So I recently watched: Trapped

Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours had James Franco stuck in a ditch in the middle of nowhere. There was nobody in the vicinity and no means of communication whatsoever. That was actually based on a real story. I don’t want to spoil the movie ending for you in case you haven’t still watched it but it was a decent ‘one-time watch‘ for its entertainment and thrill value. A similar theme of human endurance, eagerness to live and never give up attitude was seen in The Martian. Although, there as well, the protagonist was so far and away from humanity that it was almost impossible to come out alive. All in all, it was a treat to read/watch, chuckle, hope for the hero’s struggle and feel inspired. In both of the above 2 movies/books, it could be said that the person who got stranded or stuck had no other option but to fight for their survival. Also, they had themselves knowingly placed their own life in known danger. As in, they were quite aware of the issues and perils, one could face when they go away into the unknown isolation.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s ‘Trapped’ starring Rajkumar Rao is different as well as same from both of them. Same but different, you understand? It also has one guy stuck somewhere plot but here, the protagonist gets locked alone in a newly constructed building’s 35th floor, a building right in the middle of one of the most densely populated places on Earth, Mumbai. He even has a Mobile Phone with a low battery at his disposal (our real-life problems), although the building has elongated power outages (again our real-life problems) that can go on for days, as we know, this being India. So, basically, this guy is just stuck in an apartment in a new high-rise building in an urban setting but cannot call for help, as he is, you know, too high altitude-wise.

The plot is straightforward, and many a time predictable. I didn’t particularly feel thrilled as much I should have been. I should have cared for the protagonist but there were certain judgments I feel that could have been made better. For instance, throwing away cardboard to no avail, phobia of the rat, etc. I could think of some more ways to call for help. Also, a glaring goof in the scene when he actually gets stuck. He puts the keys in his pocket and then the keys were not there, or something of that sort.

However, there are certain nuances which brought multiple smiles to my face. Certain names, some foreshadowing, and funny name references were quite nicely done. Above all, since this was mostly a one-character story, Rajkumar Rao shone like anything. He created an almost flawless depiction of a slightly hyper person (which he did in his initial few movies and can do this really well) who don’t know what to do in such drastic situations. Kudos to him. He felt most real as a person stuck in a dire situation with really bad luck.

‘Trapped’ showed that for getting trapped, one doesn’t need to travel far and wide. One can be stuck in one’s apartment, into one’s life, into one’s work, and into one’s mind.

By the way, I am now 1 year into this apartment where I am staying right now. And I’ve already been and seen people trapped in it because of faulty locks. Since then I have learned 2 lessons:

  1. Remove faulty locks at once.
  2. Always take your mobile with reasonable battery left in the bathroom. For safety, of course.

I recommend watching any of the 3 movies mentioned in this post: 127 Hours, The Martian, and Trapped as all three have a one-man podcast kind of scenes. All three have a man trying desperate measures, risking the life, just to get out of these precarious situations. But, while 127 and Martian are eventually really inspiring movies, Trapped is a reality check movie.

So, next time you leave your house, keep your keys safe. Not too safe as well.

So I recently read: The Martian by Andy Weir

Sunday, October 4th, 2015, around 6 PM

Heavy raining was an understatement for that day. It was pouring out there. I and my room-mate called an Uber and found a 2x surge, as usual. But we had to go any how. We had to go to the movie, we had booked, “The Martian”. So eventually, we found a cab and started for the 6.30 show at Cinepolis (still the best after IMAX). The multiplex was not more than 20 mins away from our place.

We had crossed half the way, zooming past the evening rush amidst the downpour. The roads were relatively empty despite evening time. We were hopeful that we will reach the Cinema Hall well in time to buy Nachos and a huge tub of Pop-Corn. And then, like it always happens, Uncle Murphy reminded us of his laws. As soon as we reached the main road, it was jam-packed like the atoms of a heavy metal. I could only see a sea of red of the rear lights of the vehicles ahead. While the rain had now slowed down and some part of the sky had cleared, I could see a tiny red dot near the horizon up in the sky. (Making this last line up, it was still drizzling with grey-blue sky).

We crawled like a sloth and finally reach Cinepolis at 7.15 PM. I was expecting that they would have shown 20 minutes of trailers and advertisements before the show and we would have missed the movie little bit.

The Martian
The Martian

Hustling bustling, we entered the multiplex and found our seats after disturbing at least 10 people and saying sorry awkwardly to a couple. (This line is also made up because we had booked corner seats. I just didn’t want to state that fact)

I asked my neighbour, how much did we miss? The guy said, almost everything. The first scene, I remember, was when Astronaut Mark Whatney (Matt Damon) was video blogging about how he is about to make water and his plan is to have potatoes for survival.

Which means, we had missed the first part where the accident happens. Now, a little bit of Google will suggest that the first part of the story is slightly weird. As in, (if you have not seen the movie, Mark Whatney gets stuck on Mars due an accident caused by heavy storm), the storm won’t be that intense on Mars which would lead to such an accident. Sigh. That was as hurtful as the tethering bit goof-up of the movie Gravity. Anyway, we watched the rest of the movie, enjoyed it, came back home and happily lived ever after. [citation needed]

Now fast forward to present day. In fact few days ago when I got my hands on The Martian book by Andy Weir. So, out of curiosity about what actually would have happened in the beginning, I started reading this book. I will now proceed with this post in 2 sections.

  1. Book review
  2. How did I read this book?

Book Review (Not movie review)

As the story is quite known, I am going to directly post my views without giving story’s summary or even any context (as if the above text is nothing.).

I generally liked this book. I specially liked the part where the protagonist’s sense of humor, amidst the havoc happening around him, is still intact. And that’s most of the book. The wit in the most difficult situations makes this book memorable.

I cannot pinpoint which bit was the best but this book’s core is one message: Despite whatever happens, never lose hope. No matter how bad things look around you, there will always be something you can do. Even if you’re about to die, at least smile for the last time. The book’s first line itself says ‘I’m fucked’ but the last line says that ‘…this is the happiest day of my life’. Of course, some parts look totally impossible but how much do we know about human perseverance and will to survive! There have been many instances where life survived when everyone had given their hopes. This book is based on that idea. My only issue (apart from a character named ‘Venkat Kapoor’ (and that was played by Chiwetel Ejiofor!??!)), that some of the places and equipments depicted in the book are slightly difficult to imagine in the mind while reading the book. One, because I haven’t read much of Sci-Fi actually and whatever movies I have seen, seems to have made everything easier. Second, some geography, some vehicles, only Mars nerds would know.

But then, since this is mostly a first person book, these kinds interest me a lot. And I found myself chuckling throughout the book. But I am still not 100% sure why they called the movie based on this book ‘Comedy’. A thing is good if it is good. It doesn’t matter if it is comedy or serious. Anyways, I recommend this book if you want to read some good sci-fi which is very probable to happen in reality if Elon Musk and likes do few things soon.

How did I read this book?

Very good question.

I had read about 40% of the book at my own pace. But then my friend @anahgem_k shared the Audiobook of The Martian with me through Audible. (Thank you!)

That. Changed. Everything.

I listened to the book, while reading it. And then I increased my listening speed to 1.5x. And eventually found 1.85x comfortable.

With that, I could read, understand and enjoy it so fast, that I finished the book in almost no time. (it still took me 3-4 Sols though).

So, if in case, you are finding a book interesting but getting less time to read it. And audiobooks alone aren’t your thing, combine them both. I’m seriously.

You may buy this book from here: