Guns and heroes – My list of best Hollywood action movies

There is an old saying that action speaks louder than words. A clenched fist with a punch is enough to bring a ruffian to his senses. Action has created a new genre in movies and its own group of audience who whistle when the hero knocks down a bunch of goons in one blow. Though Hollywood action movies are larger than life, they definitely have inspired lots of young masses to imitate their onscreen idols. This article is a compilation of the best action movies I thoroughly enjoyed.

1) Rambo – Rambo: First Blood gave birth to a new action icon – John Rambo, a Vietnam soldier wronged by his own people. Sylvester Stallone became a rage, an icon after the success of Rambo 1, 2 and 3. The action sequences in Rambo 2 were aesthetically choreographed, giving a rawness and realism to violence. I am a die-hard fan of Rambo Series and the way he welded his bow to shoot fire arrows on his enemies sends goosebumps to every action lover. After several years, Rambo is still a cult movie in action genre

2) Commando – The posters of Commando movie were a rage in 80’s and late 90’s. Arnold became a cult hero with movies like Commando, Terminator: Judgement day, Total Recall and Red Sonja. Commando is my favorite pick in this action list for the amazing action sequences choreographed in the movie. How Arnold goes to the end of the world to rescue his daughter from the terrorists and single handedly brings down the whole army of baddies is best to seen on the silver screen. I clapped and whistled at the action scenes, bringing out the best of Arnold’s moments on screen.
Seeing is believing. Rent a DVD to enjoy this cult action movie that will bring out the Commando in you.

3) Die hard – NYPD Cop John Mc Clane (Bruce Willis) is the wrong man at the wrong time in Die Hard movie. This flick brought out the action hero in Bruce Willis. John Mc Clane unknowingly bumps into Nakatomi plaza on a Christmas night. By coincidence the plaza is taken on hostage by a terrorist group. How John Mc Clane saves the day is best to be seen on silver screen. I loved the fourth part of Die-hard which had Bruce Willis fighting with Internet terrorists. This is one of my favorite action movies in this list.

4) Matrix – Matrix changed the definition of action genre. A Sci-fi movie loaded with never seen before slow motion action sequences. Directed by Wachowski brothers, Matrix set new trends in storytelling, action choreography and visual effects. The slow motion bullets, martial art fights, high octane chases made Matrix a memorable action flick. What stayed in my memory was the role of Agent Smith played by Hugo Weaving and the underrated actor Keanu Reeves in his memorable role of Neo.

5) Face/Off – I was completely blown away with the action sequences in John Woo’s flick – Face/off starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. I regard this action flick as one of my favorites because it had everything you desired in action movie.
A cop undergoes facial surgery and adopts the identity of a menacing terrorist. With the face of the terrorist, he undergoes undercover to uncover a deadly terror plot. What he doesn’t realize that the criminal has undergone facial surgery and taken his identity. John Travolta and Nicholas Cage are pitted against each other in this high octane action thriller. Filled with high octane chases and swift action sequences, Face/off is worth the ticket.

6) 300 – This is Sparta!!! Immortalized in Hollywood as one of the epic lines, 300 is legend of the fallen Spartan heroes and their King Leonidas. What separates this epic action movie from other action flicks is its sleek action choreography. Slow motion sword fights, clanking of shields, chopping of heads and blood splatter bring more realism to the action scenes. Gerard Butler shot to fame in Hollywood with the dream role of King Leonidas. With 300, director Zack Snyder created a new milestone in movie making and action genre.

7) Enter the dragon – Bruce Lee made his debut in Hollywood with Enter the Dragon that made him a legend overnight. His martial arts stunts, swiftness, adroitness fetched lots of audiences not only in foreign nations, but also in India. Bruce Lee became a cult star and his legacy was carry forwarded by Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chow-Un-Fat and Tony Jaa. The most memorable scene in Enter the dragon is the climax where he single handedly knocks down several martial art henchmen.

8) Robocop – Robocop gave birth to a new breed of hero – Half human, half Robot. The 1987 sci-fi action flick became a sensation in action genre. A cop returns from dead after he is killed to death by a street gang. The mortally dead cop is resurrected as a Robot cop to take down the crime in Detroit city. How Robocop wipes the crime and settles his personal score with his enemies is best to be seen. The role of Robocop/Cop Alex Murphy is played by actor Peter Weller.

Action is worth a thousand words. Movies of action genre are very vast in Hollywood. This is my first compilation of my favorite action movies. I will definitely be coming up with a new post on my next list action movies in coming times. Hope you will definitely like this action packed article.

Ben-Hur – A classic novel by Lew Wallace

Long before Amarendra Bahubali and Bhallaldeva fought for kingdom of Mahishmati in Bahubali movie, there were two friends in Rome – Judah Ben-Hur and Messala who clashed due to the difference in ideals. One favored Rome while other was proud to be a Jew. For Messala, Romans were powerful and Jews inferior. Apart from these two protagonists, there is a third protagonist – Jesus of Nazareth in this classic novel. Set during the times of Jesus Christ, this story begins with meeting of Messala and Judah. During the friendly meeting, Judah discovers that Messala has become egoistic and considers Jews a weak race. Both the friends part away. A tragic fate lands Judah Ben Hur in imprisonment, accused of killing a Roman official. Messala not only imprisons Judah, but also seizes his property, home and belongings. Judah’s mother and sister are sent behind bars on order of Messala.

Poster of the 2016 movie – Ben-Hur

Judah Ben Hur is subjected to inhuman torture in galleys, rowing a gigantic slave ship. But good fortunes are on side of Judah. A pirate attack on the Roman ship gives an opportunity for Judah to escape from the Roman ship and seek refuge. With the help of his new allies – Simonides, Balthasar and Sheikh Ilderim, Judah competes against Messala in a chariot race. He not only defeats Messala but also leaves him penniless. After seeking his vengeance, Judah goes in search of his mother and sister. Here he meets the son of God – Jesus Christ and begins on a new mission to spread the greatness of son of God. Jesus heals the leprosy of Judah’s mother and sister and finally Judah finally reunites with his long lost family.

Here the story doesn’t end. Jesus is crucified and Ben-Hur is helpless to save his son of God from getting crucified. Ben Hur offers water to the bleeding Jesus and here he remembers it was the same saintly figure who had offered water to Judah when he was being taken to galleys. Judah Ben-Hur realizes that forgiveness is the biggest redemption of all as his lord didn’t even protest against the sufferings inflicted on him. Judah Ben Hur becomes the biggest messenger of Christ and lives his later life in helping the needy.

Lew Wallace’s novel ‘Ben Hur’ is set during biblical era and it is an enlightening experience reading about Jesus in this fictional epic book. Ben-Hur was adapted into motion pictures and TV movies countless times. It is the 1959 adaptation that swept the Oscar. Ben-Hur has everything that you desire in an epic movie – Betrayal, Redemption, love, roman battles and breathtaking chariot races. Once you have completed reading Ben-Hur, you will definitely curious to read Bible stories and the legend of Jesus Christ. I had read Ben-Hur in 2013 and found it an interesting epic. In the second time, I understood the spiritual philosophy and found the reading very enlightening. Along with Ben-Hur, I too realized that forgiveness is biggest redemption. Once you have completed reading Ben-Hur, you will also enjoy reading King Arthur and knights of round table, Ivanhoe, Three Musketeers and Man in the iron mask.

Looking for the rainbow: My years with Daddy – A nostalgic memoir by Ruskin Bond

Novel Title – Looking for the rainbow: My years with Daddy
Author – Ruskin Bond
Year of Publication – May 2017
Genre – Fiction
Publishers – Penguin

A perfect book to read on father’s day eve, Looking for the rainbow is an emotional memoir penned by Ruskin Bond in memory of his late father –Aubrey Bond. Often we take our parents for granted, especially our father. We always see the stern and strict side of our father but never care to see the tender emotions hidden behind a stern heart. Filled with nostalgic episodes, this memoir recounts the lovable moments Ruskin Bond spent with his father in Delhi and the later year he spent in Shimla boarding school. Little Ruskin was always deprived of affection since his childhood especially when his parents split up due to differences in their nature. Since his mother got married to a new person, Ruskin’s upbringing was the responsibility of his dad Aubrey Alexander who served in RAF (Royal Air Force).

The story is set during world war and the novel begins with little Ruskin arriving to Delhi after spending a troublesome year in a hostel. Here Ruskin not only bonds with his father closely, but also learns to live life independently. The years in Delhi spent with his father are beautifully described by Ruskin Bond in this memoir. They bond over stamp collection, movies, books, travelling and food. Unfortunately the joyful days are short lived and Ruskin’s father gets sick due to Malaria. Since the world war is in full swing, Aubrey Bond decides to send Ruskin to a good boarding school in Shimla. Ruskin spends a good year in this boarding and blends well with the ambience of the school. Aubrey visits Shimla to spend a day with little Ruskin and they both plan to shift England once the war is over.

Sadly one day, Ruskin receives shattering news that his father has expired. The news is too painful to bear for this little child who is left no one to care about him. This part in the novel is very heart breaking for both the writer as well as reader. When you read that last emotional chapter you will feel how Ruskin Bond had gone through that phase when he lost his father. Ruskin had no one in this world except his father. The most tragic part in this book is the chapter where all his father’s belongings – stamps, letters are misplaced by boarding’s principal and Ruskin is left with only one letter of his dear father. The book ends with Ruskin moving back to stay back with his mother and stepdad.

The beautiful illustrations compliment the nostalgia

I would like to especially accolade illustrator Mihir Joglekar to bring out the memories alive by creating eye catching black and white illustrations which compliments the nostalgic mood. The nostalgic episodes in this book will remind you of Rusty series. The stories written on Rusty are the reflections of Ruskin Bond’s childhood moments. What a great father Aubrey Bond was!!

After reading this memoir, your eyes are sure to soak in tears for the great sacrifices that your parents made to bring you up. This memoir by Ruskin Bond is really a priceless gem that you will treasure forever.

Yeh Dil Maange More – The victory signal of Captain Vikram Batra

‘Every army begins with one man’ – lines from movie ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

A glimpse at the courageous feats of Captain Vikram Batra

In late 80’s and 90’s, G.I.J.O.E action figures were craze in the toy stores. Based on the cartoon TV show on Doordarshan, it captured the imagination of little kids like me. I used to play with the action figures and create my own war stories which were quite closer to war movies like ‘Saving Private Ryan’. From that moment I always aspired to become a soldier someday. Somewhere in Palampur, a kid had already decided to dedicate his life to armed forces. This kid was the great Kargil braveheart Captain Vikram Batra who took a bullet on his heart while defending Kargil from invaders.

‘Hamare desh mein army man ko Superman kehte hain’

The TV serial – Paramvir Chakra on Doordarshan was an inspiration for the little Vikram. Instead of opting for merchant Navy, he decided to join armed forces. Despite suffering from high fever, Captain Vikram Batra scaled high peaks even in disastrous weather conditions, motivating his soldiers at every instance.
The intrusion of Pakistani army in Kargil sector was an alarming moment for Indian army. All the official leaves of army officers were cancelled. The year 1999 was a difficult time for every mother who had her son posted on Kargil. Kargil war was the first national event that got media coverage and was reported on news channels by several reporters including Barkha Dutt. Brave officers like Vijayant Thapar and Padmapani Acharya were killed in the horrific war. Reporter Barkha Dutt had personally interviewed Captain Vikram Batra and his patriotism had already won the hearts of several Indians. After capturing Point 5140, Vikram Batra became an inspiring icon for youngsters. His victory cry ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ became a rage among masses. Vikram had plans to marry his fiancée Dimple once the war was over. Unfortunately the point 4875 claimed the life of Captain Vikram Batra before he could fulfill his dreams. While capturing this point, Vikram was shot down by an enemy’s sniper. Though Vikram died defending Kargil, he saved the life of one of his fellow soldier – Captain Naveen Nagappa. In an interview retired captain Naveen Nagappa recounted the war events and how bravely Vikram rescued his life by dragging Naveen out of the bunker. Ironically Captain Vikram Batra collapsed to the enemy’s bullet within an hour after saving Naveen.
Fondly called as ‘Shershah’ Vikram’s bravery had sent shivers of fears among the enemies.

Amar Chitra Katha published Param Vir Chakra comics based on Indian soldiers

‘Either I will come after hoisting the tricolor flag in Kargil or return wrapped in tricolor flag but I will return for sure – words spoken by Captain Vikram Batra

It will be 18 years this 2017 when the brave boys went to war in Kargil in 1999. Some returned alive while some returned wrapped in tricolor. They did return for sure, giving a befitting reply to the enemies and winning the Kargil war.

It is such a sad irony that biopics have been made on Sachin Tendulkar, M.S.Dhoni but no one has cared to make a biopic in memory of Captain Batra. J.P. Dutta’s 2003 war movie – LOC: Kargil is the only movie that immortalized the courageous story of Vikram Batra. The role of Captain Vikram Batra was brilliantly portrayed by actor Abhishek Bachchan.

Now Palampur is not just the hometown of Vikram Batra, it has become a historical destination where brave heroes like Major Somnath Sharma and Captain Vikram Batra were born.

Today the mountains at Kargil still echo with the victory cry of Captain Vikram Batra – ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’.

Rusty Runs Away – A nostalgic novella by Ruskin Bond

Nestled in the vicinity of Dehra’s snow mountains is the residence of Rusty, a melancholic dreamer who aspires to live life on his own terms. Through Rusty, Author Ruskin Bond has recounted his own boyhood days in Dehra, Shimla and Mussoorie. ‘Rusty Runs away’ is story of every kid who is deprived of parental love and craves for a heartfelt tenderness. The incidents happening in the memoir – Rusty Runs Away will tug your heart and compel to go back to your boyhood days. Have you every bunked school to visit the cities, relish on street side food and watch cinema? This is one childhood fantasy every kid has craved to and fulfilled by playing rookie. I have done it countless times and got a good thrashing from my parents.

There is a ‘Rusty’ hidden in every person who wants to break free from his daily chores and hectic responsibilities. Today we are so entrapped in web of fake desires, expectations that we have stopped living the real life we aspired for. We are no less than a money earning robot. The nostalgic episodes in this book will encourage you to pursue your dreams even in the toughest times. The most interesting episode in the novel is the escape of Rusty and his friend Daljit from their boarding school – Arundel. This escape adventure takes them on interesting locations till they finally reach the sea port only to face delay. Read this to personally experience the journey that is a roller coaster ride of happiness, joy, exploration and imagination.

The other story in this memoir is the friendship between Rusty and Omar which blossoms in Shimla. Set during the backdrop of pre-independence Rusty and Omar strike a bond and enjoy the best moments of friendship – playing hockey, discovering tunnels and sharing their emotions. Like Rusty, even Omar is an orphan. The heart breaking partition tears apart their partnership and Omar has to leave India. After 18 years, Rusty receives the news that Omar has died in air crash during the Indo-Pak War of 1972. This is one of my favorite chapters in this novel. If you have disconnected from your long lost colleague then you will definitely relate to this story of Rusty and Omar.

The most nostalgic episode in this novel is the friendship of Rusty with Somi, Ranbir and Suri who help him to break free from the cage of melancholia and enjoy the life to the fullest. Rusty not only enjoys food on road side stalls, but also discovers the color of happiness by celebrating Holi with his friends. This friendship gives Rusty the courage to rebel against his tyrant guardian. Rusty not only rebels, but also thrashes his guardian black and blue, putting an end to the strict tyranny imposed on him.

‘Rusty Runs Away’ is celebration of friendship, togetherness, love, freedom and nostalgia. This memoir is one of the best works of Ruskin Bond which will touch your heart’s string. The scenic descriptions, travelogues will inspire you to take a trip to your favorite destination. As a social human being, we are so concerned about people that we suppress the ‘real person’ in us. We care about other’s opinions but never heed to the inner voice of our conscious. I hope that after reading this book – Rusty Runs Away, you will definitely look out for your inner self.

Bonding with Ruskin

Today when I gaze at the blue sky, I notice emptiness in it. There are no longer any kites soaring high to touch the clouds. Even the pond is deprived of paper boats that once floated in the monsoon water. Sky scrapers, competitive jobs, high speed cars, industrial complexes and electronic accessories have taken a toll on life. In the midst of these uncertainties, author Ruskin Bond’s books still give a hope that life hasn’t lost its charm. The dark clouds of sorrow can never overshadow a hopeful sun in the sky. I withdrew myself from the 9 to 7 job that offered nothing but resentment, disappointment and disheartening events. I had totally lost my hope in this heartless city until a book came as a blessing in my life. It was an anthology of nostalgic stories and travelogues, giving me a glimpse of mountain life.

‘Night train at deoli and other stories’ by Ruskin Bond opened the window of happiness in my life which was locked due to my pessimistic attitude. I have realized that I always suppressed my inner self (my conscience) and gave more importance to friends, colleagues and mean people. The childhood innocence within me was lost somewhere and I was left alone in the crowd. Ruskin Bond’s books helped me to reconnect with my inner self. Life has never been the same after soaking in nostalgia offered by this short collection of Ruskin Bond.

‘Room on the roof’ was the first published book by Ruskin Bond

‘When the war is over, a butterfly will still be beautiful’ – excerpt from Ruskin Bond memoir ‘Rusty Runs away’

Through his novellas, short story collections, travelogues, Ruskin Bond gives you a glimpse of his memoirs in Landour, Shimla, Dehra, Mussoorie and Shamli. Be it a spooky anthology, love stories or nostalgic episodes, Ruskin Bond brings you closer to Mother Nature. Happiness is not drinking a creamy coffee in Café Coffee day, but relishing on a small tea stall in a hill station. The social networks have disconnected us from our real friends who helped us in thick and thin times.

Through his memoirs – Rusty series (Rusty is alter ego of Ruskin Bond), Bond takes readers a trip down the memory lane where he recounts the days he spent with his friends, grandparents, uncle and his late father. Though the stories may sound simple, but there is a strong philosophy hidden in every story. Wish I had a time machine so that I could bring back the moments which are now preserved in form of memories. I want to start life on a new note where I can live the life to the fullest, enjoying a million years in a 24 hours day.

When you read Ruskin Bond Books, you get a feel that time has slowed down and you have lived 25 hours in a day, relishing every moment of the story that is connected to you. Such is the power of Ruskin Bond’s writings.

After Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Ruskin Bond is one such author whose writings has a strong sense of nostalgia. It’s time for me to catch a train to mountains and connect with serenity. If you value your happy old times, do read books by Ruskin Bond. They are really worth your time.

Back to Titanic

‘You have gift Jack. You see people’ – Rose
‘I see you’ – Jack

A forbidden romance blossoms on an ill-fated ship R.M.S Titanic and the iceberg collision leaves scars of pain, separation and tears in the minds of survivors including Rose. James Cameron’s ambitious dream – Titanic swept the Oscars, making it a nostalgic experience for the movie viewers worldwide. Conceptualizing Titanic’s collision as a backdrop, James Cameron drafted a story of ill-fated lovers – Rose and Jack who cross the path on board R.M.S Titanic. Some reviewers criticized that the romance overshadowed the disaster which claimed the lives of several passengers onboard. For me, the love story onboard Titanic connected with the movie lovers. If it didn’t had romance, Titanic would be no less than a boring documentary.

Even after 19 years of its release, Titanic holds a special place in my heart. What attracted me towards the movie was the lead character – Rose Dewitt Bukater. The older part of Rose was played by Gloria Stuart while the young part was portrayed by Kate Winslet. The 100 year old Rose recounts her memories of the Titanic disaster and the movie rewinds to 1912 when Titanic was ready to make her first maiden journey, unfortunately the last. By a stroke of luck, a poor painter Jack Dawson wins the ticket to board Titanic and the lives of Rose and Jack are destined to meet together.

Though I missed seeing Titanic on big screen, I saw it on Star Movies Channel on 31st Dec 1999. Somewhere I have a nostalgic feeling that I may have boarded the ship ‘Titanic’ in my previous lifetime. Did Rose ever board the ill-fated ship? Was Jack a fictional character in movie? Or was he a real passenger? I had recorded all these thoughts in my 2007 diary. The article on Titanic was my first blog post which I had written before starting my wordpress blog.

People remember the movie for the sensual painting scene. For me, it was more nostalgic because it is the same painted picture of the young Rose which surfaces lots of hidden stories submerged in the ocean of memories. Did Jack survive? It is through memories of Rose that we see Jack the penniless painter who teaches Rose to break free from her chains of aristocracy. In return, Rose unleashes her emotions by posing as a model for Jack’s painting.

The collision spells a doom for these star crossed lovers. What left me in tears was the scene when Jack encourages Rose to start a new life even when he is freezing to death. I hardly see such passion in today’s lovers. Had Jack survived, the story would have been different. There is an old saying that love lives forever in memories and Jack lives forever in memories of Rose.

What live you in memories are the scenes when the violin players keep on playing the instruments even in hour of death. There is another scene of old couple holding each other emotionally on bed in hours of separation.

In the climax, Rose drops the heart shaped diamond locket in the sea and returns back to rest in her bed. The scene then moves in dream where Rose again sees Jack waiting for her on Titanic. They melt in each other’s arms with a kiss. Whether Rose dies or memorizes her feelings is left to the imagination of the viewer.

Sometimes we don’t just watch the movie, we live it. My ears always crave to catch the flute’s sound played in the background. I have revived the memories of Titanic through my words. Someday I hope that in my next lifetime I will definitely meet Rose on a ship. Even if the ship sinks, I won’t let my Rose die.

Remembering Roger Moore (1927-2017)

For me, Roger Moore was the best 007 agent of all times. Though Bond fans always regarded Sean Connery as the most loved 007, Roger Moore filled his space by working in seven Bond movies from 1973 till 1985. The 70’s and 80’s era was full of Bond comics in Indian comics market. My childhood was filled with reading all sorts of comics ranging from Phantom, Mandrake to James Bond comic series. It was the James Bond comics that made me familiar with 007.

My maternal uncle was a huge die-hard fan of Roger Moore and wouldn’t stop praising his favorite Bond movie – ‘The Spy who loved me’. I got the opportunity to watch ‘The Spy who loved me’ in 2003 and became a huge fan of Roger Moore after this. Then there was no stopping for this Bond Fan. I watched all Bond movies, especially of Roger Moore. ‘The Spy who loved me’ was one of the expensive Bond movies of all times, filled with nail biting action sequences, hot Bond girls and sophisticated villains. This Bond flick got popular for its antagonist – The Jaws. It was the first time that the role of Bond girl actress ‘Barbara Bach’ was author-backed. She is equal to 007 in every aspect and is hell bent to avenge the death of her lover who is mistakenly killed by Bond. In the climax, the female spy finally succumbs to Bond’s charm. I won’t give any spoilers about this Bond movie. Just watch the movie to live the Bond thrill.

After the exit of Sean Connery, it was Roger Moore who stepped in the shoes of 007 with his wits and charm. Roger’s first Bond movie was ‘The Man with the golden gun’. Though the movie was an average fare, it was ‘The Spy who loved me’ that brought Roger Moore in lime light. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Octopussy’, ‘Moonraker’, ‘Live and let die’ and ‘A view to a kill’ which featured Roger Moore as 007. What captivate me to watch a Bond movie are its first 15 minutes of action-packed opening sequence, the sexy Bond girls and the high-tech Bond villains. The sleek gadgets, Asto Martin car bring more completeness to Bond movies.

Roger Moore was also popular for playing Sherlock Holmes and Simon Templar in the TV series ‘The Saint’. Roger breathed his last on 23rd May 2017 due to cancer. With departure of Roger Moore, the golden era of Hollywood has ended. After Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan is the only actor who could bring the charm of 007 on screen.

I bid farewell to Roger Moore and hope that Gods serve him his favorite Vodka Martini – shaken, not stirred.

Does nation really needs a law abiding Jolly LLB?

“The lawyer with the briefcase can steal more money than the man with the gun.” – lines from the crime novel ‘The Godfather’

This quote from crime novel ‘The Godfather’ holds true for the corrupt practices happening in law system. It is easy for a Don to fill the pockets of a crafty lawyer and get his goons released on bail in the nick of time. But is every lawyer corrupt? Recently advocate Harish Salve was in news for charging Rs 1 to fight the case for Kulbushan Jadhav. This case is in headlines on social networks. The biggest victory for justice was the death sentence for all the convicts who brutally raped and killed Jyoti Singh ‘Nirbhaya’. Justice is delayed but never denied.

The Jolly LLB movie series has created its own new franchise. The Akshay Kumar starrer – The state VS Jolly LLB2 has a lawyer Jolly fighting case against fake police encounters. The courtroom drama is a satirical take on the judicial system where reputed lawyers have their own special packages (Silver, Gold, and Premium) to fight cases. A struggling assistant lawyer Jagdishwar Mishra fondly known as Jolly cheats a pregnant woman with an assurance that his senior lawyer will fight her case. He even charges 5 lakhs from her. When the truth is revealed, the pregnant woman commits suicide. From that point, Jolly’s conscience awakens and he goes to the depth to seek justice for his deceased client. Jolly is pitted against a powerful corrupt lawyer Pramod Mathur (played by Anu Kapoor). How he seeks justice forms the crux of the film. The verbal wars in the courtroom are humorous, hard hitting where evidences are manipulated, forged and witnesses bribed.

Justice is delayed but never denied and Jolly finally wins the case with convincing arguments. In movies, justice is sought easily but reality is harsher than the fiction. Today there are lakhs of cases pending in the court waiting for justice. It is easier for a rich tycoon to bail out his spoilt kid. On the other side, a poor man can’t afford to pay money for even one proceeding.

The infamous hit and run case was an inspiration for the makers to pick the topic for the first Jolly LLB movie which had Arshad Warsi playing the lawyer Jolly. It highlighted the sick mindset of the rich masses who never bother to care about the poor working people staying on footpath. There are many cases pending on some spoilt celebrities who have crushed poor people under their car wheels in a drunken state. Will these white collar criminals be ever brought to justice?

Nation really needs a law abiding lawyer like Jolly LLB who will fight the cases for the poor and the needy. This article is an appeal to God to seek justice for the oppressed through his judgement.

A face in the dark and other hauntings – An anthology of ghost stories by Ruskin Bond

‘I see dead people’ – lines from Hollywood movie ‘Sixth Sense’

Did you ever experience paranormal visions of seeing departed people? Have you witnessed seeing your long lost loved ones in your dreams? Dreams are route to connect with departed people. Whether ghosts, spirits or apparitions really exist is a matter of debate. Ruskin Bond’s anthology of short story on ghosts in this book is not just scary, but also has a nostalgic and romantic touch to it.

‘That night there was a thunderstorm. My bedroom window kept banging in the wind. I got up to close it and as I looked out, there was a flash of lightning and I saw that frail body again, swinging from the oak tree’ – excerpt from short story Topaz from this anthology

The ghosts in Ruskin Bond’s stories are frightening, but not disturbing. The stories are memorable, hilarious and sometimes heart breaking. Especially the short story – A face in the dark is the first chapter in this anthology recounts the story of an English teacher witnessing paranormal encounter with a faceless ghost. This story has been beautifully crafted with a touch of humour that will make you read these stories again and again. Some stories in Ruskin Bond’s collections are really spooky – especially the stories ‘The Monkeys’ and ‘The Topaz’. Ruskin Bond has written one ghost story in this collection which is dedicated to his father.

‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy’
– lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet

A rare photograph of Ruskin Bond with his mother during his childhood

In this nostalgic chapter, Ruskin Bond recounts the supernatural event of seeing his dead father coming back to meet him. The ghostly form of his dead father not only guides him, but also protects him at several instances. Ruskin Bond has included this nostalgic episode in several of his short story collection. The 1998 Hollywood movie – Jack Frost is also based on such a premise where a dead father returns as a snowman to reunite with his little son and fulfill the wishes of his child and wife. The role of the ghost father was played by Michael Keaton in this family movie. Even the 90’s movie – The Ghost had a similar plot where a dead man returns as a ghost to establish contact with his soulmate and make her aware of upcoming dangers. The Kevin Costner Starrer movie – Dragon Fly was more gripping on topic of afterlife and how a deceased wife tries to contact with her husband through paranormal signals.

Dreams are also a way to connect with your long lost loved ones. In my dreams, I had nostalgic experience of seeing my long lost maternal uncle who is no more with me. Whenever I was sad or depressed, I always saw my uncle in my dream, assuring that everything will be all right. The bond that I shared with my uncle in my childhood days is really memorable, especially accompanying him to buy comic books. I miss his presence really in these difficult times. Ruskin Bond also has also written a short story, describing his experience, meeting a long lost friend who is happened to be dead years back.

All the 28 ghost stories in this anthology are unique. Whether it is connecting with ghost of Rudyard Kipling or meeting the mysterious Madam Sussanna who has killed all her seven husbands under mysterious circumstances, the stories gives you a glimpse at the supernatural elements in a very entertaining way. The most entertaining chapter in this anthology was the surprise entry of Detective Sherlock Holmes in the story ‘The Daffodil Case’. In this story, Sherlock Holmes teams up with Ruskin Bond to solve a case involving stealing of Daffodil flowers. The short story ‘Something in the water’ and ‘Night in the millennium’ are really creepy.

The ghostly settings in these stories send scary goosebumps, giving a feel of ghostly presence around you. The recently released Bollywood movie – Phillauri draws inspiration from a spooky story ‘The Topaz’ in this anthology. Science may have denied the supernatural existence, but paranormal activities do keep happening in some corners of the world. If you love reading ghost stories, this anthology by Ruskin Bond is definitely a treat.