Happy Bhag Jayegi.

ali-abhay-happy-759

I had seen the trailer for this film earlier and had made up my mind then to see it when released. I was able to earlier this evening and I am very happy that I did.

It is a very well made movie and despite the fact that I had heard about two of the actors earlier and had seen only one of them on screen before, I enjoyed the performance of all the actors. The story is partly in India and partly in Lahore, Pakistan and that adds a bit of masala to the effect.

Momal_Sheikh_blxlp_Pak101dotcom

 

 

I particularly liked the performance of the Pakistani actress Momal Sheikh who does her job with aplomb that belies the fact that this was her first movie experience!

If you are, like me fond of seeing light hearted comedy, this is a picture that you must see.

Posted in India/Pakistan, Movies | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Red Notice; How I Became Putin’s No.1 Enemy.

Red Notice book

This is a book that should not only be read by you, but one that should be recommended by you to all your contacts so that more and more people will come to know about the Powerful Russians and the way they bamboozle even foreigners leave alone their own citizens.

My brother Barath suggested that I read this book and he has not made a better recommendation than this ever in his long life.

This book had me riveted to it from the first page till I finished reading it. It is an amazing true story with all real people featured in it and instead of a non fiction book, reads like a mystery thriller. But it also left me emotionally quite involved in the writer’s agony and angst as well as sad for the lawyer who gets killed by the Russian system.

I do not want to share the contents of the book here and hope that you will read the book to gain a first hand knowledge yourself.

I request you to read these two reviews here from a British newspaper and here from an American one to add further persuasion if it is needed.

 

Posted in Books / Reading | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

My Favourite Season.

We are in the middle of my favourite season, the monsoon. As I write this, there is a lull but the met promises rains back again from later this weekend. The monsoon in Pune starts by the first week of June and goes on till about the middle of September every year. It is vital for India as our agriculture and drinking water needs are met by the water that arrives during the season and a failed or below normal monsoon is disastrous for us.

Right now, everything is green everywhere including my little garden. I love to sit in our veranda and watch the rain fall and the birds taking shelter in our garden. When we go out, we see all the trees happy with the rainfall as also the grass on vacant plots. Since Pune is situated at a height of 560 Mts from sea level, it is not subject to the debilitating climate of the coastal areas and it is always cool and comfortable during the monsoon. Lovely weather to be in.

Mula-Mutha

This is the Mula-Mutha river that runs through Pune which is just about 300 Mts away from my home. Like shown in the picture, it is now in full strength and I always love to see it in this form. During the summer months this comes down to about a fifth of its size but the river runs with water all the twelve months.During the nineties my son and I used to go fishing for river carp and catfish in it but as the city grew and the population grew, we gave up that sport.

 

mahabal

When my late wife was alive, we used to go to Mahabaleshwar once definitely and often twice during the monsoon to enjoy the experience of walking through the clouds and eating hot fresh off the charcoals corn on the cob called bhutta here, hot samosas and tea there. It was just a three hour drive at most and we used to thoroughly enjoy the getaways. Since her death, I just don’t have the inspiration to do that.

During the monsoon there are many festivals as during this period agriculture takes a break and the farmers used the occasion to celebrate festivals. The crowning one will be the Ganesh immersion scheduled for the 15th of September this year. It will indicate the end of the monsoon season.

This topic for the weekly Friday LBC post was chosen by me.  You can see what the other LBC blogger Shackman has to say on it at his blog.

Posted in Blogging, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Rustom.

Rustom

The current hot favourite of the Hindi film goer, Rustom is a movie that will be popular with the young and the old for two very different reasons. For the older folk like me who remember the Nanavati murder case of 1959 it is a trip down memory lane with scenes of automobiles and taxis of those days as well as the similarity with the broad outline of the story to its current interpretation. Incidentally, the jury system was abolished in India after this case wound up.

For the young, it is a mixture of the eternal triangle, the glamourous uniformed naval officer, patriotism, corruption, suspense and some catchy music.

I had seen trailers a few times while seeing other films and this one was on my bucket list to see and I got to see it yesterday. I enjoyed the full three hours that I spent in the theater though the picture itself was only for two hours and twenty minutes. There was no need for popcorn or other diversions as the movie was gripping from the word go and kept the audience glued to its seats throughout. Great acting by all the cast, if somewhat overdone by Esha Gupta, excellent direction and very relevant period background makes it a very worthwhile picture to see.

It is a four out of five stars rating that I would give it and I recommend it to my readers. The only reason that I have for not giving it a five out of five is the unnecessary aspects of the corruption background being kept dangling in the air throughout. While I can see the suspense element involved it could have been handled differently.

Posted in Movies | Tagged | 7 Comments

Raman Raghav II

raman-raghav

Due to all kinds of problems, I was unable to see this film when it was released in our theaters. I was however told by very discerning filmgoers that I must see it and so procured a DVD and saw it yesterday.

First thing that struck me was that here was another film completely out of the ordinary Indian film that was also a commercial success. A psychological study of an ordinary slum dwelling person and a senior police official both psycho cases. That it was a success says something about the average movie goer of India who seems to have developed a taste for the esoteric instead of only the dramatic, song and dance routines movies.

Both the protagonists, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal come up trumps in their roles and some superb direction from Anurag Kashyap has produced a first class movie which I was able to enjoy to the full in the comfort of my home where I could adjust the volume of sound to my liking!

If you have not seen it, I strongly recommend your doing so. You will not be disappointed.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Namesake.

Namesake

A new commentator to my blog, janey canuck, through her comments on my post The Rabbit Hole got me interested in seeing this film at home yesterday. I had read the novel when it was released in 2003 and had liked it. Till the comments came, I had no idea that a film had been made on the novel and hence my curiosity to see the film.

The story is about an Indian immigrant family in the USA in the good old days when Indians were just beginning to go to the USA in large numbers. Since I have known some other such families, and since I have lived in Calcutta, I could appreciate the nuances of Bengali values and attitudes brought out very well in the book.

janey canuck too has read the book and seen the movie. From her comments it appeared to me that she had found both the film and the book very interesting. Her comment in particular that the story is all about the mother in the story rather than about the son resonated with me. I too had thought so and in the movie though, in my opinion, in terms of sheer presence and acting skills, Kal Penn as Gogol stole the show. While both Irrfan and Tabu gave creditable performances, their presence in the film version was more for background effect rather than to portray both as the lead characters.

While watching the film was a memorable experience because it brought memories of the book rushing back, I thought that the book was not done enough justice in the film. The film could have run for some more time to bring about more character definitions of Irrfan and Tabu which would have given more punch to the film. I suppose that Mira Nair had other priorities and had to restrict the length of the film.

In any case, thanks to janey canuck, I enjoyed watching the film which brought back many memories of the book and some old friends.

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The Association Of Small Bombs.

small-bombs

This is a rather unusual title of a novel that I have just finished reading. It takes one Hindu family, one Muslim family, and other characters including some terrorists and puts them all together to come up with a remarkable story of India and terrorism.

The title makes sense towards the end of the book.

The author Karan Mahajan is new to me. I read a review of the book in one the newspapers that I read every day and decided to buy the book. I am glad that I did.

Having lived in Delhi and also having close friends who have lost children in terror bombing, I was able to relate to the Hindu family. The Muslim characters come alive too because I have met people like that in many parts of India.

What is interesting about the book is the way that the author goes behind scenes and describes character traits and weaknesses of the characters in the narration.

It is a book that I will return to read after some time to savour the characterisation.

Posted in Books / Reading | Tagged , | 5 Comments

My Favourite Vehicle.

autorickshawpic

My favourite vehicle currently is an auto rickshaw. They are ubiquitous in Pune where I live and I can always get one just fifty meters away from my home. They take me to the most crowded parts of the city and I don’t have to worry about parking, or walking to my destination after parking. They are safe, agile, and very convenient. They are also quite economical to use. Although I can drive myself and have a valid driving licence, I find that it makes more sense to use these very convenient vehicles when I want to go out.

lambretta-ld-150-01

I have owned or had been provided with / borrowed many vehicles during my fairly long adult life but the very first vehicle that I ever owned remains my all time favorite. It was bought second hand and was black and white but looked exactly like the image on the left. I had named it “My Love” and that was written inside the front panel. It is my favourite vehicle even today because it brings back a lot of very good memories of the time that I used it.

I used it in Hyderabad and Chennai for three and a half years and it never gave me any problem except for a few flat tires. I had used it to go on long out of town trips and as a young man with many interests, was quite the dashing figure. In Hyderabad particularly, my scooter was the only one of its kind and getting it serviced regularly gave me a friend in the proprietor of the authorised service station, who remains one till today.

If that vehicle is still alive in some collector’s garage, it could tell stories of some of my adventures of those very interesting times.

This week’s topic for the Friday LBC post was suggested by me and you may want to visit Shackman to see what he has to say about his favourite vehicle.

Posted in Blogging, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Rabbit Hole.

rabbit hole

My niece Vandana is a passionate theater buff and has been a stage artist for many years. She has recently taken on a new responsibility of directing a play and while talking about it with me she suggested that I read the script which is available online.

Having read a few pages I found the going tedious and decided instead to see the film. Luckily, I was able to borrow a DVD of “Rabbit Hole” and saw it at home yesterday.

It is a pity that I had not seen it before as, to the best of my knowledge, it was not released ever in India, or it was at a time when I was not going to movies.

It is an amazing story and one of the rare movies that is full of acting talent rather than action, or hamming. In a peculiar way, it is also a funny presentation but the human drama is what grips you from the word go.

Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Miles Teller as a teenager produce some fantastic acting under the excellent direction of John Cameron Mitchell. Great camera work and editing makes it a memorable experience. I intend watching it again after some time.

How I wish that I could go to Bengaluru to see the play on stage!

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Dishoom.

Dishoom

Dishoom is a much advertised Hindi movie, and I had seen the trailer a few times while seeing other films. John Abraham used to be my late wife’s movie idol too. Like it often happens, the trailer got me interested enough to want to see the movie but the actual movie was a disappointment.

John Abraham’s attempt to portray a hardened cop makes him look wooden and there is nothing more that needs to be said. Varun Dhawan over acts and appears childish. Jacqueline Fernandez provides some interesting moments but her role perforce had to be a minor one to the action.

The action scenes and the music in the film are the only reasons that save the film from being a total flop.

One will not miss much if one gives this movie a miss.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , | 7 Comments