Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hairat-e-mausiqui....

So you thought that the transition between pure desi melody and the western piano in "O Ri Chhori" was effortless? Listen to "Ae Hairat-e-aashiqui" from Guru and you'll know what efforless fusion is all about. part ghazal, part sufi-qawwali, part spanish instrumentals flow into each other with such wonderful ease. Hariharan, Alka and Rahman himself bring us this gem of a song.

ARR is a genius! "Ae Hairat-e-aashiqui". 8.5/10... maybe 9/10...

Update: actually, I myself thought that the transition in "O Ri Chhori" wasn't quite THAT effortless.. it DID work for me, but for some reason I always preferred just the desi melody part of the song. It might have something to do with the awkward english lyrics and the picturization of that part. The Aamir/Gracy part of the song just looks SO much better!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Go light on the hype, will you?

Ek Lo Ek Muft. Potentially fun song gone wrong. Didn't work for me even after 5-6 hearings. :(

5.5/10 at best... Not as fun as that other situational song "Samjho ho hi gaya", and I didn't even find that one great before watching it on screen. It was quite enjoyable though. Not "Ek Lo Ek Muft". And considering that it finds a place in an ARR-Mani album, just plain disappointing! :(

Sunday, November 19, 2006

what do you get when...

you mix Gujarati music with Arabic music? If you are A R Rahman, you get the second half of "Mayya Mayya" from Guru. Pure and unadulterated fun!! Bliss!!!

And I'm saying "second half of" because the first half of the song is nothing compared to the second half. Once the lyrical part is done away with and just chorus and instruments take over for the second half, the song reaches another level altogether!

Mayya Mayya!! first half : 7.5/10.. second half:9.5/10

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Guru for you!

Now that the movie is postponed, let me double my efforts to sate your Guru-thirst.

An extended video of "Tere Bina", here. This is quite a bit longer than the youtube preview I posted earlier.

A reasonably long-ish interview of ARR from the audio launch, here. The first scene from the trailer is just a wee bit longer than the original trailer.

(cross posted on naachgaana.com)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Guru Update...

Its official... I'm now officially completely crazily hyped about Guru's music.. This, after keeping my excitement in check all this while.. Just heard 1 min. sample clips from the two songs whose video clips I had posted earlier i.e. "Barso Re" and "Tere Bina" and if these clips are anything to go by, Guru might not just live up to its Mani Ratnam-Rahman expectations, it might turn out to be one of their better albums. (I know, I know.. saying something like that when they have given Roja, Bombay, Thiruda Thiruda, Dil Se, Iruvar, Alaipayuthey, Kannathil Mutthamittal and Yuva/Ayidha Ezhuthu is craziness... Thats why I said that I'm officially hyped now! ) :) But, seriously speaking, the initial signs are not just encouraging but positively electrifying!

On to the clips now.. "Barso Re" by Shreya Ghoshal reminds me of some of Rahman's highly fun and enjoyable songs in Tamil movies. Specifically from movies like Sapnay/Rhythm/Kaadhal Virus/En Swaasa Kaatre. And I've always felt that its a pity why Rahman doesn't get the opportunity to be as "free" in his Hindi projects. Most of them seem to be classy/period movies that don't quite allow him to play around with sounds/rhythms etc. And when he DOES get such an opportunity, he is just magical (like in Meenaxi). This is probably going to be something like Meenaxi too. Eclectic, brilliant, highly enjoyable...

Second song is "Tere Bina"... and its superb! It has a distinct "Ishq Bina" feel to it.. Not in the tune per se.. just the sounds etc are very reminiscent of "Ishq Bina".. and Rahman sings extremely well here!! Its difficult to understand the lyrics though.. more because Gulzar seems to have taken some liberty with the language rather than the words themselves being very unclear... I'm DYING to listen to this song in its entirety!!

Listen to the clips here

Update : Ok, my mistake. After listening to the clip a zillion number of times, I have realized that its not just Gulzar's liberty-with-language that is to blame. ARR's diction is what makes those words even more difficult to understand. Thing is, you don't normally hear words like beswaadi in songs. Or anywhere. "tere bina beswaadi beswaadi ratiyaan, O Sajna.. rookhi re vo rookhi re... kaatoon re, kaate kate na", the song goes. And ARR sings beswaadi as something like "besu aadi" and rookhi as "rukkhi". sigh! Its a great song nevertheless... :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

GURU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did I say Youtube rules? Let me say it again. Youtube rules!!

And Rahman? I'm getting all hyped up about this. I've been trying my best not to get too excited lest I be disappointed, but I must say that everything I've heard till now (which, admittedly, is less that 30 seconds in all) has been brilliant!
Rahman Rules! (So does Youtube!)


your (at least mine) first look at Guru's song. "Barso Re" by Shreya Ghoshal. Aishwarya jumping around awkwardly... :P

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

For Amrita Rao fans...

and also any Shahid Kapur fans that might be lurking about... a still from Vivaah. Can't say I'm looking forward to the movie, though.



pic courtesy: Sandhya Iyer/Naachgaana.com

Monday, November 06, 2006

Gulzar! Rahman! Ratnam!

jaage hain der tak, hamein kuchh der sone do..
thodi si raat aur hai, subah to hone do..
aadhe adhoore khwaab jo poore na ho sake,
ek baar phir se neend mein vo khwaab bone do..

ek khwaab toot jaane ka ehsaas hi to hai,
thodi si raat aur, sehar paas hi to hai

I want Guru's album. NOW!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Exciting times!

I'd been keeping extremely busy due to work ( and just a little play) over last one month. But two movies are screaming to be blogged about, so here I am.

First, a movie that is easily the most exciting among the near-future releases. Guru is about to release. The trailer is out with the Diwali releases (Don and Jaaneman) and is now up on the official site of the movie. Looks to be inspired by Ambani and knowing how good Mani Ratnam is when he makes these icon-biopics (Iruvar and Nayagan e.g.), I think Abhishek Bachchan might just have hit gold. If he is even half as good as Mohanlal, Prakashraj and Kamal Haasan were in those other Mani Ratnam gems, then this movie will catapult him to great heights. And the trailer really DOES seem to suggest that! More than anything else, though, is the fact that the music will probably release very soon now. I'm already hyperventilating with excitement! There has been no buzz about this music, and chances are that given the subject it will be understated a la Iruvar. But that means that quality-wise it should be mind-blowing. This is clearly Iruvar territory and not Dil Se territory. But then, Iruvar's music was amazing too, wasn't it?

Secondly, go and watch Dor today, if you havent already. In this amazing year of Rang De Basanti, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Omkara, Dor is another addition to great hindi movies. It's a remake of Perumazhakalam and I don't really know how much creative addition Nagesh Kukunoor has done, but it seems he has done enough to get a lot of credit for this great movie. There are some problems with the movie, but nothing that can't be explained away by budget constraints. You can find more about the movie online if you want to, so I won't say much here except that it is a must watch. Go and see it!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

random.....

A lot of things to do but absolutely no mood to do anything right now.. :( what to do? (blog, of course!)

Considering that this blog has always been predominantly about movies, I think it won't really be appropriate if I don't tell you people that I have seen two of the best movies of this year during last two weeks. Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed.

For those of you who love light comedies (as in, well made plot/dialogue/character based comedy and not actor antics based physical comedy) Little Miss Sunshine is a must watch! Easily one of the most funny movies I have seen in some time.

As for The Departed, I don't see how anyone could've gone wrong with such amazing plot. I had already seen the original chinese movie (Infernal Affairs) and loved it. And I had been VERRRY excited when I came to know that Scorsese was planning to remake it (that too with Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson!). But I was concerned that for someone who has seen the original, will he be able to hold the attention much. Turns out that he can! The Departed follows the original movie's screenplay a LOT. So much so that on a lot of occassions it seems as if you are watching the same movie again. And yet, against all expectations, it is actually BETTER than the original. Scorsese has changed some things. The movie is set in Boston, and that does a lot to change the overall "feel" of the movie. Some interesting characters have been added and Jack Nicholson's role has been expanded a lot (if it wasn't I'm sure Jack Nicholson wouldn't have wanted to take it up! :) ), and a lot of humor has been added through dialogue. I don't know if I should call it more engrossing than the original as the original was as engrossing as any movie you'll ever see, but it definitely doesn't lose any of the original's strengths while adding a couple of good things to it. I don't know if Scorsese should get an oscar for what is essentially a highly faithful remake, but he definitely has made a verrry good movie. Easily one of the best movies of this year so far. If you haven't seen the original, you'll probably want to give the oscar to Scorsese rightaway!! :) I'd urge you to wait though. There are quite a few movies coming up. Not least of them Flags of Our Fathers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All you lovers of Luna Lovegood!



Here is a still from the movie. Its amazing how they translate her "dreamy-eyes" expression onto the screen. She really DOES look like Luna Lovegood of my imagination! :)

Pic courtesy Mugglenet.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

linking park....

Today's links... A hilarious post on India Uncut, here. Amit Varma rocks!

A superb trailer that has made Little Children one of the most anticipated movies of this year for me, here. Mark my words, you'll hear this movie's name a lot of times on the Oscar night. (yes! just the trailer is enough to tell me that! :P )

A wonderful blog containing movie reviews and movie related interviews mainly, here. The latest post is a glowing review of Nagesh Kukunoor's Dor. What a year this is turning out to be for Indian movies. wow!

Hi-resolution pic of Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in HP5, here. Must say that she looks much less evil/intimidating that the Umbridge in my mind's eye. Then again, it might just be because I find it difficult to separate Imelda Staunton from her amazing portrayal of Vera Drake. It is impossible to imagine anything remotely evil related to that role.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

(melodious) song of the day

I am a shamelessly proud fan of A R Rahman. And there are some times when I wonder myself whether there have been cases of me liking a Rahman song just BECAUSE it happened to be a Rahman song and whether he REALLY is as great as I like to think. In such rare moments of doubt, all I need to do is play any one of my favorite songs, close my eyes and lose myself in the immense pleasure those sounds bring to me. There are many many songs that have such an effect on me and a lot of them are famous enough so that most of you would've heard them. So, let me recommend one that you might've missed.

Two of ARR's most underrated albums (aren't they all underrated? even the most hyped probably deserve to be hyped even more! :P ) are Sangamam and Taj Mahal and its a pity that people who aren't exposed to tamil songs will probably never listen to these songs. They probably won't even be dubbed in hindi simply because of the tamil folk touch that most of these songs have. To people who are willing to invest 15-20 minutes of their time based on my recommendation, I'd suggest they listen to "Karisal Tharisal" from Taj Mahal. Play the song, increase the volume to the level that you enjoy most, close your eyes and relax. Try to ignore the fact that you don't understand tamil if that's the case. Then play the song again (you'll find that ignoring the tamil part isn't even an issue after the first listening). And once more. If you find even half as much joy as I get from this song, you'll thank me (and ARR, of course) for that!

strict instruction: don't even try to listen to the song on Raaga/Musicindiaonline etc. If you can't find it anywhere, send me a mail. It'll probably be within the realm of possibility to convince myself that I am not encouraging piracy by sending a tamil song to someone who wasn't going to buy a tamil song anyway. If I can convert even one person so that he/she then goes ahead and buys some tamil albums, I think it will be worth it.

strict instruction 2: don't blame me if you don't find the song great after the first hearing and decide not to listen to it again. "3 hearings before verdict" is the ARR rule. Follow it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Movie Geek heaven!

Peter Jackson's enthusiasm for his projects is contagious. I wasn't too excited when I heard that his followup to LOTR series was going to be a remake of King Kong but watching the production diaries on kongisking.net got me so excited that it became one of the most anticipated movies of the last year for me. And now this freewheeling interview on AIC has got me all excited about The Lovely Bones (his next directorial venture), The Dambusters (he's producing it) and the Temeraire series that he just bought the rights for. I still am not THAT keen on the Halo adaptation that he is producing but reading the interview has made me at least wait and make up my mind after having a first look at posters/trailers as and when they come up.

Read the 5-part interview if you consider yourself a movie fan (even if not a Peter Jackson fan). The fifth part hasn't been published yet. The other parts are here (1 - about the Temeraire series), here (2 - about The Lovely Bones), here (3 - about Halo), and here (4 - about The Dambusters). If nothing else, read The Dambusters section. I don't know about you, but I am already looking forward to this one (and they haven't even completed the script yet!!).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Let's be lazy....

what do you do when you intend to post something but don't have the time/inclination to post something new? well, you can either just post a link to someone else's post OR just copy paste your own post from some other place!! :)

so, here is a little summary of non-indian movies that have been released in US this year and some of the highly anticipated ones for the rest of the year... I had posted this as a comment on a related post on Naachgaana, so it doesn't have the "feel" of a blog post. But that is still better than nothing, right?
V for Vendetta, The Proposition, Inside Man, United 93, the squid and the whale and Cache were all really good! (Though the last two were probably released last year, as someone pointed out later). Cars, as a movie, was just good enough to watch but include the absolutely ridiculously beautiful animation and it probably becomes one of the must-see movies of the year so far. You have NO idea what you have missed by not watching it on the big screen. Then there were reasonably good/watchable ones like A Scanner Darkly, Thank you for smoking (really hilarious in parts) and An Inconvenient Truth.
Others that I have yet to see but have had good reports are Little Miss Sunshine (easily the clearest oscar bait for the next year, as of now), Clerks II, Road to Guatanamo, A Prairie Home Companion.

As for forthcoming movies The Departed has been one of the most anticipated movies for me for some time now, but the trailers left me just a wee bit disappointed. It seems too much of a copy of Infernal Affairs for my taste. I loved Infernal Affairs, but watching exactly the same scenes in the trailer of the Scorsese remake put me off a little bit. Jack Nicholson is AMAZING in the trailer, though! Easily the strongest point of the movie for me, as of now. And that is saying something considering that I've become sort of a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio over last few years.
And I JUST saw the trailer of Flags of our Fathers and it is ABSOLUETLY fabulous. the japanese trailer for the twin movies was superb, but this english one has made me insanely excited. And that is even though I am normally not a very war-movie kind of person.
I LOVED the sounds and visuals of the last two Zhang Yimou movies and I worship Gong Li's acting prowess, so Curse of the Golden Flower is another movie that I am eagerly waiting for.
Aronofsky's The Fountain HAS to be included in any list of the anticipated movies for 2006.
The trailer of The Last King of Scotland is great too, though it might turn out to be too reminiscent of Hotel Rwanda.
The Last Kiss is very exciting for anyone who liked Garden State (I did!). And even though the first trailer is too weird to say anything for or against it, The Science of Sleep might turn out to be another great movie from Gondry (though without Charlie Kauffman this time!)
Then there are others like Babel, Volver, A Good Year, Stranger than fiction, Apocalypto, The Children of Men, The Good Shephard, The Good German and Dreamgirls all have something or the other going for them and are interesting. Hopefully at least some of them will turn out great. Otherwise this is going to be a very disappointing year indeed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rising from the ashes...

like a Phoenix! lets see how long this stretch of blogging goes...

lets start with some quotes I ran into today.. forgot about the sources, so the credits will probably come later..

first, a funny quote (but when you REALLY think about it, quite insightful too), "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg."

then an interesting one (though possibly incorrect), "If the brain were simple enough to be understood, it would be too simple to understand itself."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

United 93

Have you ever seen a movie that was so good that you didn't want your friends to watch it?

United 93 is one such movie. Watched it an hour ago and still can't get rid of that horrible feeling. It's as if someone has caught hold of my diaphragm and is squeezing it. I went to see the movie because it has received some of the best reviews of any movie this year. But at the back of my mind I had this doubt that maybe everyone is saying it is good just because they can't be seen to be criticizing the first major attempt at showing the events of Sept 11, 2001 in a movie. So, as long as it is not a bad attempt, it will probably get encouraging reviews from everyone. Or, maybe each of those reviewers DID find the movie touching but I might not just because most of them are americans and they obviously feel much more strongly about the event that I can.

How wrong I was!!! United 93 is easily the most realistic movie about terrorism that I have ever seen. So much so, that the first half an hour seems a bit too disjointed, too chaotic, too slow. It prepared me to be disappointed.. but once things started to happen, the disjointedness and the chaos actually made it all the more captivating.. and the pace suddenly changes till you almost can't take it... You feel uncomfortable, you almost want to get out of the theatre because every second the action on the screen goes on makes breathing increasingly more difficult for you.. you feel claustrophobic.. and yet, you know that the reason you feel all this is because not only the things that are being shown on the screen have ACTUALLY happened, but also that the way they are being shown is so real that it practically transports you inside the plane that is being hijacked. There is no movie-melodrama.. no patriotic speeches.. no contrived situations to make you feel for the people.. the awareness that all these characters actually DID live through all this precludes any need for character development.. you don't need life histories of any of these people... you just see them, and you suffer...

United 93 was easily one of the most difficult movies for me to sit through. And maybe I won't want you to sit through it. (Then again, it might not have quite the same impact if you don't see it in a theatre.. I don't know.. ). But I can't help but admire Paul Greengrass for making this movie the way he did.

Update: Just found out that the actor who seemed to be performing the best in the movie - so much so that I wanted to found out more about him and watch more of his movies - was actually no actor at all!! He was the actual FAA director of operations on that day and was playing himself in the movie! WOW!! Incredible!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pixarrred!!

Cars is releasing today, and even though the reviews aren't up to the normal Pixar level I really can't stop myself from going and watching it (mostly today.. but maybe tomorrow...)

Meanwhile the first teaser trailer of Ratatouille, Pixar's (and Brad 'The Incredibles' Bird's) next, is out and its GRREAT!!! Teasers for The Incredibles and Cars were highly disappointing (but The Incredibles turned out to be amazing, and hopefully Cars will be too) but this one is completely Pixar-worthy! Look at Ratatouille's teaser here.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Back with an eruption....

Long time no post... lets try to start it again with something of, er, volcanic proportions...

This pic on APOD took my breath away. (Later I realized it was probably due to all the ash/smoke. Heh!.. I know, I know.. PJ..)

Anyway, have a look at some othe pics taken from the ISS, here. I am sure you'll find some pics there that will make it worth your effort. See, for example, this one... I can see why some people might not be too impressed with this pic, but as far as I am concerned, its an absolutely, er, breathtaking picture. (I know.. seems I dont have too many adjectives in my vocabulary.. but out of awesome, awe-inspiring, amazing, astounding, astonishing etc, I found breathtaking the most accurate.. whats more, it doesn't start with an 'a'!! :P)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Soccer Wars...

Amit 'India Uncut' Verma recently posted about a hilarious ad. don't (DON'T!!!) miss it!! click on that link! NOW!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Shakti aur Kshama

I promised in this post that I'll find Shakti aur Kshama and post it on this blog. Thanks to Jaya, the amazing Hindiphile who not only collects great Hindi poems (and posts them here) but also authors great stuff herself. Just a little email to her, and the problem was solved within 5 minutes!

The poem is by Ramdhari Sinh 'Dinkar' and I used to love it! Jaya told me that it is actually a part of Kurukshetra by Dinkar, and isn't a stand alone poem as I had assumed. So, here goes..

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Slashdot fun for the day.

A discussion about the ISRO-NASA story is going on at slashdot. And this person came up with this....

...received from my Crystal Ball(TM):

"New Delhi, we have a problem."
"Thank you for calling Mission Control. May I be having your name, address, and current software version please?"
"The software has locked us out. We need you to make a course correction in exactly 20 seconds!"
"Certainly sir. If I could just be having your license number please."
"License number?! Just fire thrusters 2 and 3 for 4.5 seconds on my mark!"
"You're Mark? Thank you for giving me your name, but I am needing your license code too please."
"Our license number is going to be 3-D-E-A-D-G-U-Y-S if you don't fire the thrusters in--5 seconds!"
"If this is an emergency request, please be giving me your express service code."
"Express... Hey Buzz, crack the main hatch open for 5 seconds on my mark... NOW! We'll have to hope this works."
"I'm sorry sir, but it appears you have voided your warranty. Please be having a nice day."[click]


I know, I know.. As an Indian I should probably be offended by this... but it IS quite funny!! :P

Also, I LOLed at reading this person's signature -
Contrary to popular belief, ad hominem is not Latin for "that's mean!"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ped, Papeeta, Pinku aur Prasoon

Have you heard the tongue twister song from Fanaa? I don't think I liked the music a lot - some decent songs, but nothing earth-shaking - but I like this song just because of the innovative tongue twisters written by Prasoon Joshi. Or at least I think they are written by him because I had never heard 2 out of the 3 that are part of the song (the Khadag Singh ke khadakne se.. one is quite old..)

These "new" ones are...

Chandaa chamkay cham cham, cheekhay chaukannaa chor
Cheentee chaatay cheenee chatoree cheeneekhor

and

Pakay ped par pakaa papeetaa, pakaa ped yaa pakaa papeetaa,
pakay ped ko pakday Pinkoo, Pinkoo pakday pakaa papeetaa.

I specially like the Chanda chamkay one.. the "chatoree cheeneekhor" part cracked me up! :)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Doctor Kotnis Mathur ki Amar Kahaani

Abhishek Mathur, one of my closest friends, is defending his PhD thesis today. YAY!!! That makes him Dr. Mathur within less than 4 years of becoming Abhishek Mathur B.Tech.

How the hell do people do such things???

What about me??? well......

*runs back to read more phdcomics strips*.

Beginning of the end?

Just read this.

I know the title of this post makes me sound like all those doomsday-predictors who keep predicting the end of the world every couple of years or so. But I wonder....

Then again, I think that if similar measures are taken here in the US, then we'll probably save enough energy to last us for a couple of millenia...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Google and Dinkar

Google's quote of the day for today is:

"What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do" by Aristotle.

I am impressed with this Aristotle chap.. he seemed to know his stuff.. :P Anyway, I liked the quote a lot and it reminded me of one of my favorite poems in hindi - Shakti aur Kshama by Ramdhari Sinh 'Dinkar' - that had a similar theme. In fact it happens to be one of only a couple of hindi poems that I still remember almost completely. Will try to find it online and put the link here. If not, probably I'll just type it out one of these days...

Update: I ran into this wonderful site about hindi poems. Don't have time right now to browse through the whole site but it doesn't seem to have Shakti aur Kshama.

Aakash is back

Aakash Chopra is back in England to play for his club side. And thankfully HT is continuing with his columns. Easily one of the better cricketer-writers I have ever read. Tells you everything related to a cricketer's life/perspective rather than the same old "X should take a break", "Y should be dropped", "Z should be given more time to perform"...

Read the latest in his column here and a previous post on this blog about his take on Veeru Sehwag is here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Best movie soundtrack of all time?




Well, you can't argue with a cumulative rating like that, can you? :P Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 01, 2006

News of the day?

Try and beat this one!

(And no, I'm not going to change the title of this post or give you any credit in case you are thinking of pointing out the actual date on the article...)

news via slashdot.


Ok, seems I jumped the gun. As someone pointed out on slashdot itself, this seems to be another of those hoaxes. Sigh! Here is an article about this on the site of the journal Archaeology.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mahima and Shilpa for Palme D'Or

Found out the list of nominations for this year's Palme D'Or at Cannes. Seems Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's (of Amores Perros and 21 Grams fame) next movie, Babel, is one of the movies in the list. I was surprised to see Mahima Chaudhary and Shilpa Shetty's names in the cast list on Babel's IMDb page. The plot summary doesn't say anything about one of the stories being set in India, so I guess Mahima and Shilpa will probably play Indians living in Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico or Japan.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

pseudopost++

While I try to finish my work and think about things to blog, you people go read something else. Like this hilarious post by Greatbong! Not as hilarious as I expected but filled with a couple of gems here and there.. overall quite entertaining.. :)

Friday, April 28, 2006

post++

Just commented on this post of Vivek's about languages, gaalis and their offensiveness. I know it should probably be considere cheating if one just copy-pastes his comment on someone else's blog and counts it as a post, but its better to do this rather than not post anything for a month, no?

Anyway, here is my reply. Reading the original post will probably provide some necessary context to this.
hmmmm I remember wondering about this English/hindi gaali funda when I first came across english gaalis (at IIT I guess)... but since then I have had experiences that have illuminated the issue for me. I don't think the degree of offensiveness/obscenity of any word has a lot to do with the actual meaning. Probably only to the extent that these words started to be considered offensive/obscene because of the meaning but the degree is more often than not "learned" from your family/society. You realize it only when you come across a word that you have seemingly always considered highly offensive and then you come across another word that means exactly the same thing and yet doesn't offend you. Its amazing how quickly our reactions get correlated with just the way a word "sounds". I suspect that if someone does a study about the order of interpretation of a word's meaning by brain and the onset of the feeling of offense, it will be found that the latter probably precedes the former. Or at least that they are not necessarily correlated to a high degree.
There was a time when I uttered a particular word that didn't mean anything to me and ended up offending a Puerto Rican friend of mine because it was a highly offensive word in spanish. So much so that she visibly flinched every time I said the word and could not bring herself to say the word aloud even when she was actually explaining the meaning. Like I said, very often we just reflexively react to a lot of these sounds. If you wonder why "Maadar**od" is so much more offensive to hindi-speakers than "Motherf***er" is, consider why "T*tti" is considered a dirtier word that "Paikhana"... or "G**nd" dirtier than "Pichhwaada". The whole concept of a euphemism is based on the fact that we don't react to the meaning of a word but the word itself (which probably means the sound pattern).. and a corollary to that is that we tend to react more strongly to the words in the language we grow up with rather than an acquired language. No wonder you get to hear "Sh*t" much more often in IIT than in a US campus.

ID and ET

Slashdot has a discussion going on about this picture (released to celebrate 16th anniversary of HST). The discussion took a little detour to this picture of Hubble Ultra Deep Field released earlier by NASA and someone came up with this gem...
I love how my dad, a fundy christian, looks at the deep field, and says to me "and people think there isnt life elsewhere out there, in all of that, there *has* to be", and then sees me reading "the origin of species" and tells me "you know, thats just called the theory of evolution."


somehow he manages to believe in aliens halfway across the known universe, and that god created the earth and everything on it in 7 days. /rant over


Funny!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Materialist Me.

Here goes.... no idea what to make of it... specially because the questions were so completely ambiguous that selecting any given answer was extremely difficult. What can you do when you know that disagreeing with "Spirituality halts the progress of society" would be interpreted as being "Romanticist" or, horror-of-horrors, "Fundamentalist" when all you want to say is that "possibly it has helped the human species to survive and there is no reason to believe that it might not have any evolutionary significance and survival advantage value in the short or the long term"... Or consider a statement as profoundly idiotic as "It is humanity's responsibility to progress". What does one do with this? what is meant by "progress"? defined by whom? "responsible" to whom? to the "creator"? No idea... Sigh! anyway, here are the results...

You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.

Materialist

81%

Modernist

63%

Postmodernist

56%

Fundamentalist

44%

Existentialist

44%

Idealist

38%

Romanticist

25%

Cultural Creative

19%

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

busy busy..

Have been extremely busy over last couple of months... I know that sounds like a lame excuse coming from me, but there really isn't any other reason why I havent been blogging much. (Ok, maybe I had some time to blog while in Venice but its not exactly easy to blog when you don't have internet access... I was surprised the universe didn't collapse while I was unable even to check my mail... )

Anyway, should be back to blogging once this bubble of busy-ness bursts.. should be in a couple of weeks.. hopefully..

Meanwhile, a completely useless test result is coming next up. I only did it because Vivek said so here. Can't say I was terribly impressed though.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What the hell do you mean "They chased 434 down"??????

Someone please poke me or something.. Wake me up...

They made 434??????? AND THEY LOST?????????????

OHH!! MYYY GAWDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!

How does one get his mind around this???

Friday, March 10, 2006

And just when I thought things couldn't get worse....

They did not. They actually got better. Much better.

The post-42-hour-wakefulness sleep was interrupted by a call from India bringing the news that my sister is now the proud mom of a baby boy!! YAAYYYYY!!!!!

How time flies!! Has it been years when we used to fight like eternal enemies over things ranging from melody chocolate candies to the role of religion in life? I guess we'll just have to keep ourselves to the topics like religion henceforth. A new generation is already here to take care of the melody chocolate candies.

Congratulatory mails are coveted. Don't forget to include your favorite boy names in the mail!! I assure you that every good suggestion will become part of the pool which would be used to select the name. :)

And before I forget.... YAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!! :P

*off to tell everyone who'd want to hear... sleep be damned!*

Morose Musings

Awake for almost 40 hours, dead tired by a whirlwind visit to NYC which included about 4-5 hours of walking/standing and not too happy about many thing in life. In short, absolutely the worst time to post something online... and yet... and yet...

I remember making a post on my last year's birthday about no one coming to wish me. Was that a cry for attention? Didn't really do much good, if that was the hidden motivation behind it... Then again, why would one post about his mental state unless it is just an attention seeking device... In case that is the motivation behind this post, I know it is quite a stupid thing to do as there are much better/much more convenient/much less in-your-face ways of doing that.. and yet.. and yet...

One of the key statements on which most of my life has been based, is - "But why should I do it?". When everyone seemed to spend time in playing/having fun, I loved solving puzzles/reading encyclopedias.. because "because everyone else does is" was no reason in favor of doing anything.. In fact, and this is probably the unfortunate part, it seemed to always become a reason in itself arguing against that thing... When others say that looks/physique/hygiene are extremely important and I should take care of them more, then that itself becomes the reason not to do it... Because, after all, I know I am good... I know I am a nice person who has possibly never intentionally done harm to anyone in anyway.. why should then these minor things matter? Its stupid, I know... and yet, somewhere inside, it seems right... it seems the only thing to do...

25 years, and I have psychologically kept ahead of these things... Fortunately, I have always been able to find people around me, who tended to see the inherent goodness and at least pretended that it was worth bearing the other things that even according to them were probably shortcomings.. Now, however that luck seems to have run dry. I'm confused... I have no idea what to do.... For the first time the mind is screaming that maybe things have been horribly wrong all this while.... Maybe things that seemed to be more important aren't really that important... For the first time, I can't see any reason to feel good about myself... For the first time I can see that people really do believe that these shortcomings are more than enough to compensate for any good things that might be lurking inside me.. and for the first time these people have begun to matter a lot...

Result... the lowest self esteem I have ever had.. and a confused state of mind that can't seem to be able to shut itself down even after 40 hours of non-sleep....

So why am I writing all this? Maybe I'm just drunk on lack of sleep... or Maybe I really am realizing some things that I should've learnt long ago... in other words, maybe I'm finally doing the growing up that a friend of mine keeps saying I desperately need to do... or, hopefully, its nothing that profound and maybe I'm just a little lonely and need someone to put in a few good words about me in my ears to help the self esteem thing (an SOS has been sent to Raja, and he will probably show up for a day in Rochester to take care of the situation.. :) ).

Anyway, enough cribbing about personal life... I hope my future posts will be more about general interest...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

CRASHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Crash! Crash! Crash! Crash! Crash! Crash!

:)))))))))

The Sun can now go ahead and not rise tomorrow...... :P

My review of Crash is here... and the reason I am so happy is this!

Oscars 2006

Seems nowadays I can't seem to get myself to post anything unless something of astronomical importance happens (like my b'day and... er.. oscars). Anyway, now that most of my not-so-loyal readers have deserted this sinking ship, I can continue with a slightly more relaxed mind to do what I have always done... discuss movies!! :)

The Oscars 2006 are about to be announced in a couple of hours. And even the worst critics of oscars among us can't probably grumble about the nominations this year. I can't think of any nomination this year which would be a ridiculous winner if it wins the award which goes to show how good most of these movies and performances are. Overall there haven't been too many great movies this year, but for some reason there were enough that were good enough to be considered oscar-worthy and, incredibly, the Academy decided to include only these movies in the nominations.

That none of them will be a ridiculous winner does not mean that there aren't some clear favorites. That only means that some of them were completely awesome and the only reason the others will lose to them will be that they are up against these awesome performances. Any other year, and most of these others might've won an award.

So, before they start, here are the predictions.....

Best Movie: Brokeback Mountain (maybe.. just maybe.. they'll award it to Crash... and maybe, just maybe the Sun won't rise tomorrow).

Best Director: Ang Lee (what if they decide to give it to George Clooney? I'll be HAPPY, that's what!)

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman (ok.... there's no what if, no maybe here.. Joaquin Phoenix can fall asleep at Kodak Theatre if he wants to....)

Best Actress: Felicity Huffman (but Reese Withespoon is well within the picture too... others can excuse themselves, thank you very much.. )

Best Supporting Actor: no idea... will stick my neck out for Jake Gyllenhall just because he's in Brokeback... (But I'll be ecstactic if Paul Giamatti gets it.... or Matt Dillon, simply because he's in Crash... NOT William Hurt.... NOT William Hurt! Clooney? well, no idea.. havent seen Syriana yet...)

Best Supporting Actress: hmmm... no idea again... one of the two awards that are absolutely impossible to predict... probably Rachel Weisz.... then again, there's not ONE nominee there who deserves to lose...

Original Screenplay: CRASH CRASH CRASH CRASH!!! Havent seen Syriana, but any of the others can win too and it won't be too bad.. just that Crash should get SOMETHING, shouldn't it??

Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain will take it probably... But should go to The Constant Gardener, if you ask me.

Best Cinematography: Good Night and Good Luck deserves it (havent seen Memoirs of a Geisha and The New World though.. ), then again this is probably Brokeback Mountain's year... so...


See you after the ceremony!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Birthday Boy of the Day!




Yes, I don't believe in furniture.
Yes, I still am partial to blue.
Yes, the cake was dellllicious!
And no, this isn't my 42nd b'day. Trust me. Sometimes things aren't as bad as they look.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Picture of the Day


Lahore Fort in all its glory. Pic taken from IndiaUncut.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Movie Quote of the Day


from 2046....

Love is all a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too soon or too late. If I'd lived in another time or place..... my story might have had a very different ending.



(pic courtesy Sony Pictures Classics and mongrelmedia)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Coming soon....

comments on The Constant Gardener, Sarkar, North Country, Match Point, For a Few Dollars More and Twelve Monkeys.

Hold your breath...

and try not to die...

Movies Update - 6 (Page 3)

Page 3: A very engrossing script which nevertheless suffers from some highly cartoonish characters/situations and - as far as I am concerned - is highly irresponsible in the manner it shows 90% of its characters in absolutely black shades. Bhandarkar also overdoes the evil-society bit by trying to stuff in anything and everything that came to his mind, from riots to drugs to child prostitution.

For all the chest-thumping assertions of this being a hard-hitting realistic movie about page 3 culture, the best parts of the movie were actually the scenes that didnt have much to do with any of those things. There were only 3-4 well written characters but they were done so well that any interaction between them was always interesting. It didn't hurt that these characters were played by some superb actors. Konkona Sen sharma was perfectly cast as the page 3 reporter and was very impressive. Atul Kulkarni was great in the role of the reporter (as he always is, in whatever role you give him). Boman Irani and Sandhya Mridul were good too. But some of the other actors were truely horrible. Anyway, its not very easy to hold audience attention for a 2.5 hour long movie and this one does it quite well. 7.2/10 probably. which means - watchable, good overall but not great. It wasn't even the best hindi movie of last year in my opinion. Hazaaron Khwaaishein Aisi was much better for me.

Movies Update - 5 (Capote)

Capote: The movie that will get Philip Seymour Hoffman his oscar. Again, nice overall but didn't really leave ANY overall impact on me. In fact, after watching this movie I had begun to wonder whether I am slowly losing my taste/passion for movies. Because, when you think about it, the movie has an interesting story to tell and it tells the story in a very efficient manner with the help of some truely remarkable performances (Catherine Keener is very good in a small-ish role and Clifton Collins Jr. is extremely good in what is practically the second lead of the movie) and yet there is absolutely no aftertaste to the movie. Maybe "efficient"is the key term in the last sentence. There really is nothing that grabs you and moves you. And for a movie whose goal is to discuss the relationship between a writer and his subject who is fighting against capital punishment for a murder in cold blood, that is not a good thing. a 7.8/10, this one...

Movies Update - 4 (Brokeback Mountain)

Brokeback Mountain: A nice movie. But it really didn't seem as great as the hype seems to suggest. It might be because of the slightly sentimental tone (only slightly... not anything of the level of a Bhansali movie surely.. yet, its probably more than just being "sensitive".. ). I think the reason it is being given the sort of attention that it is getting has a lot to do with the fact that the protagonists happen to be of the same sex. Even though its just a love story that is striving to show two people who love each other and yet can't express it openly in front of the world because of some reason. That "some reason" is probably the main factor in the movie's relative popularity, rather than the story itself. Performances are great, though. Heath Ledger is top rate and Jake Gyllenhall is probably going to be the next generation's best actor. Michelle Williams is specially impressive as Ledger's wife. However, the movie's pace is a bit too lazy and that got to me on a couple of occasions... Quite watchable overall... 7.8/10 maybe...

Movies Update - 3 (Charulata)

Charulata: My first Satyajit Ray movie. I have probably seen Shatranj ke Khiladi but that was long ago and all I remember is just one chessboard with two people sitting on the opposite sides. So, Charulata is pretty much my first Satyajit Ray movie. Its a pretty good movie even though I can't pretend that I understood the motivation behind every scene and every piece of dialogue. But it was quite engrossing (and even entertaining in parts) and was acted out very well. I need to see some more of Ray movies to really form an opinion about his style (assuming there is something consistent about his movies that I can call "his style") and this movie has only increased my curiosity about Satyajit Ray's work. 7.75/10 IMO

Movies Update - 2 (2046)

2046: Second viewing. Had seen it in theatre a couple of months back and was completely blown away! Easily the best pure cinema experience I had last year. Nothing outstanding about the story, but some of the performances were superb. Specially Gong Li, who is easily one of the best actresses I have ever seen performing, even though her role in this movie is not more than 10 min long ( I have now seen 4-5 of her movies and she consistently amazes me by her acting). Then there is Zhang Ziyi in all her glory, and even though she is not known for her acting abilities, she is cast extremely well here. Faye Wong also does very well once again (I have talked about her role in WKW's Chungking Express here). And Tony Leung is absolutely top class and easily carries the movie. But then, acting is not the point really. Not even close to why this movie was such an exhilarating experience. Its the visuals and the music that are out of this world! If you haven't seen this movie (and In the Mood for Love, which is a prequel of sorts to 2046), then you have no idea what you are missing! This is 8.8/10 for me.....

Movies Update - 1(The French Connection)

After a couple of months of movie draught when I was watching only about 2-3 movies a month, this last month gave me the opportunity to catch up a little on all those movies which I wanted to see but wasn't getting the time to do so. Not that I am back to my 2004-2005 rate of 6-7 movies a week, but 6-7 movies over a month isn't too bad either.

Anyway, its valentines day here, so what better way to celebrate it than by continuing my love affair with the movies! Here are the movies that I got to see since that "top 10 movies of 2005" post and quick comments about each of them in separate little posts.

The French Connection: An early 70s movie about two cops trying to stop a french durg smuggler from getting his drugs in the US market. Quite thrilling. Some of the sequences were absolutely rivetting. There's a car chase scene which was probably one of its kind when it came. I don't think I have seen a better car chase even today except in a couple of movies (Bourne Supremacy and Matrix Reloaded come to the mind). I'd say a 8/10 movie.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pakistan Uncut

I know I am not supposed to have enough time to read blogs right now. But once in a while, during the inevitable breaks in work, one DOES roam around in blogosphere to see what the rest of the world is up to.

Amit Varma (of IndiaUncut fame) is currently in Pakistan, covering the cricket series. This has meant that the frequency of posts on IndiaUncut has plummeted, but fortunately whenever he does get some time to post, he makes up for it with some very interesting posts about his days in Pakistan. The posts cover his trips to food places in Lahore to political discussions with Pakistani journalists to cricket related issues to qawwali and sufi music. And almost all the posts come with pics taken by him.

So, head to IndiaUncut (allow some time for the main page to load as it is filled with a lot of pics), and read any post after January 7. Or just look at the pics and read the story next to any pic that you find interesting. Don't miss the amazing night pics of Lahore!

Highly recommended.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Wong Kar-Wai update

Wong Kar-Wai, one of my favorite directors (though I have seen only three of his movies, and can't say I understood everything in all 3 :P ), is this year's Cannes film festival jury president. Also, this news story says that he intends to work on a movie about Katrina disaster after his current Nicole Kidman project "The Lady from Shanghai". Knowing WKW, I don't think there is any guarantee that any of these movies will come before 2010, but I'm sure they'll be worth the wait. :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bull's Eye!

I got 4 out of 5 of my predictions right for each of the four categories that I had made predictions for!! And the 5th one came from the dark horses I had listed in all of them except Best Actress where Keira Knightly got a nomination for Pride and Prejudice... hmmm... I guess I'll have to see that movie too... sigh!!

Anyway, here are the results....

Best Movie: Crash made it ahead of The Constant Gardener. That fulfills one of my wishes.. :)

Best Director: Bennett Miller (Capote) made it ahead of Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener). Seems the academy didn't like The Constant Gardener much. I still have to see it (planning to see it sometime this week) but going by whatever I have heard till now, I think it is probably quite good... anyway... I'm happy that both Clooney and Haggis got nominated.

Best Actor: Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) sneaks ahead of Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man). Hmmm... I dunno.. I have seen both, and I personally would've chosen Crowe's performance over Ledger's... Doesn't matter though. Its just a nomination. They aren't going to win it anyway. That's just going to be Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote). Or maybe Joaquin Phoenix has a long shot forWalk The Line.

Best Actress: Zhang Ziyi didn't get nominated. :) Knightley got in. Again, doesn't matter at all. Its going to be a toss up between Felicity Huffman (Transamerica) and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line).

As for my wishes... Crash DID get nominated for original screenplay. Good Night and Good Luck got the cinematography nod. And George Clooney got a supporting actor nomination but not for Good Night and Good Luck, they gave it to him for Syriana.

Am also happy for Paul Giamatti as he got a supporting actor nomination for Cinderella Man. Also, Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle got a nomination for best animation movie!! As most of you already know, I am a fan of Miyazaki's movies and even though I don't think Howl's Moving Castle is his best movie, it still completely deserves its nomination, especially because there was no Pixar movie this year.. :)

As for 2046, I just realized that its not China's official entry to oscars. So it couldn't be nominated for best foreign language movie anyway. I'd still have liked Sony to lobby for a cinematography and a background score nomination for it. Its really a pity that 2046 wasn't released in enough theatres here in US. Anyway, I think between 2046 and In the Mood for Love (and to a smaller extent Chungking Express) Wong Kar Wai has done enough to justify starting a "Wong Kar Wai award for best music in a motion picture" award all by itself. :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mandatory predictions....

No time for a big, well researched post. But then, no time to wait either. Its Jan 30, and the oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow. So, just a quick post about my predictions and hopes for the nominations... The "hopes" part is mostly based on just the movies that I have caught till now. And I still have to see quite a few of the movies that are likely to win most awards... Among them are Walk The Line, The Constant Gardener, Capote, Match Point, Syriana, Memoirs of a Geisha, Paradise Now, Tsotsi and Cache.

Anyway... the predictions...

Best Movie: Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener, Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, Munich (Dark horses: Walk The Line, A History of Violence, Crash)

I hope: Crash gets a nomination....

Best Director: Ang Lee, George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Fernando Meirelles, Paul Haggis (Dark horses: Bennett Miller, Woody Allen)

I hope: George Clooney and Paul Haggis don't miss out...

Best Actor in Leading Role: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, David Strathairn, Russel l Crowe, Terrence Howard (Dark Horse: Heath Ledger)

I hope: David Strathairn doesn't miss out...

Best Actress in Leading Role: Felicity Huffman, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, Judi Dench, Zhang Ziyi (Dark horses: Rachel Weiss, Maria Bello)

I hope: Zhang Ziyi gets a nomination.. not that I have seen Memoirs of a Geisha or that her past performances make me think that she is a great actress or anything... But I LOVE her!! Left to myself, I'd give Zhang Ziyi and Natalie Portman a lifetime achievement oscar and be done with it... :P

Thats it then.. no time to go into supporting actors, screenplay, foreign movie, cinematography etc in detail.... Should talk about some wishes though... Most of these won't come true, but registering them with the Oscar gods anyway..

I wish...

Crash gets nominated for best original screenplay.

2046 gets nominated for best foreign movie, best cinematography AND best music.

Good Night and Good Luck, Sin City and maybe even Jarhead get recognition for theri cinematography.

George Clooney gets nomination for Good Night and Good Luck.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Aakash on Veeru

I have read some of the columns that former indian opener Aakash Chopra used to write when he was playing in England last year. The columns were initially pointed out by Prem Panicker on his blog, and I must say they were some of the most interesting cricketer-written columns that I have ever read. He rarely talks about matches and scores and such things. His columns are more about the culture of the city, the team meetings etc. Anyone can write a reasonably authentic looking match report based on just a scorecard. What we don't get often are these insightful articles which tell us so much more about a cricketer's life.

His current column - again pointed out by Prem on Sightscreen - is about a more usual subject viz. a player. Aakash has been Sehwag's opening partner for both Delhi and India and so he probably knows a lot more about Veeru than many other former-cricketers-turned-sports-columnists. Its a delightful article, and not just because it is about Sehwag who happens to be such a delightful character himself.

Read the column here.

As for other things....

The new year was celebrated in the company of the lady in the robe (and out of the shackles). The other lady, who has been cropped out of the pic, also mattered a little but I couldn't post her pic here because:

A) She'd have made me look fat. The lady in the pic has a girth about 20 times my own, so she's fine...

B) I am partial towards blue, and she was wearing black!

C) Contacting her at 3 am to ask for her permission isn't all that easy. People do sleep sometimes. Mostly. Unless they are called Rahul Tyagi. In which case they sleep more than they should, but rarely at 3 am....... Something tells me that I am at liberty to use the lady-in-the-robe's pic on the blog without asking her permission though. In fact, now that I think about it, something tells me that I am at Liberty, period.

Have a good look at my coiffure! At the rate I am losing my hair, there's a good chance that this might be my last pic with any coiffure at all. You know, the "before" part of one of those before/after advertisements for a PhD degree!! Posted by Picasa

There.. There...

Now don't get all disheartened! I know I haven't rocked the blog world for quite some time now but I assure you I haven't deserted you. I fully intend to come back. There are things to write. Posts bubbling in the head (but then, when does that not happen?). Bad but bloggable puns are being collected for later use. But before all that... there are manuscripts to write, deadlines to meet, new project to begin, advisor to mollify...

And did I mention how happy I am that I didn't give in to the temptation of buying the Ind-Pak cricket package?? :) 410/0 or no, I'd have hated to have spent around 50 dollars for that one match!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Chungking Express in Delhi!

For those of you in and around Delhi, who might've got interested in Wong Kar-Wai and his movies after reading about some of his work here, you have a chance to see his Chungking Express as per this story in The Hindu. I don't think Chungking Express is his best - I liked In the Mood for Love and the recent 2046 more - but it still was pretty exciting, specially because it was completely unlike I had ever seen before. You can read my brief comments about it here.

See if you can catch it in this film festival.