Friday, February 29, 2008

Jod"Haah!" Ak"baar" !

Now, when I started writing this little review about this movie , the initial response was lukewarm to say the least . Infact one of my good friends - nicknamed American Express , for obvious overseas-admit related issues and other "Vetti-scene" matters went on to rubbish the very idea of a blog. But then positives and negatives happen, especially the female fraternity which has been eternally loving this hottie's(!!!LOL!!) blogs have again ensured this gets into the place where it needs to. So yes , enough of personal tirades and rubbish - let's get on with what this blog needs to be about.

Jodhaa Akbar is a very short(! ) i.e. 3 hour 30 minute takeoff on a part of the Mughal Emperor- Jalaluddin Akbar's life.( exceptionally short by Ashutosh's standards). It starts off with the Battle of Panipat where the little Akbar is exposed to the trials and tribulations faced by the prisoners of war and his armymen. Although it takes a while to learn the art of being an emperor , he grows into the part slowly, until a few incidents prompt him onto taking the mantle of the supreme-commander of the empire, and take decisions of his own. Faced with a potentially dangerous opposition in the Rajputs, Akbar brokers truce with the Rajput coalition , in exchange for the princess Jodhabai's hand in marriage. How this compelling union of two uncompromising individuals grows into a strong bond of love and understanding is what this film portrays over the length that I have already specified. Put in are a few elements of distrust and back-stabbing to make the plot interesting, and they do a good job at that.

Sometimes you would expect the movie to turn turtle with the negative reviews it has been getting from your peers , but then this was something I would not have missed anyday. It was the first time I was watching an Ashutosh Gowariker film in the theatre and I was happy with the experience this movie offered me, to be true. Despite few shortcomings like the length of the movie and occasional blooper-style shots ( especially in Khwaja Mere Khwaja - what was Hrithik doing there dancing like a Zombie? No marks for that song despite it being one of the best in the album - because it was totally zombified! ) At most places the dialogues were in chaste Urdu and Hindi , I understood around 80% of it - remaining 20% was totally new to me and I had to guess the meaning of the words from the way the scene panned out later. Although this may not be a negative , when reaching out to the big audiences the dialogues could have been penned viewer-friendly at a few places.

The music by A.R.Rahman needs no mention - its a huge hit all over. Ashutosh has done justice to every song except the exceedingly powerful Khwaja Mere Khwaja . Inn Lamhon and Azeem O Shaan were beautiful to say the least , and the rest of the songs played out in the background. Hrithik looks every bit the emperor that Akbar would have been like , and Aishwarya finally does some acting ( lessons learnt from Dhoom-2??) which is nice to watch. Akbar's mother and his foster-mother(sorry if the terminology is wrong I mean the lady in white) have played their roles well - so are the others in the movie including the eunuch. One can notice Ashutosh regulars scattered around the movie , especially Kulbushan Kharbanda and the "Jai Bajrang Bali" guy from Lagaan. A little more effective screenplay would have made the film powerful , although the stunt and action sequences have been filmed beautifully. Gowariker could have done away with the final Troy-like fight - that was one scene where I felt he had copied , the other being the battle scenes(image multiplying Mr.Ashu?) Locales are a treat to watch and this film has all the flavours of a classic period movie thrown into it.

There are a lot more to describe about this movie , which maybe noticed by me, or by you on repeated viewing. For now , it remains a classic movie which I would recommend as a must-watch for everyone who needs a time-off from the Heyy-baby or Dhamaal kind of junkbox comedies.

Ashutosh has done it again. On the whole , nice movie to watch with a patient person.(A Harsh Ad is good enough for me ) To put it in a phrase ,

"Yahaan Bhi Wahaan Bhi Hai Tere Dhol

Dhira Nom Dhira Nom Jalaluddeen Akbar!"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Indian Popularity Listing (I.P.L)

Just when we had started thinking that club football was becoming popular in India , looks someone from the BCCI junta heard it. Bang came upon the IPL, formerly known to be the Indian Premier League, soon-to-be-known or blown into the Indian Popularity Listing. Peculiar expansion for the IPL you say ? I would say it is the perfect way of explaining this phenomenon.

To start off for the people who do not know what IPL is, it is a cricket league organised by the BCCI based on 8-city teams , and the Twenty20 format of the game. Similar to the English Premier League football, overseas players can be contracted(although only a maximum of 4 such players can play in each game) and also transferred , although there has not been any official procedure listed out for this provision. All we know is that there will be an annual transfer window to facilitate player movement from city to city.

Now that the basics have been dealt with , lets analyze(rather sensationalize) this hype-r thingy that the whole country is speaking about. The city teams have been bought by rich people , as we can so-goddamn-easily predict. Nothing new ? There is. As if all the other money-making media weren't enough , we have more of SRK out here too(more popularly known in non-Indian circles as the Smoke-Relishing-Khan). And the oh-so-wrinkly-beautiful Preity Zinta who gives him company here too ( as if the great disaster was not enough - I mean that "Kabhi Alvida.. blah blah blah"- whatever I don't get whats it with these Karan Johar four-word titles... too long to even remember !)

The rest of the owners of the teams are the same run-of-the-mill Ambani's, Mallya's and other corporations. Since the media has had enough of these people with their IPO's and New Year bashes there's been additional glare on SRK and Zinta's teams. Apparently nobody noticed the Delhi pace attack or the Bangalore keeper , but strangely there comes the news that Zinta's team is packed with goodlookers. (Guess the news channel which gave this bit)

With the IPL being a moneyspinner by the billion without a ball being bowled, the question remains if we are going to see a clash of popularity listings or real hardcore cricket.

Disclaimer :

*This article was solely written with the purpose of whiling away time and poking fun at the Greatest 24*7 Entertainment Channel that HeadlinesToday is proving to become. Any positive criticism can be fed back to me. Any negative points , please ring up the sick looking female who comes in H.T at 9 p.m every night and tells us beautiful "cock-and-bull" stories about Kareena's rashes and Soha's lips.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Run of the V-ill ...

Its that time of the year again , ladies and gentlemen..

->When greeting cards get sold out ( including the one's for wives and husbands - despite wedding being described as hell even by the highly-cognitive junta)

->When guys go scouting a whole city to get one rose which is unblemished, untorn, and fresh - only to end up with a saggy bunch of dried bouganvillae picked painfully from the worm-infested neighbour's garden !

->When rumour mills go overboard on the entertainment channels about ongoing romances (be it the first or the second or even the umpteenth - as some hollywood stars go)

-> When everything that is being written or talked is about love, having boyfriends or girlfriends - and unfortunately there is nothing for the single humanoid to read(unfortunately even this post is about the same)

-> When slippers and blades get sold in advance - that too in bulk .. I guess you should work out the reason why this happens. (either ways - be it roses or slippers, the shopkeeper profits)

-> When some jobless guy proposes a dresscode depending on his minimal wardrobe, and that ends up being an SMS forwarded to the entire fraternity.

-> When you have silly people like me trying to create some laughs by showing what happens actually in the name of V-Day.

Ok - reckon that's enough? Let me get back to being mushy-mushy about this whole V-day thingy. Even though I am a non believer in this "Day" business, I believe in the fact that its always not too late to say "I love you".

Think a little bit , even you would feel the same I bet. Be it even the helper who helps your mom around in the kitchen, clears the utensils, finishes all the menial work in your house- its never taboo to say you love him/her. To your parents, who helped you walk your first steps - gave you a life to live, because of whom you may have the resources to read this blog, and because of whom you may become a bigger person than you expected - its time to say "I love you". To your friends, who have been by you in all the struggles in life that you have gone through, lent a shoulder for you to weep, been one with you in your heyday -from whom you may have to even part, its time to say "I love you." For all whom you have fought your wits out with its never late to patch up and say "I love you." For the little baby next door who makes you smile every time your glance falls on him, its all the more easy to say that. For the people who have guided you throughout your life till now , and may lead you to a bright future, its time to say "I love you." For nature , which has been kind enough to hold your transgressions and make you live despite harming it , its the time to say "I love you."

For God-

who's made all these which you have grown to love so much,

made you realise the value of everything and sundry,

made you cry both in happiness and in sorrow,

to whom this day has to be dedicated to....

it's time to say,

"I Love You."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

INTECHO 2008 -The True Echo !

The dawn of this Second Saturday of February , saw a rather unusual thing taking place - influx of hoards and hoards of students to a rather calm place called Madras Institute of Technology. Surely weird for a second saturday I must say. Apart from the fact that MIT was having a working day , every other college in the vicinity had the day off. Apparently even they realized Intecho should not be missed- we had a huge influx of students from all parts of the state , let alone the country.

The inaugural function got off to a slow but steady start at eight thirty or so, with the chief guest and a few of the faculty of instrumentation in MIT giving their special keynote address on the occasion. From then on it was mission brainstorming for all of the participants and audience at the Rajam Hall in the MIT, going all the way to the later part of the evening. With the paper presentation turning quite a few heads in the packed- audience , the sports quiz optimized on their enthusiasm- to spring quite a few surprises with the tough preliminaries which even the "best-quizzing" junta in the campus could not crack. Although there were some technical issues like unclear views of the screen it turned out to be a major success. The technical quiz followed which was a near-perfect stunner . Almost all of the audience got involved, be it the videos or even the multiple choice questions. We just about had time to fit in Shipwreck into the packed schedule , and that too got great cheers from the audience , especially the Vijaykanth wannabe and the Laloo wannabe. Apparently even the judges were flabbergasted at the speakers' insanity ! General quiz preceded the shipwreck - which brought in quite a few new aspects to the near-obsolete general quiz format. It was on the whole refreshing and a good crowd puller. The best things are reserved for the last , as we usually say. Pot pourri got it all right , from the anchor to the videos and the mix n match songs played , to the fillers in between , and even the audience chipped in with a few people breaking into impromptu jigs and sounds.

An event would not be complete without specifying the offstage events also.. They are the essence of keeping the audience occupied and literally glued to their seats every moment. Right from C debugging to the Hanging quiz , to the day ending technical crossword and even the preliminaries for the events such as shipwreck and circuiting, every event captured the attention of the audience.

Sponsors and the volunteers for the stalls attracted quite a lot of people, with their variegated products on display and even a sketching machine which photographed and printed people's portraits, quite realistically. I should also mention for their commitment towards making this event a big success , and providing us support all through the way, with their blogging and other contests.

Intecho 2008 - A Success which every MIT'ian will cherish for eons to come !

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Train"ing ...

On the way to college yesterday , it struck me that I had not written anything about an integral part of me , the electric train. So what was next? Get my thinking cap on to create a flowery appealing blog that gets the maximum hits ? Nope. Try remembering which train I go in ? Partly yes. Give a brief and personal account of the train journey? Perfectly yes.

It is a general rule of the world that however good or bad the surroundings are, we tend to get used to it after a while. That is exactly what happened to me in the case of the electric train. 30 minutes seems a long time to stand your way to college ? Yeah. But does the train ensure you don't feel the time pass? Yeah!

In my first year of engineering , where I was still getting used to the mode of transport and the long walks into the college campus, the train journeys came as just another tiring bore. Especially with the gauge conversion work on, every other train plying would be full of people - and there would not be any place to stand other than the foot-board.

Time, as they say, changes everything. It changed the tracks from metre gauge to broad gauge - with it came about a change in my view of the electric train journey. My first year in engineering had me familiarize quite a few people who also used the train to reach college.Thankfully when the congestion decreased because of the new tracks , I found a lot more of them - most of them my classmates whom I had not tried to speak to in college.

I would describe the train as a "moving-scenery" - or even a "moving-scenery provider". The train moving itself is a beautiful sight to watch - what is even more beautiful is watching mist on a hill or a grassland, or even vehicles moving in a subway while the train chugs along. It is difficult to observe unless you are a frequent user of the train. (some days into the travel you realise that you consider seeing the surroundings itself as a fulltime job on the train)

Into my fourth year of engineering, sometimes I feel nostalgic about my previous years travelling in the train. Five years down the line I may still be doing that- but who knows if the employee in me would have the time to look around..

Saturday, February 2, 2008

B(r)and Aid?

Sitting through advertisements is a big pain - especially when they do not carry anything interesting but the Brand-name and the product/logo. Considering that I watch a lot of cricket, Formula one and tennis - I have got used to the passive-ad phenomenon. Any takers as to what this phenomenon would be like ? Let me explain.

Ever felt the need to keep your eyes open but mind closed immediately after an over ends in Cricket ? Ever realised that you do not remember what ad came up just a second ago? Surely nine out of ten people must be suffering from this syndrome.

In the initial times I had no clue what this weird thingy was all about. Reading about it in the papers made me realise what exactly was this ad-passivity working up to. We have all been witness to a retail revolution ever since India opened up its economy to world players after 1990. As more and more global players fill in the market, there tends to be more advertising and "jostling-for-screen-space" among themselves. Result - a crowded ring where the consumer is the bull surrounded by thousands of tamers. Imagining a situation similar to a "Jallikattu"? It exactly is that.

Although competition tends to enliven the market , such kind of ad-passivity may lead to the creation of a consumer who does not differentiate between products , or simply saying - has a lesser cognitive faculty(was that complicated enough to be simple?).
I offer no solution to this syndrome out here - albeit I can promise that I wouldn't be in neverland the next time a BMW or a Renault speeds down my Sony TV screen !!

Friday, February 1, 2008

First Gear... (stuck!)

The picture I had posted on the inaugural writeup of this blog was taken by me on the Pondicherry-Chennai East Coast Road. And the circumstances that led me onto taking it were pretty interesting to say the least ! A picture-perfect postcard type weather for company , and a packed car travelling on dark gravel for miles at a stretch, seems like the best thing in the world to do? Exactly yes.

It was one of those weekend getaways which the average Indian yearns for- sometime with family, some sightseeing, some "never-before-seen" goodlookers of the opposite gender to see, and not the least of all - good food. Yet something chose to go wrong. Was it my mood? or the "oh-so-necessary-if-not-i'll-die" cellphone? or simply my baby cousin's diaper?

The answer was pretty simple though unexpected - the car's mudguard. Less than halfway from Pondicherry to Chennai there was a near-animal-hit to the car( thankfully the dog managed to escape) . Apparently the mudguard thought this was the apt moment to falter. Ten minutes later the car could not travel beyond the first gear without giving rise to a nerve-racking scrape with dry gravel.

And so the inevitable roadside halt came around hardly five minutes later. (Some intelligent brains in my family suggested coming back to Chennai in first gear itself - 130 km in first gear ???? ) We then set on to repairing the guard with some of our own techniques - including a plan to completely eliminate the mudguard itself. Nothing worked out as well as a rope to tie the hanging mudguard in place - going all through the bonnet and coming out near the front-grill to be tied up in an unprofessional knot.

As this idea was being executed I sat onto a nearby milestone and started thinking of what I may do to kill time until the others tie up the guard. There seemed nothing, absolutely nothing in sight to think about or capture on the camera except the road in all its glory. And so came about that picture - which had me keeping the camera on the sand and crouching to see the view (must have looked funny ) so that I get the output right.

By the time I was done with that snap, the knots were done, even better was the fact that I would not have to travel back 130Km in bullock-cart speed !

A relative quipped - "Sonny, It's time for second gear!!"

Starting Up....

Hello Everybody/Anybody/Somebody ( depending upon how popular this page turns out to be)..

Just as I think about why I have written such a weird salutation to start off this blog with , I wonder why and how I decided to write a blog - I have possibly no answer to both of them. A random thought maybe ? I guess so - that is why this is titled "Random Blurbs". What about "Itinerant" then ? As far as my knowledge of English goes , itinerant means a traveller. We all tend to be travellers , on the huge boat called life which is subject to the "*Conditions Apply" clause as most of the discount-offering adverts(and even recent movies) carry. I'm no more than a traveller who is trying to create a little oasis for himself in life's huge desert.

Being done with the introduction is such a relief I must say - it gives one the right to go ahead with whatever he wishes to write or express. (phew- pretty long sentence!) As a slow but steady hum of music catches up with me out here, I realise there are so many things to write about - so many little deeds that need mention , a multitude of beautiful flowers from which I may have to leave out a few even if i pick as many as my hands can. Maybe the world continues to become bigger in heart - despite technology shrinking it physically.