Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wagging Of The Tail

1 - 0. Chasing a meagre 211, the Indian batting collapsed to 159/7 before Rohit Sharma steadied the ship in the company of Vinay Kumar. However, just when it looked like it would be all over, India lost both Rohit and Vinay in quick succession, and in came Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav, the newbie seamers. After playing 15 dot balls, and with almost a run a ball needed, with the last wicket left standing and a billion Indians without hope, first Varun, and then Umesh, pulled a rabbit each out of their hats - Varun going for the square cut, and then Umesh hitting one straight down the ground, for two of the most valuable boundaries :)
A boring match for most part, but hey, the end was fun! :)

Quote Of The Day

"If people won't come to see Test matches, then we will show Test matches when they come." A user on cricinfo.com (in reaction to the really slow 1st ODI)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Movie Review: Babel

Babel is a rivetting drama about how our lives are intertwined - how one event caused by the "careless" actions of two Moroccan boys leads to a serious of events spanning 4 continents, sparking a major diplomatic row, and shaking the world.

 Richard (Brad Pitt) and Susan (Cate Blanchett) are an American couple on a vacation to Morocco, after the death of one of their children. Their other two children are in the care of  their Mexican help Amelia (Adriana Barraza). Unable to find someone who can watch the kids, Amelia takes the children with her to her son's marriage across the border. Meanwhile, in Morocco, two kids are playing with a powerful rifle that's been sold to their father. When they take practice shots at an approaching bus far away in the distance, the bullet hits Susan and lodges in her neck, severely injuring her. The incident quickly snowballs into a major international issue, with the US calling it a terror attack on its citizens. In Japan, a teenage deaf and dumb Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) tries to win friends and influence people by pulling off her underwear - trying to come to terms with her mother's suicide. What's the connection? The rifle used in the shooting - it used to belong to her dad, before he gifted it away in Morocco. While Richard desperately tries to save Susan's life in a small Moroccan village, he realises his real enemies are his own countrymen on the bus. Back in America, Amelia is struggling for survival in the desert with the kids, having been abandoned there by her nephew after a serious struggle with border control.

Fear, uncertainity, a sense of being completely lost. Different reasons, different places. All intertwined in some way or the other.

Serious movie, but a tad too long. And the Japanese angle spoils an otherwise extremely rivetting drama.


3 years, the memories still very fresh in mind...

Kasab still lives, having cost the exchequer 50 crores in security bills already. But we don't have much of a choice, do we? Well, maybe we do! Treat him like any other criminal on death row. Get moving on his legal options, close them and finish off the chapter. We have better things to do! And his usefulness as a star witness is over...

What A Match!

After conceding almost 600 runs in the first innings, and a 100 odd run lead, India demolished the WI today morning setting themselves a 250 run target.. and what a chase it was! When I started checking scores, they still needed 50 odd with 4 wickets in hand... then it was down to 4 with 2 wickets in the last over. And finally, needing 2 to win, when Ashwin was run out on the last ball going for the second, WI had snatched a draw with scores level (since India still had a wicket in hand, it wasn't a tie!). 2 - 0, India gets yet another series win, but one more run would have made it a very well deserved white wash!

All eyes now on the Australia tour!

Movie Review: Speedy Singhs

Nothing works for the movie - not the predictable, ghisi piti story, not the Sardars, not the ice hockey, not Akshay's item number, not the Punjabi songs.

Unfortunately, not even the super pretty Camille Belle.

Movie Review: The Presence

Location: An isolated island abode with a vampirish white ghostly apparition that stands and stares out of the window. When a lady makes it her home, the ghost isn't too pleased, but he doesn't do much beyond staring and lying in bed beside her. But when her boy friend joins her, things start getting a little wierd. She starts behaving strangely. Is she possessed? What do the spirits want?

By this time, if you are still watching, you definitely deserve to know. I wasn't that patient. I went off to bed.

Movie Review: Blood Diamond

Another stunningly made movie, Blood Diamond is focused on Africa and its diamonds, and the murky cartels and atrocities that hide behind the sparkles.

Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) smuggles blood diamonds from Sierra Leone which is embroilled in a bloody civil war. He partners with a very reluctant fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), separated from his family in a viciously savage attack on his village by rebels, to retrieve a very rare and coveted pink diamond in an adventure that will test their strength, trust and resolve. When they meet up and enlist the help of an American journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), Archer falls in love. However, the journey will tear them apart, just as the civil war ravages the poor nation... will the diamond provide redemption, or will it claim yet another victim?

A stunning look inside Africa, and some brilliant performances, make this lenghty movie a great watch!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Sharad Pawar slapped by "crazed" Harvinder Singh for his failure to control price hikes.Anna Hazare reacts with "Ek hi maara?", before clarifying that he meant to ask in a show of concern, "Aur kuch nahini kiya?"
NCP workers come on the roads in Maharastra to protest the slap.
Thackeray says, "Politicians should be respected"
School kids celebrate the unplanned holiday the next day in response to "peaceful" bandh call
Sachin missed his 100th 100 by 6 runs - OK, maybe that was unrelated!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Movie Review: The Father of Invention

Billionaire Robert Axel's "fabrications" finally catch up with him when one of his products leads to many consumers losing their index fingers. After 8 years in jail, Axel is released and finds himself in a world where his estranged wife has spent his millions, hooked up with another guy, and even given away his beloved car. His daughter no longer believes in him, and is openly hostile on seeing him back. While he is still full of ideas, he is completely out of sync with the latest gadgets. Will Axel be able to bounce back, or will he join the 625 of convicted felons who go right back to joil?

The movie is extremely touching, and is a beautiful rendition of the father-daughter relationship. Axel also shares a wonderfully maturing relationship with his daughter's friends Phoebe and Donna, gently winning them over. It's a lesson in not giving up, a lesson in taking hurt graciously and learning to keep going at your dreams when the whole world is aligned against you. It's about winning hearts, winning support, and gradually turning things around.

The versatile Kevin Spacey, extremely cute Camille Belle, and the sexy Heather Graham make up the core star cast, and are fantastic as Robert Axel, his daughter Claire, and her roomie friend Phoebe. Anna Anissimova, as the third roomie Donna and Virginia Madsen as Claire's mom also add to the glamour.

A very good movie, really.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movie Review: Captain America The First Avenger

On a day of super-heroes, here's yet another who looks pretty normal (but carries a shield emblazoned with a screaming American flag when all you need is stealth!) - a tiny, weak boy who desperately wants to serve America in the war against the Nazis, is refused entry 5 times due to his medical condition, and finally gets enlisted in a secret program to genetically modify and create an army of super human soldiers. The problem - he's the only such soldier created before the scientist is shot dead, with the formula gone to the grave with him. After spending weeks prancing on stage with scantily clad girls, punching "Hitler" in the face as "Captain America", raising funds for the war effort, he finally gets a chance to get into action, taking on the powerful organization Hydra and their evil boss, aiming to destroy the world's capitals and bring it to its knees, before installing him as the undisputed leader.

Some decent action, some humour, and a lot of Rajnikant, CA is a good action flick for the kids.

Movie Review: Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Every game enthusiast would know Lara Croft. So did I, even though I am not really a gamer. What I didn't know was that the movie came after the game, not the other way around.

Angelina Jolie is really the ultimate action super-hero, as she single-handedly takes on the Illuminati and their rogue leader from stealing The Triangle of Light, an ancient artifact which is activated when the planets align perfectly, once in 5000 years, allowing complete control over time, and saves the world from disaster. She doesn't do car chases, but she fights like hell, and is fearless (like Johnny English!). Looking good comes naturally to her, of course, and her tight black fighting suit with the guns strapped to her thighs.. aah, so much better than wearing underwear outside your pants :)

The action is fast paced and good, the graphics and SFX innovative and fun, and you can see why the game has such a cult following!

A good action flick!

Movie Review: Johnny English

When the Crown Jewels are stolen, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson), the MI-7 agent who knows no danger, knows no fear, knows nothing, uncovers a sinister plot by the French businessman Sauvage (John Malkovich) to become King of Britain and convert the country into the world's largest prison, for a price, of course! Pairing up with his sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), and the very attractive Interpol office Lorna (a very smart and sexy Natalie Imbruglia), English climbs up poo pipes, swings over the wanna-be-King's coronation ceremony and even ends up being crowned King of Britain, while on the way to saving the world from Sauvage's dangerous plans.

However, this is an example of the sequel  (Johnny English Reborn) being better than the orginal. Rowan is good, but a far cry from the absolutely hilarious reborn English.

Quote of the Day: May all your daughters be born with three bottoms. Johnny English (trying to speak in Japanese)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Movie Review: The Devil's Double

TDD is a chilling look into a lawless and opulent life full of drugs, women and horrifying rage-induced atrocities committed by Uday, the crazy son of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, as seen through the eyes of Latif Yahia, his body double. TDD is executed superbly with a fast-paced storyline, shot in Iraq's stunning locales, with a brilliant performance by Dominic Cooper as the crazy Uday and the reluctant and outraged Latif. Ludivine Sagnier as Uday's lover and Latif's love is good, but she's looked better in other, earlier movies.
I had blogged about the African aid workers yesterday, their sacrifices, their struggles to help save human lives. And then you have people like Uday Hussein...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Aid Workers

The Constant Gardener made me think about all those aid workers in Africa... perfectly "sane" men and women who give up their wonderful lives in the "civilized world" and adopt one of pain and dust and misery and deprivation... just to serve mankind. What does it take to have that kind of a mindset, the drive, the passion to give up so much for someone else who is really, nothing to you? Truly amazing...

Think about it.

Movie Review: The Constant Gardener

A hard hitting movie, TCG focuses attention on the deadly clinical trials of half-baked drugs in Africa, and the evil axis of drug manufacturers, medical care providers and governments in the multi-billion dollar pharma business. Shot in stunning locations in Africa, TCG brings the dust, the garbage, the happy but very deprived children, the squalor, the beauty of the continent right into your living room, leaving you spell bound with experiences of a world so far removed from our own reality...

When Tessa, a rebellious aid worker, is brutally murdered in the midst of her investigations into the pharma cartels, her death is blamed on her friend and partner, a black doctor, as a crime of passion. But as her husband Justin, a British diplomat, tries to unravel the truth behind her death, he is also sucked into a whirlpool from where escape is impossible. Will Tessa and Justin be able to make their deaths count?

Rachel Weisz as Tessa looks fiesty and stunning, and Ralph Fiennes provides the perfect foil as her soft-spoken, gentle husband.

A serious movie, and it will leave you touched.

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin (3D)

One of the most endearing characters from my childhood, now on screen. Expected a lot, but came back a little disappointed. Somehow, with the motion capture animation techniques (where real human characters are fitted with sensors and their every motion and expression captured and mapped to the cartoon figures giving life like movements, gestures and expressions), the cartoon characters became too human to be endearing. With glassy eyes and plastic skin, the characters float in the space between humans and robots, almost like sinister humanoids... (here's an article that talks about The Uncanny Valley, an interesting problem in animation)
Some of the scenes rock - the detailing, the lighting, the technical brilliance behind the animation never ceases to wow me, now that I have myself been dabbling in it at work.The 3D is an unnecessary burden to the eyes, the glasses sit uncomfortably on the nose, the bright cartoons from Herge darken into not-so-exciting hues - wonder if this is the future of cinema - oh god, please give me back my 2D! And when most of the 3D is in-screen, it doesn't really make much sense.

After Avataar, one does expect a lot. In delivering that, Tintin fails. But on its own, not a bad watch - especially if you can catch the 2D version.

Simple Things

Went for the buffet spread at the Spice Kitchen at the Pune Mariott today - and of all the delicious things they have on offer, what was really amazing, as usual, was the curd rice with aloo and chana chaat. Isn't it amazing how sometimes the best things in life are the simplest?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote For The Day

On the road from nowhere to somewhere lies everywhere. Siddhesh Bhobe.


Discovered Whatsapp on recommendation of a friend - pretty cool, actually... works like IM and SMS, all the good points, minus the cost. Works beautifully as an offline messaging tool, and equally well as a chat client. Works on data connection, so very cheap when compared to sending SMSes, especially when you are roaming. And best of all, since it is tied to a cell phone, the identity of the person and the security/privacy is much tighter than with a typical chat client.

Pretty good stuff, and available on most platforms - try it out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Movie Review: 127 Hours

Had heard a lot about this Danny Boyle movie - and had missed it in the theatres, so got a BluRay last night.

127 Hours is the story of an adventurous Aron Ralston (James Franco) who has a bad fall into a crevice, finds his hand crushed behind a fallen boulder, trapping him inside the crevice for 127 hours. It's a story of how he uses his spirit and humour, the strength of memories and dreams, to survive, and finally, gathers the strength to cut his own arm and escape certain death.

The movie has potential with some great visuals, and an interesting sound track by our own AR Rahman, but when more than an hour goes by with no action and a lot of dreaming and hallucination, you tend to get bored... the movie then suddenly turns really gory with the arm cutting scene, and is not for the weak hearted.

Apparently a real story.

Not too bad, but not what I expected it to be.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vintage Love

Starring yours truly!


Met Mark Skaggs, creator of Farmville and Cityville, at the NASSCOM Gaming Developers Conference in Pune this week, and were thrilled to hear him speak about his experiences and learnings in his unbelievable journey.

Here is a picture of him being welcomed by Rajesh Rao of Dhruva Interactive and Rajiv Vaishnav from NASSCOM, before his keynote address.

Preview: Don 2

Don 2 promos looking really good... SRK looks smashing in black, and his jail avataar is even more sexy, the action fast paced, the car chases edge of the seat... the kind of movie that brings out the showman in the King to the fullest.. really looking forward to it!

International Sunrises

Came across this amazing programme "Sunrise Earth International" on Discovery HD last night - a 30 min immersive experience of the sunrise at some wonderful yet perfectly "normal" location in the world. Last night, it was a village in Turkey. Just cameras placed at different locations and live sound capturing the 30 mins of life coming to earth as the sun rises beyond the hills. It was mesmerizing, took me right back to childhood, to those wonderful picnics to wonderful locations in the lap of nature, to those early mornings in villages where the cock announces the sunrise, where tweets do not mean 140 characters... the muezzin announcing prayers somewhere in the background... a lone shepherd taking her cow for grassing... an old man picking up oranges....

Truly stunning...

Quote For The Day

If you want to make enemies, try and change something

Movie Review: Rockstar

Lesson No 1: To create music, you need to have a tragedy touch your heart. To be a rockstar, you need to wear pyjama pants, have unkempt hair and a sullen look and make a lot of noise while jumping up and down.
Lesson No 2: If you love someone, you need to kiss every time you see each other. Whether you like it or not.

That's all I can help you with. If you still want to go ahead and waste a beautiful weekend, go watch Rockstar.

A good entertainer needs a great cast, a good story, some action, beautiful music, some comedy, great locales, emotions, feelings.. or SRK. Unfortunately, Rockstar has little of it, and fails to capitalize on what it does have - the beautiful Nargis Fakhri.

Ranbir is disappointing, too much of his sullen and unkept look, an idiot act that starts irritating you very quickly, stupid jokes that are forced into the script (he calls the Czech city Parag, and asks questions like "tumhare blood ki factory kharab hai kya?") and a character that faisl to evoke any sympathy or empathy. Nargis is beautiful, but needed the camera to love her, and it doesn't always flatter her. She also needed a dress designer who would bring out the amazing woman she is, not make her look like an old lady past her prime. When she does go western, she sizzles the screen - some of her initial shots in college, the dance in the black dress, the short dress where they have the long kiss dialog.. if she dresses like that, she will give all B town leading ladies sleepless nights. She loses out on acting though, and has a long way to go. To start with, she could try keeping the dialogue delivery a little less animated.

Kashmir and Prague as locales are as beautiful as they come... but just like Nargis, are under-utilized, which is such a shame.

The music doesn't rock, it sucks. Unless you count head banging to "Sadda Haqq" as uber cool rock. The lyricist obviously didn't report for work.  And AR Rahman is probably suffering burn out.

And the story. Sorry, but between the 213 shots of Ranbir mouthing Sadda Haqq in his pyjamas, mostly repeated, I seem to have missed it. Something about staking a girl, forcing a few kisses in the name of love, becoming a devdas after her marriage, tracking her and stalking her again, becoming an overnight media sensation after getting deported for house break, losing it, helping her get her bone marrow back, head banging, getting a reputation... and I am not even sure about the ending... do they live happily every after, or does she die? I really did not get that part... there was too much head banging going on. It's one thing to take some cinematic liberties, it's another to rely on them alone!

And yes, I have a personal issue with movies which promote peer-pressure drinking, showing the middle finger, and stalking for kisses as a way to express your love.

I didn't enjoy the movie. If you do watch it, do let me know how you found it! Maybe I was just having a bad day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie Review: Immortals


If the 3D goggles and dark artificial lighting throughout doesn't get you, the blood and gore will.

Bad movie, but a good cure for insomnia.

Movie Review: Catch Up

A harried married man with 3 kids (including new born twins), and a stressful job. A happy go lucky jobless playboy. When a piss in the fountain and a wish to live each other's life comes true, all hell breaks lose.

Another of those "watch only if you like gross adult jokes which don't make you laugh much really" genre.


Movie Review: Flypaper

Just as Tripp (the handsome Patrick Dempsey) walks into a bank and starts flirting with the pretty teller, Kaitlin (Ashley Judd), it comes under attack from two different gangs, both trying to rob it at a rare moment of security systems shutdown. One gang is a pair of buffoons trying to blow open the ATMs with weapons grade explosives, the other a trio of hard core professionals going after the vault with their computers and gadgets. Add an eclectic mix of bank staff and customers as hostages, and what you have is a hilarious comedy as Tripp and Kaitlin try to save the day... until things start looking very sinister.

What is really going on? As more and more people are found dead, the plot get murkier and deadlier...

Pat and Ashley make a great pair, the movie is an enjoyable watch! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Carbon Footprint on eMee

Do you know how your life style choices impact the environment? Do you know what your carboon foot print is, and what you can do to neutralize it? Play the carbon footprint game on eMee's FB page, and find out!


Movie Review: The Kingdom

When an American compound in the Saudi kingdom is hit in a devastating terror attack by a terror cell, an elite team of 4 FBI special agents led by Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) arrive with the permission of a reluctant Saudi government to try and crack open the case and find the mastermind, believed to be the "ghost" Abu Hamza. With just 5 days at their disposal, and a very unfriendly Saudi general leading the investigation, things look bleak until they uncover a vital clue, and win the support of a brave Saudi police officer, Col Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhoum) ...

With some breathtaking action, from car chases to hand combat, bombings and shootings, an excellent screen play and edge of the seat story telling, amazing locales, and a cast that does complete justice to the roles, the movie is an absolute must-see.

And the ending.. two scenes... Fleury's promise to his team at the beginning of the investigation... and Abu Hamza's dying words to his grand son... "We will kill them all". Sums up everything that's happening today, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Bangalore Vistas

Day 2 (yesterday) in Bangalore was a lot more interesting... the NASSCOM Product LaunchPad in the morning (we missed NDTV coverage - they ran off to cover BSY's walk out from jail at the precise moment we were to take stage) and after seducing the press, took a relaxed jaunt in UB City, Bangalore's ultra-chic luxury mall, with mobile phones worth 4.5 lakh, jackets worth 65,000, denims worth 25,000 and undies worth 3,000! No, we didn't shop much :) Chilled out in the beautiful food court, and later, we went to the garment wholesale market, to meet a friend, and finally, caught the Volvo to the airport, making it well in time for some last minute shopping before catching the Jet flight to Pune. Here are some pictures, in random order, of the day that was...

Peter Yorke opens the NASSCOM Product LaunchPad

Brigade road - Bangalore's Shopping Hub at 3.00 pm

Namma Metro! Just missed the coaches zooming past..

And to the left, on MG Road, the Metro Station

The luxurious UB City

UB City Business Tower... no, this isn't Manhattan

The very beautiful UB City Food Plaza

Tick what you want to eat...

Truly amazing Wasabi Prawns with finely chooped pineapple, simply delicious flavours

Another view of the UB City Food Plaza

The pretty roof of the UB City foyer

This too, is Bangalore

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Kinda disappointing first impression... dusty, polluted and very dead at 10 pm. Nice elevated expressway from the airport planned, but most of it is still under construction. Meru Taxi was decent, but the driver almost managed to get us killed. The suite is ok, but gave us a common room when they had confirmed two. No restaurant close by, but at least we were able to order some home delivery!  Overall, not too impressed :(

Monday, November 07, 2011

Off To Bangalore

Off to Bangalore tonight for the NASSCOM LaunchPAD event tomorrow at the Taj Gateway, where we will be launching eMee - one of the 10 products selected for this prestigious event out of 60+ aspirants! Watch out for updates....

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Movie Review: Ti Ratr (Marathi)

An interrupted honeymoon and her husband Rajan's (Santosh Juvekar) possessiveness suddenly takes a sinister turn for Rajani (Aditi Sarangdhar) when strange, unexplained things start happening at home. As the tension builds up, a sales man (Subodh Bhave) turns up at the door for a "demo" while her husband is away. And when the tomato sauce spilled by him on the floor turns out to be the blood of her beloved lovebirds, it's time to panic! Rajan returns home, finds his wife bound and gagged, and is attacked and slashed in the throat by the salesman, and taken upstairs where he is kept hostage while he hypnotizes Rajani and continues to extract some hard truths from her past...

When Rajani wakes up, Rajan is hale and hearty, and convinces her it's just been a terrible dream.

Everything is fine, until one day, when cleaning the fish tank, Rajani finds the salesman's ring!

A good psycho-thriller, except for the predictable and lame end. Some explanations are best left not given!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Movie Review: In Time

Time is the new currency. People are genetically engineered to live and age till 25, at which time they get a bonus of one extra year. After that, you can either earn more time, or get timed out. The world is divided into Zones... at one end, the ghettos where people have less than 30 days of time left, and New Greenwich at the other, the few immortals with eons on their clocks.

In such a world, Will (Justin Timberlake) gets a rare gift - a century worth of time. With Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of one of New Greenwich's rich immortals, by his side, Wills sets out to rob time from the rich and give to the poor. Will he succeed or will he end up upsetting the balance in a world where many must die so that a few can be immortal?

Notwithstanding the sci-fi nature of the plot, the movie makes perfect sense, and makes you think about that non-replenishable stock of time you have been given... are you using it wisely? What would you do if you had those green digits on your hand, continuously reminding you of how much time you have left? Would you still live the same way?

A must watch!

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Kani was denied bail today by the court, which sought to make an example of her and the others accused and in jail for the 2G trial, in a ruling that has been hotly debated for its implications. The court made it clear that whether or not the CBI opposed the bail pleas or not (it had opposed the bail plea of the others, but chose not to oppose Kani's plea), the court would make its own decision based on the merits of the case.

Kalmadi, Kani, Raja, Koda, Hasan Ali, Amar Singh... the list keeps growing. Who said crime and corruption doesn't get punished in India?

Anna or otherwise, whether or not Lokpal Bill is passed in one form or the other, I am optimistic that corruption is firmly in the crosshairs!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Empty Roads

Drove a lot around the city today - interestingly, after 10 days in Goa, the roads felt empty! Yes - in Goa, the traffic was bumper to bumper, long snaking lines all over from Baga, to Calangute, to Panaji! Every alternate car was from Pune or Kolhapur, some from Belgaum, a few from Mumbai and Gujarat.

At Wadeshwar on FC in the evening, there were actually more than half a dozen parking slots free! Where're all the MH 12 cars? Parked near Brittos in Baga?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Can I Stretch It A Little More?

Back in office today, but not really back at work... can I stretch the vacation a wee bit more? :)