Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rock On rocks all the way...

Refreshing, honest and real. Thats Rock On in a nutshell. It's not a movie that pretends to be something else. Its not a soppy romance nor is it a documentary on rock bands. The movie is a story of 4 friends who have a band called 'Magik'. As life takes over and makes them move away in different directions, they find themselves stuck in a life that they never wanted. The music still plays in their veins but can not find expression anymore.

Some say that the movie reminds them of Dil Chahta Hai. That may be inevitable as Farhan Akhtar not only acts in the film but has also produced it. But frankly, I could find no part I could say was influenced from the film.

Farhan Akhtar, as expected, does brilliantly! The man is sheer genius which given his genetic make is not surprising. What do you expect when you put the talent of Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar together! He not only does a great job acting (and its a good role which shows various facets of his personality), he actually sings all his songs!! The man can direct, act, sing and looks great too!! Some people have it all!

Luke Kenny plays Rob on the keyboard. He too does a decent job of his role. Arjun Rampal seems a little restrained in his acting and sometimes one feels like shaking him up and saying "Come on...we know you can loosen up". But all said and done, he manages to play the frustrated loser quite well. Prachi Desai plays the elegant sweet wife of the rich man and does a passable act.

My favourite in the movie though is Purab Kohli. The man is so versatile and manages to get a smile on your face everytime he's on the screen. I'm not sure if it's a factor of the script or his acting, but he wins hands down.

I liked the movie for its casting largely. The cast consists of people for whom acting is not their main profession. Farhan is a director, Luke a former DJ went on to head programming at Channel V and quit in Feb this year to pursue his interests in music and films. Arjun Rampal is an erstwhile super-model. All of them started off doing something else and realised that their heart was not in that. Not too many people have the guts to walk away from the familiar and try out something new.

The music of the movie gets you tapping your feet and even before the film is over, you are already waiting to get your hands on a CD.

All in all, Rock On rocks....its a movie made for the metros and for people like us who can probably relate to it. Who isn't stuck in a job far removed from what they thought they would do back in school right??

Rating: 3.5 on 5

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The latest kid on the block...

The new LG latest gadget. I am quite shallow when it comes to gadgets..don't really care much about the nitty gritty of it. I dont ask for much either - Requirement number 1: Must be VERY sexy to look at. Requirement number 2: Should be user friendly (Can't do the whole thing of reading manuals and all. Requirement number 3: Should not be very common. Requirement number 4: Did I mention sexy??

My latest LG fits all these categories. With all jazz given like a 3MP camera with auto focus and flash, FM, bluetooth blah blah .... the phone does the one thing that others in the market have not been able to do. Stand Apart. Just have a look at the red display and you will know what I mean.

The touchpad, though ultra cool, does take a little getting used to. Dialing with one hand on the steering and eyes on the road can be a drag (not that I advocate doing that)! The vibration mode also is a little soft. And as all my friends roll their eyes and say - it still is a LG. Keeping fingers crossed that it lasts long enough for me to show it off. But all said and, what a phone!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Birthday time!!

Because I never knew that I was the luckiest person in the whole world!! I had an inkling, but I never really knew :)!! And for the first time, I am not sad that my birthday is over....because I had the most amazing day ever yesterday.

I am lucky because the Husband outdid himself yesterday! He planned an entire party, in my own house, calling our friends over....managed everything right under my nose, and I had no clue!!

I am also lucky coz as I mentioned before, I have the bestest friends in the whole world! They do it so effortlessly everytime.... make me feel special! They planned it all...full with baloons and gifts....down to the last detail!

And to all of you who made it over yesterday....thanks for being a part of it. It being in the middle of the week, and traffic being a guys are the best!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A weekend in Shahdol

There are some times in life that you find yourself in a moment stuck in time. In that moment, it doesn’t matter how successful you have become, or how many accolades you have gained. It doesn’t matter how fast life seems to pass you by. Because in that time warp, all that matters is the moment itself.

Imagine walking along a river bed. The water flowing besides you, sometimes calm, sometimes fast. As you hop along the rocks on the riverbed, the water seems to want to join in and cascades down a waterfall in pursuit.

Now imagine walking up a gentle slope to a temple atop a hillock. You walk behind the temple and sit down on the parapet below a huge Peepul tree. As the wind blows through you hair, you watch the lands stretch out towards you. Acres and acres of green farmland. And time stands still.

This is the weekend I had. Our visit to Shahdol was primarily to meet The Husband’s grand parents and spend time with them. But little did I know that this gem of a town would charm me such. This post is not a travelogue, that will come later in a more commercial forum. This post is about the fact that a 2 day trip to a serene environment like this can help calm your soul like nothing else can.

As we walked along the narrow streets of Shahdol, it did not matter what deadlines we had to meet and where we had to reach in life. What mattered was the moment. The ‘now’. The little things that we so often forget. And things that we rarely notice. Like a crow in the courtyard asking for its daily meal. Like the fact that water from a well still tastes much sweeter than any Evian you may buy. Like the fact that a grandfather wants nothing more than to have someone to share his thoughts with. And that a grandmother gets no greater pleasure than to have her family sit around her and devour the delicious food she so lovingly prepared.

Because, we so often forget to stop and smell the flowers. I know…because I smelt them in Shahdol.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Singh is in the house!!

Singh is King, Singh is King, Singh is King….

Songs that are fun to hum…characters who make you laugh…and the pyramids in the background! Singh is King may not be the blockbuster some of us envisioned it to be, but an entertainer it sure is.

Akshay Kumar plays the role of a villager from Punjab who is sent to Australia to bring back Lucky, a fellow villager who has now become the king of all dons in Australia. In the middle of all this madness ofcourse, he somehow finds himself in Egypt (the locales justify the lack of logic) dancing with Katrina and eventually (predictably) brings out the goodness in the goon gang.

Why did I like the movie? Well, frankly I was getting tired of movies stereotyping Sikhs as silly side actors who were around for a laugh. Whatever this movie may not have been able to do, it surely succeeded in making Sikhs cool!!! Dude, imagine Snoop Dogg wearing a turban and rapping with Akshay…and not the Southall kind of rapping, truly good stuff!! It can’t get cooler than that! So when you have a turbaned Lucky doing crazy stunts on para-gliders and all, its not so funny no more!!

Besides this sudden burst of pride towards Sikhs, the movie had its funny moments with Akshay’s excellent comic timing and the funny man himself- Javed Jaffrey to boot. Katrina Kaif looked as gorgeous as ever. It’s amazing how we are perfectly ok with her inability to act or emote…because she is just so gorgeous isn’t she? Neha Dhupia surprisingly has a meatier role than Katrina and does a decent job in it. Ranveer and Om Puri both remain under-utilized but you can not have the spot light on everyone now can you?? So all in all, the movie was about Akshay Kumar ….showcasing him and his amazing screen presence.

Watch the film if you liked Namaste London. You’ll come out smiling for sure. Just don’t expect any national awards here.

Rating: 3 on 5

Friday, August 8, 2008

Of education..and clipping wings...

I got this article in my mail as a forward. I am not the kind of person who usually bothers with forwards, more often than not, they directly hit my trash can. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on it. The title read: The disadvantages of an elite education. That being interesting enough, add to it that its written by a student and now professor at Yale.

You can read the article here

The article touches many topics, most of which I identified with. Though it is set in the American system and the examples are all location specific, I found it to be as indicative of our B-schools as possible. There are a lot of things I agree with including the fact that it makes us socially incapable but this blog is about another point.

I always felt that I was apart from the crowd, did not fit in because my idea of the life I want to lead is not the typical management student’s dream. I don’t dream of being a CEO or running a $40 billion enterprise. I don’t see the point in traveling the world if you don’t have time to stop and smell the flowers, I rather backpack. But reading this made me realize that I am not alone.

It says “If one of the disadvantages of an elite education is the temptation it offers to mediocrity, another is the temptation it offers to security. When parents explain why they work so hard to give their children the best possible education, they invariably say it is because of the opportunities it opens up. But what of the opportunities it shuts down? An elite education gives you the chance to be rich—which is, after all, what we’re talking about—but it takes away the chance not to be. Yet the opportunity not to be rich is one of the greatest opportunities with which young Americans have been blessed. We live in a society that is itself so wealthy that it can afford to provide a decent living to whole classes of people who in other countries exist (or in earlier times existed) on the brink of poverty or, at least, of indignity. You can live comfortably in the United States as a schoolteacher, or a community organizer, or a civil rights lawyer, or an artist—that is, by any reasonable definition of comfort. You have to live in an ordinary house instead of an apartment in Manhattan or a mansion in L.A.; you have to drive a Honda instead of a BMW or a Hummer; you have to vacation in Florida instead of Barbados or Paris, but what are such losses when set against the opportunity to do work you believe in, work you’re suited for, work you love, every day of your life?

Yet it is precisely that opportunity that an elite education takes away. How can I be a schoolteacher—wouldn’t that be a waste of my expensive education? Wouldn’t I be squandering the opportunities my parents worked so hard to provide? What will my friends think? How will I face my classmates at our 20th reunion, when they’re all rich lawyers or important people in New York? And the question that lies behind all these: Isn’t it beneath me? So a whole universe of possibility closes, and you miss your true calling.”

When I took a sabbatical to rethink my life and find a direction I wanted to follow rather than go through the corporate rut, within a month of doing so these same doubts found their way back into my head. The fact that I am well educated, rather than spurring me on, pulled me back into the race to make money. It was hinted and sometimes blatantly stated that it would be a complete waste of my education if I did not use it and work in a corporate job. The perception of my intelligence, my standing as an individual and the entire purpose of my life suddenly changed.

I write all this here as an attempt to remind myself of who I am and the way I want to live…hoping that I will find it in me to tear away from all this and be content.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Co-ed hostels....OMG!!!

There's a statement in the front page of the Newspaper today given by the principal of St.Stephens college in Delhi. For those who are not familiar with education in India, admission in Delhi University is a dream of many and St. Stephens is arguably the best graduation college in DU to get into for courses especially in science. So much so that the cut off percentage for most courses stops at some obscene 92% odd which means only the extremely brainy or the talented(for sports quotas etc.) get through (leaving aside other quotas ofcourse).

So when the principal reacts to a proposal of a Co-ed hostel by saying "If we go for co-ed hostels, we will have to build maternity wards next to it", it just strikes me as absurd. And a cover-up of Oh-I-was-just-kidding is even more so. Sometimes, I feel, we really should give more credit to people. I agree that parents and professors are only concerned and in some cases their concerns are even justified. But if you allow a person that age to vote and choose the leaders of your get behind the wheel and drive on the roads, then allowing them to make choices about their own life doesnt seem too daunting.

A case in point is the institute I did my post grad from. MICA has a beautiful campus in the middle of a jungle outside Ahmedabad. When I say jungle, I really don't exaggerate. Getting from there to the city usually involves a change of 2-3 modes of transport. In the middle of this wilderness, MICA is governed by Professor Atul Tandan, a notable name in the corporate world who chose to get into academics. Thankfully, PAT (as he insists on being called) is of the opinion that everyone is capable of making their own decisions and are responsible individuals. Thus, MICA is not run with a stick in hand like some institutes. When I was there, PAT decided that our accomodation crunch would be solved by allocating one hostel as a co-ed hostel, one as boys hostel and one as girls. There was no fanfare nor were there any eyebrows raised on such a decision. Contrary to the beliefs of people like the principal of St.Stephens, we all did not jump in joy and rush to get a room in the co-ed hostel. Most of us preffered our space, and chose to live in the separate hostels....who wanted to see a guy outside the door early in the morning when we went out for tea?? Some students did choose to live in the co-ed one and believe me, it really WASN'T a big deal!!!

So all in all, we got through MICA without the need of any maternity permanent damage was suffered by anyone in my batch to the best of my knowledge. And we got through just fine....

So, sir, with all due respect, please give the kids a break!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kismat Konnection ... zzzzzz

I’ve been avoiding writing a review on this one. One feels like reviewing a movie that you either like or dislike. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t reach either ends of the spectrum and leaves one just blandly indifferent. Which is probably the worst fate for a movie.

The premise is not too bad. Shahid Kapoor has the worst luck in the world and life just doesn’t seem fair. In a moment of complete despair, he visits a fortune teller (Juhi Chawla) who tells him that there will be one person who will cross his path and all will be fine. This person predictably happens to be Vidya Balan who even more predictably happens to hate Shahid the second they cross paths. The movie moves along with then ofcourse eventually falling in love.

So what really worked for the movie? Hmm….not much. The location was not bad, being shot in South-East Asia. The songs were forgettable and not much to write home about. Acting also was really quite blah with everyone just getting by their roles. Shahid for some strange reason tried to do a mix of going back to the cute boy look of his earlier flops and an imitation of a shirtless Salman with his formidable biceps getting full coverage. Someone should have told him to stick with the corporate look he had in Jab we met with specs and shirts….that just ended up making him look incredibly sexy. Which brings me to the actress who has probably forgotten what sexy looks like. I hate to repeat what magazines claim but Vidya Balan truly is one of the worst dressed actresses today. Her clothes seem awkward and her hairstyle way too random. It’s hard to believe that she is the same woman who defined beauty as Parineeta. Juhi is cute as ever but she barely had a role. Probably the best part of the film is Boman Irani’s little cameo. He really is a brilliant actor and remains under-utilized.

All in all, quite forgettable. Watchable on DVD but towards the end, you may just doze off.

Rating: 2 on 5

PS- I know the snap is not from this movie. But he just has never looked so good since Jab We Met, has he??

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Celebrating friends...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I am just so lucky to be surrounded by people who love me…and have through the years. I have been one of the lucky ones who found friends who stayed despite the storms and the silences. My friends make me who I am. If I were to explain to you here what they mean to me, it would be pointless, because unless you are one of them, you wont really understand.

My friends from school, or rather from the day my earliest memory starts, are still the people I call when I need a hand. It would be silly to slot them into any group….because they are a part of who I am. 21 years I have known them…and not once have they let me down.

College days wouldn’t have been the same without my friends there. Redefining ‘cool’ and making a place like Ahmedabad rock, we did it all!

And then there is him….I got lucky….my soulmate is also my best friend. I did not know how it was possible for someone to be so giving, so selfless, until I met him.

Friendship days are corny....but in the spirit of celebrating each day, I raise a toast to my friends who make me who I am...

* To Rasna, because sisters make the best of friends
* To Neha, for knowing just what to say and when not to say anything....
*To Bini, for just never saying no to my plans....and egging me on...
*To Shri, for bringing some sanity and some madness to our lives....
*To Kani, for just being so Kani!!!
*To Hritik, who redefines being accomodating!
*To Banka/ Gandhi/ Aashish, for it being just the same when we meet, no matter how much time has passed
*To Leks, because distances…or years don’t matter
*To Anju, roomies that shared lives and continue doing so…
*To Rakhi, my partner in crime and yet so wise
*To Surbhi, my little bit of Delhi in Abad
*And lastly….to him…because I wouldn’t be complete without you.

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