Joseph Finder’s Paranoia: an average thriller with some cool characters

Paranoia (2013) poster drawn by me

Paranoia (2013) poster drawn by me

Gary Oldman has made me read lots of books ! Yes, first Harry Potter, then John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor and now Joseph Finder’s Paranoia.

I need not to re-iterate that I am a big fan of the actor. I have seen all of the films in which he acted. Yes, the cheap ones as well. Whenever I come to know that Oldman is acting in an upcoming film which is based on so and so novel, I just get the copy of the book and read it. So far I am thankful that he made me read good books. I became a fan of Harry Potter since I started reading the books to understand the character he played, of Sirius Black. I am now a die-hard fan of the whole Potter series. Then he played the role of retired British spy George Smiley in the 2011 movie adaptation of John Le Carre’s ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’. Now he will be seen playing the role of a ruthless business tycoon in Robert Luketic’s film adaptation of Joseph Finder’s novel, Paranoia.

Though I enjoyed the earlier books, Le Carre’s and J. K Rowlings, I dint find Paranoia that appealing. I find it as an average thriller, but with some cool characters. The movie is set to release day after tomorrow, and the critics are going to slam the movie anyway, so I thought before they tell the truth about the movie, I will write something about the book I read.

Paranoia is a thriller telling the story of an entry-level young employee in one of the major Tech firm who is given a special mission by his ruthless boss to spy on the rival company led by the boss’s competitor. He is given entry in the rival company to gain access and provide the ruthless boss with the details of the next project on which the competitor is working on which is going to change the entire technology space for that industry. When our hero goes in the rival company as a spy after being trained well, he finds himself being trapped in a web from where he cannot escape. He has to do all the espionage work in a company where the kind-hearted rival boss trusts him and at the same time he will be under constant watchful eyes of his ruthless real boss.

The story is good and I think has already been used in some movies as well. But what I really liked about the book was that each section starts with a quote from ‘diary of an espionage’; where the lead character, Adam tells about the different aspects of spy business on which the twist of that section is based.
Since I have been working in the Technology industry for last five years, I could relate to most of the technical stuff mentioned in the book. This was a telecom technology industry and I can understand most of the technical details mentioned in the book as I have worked particularly for this sector in IT industry for long. However, it is difficult for others who are not from the technical space to understand some portions of the book, specially the major technology shift that is mentioned in the most sought after deal for which Adam is spying.

Paranoia is a normal thriller with no surprising twists; at least they didn’t surprise me. But the book is indeed full of characters who are unique. I will quickly touch upon my favorites:

1. Nicholas Wyatt:

Gary Oldman as Nichilas Wyatt

Gary Oldman as Nichilas Wyatt

I would start with my favorite character from the story which, of course, is played by Gary Oldman in the film version. He is the most interesting character of  the story. He is ruthless, wealthy and not ashamed of what he is doing.

A perfect Bada**, an essential ingredient for a good thriller. He is an athlete build tall guy (quite opposite to Gary Oldman, but that doesn’t matter). He never misses a chance to humiliate Adam, and even though he uses Adam as a spy he always addresses him as if he is doing a great favor to a worthless man and also he makes sure that his terror is always present in Adam’s mind. There is a great quote about Nicholas Wyatt in the book: “There is only one difference between God and Nicholas Wyatt. God doesn’t think that he is Nicholas Wyatt”

2. Adam Cassedy:

Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy

Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy

The lead character. He is the victim but one can draw from the story that he brought it all on himself. He uses company’s money for throwing up a party and he is caught by HR. Instead of being fired, he is appointed by his boss, Wyatt, for a new mission; to spy on the competitor. Though he never had a choice but to accept this proposal, he finds himself trapped. While he is working on a dangerous spy mission trying to avoid suspicion from his new bosses, he is also paranoid of the ever watchful eyes of Wyatt and his men. He feels guilt when the competitor Jock Goddard begins to remember his dead son in Adam. He feels emotionally turned when he is forced to betray the ones whom he started to admire. The interesting thing I liked about Adam is that he used to be a oversmart. He used to think that he could fool anyone in the HR department of his company with his emotional appeal in the beginning of the story. This reminds me of my own character, ‘Dhananjay’ whom I created for one of my comics ‘Chhal’.  Liam Hemsworth will be playing the role of Adam.

3. Nora Summers: She is the immediate reporting manager of Adam when he joins the rival company. She is cold-hearted, evil and devious. You can find such examples in almost all IT companies. I liked the crooked character of Nora. She tries to humiliate Adam when he joins her team, just because she does that with every new joinee. Looking forward to this character in the movie. Christina Marzano will be playing this role.

4. Frank Cassidy: The father of Adam. He is a troubled, aged dying father. He always shows hatred and is always shouting at the top his lungs telling Adam that he is of no worth and he is being used by his superiors. Adam hates his father for his words but also loves him and cares for him as he is dying. Somehow Richard Dreyfuss’s portrayal in the film seem more subtle and gentle. Dunno, have to see the movie for that.

5. Others:

Amber Heard as Emma

Amber Heard as Emma

Harrison Ford as Jock Goddard

Amber Heard as Emma is playing the love interest of Adam. Adam comes to know when he joins the competition that he is filling the position left by Emma who is now working in the same company in a different division. To get more insight on her secret project, he develops romantic relation with Emma but soon starts to love her for real. Amber would be the glamour factor of the film.

Harrison Ford will play the role of Jock Goddard; the rival of Nicholas Wyatt. He is an old man with much experience in the industry. He starts trusting Adam since his first meeting and begins to develop an emotional bonding with him as he begins to see his dead son in Adam and begins to trust him deeply; further increasing the guilt inside Adam. Jock Goddard is mentioned as an earlier mentor of Nicholas Wyatt in the film. He is also shown as bald.

The book is an average thriller with no surprises in the suspense, which is much more predictable. Sadly, the movie looks even worse. If you happen to see the trailer, you can guess the whole story. I don’t understand how can they make this big mistake of making a trailer like that.

You can see the trailer here:

Anyway the movie is gonna be a crap but I will watch it for Gary Oldman who I know will shine as always 🙂

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Legends of India 02- King Porus

In the second installment in this series we go back to 320 BC and talk about one of the greatest and most famous king from our country who not only finds mention in our history but also hold a strong and important presence in Greek history.
King Porus, popularly known as the one who fought with Alexander in his last battle at Hydespas. It is mentioned at many places that this Porus may be the same king who helped Chandragupta Maurya in annexing Magadha and forming the Maurya dynasty in 320 BC. Both Indian and Greek historian believe that he was killed in a conspiracy.

King Porus

King Porus

My post on King Porus talks about the various mentions by historians and the timeline with my paintings depicting the important events of King Porus.

You can read the post on my blog here:

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Legends of India 01: Gautam Buddha

I have read a lot in recent times about the history of India. Nothing new for those who already know. But the stories made me again feel proud of being from this country. There are countless legendary personalities who were born in India, or who left their presence in India. My drawing instruments were dying to draw as many of them as possible. Some of them are very famous and some are less known, while some of them never got much importance.

So I decided to tell you all about these legends of India in a new series.
No, it’s not replication of what the great Amar Chitra Katha is doing. It’s just a fraction of the information from history and my take on that.

The first section would start from where recorded history was believed to be considered indeed as recorded history. I start it with the tales of Legendary Gautam Buddha.

Gautam Buddha:

Buddha who was born in around mid 6th century BC and lived up to mid 5th century BC was the founder of Buddhism. He was born as prince Siddharth, son of a Shakya king. He lived in all royal comforts during his youth days. It was when he witnessed the real grief and pain of life (It is mentioned he had seen one aging man, one dead and decaying corpse, one ascetic). He was moved by the sight and he understood the meaning of nothingness in life and he left his home and went to meditate.
It is said that in Bodhagaya in India, Buddha got enlightenment of knowledge, which he later spread to people and later his followers.

There are many interesting stories associated with Buddha and some principle personalities in his lifetime. I have discussed about them in my blog entry here along with my paintings:

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Kurukshetra Yuddha

Kurukshetra Yuddha

Four tough years of writing and My debut novel “Kurukshetra Yuddha” is now out in the market. It was launched around 8 months ago in Bangalore comic con.

About Kurukshetra Yuddha:Mahabharat, the great Indian epic, has inspired a lot of people all over the world; I mean a lot of creative people have been inspired to create something which, if not their best work, sometimes is close to their best works. I have seen Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings, have read Shivaji Sawant’s novel “Mrityunjay”, seen B.R. Chopra’s TV series “Mahabharat” and can see how much this type of work has inspired not only them and people of their generation but also it continues to inspire people of our generation till date and is bound to inspire the coming generations as well as long as we will have knowledge hungry and intellectual youngsters.

My inspiration:While I was in my initial days of my first job in 2008, I started reading K.M. Ganguly’s english translation of the great epic, which is now available for free over
I downloaded the 18 parvas of Mahabharat and started reading them. The story is intriguing and engaging that everybody knows. What caught my special attention was a detailed description of the bloody war of Kurukshetra. I have seen many interpretations and writings and paintings related to different major incidences that happened in the great 18 days war of Mahabharat. In fact, I found that the whole story in a way revolves around this war. Some stories that are mentioned in parva 1 or 2 of the epic have their repercussions in the war. Even the story after the war shows the aftermath. It was surprising to know that out of 18 books in Mahabharat story, 5 books/ parvas are dedicated to war alone. Still, the several interpretations and paintings and writings have never given such a detailed description of the war. It is said that thousands and lakhs (And sometimes mentioned as millions and billions) fought in a war and that in only 18 days they all perished with only 11 (or 12) major survivors.

After reading the KM Ganguly’s translation, I felt compelled to create something for the 18 days of the war, a story which will tell what happened on each day in detail.

That required a lot of research, not only just reading the 18 books of Mahabharat in detail, but also reading different other sources, sometimes Bhagavat or sometimes other puranas. I have read many scholarly articles and researches already done on Mahabharat. Surprisingly I found very less number of books or less amount of research available for different kings and kingdoms which participated in the war. In Mahabharat the entire map of the country is described at different stages and much of the research has been done on that part. In the Kurukshetra war, different kings came to fight either for Kauravas or for the Pandavas. They belonged to different kingdoms (samrajya) or provinces (rajya). Most of them have certain stories present either in Mahabhart or in some other related puran/ epic. Almost all of them have been individually mentioned in Mahabharat as brave, powerful, skilled warriors and have been eulogized by phrases like ‘tiger among men’, ‘that bull of xyz race’, ‘ornament of assemblies’, ‘scorcher of foes’ etc. I felt that if we don’t cover the deeds of such great heroes of the epic in any version, it would be unfair. So, I decided to tell the story of the war and the participation of these unsung heroes.

Another aspect was stories of the youngsters. We all know Abhimanyu, the son of Arjun, to be one of the heroes from the younger generation in the war. But there were others as well. Son of Duryodhan; Laxman, another son of Arjun; Iravan, son of Dushasan, son of Yudhishthir; Prativindhya; they all played major roles in the war. What would have been their mindset ? They were definitely not villains, despite of being sons of those who are generally portrayed as villains. What would they be thinking of what their parents were doing ? Were they ashamed or proud or disturbed of what happened in the past with their elders. For example, what would sons of Draupadi would think of their mother’s disgrace at the hands of Kurus. What would sons of Karna think of Duryodhan or Arjun ? what would sons of Draupadi’s brothers would think of the Pandavas and Kauravas ? what would son of Shikhandi (yes, he too had a son) would think of his father ? and what would they think of each other ? like, what would Abhimanyu would think about Prativindhya and his brothers and what would he think of Iravan and vice-versa? All these questions gave birth to a concept in my mind as what would these youngsters would do after a day’s war was over and the warriors were resting and waiting for the morning ?
So I created the scenario when all these youngsters would go to their elders to know from them the stories of the past, the meanings of life’s vital questions, the reasons for particular incidence in the day of war etc.

Another aspect was the scientific and strategic view of the war. We know that Dronacharya formed the Chakravyuha in the war which was difficult to break and only few knew the method to break it. But was it the only important vyuha (military formation) made in the war ? No. Each day, a different vyuha was made. Each vyuha having its own merits and demerits. And for each vyuha, there was a counter vyuha. No version of Mahabharat has shown the pictorial presentation of these formations and the strategic position of the warriors. I did that. Also, I have also tried to answer what was so special and why was it so difficult to break the Chakravyuha. I have mentioned a possible strategy that Abhimanyu had adopted (again diagrammatically).

And a major aspect was redefining the characters of the great epic. I have tried to tell the story of the epic from different angles from perspectives of different important characters like Bheeshm, Dronacharaya, Ashwatthama, Bheem, Arjun, Duryodhan, Karna, Yudhishthir, and finally Krishna. I have tried to touch upon some stories and relationships which have been mildly discussed in the epic and I have tried to expand it with my own imagination, like, Duryodhan’s and Karna’s relation with their wives, Dronacharya’s obsession of friendship with Drupad, Shalya’s devotion and its challenges, Bheeshm’s view on his own deeds,etc.

Also since, I can’t tell a story without drawing, I have included many paintings I did for different stories, for before and during the war. The paintings are sometimes subtle and soothing when it tells a past story and is bloody and violent when it describes the events of the war.

In addition to the freedom that this story gave me for writing and drawing, it also provided me so many avenues to explore my creativity. I have tried to explore the human emotions during the war, the ever-present struggle between what is right and what is easy, incorporation of the eighteen chapters of Bhagvat Geeta into eighteen days of war, the teachings of elders like Bheeshm, Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Shalya, Bhagadatt, Vyas, Vahlik, Sanjay, Rishi Dhaumya, Parashuram and also by Yudhishthir, Krishna, Karna and also by Duryodhan. A specific example is it is mentioned in the epic that after the 7th day of the war was over, there was a program of music and dance on the battlefield in the night. I have included a song sung by one of the younger warriors remembering his beloved.

The story of relations, knowledge, emotions being developed during the conversations during the night followed by subsequent bloodshed, killings, brutality on the day marked by the bravery, valor, power and awesomeness of the greatest warrior ever walked on the earth.

The story is mammoth sized 25 chapters book with four chapters dedicated to the story just before the war describing the preparations, alliances, failing of the last peace mission of Krishna and three chapters dedicated to the aftermath and eighteen full chapters for each day. I have divided the story in three parts:first part with four chapters for per-war story and story of first ten days. Second part with the story of next five days of the war and the last part with the story of last three days and subsequent aftermath.

I got the first part published under my own publishing title ‘Lotus of Saraswati’. The first part telling the story of first ten days of the war, with my 40 paintings, titled “Kurukshetra Yuddh- bhaag 1- Yuganta” was released in Comic con Bangalore in September, 2012. The book received a good opening. This book is now available to buy online through Flipkart, Infibeam, Homeshop18, Pothi, etc.

Kurukshetra Yuddha launched in Comic con Expresss Bangalore, Sep 2012

Kurukshetra Yuddha launched in Comic con Expresss Bangalore, Sep 2012

Here are some of the paintings from the book:

satyaki sons slainday 6shikhandi arjun ashwathama_dialogueshikhandi arjun ashwathama

The book is available at:

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Coming Soon….. | Lotus of Saraswati

Coming Soon….. | Lotus of Saraswati.

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2nd Annual Comic Con

Its name was "Mrinal's art: the Lotus of Saraswati"

The 2nd annual comic con held at Delhi between 17th to 19th of Feb was an awesome experience. I participated as an independent artist, and showcased by self publilshed comic books.

My 4 comic books, conceptualized, drawn and lettered by me were there for sale

I was overwhelmed with the response that I got in the three days. Art and comic book fans not only purchased my self published comic books (signed copies !!) but also some of my old art work, including the drawing sheets withtwo holes !!

Crowd poured in each day and I was not free to even go out and see whats happening at the stage

I got to know a lot of people in the industry, all comic book fans and enthusiastic young enterprenaurs.

I met Jatin Varma from Pop Culture Publishing and the founder of Comic Con India, Jazyl from The Beast Legion, Karan Vir from Vimanica Comics, Fenil from Fenil Sherdiwala Comics, Chetan Sharma from Animagic, Kishore, Rosh and Sinu from the Libera Artisti. One thing I understood by knowing all of them is that these guys believed a lot what they were doing. They had that PASSION to do what they want with little heed paid to the risk and consequences. Yes there is risk but at the end they are all satisfied that they are doing something they love.

I bought few comics and some art material. I got a set of sakura pigma pen as a gift from the company when I sketched on the spot a figure of Bheeshma. I also won a contest of eye comic drawing and as prize got a T-shirt, watch and computer speaker.

I sketched on the spot an illustration of Bheeshma and gifted it to Sakura micron pen team

It was a great experience one of the happiest in my life till now.

But there is a long way ahead. This is just a beginning. I have to apply knowledge that I have gathered and also have to work on some immediate action items and parallely think of a completely new comic book story.

The overall experience I cannot describe in words, but yes there is lot more to do now, that I know for sure !

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Participating in 2nd Annual Comic Con

Finally, a golden chance.

I will be participating in the 2nd Annual Comic Convention to be held in Dilli Haat, New Delhi for 17, 18, 19 Feb. I have booked a stall to put up my comics, my finished, unpublished comics along with some sneakpeaks of my book on Kurukshetra war. I just hope that some publisher comes and see it. All left to God, I have kept my fingers crossed. The name of my stall would be “Mrinal’s art: The lotus of Saraswati”, and I have also designed a logo for myself. It purposefully consists of an image of Goddess Saraswati represnting all forms of art.

Mrinal's art: The Lotus of Saraswati

Here I have shown all forms of art represented by this single image. I will leave it to the viewer to identify how different forms like Acting, Music, dance, drawing and writing are shown in this pic. I just wanted Maa Saraswati’s blessings with me when I will showcase my work. I have just kept my fingers crossed. Let something good happens.

You are invited to this Convention. For details, please visit:

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