Movie Review – Bareilly ki Barfi

Bareilly_Ki_Barfi_PosterOne word review of this movie would be – Sweet! I know I am pretty late to the party but fortunately for me the movie is still running in the theatres. In the times when Bollywood is hooked on to Multi-starer big budget movies shot abroad with zero focus on content or acting, this movie is so refreshing, it feels like a fresh lime soda on a summer afternoon.

The best part about the movie are the characters. They are all quirky, real, unconventional and played amazingly well by the actors playing them. That includes the main characters as well as the supporting cast. Special mention goes to Rajkumar Rao for playing two almost opposite personas equally well.

This is a story of Bitti Mishra(Kriti Sanon), a free-spirited girl in the town of Bareilly(a small town in India), who happens to read a book and falls in love with the writer’s perspective. She wants to meet the author but he is nowhere to be found. And of course as all the cliched loved stories go she finds more than just the author in the bargain. She has a lovely set of parents: A father who treats her like a son and a mother is  forever in search for a suitable SIL. Chirag Dubey(Ayushmann Khurana), the author of the book, falls in love with Bitti but can’t reveal it to her and so enters the recitent Pritam Vidrohi(Rajkumar Rao) and the best friend – Narottam.

The story is as cliched as it gets but still leaves no room for boredom. It is the dialogues that put the zing in the story. There is a point in the movie where Rajkumar Rao says “Agar shakal dekhke ladiyan shaadi karti na toh Hindustan mein aadhe ladke kunware hote”. Also a few others like “aastin ka anaconda” and so on. There is one line however, which really got me “Aasaan nahi hai tumse pyar karna … magar tumse pyar na karna usse bhi zyada mushkil hai”. This I thought was incredibly sweet!

The writing is funny and light-hearted throughout and leaves you with a sweet aftertaste. Definitely worth a watch!

The Archers’ Revenge – Book Review

The_Archers_RevengeEverybody has their own way of solving a problem but some people take it to a different level altogether. There was a guy who was searching for his girl friend and he ended up creating Orkut. Here is a professional blogger who wrote a book because he found it difficult explaining his job to people.  I am talking about Rajesh Kollu whose online persona is destination infinity. He is a professional blogger who lives in Chennai. He was forced to become an author as people kept pestering him with ‘What do you do?’ and they didn’t understand the answer. He blogs at

‘The Archers Revenge’ is his self-published book. But this is unlike most self-published books you will find. For starters it has a story and good one. A believable one. Fiction, unlike reality, has to be believable. Don’t believe me. Try writing a book. It is copy-edited well. The language is very lucid and the flow very coherent. It keeps the reader engaged.

It is a story of two youngsters(Aryan & Divya) who are on a mission to avenge their respective fathers death by a politician ‘Guru’. I found the unconventional plot interesting and also his idea of naming the chapters starting from negative numbers after prologue till the start of the actual story. The plot gets interesting with every page. After all who would have thought of using bows and arrows to fight in this era of modern weapons. And that too fighting a rival who is very powerful owing to his position as a Union Minister. Read the book for a more interesting twist to the story.

A very good attempt and doesn’t sound like a first book at all. I will look forward to all the future books by destination infinity.

My Verdict: 9/10

Catching the Departed – Book Review


Catching the Departed is a book by Kulpreet Yadav. He is the founder and co-editor of Open Road Review, a literary journal. He also co-edits Under the Banyan Tree, an online forum of true stories. In 2011, Kulpreet’s short fiction won a special commendation in the competition ‘The Best Short Writing in the World’, by Fleeting magazine. This novel was shortlisted by Hachette India & DNA in their contest ‘Hunt for the Next Bestseller’.

The novel is first in the series of thriller novels on the protagonist Andy Karan, an investigative journalist. The story starts in a quaint, sleepy village on the outskirts of Delhi. When I started reading the book, I was in a pretty similar mood, sleepy, sick, bored and unable to go out or see any sunshine due to the incessant rains. Probably it was my mood that influenced the expectation. I didn’t expect much. Just expected the “hero” to solve a few mysteries and fall in love and the story ends just like a Bollywood movie.

And the story progressed in pretty much the same way but after a few pages the story took a turn and it indeed was a very good turn. As I turned the pages, the story got more and more interesting and by the time I finished I was impressed. I am not elaborating more on the story as I don’t want to give away the plot. Read it yourself for a thrilling reading experience.

The language is fairly simple and doesn’t distract you from the story with you wanting to run for a dictionary or lose the plot trying to decipher the meaning. From the description of the places, it is clear the author is very well-acquainted with the landscape and people around Delhi. The story has same focus as Andy has for his mission, no unnecessary details or characters. I, personally, like that. It manages to keep the story going with no dull moments.

What I would have liked to see better is a stronger motivation for the villains’ mission and more powerful accomplices as it was a pretty dangerous mission and a more intriguing political angle to make it more interesting. Nonetheless, I loved reading the novel and I will look forward to the next books in the series eagerly.  Go Andy!

My Verdict: 8/10

Thoughts in the Air – Book Review

Thoughts in the Air

Thoughts in the Air

Thoughts in the Air is a collection of Radio talks by Dr. Mallikarjun Patil. The author is an Associate Professor and HOD at the Department of English, Karnatak University, Dharwad. He has given talks at the AIR Gulbarga, Dharwad and Hyderabad right from his graduate days. Apart from giving talks he has also organized radio discussions, translated AIR plays for competitions. This collection aims at inspiring and enriching young minds.

The thoughts over air have settled in print in three sections:

  • Generalia
  • Indian Literature and Thoughts
  • Western Literature and Thoughts

Together they cover a broad range of topics including some important topics that haven’t been getting their share of attention like the topics on travel literature, the one on Basava, the social reformer, on the women writers like Toru Dutt and the controversial writings of Salman Rushdie.

The Generalia talks about what is literature and kinds of literature. The Indian and Western literature talks about different authors, genres, literature from different periods of time and from different schools of thinking. It is aimed at casual readers and experts alike. As pointed by the author, the talks have been a product of constant discussions with colleagues and students and hence the content is largely familiar to students of literature. But anybody with interest in language and literature stands to gain by reading the book.

The readers stand to gain not only from the knowledge but also from the insightful analysis. And as we all know reading literature and history isn’t only about stories, facts or accounts but it is peeking into the a culture and society. In that sense here we get to peek into Indian and Western cultures  from the Mythological ages to the modern World. Thanks to Dr.Patil for the insightful ride through time and space.

Wise enough to be foolish – Book Review



Wise Enough to be foolish is a fictionalised memoir by Gauri Jayaram. The book traces the journey of an Indian girl’s life, with all its challenges and delightful surprises , as she blossoms from an insecure childhood into a confident young woman.

Author, Gauri is a mother of two girls, amateur athlete, part-time writer, management school drop-out , traveller, entrepreneur and employed with a touring company.

The first thing I liked about the book is the pace. Not a boring moment. Couple that with audacity to be candid and superb articulation and story-telling. You have a winner.

In the story, Gauri is the black sheep of the family, although she went from black to brown and blended from time to time. The feeling of not being loved esp by the parents is one that can’t be explained only felt but being the black sheep comes with its own advantages – you don’t have to look for social approval and do what you like and live your life. And live she did. Probably that is what makes the book a superhit. Her life has been one hell of an adventure.

Every girl can relate to something or the other in the book. The honesty of her thoughts and feelings is what makes this truly an “unputdownable” book. If you are foolish enough to get on the roller-coaster ride with her, I am quite sure you will come out wiser at the end.

@Gauri: This is one flight you haven’t missed!

Title – Wise Enough to be Foolish
Author – Gauri Jayaram
Publisher – Jaico Publishing House
Pages – 216 Pages
Price – Rs. 225/-

The Story of – Book Review

The other day when I missed one of my courier packages. Worried, I called up their help line number. Yes, the one where you expect to get totally useless answers and a complaint number at the end. But I was in for a surprise. The response on call and the service later amazed me. I became a fan of the company. That was, and I immediately knew from which site to order my next book. So I was looking forward to reading the story of the company came to being and became what it is today.

Jaico’s creative companies series from Jaico publishers explores how today’s great companies operate and inspires young readers to become the entrepreneurs and businessmen of tomorrow. The Story of by Sara Gilbert is a book from this series.

The series targeted at the young readers is a fantastic  way to inspire young minds with the success stories of the entrepreneurs.  What better way to inspire the youth to dream on, take risks to materialize those dreams and deal with the failures en route to create amazing companies.

Like most great start-ups of our times, this one too started in a garage by Jeff Bezos and a few employees in 1995. Jeff quit his job as a senior vice-president in a New York investment company to start the company. With the advent of Internet, e-commerce was seen as the next big thing but pioneers are few and fewer of them have survived and thrived till date. Amazon is one such company.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts” is the philosophy of the company and the strategy has paid off well for them.

Sara Gilbert has written an account concise enough to hold the attention of young readers and elaborate enough to cover all the key events in the history f the company. Pictures always add to the story and make it more readable.

The biggest take-away from the story is bouncing back from failures. A story worth having in your collection.

Title: The Story of
Author: Sara Gilbert
Publishers: Jaico Publishers
Pages: 65
Price: Rs.99

English Bites – Book Review



My earlier post Crazy English was all about the silliness and awesomeness of the English language and how daunting it can be a to a newbie. But with the right tools nothing is out of reach. English Bites is one such tool. Although when I wrote the post, I didn’t know the book is such an apt response to the questions at the end of the post.

English Bites: My Fullproof English Learning Formula by Mr. Manish Gupta hopes to provide easy solutions to problems faced by English language learners.  Whether you are a vernacular speaker, a GRE/GMAT/CAT/XAT aspirant or just a language nut, English Bites! endeavors to expand your vocabulary and improve your verbal ability. And also help you love the English language a little more.

Manish Gupta is a banking professional. When not crunching numbers he is examining the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of the English language. He also likes trivia, travelling, adventure sports, delving into human psychology and giving professorial discourses to colleagues, family and friends and practically anyone who can give him a patient hearing.

The book is the result of the author’s own journey with the language. The struggles and the triumphs generously sprinkled with anecdotes, learning techniques and witty comments. The book started as a journal of the author’s efforts and turned into a guide. It clearly has gone through a lot of iterations over the span of all these years and it reflects in the writing and the quality of the book.

The USP of the book is the footnotes explaining the meaning of the words, their origin and interesting trivia. Who doesn’t know the pain of running to the dictionary for every new word and losing the flow thus spoiling the fun of reading. Although for most part I skipped that section and referred to it only when I didn’t know what a word meant or when I didn’t understand it from the context. I will be reading the book again for the footnotes. Anyway this is not a book which you read once and relegate to the shelf. This is a kind of book which you will keep coming back to every now and then.

Also, you cannot read it in one go. It takes time for you to read and assimilate hence one chapter a time is a good reading pace. Although I broke this rule the this time, I will rectify it in the subsequent readings of the book.

I would strongly recommend this book and this one goes right along the books like Word Power Made Easy. You need not be a GRE aspirant to read this book. Anybody who is interested in increasing one’s vocabulary or learning new things or just like the author puts it  – loves examining the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of the English language will love this.

An excerpt from the book:

“While sharing a cosy corner with her current heartthrob, Sarah suddenly held John’s hand and looking up, announced: ‘The firmament is azure, let’s go to the shore.’ At first, he was not sure what she was suggesting. And just as they reached the destination, the firmament began to roar, and they were caught in a downpour. While running to find some shelter, she suddenly stopped him and looking into his eyes, said, ‘Let’s get bedraggled.’

“Poor John was unable to decide if it really was a flirtatious overture (courtesy the ‘bed’ in bedraggled) or if she meant something else. By a mischance, he decided to go with his initial hunch, and the stinging slap he received ensured that for the rest of his life he would remember that to get bedraggled is to get drenched in water.”

Final Verdict: 10/10 🙂

Title: English Bites: My Fullproof English Learning Formula
Author: Manish Gupta
Publisher: Penguin Publishers
Pages: 344
Price: 125(on Amazon India). Mine was a review copy from the author

The Redeemers – Book Review


The Redeemers – cover

The author Suresh Taneja is a chartered accountant by profession.His first book came out in 2010 and this is an improved version of the book. This one specifically targets youth and children. The author intends to create awareness among the young minds of India to take up an active role in the nation-building and fight the vices of corruption and malpractice.

The Reedemers is an optimistic tale of four kids who are on vacation when they see the ugly side of India. They come face-to-face with the corruption and malpractices that are common knowledge in our country. Instead of getting disheartened or finding of ways to leave the country(these have the means to do so), they decide to take action. And within a span of few years time, the situation gets reversed. Rs. 1 = $100(I know a little hard to believe in the current situation), India gives aid to US and you find an India that really shines. The G4(as the kids are known) relive their memories years later in 2030 in Washington and recount the story of transformation to their kids. The introductory page says Imagined by ‘Suresh Taneja’ but some day I hope that becomes true.

For now, the book and approach sound too rosy and over-simplistic. But since this is meant to get kids excited to work towards making India a better place, take action, take responsibility the story makes sense. What I would have liked to see is some struggle encountered by the kids and they coming out stronger and better. Also, including a few more characters in the book; probably someone who came from a diverse background, that would have made it more convincing. After all it takes whole of the country and lot of different kind of people to bring in a revolution. A little more thought into characterisation and this could have been a ‘Rang De Basanti’

A novel approach to tackle problems plaguing India.

Title: The Redeemers
Author: Suresh Taneja
Publisher: Frog/Leadstart publishers
Pages: 229
Price: Rs.145

Go Goa Gone – Movie Review


I haven’t updated my blog from a long time and I thought Blogoversary( which is just a fortnight away) would be a good time for that. But then Life has its own way of spoiling your plans or should I say “Karma” has a way of getting back at you.

I don’t know what possessed me that I thought of watching this movie “Go Goa Gone” after reading a few online reviews. It is a good movie no doubt just not my kind. It is not a horror movie but a zomcom i.e. a zombie comedy or whatever that means. Dark humour at its best you can say. Who can imagine running around trees with a zombie while a romantic song plays in the background?

Though I personally loved a few comic scenes, I am not able to get a few macabre scenes out of my head. They are just too gory for my taste. Why am I writing this? Coz although it is a good movie if you can’t take that extra bit of violent scenes or take pleasure in dark humour, Think twice before you enter the cinema hall. Ditto if you are expecting a horror movie or a Hollywood type zombie movie or only a comedy movie. Everyone else will love the movie or so I hope. Nice story, characterization & acting. At least different if nothing else.

And yes no matter what is the reason, please don’t take your kids along. I saw a few kids in the hall & wondered why would any parent/ parents do that? Any thoughts?

Chanakya’s New Manifesto – Book Review

The author, Pavan K. Varma, is an alumnus of St Stephen’s College, Delhi, where he studied history and took a degree in law from Delhi University. He is at present India’s Ambassador in Bhutan. Prior to this he has worn many hats and held many important positions. He has been press secretary to the President of India, official spokesman of the Foreign Office, and director general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

He has authored many bestselling books including  Ghalib: The Man, The Times; Krishna: The Playful Divine; The Great Indian Middle Class; Being Indian: The truth about why the 21st century will be India’s; Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity and When Loss is Gain. He has also translated works of Gulzar, Kaifi Azmi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee into English.

Pavan Varma is hailed as one of the greatest social commentators of contemporary India. I had missed reading his previous works, so when I came across a chance to read his book “Chankya’s New Manifesto” through Blogadda I grabbed the opportunity.

The book aims to apply the Chanakya’s strategy (Chanakya neeti ) to the woes of contemporary India. What would Chanakya do if confronted with the various crises that beset contemporary India? forms the basis of this book. “Chanakya (c. 270-380 BCE) was classical India’s greatest thinker and teacher. Through his unparalleled ability to devise result-oriented military, political and administrative strategy, he overthrew one king, crowned another and paved the way for the establishment of India’s first great empire. His seminal work, the Arthashashtra, arguably the world’s first comprehensive treatise on statecraft and governance, was written approximately two thousand years before Machiavelli’s The Prince.”[From the book]

History is testimony to the results of Chanakya’s strategy and not utilizing such a great resource as his work can only be termed a crime. His work is relevant and also most required today when The Time called the most important man of our country an under-achiever, when we start everyday with news of a new scam, most of our leaders tainted and trust in the system is at its lowest. An urgent action is needed on our leaders’ part and an equal need for others to question the system, to ask for answers, to ask the right questions and debate on the right ways of bringing about a change and infuse a fresh lease of life into our system and country to really make it a Shining India.

Pavan Varma’s book has taken the first step towards that change. In his book, divided in five parts, he has analysed the current situation in detail and provided the solutions that he thinks can be used to overcome these problems. The five parts he has focused on are

  1. Governance
  2. Democracy
  3. Corruption
  4. Security (of the country from external threats )
  5. Inclusive society

The best part about the book is that there is great focus how can the situation be remedied instead of just detailed problem analysis.  Plus, the points are not dry theory or wishful thinking but practical implementable, and workable solutions. His rich experience shows in the analysis and the solutions devised. However, neither the content nor the language overwhelms the reader and in fact the book is quite a light read in spite of the topic at hand.  The book made me run to Google plenty of times to get the facts, to verify something, to counter a theory or to defend my counter-views. And, for me, any book which can make you think in such a manner is a winner. He provides his perspective on the important issues and even when you don’t agree you’ll find the views and theories quite intriguing. The book makes you think deeply on all the issues.

Anybody who thinks about being a part of social change, changing the status-quo, interested in current politics, interested in statesmanship or knowing the art of statecraft and governance should read this book.  Also, anybody who wants to read a great piece of non-fiction with practical outlook should pick a copy of the book. Not for casual readers though. Be ready to rack your brains if you want to read the book and some amount of patience is required to understand what is written if you aren’t very familiar with the ways of governance.

Final Verdict: 8/10

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Book details:

 Name: Chanakya’s New Manifesto: To Resolve the Crisis within India

Author: Pavan K Varma

Publisher: Aleph Book Company(2013)

No. of pages: 248