Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The bookseller of Kabul

It was a fast depressing read. The usual muslim afghanistan-iran-saudi-burqua story. Yes there's more to the story than the story of the women behind the burqa, but somehow at the end of the day the book did'nt really tell much.

reminded me of "Not without my daughter", "daughters of arabia", "princess" etc. Consistently depressing books all of them. They all evoke the same feeling of calustrophobia, the amazement at how the people could lack even the basics of common sense in the kind of control they seek to exercise. You hope that this is a far away , another religion , another century. But then you look around you, at the good educated middle class boys around you, and you realise, there's very little difference at their core. We're just lucky to be in a different setting, we're not really among people with more common sense.

However, there are few things which get my goat as much as the burqua. usually makes me want to burn up the whole household , the women included, and right to freedom be damned. of course, this in spite of knowing, that in a similar situation, i'd probably be wearing one myself. but it doesn't make me any less angry.

note to self - avoid such books, they just make you mad and don't tell you much .

Luck by chance

quite a nice movie. Interesting to see bollywood sort of hold up a mirror to itself, non-judgementally, with a bit of humour, doing away with black and white, and some good acting thrown in! reminded me of om shanti om, a much much much better version of it. Watching it a second time was even more fun, the jokes kept up their bite. And the music is quite nice too.

and my favourite line from the movie - meetha banana hai to shakkar to dalni padegi :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Star Trek - The Future begins

I've been a fan of the series ever since nn got me hooked and we watched all the voyager seasons, over the past 2 years. And then started working our way back, watching the "next generation" seasons these days ( Still not seen the original series tho). Also caught a few of the enterprise episodes on TV.

However, I've never enjoyed the movies quite as much, although I've seen just 3 of them (Hated "insurrection", found "first contact" to be avg at best) And I guess in spite of the good reviews of this one, it felt a bit of a let down. The beginning was Awful. I hate scenes of women giving birth, and if you drag the damn thing for almost a minute and inter cut it with a dying father, what can i say, even old masala bollywood could have done better. The story was passable. The acting decent. ( although, having never seen Kirk , Spock or Scottie, I can't say whether they lived up to the living legends. however in isolation they were not bad) . And it had its funny moments.

I guess at the end of the day, what makes star trek tick for me, is the nuanced approach it took to alien life, to the way it often picked up topical issues , to its colourful characters, its humour. ( In fact various episodes deserve full length reviews of their own. )
And all of that is rather hard to put into a movie. At the end of the day the movie becomes a more formulaic evil-person-out-to-do-something-bad--good-heroes-save-the-day. Within that formula, you can make a decent movie, and in a star trek setting, it makes it more fun. But I wouldn't say it lifts it much higher than any other movie of the genre.

So all in all, I'd say ok, not bad, and for star trek fans, a definite watch. But I'm not promising the earth, or even Vulcan!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Angels and Demons

Its a quite a decent thriller.  Will certainly be enjoyed more by people who haven't read the book, but even if you've read the book ( like me) its not that bad. certainly better than the da vinci code. 

As for the offence to christianity, I wouldn't read too much into it. If there are people taking offence, they probably deserve to be offended! 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen

Was finally finished this week, after plodding along for a while. its written in a rather academic style, and given to terms like post-modern ( which ,for the life of me, i don't understand ! ) That makes the reading some effort, often needing a rereading just to understand the point he's making. Then of course the subject matter is such that it needs some mulling over.

However, I enjoyed reading it nevertheless. It dealt with essays on wide ranging areas, from snippets of history, culture, religion, feminism with a open minded viewpoint, which I totally identified with.

However there's only so much of that academic style, that i can read, and now i need something free flowing, and needing no thinking!