Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Leading at a higher level - Ken Blanchard

I received this book from my Boss along with the letter of elevating my role and responsibilities. It has been a practice here to give management books for every occasion.

I'm not a great fan of management books. However, I have decided to read this book after keeping it pending for 3 months. Wanted to do so, before boss remembers this and ask if I had read it.

I'm no one to comment about the content as it is a result of huge experience and research and that is evident in the writing. There are lot of valuable inputs and tips for leadership, few of which we go through the skill sessions at Office. There are a few interesting observations and comments about the teams.

What I found lack in this is real life examples ( there are very few) and case studies, which would have made it an interesting read.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fateless - Movie ( Hungary )

I had my post on the novel by the same name, only few weeks back. It was a pleasent surprise to see the movie being featured in one of the channel.

An adaptation of the novel by Nobel Laureate Imre Kertesz, this movie was released in Hungarian in 2005. From what ever I could see ( I missed the starting) , I would say the director and the cast has done justification to the original.

Another haunting experience of the holocaust terror through the eyes of a 14 yr old boy.

Like every autobiagraphical stories, this movie to gets into narration to take the story forward. I'm not a great fan of this technique.

Directed by Lajos Koltai
Lead actor Marcell Nagy

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Three Movies

There is nothing you do while sitting in a plane on a long journey, but to sleep or watch movies. Here is a snapshot of the 3 movies I watched.

1.Blood Diamond
This is a movie I wanted to watch for a long time but could not. Already a controversial film, winning some critics acclaim, multiple nominations at the Oscar with a couple of wins, and objected by certain business interests. May be that is the only attraction about this film.
Africa is a continent marred with civil wars and ethnic struggles. And may be it was retained so, by the vested interests for their business purpose. Movie set in the Sierra Leone during the civil war in 1999, it portrays the fighting between the government forces with the RUF ( revelutionary United Front) with all its brutality and atrocities.

Solomon Vandy , a fisherman, is captured by the RUF rebels and forced to work in the diamond fields after being seperated from his family. While working there Solomon finds a rare large diamond and hide the treasure as the government forces attack the RUF camps. He too get arrested with the RUF leader. A white mercenary ( Leonardo DiCaprio) from Rhodesia trades arms with the RUF for diamonds.

The movie is the struggle of Solomon to re-unite with his family, to get the diamond by Archer and to write the sensational story by an American journalist played by Jennifer Conelly. It goes through the predictable routine and ending. Overall, a good movie with some brilliant individual performances.

2. Je Vais Bien Ne T'En Fais Pas ( Dont Worry, I'm Fine) - French
What I like about these movies are that they are from real life. There is no influence of make belief hollywood movies and they stick to the basic of movie making.

A story about a typical midle class family trying to cope with the trauma of their missing son. Lili Tellier comes to know that her twin brother has left home over a fight with their father on her return from holidays in Barcelona. She goes through depression and psychiatric treatment, before she receives a letter from her brother telling her that he is travelling around and will not want to stay with their father anymore. Her attempts to find him is in vain and like her brother she too leaves home and decides to stay seperate. Letter continues to arrive from different cities each time and the life gets back to the normal until one day she finds out that it was her father who was posting all these letters from different places. As the truth unfolds, the family relationship becomes more and more complex.

A wonderfully crafted movie with top class performances from every actor.

Directed by Philippe Lioret based on a novel by Olivier Adam.

3. The Days of Abandonment (I Giorni Dell'abbandono ) - Italy
An ordinary movie about seperation and the struggle for survival by the wife. Usual story of husband leaving for another woman and the subsequent despair and sense of loss by the wife. The usual neglect of the house and kids and the blame game, helpful neighbour and all. As expected , after a mishap, the lady re-group herself and get back to her new life.

Nothing worthwhile to mention here except for the fine performance by the lead lady ( Margarita Buy).

Directed by Roberto Faenza based on a novel by Elena Ferrante.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fateless - Imre Kertesz

"What ? Do you still want to live" , the German voice was heard being told to the one of the body thrown to the cart before taken away for clearing, fourteen year old Gyuri hoped it was not going to be painful. I would like to live a little bit longer in this beautiful concentration camp.

Anther story of endurance and survival of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald being told years after the end of 2nd worldwar. The literary world has given us so many untold stories of survival and here is one of the important book, may not be the best ( of what I read I liked Elie Weisel )

Imre Kertesz, the winner of Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 2002 comes out with his version of the concentration camp in the eyes of a 14 year old boy from Hungary. This book, which is said to be semi-autobiographical focusses on the endurance and survival of the young boy. The novel starts with a holiday in school for Gyuri as his father was asked to join the labor service from the next day. They wanted to spend the day together. Within few months,he too was asked to disembark the vehicle he was travelling to work and was joined the other group of people from Hungary in a train to Auschwitz and later to Buchenwald. On arrival, he join the elders lying about his age and he see the boys, injured and unfit being taken away, presumably to the gas chambers as he hear later.

After the initial surprises and the rumors and stories about the gas chambers and the tents and works, there is no pictures of the torture and humiliation being told here unlike most of the holocaust movies and novels. Because he does not speak Hebrew , he becomes an outcast among his people and barring few, he does not have any friends in the camp. Like everyone in the camp, he too grow immune to the feelings of life and nothing ever matters to him. He does not feel pain while beaten, does not feel pain while they nurse his wound, not even hungry. This make him sick and he spend the major part of his life in the hospital bed between life and death until, one day they are announced free to leave the camp to their home.

The book was written in Hungarian in 1975 after 30 years of the second world war and will definitely haunt you for few days. however, from a literary point of view, this book does not belong to the elite group, irrespective of the Nobel Committee's recognition.

You can read an interview of Imre Kertesz at

Fateless is now being made as a motion picture in Hungarian.

by Imre Kertesz ( Hungarian translated by Tim Wilkinson )
262 Pages
Rs 438/-
Vintage Books

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair

Sri Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair , one of the legend in the field of Kathakali, is no more. I had read about his demise in the news paper today.

Many of those sleepy nights sitting in the front rows with his 'Brahmanan' in Santhanagopalam, 'Hamsam' in Nalacharitham 1, 'Durvasav' in Rugmangadacharitham etc etc are still visible in front of my eyes.

For many he was a great teacher, the best as they say, in the Kalluvazhi Chitta ( Style) of Kathakali. How many talented artists are moulded under his strict and able guidance. One name "Kalamandalam Gopi" is enough to keep his name as the best Guru ever in the field of Kathakali as long as the world lasts. I still can remember the star studded Kalamandalam Major Set ruling the field of Kathakali with the likes of Ramankutty Nair, Padmanabhan Nair etc.

He was multi - talented or multi-faceted. An artist, a kathakali Guru and prolific writer , administrator of Kalamandalam as Principal , he was always at top.

It is a sad and irreplaceable loss to the Kathakali World in particular and to the art world in general. May his soul rest in place.