Friday, October 18, 2013

Basket of colors

                                                                          Clicked at Dargaah Ajmer Shareef

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Never thought about reasons to pray.....

Customary praying

 Since childhood almost all of us have imbibed the habit of praying to the almighty. We have seen God in calendars, books, idols and picture frames. Different gods of different religion, some clad in gold jewelry while some in white clothes. Customarily, we pray for our well being, good health, and wealth and so on. We may not pray in happy times, but surely don’t forget to do that during bad times. God suddenly becomes the lender of last resort then.
Pray to god for every lil thing
I remember my lil sister praying and worshiping God during her exams. She asked for good grades in subjects. My brother prayed during his sports tournament for his victory. My relatives prayed for their children to get married to suitable partners. When my teacher told me about Santa Clause, I would tie a pair of socks at the door and pray to Santa God to drop gifts for me. During Diwali we pray for prosperity. During Holi we pray for colors and happiness in life. We pray when our dear ones are ill or hospitalized. For every little wish to be granted, we pray and call out to God. Wow, there are so many reasons to pray!

My reasons to pray? Well there are many. I often cry at the news of war, blasts or death due to natural calamity. On one hand, crying relieves
me to an extent, and on the other hand praying to God gives me the strength to bear the pain. It makes me strong enough to wade through the hurdles. 

There was a time when I had stopped praying to God. My innocent mind was angry because he had snatched away my uncle (Chacha ji) when his kids were barely 2 years old. He was on his way home during Durga Puja to meet his family when he met with an accident and left us in grief. I had lot of questions for God. Why did he do that when he was coming to meet his family, that too on the occasion of Durga Puja? Did not God think about his young kids? I bonded really well with my Chacha ji and missed him a lot. I stopped praying or believing in God for few years till I realized that not doing so will not bring him back to life anyway. There was a long life ahead for his wife and kids. All I could do was pray for them at least.

Today I don’t wish for wealth, because I know that I can earn it with hard work. I don’t long for happiness because I know I can achieve it with willingness and love. I long for mental peace, which is a rare thing in stressful lives these days.

While I don’t believe in idol worship or praying to a “Physical form” of God, I certainly believe in spirituality and inner peace. You can say that I pray for my own selfish reasons. I resonate with the sound of "AUM" to build strength, peace and positivism. A neat environment around creates that positive aura. Lighting candles in church or offering oil/milk in temples is not my way to pray. I may help a beggar on the street and that’s a pray to God indirectly, asking for his well being. I regularly feed the stays near my house out of love and kindness. Later I came to know that feeding strays bring you close to God! Wow, that sounded like an incentive for doing good. My neighbours call me crazy on seeing me talking to the dogs on the streets. No, I don’t speak their language, but certainly understand the emotions in their eyes. When my favourite stray dog(whom I named Champ) was ill and no medicine worked for him, I prayed to God. Was it the medicine or the prayers, I am clueless, but Champ survived and recovered soon. I had tears of joy in my eyes and prayed to God again. This time it was to thank him. We forget to count our blessing daily. We forget to thank God with all he has showered on us. I pray to thank him for the lovely life on this planet, for the wonderful parents I have, for the food I eat daily and to ask for strength to endure all problems.
Cycle Pure Agarbathies Lakshmi Pooja Pack
This year on Diwali, the auspicious occasion for Hindus, I would use the Lakshmi Pooja Pack for a positive environment. A nice fragrance not only refreshes mind and soul but also makes you feel connected spiritually. Godess Lakshmi is said to enter those places where she finds positive people. The Pooja Pack would act as a gift to my mother & relatives besides being a way to achieve peace and goodness. I have refrained from fireworks and crackers all these years and would continue to do so. However, the Lakshmi is neither hazardous for the environment nor health. On the contrary it would build a nice aura of positivism and happiness.  Looking forward to Diwali and the rituals with the pooja pack. My reasons to pray would continue forever.

This contest is a part of the blogger contest.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book review- Tall man small shadow

My review on the fiction "Tall man small shadow" is my candid opinion and not my judgement about the book since I am nobody to call anything good or bad-

Tall man samll shadow

Book- Tall man small shadow

Author- Vipin Behari Goyal

Story- Protagonist Salil, a lonely software professional stays in a rented apartment in a society of some city(Oops there is no backdrop of the city unless you assume that to be Delhi as the story progresses). Salil, a man of few words, notices Aalya, the beautiful daughter of his neighbor Anupam uncle and Sulekha aunty who are leading a happy retired life. A PhD aspirant in English Literature, Alya looks after her parents and is the apple of their eyes.  With no love interest or messed up affair, a lonely Aalya apparently falls in love with her thesis guide Seema. At 40, Seema, without any child, still looks gorgeous but is devoid of love from her busy husband Paul who is a theater director. In the most unimaginable situation, Seema and Aalya develop a physical relationship, partially to fill up the void spaces of their lives, and partially because they liked each other. At the same time Aalya is attracted towards Salil but never gathers courage to admit her admiration for the handsome boy. Salil is too introvert to speak his heart out while he falls for Aalya's shadow! Yes, that's where the novel draws it's name from.

As the plot progresses,  Salil's gets over his past with Aalya around him. A successful but sad Seema longs for substance in her life and Aalya helps Seema to bear a fetus in her womb through IVF. Guess who was the sperm donor? Ok, read the book, the obvious would be disclosed to you.

Aalya is a kind person who would do anything to see others happy, and considering her bonding with Seems, this was the best she could offer. Later Aalya marries Salil. The couple belongs to the same caste and their parents arrange their marriage easily, without a single hurdle in their way. The story ends with a surprise twist (in fact the only chapter, basis which the entire plot was framed) and leaves you staring at a blank.
What I liked-
  • Length of the chapters- Short and crisp.
  • Good uses of metaphors to explain philosophies of life and its complexities
  • A positive note in each chapter- You would wish life was as happy as the characters.
  • The cover design and the book name- Enticing and creates mystery
What I did not like-
  • Multiple narrations. Too confusing. The readers have to guess in the beginning of the chapter, who is narrating. There are first and third person narratives change in every chapter! Sad!
  • Slow pace of the story- At times I wished the book had a fast fwd button like a DVD player does.
  • Typos and overtly simple language that made it look like a story being narrated by a school child. A novella should have a wise choice of words. Dialogues were silly in many places.
  • Characters- Too unrealistic, especially Aalya's parents (such people exist in fiction only) , Seema (a desperate lesbian), strange character of Aalya who is in love with two different gender people at the same time!!
The story moves at a slow pace but on the contrary the incidents are quick. The surprise chapter disappointed me. If nothing is coincidence, then why believe in destiny and God? If you can plan anything and everything, where is the faith in supreme power? And that was my thought about the surprise second last chapter.
I would rate the book 2.5 on 5, as in few places the author has very well explained the core complexities of life yet has been repeated a number of times. Character development of the novella could have been better. The book has nothing new to offer in terms of plot or characters. You can still stiffle your way though the book in few hours.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Mia Woman-"As beautiful as her work"

(This blog post is part of Tanishq Mia contest (
Watch the beautiful Mia TVC here 

A gentleman in late fifties came complaining to the cash counter about the problem he faced while getting a foot massage last time. The pretty lady manning the counter tolerantly heard him but did not utter a word in defence. Instead she flashed a smile, empathized with the haggling customer, offered him free consultation for foot care and sent him inside for another foot massage session. The next minute, a young lady barged into the salon asking for discount on the prices for haircut. Salon Manager Purnima, the pretty lady at the counter smiled, flaunted her nails and diverted the lady’s attention from hair cut. The lady was satisfied to get a free tip for nail care and did not negotiate for discount further.

 “Mam, Raashid is on leave today. Who’ll do facial today?” asked an attendant peeping from the facial room. “You do haircut today, I’ll handle facial,” Purnima replied and sneezed. “But you have backache and fever mam” the attendant asked hesitantly.

“It’s ok. Customer will not take that excuse, right?”

Purnima smiled and wore an apron, leaving the reception.

Working in the beauty industry isn’t painless. Know why? ; Because people set high expectations from them. They are supposed to look good and in good health always, sport new trends and makeup constantly, wear a smile on their faces and patiently lend their ears to everybody about their problems, big or small. Retaining customers to the brand and achieving sales target are two things that constantly chase their thoughts. They barely get time with their families, especially on weekends or festivals, since that’s when maximum footfall happens. Morning through evening they are asked to be energetic yet look good. Would you imagine such people to strike a balance among such situations in which they are immersed, neck deep? Would you expect them to be calm and polite without shouting back at you when you give them all troubles of your lives?

 Meet such person, Purnima, working at a renowned salon of posh South Delhi’s urban market; who is as beautiful as her work and an idol! It won’t be untrue to call her an epitome of beauty combined with brains and utmost level of patience. 8 years ago when I met her, I had mistaken her for someone obsessed with make up and latest fashion. Least did I know that it was more out of compulsion at job than her wishes.

I salute her guts & determination, because coming from a family where she supported three sisters and mother with her meager salary as a single bread earner, yet be happy forever, isn’t simple for anybody. “Feeling positive and being happy solves most of our problems,” Purnima quotes while I try my best to follow her mantra. Married few months ago, Purnima continues to work there and be a woman of substance. She persistently balances between her work and family. For me, she is a breath of fresh air and an inspiration, who smiles at life and treats work as just another moment of joy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pujo Diary

With the most awaited and auspicious festival being few months away from now, we the stubborn  Bengalis start planning holidays in advance. I recently joined an organization, precisely in the 2nd week of July, and have been trying to adjust in the new environment. However, not even once did I think before telling my reporting manager about my holiday plan for Pujo. I am sure she understood my sentiments, considering the majority of Bongs we have in office. No rebels with us please since we are a major workforce here, including our MD and faanctional category heads. Hah! Target achieved without blinking an eyelid. I feel proud of my achievement.

Irrespective the fact that I do not show my Bong traits at work, the real bong within me jumps out without fail for Pujo; an occasion that graces us once every year for four days.

Nothing can stop us from dreaming about the new clothes and delicacies we would indulge in during Durga Pujo, no matter the month we are sitting on. It’s July and most of us have started reserving train/flight seats from now, to make sure we don't miss the grand festival, which is the only opportunity to reunite with family and friends without restrictions or hard feelings; especially those who are away from their families, long for the grandeur to return quickly and spread joy around.

Pujo is the time when we forget the entire world and are focused on the grand celebration. Ladies flaunt their new crisp Taant silk sharee and the Dadas put their best foot forward in Dhuti Kurta, as wearing new clothes is a tradition during Pujo. As a child I found this to be the most exciting part of the four day occasion. I longed for, and still crave for mishti. Blame it on my sweet tooth. All right, that's a sweet jaw, as stated by my near & dear ones; nobody can beat me in sweetaholism. Like a hungry beast, I am imagining naadu after Bijoya.

The celebration begins right through the first day of Mahalaya, when Devi Durga arrives riding her
loyal baagh. The magnificence of Durga overshadows Trinity, as all eyes adore the deity in her red sharee and ten arms laden with weapons. The three rounds of morning Onjoli are offered to the symbol of shakti with due respect and love. The worshipers recite the montro after purohit moshaai and offer bel paata and flowers to the beautiful protima.

We literally stop cooking at home for four days and break our fast after Onjoli to gorge on fruits and proshaad. We eat khichuri bhog, laabda and payesh in noon at pujo baari. We"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die" is the motto of every Bengali and hence the foodie within us never dies. We eat everything, even liquid. Must have heard us saying jol khaabo (I will eat water). Enough to confuse you? But that's our mother tongue! So what if Bengali language is gender neutral, yet our hearts have rooms larger than Ambani mansion. Visit us during Pujo and witness a vibrant world full of life, love and enthusiasm. 

Not that Poschim Bongo is the only place for Pujo, yet it is the best place to be in during Pujo. Being a probashi Baangali, I too can vouch for the fact you see. The enormity of the festival engulfs all sorrow, worries and anxiety during the four days of the evergreen Durga Pujo.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Raanjhna- Movie review

Direction- Anand .L. Rai           -- Story- Himanshu Sharma  ----    Music- A.R.Rahman  -----   
Distribution- Eros International

 More than half of 2013 passed by without many films making huge collection at box office, forget about being memorable. Some lacked scripts, some goofed up with actors, however, this one created history. Raanjhanaa becomes a milestone in Bollywood with strokes of versatility and freshness for the audience after its release on 21st June,2013.

Set in the backdrop of Banaras, Kundan (Dhanush) a poor Tamil Brahmin loves a Muslim girl Zoya (Sonam) since childhood. As a young teen, Zoya reciprocates positively to Kundan. Outraged with the inter-caste and immature love fling, Zoya's parents send her away to a different city for higher studies. A grown up Zoya returns as a beautiful and well educated lady, while a not-very-learned Kundan still loves her hopelessly, least realizing that distance and time have separated them. Kundan is completely shattered & heartbroken to be rejected by her dream girl since she loves somebody from her college. For the sake of their friendship, he agrees to help Zoya get married to her love interest (Abhay Deol). Shocking revelations and sudden twists in the entire plot thereafter gives you goose bumps. Racism, dirty politics, love, faith, all toss together in the emotional and action packed love story named Raanjhanaa.

While the first half focusses on the upbringing of Kundan from a low income family in the beautiful but politically active Banaras and his love for Zoya, the second half reveals many other hues of the film which is fast paced and intriguing. Find yourself witnessing a maze of political attacks and love struck victims.
The movie rests on two major pillars, namely Dhanush and the incredible dialogues. Witty, humorous and catchy, the dialogues sweep you off your feet. Feel awestruck with flawless performance by Dhanush who makes a debut entry in Bollywood after creating ripples in Tollywood. Abhay performs well in his small but effective role. Sonam manages to act somehow throughout the movie though she needs to learn more. Cameo by Delhi based Asmita theatre group adds flavours to the story.

Rahman's music is soothing and just in the right place. Lyrics, especially "Tum tak" and "Raanjhanaa hua mai tera" penned by Irshaad Kamil are commendable.

You are bound to watch it till the end. The only drawbacks may be Sonam's not-so-impactful dialogue delivery and a lot of bloodshed in the second half. My rating -4 on 5! Go fall in love with a larger than life movie..too good to be true? watch it for yourself!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Poli-ticks In the air


Elections, party, vote, society, history, common man, corruption  and so on. This is all what we hear these days with the onset of elections setting the temperature. I do not contribute vocally to such conversations but as a silent audience, observing and recording different opinions. There are times when I am tempted to speak while at times I pass a smile in amusement. The following made me go #facepalm
Facepalm moment#1
Venue- In vendor office (Okhla, New Delhi)
1st person to 2nd- "What happened, you were on leave yesterday. All well?"
2nd- "Was down with bad cold & flu"
1st- "Yeah people are falling sick this season. It's Modi's virus in the air!"
I stare at both of them.

Facepalm moment#2

Same office, Same 1st person, talking to 3rd person 
3rd- "Which party or political icon are you supporting?"
(The entire janta of the vendor office actively absorbs news on politics and voice their opinion on party and votes, the most popular ones being AAP vs Modi, like others)

1st- (Without thinking for a second) I will support Priyanka Gandhi. Sources say that if she is elected as the PM, she will put Wadhra in  jail".

3rd- "Really? Where did that come from?"

1st- "The world is talking about women empowerment. This will happen, you wait and watch!"

And I go #facepalm yet again....Apparently the poli-ticks have bugged everybody!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ring the bell for change

Ringing the bell reminds me of a story of a kingdom in History, where the king had a huge bell suspended in the middle of the town. Any victim or citizen pleading for justice was to ring that huge bell. His/her pleading would be immediately paid heed to. Fantastic idea, wasn't it? Agreed we cannot have that implemented now, but sure, we have descended the ladder of humanity with time. Talk about technology, we are progressing each day. Talk about humanity and rights; we have not even gone a step ahead.

When was the last time we peeped into our howling neighbours house and report violence against women? I guess we do that rarely. People often call it their “personal matter” and do not let others interfere in it. The passing neighbours too, get used to such incidents and ignore the violence vetted on women. The least we should do is to keep our eyes and ears open. Do not let your neighbour suffer alone, when this is an issue of the whole country.
Violence on women here is not only bracketed within domestic violence but also sexual harassment and likewise civil violence.

In the age of growing women empowerment and rights, such heinous cases when reported are such a tip of the iceberg. The stats that reveal the curse on women, in reality is much higher that is unreported. Do women have no right to be treated with respect? Or are women mere objects to play with?

Our so called culture teaches women to be the quieter lot and endure every pain she faces after marriage. On one hand, women are worshipped as Durga, Kali, Laxmi while on the other hand she is subjected to cruelty beyond humanity. Thrashing by husbands, dowry death by in laws, physical and mental torture by demanding for a baby boy, tell us the pitiful story of our civilization.

Thanks to Raja Ram Mohan Roy who got Sati system abolished inIndia. We need reformers like him who stand for a cause without a selfish motive. When Sati was wiped off from the society, the story did not end there. Widows were not allowed to remarry and were expected to confine within the walls of the house, with scanty options to eat and wear. Their life was colorless, joyless, and dark, devoid of every pleasure which they deserved. Even worse was the life of the young girls who were widowed at young age and were forced to practice celibacy. The renowned Vidyasagar cleaned the mindset and brought about the change in our cluttered society.

Where has the sensitivity of people vanished? Why do we now turn a deaf ear to the brutality on women?
China is not a fine example to quote in this case, but may be helpful to understand what power the Govt has there. To control population explosion, China Govt has implemented the strict rule of only one child per family, failing which the family will be heavily fined. Why doesn't our Indian Govt implement compulsory education for all girls in each family, be it rural or urban? Education is one tool that can curb the growing violence against women. They would be educated on the rights and power of women in the society. An educated lady would take a stand against the violence. More the awareness less is the crime.

Gram Panchayats, that claim to be independent bodies, should be brought under the scrutiny of the Central Govt so that they do not pass judgement as per their wishes. Punishment for witchcraft, honor killing, female infanticides are such dreadful verdicts they have passed and promoted violence on women. I wonder what century we are dwelling in!

It is apparent that our authorities cannot interfere and cannot be present everywhere for matters in many places. In such cases NGO’s and self help groups that are working towards this cause, should receive full fledged support from our Govt.

For those who have raped women or spurred acid on women, should be severely punished. Law that pronounces harshest punishment for such criminals, must be encouraged. As a minimum, it sets an example for others to follow and discourages them to commit such atrocious felony.

To bring changes in the mindset of the people, we need to come forward. Educate, communicate and eradicate is my mantra to ring the bell.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vicky Donor

Release date: 20th April, ’12
Director: Shoojit Sircar ,             Genre- Rom Com
Cast: Ayushman Khurana, Yami Gautam, Anu Kapoor

Beat the heat with a refreshing movie from the team of Shoojit Sircaar which marks a good– neat family entertainer sans sex comedy or censored issues. “Vicky Donor” showcases a na├»ve concept of sperm donation which is not well accepted in India.This movie is the debut from John Abrahim's production. 

The protagonist Vicky (Ayushman Khurana) is a good looking and fun loving Punjabi Boy in search of a respectable job. His super active widow mother (Dolly Ahluwalia) runs a beauty parlor in South Delhi and looks after a family of three including an aged but modern mother-in-law (Kamlesh Gill ). Long unemployment and much coaxed by Dr. Chadhha (Anu kapoor), specialist infertility, Vicky donates his sperm in return for money, which soon becomes his regular source of income. Dr Chaddha makes a fortune by utilizing his sperms for families who are ready to shell out anything for a tailor made child. However Vicky’s own marriage ruins when the secret donation goes public and his wife also learns about her own infertility.

An out of the box concept, Vicky Donor proudly says “I am a sperm donor”.  Ayushman is spontaneous and carries his character effortlessly. Vicky’s girlfriend turned wife (Yami Gautam) is a breath of fresh air and justifies her role as a Bengali girl. The cross culture clashes between Punjabi and Bengali families fit into the situation so well, hence making it more than humorous and real. The lively (Grandmother) definitely tickles your funny bone with her witty statements and modern outlook, who shares drinks with her daughter in law and stands by Vicky each time. Anu Kapoor is at the best, acting as the desperate Punjabi Doc, adding punches here& there and infusing life in the script.

After 'Surrogate Mother', a worrying issue of nation – scarcity of sperm donors in India- could have been highlighted. However, social responsibility was not the targeted issue of the movie, so this makes it a complete family entertainer. The film keeps you engaged throughout and the peppy music adds to the charm of it. Strong editing and effective dialogues make 'Vicky Donor' an excellent package.

The movie would indeed be close to Delhi-ites, with scenes shot at Lajpat Nagar, CP and Old Delhi. Go for the humor. Watch how a “Waste sperm” makes lives useful for childless couples and the sizzling characters playing the real life roles, so close to you.

My rating- 4 out of 5

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dor- Movie review

Directed by - Nagesh Kukunoor
Story- Nagesh Kukunoor and Mir Ali Hussain; Music- Salim Sulaiman
Cast- Gul Panag, Ayesha Takia, Shreyas Talpade, Girish Karnad

Yeah, it’s quite late to review a movie in 2012 which was released way back in 2006. Though better late than never, I wonder why not I had watched the movie before. Dor, meaning a thread in Hindi, symbolizes connection in this film. Friendship, nuptials, enmity, love, and above all humanity are linked to each other with a DOR, which if pulled correctly can either bond people together or else drift them apart. DOR is a story of two women, brought up in different cultures and places, not known to each other, who get associated with the DOR of their fate, post an unfortunate accident.

Zeenat (Gul) is an independent Muslim woman from Himachal Pradesh, who lives life on her own terms. She is open minded, head strong, confident and much aware of her rights. She marries her love interest Aamir (Rushad Rana) a day before he leaves for a job in Saudi.
Meera (Ayesha) is a traditional woman married to Shankar (Anirudh Jatkar) in a remote village of Rajasthan. She is bound by cultural restrictions and hence confines within the limits timidly, with her cheerful and lovable husband, with whom she finds solace and hope of freedom. Shankar too goes to Saudi for a job, taking the responsibility to play a good son and give his family a good life.

As months pass by, the men keep sending money to their families with a promise to return soon, when the unexpected news of Shankar’s death hits Mira’s debt burdened family. The worse, Aamir is accused to have murdered his roomie  Shankar and is sentenced to death penalty. The world falls apart for Meera forcing her to stay secluded in gloomy rooms and wear colorless attire of a widow. Zeenat is informed that according to the Saudi Law, Aamir could escape capital punishment penalty only if Shankar’s wife pardons him.

Zeenat, without a clue of Shankar’s residence, covers a difficult journey from Himachal to Rajasthan, to locate Meera and seek pardon for her husband. Unable to reveal her intention, Zeenat befriends Meera to win her confidence first. Meera starts liking her company and enjoys the break free from her prison each day for some time with Zeenat. Two women, poles apart, get connected by a frail DOR of friendship, show rays of hope to each other.
When the harsh truth uncovers, Meera despises Zeenat, turning down the latter’s pleas of pardon. Does she pardon her husband’s murderer? Does she choose revenge over somebody’s life? Watch the award winning movie DOR, showcasing an inner turmoil of a lady and the bewilderment of choosing between right and wrong, the outcome of which affects the others’ destiny.

Ayesha and Gul, are outstanding in their roles. Girish Karnad delivers an excellent performance in the character of Meera’s father-in-law. Shreyas Talpade adds humor to the script and the dull journey of Zeenat. Nagesh Kukunoor appears in a cameo effectively.

Salim Suliman’s music is commendable. The song “Ye Hausla” acts like a USP for the whole movie, actually extracting the worth of the story. The background score is marvelous, specially the folk “Kesariya Baalam.”
The story of the film is based on the original story written by T.A.Rasak. Sure, our hearts does not make room for others so easily but it seeks the presence of others, connecting to them in some or the other way. DOR depicts that connection magnificently; leaving you with welled up eyes and high on emotions.

I rate the movie 4 on 5.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shanghai- Movie review

Cast: Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin, Imran Hashmi, Farooq Sheikh
                                      Direction: Dibakar Banerjee              … Released on 8th June,2012  

What was common among the movies- SinghamGangajal and Wanted? No, not the Khakhi uniform silly, but “One man against the corrupt political mechanism, trying to clean it”. Shanghai is on the similar line minus the khakhi uniform and attempt to set things right, till the second half at least.

A political party in Bharatnagar begins a development phase to modernize the town and generate employment. The new township IBP which is supported by a party leader and CM of the state (played by Supriya Pathak) promotes the industrial development besides her chances to win the elections. On the other hand, a messiah of the common suffering man Dr. Ahmedi (essayed by Prosenjit Chatterjee) lands from the US to oppose the IBP movement, for the farmers and land owners who would lose their lands. (Remember a similar “Nano” incident a couple of years ago?) Minutes after addressing a ralley, Dr. Ahmedi is run over by a van. While the opposition tries to shut the case terming it an accident, his supporters (including Kalki) demand an inquiry for the attempt to his murder. In walks Krishnan, an honest IAS officer with a clean record, to investigate the case. The new developments during the enquiry leave him shocked. Sandwiched between responsibility and politics, much to the audience surprise, he chooses the former towards the end of the movie.

Kasam khoon ki khaai hai, sheher nahi Shanghaai hai” may answer your question of the reason being the name of the movie. This is what the politicians promise to make of the state, if elected. No, the film has not been shot in Shangaai, as what many expect, going by the name. The promos look promising enough to create curiosity among the audience. But what happens when you see it on the big screen? Does it still hold you till the last scene? You experience witnessing brilliant performance though the pace is not engaging but slow.
The first half of the movie is slower than the second half. The actors have portrayed their roles with great poise; even the small town goons wonderfully get noticed. Abhay Deol definitely deserves a big round of applause who has paid attention to every detail of his character. Be it his Madrasi accent, the grave expression on the face of an IAS officer during inquiry, the shock from the reality, the panicky look on being attacked, Deol outshines everybody. Kalki did not have much to offer besides her blank looks and wide open eyes. Did I miss Imraan Hashmi? Oh, he plays a porn movie cameraman and earns his living by shooting functions or selling pirated DVDs. Hashmi helps Kalki and Deol crack the case with a recorded tape. For the very first time, Hashmi grabs the lime light sans a single kissing scene! Surprised? Well, another round of applause for his complete desi make over with a pot belly and tobacco stained teeth. Farooq Sheikh plays his part like a cake walk.

The story might not be appealing; it’s been said and heard million times now. The audience is mature enough to sense the dirty political trash. Watch it for yet another intense power packed presentation by the actors. An admirable camera work and effective editing make Shanghaai flawless. Yeah flaws like Dengu Malaria do co-exist in the country, yet we are supposed to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. Isn’t it?

Kudos to Dibaker Bannerjee, for directing an outstanding movie after Khosla ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Oye, Love Sex aur Dhokha.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review: Of course I love you, till I find someone better

Authors: Durjoy Datta and Manvi Ahuja
“Of course I love you...” is a story set in Delhi around the protagonist Debashish Roy, a boy next door and an engineering student of a prestigious college.  The not so bright Deb claims to have been in relationships for a number of times but never found “True Love”. Given his age, he is immature to understand true love or probably grows sick of relationships soon and longs to look for somebody new. While dating a cute Smriti, from a Medical College and satisfying his physical desires, he meets a bold and beautiful Avantika. Soon he finds himself getting attracted to her. In pursuit of true love this time, he ignores everything in his life, namely his best friends, Smriti, studies, CAT, job and makes life messy for himself, with Avantika leaving him towards the end of the story. Read on further to find out how he pulls himself out of the muddle which he had created for himself.

The story is not complicated, and you might just want to go with the flow. Lock your grey matter somewhere and take off your thinking caps, else it may annoy you. The authors have made an effort to pen down stories of college days, affairs, late night parties, behaviour of hostilities, so called relationships and the never-ending list of the youth’s desires, which may seem to be a replica of everybody’s college life. The climax will make you smile, for two reasons. One, it’s a happy ending like in Bollywood movies. Two, the tedious book ends, without creating a pressure on your minds!

The language is candid; most of the lingos are often heard in Delhi campuses. Since this is a book for the youth, or let’s say college teens, they would feel close to it.  Deb and Avantika look like “Today’s youth”.

Seems, all engineers are trying to clone Chetan Bhagat. Not even once do they think that excess of everything is bad.  At an affordable price of INR 100, this book claims to be a best seller with over 4,00,000 copies sold.
Read this novel if you don’t have anything else to read or if you think you miss your college days. Though the freshness is missing, yet a light hearted story would not be bad to kill few hours of your idle time.

Rating: 2/5
About the AuthorsDurjoy Datta is a young alumnus of Delhi College of Engineering and has penned other novels like “Now that you are rich” and “She Broke Up, I Didn’t! ...I Just Kissed Someone Else!” for the youth. He has been critically appreciated for his dark humor and lucid writing style.
Manvi Ahuja:  The pretty Co Author of this best seller, is a graduate from SRCC and post graduated from IIM K.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book review- I too had a love story

Four close friends meet few years after college life and discuss about their future for the first time. No, it wasn’t job, but about getting married to settle down. Influenced by this discussion, the protagonist Ravin registers on a matrimony portal and finds his soul mate Khushi. She is a pretty girl from a middle class family residing in Faridabad who has strong values imbedded within her. Khushi’s good looks and mature, polite behavior impresses Ravin. The latter is an IT professional at Infosys, who was brought up in a small town in Orissa and currently stays away from his parents in Bhubaneswar. The similarity in their respective professions and personal interests instantly creates a magical bonding between them. They gradually fall in love without having met each other. The love story sails smoothly, crossing the limits of caste, religion or distance. They decide to get married in the company of their supportive parents by their side, until one day, when an unfortunate incident changes their lives.

This is the story of “I too had a love story” by Ravinder Singh, another Engineering graduate and a budding writer. This novel was released in Dec 2008 and made its way to the hearts of the youth. The touching novel is still on the shelves and liked by many.

The book takes you through a series of sweet love and family bonding. But at the same time, it talks about the fact that all love stories do not have a happy ending. The title of the book is catchy enough to create interest in the readers. It justifies the love tale with a tragic finish. If you are in love or have been through a “Puppy love” affair, this would certainly appeal to you.

The simple everyday language void of complicated jargons adds to the flow of reading. Despite the fact that the story is conventional and predictable, with nothing new to offer, yet people with love in their hearts, would love it. There are neither twists n turns nor suspense to reveal, however, the feeling to be in love, the urge to hear each other’s voice, talking till late night, hurting unintentionally to apologize later, showing concern and whispering sweet nothings, dreaming to be together, making marriage plans and so on, pulls you into the depth of love. Even if you don’t like the story, you would definitely like the feeling to be in love.  You might find your eyes welled up at the end of the story.

Ravinder Singh might have written his own story which has been heard many times. “I too had a love story” is not a master piece of literary work; neither sets an example for new writers. However, the efforts to write such a sort are appreciated. Recommended as a one-time read, it is not for thriller fans certainly.
Book price: INR 100
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Riskesh adventure

“Mountain Dew cannot help me overcome my fear ”! I thought, standing atop twenty feet cliff above water. According to the sources, the river bed was eighty feet deep. Rahul, my team mate, who had jumped in before me, screamed from the river asking me to dive in. The thought of scaling hundred feet, scared me to hell and I stood unmoved staring at others who took less than five seconds to jump into the shimmering green water of the river. I wasn’t there to promote Mountain Dew or any adventure movie. I was there on an adventure trip to Rishikesh with a group of twenty. While river rafting was so much fun and thrilling, cliff jumping was equally scary.
Ready for the punge
On the white sand

I had visited Rishikesh many times with my family since childhood.(The perks of birth place Uttarakhand) However, this was the first adventure trip I had dared for. At last, my dream of white water rafting materialized. I have never been scared of water despite not knowing swimming. But trust me, when I boarded the raft wearing a helmet and safety jacket, I started feeling butterflies in my stomach. Our 20-something instructor, Rana, made us learn the commands to follow while rafting. Coordination is the most important thing while rowing and one should not panic even if he falls off the raft or gets caught in a rapid (That’s what the river currents are called). Wall, double trouble, center danger, roller coaster, golf course – These are the names of the rapids which we went through, in the 21 km stretch, with roller coaster& golf course being the riskiest and highest rapids.

Rana asked us to jump and I took less than a second to jump into ice cold water. Swimming with the current along the raft, is an out of the world experience. I was more than happy to enjoy the adventure.
Thankfully, our raft didn’t flip over, unlike our neighbor raft, which threw people in a rapid after losing control & coordination. No casualties reported of course (No body drowns because of the safety jackets you are made to wear). When a rapid hits the raft and inclines it at 45 degree, you either feel scared or excited. I felt something else. The roaring high waves lashing against our raft, reminded me of Samudra Manthan and I felt like a descendant of Bear Grylls. (Though I know I don’t even match to one-tenth of his skills, but imagination has no bounds you see! Hehe!)   The excitement and the thrill concentrated in my stomach somewhere and “Aawesomee!!”, I screamed my lungs out. The view was breathtaking with the waves trying to engulf us. We braved all the rapids and carried home a lifetime memorable experience.

My left thumb and shoulder are now in pain due to aggressive continuous rowing. I looked at my body bruises later at night during bonfire.

Skillful rafting however didn’t give me the courage for cliff jumping. I regret not overcoming that fear though being the only girl to volunteer at the 20 feet cliff. Darr k aagey jeet hai? Well I guess yes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The much needed break

Up from the bed at 9 am, a late breakfast by 11 am, watching TV  or reading novels, doesn’t matter the time of taking a shower, lazily have lunch and a quick nap till 6pm may be, kill time by sending texts to friends or disturbing those who might lend ears to a bored-to-death person, and wait to sleep again..

No……this is not the kind of life I wanted! Nevertheless, what else can a person do with an injured knee and strict instructions from the doc to avoid any strain on knee, lifting weight or climb stairs? I have been on bed rest for more than 2 weeks precisely; and trust me, it’s killing me now! I mean, how much time one can spend sleeping the whole day? I fear getting bed rashes if my knee does not recover soon.

The worst part is I have to skip gym. O God! I’d look like a balloon in absence of exercise or any physical activity. Boy! How much I miss those works outs at the gym!  All my hard work has gone down the drains now. People suggest me Yoga, but my lazy bones refuse to wake up early morning. Imagine, reading novels becomes a target and then you realize excess of anything is bad. When your eyes hurt to look at the TV or computer screen, naturally you cut down on the number of hours for “Facebooking” or chatting.  Within a few days, I grew tired of painting too.

My restless mind started seeking something for inner peace and I found myself testing my culinary skills in the kitchen. It was a look alike of Bengan Bharta one day, not even close to the original taste, and thankfully a successful attempt to cook Cheela the other day.  “Enough of Experiments”, my super lazy bones warned me, observing the ruined kitchen. Yet, I can’t even resort to a short cut dinner with Maggi, owing to my injured knee, which demands a good healthy diet. Now where on Earth does it exist when you stay alone?

The number of movies I have watched in this month or the frequency with which I have sneaked out of house ignoring my doc’s advice (to watch plays, be with my lovely dogs or meet friends) is considerable. Surely, you get that mental peace and much needed break from monotony, if not “That diet” at least.
Either, I wish I could be with my family in my hometown or I had never hurt my knee like this. This is not a good idea of a much-needed break, really!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Paan Singh Tomar

Released on 3rd Feb

This is a movie inspired by a real life character Paan Singh Tomar, a soldier of Indian army and an international athlete who turns a dacoit under forced circumstances. Don't watch Paan Singh Tomar if you are in search of a philosophical story. Watch it only for performance, specially by the prodigal, the brilliant Irrfan Khan. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, Paan Singh Tomar showcases the sad plight of the unsung sportsmen in India.

The story runs back to 1950 when Paan Singh Tomar was recruited in the Indian Army and had a peaceful happy family. A good stamina and even better appetite opens a new avenue for him- Athletics, where he excels and gets international fame. However, family disputes and deep sense of helplessness forces the balanced Tomar to resort to violence. Tomar becomes the most wanted Bandit of Chambal. His claim; that the country which did not care when he represented India at an International platform, suddenly seems to recognize him when he has picked up a gun; is sadly a true scenario. Paan Singh Tomar might be a wake up call for those authorities as well who neglect our sportsmen and ultimately the sport loses its grace.

Based on strong research and facts, the movie ends with the names of those who died of poverty and hunger despite contributing much to their fields.

It is Irfan Khan's power packed delivery which keeps you engrossed through out the movie. Strong dialogues sway you away and so does the screenplay. Sets of the movie and the background score happen to be very apt and the action scenes have been quite well shot.

Every character in their small roles has justified his presence in the movie. Be it the coach played by Rajendra Gupta or Tomar's wife essayed by Mahie Gill. Irfan carries the movie on his shoulders spectacularly and this one can fetch him an award.

A must watch for those who have been waiting for something substantial. Paan Singh Tomar is your food for thought

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