Sunday, June 14, 2015

Movie Review: Mad Max Fury Road

I remember Mad Max from my childhood. My uncle took us for MM2 and we absolutely loved it. Then I made my parents take us for MM1 on a visit to Belgaum, and that was a disaster, because it was an A rated movie, and we got a real terrible admonition! Even then, the sight of the speedometer inching towards 200 always stayed in our minds. MM3 turned out to be dark and crazy, and I didn't even get to its end.

Decades later, I watched MMFR in Goa - and what an experience it was! Almost 2 hours of adrenalin pumping, heart pulsating action, with stunning visuals, fantastic stunts, accompanied by a thunderous background score. Almost the entire movie is a chase sequence, and you just don't get any respite from the action.

This is not for the weak hearted - and definitely not to be wasted by trying to catch it on your laptop! Go catch it on the biggest, loudest screen you can get to!

3M Plastic Sheating

Recently got Myra additional protection on her bumpers with 3M's plastic sheathing, designed to protect her from stones, mobikes and other hazards on the roads. It costs a bomb at around 520 per sq feet, and sheathing the whole car will cost 6 figures. Let's see how this works.. and if it goes well, in the future, one can think of colored matt sheathing to add some real glamour and differentiation to the cars!

Pun Intended?

Near St Inez church in Panaji...

A Typical Lazy Sunday Morning...

Mobile Car Wash

Can it get any more innovative?

This, in Goa...

Saving Cats

Just can't have enough of this pic.. makes me want to smile and cry at the same time!

Count The Zeros

Ahem, ahem... still trying to figure out how this makes any sense at all

Be Careful - Big Brother Is Watching!

Pune now has an extensive set of cameras for security, which are now also being used by cops for catching traffic offenders. More than 50 drivers were issued challans on the first day, using the cameras and software to trace the addresses of the offenders.

Be aware, the cops are now watching you even when you cant see them hanging around in the dark corners!

It's All About Creativity And Nature!

Audi Q Drive Experience

A few weeks back, we attended an Audi Q Drive event in Pune - we assembled at the Audi showroom, then drove in a convoy of Audi SUVs (brand new vehicles provided by Audi - not our own!), through a small detour off road in a small forest, to a specially designed track, where every participant got the chance to test drive a Q3, Q5 or Q7 (I off roaded in the Q3 and then chose the Q7 for the test track). It was an amazing experience, and wowed everyone with the capabilities of the mean Audi machines, with the advanced Q Drive technology (which allows the SUVs engines to optimize and divert power to the wheels based on traction and other factors).

Here are some pics, which say a lot, but come nowhere close to the adrenalin rush we all experienced!


A (Different) Pepsi

When we were kids, in the 80s and early 90s, we enjoyed these small plastic tubes of colored, frozen liquid, which we called Pepsi (yes, Pepsi had not yet made an entry into India at that time!). They used to come in 2 sizes - and cost 50 paise and 1 rupee respectively!

Decades later, here we are - with our fav Pepsi yet again! My brother in law found these in a tiny grocery store in Talegaon, a virtual suburb of Panaji...

Have you ever had one of these? Let me know!


Cafe Real

Goa has dozens of small, simple cafes where "bhaaji pav or puri" (as opposed to pav bhaji) is the staple, and draws Goans of all ages and social status. from politicians to students, businessmen to housewives, for breakfast or for an afternoon snack, popping into one of these hotels for chai and bhaji pav (and sometimes for samosa, mirchi or other bhajiyas) is as much a part of being Goan as the afternoon siesta.

The most popular of these haunts is probably Café Real in Panaji. I used to visit it very regularly as a student, way back in the early nineties - and nothing has changed (except that they now have a mushroom bhaji, and seem to have phased out the "salad" bhaji).

Not just the food, even some of the waiters are still around!

A lazy afternoon at Café Real

Tomato and Suki Mix with Goan Paav

Samara Turns 5

Samara turned 5 in April, a few days after Myra came home. With around 80K kms under her belt, all she needed to celebrate was a new engine timing belt and a nice day at the car spa. Interestingly, in spite of having a brand new expensive set of wheels in the garage, Samara still rules the roost at least when it comes to reliability! No wonder, when we had to spend 3 days in Mumbai with the extended family, it was Samara that made the cut :)

One of the main differences from the Samara of the last 5 years is that she no longer sports the tinted glasses - with cops getting super serious about  enforcing the no-tints rule, a few weeks back, they had to be stripped off! Does rob her a lot of the oomph, but other than that, it hasn't really made too much of a difference (to the cooling and heat inside, for example).

Here's wishing Samara another glorious 5 years and many, many more kms of exciting drives!

Movie Review: Gabbar Is Back

I guess in today's world, with an extra dose of citizen vigilantism in the air, Gabbar Is Back does resonate with a population that is fed up of corruption and crime in high places, and stymied by a system that grinds forward very, very slowly. I am not sure, though, that movies that encourage taking the law into  your own hands, is the best way forward.

But GIB has some great action scenes by AK, who has himself performed most of the fight scenes, which aren't exactly Rohit Shetty Ishtyle!

The end is macabre, and a few might have preferred a happier ending, but I think it's the ending that leaves the biggest impression.


Got this from my niece - such a pretty pic :)

Movie Review: Bombay Velvet

Most of us weren't even born in the 60s... even then, Anurag Kashyap's wonderfully created atmospherics with the jazz bars, motorcars, trams and the harbor of a Bombay on the cusp of tremendous growth from a "seven island city" to India's biggest metropolis will enthrall you, and transport you to a very different era.

Raveena Tandon in a tiny but memorable cameo, Remo Fernandes in an unmemorable one, Karan Johar as the villain (well, one of them, anyway... with a couple of good scenes, but otherwise pretty flat), Sidharth Basu, and of course, Ranbir and Anushka in decent performances - the real star, though, is the beautifully rendered "you are no one if you aren't invited here" night club Bombay Velvet, where illegal liquor flows as freely as shady deals, while gorgeously dressed singers croon to jazz music.

The story is slow, but there is an underlying current of tension and unpredictability, and the amazing soundtrack, the all-permeating jazz and the Quentin Tarantino-style action sequences, which reach a crescendo towards the end, all add up to make this a wonderful cinematic experience (but only if you experience it on 70 mm with Dolby!)

Tire Troubles for Myra

4500 km, and Myra has already had two tire-related incidents, which Audi claims is due to a combination of two factors - incorrect (low) tire pressure and encounter with a bad pothole on the road. To their credit, even though they could have simply refused, Audi has gone ahead and replaced the pretty expensive tires free of cost - both times.

The first incident was a bubble in the tire wall (see above) that allowed me to continue driving until I got the replacement, whereas the second time, the tire got a huge cut that immediately put it out of commission. And then the worst part is that the spare provided is only meant to take you to the service station - you can't drive on it, really. See the pic below (edited to show the tires that were hidden in the dark in the original pic) and you will know exactly what I mean :)

Yes, that's the spare on the rear right, not an autorickshaw tire I borrowed :)

MooBoo Bubble Tea

Another delicious treat I discovered in London was the bubble tea - an interesting combination of hot or cold (flavored) tea, with these absolutely naughty and delightful bubbles of juice (like tiny jelly beans with a soft inside) that break in your mouth and release these explosions of flavor... the hot tea version wasn't as exciting, but a watermelon cold tea with mango bubbles was just heavenly! Don't miss it when in London!

Little Persia

Yes, I know this is way too late, but I was going through some of my trip pics, and remembered this meal very fondly - at the Little Persia restaurant and lounge near Bayswater/Queensway tube stations. The most delicious humus, a gigantic soft naan, and some wonderfully invigorating and aromatic Persia tea.


While on the topic of Nando's, when in the UK, it's a must-visit. Just imagine a cooler version of KFC, with some freaking good chicken - the food has African and Portuguese origins, and the décor and service is pretty good, too.

UK Baby Boom?

One of the very interesting things I noticed on my last trip to the UK was that cities like Leeds (see pic below, at Nando's) is witnessing a major baby boom - and malls and public spaces are literally crawling with prams! I am not kidding - look around, and you can see at least a dozen prams being pushed along by young parents.

According to some quick research Britain is seeing birth rates soar by almost 18-20%, which, I guess, can only be good news! And no, at least in Leeds, it didn't seem to be driven by immigrants...