Sunday, January 20, 2008

Movie review of Gaalipata

Rajesh Krishnan, Ganesh and Diganth - Gaalipata

This weekend has been really good and I had some real good fun with my college buddies. Today we 14 of us decided to checkout Yogaraj Bhat's eagerly awaited movie 'Gaalipata - Manada mugilalli Muhabbat'. I must confess here that my intention behind accepting the offer to join my buddies for the movie was just to hangout and have fun! I had read the reviews of gaalipata on TOI, which rated this movie with 4 stars. I knew that Yogaraj Bhat wouldn't let us down after the mesmerizing spell he casted in the form 'Mungaru Male'. So with the expectations of a typical sandal wood fan, we all entered Adarsh Theatre at Ulsoor, for the matinee show.

The introduction of the star cast is pretty unique in the sense that you get to hear Ganesh spilling out dialogues (typical
Yogaraj Bhat lingos) at the background while the intro runs on the foreground. The story is about three guys viz. Ganesh (Gani - an MBA grad), Diganth (Diganth - A medical student) and Rajesh Krishnan (Kitty - an engineer + a love failure + also his debut as an actor), who are bugged up with the mundaneness of a city life and are desperately in need of a break. So the they decide to go over to Diganth's grandpa's place called Mugilu pete. At their grandpa's place, they meet the 3 daughter's of Ananth Nag (kodandarama - an avid hunter) and Padmaja Rao (Padma - kodandarama's wife). She has been paired up with Ananth Nag yet another time (after Mungaru Male) and does justice to her role. The 3 female lead actors viz. Daisy bopanna (Sowmya) who plays a widow, Neethu (Radha) who plays a rough and tough girl(?) and Bhavana Rao (pavani) who plays the role of a chul-bhuli cum she's-yet-to-mature-kinda girl, manage to woo the eligible bachelors. The rest of the story is all about how these 3 studs manage to get their 'dilrubaas'. The climax is worth your time!

But the real highlights of the movie are:
  • Yogaraj Bhat's unconventionally scripted dialogues. I am full of praises for this man's great ability to discover beautiful places and share them on silver screen beautifully, so much so that you plan your next vacation to those places!
  • Ratna Velu's magical spell behind the camera (Man you gotta see those waterfall scenes in this movie! You will be swept off your feet). All credits to the best cinematographer of the south India.
  • Jayanth Kaykini, Hrudayashiva and Yogaraj Bhat's lyrical magic powered by Hari Krishna's 'pied piper-ish' music, really command a big round of applause as they collectively manage to give that much needed 'feel' to this love story.
  • A couple of excellent audio tracks just make you life easier. I personally liked 'Minchaagi Neenu baralu' sung by Sonu Nigam and the title track 'Gaalipata' which is a very lively track.
My Rating: ***1/2

* Watch it at your own risk!
** No harm in checking it out once!
*** A decent movie on offer!
**** If you are an avid cinema-goer, you shouldn't miss it!
***** A master peice. Audience just couldn't have asked for any better. Paisa vasool!

~IT's My Life

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taare Zameen Par – A review

As I had promised earlier, I am finally posting my views on this movie. While posting my review, I have made a sincere attempt to share my personal experiences along with the ones rendered in this movie.

After a long time, I have finally come across a movie where the focus is not on who the male or female protagonist is? Or who has taken home a hefty cheque for an item number? But a social issue which badly needed a platform to voice itself and finally got heard. Thank god! It finally found a benefactor in the form of TZP.

Today I happened to watch TZP for the second time. As you might have already read about it from other sources, TZP deals with the story of a child (Ishaan Awashti portrayed by Darsheel Safary) afflicted with dyslexia and how he manages to fight against all odds to realize his true potentials with the help of his art teacher (Nikumb sir portrayed by Aamir Khan).

What struck me about this movie is the tag line, ‘Every child is special’. Nice tag isn’t it? But how many of us accept this so-called ‘special thing’ in every child? How many parents understand and appreciate the fact that their child could be special? Going by the norms of this world, if you aren’t among those kids who top the class every year + win trophies year after year in games + master singing / any instrument like piano, guitar, etc you are loser dear! You don’t deserve to be fondled at home nor do your choti choti desires like getting yourself an aquarium / a pair of skate boards, deserve to be even noticed by your parents! In short you are blatantly incompetent. Period!

Sounds a bit exaggerating isn’t it? Not really folks. Taare Zameen Par has portrayed all these issues with sheer finesse and thanks to some unbelievably convincing portrayal of a dyslexic child by Darsheel Safary and some strokes of mastery on and off the screen by Aamir-The-Perfectionist-Khan. The movie has tried to hit the very root cause of what I call a ‘strategic-inflection-point’ in parenting which is going wayward, mainly in the cities. With the inevitable bhaag-daud of a city life, true parenting has gone for sixes and a child finds itself lost in the immaterial comforts, only to be left starving for real care and the much needed attention from the parents.

Don’t you feel that the whole world seems to be so much lost in the rat race called ‘competition’ that kids are being ‘groomed’ to face the so-called challenges of the world outside? Parents are busy scripting the success stories, oops! ‘Block busters’ of tomorrow. Don’t you feel that kids aren’t being allowed to enjoy their childhood to the fullest? Aamir khan rightly quotes in the movie, “Janta hoon.Bahar ek berehem competitive duniya basi hai. Aur is duniya main sabhi ko apni apni gharo main toppers ugane hai! Har kisi ko awwal number chahiye. Doctor, engineer, management… Isse kum to bardash hi nahi hoti. 95.5% 95.6% 95.7% isse kam to gaali ke barabar hai. Kyu? Arey zara socho. Har Bacche ki apni khubhi hoti hain, apni ek khabiliyat hoti hain, apni ek chahat hota hain. Har ungli ko kheech ne main lage hue hain. Lage raho, chahe ungli hi kyu na toot jaye? Agar ghode dhaudana ka itna hi shauk hai to breed horses damn it. Bacche kyu paida karte ho?”

I don’t blame the parents for all of the above. Just have a glance at the kind of shows you find on television today. You will not be surprised to see umpteen numbers of shows where a 2 year old kid drives a car or another kid performs breath taking stunts with skate boards. If you feel that I am against nurturing unconventional budding talents, I am absolutely not. But what definitely becomes a matter of concern is when parents start to pressurize kids to pursue something against a child’s wish. Just to prove that your kid is no less ‘talented’ than your neighbor Mr. Sharma’s kid, you pester your kid day in and day out to join a dance class or learn basket ball. Add to it the peer pressure which a kid faces in the school and all you get is a kid literally living a nightmarish life! I feel we have spun a wheel called ‘ruthless competition’ jo thamne ka naam hi nahi le rahi hain. The soft targets of this game are undoubtedly the poor kids.

One more issue which TZP highlights very subtly but effectively is that if you allow your kid to pursue his/her dreams, in all probabilities you would find him/her successful in that field. Sharing my personal experience, I can guarantee you that 9/10 parents would go ga ga if they discover that their son wants to be a cricketer or wants to pursue a dream in entertainment industry. Ok. Let me go for more common examples.

What is the first question asked to a kid when relatives come to your house? Any guesses? They ask, “Beta tum bade hoke doctor banna chahte ho ya phir engineer?” 9/10 times the kids throw back a confused look at this ‘predator’. I think the confused look says it all. They would just prefer to grow up first! I still won’t blame parents for this because they just go with the wind. For them securing the future of their kids is of highest priority. But once if you get a hint that your kid has the potential to prove himself in that field, I feel that parents should support him/her to pursue his/her dream.

When you visit your relatives or a friend’s house who have kids, parents can’t control that burning desire to impress you by showcasing their child’s coveted talents like ‘My son knows all the capitals cities of countries across the world’, ‘My son knows all the currencies of different nations’ or ‘Beta just recite the song new you saw of OSO last week’. If parents stop craving for that one wah-wah from the guests, they would be doing a great deal of favor to their kids. It would at least ensure that the kid isn’t under the impression that too much is being expected out of him, too early.

A few things really special about TZP:

1. You finally have a movie where the so-called ‘hero’ arrives at the time of interval and not in the very first scene of the movie. It is completely okies to do that, without staking the box office collections!
2. TZP has demystified the general notion of ‘Aisi-movie-to-sirf-hollywood-main-bante-hain-yaar’, prevalent in aam janata.
3. The camera angles in the movie have improved by leaps and bounds. They contribute a lot in ensuring that the movie looks very realistic.
4. The characters in the movie resemble real life characters. The idiosyncrasies of a typical so-called ‘Bhigda-hua’ school kid are captured really well.
5. The music by Shankar, Eshaan and Loy leaves you spell bound. I had posted about a really inspiring song here. My personal favorites being kholo kholo, title track and Maa…
6. It also highlights life at a boarding school and how it can really leave your kid frustrated, if he/she doesn’t get the required attention.
7. Last but not the least, a few dialogues leave you grossly contemplating even after you leave the theatre. Viz. ‘Jo dihkta hain hum ko lagta hai hai hain. Jo nahin dikta hum to lagta hain nahin hain. Lekhin kabhi kabhi jo dikhta hain who nahi hota aur jo nahi dikta hain woh hota hain.’

I also appreciate the way the character of Ishaan’s elder brother (Yuhaan) has been handled in the movie. For the first time you find that the ‘always-right-always-winning-machine-like-flawless’ kid is portrayed as a humble and understanding brother.

PS: Aamir Khan is a father in real life too and it definitely shows on screen as well. Let’s all remember that kids are not some kind of investment that parents make today and hope to reap rich dividends tomorrow. Let’s understand that relationships are not to be looked at with ‘what’s-in-it-for-me?’ kinda attitude. Let’s also not forget that every child special. Last but not the least, whenever you ask a kid what he/she wants to become when he grows up, wait for his/her answer and don’t prompt him with options. May be your options are too small to contain his/her imagination!

~IT's My Life

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Baazigars of Orchard

My sincere apologies for not posting the reviews of TZP which I had promised in my previous article. Something euphoric and sensational happened on 10th evening. I am sharing with you the same. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

After being to a great cultural extravaganza and the allegedly ‘joy-house-won-the-house champion’s-trophy-again-it-seems-dude’ episode and not to forget that close to a 30 minute bindaas Naach Gaana after the cultural events yesterday evening, I jot this article completely impromptu, spilling out all my emotions that are a homogeneous mixture of nostalgia and irrepressible euphoria.

As we finish with our 8 weeks of learning sessions at MindTree, I make an attempt to recollect those golden moments I spent here. I am sure all of you are going through the same sense of collective nostalgia as well. This article is an attempt to offer a small tribute to all those who, with their hardwork, sheer commitment and ever smiling faces made this whole journey of learning sessions, a jovial ride. Sirs and Madams this one’s coming just for you.

Joy in MindTree's truest colours!

I had written about the concept of houses in MindTree, which was started recently to ensure that the transition of a student from campus to corporate is smoothened. We have three houses at MindTree viz. House of Imagination, House of Action and House of Joy, each symbolizing the DNA of MindTree (Imagination, Action and Joy). Each house is assigned a PAL. After the house allocations were made, I got in to the House of Joy. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have got a wonderful PAL like Sudha Selvarajan, who took great care of all the 190 odd students (in fact it has now crossed a whooping 1000+, as she continues to mentor campus minds from other houses not only from the current batch but from the previous batches as well. To say it in her own words, she has been playing the role of ten times of Gandhari...) Don't even think of matching her sense of humour! The whole concept of PALs, in itself is really innovative and is MindTree’s way of ensuring that every campus mind who joins here feels special and nurtured, to face the challenges in the corporate world. The role of a PAL (Parent, Anchor and Leader. Also a true pal) is to ensure that they address the needs of all the campus minds and be there to resolve any of their problems, literally 24/7. They are one stop solution to all the queries which crop up in the ever inquisitive campus minds. I remember having read Sudha Madam quoting in ‘Circle of Life’, “I used to do this mentoring role informally earlier as well. But with the introduction of the concept of PALs, my role as a PAL has just gone a step ahead and is now official.

Orchard - An entire floor dedicated to nurture campus minds!

As I had mentioned earlier, ours is the largest batch ever to have been assimilated by MindTree in one shot. I was skeptical about how we all would be handled by the company. Trust me when I say this, it’s no joke to keep all the campus minds enthused and engaged meaningfully for over 2 months. All credits to the visionaries who came up with this great concept of PALs and for dedicating an entire floor in phase II at MTW. Orchard, as it is called is the hub of all the action and fun. Come to Orchard and I shall promise you that you would be reminded of nothing short of your college days.

Activity room - A room for stress busting! (Right side)

It’s so very well planned and designed that you would always hanker to be here 24/7. We got our own lockers, an activity room where you can burst out all your stress (if any)!

Having spoken so much about PALs, I would like to share a few things about our PAL, Sudha Selvarajan. I start off with her for the simple reason that I got to interact with her more than anybody else. She is such an amazing lady with a great experience behind her. Not many people know that hers has been a life full of battles against all odds, where she has emerged victorious every time. I have never met a lady in my life of her stature and caliber. She definitely commands respect and not to mention undivided affection from all the MindTree minds. What’s so amazing about Sudha madam is, in spite of performing exceedingly well in her role as a technical director, she never allows you to get a feeling that you are actually interacting with some one so higher in the hierarchy of an organization. She ensures that she comes down to the level of campus minds and is always there for you and resolves all your queries almost instantly! (yes that also includes guiding the auto rickshaw guy figure out the exact destination over the phone when a campus mind, who is stuck in the traffic and is unable to convey where he/she intends to go.) She also shares with you her experience both in corporate life as well as social life and can guide you on any topic under the sun! I always call her a mobile encyclopedia. As I had mentioned before, each house activity organized by MindTree across the 3 houses, carried some points and at the end of the learning sessions, the house with the maximum number of points will be adjudged winner. Since we were the defending champions, Sudha madam had made it loud and clear on the very first day itself that she was not gonna let that rolling trophy out of her chamber, come what may! All the campus minds of joy house had promised Sudha madam to retain the champion’s trophy. Ghar ki izzat daav pe thi yaaro!!! We couldn’t afford to lose it at any cost.

But dunno why. Right from day one, inspite of being the defending champions, we were never looked at, as the hot favorites for repeating the dream run which the July batch had cherished. In fact we had given up all hopes of defending our house champion’s trophy after losing terribly in activities like house decoration. A slightly modified cliché from OSO, “Kehte hai ki agar kisi chees (read it as house champion’s trophy) ko dil se chaho to poori kayanat use tumse milane ne ki koshish main lag jaati hain.” Trust me. We all were hoping that the destiny conspires against all odds, yet another time to ensure that we defended this trophy. Until very recently, our house was trailing by miles. Thanks to some brilliant performances on the field and some majestic show put up by singers and terpsichoreans of our house, we finally managed to rise like a phoenix, after almost literally banished from the race for the champion’s trophy. Yesterday was the D day for all the 3 house to make it big as the activities organized by the MindTree for campus minds would officially come to an end. House of Joy was leading by a meager 400 points. A straight win by Action / Imagination house in signing, dancing and debate would have ensured the trophy in their basket. But when the results were finally out, our happiness had no bounds. Our house, which was the least sought after house for the winner’s slot, was declared victorious. A good bunch of campus minds (that included me as well) who were eagerly waiting for this official announcement to take place, literally jumped on to the stage and cheered for our house. I could see the excitement and a sense of accomplishment in the eyes of all the people of our house. What really made us happy was not just the fact that we won, but the way we won it. We had managed to bounce back so hard that other houses just couldn’t recover from the set backs they suffered in the later stages.

Madam, we have finally kept our words! I am really happy that we finally answered all the skepticism that lingered in the minds of all the campus minds of other houses, about our so called co-ordination, our ability to deliver under pressure and above all display great energy levels.

I think the entire campus batch of October 2007 has displayed great sportsmanship. We all have proved right once again, yet another bollywood cliché, ‘Kabhi kabhi jeetne ke liye harna bhi padta hai. Lekhin jo haar kar bhi jeete unhe baazigar kehte hain.’ Three cheers to the true baazigars of Orchard – Sudha Madam, Krishnan and Naveen! You all rock!!!

I would also take this opportunity to thank whole heartedly the PALs of other two house viz. Krishnan and Naveen, who have done an equally commendable job as PALs of Imagination house and Action house respectively. I also would like to extend special thanks to Nagan Gowda, and Chandru of PF team and the entire C2 Team, who ensured that everything went on really smooth during our learning sessions. If not for your sempiternal inspiration and dedication we wouldn’t have been where we are today! Hat’s off to you.

PS: I am sure now madam that you would have no problems in saying, what you love the most “Chalo guys go ahead. No issues!” We still remember what you used to say whenever we were planning to go ahead with things, “Arey! Thoda hatke socho yaar. Otherwise you will not stand out of the group. Madam thank you so much for teaching us so many things so subtly!!! We shall cherish this relationship throughout our lives.

~IT's My Life

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Piasa vasool?? Not really!!!

First things first... I would like to wish all the readers of this blog a very happy and a prosperous new year.

I am finally done with the 8 weeks learning program at MindTree. The last one and a half months have been the most hectic days of my life. It was after a long time that I pushed myself so hard in to something! That explains why my blog posts have dipped in frequency as well. I must say that I am gradually getting used to this corporate life. Hope to update this space more frequently here after.

If KBC were to hit prime time anytime in the future, I am sure the question worth several millions would definitely be, ‘What does it take to deliver a box office hit in bollywood?’ Let me give it a try. The following is an attempt to derive an empirical formula for delivering a successful movie in bollywood:

1. If you are an aspiring director, dreaming to make it big in Mumbai, the bare minimum requirement is to have a big collection of Hollywood flicks in your house. Warna ’How do you get your share of inspiration yaar?’

2. After knitting a story (acha chalo ‘ripping-off-from-Hollywood-flicks’ hi bol deta hoon), you need to get call sheets from who’s who in bollywood.

3. Bollywood movie bana rahe ho aur koi gana vana nahi. Aisa kaisa ho sakta hai? So you gotta have a dance (item) number pa. It’s a must!!!

4. After getting the call sheets of so-called super stars of bollywood, you need to convince your director that Maliaka Arora Khan is playing a very crucial role in this movie (allegedly in an item number) and it’s absolutely okies to pay her 1 crore!

5. If that doesn’t drive away your fear of a delivering a box office hit, you gotta request the male protagonist (preferably a 40+ six packer) to persuade the super stars of yester years (yes the list includes Chunkey pandey!) to make a guest appearance in a dance number where they shall share the silver screen for a split second. You know what? The audience should consider themselves fortunate to see them all in a single movie!!!

6. Not to forget. You must have some sophisticated twists and turns in the movie like, the re-incarnation of the male/female protagonist. The hero must spill out clichés like, “Picture abhi bhi baaki hai mere dost!’ (A gentle reminder for all those who were planning to sneak out of the theatres after intermission).

7. Once you are done with shooting those must have item numbers and scenes where the hero blabbers some heavy clichés, you should start off with the promotion of your movie. The leads of the movie should make regular appearances on reality shows, FM stations as guests. The whole concept behind such ruthless campaigning (read as fooling the audience) with a subtle message ‘Look we don’t have anything special to offer in terms of story. So don’t expect Oscar winning performances from our lead actors. Kyu ki hame khud apni product par shak hai. Is liye we are trying to market it really hard. Watch this movie at your own risk!’

8. Since you already know that the movie you have offered to public is absolute crap, you should be extremely thankful to aam janata if they turn up at theatres in decent numbers. Pehli week pe collection acchi rahi to bach gaye mere dost warna to bhagvan hi tumhari madad kar sakta hai!

It leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you discover that a movie that hit theatres with so much of hype, failed pathetically to live up to your expectations, irrespective of the fact that it was the director’s second movie or whether the protagonists were new comers.

Every trend has an anomaly and bollywood is no different. Amidst a plethora of excessively hyped (over-promise-under-deliver-category) movies you find real good ones like Taare Zameen Par, where the focus is on story and not on some item number where the self proclaimed lady divas suffer from BPK3S (Badan Pe Kapdon Ki Kami Syndrome). I shall share my experience on TZP in my next post.

~IT's My Life

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