Showing posts from April, 2014

Queen- Film Review

This is an interesting film for many reasons. First, the heroine is the hero. Barring Kahani in recent times, not many Hindi films have done this. Second, the film is about living your life more freely, whether you are a man or woman. The humour is understated, and sometimes you may miss it if you are not listening carefully, as in the Hash and Aish in Benares in the dialogue between Kangana and Lisa.

Again, it is rare for Bollywood to have realistic foreigners who are normal and not caricatures. The hypocrisy of the Indian male-oriented society also comes through effortlessly, but so does the hollowness of the kitty-partying females.

The drunken scenes and the encounters in the Amsterdam red-light area are handled well, and so are the nuances of the foursome staying in the hostel at Amsterdam. Lisa Hayden also has a very good role, as Kangana's friend and philosophy guide in Paris.

Refreshing, and a very nice change from Salman Khan-starring remakes of atrocious Telugu original…

The Sea and Food

That food from the sea can see us through many a drought, has been my theory for many years. A man living on the coast can never starve, if he can teach himself to fish. A dish containing fish multiplies in its price as it leaves the coast and travels inland. But there are places where seafood is quite cheap (relatively)- Thailand comes to mind. And Karwar, closer home.

Some of the most interesting seafood I ate has been in Calicut, aka Kozhikode. That is because we lived there a full two years, and had a chance to taste mussel, fish of many hues, and prawns. All quite yummy. A great thing about seafood is that it is fairly easy and fast to cook, and tastes good with minimal work. Mutton is the opposite, but delicious when done right. Lucknow kababs are a good example. Nizam's in Connaught Place is another. But I am digressing. Goa of course  has its fishy delights, from beach shacks to homes of friends. I have also eaten good fish at times in Kolkata, and even some of the tikkas…

Pune Warriors

This is not about the short-lived IPL team supported by the ill-fated Sahara group whose chairman is going through bad times. This is about the everyday wars being fought by the Punekars on its roads, and so on.

Historically a culturally rich, progressive city, it retains (many) shades of it even today. But on one count, it falls short of expectations (to be fair, all Indian cities fall short here)- traffic and its management. Public transport needs huge improvement, because people seem to believe today (rightly) that a two-wheeler of your own is a must, if you want to get around and reach anywhere. Someone said that a city's public transport system is a mark of how civilised it is. I am beginning to agree.

Autorickshaws are expensive for daily commutes of any lengths. Parking is non-existent in most parts of town. A metro should have been built about 8-10 years ago, and there is no sign of it yet.

There are a lot of pluses in Pune, but lots of civic facilities seem on the verge …

La Di Dah

Some terms remain with you. Mine were mostly picked up from the gossip columns of Stardust, Filmfare, Cine Blitz etc. which I once read avidly, and some of its writing was actually good. Shobha De was a columnist in one of these mags.

Anyway, here's the lowdown on what some important people are doing today-mostly the la, di and dah types.

Mamata di went to Delhi and talked about Poribartan. The bartanwalis came to listen to her because it struck a chord.
Digvijay Singh opened his mouth. And shut it, before his foot got into it.

Lah -lu gave a speech that was stale as a samosa. Remember jab tak rahega samose mein aloo? It is time for pack-up, it seems.
Netaji put his own foot in his mouth, giving us his two bits about the '3 mistakes' that young men make, and should be pardoned for.

Kejriwal wore a towel and took a dip in the Yamuna..ooh la, la. If only he was a Salman, or at least a John Abraham.
Modi meanwhile had a quiet chai with his supporters.

Dah, goes the Facebook cro…

Corporate Shenanigans and More

This is actually a review of a book on called The Big Bing. Written by a former columnist (named Stanley Bing) of the magazine Esquire and others, it contains a great deal of humour. His punching bag are the workplace, consultants, bosses, and occasionally, himself. An example of the last-

"A host of big swinging editors at Esquire supported my growth from a tiny nub in the back of the magazine next to the hair replacement ads to one of grave sociological importance in the front near men's underwear."

Some more- these are about the Middle Ages and the things that followed.

"Around 1400 AD, anybody with four good limbs got on a horse and went to kill other people for what they believed in.This was called the Crusades."

" Science was invented, and Copernicus realized that the world did not revolve around Poland. This impressed Galileo, who told Newton, who discovered gravity, and the race for nuclear weapons was on."

There are a lot more essays, on a v…


Some are planned, others fortuitous (hope that's the right word). Happened to do a bit of both. Or rather, both happened on this visit to Bangalore. I had a planned meeting with an IMT Nagpur (ex) student, and ran into another from PESIT while taking a walk. And yet another friend from my IIM batch.

It is always a pleasure to be recognised, more so when you least expect it. So it was this time. This is not the first time, because I have ex-students all over the country. The first time I was surprised was in Mumbai a few years ago when Padmapriya, ex-student from Kirloskar Institute met me after recognising me in low light in an instant. I thought with the grey hair and so on, that would be close to impossible. The second, at a Delhi airport, when another PESIT student found me, and said he was living in Delhi, married to a batchmate.

Monday's incident was also similar, as it was dark, and Sowmya appeared out of the blue (or black), and said she worked close by. Anyway, it was…

Forecasting in Life

The ability to forecast is interesting. It can also be scary. If you knew what would happen to everyone around you accurately, you may be scared to tell them. If you knew what would happen to you, you might be even more so. Ignorance is bliss, in a way.

But more than clairvoyance, it takes observation and experience to make reasonably good predictions about our actions and their consequences, I think. For example, it requires no genius to figure that if you study well, you will do well on an exam. Or that sooner or later, the electorate will get fed up with the party in power and throw it out (in a democracy). That a husband and wife will quarrel. That a marriage will produce kids (in spite of the above quarrels). That a woman will do the household work (at least for another century in India).

Further, that 90% of the celebrity gurus will one day get caught in a scam or a fraud. Actually, make that celebrities and people in positions of power (political, economic or other kinds). The…

Item Numbers

These are the hot numbers in a Hindi movie, which at one time used to be called cabaret songs. The come-hither types performed by suitably clad female actors (sometimes with male accompaniment)- Jayashree T., Mumtaz, Helen, Padma Khanna were some who became the face of the 'items.' Helen, in particular, became known for these, and she was one of the best. Her number in Don appears a classic when you see Kareena's pathetic imitation in the remake. Here is a list of a few good ones I remember. Of course, along the way, the vamp has disappeared, and the heroine now fills in when needed.

1. Husn ke lakho rang, kaunsa rang dekhoge..Johny Mera Naam
2. Zindagi ittefaq hai- Aadmi aur insaan (Mumtaz)
3. Mehbooba, mehbooba- Sholay
4. O haseena zulfon wali jane jahan- Teesri Manzil
5. Piya tuuu, ab to aaja- Caravan
6. Aa jaane jaan- Inteqam
7. Raat akeli hai- Jewel Thief (Tanuja is the actor)
8. Main kya karoon ram mujhe buddha mil gaya-Sangam (Vyjayantimala!)
9. Jab chhaye mera Jad…