Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Vengeance of Indra by Shatrujeet Nath; cover reveal

~ Cover Reveal ~
The Vengeance of Indra 
(Vikramaditya Veergatha #3)
by Shatrujeet Nath


In their greed to possess the deadly Halahala, the devas and the asuras have employed every dirty trick against Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine. But the humans are still standing, bloodied but unbowed.
When the wily Shukracharya discovers the secret to breaking the Council’s strength and unity, he forges an unlikely alliance with his arch-enemy, Indra, to set a deceitful plan in motion.
As cracks emerge between the councilors and their king, ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Vikramaditya and Kalidasa’s friendship, signaling the beginning of an eclipse that will cast a long shadow over all that Vikramaditya holds dear. And into this shadow steps Indra, bearing an old grudge — and a devastating new weapon.
How much longer before the Guardians of the Halahala finally fall apart?

Other Books in the Series:
(Click on the Covers for more details)

About the Author:
Shatrujeet Nath is the creator of the runaway national bestseller series Vikramaditya Veergatha, a four-book mytho-fantasy arc which includes The Guardians of the Halahala, The Conspiracy at Meru and The Vengeance of Indra. Described as “a new face to Indian mythology” by DNA, Shatrujeet writes for movies and web shows as well. He is also the author of The Karachi Deception, an Indo-Pak spy thriller.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Be My Perfect Ending by Arpit Vageria: a review

Arpit Vageria. This name, in today's date, symbolizes the epitome of love in books. Being a reader, I get to read a lot of books but these days a proper romantic book is something that I do miss at times. All these years, Arpit has managed to bring the shine out of my daily life through his books. His latest offering, Be my Perfect Ending is no less. His 4th love story, this book actually has a lot more than only love and I can say this safely that any lover would fall for the book.

According to the book cover- Not every story has a happy ending, but is a perfect ending all that matters? Armaan is a young television writer and seems to have it all – a dream job, ample money and a good place to live in Mumbai. Despite all that, his heart lies somewhere in his hometown Indore. Merry and beaming through all of life’s ups and downs, Sara is a little desolate and now needs a different space to rethink her life as she joins a leading television channel in Mumbai. Armaan and Sara meet in FILMY style and quite obviously then, cannot help but fall in love. The passionate new romance in his life throws everything else aside, but little does he know that there’s a storm headed their way. Walking together, they stumble upon long-buried truths, shocking new twists and tough decisions.
Be My Perfect Ending is a story of love that knows no bounds, of endings that are far from ordinary and new beginnings that hold a promise of LOVE.

Exactly as the cover suggests, this book is that and much more. It starts with a promise and Vageria keeps up the promise till the end. It all starts when it all ends. The message of the book is loud and clear and the way the story has been woven is beautiful. One look at the cover of the book and I can say that the designer has done a great job in interpreting what the true essence of the book is. The main characters of the book: Armaan and Sara reminds you of your own life and the sheer fact of them being your own can't top anything else.

Speaking from a third person view and written in first name basis, it is majorly the story of Armaan and his love. My favorite character was Sara, though. Easily relatable to the author’s life because his bio says he is himself a television writer, the personal connect to the story is something you can't miss. There are other characters in the book like Sandy, Vikky, Nisha and Tanuj who brighten up the page whenever they're into it. Each character brings forth a different angle and characteristic with them and that brings out the true essence of the book.

Speaking of the cons of the book, there has always been a complaint that I had with books by Arpit and that remains constant, even though improved. That is: the depth of the story. Each story by the author has potential to become forever etched in the heart but somewhere down the line, from a reader's point of view you would want to read a bit more about a few situations. Some characters have blink and miss scenes and you end up thinking: why? Some characters have their potential to becoming an important catalyst in the story but just when you think about it, woof! The character vanishes.

The development of the story and the characters could've been worked on a bit more. The ending of the story, after ages, I've read something written in this way. It ends where the story starts or shall I say- vice versa? This brings forth a belongingness to the whole book. There are quotes by the author which are beautiful. The grammar mistakes are few and can surely be ignored given that you want to know what happens next. The twists are fantastic as it leaves the reader thinking. The conclusion, though, might be a bit predictable. All said and done, a few things here and there would've made this book a perfect one but who believes in perfection anyway? For now, Be My Perfect Ending would be a 4 out of 5 for me and I would want to definitely more from the author. 

Friday, 22 December 2017

Amazon Adventure by Kamleshwar Mukherjee: a review

I was waiting for this day. Amazon Obhijaan released yesterday and I guess this is the best time for me to post what I felt about the graphic novel which I received a long time back. Amazon Adventure: the graphic novel is director Kamleshwar Mukherjee's tribute to Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay's Chaand er Pahar. The book carries forward Shankar's story to another adventure. Here's the blurb of the book…

According to the blurb- Amazon Adventure is an enthralling story of two adventurers – Shankar & Anna who travel thousands of miles to reach the mythical city of Gold – El Dorado. With natural difficulties, wild animals, savage tribes, and vicious gold digger, it’s story of discovery & knowledge, unrelenting courage, survival, loss & pain. But above all, it is a tale of universal human bond and connection & the wisdom an individual gains from it.

Just as the blurb says, this story is a tale of universal human bond. The book has beautiful illustrations made by the talented artist- Arghya Das. One look at the book makes you go back to your childhood. Talking about childhood, this generation’s favorite actor essays the role of Shankar and kudos to Arghya for actually making the character of Shankar in the book look like him at places.

This 71 page book brushes through the main pointers of the book and you might as well feel that this book is a great introduction to what the larger than life film would look like. But I must warn you that if you're looking for a book that matches the scale of Chaand er Pahar then I would hold you there for a second. NO. This is a tribute and should be read as one.

The main story is told through shorter dialogues and makes you crave for what the movie might have in store for you. All inclusive of the pros and cons keeping in mind, I wanted to read probably more of the story that the movie holds. A few more pages of the book wouldn't have harmed. The characters are nice but in the book, certain things lack depth. Probably because this book is a translation of the movie and not Vice versa as is usually done. For me, it is a 3.5 out of 5 and I would really wanna congratulate Mr. Mukherjee for even attempting this. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Tree Bears Witness by Sharath Komarraju: a review

Winters and books come hand in hand. Along with that, childhood memories grasp our thoughts. Talking about childhood memories and books in the same line we cannot forget the beautiful and witty stories that we have all grown up with. One such witty person we all looked up to as children was Birbal. There were reasons why we could relate to him the most. The first being his wit in the court of Akbar. The second was reading about Akbar in our history books. So when I got to know, all these years after, about a novel that features Akbar’s favorite courtier in a royal tale of murder and deception, how could I not read it? Sharath Komarraju presents The Tree Bears Witness: book 2 of A Birbal Mystery. The cover of the book has to be one of my favorite book covers of this year!

According to the book blurb- Barely a month has passed since the royal wedding of Emperor Akbar to the legendary Jodha when the new Queen’s brother, Sujjamal, is found murdered in the palace gardens. With his honour and reputation at stake, Akbar asks his trusted advisor Birbal to solve the mystery. The murder has taken place in a garden, at a spot between two mango trees, and the two guards who are eyewitnesses have conflicting versions of what could have happened. Was it suicide? Was it Akbar himself who ordered the killing or was it the Rajputs who accompanied Sujjamal, his uncles and cousin, who are guilty? Set in a period that has been described as the golden age of the Mughals, the novel draws us into the royal court of Agra, abuzz with political intrigue, personal enmities and hidden rivalries, where everyone is a suspect until proven otherwise.

The book starts with the murder itself. Okay! I agree to the fact that the whole idea of the murder of Sujjamal, the Queen's brother reminded us of so many things but admit it: isn't it interesting to again go back to a Birbal Mystery? With that childhood excitement in mind I started reading the book. We all know the characters: Akbar, Hira Kunwari (Jodha), Sujjamal, Birbal and the likes. The familiarity with the characters had me connected with a special bond. As I turned the pages, I just had to know how it happened and moreover, how Birbal cracked the story.

I can't help but draw a comparison to the stories I've read growing up. For a Birbal story, it was always about the wit and the crispness. This book had the wit. Now, since it is a novel the crispness was at times, to me, missing. The descriptions that are given in the book and the way the story has been woven is beautiful and with everything in their places, you would know for sure that this book is going to be a great read. The chess board is set and clean.

Birbal goes from one person to another, doubting everyone on his way to find out who murdered and why did the murder happen? The biggest mystery in this story is not who and why, though. It is how did the murder happen. My most favorite character in this book would not be Birbal. Who is it? I'll leave it to you as a reader to read the book and let me know your guesses. Coming back, the narrative used by the author sets for a description which is so beautiful that you would be able to picturize every single scene.

Having said all that and keeping the ending of the book in mind, I am somehow left feeling that something was missing. As with all Birbal stories, this book also has a 'mystery cracked’ ending and ends when everything is all right. From a novel’s point of view I felt that it could have been written and developed with more crispness and clarity. The whole process of cracking the mystery could've been more witty. All said and done, this book would surely be a wonderful book for the children of today's time to read and add to their collection and collective love for Akbar’s favorite courtier. To me, this book was 3.5 out of 5 and I am so badly wanting to read more of the author and more Birbal stories...

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Economic Times Architectural and Design Summit

Winter evenings come synonymous with the greatest events of all times and this year was no different. The 5th Edition of Economic Times Architectural and Design Summit is a multi city edition and this year's theme was “Designing for Diversified India.” The summit took place at Park Plaza and was an interactive and insightful session on designing and colors.

©Sagnik Karmakar

A multitude of people from the industry took part in the event that started with networking coffee, high tea and ended up till dinner. Mr. Rohit Goyal, the Design Manager of Kansai Nerolac Paints and a representative of ET Edge were on stage to deliver the first session which included a presentation on the varieties of colors and how it affects daily life. They also took pleasure in unveiling the latest range of Nerolac Paints titled “Nerolac Impressions Ideaz”.

This range of paint is has a designer finish and the drying time is high as opposed to any other competitors in the market which makes it easily the best available paint in the market. According to Mr. Goyal it's high time we all do our best to bring out the “Pain out of the paint”.

© Sagnik Karmakar

Having 7 different variants in the range, the next session of the evening had two canvases where this new range was applied and the audience was asked to pick up any item already placed at their table (household items such as sponges, combs, cloth, spoons, cups) and design at their own will. The audience interaction was high and the application of the paint also showed how firm the paint is because it never dripped.  

Also sharing a few tips of painting a wall and making wallpaper designs, it was a very engaging session. The next few sessions were majorly by the architects of the industry who have done their fair share in the economy, discussing about the theme of the summit. Wrapping it up, the audience got more tips about the products, materials and designs that can be used while you plan to make your house into your home.

© Sagnik Karmakar

As they said, “The purest and the most thoughtful minds are those which love colors the most” the whole evening taught a lot to the one's in attendance. 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Samantaral: a review

bésame mucho
como si fuera esta noche
la ultima vez.
bésame mucho
que tengo miedo a per-derte,
perderte después…”

The first time I had seen the trailer (or rather, stumbled upon the trailer) I knew that I had to watch this movie. By hook or by crook. There was something there. Something that probably I still can't pinpoint, which attracted me to the movie. I am a person who hasn't watched any movie at a movie hall alone and so I badly needed a partner to accompany me. Sadly, no one was free enough. Finally, I decided that l will watch the movie alone but not before having that one last try. Guess what? A friend agreed. So at last, one Saturday evening, decked up in warm clothes we reached the multiplex. A 5:35pm show of a bengali movie in Kolkata at a place like Diamond Plaza, I got to have this special mention: the screen was houseful. Enough for us to get seats where we have to crane our neck to watch. All thanks to the push back chairs that made it at least a bit comfortable.

Once inside the hall, seated, I knew that finally Samantaral is waiting for me. An out an out Parambrata Chattopadhyay film, this film surely deserves a mention. I wonder why it wasn't promoted that well or not many people know about it. But what I do know is the fact that you, as a viewer don't choose the film. The film will choose you. I would like to believe that the film is not for the masses who love watching action or romance but it is for the selected few. Also starring in a family as the head is Soumitro Chatterjee, his sons- Kushal Chakraborty and Anindya Pulak Banerjee and their wives- Aparajita Addhya and Tonushree. In comes the new entrant of their family, the son of the only daughter of their family and now an orphan- Riddhi Sen. His returning from hostel to carry on his further studies is liked by a few family members, while the others don't really like it.

Riddhi’s Arka comes in with a fresh mindset and has no idea about what has happened all these years in the house and instantly shows a liking towards his mejo maamu, Parambrata’s Sujan. And dare I say, we start showing a liking towards him too. Throughout the film and his journey in understanding his mejo maamu, he is supported by his Facebook friend of 3 years turned college mate, Titli played by Surangana Banerjee. Their friendship off screen reflects on their on screen chemistry. A special cameo is also reserved for Sambit da, Titli’s cousin who is a psychiatrist. Guess who aces the role? Our very own Sidhu (Siddhartha Shankar Roy). Now, having you introduced to the characters it is time for the story and its presentation.

Partha Chakraborty, the director of the movie has taken a bold step into showing what he has shown through the movie. The societal message that the movie portrays would leave every viewer gobsmacked. I am a lover of books. I love to read a good fiction and try to predict what's gonna happen in the end. A lot of times I am correct while other times, I am wrong. But this time, the director takes us on with the journey of Arka and Sujan and it is during the climax that both Arka and the viewers (including myself) know what actually is the truth. I would like to give kudos to the director for achieving such a feat. The end surely gives you the answer of why this movie was made. Small incidences make this movie what this is. Like the one where Sujan is sitting quietly with his food in front of him while he watches the ant eat all away. The reason, why? A smiling, innocent Sujan with dreamy eyes of a child says- the ants have come over to dinner at his place. Or the one where he runs away from home only to be found later on. And the  only two scenes with Surangana where it shouts Parambrata all over the scene. The easy camaraderie shared between Parambrata and Riddhi makes your experience watch worthy.

Aside from the climax and the why's of the movie, this movie didn't have enough weight. Heavy actors failed to put in the much needed impact on the story. Certain things, I believe, should've been shown with more convenience or more strongly while the others, according to me, could've been left to the imagination. For me, the screenplay was weak. Padmanabha Dasgupta has a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders and he could surely have given the movie the much needed push which somehow went missing. The first half of the movie to a certain extent at times felt dragged but I know that it was creating a base for the movie to stand. Another thing that put me off the movie a bit was the fact that the shots were too tight and close. Too many closeup shots and lose subplots doesn't do much good to the movie.

The sub plots of the movie didn't give in much of the punch needed. Neither were all the characters memorable. I still do feel about the movie that it could've been a stellar book if written rather than a movie but again, a movie is the only way to show what the director wanted to. This movie will get its share in due course of time, I am sure. Coming to the music, Indraadip Dasgupta has done a splendid job and songs like Dekha hobey boley and Tui chhuli jokhon surely catch the mind of the viewer but the only song that stayed with me throughout the movie and even now in repeat mode has to be Bhalobashar gaan, originally a song of Lalon Fakir and Mexican Pianist Consuelo Velázquez, recreated and sung by our one and only- Parambrata. The innocence, the eyes, the profile, the bold attempt at even agreeing to do such a role shows how versatile an actor he is (and now even a singer too).

I can somehow go on and on about the movie because I still can't pin point, after writing over 900 words on it now, what about the movie I like and dislike. I hope, I just hope, this movie gets its due. I just wish this movie was promoted more strongly. I just hope this movie is made into a book. So if any of you reading this (if at all you could make it till the end of the write-up) want to discuss the movie and make me talk about it, mail me, ping me and I promise I will be there.

To the spirit of being equals. To the spirit of Samantaral. Let us, like Sujan, open our arms wide and know that everyone deserves happiness. Let us sing out loud...

“Khuji taare aasman jomi

Amare chini na ami..
Ki bishom bhromero bhromi
E bishom bhromero bhromi
Ami konjon se konjona
Ke kotha koy re dekha dey na...”