Looking for Love?

May 22, 2012

COCKTAIL : A smiling curosity filled trailer

After a long time, some trailer left me with a goody-good feeling. Ironical it may sound, but it has become a rarity to see a good romantic Bollywood movie. There are few new ideas when it comes to romantic films - almost every premise has been exploited many times before - but such movies rely on distinctly original treatment to stand out from the crowd and can work only with a crackling chemistry between the leads. COCKTAIL, luckily seems to be having it all.

This in no way to put the movie on the pedestal, things are stereotype and may just be predictable in the screenplay. You have flirtatious Gautam, conservative Meera and extrovert Veronica, though each of them are having fun with co-stars which we haven't seen in a long long time on screen. Co-written by Imtiaz Ali of Jab we met and Rockstar fame, the movie has a fresh, yuppie urban feel to it.

We haven't heard much from the director Homi Adajania after that quirky debut in Being Cyrus but he repeats actors from that movie, namely Saif, Dimple and Boman. Deepika who has a strict aversion to clothing seems to mellow down by the end of the trailer, while the gorgeous debutant Diana Penty looks like a million bucks and someone to look forward to.

13 July may be far, but then good things always take time to come by. At least, one can hope so!

May 20, 2012

Book Review - 81 : The Engineering Train

Author: Smruti Mohanty
Publisher: Frog Books

The Engineering Train, writer's debut novel is an allegorical fiction. To put it mildly, that is just a market positioning stunt and an attempt to place yet another 'campus tale' in the guise of a literary gimmick. In fact, it does worse for its readers as it turns out to be neither allegory nor fiction in its entirety. It dangles somewhere in between, interspersing philosophical BS with a random love story in an engineering college in Gunupur.

There is nothing new in showing the good, bad, ugly side of the youth which has been clattered in every second book in the market. Randomly going through each of the routine portions while studying in a college -friends, booze, panga with teachers, placements and love-turned-lust story; it all sounds so familiar. It could have still worked if it concentrated more on the characterization of these college graduates but i guess that is the last thing you should expect from a book which never takes itself serious enough to bother about the basics of writing. As writer claims, 'a simple story of a common man needs to be told in a common language'. That, my friend, is indeed not an easy task.

I am going with 1/5 for Smruti Mohanty's 'The Engineering Train'. It is neither funny nor original. I cannot recall one point which made me think or feel engaged. It is a serious test of your endurance level. Read it if you must.

May 6, 2012

Book Review - 80 : The Devotion of Suspect X

Author: Keigo Higashino
Publisher: Hachette India

It is always difficult to review a book which has already sold over 2 million copies in the native country; is based out of a popular detective (Galileo) TV series, led to a Japanese blockbuster who had raked in big-time money, have won numerous film awards and literary prizes along with a Korean film version of the book which is under production. Almost everything has been said before, every plot-point has been deliberated and each character has been chewed multiple times. But, still let's try.

Yasuko and her daughter Misato is living an ordinary existence in a Tokyo suburb. Yasuko works at a bento shop and is sure that she has outrun her blackmailing ex-husband, Togashi. But he turns up one night at their apartment and ends up dead. To the rescue of Yasuko comes a neighbour Ishigami, otherwise a mathematical genius who does a day job of being a school teacher to reluctant boys and a judo teacher in the evening. His devotion to Yasuko appears absolute, and both mother and daughter starts following his instructions in order to evade suspicion of murder when the police start their investigations.

What follows is the thrilling cover-up and dismantling of the crime-of-passion murder. However, unlike most conventional thrillers with a heist at its core, this one’s not a whodunit – it can’t be, because you know all along who’s done it – the question instead is, how are they going to get away with it, if at all? The Devotion of Suspect X also alludes to a chess game, as two masterminds, novice criminal and unofficial detective, engage in a cold fight to the finish line.

The book’s biggest accomplishment is the manner in which it compels you, the viewer to think differently – midway through the book you’ve got the drift, you begin to expect the unexpected, you even begin to predict what’s going to happen next. That’s the level of involvement you’re able to muster up for this book. You seriously feel for each of the characters, not just the victims but the investigators; each of them trying to out think each other, trying to gain brownie points each time they interact. The dialogues are precise and things get hot up when all of them literally starts punching and plummeting each other with verbal antics.

If there is a problem with the book, it is his length which stays well over 350 odd pages. For a taut thriller, that is around 50 pages too long and overstays for just that long to make you feel uneasy and things start to get monotonous. The portions where Ishigami and his school friend Yukawa from college starts getting into solving mathematical problems and arguments are over written and have a laboured feel to them.
I am going with 4/5 for Keigo Higashino's 'The devotion of Suspect X'. Do anything, but suspect the quality of the book. It is a thriller waiting to be read, right there. It is one of the most intelligent books you will read in a long time. Go and grab it, NOW!

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