Thursday, April 20, 2006

Zee Perfect Book

Just finished reading A Perfect Spy by John Le Carre. And like most of his other books this one too had me engorssed right till the end.

The book is sort of semi autobiography based on his father who was THE conman. More known for his series on Karla and cold war spy fiction, this book makes for a refreshing change as it flits between the protagonists flashback and the English secret services desparate attempt on trying to locate him when he disappears after his fathers death.

And of course Jack Brotherhood and Axel (dont know whether I spelled that right)are exactly the sort of persons one would encounter in a Le Carre book, totally dysfunctional and anachronistic.

I started reading Le Carre about a year back when I was told to read The Spy who came in from the Cold. Hes the sort of author who grows on you, initially it feels sort of really boring stuff but as one perseveres one really enjoys such spy fiction more than that highly over rated Robert Ludlum stuff. And not too many people read Le Carre, in fact one guy in my alumni group was totally thrilled when he came to know that I read Le Carre but then we were just the two of us. And after that it continued with the Quest for Karla which involved a series of battles between Le Carres greatest creation George Smiley and Karla. Quest for Karla involved three books Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and finally culminating in the masterpice Smileys People (much better than the Bourne series which sort of just dipped in quality after The Bourne Identity). After that I was hooked and finished The Tailor of Panama (yeah the Pierce Brosnan movie), The Night Manager, The Secret Pilgrim, The Constant Gardener (yeah the Rachel Weisz movie), The Little Drummer Girl. Most of the ones mentioned in the last statement are not about the Cold War times. And finally finished The Looking Glass War (which I must say is actually right up there with his best) before reading The Perfect Spy. So if any of you who are reading this do happen to have copies of either Call for The Dead or A Murder of Quality please let me know.

And once I am done with the Salman Rushdie that I am reading right now I will be reading A Small Town in Germany and Absolute Friends next week which I am gonna get from the Alternate Moebyus.

So if you want a break from the James Bond level stunts and spies running against time to save the world and instead want to bite into some real life spy fiction written by a real pro whos seen it all then Le Carre is the man for you.

P.S: The "Zee" in the title has come from watching this movie.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Heres an article on one of my favourite sportspersons of India and written by one of my favourite writers on sport.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The worst technical PJ ever

Disclaimer: The contents of this post can be extremely harmful to your mental health. You also need to be an electrical engineer to really "appreciate the nuances" of this joke.

Here goes:

The Rowling Stone gathered no MOS
It only gathered BJTS
And hence MAGIC was needed to solve the worlds problems
Once there was MAGIC there was SPICE in everyones life
And people started using Nokias instead of Owls
And HOWLERS got replaced by SCUM who
Had Level 5 Ring Tones of Dhoom Machale

Sunday, April 02, 2006

B for Banditry

Here's how Hugo Weaving makes an entry:

"This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V. "

Dorothy Parker once reviewed an actress as "running the whole gamut of emotions, from A to B". Natalie Portman faces the same challenge, rather successfully, in the movie "V for Vendetta". It remains an open question whether emotion was required for her role: if not, she has certainly delivered a superb performance as the exponential eV, who is tortured by the hero "V", so that she loses the capacity to feel fear. I wonder how he did that: did he threaten to take her logarithm, and make her the same as him?

V is a superhuman morgothian hero straight out of jail, played by Hugo Weaving (Agent Schmidt) who throws knives in slow motion and uses plate mail to dodge bullets the hard way. He dodged bullets better in "Ze Matrix", you know. And don't forget his alliterative approach to actors appearing - which is one of the (actually many) things that prevent me from swearing at the movie. V can actually get away with murder, just because of the special effects. Unfortunately, we don't learn too much of his history. As circumstances turn out though, it doesn't matter. The important thing to note is that V is not his name, or his initial.

We can all be grateful that the Wacky brothers have to make a really convoluted sequel if it is to be believable.

This movie does not deserve to be panned: It deals with the knotty problems of democratic government (the people get what they deserve, good and hard), terrorism (Our freedom fighters, your revolutionaries, their insurgents), and how to remove a dictator from power (Normandy? Schlock and Ow? Superheroes? Take your pick.)

Let's see, what else is there to praise? The camerawork and CG, the postmodern detective who uses Big Brother's original database to do his detecting - very effectively, I must add - he's more believable than Little Tommy Precrime (which is faint praise, but really: he's good. Morse in his younger days without the sense of humour.) We'll leave the plot out, though. 1984 and Deus Ex do the dystopian concept better.

Lessons learned from this movie:

  • Nanocameras exist. RFID Dust, eat your heart out! The Wackies put one in a raindrop, and film one of the most spectacular scenes of the movie: The rain falling onto eV as she tries a (thankfully solitary) Winslet on the sort of balcony Juliet would be tempted to push Romeo off of.

  • The Wacky brothers can get away with anything. Almost.

  • Domino logic is a good alternative to billboards, when it comes to putting up your signature in red and black (Incidentally, anybody has an idea of how far they were from the Guiness record in this?)

Overall, I'd suggest watching this movie. Closely. It might get away.