After the sudden death of his father, Abhimanyu is chosen by destiny to become the Prime Minister. With him the life of his love, Anwita is also affected. What problems they faces? Does the country accept a man chosen by luck as their leader? Will he accept everything or become a ray of hope and change? Youngistaan is all about it, to know the whole story watch the movie.
Firstly I will like to say you will be missed Farooq Sir. You are the soul of this movie.
The movie starts off well showing life of Jacky’s life, which gives you a view of his personality. Then the movie takes you in a romantic journey with politics. This has its love and other elements too! The story is engaging and holds you till the end. The director could have done better.
Coming to acting, Jackky Bhagnani is perfect in the role of Abhimanyu. His charm, his sweetness, his love for Anwita everything is pulled off well by him. Actually the movies which he chooses are very different- and Yongistaan is one of them.
Neha Sharma, she is not just furniture in the movie. This girl can act. She has done well as Anwita, she’s bubbly, charming and beautiful.
Other supporting casts are also good.
Music is good.
Overall I will say Youngistaan has got its soul and heart, you should watch the movie. I would give it 3 stars out of 5.
Today we are very happy to have Anand Neelakantan to be in conversation with us in a yet another segment of Let’s Talk. His debut book Asura: Tale of the Vanquished was 2012’s surprise bestseller and his next book, Ajaya: Roll of the Dice which released in the late 2013 is already a bestseller. While Asura focused on dismantling the age-old beliefs of God and Devil by questioning the idea of victory and defeat his next book Ajaya: Roll Of The Dice, takes on the Mahabharata, this time focusing on the ‘unconquerable’ Suyodhanathe hero of this book, eldest of the Kauravas, wrongly maligned by Pandava propaganda, so much so that even his name has been twisted into what we know as Duryodhana. So we decided to find out from Anand, more about the other side of the coin, more about the concept of villains and finally about the person he is.
Let’s Talk: Team Word Bite: We all know the impact your books have made in the last two years, so tell us something about ‘The Making of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished’ and ‘The Making of Ajaya: Roll of the Dice’.
Anand Neelakantan: Both the books are the product of the thought- What if the story is told by the so called Villains. Asura took almost six years of research to write and fortunately, Ajaya also started forming in my mind at that time. I have relied on many folk versions and our villages are rich with folk tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata
TWB: Your Wikipedia page says that you are from Tripunitara and I have visited Tripunitara and its temples for so many times. You lived around those temples hearing stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana (the versions which are always told) and I think that there is a great influence of this temple-town in you. Tell us something about that.
AN: Thripunithura was the capital city of Cochin princely state. The old palace and 100 odd temples give it a unique charm or rather it used to have a unique charm. There is a very old music college where eminent singers like K J Yesudas studied music and the town has produced great classical music and Kathakali artists. Temples used to reverberate with various traditional arts and retellings of mythological stories, be it through Kathakali, Ottam thulal, Koodiyattam, Hari Katha, Bhagawatham, Sapthaham etc. Even now, these things do happen, but I doubt whether the audience listens to the same with the same fervor.
TWB: Talking about Ravana, somewhere I have read a little parable where a pregnant woman once asks her daughter whether she wishes for – a brother or sister to which she replies that she wants a brother like Ravana who sacrificed everything- his state, his lineage, his kingdom, his life- just to avenge his sister’s indignity. What is your view on this?
AN: My view of Ravana is given in my book Asura. He is one of the most humane characters in our mythology and when we speak of tales of Gods, one who is a human gets portrayed as a demon in comparison. Ravana had all the strengths and weaknesses of an ordinary man with an extraordinary will power and ambition.
TWB: I have heard many versions of the Ramayana with various points of views. But I haven’t seen a book based on Ramayana from Ravana’s point of view. And what makes your book different is the fact that all the characters are treated as humans and not as a god or an evil. Why did you characterize the book in this way?
AN: If we take out the magic and exaggerations out of the mythology, it becomes a story of common people. Ramayana is the story of an extraordinary man, the Maryadapurushottama who shows how a man has to live. Ravanayana or Asura is the story of an ordinary man who shows how a man actually lives.
TWB: There is a character named Bhadra in the book, haven’t heard anything about this anywhere. Is it a character you created? If yes then why?
AN: There are plenty of stories that talk about the victor’s story. A few stories are there that talks about fallen heroes. It is very rare that the stories of the forgotten are told. Bhadra is the often forgotten common man, whose story gets never told. Bhadra was the character created for making the story more contemporary. Otherwise, Asura would have been just a contra telling, where Ravana justifies all his actions. Bhadra brings balance to the story. Bhadra is one among us.
TWB: The book also talks about Ravana fighting against the caste-system. In a religious country like ours what importance does this have since each and every Indians are defined accordingly?
AN: We love to bracket people. After the publication of Asura, I got a few mails asking what my caste is! As if that only matters and not what I write. A story is a story, irrespective of who tells it. I have grown up with the legend of Onam, which celebrates the reign of Mahabali, an Asura king who proclaimed, perhaps for the first time in the human history that all are equal. Ravana was the worthy successor of the Asura emperor.
TWB: What was your reaction to know the way you book was selling. How did you feel when you were nominated for a Popular Choice award in the Crosswords?
AN: It was a very surprising to see that. It was done as a very low key affair and there has not been even a book launch for Asura. It picked up by the fifth month and even now it is in top 10 after almost 2 years. Once Asura had become CNN IBN best seller number 1 in 2012, the nomination for Popular Choice awards in the Crosswords was a natural process. Needless to say, I was thrilled by my luck.
TWB: Your next book Ajaya: Roll of the Dice, takes on the Mahabharata, this time focusing on the ‘unconquerable’ Kauravas. Didn’t you think while writing this book that it will be hard for the people to digest simply because they grew up hearing the only versions of the story?
AN: That is the whole point. I believe the writer’s duty is to hold a mirror to the society from different angles. What is the point in telling Ramayana and Mahabharata in the same way it had been told always? Better writers than me have done that. My strength is more in my contrarian thoughts than in the craft of writing. Craft is something I am still learning and hopefully, I will be reasonably good in it, one day. Writing against something that has been told a thousand times over the last three or four thousand years is a tough job. I feel a sense of accomplishment, even if a few of my readers think that, may be it could have happened this way, even for a minute
TWB: What do you think about the earlier versions of Mahabharata and Ramayana were Kauravas and Ravana were villains? What according to you might be the reason that they were depicted the way it is shown in those texts? And whom do you patronize the heroes in your book or the heroes in the earlier versions?
AN: History is written by the victors, always. Just for a moment, let us imagine that Kaurvas had won the war. Mahabharata would have been like this. Evil bastard sons of the younger brother of a blind King tried to wrest power from the legitimate heir and first born son, Suyodhana. Suyodhana with the help of righteous men like Karna and Bhishma defeated the evil designs of his cousins. I do not patronize any one. My aim is not propaganda or vilification of the beliefs of any one. The contra telling is a part of my Hindu upbringing and culture. In Hinduism, there is space for both Ravana and Rama, both Dharmaputra and Suyodhana. The temples in the name of Ravana or Suyodhana are proof enough for that. My aim is to show that, there are two sides to a story and there is no absolute right or wrong, belief in absolute right or wrong leads to fanaticism, religious bigotry and even wars.
TWB: When you decided to write Asura and Ajaya, and that to depicting the Ravana and the Duryodhana as heroes, didn’t you feel afraid of the people’s outrageous reaction when they read in your books that the people they idolize are treated as villains?
AN: Let me make one thing clear here. These are works of fiction. I have never portrayed Lord Rama or Krishna as villains, nor have I made them perfect human beings. When Ravana narrates the story, it has to appear natural. If I write that Ravana says,” Rama is the avatar of Vishnu and I will get salvation if he kills me”, there is no story at all. Rama may be God for me and you, but when I tell the story in the voice of Ravana, the hatred Ravana feels towards his enemy has to be written. Even in Mahabharata, Vyasa has explicitly stated the abuses Gandhari showers on Krishna in graphic detail. That is required for the character. I believe the readers have the maturity to understand that it is the character speaking and not the author. Author is just a witness.
TWB: Your future books other than the Ajaya- part 2…
AN: Amatya- that will be the story of Amatya Rakshasa, the minister of Nanda and the foe of Chanakya.
TWB: Everything aside, tell us something about your life, your family and how do you cope up with your job as a Manager in Indian Oil Corp. and you- the author.
AN: I write from 04.00 Am to 07.00 Am on most days. That gives me sufficient time to manage my work and devote time to my family of two small kids, Ananya and Abhinav, wife Aparna and my pet dog, Jackie the blackie.
TWB: If both the books are made into a movie or a play, which amongst these would you like to see portraying, Ravana and Suyodhana (Duryodhana)?
TWB: Your favorite authors.
AN: Veda Vyasa, M T Vasudevan Nair, Basheer, Somerset Maugham,
TWB: Your favorite authors who write in mythological genre.
AN: Romesh Menon, Kamala Subramaniam
TWB: Lastly, a message to the readers.
AN: Please read my books with an open mind. I am not only aiming for entertainment, so if the book slows down in some chapters, it is because I want you to think with me. It is in the purest Indian tradition of Vada and Prati Vada.
TWB: So here we wrap up a very exciting and intriguing interview with Anand Neelakantan. Thank you Sir, for this interview and for being the way you are. Good Luck!
Her book ‘Almost Single’ struck a chord with the readers and eventually became a best-seller. The book portrayed a brilliant character ‘Aisha Bhatia’. Then came the year 2012, and we saw another portrayal of a woman Vidya Bagchi, this time in a full-length Bollywood Film (Kahaani) manifesting her vigour, uprightness and a very strong character received accolades from all over.
Advaita Kala, the best-selling author of Almost Single and Script-Writer of Anjaana Anjaani and critically-acclaimed film Kahaani talks to us about her books, movies and above all, her Kahaani.
Team Word Bite: You recently published an article on identifying the multiple aggressors that pose a threat to the freedom of expression in this country and itwas really appreciated. Tell us something about it.
Advaita Kala: Well, I have been increasingly concerned about the growing threats to freedom of expression and it is an issue that as a writer, I feel the need to engage with on a sustained basis. We are a very diverse country and its hard to imagine a time when people will not be offended, however we have to draw some sort of line, try and figure out what is provocative for the sake of being so, and what is objectionable because it appeals to a certain section of society to deem it objectionable. It’s a pivotal time right now, in terms of how we are going to proceed and what kind of creative environment we are creating. My series of columns are an exploration of this and an attempt to keep the conversation going.
TWB: Being in a hospitality industry for over long time, what inspired you to write Almost Single and when did you decide to really sit yourself down and start writing?
AK: Well I am fortunate to have multiple passions and hospitality is one of them. It gave me a skill at a time when I frankly had none and for that I am grateful. Even now when things are going well, I still feel that if it comes to it, I can always go back to working in a hotel and support myself. But on a serious note, Almost Single was a story waiting to be told and I just had to sit down and do it, which is what I did. I have always written, its just that this was the first thing that escaped and got out in the public domain.
TWB: You also did a movie Anjaana Anjaani and the highly acclaimed and successful Kahaani. So being a traveler, how did you reach Bollywood?
AK: everything I have done has been very organic, one thing led to another. No strategy at all, just going with my curiosity. I did the first film because I was curious about writing for film. The second happened as a consequence of the first and I wanted to see if it was possible to pull off a thriller, a genre very different from the one I was known for. So really my career strategy has quite simple been curiosity.
TWB: The protagonists in Anjana Anjaani or in Kahaani all are shown as travelers in search of something. So is there any link between these characters and Advaita Kala, since you being an extensive traveler.
AK: Wow, that’s a good catch. Yes I am constantly seeking, I really don’t know what. But it’s a big part of who I am and I guess that’s what keeps me writing as well. This intense need to figure things out, to figure myself out, other people. It keeps me engaged with living. So yes, maybe my characters are on journeys much in the way that I am.
TWB: In one of his interviews, Parambrata Chatterjee said, “Kahaani already has two heroes, Vidya and Kolkata. I’m the film’s heroine”, comment on it.
AK: Ha, ha he won’t be the first male character in a work of mine to have felt secondary to the female lead! But that’s going to change my next two films are male centric!
TWB: Do you see Almost Single turning out to be a movie?
AK: Maybe but it’s not really something I think about or am working on.
TWB: Writing a Screenplay or writing a novel, what is more enjoyable to you?
AK: Honestly it’s the same, the pay offs are very different. Though I would like to get to work on my novel now.
TWB: Do you ever imagine yourself writing something with a male point of view?
TWB: What is your opinion on referring to a literary piece of work for e.g. Almost Single and Kahaani as Woman-Centric?
AK: I don’t define my work, others do, it’s their perception. I think they are both interesting stories. J
TWB: Your future projects……
AK: A television show on Star Plus, going on air very soon.
TWB: Vidya Balan as Vidya Bagchi in Kahaani or Priyanka Chopra as Kiara in AnjaanaAnjaani
AK: Ha-ha! They are both special ladies and just very nice, warm human beings who give their best to a film and characters. Frankly I take it as a compliment that two of the finest actresses in our industry have worked on my films.
TWB: Your favorite Indian Author/Authors
AK: Vikram Seth, Ruskin Bond, Aravind Adiga, endless list
TWB: Your favorite Foreign Author/Authors
AK: Too many to name
TWB: Describe yourself in three words
AK: Work in progress
TWB: Quote something about The WordBite with a message…
AK: A prayer for the wild at heart trapped in cages – Tennessee Williams
TWB: Thank you! for giving us your valuable time and we hope so that your coming projects will be accepted, appreciated by one and all and eventually become a huge success. Good Luck. 🙂
Today, in an all new session of THE READING ROOM, we are going to discuss about ‘Rise of the Sun Prince’ (Book 1) from the Ramayana: THE GAME OF LIFE by Shubha Vilas.
One of the World’s Great Literary Masterpieces, Skillfully Retold for Modern Audiences
Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives?
Yes, there is a need; yes, this is different; and yes, it is most relevant! This new series of books, each following one khand of the Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought-provoking instruction. In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to life’s deepest questions. The narrative closely follows Valmiki’s Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The first of this six-volume series, Rise of the Sun Prince, takes you through the divine story of Lord Rama from His birth up to His marriage. Through these pages are revealed the tales of Dasaratha’s leadership, Vishwamitra’s quest for power and the intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Ramayana: The Game of Life has all of this and much more – food for contemporary thought drawn from an enduring masterpiece.
To know more about the story, grab your copy and enjoy!
There are numerous renditions of this grand epic, Ramayana. So what makes this book different? What makes this book standout is that it is written in utter simplicity, incorporating with elaborate explanations.
I was skeptical in reading a book on Ramayana because:
I THOUGHT I knew the whole story.
Secondly, scriptures and epics are very difficult to understand.
But this book proved me wrong. The crisp derivations in the story, part by part into the beautiful chapters are the thing to watch out for. This enables even a casual reader to easily understand the book. This book can be read by one and all and is an amalgamation of soulful and meaningful words. The narration does not sound like a commentary but it is like an involvement of the narrator with the reader. There is one chapter were the author tries to explain and compares how even the objects (weapons) in those days were personified and in current world, people are treated like objects. This is so very true!
Each page has footnotes were the author interprets the parallels with the every incidents taking place in the story. The first quarter focuses on the Kingdom of Ayodhya and King Dashratha. Second quarter focuses on Lord Rama’a childhood. Third quarter and according to me my personal favorite chapter focuses on Sage Vishwamitra. ‘You rise when your pride falls’ is according to me the best chapter were a King after his repeated failures and drawbacks tries harder and harder with shear perseverance to become a Brahmarishi. This chapter is too inspiring! Fourth chapter focuses on Rama’s snapping of Lord Shiva’s bow and his marriage with Sita with his subsequent encounter with Parshurama.
The way the Kingdom of Ayodhya used to function, which is neatly described in the book should be learnt by the current rulers, lawmakers of any country. There are countless instances which warrant a re-read.
But there are also certain things which failed even my imaginative power. Lord Rama is a God and that is very fine but he also was a 12 year old human. But the way the character was being treated by other characters (Other than King Dashratha) during his snapping of Lord Shiva’s bow is something unbelievable. Also King Janaka speaks about the difficulty in marrying Sita for long days seems to be unreal because though her age wasn’t specified here but we can consider that she was near-about of the same age as that of Lord Rama.
The conclusion chapter focuses on the prologue to the next part, i.e. Book 2. The prologue promises that the Book 2 will be even more intriguing with freshly woven story with a ten on ten researched detailing. Can’t wait!
That aside, Book 1 is truly, truly engaging and doesn’t need a book-marker since it is a page turner. I recommend this book to all those who love to read some real Mythological Fiction.
This Friday saw a big romantic-comedy release. Romance is colorful and so holi makes a proper release date for romance genre.
Story at a glance:
The story of Bewakoofiyaan revolves around the life of Mohit, his love Mayera and her father V.K Sehgal. How Mohit and Mayera tries to convince her father to approve their marriage and the comedy crises which comes in their lives.
To know the whole story watch the movie.
Firstly I will like to applaud Rishi Kapoor for trying a variety of roles even at this stage of his career. His each role is something different and very memorable. He is the star of the movie. The movie is directed by Nupur Asthana whose last movie was Mujhse. The whole movie is in a comic way, even if the story hits low sometimes. The humor in it saves it. The story is good but has some loop holes which can be avoided.
The cast of the movie is brilliant; every supporting actor has done their job perfectly. Ayushmann Khurrana is back, his charm and wittiness makes Mohit believable. His comic timing is perfect. Sonam Kapoor lives the life of Mayera perfectly, and she has done a good job.
Songs of Bewakoofiyaan are good. Some of them are already a big hit. Raghu Dixit has done a brilliant job.
Overall Bewakoofiyaan is a treat to watch on this holi, you will get a good laughter.