Showing posts from October, 2013

Mickey Virus- Film Review

There is a hacking job for which the cop hires a young and vagabondish, work-hating hacker. He does the job, apparently, and then things start going wrong. A string of murders continues unabated, and the hacker is accused of stealing 100 crores from the account of a fence...who is now after him. The police also suspect him of one of the killings due to a misunderstanding..

The rest is an interesting resolution of the above mess. I like whodunits, particularly those which I can't figure out. This is one of those. A commendable yarn, believably built up. The informal dialogues and smart characterisation of the two inspectors, the hackers and his gang of pals, the professor who is their inspiration, are all well-thought out. There are no item numbers to distract, but there is a nice looking actress (Elli Avram who is apparently Swedish) in the brief lead role who fills in admirably. Manish Paul fits the bill for the lead. The graphics are particularly good, and play a role in enhanc…

Farewell, Manna Dey

It sounds incredible, but he sang the classical songs and the comic ones with equal gusto. When growing up, I saw Padosan for the first time. The verbal duel between Kishore and Manna Dey has since become memorable and remembered often for its fun lyrics (ek pe rehna, chatur bolo ya goda), and acting by Mehmood and Kishore Kumar, Sunil Dutt etc.

Among his classical songs, one that I liked a lot was Tere naina talash kare jise woh hai tujhime kahin deewane, which sounds philosophical. His qawwali filmed on Balraj Sahni Aie meri zohra jabeen is of course immortal in time (Waqt, I mean).

He also sang a few good romantic ones like Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, yeh mast hawaayein, ...with feeling. The Anand song, Zindagi kaisi hai paheli haye, was also one of my early favourites which I used to attempt singing. So was Mera Naam Joker's Manna Dey number, Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo.

Poocho na kaise maine rain bitayee picturised on Ashok Kumar in Meri Surat Teri Aankhen and Laga chunri mein da…

Place Names in Songs

Place names in songs sometimes bring in the patriotic fervour, as in 'Yeh mera India, I love my India,' or 'Hai preet jahan ki reet sada, main geet wahan ke gaata hoon, bharat ka rehne wala hoon, bharat ke geet sunata hoon.' (Shah Rukh Khan and Manoj Kumar respectively).

Sometimes, the reference is to an ornament which fell in a marketplace (Jhumka gira re, Bareilly ke bazaar mein), or exotic locations where love blossoms (Night in London, An Evening in Paris, or Love in Tokyo). The hero sometimes proclaims his antecedents, as in Rampur ka basi hoon main, lakshman mera naam.

Bambai se gayi Poona, gayi Patna, phir bhi na mila sajna, is the lament of Juhi Chawla in a song.

In the old-time farmaish or 'request' song shows on radio, even the names of towns the requests came from were very entertaining. The most famous among them was Jhumritalaiya, but there were many frequent ones like Rajnandgaon, Jabalpur and Kathgodam. Shekhupura in Pakistan figured regul…

Sanjeev Kumar- An Actor Par Excellence

This is a random tribute to a great actor I grew up watching. In roles that needed him to do a variety of things. Scream at Gabbar Singh with rage in Sholay (his voice was one of the highlights), act mentally ill and dependent on his caretaker in Khilona, act playful on roller-skates in Seeta aur Geeta (hawa ke saath saath, ghata ke sung sung...maybe the only song on roller skates), act coy in Manchali, but also mischievous (O manchali, kahan chali ..was one of my favourites for its energy).

His nawab who says Shabba Khair (good night in Urdu) in a particular style, in Manoranjan, a comedy based on Irma La Douce, his nine roles in Naya Din Nayi Raat, his tortured self in Trishul, his deaf and dumb act in Koshish, his song in half-pants in Devata (chal baithe church ke peeche), his boss wooing multiple scretaries in office with the same sad story in Pati, Patni aur Woh, were some more memorable roles. I think he also was the bride-killing monster in Jaani Dushman.

And his double role …

Bheemeshwari- Resort on the Cauvery

A part of the 9 or 10 Jungle Lodges and Resorts that Karnataka government runs across various places in the state, Bheemeswari is one (others include Kabini, near Mysore, and one at Devbagh near Karwar). Set on the banks of river Cauvery, this is also known as Cauvery Fishing and Nature camp. But there is no fishing allowed here now. What is available is a guided trek, and many other activities like the rope climbing, river walk a hundred feet above the stream (Burma loop), parallel walk on a rope with another for hand-holding you through it, and such. I personally liked the slide down the steel rope- it is great fun. There is also a longish coracle (circular) boat ride, over rapids which were mild compared to what I had tried out in Hogenakkal some time ago. Rafting is also there, but payable extra. But the Cauvery river and the forest through which it flows is breathtakingly beautiful, and if you so choose, you can just lie around in a hammock and gaze at it, or doze off, and it would…

Kishore Kumar- 3

Some more gems from the guy that I can remember readily. This is a medley, dard bhare songs included.
Jeevan se bhari teri aankhen, majboor karein jeene ke liye..from Safar
Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo makaam woh phir nahin aate..this gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it, it is sung so soulfully.
Yeh jeevan hai, is jeevan ka, yehi hai, yehai hai, yehi hai rang roop...
Kuch to log kahenge logon ka kaam hai kehna..
Dukhi man mere sun mera kehna jahan nahi raina wahan nahin chaina
Musafir hoon yaaron na ghar hai na thikaana ..
Jeevan ke safar mein rahi milte hain hain bichhad jaane ko aur de jaate hain yadein tanhaai mein tadpane ko..
Kaise kahein hum pyar ne hum ko kya kya khel dikhaye, yun sharmaayi kismat hum se hum khud se sharmaaye..
Thandi hawa yeh chandni suhani aiye mere dil suna koi kahaani..
Teri duniya se hoke majboor chala, main bahut door...
O maajhi re apna kinara nadiya ki dhaara hai..
Dil aisa kisine mera toda, barbaadi ki taraf aisa moda.
Mere mehboob qay…

Kishore Kumar- 2

These are what I call the mellow duets sung by Kishore Kumar.

Yeh raatein yeh mausam nadi ka kinara yeh chanchal hawa

Jadugar tere naina, dil jayega bachke kahan, ruk jaoon...

Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa toh nahin..

Is mod pe jaate hain, kuch sust kadam rakhke, kuch tez kadam daale..

Tujh sang preet lagayi sajna,...

Likha hai teri aankhon mein kiska afsana...

Yeh duniyawale poochenge, mulaqat hui kya baat hui, yeh baat kisise na kehna....

Beqaraar dil, tu gaye ja khushiyon se bhare woh tarane, jinhe sunke duniya jhoom uthe ...

Shokhiyon mein ghola jaye phholon ka shabab, usme phir milyi jaye thodi si sharaab...

Aap ki aankhon mein kuch mehke hue khwab hain, aap se bhi khubsoorat aapke andaz hain..

Kishore Kumar-1

There was a KK special episode on one of the music channels a couple of days ago. About 10 songs were played. That got me thinking, as to which songs I would select as his top ten. It's too tough, because I like so many more than ten. So let me try doing this according to categories of songs. I understand this may go on for a few more episodes, like a bad serial. But anyway, here goes-

Exuberant Songs

Jai jai Shiv Shankar, kaanta lage na kankar- from Aap ki Kasam

Yeh jawaani, hai diwani, hat meri rani,..from Jawani Diwani

Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, from Andaz. Has some great yodeling.

Chala jaata hoon kisi ki dhun mein, tadapte dil ke taraane iye..from Mere Jeevan Sathi. Ditto on yodeling.

Main hoon jhum jhum jhum jhum jhumroo, fakkad ghoomoon banke ghumroo..from Jumroo. wonderful zest.

Zindagi hasne gaane ke liye hai pal do pal, from Zameer, filmed on Amitabh

Daru ki botal men sahib pani bharta hai, phir na kehna Michael daru peeke danga karta hai, which Pran sang on screen in…

Book Review-There May be an Asterisk Involved

This is a book (fiction) about the mad world of ads written by Vedashree Khambete, a lady from the world of advertising in Mumbai.

As expected, it includes a lot of tidbits about the functioning of the ad agency and its associates like films, radio, and vendor industries. But fundamentally, it's the story of Ira, the protagonist, and the people in the agency she works in- the bosses, the colleagues, trainees and a love interest. The characters are not very well-etched though, and are on expected lines-could be because I worked in an ad agency long ago. But they are certainly likeable, except an obvious villain-the ex.

The hectic, fun, crazy, unpredictable world of advertising is captured well, though the love story angle is pretty predictable. It is a good read for the readers interested in light, witty stuff that is an easy read. I particularly liked the footnotes that are LOL add-ons, and sometimes even better than the story-line.

The asterisk is indeed there to be enjoyed.

Slogans and Catch-phrases

In India, there used to be some catch-phrases that we would see regularly from the sixties onwards - I can't help it, I was born in the sixties.

'Garibi hatao' was one such, plastered all over the media. What happened to that we don't know, but the trend these days seems to be Amiri hatao, or 'inclusion'.

Our college in Hyderabad used to have student bodies which would scribble their slogans on walls. "Down with zionist forces" used to be one of them. I didn't understand then who they were, and what they had to do with us. Still don't, in fact.

'Brain drain' was another favourite of the intelligentsia, who seem to coin new phrases when they have nothing better to do. Whatever little brains we billion people had, were apparently being drained through immigration to the West. But what prevented the half-a billion or more who stayed back from using their brains is what never could penetrate my (thick) skull. Now, we seem to have an abund…

War Chhod Na Yaar- Review of the Film

This is a new genre in Hindi films, and commendable for that reason alone. It's a comedy with a war-to-be as the backdrop. An India-Pakistan war, to be more precise.

The only complaint I have about it is that the jokes could have been more in number, and the sentimentality could have been cut out- but it is too much to expect that from a Hindi movie, I guess.

In particular, Javed Jaffrey does a good job as one of the lead characters, supported well by his boss in the Pak army, and his bosses - the political and the military. The Chinese general spewing Siddhuisms picked up from Comedy Nights with Kapil (Thok do, Phatak, etc.) are nice touches, and the non-exploding Chinese bombs are hilarious. The nuclear bomb is labelled "new clear" as if it's a cosmetic.

I think Dalip Tajil plays many roles, including that of the American trying to sell arms to India and Pak. Does it well too. Soha is OK, as the TV reporter, and Sharman Joshi looks handsome as the Indian trooper h…

Celebrities and Surnames- A Correlation Study

What are the chances of your becoming a celebrity with the surname Mishra? Gurnani? Gopalan? Almost zero. But a Kapoor in your surname would increase your chances by a million times. A Khan in your last name, by a zillion times (Saif and Irrfan in addition to the triumvirate).

Celebrity-hood sits as easily on a non-Khan too. Not convinced? Khan (Na) is a powerful surname, shared by the first 'superstar' Rajesh and then Vinod, and his son Akshaye. (Sur)name yourself Raman, and you may become the big boss of Physics or Maths, but a name like Padukone would catapult you into the big league of Badminton or Bollywood.

Some other powerful surnames are Bhosle, Bachchan, Kumar (Manoj, Rajendra "jubilee" Kumar, "jaani" Raj Kumar, and my all time favourite Kishore), Burman, Dutt, Mehra, Desai, Parekh, Roshan, Samanta (the producer-director), Rai (both the Northern and the Mangalorean versions), Shah (Kundan directed Jaane Bhi do Yaaro, the cult comedy), Kher, Bajpai…

Complete Entertainment Package

A certain god-man in India has left behind all the Bollywood releases this week and threatens to do so for several weeks. A typical movie made in Bollywood has certain elements we call masala, necessary for keeping different members of the audience happy. The way this man is going, he may become a one-man entertainment industry himself.

What are the masala elements a typical film has?

Dance and music- watch your neighbourhood channel for this guy doing a raas leela (thankfully, by himself) and a tandav. Just like the extras in films, there are a few hundred devotees also joining in.

Chase- There are two here. One for his own arrest, and another is on as we speak, for that of his son.

Drama- There was some before the arrest, in terms of feigning illness, then disappearing from one place and emerging in another.

Dialogue- "Prison is like Vaikunth for me", "No prison can keep me for long"- a la Gabbar Singh.

Sex- well, that started it all, with charges of misconduct.

Benefits of Turning 53

The benefits of turning 53 are many. I am now eligible for all these-

You are no longer a teenager and you know it. You are an uncle/aunty for most of those wet-behind the ears people, who think you are 'respect-worthy'.

Most dyes (and baldness cures?) have been tried out and now you get to accept the grey hair. Makes you graceful.

You have money in the bank. If you don't, you no longer hope for it to be there.

You stop ranting about how bad the world is, because you couldn't change it one bit in all this time.

You have some unknown riches in terms of progeny- it's not Greek. It means sons or daughters.

You have already worked for long enough not to get disillusioned by the workplace. Scott Adams only brings on gentle laughter, not an uproarious one.

You start giving advice, which no one wants, but you still give it anyway.

You can drink with your own money instead of your parents'.

You have to worry only for a few more years, if you are the worrying type.


Corporate Chieftains

Like the tribes which are now extinct, corporates have their own lingo that seeks to impress. Does it? Let's figure out with the help of a few designations and their full forms/meaning.

CEO- Chief Entertainment Officer. Most would qualify, eminently.

CFO - Chief Frauds Officer. Remember Enron?

CTO - Chief Tinkerer with Office computers

CMO- Chief Mourning Officer (for bad sales, which is most of the time)

Exec Ass to the CEO- the second word says it all!

Vice President- Second guy in a two-man company

President- One who oversees the shutdown of a company or a government. Yes, he can!



Which is which? Or what's what? A mini quiz.

Anterior and posterior.

Starboard and Port

Port and Sherry

Anna Domini and B.C. What's between the two?

Dead Meat and Living Vegetable

Zero hour and Question Hour

Shakespeare and Stillwater

Moronic and Titanic

Gandhiji and His Relevance

Firstly, let me clarify that I have limited knowledge of the details of Gandhiji's life, so the following observations or thoughts could be termed half-baked. I also do not agree with him on everything he did or inspired. Now, you may read on.

He had a sense of humour, which I don't see around in too many people, who are self-righteous about trivial things, and easily offended.

He had an interest in reading and writing. My autobiography is a lift (inspired?) from his- I just called it half-truths instead of truth. Not sure if anyone does any of these two things these days.

He lived simply. I know no one wants to these days.

He walked a lot. Car manufacturers may have a tough time if more people learn to do so.

He tried to be truthful. Need I say anything on this?