Award winning Tamil detective movie “Andha Naal” (1954) directed by S. Balachander and starring Shivaji Ganesan, Pandaribai, Javar Seetharaman among others.
Its a nice riveting movie in the style of a fast thrilled whodunit. Rajan (Shivaji Ganesan) is shot in the beginning of the movie itself and what follows is the unraveling of the plot. Who killed him, there are plenty of them with enough motives from his brother Pattabi (T.K. Balachandran), his angry wife Hema (S. Menaka), his neighbour Chinaiya Pillai (P.D. Sambandam) to his lover Ambujam (K. Sooryakala) and lastly his wife Usha (Pandaribai).
Everybody narrates their own tale of what must have transpired alongwith their conspiracy theories. The plot moves from one scene to another with dexterity. There is enough long dialogues to bore people which is typical of Tamil and Malayalam movies. The dialogue delivery of stars in Tamil films is of another worldly order. Balachander has used little bit of Hitchcockian influence but apparently he is more inspired by Akira Kurosawa to make this film. The camera work is spectacular.
Shivaji Ganesan is brilliant as usual and shows us that he was a consummate actor, though at parts he is over acting, All others have acted quite well, keeping to the script. Though the dialogues are heavy at times, one is able to understand the substantial part of the movie for somebody like me. This one is a timeless classic. imdb 7/10
A fast paced suspense thriller from Harlan Coben “Tell No One”
Dr. David Beck, a pediatrician who is mourning his wife Elizabeth who was murdered 8 years ago. He starts getting mysterious e-mails with coded messages, suggesting his wife is still alive.
Apparently, his house and phones are all bugged by somebody who is interested in Elizabeth coming back. There is a background and a motive to it. Meanwhile his wife’s close friend Rebecca Shayles a famous fashion photographer in New York is killed at close range. Dr. Beck goes on the run against the police and assaults a police officer.
Dr. Beck is helped by his client Tyrese who is from the underworld and knows a thing or two. The plot swings like a yo-yo from one end to another. Its a convoluted story with lots of twists and turns and lots of suspense to it. The rich Scope family is somehow involved in all these things.
There is mystery to Dr. Beck’s father’s death 12 years ago and even his father in law a retired cop has a few aces up his sleeve. Everybody has a story to tell. Goodreads 4/5
Another bustling, throbbing, edge of the seat thriller from the master story writer Alistair Maclean. My favorite writer, Maclean never disappoints. Maclean is probably the most comprehensive story writer that i have found. Each of his stories dwell on a different topic in a different country/ continent and he is masterful each time.
This time it is a story of the annual pilgrimage of the gypsies from all over Europe who descend upon Saintes-Maries for a week of fun, frolic and religion. Except that woven into that gypsy tale is something deceitful going on. Some of the gypsies are doing something illegal, there is a murder of one Alexandre and a sinister plot is brewing. Neill Bowman, an Englishman and Duc de Croytor a.k.a Charles the distinguished folklorist are in the midst of the intrigue. There are two English girls as well Cecille and Lila, come for the party. There is one Chinese couple also, but more Eurasians who seem to be keenly curious on the goings on and few bad gypsies Czerda, Searl, El Brocador, Pierre Lacabre, Ferenc and then there innocent, hurt gypsies Tina, Sara and their parents and in laws. Plenty of action up the mountains, down the river, in the bull ring, around the caravans. Maclean has kept the suspense in tact until the very end and with his flowing, beautiful narrative, this is one beautiful book to read. Goodreads 5/5
Mirage (1965), an intense psychological drama thriller movie starring Gregory Peck, Diana Baker among others. Shot entirely in black & white, the plot is convoluted and confusing to begin with because David Stillwell (Gregory Peck) is himself confused. He does’nt remember anything for two years or who is Shela (Diana Baker) or why she meets him or what is happening to him. Strange things are happening to him. He goes to a Dr. Broden, a psychiatrist who tells him its impossible to have amnesia for two years. He then hires a detective Caselle (Walter Mathau) to find out more about him. In the meanwhile all his troubles start when Charles Calvin (Walter Abel) falls down from his 27th floor office. Whole of lot of confusing plots thrown here and there, quite like a Hitchcockian suspense movie. Very slowly its starts unravelling for Gregory Peck as it does for the viewers. Brilliant acting by Gregory Peck and Diana Baker. Lot of action towards the end, but i would’nt want to reveal the suspense. Worth the watch for the beautiful screenplay and Gregory Peck and the beautiful Diana Baker.
Just finished reading “The Way Through the Woods” by Colin Dexter, my first one of him. It is an Inspector Morse mystery. It is a mystery about a sudden disappearance of a Swedish maiden in England but the case comes to life fully one year after her exit for whatever reasons. Dexter has a different style of writing compared to others such as Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle etc. in the sense that he keeps on dropping some hints here and there by weaving in and out of the story by juxtaposing with riddles etc. The plot keeps the reader in suspense and I like his interplay with relevant quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I would say that Dexter is a “dexterous” writer in that sense. Goodreads 3/5
Spell binding movie from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, The Lady Vanishes – most of the movie sequence takes place in a train leaving Germany. There is a middle aged English governess, a young lady going off home to her marriage, an up & coming English musician. The governess vanishes whilst in the train. There is a German doctor specialising in brain injuries, mysterious Italians, butlers, couple of Englishmen discussing only cricket all the time, an English couple of which the man is going to be a judge back home and rather conservative compared to his bold wife. Typical Hitchcockian drama and suspense in the movie. The late Margaret Lockwood looks good in the movie and has acted well. Hitchcock himself comes in the end as his usual manner.
Just finished reading “Winter’s End” a first timer novel by John Rickards. It is a moody meandering kind of murder drama with a twist in the past with the two main characters i.e. detective and suspect. The initial part of the novel keeps the reader engaged as the suspect weaves around with the emotions of the detective in a way which the detective does not believe as plausible. The pace picks up in the second half of the book with more twists and turns and dead bodies, obviously. At times the loony character of the suspect and adrift character of the detective gets to the reader. All in all, a good first novel by John Rickards. A 3/5 rating by me.
Picked up a book called “Dangerous Curves” by Peter Cheyney on a seconds books sale somewhere in Bombay, either because it was way too cheap or the it looked sorta good to read. Got down to reading it last week and was pleasantly surprised to read it – a riveting fast moving fiction with mystery suspense thrown in galore. Then I researched Peter Cheyney on the internet because i have never heard of this guy, was surprised to learn that he belonged to another era practically born in 1896 and died in 1951, relatively young just like Raymond Chandler another of my favorite. In the first few pages itself I discovered another of my favorite author James Hadley Chase in his writing. Chase who wrote many potboilers and wrote about the underdogs and the underdregs of the society has beautiful flowing narrative to his writing. This book is a Slim Callaghan mystery – that is the name of the investigator who is given the job of investigating the wayward stepson of a vivacious Thorla Riverton who is 30 years younger to her husband and whose husband is dying of complications from old age. Slim Callaghan has obviously a very disruptive style of operating which is not appreciated by Thorla Riverton and sparks fly between the two, she being attractive. Slim Callaghan being the quintessential fictional detective is able to comprehend the hidden facts as well as portend the future shape of things to come. One thing i did not like about Slim Callaghan is his excessive smoking and drinking, but what the hell, this book was written in 1939 when there were more worldly matters to be concerned than the post modern James Bondish type of fit action heroes. From this Wikipeadia entry here it seems Peter Cheyney lived the life of his fictional protagonists and died young having penned 35 novels and 150 short stories. This book is “out of print” and therefore a rare copy. Books such as these are rare to come by. Highly recommended reading for fiction fans.