Friday, August 30, 2013

Chennai Express: A Ride To Nowhere

I too watched Chennai Express. Its not good when a movie becomes a record breaker in such a short time period and you are the only one left to watch it. So I did it. The last blog post I made about a Hindi movie was the post titled The Crime of Bol Bachchan. It was also a Rohit Shetty movie, like Chennai Express. Its natural that people will think I watch only his movies after reading my posts. That's not the case.

The fact is that when Mr Shetty makes a movie, how much big trash dump it happens it to be, he makes sure absolutely no one escapes falling in it. For me Bol Bachchan happened because it was tagged as a Golmaal remake. I am not implying his movies are trash. What I meant is that he makes and markets them in such a way that finally many ends up watching them and even getting entertained by them. When his first movie Zameen released, I liked it. Fights were cool, some of Ajay's scenes were excellent though meant strictly for front benchers and at that time any movie were Bipasha appears fully clad in a saree was definitely way ahead of times. Even Singham and Sunday were entertaining. Golmaal was watchable, but subsequent parts were too loud and confusing.

Speaking about Chennai Express, it does not have a tight plot, cars fly in action scenes, have characters that are loud and are stereotyped caricatures, have situations that serves only for baffling viewers and not to move the story forward and no sensibility is shown for the feelings of old, disabled or people from South- very much Rohith Shetty. Shahrukh walks through the entire movie making faces- very much Shahrukh. He makes faces at Deepika, Sathyaraj, the main villain, all other minor characters and even at the camera, wondering all the while why he is not getting the girl and why so many people are behind him, all eager to bash him up. Deepika is the surprise package- her character is Tamil, but her Tamil no where near passable, her accented Hindi is much worse. Songs are ok, action is good, sets are fine, picturisation fabulous. I laughed out loud exactly 10 times making the movie significantly better than Bol Bachchan. But ultimately I enjoyed the movie (like how such movies are enjoyed usually) though it was mostly pointless and kind of dragging at middle.

Book Review: Don't Think of a Blue Ball by Malti Bhojwani

There was a time when I used to read lot of books about personal development- self help literature, as they are generally termed. There are two types of self help books. Some of them tries to teach you techniques that has to be practiced for changing your behavioural patterns. Others teaches you the basic principles to lead a better life. One is a totally practical approach and the other one is more theoretical. There are some books that tread the fine line between them and I always felt that I benefited more from them. When I got a mail asking my willingness to review Don't Think of a Blue Ball by Malti Bhojwani, I was interested to find out in which category I can place it and what will it offer me new.

Malti Bhojwani is a professional Life Coach, NLP practitioner and founder of Multi Coaching International. She was born in Singapore, had lived in Jakarta and Sydney and is now settled in Mumbai. Don't Think of a Blue Ball is her second book and it aims to make the life of the reader more fulfilling. The book is based on the Law of Attraction- what you focus on is what you attract into the life, good or bad. That is, to get favorable results you have to change your focus, your thoughts into that direction. This refocus is what the writer calls Plugging In to the Source. Each chapter is designed to make the reader become familiar with this concept of Plugging In with the Universe and tapping the full potential of themselves and those around them. Malti gives insights on living a harmonious, prosperous life that attracts health, wealth and affection from the Universe. Each chapter ends with simple but powerful exercises and techniques that aids the reader to take the next step.

Don't Think of a Blue Ball is an interesting book. There is nothing new in it, concept wise. But it is written fluently and has the tone of a personal conversation. Malti uses stories and experiences from her personal life to underline the points she want to make. Her sincere retelling of the most personal events in her life- many mistakes she made in past and the things she learned from them, making her what she is now, builts the confident of the reader as we feel she is a person who walks her talk. The exercises in the end of each chapter is simple enough to incorporate into any busy schedule. The writer covers most of the aspects of our daily life were Plugging In with the Universe can be used to enhance our lives by achieving our desires. The book definitely maintain the balance between theory and practice.

One difference between personal conversation and written text is that, it takes lot of motivation to engage a reader than a listener however enticing the writing style is. In case of books dealing with such subjects as personal development, the need of motivating the reader is more because it needs efforts from his side also. So in most of such books you find repeated clear messages throughout the book about the purpose of the book and the tangible benefits to the reader once he incorporate the message of the book into his life. This book lacks it. The writer moves to the heart of the subject right from first chapter, but I feel it would be helpful if the reader is made prepared to take the plunge along.

Don't Think of a Blue Ball is an interesting book on personal development that can help the reader immensely.

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program.
To get free books visit"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: The Redeemers by Suresh Taneja

One major problem plaguing India is rampant corruption. We find this Frankenstein's monster attacking us more or less in every walk of our social life. The public is so frustrated of this evil that any movement that tries to curb it gets tremendous support. People are ready to back any politician of any ideology if they can guarantee corruption free governance. Still no one is any where near rooting out this evil from our country as the roots are so strong and deep inside our core. Moreover if anyone tries to come out of this vicious circle, dark elements of our society puts so much pressure on them, that they eventually buckle.

Suresh Taneja, through his debut novel The Redeemers, tries to put forward a positive plan to eliminate corruption from society. The Redeemers is the story of four youngsters who are destined to start a movement that takes India to the most prosperous of the world nations. The story is told in flashback, when the kids of G4, the collective name of four people who are responsible for this feat, demands them to tell how they achieved it. Vikram, Yuvika, Akshay and Manisha are four smart youngsters who wants to enjoy their vacation together. But destiny intervenes and a cycle of events make them see and experience some really dirty scenes of corruption in grass root level of society. They are shaken to the core, but decides to do something to change the situation. The story is about how they, with the help of a TV show host, starts a movement that changes the future of a country for good.

The Redeemers is the second book of Taneja. In fact it is a elaborated re-telling of his first novella with certain changes to make it more interesting. Author claims his intention is to catch the attention of youngsters who as per him holds the key to a bright future for the country and the world. The Redeemers is a feel good novel, which can inspire and entertain its target audience. One major incentive to read this novel is the writer's good intention. It put forward the virtue of nobility, the necessity to do the right thing, even when everything around us tries to deviate us from it. It does it without being overtly preachy, which I feel works tremendously in its advantage.

In the minus side, the characterization leaves a lot to be desired. The author spoils the potential to make his four protagonists interesting. All four of them talks, behaves and acts in a similar way! Compared to them, I feel their parents are etched more deeply in my mind due to their realistic and convincing portrayal. The plot of the novel is also very simple, where every obstacle seems to be lifted off the path of protagonists very easily. No nail biting moments here. All their adversaries don't even wait to hear the outline of their full plan to become their advocates!

Still I think the plan given in this book to root out corruption is really genius. Instead of starting from topmost levels of hierarchy, the idea to confront corruption at the basic building block of the society- the family, is a very convincing proposal. My thumps up for that, though the result may not be as easy or complete as discussed in The Redeemers.

Book Source: Author

Monday, August 12, 2013

Narendra Modi- The Man, The Times by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

These days in any article or news report on Narendra Modi, there has to be a statement about the acute polarization the man has caused in the society. The extreme reactions caused by the CM of Gujarat is unprecedented. The situation is like either you are with him or against. On one side many abhor him as the perpetrator of mass murder and a dictator in making. Others consider him a visionary, messiah of Gujarat and the only person capable of taking India forward. One natural aftermath of this is that readership of articles and books on Modi, for or against him has increased. Everyone are cashing in on this trend and are writing and publishing more on him. This, I think will explain the sudden demand of biographies on Modi.

Narendra Modi, The Man, The Times is an unauthorized biography by the journalist Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay. Though the author is a critic of Modi for events during and after Godhra riots, he has assured readers he will not be writing a prejudiced piece and the book will be rather an attempt to look into the mind of Modi in a balanced way. The book gives a historical background of the political ideology based on Hindutva that Modi believes and endorses. After that it describes the childhood of Modi, his education, how he was attracted to Sakha, joining in a tender age and then the ups and downs of his political career, which he has pursued after leaving his family, wife (?) and village, till 2012.

The book tries very hard to analyze the enigma about Modi through the interviews with him, his colleagues and adversaries, through countless media reports about him and observing his personal life and interests. The biography succeeds in making the reader acquainted to the personality of Narendra Modi. It gives a clear picture of political and social situations in Gujarat that lead to the ascend of Modi to power and his sustaining it. And to his credit, most of the times the author tries to balance his aversion to the ideology of Modi and Sangh Parivar and succeeds. There is no slandering, no sensationalization or mud stinging to be found in the 400 page book.

But there are some passages in the book, that can pose doubts to a careful reader. After organising Ekta Yatra, Modi was forced to stay away from Gujarat. Keshubhai Patel, then CM of Gujarat, as per the author was a total failure due to corruption and inefficiency. When the party decided to take him down, as per the author, Modi had pulled the strings. But there is nowhere mentioned any proof for it. There are times when the prejudice against Modi comes out in the most silly manner. Like, when detailing his routine, Modi claims himself a workaholic and says he sleeps only 4 hours a day. Author is quick to exclaim it is his hunger for power that makes Modi work hard! Another instance is the quick conclusion that Modi's childhood experience in acting on stage is the basis of his oratory skill and all that he does on stage is a carefully planned act.

One more peculiar aspect that I noticed while reading this book is that most of the criticisms  quoted against Modi comes from his discontent ex-colleagues like Sanjay Joshi or Keshubhai Patel or some other source who wants to remain anonymous. While lot of criticism is heaped on Modi, quite convincingly by rival party members and media, Mukhopadhyay uses them sparingly. Is it part of the balancing act? Narendra Modi's biography by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay is beneficial for readers who want to know more about this man who is grabbing headlines like no other politician in the country has ever done recently. I would recommend a little reading between the lines though.

*This post is not for or against Modi, its just about the book and what I felt after reading it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: Fire in the Rain by Surendra Mohanty

When I received the request from Mr Surendra Mohanty to review his debut novel Fire in the Rain, I did a google search on it. I had my apprehensions when I noticed that it is a self published work. Even the cover design was not particularly appetizing. Only silver lining was the endorsement by Ruskin Bond. In his mail Mohanty had mentioned that his novel was a thriller about a serial killer, like the book that I had reviewed previously- Compass Box Killer by Piyush Jha, which was a solid thriller. So I decided to try it out, and now after reading it, I feel it was a right decision.

Surendra Mohanty's serial killer is a genius, who strikes precisely without giving any scope for police to intercept his movements before the murder of his unsuspecting victims. His victims invariably are young, beautiful, independant working ladies. He kills only on Friday the thirteenth and that too in a diffrerent city every time, assuming a totally different identity, which makes the task of Police all the more difficult. But ACP Kale of Mumbai Police is hell bent on preventing any more murders. What he never knew was that the last intended victim Richa, will prove to be the one destined to tame the wild horse.

Fire in the Rain is a small novel, a story spanning just 140 pages. Mohanty writes up to the point, never wasting a single word on trivial things. It is a well woven tale with a tight plot. As the murders happen across many cities, Mohanty gets ample chance to show off diferent backgrounds for the incidents happening in the plot. He does it in a very realistic way. How the writer touches on varied subjects like police procedures, criminal psychology, horse racing, dog show, parties for taking the story forward is commendable!

I don't have any serious negatives to point out about Fire in the Rain. It is good as it is. But I really feel that some more elaboration, some more character development and some more deep peek inside the psyche of the antagonist would have made this book much more enriching read (in the lines of John Grisham or Ian Rankin). Another 100 or 150 pages would not have harmed the novel and I am confident Mohanty could have held his fort well.

Fire in the Rain is a tiny novel, readable in a single sitting. The thrills are god, the story tight and premise interesting, though oft trodden. I would reommend it for an easy read.
Book source: Author

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Product Review:: mint-O Ultramintz

Last Friday I received two packs of mint-O Ultramintz, the new premium brand of mint from ITC mint-O, for reviewing. This is the first time I am reviewing something other than books. In case of books, when I read it from cover to cover I get a clear idea about what to write. For reviewing mint-O Ultramintz, from last four days, I am roaming around with one box of it in my pocket, having one mint every hour that I am awake. I just wanted to be sure that when I write about this product it has to be as accurate as possible because best judgement comes from experience. It was only today that I am able to clearly structure my thoughts around Ultramintz and write this review.

The major reasons for using mint flavored lozenges are for the refreshment to mouth and throat due to its chillness and for freshness of breath. There are many brands of mint available in the market as lozenges and gum, but what separates Ultramintz is its branding as a premium product. Compared to regular mints, this one is attractively packaged and quality wise much superior (strong) due to the usage of better ingredients. It is also marketed as a healthy alternative as it is totally sugar free. It is a bit expensive price wise, costing INR50 per box, rather limiting its customer base. I hope this gives an overall picture of the product.

It was a delightful scene when the courier cover was removed. There were two packs, each containing a small tin box of 60 mint pellets each (50gms). As you can see in the photo, the gift packaging was quite unique and sure to make anyone proud to receive it. The tin boxes that contain mint pellets are attractive to say the least, with some great eyeball grabbing graphics on it. The boxes resemble snuff boxes a bit. To take out the mint from the box, there is an opening and contrary to what I felt initially, it was very easy to pop out small mint pellets, one each, from the box. Now one thing that I felt bad initially was the size of the mint. One pellet is not even one forth of the size of a regular mint, that usually has a life saver shape. I found out the reason for the minute size of Ultramintz is when I popped one into my mouth!

The mint has a strong taste. After a few moments, the chillness starts to spread throughout the mouth and throat. The taste is not very sweet like other mint brands, but a bit bitter, in a good way. It really is a strong mint but finishes very fast. But the effect it leaves back is much more than any other mint. If you use two pellets at a time, the experience is too good. Once after using a whole box, I feel the pricing is also not an issue because one box will come for a long time, as the effect does not wear out too soon. Secondly, the tin packaging makes it comfortable to carry around and the nice graphics on the box is sure to get you some attention. My only regret is that, they chose this rainy season to send it to me for review. I would rather loved to have this one around with me last hot summer time.

For those who have a habit of using mint, I would recommend trying out mint-O Ultramintz. It is strong, trendy, sugar free and come in a great package that is comfortable to carry around.

"I am reviewing mint-o Ultramintz as a part of the Product Reviews Program at BlogAdda"

The above review is done for BlogAdda after using the sample of the product send by them for giving a factual review. Reviewer has not taken any remuneration for posting it. As a tocken of appreciation, they have promised a gift voucher worth INR2000 
from Wills Lifestyle once the review is posted.