Scam 1992 vs The Big Bull

In a universe where Scam 1992 already exists, releasing The Big Bull was a gamble in itself. And comparison between the two was inevitable.

The show and the movie are inspired from the true life events of Harshad Mehta – a stock broker from the 1980’s who made billions by exploiting the loopholes in the system.

While the movie has dubbed all the characters and institutions, could be for copyright issues, that makes it feel a little less authentic as compared to the show which does not shy from calling a spade a spade.

Scam 1992 holds your attention right from the opening creds with it’s catchy theme and shrewd depiction of the rise and fall of Mehta. Over a span of 10 episodes, it explains Harshad’s journey into the world of BSE. The story is told in a non linear fashion from the point of view of Sucheta Dalal and how she believes Harshad made his fortune.

The Big Bull is fast paced, obviously because they had to fit the whole story within 3 hours. That feels rushed.

Scam 1992 portrayed Harshad Mehta as a family man who was smart enough to make use of opportunities. As he gains fame from illegal means, he begins to feel invulnerable. And his over confidence results in his downfall. But throughout the scandal, his family is shown as his strong backbone. I had especially loved the bonding between the brothers. This was Pratik Gandhi’s Harshad’s redeeming factor.

While Abhishek Bachchan’s Hemant Shah appears to be money minded from the start and his success and his hideous laugh only result in making him look more arrogant by the minute.

I am a huge fan of dialouges and while The Big Bull has around 4-5 amazing scenes; Scam 1992 has 10 whole power packed episodes!!

The movie tries to be dramatic in the usual Bollywood style with lines such as “Bomb fatne waala hai, Bomb“; the show does not need such theatrics to feel dramatic.

Coming to the performances, The Big Bull is a solo AB Jr show with the supporting cast hardly contributing anything much. Infact, Ileana Dcruz could easily be replaced with anybody. She brings neither grit nor experience to the character of a Padmashri journalist.

Each of the characters of the Scam on the other hand, are well written with unique attributes- from the relentless Sucheta Dalal to the timid Sitaraman, from the kill-the-bird-from-the-bushes RBI governor to the foul mouth Manubhai – everyone was up to the mark. And of course, the man himself – Pratik Gandhi was exceptional.

There is a slight twist in the movie at the end; other than that if you have watched the show, there’s nothing you already don’t know.

If you haven’t watched the show, the movie is about an average experience.

If you want to watch the movie after watching the show; it is going to be like watching 7 seasons of GoT and then watching a disappointing season finale 😜

First Impression: Samsung Galaxy M31s

This is not going to be a technical review because I am not much into technology. This is my First Impression of the phone as a basic user.

Starting at Rs. 18,499 online, the M31s has two new features compared to its predecessor – the Infinity-0 display and the Single Take Camera.

The Look: I purchased the phone in Mirage Blue color and I like the overall glossy and blending smoothly from blue to metallic look. The back is plastic and the screen is Gorilla glass but since its glossy it leaves behind a lot of smudged fingerprints.

Screen: The 6.5 inch Infinity-O display is quite a treat to the eyes for a quality audio-video experience. However, some videos need to be stretched a little to fill the whole screen.
The screen has a hole-punch camera at the top center but I did not find that distracting at all!

Side-mounted Fingerprint Scanner: The Fingerprint scanner is coupled with the Home button and is mounted at the side below the volume buttons. It is easy to reach for.
There is an option for face recognition, but I am yet to try that.

Battery: I started using the phone from 6th April and I must say I am pretty impressed with the battery life, as I had to charge my phone just for 1 hour in the morning and was able to use it for two full days.
Having said that, I am not a gamer so I don’t use my phone for long hours. Also, using the various camera modes causes the battery to drain.

Reverse Charging: The phone came with a charger and it is of Type C. The phone has a unique reversible charging feature – which means my phone can basically be used as a power bank to charge other Type C devices.

Modes: What I like about the phone is that there a lot of modes to help save up your battery life. In addition to the Power Saving mode, we have custom Work Time, Me Time and Bed Time modes which allow you to select what apps would be used for that time and all the other apps get disabled. This also allows you to focus on your work or have a peaceful sleep.
There is an Eye Comfort Shield, a Dark Mode.
There are also options for Parental Controls and App and Screen Timers.

Apps: The phone comes with preinstalled Netflix, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon Prime, Phone Pe, Cred and a few other apps. I would have preferred if there was an option during setup that allowed me to select the apps I want instead.

Camera: The phone has a quad camera at the back which is one Primary camera, a wide angle lens, a macro lens and a depth camera.
I am very happy with the photo quality. Even in low light, the Night mode gives well-lit photos.

Night mode

The selfie camera auto adjusts to a wide angle depending on the number of people in the frame.

There are also a lot of other modes to try, to name a few:

Food Mode
Portrait mode with color block
Panorama
Macro mode

There is a AR doodle feature and a Pro mode which allows you to enable custom settings for your phone.
Coming to the Single Take feature. It prompts you to shoot a video from different angles and as output offers atleast 5-7 photos and videos with pre-applied filters like reverse, boomerang, black n white, fast forward, zoom, in addition to the original video.

For my budget and considering that I mainly use my phone for photos and videos, the Samsung Galaxy M31s is very decent. Also, the overall look is premium and it fits in my pockets!!

Movie Review – Shakuntala Devi

Yet another biopic in the Bollywood stables is the 31st July Amazon Prime release – Shakuntala Devi. While most biopics are on sports personalities, it was refreshing to see one on a mathematical genius.

Shakuntala was born in a poor Kannada family and was “good with numbers”, even though she had received no formal education. It is said that the real Shakuntala Devi acquired her skill as her father, a circus performer by profession, used to include her in card tricks.

Once it became apparent that the young girl had a real gift, her father began to take her on road shows, where she used to take up mathematical challenges and rattle off answers in the blink of an eye. Subsequently, she traveled to various cities abroad hosting her shows.

According to facts stated in Wikipedia: In 1977, she gave the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds. Her answer was confirmed by calculations done by a UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation, and it took a longer time than for her to do the same.

On 18 June 1980, she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers — 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779. These numbers were picked at random by the Department of Computing at Imperial College London. She correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds, which was the time taken by her to speak the answer. This event was recorded in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records.

Although tests were conducted on her brain to find out how she does it, the studies came up with nothing. There is a good scene in the movie, where the expert gives her an elaborate explanation in lieu of an answer and when Shakuntala asks him to state it in plain terms, he goes, “We don’t know yet”.

In fact, it is being portrayed that Shakuntala herself is unaware about her abilities. But in some scenes, she explains the techniques that she uses for finding the squares of complicated numbers, for example, which suggests that she must have at least read extensively on the subject.

It would have been interesting to find out how she hones her skills.

But instead of dwelling in that angle, the movie runs a parallel track into her dysfunctional family life.

As a child, Shakuntala resented her father for using her as an income source. Her anger further rises when her sister Sharda expires due to her family not being able to provide her health care. She vows to her sister that she will one day be a successful independent woman. Through all this, she hates her mother for being dependent upon her father and not having her own opinion.

However, once Shakuntala has her own daughter, she repeats the cycle by separating the child from her father and chains her to her side while she travels for her Maths shows. Her daughter grows up to resent Shakuntala for her dominance, like how Shakuntala hated her mother for her subservient nature. It takes a major rift between mother-daughter to remind them both of the famous saying which goes, “By the time a woman realizes her mother was right, she has a daughter who thinks she’s wrong.”

That’s all the emotional crux of the movie is about. And it makes the movie just an average experience and not something “amazing” (a movie reference).

What holds the movie afloat is Vidya Balan’s flawless act. It is obvious that Balan was a dependable choice for the role. Maybe in the hands of lesser experienced actors, the movie would have not managed to draw audiences to the character of this boisterous young lady dressed in beautiful sarees. Balan makes you admire the mathematical wiz, envy her wealthy banjaara life and hate her manipulative behavior.

It definitely helps that the supporting star cast did their part well – Sanya Malhotra(as the rebellious daughter), Jisshu Sengupta(the supportive husband) and Amit Sadh(the practical damaad).

As one final thought – it won’t hurt to watch the movie esp since we are in a lockdown anyway, best utilize all the streaming options. And you might even pick up some Maths tricks. But I doubt, it’s gonna make you want to emo-hug your mom.