Saturday, 17 November 2012

Why Not To Watch Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Shahrukh Khan

and Katrina Kaif, and 90 minutes less and a few less bomb diffusion and a few less accidents. Whew!

I went through the torture that was Jab Tak Hai Jaan last night. It is hard to believe that the director of movies like Lamhe and Chandni ... could have given us this 3 hours of drivel packaged as a movie. Most reviews have been muted in their comments I guess out of deference to the just demised patriarch of YRF - Yash Chopra. Never mind - Yash Chopra will be much remembered and loved for Trishul, Deewar, Lamhe, Silsila, etc - and he would prefer not to be associated with JKHJ.

Shahrukh Khan spans ten years in the movie. It was an awful sight to see a near naked wrinkled Shahrukh posing as a 25 year old in some of his risque poses with Katrina. He looks (and acts) closer to his 50 years! Will Shah Rukh be as delusional as Dev Anand and prefer to act the romantic lead ( maybe give a new definition to the evergree hero) even in his 70s??? Hindi movie heroes really cannot age gracefully. The female leads have made the transition. And play and look their age. Look at Rekha, Madhuri, Juhi and of course the current darling Sridevi! And look at Shahrukh and remember Amitabh in Mard and a host of other nineties movie...till he returned as the patriarch. A Dabangg is ok in your mid and late 40s  - definitely not a crooning, mushy Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Shahrukh Khan has the opportunity. He should have gracefully made the transition 4 years back after Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi or Chak de India. Even a Don is preferable!

It should be a rule in Bollywood not to give pretty female leads who cant act, more than 10 minutes of screen time. If you thought it was a torture watching Aishwarya for 3 hours - just wait till you catch Katrina in JTHJ. She is pretty - that is granted. But putting her histrionics skills under the microscope for more than 2 hours. Please - I still shudder to remember last night's agony. She is definitely NOT a Kajol, Vidya or Rani. More than 10 minutes of watching Katrina's "acting" will definitely lead to indigestion.

A song like Saans from the AR Rehman group? WTF? Its like you go to a exclusive do expecting caviar and end up eating tikka masala at a Punjabi wedding. I have nothing against the music - but its like something you have heard everywhere. There has to be some atrophy in the maestro's repertoire if one song "Challa" had to be repeated 4 times (at least).

Just a few days back I was thinking that - thank God Hindi movies no loger pair up a heiress with a rickshaw wallah. I was obviously wrong. Heiresses can get paired up with beggars in Hindi movies - albeit in a slicker package than in the eighties. And this brings to mind the question -  if Shahrukh had so much cash stashed away - why wasnt he opening his own restaurant? After all the same cash enabled his slouchy, lazy, inexperienced in the food business, definitely simple friend to become a millionare. I have nothing against any class of people - i just like to watch stories that remotely make sense...that's expecting too much I guess.
If you go to a so called "family movie" with a universal rating with 6 - 10 year olds - you definitely dont expect dialogues like "i want to have sex with all accents of people (a very bad translation of the actual dialogue , am afraid)." This from a girl who is shown to be extremely cool. I mean... I am old fashioned and I want my movies to be properly labelled. Jab Tak Hai Jaan definitely deserved a PG - 13 rating.

Is there any reason to watch Jab Tak Hai Jaan? Well 10-15 minutes of the film are actually worth watching. One of them a dance. A few minutes of Shahrukh and Anoushka's perfect dive into a  freezing Ladakh lake. So just get someone to edit those parts and put it on youtube. No need to go through torture.
Rating - 1/2 out of 5

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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Kindle Fire Review

As a proud owner of one of the earliest versions of Kindle (when it was just a simple ebook reader for book lovers - with epaper / eink- technology) I have always tried to keep up with the latest models of Kindle. So it was with some awe and frustration of the head nodding kind that I saw the launch of the latest version of Kindle Fire. Kindle is no longer just an ebook reader from Amazon. With Kindle Fire, Kindle is prepared to go the distance to be a complete tablet. Amazon itself is slotting it as "A Tablet from Amazon" and "More than a tablet". The biggest plus point for Amazon's Kindle Fire seems to be the new HD screen. The sizes, options and features come in a mindboggling range. The screen sizes range from 7" to 8. 9 " and the storage space from 8 GB to 32 GB. The highest end model is enabled for 4G technology while there is Dolby audio in most models. The price range is equally wide - from $159 for an entry level Fire model to $ 499. The lowest priced Fire HD model is $199. One thing may bug book and movie lovers - ads on your screen.
Go to this Amazon Kindle page to find out more about all the Kindle versions,

Kindle Fire Latest

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Sushil Kumar - Olympics 2012

In a few hours from now - an Indian will create history in his homeland. Sushil Kumar will be the first native born Indian to win two individual Olympics medals.

That might not sound much to most nations around the World. In fact at last count at least 50 countries were ahead of India in the medal count at London 2012. But a generation of viewers will watch this exploit with a sigh of relief, despondency and hopefulness.

TV became popular and affordable in India during the 1982 Asian games. We watched India collect a record haul of 11 golds and then in the 1984 Olympics we watched PT Usha miss the Olympics bronze in the women 400 mts hurdles by the literal cat's whisker - 1/100th of sec. After that every 4 years we would dream of at least one medal in Olympics. In the meantime India's other Asian counterparts improved by leaps and bounds. China improved its tally from a handful of medals to scores, South Korea jumped ahead when it hosted the Games while Japan came down by quite a few notches from its dominant position in World and Asian sports.

India meanwhile hoped for a single medal.

Leander Paes changed the script by winning an improbable bronze medal in tennis in 1996. 4 years later an unknown lady wrestler from Andhra Pradesh, Karnam Malleswari won the bronze again - this time in weightlifting. A silver in shooting followed in 2004 when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore dorned the fig leaves in Greece. In 2008, India finally won an individual gold medal in Olympics. Abhinav Bindra won the gold and two more bonus medals came India's way - in shooting and wrestling. A country attuned to some "surprising" and "unexpected" medals - 3 medals didnt seem like an accident.

Was Indian sports finally looking up? Was there an organisational improvement. Had the supply chain improved drastically? London 2012 was to provide the answers.

London Olympics did provide the answers.

India does have a bevy of world class players in archery, shooting, boxing and hockey. But not nearly enough. While India may have 8 world class archers - China and South Korea probably have 80. The pressure thus put on those 8 archers have been tremendous. Some of the misses in archery were just limited to one bad arrow shoot. The case is similar for boxing and shooting too. While the shooters redeemed themselves with two medals - the much hyped male boxers failed in the quest.

And then there was history. An individual athlete from India - Sushil Kumar is to grace the podium twice. In a few hours from now Sushil will play his gold medal bout in the Men's 66kg Freestyle wrestling. This bout will renew the dreams of many and maybe encourage many more to take up sports. Sushil Kumar had won the bronze in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While it is too much to expect that the IOA will wake up - I expect many private organisations to provide sporting facilities and coaching.

Anyways long live the dream and GO For the Gold Sushil!

(Article posted at by author)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dont Blame the Indian Hockey Players - London 2012

There seems to be a lot of blaming going on - and the Indian Hockey team is bearing the brunt of it. It makes me angry when the pride of the players is being questioned. It was obvious to anyone that the players played from their gut and played their hearts out. They only looked dejected towards the end of the South Korean match and maybe some parts of the Belgium match. But that is understandable. When you are not winning things rapidly disintegrate and dejection sets in.

What clearly was lacking during the initial games was a stratagem. For example, the players seemed to believe that they could out flank and out- attack the Dutch in the first match. They carried on many pointless forays and seemed to be wasting a lot of energy, while the Dutch patiently played a mature game and set up well thought out attacks. The show clearly suggested 1000s of hours of careful planning and execution. The Indiam team seemed to be a bunch of talented hopefuls let loose on the field and each out to prove himself on the field. The things that were obviously missing to even a novice's eye were planning, thought, strategy, direction, preparation as a team, clear layout on how to score a goal, etc etc. I cant see how the players can be blamed for that! Inexperience showed and all class was hidden in the jumble of misguided efforts.

No, please put the blame where it lies. On the coach, management, team of decision makers. The players played with their hearts on their sleeves in difficult situations. And they lost to all good teams - not individual shows. Kudos to the players!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Watch the Olympics live streaming free on Youtube

Watch the Olympics live streaming free on Youtube - at the official IOC channel. In a historic move - IOC will be providing live coverage of many events for the first time on Youtube. In Beijing - some feeds and clips had been provided online officially.

ESPN Star Sports meanwhile will be covering the Olympics live on cable TV in India. For those who dont have cable access - the live streaming of the games on Youtube is a blessing for sports lovers.

The IOC channel wil provide 2200 hours of Olympics coverage in 64 countries. There will be many featured interviews of athletes - so one doesnt have to rely on twitter for up-to-date information!
Here is the link to the official IOC Olympics channel.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Aishwarya Rai Cannes 2012 Pics - Whats the Big Deal?

The Indian media scrambled to get the first pics Aishwarya Rai walking the red carpet of Cannes 2012. The Cannes other media wondered whats the big deal. The big deal is that media critics / youtube viral video makers / the Bachchan family numerous fans(?) expected Aish to appear as a very slightly slimmer version of Saroj Khan at Cannes - and were wondering how she will carry it off.

Aishwarya Rai has thumbed her nose at all - by appearing graceful and glamorous in an Indian ensemble (a peach chikankari saree over a long embroidered golden kurti) on the red carpet and a in stunning flowing Angelo Katsapis outfit - that makes good use of a black drape, pics released to the media. No she doesnt look slim like a Nicole Kidman or a missing Jolie. She doesnt look a desperate case. She looks like a healthy woman enjoying her motherhood and who "cleans up" really well.

A big thank you Aishwarya for NOT trying to look like Victoria Beckham after Mommyhood. Our attitude to marriage and motherhood does rankle. It seems a throwback to real medieval times when the media debates if  she/ any other actress will "pursue their career" after motherhood / marriage! Come on - these girls are professionals who have come up the hard way. What has marriage and motherhood got to do with a career? Who are others to debate on it? I truly see red when I see headlines like "Aishwarya to act in movies after motherhood". She is a mother, she is not dead.

Here are Aishwarya Rai's pics from Cannes 2012

No, I am not going to give links to Aishwarya Rai's fat pics.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Off to Krabi!

This promises to be an interesting trip! We are off to Krabi for the Chinese New Year. By train - and mini van - and ferry and maybe foot too... Whatever, however inconvenient and crowded travelling during CNY may be - I cant wait to sample Thai food, get those Thai massages and do some haggling and shopping. Must do this time - the kids must ride an elephant! Sorry, I still dont know the technicalities of how we are reaching Krabi or the route we are taking.

Wonder how Thailand will be like after the floods, political unrest...But it is not easy to destroy beauty or the innate hospitality of the people.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Great Indian Ennui (in Cricket - what else?)

The Indian cricket fans are going through a nightmare. But just think of those poor men out in the middle. They must be so not enjoying this period. That is when they are awake. It is as if a haze has settled over the Boyzzz in Blue - post World Cup. Oh they have managed a series win  or two - against England /WI in some ODI series at home. But thats something they can do blindfolded - win ODI matches at home against England/WI.

So how does this post WC ennui work? When Tendulkar goes out to practise (that is if he does bother, or if the coach dares to bother him) -  dont you think there would be a buzz of WC WC around his head. Plus a more significant and exasperating buzz - 100100...100100. No wonder he looks to be chasing those flies away.

What would be happening when the Great Dhoni goes out to practise. No one has let him forget in the last 8 months that he is so perfect and great and humble. The guy must be just so confused too. Its a wonder if he can tell a practise from a T-20 from a Test from an ODI or for batting from a commercial. Or if he is batting for his country, or his bosses in IPL, or his wifey or for his ads bosses...I dont remember when I last saw a person so busy with the limelight so firmly refusing to waver.

The same haze seems to have enveloped Viru and Gambhir. While individually they are looking like a pair of stuffed puppies -  together they seem to be putting on a show called Zombie learns tap-dancing. It doesnt auger well for Gambhir. WC followed by marriage gets to the best of them. Earth to Gambhir - you are not Sehwag - you have not scored 2 Triples - you CANNOT get away with it. Sehwag can get away with anything - maybe even murder - because those "you blink and you miss" inningses of his are so delightful - arent they?

So winning over the Australians has been solely on the shoulders of some great players like Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav - with all of 4 test matches between them before the Perth Test. Zaheer Khan - well he was also part of the WC - the haze, remember? Ishant Shama anyways has been in an alt world since he was picked to be "the player of the future" a few years back. In our country greatness strikes and affects more surely than lightning strikes a field of unearthed metal towers on a plateau.

Frankly speaking, we fans are left speechless by the display. Get these boys down to earth - give them a year, maybe more, off - allow them to shake it off and get back to playing in maybe a couple or dozen or so years - who knows - they may win another World Cup.

Or just shake them strong - one by one - by the ruff.

I have not mentioned Duncan Fletcher. I know the guy takes a salary. But we are hospitable - we dont like foreign coaches to be accountable (same as star players) and give them a long enough rope to tie everyone in knots.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fried Chicken Curry (Dry) - Easy to Cook Recipe

Dry Chicken (South Indian Style)

This is an easy to cook chicken recipe that I tried today. It turned out really well, much to my surprise. This dried chicken recipe has a tangy peppery taste and should be good to eat with chapatti. We had it with steamed rice though for Sunday lunch.

Ingredients and Preparation

Chicken (500 gm)
Ginger garlic paste (2 tsp)
Chilli powder
Turmeric powder
Curry Powder (Any good one like Gemini, Everest, Ruchi, MTR, etc)) - 2 tbsp
Curry Leaves
Green Chillies - To taste
Mustard paste (ready made or home made) - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 2-3 tbsp
Ground Pepper - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Onion - 2 big
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Marinate Chicken (500 g) with ginger garlic paste (2 tsp), turmeric powder, chilli powder, vinegar, green chilli (1-2), half tsp mustard paste (I used the Heinz mustard paste that I keep for hotdogs), freshly ground pepper and 2 tsp curry powder (I used Ruchi's Curry Powder). Try to marinate for at least 30 minutes or so, so that the flavours soak in. It is however ideal to marinate for 3 hours.

Slice 2 big onions and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep wok (Kadhai). Add the mustard seeds. Add the onions and fry. Add the curry leaves and marinated chicken. Add a sliced green chilli. Add salt to tase. Fry on high heat till the water evaporates. Add a little water. Cover it leave it to simmer on low heat. Stir in between to see that the chicken doesn't stick to the pan.

Cooking time - Approx 20-30 Min depending on the quality of poultry.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Something Good

Ah a New Year... I know something good is wating for me round the corner, just hoping the corner shows up faster!