Wednesday, 31 December 2008

"Make new," said Erza Pound.

Monday, 29 December 2008

A sniff of travel: Fight me!

Though ferocious in appearance, the animals, for some strange reason, did not accept Raincloud's challenge..


Sunday, 28 December 2008

Freeze frames: a sniff of travel



As I try to make the most of the remaining drops of what we time crazy people call the 'year, here are some selected photographs from my travels so far...Subsequent posts till the end of the year will carry these photographs, that is until my mind says, let's do something else...


Saturday, 27 December 2008

'Ghajini' reviewed by Rajeev Masand of CNN IBN


One of Aamir's six looks for the song sequence - Behka

I tried catching the latest Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini at the nearest theaters but they are all housefull until next week. So here is the link to noted CNN IBN TV channel film critic Rajeev Masand's review of the same who does this show called NOW SHOWING every Friday evening on the channel.
Here is the link to the transcript, that is...
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/masands-verdict-ghajini-is-dumb-and-celebrates-it/81344-8.html

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Dog Story: I belong here


I am the bakery dog.
This is my home.
I sleep here, yeah, right here.
"I have nowhere to go." How's that for sympathy.
Menu?
Bits and pieces, bread crumbs, chewed chicken bones, countless empty glasses of cold coffee...
It is the same everyday, except on some days there are bits of chocolate.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Movie Review: Madagascar 2: Good fun while it lasts...


Madagascar was a good animation movie, its sequel is also OK. It is the characters and their voice-overs, and the humourous one-liners that engage us - Alex the Lion who can only dance to save his life, Marty the 'black and white striped' Zebra, Melman, the ' I am dying' Giraffe, Gloria - the shapely Hippo, the penguins and the very funny King Julien. By the way, the story is set in Africa. At 90 minutes, Madagascar 2 is a pleasant watch.

King Julien tutoring Melman on how to ‘say it’ to a woman
A confident Marty is just about to lose his self-esteem

photo courtesy: www.imdb.com

Monday, 22 December 2008

Dog Story: The art of sleep


It is very simple process - falling into sleep. If only you humans could learn. It is an art, that can only be polished each time, crafted to perfection that each time you sleep deeper, deeper, deeper...until nothing matters.


The first thing is to LET GO, let go of the world, be obscure - the one thing most humans fear - anonymity, the fear of not been noticed.


Anyway for the moment, you can leave us alone. Someone or something calls us from a mysterious world, something like bliss....

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Dog Story: Do not disturb...


Some dogs are just lucky. Big, 'cute' and cuddly, this robust mongrel enjoys an afternoon siesta after a large meal, courtesy a colony inhabited by that identifiable human species - the dog lover.
There are many who would say that there are hungry children who could be supported instead, but human behavior is beyond our understanding. We do not know why we love and hate things, do we? 

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Dog Story: The family


The garage lies disused and deserted and under a dusty wrecked car, this family of a mother and four pups live in a temporary paradise.


Soon the games will be over, the pups shall have to scour for food, their robust bodies will be reduced to a bag of bones and skin, unless they are very fortunate...

Friday, 19 December 2008

Dog Story: Ignorance is bliss

So many strays have been crushed under the wheels of speeding vehicles.
This young mongrel rests unaware and safe for the moment under the shade of this parked bus, probably reflecting - where is the next meal coming from?


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Dog Story: The road king


It may be a road for us, for the dog - a favorite resting place.
...under a pleasant summer sun, 
it's mouth open, 
as if laughing at the pointless hurrying traffic, 
the aimless shopping crowd...

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Dog Story: Let's get bored together


Dogs are territorial by nature and these two companions are no exception. Their rule extends from Om Supermarket to the chicken barbecue corner, an area of about 700 meters. The barbecue corner is their stronghold - their evening meal comes from occasional meat pieces thrown at them by the customers. Here they squat near the supermarket on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Dog Story: Much BOW WOW about nothing ?


Would it comfort dog 'owners' to know that the closest ancestor of the animal is the wolf?

Ha.

Just like its ascendant, the dog is a pack animal. When a dog has to live with humans, as is so often the case, they make us part of the pack.

Of course, you are not supposed to walk naked on four legs, bark at strangers and howl in communion - a dog's brain is not as devilishly evolved (as ours) to impose themselves on any other species. So we enforce ourselves on them, and they become our 'pets'.

Then there are the strays, the 'free dogs' who loaf around as they please, when not dependent on their human friends for food. 

Subsequent posts will feature photographs of this unique species, captured during my wanderings around the city. 

If any reader has had the misfortune of been bitten by a dog (or dogs), please forgive them. For they do not bite without any provocation or rabies, unlike certain human beings who kill and maim each other for no apparent reason.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Movie Review:Transporter 3 : For the speed crazy and popcorn crunchers


The best five minutes of the movie, (a rare touch by the scriptwriters) is when the hero is trapped underwater in a car, with a metal band around his wrist courtesy the villans. He goes 100 feet away from the car and - KABOOM! So what does the guy do? This is the only time you are gripped by the feeling, "What will happen next?"

Otherwise, this Jason Statham starrer has the usual - fast cars, loud blasts, stunts, macho hero, girl with seduction written all over, Transporter 3 takes the trodden path, you have seen it before, but you are not bored yet. Some action scenes may remind you of the Hndi films of the nineties - hero breaking through a wall in one piece, hero crashing through glass, again intact.Expect the usual, let your brain sleep and enjoy!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Movie Review: Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye: Enthralling cinema


Don't go by the HIT or FLOP label, Oye Lucky... tells the unlikely tale of a thief with wit, humour and drama without going overboard for a moment. Filled with some great cinematic moments, the director is probably let down by the cast - not that Abhay Deol lacks the effort, just that lingering feeling that somebody else could have been cast. Paresh Rawal enacts his three different roles adequately.

Questions about morality and the role of media in 'sensationalising' is presented as part of the story, that is how tight the director holds on to his storytelling skills.Go for it, for it is not always that the hero of a Hindi film are the enfolding scenes themselves! The general public is cruel to original (he)art, so catch it at the theaters as soon as possible..

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Movie Review: Dasvidaniya: Refreshing Take on Death & Life

Directed by Shashant Shah
Main Cast: Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia,Sarita Joshi, Gaurav Gera  & Rajat Kapoor

No cry babies, no prolonged lectures on death, no 'I am going to dieeeeeeeee, save meeeeee!' screams. Dasvidaniya's screenplay takes the unexpected comic path, much to our delight, without losing its realistic charm.

A wonderful Vinay Pathak leads the talented cast- he plays the list making Amar Kaul, who realises, like so many protagonists have on the Hindi film screen, that it is really worth living only when you are told by a grim-faced doctor that death is not too far away. This could so be close to real life. Are we also waiting for someone to tell us a definitive death date that we start living, for a change?

Go for it, before it disappears from the theaters.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Torna travel briefs II

Raincloud blares the horn as we enter the one and half kilometer long tunnel.
The sound of the engine echoes loud and a orange light spreads all over.
As we emerge to the light again, a rock wall runs high along our left, before dwindling in size, making way to open fields on both sides.












Friday, 28 November 2008

Torna travel briefs I





Rows of flowers flash past us, as Raincloud and I breeze through the open road on my humble bike. It is Raincloud's birthday and we are off to Torna...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

MUMBAI CROWS!



...waiting for the leftovers of the chicken legs, even as men stand around the roadside stall and munch away

Monday, 17 November 2008

COMING SOON: THE TRAVEL DIARIES



As you are reading this post, I shall be at my grandmother's village.
So while I breathe oxygen for a week, and capture some in a glass bottle for the city, here are some pieces to keep you 'occupied'...

Monday, 10 November 2008

Movie Review: EMI: Liya hai to chukana padega: A 'Munnabhai' with less heart and dextirity

Too much of a Munnabhai hangover
It is not that EMI is a very bad film. The main storyline about the alarming trend of taking home loans and credit cards is promising. But the execution has too many shades of the Munnabhai franchise without the heart.

Sanjay Dutt plays Sattar, a Munnabhai like character, and his dialogues with his gang of recovery agents ( the good parts ) is similar to the two landmark Rajkumar Hirani flicks.

Unnecessary songs, some bad dialogues, too many characters, and a devious ending - a not so subtle promotion of Sanjay Dutt's political ambitions- it all makes for bearable viewing.

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace: Lifeless execution

Olga Kurylenko is the new bond girl

Daniel Craig is one good actor, and most of the time he does his own stunts. He is Bond, James Bond for the second time and the results here are worse than the first movie - Casino Royale. The story does have potential but what a waste!

Casino Royale was a mildly entertaining film about Bond's early years, and this one continues the story set up in the first one. Except, there is a new villain and a new girl here.

The acting is great, but the director spoils it all, the engaging moments are so rare, you almost beg for some life. The action scenes are shot in such a manner that you have to be gulp down style without any logical threads to it.

Craig and company need a great director and a tough screenplay in the next one. Financial success may come, but what about storytelling?

At you own risk, viewers...

Mathieu Amalric plays the Bond villain with amazing ease

Monday, 3 November 2008

Movie Review: Body of Lies: An unpretentious entertainer

Directed by Ridley Scott
Main Cast: Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Strong
Contemporary and pacy from the first to the last frame, Body of Lies is a speedy entertainer. We are drawn in to the games of deceit, lies, power, terrorists and the CIA (Central Investigative Agency) (In short, America saving the world).

DiCaprio plays a CIA agent riding danger in the streets of Iraq and Jordan, while Crowe plays his senior, adroitly controlling operations through his cell phone in America. As with his previous film American Gangster, Scott manages to hold our attention with his apt treatment and by extracting great performances from Dicaprio and Crowe - now a Scott regular. Its not a classic, but certainly not boring.

Last Word
Why did Amitabh Bachchan reject such a meaty role of Honey? Insecurity?

Monday, 27 October 2008

Hindi film music: Yuvvraaj: Rahman returns


Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan in a pre-release still from the film

Yuvvraaj
Music by A.R. Rahman
Lyrics by Gulzar

Flashback blah blah blah
Director Subhash Ghai has always had the knack to obtaining exceptional music for his movies. For almost two decades, he worked wonders with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, notably Karz (1980) and Ram Lakhan (1989). In 1997, Nadeem-Shravan deviated from their usual style to create some unique music for Pardes. It was in 1999 that Ghai got AR Rahman to work on a rocking score for Taal.
Rahman then worked with Ghai on Kisna (2005), he couldn’t work on the entire album due to other commitments so Ismail Darbar (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas) composed the other songs of the album.
As the trailers reveal, Yuvvraaj has a Taal-like feel in its visuals, but the music is a clever contrast to Taal's music.


A.R.Rahman


Gulzar

The album
Main hoon yuvvraaj is a dialogue-piece by Salman Khan mixed with Beethoven’s fifth, a prelude to Tu meri dost hain, a melodious song by Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal and AR Rahman. Shano may take time getting used to; its languid pace is something different from other party-based songs. Tu muskura has a soothing calm in its flow, while Mastam mastam expresses a joyous celebration, one of the creative peaks of the album, Sonu Nigam is at his best here.
Zindagi by Srinivas has a ruminating tone to it. Dil Ka Rishta is a brother-bonding kind of song, with innovatively used English lyrics. Manmohini morey is strictly classical song, the one song in the album that may take some patience to listen to.
The Shano remix is a tolerable listen, under three minutes, it is over before you know it, a Rahman album doesn’t require a remix, unless AR himself does the honours. Overall, the album makes for a very satisfying listen.

For an attentive listening experience, shut yourself in a dark room with the music system, close your eyes and press the play button. It works every time.
In the process you identify what you like and don't like listening to, and why...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Monday, 13 October 2008

Movie Review: Kidnap: Trashy, fleshy indulgence



Stylish kidnapper kidnaps billionaire's bikini daughter and the rest as they say, is misery...

Sanjay Gadhvi's two Dhoom movies were empty, dreadful and stylish, but more importantly for the director- successful. So he is here with Kidnap, another mindless crap with some sane touch in the end.

Imran Khan is adequate as the stylish, unreal vengeful kidnapper, Minissha Lamba is wasted in a forced body show - too much cleavage and navel and shoulder and hips and bust...voyeurists may indulge their senses here...Sanjay Dutt does well, as a tired, arrogant father, Vidya Malvade is decent.

Imran Khan took an untrodden path with this role - a contrast from his cute good boy image of his first movie, but the director lets him down. Let your brain rest while you take in this flesh filled trash.

Movie watch: 1920: cheap thrills


The lead couple, played by Adah Sharma and Rajesh Duggal, pose for a 'before the ghost came' family picture

Vikram Bhatt gets the location right (gloomy Yorkshire, England), the make up guy creates some scary scars on the hapless heroine, but the rest of the film staggers through rip-off's from hollywood horror flicks.

The trademark Vikram is there - dracula kisses ( man nibbling at woman's neck and nibbling and nibbling...), over the top acting and a dramatic 'believe it or not'climax. Don't expect to be scared and you will neither be disappointed nor satisfied - some place in between...

Last word: Shuba Mudgal's lively renderation of Bichua is great art at work...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

the cave

But there is always hope, you are alive and life is full of possibilities....

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Welcome to Sajjanpur: Forced comedy, great drama


The cast puts up an impressive performance...

Shyam Benegal has gained the reputation of being a 'serious' filmmaker, which means making films on things going around us, things we disregard because they do not affect our lives at all.

Set in a north Indian village, Welcome to Sajjanpur comes as a surprise, as it makes us laugh, sets up an array of beautifully sketched characters and tackles social issues without deviating from the story. The result is some moments of forced comedy,and what Benegal executes best- realistic drama.

Despite its minor glitches, the film has he(art), in form of the screenplay, amazing performances and a largely masterful direction.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Movie Review: Mumbai Meri Jaan: Relevant, Rich Writing and Storytelling


A very well directed movie, a damn well written one too (rare in commercial Hindi cinema) with a myraid set up of characters, Mumbai Meri Jaan is a great watch. The sheer brutishness of bomb blasts and its implications get through here; not many terrorism based movies have done that. Distractions are few, except for a brief character culminating song sequence. But that is a minor crack on a well-built road.

Go for it.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Movie watch: Rock On : worth a watch


Rock On maintains a indulgent pace in its storytelling, and the story of a rock band - usually not seen in Hindi cinema, keeps one interested.
There are engrossing moments from time to time, and the director's treatment helps us overlook the cliches.
Watch the movie, you may like it or dislike it. As the sleepwalking theory goes - Every person is different.

I have being thinking what purpose does a review serve? Afterall, every person's experience could be different, unless they pretend to like the picture to be part of the crowd? What do the (* to *****)stars that we see in newspaper reviews convey? For some other post...

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Movie watch: A Wednesday: Stretched journey to grand finale


A Wednesday does grip you in the last twenty minutes, its point of view is relevant, powerful and thought provoking, but the journey to the twist in the tale is a irritating mix of cliches, jarring background music, some unintentionally laughable dialogue (in the first half), and a crawling pace with which the characters are introduced.

The movie is watchable for Naseeruddin Shah's excellent portrayal of the main protagonist. Anupam Kher is fine, considering the emotional restraint the role required.

The solution offered in the finale is debatable, we would ask ourselves - why would we do that? Is that the solution? It is not that I left the cinema hall dissatisfied, but with thoughts of how much better the movie could have been.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Movie Review: WALL-E: The Joy of Love


Make-believe, that is what cinematic art creates, and there is nothing more magical than watching it unfold on a 70mm theater screen.

WALL-E has an improbable tale of robots with emotions, yet director Andrew Stanton expresses it in animation with great (he)art and conviction. It is better that you do not know the story, for the best movies are meant to be experienced. Go for it!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Movie Review: Bachna Ae Haseeno: Largely Cliched


Summing it up, Bachna Ae Haseeno does have those bits and parts that make for engaging viewing. But these parts are few and far between. Whenever Ranbhir shares the screen with Hiten Paintal and Bipasha Basu, we are treated with some endearing moments.

As a movie, the director takes no risks with the treatment, the story does have a unique idea set for the second half, but it ends up looking silly. Those who are used to formula may just say," Not bad." A predictable plot with new faces, Bachna... can be watched once and forgotten. Vishal-Shekhar's music may stay with you though.

The performances
Hiten Paintal as Ranbhir's friend is the best of the lot, Bipasha puts in her best performance to date, Minissha is engaging in the first half, Deepika disappoints - just not getting under the skin of the character. Ranbhir carries on the uncanny knack of being a Kapoor and being a talent that can only bloom, depending on the roles he may choose.

Yash Raj Productions took the risk with Chak De! India, why are they hesistant to take the risk again?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Movie watch: Singh is kinng: To hell with logic!

Just like toothpastes get produced in a factory for the masses, Singh is Kinng is a movie made to please the average movie goer.
The sly editing, yes SLY, saves us from getting bored, as one joke follows another without any logic.

The music is a saviour, the producers must have whipped music director Pritam for atleast couple of the catchy dance numbers.

The cast is surprisingly competent,despite the bizzare dialogues and contrived situations.
Akshay Kumar is good, wish he would now atleast take the risk in attempting some films that actually have a coherent story.

Lots of unintentional humour kept me glued to my seat. For others, fool yourselves, and you wouldn't be disappointed.