Baahubali: A Global On-Screen Phenomenon

Move aside Game of Thrones, there’s a new epic saga in town.

A couple of days ago, the Honey Bee, accompanied by friends, went to watch the second of 2 part Indian movie-Baahubali (meaning the one with strong arms). Apparently, this movie is all the rage in India, and is making some pretty big waves in other parts of the world as well. This historical fiction movie set in ancient times involves a Game of Thrones like situation involving warring kingdoms and families. Specifically, Wikipedia describes is as “a tale of the lost rightful heir of the fictional kingdom of Mahishmati, who learns about his true identity while falling in love with a rebellious warrior, who (among with her group) intends to rescue the former queen of Mahismati.

At the time of its release in 2015, Baahubali: The Beginning was billed to be the most expensive Indian movie ever made. It became the highest grossing film in India and the third-highest grossing Indian film worldwide. Its release was a big deal and the movie premiered in several thousand movie theaters worldwide. Even more interesting is the fact that the movie was not originally made in Hindi, but in Telegu (a southern regional language).

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion released earlier this month with an even larger bang. It premiered in over 9,000 screens worldwide and was dubbed into Hindi, Malayalam, German, French, Japanese and English. It became the highest ever grossing film of all time with a budget of US$ 39 million, a little over half the budget for India’s much publicized mission to Mars.

For some reason, we entirely missed the wave of popularity and virality the first movie brought with it. But not this time. After the Honey Bee saw the second part and told me all about how great it was, I was almost entirely convinced that I needed to watch it. However, what really pushed me over the edge was an article about the movie in the Wall Street Journal.

So a couple of days back, we finally watched the first part. The Honey Bee couldn’t contain her excitement as we watched the plot unfold. Apparently, as she explains, there are a number of plot secrets and connections between the parts. Having already seen the second part, she was making all those connections, while I was still trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Without giving away too much of the story, let me tell you there is nothing even remotely small about this movie. The storyline, the characters, the special effects, the battle scenes, everything is larger than life and leaves you astounded. An over-the-top, fast-moving plot, combined with (very) short song & dance numbers keep you enthralled from the very beginning to the very end. In fact, after the movie ended I sat there stupefied in my seat, and it took me a couple of minutes to recover from the awesomeness of this movie.

So, whether you’re simply tired of the long-drawn-out Game of Thrones, or whether you’re awaiting the next season, I would strongly suggest you watch this movie. In the meantime, we’re going to make sure we watch the second part in the coming weeks.    

Watch the trailer for the first part here: Baahubali: The Beginning Trailer

 

 

100 Word Review of Life

As a child, I steered clear of such movies for fear of insomnia. While Life has an undeniably gory aspect to it, it was well-mixed into the story-line and a far cry from the goriness of Alien.

The movie is set in the near-future when an unmanned mission to Mars returns with soil samples to be studied at the ISS. We discover dormant life in those samples, and that’s where the movie picks up from.

Without giving away more, I’d recommend this flick for its realism and nail-biting story-line. An authentic treat for sci-fi aficionados with an appetite for goriness.

Watch the official trailer on YouTube

Travelling with Tom Hanks

Let me preface this blog by telling you that we love Tom Hanks and his movies. He is a great actor and an even better person. We simply observed an interesting trend and decided to make some light-hearted humor of it.

We recently saw the movie Passengers, after which we came home and turned on the television. As luck would have it, another space movie was on: Apollo 13. As we watched, we got into a discussion about Tom Hanks’ movies. We talked about how the vast majority of his most memorable movies in the recent past have tended to involve a combination of him, some form of transportation and bad news.

Upon combing through his filmography, I found even more movies that fit this theme than I expected. Here is a cherry-picked list, ordered chronologically, that makes my point. It is also interesting to note that most of these movies are either based on, or adapted from real life stories.

Forrest Gump (1994): Tom Hanks is on a boat. Upon seeing an old friend and colleague, he jumps off his boat and swims to the shore, leaving the boat to crash. In another scene he is sailing with the same friend when a fierce storm hits, tossing the boat around dangerously. Later we find out that they survived, but all the other boats around them sank.

Apollo 13 (1995): Tom Hanks flies in a space shuttle on a mission to the moon. En route, it develops serious technical problems that jeopardize its return to Earth.

Cast Away (2000): Tom Hanks flies in an airplane that is going thcathrough a violent storm and experiences an explosive decompression. The plane crashes and he is stranded on a deserted island for a long time.

Catch me if you Can (2002): Tom Hanks plays a police officer who finally managers to arrest the evasive Leonardo DiCaprio in France and has him extradited to the US. On the plane ride back, he delivers bad news to DiCaprio telling him that his father passed away.

Road to Perdition (2002): Tom Hanks is travelling on a ship and poisons a co-passenger.

The Terminal (2004): Tom Hanks has flown into JFK and upon landing (safely) finds that his passport is no longer valid due to the outbreak of a civil war in his home country Krakozhia. He is therefore nationless and not allowed to leave the airport. The movie deals with how he spends 9 months living at the airport as a stateless person.

Angels & Demons (2009): This movie makes it to the list because near the very end, Tom Hanks boards a helicopter with an explosive canister. The helicopter flies straight up and explodes, saving the population below but destroying the helicopter.

Cloud Atlas (2012): Tom Hanks plays a nuclear scientist that is flying in an airplane that blows up soon after take off.

Tom Hanks stars in Columbia Pictures' "Captain Phillips."Captain Phillips (2013): Tom Hanks plays the Captain of a container transport ship that is sailing near the Somalian coast when it is attacked and hijacked by pirates. Later, he is taken hostage by the same pirates on a smaller lifeboat. Twice in the same movie!

Sully (2016): Tom Hanks plays the Captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, piloting an airplane taking off from New York’s LaGuardia airport. Soon after take-off, the plane suffers a series of bird hits that render the engines inoperative, forcing a crash/controlled landing on the Hudson River. So, not only does he not make a good co-passenger, but his luck rubs off when he plays the pilot too!

There you have it folks. I think this is proof enough that this is not simply a mere coincidence. Tom Hanks, and forms of transportation just don’t mix well. So the next time you find yourself on the same boat/ship/plane/helicopter/space shuttle (and maybe even at the same airport) as Tom Hanks, you might want to think twice, and get the hell outta there! 😛

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100 Word Review of Passengers

Set far in the future when humans have started colonizing far-flung planets, this sci-fi production understandably takes some liberties. But that doesn’t take away from the mind-boggling visuals and great performance delivered by Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt and Michael Sheen. A funky sense of humor and constantly evolving story line keep you glued to your seat and you won’t even want to blink, out of fear of missing out. In flirting with various ethical dilemmas, the movie provokes thought and debate about how you would’ve dealt with the situation.

To wrap it up, a definite must-watch on the big screen.

A weekend afternoon in Barcelona

So, this weekend the Honey Bee and I visited Barcelona’s famous and authentic N.A.P. Italian restaurant for lunch. As always, the place was packed. Knowing how grrrreat the food is, we decided to skip the first course and get straight down to business.

Yes, that's right! I love pizza!
Yes, that’s right! I love pizza!

We munched down on a mouth-watering ricotta cheese and mushroom calzone and a scrumptious Margarita pizza. To be honest, I’ve never really been a fan of calzones but NAP’s calzone has changed that forever. All this accompanied, by some great wine really made it a good afternoon. The grand finale was the dessert- delicious panna cotta topped with a delicious forest fruits sauce. As we ordered the check, something on the deserts menu caught my eye and I had to have it. It took a lot of will power and determination to fit anything more into my already full stomach, but I did it. A tall and heavily chilled shot glass of limoncello. What an afternoon! As the Italians would say “Meraviglioso!”

A short walk (on the beach side promenade) later, we decided to catch a movie. Thanks to some good timing and quick thinking, we were able to save € 9 on the cost of the tickets, by investing € 1 in membership at the theater. Nothing better than the feeling of bagging a great deal!

Tickets in one hand, snacks in the other and stomachs & souls content with delicious food, we caught the late afternoon showing of The Jungle Book. Growing up, my brother and I used to look forward to catching the animated cartoon version in Hindi on national television every Sunday. Most people may not know this, but the movie is set in India. And it’s no surprise given that the British author Rudyard Kipling was born and spent quite a few years in the country.

In fact, it may surprise you to know that almost all the names used in the movie (and the book) originate from the Hindi language. For example, the name of the mother wolf, Rakhsa, actually means protector, as she was the protector of her cubs (and Mowgli). Similarly Baloo, the name of the bear, actually comes from the Hindi word bhalu, meaning bear. Also, Bagheera from bagh meaning tiger and bandar-log, the name used to refer to the monkeys, literally means monkey people. I could go on and on.

As for the movie itself, I found it a little slow at the offset, but it picked up its pace about 30 minutes in. The esoteric assortment of voices also made the movie a fun experience for adults. Who could have ever imagined Bill Murray (of Ghost Busters fame), Ben Kingsley (of Gandhi fame), Idris Elba (of Pacific Rim fame) and Christopher Walken (does he really need any introductions?) in the same movie together?

Overall a great movie especially, for kids. For adults a good movie worth watching once, regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with the series.

 Another afternoon well spent!

100 word review of London Has Fallen

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Second in the series following the 2013 hit Olympus Has Fallen, this movie takes the Saving the President genre to a whole new level.

Based in London for a gathering of world leaders, the premise of the movie is way over the top and everything is highly exaggerated. However, that’s not a bad thing. Gerard Butler delivers an action-packed performance, keeping you on the edge of your seat. You can’t help but root for the good guys!

A fast-moving story line, awesome special effects, a great star cast and catchy punch lines make this movie an absolute must watch in theaters.

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Watch the official trailer here.

100 word review of Terminator Genisys

Bucking the trend, the Terminator movies have not gotten worse with each installment.

Given Arnold’s age, and previous installments, I was only expecting a so-so special appearance. Boy was I wrong! Over 30 years have passed since the first, but Arnold still delivers a mind-blowing performance in this fifth installment, alongside the talented Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones. There’s even a fight scene: 1984 Terminator Arnie vs. today’s Arnie. cool

The movie does take a few liberties with the timeline, but I honestly didn’t mind. Overall, an enthralling sci-fi action movie with great special effects make this a must watch.