review

A versatile Tamil writer profiles Gemini Studios

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"Fourteen Years with Boss" is a fascinating, at times funny, account of how Ashokamitran, who would emerge as a leading light in Tamil literature, found work at Gemini Studios when he was financially distressed.

An insightful guide to finding a life partner

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Completely from a man's point of view, Sahil Thaker's brutally honest penned-down experiences give an insight as to how and on what basis people do or should look for their better half.

Does every man get a wonderful wife?

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Barring an exception or two, all the men in this collection seem to be happily married and shower wholesome praise on their better half. The narrative spans three generations. The stories are varied, mostly drawn from the middle class, some more appealing than the others.

Planning mayhem in Mumbai: A new view of 26/11

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The real truth behind the planning and preparation of 26/11 may never be known, but the duo present a most plausible reconstruction of it, though admitting that "at the end of it all, we knew what had happened and in what sequence and like all events there were some things which we could prove and some things that we could not. This narrative is a combination of verifiable facts and a professional's estimate of what happened and how".

Not-so-common wisdom for today's Aam Aadmi

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Sometimes it is the more simple, the uncommon "common" sense and sometimes counter-intuitive advice, presented almost informally rather than a diktat, that proves to be the best.

Religiosity must give way to spirituality

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The book makes for powerful reading, more so the interviews Agnivesh gave at different points of time and which figure towards the end. But there are concepts in the book that are difficult to digest.

The unbelievable psychology of conspiracy theories

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Is it the Illuminati? The Priory of Sion? The New World Order? A powerful bureaucracy, business corporation or media? All of them? No, it something more powerful - and inescapable.

How a pacifist religion became warrior-like

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Dhillon admits that the Sikh history he is unveiling is not new. Yet, in re-telling a story that is known, Dhillon - who taught English for 47 long years -- proves he is a great storyteller.

From Athens to Silicon Valley, a quest to understand genius

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Weiner's conclusions include genius being simple/nothing new/expensive/ practical/ chaotic/unintentional/contagious/weak, and requiring conducive social, political and economic conditions, which may not be very expected (freedom but not necessarily democracy, not too plenty or many choices, and tension and disruption can be useful).

How a rural caste elite became urban, modern middle class

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The Tamil Brahmans have also changed in many other ways. Although they tend to marry within the community, Iyers (or Shaivites) are seen as less conservative than Iyengars (or Vaishnavites).

REVIEW

Books

A versatile Tamil writer profiles Gemini Studios

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


"Fourteen Years with Boss" is a fascinating, at times funny, account of how Ashokamitran, who would emerge as a leading light in Tamil literature, found work at Gemini Studios when he was financially distressed.

An insightful guide to finding a life partner

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Completely from a man's point of view, Sahil Thaker's brutally honest penned-down experiences give an insight as to how and on what basis people do or should look for their better half.

Does every man get a wonderful wife?

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Barring an exception or two, all the men in this collection seem to be happily married and shower wholesome praise on their better half. The narrative spans three generations. The stories are varied, mostly drawn from the middle class, some more appealing than the others.

Planning mayhem in Mumbai: A new view of 26/11

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The real truth behind the planning and preparation of 26/11 may never be known, but the duo present a most plausible reconstruction of it, though admitting that "at the end of it all, we knew what had happened and in what sequence and like all events there were some things which we could prove and some things that we could not. This narrative is a combination of verifiable facts and a professional's estimate of what happened and how".

Not-so-common wisdom for today's Aam Aadmi

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Sometimes it is the more simple, the uncommon "common" sense and sometimes counter-intuitive advice, presented almost informally rather than a diktat, that proves to be the best.

Religiosity must give way to spirituality

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The book makes for powerful reading, more so the interviews Agnivesh gave at different points of time and which figure towards the end. But there are concepts in the book that are difficult to digest.

The unbelievable psychology of conspiracy theories

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Is it the Illuminati? The Priory of Sion? The New World Order? A powerful bureaucracy, business corporation or media? All of them? No, it something more powerful - and inescapable.

How a pacifist religion became warrior-like

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Dhillon admits that the Sikh history he is unveiling is not new. Yet, in re-telling a story that is known, Dhillon - who taught English for 47 long years -- proves he is a great storyteller.

From Athens to Silicon Valley, a quest to understand genius

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Weiner's conclusions include genius being simple/nothing new/expensive/ practical/ chaotic/unintentional/contagious/weak, and requiring conducive social, political and economic conditions, which may not be very expected (freedom but not necessarily democracy, not too plenty or many choices, and tension and disruption can be useful).

How a rural caste elite became urban, modern middle class

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The Tamil Brahmans have also changed in many other ways. Although they tend to marry within the community, Iyers (or Shaivites) are seen as less conservative than Iyengars (or Vaishnavites).

Movies

'Captain America: Civil War': A purposeless fantasy

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Picking up threads from Marvel's earlier films, this one weaves a plot that makes it tedious to view, as a lot of what matters in Civil War isn't actually in the film at all. It takes a while for the narrative to sink in. And, unlike in a conventional script, this one does not give enough time or space for each character to settle into the narration.

'Santa Banta Pvt Ltd' - A dud company

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With a convoluted plot that is neither exciting nor convincing, the narration trudges along an idiotic route that crosses paths with Shankar’s wife Kareena Roy (Neha Dhupia) and Shankar’s best friend Sonu Sultan (Ram Kapoor), along with Fiji’s RAW agents Cutie (Lisa Haydon) and Akbar Illahabaadi (Sanjay Mishra). They are also chased by Nepal No. One Don (Johnny Lever), who is in Fiji and has his own inexplicable axe to grind with them.

'Before I Wake': Unhurriedly slow scare tease

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Jacob Tremblay, who had earlier this year delivered a wonderful, heart rending performance in the Oscar-nominated film Room, once again, as Cody is charming. He gives an exceptionally realistic depiction of a timid, guilt-ridden and defensive child, all at the same time.

'Fan': Shah Rukh Khan's best in years

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From the sunny to the sinister, Shah Rukh’s Gaurav Chanana takes us on a roller-coaster ride across a plot which is propelled by pungency. The superstar gets some valuable support from co-actors like Sayani Gupta, Deepika Amin and Yogendra Tikoo whose presence is skillfully woven into the darkly disarming drama of a duel between the dapper star and his distressed disingenuous doppelganger.

'Ki & Ka': Refreshingly fun, endearing

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Writer-director R. Balki's characters are perfectly chiselled with the right amount of emotional overtures, making them convincing and relatable. The plot, set in a hassle-free society, is taut, formulaic and evenly paced with no overtly major dramatic twists. It does not navigate through a cliched path, which is what makes the film questionable, yet refreshingly acceptable.

'Rocky Handsome': Convincing action, low on emotions

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Packed with maniac action sequences, "Rocky Handsome" is a typical dark, moody and coarsely crafted crime drama that is based on the 2010 released Korean film "Man from Nowhere".

'Kapoor & Sons': Joy and woe are woven fine

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"Kapoor & Sons" is a saga of a dysfunctional family, which makes you laugh and cry with its members, as you become an intrinsic part of their lives. It is a complete family entertainer with a universal appeal.

'Zubaan': An inspiring tale of self-discovery

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The screenplay with a layered narration, well-etched characters and gripping performances, make "Zubaan" real and stand out. The adept manner in which the back stories are inextricably woven into the main narrative is praiseworthy.

'The Revenant': Brutally mesmerising

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The film is believable and of course, a lot of this realism comes from DiCaprio's convincing performance. He has put in an astonishingly physical and mental effort to portray Glass. He doesn't say a word for long periods of time and yet spellbinds you throughout some visceral and seriously gruelling ordeals.

'Neerja' - A glorious tribute to the braveheart

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Nothing in the film appears staged or artificial. It is truly a slice of Neerja's life.

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