Gold

Gold

I am in the middle of reading Shashi Tharoor’s An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India. If you have been living under a rock like I was, then you may not have heard about his Oxford debate where he smashed his contemporaries on why Britain should do reparations to India.

At this time, I chanced on the movie Gold in Amazon Prime. What perfect timing! A movie about India’s first Olympic gold medal – as a free country. The movie stars Akshay Kumar as a sports manager of the British India National Hockey team, and their ability to keep winning the Olympic gold for British India. History buffs and hockey buffs (preferably both) would be quick to point out that during that time the team was led by the Wizard of Hockey, Dhyan Chand.

For the sake of preserving identities of the negative roles, the names have been changed, and Dhyan Chand is portrayed by Kunal Kapoor as the legendary captain Pritam. If you do not know who is Dhyan Chand, please stop reading and head on to the wiki link. India was well known in the history of hockey largely due to this chap. We owned the international circuit from 1928 (pre-independence) up till as late as 1980. Pretty much the time cricket took over as the national craze and the national sport lost its crowds. Ironically, in 2014 when Dhyan Chand’s name was being considered for Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian award in India), it was never nominated and the award winner was none other than apna Sachin!

But I digress, this is about the movie and not a diatribe about hockey losing out to cricket!

The movie is about getting India’s first Olympic gold, and how the main character in the story (a Bengali team manager played by Akshay Kumar) helps the team get its gold. This under the backdrop of the partition and post-independence struggles that the new country faces make for a riveting story.

Bollywood has oft taken an anti-Pakistan stance in the past, and it’s very easy to take this stance. However, you should see how this movie has spun the entire India-Pakistan tale. It’s heart-rending and one might wonder … a magnificent what-if … our national leaders back then were brave and foolhardy to take such a decision then. What stops from doing something equally foolish now?

History tells us the outcome of this story … India dominated the hockey scene for a long time. However, the story also talks about the role of administration in ensuring that the sport has enough backing. In the chaos of IPL and slogans like fan banna padega … I ask you this … what about our national sport? I wish this movie had done much better on the box office, it deserves to be seen, not only for the acting – but also for the narrative.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

As a child, I had seen Blade Runner … in fact that was when I first came across the phrase Android. Yes, back then android did not mean an operating system for a smart phone.

The title of this blog post is a book by Phillip Dick, this book was adapted as the story behind Blade Runner. The movie on its own was also a fantastic experience, but if you read the book, and then watched the movie, its even better.

Blade Runner Then

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Blade Runner the Original

The original Blade Runner tells you pretty much a story adapted from the book. A world where cybernetic human androids are used to do the tough work, and these android somehow not only find sentience, but also free will.

The story itself is about one such android hunter, or a Blade Runner, and how he starts seeing the point of view of the androids.

You have to realize that the time when this movie was shot, a lot of the effects that were shown on screen were difficult to pull off. Yet, here they are. The casting and the characters were spot on, with Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer making their mark on screen.

Blade Runner Now

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Blade Runner 2049 – The Sequel

Blade Runner 2049, is a different story. It picks up from where the previous story left. It does star Harrison Ford, and to explain the age, it does cast him as an aged and retired Blade Runner.

Incidentally, this happens to be the third of Harrison Ford’s characters that has come back and has finally been put to rest (Indiana Jones passes the mantle to his son Le Bouf, Hans Solo is killed by his son, and Deckard finally gets to …). I won’t talk about the details, but the sequel is a good attempt to re-kindle the story. It pays homages to the previous flick in the right dosage, ditto to Ford, and yet … it tells a different story.

A story that makes you wonder. A story that sometimes you want to read as a book.

All the stories have a uniform theme … and all of them raise the question … what is life, and is a sentient being really alive? What do they think … and is an Artificial intelligence still a cognitive being.

A relic in a new age

Another day, another James Bond rumour. Of all the great franchises out there, 007’s—perhaps appropriately—seems to play its cards the closest to its chest. Eon Productions always rations information about where their legendary character is going right up to the point they are ready to announce his destination, and for what looks to be Daniel […]

via What if killing off Daniel Craig’s James Bond makes sense? —

I love Bond flicks. As someone who has watched James Bond escape traps and defeat villains right from childhood days, it’s a treat to read this article.

Not only does the author know his Bond, but also he is able to tell apart the different Bonds from each other (Connery from Moore, Brosnan from Craig, etc). However, do read through the entire article that I have linked above. Perhaps, it is time for Mr. Bond to die.

What the author seems to suggest is that Bond being the immortal he is manages to still beat the odds, but is feeling the pressures of age. James Bond is a legacy system.

What is a legacy system?

In organizations, a legacy system is that system which has been running for quite some time. It is running because the organization does not feel the need to update the system and the system has been running satisfactorily.

By this I mean, the system has its fair share of problems, but its a known devil. People know the workarounds, they know how to work with the system and how to sometimes work around it. They live with it … but every year they do a calculation of what will it take to replace it. Since what the system does represent is technical debt.

Unless the system does not magically upgrade itself or reinvent itself, the technical debt would be carried over.

What can be done to technical debt?

It has to be paid back in full, and sometimes with interest

This debt has to be paid either in terms of loss in productivity or in terms of cost incurred in upgrading the system.

So, either you keep updating and patching the legacy system … so in Mr. Bond’s case, there’s a constant need to evolve and keep getting better.

Or you simply retire the system, or replace the system with a slightly modern version of the sytem. What we have been seeing when it comes to the casting of James Bond. Daniel Craig would now shoot his 5th Bond flick. This would be his last.

What do you want for Bond?

Being an ardent James Bond fan, I would love to see Bond re-invent himself into a mix of Q and M who is also on the field. If wishes could be horses, beggars would ride.

Logan and Wolverine

When the first X-Men released, it was more than 17 years back. It was not a major role since there were other heavy hitters in the movie as well.

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Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

The character was rough around the edges and it always had a lone ranger kind of aura with it.

The one word description for this character has always been bad-ass.

The movie series is excellent at doing some base level course corrections – one of those being the horrible yellow spandex suits that Jackman never got to wear.

X-Men fans loved the first, and then Hugh Jackman became a regular feature in all the other movies. So much so that despite of the other X-Men being introduced (Nightcrawler, Iceman, Colossus, Gambit, etc) the one character that everyone yearned to see time and again was the Wolverine.

The Wolverine does not have an issue with aging, in fact that’s his mutant power, however, the creators of the series and the movie series knew that the character would have to be killed. This is where the adamantium that’s in his body came useful.

** Spoiler Alert **

Logan the movie is created in order to phase out Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine and bring in his daughter. The young and feral Dafne Keen.

In this movie, Logan is shown as a tired Wolverine who is slowly dying because of the adamantium in his body. We also have an Alzheimer ridden Professor X who bids adieu to the series as well.

Fans of the series will realize that Professor X is the only character in the movie series to have been killed twice on screen (thanks to the Days of Past storyline).

I won’t get into the plot any deeper. This movie is one of the most grittiest and goriest X-Men movies to be every released. Some of the signature movies of X-Men feature slick moves and awesome super powers … Logan and Wolverine are the two movies where there is a fair amount of gritty hand-to-hand fighting. If you want to see how those blades are put to use, then you definitely need to see this one!

After 17 years of hit movies, Hugh Jackman gets to hang the Wolverine claws at the back of his den and relax.

Party De with the Fugay Family

For some reason, this song has just stuck in my mind on a loop this morning! I mean, it’s got a catchy rhythm and all.

However, the term party de is such an intrinsic theme between college friends, especially within Maharashtrians, that creating a cultural meme out of this term makes sense.

I remember as a teenager, most of the times when you would achieve something, rather than celebrating that achievement, there would always be the friends and family haranguing you with the same phrase – party de.

I am not a fan of Swapnil Joshi, however, he manages to catch the nerve of the marathi manus pretty accurately. Thankfully, his manus is most of the times celebrating the good times.

मराठी माणूस इथे कुठे आला?

येणार ना. जिथे पण मराठी समुदाय आणि मराठी रीतींबद्दल चर्चा आहे तिथे मराठी माणूस आहे.

This is the topic of another post, though. Something that I strongly feel. Until then, party on!

Dr. Strange and the case of Disabling Constructs

Dr. Strange is a Marvel Superhero set in the Avengers Universe. The Marvel Comics Universe (MCU) has rolled out a fair number of movies in these past years. Dr. Strange is one of it’s top grossing hits for a single Marvel super hero (beating Iron Man, Ant Man, Thor and Hulk).

Continue reading “Dr. Strange and the case of Disabling Constructs”