I watched Shutter Island this morning. And read the book it is based on this afternoon. I liked both. That’s a first.
Ordinarily, it turns out that the one you come across first reeks of awesomeness, and the other always pales in comparison. I liked Sixth Sense – A Novelization better than the movie because I read the book first. And I liked the Bond movies better than the books. But in this case, no complaints about either. None, whatsoever.
The year 1954, an island connected to civilization only by a ferry, the island full of loons, no cellphones or other links, a storm and hurricane, and an escaped insane baby-drowning woman loose on the island. And a US Marshal with his own inner demons. Add to that disappearing inmates, the other inmates not telling the whole truth, suspicions of Nazi-esque experimentation on the human mind, a la The Men Who Stare At Goats. No sideshows, no distractions.What more do you need to create a taut, tense plotline that keeps you on the edge of your seat for each of the two hours and eighteen minutes of its running time?
I particularly liked the cinematography. Since this wasn’t an all-out extravaganza, there are no desktop wallpaper shots, but it is pure whiteBalance magic. The bright, warm shots of Teddy Daniels’s happier times also take on a surreal tone, consistent with the rest of the movie. There are no gory images out to shock… none of that sort of B-movie madness.
The book is short – only 131 pages. Perfect movie material. Martin Scorsese has stayed faithful to the book, with only a few omissions here and there, and just a couple of additions. No radical plot changes, which someone making Harry Potter movies would really have to rely on to get the movie within bladder-tolerant duration.
The best part is the dialogues just out of the book. So if you liked the book, it would be simply great to see all those lines you read and read over again come to life on screen.
Which also means, the book is taut, no loose ends. Not a single word wasted. No elaborate unnecessary descriptions. Nothing at all that distracts you from the plot.
Which means at no point during the movie you feel like you’re watching a movie. You don’t move, you are so riveted that you even forget to sip your lemonade or nibble at your popcorn.
And the performances. Ben Kingsley is awesome. DiCaprio… I saw him play a similar role in The Aviator last night, so yeah, well, nothing new there. Mark Ruffalo gives a measured supporting performance which makes you want to watch him in other movies as well.
The plotline…. there’s no point of going into that here… as is expected, the climax turns the whole thing on its head and I’m not inclined to give out spoilers. The concept might have been done before, but Scorsese brings a realistic feel to it.
So… should you read the book? Oh yes, you certainly should. Should you watch the movie? Please do, and join me in raving about it.
PS: I ranted about Google Buzz, and now I don’t much mind it. For all you know, I might be cursing the movie tomorrow. Don’t really go by my just-out-of-the-hall reviews. I once said *shudder* Rang De Basanti was awesome.
I guess this end of the blogosphere now knows all about the Lavanya Mohan – Charukesh Sekar story. Poor Lavanya, down with Charukesh and Vichar Hari yada yada. I’m surprised only one person has yet accused Lavanya of having her story ‘inspired’ from this Goodness Gracious Me sketch. J’Accuse! Make that count two. And KrishAshok saar, she need not have gone back and forth in time to view a video and write her story as you said, she could have just logged on to Youtube. I’m not saying she did or she didn’t. I’m just presenting the possibility. Of course, the possibility exists that she, like Kaavya Viswanathan, can cite Cryptomnesia.
But this case does bring up the issues of credit on the Net, non-attribution, and how easy it is to plagiarize. How easy it is to pass some story off as yours. And the prospect of seeing someone else reap the fruits of your hard work if you aren’t as popular or well-connected as Lavanya is.
A week back, I was wiki’ing for the storyline of Mumbai Salsa. There’s an American actress in that movie, Linda Arsenio. Click. Turns out she’s made quite a name for herself in Bollywood. She recently starred in the movie Aloo Chaat, alongside Aftab Shivdasani, Aamna Sharif, Kulbhushan Kharbanda. Click.
And the story read oh-so-so-so-familiar!
No, it wasn’t a rich-girl-poor-boy story.
But it was the same story as I’d received in an email fwd in December 2008. And this movie released only in June 2009. And it seems pretty popular on the Net, right from 2006. Here you go, link to the story, link to the story of Aloo Chaat. Decide for yourself.
The identity of the author seems lost to the recesses of time. But whoever you are, this is to inform you that you have been plagiarized. Sue ‘em for all it’s worth. Or atleast milk the publicity.
Of course, the chance is nonzero that the scriptwriter himself comes forward to say the story was originally his, and that he put it on the Internet circa 2004….
I’m wondering if anyone still reads this page. It feels like ages since I updated here, and it shows. I’ve a lot more bottled-up emotions, my smile has never been more fake, and even my teenagy angst has given way to passivity. I’m also a lot less articulate these days, and that shows in the numerous reports and other official bits of writing I’m supposed to delivery weekly thrice.
I’m still finding a way out of the inarticulateness and asocial life I lead at the moment, a relic of an unprecedented amount of work I’ve been assigned, and things that have happened to me recently possess a strong streak of speculation, something which has no place on this blog, so bear with my obtuse references.
I find I cannot, just cannot, tolerate negative people and pessimism. My entire being seems to dwell and thrive on optimism that all the damned negativity some people exude feels like Kryptonite, weakening me slowly, slowly, until I’m steeped neck-deep in despair and ready to willingly drown myself to put myself out of my misery. Here’s a general word of advice: Don’t say anything if you don’t have anything good to say. Unless of course, it’s juicy gossip.
I’ve taken courses this quarter that exude Awesome with every atom of their being. One of them had mining Facebook data [college networks] as part of a homework. Initially, I too was wide-eyed, just like you reading this are. Sadly, the data is suitably anonymized, and it’s in the form of boring old matrices. And it’s huge as hell… megabytes of numbers alone. Trends are spotted more easily with large samples. Turns out, you can try pretty cool stuff with those megabytes of numbers. Like checking out if college networks share common features, so that if you learn something about one network, you can apply it in other networks you study. Or seeing how to recommend friends to someone who’s just joined.
Among my unpublished drafts is an open letter to Juhi Chawla. No, it’s not about the Phir Mile Sur thing. During one of those hectic weeks, I was shopping for some ready-to-eat food. I was rather sick of the cheese pizzas, so when this carton of ready-to-eat Ashoka Chinese Fried Rice Indian Style with a grinning Juhi on it caught my eye, (and the Buy One Get One Free offer wasn’t too far behind), I grabbed it. After all, Ms. Chawla has lived in the US for a while, right? So she too would have shopped like me at one point or another, and if she was endorsing something, it had to be pretty good, right?Wrong. It sucked. I couldn’t have more than a mouthful. It took dollops and dollops of tomato ketchup to kill the taste of the fried spring onions rice. And heck, this carnage is just spring onions and rice. No beans, no carrots, no chillies, no nothing. I wonder what the heck was Juhi Chawla thinking when she endorsed this inedible pile of dogfood. Someone have her email ID?
And the Phir Mile Sur thing. I share the outrage of many others who’ve written about this. However, I feel it’s just by Zoom, not by the Government of India, so it doesn’t merit the attention it’s getting. I mean, what else do you expect of a channel dedicated to Bollywood and Page 3 types? Ignore it, folks. Not worth raising your BP for.
One of the bloggers I rather like got plagiarized. You can read the whole story here. Seems rather routine, except that her short story got made into a short film this time. Though, I think the approach she took was a tad impractical. Hell, you’re a great writer, granted, but there’s nothing Vasudeva-Srikrishna-Eeshwara-EndaDheivame-OhMyHoly-OMFG about plagiarism. It happens. It’s outrageous, but it happens. And don’t tell me you don’t like the extra attention and publicity that comes with your story being used in some other media. So, instead of crying blue murder, embrace it. Don’t say “You thirdrate plagiarist, you copied. I’ll tell to miss”. Instead, acknowledge that the other person might have made a mistake, and say now that we both agree a mistake has been made, let’s work something out. No one likes to be told by a complete stranger that they are in the wrong, not to mention scores of random netizens cursing them left, right and center.
That said, I found I liked the blog entry better than the Youtube video. There were rather talented folks in the video, granted. But why did they have to be speaking in Ingleesh for godsake? I guess the dialogues were written in English, translated from Tamil in the writer’s head, because the audience of the blog is mainly English-speaking. The filmmaker was so goddamn lazy that he had to retain every damn dialogue the way it was written? It reads well to me because I translate it back to Tamil in my head, just like I do with every RK Narayan novel I read… the words, sentence construction and the entire ambience is TamBrahm, a world I can summon in my head at the snap of a finger. Having to do the same when I’m hearing someone speak is nothing short of painful.
Coming back to food, I found Dairy Milk being sold at an Indian store for $4.99. While that’s laughable by itself, you also need to take into account that you can get larger bars of Hershey’s for one-fifth the cost. And it doesn’t end there…. you get Kurkure (Yes, Juhi Chawla again) for $2.49.
Being bereft of trustworthy outlets for your internal confusions for even a short while, compounds the problem, I find. It’s quite a feat to separate your best-case worst-case analyses from reality after a while. Close friends, I assert, are important as hell.
Apparently ‘Hell’ is an evil, evil swearword in this country. I found that out the hard way, after using it half-a-dozen times in the presence of my BibleBelt-born nephew. And, apparently, so is ‘Damn’. I can’t fathom that at all. After all, I was pretty used to ‘Bleddy Bhaskar/Bleddy Basket‘ probably since I started school, and I hail from the same state as this bleddy basket-case.
In other news, I’m more or less abstaining from Google Reader. When I find time, I hope to be able to automate linking pages in Wikipedia, and possibly use the same logic to automatically mark important words in passages. I’ve also watched tons of useless movies recently, and am stuck on the soundtrack of Duet, looping the songs endlessly. I’m surprised I used to make fun of these songs when they first came out. Who knows, at this rate, I might one day be fondly recollecting the day Phir Mile Sur came out. I’m also confused as hell can be about a lot of things in life at the moment. I’m just hoping things fall in place like they always do.