Saturday, June 6, 2015

Maggi and the Tyranny of Truth!


I love Maggi noodles.
Government says it’s harmful. Nestle's been saying it’s safe.
Who do I believe?

I was home alone, and hungry one night. A pack of Maggi stared at me from the kitchen shelf. Not knowing what to do, like a new age selfie kid (am I really one? maybe) I asked folks on Facebook to help me decide – to eat, or not to eat. 

You can view that post here - click to read

The answers were many. Some serious, many in a lighter vein, but all of them set to certain patterns. Patterns dictated by how seriously they took the threat of Maggi having an impact on my, or for that matter anyone else’s health.

If I were to classify the answers into 4 broad categories, this is how they would seem.

Pattern 1: Risky for your health. Don’t eat it.

Pattern 2: You’ve been eating this for ages, nothing happened till now. Eat it.

Pattern 3: You’ve been having worse. For instance Delhi air pollution. You are doomed anyways.

Pattern 4: It is all media hype. Government might be corrupt too. Eat it. 

The results seemed inconclusive. There was no singular truth.

What I instead gained from that post was a very valuable insight into the nature of truth, and what goes around it. I would like to share the same with you, especially since our perception of truth seems to have a profound influence on our behavior.

Did I eat that pack of Maggi eventually, will let you know shortly. But first; the story about truth, here it goes…

Sunday, January 4, 2015

PK meets Interstellar: No space for ignorance!

PK meets Interstellar - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati - Mind u Read


What is this Dancing Car?

That was one question my son was repeatedly asking while we were watching the movie ‘PK’. Though old enough to grasp basics of the world around him, the concept of a dancing car in ‘PK’ was alien to him. No wonder, the child’s curiosity kicked in and the above question followed. There was no convincing answer to give him.

Similar is the state of PK, our alien from outer space. His childlike curiosity constantly questioning the world around him; learning answers the hard way – much to his bewilderment and our amusement.

PK questions many aspects of our world, but there is one thing I am particularly keen to explore further - the conclusions he arrives at during his quest to reach god.

God exists, but a medium (religion & rituals) and messenger (god men) to reach god are unnecessary.

Is PK right in saying so?

Maybe…but his childlike innocence can’t be a good enough reason to completely believe him. How can we be certain that he is right? Maybe he didn't meet the right people who could answer him; or maybe it wasn't time for him to know the answers yet, just like the mysteries of the dancing car for my son.

Don’t know what you think, but I believe there should be no space for doubt or ignorance in our minds when it concerns such matters.

There is another movie from the recent past which set me thinking on similar lines - about god, the supernatural and our very own existence. I now realize that most of the answers to PK might lie within that film. As the title of this post suggests, that film is none other than Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar.

No, this isn't a spoof post where PK gets into funny situations when he encounters characters from Interstellar. We are getting into some serious adult territory instead. Don’t say I didn't warn you in advance.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy New Year: Making Sense of Nonsense!

Happy New Year - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

Kids laugh 300 times a day. Adults laugh only 5 times a day!

There is no scientific data to prove it, but everyone seems to believe the above numbers. Kids indeed laugh a lot, are happier and seem to have more fun than us adults. Thanks to the pressures of growing up, we often end up losing the kid inside us.

The reason I speak about kids and adults in this post is because I find it very amusing to see the extreme reactions to the latest Farah Khan movie Happy New Year.

Happy New Year seems to invoke a strange phenomenon - a battle between the kid and the adult within us.

By now, I am assuming you already know who you are – the one who laughed out loud while enjoying the movie, or the one who laughed reading the spoofs and reviews of critics who trashed this movie. One is the kid inside you reacting, and the other is the adult.

Through this post I would like to explore this phenomenon further. It will probably help explain why I like this film and why you might not necessarily be on the same plane as me. So here it goes, let me know what you think…

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Divine Science driving star studded blockbusters!

Secret behind blockbusters - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

He won’t stop – that’s the literal translation of ’Aagadu’, the title of a Telugu movie that released last weekend.

True to its name, the movie was unstoppable at the box office, netting close to a million dollars on the day of its release in the US. An unprecedented number for an Indian film, leave alone a Telugu film. I was constantly bombarded by Whatsapp updates from my friends in the US who flocked to the screens in droves as if their lives depended on this movie.

Closer home, the story was no different - despite negative reviews from critics and 140 character experts on Twitter, the film marched on triumphantly.

I watched the movie in a Delhi NCR multiplex which was packed to the brim - a rarity in this part of the country.

Craze for the movie wasn’t surprising. Aagadu is after-all a big budget movie made by a popular director with a successful track record starring one of the most charismatic heroes of South India - Mahesh Babu - the central reason for the all-round mania over the film.

However, while watching the film I realized something very strange. Something that changed my whole perception of going to the movies…more so…big budget movies starring the likes of a Salman Khan, SRK, Rajinikanth, Pawan Kalyan, Mahesh Babu, Vijay, Ajith, Surya, etc.

Apart from their usual charisma to pull the crowds, I realized that their movies have a divine supernatural force that we are yet to fathom.

This blog post is my attempt to capture that force. Once you read it, let me know what you think. Because I feel I might not be the only one who feels this way. Here it goes…

Friday, September 12, 2014

Apple Watch and the Evolution of the Matrix!

Apple Watch and the Evolution of the Matrix

Ever since I watched the film “The Matrix” in the late 90s, I've often wondered if what was shown in the film could become a reality someday. It is highly unlikely, but for those who don't know what the Matrix is all about, here is a brief Wikipedia entry about the film:

"The Matrix depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called "the Matrix", created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source."

The Internet of today seems like a nascent version of the Matrix. We humans constantly look for validation and information online. We not only consume but also generate all of the data online via social networks and other means which are powered by corporations that now wield immense power over our lives – think Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

The Apple Watch seems like the next big logical step in the evolution of this Matrix.

Why do I say that? Well, read on…

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Legacy of Manam!

The legacy of Manam - ANR lives on - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway

While I punch the keys on my laptop to write about the Telugu film Manam, my feelings are similar - instead of blood, I have tears in my eyes. Tears that refuse to stop long after the show got over. Tears that seem to emanate from a complex set of emotions triggered by nostalgia, sadness and joy - all at the same time. It is as if the movie has done some kind of black magic on me. The only way for me to make sense of all those tears is to write this blog post. Who knows, you might be feeling the same way too after watching the film.

One basic assumption before watching Manam is that this is a film about glorifying the decades old ANR legacy which starts with Akkineni Nageswara Rao in the 1940s to his son Nagarjuna starting in the 80s and then onto his grandson Naga Chaitanya starting in the new millennium – all of whom star in this film. It is an easy temptation for the film makers to fall into a trap of over the top hero worship but Manam pleasantly surprises and almost shocks everyone with its approach to storytelling.

Manam isn’t just a film about glorifying the legacy of one family but is a mirror to the existence and continuity of life beyond the pendulum of life and death!

Very rarely do we come across films that tie in the elements of deep philosophy and love while retaining the essence of glorifying a legacy. Manam is that rare gem which achieves the impossible, and this is why it made me cry…