Monday, September 10, 2018

MovieNotes: Stree

Title: Stree (IMDB)
*ing: Rajkumar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee
Director: Amar Kaushik
Language: Hindi
Genre: Horror, Comedy

Basic Premise
A small town is haunted by a woman’s ghost who abducts the town’s men.

There is horror and the scare element involved, but more importantly the makers have kept the focus on comedy making it more watchable than if it had been out and out horror film.

The acting is brilliant. Rajkumar Rao and his gang are fun to watch but Pankaj Tripathi simply steals the show with his deadpan delivery and the habit of breaking into old songs at every opportunity. The analysis of what-we-know about the ghost is simply brilliant. From Hello Mr. “Falana dhimkana” onwards!

Best Jokes 
  • How does the ghost know everybody’s name? Well everything is Aadhar linked. 
  • The town’s men staying scared at home while the women move around freely!
The unanswered questions – Who or rather what exactly is the girl (whose name we never learn), and what happens just before the end. And who is Shama? And is Vicky's mother the Stree? The ending just spoils a bit of fun. Although it also sets up enough material for a sequel.

Rating: 8/10. An unusual film which is scary and funny with good acting. Only the ending spoiled it a tad bit.

Previously on MovieNotes: Hachi 

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

BookMarks #43: The World Is Flat

Title: The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty First Century
Author: Thomas Friedman
Genre: Non-Fiction, World Affairs, Economics
Setting: Early 21st Century
Published: 2005

The world is changing and changing fast. The most visible change is the increased connectivity making the world “flat”. And this is the theme of Thomas Friedman’s book. 

Friedman identifies his ten flatteners – the events which have reshaped the world. The fall of the Berlin Wall, launch of Netscape, Collaboration, Outsourcing, Insourcing, Supply-chaining, Open source architecture, the laying of the fibre-optic network etc. are some of the elements which have contributed in this flattening process. However, more than the individual factors, it is the convergence of all of them together, which really accelerated the flattening.

However, there are potential barriers to the flattening. It is not uniform across the world, and there are many societies resisting the change for their own reasons. The resistance can lead to conflict. The Americans may see the flatter world a threat to their job security. However, many are upskilling to make a better living for themselves in this fast changing world. To counter this conflict the author presents his “Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention” - No two countries that are both part of a major global supply chain, like Dell's, will ever fight a war against each other as long as they are both part of the same global supply chain. That’s why Taiwan and China do not go to any war now!

However, there is a new threat of non-state actors which has emerged. One which announced its presence on the global scene with the destruction of the twin towers on 9/11. The book identifies radical Islam as the biggest danger to this flattening! And yet also concludes that the rise of Al-Qaeda was also a product of the same flattening process. In fact it compares Osama bin Laden’s operations with those of JetBlue! 

Although global in its coverage, the book is written mainly from an American perspective. What should Americans do survive and thrive in this increasingly VUCA world and where billions of Chinese, Indians, Russians, Mexicans and others are fast becoming their competition? Focusing on education and learning from others is what the author suggests. The book is filled with Friedman’s personal anecdotes from all over the world. 

However, reading it 10 years late, the book already feels dated at times. Shows how accelerated the process of convergence or flattening has been!

Previously on BookMarks – The War of the Worlds