Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quarter century complete!

My 25th birthday started off with a looong chat with my best friend of 10 years. Voice chatting with her till 2 am in the night was as usual very entertaining and it felt so good to catch up! As I blissfully crashed into bed, envisioning a late morning, little did I know that my sleep would be mercilessly shattered at the crack of dawn by a shrill ringing tone. Well, not dawn really, early morning. 8:30 am! It was my Grandpa wishing me a very happy birthday! I was the sweetest grand-daughter as I accepted his wishes and hung up in a civil manner. At exactly 8:45 my Grandpa called again and said, "here talk to Grandma". Argghhhh.. I still didn't give up though. Numerous calls came through but I kept my eyes shut through all of them and got out of bed not a minute before 10:00 am! 

Then it was time to prepare for the huge get-together at my place. I'd invited all my college friends and a couple of new friends. The morning flew by in preparations and soon it was time to meet my cousin and grandparents. The birthday girl was quickly forgiven for turning up fifteen minutes late. Much talk ensued about my driving skills (my cousin actually convinced my Grandpa that people were safe when I drive since I only target donkeys :P) and adjusting to the fast-paced Mumbai life. A quick imaginary candle-blowing and real yummy pineapple cake cutting later, I left to start dressing up for the partieeeee...

Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, due to bad time management, I reached home late and a few of my friends had already turned up. One friend actually dared to show up in a kurta! A pretty kurta, no doubt, but still! After giving her a fashionable top, I also slapped on some make-up on her.. Now she looked ready to party! Soon, all my guests arrived and the first thing I did was to open all the gifts. A totally insanely funny diary cracked me up (I've already started writing in it) and an original Parkar pen had me oohing and aahing. A pretty kurta from my college gang ensured that I was totally set up for a journo-college life! 

Next, A suggested that we should all play Mafia. Since a few people didn't know the rules, one trial game ensued in which a stupid villager gave away the identity of the Sheriff! Really silly girl I tell you. Of course it wasn't me, don't believe what all my friends tell you :P Since the game includes a lot of arguing and fighting, the next few hours just zoomed past in which contrary to the aim of the game, the Mafia won in each round! They were very sly, I tell you. Then Mom started worrying that no one will eat all the delicious food that we prepared (I helped!), so we put Mafia on hold, and began the cake-cutting ceremony.

My very mature, 25 year old friends lit up candles that don't go out in one blow. Very mature guys, really :P Anyway, I tried a couple of times, got bored and then finally cut the cake with the candles still lit up! At the end of the cake cutting ceremony, this is what I looked like:

After the beautiful chocolate face-pack, we all hit the dance floor for some groovin! Everybody had to pick a song and perform a short solo. At the end, we all expressed our happiness in the most primitive dance-form known to man.. Tribal Dance! Veera veera veera! Soon it was time to send the guys on their way home, since it was a girls-only pyjama party! A looong drive to Baner via the highway was especially eventful as we all belted out Dooooori in our most awful voices. Anyone shy enough not to sing was instantly pinched (thanks P :D). Suhana safar aur ye mausam hasin, humein dar hai hum kho na jaaye kahin! Wonderful drive with my closest friends! 

We dropped off A and then headed towards CCD to enjoy a midnight sojourn. However, tab tak sabke wicket gir chuki thi and everyone was yawning away to glory. Still, not a single person complained or made a fuss about hitting the sack. After returning home, I was in no mood to sleep. It's a wonder that my friends haven't denounced me yet since I kept them up with my gibberish way past their usual bedtime. It was fun nevertheless. For me at least :D

At 4:00 am we finally turned off the lights. At 8:00 am two of my friends were fully dressed and ready to leave. It is a great achievement that I remember which of my two friends left. I was completely lost and barely able to stand. Sending off the other two friends with chai and biskut, I dived right back into bed.. Ahh what a 25th!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ravan (Tamil)

FR: I'm speechless

I'd heard at a couple of places that the Tamil version of the latest Mani Ratnam movie, Ravan, is much better than the Hindi version. Blindly assuming that all theaters screening Ravan in Pune would show subtitled copies, I booked tickets at City Pride Kothrud. What happened next is easy to guess. Five minutes into the movie and I realized, crappy doo, there are no subtitles! I'd dragged Mom along for this one and I half expected her to kill me right in the middle. She quite liked it though. And me... The very fact that I've posted the trailer here instead of a standard movie poster should say something about the effect it had on me.

I'd like to admit first off that this review is going to be incomplete since I've no idea about the dialogues. However, I can't stop myself from voicing my thoughts on this movie and hence this post.  When I watched the Hindi and Tamil trailers, I felt it was more believable in Tamil. In Hindi, it just felt adapted. Moving on to the plot, the movie starts off with Ragini(Aishwarya) getting kidnapped by Beera (Vikram). Dev is a police officer and Ragini is his wife. Beera kidnaps Ragini to avenge Dev as he holds him responsible for his sister's wrecked wedding and suicide.

The battle lines are drawn at the beginning. Handsome Ram's beautiful wife Sita has been kidnapped by Ravan. Ram plunges into the forest to search for his beloved wife. Or is his sole aim to capture Beera and win medals? While Sita haplessly tries to screech and plead her way out of the situation, she sees a hitherto unseen side of Ravan. Sita's loyalty to her husband is tested by seeing the gray in each man's character. Ultimately which one will she choose? Between a good partner and a good crime fighter, which one will you choose?

The cinematography is superb and most of the scenes in the first half leave you breathless. While Aishwarya is looking stunning, Prithviraj looks handsome and apt for the role. The scene stealer though is undoubtedly, Vikram. I saw raw power in Beera. A little crazy and very aggressive, Beera scares and amazes at the same time. Perhaps, because I haven't seen Vikram in any other role, Ihis portrayal of Beera seemed even more real to me. I can't wait to see the Hindi version in which he has played the role of Ram. I don't think I'll be able to stomach it, so powerful is his performance of the deliciously mental Ravan.

A special mention of the music which is, again, much more effective in the Tamil version. The reason I use the word effective is because, I somehow associate tribal life with tribal music. The background music and the songs in this movie give it a more rhythmic tribal feeling. I won't praise Rahman because I don't know that much about music. I'll definitely admit though, that the music worked for this movie. The whole package is simply awesome.The reason I loved this movie was because its central theme is, there is no pure good and pure evil. If Ravan can act compassionately, then Ram can be cruel too. Which one will you choose? I still haven't got the answer. Moreover, I simply got carried along like a feather in a storm. This journey through the dense forests of India is likely to be more exciting than any wildlife safari.

Most importantly, I observed that language is a hindrance only when acting is amiss. With superb performances from all 3 protagonists, there was very little I missed, although I'm sure when I see the movie with subtitles, I'll definitely enjoy it more. Ultimately, I'd just like to say that I didn't regret watching this movie in Tamil. In fact, far from it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Before Sunrise n Before Sunset

Before Sunrise...

On a friend's insistence, I watched this wonderful movie called Before Sunrise, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you do so. The sequel, titled Before Sunset, is equally amazing.

Before Sunrise is about 2 strangers, Jessi(Hawke) and Celine(Delpy) meeting on a train in Europe. While Jessi is American, Celine is French. They strike up a conversation and end up spending the whole night together since they enjoy each other's company. Is it love or simply attraction? The romantic teenagers decide to leave it to fate and agree to meet at the same place after 6 months, exchanging no contact information. The movie ends at this point, open to interpretation about whether the 2 meet...

Before Sunset... 

Before Sunset has been produced exactly 9 years after Before Sunrise and the story sticks to that time line. Jessie is now a famous novelist and is on his book promotion tour in Paris. Incidentally, he has written about his night with Celine(Julie) in his best-selling book. Will the 2 meet again? Did they meet after 6 months? Finally, was it just attraction or was it really love? 

These 2 movies once again made me realize that you don't need action, drama, comedy and sex to sell a movie or a story. A simple story about 2 strangers falling in love can be enough to evoke a mountain of emotions from me. And a million other people, since both movies have been received very well. For most part, both protagonists are walking and talking about anything  and everything under the sun. However, not at a single point do either of the movies get boring or banal. The dialogues have been especially well written and the acting is so convincing that it's easy to forget that you're watching a movie. Very few Hollywood movie sequels live up to the first part, but in this case, the sequel surpasses the  original. You've got to see this one to believe its brilliance. I for one, have truly fallen short of words. But believe me, you won't regret it. If you have already seen it, please do share your thoughts.

Image Source: http://images.themoviedb.org

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feral distraction

Scene: My maushi's place.
Witnesses: Cat and Dog
Crime: Not listening!

Mom: Listen carefully to what maushi is saying. She is giving suggestions for accommodation in Mumbai. I'll just freshen up.

Maushi (from what I remember): Blah blah blah....

Me: Yes yes.. Sure!

Later in the day..

Mom: So what did Maushi say?

Me: Errr... I don't remember.. I was too busy pulling out all the chairs to find out which one the cat was hiding under. When I pulled out the right chair, the cat jumped off and started running around the kitchen. The dog got excited and started following the cat. With great difficulty I caught the cat and picked it up to play with it. The dog then got jealous and started trying to bite off the cat's tail.. Amidst so much of drama, do you really expect me to pay attention to what maushi was saying?

Mom: X-(

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Success - a ladder

1.... 2..... 3.... breathe! 
1.... 2.... 3.... breathe!! 
Yeah this blog is not all that dead..

Doctor's diagnosis: A simple case of writer's block. 

First off, updates. All the newspaper reading finally paid off. On 3rd June, I got an admit from Xavier Institute of Communications in Mumbai! Needless to say I'm on cloud 9. Most importantly though, I realized, this is just a step towards what I really want.

While I was waiting with baited breath for the results to come through, my entire focus was on getting an admit from the college of my dreams. I kept thinking, once I get this, I'll be happy. What I didn't realize was that it was just a small part of the larger picture. This became evident when, along with my admission letter, I was given a list of suitable accommodation. Now I'm thinking, once I get a decent accommodation with good roommates, I'll be happy. I'm sure once I join college, there'll be another 'once I do xxxx, I'll be happy'. It never ends.

I guess this is how life works. You conquer one Everest, and there is another one right around the corner. Most importantly, only those who don't keep gloating on the first Everest ever become really successful in life. However, life cannot be a dreary trek of climbing one Everest after the other. Some celebration is surely due for all the small and big victories achieved. What I've learned though is, when the next Everest comes, face it with a big smile instead of a "Sigh! Not again!" ;D