Category Archives: 1-By Laksh

All these articles are from Laksh’s desk

‘Sneaky Pete’ S1: Perfect for Binge-Watching!

house of cards


A few years back, Netflix changed it all…with ‘House of Cards’.  All of the show’s episodes were available in a single bunch…it wasn’t just one-episode premiere, but the entire series-premiere. The numbers that followed, proved that Binge-watching isn’t just a fad, but it is here to stay.  And it was not just limited to old shows. Data and reports started appearing on Binge-Watching…and soon, it became obvious that for a show to get a hit status, binge-watching is one of the key indicators.


‘Sneaky Pete’ has binge-watching written all over it…and it deserves the hit tag without any doubt.

Great cast, interesting premise, terrific screenplay and the twists ‘n’ turns…making it a must to be devoured as soon as possible. Most importantly, it isn’t a really high-production value show that has to be watched on a big, large HD TV. One can watch it on a tablet or a mobile, and still get ‘it’.

‘Sneaky Pete’ adds several themes to the mix like ‘crime and punishment’, ‘dysfunctional families yet together’, ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold’…and even picks up stuff from movies like ‘The Sting’, ‘Oceans Trilogy’  etc. These elements when played through a delightful set of characters, it is nothing short of magic. And this magic is carefully weaved with these characters representing all ages of audiences and even demographics. An aspiring con who is a coloured girl, Two grand parents at the helm of a bails bond business, A teen who thinks it is okay to hustle a bit, a card playing Indian millionaire…to name a few. As an audience, we are let into their world a bit abruptly at times, and a bit leisurely at times,  as the screenplay moves the story forward.

Bryan Cranston who is a co-creator  (and plays an important role), allows this show to take a completely different route and breaks away from the  large expanse ‘Breaking Bad’ (which is a hit and cult show in its own way). All the screenwriters and directors employed did a terrific job.  So did all the cast,  with a special mention to Pete aka Marius (Giovanni Ribisi ),  Carly (Libe Barer ), James Bagwell (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) , Marjorie (Alison Wright), Gina (Jasmine Carmichael) and Sam (Jay O. Sanders).

Sneaky Pete is a must watch and available on Amazon India Prime.

“I think the best-written films or television series have a measure of the opposite of what they are. We have some darkly comic moments sprinkled throughout Breaking Bad (2008), as we had some sweet sentiment or serious drama sprinkled throughout Malcolm in the Middle (2000). I think any good movie does that, any good play. You have to break it up. You can’t have one train going in one direction all the time. Audiences are more sophisticated than that.” – Bryan Cranston

Related links:

Indians are world champs at binge-watching says Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
Netflix’s Risky Strategy For ‘House Of Cards’
Giovanni Ribisi On Sneaky Pete, Working With Bryan Cranston, and Friends
Bryan Cranston Biography

Music finds you…!

It isn’t right to say Dr.Mangalampalli Balamurali krishna (Dr.BMK) is no more. His music is still alive and will be there for every music lover in the years to come. This article is an attempt to present my journey with his music, that too from an ignoramus of carnatic music point of view.


Probably the first ever composition I heard of Dr.BMK was from his album on ‘Bhadrachala Ramadasu Keerthanalu’ album, in the mid eighties. For a teenage boy, thriving in a collection of English music, and taking pride in enjoying music without understanding lyrics, it was an interesting experience to listen to classical/light music of Dr.BMK.  I took a liking to a few songs in that album..the upbeat ones…Takkuvemi Manaku, Idigo Bhadradri, Pahi Ramaprabho and Ramachandraya Janaka. And I began listening to them regularly, sandwiched between Mukesh-Raj Kumar songs and Michael Jackson numbers.
As a scout of all types of music, I tried to sample a few more of his other classical music songs but I was put off by the raga rendition or the Sangathulu…which I felt at that time, took you away from the actual song.
In early 90s…just before the satellite channels explosion, when we were still hooked on to Doordarshan, I saw Dr.BMK’s rendition of ‘Dandamu Pettenura”. That song stayed with me. Something about the way the song begins, or the way it goes up and down, or a certain confidence that exuded in it or the lyrics…or the mellifluous rendition of Dr.BMK….may be all the of these, helped the song to remain in my memory for a quite a long time.
And, just before I left to US in Jan 1997, I bought two audio cassettes of his…Pancharathanas and Bhajana Seyarada…but never really listened to them in toto.
My real journey with Carnatic classical music began when I was in Annapolis. A cousin of mine, who visited me in 1997, was carrying his collection of Carnatic music with him. It was a collection of close to 100 audio cassettes and and about 70 of them were that of  of Dr.BMK . I casually asked him if he had ‘Dandamu pettenu ra’. He was surprised that I had some interest in classical music but said he did have that song. Some thing came upon me and I copied close to 40 cassettes during his 2-3 visits to my place. Thus began my serious discovery of Carnatic music and songs became Keerthanas..and the preludes to actual songs became Raga Alapana and the Sangathulu became joyful surprises.  My cousin kind enough to bear my ignorance and introduced me to other singers like GN BalaSubramaniam, Maharajapuram Santhanam, ML Vasanthakumari etc…and also to the discussions and debates on who is great in what…the amateurs versus purists….raga structure etc. But I chose to remain ignorant of the most of the theory in carnatic music and just picked whatever felt good for my ears, and my identification of Ragas was purely based on what I heard and remembered rather than the Swaras.
Since then…that is for the past 20 years,  I have enjoyed classical music from various singers but Dr.BMK takes a lion share in my classical music listening time.  So, what is about classical music that really sets it apart from other kinds of music. Here’s what I think.
Anyone with a penchant to listening music, can recall the mood of the song one first heard it or the emotions that evoke now…either the same or the opposite of it. For instance, let’s say one is sad, and you listen to a funny Kishore Kumar song…while the song takes you off the bad mood, next time you listen to it, you invariably are drawn to a mild or Strong recollection of the sad mood also. Same with a sad song evoking happy mood recollection or the combinations of it. But if you allow yourself to get carried away with the Carnatic music, it drowns your moods and transports you to a mood-less state, irrespective of how you discovered it or the mood you picked up the keerthana in. It’s as if only music can be felt and nothing else.
“It was in here…in here. That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you. Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?” Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption
Here are a few picks of Dr.BMK music..once again from an ignoramus of Classical music point of view.
  1. Dandamu pettenura (Balahamsa Ragaa; Thyagaraja)
  2. Telisi Ramachintanatho (Poornachandrika; Thyagaraja)
  3. Raanidi Raadu (Manirang; Thyagaraja)
  4. Takkuvemi manaku (Sourashtra; Ramadasu)
  5.  Peridi ninnu (Kharaharipriya; Thyagaraja)
  6. Seetha Kalyana Vaibhogame (Sankarabharanam; Ramadasu)
  7. Enthani ne (Mukhari; Thyagaraja)
  8. Yela nee dayaraadu (Athana; Thyagaraja)
  9. Thillana in Kadana kutuhula Raga
  10. Pibare ramarasam (Ahir Bhairav; Sadasiva Brahmendra Yogi)
  11. Goodu china boyera (Tatvalu)
  12. Sogasu chooda tarama (Kannada Gowla; Thyagaraja)
  13. Sree Saraswathi (Arabhi; Thygaraja)
  14.  Niravadhi sukhada (Ravichandrika;Thygaraja)
  15.  Raga sudharasa (Andolika; Thyagaraja)
  16. Bhajana Seya raada (Athana; Thygaraja)
  17. Anuragamu leni (Saraswati; Thyagaraja)
  18. Palukutache phalememi (Phalamanjari; Patnam Subramanya Aiyyar)
  19. Entha Nerchina (Saveri; Patnam Subramanya Aiyyar)
  20. Dudukugala (Gowla; Thyagaraja)
  21.  Yendaro mahanubhavulu (Sri; Thyagaraja)
  22. Sriramanamam maruvam (Kharaharipriya;
  23. Manasa etulorthune (Malayamarutham; Thyagaraja)
  24.  Sivananda Lahari (Ragamalika; Adi Sankara)
  25.  Samukhana Nilvagalguna (Kokilavarali;Thyagaraja)
  26.  Paraloka bhayamu leka (Mandari; Thyagaraja)
  27. Kalaharana melara (Kharaharipriya; Thyagaraja)
  28. Srirama padama (Amrithavarshini; Thygaraja)
  29. Chinna naade naa cheyi (Arabhi; Thyagaraja)
  30. Srirama nee naamemi ruchira ( Kharaharipriya; Ramadasu)


Netflix India: Review…

My introduction to Netflix was in early 2010 and I was very excited about its internet streaming service that I had my friend in US send me a few screenshots…how it worked etc. Here are a couple.

netflix old
Web interface- Feb 2010
Screen after stopping the movie, using stop option on the blu-ray remote
BluRay Player HDTV Interface – Feb 2010


After a few weeks of its launch in India, I signed up for the Rs.800 trial. Here are a few points

  • I opted for the auto-adjust resolution based on my internet connectivity. On a 40Mbps connection, the video quality was pretty decent when I played it off the netflix app on my PS3.
netlfix training day
Training Day on HDTV via PS3 and Netflix
  • The same cannot be said of chromecast from my laptop and android mobile. The video was interrupted several times and even got stuck with ‘Loading’ message.
  • Audio is just stereo at this point of time?
  • Direct Video Streaming on the mobile and iPad is pretty good.
  • The Movie and TV Shows collection is pretty basic, hope to see more in the coming months.
  • The recommendation system works just fine. Based on my list of Training Day and Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 it threw up two of my all time favorites–Breaking Bad and The Shawshank Redemption :)


Androild Mobile Interface
IMG_0563 (2)
iPad Mobile Interface

Overall Netflix India is decent but will not replace your disc collection as of yet. So it’s ok to buy discounted Blu-Rays at Amazon for now :)