Pickin And Grinnin.

This is my contribution to the Weekly Loose Bloggers’ Consortium (LBC) endeavour to post on one single topic every Friday. Today’s topic has been suggested by Lin.  I hope that you enjoyed reading my contribution.

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I was dragged away by Ramesh during my siesta time yesterday, screaming and yelling all the way to the theater to watch this movie.

In retrospect however, I am glad that Ramesh dragged me to it. A film based on real and very much alive events of the last few years brought to Indian audiences without any major hiccups is a tribute to the way the story has been handled.

Other than the names Gulzar, though not the first name there, Irrfan Khan and Vishal Bharadwaj, I had not heard of any of the others involved in the film and I agreed to go based on just one name. Irrfan Khan. And he never disappoints me. He did not in this case either.

Enough has been written about the film by critics comparing it to various genres of films from across the world and I don’t want to join the chorus. I have followed the real story with some interest and have despaired at the ham handed way in which the whole case has been handled by the police and the media; so much so that it has become a big joke about our system.

The film does exactly what it is supposed to do. Keep viewers as ignorant as to who the possible murderer/s were in real life and speculate about the future of the currently in jail, parents convicted of murdering their child.

Those who have not followed the real life story on which this film is based,  will find the viewing experience unusual with all kinds of sub plots working their ways through the narration and thus be entertained to a rather different from the usual Hindi film experience.

One scene that will always remain in my memory is the retiring Director of the CDI telling his Assistant “The public sees the statue of justice as blindfolded, with scales in one hand,” It doesn’t see the sword in the other hand.  The sword is us, the police.  That sword has rusted through 60 years of disuse.  We have a real chance to clean some of that rust through your investigation of the double murder case in the 32 days before I retire.” That particular scene and the Retired Director’s return for another meeting later are powerful and difficult scenes that have been handled very well by the cast and the Director.  There are many other scenes which are memorable to lesser extent and I compliment Meghna Gulzar who apparently has directed other films which have escaped my attention.

Creditable performances by all concerned makes it a worthwhile viewing and I have no hesitation in giving it a full rating.

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India Post.

Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 6.49.45 PM

That is the notice that I received after I had received a parcel from Amazon India. On checking back on some other orders, I found that this was the second time that a parcel had been delivered to me by India Posts.

I think that this is a remarkable innovation from a Government Department which had lost the parcel and speed post business to couriers. On investigating on the web for how this came about, I found this article which gives a detailed analysis of what is happening.

I am impressed.

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A Walk In The Woods – The Book.

Tammy has this fascinating post on Old Men up in her blog which is worth a read and even more interesting are the comments and responses from her to them.

I had commented there – “Here is another old man appreciating what you say about old men though I may not be as rugged as Redford and Nolte! Neither Blu Ray nor DVD has been released yet, but I intend reading the book first. It will of course go to the back of the list of books to be read!” and she had responded in her inimitable and typical style with:

there you are you old rascal. shamed into it! LOL.
all is right in my world now.
i am also going to read the book.

I sent for the book and it arrived in two days’ time. Since I had read the author’s two earlier books I was curious as to what he had written that could have persuaded someone to make a film of it and so, instead of shoving it to the back of the list of “To Be Read” books, I commenced reading it immediately and finished reading it yesterday.

Now I am more than eager to watch the movie because the book is a travlogue though quite typically funny and engaging. The role played by Nick Nolte is a very small one in the book and I am curious as to how his role could have been stretched.

This ofcourse led me back to my experience with Wild and I wonder if something like this or completely different will be the result of the making of the film version.

I can’t wait to see the film.

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When my friend Nandu posted this on his facebook wall, I was intrigued after seeing the clip that was attached. “Recently watched the movie ” Hereafter” on DVD having missed it first time round ( released 2010 ) – unbelievable that I did , considering it is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Matt Damon !! Here is the most awesome ( near ) opening scene which should whet anyone’s appetite to see the brilliant movie if they have missed it!”

I promptly sent for a DVD of it and even briefly mentioned it in my post “Too Strange.” In that post, I had mentioned that I will eventually review the film and this is the review.

Let me start off by saying that with the hype of Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon being the motivating factors behind the decision to send for the DVD, I was a bit disappointed with the whole experience and in my post on “Too Strange”, this is what I had said – “Seeing “Hereafter” was a very unusual and indescribable experience. It is more so because it has been produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and one naturally wonders as to what prompted him to do so on a film with such an odd theme. Be that as it may, it is not a film that I would have seen had it not been recommended by someone I knew and so the surprise.”

The film revolves around three individuals whose various experiences eventually bring them together and two of them to a romantic relationship as well. The common thread that does this is one individual, played by Matt Damon being able to “connect” with dead people. That is what would have normally put me off from seeing the film but I was intrigued enough to see what it was all about.

That connecting with the dead part plays a small role but portrayal of the three individuals by Matt Damon, Cécile de France and a young lad Frankie McLaren is of the highest order and I must credit the director Clint Eastwood for getting such performances out of them. He has also avoided over use of the mystery aspect of the story and has brought the human elements to the fore which is creditable.

The story however lacks credibility, at least with me and therefore, despite it having been produced by another icon Steven Spielberg, I cannot see myself giving the film more than a  rating.  Had I investigated a little more before I rushed to buy the DVD, I would not have spent the 130 minutes watching it.  There are however people who are intrigued by the occult and mediums and such paranormal phenomena to whom this it likely to appeal, particularly with such a famous producer/director/actor team.

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Beard II.


You have to first read my earlier post – Why My Beard.

After that, you may read this fascinating article in the NYT.

If we still think that only women are worried about their looks, it is time to change that opinion.  And, baby faced men, there is hope yet for you!

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The following is a translation of a tale in our Hitopadesha by Edwin Arnold.

The Story of the Prince and the Procuress

“In the city of ‘Golden-Streets’ there reigned a valorous King, named Vira-vikrama, whose officer of justice was one day taking away to punishment a certain Barber, when he was stopped by a strolling mendicant, who held him by the skirts, and cried out, ‘Punish not this man—punish them that do wrong of their own knowledge.’

Being asked his meaning, he recited the foregoing verses, and, being still further questioned, he told this story— “I am Prince Kandarpa-ketu, son of the King of Ceylon. Walking one day in my summer-garden, I heard a merchant-captain narrating how that out at sea, deep under water, on the fourteenth day of the moon, he had seen what was like nothing but the famous tree of Paradise and sitting under it a lady of most lustrous beauty, bedecked with strings of pearls like Lakshmi herself, reclining, with a lute in her hands, on what appeared to be a golden couch crusted all over with precious stones.

At once I engaged the captain and his ship, and steered to the spot of which he told me. On reaching it I beheld the beautiful apparition as he had described it, and, transported with the exquisite beauty of the lady, I leapt after her into the sea. In a moment I found myself in a city of gold; and in an apartment of a golden palace, surrounded by young and beautiful girls, I found the Sea-queen. She perceived my approach, and sent an attendant with a courteous message to meet me. In reply to my questions, I learned that the lady was the Princess Ratnamanjari, daughter of the King of All the Spirits—and how she had made a vow that whoever should first come to see her golden city, with his own eyes, should marry her.

So I married her by the form called Gundharva or ‘Union by mutual consent,’ and spent many and happy days in her delightful society. One day she took me aside, and said, ‘Dear Prince! all these delights, and I myself, are thine to enjoy; only that picture yonder, of the Fairy Streak-o’- Gold, that thou must never touch!’ For a long time I observed this injunction; at last, impelled by resistless curiosity, I laid my hand on the picture of ‘Streak-o’-Gold,’ In one instant her little foot, lovely as the lotus-blossom, advanced from out of the painting, and launched me through sea and air into my own country.

Since then I have been a miserable wanderer; and passing through this city, I chanced to lodge at a cow- keeper’s hut, and saw the truth of this Barber’s affair. The herdsman returned at night with his cattle, and found his wife talking with the wife of the Barber, who is no better than a bawd. Enraged at this, the man beat his wife, tied her to the milking-post, and fell asleep. In the dead of the night the Barber’s wife came back, and said to the woman, ‘He, whom thou knowest, is burnt with the cruel fire of thine absence, and lies nigh to death; go therefore and console him, and I will tie myself to the post until thou returnest.’ This was done, and the cow-keeper presently awoke. ‘Ah! thou light thing!’ he said jeeringly, ‘why dost not thou keep promise, and meet thy gallant?’ The Barber’s wife could make no reply; whereat becoming incensed, the man cried out, ‘What! dost thou scorn to speak to me? I will cut thy nose off!’ And so he did, and then lay down to sleep again.

Very soon the cow-keeper’s wife came back and asked if ‘all was well.’ ‘Look at my face!’ said the Barber’s wife, ‘and you will see if all is well.’ The woman could do nothing but take her place again, while the Barber’s wife, picking up the severed nose, and at a sad loss how to account for it, went to her house. In the morning, before it was light, the Barber called to her to bring his box of razors, and she bringing one only, he flung it away in a passion. ‘Oh, the knave!’ she cried out, directly, aloud, ‘Neighbors, neighbors! he has cut my nose off!’ and so she took him before the officers.

The cow-keeper, meantime, wondering at his wife’s patience, made some inquiry about her nose; whereto she replied, ‘Cruel wretch! thou canst not harm a virtuous woman. If Yama and the seven guardians of the world know me chaste, then be my face unmaimed!’ The herdsman hastened to fetch a light, and finding her features unaltered, he flung himself at her feet, and begged forgiveness.

For, ‘Never tires the fire of burning, never wearies death of slaying, Nor the sea of drinking rivers, nor the bright-eyed of betraying.’ Thereupon the King’s officer dismissed Kandarpa-ketu, and did justice by setting the Barber free, shaving the head of the Barber’s wife, and punishing the Cowkeeper’s.

This topic was suggested by Padmum for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us are supposed to write on the same topic every Friday. Unfortunately, most have not been doing so, and I hope that matters will improve soon. In the meanwhile, I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort this week.  The seven other bloggers who areexpected to write regularly are, in alphabetical order, AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin, and Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

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Too Strange!


On the 22nd of September, my cousin who shares my passion for reading, rang me to advice me to get a copy of “Proof of Heaven: by Eben Alexander”.  I ordered for it immediately with Amazon and it was delivered to me on the 23rd inst.

hereafterI could not put the book down and finished reading it on the 25th September. In between, on Facebook, my friend Nandu reviewed a film “Hereafter” and since it was the first time that Nandu had recommended a film, I sent for it too and it was delivered on the 26th inst. I was able to see the film only today though as I was preoccupied with other matters including seeing some other films both at home and at the theater.


While I was reading about Dr. Alexander’s experiences and wondering whether I should go back to read Fritjof Capra, Amazon, as it is wont to, sent me a list of books that may be of interest to me and it was Quantum And The Lotus by Matthieu Ricard, and Trinh Xuan Thuan. I have sent for this book instead of going back to Capra and it is expected to be delivered tomorrow.

One recommendation leading to two others and all tying up nicely into a subject that has suddenly occupied my mind.

Seeing “Hereafter” was a very unusual and indescribable experience.  It is more so because it has been produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and one naturally wonders as to what prompted him to do so on a film with such an odd theme.  Be that as it may, it is not a film that I would have seen had it not been recommended by someone I knew and so the surprise.

While I reserve a review of the film for later, this post is to comment on the chain of events that is as mysterious as the subject matter of Near Death Experiences and Life Hereafter!

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The Intern.


Catch me not going to a movie with Robert De Niro in it. Despite my partner in crime Ramesh being preoccupied with a second honeymoon as he calls it, I managed to go all alone to watch the movie earlier this afternoon.

And I fell in love with Nancy Meyers who has written the story and directed this film. For the first time ever in my film going experiences, I came across a writer and director who has understood men of my generation and has produced a character in Ben Whitaker, so ably portrayed by De Niro, with who I totally identified. When he tells one of his younger colleagues, “A man carries a handkerchief to give to ladies who cry’, my heart melted. The younger males portrayed are so real modern IT types that I meet all the time and I thought that this film could be made in India and the story would resonate with Indian viewers, at least in the cities.

I have seen Anne Hathaway in other films notably, Brokeback Mountain and Les Miserables. In this, she portrays the moving spirit behind a successful start up internet based company and she does a magnificent job.

What do I need to say about De Niro. For the first time ever, his portrayal, thanks to the storyline and superb direction, sends the message loud and clear that male roles showing gentle, kind and sensitive men can also succeed in movies. He produces such an unusual performance that my already high opinion of his histrionic ability got reinforced.

It is a fantastic movie, without any of the violence, melodrama, sex etc that seem to permeate modern films and I will be very surprised if it does not succeed in the box office and may even get an Oscar or two.

Don’t miss it. I wish that I could give a higher rating than .

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Lucky Number Slevin.


A few days ago my friend Hendi posted a clip of this film on her facebook, I suspect, to show the histrionic abilities of Ben Kingsley and Josh Hartnett. She commented on it being funny rather than anything else.

Not having even heard of this film and because Ben Kingsley was featured in it, I investigated and found that apart from Ben Kingsley, the film also featured Bruce Willis, Lucy Lieu and Morgan Freeman. I was hooked. On further investigation, I also found that I could borrow the DVD from a local library rather than punch a hole in Ranjan’s legacy and so it was that I saw it earlier this evening.

Apart from the four actors, I had not heard of anyone else involved in the making of this film and another interesting piece of information that I gathered is that a rip off of the film in Telugu was made here but it flopped.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the film and thank Hendi for sharing the clip.  I was also very lucky that the DVD worked just fine unlike some other experiences that I have had with borrowed from the library DVDs.

If you have not seen the film and you like the Crime Thriller genre, this is quite a watchable film despite it running for and hour and fifty minutes. Since I saw it at home, I could pause and do other things in between but even had it been in a theater, I think that I would have been able to see it through without complaining about its length. I give it a reasonable rating and hope that it influences you to try and see it.

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