Ek Tha Tiger – Music Review

July 22nd, 2012

Arguably, ask Ek Tha Tiger is this season’s most awaited film. Consequently, impotent it’s music carries with it an unwarranted high expectations. Just how is a ‘blockbuster music’ supposed to sound? If one peeps into history, most popular music or music from bumper hits wasn’t ‘architected’ to hit the bull’s eye, it just happened in due course of time. Expectations add an unnecessary burden, and most times creators fail to live up to it – not because their deliveries are bad, but because by nature expectation is always a notch higher in some vagure netherworld that is undefinable.

The reviews I read on the internet all seemed to carry some sort of mental measuring scale trying to match that undefined mark with the result in hand. My review is about a bunch of song, the film be damned! In any case, film songs should fit the plot, but at the same time have a life of their own to live beyond the film. In this, I feel Ek Tha Tiger numbers do succeed. Whether they fit into the story or not, is something that can only be gauged once the film releases, but listening to the audio it piques the interest, and standalone they have a life of their own.

Though, I’d be honest to say that I approached it with my own set of expectations – the key composer Sohail Sen is a music director I have been keenly following having taken to his warm, instrument-based compositions (a break away from the cluttered similar sounding composers of today). I still vociferously & firmly assert that his Khelen Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a masterpiece worth its every note weighed in gold!

First things first, the number of songs – four originals, one theme music followed by bunch of remixes. The remixes are redundant, and I will leave them out. Four songs is pathetically low number and seriously gives away the discouraging fact that music was never meant to be the film’s mainstay. But then Yash Raj Films’ romantic blockbuster Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi had a similar number of songs hence a thriller (albeit a romantic one, whatever that means) was bound to have same or less. Thankfully, they kept it at same.

The four songs blend with the main filming locations : Cuba, Ireland, Middle East and of course our very own India.

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Blood Money–Film Review

April 1st, 2012

The glare of rich, recipe easy and comfortable life that blurs the lines between morality and crime (while the protagonist’s lover looks on helplessly) has been an oft explored theme in Hindi cinema. Right from Shri 420 to Naam to Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman to Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai, several Rajus have been blown away by the easy money tainted with blood, urged to mud mud ke na dekh to the middle class but tough and morally high life they have just disparagingly discarded. One more addition to such morally corrupted protagonist list is Kunal Kadam ( Kunal Kemmu, with his surname spelling changed, mind it!).

 

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Lost Baggages

March 17th, 2012

Yesterday, information pills stomach poet, director & writer Gulzar celebrated is 73rd birthday. Thanks to his recent successes, he is one name who is still pretty reknowned amongst the young generation. These days, his Kaminey‘s Dhan Te Nan is quite popular. And earlier this year, he co-won the prestigious Oscar for Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire)

Due to this, every radio channel worth its airwaves played his songs on their daily ‘oldie goldie’ programmes. By ten pm, I was furiously switching between four channels, simultaneously sms’ing to two friends the favorite songs (multi-tasking, eh!).

Well, as the frenzy endied, I thought I had to list out a few of his songs that the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar has graced with her mellifluous voice; after all, both have immense mutual respect for each other. She has sung in most of his films. And he has directed her home production (Lekin). The association started right from Bandini, when a young Gulzar wrote a lovely lyric about a love-lorn woman, based on refrains from Radha-Krishna lovetale. Mora gora ang lai le continues to enthrall listeners, old and new; S D Burman’s frugal but fruitful music enchants.

(As always, this is a random list – not in any particular order, and since Mora gora ang lai le has been mentioned above, and deserves to be before any list, it is not mentioned below).

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Kahaani–Film Review

March 11th, 2012

Kahaani is a brilliantly directed, website taut and tense thriller, with dollops of twists, treatment and  loads of suspense,  leaving the audience forever guessing, and lots of surprise elements that will keep you riveted to your seats.

 

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Jodi Breakers–Film Review

March 4th, 2012

Jodi Breakers seems to stem out from someone pointing out after watching Band Baaja Baraat (BBB) -‘what if they specialized in breaking than making couples?’

Well, for sale yes? Then? Then what?

 

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London Paris New York–Film Review

March 4th, 2012

Sweet, page short, slim and pretty much serene; though the film lacks a full-bodied story yet it makes it up with its inherent charm & easy-going affability, especially between the lead pair. Plus, it’s running time is just about right.

 

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This & That – Life Continues!

December 18th, 2011

Leaving this space unattended was not intentional. It just happened. Perhaps, ask capsule Facebook is to blame as it devours a bulk of my time; especially, viagra sale I find posting quick and short film reviews, without much editing or thought, easier and convenient. Here, I’d labor over grammar and vocabulary and definitely a deeper thought process would be involved. Plus, most friends are there who read it immediately and give a quick comment.

However, past week or so I realized the downside. Leaving home unattended meant cyber-tramps barged in. Spam comments has shot up to an unbelievably high levels; the menace has reached a stage where I have to put my foot down, so here I am updating the site and hoping this will curb their barrage. Of course, the spam comments ranged from the hilarious to the fescennine but still I’d do without them.

Life’s been mostly routine, normal and hardly post-worthy. Or, and most likey that’s the correct reason, my life-vision has dimmed to not view it from that angle any longer. Picking up the thread from my last post, I settled comfortably into my new house. Err, much too comfortably, as my friend pointed out. Though I’d somewhat disagree. I have gone and seen (and rejected) a few houses (for buying purpose) but yes admittedly the effort has carried the same amount of urgency as it did at the beginning of this year. Which reminds me, 2011 is almost over. Strange, how time flies.

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Finally!

May 13th, 2011

Finally, medicine I found a house – albeit, page a rented one, for now! But before I could reach here I had to undergo my share of the proverbial baptism by fire!

My search for a decent house to purchase went up right up to mid-April, when panic set in. Time had run out -I had to vacate the previous one by the month-end, and I was nowhere close to selecting, leave alone starting the cumbersome paper-work. Before I left for Delhi for a short-trip, I zeroed-in on a nice rental accommodation. On return, I went to pay the advance when the owner dropped a devastating bomb on my well-laid plans: the society will not allow bachelors to stay there. As he spoke those horrifying words the ground shifted beneath my feet, my mouth dried and I felt uncomfortably nauseous. Sitting in the owner’s obnoxiously claustrophobic office, I stammered some well-meaning arguments which fell with impotent futility on his iron-hard demeanor. The only words echoing in my mind were my promises to my then-current owner made just that morning, about vacating the next weekend, and they played relentlessly like a tape in an infinite spool.

Stepping out into the oppressive Mumbai humidity, I turned to my property consultant. I was too frustrated to even get angry at him who should have checked all these details beforehand. On his part, he apologized profusely and frantically dialed his contacts and lined up a few more.

The next few hours felt like a movie hurtled into a frenzied pace, without making any sense or logic – driving from one house to another, tiresomely waiting in the courtyard for keys to arrive, viewing some that befit haunted movies sets than living-in, negotiating with prospective owners (as suddenly I discovered I had to adjust my budget upward). And all this without having eaten either breakfast or lunch or having even a drop of water. Like a parched and shriveled leaf thrown into a gargantuan whirlpool, by the end of that terrifying noon I felt beaten and bruised.

In all this, the sun hammered with its unforgiving fury and the humidity sucked out the last of my waning energies.

Happy Seventh Anniversary

February 17th, 2011

I have been quite bad. I start off with a ‘series’ and never really sit to pen its subsequent parts. So, audiologist hemorrhoids let me rectify that immediately. Since eating out is more compulsion than choice, unhealthy I guess it was easier to complete this.

So without much further ado, here is the second installment of this series:

Copper Chimney (Worli, Near Atria Mall) – I had tried Copper Chimney in Delhi, so I was very sure what to expect. Serves Indian cuisine. Am told it has good non-vegetarian fare (though I haven’t tried, since I visited only after converting to vegetarianism). Contrary to many other restaurants, CC in Bombay enjoys ample space, with lots of crevices and corners to enjoy a relaxed private meal. I had ordered pretty standard fare (Dal makhani, naan and paneer) and they were all good.

Vig (Chembur) – If you are in Chembur, and haven’t been to Vig‘s then you ain’t eaten anything. Like Crystal, Vig has small space, not very tidy and pretty ‘down-market’ look. But let it not fool you. The food is simply sumptuous and will have you literally licking your fingers. Serves veg and what we can call ‘snacks’. However, they are more than stomach-ful. The chholas are just amazing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Phir Wahi Talash

January 23rd, 2011

Its that one album I had been waiting for which I could gush over without attaching any conditions. I had almost given up hope in the current dismal music scenario, adiposity epidemic though admittedly the past two months have been pretty interesting in an assorted manner. From Pritam’s oeuvre, physician I liked a couple of ditties from Once Upon A Time in Mumbai and Aakrosh; Vishal-Shekhar provided some good tracks in Anjaana Anjaani; I quite enjoyed Anu Mallik’s Laagi laagi milan dhun laagi (Shreya Ghoshal) from Hisss and of course, Lata Mangeshkar’s mammoth effort in Dunno Y: Na Jaane Kyun’s title track is worth its weight in gold.

However, it was always a song or two picked up and never the full album. Until I discovered Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, composed by Sohail Sen, who had also done Ashutosh Gowarikar‘s previous film What’s Your Rashee‘s brilliant score. In fact, I had discovered What’s Your Rashee very late, when the film and its music had vanished from public memory. By then, I guess, it was too late and I confess that even though I had enjoyed the music, I couldn’t pay complete attention as some other newer stuff had churned out by then and plus old songs continue to occupy majority of my mind space. Now, having re-visited that album with more depth and much attention, I feel like kicking myself for not even including it in my year-end list.

Returning to Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, it is a soundtrack that swiftly sweeps you off your feet and takes into an exquisite musical journey and finally transports you into a landscape where tunes are simple but exquisite and where instruments rule, like they always should in a soundtrack. The album has gripped me, mesmerized me and interested me to an impossibly high extent

Sohail Sen’s compositions are magnificent aural enchantment. His biggest USP (and holds true for What’s Your Raashee too)is his rich interludes – music that goes between the words. If that is good, the song gains weight and warrants repeated hearings. I have always believed interludes should be tunes in themselves that link the antaras, and they should flow out from one into the other. His second strong point is that his tunes do not rely on a hook line ; these are real tunes given to fine words (Javed Akhtar). For example, in Nayn tere jhuke jhuke the tune effervescently ripples like a gurgling river, without obligation to return to a catch-phrase. This is how old songs were composed and this is precisely how melody is endurably created. Although I understand it doesn’t matter to many, but I am pleased he mostly uses the quintessential film song structure as well (at least for songs having two stanzas): prelude, mukhda (repeated twice), interlude1, antara, interlude2, antara2 and mukhda or main riff-repeat at the end.

On all counts, Sohail Sen has delivered masterfully. As I titled this post (which, incidentally, is not a review but more an appreciation post), Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a colossal celebration of sound where dollops of sitar, tabla, flute, whistle, accordions, percussions and a heavy strings section combine to seduce listeners into a delightfully satisfying and deeply satiating festivity. The tonal quality is deeply resonating, weighty and one that I absolutely adore (arrangers & programmers: Simaab Sen, Prakash Peters & Rajeev Bhatt) Sohail Sen weaves a musical rich shawl that grips, hugs and warms your heart. Mind it, it s not possible to select one song as the entire soundtrack is an impeccable intricate wholesome design as each tune or riff finds a refrain in another piece. Hence, my strong suggestion is to listen to the full album as it is laid out and do it on a good sound system.

Coming to the songs, the album opens with a splendid number Yeh des hai mera yeh des mera: the tune s stunning attraction lies is in its third line ( Jaan rahe na rahe dil toh ab yeh kahe ) which takes an unexpected but pleasant detour from the opening two lines, and you know you are hooked, and as it progresses the interludes (a soft humming chorus with santoor) and the antara flow like a balmy zephyr, with a dash of Vande Mataram audible in the second interlude. Sohail’s voice adds shine.

But Yeh des hai mera is a mere appetizer to the main course that succeeds it. Nayn tere jhuke jhuke kyun hai tu bata is a song that transports into a totally different era an age of simplicity and heart-achingly beautiful innocence where two friends could giggle about first flush of love, while going about their chores. Remember those Lata-Asha duets, with the heroines on cycle going for a picnic? Almost similar in flavor. And this has an outstanding flutes (especially in its main riff) and a distinctly Bengali flavor. Keeping in line with the same melody there is Sapne saloney hain sach toh hone, a porcelain fragile love duet, which includes lovely sitar pieces (and sitar is a personal favorite). When was the last time you really heard sitar in a Hindi film soundtrack?

Finally, we have the clarion call Ab humko roke na toke koi, a superb choral burst (Suresh Wadkar’s academy students sing with verve and vigor) and where the title words (Khelein hum jee jaan sey) are its lynchpin, and once again some more impressively done arrangements. The music has so much enthusiasm & energy that it can rouse even the dead.

Thereafter, the album is filled with an array of background instrumental pieces each one cross-referencing to one or the other song, and each having a distinct enjoyable sound. My favorites are Long Live Chittagong & The Teenager’s Whistle (back to back, they can be clubbed together), The Escape, Vande Mataram & Revolutionary Comrades.

In each of these, the music is so rich & evocative you can almost visualize & imagine the scene. I eagerly await Ashutosh’s on-screen interpretation(and going by his previous track record I am sure it will have some stunning cinematography & provide equal visual delight).

In all, it’s an album worth spending money on and listen to it with eyes closed deeply immersed in it’s music. And while you are doing so, please do also grab a copy of Ashutosh Gowariker‘s What’s Your Rashee to understand Sohail Sen’s continuum in music space. Hopefully, he will continue to create music in this way.

Overall: Must Buy

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I am on a house-hunt. Again. Last week, advice my landlady dropped the bomb that they needed the house returned; and this, sickness after their broker had lulled me into believing the lease will be renewed. Apparently, that’s not the case. This, when (after all my doubts) I had actually started to love my current pad. I requested for a three-month buffer, and immediately dialed my regular broker. He all but groaned though nevertheless promised to help; after all, that’s his business.

I saw the first batch yesterday and like the previous two times, returned frustrated, grumpy & cribbing. Yesterday’s search added one more word from Bombay’s unique property lexicon: ‘converted homes’ ; and though I realize property is an unlisted but potent religion, still, the word flummoxed me, till the time I saw one such ‘convert’ . It means slicing an already tiny 1BHK into further two frustratingly tinier bedrooms; usually, the kitchen area is the sacrificial lamb in this sacrament, reduced to a mere apology of a sliver. In the first such house, I marveled at a family staying in this constricted space – consisting of a father, a couple *and* a huge dog!

I decided ‘Converted houses’ are not my cup of poison and I strictly forbade the broker to show me anymore such hybrids. Likewise, I also struck off any one-hall-kitchen; in one such home, I gaped with amusement at the kitchen (with a sink and gas stove) on one corner and the bed on the other. I crave my coffee cup early morning but to stagger sleepily out of bed and immediately face the gas-stove is stretching convenience even beyond my lazy limit.

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Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey – A Celebration of Sound

November 14th, 2010

I have been quite bad. I start off with a ‘series’ and never really sit to pen its subsequent parts. So, audiologist hemorrhoids let me rectify that immediately. Since eating out is more compulsion than choice, unhealthy I guess it was easier to complete this.

So without much further ado, here is the second installment of this series:

Copper Chimney (Worli, Near Atria Mall) – I had tried Copper Chimney in Delhi, so I was very sure what to expect. Serves Indian cuisine. Am told it has good non-vegetarian fare (though I haven’t tried, since I visited only after converting to vegetarianism). Contrary to many other restaurants, CC in Bombay enjoys ample space, with lots of crevices and corners to enjoy a relaxed private meal. I had ordered pretty standard fare (Dal makhani, naan and paneer) and they were all good.

Vig (Chembur) – If you are in Chembur, and haven’t been to Vig‘s then you ain’t eaten anything. Like Crystal, Vig has small space, not very tidy and pretty ‘down-market’ look. But let it not fool you. The food is simply sumptuous and will have you literally licking your fingers. Serves veg and what we can call ‘snacks’. However, they are more than stomach-ful. The chholas are just amazing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mumbai Musings

October 10th, 2010

I have been quite bad. I start off with a ‘series’ and never really sit to pen its subsequent parts. So, audiologist hemorrhoids let me rectify that immediately. Since eating out is more compulsion than choice, unhealthy I guess it was easier to complete this.

So without much further ado, here is the second installment of this series:

Copper Chimney (Worli, Near Atria Mall) – I had tried Copper Chimney in Delhi, so I was very sure what to expect. Serves Indian cuisine. Am told it has good non-vegetarian fare (though I haven’t tried, since I visited only after converting to vegetarianism). Contrary to many other restaurants, CC in Bombay enjoys ample space, with lots of crevices and corners to enjoy a relaxed private meal. I had ordered pretty standard fare (Dal makhani, naan and paneer) and they were all good.

Vig (Chembur) – If you are in Chembur, and haven’t been to Vig‘s then you ain’t eaten anything. Like Crystal, Vig has small space, not very tidy and pretty ‘down-market’ look. But let it not fool you. The food is simply sumptuous and will have you literally licking your fingers. Serves veg and what we can call ‘snacks’. However, they are more than stomach-ful. The chholas are just amazing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Update

July 15th, 2010

 In the past month or two, physician more about cutting through hectic work schedules, store maneovering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), refractionist I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest;  however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer’s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a ficitonalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Since reaching Mt. Everest would inevitably involve a bit of India, there is a tiny section set in Bombay (so that’s why he was here last year, to research and get a feel?). However, I found that sliver entirely uninteresting and completely uninspiring, and certainly a huge disappointment. I expected better from Archer, even if the story is set in 1920’s. Rather, I found Vikram Bhatt’s research (or imagination) of that era much more vivid & compelling in 1920 (even though it is downright gross to compare two different media – films & books – but then, a book allows for more in-depth detailing, which makes Archer’s ommision even futher glaring!)

Overall, the novel is a good light read, not comparable to his legendary works, a notch lower than his previous Prisoner of Birth (of which, I have his duly signed copy), but certainly much above the other mass I read.

The biggest letdown was John Grisham’s The Associate. With an awesome build-up, and a terrific story-line (about a young associate haunted by his seemingly reckless past), the novel could have been sensational. Sadly, its climax simply shatters all the good work of previous pages. In fact, there is no climax, no end at all – so much so, I had to check & recheck whether the copy I bought had the last few pages missing! Either Grisham was in a hurry to publish it (which seems unlikely) or he has a sequel in mind (which could be a possibility). Either ways, I expected better.

Other than these two, I read several other relatively unknown authors (though all the cover jackets proclaimed them #1 New York Times Best Sellers!). A colleague (who knows my penchant for reading) keeps regularly passing me these books. They are an excellent read to pass a Saturday evening & whole Sunday. Some are genuinely gripping till the time they last, but soon fade off. The proximity of these reads ensure a gala confusion- characters of one have seagued into another. But one thing, most are set in American towns (often smaller ones from where the authors originate), and hence give an absorbing & hitherto unknown insight. As they last, I like to be part of these people, using my imagination where the author has not filled in, and enjoy them like long-lost friends dropping in home. These novels usually don’t have complex tales, and generally carry happy endings. And oh yes, the amount of coffee at work (almost always bad at work place) and the general sense of ‘work’ there keeps me guessing, is working in America really that ‘glamorous’? Some, looked like a TV mini-series rather than a full-blown movie. So, that’s where the difference lies between the good and the great!

My latest finish in this lot are , Mary Higgins Clark’s The Second Time Around and Nora Roberts’ Birthright. Clark’s novel is better of the two. Both carry some suspense. Both have strong women protagonists. And both should read Agatha Christie to realize that ‘the murderer’ should be a suspect from a pool of people who are properly introduced and given enough word space, so that needle of suspicion can keep spinning. Roberts fails miserably here. The wrong-doer is from a bunch of side-characters, whom I had nearly skimmed over. She could have given more time there to the side-characters so that the reader could have kept guessing which one is ‘the one’- instead she wastes valuable pages on what essentially is a Mills-and-Boons type of romance, with elongated (and perfect) love making (after a while it became so irritating that I simply skipped pages anytime the hero and heroine were alone), ending in soft sighs, tears flowing down and breaths going choppy.

There were more, but they have slipped my memory for now. Will try to write on them later.

 

In the past month or two, ophthalmologist cutting through hectic work schedules, visit maneuvering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), clinic I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest; however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer‘s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a fictionalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shifting

March 16th, 2010

 In the past month or two, physician more about cutting through hectic work schedules, store maneovering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), refractionist I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest;  however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer’s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a ficitonalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Since reaching Mt. Everest would inevitably involve a bit of India, there is a tiny section set in Bombay (so that’s why he was here last year, to research and get a feel?). However, I found that sliver entirely uninteresting and completely uninspiring, and certainly a huge disappointment. I expected better from Archer, even if the story is set in 1920’s. Rather, I found Vikram Bhatt’s research (or imagination) of that era much more vivid & compelling in 1920 (even though it is downright gross to compare two different media – films & books – but then, a book allows for more in-depth detailing, which makes Archer’s ommision even futher glaring!)

Overall, the novel is a good light read, not comparable to his legendary works, a notch lower than his previous Prisoner of Birth (of which, I have his duly signed copy), but certainly much above the other mass I read.

The biggest letdown was John Grisham’s The Associate. With an awesome build-up, and a terrific story-line (about a young associate haunted by his seemingly reckless past), the novel could have been sensational. Sadly, its climax simply shatters all the good work of previous pages. In fact, there is no climax, no end at all – so much so, I had to check & recheck whether the copy I bought had the last few pages missing! Either Grisham was in a hurry to publish it (which seems unlikely) or he has a sequel in mind (which could be a possibility). Either ways, I expected better.

Other than these two, I read several other relatively unknown authors (though all the cover jackets proclaimed them #1 New York Times Best Sellers!). A colleague (who knows my penchant for reading) keeps regularly passing me these books. They are an excellent read to pass a Saturday evening & whole Sunday. Some are genuinely gripping till the time they last, but soon fade off. The proximity of these reads ensure a gala confusion- characters of one have seagued into another. But one thing, most are set in American towns (often smaller ones from where the authors originate), and hence give an absorbing & hitherto unknown insight. As they last, I like to be part of these people, using my imagination where the author has not filled in, and enjoy them like long-lost friends dropping in home. These novels usually don’t have complex tales, and generally carry happy endings. And oh yes, the amount of coffee at work (almost always bad at work place) and the general sense of ‘work’ there keeps me guessing, is working in America really that ‘glamorous’? Some, looked like a TV mini-series rather than a full-blown movie. So, that’s where the difference lies between the good and the great!

My latest finish in this lot are , Mary Higgins Clark’s The Second Time Around and Nora Roberts’ Birthright. Clark’s novel is better of the two. Both carry some suspense. Both have strong women protagonists. And both should read Agatha Christie to realize that ‘the murderer’ should be a suspect from a pool of people who are properly introduced and given enough word space, so that needle of suspicion can keep spinning. Roberts fails miserably here. The wrong-doer is from a bunch of side-characters, whom I had nearly skimmed over. She could have given more time there to the side-characters so that the reader could have kept guessing which one is ‘the one’- instead she wastes valuable pages on what essentially is a Mills-and-Boons type of romance, with elongated (and perfect) love making (after a while it became so irritating that I simply skipped pages anytime the hero and heroine were alone), ending in soft sighs, tears flowing down and breaths going choppy.

There were more, but they have slipped my memory for now. Will try to write on them later.

 

In the past month or two, ophthalmologist cutting through hectic work schedules, visit maneuvering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), clinic I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest; however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer‘s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a fictionalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Read the rest of this entry »

Six Years!

February 27th, 2010

 In the past month or two, physician more about cutting through hectic work schedules, store maneovering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), refractionist I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest;  however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer’s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a ficitonalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Since reaching Mt. Everest would inevitably involve a bit of India, there is a tiny section set in Bombay (so that’s why he was here last year, to research and get a feel?). However, I found that sliver entirely uninteresting and completely uninspiring, and certainly a huge disappointment. I expected better from Archer, even if the story is set in 1920’s. Rather, I found Vikram Bhatt’s research (or imagination) of that era much more vivid & compelling in 1920 (even though it is downright gross to compare two different media – films & books – but then, a book allows for more in-depth detailing, which makes Archer’s ommision even futher glaring!)

Overall, the novel is a good light read, not comparable to his legendary works, a notch lower than his previous Prisoner of Birth (of which, I have his duly signed copy), but certainly much above the other mass I read.

The biggest letdown was John Grisham’s The Associate. With an awesome build-up, and a terrific story-line (about a young associate haunted by his seemingly reckless past), the novel could have been sensational. Sadly, its climax simply shatters all the good work of previous pages. In fact, there is no climax, no end at all – so much so, I had to check & recheck whether the copy I bought had the last few pages missing! Either Grisham was in a hurry to publish it (which seems unlikely) or he has a sequel in mind (which could be a possibility). Either ways, I expected better.

Other than these two, I read several other relatively unknown authors (though all the cover jackets proclaimed them #1 New York Times Best Sellers!). A colleague (who knows my penchant for reading) keeps regularly passing me these books. They are an excellent read to pass a Saturday evening & whole Sunday. Some are genuinely gripping till the time they last, but soon fade off. The proximity of these reads ensure a gala confusion- characters of one have seagued into another. But one thing, most are set in American towns (often smaller ones from where the authors originate), and hence give an absorbing & hitherto unknown insight. As they last, I like to be part of these people, using my imagination where the author has not filled in, and enjoy them like long-lost friends dropping in home. These novels usually don’t have complex tales, and generally carry happy endings. And oh yes, the amount of coffee at work (almost always bad at work place) and the general sense of ‘work’ there keeps me guessing, is working in America really that ‘glamorous’? Some, looked like a TV mini-series rather than a full-blown movie. So, that’s where the difference lies between the good and the great!

My latest finish in this lot are , Mary Higgins Clark’s The Second Time Around and Nora Roberts’ Birthright. Clark’s novel is better of the two. Both carry some suspense. Both have strong women protagonists. And both should read Agatha Christie to realize that ‘the murderer’ should be a suspect from a pool of people who are properly introduced and given enough word space, so that needle of suspicion can keep spinning. Roberts fails miserably here. The wrong-doer is from a bunch of side-characters, whom I had nearly skimmed over. She could have given more time there to the side-characters so that the reader could have kept guessing which one is ‘the one’- instead she wastes valuable pages on what essentially is a Mills-and-Boons type of romance, with elongated (and perfect) love making (after a while it became so irritating that I simply skipped pages anytime the hero and heroine were alone), ending in soft sighs, tears flowing down and breaths going choppy.

There were more, but they have slipped my memory for now. Will try to write on them later.

 

In the past month or two, ophthalmologist cutting through hectic work schedules, visit maneuvering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), clinic I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest; however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer‘s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a fictionalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top Songs – 2009

January 4th, 2010

 In the past month or two, physician more about cutting through hectic work schedules, store maneovering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), refractionist I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest;  however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer’s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a ficitonalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Since reaching Mt. Everest would inevitably involve a bit of India, there is a tiny section set in Bombay (so that’s why he was here last year, to research and get a feel?). However, I found that sliver entirely uninteresting and completely uninspiring, and certainly a huge disappointment. I expected better from Archer, even if the story is set in 1920’s. Rather, I found Vikram Bhatt’s research (or imagination) of that era much more vivid & compelling in 1920 (even though it is downright gross to compare two different media – films & books – but then, a book allows for more in-depth detailing, which makes Archer’s ommision even futher glaring!)

Overall, the novel is a good light read, not comparable to his legendary works, a notch lower than his previous Prisoner of Birth (of which, I have his duly signed copy), but certainly much above the other mass I read.

The biggest letdown was John Grisham’s The Associate. With an awesome build-up, and a terrific story-line (about a young associate haunted by his seemingly reckless past), the novel could have been sensational. Sadly, its climax simply shatters all the good work of previous pages. In fact, there is no climax, no end at all – so much so, I had to check & recheck whether the copy I bought had the last few pages missing! Either Grisham was in a hurry to publish it (which seems unlikely) or he has a sequel in mind (which could be a possibility). Either ways, I expected better.

Other than these two, I read several other relatively unknown authors (though all the cover jackets proclaimed them #1 New York Times Best Sellers!). A colleague (who knows my penchant for reading) keeps regularly passing me these books. They are an excellent read to pass a Saturday evening & whole Sunday. Some are genuinely gripping till the time they last, but soon fade off. The proximity of these reads ensure a gala confusion- characters of one have seagued into another. But one thing, most are set in American towns (often smaller ones from where the authors originate), and hence give an absorbing & hitherto unknown insight. As they last, I like to be part of these people, using my imagination where the author has not filled in, and enjoy them like long-lost friends dropping in home. These novels usually don’t have complex tales, and generally carry happy endings. And oh yes, the amount of coffee at work (almost always bad at work place) and the general sense of ‘work’ there keeps me guessing, is working in America really that ‘glamorous’? Some, looked like a TV mini-series rather than a full-blown movie. So, that’s where the difference lies between the good and the great!

My latest finish in this lot are , Mary Higgins Clark’s The Second Time Around and Nora Roberts’ Birthright. Clark’s novel is better of the two. Both carry some suspense. Both have strong women protagonists. And both should read Agatha Christie to realize that ‘the murderer’ should be a suspect from a pool of people who are properly introduced and given enough word space, so that needle of suspicion can keep spinning. Roberts fails miserably here. The wrong-doer is from a bunch of side-characters, whom I had nearly skimmed over. She could have given more time there to the side-characters so that the reader could have kept guessing which one is ‘the one’- instead she wastes valuable pages on what essentially is a Mills-and-Boons type of romance, with elongated (and perfect) love making (after a while it became so irritating that I simply skipped pages anytime the hero and heroine were alone), ending in soft sighs, tears flowing down and breaths going choppy.

There were more, but they have slipped my memory for now. Will try to write on them later.

 

In the past month or two, ophthalmologist cutting through hectic work schedules, visit maneuvering hefty month-end targets and sinking into an ennui (impossible to shrug off), clinic I carved out time for two main activities- one, search and buy a good music system (hi-end, assembled and absolutely a delight) and two, catch up on reading. Thankfully, April served a plethora of holidays to enjoy both. In any case, the sultry and humid weather that swamped Bombay disallowed any activity beyond home. And both IPL & the current on-going tussle between multi-plex owners & producers ensured no release worth watching hit the theaters.

I saw two flicks I had missed earlier – on DVD. 13B was engrossing and entertaining. Though not overtly scary, it carried enough drama to hold viewer’s interest; however, the director failed minutes before the climax. Jai Veeru was absolutely disgusting – the premise was so kiddish, I am sure it couldn’t have even looked good on paper. Why did they even waste time & money filming it?

Coming to books, I finished Jeffery Archer‘s latest release – Paths of Glory. It’s a fictionalized account of mountaineer George Mallory, who may or may not be the first person to set foot on Mt. Everest. Archer narrates the story in his inimitable fashion, peppering it with interesting anecdotes, starting it from the beginning, in a saga-fashion, just like many of his previous works.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eating Out In Bombay -2

November 23rd, 2009

I have been quite bad. I start off with a ‘series’ and never really sit to pen its subsequent parts. So, audiologist hemorrhoids let me rectify that immediately. Since eating out is more compulsion than choice, unhealthy I guess it was easier to complete this.

So without much further ado, here is the second installment of this series:

Copper Chimney (Worli, Near Atria Mall) – I had tried Copper Chimney in Delhi, so I was very sure what to expect. Serves Indian cuisine. Am told it has good non-vegetarian fare (though I haven’t tried, since I visited only after converting to vegetarianism). Contrary to many other restaurants, CC in Bombay enjoys ample space, with lots of crevices and corners to enjoy a relaxed private meal. I had ordered pretty standard fare (Dal makhani, naan and paneer) and they were all good.

Vig (Chembur) – If you are in Chembur, and haven’t been to Vig‘s then you ain’t eaten anything. Like Crystal, Vig has small space, not very tidy and pretty ‘down-market’ look. But let it not fool you. The food is simply sumptuous and will have you literally licking your fingers. Serves veg and what we can call ‘snacks’. However, they are more than stomach-ful. The chholas are just amazing.

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Potpourri

November 5th, 2009

Wishing all readers a Very Happy & Prosperous Diwali. As the Bisleri advt went…please play safe (and I mean in all respects).

With the sheer number of restaurants that Bombay has, buy one can devote an entire blog. If I go by the count, order it seems people in Bombay hardly cook at home. Comparatively, Delhi has fewer joints. But quantity does not equate quality. So the law of averages catches up here too.

Here I present a small list of restaurants I have enjoyed visiting (and re-visiting) over the past two years:

Read the rest of this entry »

Eating Out In Bombay – 1

November 2nd, 2009

Wishing all readers a Very Happy & Prosperous Diwali. As the Bisleri advt went…please play safe (and I mean in all respects).

With the sheer number of restaurants that Bombay has, buy one can devote an entire blog. If I go by the count, order it seems people in Bombay hardly cook at home. Comparatively, Delhi has fewer joints. But quantity does not equate quality. So the law of averages catches up here too.

Here I present a small list of restaurants I have enjoyed visiting (and re-visiting) over the past two years:

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Diwali

October 17th, 2009

Wishing all readers a Very Happy & Prosperous Diwali. As the Bisleri advt went…please play safe (and I mean in all respects).