Saturday, December 29, 2007

Milestones

This is my 50th post (on this blog anyway) and will also be my last post (this year anyway!)
2007 has been one crazy year. Everything that could have happened, happened.. And 2008 should be equally insane. Since I like things quiet and routine I'm not really sure why I'm looking forward to the new year.
I guess, its just the feeling of anticipation and promise that a new year always brings. Whether I'm sitting home relaxing with some white wine or partying up a storm outside, a new year always feels good. Its like the feeling one gets at a good movie just before the credits roll - a sudden thrill and clenching of the stomach muscles and the thought running through your head "This should be good"
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

(Un)Scary Movie(s)

Last weekend, we decided to do a movie marathon focussing on only horro movies. Ok, ok we didn't decide any such thing. After scarfing down free drinks and food at a 5 star, we watched The Hills Have Eyes at home. I was the only one cringing with terror but then I was also the only sober person around. But then again, the movie wasn't that scary.. Anyway, then I got the idea of watching all the so-called scary movies that premiered last Friday. So we sat through 1408, I am Legend, 30 Days of Night across 2 days. And except for covering my eyes through most of 1408 (come on it is Stephen King!) I was only marginally terrified. A far cry from when I sat trembling after watching The Ring. So its left me wondering - am I getting braver or are the movies getting less scary? And since I still leave my light on during the night, I think its Hollywood's fault. More gore, less terror; more spills, less thrills; more yawn, less yikes!
On a different note, despite an obviously aging face and less than supple body, Madhuri Dixit's comeback film Aaja Nachle is still one of the better movies I've seen all year. And when you think I'm talking about the year of Jab We Met and OSO, that's quite good company for a 40 year old Bollywood actress.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Movie Overloaded

I feel like I've been watching way too many movies.. Before the whole OSO-Saawariya showdown, there was Jab We Met and No Smoking. I also suffered through A Mighty Heart and survived Stardust. And then I went and saw Om Shanti Om but couldn't get up enough nerve for Saawariya. Then this week, I worked my way through Beowulf, Elizabeth and Goal. Considering all these movies were in the space of less than a month, I think I've OD-ed on movies.
The truly sad part is that not one of these movies really touched me. I didn't 'love' a single one. Either I'm getting too finicky or the standard is getting worse. The Hindi movie disasters are clearly a case of too much hype and publicity. Whether its the Shahid-Kareena breakup or media war against No Smoking and Goal or the over-exposed OSO / Saawariya - I already knew more than I wanted to about the movie before the national anthems started. For the English movies, I think we're getting too many duds (Stardust, Elizabeth) and overestimating Hollywood (A Mighty Heart/Beowulf).
Still, there's hope with Aaja Nachle and Tara Zameen Par - after all, the first Hindi movie I loved was Dil!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spotted!

I saw my very first fashion show yesterday and I was quite pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting very much and the crowded area with its short and narrow ramp made me silently compare what one sees on TV. Then the show started and the area was plunged into darkness. As the show started, I divided my attention between the gorgeous models (God was so unfair while handing out cheekbones and height!), the lovely dresses (some surprisingly normal, wearable and of a decent color and the celebrities (spotted 1, John Abraham and Madhur Bhandarkar were pointed out to me). And just as I was contemplating that John looks much thinner (read less built) than I expected, out stepped Bipasha Basu in the grand finale dress. My total celebrity sightings count in Mumbai has now gone up to 10 in about 5 months. Depressing but there it is.
I think the real reason I don't see too many celebrities because I don't recognise so many of them...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Recent reads

Bought a lot of new books recently and plowed my way through them as well. Some notable ones are Warlock By Wilbur Smith. Its a sequel to his brilliant book River God set in Ancient Egypt and following the adventures of the eunuch Taita. And even though Warlock is shade below River God (especially switching from a first person account to a third person account), its quite a good book. His action scenes are really riveting and even though I was sure of the ending, I found myself tensing during the Red Road narration. It can be read as a stand alone book as well as a sequel to River God which is really great.
Also found Brethren - yet another Knights Templar book but surprisingly well-written. And believe me, I'd know having read quite a few Da Vinci Code look-alikes in the past few weeks. The battles scenes are also very deftly told and I was frankly surprised considering the writer is a woman - no, I'm not being sexist but since I personally skip such passages... Its got a sequel which I might fish out but I can't promise.
Meanwhile someone was supposed to send me some books for my birthday but since he's not well-known for his punctuality I'll bide my time before buying more books. This is what I spend my money on and though people might think it silly, I'd say its better than spending it on dining out - not that I don't do that as well!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Women Bartending

Could not believe this little snippet - Delhi women shouldn't be allowed to bartend because they are not safe from the drunk men there?? This is Delhi we're talking about right? Women aren't safe anywhere in Delhi forget behind the bar.. But this gives rise to the next step.. since women aren't safe in bar, don't allow them in, hell don't let them go out at night - why not just slap a burkha on us and be done with it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beach Haven and Shopping Paradise







Office conference was in Thailand this year and we got to spend 2 days and 2 nights in Phuket...absolutely brilliant. Especially for a beach bum like me. Pristine, untouched beaches with white sand and green waters.. bliss. The only sad part was that we got about 3 hours to shop in Bangkok and that was just not enough - though I suspect even 3 days would be less - ah well, at least I avoided bankruptcy!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Serial Killer and Scary Movie

Zodiac - The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in California for ten months in the late 1960s. His identity remains unknown. I had read about the Zodiac Killer in a book about serial killers but I guess killers like Gacy and Wuornos are much more famous. The director obviously beleived that God is in the details because God! the movie was detailed - 3 hours of painstaking detail.. The only good thing was we saw it for 75 bucks - IMT style!
The Grudge 2 - quite scary in comparison to the first movie. I mean I only leapt out of my seat twice last time.. This time, I shut my eyes for a lot of scenes! The good part was I went with a friend instead of boyfriend and we spent most of my time making fun of each for being such scaredy-cats.. Also, we kept asking why the girl / little boy / schoolkids would go into a haunted house or open meant-to-be-shut doors.. What are they stupid or something? And why hang around when all the creaking noises happen?? Me - I would run a mile.
Moral of the story - take boyfriend along for scary movies and girlpal for deep movies

Friday, July 27, 2007

Movie versus Book

One of the most debated question is always whether a movie adaptation will live up to its source book. I find this a singularly silly question as the two are too (sic) different for any objective comparison. After all, a movie can show in seconds a scene it might take an author 3 paragraphs or 3 pages (go read a Clancy) to build up. While a book is never constricted by the 3 hour format (go watch Zodiac!) and can ramble on for 12 volumes (go read Wheel of Time!). I guess the other reason I find this a silly question also because I can never make up my mind. I always find a movie unable to live up to its book - but LOTR is my favourite exception to this rule and so its much easier to rubbish the question!
But that's not the point - HARRY POTTER!
First I watched the movie - OoTP - Order of the Phoenix for the un-Pottered people. Disappointment galore but it was to be expected I guess since this was my least favourite book. But was it my imagination or did every seem to be a little too calm.. I mean - hello, Dark Wizard loose! Harry seemed a little distracted... But the Department of Mysteries scene was fabulous.. The never-ending walls of prophecies! The Voldy-Dumby battle!! This is where a movie scores...
Then I waited and waited for the last book. Unlike some insane people (PP and I!), I didn't pre-book and arrive at the shop at 5:30 am! I did stick to tradition and get my brother to buy it for me. I was in office when it arrived and I grabbed it and went striaght home to read it in about 4 hours - man I'm losing my touch! No real surprises in the book but JK Rowling has neatly ties up all loose ends and if one of the last chapters resembles a scene from The Matrix, we won't dwell on it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quickie

Sales seems to involve a lot of waiting and a lot of less of actual selling... just a thought..

Just watched more than 150 litres of beer being poured down the drain - I love my job!

Saw a whole lot of movies so am reviewing but shotgun-style

  • Shootout at Lokhandwala - did it actually happen like this - this being policemen minus bullet-proof vests, officers in casuals and criminals who sing and dance. Gah! Avoid
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 3 - well, its better than #2 and not as good as #1 - Johnny Depp is fabulous but frankly one isn't too interested in Keira-Bloom romance. Timepass
  • Ocean's Thirteen - Good popcorn fun and if everything happens so smoothly, you wanna turn to crime, who cares - long live cool thieves! Must Watch
  • Shrek 3 - Very cute stuff especially if you're an animation fan.. Must Watch only if you like the idea of ogre-babies

My God - That's like 3 sequels I've seen and all of them the third in their series.. odd! Ok, gotto go sell some beer

Friday, May 18, 2007

Fare Thee Well Bengalooru

After 10 months in the Garden City, I'm moving and there are a few things I will miss
Farewell..
To cheating autowallahs and the honest ones with accurate meters
To friends who made office a wonderful time - P who eats very fast and S who wins at saunf throwing, T with her pint-size orkut window and S who never had time (to come for lunch, to go for lunch, to eat at lunch and to chat after lunch)
To Bangalore airport, where I seemed to spend more time waiting and less time travelling
To 2nd hand bookstores, which I used as a library and where I discovered some really good writer at some fantastic rates
To Garuda Mall, where we hardly managed to see any movies; Rex and Symphony - where we actually got tickets; PVR where any ticket seemed expensive and Cauvery - our last resort for a movie
To Brigade Road and Forum mall where I did a lot of shopping - most of it window-shopping
To S, my college buddy along with hubby K for whom I braved Koramangala
To our landlady who ripped us off so much cash - you have blood on your hands, aunty!
To my boss, who has spoilt me for anyone else and my team who put up with the only girl around
To I, who leaves the same city for Paris! Me coming dude so watch out...
And of course to N who got to know the HAL airport as intimately as I did CST airport.. Oh thats not a farewell, that's a Hello!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spiders and Tears

Saw Spiderman - 3 and Tara Ra Pum (not even sure how many ra ra's there are in that title!)
Spiderman - 3 is engrossing fare and the action stunts are unbelievable. Even though one knows fully well that everything is CGI, it still makes for cine-magic. But its fairly obvious the hero isn't Tobey Maguire and therefore I'm not surprised he isn't too keen on a reprise. Harry Osbourne is just brilliant. He dominates what little screen-time he has and does the about turn from villian to hero much better and more smoothly than Spidey. And it helps that even with half his face mangled, he is very very HOT. The surprising thing in the movie is that no one person is all good or all bad - well with the exception of Peter's aunt. Sandman loves his ill daughter and wants to save her, Spidey is good underneath the black leather, Harry forgives Peter, Topher (from That 70's show) is immoral but not evil and even Kirtsten Dunst has her moments of mood swings. Is there a point to that in the movie?
Tara Ra Pum was a disaster from start to finish and I won't complain too much 'cos well, we chose it over Mr. Bean. Perhaps the barely audible Englishman would have been a better idea. Except for Saif - who coasts through his role with ease - I couldn't stand anyone in that movie. Rani's frequent hair style changes, the little girl who loves everyone so much its nauseating and the little boy who is simply irritating - Gah - I could've just sicked up! Ok, so I'm complaining - big deal - watch the movie and then we'll talk.
PS - I preferred Javed as the Psycho Cowboy (Salaam Namaste) to the Good Gujju.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Redial..

Saw two movies in Delhi yesterday - two ends of the spectrum you could say:
Namastey London and Bheja Fry
Bheja Fry was an interesting movie and quite funny in parts. And if I'm not full of praise for the movie, its because I wasn't impressed. My review for the movie would be that its a timepass movie. That's because my litmus test for any movie is - Would I watch it again? - and unfortunately I would have to say no.. The humor was tired and beyond my favourite phrase "Its ringing.." the dialogue wasn't exactly sparkling wit.
Namastey London is being famously hailed as the seconnd hit of the year after Guru and I strenously object to it being even considered in the same league. NL is a decent enough movie but I really wish they could have cut out all the songs which just seemed to come in the middle of the quite-interesting story without being all that great either. Katrina Kaif is beautiful and finally gets a role that suits her to a tee but I wonder if she can ever replicate this sucess with a different role. Akshay Kumar was predictably reliable but to quote my dad " had a nampy pamby role". Sorry but I like my men red blooded and passionate!! The parents in the movie are the real steal from Rishi Kapoor to his wife to Upen Patel's Muslim dad - quite delightful. The other thing really missing from the movie was how and why NRI children sort out the whole identity crisis they have to go to and I guess this is what separates (for good or for worse) Namastey London from say The Namesake

Saturday, March 31, 2007

April Fool Banaya...

Oh I had big plans for this post - my trip to Mumbai, N's birthday, shopping for his gift(s), reviews of 'The Pursuit of Happyness', 'Eklavya' and 'The Namesake' and opinions on varied topics such as India'a performance in the World Cup, the OBC reservations in the IIMs...
April Fool!
Will post later in the week...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Two conferences, some shopping and a movie

Since the title of my post is self explanatory, I will not dwell too much on the conference beyond saying they were wonderful experiences and I had a ball in both. I will also not spend too much time gushing about my outfits for my cousin's wedding either - am quite sure am too fat to fit into them now!
But I will write about Water - the movie I saw last night. Since I didn't like Fire too much and had missed Earth despite being a big Aamir fan, I was very happy to be able to catch Water especially after all the Oscar hype. Surprisingly, we got tickets (believe me, getting tickets for an Oscar nominated movie at INOX in Garuda mall on Ugadi at 7pm is like prospecting for gold!) and settled down in decent seats (read not the first row!) The move is slow paced but it never drags and I think that is quite an accomplishment. Seema Biswas is wonderful and manages to hold your attention till the end. The little girl (Sarala I think?) is also adorable, well suited to her role with sparks of defiance combined with a lost-little-girl mien that steals your heart quite effortlessly. Lisa Ray didn't impress me much but I admit I'm prejudiced (have you seen Raaz??) while John Abharam has very nice dimples! The movie itself is well-made but I didn't feel touched at all (or perhaps that was the idea). Maybe activism via the reel is losing its charm?
I got up from my seat marginally disturbed and the only memory I carried home with me was of a sweet old lady who waits her entire life for a laddu denied to her by tradition.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Double Bill

After weeks of not watching a movie, I finally took advantage of a 3 day weekend to go see 2 back-to-back movies last Friday. The movies I zeroed in were Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and Music and Lyrics. Eklavya is being saved for another day!

The fun part was that I went for these movies alone. And would you believe it - I was actually on time for a movie (for a change!). Which means I got to see all the trailers (waiting for The Last King of Scotland!!) and enjoy the popcorn without missing a meal. Plus I also got to see the whole Nike Cricket ad on the big screen (excellent ad by the way). And, I could concentrate on the movie and truly enjoy the whole outing. But it felt weird too when there were funny scenes and there wasn’t anyone laughing with me (no, titters from the audience don’t count). Still, it was an experience and the two movies made it worth while.

Honeymoon Travels is actually quite a decent movie. It handles the six-couples-in-one-movies syndrome rather well and deserve applause for doing it much better than the over-hyped Salaame-e-Ishq. The first half was full of hilarious scenes and dry wit. Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani were splendid and their chemistry was worth watching. The girls in the movie out-performed the guys with Sandhya Mridul, Ameesha Patel, Minissha Lamba and Raima Sen pitching in while all the men (with the exceptional Kay Kay Menon being well, the exception) were disappointing.

Music and Lyrics was surprisingly good! I have never been a fan of Hugh Grant – I find his floppy hair and weak chin quite forgettable and Drew Barrymore lisps too much. But this movie is very cute and funny and the music and songs are definitely hummable. The climax is fun without ay of the usual ‘running-after-the-woman/man-you-love-before-they-leave’ and never lets the lump in your throat overwhelm. But the real star of the movie is the songs and the music videos – the movie is also quite a smart satire on the music industry/factory of today. Must-see – either in the hall or on VCD!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Don't Cha..

Anyone heard this song by the Pussycat Dolls? (No, I have no idea why they're called that and I really don't want to know either..)
Anway, back to the song.. Its a fun song with an extremely catchy tune and the sheer self-confidence of the lyrics..
This is a song every girl wishes she could sing and this song also reminds every girlfriend of her inherent insecurity about her guy!


Oh, baby dolls I know you like me (I know you like me)
I know you do (I know you do)
Thats why whenever I come around shes all over you
And I know you want it (I know you want it)
It's easy to see (it's easy to see)
And in the back of your mind I know you should be home with me
[Chorus]
Dont cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me
Dont cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me
Dont cha, dont cha Dont cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me
Dont cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me
Dont cha, dont cha

Fight the feeling (fight the feeling)
Leave it alone (leave it alone)
Cause if it aint love
It just aint enough to leave a happy home
Let's keep it friendly (let's keep it friendly)
You have to play fair (you have to play fair)
See, I dont care
But I know she aint gon' wanna share

[Chorus]

I know I'm on your mind
I know we'll have a good time
I'm your friend
I'm fun
And I'm fine
I aint lying
Look at me, you aint blind [2x]
See, I know she loves you (I know she loves you)
I understand (I understand)
I'd probably be just as crazy about you
If you were my own man
Maybe next lifetime (maybe next lifetime)
Possibly (possibly)
Until then, Oh friend your'e secret is safe with me

[Chorus]

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Flashback

What do you do when the world thinks you're invulnerable?

When its presumed that you're so hard you won't crack.. that you can take lumps and come up fighting still. When people whisper - what does she care? When they say - oh she can take it.
When people close to you also assume that your spirit is unquenchable and that you are never assailed by doubts, when they presume on your spine of steel..
What do you do when your heart is breaking and there doesn't seem to be any who can hear the cracking sound..

What do you do when the world thinks you're invulnerable?

Pretend.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Good Morning..

Its way too early on a Sunday morning to be posting but since I'm in a cybercafe for some work (I'm cursing my brother under my breath), I thought I'll say Hi to my 'loyal readers' {you know whom I'm talking about!}
Now I'm going back to sleep..

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Movie and A Marriage

Last week, I joined a throng of movie-goers to watch Guru after frantically arranging tickets to it. Yes frantically, because in Bangalore, there are hardly any theatres, fewer still that play Hindi movies, lesser in number that deliver and none that deliver to my office. Anyway, I went in and saw one of the most-awaited movies of 2007. And it was worth it. Guru is a fabulous movie that in the finest of cinematic tradition draws you in even while your saner self is enumerating its flaws.
Anyone who doesn’t like the movie is welcome to not like it but say it is because of Abhishek and I will object. I remember being extremely skeptical of this actor way back when he debuted in Refugee and boy am I eating my words! Intense, playful, romantic, tongue-tied or delivering a sales pitch – this guy is incredible. In Guru, Abhishek delivers a stellar performance that puts him (I would say) in Aamir’s league. My favorite scene is especially when he convinces Aishwariya’s father to let them marry – the way he appeals to both the man’s business sense and emotional side to win her hand is brilliant.
The rest of the cast unfortunately pales in comparison. None of the supporting actors are given anything to work with so when I say Aishwariya is adequate, it is because she is given little and what she is given, she manages with aplomb. Madhavan and Vidya Balan are frankly unnecessary and I experienced instant boredom whenever they came on the screen. Mithun is a revelation - however, I would have liked to see more of a struggle between his conscience and his heart. Even the story of Abhishek’s rise is left to songs and allusions to relate.

Guru is essentially about Abhishek and while one may not want to spend as much as I did (an obscene 225 bucks for the 4th row from the screen) to see it, one should see the movie.
Barely two days later, the much awaited announcement of marriage between Guru’s stars – Abhishek and Aishwariya - was made, to the surprise of no-one except perhaps the two concerned. Suffice to say, I believe Abhiwariya will be the sole topic of conversation for the next month and beyond. TV channels, newspapers, water coolers and canteen will abound with opinions on how he/she could have done much better, it won't last, when are they actually getting hitched, whether a 3-yr age difference matters, whether Ash looked better in her shaadi ka joda or in Cannes and if Abhishek should shave his beard for the ceremony. And no prizes for guessing who will be gleefully watching!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

One, Two..

They say things happen in threes. First I ran short of the usual junk I read so I re-read Kite Runner. And then because I wanted to try the 'cinema lounge' experience I saw Kabul Express.
But the book. Wow! and Super Hot - I may be repeating myself but its a brilliant book. I'm always nervous reading such fiction but wow! The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini tells of Amir and his journey to redemption against the backdrop of the orginal occupation by the Taliban. Its beautifully written and I freely cried through parts of it. And while the ending isn't exactly brilliant, it has an Iqbal-like perfection.
In stark contrast, Kabul Express is a disappointment. It brought back to me forcefully that while I might admire John Abraham's ass in jeans, he just cannot act. And that Arshad Warsi is probably doomed to be second lead for the rest of his life - pity 'cos he is adorable.. The real steal in the movie are their Afghan driver and the Talib. Their chemistry set against the devastation of Kabul made for riveting watching especially as you already know that defiant Afghan is pertified of the Talib and what the fate of the Talib is going to be. Not a must-see perhaps but worth watching if comes on TV sometime in the future.
And yes, the lounge experience was quite cool - Lie back, Put your feet up, Relax, Spread the blanket if the AC gets too cold, reach occasionally for the popkorn and if you're the conscientious type watch the movie as well.