Smash Hit! Whats that?

I was reading this in the news papers today, in Times of India. Actually in the most useless section of thepaper, the bombay times. (I normally read it only for the cartoons, horoscope, sale offers and movie shows). They said ‘Raaz… the mystery continues is the first smash hit of 2009. As far as I remember, there are two reasons for me to believe this is a hoax. One, the movie was released only last week. So it cant be a smash hit within seven days. Two, its release clashed with ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ So so hardly any body went to watch it. So…

I have nothing against Raaz. I’m just wondering how do film makers decide the movies are hit or a flop. I remember makers of Singh is King claiming it to be a smash hit whereas the records suggest it was just an average coomedy flick. Even Himesh claimed Karzzzz to be a superhit whereas I have a proof of empty theatres (I have a picture) to show no one came to watch him even on the second day of its release. Chandni Chowk to China claimed it collected 45 crores in the first week. I’m not sure if Nikhil Advani meant money or eggs and chappals. The latter is more likely.

The list is endless but the question still remains unanswered. Can any one tell me what exactly is a smash hit and what are the basis of ratings?

Movie Review: Victory Defeated

Victory starring Harman Bawej, Amrita Rao, Anupam Kher and host of cricket stars from Brett Lee to Harbhajan, from Rohit Sharma to Sangakkara, Mike Hussey to Sohail Tanvir and Murlitharan was released today. ‘By chance’ I got a peek preview yesterday due to some lobbying. I rued my chances later thinking I should have watched ‘Luck by Chance’ instead.victory_banner

Anyway, the movie is about Vijay Shekhawat, a small town boy from Jaisalmer with starry eyed dreams of making it to the Indian team. He is shown to be struggling player. But his struggle is hardly shown. What the movie is stuffed with is a series of melodramatic sequences that actually keep you pondering whether to cry or laugh. For example, Vijay makes a heart rendering request to Dalip Tahir, the coach of Indian team, to give him a chance. Dalip melts, gives him a chance and our Vijay becomes a superstar overnight. Wow! Thankfully our current coach is a South African who will not understand Hindi. Had he been like Dalip, our team would have been full of emotional badshahs who cry when they cant hit a boundary.

As the movie progresses, our Dada or Azhar part two cracks three centuries in a row despatching almost every one to the boundry. Sigh! Obviously the guy is now lured by innumerable ad campaigns, glamorous world, money thanks to our baddie turned agent Gulshan Grover. No prize for guessing what happenes next. So when our24yrs old simpleton boy wonder is thrown out of the team, his gandhian father suffers a stroke. I understand. And now Vijay realizes all his mistakes, fights back his way to the team and claims a victory in a crunch game. His father miraculously recovers. My brain refuses to understand this.

Harman’s theme in victory is similar to Priyanka Chopra’s theme in Fashion. Small town wonders, strike gold in the big game, buoyed by success and corrupted by fame, fall from the pinnacle and rise from ashes like a phoenix. The only difference is, Priyanka is a better actress. One of the things why I didn’t review Fashion was the above theme. The lead actors seem to be too gullible. At the same time their quest or come back seem to be too easy. Fashion however scored much higher on the emotional quotient.Victory tries but doesn’t. (To be fair they shouldn’t have tried)

I have a policy of reviewing movies that are either too good or really bad. Victory, to be fair, hovers from trough to crest. Though most of the time it languishes at the bottom of my appreciation list. After Love story  2050, I think Harman has come a long I think way. Though he needs to polish his acting much more. His pairing with Amrita is cute, much better than his pairing with Priyanka. Others, including cricketers, have done justice to their roles. Sadly, this was not one of the best roles they were offered. So not their fault. I think Ajitpal Mangat, the director, should have done much better than this. He chose a story which has a mix of Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing life. And he chose to make a movie on India’s second religion. Much more could have been done if he could concentrate more on the game rather than the melodrama. (May be I’m getting biased because I felt Iqbal, Chak De India and Goal were much better movies… much better!)

Overall I would say Victory is an average flick. Go watch it if you have nothing  else to do, like I did.

The joy of flying

Have you ever flown an air plane? Have you ever even sat in its cockpit? So do you know the joy of flying? Please tell me.

My journey to Nagpur was amazing this time. Yes, it was in an air plane. Not that it was for the first time. But it was truly marvelous. I took the Kingfisher flight from Mumbai in the afternoon of 23rd January. Thankfully I had a window seat. It was awesome watching the air plane speed away on the runway and they begin its climb. I just cant let go the thrill of watching the plane take off and rapidly leave the ground, making the 1 Billion plus populated Mumbai city looklike a small hoard of buildings. I wanted to rush to the pilot and request him to at least let me touch the console once. I wanted to experience the joy of flying.

On my way back, we left Nagpur when it was already beginning to get dark. However since we were travelling westwards, we managed to beat the sun once. Meaning there was a time when I could see the twilight at the horizon. It was a fine orange line. Gosh I’m not able to type. It is thrilling. Wow!

PS: I feel the same whenever I fly in an airplane. I’m always equally thrilled and one day I want to experience the joy of flying 🙂  Anyway, no doubt that Kingfisher Airlines is probably one of the best available in India today.

L5: Arti’s story. The other side of ‘It’

Arti Sharma, Sales Coordinator for Telebrands. Perhaps this was the only other identity that was left with Arti apart from being a single parent to her daughter. She was the only daughter of Ghanshyam Sharma and Parminder Kaur. A half brahmin and half punjabi, she had had her own share of miseries in her childhood. As a child Arti spent most of her time alone. Her mother passed away when she was just 12. Being the only child, it meant she had to manage most of the daily activities at home. It had an effect on her studies too. Her father Ghanshyam was working in an automotive parts making company in Faridabad. However the company couldn’t survive heavy losses suffered due to a canceled major international order and was locked down. Arti was 14 and saw her 47 year old father crumple under the uncertainty and  misfortune. Finally, after two years of dragging and pulling and after Arti completed her secondary school examination, they moved to Pune. It was supposedly going to provide new career opportunity for Ghanshyam, so he thought.

He was wrong. Despite being a boom in the automobile sector, the middle aged Brahmin failed to strike a deal with any of the auto companies or its ancillaries. He had to settle for a role of a Manager in a garage cum parts dealer. It helped Arti complete her education. But it hampered her dream to be a doctor. At a tender age, she was left neither with money nor courage to follow it. She worked part time at various offices and also managed to study commerce from an average college. She was neither a bright student nor a promising youngster. But there was one thing that no body could ignore was her charm and eagerness. Despite all the hardships, she was a cheerful girl. It helped her survive and motivated her father to live. She was his only hope and only motivation.

During her second year of graduation, she bumped into a stall in the porch of her college that read ‘Mphasis spot offers’. Out of curiosity, she registered and took the test, the interviews and cleared it. It turned out to be a call center job that paid her 15 grands a month (thrice of what her part timers would pay). The time however was going to be 2:30 to 11:30. Although they offered a pick up and drop at no extra cost. It took her 3 days to convince Ghanshyam to let her take up that job. Ghanshyam was skeptical about the kind of people coming there. His daughter was just 20 and too vulnerable. The job was to change their fate forever. But they had no choice.

Here is where Arti met Akshay, a.k.a. Akki. They were made to sit together on the first day of training and the seats remained as it is for the next 2 years; earlier due to the arrangements and later by choice. For a voice process, Akki was a serious guy. In fact too serious. He was a man of few words. But when it came to delivering a speech or a pitch, he was the man to watch for. Arti loved him for his dedication to work. But she found him too methodical, scared of taking risks. Akki on the other hand loved Arti’s go-getter attitude and her energy. She was gullible, yet too sweet to be deceived. As they say, opposite poles attract. Arti and Akki were opposite poles. Arti brought life to otherwise mundane Akshay Jain where as Akki protected Arti from the obvious side effects of being a call centre employee. An year into the job and they still remained ‘good friends.’ Finally on one of the rainy nights when they were off duty and heading for home, Akki dared. Arti was at her talking best and telling him what nasty customers she got today.

“Arti…” And akki dragged her behind a pole in the basement parking. It sent a chill down her spine. They were the last two employees going out and the basement was empty. She could hear the cabs honking and moving away behind Akki’s ears. “I love you” He said.
She could feel his hands pressing against her shoulders. “Akki…I”
“I know you like me too. But still if I’m wrong, may be. Tell me do you?”
“I just want to say…”
“Its okay if you need time. Take it. I’ll wait for your answer.”
“Shut up you Idiot.” Arti put her hand over his lips. “You have become a part of this scum. What took you so long to say it you dumb?” She slowly removed her hand, looking at a bewildered Akki. He couldn’t believe it. (And I dont need to tell you, they kissed later on.)

Arti shifted her house on the route where both could travel in the same cab. They worked for another year in Mphasis before shifting to Spectramind. It was a 3 month gap before both could join the same company. Life was beginning to be fun. Finally bowing to Ghanshyam’s pressure, Arti took Akki home one day. After all she was turning 24 and her father was beginning to get worried. Even she and Akki were going around for more than 3 years and it was necessary to think marriage. Akki was 25 and a half, he was good looking, had a good job and belonged to a good family. There was no reason why Ghanshyam could reject him, expect for the fact that he was a ‘Jain’. He some how knew Akki’s family wouldn’t approve of this. He was indeed right.

Akki’s father was a reputed businessman in the town. He ran 2 garment shops in the down town and was a very devout religious guy. So when the two gentlemen fathers met, they greeted each other with serene diplomacy. It must have been identical to the India-Pakistan peace summit. The diplomats show all the respect for each other yet they know things are not going to work out. The night that day saw both love birds being reprimanded, warned and requested to forgo the relationship they have. Days passed and so did weeks and months. There was no trace of a positive vibe coming out. It was a big heart break for Arti. She knew Akki loved her. But she hated him for not being able to fight for her. Another seven months passed. They met daily, they went out, they laughed and they talked. But they never discussed marriage. Finally Arti thought she had had enough. She resigned and left the company without informing Akki. Although she knew Akki would eventually find out where she was. She wanted him to find her out. She wanted him to reach her, feel for her. He did. Initially he called friends and tried to get her number. When he found out her office, he left her messages, which Arti never returned. Because they no longer mattered. What mattered was some courage from Akki.

One day when Arti was about to leave her house, she saw Akki standing in front of the door. She ignored him but he was not perturbed. He grabbed her hand and pulled her aside. She could feel the power, it was hurting. But she instantly knew some thing was about to happen. She knew it. He took her to the temple in the neighborhood. Now they were standing on the flight of stairways. Akki was beaming with confidence and anger. He drew his hand inside his pocket and pulled a small box wrapped in pink. He opened it and handed it to Arti and said…

“I want to give you this ring. And with blessings of god I want to marry you… here! now! I love you Arti. Will you marry me?”

To be continued…

Need My Opinion? Be prepared

A colleague in my office today came up with a new hair do (some cuts, some color and some ‘some things’). Now if you are working in a company where male to female ratio is not worth telling, guys tend to notice almost every thing the available girls do. So obviously the Shahrukh Khans amongst us were quick to point out she looked like one of his glossy poppy actresses. Bah!

Thankfully my bay is less corrupt. So we knew we will be ‘asked’ for an opinion. The female did just that and it was her first mistake. I forgave her saying, “Oh really? sorry I didn’t notice.” But she wasn’t satisfied with that. So she made another mistake, pressed me for an opinion. This was my response.

“See please don’t take it to heart. But if you really want my opinion, that hair style is looking bad. Please understand that you are not white; you are not even fair. So coloring your hair golden brown will not work. It matches with your skin color. And you really looked good with those curly long hair. Your face is small. You shouldn’t have straightened and shortened your hair. But that’s all right.” 🙂

You obviously dont want to know her response 😀

Dilwalon ka sheher

I was a part of a debate in my office yesterday regarding life in various cities, migrants, quality of life and lifestyle et all. There were people advocating various locations and why bigger cities like Mumbai or Delhi are bad. To be fair, I have divided loyalties when it comes to the city I love.

Mumbai is where I am right now. I’ve been living here for almost 4 years and must say that I have spent some better days of my life here, if not best. I came here as a migrant to this city 4 years ago. Chance coupled by a desire to be here and career growth brought me to this city. When you land here as a new bee, the city gives you a characteristic choking feeling and uncharacteristic independence of thoughts at the same time. I was awed by the high life, the glamour and the glitz around as much as I was rued by my chances of getting up there quickly enough. None the less, in last 4 years, the city has given me all it could… and there is plenty more to come. It gave me my jobs, it gave me real close friends, money, and what not. It also almost gave me death and at the same time it gave me my life back. Every day, Mumbai throws a new challenge on my face. Everyday I look in the eyes of it and say, “This is all you could conjure today?” Probably one of the reasons why I may not leave Mumbai, not to soon!

I was born, brought up and educated in Nagpur, a mid sized city in the heart of India. It is more popular for its oranges and as one of the regular test cricket venues. In fact, lot of people who have not known Nagpur still think its a small town. I beg your pardon, the town has a population of almost 30 lacs. I was educated till graduation here, however for better career prospects as well as higher education, I had to move to Pune. The has come a long way since I left it almost 6 years back. It has its own share of multiplexes, malls and every thing (well almost) that a large city should have. On any day, given a chance, I would love to go back and do some thing from Nagpur. I know most of us are patriotic about our home city. But believe me, there is a strange charm about the city that keeps pulling you to it over and over again. (I hope my wife’s reading this 🙂  ) delhi

Dilli (Delhi), dilwalon ka sheher! This is another city I admire. I have been to Dilli many times, mostly for my father’s business commitments. Then later for my friends, my own business commitments and finally on route to my honeymoon. Every time I went, every time I liked it. In fact, I found people from Dilli more welcoming than the guys from Mumbai (Need Example? Raj Thackeray). Its large, its developed, it has its weather extremes and it is really amazing. I haven’t stayed there for long. But I would love to. I know about all the issues regarding safety in Dilli. Yeah, it is a concern. It is still not upto the mark. Still I like it. Hope I get a chance to stay in Dilli, even for a short while.

Hmmm, what does this look like? Tale of three cities? Stupid post may be.

Nostalgia

There are some days, when you feel like grabbing a cup of coffee, pulling a chair in your balcony (or sitting in the bay window) and remembering all the good things that have ever happened to you. Well I’m in my office. I had loads of work and hardly got time to eat, forget coffee. Yet I’m feeling nostalgic. Have you ever been through these things in your childhood?

  • When I chased kites on busy roads, risking my life although I could buy two of them in a rupee.
  • Had a ice gola on a stall outside despite being warned by mom about how unhygienic it is. Not telling her, yet she managing to find from your red and yellow tongue.
  • Had Pani Puri around the corner of our area, 8 pooris in 1 rupee.
  • Remember when I wanted to buy a new cricket bat but Papa didn’t allow because I didn’t know how to play with it.
  • I remember beating my neighbor because he once laughed at me when I fell down while cycling.
  • I remember watching the Air Force show and fearing when the planes went really close to us while we were sitting and watching.
  • I also remember when Papa was not doing good in business and how our family shared a Luna (moped). They were tough times walking kilometers to the market for fetching vegetables.
  • I remember my mom crying when I wanted her to buy a toy for me for securing good marks in exams. She had no money. I remember how my parents never fought, despite troubled times.
  • The first time I went to a cricket stadium to watch the match.
  • And then I remember when Papa bagged a big contract, how we all celebrated on a dhaba.
  • Learning to drive our first car, and driving really rash. Good times were back.
  • The first time I proposed a girl, I was just 16 and didn’t know what I was doing. 🙂
  • And then the first time when I kissed.
  • I remember when my papa gifted me a bike on my 18th birthday. I remember driving it at high speeds, trying to impress girls.

To be fair there are so many things I’m remembering, I’m losing count. Sigh! Good ol’days.