Wednesday, November 28, 2007

By a 'longshot'

Love the direction of this sequence. Watch out for how lengthy this single shot is - and the seamless camera movements throughout (O Saathi Re - Omkara).

Its always brilliant when directors are capable of personifying the camera as an extended eye - almost like an additional character - making us forget that it even exists - creating a parallel viewpoint.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Songs of the Moment

Bin Tum - KK, OST Dus Kahaaniyaan

The Thin Line Between Love and Hate - Iron Maiden, Brave New World

Saiyyaan - Richa Sharma, OST Zubeidaa

In other news, caught the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the leggy Rockettes, which is extra-special 'cuz of its 75th anniversary celebrations last week. Highly, highly recommended!
Taking the Chocolate "Mouse" too seriously?

One of my favorite dessert places in Manhattan, and the home of one of the most expensive desserts in the world (the edible-gold-coated $25,000 Frozen Haute Chocolate) shut down :-(

Manhattan: Serendipity 3 Is Closed

Published: November 16, 2007

Serendipity 3, a popular East Side restaurant, has been closed after failing its second health inspection in a month. Health department officials said that they closed the restaurant, known for its extravagant and expensive desserts, on Wednesday night. “Both inspections revealed rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement,” the department said in a statement. An inspector spotted a live mouse and mouse droppings, flies and more than 100 live cockroaches, the department said.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Movie Review: Outsourced

Attended a limited release screening of this film, starring Josh Hamilton and Ayesha Dharker - and it was a pleasant surprise.

It was nice to watch a movie that provided a fresh American take on India and Desis, beyond the Apu and 7/11 jokes, the cracks on the accent, the oscillation of the head, the bad dancing and of course, call centers. Outsourced did feature most of these idiosyncracies, but it took the movie to the next level - highlighting not just the cliches that Americans are used to, but showcasing some nuances that they are not used to - resulting in understanding India better, and perhaps falling in love with it. Its nice to see a movie that's well-researched for a change - in terms of India and call centers. Ayesha, who was in attendance at the screening, spoke about how this film took only 1 month to make - a true shocker!

All in all, the film is a bittersweet tale about a guy finding himself in India, coated with delicate hues of love and emotion, sinewed with the central storyline of a call-center and its 'operations'. I liked the ability that the sidetracks had, of creating visuals of themselves without requiring too much effort and screentime - like Josh's ex-girlfriend angle, Ayesha's arranged marriage angle. Sequences like the call center employees acting out their favorite Hollywood dialogues are brilliantly handled and edited. Hard to believe that this is the director's first film.

I feel that most of the social and comedic aspects that are dealt with in Outsourced have received so much awareness in the last few years, that it gives this film the ability to build upon it, without having to explain them in entirety. Overall, well scripted and a well-written and executed screenplay, with crisp dialogues and editing.

Forget about the Brides and Prejudices that have plagued this specific genre, and watch Outsourced as soon as you get a chance.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Slogan Shogun

The Blackberry Pearl - It has the intelligence you require, with the beauty you desire.


In other news, ever had that moment when you want know what song was used in that ad? Its playing in your head, but you just can't nail who sang it, what its called, or where to download it from. Here's a site that comes to your rescue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Return to Innocence

Forgive the repost, but I really felt like bringing back my first post, primarily because of the fact that although its 2 years old, nothing has really changed.

This is no ordinary love.

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Unpredictability. All leads me to suggest, nay, believe one thing - the environment is fighting back. This love-hate relationship that we share with the world around us, is far from ordinary. Once in a pale blue moon, when we choose to sit back and appreciate the magic of nature's surroundings, we do so to no extent. We run off to a lakeside paradise, or a mountainous adventure, and gorge on nature's beauty. But once we have sated our appetite, we retire to the characteristics of our dominating split personality. Taking our world, our lives, our surroundings, our thoughts, our processes, our people ... all for granted. Industries plunder the skyspheres with murderous substance. Corporations steal land from the sea, with a refusal to curb their enthusiasm. Trees are uprooted. Land is mined. Its in our nature to plunder nature. We love her to death when she catches our fancy, but will in fact be, the primary cause of her soon and sudden demise.

Today she fights back, with a veracity reminiscent of Mangal Pandey single-handedly attempting to battle the Rangoon regiment. She fights back with every ounce of dignity that kept her going, and every memory of the joyful and shy pride which was inspired by the extensive appreciation or artists and poets and writers for centuries. She fights back with anger and animosity at a human race that has cheated on her with a fairer maiden named technology. But she fights back with the firm knowledge that she is larger than life itself - a certainty that she can end this wicked game that she was forced into. When will this madness end? This relationship has turned into a vicious chess game, where the earth has turned into a massacre board where we are victimized pawns - as we face the wrath of the elements, that have been wreaked by the wrongdoings of a few misled souls. We continue to build castles in the air, develop technologies, build better, bigger and more pollutive objects of mass destruction .. and expect Her to quietly suffer in silence, cry in the corner and never speak out in her defence. Why? Because of Her cradling love for humanity?

Think again, nature-lover. This is no ordinary love.

Monday, November 12, 2007


1. Deepika Padukone

2. The soundtrack - both background and score. Each interlude has theory behind it. While listening to "Daastaan-E-Om Shaanti Om" (OSO's answer to "Ek Haseena Thi, Ek Deewana Tha") at the end of the film, as it leads up to a Karz-esque climax, what blew me away was the usage of the "Veeraani si veeraani hai" line from 'Jag Soona Soona Laage', in an operatic crescendo. Intricate instrumentalization of choruses and verses throughout this song, truly create a "theme".

3. Deepika Padukone

4. The inside jokes - subtle and well-timed. The Best Actor Award nominees and the Sooraj Barjatya sequence was epic! Even the quick ones like "Govinda" changing his name.

5. Being spoof-ish in nature, Shah Rukh actually gets to ham for good reason :-) Jokes apart, the man's legendary. Reinventing oneself, building killer abs while pushing 40 and carrying off this kind of a performance requires the kind of undying talent and hardcore dedication that only SRK is capable of.

6. Deepika Padukone

7. The opening sequence of Subhash Ghai/Rishi Kapoor and the ending credits in typical Farah Khan style.

8. The picturization of "Dhoom Tana" and "Deewangi"

9. Deepika Padukone

10. My favorite: The Rajnikant sequence. Rascala, mind it!

11. A solid support cast - in order, Shreyas Talpade, Kiran Kher and Arjun Rampal.

12. Did I mention Deepika Padukone? God, she has got to be the most refreshing face ever. At the risk of sounding mystic-philosophical like Gulzar, she's like a visualization of the taste of chilled water after years of desert heat. Wow! The girl can act, can dance and can emote!

For those who haven't yet seen OSO, don't go expecting a movie to move mountains. Its a tongue-in-cheek, parody of Bollywood's trademarks, and at the same time, a tribute to the golden age of the industry - the roaring seventies - what one could clearly identify as Bollywood's Renaissance movement. Therefore, it has a smidgen of several films.

Does it seem a little mish-mashed? Yes. Did it seem like Farah had too much to convey in 2.5 hours? Hell yes!

Quite like Main Hoon Na, it does seem that Farah wants to take no chances to miss out any of the standard hit elements that film-making has defined over the years. She's like that careful and meticulous witchdoctor who adds a bit of everything to the dose, hoping that one of them will work as a remedy. She isn't a quack. She doesn't have a formula, she has twenty. And she doesn't know which one will work. Will it be the mad comedy, the buffet of stars, the reincarnation story, the Austin-Powers-type-parody-angle, the love story, the Bollywood cliches, the SRK, the SRK abs? Therefore, she plugs them all in, and edits them crisply with finesse, and color, costumes and a crew to die for. The result? Om Shaanti Om.

When she saw the rushes, I bet Farah had no doubt that she had a money-spinning blockbuster here. But, instead of playing safe like she did with MHN and OSO, it would be nice to see Farah take a specific genre and create excellence within it.

Verdict? OSO's a fun ride. Get in line.
Wow! What an industry!

The first instant thought that comes to mind as the energetic “Deewangi” – a colorful mélange of stars at a choreographed Bollywood party – draws to a close. The picturization of this song, quite like the entire film, encapsulates nearly a century of people, dialogues, movies, songs and dance moves that have captured the imagination of so many generations. It can’t help but fill one with awe and appreciation for the magical realm of Indian movies, without which our lives would be ever so plaid. As the song ends, one can’t help but wonder if OSO was meant to pay homage to the entire film fraternity. It also makes one truly understand why they rightfully call it - the film “industry”, as it has enhanced by orders of magnitude, grown exponentially, and become more and more world class as time proceeds, forging ahead with technological advancements and international collaborations.

Today’s Bollywood has adapted to the world around it, evolving into something more global and more aware than any of its founding fathers ever imagined. Today’s Bollywood is fearless of social stigmas, and portrays reality like it is. Today’s Bollywood is bold, and willing to experiment with new genres - we now have songless thrillers, dark comedies, adaptations of Shakespeare, and each one is drawing an audience of its own. Today’s Bollywood not only seeks inspiration from world cinema, but has also evolved into a source of inspiration for the cinematic world.

We may know it as a brightly colored, overtly emotional, musical-obsessed melodrama – but the entire world today has come to love, enjoy and appreciate the eternal Bollywood movie. Kudos to an ‘industry’ that hasn’t run out of steam, and undoubtedly, never will.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pay 2 Nap

Mindblowing! It has come to this day. With major corporates getting on to the bandwagon, is it any surprise that Metronaps was conceptualized by a desi?
Only MENSA alumni can proceed

Are you kidding? Is that even English? Jeezus!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Say what?

"The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse'. There is no evidence that people want to use these things." - John C. Dvorak (1984)
God of Small Things

A Q&A with Craig Venter - the first man to publish the complete multi-billion word genome sequence of a human being, himself.

Scientists believe that in a few years, people would be able to procure their own gene codes for as little as $10,000. How far are we from questioning divinity? Redefining humanity? Scary, terrifying, revolutionary but true.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Melody makes a comeback

If the Van Gogh wasn't sufficient enough of a clue, today one is reviewing Aamir Khan's directorial venture, Taare Zameen Par, with music by the trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

No doubt, its a "No B.S." album. None of the gimmickry that is usually associated with a Bollywood album. This one is straight-up good, multi-genre music, served fresh. And its the return of classic S-E-L music. And mind you, not the Jhoom-Barabar S-E-L or even the Bunty Aur Babli S-E-L.

This is the stuff that belongs on the shelf with albums like Dil Chahta Hai and Rockford (Remember "Aasmaan ke paar shaayad aur koi aasmaan hoga" ?). And even Iqbal.

The title track, Taare Zameen Par which you see in the promos, is dreamy. Brilliantly rendered by Shankar, its somehow reminiscent of the "verse" of Roja's title track, with delicate instrumentation and tinkles. To contrast this tangentially, comes the second track, Kholo Kholo, which has a rock/blues feel. Very Parikrama meets Lucky Ali. Both these songs set the pace for what is truly a roller coaster of a soundtrack.

My favorite track in the set - Shankar's rendition of the uncomplicated ballad, Maa. Historically, Bollywood has given us very few "Mother's Day" songs, where we get to laud that one special lady in our lives. One of my favorites used to be a song in Sagarika's private album, but it was still missing a significant element.

This song fills that long-standing void. Sadly, the lyrics of the verse aren't generic enough that everyone can relate to it, as they are rather specific to situations in the movie. However, the overall song is heart-rendered, and strikes a perfect resonance with the listener.

Its been forever since I've heard a light ballad that could carry a ton of emotions. Brilliant stuff.

Main kabhi batlaata nahin,
Par andhere se darta hoon main, maa
Yun to main, dikhlaata nahin,
Teri parwaah karta hoon main, maa

Tujhe sab hai pataa, hai na, maa?

Tujhe sab hai pataa, meri maa

Simple words. You only have to be able to portray your flow of thought and emotion, lucidly, and in a way that's pleasing to the ear, in order to be a good lyricist. The simplicity of the lyrics of this song go to prove that one does not have to be purposefully obfuscatory and complex and distorted in order to win the hearts of your audience. Are you listening, Gulzar Sahab?
Why take panga, yaar?

Poll of the Day, IndiaFM, 11/05

T - 4 days

Monday, November 05, 2007

Switched at birth?

Orlando Bloom and Justin Timberlake.


Jab We Met

Thought that struck me, post-writing the review - wish this film had been the comeback vehicle of Kajol, with Aamir Khan, instead of Fanaa. Kajol would have fit the bill of the talkative Geet, perfectly, and Aamir would've done the brooding role of Aditya, to a T.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Its about time!

When I first heard it, I knew that this song had all the requisites of being a phenomenal acoustic track. This version just brings it all together - the melody, the feel - minus Rihanna's nasality. Would love to hear Moore's take on Unfaithful.

In other news, seems that Junoon's shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize concert in December in Oslo, along with the likes of Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, KT Tunstall and Earth, Wind & Fire. Wow!
Intricately Mature...

Agree with the Xinugeist (a.k.a. India's female answer to Roger Ebert) on this one. Jab We Met was substantially beyond expectations. Under the overall guise of a typical Bollywood DDLJ-type movie, this "It-Happened-One-Night"-esque caper transitioned away from many stereotypes, supported by capable performances by Shahid and Kareena.

With an interesting "teacher-becomes-student" formula (My Fair Lady, Black), the film did turn out to be rather "with it", emerging to be quite mature and "today", successfully bridging the constant timegap between Indian society and its Bollywood on-screen interpretation. Snappy screenplay, simple yet cute dialogues and a catchy music score by Pritam, with songs that don't digress from the movie track. Shahid's moves are awesome. Kareena starts off suicidally annoying, gets progressively bearable rather quickly in her first 10 minutes on-screen itself, and settles into a truly adorable character.

Cons? Ultra disappointing supporting cast. Kareena's sister and her almost-husband (you'll understand when you see it) are awful! Almost felt as if they were sluggishly cast to throw more emphasis on the main two protagonists. Second half does tend to drag a tad bit (especially with the whole "waiting-to-tell-Mom/Dad-the-truth" bit).

It does have its unbelievabilities. And its "oh-c'mon" moments. But that's Bollywood. I think we've all come to differentiate Bollywood and its trademark elements and idiosyncracies, from all other forms of foreign cinema. Its nice to see movies like this that keep those elements intact, and yet highlight their own degree of uniqueness.

Last word? A breath of fresh air.

In terms of the soundtrack, I think I've been more than vocal about my thoughts on "Aaoge Jab Tum" in an earlier post. "Mauja" is the quintessential peppy punjabi number. "Yeh Ishq Haye" is aight.

But my true favorite on this OST, is quite the underdog - the first song in the movie, "Aao Milo Chalo" featuring Shaan and Ustad Sultan "Piya Basanti Re" Khan (finally being utilized exactly and optimally how his paan/tobacco-coated phlegmatic vocals ought to be - i.e. in the background! God, don't let me get started on 'Ustad and the Divas'!)

But this track is really fresh, well-sung and quite reminiscent of a lot of Shaan's traveler-type songs from Tanha Dil. And quite like the movie - its appeal is in its simplicity.


The look of this movie reminds me so much of the Instant Karma "Saamne Yeh Kaun Aaya" video.

Listened to this entire soundtrack, end-to-end, and have got to admit - this flick's got the makings of the big hit that '07 has been waiting for. A sizzling stunning newcomer, a revamped and worked-out superstar, a killer complete musical score, oodles of anticipation - and hype-generation tactics that dreams are made of. Its the whole enchilada.

Granted - its not going to be legendary, classic cinema. But it seems geared for blockbuster success - an enthusiastic theme (a fun look at 70's Bollywood), clean 'n' crisp entertainment, a well-cut comedy track, glitzy stars, a lot of hoopla, colorful visuals and sets, peppered with Bollywood masala a la Farah. Looking forward to this one!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

ListAway (Updated)

Here's a list to close for the weekend on.

Movies that will never get old, which one can watch, again and again and again.

1. Notting Hill
2. The Girl Next Door
3. Andaz Apna Apna
4. Hot Shots (both)/the Naked Gun series
5. When Harry Met Sally + Sleepless in Seattle
6. Every Austin Powers movie
7. Oceans Eleven (and only Eleven)
8. Mission Impossible (and only the first one)
9. The Godfather / Scarface
10. Fools Rush In
11. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle


Talking of chilling themes, the main theme of Silence of the Lambs.

It drips with the allegory of fear.
Its blue

Friday, November 02, 2007


The BMW Hydrogen 7

Nice! I love the closing line - "ready for the world, when the world is ready". European-based ads always have crisper graphics and slicker voice-overs.

In other news, am currently consuming the music of "Dus Kahaaniyan". Will revert with review, shortly.

And remember, there is no such thing as the theory of evolution. Only a list of animals that Chuck Norris allows to live.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

As beautiful as it is melancholy

Neither is it a movie that lauds the underdog, nor is it a rags-to-riches tale. Man Push Cart is the unresolved, bittertrue story of a man trying to make a living, pushing a coffee/bagel cart, on the streets of New York City.

For those who haven't caught them first-hand, let me tell you that these carts are a veritable sub-economy that survive below-the-line, on tiny profit margins, predominantly eaten into by leasing agents and taxes. The guys who run the vendy are usually Indian/Pakistani/Middle Eastern, and in most cases, pleasant and chirpy with curious greetings that put a smile on your face, regardless of the struggle that they face commuting from the bronx or brooklyn every morning, in order to get their carts on to their pre-prescribed locations before the morning rush-hour begins. My usual guy has a brilliant memory for regular customers and their orders, a way with words that is sure to brighten everyone's day along with their morning coffee, and speed and efficiency better than a six-sigma certified supply chain system. Everyone who works in the city has their favorite coffee vendy.

MPC talks about one such guy, and his cart, and effortlessly outlines his struggle and life to create a moving and non-Moral-Science-ish experience. The unexplored twist lies in the fact that he is actually a rock star back in Pakistan, whose career didn't quite sustain at its peak, post which he came to America for the woman he loved. What I liked is that the intricacies of how he ended up working a cart, are never outlined - thereby avoiding all unnecessary plot diversions. As Ebert put it best, "free from contrived melodrama and phony suspense". The film cracked an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes - the only movie site I have come to trust these days.

The camera is an off-center spectator in this film. It doesn't sparkle with any technical brilliance, nor does it require to. It doesn't even boast of a brilliant screenplay or script, being neo-realistic in its approach.

Ahmad Rizvi is sublime and underplayed - just what his character demands - his sincere expression makes him lovable, and very easy to empathize with. The plot (or lack thereof) is fluid, and has one captured with rapt attention as they traverse his life.

If you plan to watch only 1 indie flick before the year goes out, let this be it.