Praise for My Books

"Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a gifted writer of great promise. I have a gut feeling we have a new star rising in Punjab's literary horizon. She has an excellent command of English and a sly sense of humour."
- Khushwant Singh on The Long Walk Home

"An enjoyable tale of a sassy girl's headlong race up the corporate ladder."
- India Today on Earning the Laundry Stripes

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bashi Bazouk, I'm Glad This Child Never Grows Up!

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

On Sunday we watched The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, and came away satiated. And yearning for more! How often does it happen that your child willingly, in an entirely un-premeditated fashion, runs a math problem through her head, comes up with an answer and seeks solace in it? Yes, solace? Well, this is how it happened....

There we are in the darkened hall of AMC cinemas at Pacific Place, our 3 D glasses glued to our eyes, following Tintin and Snowy dodge bullets and chase cars, our hands frozen in popcorn cartons, when my daughter urgently whispered to me: How much time since the movie started

A quick glance at my wrist showed half an hour, which I promptly conveyed.

Good! Another 77 minutes to go!

There was a mix of relief and glee in her voice and I turned to gaze at her. In the darkness I saw her face alight with screen light, soaking in Tintin’s mad caper, Snowy’s energetic perambulations and Captain Haddock’s inebriated mutterings, as another minute rolled on in the comforting knowledge that many more would come before The End.

Perhaps, Mr Spielberg can consider a parallel career as a Math instructor? You know, weave in math problems for Tintin and Snowy to fathom as they sail across the sea to Bagaar? If Sakharine’s ship is sailing at x nautical mph and is y miles ahead then what speed does Tintin need to sail at in order to overtake him? Well, there are more Tintin adventures to come, and perhaps Mr Spielberg will live up to his Math teacher alter ego, and then there’s Professor Calculus!

One of the great joys of being a parent is to discover that moment when something you’ve loved as a child and since, is the very same thing your child begins to fall in love with too! The investigative reporter who’s never filed a single report and his white fox terrier have been sitting on our bookshelf for years, during which they’ve been brought down, read, laughed with, re-read - accounting on many days for the silly grins plastered on our faces. 

Tintin in Tibet was my daughter’s gateway to the series and the scene set in India - where the Captain gets waylaid by a holy cow - is her absolute favourite. Now with the film and the sequels to follow, looks like our family love affair with Tintin is here to stay.

Spielberg is known in Hollywood as the child who never grew up and with Tintin this child has had a blast. Apparently, the director’s love affair with Tintin is decades old for he bought the movie rights in 1983 when the French reviews of Indiana Jones drew his attention to Tintin. Herge died before the two could meet but his widow proceeded with the deal. You can read more of this fascinating story here.

What I loved about the movie was how faithfully Spielberg and Peter Jackson (of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) have reproduced Herge’s illustrations for the big screen. (And for that I'll forgive him casting Daniel Craig in Sakharine's mould.) Apparently, during filming, Spielberg’s one question to himself was: Would Herge like it?

I came across this insightful article in Wired which explains how the animation team on Tintin tackled the challenge of converting flat, mid-century comic book characters to look 3 D for Tintin. Read it, and you’ll see for yourself the extent to which the sanctity of Herge’s work has been preserved. 

I am sharing below one such illustration:

The sanctity of Herge's work has been retained in other ways as well: I am thrilled that in our politically correct world Captain Haddock has not been watered down lest he bother sensitive folks who may feel their children wilting under the blasts of the captain's Bashi Bazoukisms! No, Haddock is here, very much as the grumpy acerbic whiskey-swigging counterpart to Tintin's incredible heroism. And thank god for that! 

There are folks in this world, you know, who find themselves in grumpy characters, whose heart of gold is encased in blistering barnacles, characters such as the good ole captain! Personally, while I adore young Tintin and his zeal, I identify much more with the emotional expletive-filled captain.

If you recall, Herge's Tintin barely shows a flicker on his face whereas Haddock's face is frequently contorted with some emotion, or pleasure! Plus, where else would you find such exquisite alliterative curses to rain down upon your enemies? O Captain Haddock, thou of the Squawking Popinjay fame!

Ten thousand thundering typhoons, get me the next Tintin adventure in 3D, now!


  1. Oh yes, I love Tintin, have done since childhood... and your post is so perfect too, make me feel that I should go and see the movie again...

    thanks for sharing..

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    At Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  2. I loved Tintin books but I didn't like the film so much even with the 3D. It was kind of ok but not as good we had hoped!

  3. Such a vivid description of the movie.I totally agree, the movie was spellbinding even my two and a half year old daughter who has no idea who tintin is was riveted through the movie and even now remembers snowy time and again. :-)

  4. @ sunil deepak: Oh! Well, the next one perhaps :)

  5. @ Swapna: Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post, and the movie with your lil one :) We are all big Snowy fans too!

  6. What a bright review with a sweet, personal touch!

    I was a Tintin addict from early days. The fascination refuses to die and I can still go through those loved adventures as if I am reading them for the first time. Then, I am obsessed with Spielberg! Yet, I didn't watch the movie for reasons attributable to nothing else but laziness. But you have firmed up my resolve.

  7. I loved the movie too. Of the 3 3D movies I've seen in the last year or two - Avatar, Harry Potter and Tin Tin-I think Tin Tin was the BEST! I loved the little details. There was a scene when the whiskey rolls into a ball in the aircraft - the reflections of the 2 passengers could be seen in the bubble. Talk about attention to detail! And did you notice the tribute to Herge-when Tin Tin is introduced for the first time in the movie, the artiste sketching him is actually Herge!

    My family and I love Tin Tin. My husband has the entire collection. We use the swear words that Haddock uses :))) My husband's fav (when I pick out his clothes) is that he looks like a 'Fancydress Fatima'!!

  8. I loved the movie as well your post.

  9. @ Deepa: Glad to have encountered you - you are a surefire Tintin fan :)) Yup, I recall the whiskey bubble scene and agree, totally incredible. And yes, thanks for reminding me of "Fancy dress Fatima"!!!