The happiest man in Coimbatore

The happiest man in Coimbatore, originally uploaded by malluboy.

Here in Coimbatore
Lives a man with a smile
in his eyes
in his face
Early to rise
He gets his exercise
He eats healthy
He knows his job
He owns his house
He has savings
His children are settled
This man with the smile
is a tender coconut vendor
with a loyal clientele
and a steady job
He is his own master
with a plan to retire
three years from now
You might never get to know him
but there is this man
here in Coimbatore
a man with a smile

Pic and background story courtesy @malluboy (


Scary times

R loves animals of all kinds. You will find a lot of small figurines spread across our home. Most of them will be discovered after you have either sat or stepped on them. This is not rare. Some of the animals are. Suck it up.

C has planned and created an Elephant costume for 2 year old R. Almost from the minute the costume got ready, R, who has not even seen it yet, wants to be Buzz Lightyear. C is giving me the darkest of looks for introducing Buzz into our lives. The case has been filed under its-all-your-fault folder volume 23.

Taking cue from Inception, I have been diligently planting the idea in R’s head that Buzz loves animals especially elephants. R now agrees to the unreliable fact that Buzz Lightyear’s favorite animal is the elephant. From a total loss, something has been salvaged. There might be a cute little tantrum but the elephant might just prevail. Given this little success in brain washing, it is a little puzzling why R wants to be a leopard as of this morning, the day of his Halloween parade at school. My frantic questions on why he wants to be a leopard have been dismissed with “I wanna be a leopard” retorts of increasing intensity. Will the leopard change its spots for once, in favor of an elephant’s spectacular grey hide?

Details at 10.



Watching Instantly Week 2

Watching Instantly

Week 2 of my column at

Movies watched include:
District 9
The Third Man
Gorillas In The Mist

Movies to be watched include:
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
Monsters Inc.
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the year

Click here to check it out.


S.T.U.D - Sivaji The Ultimate Dude

A whole new set of reasons for hero worshipping. An irreverent post from a demented mind that feels that it is in the wrong era.

This song from “Paar Magalae Paar” is currently the benchmark that all new Dads should aspire to. Bow to the STUD.

Because he is a stud, he rocks at whistling.

Because he is a stud, he wears a housecoat.

Because he is a stud, he sports a family pack; Six packs are for kids.

Because he is a stud, his wife is always dressed to attend a party in a moment’s notice. Respect the bling.

Because he is a stud, he is the only stud in his family. His offspring are all girls.

Because he is a stud, society be damned, he will smoke a good one and toss it whenever wherever.

Because he is a stud, he can get away with

“Naan Kaadhalenum Parisu Thandhaen Kattilin Mele”

Because he is a stud, his wife will reply with

“Andha Karunaikku Naan Parisu Thandhaen Thottilin Mele”


Lurker's delight

Fight! Fight! Fight!

I guess it had to happen at some point. Two opinionated humorists popular among the Indian diaspora of bloggers find a point of confrontation. Interesting view points that titillates the agnostic lurkers among us - Hawkeye takes on KrishAshok. Looks like it will fizzle out but charming (yes, charming) writers nevertheless.


Recursive Rip-offs

It happens only in India.

Seriously, someone should patent this 'movie making process' that is available only in India. Thanks to the multiple dialects and dedicated viewers, every hit formula has the potential for someone to reproduce it - over and over and over and over.

You be the judge.

Case #1: Manichithrathazhu (1993) to Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

The Malayalam movie, Manichithrathazhu, was a really good horror movie. As usual, the movie was down-to-earth and well enacted.

At least ten years later, this movie was revisited. P.Vasu who was having a bad time in Tamil cinema was testing waters in neighboring Karnataka. Thus was born the surprise hit Apta Mitra (copy of Manichitrathazhu) with the late Soundarya. Fast forward 2004, the Superstar was hearing scripts and he found something interesting in afore mentioned Kannada movie. Chandramukhi (2005) showed who's who to Tamil cinema. At the time of writing, Chandramukhi is still running in Chennai.

Priyadarshan has made it big in Bollywood through effectively combining hit Malayalam movies and Akshay Kumar. Bhool Bhulaiyya is Chandramukhi/Apta Mitra/Manichithrathazhu in Hindi and is supposedly raking in the moolah as well. One story has conquered almost the whole of India in the span of a decade (and over four movies).

Case #2: Don (1978) to Don (2006); Billa (1980) to Billa 2007

Don was a genuinely good movie - urban thriller way back in 1978. It was so good that the Bachchan movie was remade in Thamizh by actor/producer Balaji (a trend setter in remakes) starring Rajini again. This movie was Billa. Both movies were hits. It kind of established Rajini as a mass hero. Billa was a faithful reproduction of Don.

Javed Akthar was one of the script writers of Don. (Salim Khan was the other). Akthar's son Farhan is an auteur of sorts. He revisited the Don storyline to give a rare non-Yashraj no-Karan Johar movie for Shah Rukh Khan. It was a fresh look at the old story and worked big time - especially the climax.

News is that Billa 2007 starring Ajith is going to be released in Thamizh later this year. Here is my head-scratch inducer - Is Billa 2007 a remake of Billa 1980, the remake of Don 1978 or is it a remake of Don 2006, the remake of Don 1978? What then is its illicit relationship to Don 1978?

Case #3: Ullaththai Alliththaa - the ultimate rip-off

This movie is the ultimate rip-off in my books. This Thamizh movie is a remix version of the Hindi movie 'Andaz Apna Apna' starring Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. Good old Koundamani placed homage to the Salman Khan character in the Thamizh version. That is a comic coup in itself. I wasn't too worried about this rip-off itself but the thing that brought the house down was the sound track for this movie by Sirpi. Every song is a rip off - each one from a different source. The fact that the whole story revolves around impersonation and stealing just made the plot thicker.

Case #4: When a copy cat gets copied by another copy cat, does the music sound good?

Thiruttisai Thendral Dheva is known for blatantly lifting other compositions. What would one say to Anu Malik who lifted one of Dheva's lift? Flattering a flatterer. The song in context is the forgettable "Priya Priya Oh Priya" from Kattabomman. Either Anu Malik sits and listens to Dheva songs or Dheva just beat Anu Malik to the original source.

Case #5: The Mannan Paradigm

From Mannan to Gharaana Mogudu to Mechanic Maapillai. The Superstar makes yet another appearance in this analysis but on the positive side this time. Mannan (P.Vasu again is the director) was a super duper hit in Thamizh. The Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi kinda liked it and made Gharaana Mogudu with the customary 'rain dance' thrown in as the only difference. Gharaana Mogudu was the biggest Telugu hit at that time. It made actress Nagma have a great fan following in the two south states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This prompted distributors to dub Gharaana Mogudu and release it in Thamizh (I think it was called Mechanic Maapillai). I still remember standing with my friends outside a cinema hall that had Mannan running in the matinee show and Mechanic Maapillai for the evening and night shows. The same movie just a few years apart - people!

Why won't you love our cinema junta?

May 25, 2010

I would like to add "Ravan(an)" and "Kites" to this mix of multi lingual mash-ups.

Mani Ratnam and Vikram have combined to introduce an agile style of film making where the characters are constant while the actors are floating.

Kites, a trilingual movie, is now running across America in two versions - the Bollywood version and Bret Ratner presents a version sans the song sequences. It looks like audiences are staying away as both versions have at least two languages that they don't get.


More Rajini Facts

Following the first set of facts.

While rest of the world is reeling under the volcanic ash effect, Rajini is dancing with Ash for Eyandhiran.

While non-icelanders struggle with the name of the volcano, Rajini simply refers to it as ‘Malai … da!’,

Rajini can handle short pitch bowling.

Time and Tide wait for Rajini.

Iron Man is a hollywood adaptation of Rajini’s Eyandhiran. It just got released first.

In Las Vegas, the house always wins when Rajini is not playing.

Spoiler alert. The force behind the unbelievable happenings on the ‘Lost’ island is Rajinikanth.

Vikram plays diabolically different character in two versions of Ravanan in two or three languages thus ensuring that he or his character is there in every frame of the movie. In trade circles this is referred to as ‘doing a Rajini’.

There is a desi version of american series ‘24’ in the works starring Rajini. It is called 2.4

The real reason behind Tamil New Year Day being moved to January is that no Rajini movie release has happened in that month for a long time.

Google servers temporarily crashed when someone mistakenly searched for Rajinikanth flop movies. The correct term is ‘Rajini’s awesome movies with humble collections not including Baba.’.


NetFlix Bandit

netflixbandit Browsing through NetFlix’s online streaming collection is not unlike a Sunday afternoon at Home Depot. Aisles and aisles of useful stuff but with no attendant to assist. This is what I waded through recently – at NetFlix; not Home Depot.

Went Looking For…


  Cyberspace is atwitter over Joss Whedon’s involvement in the impending Avenger franchise. It made me go back to where it all started (for me) Whedon-wise – the short-lived Firefly series. Queued up the TV series and Serenity, its big screen wrap up party. For the uninitiated, this is Star Wars with more Hans Solo and less, nay, no royal baggage. For the initiated, I apologize for the previous line. I managed to recapture the first three episodes. Good news – the series is still just as great as it was the first time around. Nathan Fillion is visibly less puffy in his pre-Castle days. Rest of the acting arsenal is intact.

Ended Up With…

Chak De! India and A League of Their Own

Shimit Amin lives a double life. I am convinced of this. He lives in L.A and has a repertoire of editing work for American movies and television. Meanwhile, his Avatar creates Bollywood movies that test the conventions of mainstream cinema in India. “Chak De! India”, his most successful movie yet, should prove this point. It IS based on “A League of Their Own”. Do not believe the people (mainly the writers behind the movie) who suggest otherwise. However, it is a great adaptation. The plan is to watch both of them this week - just to compare and contrast and challenge the fore-mentioned writers if it ever  comes to that. Right away, I can assure you that CDI is not a straight lift of ALOTO. This is an inspired adaptation but an adaptation nevertheless. It is always a pleasure to watch Shah Rukh Khan not be Shah Rukh Khan on screen. The movie centers around hockey – turf hockey not the ice variety. The latter won’t work in India due to the Gandhian by-laws of non-violence and presence of the equator. Even then, turf hockey has long been overlooked by the Indian populace in favor of the sponsor friendly game of cricket.The theme song became sort of an anthem and was played during India’s successful win in the maiden T20 world championship of (gotta love the irony) cricket.

The Missing Person

Dark? Check. Alcoholic Jerk of a P.I? Check. Noir? Check. I found myself letting out a strange (even for me) growl-like sound when I saw this movie in the streaming section of NetFlix. This would do great for that sleepless Wednesday night. A recent viewing of “The Big Sleep” was the last film noir that I sipped on. While that was more of a legend driven vehicle, “The Missing Person” should satisfy the more primal need of watching a brooding dark story unfold through great actors and dialogs. Amy Ryan, fan since ironically her HR act in the US version of “The Office”, seems to relish the mood setting of this genre and she was great in “Gone Baby Gone”.


Sam Rockwell is a home office worker who has among other worries a growing distrust of his employer. All his business is through telecommuting. No water-cooler talk. The fact that he is an astronaut stationed in our only natural satellite is only coincidental. This movie is an ode to work from home warriors. Maybe not. However, the premise and talent involved makes this a must see and since Wednesday sleepless night is already book this has to be slotted in for Thursday early morning. I hope this is not Sam’s take on Clooney’s Solaris.

NetFlix is messing with its subscriber base by introducing “Inglorious Bastards” to the list. This is not the Quentin Tarantino movie. Har Har. I am tempted to but chance are I will not watch this one.

In case you are wondering, I brought home a manual and appointment confirmation for a water filter system from Home Depot. I’d gone there to buy a fluorescent bulb.


Harsha Bhogle

The man who silenced Ian Chappell by saying, " I am sure you'll never become a lawyer , I understand everything you say "; I’ve been a fan of Harsha Bhogle without even realizing it. His recent columns in Cricinfo are a cut above the rest. I came across this speech that he gave at IIM – a lesson for how a non-specialist can achieve great heights in a demanding discipline.

Harsha Bhogle - Achievers of Excellence - IIM Ahmedabad - Part 1 of 2 from Brijesh Chauhan on Vimeo.

Harsha Bhogle - Achievers of Excellence - IIM Ahmedabad - Part 2 of 2 from Brijesh Chauhan on Vimeo.


The amaZZZing Race

The Amazzzing Race, originally uploaded by DeepTrance.

Rain, more rain and then some snails. Built a story around two of them. Let's see how long this story will interest the little one


A Chain of Events

I couldn’t recognize him at first glance. Who gives a second glance to a dope laden junkie in a seedy coffee shop anyway? I noticed something he had placed on his table though. It was a worn out photograph. I knew a guy who had cause to be passionate about a certain childhood photograph. Contradicting my thought process, I glanced again at the junkie. I allowed my eyes to rest on him long enough to identify his features.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was him – Bala! Bala, the engineering student who used to be my roommate a couple of years ago and as any other engineering student the guy had a set plan for the rest of his life. I remember him having a job offer from at least one big name every week in his last semester. The same guy was now wearing ragged clothes that obviously didn’t fit him, had a beard as shaggy as a crow’s nest and eyes that were sunken deep into their sockets. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I was working as a freelancer at that time in Madras. I had a regular flow of writing work. It was mostly for the local newsletters and was invariably insignificant interviews of local bigwigs. It was enough to get me some steady income. My major source of income however was the house I lived in. I owned it, passed on to me by my late Uncle, and had a steady procession of paying guests – all bachelors – paying me a token rent and generally paying for everything else.

Yet, my personal life was a big void. With a much elder sister as the only living relative and no friends of any sort, the roommates became my one big relationship. Bala was a great roommate. I developed a kind of rapport that made me even protective of him. I admired him for his penchant for cleanliness and his car which I could borrow from time to time. He was a full time student and his tuition fees were taken care of by parents who had planned for it a long time ago. We bonded well and he became my best friend yet. Those were good times.

During his last semester, Bala forced a change into our regular schedule.

“Would you mind having another room mate?”, he threw a poser.

“Male or female?” I grinned.

“Sorry to disappoint you buddy, it’s a guy called Giri”, and in a more serious tone he added, “He wouldn’t be contributing monetarily though, at least not immediately. I am even prepared to move if his coming here is not okay with you.”

I thought it over. Bala’s anxious face forced the decision in the end. I did make the routine inquires though.

“How long have you known him?”, I asked him.

“All my life!” he said.

“That is enough credibility for me.”, I assured him, “He is most welcome!”

I actually felt less assured than those words. I am usually very wary of new people but I didn’t want to disappoint Bala.

My anxiety was further enhanced when Bala brought home Giri! Giri was a far cry from normalcy. He looked extremely undernourished. For some reason Bala didn’t bother to introduce him in face which I found to be odd. That really piqued me. as I fancied myself to be an emotional benefactor to Bala. This new person with whom he had his own private world was a looming puzzle. Giri, on the other hand refused to be a challenge in the overbearing friend department.

It was clear to me that he had issues. He was shy beyond reason – a champion among introverts if ever there was one. He had just landed a job in Madras after a long struggle and had no place to stay. He had written to Bala, who consulted me and offered him temporary lodgings. I’d heard of Giri before from Bala. In his school days, Bala, always the benevolent, had taken the meek Giri under his wings. Giri had lost his father, a Brahmin priest, at a very young age. That didn’t stop him from being extremely pious himself. In fact it was whispered among the locals in Bala’s town that he was some kind of a seer.

I was told that Giri kept most of his thoughts to himself and his talents never got the frenzied fan following usually reserved for people of his caliber. Bala however saw him only as a friend in need of compassion and refused to believe his supposedly divine powers.

“Hello!” I said to Giri.

“Hi!” replied Giri to the wall behind me.


“Doesn’t he bother you?”, I asked Bala.

“Who?” he asked with that pleasant manner of his.

“Who?”, I couldn’t think of anyone else the past few days and he was asking who. “Giri, that’s who”.

“What do you mean?”, he asked me. “Bala, that guy is living off you and he doesn’t seem to mind it. Every time you give him some simple job to do around the house, he hides himself behind God and other rituals. Personally, I don’t have anything to do with him, but I don’t know man… I mean… doesn’t he bother you?”.

I stopped talking as Bala left the room ending that discussion right there. My thoughts, however, persisted. I was convinced that Bala was being used. Yet he refused to see reason.

After Giri’s arrival, I hardly spent any time at home. I was traveling with a theatre troupe as their PR person all across South India. When I came back, I found the two old cohorts back to a routine which Bala had mentioned about them having in high school. Giri’s workplace was close to Bala’s college. They traveled together all the time. They never got tired of talking about their times at their old school and their town folk. Both of them were strict vegetarians and shared a common interest in most other things. In fact, sometimes I found myself missing the laid back debates I used to enjoy with Bala. Around this time I got a regular job with a weekly magazine doing a city round up of cultural events. I didn’t notice anything amiss until much later.

Despite their obvious companionship, Bala and Giri had one major bone of contention. Bala refused to believe in Giri’s divine abilities. In fact, he chided Giri’s elaborate rituals every morning. Bala was born into a family of engineers. To him logic preceded divinity. Given his over-protective nature, he couldn’t tolerate Giri’s “blind” religious beliefs.

The daily teasing underlined Giri’s prayer sessions. Initially Giri didn’t seem to mind it. But during the month of November, an auspicious month, Giri’s chanting was loud and resonating and took place in the evening on a daily basis. This particular month was also the time of Bala’s mid-semester examinations. Bala wanted some silence one particular evening. Giri seemed to be really fervent in his rendition that very day. It was a clash of either person’s most beloved subject. The debate ran well into the night – Prayer and Studies long forgotten. It left both of them bitter and on uneven terms for quite some time. I couldn’t help being a mute spectator having no contribution to offer whatsoever in either subject.

An interesting turn of events took place. Giri started advising me on stuff. I took his advice because his predictions unfortunately came out true. “Call your sister!” He said to me out of the blue. I hadn’t called her for quite some time and decided to make a phone call anyway. It turned out that she had just suffered a mild stroke.

I rushed to be by her side. She recovered in a few weeks time. I returned with a sense of awe over Giri. He didn’t seem to be even aware of this new fan of his. Bala took extra pain in pointing to the genetic defects in my family. Almost everyone over thirty had some form of cardiac problem. “Don’t go around and start making a God out of that bloke!” he lamented. I didn’t argue with him and couldn’t take Giri’s side readily. My sister did mention that she has sent me a mail a month back detailing her deteriorating health. That mail never reached me and I could only blame the postal system. Did Giri intercept that mail? I wondered.

Life was however returning to normalcy. Giri brought an audio cassette of a religious discourse. He made it a point to listen to it in the wee hours of the morning everyday. Surprisingly Bala didn’t seem to mind it that much. One Saturday morning however Giri started the cassette player with the cassette and instead of the voice of the Shloka exponent the latest rap song resounded across the room. Giri went red with rage but Bala was laughing very hard to even notice it. I think it was after this event that they dropped all speaking terms between them.

Giri never rode with Bala in his car after that. Bala spent more hours in the college library than at home. They were drifting apart. I was an emotional cripple in more ways than one. I did not find it in me to bring about a truce between the two.

“How about having one of those long drives that we used to have?” I was egging Bala back towards better days. I wanted him to get back to that time when emotional turmoil was never in the agenda. I could see that he was warming to the idea.

“Yeah” he sighed. I could do with something like that”. Giri was hovering in the background.

“Bala, I just had a vision. During this trip, make sure that you drive the car all the time. You could be in grave danger if you don’t”.

There was silence for a few seconds. Then Bala started hollering loud peals of laughter. Giri hung his head and left the room.

“Where did you catch this sick nut?” I bellowed. To prove a point Bala left for the trip asking me to drive his car. Our first destination was the firing range in the nearby hills.

It was a narrow trail with barely enough space for one vehicle. I was a frequent visitor to these parts and drove the car at a speed far from normal. Bala was recalling the “Rap music” incident and I couldn’t stop laughing. A bit sober, Bala added, “However, I do plan to make up with that bloke when we get back. We go back a long way man.” At this precise moment, I lost my concentration at the wheel. A near blind turn came along. The road suddenly went in a near-perpendicular curve but the car kept going straight at 90 mph. And to our utter horror the brakes failed.

Bala’s first reaction was to clutch to the sides of his seat and his eyes were closed even more tightly. The first bump forced him to open his eyes and he was no longer sitting in his seat. He was on the side of the driver’s seat and was now holding to the gear box. I was meanwhile trying to stop the car – hoping wildly that we would meet some flat terrain soon enough. My foot was now pressed firmly on the brake but I couldn’t get past Bala to reach the emergency brake or the gear box. The car was still traveling downhill. The thought “What am I doing…” just kept repeating in my head. I was trying to push Bala away from the gear box. He clutched his seatbelt and tried to lift himself away from me. He was not even seated now… just hanging and holding on to his seatbelt. I had tried to shut down the car by all possible means.

The enormous cloud of dust and what looked like a crack to the side window made the task of locating a flat terrain difficult. Eventually, the car did seem to slow down and finally with a heavy crunch emanating from the hood it stood still. Bala, on impact, fell back on top of me. Then, still tied by the seatbelt, propelled up, managed to open his door. Without unclipping the belt, he wriggled out of it and levered himself on top of the car and sat on its side. He then turned to see what I was doing but lost his balance, slid across the side of the car, over the gas tank, rear tires and fell to the ground. Now all he could see was smoke. I moved up hill and to my right all the while trying to maintain my balance and just as the smoke cleared I bumped into Bala. Instinctively, the two of us ran uphill.

We’d hardly reached the road when the car actually blew up. The sound was short but deafening. And it slowly echoed off the hills. Bala felt a stinging pain in his thighs and now knew that they were burns and not just bruises. He had actually slid through fire when he fell out of the car. I was relatively unhurt. Not a soul crossed the road as the two of us just stood there gazing at the burning car. The smoke cleared eventually and it was visible that the car had been held from falling off the cliff by a bunch of what could only be called as thick shrubs. Some of the shrubs were still burning.

Bala was in a real dark mood. That was understandable. He wanted to vent all his anger on Giri. The godman had gone to his home town for the weekend. The insurance people analyzed the accident and suggested that there could have been some tampering with the brake lines in the car. They were not sure. Bala got this idea into his head that it was all Giri’s doing. Did Giri cross the line to prove his supernatural prowess? Did the means to stage an accident precede the prophecy in Giri’s mind? Bala saw this as an attempt on Giri’s part to stage a prophecy.

On his return from his hometown, Giri went straight to his office. Bala who was fuming like a volcano burst into Giri’s office and gave him the kind of tongue lashing that would wither any bloom. Giri all the more embarrassed in front of his colleagues never got a chance to talk back. Later that evening his protests that he had nothing to do with the accident fell on deaf ears. He started packing his bags. Bala personally threw them out. It was a nasty end to their relationship.

“You should have listened to me in the first place”, asserted Giri.

“I’ll get back to you, if that’s the last thing I do!” replied Bala.

In the coming days, Bala felt remorse and felt he had acted in haste. His anger was still there. His mental conflict in overcoming his ego and apologizing to Giri was very evident. He was faltering in his studies. His behavior on the whole took a downside turn. His whole demeanor was that of a listless person. He was desperate for a closure but was not sure how.

Around this time Giri’s boss started getting crank calls over his godman-like behavior. That and Giri’s own faltering performance finally made him lose his job. I got the whiff of the news that Giri had become a sort of recluse and that he had eventually forsaken all his possessions. He joined a charity mission and moved to North India.

Giri’s mother visited us even when Bala was packing his bags, having dropped out of college. She stood there in the doorway – no words were spoken from either side. Even I felt a chill run down my spine. I could only imagine what was going through Bala’s mind. She stood there for something like fifteen minutes. She dropped an old faded photograph and left without a word.

It was a photograph of two kids – arms over shoulders – without a care about either the present or the future. I tried reasoning with Bala and gently persuaded him to complete his studies. He seemed to take it amiably but that was the last that I saw of him until of course today.

I couldn’t bring myself to go near him. I left the place with thoughts on what had happened and what could have been prevented. We used to have great times together. He was well set to become an engineer. I had my first real friend. Giri should have never come into our lives. He took away my friendship. I would have done anything to bring Bala back to his old self. Anything. That’s exactly what I did or at least tried to do.

The two idiots were busy blaming each other that they didn’t even stop to think that there was a third person in the house. Anybody could record on audio cassettes, anybody could make crank calls and anybody could have tampered with the brakes. Jealousy does strange things to the best of people and anybody who knows me knows that I am a jealous freak.


Movie Special Effects are 100 years old

A five minute video chronicling “100 years of inspiration”


Royal tantrum in Regional Park

This would have been the Newspaper headlines - Royal tantrum in Regional Park. Kid, not yet two, puts parent to task when refused permission to run helter skelter.

Up in the Air

Up in the Air Up in the Air by Walter Kirn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars I start my review with a digression. I read the book and saw the movie (in that order) "Up in the Air" around the same time as the release of the Hindi movie "3 idiots" which is inspired from Chetan Bhagath's "5 point someone" (yet to read). The professionalism with which the book to movie adaptation has been done with "Up in the Air" puts the Bollywood junta and Bhagath in bad light. I think the respective movie makers' approach to the material has been similar. They have taken the essence of a novel and spun their own story around it, making it appeal to a different medium. "Up in the Air" succeeds in the professionalism front - author credited properly, movie-book tie-ins, author lets the movie hold its own and is happy in his place. Now I am not sure if Chetan Bhagath was compensated properly but the acrimonious tussle with the movie makers post "3 idiots" release has revealed how much of catching up the Indian entertainers have got to do in the legal front of adapting books.

I bought the book in an airport. I even mentioned to the sales lady - "seems appropriate for the place". Leafing through the preface, I noticed that a couple of other novels by Walter Kirn have also made it to the Hollywood mainstream and they are already in my Netflix list without me being conscious of it – they have been there for a while now. I finished the first half of the book in record time - I was mesmerized by the materialistic pursuit of Ryan Bingham. His career is an extraordinary one. A lay-off specialist. A good job to have if you love not staying in one place and make more acquaintances than relationships. While he is flying from one city to another he has a couple of siblings, who, through phone calls, try and keep him grounded. The lifestyle of Ryan Bingham is fascinating as much as it is repulsive to a 'family man'. Loved the character's personal quirks of having a new word a day and also the detached outlook on everyone and everything coming his way.The one thing that he is not detached from and is actually pursuing with great zeal is his million miles reward with a certain airlines. At some point in this nonstop travelogue he steps into Vegas and that's where the book stopped working for me. A sort of psychedelic incoherence seeps into both the character's mental state as wells as the writing. The end is bitter-sweet vis-a-vis the million miles pursuit but by that time I reached the end, I was going through the motions of just finishing the book. It is a good commentary on jet-setters with no roots and I believe I can recollect a few of my own acquaintances who are like that.

I would give an extra star to the movie as compared to the book. The movie also centers around the Ryan Bingham character as well and his quest for a frequent flier reward - 10 million miles this time. The support cast is a little different and far more entertaining than the book. The twist in the movie, which Wifey can't stop talking about, is quick and dirty. George Clooney is perfect for the role. The end in the movie is not a mortal one as it was in the book - at least not of the same kind - but manages to circle back to the beginning of the movie. I like that. View all my reviews >>