Author: neopanerohit

A student of science who loves playing football, travelling, watching movies and the night sky.

Jagga Jasoos Movie Review

A friend of mine is a big Katrina Kaif fan. He had a spare ticket of Jagga Jasoos for Friday (yesterday) and asked me if I would like to go watch the movie with him. I politely refused the offer. I wanted to spend Saturday evening watching War for the Planet of the Apes but its screening time was not feasible for me. So, guess what? I got a ticket of Jagga Jasoos. I was about to watch the same movie with my own money. I texted her from the hall and he replied: Khub thulo paltethyau ta hijo!

The first few minutes of the movie were a little confusing. May be I took a little more time than usual to settle well in the seat. But once I got comfortable in a minute, the movie took off. The character Jagga, played by Ranbir Kapoor, does not speak much because he fumbles. One day, a guy who he calls Tutti Futti—played by Saswata Chatterjee, tells him that if he speaks in songs, he will not fumble. And he doesn’t. So Jagga does not speak much in the movie; he sings. The whole movie was like watching a musical play. I felt as if I were in a theater and the actors were performing live on stage. And I liked that feel. It took me back in time when I used to watch plays in Aarohan Gurukul sitting in the front row.

When Tutti Futti goes missing one day, Jagga goes on a mission to find him with the help of Shruti (Katrina Kaif). There’s nothing in the movie that we haven’t seen before. But the way things are presented–even the simplest of stuffs, it makes the movie beautiful and fun. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was in the theater. I did not even want there to be an interval. But the way announcement of intermission was brought up, I couldn’t help but accept it with a bigger smile. I did not even get popcorn in the interval—which I always do—because I did not want to get distracted from the movie. But some people sitting in the row behind me probably did not like the movie. One guy in particular was complaining—Bachha le herne film po raichha! Paisa khera gayo. (It’s a film for kids! Money is wasted.)

When I told my friend whose offer to watch the movie I had refused yesterday that I enjoyed the movie, he was surprised. Really? Being a Katrina Kaif fan, I did not enjoy the movie. But you did? That was his reply. I don’t very much like Katrina Kaif as an actor. So his surprise was not a surprise to me. Ranbir Kapoor as Jagga was the one who actually stole the show for me. He was brilliant. And hats off to Anurag Basu, the director, for making such a beautiful film.

I can’t think of anything else right now to write here.

Oh, let me add something. All my friends think that my taste in movies is weird. If I suggest them a movie because I like it, they’ll add it in their do-not-watch list. That being said, if you enjoy watching plays and musicals and light-hearted comedy, you can give Jagga Jasoos a try and decide for yourself.

Rating: 6/10

ROY

About two years ago, one of my teachers called in sick very late. So my class got cancelled. I got bored and as I had nothing to do, I decided to watch a movie. It was when I reached the theater I realized Roy was in QFX Cinemas. Roy had received a bad review. I do not judge movies by reading reviews. But something happened to me that moment. I did not want to watch Roy. So instead I opted to watch a Nepali movie Suntali–I hadn’t heard of this movie earlier. And I did not regret my decision. It was a fun movie. I read that this movie won some awards that year.

So as time passed by, I forgot about the movie. Though I still hear the song Chittiyaan Kalaiyan from the movie in some parties.

Today I got back from work a bit late. Tired, I sat on the couch, turned on the TV and started surfing channels. I stopped at Star Gold Select. For the past few weeks, I’ve been a fan of this particular movie channel. The movies here have only one break just the way they should have.

Anyways, I noticed that Roy was on. I thought of watching for a few minutes. I instantly got hooked. I watched the movie for around 40 minutes. Then a neighbour showed up. I had to turn off the TV and entertain him. After he left, I watched the entire movie online, right from the beginning. And I have to admit, it was a beautiful movie. I liked it. I’m now writing my first thoughts in this blog.

Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal) is a movie director. He has two successful movies under his belt–Guns Part I and Guns Part II. Now he’s up for Guns Part III. All these movies are about a thief called Roy (Ranbir kapoor). Roy is so good at what he does that some call him the greatest thief of all time. During the shoot, Kabir meets another filmmaker Aisha (Jacqueline Fernandez). He draws inspiration from Aisha and moulds his story based on his interactions with her. Then one day Aisha leaves. Kabir is left behind with an unfinished story, an unfinished movie. He loses his inspiration. The movie goes on to show how he faces these circumstances.

There are many beautiful moments in the movie. The movie shows Kabir’s and Roy’s story in parallel. It can get a little confusing at first because Jacqueline has important part in both stories. But once when you get that they are two different stories with a connection, you can immerse into the story and the characters. There’s one particular moment in the movie when Kabir loses his inspiration to complete the movie in the form of Aisha, Roy is left stranded in the middle of ocean for sometime. This, I think, the director has done very beautifully.

The songs of the movie are very good and catchy too. Tu Hai Ki Nahi and Yaara Re were my favourite. The first two songs were also good but I think they were not very necessary. I felt they disturbed the smooth flow of the story. I also felt they were a bit loud given the story, its pace, and the characters.

Other than that, I think the movie was great. The main reason this movie did not do well in the box office, I believe, is that it moves very slowly. But I think that is the beauty of the movie. Also the movie probably was made ahead of its time. The Indian cinema audience are not yet ready to watch these sort of artistic movies. I don’t mean to say that I am ahead of time. I just like these sort of movies. My friends don’t like the movies I like, and I don’t like the movies my friends like.

I remember one movie in particular–Another Earth. I liked the movie so much that I suggested it to all my friends. All those who watched it on my recommendation vowed never to take my recommendation on movies from that day on. I was a little disappointed. So I’m going to save myself from another disappointment and not suggest it to any of my friends. Instead I’m writing this blog so that anyone can read this if they wish to.

Final words:

I know it’s waaaaaaaaaaay too late, but still … if you’re into typical masala bollywood movies, this movie is not for you. But if you appreciate the artistic value of a movie, you can go for it. There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the movie.

Rating: 6/10

Round the Moon and Back: Historic Journey of Apollo 8 to the Moon (Part I)

The decade of 1960 was incredible for space exploration. Many remarkable events happened in those 10 years. If not the final frontier, space was the next big frontier. USA and the former USSR went head to head to try and become a front-runner in space. The Apollo 8 mission launched by NASA 48 years ago, on December 21, to orbit the moon put the US in the front foot in this space race. Let us take a closer look at this Apollo 8 mission.

Background

On April 21, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to fly in space. USA, with the fear of being left behind in the space race, responded immediately to the Soviet’s move on May 5 the same year by sending its first manned flight to space.

The-then US president John F. Kennedy wanted American superiority over USSR and the world in the field of space exploration and missile defense. And he knew USA was a long way behind the Soviets during that time. So, to narrow this gap, president Kennedy, on May 25, 1961, proposed a manned moon mission within a decade. He wanted USA to be the first country to land man successfully on moon and return him safely to the earth.

“… I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

– President John F. Kennedy

Kennedy_Giving_Historic_Speech_to_Congress_-_GPN-2000-001658

President Kennedy giving historic speech to congress

At the time of the proposal of this project, only one American, Alan Shepard, had flown in space just 20 days earlier. So, this was a very ambitious project. It would require a lot of financial and human resource. But president Kennedy was prepared to give NASA whatever it took. Thus, the Apollo space mission took shape.

Abe Silverstein, the NASA manager, gave the Apollo mission its name in early 1960. Apollo is the Greek God of music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge.

The beginning

The predecessors of the Apollo mission—Mercury and Gemini missions—were a huge success. There were a total of sixteen successful liftoffs and sixteen successful splashdowns. So the expectations from the Apollo mission were very high.

But the beginning of the Apollo mission was not good at all. The first Apollo mission (Apollo 1) was never flown. The Apollo 1 spacecraft which was supposed to carry astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee to space and bring them back safely, exploded before the launch. Its three crew members died in the explosion inside the spacecraft.

This was a huge setback for NASA in its goal to put man on moon by 1970. NASA did not fly the Apollo 2 and 3 missions in respect to the deceased astronauts.

Apollo 8 or Apollo 9?

After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA did not do a manned spaceflight for nearly a year. However, there were unmanned flights of Apollo 4, 5 and 6. Then came the manned spaceflight of Apollo 7. It was also a fairly successful mission. Astronauts Wally Schirra, Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele landed safely back on earth.

After the success of its subsequent missions, NASA wanted the Apollo 8 mission to test the Command/Service Module (CSM) and Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). A CSM is a spacecraft that astronauts would use to enter the Earth. And an LEM is a spacecraft that astronauts would use to descend to the moon and again ascend back to the moon’s orbit. CSM and LEM together was called Apollo spacecraft.

According to NASA’s plans, a rocket would take the CSM and LEM to the moon’s orbit. Then the LEM would separate from the CSM and land man on the lunar surface. The CSM would be orbiting the moon. When it was time to fly back to the earth, the LEM would ascend back to the orbit where it would dock on the CSM and the CSM would eventually carry the astronauts back to the earth safely. This mode is called Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOP).

800px-Apollo-8-mission-profile

Apollo 8 mission profile | Image credit: NASA

Apollo 8 was planned to be launched on December 21, 1968. It was planned to be a CSM/LEM mission, i.e. Apollo 8 mission would test the CSM and LEM. But the lunar module was not ready in time. NASA had two options here. One, wait for the lunar module to be ready and then launch Apollo 8 mission. The other option was to reassign Apollo 8 to orbit the earth just like Apollo 7 and make Apollo 9 the CSM/LEM mission.

Coincidentally, the USSR had sent two tortoises, mealworms, wine flies, and other lifeforms around the moon on September 15, 1968 aboard its Zond 5 spacecraft. One more unmanned Zond 6 flight and USSR would put a cosmonaut on Zond 7 to head for the moon.

On November 10 that year, USSR launched Zond 6, an unmanned spacecraft that would swing around the dark side of the moon and fly back to the earth. Everything was going just as planned until Zond 6 crash landed in Kazakhstan.

Despite this setback for the Soviets, CIA strongly believed that the USSR would repeat this feat with humans before the end of the year. So with the two options in hand, NASA administrator George Low proposed a third option: launch Apollo 8 without the lunar module on its slated date and take it to the moon’s orbit.

Crew

The crew of Apollo 9 had nine months to prepare for their mission. The crew consisted of Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders. Borman and Lovell were the veterans of the Gemini mission. They had flown together in the Gemini 7 for 336 hours. William Anders was a rookie from third astronaut class. He was an expert in LSM. He knew LSM better than the people who had designed it.

Apollo 8 Crew

Apollo 8 crew is photographed posing on a Kennedy Space Center (KSC) simulator in their space suits. From left to right are: James Lovell, William Anders, and Frank Borman
Image credit: Space Frontiers/Getty Images

One afternoon when they were training for their Apollo 9 mission, Borman received a call from NASA that they had been reassigned to Apollo 8 and they would fly to the Moon—the first time for any man. But the preparation period was very short, sixteen weeks. Borman and his crew quickly agreed to take the mission.

The backup crew included Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Fred Haise.

Flight

So after just sixteen weeks of preparations, the Apollo 8 mission was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on a massive Saturn V rocket. Borman, Lovell and Anders became the first humans to go beyond the gravitational field of the Earth.

But just about one hour after the launch, there was a problem. Commander Borman started to feel queasy. The doctors on the ground studied his symptoms and suspected two things—radiation poisoning from the Van Helens belt or even worse, a virus. They immediately advised Borman to cancel the flight and return home. Borman, on the other hand, thought that his body was taking some time to acclimatize to the zero g environment. He quickly dismissed the idea. And he was right. It was over in about an hour and half. That was a big relief for the ground control center. Later in interviews, Borman said he was not sick enough to jeopardize the mission.

After two hours and fifty-six minutes of flight, the crew performed the trans-lunar injection (TLI), a procedure that put the spacecraft on its way to the moon. moon’s gravity would capture the spacecraft one it reached its sphere of influence. The crew then cut-off the third stage of the Saturn V rocket.

Just after that, they saw something that no man had ever seen—the earth as a whole. Sure, the astronauts and cosmonauts had seen the earth form space. But it was only the vastness of the earth stretched across their window. This was different. The crew saw the earth as a round ball floating in the darkness. Anders quickly took some photographs of this historic moment. Then they quietly headed for the moon.

The Wait

I had recently joined the Writing English course at Bishowbhasa Campus. And today was my first day. Actually, the first day of the class was yesterday but I was too busy with some of my stuffs. So anyways, I went to the campus, browsed through the classroom information chart and entered the class right at 5:30. I had thought that there would be very few students in the classroom. I was wrong. As soon as I opened the door, the classroom was silenced. There were three students sitting in each bench. There were two rows and almost all the benches in both the rows were occupied. As I entered, I could sense that the class mistook me as the teacher for some moment. I kept a beard. I was carrying a heavy laptop bag. I was dressed casually and I was wearing a cap. I must have definitely looked like a teacher. I walked past the staring eyes towards the end of the class until I found a bench with only a person sitting on it. I settled in my new found place, took off my jacket and my cap. And the wait began. The wait for the actual teacher.

I don’t know if it’s a good habit or a bad one but I hate waiting. I tend to grow restless when people keep me waiting, especially those who arrive late and say those three damned words as an excuse, it’s Nepali time. Anyways, I took out my mobile phone from my pocket and read a book that I have been reading for the past few days. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. There was an interesting twist in the plot but I quickly lost interest in it after a few pages because I was eagerly waiting for the class to begin. So I put the cell phone back in my pocket and kept staring out of the window. The view was not new to me. Same old police club on the left, R.R. Campus on the right and the administrative block the Bishowbhasa Campus on the back. I was in the same room during my German language first semester exam a month ago. Our exam was delayed by forty minutes. Forty long minutes. I had enough time to look around. Coming back to the present, somebody then entered the classroom. This must be the teacher, I thought. I was about to stand up on my feet to greet him. But then he kept on walking and sat on the bench behind me. Damn! People kept coming in and the classroom was buzzing with side talks. The person sitting next to me was silent too. May be he too was desperately waiting for the teacher. We could’ve had a decent talk but I didn’t feel like talking at all.

I took out my mobile from my pocket and checked the time. 5:43. This is why Nepal is still far from being developed, I thought. People just don’t care about time. They take it for granted. I opened the QPython console and practised writing some programs. I learnt to generate a Fibonacci series. That is one of the achievements of the day. If you’re familiar with programming stuffs, you must be laughing at me right now. I get it. That is such an easy thing to do and I’m calling it an achievement. Well, it is for me. And if you’re not familiar with programming, may be you too should learn at least a programming language. It gives you a whole new perspective of life and everything around you. Apart from being able to write codes, of course.

So when I was indulging myself in the feeling of pride in generating the Fibonacci series, a man entered the classroom. I didn’t pay much attention towards him until he rested his bag on the first bench and started to talk very softly. This is definitely the teacher. I was very sure this time. I checked mobile one last time. 5:48. I took a deep breath of relief and opened my copy and pen.

Zombie apocalypse strikes World Cup

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

Suarez bites again. And it isn’t funny. No, seriously, it’s not. Stop laughing!

Serial biter Luis Suarez of Uruguay took a hunk out of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder in today’s 1-0 win over the Azzurri.

With FIFA certain to review the incident, it appears that Suarez may have bitten off more than he can chew.

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