Tag Archives: rajesh naik

Book: Armies of Hanuman by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-4)

“The mortal (Rama) stood on the sloping mound, unmindful of the rain and damp, his two constant companions standing to either side. Bow lowered but strung and ready, arrows fitted to the cord. Even the relentless rain had not unravelled his matted locks, bound tightly above his head in the spiralling bun of a forest exile.”

— Chapter 1, Kaand 1, Armies of Hanuman

That is the start of this book, where Rama, Sita and Lakshman wait to battle the last bunch of rakshasas in the Jansthana forest.

Cover Armies of Hanuman

Title Armies of Hanuman
Series Volume-4 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
Author Ashok Banker
Available at Amazon.in, Amazon.com and Flipkart.

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

The Story in Book-4

The high-level storyline in this part of the series:

Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana are towards the tail-end of their thirteen year exile. Together with a rag-tag bunch of ex-outlaws and other exiles, they wage a final battale and manage to get the forest of Janasthana rid of all remaining rakshasas. They return to Chitrakut to spend the rest of the days of their exile and start preparing for their return to Ayodhya.

In Lanka, Mandodari, as a caretaker ruler, manages to get some order. However, with Suphanaka’s help, Ravana is liberated from limbo and takes charge of rebuilding Lanka according to his own vision. Towards the later part of the book, Ravana abducts Sita on his Pushpak vimana, using trickery, asura sorcery and brute force.
Continue reading Book: Armies of Hanuman by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-4)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Movie: Madras Cafe (2013, Hindi, India)

Madras Cafe is a political thriller seen through the eyes of a RAW field operative, set in the middle 1980s (through early 90s) during the ethnic struggle of Tamils in northern Sri Lanka. The movie starts with the peace accord (brokered by India) and traces the behind-the scenes events that lead to the death of the ex-Prime Miniter Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

Madras Cafe Poster

Directed by Shoojit Sircar
Released in August 2013
Genre Political thriller, espionage
Cast
  • John Abraham, as Vikram Singh, a RAW field operative
  • Nargis Fakhri as Jaya Sahni, a British war correspondent of India origin (who speaks English throughout the movie)
  • Siddharth Basu as Robin Dutt, boss of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) who directs the covert operations in Sri Lanka, and mentors Vishal Singh
  • Prakash Belawadi as Bala, Major Vikram Singh’s immediate superior for the asssignement and local RAW team leader based in Jaffna
  • Rashi Khanna as Ruby Singh, wife of Vishal Singh.
Music by Shantanu Moitra
Produced by John Abraham, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, and Ronnie Lahiri
Language Hindi (with a smattering of Tamil and English)
Length 2 hours 10 mins

This movie, released in Aug 2013, received good reviews, but did not last long in theatres – its box-office performance is reported to be “average”.

The Plot

The movie starts with the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord in 1987 aimed to end the Sri Lankan civil war between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists rebels (such as the LTTE) and the Sri Lankan military.

The peace accord is violated and the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) is brutally attacked by the Tamil rebels (who were supposed to be protected by the IPKF). The Indian government attempts to salvage the situation by trying to manipulate various factions of the Tamil rebels, to ensure that the less brutal factions win the planned provincial elections, and continue to be on India’s side.
Continue reading Movie: Madras Cafe (2013, Hindi, India)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Book: Demons of Chitrakut by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-3)

“She slapped him.

She put all her strength behind the blow. His face was flung sharply to the right, his vision blurring out of focus before the world swam back into view, accompanied by several motes of swirling light, and he found himself facing the wall. ……

‘Stop it,’ she said….”
— Chapter 22, Kaand 1, Demons of Chitrakut   

The above is an interaction between Sita and Rama, when he tells her that he has to go on a long exile, alone

Cover Demons of Chitrakut

Title Demons of Chitrakut
Series Volume-3 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
Author Ashok Banker
Available at Amazon.in, Amazon.com and Flipkart

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

The Story in Book-3

The high-level storyline in this part of the series:

Rama and Lakshman, under the guidance of Vishwamitra, have decimated the host of asuras moving towards  Mithila and Ayodhya. Rama weds Sita and Lakshman weds Urmila (Sita’s sister). The other brothers of Rama marry Sita’s cousins.

The wedding party on its way back to Ayodhya is challenged by the axe welding sage Parashurama – the confrontation between Rama and Parashurama is captivating. Back in Ayodhya, the duo of Manthara-Kaikeyi manipulate Dasharath to exile Rama. Sita and Lakshman accompany him voluntarily.
Continue reading Book: Demons of Chitrakut by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-3)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Book: Siege of Mithila by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-2)

“… saw the deep blue wave of brahman ripple outward from the tower itself, rolling harmlessly over humans and their animal friends and the city and its structures. But when it reached the Asura armies massed on the south bank of the Sarayu, the effect was numbing.

The dense black hordes of Asuras disintegrated as the wave touched them, turning them to powder…”

— Chapter 13, Kaand 3, Siege of Mithla

The above passage is towards the end of the book.

Prince of Ayodhya Cover

Title Siege of Mithila
Series Volume-2 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
Author Ashok Banker
Available at Amazon.in, Amazon.com and Flipkart

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

The Story in Book-2

In this part of the series, Rama and Lakshman, having completed the task of cleaning up Bhayanak-van of the hordes of asuras start their journey back home to Ayodhya, along with sage Vishwamitra.

Vishwamitra decides that they need to make their way via Mathila, the city where princess Sita lives, because Ravana has amassed an army of asuras to invade Ayodhya and this army is about to trample Mithila on its way.
Continue reading Book: Siege of Mithila by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-2)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Movie: The Lunch Box (2013, Hindi, India)

Lunch Box Poster

Directed by Ritesh Batra
Released May 2013
Genre Romance, Relationships, Art Cinema
Cast Irrfan Khan as Saajan Fernandez, an insurance company officer approaching retirement
Nimrat Kaur as Ila, a homemaker
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shaikh, Saajan’s replacement at work
Lillete Dubey as Ila’s mother
Nakul Vaid as Rajiv, Ila’s husband
Music by Max Richter
Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Karan Johar, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Arun Rangachari
Language Hindi
Length 1 hour 44 mins

When The Lunch Box was released in India in September 2013, after winning several awards and getting rave reviews from critics, it went on my “must see as quickly as possible” list, especially since the movie had Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the cast. A friend who saw it a few days ago also had some good things to say about it.

And then the controversy about the Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Film category from India (The Lunch Box did not get selected, a movie titled The Good Road was nominated by the selection committee), whetted my appetite even further. I saw the movie on Sept 28th in a Multiplex in Bangalore.

Please be aware that the review below may contain “spoilers” (i.e., information about the plot of a motion picture or TV program that can spoil a viewer’s sense of surprise or suspense :-)).

The Plot

Saajan Fernandez (played by Irrfan Khan) who works in the Claims Section of a public sector insurance company, is approaching superannuation and is proposing early retirement. He is a crusty widower, a loner, and not very friendly with his colleagues or neighbours. He avoids training and handing over of his duties to his proposed replacement Shaikh (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui).
Continue reading Movie: The Lunch Box (2013, Hindi, India)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Book: Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-1)

“…  three breathtakingly graceful leaps, it took him to the veranda that ringed one side of the circular chamber. Sword slashing through the gossamer folds of the translucent drapes that could conceal an assassin. Turn, turn, breathe, slice, follow-through, recover, resume stance. Guru Vashishta had trained him superbly…”

— Chapter 1, Prince of Ayodhya

The above passage is not about Bruce Lee in the movie Enter the Dragon, but about Rama in Ashok Banker’s first book of his Ramayan series.

Prince of Ayodhya Cover

Title Prince of Ayodhya
Series Volume-1 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
Author Ashok Banker
Available at Amazon.in, Amazon.com and Flipkart

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

The Story in Book-1

At the start of this series, young princes Rama, Lakshmana, Shatrughan, and Bharat are back in the capital city of Ayodhya after a long training program at sage Vashishta’s ashram (sage Vashishta is also king Dashratha’s counselor).

Rama is often plagued by nightmares of attacks and destruction of his beloved city (Ayodhya) and kingdom (Kosala).
Continue reading Book: Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-1)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Movie: Ek Din Achanak (1989, Hindi, India)

Ek Din Achanak is an art film of 1989, based on a Bengali story titled Beej. The movie is directed by veteran Mrinal Sen and has won a lot of awards national and international awards.

Ek Din Achanak Poster

Directed by Mrinal Sen
Released in 1989
Genre Drama, Suspense, Relationships, Art Cinema
Cast Shabana Azmi as Neeta
Shriram Lagoo as Sashank (Professor), Neeta’s father
Uttara Baokar as Neeta’s mother
Aparna Sen as Aparna, a student of Professor
Roopa Ganguly as Seema, Neeta’s younger sister
Arjun Chakraborthy as Amit, Neeta’s brother
Manohar Singh as Neeta’s uncle
Music by Jyotishka Dasgupta
Produced by N.F.D.C.
Language Hindi
Length 1 hour 45 mins

 

The Plot

One rainy day, when the streets of Kolkatta are flooded, Shashank, a retired professor (played by Shriram Lagoo) steps out of his middle class house for a walk and does not return. His family – comprising his wife (played by Uttara Baokar), his elder daughter Neeta (Shabana Azmi), younger daughter Seema (Roopa Ganguly), and son Amit (Arjun Chakraborthy) tensely wait for him to return and start the process of tracing him after a day or so, by contacting hospitals, informing the police, enquiring with acquaintances, and so on.
Continue reading Movie: Ek Din Achanak (1989, Hindi, India)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

Movie: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013, Hindi, India)

Bhag Milkha Bhag is a biopic based on the life of the Indian 400 meters Olympian Milkha Singh, who won many international races and held records in the late 1950s to early 1960s.

Bhag Milkha Bhag Poster
Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Released in 2013
Cast Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh (Adult)
Japtej Singh as Milkha Singh (Child)
Divya Dutta as Isri Kaur (Milkha’s Sister)
Soonam Kapoor as Biro (Milkha’s romantic interest)
Pawan Malhotra as Gurudev Singh (Milkha’s army coach)
Yograj Singh as Ranveer Singh (Indian National Coach)
Prakash Raj as tough army officer (Milkha’s army officer)
Dalip Tahil as Jawaharlal Nehru (Prime Minister of India)
K K Raina as Wadhwa (Bureaucrat)
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & Viacom
Language Hindi
Length 3 hours 10 mins

The Story

The film starts with the 1960 Rome Olympics, where Milkha Singh (played by Farhan Akhtar)  is leading a pack of elite runners in the 400 meters final. Something happens as he hears his coach shout “bhag Milkha, bhag” – he slows down and looks back, comes fourth and misses a podium finish.
Continue reading Movie: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013, Hindi, India)


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.

My blogs (Rajesh Naik)

This is my personal site, and I hope to make blog entries where I share my thoughts and opinions about books, movies, events, etc., or maybe describe places I visited or food I ate or wanted to eat. Personal stuff, maybe light-hearted and trivial, maybe serious, maybe of no interest to anyone at all 🙂

For my professional posts, please visit http://alignmentor.com


I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me professionally, I am available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite. You may also check out my professional website, Alignmentor.com.