Friday, December 30, 2005

Is it only me?

I am no investigative journalist, but when i saw this and this, i was kinda thrilled about 'black' however rehashed, being chosen on time's top 10 list. Even here! However, a visit to the time magazine site revealed, well, nothing. No black, nothing! what gives?? Am i missing something here? Is there a different list online and a different list for the print version?

Update: looks like the Time Asia list is different, still trying to figure why, coz there are a lot of overlaps anyway..anycase, mystery solved looks like.

Update #2: Time magazine's reponse to my question below

*** city ***
San Francisco, CA

I was wondering why your top films list here is different from the
one on Times Asia. And assuming that Times Asia is for asian movies
as well, why the asian movies here [2046 and Kung-Fu hustle] were
DROPPED to accomodate black and the thai movie on the asia list.


Since the international editions of TIME are produced for different
audiences, they are neither identical to the U.S. edition nor to each
other. The editors at each edition are somewhat autonomous and make
different decisions about what content to publish.

Thank you for your interest, and all best wishes in the new year.


Well, it still doesnt make sense to me. Its the same reviewer/columnist with two different lists for two different editions..Time is yet to respond to second query.

Update #3:

My Mail:
Thanks for the response. It still doesnt make sense, its the SAME
>columnist who is rating the movies, how can he have two different
>list for two different editions? isnt it his personal opinion?
>I am talking of the link here
>and here

Time’s response:

Actually it does make sense. While “Citizen Dog” had wide release in
Thailand, how many people in the U.S. have had a chance, or will have
a chance, to see it? Our lists are just not that universal.

Besides, what a waste of time it would have been for you to look at
both websites and see the same list. Eye-wink


Friday, December 23, 2005

I confess I am a...

listener of Christmas Carols..CORNY to be precise [Christmas on Rhyming Notes, YES!!]. First my defense:

1) NO, its not some colonial hangover. Well, it possibly is, but i havent really heard too many Jain songs for Mahavir Jayanthi, so i will stick to the most popular [Ganesh mandal rehashes of popular bollywood movies to ganeshish proportions notwithstanding]

2) Yes, i studied in a convent school. I was that kid who solemnly stacked the hymns book in her schoolbag everyday, and even yelped joyously when the nuns chose my favorite one to sing in the morning prayers.

3) And no, i dont always like christmas carols, especially when the retailers give the step-sisterly treatment to thanksgiving and insensitively play christmas songs during TG.

I, simply put, enjoy the christmas carols. I do have my radio switched to the station that plays the most of it. Some would say its my childhood denial syndrome kicking in, that when as the only ‘convent-bred’ kid, i could get away with singing “sound of music” and still be patted on head for singing like those choir-girls for xmas. To be fair, Xmas carols are not too hard on the ears, and i truly feel there is a magic to it. So while the rest of the country decides to call it a celebration of festiveness or some such lame stuff, I will tune my music station to xmas carols and light a fire in the fireplace of our californian rented home [aw you chicago-folk…dont balk!] and pretend i am in an enid-blyton novel. Which probably makes it a literary-hangover more than a colonial-hangover.

Coz i know, atleast where i come from, retailers will bravely put out christmas logos and share pedas under the christmas trees with customers. And know all is well in the “Merry christmas” land.

Delirious from overdose of office-gifts for the festive season,

Monday, October 17, 2005

the long thought on goodnight

History was never my strong subject at school. And movie reviewing isnt my strongest of skills. So combine american history with american movies, and self is at as lost as macalay culkin in home alone II. Great, now i’ve even raised expecations with that analogy.

My point is this, movies on historical events pass me by fairly unimpactfully. Five years back, at a discussion of ‘all the president’s men’ my awe at the discussion of the movie started and ended with the knowledge that watergate was the name of a building, giving rise to the ‘watergate scandal’.Who knew? I was content in letting that fact be the only takeaway from the discussion. In anycase, years of doing the ‘readers dont digest’ rounds of filmfare magazine, and the ability to correctly predict endings of bollywood fillums brought in me a naive thought that self might be a movie critic. You know, bash a few, laud a few, give it a rating bordenline enough to make you an expert be it a flop or a hit.

But the point is, it sometimes IS greatly satisfying to view a movie on american history and come away with the feeling of having watched a classy film, very well-timed and beautifully handled, while still being ignorant on the historical significance and the importance of the historical characters in it. Its like when you catch a surprisingly great flick on the arabian horses and their tough situation. Granted you know nothing about the fodder scam that arabia is under now, but if hte movie is good enough, you would have that vague ‘i watched smtg satisfying’ feeling. You dont need much skill for that kinda feeling, and thats exactly what i felt this weekend. Self came away with shining eyes and an inspired soul, but could only vaguely recall the name of characters and the senator in the movie, the movie that was ‘goodnight, and goodluck’. If an inspired soul is what George clooney aimed for, you got it dude. If driving home the idealogies of the main character was, too bad. but for that, i blame myself.

Goodnight, and goodluck is the movie of CBS reported Edward Murrow, who exposed and consequently brings down senator McCarthy. I know, very “all the president’s men”ish..but the investigation of the story is NOT the highlight. What is?

a) Camera work—kudos to the team for deciding to shoot it all in black and white. The smoke-filled CBs newsroom and the cigarette dangling from tip of finger is absolutely enhanced in a B&W mode. The crisp, direct tone of the movie is supplemented very well with the non-distracting and effective use of black and white. Especially since the senator’s courtroom and hearing scenes are the original recordings, it blends splendidly

b) editing–tautness is the tyrannical theme of the movie, and i mean that in a good sense. Tautness, i feel, is easier to portray if the movie is a series of events unfolding. [if the reporters were to, lets say, run around collecting clues]. When the movie is of a slightly preachy, introspective nature, tautness can possibly be impossible to achieve. Little things add to the tautness, Murrow’s direct launch into his report, bypassing the ‘good morning america’ cliche, delivers the sense of urgency and the high tension in the newsroom everytime.

c) The characters–David Straitharin, as murrow in unbelievable. He looks like someoone who shot right out of 1950’s and probably will go right back. He is introspective, passionate, principled, cynical and sarcastic in the few lines he delivers off-the-camera. His speech at the felicitation ceremony, in the beginning and end of the movie, are in one-word, inspiring. When he says “i dont mean to say dont dedicate the tv for entertainment..all i ask is dedicate one day a week for a report on education reforms” you can sense the audience nod in understanding [well i went to a theatre of fairly old patrons]. When he does little bits of shows on fashion and housewives to have a steady income, he doesnt draw pity, just a smile.

The characters of shirley and joe, though slightly irrelevant to the plot, surprisngly work well to move the wheels of the story forward, acting as narrators, they replace the audience within the story. expressing thoughts and feelings that the audience probably feels at that point of the movie. George clooney as fred friendly, the producer of the show that exposes the senator, is controlled and believable.

The final message isnt preachy, its merely observational. Its probably easy to see it as “dont pollute the medium of TV with garbage” theme, but methinks the message is more “dont insulate and protect yourselves behind the laughtracks”. And i’ve never been happier abour NPR ever since.

inspired to no effect,

Monday, October 10, 2005

By the by, am a tambram

Tambram chronicles, how utterly jejune. Well, to be frank, am motivated to write on the section of the society purely out of ‘eye rolling’ variety of people i come across in the U.S once in awhile, who want to brandish the tambram tag, for reasons entirely unknown to logic.

I mean, i expect a reader to be as interested in this as Paris Hilton chronicles, “what did my petdog wear today” kinda stuff. But! even that category has readers dont it. And in anycase, i think its profoundly useful to know about the Tambram idealogy. Its the very foundation of all things ritualistic. Shakespeare once said “all the world’s a stage” [and boy, did THAT one get overused]. Mom preferred to come up with her own inspiring words, “All ideas are recipes” she would proclaim, a stern eye focused on me for obvious reasons. But then, it wasnt always a hint to my cooking skills. To her, everything was a recipe, really. “A bit of newspaper and a dash of coffee and my morning is made” she would declare, at 6 A.M. “A pinch of motivation and a bowl of hardwork” she would insist, when exams were a day away [well motivation had a pretty weak flavor, but whoz be to doubt her recipes?]. Grandpa, when he visited would beam proudly and point to fact that mom was a B.A in English. well, no surprise there methinks. Of her generation, 93.56% were B.A English. The rest chose B.A.math or some such to direct them to the favorite tambram passion of those times, government banks.

Well anyway, coming back to the recipe for tambram ideology, we have to dissect the ingredients.

Today, we talk of the classic uncle.

In a true tambram household [the kinds i know atleast], each person is connected to other in precisely two ways. If not more. Unless they were direct siblings or parents that is. The classic uncle is the one always to point it out. He would walk in, unannounced, take of chappals and place it neatly by the front door [while making it a point to comment on any other eye-catching variety of shoe placed beside it]. He would invariably be the one to say “DID YOU KNOW that i am your uncle as well as your grandfather?” well, he usually isnt lying. At some point my family would’ve realized they needed to look at neighbors and far-off relatives to marry their children off and thus ended a never-ending loop of uncles and aunts who, if the situation demanded, could do a double duty of grandpa or grandma. Uncle is usually pretty harmless though. He could wax eloquent about how rasam should be, but would’ve never prepared it in his life. He would’ve cooked exactly once in his life, typically when wife was getting a delivery or hysterectomy done, but would go on and on about it all his life. He would also be the one to take pride in all things ritualistic and all things that radiates false silly pride. By definition, he would have to disagree with all things new-generationish. Food, clothing, and god-save-the-songs they listen to. Excessive use of english would spark discussions of how the english language benefited from us all [well not tamil you see..but in this case he would suddenly get patriotic for language. In true “dad of the my fat greek wedding” movie, he would claim english benefited immmensely from india].

And everytime you accidentally thought english had a wider variety of words to suit your palette, he would start his classic question “did you know you cant say so-and-so sentence in english? why, they dont have words for that type of thing”. Unlike his wife, who couldnt explain why she insisted on certain crazy traditions, he would have a pompous scientific sounding reason for each one. These explanations are delivered using a loud voice, stern eye and a “do you dare to challenge what i believe to be the truth” tone. Like the time i asked why i should wear a bindi and a jasmine garden in my head when all i was doing is wtching TV. Hell hath no fury like an uncle asked. “A BINDI” he would exclaim loudly “is god’s way of protecting women. When rowdy-types see a woman with a bindi, it reminds them of shiva’s third eye. Which is WHY you must wear a bindi all the time”. Aunt would beam at uncle, she wouldnt have had any other answer but a “coz you must”. Uncle would triumphantly shoot a look at mom, one that translates to “this is how you deal with kids these days. see? i taught her didnt i”? statements like “huh” and “what the..?” or “so if i dont keep a bindi a rowdy will catch me” can produce deathlike silence followed by mom’s “you must listen to elders” speech, though we both know shez just making uncle happy.

In the next tambram chronicle, we shall explore the smartypants-shloka reciting-Padma Seshadri bred-made for engineering-cousin.

Tambram forever,

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I got 85 marks what about karthik? The Tambram Cousin

why the why, its the tambram son.

Tambram sons are a species divine. No, really. When they are born, its not usually with a silver spoon but a vertical red line on forehead. Right from the birth, to the time they marry their “she works in the software field, same as him” wives, they possess something that is important to the tambram dictionary, kalai. More importantly “iyengar kalai”. I promise not to use fancy tamil lingo no more, but this is important. Kalai [patters correct me if i am wrong] is basically that oily shine on face that somehow is supposed to distinguish a kid as a tambram. Dont ask me how, tambrams are apparently born with the skill to identify the tambramness in the faces of the srinivasans. “The minute i saw him, i knew he was an iyengar”, many a srinivasans would’ve exclaimed triumphantly. Heck, you are in the middle of iyengarpet dude, who else do you find in the temple streets of mambalam?

They are not specially treated over girls, this much i will give them. As girls, the expecatations, i feel, arent too different from community-to-community. Now unless you count those in which eating platefuls of chicken as a sign of manliness, tambram males have this unique pressure on them for a number of things.

a) temple-shlokas-noodlethread-sandhyavandhanam kiddo

Promptly at the age of seven or so, the kid gets the kinda ceremony that gals can only dream of. The thread ceremony, the ultimate in-your-face proof of iyengarism. While smarter alecs have gotten rid of the cumbersome thread ages ago, the patter boy valiantly holds on to it, missing many a bowling sessions during cricket as the thread slides off to hamper that crucial ball. The tambram kid religiously goes to temples, knows the parts of a temple and can utter the names of each of those amazing prasads they dole out. He can say “their home had chakapradhaman and such” without remotely exercising his tongue. He would have 3-5 handy shlokas handy to belt out at community gatherings. Depending, of course, on mom’s interest during his childhood. “when he was smaller, he used to recite the sandhyavandhanam without a single mistake” his mom would claim. “NOT A SINGLE MISTAKE” dad would nod sagely. Tambram boy will typically not question god, rituals, what nots. He would glare incredulously at neighboring tambram boy who had the guts, the guts of it i say, to try cakes with eggs. Till the age of about 12-14, he would be the shining example for other tambram mothers to point to. Which is about the time he would’ve finally gotten admission into waitlisted padmaseshadri and enters tambram teenagerhood.

b) the teenage years

english is cool. A.R.Rehman is cool. Hindi isnt, even though he has passed those fancy hindi-proficiency tests out of school.He loses interest in shlokas for a brief period. He is now in a cool-school, where girls are fancy and not oil-plaited. Casting surreptious glances at the ‘northie’ types, he would not typically thinking of being chummy with gals, except to share notes or discuss tuition classes owing to mom’s wild tales “that boy roams with girls and look at his marks in mid-term one” kinda flippant remarks. School becomes the new temple, a place to share chemistry notes, cricket scores and CDS of rolling stones that someone’s brother’s uncle said was cool [tambram boy obviously].He is usually not much into sports, struggling with the stereotype of a tambram boy who is healthy but not sporty except for galli cricket but must be brilliant in math and science. report-cards with hardearned scores in math will earn a reward and a reference to a U.S settled uncle who was brilliant in math as well. The idea of engineering as the doomed future takes shape slowly in head.Not that boy thinks its a doomed future owing to wide array of uncles, cousins, neighbor’s brothers who chose the path to permanent glory. Around this time, tambram boy’s silly remarks of the “I want to become a movie-star or race-car driver” are not treated with mirth like they used to be. Dad regularly challenges these jestful remarks with questions on math-scores, and mom has a handy basket of loser-cases who can never make it in life, they werent engineers. Between this age and 22 or so, life becomes a never ending pursuit towards an engineering degree or worse. [till 22 that is]

c) “which project does she work on” wife search

There is usually nothing that seperates age 16 from age 25..except tambram kiddo earns a handsome salary now and invests conversations around mobile phones, stocks shares and excessive salary-comparison with peers. The highlight is the impending girl-seeing ceremony that mom will inevitably line up for “first class with distinction MNC project manager so is worth a project manager herself or less [not more though] wife in software” charade. Lineups are fairly easy. Religion, MNC capabilities, homeliness and the pre-referred iyengar kalai. Once mom has done a shortdown of indian-born->hindu->brahmin->iyengar->subsect->star->gothram, our guy has a well categorized list of prospective brides. The factors to decide with dont change so much, so he could effectively use a computer-coded program to arrive at the best selection even without meeting her. But meet her he will, being a broad-minded U.S settled engineer. Mom finally gets a say in his life and she attacks it with gusto. Her extensive temple-network comes handy to cross-refernce the nominees. Dude arrives for a marathon “five gals a day” session, back to back over weekend. He spends the rest of his india holiday meeting the uncles and aunts and grandpas who appreciate electric toothbrush gifts and rib him good-naturedly on impending marriage. smartypants kiddo is certain his marriage will be confirmed in next two days, so wisely does not plan for long indian holiday this time [2 weeks for the wedding later in the year].

Wife-seeing ceremony moves swiftly along. Not much detail here, there seriously isnt any. As a broad-minded guy, he wishes to “talk” with gal, coffee-day nearby serves as the safe venue while parents wait the 10 break out in girl’s home, admiring cross-stitch and “best programmmer” awards [ensuring they share “award” stories as well]. End of day is for mom’s verdicts as well as dad’s [she is too modern and the likes] while tambram kid pretends he thinks deeply of all the offerings. He typically doesnt, its as eeny-meeny-minie-mo as the next guy experimenting in starbucks. Visa issues are evaluated and job opportunities are considered for her. The automatic assumption being she will move there [they DID know he was from U.S right?].

Guy reconnects to roots of iyengarism before wedding, assuming each ceremony of the 3 day saga is crucial. Fun comes in the form of searching for rings in pots and breaking papads on faces.

I guess a large part of this isnt different for non tambrams, but somehow I feel the factor of being an ‘iyengar’puts this unique pressure on these guys, and well, had to vent out some didnt i Sticking out tongue

Usual disclaimers apply. And please understand its gentle rigging of the tambram guy, i dont dislike the category. Hell, am married to one of the 26-letter guys arent i?

Guilty of back-stabbing,

Friday, October 07, 2005

OHIM Newsie

thats oh god its monday to you.

sometimes you just gotta write a newsie..i mean, its like those "sometimes, sprinklers just beseechingly call out to a pair of bare feet and squeals of delight". A crazy person has to do what a crazy person has to do, so here goes.

First off though, i never figured why news digests make their way into mailboxes or such on a friday. I mean, i see why writers think fridays make sense for these, but see none why readers would find it interesting on the day. The typical worker, typically, is just waiting for friday to get over. i mean, really. Its the day she sets aside time to write copious emails to friends, does 2 hour watercooler trips and thinks the deli downstairs can give lunch an hour late and all she'd say is "thank you very much now can i have a smoothie and take your sweet time on it". Not the day for newsies MONDAY, on the other hand qualifies splendidly. sad faces, mails in inbox none that you wanna need that something that makes you feel productive yet doesnt spell work. So please desist from reading this on friday. I promise to make it pompuos sounding incase boss sneaks up to ya on monday.

Real Estate getting REAL

I am thinking there is a reason the word 'real estate' has the word real in it..ever thought about it? i mean, estate makes sense [thought for a long time estates meant either tea or tata vehicles to me]. so after spending a year hyping the atrocious prices of real estate in CA, NY and such, the slowdown begins it seems. Well, am far removed from it all, so am probably unfairly cynical here. But comeon guys, how many heard a price for a home and went "NO WAY!! who PAYS that price?" or secretly checked real-estate listings much as you check daily horoscope? I hear its no different in the likes of bangalore or pune. A decent read for sure, curled up in my warm blanket in the balcony of cosy apartment while the maintainence guy fixes the broken blinds for free. This is as real as MY estate will get.

Mini Maxi?

Allright am obsessed. and yeah yeah, i know i dissed the honda element or the toyota scion to death. but hey, loyalties have a price you know..even if to SOME [pointed look at battered half] it may seem like a hybrid of an ambi and a mini. Mixed feelings as yet on this, but hey, have started to get used to the scion on the road..maybe this too.

My dream job

If i were to explain the kinda job i'd dream of, it would be smtg in the media, in the spotlight and where i need to be constantly on the move..hell, i didnt mean THIS

Who, who and WHO??

Rajpal yadav was dimunitively scary in 'jungle' for all that movie was worth. He was notable again in other recent flicks, but has remained firmly in the RGV camp. I definitely thought he was good in 'main madhuri dixit' but he was still sidelined against antara. While hez done the anupam kher version of 'i need the money' comedies [when will talented folk stop really?] this is one i had a wary eye on..seems its good, and though rediff reviews arent much [indiafm pans it] i would keep this flick on the pirated-but-hush-dont-tell-anyone-coz-you-benefit neighborhood DVDwala's radar.

Cant wait for it to be monday,

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cat Rain Na

Anyone noticing how katrina is such a bombastic combination of world calamities? Cynical self wonders, if the tsunami and the likes were news of the year [my year starts in december], Katrina is the khichdi news of the year. You have a hurricane impact, blown to Tsunami have stories afloat of relief efforts,covered by media to mumbai flood proportions [albeit way more botched up, but also leads me to think of the media's role in reporting here vs. NOT reporting there] and you have well, evacuations, of Gazaa strip proportions. Now if a looter of the nearest seven-eleven near new orleans downtown posed a terrorist threat, it would be the 'news that can explain the planet earth 2005 in one single event' deal.

Please to note, I FEEL for New Orleans people. And I dont wanna do the barbara bush thing, but who thinks this article is worth a consideration? Its a case AGAINST rebuilding new orleans, if that were possible. ANd a note on katrina's impact on price gouging.

ok, someone tell this guy 9/11 is passe. seriously. When he did his 9/11 comparison to Infosys in india, certain someones sniggered in an amused tone [pointed look at self's battered half]. but katrina to 9/11? whats the deal mr.fried man? run out of steam with your "i tell my daughters to buckle up and do homework, kids in india will take up your future jobs otherwise!" melodramatic statements?


This was officially the sweetest match in a long time, and no, self's bias towards shiny bald-plate agassi notwithstanding. till damn channel 105 cut the last half hour to show half of 'law and order SVU'. I dont mind the show, really, its perfect for a dinner of maggi and smoothie and non-laugh track TV time. But whoa! cutting a match to show a half-over show? deja vu of Doordarshan days anyone?

soapbox channel

and now, for the soapbox channel..and for those who religiously read the "odd news" section of reuters, I give you..this.

and dont bother asking what psychos live in today's world, the chili incident in california was enough to prove what kinds. and for the entertainment section, we have a pop question:

How will upcoming model-became-actress [ahem. MBA for short] katrina kaif be impacted by the katrina?

a) her career is predicted to be a disaster
b) she will be the hurricane of bollywood
c) she will be blamed for all flops in the industry by the superstitious folk [thats *.* in bollywood]

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Allright Allright

I know the guy seems crazy--but hez got an interestin point with

"..Insanity is thinking that piracy is the reason music sales are down and then focusing most of your business on selling music to the exact demographic that has the most time to spend on finding free music and most energy to spend on cracking whatever protections you introduce."

Are women afraid to compete?

not a fantastic read, but worth a thought during the water-refill break at work..

"Indeed, it seems women not only avoid competitions, even when they are forced to compete, they first funk and then flunk.

This psychological quirk clearly has huge economic implications because, on the whole, society can end up getting a large number of highly competitive but useless males in top jobs while less competitive and more competent females get left behind. "

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Willy Wonka-Just Imagine.

Meal candies and wonderous elevators. These two things stand out vividly from my fanatacial reading stints during childhood.Strangely enough, I found myself peppering my normal life conversations with casual references to both of these, like everyone else should but naturally understand them. “You dont need a kitchen!” i would reprimand my handicapped-by-bachelorhood guy, “all you need is meal-in-a-toffee to chew on instead of lunch”. “The what?” he would ask, immediately letting the phrase evaporate from his memory two seconds later.

“Charlie and the chocolate factory” had three great motivating factors going for it this sunday. 1) I loved the book, owning a very tattered copy of it till the library guy insisted on closing my acccount till i returned it. 2) Johhny Depp - I dont swoon over him in a cinderella’s step-sister fashion, but brief glimpses in movies such as “what’s eating gilbert grape”[also admit this movie had one of leonardo di caprio’s finest performances] and “nick of time” [dont ask.nothing spectacular]. “Pirates of the carribean” astounded me for his daring flamboyance in the character, as did ‘finding neverland’, a heart-warming tale about the most adorable characters and 3) it was so damn hot i needed to get to an AC theatre to get some relief. oh well, so much for cinematic allure.

I must admit the reviews and previews had prepped me well for the flick.As i hope this one will do too. A popular sentiment seems to be that you need to know the book to get the movie-absolutely false. While the same could be true of hitchhiker’s guide, is definitely not applicable to “charlie and..”. Expect eccentricity, if you dont already. And ‘leave your senses behind’ might make sense for cheesy hollywood flicks, but not for this one. Its whacko allright.Its madness allright. But it has a chocolate-truck full of brilliance going for it,and that nobody can deny.

The movie opens with the story of impoverished Charlie bucket, played by a Freddie Highmore, who manages to retain a permanent look of optimism and hope through the movie.Living in a lopsided cottage [trust me, its REALLY lopsided] he dreams of the willy wonka chocolate factory, satisfyin himself with stories of the factory told by delightful ex-employee grandpop. Living in a home filled with four grandparents and one set of parents, he is a cheerful child, helpful and finding immense joy in building a remake of the factory using toothpaste caps his dad finds at his factory. Charlie lives for the one willy wonka chocolate bar he gets every christmas, a gift from his penniless yet comforting family.

Excitement mounts as five golden tickets to a factory tour at the chocolate factory are hidden in 5 fortunate chocolate bars. The television telecasts the first four winners: an obese german kid, a maniacally competitive bubble-gum girl, a brat spoilt beyond rotten apple tolerance and the geekiest squid-kid you’ve ever seen. Charlie, by a strange quirk of fate, ends up being the last of this pack.

What follows is the most enchanting magical adventure that ever followed Mary Poppins. Johhny depp makes his giggling entry, clapping like a school-child at his own introduction scene by puppets that ultimately burn and perish. Johhny depp, is quite simply, Willy Wonka. While i do not remember the particularly clownish features of Wonka from the book, he looks and plays like the most brilliant man-child there was, and does it splendidly. With a prep-schoolgirl haircut, stupendously garish costumes and a face as colorful as a bucket of chalkpowder, he breezes into the movie with the audacity and the giggling excitement only an accomplished actor could bring. He seems naturally at ease with his antics, grinning stupidly, wincing visibly and explaining earnestly what could only be a load of nonsense to most of his visitors. “Well, you couldnt really make whipped cream without whipping the cow. Then that simply couldnt be whipped cream could it?” he asks,not innocently, but with the pompous arrogance that he so richly qualifies for.

The journey through the chocolate factory is enchanting–chocolate waterfalls to churn the chocolate and devious gadgets to make the perfect bar of chocolate seem to make perfect sense to a chocolate-lover, i would assume. The workers in the factory, the oompa-loompas didnt quite leave behind a satisfied feeling though. Apart from the desi-actor interest as well as the spontaneous song-and-dance routine that is famously inspired by bollywood dances, acted as a breather, helping me only to digest what I’d seen. Blame it on bollywood? why,most certainly Smiling

The rest of the children seem like spooky villains of my childhood nightmare. Their acting, however, is excellent. Cold, callous and calculating, they mildly interest willy Wonka, who cant for the life of him, fathom why they are so small and why they would try to please him. Freddie Highmore, playing Charlie, however, leaves a vaguely unsettling feeling of not having had enough of him. An excellent actor in “finding neverland”,he seems to be content in the background of Willy Wonka’s hysterical character.

Special effects–full marks. No surprise from hollywood i suppose, but somehow I feel the creative indulgence in a cartoon or a fantasy flick far exceed the cold metallic feel of star wars or the matrix. This movie qualifies without a doubt for the “breathtaking” effects and visuals. I could only hope there will soon be a “willy wonka” ride in disneyland that would be even one quarter of what the movie inspires.

The rest of the cast is just fine. Hop onto the ride to the chocolate factory this summer, and if you dont come out with a sweet taste and a feel-good attitude, well, you have only yourself to blame.Seriously. Its not a movie that you either like or hate. Its a movie that you qualify to love, or not.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

its all very fishy

“I hate pets”, I told my friend. Those lovely, cuddly, fuddly, cutie-pie dogs and cats that one would go “choo chweet” for? yep, those. Hate them. zilch love. I do scowling competitions with bulldogs and laziness competitions with neighbors cats, i do admit. But a pet of my own? no way. But waittaminute! Wasnt always like to so, you know..It wasnt? you ask, idly biting your nails while pretending to have better things to do. “No it wasnt”, i reply with breathless misunderstanding of your polite question as indefatigable interest. Twas a decade and five years ago, that self and bro were immersed in a game of friendly carromboard. It was the typical cozy family scene, if you would kindly like to imagine it. Grandma sat in one corner, a happy contented smile on her face. Pallavi, the chief protagonist, sacrificer par excellence and the undying symbol of indian womanhood, was finally allowed to meet her son on a famed tamil TV soap. She approved of pallavi, casting a reproachful look at her own daughter-in-law in the kitchen. Pallavi was righteous. Why, wasnt she a mute spectator to the hundreds of ill-treatments her husband’s family threw at her? Good for pallavi, grandma [must’ve] thought as she muttered a few prayers, either for pallavi or her own pallavi-wannabe acquaintances. Moving if you will, to the kitchen that grandma had only recently thrown a disdainful look towards, you will see the daughter-in-law, cooking. The daughter-in-law, in stark contrast to the previous character, wasnt happy. She cared a damn for the floosie pallavi on the telly, choosing to focus her attention to thinking evil thoughts about lakshmi, the maid. She conjured up 6 situations with nonchalant ease, all six of which were understandably intolerable reasons for the maid to ditch work today. Beginning with the possiblity of her having skulked away to watch that recent telugu movie released in the theatre nearby [“wait till she asks for a loaner tenner again!!”] to truly morbid situations like a fatally wounded husband in the hospital [an excuse used twice, much to mom’s annoyance]. cut back to the living room, where self and bro sat, practicing scornful looks for each other’s loss in the game. My two goldfishes, yes, i admit, i owned two, swam contently within the confines of their aquarium. I had plastic weeds and makeshift homes placed in it, hoping to con them into thinking they were in the ocean. I didnt see why they wouldnt think that, there was even a plastic mermaid to complete the look. I took aim at the last coin on the board, already tasting the victory [or the talcum powder of the board, who knew wot victory is supposed to taste like?]. As i whooped with joy, i noticed a well-developed scorn on bro’s face turn into a scowl [very jekyll and hydish transformation i assure you] and undeniable rage. One loud kick to the board sent it swirling to the table atop which perched the aquarium. CRASHHHH!! Grandma turned towards us in an unnerving slow-motion mode while mom scurried out, hoping it was the door shutting after lakshmi’s entry. The glass-pieces lay broken on the floor, water all over the carpet and sofa and two particularly unhappy fish flapping their bright orange fins against a decidedly confusing tile-piece of the floor. There was perhaps a 5 second period of silence at the end of each everyone spoke non-stop for two minutes. Gist as follows: Mom: dont move a step. Bro: Save the fishes. Grandma: Dont touch them! we are vegetarians [duh??] self: I won! Mom: Who did this? Bro: you cheated. we have to save the fishes! grandma: We are brahmins! [for added effect i presume] Self: I didnt! the fishes are dead! Well, mine turned out to be the last sentence spoken. The fishes were indeed dead, victims to staunch brahminism is grandma, and sheer laziness on our parts. Silence returns for 20 seconds at the end of which lakshmi enters the scene, dabbing dry eyes with end of pallu, shouting ‘amma…my husbandd….” while she tried to hide ticket stubs behind her. —curtains close—- So, there ya go. i owned a pair of pets that were sacrificed at the altar of brahminism. Needless to say, i was traumatized and rebelled by eating fishes,chicken and all that moved in hte years to come. Attempts to get another pet were thwarted by still-a-fan-of-pallavi grandma, who suddenly viewed my non-vegetarian habits to be similar to barbarians. Her justfitication was that i would eat my pets, as was now a non-vegetarian. All i can say of this indelible memory was, I won :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Chandramukhi-Review Scene

Director: kudos for atleast picking a non-revenge drama. Its a horror flick in the most original form--original it is not, so doesnt strike the horror chord. But atleast keeps one interested. Well-paced and well-placed [product placement that is], the film entertains on an overall level. Its but obvious that anybody else apart from Rajnikanth is in negligible roles, and its definitely true.[what did you expect ?]. While if you are prone to saying it, "what the heck" would be uttered about 76 times through the movie, it made for fun and hey, that counts.

Rajnikanth: delivers. He almost seems like a guest star towards the interval, fairly detached from the actual movie. His superstargiri is impactless but obviously necessary for the fans. He smiles, he laughs, he mouths dialogs appropriately and attempts the comedy fairly succesfully.He is noble, loyal and kind-and even patches up with a suspiciously Jayalalithaish character towards the end, therby delivering the much anticipated political message as well. Hallelujah!

Rest of the cast exists--which is more than can be said of a rajni movie. Actors are unapologetically wasted, nasser, vineet, etc. Newcomer nayantara is nothing to write home about.Jyotika delivers a punch towards the end and qualifies for being the second real actor in the movie.

Story: Would've been way better if in the original. Prabhu and Jyotika move to a palace with extended family for a project and the bhoot of chandramukhi haunts the place and its occupants. Rajnikanth as a [ahem] psychologist from AMEEErica attempts to solve the case. Havent seen such a storyline in tamil in a looong time, so its a good change from the "love" and "revenge" theme of the past decade.

As is true of all movies, keep logic aside please. Its an entertainer of the illogical variety, give it the due credit it deserves.

Chandramukhi-Movie Scene

Product placement finally hit tamil movies fullblast. Movie is preceded by ad for Airtel, connecting two vague things like "chandramukhi" and Airtel phones. The host beams happily into the camera and proclaims herself happy as she has Airtel. "And now for the Superstar movie--Chandramukhi!!" she trills while the movie begins. Bunch of engineers in construction van are being attacked by "villains" [notice the quotes. Indicates am clueless of the who,why,what,where of the villains. They pop out for a significant part of the movie]. While obese Hero "prabhu" tries to rush to the rescue, a henchman is smacked in the face by a pair of cheap keds. Camera moves from sole of shoe [size 8] to face of the superstar. Commendable make-up, the senior citizen almost resembles the 45 year old sensation. Background music goes wild, as does the theatre. A guy stands up to throw torn paper at the screen, while self is hoping that the theatre-guys screen the entry shot for a small aarti [its true. Have been there]. Doesnt happen, but shrill whistles continue unabated--screenshot seems frozen for such a moment so that nobody misses a single dialog. After a lengthy minute, the noise dies down. Now Rajnikanth proceeds to single-handedly destroy any memory of "The Matrix". Mr.Anderson is down on his knees, begging for mercy as the superstar flies, freezes and swims in the wind to bash up goons. The spectacular fight ends with the superstar jumping up in the air, freezing, and dusting shoes before landing expertly upright. Hallelujah!

Guy on left takes offense to laughter at fight-"If its crouching tiger hidden dragon everyone will see but not superstar" he sulks. Mom smiles kindly at hurt fan, and looks at me as if to say " Freeze that thought on copycat directors". This, by the way, is fan-dom at its best. There is no sense or logic in the movie--the dialogs, obviously patronizing ["I have heard ravana has 10 brains in 10 heads but superstar has 10 brains in one head"]. Its obscene watching Rajnikanth prace around his grandaughter aged actress. Nobody is allowed decent screen-time and its a VERY souped up version of a perceivably classy mallu movie. But the theatre is elated, logic to hell.After atleast a decade I came out of the theatre with smiling, laughing audience--no matter what the reason, they enjoyed themselves. The incredulousness of the movie,the arguably unfunny comedy--it all bundled into one fun session for the crowd, and hey, one cant argue with a crowd-pleaser. A Rajni movie is guilty-pleasure--you know there is nothing intellectual in there, but you are drawn to it,even if to mock its stupidity as it provides for what isnt very common these days, "entertainment in the true sense".

But how was the movie you ask? hmmm.

Chandramukhi-Theatre Scene

Southiedom is totally fun--absolutely love the trip to local saravanabhavan and immersing self in total tamil chatter [vennai, aapu, soooper all inclusive]. Guy could never get why, but put that down to his innate MBCTness [Mumbai Born Confused Tamilian--the chembur/Matunga variety who are basically neither here nor there]. Waiting for a Rajni flick in the theatre was no 4 AM wedding, but hey, i dont complain.

So here i am, waiting patiently in what could be called a line only in amoebaland. Mom alternates between reading tamil magazine and identifying people by city-names [a "poda vennai" dialog instantly brought "madras" to her lips, while the mention of "nadu center"earned the speaker a smug "coimbatore" tag]. The guy melts into his blackberry, scanning even junk mail for want of anything to do. The show is to start half-hour late, informs the theatre-manager, prompting a shrill-seeti [whistle] from a dangerously delirious guy. Good-natured laughing immediately follows while i triumphantly look at guy as if to say "see, the fun begins now". Bespectacled uncle, grandkid in tow complains "Whaat is this saar.I thought heeyar atleast movies will start on time". He turns around hoping someone listened, i give him a small smile that indicates i heard him [so dont repeat your complaint again] but small enough so he doesnt think of me as too friendly. Uncle doesnt get the hint: "so much time they take" he adds at a lower decibel, helpfully. "Yes yes" amma jostles her way in. "Phew!" i say, thankfully, trying to squeeze out so that "god knows when in the past we must've been neighbors" chennaites could proceed when mom does the inevitable, introduces me. "This is my daughter,she lives in Fremont"-i almost except a "say hello to uncle" but thankfully mom realizes i am capable of such actions. Guy smirks from my left, and i give him a dirtylook. As his smirk continues, i do what is only right. "And this is my husband, uncle" i gleefully state. Guy gives me a sour look while nodding hello. I havent had enough. "He knows a lot of people in Cisco" i proclaim sadistically. Uncle has just mentioned his "wonly son" working in Cisco and guy hates the presupmtion by parents that cisco will contain only one indian, their child, who every other indian would automatically know.

As uncle enthusiastically describes his son [tall, about 5' 6" with spectacles. he is very popular among his friends at Cisco. Every day or other someone comes to meet him at home, he adds helpfully] Mom nods happily at well-connected son-in-law while guy mumbles something about the friggin' size of Cisco. I peer at posters of telugu and tamil flicks and flyers of uncoming events when manager proclaims doors open. Stampede ensues, with someone screaming "jaragandi jaragandi" in manner of tirupati temple. Nobody laughs, everyone holding to their loved ones as they stumble, plot and scheme for seats together. walking among empty popcorn wrappers and spilt tea, i secure three bright spots on the 10th row. comfortably far from teh screen, but probably still decibelly overwhelmed due to speakers nearby. "Oh boy!" i exclaim joyously, "its gonna start!". Guy starts for the restroom while i land a firm hand on his wrist-"how can you go NOW? What if you miss Rajni's entry scene?" i ask horrified. Guy looks equally horrified, but for different reasons and sit, resigned on chair.

The hall darkens...loud whistles erupt...and the movie begins....

Friday, April 01, 2005

Someone's On My Shoulder

Massach [short for the untypeable state MA] sat firmly on the right shoulder, looking appropriately bored, even though the meeting hadnt even started. Snow-shovel was placed lazily by his side, dangling from my shoulder."Gosh, you are rather heavy" i remarked, shifting my weight a bit to balance the well-padded massach. Moving a bored eyeball towards me [well, both actually. but i dont particularly like massach and the spookier he sounds, the better for me],"duh! its still winter here aint it?" he asked in manner of trying to explain to an idiotic child. To be fair, massach had all reasons to be rude. He had been pulled out of shovel-the-frontyard activities to participate in a meeting with self, massach and soon to be ex-state, california who was yet to arrive. CA sauntered in, clad in an aloha shirt and fairly skimpy shorts even for a guy. "Aloha" he trilled prettily, sitting daintily on the empty left shoulder, light as a feather and tanned to boot [really, he had tan leather boots]. Massach groaned, "Identity crisis" he spouted venomously, "still in denial for the hawaii rejection CA?" he asked, grinning. I muttered something inaudible even to self, hoping the topic didnt balloon and take away all attention i am supposed to get. Everyone knew CA had the hots for hawaii.Hawaii, well, couldnt care less. There was nothing CA could give her, giving her no incentive to move closer to the mainland. She had the beaches, the palm trees and the cocktails-on-the-beachfront. CA was after all, a wannabe hawaii. CA was heartbroken, refusing to let go of Hawaii memories and still insisting CA was the land of sunshine, surfboards and golden beaches. EVeryone knew he went to a tanning saloon every month near LA to get the golden look, but hey, who are we to complain?

"So whats all this shing-a-din about?"he trilled, ignoring Massach. He sipped a badly made pinacolada while adjusting the sunglasses and relaxing back on my now aching shoulder. "Well" i cleared my throat, "As you both know, I had informed people yesterday I was moving out of CA and into Massach. I just wanted to make sure you were ok with this". I looked warily at CA, very well known for his "expressions of emotions" that could run for as long as a Dr.Phil show."yeah i heard it on the state-vine" he said nonchalantly, "sure, no problem!". I was hoping this was another in-denial state of CA. I was after all, a golden adopted child of CA, pretending the sun and the sand was perfect while all the time i was wondering why it was too much like pune, weather-wise. But CA couldnt care less, only too glad to let a pseudo-californian mess his purist CA race. After all, i wasnt exactly roaming around in shorts or skimpy bikinis. Nor did I consider surfing a sport. I was doing nothing to appreciate what CA had to offer, in his opinion, which he stated in no uncertain terms. So I was free to trot around to any state as i please. "Damn!" i thought, "This was supposed to be a farewell, not a happy relief discussion". I turned towards Massach, who was now comfortably pretending to snore disdainfully. "Umm Massach?" I called out. I personally thought self qualified pretty well to be a Bostonian. As my grandmom often claimed, while making onionless veggies for dinner, "we were pure brahmins" [therby foregoing tasty seasonings like garlic and onion] and well, everyone knows of the Boston Brahmins. "Do i have a choice here?" he asked, visibly unhappy about another "what is a snow shovel? you mean i have to pick at the car before driving it?" case out of extremist CA."Well, you dont you know" I muttered. "I did specify yesterday I was moving out April end. Am even looking for movers!" I say brightly."yeah, whatever" Massach says uncharacteristically pulling out vocab from CA.

"Here is your entry test" Massach says, as if everyone would be aware of it. Sealed with a firm Harvard logo, it looked like 24 pounder, with plenty of space for writing down answers. "Entry test?" i mutter, the same way i muttered "DMV Test?" to the official like i was born to bypass tests. "Its needed, you know" he says, offering a 20 minute oral exam alternative instead. I take it, hell, am an adopted californian, can talk my way through anything no? Or atleast fill my sentences with "like, you know" till am expected to stop talking. "Red Soxs is..." Massach asks, one eyebrow raised. "passe of course" i say proudly. I stand up full length to show him my bright blue knee length polka-dotted socks. "Beat this" i say proudly. Massach groans visibly while CA looks around for the recycling bin and does stress-exercises for the 7th digit on palm. "There is an option here you know" Massach says, putting the question paper down firmly. "Whazzat?" asks CA, obviously upset i dont recycle my cans and very much glad i am leaving. "Well you could tell the truth" Massach says severely. "To whom" i ask, nervous to have been caught. "To the DSSers thats who!" Massach roars. "You arent moving nowhere are you? Liar liar pants on fire. April fool's day joke is all that you had in mind"! he takes a swig out of CA's almost empty pinacolada and takes quick short breaths. "Umm" i grin stupidly. "It did work, no?" i ask glad to get this off my mind. "You claimed i suck" CA sulked.

Curtains close on sulking CA, pinacolada discovering and liking Massach and stupidly grinning self.

CA rocks guys. Thats the truth. Happy April Fools day :-)

Pleased as punch [yep resh. I still dont get why punch is pleased but it sounds nice dont it]

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Statehood Chronicles Loop

Too bad Bridget Jones didnt make it to the final cut of top personalities in any of the years her book was published [yeah i know, spoof circles and pointless articles vaguely hinted at such an award, but not RECOGNIZABLY so, no?].There would've certainly be one biased vote from self for her--biased as the reason is just one phrase coined by her [remind me to come back to this term 'coined' later] "Smug Marrieds".Unless there is or noteworthy domestic violence brewing, most married folk seem decidedly smug about their state. Something about the marriage certificate maybe? Or the passing of a wedding anniv [i made it! I certainly must be qualified] leads most to believe themselves as thought-leaders about the marriage market. Fact is, marriage is very much like bhelpuri or spicy rasam that gets passed around the table. Customizable to the hilt, [groundnuts, pomogranete seeds might seem ugh to some] and as for the rasam, well, 'nobody comes close to mom' does attitude.

Hmm. Hope self did not sound like a 'biased against my own'kinda person [considering am married n all]. Why, i probably qualify well on the stereotyping front, being a sectionist to boot . While the "business-world" [those who are immediately reminded of Phoebe buffet at this term, contact me pronto kindred soul!] prefers to call those who 'dissect into littler sections to analyze or make assupmtions on'as analysts, sectionists receive no such preferential treatment. Sectionists, well, dissect the general public into easily recognizable stereotypes, thats all.

Aaanyways [said in a long-drawl mode in manner of one bored with self], was trotting along trusted links from ole faithful bloglines when chance upon an article on arranged marriages by an NY lass. Turned out to be a pretty good piece that bordered vaguely on [yeah yeah i know.she a Harvard grad, but wot? harvard grads arent vague?] indian men attitudes. Was rather pleased to find surprisingly good references to how dating and arranged marriages seem like two sides to the same coin. The writer points out how the 30+ unmarrieds are badgered upon incessantly, or worse-still, given up on.

"Interesting article, that" i tell myself. "singlehood and dating disasters, eh?" Find myself soon dissecting own statehood life[Statehood life: Noun. Used to indicate very specifically single or married state of individual] for interesting anecdotes without creating enough fodder for the allegedly henpecked.Minutes pass. Nothing. I reason logically to self "If A is single and can blog nineteen-to-the-dozen [yeah, remind me on this one as well] on singlehood, can B, as a committed individual, blog atleast quarter-to-a-dozen on statehood? Pull out back on envelope and number 2 pencil and ponder furiously on statehood topics:

1) Self's successful guy-hunt that resulted in spendidly shining certificate proclaiming marriage.

2) Self's mildly sipid life with da guy bordering on excesssively sappy domestic bliss mode.

3) Self's complaint register or cliched "Men!!" observations [extend exclamatory points depending on exasperation level]

Sit back, staring intently at short unappealing list. What? I have no hilarious info to share on self's statehood? [wait! what about the time at the...blech! forget it.Even i didnt find it amusing the second time around]

Tchah! AAA YOO MEEYY BLUCK [ancient tamil song in manner of eeny-meeny-miny-mo. Absolutely unnnecessary at this point]. Statehood shtatehood--wot the heck. Just came across a blog on social norms of the middle-east...Wonder if self qualifies to lecture on the today's society? Hey presto, realize i live in one! shred previous list to create new list of topics on social norms of the current generation..1).....

Creating a delightful circle of thinking-of-writing and discarding-writing-thoughts


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Of Prudes and Prejudices

California judge ruled against the state ban against same-sex marriages. Gays went rah-rah, conservatives went bah-bah and everyone decided to wait for almost a decade for an actual law/rule to come into place. Well, joy for the gays I say [nope.not being redundant there am i?]. To almost counter any kind of progress to the presumed minorities of the world, feminists decide to launch a blogHERcon-a conference for female bloggers. Hmm. Probing further, i see the issues the conference deals with. "Why are females in the minority when it comes to blogging?", "What issues do women face when they blog" and as an emphatic "feminist" statement the conference could possibly have baby-sitters et al so blogging moms bring along their totes. Ooook then.Zipping my lips and canning the hundred comments in head. Brevity being the name of the game and all that jazz.

Oh damn, ok. I give up.I HAVE to rant. I have nothing to say on the gay-marriage issue-hey, it makes perfect sense to me. All those opposing it are not gays--and those for it are gays. If a single gay guy opposed same-sex marriage [of course we arent talking closet gays who marry women and pretend to be righteous in their anti-gay claims] I would maybe reconsider the thought. But conference for female bloggers seems to be this giant step somewhere--not forward for sure. Yeah i know females who have kids have it tough, and not every female is a superhero. I also know enough females who do a splendid job of managing kids and work without feeling a sense of guilt at everything they do or dont. But i somehow could never understand these "female only" conferences unless we talking frustration management technqiues at PMS or labor. Coz, lets see now--female conferences for "female" issues talk of, to put it mildly "issues". We arent talking world hunger issues here, we talking "my office-folk expect me to be available even when there are babycare needs to take care of". To me, it strangely resembles gossiping. If you have issues, and you are there to communicate, dudettes, who you communicating TO? Feminism has suddenly stopped being a movement and moved towards a complaint register. Feminism, to me, is about issues where females arent on equal standing with men. Villages with child-marriage, infanticide when it comes to little baby girls, or simply lack of individualistic rights for females. Making time-management and people-management the main feminist issue for married females with kids, is frankly to me, a slap in the face of women who do a brilliant job managing them all well without the perennial guilt-trips. A recent article in a newsweek magazine talks of how the "soccer mom" is a myth. How moms DONT have to do it all to be termed a great soccer [or cricket] mom. Fair enough, i say. If you want your kid to be in 25 different classes, insist on protectively participating in all PTA, childgroup, girl scout and local parenting meetings as well as manage a job and take care of your home efficiently while planning for birthday parties, well, joy to you. I've seen moms [well, actually one] who doesnt think she has to be a part of all that her kid does, and frankly doesnt think the kid needs to compete in terms of extra-curricular classes he takes. The kid reads books and plays soccer, and she is a part of one parenting group that helps with carpools.period. The fact that the newsweek magazine went into a "you dont have to feel guilty for not being a supermom. Dont blame yourself, blame the government/system" seemed a bit odd, but i guess kidded moms have a better opinion there.

In anycase, so much for blogging conferences for women-to me, its the same as Football fan conferences for women, no?. "Why arent there enough football fans" asks the leader on the podium. "Well, coz there is a lesser percentage of females who watch and follow football?" meekly states a front-seater. "Aha! and whose fault is that?" asks the leader, pointing a unshaking finger at the one who dare asked the question, drawing angry glares from her neighbors.

Speaking of feminism and gay rights, herez some thot for the gray cells [question: are they REALLY gray? coz i would really like them to be called blue cells or smtg. Gray just seems, well, sad for smtg thats supposedly bright and intelligent]. My guess is, 50 years from now, both gay rights and feminism would have progressed [progress being a relative term]. Hell, kids in 2075, if all goes well would ask their mom [or moms, as gay rights progress remember?] "oooh mom-1! tell me, was it really illegal for you to marry mom-2? Did you really participate in the gay parade to demand gay-marriage? And did ALL women marry men then?" while mommy dearest picks little kid onto lap and regales stories of "those good ole days when protesting was a part-time hobby". Or a little girl runs up to dad to ask "ooh dad, Rahul tells me that in the olden days,moms always took care of children and went part-time at work for it. Is that true?" she asks with eyes wide open in wonder. And daddy dearest, having succesfully finished his 50% of tasks at home, pats her affectionately and goes "yes my little one. How odd would that be now right?". So if there is no feminism, racial bias and gay bias in the world of the future? what would prejudice and bias be based on? Color? check.done away with long back. Sex? ditto. Gays? Ditto. hmm, a world without bias would be difficult to imagine as thats probably the only constant trait in social evolution. I guess the "haves" and "have-nots" is a constant one too. Maybe "personality traits" i suppose? like "ooh! dont talk to HER! shez one of those 'Assertive ones". Nyaah, but worth a thought if world were to be biased based on personality traits for lack of anything else.Any thoughts? [this is the point when you simply pass on, writing inane random blogs down to 9:30 am didnt get my cereal today attitudes]

Stoutly Anti-urban feminist,

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Opposites Attract? Oh Really?

He banged the door shut, causing the flimsy doormat to lazily move away from the door, flipping slightly at the corner. "Damn!" he muttered, glaring angrily at the now innocent doormat."It was the wind!" he shouted to the empty door and walked away from it. He nodded absently at the new neighbor, racking his head to remember the last one before finally giving up, frustrated.

She heard him allright--choosing to ignore the particularly angry tone. Sighing, she looked at her mother's vague recipe, printed from her email account. She stared at it absently for two full minutes before switching off the stove, snatching the printout to decipher her mom's words. "What is salt to taste supposed to mean" she mumbled furiously, an unknown anger rising at her mother, sleeping-no, snoring far away in Bangalore.

He glanced at her shopping list, quickly planning a route that should make most sense. Turning on the ignition, he backed up slowly, choosing not to put down the foot on the accelerator. She always hated that, wanting to reverse as quickly as possible. "As if she is always in some tearing hurry" he thought. She was like that, permanently impatient. Little things that he derived pleasure from, driving slowly in the parking lot, glancing at the cars and convertibles, could easily make her angry. "Patience!" he thought as he swerved onto the street lane. "when will she ever learn?". It always irritated him to see her rush through everything like time was running out for the world.He felt a delicious satisfaction at taking time with his shopping, knowing very well the delay will upset her even more.

She finally got the idea of the recipe, and restarted the stove.She knew very well he will take more time today, that it was an attempt to make her angrier still. She clucked her tongue loudly as she glanced at the clock "4 PM already!". How was she to know her cousin will be late by a couple of hours? She certainly couldnt turn them away when they came, even if it was for dinner instead of tea.He had become restless, worried he would miss a cricket match at a friend's place.He had paced up and down, wanting to call them and cancel their plans to come home."Whats the point in watching half of a one-day"he had asked, furious."Patience, he will never learn" she thought resignedly. He was always like that, wanting everything to go according to his whims, turning wildly impatient if it didnt. She knew very well that she could pack her cousin off after dinner well in time for the match, if only he had the patience."Serves him right if they come late" she thought savagely, now wishing they were too late for the match tonite.

He would have laughed ordinarily at the shopping list-today it made him angrier. "nanak ghee big bottle, if not mehendi ghee a small bottle, unless with a free pickle in whichcase get two [one for soumya]". He was just glad he didnt ask for the list over phone as usual. "Thinks too much!" he thought.He couldnt understand why she had to be so methodical and planned, planning for the day, the chores and errands. He used to joke that she was his school teacher, making a neat timetable for tasks to do around the house and errands to run. Now it just grated on his nerves looking at the magnetic sheets on the fridge. Even when it came to people, she overanalyzed everything. "what did she say, why did she say it, how did she say it" --she could go on for ages analyzing people after a party, thinking about each person's comment. "Pointless details" he thought. How did it matter what ghee? or what chores were planned for saturday morning. He liked to have a general idea of things and work his way to complete them, without planning."Must be a woman thing" he thought, looking at other women at the grocery store, imagining everyone to be overanalyzing shoppers and imagining their husbands to be confused souls like him.

She knew she was getting impatient at the time he took. Even if she knew it was on purpose. "I am sure he planned his route to be the most 'OPTIMAL' way to drive" she thought angrily. She hated the way he overanalyzed his driving. Shooting to the store quickly to get samosas and snacks some evenings turned into a laborious process. He would shortlist samosa shops by location, point out traffic conditions and which would be the most crowded stores at that time. Then he would map out the 'easiest' path for her--by which time she would have had her chai and sat in a huff by the T.V, insisting she REALLY didnt want samosas actually."Overanalyzer", she used to call him fondly. She preferred not to travel with him for short shopping trips anymore. Restaurants were the worst--he would pore over the menu like he was cramming for an exam, thinking about each dish and its side-servings to great detail. She pitied the waiter, often having to tell him to come back later instead of shuffle at the table,waiting for him to finish pondering over the order. She had half a mind to get the other car out and get the stuff herself. She toyed with the cordless, wondering if she should ask where he was, but decided against giving him the cheap thrill of making her angry.

At the checkout he glanced at the flowers--lilies this week. She loved them, buying them by the dozens and filling the home with the silly glass vases with the flowers. He bought a bunch at the last minute, telling himself he could justify that it was to make the home look good for the visitors. He knew she couldnt stay angry with him for long, and she positively loved little things like flowers and chocolates. He often wondered how they had grown so fond of each other, considering how different they were. She was romantic and sentimental, totally the opposite of him. He thought of it all as impractical, pointless ideas. "Like Valentine's day" he thought, giving a dirty look to the clump of red heart-shaped chocolate boxes."Another expensive dinner" he muttered. But he knew he would love taking her out, seeing her happily enjoy the day, prepare for it and make a big deal of it. Impractical fool that she was, he loved her for the same silliness. He stuffed the bunch of flowers indelicately into the shopping bag and headed to his car.

She decided not to shop by herself, that would be silly. Two bags of exactly similar groceries. If he was going to be silly and take a long time to get the groceries,so be it.He could be like that sometimes, silly and childish. Sometimes she wondered if he was even 35, he acted so immature. Like the whole big deal of a cricket match tonite. If he would think practically, it would be obvious they couldnt stay too long, and he could make it to the match. "Practical, yeah right" she thought, looking at the monstrous table he had bought, insisting it was the best strategically placed furniture for their living room. It had to be hoisted up by 4 of their movers, all beefy guys who'd demanded an insanely huge amount to bring it up. He had looked quite sheepish then, insisting it was worth it. More people had gotten hurt by the monster than used it.He had apologized and very sweetly tried to show how many ways it could be used, making her heart melt. He didnt ask for many things, she thought generously. Cricket matches were a definite craze, and she knew they didnt have too many chances to watch it. She suddenly picked up the phone to dial and waited patiently while it rang.

He knocked the door, even though he was perfectly able to use the key to open the door. He wanted to see her mood before pulling out the half-squashed flowers. He didnt have a plan for what to do if she was still angry, he simply hoped she wasnt. She wasnt. She opened the door and gave a small smile, taking the bags and trying to hug him and say sorry at the same time. He laughed, relieved. She pulled out the ill-concealed flowers, squealing delightedly. He hugged her with half his arm, mood instantly getting better. He even thought he could handle the "relatives" today. She winked at him when he said that, gaily telling him she had called it off. Her cousin was due to fly out tonite anyway, she said. "Mom will crib a bit" she said "but hey, i was never close to her anyway". They both fell laughing into the sofa, and he grimaced as he hit the monstrous table. "Do you realize how different we are, yet we always seem to patch up our differences?" she asked lazily, stretching her legs and cozying up in the corner. "I do, but hey, opposites attract right?" he said as he tried to adjust the position of the table so it wont hurt anyone, for the umpteenth time.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Warrior Poet Or Sorrier Duet?

Sadly, the latter.A Duet of Ghai and his disaster-streak. In times of Bollywood taglines syndrome such as Aan: Men at work [ wasnt about road repairers either] and Baaz:The Bird [yeah. Dictionary inspired titles were the norm once] Kisna: The Warrior Poet had an exotic feel to it. Kinda like "Warriors of Heaven and Earth" or suchlike. And hey, why not? the trailors were truly exciting with horses swords and feet twirling at 45 degrees to the ground..hurrah! finally! A movie to excite international audience [raking in awards perhaps] and appease the period-movie starved desi population. A Painstaking account of a woefully painful pain of a panned movie [oh allright.pain pain geddit right?]

Oh, damn! you actually clicked on "read more". duh! didnt i tell ya was a lousy movie? Let me guess, you into a "i want to read for myself and make an informed decision" mode? Well allrighty then asked for it [rolling up sleeves and practicing ear-wriggles to scare off opponent]

So am well seated in near empty theatre carefully trying to avoid popcorn on floor [as they make crunchy noise and sometimes i like that noise and sometimes i dont and and..screech!] I dont know about you, but the whole swishing logos of any production company excites me in a theatre so waiting patiently for mukta arts to come up. Hey, whats this? Ah ok. An ad for Ghai's Institute for film-making. shabana azmi and a host of others speak eloquently of the institute. Try darnest best to be in "aha!india's answer to NYU film institute" mode and almost succeed as still in good-natured mood.

Movie titles--hurrah!! beam happily at companions who are intensely analyzing structure of popcorn [not the one picked from the floor. One from a NEW packet]. Notice a black and white horse all through titles and ponder over significance of this perceivably reused "Mcdowells whisky" kinda clip but let it pass.

Old liddy from Britain in a reminescent mode attempting to recall "myera keeeesna"--suitably impressed by the mouthing of hindi dialogs et al. Flashback begins with Brit family in hillytown of india. Little girl pally with little boy and other little girl unhappily dancing in far, so good. Little girls, as expected become big girls as do the boys and allz well till brit girl is on the run during independence time--sure enough, along hops little boy aka kisna to help distressed damsel.

Significant moment in the movie- This is the point when Ghai fills up the application form to take leave of his senses. Application approval comes through at this poignant moment and Ghai whoops in delight and proceeds to mess the movie, inch by inch, meticulously in manner of a craftsman whoz profession is to destroy.

A few things that work in the movie first though [like grandmoms insist you put an "om" above test paper for goodluck--and then you proceed to fill it up with trashiest garbage as a paradoxical joke]

The Music: A.R Rehman and Ismail Darbar are fantastic. Background scores rock, only the action on the screen couldnt keep up with it.

Cinematography: Surprisingly inconsistent. Puzzling repetitions of same shots over and over again as if the cameraguy lost all the film he had recorded shots on and is reusing 5 basic shots to salvage his paycheck.To be fair, those few shots are good.

Dances: The new actress'[isha sharwani] dance routine is probably what antara mali lamely attempted in Naach. She is phenomenally good, but her dance has been overused like my pair of faded denims. Barely tolerable towards the end. She has attempted to skillfully blend classical dance with gymnastic movements and is brilliant. But it soon gets downright ridiculous when she climbs up the veins of a banyan tree at the drop of a hat --strongly resembling the betaal in vikram-betaal.

Sushmita sen in yeah, an "item" number: Yeah i know.Item numbers are hardly the highlight of a movie, but this woman sizzles still. She is awkward at Kathak--a dance for the nimble footed that she certainly isnt. But she is arresting and the visuals for this particular song are extremely appreciable.

The Actors: They did the best they could. Crippled by a lousy script written by a person obsessed with killing the movie, they could only do so much. The British actress is appreciable, but not as much as the hype claims. She is refreshing to begin with and soon wilts soon enough, justifiably so. For a professional dancer, Isha is good--expressions she excels in and that makes her acting adequate. Vivek Oberoi seems tired and jaded---not surprising.He probably has no clue what to do--where to put the effort. Its only towards the end that he seems to perk up to act-only to succumb again to mindblowingly crazy dialogs.

The actual awful hell of it all

The script, dialogs and oh well, the direction.

Yeah i know--what else to a movie right? Its like great naan and nothing for it to go with--buttery naan is all very good and all but dude, wherez the curry?

Script ran like most of my blogs do--loses steam soon. The only bonding you could see onscreen was between Kisna and his brother, an angle that was starved of development inspite of potential. chemistry zilch between the main guy and his lady love[s]. an ill-placed vivek mushran looks cheesy, and unnecessary.Towards the end you can sense Ghai's panic-mode- here is an excerpt to prove that.

Kisna and Elizabeth scooting into faridabad enroute to delhi. Suddenly confronted by Violent looking men who demand to know if Kisna is a Hindu or Muslim [partition-time hungama conveniently used]. Valiant Hero replies "i am kisna" [duh!] and proceeds to massacre them. Running continues--encounter a buncha cops on the lookout for them [one policeman actually goes--'license plate ENG 999. Matlab 1000 se ek kam"] and escape again. Badass lecherous villain scoops elizabeth into godown and unbelievably, does a "mard kaun hai main dikhata hoon" routine [a pointless backshot of elizabeth to invoke sympathy in manner of 80's movies]. Kisna thrashes guy and runs again--when another buncha guys turn up to ask [ahem] "tu hindu hai ki musalman" [GROAN!] Elizabeth [who strategically places a cross on kisna's chain] proceeds to lecture them on a "kyooon aisa jagda kaaar raaahe ho". And, hold your breath, just when recurring villain is thrown into a burning building a minute later, elizabeth is trapped needlessly [wot an attention hog] under a jeep. The punchline of this whole narration? the above happened in 10 minutes flat.

Dialogs: Suck. Subhash Ghai has this great concept of a movie, an interesting time period but proceeds to make a ram lakhan or a trimurti out of it. He just cant get out of that mode, period. Dialogs range from "You wait here. Lemme go get the tickets awright?" mouthed by a hindustan ki kasam kisna in 1947 to "arey yeh to india hai.yahaan sab chalta hai" by illiterate village belle [huh? they dont say that even now!].Inconsistency with the period for sure, but the dialogs are no different from 1980's masala flicks and that grates on me a bit.

Subhash Ghai has officially lost it- While there arent many movies i WANT to like [unless by ramgopalvarma or is a spiderman flick] this one disappointed me inspite of the many allowances I gave as 'small mistakes'.

Yet, this movie should stand out as a brilliant example of how when actors, music directors, most cinematography and choreography and concept could be GREAT a director and an editor can single [or double] handedly butcher it.

I havent seen any movie of Ghai's after Khalnaayak [which i really liked] and i've been told i shouldnt be surprised considering pardes, taal and yaadein. I would have much preferred seeing his brilliantly conceived trailors bunched together on big-screen. And for the curious, he does appear in the movie [thankfully not as a bespectacled villager on a bullock cart] but after the titles pointing needlessly into the horizon in a brave sunset pose.

Another weird note: I am no movie reviewer, but I have come across reviews that either call the movie brilliant [which leads me, the conspiracy theorist, to believe they were bought over] and others who vaguely claim the movie to be inspired by titanic [sheesh! coz the old lady remembers kisna. Desperate association?] or [hold your breath] last of the mohicans [dont even ask who. (psst taran adarsh on indiafm)] just coz its the fight of two lovers in bad times [like every other 'romantic' flick isnt].

Deciding to analyze popcorn structure at the cinemas the next time,

Monday, January 24, 2005

Newsies Daisies

Ha! And my mom thought it was impossible for her color-blind dotter to see beyond blue. Am entirely in pink today, owing to wham-bam sale of 15$ pants and 10$ shirts [ooh notice mom! am talking shopping too!]..anyways, a monday couldnt be prettier. Watched a moonset on my right and the almost-peek of a sun on the left as i drove up a bridge to work..acted on what is the 21st century impulse for a second and rummaged for my cameraphone to click with--when better sense got to me and I just grinned at the sun and the moon and drove on to remember it forever. Unless alzheimer's or amnesia strikes me, I can talk howmuchever i please on this morning and even exaggerrate to heart's content--coz hey, aint got a jpg proof ;-) Herez the newsies for the day folks--served with the sun, a moon and a few shining stars.

At the other end of the spectrum--a guy whoz [ahem] a psychiatrist in seasonal disorders [seriously didnt think someone wasnt gonna pick on the "winter blues" brand of moneymaking did ya?] claims today is the most depressing day of the year.scientifically so. Ever wonder how day by day man mocks his own discovery--science by degrading it in manner of subhash ghai's kisna? Hmph ok. There was no need to plug that in, but maybe will dedicate another blog entirely on it. Though think about it--both create something and proceed to meticulously ridicule the creation by messing with it. Which is why i believe in neither science nor art--i believe in observing life as one would observe an ant climbing up with its breadcrumb. a look of mild amusement and tad bit of curiosity. But if the ant died or the breadcrumb crushed it or a spider ate the bread and the ant, i can yawn and walk along, flicking the minutest of sympathies off my braincells as one would flick dust off the steering wheel.

Speaking of conspiracies and theories [umm..were we speaking on it? there you go, reading absently again. of course we werent..wake up now] have you noticed how one of the most favorite pastimes of people during our childhood was to kill away celebrities. Before you raise that protesting hand [or voice] allow me to explain. Remember that Nirma girl? [washing powder nirma.NIRMA!] how many were told she died? [counting 12 hands]. How about the Rasna girl? [counting 11 hands]. How about the guy who acted with sonali bendre in that remake of 'you've got mail'? [ooh 6 hands!!] well,case in point. We like killing people. murdering them, making them commit suicide. Everytime you sit and wonder, whatever happened to, lets say..Nagesh [the comedian in tamil movies] or Utpal Dutt, you will invariably write him off as dead.why is that i wonder? And then outta the blue comes news that a parveen babi is dead and you go, "oh! thought she already died". Why cant our minds write them off as having moved countries? or gone joined the army? why kill them? in anycase, parveen babi died for sure this time. as did amchi Mogambo, god bless him [or say hi to him for me if we getting spiritual here]. and for all of us who got regularly confused between parveen babi and zeenat aman, be confused no more.

Republic day coming up folks--cant say i entirely miss the parade [only remember the kids atop an elephant--kids to be honored for being brave and wishing someone set fire to mean aunt's home downstairs and i could save her.some wishes never do come true do they?] Lotsa things for us to be proud of --excluding subhash ghai movies [OK! will stop i swear]. Sania Mirza being on top of list--did anyone read that moronic inteview of hers on rediff? [another peeve.rediff.wots with me? am turning into my own grandmom] interviewer insisted on asking her to choose between paes and bhupati for mixed doubles. Female refused to give in to moronic whims--wot was she sposed to do? giggle and choose one and claim its coz paes looks smarter? duh questions man..methinks in a social free-for-all world interviewers should just choose top 10 questions voted for by readers than tax braincells so.

Oh and a case-in-point for the biggie IT companies becoming like a coveted convent school [say it..rolls off the tongue quite nice] Wipro charges 70000 Rs. for new employees instead of tie-them to a bond so they dont run away with trained knowledge. Smart tactics some would say-but just reminds me of neighbors hoping to god their kid gets into swanky convent school and run around trying to get the "school deposit" cash.

Sunnily Moony,

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Knowledge and News Overload Chuck Komputer Out until Trashed.

well,ok. Computer aint spelt Komputer, but i am on a low-carb diet of Kwality icecreams and Krispy Kremes,so I can be blamed only so much for bad spelling.And I meant chuck computer out till KNOWLEDGE trashed, not the computer [hugging my PC in manner of mother to child in bollywood movies]. The point is, there is too much information out there..and too many ways to get our hands on them.As well as pressure to know them all, so choose wisely..Incase i lulled you into a false sense of a sensible blog, look away. This is one of my usual miserable apology of a blog [though carefully note i apologize nowhere] for not blogging what i should.Sortof like making maggi for a meal when guests are invited, but hey..Maggi does give you the sense of tummy-fullness like a meal doth dont it?

Post-hibernation, here are the newsies for da day!

Photo management--Now that everyone I know has transitioned to digital photos and cameras [mom can make-do with her webcam considering the only need is to take photos of dresses i approve or disapprove], this isnt that abhorred a topic. Well yeah, everyone pays taxes too so maybe i should talk of TurboTax? True, but blog.I can damn well talk on what i please.In anycase, adobe photoshop is talked, dissected and analyzed to death. Bottomline, it rocks.How about photo management software? Adobe Photoshop album has some cool management features like tags so you know whoz in the pix, tags for location and tags for event and dates,blah blah. So you effectively can search for photos that are tagged "dad" and "india" to get all pics of dad in india. pretty nifty methot. Picassa is out with its latest edition that i havent tested yet, but herez a neat review of both.

My fav.magazine, Wired [yeah, i subscribe to it. Yeah, i know print magazines are dead. and No, i dont care. I even get Reader's digest, so there!] covers an interesting story on Tech Searches that matter--technology used during catastrophic conditions. I already knew of the sound-sensors used in california mud-slides this month,but some of the other stuff listed is pretty amazing. check it out at,1282,66323,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

Also covered is an interesting article on the new darling of press, moms at 50+. Its smtg i've been watching for the past year.Press reports excitedly covering women who became momst at 50,60 and 75. While it might be delightful news for most early 30ers, herez the lowdown on what these reports are NOT telling you.,1286,66322,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

Ok ok..i follow slate too [why are they still on MSN though? thot they were sold to WP?]..and yes, i know bushisms are passe..but any retrospective mood of yours of the past year warrants a good read of this.
My fav? "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country."—George Bush, Sept. 6, 2004 Poplar Bluff, Mo. and "This is historic times."—New York, N.Y., April 20, 2004. What do you think guys? Are bushisms a deliberate PR strategy to get him noticed when most couldnt care less about his speeches?

Post fancy talk on the plush interiors of the A380, herez some realistic expectations,1282,66325,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1.

And no, i aint listing the Brad-Jenny split.Not to indicate i couldnt care less [he wanted kids she didnt.but she was planning to when he popped the question [of divorce that is]] so its not that i dont follow it, but its just that Brad and Jenny asked for support and considerate action by us, the people.sniff.

Knocked in,