Category Archives: India

Comic Con 2017 – Pune,India

“More of the Same.” is befitting summary to this years’ Comic-Con, Pune 2017. As if venue and layout almost matching to the last year’s event, there was no variety in terms of shops and merchandise also baring few surprises.

Comic-Con is always celebratory conglomeration of the geeks, nerds and all the fantastic not-so-fit-in-social-conceptions individuals. At the same time Comic-Con is social event all in all. It is fun and frolic event as any other. It can be enjoyed equally by comic enthusiast as well as all of those who believe in superhero fantasy; children and adults alike. Not wasting too much time in establishing the Comic-Con’s reputation as it will always be regarded as celebration with likes of the festival by its devoted fans. Though I would rate this year’s Comic-Con held at Pune, India as lukewarm.

Start was made as ideal as it could be for any Comic-book and DC fan with free giveaway of DareDevil poster for each entrants at ticket pickup counter. Considering the sitcom and binge-watching on rise in India, AXN has grabed the opportunity with both hands to market it with life-size billboards propped at every corners. And usual flair continued then onwards.

Outside the dome same colorful Maruti Alto who is official sponsor of Comic-Con, India displayed which was surprising for those who were first-timers but failed to excite me. Same large Comic-Con peculiar poster to get yourself photographed for future memoirs was also present. Inside the dome, I had deja vu of shops selling same merchandise for fans such as t-shirts, masks, fancy accessories and all other “not so easily available superhero stuff”. Surprisingly, very few shops dedicating to actual comic books which was disappointment for me. In fact only single shop by Crossword book store selling famous DC comics. It was small section and frankly there was no variety in collection also. I could see all those titles which I already owned or read before. I was hoping to lose myself in comic shops this time to find some hidden gems. Alas, no such opportunity presented. Indian comic-shops also selling the same old comics with no new-arrival announcements. Somehow I had the feeling that everyone was going through their zombie-routine to finish the act and not interested in catching the attraction of the audience.

After so much bickering about down-points, let’s move to good points now. Rows of screens connected to high-end consoles (mostly PS4) for visitors to battle out competitive gameplay either against human opponents or AI was always good sight to behold. Along with usual tropes like FIFA and NFS, Battlefield 1, Titenfall2 and Uncharted 4 were more than satisfactory. Promotional booths erected for just released movies Logan and upcoming Indian epic fantasy Baahubali 2 were, I must confess, novel addition. You could live out your fantasy with available props for a while and to be immortalized in digital photo (especially cool for social media update aficionados). Best part and the real highlight for me which has acted as fuel to warm this event review from completely “cold” to “lukewarm” was 30 seconds short animated VR experience (Setup mojo was Radeon Fury with Oculus gear).  AXN booth also held some fun activities such as shooting with blind and passing through laser a la Entrapment imitation to attempt and win goodies.

Comic2017_26

At last, let’s not forget the most appealing aspect of Comic-Con anywhere in the world; Cosplay. Fans were fabulous again with their Cosplay as usual considering heat already making news here in India at start of summer . I witnessed lot more variants also amidst all-time favorite lot like Jokers, Batman, Star Wars characters and all. As far as special guest concerns, world-famous artist of V for Vendetta, David Lloyd had graced the occasion with his mild presence and signing event.

Comic2017_39
David Lloyd-Prime attraction of this year’s ComicCon

All in all, I am still having mix feelings for this years’ Comic Con. And my disappointment is purely due to comics themselves were put aside to give more emphasize on commercialization of other merchandise. Which was not bad idea but fans like me still want to scour through multiple outlets completely devoted to comics and emerge with something which,doesn’t matter if old or new, but it must be fresh.

Historical Fiction or Fictional History?

I enjoyed 3rd entry in the Transformers movie series very much (I know, I also feel guilty but I did enjoyed); dubbed as “Dark side of the Moon”. Though tone of the entire series allow ample space for the viewers for suspension of disbelief, one thought pierced my mind and has been nagging me from that point onward whenever I try to entertain myself with fictional account which involves history. How grave impact popular media is having on the audience, especially juvenile or ignorant or uneducated in influencing their knowledge base which has been so partially, and in some cases completely dependent on entertaining media. I can understand the liberty of showing Dark side of moon playing key role in Transformers, but having shown forged video with then American president Nixon and proposing large-scale global conspiracies is definitely not correct way to get informed firsthand about moon voyage.

In the same track there was slapped on X-man story on true key historical event of Cuban missile crisis in X-men: First Class. Why so much bickering, you may ask. For me, movie is much powerful and influential medium as compared to books and games. There is limited fan base to books and other media. It is not “exposed” to all types of people. So if such maligned data be presented in book format one can also assume that people who got affected by it are readers in themselves and hence me very well be aware of the factual history. Similarly Gaming medium itself has never taken such liberty to account the presented story as facts or conspiracies. On the contrary, Games are evolving as most sought education medium when done correctly. True, Movies have disclaimers but who actually knows what is there.

Consider a case here in India with Bollywood (Indian movie industry) where nowadays the trend is to make movies “inspired” by true historical Indian events; Jodha-Akbar, Bajirao Mastani and now upcoming Mohenjo Daro. Producers somehow took unprecedented advantage of words “Inspired from true events” and presented the history in different light. Was Bajirao such an invalid to go gaga over Mastani with entire kingdom and his wife on hand? Is really Akbar in “true love” with Jodha as presented? Akbar had 13 wives in total. Even though in ideal case, he had “truly loved” each one than also Jodha would have to contend with 1/13th of True Love or should I say “divided love”.

496453-mohenjoaro

New upcoming trailer of Mohenjo Daro has surpassed things in terms of historical fiction. This part of Harappan civilization had been excavated in 1924-26 when due to its excavated situation named as Mohenjo Daro; translated in dialect Sindhi as “Mound of Dead”. Why the hell than actors in movie still call it the same when all of them are quite well and alive? This is blasphemy. One can easily search the Google for degree of discrepancies these so called historical movies spreading. And that brings us all to same question. Why so much bickering? Because how many of us really care to crosscheck the facts. Movies is accessible to all kind of people here in India and most of which are not keen on sharpening their historical know-how. My concern is what blasphemy they can spread further on with such tainted knowledge. Time will come when the curious child will have to fight hard just to contemplate what is true and what fiction is.

PS: I can understand that there is never easy way when you are taking reference of some historical events. There are always disputes. Much more views and counter-views. And that’s because if history is not documented well enough than there is no way to ascertain the factual events. Movies need not be historical documentaries for sure nor are directors and producers history teachers. Duty lies with audiences and viewers to gobble down such movies with pinch of salt and pepper; satiating the curiosity of mind (if there are) with proper dose of “knowledge-pill”.

PPS: I love both Transformers and X-men series.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akbar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohenjo-daro

India in Space

WP_20160118_14_41_57_Pro (2)

A picture speaks thousand words. So here it is. Most significant historical pic in terms of Indian space program which absolutely completely exudes the true Indian face of simplicity as well as temerity. It shows the transportation of sounding rocket in early days of Indian space ventures by ISRO. Truly magical moment of space flight on bicycle like that ever-remembered shot of movie E.T.

We had small exhibition last week organized by our IT organization where I work, in the name of ongoing scientific initiative. It was held by none other than the only one in India and one of the well-known commodity on International scale, ISRO: Indian Space Research Organization. And I took chance to make myself more familiar and researched with Indian space program which was achieving feat after another feat with utmost unbelievable success in recent history (And which was, as expected lauded less as compared to whatever recent Indian Cricket tour by media or covering other sensational news).

So I grab the opportunity along with recent successive launch of IRNSS-1E satellite launch to present here in this blog few tidbits about ISRO, history of Indian space-faring, future plans, little bit on science behind satellites and lovely chat with presenters in multiple parts.

WP_20160118_15_04_02_Pro

ISRO found its roots around 1969 when NASA was in process of launching Nil Armstrong to moon; with sole purpose of getting India to its feet and propelling to space. For country which was known for incessant neighboring conflicts, political turmoils, economic issues, agricultural dependency and as developing nation, it was bold move and vision by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai at the time. But no one could have imagined the height ISRO was going to achieve in span of 4 decades through competitive and inimitable intellect and hunger for success. It launched its first satellite “Aryabhata”; named after ancient Indian mathematician, with help of Russia then known as Soviet Union, in 1975.

By 1980, ISRO succeeded in launching orbital satellite “Rohini” with self-made launch vehicle SLV-3. And then after it was dream run for ISRO. Successful tests of new version of launch vehicles along with unavoidable failures considering such endeavor, had given ISRO the courage for Lunar Orbiter, Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. On 24 September, 2014, as Mars orbiter entered the Mars orbit, India had become first ever nation to achieve success in Mars mission on its first trial (No, not even NASA has done that). India was fourth such agency to do that and first in Asia (No, not even China has achieved this). Success rate of launching along with low budget has garnered so much news that at the time of writing, ISRO has 23 satellites launching mission in queue from other countries which also includes USA and France.

Future Plans: Next step for ISRO which lies in immediate future are GSLV Mk III launch vehicle for heavy satellites, Reusable launch vehicle in the likes of space shuttle, human spaceflight on its own and second lunar exploration mission. Interplanetary probes and solar spacecraft mission also in plan for long future.

WP_20160118_14_57_18_Pro

 

NASA has already established itself as pioneer of space missions. And if India has to reach such height in terms of space-faring than they need to adopt the same vision as USA and at some point other European countries. And that being provide ample rewards and appreciation of their talent pool. Give importance to scientific view and community. As everyone knows the story of rocket scientist Von Braun who was the inventor of V2 missiles in WW2 against allied nations and afterwards the prime brain in design of Saturn 5 rocket which launched with Apollo 11.

I was keen on discussing science of the various satellites and types but may be in next article. So ending the post with few stats regarding ISRO as on 26-Jan-2016.

Spacecraft missions till date: 75

Launch missions till date: 46

Foreign satellites: 51

For more: http://www.isro.org/