Archive for January, 2006

Rang De Basanti!

January 29, 2006

In 2001, three guys defined what it is to be cool in Bollywood, sparking offRDB legions of wannabes with soul beards (myself included), in a landmark film. Five years later, five guys (and a gal) have redefined cool in a movie, which I think will inspire youngsters to engage in something less superficial than the controlled growth of facial hair. If I go overboard with superlatives in this post…please excuse, but I was just blown away.

Everything from the casting to the music to the photography is top-class. I had my reservations on whether Aamir Khan could pull of playing a college-going youth, but boy, was I wrong. Several subtle undercurrents, such as Hindu and Muslim extremism, shady arms deals, etc. add spice to the main theme – the apathy demonstrated by the new face of India.

I could go on, but that would just spoil the fun you are guaranteed to have…

P.S. To the Johars and Chopras – you can make a beautiful film in India too, without going to Australia, Switzerland or England. Not convinced? Watch Rang De Basanti.

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‘Tis the weekend to laze

January 27, 2006

For the first time in my five and a half years here, I can spend Chinese New Year without tutorials/assignments/projects hanging on my shoulders as a collectively heavy cross. In the past during this time of the year, I have (with considerable some guilt) put down the cross or temporarily handed it over to someone else.

So this year (cross-less-ly) I have come up with this to-do list, which does not achieve anything really (and is in no particular order).

  • Watch Rang De Basanti
  • Sleep
  • One visit to Samys
  • Watch Broken Flowers
  • More Sleep
  • One more visit to Samys
  • Go to Chinatown (The one time I’ve been there during CNY, it was pretty cool)

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Steve’s Excellent Adventure

January 23, 2006

Life does have a weird way of turning full circle. Nine years ago, a certain fruit-company was down on its luck, a certainSteve J boring company had the gall of asking this fruit company to shut down and return its shareholders their money, a funny-sounding company was beginning to make waves in the digital animation industry, and a legendary company still had a significant hold over Hollywood.

Circa 2006, the fruit company now has a market cap greater than the boring company and the legendary company is beaten at its own game by the funny-sounding company (and is on the verge of being a distant memory = Hollywood disaster). The common thread tying these stories together: a certain someone known as Steve Jobs.

As Disney’s imminent “takeover” of Pixar looms in the near future, Mr. Jobs must be smirking at how he has come back with a vengeance. Ironically, this move will make him its single largest shareholder, as well as one of its corporate directors. With Apple’s foray into the digital living-room, this has got to be the defining moment in transforming convergence (of television, personal computing and entertainment) from a buzzword into reality. Even if direct Apple-Disney partnerships don’t pan out immediately, the presence of a maverick from Silicon Valley in Disney boardrooms will go a long way in changing traditional mindsets.

Don’t be surprised if a certain perplexed company from Seattle, in their long-standing tradition of copying the fruit-company, decide to take over a Hollywood firm. (Universal Pictures perhaps? *shudder*)

Box of Chocolates? Ha!

January 20, 2006

Life is like a field of landmines

You never know what you’re going to step on next.

You think you know who you are…

January 19, 2006

You have absolutely no idea.Yin Yang

Ok first-things-first, I did not come up with this – credit goes to the brilliant marketers/screen-writers behind this brilliant movie. This is not your typical high-on-banned-substance-philosophical-spouting and to me, it does make a lot of sense. More so, after having read a book in which it is argued (and proven by experiments) that human character is something greatly influenced by circumstances.

And so I’ve begun to wonder…whether I would

  • reach out to help someone when my own life is in danger
  • be prejudiced towards someone else (on the basis of race/religion/caste) in the face of a major decision (all other things being equal)
  • turn to crime, because the neighborhood that I (hypothetically) grew up in, was a haven for serial-killers, extortionists and drug-lords

The truthful answer is – I don’t know. It is kind of a given that everyone wants to be the nice guy in the most trying of circumstances, but its a different matter altogether as to whether he actually will be. I find it hard to predict how one will behave in extreme life-altering incidents, however good his upbringing, education and character.

Heck, all of us (ok most of us) seem to undergo negative-shifts in personality/character each time we come across a junior in the months of July/August at university every year!

In her ShoezZz

January 14, 2006

Having not slept for more than 24 hours and despite numerous jibes from my friends about my tendency to sleep through movies, I ventured out to watch In Her Shoes. I had liked L.A. Confidential and 8 Mile from the same director and expected to spend a more-than-mediocre two hours of my day. It’s hard to form an opinion of the film after having watched a grand total of ten minutes (of which a major portion was achieved without my glasses…managed to lose them temporarily too), but my gut feeling tells me I didn’t miss much during my longish nap.

As Sun-Tzu (might have) said , “Don’t watch bad movie, catch up sleep instead”

An ode to the Sun

January 12, 2006

T’has been so long since we saw your face
in full glory and blazing grace
With gray and gloom all around
we pray for your heat and light to abound

No doubt complaints will arise once you rise
from the clouds holding you in a tight vice
And there will come a day when we plead
for you to stop and quietly recede.

Ridiculous as that may be,
please save us from the agony
Of getting wet while going to work
and drive-by-splashed by some jerk.

For more, dial 1800-Poem-In-A-Minute.

Showtime!

January 11, 2006

The original plan was to write mini-reviews of four movies that I watched over the last one month. However, owing to an overall3 Kings lethargy not helped by the gloomy weather (which just continues to bug the crap out of me), I am restricting myself to one. I’ve always admired film critics and the considerable influence they have on the common man when he decides to watch a movie or not. But I digress…

The movie in question is Three Kings which stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze as four soldiers in the US army who, after the war is completed, decide to go in search of Kuwaiti gold stolen by Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War, after laying their hands on a map obtained from the rear-end of an Iraqi soldier (which evoked the memorable line from Spike Jonze: ‘I did not join the army to pull paper out of people’s asses..no sirree’). In hot pursuit is a veteran TV reporter (and 5-time Emmy runner-up) played by Nora Dunn, who is after her breakthrough story.

Complicated? Not really – what follows is an entertaining and thought-provoking journey through Middle-Eastern desert laid to waste by Bush’s (the senior) bombs. The four protagonists do some serious soul-searching after experiencing the poverty, desperation and the utter contempt for American hypocrisy largely prevalent in rural Iraq. Mark Wahlberg’s character in particular, during an extremely well taken torture sequence, realizes the futility of the war being waged. But the movie is not all about the gloom, in fact there are numerous funny anecdotes which make the film one of my all-time favourite war flicks. The climax, (which can be argued as portraying Americans as angels out to save the world) does a good job of portraying the kind of influence a war can have on normal people and how extreme situations can alter the very psyche of a man.

The supremely talented cast, combined with great cinematography and a soundtrack oozing with attitude (ok I’m a sucker for Arab music), all make for a very enjoyable and highly recommended film.

For the curious, the other three films I watched were Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (strictly for Family Guy fans), King Kong (timepass) and Thanmathra (Mohanlal is God)…

What grinds my gears…

January 3, 2006

In the spirit of one of the funnier movies I saw this, ermm..last year, here goes my first published rant (no doubt I have engaged in countless verbal ones)

You know what really grinds my gears? New Year Resolutions…like Jan 1 is the only day a person can decide to suddenly become good. What is up with that huh? Like Jack the Ripper once must have thought –Peter Griffin

‘I resolve never to shed blood again, no wait…I still have 364 days before I stop’

Sheesh…what is even worse is when celebrities blurt out ‘My New Year Resolution is never to make any more resolutions’ For God’s sake I know that you guys are used to stuff being written for you, but Elmer Fudd could come with a better line than that!

And that – ladies and gentlemen is what grinds my gears…

Happy New Year Everybody!