Book : Unsettled

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unsettled

Click on the image to find “unsettled” on Amazon

Book : Unsettled

Author : Neelima Vinod

This is a gripping story of a love thirsty Yakshi. Yes, you read it right. This yakshi is slightly different from the Yakshis that we grew up hearing stories about. The kind that attracts young men with their white sari and long beautiful hair and drank their blood in cold blood.

The image the word Yakshi beings into my mind is the reason I agreed to review this book. I am not afraid of Yakshis you see. They don’t want the blood of beautiful(ahem) young (ahem ahem) women somehow. Prejudice at its best. But then there is the story of Gandharvas. The ones who come to the earth to prey on the love of beautiful women. Here , giving into the Gandharvas desire, spells death for the young lady. But this death by love is not in cold blood.

Both these stories find a place in this folklore themed novella. The characters are well portrayed, the situations are well created, the narrative is good. But the story is a bit weak at some points. You keep flipping pages until you know what actually happened. Although deep down, you do know what is in store for you at the end of the book.

In this book, you will find a mixture of all the stories related to supernatural phenomenons that our grandmothers take pride in telling us about. The author says so herself at the beginning of the book. Being a Malayalee myself, I can relate to it completely.

Although well paced and well written, there are parts of the book that I wish wasn’t so well written. I love simplicity. Replacing simple sentences with complex literature doesn’t go down well with me. Especially if the narrative doesn’t call for it. The Big House with 101 rooms could have been given a better name in my opinion. 

The story is about Raghav and Divya who are facing marital issues five years into their marriage. The reason is Raghav’s childhood friend Anu and Divya’s suspicious nature. When the issues between them go beyond control, they decide to get a doctor’s help. The doc, having heard both sides of the story,  recommends that they go to Divya’s village Cherakad in Kerala, looking for the “scrolls of love” hidden in the The Big House opposite Divya’s ancestral home.

How they find each other’s love and how passion gets rekindled in the presence of the love thirsty Yakshi is what is described in this book. And yes of course, Thathri, the Yakshi has a story of her own to tell too.

It is a short read, which can be finished in one sitting. I would recommend the read to anyone who is interested in folklore and enjoys a good Yakshi story.

I would go with 3 out of 5 stars for the attempt at reviving the folklore form of story telling.

Happy Reading Folks!

Book : Sirens Spell Danger

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Book: Siren Spell Danger

Authors :  Suresh Chandrasekaran, Radha Sawana, Karthik L

This is not the first time I am reading a book authored by fellow bloggers. I enjoyed the Dork series immensely. Even though I never read the blog of the author of that book before, the narration caught my interest. It was written in the language that we generally speak in. Just like we do in blogging.

But when we are dealing with the mystery or thriller genre, the language that we use for general conversation is not much acceptable. This is one of the drawbacks of the first and the third stories in this book. There is too much stress on the feelings and thoughts of the protagonist than on the plot or the narrative. The use of too many idioms is a turn off too.

Story one, Femme Fatale,  talks about how a soon to be police officer ,Vicky, gets caught up in a terrorist operation. The characters are good, the plot is well created, the characterisation is done well. But the narrative could have been better.

Story two, Bella Dona, is a gripping tale of murder and revenge. The author follows the Dan Brown style of using symbolism to keep the readers on the edge and turning pages with a frenzy to know what happens next. A beautifully written and researched work this one is. The effect of which will remain with me for a while. But there is something that I didn’t understand about a missing murder. Or maybe it was just me who wants everything to fall into place perfectly.

Story three, Bellary, started off with a lot of promise in the form of Jay, an Intelligence agent ,who gets assigned a kidnapping case. A CBI agent agent gets kidnapped during his mission in Bellary, Karnataka. And it is Jay’s job to find him. He is suspicious of it from the beginning itself as he thinks the case has some political aspirations behind it. The story fades as it takes an entirely different turn pretty quickly.

All in all, it is an interesting read. I would have gone with 2.5 out of 5. But because I thoroughly enjoyed the second story, I am giving it  3 out of 5.

Happy Reading Folks!

Movie : Chennai Express

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Ever since Jab Tak Hai Jaan , I have lost total interest in SRK’s romantic life. His DDLJ charm can work only for so many years right?

So I went into the theatre looking for a colorful entertainer. Colourful, because South India is always depicted as too colorful. And of course lots of greens too. Entertainer, because when North meets South, it is always depicted as comedy.

Not going to get into the stereotyping issues in this movie, all I will say is the age old comic imitations still looked and sounded amazing in this one. The situations in the movie are quite happenable and SRK’s self deprecating comedy brought about quite a bit of the laughs that echoed in the theatre.

The movie starts with SRK’s narration of his life. Of a sudden twist that changed his life around. The movie starts with the climax scene and the story is told entirely in flashback.

SRK leaves Mumbai to spend a week in Goa with his friends. In order to show his Grandmother that he is actually going to Rameshwaram to immerse his recently deceased grandfather’s ashes, he gets into the first train that leads to South India. You guessed it right. The Chennai Express. Fate intervenes and circumstances don’t let him get off early from the train and join his friends.

That is when Deepika makes an entry totally Simran style running to catch the train. Complete with the old DDLJ sound track playing in the background. The best part is when it plays four more times in quick succession to let in four more passengers. Thus begins the journey of Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Meenaamma (Deepika Padukone) towards Chennai to a small village where Deepika’s father (Satyaraj) awaits his constantly running away daughter to be married off to his friend’s son Tangabali (Nikitin Dheer).

Quite a few good laughs, a bit of drama , a bit of romance , colourful songs and a big huge climax fight later, Satyaraj leaves his daughter’s hand just like Amrish Puri did all those years ago. Even before the fight began, I was expecting a “po Meenaamma, jeele apni zindagi”. Thankfully we were spared from this. The movie ended with class. At times I was confused whether I was watching a Hindi or a Tamil movie. That says a lot about the screenplay , the dialogues and the acting. Everything fell into place perfectly.

It is the kind of movie that you would want to watch at least one more time just incase you missed a beat somewhere. It is fast paced except for the songs, which drag on a bit. I absolutely loved the car chase scenes and the fight sequences.

It has been a while since I have enjoyed an entertainer so much. Being a Rohit Shetty film, the comedy obviously is exaggerated at times. But he keeps it at tolerable levels this time. SRK and Deepika have performed well despite the mimicking and the accent. I am sure Meenamma will stay in our hearts for a while after this movie.

Come fall in love …. Rohit Shetty Ishtyle…. I read this in an ad. And that is exactly what the movie is about.

I would rate it at 3.5 out of 5.

BOOK – Inferno

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I like the way Dan Brown writes. Simple to read and easy to understand. His books keep you hooked no matter what people say about the same kind of story line he comes up with. He does good research for the books and it shows clearly in his work.

I have read and liked his Da Vinci Code and the Lost Symbol. The latter one got a bit too difficult to digest towards the end. But then it is after all fiction. This one is similar yet a bit more realistic.

Inferno-cover

From the start of the book (or the 24 hr day) , he manages to instill a fear in the reader. It is based on Dante’s books of poetry collectively termed as “The Divine Comedy“. If you don’t know anything about it, don’t worry. The book explains it again and again and again till you are not able to forget it ever!

Yes, this is a flaw I found in this book. I don’t really see the need to repeat things so often. It was helpful for people like me who haven’t heard about Dante or his work till now. The amnesia  has rendered an additional thrill factor to the story. The organization that is mentioned in the book, is said to exist in real life and this is what scared me most about the book. Not the gruesome explanations of painting of 9 layers of hell based on Dante’s Inferno.

I will never be able to forget this book for two reasons. Firstly because , I have  been to the place where the climax of this book occurs. His previous books were based on places I hadn’t seen before. So when in the final chapters he mentions the Sea of Marmara, I was thrilled at being able to identify the place. I have walked through all the places mentioned and felt similarly while looking at the huge structures and learning their enchanting history. Secondly because , during the initial chapters when they were describing a place (which would finally be the place where the climax occurs) , I had picturized the very same place in my mind! That was a coincidence and a wonderful surprise!

When I had vacationed in the place in Dec 2012, this particular attraction was visited totally by chance on the last day of our trip. While I was in it, I had wondered why nobody has based a thriller on the place. It was creepy, eerie, quiet, and oozed of mystery and enchantment. If I were a writer, I would have definitely written a book about it. I had photographed all the things he mentions in the book. It was like being there again.

The book managed to keep me hooked till the end. Somewhere in the middle, it dragged on for a chapter or two. Other than that I couldn’t put the book down. The outcome is that I stayed up to finish the book the day before yesterday and ended up with a terrible headache yesterday. But it is all worth it! Loved the book! Please do read it too.

Almost the entire story is already on Wikipedia. I am so glad I didn’t search online for anything regarding the book before reading it. I hate it when there are spoilers in them. So if you want to keep the mystery alive, please don’t read any reviews! It renders the suspense of the book entirely useless.

My Copy of Inferno

My Copy of Inferno

Movie : Oblivion

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Oblivion

Oblivion

It has been a while since I wrote something here and called it a review. So I thought if I need to revive my blog from oblivion, the best way would be to write a Movie Review of Oblivion. Ok ,so that was not funny. I agree. But then yesterday after I saw the movie, I was taken back to the days when I actually enjoyed watching movies in the theatre. And I had to share that experience.

The special effects are super , the characters are super, a story is there, mystery and challenge are there, no part of the movie goes overboard at any point and we are spared the images of yucky looking aliens. What more do you want from a Sci Fi movie these days. Like any normal confusing movie of recent times, you miss a beat and you find yourself lost in space. If triumph over evil is the ending of an movie, then I guess every movie is predictable. This one is too, but the real enemy takes its time to show its head. Or not, as in this case.

There are still a few questions that I need to ask about the movie, but then that would be like giving out the entire plot. So I am going to keep those to myself for the time being.

Tom Cruise does justice to his Jack Harper and portrays a perfect confused soul. Andrea Riseborough as Victoria looks like a perfect doll. Too perfect and flawless I must say. Almost inhumanly so as in comparison with the rugged Tom Cruise. Olga Kurylenko could have had more expressions on her face as Julia has a lot to emote in the movie. But then again, space ships and delta sleep and the future may not be apt for emotions in the future. Who knows?

The movie has bit and pieces from here and there and yet doesn’t give the feeling of being repetitive. I suppose some of the criteria for space travel must be true and hence cannot be tampered with. This holds true for the concept of Aliens too. Morgan Freeman is…. well , what can I say… Morgan Freeman. It felt like that no one else can do the role of Malcolm Beech better than him.

All in all, it was a wonderful movie experience. Watch it in a Dolby 7.1 surround system and on a huge screen and sit back and relax as the characters take you into the future of the earth post war.

Picture Courtesy : Wikipedia 

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BOOK : A Bowlful of Butterflies

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By Ritu Lalit :

Writing a book is not an easy task. It takes months of dedication and hard work to come up with a possible storyline, to give life to characters and to present it in such a way that you can’t help but finish the book in one sitting.

This is one such book. It describes the life of a teenager in a place called Majhli. The story revolves around Chandu or Chandni, who is going to appear for her 12th board exams. She along with her two friends, Soma and Amrit form a trio .

With all the innocence and yet a certain maturity the girls’ lives goes through a series of transformations. Chandini’s attraction for her cousin brother Jogi , her subsequent realization of the difference between love and lust , is a bold statement and not something that will come across in a good light even today. But Kudos to the author for bringing it out to the open with such ease that it hardly leaves you uncomfortable for more than a second or so.

Chandu’s elder brothers Vicky and Vinni also pay important roles in this story with one of them attending a reality show and also being discovered as gay. Chandu’s Uncle, Jogi’s father also has a story to tell and helps to bring in a twist in Chandu’s life.

All in all it’s a well-knitted story of a normal family. With small and big secrets, aspirations and hopes.  It’s a perfect masala of events and relationships.

I give it 4 stars. It is definitely worth a read.