Sunday, November 30, 2008

Speechless & Numb

It just got over. Mumbai bled while the nation watched agape in horror.

There have been myriad emotions within me over the past three days….anxiousness for the lives of hundreds of people who were taken hostage, immense grief for the brave policemen, NSG & MARCOS who lost their lives saving that of people they did not even know, and rage at the government for not acting on the intelligence they had about the Indian seas being infiltrated & the terrorists arriving to India by boat.

There’s a lot I want to write but I’m so exhausted from following the events over the course of the past three days, and from the rise & ebb of emotions that I’ve gone through along with the rest of the people in Mumbai, that I’ll make do with this bit for now:

I salute the commitment, the bravery & the courage of the police officers who lost their lives saving the people of Mumbai - ATS Chief Mr Hemant Karkare, Additional CP Ashok Kamte, Senior Inspector Vijay Salaskar & the 11 other policemen whose names we will never know. I cannot even beging to say how proud I am of the people of my country & of being a citizen of India. I get goosebumps and tears in my eyes thinking about their courage & the sacrifice these brave people made for their country, without worrying for their own lives even once. I’m proud of my uncle, a very very close friend’s dad who went in to the Oberoi after the terrorist attack started, to answer the call of duty. I am sure he did not hesitate once before going in, and knowing him, I never had a doubt that he would be one of the last people to leave the premises, only after ensuring safe passage of the guests at the hotel. So while I was in touch with my friend constantly about his return, I never once asked her why he wasn’t coming out when hostages were being rescued in groups.

I am appalled at the complete lack of political leadership throughout this entire event. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra is uncannily never in Mumbai whenever such attacks take place. He always “rushes” to Mumbai after the attack has taken place & hundreds of people have been killed. Even when he’s back in town, there’s no sound or sight of him. The leadership at the Center has also let all of us Indians down. The truth is clear & simple, and it’s out there for all to see: the Government of India is not serious about cracking down on terrorism. Indian lives are just not that important for them. The most they can do is make lame speeches about how “this has been the worst attack on India in many years”. Thank you very much Mr Pranab Mukherjee, we knew that without you having to tell us. Or narcissictic speeches such as that made by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who cannot complete one sentence without saying “I did this…& I did that…” Or a completely insipid one made by the Prime Minister of India. Really, men, are you even aware of what is happening in our country?? I agree with Shobha De all the way when she called the politicians a bunch of incompetent nincompoops, asked them to stay out of Bombay & suggested that their security covers should be withdrawn completely. After all, it is the people of India who pay for their Z-Category security, and if our own security within our own country isn’t guaranteed – which, by the way, is the f****** JOB of the Government – what the hell are we paying for??

I do not want to hear any politician or the Government of Maharashtra/India talking about the “spirit of Mumbai”. That is a convenient phrase they have found to absolve themselves of all responsibility.

Look at the efficiency with which the United States has handled terror since 9/11. There hasn’t been a single terror attack on American soil since then. US Intelligence has foiled a number of plans to attack the US & other sites across the world. What does our government do? They wait for the terrorists to strike, then they condemn the blasts, praise the “spirit of the people”, make some rubbish noise about how they will not bow down to terror & teach the terrorists a lesson & how the blasts make us even stronger (bleh!!), make hollow promises about cracking down on terrorism & go back to screwing each other & the country. Really, I’ve had it with their nonsense & so has the country!!!

I do not want the leadership of the incompetent, imbecile politicians who cannot guarantee our safety within our own country. Rather, give me the leadership of brave men like Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte & Vijay Salaskar. That way, atleast I can go to bed knowing I am in safe hands, and that when I wake up tomorrow morning, the people I know and love and care for, will still be there.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not What I Signed Up For

It’s one of those weekends one can do without.

I was very happy when I went in to work yesterday morning. Friday syndrome, you know. Until I opened my mailbox. There was a mail from my client sitting pretty in my inbox, asking us to make a presentation to him & his team on Monday. We hadn’t even started work on the presentation! That meant working late on Friday as well as having to work today (Saturday). Bleh.

But it was okay b/c I had Sunday to look forward to. Had made some very nice plans with a friend. Was really truly excited about it. This afternoon the bomb dropped. My friend is stuck in Jammu, where he was travelling for work, and he can’t get back before tomorrow night. As if a working Saturday wasn’t enough to ruin my weekend, there went my Sunday plans too! I’m totally disgusted…I mean, how much more crappy can it get??

Told you, it’s one of those weekends one can do without. I certainly can.

'Ash' You Like It

Apparently Aishwarya Rai was supposed to do 'Dostana'!! Aren't we glad she didn't?? She would've ruined not only the movie but even the GORGEOUS clothes designed by Manish Malhotra...if she fit into them, that is!

Her reason for not doing the movie : "It was supposed to be our first film after our wedding, in which I would have ended up with another hero (Bobby Deol). I felt it would not give the right message."

Errrr....What message did she want to give out? That she's married to Abhishek Bachchan and not to anyone else? I think the entire world & their dead ancestors know that by now, thanks to Abhishek Bachchan's appearance as her arm-candy at innumerable events/functions since their wedding.

Really...there's a reason I keep insisting that Aishwarya Rai is D-U-M-B. She just proves it over & over again.

Actually, one of my friends said something really funny about her the other day. She said, since her marriage, she's been seen in public more often with Amitabh Bachchan than with her husband. Come to think of it, that's so true!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008



Watched it today with a bunch of friends. I generally have issues with movies that use homose*uality as comic relief. 'Dostana' does that too, but the humor in the movie is so over-powering, I decided to just let go of my hang-ups & flow with the tide. Afterall, they were just acting gay for Chrissake! Once you take that in your stride, the movie is what you'd call "full time-pass" or complete paisa vasool!!

The first 10 minutes of the movie are ridiculously outrageous! They're only about John Abraham's abs & his butt. There's so much of Johnny boy on display that you completely forget Shilpa Shetty in her item song.

John Abraham comes out of the sea in Speedos, pulls his shorts up his butt, is shown walking around in his underwear which is halfway down his butt. And all this isn't subtle. It's right in your face as the camera follows his butt!! I mean, he has a nice butt & all but come on, that' was just ridiculous! We're not exactly a bunch of 16-year olds here, are we?

Even the climax was ridiculous! I don't even want to write about it. See it to believe it.

Apart from a few inconsistencies, such as Abhishek Bachchan saying he had to drink Pudin Hara after eating the food Priyanka Chopra had cooked for him (in Miami), and Bobby Deol, who is the Editor-In-Chief of the fashion magazine 'Verve' sporting a Fast Track watch, the movie was hilarious!!

The entire gay act between Abhishek Bachchan & John Abraham (must watch the scene where AB narrates the fabricated story of how he & John met and fell in love, the guy has done his research on gay mannerisms well) was over-dramatic but very well done without being vulgar or cheap.

PC has done well what she was required to do, i.e., 80% look hot & 20% act. Man, her outfits are just so H-O-T. I mean, I would've paid 250 bucs just to ogle at her outfits in the movie! Me and this friend of mine were salivating over her clothes & shoes throughout the movie. And did I mention, SHE IS THIN.

I can't usually stand Kirron Kher. Over-the-top seems to be her USP. She's played an over-the-top Punjabi mom in this movie too, and her ultimate scene in the movie, where she finally accepts her son Abhishek & John to be a gay couple, welcomes John into the family but doesn't know whether to refer to him as her 'son-in-law' or 'daughter-in-law' is outrageously funny!! She even takes off her golden bangles that she had saved for her 'daughter-in-law' and gives them to John. Lol!!!

Boman Irani as M (short for Murali, if you please), the gay editor of 'Verve' is adorable. Wonder how the man manages to win over the audiences' hearts time after time after time.

Another part of the movie I liked was that men (John Abraham in this case) has been 'objectified' or made an object of se*ual attraction just as much as women. About time, I say! Way to go, K Jo!

The movie might get its humor from homose*uality, but at one level it is also trying to make the Indian audience more open about the issue by taking a light-hearted look at it. And in a country where issues such as homose*uality are brushed under the carpet, this is one step in the right direction coming from one of the leading production houses in commercial Hindi cinema.

The only let down in the entire movie was Bobby Deol. Really, couldn't they find ANYONE else to play Priyanka Chopra's love interest? I mean, why him?? Anyone else...just about anyone...could've done!!

The soundtrack of the movie is upbeat & peppy. Apart from the 'Desi Girl' number, the other one I liked was 'I'll be alright'. It's a cute song on friendship.

My favorite part of the movie : Priyanka Chopra's outfits without a doubt. Can I have them please, Mr Malhotra? And while we're at it, can I also have her body to carry them off? :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ah, Saturday mornings!

There’s a lot that can be said about Saturday mornings. For instance, it’s the best morning of the entire goddamn week.

There is no melancholy that surrounds you when you wake up, like on a normal working day.

The puffy eyes, the feeling of heaviness in your head, the hoarseness in your voice, the lethargy as you drag yourself out of your bed and into your bathroom all magically disappear when you wake up on a Saturday morning. Instead you wake up with a smile on your face and a million plans for the day running inside your head & crashing against the walls of your brain. The feeling that you have two whole days lying ahead of you to chill, sleep, watch movies, read, go out for lunches & dinners, shop, hang out with friends is priceless.

Something like the Mastercard commercial….

Going to work Monday thru’ Friday : 1/4th of your month’s salary

The joy of “having” to do nothing over the weekend : PRICELESS

I woke up at 10 today, to a bright sunny winter-ish morning.

Don’t you just love the sun on a winter morning? It’s not beating down on you. It’s soft and filtered, yet strong enough to seep into your skin and give you a feeling of warmth. God, I love sunshine! Yup, that is what I am at the end of the day - a sunshine person.

I have a million errands to run today. I have a nasty cold due to the change of season. It’s not cold enough to sleep without the fan, neither warm enough to sleep with the fan on. You can’t take a cold shower, and you’re very likely to catch a cold if you step out of the bathroom after a hot shower. That is exactly what has happened with me but…BUT BUT BUT…I’m not going to let that ruin my Satuday. So…Carpe Diem, baby! Seize the day!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Works Like Magic!!

The idea for this post has been taken from the column of a blogger-columnist that I don’t really like, for most of her posts/columns are inconsequential and trashy. For once she has written on something of relevance and that is: RETAIL THERAPY.

What is retail therapy? Simply put, it is the act of purchasing things you like (clothes, shoes, bags, watches, sunglasses, gadgets, household stuff…could be anything!!) when you’re feeling low & coming back home having blown up a truck load of money but feeling deeply satiated. Ah!!

Retail therapy could, under certain situations, be better than a massage. You spend big bucks doing both, but at the end of a shopping binge you not only have added to your material possessions, you’ve also come back with something gorgeous to wear, carry around or even put up in your house. And yessir, retail therapy works not only for women but also for men. The only difference is that men indulge in it less often than women, which is obvious because they feel depressed less often than women because their solution to most emotional problems is to pretend there is no such problem, and voila! The problem disappears!!

The only flip side to retail therapy is a depleted bank account but the many pros more than compensate for it:

  1. The things we buy do not have a say in whether they like us or not. If we like them, we’re good to go!!
  2. Other women can eye them, covet them but they can’t have them!!
  3. They never complain of aches & pains when we want to go out.
  4. They don’t have the need to waste away in front of the television.
  5. They don’t get jealous of our other possessions, never ask us questions & never act possessive.
  6. And finally, they’re unconditionally devoted towards us. They never cheat on us. They’ll be our loyal companions until the day we decide to discard them or give them away!!

UPDATE : It sucks living in the East! I'm used to the late morning-breaks & late sunsets of the Bombay. I'm used to waking up at 6am, seeing it's still dark outside & going right back to bed, and to it being bright till 7-7.30 in the evening. In Calcutta, it's already bright at 5 in the morning & dark by 5 in the evening! This sucks!! Gives a whole new meaning to the 'sun rises in the east & sets in the west' phrase we learnt as kids!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Fashion did not surprise me. It kept me interested & engaged, yes, but it did not show me anything I didn’t already know about the fashion/modeling world thanks to my ex-roommates in Bombay who were in PR and were closely associated with the glamour industry, and by the sheer dint of having lived in Bombay where Bollywood & glamour are by default an integral part of everyone’s life.

Priyanka Chopra was definitely a revelation. The movie was about her, with support from other characters, and she made the most of it. She sunk her teeth into the role. At some places I felt her face lacked the attitude of a model (unlike Kangana Ranaut who had it down to the T) though she had the right body language.

Coming to Kangana Ranaut, I think she SERIOUSLY needs to work on her diction. Her Hindi is terrible!! She’s been around for a while, done quite a few movies…so it’s about time she took some Hindi speaking classes. I thought she rocked in the ramp walk scenes, where she’d switch from a drugged-out waste to a ramp model with the attitude that can freeze a million people on their spots, in a second!!

Mugdha Godse was good for a first-timer but I think she got slightly short-changed in terms of character development. There were a lot of things with her character that were left unexplained. For instance, why did she agree to marry a gay guy? He wanted the marriage for convenience but what was in it for her? What about HER needs from a life-partner? And not that he gave her the biggest break of her life. He made her the show-stopper for one of his shows, but that certainly couldn’t have overshadowed the life-long need for a companion who loves you truly?

Secondly, why was she okay with him not making her the show-stopper for the biggest show of his life at the fashion week given that she was his wife? She didn’t even purr about it, leave alone make an issue out of it.

Another issue I had with the movie was why Meghna’s father would encourage her to go back to the world of glamour after all the drama he did in the beginning? And especially after seeing that his girl came back from that world in ruins. The point that your family & a handful of true friends are the ones that stick by you through thick & thin could have been made in other ways too!

To Madhur Bhandarkar’s credit, the wardrobe malfunction scene was brilliantly done!

Overall, Fashion is a “realistic” movie with cinematic liberties taken in good measure, but I’m not complaining because every Madhur Bhandarkar movie need not be an expose. And it was heartening to see actors such as Harsh Chhaya & Samir Soni play the role of gay men with such aplomb and not shy away from it, unlike most Bollywood actors. Way to go, guys!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Name is Bond, James Bond. Or is it??

He no longer knows who he is, and neither do we.

The charming, suave, gadget-loving, cynical, not-one-to-hold-out-for-love, lady-killer British Secret Service Superspy is no more. He has been replaced by an agent who is mournful, bitten by love, trigger-happy & hardly exudes the charm that had all kinds of exotic women eating out of his hands. His jaw-dropping gadgets have been replaced by a GPRS-enabled Sony Ericsson cell phone, and he’s even forgotten how to say his name right (The name’s Bond, James Bond)!!!!!


So what is missing in Bond’s latest outing, ‘Quantum of Solace’?

For one, Bond himself. Apart from that, pretty much everything that made James Bond what he is.

He never asks for his ‘Shaken, Not Stirred’ martini. There’s a passing reference to it by the bar-tender serving him in one of the scenes, but it’s a different thing altogether to hear Bond himself say it with his trademark attitude. In Casino Royale, he replied “Do I Look Like I Care a Damn?” when asked how he’d like his martini prepared. That should’ve been a sign to understand that Bond was not going to be himself anymore.

Then there was no Moneypenny, the woman who is so consumed by Bond’s charm that she makes no secret of her desire for him.

There’s no Q either, the man who was the supplier of out-of-this-world gadgets (one of the main reasons people go to watch James Bond movies, well guys at least). I missed how he’d always tell Bond to take care of the gadget and bring it back, a joke of course because the gadget would get destroyed in the process of foiling the villain’s plans.

There was no unveiling of the James Bond cars – the Aston Martins, the Bentley, the Jaguar, the BMW, the Ford Mustang Convertible, the Carrerra etc. Instead we have a chase sequence between Bond in his Aston Martin & the villain in his Alfa Romeo, and by the end of the sequence, either cars aren’t recognizable anymore!

Bond doesn’t take orders from M in this movie. Instead he’s a ruthless rebel who will stop at nothing short of revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd, his love from Casino Royale. And in this quest of his, he will kill anything & everything that comes between him & the baddie. It seems he could kill with his bare hands, by sheer brute force. A far cry from the Bond we know, who would be suave even in his killings. Who would kill only when required, and when he did it, he’d do it in style.

The Bond movies would mostly end with the Bond Girl in his arms and M interrupting, which too didn’t happen in this movie. And of course, the cheesy female names were missing from the movie. The Honey, Kissy, Plenty, Alotta Fagina, Felicity Shagwell etc. were replaced by a Miss Fields whose first name (Strawberry) we don’t know until the credits roll at the end of the movie.

The half-Russian-half Columbian Bond-girl (Olga Kurylenko) & Bond, in spite of their crackling chemistry, hardly share anything physical except an isolated kiss, something that I think is a first for a Bond movie. I guess that could be explained by the fact that he’s not completely over his love for Vesper, but if I had to look at it from a guy’s point of view, I’d say “Really, what a waste!” But since I’m a girl, I’ll say “What a waste of Daniel Craig!!”

Finally, there’s nothing James Bond-ish about ‘Quantum of Solace’. It’s like any ordinary action movie where Bond could have been just an ordinary spy. The director, Mark Forster, seems to have forgotten completely that that’s what Bond is not – an ordinary spy. He’s James Bond, for Chrissakes! The Majesty’s Special Secret Service Agent. You can’t weigh him down with love & emotions. He’s the one with all the world’s charisma, cars, gadgets & girls. I don’t understand why anyone would hire the director of movies such as ‘Finding Neverland’ & ‘The Kite Runner’ to make a Bond film. These movies are as far removed from the genre of action movies as possible. Either Columbia Pictures had a momentary lapse of reason or Mark Forster did some damn good PR.

There are glimpses of the cheeky Bond though, like in the scene where he refuses to check into a modest hotel & heads instead to the poshest one in town. Or when he “casts his spell” on the woman officer who was sent to deport him back to England, thereby erasing all thoughts of deportation from her mind. Or the scene where Bond refers to M as “a friend who likes to believe she’s his mother”.

I hope that with this movie, all the James-Bond-in-love bullshit is done with, and Bond goes back to being his suave, charismatic self with a little help from a director who understands what the James Bond franchise is all about & why Bond fans go back to the theaters to watch his movies again & again & again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'He' Had A Dream

Ladies & Gentleman, It’s Barack Obama for America!!

I was going to write a post on my absolutely fabulous trip to Bombay last week, but I'm assuming the election of Barack Obama to the post of the President of the United States is a bigger defining moment in History & world politics, and therefore it should come first. My post on Bombay will just have to wait :)

Who would have thought that a Black, or a “person of color” as non-whites are referred to in politically correct terms, would become the President of a predominantly White America?

Obama won by a landslide. This signifies change, for sure. I guess Americans have been craving change for a while, and they’ve never desired it more desperately than now when their economy is battered & their country alienated courtesy George Bush’s ‘Shock-N-Awe’ military policy across the globe.

Obama’s election signifies progressiveness, but it also proves that skin color can only run so deep. Ultimately, it’s your vision for your country & its people, your beliefs and how steadfastly you stand by them, that will see you through.

This is indeed a historic moment for African-Americans in America. For centuries they were enslaved, segregated. There was a time not too long ago, when everything in America was segregated – schools, work places, public transport. There were separate schools for black & white kids. The ones for white kids had better infrastructure, of course. Offices were segregated along racial lines. Blacks sat in a different portion of the bus/train, usually at the back & were expected to give up their seats to Whites.

The Civil Rights Movement officially started in the mid-1950s with the Montgomery Bus Boycott when the Blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, led by Rosa Parks (who was asked to give up her seat to make room for a White passenger, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. The Movement got its nationwide pioneer in the form of Martin Luther King Jr. who, through his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, galvanized the African-Americans of the entire nation to fight for their freedom. America to this day celebrates his birthday in January as a national holiday.

Unlike MLK Jr. however, Obama does not ride the wave of Black politics. He has been voted in as much by Whites as by Blacks. It’s his vision for America & the constructive role it can play in the world at a time of financial & political crises, that saw him at the hem of the country. In spite of considerable improvement in race relations across America, African-Americans still continue to live at the fringes of society, for a large part. But change seems to have finally caught up with the country.

Barack for America, I say.