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Showing posts from 2022

Book Review of Where Did You Go? by P.L. Jonas

  The popularity of novels like Gone Girl and T he Girl on the Train with an intriguing premise, unreliable narrators and plot twists, has put the spotlight on psychological suspense stories. Such stories have a thriller like urgency about them and yet are rooted in familiar, real life situations. A well crafted, edgy psychological suspense can keep the reader hooked till the very last page.  The novella Where Did You Go ? by debut author P.L. Jonas begins with an intriguing set up. Sammy, a successful but reclusive ghostwriter, is offered a chance of a life time. The project involves completing a half-finished manuscript by her favourite writer, Margaret Mitchell, the celebrated author of  the all-time classic Gone with the Wind . Her brief is simple: she needs to follow the outline that the author has left behind and submit a draft within a tight deadline.  Her publisher, James, is confident that Sammy has what it takes to finish the novel. The chance of having her name on the book

Are Screenwriters Under Appreciated in Bollywood?

The Hindi movie industry is one of the most prolific film industries in the world. According to available figures on the Internet, revenue collections in 2019 stood at Rs 19000 crore. This includes revenues earned from films, television, OTT, etc. Over the last couple of years, thanks to the pandemic, movie viewing in theatres has seen a significant decline. People are preferring to watch streaming channels where there are scores of movies and web series to choose from at the press of a remote button.  2022 has seen more movies releasing in theatres but it seems like audiences are not returning as fast as the filmmakers would like them to. So much so that a string of big budget films including the much awaited Aamir Khan starrer Lal Singh Chadha has had a shockingly disastrous opening at the box office. Something that would be unthinkable for a mega star of his stature. Akshay Kumar, another mega star has had an equally tepid release in Raksha Bandhan .  It's not as if all film re

A heart-wrenching family saga: Book Review of Pachinko by Lee Min-jin

  Pachinko by Lee Min-jin My rating: 3 of 5 stars A saga of Korean immigrants that covers three generations of a family and their strife and trials as they try to assimilate into Japanese society. The story is fascinating as it highlights the issues of Korean culture and the discrimination they faced at the hands of their colonisers, the Japanese. It tackles the issue of what it means to be a Korean living in Japan at the turn of the century and up until the 21st century. Identity remains at the core of this heart wrenching family saga. The story begins with Sunja who along with her mother runs a boarding house for working class men. They lead a hard, simple life. Sunja's attraction for a wealthy man who is much older than her leaves her pregnant. But she refuses his offer of becoming his mistress and instead marries the minister who is staying at their boarding house, moving with him to Japan. Even though Sunja's story is central to the book, it is as much a book of the sec

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree - Review of the International Booker Prize Winner

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree My rating: 5 of 5 stars Geetanjali Shree's original book in Hindi is called Ret Samadhi and the translated version by Daisy Rockwell is Tomb of Sand. The writer's style is lyrical and captures the essence of an Indian family completely and evocatively. In fact the amazing thing about the author's style is that it goes above and beyond the cast of characters, roping in inanimate objects (like the door, for instance), the natural elements, crows and invisible things like borders. The story lies not so much in the plotline of an old woman and her journey to find the house and man she has left behind as in highlighting the nuances of families, countries, borders, neighbourhoods, galis and mohallas , the environment, the smells, sounds and landscape, the past and present and everything in between (including a delightful treatise on the silk sari as narrated from the point of view of a crow!) that makes up the heart and soul of India. The writi

Sholay - The Greatest Story Ever Told

By Jaideep Sen   The other day I saw an interview of Karan Johar where he mentioned how upset he gets when he meets film related people who say they’ve not seen Sholay. Seeing the respect, he gave Sholay made my love and respect for Karan Johar go many notches higher because for you to be in Love with Indian Cinema, you have to be in love with Sholay .  I see some part of Sholay almost every day. In fact even while punching the keys of my laptop while writing this piece, the epic is playing in front as an inspiration. The reason Sholay stands on the Number 1 block of the victory stand of Indian Cinema since 15th August, 1975 and is unshakeable even 47 years after its release and will always be immovable is because it’s the only perfect amalgam of writing and form, that too in every department of filmmaking.   We need to be grateful to the writing of Salim Saab, Javed Saab, the big heartedness of G.P Sippy Saab and the craftmanship of Ramesh Sippy Ji for giving us what Shekhar Ka

Mere Paas Baap Hain!

  By Jaideep Sen Mere Pass Baap Hain! ....Now that’s  something Salman Khan can say with pride in real life because of amongst multiple reasons the one great talent that he’s inherited from his father, Salim Khan Saab,  is the Eye to spot special talent like father and son themselves are. Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Salman Khan   As I  watched Gangubai Kathiwadi which personally I feel is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Best Film to date , and was swept by its brilliance I  instinctively thought of doffing my hat to Salman Khan , through this piece,  for giving us this gem of a filmmaker. Salim Khan and Amitabh Bachchan Having been around in the film Industry for three  decades I know what a fight it is to convince an A Lister to do your first film and  when unfortunately it fails commercially --as it happened with Khamoshi-The Musical -- it’s  unheard of for the star to do the same filmmaker’s second film.  But  in this case Salman did not flinch, stood by Sanjay Bhansali and ho w! Hum Dil D