Riding on the bus..

A high end, super luxury bus going by the name of Olivea.. With leg room, enough for a man as tall as me. I am – 6'3″. Was useless at basketball, but hey who cares now. I like the bus – missed dinner was planning to survive on a almond raisin cupcake and some cold coffee.. But it looks like I will get fed something. Impressive. The super luxury multi axle volvo that it is has space for 30 odd passengers.. Also have a tv screen all to yourself. Damn cool. Well, they advertise gourmet food – the food certainly aint gourmet, but it is okay. Got breakfast on the way in and now got dinner on the way out. Happy enough :). Nice way to commute between chennai and bangalore though..

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Riding on the bus..

Fwd: The Priest and other stuffs

Ah well, I happened by the Priest, the movie that is, starring the awesomely terrifying Paul Bettany. The man certainly looks like a depraved Jason Statham, and the problem one has is his script selections – the man is one with inane plots from Da Vinci Code, to Firewall, to Legion and the Priest. The Priest is an innately interesting story – that of a superheroic priest, who has been trained by the Church to kill, no, annihilate vampires, which are deemed to be the most evil of things. As a character the Priest is quite cool, he does a bunch of almost Matrixian things like ride insanely fast bikes, which seem to be powered by jet engines, get to hang out with cool chick priestesses like Maggie Q and of course, do some bad ass moves with crucifixes and general funky action sequences. What lacks is the paper thin plot – some strange vampire gang has taken Lucy (revealed to be the Priest’s daughter) hostage and the Priest defies the order to go after the vampires. The vampires are headed by a slightly off colour Karl Urban. After some ho hum, the movies winds to an end with a action packed final sequence which ends up blowing a train and a final scene which sets up the plot for a sequel, except I guess post the not so phenomenal performance of the Priest at the box office, the studio possibly packed up the sequel. The irritation with the movie is the fact that there is little or no effort to develop characters, Paul Bettany labours under the impression that if glare at the camera you are displaying intensity (a la Abby Baby). I rate the movie 2/5 – not particularly good, but as good as lets say Chronicles of Riddick, except that Vin Diesel has more presence than Paul Bettany does, and hence, the Chronicles makes for slightly better viewing. Coincidental, that Karl Urban is there in Chronicles too, in an equally ill defined role.

 

Onto other things – was reading a collection of GRR Martin novellas called the Dream Songs (I think) – the man can certainly write is brilliantly colourful manner. Loved the stories of Haviland Tuf, the intrepid space traveler with the Ark. There are a few scripts of the Twilight Zone TV series which are also pretty good. Enjoyed it.

Fwd: The Priest and other stuffs

Kahaani – mein twist..

Watched Kahaani, a couple of weeks back. Amazing movie – am totally impressed with how the movie played out. Though I kinda knew the story thanks to Wikipedia, I was totally floored by the execution. Vidya Balan is just purely amazing – she is phenomenal as Vidya (Bidya) Bagchi. A few things which kinda have been running through my head since I saw the movie (spoiler warning):

1.       Did Vidya know that she would be meeting Milan Damji during the last day of Pujo when all women in Calcutta would be in the red and white saree? Was it the plan?
2.       If so, would she have bought the saree, if Rana hadn’t bought it for her?
3.       If she could wear a saree well enough in the last scene, why did she kinda struggle with it earlier in the movie?
4.       The prosthetic belly came off fairly easily in the end – if the saree was worn over the belly, there was no way it would have held once the belly came off, so how did she get to move with a saree which was in good order?
5.       Did she take along the knitting pin head gear as a weapon – what she does with it is just amazing?
6.       For a pregnant woman in the 8th month, she was pretty mobile – or was it one of those things which was dropped in as a hint for something more?
7.       The usual suspects reference was very nice – the way Rana figures out that Vidya had used all of them.
8.       How was she so sure that someone in NDC will make the connection between her husband and Milan Damji – or was it only one of the many leads they were hoping to lead them to the culprits.
9.       How would it have played out if the HR Head hadn’t talked to her about Milind? Who would she have shown it to next.
10.   It seemed a bit too neat in retrospect, the way everything fell into place. But a remarkably commendable effort from an Indian filmmaker.
11.   The small touches were amazing – the way Sridhar runs into his office and the first thing he checks is to see if the CPU is warm – you don’t see that attention to detail often.
12.   Mona Lisa lodge and the “running water” are hilarious to say the least.
13.   And Kolkata, no, I prefer, Calcutta – the representation of the city gave me goose bumps – amazing representation of the city, right down to the squalor around it. Amazing – took me back 16 years to when I first walked into Cal – a bright eyed, bushy tailed kid of 21.
14.   Bob Biswas – the thought of a pot bellied LIC agent as an assassin is hilarious to think off and well, Bob is just too good, though very much out of shape.

The cast is phenomenal – from Parambrata Chatterjee as Rana to the kid who is the “running water”. But this movie is Vidya Balan’s – she owned the character Vidya Bagchi and is the heart of this movie. The ending is a bit of dampener – in the sense, you have 10 mins of additional background stuff – they should have ended with Vidya walking off in the procession of women. It is a bit like having Keyser Soze talk to Kobayashi about how and why he did what he did. The movie will not be the same again. I guess this must have been a dumbing down decision to make it accessible to more people. I loved this movie and would love to see it again.
Read tinker, tailor, soldier, spy after a long time – George Smiley, the anti thesis of James Bond. The old Le Carres are the best to read – there was something other than the usual depressing gobbledy gook that populate his later books. I liked T2S2 and Smiley’s People the best – you can see and follow a story through the haze of the personal and professional tribulation of Smiley. Honourable Schoolboy has a bit too much of Jerry for me. Russia House is good to start with. Our Game, Single & Single, Constant Gardner are all way over the shit. Nice writing, but fucking depressing. I have the movie and will have to watch it sometime soon.

Kahaani – mein twist..

Ah the Wall..

Kewl, a multitude of blogs have been singing paeans about the man since morning, a million commentators have commented about him. Rahul “the Wall” Dravid announced his retirement from cricket today. He is 39 years old, 3 years older than I am and ~a gazillion times fitter. The eternal bridesmaid, finally gets to be the bride, in his last act in cricket. He was part of the multitude of gods that India was blessed with in this era, an era which saw Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and finally, Sehwag, all play together. He did not make his debut as a precocious bundle of talent, that Tendulkar was, he was not considered for his silken touches which decimated attacks, that VVS Laxman was, he was not supremely capable of delivering tornado like attacks on the best bowling in the world, that Sehwag was capable of, nor was he the lazily, elegant batsman, that Ganguly was. Every cricket follower's mind lights up with reinforced cement concrete structures, when we say Rahul Dravid. He may have been the slowest of the lot, but he was by far the most consistent, even more so than Tendulkar, who tried but couldnt play the way Dravid could, certainly not for the period that he has. While Tendulkar has had to modify his style of playing, Ganguly and VVS being considered too inconsistent, and Sehwag well, he is something else, Dravid has been the same, if anything age has made him better. VVS' 281 couldnt have been that spectacular without Dravid on the other end, neither could Ganguly's onslaught on the Lankans in Taunton been possible without Dravid on the other end. With Dravid at one end, the other batsman could play with the freedom, that wasnt available with the others. A No. 3 who could bat when required anywhere from No.1 to No.6, Dravid was different. In an age of slam, bang, thank you ma'am, instant cricket, he was the technically gifted, superior batsman, who knew when to leave, when weave and when to go after the bowling. Not for nothing is his overseas record so stellar for India, at a time, when India was all at sea in the conditions in England, there was only one, standing tall amongst the ruins, making the English feel afraid, very afraid indeed, that he may inspire one of the others to do what they can do when he is holding out one end. To England's relief and India's eternal dismay, no one else stood up to the challenge. One cannot expect the Wall to hold strong, in Australia, he couldn't do that well, but hey, if after 16 years, you cant have a couple of sorry tests, then well, no one else can.

Off the field, the man has been characterised by an almost shy, introverted and intense persona. Pretty much like his other Karnataka colleague, Kumble, Dravid embodied dignity off the field and intensity and drive on it. I dont think the opposition attacks should have celebrated as much when they got Tendulkar's or Sehwag's or Laxman's wicket as much as they should have when got Dravid's, for he was the man around whom the others could play their earth shattering innings. I dont have the stats or the time for it to back this up, but I did read on the twitter feed today that Dravid's average when he had to come down at no.3 with no run on the board was close to 55.. and I wonder if we could get the average of all the batsman who actually played around him at those times, I wonder what it would be. But statistics dont define the man, the man is defined by what he does and hunch down, take the rigourous stance, look up, fix steely glare on the bowler and of course, have copious sweat streaming out from under the helmet. Dravid taking stance and batting wasn't about joyous abandon, it was about the serious business of actually getting the ball out of the way, it was a battle.

I will certainly miss him, a  more recent convert to test cricket, I have followed India's rise to top and the fall thereof because of two men – Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni (who btw deserves a post all by himself). I wont remember the stats, I wont tell be able to tell you what my favourite century of his was, I wont be able to tell you anything more, but I can certainly tell you that when Dravid walked into the play, you knew you had hope, that you could hope, the Wall was there.

In another sense, I feel old – Dravid started his career when I was 21, starting my life in IIM Calcutta. well, we will cherish the moment, will we.

Ah the Wall..

Knight & Day.. and other things..

Ah well, I saw Knight and Day, the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz starrer sometime back, on one of the TV channels.. the movie is a breeze.. hilarious and you actually like cruise in it.. the last movie I liked Cruise in was Last Samurai, where he actually had a decent role to play.. In Knight & Day he is kinda spoofing his MI roles of a super spy.. the movie is quite whacky and quite entertaining, though I think critical reviews were that it wasnt the best of movies.. there was enough action, cameron diaz and well, more action and people getting blown up.. some random plot of a self sustaining eternal battery provided the wire frame for this..

In other things, the Indian cricket team spectacularly combusted in Australia, completing the second 0-4 whitewash of the last 12 months. And unlike in England, where there was atleast the Wall, here the Wall well had a hole the size which even the dike saving boy from Holland couldnt plug. 6 clean bowleds in 8 innings – the Wall is crumbling. the Sehwag was grumbling after getting out without even getting starts. His equivalent in Australia, David Warner, atleast fizzed in one innings and we didnt get any from Sehwag, other than a few loose mouthed statements about how we beat the Aussies 2-0 at home. SRT seems to be digging himself deeper in the search for a century of centuries and his closest competitor got a career revival with 2 double hundreds against us.. and the pup became a dog and f&*%ked the shit out of us with a triple.. Our only bright spot was the maturing of Virat Kohli, who looks set to take over the no. 5 spot from VVS, while Rohit Sharma's star rose because he didnt play, as did Cheteshwar Pujara's. The bright spot for us was the fact that England were being made to look like an amateur school side by pakistan, the fact that none of the English players seemed to know how to play spin, seemed quite funny indeed. Lets hope the Pakis do a clean sweep, atleast, it will keep those insufferable commentary from the Eng/Aus commentary about how sub continent sides cant win outside of home, it looks like neither can England :).
Rajasthan played like the Chanderpaul of Ranji Trophy to pile up 604 from 240 odd overs and bore the shit out of TN, who then lost the match on first innings lead. heheh!
Knight & Day.. and other things..

Ah welll.. kolaveri di.

The song is certainly a earworm, as our the other songs sung by Dhanush in the movie Mayakkam Enna – listen to them, they are in my view better than kolaveri in its youtube viral form. Was debating on what I should write about – the second rung of heroines in the mid 50s bollywood (an interesting collection of actresses), the Indian cricket team or the whole kolaveri di thingummy jig. And it was an interesting debate indeed in my head on what I should write about for the 3.5 people that follow my blog. As Dhanush says, ok mama, tune change-a.

What a match – that got played out in Wankhede a few days back – 17 wickets over close to 90 overs – 290 odd runs scored for it. From being a batsman paradise, it swung the other way to be a bowler's wicket in the last day. But I digress, the debate in my head was on what to write about. Given the plethora of topics available, I took the management presentation approach – a bullet point for each issue..
1. Kolaveri Di – well, the song has certainly taken a life of its own.. and yes, Mr Akhtar, the lyrics are bit rubbish, the meesic is synthetic and Dhanush not a good singer, but hey, wtf, a few million people disagree with you.. anyways, i dont know if i will ever watch the movie or not, but i certainly have to agree that Dhanush seems to be maturing as an actor – his earlier movies mainly for his brother had him as a borderline emaciated psycho, then he became the stick action figure in a few movies, but he seems to be growing a bit more in the recent movies.. Lets see what comes of him.
2. Dhanush the singer – kolaveri di is imho the worst of the three songs that he has sung so far – the two in mayakkam enna are far better rendered, and he has a lot more to do with his voice in those. and if selvaraghavan and he have written the lyrics for that song, we may soon have the brotherly equivalent of TR soon.. 😉
3. the Indian Test Cricket team – continues to amaze with its capability to deliver under home conditions, the windies arent the force that they were, but India did make things look very easy in the first two matches. the third match which was going to be a boring draw, became a entertaining, rivetting actioner thanks to the batsmen from both sides.. a draw with equal scores is not something you scoff at.
4. The Indian ODI team – seems to have a India A capable of beating most sides on its own.
5. the fastbowling new pair – from the threesome consisting of Yadav, Aaron and Mithun seems to be good to start with, but are suffering seriously from lack of direction in the death. A few matches with Zaheer Khan should possibly help them out better.
6. Cricket in general – the SA- Aus test series, the India- Windies series, the Pak- SL series, all got off to close matches and entertainment. Good to see that.
7. Indian politics – seems to be competing with the sensex in setting new lows.. K Si- bal is the latest in the set of great ones to emanate from the system.. more like LK Bal though..
kewl..

Ah welll.. kolaveri di.