Friday 4 November 2016

Harry Potter Film Series: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews of Harry Potter Film Series

1) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in some countries as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is a 2001 British-American fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, the first instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts as he discovers that he is a famous wizard and begins his magical education. (Wikipedia).

Mini Review: 

In a 2000 interview with the BBC, J.K. Rowling described Lord Voldemort as a self-hating #bully:"Well I think it is often the case that the biggest bullies take what they know to be their own defects, as they see it, and they put them right on someone else and then they try and destroy the other and that's what Voldemort does."


  • Children's literature looks better with gothic element. Owl, cat, night, uncanny old Dumbledore and monstrous Hagrid makes for an ideal gothic environment at the beginning of the film.
  • Putting little child (Harry) in the custody of maternal aunt-uncle by the trio of Dumbledore, Mcgonagall and Hagrid reminds of the birth of Jesus Christ and three Magi.
  • Magic can be seen as metaphor for knowledge.
  • However gifted one may be, struggle, pain, agony, sorrow, anxiety can never be avoided by magical wand. They are to be faced and won over.
  • Feminist reading may create doubt at the positive connotation of the term 'Wizard' and derogatory and negative connotation for 'Witch'.
  • Similarly, even though Hermione Granger is intelligent, saves day for the male counterparts, yet she remains 'bookish' and not having 'practical and worldly sense'. She herself says: "Books, cleverness. . . that's okay. There are more important things. Friendship, bravery". She seems to be incapable of sacrifice of Ron and bravery of Harry. She is good in the class and library work but not on the field - cannot perform well with broom and during Quidditch, she is mere spectator. This portrayal is highly problematic for feminist readers.
  •  The Sorting Hat finds Harry talented, good mind, and thirsty to prove himself. However, Snape snaps at him - 'Fame isn't everything'. One needs to prove one's worth. Harry reads newspaper while others read letters from family members.
  • Magical objects in this film - Stone (can make elixir of life to make one immortal), Cloak of invisibility, Mirror (one can see one's deepest desires, dreams and wants. Happiest one will see himself.
  • Political / Foucauldian discourse: There is no good or evil. There is only power: Voldemort.
  • Purity of Blood: "It is in your blood" - this is what makes Harry youngest seeker in the game of Quidditch. Well, that's not enough as Harry has to struggle to prove his worth. Harry makes 'choices'. He controls his destiny. That's why even Sorting Had cannot put him in Slytherin House and he, by sheer will-power, gets sorted for Gryffindor House. This 'making choices' and will-power is more important than blood.
  • Foreshadowing: Voldemort, in shape of smoke, passes through the heart of Harry Potter.
  • Moral Lessons: Only those who want but do not want to use for their personal benefit gets the stone (power, gift, geniusness); LOVE is one of the most powerful force in the universe. If this love is displayed along with 'sacrifice', it has power to make one immortal or save life from utmost dangers. Harry's mother Lily sacrificed herself for the sake of love for Harry. Ron is ready to sacrifice himself in the game of chess for good of others. At the end of the day, what makes one win is the combination of cool use of intellect (Hermione), ready to sacrifice everything (Ron), stand up against friends (Neville) and pure nerve & outstanding courage (Harry).

2) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 British-American fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the second instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a monster that petrifies the school's denizens. (Wikipedia)

Mini Review:

#ChildrensLiterature is accused of being replete with racism,xenophobia and conventional cultural overtones. J.K. Rowling plays safe and thus portrays her protagonists belonging to lowly births (Harry Potter is #HalfBloodHermione is #MudBlood) and villains and side-kicks wither of #PureBlood or shown craving for world order based on the #MasterRace(The master race was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic race—a branch of what in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century taxonomy was called the Aryan race—represented an ideal and pure race.


  • The gothic characteristics of children's literature is maintained. Especially in Diagon Alley, when Harry mistakenly enters frightening alley, the people are frightening in looks, stare and behaviour.
  • Feminist critics may find more to criticise. Hermione is more capable in 'knowing' things and is capable to repair Harry's specs which can be read as 'she being his eyes/vision, without her, he in not capable to accomplish great deeds. However, she is also abused by Draco for being Mudblood / Dirty blood. Even the moanings of Myrtle and her infatuations for Harry may not go well with feminist critics. Most of the children's literature are boy-centric.
  • The concept of Purity of Blood gets stronger is very vocally voiced by Lucius Malfoy and Draco Malfoy, Weasleys do not discriminate. Ron's father Mr. Weasley is in trouble in Ministry for his liberal outlook. They are insulted by Malfoys for being liberal towards entry of Mudbloods in the school. This voice for purity of wizardry blood started with Salazar Slytherin and is carried forward by Voldemort and Malfoys. The main theme of this book / film is also to 'purge Hogwarts of muggle bloods'. As soon as the Chamber of Secrets is opened, the muggle bloods will be killed and only pure blood wizards will study in the school.
  • Voldemort is present in this book/film as 'memory / past' and his device is Diary. TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE is I AM LORD VOLDEMORT.
  • The power-politics operates in form of suspension of Albus Dumbledore and Hagrid sent to the prison of Azkaban.
  • The archetype of princess-abducted-by-monster-saved-by-Prince-Charming is narrated in Ginny's abduction and Harry's adventure to save her.
  • Harry and Voldemort are alter-ego, aks of each other. In determination, resourcefulness, disrespect for rules - they are similar.Voldemort's power is transferred to Harry when he gave scar to him. Though their abilities are similar, they are not similar as their choices are different.
  • Moral lesson: 
    • "Fame is fickle. Celebrity is as celebrity does" - Gilderoy Lockhart - Prof of Defence against Dark Arts.
    • "Help will be given to those who ask for it" - Dumbledore.
    • "Loyalty helps" - Phoenix 'Fawkes' comes to help Harry as he is loyal to Dumbledore.
    • "It is not our abilities, it is our choices that makes us what we are". Dumbledore to Harry.

3) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 British fantasy filmdirected by Alfonso Cuarón and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the third instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by Chris Columbus (director of the first two instalments), David Heyman, and Mark Radcliffe. The story follows Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts as he is informed that a prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban intending to kill him. (Wikipedia)

Mini Review:

If this film has @JKRowling's didacticism ("#Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light" . . . And . . . "It is only we who can help us, there is nothing/nobody outside of this world who can help us") at its best, at the same time, it is darker than earlier films. Even Harry Potter's dark side, first time, is visible: "I hope Sirius Black finds me, when he does, I am going to kill him".
Well, it's fine to show the struggle between the good and and the evil. It works in children's literature. In 'real' literature , the struggle is Not with evil power but with the power which turns the victim into evil.


  • The major task was to clear Sirius Blake from being a murderer who has broke Azkaban Prison is on hunt to kill Harry. In fact he was a good friend and godfather of Harry.
  • This book / film is darker as compared to previous ones. Harry also is vengeful to kill Sirius without knowing the fact. It seems as if the darkness of Voldemort's power in his body forces him to be evil.
  • The way news-paper Daily Prophet keeps on spreading rumors about Sirius Blake, it becomes an example of how media is unreliable in our times.
  • Dementors are curious creatures - they are non-forgiving and can't distinguish between good and evil or protected and hunted. They suck soul and makes people energy-less to die helplessly. They are frightened by or overcome by powerful positive memory of something extremely good. Our pain, sorrow, anxiety becomes their power.
  • Pro. Lupin in new teacher of Defence against Dark Arts - he remembers Harry's mother having ability to see beauty, good and positive in all, whereas his father has excellent magical skills and also talent for trouble. Harry has both these characteristics.
  • Some interesting objects - Marauder's Map, Boggarts, Hippogriff (flying horse), Animagus and Werewolf.
  • For feminist critics, this book / novel offers something worth appreciating. Ron is in bed and Hermione is in control of situation. With the help of time-turner, she leads Harry (who follows) in revisiting and amending past actions.She know that one should be cautious and careful while meddling with time. She convinces Harry that it was not his father's charm/spell but his spell that saves Sirius from Dementors. 
  • Moral Lesson:
    • "Happiness can be found in darkest of time, if we remember to turn on the light" - Dumbledore.
    • "A child's voice, however, true, is meaningless to those who have stopped listening" - DUmbledore.
    • "It is wisest to retrace steps (go back, go back in memory, check your steps, observe your past actions), when in doubt" - Dumbledore
    • "No divine, no dead ones, no loved ones comes to save us. It is we who save us". The patronus of Doe is just an illusion of Harry. In fact, he has performed the spell to expel dementors.

4) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a 2005 British fantasy film directed by Mike Newell and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.[2] It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the fourth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows Harry Potter's fourth year at Hogwarts as he is chosen by the Goblet of Fire to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. (Wikipedia)

Mini Review:

In Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort and his followers are prejudiced against #Muggles and in 'Goblet of Fire' Hermione Granger forms a group to liberate Hogwarts' house-elves who have "been indentured servants so long they lack desire for anything else". This is not major part of this book / film. 
When asked why she explored this theme, Rowling replied, "Because bigotry is probably the thing I detest most. All forms of intolerance, the whole idea of that which is different from me is necessarily evil. I really like to explore the idea that difference is equal and good."
Bigot = somebody with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views.
This book / film is mostly about TriWizard tournament.


  • This book / film deals with an interesting transition from children's literature to young adult literature.
  • This book / film sees the rise of the Dark Lord with the help of Bone of Father, unwillingly taken; Flesh of the Servant, willingly sacrifices, and Blood of an Enemy, forcibly taken.
  • Three events are played in Triwizard tournament. 
    • (1) Save the golden egg from dragon 
    • (2) Save friends from beneath the Black Lake
    • (3) Search for the Cup in the Maze
  • The growing up of all characters form childhood to teenage is captured in form of love interest and jealousy. The Yule Ball is specially for teenage sentiments.
  • The range of characters include people from black community, Patil sisters from India, Cho from China.
  • For the feminist critic, the entire concept of Ball and the way pairing happened may give some points of contention. Especially, there is more stress on the physical beauty of girls and macho-image of boys. The dark skinned girls are the last ones to be taken by boys and that too do not carry any sense of pride. The gender and racism underplays very strongly in this sequence.
  • In media studies, Rita Skeeter is introduced as a sort of Page 3 journalism - it loves to publish sensational news about people's affairs and similar fake stories.
  • Moral Lessons:
    • Harry;s priorities are to help people in need rather than to win competition.
    • Even if other students insult Harry as he competes with same school guy Cedric, he is ready to help him in the hours of need.
    • Harry also saves Fleur Delacour's 's sister from Black Lake and brings bad dead body of Cedric from the graveyard of Voldemort.
    • His outstanding moral fiber makes him stand second in second round of competition. He is certified as kind, honest, brave and true by Dumbledore.
    • No spell can reawaken the dead. Do not think that parents came to save you in the fight with Voldemort. It was in inner voice which he thought mother told to 'let go', father told to get hold of port-key and Cedric to take his dead body back to his father.
    • Difficult time comes ahead and it will be challenging to make choices between what is easy and what is right.

5) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a 2007 British fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the fifth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Michael Goldenberg (making this the only film in the series not to be scripted by Steve Kloves) and produced by David Heyman and David Barron. The story follows Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts as the Ministry of Magic is in denial of Lord Voldemort's return.(Wikipedia)

Mini Review:

Dolores Umbridge is newly appointed Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, as a part of larger schema - from the corrupt Ministry of Magic. She comes up with new rules to 'prohibit' demonstrations and teach theoretically only. New syllabus, new books are introduced. She implements medieval discipline and punishment. The students resist. She considers resistance as disloyalty. Harry Potter openly speaks up the truth. He is forced to write on his hand that "I must not tell lies".
How interesting! Unbelievable parallels!
"There is, in fact, no need to drag politics into literary theory . . . it has been there from the beginning" ― Terry Eagleton, Literary theory: An Introduction.


  • This part is very meaningful from the perspective of power-politics. Dumbledore is charged with conspiracy and sedition.
  • One of the techniques used to make us feel pity for protagonist Harry is his orphanage and mother's Muggle-blood. We have seen many 'using' their lowly birth to pity self and so to generate sympathy for themselves.
  • The hearing of Harry's expulsion from school as he used magic in muggle-world is highly charged with political signs. The time of preponed, Dumbledore was not informed about timings, newspaper Daily Prophet used to malign Harry's reputation, use of rules / laws to harass those not in power.
  • Dumbledore is able to prove that Harry's use of magic in real world is pardonable under the rule of 'life-threatening' situation. Dementors' attack was life threatening.
  • 'Truth will be out'. Only truth prevails. These are the moralities of the muggles. Those who are wizards they believe that someone will have to 'act' so that truth can be out or prevail. It is not going to prevail without human efforts.
  • Dolores Umbridge is used by J.K. Rowling to attack all those regressive reformists in education system. Even if Harry is right about Voldemort, she punishes him to write 'I will not tell lies'. She discourages progress. She is for preservation of past. She believes in prohibitions, decency in cloths and behaviour. She is for theoretical exams rather than practical. It is through her that Ministry interferes Hogwarts schooling system. 
  • Harry Potter displays modesty. He told others that he is not chosen one but luck favoured him in moments of crisis and there were people who helped him.
  • Room of Requirement can be seen as metaphor of we get in the real world what we dearly want.
  • Legilimency and OcclumencyLegilimency is the act of magically navigating through the many layers of a person's mind and correctly interpreting one's findings. The opposite of Legilimency is Occlumency, which is used to shield one's mind from the invasion and influence of a Legilimens.
  • He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you - (Nietzsche). Harry fears becoming like Voldemort.
  • When Harry fears that he is becoming / behaving like Voldemort, Sirius Blake: "There are people who are good and those who are Death Eaters. What matter is what we choose to act on. Even those who are good are both good and bad inside / within.
  • Dolores replaces art, memory, history from the wall and the wall is full with 'rules'.
  • Prophecy (glass-globe) - It can be retrieved only by those for whom it is. "Neither cna live while other survives" - is the prophecy.
  • Harry has something which (with all similarities) Voldemort does not have - "Friends". 
  • Moral Lessons:
    • Fear makes us do terrible things.
    • Working hard is important. But there’s something that matters even more. Believing in yourself. (All wizards need to believe in themselves to make spell work and that's true of all humans.)
    • It does not matter whether we are good or bad. All are good as well as bad. What matters is what we choose to be / choose to act on.
    • Things we loose have a way of coming back to us (Self-help).

6) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 British-American fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman and David Barron. The story follows Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts as he becomes obsessed with a mysterious textbook, falls in love, and attempts to retrieve a memory that holds the key to Lord Voldemort's downfall. (Wikipedia)

Mini Review:

#Memory is tempered. It is tempered by the person whose memory it is.
But why would he temper his memory?
I suspect he's ashamed of it.
This memory is everything. Without it we are blind. Without it, we leave the fate of our world to chance. (Dialogue between Prof. Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter.)


  • This book / film, prepares for the Deathly Hallows. There are lot many loose threads.
  • If half-blood is to be read as children of those parents who are not pure-blood. One of the parents is either muggle-born, then the children can be derogatorily called half-blood. Severus Snape, Voldemort and Harry Potter can claim to be titular Half-Blood Prince. However, the book which bears the name of Half-Blood Prince belongs to Severus Snape.
  •  Draco, like his father, becomes Death Eaters i.e. member of Voldemort team.
  • Memory, revisiting memory, preserving memory - one of the task of this part is to get secret from the memory of Slughorn, the prof of the Defence against the Dark Art.
  • Feminist critic may object to 'skin' reference for the beauty of Hermione and other girls.
  • The girls are reduced to 'love-object'. The role of Hermione and other girls are almost insignificant in something serious done by Harry. Petty rivalry among girls for boys.
  • Love - interest, envy, jealousy for partner.
  • Horcrux is introduced in this book. It is from the memory of Slughorn that Harry comes to know about Tom Riddle's desire to learn about Horcrux.
  • Dumbledore sacrifices his life. Snape kills him.
  • Moral Lessons:
    • Those who are ashamed of memory, temper their memories. Memory is everything. Without memory we are blind. Without memory we leave the fate of our world to chance.
    • There can be no light without dark. Slughorn.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a 2010 British-American fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the first of two cinematic parts based on the novel by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the seventh and penultimate instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David HeymanDavid Barron, and Rowling. (Wikipedia)

Mini Review:

As soon as the new ministry of Magic (under the influence of Lord Voldemort) takes charge, they start persecuting #MudBloods. 'Mudbloods and the Dangers They Pose to a Peaceful Pure-Blood Society' is a pamphlet that was printed and distributed enmasse and contained propaganda against Muggle-borns, disparagingly referred to as "Mudbloods". The pamphlets were pink, with the title in orange letters. Beneath the title was a picture of "a red rose with a simpering face in the middle of its petals, being strangled by a green weed with fangs and a scowl". Evidently, this was the metaphor the Death Eater-controlled Ministry wanted to make regarding Muggle-borns being allowed into the wizarding world, which they believed should be reserved for pure-bloods. Presumably, the pamphlet also perpetrated the bigoted belief that Muggle-borns are inferior to those with wizarding heritage.


  • Three objects i.e. Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone and Cloak of Invisibility are Deathly Hallows. The one who owns it is the Master of Death.
  • Harry’s task: To find the ‘Locket – Horcrux’ and destroy it with Gryffindor Sword. To know about Deathly Hallows.
  • Ministry announces about the darker times. The Mudbloods are in panic. They are attacked by Death Eaters.
  • Voldemort is personally present as Lord Voldemort. Convenes meeting of Death Eaters. Actively searches for Elder Wand. Finds it from the grave of Dumbledore wherein it was buried with him.
  • Dumbledore's legacy - Deluminator to Ron, Book of Tales to Hermione and Snitch with stone to Harry.
  • The Snatchers: Scabior - arrests, roundup muggleborn and blood traitors who as per new law are defined as 'outlaws'.
  • The Ministry of Magic imposes new rules. What was done by Dolorus in school - is implemented in society. What begins with the change in text books, ends with the amendments in Constitution. 
  • Horcrux: Slytherin’s Locket. Destroyed by Ron with the help of Gryffindor Sword found by Harry from the frozen pond with the help of Doe’s Patronus
  • Ministry’s discrimination for Mud-bloods implies the dangers of Master Race – Pure Blood people and their discrimination of ‘Others’ irrespective of ‘acts / karma’ of people. Perseverance and skill (Harry rewarded with Snitch for this)
  • Hermione is actively involved in the search for the locker-horcrux. She helps in hide-outs and understanding the story of Three Brothers and Death.
  • She is yet again used as bone of contention between two friends – an archetype of femme fatal.
  • Her body is objectified in dream sequence of Ron while destroying Locket-Horcrux. She is sleeping while the boys perform imp task of destroying.
  • Evil breeds evil. Locket feels the beholder with negativity.
  • Freedom is valuable (Dobby dies happily as friend rather than elf-slave)
  • We have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide.
Close-up of the statue showing Muggles in their "rightful" place


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

A girl and two boys, standing outside of a building with high turrets.
By Source, Fair use, Link
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is a 2011 British fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.[4] It is the second of two cinematic parts based on the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.[5] The film, which is the eighth and final installment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Klovesand produced by David HeymanDavid Barron, and Rowling. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The story continues to follow Harry Potter's quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes in order to stop him once and for all.

Mini Review:

#SelfHelp culture of our days serves as a tool of social control: it soothes political unrest . . . one blames oneself for not getting better off is society and remains in one's own pursuit of self-invention, blaming oneself for the failure rather than the systems.
The Harry Potter saga approves of this cultural phenomenon of late 20th century which continues in our days. It ends with some cliche positive attitude lessons.
"Help will always be given to those who ask for it"
This is rephrased: "Help will always be given to those who deserve it" - making it more politically correct for majoritarianism.


  • Harry’s task:To destroy Horcruxes like Cup, Diadem, Nagini. He realises that he is also horcrux and will have to face death.
  • Wandlore - Mr. Ollivander.
  • Voldemort is personally present and leads the death eaters in the War.
  • Horcrux: Cup is destroyed by Hermione with the fang. Diadem of destroyed by Harry with the help of Basilisk’s Fang and kicked by Ron into Fire. Nagini is killed by Neville Longbottom Harry is killed / fainted by Voldemort. (Other Horcruxes destroyed in other books - Diary by Harry, Locket by Ron & Ring by Dumbledore)
  • Help will be given to those who deserve. Do not pity the dead. Pity the living. And above all, those who live without love. Quality of one’s convictions determine, not the followers. 
  • The real battle in within – with oneself. Some battles are fought all alone. Death is beautiful, not painful. Words have magic. They are the curse, they the remedy.
  • Hermione plays significant role in the beginning – finds a way out of deep vault with the help dragon. She destroys Cup-horcrux.
  • Invincibility vs humane quality. Invincibility breeds ego; humanity led to ego-less-ness. Purging of the evil within in the most important and equally difficult because ‘evil grows and homes that dark corner where ‘we do not know what we do not know’.
  • Help will always given to those who are for it.
  • Words re not in my humble opinion our most inexhaustible source of magic. Words are capable of both - inflicting injury and remedying it.
  • Help will always be granted to those who deserve it.
  • Do not pity the dead. Pity the living . . . and all those who lived without love.
  • Harry is one of the Horcruxes -  what does it signify?
  • Evil breeds evil. Too much of looking into the dark makes darkness enter into your soul. Friedrich Nietzsche has rightly observed - Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. Well, the darkness has entered into Harry, symbolically speaking. One has to face death to purge this dark evil. Death is the ultimate thing that purges from all evils. (Symbolic submerged into water is also a sort of death or fire is also considered to have purging powers. We have rituals around water and fire). One may reawaken or rise or resurrect if evil has entered in pursuit of good i.e. selfless love for friends & family, society, human beings at large, irrespective of enemies. If craving for death of others signify evil, then helping others redeems. Harry, in his brief sleep-talk with Dumbledore, is not shouting for revenge. He is calm and sombre. That is sign of his purging from evil and becoming good.
  •  Confronting reality through Fantasy: Last conversation between Dumbledore and Harry: Is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head? Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry. Why should that mean that it's not real?

Tuesday 1 November 2016

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day is a 1993 drama film adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the Man Booker Prize (Fiction-1989) novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, Mike Nichols and John Calley. It starred Anthony Hopkins as Stevens and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton with James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Hugh Grant and Ben Chaplin.

The protagonist is butler Stevens who narrates the story in first person. At the superficial level, the narration is about 'too much of dedication' for work at the loss of personal relations (Butler prioritizes his work against dying father and fails to reciprocate the love for which he longs in old age). The layered narration can be read as postcolonial narrative written by Japanese-English writer who narrates the readiness of servant class for subjugation to upper class and it is so internalized that even if the 'Master' changed to an American instead of an English man, the 'serventhood' of Stevens the Butler is unflinching. The last scene of the film shows a pigeon trapped in mansion. The window is opened and the new American Master flies away the bird and with it the camera flies sway in the clouds - showing us the large Mansion as a sort of cage, and it get tinier as camera flies higher - within which Stevens is 'happily' trapped / prisoned.

The other layer is much deeper. The background is that of 1930s - the beginning of WWII. It is significant to know how something we are so proud of at a given moment of time in history turns out to be something we are utterly ashamed of. The Nazi sympathizer rich elite British aristocrats are presented of whom the servant class was once very proud of but where ashamed of it in the verge of the unfolding of the events in history.

How symbolically Ishiguro signifies the entrapment of time and history! What so ever class one belongs to - the imprisonment of time and history is terrible. The remains of the 'time' is what remains with us to torment us and we have to live with it. There is no escape from the remains of the time.

Watch Full Movie here:

Friday 28 October 2016

The Teacher is an Iceberg

The Teacher is like an Iceberg

The true teacher is like an iceberg. The students are like the birds flying around the iceberg or like the penguin walking over the iceberg. The birds / penguins seat on the tip of an iceberg for rest. The perception of bird / penguin of the iceberg is what it can see - the outside visible - the eighth part of the huge mountain. The students who just parched on the tip of iceberg have little understanding about the teacher. Some birds / penguins dive deep in the water to catch fish. These birds / penguin can have better understanding of the depth of the iceberg. But birds can never dive deeper to see the bottom of the iceberg. The vastness of the iceberg is experienced as one dives much deeper in the sea. It is beyond the capacities of birds. But there are some students who are like scuba divers. They can dive in deep waters. They can experience the vastness of the iceberg.
 The students who do not dive deep into their studies cannot come out with better understanding of the teacher. Most of the students are like birds. They chirp. They tweet. They parch. They think they have know the iceberg. These birds when they fly at the coast, see rock mountains and pronounce judgement that they are bigger than the one seen in deep sea. They do not know that these rock mountains have feet of clay. They cannot stand the tremors of time. They crumble when earth tremble. The iceberg do not tremble. It swiftly floats during the times of tremors. Its firmness is in the flux. It is not rigidly attached to immovability. The summer sun makes rock mountain hot. It emits heat in the surroundings. And what does the iceberg do? It melts. It makes the surrounding calm and cool. It is not like tree that it can grow but cannot move. The iceberg grown in height as well as in depth. It swiftly moves with time. The true teacher is not like a tree or rock mountain. The true teacher is like an iceberg. The students shall not be mere trekker or a bird to understand real worth of the teacher. The students shall be an expert scuba divers. The deeper they dive, the better they understand the teacher.

Friday 30 September 2016


Microblog on Timepiece

The clock. Yes, it's the clock! The timepiece has created all the hegemonic virtues around punctuality, and vices around 'free-will' to be 'natural being'. Had there been no clocks, there been nobody to be on 'time' and hence nobody would ever be 'late'. . .  No need to give undue respect to those who are on time, and no need to despise those who are late. Cursed be the day on which clock was invented! There is no surprise - 'Horology' (study of time) sounds like 'horror'.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Selfie in Literature

#Selfie in #literature is not a new phenomenon.
Actually, this is going beyond autobiographies. As autobiographies have yet another battle to fight n win and that's about it being called "real" literature. But, quite interestingly, writers have used "words" as now people use "camera" to take selfie of what they do, eat, drink, travel . . . and what not!
The only difference is that this new form is just done with camera phones rather than with words. There are great many #narcissists in literary world.
Walt Whitman with his '*Song of Myself* which begins with this line
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself"
is an example enough to prove it.
*Kamala Das*/ *Madavikutty's '* *An Introduction* ' is yet another interesting example of selfie in poem:
"I am Indian, very brown, born in Malabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
It is I who drink lonely
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns,
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love
And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours.
I too call myself I*."
(The image is gujarati poem (?) by Chandrakant Bakshi. Shared by Jay Metra in comment on fb post.

Monday 19 September 2016

Existentialism: Video Resources

Existentialism: Learn to think and 'be' an Existentialist

This blog contains two web resources and nine short video to learn the fundamentals of Existentialist philosophy (apart from additional reading resources for deeper understanding).

1) Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existencefreedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence. It holds that, as there is no God or any other transcendent force, the only way to counter this nothingness (and hence to find meaning in life) is by embracing existence.
Thus, Existentialism believes that individuals are entirely free and must take personal responsibility for themselves (although with this responsibility comes angst, a profound anguish or dread). It therefore emphasizes actionfreedom and decision as fundamental, and holds that the only way to rise above the essentially absurd condition of humanity (which is characterized bysuffering and inevitable death) is by exercising our personal freedom and choice (a complete rejection of Determinism) (The Basics of Philosophy) (Click here to read full article)


2) Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology. This very broad definition will be clarified by discussing seven key themes that existentialist thinkers address, i.e. 
a.                   Philosophy as a Way of Lifeb.                  Anxiety and Authenticityc.                   Freedom
d.                  Situatednesse.                   Existencef.                   Irrationality/Absurdity g.                  The Crowd

  1. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  3. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  4. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  5. Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) as an Existentialist Philosopher
  6. Albert Camus (1913-1960) as an Existentialist Philosopher
(Click on the themes or names to read the article by Douglas Burnham)
Apart from the philosopher mentioned above, the contribution of Hegel, Dostoevsky, Husserl and Samuel Beckett is significant in the 'Existenlialism'.

Video 1: What is Existentialism? (Click the link to watch the video)

Video 2: The Myth of Sisyphus: The Absurd Reasoning (Feeling of the Absurd) (Click the link to watch the video)

Video 3: The Myth of Sisyphus: the notion of philosophical suicide (Click the link to watch video)

Video 4: Dadaism, Nihilism and Existentialism

Video 5: Existentialism - a gloomy philosophy (Click the link to watch the video)

Video 6: Existentialism and Nihilism: Is it one and the same?

Video 7: Let us introduce Existentialism again!

If you still find it difficult to understand this philosophy, view this video:

Video 8: Explain like I'm Five: Existentialism and Nietzsche:

Video 9: Why I like Existentialism? Eric Dodson

Video 10: Let us sum up: From Essentialism to Existentialism

Additional reading resources:

If you want to read more about
  1. What is Existentialism?

    o   Read Existentialism (Burnham and Papandreopoulos)  
    o   Read Existentialism (C. Wikipedia, Existentialism)
  2. What is the theme of The Myth of Sisyphus?

    o   Read The Myth of Sisyphus. Translated from the French by Justin O'Brien, 1955 (Camus)

  3. Do you agree that Existentialism is Humanism?

    o   Read brief note on Existentialism is Humanism (C. Wikipedia, Existentialism and Humanism)

  4. What is Übermensch?

    o   Nietzsche had his character Zarathustra posit the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    o   Read brief on Übermensch(C. Wikipedia, Ubermensch)

Simple explanation by Suman Shah in Gujarati language

Saturday 3 September 2016

Ministerial Endorsement: Will PM demand an apology as Sushma Swaraj once did?

Should Minister in Office endorse private products or services?

Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi demand an apology from Reliance Jio for using his photographs in the launching advertisement?

But should he demand an apology?

Image 1: Font page ad with PM's photo
The image 1 shows that Reliance Jio gave front page full page ad in leading national news papers with PM Narendra Modi's photo. It seems that PM is endorsing the product.
Well, there may be nothing wrong in this. But the question people may ask is will PM be accountable for the products / services unobjectionably endorsed with his photographs or quotes?
We question this because we are debating an issue of making brand ambassadors accountable for the products and services endorsed by them. Read this. (The issue was in limelight because of Maggie ban and Mahendrasinh Dhoni)
Now, as many of our parliamentarians are willing to make celebrities liable for the products / services they endorse, shall we not question if Ministers (holding key positions in decision making) do not object to private companies making use of their quote or photographs in their advertisement? And if they do not object can we make them also accountable as willy-nilly they are giving consent to it.

Image 2
Well, this reminds of 2003. When Coke and Pepsi were facing charges of pesticides in the cold-drinks, there was nationwide hullabaloo. The image 2 is from The Times of India of 3 August 2003. The Bajpayee government was under tremendous pressure. After several checks in national and international laboratories, the then Health and Family Welfare Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in Parliament of India that Pepsi and Coke are SAFE. The statement was made on 21st August 2003 in the Lok Sabha: ". . . all these (soft drinks) are well within the safety limits. . . .".
Image 3: Minister quoted in Pepsi Ad
On 22nd August 2003, Pepsi smartly used this quote and gave half page advertisement in leading news papers. Pepsi directly quoted Health and Family Welfare Minister in the ad. See Image 3. The ad said that the Minister's faith in the product in restored and refreshed.

Somehow, this did not go well with the minister and she objected. May be she objected on personal moral grounds. May be she thought is not advisable for company to use Minister to endorse the product. But that was a classic case. It remains as a lighthouse to guide us in such matters of ministerial endorsement of private services and products.
The company has give yet another ad on the same spot in all newspapers and APOLOGIZE. See image 4 below.
Well, can we expect similar sort of action from Prime Minister? I am looking forward to see that very soon PMO will ask for an apology from Reliance Jio for making use of PM's photograph in the advertisement.

Here are some of the news regarding the controversy:

Image 4: Minister's Objection.

Why does this become so controversial?

One of the many reasons is PM Narendra Modi's relations with Mukesh Ambani.
The photograph of Mukesh Ambani putting his hand on the shoulder-back of PM of India and PM's hand holding Neeta Ambani's (wife of Mukesh Ambani) hand along with Mukesh Ambani's. Obviously, hand holding is not an issue. But the way Mukesh Ambani puts his hand to 'support' PM sounds very curious. This was equally controversial. Here is interesting take on this hand holding and hand-support. It is in Hindi language. And it was this image which the critics of this endorsement seems to be seeing in the white background of the advertisement:

Friday 2 September 2016

Ek Villain: Tramps in Films and Literature

Ek Villain - Hindi Film Poster
#EkVillainFilm Mohit Suri has matured his art of portraying psychopaths and the evil within the human psyche with Ek Villain Hindi Film ... fromZeherKalyugRaaz – The Mystery ContinuesMurder 2, Ashiqui2 to Ek Villain. Let us remember the Master of this genre - Edgar Allan Poe - and his short stories: A Cask of Amontillado, A Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of UsherEdgar Allan Poe/The Black Cat.
Ek Villian takes its credit in screenplay and editing... Beautiful use of flashback technique... timing of scenes is perfectly edited. Most Mohit-Suri-Films have this in common.
Ritesh Deshmukh: It was surprise to see him 'acting' and freeing himself from slapstick comedies.
Siddharth Malhotra: Has done justice to his role.
Shraddha Kapoor: Normally, females don't have much to do in such movies. They are portrayed on Theresa-Complex - good Samaritan makes ideal sacrificial lamb.

(This is stub - will be developed with observations from characters in Waiting for Godot and other literature and films)