Thursday, January 30, 2014

No entertainment, No entertainment, No entertainment

Did you watch the 59th Filmfare Awards this year? Well, I happened to be a witness to this ceremony which was like an icing on the cake that was Bollywood 2013.

Now I was a Bollywood fanatic till sometime back; the type who likes to watch first day first show of a movie lest the Vigil Idiot would shame it and the Boy would refuse to take me to the theatre. But slowly I began to realise I was giving too much leverage to our script writers. While some movies were fresh, a majority of them failed to impress me. But I still thought of switching on the TV when the industry was being rewarded  for its talent this year. These so called biggest awards in the country were so glitzy that they could have given the Oscars a run for their money. You want to know how? Read on:

1.A whopping number of mainstream actresses made it to the occasion. There was Deepika Paduoke, Deepika Padukone and Deepika Padukone who were sitting in the front row. Everytime Ranbir Kapoor (the host) made a joke, Deepika(s) was shown rolling on the floor laughing. 

2.Even though there were performances by Katrina Kaif and Madhuri Dixit, they were nowhere to be seen in the audience. Kareena Kapoor,Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Anushka Sharma – all were perhaps mourning their lack of nomination this year and so felt the need not to come to the ceremony. If its not important to them, why should it be relevant to us in the first place!? Also, I could hardly place Sonam Kapoor; although she was present somewhere.

3.Salman Khan did an awesome(ful) performance. When he started it seemed someone had pushed him on the stage! Later on he did catch up but by that time I was looking at my tablet for something more interesting.

4.Priyanka Chopra was hosting as well. Her script was so exotic that only aliens were seen laughing.

5.Karan Johar presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Tanuja. Kajol and Tanisha Mukherjee were sitting in the front row. He was so distracted by his best friend that he goofed up atleast five times. I thought it was highly disrespectful not to edit that part. But because he is the Koffee king, no one will say a word. I like the kind of power he has.

6.There was a performance by Katrina Kaif. Never in her life have I found her so 'graceful'. It seems Salman and Katrina had a fight backstage and because of that they managed to showcase such a 'fiery' act!

7.Chennai Express was the Trend-setter of the Year in terms of movie promotion. I agree with this one; I saw the movie despite several warnings. Marketing gimmicks make me sick now. I learnt from my mistakes and completely abandoned the other two Khan flicks.

8.And if all this entertainment was not enough, there was a laughter soundtrack in the background as well. 

There were some (not-so) lack-luster moments too - Dhanush coming and giving the most genuine speech on winning the Best Debutant award and  Deepika calling a fan on the stage when she won the award for Best Actress - two, only two.  I can imagine how much you want to watch these awards now. Search for them on Youtube and have fun. While you are at it, watch the rerun of Rahul Gandhi’s interview. 26th and 27th January 2014 were epic in terms of entertainment; I hope the rest of the year is not so amusing for I still have tremendous faith in the talent of our country.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What did you do, Baba?

I was a happy person before December 2013. I use to watch comedy series and romantic movies; read about the falling rupee and 10 things you should do to look hot kind of stuff; and thereafter, comment on the same. Then came AAP who started fighting over the CM residence, VIP transport, Police wallahs, et al. The drama started to interest me since I’m an inquisitive person who likes all things weird. If that was not enough, Rahul Gandhi’s interview got me hooked onto politics all the more.

So you see that whole hour was not futile. It shifted focus from NaMo and the muffler-clad-dharna-focused-angry-young IITian to a person who, in his dear diary, has done a lot of work for youth and wants to do so much more. That episode inspired the likes of me to turn to the politics of our country and write a blog post - that in itself is a very big achievement. In that one hour I realised how much I love Rahul Gandhi. No I’m not saying this just to get traffic; I have genuine reasons: 

* He will always know the right things to say no matter what the question. If you teach him ‘You never look fat’, he will repeat it 10 times a day even if you talk about inflation. Now who wouldn’t like a guy like that?

** He will empower women. It is another thing that the two of them will suck our hard earned money and take it to Italy. But this only shows what a wonderful son and brother he is. Don’t we just adore that? 

*** He will always be real. Why? Didn’t you see the interview – he doesn’t like anything superficial. He told us that 24 times. 

**** He is so innocent that women will go ‘aww' around him. Really, after this interview, he can only get sympathy votes for being so ‘innocent’ (read: dumb).

***** He wants to change dynasty politics. He wants to change the system. The present system is Congress. The only dynasty is Congress. A woman loves to have a confused soul like that because around him, she will always reign like a queen. 

****** He sure is a talker. You give him anything and he can go on and on and keep the likes of Arnab Goswami mum. In his company, one can never get bored. One can die, but, never get bored. 

His one interview would make people want to take down dynasty politics. For that and all the above reasons, Rahul Baba, you really stole my heart. I am totally with you - lets bring down mommy dearest...err the system!

Ask Rahul anything!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Love, Laughter and Sympathy

For 25 years I lived with my parents who always loved and protected me from everything. I did schooling, graduation, MBA...all from the same city and lived under their warmth and guidance. When I woke up, all I had to do was ask for tea and I would get it. In winters I would sit in the sun and mom would bring carrots and oranges and peanuts. If I sneezed, my father would call 4 times from his office to ask how I was. My brother even drove me to school till I was 18 ‘coz I had trouble climbing the bus. Later on, I got enough pocket money to spend on food, phone and petrol. You would think I was spoilt, but I was mature and knew I was blessed.

Me and the Boy decided to get married out of the blue. We really did not think it through. We were both going to be 26 which was a reasonable age to get married. The Boy, poor thing, was just starting his career. He thought it was the right thing to do and went ahead. And then, just like that, we got hitched and moved to a foreign land.

For a person who has been so protected all her life it was a whole new world. I loved the thrill of roaming on the streets at 3 a.m. in the morning. The Boy, even though he did not call ten times a day to check on me, was super caring. He would always know when to hold my hand and when to leave me alone. And when he didn’t understand, he would just hug and kiss me which was enough to make me feel alright.

But a husband’s shield is very different from parents. Sometimes you need to have a cribbing session and don’t want it to end in a fight. And for that, you need your girls. I found three besties here with whom I could share my pain and sorrow and laugh out loud with equal enthusiasm. If I sneezed, they would message 4 times a day to check. If I was unwell, they would cook for me and let me rest. If I needed a laugh, ah, they are always around.

And so when I sneezed today I thought of my parents and my eyes welled up. It always happens atleast once when I have cold or fever. Then I messaged my friends and got all sorts of advice and sympathy. After that, I told the Boy that he was successful in transmitting his germs. He replied: ‘Lets enjoy it together’.

That’s why I said a husband’s shield is so different from parents. Needless to say, I get the right blend of love, laughter and sympathy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

And The Award Goes To

It is the award season and considering the amount of television we’ve seen in the last few months, I can safely say that I’m a well-equipped judge by now. Here is a snapshot of scripts I heart and a list of series I can’t stand. 

So, after watching like a zillion TV series, I have finally realised I like only the Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham style. Oh no, I’m not high on the saas-bahu saga. You show me Sherlock or House of Cards and I won’t enjoy it. You give me a thriller with a family guy (Breaking Bad); I’d be obsessed with it. Just like that I’m totally in love with Modern Family, Arrested Development, The Big Bang Theory, et al. Yeah; you need to show me some luv-shuv to make me enjoy the drama. Go watch Orange is the New Black if you like what I like – it is mind blowing.

We recently saw a movie called Her. It apparently got a lot of critical acclaim. The story was intriguing and so I downloaded a decent print. If you get through the first half, you’ve wasted 1 hour of your precious life. Really, I don’t understand what kind of nonsensical movies get nominated. I cannot yet talk about 12 Years a Slave for I’ve seen just 40 minutes of the movie so far. The disheartening reality is portrayed in the most depressing way and I can take only that much at a time.  On a similar note, I was totally awed by The Wolf of Wall Street. The movie is, in its own language, fuckingly awesome!

Coming to entertainment closer to home, let’s just say it has been a disappointing 2013. I did not see many movies worth writing about. I liked Lootera and Raanjhana in the initial months, after that, nothing. Even The Lunchbox did not wow me. And, Ladies and Gentleman, we – me and the Boy – are the only two people on planet earth who stood up for the cause and did not go to watch the much hyped Dhoom 3. But the producers had the last laugh, didn’t they? 500-crores, arghhh!!! Please go watch Dedh Ishqiya. This amazing movie just made a measly 10 crore. The humour, the tehzeeb, the script, the act – ah, it was all so beautiful. Please watch it and support good cinema.

Although we did invest in a dabba that takes us closer to Star Plus, Colors and Arnab, I just managed to watch Bigg Boss 7 through it. I was thrilled to see Gauhar Khan win. We watch a bit of Comedy Nights with Kapil. Other than that, that dabba is only used to watch New Zealanders shame India these days. What a dearth of good entertainment as compared to America; I’m disappointed to say the least.

Anyway, I’m awed by the immense pool of talent that exists in the television industry. Good or bad, they seem to be working real hard at what they do. I’d definitely award each one of them for that.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Whole New World

Traditions bind us together, keep us rooted and give us an identity. Traditions also strangle us, constantly kick us in the butt and enslave us. Since we are a confused generation deciding between staying grounded and setting ourselves free, I decided to write a post on the same confusion that drives me nuts as well.

You see, I love lighting diyas on Diwali. I love to make rangoli, dress up, light an incense stick, sit in a mandir and sing Jai Laxmi Mata. It’s deeply rooted in my whole being. But at the same time I have no inclination in doing idol worship, I don’t think Goddess Lakshmi will come to my house stepping on the rangoli and I certainly don’t think the light of lamps will guide the almighty to enter my abode.

Let’s take marriage. Traditionally, two people would come together, the man will fetch bread and the woman will raise kids. That is how the world would move forward with more people and well, more bread. Traditionally, a woman would take the husband’s surname so that they are all recognised as one and the ‘family name’ would be carried forward (by a son, ofcourse). Traditionally there would be Kanyadaan because a woman who was her family’s property before is being transferred to another man. Maybe I’m missing some religious link here, but heck, I don’t care about religion. But that is for another day.
So yes, marriage. Why should two people live together? – For the simple reason that they love each other. That should be the one and only reason. Each can fetch his own bread and raise kids together; upto them.  It’s been a billion years since we’ve inhabited this planet. We are more than 6 billion now. We certainly don’t need marriage just to make new people. As for the common surname, we have fantastic technology that can trace everyone in your family even if you have ‘Insanelyfunny’ surname for each family member. And Kanyadaan, oh I need to meet Alok Nath to know more about why it was named what it was named.

See, it is these traditions that make Indian Weddings what they are. Our business revolves around weddings and festivities. Let’s do the whole tamasha and let our country shine brighter than Las Vegas on Diwali eve. But please, no giving-way-your-daughter-to-purify-your-sins and continuing-family-lineage-with-common-surname and men-are-superior-so-you-sacrifice-your-career bit there.

Yes, I know, the world order would change. There will be chaos. But in the process, new traditions will be made which will be in-tune with the new world order. I would love to see families going to an orphanage and lighting up lives of several kids on Diwali. I would love to see a man taking a woman’s surname or creating a new one after marriage because it really doesn’t matter. I would love to see planting trees becoming a ceremony in one’s wedding. I would love to see old age homes happier during the wedding season instead of the groom’s safe beaming of gold...

It is time for old traditions to give way to new ones. They might have been relevant in their own time, but not now. If tomorrow, trees become poisonous for human existence, would you still be planting them? I want to rest my confusion just like I rest my case with that last line. But I need more people to join me to make these new things traditions for the time to come. You will try to bring that change, won't you? 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kitney Aadmi The?

...Not many - you say, when you go to the theatre to watch an off-beat film.  Barfi!, Taare Zameen Par, Talaash, Lagaan, Chak-de India, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag...are a handful names that come to our minds when we think of big banners achieving success with hatke cinema. But most of the other unconventional ones have come and gone with the blink of an eye because they were not hyped as much.  

However, these are those flicks that take Indian cinema from meaningless gaana bajana to portraying life as it is. For every 100-crore flick that makes you think twice about our talent pool, there are hundreds of extraordinary stories that reaffirm our faith in Bollywood. While some big movies manage to take our breath away, quite a few low key ones make us yearn for more like them.  

So one of these winter weekends, curl up in your blanket and watch one of these precious gems from a huge treasure trove that make Hindi cinema what it is:   

Table No. 21

A couple is on a vacation and needs to answer questions or carry certain tasks to earn 21 crores in prize money. Mind you, this entire if-you-lie-you-die game show is not meaningless for it carries a suspense in the end and a strong message at that. I am exceedingly clever when it comes to guessing the mystery – but even I failed to do so!

This Rajeev Khandelwal – Paresh Rawal thriller will keep you at the edge of your seat. Just watch it, won’t you?

Club 60

This Farooque Sheikh-Sarika starrer was released in the December of 2013. Little did we know that we will lose him in the same month. Although I sat to watch it in his memory, the movie’s simplicity made me fall in love with it.

It is a story of an old couple who lose their only son and learn to live life again. In the process they meet several people who help them. These veteran actors (Raghubir Yadav, Tinu Anand, Satish Shah) add humour to this story of love and loss and in subtle ways make you realise that no problem is big enough to make you lose your life over it.

Club 60 is a must watch to learn the art of growing old; to learn the art of living life to the fullest and; to learn the art of surviving your ordeals.

15 Park Avenue

Konkona Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose have acted in some hauntingly beautiful movies that make their mark and stay in our hearts forever. 15 Park Avenue, directed by Aparna Sen and released in 2005, is one such movie. 

The movie is about 27-year old Meethi who is schizophrenic and believes she has a husband and 5 children who live at 15 Park Avenue in Kolkota. Her character is so endearing that you want to take care of her just like her intellectual elder sister (Shabana Azmi) who herself is dealing with her relationship problems. 

The story gently explore the thin line between reality and delusion. It is not about a patient or her journey, the movie is about the world that exists and the one we imagine. Mithi’s world is as real as ours, her truth is as correct as ours. She perceives our world as gibberish; we find her’s insane.
Who is right? – The movie doesn’t answer that. It leaves us thinking and that makes it so extraordinary.


A rural woman loses her husband. Another, from a far off land, has to find her in order to save her own. This story of love, betrayal, friendship, forgiveness and redemption is beautifully directed by Nagesh Kuknoor in the deserts of Rajasthan with Ayesha Takia and Gul Panag as it's leading ladies.

The two songs which remain my all time favourite – Ye Hosla and Imaan ka Asar – form the crux of the story. Watch this movie to learn what courage really means. And how it can turn your life around.


How can a list of films be complete if it doesn’t touch a story that revolves around religion and how extremism and fanaticism can create havoc in someone else’s life.

Dr. Aamir Ali is a doctor who arrives in Bombay from London. Bikers hand him a cell phone and he receives a call informing him that his family is being held hostage. These terrorists give Ali five hours to plant a bomb on a bus, or his family will be executed. They show him that their people are suffering with abject poverty and this act will be beneficial to his community.

Aamir’s gripping and gruesome tale makes you rethink about the ruthless discrimination that we consciously or unconsciously do in our everyday life. It doesn’t scream religion or patriotism like we have seen before. However, the underlying message is much stronger.

Just like all other movies that I have mentioned. They are all five starrers!

This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014. (Blogadda)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Winter Chill

The Boy’s office is like school where you have to reach on time or enter your name in a late register. Since this school starts at 7:30 in the morning, we have to wake up at 6. He gets ready and I pack his school bag!

The alarm failed us today and we woke up an hour late. He got ready in record time and left home only to enter his name in the late register. Mind you, if you are late more than ten times in a month you can be fired! But it’s a local Gulf bank which treats its employees well in all other, you know, it’s all fine.

Anyway, the mornings have been an absolute delight lately. After he goes, I sit by the window and do pranayam watching the sun rise up. I live beside the sea and watch the sunrise every morning. It brings a smile on my face every single day. Since it is winters, I open the windows and let the rays touch my skin. I then make a cup of tea with lots and lots of ginger, open the laptop and soak in the sun again.

Yes, I know, for working people it’s like a vacation. The Boy is super jealous of my lifestyle but hasn’t been able to do much about it. Someone has to work afterall! Most people who sit at home crib about the lack of career opportunities. I, for one, am the happiest housewife you will ever meet. More on that later.

I live on a desert island which is supposed to be a country with hot summers and moderately cool winters. This year has been very different. It has rained quite a lot bringing the temperature down to 12-15 degree. Although we love it, I hate the fact that global warming is responsible for everything that’s changing. Winters last longer than before. Summers are unbearable only for a short while. Rains don’t stop. And you keep hearing about the heavy snowfall and the winter chill in the west.

So what was this post about, again? I don’t know! I haven’t written anything for a while and wanted to update you all. It’s a perfect winter morning and I’m sitting by the window enjoying my cuppa. I’ve thanked God a few times for a happy life. I have a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eyes. With a lot of hope in my heart I’ve started the new year.

Wish you the same happiness.