Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I am NOT a bad cook

This is a post made in extreme haste and mental tension on account of the indescribable horrors inflicted upon my otherwise sedate and serene soul by my lovely little sis, Surabhi, with regards to my modest culinary abilities.

For everyone who has read her testimonial on my orkut profile, you could be pardoned for having thought that I have subjected her to some rather agonising experiences in the name of food and they provide the impetus for that diatribe against me.

However, the observant and sceptical lot among you would have noticed that she did not actually say that she doesn't like my cooking, its just some really bad experiences she has had. She has coupled that rather masterfully with her poor opinion of the previous picture I had put up on this blog of something I had cooked earlier and given the impression that my cooking is..well..crap.

This is another snap taken a couple of days after the previous one was taken. Its essentially the same thing, prepared a bit differently.

I hope to be able to take a couple more pics of stuff I cook here in the UK and post them on the blog.

Subbi, hope this one redeems me to some extent.

Monday, August 28, 2006

protect your banana

What in the name of heavens is this ???

protect my banana ???

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I am not the techno whiz kid of the millennium, but I do know enough to know that Google uses context sensitive ads based on the contents of your email.

Now, that led me to a search where I digged into each of my email for the past 3 months, and there was NO reference to any banana, literal or metaphorical.

Should I sue Google for slander ???

Saturday, August 26, 2006

zinda rehne ke liye teri kasam

saans aati hai saans jaati hai
sirf mujhko hai intezaar hai tera
ansuon ki ghatayen pee pee ke
ab to kehta hai yahi pyar mera

zinda rehne ke liye teri kasam
ek mulakat jaroori hai sanam

teri chahton ne ye kya gham diya
tere ishq ne yun deewana kiya
jamaane se mujhko begaana kiya
deewane tere pyar mein bada hi bura haal hai
khadi hoon teri raah mein, na hosh na khayal hai
ek mulakat jaroori hai sanam

mere saath mein ro raha asmaan
mere pyaar khoya hai jaane kahan
use dhoondati main yahan se wahan
milan ki mujhse aas hai, nikalti nahi jaan hai
main kitni majboor hoon, ye kaise imtehaan hai
ek mulakat jaroori hai sanam

meri ankhon mein jale tere khwabon ke diye
kitni bechain hun main yaar se milne ke liye
mere bicchde dilbar, tu jo ek baar mile
chain aa jaye mujhe jo, tera deedar mile
maseeha mere dua de mujhe, karun ab main kya bata de mujhe
koi raasta dikha de mujhe,mere yaar se mila de mujhe
mere dard ki dawa de mujhe

kahin na ab sukun hain, kahin na ab karaar hai
milega mera saathiya, mujhe to aitbaar hai
ek mulakat jaroori hai sanam

zinda rehne ke liye teri kasam
ek mulakat jaroori hai sanam

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Kitaab ghar - Harry Potter I

I will start this review with a disclaimer.

It has not been forced upon me by anyone and is not a reaction to the comments made earlier on this blog.

HPI is basically a kids' fairy tale. I have been one of the infidels who saw the movie before they read the book and I must admit that the movie was not half as bad as I thought it would be. I enjoyed it to a large extent and would not mind watching the sequels too. But, and this is the critical bit, I enjoyed it not because of the text but because of the excellent depiction of the tale on screen. Right from the cast, to the background music and the graphics, everything was as close to perfection as it could be. And it was all of these that made the movie as good as it was, not the story.

I do not say this to take anything away from the story, to demean it in any way. Its just that the basic story itself is not new or unique in any way. Yes Piyu, great tales are not always new, but they always talk about things in a way that is unique. They show the same thing in a such a new light that our horizon of understanding widens.

Think of any such work. Sholay, my favorite movie, does not talk about anything that had not been talked about before. Friendship, romance, the village buffoon, the local bandit and the inevitable tragic tale, none of these had not been shown in countless movies before. However the skill and dexterity with which these were blended together and the assured depiction of the complex underplay among the characterisations was what elevated the movie from the good to the sublime.

The reason Mr. Sippy was unable to make another such masterpiece, though he came close with Shaan, was that he was unable to ever get his story to blend together in such a way that the end result is bigger than the sum of the parts. Shaan was an excellent movie in itself but it will never make it to top 100 Bollywood movies ever.

If you read Freedom at Midnight, it has hardly anything that is not known to a keen student of Indian History, and most of it is known to any Indian, but the way the narrative has been put together, the way the linkages between disparate events has been highlighted and the way stunning parallels have been drawn between things that didn't look related to each other make it a book for the ages.

Watch an episode of Buniyaad, and quite a few of you will blech at this mention, but it was superb depiction of the travails of a family racked by misfortune which was further rocked by the events of India's independence and partition.

Watch the legendary Calcutta Test match with Australia once again. India have been down and out before, they have clawed back before, very rarely but they have and they have won matches from difficult positions in other occasions. But in that one test, the whole team was just different. You could sense that the team was operating in a different zone. Everyone was focussed, determined and looked a part of a larger plan. It was so perfectly executed, I still can't believe it was not according to a script. Was it fixed, you think ?

Anyway, coming back to the topic at hand, Harry Potter I has a nice premise and it does provide some rather interesting variations from the commonly accepted norms to provide entertainment that is becoming more and more difficult to provide in these times of short attention spans and even shorter memories. I mean the only two things you could do at a railway station was either get onto a train or get off it. By introduction the patform between platform 9 and 10, JKR created an avenue that did not exist before and hence it was fun reading about it because of the novelty factor.

But novelty has one big curse that goes with it. Novelty demands constant innovation. The same platform in the woodwork that was so fun much to read about in the first book is routine business in the subsequent stories. Now we need another leap of faith. And JKR has not been able to rise to the occasion.

Harry is a likeable young lad. I like him. What I do not like is the constant flip-flop that JKR keeps making him do as she fancies. At one time he is this pitiable little creature who is unable to fend for himself and is miserable about it. At another, he is this evil devil who blows people up and makes them float in the air. First he acts all nice and cute with Hermione. Then midway through the book, he turns into this brash teenager who is not concerned with human emotions.JKR needs to sort this out and decide exactly what she wants Harry to be. This switching of skins makes him even less believable than he is anyway.

Pardon me for being a muggle, but the whole concept of magic and the ability to do magic revolves around being mischievous and having fun. By introducing structured processes around the same, we have lost the unpredictability. The two sides in any battle in any work of memorable fiction have always been evenly matched. JKR fails on that count too. Harry is a wizard and can do all kinds of nifty things while his poor uncle has no such powers and doesn't hold any direct authority over Harry and is not even the father of Harry's love interest, Hermione. Yet Harry is terrified of him even after realising his powers. That sounds ridiculous to me.

When I read a kid's book, I try to become a kid too. And my friends know it is not difficult for me to do, still being the comics and novels afficionado that I am. And it is the kid in me that kept shouting, this is not right, why is Harry so grown up and why does he have to think so much, why is he not impulsive and so on. And it is these questions that make the tale so "rigged" and "made up".

Excuse my atheist nature of disagreeing folks, but the book is just not truly a kid's book. It is a hopeless mish mash of kids bed time tales and teenage adventure stories and its success is not a measure of its brilliance but a rather alarming indicator of the sorry state of kids literature in the world today.

It is good, very good in some ways but it isnt great. Give me my regular fix of Noddy anyway.

will you please get a sense of perspective please?

Why do the Harry Potter maniacs have to latch on to every word ever written about it and pour vitriol over it I will never understand. I am not referring to the two kind comments I have received in here.

Surabhi, I have not "not got" the essence of the book. And while you have managed to coax a disclaimer out of me, reading all six won't change the fact there were similarities.

Piyu, and others who have similar grouses, that post was not a review of Harry Potter I. It was just an observation of similarities I happened to spot in the same. While I was not planning to do a review of the same because of various reasons, I will do so in the next post.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Update on the harry potter post

Well, the sis in question below has raised a strenous objection to the assertion that the aforementioned Harry Potter story has similitudes of varying degree with a multitude of films from various eras of Hindi cinema.

Considering the hold that she has on me right now, I had no choice but to bow down to her wishes and hence I concede, under emotional duress I must add, that any resemblance in any Harry Potter book with any other piece of entertainment of any type from any region from any time is merely happenstance and does not construe any act of wilful violation of either copyright or plot schematics.

What do I call this?

It was a random event in my rather eventful life that forced me to put my title as Aditya..is sad on Orkut. It was just a reflection of my sentiment at that time. I didn't think much of it at that time.

But it triggered a whole series of reactions. I got scraps, yahoo messages, Gtalk messages from all over the place asking if everything was okay. It was overwhelming and hugely gratifying.

What was the icing on the cake was my dear sis Surabhi calling all the way from the US just to know if everything was fine with me. I spoke to her after 8 years and it was so nice. Her voice has assumed this rich graceful quality and her manner of speaking has evolved from the chirpy happy go lucky kind to this modulated smooth and soothing one.

It was a treat talking to you sis. Thanks for calling.

And thanks to everyone else too. The concern was touching and is appreciated. Muchas Gracias !!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

a tale of two cliches

Young hero,obviously good looking, hard working. Lost his parents in an accident. Staying with evil relatives who give him a hard time, treat him worse than they would treat their dog and deny him the simple pleasures of life.

Beautiful heroine with a heart of gold. Living with ideal parents who are quite well off and are large-hearted too. A big many number of brothers who are quite fond of her. Heroine has a very soft corner for the hero.

They study in the same school/college and are don't see eye to eye initially.

The hero's friend. Bumbling, a bit eccentric, not so manly, but quirkily nice and occasionally brave. Can be relied upon for comic relief.

The evil guy with amazing power. The intriguing group of people out to destroy or at least subdue him. The mysterious man with secret capabilities. The breathtaking scenery. The inevitable match of some sport at which the hero saves the day for his team at immense odds. The even more inevitable scene of the hero and heroine stuck together in the night in some scary place.

Sounds familiar ? Can you guess the movie ? Can you name the most likely person to be playing the hero's character ? the heroine's ?

I am reasonably sure that it is a Hindi movie that you are thinking of. Which era that movie belongs to is a direct function of your age but since the audience for this blog is predominantly of the same age group, I suspect its the mid to late 90s you are thinking of aren't you ?

Write your answers on a paper first before proceeding onwards please.

Done ? Good. No, no I do not doubt your honesty. Its just for more security you know :-)

Now, remember the first Harry Potter book or movie.

The realisation dawns ???

JK Rowling has been applauded the world over for writing a story that is so refreshingly new and her unprecedented success has been ascribed to the same.

And all I can think of is that she has a bunch of Bollywood DVDs stashed up in her home and all she is doing is munching popcorn while she watches one hindi potboiler after another and just reduces the ages of the characters and change the settings. The plot, the interplay between characters, the sexual tension, the victory of good over evil is all the same.

And then people blame Anu Malik for plagiarism. Not fair, I say !!!

Good read though. Even though Piyu made me read it almost by threatening to do some unmentionables to me, I recommend the books for light reading.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

what the hell

Will someone please explain this ?

silent ringtone

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pichhurr Hall - Corporate

There are some people in this world who will not recognise a good film if "good film" is written in bold and scrolled across the top of the screen in a ticker.

Madhur Bhandarkar has already delivered two highly assured movies in Chandni Bar and Page 3 and yet the critics didnt pause to reflect on his latest offering, Corporate.

This movie has all of Madhur's trademarks aplenty. The drivers and peons explaining the pecadilloes of the leading people are a regular feature now. And in a refreshing change from the typical Indian fare, Madhur does not hesitate from using the relevant inside jargon. Terms like shareholding and even concepts like majority stake, management control through shareholding, and even market capitalisation on the basis of projected share prices for an IPO, all of these are rather pleasant surprises.

This is quite a contrast from the traditional Indian assumption of the viewer being too dumb to understand this kind of lingo. What moviemakers must realise is that very rarely can a movie today appeal to every Indian citizen. The story pretty much dictates the audience that is likely to be interested. And hence, one the story is decided, the viewers are more or less set in stone. Hence, it makes much more sense to give them a far realistic experience by using the relevant terminology than just using generic catch-all phrases.

I must admit, at the onset of the movie, I wasnt quite enthusiastic and a large part of that stemmed from the fact that Bipasha Basu was a part of this movie. And the only movie that Bipasha has acted, or rather been visible in, and yet not turned the movie into a disaster, was Mere Yaar ki Shaadi Hai.

However, while I still hold the belief that there were many other actresses that could have done more justice to this role than Bips did, I must admit that she exceeded my expectations by far. So full points to her for doing the best in her limited histrionic range.

KK is a different story. For the best part of the movie, I kept wondering why he even bothered to be a part of the movie. His role was so insignificant that I could not understand why an actor of the stature of KK could take it up.

Similarly, Achint Kaur, a far better actress than many give her credit for, Ekta Kapur's serials notwithstanding, looked totally wasted. However the 15 minutes in the climax, if it can be called that, where KK explodes into a frenzy of anguish and guilt are proof enough that he is one of the more accomplished performers we have today.

All others did their parts well enough. One notable fact is that Madhur got his entire cast spot on, right down to last typist and peon. No role looked like enough thought had not gone into its selection.

One area where Madhur keeps succumbing to this urge of his is to have an item song and it is beginning to irrtate me no end. However, in all fairness, you do need a catchy dance number to keep your movie in the trailer wars on telly these days if your lead cast does not the magnetic appeal that a Kabhi Alvida na Kehna has.

Payal Rohatgi should either be guillotined or sent away to Guantanamo Bay for some rather rough treatment at the hands of the Yank GIs. Her dances are repititious, boring and atrocious. She must stop doing item numbers. For my sanity if nothing else.

Another bit of feedback that I have heard a few times about this movie is that it is a bit overboard and that things dont happen in such a dramatic fashion in real life. And while it is very easy and perfectly ok to go ahead and defend the same by saying that movies must be overboard to be interesting, I would personally challenge that view.

Having witnessed both business and political deals of large magnitude being struck right in front of me many a times, I can say with authority and confidence that everything that was shown as happening in the movie is something that I have seen or experienced personally and is, hence, accurate.

In terms of grouses, the one bit that stuck out was the rather sudden fall in tempo at the end of the movie. Madhur doesnt seem to have thought of a proper ending because it does tend to feel quite an incoherent termination to a rather engrossing tale.

Apart from that, it might sound a quibble to most of my readers, but I found it ridiculous to show KK sitting at the window of his flat, which is in Hiranandani Gardens, Powai in Mumbai, and looking over the Bandra Worli sea Link through the glass. It aint possible and it is stupid. Especially because that does not add any value to the story in any manner whatsoever.

Barring these, I did not find anything wrong with the movie and I have even burnt it on a disk for my personal library and that is the
biggest compliment that I can give to any movie.

So, please watch it. In my opinion, it is very likely to be the sleeper hit of the year.

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