What an experience! I had expected this film to be interesting because it has been touted as being based on the Bard’s Hamlet and I had also seen the trailer in theaters a couple of times. Despite some minor variations from the Hamlet story to fit into the situation in Kashmir where the story unfolds, the experience was more satisfactory than I had expected. That I had a companion who saw it for the second time, it was released here just three days ago, and only told me about it after we had seen the film together reinforces my own assessment that it is an amazing film.

Among the other factors that led me to assess this film so high is a very significant fact that is completely new to me. One individual, Vishal Bhardwaj, has written the script, directed the film, produced it, and also written the music score for the film

The actors, without exception all of them have given amazing performances and it is another factor that I had not expected to be of such high caliber.

The story set in 1995 in Kashmir is poignant, totally believable and clearly depicts the then reality there. The beauty of Kashmir has been captured wherever open air filming has taken place and the cinematography is also of a very high caliber.

Overall an amazing movie and I recommend it to all my readers without any reservations with a[rating=6] rating.

Out Of The Blue.

Out of the blue

Knowing my interest and involvement with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) my cousin Damu who has eclectic taste in reading, recommended that I read this book. I take his recommendations very seriously as he is quite finnicky and I have just finished reading this remarkable book.

The author has remarkable knowledge about the disease and her heroine afflicted with it goes through the story with insights that are simply outstanding.

The story itself is straightforward but the complex characters that appear in it are not and they are portrayed so well that I suspect the author to be either a psychologist or a sociologist or as is so often the case now a days, both.

Romance is not a genre of fiction that I am normally comfortable with. In this case however I am glad that I took Damu’s recommendation seriously and bought and read the novel. A very good way to start my tryst with fiction that I have promised myself to indulge in for some time.

I only wish that I had had read this when I was associated with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India some years ago. I would have had more insights into some of the problems that patients and their caregivers faced.

Since there is absolutely nothing negative that I can think of about the book I give it a [rating=6] rating and recommend it to my readers who are looking to read a love story with a real big difference.

Personal Debt.

DebtThis topic has been suggested by me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently six of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoy my contribution to that effort.  The five other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

When I suggested this topic there was a young mentee who was fighting to gain control of an enterprise that she had unwittingly got into in partnership with some others who had not put in any equity but had promised to bring in management and administration inputs which they failed to provide. My mentee had got into debt in her individual capacity and the business had to generate enough surplus to enable her to pay off those debts as well as finance her gaining control of the business by buying out her partners.

At the same time, I was also involved in the problems of a friend whose son had got into very serious debt problems buying a flat, furniture, car etc and also got into financial settlement, alimony etc in a messy divorce case.

So, the topic was on top of my mind and subsequent information that I received from other sources about other individuals with similar stories, has only firmed up my conviction that this is a major problem facing our youth today due to one single fact, instant gratification.

Among other pieces of information that I came across was the shocking revelation that many student loans are not repaid and the institutions that had guaranteed the loans stood to make good the losses incurred by the banks who had advanced the loans.  And this about some very famous and leading institutions of higher education and some of the names that were bandied about in the conference that I attended were simply staggering.

I also hear about professional collectors making life miserable for defaulters including causing  physical harm to the borrowers and wonder if our society will become like what we used to read about loan sharks and their baseball bats!  Since banks are the lenders, they hire these very respectable collection agencies who however indulge in very dubious methods to collect.

The individual lender/borrower equations like I wrote about seems to be not such a big problem now that we have banks falling over each other to entice young people to borrow from them and we also have what are called Micro Finance Banks who are replacing the traditional local money lender in many parts of the country.  There are so many institutions willing to lend to individuals, often without collateral, but also for hire purchase, the debt burden seems to be increasing.  Enjoy now pay later is the motto currently in vogue.

I personally am debt free today as is my son and daughter in law and that is a feeling not quite shared by many of my friends whose children are overburdened by debt and often depend on their parents to help them out during emergencies.

I would rather live in those good old days when consumer lending was not in style and when we had to save up to buy anything and any borrowing was from family and friends.  The younger generation here of course thinks that I am a relic who belongs in some museum somewhere.

What do you think?

Then And Now.

Just a few days ago my friend Anita posted a photograph of Jodie Foster on a whim.

Jodi Foster

This was from The Taxi Driver, a 1970s film, the second one in which Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese had paired up. Since I had not seen the film in the seventies, I got a DVD and saw it yesterday.  In that film Niro looked like this.


I saw Robert De Niro just a couple of months ago in The Grudge Match. He looked like this in that picture.

And Jodie Foster looks like this in her latest movie Elysium.


See how differently the two stars have aged in four decades?


Dawat e Ishq.


Ramesh insisted that we see a Hindi film and he was fascinated with this film because it is from the stables of Yash Raj Films. He is also besotted with Parineeti Chopra which only added to his keenness to see it. Since I had to shop for some personal items, and since the theater is in a very popular mall, I agreed to go with him and wish that I had not.

By that I do not mean that I did not like the movie. I could have spent the time more usefully elsewhere is all that I imply. An experienced writer and three very likeable actors in very effective roles have been wasted in a storyline that is powerful in concept but very weak and trivialised in execution. The dowry menace and the misuse of Section IPC 498A could have been treated more powerfully instead of this trivialisation and totally unbelievable conclusion.

I however enjoyed seeing Hyderabad and hearing Hyderabadi Urdu; and another great Indian city, Lucknow, currently the residence of my rakhi sister. Scenes from both took me down memory lanes and that was the only redeeming feature of the film. The music and dance sequences were less than adequate and noisy and so I can give only [rating=3] rating.  Ramesh and I have decided that we will both take a train trip soon to visit Lucknow. Maria, get the red carpet ready.