Thursday, April 17, 2014

When I Look At The Stars...

do min joon

I love Do Min Joon’s library. It’s a huge, gigantic one, containing books from Josheon era to modern times; handwritten ones to printed and published ones. I wish I had so much of time as he has, to read on variety of subjects, learn and master numerous skills, and live under multiple identities. The prospect is so fanciful.

I had liked this male protagonist in earlier dramas too. He’s of the very popular Dream High fame, and The Moon That Embraces The Sun fame. His portrayal of Sam Dong- a rustic unpolished boy rising to fame through his singing talents, in an academy and surviving through the tragedy of becoming deaf gradually- had tugged at my heartstrings. It remains one of my favorite characterizations till date. He’s a gifted and a very convincing actor.

I liked the character of Chang Seung too. Her favorite ‘chicken and beer’ has become a favorite of South Korea. Her antics are sometimes comical and crazy, and sometimes touching and sentimental. It was hilarious whenever she talked to herself, or screamed and howled in her room, oblivious to the fact that her crush could hear it all through the sound proof walls. She is so sweet, so cute and so beautiful. I had liked her a lot in the movie Daisy.

I liked the character Se Mi too- Chang Seung’s frenemy. She was quite fresh in her role, as it was very different from her role in ‘Queeen InHyun’. I think the side characters, the villains, and the props were all very good in the series. A couple of scenic locations too were included, that added to the aesthetic experience.
you who came from the stars

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You Who Came From The Stars


A spaceship from another planet lands on earth, in the Josheon era. The people i.e. the aliens explore their place of landing- the nature, the plants, the animals and the humankind inhabiting it. They take samples of minerals, medicinal saplings, and observe the way of life of the humans. They return after satiating their curiosities about earth, the planet that looks so beautiful from space, from their sky. But by a twist of fate, and entangling of destinies, one of them is left behind while saving a young widow from death.

 He lives on earth, adapting to its climate, food, and people and learning the native language. He knows he is not abandoned, and that he has to wait for a long time to return to his home. He is a fast learner, and has superhuman abilities, as per the earthlings’ standards. So meanwhile, he reads a lot of books and learns a lot many skills- those required for survival and some as a hobby. He can teleport within a particular distance, can stop time for about a minute, can mind control nonliving things, has great hearing capabilities, and many more traits. But he understands through time and experience that showcasing his abilities does him and the people around him no good. So he starts living incognito, under different identities.

south korean

The actual story starts 400 years later, in modern day Seoul. He’s presently known as Do Min Joon, a Harvard alumnus, and a professor. Dilemma and confusion starts when he notices the same girl that he once saved, or perhaps someone bearing an exact resemblance to her, after so many years. Is this actress a rebirth, or reincarnation? Is it a totally different person? He enters her life, curiosity getting better of him. Again assuming the role of her protector, ally and savior, he eventually falls for her, way before she realizes her own feelings.

 Spice to the story is added by the murder mystery that happens to occur in between, involving conspirating millionaires, detectives, and the protagonists’ lives; the romantic comedy, the humor and crazy tactics of the leads; and the play of emotions. What happens to their story, when he has to leave earth in a month? Does he really have no attachments? And what happens when his true nature is revealed? Does he finally return to his universe leaving everyone behind? The 21 episodes is an enjoyable roller coaster ride through the story.

There is not a single boring moment in the sitcom. There’s thrill in every episode, fun and laugh-out-loud scenes too.

PS: This is not your ET or ‘Koi Mil Gaya’. And aliens here are not ugly and grotesque. They are fairer and more beautiful than normal human being, with a very high lifespan. They are not immortals, nor are they vampires. Vampires don’t teleport, remember? So, watch it without presumptions and biases. If you like fantasy, and thrill, you’ll enjoy it, sure.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why read 'Divergent'..

the new dystopian novel

I had read ‘Divergent’ by Veronika Roth in 2011. It was my first time ever, reading a futuristic dystopian novel. And I had loved it, quite unexpectedly. I had loved the characters Tris and Four, or Beatrice and Tobias. Four still remains one of my favorite characters in modern day novels. While the country was still swooning over Edward and Jacob, I had discovered Four, and was proud of it. I recommended the book to all my friends interested in reading, and they too shared the same love and starry eyes for Divergent.

When one year later I got to know that it was to be adapted to a movie, my joy knew no bounds. I was just so excited. Well, actually, we were just so excited.

author of divergent

Veronika Roth was just 23 when the first book in the trilogy was published. And it became such a phenomenal success. The other two books in the series have also been published- ‘Insurgent’ and ‘Allegiant’. Though I am yet to read these books, they are also equally successful, given the rave reviews and best seller lists.

Now that the movie has been released, I’m growing so eager and impatient. I just hope the movie is up to my expectation. I really don’t want to be disappointed. Why I love it (the book) so much? Read on…

1   It’s a story set in future Canada, where the population is divided into five different ‘factions’- Abnegation(the selfless), Erudite(the intelligent), Dauntless(the brave), Amity(the peaceful), and Candor(the honest). They are different in their personalities, principles, lifestyles, identities and even wardrobe color. I had always wondered how it would feel to live among those of your own kind. Would it be boring and mundane, or interesting and thrilling? Will the need to be accepted be quenched? This book gave me a chance to delve into those areas.
2.       Beatrice chose her own life; she changed factions from Abnegation to Dauntless. It requires courage to leave your family behind, and go against them. In a way, I admire her. May be to a certain point, my alter ego wants to be like her- to be able to make her own decisions and be independent.
3.       The initiation stage in the Dauntless faction, in Their place, is very interesting. The initiates have to perform tasks to prove their mettle, take tough training sessions from the seniors and make space for themselves in their chosen factions. I like all kinds of training episodes, be it the training in magic in Harry Potter, the ‘how to be a good vampire’ training in Breaking Dawn, the lessons to be a perfect princess in ‘The Princess Diaries’ or that of deception in thrillers.
4.       Four is the angry young man, whose tough, unrelenting exterior; practiced expressions and cold hearted reactions hide his real self. Come and go any number of and any type of protagonists, angry young men will remain my favorite heroes in the booksie and reel worlds.
5.       I loved the simulation aptitude tests, and the fear landscape. The very idea of having fears unknown to oneself was harbored in my mind since time immemorial. So, again this piqued my interests.
6.       And the prospect of having an uninsured life ahead, with secrets to keep…

veronika roth

PS. I don’t like the comparisons some are making between Divergent and Hunger Games, and between Tris Prior and Katniss Everdeen. The two books are totally different in there concepts and stories, and comparing doesn’t do justice to any of the works. Watch them or read them with an unbiased mind and you’ll love them. Don’t judge one, based on the other’s brownie points.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

First Impressions

First impression is never the last.

The first deduction and inference is never the actual conclusion. With time everything changes- perspectives, viewpoints, our judgements about a person or a situation, our assumptions and our suppositions. Things, after all, may not be what they seem.

The grey characters overwhelm our minds- not the good or the bad ones, mind, but they who seem something at the beginning but after layers and layers of deconstruction become quite different beings. Like those characters having both dark and light shades, we are surrounded by people who seem ambiguous.

#Studying People, Understanding Minds, Solving thoughts

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: The Temple of Avinasi

“From the ashes of Epic Wars shall the great Lord of Dark rise,So terrible his wrath, every protestor shall demise…
           Ripped apart would be the Shield and the protecting forces,
        A whole world shall fall, mortal or otherwise…”
“A heroic tale timed in modern age -- a battle of existence between evil and the good, bred on the ashes of the four thousand year old legendary Epic Wars. The ‘Immortal Protectors’ of the Temple are finding it hard to maintain control over a new rising evil power, far greater in magnitude than the previous war.

The Shield that protects Earth from external attacks had stopped the invading Dark Seekers, also called Nishachars -- a fled group from some distant dying planet -- for long. Until four thousand years ago … when the shield was ruptured, and the entire mortal world turned on the edge of demolition. It was then the immortal protectors, the Light Seekers, more commonly known as Devs, along with the remaining army of mortals fought and drove back the combined army of Nishachars and Asurs, and restored the shield -- but at a great price. The Nishachars retreated, and since then they have grown and redoubled their army several times, waiting for their prophesied Dark Lord to rise. The Devs, on the other hand, knowing that they won’t be able to stop the Great Dark Lord, if risen -- formed a secret brotherhood named ‘The Temple of Avinasi’ and scattered themselves throughout the world. Their only feeble hope lies in an ancient legend named ‘Kalki’, the last prophesied Avatar of Vishnu… And unaware of all this, two fourteen year old boys are presently spending their time merrily together in the mortal world, innocently oblivious to the fact, that how much changed their destinies are from what it seems, and how much the world’s fate is dependent on them…”

The author- Ayush Pathak’s narration of the story is simple and lucid. He is, I must say, very imaginative. The events and incidents that he has included are quite interesting and creative. I liked the prologue, the Light seekers searching a dangerous weapon hidden inside the Asura Palace, to protect the humans from demise. I liked the part where Angel learns the truth about his real self, his father and the potential of his powers. I liked the escaping part, and the whole of the magical training that he received along with four others. Read this book to take part in the adventure.

All the characters are rightly placed and have their purpose in the story. But I feel the names of the characters, especially the protagonists, could have been better. I also think the cover page could have been better, as people do judge a book mostly by its cover at first. As the genre is Epic fantasy, or mythological fiction, the novel is replete with gods, demigods, humans, immortals, devils and aliens. It is full of magic and the supernatural. Anyone who likes mythology and epic tales and paranormal genres, would find this book a treat. Had I come across this book 4 to 5 years ago, I would have enjoyed it more. Having read, actually devoured Ashwin Sanghi's works of the similar genre, this book was a little too plain at times.

Middle grade students would love this book; that is kids in their preteen and early teenage years. If their reading diet consists of fairy tales, adventure fantasies and Artemis fowl, then this story can interest them no less. This novel reminded me of ‘Son Pari’ and ‘Shakalaka Boom Boom’- the serials for kids and childlike adults, which was telecast in Star Plus a couple of years back. This book is the first part of the six book long series, and if it could be adapted to such a TV series with all the animations and graphics, it would be such a delight to watch.

While I was reading some of the reviews of the book, before applying for the Reviewer’s Copy, I came across the word ‘Sleeper Hit’. Indeed the book is a sleeper hit, perhaps due to lack of awareness among the potential readers or lack of proper promotion. Hope the book reaches the heights of best sellers in India, in the coming months. The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

legend of kalki

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Doodle II

by Lipsa
Doodling away my time in AEC class!!!

This doodle is made by Lipsa, a dear friend... She's just superb in Mehendi designs, and anything beautiful... Give this doodling masterpiece all your love... and do leave a word....She'd love to hear it and so would I...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Watching Queen..

in Queen

I loved Queen. It’s a really good story about rediscovering the self and feeling the freedom- freedom from all the baggage of reservations and inhibitions that we carry with ourselves. Living her whole life under the set norms and decorum, Rani is a very cultured Indian girl. The best daughter her parents could ever have. She had never imagined that she would be jilted at the altar, and her dream shall come to a standstill. But she decides to come out of her brooding self and leave behind her trauma. She packs up to go on her preplanned honeymoon, alone.

In Paris, she meets VJ, who proves to be a great friend and companion. She saves Rani from trouble, helps her enjoy France where communication in any language other than French is difficult; and helps her come out of her self-conscious and shy self. That is clearly visible when a drunk Rani talks her mind incessantly for the first time in days to anyone who’s listening, and dances her heart out like no one’s watching without bothering a bit about her moves and steps. This crazy version of Rani was so endearing. And another time when VJ takes her shopping and forces her to try a sleeveless one, at first she’s so shy that she has a hard time coming out of the trial room, but then she herself takes a selfie and uploads online. Aww, it’s cute. It’s so human nature. And Kangana’s acting is so natural; she’s very convincing as Rani. Not even a bit superficial.

In Amsterdam, I’ll admit I had a lot of uncontrollable laughters, watching Rani in innumerable dilemma. First is when she comes to know that she has to share her room with three men. And the way she wakes from sleep in a start, jumping and shouting at the top of her voice, seeing the black man, is hilarious. Slowly she learns to trust them, and becomes friends with them. They make so much fun of her innocence, throughout her stay, but also make her holiday a memorable one. They ensure she’s comfortable and happy. Taka- the short heighted Japanese roommate is the sweetest of all. I loved all the characters in the movie- the chubby younger brother Chintu being one of the favorite after Rani.

in Queen

There has been an advent of ‘feel-good’ movies in Bollywood, those that aim at revisiting one’s own self. It started perhaps with Geet and Aditya in Jab We Met. I love movies of this fairly new genre. ‘English Vinglish’, ‘Yeh Jawani Hei Diwani’ and ‘Highway’ came one after the other, the characters enthralling us in their simplicity and realness. And the romantic comedy ‘Hassee Toh Phassee’ is another in the list. Now ‘Queen’ has come highlighting the inner journey, with dollops of fun and touching moments.

Enjoy the journey!! The destination will come when it has to.