The 2013 Forbes Fictional 15

Each year Forbes evaluates the riches of the wealthiest characters from novels, movies, television and games, constructing portfolios based on their stories and then valuing them using real-world commodity and share prices. It’s been a good year to be imaginary: The aggregate net worth of the Fictional 15 is $215.8 billion, up 3 percent. Below, we’ve collected some of the wisdom that has helped these characters amass their fantastic fortunes.

The 2013 Forbes Fictional 15

 1.  Scrooge McDuck   Uncle Scrooge $65.4 billion
Source: Mining, treasure hunting. Residence: Duckburg, Calisota.
“No man is poor who can do what he likes to do once in a while! And I like to dive around in my money like a porpoise! And burrow through it like a gopher! And toss it up and let it hit me on the head!”

2.  Smaug   The Hobbit $54.1 billion
Source: Marauding. Residence: The Lonely Mountain.
“I kill where I wish and none dare resist.”

3.  CarliSle Cullen   Twilight $46 billion
Source: Compound interest, investments. Residence: Forks, Washington.

4.  Tony Stark   Iron Man $12.4 billion
Source: Defence. Residence: Malibu, California.
“They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.”

5.  Charles Foster Kane   Citizen Kane $11.2 billion
Source: Media. Residence: Xanadu, California.
“If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.”

6.  Bruce Wayne   Batman $9.2 billion
Source: Inheritance, defence. Residence: Gotham City, USA.
“Sometimes it’s only madness that makes us what we are.”

7.  Richie Rich   Richie Rich $5.8 billion
Source: Inheritance, conglomerates. Residence: Richville, USA.
“How come all we do is talk about money? Why don’t we do something fun?”

8.  Christian Grey   Fifty Shades of Grey $2.5 billion
Source: Investments, manufacturing. Residence: Seattle, Washington.
“I go with my gut and 99 percent of the time it doesn’t let me down. If you can free your mind from the clutter of other people’s expectations and the constraints of what’s expected of you, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.”

9.  Tywin Lannister   Game of Thrones $1.8 billion
Source: Inheritance. Residence: Casterly Rock, Westeros.
“A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.”

10.  C Montgomery Burns   The Simpsons $1.5 billion
Source: Energy. Residence: Springfield, USA.
“What good is money if it can’t inspire terror in your fellow man?”

11.  Walden Schmidt   Two and a Half Men $1.3 billion
Source: Technology. Residence: Malibu, California.
“I can’t give you hope, but I can give you my American Express black card.”

12.  Lara Croft   Tomb Raider $1.3 billion
Source: Inheritance, treasure hunting. Residence: Wimbledon, England.
“Everything lost is meant to be found.”

13.  Mr Monopoly   Monopoly $1.2 billion
Source: Real estate. Residence: Atlantic City, New Jersey.

14.  Mary Crawley   Downton Abbey $1.1 billion
Source: Inheritance, marriage. Residence: Yorkshire, England.

15.  Jay Gatsby   The Great Gatsby $1 billion
Source: Racketeering, investments. Residence: West Egg, New York.
“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can!”

This article appeared in the Forbes India magazine of 06 September, 2013

Movie Review: Satyagraha

Satyagraha brings together urban stories of corruption from history -Chauri Chaura, Mandal as well as Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Andolan. Bachchan plays a retired and idealistic teacher Dwarka Anand. Manav (Ajay Devgn) is his engineer son Akhilesh’s friend – an ambitious capitalist. Both friends are really close, and one day Akhilesh dies. Minister Balram Singh (Bajpai) announces compensation, but Akhilesh’s wife Sumitra (Rao) cannot get that despite daily applications to government babus. One thing leads to another and an angry Dwarka slaps an arrogant official and gets imprisoned. The influence of social media is depicted, as Manav starts a campaign to free him by roping in social activist Arjun Singh (Rampal) and journalist Yasmin (Kapoor). The ‘satyagraha’ escalates, leaving politicians panicky about it. 

Movie Review: Satyagraha

Needless to say, each actor added to the movie in their own signature styles. Recall Devgn in ‘Yuva’, Amitabh in ‘Sarkar’ and Bajpai in a glittering, malevolent avatar. The movie’s philosophy is voiced in one of Bachchan’s dialogues – “Janta sarkaar ki malik hai. Malik nirdesh deta hai. Maang nahin karta.” How do you do that? Symbolic protest? Violent revolt? Or a longer, harder route? 

Dealing with this very question, ‘Satyagraha’ takes ahead this movie in a manner more philosophical than action-oriented. Prasoon Joshi adds color to the movie with his lyrics and all in all, ‘Satyagraha’ strips corruption bare to show the audience its filthy body from tip to toe. No short-cuts to a solution, but not pessimistic future either – Satyagraha is a movie that shows the road ahead for what it is.

Casts and credits:

  • Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Arjun Rampal
  • Producers: Siddharth Roy Kapur, Prakash Jha, Ronnie Screwvala
  • Directors: Prakash Jha
  • Music Director: Harris Jayaraj
  • Additional informations:
  • Country: India
  • Language: Hindi
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: Friday, 30th of August 2013
  • Runtime: 152 min

Synopsis:

Satyagraha reflects the revolution of the middle class against a corrupt and unfair system that leaves it with no option but to form an impulsive movement to challenge the status quo. It is the story of a dynamic and determined young man (Ajay Devgn) who is poised to take the elevator of corporate success, when a personal heartbreak exposes him to the shocking outcomes of corruption in this country. Joining his hands with an idealistic old man (Amitabh Bachchan), he sets fire to people’s protest that soon rises into a massive movement with a national importance, and fighting with evil politicians, who have decided to crush and shame him. However, when aam janta’s raw and uncontrolled anger is unleashed, the unintentional penalty could be horrific by itself.

In short, the movie deals with the movement of the middle-class to re-negotiate democracy. It’s the story of a man (Amitabh Bachchan) who is a firm believer of Gandhian principles, an ambitious entrepreneur (Ajay Devgn) who represents the modern India shining philosophy, a social activist (Arjun Rampal) who aims to become a politician, a bold brave and courageous political journalist (Kareena Kapoor), and a clever and cunning politician (Manoj Bajpai) who uses every means to break the system.

Review Of Madras Cafe

Straight up, Madras Cafe couldn’t be more different to director Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor. Political, tense, finally explosive, Madras Cafe is no picnic in the neighborhood park. Major Vikram Singh (Abraham) lands in Sri Lanka, heading RAW’s covert operations. He must work with colleague Bala to get Anna Bhaskaran (Rathnam), head of the rebel LTF group – “Also known as Tigers” – to accept a peaceful resolution. Vikram knows Anna will be a huge challenge – what surprises him is how many others he must face.

Review Of Madras Cafe

Madras Cafe dives boldly into terrain Bollywood hasn’t touched before. Its arsenal features research, respect and bravely, no songs. But it’s not arty or preachy anywhere. Its first half is layered, complex trails – leaks, foreign interests, domestic rivals – slowly revealed to Vikram. As RAW boss Robin Dutt (Basu) ups the pressure, Vikram must move fast through sultry, dangerous airs. His foreign journalist friend Jaya (Fakhri, apparently playing real-life journalist Anita Pratap, who first interviewed LTTE chief Prabhakaran) knows this conflict’s heart even better than Vikram, whose discoveries, from Sri Lanka to South Block, grow traumatic.

Madras Cafe’s true star is its story which builds up to an agonizing end. It brings to life the Lankan war which many viewers were too young to have known. It highlights India’s ambiguous role, moving sensitively, taking no sides, except those of relationships involving respect – but no romance – between Vikram and Jaya, duty, victory and loss. Its second half grows more fraught and taut, conspiracies and compulsions becoming clearer. John stays low-key and competent as Vikram while supporting actors, like agents Bala, SP and Vasu, stand out. Restrained performances by the LTF suicide bombers are chilling.

The cinematography is remarkable, shots of huge naval warships, helicopters floating across hills, sunshine on a deadly sea, haunting. Commendably, Sircar never overindulges in gore, keeping Madras Cafe a shifting site of mental violence. Madras Cafe deserves an extra half-star for guts, going for the gunpowder – but with a restrained hand.

Note: If you like typical Hindi movie masala, unrealistic action or melodrama, this movie is not for you.

This article originally appeared in Times Of India.

Review of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobaara!!

Bollywood movies were enamored by dreaded D’s of the underworld. They still are. Whether the story is told in retro-rap, or with stylish designer double Dons, or with gloss-free rawness of realism.

This endless ‘lawless’ love affair continues. In OUATIMD, a love triangle forms the bloodline of the story, replete with ‘donnisms’, molls with maal and an overkill of ‘loaded’ dialogues pe dialogues.

Review of ‘Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobara’

After Shoaib (Akshay) vanquishes his own gang-guru (in the prequel), he becomes the reigning Mafioso with his terror squad spreading far and wide. Of course, Mumbai city, wrapped in glam, glory and blood-soaked crime files is still fancied by the bhais (“Samundar ke baad Mumbai Shoaib se jani jaati hai!”). Shoaib picks up young Aslam (Imran) from the chawls and takes him under his wing. Their ‘bhaihood’ is bullet-proof, only until years later when starlet Jasmine (Sonakshi) walks in and arrests Shoaib with her charm and gullibility. The rogue turns Romeo with obsession, but she’s already Aslam’s chosen ‘item’. Suddenly, the dons drop their other deadly dhandas to deal with crimes of passion instead (unbelievable!).

Review of ‘Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobara’

Milan Luthria captures the essence of the period, packed with characters living behind ‘dark shades’ with an even darker conscience. This is a love story of a gangsta, it does not reopen dons’ crime diaries. The first part is more engaging; thereon, the sluggish pace lacks the same dum. The heavy-duty dialogues (Rajat Aroraa) punch drama in the story, though at times too overbearing. The background score (Pritam & Anupam Amod) pitches in dramatically. This film has its moments, but it’s not as compelling as the prequel.

Akshay does the bhai act with flamboyance and mojo. He gets a chance to do what he does best – herogiri (albeit less menacing, more entertaining), with charisma and clap-trap dialoguebaazi. Imran looks too suave for the part, but eventually rolls up his sleeves to play a don with dil, performing well in emotional scenes. Sonakshi pulls off a Dabangg act to stand strong between two daunting dons.

Watch this story of deewana dons and their dilrubas! There’s nothing criminal about it!

This article originally appeared in Times Of India.

5 Most Expensive Movie Series

The mind-boggling special effects, extensive props and intricate make-up – some cinematic experiences just leave us wondering how much money went into producing the movies.

And more expensive than just that one movie are a number of movies from the series. I bring you some of the most expensive movie series ever.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Carribean

Without a doubt, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ was the most expensive movie ever made. At a staggering $300 millions, it was worth every cent – the movie made almost a billion dollars at box office worldwide! When ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’ was a hit in 2003 the cast and crew signed on for two sequels, to be shot back-to-back. They were ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ and ‘At World’s End’ – both of which cost around $450 million. All the four movies cost around $900 millions – and the makers made it back with box office returns of almost $4 billions!

2. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings

The LOTR trilogy cost about $281 millions when they were made, and their box office profits almost touched $3 billions. Designing Middle-earth, armors, weapons, make-up, creatures and miniatures would not have come for cheap. When the movies were made, the actors had to themselves 19,000 costumes, 1800 hobbit feet and 48,000 pieces of armor. With such supplies, they could have actually won a battle in real life!

3. Harry Potter

Harry Potter

The eight Harry Potter movies were made with a budget of over a billion dollars, and the profits were $7.7 billions. The last movie ‘Deathly Hallows’ – made in two parts – together cost around $250 millions. Both movies were high-grossers in 2010 and 2011 – when they released, with box office collections of over $2 billion. With the elaborate sets – from the Ministry of Magic to Bill and Fleur’s wedding – the movie spells money.

4. The Matrix

The Matrix

The next most expensive film series is The Matrix – which cost $363 million for all three of its movies, and earned $1.6 billion in return. Of them, the ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ alone cost over $237 million.

5. The Twilight Saga

The Twilight Saga

Pirates, elves, wizards, artificial intelligence and now – vampires! Haters gonna hate, but Stephenie Meyer is not far behind J.K. Rowling when it comes to books being adapted for successful movies. Like Harry Potter, the last book of the Twilight series – ‘Breaking Dawn’ was made into two movies – costing $230 million, and earning $1 billion at the box office.

With such huge expenditures, huge profits and especially, the sci-fi and fantasy genres of such epic proportions – making and watching these movie series are honestly money well spent!

5 Inspiring Lessons From Milkha Singh’s Life

From losing his parents in the riots following the Indo-Pak partition to having had a movie made on his life, Milkha Singh has had an eventful life that speaks volumes about his trials and tribulations as well as his moments of glory.

Milkha-Singh

As we eagerly awaited the release of ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, I bring to you the five inspiring things you can learn from the Flying Sikh.

1. Courage To Move On

Tragedies strike everyone sooner or later. For Milkha Singh, it was too soon. He was not even a teenager when he lost his parents in the violent riots that broke out after the partition of India. That was pretty traumatic for him, but he moved past his personal losses to become one of India’s most loved athletes.

2. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Try Again

Milkha Singh’s life also teaches you to never take no for an answer when you are reaching for your goals. The athlete wanted to join the Indian Army when he grew up, and he applied three times – but he was rejected all three times. However, he did not give up and applied for the fourth time – and got through.

3. Harder, Faster, Stronger

When you work towards your goal, you give all of yourself to the task. At least, Milkha Singh did. The man trained hard to be the best sprinter – training for five hours everyday under extreme pressure. He ran on hills, on the sands of the Yamuna and even against the speed of a meter gauge train – sometimes vomiting blood and collapsing in exhaustion from the intense training.

4. Don’t Sit On Your Laurels

Milkha Singh has the distinction of winning 77 out of the 80 races he ran – and that does not come from complacency. Whether it is the Commonwealth Games or the Asian Games, the man has won medals for them all – and continued to push himself everyday. Every winner can take a leaf out of his book and not pause when on a winning streak.

5. Victory Is More Than Medals

Even with so many victories, Milkha Singh does not have a single medal to claim – as he generously gave them away to Jawaharlal Nehru University. Another athlete would have decked his living room with the trophies and medals, but not Singh. The man is happy with his renown, his name in the school textbooks and now, the upcoming movie.

This Padma Shri awardee is an inspiring figure to many, and these five values he lives his life by are mantras every man can inculcate.