Fifty Shades Darker Novel Review: The novel might not intrigue you but this review might.

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Even after the terrible start to series I decided to read Fifty Shades because I thought there was some mystery in the novel and I had to know what happened to Anastasia.  I try not to admit it, but it was also the fun factor which reeled me in.

To be quite literal with this one, Salman Khan wouldn’t beat people this many times, Jason Statham wouldn’t fire as many bullets in a movie as the number of times Grey and Ana have sex.

Bad writing style made me a little dizzy, as at least giving this novel a bad rating will rejuvenate me. This novel was as bad as its predecessor, Fifty Shades of Grey. It was still a fast read, don’t get me wrong, but badass Grey was lacking in the novel, maybe because he didn’t get to tie up Ana as much as he wanted.

The novel starts where the prequel left off, Ana dashing out of his playroom. The twitching palm of Christian Grey continues to twitch, but doesn’t get the necessary fuel (spanking, that is).

The dialogues and the phrases used are unintentionally funny, like the very first sentence:

“He’s come back. Mommy’s asleep or she’s sick again.” You really can’t help but laugh at it. And we begin with a prologue of Christian Grey having a nightmare regarding his childhood memory. It’s kind of awkward when you’re faced with, “You are one fucked up bitch”, six times in a row on the very first page.

We catch up with Ana, where now she is working as an Assistant at SIP publishing House. After a lot of whining of the likes of, “Have I really broken up with Christian Grey?”, “Is it really over between us?” and shit. Christian swoops in at the first opportunity with yet another proposition, and well, Ana is back into relationship with him. A lot happens between the pages, none of which is truly intriguing and the book ends with Ana saying yes to Christian’s marriage proposal after having sex or before. I don’t exactly remember. They have sex many times, you’ve got to understand.

Sex scenes are very insipid, more precisely, their content. Christian flashes Ana a look, Ana bites her lower lip, his eyes darken (I think he has an eye problem) and says, “You’re biting your lip again” (Oh God! Like she didn’t know), everything south of Ana’s waist paralyses under his gaze, some undressing ensues, he establishes that she looks beautiful or beguiling, he kisses, sucks, nips, licks and Ana, who has been passive, all of a sudden explodes. Seriously, this woman needs to improve her track record.

The worst moment after sex is, Christian always up on top of Ana after his release and Ana looses consciousness after orgasm!!? Christian elevates from “fucking” to “love making” which is kind of soothing as it does the much needed romantic ambience to the wane looking novel, Christian looses his rage-inducing, all domineering look all of a sudden.

EL James’ understanding of discussion is that, if they’re into an argument, Christian Grey gazes at Ana, she’s disarmed, when he touches her, she melts and when he has sex with her, and the discussion is over.

What’s more is, they have sex after every few pages. I mean, you’re going to make them have sex, at least have the courtesy to describe it in a better way. I was literally left with the same stuff to read for at least 15 times. My God! Think about the poor souls who’re still chaste, they might get turned off, forever.  EL James has dealt with the whole story in a tacky way and what’s worse is the poor execution. This isn’t even a love story, when it’s brimming with just the carnal pleasure.

You know what’s nauseous? Ana whining about how she has spent the past week. In one scene she’s like,

Christian: “Stay with me a moment. Taylor wants us to wait while the crowd disperses.”

Ana: (thinks) Oh.

Christian: “I think that fireworks display probably aged him a hundred years.”

Ana: “Doesn’t he like fireworks?”

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I’m like, “WTF did you just say?” Funniest part is when,

“Christian gazes down at me fondly and shakes his head but doesn’t elaborate.”

Christian be like, “Oh honey, if you weren’t so hot and hadn’t said yes, I’d be taking you in Charlie Tango (helicopter) and push you from above.”

The incident at the rear end of the novel with Elena was unnecessary and could have been avoided, doing no harm to the story. (Assuming that there was room for that “harm”.) EL James got caught up in the execution by accommodating thrilling moment to conjure a perfect moment.

The twist, more precisely, the clandestine at the end seems another poor archetypal effort to fill up the void. The theme for the next novel seems clear from the end of this novel.

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As a result of all of the above, all I have for EL James is no obeisance as a writer.

My Rating: 1/5.

Word Count: 
“Oh my” – 47
“Crap” – 36
“Jeez” – 84
“Holy (shit/fuck/crap/hell/cow/moses)” – 124
“Whoa” – 30
“Gasp” – 44
“Gasps” – 17
“Sharp Intake of Breath” – 5
“Murmur” – 91
“Murmurs” – 194
“Whisper” – 140
“Whispers” – 113
“Mutter” – 71
“Mutters” – 48
“Fifty” – 95
“Lip” – 47
“Inner goddess” – 58
“Subconscious” – 59

50 Shades Of Grey Novel Review

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When a novel is classified under a certain genre you start reading it, expecting it to be exactly that. But as far as 50 Shades of Grey and EL James are concerned, the said rule doesn’t apply to them. But then again, EL James didn’t really bother herself with the writing much, as long as sex lingered in the pages of this so called roamance-erotic novel.

When Anastasia Steele conducts the interview of the multi-millionaire Christian Grey, she gets smitten with his ruggedly handsome looks and gets fascinated by him. Christian Grey’s stalking skills allow him to find Ana and offer her an agreement and she falls for his arrangement. But as she spends more time (for lack of a better word) with Christian Grey, she learns that he is tormented by his past. As the novel reaches it’s climax, because of lack of understanding and for the need to have more, Ana finally breaks up with him.

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If you’re not familiar with the basic concepts of BDSM, the events in the novel may appear bizzare. However, the most pivotal aspect of the novel is not exhibited properly in the novel that is, of course the language. Any and every novel, irrespective of what the content is or for whom it’s intended to, demands a certain caliber writing. As we dive in to read the pages of this particular novel, you come across the manner of language that is incongruous, incoherent and repetitive. And that is not just bound to the kind of language but also to the content involved.

Most of the romantic novels always eloquently describe the sensual interactions between the protagonists and Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t an exception. But when it got to a level when there was nothing else but those two engaging in coitus time after time, regardless to say, it was creepy, monotonus and in a way verbose, almost as if EL James had nothing else other than their sexual encounters to show for.

There were just a few moments, that got me going. Ana’s persistant efforts to show Christian that he could open up to her and her little negotiations to pry the information out of him, these and a couple more moments piqued my interest.

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The creepy agreement instead of a free flow love story was a big let down for me. Why is it bad? Because, its just a fancy name for prostitution, except the fact that she wasn’t getting paid in money. But apart from that, it curbed a good setting which the novel got at the inception and of course restrained the characters to have any romantic involvement with each other. It was utterly unromantic (I don’t know who suggested 50 Shades be classified as a romantic novel) and more about carnal pleasures.

The Last Word:

I want to see Christian and Ana have a normal relationship in the sequels, but somehow I know Christian is going to f**k, not make love, which is the least romantic and the most repelling thing for me. Though there’s so much bad in the novel, the mystery is still eating me up and I’d still give it a go, as long as it doesn’t creep me out.

My Rating: 1.5/5

Talvar Movie Review: The story will leave you devastated.

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It’s been little more than seven years, that the twin murder of Aarushi and Hemraj have drifted from the CBI getting one lead to another and then to being bogged down on several dead ends. With absolutely no evidence, the parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar being convicted of these murders under the tags of ‘honour killings’, stay in detention since 2013. The case would’ve been solved long ago, but the skillful work of the Delhi police, in garnering and containing the evidence, along with various labs storing them, managed to let the case run only on the hypothesis of CBI. Not that CBI was very dutiful in its task, but they successfully landed the charges on the parents rather than finding the murder on the loose.

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I have been following the events of the Aarushi murder, also with the help of a book (not completed reading) with the name of the girl who was murdered in her sleep. Written by the reporter, Avirook Sen, the book mainly shows how the parents were innocent of committing the crime but it also had the mindset of a person, who would likely write something biased. After all, had spent two and half years covering the investigation. As much as I was convinced that Rajesh and Nupur couldn’t imagine doing it, the book also hinted Avirook Sen pressing on how the police and CBI personnel wanted to close off the case rather than finding the killer.

If you’re just checking it out for the first time click here for trailer:

Talking about the movie, Meghna Gulzar had to deliver a notable film for one of the uncanny case/sensation of India, with Vishal Bhardwaj’s retelling to its effect. To begin with, a whole lot of characters were altered/deleted and a case was designed such a way so as to show Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) as the savior. Needless to say, Ashwin, with his orthodox manner of getting the information out of suspects couldn’t save them from going to prison. The intention of the story was not to show a happy ending, but to get the audience to think about what’s going to happen next? Particularly, if the system doesn’t change. It was kind of like Prakash Jha’s movies. The screenplay did get a little messy, with many intricacies. For a typical Bollywood viewer, some of it might go over his head.

Konkana Sen Sharma was outstanding as the mother of Shruti (name changed from Aarushi). She was at her best while the scenes cut when Shruti’s body was taken into the vehicle for post mortem. Again, while the CBI worked out many theories of how the parents were the murders, in one of the hypothesis, she said, “Chal ab acting karni hai”(Let’s go, now we have to put on an act). The manner in which she exuded the characters of a loving mother and on the other hand a psychopath was frenetic and intimidating at times.

Irrfan Khan wasn’t the best as Ashwin Kumar, but was one of the attractions.  Among others, there were Neeraj Kabi, who was convincing enough as a doting father, Shishir Sharma, Gajraj Rao, Prakash Belawadi, Sumit Gulati, Tabu & Atul Kumar, who maintained the flow and kept the level in sync with what they had been expected.

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The Final Word:

This film is not only a take on the most enigmatic case in the history of India but also acts as a  reminder to us that even with the best of resources available in hand, anything could go wrong with the current caliber of system. A need for better system, always craves in our minds. If you’re free this week and want to follow up to “what happened to Aarushi”, watch this movie. Otherwise, a man is awaiting a probe to pick him off of the martian lands, in other screens.

My Rating: 3.5/5.

The Martian Movie Review: A graceful battle of survival, with Mars and eventually with the movie’s runtime

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“Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped”, said Mark Watney in Andy Weir’s novel. I’ve only completed as far as 64% of the novel, but that didn’t matter much as the movie just waded through what was left of it.  The Martian being one of the most admired and anticipated movie of the year is in fact a fast forward of the novel. There are a host of YA, Dystopian, Sci-fi books out there, being converted into movies. Some of those deserve a watch, but when it comes to writing the screenplay, the job is easier said than done. A novel, probably of 300-400 pages being curbed to 2 hours of runtime is like hampering the growth and development of the film. Though it does not weave the intricacy and share the details, The Martian is a ‘go’.

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If you havn’t watched the trailer, click Matt Damon’s face below:

I’m going to indulge in spoiling the story a bit for you. So, Ares 3 team land safely on Mars, as a part of NASA’s initiative. And the team receives a warning of an upcoming storm on Mars. Now, the Hab, where the team officially lives in, would tilt at 12.3 degrees and with limited available time they’d have to seek refuge in the Hab. But on the way back to it, Mark Watney gets hit by the antenna of one of the comms. He wakes up to see that his crew now, has long gone to return to planet Earth, along with Hermes gone and no communication to Earth. He ruminates about his viable options and draws out that he has to survive another 4 years on Mars alone till Ares 4 program team picks him up. With about 300 days food and a limited supply of water and Oxygen, he starts building up the resources. He works his way to get water: Use Hydrazine, a fuel, separate Hydrogen from it by lighting it on fire, convert Carbon dioxide to Oxygen through the Oxygenator, blow Oxygen and Hydrogen in a confined space and give birth to water, all with the chance of getting killed. Mark also becomes the first person to grow potatoes on Mars using his own shit. I know, isn’t science fun? So, now to communicate with NASA he gets the pathfinder, learns ASCII code language and using the imager on the pathfinder, he communicates with NASA. Mark survives through all the persistent and ‘Mars planning to kill him’ times and gets home safely. To reveal more about the movie, watch it for yourself.

Though the story is the dandiest, it majorly depends on the director, on how he wants to festoon the pomp. Ridley Scott needs no introduction, his films having run a good number on the box office. But that doesn’t make up for the shallowness of this movie in terms of details. They should have given more emphasis on succinctly elucidating how Watney did what he did. It just falls flat on the screenplay. But with a more elaborate runtime it could have crept into the minds who have tasted the blood of the novel. With such movies; 3D, cinematography and CGI have to be of top notch, and in this case, The Martian delivers it.

Mark Watney in the novel, was very real, pragmatic, convenient and quick with a joke. On the other hand Matt Damon’s zeal kind of keeps you committed to the big screen. As for seeing him in the skin of Watney is a little unconvincing, less empirical. Not that it’s the deficiency in his acting, but a pinned down runtime doesn’t give him the opportunity of being compatible with the character. A whole lot of stars of high caliber like Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor have starred in the movie, but their presence is very minimal, again the problem of having an average playtime.

The Final Word:

If you love Sci-fi movies, where the protagonist gets stranded on a planet for a shitload of 3 years, you’ll like The Martian. For those, who ranted about how bad the novel was because it had all kinds of calculations and was boring, watch the movie, you might end up liking it more than me. Apart from that, Matt Damon with all the above crew, and an adroit director Ridley Scott, it’s a must watch. But if you want to scavenge more about Mark’s bitter and lonely odyssey, then read the book.

It’s rare that, books-turned-movies work out with such elegance, but as short (that’s the flaw) as The Martian is, it deserves a 4/5.

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“In your face, Neil Armstrong!”

Between Shades Of Gray Review: Contemplative, Full Of Research & A Must Read

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Was it harder to die or harder to be the one to who survived?

When I came across this book for the first time, I thought it’d be just another romantic novels with the protagonist being seperated by her father, literally trafficked into slavery. What I thought would be a silly romance, with a kid immersed in her drawings, turned out to be exactly opposite.

So this is what really happens in the book. At the initial stage of WWII, the Soviet Union invades various Baltic states of  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In 1941, Lina, along with her mother and little brother, are captured and bu train cars taken to various places. Held as prisoners for 25 years and treated as filthy pigs, thousands of people work very hard in excruciating circumstances to get a one time ration, which doesn’t even fill their bellies. The struggle, the behaviour and the injustice pointed towards these people has been documented in this novel.

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Between Shades Of Gray isn’t a total work of fiction. A similar, rather worse or even intense and turbulent times were seen by the civilians. Ruta Sepetys interviewed them and collected a lot of information in Lithuania. Her epilogue and acknowledgement speaks for itself. What is very intriguing is, the whole coverage of the story happens through the eyes of Lina, the 15 year old girl. The story is very sad, set in harsh times, but very beautiful at the same time.

I was particularly amused by the part where Andrius scribbles a few sentences on the pages of the copy of Dombey and Son. Another notable conversation of Lina was, when her father explains that, as the kite goes higher and higher in the sky so do the people when they die. Their spirit soars up in the blue sky and that they are always watching. And then Lina’s brother says, “Maybe Grandma found the kite.”

The Final Word:

Ruta Sepetys tells the tale of an entourage going through innumerable perils and how they strive to survive at every edge, maintaining unity at all times. Though it’s an inviting story to read, it is written in a manner which fails to hit the nerves most of the times. It comes of as a very light material describing much patrifying and difficult moments.

Another deficiency I felt in Between Shades Of Gray was that, it was a petty book. A lot more should have been covered. Watching the world through the eyes of a little girl somewhat makes the intensity of the book. Having said that, I think this is a work to be read by every reader.

My Rating: 4/5