on the actor's trail

Benedict Cumberbatch might not look the part, but he is perfect for ‘Doctor Strange’

His appeal combines old world charm with ruthless intelligence, which works perfectly for the Marvel Cinematic Universe character.

As winter draws in and the evenings lengthen, magic comes to New York City. JK Rowling’s Newt Scamander will be chasing down his unleashed beasts in the first instalment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Dr Stephen Strange, Master of the Mystical Arts, joins the ever-growing team of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s superhero pack in the November 4 release Doctor Strange.

Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Strange is a bit of an oddity in the current line-up of MCU heroes. Unlike Captain America, the quintessential American hero with his blond locks, dreamy blue eyes, and helicopter-pushing muscles, Strange is not a soldier, at least not in the conventional sense. He is no millionaire playboy, like Tony Stark, quick with a quip, disguising heroism with a sense of nonchalance. As Karl Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) says in one of the several Doctor Strange trailers that have graced the internet: “The Avengers protect the world from physical dangers. We safeguard against more mystical threats.” Strange is the Marvel Universe’s master of these mystic arts, and the film showcases his rise to that position, the threats he will have to face down in order to (you guessed it) save the world from Mads Mikkelsen’s renegade Kaecilius.

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‘Doctor Strange’.

Strange is not the blond-haired, husky do-gooder that Hollywood has conventionally patronised as a sex symbol. That’s more Captain America’s shtick. Then again, Cumberbatch is not your typical Hollywood sex bomb either. Pale of skin, with a long face and a curiously cold countenance, the actor has managed to win legions of fans despite his choice of curiously sexless roles. Cumberbatch sprang into international prominence playing the slightly sociopathic, awkward Sherlock of BBC’s Sherlock, a man whose ability to reason and deduce a sequence of events is so advanced that people literally stumble after him, unable to comprehend his trips through his “mind palace”.

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‘Sherlock’.

After this, Cumberbatch played Alan Turing, the tragic mathematician, in The Imitation Game (2014), a role for which he earned his first Oscar nomination. Cumberbatch is no stranger to the geek community either. Besides Sherlock, he has voiced Smaug, the smouldering dragon of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies, and the villainous Khan of the new Star Trek films.

At first, Cumberbatch was thought to appeal to a certain segment of the female population – the geek girls who valued thought over matter and prided themselves on a certain intellectual superiority. Not for them the Brad Pitt of yesteryears or the bevy of Hollywood Chrises (Hemsworth, Pine, Pratt, Evans). The “Cumberbitches”, as Cumberbatch’s female fans call themselves, can listen to their chosen heartthrob recite Shakespeare or watch him smoulder in thought and take equal pleasure in both.

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Benedict Cumberbatch reciting John Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.

Cumberbatch’s appeal combines a certain old world charm with ruthless intelligence, the two sides of his persona we see filtered through his YouTube recordings and his choice of films. He has also proven time and again that he is open to just having fun, engaging in dance-offs with fellow British intellectual hot man, Tom Hiddleston. The appeal of both Cumberbatch and Hiddleston, in contrast to that of their compatriot, Tom Hardy, lies in the channelling of what seems almost stereotypically British qualities – the pale skin, the quiet and polite voice, the reading of classic poetry and cloaking of skin in tailored suits and propriety – and presenting them in the often larger than life, glitz and glam arena of Hollywood. They present a contrast to the more relaxed, casual persona of surfer dude Chris Hemsworth or the man’s man appeal of Chris Pratt.

Hiddleston channels his inner bad boy in Loki, Thor’s half brother in the Marvel films. But even here he is less of a grandstanding world-destroyer in the spirit of Magneto than he is a suave, witty demigod, propelled by grief and a desire to prove himself and almost inevitably gaining the sympathy of viewers. Thor 2: The Dark World was livened by Loki’s presence, and many fans criticised Avengers: Age of Ultron for its lack of Hiddleston. Again, Loki is not the conventional choice for a sex symbol, but Hiddleston’s verve and wit – what is presented as his verve and wit, rather – have made him a compelling character in the Marvel franchise.

Cumberbatch’s track record suggests that he will be able to channel his considerable star power and charisma into raising Strange to the same level. On November 4, instead of viewing clips of Captain America pushing away a helicopter, muscles straining with the effort, the world will be drooling over Strange as he waves his fingers and does battle in realities that we mundane people can only dream of. After all, stranger things have happened.

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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.