Thursday, June 28, 2012

Movie Review: This Means War

FDR and Tuck are best buddies, CIA operatives who have each other's back, while they take out the world's baddies in gay abandon. However, when they end up dating the same woman, all stops are pulled out, and the might of the US spy service is brought to bear on itself... everything from the latest UAVs, sat cams and fancy weapons, all in the pursuit of love.

Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are alright, Reese Witherspoon has looked better, the action is decent but nothing to wow about, the humour in the plot fails to rouse, and when the movie reaches its inevitable end, you are almost about to give up.


Stunning Nat Geo

Grabbed this really stunning picture off Nat Geo - its mesmerizing in a way I cannot describe. Is it the crazy composition of the head on head, is it the smile on the kid's face, the sleepy eyes of the deer, is it the nonchalance of his "play" with the head's lips?

Twisted Dreams!

Handful of Men


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movie Review: Gangs of Wasseypur

Far from the glitzy facades of malls and multiplexes, away from the zooming call cabs, SUVs and luxury sedans, disconnected from the rest of "modern India" we take for granted, lies the dusty, grimy coal mines of Bihar. And one of the small towns near Dhanbad, Wasseypur, is the setting for this dark movie about coal mafia, dirty politics and violence. Shot in 2 parts, with Part 1 in the theatres right now, this is perhaps the first time a film has been presented in such an epic way, and Anurag Kashyap deserves a clap just for that!

Manoj Bajpai puts in a stunning performance as Sardar Khan, thirsting for revenge against his father's nemesis, the hudlum turned politician Ramadhir Singh. Every other cast member is also spot on, with Richa Chadda (edit: this should be Reema Sen. Richa is the first wife, with an almost equally good performance!) stealing the honours in a powerful performance as Sardar's lust interest and second wife. The cinematography, editing, background score and camera work brings the harsh realities of an alternate India to you with shocking effect. The 2 hours 40 mins will keep you spell bound, even as you cring at the queasy sites of slaughtered animals, the blood and gore will make your stomach churn, and the crude language will shock the "gentleman" in you while you give in to the charms and laugh with everyone else. While the movie begins with a long drawn and confusing montage of documentary footage, incidents and names that are thrown at you at breakneck speed to "set the stage", it then takes an amazing turn and slows down, allowing the characters, the mood and the setting to grow on you, slowly and surely, until you are so enamoured by it, that you never want it to end. Sardar Khan's seduction of Najma, the scene in which he insults the minister and his son, and the last shootout scene (in the style of Godfather, including the background score) are some of the clear stand outs.

This is not a movie for the weak hearted.

Recommended highly if you are up for real film making. Needless to say, strictly A and best watched in the theatres.

Can't wait to see Part 2, this should be one sequel even better than the first!

Movie Review: Teri Meri Kahani

Mumbai 1960. London 2012. Lahore 1910.

Over three stories spanning more than a century, Shahid flirts with his girlfriends before falling head over heels for Priyanka. The connection is immediate and sizzling. But will their janam janam ka rishta survive the surprises life throws at them?

Interesting possibilities, but the movie falls short of expectations. The three stories lack imagination, the writer fails to weave any connection between them. Mumbai 1960 tries to recreate the era, but the set designers do not deliver. Lahore survives only on a few interesting shers. London is better, both Shahid and Priyanka look good and the chemistry seems to work very well. Innovative takes on Twitter, Facebook and SMSes add to the "atmosphere". Neha Sharma looks smoking hot in a short cameo as Shahid's girlfriend. After Crook, wish the girl had a lot more to do in Bollywood! The soundtrack is very ordinary, very little to talk about. The song picturizations are force fit into the movie, add very little to the entertainment value or the story, and are a good time to catch two winks.

Avoid unless you are a die hard fan of Shahid or PC.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Joke For The Day: Smart Answer!

My watchman was drinking on duty.

I asked him why ?

He said security has to be tight !!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Movie Review: Piranha 3DD (3D)

The title of the movie is unnecessarily convoluted, just like everything else about the movie. When a water park is attacked by the dangerous "strong enough to butt their way through steel" piranhas, you can only imagine the mayhem it will cause. But unlike the first installment, the movie never builds up the horror, wastes some excellent possibilities, and ruins the experience through a story line and screen play that relies on close ups of bikini clad women crawling in gulaal, cheap sexapedes and a very old and sorry looking David Hasselhoff with unabashed references to Baywatch and Knight Rider to entertain. While a couple of 3D effects are amazing, it just doesn't compensate for 75 mins of rubbish.

Avoid at any cost. Go to the local fish market instead.

Movie Review: Ferrari Ki Sawaari

Ferrari Ki Sawari is a heartwarming story about a topic that most of us easily relate to - a young boy and his dream to be the next Sachin Tendulkar.

Kayo (Ritvik Sahore) has the talent to make it big in the world of cricket. But when he is selected for a coaching stint at Lords, his dream seems out of reach for his honest-as-Raja Harishchandra single parent Rustom (Sharman Joshi), an RTO head clerk, who just doesn't have the 1.5 lakhs needed as fees. Temptation comes in the form of a local corporator's son, who desperately wants "560 horses" for his marriage procession. Desitny hands Rustom the keys to Sachin's Ferrari (they have used the real one in the movie), which gets him the money needed for the fees. But, when guilt ridden Rustom decides to return the Ferrari and the money, mayhem breaks out.

The cast is excellent, if you ignore just a couple of blemishes. Sharman Joshi, as the shy, honest Parsi is completely believable, although a little too sweet to be true. His relationship with his father and his son grows beautifully on you as the movie progresses. Boman Irani, as Mota Papa, is simply fantastic in the protrayal of the grandpa. From his unreasonable behaviour, to his old man's gait, from his dishelved appearance to his hurt as an ignored cricketer, he absolutely knows how to get into the skin of his characters. Ritvik Sahore is just perfect, and you can actually see a kiddo Tendulkar in his mannerisms on the field. A perfect rendition of what the little master would have been like at that age! Aakash Dabhade and Deepak Shirke as Tendulkar's support staff are spot on and will make you roll with laughter Paresh Rawal has a very small role, but is freakingly effective. It's the nuances that count, so do dwell over his performance, and you will see why he is such a good actor! The scene where he meets Boman at the club is just so amazingly executed.

The screenplay (Rajesh Mapuskar and Vidhu Vinod Chopra) is wonderful, and Rajkumar Hirani's dialogues are real and fun, and make an impact without the drama of loud background scores. A shorter and less melodramatic ending would have made it just perfect!
Sharman Joshi's melodrama at the end is over the top, and should have been avoided. After all the build up to Sachin's "arrival" through out the movie, using a body double for Sachin was a big let down and you feel cheated. If Sachin could give his Ferrari, maybe he could have done a special appearance too?

The movie is about aspirations, about being true, about being honest, and how real talent and honesty will always pay off in the end. It's about nice people, honest cops, great neighbours. Even the goonda elements have a human human. It's a movie that touches you, makes you happy, and makes the world look like the wonderful place it is.

 A beautiful movie, a must watch! And yes, take your kids along!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Some People

Some people make a difference by what they say, what they do... some people make life beautiful by just sharing your space!

Movie Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

After fleeing from a crazy cult, a young girl tries hard to restore sanity and balance in her life, living with her sister and her husband. But the painful memories and increasing paranoia just won't let go...

Elizabeth Olsen is simply outstanding in her portrait of Martha.. her innocence, her confusions, her fears, her aloofness, her need for support, her disturbed psyche... the scene in which she crawls into her sister's bed while they are making love, and her explanation - the bed was too big for the two of you... makes you scared when you see what being in wrong company can do to you!

A serious movie, but a must see.

Rain On The Expressway

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Movie Review: Gone

A paranoid young waitress, Jill, comes home from work to find her elder sister missing on the morning of her final exam. Convinced that she's been abducted by the same person who took her around a year back, she rushes to the police for help. But no one will believe her, her ordeal dismissed as a figment of her imagination, a dirty trick played by her mind. Determined, Jill sets out on a pulsating chase to find the kidnapper, and her sister, before it is too late. Running away from the police, and her fears, she has to confront the very same guy who has haunted every of her scarred life...

Amanda Seyfriend is brilliant as Jill. She's pretty, she's vulnerable, she's strong, she's brave, she grabs every frame and puts in a high voltage performance.

The movie is fast, and you will keep asking for more. The end, perfect.

Watched it on DVD, but this is a movie worth waiting for at the theatres!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Varun plays a beautiful piece on his piano

Rutu serves up a beautiful and tasty lasagna

And Samah, well... rockstars are eccentric, aren't they?

Early Morning In Mumbai, The Day After

Finally, The Flight Back!

Ngong Ping Cable Ride & The Giant Buddha

The Ngong Ping cable ride is a must do when in Hong Kong... a truly "uplifting" experience. A word of advice: don't rush it. Give it a day. Be at peace. Try the tea. Walk a bit. Just breathe in the fresh air. It's truly a beautiful experience.

The pics do not do justice to the day... but should give you some idea!

The drive to Ngong Ping Cable Car takes you through the HK harbour area, and lots of high rises - in typical Chinese fashion - crowded pigenholes.
The cable cars seat 6-8, and are pretty comfortable - the ones with the glass bottom would be really scary, and cost more too!
The ride is long, and keeps climbing, one tower after another...

Stunning views... and the fresh air rushing through the cable car - a truly mesmerizing ride

A beautiful path below invites trekkers and hikers

The Tea House at Ngong Ping
The Giant Buddha
The Tea Shop is a riot of color and fragrances

A typical ornate tea ceremony
A parade of bud teas
A beautiful tea set in a stone tray
This pretty steward served us some amazing rose flavoured tea
Chinese Diwali :)
The Cafe in the Village
A Happy but Hungry Bunch

Notice the Braille? By the way, what attracted me to this board was the sex of the toilet :)

The shopping in the Ngong Ping "village"

Entrance to the monastery


A Short Walk up the Stairs to The Giant Buddha

Looking at all the steps made us very hungry!

Finally, the cable back to town
Guess what these are? Click on the pic to have a closer look!

The airport beckons

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Movie Review: Shanghai

What do you do when you love something and dislike it at the same time?

Shanghai is one such movie. I loved the intensity, the cast, and the performances. I disliked the message the movie leaves with the audience, and the potential impact it can have on the youth of this country.

In small town Bharatnagar, trouble is brewing. An unholy nexus of politicians, goons, builders, bureaucrats and the police is coming together to take away the land from the poor and build the "International Business Park". India Bana Pardes screams the banner behind the item girl at one of the launch parties. Jai Pragati, they say to each other as greeting.

One determined activist (Prosenjit Chaterjee in an amazing role, short but tremendously effective and memorable!), and a bunch of his followers (including the as-always-interesting Kalki) are fighting a losing battle. Things take a deadly turn when the activist in run down in a ghastly accident immediately after a protest meeting, a camera man with some damning footage is round dead in an "accident" by the side of the road.

The CM institutes an inquiry commission, headed by an honest, upright IAS officer (Bobby Deol) to look into the "accident". But it is soon clear that the commission is just a sham, aimed at sweeping things under the carpet.

When Kalki teams up with Emraan, who flirts with Kalki with his innocent stained teeth smile, shoots porn videos for a living, dances with goons at the drop of a hat, and yet, is willing to risk his life in the pursuit of truth, they unearth proof that ends up finally exposing the corrupt CM and her plan, breaks the uneasy coalition of the state with the center, and justice is finally done. Bharatnagar is free from the clutches of the developers and the politicians.

But is it really?

The closing scene is pivotal, and most will even miss it... the picture of the slain activist's wife on the huge posters, the bull dozers flattening the "huts" of Bharatnagar. It's simply a choice between the devil and the deep sea.

As a movie, it's highly entertaining, although serious. The performances are truly memorable, and if Emraan doesn't get recognized for Jannat 2, he should definitely get it for Shanghai. Far from a serial kisser, this guy is a real good actor! Prosenjit is stunningly effective, and Kalki, of course, does what she is best at. Farooq Sheikh also plays his role of the corrupt, senior IAS officer with absolute élan. Bobby is effective too, as the upright Tamilian. The police officers, the goons, the chamchas... everyone is brilliant.

There is an item song that fits in perfectly with the story. The background score is almost missing, and is never missed! The camera keeps you riveted with it's close shots, the detailing is absolutely wonderful.

What leaves me disappointed is the negativity it ends with. Telling the youth of the country to oppose development projects, and then, telling the youth that even if they oppose it, there is really no salvation!

I believe that as celebrities, as movie makers, people who have the power and the ability to reach out to millions and influence them, also have a responsibility to mentor and inspire. Pass on the right message, move the country into action. Simply touching hearts, but leaving them impoverished and depressed, is no way to go!



Took out my elder baby today for a spin... Sunday morning, no traffic, the roads beautiful, clean and green - the perfect setting for some tire squealing... and Reona is such a dream. The way she reacts to the throttle, the way she lunges forward at the slightest hint, the way she takes the curves... Samara is a deadly beast with her girth, power and ruggedness, but Reona's allure is something very different and priceless.

So glad I still have her!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Junior Masterchef

Have you watched Junior Masterchef Australia? Pure genius, and not one - every single contestant. Tiny 6-12 year olds, cooking better than anyone I have known. Their knowledge of techniques and ingredients, their execution, their presentation. I still cannot they are not even out of primary school! How do you get that good? How?

Am floored.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Mary Immaculate Church, Panaji

A friend took this amazingly beautiful picture of the Mary Immaculate Church in the late evening light... with a little help from her Canon, of course...

Couldn't resist posting this amazing pic!

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Amazing Apple Experience

Had heard a lot about it, yesterday I experienced it!

Had been meaning to buy an Apple machine for my daughter, and yesterday I walked into an Apple store at the Phoenix Mall. 5 mins later, we had been impressed enough to want to buy, and the moment I said "let's do it", the machine was ready for billing. They even had the box ready to go for me.

Billing took 5 mins, all they needed was an Id proof for the credit card.

Using the iMac at home was equally brilliant. All you need is to plug it in, a single cable, that's all. Yes, you need to have an adapter (a multi-socket Belkin adapter panel with spike guard will do just fine!), because the plug comes with straight pins which are not accepted by our Indian sockets. The disk, the CPU, the monitor, the speakers.. everything is built into a simple, single, sexy monitor. The keyboard and mouse is wireless.

And the experience of using an iMac is truly something that needs to be seen to be believed. Super, high clarity monitor, the huge screen, the lovely graphics, the built-in apps... loads and loads of non-stop fun.

I guess there's no need to clarify - I am writing this blogpost on the Mac :)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Vishy Anand

Watching a press conference by Vishy Anand, where he is explaining the positions, strategy and thinking behind all the moves and games in his successful defence of the world chess title. Even though I play chess and consider myself intelligent, I have to admit that while I could understand his English, I had no freaking clue what he was really talking about! When we played chess, we looked at the chess board, and managed to think 1-2 moves ahead - and here he was, talking about what board positions would be available for the opposition 6-7 moves ahead! Truly mind-boggling. At one point he mentioned how the computers thought a particular move was good, while he disagreed, and how he would talk to them later and make them understand.

Imagine if our politicians, bureacrats, engineers, doctors, lawyers could think this way.. plan/look ahead, evaluate options...

Makes me also think - would Anand have a more rewarding life if he applied his mind to more than chess, and help the country in other ways?

I Am Available For Adoption

Hey guys, I am available for adoption - and, as I posted a few days back, all I am looking for is a loving family. Pune is my preferred destination, but I am willing to fly out any where in India. My name is Billu. If you are interested in adopting me, let Siddhesh know!

Time To Wake Up


Last week, in Goa, I met two good friends who I had last met in - guess what, 1996-97! Yes, 15 years ago. In a space of 3 days.

Unbelievable? Believe it! 

Amanora Park Mall