Sunday, May 31, 2015


My Simba in happier times before Bella arrived
Simba was 6 weeks old when we brought him home from the basti behind our building. He was my birthday gift and the best one I ever received in my life. Almost four now, he’s adorable and extremely friendly.

It took us three years to leave him at a shelter a few months ago, as we planned a family holiday for the first time since his arrival. CD runs the shelter at Wadala and loves cats. Incidentally, someone else in his family runs a dog shelter on the first floor of the same building. At any given time, CD has 7-8 cats at his home-office. He picks strays from the roadside, gives them a bath, has them inoculated and gives them away as pets. What happens before they are picked up? Well, CD and his girlfriend take care of these cat babies.

A couple of weeks back, CD called us because of a minor emergency. He had 13 cats – both kittens and adults at home while one cat had just delivered 5 kittens. He was looking for pet owners who would take care of another cat for at least a week. I got quite excited with the idea of getting company for Simba on a trial basis. Venkat and I immediately agreed and CD came over the next day with 2 kittens to pick from.

Spiky was a 4-month-old male who was as curious as a mischievous kitten can be. The moment he came out of the basket, he roamed all over our flat. At this time, Simba was up on a pillow on my wardrobe, fast asleep. Spiky kept moving away from me until I pinned him down and petted him. I am sure he became a slave for life from that moment. He followed me all around.

Studying the guest from afar
I saw Simba’s head perking up and went over to introduce his new friend. I was amazed to see Simba giving Spiky the “royal ignore”. His nose up in the air, His Royal Highness Simba the Great refused to even look at the new kitten.

Bella, fast asleep
By now, little Bella (2-month-old) had had her nap. She woke up and ran all around in a frenzy, highly energetic. She looked too cute for words. While all cats are cute, the females are that much cuter, with their attitude.

Lord of all he surveys
Since Simba was awake, Venkat lifted him from the wardrobe top and put him on the ground. The next second, Spiky ran and hid under the computer table as he was petrified by this huge Tom. That’s when I decided that we would rather keep Bella. She was bold to the point of suicidal.

CD left Bella with us, taking Spiky away with him.

The lady who came for stayover
It took 4 days for me to realise that Simba was not going to get friendly with Bella. She tried to make friends, swatting his tail. He didn’t like it. The moment I poured Simba’s catfood in his bowl – I had kept a separate one for Bella, not that she cared – she jumped in and started eating. She did it every time and I could see Simba didn’t like it at all. I had a difficult time not to roll on the floor laughing. With a straight face, I shooed her every time and made him eat. He did so, with great reluctance.

Bella is curious while Simba does his best to ignore her
Simba went down and got into a fight with the street cats – probably in anger and frustration. He usually wants to be petted by all of us and also play with us. He found the loneliest of spots and the highest of perches to keep away from the family. One night, he went down and never came back until Venkat went and got him up. I don’t know, but I thought that he appeared like a grumpy old uncle during Bella’s stay.

Ms. Curious with large dark eyes to die for
In the meanwhile, my kids were in love. They had decided that they would persuade me to keep Bella, while I had been hoping to persuade the others about retaining the little one. But Grumpy Uncle Simba changed our minds for us. He was looking so sad; unlike his usual cheery and friendly self, that we thought it best that Bella went back to CD’s shelter.

Grumpy Uncle Simba (Google Pics)
The one week got shrunk to 4 days as I couldn’t see Simba looking so sad. Yeah, I can read cat expressions. In fact, all of us could see that he was sad.

We called CD and with great sadness, gave back the frisky little Bella.

Lo and Behold! Within barely an hour, we had the grumpy uncle transform into an adorable black and white fur ball that wanted to play and cuddle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


If you want to see the film for its performances, leave your brain behind at home! 

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, R. Madhavan, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Director: Anand L. Rai

I had missed watching Tanu Weds Manu in 2011. I so wanted to see it but no one else showed interest; while the film left the theatres too soon. When Tanu Weds Manu Returns was announced, I decided to watch the first one online and did just that. It’s very well made and I decided to catch the sequel despite mixed reactions from the public.


Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) and Manu (R. Madhavan) have been married for four years and they are facing marital trouble. After a visit to a marriage counsellor, Manu lands up in a mental asylum. Tanu ups and leaves London to go back to her mother’s home in Kanpur. She gets back to flirting with her old boyfriends.

Chintu (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) has taken Tanu’s old room on rent. He is on his way to becoming a lawyer and has been living there without paying rent for many months. Tanu finds him a useful buddy – to drink with and to offer transport around town on his two-wheeler.

In the meanwhile, at Tanu’s instigation, Manu’s best friend Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal) goes to London to rescue his friend from the mental asylum. Manu decides to file for divorce. What happens when he sees Datto (Kangana Ranaut), an exact replica of Tanu, and gets attracted to her? Then there is Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill), the local goonda. This time round, he is engaged to Datto. Will he let this fiancée go as easily as he did the first one?


Kangana has performed brilliantly as both Tanu and Datto. R. Madhavan makes a perfect partner in his inimitable style.

Deepak Dobriyal as Pappi has a chunky role and was excellent – very natural. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub has been consistently good in many films. I have seen his performances in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Raanjhanaa and both were really good. He’s splendid in this film too. Swara Bhaskar is also good.

Having done away with the good parts, let me get to why the film is so bad:

The producer and director have tried to ride on Kangana Ranaut’s popularity and created a faltu film that makes no sense. To begin with, why would a marriage counsellor sit like a judge; speak Hindi; in a mental asylum of all places; that too in London? How the hell did the director miss this glaring error? If a guy is unable to adjust in his marriage of four years, on what basis would they declare him mentally unstable? And over and above that the psychiatrist-counsellor-whatever addresses Manu as Mr. Sharma. Isn’t Manu Sharma a doctor? Amazing!

Manu Sharma is 40. He fell in love with Tanu four years back for the very qualities (or so it seemed) that she has now. Fair enough that “familiarity breeds contempt” and their marriage is falling apart. Fair enough that he wants to divorce her. But, a big BUT here, what the hell does he see in Datto? She’s half his age, going to university on sports quota, is from a small village, and looks ugly. How can a suave, 40-year-old married doctor from London fall for her? And is he in love or in lust or what the hell? I couldn’t understand the logic.

It’s Tanu’s character that stays true to form. She is exactly what she is. And Manu had bloody well accept that. Jimmy Shergill has been wasted. Even his character has no zing, his being a goonda and all that.

And where does that moral lecture by Datto’s brother (Rajesh Sharma) fit in? Datto’s father treats her badly because she’s a girl-child. But that sudden lecture, out of the blue, grates. The villagers stand around doing nothing. I thought our film-makers have moved way beyond that.

Then the “saat phere” – Manu is determined to get married to Datto till the end. Why? How? I can understand his wanting to divorce Tanu. But why this desperation to tie the knot? It doesn’t fit with Manu’s character at all.

Then there is the episode of bride-kidnapping. She says she’s not interested in Pappi. He thinks he knows better and kidnaps her. What happens to her otherwise? Were the director and editor sleeping?

VERDICT: If you can leave your brain at home and watch the film for some of the actors’ performances, then maybe you should watch it.


Monday, May 25, 2015


I have been hearing a lot about MARIJUANA DIARIES on facebook and from my friends. A book of short stories on addiction sounded quite fascinating. I had been waiting to lay my hands on this one since it was released.

This is a collection of 17 short stories, including one by Lyricist-Writer Gulzar. While all the stories make for interesting reading, some of them are precious gems indeed.  I will begin the review with my favourites and move from the best to the better ones.

Wake Me Up by Rubina Ramesh 

WHOA! What a story. This one is probably the longest of this batch of stories and the most detailed. Nightmares chase Arya throughout her life and she keeps thinking of visiting her psychiatrist. I am not going to say more as it might spoil the story for other readers. I have always believed that Rubina Ramesh is one fabulous storyteller. Like Lord Hanuman needs to be convinced of his strength, here I go once again to tell her what a great storywriter she is. “Wake Me Up” is the best of the lot. Instead of the regular addictions, the author has dealt with a topic which probably no one would have thought of. Amazing! Superbly narrated! The story sucks the reader in with the mind-blowing descriptions.

The detailing I liked best:

He walked towards her and, flicking a lighter, torched a beacon, illuminating the whole area with a golden glow. Arya watched in fascination, as he lighted around six beacons at the circumference of the round clearing.” Not quoting more. But the details following this are excellent.

Would I like to read this one as a full-blown novel? You bet!

The Final Journey by Ahana Mukherjee 

Whoa! What a story Ahana Mukherjee. You gave me goose bumps. Just goes to show what uncontrolled rage can do. Lucky Barbara to have met Siddhartho. Superbly written!

I, Me, Myself by Dr. Tahmina Khaleel 

Brilliantly written! In fact, it’s so well written that I am surprised that it’s this far down the list. Wouldn’t the editor want to place the best stories right at the beginning? The characterisation of Sophia is excellent. Her obsession, “I, Me, Myself” is superbly portrayed. Congrats Dr. Tahmina Khaleel. I was completely touched when Sophia reveals to her father why she is the way she is. I am avoiding saying more to not let out spoilers.

Into the Abyss and Back by Janaki Nagaraj 

A perfect title for a near-perfect story by Janaki Nagaraj. It talks about the mid-life crisis of a woman who’s missing the spark in her marriage. Except for a couple of sentences that grated, the story is a classic.

An everlasting bond by Trippayar Sahasranaman Priyaa

This superbly written story is about Shanaya’s addiction to social media. She makes online friends all the time, especially those that have obviously fake identities. She’s so drawn to her chats that after a point, she does not enjoy meeting people in person. Read the story to find out if she manages to come out of her addiction. I liked the last line of the story best. Am I going to quote it here? Of course not! Please open the book and read it for yourself.

Search - A Short Journey by Raghuvir Shekhawat

Another brilliant story with a crisp narrative; loved reading this one about a guy who works at rehabilitating drug addicts! The story is about the abyss he almost falls into.

Loved this excerpt:

…victims of your circumstances and your uncontrollable emotional turmoil. You don't need to win drugs. You need to win yourself. Distract yourself from your addiction. Take your mind and your heart to where it belongs…to your loved ones and look for little happy moments…they make life big…

Idiot’s Box by Nivedita

This is the story of Vasudeva and Mani. When Vasudeva goes to Germany for a few years on work, leaving his wife Mani with their kids, she gets addicted to TV. On his return to India, will it be possible for Vasudeva to wean his wife off her addiction? Read the lovely story that Nivedita weaves around the couple who have been married a few decades and how they bring back the romance into their lives.

Marijuana Diary by Paulami DuttaGupta 

It’s short, simple and beautifully penned. Loved this story told in the first person by a Marijuana addict.

One feedback: It’s not possible to die of marijuana overdose – Click Here to find out...

The Rain by Gulzar

Very well written though sad story – about Damoo and his addiction to booze. The rain is relentless and unmerciful in this powerful play of words by Gulzar.

Freedom has a Price Tag by Meera Bhardwaj 

This is a story of a drug addict. Very well written and sad! Reading this story makes me feel extremely sorry for the parents. It’s so difficult to ensure that one’s kid stays away from drugs.

Life in My Shoes! by Nehali Lalwani 

This one is the story of Niyati, who is addicted to alcohol. But for Gaurav, she would have drowned completely in it. The story is very realistic and touches your heart.

All for a Game by Aparajita Dutta 

This story is about football addiction that the heroine has – to the point that her marriage suffers. Lots of well-researched detailing on football; Kudos to the author on that! Will she get back with her husband and continue to live her life? Good one. Though I was a mite confused at the way the story ended unexpectedly - couldn’t connect with the ending.

Anorebolemipedia by Brindaa lakshmi

Well coined title! Priyanka has an eating disorder, being a compulsive eater who dreams of being slim. Neel has a different kind of eating disorder – suffering from Bulimia. A well-conceptualised story! One point though – I have heard of waiters spitting into patrons’ dishes, sometimes, when they are pissed. But every time? And no other worker notices? Pretty strange!

Token Number 205 by Reshma Ranjan

The story idea is good – The lady in black with token number 205 with an addiction for being negative. This is probably the most common of addictions and hence makes for the most relatable story. I only wish it had been presented more interestingly.

One More Chance by Rochelle Potkar

Though I understood the story itself, I couldn’t connect with what the author means by ‘love’ here; the one that makes a woman of 40 appear like a 20-year-old. Though Sahil and Divya seemed to deserve the end they got, what were they trying to achieve in life? It kind of seems forced.

Tiramisu - A Wet Dream by Deepali Junjappa

The background is set very well and the story is also well-written, though I didn’t understand the Tiramisu connection.

A Date Night at Home by Nethra A 

All that I understood about this story is that it’s about an addiction to chocolate. Not much beyond that. The story is about a ‘she’ who lives somewhere in the west, I guess.


An interesting and motley collection of short stories that are held together by the thread called “addiction” - An appreciative effort by Paulami DuttaGupta and Nethra A. I wish that more attention had been paid to proofing and formatting of the stories. The stories themselves make for an awesome read.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Marijuana Diaries in the form of PDF in return for my honest review.

Buying Links: 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Film Review: O KADHAL KANMANI (ஓ காதல் கண்மணி)

If you like romances, you should not miss this one! 

Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menen, Prakash Raj, Leela Samson
Director: Mani Ratnam

The Film

Aditya aka Adi (Dulquer Salmaan) arrives in Mumbai to take a new job in a computer games company. His dream is to move to the USA and earn in dollars. He’s from a middleclass family and has been brought up by his elder brother. Adi moves into Ganapathy’s (Prakash Raj) home in Girgaum as a paying guest. Ganapathy lives with his wife Bhavani (Leela Samson) who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Adi attends a friend’s wedding where he meets Tara (Nithya Menen). Tara lives in a ladies’ hostel and works for a private company. The two get along like a house on fire and realise that neither of them believes in marriage. They decide to get into a live-in relationship. Ganapathy is conservative and refuses at first to allow Tara to move into Adi’s quarters. But soon, the young couple manage to persuade him.

The story goes on to show the relationship between not just Adi and Tara but also their equation with the older Ganapathy and Bhavani. But can Adi and Tara continue with their live-in relationship? She has a mother who is rich and powerful and wants her daughter under her thumb; while he has a brother, sister-in-law and a school-going niece. Will they accept them for what they are? And what will happen if Adi moves to the US at the first opportunity?

My Perception

Mani Ratnam has directed a number of films over the past few decades. While most of them were successful, there were a few duds too. One can never be sure what to expect from his films. I like his film Guru the most. So, when O Kadhal Kanmani (also known as OK Kanmani) was released, I didn’t show too much interest in seeing it – until my neighbour and friend told me that it’s a light and breezy romance. That’s when Venkat and I decided to see the film. I was surprised to see the number of North Indians in the theatre. Luckily, the film had subtitles making it easy for them to understand what was happening.

Dulquer Salmaan (Actor Mammooty’s son) is a well-known star in the Malayalam film industry I believe. He looks handsome and he can act too. His role as Adi was a walk through and couldn’t have been more naturally portrayed. Kudos!

Nithya Menen as Tara is too cute for words. She’s another actress who’s as natural as can be. She has acted in a lot of films in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. Nithya’s perfect as Tara – as the daughter who’s doing her best to be independent of her dominating mother; as a career woman; as a lover; as a caring person who has befriended an Alzheimer’s patient and her husband. Congrats!

Leela Samson plays the role of Ganapathy’s wife Bhavani who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. This film is her debut. She’s simply awesome as the lovely woman who adores her husband; confused when she keeps forgetting things. Excellent role play!

I have saved the best for the last. Prakash Raj – I have seen him in so many different roles over the years – as a villain, as character actor, as a father, as an uncle and even as a God. He is a born actor. As Ganapathy, he is a strict disciplinarian when he takes Adi in as his paying guest. But you can see him thinking from his heart when the young man is able to swing him with his arguments. His love for his wife of more than four decades is commendable and it shows in every gesture of his. Amazing performance indeed!

The storyline is pretty simple and presented in an uncomplicated fashion. Yeah, as someone mentioned on facebook, there is no conflict. So what? O Kadhal Kanmani was a joy to watch with beautiful music and songs that don’t distract you from the flow of the film. The songs –lyrics by Vairamuthu and music by AR Rahman – were all lovely and pleasing on the ears.  Running for 2 hrs and 18 minutes, the film was a breeze.

VERDICT: It’s a must watch you are fond of romances.


Thursday, May 14, 2015


Google Images: Artificial Intelligence Vision (Paul Bettany)
The film is rife with action from beginning till end

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård. James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Joss Whedon

I saw this movie 15-20 days ago. With A-Z April Challenge 2015 in full swing, I got to blog the review only now.

The Film

The Avengers go in search of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) who has Loki’s sceptre. He’s been experimenting with it, the results being twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) who have acquired superhuman skills. While Pietro moves faster than lightning, Wanda can manipulate minds. The twins hate Tony Stark, convinced that it was his bomb that had killed their family. Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downy Jr.) manages to retrieve the sceptre.

Tony and Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) find out that the sceptre’s gem contains artificial intelligence. They decide to use it to complete Tony’s Ultron programme – without consulting the other Avengers. Inadvertently, they create a terrible danger to the very existence of the Earth. Ultron, the AI created by them, believes that wiping out humanity is the only way to save the earth. The first thing Ultron does is destroy JARVIS, the artificial intelligence that Tony had created before. Jarvis used to guide Tony in a number of his activities.

When Ultron goes on a rampage, will the Avengers be able to save the Earth?

My Perception

I have developed a taste for sci-fi and enjoy watching films on extra-terrestrials. That’s how I landed up seeing The Avengers and thoroughly enjoyed it.

While Avengers 2 is a superbly made film, I found the non-stop action tiring. It was fight and death from beginning till end. Of course, all the actors have performed very well. But still it was tough to swallow with the amount of dust flying around from the constant battles. A little bit of quiet is shown at Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Runner) safe-house, while the feeling of sitting on a time bomb refuses to leave the viewer.

What I really liked was the new Avenger who’s born amidst the older ones – an artificial intelligence with super powers – going by the name of Vision (Paul Bettany). Vision is what becomes of Jarvis when he comes up against Ultron. Vision is like the calm oasis in the middle of a desert, giving the Avengers hope while fighting Ultron, immediately connecting with the audience.

VERDICT: Not as good as The Avengers, but a must-see if you like non-stop action. I wouldn’t have minded not seeing the film.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Film Review: PIKU

The film will keep you rolling with laughter and shedding a tear or two

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan
Written by: Juhi Chaturvedi
Director: Shoojit Sircar

The Movie

Piku (Deepika Padukone) is probably in her early thirties and lives with her cranky 70-year-old father Bhaskor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan) in Delhi. She’s partner with Syed Afroz (Jishu Sengupta) at Minerva Designers.

Bhaskor Banerjee suffers from chronic constipation and the movie revolves around it. BB feels that his daughter’s life should be with him and his motions rather than her setting up her own life. He does his best to discourage young men who may be interested in wooing her into marriage. He insists that women should lead an independent life and not be shackled by a husband. He doesn’t seem to mind if she’s shackled by her father, though.

My Perception

Yeah, I was revolted when I saw the promos and decided not to see the film. But then, at least three people told me that it’s a film not to be missed. And for the reason that I loved Vicky Donor. So, went to PVR Cinemas Sion with Venkat for the 11.30 pm show last night.

Amitabh Bachchan is a veteran actor, no doubt. In his role as the cranky and stubborn Bhaskor Banerjee, he has surpassed himself. Watching him walk and talk was a joy. As you sit through the film, you can’t help laugh at his antics and find him endearing despite his irritating nature. A special kudos to Senior Bachchan on his scintillating performance!

Deepika Padukone is excellent as Piku. Her expressions change from sadness to anger to joy to tears within seconds, keeping the audience enthralled. Her relationship with her father is so beautifully portrayed. She adores him despite his idiosyncrasies. Amazing performance!

Irrfan (yeah, that’s how is name is mentioned in the titles) is a great actor. His performance as the owner of a taxi service is commendable. He’s so able to relate to Piku’s pain as she deals with her recalcitrant parent, who is completely dependent on her.

The rest of the characters are well chalked out and play their roles to perfection.

Just imagine creating a film about “motion se hi emotion” without a strong storyline! Writer Juhi Chaturvedi and Director Shoojit Sircar must surely have had a lot of guts to come up with such a theme. But believe me when I say that they have come up aces with this one. The film has the right balance of humour and emotions to strum your heartstrings.

It must have taken some kind of gumption to have dialogue after dialogue describing the various forms of stools that a person can have. Piku is so used to them that it never strikes her when she talks about excrete descriptively at the dining table.

VERDICT: A truly well made film of just two hours. It will keep you rolling with laughter and shedding a tear or two.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blog Tour: GUEST POST by Devika Fernando, author of SAVED IN SRI LANKA

Saved In Sri Lanka 
Devika Fernando

Some People Are Destined To Meet 


Question: Congratulations Devika on publishing another lovely romance! I know you are from Sri Lanka and so creating Sepalika and the Sri Lankan tour wouldn't have been so difficult. But how did you manage to create Daniel from Ireland? I must say that he's mighty fascinating.

Thank you for finding Daniel fascinating – I can’t help but agree. ;-) Interestingly, he’s my favourite hero so far, although I automatically create all my heroes in a way that makes me fall for them.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a European hero for my Sri Lankan heroine because it would match her rather modern character and also highlight how exotic the country is and how many differences and hurdles there are in a multicultural / interracial relationship. Ireland seemed the perfect choice because I had always found the country fascinating and wanted to portray an Irish hero.

I researched typical names and collected information on where I wanted Daniel to live, and because he’s a history lecturer I also delved deeper into some parts of the Irish history and culture. I really wanted Daniel to come alive, so I also searched online for Irish words and phrases. I verified them and some of his English mannerisms with an Irish Facebook friend of mine during my final rounds of edits. 

Usually I don’t have a real ‘role model’ for my characters, although some heroes might loosely be inspired by a famous person. This time, however, two particular men were in my head all the time while writing Daniel: My favourite actors, Tom Hiddleston from England and Michael Fassbender from Ireland, served as inspiration for Daniel’s looks and a little of his character. I hope I’ve done them justice… :D

You have obviously created Daniel with a lot of love and some intense research. No wonder your heroine Sepalika finds him irresistible. Wish you all the best with this book Devika Fernando. It's your best so far :D


Some people are destined to meet.

It sure feels that way when Sri Lankan tour guide Sepalika meets Daniel. The mysterious tourist from Ireland steals his way into her heart and makes her question everything her life is built upon. Instant attraction turns to love – but does he feel the same? And what about the secret she’s hiding from him?
Follow the two on their quest for a happy ending amid the beauty and wonders of the tropical island paradise of Sri Lanka.

Watch the Trailer

Buy @

Meet the Author

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark are sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

  You can stalk her @


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Saturday, May 9, 2015


A full-scale entertainer!

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Shruti Hassan, Suman Talwar, Sunil Grover
Director: Krish
Editor: Rajesh G. Pandey

I loved the promos and had been waiting to catch this one as soon as I could. Venkat had already seen it a couple of days back. So, it was Vinny and me who went to PVR Cinemas @ Sion (Yeah, it’s Cinemax no more) for the 8.10 pm show on Thursday.

The Film

Gabbar” is the name Professor Aditya (Akshay Kumar) of National College fame gives himself when he’s out to get fraudulent government officers. Gabbar manages to kidnap 10 District Tahsildars. After three days, nine are let out and one is found hung in the middle of the road from a high point. Gabbar sends the police a CD, where he has recorded the reason ‘why’. All ten of the Tahsildars are extremely corrupt and Gabbar has killed the worst of the lot. Thus begins Gabbar’s terror strikes against corruption. Soon, everyone is petrified of taking bribe, at least in that particular department where Gabbar has struck.

There is one well-educated constable called Hawaldar Sadhuram (Sunil Grover) who’s relegated to driving the police officers around – only because he couldn’t afford the bribe to become a sub-inspector. When strongly discouraged by his seniors, he takes leave from work and sets out to find out who Gabbar is.

Aditya happens to meet Shruti (Shruti Hassan) by chance when she’s helping a pregnant woman get to hospital. She’s a lawyer and soon the two are in love. While Gabbar does his best to clean up the corrupt government departments, Aditya comes across a private hospital that fleeces patients mercilessly. Gabbar sets out to deal with the doctors only to catch the attention of business tycoon Patil (Suman Talwar).

I am not going to say much more about the film here. Yeah, there is more.

My Perception

As I mentioned above, I loved the promos and had to watch the film. And I must say that I wasn’t disappointed. Akshay Kumar has a new look – older and mature. It suits him perfectly. His acting skills have improved tremendously and he makes an excellent action star. He’s performed his role as Professor Aditya and Gabbar too well.

Kareena Kapoor in her brief role as Aditya’s wife looks gorgeous. She’s good though there is not much of an opportunity for her to act. Shruti Hassan looks lovely as well and plays the part of a bubbly lawyer well. I must say that she has improved a lot since the days of Luck.

It’s Sunil Grover as Hawaldar Sadhuram who takes the second prize for acting in this film. He’s too good with both his expression and dialogue delivery. Kudos!

Suman Talwar used to be a hero in Tamil films a few decades ago. Recently, he is taken to portray the bad guy in movies. He makes for a good villain. Chitrangada Singh sizzles in an item number that has been filmed very well.

Special Congratulations to Rajesh G. Pandey for editing the film to perfection! There was not one second wastage as the scenes flew from one to another, keeping it crisp and tight, running for 2 hours and 10 minutes.

After all this, I need to mention that Gabbar Is Back is a remake of the Tamil film Ramanaa (2002)

VERDICT: If you are fond of seeing good triumphing over evil, you will love this one.


Friday, May 8, 2015


A penitentiary in olden days was created for a criminal to be isolated, giving him a chance to do penance so that he corrects his ways. Over the past few centuries, prison has become a place of incarceration that makes the inmates worse than what they were before they went in. I wonder what the purpose of a judicial system is, which keeps supposed criminals behind bars, allowing them to fester in boredom with a high probability of making them more dangerous to the public when they get released. Well, that’s one aspect.

Then there are the hardcore criminals – read industrialists, government employees, politicians and the like; self-proclaimed dons; paid assassins; etc – who roam freely in the country. I am not sure if imprisoning them is exactly the answer to the problem. But then again, their roaming the country as free citizens is definitely not a solution. And how do they get away with it? By bribing, of course! (On an aside, Gabbar Is Back is a movie worth watching).

Talking of movies, do you remember Rajesh Khanna’s famous film Dushman (1972)? He plays a lorry driver who kills the earning member of a poor family when he drives his lorry in a drunken stupor. When he’s taken to court, the dead man’s father (I think) asks the judge of what use will it be if the killer is sentenced to prison for some years? Will that help the dead man’s family survive? That’s when the judge comes up with a landmark judgement. That the murderer (Rajesh Khanna) should earn money and take care of the deceased’s family for the number of years he was supposed to have been imprisoned. Over the next few years, a lot of healing happens between the family and the lorry driver until they finally forgive him. Now, that is what I would call a great solution to a bad situation.

Now, getting to our Sallu Bhai, I don’t think there is a doubt in anyone’s mind that he was the one who drove the car and killed those people. That he drove the car after drinking was “wrong”. That he ran the car over people and killed them was a grave mistake, but still a mistake. It’s definitely not something that he set out to do deliberately. While the case has been going on, Salman Khan has turned around a lot. There is his Being Human Foundation and a number of other acts of philanthropy that make life easier for a lot of people. Some might say that a few good acts do not compensate for one bad act. But why not? I don’t think the man would have been very comfortable with his conscience after the death of all those people. He has definitely done a number of good deeds to set that right in his own way. Yes, those will not bring those people back to life. Then again, Salman Khan languishing in jail isn’t going to bring them back either.

Does it make sense to put the actor behind bars? It’s not as if he’s a hardened criminal. There are many of those running around free and our judicial system seems to be doing nothing about those people. While, if Salman Khan is free, the film industry stands to make a lot of money, in turn helping the lives of many of those who are dependent on Bollywood. And there are those families who have received a lot of financial help from the Bollywood star. They stand to benefit too. And I am sure there will be more such people whose lives he will make better with his monetary backing.

Hence I, for one, vote that our society will gain more with Salman Khan continuing with his regular life than his going to prison for 5-10 years. Any of you willing to join me?


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review: REVOLUTIONARY HEARTS by Pema Donyo

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I saw a link posted by the author of the book on google+ requesting reviews. I was fascinated to see the gorgeous cover. When it read that it’s a historical romance set in India, I just grabbed the chance and asked for a review copy. Pema Donyo responded promptly with an e-PUB version of the book in return for my honest review. So here it is...

What is the book about?

Revolutionary Hearts by Pema Donyo is a historical romance set in India during the British Raj. Warren is a British general posted in the village of Hathras in Agra province. Unlike most other British generals, he treats his servants decently. The lovely Parineeta arrives at his home in the guise of a servant, to actually spy on him. She’s part of the revolution movement headed by her brother Raj. Parineeta is born of an Indian mother and British father and is not accepted by her own people as she’s considered a pariah. She sets out to spy on Warren, unaware of his agenda. Warren and Parineeta are thrown together when they are forced to run away as Warren’s cover is blown. Who is he? And what is he doing in India? Is it possible for Parineeta find happiness with him?

My perception

Revolutionary Hearts is a romantic novella revolving around the relationship between Warren and Parineeta. Set during British Raj in India, it brings to light the atrocities conducted by the British on the locals. For example, Parineeta lives the life of a pariah because her British father had abandoned her Indian mother. No man in her village is ready to come forward to wed her as she’s considered a half-breed. The British have no qualms about beating up Indian workers and servants as they treat them worse than one would animals. The author has brought out these instances very subtly without delving too much into the gore. To be applauded as this is a romantic story.

The story moves fast, from one sequence to another, building up the relationship between the protagonists. The train robbery scene has been described very well. Warren and Parineeta’s escape from Hathras helps build the romance between the two as they get to spend a lot of time together on their way to Lucknow.

In the end, Warren’s identity comes as a surprise while the suspense has been maintained well. All-in-all, Revolutionary Hearts is an interesting historical romance that makes for a quick read.

Just one flaw that I found in the book is that it's too simply written. Even the little bit of twists and turns that appear get sorted out too easily.

Buying Links:

About the author 

Pema Donyo

Pema Donyo is the author of young adult and historical romance novels. She's also a coffee-fueled college student by day and a creative writer by night. As a sophomore at Claremont McKenna, she’s still working on mastering that delicate balance between finishing homework, meeting publisher deadlines, and… college.

Black coffee, period dramas, spoken word poetry, faded book covers, and peanut butter continue to be the driving forces in her life.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A-Z April Challenge 2015: Thank you! See you in April 2016

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When I joined the A-Z April Challenge this year, though I was confident of completing it, I never expected to enjoy it so much. As I had mentioned in my “theme reveal”, I had tried the challenge last year but unfortunately, couldn’t complete it.

I love to write and hence my blogs. I enjoy writing fiction and have a few published novels and a collection of short stories to my name along with a few short stories on my website. I have an opinion about anything and everything and my blog is the best place that I can air them.

I have never been fond of contests. I find them too negative for my liking. I feel that competition eats into one’s creativity. I always steer clear of them. But the April Challenge is exactly what it says it is. A Challenge - one where you pit against yourself.

You decide on a theme - only if you want to. You can write about anything under the sun; in any form - prose, poetry or even pictures. Your posts are preferred to follow the alphabet - it could be names, adjectives, nouns, just about any damn thing.

This year, I decided to write stories from Indian mythology. Just in case I couldn’t find the names or topics to suit the alphabet, I gave myself the freedom of borrowing from Grimm’s Fairy tales and European mythology – wrote two for ‘C’ & ‘X’. I was sure I would never find anyone in Indian mythology for Z and had planned to write about Zeus. But the response I got for my typically Indian stories was so overwhelming that I challenged myself to write a post from Indian mythology for the last letter of the alphabet. And that’s how Zealous Little Squirrel from the Ramayana was born.

I must say I loved every bit of the challenge while I made a number of new friends as we interacted with one another via our blogs. Better yet, I was amazed at the ideas my fellow bloggers came up with while presenting their posts. Simply incredible! It’s been a wonderful journey and for that I have to thank the team of “Blogging from A to Z Challenge” for organising such a wonderful blogging exercise - one without too many rules - the only kind that I love.

Thank you so much Arlee Bird, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jeremy Hawkins, Stephen Tremp, Tim Brannan, Rob Z Tobor, J Lenni Dorner, Jenny Pearson, Jeffrey Bushman and a host of others who have made this humongous effort possible.

Catch you all next year during A-Z April Challenge 2016!