Sunday, December 29, 2013

Early Morning Glory

The early morning mist makes for a very beautiful picture at the viaduct on the Katraj bypass, Pune... mesmerizing...


You woke me up, just so you could take a pic for your freaking blog?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Street Art

Check this amazing painting on the floor of Phoenix Mall a couple of weeks back... all you got to do is stand at a particular point, and look through your camera, to get an amazing wonder to life!

India & The World This Week

A maid brings the two biggest democracies on the warring path. Baigiri takes on dimensions bigger than the fights with our Western and Eastern neighbours!

The aam aadmi votes for the second time in as many weeks... no, not on Bigg Boss Saath 7, but to convince Annaji's estranged jodidaar to take on the CM's job in Delhi. Heard the cat at the party whisper that the next vote is gonna be on whether we should be paying our electricity bills. Aam aadmi decides, you see! If you believe this rumour, send SMS YES, else SMS NO. Oh, and yes, standard rates apply, unless you vote to make this SMS free of charge!

The Indian babies and babas on the field hand a strong one back to the naysayers, the critics and the experts on the sidelines, who predicted their balls would be bounced off the field. 8 wickets away from a historic test win against SA in SA, for a die hard Indian cricket fan, times do look rosier than the cheeks of the flustered and embarrassed Proteas.

Or maybe they have been rattled with the sad demise of Madiba. So sad, in fact, that only mere handfuls turned up along the long, lonely 40 km ride from the airport to the final resting place of the SA leader, mindless of the TV commentators who were forced to ack the thousands of (invisible) mourning South Africans lining the streets! Those who did turn up were celebrating noisily and joyously the fact that Mandela had given them their freedom. True, that! But wasn't that years back? Wasn't this the time to shed a quiet tear for the departed soul? Or at least, pay your tribute in silence?

Back in India, the politicians showed a rare urgency and excitement in passing the Lokpal - while Annaji finally declared his agitation complete, his split from his protege final, and plans for the next big battle. We can now all rest in peace. Life is back to normal. Adarsh has been buried, Lalu is back out of jail and in a truck with the elated Congress, and the nation can now worry about much more serious issues like unnatural sex and salaries of the bais in firang consulates.

Movie Review: The Family

An ex-mafia leader (Robert DeNiro) and his family relocate incognito to a small France village as part of a witness protection program, hunted by their enemies, who want them to pay for ratting them out. However, old habits die hard, and Mr Manzoni, his wife (Pfeiffer), daughter Belle (the sexy Dianna Agron from Glee) and son can't help but use their "family" ways to settle scores. When their former mafia friends finally track them out, the family needs to pull in their resources to save their asses. 

Interesting movie - DeNori and Dianna will keep you glued for more.

Chennai Express - Top Trend in India for 2013!

Baby Catrina? No, It's KitKat!

We got a new member in our family in Nerul last week... presenting KitKat, our baby Catrina!

Amazing similarities, right? Check out for yourself!

Movie Review: Dhoom 3

Can't say if the third in the Dhoom franchise is worth the reported ticket price of 900 in some theatres, but this is definitely a must-see this weekend.

So what works for the movie? Without doubt, the vroom of the mean machines, some very slick VFX, and pretty much some of the best executed and visualized chase sequences in Bollywood, through busy American streets, high octane, perfectly shot and beautifully complimented by the sound track. The other hero of the movie is Chicago - presented absolutely beautifully, a stunning city with it's skyscrapers, an enthralling skyline, and some amazing locations that have been captured so wonderfully on camera.

The child actor, the young Aamir Khan, is brilliant, and wins your heart.

Aamir Khan is schizophrenic. His tense, taut, weird expression meant to make him look menacing and focussed is silly - reminds me of the constipated expressions usually seen on the face of the real life wife of his nemesis in the movie. But when he relaxes, when he smiles and talks normally, he is charming and lovable. Aamir Khan's much publicized tap dance, for which he apparently spent a month practising in a foreign land, is a damp squib, and he looks amazingly taut and tense, with that silly kung fu panda expression - tap dances should create the tap sounds; imposing them through music again completely takes away the credibility. In comparison, the beautiful Senorita dance in ZNMD and SRK-Kat's amazing sequence in JTHJ, are legendary!

Katrina absolutely sizzles and scorches the screen with her strip tease and her acrobatic dance numbers - completely redefining item songs, although she has very very little to do otherwise.  Uday Chora's Ali act adds a little color, but you really need to set the benchmark really low to appreciate it. Abhishek's entry sequence, with the autorickshaw chase on shanty tops is hilarious and outrageous, and would work well in Dabangg, but in a movie like Dhoom 3, it seems strangely out of tune. His chemistry with Ali would invite censure under 377, but given that the other pretty lady, the firang police officer, has no interest in them, I guess one can look the other way!

The songs are a little noisy and long winded, but absolutely beautifully choreographed, a visual treat, that allow you to ignore the words and just enjoy the spectacle.

There are too many liberties in the story and screen play, which hurt credibility. The story is weak, and the much-touted suspense never really builds up - the audience is suddenly told that there is a twist in the tale, and it happens way before half time. At almost 3 hours, the movie makes you want to reach for the FF button, especially in the first 15-20 mins, and in the post-interval session, when the action gives way to senti stuff, but it won't hurt you much the first time you see it.

Go catch it at a theatre near you, sit back and enjoy the visuals. Definitely not a two time watch, but don't miss it!

And a small footnote - Aamir Khan's character liberally copies from the King Khan's Samar and Sahir characters in JTHJ and Billu Barber :) Wonder if it was a tribute to our Thalaiva, or simply a childish way of saying, you do it, I can do it too!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Movie Review: Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Having won the 74th Hunger Games, the victors Katniss Everdeen and her new found friend Peeta are required to take a victory tour of Panam. And President Snow makes Katniss a not-so-vieled threat - convince the country that her love for Peeta is real, that her decision to eat poisoned berries wasn't an act of defiance against the Capitol, and stop the murmurs of rebellion that are becoming increasing louder.

But as the tour progresses, the rebellion gains strenth, and Snow announces Panem's third Quarter Quell, a special version of the Games held every 25 years. And predictably, Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the arena, fighting men and machines, all with a single aim - to kill.

HGCF is slow to start, and if you haven't been initiated into the HG already, you might just end up losing interest. At almost 2.5 hours, it's also long. The action picks up in the second half, as it quickly hurtles towards the end.

The helplessness and the fightback of Katniss in the first installment, that makes you root for her, and fall in love with her, in missing in the second installment, but you still can't take your eyes off her when she on screen. Jennifer Lawrence absolutely dominates, and captures your heart, just like she does to every Panamite.

Note: Chennai Express, India's biggest hit, made 300 Crores. Can you guess what's the current number for HGCF? 3600 Cr and counting! :)

My Favourite Place at Home

Political Cacophony

Times Now, Headlines Today, CNN IBN and NDTV - since morning, my daughter has been begging me to turn down the volume to keep the screaming and screeching anchors and politicians from invading our home.

The only welcome exception - Prannay Roy on NDTV. Dignified, gentle, incisive, and extremely effective.

After all these years - the magic of our first real current affairs commentator is unparalleled.

Exciting Days Ahead - Has Indian Politics Changed Forever?

It's been a very exciting Sunday so far... with results of the four state elections pouring in, the big question is, has Indian politics changed forever?

First, the stunning debut of Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP in Delhi - decimating the Congress and it's 4th time hopeful Sheila Dixit. Results are still coming in, but it is clear the Congress will get no more than 7-8 while the BJP seems to have managed to pull off a wafer thin lead over AAP, and is expected to win around 33-34, with AAP accounting for around 28-30. Stunning developments, given that AAP brings in a completely different angle to our political spectrum - fighting on an anti-corruption plank, being pan religion, pan caste and pan region. With AAP refusing to ally with Cong or BJP, Delhi might just get a hung assembly, with a follow up elections in 6 months - but the question is, will AAP be able to replicate its success in the rest of country?

The BJP has swept MP, Rajasthan and while it has been a see saw, looks like they will also bag Chhattisgarh, where the Congress was hoping to ride a major sympathy wave after its top state leadership was wiped out in a deadly Naxal attack a few months back.

The Congress is quick to point out that this failure shouldn't be attributed to Rahul Gandhi, while at the same time, they are pointing to why this isn't really a Modi wave, and that the country will vote very differently when it comes to the LS elections.

And while I have my doubts on AAP's ability to govern and make practical policies, to stay clean, one needs to stand up, salute, and support him! And like one of the esteemed panelists on one of the TV channels rightly pointed out, while Anna is part of history, Arvind is the future.

One thing is certain - with the youth of the country's capital rejecting caste and religion based politics, and voting for change, for a clean up, AAP's success will hopefully have a lasting impact on not just LS 2014, but in the decades to come - getting professionnals and clean politicians elected, and changing this country for the better. Much better.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Movie Review: Paranoia

A decent movie - based on industrial espionage and the dirty business of cutting edge technology, between two rival telecom giants Wyatt and Eikon (did you notice it is almost Nokia spelt backwards?) - but nothing you cannot miss.

Except maybe the delightfully pretty Amber Heard.

Movie Review: Bullet Raja

Bullet Raja is an out and out Bollywood masala movie, with the deft touch of Tigmanshu Dhulia.

Superb action sequences, an absolutely beautiful background score (especially the bullet shots), a decent storyline that keeps you engrossed, great chemistry between Saif and Jimmy Shergill, and Vidyut Jamwaal looking absolutely stunning in his martial arts sequences - all combine to make this a total entertainer.

After a stupendous performance in Lootera, Sonakshi goes back to her template - those dozen roles she has done so far, indistinguishable from each other.

Also great to see some interesting locales - especially the Bengali sequence, and the fight sequence in the Chambal ranges. There is also a sweet 2 second cameo by Emraan Hashmi!

The only negative of the movie - the 15-20 mins spent in mindless and needless songs, especially the absolutely ridiculous "don't touch my body" by Mahie Gill to kick off proceedings.

Movie Review: Shawshank Redemption

Finally caught up with this classic the other day - an absolutely rivetting prison drama, about a young banker who is sentenced to life for the murder of his wife and lover, despite his protestations. How he suffers the humiliation of being raped by fellow prisoners, how he fights for his survival, winning friends and reconciling to a long life in jail.

Over time, he wins the trust of the jailors, helping them with his accounting wizardry. He wins funding from the government to refurbish the prison library. Helping everyone file their tax returns and save money, he quickly becomes extremely popular.

As the years go by, though, things seem to start unravelling for him quickly... taking a turn for the worse.

Will he survive, will he give up - or is there a wonderful surprise in store for us?

A long, intense movie - an absolute delight till the end!

Movie Review: Digant (Konkani)

Saw an amazing Konkani movie, Digaant, on DD National the other day - a touching story of the son of a wandering shepherd, who leaves his "legacy" to come to the city and become an Architect, building walls and spaces for people to live in, and the struggle of his father to accept this reality.

Beautiful movie, and the Konkani was so pleasing on the ears!

Movie Review: Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela

I like Deepika, and I liked Ranveer in Lootera. But for me, Ram Leela was loud enough and jarring enough to warrant walking out half way. Can't blame it all on the actors though - it's something about SLB's garish (some call it grand) treatment - the dhols and taashas, the elaborate dances set against endless songs, the shouting, the visual onslaught of colors that turns me off. The signature step that could well be the perfect advertisement for a dandruff ad, the oiled torsos, the dancing Hanumans... there is only so much I could take.

Deepika looks stunning. And just for her, it is almost worth sitting through the mayhem.

Movie Review: Krrish 3

A much delayed review - but what the hell! Here goes... :)

While the Roshan's claim that their latest super hero caper made an obscene amount of money, it was interesting that when we caught the movie on the first weekend of its release, there were dozens of seats on offer. And those who had tricked themselves into paying the high ticket rates, were found playing games on their mobile before the movie hit half time.

Poor drama, even poorer execution, very juvenile dialogs, a decidedly 80s and eminently forgettable sound track, too much silly drama (Krrish giving everything to protect a baby in a pram from getting crushed under Mukesh Ambani's collapsing Antilla, while the city is reduced to rubble) , hamming, silly costumes - the list of "why not to watch this caper" goes on and on. Girls might swoon on computer-enhanced abs of the super hero, but there is very little otherwise working for Krrish 3.

Incredibly Cute!



Clean Mumbai

Was in Mumbai earlier this week - and I noticed two simple, but very encouraging things...

First, the Clean Mumbai trucks - even though they carry garbage, they are always squeaky clean, and it is such a refreshing sight! Probably contracted to a private party, which cares about their image - and what a lovely way to pass on a message!

The second was a grassy strip of land beside the Vashi-Airoli road - for a pretty long stretch. It was clean, had a nice layer of grass, and well maintained. Yes, still a long way to go before we see more of this, but it was such a beautiful sight, especially given how easy it would be for the land to ba taken over by garbage and hutments.

Way to go!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Yogesh, the Dada!

I love the way a car's mirror frames a face... always been fascinated by watching the driver's emotions and reactions in the mirror...

Goan Diwali

Diwali in Goa is about just two things... Narkarsur, who was vanquished by Krishna, and whose effigies are burnt on Diwali eve, and the different types of pohe (called fauw in Konkani) for breakfast!

Check the size of the man standing in front - will give you an idea of the size of these giants!

Feline Family

Ghostly Apparitions...

Another simple technique, had a lot of fun actually shooting this... mount the camera on a tripod, put it on a long exposure, and create some handsome ghosts :)

How many did you count?

Bridge In Goa

Shot this on a longish exposure without a tripod, but I think the end result wasn't too bad!


Criss crossing leaves of a decorative palm and the light make for a very interesting pattern..

Zoom Burst

Another easy technique I picked up - with amazing possibilities. Keep a long exposure, shoot, and zoom out for an innovative picture..

The Old Stays In The New


Captured this on the dash of Yogesh's car... love the way the light makes the idol feel so translucent, the greenish glow around it wonderfully contrasting with the darkness beyond...

Flowers In Nerul

Just love the ability of the camera to blur the background, and allow me to focus on what I want to... wish life was like that. Wish I could just stay focused on the beautiful flower, and ignore everything beside it.


Experiments with Light Painting

My first experiments painting with light - both these pics were taken by exposing for 30 seconds, from Mandovi bridge, at around midnight.

ps: did you realize that a long exposure can easily remove people and moving objects from a frame altogether? It's a fantastic way to capture landmarks and monuments without people!

Up, Close and Personal

If you look closely, you can actually see a tiny creature hanging onto the back of the mosquito! Anyone knows what it is? A baby mosquito?

Captured this butterfly from a long range in our garden in Nerul - aah, the pleasures of Al Servo Focus and High Shutter Speeds :)

This dragon fly was merrily flying inside our well... although the photo was captured vertically, I thought the horizontal angle was more interesting!

This grasshopper visited us one night in Pune - his perch made it difficult to get good shots, especially since I do not have a stool at home to perch on! PS: Last night, almost a week later, he was on my bedroom window!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Children's Day

Got this very interesting message on WhatsApp on Children's Day... so completely related to every one of this!

In our childhood days...

• I'd put my arm in my shirt 👕and told people I lost my arms😿

• Would restart the video game
🎮 whenever I knew I was going to lose👎😛

• Had that one pen
with four colors🔴🔵🌕, and tried to push👊 all the buttons at once

• Waited behind a door
🚪 to scare😈 someone, then leaving🚶 because they're taking too long to come out.😕

• Faked being asleep
😴, so I could be carried to bed😉

• Used to think that the moon
🌙 followed our car🚗

• Tried to balance the switch between On
🔻/ Off🔺

• Watching two drops
💧 of rain roll down window🔲 and pretending🙀 it was a race🚩

• The only thing i had to take care of was a school bag.

• Swallowed
😖 a fruit seed I was scared to death😰 that a tree 🌱was going to grow in my tummy.

• Closed the fridge
🍨🍧🍦 extremely slowly 🙌to see when the lights🚥 went off.

• Walked into a room, forgot
what you needed, Walked out, and then remembered.

Monday, October 28, 2013




Just a couple of kms outside Pune, the landscape changes dramatically, and you get transported into this magical world.. have a look...

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Spectacular accident on the Dehu Rd-Katraj bypass yesterday... bus driver trying a "Speed"?