Entertainment – Atul Karmarkar.Com http://www.atulkarmarkar.com Around Pune, Technology, Startups, Investing, Food Mon, 23 Jul 2018 02:48:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3411319 Half Pants Full Pants – an enjoyable read http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/half-pants-full-pants-enjoyable-read/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/half-pants-full-pants-enjoyable-read/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2017 04:15:39 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=4017 Some weeks ago, there was a package delivered from Hector Beverages. Too small to be another flavour of their Paper […]

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Some weeks ago, there was a package delivered from Hector Beverages. Too small to be another flavour of their Paper Boat drinks and bigger than the Paper Boat Chikki, and it turned out to be a book – “Half Pants Full Pants” – by Anand “Suspi” Subbarao. Unfortunately, after the initial glance-through, the book just lay in the cupboard for a while (my love for reading has been in hibernate mode for a while now), before I finally decided to check it out – and wow, what an enjoyable read it is!

Half Pants Full Pants Anand Suspi

The line above the title says, “Real life tales from Shimoga” and that instantly reminded me of a couple of my classmates from school in Yelahanka, Bangalore back in the ’80s. Shimoga was their hometown, and remembering these classmates brought back a flood of memories of stories they’d share when back at school after the summer holidays, as well as some of the Kannada words and phrases sprinkled throughout the book.

R.Balki hits the nail on the head in his foreword, and this book is indeed a worthy “follow up” to that timeless classic, “Malgudi Days” by R.K Narayan.

The stories in the book take you back to an age when the pace of life was so much more relaxed and slower, and brings with it a wave of nostalgia from those early years. It was a time when there were no fancy gadgets around and one derived joy from simple pleasures and innocent ‘hacks’ – whether getting something to work or playing a prank on someone. 😛

I really liked that the stories themselves are all broken down into short anecdotes of 5-6 pages each, so one can read several of them at a time, and then get back to the book after a while (instead of long-winding episodes) – almost like having a conversation with someone narrating these incidents.

The folks at Paper Boat Drinks had previously sent across books as well but those were reprints of “Three Men in a Boat” and “Jungle Book” – Half Pants Full Pants is their first foray into publishing and wow, what a winner with the first book. Like those reprints, the new beginning with Suspi’s book ties in perfectly with their nostalgia themed drinks and that “bachpan connect”.

As mentioned in the author’s note, the manuscript was rejected by almost ten publishing houses, so a big round of applause for Anand Suspi for writing this wonderful book and Paper Boat Drinks for letting it see the light of day 🙂

You can get Half Pants Full Pants on Amazon or Flipkart

 

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The Best of 2015 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-best-of-2015/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-best-of-2015/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:16:39 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3860 Wow, 2015 seemed to go by so fast – but then each day, week, month, year seems to be whizzing […]

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Wow, 2015 seemed to go by so fast – but then each day, week, month, year seems to be whizzing by so quickly now. I’ve never been a fan of listicles and a ‘Best of’ kind of post, so this one is rather surprising – and even more so in a year when there weren’t too many opportunities / experiences to really merit a ‘Best of’ but here goes.

Best of 2015

This was actually more of an effort than I realised – not because there was a problem of plenty, but because there was a problem of too less, which means some many popular choices could be missing simply because I haven’t experienced them yet 😉

Best Book

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story – Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl With Seven Names

In a year where I read less than half a dozen books, and just three that were published this year, I thought “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story” was one heck of a read. This is the story of Hyeonseo Lee and her escape the dictatorial regime in North Korea as a 17 year old, and finally returning 12 years later to reunite with her family and help get them to South Korea, overcoming incredible odds.

Best Movie (English)

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max - Fury Road

Yes, there were some very good movies that were released in 2015, but for sheer overall entertainment value, nothing tops this wild, adrenaline pumping, chest thumping roller coaster of a movie. The fourth in the Max Max series, it has fantastic stunts and action scenes, and Charlize Theron in probably one of her best roles ever.

Best Movie (Hindi)

Masaan

Masaan

A far cry from the staple Bollywood films, I first heard of this movie when it won a couple of awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in Varanasi, it tells the story of two separate couples from different strata of society. Poignant and helpless in parts, offering hope in others, it is a brilliant directorial debut by Neeraj Ghaywan.

Best Music Album (English)

The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour

The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour

Admittedly, I’ve not listened to many English albums this year, barring a stray song or two here and there. I’ve been a fan of Warren Mendonsa’s Blackstratblues since 2009, when I heard ‘The New Album‘, and at the NH7 Weekenders from 2010-2012, and though I felt this one lacks the same punch as their previous albums, it is still a damn good listen. Besides the link above, you can also get from iTunes.

Best Music Album (Hindi)

Roy

Roy

Again, as above, I’ve not listened to many Bollywood albums this year, and I’m aware there are several other contenders for this. There have been several good songs from other movies as well, but as an album, the songs from Roy have probably stayed with me that bit longer, whether randomly humming them or listening more often while driving.

Best TV Show

Narcos

Narcos

In a year that saw some brilliant new shows as well as the continuation/end of some all time popular shows, I’d pick Narcos as my favourite show of the year. The story of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin drug cartel has been told before, but the way it was presented here was fantastic. A riveting watch, and I’m looking forward to Season 2. You may need to use a VPN to watch it on Netflix or use “alternate methods” to watch it Netflix is now available in India 😉 Incidentally, the theme music (below) is also my current ringtone.

Best Meal

Guppy by Aoi pop-up

Guppy Pop-up

Yeah, I know – this is a strange addition in this list, but I couldn’t resist. For me, 2015 didn’t see any travel out of Pune for various reasons, and although there were some good lunches and dinners in the year, the Guppy pop-up in late August and then again towards September-end was the highlight – particularly because when it comes to Japanese cuisine, Pune really doesn’t have much to offer.

So that’s it. Which were your favourites of 2015? Drop a line in the comments and share 🙂

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Merchants of Poona – a collectors item http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/merchants-poona-collectors-item/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/merchants-poona-collectors-item/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:37:02 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3230 Bought this book “Merchants of Poona” off Amazon just over a month ago, and after flipping through some pages the […]

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Merchants of Poona

Bought this book “Merchants of Poona” off Amazon just over a month ago, and after flipping through some pages the day I received it, I’ve just not been able to actually read it till now.

Published by Sakal Publications (yep, the same group which publishes the newspaper by that name) in English and Marathi, the book is a wonderful tribute to those businessmen who set up shop in Pune and who have since gone on to become household names in the city over the decades and even centuries in some cases.

The first thing I loved about the book was its cover. Designed by Falguni Gokhale, it is typically like the books used by businessmen of yore. Some use them even now in parallel with newer methods.

The book itself is an enjoyable read. The quality is good, layout is clean and simple, and with 3-4 pages devoted to each business house, it is just the right length, not too long or too short with several interesting nuggets and photos peppered throughout the book.

Merchants of Poona

In any such tribute, it is not always possible to include every single business, and the publishers have wisely taken the late 1960s as a cut off for when the business was established, thereby featuring 40 “brands” in this edition, like Chitale Bandhu, Dorabjee’s Restaurant, Prabhat Film Company, Cafe Good Luck, Manney’s, C.T Pundole, Budhani Wafers, Champion Sports, Marz-o-Rin and many more.

I’ve not come across a similar book which features all these iconic names, so for me, and any Punekar for that matter, this is definitely a collector’s item. You can buy the book directly from Sakal Publications at their office in Pune or online. Right now, it’s available on Amazon but seems to be sold out on Flipkart.

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Review: Kung Fu Panda 2 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/review-kung-fu-panda-2/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/review-kung-fu-panda-2/#comments Sat, 28 May 2011 16:39:17 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1913 After a really long time, I actually felt like watching a movie in the theatre. Kung Fu Panda 2 and […]

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Kung Fu Panda 2

After a really long time, I actually felt like watching a movie in the theatre. Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2 were on my must-watch list, and I’m glad to have struck one off.

So, sis, bro-in-law and my 3yr old nephew reached Inox for the 11.15am show on a Friday morning. There was quite a bit of rush at the ticket counters, possibly for Hangover 2 along with this one. We saw a couple of kiosks beside those counters, which were meant for printing tickets that were booked online. There was also a slot for swiping a card. I’d never seen these kiosks before and found them quite a welcome introduction – after punching in a couple of numbers, we got our tickets in a jiffy.

There was a bit of concern initially when sis realised the movie was in 3D, mainly to do with whether my nephew would be able to watch / appreciate it. More so without the headaches/dizzy spells people cribbed about when wearing those cheap 3D glasses. At Inox, the glasses were slightly big for him but mercifully, the quality of the glasses this time around was much better, and I’m sure the Rs.100 refundable deposit must have ensured they were returned in good condition. 🙂

Those who watched the original Kung Fu Panda movie would need no introduction to Po – the panda, now designated as the Dragon Warrior, Master Shifu, and of course, the faithful sidekicks, the Furious Five. The movie begins on an idyllic note with Po playing his role of the protector and there are moments of mirth at Master Shifu’s attempts to get Po to pursue ‘inner peace’ as part of his training. 😀

During an attack on the village, Po is confronted by the leader of the wolves and seeing a certain symbol puts him into flashback mode, where some painful memories get stoked. A bit of melodrama ensues, as Mr.Ping the goose, Po’s father, tells Po he was found in a basket and was adopted and raised by him. In the meanwhile, Master Shifu is informed that there is a new enemy lurking, Lord Shen – who has a powerful weapon (a cannon with gunpowder) at his disposal, and who intends to obliterate martial arts (kung fu) and China.

Kung Fu Panda 2 Lord Shen

Frankly, Lord Shen was a BIG surprise for me. Far from being any ghoulish or hideous looking creature, it was…  a peacock! Quite a dandy and decked out peacock that too, with a cruel glint in it’s eye. 🙂

The story then moves on to Po’s fight with Lord Shen – not only to rescue China and the kung-fu tradition, but also to uncover the secrets of his past, and what became of his parents. When Po was a baby, the Soothsayer had warned Shen that his reign would be ended by a black and white warrior. In a fit of rage, Shen sent his pack of wolves to finish off the tribe of pandas, which forms the backdrop to Po being ‘abandoned’ by his parents.

During the epic battle aboard the ship, Shen finally uses the cannon to blast Po and the Furious Five into the sea. Po, given up for dead, is nursed back to health by the Soothsayer, who tells Po he’s in the place he was born, and coaxes him to remember details of the past, till the point where his mother hides him in the basket to avoid detection by the wolves. Po remembers his foster father, his friends, and realises that it is not the past, but the present that defines him and who he is now. Once he discovers ‘inner peace’, good must triumph over evil, which it does.

I thought the movie was pretty well made and not too long. It does have more emotion than the first one, which was needed, but I felt some of the sentimental bits could have been shorter. It would have also been nice to see the characters of the Furious Five fleshed out a bit more, and only the Tigress gets some extra screen space here. Jack Black (Po) and Angelina Jolie (Tigress) are brilliant as ever. Dustin Hoffman (Shifu) reprises his role and Gary Oldman brings just the right degree of menace and cruelty into Lord Shen’s character.

The visuals, special effects and fight scenes are kickass and breathtaking, though frankly, the “3D-ness” of it all left me slightly underwhelmed. Oh yes, in keeping with current ‘sequel’ trends, the ending of the movie ensures that there is probably a Kung Fu Panda 3 in the works.

As a rule, I’m not too fond of sequels, but this one is definitely a worthy sequel to its predecessor and a fun movie which both adults and kids will really enjoy.

Go watch! 😀

 

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Up Yours, traffic “nawabs”! http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/up-yours-traffic-nawabs/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/up-yours-traffic-nawabs/#comments Fri, 27 Aug 2010 10:40:49 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1794 Doesn’t it kinda piss you off when you’re driving on the road, observing all rules, lane etiquette etc when some […]

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Doesn’t it kinda piss you off when you’re driving on the road, observing all rules, lane etiquette etc when some smartass in a hurry cuts across to go to the opposite side?

Or brushes past your vehicle ‘nudging’ your side-view mirror with a stupid grin / apologetic look?

Or keeps honking away to glory even when there’s no way forward?

Or is driving the wrong way on a one-way street and gives YOU a dirty look as you give a questioning look?

Or merrily continues at 15-20kph on a road with fast moving traffic, not allowing you to pass inspite of getting indications to do so?

I guess there are incidents similar to the above and many more that we all face during our daily commute. What gets to me even more is just sitting there helplessly in the car, being unable to do anything or even vent my frustration / anger at such people besides hurling abuse only me or my co-passengers can hear. (I’m not talking about road rage here, that’s totally different)

Wouldn’t it be great if cars had something like an instrument panel / console through which we could type out / say a message so that it shows up like a display or a 3D projection and the offender + others also see it?

This is something quite similar to the HUD available in aircraft cockpits, and could probably look like this… 😀

Car HUD System

Nothing like a good, witty message or rant to vent your feelings AND ensure your message gets across… especially during traffic jams.. or even a graphic, with the middle finger! :p

Would be good fun also, no? 😉

 

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Castle http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/castle/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/castle/#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 02:36:59 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1739 I guess the title of this post would be self-explanatory to some, and meaningless to others. No, this is not […]

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I guess the title of this post would be self-explanatory to some, and meaningless to others. No, this is not about any urge to document old and historical castles, but rather Castle, the TV series which concluded Season 2 in India 🙂

This series was aired from May 3, 2010 on Star World between 10 pm-11pm every week, from Monday to Thursday. What surprised me was my keenness to watch it, considering I only heard about it a month or so ago. A colleague had hosted a party at his place, and during a conversation about movies and TV shows like Monk, Two and a Half Men etc., another colleague happened to mention that Castle was also worth a watch. Now this party was on a Friday, and I couldn’t wait enough for Monday.

Ok, a bit about Castle: The lead character is Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion), a best selling author who gets called in by the NYPD to solve a crime, which appeared to be based on one of his books. He is paired with Detective Kate Beckett (the lovely Stana Katic), who initially thinks Castle is too full of himself, before realising his knowledge of crime and criminals is quite helpful when solving cases. Castle sees Beckett as a potential muse for a forthcoming book series, and gets permission to shadow her on cases thanks to his connections with the Mayor and police chief.

Castle TV Series

Obviously, I had to get hold of Season 1 to really ‘sink’ myself into the series, and I liked what I saw. The chemistry and sparks between the lead pair is fun to watch. It is also an unusual pairing in some ways as Castle has two ex-wives, a teenage daughter, and a mother who stays with them from time to time. However, the age difference between Castle and Beckett doesn’t really have much of a bearing as they share a superb rapport and working relationship. On the personal front, they alternate between fire and ice with non-stop verbal duels all the time, including comments on each others’ affairs and social life.

Towards the end of Season 2, there is a hint of closeness in their relationship which gets scotched when Beckett starts dating another colleague, Demming – probably the most hated man on the show :-p, and the last episode must have been eagerly watched by several die-hard romantics to know ‘will they-won’t they’. Castle, realising that he may have lost her, decides to take a break and complete his book, telling Beckett that this would be their last case.

BANG! That is when the reality and finality of the situation hits Beckett as she realises she’s got used to Castle being around and suddenly starts seeing things from a different perspective.

During the farewell party hosted for Castle, Beckett gives a hint about the change in her feelings when she says ‘she doesn’t need a beer to take Castle. 😉 She then asks him to step outside for a private chat and comes closest to disclosing that she has a softer side, as well as her feelings for him, when his ex-wife (who’s also his publisher) walks in and the episode ends.

Obviously all that had to be kept in suspense for Season 3, which was announced in March 2010, and is likely to premiere in September this year with 22 episodes.

Am already looking forward to it!! You? 😀

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Gary Coleman R.I.P http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/gary-coleman-is-no-more/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/gary-coleman-is-no-more/#respond Sat, 29 May 2010 03:51:46 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/gary-coleman-r-i-p/ Gary Coleman is dead. Seeing this news on my Twitter timeline suddenly took me back into a time long long […]

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Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman is dead. Seeing this news on my Twitter timeline suddenly took me back into a time long long ago. Gary was a child actor and probably best known for his role as Arnold Jackson in the hit TV series of the ’80s, Diff’rent Strokes… a time when TV series were pure fun! He was just 42, and died due to intracranial haemorrhage after he suffered a fall at home, hurting his head.

I remember watching this series as a kid on Sunday mornings when it aired on the telly, as well as on video cassettes that some friends had. Yeah yeah, video cassettes.. 🙂

The series itself was different, hilarious and entertaining for us as kids.. especially Arnold’s signature line – “What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”

Thanks for the memories, Gary… R.I.P.

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The Scotch and Soda Clothing Company http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-scotch-and-soda-clothing-company/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-scotch-and-soda-clothing-company/#comments Thu, 25 Feb 2010 06:37:27 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1677 The Scotch and Soda “Clothing Company” !! I mean, seriously??? 😀  

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The Scotch and Soda “Clothing Company” !! I mean, seriously??? 😀

 

Scotch and Soda Clothing Company

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The Honda CR-V Smiley :) http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-honda-cr-v-smiley/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-honda-cr-v-smiley/#comments Wed, 17 Feb 2010 10:03:03 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1689 This Honda CR-V without a spare tyre reminded me of a smiley 🙂  

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This Honda CR-V without a spare tyre reminded me of a smiley 🙂

Honda CR-V smiley

 

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The Leaning Bottle of Pisa http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-leaning-bottle-of-pisa/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-leaning-bottle-of-pisa/#comments Sat, 16 Jan 2010 02:18:05 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1638 Here’s our very own “Leaning Bottle of Pisa” 😀  

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Here’s our very own “Leaning Bottle of Pisa” 😀

 

Leaning Bottle of Pisa.jpg

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