Mission China: The Khar Expendables


(Rate it if you have seen the film. This shows average rating of the readers rather than my own rating.)


I don’t think the rest of the world will get it but for those on the east of Korotoa River, 8th September was an important day. Zubeen Garg’s Mission China, the most expensive film ever made in Assam, has released. Although the budget is still minuscule compared to bigger industries, it is still an interesting effort. So, I’d booked a ticket Thursday morning and even then barely a few seats were left.

Coming back to the film, I think everyone knows about the kidnap and rescue plot by now. Initially, it looked alarmingly similar to Rajiv Rai’s swan song Asambhav (2004). However, some more interesting twists are introduced, revealing that Garg is more interested in Valmiki (or should we say Madhab Kandali?).

However, that hardly matters. It was never about the plot. It was about whether Zubeen Garg can deliver a star vehicle like Thala or Bhai and can that change a dormant movie industry of Assam. I found a fully packed theater on a Friday morning which was a working day. This is a sight that would have made Bollywood trade analysts reach an orgasm but sadly they will remain oblivious of this achievement. So, the experiment seems to have paid off. But I’ll get to that part later. Let us first discuss the film.

Colonel Goswami (Garg), is a Rambo-ish veteran trying to exorcize demons of his past. He takes up the mission to rescue a child kidnapped by terrorists who are camping deep in the jungles somewhere near the border of China. But he also has another motive that is revealed slowly. At this point, the Colonel opts for the classic Seven Samurai formula and assembles a team of three more people, a retired army sniper, an explosives expert, and a young guy with no discernible qualities other than youthful angst. The last guy also gets his own backstory and a romantic sidetrack, but the other two don’t get much screen time. On hindsight, I think I would have liked to see more of them.

The journey starts soon and so does the best passage of the film. It has been shot across various parts of the North East and the sheer landscapes provide the audience with a sense of adventure. At least, these footages are much better than anything that has ever been filmed by Assam Tourism. As they try to make it to the terrorist camp, the proceedings get bloodier and much CGI blood gets spilled. In fact, this is one of the pleasant surprises. Typical cheesy Assamese filmmakers generally shy away from onscreen violence. But Garg does not compromise on that aspect and stages some of the better chase sequences and combat scenes that were ever seen in a Jollywood film.

The proceedings towards the end are a bit uneven. I actually expected the heroes to cross the border and take on the People’s Liberation Army, as the title suggested. But what we get here is some terrorists of unspecified ethnicity. The primary villain (Pabitra Rabha) is shown to have different shades to his personality but they were not explored fully. Also, making him speak in awkward Hindi was a questionable decision. A bit of better writing could have elevated this character to a different level. Also, the final showdown needed better choreography but the resource constraints are understandable. Nevertheless, Garg makes it up by staging a couple of decapitation scenes that I found enjoyable in a campy, J Horror way.

What about the actresses? Well, their best parts are the songs that are already on YouTube. As expected in a film like this, they don’t get much to do apart from playing victims. But even they managed to get the audience whistle and jump off their seats whenever they appeared. So, I guess they did their job well and will make it to wallpaper collections of the youngsters soon.

Certain small touches in the screenplay are interesting. For example, the Colonel’s past is shown in flashbacks but not at once. Flashbacks come in patches, peeling off layers of his characters as we go. This is what keeps the film engaging till intermission. The climax suffers from limitations in production values but I liked the fact that the film wrapped up in two hours. Generally, passion projects tend to become self-indulgent and overlong.

The Road Ahead for Assamese Films

But this brings me to the larger question. Will this change the film industry in Assam?

This film will surely do well and earn back the investments. Apart from being a star-vehicle, this is also the first instance in Assam where the makers have pulled off a marketing/PR blitz, emulating bigger industries. But is that a sustainable model?

At present, Garg is the only pop culture icon in Assam who could have ensured a 100% opening of a film, even though he is more of a musician rather than a filmmaker or an actor. As per some news items, people from Majuli are crossing the river on their boats to rich Jorhat, just to watch the film. I don’t think anyone else in Assam can command this kind of following.

A full fledged industry needs to have many such films in a year. This may have worked but only one person can’t keep doing that all the time. Garg served as producer, director, writer, music director, singer and actor in this film. I think if he intends to keep making films in the future and also wishes the industry to grow, he should start promoting new writers and filmmakers. After all, he is the only person in the state who has the resources and the willingness to do something like that.

Also, considering the fact that it is still a very small market, that too with a very limited number of theaters, there is a need to think about alternative business models. Not that I have a solution, but everybody needs to think about it before it is too late.

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Brahman Naman: Qorgasm… Q Style


Finally watched Brahman Naman, yet another sex obsessed and CBFC rejected flick from the “I fornicate, therefore I am” school of filmmaking by Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee). But this film is also about quizzing, or rather about deprived quizzers, which why it became a more personal experience for me, irrespective of my reservations about the film.

It is set in 80s Bangalore, that era when nobody had heard of gyms, or six packs, and ill-fitting clothes ruled sartorial standards. We get introduced to Naman (Shashank Arora of Titli fame) who is a Brahmin as the title suggests. He rules the quizzing scene in his college along with his teammates although this stardom does not help him get laid. The good things are reserved for the local cricket star played by Sid Mallya (You know his father). So, the quiz champs just drink in a seedy bar, talk about sex, and hump inanimate objects when they are not busy collecting obscure knowledge (Many will relate to most of these…. but won’t admit).

Irrespective of their horny fantasies, they fumble when they come face to face with attractive women, just like any self-respecting nerd should. They go to Kolkata to participate in a national level contest (conducted by one who looks and sounds like the O’Brien patriarch) and also meet a girl’s team on the train. But no matter what they do, their virginity remains intact!

Q crafts the film in the manner expected of him. There are characters constantly making lewd jokes, obsessing over sex, and there are sequences bordering surrealism too but they never reach the delirious/vulgar/erotic peak of Gandu that made him famous. The action here is mostly limited to the words considering the subject matter. However, the very choice of topic probably will also alienate the film from a larger audience. Those who are not familiar with the world of hardcore quizzing will probably not get the emotions at stake here.

Also, I was not sure about the caste angle in this film and somewhat forced and repetitive mentions by the protagonist about him being a Brahmin. May be the makers were trying to make a social commentary but let me tell you, non-Brahmin quizzers never became Casanovas either.

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GQF 2- Kumbh the MELA Quiz


These are the questions and answers from the MELA quiz I conducted at the Guwahati Quiz Festival 2 in January. I was only one of the two QMs so basically I did half a quiz. I am putting the prelims questions first. 20 questions prelims and I made 10 of them. I will put up the mains questions later.

Q1. This 1948 film is one of the early hits by Dilip Kumar. A typical story of star-crossed lovers, it also starred Nargis and Noor Jehan. Just name it.
(Look at the background for clues)


Q2.Cary Grant at Berlinale circa 1959… ID the Lady with him.

Q3.Sandokan is an Italian series of fictional pirate adventure novels set in the late 19th century South East Asia. The most popular adaptation of Sandokan was a Italian TV miniseries where a non-European actor played the title role. Who?

Q4. Identify this cocktail (While remembering the fact that it is a MELA Quiz).
1 to 1 1/2 oz (30 to 45 mL) Vodka
1/2 to 1 1/2 oz (15 to 45 mL) Kahlua (Coffee Liqueur)
Cream, Half & Half, or Milk (to fill or top off the glass)


Q5. There are two popular Hong Kong actors who have the exact same name (XY). In order to avoid confusion, one is called the Big X while the other one is called the Little X, indicating their actual physical stature. Little X has had a more critically acclaimed career. He was recently in news in India too but strangely spotlight was not on him. Name him.

Q6. Watch this Video carefully. It is from a biopic of a major literary figure who is trying to do something here. Just tell me who he is or what happens after this.

Q7. XY is a 1991 Bollywood film. It was an average grosser starring an actor who went on to become a superstar.
On the other hand YX is a 1995 film. A good example of Bollywood’s nepotism, it starred the producer/director’s brother. Although a surprise hit, the actor never achieved any success again.
Give the names of the films.

Q8. Please watch this mildly homoerotic clip. A certain work of a legendary Indian author is being referenced here. Identify.
(Clue: Do not bother about the 7 stages of Love… that’s NOT what I am looking for)

Q9. Connect (Explanation will do but must be specific). 3rd one is a Tam film called Yaamirukka Bayamei

Q10. Blue Lobster is a surrealist film in which a foreign intelligence agent called El Gringo, who investigates the presence of radioactivity in some lobsters caught in a fishing village in the Caribbean. As he takes a break at his hotel, a cat steals the lobster.
Colombian journalist and author Alvaro Cepeda Samudio made this experimental film in collaboration with his friend who is known to us all for other reasons. Name this friend.



A1. The mandatory meta question

A2. Jnanada Kakati at Berlin for Puberun (1959)

A3. Kabir Bedi

A4. White Russian (Recipe credit)

A5. Tony Leung…
Tony Leung Chiu Wai is Little one. He recently visited India for Goa film fest and was subjected to the now viral DD interview with the following lady.


A6. Yukio Mishima trying to incite a coup.
The effort fails and he commits Harakiri afterwards.
(Film: Mishima- A Life in Four Chapters by Paul Schrader)


A8. Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaaf

A9. Remakes of Kim Ji Woon’s Films

A10. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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Th Great Game

The Great Game-I


I planned to do this set of geopolitics quiz more than 2 years ago. But it went on to become a shining example of procrastination that has always plagued my life. Anyways, finally I have got it going.

I will make it a two part quiz. This part I.

Rules are simple. Mail your answers to thetravellingslacker@gmail.com

Deadline: 20th Nov. 11.30 pm.

I am in no position to give away any real prizes apart from my blessing and goodwill which are of no real use as per past experience.

The Great Games: Set I

1. This a political cartoon from 1904 that depicts a certain important event. Identify the persons or personifications here. ID at least two for full marks. (5+5)


2. In canto 20 of Purgatorio, Dante hears talk of “the wretchedness of avaricious Midas, resulting from his ravenous request, the consequence that always makes men laugh,” clarifying a few lines later: and finally, what we cry here is: “X, tell us, because you know: “How does gold taste?” Now tell me who is X and explain why it is asked. Also name the very well-known cavalry tactic that led to X’s morbid fate. (5+5)

3. These are the ruins of a medieval city. It had a meteoric rise and for a short duration became the centre of Eurasian politics. But the next generations of the royalty abandoned it soon and the city eventually got deserted by the 16th century. Its name is somewhat similar to a mountain range but you must not confuse both. (10)


4. The official name of this city means spring of the Arabs but the local inhabitants are not very fond of it as they belong to a different ethnicity. However the city was founded only in the early 20th century and the popular name seemed to have derived from the German companies working there. ID this brave city much in news nowadays. (10)

5. This painting depicts an important event during a major 19th century war. A major literary figure was also present there, fighting for the losing side. But the experience gave him material for his future masterpieces. ID the event and name the author. (10)


6. This is a caricature drawn at the height of Scramble for Africa. Such was his clout that he used have a country named after him although it is no longer the case. ID. (10)


7. According to some accounts, when he was finally killed in a battle, his enemies dipped his severed head in blood in order to mock his bloodlust. But some other people had a much better opinion about him. For example, the Jews respect him as he rehabilitated them after they were exiled by the Babylonians. Who? (10)

8. For a long time, these islands used to be the only source for two commodities and this attracted the attention of several colonial forces. Both the commodities in question were derived from the same tree. ID the island and name the commodities. (10)


9. An easy google friendly one… The term was first used by Joseph Goebbels, in a manifesto he published in the German newspaper Das Reich in February 1945, but was popularized by Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech of March 5, 1946. What term? (10)

10. Something has been blanked out in this panel that displays excellent attention to detail by Herge. Basically the item in the sack is considered extremely valuable in that particular region and it had led to several wars between regional as well as global powers in an effort to control the supply of that item. ID this item. (10)


Result and answers update:


1. A German cartoon on the Entente Cordiale, with John Bull (symbolizing Eng) walking off with Marianne (Symbolizing France), turning their back on the Kaiser.

2. X – Marcus Crassus. The cavalry tactic being Parthian shot. The line meant the story surrounding his death that the Parthians poured molten gold in his mouth to symbolize his greed for gold.

3. Karakorum, the Mongol bastion not to be confused with Karakoram mountains.

4. Kobani or Kobane which is under siege by ISIS right now but fighting well.

5. Leo Tolstoy and Siege of Sevastopol

6. Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

7. Cyrus the Great of Persia

8. Banda Islands. Nutmeg and Mace.

9. Iron Curtain

10. Guano, valuable bird droppings referenced in Prisoners of the Sun


It was a box office failure in terms of participation. There were some 0 scores that I will not mention. Here are the ones with positive scores…

Amrit Pritom Chetia 10
Sukanya Lenhardt 9
Kapinjal Sharma 7
Bhaskar Chakraborty 3

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Cinephilia Cycle 3: Quiz 1- Dafa 302



After more than a year, I am trying to resurrect these quizzes. This cycle will contain 4/5 quizzes based on my convenience. The cumulative winner gets a real prize at the end of this circle.

Today’s QM is also Vikas Tripathi with little additions by me.

Today’s topic is obscure acts of crime.


Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).

Answers will be declared on 30th Oct Midnight.

1. Easy one to start with… Identify Him. He shares his name with a popular pop culture figure.

2. Two perfectly happy couples. But one person is common in both pics. Gimme the “alleged” story.

3. This happened in 1997 at A, where members of B had killed 50+ people allegedly as revenge for a incident in 1992 where members of a certain community were killed by C. Killing started with members of B killing boatmen, who had helped them to cross over to A, followed indiscriminate firing. Identify A, B, C.

4. X was one of the first person to be convicted in a case relating to bribery in independent India. He took a certain amount from a comapny and issued fake documents to help them. He died in prision while serving the sentence.
Hint: X’s son is a better known personality.

5. X is a millionaire and self confessed Marxist. He has worked for a nationalized, foreign exchange speculation and derivatives. He also wrote for a famous newspaper in Thailand and his other interests included mining and companies in lot many countries. Currently under trial in Thailand over charges of fraud, he was supporter of far left parties India and Nepal in his good days. Identify X

6. This 19th Century incident has inspired paintings and plays. Angered by the love affair between priest of ________ temple and his wife, the man decapitated the woman. The event caught public imagination and inspired artworks such as the following. Just FITB.

7. X transformed Y so much in India that there were slogans of Indira Hatao, X ko PM banao. It is said Y began at a time when money was bet on opening and closing rates of cotton in New York. Identify X and Y.

8. X was raped by her father in law (FIL) and later, the village kangaroo court declared that X should treat her FIL as husband. This was later supported by a religious seminary as well causing outrage all over the country forcing police to arrest X’s FIL. Identify X.

9. X is a failed actor and producer who acted in some 90s bollywood movie did a remake of one of his father’s(F) better knows films. F, mother(M) and sister(S) died 2 years before X made his debut in boolywood when, under influence of alchohol X’s father shot M, S and himself. Identify X

10. He died in a bomb blast when he went went for a inauguration and at that time, PM of India blamed it on foreign elements. Mitrokhin Archives claim he was on payroll of KGB. His murder case is still unsolved after 30+ years even after session court is hearing it on a day by day basis.


Answers and Scores

1. Dara Singh, known for Graham Steins murder

2. Amita Singh, a formder Badminton Champion now married to politician Sanjay Singh, But she was once married to badminton star Syed Modi who was shot dead in 1988 in Lucknow… and as you can see, there are speculations…

3. A = Laxmanpur-Bathe, B = Ranvir Sena, C = Maoists

4. Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh

5. Rakesh Saxena

6. Tarakeswar Shiva

7. X = Ratan Khatri, Y = Matka

8. Imrana case

9. Kamal Sadanah

10. Lalit Narayan Mishra

Arnav Sinha 10
Himanshu Upreti 10
Shyamal 9
Kapinjal Chowdhury 9
Darshan Godhia 8
Kaustav Chakravorty 1

Keep playing… the next quiz in the cycle will come after a couple of weeks as I will be travelling for a week…

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Hiranyagarbha: The Indian History Quiz


A set of easy questions on Indian History.


Answer as comments against the post. Comments will be published only after the deadline.
Deadline: 10pm 15th April 2012

Only one Grand Prize: Original manuscript of Kamasutra autographed by sage Vatsayana



1. This Indian language boasts of around 3-5 million speakers across the globe according to a recent survey although it is mainly centred in Southern India. Linguists consider it to be a very interesting case due to certain peculiar grammatical characteristics. The language is apparently used in a Greek mime that was in turn derived from Euripides’ play Iphigeneia in Tauris but adapted according to Indo Greek sensibilities. The language was also mentioned in a 2011 Bollywood blockbuster. ID. 10 points.

2. What is common between good old Hibiscus Cannabinus, a poisonous psychoactive mushroom from the genus Amanita, a shrub of Ephedra genus, Syrian Rue (which does not actually belong to the Rue family) and the Indian lotus? Many more can be added to this list but these are the more prominent ones. 10 points.

3. ID both (No Part Points) 10 points.

4. This modern day monument was built to commemorate certain ancient contacts in the region. The current name of the town X in which it is situated is derived from the first name of a great emperor Y of medieval times. Nevertheless, it is widely believed to be the final resting place of Z, a beloved of his master. ID all. 15 points.

5. The local head Haria married two sisters, one’s name loosely resembles that of an Indian spice while the other resembles a gemstone. One of his sons grew up to be a much more competent leader who started his own kingdom which was later divided into two parts due to infighting among the ancestors. Which Kingdom am I talking about? 10 points.

6. Just identify the person being honoured through this stamp. (Clue: Better known in some other parts of the world) 10 points.

7. ID the film and the events depicted in the same… 10 points.

8. Simply ID the person from this citation… 10 points.
X noticed enemy LMG inflicting heavy casualties on his company. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he charged the enemy bunker, bayoneted two enemy soldiers and silenced the LMG. Though seriously wounded in this encounter, he continued to fight alongside his comrades through the mile deep objective, clearing bunker after bunker with undaunted courage. Towards the northern end of the objective one enemy MMG opened up from the second storey of a well-fortified building inflicting heavy casualties and holding up the attack. Once again he crawled forward till he reached the building and lobbed a grenade into the bunker killing one enemy soldier and injuring the other.

9. He is one of the rare Indians of his kind, an explorer per excellence. He is responsible for mapping remote areas of Tibet and charting the trade routes between Nepal and Tibet way back in the 19th century. He was also the first person to exactly determine the location of Lhasa and is also believed to have met the then Dalai Lama. Who? 10 points.

10. The X family is of Baghdadi Jewish origin. They settled down in Bombay during the 19th century and had close contact with the British in various businesses, accumulating considerable wealth during the process. Opium trade with China was one of his most profitable ventures and eventually he became a naturalised citizen of England too. Scores of hospitals, schools and other institutions in the Bombay-Pune region were set up using donations of this family and are named after them. Identify. 10 points.



1. Tulu, which is spoken mostly in Karnataka. One random character in Singham (2011) speaks the language
2. These are some of the contestants that are supposed to be the Rigvedic Soma Plant, that was used to prepare Somarasa, the ancient Indian wine
3. Uday Shankar and Ballerina Anna Pavlova
4. X-Jalalpur Sharif, Y-Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, Z-Bucephalus (Alexander’s Horse)
5. Koch/Kamata Kingdom
6. Dr. Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis who did most of his notable work in China
7. Chittagong (An upcoming film & not Khelenge hum Ji Jaan Sey), Chittagong Uprising
8. Lance Naik Albert Ekka
9. Pandit Nain Singh Rawat
10. Sassoon Family, David Sassoon


Harsha VS 70
Manoranjan Malakar 90
Daktar Vinay 20
Sushanta Sharma 40
Satam Choudhury 10
Yahsolankar Bhagawati 50
Suman Doogar 50
Beyond the Zero 85
Kaustav Lyon 10
Abhilash Patowary 80
Anurag Talukdar 55
Vikas Tripathi 80
Sushant Srivastava 105
Siddhartha Prakash 50

Sushant Srivastava continues his good for with 105/105 & hence wins the quiz.

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Cholera in the Time of Love: A Quiz on love and other maladies


As we know, today is the day when the St. Valentine’s Day massacre took place along with the Behmai Massacre and murder of Captain Cook. To commemorate these occasions I have compiled a random quiz that mostly deals in literature and films as expected with one exception.

Marking Scheme:
Questions will fetch one mark each unless mentioned otherwise.

Mode of Answering:
Put your answers as comments. They are being moderated and they will not be visible unless they are approved after the deadline.

1. Blue Ray Edition of the Assamese sleeper hit “Samiran Barua Ahi Ase”, signed by Samiran Barua himself…
2. The original manuscript mentioned in the 3rd question.
3. Free pass for the premiere of the film mentioned in the 7th… whenever that happens….

Sunday 19th February 10pm…

1. Identify this South American resort city that was founded by Spanish colonial rulers almost 500 years ago. But the place has been a settlement of ancient agricultural people for several thousand years. In fact the name has been derived from a city of the same name in Spain. A popular tourist attraction now, it has been the site of many pop culture entities including a Brando film and a De Nero film. Nevertheless, my reason for including it in this quiz is entirely different and cannot be disclosed.

2. This hill is known as the home of the ascetics since ancient times. It used to be a site for the followers of Baba Gorakhnath. This is also the place where one epic lover of folklores goes after he gets chased away by the relatives of his epic girlfriend. He meets other ascetics and plans to renounce material world, without realizing that fate has other plans for him.
ID the hill and the lover in question.

3. While this epic has been attributed to one poet, scholars believe that it has come to its current shape over centuries of evolution and that is why we now have several versions of the same. A small manuscript found in Bikaner is considered by some of the scholars as the closest one to the original. On the other hand another version found in Udaipur is more than 12 times longer than this version. What am I talking about?

4. Which word is roughly derived from the ancient Greek for seed (noun) and flow (verb)?

5. Sitter… explain…

6. Although he was considered a major writer of his era, he never earned much from his literary masterpieces. So, he supported himself by writing lurid stories. He had varied interests such as mathematics, astronomy and chemistry. Once he also had an affair with an Anglo-French woman but she suddenly left for Europe one day and never came back. His magnum opus came in the year Bengal was divided. Who?

7. This is a still from an unreleased film directed by a person known for period epics. A very ambitious project for its times, it was based on the life of a peasant girl who became an unlikely poetess who impressed the local king. The king was later imprisoned by a much more powerful emperor and so she spent the rest of her life singing about the pain of her separation. Identify.

8. Another sitter. She is now remembered for an affair which could not succeed due to religious differences in both families. While most of her films are now forgotten, she used to be a much bigger star and in fact the highest paid one at her peak.

9. This is a still from an Opera originally composed by a Frenchman. It is based on an epic Indian tragedy from the medieval times. Identify the original work.

10. Googlable one to end with…
Kafir-e-ishqam musalmani mara darkaar neest
Har rag-e mun taar gashta hajat-e zunnaar neest
(I am a pagan (worshiper) of love: the creed (of Muslims) I do not need;
Every vein of mine has become taut like a wire; the (Hindu) girdle I do not need.)
Whose lines?


1. Cartagena, teh suposed setting for Love in the time of Cholera
2. Tilla Jogiyan, Heer and Ranjha
3. Prithviraj Raso
4. Gonorrhea
5. Raj Kapoor Films Logo
6. Mirza Hadi who wrote Umrao Jaan
7. Movie is Zooni directed by Muzzafar Ali and the Poetess is Habba Khatoon
8. Suraiya
9. Padmavat by Mohammad Jayasi
10. Aamir Khusro

Brishabhanu Baruah 7
Sushant Srivastava 10
Debashri Sengupta 4
El Biswajit 6
Subhorup Dasgupta
Suman Doogar 10
Soumya Sagar 9
Krishnendu Mohapatra 5
Daktar Vinay 6

1st Sushant Srivastava and Suman Doogar.
2nd Soumya Sagar
3rd Brishabhanu Baruah

So, the top prize has to be divided between Sushant Srivastava and Suman Doogar. One will get the Disc and the other will get the cover. I’ll decide that by a toss with a biased coin.

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Dus Gunaah

Dus Gunaah: The Indian Crime and Pop Culture Quiz



This is a quiz on Indian criminals, murderers, serial killers, bandits and scandals with certain pop cultural associations. There are 10 questions. Follow the usual rules.

Post your answers as comments. They will be visible only after approval.


1. Sitter to start with: His urban robberies were stuff of legends. Once he borrowed the plot from a James Hadley Chase novel which he had read in prison. He decided to loot money from the government milk scheme in a bid to gain recognition from the leaders of the underworld. His gang stole a car and conducted the robbery. The stolen vehicle abandoned exactly as described in the Chase novel. The day he was bumped off by the police, he was planning to visit his girlfriend who was a widow with two children. He is now forgotten but nevertheless he inspired a film with a larger than life (Anti)hero. ID the guy and the film. 2 Points.

2. They were four badass friends. They studied together, hanged around together and yes, killed together. They were known to have committed at least 10 murders in a period of 14 months in the late 70’s. They terrorized the entire city with their brutality. They used the same technique for each and every killing and they did it with an intention to rob the valuables. Two of the most famous assaults of them were on two families X and Y and that is why these incidents were known as XY murders. In both cases they eliminated the whole families by strangulating them with ropes. Also in both cases the last person was stripped naked and asked to show the valuables in the household before being killed. They were finally caught and hanged after a long legal process that lasted almost six years. It is believed to have inspired a film which itself ran into serious problems. ID the XY and the film. 2 Points.

3. He killed many. In fact he did not exactly remember how many he’d killed. His targets were mostly the people from lower strata of the society. He was mentally unstable, he lived in the jungle near the city and roamed around at night to kill. Not much is known about his early life. He was not hanged due to his mental condition. A budding filmmaker made a documentary on him which impressed a producer and thus got his big break. He went on to make more critically acclaimed films. ID the serial killer and the director. 2 Points.

4. He was a fearsome Chambal dacoit. He vowed to cut off noses of people and sacrifice them to Maa Kali. He in fact cut off the noses of many people. But it is said that the day he died in an encounter, his own nose was chopped off by a bullet. His name is the same as a fabled silver screen bandit although the depiction in the film was mostly fictional. ID. 2 Points.

5. Connect: 2 Points.

6. He is Jain but is a devotee of Maa Kali. More confusing is his clientele that is believed to be ranging from Elizabeth Taylor to Adnan Khasoggi at one point of time. His good times were over by 1996 but at his peak, he walked the corridors of power and hobnobbed with the most powerful people of the country. ID. 1 Point.

7. Connect: (Events from early part of the last decade) 2 Points.

8. Easy one: ID the guy with Dilip Kumar 1 Point.

9. She was an attractive girl who sang and danced at village gatherings. She was abducted by a gang of Dacoits. She fell in love with the gang leader and stayed with the gang. She learned how to hold the gun and how to kill. But her lover was bumped off as a result of an internal conspiracy. The victor could now have her. But she was not one to relent. She hatched a counter plot and eliminated the villain and got another guy to jointly lead the gang. During an encounter with police she lost one hand but that did not stop her. A B-Grade film was made in 1970s based on her life. 2 Points.

10. This final question is does not have a pop culture connect. Just couldn’t resist it!
He was born in a Brahmin family and was known by his somewhat effeminate nickname. Legend has it that he was even good with astrology. He advised his gang leader against going towards a certain direction. But he did and paid the price in an encounter. He became the leader himself after this incident. He was brutal and he his hands trembled if he din’t get to kill for a long period of time. While his guru was called “Raja” by people, he was called “Maharaj” during his heydays. Nevertheless he could not see his own future and was killed in an encounter in 1959. Seen here is a temple dedicated to him in his native palace. ID. 2 Points.



So, here are the answers of the quiz.

1. Manya Surve, Agneepath
2. Joshi Abhayankar Murders, somewhat inspired Paanch which ran into censorship troubles
3. Raman Raghav, Sriram Raghavan
4. Gabbar Singh
5. The Tandoor Murder case or Naina Sahni case… the idea was inspired by Surendra Mohan Pathak’s Novel Mawali… Culprit Sushil Sharma was a member of Youth Congress
6. Chandraswami, who else?
7. The home Trade Scam… they launched a huge advertising campaign… three different ads with these three stars but without any apprent product or service…
8. Haji Mastan
9. Putli Bai, she was abducted by Sultan Singh who was killed by Babu Lohari. She got Babu Lohari killed and started to live with Pahada who was killed in an encounter. Then she moved on with Kalla (Kalyan Singh). After her death Kalla continued and was later killed in another encounter. (Some info I remember from the book Abhishapta Chambal by Tarun Kumar Bhaduri, a book that gave me nightmares when I was in 6th std). Jaymala played the role in the film.
10. Roop Narain Sharma (Roopa Maharaj)… disciple of Raja Maan Singh

Had a good response with 15 unique entries this time.

Navadeep Baruah 4
Nayanjyoti Medhi 11
Sandipan Goswami 4
Amrit Pritom Chetiya 15
Rithwik K 9
Kapinjal Sharma 7
Arunav Chowdhury 1
Supratim Sengupta 3
Chiranjit Gam 3
Harsha VS 13
Kapinjal Chowdhury 10
Daktar Vinay 16
MIT Chowdhury 6
Arindam Phukan 14
Arpit Mehta 9

Daktar Vinay gets to have Koffe with Kala Shetty
Amrit Pritom Chetiya is the lucky one who gets Margarita with Monica Bedi
Arindam Phukan can sip Black Russian with Babloo Srivastav…

Hope these meetings turn out to be a good learning experience for you.

Thanks for playing.

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Perfumed Garden: The Erotic Film Quiz


After a long period of procrastination, finally I have come up with the erotic and exploitation cinema quiz.
There are 10 questions with varied marks according to the number of variables and level of difficulty.


Submit the answers as comments. They will be visible after approval only.
Deadline 10pm Sunday.


The original manuscript of the Kamasutra autographed by Sage Vatsayana.

A return trip to Salo.

A lifesize replica of Rasputin’s you know what.


1. A timeless classic reimagined and retold by a maestro whose oeuvre was as controversial as his violent death… ID the film (Yes the arrowhead has also been censored for some reasons) 2 points

2. This classical masterpeice X is based on a concept A, that can be considered an andocentric and premarital version of B, a sexual subculture that gained prominence in a decade that is also serendipitously given an epithet that uses the same word B. However, the act of B has always existed in different forms and the two gentelemen C and D were the first recorded ones to have done the same.
X was one of the three collaborations between composer Y and poet Z.
ID A,B,C,X,Y,Z… 6 points

More importantly, why did I ask this question in this context?… 2 points

3. A fairy tale by Bhasa, a collection of stories told through a parrot, an epic poem about a marauding emperor lasting after someone else’s wife… How do you connect them to a person whose pathbreaking 70s film received a popculture reminder through a garish remake 6 years ago? 2 points

4. Easy pickings: X was discovered while working as a receptionist in a film production company. She went on to become the face of a genre Y that gained popularity in the 70s. While the genre waned in the subsequent decades, in the 90s a tribute was paid to the genre by a master known for paying tributes through a film Z which again starred X in the lead role. 3 points

5. Another sitter: X or “eroduction” is a cinematic genre. Due to the nature of local censorship laws, the display of genitals, and even pubic hair, were long-held taboos in the genre. This restriction forced them to develop sometimes elaborate means of avoiding showing the “working parts”. In order to work around this censorship, they positioned props like lamps, candles, bottles, etc. at strategic locations to block the banned body parts. When this was not done, the most common alternative techniques are digital scrambling, covering the prohibited area with a black box or a fuzzy white spot, known as “fogging”. Identify this genre. 2 points

6. Who playing whom? 2 Points

7. She met a guy for a short fling but soon got obsessed. They met again and the relationship moved towards the inevitable necrophiliac finale. This story was told in a 1975 film which mainly catered to the home audience. But a more explicit 1976 film was released by an acclaimed director which overshadowed the previous one. Identify the lady, and the films. 3 points.

8. Identify this highly acclaimed film. This highly erotic but eventually tragic film named after a food item is considered to be the most successful film ever in its homeland and according to box office records, 27% of the entire population of that nation saw the film when it was released. 2 points

9. She grew up under a sternly religious and abusive mother and much of her work is believed to be an act of rebellion against her early oppression. She got sucked into the world of pornography by the time she was 17 and discovered her “forte” by she was 25. One of her most popular work is named after a very wel known piece of literarature. While she gained underground superstardom in the 70s very soon but it also started declining after a while and which led to her own downfall and sad end. ID. (Incidentally, her name is also the name of the topmost film awards in a country) 2 points

10. Identify this lady. There is an Oscar nominated Italian film that apparently has a character based on her. But that is not the reason she’s here ;). 2 points

Happy Quizzing


Thanks a lot for you participation. I am delighted at seeing some new participants in this one. & I know some more people genuinely tried. Nevertheless, here are the answers.

1. Il Fiore Delle Mille e Una Notte by Pier Pasolini based on Arabian Nights. Pasolini was lated run over by a car multiple times and the reasons for teh same are still unsure.

2. A-Fiancee Swap, B-Swinging (& serendipitous that decade is also called Swinging 60s), C-John Dee, D-Edward Kelly… Dee & Kelly had a swinging agreement… Y-Mozart, Z- Lorenzo da Ponte… X- Cosi Fan Tutte

Cosi Fan Tutte is of course the 1992 Tinto Brass film & that is why it is here…

Sorry for obscure framing… couldn’t resist it!

3. Mani Kaul’s film The Cloud Door draws from the classics like the Sanskrit play Avimaraka, written by Bh?sa around 5th-7th century, the Sufi epic love poem Padmavat by Mohammed Jayasi in the 13th century and the erotic Indian tales Suksapiti… Aarti Agarwal’s bold topless act in this film was arguably instrumental for the decline of her mainstream career! Kaul’s film Duvidha was remade as Paheli in 2005….

4. X – Pam Grier , Y – Blaxploitation , Z – Jackie Brown by Tarantino

5. Pink Films… Japanese genre of softcore films with agonizing censorship…

6. Paloma Picasso playing Elizabeth Bathory in Immoral Tales.

7. Sada Abe, the epitome of morbid obsession with sex… the lady who committed necrophilia and chopped off the schlong of her beloved… the films are A woman called Sada Abe (1975) and In the realm of senses (1976)

8. Turkish Delight/ Turk’s Fruit.. the 1973 Dutch film by Paul Verhoeven who later made films like Starship Troopers and more recently Black Book…

9.Bodil Joensen, The queen of bestiality… National film awards of Denmark is called Bodil Awards although it is named after two other actresses…

10. Ilse Koch… inspiration behind the character Ilsa in those sexploitation films… as well as Winslet’s character in The Reader…

& Now the scores… (Yes it’s a tie!!!)

Brishbhanu Baruah 18
El Biswajit 18
Nayanjyoti Medhi 17
Manoranjan Malakar 15
Sukanya Lenhardt 13
Arindam Phukan 13
Suman Doogar 12
Mit Chowdhury 12
Mehdi Jahan 10
Biswajit Sarma 5
Jahanpanah 5
Aamil Syed Nayeem 3

The promised prizes will be delivered within 7 days via Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Thanks for Playing…

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Cinephilia Quiz Cycle 2: Quiz 2


Hi all,

Due to sheer lethargy I am putting up an A-Z quiz rather than usual 10 questions.
So, basically you can earn 26 points in this quiz.
Please note that I have tried to traverse different geographies. It starts in the Latin Americas, moves to the orient, then to India and finally to Europe. Read carefully and it should be very easy.

Put your answers as comments. They are being moderated and will be shown after deadline.
Deadline: Sunday 10pm.

A is a musician per excellence who has won many awards for his work in the recent decade. He hails from the South American country B and one if his most distinguishable works is a film called C which contained multiple interconnected stories and a biopic called D based on the life of E, one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century. Incidentally a more comprehensive biopic on E was made by F. The film on E was so long that it was divided and released in two parts. The first part was also known as G which basically means the people from the country B. Now, director H is from another country but he made a film I which is set in B and tells the story of two people from H’s native place. Probably H’s biggest success is the film J which was made just after I. The film J was premiered at Cannes and is considered a masterpiece. It is also noteworthy for its eclectic soundtrack that includes compositions of artists as diverse as Nat King Cole and Gesang Martohartono. It uses a recurring theme music which was originally composed for a Japanese film called K and it was composed by L. Now, L has recently composed for a yet to be released film called M which is based on Thomas Hardy’s Tess but is set in India. M stars N in the leading role who achieved fame while working in a film by director O who was also rumoured to be producing a film called P. Now, P was supposed be directed by Q, and rumoured to star R among others although as of now the production is in a limbo. Now, R recently acted in a home production called S which interestingly used A’s service for the soundtrack. Coming back to M, it also has T as another composer. T is otherwise known for working closely with Q and he achieved nationwide fame with his work in Q’s film U. The film U, in a scene, pays tribute to the author V’s book W, which was adapted to a film of the same name in the 1960s by a well-known new wave director X and starred Y, one of the most endearing sex symbols of her times and also has Z, a veteran director who played himself in that film.


So here are the answers and scores….

A) Gustavo Santaolalla
B) Argentina
C) Babel
D) The Motorcycle Diaries
E) Che Guevara
F) Steven Soderbergh
G) The Argentine
H) Wong-Kar_Wai
I) Happy Together
J) In The Mood For Love
K) Yumeji
L) Shigeru Umebayashi
M) Trishna
N) Frieda Pinto
O) Danny Boyle
P) Bombay Velvet
Q) Anurag Kashyap
R) Aamir Khan
S) Dhobi Ghaat
T) Amit Trivedi
U) Dev. D
V) Alberto Moravia
W) Contempt
X) Jean-Luc Godard
Y) Brigitte Bardot
Z) Fritz Lang

Amrit Pritom Chetia 26
Anurag Talukdar 19
Bhaskar Chakraborty 26
Hengul Dutta 25
EL Biswajit 21
Vikas Sahu 26
Jayanta Kumar Nath 26
Mayur Borah 26
Mit Choudhury (Incomplete Attempt via Mail) 15

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The Satyajit Ray Quiz:


I conducted this Satyajit Ray Quiz for the group QuizCraft.

I am reproducing the questions and answers here.

Questions: Satyajit Ray Quiz

1. Easy one to start with: It started the India operations in the late 1920s. Later on it was taken over and became BOMAS which went on to become O&M after some more takeovers. Which organization?

2. Symbolic but exhaustive connect…

3. This is supposed to be Ray’s first screenplay. But he could never make the film during those times and went on to make Pather Pachali. But many decades later he revived and completed the film. He was apparently relieved that he did not make it earlier because he believed his original script was amateurish and too much influenced by western films. Which one?

4. What should come in place of the question mark and how does it connect to the theme?

5. Easy one connect

6. Connect again

7. Ray apparently did not like certain aspects of this filmmaker or his films and wrote in a newspaper criticizing one of his films. This led to a public war of words between both the filmmakers through letters in the newspaper. Who is the other filmmaker involved here?

8. Sitter: As a child prodigy he completed his graduation when he was 16 and then he went on to become a professor at 20. He lives in a town which literally means the land of hills. Who?

9. He was of Kashmiri Pandit ancestry and was born in modern day Pakistan. He wanted to be a painter and after meeting a nephew of Tagore he moved to Calcutta where he started working for commercial Bengali films until he got a chance to meet Eugene Lourie and assist him in a project. He would later work for people as diverse as Muzaffar Ali, Benegal and Basu Chatterjee but he remains known for his long and fruitful association with Ray. Who?

10. Connect


Answers: Satyajit Ray Quiz

1. D J Keymer, the agency where Ray worked for more than a decade before making his first film.

2. It was a obscure and symbolic one but I was looking for the Roman typefaces/fonts created by Ray.
Ray Roman
Ray Bizarre (The logo is that of Bizarre Media)

3. Ghare Baire (1984)

4. The River. These are the films adapted from Rumer Godden novels in a chronological manner starting with Black Narcissus and Enchantment. The River of course is the film where Ray met Renoir and got his final thrust to become a filmmaker.

5. For both Ashani Sanket & Hirak Rajar Deshe Ray got Best music direction National award

6. Documentaries by Ray on Tagore, Sikkim (Ryal emblem of erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim) and Benode Behari Mukherjee

7. Mrinal Sen

8. Prof Shanku

9. Bansi Chandra Gupta, Ray’s regular art director

10. Teen Kanya which comprised of three short stories by Tagore
Post master
Monihara (Lost jewels)
Samapti (The End/Fin/That’s All Folks)

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Cinephilia Quiz- Cycle 2: The Drunken Celluloid Quiz


Hi all,

I am starting the second cycle of Cinephilia quizzes. The cycle will consist of four quizzes and will try to make it an weekly affair.

Today is the Drunken Celluloid quiz. It may be about films where alcoholics are significant characters or about real personalities with liver issues themselves. I’ve always believed that the alcohol issues suffered by some of the brightest of our minds was not their problem but that of the society that was not evolved enough to accommodate them. So I’ll just quote one of the best lines to have come put of Indian music industry in the 21st century and start the quiz.


Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).


After a complete cycle, the top three cumulative score holders will win Flipkart Vouchers worth INR 300, 200 & 100.


Sunday Midnight.

The Drunken Celluloid Quiz

1. It is a film that has a unique achievement in the festival circuit. Adapted from a novel, it was apparently conceived by the director during a train ride when he purchased and read the novel during the journey. An unusual affair for its times, it also alarmed the lead actor and he was advised against taking up the role. But nevertheless, he went ahead and reaped benefits for the same. Identify the film.

2. He started his career with a prominent auteur of Indian cinema. He soon moved to Bollywood and played several insignificant roles in various Hindi films. But afterwards a certain talent of his got noticed and the same was utilized again and again by various filmmakers. Even till date he is remembered for these roles only.

3. He had an opportunity to sing a particular song that was penned almost 80 years ago. While playback facility was available, he chooses to sing it live and also act on the same, thus making it one of his most memorable performances. Who’s he and what was the song?

4. Apparently this Indian film has only one surviving copy, that too in another country. And even that copy is partially destroyed. Nevertheless, it remains a path breaking film in terms of technique and treatment in the early days of Indian cinema. Identify.


Signs of profound melancholia and unmistakable, self-destructive alcoholism… whose lines are these?

6. X was one of the early directors of Bollywood who achieved significant commercial success early on his career, only to receive setbacks later. The leading roles in almost all of his films were played by the same actor. Y once worked under him in a film but later on achieved success on his own. It is believed that Y’s film Z is inspired by X’s life but one can also find uncanny resemblance of the film with Y’s own life. Identify X,Y,Z.

7. Some of his books were published posthumously after he killed himself. They were mostly completed by one of his relatives. . He even wrote an episode for an animated TV series but he is known for his debut novel published a few years before his death. Who’s he? How does he fit into this quiz?

8. Sitter: The poster of which upcoming film based on a semi-autobiographical novel?

9. Apparently he was never an alcoholic. But still he fits nicely into this quiz. At one point of time he became so popular that he acted in a film named after himself. Legend has it that once he arrived at the sets of a film, showed his acting prowess playing a drunkard and forced the writer/director to change the script to accommodate a new character for him. Who?

10. Deviating a bit… not exactly films… but the events shown here provided fodder for a lot of Hollywood movies. What is happening here or to be precise which era do they belong to?


1. Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945). The Lost Weekend and Marty (1955) are the only films ever to win both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival.

2. Keshto Mukherjee

3. K L Saigal…. Babul Mora by Wazid Ali Shah

4. Pramathesh Barua’s Devdas… The only remaining copy is in Bangladesh film archives…

5. Meena Kumari of course. She also recited it and recorder an album called I Write, I Recite.

6. X=Gyan Mukherjee who gave arguably the 1st blockbuster of Bollywood, Kismet. Y=Guru Dutt, Z=Kagaz Ke Phool

7. John O’Brien who wrote Leaving Las Vegas.

8. Rum Diaries based on Hunter P Thomson…. Kinda follow up to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

9. Johnny Walker

10. The Prohibition Era… quite a few crime/gangster films have been based on this period… too many to name…

Thanks for Playing…

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