Saturday, July 31, 2010

Movie Review: Once Upon A Time In Mumbai

Another gangster movie, this time set in the old Bombay of the seventies and early eighties, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai is apparently based on the life of the "good" don Haji Mastan, and his betrayal by his one-time protege, Dawood Ibrahim. Excellently shot and executed, the story and the screenplay keeps you spellbound till the end, even though the end is a foregone conclusion of some sorts...

Ajay Devgan and Imran Hashmi play their roles to perfection, Prachi has her (intimate) moments. Kanagana Ranaut is delicately beautiful, for once, she's sane and normal, and simply dominates the screen every time she's on it. But for me the find of the movie was Ranjeet Hooda as the ACP, tough, tall, dark and handsome, the kind of officer every guy wants to be when he's a child!

A couple of good tracks that will eventually grow on you, along with excellent background music, make it good for your ears too! The dialogues are filmy, yes, but trust me, you will actually like them.

Interestingly, there's very little violence, and it's almost safe to take your kids.

My only concern... given this is a gangster versus gangster movie, at the end of the movie, one dies and the other is glorified... unlike other gangster movies where the long arm of the law catches up to the bad man, here, the bad man comes away the king. Not exactly the kind of influence I want my movie to leave on impressionable minds.

I am yet to see Eclipse, but other than Kristen, I am sure this movie matches it eye to eye, if you are yet to decide!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Movie Review: Khatta Meetha

Priyadarshan takes a serious message about politics and corruption, and tries to lighten it with a generous dose of comedy... builds up wonderfully in the first half, but the big turning moment never comes, leaving you unsatisfied and disappointed when the curtains come down.

A little less violence, and some generous editing around the unnecessary gang rape, and this would have actually been a fun movie.

Unfortunately, this one has a lot more khatta after-taste...


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Fiestas

I drove into my office parking in Madhavi's new car yesterday and the watchman came by to ask, "Sir, gaadi ka color change kiya kya?". When I told him it was Mad's new car, he commented with a puzzled look, "But number toh same hai!".

Remember, both our Fiestas have pretty much the same number, differing only by one letter :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Movie Review: Salt

Russia and America are at it again, on the brink of war pushed to the limit by espionage, spies, and double spies. Interestingly timed with the recent Russian spy scandal, one wonders whether this was just coincidence... or...

Anywayz, Angelina Jolie is simply superb in the role of Salt, a CIA agent, who is called in to interrogate a Russian "defector", who exposes a plot to kill the Russian President at the funeral of the American Vice President in NYC. She scoffs at his information, and is about to walk out, when he names the would-be assassin. Salt.

The plot thickens with every minute, and Angelina outperforms herself in every scene. The action is fast paced with stunning screenplay and the story keeps you guessing till the very end.

A very good action movie, in the same league as A Team, Knight and Day and Inception. A very good option this weekend, don't miss it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our New Ford Baby

Pari came yesterday - the latest member of our Ford family, younger sister to Lisa, Reona and Samara :) A stunning Sea Grey beauty, 1.6 SXi. The sun roof and tinted windows are yet to come, but the spoiler and reverse parking camera are already in :)

Updates On Sunday: She got her tinted glasses yesterday, the sun roof is planned tomorrow.

By the way, she has ABS and Air Bags as standard equipment, which Reona didn't have (ABS was an option, but we didn't go for it). However, Reona had a 6 CD-in-dash player, while Pari's unit, while additionally supporting MP3 and Aux-In, has a single CD input :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Movie Review: Inception

I can join the gang and rave about how awesome Inception is, or be true to myself and say, well, it has some good action, some interesting special effects, an interesting concept, but gets too twisted and complicated with its plot, and all you can do is make up some explanations to convince yourself that you are getting it.

I will stick with the latter.

It's a good movie, but to truly get it, you got to be dreaming.


Watching this 1985 James Bond movie A View To Kill - the lady asks Bond, my cat's hungry, I need to feed him, you hungry? Bond replies, what you feeding him, Whiskas?

25 years later, that's what I just fed my cats! :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Baby on the Way!

Watch this space for updates....!!!

It's Not Always Sun and Sand!

The beautiful canvas of nature, with the clouds, the roaring sea and the placid sands... simply mind-blowing!

Kitty Hawk

We rescued this beautiful kitten as she desperately tried to get away from the road with a broken leg, possibly from an accident just a few seconds earlier. A brief chase through the municipal garden later, we had subdued her thrashing mini paws. Under the warmth of a blanket, we took her to the PAWS shelter in Taleigaon, where a doctor gave her an injection, cleaned her and bandaged her broken leg.

She should be fine soon, although it's possible she will carry a limp for life. We have adopted her, and she should be in Nerul as soon as she's good to go fight with our dog :)

While at the shelter, we also met many beautiful kittens/cats and dogs... if you need a pet, pleaase do drop by. They work mostly on donations, and anything you can help with - including old blankets and food, will be so wonderful for these tiny creatures that need your love and support.

This mini-bomb (see the tiny head?) was all set to take on three dogs with her fierce "pssss" and sharp claws! :)

And this cat had a tough time accepting she wasn't a monkey!

Nerul in July

Shiva, our faithful. long term gardener, helper and all-in-one - except when he's dead drunk :)

The "ghasare" in the aangan at Nerul. When we were kids, we used to bathe under them, and then splash around in the "swimming pool" created by blocking the outlet from the aangan.

Heavy rains greet us as we approach our main gate. It's a short wait before the housemaid turns up to open the gates to us...

A beautiful creeper on the coconut tree... this one is many years old!

Looking out towards the main gate, the bench on the left is a very recent addition

The main gate in brighter times :) The two lions keeping guard were earlier part of our devghar.

This open space at the left of the entrance driveway was earlier public space, and as kids, we played a lot of cricket here .

I planted this tree in 1998-99 as part of a school initiative to plant trees

An amazing multi-headed Ashoka tree, this one has had a couple of rebirths after falling to heavy winds and stormy weather.

And this one was planted by me in 1997-98.

Lavasa in the Rains

Figo Under Escort

Says it all... two Black Endys escorting a pretty black Ford Figo on Law College Road :)

Wagon R

Guess what's Maruti's best selling model? Going by what we saw in Goa, it's the Wagon R! Yes, believe it or not, in a space of around 10 mins and 2 km in the city, we counted an unbelievable 64 Wagon Rs! Try it yourself...

Movie Review: Tere Bin Laden

A hilarious, off-beat movie, TBL is a wonderful satire on Pakistan and America's war on terror. When Ali is permanently refused a visa to the land of his dreams, it looks like his journalist career with the Pakistani news channel Danka TV is going to be limited to covering rooster competitions. Until he meets a Bin Laden look-alike, and hits upon the idea of coming up with a new Bin Laden video. Little does he know what lies in store for the world - America's Operation Kickass!

With a wonderful script, good performances by all the actors (most of whom have never faced the camera before), and a plot that all Indians will love and identify with, TBL is perfect entertainment for at least a couple of times.

Do not miss it!

Biometric Problem for the UID!

Guess what's the biggest problem facing Nandan Nilekani's UID project? No, it's not logistics or database sizing, or integration. It's the absence of adequate quality biometrics in the vast rural population of India, the exact data set which is expected and targetted to benefit most from this project. What exactly do I mean by lack of adequate quality biometrics? Well, most of the farm workers and daily wage labourers do not have high-quality fingerprints! And the rest do not have adequately transparent corneas (because of cataracts), making retina scans impossible.

At the end of the day, these are the two key identification mechanisms for getting your UID.

Honda Civic versus Volswagon Jetta

We did a comparison test drive of the VW Jetta and the Civic on Saturday.

The Civic looks good, especially in Black, and the interiors are also top notch, like most Hondas. The dashboard is beautiful, the leather is high quality, and the interior trims and space gives the Civic a very posh feel. While acceleration is poor, it performs wonderfully well once it's got some momentum. And of course, the AT is a bonus when compared to the Jetta which doesn't have an AT version.

The Jetta on the other hand looks and feels like a small car from inside, with very poor leg room for the rear passengers, with the transmission housing and rear AC vents making the third passenger almost a no-possibility. While it definitely has better torque, even considering it's a diesel version, the car stalls in 2nd gear, and that was a huge disappointment.

Overall, the verdict goes heavily in favour of the Civic, and when you roll in the price tags with the Jetta coming in at almost 2 lakh more than the Civic, the decision is a no-brainer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saina Nehwal is World No 2

Saina's dedication and hard work is paying dividends! Just a step from the top, India's darling deserves a round of applause!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Do you have a Demat Account?

From the Times Of India today:

Can Hindu deities have demat accounts to enable them transact in shares and debentures on the stock market?

The Bombay High Court will decide the issue after a religious trust filed a petition challenging the decision of National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) to refuse it permission for opening demat accounts in the names of five Hindu deities.

"When the Income Tax department has issued PAN cards to these five deities why should NSDL not allow opening of demat accounts in their names?" the trust has asked in the petition, which is likely to come up for hearing later this week.

The deities of the Sangli-based trust "Ganpati Panchayatam Sansthan" are Lord Ganesh, Chintamaneshwardev, Chintamaneshwaridevi, Suryanarayandev and Laxminarayandev.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movie Review: Knight And Day

A good looking Tom Cruise and an old looking Cameron Diaz star in this comedy-action drama featuring some very original and exceedingly well executed car chases and action scenes and some interesting and unusual screenplay and dialogues, making it a good option for the weekend.

Don't expect too much, ignore the plane crash at the beginning of the movie, and try not to chase the storyline, and you will have some fun.

Oh, if you haven't seen the A-Team yet, though, go for it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Quote For The Day

If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time. Chinese Proverb.


It's sad to see the opposition playing cheap politics, opposing an able PM who, as FM, brought this country out from the brink of bankruptcy and ably led us through the economic meltdown, providing 10% growth rate when the world was sliding deeper and deeper in recession.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

No, I Don't Really Follow Football

We now have the semi-final line up for the FIFA WC 2010, and I think I know most of the teams in there. No, I don't really follow Football, but then, when it's the greatest show (and sound!) on Earth, I guess one shouldn't totally miss it!

I've seen a few games, some brilliant goals, but mostly, for me, the FWC has been a disappointment.

Here's why.

Technically, there's very little compared to cricket. No pitch reports, no seam versus spin, no mongoose bats, no worrying about lights. No one even bends it like Beckham any more. Pre and post game discussions talk more about injuries and lack of goals, instead of team strategies and techniques.

Messi, Rooney, Ronaldo, Kaka, Mama, Maushi... sexy names, waxed chests, multi-millions dollar deals. But where are the results? My favourite of the tournament, by the way - David Villa, Spain.

When you watch ninety minutes of twenty three players running around on the field, you expect more than 1-0 or 0-4. When the ball passes up and down, back and forth for so long, you wonder why life couldnt be made a little more interesting. And it irritates the hell out of me when players feign falls and injuries, when cheating is blatant and ends up being called the hand of god, when referees are not allowed the option of resorting to TV replays, when the whole world sees unfair play being rewarded and FIFA defends it with lame excuses. Mexico lost to a lacklustre Argentina, France made it to SA, Uruguay beat Ghana, and none of these results were meant to be.

Yesterday's game between Uruguay and Ghana provided some excitement - back to back penalties on opposite goals, a brilliant save, a goal, then goal denied, huge refereeing errors and inconsistencies. The hand of god denying Ghana yet another goal, the resulting penalty kick resultless.

What kind of a game is it when the best teams lose to unfair play, and cheaters become demigods?

Movie Review: I Hate Luv Storys

Girl meets boy, boy likes dates, girl likes love stories, girl proposes, boy disposes, boy proposes, girl disposes, but eventually they live happily every after. It's not a love story, it's a saga. Or so it pretends to be.

Imran back after Jaane Tu in a cute and believable role.
Sonam Kapoor's ravishing smile.
Some good songs, although you need to listen to them a few times and let them grow on you.
Samir Soni, looking delicious though loud in his role.
Sameer Dattani's shirts. Lol. OK, that was a joke.
College Humour.
New Zealand locales (and Pune's Mariott :))
Imaginative title.
Takes on SRK movies.

Stretched second half.
Some other College Humour.
Unimaginative story line.
Too many takes on SRK movies.
Unnecessary references to sex - a definite problem when you want to take your eigth year old to the movie!
Sonam Kapoor's legs and stiff acting. Her make up man needs a change too.
Imran's acting - at times, you don't know if he's serious or joking, a la George Bush Jr.

Overall, watch it once, take a book along to read in the middle of the second half, and some cotton to plug in the ears in case you take your kids along.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Amazing Rainfall Picture

This came to me in a chain mail... simply beautiful and awe-inspiring! Apparently clicked from Sinhagad Fort looking towards Pune.