Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

When you see an erotic novel, er..a trilogy topping the bestseller charts, you naturally assume that the books have something more than, well, “kinky f**kery” as the author of the said trilogy describes it. Turns out you could be wrong. The Fifty Shades trilogy, which is made up of the books “Fifty Shades of Grey“, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed“, offers little more than some extremely detailed and just moderately innovative sex.

E.L. James, the author of the series, used to write fanfiction. Fifty Shades, I’m told, is an adaptation of a fanfiction (If you can believe there’s such a thing) that she wrote on the Twilight Series. Now if you have read a few fanfictions, and I have, you’ll have noticed two common traits present in most of them. One, the authors always make the characters bigger and grander than in the original books, sort of a pathetic bid to outdo the original authors. Two, a lot and a lot and a lot of completely unnecessary sex. If that sounds bad in the context of Twilight, believe me, there are fan-written versions of Harry Potter that will make you gag.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand : Fifty Shades fits those two characteristics perfectly. Edward in Twilight was good-looking.  Christian Grey of Fifty Shades is impossibly good-looking and handsome. Edward and his family was rich. Christian of Fifty Shades earns “roughly a hundred thousand dollars an hour” and belongs to an old rich family. Bella’s mom and dad were divorced. Anastasia Steele’s mom has been through no less than four husbands. Get the picture?

As for the second characteristic that I mentioned of fanfictions, you are not going to be disappointed. In fact, you might get tired of it by the end of the first part and find yourself skipping pages in the second and the third. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I certainly did.

Just to give you an idea 🙂

Christian Grey, the rather faded xerox copy of Edward, is predictably handsome, intelligent, kind, generous, strong, muscular and ultra-rich. He’s also a f***ing psycho, which seems to be the central theme of all three novels. Rather remarkable choice of subject, don’t you think? Anyway, here’s how the story goes (Don’t worry about spoilers, you could have written this yourself) : Anastasia Steele, your average lovely young virgin, goes to interview Grey and falls in love with him. But this Grey is more than you think. He has had a troubled childhood. As a result (please don’t ask me or expect the author to explain), he has turned into a control freak and a sadist, a dominant who likes to tie up young girls and do some extremely obscene things to them. Rich guy that he is, he has an entire room devoted to his Dom-Sub activities. He doesn’t have a heart, nor any tender feelings, he doesn’t do hearts and flowers. In his own words, he f**ks, and hard. Oh by the way, before he takes any of his subs to his “Red Room of Pain”, he makes them sign a non-disclosure agreement, although he knows that sort of an agreement can never be legally binding. Like I said, don’t ask me to explain.

To continue, this paragon decides to make Ana one of his subs and make good use of all his crops and whips and clamps(don’t ask) and plugs(please don’t ask) on her delicious young body. And then of course, she turns out to be more than he gave her credit for. She, in between numerous sessions of intense physical exertion, finds herself smitten, frightened or curious about this man. Yes, they fall in love. Yes, they fight. Yes they struggle to understand each other. Yes, he is overprotective and she finds that suffocating. Yes, she takes risks and he finds that frustrating. Yes, they go through a trial separation. Yes they get married. Yes there’s the obligatory villain and vamp. Yes there’s a happy ending. And yes, they have a lot of issues which they think they will talk and argue and fight about, but both their underwears melt at the sight of each other, all issues forgotten and forgiven. And Yes, of course, they f**k roughly a hundred times a book in about fifteen different ways. See what I meant about not bothering with spoiler alerts?

In my humble opinion, these books (pick any) are good. Provided you’re not looking for anything other than some light porn to pass the time. Ana’s inner goddess speaks way too much. Christian gets mad much too often. The rest of the cast is exactly what you get in any second-rate novel. The conversations are absurd. (For Americans, they speak in too British a way.) And all that fuss about Christian getting carried away with his dominant streak and Ana getting hurt because of it, well, trust me, it’s not worth it.

The books, admittedly, have been immensely popular. That’s understandable. Most people love soft porn. Especially when then can enjoy it while pretending to do something else, i.e, reading a novel. I heard someone say that these books are awesome, because they make men and women explore their own and each other’s sexuality. Well, no offense pal, but if you need to read three novels to explore your own or your husband/wife’s sexuality, maybe medical attention is what you need even more.

Laters, baby.

The Author

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I’m not really fond of TV series. Apart from a few exceptions like F.R.I.E.N.D.S or The Big Bang Theory, I’ve never been able to sit through more than a couple of episodes of any. When a friend of mine offered to lend me a couple of seasons of the 2010 BBC series “Sherlock“, I was reluctant to take it up. Little did I know then, that this Sherlock Holmes would be fond of location trackers and would be addicted to texting from his ( or anyone else’s ) mobile phone. That’s right. The BBC series Sherlock ( 2010 and 2011 ) portrays the super sleuth in our modern-day world of laptops, smartphones and Google Maps. And I must say, whoever had this idea, it has worked, and brilliantly.  When I sat down to watch the first episode, I had to resolved to quit it at the first uttering of, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Instead, my first viewing session lasted a little over three hours, two episodes back to back.

The series, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat is loosely based on Sir Conan Doyle‘s work. The episodes have been created by liberally altering and adapting using the shorter stories in the Sherlock Holmes series. Benedict Cumberbatch, whom you probably have never heard of) plays a young, restless and superb Sherlock Holmes. This Sherlock solves mysteries making liberal use of smartphones, location trackers, graffiti artists as well his famous “Science of deduction.” He even has a live blog that you can actually visit: http://www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk/ Martin Freeman, whom you just might remember from Love Actually (the porn actor), plays the legendary Dr. Watson. Just like Sherlock, Dr. Watson is also nothing like you might imagine. He’s a young veteran of the Afghanistan War, misses the war according to Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, and is far more active than Sir Doyle described in his books. The archenemy Moriarty is there, played by Andrew Scot. Interestingly, he is not portrayed as a professor living a dual life like in Conan Doyle’s originals. Here he is a criminal. He is unpredictable, cold and menacing; a ruthless anarchist who is determined to destroy Sherlock Holmes no matter what the cost or the consequences. Irene Adler is there too, played by a very beautiful and sexy Lara Pulver. Good news for perverts and warning note for responsible parents : There’s a nude scene of her in the series. In all honesty though, she doesn’t show much.

The best thing about this series is the refreshing new approach to the Holmes legend. The characterization of Holmes and Watson might seem a little along the lines of the Guy Richie movies, but there the similarity ends. The changes made in the original stories to suit the modern backdrop have been reasonable and aesthetically done. If you like it, and most of us will, you will have one complaint though : the scarcity of content. So far, there has been only two seasons with three one and half hour episodes in each. BBC has just confirmed that there will be a third season, so let’s look forward to it.

Moriarty

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun ,
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on.
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on,
I wish I was the verb ‘to trust’ and never let you down.

And they have never let me down. You know, its very difficult for something to be my favourite as am a big critic and its almost impossible for that thing to stay in that position for 5 years. When the field is music you can understand the competition and being a music buff, I have searched, researched on all kinds of international and national bands. I found and heard almost everything from Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably numb’ to Devang Patel’s ‘Pichhadi pe kutta kata’. But I havn’t found anybody else who lifts my spirit out of my body and  pumps my heart so fast that I feel like an animal and sometimes slows it down so much that I feel like dead. The lyrics so powerful that it gives me the strength to be a rebel and bring out those feelings which I have never felt before. They are Pearl Jam. A 5 member powerhouse. Inspiring millions and rocking the world since 1990.

Like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone they also started from Seattle, USA. Then within a very short span of time they won hearts of millions all over the world.

” Till date, the band has sold over 31.5 million records in the U.S, and an estimated 60 million worldwide. Pearl Jam has outlasted many of its contemporaries from the alternative rock breakthrough of the early 1990s, and is considered one of the most influential bands of the decade. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic referred to Pearl Jam as “the most popular American rock & roll band of the ’90s.” Pearl Jam will be eligible to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.” [courtesy http://www.wikipedia.org].

Trust me you don’t need the opinion of some referrer from Allmusic to know that they are the greatest. Just listen to them and you will realize it better than anyone.This 5 member band consists of  Matt Cameron as drummer, Mike McCready as lead guitarist, Stone Gossard in rhythm and lead guitars, Jeff Ament as bassist and Eddie Vedder as an idol.

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Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard initially started a band with the tremendously charismatic Andrew Wood on the vocals and called themselves Mother Love Bone. Later in an interview Gossard said Andrew was the person who made them feel like rockstars for the first time. Later Andy died due to drug overdose, they were devastated and they needed a vocalist to replace someone like Andy. Then Mike McCready and Cameron joined in but still no vocalist. Months later they heard the voice of the ‘new kid’ Eddie from a demo cassette that Jeff  found and the band finally got everything that was remaining. I haven’t heard a person like Eddie with so much voice modulation. Eddie has this amazing baritone voice which makes you feel like the voice is coming from the sky and beaming all over you like God speaking to you. He can scream like an animal  and has an amazing range in his voice and has also worked with the famous Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.Then the band went for several world tours (not yet in India though). If you see Pearl jam live shows  through the years you can see how they got mature and how innovative they always are and how they will always surprise you with stage jumps and crazy expressions and emotions. Starting from the famous stage jump in 1992 PinkPop Festival  and then MTV Unplugged, Immagine in Cornice which is like a tour video and many more. Recently Cameron Crowe made an awesome documentary on them called PJ20, do watch it. While watching the shows, you just can’t take your eyes off Eddie. He has this way of communicating with the crowd which makes you respect him, respect his thoughts  and makes you be like him. He will push you to the edge and hypnotize you with his words, expressions and gestures. You will feel free and different.

Each song will give you a different trip. You will feel like a madman if u listen to ‘evenflow’, ‘porch’ or ‘do the evolution’, you will feel like floating when u listen to ‘release’ ,’thin air’ or ‘given to fly’. You will feel pain when you listen to ‘alive’ or ‘last kiss’ and songs like ‘wishlist’ and ‘better man’  will give you hopes. They have released 9 albums till now.

Listen to them all. You will get to hear the amazing chemistry in their composition which is only possible when amazing musicians play with each other for a really long time. I have heard a lot of  amazing lead guitarist like Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Van Halen, Slash, John Frusciante, Jerry Cantrell and many more, but the playing of Mike McCready just fits with the songs so well that even if he is not technically talented like David Gilmour or Van Halen, Mike sounds more real and passionate. Jeff Ament on the other hand does a wonderfull job with the bass, you will realize that the bass lines are pretty tricky in songs like Jeremy and Alive. Matt Cameron is just awesome. He is one of my favourite drummer. My favourite being Mike Portnoy (used to play for Dream Theatre). Stone Gossard is a mastermind composer and he together with Eddie have composed those wonderful tracks through years.

One last thing I want to say : Hey Eddie …. am already saving up so that one day I can see you perform. I promise you I will bribe and beg to the security and will definitely meet you personally and when I do so , God help you.  Stay away from fans like us.

Love you Pearl jam!!

Pearl Jam koncert 2006-ban a bécsi Stadthalle-...

Pearl Jam koncert 2006-ban a bécsi Stadthalle-ban. / Pearl Jam 2006 Stadthalle, Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me. Once, when she specifically lumped me with those musical types, I asked her what the order was, and she replied, smiling, ‘Alphabetical.’ At the time I smiled too. But now I sit and wonder whether she was listing me by my first name — in which case I would trail Mozart — or by my last name, in which case I would edge in there between Bach and the Beatles. Either way I don’t come first, which for some stupid reason bothers hell out of me..”

It has been more than 10 years, probably more than 12, since I read those lines for the first time. I can still quote it word for word, any given day, no matter how bad the day has been. Love Story. By Erich Segal. Before I read the book, someone told me that an entire dorm in some Ivy League place had phoned Erich Segal one night, in tears, to ask why Jenny had to die. After I was finished with the book, I didn’t blame them. I wanted to do the same.

Oliver Barett IV, handsome harvard jock and campus hero, born into immense wealth and stature. His family, through generations, having donated a lot of buildings to Harvard and his father having expected nothing but the best from him all along and taking it for granted when he had succeeded in meeting those expectations consistently.

Jennifer Cavilleri, a smart, feisty and lively Radcliffe student majoring in Music. An American of Italian descent, brought up by and living with her devout catholic father Phil. Jennifer is the firecracker who lives everyday like there’s no tomorrow, the beauty with brains who never fails to come up with a devastating one liner.

The two of them meet at the Radcliffe Library one afternoon and sparks fly. Before you know it, they have been to a couple of Hockey games, fallen in love, Oliver has fought with his father and walked out of his money, the two of them have gotten married and the happy couple has shifted to New York. And again, before you can catch your breath, Jenny is dead and the story has ended. Don’t bother shouting “Spoiler! Spoiler!” The beauty of Love Story, ironically, is not in the story, but in the way the story has been told. The book does not have one single bland sentence, one that it could have managed without. Every one has an impact on you. They would make you chuckle in one instant, hold your breath in the next, and bring tears to your eyes in yet another one. The conversation between the couple is awesome, the supporting characters perfect, the main characters out of this world.

Oliver with his pride and insecurities and his grim struggle to get out of his father’s shadow, the loving, caring, doting Phil, the formidable Oliver Barrett III and his struggle to hold on to his dear son on one hand and to satisfy his ego and his pride on the other, and above all, the bewitching, beautiful, witty, smart, blunt, naughty Jenny with all her beauty  and wit and charm and her smashing one-liners.

Sample this, ”  ‘Jenny, we’re legally married!’
‘Yeah, now I can be a bitch.’ ”

It might seem pointless to write about Love Story, as it is a book that most of us have already read. However, the purpose of this article is not to be a review. Me reviewing Erich Segal would be blasphemy anyway. This is more of a tribute. I have been a fan of Segal for a long time now. In my opinion, Love Story is not even his best work or his best novel. That honor would go to The Class or Acts of Faith, two other of his creations I’ll never forget. Love Story, however, is different. While it’s probably not his best story, it has to be the best writte. You have to read it to feel it.

Most of you, I’m sure, have read it already. If you’re literate and you have not, believe me, you should.

I was introduced to this by my girlfriend and since then every week I check for its new episodes in torrents. The 22nd episode of the 4th season is currently running on Star World. The story starts like this : Castle acted by Nathan Fillion is a famous mystery novelist who had killed off his main character in his book series and had writer’s block. One day he was brought in by the NYPD for questioning regarding a copy-cat murder based on one of his novels. He was intrigued by this new window into crime and murder, and uses his connections with the mayor of New York City  to charm his way into shadowing the captivating Detective Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic. Castle then decides to use Beckett as the model for the main character of his next book series starring “Nikki Heat”. Beckett, an avid reader of Castle’s books, initially disapproves of having Castle shadow her on her cases, but later warms up and recognizes Castle as a useful resource in her team’s investigations.

Kate Beckett

Kate Beckett (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The characters in the series just creates a perfect balance for the viewers to enjoy. They are a set of warm and friendly characters . The main character is Richard Edgar “Rick” Castle, the mystery novelist who helps NYPD in their homicide cases with his out of the box thinking. He is also a cool and amazing single dad and a rich,charming, intelligent, quick-witted  playboy. The other main character is Kate Beckett who is a hardworking, dedicated  first-class homicide investigator of NYPD , she joined the force after her mother was murdered in an unsolved case. Kate is helped by Detective Javier Esposito and Detective Kevin Ryan and both of them are funny and hardworking. Alexis Castle is Richard Castle’s daughter and father daughter relationship  just warms up and gives the viewers a perfect relief after a head crunching murder case. Martha Rodgers is Richard Castle’s mother who stays with him and his daughter who also creates a warm and homely environment when needed. Together they solve amazing murder cases and Castle’s out of the box creative mind and charisma spices up the whole investigation process into a different level. The homicide cases are also very interesting, unique and are of varied nature involving everything from terrorism to fairy tales.

I thought of mentioning this in the blog so that you guys don’t miss such a wonderful thing. All the episode are available on the net and you can download the torrents. Let me know how you felt.

We Indians are a strange breed. For the last month or so, we have been talking, reading newspapers  and watching the news channels like crazy to learn as much as we can about who is going to be the next president of India, as if we are very concerned and that it means a lot to us. And we have dutifully done this once every five years, during the presidential elections. We seem to have forgotten that ever since we were kids, we have all participated in a discussion at least once every few months about how unnecessary and useless that post is. How it is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money, everyone’s time and some prime real estate in the heart of the capital.  Once a person is selected we have invariably criticised him, or lately her, for not living up to our standards, for not being perfect, for having flaws that we decided were critical for a President. Let’s take a look :

Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma was the ninth Preside...

The first President of my time that I can remember was Dr.  Shankar Dayal Sharma (1992 to 1997). I remember that we had numerous complaints against him when we were in school. “He is fat”, we used laugh, “He has a broken knee, he can’t even walk properly.”, “Look at him, he’s soooo old.” Conveniently forgotten were the the facts that the guy was a freedom-fighter, a professor at Cambridge and an internationally famed legal expert.

Eby J Jose with K.R.Narayanan,President of Ind...

Eby J Jose with K.R.Narayanan,President of India(2003) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then came K. R. Narayanan (1997 to 2002). The biggest concern people seemed to have against him was, “Who’s he??”  Or “He’s a nobody! I’ve never heard of him!!” Nobody bothered to learn that this “Nobody” was a student of the London School of Economics, had been described by Nehru as “The best diplomat of the country”, and was the first president in the history of India who cared enough about the democratic process to go out and vote in the general elections while he held office.

Pic taken at 12th WIEF

Our next president was Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam(2002 to 2007). People already knew him as the Missile Man after the Agni launches and the Pokhran Nuclear tests. He was educated, cultured, a genius and had a string of achievements. You would think people would love him, and most people did. However, pathetic that we are, we still found a a reason to criticise him after much soul-searching. This guy had a Bad Hairstyle. Hardly believable, but true. I remember opinion polls on a news channel asking ” Do you want President Dr. Kalam to cut his hair? ”

President of India

Finally, we had Pratibha Patil(2007 to 2012), who is ending her term in a couple of months. The complaint against herhas been unique. “Oh we love the idea of a woman president! It’s just that she looks rather lame in her white sarees and full-sleeve, high-neck blouses, you know. I mean, come on dude,  she wears that saree even on her trips to sea beaches. Not real presidential, is it? ”

Great! So, we don’t want a president who is fat, old, has a bad leg, is not famous, or, most importantly has bad hair. We don’t mind a woman president, but mind you, she shouldn’t wear saree and boring blouses.

Right!  So, we would want a president who is slim, young, has a good leg, is famous and has well-groomed hair. If it’s a woman, she should know better than to wear those boring sarees. Especially when she’s on a beach. That’s all that matters, yes?

Awesome!! You know, I have just the right candidate for you : 

Jai Ho !!