Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Dostana is a bold film. Not in the "Neha Dhupia plays a bold role in Julie" bold. No. Every Kareena, Bipasha and Priyanka does those kind of bold roles today.

Dostana is the emerging new Bollywood definition of 'bold'. The film openly discusses two guys being gay and the way society looks at them. Moreover, none of this is in the preachy-preachy mode about being tolerant towards a section of society which is different from you. The sun is shining, work is more like holidaying in Miami, the babes are out in their bikinis and everybody is, well, happy and gay.

True, the film has very little story or what the bespectacled student of the cinema institute will call "substance", but then, that is not why you bought the tickets for Dostana, did you? You bought the ticket because John Abraham has an awesome physique (doesn't matter that he struggles to deliver his dialogues), because you want to forget what Abhishek did in 'Drona' and because Priyanka Chopra reveals enough skin to make the film appear like you convinced Karan Johar to convert your wet-dream into celluloid.

Dostana is fun, no doubt about that. It is the perfect weekend getaway after a tough week of bosses telling you that you aren't hitting your sales targets and the pundits on TV are telling you that the economy is in a crisis. What better medicine than to have Priyanka Chopra sashay down a beach in a golden bikini and looking sexy enough to prompt M/s. Abhishek and John to place the magazines they are reading over their shorts.

You have to hand it to Dostana. At every turn in the second half where you felt "Oh God, here we go into the serious parts", it turns around and goes straight back to buffooning (Neha: ...all 3 of us are interested in the same guy; Sam: Kunal has been cheating on me!! etc.).

Dostana is worthy of a weekend watch. And if you're a guy laughing away to glory in the darkened cinema hall, watch-out if the fellow sitting next to you is smiling a knowing smile at you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Gayatri Mantra

I remember meeting a particular religious guru at the age of 19. During an interesting chat that we were having concerning Hindu mythology and shlokas, I asked him what exactly the Gayatri Mantra meant.

He told me that the shloka referred to the various body parts of the Mother Goddess and that it is a hymn to ask Her to radiate energy from her entire body to us.

Today, I found a picture on the Net, alluding to the same:

Wikipedia offers other explanations / translations of the shloka here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

T-shirt idea # 2

I went to watch 'Dostana' last night at a multiplex near my house. A pretty looking young-girl was wearing a red t-shirt which had this written across the front:


Whoa!! Calcutta has started to shed (pun intended) the conventional image.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Vinay Pathak show

Methinks Vinay Pathak is making it a habit of starring in "low-budget" films with good direction and heart-warming performances. Even if the films aren't exactly "low-budget", they certainly aren't the ones with unnecessary foreign locales, superstars and idiotic scripts. In fact, the absence of these makes the audience focus on the story and acting, which is where the Vinay Pathak - Rajat Kapoor - Ranvir Shorey - Saurabh Shukla combine make their impression.

Look at the track record (am mentioning only those films which I've seen myself):

1. Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) - Although Pathak didn't have majority of the screen-time here, he played a very pivotal role as Asif Iqbal who'd once worked for Khurana and bears a grudge against him. Asif is the one who sets off a chain of thoughts and mischievous events which ultimately help the Khoslas get their rightful plot of land back from the land-shark.

I do not think anybody had hitherto seriously noticed Vinay Pathak but he clearly caught the audience's attention in this film, in spite of the presence of the veteran Anupam Kher and the then newly and immensely popular Boman Irani.

2. Bheja Fry (2007) - A Hindi remake of the French film 'Le Diner de Cons', this was an out-and-out Vinay Pathak film. He carried the entire film on his shoulders as the Govt. employee who thinks he's a great singer in the making.

The quirks that he brought to the character (singing at every given opportunity, carefully adjusting the secret code keys everytime he closed his briefcase, the constant wrapping and unwrapping of his musical scrap-book from a noisy polythene bag) made the audience roll on the floor with laughter during the film and later smile as they thought of the numerous Bharat Bhushans they'd encountered in their daily lives.

3. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007) - I do not know many friends who've seen this little gem of a movie. Loosely based on the Roman Polanski film Chinatown (1974), Manorama... has another actor I'm really fond of: Abhay Deol. Pathak has a small but (again) significant role as Brijmohan, Abhay Deol's brother-in-law. The two are drinking buddies and Pathak fits the role of a small-town sub-inspector to a T.

4. Johnny Gaddar (2007) - A good Hindi film thriller after ages, Johnny Gaddar is a heist film where the leading role is played by Neil Nitin Mukesh. Pathak plays the role of Prakash, one of the five members of a gang who plan on making a deal which would take them into the big time. From the lovable husband who massages his wife's feet so that she may allow him to put the house on mortgage to the bumbling and over-confident gambler who continues to play despite losing all his money, Prakash endears himself to the audience whenever he appears on screen.

And now there's Dasvidaniya. I know, I know. Some will say it is Anand re-hashed, others will yell The Bucket List. But fact remains that Dasvidaniya has gotten recognized because of the fresh and original treatment given to the almost cliched subject of a man who knows he is going to die in a couple of months time. I haven't seen the film myself, but it has been highly recommended by my friends; the most qualified of whom is Priyanka who writes for The Telegraph. Read her review of the film here.

All in all, I have made up my mind that Vinay Pathak is an actor to watch out for. Call it multiplex cinema or the new-age Hrishikesh Mukherjee films, Mr. Pathak will surely feature in a lot more of them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kaash aisi bandi...

I was putting up at a friend's room at IIT-Kharagapur during their 2004 Spring Fest when I came across a video on the local network titled "Kaash aisi bandi KGP mein hoti.mpg". Naturally, my curiosity was aroused.

Thanks to YouTube, I met her again a couple of years later while I was studying at Nirma. I showed the video to a couple of guys in the hostel, and the video was a rage, even though none of us understood a single word Alizee sang.

Ever since then, I've always wished I'd taken my French-language lessons in college seriously. ~sigh~

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why So Serious?

Movies have the ability to live on in the memories of their audience by way of great dialogues. Great performances and great music always help, but through what medium does a guy communicate to a friend how good the movie he saw last Friday was? He certainly has no musicians jumping out of the closet to accompany him (remember "Jaane ke jaane na" from the Salman-Akshay Kumar-Priety Zinta starrer "Jaan-E-Mann") and perhaps never made it to the school's annual theatre festival either. His only saviour is the dialogues that should have emblazoned themselves in his memory.

Hindi films have always done well on this count; be it the 1970's when the Salim-Javed duo worked with great gusto (and dialogue-wise, things almost came to an orgasmic climax in "Sholay") or the modern-day Raj cavorting around with Simran in Switzerland and saying "Koi baat nahi Senorita, bade-bade deshon mein aisi chhoti-chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain".

I am not going into Hollywood classics here, they've always been brilliant ("Here's looking at you, kid" or "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"). Of course, Arnold's "Terminator" act did brilliantly to become one of the most popular dialogues of all-time, just by telling the world "I'll be back."

The one recent movie which I believe has done this brilliantly (even better than it's predecessor in this series) is "The Dark Knight". Full marks to the Nolan brothers and, of course, Heath Ledger to bring these dialogues to the screen memorably.

A few of my favourite quotes from the film:

Joker: You see,madness,as you know,is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!


Joker: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know that I'm telling the truth. It's the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!

[Joker hands Two-Face a gun and points it at himself]

Joker: Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair.


Batman: Then why do you want to kill me?

Joker: [laughs] I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, you... you complete me.


Joker: This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.


(one of my favorites which does NOT include either Batman or The Joker)

[Wayne Enterprises accountant Coleman Reese believes that he's discovered Batman's secret identity, and is trying to blackmail Fox]

Lucius Fox: Let me get this straight: You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck.

Reese: ~gulps~

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank you for NOT smoking

And if you do smoke during office hours, I think you're wasting too much time.

The only half-decent more-an-excuse reason to smoke during office hours is to 'catch up on the buzz'. The argument usually put forward is that during the community-smoking sessions that happen, a lot of data and information is exchanged, which may come in handy at work.

But let's accept what these sessions really are.

1. An opportunity to 'network'. Yes, you do get to speak to people in an informal manner. But are you doing any good to your health? NO !!

2. A haven for people to take a break from work. Unfortunately, there's no time-limit to this. Plus, there's no limit to the number of cigarettes that you smoke. Add to that the infinite number of times you step out to take a break and you have almost a quarter of the working hours "going up in smoke".

3. A chance to poison co-workers who don't smoke through "passive smoking". Yes. Face it. It is a reality. And unfortunately, there's no escaping it. When the boss asks your colleague to step out "for a smoke", you know that he (your colleague, and in all probability, your top contender for that promotion you've been eyeing for months) just got a chance to get into the boss' good books. [If only I had a hundred bucks for every person who read this bit and went "Rachel" in his/her head...]

My solution:

Why don't we just have routine coffee/tea sessions? Say, post-lunch or from 4 to 4:15 every evening. Great excuse to:

a) Network
b) Take a break and assimilate your thoughts
c) Introduce a bit of personal time in your daily office hours ("Say, Sam, how was that book you finished reading last week?")

You think you have any other alternate solutions?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Shuffled tag

I'm picking up this tag, not because it has been a month since I blogged, but because it feels like it's already been so many months since I blogged. Needless to add, have been pretty caught up lately. Anyway here goes...

Here are the rules:
1. Put your music player on Shuffle mode.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. Write the song name no matter what it is.
4. After you've answered all of the questions, tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged.

~deep breath~

1. If someone says "Is this okay?", you say:

The caper begins (Instrumental) from "Johnny Gaddar"

2. What would best describe your personality?

(:D Absolutely loved this...)

All the cool boys come on make some noise and say "Om Shanti Om"

3. What do you like in a girl?

Hansti rahe tu hansti rahe, haiya ki laali khilti rahe...
Zulf ke neeche gardan pe, subah-o-shaam milti rahe...

Saathiya, saathiya.... madham, madham teri geeli hasi...

4. How do you feel today?

Kiska hai yeh tumko intezaar, main hoon na?

5. What is your life's purpose?

Yeh taara, woh taara, har taara...
Yeh taara, woh taara, har taara...
Dekho jise bhi lage pyaara...
Yeh taara, woh taara, har taara...

6. What do your friends think of you?

18 Till I die

7. What do you think of your parents?

Saawariya... saawariya...

8. What do you think of very often?

Tumse milke dil ka hai jo haal kya kahein...

(Gosh, didn't Sushmita look gorgeous in those sarees???)

9. What is 2 + 2?

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

10. What do you think of the person you like?

Lady Marmalade... (Whoa!!!)

11. What is your life story?

Kuch paane ki ho aas aas...
Koi armaan ho jo khaas khaas...

12. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Listen baby....
Ain't no mountain high... ain't no valley low... ain't no river wide enough baby...

13. What do you think of when you see the person you like?

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone" (Mindblowing-ly AWESOME!!)

14. What do your parents think of you?

Ambar hethhaan, dharti vasdi, ethe har rut hasdi, ho....
Kinna sona, des hai mera, des hai mera, des hai mera....
Kinna sona des hai mera, des hai mera
Des hai mera, des hai mera…

15. What will you dance to you at your wedding?

Aankhon mein teri... ajab si ajab si adaayein hain...
Dil ko banaa de jo patang saasein yeh teri woh hawaayein hain...

16. What will they play at your funeral?

Ajnabi shehar hai
Ajnabi shaam hai
Zindagi ajnabi kya tera naam hai
Ajeeb hai ye zindagi ye zindagi ajeeb hai
Ye milti hai bicharti hai bicharke phir se milti hai

17. What is your hobby/interest?

Kitne armaan...( maaan... maaan.. maaan...).. jaage tere vaaste soniyeinnnnnn.....

[Yes, yes... it's Himesh Bhai ka gaana]

18. What is your biggest secret?

Toota toota ek parinda aise toota
Ke phir jud naa paaya
Loota loota kisne usko aise loota
Ke phir ud naa paaya
O o o o toota toota ek parinda aise toota
Ke phir jud naa paaya
Loota loota kisne usko aise loota
Ke phir ud naa paaya
Girta hua woh asma se
Aakar gira zameen par
Khwabon mein phir bhi badal hi the
Woh kehta raha magar
Ke allah ke bande hasde allah ke bande
Allah ke bande hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega...

19. What do you think of your friends?

Anjani Rahoein Mein Tu Kya Dhoondhanta Phire...
Door Jisko Samjha Who To Paas Hai Tere...

20. What should you post this as?

You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like a mountain in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again

21. What do you think about this tag?

We don't need no education...
We don't need no thought control...
No dark sarcasm in the classroom...
Teachers leave them kids alone...
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone..
All in all, you're just another brick in the wall...


All in all, you're just another post on the blog...

I tag everybody who feels like picking this tag up.