Scary picture of India in Netflix's ‘Ghoul’ fails to frighten

‘Ghoul’ fails to scare. (Netflix)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Scary picture of India in Netflix's ‘Ghoul’ fails to frighten

  • Ghoul is purportedly a horror, but although frights are thrust upon us, the horror is quite minimal
  • The pace is lazy and the suspense is unconvincing and both Apte and Kaul wear a deadpan expression most of the time

CHENNAI: Netflix’s second India-based original after “Sacred Games” paints a fearful picture of the country where democracy, justice and personal liberty are under severe threat.

Written and directed by Patrick Graham, the television series, whose three episodes began streaming a few days ago, is set in the near future, and talks about some of the scary events in the country. The army has taken over to control sectarian violence and secret prisons have been established where terrible torture is the rule. And all this to put down dissidence. The targets are political leaders, student activists and some Muslims. Saeed (Mahesh Balraj), a terrorist, is being hunted down.

Heading an army detention center is Sunil Da Cunha (Manav Kaul) and assisting him is Radhika Apte’s Nida Rahim, who, to prove her loyalty to the state, turns over her own father to the army. His crime is that he has been teaching his college students things not in the syllabus, and also encouraging them to question authority.

The events take place over a day and a night, and Nida enters the center not quite knowing what to expect. She is shocked when she sees bloodshed and brutality there, and when Saeed is finally caught, he has a message for her.

Really not a patch on “Sacred Games,” Ghoul is purportedly a horror, but although frights are thrust upon us, the horror is quite minimal. 

The pace is lazy and the suspense is unconvincing and both Apte and Kaul wear a deadpan expression most of the time. The one character who briefly registers her humanity is Laxmi (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee). Sunil’s deputy, has a fiery temperament. “I like nightmares, they relax me,” she quips.


Traveling back thousands of years by reviving KSA's Al-Ula

Archaeological treasures in the northwestern region of the Kingdom are older than Saudi Arabia itself, and barely known to the world. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Traveling back thousands of years by reviving KSA's Al-Ula

  • The RCU is joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition

JEDDAH: Bathing in the scorching sun of Saudi Arabia for the past 4,000 years and sitting among the sandy dunes of the northwestern region of the Kingdom, lie the country’s archaeological treasures. These treasures are even older than Saudi Arabia itself, and barely known to the world.
The area covers about 52 hectares of well-preserved land in which there are tombs handcrafted out of the rocks, relics from ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, archaeological riches dating back 4,000 years and other priceless artifacts from the Ottoman Empire.
The somewhat forgotten land is going to be brought into the spotlight by the year 2020 as a historic collaboration takes place between Saudi Arabia and France.
France excels in the art of preserving history so it is the perfect alliance to meet the goals of making Al-Ula a tourist attraction.
Saudis are cooperating with France in preserving and promoting culture and archaeology.
The French consider this project so prestigious that Gerard Mestrallet, a special envoy of the president, has been appointed for Al-Ula. Both countries share a common approach to national heritage; that culture transcends all borders and should be accessible to all who seek to observe history.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as Al-Ula governor, the special envoy to Al-Ula and France’s foreign minister. Against the walls of Paris’s Musee De Arts Decoratifs — a wing of the Louvre Palace — sit the illuminated sandstones for the French to experience a sliver of Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage. The Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU) has signed an agreement with Campus France, described as the leading international academic and vocational public institution in France, to train young Saudi women and men to become aspiring archaeologists.
The RCU is joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition. Public transport, hotels and restaurants are also part of the plan.
More than 2,100 people applied for traineeships: 200 young Saudi men and women will be trained by the most prestigious institutes in the world; part of the 1.2 million new tourist jobs are expected to be created under Vision 2030.
Cutting-edge technologies and methods such as aerial LiDAR (light detection and ranging), scanning and photos taken from light aircraft, helicopter and drones will also be used.