December 28, 2009

3 Idiots is not idiotic

Watched matinee show of 3 Idiots last Friday. The theatre was packed, no wonder bookings for the next ten shows were full in advance. We missed the first two minutes of the film wherein Farhaan (Madhavan, in a carefully knitted role and apt) forcefully gets down from a ready-to-takeoff flight to meet his long lost college friend, Rancho (played brilliantly by Aamir Khan) who is rumoured to have been seen somewhere in Simla. He and his other friend Raju (Sharmaan Joshi lives up to the character) start off on a journey from Delhi to Simla to Ladakh in search of Rancho along with Chatur, their classmate from college and also an intuitive enemy.

The film rolls between present and flashback as Farhaan narrates it effectively. Most of the episodes from their engineering college life are fun to watch on screen except for the delivery on a pool table scene which I felt was too dramatic to digest. Boman Irani (as Virus, the Dean) had nothing new to offer but fitted the role perfectly with striking voice modulation and personality. Kareena Kapoor was good with the I-know-it-all attitude as Dean's second daughter. She leaves her mark in the film in spite of a lesser reel time.

The movie is adapted from Chetan Bhagat's first step to fame, Five Point Someone. Though a lot of modifications have been done with the characterizations of all the characters (except Raju's) and a big twist in the interval episode (quite interesting to watch). But, Hirani should have been more careful while writing and shooting certain scenes. All the three - Aamir, Madhavan and Sharmaan have done exceedingly well. Music is apt for the film and sounds good when you hear it on screen (with the visuals).

All in all, the film is very good and definitely tops the best entertainer list in year 2009.

My rating for this film - **** 1/2
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

December 18, 2009


...The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. The book, winner of Man Booker Prize for 2008, is about the entrepreneurial journey of the son of a rickshaw puller. The first few pages look promising. It should be a good read.

December 10, 2009

Divide and Rule

It came as a shock to me when I heard Mr. P Chidambaram, on television, talk about the Telangana bill to be passed in the Assembly. I am surprised that what something like the 1969 Telangana agitation couldn't achieve is now a reality. And, that too as a result of such low protest. Hunger strike by a gentleman, demolition of a few public transport vehicles, strike by some thousand college students and a few television interviews by some TRS leaders is all what it took. I just want to ask one question. Will Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao oblige if someone else is made the Chief Minister of (could be) Telangana state? That answers everything.

Now, already Rayalseema, Kosta and Andhra are raising their voice for separate states. Coming days will see more protest from all corners of Andhra Pradesh. People will fight for Hyderabad, which is already being proposed to be made a Union Territory. I am utterly dissapointed with this decision from centre. Cannot see Andhra Pradesh sliced into pieces after 43 years and after all the sacrifices made to make it happen. An outright insult to Amarajeevi Potti Sreeramulu who fasted until death for the cause. I just hope AP remains as is, united.

We have proved again that we still follow what the British left us behind with - Divide and Rule. Yes, we divide and rule. We do.

December 06, 2009

Ya Rabba...

I love this song from Salaam-E-Ishq. The lyrics are beautiful and Kailash Kher's voice brings soul to this song.

Pyaar Hai Ya Saja, Aai Mere Dil Bata
Tootata Kyon Nahi Dard Ka Silsila
Is Pyaar Mein Hon Kaise Kaise Imntihaan
Ye Pyaar Likhe Kaisi Kaisi Dastaan
Ya Rabba De De Koi Jaan Bhi Agar
Dilbar Pe Ho Na, Dilbar Pe Ho Na Koi Asar
Ho Ya Rabba De De Koi Jaan Bhi Agar
Dilbar Pe Ho Na, Dilbar Pe Ho Na Koi Asar
Pyaar Hai Ya Saja, Aai Mere Dil Bata
Tootata Kyon Nahi Dard Ka Silsila

Kaisa Hai Safar Wafa Ki Manjil Ka
Na Hai Koi Hal Dilon Ki Mushkil Ka
Dhadkan Dhadkan Bikhri Ranjishein
Saansein Saansein Tooti Bandishein
Kahi To Har Lamha Honton Pe Fariyaad Hai
Kisi Ki Duniya Chaahat Mein Barbaad Hai
Ya Rabba De De Koi Jaan Bhi Agar
Dilbar Pe Ho Na, Dilbar Pe Ho Na Koi Asar
Ho Ya Rabba De De Koi Jaan Bhi Agar
Dilbar Pe Ho Na, Dilbar Pe Ho Na Koi Asar

Koi Na Sune Sisakati Aanhon Ko
Koi Na Dhare Tadapati Baahon Ko
Aadhi Aadhi Puri Khwaishein
Tooti Footi Sab Farmaaishein
Kahin Shak Hain Kahin Nafrat Ki Deewaar Hai
Kahin Jeet Mein Bhi Shamil Palpal Haar Hain
Ya Rabba De De Koi Jaan Bhi Agar
Dilbar Pe Ho Na, Dilbar Pe Ho Na Koi Asar
Ho Ya Rabba De De Koi Jaan Bhi Agar
Dilbar Pe Ho Na, Dilbar Pe Ho Na Koi Asar
Ho O O Pyaar Hai Ya Saja, Aai Mere Dil Bata
Tootata Kyon Nahi Dard Ka Silsila
Ho O O O Ho O O O
Na Poocho Dard Bandon Se
Hansi Kaisi Khushi Kaisi
Musibat Sar Pe Rehati Hain
Kabhi Kaisi Kabhi Kaisi
Ho O O O... Rabba, Rabba Ho O O Ho
Rabba Ho O O, Ho O Ho Rabba

December 02, 2009

Hell on Wheels

The pictures below are taken in the second class of the Intercity Express (Vijayawada-Secunderabad). They show the poor state of our Railways. This was the most terrible and painstaking journey in my life. A coupe meant for 12 people was packed with a group of 22 to 24. The price you pay for getting to stand is the same as that paid for a reserved seat - A big fault in the system. It causes inconvenience even for the passengers who have a reserved seat because it hugely affects their comfortability. They are sandwiched between many of those standing.

I couldn't shoot from a better angle considering my ackward seating position, surrounded by 4 people and my feet stuck between two ladies and a boy sitting between my seat row and the one exactly opposite to it within a distance of about 20 inches!

Railways have to stop issuing tickets once the reserved seats get over or if not, in worst case, reduce the ticket price by at least 50% for those who buy a ticket later for them to decide whether to make the journey or not.

This is pathetic!!! Ms. Mamata Banerjee, are you listening? This is HELL on wheels.

November 20, 2009

Miles from Home @ Home

Chapter - Green Tea

It was a cloudy and dull October morning. Preparations were at peak in the house. I was poked persistently, until I finally gave in and woke up at 6:15. All the rooms were brightly lit as if it were going to be night in a while. Women in the house were busy making hot and sweet savories – Putharekulu (thin wafer type sweet savory), Bobbatlu (sweet parathas)and Jantikalu (Khara) and men were busy discussing something very important! I was given a tumbler full of Harlicks (that’s Horlicks, by the way) because it is supposed to be good for growing children. I wondered if I really was one at 24!

Life in a village is so different and amusing that you just cannot afford to miss a chance that takes you there. I visited my grandparents after nearly fifteen years. The last time I saw them was on my eighth birthday, the day before we had left for Canada. ........

October 10, 2009

పెద్దోళ్ళు - గట్టోళ్ళు

మనం ఎప్పుడూ పెద్దవాళ్ళని, ముసలి వాళ్ళని చాదస్తపరులు అనుకుంటూ ఉంటాం. వాళ్ళని విసుక్కునే, తిట్టుకునే సందర్భాలూ ఉంటూనే ఉంటాయి. కానీ, వాళ్ళ మాటల్లో ఒక రకమైన వినోదం ఉంటుంది. వినోదం అంటే ఇక్కడ మీరు మరొకలాగా భావించొద్దు. ఆ చాదస్తం లో వ్యంగ్యం, అమాయకత్వం, కోపం, అసహనం లాంటివి సమపాళ్ళలో ఇమిడి ఉంటాయి. వారి మాటలు అప్పుడప్పుడూ చాలా సరదాగా, నవ్వు తెప్పించేవిగా, పలు సందర్భాల్లో ఎంతో చమత్కారంగా కూడా ఉంటాయి. దీనినే ఆంగ్లం లో Pun అంటారు.

ఋతువులు ఆరు అని మనకి తెలుసు. కానీ ఈ మధ్యనే కొత్త ఋతువు ఒకటి ప్రపంచ వ్యాప్తంగా వాడుకలోకి వచ్చింది- ఐపిఎల్ ఋతువు - అదేనండీ, క్రికెట్. చాలామంది పెద్దవాళ్ళకి క్రికెట్ అంటే అస్సలు గిట్టదు. మా తాతగారు, కీ.శే. శ్రీ దశిక భాస్కర రామ్మూర్తిగారు ఇలాంటి కోవకు చెందిన వారు. ఆయన పైకి ఎంత గంభీరంగా కనిపించేవారో అంత సరదా మనిషి. టీ.వీ. లో క్రికెట్ మ్యాచ్ నడుస్తున్నంతసేపూ ఎదో ఒకటి అంటూనే వుండేవారు.

ఒక సారి మన భారత జట్టు వేరే దేశంతో ఆడుతోంది. మన బౌలింగ్ లో వాళ్ళ సారథి సిక్స్ కొట్టాడు. అప్పుడు మా తాతగారు, "ఛి ఛి, ఏవిటా బంతి? లడ్డూ తీసుకెళ్ళి చేతికిచ్చినట్టు ఇచ్చాడు." అని వ్యాఖ్యానించారు. ఆ మరుసటి ఓవర్ లో ఒక ప్రముఖ ఆల్ రౌండర్ క్యాచ్ వదిలేసినప్పుడు, "గుడ్డి వెధవ లాగా ఆ నల్ల కళ్ళద్దాలూ వాడూ!" అని అన్నారు. ఇలా అలోచిస్తుంటే మరొక సరదా సంఘటన గుర్తుకొస్తోంది.

ప్రముఖ ఆలయాల్లో పరిస్థితి ఎలా ఉంటుందో మీకు ప్రత్యేకంగా చెప్పనక్కర్లేదు. ఇటునుండి ఇలా దర్శనానికి వెళ్ళామో లేదో, అటునుండి అలా బయటకి లాగేస్తూంటారు. ఒకసారి మేము స్వామి వారి దర్శనం కోసం యాదగిరిగుట్ట వెళ్ళాము. వేసవి సెలవలు కావడంతో చాలా రద్దీగా ఉంది. గంటకు పైనే క్యూలో నిలబడి గర్భ గుడి లోనికి ప్రవేశించాము. షరా మామూలే అన్నట్టు, అక్కడ కూడా కొంతమంది భక్తులని బయటకి లాగడం, తొయ్యడం చేస్తున్నారు. దండం పెట్టుకుంటున్న మా తాతగారిని ఒక వ్యక్తి, "ఎంతసేపండీ? వెళ్ళండి వెళ్ళండి!” అన్నాడు. దానికి జవాబుగా ఆయన “ఏవిటయ్యా, దండంపెట్టుకుందామని విగ్రహంకేసి చూసినప్పుడల్లా మొహం తిప్పేస్తుంటే ఎలా?" అంటూ చమత్కరించారు.

ఇలా చెప్పుకుంటూ పోతే ఇంకెన్నో! మనం అనుకుంటాము కానీ ముసలివాళ్ళు మాటలు ఎంత కఠినంగా పలికినా అందులో ఆప్యాయత, ప్రేమ మాత్రం లేకుండా పోవు. మరి ఈ సారి వాళ్ళని విసుక్కునే ముందు ఒకటికి రెండు సార్లు ఆలోచిస్తారుగా?

This essay was published in an Australian based Telugu magazine in May 2009

September 24, 2009

Banam Review

Banam is a low budget film produced by Swapna Dutt Chalasani and directed by first timer Chaitanya Danthuluri. It also has the lead role played by debutante Nara Rohit, Andhra Pradesh’s ex-Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s brother’s son. Vedika plays the female lead. The story line is fresh unlike what we get to see these days barring a few films. Banam is technically very good with new and few stunning camera frames. Cinematography is also good and adds value to the film.

Bhagat Panigrahi (Rohit), son of naxalite Panigrahi (Sayaji Shinde) puts his heart and soul in preparing for the civil services. He finds Lakshmi (Vedika) at a railway station one day and brings her home after her father dies of heart attack and her in-laws disown her. Things turn out in such a way after her arrival that Bhagat unknowingly becomes the target of one Sakthi, a local goon. The rest of the film is all about how Bhagat realizes his dream of becoming an IPS officer while trying to clean the system from the grass root level. Chaitanya shows creativity in some places by masking the action scenes with the background drama.

Bhagat’s role is tailor-made for Rohit. The role doesn’t require a great display of histrionics. It is too early to comment on him, though he came out with a very decent performance in this film. Music by Manisharma is just adequate.

My rating for this film - ****

(* You will shoot me

** Waste of time

*** Can sit through

**** Worth watching once

***** Must watch)

September 14, 2009

My Films

I am planning to add a new column section called My Films to this blog, where I would be sharing videos of the short films or teasers that I had shot (also read involved with) or would shoot in future. Most of them could carry a message on civic issues, social issues, health etc.. Now let me see how far I can take this successfully.

August 04, 2009

Love Aaaj Kal -

Love Aaj Kal is declared a hit in Mumbai by film trade analysts. Is it that Mumbai audience has a different taste for films or is it that it has been deliberately declared a hit? Whatever it be, I did not like the film and I have a few reasons. Firstly, the film runs at a very slow pace. Secondly, the first ten minutes is made very complicated, in the sense that, the present and the past are shown back to back, compelling the audience to get confused. After something like Jab We Met, this film was quite disappointing.

Saif was good to watch, but there's nothing new from Deepika. The screenplay was complicated but Imtiaz handled it very well especially after the first 40 minutes. The film begins with a break-up between Saif and Deepika because they feel that they cannot sustain a long distance relationship. She heads for India for a career in art restoration and he stays back in London to pursue his dream of getting into Golden Gate Inc. in the US of A. Saif gets a new blonde girlfriend and Deepika dates her boss (the charming Rahul Khanna). Time and Rishi Kapoor make Saif realize that Meera (Deepika) has become an integral part in his life. He goes to Delhi to meet her and they eventually realize that they are together even after a one year break-up.

Rishi Kapoor was apt for the Sardar's role, who gives lots of gyan to Saif and narrates his own love story in a parallel track which runs in a similar fashion. There are few glitches like the episode where Meera gets married to her boss and the truth dawns upon her the very next day that she is in love with Saif. If it takes one day for her to make a decision, why couldn't she decide in the short span before her wedding?

The surprise package of the film is Neetu Kapoor's entry in the last scene as Rishi Kapoor's wife.

My rating for this film - ***
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

July 29, 2009

Prayanam - A pleasant journey

Prayanam starring Manchu Manoj as Dhruv and Harika as is, is a feel good entertainer. More than 90% of the film is set in the backdrop of Kuala Lumpur airport. Dhruv and his two friends are on a holiday and plan to board a flight to Singapore. Harika is a hair stylist in Malaysia and is on her way back to Hyderabad to meet her prospective groom. The two of them meet at the airport and the next two hours show how Dhruv falls in love with Harika and tries to woo her.

Harika is expressive and perfectly fits the role. But, it was Manoj's performance that took me by surprise. I liked him for the first time in so many years with a handful of films in his list. Manoj literally lived Dhruv's role. In fact a director joked that Manoj has finally got a female fan when I told him this. :D. Brahmanandam provides comic relief as tiger man. The scenes between him and Dhruv's writer friend are funny.

Prayanam is a very light hearted film. It may not lie in the interest of those who look for a mixture of drama, action and romance.

My rating for this film - ****
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

July 03, 2009

Indira, Rajiv and nobody else

Yet another monument or construction in the name of Rajiv Gandhi! I am talking about the new Bandra-Worli sea link. I hate this one thing about Congress. They behave as if there is no other person alive or dead worthy of recognition and honour in the history of pre-independent and post-independent India apart from their 'family' leaders Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Lousy self proclamation, indeed.

Rajiv Gruh Nirman, Rajiv Gandhi International airport, Indiramma gruha patakam (housing schemes in A.P.) etc. The ruling Congress party always does that. They name everything from poor people housing schemes to free ration to international airports to monuments.. everything under the sun in the name of either Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi! If they don't want to use names of prominent leaders who served from other political parties, let them not. But, at least look into your backyard. There are the likes of P.V.Narasimha Rao who certainly have some outstanding contribution to their credit. Go, get a life!

June 08, 2009

Kavya's Diary - A very old one

Telugu film Kavya's Diary is highly 'inspired' by the 1992 English flick, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, so much so that even part of the dialogues are adapted suitably. The film's dialogue 'The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world', adapted from William Ross' peom by the same name and literally translated as 'laalinche chetule prapanchanni paalistaayi', is somewhat difficult to digest.

Raj (Indrajit) and Pooja (Manjula) move into their new bungalow with their daughter Amulya a.k.a. Ammu and their toddler son. Pooja spends half of her time in the green house next to the bungalow. She files a complaint with the police against one gynaecologist, Dr. Kiran who misbehaves with her when she's pregnant with her second child. He commits suicide and his wife Maya (Charmi) vows to kill Pooja and snatch her family away from her. She enters their house as Kavya, the governess for the child. Rest of the plot is how she plans to ruin Raj and Pooja's relationship and takeover as the mother of the kids, though she is the one who gets killed in the end with the help of Raj and the care taker, Athidhi (Satyam Rajesh).

There is nothing new in this film. Everything is just neatly arranged from an already existing story to suit the taste of the Telugu audience. Guess what the creative team at Indira Productions did to back their credit for the Concept and Story of the film. Manjula's performance was neat considering her low acting profile.

My rating for this film - **
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

June 03, 2009

My Book

I have seriously thought of taking the plunge and writing a book. This post will tell you what I am talking about. After a lot of brainstorming on what to write on, I finally decided that I would write about myself, my life (not that people are dying to read about me). 'Until I turned 21' is what the book will be called. It will include some fiction as well to make it more interesting and engaging for the readers. I have already written a few paragraphs. Now, let's see how long it will take for it to hit the stands, considering the speed of my work and other committments. :D

I have taken up writing full-time, almost like a second career, and who knows I might just end up making it my bread-and-butter very soon. I now write for a couple of magazines. Oh... you are already appreciating it, thanks a lot! :D

May 27, 2009

'Slumdog' Slum Kids

The 'Slumdog' kids are seen getting involved in many controversies with each taking a new turn every day. The last time we heard of them was when their houses were brought down by the railway officials because they were allegedly built on an occupied land owned by the railways. Now, the news is that these children have again set their base in the same land by building new houses.

Slumdog Millionaire might be a 'great' film having brought a couple of oscars to the country, but one thing I don't understand is that why should the actors be treated as if they have done something tremendous for the country - something that India could never think of or has been dying to feel good about. The cast of the film or particularly the slum kids Azhar and Rubina Ali have not done anything so great that people expect the government to recognize their effort and honour them with free income, a free apartment, or may be a free car too. They have just acted in a film like any any other child artiste or actor in any other film. There are many children like Azhar and Rubina who are left to their destiny to pull their lives through these slums across the country. What about them? And, they will not even get a chance to re-build their homes if demolished by the government once. Azhar and Rubina are at least lucky to have lots of support from the media and the public who think they have brought laurels to the country.

May 18, 2009

House Hunting

Despite persistent efforts to rent a house for the last two weeks, we fall short of coming across 'the perfect' house - flawless is what I mean. We must have seen around 15 apartments or individual houses, but nothing falls into the i-love-it-and-ready-to-occupy bracket. What all virtues does this bracket hold then? Well, nothing much... I would like big spacious rooms, at least three bedrooms, a neatly done living room and lots of storage. Oops! missed some other details like big balconies, good ventilation and more importantly all these at an affordable price! :D

That's too much you might say, but what's wrong in desiring something that brings satisfaction? By the way, I didn't mention the city we are house-hunting in - Hyderabad. If we come across a good apartment with most of the requirements met, it will either not have closed cupboards among others or has serious problems like seepage, which are hard to tolerate in the long run.

We thought recession has had a big impact on real estate and would help us in getting a worthy yet reasonable bargain. Nothing happened that way. The rents are still sky-rocketing in prime localities. But, we are positive about the hunt and hope to negotiate a fair deal soon.

May 13, 2009

Long gone democracy

The final phase of the general elections 2009 will end in a few hours from now. The results will be out by the 16thof May and the governments at both the centre and the state level would be sworn in by the end of May. The last couple of months saw the luring of masses by different political parties across states with money, liquor etc. Regional parties in few states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are already celebrating their ‘guaranteed’ success to power. But, where is the common man in all these? The common man is lost somewhere in between. He is lost in the road between rags to riches… between vote banks and power politics. He is lost all along, only to realize that he is nowhere seen or heard in the next five years until the next election campaign when the political parties will storm into their lives all over again as angels in disguise, as the immortal prophets of brotherhood. This has become fairly common in India, so common that it hardly affects anybody anymore.

The term democracy often intrigues me. We have been taught in school that India is the largest democracy in the world where people choose their leader and that the government is of the people, for the people and by the people. ‘By the people?‘ Is the government by the people? I do not really think it’s true. Democracy means the party which gets the majority of votes should assume power.

Let us assume the following to conclude if there is any democracy still left in the country.
- Party x, party y and party z are contending elections at state level or higher
- There are 120 votes (read number of votes) in that particular state
- Out of these 120, 59 vote for x, 46 vote for y and 15 vote for z
- A maximum of 60 votes are required to form the government (The clause)

Who will form the government now? As per the definition of Democracy, party x should assume power as a majority wants it to come into power. But, don’t forget the above clause ‘at fault’ – the culprit! There are two possibilities here – one, party x join hands with party z and forms the government or two, party y forms the government with z. Both ways, Z is the king in disguise. Now, party y forms the government with the additional 15 seats from z and x is left behind. But, who got the majority here? X, and who got the power? Y. Nearly 50% of the people chose X as their leader, but got Y in return. Where is this so called democracy when people do not get what they want? People are deceived by money bags and power games. Is this real democracy, or are we supposed to make this one?

May 12, 2009

The Notorious Saree

Gosh! I never knew Ms. Jayalalitha's saree would become so famous, so famous that people still like to read or know about the notorious incident that had occurred few years ago in one of the Tamilnadu assembly sessions.

Now you would ask me why I am referring to this particularly sad incident all over again. So, let me tell you that I am getting nearly 20-40 hits a week for only this post of mine. And, everytime I search for the referring URL for a particular blog hit, it turns out that every 7 out of 10 hits on this blog are directed from google with search words like jayalalitha saree + pulled etc..

Should I feel happy about the ever increasing blog hits or sad confused about the rising interest of public in this age-old incident? It's strange though. :D

May 07, 2009

తొలి తెలుగు మహిళా బ్లాగరు

I am overwhelmed.

There is an active group TeluguBloggers on google. One of their discussion forums lists my name as తొలి తెలుగు మహిళా బ్లాగరు (the first Telugu woman blogger).

Thanks to all my blog readers and well-wishers. I would like to see myself writing more in Telugu now. :D


May 05, 2009

Everybody cheats thambi

I took an auto-rickshaw yesterday near the city outskirts on a share basis as I could not wait any longer under the scorching sun. A lady got into the auto at the next stage and she looked like the typical woman from the jhopadpattis (slums) with a white ration card in her hand. She asked the driver how much he would charge to drop her at a particular place to which he said five rupees. She told him that she had never given more than four bucks to any rickshaw fellow. What followed was a very interesting conversation between the two, one which started with the rising prices, the scorching summer and the loot done by people, finally gave way to politics and the poor-man-friendly government. It's a first hand account of how the actual illiterate Indian masses think.

I have translated it to English for reading convenience, but retained Telugu lingo here and there,

Lady: How much till Tolichowki?
Driver: Five rupees
Lady: It's just four, right?
Driver: No amma. It's five. I have been running this auto since 2003.
Lady: Auto drivers are looting public.
Driver: Ayyo amma, not auto drivers. It is public who is looting.
Lady: Public?
Driver: Yes

Both went silent for a couple of minutes until the lady started shouting again.

Lady: They asked me to come at 3 O'Clock in the afternoon. $%&&@#.
Driver: Who?
Lady: The people selling 2 Rs. per kilo rice at the counters. I went in the morning and they asked me to come back at 3 in this heat. It is so far from here. #$&$@#.
Driver: Why do you have to go so far to buy it? There will be counters at your house also.
Lady: Ayyo ledu thambi. They asked me to come. Government gives subsidised rice among others and these people... #$&$@# they eat it off without giving it to us. &%$#@
Driver: Who gives what?
Lady: Arey. Government gives rice thambi. And they cheat.
Driver: Who doesn't love money amma! People gather near money like flies. That is how it is. People loot.
Lady: Who? People? People do not cheat.
Driver: They take money from political parties to vote in their favour but finally vote for someone else. Everybody cheats.
Lady: No. I did not take money to vote.
Driver: Every 5 out of 10 are like that amma. It is true.
Lady: Everybody loots - government and people. #$%&@
Stop here thambi.

I was looking at her hand curiously when she got down from the auto to see how much she would pay him for the ride. And, guess how much she paid? Five rupees thambi!

April 22, 2009

Mystic India - Truly an incredible journey

Mystic India is a must watch for every Indian and for every religion. It is the journey of an 11-year old boy, Neelkanth, who walked over 8000 miles across India barefoot and barebody in quest of truth and spiritual enlightenment, before obtaining sanyas (Asceticism or spiritual yoga). This boy Neelkanth later grew up into a renowned saint and world reformer, Swaminarayan after embracing Uddhav Sampraday from Swami Ramanand.

The film captures the real mood of spiritual India - its architectural wonders, ancient wisdom and the innumerable holy places along the length and breadth of the country. Every picture frame in Mystic India is awe-inspiring and leaves you wanting more of it. The breathtaking locales from the Himalayas to the Cherrapunji, from the South waters to the Ganges are enough to blow your mind. The story of Neelkanth is neatly woven into this epic film on the unity, cultural diversity and the underlying spirituality in India.

The casting done for Neelkanth's role in the film is brilliant - Latesh Patel and Rupak Mehta playing the young and the adolescent Neelkanth respectively. The film was made in Hindi and its English version has a scenic narration by Peter O 'Toole.

Mystic India is much more than a documentary considering its reel time of 50 minutes. As the film was made on the 70mm film or the Imax format, it is not possible for it to be played everywhere. It is currently being shown in India at Prasads Imax, Hyderabad and Adlabs Imax, Mumbai. I recommend Mystic India to every human being who would like to get inspired.

My rating for this film - *****
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

April 20, 2009

13B is an interesting watch

I got to read mixed reviews on 13B starring Madhavan since its release. I liked the movie myself when I watched it on Saturday. It may not have the most interesting plot ever shown in any movie, but it is gripping in parts. Please put your logic aside because this one is a supernatural thriller and we just cannot discuss logic here - ghosts defy logic.. they can enter a telivision or even a cell phone for that matter and communicate with you! Do ghosts exist? is something which is not relevant to this post. We assume ghosts exist and that is how you gotto watch this film.

Manahor aka Manu (Madhavan) and his brother Manoj move into the 13B flat on the 13th floor of their new apartment with their families. Things somehow do not seem to be going well for Manu after shifting into this new house. Adding to that, he realizes that everything that is to happen in his life (or in their house) is planned in advance by a daily soap on T.V. called Sab Khairiyat, which the women in the house get addicted to. Rest is all about how he chases the mystery surrounding the bad omens of number 13 in his life, the characters that appear in that daily soap and the reason behind their death some 20 years ago in the same building where this new apartment is now built.

13B is a cautiously made film and with extreme care not to miss continuity with any of the links in the story. Everybody did well on the acting front especially Madhavan, Neetu Chandra (Madhavan's wife) and the one who played the mentally disturbed Ashok. 13B progresses in the hollywood style of narration and it is no wonder that the US based production house, Weinstein Co has already offered to buy its remake rights in hollywood.

My rating for this film - ****
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

April 15, 2009

'Let's Vote' Campaign Shoot

We shot a film for the Let's Vote campaign on Sunday. It is a 1 minute film made on a very simple concept - A group of friends having tea at their favourite hangout are made to realize the impact of one's vote by one amongst them. We were unaware of the impending JEE exam at a centre very near to our selected location. The shoot went uninterrupted, though. All of us (crew) gathered at the spot by 8:30 A.M. and called it a day (pack up :D) at 12:30 P.M.; of course not to forget the gallons of Irani chai and dozens of osama biscuits we had munched on at the road-side tiffin stall (a small road side dhaba will definitely earn us much more than what we would be earning otherwise :D). We were lucky enough to get an experienced person (Suresh) to handle the camera for us. The first cut editing is done. The re-recording is scheduled for today and if everything goes as planned, we should be ready with the final copy by tomorrow.
Let us Vote.

April 06, 2009

8X10 Tasveer

8X10 Tasveer is a supernatural thriller that stars Akshay Kumar as Jai Puri, a forest range officer, who has an unusual power of knowing the past just by looking at a photograph. He gets to see, for a minute, everything that took place at the time when a particular photograph was taken. The film is all about how he uses this power on multiple occasions with a single 8X10 photograph to unravel the mystery behind his father's death.

The suspense element is maintained until the end and this forms the pulse of 8X10 Tasveer. The climax, however, could have been better sans all the typical bollywood drama. The suspense, though, when revealed might look silly or bring out the usual 'ah! is this what I have been waiting for?' kind of an expression, but you bet is highly unpredictable. The recording done for the film is brilliant and so is the photography.

Javed Jaffri as an ex-cop helping Jai with his investigation is very good and brings in good humour at times. Sharmila Tagore is convincing as Jai's widow mother and Ayesha Takia also looks promising. The film is very rich in its technicalities. Nagesh Kukunoor made every effort to make 8X10 Tasveer look technically brilliant and has come out quite successfully with it.

My rating for this film - ***
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

March 31, 2009

Aakasamantha - "Memoirs of a Father"

The latest Telugu movie Aakasamantha, directed by first timer Radha Mohan, is quoted as a small but cute film by its producer ('Dil' Raju) and director. The film unveils the experiences of Raghuram (Prakashraj) as the father of a girl (played in three stages) as he narrates them to a stranger (Jagapathi Babu in a cameo) at a park.

Raghuram owns a tea estate in Coimbatore and lives with his wife (Aishwarya) and daughter (Abhi, played by Trisha). He loves his daughter very much, so much so that he once slaps his wife when he realizes that Abhi is hurt in the kitchen. He is very protective and possessive of her. The film is based on the father-daughter relationship (another Telugu flick on parent-child relations), though few scenes look quite unnatural.

Prakashraj is a delight to watch (in spite of getting bored with his monotonous act all along, I am amazed at his comic timing which came forth strikingly in this movie). He is in fact the only asset to this movie. If it were not for him playing Raghuram, I do not think the film would have been at least half as good as it is now. G.V.Raman makes his debut as a well educated sardar, who also forms Trisha's love interest.

Aakasamanta may not be a great film to vouch for, but it has its own comic punches and feel good moments. You can go for it if you have not much to do on the weekend.

My rating for this film - **
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)

March 23, 2009

రండి వోటు వేద్దాం

హలో.. మీరు వోటు వేస్తారా?
“వోటా..!! ఏమో వెయ్యకపోవచ్చు. “
“అవును మరి! ప్రతి పార్టీ తమ అజెండా తో ప్రచారం మొదలుపెట్టింది. కానీ, ఆ అజెండా లో నాకేముంది? నాకు ఉచిత కరెంటు రాదు.. కలర్ టీ.వీ. రాదు.. నెల నెలా సొమ్ము ముట్టదు.. పొనీ కనీసం ఉన్న ఉద్యోగం ఊడదన్న నమ్మకం ఉందా అంటే, అదీ లేదు. ఇప్పుడు చెప్పండి నేను వోటు ఎందుకు వెయ్యాలి? ఎవరికోసం వెయ్యాలి?”

ఎక్ష్క్యూజ్ మీ... మీరు వోటు వేస్తారా?
“వెయ్యాలనే ఉందండి. కానీ, ఎవరికి వెయ్యాలి? ఎలా వెయ్యాలి.. ఇదేదో పెద్ద పని లా ఉందే!”
అదేంటి? మీకు అందుబాట్లో చాలానే పార్టీలున్నాయి గా, మీరు చెయ్యాల్సినదంతా మీ పేరు వోటరు లిస్ట్ లో నమోదు చేయించుకుని నచ్చిన గుర్తు కి వోటు వెయ్యడం. అంతే.
“… సరే చూస్తా!”

హలో, ఒక్క నిమిషం... మీరు ఈసారి వోటు వేస్తారా?
“తప్పకుండా. కానీ, ఎవరికి వెయ్యాలో తెలీట్లేదు.“
తెలీట్లేదా? విచిత్రంగా ఉందే!
“లేక పోతే ఏంటండీ? అసలు ఎవరికి వోటు వెయ్యాలో మీకు ఖచ్చితంగా తెలుసా? ఏ పార్టీ గెలుస్తే న్యాయంగా, నమ్మకంగా పరిపాలిస్తుందో చెప్పండి, వేస్తా. 'వోటు వెయ్యండి. అది మీ హక్కు ' అని బాధ్యత గల పౌరులు అంటుంటే, ఆ వోటు మాకు వెయ్యండి.. మీ సొంతానికి ఈ లాభాలు పొందండి అని పార్టీలు సిగ్గు విడిచి బహిరంగ ప్రచారాలు చేస్తున్నాయి. నాకు నా సొంతానికి ఎదీ వద్దు. కానీ నా దేశం అవినీతి-అక్రమాలు, కుళ్ళు రాజకీయాల నుండి విముక్తి పొందే ఆ రోజు కోసం ఎదురుచూస్తూన్నా. చూస్తూనే ఉంటా. ఇప్పుడు చెప్పండి నన్ను ఎవరికి వోటు వెయ్యమంటారో!”

ఈ సంభాషణలు చదివారు గా! మనకి మొదటి రెండు రకాల మనుషులు కనిపిస్తూనే ఉంటారు. మనలో చాలా మంది ఈ కోవకి చెందినవారే. మూడో రకం వాళ్ళు కాస్త అరుదు గా తారసపడినా, కొద్ది శాతం వీళ్ళూ లేకుండా పోలేదు. వోటు వెయ్యడం మన హక్కే కాదు, అది మన బాధ్యత కూడా. ఈ కాలం లో చదువుకుని ఉద్యోగాలు చేస్తున్న వాళ్ళకి కూడా ఈ విషయం అనుక్షణం గుర్తుచెయ్యాల్సి రావడం చాలా దురద్రుష్టకరం. మీ ఒక్క వోటు దేశాన్ని మార్చలేకపోవచ్చు కానీ, మన అందరం కలిస్తే ఇది తప్పకుండా ఎప్పడికయినా సాధ్యపడే విషయం.

రండి వోటు వేద్దాం. ఒక్కటవుదాం.

March 02, 2009

Delhi-6 or Kala bandar - How does it matter?

I will not recommend Delhi-6, the new film by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (director of Rang De Basanti), to anybody except for Abhishek Bachchan or Sonam Kapoor fans. The film created much hype before its release, more so with names like the above. The film is more like a narration of few chronological events from the diary of a US born Indian, Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan), who visits India for the first time when he brings his ill grandmother (Waheeda Rehman) back from the US.

Sonam Kapoor plays Bittu, neighbour of Abhishek and a college-going girl who aims to make it big in the world of music through a reality show on music called Indian Idol. Sonam plays her usual self and fits the role. The best thing about this film is its cast. There are the likes of Om Puri, Pavan Malhotra, Atul Kulkarni, Supriya Pathak, Divya Dutta and Prem Chopra.

The film runs in parallel with the Ram Leela (the stage potrayal of Ramayan by theatre artists anywhere from 11 days to one month) at Chandini Chowk, a busy market place in North Delhi. The film tries to give a message through an imaginary character named Kala bandar (black monkey) that is rumoured to harass the residents of Chandni Chowk. There is a lot of chaos towards the end of the film when the community people mistake Abhishek to be the Kala bandar they have been lookign for. The scene in the heaven between Abhishek and his grandfather (Amitabh Bachchan) seems totally out of place - just imagine people eating jalebis (an Indian sweet made from jaggery syrup) at heaven and also licking their fingers. This is nothing when compared to what Abhishek suggests his grandfather, asking him to call up his wife (Abhishek's grandmother) who is still alive (on earth!) and say sorry. Technology at its best... eh?

Finally, the film should have been called 'Kala Bandar - The black monkey' instead. :D