Of fractures and what not

One week with a fractured foot and I have gone through quite a collection of movies/series on my hard drive. And all that’s on the hard disk needs to last foIMG_20160602_172646r another three weeks. That’s right, I am counting the days before the full leg permanent cast comes off by June 22. A check up at the doctor’s yesterday determined that the injury was an old one that got worse over time. Surprising question was why didn’t I notice it all this time. Last weekend’s excruciating pain and my inability to place my foot on the ground led to an emergency experience that lasted the whole Sunday. Talk about missing the IPL finals.

So on this cheery note, I have viewed and reviewed a few of the gems I came across during the week.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Britain’s most obnoxious radio jockeyindex is at it again. This time on the big screen. I have always enjoyed the foot-in-mouth shenanigans of Alan Partridge (sort of brings memories of a cross-Atlantic contemporary – Alan Harper) and it was time his bloated ego got its space up there. This time our RJ from Norfolk has to deal with a ‘Dog Day Afternoon‘-like situation and in his own incompetent way handles the hostage crisis till the end. With a lot of familiar faces from the TV series, those of you connected to Partridge’s life can relate to the nonsensical brilliance that Steve Coogan‘s character offers. While on painkillers this was a good way to start my recuperation. Oh and I loved the music from the opening sequence.

Sherlock Holmes: The Abominable Bride – My fascination for all things Holmes brings me to the latest offering from Benedict Cumberbatch and co. One of the best portrayals of Holmes, this hour and a half long episode focuses on a specific case from the past interjected with scenes from the present. I cannot reveal more, but say that there are some neat Gothic touches to this tale of a wronged bride along with the usual surprise twists that come along with Arthur Conan Doyle‘s fables. A cheer out for Dr. Watson too and Mrs. Watson. Look out for one of my favourite scenes from the books – The Reichenbach Falls.

the abominable bride sherlock holmes

Amores Perros – Before finding success in the States, Innaritu directed this gem of a tale based in Mexico City. Dogs are the connection between three story arcs that make this film. Loyalty, honesty, love are the themes that emanate strongly from this beautiful, brutal and dramatic featuamores perrosre. Everyone has a story to tell and Amores Perros (Life’s a Bitch) proves what good story-telling is all about. As with Latin American films, the emotions are strong, vivid and portray the ghettos of Mexico to the high life and revolutionary idealistic zeal of the educated. All the while marking the perils that life can hold out to us.


Sicario – Staying with Mexico. What a movie! Benecio Del Toro has been a favourite ever since ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘ and the performancesicario del toro emily blunt he puts in here is matched by Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin in a hell of a cartel movie. From scene one you get the feeling that the next shot is going to be the last for the protagonists and it goes on till the end. Never a dull moment, this has one of the best military road scenes when an elite crack team makes it across the US border to bring in a cartel suspect. Del Toro’s silence lurks in every scene and there’s a lot to say in that. His character is the mission and till the end you never guess what his exact role is within the Special Forces. One of the best movies of 2015 and certainly deserved a lot more accolades than it got.

The Devil’s Backbone – Sticking with Spanish revivalism, this Pedro Almodovar produced movie with one of my favourite director’s at the helm – Guillermo Del Toro, brings in Spanish Gothic horror in the midst of the Civil War of the 1930s. Set in a remote orphanage with spookydevils backbone del toro happenings, this tale of war and ghosts weaves its way through the deserted Catalonia region. The horror is real and there are scenes that would make you cringe and sink deeper into your bed. What I loved about this movie was the poetry. The actual poetry that the orphanages doctor brings out in his discussions with the students and the woman he loves. There can be no greater description of a ghost (or Phantasmo as they say in Spanish) than the words used by the good Doctor. Love, betrayal and resurrection in the time of war… that’s what the Devil’s Backbone stands for.

Plebs – Back to TV series. And my favourite genre – Brit comedy. Set in ancient Rome, with all modern day mannerisms, Plebs is a sporty laugh riot with memorable characters to boot. I LMAO on this one. Who would have thought the Romanplebs‘s had such a great sense of humour. From Roman orgies to Cypriot monks, Plebs takes you through the life and times of Caesar’s civilians as they live through gladiator fights, bureaucracy and the occasional refugee who steals the hearts of the protagonists while leading them on. The master slave equations are hilarious and one to watch out for in this comedy. Plebs dabbles a bit with the ‘Carry On…’ humour to prove that Rome was not built in a day.



I love reading. And books were so much a part of my life growing up that I even considered being a librarian. I even started cataloguing the book collection at home when I was in middle school. With my own set of library codes I built up a list that is now lost. Not to worry, it was never of any archaeological significance. In the midst of the Big Bang Theory, Mad Men and Game of Thrones, I now sit with “Dongri to Dubai” – a book that chronicles the rise of the Mumbai Mafia, Dawood Ibrahim in particular. Racy, dramatic and written in a sort of guerilla documentary style, one gets a pretty clear idea of the machinations involved in creating one of the most powerful mafia and terrorist networks in the world.

Books are a tradition in our family and have greatly influenced us. In fact, Dad was influenced by A.J. Cronin‘s novels to become a doctor. Going back to our family collection of books, I was searching for some books that I hadn’t read from our library when I came across my first full novel that I had read back when I was in second standard. It was a small 188 page book called “The Rockingdown Mystery” by Enid Blyton. It had characters who would stay with me forever, among them the orphaned Barney and his pet monkey Miranda. This book was the first in a series of adventures that Barney and his friends embarked on once Barney got himself out of the clutches of a travelling circus. Enid Blyton knew how to spin stories that thrilled, touched and gave you the pleasure of adventure that you could literally feel.

With this I gathered my thoughts to recall my favourite books and following are the one’s that really made my day (arranged in no particular order):

The Count of Monte Cristo – Edmond Dantes was the perfect anti-hero in this saga of love, revenge and redemption. This sweeping story by Alexandre Dumas was full of adventure and drama that resonates to this day.
The Shoes of the Fisherman – The trappings of religious and political power make for a strong cocktail in this Morris L. West book.
















Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sherlock Holmes on the moors! Need I say more…
The Best of Roald Dahl – Before Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there were tales of the unexpected with the most wicked twists in short story fiction ever.














The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – I never saw the ending coming. Nor did the millions who read the book in the early half of the twentieth century resulting in sacrilegious horror from litterateurs. It is now an Agatha Christie classic.
The Mystery of the Hidden House – Enid Blyton spun a fun mystery story enlivened by Ern – the nephew of the local policeman, Mr. Goon. I could recite Ern’s poetry on his uncle in my dreams… lovaduck!
















The Hobbit – I consider this the best in The Lord of the Rings series. Small, but packing a punch in more ways, this novel is an adventurous gem to read.
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park – The book was much better than the movie. I watched the movie first, but nothing to beat the book in terms of sheer scale of the nature of the suspense and disaster that was waiting to happen.
















The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – She never ceases to amaze. An unforgettable character in a master thriller.
Shutter Island
Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane’s novels delve into the psyche of the individual in relation to his/her surroundings. This book is creepy and the horror in line with the works of Edgar Allan Poe.


Done with the Dark

In the last couple of months I have turned into a voracious reader – all thanks to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. I loved reading as a kid, devouring 2-3 novels a week during the summer holidays, but the habit sort of fizzled out once I got into college and then into professional life. Not that reading was completely ruled out but now it was restricted to 4-5 novels a year and that too each novel took me a couple of months to read by which time I had forgotten half of the characters and their mortality rate.his-dark-materials

I inherited His Dark Materials from my sister’s collection with the recommendation that these were novels that were integral to the neo-classical genre and a must read. This coming from my sister who rarely showcases her likes or dislikes piqued my curiosity and got me to start off on this. This brought back my old habits. Three books back to back were finished in no time and a regret that there were no more in the series to pursue.

My verdict of His Dark Materials series (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) – One of the best grown up fantasy adventures ever written. The contents of the books may be somewhat controversial to those who swear by organised religion and the diktats from13738203 above that bind them, but the subtle meaning in the books drive home the point that there’s more to life after all. No more metaphors or dragging reviews and giveaways. Just go read it.

Besides the His Dark Materials trilogy, I also had an unfinished Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy omnibus with me. This book that I picked up from Sankar’s at the Bangalore Airport in 2006 had been a stutter and stop read. I had just about made it to the last novel i.e. Mostly Harmless and the short story before it which was ‘Young Zaphod Plays it Safe’ when I stopped short of completing it about a year ago. The book was just lying there unfinished. After Dark Materials I made it a point to complete this at the expense of mundane news and TV serials.

I would say that my new found interest in books is due to the fact that there is hardly anything worthwhile paying on TV nowa300px-sherlock_holmes_-_the_man_with_the_twisted_lipdays. Now that the reading bug has bitten me I don’t see it disappearing anytime soon. Right now, I am onto the complete and unabridged Sherlock Holmes series. This is another book that I picked up at a book sale in 2005 (I don’t remember the book seller). It included the adventures, memoirs, return of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of Baskervilles all in one book with the original Sidney Paget illustrations. All this for Rs. 350. Quite a steal, but it lay unread on my table for sometime. Sherlock Homes was a hero to me as a kid and I had read some of the short stories that appeared randomly in assorted sets of books. Long forgotten, I turned to my complete Sherlock Holmes volume and I am now in the middle of it trying to figure out the Adventure of The Man with the Twisted Lip.

Thank god for literature. In the event of an electric storm we still have a lot to look forward to.