Monday, January 26, 2015

Movie Review: Ugly

One of the most hard hitting movies in recent time, Ugly is the ugly story of human greed and corruption, putting at stake the life of an innocent kid, who is kidnapped and becomes the pawn in a deadly game of one-upmanship. The story, the action, the direction, screenplay, script, and the superb cast makes Ugly a must-watch!

Movie Review: Elizabeth Ekadashi (Marathi)

Yet another beautiful offering from the Marathi film industry -  EE is the story of a young boy and his sister, and their friends, as they try and earn enough money to help their single mom, and make sure they don't have to sell off their beloved cycle, Elizabeth!

A very touchy story and a great cast (most of them nameless and faceless thus far), do watch it when you get a chance!

Movie Review: Taken 3

This time, his wife is killed, and Mills (Liam Neeson) has to go underground to get his name cleared as the murder suspect with smart cop (Forest Whitaker) hot on his heels. Maggie Grace provides some respite for the tired eyes.

And no, sadly, there are no exotic European locales involved this time around!


My favorite niece came up with this as part of her architecture project...

Love the concept and the execution!

Royal Cats

Walking To The Beach

Last time in Goa, we took a beautiful walk through the fields to the beach behind our house... we used to do this so often in our childhood, when malls and multiplexes weren't the only option!

Brought back so many lovely memories... and it felt like it was just a few days back, really - damn, it's been almost a decade since I last did this really!


Sweet as sugar, tiny as a tea spoon, my sister's new baby... Sugar!

Wok And Thai

When in Goa, for some authentic Chinese and Thai food, try Wok and Thai near Miramar, on the approach road to the Marriott...

You Are In Goa When...

Only a Goan will truly get this!

Meeting Rajdeep Sardesai

Met Rajdeep Sardesai, one of India's most reputed journalists at a "meet the author" session at Crossword, Aundh a few days back. He enthralled the audience with anecdotes from his years as a political commentator and journalist, with the backdrop of his book, 2014 - The Election That Changed India.

I got an autographed copy of his book - and a tiny chit chat, talking about the house he has in Quegdevlim!

What was exciting and heart warming was the huge crowd at Crossword, including all age groups - eagerly lapping up his every word. Thankfully, books have still not gone out of fashion!


"Lexophile" is a word used to describe those that have a love for the use of words, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish", or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless."

Here are some excellent examples:

.. When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

.. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

.. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

.. The batteries were given out free of charge.

.. A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

.. A will is a dead giveaway.

.. With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

.. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

.. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

.. Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

.. Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He's all right now.

.. A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.

.. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

.. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

.. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

.. When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.

.. Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.

.. Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

Office Ambience Just Got Way Better!

Movie Review: American Sniper

The movie is based on the real life exploits of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, whose 150+ recorded kills saved countless American lives on the lawless Afghan streets, turning him into a legend. However, back home with his family, he finds that it isn't easy to leave war behind.

Chris Kyle was killed by one of the very veterans he was trying to help back home.

Bradley Cooper fans (like me) might actually want to stay away from this one - I'd rather see him in his Silver Linings avatar, then the bearded, beefed up version served by American Sniper.

Movie Review: I

Yes, I am sure "I" takes one award already - for the shortest name.

If I had my way, it will probably also take best special effects in an Indian movie, best locales and best makeup. It wouldn't win much for story and direction, but might just walk away with most innovative action sequences, and best executed dream sequences.

And definitely, if I had my way, a special award for the most gorgeous Amy Jackson!

Hold your horses in the first 15 mins, ignore the lion-man in the promos, and go watch it on the big screen. You might actually come back impressed.

Movie Review: A Walk Among The Tombstones

If you haven't had enough of Liam Neesom in Taken 3, watch AWATT. You don't even need to hear the dialogues, or try and understand the story. It doesn't matter. But if you REALLY want to know, here's the story:

He is hired by a druglord to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.

Movie Review: Equalizer

McCall (Denzel Washington) works at the local mega store, having put his mysterious past behind him in the search for a simple, new life. But his budding friendship with a young girl (the very cute Chloe Grace Moretz in the tiniest of roles) puts him up against a deadly Russian gang, bringing out the best (or is it the worst?) in him...

One of the hundreds of similar movies of the genres, watch it if you like Washington, or if you have vowed not to miss a single Chloe Grace Moretz movie!

Movie Review: Fury

It's almost the end of WWII, but small pockets of resistance remain in Germany, which has been overrun by the allied forces. A convoy of four allied tanks is ambushed on a mission, leaving a single, immobilized tank and its crew in charge of defending a crucial cross road.

While the story or drama isn't much to write home about, Fury scores high for some really memorable scenes - the cannon shots fired across open fields, the treads of the tanks crushing bodies in the slush, and a very well executed scene "on the dining table" between the crew and a local German resident and her pretty cousin.

Watch  it on the big screen if you aren't too squeamish, or at least get a BluRay, for best effect!

Movie Review: The Imitation Game

Can you take topics as boring as encryption, analog computers, and eccentric mathematicians and actually make a movie that keeps you sitting on the edge, eager to catch every word and action on screen? That's what The Imitation Game achieves, and does so very well indeed!

TIG is based on the true story of the Enigma code, which the Nazis used extensively in WWII, and was deemed impossible to crack in spite of the best efforts of the allies. Until Alan Turing, a young and eccentric mathematician took it upon himself to build a "Turing Machine" to solve the puzzle. Ridiculed for his plans at first, and persecuted in his later life for being gay, TIG is the remarkable story of a very remarkable brain who is credited with ending the war at least a couple of years early, and thereby saving millions of lives.

Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as Alan Turing, and is ably supported by the beautiful Kiera Knightley. The script is interesting, and the movie does a great job of bringing out the complexity and excitement of the project, without getting too technical and boring about it.

A wonderful tribute to the man who literally gave birth to "computers"!

Chocolates And Cookies

Movie Review: Baby

An ultra secret crack team (Baby, because it is just 4 years old) set up by the Indian government to take on the scourge of international terrorism, is sent on its last mission - to kill a most wanted terrorist in a foreign, unfriendly country in the Middle East. While the team succeeds in the assassination, they land a huge, unexpected bonus - the Pakistan-based preacher/terror leader, the biggest of them all. With him a lot more valuable captured alive than dead, they hatch a daring plot to ferret him out of the country into India. But it's a race against time - the local cop is hot on their heels. Will they make it out in time, can they pull off the heist, or will they die unrecognized and unsung (the team works under plausible deniability - given the sensitive nature of their missions, the Indian government will deny any connection to them if they are ever captured or exposed)?

After a very amateurish Holiday, Akshay Kumar returns in a much more sophisticated and authentic execution, very similar to D Day and with shades of Ben Affleck's Argo. Rana Daggubati adds serious hulk, and the ever-so-pretty Taapsee impresses thoroughly in a short but memorable role, with one of the best fight sequences ever performed by a female lead in Bollywood. Anupam Kher makes an appearance only in the second half, but delivers another excellent performance, following up after A Wednesday and Special 26.

While slightly predictable, the story moves fast, and will keep you on edge throughout. There are no long song sequences, little distractions, some great lines, and impressive shots in exotic locales.

Perfect for the Republic Day weekend! A must watch!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Piya Beherupiya

Saturday night was time for another interesting experience - the award-wining Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night, held at the beautiful Susie Sorabjee auditorium at St Helena's school. It'd been at least 25 years, I think, since the last time I saw a live drama, and the drama (although a musical) was a lot of fun. It was the group's 104th performance - and wow - must take SOME commitment and passion to perform at that energy level so many times! There was also excellent audience interaction, spirit-of-the-moment efforts, breaking away from the scripts.

A friend and colleague procured excellent passes for us, and one thing is certain - dramas are soon gonna be a staple in our entertainment diet!

A capacity crowd eagerly awaits admission - the show was delayed by 45 min due to a problem with the stage lighting

A scene from the drama - courtesy Times Of India

Weirdass Comedy

On Friday, we attended "The American Invasion", a stand up comedy act by 4 amazing artists from the US, curated by India's own Virr Das, under his Weirdass Pajamas series. It was a fantastic show, over 2 hours of entertainment that had the audience of 500 or so party goers in splits, rolling in the aisles. They interacted with the audiences, were unabashedly rude (all in good humor!), and VERY adult. Virr was his usual stand out best (and looked hot too), and out of the Americans, Eric Schwartz entertained thoroughly with his Bollywood dance routine, while Tehran was absolutely spot on with his Marathi and his take on Indian people.

It was an excellent start to the weekend, and I heavily recommend it to you, if you can catch it live.

PS: Not suitable for children

Happy Streets in Pune

It's been a great weekend so far, and there was no better way to celebrate Sunday than spend the early morning driving away the Pune chill at the amazing Happy Streets event in Aundh. Starting today, every Sunday from 7 - 10, most of ITI Road and DP Road will be out of bounds for vehicles, and instead be a carnival of sports, dance, and lots of other activities for kids and elders alike!

This "no vehicle zone" movement is spreading fast, and many other cities have had similar initiatives already. Look forward to this really catching up - no better way to promote health and social bonding, really!

Here are some pics from today morning in Pune...

The early morning chill provided the perfect ambience for Happy Streets

Hop, skip and jump!

The cops kept a watchful eye, was reassuring to see them providing all the necessary support!

Wanna ride and don't have a bike? Happy Streets provided them rent-free!

Get on the floor, everyone, for some Zumba classes!

This poor chap wondered what the hell was wrong with these people - what happened to peaceful Sunday mornings?

Zumba never looked better!

The Happy Streets provided ample opportunities to show off your badminton skills well as painting!

Some just loved the idea of sitting down on what is usually a VERY busy road!

While others spent the morning in more beneficial postures!

Reminded me of Amsterdam - never seen so many cycles at the traffic signal!

The elders preferred some exercises

But others preferred to hit the ball!

A lovely carnival atmosphere - Happy Streets indeed!

Hmmm.. this doesn't really qualify as a vehicle :)

And this, a goal? :)

Vegans had a gala time too campaigning for animal rights

Football kicks were on display

And the Surf mom at home will definitely have some work to do today!

Budding artists campaigned for animal rights

Zumba had the crowd breathless but clamouring for more

Finally the winding down...

With some stretching

Unarguably, the cutest couple on Pune's Happy Streets!