Rain is probably the best short story written by Somerset Maugham – in its length and characterization it is more like a novella but of course it conforms to Maugham’s formula for a story – it has a beginning, a middle and an end.
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The story’s popularity has sustained over the years as it has been made into movies and plays. Sadie’s role of a prostitute out to have a good time has been portrayed on-screen by Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson and Rita Hayworth. The short story has often been selected for anthologies and is prescribed reading material for students attempting to master modern English literature.
The adventure begins off on simple terms. A ship headed to Apia is stranded near Pago Pago as a Cholera epidemic is suspected and a quarantine enforced to prevent an outbreak. Most of the travellers are ordinary folks headed on business and personal trips.
Continue reading “Somerset Maugham’s Rain”
Varied memories are triggered by the assorted bunch of reviews that are covered in this section. Binge watching, college days memories, odds and end movies that I happened to discover, and classic stories with universal appeal. They all fall in one way or the other in this list. And one thing is for sure, all these formats and stories provided me great entertainment. And I never quite mind watching a rerun …
Daniel Craig had a stellar start to his James Bond avatar in ‘Casino Royale’ as he brought back the original gritty and grim Bond seen earlier in roles essayed by Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. The movie ended on a sad note with Bond silently mourning the loss of Vesper – the Bond girl who had sufficient heft in character to have a meaningful impact on him.
Conceiving ‘Quantum of Solace’ as a revenge saga where Bond goes rogue to avenge Vesper’s death is an appealing premise but ‘Quantum of Solace’ fails to score on many other counts. It is definitely the least popular Craig movie and is often rated off the Top 10 Bond movies in an all-time list. Continue reading “Review of James Bond’s ‘Quantum of Solace’.”
It is the best of the 4 James Bond movies starring Daniel Craig and definitely in the Top 5 on the ‘all time Bond movie list’. It was a hugely successful commercially but more importantly it instantly connected with Bond fans on what is expected of a Bond movie. Daniel Craig may best it yet in an upcoming Bond movie but as things stand this one will be his signature piece as James Bond.
It also marks farewell to Judi Dench as the matriarchal boss, ‘M’. Her stint of 7 movies over 17 years stands testimony to her stellar contribution to the franchise – this movie proves to be her finest hour yet. She is set as the ‘centre-piece’ so we even dispense the conventional ‘Bond girl’ narrative in this adventure.
Gritty Action Sequences
It starts off in Istanbul – a racy bike chase on the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar. Soon action moves onto a movie train. Its up to fisticuffs as the train traverses a beautiful terrain. Bond’s associate, Eve, is forced to take a shot to bring curtains over the scene. She hits Bond instead of the villain and he falls in ‘slo-mo’ into the river. We know what happens next. Bond will survive somehow, somewhere and he will be back. Continue reading “Review of Daniel Craig’s ‘Skyfall’”
55 years, 24 movies, 6 leads to essay the role of a charismatic spy – 007 – with a licence to kill. James Bond’s onscreen persona as a glitzy and glamorous spy has defeated Fleming’s original vision for the character. (Fleming even stated that he named the character James Bond as he thought it was a dull name exemplifying an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened). Silver screen has a power to shape mass perceptions far more effectively than the written word that always reaches a rather niche audience.
Who is the best Bond ever is surely a question that can spark a fierce debate among fans. Yet the series owes a lot to Sean Connery who set the ball rolling and for many fans Daniel Craig’s style too hits the spot. So all the more reason to eagerly await the 25th Bond movie that is expected to release in 2018.
The sixth James Bond bought his own interpretation to the character and reminded us of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. And the modern millennial audience seems to love this reburnished avatar where Bond can be gloomy, gritty and grey.
But the Bond avatar can be charming as well as he encounters a perfect ‘Bond’ girl in Vesper. She looks the part – self-assured, glamorous, witty and intelligent. She get many zinger lines including her introduction : ‘I’m the money’. Bond and Vesper inevitably have skirmishes before they hopelessly far for each other.
The movie is based on one of Ian Fleming’s earliest novels and accordingly we are introduced to a James Bond who is still earning his spurs and the much coveted ‘007’ epithet a.ka. ‘Licence to Kill’. He still to develop his savvy persona but he demonstrates a far grittier character than even his noted predecessors – Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Continue reading “Daniel Craig’s gritty Bond Debut – Casino Royale.”
In 1983 Shyam Benegal’s movie ‘Mandi’ released to critical acclaim. Over the years it has become a cult classic as it is a humorous take on the lives and times of a group of prostitutes. Their ‘Madam’ essayed by redoubtable Shabana Azmi negotiates tricky politics as the brothel is located in a prime location within the heart of the city.
Juxtapose that situation to the promise of ‘Begum Jaan’ wherein we have the fiesty Vidya Balan lead the battle as the partition of British India runs a border line across her fiefdom. Alas the potentialities are all lost as the movie tries too hard to convey a message and fails in the process.
The comparison to Mandi is inevitable as the situations faced by the leading ladies are quite similar. Circumstances and politics are arraigned against them and it seems inevitable that they will thrown out of their ‘home’. Yet the it is not all a sob story – Mandi finds a way to celebrate life and discover humour behind the painful and sordid tales of the individual ladies who have been dealt a raw deal by life. Naseeruddin Shah’s ‘Tungrus’ is such an unforgettable character – am sure he would have reminisced about it as he essays the role of Raja Saab who is Vidya Balan’s patron and protector. Continue reading “Vidya Balan’s ‘Begum Jaan’ – a tale of lost potentialities.”
Timothy Dalton was different from Sean Connery and Roger Moore in his portrayal of James Bond. Sadly he didn’t get much credit for grounding the character in reality – ironically the same facet was brilliantly exploited by Daniel Craig and it has won him great admiration from the Bond fans. Talk about being ahead of your time.
Timothy Dalton was also unlucky since his third outing as James Bond got inordinately delayed due to legal disputes between the Studio and the producers. If he had got the opportunity to do a couple of more Bond films, he would have been in a better position to build his own fan base. Continue reading “Professional and perspicacious – Timothy Dalton’s foray as James Bond.”
Le Carre’s spy stories are the right antidote for common public who view spies to be ‘James Bond’ clones in real life as well. In the footsteps of his noted predecessors Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene, he continued to show us the mirror and dismantle any romantic illusions we had of a spy’s life being glitzy and glamorous.
Well it has been nearly a decade since I last worked in Bengaluru. I spent a couple of years then and would commute from Electronic City to Koramangala to attend office. Being a bookworm I didn’t explore the city much beyond its must-see attractions – Cubbon Park, Lalbagh, Bannerghatta National Park and lanes of the old city @ Majestic, Church Street (for books in particular) and Brigade Road.
It was a pleasant stay that drew short as the Lehmann Brother crisis unfolded into the Global Financial Crisis and I moved back to Aamchi Mumbai. I still was left with memories of a magnificent airport, the lovely weather throughout the year, the quaint and affordable darshinis and the warm n sweet people.
So my recent return was more of a homecoming but as usual I immersed myself with office and books so haven’t found time yet to explore the city again. A lot has changed in ten years – traffic has become the buzzword for all who commute and the advise I got from everyone was to stay as close to office as possible. The world of startups and the IT revolution too has changed the city’s landscape but I saw a lot of it even in the old days @ Electronic City. Continue reading “Return to Bengaluru – the Garden City & more …”