Kya Super Kool Hain Hum – Review

There is not much to say…the movie is too desperate. It tries too hard to match the effortlessness of Kya Kool Hain Hum. The movie is funny in parts but overall the movie is built around PJ’s of astronomical heights. It is like the movie is trying to be an adult movie for the sake of it. There is a continuous barrage of cheap jokes too.

Tushar Kapoor (I refuse to use Tu’ss’har) as always a major disappointment. He tries hard to recreate the magic of his only good performance which is Golmaal. But as mentioned earlier, it reflects as a very desperate attempt on the part of Tushar to use his previous successful character to infuse substance in his role. Tushar needs acting classes…badly…

Sarah Jane does a decent job. She plays her part well but is overshadowed by Neha Sharma in a massive way.

Ritesh Deshmukh is a seriously talent actor with an amazing sense of comic timing. Ritesh pulls off a few scenes a dialogues which I bet no other actor can possibly pull off. Even this movie seems like one of those movies which Ritesh completely carries on his shoulders. Not only does he play his own part brilliantly but also makes up for others shortfall…only issue this time Tushar was way ahead of him and Ritesh could not make up for it. Someone mentioned ‘The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits’.

Neha Sharma stuns. She looks pretty and acts pretty decently actually. I am sure acting opposite Tushar made her job a tough act but she kinda managed to pull it off. I feel it is impossible for a woman to act as if she is in love with Tushar, but she does extremely well. I could watch the movie all over again, only for her.

Anupam Kher & Chunky Pandey play their roles rather efficiently. Anupam Kher specially does an awesome job.

Watch the movie if you have nothing better to do, in fact a look at Housefull 2 again would be more entertaining. However, you could watch the movie again for Neha Sharma, I will.

The Dark Knight Rises – Review

Ok, I promise to have no spoilers in this review; it is a plan simple review for the ones who are looking for an opinion.

The movie, though not one of Nolan’s finest, as he has been claiming over the past few weeks, is still a must watch. The legend of The Dark Knight finally ends and ends pretty well actually. Not every movie you make can achieve what ‘The Dark Knight’ did but if we leave the comparison out, the movie stands a pretty solid ground.

Christian Bale for some reason looks a little pale, a little old and honestly, not even remotely close to his portrayal of The Batman in ‘The Dark Knight’, he however does give decent performance otherwise.

Tom Hardy does well as Bane but The Joker is probably going to be the toughest act to follow up for any actor. But I still feel, Tom has given a stellar performance.

Anne Hathaway impresses too, as the hot & sexy Catwoman. Though I still feel she is not spicy enough for this role.

Seasoned actors like Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman never disappoint.

To me, however, the surprise factor and a very good addition to Nolan’s gang (if I may call it so) is Marion Cotillard. She, as always, delivers an awesome performance and looks extremely beautiful while she does it.

Even Levitt has given an extremely commendable performance.

The story or the characters are not as deep as The Dark Knight was but as mentioned above it is still above average.

Visually also the movie is not as colourful as The Dark Knight was, especially owing to the lack of the Purple of The Joker. This movie is more dark unlike the previous movie.

Nolan, however, fails to create the craziness in the character of Bane as he had so well managed with The Joker. Bane is intimidating but does not pack a punch the way the Joker did. You were never sure about anything with The Joker but that is not the case with Bane. In simple terms Joker was a legend, Bane is not.

The movie is kind of sluggish in the first half but later you realize it was the build up. The movie builds up really well and the climax is powerful. It is definitely much better than The Avengers. The movie really starts picking up in the second half and trickles towards a very well set up climax which you are bound to enjoy.

The movie however is not exceptional like The Prestige, Inception or The Dark Knight. All these movies had something special that only Nolan can deliver. The Dark Knight rises fails to create that magic.

However, a footnote, I loved how the movie ends.

All and all, it is still a Nolan movie, it is still The Dark Knight Franchise and most importantly, it is still The Batman.

Must Watch.

Most Trustworthy Actors in Hollywood

Most Trustworthy Actors in Hollywood

In this article I try to create a list of Hollywood actors who you can trust on to give you excellent cinema. I have come up with this list based on whatever movies I have seen and I am sure that movies by all these actors will seldom disappoint you.

I have tried to keep my focus on both commercial as well as critical acclaim combined when choosing the actors in this list. That explains leaving out actors like Tom Cruise who succeed commercially but their movies are not necessarily applauded for being ‘Good Movies’.

Tom Hanks

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000158/

Tom Hanks is easily the most trust worth actor of Hollywood. Pick up any of his movies and there is hardly any chance that you will be disappointed. His movies include Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away and many more which are must watch movies. Almost never miss out on a Tom Hanks Movie.

Kevin Spacey

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/

Another one of my favourite actors is Kevin Spacey. He caught my eye first with this movie called 21. I later saw why he caught my attention in an otherwise average movie, when I saw The Usual Suspects. He has another power packed performance in The Superman Returns as the bad guy Lex Luthor. I personally like his performances which gives allows me to add him to this list.

Robert Downey Jr.

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000375/

Robert Downey Jr. has that natural charm where he breaths a certain kind of life into the characters he plays that only he can do. He has made Iron Man his own and he repeated this in the case of Sherlock Holmes. Two absolutely opposite roles, in two different ages and yet one man has made it his own! Though he has not done too many movies worth remembering in the past apart from the Iron Man series and the Sherlock Holmes series and a few others, he is definitely an actor to watch out for.

Shia LaBeouf

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0479471/

I first saw him in The Transformers, then I saw Eagle Eye, then I saw Disturbia, then, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull & then Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Amazing movies…all of them…that is why I am sure his movies will not disappoint!

Edward Norton

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001570/

Edward Norton reminds a lot of Shia LaBeouf. Somehow, they seem very similar to me. Their career trajectory somehow overlaps even though Edward has done no such movie as The Transformers which is the major draw if you were to peek into Sh

ia LaBeouf’s Resume. You have to watch Rounders, Fight Club, The Italian Job, The Incredible Hulk & Stone to know why he is on this list.

Stanley Tucci

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001804/

So many times I have seen a good movie and gone…who is this guy? Every movie that I have seen him in, has turned out to be an amazing movie. Since he is a character actor and the only one on this list, he obviously does not have a very high recall value but nevertheless leaves his mark in the movies he has chosen. Watch Lucky Number Slevin, The Devil Wears Prada, What Just Happened, Easy A, Burlesque, Margin Call, Captain America: The First Avenger…!

Leonado Di Caprio

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000138/

That actor who has enjoyed amazing Commercial as well as Critical success thanks to Martin Scorsese who considers almost writes his movies for Leonado. Even though an Oscar still eludes him, he is in the good books of some excellent filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron (of course) & very recently Client Eastwood. Leonado has a long way from being that lanky guys from Titanic to be a power house performer today. Must Watch movies of his include The Beach , Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island, Inception & the very recent J. Edgar.

Jesse Eisenberg

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0251986/

When he is asked the question if he has the attention of the lawyer in the movie The Social Network and the way he tears apart each and everyone in the opposition, even Mark Zuckerberg would have been proud of Jesse to have played his character the way he did! That movie seemed path breaking to me from the way it was made and the way Jesse performed in it. He proved the actor in him and his choice of movies proved the star in him. He has done awesome movies like Adventureland, Zombieland, The Social Network and I expect a lot out of him in the near future.

Helena Bonham Carter

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000307/

From the Harry Potter series to the musical Sweeny Todd, from Fight Club to Planet of Apes, this woman has impressed me a lot. She generally prefers to play crazy characters but they are generally performances of such high quality that they make the movie a must watch just for Helena alone. Also watch Alice in Wonderland.

Justin Long

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0519043/

The Guy caught my eye in the movie Accepted and then with his cameo in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. He is a natural, specially at comedy and is a good actor to watch out for. He is however still growing in the industry and is a force to reckon with. Do not miss Live Free or Die Hard.

Timothy Olyphant

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0648249/

Another mind blowing actor. Olyphant is one of the most stylish actors that I have come across in Hollywood. He plays his characters in such a way that brings a lot of depth in them. He has done some amazing movies and his movies are not to be missed out on! Do check out The Girl Next Door, Live Free or Die Hard, Hitman, I Am Number Four amongst others.

Paul Giamatti

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0316079/

How can we miss out Giamatti when we are talking about powerful and trustworthy actors? He is one of the most brilliant actors who deliver a power packed performance ever. If for nothing else, you will enjoy his movies only because of his performances. However, don’t be mistaken, he has delivered a bunch of amazing movies which includes, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, Planet of the Apes, Paycheck, The Illusionist,, Shoot ‘Em Up, Fred Claus, Duplicity, Too Big to Fail, The Hangover Part II & The Ides of March.

John Malkovich

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000518/

The Guy has a movie by his name called being John Malkovich. An excellent actors who has delivered unique and successful performances one after the other! Watch Con Air, Rounders, Being John Malkovich, Johnny English, Burn After Reading, Red & Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Tom Hardy

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0362766/

Is no doubt an amazing actor but did not burst on to mainstream Hollywood until the recent hit Inception. He is without a doubt an amazing actor and it shoes in his earnest performances and very good movie selections. Do not miss out on RocknRolla, Inception, Warrior  & just hang on to your seats for his upcoming release The Dark Knight Rises where he essays the role of Bane!

I know I must have missed a lot of other amazing actors, I will try to keep updating this entry as and when i come across other trustworthy actors in Hollywood.

Goa

There are many ways in which people look at Goa…the sin city, a perfect weekend getaway, a place to let loose, the best place to party, a place for friends to bond, a place for couples to have a great time…that probably explains why Goa is such a perfect destination. It addresses various needs of various people. For me Goa was an enigma until I actually visited the place for the first time in January 2011. Since then I have visited this Indian equivalent of Vegas a couple of times already.

One should visit Goa only during Oct-Jan. Goa delivers maximum fun in this duration. If one visits Goa during any other period apart from this then one may find clubs and shacks closed, lack of crowd, etc… You will come across a sleeping Goa!!!

I had decided not to write about Goa as it is such a common destination that almost everyone I know has already been there but then repeated requests from a few close ones who wanted to hear about a firsthand experience about Goa compelled me to write about it.

My experience of Goa is more or less limited to the Aguada Fort, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Arambol stretch of Goa. So if that is what you want to know about then read on.

All the three occasions that I have visited Goa, I have put up at Baga, as it is the most popular and commercialized beach in Goa. It has good crowd and lots of activities to indulge in. I generally put up at a guest house at Baga which belongs to a person called Prakash, just outside the Tittos Lane but the last time I was there, I stayed at a Villa which was owned by a person called Baba. This was a one storey villa with 4 AC rooms with attached bathrooms. It cost us Rs. 4000 a day for this Villa. One can accommodate as many friends as one wants in this Villa making it pretty reasonable.

For transportation, one can hire bikes/scooty/cars from Goa. I have personally never hired cars. I hire bikes from this person called John, who live at Baga itself. I paid Rs. 300/day for Bajaj Avenger for 4 days. If one books for more days, the rates can be negotiated accordingly.

As far a sightseeing in Goa is concerned, I have generally contained myself to the beaches with a failed attempt to go to Aguada. Baga is easily the most popular beach which houses a decent crowd. It has everything from water sports, to massage, to tattoos, etc… At Baga, one should make sure to have breakfast at Infanteria, which is on Baga road, not the beach. One should also try Brittos which is on the beach itself. St. Anthony’s which is next to Brittos on the beach, hosts Karaoke nights and they are great fun and should not be missed out on. One should also use the alternative route to enter Baga once in a while which is via Tittos lane. The end of Tittos lane also leads you on to the Baga Beach which is also a great place to sit and chill specially around sunset. I recommend water sports at this end of Baga rather than the Brittos end.

One can chose to take a boat ride from Baga to Anjuna. As far as I remember it costs Rs. 100 per head. Keep in mind, the boat services work only till 6 PM. So if you go to Anjuna by boat then make sure you have a boat to come back to Baga because, there is no conveyance to come back to Baga from Anjuna apart from the boat. One needs to have his own car/bike to travel in Goa. If not the boat, hire a bike/car and go to Anjuna which is about 7 KM from Baga. At Anjuna, you just can’t miss out on the sunset. One should sit it in the upper floor of Curlies, which is the most popular shack in Goa and go for a drink and a hookah and just relax there during the day. You can chose to read a book, watch a movie on your laptop, or just sit and chat at Curlies. I also recommend Anjuna as the ideal beach for playing around in the ocean as it has less and a better crowd as compared to Baga. At Anjuna, one should also visit this shack called ‘Tantra’. You need to walk further north, cross the rocks and you will find ‘Tantra’ on your right (See attached picture). It’s a pity, I never got to spend time at this shack though. Then, at Anjuna, one can experience the Wednesday Flee Market at the Big Banyan, it is very expensive though.

At night Anjuna is the place to be. Every night one of the shacks hosts a shack party for which the entry is generally free. My opinion is that when one is going to a beach destination, he should make it a point to attend as many of these beach parties as possible because one can go to regular clubs in the city anytime. I have attended such beach parties at Curlies, Shiva Valley, Hippies. All these three are on Anjuna. ‘Hippies’ is on the far end of the beach and is totally not worth it. But both Curlies and Shiva Valley rock. Owing to my last two visits to Goa, I would give Shiva Valley a upper hand as far as the beach parties are concerned. The parties there are crazy, I hope you know what I mean. Anjuna is the ideal destination if one is looking to commit a sin, any sin.

There, however, is one club in Goa that no one should miss. It is called Club Cubana and it is on the Arpora Hills, about 5 KM from Baga. It is a club that is built on a small hill. Once you are on your way to the club, just follow the laser lights in the sky to reach your destination! Make sure you take the safari ride to reach the club once you have parked your vehicle in the Cubana compound. Once you enter the club, you will see a pool on your left, so you can go for a pool party if you are game. Just after that you will cross the VIP area on your left. After climbing further, you will see a small building on your left which is the dance floor and on the right hand side is the drinking area. Cubana is extremely low priced, especially in context of the experience it gives. It charges in the vicinity of Rs. 700 – Rs. 1200 per couple with drinks on the house. There are a few more clubs which I have heard are great and deserve a visit being 9BAR, Hype, etc… but I have personally not been to any of these. Also from what I here, avoid going to Tittos or Mambos as they are extremely popular and play typical Bollywood style music, I am guessing you are not going to Goa to attend such parties. Cubana, however does not function throughout the year. It is shut during the summers and during the monsoons.

We had put of visiting Aguada Fort for a long time but decided to finally give it a go the last time I visited Goa, but it wasn’t meant to be. Aguada shuts at around 5 or 6, and that is exactly when we reached there. So we could not see Aguada, as it was closed. On the way back from Aguada, you come across the famed Kingfisher Villa on the left. Trust me, it deserves a good look, it is awesome. It is like a kilometre long and runs into the beach with a obviously a private beach.

After riding for another couple of Kilometres, one will come across the Candolim Road on the left. This road leads to the Candolim Beach, which is one of the prettiest beaches in Goa. It is calm, serene and ideal to sit down and have conversation against the backdrop of the sunset. For some reason this beach stand out, so far, I have not been able to figure out why. Let me know if you do.

While on your way back from the beach, on the Candolim Road itself, one comes across a restaurant that goes by the name ‘Inferno’ on the right. It is my favourite restaurant in Goa and a must visit. It serves continental dishes, if one likes continental, it is a must visit. Candolim is, by the way, also the beach where ‘Sunburn’ is hosted.

Calangute, I have heard is the most crowded beach but does not boast of a very good crowd and since it falls absolutely in the middle of Baga and Candolim, I have never felt the need to go to the Calangute beach. Having said that, I have always found the Calangute market and the city area pretty inviting. It is buzzing with energy, especially during the winter season.

The last destination I wish to talk about is Arambol beach which is a white sand beach and is yet another beach that is beautiful. It is however a little far off from Baga, I guess around 20 KM away. Arambol is the current favourites for the hippies, like Anjuna was earlier. So Arambol is set to be the next Anjuna. Beyond Arambol, it is rumoured that one can come across hippie settlement and the famed Russian Mafia in Goa. Arambol has a small private beach kind of a section, one should definitely go to that part of the beach if one visits Arambol. When one reaches Arambol, at the northern end of the beach, there is a small hill, on the hill is a small market. One should enter the market and keep walking which seems like as if one is climbing the hill, after walking for around 15 minutes, one can see a small secluded section of the beach, which is the place to be in when one is at Arambol. Make sure you don’t venture out into this section of the beach after dark.

Make sure you get down at ‘Thivim’ station to go to Baga and not ‘Madgaon’ in case you are going by train. The cabs take fixed rate in the vicinity of Rs. 500 for a ride to Baga. Auto Rickshaws are available for around Rs. 350.

I hope you have a great trip to Goa, I would be glad if my blog could be of any help.

Contact Details:

Curlies: +919822168628

Club Cubana: +919823539000

Baba: +919373902380

John: +919860272954

Lets Play The Blame Game

In this article I have tried to bring to the front the issues being faced by Indian Cricket from Sachin Tendulkar’s Retirement, to Dhoni’s rotation policy.

Post the ICC Cricket World Cup Final 2011 which India won by 6 wickets beating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets at Wankhade, Mumbai on 2nd April, 2011, India have managed to deliver the following performances in all forms of the game!

It is no rocket science to see the difference between India’s performances at home and away. India has performed far worse when it is playing away. I know it has always been a known fact but I just wanted to prove it with statistics!

ICC Cricket World Cup

The world champions, just after winning the World Cup 2011, came up with the most dismal performance. It can therefore be safely said that India would have not won the World Cup if it were played say in Australia or England or South Africa. I will not say that India did not win the world cup on merit, they did. In fact the reason India won the world cup was because all the players played their roles perfectly unlike say in 1996 (Using this example because it was the last world cup played in India), when the team reached the Semis only on a certain Sachin Tendulkar’s shoulders. When India was reeling under the pressure of Australian attack, Yuvraj Singh, stood up and made himself count as the person who delivers when all is lost. In the Semis Sachin Tendulkar was the propeller once again but then that is expected of him. And in the finals, Gautam Gambhir stabilized India after the quick loss of Sachin and Sehwag and Dhoni player his role as a finsher to perfection playing a captain’s innings. Everyone did what was expected of them and it was therefore that India won the world cup. However, since this whole Dhoni Vs Ganguly debate is brewing, I feel India did better in South Africa in 2003. I will however come to this later.

From Awesome to good to bad to ugly

So what went wrong? Why this slump?
Well, India has had the best team on paper for a while now. You have the two most feared batsmen in world cricket opening the batting for you both with lots if experience. The you have a young and partially experienced middle order in the form of Gambhir, Kholi and Raina, you have excellent finishers in Dhoni & Yuvraj. A decent bowling attack with Zaheer and Harbhajan. In tests, it is further strengthen with the help of Dravid & Laxman. Considering the kind of mix of experience and youth and the kind of succession planning that the selectors have managed to do, there is no doubt that this is easily one of the best Indian Cricket Teams ever.

I feel the reason why this team has, however, suffered is because of excessive negativity created by the media.  Gambir was on the top of his game during the IPL, just after the World Cup Final where he missed a century by a whisker. In the closing stages of IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders, the team that Ghambir captains in the IPL was on the edge of getting through to the final 4 for the first time in 4 years and it badly needed Ghambir. Ghambir played the match with a slight injury and had to miss the tour of West Indies due to that. The media made such a circus out of that issue that Ghambir had become more concerned to defend against the Indian Media than to defend against the incoming bowlers. He lost his form until he found it again recently in the last few matches in Australia. What does the media expect, that just because a player is scheduled to play a match in the near future, he leaves his current team in such dire stages. He is a cricketer and his team needed him, he played, that’s it!

The Indian Media has worshipped and slammed Indian Cricket with every game, which is not how players deserve to be treated. It is a game, just because a team wins a blinder does not mean it is great and just because one looses the easiest of games, it is not horrible. India is an emotional country but I wish one day our media gets the better of it instead of being a prey to that very emotion.

With so much adulation and so much hatred and pressure towards the players, it is only obvious that they will have to work twice as hard as their counterparts in Australia and England to keep their heads in the game. The media has gone so crazy now that even a seasoned player like Sachin is feeling the pressure. Indian Media should stop this circus and so should BCCI which is trying to sell everything it can.

BCCI

BCCI behaves like the big daddy of the cricketing world and our team is often on the receiving end of that attitude. It is surprising as to the number of decisions that have gone against the Indian Cricket Team during the matches which more often than not has cost India the match. I blame this on the hostility that World Cricket and its stakeholders have towards the BCCI. Where the Indian Cricket Team is respected the world over, for it sportsman spirit and performance, BCCI manages to undo all of that with the help of their arm twisting attitude.

Dhoni Vs Ganguly

Saurav Gangluly was the best captain that India has had so far, Period. Ganguly has been the hard working, thinking, smart, passionate, fighting, and on the face captain that India always needed. He was nice when it was needed and he fought when it was needed. Ganguly is responsible for half the team that is helping Dhoni win all the matches that he has won. Ganguly stood by Sehwag, even though he was so unorthodox and look where he is today. He stood by Harbhajan & Yuvraj when they needed support. A Zaheeer Khan was born only under Ganguly’s supervision. Dhoni on the contrary has managed to lose all these gems, he has not been able to derive the kind of performances that Ganguly managed to.

I would like to put it like this. Ganguly was the leader; He bought Indian Cricket respect and dignity. I feel that moment, when he took off his shirt at Lords in the Natwest Trophy final was one of the defining moments of Indian Cricket. It was the sign that Indian Cricket will not lay low, no more and he proved it with what came next. (I don’t think the act was wrong at all, so what if it was Lords. If a British can come to my country and do it, I have every right to do it in his). Ganguly took India to the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 when no one was REALLY expecting it, especially because the World Cup was being played in South Africa that year. India had an ordinary start with a win against the Netherlands and a loss to Australia. It was after that that the Indian Media sprung to action again and so did the Indians citizens by throwing stones at the houses of players. Respect to the man who managed to motivate a team in the middle of a tournament where the family of the players were going through such undesired treatment. He performed the best under pressure. It is sad that India could not win that World Cup.

Dhoni on the contrary, I would say has been the lucky captain. Dhoni has always gone by his gut feeling rather than going by what the mind says. No doubt, things worked for him. Nothing else can explain playing Sreesanth in the WC finals 2011 instead of Ashwin. But as they say, at some point or the other, you run out of Luck and run out he did.

Ganguly did all the hard work, Dhoni bettered it a little and reaped the benefits. Only if Ganguly had not lost his form, Indian Cricket would have been where Australia has been for so long now!

Rotation Policy

To me this is the stupidest thing that Dhoni could have come up with. In fact, to me it feels that he came up with this because he wanted to put across the point to Sachin & Sehwag that they better perform but someone please go and tell him that if you want them to perform this is exactly what you don’t say. And if Dhoni is shrewd enough, I would not think twice before blaming him for strategically unsettling Sachin & Sehwag so that he gets all the attention and adulation. Let’s face it, people were booing Dhoni’s six, when Sachin was at the other end at 199 n.o against South Africa.

You want a stupid rotation policy? Why don’t you have one for your middle order. You have a player who goes by the name of Manoj Tiwari. For heaven’s sake, he struck a century in his last outing against West Indies when the rest of the team crumbled but you never cared to give him even a single match in the entire series when the rest of your middle order was scoring less than your tail???

Dhoni, you deserved to be sacked. Not for your stupidity but apparently for your conspiracy of bringing down players who are larger than you and out of your reach. You want a team like Ganguly had, where everyone respected him but hey, that’s the point, they respected him. People here don’t. You can’t bring down a Sachin because his opinion matters more than yours does.

Sachin’s Retirement

No one in the current scheme of Indian Cricket or World Cricket has played more cricket or has undergone more pressure than this man has. No one has been as successful as he has been. No one knows the sport as well as he does. Then how can any of us lesser mortals be in a better position than Sachin is, to decide when he should retire?
Yes, he is under pressure, but that is about it, his game is still top class. Look at his batting throughout the series. Unlike most players who are past his prime Sachin is still tearing into the bowling of the opposition just like he always does but the problem is that he is trying too hard and ends up committing a mistake for that reason alone. He is not struggling at the crease but he is trying too many different things. He is a batsman of class who plays best when he plays his traditional game. These days he tries to improvise a lot which is where he gets into that momentary loss of concentration and losses his wicket.
One of the reason why Sachin performed so well until and in the World Cup according to me was the Indian coach then, Gary Kirsten. Gary was a batsman who was somewhere closer to Sachin being the great batsman that he was. He would understand Sachin and be able to help him fight his daemons better than any other coach can and this exactly was the reason why Ganguly could not turn around his game because the coach then, was Greg Chappell and we all know what he is worth!

Sachin needs peace of mind and sound advice, once he has that, expect another couple of centuries and another couple of bowlers having nightmares and I have a feeling it will be worse than ever for the bowlers this time. I also believe that if Sachin can get his game back in place, the entire Indian Cricket Team will start performing well.

After all, He is not called God for nothing!

Next Post > AIESEC > The World’s Largest Youth Run Organization

Can Cost of Education be Reduced???

Caution: This article is written with the focus on MBA in India but I am sure some of the points will apply to other disciplines as well.

The average cost of studying Masters in Business Administration in India is approximately Rs. 10 Lac. A large majority of the students who actually take up the program take up an education loan to fund their education. I am one of those students. Having been in the system for almost 2 years now, I have come to realize that if the Institutes come to think of it, they can take up a few measures and reduce the cost which is already so huge and is ever increasing.

Books:

Strategic Brand Marketing. I did not open my book. I scored an A+. Sometimes, some subjects are not about the books. Sometimes for some subjects the best way to prepare is by referring to content online. Sometimes for some subjects, the notes of the faculty’s lecture alone are good enough. Then why burden students to purchase books, even if they don’t wish to refer to it. Most B-Schools have tie-ups with book providers and the cost of books are charged as part of stationery at the beginning of the year itself. This is a compulsory cost that one has to pay…why?
What I wish to suggest is that B-Schools should provide students with the references and let the students decide if they wish to purchase the books, or share them, or just photocopy the important parts, or refer to content online or buy an older edition at lower cost…! This way, the cost of MBA can be reduced by somewhere in the vicinity of Rs. 15,000. It may not sound a lot against Rs. 10 Lac but money saved is money saved!

Assignments/Submissions:

The world is going digital and we are still sticking to taking print outs for every assignment we submit! When CAT is being conducted online and B-Schools are expecting students to do essays and comprehensions online, then why can’t the preachers practice the same and make sure that assignments are submitted in soft copy only and no print outs are seeked?
This would largely reduce cost of paper and more importantly the cost of printing on it. Considering the amount and size of the assignments that MBA grads submit, this could be a substantial reduction in cost. Also, it would reduce wastage of paper which would help us preserve more trees. We will, then, actually be practicing what we teach in Business Ethics!

These were the two major suggestions I wanted to put across. Other suggestions and opinions are welcome.

Next Post: Will probably write about Sachin Tendulkar

 

 

Goodbye Shah Rukh Khan, Thanks For The Memories!

[This is not an article written by me but I could not help sharing it]

Came across this excellent article written by Rituparna Chatterjee on IBNLive.com on Shah Rukh Khan. It talks about him in the 90s and compares it with him today. It is a critical of The King Khan but in a rather caring and concerned way. It is evident she loves him but has been hurt and believes it is time for him to move on while his glory is still intact!

I do not endorse the opinions of the article but yes Chatterjee  comes amazingly close to expressing what I have felt for a while is the reason for Shah Rukh Khan loss of control over his career. Out of sheer love and respect for Shah Rukh Khan, just like Sachin Tendulkar, I don’t want him to retire. Never!

Link of the article: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/goodbye-shah-rukh-thanks-for-the-memories/231787-8.html

What sexual awakening was to thousands of teenagers in the optimistic 90s, Shah Rukh was to Indian cinema. He was yet to discover his best camera profile and the scope of his dimples. He has, since then, scaled buildings, detonated bombs and brought roses to his sweetheart at midnight, but his super stardom has taken its bloody toll. He has lost the nerve he once showed in revealing his imperfect body in Maya Memsaab and reneged on the promise he made to his converts in the 90s to always select good cinema over money.

Yes, in that way, I have had a falling out with him. While he has moved on, I haven’t.

As a revisionist hero, Shah Rukh was the spiritual head of the new order he established in the early 90s and sustained for the next 10 years paring competition from two other emerging stars – Aamir and Salman – both intense and utterly focussed on using the consumerist audiences of the age of liberalization to their advantage.

“Shah Rukh Khan sells, period.” – Shah Rukh Khan

Like an ageing rockstar who remembers the heady aphrodisiac of a stadium full of screaming girls, Shah Rukh keeps trying to recreate the magnetic hold he had on his audience 10 years ago as a monument to his ego in films such as Ra.One. His is a career well lived. He is wealthy beyond all comparison and has established a fan base that few actors can emulate.

“My life may seem glamorous from the outside but off screen it’s as ordinary as anyone else’s. I want people to know that movie stars live a normal, middle-class life,” he told the BBC at the time of releasing the documentaries by filmmaker Nasreen Muni Kabir on his outer and inner worlds.

Yet he rarely ever chooses scripts that do not revolve around the central theme of ‘Shah Rukh Khan’. He rarely ever shares screen space, except in his early years, with some one who is his true competition. In Shimit Amin’s Chak De India Shah Rukh gave a stellar performance due to the strong ensemble cast and the fact that the focus was evenly shared by a team of good actors.

Shah Rukh has been told, over and over again, by the men he trusted his career, and by default his life with, he looked cute when he nodded his head a certain way or like a devil-may-care Cary Grant when his hair was brushed away from his forehead. Nobody would ever dispute his contribution to cinema. He is the single most important face a billion people the world over identify Indian cinema, its culture and the masculinity and fabulous wealth of its men with. I will not waste your time running you through a laundry list of his films and achievements, his endorsements and the sheer discipline with which he has built himself an empire in Mumbai.

I see him as a middle-aged realist with sharp intelligence but too entrapped in his super stardom to realize the message his changing audiences are sending him in his Friday outings at the Box Office. Yes, Ra.One made money, and so has Don 2. But the man on the street, which he himself once was at the time of Circus and Dil Dariya, is losing interest in the hamming, in the lined forehead and the body tortured in the gym to keep the tapering waist even in his middle age.

Would you, Shah Rukh Khan, see your own films, if they were showed to you back in 1988 when you valued character-driven performance? How would you rate your acting? I doubt if he would answer those questions.

If they were to put up a statue of him at Bandra it would have its arms outstretched and head tilted back – a pose his fans interpret as welcoming both the malice and the love he has received over 20 years. Which is not inconsiderable. He is the first hero to give back to his fans as much as he got, welcoming them into his drawing room. If only he knew when to stop.

The stress is starting to show

At the height of his success, Shah Rukh, with good humour and the shrewd derision he often directed at himself, said he has learnt to live with the burden of his fame. In a candid interview with his friend and filmmaker Karan Johar, he said he would always be King Khan in his mind and amongst the people who love him. The first cracks in the good humour have started to show now.

Despite protestations that opinion of film critics do not matter, the stress is showing after repeated thrashing from opinion makers across the board on two of his last films,Ra.One and Don 2, which were almost his children in the amount of love and attention he had bestowed on them. He had exhausted himself promoting Ra.One on a scale that has never happened before and previously thought impossible.

The sulking star is now in the news for slapping filmmaker Farah Khan’s husband Shirish Kunder, a lightweight in the pecking order of the industry. He is taken to making potshots at rivals, dressing in drag at major award shows and masquerading a barely concealed jealousy at the success of a hugely successful risque film under the garb of genial humour.

I mean it the kindest way, but it’s time to say goodbye. Shah Rukh will not be able to keep up with the formidable crowd forming at Bollywood’s second rung every day, neither will he be able to accept a character role that is not an ode to his super stardom. For as long as his friends in the industry keep shaping his career he will find a hit or the other. But now is a good a time as any for a dignified exit from playing the romantic hero opposite heroines half his age and choose scripts that will do justice to his talent.

For a man who is a strategist, he is one lost superhero.

Calcutta > The City Of Joy

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine who has an otherwise high awareness about things around was surprised when I told him that Calcutta is the best place for street food, actually, any food. It is at that point that I decided that I will write an article on Calcutta, concentrating on the lip smacking street food found in beautiful city, which I can challenge, is better than any other place in the world!

Calcutta is that city where one can have a filling meal for Rs. 10 to Rs. 10,000. My concentration in this article will be on the lower end of the spectrum! However, since I am a vegetarian myself, I will not be able to help much with the non vegetarian options!

No matter what one calls it, ‘Pani Puri, Golgappe, Gup Chup’…it is called ‘Puchka’. Puchkas are small round balls made out of flour or wheat (Acts as variety). They are filled with mashed potato mixed with a range of spices and tamarind water. It is generally very spicy and is found all over the city but if you are looking for the best try this one in Alipur. This hawker stands right opposite State Bank of India in Alipur next to Red Lounge (Get Directions). He keeps variety in terms of various flavors of water/sauce and is extremely tasty and unmatchable. There is another hawker on Russell Street who is very good and is actually the most famous Puchkawala in Calcutta. Look for him Bang opposite Teej, the restaurant, on Russell Street. (Get Directions)

If one is looking for Aloo Chat which is a yet another spicy dish prepared with sliced potato mixed with lots of spices, he should try this hawker on Camac Street outside Vardhan Market. You will find him right in front of the building next to Vardhan Market with his humble setup but trust me that will be the best Chat you will have ever had! (Get Directions)

While you are still at Vardhan Market, why not just take a walk towards the main entrance, cross it and take the first left. Just as you turn, you will see this store called Shibuji on your left. Now here is the thing, Shibuji is a very famous name in Calcutta especially for its various combinations of soft drinks and juices etc. but there are various copies of the original, this one, though, is the original. Try the Masala Thumbs Up there! (Get Directions)

If you are into Momos which is a Tibetan dish then the best by far is this place called ‘Hamro’. Hamro is near Elgin Road crossing. In fact when one is going from Elgin Road towards Exide Crossing, they need to take the first right and about 100 m into the lane, they will see Hamro on their right, it is just after Momo Plaza (Get Directions). This place is divine for someone who likes Momos. They serve Vegetarian, Chicken, Pork, steamed, fried, pan fried. Make sure you taste the ketchup that they serve at Hamro. It is the real reason for its success. They serve other food too but are just too famous for Momos. The restaurant looks kind of unhygienic but hey, who said that best places to eat are hygienic. However, you can drive up your car and get the ordered delivered to your car!

For tea, you will have to go to Tea Junction which are small eateries set up by Ambuja. A few places where you can find them are Park Street (Get Directions), City Centre, Vishvakarma Building, etc…they are all over the city. Also you can try this really small stall on the crossing of Hungerford Street & Shakespeare Sarani called Arun Tea Stall, fondly called ATS by the students of St. Xavier’s College & J D Birla College, the two most common represented institutions at ATS (Get Directions)!

If you are looking for cheap Chinese food then you may want to try Golden Dragon which is in the lane opposite to Music World on Park Street (Get Directions). Has the old Chinese feel to it and the food is awesome!

For Samosas or Singhara one should go to this store called ‘Deshbandhu’ on Bada Bazaar, Raja Katra. They prepare singharas the Bengali way and is just too delicious also try the Sweet Curd, ‘misti dhoi’ there, it is the best meal you’ll have all day (Get Directions).

For the ones who wish to try something outlandish and new, try ‘Doodh Cola’ at ‘Balwant Singh’ in Bhawanipur. It is near the gurudwara in Bhawanipur (Get Directions). It is basically a drink that is made by mixing Milk with Cola (Either Pepsi or Fanta generally). It is heavenly, it sounds like such a weird combination but trust me you don’t want to miss this! It is served in a jug and the vintage ‘Bhaandh’ (Earthen Cups) and one jug is good enough for 4 people.

While you are still at Balwant Singh, just walk across the street and find yourself standing at ‘Sharma Tea’ (Get Directions). This Sharma is the original of the famous ‘Sharma for Kachori Sabzi’. You will see a massive number of cars parked there every morning as people of all ages come to Sharma in the morning to have breakfast. You may also want to try the Lassi there! The Kachori-Sabzi, though, is served all day!

If one is looking for really cheap option for a filling lunch, they should try Kaka Tea on Mangoe Lane near Dalhousie (Get Directions). It is basically an eatery for all the office goers as the area has a high density of offices there. They serve wide variety of cuisines from Punjabi to South Indian to Chinese to snacks. One can have an amazing Punjabi Meal there for less than Rs. 60!!! The place though has no option to sit and one has to stand and eat, also during summers it gets unbearable due to the heat!

For South Indian food, one may try Jyoti Vihar on Ho Chi Minh Sarani (Lane bang opposite Pantaloons on Camac Street) (Get Directions). It is very reasonably priced and is pretty famous for its South Indian Food.

For Pav Bhaji which will make you bite your fingers, try Mayaram’s on Lord Sinha Road (See Directions). It is an extremely popular destination for Pav Bhaji.

Also there is something called ‘Aloo Dum‘ which is India’s answer to ‘Chilly Garlic Potato’. These are more popular in South Calcutta in areas close to Kalighat. One place which is very popular for chat in South Calcutta where you can find excellent Aloo Dum is Lake Kalibadi in Southern Avenue. This is right outside Vivekananda Park in Lake Gardens. (Get Directions).

That is all I can recall as of now, I am sure I am missing out a lot since you can never get enough of Calcutta. I hope I have been able to do some justice to the title!

Next Post: Can Cost of Education be Reduced???

5 Most Underrated Bollywood Movies

Underrated: Movies that either did not do too well at the box office when they released or movies that did not get the attention they deserved, or simply movies that are underrated.

Gulaal [2009]

Genre: Drama, Politics

IMDB Rating: 7.8/10

Synopsis: A law student witnesses the struggles of the Rajputs, deception, homicide, and crime after being elected as General Secretary of his college.

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Star cast: Kay Kay Menon, Raj Singh Chaudhary and Jesse Randhawa

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1261047/

If you thought Dev D was Anurag Kashyap’s best movie till date, then think again. Gulaal leaves Dev D way behind. In case you want to be sure yourself, you won’t have to go too far, just watch the first 10 minutes of the movie where Kay Kay Menon gives a power packed speech. The movie has a lot of new actors but each one of them gives an unforgettable  performance. The movie primarily deals with the politics in Rajasthan, the largest state in India.

Striker [2010]

Genre: Drama, Politics, Crime, Romance

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Synopsis: Amidst strictly enforced curfew by Bombay Police during December 1992 following Hindu-Muslim riots, Suryakant – one of four siblings from Malad’s Malvani slums, heads home. While doing so, he reflects on his childhood; his sisters: Devi and Rajni; brother Chandrakant; his dad, Shashikant, as well his mother; his expertise with the Carrom-board; run-ins with extortionist-goon, Jaleel Khan; his friendship with Zaid Khan; his crush on Noorie as well as his plans to find employment in Dubai; why he could not attend Devi’s marriage, as well as the tragedy that awaits him.

Director: Chandan Arora

Star cast: Siddharth, Ankur Vikal and Anupam Kher

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1573482/

When I watched this movie I was not expecting anything more than a movie based on Carom, a popular board game. But within 15 minutes of the movie starting it was evident that the movie has got much deeper roots. The movie talks about the slum life of Mumbai and captures Mumbai in a beautiful yet dark manner. One of the high points of the movie is when the lead actor played by South Sensation Siddharth comments about Mumbai saying: ‘bombay jitna bhi dekho…roz todha aur dikhta hai’. The movie dedicated only about 15 minutes to romance, the love interest played beautifully by Nicolette Bird but it does full justice to the romantic angle of the movie. The song Cham Cham sung by one of India’s most accomplished singers Sonu Nigam only adds to the movie. The movie, however, keeps its concentration on the Hindu/Muslim strife that was the main reason for the 1992 riots in Bombay. The movie is honest and gritty. The star cast once again delivers and excellent performance.

MP3: Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar [2007]

Genre: Romance/College

IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Synopsis: Rohan Sood attends St. Lawrence High School and falls in love with Ayesha Mehra, who was born in London, England. Their relationship sours owing to rumours. Ayesha and her mom decide to go to Paris. Rohan travels all the way to Paris to meet his lady love and win her back.

Director: Robby Grewal

Star cast: Ruslaan Mumtaz and Hazel Croney

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0860454/

One of the best School Romantic movies. Both Ruslaan & Hazel make an excellent pair which is irresistible and their High School romance takes you back to your school days reminding you of the boy/girl that you had a crush/relationship with. It will make you want to fall in love. The movie is extremely cute and sweet but could not perform up to its capability on the Box Office probably due to lack of proper distribution/marketing.

Swades [2004]

Genre: Drama/Inspirational

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Synopsis: A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Star cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi and Kishori Balal

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367110/

It is almost impossible for a Shah Rukh Khan movie to be on this list…but surprise surprise, it is! This beautiful movie about a NASA scientist coming back to his village with intentions to take back his grandma back to USA with him will make you fall in love with it. One of Shah Rukh Khan’s best performance till date. The movie was initially offered to Hrithik Roshan, but I am glad he declined it because Shah Rukh Khan does complete justice to the character of Mohan. The Surprise package of the movie is Gayatri Joshi who in her simple and calm character makes a massive impact. Also as always the subtle romance that almost all Ashutosh Gowarikar (of Oscar Nominated ‘Lagaan’ Fame) movies have is outstanding and beautiful to watch. Swades was get another awesome movie that did not receive its due on the Box Office!

Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein [2001]

Genre: Romantic, Comedy

IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Synopsis: It’s love at first sight when Madhav Shastri aka Maddy (R. Madhavan) first glimpses the beautiful Reena Malhotra (Diya Mirza). Thereafter he meets her again and finds out that she the betrothed to Rajiv. Maddy impersonates Rajiv and enters Reena’s life. And they both fall in love. Rajiv enters and both Maddy & Reena’s lives go for a

Director: Gautham Menon

Star cast: R. Madhavan, Saif Ali Khan and Diya Mirza

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299108/

One might argue what this movie is doing in the list of Bollywood’s Most Underrated Movies? But Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein was a flop when it released. I was there in the theatre to watch the movie first day, it was deserted. But Rehna Hai tere Dil Mein surfaced to become the cult that it is today. Very romantic, excellent music and yet another impressive performance by Vrajesh Hirjee who first made his mark with Hrithik Roshan starrer ‘Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai…’!

Next Post: Calcutta – The City Of Joy