By: Keyur Seta
Rating: * * * * ½
The biggest challenge while portraying a tragedy is to make it look as realistic as possible. And when the disaster is as magnanimous as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, it becomes all the more testing, not just for the filmmaker but for everyone involved. The same challenge awaited director Ravi Kumar and his team for Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain, which is based on the said tragedy in 1984.
To say that they have overcome the challenge will be an understatement. What they have achieved is nothing short of a benchmark for realistic cinema because it just can’t get more realistic than this. But the reason why the film on the whole can be labeled as excellent is the fact that it scores high in every department.
The movie is English with partly Hindi. The story takes place in Bhopal in 1984. Dilip (Rajpal Yadav) is a rickshaw driver staying in a slum in the central area of the city with his wife (Tannishtha Chatterjee) and younger sister (Fagun Ivy Thakrar). His family struggles to live from hand-to-mouth from his earnings. Dilip gets a new lease of life when he lands a job at the newly-arrived Union Carbide’s pesticide plant.
Although Dilip is happy to have found a source of earning despite uneasy conditions, he is worried to know that the safety standards at the plant are being ignored. Soon, this leads to a fatal leakage of the poisonous Methyl Isocyanide that kills thousands in a single night making it the worst man-made industrial disaster ever. Even 30 years after the incident, thousands continue to suffer from its consequences.
The base of all great films is writing and that is exactly the case here with a watertight screenplay and real yet dramatic dialogues. To top it up, Kumar has handled the subject with utmost precision. The manner in which he has added realism to such utterly difficult scenes, especially the tragic ones, is to be seen to be believed. As stated earlier, it can’t get more realistic! To carry out such a task in just your second film is no mean achievement.
Naturally, this gives rise to a number of scenes that stay etched in your memory. From these, Dr Chandra (Manoj Joshi) trying to select one person from many whom he can administer an antidote deserves special mention.
Another reason why the film scores high marks is that it doesn’t get depressing despite it being based on one of the greatest tragedies ever. This indicates that its motto is not to bring back terrible memories but to highlight the importance of human safety over profits.
It is difficult to choose a negative point here. Probably the number of characters could have been reduced and the life of the people of Bhopal, especially the slums, could have been portrayed more. This could have been possible as the film’s length isn’t much.
Coming to the technicalities, the VFX team should be lauded as they had their task cut out. Cinematographers Charlie Wuppermann and Anil Chandel have succeeded in displaying their skills. The background score is apt for the proceedings. The fast-paced classical tunes used at the start help a lot in generating interest instantly.
The performances are a top-draw too! Rajpal Yadav gives his best performance till date as far as his serious roles are concerned. Veteran Martin Sheen is excellent as the CEO of Union Carbide. Kal Penn is brilliant too in the role of the cunning journalist. Mischa Barton plays the journalist from US with perfection.
Tannishtha Chatterjee once again proves she is one of the most talented actors in the country. In the role of the doctor, Manoj Joshi is flawless! Akhil Mishra and Joy Sengupta also deserve praise. Satish Kaushik creates an impact in a cameo while Fagun Ivy Thakrar too provides good support.
Overall: Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is an excellent piece of realistic cinema that shouldn’t be missed. The film requires good word-of-mouth to succeed at the box office when it releases in India on December 5.
Director: Ravi Kumar
Producers: Sahara Movie Studios and Rising Star Entertainment
Writers: David Brooks and Ravi Kumar
Cast: Rajpal Yadav, Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Manoj Joshi, Akhil Mishra, Fagun Ivy Thakrar
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch
Genre: Period Drama
Duration: 96 minutes
Release Date: December 5, 2014 (India)
By: Keyur Seta
Rating: * *
Romeo and Juliet stories are done to death. But this is not exactly the reason why Sanjay Jadhav’s Pyaar Vali Love Story doesn’t work. The film gets the viewer interested for some time but suddenly falls down the graph of sensibility and continues to do so till its hilariously silly climax. This is enough to ensure that the important message that it tries to give is lost.
The story is set in 1992 in Mumbai. Pashya (Sameer Dharmadhikari) and Kadar (Upendra Limaye) are the best of friends living in adjacent colonies occupied by Hindus and Muslims respectively. Pashya is in love with the hot-tempered but kind Nandini (Urmila Kanitkar Kothare), from his locality.
Amar (Swapnil Joshi), Pashya’s brother who stays in a hostel in Pune, returns to Mumbai to arrange his brother’s marriage with Nandini. As soon as he arrives in the city, he falls for Aliya (Sai Tamhankar), who is Kadar’s sister. But they soon realize that their path of love is filled with obstacles.
Pyaar Vali Love Story works decently in the first 50-55 minutes. Simple characters, their strong bonds and small joys gain your sympathy. Although the spoon-feeding narration and the forceful bonding between both communities could have been avoided, you at least feel interested due to some appealing moments. For example, the manner in which Kadar gets people of the locality to take part in Pashya’s wedding. Despite the tried-and-tested method, the romance angle also somewhat works.
But like an accident, the film abruptly loses sense just before interval through an unconvincing twist. What follows is one silly scene following another initiated by a poor misunderstanding. It amazes you how some characters, who till now showed a lot of maturity, suddenly start behaving like immature kids. But just when you think you have seen enough absurdity, you realize that the writers have saved the best one for the climax. On a less serious note, it at least succeeds in making you laugh.
Another questionable aspect is such high usage of Hindi in the dialogues and songs. The obvious reason for this is that few characters are Muslim. But that doesn’t mean you convert the film into bilingual whenever they are speak.
The songs (Pankaj Padghan, Amitraj and Samir Saptiska), both peppy and romantic numbers, provide some satisfaction. Prasad Bhende’s camerawork is decent. The violin tunes in the background score work very well.
The performances are hampered by the content. Swapnil Joshi and Sai Tamhankar manage to impress as the lead pair. Upendra Limaye and Sameer Dharmadhikari are decent as hot-headed individuals. Urmila Kanetkar Kothare provides a believable and dedicated act by smartly getting into the skin of her character. Nagesh Bhosale and Chinmay Mandlekar, in a cameo, are alright.
Overall: Pyaar Vali Love Story fails in giving an important message due to some unforgivable absurdities. The presence of well-known names and the fact that it is the next film by the team of Duniyadari will ensure a good run for it at the box office in the first week.
Director: Sanjay Jadhav
Producers: Inder Raj Kapoor, Rekha Joshi and Deepak Pandurang Rane
Writers: Arvind Jagtap, Tapan Bhatt and Ashish Patre
Cast: Swapnil Joshi, Sai Tamhankar, Upendra Limaye, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Urmila Kanetkar Kothare
Music: Pankaj Padghan, Amitraj and Samir Saptiska
Genre: Romance/ Drama
By: Keyur Seta
Rating: * * * ½
To analyze a hardcore masala entertainer like Farah Khan’s Happy New Year, the only relevant question is whether the film delivers what it promises. Despite some hiccups, the answer easily falls in the affirmative as film is filled with high doses of entertainment, good enough to be the biggest crowd pleaser of the year.
It revolves around Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) and his old friends Jag (Sonu Sood) and Tammy (Boman Irani). Charlie plans the biggest diamond heist ever, right under the nose of his old enemy Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) in Dubai. They include a roadside tapori Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan) as the heist couldn’t happen without his help and Rohan (Vivaan Shah) as he is a computer geek. But to get hold of the diamonds, they need to take part in World Dance Championship. As all of them are non-dancers, they take the services of bar dancer Mohini (Deepika Padukone).
HNY is one of the rare 3-hour films of today’s times where you don’t feel the need to look at your watch. Non-stop humor, witty dialogues, unusual character traits, thrilling robbery scenes and, of course, the dances make sure you are glued to the screen for the entire duration. What works more is some unexpected entertainment items at unexpected places. The Narendra Modi lookalike surely deserves special mention!
However, the film provides more satisfaction in the second half. This is not because the first half is dull or slow. The problem in this part is that the humor is mostly childish, which will be enjoyed only by kids. For example, how funny is it to see men impersonating women and struggling to dance? But what hurts more is the done-to-death, immature gay humor. Somehow, Bollywood still thinks it is funny.
But the biggest issue that stops the film from being a high quality winner is the presence of loopholes, especially when it comes to the all-important robbery. Thankfully, the entertainment in the second half and the exciting and overwhelming last 45 minutes, including the climax, make sure your experience turns out to be paisa vasool. This aspect makes you overlook the big flaws because, frankly speaking, such films are meant only to entertain and those not ready to put their topmost organ at rest should stay miles away from them.
Vishal-Shekhar’s music also plays its part in keeping the entertainment quotient high. The most impressive numbers are ‘India Wale’, ‘Satakli’ and ‘Manwa Lage’. Cinematographer Manush Nandan shines the most while artistically capturing the dance scenes and locales of Dubai. The background score suits various emotions and provides the desired effect.
Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t disappoint his fans by providing a mature act as the captain of the team. Although this is easily not one of his best acts, he plays a big role in keeping things under control. However, he should understand that having 6 packs doesn’t mean such a thin physique. With yet another impressive act, Deepika Padukone continues her dream run in mainstream Bollywood.
Abhishek Bachchan is the surprise package. The actor displays his acting potential as Nandu Bhide in a hilarious role. Boman Irani once again shows he is ever-reliable. Sonu Sood doesn’t get much scope later on but he makes good of whatever opportunity he gets. Vivaan Shah perfectly suits in the role of a computer geek. But he needs to work on his acting skills a bit. Jackie Shroff is believable as a ruthless antagonist. Anupam Kher makes an impact in a cameo. Sajid Khan, in another cameo, could have been funnier.
Overall: Happy New Year is a joyride if you prefer mindless hardcore larger-than-life entertainers. The end product and the fact that the film has received an earth-shattering opening will make sure it turns out to be a huge success at the box office. Don’t be surprised if the film creates new ones by beating Dhoom 3 and Kick.
Director: Farah Khan
Producers: Red Chillies Entertainment and UTV Motion Pictures
Writers: Farah Khan, Mayur Puri and Althea Delmas Kaushal
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff, Vivaan Shah
Genre: Masala Entertainer
By: Keyur Seta
The word ‘Globalization’ has received a great amount of importance in last couple of decades. It is a good sign that the world needs to be known as a one global community, especially with the development in technology. But in this period of two decades, there has also been an emergence of Indianization in the western world. In other words, the rest of the world is becoming more Indian in various ways of life.
It needs to be mentioned that it was Swami Vivekananda who was one of the first persons to have enlightened the west about the greatness of India.
If one tries to write down the ways in which the world is becoming Indianized, it will be a very long list. So I would like to focus on how the west is getting influenced by Indian spiritual concepts of simple living.
I have elaborated the topic through the following points:
- Food: It is everybody’s knowledge that a vegetarian will have a very difficult time in certain parts of the west. But things have been changing over the years. I have learned this from my friends and some news items that now, the westerners have started knowing the importance of vegetarian food for better physical and mental health. The ill-effects of junk food are greatly visible there. Therefore, the people over there have also gained the knowledge of having saatvik food for attaining peace of mind.
- Ayurveda: Why is India’s ancient Ayurveda spreading its clout in the west at a time when modern medical science is making some mind-blowing progress? This is because the people from the west are slowly understanding the difference between getting treated and getting healed. As the latter focuses on natural ingredients that help in rooting out the illness, people are getting attracted to Ayurveda and also Naturopathy.
- Yoga & Meditation: A monk, who happens to be my friend, has told me more than once, “In today’s stressful times, it is impossible to survive without spirituality, yoga and meditation.” With work pressure, addiction to gadgets, unhealthy food, too much of materialism and consumerism, the peace of mind has gone for a toss. So yoga or meditation seems to be the only answer. Slowly, this is been understood by the people of the west. This can also be seen from how hundreds of yoga and meditation videos featuring foreigners have cropped up in recent years on YouTube.
- Mythology: Elders have always told us that epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana are universal. This is proved right by the fact that more and more foreigners are getting fascinated by these epics. I have heard this from my friends abroad and from my Indian friends who have stayed there. One can also see a movie on Mahabharata made by foreigners with foreign actors. Of course, it is not possible for them, like many of us, to believe every act, action or subplot mentioned in them. But it is the overall message that is fascinating them and lighting their paths with knowledge for the betterment of life. Hence, I feel it is wrong to say that these epics are applicable only to Indians or Hindus.
It is indeed a proud feeling for me as an Indian to see the world getting more and more Indianized. But this doesn’t mean that we should look down upon at the rest of the world with a feeling of arrogance. The motto of Indianization, at least for me, is to generate the feeling of oneness and harmony in the world. After all, we all have the same flesh, blood and bones.
As Swami Vivekananda said, “There cannot be any progress without the whole world following in the wake, and it is becoming everyday clearer that the solution of any problem can never be attained on racial, or national, or narrow grounds.”
This post is an entry for Lufthansa and IndiBlogger contest "More Indian than you think."
For more details, visit: http://bit.ly/MITYTIndiblogger
By: Keyur Seta
Farah Khan’s Happy New Year is all set to be one of those few films that can be described as box office hurricanes. Such films are labeled ‘blockbuster’ even before they release. The prediction of such commercial capers is very easy in today's times. This is because even if its content fails to impress the audience, it succeeds big time in raking in the moolah. They can either be superhit or bumper hit. It is impossible for them to be called average, let alone flop.
So the question shouldn’t be whether Happy New Year will succeed? The question should be whether it will manage to establish new box office records by overtaking Dhoom 3 and/ or Kick? Will SRK magic work again after Channai Express? Let’s find out. This post only looks at the domestic collections.
According to me, Happy New Year will beat Kick but it will be very difficult for it to go pass Dhoom 3. The Aamir Khan starrer managed to pull audience to the theatres in way that is hardly seen before despite the film facing flak from a good number of audiences. The biggest reason for this can be attributed to Aamir, who played the main lead for the first time after 3 Idiots (2008). His double role surprise also paid dividends. Presence of a lot of commercial factors, including never-seen-before stunts, and a terrific publicity campaign also helped.
Kick became the first Salman Khan starrer to make it to the 200 crore club. It had all the ingredients necessary for a typical Salman film – action, comedy, romance and dance. Other impressive points like the performances of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Randeep Hooda and some high octane action at foreign locations sealed it for Sajid Nadiadwala’s directorial debut.
Due to the presence of an ensemble cast, Happy New Year got the audience interested even before its first poster was out. And when the promos and other promotional material were released, the hype just kept soaring higher. A tremendous marketing campaign made things even brighter. So getting past Kick’s record of 215 crore will be possible for the SRK starrer.
However, I doubt it will have to power to generate enough collections to go past Dhoom 3. At the most, HNY will go near Dhoom 3 or equal it. Its chances to overtake the Aamir starrer don’t look high. But I am very confident that Aamir's own P.K will beat Dhoom 3 at the box office. Let’s wait and watch!
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Review By: Keyur Seta
Having liked Ravi Subramanian’s If God Was A Banker and The Bankster, it was obvious for me to have good amounts of expectations from his latest novel, God Is A Gamer. Apart from my previous experience with the author, the reason for this was the fact that it is India’s first bitcoin thriller. So does the author manage to score a hattrick as far as my experience is concerned? We will find that out soon. But before that, let’s have a look at its basic story outline (without spoilers).
The tale commences in 2011 in Washington DC when a Senator is killed ruthlessly with meticulous planning just when he is about to confess something to the President of the United States. Back in India, after being a successful BPO owner, Aditya Rao has added another feather in his cap by making a mark in the gaming world. He is an ex-banker who had left New York International Bank (NYIB) few years ago, at a terrific high, to start his own business.
Aditya was more than a mentor to Sandeep and Swami at NYIB. Sundeep works with Aditya’s firm after he had to move out of NYIB following few scandals. He has changed now and has a big share in Aditya’s success. Swami still works with NYIB. These three characters are carried on from the author’s novel, If God Was A Banker. So in a way, God Is A Gamer is a sequel to that book. Under unexpected circumstances, Aditya is reunited with his son Varun. The youngster is in a relationship with Tanya, whom he had met in Rio De Janeiro.
On one fateful night during a party, a tragic incident leaves everyone hell shocked! Its consequences and few other incidents around the world force India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to work in tandem.
Although the book is a continuation of If God Was A Banker, its storyline and style of narration are very much on the lines of The Bankster. Few subplots are narrated simultaneously in different parts of the world. Intentionally, they are kept unrelated until the pre-climax.
Like The Bankster, the strategy works here too as it keeps the reader not only engrossed but on the edge mostly. The manner in which the author has ended various chapters with a cliffhanger adds to the thrill. Hence, the book turns out to be a ‘page turner’ for a large majority of the time. However, it does appear to be a drag roughly after it completes half its journey.
Needless to say, the overall opinion of the reader in such whodunits relies heavily on the climax. Fortunately, Subramanian doesn’t disappoint in this vital area. To avoid spoilers, I won’t reveal whether the obvious guess about the culprit turns out to be right. But the author’s style of revealing will surely take you by surprise.
Apart from a point above, God Is A Gamer has few more questionable aspects too that stop it from being a high quality thriller. They are as follows:-
- The plan hatched by the mastermind is way too complicated and it leaves few questions unanswered. This, obviously, makes it less convincing. This point is saved a bit by the surprise element.
- You don’t feel much for one important victim due to its lack of emotional connect with the readers. Although the plight of another victim breaks your heart, the incident is hardly given any importance despite the character being one of the key ones.
- There are instances where a lot of tech-related details are thrown in that might leave the reader confused if he or she is a layman like me when it comes to technology.
- There was no need to keep many chapters so short in length. In fact, few chapters are less than a page long! This affects the reader’s concentration as s/he has to shift focus regularly, sometimes in a span of few seconds.
Thankfully though, these points don’t garner much disappointment as the plusses manage to overtake the minuses.
Overall: Despite some issues, God Is A Gamer is yet another bank thriller by Ravi Subramanian that is worth savoring for thriller lovers.
Rating: * * *
By: Keyur Seta
Director: Samruddhi Porey
Producers: Samrouddhi Cine World and Essel Vision
Writer: Samruddhi Porey
Cast: Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Ashish Chougule, Vikram Gaikwad, Sushant Kakde, Tejashri Pradhan
Music: Rahul Ranade and Aniruddha Wankar
Rating: * * ½
Story Outline: The film is a biopic on the lives of Dr Prakash Baba Amte, the son of the great social worker Baba Amte, and his wife Mandakini Amte. It throws light on his selfless service towards tribals of Maharashtra and animals, including the wild ones.
Review: Having access to a fascinating life story isn’t enough while making a biopic. It is equally important for the film to succeed in its basic motto of telling a story. While director Samruddhi Porey’s Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Forgotten Hero brings to light the heart-wrenching, selfless story of the great social worker, it doesn’t succeed completely as a film as it hardly provides an emotional impact one expects from such biopics.
Talking about the few positives, Porey and the entire unit should be lauded for showing Amte’s humanitarian efforts with utmost reality. This is because shooting with real tribal people and animals is a painstaking task for anyone. Apart from this, the dialogues are intelligent and long lasting with some rib-tickling humor being the surprise element.
But the job of every feature film is to narrate an interesting tale and this is where this biopic falters. Although things aren’t that bad pre-interval, the second half tests your patience as on a number of occasions the film appears more like a documentary disguised as a feature film. In fact, there comes a period where scenes of tribals carrying their ill family members to Amte’s place are repeated again and again. A screenplay without proper flow and faulty pacing of events are to be blamed for this.
Mahesh Anye’s camerawork is noticeable quite regularly. The background score is passable while the editing should have been tighter. The music (Rahul Ranade and Aniruddha Wankar) turns out to be average as not a single track stays with you after the film.
Nana Patekar is very impressive and reliable as he displays his talent while playing the central character. However, on a number of occasions, you can’t help but notice that it appears as if he is playing himself. Sonali Kulkarni also shows why she is considered a fine performer. Mohan Agashe, as Baba Amte, excels in a supporting role. Sushant Kakde and Tejashri Pradhan, as younger Prakash and Mandakini Amte, play their parts well. The rest of the actors provide good support.
Overall: Although Dr Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero carries out the important task of highlighting Dr Prakash and Mandakini Amte’s great work, it doesn’t quite succeed as a feature film. Due to the hype and star cast, it will draw crowds initially. But its performance at the box office is doubtful after the first week.
To read the previous part, click HERE.
By: Keyur Seta
Just as Tara somehow managed to produce guts to answer Gupta, her mobile phone ringtone stopped her. Pale and petrified, she glanced at the screen that read, “Shekhar ... calling”.
Barely had she touched the 'answer' button that Mr.Gupta snatched the phone from her and listened in…
Without waiting for an answer, Shekhar excitedly but slowly spoke from the other line, “Tara, I have an important clue to Roohi’s kidnapping. Please come down to Hotel Descent at Lamington Road ASAP.” He hung up without bothering to listen. He wanted to keep the conversation short since he didn’t want to alert Cyrus and Aryan.
Gupta was alarmed as well as confused after listening to Shekhar.
“What happened papa?” Tara, in a panicky tone, asked but all in vain. Once again, sounds of the chimes due to the winds added extra tension.
Without saying a word, he went inside his room and returned a few minutes later after getting ready to go somewhere. “Come with me,” was what he told Tara in a strict tone and started taking long steps towards the main door. His tone and behavior added fuel to Tara’s already panicky condition. She obediently followed Gupta out of the house.
After having a one-way conversation on phone, Shekhar once again concentrated on eavesdropping on Cyrus and Aryan’s conversation. “Did I miss anything?” he whispered to Jennifer, to which she just shook her head.
Aryan was continuing to speak in an authoritative tone. “I am sure you are just acting at someone’s behest,” Aryan pointed out.
“Yes,” said Cyrus in a tired tone.
Aryan’s angry voice thundered in the near empty hotel, “Do you want me to provide you a written request to disclose the name of the mastermind?” Despite not being at the receiving end, Shekhar and Jennifer felt a chill through their bodies.
“Speak up,” shouted Aryan as Cyrus was still struggling to speak.
Finally, Cyrus’ lips moved and he revealed the name of the mastermind.
Shekhar and Jennifer froze at the mention of the name. They could only cast a glance at each other as they were too shocked to speak!
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be,” Cyrus continued speaking.
It wasn’t a long drive from Walkeshwar to Lamington Road. Gupta and Tara were more than half way to their destination but yet nobody had spoken. They were passing through the area just before Girgaon Chowpatty, which had a splendid view of Mumbai’s sea shore but, obviously, nobody of the two was interested in relishing the view. It was only when they halted at the long signal at Sukh Sagar junction that they started feeling the silence. Being more anxious than Gupta, Tara felt the need to know what was going on.
She mustered up some courage to speak. “What did Shekhar say, papa? And where are we heading suddenly?”
Gupta cast a grim look at Tara and said, “He said he has found an important clue regarding Roohi’s kidnapping and asked you to head to Hotel Descent immediately.”
This confused Tara even more. “Why?”
“We will get to know that soon,” said Gupta while turning left and entering Warerkar Bridge, which was just a kilometer away from Hotel Descent.
Shekhar, with his head dropped down, was standing outside room number 202. Actually he was just leaning to the wall since his legs were trembling a bit. In fact, he felt all his energy being drained out all of a sudden, as if sucked out by some force.
Jennifer had put her left hand on his right shoulder while trying to console him. Although she too was aghast and shocked by the turn of events, she knew she can never feel what Shekhar was feeling at that time… after knowing that the mastermind behind the kidnapping… was his wife!
To read the FINAL chapter, click HERE.
For the previous chapter, click HERE.
By: Keyur Seta
Hustling through the late afternoon traffic, Aryan finally reached Lamington Road in South Mumbai. It was a long time since he last visited this vicinity. The narrow lane was crammed even further with the emergence of shops and hawkers selling all types of computer and mobile equipment; all in your face. Despite being in a hurry to get hold of Cyrus, Aryan couldn’t help but recall the days when he used to visit the area frequently with his friends, mostly to buy some computer hardware parts or pirated movie CDs.
His GPS map told him that Hotel Descent is just besides Imperial Cinema. Aryan was hugely surprised to know that the B-grade specialist single screen theatre is still running in today’s era of multiplexes. Thankfully for him, he somehow managed to find some space to park his car at a corner just ahead of Hotel Descent.
Even before entering the hotel, by just examining the main entrance, Aryan understood the nature of the hotel. It was one of those cheap, shabby hotels that are mostly used for some secret endeavors. The strange smell as he walked up the stairs reinforced his first opinion on the place.
All through the long drive, Shekhar and Jennifer were confused as to where Aryan was heading and why. It was more than 30 minutes since they were following him. Despite being an expert detective, Aryan failed to notice Shekhar’s car tailing him. He was a human after all.
And as his car entered the narrow Lamington Road and stopped near a hotel like Descent, their curiosity increased. Shekhar and Jennifer looked at each other, question marks on their faces. It was Jennifer who broke the silence. “A detective like him entering such a hotel?” Shekhar didn’t answer. “Is he such a person?” Jennifer once again asked after a few seconds of silence.
“I don’t think so. However, I don’t know him well,” was all Shekhar could answer.
Aryan walked straight towards the hotel reception but the middle-aged man seated at the counter showed no interest in looking up at him. There was nobody else around. As Aryan stood still at the counter with his left elbow grounded on it, he could see the man was busy gazing at the pictures of Hindi film actresses from a Hindi newspaper. After a few seconds, the middle-aged man finally took notice of Aryan but through an irritated and questioning look.
“What do you want eh?” the man asked with a frown.
“Cyrus. Room no. 202. I need to meet him urgently,” said Aryan in a calm yet firm tone.
The man’s frown increased. “Look boss, first tell me who are you? And then I will call the person in that room and ask whether you should be allowed in.”
Aryan gave a rude smile. “My name is Aryan. I am going to sneak into Cyrus’ room and you are not going to inform him about my arrival.”
More irritated, the man said, “Look mister. Stop acting like ACP Pradyuman of CID.”
Aryan loved shutting the trap of such chaps with his authority and position. Here he had another opportunity. He slipped out his ID card and shoved it near the man’s face and said, “The only difference between me and Pradyuman is that I am not acting.”
The man went silent. “I am given this task by the local police of this area,” Aryan lied and continued, “So if you stop me from doing my duty, it will account to abetment of crime. What say?”
Aryan didn’t need to speak further as the man respectfully allowed him to proceed. With a naughty smile on his face, Aryan walked towards the elevator to reach room 202 on the second floor.
From a safe distance outside the hotel entrance, Shekhar and Jennifer were curiously watching Aryan’s antics with the man.
What will be their next step? Will Cyrus be exposed?
To know what happened next, click HERE.
By: Keyur Seta
Roughly a fortnight ago, the upcoming Maharashtra State Assembly Elections 2014 (that will take place on October 15) appeared like a cricket match between Australia (Shiv Sena + BJP) and Bangladesh (others): the winner was obvious and it needed a miracle of sorts for any other results. But with the alliances between Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janta Party and Congress-NCP broken, the situation has now become like the upcoming 2015 Cricket World Cup: it is just not possible to predict any clear winner.
The following is the analysis and prediction of each major party in the Maharashtra Assembly Elections. Honestly, I am far from an expert in politics so don’t expect any detailed analysis. This is more of how a layman looks at the elections and the major parties participating in it. Here it is:-
Plusses: Their stronghold in the state, especially among the locals, is everybody’s knowledge. Despite the demise of its supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, his name alone motivates lakhs of their supporters. And with bigger responsibilities given to Aditya Thackeray, the youth of Maharashtra is expected to pour their support.
Minuses: With Balasaheb’s absence, it looks as if something is missing. But the biggest minus point for the party is the fact that they had to do away with their 25-year old alliance with the BJP.
Chances: Due to its popularity, it stands a good chance.
Plusses: The popularity of Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, will work well for them. Due to this, the party has roped in Modi to address a number of election rallies in India. Plus, its resounding victory in this year’s Lok Sabha polls, which is still fresh in people’s minds, will also work in its favor and so will Modi’s heroic U.S visit.
Minuses: Its bad performance in the recent Uttar Pradesh by-polls came as a surprise. According to some experts, this happened due to some of its leaders who kept pushing the Hindutva card instead of good governance and development, which was their agenda going into LS Polls. But, like the Shiv Sena, its biggest disadvantage is clearly the break-up with Shiv Sena.
Chances: The plusses ensure it stands a good chance.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS):
Plusses: The popularity and aura of its chief Raj Thackeray and his popularity among the youth are its biggest plus points.
Minuses: There has been a decline in its popularity in recent years. This was seen the most in this year’s Lok Sabha Elections, where the party failed to win even a single seat. The Modi wave is also responsible for this.
Chances: But because of the two break-ups and their past record, it might spring a surprise.
Congress and NCP:
(Despite the breaking of their alliance, I am giving a combined analysis because their situation is the same.)
Pluses: I don’t wish to sound rude but I just can’t find a single plus point for any of the two parties due to their terrible alliance run in the currently concluding term. Perhaps the only silver lining for them is the break-up between Sena-BJP.
Minuses: This will be a long list. As listed above, it is bad governance in every form that will hurt them dearly.
Chances: No chance unless one of them performs decently and joins hands with the first winner, which looks unlikely.
So all in all, the contest is really between Sena and BJP. This sounds unusual considering their united fight since last 25 years. However, as one shouldn’t rule out a post-result alliance, there is a big chance of the two parties joining hands after the 19th provided MNS doesn’t play spoilsport and they have enough seats.