Saturday, January 28, 2012

Movie Review: Agneepath

Here's a hurried review using my mobile while on vacation in Goa, just so I might be able to help you do something better with your weekend...

Avoid Agneepath. Unless loud and excessive violence, savagery, child molestations and a completely 80s brand of movie making with the typical "villain kidnaps hero's family, stabs him a dozen times, but ultimately hero gets maa ki shakti and kills the baddy" story line excites you.

Gone is the classiness, the finesse and subtlety, high quality sfx and understated drama, gone is the powerful storytelling and characterization of modern Bollywood movies. Karan takes a huge step back borrowing lock, stock and barrel from the worst of the angry young man era, and churns out a movie that shocks you not with the message, but with the movie making.

Sanjay Dutt looks like a sad chemo patient with shaved eyebrows, mouthing what can only be called filmy dialogues. Hrithik hams over the top with his bad good boy image. Priyanka comes across as a sidey low paid extra, Katrina takes a huge step back from her classy image to someone who has to flash her bosom to get attention, and only Rishi Kapoor shows some mettle.

The direction, story, screenplay all vie to disappoint, the soundtrack is eminently forgettable, and the only thing you take away from the disaster is a throbbing headache.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Movie Review: Coriolanus

Words that flow forth the lips, complex as the intonations of the old worldly gentlemen, the experience of much interest make. Are you the hero, Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes), or a man made low by the curse of the peoples? A brother in arms, an enemy, a traitor, who art thou, Aufidius (Gerard Butler)?

Go watch thee, for good or for worse... as long as the subtitles pouring forth set your troubles apart!

Sound-Neutralizing Fence

Check this fence erected along the Bandra-Kurla Complex entry road... an autowallah once told me it neutralizes the sound of traffic for the society residents beyond, including Shiv Sena's Balasaheb Thakeray. Any one knows if this is true? Looks pretty cool to me, if it is so!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quote For The Day

If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space. Anonymous.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Movie Review: Hostel 3

Pedestrian, if you compare it to the terrifying and repulsive 1 and 2... builds promisingly, but falters in execution. Almost as if the director chickened out.


The fall as dramatic as the rise, is Team India going to find a way to recover after the humiliating bashings, first in England and now in Australia. The Agnipath series was to be the last stand of the Indian big 3, and they have disappointed in as spectacular a fashion as they were expected to deliver. Mahi is suddenly looking very vulnerable, and the bowling pedestrian at best.

Is there redemption in the near future? Doesn't look likely...

Beautiful Ads

Three beautiful ads on TV these days.. each appealing to the human heart in its own way...

Coke - look forward to a better tomorrow, a beautiful exposition of the good in the world, ending, of course, with a Coke :)

McDonald - a school van full of tiny tots, harassing the old driver with left-left-right-left... until they manage to get him to pull up in front of a McD drive-away, to treat him to a burger on his birthday

Samsung - a "kid" and an "uncle", a very nice ad that brings a smile to your face

Movie Review: The Ides of March

The political games behind a US Presidential campaign, the tussle behind morals and compulsions, the strategies and counter strategies. George Clooney and Ryan Gosling star in this political drama, but the movie doesn't really pull you in. There've been better.

Unless you are in it for Clooney or Gosling, it's avoidable.

Movie Review: Shark Night

A bunch of barely-clad teenagers looking forward to a great weekend at an astonishingly beautiful lake retreat, a bunch of sharks, a dog, a couple of baddies, and a good-turned-bad Sheriff... the plot is predictable, the end even more so, but what makes this movie watchable (and recommended by me) is the absolutely stunningly beautiful locale, and the well executed shark attacks. The girls are eye candy, but the better ones get eaten first :(


I saw this in 2D, but it's clear the movie's been made for 3D... and I think it has promise. Watching it in a good theatre in 3D might be rewarding...

Movie Review: The Thing

When Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) accepts the invitation to join a Norwegian team to Antartica, she expects to unravel the secrets of an alien creature found on an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice. What she discovers to her horror, instead, is that it has woken up, and is killing them off one by one by "fusing" with their human forms. Soon, it becomes impossible to identify the real "them" from the aliens!

The icy blueness gets boring after a few mins, and some better visuals would have been refreshing! Mary does add some interest to the proceedings, but doesn't have much to do anyway. The visual FX of the alien forms fusing with the humans are interesting, and is the only redeeming factor in an otherwise listless movie.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge - Reloaded

Saw the movie again... enjoyed it thoroughly, yet again. Very nice cast, very comfortable and real, folks you can identify with right away... very creditable!

The opening and closing credits of the movie deserve special mention here... it's an art form, and one needs to really appreciate the creativity and hard work that's gone behind it. Beautiful!

Email Travails

Most of us suffer email overdose. I think I have finally figured out some ways to keep it in control... for more, read my blog post at the link below:

Movie Review: Players

Admitted it's a rip off of "The Italian Job" with liberal lifts from Bad Boys (and looks like even Don 2), Bipasha looks like a footballer in a bikini with a bad hair life, Sonam Kapoor acts like she was just passing by, the sound track is completely forgettable...

But Players is good entertainment for the weekend. Don't think too much, don't try and question every move. Just enjoy the visuals of some pretty exciting locations in Russia and New Zealand, the sexy cars, the "desi-lization" of the firangs by our own Johnny Lever, Sonam Kapoor in her item song, and the dozens of twists and turns that make driving up the Poladpur Ghat look like a walk in the park...

I enjoyed it.. call it amateurish, or whatever...

Movie Review: The Darkest Hour (3D)

Yet another alien attack, this one featuring 2 American "blogger" billionaire 20-somethings and their "just met" American female friends in Moscow fighting the energy-hungry-electric-wave-or-something-of-that-sort aliens with microwave shooting guns and finally escaping on a Russian nuclear submarine...

If the insipid story line, the pointless plot, the oh-so-washed-and-dried-out "special effects", the unimpressive and not-even-attractive cast and the drab setting doesn't get you, watching it in 3D most certainly will.

By the way, I am launching a save-the-world-from-3D-until-you-can-get-the-goggles-out movement. To join, SMS STWFTDUYCGIR  to 38048.

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows

He's not wiry, old, balding. He's strong, sexy and sports a stubble. He doesn't solve cases by the process of eliminating alternatives, he solves them by eliminating the opposition. Robert Downey Jr is more of a James Bond taking on the deadly Prof Moriarty and his plan of pushing the world into a war to further his own economic gains.

In line with the first installment, A Game of Shadows presents it's remixed take on Sherlock and Watson, an entertaining fare unless you are a hardcore fan of the original and like it unadulterated. The story is less mystery than pure action, the camera work brilliant when it's not overpoweringly British gray, and the screenplay creative! The movie could have done with a little more speeding up in the middle minutes, and tends to drag, especially if you end up catching the late night show!

A decent sequel, but not better than the first installment...

Quote Of The Day

We are blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness. Daniel Kahneman in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow".

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Interesting incident on the way back from Goa to Pune last night... the bus was crowded with tourists and Goans alike, returning from the New Year revelries.. one such co-passenger was a young doctor from Goa, taking 8 bottles of liquor for his friends in Pune. With liquor in Goa costing barely a 3rd of what it does in Pune, it makes sense to smuggle it across the border, avoiding the heavy excise duties imposed by Maharashtra.

At 1.30 am, the bus was stopped by a mobile police check post. A thankless job, undoubtedly, waking up angry passengers fast asleep, and checking their bags. Interestingly, inspite of all the precautions the doctor had taken to hide his stash, the cop found it.

I do not know all the details of what happened next, but the doctor had a private conversation with the cop outside the bus, and came back triumphant, flashing a victory sign to me, and I saw the cop walk away from the bus, looking like he was stuffing something into his pocket. I did not bother to ask the doctor what exactly has transpired, but it got me thinking.

For that cop, what is the motivation to enforce the law? Spend sleepless nights on a New Year weekend, wake up sleeping travellers in the middle of the cold night, and confiscate bottles to empty them on the road? All for a paltry salary, which probably comes to less than the value of the bottle?

And for Goa cops, why should they prevent this "smuggling", when it's reaping rich dividends for the state?

What's the motivation for the doctor? All he is doing is taking a bottle he has legally bought in Goa to his home town! Why should he forego a good deal, simply because he is expected to pay higher taxes when he crosses an artificial border that shouldn't be there in the first place?

Can you, then, really blame the doctor for saying, hey, here's something to cheer you up on a beautiful New Year night, look the other way now, it's just a simple bottle of vodka, after all? And can you really expect the cop to say, hell no, please empty that bottle on the road?

And if at all you did want to blame someone, who would you blame? The cop or the doctor? The sad part is, the doctor will probably go ahead and gloat over his success and vilify the cop for being corrupt!

I am not condoning corruption or bribery, but if we want to stop corruption, we need to get rid of the "opportunities" we have created through a system that encourages, and in many cases, almost forces corruption.

Most people will grudgingly pay a traffic fine if they can do it on the spot and move on. But if the cop takes your license and then asks you to go to the police station, pay the fine, and come back with the receipt to collect your license, would you really go to the trouble? (In all humility, I have done it, not once, but twice - but that's because I had all the time in the world to indulge myself)

I had bought a brand new Ford Fiesta, and was zooming away on the Expressway, 100 kmph above the speed limit of 80 kmph, when I was stopped by cops with a speed gun. I had slammed brakes on seeing the gun, but he still caught me doing 130 kmph. When I stopped, he asked me to go talk to the officer in the jeep by the road... the officer gave me a verbal reprimand in the nicest manner imaginable - talked about how I would be excited with the new car, but I need to observe speed limits - and asked me to be careful, and waved me on.

I was impressed, but a fellow passenger remarked... he was waiting for you to pay him! Really? Why did he think so? Neither was the officer stalling, nor was he being trouble... he was really honestly doing his job, and here we were, educated, smart folks, condemning him for a crime he never committed!

Anna or no Anna, we, the civil society, first need to take a hard look at ourselves and our behaviour, before we take up cudgels against politicians, the police and the babus.

It all needs to start at home!

Monday, January 02, 2012


...taken away...

The King of All BBQs

Viewer Discretion Advised: The following post contains graphic images that may be disturbing to veggie readers.

The duck gets a makeover at the expert hands of a master

Anything that runs, swims or flies, will be BBQed

Some yummy pomfrets enter foodie heaven, watched closely by the paneer gang, while the bangdas wait, smartly dressed in banana leaves to experience bliss