Friday, July 28, 2006

Dham Dham Dhadam Dhadaiyya re...

We know, we know, we already reviewed Omkara in the previous blog.

But we are happy to be here and celebrating with music (hence all the dham dham dhadam...) on our 200th post. When we started with some random musings, we neither expected to be writing for this long, nor this coherently. Read the 1st one and you will see why I think this is coherent!

We have made some excellent friends from the blogosphere - in some cases, the friendships exist beyond just blogging. Some fellow bloggers are sage-like counsellors in our life. We have met some interesting people. We have met chicks, yesss! We have fallen in love with some and fallen out with others. We have been holding our stomachs reading some. We have been reading some with tears in our eyes. We have read some, wondering "What the f*&#?!" We have written about running, books, movies, quizzes and some other things which interest us.

Basically, it has repeated most of how our life goes! We write mostly since we feel like writing somewhere and talking less. And that has helped improve our writing skills. The mind gets a lot better when you put pen to paper. Sometimes, we actually write some blogs on tissues at coffee bars, blank areas of newspapers, etc before we type them out. Some we just type out since we have an idea of what all we want to convey.

Now we actually tell people "Go read our blog" when they ask us what we think of something.

Like Feyman said, "What do you care what other people think?"

And its been great fun. Thanks to readers who have read us and are reading this. Welcome to others who are here for the first time.

Btw, the celebrations commenced with a new baby in the family - Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. Promised to be a nice read.

Omkara...

Short Review: Go watch it.
Potential Spoilers ahead...

Much of our ranting against most Hindi movies we have seen in recent times has been about the lack of a decent script. But Omkara definitely doesn't lack in that department. If anybody could tell a good story, the bard could. That given, how do you tell an English story, especially in Hindi.

Vishal Bharadwaj shows you how. We are envious of all directors who can write scripts (Nyattu Shyamalan belongs right up there)as well as VB can. But we will possibly kill to be as gifted as a scriptwriter who can compose music and an excellent score at that (Ray da is the minority of minorities. The man up there doesn't make them like him anymore)!Rituparno might get there, although.

Omkara is based on the timeless Shakespearean tragedy "Othello" - which links the characters Iago, Desdemona & Othello. Omkara tells the story of Langda Tyagi, Dolly, & Omkara (almost respectively essaying the same roles as in the original). The transcription to an Indian setting is fairly successful. The characters of Kesu, Langda's wife (Man, Konkona can't stop rocking, can she?!) Bibbo and Bhai Saab (Naseeruddin Shah who cracks this neat joke at the wedding. Don't miss it)add colour to the rather serious tale.

Langda is Omkara's right hand man. Omkara is the "bahubali" (strongman) of Bhaisaab. When Bhaisaab enters formal politics, Omkara enters a slightly more legitimate role leaving behind a place to be filled for the new bahubali, which is where the story begins...

You go see the movie to watch the plot unfold. I will tell you what I like and what to watch out for.

The dialogue is very risque & coarse in parts - definitely not for kids, unless you want them running around the house abusing your lineage. But then neither is Shakespeare for kids! The music is fresh and original. Gulzar weaves a tale with some fantastic Hindi verse. The music is so good that you could listen to the songs and still understand what the movie would be about. Now that is what makes a great soundtrack. Bipasha shows why she continues to be Bollywood's No.1 item girl (although we are yet to be convinced that she is anything more).

Konkona Sen Sharma and Saif stand out with roles of different efforts. Konkona is the handy advice-dishing housewife one moment and woman with firm ideas of how to manage a man's 'hunger' the next. Saif is perhaps best in the negative role (perhaps next to his comic roles) (Anyone who's seen Ek Hasina Thi will testify to that). He is very convicing as the scheming strongman. Ajay Devgan does his usual, angst-ridden, strong role. Viveik (why do they change their spelling?!) Oberoi has this ordinary role and he manages that well. He has a long way to go in the acting department.

The movie is perhaps a trifle long, but is never boring. There is enough buzz about the movie to keep you in your seats on both sides of the interval. Definite watch

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Corporate

Corporate is Bhandarkar's take on the Indian business world. 2 conglomerates in a battle for a bigger market, profits with attendant egos and personalities...
Net Output: Crapola

“Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.”Edward Gibbon. This quote is mentioned in passing by one of the characters to add some credibility to the “corporate” ness of the movie. There is hardly anything worth noting. In fact one of the few visible signs that the movie is about corporates is the Allen Solly wear. The characterizations are almost like TV serial ones – meant for short snippets, not for the large screen. No depth.

The partner for the movie “Corporate” is Lenovo. However when the all important presentation for Just Chill is being made, the laptop at the head of the table is DELL. Sadly, there are 4 other Lenovo laptops around.

The basic issue with the movie is that it is not crisp. Evidently the business world is not an area of strength for Madhur Bhandarkar and it is clear in the way the characterizations shape up. The playing up of characters is built perhaps on some anecdotal examples that one must have by. Can’t believe that Sunil Alagh, etc who are thanked in the credits could add no real value to the script. Why else would you see a finance minister of a state introduce the head of an investigative agency to the head of a conglomerate? Some story! Whack thoo!

And there is this award ceremony where the compere can’t stop saying Uhvaard, Uhvaard … I can’t take this Uhvaard. Please give it to someone else.

And Kay Kay looks so old when is lolling around with Bipasha. Someone give him some Botox. Else get a fresh hero. Perhaps Samir Dattani could have done this role. Anyways he hardly has anything to say other than sport this really weird, shocked look when they meet Bipasha at the end of the movie! There is hardly anything shocking happening in that scene!

The Friscon company (albeit a fictional one) takes its basis from most recent murky happenings in the Indian FMCG space.

The occasional book lying at Bipasha’s table “Sales Management” and other assorted titles are meant to lend an air of authenticity to the workspace. Anyone with a reasonable amount of experience in the corporate sector can tell you that books are best read outside work. There is rarely enough time to do such stuff at work. Again, evidence of weak scriptwriting.

There is another scene in which Bipasha’s character is reading Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. That perhaps is more believable.

All in all, ORDINARY.
Not worth getting to the theatre thru rain and sitting in front row. Much rather wait and watch on SET MAX or some such channel when they screen it. The ads in between should be more interesting…

Perhaps the saving grace other than the self-mocking Item number is the voice over by Atul Kulkarni.

Three Quizzes, Three Cities, ...

ISB-ACE Quiz in aid of ASHA Hyderabad on Sunday
Lone Wold Quiz by KQA also on Sunday
QFI Open Quiz by QFI (who else!) also on Sunday

What's with everyone?

Our heart would be with the ASHA quiz. However since the company team-mate is not on, we are in Madras to attend to mundane matters like picking up some books, floaters, etc and meet our land lady... now that we will be in Hyd much longer...

And of course, we shall also attend the QFI quiz, thus attending our 1st QFI quiz!

Although the hidden agenda for this post is that we wanted to crow over the fact that the ET crossword has been put to the sword yet again... (Daily Mail Crossword no. 3200)...

Such contentment like one full bottle of Absolut Vodka....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pausing for a moment...

The last week has been a little frustrating due to the blogger block - unblock that happened in India. Prompted a thought on whether we should get our own domain, among other things. (Liberal cheques welcome ;) )

Hence today's outpouring which we think, matches our productivity record since we began pouring ;)

The reflection we wanted to make was that we usually write stuff, we think other people would love to know from us. Hence the attention to "Chasing Amy" as opposed to "In the Name of the Father" which is known to be a fine movie. Most would miss it, if others didn't tell them about less know matter. Famous things we all know about - thanks to mass media and friends. We don't believe in telling you what you may already know.

Solicit feedback from our dear reader on this approach.

In the Name of the Father

We all know the Daniel Day Lewis was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Gerry Conlon, the Irishman who was there in the wrong place at the wrong time and lost precious years of his life behind bars.

An excellent movie for anyone who wants to deliberate on the misgivings people have with POTA and other legislation etc. Excellent still if you like good, hard-hitting movies with tight scripts. Fantastic acting by Emma Thompson, Pete Postlethwaite (the guy most people know as Kobayashi from one of our favourite movies - The Usual Suspects)

Not an after dinner movie if you want to sleep well. But a movie, anyone with hatred in the heart for other people, countries, etc must watch for a retake. Besides we know very little about the IRA and England, etc - most of what we know coming from watching Michael Collins, this movie and perhaps The Devil's Own (not a great movie, not bad either)

My favourite scene is when Pierce the solicitor is speaking...

Appeal Prosecutor: My Lord, this is new evidence.
Appeal Judge: It is shocking new evidence.
Appeal Prosecutor: My lord, this evidence was not submitted at the trial that is under appeal.
Appeal Judge: That, I believe, is the point that Mrs Pierce is trying to make. Proceed, Mrs Pierce.

Thanks to IMDB for the quotes above

Particularly heart-rending are the interrogation and the subsequent scenes.

Must watch for all movie (and perhaps all history) buffs considering that is tragically based on a true story)

Chasing Amy

If there has been 1 decent recommendation of a movie one must watch from our own movie man and amongst movies we have heard or read little about, Majji's, this is the one. Of course, it helps to have only a few hundred good movies to watch!

Since we saw "Closer" and "Sideways" we haven't seen any relationship based movies, which were well done.

Chasing Amy is a good movie on several levels. Director & Scriptwriter Kevin Smith is definitely a talented, creative guy who has fine taste. We like his scripts especially since he loves comics and uses them extensively. On a higher level, the maturity of the script perhaps comes from being original and bold in writing.

Seriously, some of the questions that the character, Banky asks Alyssa (Holden's girlfriend) are stuff I have heard millions of times when people are discussing homsexuals.

Phew! Now before we forget, Chasing Amy (actually something that 'Silent Bob' says) is about 2 guys who are doing a brilliant job of creating a comic - Bluntman and Chronic (perhaps a weird take on Batman & Robin). When Holden falls for Alyssa and then discovers she is a lesbian, the world turns upside down. not just for him - but for all three of them. The second half of the movie is a tad more serious than the first and we loved it.

Must watch. Incidentally, Holden and Banky are actual character names from our favourite piece of fiction - TCITR.

And the monologue from Silent Bob (Silent Bob and Jay are creations of Kevin Smith and appear in his New Jersey trilogy...) is one of the best pieces of advice you will ever get for free. Excellent stuff.

You can thank me when you have seen the movie.

What's up?

Have managed to see some really poor Hindi movies much against my usual practice of watching most of these on DVD or VCD and hence saving some cash.

Golmaal - its like someone defiled the other Indian comedy classic by making this utterly nonsensical piece of ... (no words to describe it)

And then, we have been informed that we shall now divide our time between Hyd and Madras? So much for the farewell blog and all.

Also managed to pull off a day's visit to that cool place called Vizag. And better still to the temple at Simhachalam. God is hidden under a huge mound of sandalwood paste. Visit to a temple in quite some time, although it meant taking a taxi at 6 am after waking up at 5:30 am and getting ready, only to find out that the temple opens at 7:30 am. Took all of about 40 secs to finish seeing the shrine. We love simple temples.

More in the next blog on movies.

Superman Returns

One wishes he had not. Despite whatever the collection register says, this movie should have been called "Sissy Returns"

Haven't seen a more 'soft' superhero movie in recent times. I mean a superhero is supposed to perform some feats of some incredible prowess. Dazzle, Leave you breathless. This one leaves you yawning.

Thoroughly boring and undeserving of the ticket money. There is greater attention to Lois Lane than to Superman. And the special effects are worthy of some B-Grade 1970s flick when they didn't have the time to manipulate frames to the nth degree and jazz it up. The 3-D effects are forgettable. In fact, the first time we are supposed to wear those glasses, the picture was so shaky that it was almost better without the glasses.

And why do we have to watch something which sounds so much like a soap about someone who wrote an article on why we don't need superman and the husband and the asthmatic kid, ...

Just how many constituencies were addressed by this load of mule-s@#$%?

Maybe, the scriptwriters should have plugged "Why Superman should not have returned?"

I guess the good looking Brando Routh's tantrums written about elsewhere were perhaps a fallout of the angst of being the Returning Superman.

The flick almost sounds like those things which are returned by dissatisfied customers...

Please avoid. And someone, please return my money

Tour De France 2006

Floyd Landis may win the TDF this year after an excellent time trial today

The very fact that I didn't make any posts (although I did watch it daily) was that friends who followed it last year along with me, didn't. Hence I really didn't know who else would be interested.

Besides I myself didn't watch the full races except for the time trials, catching only the last two hours or so on most days.

Although the performance has been below the levels of what Vino, Basso, Jan and Lance did last year, it has still been quite a race.

The Discovery team was way below par this year, including Popovych who promised much last year with a white jersey. Damiano Cunego who was in white today might do better in the future.

And wait for Vino next year!

Personally, I think the T-Mobile team did take a gamble by pushing Kloden, but he did reward them handsomely with today's result. And Rasmussen just refuses to lose the King of The Mountains. We want a polka dot jersey too, We rather like the sound of it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shine on you Crazy Diamond

Syd Barrett, one of the co- founders of Pink Floyd, perhaps the cult-est band in music history has died.

Read

More importantly, listen to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Shine on you Crazy Diamond and the brilliantly - tragic - nostalgic Wish You Were Here

:(

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blasts in Mumbai

There have been a series of blasts in Mumbai earlier in the day today.
All of them have been on the local trains.
Read more here

Hope one of my favourite cities gets back to normalcy.

Will write more on this, when I am less angry with the incidents.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Forza Italia?

I know why Italy beat Germany. Mauro Camoranesi is Argentinian born! And he did play well. Bloody Del Piero and Totti are playing well in this World Cup. Wtf were they doing when our man Maldini was leading the team?! Totti was such a letdown in that grand finale.

2 good goals and Deutscheland will have to wait for 4 more years like our favourite team.

Vamos Argentina!

Dushman ka Dushman Dost?! (For those who don't know Hindi, this means "Enemy's enemy is a friend?")

Monday, July 03, 2006

Malgudi Express

Came across this titbit about a campaign to get something instituted in the memory of the creator of the world of Malgudi, which remains to this day, one of our favourite fictional worlds...

Follow it here

What is your version of the World Cup?

An excellent figment of the imagination of some anguished English soul

Thanks to bada bhai for the tip.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tour De France 2006

Follow it live here

Following some shocks, the TDF is off to a good start since the 1st winner of the maillot jaune, won so by 1 sec!

Georgie, the loyal Lance man, was 2nd.

Although I don't see myself following it as fervently as last yr, I would be seeing as much as possible.

Poor TDF, I'm sure not many have noticed that it has started. I guess the same goes for that grass tournament!

Joga Bonito?!

Zidane is the best footballer after Maradona for his team.

Ok, now...

Kaka, Robinho, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano, Juninho,...

Zidane.

All my plans to transfer goodwill to Brazil after the Argentinians lost will now be wasted.

Now that my head is clear, I tip Germany to win the Cup. Frankly don't care any more who wins.

But again, Zidane showed why France won the Euro and World Cup with him.
You never know. They might even win the Cup this time. With Vieira playing like he is and Henry able to latch onto Zidane's passes, what more do they need...

And if you ask me, it won't be long before the African teams catch up. I am betting on atleast one African team in the WC semi-finals in 2014.

Vamos Argentina for one last time in 2006 :(

Viva Football :)

Don't cry (only) for Argentina...

cause England has just joined the club of unfortunate countries to get eliminated by a rather undeserving team.

Portugal played a lacklustre game. England played worse. Hargreaves and Crouch both had a good game.

It was quite touching to see Gerrard and Terry, both of whom were amongst my favourite players at this Cup, break down. Lampard and Cole, both of whom I had seen play great football didn't seem like the players they are.

To think, I would be feeling sorry for England while I am still recovering from y'day's tragedy.

C'est la vie et futbol.