Unbroken – keep the spirits high

Popcorn Ratings: 4 stars
Genre: World History / World War

Unbroken is on the ImDB’s list of must watch movies and its worth it. But you need grit and patience to see it through. Set against the background of World War Two, focusing on the United States – Japan part of the war.

So there is a childhood story of the young thief Louis Zamperini (portrayed by Jack O’Connell), whose latent talents are reconverted in long distance running by his elder brother.

After years of toil and practice, what a moment is there for the young athlete to compete at the Berlin Olympics and defeating his own more accomplished countryman.
With all eyes on the Tokyo Olympics, he sets himself up with training and determination. Fate had other plans, as the war erupts and our hero is enrolled in the US Airforce. 

From there on, it is one man’s struggle against odds of nature to human vengeance. The best part of the movie is how the three men stranded on a lifeboat manages life
at sea. The tag line says it all: Survival. Resilience. Redemption



At the mercy of violent storm and hungry sharks, they eat raw bird and vomit it almost instantaneously. They catch fish almost bare handed and wait for rains to have
water to drink. There is also the Japanese airplane shooting that deflates their lifeboat but not their spirits.

Unbroken is a story of human survival against all odds. Director Angelina Jolie’s message based on a true story is clear – do not give up. Be it sports or life itself,
there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The tunnel, however, here is very dark indeed. Almost to the point of being savagery and gory. The cruel Japanese office Japanese corporal, Mutsuhiro Watanab,
nicknamed ‘bird’ tried all sorts of vengeance. From being brutally assaulted with stick to punched on the face from every member of Zamperini’s own colleagues.

At times, the violence mars the message. Still, the movie has a deep impact on the perspective that our best plans get washed on the onslaught of turn of events.

I loved the statement that Zamperini says. “I always wanted to be in Tokyo (for the Olympics), but didn’t know it would be like this (as a prisoner of war).”

Movie Trivia:
Zamperini survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber crash landed in the ocean during World War II
The movie is based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
At age 81, Louie Zamperini ran a leg of the Olympic Torch relay for the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan

Selma – Martin Luther King Jr


Popcorn Ratings: 5 stars
Genre: Politics / Black History / USA

I have always been fascinated with the black struggle for equality. To me it is one of the greatest landmark in calling ourselves human. As great as man’s landing on moon.

So I was keen on all things black. Be it #BlackLivesMatter or #OscarsSoWhite. Then when Selma came along it was a must watch.

The performance of the lead character David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. is phenomenal. The struggle, decisions, protest march and the subsequent consequences.

And to think of it that the producers had to do it, without those magical words. The producers could not manage to get the copyright of the famous ‘I have a dream’ quote from the King’s family.

Selma stands out as a movie about a movement. It is all about one incident (actually three) – The march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. And what a powerful statement that march is. IT is about human dignity. About civil rights. About counting every person as important. And who show is better than MLK Jr.

Along with Spielberg’s Lincoln and McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, this movie sure has stirred the #BlackLivesMatter debate. It also reminds us that despite the huge technology advances we still have monkey chants and racial discrimination from football stadiums to New York streets.

Quick Info:

MLK’s speech ‘I have a dream’ is the most quoted line from a speech
Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel peace prize
MLK visited India in 1959 and was inspired by the Gandhi-nian philosophy.


Sarbjit – A touching story

Sarbjit – A touching story

  • Popcorn Ratings: 3 stars
  • Genre: Indian Current History / Politics


Watched Sarbjit. Too painful. Almost unable to sit through someone’s real suffering. The trauma. The torture. The terrible consequence of a mistaken identify or rather a deliberate mistake.

Yet, who can give those youthful year. A single man is not punished. It is the entire family. The daughters who grew up without knowing their father. It is worse than father being dead. The wife who would have missed those moments of love, of affection, of bonding. The sister whose persistence came at a cost.

And to think, all this is not fiction. And this is not a single isolated story. Oh justice, thy take too long. I wept like an infant mid way. Had to stop and just could not muster the courage to continue.

Sarabjit, a farmer is jailed and is sentenced to death by hanging. The traumatized family, knocks all door. A single meeting after eight years is all they get. The girls, now grown up sees their father in a dilapidated state. Words are few. The man himself is a portrayal of one who has accepted the faith. Too disturbing, too real, too fearful.

While the usual message of peace, love and brotherhood does exist, it is still the pain that stands out. How I wish, it was not true!

If Captain America was Krrish?

How does it feel to have two worlds meet? Walking into a world of fantasy has been always fascinating for me. And believe me, we can teach a lot of history thought some fiction too. After all, as kids, our heroes were more  of Superman than Lincoln. 

While, this is exactly what “Paint History” project aims to create. Love for real men and women, but let’s take a break and enjoy the comparison between Superheroes from two of the biggest movie industries across continents.


1. Captain America – Krrish (Hrithik Roshan)
that’s the original Indian SuperHero. Krrish can fly and have made sequels. Now that mean he is accepted.
While, Krrish may not have the team or the shield of Captain America, but this one hero is here to stay.


2. Iron Man (Tony Stark) – G.One (the protagonist SRK from Ra.One)
With all iron and steel, that G.One had to navigate at the airport checking, he must be the Indian version of Iron Man. While, Tony has amazing brains, our G.One is all about the heart.
That blue eyes are far better than the red ones!


3. War Machine – Robot/Enthiran (The legend Rajnikanth)

War Machine might not have such a screen presence. Colonel James Rhodes is the hero that Iron Man falls back on. All that equals nought when we hear the roars for our legend Robot. And he has got a human avatar too.

4. Black Widow – Priyanka Chopra
5. Scarlet Witch – Vidya Balan

We led the leading ladies just be. With Jai Gangajal and Kahani, our super cops are no less than Super Women. Guess, who would be our version of the powerful Wonder Woman?


6. The Vision – Mr India (Anil Kapoor)

The first invincible man we knew. Mr India just had to careful of the red lights. The literal ones, please. The Vision lives in a Utopia where he cares for the mankind, not so mcuh for privacy. Walks from the walls to Scarlet’s room, Vision knows what is takes to win battles.


7. Winter Soldier – Shahenshah (Amitabh Bachchan)
It’s the hand, of course!

8. Black Panther – Ra.One (Arjun Rampal)
All evil looks alike. While, our hero from the African Wakanda turns a Super-Hero who can hold his own in the presence of some big Marvel names, don’t underestimate R.One too. After all, it’s his name that the movie was made from. We hope, R.One too finds a place to be called the king!


9. Spider-Man (actually a child Spidey) – Zokkomon (Darsheel Safary)

You might not remember our little Zokkomon, but he sure is our child prodigy. Just like the young Spider-boy. And now, this young Spider boy’s got his own movie. And sure to help him is the Iron Man. Watch out..


10. Falcon – Flying Jatt (Tiger Shroff)
Both can fly. They are quick. When pushed, they become lethal.
Now that Falcon, has got an added flying bird jet, he can rival the desi Flying Jatt. This Jatt is all blue and can run faster than the bullets.


11. Hawkeye – Drona (Abhishek Bachchan)
Not that I really care about what Drona did, but then arrows are integral to our teams. Can there be a better sports in our schools that Shooting. Remember Arjun’s eye of the fish!


12. Ant-Man – Makkhi 
Now these insects got some lethal bites and are finally fighting people of same size!

Now, don’t ask me how do they compare. You aren’t taking it seriously! OR are you? BTW if you have read till here, I am worried, you just might!


Oh also the lost ones….

13. Thor – Shaktiman (Mukesh Khanna)


14. Hulk – Dara Singh


Made to Stick

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck
by Chip Heath

BookWorm: 5 stars


Terrific and Sticky.

When I first encountered the SUCCES formula, I though I knew all I had to learn from the book. Thus delayed buying this. However the book is far deeper and an amazing reading experience. It is no where near those lousy self help or therapy book.

The book passes all the SUCCES rules. Simple; Unexpected; Credible; Concrete; Emotional (a little less); Story (very nice);
I created an entire new one day workshop titled The SHEPHERD’s SUCCESS formula after reading the book. 5 stars!


A More Beautiful Question

A More Beautiful Question:
The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger

BookWorm Rating: 5 stars

Do you know that ‘curiosity’ is the most innate quality that the child is endowed with!
That children ask more than 300 questions per day?
And girls ask more questions than boys of the same age!

Terrific inquiry based learning and a wonderful book for all teachers.

Lots of case studies and great conversation started in a workshop.

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?

BookWorm Rating: 5 stars

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?: Teaching for Inquiry, PreK-5
by John F. Barell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3,600.00

An absolutely delightful book that leads to multiple question for inquiry. The child’s innate quest for question has been structured to make it into it as a subject for further questioning and asking more leading questions.

The book uses real life situations and turns them into an inquiry based discourse. This book served me well into the journey of curriculum design and teachers’ training program. Plus, I always had people stop and think, when posed with the question: Why are school buses yellow?


Munich – Bloodbath at 1972 Olympics

On Munich 1972

  • Popcorn Rating: 4 stars 
  • Genre: History

A tough movie to watch. Not just for the violence, acts of terrorism, deceit and lots of blood but a look at a world we have only heard of. Of spying, bombs in your bed, honey traps and secret informants. Of two sides, who are willing to go to any length and space for a place they want to call home.

Munich is based on the book ‘Vengeance’, where Israel retaliates for the 1972 Munich Olympics attack. Eleven Palestinians are identified, who are to be eliminated by a team of ex secret service men but having no connection with any current government.

It is scary when the protagonist experiences the same fear that the perpetrators have. And that includes sleeping in the corset and ripping bed, television and telephone searching for imaginary bombs. After all, it’s about the family. His wife and the infant daughter, for all he cares about in the world. Reminds me of the popular song, ‘They love their children too,’ at the height of Cold War.

I always loved Spielberg’s work and this looks like his version of a young Jew whose blood would have boiled at the barbaric act against athletes. Perhaps redemption came about in Schindler’s List.