Sunday, September 25, 2011

National Anthem in Theatres

For many years now, Indian theatres play the national anthem before the start of every movie show. And for me, this has been one of the best parts of going to the theatres... standing up with the crowd, singing it together, watching the flag fluttering proudly on the screen. E-Square has this wonderful instrumental anthem picturized on our brave soldiers in the Siachen Glacier, and seeing them hoisting the flag on the towering pole in the midst of the swirling icy winds with the chopper flying overhead always tingles my spine.

Yesterday, for the first time in hundreds of shows I have gone to, we encountered a guy who sat through the anthem, inspite of being requested by me, and others, to stand up. His girl friend stood up on request, but the asshole (sorry, but that's what he was) refused. Jerks like him will always exist, I guess, but what was heart-warming and assuring was the support I got from dozens of teenagers, both guys and girls, in the theatre - it's beautiful that so many young Indians truly love and respect the flag, the country, the sentiments associated with the anthem. They didn't have a who cares attitude, they voiced their anger and indignation... and made sure the guy had no place to hide his face in shame.

Movie Review: Johnny English Reborn

Mr Bean meets James Bond. And what you get is some hilarious moments, fast action, super gadgets and loads of laugh-filled entertainment. Called back from his Tibetan monastery to help MI7 (yes, 7) foil a plot to assassinate the Chinese PM, will Johnny English be able to put his hard-learnt lessons from Tibet to use against the determined international assassins?

A must-watch this weekend... Rowan Atkinson at his very best!

Movie Review: Mausam

Shahid is a happy-go-lucky Punjabi lad in a small village Mallukot, waiting for his acceptance into the Indian Air Force. Sonam is a displaced Kashmiri girl, naughty and shy, who lands up in Mallukot with her bua. And there starts a decade long saga of war, communal tensions and riots, each conspiring to keep the shy lovers away from each other. Across cities, countries and continents, and years, love survives, but will it be too much to cope with in the end?

The first half is beautiful, the cinematography and camera work brings the Punjabi countryside and village life beautifully into the theatres.. the dialogues, the jokes, the ganne-ke-khet, the dusty bylanes of Mallukot, the rain-drenched terraces... simply mesmerizing. Shahid looks great, and Sonal, as always is prettiness defined.

In the second half, though, Pankaj Kapoor completely loses it. The lovers' misses start becoming contrived, the reasons illogical. The change of scenery becomes too fast, too quick. And the last 30 mins goes way into the B grade movies of yesteryears... Shahid rescuing a crying kid beside her dead mother from the top of a stuck ferris wheel with his one paralyzed hand, while riots rage below... a completely irrlevant and ridiculous rescue of a white horse...

Cut 45 min, cut the ending, and Mausam would have been a beautiful movie! What do I suggest? Go watch it till half time - and then you are free to leave.

Movie Review: Abduction

Nathan (Taylor Lautner, better known as the wolf boy from Twilight!) is a typical American teen, his life full of shirtless wild parties by the pool, surrounded by 18 year olds in bikinis and testosterone-driven beer guzzling boys, and a father who loves bashing the hangovers out of him, while his mother smothers him with kisses. While researching on missing kids for a school sociology project with his next-door high school love interest Karen (Lily Collins), he is stunned by a photo of a boy that looks suspiciously like him – he even has the same t-shirt he was wearing in the photo! Is he really who he has been raised up as, or is there a more sinister story to his life?

When his "parents" are killed and his home bombed, he is propelled from his poolside world into a high-action life full of CIA agents, snipers, Serbian gangsters, espionage, bombs and car chases, where "trust needs to be earned"...

Nathan looks better as a wolf, Lily provides some eye candy, the action is good, the BMWs even better, and the story, although a little contrived and unbelievable, keeps you engaged.

Watch it, it's good entertainment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Movie Review: Fair Game

Based on the real life story of ex-CIA agent Valeria Plame, Fair Game is a riveting political drama that exposes the games played in the corridors of power in the world's most powerful nation. When Val's husband exposes the lies in the President's State of the Union address regarding Saddam's efforts to buy weapons grade uranium from Niger, based on which the US went to war against Iraq, the White House strikes back by exposing Val's role as a covert CIA operative, putting to risk dozens of her field operatives and missions at risk, and bringing her marriage to a breaking point.

Naomi Watts as Val is excellent, while Sean Penn puts in a convincing performance as her husband.

Worth every bit of the 108 min running time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Presentation at the CII Conclave

Visit for the presentation I used at the CII HR & IR Conclave today. Would love to hear your feedback!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Movie Review: Hanna

There are movies, and then there are movies. The type that stay with you for ever...

Hanna, at least for me, is the second type.

Brought up in the European wilderness near the Arctic circle, Hanna's upbringing by her dad, an ex-CIA agent, has prepared her to be the ultimate fighter and survivor. Barely into adolescence, she journeys across Europe on a mission, fighting for survival against the CIA's rouge agents determined to stop her. As she approaches her final destination, she's confronted with the shocking truth about herself and her dad...

The movie has one of the best action scenes I have enjoyed, foot chase sequences and hand to hand combat combined with a soundtrack that will get your adrenalin pumping like never before. It's fast and gripping and wonderfully shot and executed.

Saoirse Ronan is awesome as Hanna. She's pretty, her innocent looks and unsure gait in the big bad world makes you fall in love with her and makes you want to hold her and protect her, until she suddenly unleashes her energy like a recoiled spring. She's cute, she's demure, her long blonde hair unkempt and free, her jeans and sweatshirt lose and comfortable like she's just woken up from her Sunday slumber... but she's focused, she's fit, and she will stun you with her reflexes and her speed, the way her body moves, as she runs away from the bad guys chasing her.

Stunning film, dying to catch it in the theatres... don't miss it for anything!

Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Cal (Steve Carell) faces the mother of all midlife crises when he finds out his pretty wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has been cheating on him with the guy in her office, and wants a divorce. That's when the irresistible womanizer Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes him under his wings, and promises to teach him the tricks of his trade. Cal gets on the train, including a wild first encounter with his son's English teacher. Meanwhile his 13 year old son falls for his 17 year old baby-sitter, who in turn has a major crush on Cal. Life gets further complicated when the debonair Jacob falls in love with his beautiful daughter (Emma Stone).

With a lot of (adult) com and some eye candy (especially for the ladies), CSL is definitely recommended this weekend.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Movie Review: Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

With MBKD, YRF takes a very predictable story, and executes it in a very predictable manner - the usual twists and turns, the first half full of fun, the second half getting just a little complicated, with a happy ending.

But if you are a Katrina fan, this is heaven. Kat shines in every scene, she's sexy, she's sweet, she's cute, she's bubbly, she absolutely grows on you and makes you fall in love with her. Her look in "Dhunki Lagi" will blow you away, and when she slurps her curd, you will wish you were born as milk. If you are not a Kat fan, you are 2.5 hours away from being one!

Imran is good, very understated, very "regular", a role that's perfect for him (although it's the same Imran we have seen half a dozen times before). Zafar Ali is good too, and very commendable that he's the dialogue writer and director too! Farhan, a growing speck in the rearview mirror? The surprise package is Tara D'Souza, she's pretty stunning even when she shares the stage with Kat, and that's very commendable!

The music is interesting, pretty different from what we have heard recently. And some of the songs will grow on you... The soundtrack in general is pretty good!

Do check it out!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Just got a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab - no, not mine - got it from office for eMee demos :)

First impressions - not impressed. Yes, there's the marketplace with too amny applications for download... and the touch and feel is fine. But it's too heavy and cumbersome. And it's having problems running Flash, while Silverlight is a no no. HTML5 seems OK, but need to really stress it out before I can be sure.

It has a USB connector, but the position and structure makes me sure I am gonna break it soon.

And a case is sorely missed. I will need to buy one, but given the fragile structure of the tab, it's almost criminal not to bundle one.

Overall, I am happy with my Windows Mobile 7 phone, will be some time before I "convert".

Movie Review: Assassination Games

Two assassins are after a dreaded drug dealer - one for the money, one for revenge. With crooked Interpol agents and the underworld on their hunt, the two reluctantly join forces to take out their target, before they get taken out themselves.

Some hard core hand to hand combat, a lot of graphic violence, and a sepia toned feel, the movie is pretty gripping, if you can live with the cut throats.

Saw it on DVD, might be a treat in a theatre for the right-minded!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nano PCR

Here's a cute little PCR "van" being contemplated for use by the Mumbai Police, as a replacement for the police mobikes...

Me thinks this is a great idea!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Movie Review: Lions For Lambs

Interesting movie... revolving around 3 scenes, 3 conversations. A Professor (Robert Redford) trying to goad one of his "brat" students to realise his potential and join the US Army. A Congressman (Tom Cruise) talking a journalist (Meryl Streep) into supporting his latest strategy for a win in Afghanistan. And two of the Professor's former students fighting a losing battle for survival in the cold reaches of an Afghan hilltop.

A good movie, but somehow, left me wanting more..

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bhartiya Anna Party?

TOI reports that Kiran Bedi wants Team Anna to support Advani's new Rath Yatra. Really? Is this where all that civil society against politicians activism is coming down to? Ms Bedi, RS seat in your sights?

10 Years of 9/11

In My Name is Khan, Rizwan Khan points out that there is a now an additional way in which we partition time 9/11. The world changed completely after that fateful day in which almost 3000 people died in the terrible attacks on America.

I was in Goa, my wife pregnant with Sanam, and we had all met for a party at home... it was early night... when the shocking images were playing out live on TV. My cousin working in the WTC area had had a narrow escape, which was a relief. But we were still coming to terms with how the world's superpower had been brought down to its knees. Next morning, I drove back to Pune... and a few weeks later, my daughter was born. In a world very different from the one in which she was conceived.

Today, America is a much more secure place... and no terror attacks have taken place since... but the billions of dollars spent on internal security, and the trillions spent in the war on terror have crippled the economy. The country is paranoid, privacy rights are severely compromised, and after all that... one small mistake, one incident, and it will all come crashing down.

Iraq and "Afghanistan" have been "liberated" but dozens still die, Pakistan suffers the scourge of terror almost on a daily basis. India also continues to face terror, and while things are much better after 26/11, more needs to be and can be done.

But one thing is sure. Terror no longer has a purpose. People have been numbed, and just like other random acts of violence that have a shelf life of 2 days in the local newspapers, a similar fate befalls any terror attack. People do not sympathize with the terrorists any more. While outfits like the Khalistanis, the Palestinians and the LTTE had a mission, and sympathizers to their "cause", whether their methods were right or wrong, terror attacks today have a single goal - destruction of peace and human rights every where, and it is exactly this reason why they will never succeed. Because the human spirit will never be defeated.

Movie Review: Friends With Benefits

Mila Kunis looks great, fresh and sexy. I didn't get a good look at the guy, sorry. Lots of skin, but the censors seem to have been in a really sadistic mood.... promises a lot, delivers very little. Dialogue is witty, but the movie is predictable, and doesn't stay with you for long.


Cat Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray this cushy life to keep.
I pray for toys that look like mice,
And sofa cushions, soft and nice.
I pray for gourmet kitty snacks,
And someone nice to scratch my back,
For window sills all warm and bright,
For shadows to explore at night.
I pray I'll always stay real cool
And keep the secret feline rule
To NEVER tell a human that
The world is really ruled by CATS!

How To Clean A Cat

1.Thoroughly clean the toilet.
2.Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and have both lids lifted.
3.Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
4.In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids.
Note: You may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape.
CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his paws will be reaching out for any surface they can find.
5.Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power wash and rinse" which I have found to be quite effective.
6.Have someone to open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.
7.Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.
8.The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where he will dry himself.

the Dog


"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this."

"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."

"As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat."

"Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later."

"People that hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life."

"There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats."

International Cat Day

Today, my daughter and I are celebrating International Cat Day... so here's a joke to get started:

A man absolutely hated his wife's cat and decided to get rid of him one day by driving him 20 blocks from his home and leaving him at the park. As he arrived home, the cat was walking up the driveway. The next day he decided to drive the cat 40 blocks away. He put the beast out and headed home. Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat! He kept taking the cat further and further, and the cat would always beat him home.

At last he decided to drive a few miles away, turn right, then left, past the bridge, then right again and another right until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there.

Hours later the man calls home to his wife: "Jen, is the cat there?" "Yes", the wife answers, "why do you ask?" Frustrated, the man answered, "Put the little thing on the phone, I'm lost and need directions."

Movie Review: Blitz

Jason Statham is a hot-headed officer trying to stop a serial cop killer in London. The story is gripping, but the movie feels sluggish as the end nears, and with Statham, one expects a lot more adrenalin pumping  action and less talk. Blitz promises, but doesn't deliver.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


What's wrong with Team India? :( From deserving No 1, the slide has been almost unbelievable. Fatigue, injuries, or simply bad luck? Just hope this series ends quickly, and the team can pick up again and regain the lost glory...

Until then, Mahi and boys, I am with you!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Movie Review: Hurt Locker

Another long-pending movie, finally caught up with it on DVD last night.

An excellent cast, great screen play and fantastic camera work make Hurt Locker an absorbing movie, although it feels more like a documentary with an Iraq-based theme and no story line. A tad too long too. A slightly edited version, revolving around a bomb disposal team with a mission, rather than a series of unconnected and unrelated events, would have added tremendously to the appeal.

For die hard war movie fans, this is a must see, though.

Movie Review: Bodyguard

OK, here is one movie even die-hard Salman fans, used to the generous dishing out of slap stick humour and tapori dance moves, will find hard to digest.
What's good:
An innovative "attack by helicopter" that will awe you with its brilliant conceptualization
Some of the other combat action
A very attractive side-kick to Kareena, Rose Dawn (previously Hazel Keech)
Kareena in a few shots
Salman in fewer shots

What's not:
The tev tev ring tone that has a bigger role to play than the background score put together, especially since it is accompanied by Salman getting a zhatka in his butt
The worst's grossest man boobs on Salman's side kick, "innovatively" named Tsunami Singh
The large ostrich eggs in Salman's arm pits which makes him walk like a robot with his arms splayed out at the side
Katrina in her worst item number to date with the stupidest dance moves ever - how does showing off biceps by a girl in a bra work for you as a turn on?
And the dialogues - here's a sample: Cool? You think I am a fool? In nursery school?

Shuld you watch it? Sure - people do all sorts of stupid things! Go ahead!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Movie Review: Fast Five

Missed the 5th installment of the Fast and Furious franchise (which is over a decade old now) in the theatres, but had the pleasure of catching the BluRay extended version last night. Absolutely the best of the lot, FF also has a well developed play on the characters themselves, their growth and maturity through the series. O'Connor morphs into a true-blood criminal after his chequered past as a cop, while preparing to be a dad. Dom grows in stature as the father of the gang, and his developing bond with O'Connor is very well handled. It's also a treat to see all the key characters from the past coming together again to plan the heist of the century. Gal Gadot looks stunning as ever, tall, slim and very pretty!

But the real treat is in the super high voltage action, the train sequence at the beginning truly brilliantly done. While the stunts get a little unbelievable towards the end, it's well done and adds plenty to the excitement.

The best part was the extra stuff on the BR, including the interviews and the "making" of the movie.

Do watch it if you haven't... it's high RPM action out and out!

Monday, September 05, 2011


Chaturthi is big in Goa - a lot bigger than Diwali. This year heavy rains kept lashing the state, but did little to dampen the festive season. There's something very beautiful about the whole thing.. the 3 days of veg food - always the same varan bhaat, batatachi bhaaji, patoli - and then the youngsters trying to bring in some modern menu items like gobi manchurian, to the shock and delight of everyone... the non-stop devotional CDs playing all around you from 5:00 am add tremendously to the atmosphere. All the cousins and kids miling around, visiting each other. Yes, we cannot do the Ritz party, and we cannot venture out much in the evenings, and have to be home for the aartis, but it's time to be with family, have joke sessions, antaksharis, tang and noodles at night.. lay kilometers of beddings and plop down like vehicles in a giant parking lot... tired... but not yet ready to retire for the night.. the stories of Chimulkar's ghost, now part of our family folklore, start making the rounds... and then it's morning, and yet another glorious day

Coming back to Pune today, had to rush to office for a little time, and there I was trying to work, with a Ganesh mandal close by playing aratis on a loud speaker, and I was instantly transported to Goa, to Nerul, to the last 3 beautiful days spent there... and "pudchya varshi lavkar ya" couldn't have been more apt!

We really need to do the 5 day Ganapati next year!

Glory Of Rains In Konkan

Waterfalls at Amboli Ghat at their majestic best!

The Aguada shoreline - and notice the "almost gone" River Princess in the background

"Rain showers" in the Nerul aangan

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Pune-Goa-Pune Again

Just back from an awesome Goa trip in the heavy Konkan rains...

We left early Wed morning, and when we pulled into Sai International for our much-awaited breakfast of tea and misal pav, I noticed a black Scorpio with Team BHP stickers on it. It was fellow BHPian Arun P, and after breakfast, we drove most of the way down to Goa together after running into each other again near Azara. Amboli, even at 11 in the morning, was cloaked in dense fog restricting visibility to less than 5 meters at times. The waterfalls dotting the ghat were in full glory, and we stopped for some pictures with the monkeys too. We loved the drive from Dandeli to Banda through the short cut, and Arun ensured he took a complete video of Samara navigating the twists, turns and pools.

Today, it was time to head back. And the drive was even more exciting. First, a quick drive through the flooded river on the shortcut. (Yes, we took a video and now I cannot find it on my camcorder!) Then, we got stuck for half an hour on the ghat due to a landslide, and had a happy walk up and down while the earthmover went about its job.

Was very clear why an SUV will always beat a Sedan in any road trip. While the sedans crawled and groaned their way through the frequent patches of potholes and non-existent tarmac, Samara simply glided over them leaving speechless sedan owners gawking in disbelief and the only trace of the SUV that had roared past was the spray of muddy brown water on their windshields!

Home by 500, and life's beautiful again! At least my cat thinks so! She can finally go back to snuggling against warm human bodies while the AC cranks up the chill!