Monday, April 29, 2013

Hi Fashion!

The Mumbai Monorial - Ready To Go?

The Amazing Ford Ecosport

And finally, she's here. Ford's most awaited mini SUV Ecosport was on display at InOrbit mall this weekend.. drool over these pictures, while you wait to get your hands on her!

I just loved the contours, especially the front grille which stands out so beautifully. The color was so striking. The dash rocks, the boot space is more than adequate and the seating very comfortable with plenty of leg space. Should be just wonderful to get her squealing off the blocks!

Costa Coffee

India's favourite capuccino, and not just for the pretty picture!

While CCD and Barista seem to be faltering with quality and ambience, Costa really gets my top vote for a wonderful experience - service, ambience, and most of all, the coffee!

Nokia Disappoints: This Time With The Lumia

Yet again, Nokia's proved why it is no match for the Androids and iPhones - the second consecutive smart phone I bought from the once super reliable Nokia, this time a Lumia, has developed problems with its internal charging circuitry, and after one week of keeping the phone, the local Nokia Care office said they would need to send it to HQ for repairs, and it would cost a bomb - 7000 bucks.

Obviously, I decided to simply discard it and went ahead and gifted wifey a Samsung Galaxy.

Yet another bunch of die hard Nokia fans, disillusioned and disappointed, and wanting to have nothing to do with the brand any more!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Movie Review: Aashiqui 2

I was in those impressionable teens when Aashiqui was released and became the rage for its interestingly hairstyled Rahul Roy, the irresistible Anu Agarwal and the soulful music which still evokes beautiful feelings.

Sadly, the Bhatt magic fails to work its charm on Aashiqui 2, which by the way, has nothing to do with the first installment.

The lead pair is barely passable, and while Shraddha has looks going for her, the hero has neither looks, nor acting. When the audience starts laughing at every serious dialogue you mouth, you know something's gone really wrong. The amateurish dialogs don't help, and the direction and story has glaring loopholes that irritate. As a failed singer, the hero is forced to sing at shady dos and get into brawls, but lives in a swanky penthouse overlooking half of Mumbai, and drives some of the sexiest SUVs in town. When his girlfriend, the latest singing sensation to hit India, comes to the police station to bail him out, she offers the officer her earrings and bangles as a bribe! And when he begs her to help him out of his alcohol addiction, she literally takes to bathing him, drying him, shaving him and putting on his clothes!

And the music - one endless, stream or rock cum sufi, with not one single standing out from the rest.

With a story that goes around in circles, the only saving grace is the acceptable ending!

Very avoidable, if you ask me!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Adlabs Imagica Near Khopoli - A Great Day Out For The Family!

This Sunday, with my sister, her family and my parents in town, we decided to get off the mall circuit, and try something different. The radio ads had been talking about Adlabs Magica, and I thought it would be a great choice for a family outing.

Checking their website raised hopes - the site looked nice and fresh, and I booked our tickets right away. The normal tickets were 1500 (all rides included) for adults, 1200 for a child, while the Express tickets were priced at 2200 for the adults. Not wanting to waste time in queues at the venue, we went for the Express option. Even though the site failed to send me ticket confirmations on email or SMS, I was confident it wouldn't be a concern, and just took a quick pic on my cell for further processing later on.

Sunday morning, after a good breakfast, we all piled into Samara, and set off - eager and excited about what was to be a great day!

After crossing Lonavla ghat, at the toll naka just before the booths, we took a U turn, and then a few meters later, took the Khopoli exit, and then a U turn again, to the bridge over the Expressway. Three km later, we were at Imagica. For those coming from Mumbai, cross the Khopoli toll booth, and then take the exit just about 100 m from the booths, then across the Expressway over the bridge. You cannot miss it.

At the ticket counter, the staff told us that being just the 4th day, there weren't too many crowds, and offered to downgrade our tickets, which we agreed to, saving a lot of money!

As you enter the park, the rides are on the right, the other theme attractions on the left. Since the theme attractions begin around 12, and it was just around 1030, we first went for the rides. Our first ride was in boats on rails, with water guns to blast at other boats in front and behind you. It was a blast, a lot of fun! The staff was also very thoughtful, offering plastic pouches so that our phones and wallets didn't get wet!

After the boat ride, we took a mini boat roller coaster, and then the kids got onto a couple of other merry go rounds.

By then, it was around 12, and we were famished. We walked over to one of the restaurants, a wonderfully airy and smart set up serving Chinese, Punjabi and Chaat.

Large fans with misting machines kept the interiors cool and humid, even though it was hot and dry outside. It will take a few seasons for the transplanted trees to really take roots and flourish, and until then, these fans will have to do!

The really interesting thing about this restaurant will be the innovative way in which dishes ordered will be served - flying through the delivery channels high above the diners, directly to the table. Not yet operational, but it will be total entertainment when it happens!

In addition to this, there is a nice coffee shop, the Arrmada, and another African theme restaurant.

After lunch, we set off on the amazing theme based attractions. First, the 360 theatre, Prince of the Dark Waters - an amazing HD visualization under a cavernous dome theatre that will wow you.

We met Zayed Khan there, went over to chat, and clicked some quick pics too!

A few mins later, we saw KK, the singer, but this time, we didn't really act like crazy fans :)

After the 360 theatre, we went to the 4D experience, the Mr India theme. Chasing Mogambo through the theme park, helping Mr India save his kidnapped friends was a huge thrill. Next, the Rajasaurus ride, a wonderful boat ride through an amazing jungle with dinosaurs, falling trees and aligators, until suddenly, the boat climbs a steep incline, and then hurtles forward, trying to escape the dinosaurs, suddenly taking a huge 20 meter plunge into the waters below. What an adrenalin rush!

Next, was the Wrath of the Gods, another truly memorable experience - seeing the fury of Vayu, Agni and Jal - an experience that will enthrall you, and lead the audience into spontaneous applause.

Next, the Alibaba and Chalis Chor ride - where you get to shoot the thieves using laser guns, collecting points as the trolley cars traverse the cave.

Many of the theme attractions are yet to open, but it was already getting late, and we knew we would have to wind up soon. We had coffee and snacks (the chole bhatura was awesome, and so was the coffee from Arrmada), and then enjoyed a beautiful street dance performance, Gangnam style. Absolutely unbelievable acrobatic dance!

A pretty hop on hop off invited us to take a quick tour of the area.

So on we hopped, getting down at the crazy fountain, where the kids enjoyed the water, while the adults posed with the beautiful mermaids who seemed to have a natural born talent for posing!

It was around 645, and the sun was still high in the sky. We wanted to wait for the laser show, but also needed to be back home, so with a heavy heart, we said bye to Imagica, and set off for Pune.

The park had dozens of attendants and crew, all of whom were super polite, and extremely helpful. You just had to look around to find smiling and eager staff, willing to answer all questions.

The attractions and rides are top quality, matching the best I have seen any where in the world - with a beautiful Indian touch, that should make your heart swell with pride!

So what are my recommendations?

It's a must do for all Puneites and Mumbaites, as long as the prices don't scare you. But for the quality of entertainment, it is definitely value for money! Take the Express ticket if you can. The rides can fun, and some mega roller coasters are being added, but do not miss the theme attractions - not a single one of them!

For those who don't live in this area, it's time you plan to be here!

So go ahead, plan a trip with your family, a mega outing with your team, or just a beautiful day with your friend. It's Imagica!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gayle Storm

Chris Gayle hit an unbelievable 175* with 17 sixes, pushing Pune into abject surrender, helping RCB set up an impossible 264 target for the Warriors. What an innings!

Quote For The Day

I don't mind if others don't like me. After all, I am not a FB status.

Monday, April 22, 2013

7cha Aat Gharat

Like many other teenagers, our cat stayed out last night, giving us a lot of worries - after having lost 2 cats in the last 3 years, I had a very disturbed sleep, until early in the morning, around 6:15 am, I went down to check, and there she was...

She came home quietly, knowing she was probably in trouble, had a late dinner cum early breakfast, stayed around for a bit of laad, and then quietly went and curled up on my pillow.

Movie Review: Ek Thi Dayan

This is probably as good as it gets, at least as far as modern Hindi dayan movies go.

After tormenting him as a child, and having killed his father and very cute baby sister, it looks like the dayan is back for him. Is it the pretty foreign-returned girl who has mysteriously turned up at his magic show, and now wants to buy his old dayaned apartment? Who is after his girl friend's life? In the world of the devil, accessed by taking down the building's rickety life to 666, he must face the dayan, and his own shocking truth.

The movie has a decent first half, and builds up the tempo well, with subtle yet effective "horror", with some excellent SFX. It gets a little predictable in the second, and the dayan's antics become a little comic, but overall, not too bad a movie (especially when compared to a lot of the nonsense that's been dished out in recent times).

As cast, Emraan is his usual self, extremely competent and natural. He is very ably assisted by the three lead female characters: Konkona as the dayan from his childhood, Kalki as the foreign returned girl and Huma Qureshi as his girl friend.

There are a couple of needless songs, and the end could have been executed better, but I would rate this movie 3 out of 5.

Unfixed Results?

In two close games, just as things looked all set, Pune threw away a game they just couldn't have lost. A few days back, it was a dramatic collapse, including 4 wickets in the last over. And yesterday, when the opposition needed a tall 29 in 12 balls, Dinda and Luke responded with low full tosses in the off side, as good a ball as any to hit over the fence.

I am an optimist and think all sports are generally played in the spirit of the game, and maybe the close losses hurt me as a Pune fan, but I also start wondering, maybe, just maybe, the results weren't really unfixed after all????

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Sometimes, wishes do come true - in the most amazing and wierdest of ways!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Movie Review: Nautanki Saala

Aayushman Bhava! This guy really has an amazing sense of humour and timing. And after a superb Vicky Donor, he does it again!

Nautanki Saala is a beautiful story of RP, who saves a wretched Mandar Lele from a suicide attempt, and then finds himself obliged to help him out get back his life on track. From finding him a job in his musical Raavanleela to trying to win him back his sweetheart, he risks pissing off his girlfriend and his producer, but doesn't give up on his new friend. But will he be able to continue playing God to Mandar, when his own happiness is at stake?

The script is brilliant, the jokes effortless, the execution faultless. A couple of the songs are hauntingly beautiful. The rest of the cast is also fairly competent, but Aayushman totally steals the show.

Here is one talented actor. And Nautanki Saala is fultu entertainment! Don't miss it; one of the best films in a long time!

Movie Review: Oblivion

It's 2017, and an alien invasion has destroyed the Earth's moon and enveloped most of the Earth in a deadly nuclear radiation. Just a few hi-tech warriors remain, protecting what little is remaining on the planet, as they prepare to leave and settle down on one of Saturn's moons. But when one technician, tasked with the servicing and upkeep of the security drones, steps out of his boundaries, he is confronted with the sinister truth...

The movie opens to some amazing visualizations - the security towers high in the sky, the drones, the amazing skies high above the ground, the destroyed civilization, just the tips of skyscrapers jutting out of the buried cities...

But as the minutes drag by, the action disappoints. The story meanders along, aimlessly. Confused. Boring. Uninviting. Post interval, it just gets worse. Just when you are about to get out of your seats, thankful for the end, you are rudely pushed into another scene, and then another. It never seems to end until you promise yourself you are going to get up and walk off.

No redemption. Avoid it. Watch the IPL instead, or watch Dhichkyaon dhoom dhoom.

Movie Review: Commando

Why see Commando Reason #1: the best ever hand to hand action sequences ever seen in Bollywood. Vidyut Jamwal is truly outstanding, all brawn and rippling muscle, superb athleticism and thankfully, very little dialogues to mouth.

Why see Commando Reason #2: a very good looking, "hatke" Pooja Chopra, our Pune girl, with some very cute dialogues and scenes to boot. You will fall in love with her chubby and disarming smile.

Why see Commando Reason #3: a couple of beautiful songs, Saawan Bairi and Lutt Jaawan, which are also beautifully choreographed and shot.

Why see Commando Reason #4: some nice jokes dished out by the wierdly outfitted but well characterized villain from his iPhone.

A weak story (if you can call it one), very amateurish dialogues, unnecessary and noisy "songs", and very poor execution in all the peripheral scenes pulls down the movie. Overall, though, there are enough reasons to catch the movie once.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Movie Review: Freaky Deaky

Set in the 70s, FD has a big and impressive cast, and shows some promise initially, but a weak story and weaker execution fails to enthrall. Someone like Quentin Tarantino directing it - now that would make it awesome. As it is, you can skip it.

Movie Review: Chasme Baddoor

A very simple love story. Great locales, with most of the movie shot in beautiful Goa. Lots of jokes that will resonate with the young, but also managed to extract laughter from my aunt and uncle.

But undoubtedly, the reason to watch, and what makes it all so worthwhile - the gorgeous, super freaking cute and sizzling hot Taapasi Pannu. Don't miss the Dhichkyaon song which comes immediately after the break - it's such a simple, beautiful, catchy song with the sweetest moves, you just can't afford to miss it!

Do watch it, if only for Taapasi!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Save Twitter

Here are a few things Twitter must do to stay useful!

1) Find a way to hide all the #tags and the @s. Tweets become simply unreadable with the profusion of the tags.

2) The tiny URLs are another scary feature - how do you even know whether to click them or not?

3) And finally, the volume - maybe we should put a limit on the amount of tweets you can emit?

Gamification 2.0

The next wave of gamification will be about taking business problems and mapping them to game play. Read my article on at this link:

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Jhumping Jhapang

If I hear any more of that super irritating jingle, I am gonna have to stop watching the IPL telecasts! I mean, yes, I get it... Jhumping Jhapang Thumping Thapang... but how much can you rub it into someone? Isn't there something called "overdose"?

Please stop it!

It's A Beautiful Morning

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Expensive Medicines and Unreadable Prescriptions

I have had some minor health issues lately, and two thoughts have been playing on my mind a lot...

The first one is related to the SC ruling denying patent rights to Novartis on its cancer drug. Can you believe how much Novartis charges? 1.2 lakh per month, and this is a drug you need to take life long! Forget the poor and the middle class, this puts the medicine out of reach of even the rich! Bear in mind, these drugs are sold by Indian pharma companies in a generic form for 4000-8000 per month! Yes, pharma companies may spend money on R&D, but surely these medicines can be sold for much cheaper, and not be another way to add to the agony of the patients. Imagine a middle class father whose child has blood cancer, or a husband whose wife is suffering. Does he deny her the medicine, or does he spend and live in poverty for the rest of their wretched lives? Hopefully the SC ruling in India will pave the way for cheaper generics not just in India, but all over the world.

The other issue, though less serious, has kept me thinking a lot too. Most doctors scribble prescriptions in a way that only pharmacists can read them, that too, with much difficulty. The dosage, the timings for the dosage, the after-effects, diet requirements are rarely explained. For educated folks like us, it is a challenge. Iamgine what happens to the illiterate, people who cannot check out the meds on Google, people who cannot read labels and figure out what medicine should be taken, and when. I was at the pharmacy yesterday, and a poor man and his wife were standing there, staring at the strips of tablets that were being dished out to them, clueless about what was what. So he pays for those medicines and goes home - and then what? How does he even figure out what to take and when?


Movie Review: Day Of The Falcon

With Antonio Banderas, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto and Tahar Rahim in the lead roles, Day of the Falcon is an epic on bravery, suffering, honor, betrayal and valor. After years of  death and destruction in wars, the kings of two neighbouring kingdoms sign a peace accord, marking the disputed land between them as a no man's land. But when oil is discovered there, greed takes over, and the war is re-ignited.

One king looks at the oil revenues as a way to rid his kingdom of death and disease, the other, frozen in time, looks at it as evil. As egos and values clash, their children have to take a stand, defend their honor, putting their love and their lives at stake.

A tad slow, but a good watch for some sandy action!

Movie Review: Django Unchained

In true Quentin Tarantino tradition, Django will mesmerize you with the dialogues, the actors, the shocking raw action, the atmosphere, the setting - it just draws you in, and never lets go, staying with you long after the movie credits have begun rolling.

Set in Southern United States two years before the Civil War in the 1850s, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave who is contacted by the German bounty hunter Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz in an amazing role, reminiscent of his character in Basterds), and given an offer to partner in his "business". Schultz is after the deadly Brittle brothers, and only Django can help identify them. Meanwhile, Django remains focused on finding and rescuing his wife, Broomhilda, who was taken from him and sold as a slave on another plantation a long time ago.

Their audacious plan seems to be working, until they arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Candie's trusted house slave.

Things quickly turn bloody, it will be a deadly fight to the finish.

An absolutely must-see, but not for the faint-hearted. And for Tarantino fans, soak in every moment!