Paulo Coelho and Michael Moore

A brief review of two books I read last weekend.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho is an interesting book. It looks at inmates of a mental asylum in Slovenia (where is that?) and delves into our inhibitions, need to conform to societal norms, and inability to let go. Also, it leaves you wondering if everyone is 'mad' in their own way.

Michael Moore's Stupid White Men is a typical takeoff on George W. Bush, Gore, and all the white men in the U.S. and the world, in general. Very persuasively, Moore argues that the bomb was made by a white man, the internal combustion engine which pollutes our air was made by a white man, people who chucked him out of his jobs were all white men, and on. But the media always portrays the villain as being black men or other non-white men. It's hilariously funny, and also scathing in attacking many holy cows...if Tharoor had done it, he would have been exiled. Rupert Murdoch's company (his US publisher) did try to stop it, but the association of Librarians' raised a stink, until the publisher was forced to publish the book as per their contract.

Two Film Reviews

I saw two movies, the last two days. A quick review.

Quick Gun Murugan is a really nonsensical and enjoyable take on cowboys, Tamil films, corporate shenanigans, and mamis of Mylapore (that's in Chennai), among other things. It's funny by design, and to look for too much logic, structure, and cinematic greatness as in a Shyam Benegal movie would be futile. But for me, it worked. From the lipstick worn by Murugan, to the Zimbly wonderful Locket girl (Lola Kutty in another avatar), Mango Dolly whose item number is better than any of Rakhi Sawant's, to Gunpowder, and Rice Plate Reddy (the villain), it's a bunch of imaginative characters, and the "Mind it"s and "I say"s enhance the masala mix. A great way to entertain yourself, if you dig this sort of stuff. Potential for many sequels too, I think.

The Kite Runner is a good adaptation of the book. Sensitively told tale of cold war politics, meaningless wars, and the bizarre roles of the so-called religious men in destroying an innocent society, aided of course by the greed of the superpowers. The setting is Afghanistan, but it could have been anywhere. South America, Africa, or Asia. Or Europe, which has seen more mayhem this century than the rest of the world put together. The U.S. emerges in this film as a hero, but that's only because Michael Moore did not make the movie.

Reality Shows

Somehow the reality shows have not caught my fancy. What could be the reason? That I am unreal? I cannot vouch for that, and there is a seeming contradiction. If I am unreal, then my vouching for it is as unreal, so it may not matter.

But look at the reality shows that are being lapped up as much as the saas bahu serials were. I look at it this way. If your life is "really" good, then you would be too busy living it, rather than watching TV- real or otherwise. If your life is not really good, then you need to spice it up with entertainment that is far removed from your not-so-good reality. In either case, my analysis shows that reality shows should not have a market. But why do they get watched? Secondly, are they really real? Or is it all a rehearsed drama for the benefit of the producer?

What do I like to watch? Mostly, Travel and Living, the odd comedy show, and the news that sounds a lot like entertainment, what with Advani (sounds like a cousin of Akashvani) looking sad at being asked to retire at eighty something....but I do miss Laloo, who was a true entertainer. Even when he guest lectured at Harvard, or IIMA.

My Name is Anthony Gonsalves

No, of course, it isn't. I am simple trying to recall some songs which made an impact when I first saw them on screen. Some like this o...

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