Passport reissue

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Finally its over! My passport is renewed & I am free to travel as & when I wish. I had been putting off going to the Passport office because honestly speaking, I hate going to any Government office. I just cannot stand the stoned officers or the general lethargy in the atmosphere. But I was in for a surprise at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Mumbai.

Image result for indian passport

I filled the application for reissue of passport online. After paying the necessary sum, once again online, I booked an appointment. They allowed me to choose the date & time of the appointment. I had chosen the first slot early in the morning in order to avoid the rush which might result due to delay in processing of initial applications.

I reached the PSK half an hour prior to my appointment. Only the applicant is allowed inside the PSK unless you are a senior citizen or physically challenged. From there a guard checked my printed application form & directed me to the counter assigned for reissue. There the lady checked my application & attached the photocopies of my submitted documents. After waiting for thirty minutes I was given a token & then directed to the next counter. Here I didn’t have to wait at all & was immediately taken in for getting my documents scanned. At the same counter they collected my fingerprints & clicked a photograph. After paying Rs. 40/- at this counter I was asked to move in to the next room. Here the wait lasted for almost an hour before I was called inside. The officer here verified my documents & stamped my old passport as “canceled”. After waiting for 15-20 min I was called to the last counter where they approved my request for passport reissue. From here on you collect the acknowledgement slip & fill in the feedback form & exit the PSK. If all your documents are in proper order the entire process from the time you enter the PSK to the time you exit it takes about three hours.

Everything is very well managed in the PSK & the service provided is much better than what one would expect from a Government office. My last experience at their Worli office had not been so good. Since I had submitted my application form online there was no question of data entry errors & hence everything on my passport be it my name, address or birth date, were correctly printed.

The delay at the third counter is because they prioritize senior citizens & tatkal applicants. Hence the rest of the applicants often have to wait for some time before their token numbers start.

I received my passport within 3 days of going to the PSK. Throughout the process the PSK keeps you well informed about each & every stage, from your passport application being processed, your passport being printed & it being dispatched.

The only problem I encountered in the whole process was with the Speed Post Department. The postman dropped a note stating that no one was at home, even though all of us were very much at home, and asked me to collect the passport from their office. They do not hand over the passport to anyone except the applicant. Even that is done after careful verification of your identifying documents.

Other than the final hitch with the speed post delivery of my passport my entire passport reissue went very smoothly. A big thank you to everyone who has managed to get things in order since the last time I was there at their office.

SPITTING AT THE SKY

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It’s a pity that we are living in times when someone has to actually write down why the soldier is important. But Major Gaurav Arya does it perfectly in this blog post of his.

MAJOR GAURAV ARYA (VETERAN)

Warren Buffet, perhaps the most successful investor of all time, with a piggy bank creaking under the strain of USD 64 billion, was once asked what the secret of his success was. Buffet said, “I buy when everyone else is selling. I sell when everyone else is buying”. Sound advice and solid judgment. No one can argue with that.

Now, take Warren Buffet’s advice and twist it to suit a narrow Indian context. What is the shortest route to fame? When every Indian is solidly behind the Indian Army, write an article abusing it. You set off a social media firestorm, gain instant infamy and suddenly everyone and their uncle knows you.

Truth be told, my first reaction to Aakar Patel’s article in the Times of India (6 November 2016) was one of dismay. Anger and hurt followed. Suddenly, there was absolute calm. The article was not the prey. It…

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Heart to Heart with Anuradha Prabhudesai

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I have always found the whole “things find you if its meant to happen” a little silly. But this Diwali I experienced a string of coincidences which made me believe in that line.

I logged in to Twitter, a place I rarely visit. My friend had retweeted a link of a video. Now its been ages since I have talked with this friend so I had every intention of scrolling on & I did. But after refreshing my TL when I saw the link still at the top I clicked on it. I usually never watch videos unless I have specifically searched for them. But this one, I guess I was meant to see! And I spent the whole time sobbing my heart out. I spent a sleepless night thinking about what Mrs. Anuradha Prabhudesai, an ex banker & a common person like me had spoken about in the video.

The video was about the Indian Army. Mrs. Prabhudesai had gone on a tour of  Ladakh many years ago when she came across a quote which changed her life. The quote was: I only regret that I have but one life to lay down for my country

This one quote ignited the spark of patriotism as well as curiosity within Mrs. Prabhudesai & she started off on her journey of understanding our soldiers & the terrain & elements which they survive among many other things, better.

The interview is in Marathi but below are the main points covered by her which I have translated into English:

  1. She visited the place first as a tourist & on interacting with the soldiers there, as she gathered knowledge about the history of the place she realized that although she is an Indian she is completely unaware of the happenings in a part of her own country because although she had heard about a war taking place in Kargil she had missed out or forgotten the finer details as they had no bearing on her daily life. She was shocked to learn that the place where she was sitting at & enjoying a meal (Dras in Kashmir), during the Kargil war 1000’s of Indian soldiers had lost their lives at this same place.
  2. Next day she visited Tiger Hill, which is nothing short of a cave of death. Tourists can see the place from afar but our soldiers had entered it bravely & found a way in & then out of it.
  3. From there she visited “Vijay Stambh” & was shocked to see that most of the jawans who had lost their lives were in their early 20s. She is reminded of a poem from her childhood where a father of a martyr says to his son, ‘you have become immortal fighting for this country, I am fortunate to have a son like you, my love for you my son makes me shed tears of grief today but I am proud of you & your achievements. Till today I have blessed you but today accept my last salute.‘ When she realized how tough it must be for a parent to salute their martyred son she took an oath at that spot to bring people to this land of martyrs in order to spread awareness among them about the work of the Army, about the difficulties they face owing to the geography & climate, etc
  4. A colonel showed them a clip of the Kargil war where Paramvir Chakra winner Capt. Vikram Batra’ mother says that at least love the country on which I sacrificed my son. This made her think about the loss of sensitivity in humans with each passing day. She remembers that people in her times were a lot more humane than what they are today & each day humanity is attaining a new low.
  5. The Indian Army is one institution which is truly secular. Every single soldier there is an Indian. They do not know their caste or religion. All they know is that they are Indians!
  6. The Indian Army stands for secularism, courage, skilled leadership, love for the country & an inherent desire to serve India. But unfortunately the common Indian never gets to see this side of theirs in his daily life.
  7. Today there is a lack of a proper role model. It is not that people are not bothered, unfortunately they are not aware.
  8. Mrs. Prabhudesai has started “Lakshya Foundation
  9. The youth of today need to be trained to take up some responsibility. If a person cannot take up the responsibility of his home will he be able to take up the responsibility of the nation?
  10. It is easy to react but very difficult to act. It is easy to blame. She recently conducted a program where she had invited high ranking officials from the Army, Navy & Air Force to guide children from various schools. Many had warned her against it saying that children these days do not attend such shows & it would be insulting to these officers if the talk show went empty. However her efforts did not go in vain for 800 students from various schools attended the program & listened to the guests in rapt silence & after the lectures concluded many wanted to know how to enroll in the Armed Forces. “If you do good, people will take it.”
  11. Lakshya Foundation has published various books. They have also started various programs like ‘Diwali with soldiers’ or ‘Valentine my soldier’ When young children came in contact with these soldiers they realized how much these men in uniforms had achieved in such a young age thus providing much needed inspiration.
  12. The soldiers never relate the gory details of their duty when they come back home. They find it pointless to burden their families with their tales of woe & always paint a rosy picture of the things they face so that their families would not spend time worrying about them.
  13. We fret over how much weight a Bollywood heroine has put on. But she knows a soldier who had lost 18 kgs weight while at the Siachen glacier. This one guy came down, there were 889 others who never came down.
  14. While the soldiers fight for safeguarding every single inch of the Indian territory, our own textbooks cut out an entire Arunachal Pradesh from our map!
  15. Tourists crowd at the Pangong lake & click pictures of its beauty. But how many know that this lake had turned red in 1962? Today due to the movie  3 Idiots the Pangong lake is now called “Kareena Point”. Nobody tells the tourist that brave Indian soldiers laid down their lives while fighting the Chinese troops in 1962 at this very place.
  16. Mrs. Prabhudesai once met a soldier who was moving about a room in circles, looking lost. She approached him & offered to tie him a rakhi but he lost his temper & his hand flew across her face as he went on to insult her. She was reduced to tears but his officer explained to her that the man had come down from Siachen glacier just yesterday & was not in the correct state of mind. He will keep roaming about in this lost state for another day before they take him to get treated. Four years later this same man approached her once again after having traveled a distance of 70km just to apologize to this lady to whom he was once so rude.
  17. When a person reduces his needs then it becomes easier to focus on the more important things in life.
  18. If you sow goodness, the bad will automatically be overshadowed
  19. Not everyone needs to go to the border to fight. First learn to be a human! Everything else will come to you automatically.

A special mention to the interviewer Dr. Uday Nirgudkar is necessary here for allowing the guest to speak. Taking an interview is a skill, not everyone can get the person in front of them talking by asking the right questions. So thank you Dr. Nirgudkar for knowing what to ask, when to speak & more importantly when NOT to speak.

TV show: Kara Para Aşk

Kara Para Ask (Black Money & Love) is a  Turkish TV show. The lives of Omer Demir & Elif Denizer get entangled when his fiancee & her father are found together murdered in a car. The two join hands to find the killer & the reason behind the deaths.

Director: Ahmet Katiksiz

Actors: Engin Akyurek, Tuba Buyukustun, Erkan Can, Burak Tamdogan, Saygin Soysal, Bestemsu Ozdemir, Hazal Turesan & others

Written by: Eylem Canbolat, Sema Ergenekon

Language: Turkish

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After watching Engin Akyurek in Fatmagul I decided to try the drama which had managed to get him an Emmy nomination, Kara Para Ask. I loved Engin as Omer. Tuba looked a complete diva as Elif but the show as a whole was utter & complete BS.

*SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Elmer: Elif & Omer (ElMer) sizzle whenever they are together. I loved most of their scenes together, be it them arguing with one another, crying together, playing detective or romancing one another. There is not a single boring moment when they are onscreen.
  • The music: I loved the music of this show. The title track is racy, the music played on the ElMer scenes has that perfect mix of romance & naughtiness.

What I did not like:

  • The plot: The show started off great. It kept me hooked till episode 35 after which things started going downhill pretty quickly. After all there is only so much nonsense that a person can watch. The plot gets repetitive with the police always getting fooled, the legendary Komissar Omer Demir being either helpless or angry or stupid, the villains always winning, there always being a spy between the good guys, every new person entering turning into a villain so much so that by the end except for Elif, Omer, Arda, Pelin & Elvan all have harmed the “good guys” at least once, either directly or indirectly.
  • Zero growth in characters: What a complete & utter waste were Metin/ Fatih & Nilufer! Most of the times my eyes went just as large as saucers in my face whenever these two were together. It was just disgusting to see Nilufer mooning over Fatih after all that he did to her & it didnt end till the end what with her begging Arda to let him go. I had hoped for a scene where Omer would blow his brains out for what he did to Elif but I guess a vapid love story is more important than showing a cop being able of doing at least something in the entire show.
  • Super idiotic police & superhero villains: How stupid were Omer, Arda & Pelin? Wasn’t Omer supposed to be this genius who makes criminals shake in their boots? I have never seen a more stupid police team than theirs. Every time the villains escape in the same fixed way & every time these three stand with their mouths wide open wondering how did this happen. Ya, well like last time you fools! Also it was a bit frustrating to see everyone working for Tayyar. I think by the end of the show except for Elif, Omer, Pelin & Arda everyone was TEAM TAYYAR! Some variety please!
  • The ending: This has to be the most frustrating part of the whole show. How pointless was it all? I think in the end Omer forcing Tayyar to commit suicide is an indirect victory of evil over good. Its a clear indication that Omer believes that justice wont prevail, that Tayyar will win once again. Such a sad message to give in a show which was largely based on the police force. And as if that wasn’t enough super cop Omer Demir quits the police force to be with Elif. Why?! The reason given was so lame I felt like getting into the screen & killing Omer myself. Elif thought that Omer was changed after what happened with Tayyar. Yes he was! But give the guy some time instead of running away because of his altered behaviour. Its not as if she had spent years waiting for her old Omer to be back & it wasn’t working out. And of course they made a complete mockery of even this by ending the show showing Elif & Omer chasing after new goons. In short all Elif wanted was to be the one to decide whom Omer should go after. It wasn’t about love, it was about control. Sad really. Sami was 100% correct about Elif, she wasn’t cut out to be a policeman’s wife. It was also frustrating to see Fatih escape justice so easily. That man was no better than Tayyar & deserved to rot in jail. So in short the three main villains around whom the story was built all managed to escape prison life: Husseyin ended up being a liability to the wife on whom he was shamelessly cheating, Tayyar committed suicide & Metin was just unemployed…though if we know the guy he would soon find some criminal activity to indulge in & fool Nilufer since she is so willing to play the fool.

 

Overall a thoroughly irritating show. Just watch it for the Elif – Omer scenes. The rest of it is crap!

 

TV show: Fatmagul

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“Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” (what is Fatmagul’s fault) is a Turkish TV show which is currently airing on Zindagi channel in India as Fatmagul. Thanks to a dear friend I was able to watch this show online. Once started, it is difficult to stop after just watching one episode. The show is that addictive.

Director: Hilal Saral

Actors: Beren Saat, Engin Akyurek, Firat Celik, Musa Uzunlar, Murat Daltaban, Bugra Gulsoy, Engin Ozturk, Kaan Tasaner, Sumru Yavrucuk & others.

Written by: Ece Yorenc, Melek Genecoglu

Image result for fatmagul poster

After the debacle that was Feriha & knowing that Fatmagul was a show based on rape I wasn’t keen to watch it when the promos first aired. Everywhere I went I only read good things about this show but still decided to keep away. But as happens most of the time you are flipping through channels, you see a scene & you are hooked. The first scene I saw of this show was Fatmagul (FG) glaring at Kerim with utter & complete loathing as they sat at a restaurant with their family while the poor guy literally shriveled under her gaze. The next thing was the promo in which she is trying to stab him. After a long break I caught up another promo where in one scene the girl is weeping about wanting to move on, wanting to be able to love again…cut to a few happy moments…and back to her shouting & screaming at Kerim. I could no longer hold my curiosity & had to know why this petite girl was yelling at this cute puppy eyed guy so much! And so it began…

*SPOILERS* 

What I loved:

  • The casting: Every single person was perfect for his or her role. Beren & Engin are definitely marvelous as FG & Kerim but even the rest of the cast does a fabulous job. After Engin & Beren my favorites were Sumru (Meryem) & Esra (Muqaddes). Bugra (Vural), Alper (Omer) are completely droolworthy while Sevtap (Hacer) & Seda (Meltem) were so effortlessly stylish. Esra as an actor got to showcase the maximum range of emotions after the leads, what with starting off as a complete bitch to moving on to be a meddlesome & lazy family member, then a shameless cheater. But I loved her best when she was teasing Meryem mercilessly about Kader. I have started using her “romantik romantik” in the same accent while teasing my friends now.
  • FG & Kerim’s journey into love: It is very rare for me to like both the halves of a couple. Rarely have I understood both their POVs & even rare is me empathizing with both. Hence FaRim as they are lovingly called by their fans are special to me. Barring a few times when I felt FG went a bit overboard or Kerim was being too much of a doormat I loved each & every scene when they were together.  They have that rare brand of chemistry which can turn even their grocery shopping into something exciting to watch. I could understand FG’s initial hate, I could feel Kerim’s pain, FG’s indecision about Kerim was so palpable, her jealousy, her show of indifference, her small smiles at his huge efforts all were a treat to watch. As for Kerim even I started off with disgust for this man. What sort of a man just stands there & does nothing. Even being drugged doesn’t excuse his behaviour. But it cannot be denied that without his & his Abla’s support FG would have died a long time ago. She became confident later, but it were these two who with just by being present pulled her out of the jaws of misery which the Yasaran’s, Muqaddes & Mustafa had pushed her into.
  • The writing: I loved how this show concentrated on all aspects of rape. They showed the event & its implications on the victim as well as the culprits. I was surprised to see a psychiatrist involved for mostly all movies & TV shows skip this part. I love FG wanting to heal…for herself. I looked forward to each & every session of her’s for it gave us a little insight into the workings of her mind. Her thoughts about standing on her own two feet, having something of her own for the first time in her life & then much later about wanting to be physically intimate with Kerim warmed my heart. The writing was all inclusive in that they covered the societal, medical, emotional, family & personal angles.
  • Some hard hitting realities: The show had some hard hitting realities woven into its story line. The one which struck me most as a woman was how many women shunned FG or chose to believe she was a liar or chose to protect the rapists for various reasons. Starting with Halide whose first words after hearing about FG’s rape were: my son’s life is ruined. My jaw literally hit the floor at her callousness. Muqaddes betrayed FG in the worst manner ruining any chances of her ever getting any justice. Hilmiye, from start to finish, was indifferent. Then there were the minor characters like Yadigar, Dr. Nil for some time, Erdogan’s friend who was spying on Meltem’s mother for him, the girl who smuggled Selim & Erdogan to Malta, the neighbours who constantly shunned FG…the list is endless & an unfortunate reality of this world. But it pleased me a great deal to see Selim & Erdogan too being shunned in jail for their heinous crimes.

What I did not like:

  • Mustafa: First I hated him, then he irritated me, then I began to ignore him & finally I started rolling my eyes every time he came on screen. IMO, Mustafa Nalcali as a character was the writer’s biggest mistake in this show. Mustafa became the classic case of a writer falling too much in love with one of his own characters & giving him too much screen space, so much so, that he sculpts him into a demigod. Mustafa was undefeatable, always at the right place, always with the right bait, always with the best of luck on his side, always fooling people he needed to use, always having that one friend available who would bail him out of trouble. He went on to become the most ridiculous character in this show. Even at the end, I felt it was more the writer than Omer who was saying that Mustafa committed suicide. It didn’t look like suicide to me. Had he not been shot he would have gone on to kill Kerim. The writers did a great disservice to the show by giving this man so much of importance. As the show races to its end it becomes more about Mustafa’s obsessions for FG. There comes a time when you even forget that you are supposed to hate Erdogan & Selim more than Mustafa. Instead Selim & Erdogan are reduced to mere props brought out for comic relief while Mustafa goes from strength to strength. A story about rape should focus more on the rapists than on the victim’s fiance. Mustafa should have been killed or phased out a lot earlier.
  • Turkey’s legal system: What exactly did the police do? Every time I see Omer & Kader running from one place to another searching for proofs, so what does the police do? Other than the initial CSI after rape I didn’t see them much in action. Also why is there no cross questioning in Turkey’s courts? The court proceedings were dull. Now of course it is quite possible that the show wasn’t true to life but all the court scenes were just boring.
  • The execution of the end: Why did they give us the final hearing as a flashback? It took out all the excitement of the verdict. Rather than wasting so much time on macho man Mustafa they could have nicely concluded the show by giving a proper detailed court case hearing but well…

 

Zindagi’s translation & dubbing: Terrible! That is all I can say. They have messed up the translation & dubbing a great deal. The girl who dubs FG sounds like a shrill harpy & I just cannot enjoy FG’s scenes because of her. What a pity because Beren has such a beautiful voice which enriches FG. They did a lot better job at dubbing Feriha than they are doing with FG. I even spotted them repeating voice artists for characters, like the nurse when Mustafa was hospitalized after being stabbed was dubbed by the same person who dubs for Asu!

This show is a must watch. Try to catch the Turkish version of the show because their original voices add a different kind of magic to the show.

A definite 5/5 from my side.

Book: Devlok by DevduttPattanaik

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I used to watch Devlok on EPIC channel but due to its odd timing was never able to watch all the episodes & hence  I was super excited seeing this on Amazon the other day & bought it right away.

Journey into the amazing world of Hindu mythology with Devdutt Pattanaik
• Why are most temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva or the goddess, but not to Brahma or Indra?
• How are an asura, rakshasa, yaksha and pishacha different from each other?
• Why did the Pandavas find themselves in naraka rather than swarga?

Over several months, EPIC Channel’s ground-breaking show Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik has enthralled countless viewers. Here, finally, is the book based on the first series of the ever-popular show, which will take you on a scintillating tour through the myriad stories, symbols and rituals that form the basis of Hindu culture.

Prepare to be surprised and thrilled as Devdutt narrates magical tales about larger-than-life figures—gods, goddesses, demi-gods and demons who you thought you knew well but didn’t. Learn about the intricacies of Hindu thought as he explains the origin and meaning of different creation myths and throws light on why we believe in a cyclical—not linear—concept of time.

This book is your perfect introduction to the endlessly fascinating world of Hindu mythology.

*SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The book is easy to understand & without getting into too many details or without giving lengthy passages the author manages to put forward a lot of information. The Q & A format of the book helps in this & hence there is never a boring moment.
  • It provides a sneak peek into Hinduism & can be used even as an introduction to Hinduism sort of. The narration is basic enough that even someone who has no prior information about Hinduism, India, Vedic culture, etc will still be able to understand the book.
  • I noticed that the book was pretty much a transcript of the show & hence anyone who has watched the show & bought this thinking there might be more details or extra information would be disappointed.
  • The author manages to maintain neutrality while answering all questions. He doesn’t seem to be forcing his opinions on the readers which is a welcome change from religious fanatics who are always so cock sure about their theories & knowledge

What I did not like:

There is actually nothing to not like in this book, but all its positives are in a way its negatives too.

  • The language of the book is too very simple & the author provides translations of many Hindi/ Sanskrit words. However due to shoddy formatting many a times it is confusing to understand if the usage is Hindi or English. e.g: I pronounced the word “tap” as that in English when it was in Hindi many a times😛
  • People who are well versed in Hinduism, Indian Mythology, Vedic religion, etc will not benefit much from reading this book. It is very very basic in terms of information provided & most of these stories & facts will be well known to people who read extensively on those subjects.

Overall it is a good book & a must read for anyone who is looking forward to a light reading in an intensive subject like Mythology. I enjoyed reading it & finished it off in a day. 

A 3/5 for Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik. 

Movie: Rustom

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In 1959, a decorated naval officer is accused of murdering his wife’s lover. (-IMDb)

Rustom Poster

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta, Arjan Bajwa, Pawan Malhotra

Director: Tinu Suresh Desai

Language: Hindi

Year: 2016

One of the rare times I go to a movie so soon after its release I went to see this movie with my Mom. Her recommendation. She loves men in uniform. Who doesn’t?😉 And Akshay does look handsome as a Navy Officer.

*SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The actors: Akshay Kumar & Ileana D’Cruz are perfect as Commander Rustom Parvi & the breaktakingly beautiful Cynthia. Pawan Malhotra is brilliant as Vincent Lobo, a police officer. Parmeet Sethi,  Arjan Bajwa are convincing in their roles.
  • Akshay’s screen presence: He hasn’t got much lines in this movie but he makes great impact with what little lines he has been given, especially in the court scenes when he is cross examining the witnesses. Akshay single handedly manages to carry the movie on his shoulders.

What I did not like:

  • The story: Initially I had felt that the patriotic angle was unnecessary but after watching the movie it proved to be the saving grace of the movie. They could have easily kept the original story of Nanavati as is & made a romance + drama movie filled with deep intense emotions & angst. But as the aircraft carrier angle had to be addressed you end up feeling disconnected with Rustom & his emotions on being betrayed by his wife. People who would have gone expecting some nice romantic scenes before the action begins would be left sorely disappointed.
  • Courtroom drama: Who inserts comedy into courtroom dramas?! The sass of the judge, comic music playing out in between, the public prosecutor making a fool of himself, repeatedly sending the newspaper guy to jail, etc take away from the thrill of the court case.
  • Cynthia: The beginning of her affair with Vikram was as lacking in impact & story as was her falling for Akshay. The audience never gets to “feel” her emotions. They could have explained the whole thing with subtitles. It was that dull. A complete waste of time.
  • The two ladies: Ileana D’Cruz & Esha Gupta do not have much to do in the movie. Ileana is left to look pretty & cry even more prettily. Esha smokes one cigarette after another constantly making a stinky face.

The movie is definitely a one time watch for Akshay & Pawan alone. They have some great scenes in jail.

The movie as a whole could have been much much better though.

3/5 from me.

Movie: Katyar Kaljat Ghusali

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A Marathi movie based on a play by the same name, Katyar Kaljat Ghusali is a journey of two maestros Pandit Shastri & Khansaheb as they experience fame, failure & betrayal. The movie is being considered for the UNESCO’s Fellini medal.

Katyar Kaljat Ghusali (film).jpg

Cast: Sachin Pilgaonkar, Shankar Mahadevan, Subodh Bhave, Amruta Khanvilkar, Mrunmayee Deshpande

Director: Subodh Bhave

Language: Marathi

Year: 2015

My mother had watched the original play when it was running in theaters in the 1960s & hence was eager to watch this movie. Unfortunately we could not make it as she fell ill on the day we were supposed to go. Finally I had the chance to watch it when it was telecast on ZEE Marathi a few weeks ago.

*SPOILERS*

What I like:

  • Casting: The casting is perfect. Every single person, be it the main heroes like Khansaheb or Panditji or even side characters like the two stooges of Khansaheb, has been perfectly cast. The voice of Reema Lagoo as the ‘katyar’ is mesmerizing.
  • Khansaheb: The character of Khansaheb is very well written. The man remains true to his character from start to finish. His daughter is the only one who recognized him for the opportunist he truly was even as he kept fooling the entire world by hiding behind his true self behind his talent. In the last scene as well the opportunistic nature is what saves him from punishment even as he hides behind the token of ‘connoisseur’ which Sadashiv & Panditji are so keen to bestow on him.
  • The music & songs: Shankar Mahadevan & Rahul Deshpande are outstanding in all their songs. Though as in most musicals it does get a little boring when every person breaks out into a song in every five minute but even then you can sit through all of it & even enjoy the songs even when you have no knowledge of the sur taal.
  • Zareena: I loved this character as well. A strong woman who will speak the truth even if it means going against her father. It would have been great to see Sadashiv or even Uma do half the things this brave girl did in order to secure justice for Panditji.

What I did not like:

  • Panditji & Sadashiv: I think the story is too much tilted in favour of Khansaheb, so much so that it ignores these two characters to a great extent. Panditji’s character holds interest till he is cheated by Khansaheb. Sadashiv’s character holds interest till he accepts to be the slave of Khansaheb. The age old bug of stupidity disguised as greatness bites these two potential heroes & then there is no turning back. It all becomes very one dimensional after that & even in the end Sadashiv wins because Khansaheb decides to save face & accept defeat than risk the chance of his true colours being revealed. The movie would have been much better if at least Sadashiv actually fought for his Guru’s rights rather than turning it all into an educational experience.

The total inaction on Sadashiv’s & Panditji’s part made it a one time watch for me. Before ending this post I must mention that the idea of summoning glow worms with your singing is divine. Do that in front of a girl & she is going to be very very impressed!😉

 

Food: Mozzarella Stick Onion Rings

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I have been watching this on repeat since it first popped up on my timeline yesterday. I am in gastronomic heaven since then!

Recipe taken from here

Mozzarella Stick Onion Rings

Serve with marinara, then feast!

INGREDIENTS
2 large white onions
3–4 slices mozzarella cheese
2 cups flour
5 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
Oil, for frying
Marinara sauce

INSTRUCTIONS
Peel and cut onions into 1-centimeter rings, then separate the rings.

Slice the mozzarella into 4 even strips, and place a smaller onion ring in the center of a larger one. Fill the gap between the rings with strips of mozzarella. Repeat with remaining onion rings and freeze them for 1 hour.

Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs into three separate bowls. Dip each prepared ring into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, then back into the egg, and one last time into the bread crumbs. Repeat with the remaining onion rings.

Heat the oil in a pot over high heat. Fry the rings until golden brown, being careful not to fry them for too long as the cheese may ooze out completely.

Drain on a paper towel, then serve with marinara!

 

Movie:The Jungle Book

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An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

-IMDb

Cast: Neel Sethi & voices by Nana Patekar, Irrfan Khan, Om Puri, Priyanka Chopra, Shefali Shah

Director: Jon Favreau

Language: Hindi

*SPOILERS*

“How old are you?” asked my Mom when I told her I was going to watch The Jungle Book.😛

Every 90’s kid knows why we went to watch this movie. Nostalgia! We relived our childhood in that hour & a half when we were in the theater with our favourite childhood besties, Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan, etc. My Sundays used to start with Mowgli. The one reason I used to wake up early, wash my hair & sit with my breakfast in front of the TV. Even today the “jungle jungle baat chali hai” jingle makes me tear up as I am transported to that wonderful childhood.

What I liked:

  • Mowgli, Baloo & Bagheera: No movie on The Jungle Book can be perfect till you have got these three characters right! Neel Sethi is perfect as Mowgli. Baloo as the Punjabi munda with his dry humour is different from the one we know from our Doordarshan days but still equally endearing & cute. Bagheera as the reticent guardian completes the trio.
  • Kaa: How fabulous was Priyanka Chopra as Kaa?! Her voice was mesmerizing as she hissed & slithered & trapped Mowgli in her seductive voice.
  • CGI: The CGI was so good that the movie has been given a U/A certificate (parental supervision necessary). The animals seem to leap out of the screen at the audience & make for a thrilling watch.
  • The climax: The climax was brilliantly shot. Inspite of knowing how it all ends one cannot help but feel a little apprehensive, so terrifying was Shere Khan in the last scene.
  • Perfect Voice over artist selection: Many a times when English movies are dubbed in Hindi the effect is lost due to bad voice overs. Fortunately that wasn’t the case here & the voices were so good that I never missed the originals. Priyanka Chopra deserves a special mention here as she was outstanding in her role as Kaa. How I wish she had more screen time.

What I did not like:

  • Shere Khan: I won’t say I disliked Nana Patekar’s voice for Shere Khan completely but sometimes in some scenes I felt he could have done much better. Like in the introduction scene Shere Khan just lacked the punch which was so much needed. He more than makes up for it in his final confrontation with Mowgli but I had gone in expecting a voice over with the rich baritone of Amitabh Bacchan or Amrish Puri (yes I know he is dead) & then Nana Patekar…it just fell short of my expectations.
  • King Louie: What was that? Why was he even there? It was the only boring part in the whole movie.
  • The songs: Not a single song was worth remembering, let alone humming after leaving the theater.

To make up for the bad songs, here is the one true Jungle Book song🙂 No post on the Jungle Book can be complete without listening to this gem