Dangal – You can’t miss it

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If you have come out of theater without having any goosebumps  or a tickle in your eyes  or a desire to topple somebody in the air , as how Geeta and Babita does in the movie,  then perhaps you have not enjoyed the movie. Dangal definitely is going to one among the best movies of 2016. The performances of the girls was a treat to watch and so was their cousin who is the funny-bone-cum-sutradhar of the movie. Dangal is a remarkable flick peppered with some nice humour,   punch dialogues , nail-biting wrestling sequences , smashing performance of the girls , wonderful writing and editing , Daler Mahendi‘s vibrant title track ,Amir’s  near to perfection acting and Nitesh Tiwari’s excellent direction.

Damn the demonetization, watch Dangal. 

A Man Called Ove – Book Review

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If you have got bored up reading the usual  detective fiction or the mythological ones , which are by the way the new trends,  you will find this book delightful, quirky and amazingly refreshing. Originally published in the year 2012 by Fredrick Backman, the books is about a gritty and a grouchy neighborhood old man called Ove. Ove lives a lonely life confined to his staunch principles and strict routine . He doesn’t like to be disturbed and gets easily irritated when somebody breaks the rules.  He complains about every noise that others made, shouts at children for playing in the garden and turns the air blue if the pet dog barks.  This very stubbornness of this character is the source of the humour  and all said and done you will certainly fall in love with this grumpy Ove.

Behind this serious life of Ove there is a sentimental and a romantic life secretly buried in. His career life and his life with his wife Sonje is an interesting part of the book to read. Ove’s life goes for a change over when a boisterous family moves in his locality . A pregnant lady , Parvaneh, moves with her husband (Ove finds him idiotic ) and two chatty children in the neighborhood of Ove and suddenly Ove  was made to engage with the world again. There are some funny moments such as Ove trying to teach driving to Parvaneh. Seeing that Parvaneh is getting tensed while driving Ove shouts at her saying“You survived struggle in Iran, moving here and learning a new language, and being married to that idiot, driving a car should be no problem!”. My personal favorite was the rivalry between Ove and his friend on the car they owned, a rivalry that even costed Ove the friendship. Ove owned  a Saab while his friend owned a Volvo. Ove hated Volvo. So each time his friend upgraded his Volvo, Ove upgraded to the next Saab. And the twist in the story is that , eventually  Volvo took over Saab and you can sense what might have gone through Ove.

At the end of the Book there is a questionnaire to check How much Ove you are in your life. I would certainly recommend you to read this one.

Book : A Man Called Ove
Original Title: En man som heter Ove
ISBN: 1476738017 (ISBN13: 9781476738017)
Edition Language : English                                                                                                                             Author : Fredrik Backman                                                                                                                             Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Pages : 377

Dear Zindagi – Alia lives upto it

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 Alia Bhatt’s name comes first  in the opening credits of the movie and as you leave the theater you will agree that Alia deserves that honour. After a long time I saw a movie which had a female as the protagonist. If it was Sridevi who delivered a knockout punch in English Vinglish ,in the first flick of Gauri Shinde, this time Alia Bhatt crafts a delightful performance. With her cute and energetic appearance you simply cannot take eyes off her. You will easily forgive the subtle plot and even the number of boy friends Kaira ,the character played by Alia, had in the movie. Perhaps the movie has only one actor , Alia Bhatt, and you should see the movie exactly for that reason.

And if you by chance had  got irritated by Shahrukh‘s camoe role in Ae Dil He Mushkil, you would certainly applaud for his role in this movie.  Shahrukh with his tender humour, tough looks and restrained acting, plays his role of a mental therapist with a  conviction. The scenes when both of them are together is a treat to watch especially the Kursi and the mountain climbing theory . Alia also allows humourous jibe to pass on her ( Cycle ko Recycle)  and plays the satirical scenes with perfection.

Couple of best liners from the movie

Genius is not who has answers for all the question, but Genius is someone who has the patience to find the answers for all the question “.

If the fear or weakness is going to become a habit, its time to have a look on it

It is sarcastic that Rajeev Masand / newspaper  gave 2/5 for this movie while they  gave 3.5/5 for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil which hardly had anything to offer other than  Arijit’s melodious songs.

Dear Zindagi go for it.

Movie Review : Dear Zindagi

Directed by : Gauri Shinde

 

 

 

 

Movie List of 2016

Hindi

Hall of Fame

  1. Nil Battey Sannatamy review
  2. Airlift my review
  3. Rustom –  Should be one of the best movies of 2016. Akshay Kumar at his best
  4. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story – Sushanth Singh does a wonderful job. Purely Dhoni’s story.
  5. Pink – One of the best movies of 2016. Amitabh steals the show
  6. Dear Zindagi – my review

Time Pass

  1. Sultan – One time watch movie. Watch out for Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Jag Ghumiya song
  2. Housefull3 – See it if you don’t have any thing else to do.
  3. BaaghiWatch it for Tiger Shroffs action and for Shradda Kapoor
  4. Ki & Ka – A nice concept went wrong, still can be a one time watch
  5. Dishoom – Varun Dhawan keeps the movie entertaining

Risky

  1. Happy Bhag Jayegi – Avoid, nothing in it

Malayalam

Hall of Fame

  1. Maheshinte Prathikaaram –  Worth a watch.
  2. Action Hero Biju – One of the best movie of 2016
  3. James & Alice –  A rare and different love story
  4. Jacobinte Swargarajyam –  One of the best movie of 2016
  5. Kammatti Paadam  – A serious drama
  6. Anuraga Karikkin Vellam  – Humour , romance and some good acting
  7. Happy Wedding –  The premam boys does a good job
  8. James & Alice 

Time Pass

  1. King Liar –  A good Dileep movie after a long time.
  2. Ithu Thanda Police – Time pass
  3. Pavada – Time pass
  4. Kali  – Watch it for Dulquer and Sai Pallavi
  5. Oppam  – A nice concept without a good script.
  6. Annmariya Kalipilanu – Time pass
  7. Marubhoomiyile Aana – Watch it for Biju Menon

Risky

  1. Valleem Thetti Pulleem Thetti – Just like the title no head and tail.
  2. Darvinte Parinamam
  3. Hallelooya
  4. Leela  – Failed to understand the concept
  5. Oozham – Watch it out only if you are hardcore Prithvi fan
  6. Welcome to Central Jail – Waste of time
  7. Pretham – Easily avoidable
  8. Kasaba
  9. IDI – How can you make movies like that

 

English

Hall of Fame

  1. The Jungle Book 
  2. Whiplash (2014) . An intense movie which focuses on the relationship between a hardworking Jazz student and extremely rebuking and abusive teacher.
  3. Blood Father  – Week story, could be watched for Mel Gibson
  4. Hector and the search for happiness (2014)  Its about Hector a sad Psychiatrist in search of happiness. ” Everybody has an obligation to be happy” is the moral of the story
  5. Locke (2013) –This movie can be perhaps be compared to “Phone Booth”. Tom Hardy flawlessly delivers one of his best performances. Even though he is the only character you can see on the frame but he keeps you hooked on to the screen. A must watch
  6. The Gift (2014) – Impressed with the climax.
  7. The Infiltrator – Slow but thrilling movie . Outstanding climax.
  8. Hell or High Water – Watch out for the Bank Heist 
  9. 12 Angry Men (1957) – How did i miss this one

Time Pass

  1. The Central Intelligence – The movie had no intelligence
  2. Focus (2015) – Watch out for the first 30 minutes how Will Smith handles a 1 Grand bet.
  3. Run all Night (2015) – Watch out if you are Liam Neeson fan

Risky

  1. The Gamblar (2014) – Can be avoided, I dint see any features of Mark Wahlberg.

Remembering Swami Chinmayananda

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“If I rest, I rust” is one of most exalting quotes of Swami Chinmayananda, which I often listened during my school days at Chinmaya Vidyalaya. Today I am able to recite a few stanzas of Bhagavat Gita, thanks to those numerous Balavihar (open session on bhajans) that I attended during the school academics. Back then these sessions seemed vexing and were a convenient place to gibber. I never realized that these were intended to sow in the seeds of spirituality, a much needed accompaniment as we progress in life. I had the privilege of seeing Swamiji when I was in class 3. Memory of that time can be flimsy but that pious figure , clad in saffron dhoti, a saffron cloth covering one side of the bare chest, the pointed silver colored beard, spectacle and eyes equally brightening, etched deep in my mind.

I still recollect the story narrated by Swamiji to us students on that rainy day. It was the story of a king and his ministers. The king had two sets of ministers, left wing and right wing. During an extreme summer season water scarcity became an acute issue in the kingdom and people flocked to complain. King took a decision to dig new wells in the kingdom. King called upon his left wing ministers and asked them to oversee the digging of the wells. Due to the peculiarity of the land, the well had to be dug very deep to get the water. The ministers got the work done in a weeks’ time.

When the rainy season arrived the same people popped out with another issue to the king. The mud that was taken out during the digging of the well had piled up in every nook and corner and eventually clogged and congested the entire city. King ordered his right wing ministers to deal with it. These ministers took the mud and closed up the very wells that left wing ministers had dug. See the comedy of errors. Neither the king nor the ministers were wise enough to handle the situation. The message which Swamiji wanted to convey was the importance of being wise. When we do not make the full use of our mind and intellect, they lose their efficiency and the outcome either fallible or ludicrous.

On the day Swamiji attained peace on 3rd Aug 1993; our school organized a silent procession through the town. Various functions were held and in one of them the then principal of our school Mr. Kunhambu Nair gave an emotional speech on various facets of Swamiji’s life. One among them was Swamiji’s involvement in freedom struggle. Before embracing asceticism, Balan, the erstwhile name of Swamiji, took part actively in freedom struggle and was jailed. Due to unhygienic condition of the jail Swamiji caught typhoid and was chucked into the outskirts of the city. Perhaps this part of his life remains obscure to many.

Chinmayananda means ‘filled with the bliss of pure Consciousness’. Swamiji was a teacher who essentially lived to spread Bhagavad Gita. Swamiji had a expressive style for reciting Gita. Through various publications and discourses Swamiji explicated Gita in a way the common man could easily follow it. Recently I got added to the Chinmaya Vidyalaya group in Facebook and when I started reading his teachings I realized the irony. I was associated with Chinmaya Vidyalaya, an institution established by Swamiji, for more than a decade but never really tried to understand his teachings in deep. May be it is now time to give a start and follow his pedagogy.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – Book Review

Siddhartha — In pursuit of Enlightenment

Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. Wisdom cannot be passed on. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.” Vishal Sikka quoted this line from the book Siddhartha by Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse during his key note lecture in the SAP TechEd conference. The lines quite impressed me. When I read the book for the first time I could not comprehend it fully. But recently I read it again, with a fresh appreciation I realized that the book renders a much needed spiritual insight to our digressed mundane life.

Siddhartha & Govinda

The book is not about Buddha, but of a young Indian Brahman, Siddhartha, who along with his friend Govinda is in pursuit of enlightenment. Siddhartha at his young age nurses discontent and starts to feel that the love of his parent or love of his friend, Govinda, would not bring him joy forever. Siddhartha tells Govinda one day that he wants to become Samanas (ascetic) in search of spiritual illumination. Siddhartha seeks permission from his father to leave the house but his father refuses. Adamant on his decision Siddhartha stands whole night without moving an inch.

Cognizant that his son’s mind has already left him, with a heavy heart his father gives him consent to leave. Siddhartha and Govinda then lead the life of Samanas indulging in the routine of sacrifice, chanting, and meditation. Siddhartha realizes that even with this he is not going to attain the salvation he is seeking. Then they hear about Gotama, the exalted one, and his teachings. Longing to hear Gotama’s teaching they leave the Samanas.

Buddha

It is fascinating to see how beautifully Hesse handles the rendezvous of Gotama and Siddhartha. Siddhartha and Govinda meet Gotama in a village and are blessed to hear his teaching from Gotama himself. Govinda realizes that he has reached his destination, decides to join Gotama and requests Siddhartha also to join along with him. But Siddhartha doubts whether Gotama’s teaching is of much help to him. Siddhartha meets Gotama and the conversation between them is one of the very interesting sections of the book.

Siddhartha says to Gotama” You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realizations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! And — thus is my thought, oh exalted one, — nobody will obtain salvation by means of teachings! Gotama acknowledges Siddhartha’s concern and gives his consent to leave with a message “You know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be aware of too much wisdom!” Excited that he has met someone who has reached the helm of enlightenment and knows that is the state of mind he wants to achieve Siddhartha moves on.

Awakening

As Siddhartha walks through, he ponders a new sensation. A feel of high, a proud state of standing along without teaching and without teachers, a supple willingness to listen to the divine voice in his own heart and suddenly Siddhartha realizes that he has reached a bright state of being awake. He looked around, as if he was seeing the world for the first time. The world around him seemed beautiful and colorful and Siddhartha emerged more a self than before.

But each time Siddhartha obtains a new knowledge it only kindles a new thirst in him and this time was no different.

Siddhartha tries a new path and this time he had to pay the price.

Sansara

Siddhartha falls in love with a courtesan Kamala and had to become a merchant to suit the lifestyle of Kamala. Though initially lust, richness, money doesn’t affect Siddhartha but eventually he succumbs to the vicious circle of Sansara. Slowly the disease of the soul, which rich people have, grabbed hold of him.

OM

With the help a ferryman, Vasudeva, Siddhartha gets back in the path of enlightenment again. It was a daunting task for Siddhartha whose mind was week and in depraved condition. Vasudeva steers Siddhartha in the right direction and ask him to just listen to the river. Siddhartha become nothing but a listener .And when Siddhartha was listening attentively to this river, this song of a thousand voices, when he neither listened to the suffering nor the laughter, when he did not tie his soul to any particular voice and submerged his self into it, but when he heard them all, perceived the whole, the oneness, then the great song of the thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was Om: the perfection. Siddhartha gets enlightened.

Siddhartha & Govinda

Towards the end of the book, Govinda meets his friend Siddhartha, both old now, asks him what his findings of life was. Siddhartha express his thoughts as mentioned below.

Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else…

The opposite of every truth is just as true! That’s like this: any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided…

To thoroughly understand the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be the thing great thinkers do. But I’m only interested in being able to love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to look upon it and me and all beings with love and admiration and great respect…”

Why should you read this book?

What I have written above is not even a glimpse of the book. The book is aesthetically written and definitely going to impress you. Vishal Sikka quoted the lines from the book in the context of using technology. According to him the great purpose of technology should be to achieve wisdom, to transcend our abilities, our senses and get closer to our potential and limits of humanity. This is just an illustration of how enriching the book is. There is this part in the book where Siddhartha gets into the ordinary life but fully detached from the fruits of his deeds which is a fascinating read. In the last episode Govinda gets a cosmic vision in Siddhartha which is equivalent to Arjuna’s vision of the cosmic form of Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Throughout the course of the novel using various facets of life of the protagonist, Siddhartha, the writer passes on very simple but profound messages to the reader which is why I recommend this to be in your reading list.

Road Repair – Inconvenience is Not Regretted

Imagine a patient is undergoing a surgery and on successful completion of the operation doctor tells him “well the surgery was successful, but find somebody to stitch your cuts, its not my job”.  This is exactly what is happening to our roads in the city. Authorities whether they are from water , electricity, telephone , broadband or mobile companies, all are merrily digging up the roads for their respective repair works and vanish without restoring back the road . Not that we don’t have enough pot holes, these digging  leaves tributaries on the road adding further to the traffic snarls .Below is the picture of one such excavation done at the exit gate of my office by some authorities. Its been more than a week and no civic authority has patched up the road.

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Also there is another corollary to this , the moment a new road is laid or patched up the very next day you can find people digging up the road. May be people get some peculiar happiness or Nirvana while doing these digging which they don’t get while laying up the road. We are very very far from becoming a smart city. Nevertheless these inconveniences remain as parts and parcel of our life and  we are also happy to live with it.