Monday, July 31, 2006

Manmadhudu (2002) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Nagarjuna, Sonali Bendre, Anshu
Director: Vijaya Bhaskar
Music: Devi Sri Prasad

One Line Review: A very clean family entertainer

Abhi (Nag) a very rich kid owns an ad agency hates women. He goes to his colleagues/friends weddings and sings songs that say "don't marry." Harika (Sonali Bendre) joins the same ad agency and they both do not get along at all. They keep fighting and Abhi also goes to the extent of installing a mike under her desk. He steals her concepts and presents them as his own in meetings and her keeps picking on her. Enraged Harika hands her resignation letter to her boss who is also Abhi's uncle. Abhi's uncle explains Abhi's flashback to her...

Abhi a fun loving guy falls head over heels in love with the daughter of one of his grandfather's employees. Before Abhi and Mahi (Anshu) could talk about their love to Abhi's family Mahi's uncle takes her away to get her engaged to someone else. Abhi hearing of this takes Mahi away from her uncle and drives towards his house in a slightly inebriated state and they meet with an accident. When Abhi recovers he is told that Mahi has married the guy she was going to engaged to and she is living away from him. Which turns Abhi to hate all women and also makes him hate marriage.

Harika starts feeling a softness for Abhi. They become friends on their trip to Paris and their friendship blossoms into love towards the end of their trip when Abhi realizes that Harika is engaged to be married soon. He once again goes into a slump...Does he recover? Does he marry Harika? Watch the feel-good movie ;)

Yes, this movie is clean and decent, songs are just amazing and the movie is also funny with Brahmanandam and Sunil. If you have not seen it in the last four years then please watch it now!

Devil Wears Prada (2006) - English Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathway, Stanley Tucci, Adrian Greenier
Director: David Frankel

This movie falls into the category of "Cheesy English Movie." It is neither super romantic nor makes an interesting watch. If at all it surely puts you to sleep in many occasions. The movie albeit it's boring story has made a lot of money and has awesome reviews in and I wonder why? May be all those chic New York execs wearing Prada's and Gucci's write those reviews or pay to watch this movie.

My friend and I were intrigued by the preview we saw of this movie and decided we had to see it. After reading positive reviews we were only more convinced to watch it. So off we went to the theaters...

The story is about a girl, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathway) who is supposedly fat, ugly, and has no sense of dressing but is very smart and intelligent who starts working for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) who is the Chief editor for a very popular fashion magazine called Runway. Miranda is a tyrant and pushes her employees to the very edge before accepting them. She is a workaholic and a perfectionist. Andy who has no idea of what Runway magazine does is challenged to take up this job and struggles everyday with her not-so-co-operating colleagues. Nigel (Stanley Tucci), a designer in the same office is her only friend.

On one hand she has her tyrannical boss who calls her and asks her to be on call 24 hours a day and on the other her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Greenier) who also demands attention. Andy is torn between the two and for sometime is convinced that she should follow her career. She travels with Meryl Streep to Paris, has a brief affair with another writer, and suddenly she realizes how bizarre her life actually is. She is not sure if this is what she wants and she quits her job to get back to New York and to continue her life with Nate.

I wonder if she ever told Nate about her one-night-stand! Anyway the story is boring. I felt so bored even writing the review. It is not like there is anything novel about this story at all! Seriously think how many English movies have released with similar themes? I am sorry, I tried to like this movie and just could not.

But the movie is certainly worth watching with friends and family. It is clean for most part and it can be a very cute movie for girly and women who wear Pink!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Golmal (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

One line review: Movie is total timepass!

Cast: Sharmaan Joshi, Ajay Devgan, Arshad Warsi, Tushar Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, etc.
Director: Rohit Shetty
Music: Vishal Dadlani and Shekar Ravjiani

This is a Malyalam movie remade into Tamil and Telugu before making its way into Bollywood. For most people Malyalam movies fall into the Serious Movie category but truly you will be surprised to see how many comedy movies they make every year. But one thing is for sure Malyalam comedy is subtle and not always as loud of Tamil, Telugu, or Hindi movies. And also most serious movie also has a touch of comedy entwined in them. And yes Golmal is a funny movie and can be enjoyed to full extent. I am not sure if it will be worth watching it again but it surely is a decent movie for one-time-viewing.

The story is about Sharmaan Joshi and college going lad and three of his friends who take advantage of his innocent character due to which he eventually gets kicked out of college. Nowhere to go and chased by debtors the four of them take refuge in the house of a blind couple. Of course the blind couple is expecting their grandson from America and one of the dudes becomes the imposter.

The twist in the story is that Sharmaan becomes the grandson and Ajay becomes the voice of the grandson. And another sub-plot is that of a gangster team who are trying to steal a box which presumably has money in it. Unfortunately for the gangster team they get beaten up by Sharmaan and his friends unintentionally. Of course there is a heroine which Sharmaan, Arshad, and Ajay are pining for and Tushar plays a mute guy.

The story is predictable but still brings a lot of laughter although like I mentioned earlier don't know if it will funny when I see it again. Tushar as the mute guy is very very hilarious. Sharmaan as the innocent college student is also very funny and he surely keeps us at the edge of the seat. Ajay as the serious but funny guy who lands everyone in trouble is also funny at times but otherwise is just okay. Arshad, needs to loose some weight. Being how tall he is, he just looks like a jadi (you know the one in which they store pickles) or stocky! But he is funny at times too. Most of the movie it is Sharmaan or Tushar who make you laugh the most.

I would surely recommend this movie to be seen if you can understand Hindi else a lot of things will be lost in translation. When you have nothing much to do and want to chillout without getting too tensed...Golmal will be your perfect companion!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pudupettai (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: It is either 2/5 or 4/5 depending on who is watching the movie

Cast: Dhanush, Sneha, Soniya Agarwal
Director: Selvaraghavan
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Before the movie released it was commonly assumed that the story line will be similar to Pattiyal as the word was out on the street that both of them were gangster stories. Pattiyal released and went on to become a hit and Selvaraghavan smartly moved the release date of his movie to a later date. This not only helped people to get over the Pattiyal hangover but also helped give Pudupettai its due. It is now a huge hit and there is no denying it.

The story is set in the slums of Chennai where a high school kid Kokki Kumar sees his mom dead after he comes back from watching a movie. His father the murderer is also planning to kill his son Kumar also. Kumar sensing danger runs away from home. Homeless and with no food Kumar resorts to begging until he is wrongly arrested while standing by and watching a commotion on the street. In jail he befriends handymen of a local goon who take Kumar with them and give him petty jobs to do. In a confrontation with goons of another gang Kumar kills the brother of his enemy gang thus earning the respect of his gang and making enemies for himself.

Kumar falls in love with a prostitute Krishnaveni and she moves in with him. Kumar requests his boss who is also Krishnaveni's boss freedom from being a prostitute but he refuses. In a fit of rage Kumar kills his own boss thus becoming the gang leader himself. He helps a lot of politicians during election times and becomes popular in the underworld circle.

He also meets Soniya Agarwal on the eve of her wedding and falls in love with her and marries her forcibly during her wedding ceremony. Soniya is the sister of his favorite henchman who also becomes his enemy and joins the enemy gang. Slowly Kumar starts accumulating enemies and eventually everyone start targeting Kumar's head. Does Kumar survive the wrath of his enemies? forms the rest of the story.

What I did not like about the movie is the violence and bloody gore. I do not need to see so much graphic detail to understand the life of the goons. Really! This movie is more of a hit with predominantly front benchers because of the amount of violence. Had the director done some editing it might helped the movie some more.

The story is nothing we have not heard of before. But it feels very natural. The hero though exhibits superhero qualities in a few instances is not a superhero. He is vulnerable. There are no power dialogues. The hero's thought process suits his level of education and lifestyle. He is not shown wearing boot cut jeans and Nike shoes. His costumes are very apt. The dialogues are also well penned. Dialogue delivery, characterization, casting, music, direction, lighting are all very well done.

In all I would say watch the movie but not with parents or other elders. Also watch it on a DVD so you can forward scenes that might be too visually offensive.
Bloggers Block??!

When people in India are complaining about their blogs being blocked, I am sitting here in the United States having a bloggers block. I guess it has to do with the stress of moving and trying to get things to work in the new apartment. I still have a whole room to figure out and the living room to get set. I am also trying hard to make the apartment look decent and being an architect I don't want it to look hodge-podge like it did in my last apartment...but I still read other blogs during my lunch time as I did before.

One sad thing is that my apartment is very close to work and I can go home for lunch everyday. But if I do that then I will miss out on writing/reading blogs which are predominantly done during lunch hours...I have to figure a way to work things around my new schedule which I am not sure I am getting adjusted to yet.

I like my new apartment complex but it has too much greenery around that it breeds insects all over the place. Thankgod there is none inside my apartment itself. I am scared to leave the apartment alone in the evenings after dark for fear of being attacked by one of the crickets or secada bugs that infest the area. And I am afraid of insects so much that I cannot describe...

But for this the apartment is cool and sexy looking...I really love the interiors. I will try and get some pics once I have the place completely set up to my satisfaction...

Did you read this blog? Do you see how randomly organized it is? That is how badly I am being affected by the bloggers block!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pokkiri Raja (1982) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Rajnikanth, Sridevi, Manorama, Muthuraman, Y.G. Mahendran, Radhika
Director: S.P. Muthuraman
Music: M.S. Vishwanathan

Stereotypical movie from the 80's. When you see them now you feel like you have seen it a hundred times before...But these were the movies that laid foundation to many modern stories on the silver screen.

The story is simple, Rajnikanth starts managing the office of an industrialist who strongly suspects his relatives to be looting him. Rajni finds the culprit and keeps a tight leash on everything happening in the office thereby earning the wrath of the bad relatives. Rajni and Sridevi (industrialist's daughter) who were at loggerheads initially also fall in love soon. The industrialist is happy about this development until he sees Rajni cheating on his daughter. He fires Rajni the very same day.

The industrialist is murdered and Sridevi also sees Rajni in her house that same night. Rajni is dragged to court and is shortly framed for murdering the industrialist. Sridevi is upset and the ill-intentioned relatives start closing their reign around her forcing her to marry Y.G. Mahendran (the son of Muthuraman and Manorama who are the industrialist's relatives).

In the meantime griefstricken Rajni in jail meets another person who looks exactly like him (Rajni 2). Together Rajni 1 and Rajni 2 plan to punish the culprits and set the records straight...A little confusion, fun, and a happy ending...I am sure everyone can guess how that might happen!

Very simple movie, slow at times but still entertaining. You can see all the components of acting that make the term "Rajni Style" and also Rajni at his peak. Sridevi acts really well as the daughter of the industrialist and so does Radhika as the girlfriend of the second Rajni. In other words a total time pass movie and worth watching with your whole family!
With Moving Comes Many Changes

So we finally moved into a two bedroom apartment this weekend. It has been a year and half long search and finally we settled in something we both liked...By Friday I had parceled 50% of the old apartment into Dell monitor and CPU boxes and waited for all our friends aka Packers and Movers to come. There were seven of us, three girls and four dudes. The dudes started moving the heavy things out of the way and we girly's started packing the rest of the junk into more boxes and of course into the unending supply of garbage bags. We were done close to 2.00am in the morning. All of us were tired, various body parts hurting, all muscles we did not know existed hurt but we were done half way through.

The next day (Saturday) we met again at 5.00pm and cleaned the house spotless and then also packed the rest of the junk and mini irritating things that never find a box till the last minute and finished our move close to 11.30 or 12.00am...A quick and a fun filled dinner at Dennys and I realized for the second time that day that my calves were killing and I could not walk if I sat down for a long time. But I limped out happily because we had moved out.

Unable to see the boxes lying around in the house and knowing very well that we were in no physical position to unpack we decided to ignore the mess and stay with friend's that night (ya the same Packers and Movers).

Sunday was totally relaxing, my leg felt much better but was still limping, all our friends had a bruise here and a cut there and an ouch here and a ooh there...But we were done...For now :)

I want to thank the eight friends who came down to help us through the ordeal called moving. You guys are the absolute best! I would also like to thank all our friends who offered to help but we told them to chill as we already had eight of us working...Plus Dodo who was our very source of entertainment till the last stinking minute of the move...

Till the next move, which I think is on July 30st, This Packers and Movers group shall rest! Thank you!

Friday, July 14, 2006

This will be the day that y'all will remember as the day Anu Cleaned her car after almost 8-10 months!!!

It was rotting hot outside...Like 101 or 103...And I had told myself early that morning that I will clean my car today no matter what...And the time was not 2 in the afternoon but it was more like 6...ya welcome to Texas!

So I pull all the floor mats out...carry my Wal-Mart bag collecting pieces of receipts, papers, inumerous water bottles...From every possible nook and corner of my car floor. I pull the vacuum hose and start cleaning the floor and I start getting real hot. The car vacuum cleaner is near our apartment mail box and everyone picking up their mail were giving me strange looks...

It them occurred to me that they were giving me the "you must be crazy to be doing this in this heat" look! But the important point is that my car is vacuumed clean but the dash board and all that is still dusty...Not because I relented but my dashboard wipes had gone dry because of the same bloody heat! I will get to it another day...pakka...Maybe in the next 8-10 months...

So this will be the day y'all will remember as the day Anu Cleaned her car after almost 8-10 months!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Do I do weird things? Really? Never thought of it like that!

Golly, thanks Seashells for tagging me! Now you have made me think and as most of my friend's know I hate thinking! And do I have to write just five weird things I do? Now that is difficult...

People who know me really well already know that I am on the verge of becoming a full fledged person with OCD! And do weird things aplenty...Like, I cannot eat tomatoes but can eat tomato soup and sauce, hate brinjal and most of the vegetables but I call myself a vegetarian! I can eat the butter chicken gravy (yummm!) but not the chicken itself! And many more...But in a list here are five of my weird traits!

Bathroom door: I cannot sleep without the bathroom door that can be accessed from my bedroom closed. Even if it is slightly open and I notice it when tossing during a deep sleep, I will get up and close it.

Knife under my pillow: Before me and my hubby started living together, I kept a knife under my pillow...Just in case! I really did...I am shit scared of robbers and Thiefs! The funny thing, I really don't know if I can use a knife to defend myself...

Talk in my sleep: I big time blabber in my sleep. I just freaked a friend out last weekend when we were sleeping in the same room...The first time she was scared and kept it to herself and the second time she started to giggle (it was funny I guess if you knew what my dream was)...I woke up because of her giggle and both of started laughing loudly waking everybody up! Ya, I have funny dreams and what I blabber is almost always funny!

My Comforter: Needs to be used only in one direction. There is a head side to it and a foot side to it. I usually mark it with a pin or use the label that comes with it as a marker. If this gets changed then I cannot sleep...I might go to the extent of waking the person sharing it with me to adjust it before getting back to sleep. Also my comforter needs to be tucked below my legs to about three inches. Anything less, then I will sit up, adjust it to precision before falling asleep...

Reading: I am a compulsive reader. I need to constantly keep reading something if I am not working or watching TV. I sometimes get so bored that I start reading fine print disclaimers, instructions behind shampoo bottles, toothpaste, hair gel, cake batter, etc.

I want to tag my fellow bloggers...
Sam Chan
Can I know about weird things you guys do?
Asians? or Indians?

So do we as Indians born and raised in the Indian Subcontinent come under the classification of Asians? I guess we do! I did some research and also referred to my 7th standard geography text book and came to the conclusion that India is a part of the Asian Countries...

The reason I wonder is due to the fact that in America only people with mongoloid (is there a word like this?) features come under the classification of Asians...Be it Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc...But we are not under the category. There are many shows on TV that talk about Asians and India is not even mentioned in it...

In one way it is good...We got our own identity. We are Indians but looking at it the other way isn't it ignorance? And shouldn't someone correct these people, that Asia is the whole continent and not just the place the Genghis and his relatives ruled?

Anyway, I am sure it is going to be real difficult to educate people who have their own American-ised pronunciation and meanings for words like Karma, curry, turmeric, and so on!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Child in Me!

I have a little girl inside me...As I grew older she did not manifest herself very often. But I still try to keep the spirit alive by collecting stuffed toys, dolls, ect. Growing up I had a great collection of "Choppu Saman" or Indian house-house game set with small kitchen set (very Indian), living room set, toys etc. I used to play house-house very seriously with my friends during summer vacation. Mom also bought me "Marapachi bommais," dolls made out of wood, very native to T.Nadu I think. And I used to play with them too...Dad also got me a lot of foreign dolls when he toured and some race cars and aeroplanes...

But when I was in fourth or fifth standard Barbies were introduced to the world of childhood dreams and entertainment and I wanted them. Mom and Dad could not understand why I would want to play with Barbie...It looked like one of the other dolls I had and nothing really special. But I was adamant and threw tantrums. As a disciplining measure I was never given a Barbie till I was twenty-six. Yes Sir! Twenty-Six.

My sister-in-law having known my love for Barbies got me the first one after I landed a job. A very beautiful English Queen she was...And later for my birthdays she got me more of them. Knowing my love for them my friends Rajeev and Vardhini also got me two of the most beautiful Indian Barbies ever! Now I have a small collection of Barbie Collectibles...And everytime I see them I remember my childhood.

My dad did not remember any of this but he told me that I can buy as many Barbies as I want and he will pay for them...And he said it when I was twenty-five...I love him for that...Looking back, I do not regret not growing up with them...And I am glad I got them at an age where I can appreciate them more and value them for their worth! I also still cherish those wonderful summers, sitting under the shade of a badam tree and playing house-house which I would have missed had I had those snobbish Barbies!

The child in me still enjoys the company of her stuffed toys and Barbies and I hope that she never gives up and fade away...Because without her I would think that I am half-dead!

PS: I do not know where any of my marapachi bommais or choppu saman are...But the time I spent with them are etched in my mind forever!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Long Weekend - 4th of July

Well for me it was a long weekend as we had Monday (the 3rd) off too...Unfortunately most of my friends and my hubby had to work and so I was stuck with no viable plans! The fours days flew away so fast that I do not remember what happened and when but I will try my best to recount the memories.

Friday evening I got home and baked a cake and a pizza and took it over to The Den for dinner. All our friends were there and we had a great time there till about 2.00 in the morning. Got back home and had a nice long sleep.

Saturday evening I went off to meet a few of my college juniors and a senior who were in town for the long weekend and we chilled out at the Parks at Legacy till 11.00pm. Later my hubby called to tell me that my dear darling Megha wanted us in her house pronto. So we rushed to reach there around 1.00am to be yelled at by Megha and Sammy for being late...It was all in good humor...We sang old Hindi songs till 3.30am and left for home. England got kicked out of Football by Portugal!

Sunday we woke up and left to The Den once again with our swimming gear and tennis gear packed this time. All of us played tennis, I ran the track with Dodo (the cutest poodle) and then with Megha and Kaps too...We were all tired sick when we decided to soak in the pool for half hour. Later we cooked some kick ass Dal and potatoes with rice and dinner was taken care of. Once more spent time doing TP before heading home with Dodo...Yes. Dodo spent the night with me and my hubby. It is almost ten years since a dog stayed with me. We were so excited. He was the cutest dog and did not bother us a wee bit. We took Dodo home with us because Megha was working Monday and he could be with me for company as I was home alone.

I did some packing (as we are moving in two weeks) and some cleaning and laundry while Dodo followed me everywhere. I also cooked lunch and Sammy joined me for lunch at home. We played some more with Dodo and Watched a Federer game during lunch and I took a short nap before which Masta and Giri were back home from work. I have to mention that Dodo was a pleasure to have and I really started to miss Roger (my dog). Kudos to Megha for raising him so well...So after Megha picked Dodo up Sammy, Giri, Masta, and I played Basketball till we could not move. A quick shower and some TP before we headed out to Addison to watch the Fireworks but we got there an hour late and were struck in traffic returning from watching it. So we had dinner at some Mexican restaurant and then walked through Addison Circle before returning home and doing more TP.

Tuesday, the last day of my four day long vacation, started around 12.00pm when we woke up, got ready, ate, and left to The Den to watch Italy defeat Germany (*sulk**sulk*). Then Megha , Dodo and Kaps joined us and we walked to see the Fireworks at WilliamSquare which was about a mile one way...Unfortunately for us, it had been raining the whole week, and due to some technical glitch, the fireworks lasted only 10 minutes. Frustrating that we had to walk a mile back home in the sultry weather and all the effort for just ten minutes of fireworks! Very sad...But nevertheless we had loads of fun during the walk to and fro!

And that bought and end to the fun days and now we are all sitting in our respective offices cribbing about our back-to-work schedule...