Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dhoom 3 = Three Puntars trying to be smart

Dhoom 3 : My Review
The movie starts with a young boy Sahir (Aamir Khan) whose father (Jakie Shroff) is in huge debt from the bank as his Circus 'The Great Indian Circus' is a flop. The bank confiscates their property, Jakie Shroff is not able to handle the situation and shoots himself. This leaves a lasting impact on the twin kids (Aamir khan has double role) Sahir and Samar and they head off to destroy the Western Bank of Chicago. The police department unable to track this thief calls two super cops from India - Jay Dikshit (Abhishek) and Ali (Uday chopra). In the meanwhile, the twin Aamir brothers have managed to loot 2 branches of the bank and also revive their circus show. Katrina also joins them in their circus showing off her long legs and athletic moves. Of the twin brothers, one is an autistic superIQ guy (Samar) who is hidden from the world and another is the smart one (Sahir) who is exposed. Two guys living the identity of one guy is their secret which is unveiled by Jay (Abhishek Bacchan). He befriends Samar (autistic) and brings in the girl (Katrina) between the two brothers. In the end, finally after a lot of chasing, flying cars and firing done, the twin thieves get caught. They do manage to fulfill their mission - the Western Bank of Chicago has fallen now. The twin Aamirs climb off the steep dam and story ends there.

Here are my few pointers -

Why Aamir Why?? With the perfectionist mask around you, you are the one hero who is supposed to give good scripts. After watching Talaash and Dhoom 3, I seriously doubt that you have ever payed any heed to the scripts nowadays. And Aamir.. we know you want to look smart and serious but why this constant constipated look on your face all the time. Oh Common!!! Set pe halke hoke aana tha na.... audience ko kyo jhila rahe ho boss.

Katrina Kaif - Why were you in the movie - it could have been done by the league of any junior artist as well. I do understand that you underwent some circus training for this movie, but what for? Only 1 Kamli song? You started the song overdressed only to strip one garment after another in every 10 seconds and ended up in bare essentials. No one cares for the cartwheels or gymnastics that you showed. I guess other actresses like Sunny or Sofie would have been more appropriate. Ohh but yes, there was a love quotient too with Aamir for few scenes - how could I miss that. The only missing part was the "Love" in that quotient. Sorry to say, but there was no depth and it looked really really superficial.

Abhishek Bacchan - The super cop who pretends to look as Champu as he actually is. His entry sequence is in auto-rickshaw in a mumbai slum dressed in a really average shirt where he is supposed to catch a gunda. No uniform, no police jeep, no pistol, some hawaldar ka danda he carries and no attitude. But I thought you were a cop?? Please take some grace from your wife or father.

Uday Chopra - What can I say about you dude. Dude or pantar?? whatever. It has been a long time vacation from silver screen for you. You could have worked on your body or expressions in that long time.. but no. You too are inspired by Abhishek's sense of dressing, gayish lafandar clothing with colored goggles? And you haven't grown a bit in the last 10 years since Dhoom 2. Still looking at every woman and imagining your 'hum do hamare do'... that too.. not just once or twice.. at least 5-6 times during the 2.5 hours flick.. give me a break please.

The Story - Immature and full of flaws. The story is based in Chicago, not in India. Did not expect Chicago police to be so dumb that they needed Indian cops for catching the thief. And that too, no smart cops.. two dumb loafer looking guys who haven't been able to catch a single thief since Dhoom1, 2 and now 3.
Aamir twin brothers - only one is known to the world and another one is hidden... for so many years?? Don't they have any social security number or population tracking in the foreign countries? Didn't they register in school or college? Anyway chalo maaf kiya.
The autistic brother only comes out of home on Sundays between 12.30 to 3?? Rest of the time he is inside the house so that no-one sees him. Isn't it a bit of violation of basic human rights only to protect your stupid secret and rob a bank??
The other smart brother, the normal Aamir Khan tries really hard to look smart with his constant constipated look on his face. Oh Common!!! Set pe halke hoke aana tha na.... audience ko kyo jhila rahe ho boss.

Not all is bad.. There were some real positives too...

Music - Definitely good. Songs are a bit out of place but the music rocks.

Background score-  Definitely good too.. which lifts the overall mood of the movie

Camera shots - Very close and exciting shots.. shots are colourful and aesthetic too...loved it

Location - Amazing scenaries except the Mumbai slum scene

Surprise elements - The bikes racing at enormous speeds, moving on the wire.. flying down the stairs and convertibles too... Aamir's bike converts to a speed boat once and has some complex tracking softwares too... amazing..

Thrillers - The movie is high on unpredictability quotient.. keeps you guessing what happens next and hooks you till the end.

Overall - The rating will depend on what you expect when you go for this movie. If you go for the story, you will dislike it. But overall experience is good - decent star cast, decent music, some surprise elements and good shots make the movie a watchable one.
I was not disappointed, as you cannot expect meaningful stories in these high budget movies. If we head out to seek meaning then go for Art movies or non commercial ones... There was no meaning in Dabangg or Chennai express or Yeh jawani hai deewani... or whatever...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review : Baramulla Bomber

Book Title : Baramulla Bomber
Author :


The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nearing 30: Young or Old

I had heard somewhere that 30 is the new young, though I still have an year to go before I reach 30, but this question intrigues me sometimes. Women look the most beautiful when they are nearing this magic age but then, why do anti-aging creams are advisable at the same age.

Youth is not immortal, it will fade someday, sooner or later. Though we all fight to hold on to it as long as we can.

Last week I went to Pune for official work and I was allotted a shared room in the guest house. As I entered the room, I noticed that a dark slim girl from Mumbai, probably had 1-2 years of experience sharing the room with me.
"Hi", I said casually smiling just to break the ice.
She points a finger at me and says "Fresher?", the tone was totally unacceptable.
I have already been ragged heavily in my engineering, hostels, sharing apartments everywhere. And here I was, 7 years after my engineering facing a similar expression.
I politely replied -"No, 7 years of experience."
She immediately toned down - "Ohh, tumko dekhke lagta nahi hai"
Was I happy? Ohh yes. I was smiling inside, but I wished I looked a bit older otherwise my juniors might never respect me. But at the same time, I wished I had fewer grey hair, I was slimmer, more energetic and the list was endless .

One the contrary, today I went to the market and one guy calls me - "Aunty scooty aage park karo"... I ignored thinking he must be talking to some Aunty, he repeated -
"Aunty... Aunty... scooter aage park karo". I was shocked or hurt or dissapointed whatever, but all my confidence shattered in that one moment. He was not a baby.. he was a 20 something. And I was not wearing a saree, rather was casually dressed.

From Didi to Aunty, it was not a long journey I guess, only a few years had changed my designation. Perhaps it was time to come back to reality, I have lived my youth in all its entirety and enjoyed it too. Perhaps it was time to welcome the onset of middle age. Perhaps bigger responsibilities awaited now rather than painting your nails yellow or wearing pink chinos. Perhaps, it was time.

But then I thought - Why?
Can't you be as young as your heart says you are, as long as you enjoy romantic movies, as long as shopping relieves you of stress, as long as guys ogle at you, as long as necks turn when you leave a party and as long as your smile breaks the ice.

Perhaps it was time to tell that 20 something guy on the street - "Aunty hogi teri maa" :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Review : Tales From Firozsha Baag

Name of the Book: Tales From Firozsha Baag
Author: Rohinton Mistry
Published 1987 by Faber and Faber

The book contains 11 interconnected stories about residents of the Firozshah baag, a Parsi Community residential society. The book grips till the end, with brilliant story telling skills, the stories feel complete and partial at the same time. The charecters feel rich and poor at the same time and happiness intersects the lonely, sad hearts. It provides amazing insight into the Bombay style of living and the parsi community.
The charecters seem real, next door kind and so are the stories, though written in an extra-ordinary manner, capturing each emotion and providing enough food for thought.
Absolutely loved every bit of it. Though there are a few parsi terms, written in italics, which interrupt the english from time to time. All in all, a good read and I would recommend every person who associates with Bombay to read it :)
My rating 4/5 stars


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review : What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street-Smart Executive

467754Name of the Book : What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street-Smart Executive
Author : Mark H. McCormack
Published June 1st 1986 by Bantam

A bestseller, with a thousand rave reviews and a number of people recommending me, made me finally pick this book. I generally don't read business/management or self-help as it is better to learn yourself than some author tell you the do's and don'ts.
The book is about management strategies from the Marck which he had learnt during his career of working for various clients, starting his own firm and growing it. The tone of the book is prescriptive throughout and it makes you feel that someone is constantly nagging and teaching you the do's and dont's of business.
If you have spent a couple of years in the industry already, you would already know most of the gyan. The examples are from Mark's real life, who runs a firm dealing with sports marketing and stuff. But how many of us are in such kind of firms. I work an MNC, a big corporate giant where situations, processes and people think differently. Frankly, I couldn't relate to any of the examples provided in the book, though I did find some of the gyan-baazi useful for speaking up in meetings and using the terms over lunch :) it impresses people, trust me.

There are few things which are really striking and leave and impact on you such as -
  • Its okay to not respond to mails immediately when waiting might result in a better outcome
  • Tricks on negotiating a deal and creating a perception of win-win situation
  • Why managers only delegate un-important tasks and keep the trophy for themselves, what should be the right approach to delegation and how you should keep your employee motivated
  • We are not just managing people, we manage egos, personalities and eccentricities
Once we start working in Corporate environments, we deal with issues, egos, personalities, processes everyday. There is no right or wrong way out, there is no prescriptive method that will take us out, it is sheer common sense. We all tend to figure out eventually what works for us, not by reading few tricks or few books but by learning in the field. Probably, that's why they don't teach this at Harvard or any other B-school.

The book is a nice quick read, but very prescriptive, . My rating is 3/5

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shudh Desi Romance = Ashudh Chalu Romance

Shudh Desi Romance - The title doesn't suit the movie, as there is nothing 'Shudh' or 'Desi' or 'Romantic' about it. Yes, there are 27 kisses, but none of them is shot aesthetically neither does it arouse any emotions in the viewer.
The story revolves around three characters - Raghuram (Sushant Singh) who is a tourist guide in Jaipur, Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra) who works as a English lecturer and Tara (Vaani Kapoor) who is a fake air-hostess.
Raghu and Gayatri also work as rental baratis (Kiraye ke Barati), a concept I have never heard of.
Raghu is getting married to Tara in the arranged way while Gayatri is a rental baraati in his wedding. He is attractd to Gayatri and runs away from his own wedding. He and Gayatri start living together post this episode and soon decide to get married. Next time Gayatri runs away from the marriage leaving him behind. He meets Tara (remember he ran from her wedding), falls for her instantly and starts dating her. In the end, love triangle surfaces in another wedding where these guys are rental barati's again and the decision is taken as to who is the winner and looser in the deal. 

These are a few observations which strike in this movie -
- A stupid tourist guide, who dresses up like a street hawker, doesn't have any family background, is indecisive, lacks confidence and runs away from commitment - can also land up with two beautiful women. In fact, not just lands up, he sleeps with them, kisses them, moves into their apartments and has a good time

- 27 kisses (on the lips), yeah but you don't remember a single one, so tardy and threadbare. They are nasty rather than romantic

- The hero and heroines go to the bathroom a dozen times , don't they have any other place to run from their weddings? Oh yes, all the bathrooms are unclean, shabby, dirty yakk... (remember the movie Delly Belly), Jaipur me toilets ki kami hai kya??

- When Raghu meets Tara on his wedding and she lifts her ghunghat, all the people are amazed at her beauty. Raghu's friends' say - "Bhai, tabhi arranged karne to raazi ho gaya ye, love ke market me ye isko nahi milti".. so true

- Hero still leaves Tara and runs away from his wedding - meets Tara again in a market and runs behind her to become her boyfriend. She also takes full advantage. She says - "Jab arranged me ladki milti hai, tab us se duur bhagte hai, aur jab vo bhaav nahi deti, tab uske peeche peeche baagte hai.. alag hi nasha hai" ...  true... Ego satisfaction happens when you achieve something unachievable, not when it is given to you on a plate.

- Gayatri, a smart independent 'cigrette vali' madam. She has had 4 boyfriends, one who taught her to smoke, another taught her sex, the next one casual love and another who made her pregnant and left. After so much, how could she fall in true love with Raghu almost immediately after meeting him - can you believe it??

And in the end, Oops, the hero is confused whom to choose among the two. In fact, he is not confused, 'Dono acchi hai, apne ko to koi bhi mil jaye' , aukat to ek ki bhi nahi thi...

Basically, all the characters are 'Chalu' who want to have a good time, without attaching much feelings to the activity. Its not about Love, its about 'making love'.

Dialogues, characters, story is definitely bold for the India audience. Not recommended for family people.
My Rating - 2 out of 5


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review : Whisper of the Worms

Book Title - Whisper of the Worms
Author - Marcardian
Published by -  Cactus Publishers
Reviewed for - The Tales Pensive

All our lives we keep running to fulfill our basic needs and loose track of what we call "Life". Such is the story of Thobias Mathai (protagonist) who longs for life when it is about to end. He is a god-fearing and peace loving man who lives in USA with his wife and kids until he comes to know about his impeding lung cancer which has reached its last stages.
He decides to spend his last days in his childhood town and so travels back to India after 20 years. As soon as he lands in India, his passport is seized by the authorities claiming that he has committed a serious crime. But as a dying man, he doesn't really care and moves to his old house. The memoirs of a man on his last journey are inspiring but start to drag after a few pages. He thinks of his childhood, paddy fields, the big banyan tree, teachings of his father, his best friends and much more. The story only picks up after 60-70 pages when the frauds in Smile bank of Marcardia come to surface and Tobias is held for charges. Marcardia is a fictional place, which is true sense depicts India, but sarcastically. The amazing view of corporate world, culture of Banking Industry, carrot and stick approach given by the author keeps you hooked and craving for more. The usage of a term 'Asinisation' of an employee, basically meaning how an employee is made to work like a donkey, is relevant and enables the reader to draw analogies in real work space. The strategies that Smile Bank adopts to 'asinise' its employees, make them work tirelessly for the same money, lure them into promotions if they achieved targets (Carrot) and tire them with frequent transfers (stick) is showcased through short instances of Tobias' memory.
There is an inquiry against Tobias about fraudulent loans that he had issued as part of his service in Smile Bank. Tobias is shocked and determined to proove his innocence, but at the same time, he is detached as he knows that justice in Marcardia is slow and he may not be alive till then.
In his quest to find the truth behind his involvement in the case, he meets several of his colleagues from old days which leads to a series of shocking revelations.

 Tobias' chemistry with his childhood friend and his mother is on and off. The novel ends of an emotional note.

The title "Whisper of the Worms" and the cover design is not coherent with the story of the book, except for the last 2-3 pages where the worms talk about humans. I wish it could be better.

The key to reading this book is patience, the first few chapters are dry and will want you to quit, but later the story picks up pace and thankfully keeps it till the end. Strongly recommended for those in corporate jobs, especially banking.
My Rating:

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: A Date with the Bollywood Star

Name of the Book: A Date with A Bollywood Star
Author: Riya Lakhani
Published April 1st 2013 by Mills & Boon

In bollywood words, I would call this book "Filmy". Rani is a journalist and a big fan of Omar Khan, a bolloywood superstar. Rani gets a chance to interview this sexy superstar who is known as a bit of a casanova. Rani watches his movies till late in the night and ends up being late for the scheduled interview and hurting her ankle as she stumbled. Omar is handsome, smart and a true gentleman off-screen. Rani falls for him instantly and he also displays a kind of liking for her. The article is published next day and Rani's liking is clearly evident in her writing. Her parents behave protectively, being a typical Indian parents and question her on her relationship with Omar. Omar is too flattered by her article and offers her to ghost-write her auto-biography. She agrees to do the same but this would need her to move-in to Omar's mansion and understand him better. A series of revelations about Omar's personal life keep you gripped to the novel, the on and off feelings of Rani bind you with her emotional dilemma and a semi-passionate love making scene confuses you.
Omar puts all his money into some film production and feels devastated when Rani provides him strength and alternatives. Rani goes to her place for her Mom's birthday, when Omar realizes her misses her and cannot live without her. A lot of drama in the end, when he sends endless flowers and comes on an elephant to propose her. The parents agree and it leads to a happy ending.
The charecters are real but it is difficult to relate with the story. Omar is too good to be a Bollywood legend, Rani drinks too much tea, almost in every 2 pages. Everything is hunky dory with a happy ending.

It was too bollywood-ish for me... but a good read though. My 3 stars to the book.

Book Review: The Soldier's Sweetheart

The Soldier's SweetheartName of the Book: The Soldier's Sweetheart
Author: Soraya Lane
Published January 2nd 2013 by Harlequin

The book is a sweet romance, but I rather found it too simplistic. The protagonist, Nate Coulhan, a soldier who has just returned home after serving on the Special forces team, is emotionaly disturbed owing to the horrific memories of his friend on the Special Forces team. He is attracted towards Sarah (the female protagonist), his childhood sweetheart, whom he had broken up with because he wanted to join the army. Post breakup Sarah married his best friend, and broken up with him too. Despite Nate is a soldier, he doesnt seem to be strong or masculine in the novel. He is disturbed by some memory, but when you are done with reading 3/4th of the book and you come to know what that memory was, you feel pity for Nate's chareterization. Even normal people deal with much larger situations, this is kindo f . Sarah's charector is lovely, many women will identify with her, but she seems to be in love with the idea of companionship, not with Nate in particular.
The novel is a good read, though I belive it could have been better.
My Rating **/5

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bade Ache Lagte Hai

Today I want to write about Ekta Kapoor's another cliched daily soap - 'Bade' Ache Lagte Hai... I used to be addicted to it once upon a time, waiting for 10.30 every night to watch the next episode. It depicted the story of a middle class girl Priya who gets married to the business tycoon Ram Kapoor. The lead characters Priya and Ram get married in their late 30s, and the story revolves how they realize and identify love for each other. It did carry off for a few episodes very well and soon became the most popular daily soap on Sony television.

However a good story and poor execution doesn't go a long way in luring its audience. There is nothing 'Bada' about the serial unless you want to look at the burgeoning tummy of Ram Kapoor. The heroine is unattractive with horrifying dressing and make-up sense. Her lower middle class kurti-jeans attire, hair shabbily tied with clucher shifted to one side of her neck depicts a woman who lacks youth and confidence. Ram Kapoor's wears a black business suit irrespective of the weather, looks flabby and unhealthy, seems he needs a break after every few seconds to catch his breathe.

The dialogues are repetitive, the story doesn't move forward and the lead characters are least attractive. And the much talked about chemistry of the lead roles - Ram and Priya seems threadbare. They are 'Bade' actors of the small screen, but there on-screen chemistry is almost non-existent. Probably they don't give dates for the shooting, hence the shots seem to be taken discretely and joined in a logical sequence. In an entire 20 minute episode, there is no scene where the lead characters actually shoot together. This makes it irritating and unbearable to watch in addition to the fact that the story has no more interesting concepts left and the dialogue writer is too politically correct with all his sentences, be it the protagonists, supporting casts or the vamps.

Dear Ekta, the motivation to watch your serials is its latest trends in dressing and jewellery, straight forward dialogues, pretty faces and good vamps. Bade Ache Lagte Hai, is different from the league, but has nothing worth watching anymore. There is nothing 'Bade' or 'Ache' about it, except the 'Bade' commercial breaks.