July 21, 2017

Hindi Medium – Film Review

Posted in Chit Chat, Film Reviews at 9:06 pm by వసుంధర

watch the film 

India is an interesting country. Indians in India are more interesting than the country. We are the most disciplined, law abiding and patriotic – if we live in a foreign country. In our own country, we are different. We believe in values, more to preach. We encourage corruption and wrong means for the right end. We seem to be fanatics of our own languages to the extent that we divide ourselves on those lines. At personal level, our craving is only for English, a foreign language very intelligently injected into our veins by the British. We consider English as the language of the privileged. The mother tongue is neglected, if not heckled.   

This is the theme on which the film Hindi Medium was based. The film was released worldwide on May 19, 2017.  

Raj Batra (Irfan Khan) is a rich businessman with no sophisticated background. His wife Mita (Saba Qarim) aspires to be in sophisticated company. She wants her 5-year old daughter Piya to study in a corporate school. Raj can meet the financial demands for admission into such schools but his real problem is meeting the required social obligations. The parents of a prospective student are supposed to be fluent in English and have high class culture. Raj and Mita tried to comply, through a consultant. However, Raja failed miserably to the disheartenment of Mita. Now, they have just one option. The corporate schools have a quota for the poor. Raj is sufficiently rich to bribe the concerned officials to get a certificate that he is very poor. Unfortunately, a situation arose in which the certificate had to be backed by proper evidence. Raj and Mita have gone to temporarily live in a poverty-ridden nighbourhood. There they have come across Shyamprakash Kori (Deepak Dobriyal), a compassionate poor person. Here, the film has dealt with the sufferings of the poor even for basic amenities, along with some interesting and touching twists.  Finally, Pia got the coveted seat but at whose cost? The story had a beautiful climax.

Irfan as expected made his character memorable. Unexpectedly, Saba too could match him. While all actors in the movie managed their roles admirably, Deepak needs a special mention and is sure to make an impression on the audience. The songs are different and well- picturized.

The theme is serious but the film entertains like a good comedy movie. The narration touched many thought-provoking aspects of the society not so common for regular commercial movies. However, it is a mix of natural, dramatic, over-dramatic and some over-simplified situations. The message that the main purpose of education is to make good human beings – justified all these means. In the end, the viewers come out of the theatre wiser, thoughtful and satisfied.      

The movie might not be rated as great. But it falls into the must-watch category for all those who love watching meaningful entertainers.

review 1   review 2


January 25, 2017

Crown of Light

Posted in Books, Chit Chat at 8:13 pm by వసుంధర

Culture Capsule

Posted in Books, Chit Chat at 8:09 pm by వసుంధర

December 10, 2016

Eudemonic Semantics

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Chit Chat at 6:53 pm by వసుంధర

05 Dec 2016: Sriharikrishna Mocherla’s “Eudemonic Semantics” launched

Photo (L to R): Seshu Mocherla, Rohini Vemuri, VV Satya Prasad, U Atreya Sarma, Sriharikrishna Mocherla, Voleti Parvateesam, Kala Deekshitulu, Padmaja Iyengar
Eudemonic Semantics | Sriharikrishna Mocherla | Creative Crows, New Delhi | ISBN 93-84901-40-7| Pages xxvi + 232| Rs 425

English language enthusiast Sriharikrishna Mocherla’s book Eudemonic Semantics was launched at Tyagaraja Gana Sabha, Hyderabad, on Nov 3, 2016.

The book dealing with the wit, humour and nuances in English language came in for praise from the speakers on the occasion –Dr Voleti Parvateesam, former Program Executive, Saptagiri TV Channel; VV Satya Prasad, Telugu Poet and President of the ceremony; U Atreya Sarma, Chief Editor, Muse India and poet; and Padmaja Iyengar, poet and Hon. Lit. Advisor, Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati.

The book, published by Creative Crows, was released by Dr Parvateesam.

Kala Deekshitulu, President of Tyagaraja Gana Sabha, complimented the writer.

This is the third book of Harikrishna. His earlier ones are Time to Hold Your Tongue and Mould the Language (2010) and Vivid Dreams and Waking Visions (2011).

The author’s father Mocherla Janaki Ramiah, an MA (Litt) from Nagpur University in 1940, a charismatic lecturer and a co-compiler of “Bala Saraswati Pictorial Gem Dictionary – English to English to Telugu” along with Mallampalli Somasekhara Sarma, a renowned historian, was duly remembered.

The well-attended programme was emceed by Rohini Vemuri. Smt Seshu, better half of the author was also present.

[A review of the book by U Atreya Sarma appeared in The Hans India daily (Oct 30, 2016) and at Boloji.com (Oct 31, 2016). Here are the links:



Report by: U Atreya Sarma, Editor (News & Events), Muse India

August 29, 2016

Anataomy of Rape

Posted in Chit Chat, Ponderer's Box at 8:29 pm by వసుంధర


Aug 29 2016 : The Times of India (Hyderabad)

The Banality Of A Rape

    Jonathan Freundlich

It’s a myth that perpetrators are psychopaths, not `normal’ guys.
That a rape always consists in the brutal assault of a young innocent virgin by a strong heavily-armed psychopath is a widespread myth. This myth is not only false, but harmful. The very large majority of rapes are indeed perpetrated by someone with whom the victim has already got acquainted, and don’t occur in a dark alley as we could expect.Rapes are not as exceptional as this myth implies. Actually , this misconception often prevents us from identifying a situation as a rape and from helping the victim accordingly.That night, my girlfriend E went to a nightclub with some of her friends, mostly foreigners as herself. It was a fun evening; dancing, laughing, being exhilarated by the music and the atmosphere, talking to new people. There was this guy , F. He pretended to be a model from Turkey , something that later turned out to be false. He was very flirtatious, but nice. E made it clear from the beginning that she was committed in a relationship and not interested in anything else but friendship. He seemed to accept it, and E couldn’t imagine that he wouldn’t respect her and her desires.

E and one of her friends got in a taxi with F while her two other friends were in a different car with F’s friends. After a long ride, the cars stopped in front of a house instead of a bar. While entering the apartment, E asked her friends not to leave her alone with him. But they didn’t react when F dragged her inside a bedroom pretending it was “just to talk“, and discreetly locked the door behind him.

Our society paradoxically considers rape as a horrible crime but often labels it as “normal“ when it happens for real. When they are told about rape, most people minimise the story and say that it doesn’t count, that it was not really a rape.

When E told her friends about what had just happened, one of them answered that it was “normal“ when people get drunk. But no, it’s not! It is not because the night was enshrouded in a cloud of glitter, laughs and alcohol that it is not a rape. It is not because E had been enthusiastically dancing in the nightclub that it was not a rape. It is not because she may have been inconsequentially flirting that it was not a rape. Sex without consent is always a rape.

Another friend of hers told her that is was her fault, that anyone could have stopped it. A rape is not the victim’s fault, it is the deliberate action of a criminal. Blaming the victim is an easy way to feel safe: by believing that E was responsible for the rape, her friend felt more confident that she wouldn’t put herself in a similar situation. But although reassuring, this thought is a lie: a rape can happen to anyone, and in the most unexpected circumstances. In the case of E’s friends, minimising the event and putting the blame on her was probably also a way to avoid their own responsibility and their own guilt: they were there, and they didn’t do anything.

A rape is not just a bad experience, it is a criminal offence. No rape should go unreported. As long as rapes are not reported and not fairly dealt with by the authorities, rapists will have a sense of impunity. I suggested E to report the rape to the police. Reporting the rape was a painful process in itself. Beyond narrating the events again and again and going through various medical check-ups, E had to confront with her memories: going back to the apartment was particularly painful, as it crudely reminded her of some of the appalling details of the rape. Nevertheless, having reported the rape will surely make her stronger to cope with its insidious consequences on her self-image.

In front of her determination, her friends had to realise that what had happened was indeed a rape, and they stopped being in denial. Reporting the rape thus also changed their attitude and they became more supportive.Through the police, the whole society had to give some credit to her testimony .The care and understanding that she got at the police station surely helped her a lot. The police was indeed exemplary, which was a much welcomed relief.

When they learnt that E was going to report the rape to the police, F’s male acquaintances seemed to think that F didn’t deserve to be punished by law. At times, it even seemed that it was F who was the victim for them. The victim of E’s determination to obtain justice.

F probably thinks that it wasn’t a rape because he is a normal guy, a nice guy even, not a psychopath. This might be the most destabilising thing about rapes: most of them are not perpetrated by psychopaths. They are perpetrated by “normal“ guys.

E’s rapist is out on bail awaiting the court’s decision, which will take months or even years. He doesn’t seem to understand the wrong he did, and neither do his friends and family . While E has been affected forever by his deeds and might be unable to move on until justice is done, he might just be lightheartedly dancing with other girls at the moment. As long as society doesn’t fully acknowledge what rapes are and doesn’t abandon the comforting and blinding myths associated to them, such events will continue to happen and rapists will continue to have a feeling of impunity.E’s rape was just a banal rape, as many others: the problem is far from being solved. Let’s hope the Indian justice system will show the way .

The writer is an astrophysicist

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