Sunday, April 19, 2009

Amazing India

Nice piece in the Express today got me thinking...

When the politicians dithered about Nano and IPL, corporate India stood up and showed the world how to do things... fast, decisive thinking, and both projects were back on track!

And when corporate India threw up a Satyam, our politicians stood up, and showed the world how severely screwed up companies can be resurrected - in a matter of 2-3 months!

I guess, it happens only in India... :)

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Family)

We did a bit of shopping and a lot of window shopping last night...

First to Twist and Tales. Sanam wanted to read about Shivaji, having been inspired by the movie. When she couldn't find something on him, she tells me, we can buy Secret Seven instead. Lol. Anyway, finally, I found a Shivaji comic in a set, along with 9 others... and had to buy the whole bunch.

Then we went to Croma. We checked out a LCD - Sony Bravia looked great, but the moment they switched from the Hi Def Promo to Tata Sky, it suddenly didnt look as sexy any more! So we'll probably just repair our existing Bazoomba and wait for Tata Sky to deliver HD content before we splurge another fifty grand.

Sanam then wanted to check out an electronic piano/keyboard. She tells me Yamaha is the best. Apparently, she checked out features and prices on Google! Oh, and yes, by the way, she's seven and half years old.

We saw a Tata Nano there, too. Croma belongs to Tata, remember? Pretty sexy car, I must say! Good job, Rattu!

Then to Natekar sports. Some swimwear for Sanam, and a baseball bat for myself. The moment he saw it, he knew - it's to keep in the car, right? he asked me! Yes, I said, surprised. Well, everyone who buys one, does it for the same purpose, he explained!

We also checked out an exercise bike - 5K, with hands and legs support. I was curios. What if it reduced my hands and legs, but left my stomach intact? He smiled and assured me that wouldn't happen. I am not completely convinced.

Then we had some Wazwaan chicken and wazwaan fruit punch, with some other normal sounding assortments, and came back home.

Movie Review: Me Shijaviraje Bhonsale Boltoy

Yet another fantastic Marathi movie! In the last few months, I have enjoyed some really good movies, and MSBB just ups the bar one more level.

Dinkar Rao Bhonsale is a middle aged, middle class Marathi manoos. He wears white formal shirts and trousers, travels by bus, and works in a bank. He buys Bombay Duck (and not the Pomfret) and waits for his arrears to come so he can buy a new shirt. His son is desperate for admission to Engineering college, but Bhonsale cannot afford the donation fees. His daughter wants to change her name to B Kala and then to a Chopra, because she finds Shashikala Bhonsale very down market. He loves to be called Baba, but the kids prefer Dad. And every South Indian and North Indian in Mumbai despises him for being a Ghaati. A typical Marathi manoos, lost in every day life, and incapable of moving in tandem with the fast moving "outsiders" in his own city.

He owns a palatial old bungalow in suburban Mumbai... When a builder eyes it, and offers Dinkar Rao an alternate bungalow in Badlapur, he refuses to move out. He wants to stay here, and he wants an apartment in the complex being built on his land. How can you non-veg fish-eating Ghaati stay in the midst of the rich vegeterian clientele, asks the builder? But Dinkar Rao is adamant. And that's when his troubles start.

From harassment by the BMC to threats and attempts on the lives of his children, will Dinkar Rao be able to fight back? Yes, he will! Because he has the support of the apparition of Shivaji and his loyal followers, who inspire and guide him to fight back, as a true Marathi manoos.

The production quality is pretty good, and for most past, doesn't feel like a movie shot on videocam (except some of the scenes of Shivaji on the horse in the city). Some of the camera angles are shots are pretty outstanding. There're a lot of laughs sprinkled around throughout the movie. The cast is perfect - every character an absolute perfect caricature of people you will meet and interact with every day. Sachin Khedekar does a fantastic job. Mahesh Manjrekar is good as Shivaji, though on close ups, he looks a little drunk and sleep deprived. Makarand Anaspure is fast proving himself to be the king of comedy in Mollywood. And as the daughter, Priya Bapat does a great job, and also lights up the screen whenever she's there!

The movie is a perfect rebuke to the antics of the MNS and other self-styled champions of the Marathi manoos. It has a serious social message, and yet, provides all the thrills and the entertainment of typical comemrcial cinema. One particular scene packs a lot of punch - when Dinkar Rao complains to Shivaji about outsiders, Shivaji retorts back, "Who asked you not to open hotels? Who asked you not to send your kids to IAS? Why do you take so much pride saying "amchi kuthech shakha nahin"?".

Should definitely make some people think...

I'm not a Marathi manoos, and I have no opinions to offer about them (at least not on this blog :)), but I enjoyed the movie, and I would highly recommend it to everyone else... as long as you can understand a bit of Marathi!


IPL 2 kicked of in SA yesterday - pretty sad that it's not in India this time. Was really looking forward to it. And with Dada out as captain, with the Pakis missing, and with my TV conked off... at least as far as I am concerned, the IPL fever's yet to catch on!

Dr Phatak

Yesterday, as part of the BE Project Competition at Persistent, I had the good fortune, once again, to hear Dr D. B. Phatak, from IIT Mumbai speak to us at length about life, learning, values, ethics, India and dreams.

Be like DEW drops he said

Dream big
Enjoy life
Work hard

As always, it was an inspiring, humorous, and very memorable experience.

A piece of unsolicited advice: NEVER miss an opportunity to hear him speak!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

26/11 Revisited

Bought a book on 26/11 yesterday from Crossword. A collection of articles and compilations, the book brought back vivid memories of those 60 hours of horror, with some new insights and understanding into what really happened in those hours of horror, bravery and pride. The cold and calculated planning and execution by the ten agents of death, and the unflinching bravery and courage of our officers, the staff of the hotels, and many ordinary citizens.

Do buy it, and read it.

Movie Review: Evan Almighty

Saw a pretty interesting (and old) movie yesterday on HBO - Evan Almighty. When God meets and encourages a newly elected Congressman to build an ark, he thinks he's freaking out under stress. But when animals and birds start chasing him in pairs and when his beard refuses to bow to a shave, he realises he has no choice.

Why does God ask him to build the ark? Will there really be a flood on Sept 22nd?

What I liked was the message of the movie: you can change the world by doing "Acts of Random Kindness" - ARK.

Oh yes, and the animals too :)

Movie Review: The Fast and The Furious 4

A treat for road action fans, F&F4 is set in the deserts and streets of southern USA and Mexico, with Vin Diesel, out for revenge against the drug lords for the murder of his girl friend (the sultry Michelle Rodriguez), teaming up with an FBI agent, Paul Walker, racing against and with each other in a deadly game of speed. Also watch out for the really hot Jordana Brewster, as the gangster's henchwoman.

The opening sequence is breathtaking, and there are a few cool segements later on, but the movie stretches for most part and could have easily been cut down by another 30 mins.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Movie Review: 8 * 10 Tasveer

If you thought a camera clicking the future was innovative, check this out. Akshay Kumar, an Environment Protection Services officer in Canada, has a unique talent - he can stare at a photograph, and get his mind transported into the past where the picture was clicked. And yes, he can even look into the past through the eyes of those present, or not present, there. Every time he does that, he also goes close to death, and needs serious medical attention to stabilize. And yes, if someone burns the photo while he's in the past, he's going to be stuck there forever.


The story is pathetic, very predictable for most part, and the twist at the end is just about OK.

Akshay does a typical Akshay, and he should reasses his candidature to topple the King Khan. Ayesha is roly poly, yet very sweet and sexy. I like this girl. She's done some great movies, and she needs a good director to bring some amazing stuff out of her. Unfortunately, this isn't really one of those movies.

But yes, do watch the movie for some of the most beautiful locales ever captured in a Hindi film. Absolutely mesmerizing. Worth it, just for that.

Movie Review: Aa Dekhe Zara

A camera that clicks the future. When Ray Acharya's uncle passes it on to his nephew after his death, Ray sees in it a sure fire way to unlimited riches. Just click the Playwin lottery boards, the finish line at the race tracks, the cricket score boards... bet on it, and lo! From a struggling photographer, Ray amasses wealth by the day.

He also meets, dates, and falls in love with a DJ, Simi Chatterjee.

But someone else is on his track, and desperately wants the camera, and will go to any length to get it. And things get even more complicated when the camera returns a black picture of himself - the camera's way of denoting death. And he has less than 6 days to leave.

Can he use the camera to see in to his future, and somehow, turn it around?

Overall, the movie is OK. The story keeps you wondering how it will turn in the end. Some of the locales are interesting too.

The cast, though, leaves you disappointed. Bipasha looks OK, and dances to some typically Bips steps, but Neil Nitin Mukesh is a big disappointment. He has sharp features, alright, and looks OK in good clothes, but he's literally WHITE! He's put any fair and lovely model to shame. His dialogue delivery is terrible, he cannot emote. Interesting and disappointing, also, is his character. Not a hero, not an anti hero, he's just a passer by in the movie.

Overall, OK to get a DVD and go through it when you have nothing else to do.