Books I Read – The Cobra – Hisses but not enough Venom

Frederick Forsyth is a well respected fiction novel author amongst a generation of fiction lovers. His books like The Day of the Jackal and Odess File have been read and appreciated by millions. A new book from the master storyteller is keenly awaited. His latest is The Cobra.

However, The Cobra does not come anywhere near the bestsellers I mentioned above. The intensity is not the same, however must say the premise of the story is very interesting and reflects the headlines of the world.

The premise is that the President of USA decides to go all out against the Cocaine trade of the Colombian Cartel and gives full resources, money and man power to ‘Cobra’, who is a retired CIA officer Paul Devereux. Cobra takes up the task and assembles a team of agents like him including Cal Dexter from Forsyth’s earlier novel Avenger. He assembles his private army, navy and even an air force with communication satellites at his disposal and support of American and British leaders and forces, he first plans and then takes on the Colombian Cocaine Cartel by targeting the transport and distribution methods of the cartel via land, sea and air.

The story is about ‘The Cobra’ however it follows Cal Dexter more. There is not much character development and the story telling is narrative and has very less dialogues or interactions. The drug lord’s character is also not powerfully developed. It is like that the author is informing us of various things happening and we just flow with all the information he provides. From Jungles of Colombia to Landing ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg and West African hellhole countries like Guinnea Bissau to Shipyards of India to Mafia land of Italy and from Turkish thugs to British Agencies to Dutch rogues to Spanish authorities to Mexican gang lords the story moves all around the world swiftly and sometimes provides more information then you can handle. Some of the information seems to be inspired from world headlines while some them is well, fiction.

The novel does give real insight into the world of cocaine production, illegal transportation and distribution and how it reaches the snorting end user. There is sufficient amount of research done by the author and the kind of detailing he provides is matchless. The conclusion to the book is bit anti-climactic and does have minor twists. However the novel never rises above the mediocre and is certainly not the best work by the author. The author does seem to be losing grip on his writing as well and the plot development, character back stories, human emotional quotient is bit missing here. If broadly classified then its a simple good old America and Western powers Vs. bad third world countries story.

I would recommend only die-hard Fredrick Forsyth fans to read it. I know I would have still read it even if I had read this review earlier.

My Ratings: 5.5/10 Cobra hisses but does not have much venom

Which of these year end Bollywood movies would be successful at the Box Office ?

Which of these year end Bollywood movies would be successful at the Box Office?

First of the block is Anjaana Anjaani – Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra crisscrossing across American Highways, directed by Siddharth Anand. The films release was pushed back by a week ancipating the ‘Babri’ trial verdict, but now even the verdict has been postponed. Lets see if the film is able to weather this storm and also Rajnikanth’s mega blockbuster Robot (dubbed in Hindi from Tamil original Endhiran) also starring Aishwarya Rai, releases on the same day.

Then there is Aakrosh starring Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna about the ‘honour killing’ issue directed by Priyadarshan. This movie has been postponed till 15th October and is currently battling the Censor Board about the sensitive issue it is tackling. Jhootha Hi Sahi starring John Abraham directed by Abbas Tyrewala releases the same day as well. In between Emraan Hashmi’s Crook about racism problems with Indian students in Australia and Knock Out starring Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan and Kangana Ranaut which seems like inspired from Hollywood movie ‘ Phone Booth’. Then there is Raktha Charitra – I by Ramgopal Verma starring Shatrughan Sinha, Vivek Oberoi and Surya about the noted gangster Paritala Ravi.

Diwali in early November sees two big releases confronting for the box office success. Golmaal -3 stars the usual Golmaal gang of Ajay Devgn, Tushaar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi along with Kareena Kapoor as one of the ‘boys’ this time. This film clashes with Vipul Shah directed Action Replayy starring Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai going back in time with the retro 70s look. 19th November sees Hrithik Roshan as paraplegic with nurse Aishwarya Rai in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much awaited Guzaarish. There is also Break ke Baad starring Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone directed by Kunal Kohli

December sees Ashutosh Gowariker’s  Khelein Hum Jee Jan Sey based on Chittagong Mutiny of 1930 starring Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone. End of December sees probabaly the biggest film of the season Tees Maar Khan directed by Farah Khan starring Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna and Katrina Kaif.

Apart from these big films there are many small films, medium films, art-house films all set to unfurl on the Box office during this end of the year period. Let us see which one amongst them are successful.

Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 1 Theatrical Trailer

Finally,  we have the official Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 1 trailer. This is the first part of the 2 part epic finale of one of the greatest series of all time. The first part releases on November 19th 2010.

From the look of it the trailer looks dark, exciting and full of action sequences featuring all the major characters. They have split up the 7th book for the 2 movie parts and the first part ends at the point in story where Harry once again escapes from the clutches of the dark lord with the help of Dobby the elf.

Watch the trailer and be prepared for the roller coaster ride this November.

Guzaarish – First Promo

Here’s unveiling the first promo of one of the most anticipated film of the year. Guzaarish stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai and is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The film releases on 19th November 2010

Hrithik plays a paraplegic and Aishwarya plays his nurse. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is also the music director of the film.

Tees Maar Khan – First Look

Here’s the First look of ‘Tees Maar Khan’ – the year end bonanza to be released on Christmas. The film stars Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, Katrina Kaif and is directed by Farah Khan.

CONNING Soon

Cheteshwar Pujara- The New Big Hope

Finally the call came. Cheteshwar Pujara has been drafted in the team for first test against Australia, beginning 1st week of October, at the expense of Yuvraj Singh. Cheteshwar Pujara, son of former cricketer Arvind Pujara has been waiting in the wings since couple of years now and at 23 he is the new big hope for India in Cricket especially Tests.

In the days of IPL and T20 cricket where hitting every ball out of the park is the fashion and scoring a quick fire 40 is important, the art of patient batting, building an innings, playing strokes and rotating strike is waning day by day. The art of batsman-ship as we all know is not easy to be found, especially amongst the new lot of Indian cricketers.

In Pujara we have a young player who is perfectly suited for the longer format of the game. He has got the technique and the temperament to build innings, play patiently, see out a hostile bowler and concentrate on occupying the crease. He is the new age-Dravid we all are looking forward to. He has played domestic cricket for Saurashtra since last few years and have scored massively, won respect for his team and has won respect amongst the opposition players. When selected to play for India A and emerging players tournament he has been consistently performing with the bat against West Indies, England, Australia and has even shown good leadership skills. In past he has played in Under 19 World Cup as well. His domestic record speaks for itself and his not so successful stint in the IPL with Kolkata Knightriders could be the blessing in disguise, which has allowed him to concentrate on the ‘real’ cricket.

We have seen youngsters such as Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay but none of them have so far cemented their positions in the squad. Raina, who has recently replaced Yuvraj Singh is still a suspect against hostile quick bowling. Rohit Sharma has all the potential but has never converted it to results on field. At this juncture when the senior players like Sachin, Dravid and perhaps Laxman have about couple of more years to give to Indian cricket we need few solid batsman who can take up the roles vacated by the seniors in near future. Pujara is that big hope. Pujara’s talent, ability, temperament shows that he is too good a player to fail at the big stage  but then once can never say that about any player. Pujara is too precious a player for the future of Indian Cricket in long run.

Inclusion of Pujara in the team does not guarantee that he would be in the playing XI, however being in the same dressing room as Sachin, Dravid and Laxman would do a great deal to the youngster and I am positive that given a chance he would prove his mettle.

All the best wishes, Cheteshwar.

Everybody’s Fine – Not So

I came across ‘Everybody’s Fine’ starring Robert De Niro along with Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. Considering the mighty starcast I assumed the film would be good watch.

The movie is a family drama with Robert De Niro playing Frank Goode, a recently widowed father to 4 childeren who live across various parts of USA. On cancellation of their reunion plan he decides to visit them each and finds out more about their lives then he ever knew. De Niro plays his part very well and looks more intense then actually needed for the role. The role did not have enough challenge for an actor of his calibre yet he played it with enough seriousness. The other stars who all plays De Niro’s childeren do not have large enough and well defined roles. The movie is mostly about De Niro travelling across length and breadth of USA and learning truth about all of his children. He realizes that what he had dreamt for each of his children is not what the children have achieved and yet his guidance played a crucial role in them choosing their life’s path.

The movie was a typical American family drama to be viewed during a Christmas or thanksgiving. The movie was not bad and not very good either. One can watch any movie starring De Niro and not be disappointed. This one is just par .

My Ratings : 6/10 –  Watch it for De Niro in a role not meant for him.

Shutter Island – Movie Review

‘Shutter Island’ released few months back, but I held back viewing it earlier as I had read the book it is based on by Dennis Lehane. Here is my Book Review.

The reason I had delayed primarily was that I wanted to ‘forget’ the book and then watch the movie without getting influenced. However, now I know that the book is not easy to forget. The movie is a faithful adaptation of the book and tries its best to live up to the standards of the book. Director Martin Scorcese and actor Leonardo Dicaprio tries to justify the book as much as the medium of cinema permits.

The movie follows the complex storyline almost as faithfully as the book. Leonardo Dicaprio is brilliant as Teddy Daniels and Mark Ruffalo fulfills the role of his partner Chuck. But Ben Kingsley as Dr. Crawly is superbly cast and you cannot imagine anyone else. The haunting mysterious island is one of the characters of the movie and it is certainly very well shot and presented. The background music at some points define the stormy atmosphere of the film.

Although I have to admit that knowing the ‘twist’ in the movie because of reading the book doesn’t help much as that is the problem with suspense novels. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the movie more if I had NOT read the book and didn’t know about what was to come.

If you have not seen this movie or read the boom then please do so. Watch the movie for superb acting and directing skills, witty dialogues and haunting atmosphere. The book can be read for finer details of the plot.

My Ratings : 8/10 . Do not delay watching it

Endhiran- Robot Official Trailer

There are films and then there are films and then there is one film…one film that towers above all..the costliest film ever..just close to 10 days to go for its release. Here is its official trailer. One thing is sure , this film is breaking all south Indian box office opening records. Advance booking has started a month back and you’d be lucky to get a ticket in a prime hall in Chennai for the first week.

The trailer is literally mind-blowing. Votch it !!

Golmaal 3 – Trailer

Here is the official first look of another Diwali release, Golmaal 3.

Golmaal 3 is directed by Rohit Shetty.starring Mithun Chakraborty, Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu, Ratna Pathak, Johny Lever, Sanjay Mishra, Vrajesh Hirjee, Ashwini Kalsekar, Murli Sharma, Vijay Patkar.

The trailer looks similar to the first 2 films, all set in Goa with same set of  actors and even the supporting cast returns with similar looking roles. Added bonus being Mithun Chakraborty to the mix.The first 2 films were quite succesfull at the box office and perhaps this one would be too, being a Diwali Release and a fun filled comic theme.