Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Movie Review: Race 2

Race 2 is one movie that remains faithful to the original - ensuring that the only race you will have is to the parking lot, the only twists and turns you go through will be in your seat.

Too much of an effort to write a full review, so I will just help you with some of the reasons you can use to justify why you still want to see the movie:

You like to see pretty cars, and you do not have Google Images at home
You love it when crooks discuss heists involving 40 Billion Euros
You like seeing Deepika wearing clothes torn in wierd ways, and not having to worry about her role and dialogues, while not looking anything like what she did in Cocktail and other recent movies
You love seeing SFX from the good old 80s
You love it when the bass speakers of the theatre tremble with fear when the songs come on
You have never heard Anil tell you dirty jokes about shapes of fruits and body parts, popping cherries and the like
You love seeing John Abraham, with strawberry and rose concentrate flowing from this body, pick up the bad guy and carry him above his head, looking like the best Narkasur from last year's Diwali
You like seeing silly bomb scenes executed by robbers in scooter helmets, shooing away nuns from a church, to get to the Shroud of Turin (which, incidently, is worth 40B Eur)
You love seeing cars jumping out of planes with parachutes
You love dialogues like "Men are many but money is money"

Enjoy the show!

ps: Would be very unfair if I did not mention the one bright spot in the movie - a very good looking Jacqueline Fernandez

Minding Your Own Business

SRK is trending right now on social media, with his fans and detractors fighting a big war over his secular credentials, his patriotism and everything else. Not surprising, because that's what fans and critics are supposed to do.

But what do you say of the Pakistani Interior Minister advising India to provide him security? I mean, really - is that part of his job description?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Amazing Goa

We went for an extended weekend to Goa earlier this month... the pictures should say it all...

Lovely restaurant at Ozran, next to the "Shiva" rock

Haat ki Safai, a beautiful rendition of the Vivekananda Smarak in the sand, just as the tidal waters rushed in to submerge it

The beaches attract real birds too!

An old but trust worthy open Gypsy is one of the best ways to enjoy the fresh air, and the sun

Sunsets are always amazing in Goa

Who art thou, photographer?

Kids discuss serious matters

I thought this pic was just amazing... sunset at Vagator

Leaves in the sand...

Goa loves cats

..and dogs

Another ethereal sunset...

View from Chapora (DCH) Fort

I bet it tasted even better

Brittos is heaven for foodies

What's Goa without some cheers?

Beautiful Dharamsala

India and England are playing a dead rubber at Dharamsala, with India having already wrapped the series with an unassailable 3-1 lead. Which is good, because with a stadium as freakingly beautiful as this, wonder if one could have really focussed on the game!

Check it out!

Here's an idea for your next vacation... catch some cricket while wifey catches up on shopping :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

India Back At No.1

The good news continues... India beat England comfortably in the 4th one dayer, taking a 3-1 lead, riding on the back of Rohit Sharma's aggressive innings coming in to open, and Raina's knock at the end. India thus retain the No 1 spot they won after the last match, which would have been conceded to England if they had lost today.

A young Indian team is coming into its own - no Zaheer, no Sachin - and we aren't doing that bad!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Movie Review: Broken City

Predictable. Stale. Uninteresting. Broken.

Nothing going for it... avoidable.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Movie Review: Ru Ba Ru

Saw Ru Ba Ru on TV the other night - didn't have anything else to do, and when I saw Randeep and Shahana, two actors I love watching, I couldn't just switch them off.

RBR is a simple movie with a simple theme, nothing flashy, nothing much to write about - except, it presents one of the most real protrayals of a relationship between a simple girl who just needs some attention, and a busy boy friend, who loves her, but is so caught up in his work, that he is unable to reach out to her the way she wants him to. When a horrible dream wakes him up, he resolves to change.

Does he succeed, or will life play its cruel game on him?

A sweet, simple movie that totally rocks because of the two wonderful lead actors. Do check it out.

Movie Review: Inkaar

A mentor and his protege face off against each other in a harassment case, but Inkaar isn't just about office politics. It's a beautiful story of human relationships, feelings and failings - love, jealousy, misunderstandings, vulnerability, ambition, resignation, defeat, victory, growth, challenges. Most of all, it's a stark reminder that ultimately, we are all fallible, and the only way to be happy in a relationship is to communicate, with each other, and make sure the world doesn't use you for its own agendas.

The story builds amazingly well, and even though it follows a singular track all through, you sit mesmerized, wondering how it will all end. You feel for both protagonists, unable to make up your mind as to who the real victim of the harassment case is. As arguments and counter arguments are presented, you swing from one side to the other, reflecting the complexities of their relationship. You wish they would reconcile, but the more they try, the more they seem to go away. There's one defining scene in the movie - when he holds out his hand to her - what looks like a wonderful gesture of reapproachment and forgiveness, but which with equal conviction, can be looked at as his most shocking display of power.

Arjun and Chitrangda are perfect in their roles. Arjun looks good, and his calm, composed I-care-a-damn demeanour makes him a complex character to relate to. You feel sorry for him at times, but his aloof behaviour and self-belief (beautifully explained through the montages of his youth and his interactions with his old father) makes him a natural candidate for the guy we love to hate, while we admire. Chitrangda looks absolutely stunning, at times vulnerable, at times the ruthless corporate woman who can bring to bear the full force of her personality and her limitations, for her advancement. Very few Bollywood women could have played her role.

The music is beautiful, and numbers like Darmiyaan not only add tremendously to the story, but will remain with you for a long, long time.

The camera work, the editing and the screen play are also wonderful, the shades and tones adding tremendously to the underlying tensions and play.

Sudhir Mishra has taken a complex subject, hardly attempted in Bollywood (Corporate was an attempt, a tiny shade of Inkaar) and presented it in a beautiful manner, staying true to the topic - without stereotypes, without reducing the movie to a semi porno, nor attempting to lecture us on morals and ethics and sanskriti.

This is a movie you need to see more than once to really understand the strong underlying message and appreciate the filmmaking that has gone behind it.

The New Year - Kahi Khushi Kahi Gum

It's been an exciting 2.5 weeks in the new year already... on the personal, professional and world stage. Probably the most exciting new year for me in a long, long time, with a lot to look forward to.

Personally, after many many years, I can see crystal clear with my lenses, with close things appearing 15-20% larger than I used to see them - which, trust me, is a whole new experience. Unless you have experienced it, it will be difficult to understand - but everything from buying clothes, to ordering pizza, watching TV to playing with the cat, is an experience in wow. Also, with the ability to wear glares, my eyes are much less stressed in sunlight... again, it's amazing to be out on a beach in the afternoon and not have to squint.

We had a great trip to Goa, total and complete rest from work and pressures for 4 days. Lazed on beach beds, got foot massages, guzzled liquids and slurped ice candies, climbed a fort, and zipped around in an open Gypsy. Came back feeling so fresh and excited about work, was totally worth the big break.

Work wise, last week I was at the HRM Next Conference - had a speaker slot, and moderated a panel on social media in HR. Was an amazing experience; and it was a great conference, in terms of content, people and networking. We have also signed up some amazing clients in the new year, and although I cannot divulge their names, trust me, it's a dream come true for many of us. 2013 is set to totally rock.

On the world front, interesting things have been happening, not all good. The US just managed to avoid the fiscal cliff at the 11th hour, literally. On the other hand, with the government taking strong fiscal measures, the Indian Sensex is back at 20K, and things are looking very upbeat for now. Rahul was appointed as VP of the party, and it seems like 2014 will be Modi vs Gandhi after all. The Nirbhaya case was a sad start to the year. Algeria took a no negotiation approach to the hostage crises, storming the oil field and resulting in the death of around 50 people, half of them hostages. Sad, but at least it reduces the chances of something like this happening again! Meanwhile, French forces are battling to save Mali from falling into terrorist hands - and all those Robert Ludlum books don't appear so far fetched any more! Diesel is finally getting deregulated, water crises already looming in Pune, and the never-really-hit winter is already on its way out. The Lance Armstrong saga is getting very murky, disappointing millions of fans who looked at him as a fighter, a hero, a survivor. Meanwhile, India is pulling back brilliantly, hitting the English hard in the last two matches, some sweet revenge for the humiliation we suffered not long back. The Hockey League kickstarted with much fanfare, but Pakistani Army's alleged barbarism meant that it could no longer be business as usual, and the Pakistani players in the league had to be sent back. While Pakistan simmers with tension between the Army, the government and the Supreme Court, in India, the Nirbhaya issue almost turned public anger and attention away from corruption and dirty politics. And as always, the main opposition party, the BJP, has been unable to put the government in a spot, troubled as it is by its own internal problems.

Overall, after the 2012 end of the world, 2013 has heralded a very "happening" new era. But as they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

2 -1, Another Series Loss

The Men in Blue won a hard fought battle to narrow the gap, but at the end of the day, it was still yet another home series launch, and this time, to Pakistan. Just a week or so before the English one-day series kicks off, and it's hard to be optimistic at this time...

Let's wait and watch. Hopefully, the turnaround is just around the corner!

Movie Review: The Impossible

A family of doting parents and 3 young boys arrives at an idyllic, remote resort in Thailand, for their much-awaited Christmas vacation, which quickly turns in a desperate struggle for survival when the resort is hit with full force in the 2004 Tsunami.

The movie depicts the Tsunami and its immediate aftermath in a way never seen before - panoramic views of the resort, the huge wave rushing in, the gushing waters, the debris, the floating bodies... the color of the muddy water, the foam, the rush, the noise... shot beautifully, you can feel the full terror of what must have happened on that fateful day.

While a bit slow, the movie captures a myriad of human emotions - sadness, desperation, fighting spirit, sacrifices, fear, elation - and brings the full impact of the disaster from the ground, very intimately, unlike many other "grand" disaster movies which look so artificial, so unreal.

The cast is amazing, led by Naomi Watts, in a role which might well win her an Oscar. The kids are beautiful, the dad in convincing, and so is each and everyone of the supporting cast.

Go watch it; and appreciate simply being alive!

Movie Review: Killer Joe

Here's one of those movies you will just not be able to relate to - unless you have watched every episode of the crime reality shows on Fox Crime.

When a debt becomes too much to handle, a young man hires a hitman to take out his mother in order to collect the insurance. Until the hitman gets his money, the pretty teenage daughter is handed out to the hitman as "retainer". And when the insurance bet goes horribly wrong, all hell breaks loose.

Completely avoidable.

Movie Review: The Courier

A courier who asks no questions (yes, like the Transporter) is hired to deliver a package to New Orlean's most dangerous hitman, a man revered like the ghost. Is it a FBI covert op, is the courier being used to draw out the criminal, or is there a more sinister angle?

The slow pace, the boring action and the meandering story line means that you probably will never wait to find out...

Yes, watch the Transporters instead. And if you like Morgan, watch Grey's Anatomy - he does a lot more as the ghost in love with Izzi.

Movie Review: 360

360 takes us across Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Denver, London and Phoenix, into the lives of people inter-twined closely but in ways they are not aware of. The movie isn't great, but you get an intimate looks at lives of normal people in these amazing cities. A couple of the "stories" will touch you. One with Anthony Hopkins, a father in search of his missing-and-presumed-dead daughter sharing a few moments of his life, stuck at Denver airport, with the young Laura (Maria Flor), a young girl ditched by her lover. The other about a Russian gangster's henchman and his tryst with the younger sister of a call girl, mercilessly murdered by his boss. Rachel Weisz is also an added attraction, but has a very inconsequential role.

Can be missed! There are some other amazing movies in this genre... try Babel on DVD, if you haven't!

Beauty at Phoenix Mall

One of the strangest "cars" I have seen in a long while.. anyone knows what beast this is?

Ball Of Fire

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Mayan Prophecy Missed Its Target?

Saw this fiery ball headed towards earth today evening around 615 pm... slow and steady it approached, a bright and shiny object, looking nothing like anything I have seen before. What could it be?