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Monthly Archives: December 2016

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    Friday, December 30

    Horrible Bosses 2 (Comedy), HBO, 9 pm
    Cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day
    As they grow bored of the corporate rat race, three best friends, Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day) and Kurt (Sudeikis) decide to start a business of their own. Having
    successfully developed the prototype of a breakthrough product called Shower Buddy, the trio manages to attract the attention of many influential investors. One of them is Rex Hanson and his father Bert. Just when they thought that things are looking up, Bert cancels his investment all of a sudden and flees the scene with the trio’s idea,
    leaving them in a heap of debt. Both films in the Horrible Bosses franchise feature How You Like Me Now? by The Heavy.

    Sex and the City (Romance/Drama), Romedy Now, 11.25 pm
    Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth
    Carrie Bradshaw (Parker), a freelance writer living in Manhattan, leads a picture-perfect life filled with the best of fashion and her four best friends.
    In a relationship with John James Preston (Noth), a financier she’s been going out with for 10 long years, Carrie finds herself forced to face the idea of marriage. Though she never exactly warmed up to the notion of wedlock, things seem to flow effortlessly with Preston by her side. Until he decides to leave her at the altar. The Vogue shoot shown in the film was orchestrated by the actual magazine’s team.

    Saturday, December 31

    Barry (Biography), Netflix India
    Cast: Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell
    Directed by Vikram Gandhi, Barry follows the inspirational life story of former American President Barack Obama (Terrell). Set in 1981, the film opens to his life as a junior at New York’s Columbia University. Barry sees the 20-something struggling to make sense of the socio-political scenarios going on around him, as he tries to stay connected to his estranged family and the people around. A regular political science student who occasionally plays street ball, he has to make himself fit into what’s essentially a white-dominated Ivy league setup. The second movie to delve into Obama’s life this year, followed by Southside with You, Barry premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Max (Action/Adventure), Movies Now, 10.55 pm
    Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank
    A Malinois breed dog, Max’s life changes when he gets adopted by Kyle Wincott (Church), one of the American marines deployed in Afghanistan. But the political scenario soon shifts, leaving Max orphaned with no home to return to. When Wincott’s brother, Justin (Wiggins) collects Max from the military facility and decides to look after him, the true story behind what happened to his handler slowly begins to unravel. Can Max bring peace to his master’s disjointed family? Max is a tribute to the memory of 26 dogs and their handlers who died on duty.

    Sunday, January 1

    Joy (Drama), Hotstar Premium
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence,
    Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
    A story of passion and resilience sprawling across a family history of 400 years, Joy chronicles the transformative journey of a young girl. As she ends up in a tricky position, which puts her as head of the family’s business dynasty, Joy (Lawrence) finds betrayal and treachery sneaking into her life from the most
    unexpected places. When each of her allies and enemies reveal their true colours, Joy evolves into a powerful matriarch in her own right, through a turbulent ‘loss of
    innocence’ period. Joy is the final film directed by Ken Howard, noted for works like In Her Shoes.

    Red Dawn (Action/ Thriller), WB, 12.17 pm
    Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson
    While a NATO alliance appears weak due to an economic crisis, leaving the regions under its control in a compromising position, rival forces are closing in quick. One of the first areas to be struck is Spokane, Washington, where North Korean soldiers launch an unexpected assault under the command of Captain Cho. But Police Sergeant Tom Eckert and his son  US Marine Jed Eckert, natives from the region, are not planning on surrendering that easily. Joined by several other town members, the duo is keen on keeping their town safe. Red Dawn marks the directorial debut of stuntman Dan Bradley, who’s noted for his works in The Bourne series and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

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      Utopia, COLORS Infinity,
      Tomorrow and Sunday, 12 pm
      Get some suspense in your holiday mood by tuning into the premiere of the first two seasons of the British thriller-drama series Utopia. Directed by Dennis Kelly, it revolves around five members of an online comic book forum who come across a cult graphic book manuscript called Utopia that is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century.

      Dexter, AXN,
      Monday to Friday, 9 pm
      Dexter, one of the most popular series on television, has just completed ten years on AXN. The channel is now airing all seasons of this award-winning psychological crime drama, starring Michael C Hall as the protagonist, Dexter Morgan.

      Discovery Kids, Weekends
      To strengthen the interest of children in movies, Discovery Kids has tied up with studios like NBCUniversal, Reliance Media, Cosmos Entertainment and Toonz Animation, to premiere a movie every weekend in 2017. Films in this line-up include Kisna, Luv Kushh, Hanuman and others.

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        Our pick of shows to watch out for as they come back from their season hiatus

        Find out who will ride the third dragon on Game of Thrones, whether Amy  and Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory will be together forever, and go on new adventures with Sherlock this coming year, which has a few mysteries for television audiences to wait for with bated breath. While a few shows return from their mid-season breaks, others are gearing up for renewed plot twists. We bring you our pick of six shows that you can’t afford to miss, come 2017.

        How to get away with murder
        Star World HD, January
        After taking a break post-season 3’s ninth episode, How to Get Away with Murder is set to return with a new episode this January, bringing back the traumatic developments of the last episode. With Oliver’s boyfriend Connor under the radar as a possible suspect in Wes Gibbin’s murder, the revelation about his killer is expected in the upcoming episodes.

        Sherlock AXN, January 1
        Benedict Cumberbatch owned it as Sherlock in this crime drama series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. While it has been three years since a full season of Sherlock has been aired, the fans had to satisfy themselves with a not so informative special episode, The Abominable Bride. In season two, we all saw Moriarty (Andrew Scott) commit suicide. The unanswered question is that is the infamous villain back?

        The Big Bang Theory Zee Cafe, January 5
        This popular sitcom is already in its tenth season. While this season could be the last of the series, episode 12, ‘The Holiday Summation’, will hopefully answer our
        queries. Episode 11 left us surprised when Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) decided to live-in, and rumour has it that Sheldon might pop the question. However, it is confirmed that the cast will come back from their respective Christmas-breaks and narrate their hilarious events to each other.

        Game of Thrones April 21, HBO
        With Jon Snow and Sansa Stark back at Westeros and a likely alliance between Varys, Olenna Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen on the cards, season 7 of Game of Thrones, based on the novels by George RR Martin, looks comfortably placed for some game-changing developments.With Jon Snow’s parentage out in the open, it is only a matter of time before we see how the claims to the Iron Throne are set.

        Suits Comedy Central, January
        As Suits returns from its mid-season break for the final episode of Season 6, several plot twists await eager fans this January. After Jessica quit the firm, Pearson Specter Litt is looking set to lose another valuable employee as Rachel is handed an offer by her father, Robert Zane. Harvey Specter is set to rekindle his romance with Donna, while he  and Louis have a tough time coming to terms with getting the firm back on its feet.

        Grey’s Anatomy
        Star World, January
        Their mid-season hiatus left fans with one of the biggest cliffhangers the show has seen in its 12 years on air. In its 13th season, the show’s 10th episode is set to premiere in January 2017,  with rumours suggesting the potential breakup of Amelia and Owen and a budding romance between Meredith and Alex.


        Colors Infinity
        TBA (January)
        The one-and-a-half season old crime drama television series did not take long to become a topic of conversation. The mid-season break after the exciting episode of Patterson (Ashley Johnson) and Borden (Ukweli Roach) pointing guns at each other while a gunshot being heard in the background as the credits rolled, has left us with too many question. Will Patterson survive?

        — Saloni Sinha and Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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          All in the name
          He has carved an enviable niche for himself as a maker who thinks out of the box and keeps up with the times. It’s not just the titles of Parthiban’s films, but even the taglines that are catchy. All geared up for release this weekend is Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga. Producing, directing and acting in it, Parthiban shares frames with Shanthanu and Parvathy Nair. He explains, “My characters are normal people who commit mistakes and tend to find excuses.” One can expect yet another interesting take on human follies.

          2016 has turned out to be a lucky year for Vijay Sethupathi. If one goes by the number of movies of a hero released this year, Sethupathi tops the list with six releases. And most of them were ones that did credit to his talent. Largely sticking to scripts that fell within his comfort zone, Sethupathi has managed to retain his image of an actor who selects his scripts smartly. The actor has some exciting projects lined up for the next year. And that includes Puriyadha Pudhir and K V Anand’s Kavan, which should hopefully showcase him in a new light.

          Finding his feet
          “Mani Ratnam is the inspiration for igniting in me a passion for movies,” says debutante director Karthik Naren. A self-made filmmaker, he has a couple of short films to his credit. Karthik’s debut film, Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru, centres around a cop who gets disabled during an investigation, and returns to the scene years later to solve the unsolved puzzle. “I’ve tried a rather abstract way of storytelling,” says Karthik. The film, sans songs and the typical hero-heroine scenario, could well be a game-changer for Rahman.

          Malini Mannath

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            Is there a shiny new gadget you’d  like to tell us about?  Mail gadgetboy@newindianexpress.com

            Suunto Eon Steel
            Squarely aimed at diving professionals, the Eon Steel is a customisable dive computer that can be wrist worn. The nifty comp logs upto 200 hours of diving data including depth, dive time, temperature, pressure, gas consumption etc. The device also has alarms to alert you and is fully user-modifiable. suunto.com.

            CRKT Exitool
            The Exitool looks bizarre, but delivers during emergencies, with a seat belt cutter, window breaker, LED light and the ability to attach to your seatbelt unobtrusively. crkt.com.

            Swiza knife
            Here’s an alternate utility knife with a softer handle and an ergonomically curved blade. The featured model D03 has 11 functions and is forged from 440 stainless steel, plus it opens easily with both hands. swiza.com.

            Prynt is a smart device that attaches to your iPhone and lets you print out pictures you’ve taken in a matter of seconds. The printed photos  also let you relive the moment (with a video clip) when you hold your phone over them.  Available for specific iPhone models only currently, in three colours.  Prynt.co.

            LG Probeam
            The Probeam provides upto 2000 lumens of brightness to deliver an incredible cinema experience at home. The device delivers full HD video and connects via BT to external speakers/headphones. The Probeam is a great choice for movies, watching live sports events and for streaming your favourite shows. Coming soon. lgnewsroom.com.

            Sony USB C/A
            This dual USB compatible drive has USB Type-C on one end and Type-A on the other. This helps you connect with new smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices while being compatible with regular USB ports as well. Speeds upto 130MB/s and capacity upto 64GB. sony.co.in.

            Hyve Pryme
            Pryme is a smartphone designed in India and features a Deca Core processor. The champagne-coloured phone sports a 4GB  RAM, fingerprint recognition, 13MP rear cam with dual flash, 32GB of inbuilt storage, 3500mAh battery and a 5.7 inch 1080p display. hyve.buzz.

            Blade Runner 2049
            If you’re a fan of the dystopic original, the mere idea of a sequel sounds glorious. Starring Harrison ford and Ryan Gosling, this is set 30 years after the first film and promises to be multi-layered just like the 1982 cult hit. goo.gl/OtXCmD.

            Ashok Pandian


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              Three series to watch out for in 2017

              The year gone by has seen several memorable series creating overnight celebrities besides some unforgettable storylines like Baked 2 and Bang Baaja Baarat, among others. From independent players like Voot and The Viral Fever to big names like Yashraj Films pitching in, the internet space is bustling. Here’s our pick of shows to watch in 2017.

              Second innings
              Stand-up comic Naveen Richards and gang are ready with Better Life Foundation’s second season. TVF Pitchers is also set for a second run, as Mikesh and Tanya are set to be back in Permanent Roommates’ third chapter, come December.

              Rekindling romance
              Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms is out with a new app, ALT Balaji, and our eyes are on Ekta’s favourite television couple, Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar, who are all set to make their internet debut in Kehte Hai Opposites Attract.

              Business of love
              Manmarziyan actress Monica Sehgal makes her web debut with Starting Up from Kairos Productions, which follows the journey of a newlywed couple trying to start their life, while getting to know each other along the way.

              — Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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                It’s the final Friday of 2016! What do the known voices  of radio in Chennai want out of the medium in the coming year? Here’s their wish list

                Sindhu Sreekanth Fever FM
                ♦  I want 2017 to be my break-out year, in terms of how I can use new technology to reach a wider audience. I have started exploring the power of social media, and I must say that I am amazed at how it can improve lives. My wish is to use social media to understand my listeners better. I want to learn how digital marketing works as an extended arm of radio. I will, of course, continue to learn, keep my mind open to new possibilities, and become more versatile.

                Ajai Titus Radio Mirchi
                ♦   I definitely want compatibility of social media along with radio content, without making it a force fit. Experimenting with new content, breaking the monotony of film music and newspaper based content, a ten-minute cap on advertisement per hour, handpicked playlists – these are some changes I’d like to see. In the name of entertainment, there is a lot of ‘not radio-worthy content’ that is crass and cheesy. I’d like to see a better definition of entertainment this year.

                Arthi Varanasi Suryan FM
                ♦ As dear as the medium is to me, it can also be monotonous, unless I make it interesting and gripping every single day. This is precisely my radio resolution for the coming year. Keep it short, meaningful, fun, sensible, no advice — but surely, be socially more responsible. The one minute that my listener listens to me should be a good one for sure.

                Syed Mohsin Fever FM
                ♦  My resolution for radio in 2017 would be to add more ‘masala’ to my on-air personality. Ever since I entered the field a year back, I’ve been marinating in all ways possible, learning and observing other national and international radio personalities. Now, if radio is considered as one sibling, then the digital space would be the other sibling. I want to try to make them bond better this year. “Eat-sleep-radio-repeat” would be my motto for 2017.



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                  Rahul Bhattacharya on how to ace the YouTube game

                  With an ever-growing fan base, the YouTube channel Quick Response Team is getting millennials to talk about tough issues like rape, Section 377 and the truth about periods. While, in fact, this may not be the safest bet for topics in a country where everyone take offense, New Delhi-based Rahul Bhattacharya, the channel’s founder, says it’s easy not to rub people the wrong way. “Our content is usually a mix of social issues and current affairs. The topic could be something that makes you uneasy and think. But it is all about how situations are handled. Moderating questions reduces the chance of making things seem offensive,” he says.

                  Having launched their channel in September 2015, QTR, as they call themselves, has 104 videos and over 255, 611 subscribers. With other creative firms vying for a spot in the vox pop niche, he is quick to admit that involving the viewers as a part of their creative process has benefited them in term of subscriptions. “We also use a lot of our viewers’ suggestions and questions. I think we have benefitted by involving them as a part of our creative process,” he adds.

                  Over the course of the year, Quick Response Team has collaborated with the likes of comic and actor Abish Mathew and has had a couple of quick snippets with comedians Kenny Sebastian, Tanmay Bhat, and Rohan Joshi. Choosing to remain tightlipped about their plans for the coming year, Rahul does let in that the channel has an ‘end of the year’ special lined up.
                  Details: youtube.com

                  — Rebecca Vargese

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                    Audacity, by Jonathan Chait, a political columnist for New York magazine, goes on sale in the final days of US President Barack Obama’s administration. The book argues that Obama’s achievements will survive a Trump administration, and the judgment of history, placing the man among the greatest and most effective presidents in American history. HarperCollins, Rs 899.

                    The Curse of Mohenjo Daro
                    Inspired by the legends of the lost Indus Valley city, award-winning financial journalist Maha Khan Phillips offers a thriller about a powerful relic, a sinister cult, and family secrets that haunt generations. The tale begins with a team of archaeologists bursting into flames, leading up to a revolution in the year 3800 BC. Pan Macmillan India, Rs 399.

                    The Wide Night
                    Sarvat Hasin’s highly acclaimed debut novel is about an eccentric Pakistani family and a lonely outsider who wants in. The novel re-introduces a classic story, retelling Little Women from the point of view of its chief male character, in the context of Pakistan, with an unlikely parallel to The Virgin Suicides, the 1993 novel by American writer Jeffrey Eugenides. Penguin Books India, Rs 499.

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                      A must-have guide for every nature enthusiast, Pranay Lal’s Indica encourages readers to dig deep in their own backyards.

                      The story of the Bruhath-kayosaurus (Sanskrit for ‘huge-bodied lizard’) and the Dravidosaurus may well be as fancified as Michael Crichton’s theme park for cloned dinosaurs. As Pranay Lal recounts in Indica: A Deep Natural History of The Indian Subcontinent, the Bruhathkayosaurus was once hailed as the largest dinosaur ever, although, there is little evidence to prove it existed.

                      Indica sets the tone for such revelations with facts 3.5 billion years old about local sites such as the Nandi Hills, in Karnataka. The book opens with the preface, “A long, long time ago, but in a place not too far away…” and goes on to unravel discoveries about India’s natural history, which don’t
                      figure in regular science journals. The most compelling tale is of a dinosaur named Rajasaurus, claimed to be more ferocious than the T Rex. Indica doesn’t read like a textbook either, and is more of a guide to begin exploring one’s own surroundings. Eventually, it might even make it into a movie, says the author in an email interview.

                      Turns out, you’re a storyteller too, apart from a biochemist and artist. Did one interest play into the other?
                      I like understanding life from the molecular level, and both biology and drawing adhere to symmetry and patterns. I think visually,  and I like to breakdown complex ideas into bite-sized interconnected facts. I like to simplify complex science and make it accessible to everyone.

                      The book reads like a travelogue, rather than an encyclopedia. How did you work on the tone of voice?
                      I try talking my thoughts aloud. I remember this line spoken by Denzel Washington in (the 1993 movie) Philadelphia: “Talk to me as if I am six-years-old”. This is what I’d like to do with complex science. I keep the audience in mind. I want readers to feel that although we talk about billions and millions of years ago, geologic and evolutionary events occurred right in their backyard.

                      How much of existing documentations do you believe to be accurate? How immediate is the need for our textbooks to be updated?
                      All science needs to be verified and validated. In India, we believe that textbooks are the final word, but most of them are made for rote
                      learning, and not for sparking creativity or inquiry. Many textbooks have not been updated for decades. Academic papers are often dry and lack elegance, and seem to be written for an incestuous set of peers or a select audience within sub-disciplines. This problem is global, though the malaise of poor science may be more widely prevalent in India.

                      For example, among the first animals to venture on land 540 million years ago, is the beautiful velvet worm, and several species are across Southeast Asia. It was seen in the undergrowth of the dense fern forests of northern Arunachal Pradesh, back in 1911, by a British expedition. But, there have been few attempts to discover this enigmatic creature. I think most scientists lack this sense of discovery.

                      The history of India is a constant subject for retellings. Do you believe there is a lot left to be recounted?
                      This may be true for history and mythology, but much more for the sciences. The sciences are inherently built for testing
                      hypotheses and null hypotheses, quite like counterfactual history. Where different sciences meet, the ‘sangam’ (confluence) is amazing, and each science attempts to explain the workings of the other. In effect, all sciences contribute to the understanding of natural phenomena from different perspectives. In that sense, there is a lot to be discovered.

                      The line between scientific readings and collectively accepted beliefs, in India, is often blurred. Did you face any resistance in your research?
                      That’s entirely true. I think this is so true for medicine, climate science, toxicology, and several other sciences. I believe that the biggest deterrent for good science in India is the lack of encouragement given to the quest for knowledge. I did not face any resistance. In fact, sometimes, social and cultural sensitivities preserved the sites and evidence that would otherwise have been lost forever, as was the case with dinosaur eggs in the temple complex of Jabalpur and Dhar, or wonderful prehistoric paintings, sacred groves in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, where new species of cycads (seed plants) have been discovered.

                      Many of these revelations seem strangely familiar. It’s like, hey, we knew this! Why weren’t these facts uncovered earlier?
                      I am not sure why these facts were not written about earlier. My incessant quest, to find the answers to questions swirling in my head since I was a child, led me to write this book. The object of Indica is to document how we got here.

                      I believe that every phenomenon that makes up this land, the rivers that cut through it or life that exists on it, can be explained using different scientific disciplines. The evolution of minerals on Earth, the role of the Deccan volcanoes in the extinction of dinosaurs, or how the rise of the Himalayas triggered the evolution of modern mammals, can all be explained using biology, chemistry, geology and other sciences.

                      Describe how it felt to be making such discoveries, in your own backyard, as it were?
                      There are discoveries waiting to be made everywhere. Each piece of rock, every pinch of soil and every drop of water from your backyard pond tells a story. I would often embark on my personal journey to see a phenomenon for myself. And I would go back to researchers and ask them questions. Quite often, this lead to fascinating insights.

                      Would you rather make an educational film than a big banner sci-fi movie?
                      If I make a film, I would like to make a big-budget extravaganza, quite like nature itself!

                      Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent, Penguin Random House India, Rs 999

                      —Jaideep Sen

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