Saturday, 28 September 2013

The date that went sour ~ Lunchbox

Considering I am not getting paid to write this, I am going to speak my mind. Well, I never decided to watch this movie, because I did not expect much from a movie called the ‘Lunch Box. But with the critical acclaim and the rare reviews it got and people salivating over it, I and my friend decided to give this movie a shot.
To begin with, it’s a bloody slow movie. So if you are sleep deprived, messed in life, bored or not anywhere close to extremely happy, don’t go for it.  You may just get tempted to stab yourself in the midst of it. The irony is, that it’s nowhere in the box, its way too out of the box.
The movie however does convey a couple of things that may not be too significant in your life or motivate you in anyway. The critics who called this movie ‘optimistic ‘, kindly go check out the meaning, there is no tinge of positivity in the movie. In my opinion, it could be the most sought after movie for jail inmates, the ideal torture plan. Make them watch it over and over again and that should suffice for them to succumb. You say I am being ‘vociferous’, well then go watch the movie and you shall know.
Throughout the movie I had one expression ‘Question mark ‘. Some aspects highlighted it even more like the ones below:-
  •  That 0.01% probability of the Mumbai dabbawallas faltering was all because of this movie. They are simply not going to like it
  • Always wondered who sang those Pandarpur songs in the train. Got to know it was these dabbawallas
  • Before killing herself, a woman ensures she removes all her ornaments, so it’s preserved for the next generation. At least the movie portrays so
  •  Bananas are the main source of lunch for majority of population in Mumbai as it is cheap, filling and acts as a good laxative
  • Orient fans are the best source of entertainment for coma patients. It gives them a reason to stay in coma
  •  Vegetables can be passed across from the top floor to the bottom floor by pulley mechanism including adult diapers
  • Some people do use their suitcases as vegetable chopping tools when they travelling in trains, so that they save on time when they have to go home and cook
  • Bhutan is the happiest country. Although their GDP sucks , they have high GNH i.e Gross National happiness
  • Cooler in Matunga ,is still the most happening place for old couples and you get the best kheema pav there

Sounds absurd? That’s exactly how the movie is! It conveys one line consistently ‘The wrong train may also take you to the right destination ‘. There is no denying the statement, but definitely put up in a very morose fashion igniting a more negative thought.
To give the movie some credit, the acting is phenomenal without doubt. Imran Khan as usual has done a commendable job with that nonchalant look and great timing of words. Nawazzudin Sidique as ‘Irrfan Khans ‘ assistant brought some glimmer of hope in the movie with some good comic skill and Bharati Acrekars voice as Mrs Deshpande was the bonus point for the desolate sounding movie.
So watch it if you must for the actors who have done their job with finesse and not because you generally expect entertainment – then you are bound to be disappointed.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

My Review on ' Madras Cafe'

Good Cinema is rare to come by and Madras Cafe was a movie that was not only quality cinema but also very informative which delivered a concrete message in its own unique style. To me, it was a movie I would recall for a long time as I was immensely touched, in the manner in which it was made and how it conveyed a strong message about the essence of humanity.
It begins with a harrowed looking John Abraham –aka Major Vikram wrapped in morose and disgust, sharing his thoughts with the church priest. He confides in him, his innermost angst and emotion and expresses his concern of the excessive amount of ‘Fear and Greed ‘that we humans are exposed to. With deeper interrogation by the priest, John starts narrating his tale and the rest is history.
John Abraham  i.e Major Vikram was a major in the Indian army, who was dispatched to Jaffna , an area in the Eastern part of Sri-Lanka to take control of the situation which was going out of hand on account of the upheaval and mayhem caused by ( Anna Bhaskaran , the LTF chief ) – fictional name for LTTE . The set up is a little beyond post `1987 , wherein the LTF was fighting for a separate province of its own and waging war against the Sinhalese and creating ruckus with the normal civilians. The intent was to create a separate the rights of the minority i.e the Tamilians. In this situation India was forced to intrude as there was a major influx of Sri-Lankans (refugees) into India and this needed to be stopped.
At this juncture, the Indian govt was keen on the provincial elections in Sri- Lanka taking place and hoped that the opposition leader of LTF could be taken into confidence. However this attempt failed and had to look into ways to dismantle the situation. The military forces of India had failed to take control with LTF and thus looked further into creating ways with its intel team i.e R&AW. Major Vikram was chosen for this assignment and had to work with Robin, Head of Intel in Sri-Lanka. However, turns out the there was leak in information and Robin turned out to be a traitor which proves to be an expensive deal for the Indian Govt.
The plot also brings in a foreign element with people from Bangkok, Singapore, US etc who were keen on supporting the LTF due to vested interests in the strategic location of Sri-Lanka with access to the Indian Ocean and its bounties (My presumption here). The LTF gains more traction due to the support of arms and ammunition from this foreign aid. The arms sent by the Indian government for Indian army purpose was too hijacked the LTF.
In the interim John becomes a threat to the LTF as he managed to garner pivotal information which thereafter led to brutal killing of his wife. This pushes John to further get to the root of crisis and expresses his wish of de-coding this entire trap to the, then President. With his trusted sources, he’s able to track foreign communication and de-codes the on-coming assassination of the ex-PM who was standing for elections and had taken a strong resolve to end the woeful story of Sri-Lanka. This propelled the LTF head to execute a plan on killing him.
John managed to track this information which was communicated to the Indian Govt who was then helpless with limitations in provision of the security. The ex-PM chose to ignore the information and go ahead with his rallies for the upcoming elections.
At the rally in Tamil Nadu, a well trained suicide bomber and her team managed to blow up the area leading to the assassination of the Ex-PM (Then Rajiv Gandhi) and lives of many innocent people.  With that the movie ended, ushering in John in the same spot in the church still morose but with the hope that things will change.

MOVIE MAKING: - The movie is directed by Shoojit Sircar, maker of Vicky Donor and produced by John Abraham. Together they conceptualised a fast moving gripper, getting people glued to their seats without wanting to budge. The beauty of the movie lied in the way they communicated so much of information in a unique style without being too blatant or loud about sensitive issues. The cinematography was brilliant which was dabbled in places i.e Sri-Lanka, India and Bangkok- Singapore. The places were beautifully captured with great clarity in nuances and the feel given was completely of the 1980’s and 1990’s. The fresh faces used in the movie made it look even more realistic with John carrying the movie beautifully on his shoulders as protagonist. The sequencing was good, must say every moment was captivating with second half being fast paced and interesting. What I cannot miss out on is the script, which was witty, flawless interjected with intelligent timely lines that were very though provoking. In a nutshell, a very well researched movie which conveyed all the events in a crisp duration of 120 mins. The movie left people thinking.

Take Away: - What stood out for me in this movie was the beginning and end. The end was with John quoting Rabindranath Tagore’s famous lines on; “where the mind is without fear”. This conveyed the intent of disseminating a fearless attitude on sacrificing for the country and taking up the right steps for the betterment of the nation. The movie appealed to my sensibilities, as I learnt about the whole of era of the Sri- Lankan Civil war which ran into long 26 years leading to killing about at least a lakh of civilians. It is a strong message to everyone on how wars lead to only destruction and peace should be maintained for the greater good of the society. It is an indirect hint to the politicians and decision makers on how to ignore their vested interest, abandon greed and look into the welfare of the common people.  This take away upgrades the movie to a new level and places it in the niche segment of ‘Must Watch’.
DISCLAIMER : The interpretations are solely my opinion and I am strongly opinionated . Also very delayed re-view , but I knew I had to write this one. Intended for it to be a mix of the story and my interpretation of the movie. Cheers :)

Monday, 2 September 2013

Poco Loco

Hola ! Spanish food in India? Well I have wanted to try that out in ages, but never managed that until yesterday. And Yeay! It feels good, although my next plunge with Spanish food will only have to be Spain, not India. I am sure some people out there know what I mean. We like to experiment with food, liking that comes secondary. Spanish was one cuisine I could not lay my hands on and now I am just content, because I can tick it off my wish list.
As a resident of Mumbai, there is no dearth of eating joints. But after having looked up, the options for Spanish seemed limited. The closest one to me was Poco Loco, situated at Pali – Bandra next to Totos.
To begin with, I think the name Poco Loco is so apt –which in Spanish means a little crazy. Crazy people in a crazy places. Nice!  So how crazy it was ? Ambience is great and pictureholics like us found it ‘picture perfect’.

The place is well lit and is a one flooreyed place, where the stairway led to a nice cosy area upstairs. We chose to stay put up there. It can perhaps accommodate about 15 people with just about three tables.So ideally not meant for a very large group of people ;but more suited to small group of friends or couples.

Top Floor

View From the Top
To begin we had the ‘ Ensalada de Citrocos’, in short an exotic fruit platter . A friend on fruit detox chose pick on that one. Must say it was a delight to the eye J . The other two of us hogged on some bread, cheese and mashed potato. The cheese was peculiarly different and I loved it. You should try that one J

'Ensalada de Citrocos’
Post which in entree we ordered Patata Bravas ~ Potatoes with spicy tomato sauce . Frankly this was dismal , and I ordered it specially with the reviews people had given on Zomato. It is nothing but a blander version of French Fries with your regular tomato ketchup with a fancy Spanish name. The Champinones was mushrooms tossed in garlic and olive oil. Not very impressive again , however mushroom lover thatam, I thought it was fairly good with adequate amount of flavour. 

Patata Bravas & Champinones A La Plancha

Post which in entree we ordered Patata Bravas ~ Potatoes with spicy tomato sauce . Frankly this was dismal , and I ordered it specially with the reviews people had given on Zomato. It is nothing but a blander version of French Fries with your regular tomato ketchup with a fancy Spanish name. The Champinones was mushrooms tossed in garlic and olive oil. Not very impressive again , however mushroom lover that I am, I thought it was fairly good with adequate amount of flavour.
'Croquetta de Mozzarella'
After which we ordered the main course. All of us being veges ,our pick was ‘ Croquetta de Mozzarella ‘. As the name suggests , it was some sort of a roll with exhuberant filling of mozzarella complemented with basil oil and tomato cheese. Definitely stunner of a dish , although I liked the stired veges with its dressing better.Personally if I had to pick again , this would’nt be my pick.
Holistically speaking, the place is fabulous , ambience is vibrant , food is not really up to mark ( dont know if Spanish food in Spain would be better ), service friendly and reasonably priced.
If given an option , hell yes I would go there again with a different group of people and try other stuff on that menu.  So, ‘Buen provecho’to all J

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

'True Form of Work'

Most of us believe in God and do our best to please him .Many do it in the form of various offerings like fruits, flowers, Candles and so forth. While doing so, we also ensure it’s the best quality and he is happy with what we give him .However when we delve into it, we know these things are given to us by him and in turn it goes back to him.  When we pray, the very breath is his gift. So what is it that we give, that is not given by him?  This very question was put forth to God.
God replied “I gave you every resource you needed .In (my) case, Food, Shelter, Clothing and so much more. How best you utilize these and how you do your duties in the best possible manner is the best offering you can give me “. This whole episode was narrated to us by our mentor in the midst of an office meeting. This came up when we were discussing quality controls with context to work/processes. The episode implied that we can give God nothing, but when we offer our work to God /higher self, the best comes out with ease and quality simply follows as it leaves it no choice. And this is all he expects and wants.
This very aspect, my mom drilled into me since my childhood and Of course I have had my share of experiences. Although it is consciously never practiced .When our mentor , quoted the very same thing , it just reinforced the thought and how true it must be ,if  he had to say that with confidence backed  by the immense experience he has had himself. When we perform our duties /work with no vested interest and dedicate it to the higher self, it just results into the best and one gets that absolute sense of fulfillment. More than fulfillment, it leads on to working with passion and absolute integrity……………………………..