Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is Spending On Sports Justified?

One of the major reasons Indians aren't doing too well in most sports is the lack of facilities and funds for sports at a grass roots level (interestingly, the areas we do well in - cricket, golf, billiards, chess, shooting to name a few - require HUGE amount of funds!). Unlike the US, there is no such thing as a sports scholarship, colleges do not give you admissions for leading their football and basketball teams, and very few sportsmen can really hope to make a career from playing. No wonder, most of us stop playing once we reach the 10th standard!

Estimates of spending on the 2010 CWG range from 10000 to 30000 crores. Even if you factor in the Kalmadi accounts, that's still a huge amount of money. Yes, it improved the city infrastructure (hopefully), and gave us some new stadiums and medals, and recognition (good or bad) in the eyes of the world.

The Buddha Circuit, used for the Indian Grand Prix, was estimated to have cost 10 billion rupees (215M USD). Other than a very elite few, the facilities are not even in limits to most of our 1 billion countrymen.

The question, then, is - is this spending on sports justified? Is it such a big deal if we don't win medals? Do we need medals, or should we rather spend on improving the quality of life through education, infrastructure, irrigation, and healthcare?

Here are some perspectives.

The total Indian government budget amount for 2012-12 is, guess what, 15 lakh crore. When you consider that staggering amount, you realise that 30000 crore is tiny. A fraction of the money this country has available to spend year on year.

Secondly, sports isn't just about winning medals. Sports is about improving the health of children, it's about inculcating a fighting spirit, it's about giving children something positive to fight for - taking them away from drugs and illegal activities. In many African countries, the UN uses sports to take care of children ravaged by war and AIDS, give them something to live for.

And if you take a country like India, I think it's just a matter of time. Hockey and football may be on the wane, but who would have thought a few years back that tennis and badminton would be our best medal hopes? Who would have counted on boxing? And a world champ in Chess? And who knows, a few years later, maybe we will break into gymnastics and swimming too!

Until then, fingers crossed, looking eagerly at sparks from London, and cheering the 2 ball win over Sri Lanka!

Movie Review: Puss In Boots

If you have loved his cameos in Shrek, and wanted more, here is the perfect movie for you.

Along with the sexy Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and his childhood friend Humpty Dumpty, Puss In Boots (Antonia Banderas) embarks on an adventure to get the Golden Goose, who lives in the Giant's castle in the sky, accessible only through Jack's Beanstalk. Once marked an outlaw because of his friend's treachery, Puss is once again at the receiving end of his machinations, and is thrown in jail. However, when the Golden Goose's mother attacks in search of her baby, it is Puss's one chance to redeem himself and win his honour.

Some great dialogues, a beautiful story, and some amazing foot stepping music - along with the sexy voice overs by two of my most favourite actors, this movie is a treat (although, just a tad longer than it should have been).

This is the exciting story of The Cat, The Myth, The Legend... The Puss In Boots.

Mystery Red Woman In Indian Contingent

In the 10 seconds the Indian contingent (must say, dressed pretty shabbily in yellow and black) got on TV during the march past, most of the time, the cameras were focussed on a mystery woman who walked right along Vijendar carrying the flag, wearing a dark red tshirt and blue jeans. No one seems to know who she is, and how she managed to get there, and understandably, the Indians are very upset!

A couple of days ago, a small child managed to get through air port security in Manchester without a passport, without a ticket, without a boarding pass - into a plane bound for Italy. He was missed during pre-take off passenger count, and the incident came to light only when the plane was well on its way to Rome. The airport and airlines officials were quick to point out that this wasnt a security breach, since the child didn't pose any threat to the plane!

Is the UK taking security far too leniently, or is it a case of security fatigue?

Shades Of Pink In England

One interesting observation I have about the Olympics so far - the really pretty and unique shades of pinkish purple and red... is it a conscious branding effort, bringing color and freshness into a drab English atmosphere? Intentional or otherwise, it has worked... the TV coverage is absolutely beautiful to watch!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hope Springs

It's amazing how the rain transforms everything... the greenery, the life sprouting every where, even the darkest and dullest landscapes look heavenly.

For some reason, I was mesmerized by this scene outside Inox... this is an abandoned, locked out plot with some dying trees - and recently the dumping ground for a lot of construction refuse. And with just a few showers of rain, it's been coated with this lovely carpet of green, and in the middle of the rocks and the construction debris, this beautiful explosion of color from a bougainvilla shrub.

Wish I had more than my mobile cam to capture this...

The Amby Tribe

Still alive, and kicking ass in Chennai...

Movie Review: Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum

Cheap sexual innuendos, vulgar thinly veiled double-meaning jokes, a listless cast, a non-existent story... the list of reasons was long enough for even a die-hard optimist like me to walk out at half time. Even though I like Neha Sharma, and Ritesh is one of the chaps I think can do a good funny movie, this was far too much to bear - although, I must admit, it was far more entertaining than the Olympic opening ceremony last night! Chunky Pandey and Anupam Kher are caught up in an unbelievably mediocre performance, Tushar Kapoor outdoes himself scene after scene in stooping low in pursuit of stardom with his sister's money, Ritesh is completely out of sorts, Sarah Jane Dias has barely a word to mouth, and Neha Sharma, well.. what can a girl do alone?

Except for one so-so song (which you might as well catch on TV), there is absolutely nothing in the movie worth going for.

Unless you are really starved of double meaning jokes and dog porn.

London Olympics (Boring) Opening Ceremony Live Updates

Cannot imagine a more uninspiring, boring opening ceremony to any event, leave alone the Olympics... while the Chinese stunned the world with the Asian might, and India overcame all odds to put up a stellar show at the CWG, the most hyped Olympics ever had an opening ceremony that could only be described in one word... BORING!

10 min after a completely amateur TV clip showing the Thames from the origin to the sea (what the heck was that???), and the ringing of a bell easily dwarfed in energy by a lowly Swiss cow, the "village" set up in the stadium had managed to showcase some very boring housewives throwing apples at each other, some bearded gentlemen playing cricket.. and some Shakespearean dialogues strutted by men in tall hats, while a stunned live and TV audience tried to come grips with this nonsense....

More to follow, if I care to write, and you care to read! Because we have nothing better to do at this unearthly hour!

Aaah, here's an update - it's a Danny Boyle creation! Danny, need some help from Indian urchins to liven up the ceremony, huh?

Now we have the British working hard to raise smoke belching chimneys while dozens of utensil banging musicians try and keep you awake from what is becoming an utterly astonishingly nonsensical opening ceremony. 15 mins now...

Is redemption coming any time soon?

Has the commentator fallen asleep too? Thank god, here's a commercial break - some action at last from Airtel's Manchester United Soccer School ad!

Is it just me utterly depressed right now? We actually let these guys rule us for centuries? Really? What were we thinking?

We now move on to more smoke and fire, the British have stopped playing cricket and moved on to melting iron while still wearing the tall hats.

Oh wow.. there's a Sardar playing the drums... maybe he can inject some Bhangara energy into the proceedings?

Guys, anyone volunteering to wake me up when they get on to some real interesting stuff? Oh, I missed mentioning... after all the foundry work, they did manage to get the Olympic rings throw some sparks from above... which obviously, got the O-so-British-upon-the-Thames all excited and clapping.

OK, now we are back to TV clips... and James Bond, for once, is chasing the Queen, not one of his scantily clad women. Well, don't forget the Queen's two faithful dogs (or were they royal bitches?). Among some very excited music, the chopper takes off (oh, let me not forget to mention here - this was probably shot a few weeks back!)

Ok, don't get me wrong guys (especially my UK brethren) - I love London, I love the UK countryside, Tea, Cricket... Enid Blyton, Famous Five... But seriously, is this the best you have got for us after all these years of preparation? Even Kalmadi, busy as he is, put up such an exciting show!

The commentator's laughing... is it a sign of fear of the Bond? Never has Her Majesty been introduced to her subjects like that, says he. And may I add, I say, never have any Olympics been introduced like this!

You know what would add some real zing to the ceremony? The Queen's speech.

No, I am wrong. Nothing can be better than the sight of dozens of children on hospital beds being wheeled into the stadium, while the guitar puts me to sleep, while I desperately fight to stay awake to bring you these (heart) breaking updates!

Aah, sick kids jumping on their hospital beds - this must really be what get the British going! Not to forget the Doctors dancing with the Nursing staff. Is that even LEGAL?

Must be, the Queen's watching, remember? :)

The commentator reminds us, remember, all aspects of British life and history being portrayed here, in this wonderful opening ceremony. And thankfully, ESPN takes a break to show some beautiful commercials.

I am almost beginning to wish the Famous Five weren't British - imagine they had to live through all this?? Poor George and Anne, poor Tim. Come to Danny Boyle's India, guys... even the street urchins playing in the shitpot are happier here!

Ok, we are back live... the nurses have gone mad (must've watched The Walking Dead), and some dark clothed demons with green eyes have taken over, until dozens of Mary Poppins come to kick them away with their oversized umbrellas. But hey, that gives the Doctors another shot at the nurses!

This must be a really bed, oops, I mean, bad time to fall sick in London - all the hospital beds seem to be at the stadium tonight! The crowd claps again because the kids have fallen asleep (and the Mary Poppins now have a shot at the Doctors!)

Aaaaah, now I see it.. the British have learnt how to change the color of the roof of the stadium :) Cheers!

Rattle is now playing the Orchestra. If you are still awake, this might be your chance to get lulled into slumber. Oh wow, we have Mr Bean too... banging away at the piano. Let me get back to you on whether this is a comedy sequence... by the way, there's some seriously beautiful music being played... my favourite... though I am uneducated enough in music to be unable to tell you what composition it is... Ok Mr Bean, you can use another finger now before you get RSI.

OK, we cut to TV visuals of emancipated men, includnig Mr Bean, running on a beach in ill fitted white uniforms. Significance, someone?

The commentator clarifies - I havent touched the microphone for the last 15-20 mins.

Mr Bean bangs on the piano at the end of the piece... and the commentatory gushes, the best of British humour!

Thank god, it's yet another commercial break for some amazing Indian commercials.

Anyone reading this - your comments would be the shining light in this dark British night. So do let me know - am I the only one disillusioned with this utter nonsense of a ceremony, a waste of hundreds of millions of pounds!

And now we have a piece on the "Internet" generation... young girls dancing while text messages "pop" up  - what are you wearing? where are you going tonight? you are looking hot baby! Really??? Did I manage to switch to a shady Channel V by mistake?

Everytime the camera zooms in to the folks on the ground, you can see their utter confusion seeing what they are doing to themselves! Hey Danny, we didn't sign up for this!

A quick check of stats reveals a lot of readers hitting this blog by searching on "Olympic ceremony boring"... LOL.. interesting! Don't worry guys, you aren't alone! This crazy Indian is actually sacrificing his sleep for this, and he isn't even getting paid for it!

I am kinda losing the plot now - I find my own blog more interesting, lol...

Focus, Siddhesh, focus!

Head banging old men and women... aaaah, parents of the girls on the night out? Did I miss something? Why do we have pumpkin heads jumping up and down? Did I just read something in the stands about going to hell?

After centuries of ruling over its colonies, you have expected them to borrow at least some of the varied and beautiful cultures around the world?

Come on guys, even your cricket would be more interesting at it's worst!

The commentator wakes up to remind us, its quite spectacular, seconds before ESPN decides to entertain with some great commercials... we not gonna miss anything important anyway, they reckon! And so right they are!

OK guys, frankly, I can take nonsense only this long.. so I am signing off, unless something changes drastically... and being an eternal optimistic, I am hopeful it will. Until then, with my recently acquired still upper lip, bbye...

Am back - trying to keep myself entertained with myself, lol...

OK, let's try this - name any thing that would be more boring than this ceremony.

Come on, come on, tell me - send me your comments! I am sure you can find something...

Here, let me help.

How about, hmmm, awww, hmmm.... come on, Sid, there's gotta be something more boring?

Recognize the driver, it's Beckham of course, exclaims the commentator in glee. At last, he finds something more boring... lol...

Aaah, we have some more nerds now..  a blazing sun, and some high-on-steroid creatures shaking their torsos in a "fusion" of dance "styles" from a dozen countries including India. Danny, you sure you didn't pick it from an asylum here?

The British are really good at this - everything there's the slightest hint of energy flowing, they find just the right music to bring it all back to "normal". Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Guy in white picks up boy in white, and carries him into crowd in black while the song ends and the crowd ends in raptures. Such clarity in voice, exclaims the commentator... lol, yes right, I just thought it were my Bose speakers.

And finally, just when it seemed life was not gonna get any better, redemption has probably made a tiny entry - the athletes start entering... with Greece leading the procession. 204 nations participating in these Olympics. And its time for commercials.

Commercials rarely looked so beautiful, so energetic, so entertaining! It's something about the Olympics, I guess! Makes everything look better?

OK, I promise, no more criticism of the opening ceremony. After all, we are still awake and waiting for more, aren't we? Even in the darkest hour, I see light. Even if it's not emanating from the stadium!

Oh wow, the Argetinian flag bearer, member of the hockey team, is a stunner. Life's beautiful again!

Did you know the Australians are a monarchy, and still look up to the Queen of England as their Head? Interesting, isn't it? Boy, am I glad India became a Republic? Else I'd be hanged for this blasphemous post against HM!

Hey man, that flag is gonna poke you where it hurts the most! The flag pole doesn't need ball bearings, you know!

It's 3:00 am in India, and at least one fool is still awake, writing this instead of curling up in bed. Aaah, the Olympics makes you do stupid things...

ESPN it running ads for the last 4 mins now - and I must say, it's the smart thing to do.

British Virgin Islands - participating as a separate contingent. Interesting! Just checked on Wikipedia - there's also American and Spanish Virgin Islands! And they have a population slightly bigger than my apartment complex, I guess :)

Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon - three beautifully attired teams! Love the Africans... their vigor, their energy, the color, the brightness... aah, beautiful!

ESPN breaks again - and they better not miss the Indian contingent.. man, I am gonna be PISSED!

The big Chinese contingent comes on now.. resplendent in red. The Chinese have never won a medal in swimming it seems... hard to believe that! Will it change this time?

Comoros Islands...

Cook Islands... beautiful head dress...

Cote D'Ivoire... assuming that's Ivory Coast, in a pronunciation I find impossible to deliver...

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, screams the banner - gotta check, is that the formal name? And Wikipedia says, yes it is! Wow!

Germany gets a rousing welcome.

"Hong Kong, China"... very, very interesting again! A separate contingent, huh?

INDIAAAAA..... Yellow sarees, yellow turbans... but a very shabby uniform, I am sad to say. The supplier chosen by the IOC has been criticized for its very poor quality deliverables, to a point where the athletes are gonna be very worried about wardrobe mishaps!

A very, very smart Iraqi flag bearer... the commentator laughs, then apologizes - says God is Great just once on the flag, but larger - compared to Iran, I guess...

Huge cheers for Ireland

Usain Bolt leads Jamaica, followed by the Red and White of the Japanese contingent. Is Sumo an Olympic sport?

A beautiful Jordanian flag bearer, looks like a princess, wonderful attire too.

Lao People's Democratic Republic. The official name for Laos.

All these tiny countries (and I am not referring to Laos) - how do the people of these countries find their identity? What do they cheer for? How do they get their resources, what is their history liek? I would so love to travel and find out!

Micronesia... over 600 islands!

Can you believe Danny Boyle spent around 45M USD on this damp squib? It's a real shame!

LOL, a comment on twitter says - should have had some naked Brits running around, would have been more entertaining! :)

With that, I have had enough for tonight... so here's another of Danny Boyle's Indians signing off... Good Night and Happy Olympics!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Sitting at this really pretty roof top restaurant at Seven, on Marathalli Rd in KR Puram, Bangalore... check the pics...

The Secret Of A Successful Marriage

Once upon a time a married couple celebrated their 25th marriage anniversary. They had become famous in the city for not having a single conflict in their period of 25 years. Local newspaper editors had gathered at the occasion to find out the secret of their well-known "happy going marriage".

Editor: "Sir. It's amazingly unbelievable. How did you make this possible?"

Husband recalling his old honeymoon days said: "We had been to Shimla for honeymoon after marriage. Having selected the horse riding finally, we both started the ride on different horses. My horse was pretty okay but the horse on which my wife was riding seemed to be a crazy one.

On the way ahead, that horse jumped suddenly, making my wife topple over. Recovering her position from the ground, she patted the horse's back and said "This is your first time". She again climbed the horse and continued with the ride. After a while, it happened again. This time she again kept calm and said "This is your second time" and continued. When the horse dropped her third time, she silently took out the revolver from the purse and shot the horse dead !!

I shouted at my wife: "What did you do you psycho. You killed the poor animal. Are you crazy?" .

She gave a silent look and said: "This is your first time!!!"."

Evening With Anupam Kher

On the second day of the NASSCOM HR Conference, the last session belonged to Anupam Kher, who regaled the audience with a very interactive talk on his life and times. He shared some beautiful stories from his life... how his father once took him to a party when he failed his 10th (yes, I am sure it was just a story to make a point, but it was a wonderful way to make a point!), and when Anupam asked him why celebrate when he had failed, his father said, because I never want you to have the fear of failing! What a wonderful way to parent!

When asked what kept him going for his dreams in his early days, he said, when you are young and poor, you are not exposed to the intellectual nonsense that you have to be depressed! And when you want to be happy, nothing can go wrong. After all, even a broken watch is right twice a day!

When I was young, and my hair was receding, I knew it was nothing to be ashamed of, he said. After all, there are only two kinds of men - baldies and future baldies :)

Sadly, when he was just coming into his element, a NASSCOM organizer walked up to him and handed him a note - which he read out aloud to the crowd in extreme irritation. "Some of us have to catch a flight, so please wrap up", the note said. Even though the crowd pleaded with him to continue, he stopped - although he obliged by taking dozens of questions from the audience.


While I am on the topic of travel, I want to specifically point out that we had a great couple of flights on Spicejet. Yes, one flight was delayed, but I am willing to overlook that! The service was fast and efficient, and backed by genuine smiles.

The planes were squeaky clean, and I guess very new! The 737 was beautiful from inside... blue lights at take off, orange when cruising!

The smaller Bombardier was also extremely clean and looked so pretty!

And the airhostesses, very pretty, and very helpful!

Good job, Spicejet!

Tale Of Two Cities

Spent a couple of days in Chennai, and just arrived in Bangalore on the second leg of my journey...

Chennai was a lot cleaner than I last remember from my trip 3-4 years back. A LOT cleaner. I guess JJ is better CM at least in one very visible manner! However, as a metro, Chennai still seems a very faraway cousin of Mumbai and Delhi. Yes, there is construction every where - with the Chennai Metro work in progress. But you don't see the zooming SUVs, the Beemers and the Mercs. The malls are few and far between, and you hardly see any of the hip young crowd one is so accustomed to seeing in Mumbai and Pune.

A lot of Amby taxis rule the roads, though a few call cabs are also making their presence felt.

Another shocking revelation was the overall lack of security consciousness. At the Le Royale Meridien, cars weren't even cursorily checked for entry, and bags were simply passed through an XRay machine while the handler chatted away, with not even a glance at the screen. At the airport, security again was extremely lax.. and finding bags lying around was extremely common and frightening for those of us more accustomed to those "normal security procedures". At the baggage XRay screener, an African gentleman removed a couple of boxes from his bag, got it XRayed, and then almost nonchalantly, opened the bag and stuffed the boxes back into it!

The airport itself is another interesting story by itself. Just 7 km from the city center, compared to all the swanky greenfield airports coming up. There's a new terminal coming up and a Metro project linking it to the city, but it's way behind other Indian metros. A single Taj-operated restaurant can be accessed through a damp staircase, serving expensive but very limited food. Imagine asking for a biryani at 655 and being told, pretty rudely, that it's only available after 700! Taj, no way! I wouldn't expect that even from a Shivsagar!

The airport screens kept showing our flight as delayed by 45 mins, with no Gate assignment, until we were barely 20 min from take off time. Finally, worried, we checked at the check in counter and were told, Oh, it's usually Gate 2 for Spicejet, and we rushed to the Gate, barely making it to the flight in time. Real crazy!

Getting a taxi at the airport was another story in itself. A little homework had told us our hotel was barely 7 km away, yet the taxi drivers first said it was 25 km, then came down to 15 km! LOL.

The hotel we stayed in - cost us 5000 per night, but had leaking AC, mosquitoes and damp, mouldy walls and furniture. And while it is a business hotel, we had round beds!

Net net, not a great experience!

On the other hand, as soon as we landed at the swanky Bengaluru International Airport, we caught a brand new Toyota Etios cab, guided to it by a very polite and "reliable" usher, and were zoomed in over the beautiful highway (even though a lot of work is going on, including the dedicated flyover into the city), the drive was wonderful. And the suite we checked into was almost a third of the cost of our Chennai pad, but clean, well maintained and very welcoming!

Good Bengaluru!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Part 1
A parrot goes to a shopkeeper and asks ... 'Aam hai kya?'
The shopkeeper says ... 'Nahi. Hum Aam nahi bechte.'
Next day at the same time, the parrot goes again and asks him ...'Aam hai kya ?'
He gets a little irritated and says... 'Aare Bola na, Hum 'Aam nahi Bechte'
On the third day, the parrot goes again and asks him 'Aam hai kya ?'
He gets wild and yells ...'Bola na naahi. Abhi vapas aaya to tumhare sar ke upar hathoda marunga '
The next day,the parrot comes again and asks him ..'hathoda hai kya?'
The shopkeeper says ... 'Nahi'
The parrot then asks ... 'Aam hai kya ?'

The next day parrot again goes to shopkeeper and asks "Aam hai kya??"
The shopkeeper is ready now....
He quickly pulls a hammer and hitz the parrot on the face.
The parrot looses all his teeth
But determined, parrot again goes 2 the shopkeeper next day n asks


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

After getting my curiosity stoked by the latest installment of Batman, I decided it would be fun checking some of the previous fare... which is why I got the DVD of The Dark Knight for some late night viewing.

Plain and simple - The Dark Knight is a much better movie, in all ways, from TDKR.

The movie is fast paced, the story gripping, and the Joker brings so much more to the table than the masked Bane. There's no time wasted in build up, the action kicks off and is relentless.

Can't wait to check out the rest of the franchise!

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

It's been a while since Batman went into hibernation, hounded from the city he loved, branded a villain. But Gotham is now threatened by a madman with his underground army, and a nuclear bomb. It's time for the Dark Knight to rise and save his city, yet again.

The movie was entertaining, but I thought the duration seemed 30 mins too long. The build up is steady and thrilling, but the deliverance almost never comes.

The weak and recuperating Bruce Wayne never seems to have really recovered, and the laboured efforts aren't the hallmark of a sexy super hero! The rest of the cast is good too, but somehow do not rise above expectations. Anne Hatheway as the Catwoman is interesting, but a romantic angle with the Batman would have added some real spice.

Lot of loopholes and unrealistic elements in the story, which can be overlooked only because it is a superhero movie and some liberties can be taken.

There are some fantastic action scenes though, some pretty innovative sequences that get gasps and claps from the audience. The SFX of the city under siege are also topnotch.

I wasn't a Batman fan and I hadn't even seen any of his earlier movies, so I went without any context, without any expectations. But I caught up with the previous "The Dark Knight" (see the next review on this blog) last night, and I must say, compared to that, the Rising feels more like a groggy wake up. Oh, and yes, the Joker is sorely missed!

Overall, a good action movie for the weekend, and requried viewing for Batmen, but not the wowest movie I have seen.

The best part - it's in 2D, not 3D!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Brilliant Idea

I have a brilliant idea.

I just don't know what it is.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Massacre At Aurora

12 killed, 59 wounded by a suspect dressed in black, body armour and gas mask, armed with grenades and automatic guns, in a theatre, screening the latest Batman movie, in Aurora, a Denver, Colorado suburb.

A nation of stressed out people, ready access to weapons, and exposure to mindless, senseless violence in games and movies... what are we setting up for ourselves and our future?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Movie Review: 96 Minutes

My interest lasted a whole 96 seconds...


A pretty skyline for a beautiful city...

Introduction to eMee

Here's a short, sweet video on what eMee is all about - do check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunter

If you want to check out lovely Tasmanian landscapes, this is the movie for you. But then, maybe you can just as well watch Discovery.

Willem Dafoe is a mercenary, sent to the Tasmanian forest in search of the last seen Tasmanian tiger, long believed to be extinct. He moves in with a local family, and is drawn to the kids and their mom, with the father having disappeared a few weeks ago.

Something sinister is cooking, but by the time he realizes it, it might be too late.

If you still watched the movie till the end, you must be really loving Tasmania!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Movie Review: The Grey

Should be renamed The Bore.. after the first 10 mins, I found my office mail a lot more exciting. There is only so much snow and wolves you can take.

Highly recommended if you are planning to get marooned in Antartica.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This Happens Only In Goa

In Goa last week, we dropped in at this new lifestyle store and picked up three beautiful pieces - an outdoor water fountain, an indoor Buddha fountain, and a volcanic ash table. As you can imagine, the total bill was pretty high - in the 6 digits. Now, I wasn't carrying a cheque book, and it was my dad's bday the next day, and I wanted the indoor fountain to be delivered early in the morning.

So guess what? The owner simply took my address and delivered the goods early the next morning. No bill, no deposit, not even a token amount. And he said, "Don't worry, you can pay me next time I am in Pune!".

This truly happens only in Goa!

Movie Review: Cat Run

A beautiful and sexy high-end call girl comes across damning evidence of a major corruption scandal, and two young rookie private detectives task themselves with protecting her against ruthless assassins hired to eliminate her. Some great locations, the beautiful Paz Vega, a lot of nudity and gory action make this a decent watch - late at night.  


A tough, but a beautiful life... these pics were taken near Nipani in Maharashtra, on the Amboli-Azara-Uttur-Nipani road, on the way back from Goa to Pune...

I yearn for Goa...

The Calm Before The Storm

Unless you have lived on the coast and experienced the monsoon, you might never really feel these pictures...


The Reismagos Fort is situated at the mouth of the Mandovi River, offering beautiful views of the Panaji skyline, the river and Miramar and Reismagos beaches. This was the landing point of the Portuguese in Goa, and until recently, served as a jail. Now, beautifully restored from near ruins, this is a great option for a mini picnic, and the in-house museums provide rare glimpses into Goa's history and culture.

To get to Reismagos, take the coastal road from Verem to Nerul. You cannot miss it.

I will let the pics speak for themselves.

The magnificent tree below was a parasite that grew on a coconut tree, eventually strangling it. When the dead coconut tree caught fire in 2008, the tree lost its support and began to collapse. It was them trimmed and held with steel ropes, and a RCC column was cast in its hollow. The tree has now stabilized, and the stays were removed in 2010.

 Note: My cousin Yogesh played an instrumental role in the renovation.


This tiny bird (sparrow?) took refuge in this beautifully made nest, just two feet from the ground, in our garden in Nerul... along with a bunch of tiny eggs. Didn't want to disturb the mom too much, but here's a pic I could catch from my cam.

Recognize this bird anyone?

By the way, do check out this thread ( for an amazing series of pics - taken right outside my bedroom window in Pune, over a period of a week or so!

Nerul In The Rains - Greenpeace

Samara at Amboli

Some amazing pics taken last week while driving from Pune to Goa - this was at Amboli, just before we climb down into Konkan. Highly recommended during the rains, the hill station is one of the few unspoilt, non-commercialized places around. The JRD has some nice cottages, and I believe MTDC also runs a setup. Great place for hikes, bathing under dozens of waterfalls, mixing around with the locals, walking through verdant fields and enjoying the amazing simplicity of village life.

Hitler Fails His Assessment!

An absolutely hilarious video - Hitler has failed his technical assessment, and is admonishing his generals. This is actually a scene from the movie Downfall, a pivotal scene in which Hitler is given the bad news of the fall of Germany's defences. The text-subtitles replacing the real dialogue is so funny, yet so true and will be immediately related to by every software professional worth his assessment :)

A must watch!


Every morning at around 4 am, you can hear a beautiful cuckoo singing out for its mate, somewhere outside my bedroom window. It goes on and on, a soulful cry for company. Until I fall asleep again.

And in the deep slumber, I find myself in the cuckoo's shoes (yeah, whatver)... on a lonely branch somewhere... in the midst of the towering apartment buildings, a hard urban environment, scared and scarred, desperate for more of my kind.

I think of the stray dog, the cat, trying hard to cross 8 lanes of zipping traffic... there are no signals for us. Every freaking moment is a brush with death - a gruesome end which is more certain than not!

How selfish can we humans be?


Its mid July, and Pune has received only 10% of the rain expected this season... are we going to be lucky enough for anything less than a full drought next summer? A very worrying situation indeed, never seen such a weak monsoon ever...

Good Morning

Movie Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (3D)

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, in the 1860s. He led the country through the American Civil War, the North fighting against the Southern States in a bitter war against slavery.

What the world doesn't know was that Abraham Lincoln was also a hunter of vampires.

If this crazy mix of fact and fiction doesn't attract you, you might want to check out some excellent fight sequences and action - the race with the horses is my personal favourite, an awesome mix of Harry Potter and Flying Daggers. The screenplay drags at times, the darkness and the weight of the 3D glasses make you want to sleep - unti the next action sequence hits you. There's a lot of blood and gore - these vampires are ruthless and thirsty, not the kind that play romance with the wolves!

And if you are patient enough, the end will bring a hearty chuckle! Do let me know if you figured it out :)

Recommended, AFTER you see Cocktail a couple of times.

Movie Review: Cocktail

If ever there was a movie true to its name, it has to be Cocktail.

A heady mix of passion, spice and sweetness, enjoyable with every sip, and a beautiful hangover that lasts long after the last drops have been greedily licked off...

Cocktail is a simple love triangle, the story is straight forward, and you could say, almost predictable. But Cocktail isn't about a story. It's about a wonderful exposition of modern relationships, it's about friends and lovers, it's about characters as simple and complicated as you and me.

Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) is a software engineer and a compulsive flirt. Veronica (Deepika Padukone) is a very attractive, rich brat, with no qualms about enjoying her life - discs, drinks and dudes. Meera (Diana Penty) is a simple, angelic married desi girl, with a husband who wants to have nothing to do with her.

Veronica meets Meera in a restroom, crying and with nowhere to go. The golden hearted Veronica readily shares her apartment with Meera, and soon after, her bed with Gautam. The three quickly become best friends, sharing some wonderful moments together. Veronica's no-obligations-only-sex rule doesn't really serve her, and she falls madly in love. But Gautam is drawn to Meera's simple and beautiful ways, a longing that's matched only by the love she feels for him. Gautam puts it plain and simple to Veronica - "You love me. I love her", so let's talk and sort this out. But if only life was that simple. Veronica tries hard to gulp down her feelings and party her heart out, but it's a losing cause. While she breaks down, Meera walks out of Gautam's life, knowing she will never be able to forgive herself for hurting Veronica. Best friends quickly tear apart.

The characters stand out, unravelling their inner selves through amazing layers.

Veronica's vulnerable, insecure avataar is beautifully exposed when she realises Gautam loves the demure, desi Meera. She effortlessly portrays the care-a-damn Veronica's quick descent into a spiral of despair, heartache, and grief, as she tries desperately to be the Meera that Gautam loves. It's a stand out performance and worthy of an award. And of course, Deepika looks sizzling hot, the bikini scene sure to burn a hole on your screen and make you beg for more.

Saif displays a brand of charm and wit which we have witnessed many times before, and is equally effective. He's also looking better with each movie! He's also extremely comfortable dropping his pants, and performing an outrageous and hilarious drag act, dancing to Sheela ki Jawani in a way that's sure to make Kat feel insecure!

But for me, the other DP, Diana, takes the glory. She more than holds her own, her sweet, simple, understated beauty easily overshadowing the long legs of the dusky Deepika. Her innocence and vulnerability makes you want to protect her and love her, her simple Indianness captures your heart, and you desperately want her to win her love. And for effervescence and charm, watch her closely in the Tum Hi Ho Bandhu song, and you will be mesmerized.

Randeep is wasted in a very short cameo role. Boman is amazing as usual, and Dimple also adds some serious value.

To great characters, add some very well executed scenes and beautiful on screen chemistry. Some of my favourites:
1) Gautam and Meera bond on the pier - Gautam making her feel beautiful to be alive
2) Veronica hugs Meera and assures her Gautam can never take her place - on the park bench
3) Veronica vents out on Meera at night - you are the best!
4) Meera prays while Veronica and Gautam lovingly look at her
5) Veronica tries to be Meera with Gautam, cooking Biryani with Raita for him, while he desperately seeks out Meera
6) Meera gets milk for Veronica and gets admonished for it

I could go on and on...

Imtiaz Ali does a great job with the story and the dialogues, although parental guidance is highly recommended for the liberal doses of friendships with benefits, wild nights in discos and "awesome threesomes". Cocktail will resonate with today's urban youth, and is reflective of changing Indian society.
Tum Hi Ho Bandhu and Daru Desi are absolute chart busters, and after you see the movie, you will love them even more. These are beautifully woven into the story. Some of the other tracks are good too, but the flashing disco lights in 2-3 songs are disturbing, and can be fatal for epilepsy patients - a serious warning at the beginning of the movie was a must.

This is one Cocktail I highly recommend.

And once more, I have to say this - Diany Penty, in me, you have a fan for life!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Movie Review: Lock Out

It's 50 years into the future. A CIA man, mistakenly accused and convicted of treason, has one chance to redeem himself - insert himself into the maximum security outer space prison taken over by the crazed inmates, and rescue the president's daughter.

Movie Review: 4:44

A painter and an actor spend 24 hours in their highrise apartment in New York. They talk, they Skype, they watch TV, they make love (done very well!). Like any normal day. But for them, and everyone else on Earth, it's no longer a normal day - because at 4:44 the next day, the world will come to an end. With the Ozone layer collapsed, the final explosion will come with no means of escape.

Thankfully, the movie does end pretty quickly!

Should you watch it? Not unless it's the end of the world, and you really have nothing else to do!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dry Days

Came back from Goa after a 5 day trip - with Samara. Disappointingly, Goa was completely dry - with just two tiny showers to enjoy in all the time we spent there. Even more depressing was the fact that just before we reached Goa, it had been struggling with some of the heaviest rains in recent times. So no pitter patter on the roof, no swaying palms, no calm before the storm.

And in true Buzzinga fashion, as soon as we left the Goa border, the skies opened up for a shower!

Was a different trip in more ways than one. No Bhonsale's bhaji pao. No Baga at night. No Miramar, no Shelter.

The desperation for a good Goa trip wil stay at least another month, until my next visit!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Movie Review: Bol Bachchan

After an adrenalin pumping Singham, that you look forward to enjoying again and again, Rohit Shetty delivers pretty much a dud in Bol Bachchan. Amitabh Bachchan’s cameo in the title song given ample indication of what is to come - a lifeless, dragging saga of jokes and Dabangg action that refuses to rise to the occasion, and only just evokes the rare laugh.

Based on Amol Palekar's Golmaal, the story is about Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) and his sister Sania Ali (Asin), who come to the small town of Raunakpur, ruled by the truer-than-thou Prithvi (Avaj Devgn without the a) and his evil half-brother. When Abbas breaks the lock of a temple door to try and save a child from drowning in the temple pond, he is forced to assume the persona of Abhishek Bachchan, in order to prevent communal tension from brewing up. And once the lie is told, they need to go to great lengths to hide the truth from Prithvi, who simply hates liars to death. Falling in love with Prithvi's sister Radhika (Prachi) simply adds to the fire.

The film has some rare moments. Ajay’s ‘English is a very funny language’ jokes will be remembered for some time, but he is a pale shadow of Singham. Abhishek Bachchan performs a funny dance act, and Archana Puran Singh, for once, tries to make you laugh for real, unlike her "Comedy Show" nonsense. Asrani is over the top, in his trademark loud role. Prachi needs a makeover, and all the fat goons need to shape up! Asin - well, she's there in the movie too.

Himesh's music is torture.

Avoidable, but bearable if you leave logic and reason, and expectations, at home.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Movie Review: Supermen Of Malegaon

OK, first of all, SoM is not a movie. It's released in theatres, but it really is a documentary. The type you see on BBC, Discovery and Nat Geo. Not even the Paranormal type! It's 1 hours 15 min long, and covers a motley gang of "filmmakers" with a hand held video camera, a budget of 50000, local lads and a gal paid 1000/day, and a dirty pond as the location for the "movie", a spoof on Superman and his "flying powers".

Yes, that's the Superman. (Note the "M" and the red underwear?)

Now, as a documentary, SoM is fun. It's actually a pretty powerful set of life lessons too, if you look for them!

Malegaon is a small town 300 km from Mumbai, separated by deep communal divides, and the only buzz being the incessant clatter of the powerlooms. But in the midst of the filthy ponds, dusty roads and sweaty shop floors, Malegaon is also home to a very unique film industry, Mollywood. Video-parlours provide the workers an escape into a world of fantasy, and very interestingly, rather than the standard fare from Bollywood and Hollywood, it's the 15 day 50000 Rs remakes with local casts that seem to be the most popular! The filmmakers "industry" comprise simple local powerloom workers who barely make a hand to mouth living, armed with outdated video cams and a dream to make it big one day.

SoM captures the story of Nasir Shaikh, one of the filmmakers from Malegaon, and his mega project, Malegaon Ka Superman. After auditioning their hero Shafique, a scrawny powerloom worker, they import the heroine from a nearby town, Dhule - since the predominantly Muslim Malegaon doesn't encourage girls from getting involved in the vices of the film industry. A local milk seller sponsors 8000-10000 in return for a shot in the shop. The documentary captures the shooting - trying to get Superman to fly into a rickshaw, hang from an electricity pole, paddle on a truck tyre tube in the pond, and bash up the baddies in the climax scene.

The documentary is shot in a very unobtrusive way, giving an amazing glimse into the lives of the film makers, their innocent dreams, their realities, their struggles, their happiness at those small victories, and most importantly, their "never give up" attitudes. You smile as they go about their ridiculous enterprise, but you cannot really get away from the realization that this is not really a joke for them!
I really do think theatres should be cautioning weekend audiences before selling the tickets. Just in case you are not the documentary types, and were really looking for a Hot Shots kinda spoof from Bollywood - this is not it.

Notes on Malegaon:

The Friday culture of movie releases in Malegaon was shattered in Sept 2006 when a bomb went outside a mosque, thought to be the handiwork of far right Hindu groups. Malegaon is quite today, but the ghosts of that sad day continue to haunt.

Malegaon has its own SRK, Aamir, Amitabh and everyone else you can imagine. The most famous movie is undoubtedly Malegaon ke Sholay in which Rubber Singh's dacoits attack on cycles, and Basanti becomes Basmati.

Malegaon is still 300 km from Mumbai. Or maybe, it's drifted a lot further...

Lemme Sleep!