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Balakrishna Varma's REVIEWS AND RATINGS

Ratings by Balakrishna (88)

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Reviews by Balakrishna (171)

87% of 46 users found this user's reviews helpful
Malgudi Days Complete : Tv Series
Price: Rs. 909
In Stock. Delivered in 2-3 business days.
An Excellent Purchase
on 01 November 10
first to review

I still remember as a child waiting for Malgudi days to come on Doordarshan, and now my children love this DVD. Considering that the show appeared nearly 20 years ago, it still holds charm for the modern day kids, and closed captioning does help for those who do not speak/understand Hindi fluently. An excellent purchase and a good DVD set to have, if you have young children in the house. Don't hesitate. If you don't own it, buy it right Now.

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94% of 18 found this helpful
The White Tiger (Thorndike Reviewers' Choice) (English) : Book
Price: Rs. 2910
Available. Delivered in 14-15 business days.
Incredible Journey Through A Changing India
on 07 December 10

What's astonishing about "The White Tiger" isn't Adiga's depiction of the social and economic inequalities of contemporary India. Other writers--Rohinton Mistry in " A Fine Balance," Kiran Desai in "The Inheritance of Loss," among others--have written very good novels about this. What is astonishing is the economy with which he does it. Novels about societal inequities are often lengthy; think of a novel by Dickens or Stowe or Dreiser or Steinbeck, in which the accumulating weight of the details of suffering creates a powerful impression. Adiga creates two disparate worlds, Balram's tiny native village in the Darkness and the sliver of Delhi he inhabits in his life as a driver for the urbanized son of the village landlord. The first is a place of absolute hopelessness presided over by allegorical figures of corrupt wealth: the four landlords known as The Stork, The Buffalo, The Wild Boar, and The Raven. From afar (and occasionally up close) The Great Socialist is re-elected again and again through promises of change (always unkept) and corrupt electioneering. Balram's family, it is clear, will be poor forever. The city, for Balram, consists of the glittery mall (which he can't enter); the air-conditioned imported car that he drives; and the red bag stuffed with cash for politicians with power over The Stork's businesses. These two settings (and the human animals that inhabit them) set out a chasm that is utterly unbridgeable. Thus, when Balram murders his master (a fact established at the very beginning of the novel), it seems less a tragedy than the outcome of impeccable logic. I kept thinking of Dreiser's Sister Carrie, another small town character who migrates to the city. But where Dreiser is intent on portraying Carrie as someone corrupted by grinding social forces far beyond her control, Adiga deftly portrays Balram as an entrepreneur, one whose tiger's leap across the chasm is equally the product of social forces he cannot control. This leap leads to a 21st century ascent (in social and economic terms) not a 19th century descent into the loneliness that an obsession with wealth can bring. I am aghast at the level of criticism heaped on the book by Indian readers. But 'that' in itself shows the mind of typical urban Indian unlike the rural Indian. No one in urban India appreciates( or rather can stand) another Indian being recognized by the West. Remember Ms Roy's dilemma when she won the Booker for GOST. Even in tiny KERALA she was heavily chastised by the Left parties. I consider "The White Tiger" to be a part of the library of any real lover of books, east west or whatever.

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9 of 9 found this helpful
Wake Up Sid : Movie
Price: Rs. 390
In Stock. Delivered in 4-5 business days.
on 13 July 10
first to review

What a lovely sweet moving film! I bought the DVD because I think highly of Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma and neither disappointed me in this film. Both are such natural performers that you never get the feeling they are acting. It helped that they were given such rounded characters to play. Supriya Pathak's role brought a tear to my eye, her character was so touching. If I have one tiny criticism, it's that the dubbing is ever so slightly out of sync in the beginning. But the story and performances soon made me forget that and pulled me in. Top marks for this one. Both Ranbir and Konkona may have got their start because of their famous parents, but they are both actors who give it their all and deserve to be where they are today.

The director is a first time director too, I believe. More good things from him, please.

If you like a well-acted romantic comedy drama, this one will score highly with you.

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4 of 4 found this helpful
How To Train Your Dragon : Av Media
Price: Rs. 329
In Stock. Delivered in 2-3 business days.
on 01 November 10

The first Shrek and Kung Fu Panda were both very close to Pixar level in terms of storytelling, but How to Train Your Dragon is the best by far from Dreamworks. The animation is very high in detail, especially in IMAX 3-D, and the characters are not only likeable, but memorable. The main dragon, Toothless, is one of the greatest animated characters in a long time, and like Wall-E, he doesn't even talk. All of the other species of dragons also have unique looks and personalities. The flying sequences here really show the power of 3-D as a tool to put the viewer in the movie, not just a gimmick. I would say it's second only to Avatar. This film is more serious in tone than laugh out loud funny, much like the latest from Pixar (UP, Wall-E, etc.), but it does have quite a few laughs that come naturally, not forced. I'm so glad they stayed away from pop culture references. Both kids and parents will love How to Train Your Dragon equally and probably for much different reasons. The only thing that I didn't care for were the first 10 minutes or so. Not that they are bad in any way, but it felt a little rushed. Once the film settles and Hiccup (the boy viking) meets the dragon, everything begins to click. The only other negative is that every kid is going to want a pet dragon for their birthday. Good luck with that!

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3 of 3 found this helpful
Band Of Brothers 1 : Tv Series
Price: Rs. 1274
Available. Delivered in 7-8 business days.
The real heroes are still over there.
on 01 November 10

That modesty and that sentiment seems to be shared by all the survivors of Easy Company, 506th PRI, and many of them can't hold back the tears as they mumble it. One of the great benefits of this marvelous series was the closeup interviews of the real men portrayed, those wonderful old seamed faces, breaking at last with emotion as they recall their experiences and the love of their comrades and the pain of loss of other friends. It moves me greatly, and I'm glad the Extras in this set has an extended documentary re-tracing the time-frame of the film with these real veterans recalling the action we've seen re-created. Brought with loving care and fanatic attention to detail by producers Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks and their carefully chosen band of producers, directors and actors, this is an unsentimental, near-documentary telling of the story of Easy Co. from training to D-Day, Hedge Row fighting, Operation Market Garden, Bastogne, into Germany, liberation of Death Camps, and the capture of Berchesgarden & Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Throughout it all, the aim has been to tell it straight and get it right. They have done so in remarkable style. The truth HAS enough drama, and the various episodes reveal it. We get to know these men and care about them. We marvel at their endurance and the way they go about getting the job done, professionally, and with matter-of-fact, everyday courage. It is a true tribute to the Citizen Soldiers who won the war. With 10 episodes and lots of extra goodies, presented within an exceptional package, there is just too much to review here. Some memorable moments: the harrowing jump into the explosive, tracer-lit night skies of Normandy; the assault on the 88's; Winter's killing the young German; the episode dedictated to the Medic; the monstrous artillery barrage on the men in the snowy forest of Bastogne; the shock of the farmer's wife on seeing the closeup hand-to-hand killing of the German by "Bull"; and finally, the incredibly moving scenes of the liberation of the Concentration Camp, and the final days of Easy at the War's end. These last episodes are all the more powerful because we have followed Easy Co. and these men and have seen the death so random and arbitrary around and among them that a slow emotional tension has been built that we now realize with the intensity of anger/pity/horror at the Camps and the bittersweet joy and subsequent farewell of VE day. I could cite great moments by each individual actor, and nicely played and effectively understated but powerfully emotional scenes but suffice it to say this is an ensemble piece with superb performances throughout. The quiet power of the different episodes underscores how wonderfully written the entire piece is, and with corresponding excellent direction and production values. A one-of-a-kind production, having the time to tell the tale with detail and care, and with all involved doing honor to the men who lived it. And finally, there are those men, bringing it all back to the reality of real lives lived. Exceptional stuff. WORTH COLLECTING.

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3 of 3 found this helpful
Avatar : Av Media
Price: Rs. 599
In Stock. Delivered in 2-3 business days.
Amazing value plus long anticipated Earth opening.
on 01 November 10
first to review

I did go out to the theater to see James Cameron's Avatar with my daughters. I had great expectations, having seen Aliens, Terminator 1 & 2, The Abyss, Titanic, just to name a few of his blockbuster hits. Cameron's films always come rolling in, guns blasting, edge of your seat action, heart thrilling scenes and teeth gnashing bad guys. The exact thing I love. If you don't know what an avatar is, here's the definition compliments of Webster: the incarnation of a HINDU DEITY; an incarnation in human form. That's the entire idea behind this movie. An alternative life from the one that you may have now. The Na'vi are the indigenous people thriving on Planet Pandora and their existence is being threatened by a major corporation that wants a crucial mineral that exists only on their homeland. Avatar explores the question: Would civilized man's thinking change if it were another planet? Cameron paraplegic hero, Jake Sully, has the opportunity to live among the Na'vi in an alternate reality. Jake molds, bonds and begins to understand. He sees this new world and the natives for what they are, far more intelligent than his counterparts believe. There is a bonding between the Na'vi and mother earth that is deep and profound, calling back to the tales we read from our own INDIAN heritage. This film has captured the most breathtaking and believable artistic sense I have seen in years. The hero, Jake Sully, has to decide what is more important. The life he knew or the life that exists only in his dreams. I'll leave you hanging there because I hate it when the review tells the entire story. All I can say was there was, when I saw this film at the theater, there was a hushed lull that fell over the audience during the entire film, not a child cried, whimpered or whined. Not a soul bounded up and down the stairs seeking refills or a bathroom break. There was clapping throughout the audience when the credits rolled and my daughters, were among them.

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7 of 10 found this helpful
Ghost World : Book
Price: Rs. 787
Available. Delivered in 15-16 business days.
Ghost World: Screenplay
on 05 August 11
first to review certified buyer

I read it in one sitting. It's very brief (80 pages or so) and completely absorbing. It draws you in like very few books, comic or not, can. The two main characters are two teenage girls, Enid and Rebecca, who are hanging around their small town the summer after they graduate from high school. That's it. The thing is, it's not. Clowes somehow manages to convey in every sentence, every frame, the feeling of being a teenager and feeling the dead ends wherever you head. And the wonderful thing is, the dead ends are not shoved down your throat. It's a subtle thing, present in an empty street, a record store, a diner. Where you find them in real life.

Trust me on this one.

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2 of 2 found this helpful
9 1/2 Weeks : Movie
Price: Rs. 392
Available. Delivered in 8-9 business days.
The Chemistry of Lust
on 01 November 10
first to review

I have loved this movie since I saw it in the theater. This is one of my all time favorite movies. The chemistry between Rourke and Basinger is electric. You can practically see the sparks fly off the screen. Is Rourke's character a nice guy? Not really. However, is he sexy, and would he make most women melt? Yes he would without a doubt. The scene in the kitchen is particularly appealing. I find it fascinating how this movie seems to have permeated our culture. I have female friends that agree that they love this movie but don't want to tell men that they love it. Not that I completely understand this behavior mind you. I can only guess that it has to do with wanting to be seen as a "good girl". I see this movie as one that tried to break taboos in its time. Bondage was just not seen as "normal" behavior in the middle class America in 1986 when the film was released. This film is all about the chemistry of lust. It depicts what can happen when a relationship becomes sexual before people really get to know each other. Their relationship burned brightly for a while, and then burned out. I highly recommend this movie. I find this movie erotic, and very sexy. I think it is a great movie for a married couple to watch that needs a little spark put back into their relationship.

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2 of 2 found this helpful
Full Dark, No Stars (English) : Book
Price: Rs. 1387
Available. Delivered in 9-10 business days.
It’s Poe meets Creepshow by way of Steinbeck.
on 19 October 10

King begins his afterword by stating, “The stories in this book are harsh.” The man ain’t whistlin’ Dixie. Returning to the novella—possibly his brightest canvas—King provides four raw looks at the limits of greed, revenge, and self-deception. The first, “1922,” is an outright masterpiece and takes the form of the written confession of one Wilf James. Back in 1922, see, Wilf killed his wife to prevent her selling off part of the farm, but tossing her corpse down the well didn’t exactly stop her. It’s Poe meets Creepshow by way of Steinbeck and carries the bleak, nearly romantic doom of an old folk ballad about murderin’ done wrong. A pair of the remaining tales feature female protagonists considering hiding others’ crimes: “Big Driver” is a rape-revenge tale about a writer of cozy mysteries who ends up in the uncoziest of situations, while “A Good Marriage” stars a wife whose husband of 27 years turns out to be hiding an unimaginable secret. Though the shortest story by far, “Fair Extension” is no slouch, submitting for your approval one Mr. Elvid (get it?), who is out to shine a little light on our blackest urges. Rarely has King gone this dark, but to say there are no stars here is crazy. High-Demand Backstory: King has gone on record saying he believesthat American readers should pay more attention to the virtues of short fiction; and if anyone can get reluctant short-story and novella readers into the swing, he certainly can with this book. This title will be released on November 9, 2010.

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2 of 2 found this helpful
Taare Zameen Par : Movie
Price: Rs. 125
Available. Delivered in 5-6 business days.
The film has such a wonderful meaning
on 13 July 10

Taare Zameen Par is honestly one of the most beautiful films i have ever seen. I have watched this about five times in Hindi. The film has such a wonderful meaning, despite the different language the meaning is the same. I too struggled through school not being regongnised, all I wanted to do like Ishaan was draw, paint and create, and I was fasinated by the colours and things around me. When I look at Ishaan I see myself. It wasn't until an art teacher believed in me that I learnt I wasn't stupid and began to believe in myself. This film has a great meaning to me. I am overjoyed that it is now available to by in India. I bought it as soon as I knew. An amazing film

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2 of 2 found this helpful
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