Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Wednesday

A well-paced and well-timed thriller. Its about time that Bollywood came up with a crisp, real-time edge-of-your-seater (a la Speed or Phone Booth).

The gripping aura of terrorism has become a universal and widespread "movie thriller premise " now. Quite like "serial killers" back in the 90s.

If this is an original story, it is undoubtedly a great concept. In terms of handling, the run-up to the climax could have been more effective and subtle, post revelation of the twist. The dialogue between Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah could have been more impactful. But that's just nitpicking, as the effort is more than laudable.

Naseeruddin Shah is world class in a subdued and effective performance. More short and well-scripted thrillers, Bollywood!

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Age-Hindi

Shantanu Moitra has really hit the nail on the head, with this subtle, beautiful ballad, unassumingly found on the soundtrack of Welcome to Sajjanpur (haan, babua! kaa samjhe?). The omnipresent Mohit Chauhan who has apparently vowed to be on every Hindi soundtrack ever made, accompanies Madhushree on "Ek Meetha Marz Dene", which really grows on you after a few listens.


I don't think I would be exaggerating, if I would call this one of the sweetest composed/rendered ballads of '08.

In other news, the bailout bill is out. If you can't access it, try again later - the government financial services site may have crashed due to unprecedented usage - a sign of things to come, I guess ;-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

... 'cuz you just might get it all. Did I call it, or did I call it? :-)


Thanks for the tip there, nbanad!

In other news, just got back from Burn After Reading. The Coens rule!

Je vous en prie

Commercial cinema is overrated. Switch to lndies! Well, with the exception of curious spectacles like Burn After Reading, which I can't wait to watch btw, Indies are where its at. Foreign indies, especially.

Back in 2006, this gorgeous, gorgeous French/English (Finglish?) movie called "Paris, Je T'aime" came by, featuring a smorgasbord of cast members ranging from amateurs to legends (Steve Buscemi, Juliette Binoche, Natalie Portman, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal). The movies format was Dus Kahaaniyaan-ish, with 18 separate "arrondissements". Thematically, the movie explores the emotions of love, but all of them set in the legendary city of Paris. With some shorts directed by established directors (The Coens, Gus Van Sant, Gerard Depardieu, Gurinder Chadha), this movie is highly recommended for those who love this format of film-making - i.e. a collection of short, touching tales that make you think.

Absolutely heartwarming.

In other news, would love to see someone make this kinda movie in NYC.

Looking Good

Really liking this new track from Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion (Salim-Suleiman's music). Reminds me a lot of Zara Zara. Brilliant arrangement, and the low register female vocals with classical touches are nicely done! Enjoy!

In other news, also check out "Kuch Khaas" (Mohit Chauhan and Neha "Viva" Bhasin) from the same album.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

For a movie...

... that truly speaks of the power of human spirit.

Highly, highly recommended viewing.


Telling it like it is....

A couple of classic Warren-isms, from the greatest investor out there.

  • "[Gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."
    • Warren Buffet, Harvard, 1998


  • "After all, you only find out who was swimming naked, once the tide goes out"
    • Warren Buffet, Charman's Letter, 2001


  • Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
    • As quoted in The Real Warren Buffett : Managing Capital, Leading People (2002) by James O'Loughlin

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"I'm a PC ... and a human being..."

"Not a human doing. Not a human thinking .... a human being".

Oh Dr. Deepak Chopra. If I could only learn your art of making millions out of the verbal cattle dung that you spew to this gullible world. You are truly a visionary. Ka-ching!

End of an Era


The former-Lehman Brothers historic building on Times Square, now lit up with Barclays Capital logos.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Review Catch-Up

Caught up on a few mile-high movies, while traveling:

Smart People: Arrogant, yet amusing. Highly reminiscent of Margot at the Wedding, for some reason. Prefer this avatar of Ellen Page, where she seems much more real and confused, versus her Joan-of-Arc-ish character in Juno. Sarah Jessica Parker was actually tolerable and at times, pretty, for a change. Thomas Haden-Church - awesome. Dennis Quaid - traditionally subdued.

Really looking forward to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

The Happening: The acting, being a lot more theatrical and Hitchcockian - with the intense close-ups - is a little variant from Shyamalan's usual style. But the intensity is well-carried throughout the film. Gladly the plot is not other-worldly with wierd creatures and names. It was also nice to see the UTV showreel at the beginning of a Hollywood film. In terms of the India-centric power shift when it comes to entertainment and production - its happening!

U Me Aur Hum: Bollywood interpretation of the runaway success tearjerker, The Notebook. The Alzheimer's premise is a gripping one, and captured very effectively in The Notebook, which probably was the sole reason that led to its blockbuster-ish DVD rentals. The whole concept of portraying a love story, and its passion, and then having one partner start to forget it all, with little spurts of memory, is universally strong on sentiment. For the Bollywood-ization of it, UMH was not bad at all, actually. A little too soppy and over-the-top at times, but that's the traditional Bollywood compromise. Some Ajay-Kajol scenes were handled with absolute finesse, though. The highlight of this film for me, was the Saiyyan sequence - with Kajol looking absolutely goddess-like.


I Am Legend: I still wonder why I missed watching this movie in the first place? One of the most spectacular edge-of-the-end-of-the-world movies ever made. I would put this way above Cloverfield in terms of its content, and with 99% of those points attributed to Will "The Legend" Smith. With half the film's length featuring him alone on screen, he is probably one of the only actors in today's time who could've carried off this performance.

Rock On: A well-done, feel-good flick. Farhan Akhtar is a much better actor than he is a singer, and a much better director than he is an actor. Part of Bollywood Renaissance of movies that portray life in metro-India as it truly is (instead of going all village-ish, or metro-critical). Farhan began this effectively with DCH, lost his Lakshya towards the middle, and is back in the saddle with Rock On!

No Country for Old Men: Watched it again! Javier Bardem is prolific!

What Happens in Vegas: *Sigh* Shouldn't have bothered.

Chaos Theory: What was I thinking?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Detailed review here, but I really like the layout and rendition of the Sunidhi Chauhan track, Bandagi. The title track is interesting as well, especially the way the punch word "Drona" is used. Check it out.

Comment on Marketwatch

Horsesense says

Not to worry. This just in:
-"The fundamentals of the economy are strong." -John McCain
All problems solved. Rejoice!

Paper Profiling?

Until fairly recently, I thought the lyrics of the song went, "Gora Kaagaz tha yeh mann mera....". And I wondered, what the writer had against colored paper?

In other news, the words TGIF had no better raison d'etre than September the 19th. What a week it has been! A non-smoking analyst on Wall Street went outside his office to accompany his smoking buddies during a downtrend in the markets. He ended up taking a drag or two, and returned to see the markets recover. He has hence started to smoke, as he believes that he is the sole cause of the same. Its funny how one economy's upswing is another man's cancer. Interesting and historic times that we live in, folks!

Friday, September 19, 2008

For dem gadget freaks

Google Phone In Sight


The fabled "Google phone" officially launches in October, but it has already hit Silicon Valley.

Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) has handed a few hundred phones to its internal teams of engineers for real world testing. These reference models, presumably preproduction versions of the HTC Dream, are inconspicuous. Thicker than an iPhone, the flat, grayish-black hunk of plastic does not call attention to itself. It takes a savvy pedestrian to spot its identifying marks: a bank of serial numbers engraved across its face and backplate and a discrete white "with Google" badge stamped on the back.

But they are out there.

For nearly a year, Googlers have toiled away in Mountain View, Calif., on Android, the new mobile platform that many developers had hoped would have as great an impact on the mobile world as Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people )'s iPhone. Glu Mobile (nasdaq: GLUU - news - people ) chief Greg Ballard prophesied last June that Google's system would be easier to develop applications for than those powering traditional handsets and would allow developers to take advantage of data such as contact lists and Global Positioning System information stored on the phone.

Now, enthusiasm is cooling. One member of the development community says the prospect of a Google phone was exciting. But Android has come to resemble many other software platforms--and consumers are less likely to stand in lines for software than for hardware. (See "A Geeky Remedy For Recession Blues.")

On Tuesday Google announced that the first Android-equipped phone, a 3G- and WiFi-capable HTC handset, would ship in October with T-Mobile in the United States. Although neither T-Mobile nor Google have confirmed the price, analysts have widely speculated that the phone will cost about $199.

According to the development community, a bank of tools and games will be packed with the operating system. Additional free applications will be available for download at launch. Paid applications, however, which typically are more elaborate programs, are not expected to be available until early next year.

Forbes.com spotted a phone on the streets of San Francisco. It resembles alleged HTC Dream footage leaked in a blurry video on YouTube in August. A large touch screen eats up most of the phone's available real estate. However, unlike Apple's device, it boasts a palette of physical buttons (both for selection and call initiation) and a small trackball for zipping across its multipaged menus. The screen slides up to reveal a shallow keyboard. Think of it as an anorexic T-Mobile Sidekick.

Tapping out search phrases on the keyboard is not difficult, but it is awkward. Unlike similar devices with hide-away keyboards, only the screen of the Google phone slides upwards. This creates an obstruction between your right-hand thumb and the keyboard.

The model we tried out had few onboard applications. The main screen, which switched between portrait and landscape modes depending on the phone's orientation, offered native Google applications including Mail and Docs. The next screen was dedicated to a Google search bar. It was unclear whether users could create additional pages or customize existing ones. However, a small tab running along the bottom (or right-hand side) of each page opened up a compact menu screen for accessing additional programs and settings.

Snap judgment: Android is a zippy operating system but is tripped up by the user interface. The convergence of physical buttons and touch screen makes first interactions slightly confounding. For instance, you have to use the touch screen (by tugging it upward with your finger) to open the menu system--even though the trackball can zip between the two pages. And, while you dial phone numbers directly on the touch screen, you have to press the physical call button to connect.

It is unknown how old these Googler-toted phones are. Presumably, the Google phone has undergone both hardware and software revisions since they were deployed. But, as with all Google products, Android will undoubtedly be released in beta version.

As Dickens put it best...

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Monday, September 08, 2008

And as I always say ...

Cruising Dubai is always fun, when you have the right equipment.


Muhahaha!! Tashan mein....

@ Asha's

Dinner at Asha Bhosle's new boutique Indian-fusion restaurant at the Pyramids. Delectable food and a spectacular ambience! Some of the best desi food in Dubai. Highly recommended.


All the wine lists had the title, "A Brimful of Asha" - really nice touch!


The decor was awesome - completely done up in reds and oranges, with black and white pictures of Asha through the years.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Burj Dubai: Eye-Witness Update

Its huge, man! Screaming out into the sky like something unreal and alienistic.

This is a view of the Burj from the newly developed "Old Town" Dubai, part of Downtown Dubai.


 Here it is, in all its glory. DSC_0024

And in case you want to compare it to other major skyscrapers in the area. Isn't this ridiculous???


Monday, September 01, 2008

"Trunk" Collection

Plenty of R&R, and loving it. Dubai has changed by orders of magnitude. More skyscrapers. More cranes. An "EZPass"-like Saliq system. The Dubai Metro gaining definition and shape.

Meanwhile on the home front, Mom has acquired a spectacular Ganesha collection. Check it out!