The Speaking Oracle....


Your very own free Akashvani. (Whether u like it or not!)
MY MUST DO Master List

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I hate LUV storys : It's not a love story.....

 ...its a saga.

I've been waiting eagerly for this day for the last few months...ever since the first promos of this movie showed up. If the previews are so lovable, how cute is the movie going to be? Will the movie do justice to the sky high expectations of discerning, intelligent, no-nonsense movie goers of today? Well, yes and no. For starters, we were the only people in the entire theater today for the evening show. But that's because it released in the middle of the week here in the United States. And, let's face doesn't have quite the cult following that Twilight does. As we contemplate marketing strategies *finally* a group of four girl friends walked in. Then a mother-daughter couple. Then a single guy.  Wow, talk about diversity.

Back to the saga at hand:

While this is your formulaic NRI family crowd movie from a 40,000 ft view, it is a quintessentially modern take on love these days. It's an offspring of DDLJ and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, if you will.  But a well groomed offspring . Bears all the hallmarks of a KJo Production.

Also, it comes in layers. I love a movie that has several layers woven in. And several subtle 1-2 punches mind you. But you have to look for some... ain't starlets sporting MM sarees on premiere nights...acute references and back hand services to other director's works :-). Others are more obvious. Won't disclose more. You find em.

Then there's your evergreen reinvented next generation Raj and Simran, and a teesra. I would have much preferred a Kuljeet in the story.  While it starts off as a typical DDLJ take-off with the same happy-go-lucky boy meets engaged-girl routine, Punit Malhotra has some neat twists up his sleeve. His writing is good. Some of the dialogues are truly iconic. and fresh. They will come home with you long after you have left the theater. I just wish there wasn't so much emotional ping-pong going on. She loves him, but he doesn't love her, then he loves her, but she doesn't want to go back there, then he doesn't, then she does, and then he does - coz Maa said so. Whatever.  Could have skipped one iteration.

Oh, and by the way, LOVED the T-shirts. Go get yourself some. I believe the IHLS merchandise is available for sale in India. *envy*. If there is anything to hate, it's probably the excessive brand placement throughout the movie.

About the Cast:

Imran and Sonam certainly look good together. Imran fits his character like a hand in a well fitting cashmere glove. Sonam surprises with her infectious smiles and her charming acting. She certainly does her character justice. Simran (yes, that's her name) comes off as a very lovable confused girl. Very lovable. She shows us bubbly, dreamy, confused, morose with utmost dexterity. Kavin Dave's comic timing is impeccable. Impeccable. Perhaps the best in the movie. A jewel in the making. The rest of the star cast looks like they were picked up at auditions held outside Ekta Kapoor's studios. Totally TV land.

While Pooja Ghai seems to fit into her role reasonably, Aamir Ali looks like a misfit. Surely his acting could have been better than that. And yes, he always has that wide-eyed expression. Anju Mahendru was wasted away. Ketaki Dave spares us the usual gujju Daksa Ben loudness and shows us she can do better if the director will allow her. Her unusally muted performance is admirable and a great refresher. (Probably for her as well.) She even emotes with her eyes. And while Samir Soni looked like he was hamming in his opening sequences, he seemed to melt into his character's mould pretty nicely as the movie went along. He grows on you. Sameer Dattani 's (however you want to spell it) character was cute, but he can't seem to emotionally connect with the audience (which in my opinion is good for this story.) Imran Khan steals the show out and out - just like he did in Jaane Tu... He imbibes the character of J so well, that you just can't feel anything for any other guy the whole 2 hrs 15 minutes you are in there.You're totally on HIS side.

Go watch it. It's a keeper. If you loved DDLJ, and you loved Jaane Tu....then you will love this baby. After all, it's all about loving the parents!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

I heart LUV Storys!!

I've been meaning to post this one for a while, but since the movie is almost going to be out shortly... I thought it's high time now, or never.

How cooool, and superrrrr cute is this movie going to be?? Sonam and Imran feel right, look great, and seem to be saying all the right things!! I can't wait!

It's got everything a girl like me would fall for....super cute hero, swiss alps, many many signature-SRK scenes (a separate post on that later), uber glam Maa, Kajol scenes, some SRK poses, and the 'famed' lakes and bridges that once upon a time became part of my dreams too...dreams of finding that Andekha Anjana someone somewhere made for me! Sighhhh. I found him. But what can I say, I'm a sucker for good marketing, and romance. And if it's a well marketed romance, to kya baat hai.

Waise, KJo's got a good track record with romance, and comedy. And both together. Plus, the guy can laugh at himself! Gotta love him for that.

So the countdown begins. I just wish they wouldn't keep changing the purported release date for this movie. It's getting me all worked up.

So, see you at the movies this Friday Wednesday finally(I think). You get the coke and popcorn, I'll get the SRK dialogues! (wait, KJo's bringing that, so I'll just get the free ride.)

P.S: I know, I need to get a new phone. It's on the list. I'll get to it. Tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

And that's how an action thriller is made !

The difference is Knight and Day! Hrithik Roshan, and Papa Roshan to note. A good piece of cinema - healthy and non-distracting mix of comedy, action and thrill is so hard to come by these days it seems. And yes, the movie had some excellent scenery, but it only supplemented the storyline... as opposed to being the story line (Mani Ratnam to note).

Oh, and to give credit where credit is due, I just heard yesterday that Cameron Diaz did some of her own stunts ...especially loved the 180-degree car turns. That is some talent. One of these days I am going to get into that old rusty Altima of mine and crank her up. *fingers crossed* Meanwhile Tom Cruise was Tom Cruise...nothing new...his typical I-am-so-cool-and-all that act continues as usual. But he fit the bill, and did a good job. Of course, the story so meaty that anyone could have probably done his role ...*cough* *Matt Damon*.
In the end, paisa wasool. Definitely worth your time.Check it out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Countdown 00

Welcome "the first day of summer!!"

Our day was Longgggg!! (pun intended). Got so much stuff squared away. Good stuff worth remembering -- like finally buying my own domain. Much much overdue. So now begins the task of designing the website. Ideas most welcome!!

Keeping it short!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Favorite day coming up tomorrow!!!

Solstice Alert.

And one of these days, I am going to fix the silly God-forsaken formatting.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A disaster of epic proportions.

It's probably not fair to either - comparing movies helmed by two talented but orthogonally tilting directors. However, as I said before, this is not your weekly movie review. This is about adapting an epic to modern times.

Exhibit A: Raajneeti

Prakash Jha's storytelling is crisp, and fast (fast being the operative word.) He focuses on the story at large, dwells on character development, and in the end delivers hair raising performances from every character in the story. You can attribute this to either Jha's extraordinary ability to extract performances from his actors, or his uncanny ability to pick the most capable people to deliver powerhouse performances. Your pick. But in the end, there is not a moment of idle time in the theater, no yawns, no restless leg syndrome, no crying kids. Paisa wasool.

Exhibit B: Raavan

A talented director gone Ram Gopal Varma's (Ugh...I mean Aag) way. Too many changes after shooting has begun, caused such a loosely knitted fabric that the audience falls through it. Throughout the movie, you get the feeling that you are watching the scene, but not seeing the story. You are seeing the act, but not feeling the emotion. Even when you are on an impossible bridge (and the camera ensures that you get the best awe inspring view like no other) you can't feel your self at the edge of your seat. Probably because you aren't. You're actually slumped back ....yearning hopelessly for it to get better.

Endless screaming, and in your face loudness does not mean a thing if it does not connect with your audience. Mr and Mrs AB Jr to note. Much more emotion can be evoked from your audience in much subtle a manner as Mr AB Sr has often showed us. (When he was probably as old as Jr is right now. So, comparing apples to apples)

Here is an example. Raajneeti vs. Raavan. When Jha's Kunti (I forget her name, sorry) in the moment kisses Shah, did you feel the embarrassment he felt for a microsecond before his emotions sweep him away? I did. Aishwarya has a 'moment' of confusion - but it came and went like a cold cucumber. Felt nothing.

Here is another major difference. Perhaps, the most crucial one. Jha's movie has something for everyone - the intellectual discerning viewer, the urban-trying-to-connect-with-mythology viewer, the traditional movie goer, the less urban viewer, the unititated viewer, the critic and the complete dodo head. Throughout Raajneeti, your brain is trying to catch up (or race ahead...YMMV) and you eagerly absorb the subtleties Jha provides at many levels. For example, depending on your type you can "get it" from the get go right when Nana's character was introduced as "Brij Gopal" that he was the 'sutradhar Krishna' of the epic. Otherwise as the story moves along, again ymmv, it becomes obvious at some point sooner or later. Mani on the other hand, expects his audience to have zero intellect, and leaves nothing to guess work. For example, Govinda is introduced as Sanjeevani Kumar, and THEN he starts jumping around from branch to branch on trees for a whole 2 minutes until you get the point he's hanuman! How cheesy. And rude. Please give us more credit than that. Priyamani aka surpankha is actually held by the nose and dragged to get us to click --"oh, oh, surpankha!!" Wow. I didn't get it when she was introduced as Raavan's sister.

Songs. Jha decided that his story telling didn't need them, while Mani decided he needs one every 5 minutes in the first half...and some more in the second. While I won't criticize a 'design choice', I can certainly tell you that Mani's story telling suffered due to this choice. Graphic violence interspersed with the violence perpetrators breaking out into fluid moves with all and sundry in tow does not help the story line one bit. BUT it's Bollywood, and we accept that. So it's okay. But sometimes, depending on the genre, you can actually do away with it, for the better. We've seen quite a few good movies lately that have done that - and well.

Background scores were great in both, and certainly added to the experience. Mani's ending had a nice twist, and I appreciated that. Jha's was a bit too centered on the physical plane. I would have much preferred if he had kept the final Mahabharat yudh to the mental strategies plane and 'decommissioned' each player strategically rather than physically. But again, personal vision.

Between focusing on the camera angles and vivid cinematography and brand name actors, Mani lost focus of the single most important thing in his golden recipe - the story telling.

In end, I think the original recipes were great story material. One decided to use the right ingredients in just the right proportions and churned out a well baked, flavorful product in sync with modern times, and the other decided that the ingredients were more important than their measured proportions, the technique was more important than the recipe and churned out a passable creation that won't have many takers.

No left overs for me, please.


Oops. Sorry for the long torture post.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Friday F&F

Clearly, our local (American) movie theater has decided to go Indie. First I thought - this must be a one off thing, you know, for the Hollywood release of Kites...but four week^ends and three Hindi movies later, time to call it a neo-tradition, shall we? Someone has spotted a business niche. But who are we to complain? The move has significantly reduced our Hindi movie commute (yes, we used to do it diligently. And yes, sleazy-uncle-who-thinks-he's-Aamir-Khan will miss our business. But, he will survive. More about him some other day.)

I wasn't planning on watching Raavan first day, but I have to say- the hype, the overused-and-everywhere visuals, the incessant and unending interviews, countless "makings videos", and 'personal' invites from Abhishek Bachchan in every social media format have kind of made me curious. Yes, I am a sucker for marketing. Good marketing, and over marketing. Both get to me. It's a different thing that Raavan falls into the latter. Have been hearing about it since 2007... don't want to hear any more. Too bad. I don't think they needed it. (Maybe they do....only one way to find out!)

Jokes apart the real reason is this. I watched Raajneeti first day when it released...before reading any reviews. And I thought it was 'brilliant-minus-one-star'. So, to be fair, I want to watch Raavan first day, and before any gossip hits my ears. (But Raavan is still way over marketed than Raajneeti was.) ...and I'm not going to do movie reviews - that's not my job. Movie reviewers are dime a dozen, and some of them who know their craft do a pretty damn good job of it. So, what I'm going to do tomorrow is an au contraire of Ramayan vs Mahabharat, err, I mean Raavan vs. Raajneeti - Adapting to the 21st century.

So Beera, it's a date, then!


Oh, and before I forget, (which I will..) don't forget to catch the special episode "We, the Tweeple" on NDTV with BD. I have it set on DVR. Do u?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things to do - Master List

Tick tock tick.

I'm at the point where I can say -- with high assurance -- that I think I've heard it all.
    1. The biological clock is ticking.
    2. I'm not getting any younger.
    3. All of my friends (except two, but who's counting) are parents of multiple delicate ones.
    4. If I take too long, I won't have strength to play with them, or stay up waiting when they're out late.
    5. I'll look like their grand parent. And People will ask.
    6. Having them will make a responsible person out of me. (Whoever came up with that one sure doesn't know me!)
    7. .......

You get the drift. So, time to do some serious thinking. As the 'well wishers' have been saying, "It's now or never". As VJ says, "Take one week to decide." One week??? It's a life altering decision. My life altering decision. One false move, and life will never ever ever be the same again. *MY LIFE*. And then there's the pact. Needs perfect timing.

So, while the oven is still in warranty, we need to do some serious baking. It's old-er, but smoking good for the money. It's had its day in the sun, now needs to cater to the family wishlist. So, what'll it be? Some nice well baked cupcakes, or brownies? Or both? Hey, it's a wish list.

But before we get to all that baking shaking (no pun intended), let's revisit the life altering part. So before I give up everything that I've enjoyed, all that I've known, done and been, I thought I would make a Things to do list. Things to do before the baked goodies arrive. Or rather, to be precise, things to do before we start baking. And no, I don't mean gather the ingredients!!

Things to do:
Start blogging again.
Visit 7 countries
Get on Facebook, twitter, etc (Yeah, one of these days!)
De-clutter the closet
Grow my nails
Get my own domain
Finish writing 'the story'
Learn gardening - enough with killing plants already
Get fit (Oh, Boy!)
Learn Digital Photography (tricks at least)
Get a new smart phone (not iPhone, sorry DH)
Travel the 50 states
Visit the northern-most, southern-most, and western-most tips of the country.
Why should the east be left behind? Visit the eastern-most tip twice.
Adopt a village
Eat shrimp without Benedryl (and live to blog about it)
Eat escargots
Drink 12 cups of water daily
Attend a movie premiere
Watch the midnight release show of a movie
Buy Jimmy Choos
paint the bedroom
Meet Karan Johar

Sighhh.... Miles to go before we bake.... Miles to go before we bake.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Come hungry, leave happy.

Last night, the deer ate my roses. Again. This is the thirteenth time they have done that this year. And I am mad. Am I mad because I've tried everything available in the market short of a shotgun, and failed? Am I mad because I've stayed up late watching for them, and yet they managed to sneak up and do their munching the final two hours before dawn when I slept. Am I mad because I know I can't do a thing about it? All of the above.

To hey bhagwaaan, ab mein kya karoon? Bhagwaan ke liye unhe chhod doon? Unke bachche mujhe duaa denge? Whatever.

I can't take it any longer. I am going to do the unthinkable.

YUP. That's right.

I'm going to build a fence.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Oracle awakens....

So its been a long slumber. Much has happened. Much has not. Solstice is 11 days away. Time to reactivate. The high priestess is in the mood again.

Game on.