Movie review – Kahaani

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This movie will remain etched in my wife’s memory for life, because most of the movie was shot near her house in Kolkata. Coming to the best part – ‘Monalisa guest house’, where the protagonist (Vidya) stayed, is the same place where I stayed during aashirwad ceremony a few years back. I hear that the guesthouse has now become so popular that it attracts as many visitors as ‘THE TAJ MAHAL’.

Coming to the review, first let’s talk about the story part. Very few movies are made these days with main ingredient as story. The last one which i remember was back in 2010 – Udaan (review here).  The story writers, Sujoy Ghosh (of Jhankar beats and Home delivery fame) & Advaita kala,  have raised the bar of story writing, as high as the tallest building in the world, Burj Kafila.

I am so delighted to see the experimentation with the story structure. The structure resembles the great M. Night Shyamalan’s movie ‘The sixth sense’. Am sure we will see more movies in the near future on the same story structure.

Performances: 

Vidya needs to be careful with her next movie, because with two consecutive hits, the audience will now expect the same level as they expect from Aamir Khan.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who played the character of the Intelligence Bureau cop – A Khan, will get the best new comer supporting role award. Yes, with solid voice and  flawless acting, he did a perfect justice to the role. Not a typical Bollywood hero material, but neither is Irrfan (who is now being consider the finest actors that Bollywood has ever produced). Oh did I mention that Nawazuddin has also played a role in another super hit movie – Paan Singh Tomar.

Sujoy Ghosh did a great job of characterization by picking up actors from Bengali cinema to add the authentic touch to the plot. Bob Biswas ( Saswata Chatterjee) & Rana (Parambrata Chatterjee) deserves a special mention here.

Plot, screenplay and direction:

With backdrop of Durga puja, the plot and screenplay acutely resonates with whole of the Bong community and every single person who have ever visited Kolkata during Pujas.

Absolutely marvelous. Good job Setu.

Am sure with the kind of story line, Sujoy’s job as a director would have been a cake walk.

Some people have argued that the climax of the movie is lifted from the climax of Angelina Jolie’s “Taking Lives”. I beg to differ.

Guess what Sujoy has partly written the story, partly written the screen play, partly financed it and completely directed the movie. So ladies and gentleman please rise up and let’s give him a big round of applause.

Just to clarify, why the director’s job would have been a cake walk. It’s because he would have crystallized the film so well on paper while writing the story and screenplay before even touching the camera. Software programmers, did you hear that?

If you design it well, your coding becomes easy.

Music directors, Vishal and Shekhar, too had an easy job simply because there are no songs in the movie. But hey, there background score throughout the movie is remarkable.

This thriller, an original one, is going to be one of the best movies of the decade.  I can see that it will be remade (is there such a word?) in many different languages.

Coming to my favorite role of a critique. There is a famous quote

Doctors are the worst patients.

Being the storyteller myself, I spotted the two (minor) technical flaws in the story.

(If you’ve not seen the movie yet, please don’t read any further)

a) Vidya’s picture was with NDC and police, so there was no point showing that police cannot reach her.

b) A Khan’s subplot of framing Vidya was not very convincing. The fact that he just communicates the critical information about the investigation to only person (his boss) which should have provided him the clue about who is the culprit. Hence the killing of Dr. Ganguli was just a waste.

Anyways, these are very minor ones which could safely be ignored.

My dear reader, I would recommend you to watch this one on priority basis.

It deserves a well 4.5/5

Thank you for your time and attention.

Your comments validate that I am not wasting my time writing blogs (instead of writing software code), so please comment.

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Prakash calling

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This story is inspired by the lives of three of my friends. Subtly spiced up for #MahindraXUV500 contest.

17th March 2012 – MM School auditorium, Pune.

Wifey, seated on the adjacent chair, said, “Why are you crying?”

The amount of tears that rolled down my cheeks in those last five minutes of the performance would have quenched the thirst of all the 400 parents sitting in the auditorium. Of course, after de-salination.

My three-year-old-doll finished her dancing performance on stage and I was enveloped with a feeling of love, life and contentment. I guess this is what is nirvana.

My phone vibrated, the screen displayed Prakash calling.

This bugger, I thought, always calls in at the wrong moment.

Like he did a decade back.

26th March 2002 – Inside a local train in Mumbai .

It was my birthday. I had taken the day off. Few friends and colleagues called in to wish me “Happy Birthday”.  Talking about happiness, it was as close to me, as the Moon is from my house.

It was 3pm and the train was about to reach my final destination – the Mumbra river. Yes, it was about to cross the bridge over Mumbra river and I had made up my mind to wind up this edition of my life by jumping off the moving train in to the river.

Nothing was right in my life. Even after completing my engineering, I was working for a chindi-chor boss. My younger sister’s marriage had been called off at the last moment. My elder sister just suffered a miscarriage. My father couldn’t take it all and suffered a stroke which paralyzed the left part of his face.

The moment I saw my train approaching Mumbra river, I took a deep breath and was ready to meet my creator (or destroyer). Then the phone vibrated, it flashed Prakash Calling.  I did speak to everyone for the last time that day, this bugger, my best friend was missed out. I had to choose between jumping off and attending his call. I chose to talk to him, which meant i had to take the next train back and complete the assignment.

I picked up the call, he said, “Where have you been? I have been trying to reach you for the last one hour.”

I said, “In a train now, going towards Dadar.”

He said, “Why Dadar at this time? Anyways, a very very Happy Birthday.”

I said, “Thank you.”

“Going to Dadar – for that same foolish reason – that you will still feel her presence?”

I said, “Leave it Prakash, we have discussed this before.”

“Grow up, you brooding ass hole, it’s time you moved on. Break ups happen. You’ve had a good time till it lasted. Things didn’t work out. You have to let it  go.”

“It’s not that easy.”

“Neither does living. Does that mean you’ll die?”

He was quiet for sometime may be he realized his mistake of suggesting that i should die.

He said, “Look hero, do me a favor?”

“Hmm”

“Get down at Thane, take any train going towards South India and get down at Pune. I’ll meet you there.”

There was a silence. I didn’t know how to react.

He said, “Look I know what you’re going through. Will you please, for once, listen to me?”

“How will it help?”

He said, “Just come over, we’ll talk.”

I was silent.

“What are you thinking?  Just come over.”

“Ok,” I said.

“Good, when you reach Lonavala station. Give me a call. I will pick you up from the station.”

I got down at Thane station. Took a train ticket for Pune. Boarded the sleeper class of a train going to Bangalore, paid the TT Rs. 20 and got a place to sleep till Pune Station. I lay awake, thinking of the last couple of years, how beautiful they were, when my love was around.  I realized that very moment, that neither did my sister’s nor did my father’s condition drive me to this point only the fact that, she left me.

It was 8:30 pm Prakash was right in front of the door when the train stopped.

“Brother  you look like you’ve  just been released after 5 years in jail. Come give me a hug.”

He looked sharp and fit.

I said, “You look positively glowing since i last saw you in Mumbai.”

“Yeh hai Pune, mere bhai”

We were soon standing in front of his new wheels a red hot Mahindra Scorpio.

“Wow! Good job,” I said, “Have you left the software industry and joined some underworld operations?”

He laughed off, “Thank you.”

He cranked the engine and we zoomed off. I was bowled over by the comfortable seating and leather upholstery. We stopped, right in front of his apartment. His wife opened the door.

“Welcome, welcome. Good to see you finally, Prakash keeps talking about you.”

I entered his flat, a nice apartment tastefully done up.

I said, “Chetana, you have done up your house nicely”

“Thanks.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t come to your wedding.”

“It’s ok. Prakash told me that you were going through a rough patch. Hence you couldn’t make it to the wedding.”

I managed a smile.

I was given a guest room. After dinner, Chetana said, “I am sleepy. Have to wake up early. I am sure you guys have lots to catch up.”

We started with Vodka. Prakash said, “Look brother, its high time you get your act together.”

“What do you mean?”

“This rona dhona is good for some time. Besides you have your parents and sisters to take care off. By the way, why did she leave you?”

“Long distance relationship. She’s also well off, her parents are doctors. Her mom didn’t like me.”

“Why? You are an engineer, working in a software firm. Soon, going to be rich.”

“That’s the point. She asked me to buy a flat in Malad, but I couldn’t because of huge down payment.”

He wanted to smoke. We came out again in his Scorpio.

He drove it to a pan shop.

I asked, “Does Chetana know that you smoke?”

“She knows that I quit smoking a year back,” he winked puffing away.

We were quiet for some time. I was looking at his Scorpio.

Reading my mind he said, “You remember, when we were in Mumbai. All we could think of were train timings. This 8:20 train will leave, then the next train is at 8:40. What if that also leaves. It sucked big time.”

I said, “It has become worse with more than 1000 people trying to squeeze in every single train.”

“That’s what I am saying. Leave the city for some time. It has grabbed a lot of space in your mind. The trains, the traffic and on top of it the boss – Jatin bhai, the slave -driver.”

We worked in the same company. He left just after 6 months of joining. I stayed on.

“and do what?”

“Start applying in Pune or any other city, there are tons of good companies. They pay really well and the work load is not as high as in Mumbai. Lastly, once you have your own space, you will love it.”

We were back again in his Scorpio. We parked just in front of his company.

“You see this, it’s my work place. It’s just 10 minutes drive from my home.” He said, “How long does it take these days for you to reach office?”

“One hour and 15 minutes on a good day.”

He showed me the entire city by night. Gave me ten thousand reasons why this city was better than Mumbai. By the time we reached his home back, it was 4 am in the morning.

The next day, he woke me up at 11 am and said, “Dude, I am going to office. In the mean time, I want you to meet Vipin. Here’s his address. I will pick you up from his office at 6pm.”

I got ready and by 2pm, I was in the reception area of GE . I told the receptionist, “I am here to meet Vipin.”

I was seated, not sure what to expect, waiting for him to turn up. I was very happy the way Prakash has shaped his life. Within five years of his working life, he had elevated himself from a Worli chawl to a decent apartment in Pune. Not to mention riding an Scorpio.

“Hi I am Vipin,” he said.

I looked at him. He was on a wheel chair, a sophisticated one. He was in his formals with a tie. He was clean shaven with a big smile on his face. He looked like he was in his late twenties or early thirties.

“Hi,” I managed.

For the next three hours, we chatted in the Cafeteria of GE. He told me that his legs are paralyzed by cerebral palsy. He was working in the administration department. Looking after the new joiners and making travel arrangements of the employees flying in and out for business purposes. He cracked jokes. He talked about his immense faith in God and he told me his dream is to direct a movie. I asked him why?

He said, “A director is like a God. He can control how he wants his characters to behave. Everything is done as per his fantasy – aka – story, till the time he is making the movie.”

I was so impressed with the fact that a person, who moves in a wheel chair has such big dreams. Then there was me an able bodied man on the verge of ending his life.

By the time we finished the conversation Prakash came to pick me up.

He asked on the way back, “How did you like Vipin?”

“He’s a fantastic fellow.”

We picked up Chetana on the way and decided to dine out.

Chetana, while waiting for her Bloody Mary to arrive, said, “Prakash shares everything with me. From what I know of you, I think you need to take some timeout for yourself. Leave Mumbai and explore other cities like Pune, Bangalore or Hyderabad and yes, make sure you get in to a company where there are plenty of pretty single girls.”

I nodded with smile. I felt so homely in front of the couple. I thanked God for giving me friends like these.

They dropped me at the station at 11pm in the night.

I said, “Thank you guys. You gave me the best birthday gift. Love you guys.”

I looked at their smiling faces for the one last time in their red hot Scorpio, before they drove off. That picture remained in my memory.

While on the way back, I made the plan. For the next seven days, I prepared for interviews. Within the next one month I was in Pune, a better company with abetter salary, better working conditions and most importantly 5 hours a day to myself.

Coming back to the present day, 17th March 2012 – MM School auditorium, Pune.

His called went in to the missed call.

I married a sweet girl, who gave me another sweet girl. My father’s face became normal with physiotherapy. My younger sister married a decent boy. My elder sister was blessed with twin boys and they already started going to school.

After the event, we three started towards our car. I started the engine. And again the phone flashed Prakash Calling

I answered the call, “Brother you always call at the wrong time. I was just thinking about you and my trip to Pune. By the way, have you seen my facebook status? Last week, I’ve bought Mahindra XUV 500 and that too red.”

 

~ * ~

Here’s the link to the XUV in question – http://www.mahindraxuv500.com/

If you are an indiblogger,  please click here to vote

Thank you for reading. Do comment. It means a lot.

My dream of meeting an author

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The first fiction book I read was “Tell me your dreams” by Sidney Sheldon. (Yes, I started reading quite late in my life). Boy, I was taken away by the whole package. I wanted to meet him (I first thought it was a She, because the main protagonist in all his books was a woman).

I wanted to meet him because of so many things.Image

  • To see an author in his mortal form . (As I believed all the creative types are immortal)
  • To ask about whether he takes his protagonist (characters) for a walk wherever he goes.
  • What is the source of his inspiration? How did he come up with a fantastic story?
  • How does he names his characters?
  • Whether his character was inspired by real life?

Sadly, I couldn’t realize my dream of meeting him because he passed away.

Then I came across another  famous author – Ayn Rand. I always have her three fiction books, in some form. with me. I wanted to meet her to clarifyImage so many things.

Sigh, she died before I started going to school.

The next author I wanted to meet was Chetan Bhagat. Boy, what a revolution he has created. He has paved a path, for millions of ‘wanna be’ authors like me.

Till now i haven’t got a chance to go to his book reading sessions or hear his numerous live talks in institutes.

Then one day, I read the book called ‘Losing my virginity and other dumb ideas‘. (Here’s my review). She Imagedid a good job of writing a popular Indian fiction without a college romance. She has such a gorgeous personality, I thought I will never be able to meet her. I started following her on twitter.

Interestingly she replied to few of my tweets (thanks to twitter). Since then we’ve become twitter friends. I bug her with many questions about ‘writing’.

Then last week , she tweeted that she will be in Bangalore. I asked her whether we can meet over a cup of coffee while in Bangalore. She accepted. I was thrilled. Finally, my dream of meeting an author was materializing.

So we agreed to meet on Saturday. I was so thrilled throughout the week, I even had the list of questions ready. Thanks to Bangalore traffic, I was running late that day. She tweeted back, let’s meet some other time.

I was sad and frustrated. I was like ‘God, why does it happen to me?’

On Tuesday, I was meeting an old friend over lunch. We were discussing about his new startup. Out of habit, I checked my tweets while waiting for our food to arrive. Then I realized, that my author cum twitter friend will be on MG road in the afternoon. I tweeted back to her and we decided to meet.

Finally we met – My dream of meeting an author came true.

But hey, nothing went as planned.

    • Image
  • Contrary to my imagination, she was a very down-to-earth person.
  • She asked questions about my book.
  • She asked me about my two daughters.
  • She treated me with ice cream from corner house.
  • She laughed at my silly jokes.

We also talked about the publishing industry, writing, her directorial stint and about her new book (slated to release in Sep/Oct 2012). Boy she was fun to hang around with.

To Madhuri,

there are very few easy-going, non-fussy, creative and gorgeous people on this planet. And you’re one of them.

Don’t ever change!

Why I chat with Cab drivers?

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While returning from Coorg, we stopped by Restaurant Kamath to have lunch. I told the waiter to take good care of the driver. Since he was very helpful throughout the journey.

The last leg of the journey resumed after lunch. I was sitting besides the driver. The driver quietly reduced the AC of the car. I didn’t say anything, coz I thought it might be because of engine performance or whatever. Soon Wifey asked him to increase it again. I closed my eyes to rest.

After a while, my phone began to vibrate. I took it out and started to talk. I looked at the driver, he had half eyes closed. I called him, “Manjunath”.

He didn’t reply.

I freaked out, pushed him and said loudly, “Manjunath”

Thank God, the call came and I caught him napping while driving. I made him stop aside, asked him wash his face and I took over the wheel. He just manage to say sorry and put the blame on the sumptuous lunch at Kamaths.

*

It was 7 in the chilly morning and sun was hiding behind the clouds. We were moving towards the Bangalore International Airport in one of the Meru Cabs. I sat besides the driver as always. Once we got on to the airport road, I decided to have a quick nap since it was 15 more minutes to the airport.

Within couple of minutes, the wheel screeched as if the driver took the sharp turn. When I looked at him, he shook his head couple of times in disbelief and took out the chewing gum and started eating. He smiled at me as if nothing happened.

*

The next time, we were on the way to the airport early in the morning. Sitting besides the driver, I asked him since what time he’s awake. He replied to me that he started his duty 2am in the morning.I got a jolt.

To combat the situation, I kept on asking silly questions to him every now and then. Just to make sure, he doesn’t doze off. He was so annoyed with my questions that he switched on his radio in the cell phone and put one ear plug-in his right ear. To make sure, he’s awake I did some yada yada every five minutes to which he just managed a fake smile.

So dear reader, be vigilant if you’re traveling with a drowsy-feeling-driver.

We and horn

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An irritating fact about Indians is we honk too much. The moment the traffic signal turns Green from Red, you’ll notice an irritating collage of beeps from the petrol guzzling machines.

The most annoying drivers are the ones, who in spite of knowing fully well that the person in front cannot go faster because there is traffic in front, still honk. To them I used to give them an angry young man look. At times, I gave them piece of my mind.

Lately, I’ve employed a Gandhian trick. If the driver behind is intentionally honking too much. I try to give him a way and Gesture him that the road is all yours, go zoom. Experiencing this, most drivers give me a puzzle look. Based on my mood I do two things

1. Leave them.

2. Get behind them and honk too much to irritate them.

In both cases the drivers just drive very fast not to get in front of my car (or bike)

Keeps me composed on road.

Movie rewiew – 500 days of Summer

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Ravitosh, the movie man, gave me this one, when I asked him do you have any English romantic comedies.

This one will make you believe in Love again.

Story line is classic style – boy meet girl and ….

But the way it’s constructed, you will see how genius the hollywood filmmakers are…

Interestingly, it has some super cool sound tracks almost for every stage of Love.

Awesome performances from all the actors, brilliant screenplay and above all the narrative. The dialogues will remain with you for a long time after the movie.

This one is great watch.

Do let me know your views whenever you see it or if you’ve already seen it.

Thanks for reading this.