Friday, May 27, 2011

Cricket Burnout

With most of the seniors dropping out from the WI trip - Sachin wants to spend time with family, Dhoni and Zaheer need rest, Yuvraj has a lung infection, and Gambhir and Sehwag are injured -  a very depleted squad will be travelling next week to the Carribean... Golden opportunity though for the young caps...

Sachin meanwhile blundered major time, first opting to bowl against Bangalore and then putting in his weakest bowler to open againt Gayle, ending the first over at 27, and Mumbai were blown out of the semis.

It's Bangalore vs Chennai tomorrow in the finals, and thankfully, the never-ending IPL4 will be over..

Movie Review: Drive Angry

A dead father on a mission to save his dead daughter's child from being sacrificed at the altar of the devil's cult... a curious but wonderful mix of the super natural and the blood, dirt and grime of the road side gang wars... shot in 3D, but enjoyed by me on DVD at home, Drive Angry is one of those strange concoctions that drain you but actually make you wish the end was just a little later...

Nicolas Cage is at his immortal best, while Amber Heard provides fresh eye candy untouched and unspoilt by the flying limbs and guts...

Watch it only if you have the stomach for it

First Showers

Pune got it's first showers of the season today. The clouds had been building up last couple of days, and today the sky turned heavy, the uneasy wind and the orange sky of the late evening finally giving way to the amazing first rains...

There's something terribly romantic about the first rains.. the smell of the earth.. aaah so refreshing... the puddles, the slushy roads... sexy cars preening away to glory, wet and wild... the lonely stray dog, wet but happy... and the countless twigs and broken branches, the trees swaying happily, fresh and green, washing away the dust of the endless summer...

Life is beautiful.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Criminal Intent Under Scanner

All this while, financial consultants made a killing teaching corporate bigwigs, politicians and scamsters to exploit the loopholes in the company finance, tax and accounting laws, aiding and abetting corruption and malpractices while using the garb of "consulting" to absolve themselves of any wrong doing. However, recent prosecutions and arrests in the 2G and CWG scams have turned the tables on these "experts", with the authorities slamming charges of criminal intent and participation in conspiracy on them, under the approval of the courts. This is a major turning point in our battle against corruption and is bound to have a major positive impact.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joke For The Day

Broccoli: I'm not happy with my looks I look like a tree
Walnut: I look like a brain
Mushroom: That's not bad, I look like an umbrella
Banana: Can we please change the topic??!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Gurubhai" Ambani

Was switching channels when I came across "Guru"... last few minutes of the movie, when Gurukanth Desai's Shakti Industries is under investigation by a commission of inquiry on various charges, and is given a last chance to speak up in his defence in front of the press and the shareholders. Just as he enters court, a taxi driver walks up to him and tells him he's got his three daughters married on the basis of the profit he made by investing in Shakti Industries shares. Standing up to speak, an angry Gurukanth Desai asks the commission whether he needs a license for standing up too! What are they really upset about? His progress, or the speed of his progress? Why do you blame me for kicking and saluting my way through to the top, when that is what you asked me to do when I came to Mumbai? Why do we always want to be called Third World? Why can't we aim to be the First World?

A few days back, Ratan Tata criticized Mukesh for building his billion dollar mansion, Antilla. A lot of others have accused Reliance of everything from corruption to unfair business practices...

But at the end of the day, hasn't Reliance taught this country to dream big? To believe? The Tatas, the Birlas, the Infys... Indian companies are finally right up there, and to a large extent, I believe the credit goes to Dhirubhai for taking on the license raj and showing this country what we are capable of...

My salute to you, Dhirubhai!

Why Shahid Became Famous

Don 1, 2... 8

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Movie Review: Ragini MMS

Paranormal meets DPS MMS... two lovers weekend out at a secluded bungalow, but the guy has a sinister plan. A clandestine sex tape in return for a shot at stardom. Little do they know that their sexapede is going to turn into a threesome. A chudail resides in the bungalow, and she wants company. Not a bad movie, builds well and moves fast to the meat (pun unintended) although the end stretches a bit. 15 lesser min would have made it just about perfect.

But, watch the movie for one and only one reason. Kainaz Motivala. Simply stunningly cute, sizzling hot and lots of oomph and character, this girl can go places if she plans her moves well. Looking forward to a lot more from her (this time, pun intended!)!

Movie Review: Haunted (3D)

Haunted (it's a Hindi movie, by the way) has all the incredients of a typical B grade horror movie: one ghost raping another for 80 years in an old mansion, cobras, wells, priests, babas, and a lot of gyaan that can be invaluable for the audience - spirits should never be referred to by their name as it gives them strength and they are strongest at 300 am and weakest at 300 pm.

The cast is poor. Mithun's son Makaakshay should put his name to use in fighting the spirits, and find a better way to exploit his dancing "skills" - his routine brings tears of laughter to his lover's face, and most of the audience reacted similarly to his attempt at wowing us with his skills on the floor. Tia Bajpai is cute in parts, but sadly seems to have nothing special going for her and is likely to join the dozens of one-film starlets.

What's interesting is the high quality of 3D. Although, I think, the real fun is when stuff pops out of the screen towards you - the closeup of the baba's face with the strands of white hair blowing in the wind tantalizingly close to you was awesome :) We need more of it.

Completely avoidable.

Dum Maro Dum

Beat The Heat

Car Drained Out?

If you think your car has lost its juice and feels drained out, here's a possible explanation... a man in the US has admitted to having sex with 1000 cars! Edward Smith is living with his current "girlfriend" - a white Volkswagen Beetle named Vanilla. Apart from Vanilla, he regularly spends time with his other vehicles - a 1973 Opal GT, named Cinnamon, and 1993 Ford Ranger Splash, named Ginger.

Must admit, that's quite a "carnama"!

Random Ramblings...

Morning papers...

Didi has packed her cabinet with professionals, with little or no previous political experence. Will they deliver? Is it possible in a democracy like India to be professional about decisions as ministers, if you do not have aneye on vote banks? Interesting times for West Bengal and India...

Didi has refused state security, and her bullet proof car.. and continues to drive her black Santro. She's also instructed police not to give her an escort car, and not stop traffic, and continues to drive to office like a lay person. Humble and worthy of appreciation, but what about the threat to her life... from terrorists or from life's twists? Is it fair for West Bengal to lose her to a stupid car accident, for example, when it could be easily avoided? I think politicians and leaders have the added responsibility to be safe and secure for the sake of their people, and the security measures are a must. Yes, do not over do it. But do it.

An Israeli gay couple have become proud "parents" of "twins" - two babies born from their sperms fertilizing two eggs from two different surrogate Indian mothers, whose pregnancies were carefully synchronized to deliver on the same date. Because the father-parents want their kids to go to kindergarten together... The fathers, the mothers and the doctors are all adults and have taken their choices, but has anyone wondered what the kids will go through, growing up to two "fathers".. will they feel mother's love, will they be "normal"? I guess it's worse than abortion... for those who believe unborn foetuses have rights. Born foetuses have even more so, right?

Kanimozhi has now spent two days in her cell. She's reading Tamil books and watching 27 channels on TV. She's asking her guards if they can do something about the mosquitoes. Shahid Balwa, Unitech MD, was reportedly asking whether it was possible to get an AC fitted. Suresh Kalmadi is probably worried about dyeing his beard which is suddenly making him look aged and despondent. And I wonder what Raja is worrying about... After all the crores "earned" through corruption and deceit, this is all it came down to, didn't it? Yes, a couple of weeks, months or years later, they'll probably get released... but has it been worth the humiliation and shame?

And finally, KKR have made it to the semis, for the first time in the 4 year IPL journey. After the fairy tale SRK-Dada combination failed to click for 3 years, KKR fans were aghast at the thought of KKR without their icon, but interestingly, it worked! It has created an interesting moral dilemma for the Dada fans... do they continue to support him (and Pune) or KKR and SRK? Like in many friendships and partnerships, the idea of change, new alliances and break ups are upsetting, but I guess sometimes it's the best and only way?

Friday, May 20, 2011

One More Down

With the court rejecting the bail plea of DMK chief's daughter Kanimozhi, the 2G scam has claimed yet another heavyweight. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Movie Review: Game

Had heard good reviews, liked the trailers, and Kangana is one of my favourites, so having missed Game in the theatres, I caught it on DVD last night. Aaah, big disappointment.

An actor (completely wasted Jimmy Shergill), a casino owner (a stale AB Baby), a Thai PM-in-waiting (again completely wasted Boman Irani) and a crime journalist (always attractive but totally wasted Shahan Goswami) are called to the island of Samos (without the last a, it doesn't really fill your hunger pangs) by the billionaire tycoon Malhotra (Anupam Kher, yes, wasted too). Why? Don't bother to think about it. When he is found shot dead in his room, along with a burning will, the International Crime Force something something Kangana Ranaut knows there's a lot more to it than meets the eye... by this time, I was dropping asleep, so maybe it did miss my eye...

Anyway, the point is, someone's playing games, and you are welcome to watch... the good news is, it ends pretty quick.

Kangana, you are better off playing the slightly crazy lover... the smart and sexy policing can be left to the Priyankas and the Deepikas... too much image at stake here, you see?

Movie Review: Priest (3D)

The world has escaped doom, the vampires have been defeated after a bloody battle that's left cities in dusty ruins... but finally, there's peace. Or is there? Have we really seen the last of the vampires? Or have the Priests, the knights in shining armour chosen by the Church to save the world, left the task unfinished?

Some high quality 3D, but really nothing beyond that, this is one movie you can definitely choose to miss and not miss much.

ps: Wish someone would come up with a way to see 3D without having to perch those heavy goggles on the nose, already burdened by specs!

Rambo 3

Interesting to watch Rambo 3 - Stallone fighting alongside the Afghan (Taliban) against the Russians, with his best friend in the movie, a very Osama-look-alike!

How times have changed...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Siddhesh 1 Sanam 0

Ye ye ye, I beat Sanam at our first chess game... took me an hour, and I was down to my Queen and elephant, but I won :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Turning Point

With every successive elections, Indian democracy is showing its maturity and coming of age. No longer can politicians get away with doling out cash and booze on the eve of polls, no longer will corruption be accepted, no longer will the people vote for mandir or masjid, and if you do not deliver growth and development, you can get out.

Results in the 4 key states (ignore Pondicherry for now) of TN, Assam, Kerela and West Bengal, with around 150m people involved in the exercise throw up some exciting new developments for the country, which cannot be ignored.

The Left has been decimated in WB by Didi's Trinamul Congress, and though it rallied in Kerela under Hindu votes, is without power any where in the country now. After the washout in the LS elections, which was attributed by the politburo to Karat's stand on the US Nuclear deal rather than a popular vote against the Left itself, this defeat clearly signals the end of the Left, and with the sex appeal of the Marxists on a major downturn, it remains to be seen if the Left ever recovers from here. Karat will have tough questions to answer to, especially since the only little success they have had recently is in Kerela, which can only be attributed to VS Achutanand, who Karat wanted out. Although it is unclear whether anyone will care enough to want to hear his answers!

The DMK is in deep trouble too. While anti-incumbency has always played a role in TN, it is the huge margin and 5/6th majority Amma got in TN that makes the difference. The people have clearly been disgusted by the 2G scam, and last minute attempts by the DMK to buy out voters fell flat. Amma isn't known to be generous to her rivals, and with the Congress facing tough questions over its stand on corruption, it will now feel emboldened to take on Raja, Kanimozhi and others in the 2G scam, to give it some breathing space in next year's polls. This can only be very bad news for Kani and her band of scamsters.

Assam showed that anti-incumbency is not a rule. Tarun Gogoi's huge vistory and hat-trick shows that when local leaders are allowed to focus on development, it pays back handsomely. Tarun joins other stalwarts like Modi and Nishit, who have learnt to drop communal and populist agendas and instead focus on real growth and development, and have been heavily rewarded. The Congress would do well to learn from Tarun and encourage more such leaders.

The Congress would be unsure of which side they find themselves on after this election. Good news for them in West Bengal, where Didi has welcomed the Congress in the government, and her need as CM to have a helpful center will buffer them a bit against her demands. In TN, they suffered heavy collateral damage because of the DMK, but there is always a of tying up with Amma, and the DMK's loss definitely frees the Congress to take strong action and redeem itself in the 2G scam. In Kerela, they have managed to win albeit by a thin majority, with the Left rallying well primarily due to VS Achutanand's clean image. Assam is great news, but the loss in Pondicherry will be disappointing.

However, Rahul Gandhi's experiments of intra-party democracy and focus on youth, most forcefully implemented in Kerela have bombed miserably, with most of his hand-picked "Amul babies" losing convincingly at the polls. For a 125 year old party, I guess it's too early to change!

Oh, and yes, the Congress lost even the security deposit in the Andhra (Kadapa) LS by-election to YSR's son Jagan Reddy who contested as a rebel and won by a margin of almost 6 lakh votes, and while one can attribute this to sympathy and dismiss it as a one-off, Jagan's next steps and rise in Andhra can be pretty scary for the Congress, which has a substantial number of MPs from Andhra at the center.

And finally, the BJP. The BJP who? In a 5 state election with over 150m voters involved, the BJP did not even have a shadow of relevance. Desperate times for the party, which finds itself increasingly ditched by its allies (now down to barely 5 from a one-time 22 in the NDA), irrelevant to voters, leaderless, and without an agenda except maybe the "sensational" piss-in-panipuri episodes in Thane!

With the Left front no longer viable, the BJP toothless, and the possibilities of a Third front becoming increasingly remote, the future elections are expected to be about the Congress, how it takes on regional parties, and the coalition it can cobble together at the center.

Irrespective of how the landscape changes from here on, corruption and populism has lost, development and sincerity has won, and Indian democracy comes through yet another election, a shining example to the rest of the world. Especially when in contrast to the mess around our boundaries!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And, Me Too!

And I am back too, in Pune, after a relaxing long weekend in Goa. Missed my spa session this time though, and Samara took a few scratches, but overall we were good, and very happy to be back, just as we were sad to leave from Goa today morning...

Dada's Back

What a happy sight... seeing the god of offside back in the middle. Dada took the field for the Pune Warriors, and played a beautiful innings of 30 odd at more than a run a ball, including a fantastic six... way to go, Dada!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

King Of Comebacks

Yet again! Dada does it again! Sourav is back into the thick of action, and guess what, he will be playing for Pune Warriors! If ever there was heartache and dilemma, this is it... SRK or Dada? :)

SRK's KKR is on top of the table right now, and PW is at the bottom.

I guess, from a cricketing perspective, I will support Dada and PW, but in my heart, I will still want KKR to win.

Wait a min, I forgot all about Mahi's CSK!


Safe Haven?

An American Indian friend sent this to me: ‎"No one is safe in Pakistan, not even Osama........Everyone is safe in India, even Kasab. Isn't it true?"

Usually, I would not even bother to reply, but let me try this time…

Osama lived safely in Pakistan for 10 years. And today even a known terrorist like Hafiz Sayeed, and Dawood and dozens of others, are safe and sound.

Osama was killed without trial by a country that believes it owns the world.

Kasab was captured alive at the cost of the life of a brave constable who snatched his AK47. Kasab was given a fair trial. His capture and trial also, once and for all, showed the world the reality of Pakistan, putting tremendous pressure on them to at least at the face of it, mend their ways to some extent.

Kasab is on death row. He will be hanged at the right time. And frankly, for him, a life in the Anda cell is a much fitter punishment than a bullet in the head.

I prefer living in a country that respects its laws and the right of a human being for a fair trial. Even if he is the incarnation of the devil.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Movie Review: Shor In The City

Last night, we went in for back to back movies.. and just when we thought movies couldn't get much better than the five starrer Limitless, we were treated to another fantastic movie, Shor In The City.

The city is just an excuse to be good or bad. Especially bad. And when that city is Mumbai, you can only expect the maximum. Three taporis struggle to make money, their trials and tribulations providing some heart warming moments, until they stumble upon a treasure - a bag full of guns and a bomb. And when need meets need, when supply meets demand, things can change very quickly! Or does it, really?

SITC is a wonderful mosiac of experiences and emotions that define life in Mumbai. The foreign returned accented desi and his model girlfriend's struggle with extortionists for protection money. The frustration of a middle class girl with countless marriage proposals, while her cricketer boyfriend struggles to get "selected" on the merit of his game. The shy new bride who waits every night for her marriage to be consummated. The MMS culture, the road side Romeo, the couples on Marina Drive. Every frame, every dialogue real as can be. You will laugh, you will worry, you will identify with every character - you know these people. You meet them every day.

A simply stunning cinematic experience, this is a gem of a movie that any serious movie buff would be loath to miss!

Osama Vs Obama

Finally, he's gone. American special forces raided his luxury compound in a Pakistan hill station, just 100 miles from Islamabad and less than a km away from a major Pakistani military academy, and shot him in the head, before "burying" his mortal remains in the Arabian Sea.

But this also raises some very loud concerns and questions about Pakistan, its military and its seriousness in combating terror. It is terribly humiliating for a country to end up in a position where a foreign country not only carries out drone strikes in its territory, but now sends in choppers with special forces inside its cities. It is even more shameful that American did not even let the Pakistanis know about the impending operation. The next few days will show how much the world is willing to overlook the disturbing facts behind all this.

A decade long chapter is closed, and while the war on terror is really not over yet, one hopes this is just the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Back To Back!

Into the second movie of the night now, the third of the weekend... and all shows have been full :)

Movie Review: Limitless

A typical human uses only twenty percent of his brain. What could you do if you could access all hundred percent of it? Edward Morra is a loser, with no money, no work and no girl friend. But when he ends up with a cache of the wonder drug NZT, the possibilities are limitless. But success comes at a terrible price. Will Eddy beat the odds?

An absolutely stunning movie, a true five starrer. And girls, if the gripping story, the superb camera work and the pace is not enough, go watch it just for the delicious Bradley Cooper!

You just cannot miss this one. 

Home Sweet Home

Home is the place where u can scratch your bum exactly where it itches.!!


A few months back, the world looked on amazed as the power of a people's movement brought down the powerful Mubarak regime. Just a few days later, Libya erupted against Gadhaffi, and it seemed the rebels would overthrow the dictator in a matter of days, even as Nato brought in its jets to shoulder whatever hardware the regime could use against the civilians. Iran, Bahrain, Tunisia, Syria, Oman, even China seemed to be caught up in the "Internet driven democratic movement".

But reality is now hitting back. Egypt recently saw protestors back in Tahrir Square, this time protesting against the same "heroic" army they were counting on as their country's saviour a few months back. Gadhaffi is still bombing his civilians, killing them when the misguided Nato bombs don't. Democracy is still possible only in a parallel virtual reality, whose time has not yet come in this world.

Indian democracy seems to only get stronger, day by day, though. Anna brought the powerful political class to its knees through a simple Satyagraha that found tremendous support from an usually vocal and concerned urban middle class, that is waking up to its responsibilities.   The Lokpal might be the beginning of a serious crackdown on corruption, and Raja, Kalmadi and their cronies will not be breathing easy for a long time. Terrorism has failed to achieve any of its goals, and recent elections in Kashmir, and the way life has moved on in cities like Mumbai and Pune show that bombs can kill the body, but never the spirit and soul of this nation.

Indians need to be proud of themselves. Self-sufficient villages, powerful castes and joint families decide how the country governs itself, not an all-powerful political class, and therein lies the true essence of our successful democracy!

Movie Review: Source Code

The Source Code project aims to map the last eight minutes of residual memory from a train bombing victim's brain into the brain of a barely alive officer to unlock the identity of the bomber and prevent a follow up dirty bomb. In attempting to change the future, will they end up changing the past?   An interesting plot, but the movie does drag a bit, and some of the science fiction is too complicated if you try and reason it out.

The cast is good, but the hottie Vera Farmiga is wasted. Jake and Michelle have their moments too, but their characters don't have much of a chance to develop, which is a shame. Some excellent photography in the opening credits, for me, was the best part of the movie!

The 1140 pm show in the big theatre was house full, but it is one of those movies you could give a miss if you have better plans for the weekend.