Saturday, April 21, 2018

Khullum Khulla - Rishi Kapoor and Meena Iyer (2017)

I am never a big fan of movie personalities. Normally, I find them as great performers but never individuals from whose lives I will gain something spectacular. They have their idiosyncrasies and non-issues of ego trips that affect their lives and career. Why was this any different? Rishi Kapoor was actor the cusp era. When the old actors had left their mark and new generation was yet to pick up. Here is an actor who comes from the old school upbringing (belonging to the first family of hindi cinema) yet had to work with every new generation or actor of his time. There was a few hits he had but had more collaborative multi-starrers to his name. He had great singers, new comer actresses working with him. If I look back that period, I will not remember Rishi Kapoor as a high impact star of his time. So if his story had to be told it can only be told by he himself and he has done than very tactfully. In fact, Randhir Kapoor, again an actor of same era with a similar line of acting didn't have a great career to speak for himself. But I will consider him a more accomplished actor in some sense.

The book is very well written. More importantly has pointed out how an actor with all his limitations had to manage through the changing times working with hundreds of fellow artists who were unique in their own ways. For a person of such mindset still have strong view points is hard to believe. But he has left his traces in many places. I will give him all the credit for surviving the industry and now prospering as a character artist in some of finest cinema like say Do Dooni Char. In general, he has shown respect to almost every co-star he worked with. Save a few tiffs with say Javed Akhtar most of the book is about a non-controversial professional approach to building a long career. He has shown reverence for even for the most competitive actors he had interacted with. I was also surprised to see mention of Nassiruddin Shah and Irfan Khan who completely belonged to a different generation of movies. I am not sure how much the presentation was due to Rishi Kapoor or his illustrious co-author who has seen the industry closely and knows how to bring in moderation to view points.

Towards the end you get to learn Rishi Kapoor as a family man. You don't find anything formidable there. Neetu Kapoor's closing comments were not exactly needed. Same with Rishi Kapoor's views or aspirations on Ranbir Kapoor. I am sure Ranbir has shown enough maturity as an actor to not have such a significant mention as part of the books. I found that a family overdose which could have been avoided. But as every Indian loves to find more about a celebrity personal life some such sort was needed. Neetu Singh's closing chapter was more of a housewife's explanation of her period. A woman who had illustrated career and leaves it for upbringing of her family ensures the family remains as one as she moved along. Interestingly, her stardom was even before she could realize it. She got married at the age of 21.

Overall, a well thought out writing. The actor has told his mind. The co-author has done a fantastic job of moderating it and presenting in a succinct manner. A great read.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Universal Message of Swami Vivekananda - The Advaitha Ashram (2015)

A world conference on religions was organized to commemorate the 150th Birthday of Swami Vivekananda. The conference was conducted in two parts. The part I focused on Swamiji's messages and teachings. The second part was presentations from doyens of each religions discussing the universal appeal of their religion and how collective spiritual upliftment is presented in each religion. The book is the proceedings of the conference. The interesting takeaway from the book is a quick gist of each religious practices and the tolerance and openness to other faiths in each of the religions with citation and references. One can also get a quick view of Swami Vivekananda's messages in the context of religious harmony. Although, a book from a specific faith, the book can be picked up and understood by anyone not associated with the faith.

Unlimited Memory - Kevin Horsley (2014)

The book has two sides to improving memory.

  1. Improving life style to be able to do the right things - like being focused etc. 
  2. Memory improvement techniques - This is a great takeaway in this book. However, not all techniques are enjoyable or fun to practice. However, a lot in this book can be achieved through practice. You may already have few of similar techniques already in practice. 
Some startling facts, 82% of the knowledge gained preparing for examination is lost at end of a moth or so. Technically, what you studied will not add much value unless you practice. 

Good read. But achieving great unlimited memory is long, arduous journey. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Economic Thinking of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore (2013) - Hirendra Nath Roy

Most books published by a specific religious community tend to focus on their religion leader and do not do much justice on the basic premise of the subject. This book seems to completely change that viewpoint. Although it summarizes the closing comments with the thinking of Swami Vivekananda, this book provides a longish introduction of economics and philosophy. Guiding principles of economics thoughts. How philosophy has influenced economics etc. A significant portion of the book is also focused on Gandhiji. Though short a relevant section is also provided on Tagore's viewpoints on economic upliftment of Indian society at large. Although, unified collective economic benefit is the common theme to success the three great men had definitely different approaches to economic upliftment of the society. Gandhiji was focused on local focus and charkha based solution to meeting basic needs of human life. Tagore established the need for agriculture as well as lightweight machinery to enhance human needs. Swami Vivekananda always emphasized the need for social and economic upliftment as one solution and not a diversion in views. Hence, his focus has been on enhancing agriculture output of small land holding as in Japan. There is also focus on environment protection from corruption etc. Overall a good read to realize on how Indian great leaders looked at our economy. Some thoughts are relevant even today with environment, sustainable development and CSR focus in Govt policies worldwide.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Conversation between God and Man - G Venkataraman (2009)

The book presents Bhagawat Gita in a conversation like tone. The style is lucid, the language is very much contemporary without a lot of emphasis on the correctness of content. It's more like reading a gist of Bhagawat Gita meant for the people of 21st century. To some people the presentation may feel very simple and some may find the language very curt at places. However, overall it's a great read. The last chapter in the book is devoted to messages of Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba and similarities of his messages to that of Bhagawat Gita If you are not a disciple of Sai Baba, you may find that chapter a bit rhetoric.

Overall a recommended read.