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Contributors 1. Rohan Kulkarni - Movie of the month 2. Priya Dabak - Book 3. Srimanta Mitra - Album 4. Krushna Dande - Vintage Movie

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Source Code - Rohan Kulkarni

One of the greatest challenges an action movie director faces is to maintain enough intellect in his movie in the farrago of explosions, ass-kicking and the occasional mawkish romance. While the likes of The Matrix and Inception have successfully manoeuvred through this labyrinth, others have stumbled. Does Source Code, another action-thriller, fall in the former category or perish like the latter? Considering that it is our movie of the month, it is pretty obvious that director Duncan Jones doesn’t fall into his own complex trap and manages leaving the viewers spell-bound with an action movie, no less. One of the things that you shouldn’t do while watching this movie is miss the beginning (experience) because that ensures that you spend most of your first half figuring out what’s going on and who’s who. Yes, that is how good the initial part is. Colter Stevens ( Jake Gyllenhaal) is an American Army helicopter pilot who’s last memory is of fighting a battle in Afghanistan. He wakes up in the body of a history teacher, Sean Fentress, aboard a train sitting opposite a young woman, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) on whom he immediately develops a crush. And in eight minutes, the train explodes. He then finds himself in an isolated chamber, lost, trapped, confused and barely conscious. He is being briefed by Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farminga) and Dr. Rutledge ( Jeffrey Wright). They explain to him that he is a man on a mission. He is being transported in time, not to alter it, but to find out who the bomber of the train was to prevent another explosion from taking place. He is helpless at their command having no clue of where he is or how he can escape. He learns that he is inside the source code, a program that acts as a simulator and can send him back

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in time, which is followed by some quantum physics and time continuum jargon. Stevens then realizes that he is a part of a larger design and merely a pawn in the entire game as he is sent back repeatedly until he ultimately finds out who the bomber is. And that’s where the story ends. Alleluia. Not. The story has been well narrated, it does not get monotonous as the same scenes are repeated all over again and doesn’t bear a tag of a brainless action flick; it is Gyllenhaal in the shoes of Stevens that successfully steals the show. He eases into both his roles and provides some much needed optimism and occasional humour in the film. His performance is truly scintillating. The others fit their roles well, and leave very little to be desired in terms of acting. The effects have been displayed marvelously, the sound track suits the tension and the plot looks highly conceivable. While the ending in such movies is supposed to be the cherry on the cake, this one is more like half a cherry. I would not be exaggerating while saying that the movie has two endings; one that is remarkable in the way it has been put forward and the other rather hopelessly optimistic. But then, when you have eight minutes to change history, there is only so much you can do.


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Atlas Shrugged

- Priya Dabak Francisco: “If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?”

Hank: “I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?” Francisco: “To shrug.” Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand. It is the story of the man who said he would stop the motor of the world. The novel explains her philosophical principles in a dramatic action story combining “metaphysics, morality, economics, politics and sex.” As the novel opens, we see that the economy is tanking, and the government is in tatters. Dagny Taggart, an ambitious capital-minded railroad executive, works to repair the degrading Taggart Transcontinental. She is James Taggart’s sister; the same James Taggart who is a representative of all the looters and the President of Taggart Transcontinental. Henry ‘Hank’ Rearden is an equally ambitious and savvy industrialist, who runs the country’s finest steel mines. Together, they manage to carry the rapidly sinking world on their able backs. But things run downhill, as one by one, the brightest industrialists of the country begin to quit and disappear. As Dagny works to cross every obstacle in her path, she


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begins to realize that there is someone working against her at every step of the way. The best people tend to abandon her, just when she needs them the most. Dagny finds herself in a remote valley, somewhere in the Rockies, with all the men that had given up their lives and disappeared. They are on a strike of the mind. Now, the world is crumbling in their absence and they are the only ones who can put it back on their feet. And, Dagny is left to decide whether to join them and give up her railroad, or to keep fighting. This book is a showcase for Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism. The main themes underlying the book are its strong condemnation for religion and altruism, and along with that, her belief and support for capitalism and the rational mind. “I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” Dagny Taggart is the main protagonist and the narrator of the novel. She is a towering character; talented, determined and fiercely independent. Towards the end of the book, it is her commitment and devotion to the Taggart Transcontinental that are the only things keeping the place running. Dagny is our one link to both the worlds; the real world, which she somehow finds unreal and Atlantis, the place where she wishes to reach, but can’t. Dagny, in Rand’s words, is both her epitome of an ideal woman, and “(her)Self, with any possible flaws eliminated.” Hank Rearden is the definition of hard work and dedication. Rearden believes in achievement, pride and honour. Hank knows there is something wrong with the world he lives in, but he cannot figure out what. His dedication to his work keeps him from joining the ‘strike’ and it is his values that keep him from becoming a part of the real world. Rearden’s life is one of the worst struggles of the book, and how he frees himself from his family is one of the best moments. Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Anconia is the heir to world’s largest and wealthiest company, d’Anconia Copper. For the outside world, over the years, Francisco has turned into a promiscuous playboy of sorts. As Dagny goes through her journey she wonders what

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changed her childhoosd friend into the man he seems to be. And it all comes to a head when the question is finally answered: who is John Galt? “For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing, you who dread knowledge: I am the man who will now tell you.” Apart from her philosophical ideals, I believe Rand is an excellent storyteller. Throughout the book she throws out hints and clues about the strike and the man behind it. She makes sure that we are curious enough to read the entire book. She has the knack of making her ideas seem convincing by putting us in the shoes of her characters. I would probably end up believing that a herd of sheep could rule the world, if Ayn Rand wrote it!


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Dark Side of the moon

- Srimanta Mitra

Once every few decades comes a band that blows the minds off people as if they were dimly lit candles and ends up selling millions of copies of their albums in the process. Pink Floyd's 1973 release, Dark Side Of The Moon, did not only that but did it to a huge extent - selling 45 million copies approximately. That is, of course, not taking into account copyright infringing activity or illegal downloads that begun as soon as we launched into the twenty first century; and that was done primarily to avoid encountering a number too huge to be recognized by ordinary people. The people who heard the album went bonkers, nuts, and other unmentionable things. Wife of bassist Roger Waters burst into tears after she heard this album, and that, mind you, was no joke. Although there is no official statement claiming this, the LSD sales continued to plummet months after the album had come out, as the people had finally found its cheaper, better and a more legal alternative in the form of a record. The commoner's trips to space became more frequent and enjoyable as well. This concept album's themes include greed, conflict, mental illness and the passage of time - all dealt with in a manner only Pink Floyd were capable of. Both sides of this album serve as one continuous piece of music, the first five songs(four on the remastered releases) forming side one and the remaining five forming side two. Each of these sides is representative of various stages of life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, and exploring the nature of human experience. All of the songs have a deeper meaning within them, and when heard from side to side,


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ensure not only a journey delving deep into the listener's mind but an absolutely out-of-this-world psychedelic experience too... Side One Speak To Me/Breathe - stresses on living one's life, and urges the listener to not be afraid to care. On The Run - a synth-driven instrumental, this evokes the anxiety and stress of modern travel, airplanes in particular. Time - examines how time seems to pass faster as one ages, and warns people of focusing on mundane things. The Great Gig In The Sky - a piano driven instrumental, featuring vocals from Claire Torry, this song is often cited as a soulful metaphor for death. Side Two Money - mocks greed and consumerism with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and sounds of cash registers and loose change. Us and Them - addresses the isolation and depression caused due to personal relationships with well crafted symbolism. Any Colour You Like - another instrumental, this one segues into a guitar solo and has been described by writer Roger Waters to be 'offering choices when there are none'. Brain Damage - about mental illness that results from elevation of fame and success when one overlooks oneself. Eclipse - makes the listener acknowledge the presence of opportunities, and the darker forces of life, and how some impulses can't be avoided. Now, it's not as if anyone is dumb enough to ask, but what could possibly be the reason behind an album selling 45 million copies? The answer to that question is approximately 43 minutes long, roughly the length of this album. And in the words of a critic, Steve Peacock of Sounds, "I don't care if you've never heard a note of the Pink Floyd's music in your life, I'd unreservedly recommend everyone to The Dark Side of the Moon" That includes you too.

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Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb -Krushna Dande In today’s dangerous world, there are a million different ways you could be killed in a day, from a person who had too much to drink to cholesterol and everything in between. However, if you cast your mind back to the 1960’s Russia or US, there was a much more coherent fear: nuclear war. In today’s age, no one uses nuclear weapons, because they know that US, the world’s superpower is going to clobber every country that even begins to form the first syllable of the word ‘nuclear’, even if the nuclear weapons in the country are imaginary. But in the time of the Beatles, all the countries with the capabilities were churning out nuclear weapons as fast as they humanly could, while telling their citizens that if a nuclear bomb hits, you should be under the nearest table. Because the best way to shield yourself from a metric ton on hellfire is to crawl meekly under an easily combustible piece of furniture. It is in this time and this mindset where the great Stanley Kubrick’s only comedy is set. In Cold War-era US, a clearly psychotic Army General gives the planes under his command the order to attack their Russian targets, using a loophole in the Plan R, which allows an officer to issue the command for nuclear war if Washington has been taken. The planes receive the order and turn of their radios as per the plan, and the whole US defense


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board, the president and the Russian ambassador scramble wildly about to deal with the situation, while a RAF officer located at the base along with the General tries to make him see sense. The fictional movie has many winks to the real world. The plan R is almost definitely a nod to Rutherford, and the code OPE clearly derives itself from the name Oppenheimer, the two main creators of the atomic bomb. The premise of the movie may seem silly at first, but in those times, it was an accurate picture of the perspective of both sides to nuclear war. The movie is sprinkled with absolute comedic gold, be it the triple role by Peter Sellers, the wildly exaggerated personas of the main characters, or the absolute genius lines, like ‘Gentlemen! You can’t fight here, this is the War Room!’ The title character, Dr. Strangelove, does not come into the movie until well into the third act, but he stands out as one of the greatest celluloid characters of all time. A former Nazi scientist, he is now a wheelchair bound adviser to the president. His German accent and absurd mannerisms make him the oddest, most eccentric and yet the most true character in the movie. This movie is excellent satire, and the black comedy would make George Carlin and Bill Hicks guffaw in their respective graves. Even if you find comedies dreadfully bourgeois, this movie is intelligent and quirky; and will definitely strike a chord with every viewer.


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