Friday, December 25, 2015

Book-Review of The Bestseller She Wrote

Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Westland Limited
Publication Year: 2015
Number of Pages: 391
ISBN: 978-93-85152-38-2
Price: Rs. 295

The Bestseller She Wrote, is Ravi Subramanian’s take on love, extramarital affair, betrayal, jealousy, passion, redemption.  It is being said that this is Ravi’s first book on romance, earlier he has written bestselling thrillers about banking and bankers. I can’t draw a comparison between this book and his earlier works, since I haven’t read them. But definitely, I can share my opinion about this book. It is written in a very simple language, which makes it a very easy read. While reading the book, I found that various characters are sketched in such a realistic manner. The events unfold in a very natural form. Various emotions, be it love, passion, possessiveness or anything, are very well explored and explained in the book. A film is going to be made on this. For detailed review, please read further.

About the Author: Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bengaluru, is a banker turned author. He has written many thrillers and has many awards to his credit. This is the first time he has deviated from his usual genre of thrillers to romance through this book. A few of his earlier works are:

  • If God Was a Banker (2007) - won the Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award)
  • I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari (2008)
  • Devil in Pinstrips (2010)
  • The Incredible Banker  (2011) – won the Economist Crossword Book award
  • The Bankster (2012) – won the Economist Crossword Book award
  •  Bankerupt (2013) - won the Economist Crossword Book award
  • God is a Gamer (2014)

About various Characters of the book: Through this section, let me introduce the main characters:

Aditya Kapoor: The main character of the story, who is an IIM Almunus, Bengaluru. He is also a banker as well as a celebrity author of many bestsellers.

Maya: Aditya’s wife, an IIM alumunus, an ex-banker and now working with Dhirubhai Ambani International School.

Shreya Kaushik: A student of IIM Bengaluru, a very ambitious girl, who speaks her mind.  

Sanjay Narang: Aditya’s Colleague and friend since IIM days

Diana: Aditya’s colleague and Sanjay’s love interest

Sunaina: Shreya’s friend

Tim Xavier: Aditya’s boss

The Story: It all begins, when Aditya Kapoor, an alumunus of IIM Bengaluru, reaches the campus for talking about pursuing dreams and his journey from a banker to a successful author. Aditya Kapoor is a banking professional par excellence as well as India’s number one celebrity bestselling author. During his talk he mentions that how important and critical it is to market the book and bring the product to the reader. The word ‘product’ generates a voice from one amongst the audience – ‘Product? Rubbish!’ The voice was that of Shreya Kaushik, who retorted saying that it is a book for God’s sake, not a product. Shreya’s logic was that a book is an expression of author’s creativity and one should not demean it by calling it a product. Aditya, tried hard to hold back his anger and emotions and calmly responded to Shreya with the logic that when an author puts up so much hard work writing a book, then why shall he / she leave any stones unturned to promote the same. Shreya was strongly opinionated and was not ready to buy-in Aditya’s points.

Aditya did get hassled with the discussion, but then, he continued gracefully with his talk. Later on, Sunaina, a very close friend of Shreya, does criticize her for being so blunt with Aditya Kapoor during his talk. But Shreya was sure of herself that she would be able to mend things right. Once back home to his wife Maya and Aryan, he did receive an email from Shreya who was in all praise for him after reading one of his book.

Maya and Aditya had a love marriage, who started dating each other in IIM itself. After working abroad for a few years, both of them came back to India. Maya left her banking career and started working with Dhirubhai Ambani International School as a teacher as well as handling their social initiatives.

Sanjay Narang, Head of Human Resources, is a very close friend of Aditya. Sanjay’s love interest is Diana, who is also working in the same National Bank, where Aditya and Sanjay works. Aditya never admired Diana, rather he got into conflict mode with Sanjay at times due to his dislike for Diana, although Aditya and Sanjay had decided not to bring anyone in between their friendship.

Days pass by, and Aditya goes to Bengaluru to promote his book as well as to IIM Bengaluru campus along with Sanjay as part of interviewing panel. Happens to meet Shreya again. Shreya is also hired by National Bank. Aditya gets attracted to her. In spite of loving Maya very much, the relationship between Aditya and Shreya blooms.

What happens next? What shape does the boss-subordinate relationship between Aditya and Shreya take shape? Is Shreya, who has developed strong interest in Aditya, able to talk his mind to Aditya. Shreya, who dreamt of becoming a very successful author herself, which path she chooses to become one? Could she persuade Aditya to make her a bestselling author? Is Aditya able to love two women of his life simultaneously? Does Shreya become Aditya’s muse? How Maya handles the various happenings? What role Sanjay and Diana play ? Please read the book to know the details.

Ravi Subramanian has written the whole story in very realistic tone. Many people like Anurag Kashyap, Vaishali, Nirav Sanghavi etc. does get mentioned in the book and it certainly enhances the realistic tone of the book. Besides, such stories exist in and around us, so was very much able to connect with the characters and story. Ravi has talked about the hollowness of relationships. Personal ambitions and dreams at times take over the love. Manipulations can kill any relationships. One has to be ready for the consequences of the choices made. I could feel the emotions while reading the book and that is because of the way the whole story is written. The end is also beautifully written, left me with choking throat and teary-eyed.

One thought which kept coming to me is this: towards the end, it was easy for Aditya to make a choice due to the manners in which the events unfolded. But, what if, the distinction was not very sharp, how and what could have been Aditya’s decision.

Ravi Subramanian’s “The Bestseller She Wrote” is a very realistic take on ‘Love, Betrayal and Redemption’. It conveys a great message that our every choice has its own consequences which cannot be dodged. A great book, close to reality, which is written in a simplified manner. You would get glued to once you start reading the book. Happy Reading!!!

Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

I am reviewing 'The Bestseller She Wrote' by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review of Kajarya

Image courtesy: Koimoi

Cast: Meenu Hooda (Kajarya), Kuldeep Ruhil (Banwari), Ridhima Sud (Meera Sharma), Shashi Bhushan (Shambhu), Sudheer Chobessy (Giridhari), Nasir Ali (Sub-Inspector), Manoj Bakshi (Police Inspector), Sumeet Vyas (Nikhil), Priyanka Tanwar Isha (Lady Constable), Shakeel Quereshi (Priest), Tanaji Dasgupta (Priest’s assistant), Savita Rani (Uma), Kamal Vinayak (Meera’s father), Raj Shree (Meera’s mother)
Direction: Madhureeta Ananad
Produced by: Tilak Sarkar, Madhureeta Ananad, Celine Loop, Quashiq Mukherjee
Written By: Madhureeta Ananad
Music: Richard Horowitz
Cinematography: Alok Upadhyay
Edited by: Anuradha Chandra, Shyamal Karmakar, Manas Mittal
Release Date: 4th December, 2015
Duration: 134 minutes
Language: Hindi

Kajarya is a film directed by Madhureeta Anand, which highlights one of the most vital social issues of saving girl child.  This film is definitely on a depressing note, but covers the truth brutally. The statistics of the female infanticide and foeticide in India is alarming and shocking. The film is disturbing, I kept wondering that who ultimately gives the right to kill the girls. The film ends with the statistics that almost 10 million girls are killed in our country since 1986, out of which 3 million are killed in the last decade itself. Kajarya is a film which talks about infanticide as well as foeticide. Silent slaughters happen and girls are buried deep inside graves. It raises a vital question that when would our country be a better place for girls and let them also live their lives which they deserve as a human being. The film shares the story of two women from different backgrounds, explores the condition of women both in rural and urban India.

Kajarya (Meenu Hooda), the titular character, lives in a village in Haryana, where she ends up being part of female infanticide. The film begins with Banwari (Kuldeep Ruhil) waking her up saying that ‘it is time’. Then she is seen taking drugs and further at the Kali Temple. Kajarya is believed to embody Goddess Kali, who ritually kills female newborns. Although the slaughtering is not shown through direct frames, it is shown by dripping of blood on Kajarya’s feet. Oh, what a horrible scene. Kajarya is shown as a woman who is surviving on drugs, alcohol and is very abusive. What makes her so abusive, is it her guilt or helplessness?

Another main character of the film is Meera Sharma (Ridhima Sud), a journalist, who is shown to be casual in the beginning in regard to her job. She does get an assignment to cover the ‘Puranmashi Pooja’ of the same village where Kajarya stays. When Meera reaches there, she finds that there is something mysterious about the Puranmashi pooja. She is not able to gather information in regard to this Pooja. She wanted to cover the event. She happens to meet Banwari, who somehow convinces her that there is nothing mysterious about the Pooja. She was about to return to her city that she comes to know in regard to the graves where girl children are buried. Developments happen in such a manner that Meera is able to grab an interview with the very Kajarya.

Kajarya opens up to Meera about her arrival in this village as a 13-year old bride to an old man, falling in love with Banwari, and later on getting exploited in the name of religion, customs and traditions. She treads the path of brutal killings of girl infanticides. Kajarya asks Meera to keep her name discreet from the media. But, once Meera reaches back her office, she does reveal the name of Kajarya. A dig at journalism is taken in the film, where, journalists are just shown to be interested in stories, which would boost their career. Ethics of the journalists are also mocked at. Meera preferred to betray Kajarya’s trust and save her job.  

Meera’s personal life is also shown, lifestyle though in contrast to Kajarya, the gender inequality is shown in her case as well. Meera’s relationship with her fiancée Nikhil (Sumeet Vyas) does explain the gender diversity issues in urban set up too.  

What happens in the film once Kajarya’s name is revealed to the media? How does Meera’s career boost up? What happens when Kajarya and Meera come face to face again? Does Kajarya get arrested? What happens to those people who were partners in crime? Both Kajarya and Meera experience the waves of guilt, which hurt their conscience, but certainly for two different reasons, what are they?

The cast have done absolute justice to their characters. Meenu as Kajarya and Ridhima Sud (Dil Dhadakne Do fame) as Meera Sharma are very good. Kuldeep as Banwari is so convincing. Rest of the cast have also acted really well. Shashi Bhushan as Shambhu has portrayed his grief, pain and care for Kajarya so well.

The plot is upon a very strong subject. A few scenes worth mentioning are the relationship between Kajarya and Shambhu’s daughter. Kajarya who is instrumental in female infanticide, is very much in love with this girl. A lady who is violent is shown here in a very innocent love with this girl. Even Shambhu’s pain with Kajarya’s deformed life is very well portrayed. A scene where Kajarya says about her killings: “Mere to bas hath hi the, Saza to unke ma-baap ne pahle hi suna di thi (it was my hands only, but the punishment was declared by parents much beforehand)’ is very much painful. Opium-induced and guilt stricken Kajarya’s make up with open hair and that of transformed Kajarya with tied up hais is very thoughtfully crafted in the film.

As far as the screenplay is concerned, I just felt that the transformation of Kajarya is not justified. Besides, a character like Kajarya agreeing to give the interview and opening up to a journalist during the first meeting itself is also not very convincing. The love-hate relationship between Kajarya and Banwari is not very clearly depicted. But apart from this, the screenplay is very gripping, disturbing, presents the real issue. Mughal-e-Azam’s song ‘Mohabbat ki Jhuthi Kahani’ has been recreated and sung by Shusheela Raman for this film; it blends with the screenplay so well.

Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of Kajarya

Kajarya, a hard-hitting film by Madhureeta Anand, is to get our attention re-focused on the real issue of female infanticide and foeticide. ‘Save the girl child’, ‘Well-being of Girls, Well Being of India’, ‘Girls’ lives matter’, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, ‘Stop violence against women’, ‘Realize the girls’ power’ etc. are some of the key messages of this highly disturbing film Kajarya. Our country needs to get out of the shackles of gender inequality. Girls have the equal rights to live on this earth. Preference for male progeny still exists in many parts of our country. Although, not an easy film to watch, please Watch Kajarya. How appropriate the punchline of the film is: ‘Let the truth prevail’. Let the guilty be punished.            

Rating: 3/5 (Good)                                                        

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saji Thomas: HRX Heroes with Hrithik Roshan (9th Episode)

Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of HRX Brannd

The last episode of HRX Heroes with Hrithik Roshan was another inspiring story which talked about the trials and tribulations of an ordinary person with extraordinary vision, determination, and talent. Saji Thomas was never ready to yield to his ‘not have (s)’ rather he stretched himself beyond to fulfill his dream. Every individual might have dreamt of flying atleast once, Saji also dreamt to fly, the difference is that he created his own aircraft. He never complained of what he did not have. His story lets us know that he is a possibilist, who made his impossible dream come true that of constructing his own aircraft.

Saji was born in June 1972. He could hear a little by birth, but he lost his hearing power completely after suffering from fever as a small child. Other children used to make fun of him, since he was unable to hear and speak. He did not have fiends to play with; often he used to wonder what to do in weekends.

At the age of 5 years, Saji used to make models of different vehicles viz. cars, buses, aeroplanes using cardboard. But he hardly got appreciation from anyone for his talent.  
His father, who was in military, took him once to Delhi, where he saw aircraft. He was amazed to see the aircraft. He got books from there which had details about aircrafts. 

Being a 7th class dropout, he did not know much English, but his brother helped him to learn English. He started reading those books. His dream of making planes got further strengthened. He grew up believing that one day, he would construct an aircraft. His family, friends and relatives chided him for possessing such weird and impossible dreams.
Hrithik adds beautifully here: “The only battle you have to win is against the voice that says – Give up!”. And Saji was not ready to give up. He helped himself, when nobody helped him.

He got married to Maria. He picked up TV mechanic / Photography jobs etc. to earn for survival. He used to travel to various parts of the country to gather various parts so as to construct the aircraft.

His first aircraft was spotted during an exhibition by Visveswarya Institute of Engineering and bought by them for 1.5 Lakhs. This gave confidence to Saji to make another aircraft which could fly.

Maria during the show admits that she used to get worried. People used to tell her that he was just wasting money for his crazy ideas. Maria used to get very upset. AT times, she also doubted his capabilities. He used to travel extensively to collect aircraft parts, and then due to lack of mobile phone, communication used to be nil. Maria and their son used to pray and wait for days for Saji’s safe return.

It took him more than 5 years to construct an aircraft which could fly. He had tough time garnering the funds. He considers Retired Wing Commander of Indian Air Force SKJ Nair, who has a flying club, as his mentor.  

Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of HRX Brand

Saji’s twin seater ultra-light aircraft – Saji X Air-S- is an epitome of persistence, passion, determination and achievement. A 7th standard dropout, deaf and dumb, his disabilities did not clip his wings or his flying dreams. Hrithik sums up the episode beautifully that – if you have passion, you don’t have to be superhero to fly. And that is Saji Thomas, HRX Hero. Watch the repeat telecast on 5th December, 2015 in Discovery Channel’s show “HRX Heros with Hrithik Roshan”.