Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yuvvraaj: Brilliant score let down by lacklustre script

Unfortunately for Subhash Ghai, the era of formula films has long gone and even the most ambitious project can't afford to take it easy in the writing department.

And that's where "Yuvvraaj", the 18th film by a director known as Bollywood's Showman, fails despite liberal doses of Ghai's trademark opulence and grandeur.

Essentially the story of three brothers, "Yuvvraaj" revolves around the free-for-all that ensues when a London-based billionaire dies, leaving behind his fortune to autistic son Gyanesh Yuvvraaj (Anil Kapoor).

To read more, click here

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hocus-pocus Hill-Billy-Boo

This Saturday, a U.S. magician will either astound you or pay you $100. That's my prediction.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dostana: A spectacular first half but nothing great overall

The opening shot of John Abraham emerging from the sea sets the tone for the film, with the camera lens lingering a tad too long on his bright yellow trunks.

The latest offering from filmmaker Karan Johar features the usual mélange of romance, snazzy designer wear, exotic locales and foot-tapping numbers.

But writer-director Tarun Mansukhani plays a masterstroke with the 'gay' plot, setting the stage for a hitherto unused treasure trove of witty one-liners and bawdy humour. To read more, click here.

Dasvidaniya: Bittersweet slice of middle-class life

If you were expecting Vinay Pathak's latest film to be a comic caper, you are in for a surprise.

"Dasvidaniya" is a bittersweet comedy about a man diagnosed with cancer and how he spends the last three months of his life.

Heard that one before? It's a subject Bollywood has dealt with in films like "Anand" and "Kal Ho Naa Ho". The 2007 Hollywood film "The Bucket List" also had a similar storyline.

But Shashant Shah’s "Dasvidaniya" gives the plot some original twists. To read more, click here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Help a virgin

Once upon a time there was a 25-year-old guy. Unfortunately, he was still a virgin. Desperate, he went to his only friend -- a pretty girl -- for help.

V: Can you help me, Pretty
P: On one condition
V: Name it, Pretty
P: Set up a website asking people to help you
V: Help me to do what?
P: Get more people to visit your website
V: So?
P: If you get five million hits by New Year's Eve
V: Yes
P: Then I will help you
V: Help me with my problem?
P: Yes
V: You mean it
P: Yes, but
V: But?
P: If you fail, you'll have to do anything
V: Anything?
P: Anything I want for a month
V: Done

Okay, okay so this conversation is a figment of my imagination.

But such a website does exist and the 25-year-old virgin is a long, long way from achieving his goal.

Do help him out before he becomes a slave to his pretty friend.

For Twitter feed, click here

It can't get more sexist than this

(Link via Reddit)

Ganguly takes off his shirt one last time

It wasn't the way Saurav Ganguly wanted to walk off into the sunset. A century in Nagpur, the final test of India's most successful test skipper, would have made it memorable.

But he did make it memorable and how. Read more here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Can't mention Obama's name at school

U.S. television channel WLBT reports that that a school in Mississippi is not allowing students to mention president-elect Barack Obama's name.

"Melissa Hayes says teachers at Puckett Attendance Center told her daughters they could not talk about Obama in class or in the hallways."
I am not sure how reliable WLBT channel is and the parent quoted by it does not point to "racism" being behind the ban on mentioning Obama's name.

But I still think it's too soon to expect everybody in the world's most powerful country to accept a black president. Change can happen but it's going to take time.

I wish Obama all the best.

Start your day with a smile

I usually get irritated by forwarded emails but this pic just made my day.

The name is Bond. Black Bond

Now that Barack Obama has gone right ahead and broken the black barrier at the White House, I think it's time we have someone black playing James Bond.

Not that Daniel Craig is doing such a bad job. It's just that Ian Fleming's master spy needs to evolve with the times and be shaken, not stirred in more ways than one.

My choice -- Denzel Washington. If he declines, then Will Smith.

You might be laughing now but if Obama can be voted U.S. president, a black Bond is not that big a deal.

Or is it?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Barack Obama - seems he's India's choice too

You would have thought so too -- if you were present at Delhi's American Center on Wednesday morning.

And by the way, I voted for Obama. Click here for more.


Partition: A not so epic love story

Watched Partition (2007) on television. This Canadian production revolves around the love story of a Sikh man and a Muslim woman drawn together by the partition of India in 1947.

The storyline is familiar -- the Bollywood hit Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) had an uncannily similar plot. But despite a host of accomplished actors, this Vic Sarin film is never as impressive.

Illiterate villagers mouthing dialogues in English is okay but an Indian actor in the role of Naseem (Kristin Kreuk) would have been more believable. And although Jimi Mistry as the protagonist Gian is first-class, Irrfan Khan and Vinay Pathak are wasted in their two-bit roles.

Neve Campbell plays with aplomb the role of an English lady who helps Gian search for Naseem's missing family after the riots.

This is certainly not one of those 'Pakistan is bad' propaganda movies -- director Sarin ensures there are good and bad characters on both sides of the border. But Naseem's brother Akbar (Arya Babbar) remains a stereotype.

Partition loses its bearings after a placid first half, hurtling towards a predictable and unimpressive climax. Still, it's worth a watch for its lovely cinematography.

I wasn't so sure about the trains depicted in the film -- they seemed too modern to be around 60 years ago. And the idea of a devout Sikh converting to Islam just to get across the border seemed a bit far-fetched.


(For other reviews of this film, click here and here )

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Moving house to Dwarka

After 20 years of living in a not-so-posh area of south Delhi, we have shifted to the subcity of Dwarka.

Yes, there have been teething troubles. It was tough living without broadband internet for a fortnight and Tata Sky's less than exemplary service did give me a headache or two.

But I can assure you all the horror stories of water scarcity and Dwarka residents bathing once a week are not true.

Even if you need five buckets of water for a single bath (Water conservation, anyone?), you should be okay.

It's nice to live in an apartment complex with intercom facility, educated neighbours, a park, a fixed parking space and generator.

Yes, for those of you who have grown up in any of Delhi's apartment complexes, it's nothing new.

But I spent two decades in a place with not-so-nice neighbours (the kind that have fights and spew abuse past midnight), teeming with cows and buffaloes (usually harmless but my mom was once an unwilling combatant in a bovine tussle) and long, frequent power cuts.

It's nice to finally live in an area where Nirula's, Pizza Hut and Domino's deliver food. Not that we eat out often. But it's good to know a Hot Chocolate Fudge is merely a phone call away.

It's nice to finally have a bustling market nearby, with a choice of department stores where I can use Sodexho coupons.

It's nice to finally have a Delhi Metro station only a mile or two away.

I have found paradise in the concrete environs of Dwarka. And hope it stays that way.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

September-October 2008 Blog Mela

If you thought Toe Knee Unplugged was all plugged up and gone, you are in for a surprise.

I am very much alive and well, though yet to recover from a bout of blogger's block.

The monthly Blog Mela resumes with the November blog mela early next month, but for now here's the best of Indian blogs in September and October 2008. Enjoy.

Anand Ramachandran is smitten by Apple's iThing

Great Bong reveals more about Drona and soiled pots

Twisted DNA is not a big fan of kids on the phone

Krish Ashok authors the Dummies' Guide to the US elections

Coconut Chutney is compelled to write about CAs

Neelakantan dreams up a ban on eating out

Sidin Vadukat is using a questionnaire to trace a 'Singur' personality

Jaideep Varma is disappointed by the reviews of 'Hulla'

IndieQuill is waxing

Jammy is making love, not sex

That's all for now. The November 2008 Blog Mela returns early next month. But before leaving, do please vote for the best post in the September-October 2008 Blog Mela.

The best of Sept-Oct 2008 blog mela
Anand Ramachandran
Great Bong
Twisted DNA
Krish Ashok
Coconut Chutney
Sidin Vadukat
Jaideep Varma
None of them were that good free polls

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the November Blog Mela being hosted here on December 2
To nominate, leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-30 November, 2008 would be accepted

- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on December 1 stand a chance to be featured on the Top 10 list
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008

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