Kshitij Choudhary

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Category: Reviews

Book Review: ABCs of Horror | Anmol Rawat |

‘Hush little baby, don’t say a word

And never mind that noise you heard

It’s just a beast under your bed

In your closet, in your head’

    (excerpt from Circle of Life)

ABCs of Horror is a collection of frightful short- stories that ties diverse types of fear together in an arresting account, which feels as genuine as the element sitting directly behind you when you are home alone. Authored by Anmol Rawat, ABCs of Horror is indeed a decent read with the fact that it’s a debut book. I don’t much expect first books to be in-line with the already ready market of readers who are accustomed to the taste of Ruskin Bond or other classic writers. Having started reading ABCs of Horror with the same mindset, I was raised to a conflict within myself about the pre-defined notion for debut writers, that too who start out with horror.

Front Cover of the Book

I believe ‘horror’ to be a tough one among other genres, and Rawat did try his best to deliver justice. Although I have a strong feeling that it could have been better. Read during night and you can have the chills, read it in the morning and you won’t feel a thing. I found it funny how the emotion, the set-up and the entire spooky scenario changed with respect of time. At first I thought it to be a thing about horror stories, but then again, never felt the same while reading Bond or Minakshi Choudhry. Talking about horror, I think the stories were more creepy or spooky than actually being horror. Although, the introduction to each story is well-built and mostly the narration is in conversational style. One liner climax and endings are what I admired the most.

What I like about Rawat is that, being a debut writer, he sticks to the simplicity of language and its composition. Unlike various others, who start out with sentence structures that are too tough to understand. Using gargantuan words, they think they are delivering quality but the reality is quite the opposite. Considering this, Rawat has done great job with stories, research and the structure. I only hope he had done more focus on the horror part.

By giving 3.5 rating (out of 5), I would recommend you to buy this book, which can act as a total thrill-enhancer on your boring rail journeys.

PS- Only available in digital format on Kindle.

You can buy this here on Amazon.

Book Preview: Sita – Warrior of Mithila | Amish Tripathi |

Bestseller mythology author, Amish, often referred to as the “literary pop-star of India”,  as promised, is back with Book 2 of Ram Chandra Series. On May 4th, he revealed the cover and title of his upcoming book, Sita – Warrior of Mithila, at Title Waves Bookstore, Mumbai.


Sita – Warrior of Mithila, is the second in line to the popular Ram Chandra Series. Scion of Ikshvaku being the first part of the series. Amish is also the author of the famous Shiva Trilogy, which is said to have sold 2.2 million copies till now, making it arguably the fastest-selling book series in Indian publishing history.

This book claims to be – thrilling adventure that chronicles the rise of an orphan, who became the prime minister. And then, a Goddess. Sita, a mythical character from the epic Ramayana, has been portrayed as a warrior and the feminine power around 3400 BCE. At the book cover launch event, Amish said, “Ancient India witnessed a far more equal social set-up than we have today. The cover depicts Lady Sita to be a fearless warrior and the book will capture her journey from being an adopted child to a fierce warrior and then becoming a Goddess.”

Although the book will be launched in English but Amish has promised its Hindi edition will soon be out. When inquired about it by one of his fans, as a reply, Amish tweeted – “The Hindi edition of #SitaWarriorOfMithila will release a month or two after the English version. Translation is under way”

You can even read excerpts from the book even before its launch. Yes, that’s right. CNN News-18 has collaborated with Amish and they publish a part of story, each day, on their website till it’s official launch.

If you want to get into the mood already, click here for the excerpts, and start reading.

 

Amish Tripathi and Raveena Tandon, at the book cover launch in Mumbai. (image courtesy: Westland Books Twitter)

On May 16th, a captivating book trailer has been launched and it’s highly intriguing. The trailer is interesting and well  prepared. This is all we needed to gear up for the launch and want for the book even more. A fascinating thing to be noticed in the trailer is the altered version of the most famous shlok from Bhagavad Gita, “Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya…”.    Here’s the link to the trailer for you watch it, and desire more for the book to hit the stores.

 

The book will be officially launched on May 29.

Alia Bhatt and Amish, at the trailer launch event.

 

Source : Amish’s Twitter-feed

We are now more excited than ever. Best wishes to Amish for his upcoming book.

You can PRE-ORDER the Book using these following links:

  1. Amazon
  2. Flipkart
  3. Snapdeal

Raman Raghav 2.0; Critical Film Review – *सप्रेम*

A dark-psychological thriller, Raman Raghav 2.0 is a brilliant piece of cinema in Bollywood, written by Vasan Bala and Anurag Kashyap, and directed by Anurag Kashyap.
“Set in present day Mumbai the story follows the life of a serial killer Ramanna or Raman (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is inspired by an infamous serial killer from the 1960s, Raman Raghav. His strange obsession with Raghavan or Raghav (Vicky Kaushal), a young cop, who is a drug addict, keeps growing as he closely follows him without his knowledge and often creates situations where both of them come face to face.” – IMDb
Opening of the Film is spell bound, marvellously composed and, intriguing. I think it was greatly influenced by David Fincher style of opening sequences. How the films starts can tell a lot about how film would be. It resembles Fight Club or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo type of start.
Kashyap truly understands the essence of storytelling. This film is like watching visual book, as sequences are in chapter form and every detailing of the environment can be felt. Normal Hindi film has 70 scenes but, Raman Raghav 2.0 has 220 scenes. And not to forget that this film has been made in an ultra tight budget of 3.5cr Rupees and shot only in 20 days. Yes, Kashyap took just 20 days to create brilliance. The technique of guerrilla filmmaking has been applied into this to shoot on real locations of Mumbai. Which is, I believe, a major reason how they must have cut down on budget. Cinematography and editing is brilliant.
Nawazuddin undoubtedly steals the show. With his wicked acting skills he ignites the screen. The Masaan boy, Vicky Kaushal, did every bit he could to match the level of his co-star, and gave a really promising performance.
Sobhita Dhulipala! ex-Miss India Earth, truly seductive and phenomenal actress has stepped into the film industry at last. Thank you Anurag Kashyap. Rare combination of beauty and skills, she is the actress that B’town lacked, needed & deserved. Calling her another Radhika Apte wouldn’t be wrong. After the Raman Raghav, Sobhita has hypnotised me, and put her magical mystical spell upon me. Bollywood now has another gem to preserve. She is wow. I *heart* her.
Anushchka Shawney definitely needs a mention for her little yet strong appearance in the film. This film ends on her. Amruta Subhash is remarkable as Nawaz’s tormented sister. Her appearance and role saved the film from being monotonous and helped creating Raman’s character more prominent.
The music or score is not according to the scenes or the incidents, but, according to whatever the hell is going on the minds of these two psychopaths. The music in here is a way of telling us how they are thinking and experiencing. This creates a conflict of thoughts inside your brain which leads to lack of emotional-know-how.
Let’s talk about violence. Yes, it is there, but most of the violence is off the screen. So yeah, no disgusting moments as such. Times of India stated, “..it glorifies the gore.” as Raman tried to justify his murders that killing for insanity is better than killing in the name of religion, cast, country etc. But then again if you try to view this movie with a high moral grounds and find meaning in the actions, you will fail to get to its core and will be unable to recognise what a brilliant artwork this is. To appreciate Raman Raghav 2.0 you will have to surrender to it. Moreover, he is a schizophrenic psychopathic maniac, no other reason best suits his purpose of killing.
The basic concept is, ‘heart wants what the heart wants, baby.’ As the film is psychopath centric, I failed to connect to it. I tried my every bit to understand Raman and Raghav but couldn’t which in turn caused turbulence in my thinking process. And the failure in my emotion system, deciding that what to feel for whom, made me numb, and I felt nothing. In a scene where Raman was beating up his sister and her child, even though my brain knows this is wrong and bad, I couldn’t decide what am I supposed to feel. Sad for her sister, or sit back and stay shocked at the incident, or laugh like Raman and feel amused? I failed to feel anything and that was kinda sad.
Sobhita is wow. I *heart* her.
Throughout the film, I didn’t know for whom I was rooting for, as both were equally disturbing. Only that Raman had his reasons. Still the justification didn’t quite appeal to me. It’s a movie with two antagonists.
By rating this film 3 (out of 5) and an extra 0.5 for raising up the bars of Bollywood by such a tremendous effort, I can say that this movie is not a child’s play and highly NOT recommended to the PRDP or SOTY fans.
Honestly, I still don’t know how and what to feel about the movie.
सप्रेम।
EXTRAS:
It was released on my Birthday. Yay.
Even the intern gets the mention in Kashyap’s films when credit rolls.
I totally loved the soundtracks Qatl-E-Aam and Behooda.
I found this deleted scene from the film on YouTube which SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE FILM! Vicky Kaushal at his best. Click here for the video and witness it yourself.
And, Sobhita is wow. I *heart* her.

Why You Must Read ‘A Game of Thrones’; Critical Book Review

“Summer span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds lust, plots and intrigues; to he vast north, where a 700-feet wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. It’s the Game of Thrones. You win or you die.”
A Game of Thrones is book one of A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, which I believe is one of the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age.
George R. R. Martin is an American author of eight novels, a few accumulations of short stories and various screenplays for TV dramas and feature films. Martin has been an immensely prolific and successful writer of fantasy. Thanks to his novel series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ and, also thanks to the huge success of the HBO series, Game of Thrones, which took its title from book one of A Song of Ice and Fire series, ‘A Game of Thrones’.  Yeah, right. They just removed the indefinite article ‘a’.  By the way, Martin’s book hit the best sellers list and witnessed the roaring success many years after they were first published. This book came out in 1996. When I was born; wow.
Coming to the book now, A Game of Thrones. Various highborn families are battling for power on the Kingdom of Westeros, which is an island with a frosty north, warm south, varied topology, and savage brutes over the Narrow Sea (which is not so narrow by the way). The families are interlinked with marriages, alliances and politics yet remain emphatically particular in ethos.
The Starks are the heroes and heart of the story. They are northerners, hard individuals adjusted to hard life, engrossed by honour. The Lannisters are their enemies and inverse – rich, merciless, corrupt southerners. The owner of the Iron Throne is Robert Baratheon as the book starts, who, with the help of Starks deposed the previous king  seventeen years before the story sets, the Mad King Aerys. The Targaryen dynasty rode dragons and ruled Westeros for over hundred of years, practised brother-sister incest, gradually went mad. But the dragons are long lost and no one has seen them for hundred years. The last two Targaryen, the only family members to survive Robert’s attempt to finish them all, near children, fled into exile over the seas.
The book recounts this story jumping from character to character over the wide geography of Westeros and beyond with the point-of-views of eight characters as the story follows. Well, actually nine if you consider the prologue as well.
Character development is perhaps Martin’s greatest strength. He is able to present such a wide range of distinct personalities. From Starks for whom the honor is vital, to the Lannisters who are driven by covetousness and ambition, to the Targaryens who are driven by vengeance. Martin abilities sparkle most prominently when his characters opt for choices where none of their decisions effectively fit their own moralities. Also, the author takes obvious delight in interaction between characters. The dialogues are strong and deep.
For instance,

Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.

And yes, of course, one liners and catchphrases steal the heart, such as, “A Lannisters always pays his debt” or ” Winter is coming”.
 
I think this story is what happens when Sparta meets Lord of the rings with a touch of 50 Shades. From a layman’s point of view, A Game of Thrones is violence and sex and more violence and more sex. And sex also not in almost never for the right romantic reasons. Much more common is violent rape that too in the most sickeningly descriptive sense. If Tolkien would go vulgar, he’d be Martin. 
Also, nobody needs, I repeat, nobody needs to suggest Martin how to butcher his characters. Not even Arnab Goswami. 
 
Talking about characters, yeah we know that Martin excels at character development but this book has hell amount of characters. C’mon! Give me a break! He simply hurls such a variety of identities in with the general mish-mash that the reader loses track about a percentage of the characters and sub-plots in that.
If I were to find the closest contemporary to Martin and his book, I’d name J. R. R. Tolkien. Both have amazing gift of creating believable surreal world where nothing seems unreal and everything is convincing. Though it can be said that there are no real heroes in Martin’s world- which seemed to be only stuffed with villains and survivors, while Tolkien’s Middle Earth has a balanced hero-villain ratio.
In Lord of the Rings, one feels that even in humanity’s darkest hours there is reason to hope. But in Martin’s Westeros, one does not feel that hope, that certainty that good will prevail or the truth will be out.
To be honest, I’m feeling like  drug dealer, trying to sell this cocaine to you. This can hurt you, destroy your emotions and, is fatal to your senses. You’ll feel helpless after finishing this and existential crisis from which you’ll suffer from will make you crave for more and more and more. That’s exactly what it did to me.
By giving 4.5 rating (out of 5) I would say that A Game of Thrones is an incredible read filled with fantasy, supernatural, violence, obscenity, politics, plot twists, revelations, vengeance, emotion, love and every possible elements of a fiction.

Sweetest Encounter in the City : Dessert Bazaar

I had a truly gratifying time at ‘Dessert Bazaar’ which was held at #OneGoldenMile ( near AIIMS metro) by Little Black Book.
Meetha meetha har taraf meetha! Damn! Amazing ambience, amazing crowd, and super amazing scrumptious sweet sweet gastronomical delights.
Though I am not such a fan of sugar or sweets but it had me like a bamboo catches a panda. Everything was so visually attractive and the aroma was highly pleasant. Sweetness was in the air.
Also, the DJ  there was well versed. I have seen many DJs performing at the events. But this DJ was indeed good and knew what he was doing. I was unfortunate that I couldn’t talk to him or tell him how brilliant he is as I was running late. Talent demands to be appraised.
Delhi never seizes to amaze me. This city has lot to offer if you have lot to pay. I understand, Delhi is capital for a reason.
It was a good day 🙂

The Street Art Show : Creativity Explosion

Today I had a marvellous visit at #WIPShow‬ by Start India at Inland Container Depot, Tughlaqabad (Delhi). I have been travelling so much from last one month that I’ve seen so many Graffiti around the country, but, today, I was exposed to the world of amazement and imagination. Creativity knows no bounds. Amazing Street Art Graffiti Show!

“All things are true. God’s an Astronaut. Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian is where all the monsters live.” – Night Breed

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That’s why so many people love an unreal life. They take images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself. Open your eyes to see, and, open your hearts to feel. If you don’t feel it, seeing is worthless. 

 
Start India foundation is a Non-Profit organisation that works on art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in- making art truly democratic and for everyone.
Established in 2004, the foundation has since done 4 festivals across cities of Delhi and Mumbai, creating some iconic landmarks within both cities.
 
If you are in Delhi or will be in Delhi by 28th February, I strongly recommend you to visit here and get yourself flabbergasted.
 
Here are few picture clicked at the Street Art Show. 
 
Graffiti Swag
** B R E A T H E ** because it has EAT in it.
Lookin’ up for inspiration. I’m gonna fly someday. Someday soon.
 

‘The Potbelly’ : A Delight To Your Belly

The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe. Apperently now my second favourite spot in delhi from today onwards. ( #IndianCoffeeHouse being the first favourite )
Glad that I discovered this place along with my friend Nabhaneel.

The food is scrumptious and the view is super cool. A fine peaceful dining in a city so populated. Green and serene.

Although the food is relatively expensive but it is worth the price. Do try Litti-Chicken and Maithili Thali. For Deserts they don’t have any fixed menu, it is always ‘Today’s Special’ .

The Potbelly is in Shahpur Jat Village. Nearest metro is Green Park and Hauz Khas. Autorickshaw charges Rs. 30 only.

╰» σℓινєя тωιѕт – My First Book Review

Though it was one of Dickens’ first novels, is still very popular.I liked it very much and also advise you to read it. Oliver is a young boy whose life is a series of ups and downs, of bad and good fortune. He begins life in a workhouse, where he is badly treated. He runs away to London and gets caught up with a gang of thieves. He escapes from the gang and is saved by a kind old gentleman, but the gang catches him again, and so it continues. The story is breathtaking in its constant dramatic changes of fortune.

 

Some of Oliver Twist are common to Dickens’ novels; for instance, the picture Dickens creates of crime and low life. Dickens tries to show how poverty make people into criminals. There is a strong social message in Oliver Twist.

 

Dickens’ strong subjects- violent crime, love, hate, power, money- mean his story are always dramatic. At the same time, he is a humorous writer; for example, Mr Bumble, the beadle, is feared by oliver in the early part of Oliver Twist but later he becomes a figure of fun, a character on which the reader can laugh at.

 

Oliver Twist likemost of Dickens’ stories, has a happy ending. Here there is a conflict betweenthe realism of many parts of the novel and the sentimental belief that good must triumph over evil. It is a fact that the children who became criminals in Dickens’ time were always never saved by a kind old gentleman like Mr. Brownlow or a nice lady like Mrs. Rose Maylie. But it probably would not have been possible for Dickens to write his books differently. People expected and wanted a happy ending. And that is a generally the same today.

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