Category Archives: Entertainment

Movie Review: Shuddh Desi Romance: A Crackling Storyline

Shuddh Desi Romance

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor.

Introduction: ‘Kamine hai re’ This desi romance is no way shuddh but is a crackling film all the way.

Plot: Raghu (Sushant) is a guide, about to get married when he develops cold feet. Enter Gayatri (Parineeti) and they fall in love. Fall out of it, fall in it again. Vaani is the damsel in distress who loses out eventually. Set in Jaipur this movie catches the essence of youth and their confused minds.

Tech Spec: The pink city has turned blue for this one, yet is captured very well. The minutest detailing by Jaideep Sahni is very intriguing in the screenplay. The music has a feel good factor to it and enhances the plot in totality.

Acting: Vaani makes an impressive debut and essays her role with ease, Sushant Singh portrays the role of a rustic guide with elan, but its Parineeti that steals the show. She is vivacious and will leave the audience spellbound with her performance. Rishi Kapoor: Do we say more?

Citizen Kane moments: Many of them but the stand out ones are a jalebi vendor scratching his back with a spoon, or the scene where Sushant cheats neighbors two be the cousin of Parineeti or the scene when they fall in love.

Kela moments: The final clash between Vani & Parineeti is a huge let down.

Brownie points 4 out of 5.

Yashraj stable has reversed the trend. Watch it for the new order that has been established.

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Before Marriage Till Marriage!

indian marriage

By Malathy Madathilezham

Man is a social being. This is something, which we have all studied at some point of time. Thus one of the most cruel and effective forms of punishment/ torture meted out to criminals, terrorists, etc. is solitary confinement. The need to communicate and interact is something of the utmost importance to human beings in order to retain their human nature. Self-expression, exchange of ideas and organization are something’s, which we are experts at utilizing for our benefits. Thus we have groups beginning from the family to nations. We have created complex social structures, which compete and cooperate with each other. On the basis of social interactions among human beings spread over time and continents, we have established a wide variety values, norms and rituals that are the foundations of the human society.

The society keeps changing, earlier this change was at a much slower pace. Something’s, which were unacceptable, unpardonable and frowned upon, are now part and parcel of our society and nobody gives a second thought to him or her. Similarly, some accepted aspects of society are now considered a blight on society. Thus change is also an important aspect of human civilization.

This change has also affected the dynamics of men and women. May be some people have enjoyed or suffered these changes more than the other! There are of course extreme situations of women still living in the same age old conditions and bound in tradition or poverty, but in this particular discussion I would not elaborate on that. Feminism, Liberalism, Capitalism and many other ‘isms’ have contributed in parts to this change. So a woman doesn’t look at a good marriage/alliance or domestic life as the only criterion, which makes her life a success. It is definitely still one of the most important things to majority of women but education, career, self dependence, financial independence, an interesting social life are also being counted somewhere on the list.

A fairly well educated woman in her twenties wants almost everything from a good job, a handsome and loving husband, friends, a fun social life, decent salary etc. etc. She doesn’t want to have the life of her mother; she wants it to be better and bigger! Any mention that her gender makes her vulnerable is almost blasphemous. Her semi-liberalism and semi-feminism along with her ego would be a force to reckon with. She is assertive, confident and has her own opinion on everything ranging from fashion to politics. At work she may be ruthless. Efficient, competitive and aggressive she want that corner office to be hers. She looks for true love and romance but at the same time is practical when it comes to decision making…She is becoming more and more demanding it seems… ah and confused too. What is the most important? What is the priority?

Until few years ago, the man was the sole breadwinner of the family. He took on the burden of providing a good life and a better future for his children, at least in financial aspect. A well settled (government) job, a ‘good’ wife along with a sizable dowry would probably make him seem more successful back then. Now look at a twenty or thirty something man, he is equally confused. The father was feared and revered. His appreciation and love, one could only see the glimpses of. He sees his mother, always loving, most probably a housewife. She was the stable rock of his family when his father was busy working or on tours. She is the quintessence of womanhood and selflessness for him. The women his age confuse him. They are his classmates, friends, and colleagues/superiors. Equally aggressive and competitive as men, and given undue advantage at times due to they’re gender. And yet they crib about inequality! Life is becoming tough for him. A simple joke and they get offended!

He is in a reasonably good job and enjoys the weekend parties and stuff. Parents want him to marry, but is he ready for marriage? And demands from the parents of the prospective brides are also high. In addition, the question of whether or not to accept dowry. His ex gf thought he was an MCP with double standards. Yes, it is imperative for him to earn more than his wife, what will his friends and family say otherwise! He wants a workingwoman, but not a career woman. He wants to definitely have a better life than his father, who he thinks had it all easy. The option of changing jobs is open, but with the recession and all, the growth in salary is not worth it. At the same time staying in a company for more than three years may mean stagnation. May be he should go for further studies? Or is it better to get married and ‘settled’ now?

And it is in between all this confusion that suddenly a their families find a good match in each other’s families, backgrounds, etc. Its in a daze that meet each other, ask each other some questions, forgetting the important ones, which  they always wanted to.

‘Do you like her/him?’

‘Yeah she/he is okay. I would like to spend more time though.’

‘Oh sure! You will have all the time after the engagement. We need to fix a date for that though.’

After that its’ a whirlwind… Time passes so quickly .. then engagement, the thousands of calls and SMS’s, each of them trying to impress the other, share as much as possible about themselves, the apprehensions and doubts,etc etc. Then the wedding shopping, planning…

And Voila! The D-day is here. The usual confusion and mayhem prevails during the wedding also… and soon its all over or should I say its all beginning of everything!

Let me not say more now… Just

Wishing them a happy and blissful married life!

🙂

Movie Review: Satyagraha: Poor Story Except In Bits

satyagraha_poster

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, & Manoj Bajpayee.

Introduction: The message is loud and clear. And Satyagraha adds no new aspect to the revolution.

Premise: Only if you are news blind, you will miss the fact that this one is based on the Arvind Kejriwal & Anna Hazare movement.

Plot: Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a school teacher who lives by the Gandhian principles, Maanav Raghvendra (Ajay Devgn) is a NRI business magnet. At the core it’s the story of these two individuals. How a shrewd businessman becomes a nationalist and then becomes part of the revolution.

Acting: Amitabh Bachchan is brilliant as he underplays his character, the portions where he really breaks down with citizen kanesque acts he is let down by his editors, Ajay Devgn disappoints this time though, the punch is missing in his dialogue delivery. Kareena Kapoor looks less of a journalist and more like an add on. The whistles might be heard but Manoj Bajpayee character is becoming caricaturish now. Arjun Rampal has a miniscule role but his heart is worn on his sleeves.

Technical Insight: The script disappoints, Anjum Rajabali can learn a thing or two with changing times, you will feel like re reading the newspapers all over again with very little entertainment value, editing is hopelessly bad, scenes of highest emotions has been killed by lazy edits. Cinematography though is brilliant especially the revolution bit. The music is a sore bore except for Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. Prakash Jha, maybe out of commercial compulsions gives in, sir atleast once give us a Damul again.

Kela moments: Many actually. The songs weren’t needed. And how on earth Kareena Kapoor is the only journalist covering the agitation?

Citizen Kane moments: Amitabh Bachchan consoling his widowed daughter in law Amrita Rao, the scene where Mr. Bachchan breaks down when he returns to the scene of his son’s death and Mr. Bachchan scene where he tells Devgn he will miss him when he is gone.

Brownie Points: 2.5/5.

Retribution – A Short Story

murder mystery

 

By Ganesh Subramanian

It was a bright morning in New York. Ritesh woke up to the sound of chirping birds beside his window. He rubbed his eyes for his vision to clear. He looked at the Christiano Ronaldo poster that adorned one of the walls of the living room. The poster showed Ronaldo ready to take a free kick. Ritesh was reminded of the premier league match that he planned to watch that night that featured Christiano Ronaldo. Almost as if stirred by memory, his eyes moved to the calendar which was hanging from one of the walls. The date 11th of December was circled in bright red colour. Ritesh smiled at the irony that the date was circled in red and not in any other colour. Today was the 11th of December. The circled date reminded him of the most important task that he wanted to accomplish that day, an accomplishment that would banish the demons of humiliation, embarrassment and pain, an accomplishment that would exorcise the ghosts of the past once and forever. This was something important that he has to finish at any cost. The premier league match can wait.

After a quick shower, he reached his office. After checking his mails and mailing his daily updates to his boss, Ritesh was waiting for a call which he was expecting that day of all days.  The next minute, his mobile screen flashed the name of Vimmy Veronika. Ritesh answered the call.

“Happy Birthday, my cutie teddy”, said the female voice at the other end.

“Thanks. Surprising to see that you have come to office on time”, mocked Ritesh.

“Only for you, dear”, answered Veronika. “Ok Listen. Come over for dinner tonight at my place”, said Veronika.

This was what Ritesh wanted to hear. But still he played with Veronika. “I have lots of work. Need to prepare that presentation for the board meeting this Friday”, said Ritesh.

“Oh, Come on. If you spend a couple of hours over dinner at my place, your board won’t sack you”, Veronika said.

“Alright. I will be there at 9.” replied Ritesh.

“Now that’s my boy. See ya” said Veronika.

Ritesh winded up the day’s work by 8 pm and when his SUV landed in Veronika’s Eastbrook apartments, it was 8.45 pm.

Ritesh and Veronika were from India, but now working in the US. Veronika was born to a Hindu father and a Christian mother, hence the name has a combination of Hindu and Christian names (Vimmy, short for Vimala, a Hindu name and Veronika for her Christian roots). Having got to know each other through a common friend, Ritesh and Veronika loved each other as if there is no tomorrow. Veronika told Ritesh that she will make her dad announce him as her life partner during her birthday party. Ritesh bought an apartment with his year-long savings to present it to Veronika. On the birthday party, Vimmy’s dad announced her engagement to Deepak John, an Indo-American businessman. Ritesh was heartbroken. The worst part was Veronika seemed to be happy with her dad’s decision. She told Ritesh that Deepak was well-settled and she could not disappoint her father. This sudden change in Veronika baffled him. Through some of his sources, Ritesh came to know that Deepak and Veronika had been pals in college and they had a very intense relationship and before they knew it, Veronika was pregnant. So this marriage is a quick heal solution before things could go out of hand. Ritesh’s blood boiled on hearing this. “How could she do this to me?”, he wondered. Although they both had kept in touch occasionally through the phone after this incident, things were never the same again between them.

Veronika welcomed Ritesh. After a sumptuous dinner, they settled on the couch and were having a few drinks. Veronika got up to bring another bottle. Ritesh got up and followed her. When Veronika pulled out the bottle from the fridge and turned back, Ritesh was standing close to her. He flashed a romantic smile. He moved close to her and put an arm on her waist. He brought his face close to hers. Past memories came flooding back to Veronika. She couldn’t resist. Anticipating a kiss from Ritesh, she closed her eyes. This was the opportune moment he was waiting for. He brought out a kitchen knife, its steel finish glistening in the dimly lit CFL lamp. In a swift motion, he plunged the knife into Veronika’s midsection. Veronika froze in horror and pain. The bottle dropped from her hands. Before she could scream, Ritesh’s left hand closed her mouth. He pulled out the knife and drove it harder into her abdomen again. Ritesh came close and whispered into Veronika’s ear – “You shouldn’t have done this to me, you lecherous bitch!”. Saying so, he pushed Veronika. She dropped dead on the floor.

One more task to be accomplished. Ritesh started his SUV and headed towards Maxington Lane. He reached Silver Oak apartments in Maxington lane and headed to Door # 145 in the 3rd floor. Jeevitha, a Tamilian from the southern part of TamilNadu, the occupant of #145, opened the door.

“Yes. How may I help you?” said Jeevitha.

“I am Ritesh. I am the brother of Mukesh, your reportee. I want to talk to you” replied Ritesh.

“Come in.” said Jeevitha.

“I know why you are here. To say that your brother is innocent. But the records seem to tell a different story. The 10 lakhs that disappeared was his responsibility. There were no expenses of that magnitude that day. Only way the money could have disappeared is when Mukesh himself had taken it. Better he admit his crime, so that atleast his punishment would come down” replied Jeevitha.

“Mukesh is not like that. He is innocent. He is being fabricated in this case for some moron’s crime. Do not go by what you hear. Listen to your heart. Save him from this mess”, pleaded Ritesh.

“I am sorry. I can’t do anything. Your brother has to face the consequences”, Jeevitha said firmly.

“Will you help him or not?”, Ritesh said in a menacing tone.

“No. If you don’t leave now, I’ll call the cops”. Saying so, Jeevitha moved towards the telephone.

Ritesh was fast. He pulled Jeevitha back and twisted her right arm behind her back.

” I am asking you one last time. Your statement against my brother tomorrow will finish his career. After that, Mukesh will not be alive. Think again.” said Ritesh.

Jeevitha didn’t listen to him. She extricated herself from Ritesh’s grasp and ran to the window to shout and alert the apartment’s security. Ritesh was equally quick. In one motion, he twisted Jeevitha’s left arm behind her back and put his right arm around her neck. Then he brought out the kitchen knife and slit her throat in a smooth motion. Jeevitha’s crumpled form fell to the floor.

Satisfied with his accomplishments, Ritesh left house no. 145 with the occupant lying in a pool of blood.

 

 

Movie Review: Jobs: A Complex Man, A Complex Story

jobs movie review

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, and Josh Gad.

Introduction: Steve Jobs was a complex man as long as he lived, the film is no different.

Premise: JOBS is a competent retelling of Steve’s life till he took control of Apple Inc. in the nineties.

Plot: The film opens in 2001 at the launch of the iPod. And then traces the journey of the greatest innovator from his formative years in college to his wayward actions to his making of Apple. Likewise an apple product the movie keeps moving to one big aspect one after another.

Technical Insight: The background score in the opening scene, through its speakers is one of the best to be heard in recent times. The make up of Ashton Kutcher is a very believable Steve Jobs. The editing disappoints as the director tries to squeeze in too much of everything in one movie.

Acting: Ashton Kutcher plays the role near perfectly, the star in him is not visible as he plays Steve Jobs just well, the supporting cast is good but the man who takes home the honors is Josh Gad who slips into the role of Steve Wozniak beautifully.

Kela moment: The direction overall. Too much has been squeezed in.

Citizen Kane moment: The opening sequence.

Brownie points: 2.5 out of 5.

Madras Cafe Review: Dark, Deep And Exemplary Storytelling

madras cafe

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, and Raashi Khanna.

Introduction: Coffee apart, this one filters bullshit as well and presents an engaging political thriller; get off the train baby and head right into ‘Madras Cafe’.

Premise: This is a story about a hero who fails to save the Prime minister. It’s built around the incidents leading upto the assassination of the Prime minister.

Plot: ‘Madras Cafe’ is a dark, deep and exemplary film about the politics of separatism. If you have a penchant for history and know a little about the LTTE struggle, the connect will be instant. For the naive, it still is an engaging entertainer. Even though no names are taken its quite obvious that the story is about Prabhakaran, LTTE and the killing of Rajiv Gandhi.

Technical Insight: The cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi captures the right tones throughout, the music is unconventional but has a double play value, the editing and sound designs is the stand out aspect of the film. But what puts a cherry on the top is the direction of Shoojit Sircar.

Acting: John Abraham plays a RAW agent, and for a change looks and behaves like one. Nargis Fakhri essays the role of a war correspondent and does it brilliantly. Raashi Khanna is promising but the stand out one is is Prakash Belawade as John associate who takes home the honors.

Kela moment: Jaya speaking in English and Vikram answering in Hindi.

Citizen Kane moment: The climax of the movie.

Brownie points: 4 out of 5.

Let’s Pledge To Sledge! Err I Hate Grammar! Cricket’s Best Battles

cricket sledging

By Ankush Kumar

The purists hate the idea of sledging; it apparently spoils the crease of their suits. The broadcasters love the banter amongst the players as it fills their coffers a little more, than expected. Cricket as they say is played between two teams of eleven players each, every era has seen domination by one team, but the winners of sledging still remain undecided.

Here are a few from trip down memory lane, enjoy and savor the one liners, and don’t forget ‘cricket still remains a man’s game, gentle though is passé’.

Rod Marsh to Ian Botham, when the England star took guard: So, hows your wife and my kids?

Merv Hughes to Robin Smith, after the batsman repeatedly played and missed ‘ you fucking cant bat. The next bowl was dispatched to the boundary and Smith said ‘Hey Merv we make a nice pair I fucking cant bat and you fucking can’t bowl’.

Michael Atherton during his first tour of Australia stood his ground during an appeal. At the end of the over Ian Healy said ‘Fucking cheat’ he replied ‘When in Rome, dear boy’.

James Ormond while playing his first Test match for England, Mark Waugh quipped ‘what are you doing here mate, you aint good enough to play for England’ He replied saying ‘atleast I am the best player of my family’.

After going past a couple of deliveries Shaun Pollock told Ponting ‘its red and round and weighs about five ounces’. The following ball was dispatched to the boundary and Ponting said ‘You know how it looks like, go find it’.

Glenn McGrath once asked Eddo Brandes ‘Hey man why are you so fat’? The Zimbabwean replied ‘because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit’!

A young batsman was clean bowled by the great Fred Trueman and he said ‘that was a great ball Fred’ the great shot back saying ‘ Yeah! And it was wasted on you’.

PS: Hoping you enjoyed it and though you might consider yourself a purist, deep down if you are a man am sure these would have brought back a few youthful memories.