Monday, December 24, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
I realize that I need to finish gushing before I can write up about the movie - here goes. Hats off to Farah Khan for lighting up my Diwali with a pataka of a film, the explosion of which will resonate for a long time to come. Hats off to the King Khan for backing up Farah and fulfilling her every demand as a producer, the movie is as lavish as it can get. And I'm in love all over again...Deepika Padukone looked ethereal in the movie and I cant wait to see more of her. The music is fabulous, the songs are spectacularly mounted, the camera work is flawless, the sets are fantabulous, the dialogues are apt and the acting topnotch.
Alright, gushing apart and out of the way, Farah Khan, who showed us how all the cliches in Bollywood can be used to create an endearing effect, how the old movies can be revamped to brilliant effect, how the over the top scenes of yore can be used to evoke humor...quite a master of the spoof, she proved herself to be. With Om Shanti Om, she takes the spoof genre to an altogether different level, much higher than anyone can hope to take it in a long time to come and much better than anyone has done in the recent past. All the references to the movies and movie stars of the time when they grew up are so ingeniously thought of and so well executed, you find yourself laughing your guts out and wishing we could get to see some more of those old melodramas from the Manmohan Desai era. The entire film industry makes an appearance in the movie...half of them appear in the special number and the other half during the superbly conceptualized Filmfare Awards function. The awards nite is a riot and Akshay Kumar will walk away with all the plaudits for that one (and he should really ask Farah to make Return of the Khiladi with him). Abhishek Bachchan is there too and so are a lot of other people who show that Bollywood is beyond petty issues, evident in the way all of the stars sportingly spoof their own movies.
Standout sequences include all of Shahrukh's scenes as a junior artist (dacoit, Quick Gun Murugan etc), all of his scenes as a superstar (Apahich pyaar, Mohabbat Man), all of his dream scenes...King Khan had loads of fun while doing the movie and it shows. Deepika does not have much to do except look pretty and that she does to stunning effect, my jaw kept dropping so often, anymore and I would have moved around with an open mouth for the rest of my life. Kiron Kher is tailor made for the role she plays in the movie, the over the top, has been junior artiste who thinks she should have played Anarkali must have been written with her in mind. Shahrukh's line in the movie describes her the best when he calls her 'meri filmy maa'. Shreyas Talpade is good and Arjun Rampal rocks as Mukesh and later Mike!
All in all, King Khan will rule yet another Diwali. If it was Don last year, it is Om Shanti Om this year. With the kind of feedback Saawariya is getting, it is obvious that Shahrukh will not eat his words - "Diwali is all his".
PS: As KK says, don't be in any sort of hurry to see the movie, it is going to be around for ages, so catch it at leisure. And have to include one of his gems, according to him Deepika Padukone played a sensuous ghost (deyyanni chooste bhayam veyyadam maanesi mood ostondi raaaaaa - exact words).
Sunday, November 04, 2007
After having read all the good stuff about Johnny, there was a lurking fear that I might be disappointed. But the fears were entirely unwarranted as the movie was all that I could hope for and slightly more. The movie starts off with the hero reading Erle Stanley Gardener and the heroine reading Guide (a pointer to his deceit and her adultery?) and moves along surefootedly in the very manner of a Gardener novel. The premise being simple, one of the best things Sriram Raghavan, the director, does is that he does not intend the movie to be a whodunit. It simply follows the travails of our Gaddaar once he goes through with his gaddaari. Each of the five gang members is given a distinct touch by which to remember it...Even the first to be bumped off, Shiva, has a south indian girlfriend, Vyjayanti, obviously south indian, who brings him 'lemon rice' when he is about to set out on a journey. Dharmendra turns in a likeable performance, Neil Mukesh is restraint personified, Vinay Pathak rocks, Zakir Hussain is snake like, slithery and full of venom, Asha Kalsekar is outstanding and the twist at the end catches you by surprise. All in all a good movie that probably fell flat due to its non-star cast. This one will surely enjoy a good run in the home video section.
Jab We Met is for people who like to go to the theatre and see how delightful a slice of life movie can be. RamGopal Verma, with all his underworld sagas, had almost convinced me that a real life movie means it has to be extremely dark and depressing. But here, with characters that do not talk in the "Mooh haath dholo betaa, gajra kaa halwa khilaadoongi language", the movie proves to be extremely refreshing. The other guy, for example is actually fedup with Kareena's constant chatter about 'ghar kaisaa hogaa, balcony kaisaa hogaa, parde kaise honge' etc instead of being enamored by all the sweet talk. And the movie really came down to Kareena...full of wide eyed innocence and non-stop 'I'm my favorite' chatter, she was a delight to watch. This delightful, gullible character so pulls you in that you feel bad when she becomes a sober person in the second half. You want to tell her that all that has happened to her was not because she was an idiot, it was because she chose the wrong idiot. This identification is what you take back home, because the characters stay long after the lights have come on and you go home. Dont be surprised if you find yourself full of hope when you step out of the theater, Imtiaz Ali's second feature can do that to you!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Yup, yup, I know I've been away for a while and the posts in the last few weeks have been more perfunctory than anything else, but I have been swamped with work like there is no tomorrow and the ride has been pretty rough. Things are pretty settled now, so thought I would pen down some thoughts...
No movie reviews as the last one I saw, Athidhi left me so disappointed that I did not have the courage to break the news to all the eager Mahesh fans. Read somewhere recently that the concept of the Hero (read DEMIGOD) beating N (N tends to infinity) number of goons to pulp not even suffering a scratch in the process persists only in Tamil and Telugu films these days and I'm compelled to agree...absolutely true, I must say! Also, when an actor has a hit film, it means people liked him in the role and does not mean that they want to see him again and again and again play similar roles. And Mahesh does not always have to be chased by the heroine, he does not always have to use swear words to appear cool, he does not always have to utter derogatory words to the vamp in item numbers, he does not always have to have an intense stare and a thousand other things...u get the drift! These things that he did worked in a couple of movies but that does not have to be the reason for you to hoist the same things onto us again and again!
Want to see JAB WE MET. Will most probably do it this weekend, God (and friends) willing.
One of my nieces was here last week. She had come down from the US...all of ten months, she was the cutest thing on Planet Earth. Took an instant fancy to me and I ended up carrying her around for three days. Had dimpled cheeks that would put Preity Zinta to shame! The pic at the top is of her.
And that is about it! Will try and get back to blogging regularly as soon as possible.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
PS: No, being an entrepreneur is not that bad!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I saw Happy Days today, buoyed by all the expectations. One of my friends has acted in the movie - the curly haired Sravanthi was played by Sonia - an ex-colleague and a friend. Thanks to one of our mutual friends, we were able to get tickets to the first day first show. Firstly, the scene outside the theater was fantastic...you could only see youngsters - college goers mainly, today being a holiday, they made the most of it. Infact, I felt a little old standing there! The movie was great stuff from Sekhar once again. Agreed, the movie takes its own time to make its point, agreed the pace is still leisurely, nevertheless the young director makes sure that he packs in enough entertainment in the first half and some strong emotional punch in the second half. He takes some of the tricks too far, but he is not making a documentary afterall. The music seemed kinda slow when I heard it, but on the screen, the songs meshed beautifully with the theme, not speed breakers, but infact lovely additions that will stay with you for some time to come.
Then comes Sekhar's trump card, his cast. His decision to cast newcomers pays off spectacularly well. No one is a hero and you dont expect them to do anything great. This helps as almost all of them are in trouble constantly in the movie and they come out of it like we do, not like superheroes do. Tyson is an endearing character and his love story with Sravanthi is one of the best tracks. Even when it ends and Sravanthi is leaving his house, there is a fleeting shot wherein she notices that he has a load of chickens all of which look like the one she has. The Appu-Rajesh track was also endearing inspite of its many KKHH inspirations. The Sangeeta-Shankar track really came across as half baked, but after seeing so many multi-track movies fail so spectacularly this year, I thought it was better off this way. Trying to give equal importance to each track invariably ends up prolonging the runtime of the movie and this was really a track that was there to strengthen Tyson and Shankar's friendship, not to show us Shankar's love story. Chandu and Madhu, the main leads, per se were good (strictly good).
Simply put, the movie was slow paced, it had its share of cinematic liberties and it really had no strong storyline, but at the end of it all, if you come out of the theater with moist eyes and a smile on your lips, you have had your money's worth. That is what Happy Days does to you! Go watch it!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
These were the scenes of jubilation in Hyderabad last night after India beat Pakistan in the T-20 finals...I have never seen so many Indian flags at one place (except if u count the number of small flags that we would have pinned to our shirts on Independence Day or some such occasion in school!). Was smiling for a very long time last night!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Today, the final of the tournament is going to be played between two teams whose games put the legendary England - Australia rivalry to shame. The English - OZ rivalry has long been reduced to a joke thanks to Australia's domination - except for the Ashes series that England won a couple years ago, the other matches have been such non-contests that they are almost a yawn. India - Pakistan, on the other hand, is a rivalry that will never lose its sheen. Both teams are known for their legendary inconsistency, their eternal process of rebuilding, their internal squabbles due to which they never really reach their true potential. And the enmity between the countries (which is all hogwash going by the last time India went there) adds so much spice to the proceedings that the match becomes something much more than just a match. It is a fight to finish with the winner also winning the hearts of millions and the loser inviting the wrath of millions. That personal angle adds so much to this clash that today's match that it will set pulses racing and adrenaline throbbing through out the world.
That apart, this tournament has well and truly brought alive the age old adage that Cricket is the Great Leveller. The long drawn out and boring ICC WorldCup served to show that in the effort to spread the game far and wide, the ICC had brought in too many rookies and stretched the tournament to 51 games, even the most hardcore enthusiast of the game would lose interest over that long a period. T-20 on the other hand offers us a fresh perspective...the action is fast and furious, the game is over before an innings can end in a one day game. Inspite of the bowlers having a very important role to play and all that in the game,cricket, in the end is a batsman's game. Anyday, big powerful hitting, a century from their star player, this is what captures the imagination of the paying spectators. T-20 showcases some displays of unbridled aggression is the impression I was under, but the Indian team has shown over the course of the tournament that it is not all about brute force. The way India has worked to preserve wickets in the first 10-12 overs followed by some frenzied hitting in the final overs has proved to be its biggest advantage.
The margin of error in this format of game is extremely small, there is just not time for rebuilding. This is where India will have to score today...the smallest of errors - one big over, one dropped catch, one wicket thrown away to a moment of recklessness, any of these can prove fatal. So, Chak De! India, one more time. Just like the ad before the campaign went - WORLD CUP ABHI MANGTA HAI!!!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I have finished reading Khaled Hosseini's Kite Runner in the mean time and I must say I found it quite stunning. A childhood in Kabul is not something that I quite imagined about.As far as I have seen, Kabul was always in ruins, always the war ravaged city wherein war was a way of life rather than an aberration. The description of the childhood of the author and his friend took me by surprise. There was a Kabul that existed before the war and Taliban, a Kabul that knew music, laughter and merriment, not one that was ruled by bearded suppressants.
The book was made special by the author's focus on the human element. There are very few moments that the human heart forgets...the mind might not be able to remember everything, but the heart seldom forgets. All of our life's events are stored in some corner of our hearts and at the slightest provocation, they come pouring out like they had been waiting for that moment. This is what I learnt from a lot of characters in the book. Amir could never forget his betrayal, Baba could never forget his mistakes, Hassan could never let go of his loyalty, Sohrab could never let go of his childhood, Soraya's father could never let go of his regal past...these and many more experiences in the book tell us that we will never be able to run away from our past.
The description of post war Kabul, the executions, the commodities (fathers) that war had made scarce was heart rending. It left me wondering if humans were truly capable of such barbarity. The book left a deep impact and made me say a silent prayer to my maker for having made me so lucky. There is not a soul who would impose on me the rules to live, rules for growing my beard, rules for listening to music, rules for talking or cheering loudly, rules about how to pray best to the god that has been imposed upon me, rules about who to be friends with...saying rules about everything would not even cover it. We live a free life and should be eternally greatfull for that.
One line from the book will remain in memory forever..."For you a thousand times over". Ask yourself if there is one such person in your life to whom you can say this line and be better off for it!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
May the innocent people who lost their lives rest in peace. God Bless...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Chak De! India, directed by Shimit Amin and produced by YashRaj productions in what turns out to be a classic departure from the tradition of Yashraj movies, was a smart movie. It has every element that a sports movie generally has and shows SRK in a role that the superstar carries off with aplomb. The movie has clapworthy moments aplenty, almost all of Shahrukh's lines are punchlines and the women players acquit themselves well. The second half of the movie, has more hockey than anything else, but I found myself hooked. The girls play their part to perfection. The good part about the movie is that it is not dialogue heavy and the emotions it arouses are a result of carefully built situations rather than long drawn out scenes. The songs are not really put in there without no purpose, you really do not register them as they flow along with the story.
Performance wise, SRK puts in a fine turn as the disgraced player turned coach seeking redemption. It is refreshing to see him in this avatar with no hammy lines or romantic scenes. The ladies all put in great performances, almost everyone has atleast one or two scenes to themselves and lines that stay with you long after you have left the theater. Shimit Amin scores in the direction department, managing to incorporate all the cliches required of such movies and yet managing to make a taut engaging movie. The scene at McDonald's, the men vs women game and its conclusion, the end of the first game at the world cup, the conclusion and a lot of other scenes leave an impact. In the World Cup final, you see ShahRukh preparing for imminent glory, he is pulling up his coat as the first penalty is scored and is pulling up his collar as the second one is scored, once the win is completed though, he can barely manage to stand straight, his knees give way and he only manages to grab the sideboards and look at the tricolor.
I would recommend this to everyonewho wants to see a good sports flick...SRK fans will of course enjoy this, but those who hate SRK in his stereotypical roles, you have to see this one so you can feel that all your cribbing has forced him to take up something different.
PS: Unrelated, but had to put this up here! I was sitting in a McDonald's with my friends before the movie and the India - England test was in progress. The moment Kumble reached his century, the entire crowd there burst out in spontaneous applause...It was great to be there and be one of the crowd celebrating unabashedly what definitely was a great moment for Kumble in his 17 yr long career...
Thursday, August 09, 2007
The attack on Taslima Nasreen by the so called Islamist fundamentalists yesterday in Hyderabad was a shame...I very proudly tell all my friends that Hyderabadis are very tolerant and friendly. After yesterday's incident though, I will have to think twice. The fact that three MLA's were involved in this incident makes it all the more distressing. How can these so called representatives of the people involve themselves in such heinous acts? The language they used was not worthy of a street ruffian. One of these MLA's even went to the extent of saying that he did not care about police cases nor about his MLA position...firstly he was a Muslim and he would kill the author the next time she came to Hyderabad. One political party said that if the other party had not resorted to the unplanned attack, they would have killed the author in a planned manner. What kind of people are these? Are these our elected representatives, is this the kind of example they are setting for us? The kind of cowardice these people display by resorting to such acts is laughable. Since they do not do anything worthwhile using their powers as an elected member of the state legislature, they resort to such cheap tricks to grab eyeballs and gain their fifteen minutes of fame. Without getting into deeper issues, lemme just be content by saying that people like you give Islam a bad name. You are not upholding any honor doing such things...you are only further scarring an already scarred group of people.
That apart, one rant that has been long due is about the news channels. They just keep getting worse by the day. Star News is one particular channel that is particularly sad. They keep going on and on about the most insignificant and trivial of things. Mandira Bedi's saree on a TV show, a woman walking semi naked to a police station to complain against her in-laws, a kid who has a tendency to drink petrol...everything, in their eyes, deserves a half hour special with so called experts debating on the same. Recently, it was reported that a news channel actually forced a couple of people who were threatening suicide to do it...as it would make a good visual. They actually died during the incident. During the recent police firing in AP, none of these guys had any social resposibility to help the injured or do anything useful, all they could focus on was getting exclusive pics. One of the reporters proudly proclaimed that the first pics of the woman who fell and fractured her skull while running away from the police were shown only by their channel. For god's sake, stop this kind of yellow journalism. Last evening there was a half hour show on Star News about a fight for survival by a buffalo and a fight between a group of buffaloes and a herd of tigers. This was an email forward that I received a couple months ago about a video on YouTube. It was funny to see this 6 minute clip shown for 30 mins on a TV show with some stupid hindi commentary.
The media is an extremely powerful tool, one that can make or break a nation's destiny. As of now though, it is becoming a mockery in the hands of money minded bosses who have nothing but financial gains on their minds. This is my request to all the reporters out there, ask your conscience if this is what it wanted when you took up this profession. If the answer is a resounding no, as it will be, then everyday before you go to sleep, look back at whether you are satisfied with the reporting you did during the day and ask yourself if it has done an iota of good to the society. It will be a long time before you mangage to catch your forty winks!
Monday, August 06, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The movie was everything a Chiranjeevi fan could ask for. Agreed, the flavor of the original was in no way reproduced here, but afterall the original came without any baggage. It was a movie that no one of us had any clue about, or any expectations from and the feeling of pleasant surprise was overwhelming enough for us to overlook what minor flaws it had. Here, I knew what the story was, how it would proceed and everything else, yet SDZ managed to keep me engaged. The first half was decent entertainment. All the three songs were a riot. The second song in particular, with a number of stars making guest appearances, made the audience go berserk. The movie progressed at a fair clip and it was intermission time before any one of us could complain. Now came the tricky second part wherein it was obvious that the proceedings would get heavy. This needed good handling and Prabhudeva proved himself upto the task to a large extent. He did manage to put in the right elements that the crowd would expect, the last song with Yana Gupta being a masterstroke. Just when the movie got dialogue heavy, he put in a song, one with enough verve to get the best out of Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi, the master dancer almost seemed to be competing with Yana Gupta for honors in this particular song and the climax with yet another guest appearance rightly rounded off the proceedings.
Chiranjeevi as usual excelled in all departments. It was definitely great to see the energy back in his dances. Srikanth was able as his sidekick, able and nothing else. One major negative point was the heroine Karishma Kotak. How one wished they would have taken a more identifiable face, instead of a dolled up face which was covered in so many layers of make up that the expressions were hardly discernible! Another thing missing was the lovable villian that Boman Irani played to perfection in Lage Raho. Sayaji Shinde was ok, but the dimension that Boman added to his role was simply outstanding. The rest of the cast did well enough for themselves. Worth mentioning is Devi Sri Prasad's music. He has yet again proved that he can rock young and old alike with his tunes. Good Morning and Aakalesthe will stay in memory for a long time...
Technically though, the movie looked like it was shot ages ago. Old cameras, older camera angles, inconsistent cinematography and the worst thing was the couple of scenes that were a direct lift from the original. Could he not have reshot them? The amount of money spent on a Chiranjeevi movie is huge and the least that a producer can ensure is a technically superior product that adds gloss to the proceedings. Time Chiranjeevi tried out a new set of technicians instead of sticking to the old and tested ones.
A couple of months will herald Chiranjeevi's son into the big bad world. Maybe it is time for the Megastar to reinvent himself! He still has a few years to go before he can graduate to the Big B kind of roles, but he will have to make his choices carefully now!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
There was one description that I read recently which said 'ROWLING’S REAL TRIUMPH is in rooting all this fantasy in an instantly recognisable reality, in setting this magic amidst the mundane'. Her Hogwarts is reached by train and a lot of contemporary english children will remember their first train journey. I personally heard one such recollection, down to the school houses and their sorting (not with the sorting hat of course!) and how getting into a particular house was a very very important family tradition. The magic world has the same values that keep the tapestry of civilization whole - love, friendship and trust. The kids go through the same phases as do all muggle kids. The parents are all the same, fussing over the kids, the couples are all still the same, the quibbles that affect them very identifiable. I could go on and on but Im sure the general drift is clear enough!
Having spun so intricate a yarn over the course of the last six books, it was obvious that somewhere along the line Book 7 would become more of an exercise in answering the questions that have been posed so far than a bit of exciting straight forward story telling. Rowling left herself loads of loose ends to tie up in Book 7 and does an incredible job of answering the unanswered. She delves deeper into the magical world, explaining the world of house elves, goblins and other creatures that she has created in satisfying detail. The fact that Hogwarts would not play host to the finale was a minor groan that I had lurking in some corner of my mind, but the battle at Hogwarts more than compensates for that. That one chapter set the adrenaline pumping like no other.
Most of the characters had their moments, though some of it contributed to making the book sag for a few precious pages. Im still soaking in the detail, need to read it one more time so I can fully appreciate the fact that it is over finally...Hats off to JK Rowling, for having put the reading habit back in vogue and for giving us a tale to remember for generations to come!
PS: The last chapter did seem like an afterthought, but it was brilliant neverthless!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Merriam Webster defines imperious thus:
1. befitting or characteristic of one of eminent rank or attainments
2. marked by arrogant assurance
3. intensely compelling
Friday, July 13, 2007
The rest of India can burn with envy...Hyderabad's Prasadz IMAX is the only theatre all over India that is showing Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix in the 3D - IMAX version. And what they miss by seeing a normal multiplex version is something that they can only experience by seeing the 3D - IMAX version. Spectacular does not even begin to describe the experience.
The latest installment exceeds its predecessors in every manner possible...entertainment, magic, emotional appeal and every other angle you could conceive of. Harry Potter fans will agree that the book is not amongst JK Rowling's better works. Seeing a bitter Harry being troubled to no extent by Prof. Umbridge was not a really enticing option in terms of the movie too. But all credit to David Yates for having converted what was the longest book in the series to the shortest movie of them all. The thing I carried out of the movie hall was that all the whoop worthy moments in the book were intact and elicited the loudest cheers from the audience. Dumbledore escaping, Fred and George leaving school, Fred and George apparating, Neville's successful spellwork, Hermione getting excited about breaking a few rules, Sirius's spectacular entry into the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore's two spectacular entries, one at Harry's hearing and the other one in the grand finale, the climax face off with the fear showing on Lord Voldemort's face...everyone of these moments had the required buildup and perfect execution in the movie (Im pretty sure that Ive missed out on a number of others, but I might as well write out the entire movie in that case). Every person who sees this movie will walk out of the theatre very very satisfied by what they just saw.
The cast that seems to be getting better all the time is in full form as usual and the additions to the cast are delightful, to say the least. Imelda Staunton puts in a fine turn as Dolores Umbridge, her mannerisms, exactly copied from the book are so natural, it almost seems impossible to like her. Helena Bonham Carter is impressive as Bellatrix Lestrange oozing menace as the death eater. Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood puts in a performance one would expect from a seasoned actor and shows every bit of insensitivity in dropping in unexpected lines as written in the book. Daniel, Emma and Rupert are as reliable as usual. Gary Oldman plays a wonderful Sirius Black and one really wished one could see more of Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks - the two or three mischief filled scenes that she has leave us longing for a lot more.
Over and above all this, the part where the movie succeeds is the way it shows the warmth in those relationships. When Sirius says Harry Potter and Harry rushes to give him a hug, you can see that these are two people who connect at a much deeper level. When he gives Harry that imperceptible wink, you can see that 'kid stuck in an adult's body'(to quote a friend) facet to Sirius's personality that helps him connect so well to Harry. Whenever Harry is teaching a spell to Cho Chang, you can feel the chemistry and when Ginny excels at all her spells, Harry's gaze lingers on just for that much longer, for you to know there is something in the offing. When Hermione tells Ron that he has the emotional range of a teaspoon (one of the best lines in the movie) and they both break out into guffaws, you can see the warmth that Harry feels seeing two of his friends bond together so well. When Neville does manage to disarm one of his opponents, the moment is not lost, all the lookers on rush to him and congratulate him. When Neville looks at the photograph of the original Order and Harry tells him that he will make sure Neville becomes a worthy son, I could almost see James and Lily beaming down from the pictures (these wizard pictures, wonderful things with all the moving people in them). When Mr. Weasley raises a toast to Harry, the camera focusses for a brief instant on Mr. Weasley and you realize that he means what he just said.
I could go on and on and on, but I will rest my case here. Brilliant movie and the 3D effect in the climax was outstanding. Prasadz Imax, bow down to thee for bringing us this spectacle and making it one of the best movie watching experiences ever. Im dying to see the movie for a second time, but the movie is all booked up until tuesday, well, next weekend is as good a time as any, I guess!
Sunday, July 01, 2007
The original article was actually a comment for an article on Rediff.com.
My love for Sachin Tendulkar and the fact that his Genius has always been punished for the mediocrity surrounding it is what is reiterated by this post. Hats off to the original poster.
As an aside, it was sheer pleasure to watch Tendulkar tear the South African attack to shreds in Match Two of the Future Cup. Does that name indicate that the Future of Cricket lies with India and South Africa???
When many people say how many of Sachin's hundreds have come for a winning cause, I decided to check the Cricinfo stats and here are the results.
Out of the 41 hundreds, 11 hundreds have gone in vain.
I will try to analyse each of them.
1. 137 off 137 balls Vs SriLanka at Delhi in 1996 World Cup.
India scored 271/3 in 50 overs. The only other 50 score was from Azhar. SL made 272 in 48.4 overs. Manoj Prabhakar had 4-0-47-0. He also opened in the innings with Sachin and scored 7 of 36 balls.
2. 100 of 111 Balls Vs Pak in Singapore- Apr 96.
India 226 all out in 47.1 overs, When Sachin was out score was 186/4. Pak had a reduced target of 187 from 33 overs.
3. 110 of 138 Balls vs Sri Lanka In Colombo - Aug 96.
Again India 226 for 5 in 50 overs, Only other 50 score from Azhar (58 of 99 balls).Sachin has also bowled 6-0-29-1, the second most economical bowler and the only wicket taker (SL were 230/1 in 44.2) of the match next to Srinath. 7 bowlers were used by Azhar.
4. 143 of 131 Balls Vs Aus at Sharjah, Apr 1998.
This was chasing under lights. The qualifying match before the final. The whole world knows about this match. Still one interesting point, when Sachin was out India were 242 at 5 at 43 overs. Target was 276 in 46. Still India finished at 250/5 scoring just 8 of the next 3 overs. Great performance by Laxman and Kanithkar indeed.
5. 101 of 140 Balls against SL at Sharjah in Oct 2000.
Indian score was 224/8 in 50 overs. (No other 50 score). SL got 225/5 in 43.5, Sachin also bowled 5-0-22-0, better economy rate than everyone except Srinath.
6. 146 of 153 Balls against Zimbabwe at Jodhpur - December 2000
India made 283 / 8 in 50 overs. Sachin was the last man to be dismissed, score was 235/8 at 46.3 overs when he was out. Agarkar and Zaheer Khan propelled India to 283 in the last 3.3 overs. When Sachin has scored 146 of 235 in 46.3 overs, you can guess what the other 8 great batsmen were doing against the World class Zimbabwe attack. Second Highest scorer was Zaheer Khan with 32.
Zim got 284/9 in 49.5 overs. Agarkar bowled the last over. Sachin also got 6-0-35-1
7. 101 of 129 Balls Vs SA at Johannesburg - Oct 2001
India got 279/5 in 50, Ganguly made 127 of 126 balls. When Ganguly got out, the score was 193-1 in 35.2 overs. Sachin was the last man to get out at 263. SA got 280 in 48.4 overs. Sachin bowled 9-0-51-0, second best in economy rate next only to Agarkar (10-0-45-1)
8. 141 of 135 balls Vs Pak at Rawalpindi, March 2004.
India were chasing 329 and were 317 all out in 48.4 overs, 8 balls to spare. No other batsman made even a 50 (when chasing 300 ) and when Sachin was out, India were 245-4 in 38.4 overs. They needed 85 from 68 balls with 6 wickets in hand.
9. 123 of 130 Balls vs Pak at Ahmedabad, April 2005.
India made 315/6 in 48 overs (48 over match), again no other 50 score. Second highest was Dhoni 47 of 64 balls, (third highest was extras - 39). Pak made 319 in 48 overs. The three quicks (Balaji, Nehra and Khan went for 188 runs from 26 overs between them taking only 2 wickets). Sachin bowled 6-0-36-1. No Harbhajan and no Kumble.
10. 100 of 113 Balls Vs Pak at Peshawar, Feb-2006.
India were 328 all out in 49.4 overs. Pathan and Dhoni got 60 each. When Sachin was out when India were 305-5 in 45 overs. Managed only 23 in the last 5 overs.
Pak scored 311/7 in 47 overs and won by D/L method. Could have been anybody's game. Sachin did not bowl.
11. 141* of 148 balls vs WI at Malaysia.
India made 309 /5 in 50 overs. Sachin was not out. Pathan was the only other 50 scorer. WI made 141/2 in 20 overs and won by D/L method. Again could have been anybody's game.
In the other 31 instances India has won 30 times and once there was no result.
Now, please think again when you say sachin's 100s were in the losing cause and that he is not a team player. It is a fact that for the entire 90's India played International cricket with 1 player and 10 jokers.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The first half turned out to be excruciatingly slow, sync sound (was it?) ruining half the conversations. Most of the dialogues were totally inaudible adding to my woes. The songs were almost completely unnecessary, though the locales and the choreography made them eminently watchable. So much so, that I ended up not minding them. But after the interval, after the Bol na Halke Halke number, the movie took off in a way that I never imagined. The moment the leads realize that they like each other, the story moves along entirely different lines. And the 20 minute dance competetion is a riot. I can just see the fun that the cast and crew must have had during the making of the song. Each and everyone of them let go completely and the end with Big B revealing how it all started was a complete cracker.
Coming to the actors, they were funtastic. Abhishek and Preity were pretty good as usual, I was pleasantly surprised by Bobby's act in the second half and Lara was the life of the entire second half. Glad to see that the blink and miss act in Fanaa led her to this. Hanif bhai or Hafi bhai was super. Ive never been to Southall but the depiction was funtastic, making me want to go there as soon as possible. Shankar - Ehsaan - Loy's foot tapping numbers were ably supported by Vaibhavi Merchant's outstanding choreography and Ayananka Bose's superior camera work. Big B continues to defy his age and surprise us effortlessly.
Shaad Ali should have taken care in the first half, it is a pity that a lot of people will miss the well made second half of the movie as it seems poised to go down as one of the biggest flops this year. As someone said, patience pays and if you can bear the first half, the second half will more than make up for it!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Coming to Sivaji, Shankar makes sure that the 65 Crore Rupees spent on the movie is seen on screen. Every scene is staged with a lot of grandeur and the songs are obscenely lavish. In this all consuming desire to be grand, Shankar misses the most important thing, richness of emotion in the movie. Result: this is a movie that leaves you cold. You love The Superstar's eccentricities, his mannerisms (tossing the coin, the chewing gum rebounding off various surfaces and the superb drumming on his bald pate), laugh at his efforts to become fair etc etc etc, but you dont feel bad when he loses everything. Post interval, 40 odd minutes are devoted to Rajni getting back to a Prado from the local bus, but this is told in such a documentary fashion, that you are waiting for it to finish and the movie to get back to its masala mode.
Screenplay was a strong point in some of Shankar's early movies and so was emotion. There was a strong reason for his earlier protagonists to do what they did, let that be murder or robbery and you end up sympathising with them instead of treating them as murderers or robbers. Here, the strong motivation is lost, Sivaji is shown as a man who has it all and gains everything back within minutes of losing it - show me some hardships and then show me the ride back to luxury - and I will love it. The screenplay moved between one grand scene to one grand song to one grand fight and then back to a grander scene to a grander song to a grander fight and then onto.....
All that apart, Sivaji is a funtastic treat for Rajni fans, he plays out his role with elan, wears all the weird getups that Shankar planned for him and does wonderfully well in the songs where he pays tribute to other stalwarts. Shreya looks like a dream, someone who suits Shankar's grandiose dreams. Vivek is good and gels well with Rajni. Suman was good, though his role limited him to mostly being someone who flashes his yellowed teeth. The songs were brilliantly shot, Manish Malhotra's costumes and Thota Tharani's sets and KV Anand's cinematography were fantastic and elevated the songs to an different high altogether. Rahman's music was great, but did not fit in completely with the movie. The superstar is not my ideal candidate to do hip-hop or latina songs probably.
Shankar seems to be losing it...his stories getting thinner and thinner, his protaognists geting weirder and more superhuman with every outing and worse, his penchant for richness and grandeur overshadowing everything. I will however be ready for Shankar's next, no expectations of a strong script or a satisfying movie, just three hours of grandiose sets, fantastically staged action sequences and 5-6 music videos each with a different setting...
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
As I was getting ready for my usual evening wanderings today, I received news that one of my batchmates during engineering had passed away a couple of days ago. The news was put on the group email and just mentioned her death. Frantic phone calls to a couple of other friends confirmed that the person in question was killed in an accident. The girl who died was my age, had just embarked on a new job and was returning from a pleasure trip to a waterfall near Bangalore. I took the news on face value first and then realized how deeply it had affected me. I could not take part in any conversation around me for the rest of the evening and was completely distracted.
As is illustrated by this incident, life is fragile. This moment you might be alive and vibrant and happy and the next moment, life might be snuffed out of you. Live life while you still have the chance to live it. Do not let all the beautiful moments pass by, live every moment. Do not leave all the simple pleasures in life waiting for a bigger joy in life to come your way. That might never come along and you will end up not having had any happiness in life at all. Take a minute and smell the roses, as I love saying. Life is too precious a gift to be wasted upon trivial matters.
Never for a moment, think that you are unfortunate and rue your existence. As Dr. Christian Barnard would say, every living moment is for celebration. As he writes in his wonderful piece called 'In Celebration of Being Alive', live and experience every moment and do not be a bystander in your own life.
PS: The girl apparently died cause no hospital would take her in as it was a medico legal case. Two doctors I know said that they could not blame the hospitals as if any of these cases leads to a death, the hospital might lose its license. If so, then the law that does this is inhumane. If the law lets a person who has a shot at life die a dog's death, it is no law at all and it needs to be changed immediately...
PPS: RIP Sowjanya...
Friday, June 01, 2007
The question was very similar to the chicken and egg conundrum. Who is to blame can never be decided. When one candidate has served 4 years in prison and another has served 6 years, it is natural for people to vote for the guy who has served 4 years. For them, it is afterall a case of choosing the lesser evil. In states like Bihar, no one apparently steps out of their houses on election day. Government employees treat election day like another holiday. This is because, no matter who comes to power, their lives will go on in pretty much the same fashion, whereas if they decide to elect a person to power, there will be no life in future to discuss. In such a scenario, how can we expect that a person will elect who he thinks is just, fair and honest (blah, blah and mmore blah).
To our leaders there is only one thing I think that is applicable for them. We do not begrudge you your positions. You need to make money while the sun shines and by all means go ahead and do it. All I ask is that even if you pocket 25% of the funds received by any project, ensure that the remaining goes to public work. Akin to our cricketers who are in form. They get ads, sponsors and the works immediately after a couple ok knocks. And we do not begrudge the money they earn and do not raise our voice until they get knocked out of the world cup. Similarly, we know that you have spent a lot to become an MLA or an MP. Earn it back but do some worthwhile work meanwhile.
Which again brings us back to the first thing! Why is the MLA having to spend so much to win the elections? This is happening because votes are being sold. Corrupt people are electing corrupt governments. Which again brings us back to the questions? Are the people corrupt or is it the politicians???
PS: Take a break from the heavy stuff and check out some cool pics from Goa on my frnds blog.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Shootout at Lokhandwala - Apoorva Lakhia's third directorial venture turned out to be a complete male movie. One that will set the adrenaline pumping, one that will be embraced by the masses for all its violence, bhaigiri and item songs and one that will be forgotten the moment it is out of theatres. Dont expect to see the DVD's make their way into filmbuff's collection! This guy is one lucky director who has friends in all the right places and in all the right circles! He ropes in Abhishek Bacchan with a ridiculous plot and makes Mumbai se Aaya Mera Dost - disaster. He sees a DVD of Man on Fire and ropes in the Big B to make Ek Ajnabee. Then he reads about the Lokhandwala shootout, offers ACP AA Khan a bit role in the movie in exchange for loads of info and makes a movie with a mammoth star cast.
There was no one in the movie who had any kinda depth to his character, no one whose character went beyond a few lines, or a few bullets to be precise. The director sure had no idea how to juggle his cast and so ends up making a very superficial movie. It will appeal to a lot of people though. I was reminded of how I enjoyed seeing 300 earlier this year. A raw action movie appealing to the male psyche purely on the basis of its awesome battle scenes. Shootout is very similar in this respect, it is a raw action movie, the action very gory, very bloody, very very basic. Even the corpses being dragged away had to be shown in full, blood trails and all. Two or three item songs, none too long, none that was necessary, though none that the masses would mind (thanks to Aarti Chabria, whose stint down south seems to have helped her). Some rousing scenes with Sanjay and his troupe and Viviek (or however else it is spelt) and his troupe walking across the screen to a thumping background beat are pretty cool.
Coming to the cast, Sanjay Dutt looks more like his usual gangster, what with the open shirt and gun sticking out, but is pretty neat. Suniel Shetty and Arbaaz Khan do not have much to do. Coming to the gangsta's Viviek does a bad job of going back to his Company days. Tusshar Kapoor must be feeling bad when he does not get a good role even in a movie co-produced by his sister. None of his sidekicks have much of a role to be talked about. Abhishek Bacchan, all I can say is he is a very loyal friend to have agreed to have done a blink and miss role for him. Big B must have done the role while he was sleepwalking or something.
Go see this movie if you enjoyed seeing 300. Pretty much the same a**- kicking, shoot to kill action. Good as long as it lasts...nothing that you will take home!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
A regular review of this movie, I some how found myself incapabale of writing. Everytime during the movie when I thought I could trash it, it rose from mediocrity to exalted levels, everytime I thought I could praise it to the heavens, it was pulled down to mediocrity by some cliche. So, I decided to just list out some of the vignettes that stood out in the movie, some moments that stuck with me long after the lights were switched on. Spoilers ahead, so be aware and do not blame me! Here goes a listing -
The entire Dharmendra - Nafisa Ali track, right from when Dharmendra takes the shortcut to reach the other platform, to the scene wherein Nafisa takes her spectacles off, puts them in Dharmendra's pocket and runs into the rain to the end that takes you by surprise, this was a track that needed some guts to pull off.
Sharman Joshi's flat situation - how the seemingly mundane Guptaji's and Sharmaji's have dual lives straight out of a young man's dream (my frnds are seriously contemplating getting a flat together!!!) to his discovery of who his boss is bringing to his flat and his final acceptance of his ladylove, it does not matter to him if she has been sleeping around earlier - the future is what matters is probably his chain of thought. Very well conceived.
The KayKay, Shilpa and Shiney track had a couple of stand out moments. Shilpa was at her best in the scene where Shiney takes her to his frnd's flat and the frnd walks in at an inoppurtune moment. The broken KayKay in the climactic scene was a superlative example of a person getting into the skin of the character.
The best of the tracks was the one with Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen...Sharma...whatever. Both of them were ur average everyday characters, bumbling, unsure and funny. It had many laugh out loud moments and they managed to elevate the movie to different heights altogether. Stand out moments include the shopping scene, the pre-interview scene in the office, the climax of course...
Sharman Joshi stood out on his own, Kangna Ranaut pretty much the same as in her other movies. Anurag Basu, after Gangster, proves that he is a good storyteller, one who has a definite idea of what he wants to say and who he wants to say it to. His target is the multiplexes in the Metros and he knows what the discerning audience wants to see. His ploy of getting in the Metro band for every song does get irksome after a while, but on the whole a rocking soundtrack and a different movie. Might not appeal to everyone, but if u r looking for a strong story backed by outstanding performances...this might just be your cup of tea!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
A beautiful song from Rahman's Vandemataram sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Join on Sunshine, Join on Blue Skies,
Sunshine breaking up, blue skies breaking up...(2)
Chanda sooraj lakhon taare, hain jab tere hi yeh saare,
kis baat pe hoti hai phir takraare.
Kheechi hain lakeere is zameen pe, par naa kheecho dekho,
Beech mein do dilon ke yeh deewaarein.
Duniya mein kahi bhi dard se koi bhi, tadpe tho hum ko yahaan pe,
Ahsaas uske zakhmon kaa hoke, apnaa bhi dil bhar bhar aaye roye naakiiii...
What are u waiting for another day another dawn,
someday we have to find a new way to peace.
What are u waiting for another sign another call,
someday we have to find a new way to peace.
Doorie kyon dilon mein rahe phaasle kyon badhte rahe,
Pyaari yeh jindagi hain pyaara jahaan.
Rishtein badi mushkilon se bante hain yahaan pe lekin,
Toot ne keliye bas ek hi lamhaaa.
Ishq dawaa hain har ek dard ki,
Zanzerein ishq hain har ek rishte ki,
Ishq saari hadon ko tod daale,
Ishq tho duniya ko pal mein mitaa bhi de,
Ishq hain jo jahaan ko aman bhi de....
Rounaq ishq se hain saare aalam ki........
Soulful lyrics (italicized part especially), rending rendition, brilliant orchestration, the song takes my breath away...
Thank you Rahman, for enriching our lives with such songs and sorry that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan did not live longer so we could have heard many more wonderful renditions as these...
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Decide what you want to make first. I think this is what all directors need to be told. Once you have decided what genre of film you want to make stick to your guns. Work on your script until you have a bound one in your hand and then go to the floors. Then make sure that the story you wanted to tell is not lost in translation. Once you have finished shooting your movie, make sure the publicity stills and trailers convey exactly what the audience is going to get to see in the movie.
These were thoughts that went through my mind as I suffered yet another insufferable summer flop. Aata - starring current heartthrobs, Sidharth and Ileana, came with all the usual hype about being different, being intelligent and entertaining and the other usual cliched statements. What surprised me was that the story was the rehash of a none-too-old movie that did not do that well itself (Gudumba Shankar). What propelled the director and the producer to use the same script is something that escapes my thought process. Added to that, Sidharth was majorly miscast in his role. Here is an actor who is known to underplay his characters and bring an intensity hitherto not seen to his roles. Now picture him in a role of a movie fanatic, who talks exclusively using dialogues or titles from all the movies he has seen since birth. Someone loud, overtly active and generally over the top. The movie lost half its charm right there. The villian is reduced to a buffoon for a major part of the second half and then suddenly the last part of the movie changes into something entirely different bringing in a social angle and all that.
This is where I say, decide what you want to make, if you are reducing a villian to a buffoon make a comedy of errors kinda movie and keep the tone light throughout. If you are trying to make a love story against an action back drop, keep the action intense throughout. Else your intended serious twists in the story line will become a cause for mirth for the audience and that is a never a good sign. The movie also suffers from continuity problems. No one was taking enuf care during the making of movie. There is one character that appears post interval - exactly four scenes this guy has - and his moustache turns from white to black to white to black again during those four scenes. Did the director not even see the rushes?
All said and done, Ileana looked hot, had no inhibitions and made up for some part of the movie. The first two songs were very good, but that is all there is to it. If you absolutely must see it, wait for a couple months and the DVD should be out in the market...
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Hopefully there will be no Spiderman - 4!
I was one of those guys who got tremendously excited and was making arrangements to see Spidey - 3 on the first day. Took pics of the posters and it was the wall paper on both my mobile and my laptop. All this, inspite of being disappointed by the large amounts of mush in Spidey - 2.
3 belied my expectations completely. Three villians promised a veritable action feast and that was exactly what 3 was not. What I got to see was a mushy, sentimental story where no one wore masks...For god's sake, I wanna see Goblin with his mask, I wanna see Spidey with his mask. A partly torn mask is ok, the tearing of the mask signifies action to me, but Spidey tearing off his mask at the slightest pretext and Goblin just bothering with the mask for a fraction of a second that he appears was somehow disappointing. The masks are very very essential for the persona.
I understand that Sam Raimi wants to focus on the human side of the super hero - but my understanding is limited to half the movie's length. I would rather go to a mushy romantic 'chick flick' if I wanted to see what I got to see in Spidey - 3 for the longest time. And in the end, when the Goblin Jr. turns good, it was him all the way. He gets to deliver the most crippling blows to the villians of the piece, Spidey just about cleans 'em up later. And killing him at the end was saaaad, a regular movie goer would know that the moment he says 'friends I could give my life for' at the beginning of the movie. If spending more than $200 million on the movie justifies the inclusion of all these cliches, then make a cheaper movie, one where in you can remove the cliches and follow a slightly adventurous route.
If there is a Spidey -4, I would like it to be sharper - in terms of wit and action and have a lot less mush!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The massacre at Virginia Tech had me in tears as I read the gruesome details of the incident. What can prompt someone to such a dastardly and ghastly act? I ask myself this question over and over again. I shudder repeatedly at the thought that someone can take so many lives. Walk from classroom to classroom shooting scores of your fellow students - what kind of a demented, twisted mind did the shooter have that he could do all this and not flinch one bit?
I do not even know if this is even vaguely connected with this post, but recently I saw an audition for a talent hunt for children on TV. Kids, aged between 5-10 yrs came out dressed in their best, sang their songs and on not being selected, I could see them crying their hearts out. What has been put in their minds at such a tender age, I wondered! That is the age when they should be taught to enjoy participating in a competition and come out happy that they had a good Sunday. Instead, here they were crying their hearts out. What are parents putting in their minds? What was in the mind of this loner that made him do this?
It is easy to blame the oldest of culprits, one that drives a man to abandon all rhyme and reason and behave in an inhuman manner - love. I would beg of everyone involved in the investigation, however, not to trivialize this in the name of love and recognize the deeper malaise within. There is a growing tendency towards violence in this generation and the easy access to guns and the ilk is just making the situation all the more volatile. Teach the younger generation that it is OK to lose sometimes. Teach them to take a loss with a smile and not upon their hearts. It hurts when you lose, but remember that a loss can spur you on to victories later in life, provided you decide to have a later!
My heart goes out to all the 32 casualties and the gunmen himself. He probably needed help, help that he will never get now. The other 32 casualties, I'm stuck here looking at the word casualty and I somehow am ashamed at using that word. The 32 victims of this mindless massacre, all of you are brave people who, I'm sure, must have tried to stand up for each other until the last moment. My heart is with your families, who must have been waiting for you to come back for lunch or dinner...I cannot imagine the extent of their grief at this moment. All I can do is say a silent prayer to god and wish your souls rest in peace.
I read on CNN on that all the students are going to wear their VT hokies as a sign of unity. This is something that I observed in an American campus. Nothing binds people more than a tragedy and the unity that all the students show in the face of such incidents is awe inspiring. Such shows of solidarity after this "tragedy of monumental proportions" - as President George W. Bush put it, make us believe that all is not lost yet. We might still have time to set things right.
RIP: The 33 people killed in the Virginia Tech shootout.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Richard Gere kisses Shilpa Shetty, Shilpa has fun, Gere has fun and all of India has fun watching endless replays of the same on NEWS channels. Some people, who have nothing better to do go on a rampage, hold protests and disrupt public life. Last week someone filed a public interest litigation against Sachin Tendulkar cause he cut a cake that was fashioned after a tricolor and someone else decided that Mr. Narayana Murthy had disrespected the national anthem by playing out the tune of the same instead of singing it.
For me, this seriously shows the level of joblessness in India. All you so called social activists, please go on and get yourself a life. If you really want to help the society, go do something about a real cause. The whole focus of the Shilpa - Gere meeting was AIDS awareness. Instead of protesting about something insignificant and taking the focus away from the prime issue at hand, go do something useful. You may not gain your fifteen minutes of notoriety, but you will gain the good will of the ones that you help. And as far as we being Indians and hating PDA, please walk around any major city in India today and you will find far more blatant displays of the same. And for gods sake stop destroying public property for every possible excuse. All that is wealth created by the taxes paid by hard working citizens. Vent your anger by beating up your co-activists - that would also be an extremely useful thing to do. Do not stop buses full of people going back home after a hard days work and make them get down and smash windows.
All the money and the energy spent on protests can be better utilized. Go help spread awareness about STD's. Go to an old age home and listen to an old mother's tale. Go to an orphanage and help cook a day's meal. Go to a village and help in cleaning a drain. Instead of holding up traffic, go help in clearing a jam. I would infact encourage all these activists to take up fasts unto death until their demands are met - would help in cleaning up a lot of them and all the food they dont eat can feed many needy stomachs.
One reason for this outburst is the traffic jam that I was stuck in this evening due to a protest. It was about the Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty incident. This was something long overdue and today's experience just brought things to a head. Please, stop devaluing the value of a protest. A rightful protest for an important cause is stronger than anything anyone could think of. That was what brought us our independence. Finally, GO GET A LIFE, LOSERS!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
I always strongly beleive that this is wrong. Whatever might be your first impression of a person, there is always a chance that you have chanced upon them at the wrong moment and caught just the facet that is completely opposite to what a person actually is. No examples better than our star kids to illustrate this.
The first impression we form of these hugely burdened beings is dependent on the impression we have on their family. Son/daughter of a big star simply implies that he/ she is a super performer by themselves. This is often not the case as acting, even though it has to come naturally, is definitely not hereditary. One bad movie is all it takes for us to write these guys off, especially since they are star kids, the patience levels that we show towards non- star kids being infinitely more.
All this because I saw a movie yesterday. It was called 'Dhee'has and it starred Vishnu, whose dad Dr. Mohan Babu is one of the finest actors that the Telugu film industry has produced. Now this guy had a disastrous launch, a couple of forgettable movies and then made the mistake of remaking Sarfarosh and Taxi No. 9211, two movies that were memorable sheerly for the strength of the performances by their lead actors. People wrote obituaries about this guy and all but confirmed that this guys' future was over. This particular movie does not find buyers and waits in the cans for an eternity before finally releasing during a lull period. And surprisingly enough, here it turns out that this is the movie that might give this guy success.
Considering the number of movies made in India every year, it is really difficult to write a new story for a movie. What determines the success of a movie is how an old story is told in a new and refreshing manner. At the end of a tiring day's work, what people want to really see is a movie that entertains them and that was this movie's forte. A simple storyline with a taut screenplay, the right amount of guffaws in every other scene and the right number of dishum-dishums without excessive gore ensured that this movie was a good watch. If only for the lack of something better, I would recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for some good timepass.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
March 18th will go down in the history of cricket as a sad day indeed. Till last evening, I was thinking about jotting down my thoughts about how Bangladesh outplayed India man to man. I was one amongst countless Indians whose sadness at India being beaten by Bangladesh and facing a very probable first round elimination, was in some small measure compensated by the fact that arch rivals Pakistan had lost to Ireland and were going to go home to jeers and brickbats. But the news of Bob Woolmer's death late last night overwhelmed all other emotions.
I desperately wanted to find out what was going on in the minds of the contemporary Pakistan fan, all of those who were screaming for Bob Woolmer's head a day earlier. If I had been one of them, I would have been wracked with guilt and been very angry at God who chose to grant this wish amongst innumerable others that I had asked of him. An article by Dileep Premchandran in Cricinfo went thus
We were sitting down to lunch after the depressing trip to the University Hospital when a man came by and asked: "Da coach who die? He Pakistan coach now?" When we said yes, he shook his head sadly, dreads blowing in the breeze. 'Maybe he take it to heart?" he said. "Even da biggest team can lose to little team, man. It a game, and da ball round."
As you listened to him, you could only wish that fans back home in India and Pakistan were possessed of such common sense or perspective on life. On waking up in the morning and checking mail, the first thing I had seen was an AFP report from India that spoke of angry mobs attacking a house that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was constructing in Ranchi. The story also went on to speak of armed guards protecting the houses of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and others.
It was as depressing as it was predictable. Even before Bangladesh had scored the 192 runs required to defeat India at Queen's Park Oval, Cricinfo had received feedback from so-called fans who wished to burn Dravid's house. A few hours later, Pakistani "fans" were out in the streets of Multan demanding that Inzamam-ul-Haq and Bob Woolmer be arrested."
Was it really cricket fans who attacked Dhoni's house. No, it was a group from a political outfit called Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, people who probably had no knowledge about cricket at all. For an average cricket fan like me and millions of others like me, the reaction was limited to a heated discussion over a glass of beer. All of us, of course made the usual vows to ourselves that we would stop seeing cricket from now on. This vow will be broken by today evening when we encounter "Heavy Weight" Bermuda. Cricket, for us, is a passion, but it is not something that will provoke us to extremes. This is the message that we should be conveying to our cricketers who live out of hotels continuously, travelling for months together at a time and braving injuries and complete devastation of their bodies for us.
Mr. Woolmer, as a cricket fan, I have lost interest in this world cup. I realize that my happiness that Pakistan was ousted from the world cup has taken this cruel a turn and Im ashamed of myself for it. Inzy bhai, I always enjoyed your batting, be it the late cuts or those nonchalant pulls that you played or the comic run outs that you were involved in. It is sad that you had to announce your retirement at the time when you did it, or in the manner in which you had to do it.
All in all, a sad day for cricket, one that has profoundly affected me and hopefully has put some sense into millions of effigy burners in the sub-continent.
RIP: Bob Woolmer
Saturday, March 10, 2007
It was pretty fitting that a movie about a hero who sells his soul to the devil lacked that very thing - soul. Absolutely soul less, this Nicolas Cage flick turned out to be one more variation of good vs. evil theme that has been made innumerable times. It lacked everything that a big budget hollywood flick has and yet turned out to be one in the end. Typically, giving a movie an open ending is one way all hollywood directors tell us that they will make a sequel, God save us if the first movie makes some money. This leads to another mindless sequel being made, which hopefully, I will avoid.
Being a bike enthusiast, I was inevitably drawn towards this movie that promised to be a treat for Harley lovers. That is was and pretty much that was what else it was. The movie was another variation of the good vs. evil theme - nothing wrong in that, but the evil here was like 4 strange, gothic looking people, three of whom are destroyed pretty effortlessly by our flaming skull. Flaming skull, is incidentally our hero, Nicolas Cage, who for most of the second half disappears to make way for a guy with a flaming skull for a head. The lack of plot is pretty much evident by the way the director crams in stunts or sfx or scenes of Eva Mendes being gobbled up by Cage.
The casting is also not at its most imaginative. The couple next to me kept cooing about how cool the younger versions of the hero and heroine looked. They were way better than Cage and Eva Mendes. Eva Mendes is beautiful and all that, but she should probably stick to modelling. I would rather see her sculpted body rather than her acting prowess. Nicolas Cage looked jaded, he probably needed to look the part, but I thought he looked a bit too careworn for a cool stuntman. The comedy was forced, the punchlines of characters were cheesy and corny to say the least. I flinched a number of times and I think so would've Cage, hadnt he required some quick shopping money. Mainly because, I dont think any major hero (if he still thinks of himself that way) would agree to disappear for half of the movie and be replaced by a flaming skull.
All in all, a pretty disappointing movie. I think Im equally to be blamed for having major expectations from a movie that was made from a not so good comic series and one that was released a full six months later than when it was actually supposed to hit the screen. If the parents dont think much of their child, what business did I have to think tht world of the same!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Im one amongst those innumerable people who cannot be prised out from in front of their television sets every evening at 9.00PM. Shahrukh Khan and Kaun Banega Crorepati are a stable part of my meal every evening.
Another one in the series of Amitabh Vs. Shahrukh writeups this is not. For me, both of them are superstars in their own right and both lend their own charisma to the show. I have a different rant. What makes millions tune into the show every evening and watch others win money. Im no psychiatrist or psychologist, so I couldnt probably dwell on deeper things, but I think it is the virtual thrill of answering all the questions posed to the contestant and telling oneself that I cud've won all that money too.
The celebrity host cannot be the only reason that we tune in day after day. The novelty, afterall wears off after a while (as was evident when not enuf people tuned into KBC 2 or KBC Dwitiya as the Big B called it). The thrill of answering all those questions hit me hard last nite when I was watching the show. One of the contestants who was stuck on a relatively easy question used a lifeline and then used some logic to get to the right answer. I was on my couch shouting out at that guy to think right and when he finally did, I was slapping my thigh and telling him, though he could never hear me, Yeah, way to go, think like that.
Who this guy was who was winning a few thousands of rupees thanks to all my encouragement, I will never know. Its just that for those few moments, I was transported to his world and wanted him to think right. I was imagining myself sitting in front of Shahrukh on the hot seat and winning all that money without wasting my lifeline and wanted this guy to do the same.
Whoever designed this show must've thoroughly studied some human psychology (or must've had a lotta money). Whatever the reason, KBC has one of its most loyal viewers in me and the fact that I have never won a paisa from the show will not deter my loyalty!
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Its been a long time since Ive been on the blogger. Been busy with stuff, setting up anything on ur own is not easy afterall. Neywayz, amidst all the things I've been doing these days, Ive found time for a trip to Goa (Found time...made time...same difference, u see). I had an interview at the Goa Institute of Management and very frankly...that is the only reason I went to Goa, yeah yeah Boo all u want, but that is the only reason I went to Goa.
The sole purpose of my going to Goa, namely the interview took up a full four hours of my 3 day trip. What did I do the other two and half days, u ask? Well, all the time before the interview was spent preparing for it and the remaining time was spent recovering from it. So, all the activities centered around the interview. I can almost feel all the pats on my back...thank you thank you.
I willl not waste time describing how beautiful a place Goa is, I could as well give u the URL of Goa Tourism or a DVD of Dil Chahta Hai (the latter better than the former of course), so I will instead plunge into some of the things that struck me on this trip. First thing was watching the sunrise over the Western Ghats while on our way to Goa. Nuthin can match that feeling and after a sleepless night as a navigator, nuthin better to rejuvenate you. The other thing that struck me once I entered Anjuna Beach (this is where I stayed) was the number of liquor stores in the area. 60% of the houses there had liquor stores in them. I mean, does a license almost cost nothing? The other amazing part in Goa was the seaside shacks. U cud feel the spray hitting you even as u sit on an idyllic evening sipping some excellent wine. Wine was plentiful, from the best variety to the home made one, all types of wine make their way into the menu. Also, the way people start treating u like frnds in almost no time was amazing. We went to the same shack a couple times for drinks and the next morning when we went there for breakfast, the guy there instantly recognises us and gives us a friendly hi instead of the standard 'kyaa chaahiye' lines.
Overall, a tiring though funtastic trip that will stay in memory until....the next trip!
PS: One heartwarming incident along the way. So, we get lost in this place called Kolhapur in the middle of the night with no clue as to how to proceed. We see some one parking his bike, presumably in front of his house and we call out and ask him. This guy tells us that it is slightly difficult to find the route and instead takes his bike and shows us until the outskirts of the city, this at 2 in the night. He mustve travelled an extra 6+6 km atleast to show us the way. At the outskirts, we asked him his name and he happily replied Eijaz Khan and just when we were about to leave asked us for matches to light his cigarette. Meraaa Bharat Mahaan - we said to ourselves and went our way!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
India produces the best ads in the whole world! Any doubts about that one? Check out the number of awards Indian Ads have won at major international award festivals in the recent years and u will know Im not being parochial or partial..(though it is very much in me to be both when it comes to cricket!).
I did some reminescing to think of the ads that have stuck in my head ever since I started watching TV. Earliest being the Vicco Vajradanti ad that has been showing in cinemas ever since I remember. The trademark jingle is still the same and the same grandfather figure bites into the sugarcane till date. All fans of Indian Tradition (read 'jobless protesters') can take pride that their agitation that some things should not change has succeeded atleast in this aspect. I remember Aamir Khan jumping over veihcles, sliding under shop doors and getting a Pepsi only to find Aishwarya Rai asking him for another one. Strange game that advertising is, one of my other favs is the Aamir series for Coke. A Nepali tourist, a bihari babu kinda guy - did he pull em off or what! The Aish - Hrithik campaign for Coke sucked though.
Pepsi always came up with fun ads, be it with cricketers or filmstars. Particularly good ones were with Shane Warne, Tendlia and Carl Hooper, another one with Tendlia and Azhar. Some with Shahrukh were good too. Fevicol - or should that be Pidilite - had some of the best ads of all time. Stuff like a man's shadow getting stuck to a shutter with Fevicol written over it, a hen laying an unbreakable egg after eating its feed from a Fevicol can and one where different TV sets in a carpenter store show different pics based on whether or not the Fevicol can is removed from the set top were howlarious to put it mildly. There is another one where they show us an overloaded bus with people on top, on the side and every other possible place on the bus and still not falling off - Fevicol is painted behind the bus in huge letters u see!
Amrutanjan had one amazing catch line - It's gone - and it made people say it in all different languages. I would wait until they said it in my mother tongue and feel suffused with pride that they felt it important enough to use my mother tongue in a national ad.
After spending two years in the US and baulking at their quality of advertising, which was mostly someone reading out product benefits, the belief that we make the world's best ads has been reinforced ten fold. I've loved Motorola's ads for its new phn, Pepsi seems to have lost some touch though. I will surely write upon this some other time as Im fascinated by the world of ads...enuf for now though.
PS: After all the questions, Sehwag is going to be on the plane to the Carribean...Please, oh please, vindicate our faith in you, Sehwag saab...
Sunday, February 11, 2007
How did we manage to lose that? Blame it on Tendlia of course...Naaa, this is not going to be another lambasting for the Tendlia critics. Im curious as to what the selectors will do now. Sehwag has failed(?) yet again. What now? Do we get him onto the plane to the Carribean? Robin Uthappa seems quite a wise choice as of now, but does he have enuf exposure or experience? I dont envy Mr. Vengsarkar's his job, darned if he does, darned if he does not. Two more matches left, Sehwag will have to do something spectacular now if he wants that coveted birth.
There was another match today that could well prove extremely important in the buildup to the World Cup. England upset Australia's applecart today and Australia did not do themselves any favors by putting in a listless batting performance. There have been questions for long about Australia's aging team. However, the desire for revenge for their Ashes loss seemed to fill the aging team with new strength and the 5-0 whitewash showed they were in top form. The first few matches of the CB series proved mere confirmations of their form. However, England, who were on the verge of being written off completely, quite literally pulled a few rabbits out of their hats and romped home to a series victory that will go a long way in boosting their morale ahead of the world cup and shattering Australia's. The good news for Australia is that they still have three matches against NZ to redeem themselves. The one catch taken by Jamie Dalrymple today is utterly representative of how one performance can inspire an entire team. Being horizontal four feet in the air and taking a one handed catch with your left hand - or rather beleiving u can do it - showed England's desperation for a much needed win. The crowd went up in a collective gasp loud enuf to be heard in England when the catch was replayed on the large screen. I would think that was the moment when the fight in Australia just died out!
The build up to this World Cup is proving to be uber interesting and I, for one, hope that every match in the World Cup proves to be a nail biter. Who will win finally? Well, may the best team win...
PS: The best team being India of course!