Friday, December 29, 2006

The year that was...2006!!! was busy as hell...we were doing something or the other every weekend. I remember very few weekends when we sat home doing nothing. Not only where the weekends busy but so were many week days!!! I have shared most of experience in my blog which is now a year old!!! So read on and if possible relive

So we did a lot of firsts this time around!!! And here is a list of few that I can write off the top of my head...

  • Went to Abhijeet's show and saw it from front row
  • We went to a Stand-up comedy show - Russell Peters
  • Visited Canada and Niagara from the Canadian side
  • Went to the Rockstars concert and saw it from the sixth row with V.I.P passes
  • Was there when the Strings came forming the only India crowd in the auditorium thus creating attention!!!
  • Moved into a two-bedroom apartment
  • Saw Atif perform live
  • My friend got married!!! You know who you are!
  • Was there at Anand sucked but I was there!
  • Was there at the Diwali sucked too...
  • Was there for the Indian Ocean concert and got to meet them after the show too...
  • My friend opened for Indian Ocean and it was their first professional performance...Brilliant
  • Was there at a MAVS pre-season game...first time
  • Saw Dallas Stars (Ice Hockey) loose in a pro-game, again first time
  • Went to a quasi Baseball game
  • Went to a pro Baseball game...Texas Rangers sucked!
  • Went to London!!! It absolutely rocked!
  • Ate Ethiopian food and have decided never to do it again!
  • Performed Bharatanatyam for the first time on stage after one year training! Fun Fun Fun!
So, now I am ready to face 2007 eagerly awaiting the surprises and challenges it has in store for me as I totally enjoyed myself in 2006!!!

Happy New Year to everyone reading this blog!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Singara Chennai - 2006

You can build pesudo-modern IT buildings all over the place; bring down bungalows and build flats at every possible place; you may see more people driving a car than bike on the streets; you may see college kids running to CCF (Cafe Coffee Day) after college every evening...ya this is the modern Chennai that the city is trying to evolve into...but what it doesn't realize is that nothing can take the son-of-soil out of the Chennai-ites.

People in lungis, people waking up early in the morning to wash their doorway to draw fresh kolam everyday, people sneering at girls in jeans, 10 people stopping to give you directions to a place when you asked one guy for it, the lady at a mall following you around to make sure you have a pleasant shopping experience as well as no shop-lifting experience (annoying!), all remain the same from then to now! Which is essentially the beauty of Chennai. The place might change, and the name of the city might change, names of streets might change, but the people don't. Yes we are the sons and daughter's of the soil!

The tradition laden people still holding to the cultural values very close to their heart and leading their lives similar to the mega-serials are aplenty. The month of marghazhi is still celebrated albeit being commercialized, people talk of months in Tamil names, you can see them going to the temple on Friday evenings, and the jasmine doesn't smell any better than it does in the state of Tamilnadu and no one can deny that.

Girls look willfully at the ads for 'winter' clothes in Chennai that are omnipresent in the city's hoardings and stick to their usual jeans and kurta or salwar and once in a while you also get to see the pavadai dhavani (half-saree). Boys are still following the "old wine in a new bottle" tradition and girls are still trying hard to break the dress code set up by the moral police. Ya somethings don't change...ever!

I loved it absolutely, the traffic is so much better than Bangalore and Bombay. Also there are still many streets in Chennai where you don't see people 24/7 (like you do in Bombay). The shopping as usual was a steal, wonderful clothes and awesome handicrafts stores...and the cinemas...better still the cinema posters...just love that creativity and it is all still there...oh and did I mention the beach? I could not venture into the water (again!) but well I made the driver driver past the ocean and it was well worth the time and effort. The food...gosh! The food! Seriously was the most fun part of the whole trip, from Saravana Bhavan, Sangeetha Apoorva, Anjappar and all way to Mainland China, everything tasted great. My stomach could not digest more than six meals a day else I would have covered more restaurants!

Ah! The Chennai and its sons and daughters of soil and the great food they all prepare with loads of love and affection...I miss it already!!!

Marina Beach

En route to Marina some where close to the Hindu office

Once again the Beach!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

E! (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Jeeva, Karunas, Nayanthara, Ashish Vidyarthi, Pasupathy
Director: SP Jananathan
Music: Srikanth Deva

E (Jeeva) and Tony (Karunas) are partners in crime in a slum area. They are known as con men and people avoid them at all costs. Jothy (Nayanthara) a bar dancer moves into the locality with her step family and is conned by E. In spite of E conning Jothy, she falls in love with him. She learns about him and tries her best to change his ways.

Dr. Ramakrishnan (Ashish) is the local doctor to whom all the poor people run to in case of emergencies. Up front he is a decent doctor trying to save the poor but behind curtains he is an evil doctor experimenting drugs on his unsuspecting patients. He tests some foriegn drugs on Indian patients to make a lot of money. On one such drug tests he enrolls E's adopted grandmother and Jothy's step sister neither of whom have any idea that they are being taken as guinea pigs.

E uses Jothy to make money while he is not even sure if he loves her or not. He is very practical and everything in life refers only to making money. He contracts with the doctor to kill Nellai Mani (Pasupathy) who is trying to kill the doctor. In one murder attempt by Nellai Mani, E rescues the doctor's life and hence the deal is struck.

E decides that if he kidnaps Nellai Mani and keeps him in his custody then he can milk the doctor for a lot of money. But his attempts to kidnap Nellai Mani fail until one day Nellai Mani hurt and wounded by cops falls into E's hands.

Does E kill Nellai Mani, what is Nellai Mani's motivation to kill the doctor? What does Jothy do to help or dissuade E from committing further crimes? You should watch the movie!!!!

First off, kudos to the director for delivering a current subject with so much effectiveness that it surely raises awareness among people. The casting is simply brilliant. Jeeva as E has amazing make up, perfect gait, mannerisms, and dialect that one cannot picture him removed from the slum. Even his teeth are yellowed with rotting marks on them. Karunas as Tony is brilliant as E's best friend.

Nayanthara can act! Yes! And she is pretty too. There is no two thoughts about that. She shines in the movie with her histrionic skills. She really needs some more slimming to do item numbers as she still reminds me of thunder-thighs-Anuradha from the 80's but she is better than what she was in Gajini.

Ashish Vidyarthi desperately needs to update his acting skills as it is getting pretty stale and repetitive. Pasupathy is as good as he has been in other movies but unfortunately for him he does not have much to do in this movie.

To conclude I would certainly say that this is a very good movie to watch but beware of many gory scenes, dead bodies in different state that you really don't want your eyes to look at and a few not so parliamentary dialogues. Certainly not for children but adults should be able to handle and digest the content of the movie. Interest theme and very decent music too. Thank God the director does not bore us with loads of unnecessary songs at wrong times. It is a movie with dark shades so be prepared!

Dhoom 2 (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Hrithik, Ash, Bips, Abhi, Uday Chopra
Director: Sanjay Gadhvi
Music: Pritam

What the hell does the director think of movie goers? That we will take any trash that is dished out at us? That we are stupid people who cannot think and will watch with awe when he has made a fashion show and music videos and is selling it to us as a movie?! Seriously this trend has to stop, using multi-starer themes with absolutely no story in the movie whatsoever is not only ridiculous but also mocking the viewers sense! This is what I seriously think of this movie...Total bull crap.

Anyways now coming to the story. We all know that Jay (Abhi) is a serious cop who has Ali (Uday) as his right hand man who is a total fool. We wonder how a sensible cop can have an idiot for help. Anyhow, they are now trying to bust a new International thief that has been creating a sensation with his unique style of leaving an A behind at the crime scene. Of course, hot girl Shonali (Bipasha) has to be the strict gal officer who assists Jay and Ali to get Mr. A (Hrithik) behind bars!

Well they fail miserably in their first task and after that we are rid of Shonali because in comes Ms. Sunehri (Ash) who is hot on the tracks of Mr. A as she is enamored by his robbing tactics. We all get to know that she is Jay's informer. We don't know what crime she has committed that she is doing favors to Jay to get rid of prison sentence. Anyways, Sunehri has Mr. A well in her tracks. Hot dances and skin feast galore! Sunehri offers to become Mr. A's partner and Mr. A agrees and lets her know that his next destination is Brazil and so Jay and Ali pack their bags too.

The next thing we see is Ms. Monali (Bips again) in bikini posing around in Rio. Of course, you must have guessed that she is Shonali's twin sister who eventually falls in love with Ali! The climax will answer the following questions: Will Ash''s cover be exposed? What does Mr. A do about it? Does Jay get his guy? What happens to Ali or do we even care about him?

Like I said at the very beginning of the review. I am not very excited about this movie though I should agree that Hrithik is hot and even hotter than Ash and Bips. Seriously this is one instance when even guys felt that Hrithik was better than the girls in the movie! He really steals the show and we only catch glimpses of Abhi. Uday is extremely irritation and in spite of his good physique he still carries the annoying chipmunk face...So Uday choose another profession please!

Aishwarya should not be allowed to talk. She sounds think she is hot in her entry scene and the minute she opens her mouth the bubble breaks! Also she should not attempt to do any type of dance other than desi folk and desi movie dance! Because she make western dance look like Barathanatyam! Gosh it is annoying! But in the case of Bipasha at least she is hot in spite of having only a bimbo's role in the movie!

Now it is your decision to watch or not to watch!

Kabul Express (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Arshad Warsi, John Abraham, a no-name-American, Hanif Hum Ghum, Salman Shahid
Director: Kabir Khan

So Jai (Arshad) a cameraman and Suhel (John) a reporter, are on their way to Kabul to get a documentary on Taliban. They are on a hunt to find a Talib in flesh and blood and are being assisted by Khyber (Hanif) who drives Kabul Express, a car. Khyber sets up a meeting with a Talib with the help of Pakistani soldiers but the Talib escapes from them and he sees Jai and Suhel.

He tracks them down and tries to use them to help his getaway into Pakistan which he claims is his homeland. Jai, Suhel, and Khyber are being terrorized by the talib who calls himself Imran Khan Afridi (Salman Shahid). Some funny moments arise when Jai and Imran discuss about cricket.

Enroute to Pakistan they are overcome by many hurdles. They are stopped by the Hazaras during which Imran escapes and laters rescues Jai, Suhel, and Khyber from them. There they also meet and save the American journalist (the no-name actress) and her driver who have been on Jai's and Suhel's tracks and were now imprisoned by the Hazaras.

They continue the journey together. They visit Imran's daughter's village, and go through many struggling moments before finally reaching Pakistani border but also being hunt down by the army...Does Imran make it to the other side of the border or not?...It is not a big surprise you will guess this part much before the director even brings the story to the end....

Anyways, the review...the movie is not worth wasting time on. John and Arshad are good but the movie is not convincing. The plot is not clear...the director tries to stay away from white and black areas and lingers around in gray areas. He is not clear if the Pakistani army is bad, or if he is trying to justify the Talib's feelings/life/existence, or if Americans are bad...What is the point? Is the point to let us know what Afghanistan has been reduced to by the Russians, Americans, Taliban, NA, and everyone else then this movie just came like a year or two too late. Because honestly, if you are the kind that reads, then you would know more than what the movie tells even before watching the movie. But I should not forget to appreciate the attempt because it is worth watching for the visuals. The story itself is reject quality.

I understand that Mr. Kabir Khan is a war journalist, maybe he should have stuck to it than moving into commercials. A documentary on this topic might be more interesting than the movie posing as a pseudo-documentary. Therefore, my advice is, if you have nothing better to do then you can waste your time on this fare.