Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Simpsons’ 20th birthday.

The Simpsons’ 20th birthday.
It’s exactly two decades since the first half-hour episode featuring the antics of the animated family was screened. And now Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are TV’s First Family.

Some Simpsons facts

The Simpsons’ writing team is 16-strong.Each episode takes six months to produce.
Homer’s catchphrase “Doh!” is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The actors behind the voices are paid around $400,000 (£250,000) an episode.
Ricky Gervais wrote the episode titled Homer Simpson: This Is Your Wife becoming the first celebrity to both write and guest star in the show.
Each episode contains about 24,000 individual drawings.
Simpsons merchandise makes more than £1billion a year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

monsoon arrived - paus ala

For a long time the clouds in the sky had played touch and go, and now with the rains finally arriving, it has finally brought relief to one and all. Monsoons have always
been romanticised even more so in a country like ours where the collective mood of the nation rises with favourable monsoons. There are indicators that monsoon has arrived and you know that there’s rain in the air when:

that first whiff of ozone that emanates with the first showers,
you take out your capris and shorts for walks on the road,
colourful umbrellas make their way out of the closet and are added to your accessories,
a drizzle is made out to be torrential rain to get the day off...
young tykes are out on the muddy grounds to play football,

air smells sweeter and peacocks frequent your neighbourhood,
your hate going to shower after you have been drenched in the rain,
cycling becomes fun again,
your car gets a free wash,
puddles and potholes become the new speed breakers,

brown earthworms and frogs creep into the living rooms,
vehicles break down and stubbornly refuse to start,
waterproof backpacks are in vogue,
mobiles are packed into little polythene pouches,
lights are on all day in your house,

you start drinking boiled water ,
you see tiny tots in superman, batman,spiderman raincoats,
girlfriends coo its so romantic with the slightest of drizzles,
there’s a 4 hour delay to a one hour flight to Mumbai,
uncles and dads wear gumboots to office,

a long drive to SG highway is in your evening plans,
an impromtu chai at IIM adda with friends,
american corn and dalwadas at law garden make a comeback,
sneezing becomes second nature,
a car splashed puddle at you while walking on the promenades,

when you cant see a movie in drive in because of the rains,
the washing machine dryer is the most important home appliance at home,
mosquitoes buzz incessantly all night to bug you,
you listen to the weatherman prediction even if fleetingly so,
when telecom companies hand out huge umbrellas as freebies with new connections.

Monday, August 24, 2009


If you go in with huge expectations, chances are that you will be disappointed. The dialogues are fresh and courtesy this film new lingo like ‘mango people’ and trends like break up parties will surely seep into the urban our daily conversation. It is just about an above average film and if some of the plot could have been tweaked, as the protagonists said we could have really got a “naya angle”.

So ingrained and overused are the scenes at the airport and railway stations in Hindi cinema that it is difficult for anybody to watch these scenes without a sense of déjà vu and that induces a been there seen that feeling. And forth the nth time, why do we always need a cool avuncular uncle to guide the hero in love?

The idea of flashbacks is not a new one but here it is treated differently wherein lies the novelty factor, but even though just 125 min long, the narration lacks the pace. The start of the movie is slightly non linear but 10 minutes into the film it settles down quite well into its two tracks, but the shifts between the two love stories don’t blend in as well as they could have. And surprisingly neither do some of the songs which pop up gratuitously and if indeed required it would have been suffice to have played them as background tracks.

If love could be understood by giving a stolen cup of tea and in a blink and glance of an eye, I would love to time travel back to the 60’s.It was simpler then and that austerity and innocence is captured well in the film. It’s the modern version that has a problem even though aided by some smart verbal exchanges; there are some inconsistencies in the characterisation of Meera (Deepika Padukone).

She’s opiniated and driven at the start but looks lost and confused towards the end .Even the decision to get married is a hasty one at that .She has acted better than her previous films but where the films lacks spark is the lack of that simmering intensity that lovers seem to have irrespective of the era they fall in love in.Deepika and Saif make a good looking pair but not a crackling one.

On the other hand Saif plays the dual role of Veer Singh/Jai very nicely, but haven’t we seen him play this uber cool trans continental guy way too often? Nonetheless his portrayal of the Sikh is delightful at some places aided by the some very nice writing. Giselle Monteiro as Harleen is demure and looks ethereal.

Imtiaz Ali is undoubtedly talented and watching his films truly makes one believe that the director is the captain of the ship. He has beautifully used metaphors in the screenplay, case in point, when Jai talks to Meera, who is hanging on to a harness ,about maintaining a long distance relationship. He seems to be knowing what he does and is far better than the mindless drones who rely on starcast and hype to sell the movie and call themselves directors.

Love Aaj Kal has new things to offer,the incompatibility of long distances,the comfort level you have with an ex,both the nonchalance and the calculating nature of the youth today and for that it is a one time watch, but this could have been so better than what it turned out to be.

Kaminey movie review

Kaminey is an anti–cliché film, a film that is not bothered whether it is mainstream or art house but a film that is committed to enter unexplored cinematic representations.Kaminey does that with consummate ease.

45 seconds into narration, it reaches a moment of crescendo when the screen is freeze framed whilst a chase sequence and theme song playing .And there are plenty of such moments in the next two hours. Kaminey takes all the conventional storylines and screen tricks used until now and tweaked, and in some places upended it in an enviable manner. The brothers hate each other and there is no coughing mother or foster dad to bring them together. Instead what brings them together is fate; one chasing love, another chasing money.

Yet it couldn’t stay away from one cliché - all the cynical goons have daddy issues.

But credit should be given where it deserves; and in this case richly and deservingly so. With fiery dialogues, great metaphors and apt ,dingy locations to supplement the narrative, innovative lyrics and lens work that capture details which may escape attention the first time ,this film demands attention .The nice thing about Kaminey is that it is respecting the audience’s intelligence by not bothering to run sub -titles when there is frenetic verbal exchange in languages other than Hindi. The film reposes enough faith in its treatment to not to do so.

Till the intermission, the story of lisping and stuttering brothers run parallely ,and then congruently just after that and subsequently leads to conflict and clash of interest over the possession of a contraband loaded guitar. In a world where every soul has himself put a price at which he can sell his soul, deceit and double crossing is rampant ,slowly the brothers Charlie and Guddu realise that all they have is each other. The plot is complex with a lot of hyenas flocking in to get their pound of booty and that includes bookies, policemen, wannabe corporators and foreign drug dealers, all happy to move past the morally grey area towards darker hues.
It all ends in a bloody conflict resolving shoot out, with almost everybody shooting rounds of bullets, amidst chaos and greed.
With songs penned by Gulzar, the film had an outstanding collection of soundtracks that were underutilised especially, the title track, which truly deserved its full running time. The bits and pieces actors played their parts that contributed to the look and feel. Although Shahid Kapoor is sensational and Priyanka Chopra surprisingly ok, it is a Vishal Bhardwaj showcase alone.

It’s a great little milestone in contemporary Indian cinema, but for all the nice things sadly, Kaminey is lesser than the sum of its parts.