Showing posts from 2023

Mandatory year end post

Till I started with the title this time, I didn’t realize when the “mandatory year end post” actually became “mandatory”!! I actually checked the back dated entries and looks like it’s been the case at least since 2015! What started as a copycat attempt, reading other bloggers year ending posts, became a “tradition”! Idhelaam our pozhappanu kekapdaathu. This year was nothing different from last year, but for the same cribbing’s in professional space and losing touch with few more familiar faces on personal side. Afraid that at this rate, I could soon be the Jack Reacher of my own world – minus the Hulk-y figure and height. For the uninitiated, Jack Reacher is a character created by Lee child that is presently into its second season on Amazon Prime. Somehow it feels like a repeat of everything that has already happened in my life, be it the kind of people I get involved with or for the situations and scenarios that I undergo. I read an article about “Glitch in Matrix” kind of situations

The Starless crown by James Rollins – book review

I follow James Rollins regularly for he is one author who publishes a book per year - specifically on sigma series. Not sure if he is prolific across other genres as well but sigma series is my favorite for its mind-boggling premises and pacy presentation. I was attracted by the title of this one and when I saw the author as Rollins was under the impression that it might’ve been ghost written or co-written by someone who is leveraging on the fame of Rollins. But apparently this is completely a work of Rollins and to be honest after reading the book the initial doubt still recurs strongly – was it really written by Rollins?!! Not just the theme but the language and presentation every single aspect that is a trademark of his other books are completely missing. Language, of course, is different because of the genre and the way in which it has been presented, but the simplistic approach and straight forward story telling via dialogues was majorly missing in this book. At over 600 pages thi

Stormy situation

When I was a school going kid, I hardly remember Chennai being hit by any unnatural weather condition with the only constant weather being hot sun all day and humid nights. Cloud bursts, unseasonal rains, historic heavy downpour, months’ worth of rain falling on a single day were all unheard-of phenomena. The only indication for rain, other than the usual retreating monsoon, being, if it was more than usual hotter during the daytime, it may potentially rain during the night. The street next to my house, on the way to my school, will become a mini swimming pool even for slight drizzles. We were staying on a chawl kind of setup with common bathroom toilet, that would overflow with stagnant water. The door frames of the restroom and the pipeline inside will be teeming with cockroaches of all sizes and color, that made might have traumatized me for life. Different post for a different time.  During my college days, the rains began to get messier with water logging becoming a common occurre

Dhootha – drama series

Yet another horror/thriller/ghost/psychological genre presentation from Vikram Kumar, whose previous creations include 13B (Yaavarum Nalam in Tamil and probably one of the best ghost thriller movie), 24 (the triple action Surya movie), Manam (a wonderful movie spanning 3 generations which was originally played by 3 generation star from Akkineni household) and couple of other movies as well. Kudos to the director for not meddling with what he was trying to tell and how, sticking to his strengths and having the ending as how it is.  The series start off with Naga Chaitanya, a corrupt reporter, trying to reach his wife and while searching for a charger he finds a box load of newspaper clippings. The clippings play a pivotal role throughout the series across all episodes and literally move the story forward. Of the 2 female leads, Priya bavani who plays his wife has a slightly bigger role than Prachi who plays his assistant. There is a surprise element which is maintained throughout the se

Garudan – movie review

Off late the thriller movies that come out of Malluwood are top notch. Probably the stupendous success of Drishyam has lent a fresh breath to this genre. Garudan is the latest offering in this genre and is quite up there when it comes to story telling and presentation. The story begins with a college girl getting assaulted in a rainy evening and basis eyewitness accounts and DNA tests, the culprit is caught quite easily by the police. The way they collect DNA samples, would that be admissible in court and all those nitty gritty loopholes apart, the culprit is sentenced to prison immediately. His entire world collapses, having been shunt out by his own family and friends, losing out on his job and even subjected to routine assault within jail premises as well. After finishing the sentence, he comes out and tries to reconcile with his family who would’ve nothing to do with him. He is humiliated wherever he goes and one fine day, a very particular day as well, he decides to file a lawsuit

Einstein’s secretary by Matthew Reilly

I finally realized what was needed to push me back to clear up my backlog of books, a cyclone and complete power shutdown!! Hopefully for the remaining books, I wouldn’t require such a “strong” motivator!!  After the Jack West series got over, wasn’t sure of what to expect next from him. There was a movie which he made that was, well, typically his style with all mayhem and doomsday level destruction awaiting to happen at a literal click of a button with just the lead character being the last line of defense/defiance between apocalypse and aftermath. The other standalone novel “Cobalt Blue” which he may potentially turn into a series, was again not so enthusing as it felt like reading a script of a Marvel movie minus the visual effects.  In Einstein’s secretary, he produces an interesting way of storytelling, more on the lines of “How I met your mother” drama series, where clips from future episodes are strewn all around the season, making the audience curious and hooked on to when tha

The Christmas guest by Peter Swanson – book review

Peter Swanson is well and truly back! He redeems himself with this book after a series of duds across last few years. He started off with a big bang in “Kind worth Killing”, “Girl with Clock for a heart” and “Her every fear”. But was unable to match up to the bar he had set for himself. His next releases were bad or borderline average to say the least. With “Christmas Guest”, his smallest in terms of number of pages, I guess he has found back his story telling form. Like Agatha Christie, who had a penchant for producing brain twisting plots, even though they were majorly set within a closed setup – be it a single room or a house or on a ship or train for that matter. She was the queen of mysteries related to confined spaces. Swanson’s strength is on Point of view kind of storytelling. One of the other reasons that I prefer reading him being, there are only a handful of characters with simple sounding names. Each of those characters are reinforced on the readers, chapter after chapter,

Of looks and other things

It was several years ago when I read an article about the most good-looking man in the world for that year. It was my first experience with such metrics and never had I came across such labels and tags, which became quite common place in last decade or so. The man in picture was Denzel Washington who hadn’t won his Oscar then and was featuring on many a hit movie. “Crimson tide” was the first movie that I saw featuring Denzel, which was spoken about well at that time. I saw the movie a good ten years after it was released, but the persona which he carried on screen lingered for a while. He came across as an irritated frustrated soul who was literally a moment away from punching his captain, still managing to control his emotions and do his duty to the best of his ability. The next movie that I saw of him was “Training day” that I happened to see on IIT Madras Amphitheatre. It was the only movie that I saw on IIT campus and contrary to the previous one, was not so impressed with Denzel

Of triumph and disaster

 There is this thing called “Australianism” defined by John Arlott that I found to resonate with across decades now, ever since I first read it. Meaning it applies to squad after squad, leader after leader, captain after captain, cutting across formats and continents, for those magnificent men in yellow or white, depending on the format. According to Arlott – “Australianism' means single-minded determination to win - to win within the laws but, if necessary, to the last limit within them. It means where the 'impossible' is within the realm of what the human body can do, there are Australians who believe that they can do it - and who have succeeded often enough to make us wonder if anything is impossible to them. It means they have never lost a match - particularly a Test match - until the last run is scored or their last wicket down.” You can add a small event called world cup finals as well to this definition.  My earliest memory of a heart break after watching a cricket f

Of OTT, TV and future

Ever since Corona burst into limelight, there had been murmurs around similar incident-based themes ruling the storylines across all “woods” for time to come. OTT has seriously taken to Virus attacks as a theme and with “Kaalapaani” being a runaway hit, obviously it has spawned many such similar story lines. The recent one being PI Meena on Prime. What starts as a hit and run case, very quickly morphs into bio terror plot with the perps stretching all the way across Eastern and Northern India till Middle east Asia and beyond. Another noteworthy thing that has happened since the dawn of OTT being, newer and nascent locales in India are being explored for very first time. There are so many series coming up and running already, that are based on the far neglected Eastern side of the Indian subcontinent. Even character wise NE Indians hardly found proper representation for they didn’t just look different than those from mainland and rest of the country, but their cultures were distinctly d

Random ramblings

We had a LIFCO dictionary (English to Tamil) that had several things other than usual words and meanings. It had a section called proverbs which had English proverbs and their equivalent in Tamil. One proverb that I remember, in particular, related to the context of this post, is “Art is long, life is short”. I never realized the meaning of these proverbs, but it got stuck in my head. In the aftermath of Mathew Perry’s demise, also for a fact that I hadn’t watched any episode of friend in a past few months, randomly selected an episode from one of the earlier seasons. In that episode, The one with Barry and Mindy’s wedding, Chandler happens to meet someone online. That person, whom he believes is a lady while others caution that it could be anyone pretending to be one on the internet, advises him to be his true self. That person suggests Chandler to come out of his humor façade and face the real world in his real self. When he tries to be a regular person, reacting non-sarcastically, i

Of understanding and accepting

The more I write on these introspection series, the more I realize how confusing it becomes how I often end up admonishing myself for over thinking even minute details. The process by which you can draw a line on how much is too much is very difficult to identify and maintain for any action, leave alone thinking. And if I am not thinking about things that impact me, who else will!! Be it on professional or personal circumstances, I often find myself at odds with my own thoughts and how others deal with such similar situations. At the outset, people easily tag me as an overthinker who is very sensitive and reactive. But when they go through similar situations, they feel their responses are more measured. From my observations, I find that, the very people with whom I open up, often end up being those who tag me as such. Maybe I am bad in identifying people that I can confide in or to get clarity or advice. When I try to segregate my thoughts as those that I can action and those that are

Kaala paani – drama series review

Whenever I saw a decent web series in English, I often wondered why such concepts are not made in India. With story telling being in our genes, we should be much better than the crap that get churned out in the name of originals and specials that cost a bomb to those OTT channels that produce them. To answer this anguish comes Kala paani or as I would like to say, the best series ever produced, written and made in India. It is the perfect script, perfect storyline with perfect casting, perfect setting and pulsating finale that sets the series up for next season, on the lines of other famous series across the world. The dialogues are sharp and noticeable which add weight to the characters, the sequences are well thought through and connected to make them complete and above all the location – Andaman!! When was the last time an India movie, leave alone language specific industry ever came out with a story based on Andaman!!! The only instance I remember is Andaman Kaadhali, a Sivaji movi

Tides of fire by James Rollins – book review

Another interesting novel by Rollins with an intriguing premise. Typically, his premises will involve global devastation by manmade or historical/urban legend kind of weapons, where the good guys (SIGMA team) and bad guys race/fight against each other to own the weapon. Off late, be it in movies and now even on novels, Russians seems to have been replaced by Chinese as the antagonists for American heroes. Ditto with this book as well. In fact, for last couple of books what was being hinted, is a full-blown battle between PLA and SIGMA team, where in, like every Hollywood movie, the good guys in the bad guys team, side up with the good guys team (read Americans) and fight against their own team, to save the world. The premise in Tides of fire being mother earth and her secrets under the sea, being fought over to be made as the ultimate weapon.   Couple of things that made me wonder once the book got over were – was this really written by Rollins or ghost written by Matthew Reilley!! Be

Of simple past and complex present

An interesting trend is happening in front of our eyes and wonder how long it will take before it morphs into a being that is resisted and fought against. I am talking about how adulthood had eaten into cartoon space and how the stories that were once meant to entertain children has grown way beyond into the domain of adults. When I first came across the concept of “comic-con” on Big bang theory drama series, it never struck me at that time. Even though those gatherings involved adults who were dressed up like their favorite superhero or comic character, it took me long to realize that more than being man child, in the name of reliving their childhood fetishes and likes, they are competing with kids for whom these creations were meant for. I am going with the premise that comics and superheroes are meant for kids to be inspired and if any adult feels the same way it’s a bonus for the creator. If that underlying premise itself is at fault, then do not read any further : ) I recently saw

Lucky man – tamil movie review

Lucky man (Tamil) is a Yogi Babu starrer that is quietly making waves on Amazon prime. I am not sure if its release was a theatrical success. But it has quickly climbed up to number 3 in all India view. The movie is tailor made for OTT watch and goes on to confirm the belief that even those movies that may fail at BO have another option to resurrect via OTT. Possibly the more such movies succeed in OTT, content providers may be inclined to make movies more suited for OTT. The advantage of such alternate mechanism being bigger movies that are commercially more expensive to produce will have free reign in theaters. The makers of such monster movies anyway trample small time producers, squeezing out theaters for releasing small budget movies and edge out their screen space. And even if they do manage to get a decent release, for the huge amount of money spent by average viewer to watch a movie on theater makes them feel deprived of value for their spent if the movie is slow paced or conte

Jaane Jaan – movie review

If there is one book that makes me relive it, every time I even think about it, that would be “Devotion of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino. The book has been made into several movies, some direct adaptations, some are pirated/inspired versions. But each of those versions have set their own mark on box office with “Drishyam” series (Papanasam in tamil) being the case for India. That the director of those series never officially acknowledged the movie to be an adaptation of the book, might’ve probably led to the direct adaptation to be made so soon and launched in India with Drishyam 2 (Hindi) being a more recent launch which was based on the premise of aftermath of the first part.  Jaane Jaan, as mentioned in the title card itself, is a very close adaptation of the book, right from its setting to its characterization. The director has chosen Eastern part of India as the setting, with majority of cast member being of Mongoloid features. The primary character being a martial arts specialist

Killing moon by Jo Nesbo

The latest installment of the Harry Hole series by Nesbo is by far one of the biggest as well. There are few authors whom I keep a tab on as they quite regularly churn out new books. The list includes Keigo Higashino, James Rollins, Matthew Reilley, Peter Swanson and Jo Nesbo. Of this lot, Matt Reilley, having completed his Jack West Jr. series, is on a silent mode. I’ve read almost all the English translated works of Keigo and haven’t come across any new book for a long while now. Nesbo took almost 2 years to produce this book since his last one (Knife) on Harry hole series. Peter Swanson and Rollins are in factory mode with at least one book every 12 months. I am big fan of the sigma series of Rollins and possibly the next post would be on the latest installment. Coming back to Killing moon, it has all the ingredients of a typical Harry hole thriller. To quote the producer of Varisu movie – Gruesome murders irukka – irukku. Physical abuse irukka – irukku. Harry sleeping with his asso

Of fear and strength

Gerascophobia. By the ending syllable one can easily figure out it is the name of a type of fear. It is probably one of the most famous fears of all times, stretching across centuries, spawning many a fairy tale and quest, something that most of silver screen actors are afraid off and narcissistic rich people try to fight against, a fear that has successfully fueled an entire industry called cosmetics – ageing. That big word, scary as it is by its size, is the term that relates to the fear of ageing. Be it our puranas or in some fairy tales across any region, ageing and the fight of humans to resist the same, has been a recurring theme, that has extended well into this AI age as well. It doesn’t just restrict to looks or glamour that comes with youth. It doesn’t just means having the vigor or strength that one enjoys in their prime. In a narrow cliched sliver of a sample, it also is caused due to the responsibilities and roles that comes with advancement in age and the lack of knowledg

Just junior things

Junior is very fond of jokes. A steady “diet” of Suppandi comics, in addition to Tinkle has only increased his appetite for jokes. He takes pride in remembering “kadi” jokes in English and cracks them at school. He claims that his classmates call him “jokester”, which could’ve probably be a self-anointed one!! From what I notice, he seems to pick the responses well and immediately identified those that doesn’t land. One day while out on a walk with him, he said something about dwindling insect population, and I was calmly listening. After a while he asked why I didn’t laugh!! I got confused and asked him why I should laugh for a fact. He then said, it was a joke on reducing number of insects and he has made it based on a scene from some cartoon! Then only I realized how serious he is in framing his own jokes! As usual I was droning on about how a joke is made basis my own understanding, which wasn’t convincing even for me. He was having a confused look on his face and asked how I’ve wo

The power of self

I often associate anger with fear. The more afraid you are, chances of you being short tempered are quite high, for any fear of misstep may trigger the short fuse, as a defense mechanism to protect one’s ego. On the other hand, the stronger your self-belief, the calmer you are, and it also imbibes a sense of compassion and empathy as well in the individual. For you to love and empathize with others, you need to have a sense of conviction about your own self and confident in your abilities. Without being self-assured it is not possible to provide assurance to others. All these observations are based on closely watching the activities of 2 people who literally mean the world to me. One is my sister and other is my best half. Both have same sense of duty consciousness and ability to impress by sheer perseverance and honesty. They have a nagging sense of idealism and are dead right honest to their work. Both have huge fan following amidst their respective org customers, who literally queue

Romanc(e)’in the movies

I’ve been thinking of posting this one for a long while now ever since “Modern Love” Chennai chapter was released on Prime. Modern Love series are basically anthology series inspired by Modern Love – American version. The series has its international version based on some famous cities and for India, till now, it covers Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai, with Bangalore being the surprising omission (so far)!!! While majority of the episodes from this series is dull, drab and for niche audience, with major focus on themes involving extra marital affairs, lgbqt. The series almost confirms that regular romance is non existent if not for the themes shown on these episodes. The one episode that I wanted to post about was probably the most cinematic of the entire series across all the cities. For its heart is in cinema and the protagonist is a movie buff that too of the romantic genre. It is inarguably the worst named one across the entire spectrum of Modern love series with its running title b

Mathagam – web series review

First up, about the title. A curiosity inducing one and when the meaning turned out to be forehead of an elephant, it did make one wonder how it related to the story line. With just 6 episodes, having average run time a touch under 40 mins, the series came with an added incentive of a short span as well. Above all with Manikandan, the present toast of Tamil cinema, who is breathing life into every character he plays, something that Vijay Sethupathi and Vikram used to do in their prime, playing the role of villain, being one of the many other reasons that made me watch this series.  The very first episode tests your patience with Atharva, the hero, hogging most of the screen time with his wooden expression, be it while conversing with his wife or with his sub-ordinate police officer or with his superiors. Wonder how he manages to retain the same reaction for every situation thrown in!!! The flake that kickstarts what ends up in a snowstorm of events happens within the first half hour an

Saare jahaan se acchha

23-8-23. Guess this would be the date that future generations will refer to when they are watching Earth from the moon.  The dark side of moon has always been a subject of inquiry and has/had a mystic about it. With its very second attempt, India and ISRO managing to reach there is nothing short of a phenomenon!! For a country that is in its 7th decade of being Independent, having been looted, pillaged, and ravished by colonial powers and foreign invaders for several centuries, and having to face humiliating treatment at the hands of those very powers who kept denying technical know-how and resources, our scientists showed the world up in a royal manner by landing Chandrayan-3 where no human has gone before. They dared to not just dream but proved the naysayers that, we are not just cheap skill and low wage resource laden country, but we can manage to land a craft on moon at 1/3rd the cost that those countries spend on making movies in that genre!! When Mangalyaan was launched successf

Tale of two Rajinis

When Amitabh was at his prime, age wise and career wise, he was touted as the “angry young man” who represented majority of the then youth. His style, voice, persona that were initially thought to be his bane, became his USP and established the phenomenon that he became. Rajini made a career for himself by remaking hits of Amitabh and in a way, owes his initial success story to the hits of Amitabh. Even though performance wise and personality wise they were chalk and cheese, the story that had already tasted success with a set audience, guaranteed a semblance of repeat when it got remade in local languages with regional flavor. Add to that the undeniable screen presence coupled with quirky mannerisms, which were initially frowned upon and eventually grew over the audience, Rajini carved an identity for himself as the angry young man for TN audiences. Even before his cult grew to its present frenzy, traces of its future were evident when movies where he never had a role, started referen

Tale of two and their end result

When reading the “Subtle art” book, mentioned on the previous post, I came across mentions about two real life personalities, who witnessed similar incidents in their life and how they responded. The first one was about Dave Mustaine was a guitarist in an up-and-coming band. His tenure with them was short lived mainly because of his unruly nature and rude behavior fueled by substance abuse. He was kicked away from the group that went on to become one of the most popular music bands of all time, reveling in the genre of heavy metal. The band was Metallica. It is quite natural, looking back at the success story that Metallica became, for Dave to have heart burn over missed opportunity. He, in fact, was no loser either. He started his own band called Megadeth, that had its own fair share of success. Only difference being, if Metallica sold 100 million copies Megadeth’s success was a mere small percentage of what Metallica could achieve. This was always lingering on Dave’s mind, and he cou