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Life of Pi: Movie Review

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review: Life Of Pi is one of those rare films that amaze, inspire and leave you in awe of the human spirit – all at the same time. A screen adaptation of a bestselling book by a visionary Academy Award winning director, one can only expect brilliance. And brilliance it delivers. Man against nature, man against animal, cast away, doomed by destiny-it’s a survival story like no other. A story told with beauty, elegance, spirit and an exceptional bit of enchantment.

A story that begins in a small family owned zoo in the enchanted town of Pondicherry, our boy Pi and his family live  typical small town life. Each aspect of his childhood story are divinely real, from his name to the entry of the new tiger in their zoo (Richard Parker) to the lessons his father taught him as a child. When the zoo goes broke and they decide to ship themselves and the animals to Canada, a shipwreck dooms the teenage boy to destiny. Cast away by a storm in a life boat with an adult Bengal Tiger in the middle of the Pacific- Life of Pi is an exceptional story of survival. With a bucket, a knife and a guide book as his prized processions, Pi and his fierce companion spend 227 days cast away on an adventure of hope, strength and human spirit. A story like that takes immense bravery to adapt to screen. And what an adaptation indeed.

Ang Lee is a visual artist, he paints on screen, paints like he is Picasso’s heir. CGI on Richard Parker the ferocious Bengal Tiger is by far the best animation I have seen. Richard Parker is real, as far as I am concerned- he is no CGI tiger. He is every bit the rival and companion to Pi that we see. Suraj Sharma as Pi pulls of a remarkable performance, emoting vulnerability, spirit and wisdom through his young eyes. Irrfan Khan as always throws in a bankable performance as the middle aged Pi narrating his story.

Despite such a spectacular visual experience and such brilliant storytelling, Life of Pi  is still at 3.5 not 4 stars. And there is only one reason to that. A story of this magnitude, a story with so much depth, required far more than a 125 min screen adaptation. No matter how hard you try, you cannot capture the depth of an epic story like that in 2 hours. It is going to lack depth. Pi is going to feel underdeveloped as a character. Pi’s childhood in itself is a 2 hour film. His 227 days as a cast away should be as long as aLord Of The Rings Triology. But with all due respect, if Life of Pi was to be made into a film, it couldn’t have been better than this. Kudos Ang Lee, I sense another Academy Nomination here.

Verdict: Visually spectacular, Ang Lee brings us a rich & inspirational offering.

Malvika Rao

Movie Details
Release date: Nov 23, 2012
Language: English
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Cast & Crew: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Ayush Tandon, Gerard Depardieu, Rafe Spall
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Yann Martel

Categories: Motivation

True Story of Miss India 2009 – An Inspiring Story For Everyone

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Miss India 2009- Pooja Chopra, Mother- Neera Chopra

Neera Chopra lived through abuse, poverty and some tough choices to make her once-unwanted girl child, Pooja Chopra.

Neera Chopra’s story:
“I don’t know where to begin… they were terrible times. My husband was well-placed, but the marriage had begun to sink almost as soon as it began. Like most women do, I tried to work against all the odds .

My in-laws insisted everything would be alright if I had a son. My first child was a daughter, and that didn’t do me any good… but I couldn’t walk out. I had lost my father, my brother was in a not-so-senior position in Bata. I didn’t want to be a burden on my family and continued to live in my marital home in Kolkata.

I looked after my mother-inlaw, who was suffering from cancer, and while bathing her, I would tell myself she would bless me and put things right.

I don’t know how I tolerated it all. The least a man can do, if he must philander, is to not flaunt his women in his wife’s face. Then began the manhandling. I still wanted my marriage to survive. I was a pure vegetarian and learnt to cook non-vegetarian delicacies thinking it would please him.

Then, I was pregnant again. When Pooja was eight months in my womb, my husband brought a girl to the house and announced he would marry her. I thought of killing myself. I hung on the slight hope that if the baby was a boy, my marriage could be saved.

When Pooja was born a girl, for three days, nobody came to the hospital. There was a squadron leader’s wife on the opposite bed, who was kind enough to give me baby clothes for Pooja to wear. When she was 20 days old, I had to make a choice. I left the house with my girls ‘ Pooja and Shubra, who was seven then. I haven’t seen my husband since. I promised myself, even if we had just one roti, we would share it, but together.

I began life in Mumbai with the support of my mother, brother, who was by then married. It wasn’t the ideal situation, especially when he had children – space, money, everything was short. I began work at the Taj Colaba and got my own place. How did I manage? Truth be told, I would put a chatai on the floor, leave two glasses of milk and some food, and bolt the door from outside before going to work. I would leave the key with the neighbours and tell the kids to shout out to them when it was time to leave for school.

Their tiny hands would do homework on their own, feed themselves on days that I worked late. My elder daughter Shubhra would make Pooja do her corrections… This is how they grew up. At a birthday party, Pooja would not eat her piece of cake, but pack it and bring it home to share with her sister. When Shubhra started working, she would skip lunch and pack a chicken sandwich that she would slip in her sister’s lunchbox the next day.

I used to pray, ‘God, punish me for my karma, but not my innocent little kids. Please let me provide them the basics.’ I used to struggle for shoes, socks, uniforms. I was living in Bangur Nagar, Goregaon. Pooja would walk four bus stops down to the St Thomas
Academy . Then, too little to cross the road, she would ask a passerby to help her. I had to save the bus money to be able to put some milk in their bodies.

Life began to change when I got a job for Rs 6,000 at the then Goa Penta. Mr Chhabra, the owner, and his wife, were kind enough to provide a loan for me. I sent my daughters to my sister’s house in Pune, with my mother as support. I spent four years working in Goa while I saved to buy a small one-bedroom house in Pune (where the family still lives). I would work 16-18 hours a day, not even taking weekly offs to accumulate leave and visit my daughters three or four times a year.

Once I bought my house and found a job in Pune, life began to settle. I worked in Hotel Blue Diamond for a year and then finally joined Mainland China ‘ which changed my life. The consideration of the team and management brought me the stability to bring them up, despite late hours and the travelling a hotelier must do.

Shubhra got a job in Hotel Blue Diamond, being the youngest employee there while still in college, and managed to finish her Masters in commerce and her BBM. Today, she is married to a sweet Catholic boy who is in the Merchant Navy and has a sweet daughter.

I continue to finish my day job and come home and take tuitions, as I have done for all these years. I also do all my household chores myself.

Through the years, Shubhra has been my anchor and Pooja, the rock. Pooja’s tiny hands have wiped away my tears when I broke down. She has stood up for me, when I couldn’t speak for myself. Academically brilliant, she participated in all extra-curricular activities. When she needed high heels to model in, she did odd shows and bought them for herself.

When I saw Pooja give her speech on TV, I knew it came from her heart. I could see the twinkle in her eye. And I thought to myself as she won ‘My God, this is my little girl.’ God was trying to tell me something.

Today, I’ve no regrets. I believe every cloud has a silver lining. As a mother, I’ve done nothing great.”

Pantaloons Femina Miss India Pooja Chopra’s mother promised, ‘One day, this girl will make me proud’.

Pooja speaks on fulfilling that promise… “When I was 20 days old, my mother was asked to make a choice. It was either me, a girl child, or her husband. She chose me. As she walked out she turned around and told her husband, ‘One day, this girl will make me proud’. That day has come. Her husband went on to marry a woman who gave him two sons. Today, as I stand here a Miss India, I don’t even know if my father knows that it is me, his daughter, who has set out to conquer the world, a crown on my head.

“Our lives have not been easy, least so for my mother. Financially, emotionally, she struggled to stay afloat, to keep her job and yet allow us to be the best that we could be. I was given only one condition when I started modelling ‘ my grades wouldn’t drop.

“All the girls in the pageant worked hard, but my edge was my mother’s sacrifice, her karma. Today, when people call to congratulate me, it’s not me they pay tribute to, but to her life and her struggle. She’s the true Woman of Substance. She is my light, my mentor, my driving force.”

 

Categories: Motivation

Chetan Bhagat’s Message For NEET Aspirants

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Of course failure sucks. It sucks the life force out of you. It makes you feel useless, miserable and lonely. It makes you doubt yourself in every aspect.

All those who say take failure in your stride are talking nonsense. It is like saying take getting kicked in the stomach a hundred times in your stride. No, it isn’t possible. Failure hurts. You, me and everyone else.

But there’s the thing. Failure may be able to hurt you, but it shouldn’t be able to make you quit.

Quitting is in your hands. You fail, you feel sad, maybe you even cry. But don’t quit.

People who finally win are not those who don’t get hurt by failure. They do. They just don’t quit because of failure. They tell failure, ‘Yes this hurts. But Mr Failure, all your hurting is not going to make me quit. It will hurt for a while but then I will be back. I will try again, and again. Until I finally win and you no longer exist in my life.’

Categories: Motivation

A sweet lesson on patience

September 8, 2012 Leave a comment


A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across

the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Categories: Motivation

Six virtues a medicare giver must possess : APJ Abdul Kalam

July 18, 2012 Leave a comment

On November 17th, 2008, I visited Nepal to preside as the Chief Guest at the yearly convocation ceremony of Kathmandu University. During my brief visit to Nepal, I met Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Boudhanath, Kathmandu. I would like to share an experience with Choakyi Nyima Rinpoche, the Chief Monk in Kathmandu and a medical researcher. After nearly a kilometer of walk, I reached the white Kumbha where the chief Monk and his disciples were waiting to receive me. After reception the Chief Monk said, let us go to our study room and I followed him. He climbed the first floor, the second floor, the third floor, the fourth floor and the fifth floor, just like a young boy. Probably the life style has a positive impact on the mind and body. All along I was following and following.

When I reached his chamber, I saw a laboratory and a spiritual environment over looking the Himalayas. What surprised me was his research students come from different parts of the world. Particularly he introduced me to his co-author David R Shlim, MD who is working on a research area, Medicine and Compassion. The Chief Monk Choakyi Nyima Rinpoche and myself exchanged few books. The Monk has written with Dr. David R. Shlim a book titled “Medicine and Compassion”. I liked this book and read it during my journey from Katmandu to Delhi.

This book gives six important virtues, which a medical practitioner has to possess towards their patients.

First virtue is generosity;
the second virtue is pure ethics;
third is tolerance,
fourth is perseverance,
fifth is cultivating pure concentration and
the sixth virtue is to be intelligent.

These virtues will empower the caregivers with a humane heart. Particularly these are the virtues, which may be the guiding force to be emulated by the medical practitioners, healthcare professionals and nurses and paramedical staff across the world.

Categories: Motivation

Goals

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it.
One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?”
The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.”

Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.
A plan without goal is juz a wish!!!
Plan what you really want & forsee yourself achieving it.

“Yard by yard, life’s hard. 
Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.” 

Categories: Motivation

Smile

April 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Smile by Michael Jackson

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

If you smile with your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just…

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just…

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile…

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9HKnsURAbo&feature=related

Categories: Motivation
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