Category Archives: Mumbai

Parental Guide To ‘Freedom’ And ‘Risk’

parental guidance

Post the gang-rape in Mumbai, a friend observed ‘thank God, I don’t have daughters’. But Jaideep Ghosh has, and he wouldn’t have it any way.

The plus of having a teenaged child is that you get tech savvy in double-quick time. But as a parent of a teenager, you also need to be able to gauge between what is too much interference, or not.

So when I got savvy to Whatsapp, I keep tabs on my daughter. But most of the time it’s to check when was the last time she was online. If the time span is anything more than two hours, I send her a message.

I am a father of daughter who commutes in to the North Campus of Delhi University from the NCR, alone. She travels the entire breadth of the city, through some of the not-so-great neighbourhoods, and beyond. I worry. But I will be damned if I tell her not to.

But while there is no question that people’s freedoms and rights are sacrosanct, some of the reactions to the Mumbai gang-rape, or any other offence, leave me a little frustrated and a little angry.

Our politicians have never been paragons of sensitivity, so their reactions are not to be jumped on with any great gusto.

At the same time, the reactions of the so-called ‘liberals’ scares me. You cannot condone, if not downright encourage, putting women in situations where they would be at risk.

I tell my daughter to be careful, not because I am trying to impinge on her liberties. I would equally tell a son to wear a helmet if he was on a bike. And I would tell them both to be back home by a reasonable time (though the interpretation of ‘reasonable’ has always been different for parents and children).

Irrespective of which country you are in, the initiative is always with the criminal. There is no system by which the police can pre-empt a crime, without prior knowledge. That is also what makes terrorist strikes so successful.

This distinction is pretty clear for me – I won’t let anyone compromise my child’s pursuit of success and happiness. At the same time, I would not accept any hysterical banshee proclamations that ‘freedom’ translates into taking unnecessary risks.

That applies particularly given the fact that we live in a society which largely, at best, just tolerates women. Men cannot handle being bettered by women, or even equalled. Take a look at how men drivers react to being passed by women. That is a classic example. So, given half a chance, they will try to force this ‘superiority’. Don’t give them that chance.

I worry. I am always keeping track of where my daughter is. She has been brought up in the rather unforgiving environs of Delhi, but that bravado and attitude can be a double-edged weapon.

But that doesn’t mean she will sit at home. She will do whatever she wants to do, but as a sensible 20-year-old, she knows where she has to draw a line. This ‘drawing a line’ seems to be an issue with many women. To them I say, get real.

That said, I wouldn’t trade having a daughter with anything else. I would wish her a happy life, as to all women. But be a little careful out there.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara – Review

By Ankush Kumar


One of the reasons why the sales of ‘Pass pass’ slumped at its launch was the movie Yaadein. Never in the history of entertainment a movie as lame as that was made, but the makers of painkillers had a smile everytime the movie was screened at any theatre in India. Once upon a time in Mumbai dobara is no different.

Premise: An extremely unique story of two friends falling for the same girl.

Plot: Well! They Lost it!

Acting: Over the top, caricaturish & Lousy.

Citizen Kane moment: A few scenes like Akshay Kumar’s bank sequence or the tayab Ali song and possibly the background music.

Kela moments: Sans the above three the entire movie.

Technical Aspect: As usual brilliant by bollywood standards, gaudy by our western counterparts.

Take home: Acting by Pitobash and Sonali Bendre.

Leave Behind: The dialogues, Rajat Arora tries too hard this time. The plot if there was any, acting a huge let down by the main cast and a disappointing result to a brilliant first part.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Review Ramaiya Vastavaiya: The Story Brings Back A Real Rom-Com


So I heard a dime and dozen critical reviews of Ramaiya Vastavaiya. The critics left no stone unturned to tell us that the film is crap. Unfortunately we all know the story behind these reviews. So as a fan of motion cinema I never take these seriously. They are flawed mostly and are myopic. The same critics went gaga over porn and poor taste comedies like Delhi Belly and Masti ( a super semi-porn sequel is about to come). Just goes to show the quality that we have in town.

I went and saw Ramaiya Vastavaiya for myself and though I must admit the film has bits and pieces picked up from Maine Pyaar Kiya and Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kiya, still it kicks of the humour inside you and gives you a great watch of 2 hours and some odd minutes. The performances, especially from Girish Kumar, the male lead was fabulous and Shruti Hassan was as usual refreshing. The other cast that completed the film was ensemble including the likes of Poonam Dhillon, Randhir Kapoor and Sonu Sood and we all know their capabilities as actors. Keeping all this in mind here are two reasons why such films need to be made.

1. We live in an era where comedy is restrained to either semi-porn or poor taste. I gave a couple of examples above and both were monstrous hits. In times like these, a film like Ramaiya Vastavaiya is fabulous to watch with your parents. I know I call upon the wrath of the modern folks here who would call me backward but so be it.

2. Who do we make films for and who do these reviewers talk to while reviewing a film? Big questions these. Frankly, even though a huge chunk of revenues have started to come from multiplexes audiences, we all know films last longer than a week still at single screen theaters in small and medium sized towns. The film completely grasped these audiences mind and hats off to Prabhu Deva for this. He has produced a classic and if you want to test just go and watch the applause in a theater in Tatanagar when Girish wins in the end against his brother-in-law Sonu Sood or when comic scenes happen. Not that these audiences don’t get titilated easily with Masti and Jism but the moment you produce vegetarian comedy like this, you strengthen the life of your film in a theater and increase audience base too.

The review would be incomplete unless we speak of Prabhu Deva. The man chose the script perfectly. Ramaiya Vastavaiya is a remake of his own 2005 Telugu film, Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, which was a remake of the 1989 Salman Khan starrer, Maine Pyaar Kiya. Then he made sure we all loved the lead actor because if the battering and abuses that were hurled upon him. He completed the film with a lot of finesse and in a film with so much inspiration from everywhere else, a lesser mortal than Prabhu Deva would have surely failed. The way he makes sure everything in the film is made larger and than life is astounding. Colors used are awesome and the village landscape used is also brilliantly shot.

Overall a good watch with the family and I would go in with 3 out of 5 for this one. Frankly one more point for the director Prabhu Deva. 

Being SoBo! South Bombai’ite

south bombay

By Ankush Kumar

It was the monsoons of 2007 when two of my friends arrived in Mumbai for the first time. They checked into a hotel and took a taxi to come and meet me. The first question the driver asked them was ‘Sahab Bombay jaana hai’? It caught my friends a little off guard. Yes dear readers! If you do not live between Cuffe parade and Worli you ain’t a Soboiite. Someone who has lived in South Bombay takes immense pride in boasting its residential status.

If you are a SoBoiite you enjoy certain perks and benefits and are always considered a cut above the rest. Here are a few key ingredients that make you an original inhabitant of the island city.

1) If the citizen addresses the city as Bombay and not Mumbai, chances are you are talking to a SoBoiite. For them Mumbai starts at World Trade Center Cuffe Parade and ends at Worli Seaface. The rest for them is foreign invasion.

2) Majority of the shoppers in the city head to Phoenix arcade or their neighborhood malls for shopping, but unless you aint seen at the Taj or Trident shopping arcade or at the Colaba causeway (depending on budget) you aint a Soboiite.

3) You walk into a pub all decked up for the evening and are looked down upon in disdain for your over the top clothes and make up, lady you have just met the original SoBo gals. They believe more in minimalistic decking up and yet look very appealing.

4) You are discussing which Hindi movies is going to release the coming weekend and how hyped the Khan wars is right now, and someone slips in a comment that ‘the last movie he/she saw way Sholay and that also on Dvd’ understand he is true bloodied SoBoiite.

5) If you are ignored when told that you have studied in a CBSE school you know you have encountered a SoBoiite. For them Campion, Cathedral, JB Petit, St. Mary’s are acceptable schools rest are just big mistakes.

6) A suburban citizen is always excited to go to South Bombay, but tell a SoBoiite to go to the suburbs and they would need atleast a week’s notice and a promise not to get tagged in the Check-ins on Facebook.

7) Last but not the least a true South Bombai’ite will never call himself/herself a SoBoiite, the suburbs gave them this name. They don’t look down at people not from South Bombay, its just that they are not from South Bombay: -P

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Wrath! A Shagufta Rafique Meet-Up


By Ankush Kumar

I had met her way back in 2008. I did not know much about her except that she was a writer. She had a film to her credit. She also penned lyrics for Vishesh films. On the outset she was very rude to me and she questioned the male society a lot during our entire conversation.

I couldn’t derive much from that meeting, but she did give me a few insights on the filmy career and the uneven path that I was going to encounter in the coming years. The only memory I still have is her face and those eyes that communicated a very different language. Today I read about her in the newspapers and the entire meeting flashed in front of my eyes.

Shagufta Rafique an established screenwriter with several hits like woh lamhe, Aashiqui-2 and murder-2 to her credit is a prolific individual. Someone who has seen so much in such little time, she had every right to question my motive behind meeting her. She was forced into flesh trade at the age of seventeen. She escaped the wrath of vultures and landed up working in dance bars of Mumbai.

On account of the fact that she had a face that even a blind man could not miss she graduated to dancing abroad in the gulf nations. Now I know that those eyes spoke an universal language of struggle and triumph, maybe hence she was harsh at me, she wanted me to fall and rise without any support.

I guess those eyes communicated just one message ‘ If I could do it, so can you. Don’t lose hope’. For every Jiah Khan’s who end their lives in tinsel town we have a Shagufta Rafique who has battled odds of humanity to make a living. She eventually met someone who got her out of the rut and helped her become a writer. And here she is one of the most sought after writers of mainstream Bollywood today. I salute you mam.

P S: This story needs to be told on the silver screen. It will be the best way to celebrate the courage of the lady.

Ghanchakkar Review: Meat Missing From Story



By Ankush Kumar

The one thing that is common between the intelligent filmmakers of Bollywood, the dumb ones and the pseudos’ is their love for the disease called Amnesia. The pseudos’ mostly get this one right because their audiences are equally mushy and stupid.

The dumb ones have little options but it’s the intelligent ones that goes horribly wrong. When expectations from a cult filmmaker are massive and you are treated to an overdose of amnesia the end result is ‘Ghanchakkar’.

Loosely inspired by the Danny Boyle film trance where a man robs a painting and forgets this one has money as its subject. But as it has happened umpteen times an inspiration with dash of Bollywood clichés and the movie gives its audience a burst of amnesia at the end.

The movie starts perfectly well. Setu has shot the bank heist brilliantly. Quirky humor, stellar performances and bouncy music gives you a hope that delicious biryani is being cooked. But beyond the first hour the movie begins to fizzle out. Repeated gags and the film starts to choke. In the end you feel cheated when you realize that bharta has been served instead of biryani.

On the acting front Emraan Hashmi is honest to his role, Vidya Balan is brilliant playing a boisterous Punjabi housewife whose fashion sense will give complex to the behenjis from Delhi. But it’s the funny don who is a stand out in the entire movie.

Raj Kumar Gupta is better of picking up real life issues than making a mockery of short stories. In the end you can only hope that the intelligence will return in the future. For the moment though the meat is missing.




The Only Problem With Gangs Of Wasseypur


Joybrato Dutta writes why the problem with films like Gangs Of Wasseypur isn’t with the script or the language. It’s the same as ‘first impression’. It mostly stays to become the last impression.

Wasseypur, a place unheard of suddenly becomes the most talked about town in the country. A town filled with gangsters and corrupt politicians. Ask the fans and they will vouch for what I just said. But ask the residents and they will deny instantly. It’s the danger with a single story. We believe that’s the only story worth knowing.

American teens do drugs, Chinese teens know martial arts and kids of Uganda become vigilantes. Follow Hollywood movies blindly and you will start believing what I just said.

For a kid who was born and brought up in Bihar I really know what the scenario there is like. No, it’s not what they showed in the movie. I understand if you are disappointed. A few months back during an interview my interviewer was disappointed hearing that I hadn’t used a gun in school. It took me a lot of time to make him believe that every guy in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh don’t carry guns. The only time I used a gun was when I had to burst balloons in a stall during the Durga Puja Mela.


The problem is, India is a vast place and none of us have seen every corner. So we start assuming things. Assumptions that are fuelled by books, news channels and mostly movies. Kashmir is about shikara rides and bomb blasts, Delhi is about brats and rapists, Mumbai is about celebrities and mafia, Goa is about beaches and drugs and so on. That’s not the complete truth. There is more to every city than captured in a movie.


I am a small town boy and I have seen the fear in my parents’ eyes the moment I told them I wanted to move to a bigger city. Bollywood had instilled fear in their hearts. They thought I would get robbed in Delhi and murdered in Mumbai. But once I moved to a bigger city I understood the dichotomy of the cities. There is no difference. Big town people aren’t richer than the small town people and small town people aren’t more rooted than their big town counterparts. They are all the same.

Filmmakers will create what they feel will entertain us. So you will never see 3 men going for a road trip in Somalia and you won’t find Faisal Khan and Ramadhir Singh fighting for their life in Manali. Good movies are meant to have a long lasting impression but it shouldn’t last long enough to inculcate assumptions.  

STOP Jiah Khan! That Is Not Your Job.


Ankush Kumar, someone who has seen the struggle of the Tinsel Town from very close quarters, having lived in match-boxed sized houses and survived on Vada-Pao, talks why no struggle, no matter how tough it is should propel one to go and take an extreme step like Suicide. A must read. 

How we wish school would have lasted till we die! The charm of sleeping in the bathroom as a hysterical mother yelled at you to get ready, the innocence of missing the school bus almost on a daily basis to squeeze in another hour of football before reaching home, fooling parents on holiday homework so that you don’t have to study, how we wish life could have been just like that.

The truth though is that none of us had imagined at school that life would be one hell of a ride. At school everything seemed so rosy and colourful; all we forgot was the thorns that we would encounter as we grew up. Today none of us know what will happen tomorrow (except the daily routine perhaps) then why take extreme steps and end the most beautiful gift GOD has given us?

Today one tinsel town actor ‘JIAH KHAN’ committed suicide; speculations are rife that she was fed up with people taunting her at not making it big in the industry. The entire social networking sites are flooded with ‘RIP’ statuses. I for one don’t feel like putting up one though. Why on earth should we care for other people’s opinions? We were not born in to this world to please others! I am sure the people who lamented at her failures, had not gone far themselves. Because the people who have achieved stardom know that it takes time to reach the top, and they are so immersed in work that they have no time for such cheap talks.

Every time a tinsel town actor is caught taking drugs, or committing suicide, the world starts questioning the working ethics of the industry? This is highlighted by the media because it generates eyeballs, it gives them money from advertisers, and it gives them TRP’s. There several working professionals from other sphere too who end their lives, are involved in brawls, but we hardly come to know about such activities. Why question the darker side behind the glitz every time a weak individual takes an extreme step? Why don’t we talk about the smaller fringe players who put in hours of hard work, day in and day out to create that glitz for us viewers?

We unfortunately have become a society that thrives on stories of failures. Rumours will fly for quite some time now. Media channels will run her story, blame the industry, and expose the bitter realities of the ‘Gore behind the Glitz’. In some dingy area of suburban Mumbai, where strugglers reside, they will feel a little sad, will give their struggle a second thought, some may question her morals and character, there will be gossip mongers who will create stupid stories of sex, sleaze and lies and torment her soul forever. But I still don’t feel sorry for her, because she chose to do the job of GOD.

The Bollywood film industry lives by one mantra ‘THE SHOW MUST GO ON’! That is exactly what will happen, people who have work will continue to put in the efforts, strugglers will continue to work for that elusive break, and losers will continue to have suicidal symptoms.

Some will make it to the national headlines like ‘JIAH KHAN’ because she had managed to crack some big films; others will be lost in anonymity forever.

jiah bottom

John Abraham Redeems Himself in Shootout at Wadala


Plot (3 stars)

A bright student scores 78% in college. He holds certain ideals close to his heart. For instance, he never cheats in exams. He has good prospects and dreams of becoming a respectable serviceman. However, his life takes a tragic turn when he is framed for murder by a policeman. He and his step-brother get a life sentence. It is then that Manohar Arjun Surve, a simple boy from Mumbai, turns into a lethal criminal Manya Surve who challenges the authority of the police and the dominance of Dawood Ibrahim to rule the Mumbai underworld!

The film dramatizes the 1982 encounter of the Mumbai Police in which Manya Surve was shot dead near Dr. Ambedkar College in Wadala. While taking inspiration from the 1982 incident and S. Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia, Director Sanjay Gupta has taken a lot of liberties with the storyline. Furthermore, the film does not delve into the psyche of gangsters. However, what is does brilliantly is imprint the image of the forgotten anti-hero in the minds of its audience.

The sepia-tinted camera lens creates the ambience of the 70s-80s quite brilliantly. The polka dots and the huge shades evoke the old world magic. The background score is crafted for that bygone era.

Guns and gore galore, sprinkled with a strong dose of sex – Gupta does not really exhibit ambition beyond pleasuring the audience. However, with his forte in adapting tales and giving it a desi turn, he has made quite a blood-soaked entertainer. The explosive climax is a fitting end of this crime drama and makes up for the slow motion sequences.

Cast and Performance (4 stars)


Sanjay Gupta’s choice of star is definitely commendable. John Abraham seems tailor-made for this role. Emotionally vulnerable but shrewd, hard-hearted but an ardent lover – John has imbibed all the passions of the character of Manya Surve, and unfurled it to his viewers with his heart and soul. Be it emptying the bullets or mouthing swear words (which was done in generous quantities throughout the movie) or making love with his love, Vidya – John has given his all to each of these traits. Whoever believed that acting is not his forte, John has left them with no option but to change their mind!

Kangana-RanautKangana Ranaut was a good fit in the role of John’s lover, Vidya. After having played a criminal’s moll in Gangster and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai she is definitely a pro. Tusshar Kapoor, in the character of the trustworthy sidekick Sheikh Munir, has done a good job.

Among the men in uniform, Anil Kapoor as ACP Afaaque Bhagraan, has proven himself to be a veteran. His attempt at capturing the gangster and his inner turmoil at the knowledge that he has not been doing justice to his uniform is palpable. Mahesh Manjrekar, who boasts of several similar roles, and Ronit Roy support him quite well throughout the movie.

SAWManoj Bajpayee in the vile character of Zubair and Sonu Sood as Dilawar also deserves mention here. However, both of them have proved their mettle in several movies so their performance skills do not come as a surprise.



priyanka-chopra-badmash-babliDialogues (3 stars)

Writer Milaap Zaveri dialogues are corny and crass to say the least. However, it’s perfectly etched for a movie like this! The sharp dialogues have the ability to conjure up a riot of laughter in theatres.

Song Sequences (2 stars)

Why did Priyanka Chopra agree to do such a song? This is something most of us must have had in mind when we saw the movie. Among the loopholes, the item numbers were the most glaring of them all! Babli Badmaash, Laila and Aala Re Aala – all of them are sure to jar your aesthetics. The director has definitely gone overboard with these song sequences and then could have been easily done away with.

Dilli ki Hawa – 2

This is the second part of the Dilli ki Hawa series by Sampurna Majumder, where she talks about her acquaintance of with K, the ‘bad girl’ of her PG accommodation.

I was on the verge of finishing with my studies at the University. Five years just went by in a spree. It was the last day of our final exams. I was happy as well as a bit worried about as to what lay ahead of this. Despite complaining so much about classes and assignments I felt a sense of void; a thought seeped in what next?? Job? Well, I was gaping for an answer.

However I was not the one to give up. I ran from pillar to post and managed a job with a travel magazine at south Delhi. The pay being very basic, I had to relocate somewhere nearby. After some house-hunting I found an accommodation  at Gautam Nagar, a rather down market area compared to the posh localities of south Delhi. I managed a small room with an even smaller bathroom. The area allotted as kitchen had more of cockroaches and  not to mention I shared the room with another lodger and a few mice as well. The mice were nice I must say, for, they used to ‘sing’ for us at night. I thought, what would I have to do anyways; because I will be in office for nine hours then come back, gulp down something and hit the bed. Perfect for a beginning I suppose. I moved in.

stylish_girlJ was my roommate who was preparing for her MBA entrance exams. Her appearance reminded me of the typical laborious student, spectacles with thick glasses. The room opposite to ours always intrigued me. I was told it had a lodger but even after seven days of moving in, I never got to see her. I was also told or rather warned by the landlady that K, the lodger was not the kind to be messed with. According to her, the latter was sort of a ‘bad girl’ and I must maintain a distance from her, just as the others did.

My landlady’s warning made me curious and I longed to meet this ‘bad girl’. Exactly after a week, as I entered my chummery in the evening, I bumped into a tall girl sporting a sexy outfit which enhanced her ‘size zero’ figure. I immediately recognized her to be none other than K, the so-called ‘bad girl’.

Exchange of a dry smile followed by an even dry line from K, ‘new lodger in the chummery, right?’

‘Yes’, followed my answer.

Over the next few days I bumped into K often and our communication increased to a few more sentences than our first meeting. Sometimes she would offer me her breakfast. Sometimes she would ask me if I would join her for a cup pf coffee. One fine evening, rather late evening I went up to the terrace for an after-dinner-walk. I spotted K perched comfortably on the boundary wall and smoking. She greeted me. I went up to her and our conversation started. I learnt K was the second of her four siblings and she hailed from a small town named Hissar in Haryana. According to her, the town had very few good ‘English medium’ schools. Now, though she had the privilege of studying in one of them, she was to be married off  to a rich businessman ( in this case a farmer ) after she passed out her high school. Her destiny was sealed. However, K was determined to make her own destiny. She dint want to ‘die’ so soon. She wanted to live. So, one fine day K ran off from her house and landed in Delhi. She did numerous odd jobs and finally ended up as a small- time model. And now she was here. She told me that she wanted to make it big in the world of showbiz and so she has plans to move base to Bombay and try her luck there. She also told me that some acquaintance of hers named Mr. D has connections with the film industry.

One Saturday evening, I was sitting at a pub in Greater Kailash with a friend, while suddenly I spotted K with a sturdy looking man. She came up to me and introduced the man as Mr. D. His very appearance put me off a little.

After that, I spotted the duo more than once at different places from Saket to Khan Market to Gurgaon.

After a month when I got a little bored with my daily routine, I went back home for a break. When I came back after a fortnight, I was told that K left the day before. K’s absence made me a little gloomy. I asked the other lodgers and even the landlady has she left behind any contact details or does anybody know where she might have headed for. No one came up with a concrete answer.

I had to let her go. However, her thoughts lingered in my mind.

A couple of years later, I made a trip to Bombay to visit my cousin. I was pretty excited as it was my maiden trip to the city of dreams. I made sure that my cousin took me to Bombay’s landmark areas such as Juhu Beach, Marine Drive and the like. Apart from these she made sure that I take a joyride in the world famous Bombay local.

That day me along with my cousin were supposed to visit Juhu Beach. We boarded the train from Borivali. We were supposed to get down at Ville Parle. As the train approached Ville Parle, we got down in a rush. Even in that crowded platform all of a sudden my eyes fell on someone very familiar. A couple who was hurrying down the platform. I immediately recognized them. It was K with a man and no it was not Mr. D. K was all decked up with jewellery and an elegantly attired ethnic outfit. I called out her name. But… she was lost in the crowd…

I did find her, however this time her mask had fallen off.