
  5. 3 billboards outside ebbing Missouri(2017) – Oscar movie
  6. Dragon Blade (2015) – John Cusak and Jackie Chan Chinese war movie
  7. Matchstick Men (2007 ) – The original movie of Bluff master
  8. All the money in the world (2017) – A mothers fight to get her son ransom from her rich father-in-law
  9. Midnight Runner  (2017- Korean Movie)  –  Story of two Military trainee trying to solve a kidnapping case
  10. The Post (2017) –  True event based story. Tom Hanks at his best.
  11. The Zoo Keepers Wife (2017)  – True event based story during WWRII
  12. Darkest Hours (2017) – True event based movie on Winston Churchill
  13. The Disaster Artist (2017) – Two new guys try to make a movie.
  14. The Accountant ( 2016) – Ben Affleck Thriller
  15. Spotlight (2015) – True even based Journalist story bringing out  the story of Child Molestation by priests.
  16. The Ghost Writer (2010) – Thriller on Former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), trying to write his memoirs.
  17. Gifted (2017) – A little girl who is a genius in Mathematics gets into a legal battle for her possession.
  18. Zodiac (2007) -A thriller trying to solve a murder mystery
  19. Borg vs McEnroe (2017) – Sports drama movie on the rivalry  between famous tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe .
  20. In Bruges (2008) – A climax which you can never forget. Collin Ferral at his best.
  21. State of Play (2009) -Journlist movie . Rare combination of Russel Crowe and Ben Affleck.
  22. Rocknrolla (2008)  – A crime thriller from Gerard Butler


  1. Drive (2011)
  2. Dens of Thieves (2018) – Heist movie
  3. Unlocked (2017) –  Thriller movie
  4. Murder on the Orient Express (2017) –  Crime Investigation on Train
  5. The Ballad of Lefty Brown – Cowboy movie



Must Watch

  1. Sudani from Nigeria
  2. Hey Jude
  3. Aadu 2 – Some good comedy
  4. Vikadakumaran

Time Pass

  1. Shikari Shambhu
  2. Diwanjimoola
  3. Captain


  1. Queen



Must watch

  1. Qarib Qarib Single Single
  2. Newton


  1. Shaadi main zaroor aana


  1. Fukrey Returns
  2. Aiyaary

The Case for Christ : A God Time movie


I was searching for Courtroom based movies and that’s when I came across this movie      ” The Case for Christ“. The story revolves around Lee Strobel  , an arrogant journalist and a staunch atheist and his wife who also shares his same perspective. One day when they were having a dinner in a restaurant  their daughter nearly gets choked to death. She gets saved by a nurse who was incidentally present in the same restaurant. The nurse, tells the couple that she had a sense that she needed to have dinner at that restaurant that night. It wasn’t luck or coincidence she was there, but Jesus’ plan so that their daughter is rescued.  Although Lee laughs it off, his wife starts believing in God and starts attending  church. This irritates Lee and what follows after is Lee’s attempts to prove his wife wrong.

Lee seriously starts investigating to prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ never happened.But the facts that Lee Strobel uncovers lead him toward an outcome altogether different than the one he expected to reach.

This movie made me remember a classic movie in malayalam , Paithrakam (meaning Heredity) , which had a similar story line. The movie was much more intense and was based on clash of ideologies between a father and his son. The character of father (Devadathan Chemmathiripadu) was donned by Narendra Prasad and the son (Somadattan) was played by Suresh Gopi.  Devadathan was a priest but his son Somadattan was an atheist.  A glimpse of the climax   probably will give you a flavor of the intensity in the movie.

As the village was suffering from heavy drought, the villagers request Devadathan to perform a yaga called  Athirathram to please Lord Indra to get rain . Somadathan ridicules his father  and says that yaga is nonsense and challenges his father that if it doesn’t rain after the yaga is he ready to become a atheist. Devadathan accepts the challenge. In a fascinating climax as the ceremony goes along across twelve days; there is no sign of rain and the atheists continue to protest. But on the final day the clouds gathers from nowhere and it rains incessantly . Somadathan is stunned and he accepts defeat. Devadathan lost in the intensity of his prayers, meditates and sacrifices his life. The movie ends showing Somadathan as the new priest and continuing the Vedic traditions for which his father gave up his life.  I would recommend to watch this movie


I heard some one saying that even not believing in god is also a kind of belief, a faith. It need not be facts always , sometimes feelings can also be a fact.


Thank You Sridevi…


What makes Sridevi to stand out from the other actresses was her matchless comedy , probably one thing that you really miss with the current Bollywood actresses. The current Bollywood actresses may be rich with exuberance, acting , dancing but no one currently has the ability to make you smile, let alone giggle. When Sridevi moved out of movies she had a already a left a vacuum and now that shes no more that vacuum will remain as it was.

Growing up in the 90s meant there was no escaping the charm of Sridevi May be the place were I was born also played an important. I belong to the northern part of Kerala where the Regional Malayalam Doordarshan was out of reach and we had to get satisfied with Hindi broadcast. That meant we got numerous opportunity to watch Sridevi’s on the tv screen. Some of the movies that stand out for me is Mr. India, Chaalbaaz, Laadla , Sadma & English Vinglish.

Mr. India was indeed an Anil Kapoor movie but what added to the spice to the movie was Sridevi’s ” Hawa Hawayi” and her inimitable comic timings. The song with the kids and her fighting for the ball is the best comic song I have seen and I can still sing that song line by line.  Chaalbaaz was equally hilarious with Sridevi playing the double role. And when you thought that Sridevi was too humorous, movie Laadla showed how serious she could became. With her signature dialogue, “Understand? You better understand,” Sridevi was her fiery best against Anil Kapoor . Sadma was a class  and the role that she played  as a  woman with amnesia was both endearing and heartwarming. Her child-like  innocence and bright, shiny eyes in the movie was unforgettable. English Vinglish perhaps require no detailing.

Sridevi’s comedy was not slapstick but was using her tiny mannerisms like an eyeroll, a contorted face, or a high-pitched giggle. She had the eerie knack to produce laughs from nowhere.  She was  undisputably the Bollywood’s first heroine-comedienne. Thank you for the laughs Sridevi. Your movies still makes me giggle.

Darkest Hours : Movie with a Grit


If you have watched the Christopher Nolan movie “Dunkirk”  and you were still wondering what is this fuss all about, may be when you watch “Darkest Hours” it will start making sense. The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, and also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. This evacuation was critical for Winston Churchill ,who was the then Prime Minister of United Kingdom , as without these soldiers it would have been impossible for him to hold against the German force.  This movie brings up on the political side of Dunkirk.

When I watched this movie I felt like I was watching Winston Churchill onscreen. The greatest orator that he was , the movie is filled with his inspirational speeches.  You defy the statement when one of his minister says  “Wars cannot be won by speeches”. Winston Churchill is  considered one of the defining figures of the 20th century and this movie is thrilling, somber, introspective,  gregarious  and reflects Churchill’s demeanor in brilliant fashion.

A must watch.

Lucknow Central : A musical prison break


The only reason I chose to watch this movie was for the soothing and soulful song of Amit Mishra “Meer-e- Karwaan”. The song was running  in a loop in my laptop for almost a week. Lucknow Central has its flaws but when the movie keeps you engaged with its music, rib tickling comedy and punch dialogues you hardly notice those flaws. Farhan Akthar carries the movie on his shoulders along with his other jail inmate gives a superb performance. Ravi Kissan with ludicrous acting  and Ronit Roy as the strict Jailor adds spice to the movie.

Overall this is a must watch and laughs are guaranteed.

PS (Taken from DNA) : The movie is based on true story of a band formed by the inmates of Lucknow Central jail. The band named ‘Healing Hearts’ was formed in the Adarsh Jail wing of Lucknow Central jail. Consisting of 12 men who are sentenced to life imprisonment, the band plays hit Bollywood numbers at various private functions including weddings and baraats. The band was the brainchild of VK Jain, the senior superintendent of Lucknow Central Jail, as a part of qaidi reforms in 2007. Just like the film, a contest was held in the jail for which funds were released.With the arrangement of fifteen instruments, few volunteers came forward for the initiative. An inmate who hailed from a musically inclined family provided leadership due to which the band won the contest. The win further opened doors to opportunities for the band to perform at private parties.


You will be missed…


B Panduranga Bhakth ( 24/12/1940 – 11/09/2017)

This is the first time I am trying to write an eulogy. B Panduranga Bhaktha(Age 77)  , my beloved Manthu, a person whom I respected the most, who was always  there in my good time and tough times, who had a solution for any issues that I came up with, left for the heavenly abode on 11/09/2017. It was a sad day.

During my recent visit to kanhangad there was this precious moment,  when he blessed my 6 month old son by keeping him in his lap. A moment I will cherish throughout my life. The wisdom and the clarity that he had in the religious matters was enormous.His absence leaves a void that can never be filled.May his divine soul rest in peace.