Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: Haunted - Douglas Misquita


I love books. I love everything about them. They take me into a new world altogether. I get to learn things, I get to experience things. They absorb me, they move me.

I love thrillers. They are fast paced, they are engaging, they are interesting and I find solace in them when I am dead bored. Nothing can beat a good thriller, I tell you.

‘Haunted’ by Douglas Misquita, an international thriller is one unforgettable book.

The Blurb: FBI Special Agent Kirk Ingram’s life is torn apart when his family is brutally murdered before his eyes. Devastated physically and psychologically, he vows to destroy organized crime in all forms.

Across the globe, an international trade house brings terrorist activities and organized crime together in a deadly nexus that threatens to bring the world-order to the point of anarchy.

And only one man stands in the way of global terror and paranoia — one man seeking redemption, and waging a personal battle against the demons of his past...

It’s almost impossible to believe that ‘Haunted’ is the first published work of Douglas Misquita, but it is the ultimate fact. The strength of the author lies in his strong imagination, rich vocab, enormous research, vivid description and visually powerful writing.

First off, let me warn you that if you think you can get away with light reading or breezy reading of this book then you’re highly mistaken. The book demands concentration and full attention. The best way to enjoy this story is to keep imagining the scenes described and by giving a ‘face’ to the characters.

The whole story revolves around Kirk Ingram seeking revenge and fighting against terrorism. There are too many characters in this complex story but the ones that stay long after you’ve finished reading the book are Kirk Ingram, Detective James Connor, Lars Gunther and Amanda Gunner. Had the story was written with limited characters, the reading pleasure would have doubled.

Talking about the content, the story begins with Kirk losing his family and then moves on with more mysterious happenings across the globe. A Balkan terrorist group operating under a tyrannous dictator has its feet firmly planted in the US and Russia. They move their ‘goods’ through a safe network. But the dominoes tip over with the hunt for a certain fatal nerve agent as well as the death of an important person. The author has done a good job with connecting each and every chapter with one another. The characters are introduced at regular intervals as the story proceeds and we get to know more about Ingram. The characters are easy to connect, and if you, like I said earlier, are successful in giving them a ‘face’ you’re going to have a mind blowing reading experience.

Also, I’d like to add that I learnt so many new things about Guns and other weapons after reading this book. It was hard for me initially but then gradually I started enjoying it.

The only fact that can push away the readers is that it is actually a very complex story with too many characters. It might confuse them if they don’t pay full attention.

The surprising and another good fact about ‘Haunted’ is that it doesn’t have any spelling and grammar mistake. It is perfect. The publishers have also done a good job in production.

All in all, a great book if you’re a fan of Dark Thrillers and are a diehard action lover.

Pros: Action packed story, super twists and turns, mind blowing research, perfect and visual writing and an apt ending.

Cons: Too many characters, too complex a story.

Overall: 4/5






Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rockstar - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Janardhan Jakhar is a typical North Delhi guy whose passion is music. He wants to be like Jim Morrison. He likes singing for people but is unsuccessful. His college canteen owner tells him it isn’t cake walk creating music as the true art oozes out due to the pain. Due to The heartbreak.

He sets out to propose a girl who is touted as the heartbreak machine as many guys fell for her and she rejected all of them. Heer. He proposes her for fun and she rejects him. He acts like heartbroken and the canteen owner calls him a dork for doing all this non sense drama. Janardhan then goes to apologize Heer and hence begins their fun story. She then gets married and starts living a conventional life in Prague.

Meanwhile Janardhan aka Jordan rises. He signs a deal with a company and goes on music tour to Europe. He again meets Heer and this time falls for her. Things get ugly and she tells him never to come near her. He then sets out on a journey of fame and self destrution.


The Good:

Ranbir Kapoor.  He is Palang-Tod in the movie. Absolutely incredible. His expressions and different looks get along so well with the situations. The innocent Janardhan, the beginner Jordan and Jordan, the rockstar; all were played brilliantly by him. His performance is surely gonna get him adjacent to the Khans. The scenes in which he lip syncs the songs make you realize how much hard work and effort he has invested in the role to try and make it look natural and perfect. And, well, he made romantic scenes look… actually romantic!

Music. A.R. Rahman, after ages, proved why he is A.R. Rahman! What a music! What songs! Sheer genius. Pure genius. The maestro covers a myriad of moods which reflect the emotional graph of Janardhan Jakhar. Mohit Chauhan has put his soul in the songs. His job was the most imortant and film was to ride on his voice. Well, he succeeded and in what a way! He had to be the voice of theRockstar and reflect his mood depending upon the situation, and he succeeded! His life time best.

Imtiaz’s freshness. The movie, out of the all movies released this year, has least number of clich├ęs. Dialogues of the movie are mostly witty and few qualify for roars, claps and whistles, while few are uproarious. Also, it is a rare situation when you try to predict the next scene and it comes out to be true. Kudos to Imtiaz for that.

Direction. Okay, Imtiaz Ali is not a perfect director and he certainly cannot make timeless classics all the time. But, he has his way. Had it been a Madhur Bhandarkar movie, you’d have witnessed drugs, alcohol, illegal jobs and loads of sex in the journey of Janardhan Jakhar from rags to a Rockstar. But Imtiaz chooses to keep it strictly about Jordan and his disastrous coming-of-age story, blurring every other character or event in his life that don't take the story forward. Rockstar is also a story about two unusual and curious individuals and their insuppressible connection.

The chemistry. Ranbir shares a very explosive chemistry with Nargis. Be it their to-do lists and other weird ideas or be it their sensual and seductive moments, you fall in love with their characters. Brownie Points to Imtiaz for handling their fun, unexpressed love, intimacy and rush of their sexual urges with expertise.

Opening Scene. First scene of the movie and you’re hooked. You’re instantly curious to know everything about Jordan and his journey so far. It leaves a terrific impact! 

The Acting and Cinematography. After Ranbir, it’s Kumud Mishra, who leaves a lasting image on your mind with his natural acting of Jordan’s advisor cum manager. He was exceptional. Shammi Kapoor has not more than five scenes and dialogues in the whole movie, but every time he shows up, it’s a moment to devour and cheer in admiration. Piyush Mishra as the owner of the music company was brilliant. He makes an interesting grey-shaded lead. Anil Mehta’s cinematography leaves an impact and makes the visuals stylish. The flash backs and his stage shows were beautifully captured.  

The Bad:

Script. Imtiaz Ali wanted to fuse in the journey of a Rockstar and his love story together. And this is where he failed. He got so confused that he could not express his imagination impeccably. After you get out of theater and recall the whole movie, you ask yourself, what exactly the director wanted to convey! First half showed the rise and rise of Jordan and his growing love for Heer. Second half got lost in expressing his heartbreak, his journey, his bad image, his self destruction, and again, his everlasting love for Heer, simultaneously. You don’t exactly make out anything in specific from all of it.

Nargis Fakhri. Like most of the other female debutantes, Nargis Fakhri is mostly bad. Her voice is dubbed and in many scenes she fails to express the emotions. She does remind you of Katrina in her early days, though.

The Ugly:

Ending Scene. Okay, the moment the end credits begin out of the blue, you are like, what the hell! Is this the end?! The director wanted to keep it open as to make way for a debate but again fails. You end up bad mouthing it and do not go the way Imtiaz had wanted you to.

Length of the Movie.  Sitting and watching the screen continuously for close to three hours in a theater does agitate you. How you wish the movie had been a little shorter and the second half could’ve been better and simple. The disjoint and confusing narrative, sometimes, add fuel to the fire.

All in all, a movie with a powerful opening scene, wonderful music, explosive love chemistry, wits, dragged second half and a bad ending scene.

Movie is bound to generate mixed responses. Either you’ll be able to understand Jordan’s disdain for the system, disregard for his fans, read his eyes, feel his pain, and understand his feelings. Or you’ll question the script like how come he never expressed his feelings for Heer earlier in the movie, why he never talked to his mother or vice versa, why he never cared for anybody, including Jim Morrison, and why the movie ended without any drama and left everything unanswered!


Ra.One - The Review


‘You celebrate Dusshehra and burn Raavan every year because (he) evil never dies and you cannot destroy (him) it completely.’      – Ra.One.

Being a diehard SRK fan, it’s very, very difficult for me to write an honest and unbiased review of the movie for which I had been waiting badly for almost two years. Well, I’ve tried my best to write and here are the answers to almost all the questions such as, ‘Will SRK as a super hero work?’ , ‘SRK has overhyped the movie, will it fulfill the expectations?’ , ‘SRK has copied something or the other from every super hero movie and created one of his own, is it even worth watching?’ blah..blah!


Shekhar Subramanium is a game programmer in a big company based in London. The company’s last two games bombed so his team is given a task of making a game which is completely different and highly engaging. His son hates him for he thinks his dad is a complete South Indian geek and is very uncool which is embarrassing for Prateek, his son. Sonia, his loving wife, tells him to ask his son to obey him and give respect.

Shekhar then comes up with an idea of making a villain so powerful and having all the evils which surround us that it becomes almost impossible to destroy it. The villain, Ra.One, powered by Artificial Intelligence, has a feature that after each level it innovates and leaves behind the flaws. So when Prateek, aka Lucifer, defeats it at level 1 and pauses the game indefinitely, it comes alive to destroy him.

Now only one can save Lucifer from Ra.One. G.One is then given the artificial intelligence and is programmed to protect Lucifer. 

First off, the comparisons: SRK had already admitted that he and the director Anubhav Sinha watched around 200 movies which were full of special effects before starting the shoot. Whether the movie poster, his sitting posture while holding the rod, cubes combining among themselves, his eye color and super smooth skin, some action sequences etc, are directly copied or not, please understand he has never denied about these, rather he has stated that these are actually the inspirations.

Yes, of course it would have been a lot better if he would have come up with something completely original but then he at least did try and he did a lot better than all our Bollywood makers.

The effects: You have to admit that the VFX shots are mind blowing. His hard work and money shows in movie. You can actually hear the ‘wows’ . He hasn’t compromised with the quality and the resources he had. Hats off.

The Acting: To expand the Hindi film business in the southern part of India, he plays a south Indian for the first time, and acts in the same way as every typical South Indian does. The accent, dialect and pronunciations are near perfect. Of course he brings along with him, the typical SRK which you have seen more than a few times in the last two decades. Kareena Kapoor has looked HOT! Err, heracting, was good and natural. As she is looking smoking hot in the movie, you’re not gonna observe her acting, anyway. Arjun Rampal’s role was tailor made for him, it seems. The expressionless robot with a rage in its eyes and monotonous voice was played perfectly by Arjun Rampal; no pun intended. Armaan Verma, being the first timer, did pretty well by his standards. He would have looked better with normal and comparatively shorter hair. The supporting cast, including Shahana Goswami did well in whatever footage they had.

The Direction: Those unfortunate humans, who have seen CASH, had another leverage to criticize the movie. ‘Anubhav Sinha? Seriously?’ was their favorite question. I wouldn’t say he was perfect for this movie for he has not done full justice with direction. Some scenes could have been picturized in a much, much, much better way. G.One’s entry scene, the final battle between Ra.One and G.One, Aakashi’s role, the conversations between Lucifer and G.One could have been made perfect.

The Cinematography and other technical aspects: Since it is Ra.One, you can expect top notch technical work. The Camera work, locations, fight sequences, and scenes capturing Ra.One and G.One were marvelous. No doubts. Editing required a little more experienced professional but it is fine. Choreography and Music? Well, I don’t have anything to say about them.

Overall: See, the movie is not perfect and will make you use phrases like ‘could’ve been, should’ve been, would’ve been’ after you’re out of the theater. But still, it is good. And way better than all the previous movies having special effects. The best Indian super hero movie so far. I’d say give it a try and do watch it for its genuine moments, different experience and entertainment. I cannot speak anything about figures but I know as a fact that it has blockbuster written all over it.