What is Indian food? If you ask a Caucasian, he would probably say Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Naan. But the real answer is, there’s no one thing called “Indian Food”. How do you define it, then? That’s the question that the TV show Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaaniyan tries to answer. I mentioned this show briefly in my list of favourite TV shows of all time and believe that it now needs its own post.
Raja, Rasoi aur Anya Kahaaniyan is probably the most comprehensive look into what Indian food is. Each episode takes a look into a different part of Indian cuisine, divided carefully using state/region or cities. They discuss the following parameters for each of these cuisines
History of the cuisine
History of the various produce being used in these cuisines, along with their country of origin and when they came to India
Which meat is used where and why
The evolution of the cuisine over centuries
The role of royal families in preserving these cuisines
My favourite episodes over 4 seasons, in chronological order are the ones below
I am watching the entire series again for the second time and really enjoying it. If you like Indian food and interested to know more about it, I definitely recommend this show. Streaming on EpicOn (All Seasons), Netflix (Only 1 season) and Discovery+ (First 3 seasons).
As life goes on & we all move one step closer to death, I realise time is precious. There’s not enough time in this lifetime to watch TV shows which are “just average”. As such, in the last few months, I have cut out many shows from my life. Consider this article an addendum to this one. Below is the list
Invasion is a Sci-Fi show on Apple TV+. I actually wanted to watch Foundation but it proved too complicated and big for me, so I settled for this. The show has great special effects, good production values & a huge budget. But eventually, it ends up disappointing because of flaws in the story and the annoying characters.
The story is about the invasion of earth by Aliens. It follows 4 characters around the world affected by the invasion. Like other similar shows and movies, you just know the paths of these characters will merge at some point in the show. I won’t go too much into the story, because it’s the characters who sink the show.
Sherrif Tyson is a typical old-school/small-town Sherrif who realises during his retirement party that his career has been too lacklustre. Tyson is played by Sam Neill, who is the only big-name actor in this show. All the trailers of this show focussed mostly on his characters and misled people into thinking that the show revolved around him. Instead, he appears only in one episode, climbs a few ladders, grunts a bit a then dies.
Maliks are an Islamic immigrant family living in New York. The wife is plain-looking and homely, so the husband fucks and impregnates an attractive American woman. As revenge, the wife abandons him twice to die. First time the aliens almost kill him, second time she abandons him to gun-toting vigilantes. The family pretends to be victims of Xenophobia, but the wife proves the entire point of it by stealing an American family’s SUV & abandoning injured patients. At one point another American family provides them shelter, but the Maliks leave them to die. The children only squeal and shriek.
Trevante is a typical entitled American soldier posted in Afghanistan. Trevante displays his American values from the very first scene by insulting and abusing Afghans, even those who help him and save him from certain death. He frequently demands locals to help him, steals things from them, all the while abusing them. Trevante continues his entitled behaviour even when he lands in London, demanding Britishers to give him an entire plane to fly him to the US.
Mitsuki is arguably the most irritating character in this show. She is a low-ranking engineer at Japan’s space exploration agency. Being an Asian and a Lesbian at the same time, she satisfies demands for inclusivity and diversity in the show. At work & off, she has no qualms cutting corners and breaking rules to get what she needs. After being fired for indiscipline, she is caught hacking into some servers. She gives her boss a lecture about love & he promptly hands over his all-access card. Mitsuki goes on to hijack the biggest radio telescope of her country without any repercussions. She even develops an AI program to decode Alien language in hours. All the while shedding tears for her presumably perished lover.
Caspar is a British epileptic kid who discovers that the seizures he has been having all his life are actually mind-syncs with the Aliens. He always gets his way because his mixed-race girlfriend shows everyone some shitty sketches he made. They casually convince Trevante to escort them to a hospital to induce a seizure in Caspar. The hospital, full of patients in need of help drops everything to do just that. Eventually, when his eyes roll into his head one last time, you can’t help but hope that he’s dead.
Eventually, the Aliens are defeated in typical American fashion. The Americans fire a nuke at their mother space ship and the alien creatures just drop dead on earth. Even I, an inferior human knows not to create designs with single points of failure.
Eventually, I am glad the season is over and I hope they don’t renew it for a second season.
Suchitra Iyer is a character from the Amazon Prime show The Family Man. I started watching the show last week. Although the show itself is decidedly brilliant, it’s this character that struck me most.
For those unfamiliar with the show, Suchitra Iyer, played by the brilliant actress Priyamani is the wife of protagonist Srikant Tiwari, played by the brilliant actor Manoj Bajpayee.
She is a college psychology teacher & a mother of 2 children. She starts off as a good wife, a devoted mother, but soon, little things about her start bothering the viewer.
She starts soft-flirting with her colleague Arvind & leaves her well-established college job to join a startup with him. They are exchanging messages late at night which themselves are harmless, but border on inappropriate. Soon, she takes things further by going on a soft-date with him at a cafe, then at a 5 star restaurant, eventually ending up at his home to tend for his sick daughter. Nothing inappropriate happens, but the viewer can easily notice the sexual tension between them. When Arvind invites her for a “bootcamp” at Lonavala, it is quite evident that something is going to happen.
It does, when they casually share the same hotel room, get dressed at the same time in the bathroom and eventually decide not to drive home at night and sleep over. By the time she messages Arvind (who’s on the couch) that she cannot sleep and then gets up to go to him (and presumably have sex), one cannot stop themselves from hating her. All the while their unattended daughter is almost drugged by a guy and their son almost shoots himself.
Sure, Srikant is a workaholic, doesn’t spend time with his family and provides a very middle-class existence. But the onus of hate is on Suchitra for cheating on him. Srikant get excellent opportunities to ball his boss (Gul Panang no less) but doesn’t even consider it.
The Skyler White Connection
All of the above makes me draw parallels between Suchitra’s character and the character of Skyler White from Breaking bad.
Both characters start off as devoted wives and mothers
They both lead a very middle class existence
Both are pleasantly buxom
Their husbands are considered failures by family and friends
They have no idea what their husbands really do on their jobs
Both eventually cheat on their husbands
Both become quite hate-worthy
At least Skyler had the decency to confess to her husband about her cheating unlike the cowardly Suchitra.
Surprisingly, its Suchitra’s character that I look forward to and enjoy (hating on) the most, in the show.
If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest you watch it, as it is brilliant.