Wednesday, September 28, 2016

THE GAME (1997) - ENGLISH

A film that is abstruse and absurd yet not so abstract.

There is no believability or factual presentation when surrealism is the theme. "The Game" goes by surrealism that boggled my mind at the end. The built up was great and the action was sleek yet the ending was not fulfilling. I was not fully satisfied as a viewer and a lot of expectations from Fincher got battered.

Technically, it is good in all aspects. But what good are all the embellishments when the dish is too dried up. The script was just too dry to make me engage or perhaps, the screenplay was not provocative enough. There is a missing element in the film is what I felt.

My heart went to Sean Penn whom I thought was totally wasted. Michael Douglas was gracious in suits and cars but his body language was not good enough. I felt like Michael was told to be too casual in the film and he was just there without any passion.

A 2/5 for an average showing and take on surrealism.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PINK (2016) - HINDI

An impactful film that lingered long after I came home from the theater.

I have seen this movie twice in 2 days and I cannot get over it yet. It's a tough film to let go. Each moment is progressive and takes the story forward. It's a case that is fought well and proves a point. The film takes up not one but multiple issues and handles them extremely well.

The issues which are highlighted in the film as I saw are

1) Forcing women into non-consensual acts
2) Objectification of women by society
3) Judging women by their looks and habits by society
4) Treatment of North East Indians
5) Pollution in India
6) Corruption in Police
7) High handedness of politicians
8) Headstrong attitude of rich and powerful
9) Modesty of sincere lawyers

I can write cliched lines as "Performance are supreme and writing is terrific". Let me cut the technicalities out and say that it's a film we needed in our times. It's poignant and indeed the most relevant films of the year.

In performances, I loved Amitabh Bachchan, Piyush Mishra and a special mention to Taapsee who stood out. The song "Kaari Kaari" will be on my playlist for a long time to come.

Thanks to the makers and all those involved in bringing this film out. I loved it despite its obvious result and its preachiness. Yes, mind you the film is preachy yet sticks to the point.

A 4/5 for one of the best stories and films of the year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

AZHAR (2016) - HINDI

A worthless film that is clich├ęd and is manipulative.

It’s like a film made by a biased fan of the cricketer Azharuddin to show him in good light and to tell the world that he is innocent. I did not buy the ticket myself for the film and did not want to see this. Having said that, to kill some time, I went to this film. The result was on the lines of my expectation. I expected that the film would not focus much on the betting or match-fixing and so it happened. The film was about Azharuddin's Love Affairs and his relationship with his grandfather than about his cricket affairs. It tried hard to bring out reality but is too biased to be appreciated.

What a waste of time and money. A 0/5 for this.

UDTA PUNJAB (2016) - HINDI


So there comes a powerful film on drugs in India.

It is powerful because it addresses the issue right from the core. The political nexus is seen, how youth are inspired by wrong icons is seen and a lot more is seen. The script is terrific on paper. Having said that the direction could have been better as the screenplay was slow and also spoon fed.
Abhishek Chaubey made "Ishqiya"  and "Dedh Ishqiya" but this is much better than those films. This film has a purpose and depicts a real issue.

Performances are great and they hold the film well. Alia Bhatt as Bihari worker stands out. Shahid tried his best but overplayed a bit. Kareena Kapoor looked composed at most places and in few scenes her unnecessary reaction came out. Diljit Dosanjh was good in his role and I loved his screen presence.

The intent to make the film is noble but at times it became preachy. Shahid Kapoor as "Tommy Singh" goes gaga over the ills of drugs and I did not like that part. Perhaps, it could have been edited out. So editing could have been much sharper.

The film is shot well as the camera is handled by Rajeev Ravi, a master of cinematography. The music has its place and is well done.

A 3/5 for a good film. Just a word that there were few unnecessary deaths which did not add any value to the film. 

REVIEW OF ISHQIYA

http://braddugg.blogspot.in/2011/08/ishqiya-2009-hindi.html

REVIEW OF DEDH ISHQIYA

http://braddugg.blogspot.in/2014/01/dedh-ishqiya-2014-urdu.html

Sunday, September 18, 2016

THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016) - ENGLISH

A good book has transpired into a wonderful film.

Filled with graphics and visual effects created animals and one human who stands out, this is an adventure that's made extremely well. The book is adapted into a film or TV series several times and this is a great adaptation of the book.

I loved Shere Khan and his voice over. Idris Elba is terrific in voice over for Shere Khan. Also, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera came into his own realm and nailed the character. Neel Sethi as Mowgli is a surprise and a good find.

The direction is superb and brings a connection from beginning to end. There is not a dull moment in this adventure. I have seen the film twice in the theater and both the times, I fell in love with it. This is a book I loved as a childhood. Sure, Rudyard Kipling gave us an adventure that will last for centuries.

Technically, the film is brilliant. The visual effects are stunning and the whole landscape and animals are real that actually there are some frightening moments. The one scene in which "Kaa" (voice given by Scarlett Johannson) comes to talk with Mowgli is creepy and haunting.

I am going with 4/5 for this. A memorable adventure that's worth the money and time.

JAWS (1975) -ENGLISH

Truly, one of the greatest pictures ever made.

The film is about capturing a killer shark that feeds on humans. It's a spectacle to be seen on the big screen. The first half or three-fourth of the film is about planning how to go about capturing the shark. The last part is all in the sea. It's an amazing film because the way it traverses from scene to scene. The film involves a lot of character build up and a basis for the shark to be killed. It also keeps minimalistic in sound and gets loud only when needed.

The sound design and the music by John Williams is a study in itself. The editing is precise and keeps the movie gripping. To be fair, there are hardly any dull moments in the film, even though the end is known. The journey is so interesting that the destination feels like a by-product of the journey.

Steven Spielberg grew in stature with this film. I am told by my uncle who saw the film in theatre  1970's when it got released that it was indeed a phenomenon and one of his friends does not enter into the water even today that is 40 years after seeing the film he is still afraid of sharks. Though funny, it is indeed true and confirmed by the person itself.

It's impactful and must be revered for the change it brought about in mindset and understanding of the sea the nature of sharks.

Acting is stupendous and though I don't know any of the cast, they played their roles superbly and are heroic in their own ways.

A 4/5 for one the great films ever made, though it lost it's aura a bit as technology got updated, it must be seen for the content.

BLOOD DIAMOND (2006) - ENGLISH

A powerful film on the diamond trade and exploitation of people in Africa.

This is a film based on True Events and is made realistically. The film's strong points are writing, directing and acting. This film seems to be shot in real locations with real people. There are many points in the film which I liked technically. The shot composition, the capture of African Landscape is amazing. The music is something I liked and felt it went with the flow of the film.

The writing of dialogues is simple and yet stood out. The relationship between "Danny Archer" (Leonardo DiCaprio) and "Solomon Vandy" (Djimon Hounsou) is well established and concluded beautifully.

In 2006, there were two memorable films which came out about exploitation in Africa. One is this one and the other is "Last King of Scotland". While both are historical films and based on True Events, I thought "Blood Diamond" was better in drama.

I loved the performance of Leonardo DiCaprio and he was terrific in the role. Watch it if you are a Leo fan, or if interested in the history of Africa. Others, watch if interested in good cinema.

A 3/5 for a good film.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

DHANAK (2016) - HINDI

A film that moved me not by sympathy but with humor.

When I watch films of underprivileged people, I feel blessed and privileged. To be sane and healthy and everything working fine in the body is a great blessing which I value much more than many other things. Dhanak is a film that made me feel blessed and privileged.

The nuances like the turn of a coin to play either Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan or dreaming a house build of sweets were simply amazing. I must say Nagesh Kukunoor is still an original director. There are elements of genuine originality in his films which are rare in Indian films. He is one of the few directors who sticks to his subject and puts it across well.

With this film, he is back to the landscape of Rajasthan where he shot few of his films. I loved his DOR. So the sand dunes, the dry lands are part of the backdrop and they are wonderful.

There are few moments I loved in the film. The song of "Dam-a-Dam Mast Qalandar", the "Maatha" moment and the letters to Shah Rukh.

Krrish Chhabria as Chotu is superb and this film belongs to him. Hetal Gadda as Pari is memorable. It's the kids who brought so much life to the film and for me as a viewer.

A 3/5 for a good film. Kudos to Nagesh Kukunoor who keeps churning good movies despite many constraints.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

THE VIRTUOUS BURGLAR (A PLAY) - ENGLISH

Dramanon Presents Dario Fo's 'The Virtuous Burglar'

About The Play: A burglar enters a house that he has been studying from the outside for days. Thinking he knows everything there is to know, he enters with absolute confidence, only to find out how wrong he was! Being on the inside, error-filled encounters with and among strangers unravels so much more than he can handle.

Language : English
Cast : Saurabh Sensharma, Vaishali Bisht, Rahul Premchander, Richa Jain, Shayontoni Ghosh, Adnan Hararwala, RK Shenoy
Director : Harika Vedula
Length : 1 hour
Writer : Dario Fo

VENUE : RTTC AUDITORIUM, HYDERABAD
DATE : 28th AUGUST 2016

My Review:

The play is about a burglar who comes to steal and is entangled in a cat and mouse game of husband and wives. Infidelity took the centre-stage and all others played their part.The first 15 minutes of dialogues were missed out by noise. I could not hear what was being spoken on stage properly. I owe this to the bad sound arrangement. Also, one of the lights was directly onto my face and I could not take that. So it was tough for me to sit through the play.

Of all, Saurabh Sensharma as Burglar impressed me. Others did their bit. I would be cautious going forward in going with hype and friends words. My friend hyped the play as if it is one of their best plays. To be fair, I have seen much better plays than this. I would rather forget this play. An average one. I could take nothing back.

The best part of everything about the play is the sketch of The Virtuous Burglar (as shown in the poster above) by RK Shenoy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DONT BREATHE (2016) - ENGLISH

A big waste of time. Neither horrifying nor memorable.

This was hyped as one of the best horror films and I fell into the trap of hype and went for it. I came back with curses and complaints than liking it even one bit. My wife loves horror films and she is the driving force and I hope I would be enjoying my first horror film in the theater along with her and that was not to be. To be fair enough, it was a boring experience.

Until the time, the antagonist did not open his mouth, there was some eerie feeling. But once his dialogues began, the essence was lost and it became dull and the interest it generated was fizzled out.

The good thing is sound. Yes, horror films bank on sound and this film is no different that way. Also, acting was good especially by Stephen Lang. The climax was pretty horrible, to say the least, and the reason behind the antagonist's work was just too lame. I felt like they created a lazy character as a villain and tried to sell him to the audience.

It's set up well only to fizzle out at the end. This left me with a bad memory. The movie is forgettable and I am going with a generous 1/5.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

THE POWER OF HABIT

AUTHOR: CHARLES DUHIGG
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

A book that overwhelmingly talks about the power of a habit.

There are numerous examples of people who have a habit and what did they accomplish with that habit. Also, there are stories of people who have a less valuable life because of their habits.

Habit is defined in English as below

Habit(n): an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary

Now with that definition of habit, it's a pattern. Habits are consistent as consistent as doing brush daily. Our life is actually consumer by habits for 70-80% what we do for the remaining part is actually a luxury. So if we have good habits, then we shall be successful and we have bad habits we shall be a failure in life.

This book did not tell about how to correct bad habits in detail and almost followed a similar pattern for each of habit that was explained. Be it drinking a coffee, eating a choco chip or brushing teeth. Also, organizations mentioned in the book are told to have benefitted with habits. The examples given in the book depict reality and I appreciate the author Charles Duhigg for his research work.

After reading through the first two chapters I got a hang of the context of the book and started skimming through the pages. I did not find any great value add I must say by the end. Although,
in Appendix I found something of huge value, I thought the rest of 250 odd pages were filled with stories that were reasoning more on habit formation and sustenance.

The book though gives a scientific explanation, it evolves from stories and studies. It's like trying to sell a thought process providing examples. That's one of the main reasons, which did not make me involve as a reader. I cannot buy or read through books whose intent is to sell a thought. Those are preachy books and this book I felt is preachy too. I am not sure if I can call it self-help too coz I could not get any great help from the book.

Yet, I got to know an understanding of habit and the cue-routine-reward loop.

Also, the framework for reshaping a habit was well put.

Identify the Routine
Experiment with Rewards
Isolate the Cue
Have a Plan

Though for me it was an average read, I got some insights and am thankful for that.
The best paragraph for me in the book was actually a quote of William James.

"All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits - practical, emotional, and intellectual - systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be"

Thursday, September 1, 2016

BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY


AUTHOR(S): W. CHAM KIM & RENEE MAUBORGNE
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

A book that focuses on how we can create markets by disrupting the prevailing markets and have our own space.

For me, it was a good read with many insights. I was actually amazed that if I were a marketing or sales head of a company how much valuable this book would be. This should be a must-read book for many entrepreneurs and marketing managers. There are so many case studies and each is derived from a strategy. If the strategies are understood, applied to the organization, and executed using analytical data then I am sure more often than not, a blue ocean (a disruptive market space) can be created.

The book is divided into two parts with the chapters as mentioned below.
Part One : Blue Ocean Strategy

Creating Blue Oceans
Analytical Tools and Frameworks

Part Two : Formulating Blue Ocean Strategy

Reconstructing Market Boundaries
Focus on the Big Picture, Not the Numbers
Reach Beyond Existing Demand
Get the Strategic Sequence Right
Overcome Key Organizational Hurdles
Build Execution Into Strategy
Align Value, Profit and People Propositions
Renew Blue Oceans
Avoid Red Ocean Traps

All through the book, there are tons case studies and many types of industries are covered. Example, from Circus Industry which is disrupted by the formation of Cirque De Soleil to the Computer Industry, disrupted by Apple. From the evolution of Automobiles from Ford to Mercedes-Benz to Southwest Airlines Tagline changed the Airlines Industry, there are overwhelming examples.

This is one of the most relevant business books now and there is no doubt it is one of the best sellers too. Of the plethora of concepts given, I loved the Reduce, Raise, Eliminate, Create concept. Also, the path of creating a strategy and implementing at strategy level in an organization is superbly documented.  I would refrain to explain concepts in detail here, as that would be like giving away some insights which are worth knowing by reading the book itself. The way the concepts are presented in the book is commendable.

Though I found some disconnect in few aspects as I was not well versed with certain examples, yet I could understand the thought process behind the need of expressing the same. The logical flow of chapters is nice and so the English. In this book, I expected a language that would be tough to comprehend. For my surprise, it was in a professional's language (a person who has some kind of work experience to understand his own work sphere) and I could thus understand without any assistance.

Also, there are diagrams and some of which are graphs. It took some time for me to get the vision of graphs and how to read them. If looked at in isolation, they did not mean mush, but in the context, those were well done.

I thank the Harvard Business Review Press and the Authors. They published this book so that public at large, especially entrepreneurs are benefitted. 

About Me

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I firstly declare here that all the content written in the blog is exclusively written by me and I hold the copyrights of each and everything. Be it a poem or a movie review. Also, the videos or photographs I upload or attach are exclusively owned by me. This declaration is important in a world that seems so worried of piracy. The prime purpose of these blogs is to put my writings and photographs on the net. and well to start with.... I live in my mind, and existence is the attempt to bring my thoughts into physical reality, I celebrate myself, sing myself and I am always happy in my own company.....I am not the best in the world but I strive for excellence and thats what keeps me alive... Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself--Friedrich Nietzsche