Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Official!

Marriage is bad for your sex life.

As I'd suspected all along.

According to a poll conducted on 3000 married people by a UK based dating service - Extra-Marital dating service, no less - marriage takes a toll on people's sex lives.

One-third of the people suyveyed admitted to no longer fancying their partner as much as they did in the early days, while more than 40% claimed that their partner had let themselves go!

The research also found that before marriage, couples have sex more than 4 times a week but after 3 years of marriage, they are likely to have sex less than once a week. 60% of couples even believed that marriage has completely ruined the excitement of having sex!

And here's a funny piece of statistic - almost 80% of married people prefer getting a good night's sleep to making the effort to have spontaneous sex in the middle of the night!

Hmmm...this survey isn't inspiring much confidence in me as far as marriage is concerned :)

One-fifth of the people polled also said that they would understand if their partner confessed to sleeping with someone else, so the more important question is - are we finally seeing marriages mature?

What's your take on this?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Food Fiesta

I'm addicted to cookery shows, which is ironic because I dislike cooking. I'm more accepting of the idea now than I was a couple of years ago - at times I even feel like cooking. But that's generally on weekends and I'm usually tired after making one dish. I could never whip up a meal!

So this fascination with cookery shows is strange. Why then do I like to watch them?

Well, I think there's something about food that comforts you and makes you happy. It's a combination of the various colors and textures coming together. The pink of the meat...the red, green, yellow of the peppers...the white of the garlic...the green of the chillies...the red of tomatoes...the translucence of onions. And then all these colors and textures come together in what you can imagine to be a heady concoction of subtle tastes and heavenly aromas. That is when professionals chefs or domestic goddesses are cooking. I am neither. So I just sit & watch.

Here's a list of my favorite cookery shows on TV:

1. Nigella Bites / Nigella Express / Forever Summer With Nigella - The first to be mentioned has got to be Nigella. Like there were two ways about it!

Nigella has three shows on Travel & Living - Nigella Bites where she cooks lunch, dinner, desserts...the whole hog, Nigella Express where she generally makes quick-bites that are even quicker to prepare, and Forever Summer With Nigella where she prepares light dishes that would be ideal for the summer.

Nigella's shows are visually very appealing, and no, I'm not referring to her assets. Enough and more men drool over her assets. As Rahul Khanna's famous tweet goes, "Nigella Lawson's cooking show is mouthwatering. And the food looks delicious too."

I'm referring to her pretty kitchen, the soft lighting, the crockery/utensils she uses, the colorful vegetables splayed on her cooking table, including the gorgeous huge bright yellow lemons, her impeccable make-up....everything. All very aesthetic and very easy on the eye.

The other reason I like her show so much is that she doesn't skimp on the fat or carbs while cooking! She'll use a generous amount of oil, won't separate the fat from the meat, won't skimp on the butter or the bread. And she eats what she prepares. It's very comforting to watch her dig into a huge slice of cheesecake or chocolate pavlova slathered with whipped cream or a bowl of chocolate pudding, in the middle of the night, without feeling guilty about it.

2. Top Chef - Top Chef is an American reality show in which chefs compete against each other in culinary challenges. They are judged by a panel of professional chefs and other accomplished people from the food industry and one contestant gets eliminated every week.

Top Chef is all about gourmet dining. The dishes - even the soups - are almost always exotic because there are professional chefs competing against each other and each chef would like to outdo the other. I envy the judges who get to sample all the dishes, but yes, one needs to be a seafood lover to be a judge on this show because some of the most exotic dishes are seafood based.

3. Masterchef Australia - I'm absolutely completely hooked on to Masterchef Australia! It's an Australian reality show - obviously - but unlike Top Chef, this show has amateurs competing to become Australia's Masterchef.

Some of the challenges include a face-off against some of Australia's biggest celebrity chefs. Masterchef Australia is a cookery show but it's no less gripping than a thriller. These three men are scary, believe me!

You also tend to get more emotionally involved with this show as compared to say, Top Chef, because the contestants are regular people with day jobs but with a passion for food. Many of them even want to give up their present jobs for a career in the food industry, so the show is kind of a means for them to make their dream come true.

4. Rachel Allen : Bake! - I once tried to convince The Knife to start watching Rachel Allen : Bake! She's got the goods, you know...pretty face, soft blond curls, blue (or is it green?) eyes. But he's a Nigella loyalist.

Anyway, Rachel Allen is an Irish baker. Dessert Goddess, rather. If you like baking this show is right up your alley. The focus is on desserts, but she also bakes breads, pizzas and other savouries. Her recipes are usually simple and not very labour-intensive. She even holds classes for people interested in baking, on the show, so you can jot the recipes down as she instructs the class. She also meets other bakers across the UK and gets recipes from them.

5. Tony Bourdain - Enough said.

Which are your favorite cookery shows?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Venting Post

This is a venting post about people and their stupid and/or irresponsible behavior. About some people that I know and some that I'd like to know so I can shake the daylights out of them!

There are times when people completely befuddle me. I was reading an interview of Amrita Puri this morning. For those who don't know who she is, she plays the character of Shefali in Aisha. She also happens to be the daughter of Aditya Puri, the Managing Director of HDFC Bank, one of the largest private banks in India. She's grown up in Mumbai, I believe, and worked as a freelance journalist & copywriter at an advertizing agency in India before joining films.

There are two things about her interview that bugged me. First, she very proudly declared that she couldn't speak Hindi properly before she started working in the movie. This from a girl who belongs to a North Indian family and has grown up in Mumbai.

This is something that, as an Indian, I have a major issue with. I just don't understand how someone whose mother tongue is Hindi cannot speak the language properly. I hear it all the time from people who've grown up in North India, or any other part of India where Hindi is the most widely spoken language and the language spoken the most at homes.

It's such a shame! You'll never hear a European deride his/her national language. They take pride in speaking it. Why then do we look down on our national language? I can understand if you choose to speak in English but to not be able to speak your mother tongue is a matter of great shame. It makes you a sad wannabe and nothing more.

What's your perspective on this?

The other thing about her interview that bothered me was how she went to great lengths to emphasize that unlike her character in Aisha, she's not a behenji, i.e. the "salwar kameez wearing types".

Now, to start with, I don't like the word 'behenji'. It's a word used to slot women, almost always in a derogatory manner, going solely by the type of clothes they wear. We are so quick to typecast women who prefer Indian clothes to Western wear as behenji, which also connotes things such as "small town", "uncool" and unfit to socialize with the denim wearing types who are supposedly more modern, hip and cool. For all you know, the so called behenji could be cooler, smarter and a more interesting person than a hundred jeans/shorts wearing women put together!

I see it around me all the time. Just yesterday I went to a new coffee shop that's opened in town, with a bunch of colleagues. Coincidentally, all of us were dressed in Indian attire. The owner of the cafe - a guy in his early 20s who looked like he was desperate to be picked up by a modeling agency - was going around the cafe taking feedback from people at different tables. He went to all the tables except ours. I was trying to figure out the reason he didn't come to us - there were quite a handful of us, we were ordering generously, so why was he not interested in our opinion? And then it hit me!

Everyone else at the coffee shop was dressed in Western wear! We were the only ones in salwar kameez. He would have easily classified us as 'behenjis', people who've strayed into his store and are not his target consumers anyway. Therefore, our opinion didn't mean much to him. If that was indeed the case, he didn't realize that he was actually alienating a section of his customers. A couple of people I went with decided not to go back to the cafe because they felt unwelcomed. And these people are coffee shop regulars. Lost business right there for our wannabe model friend.

Another thing that confounds me is how, in case of a problem/disagreement between a man & a woman, people (other women included) are quick to blame the woman, without even bothering to understand how much of the problem is caused by the man.

A relative of mine is in the process of getting a divorce, and all the women in my family, my dearest mother included, are busy pinning the blame on the poor girl. She never tried to adjust to her husband's family, she was too demanding of him in terms of helping out with the household chores, she was always very weird & uncooperative....on goes the list. Most of these people hardly even know the girl, yet they're quick to blame her for the disintegration of her marriage. It doesn't matter in the least that some of the issues they broke up over had been created by the guy, or that he was unwilling to compromise on certain things that were really important to the girl, or that his parents had unrealistic expectations from their daughter-in-law and were always interfering in the couple's lives and the way they managed their household.

Now, the in-laws - even though they are related to me I have no qualms admitting it - are very old-fashioned people. They don't expect her to be a slave to their son (thankfully!) but they cannot accept her as an equal partner in the marriage either. According to them, she should still be the one doing the cooking & other household chores, never mind the fact that she has an equally demanding career as her husband. She should not have an opinion on things, and even if she does, she should finally give in to her husband's choices & decisions.

These people (the in-laws), they haven't moved on with the times. They make no effort to understand that there are many more demands on people now than there were a couple of decades ago - both personally and professionally - and that people need to adjust their expectations from each other accordingly.

They still expect their daughter-in-law to take time off work and baby sit them when they're visiting, which is for two weeks at a time at least. They expect her to cook 3 meals a day for them everyday. If she suggests hiring a cook or going out for dinner/ordering in, she just doesn't care about them. If her husband helps her out with household chores - which is how it should be if both partners are working - she's making their darling son do all the housework. If they've moved to a bigger house or a better neighborhood, it's because she likes to waste money. Never mind that it was a mutual decision or that they're both splitting the rent.

Which brings me to the point - why do people behave so irresponsibly? Why bitch about someone you don't even know? You don't know anything about the relationship between the two people involved or the issues they're facing in their marriage, except the version you've heard from the boy's mother, which knowing her is positively biased, why blame the girl for everything?

Yes, sometimes people do need the daylights shaken out of them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Love Lost 'N Found : Pali Village Cafe (Mumbai) to Casa Toscana (Calcutta)

A couple of months ago I had the most nightmarish dining experience at Pali Village Cafe in Bandra (Mumbai).

PVC is "the new place to be" in Mumbai. We took the pain of making a reservation 24 hours in advance and were even threatened that the table wouldn't be held for us if we were more than 15 minutes late. We should've seen the signs and run towards another restaurant, but we didn't and ended up having one of the worst dining experiences of our lives.

We were hustled through our dinner on an evening that was meant for catching up with friends over a leisurely meal. The waiters were rude, asking us every few minutes if they could bring out our next order, and when we could finally take it no more and asked for the bill, the waiter made a very obvious 'finito' like gesture to the restaurant manager, right in front of our eyes!!

One definitely doesn't expect such blatant rudeness and lack of customer service at a fairly high priced restaurant at Bandra, of all places. We were at the supposedly trendy Pali Village Cafe, not the neighboring Janta after all. Even the folks at Janta let you be. For a detailed narration of the horror that PVC was, you can read The Knife's account here.

Cut to August. There's a cozy Italian restaurant on Chowringhee in Calcutta called Casa Toscana that I'd been wanting to visit for a long time. Finally went there last weekend. It's a restaurant I fell in love with the moment I entered it.

The owners have leased out part of an old bungalow and converted it into a restaurant. The concept is that of an Italian trattoria offering alfresco as well as indoor dining. The ambience is cozy - the indoor section has wooden chairs & tables, stone flooring that will give you a feel of the cobbled streets/piazzas of Italy & yellow lighting, while the outdoor seating area has wrought iron furniture, candle-lit tables and is laid out like a patio. The menu includes starters, soups, salads, pizzas, pastas & desserts.

The reason I compare Pali Village Cafe and Casa Toscana is that the restaurants are very similar in terms of ambience...

Pali Village Cafe, Bandra (Mumbai)

Casa Toscana, Chowringhee (Calcutta)

...yet there's a world of a difference between them in terms of the service and dining experience. I would definitely recommend Casa Toscana to someone looking for a nice Continental restaurant in Calcutta. Not sure I would recommend Pali Village Cafe to anyone.

The food at Casa Toscana is awesome, definitely the best Italian food I've had in Calcutta outside of 5-star restaurants. (You see, there are a lot of restaurants in Calcutta that claim to serve Continental food but haven't a clue what authentic Continental food tastes like!) The menu is a little limited though and service is a tad slow but that doesn't seem to deter people from patronizing the restaurant as was visible from the crowd. Some people might argue the restaurant is a little expensive by Calcutta standards - a (non-vegetarian) starter would cost you between Rs 180-Rs 220, an entree (non-vegetarian again) between Rs 240 - 340 and a dessert around Rs 180. We paid around Rs 1400 including taxes for a meal for two that included 2 starters, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, a beer & a Breezer, so I'm inclined to believe it's a moderately priced restaurant. Cheap even, by Mumbai standards.

Casa Toscana is not a lounge-around kind of place. It's a place you'd like to visit with your spouse/partner/family for a nice dinner on a weekend, or on a date. And get lost in the aromas of Italy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Mega Movie Review

I’ve had a good run at the movies of late. Watched 4 movies over the past couple of weekends. Yes, we seem to be getting our groove back! :)

I’ve already written about Eclipse which I enjoyed in the most carnal way (seriously, there's no other way to enjoy that movie). Let’s talk about the other 3…

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai is the story of Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn), a smuggler with principles, and Shoaib (Emraan Hashemi), his over-ambitious protégé. But more than them it's the story of the betrayal of Mumbai by the "underworld".

Sultan Mirza is a Robinhood like character in some ways. He's a criminal but he helps the poor, and he won't smuggle stuff (such as drugs) that his conscience doesn't permit him to. The one big mistake of his smuggling career is to recruit Shoaib who can go to any lengths to control Mumbai. Kangana Ranaut plays a super star who is in love with Sultan Mirza while Prachi Desai is a middle class conservative girl in love with Shoaib.

The movie has enough drama to keep you at the edge of your seat, and in spite of being based on the underworld it stays away from blood & gore. The characters are well etched out and the performances, superlative.
Ajay Devgn oozes style and character throughout the movie, Kangana Ranaut plays an unapologetic gangster’s moll with élan, Emraan Hashmi essays the character of an unscrupulous don very convincingly (I love how they've built up his character right from a defiant teenager to a ruthless criminal), and Prachi Desai as the hapless girl in love with a bad guy is good though not memorable.

However, I was a little let down by the way the movie ended - it was not only abrupt, it was also a little unjustified maybe.

The dialogues are an entirely different story though - they were really cheesy! Straight out of a 70s Hindi movie. I'm not sure whether that was intentional given the retro theme of the movie, but saner dialogues would've definitely helped. Overall though, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai is definitely worth a watch.


Aisha is an adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. That's the biggest thing the director had going for her - a story with immense potential. Yet, she screwed it up and how!

19th century rural England is replaced by South Delhi's high society. Sonam Kapoor plays the role of Aisha, a fashionable brat who lives in a bubble and spends her life match-making. She sees it as helping people and "doesn't even charge any money for it". Every single woman is a new "project" for her. She has spunky Pinky Bose for a best friend and a dishy Arjun for childhood friend (supposedly).

Enter Shefali, a small town girl whom Aisha must hook up with eligible bachelor Randhir Gambhir (Cyrus Sahukar). But before that, she needs to convert Shefali into a diva. Only if Arjun stayed out of the way!

The story itself is great material for a blockbuster chick flick - it's got romance along with dollops of humor and huge doses of fashion - but the execution is quite poor.

For one, Aisha & Arjun are supposed to be childhood friends but they're hardly shown to share a bond. You'll never see them hanging out, there are no "moments" between them. So you never find yourself wishing that the girl ends up with the guy - something very essential to a chick flick. And when they finally profess their love for each other, you're left with a WTF feeling.

Secondly, people keep hooking up randomly throughout the movie, without any background or context. People who couldn't stand each other end up together after sharing a single car ride. People who meet each other at a party for the first time end up making out and in the next scene, they're getting married! It's completely random...more WTF moments.

And I didn't understand why everyone was showing up everywhere! Aisha goes to Mumbai to visit her sister who's about to deliver. There she runs into Arjun, who is Aisha's brother-in-law's brother. So far so good. But why is Aarti (Arjun's business partner) also in the house? Go figure!

Abhay Deol was perfect for the role of Knightly - suave, sexy, smart & sassy. Yet, he's completely over-shadowed by Sonam Kapoor in terms of screen time. What a waste! And he's so unconvincing in the last scene where he tells Aisha how much he loves her. Rightly so...he too probably would've realized that it made no sense at all!

Sonam Kapoor is good as the self-centered, ditzy, bratty Aisha. I loved her wardrobe. Ira Dubey is great as the bitchy Pinky Bose, and I loved her Manish Arora outfits! Amrita Puri is cute as the impressionable small town simpleton who looks up to Aisha, Cyrus Sahukar is your typical Delhi guy and Lisa Haydon is better off on the ramp. And Arunoday Singh...he's so not hot. Big burly guys are not my type anyway.

I really wish Rajshree Ojha had done a better job of this had the potential to be such a fun chick flick. Overall though Aisha is worth a watch if you're in the mood for some candy floss and are willing to overlook the flaws in the script.


You see, I'm kind of done with so called "realistic" movies. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to deride them. But they generally tend to be depressing and so much crap to deal with in life anyway, who needs to inflict more torture upon themselves

Udaan is one such movie. That apart, it's got a good story, good performances. It's the story of a boy who gets kicked out of boarding school for watching a porn movie. He's sent home to a dad who he hasn't met in 8 years. On reaching home, he learns that his dad has remarried and he has a step brother. To make things worse, the dad is a tyrant who insists on being called "sir", is abusive and is totally against the boy pursuing his dreams. The rest of the story revolves around how the boy copes with his dad and forms a bond with his step brother.

Watch it if you hold a torch for such cinema.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Miss Hinton James

Today I got an e-mail from the alumni association of the University I did my undergrad from. It had something to do with 'freshmen', a term used to refer to first year undergraduate students in college in the United States. The mail brought back memories of my freshman year, particularly of the dorm I stayed in during that year.

I lived in Hinton James, one of the 33 dorms on campus. Ho Jo as we used to call it. Ho Jo primarily housed freshmen & sophomores (2nd year students). It had 10 floors and was home to approx. 800 students. Each floor had 4 wings and each wing was divided into suites containing 4 rooms each, with 2 people to a room. It really was like living with a very large family.

There was a basketball court on one side, volleyball court on another, parking lot on the third side, and a plush green lawn on the fourth side where students would soak up some sun during spring. The ground floor had a computer lab, laundry room, lounges and an assortment of vending machines for candy, soda, chips etc. I forget if Ho Jo had a vending machine for condoms as well - there were some such vending machines at other places on campus, I remember.

The biggest disadvantage of living in Hinton James was that we had to trudge up to North Campus for classes everyday. It was a good 15-20 minute walk, most of it uphill. Of course there were buses but they would generally be packed so a lot of people preferred to walk. The biggest advanatge was during the basketball season - the stadium was right behind the dorm!

I lived in three dorms over the course of my 4 years at the University of North Carolina but the reason Hinton James will always be special is because that's where I made my first friends in America. Friends who accepted someone so different from themselves without an ounce of hesitation or apprehension. Friends I met at the water fountain on my floor, or by the vending machines, or randomly while hanging out at the common passage. Friends I ordered loads of Gumby's/Papa John's pizzas with. Friends I played Secret Santa with during Christmas every year. Friends who would take me home for Thanksgiving b/c I had nowhere to go (I couldn't possibly come back to India for a 4 day holiday). Friends who would cheer me up whenever I got homesick. Friends who are all over the globe now but I'm still in touch with.

They say that friends you make in college stay with you for life. They say that for a reason. And Hinton James is a bloody good place to find such friends!

PS: The photo above has been taken from Flickr. If there are any copyright issues, please let me know and I'll take it off.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Want a Girl Gang!!

I was watching the first Sex & The City movie on HBO last night. Every time I watch the movie or a re-run of the show I can’t help feeling envious of the women. They make such an amazing girl gang!!

There’s a reason why SATC is so popular with women across the world. It appeals to women who have a close-knit group of girl friends, as well as to those who don’t but crave one. Not to mention that most women, irrespective of the culture they come from, can identify with at least one of the four central characters of the series - the romantic, shoe-obsessed fashionista Carrie who is trapped in a long term relationship with a man who just cannot make up his mind about what he wants from a relationship or whether he wants to be in one, in the first place; Charlotte, the family types who believes she has found her "true love"; Miranda, the workaholic who likes to be in control; and Samantha, the successful, independant woman who is boy crazy but values herself more than any man in her life.

Coming back to the topic of this post, there can be few things as wonderful & comforting, and as much fun as a girl gang! The women in SATC stand by each other, look out for each other and take care of each other. They always have someone to share every secret with, go shopping with, do lunch/dinner with...someone to call up with news...someone who'll tell them which dresses to keep & which to throw out...someone who’ll spend New Year’s eve with them if they’re alone and take them on a holiday if they’re feeling low.

I so so want a girl gang like that! A small group…me & maybe two other women. Is that too much to ask for?

Talking of women, they can be really strange at times. Most of my school friends/classmates are now married with at least 1-2 kids. Whenever one of them posts pictures of her kids online, the others come pouring in with compliments as to how cute the kid is etc. Makes you feel like you’re being rude by not joining the chorus! I don’t get what the big deal is…it’s just a kid! Everyone has kids. Motherhood does strange things to people.

There are some who’ll put up pictures of themselves with their husbands and everyone will start complimenting them on how cute they look together. I wonder if people really mean what they say, or they say it just b/c they feel it's the "right" thing to do. Again, I don’t get the big deal.

And then there are women who put up pictures of their pregnant belly online!! Ugh!!! No offence to women who are expecting a baby or are mothers already, but there's really nothing pleasant or pretty or cute about a pregnant woman's belly. On the contrary, it's one of the scariest things in the world to look at, and that is just my personal opinion. I'm not interested in how big your belly has become. I mean, I'm happy you're about to pop a kid soon - if that's what really floats your boat - but it doesn't float mine, so please spare me the torture and don't put up pictures of your 8th month belly on my Facebook page!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sweet, Sexy, Sassy

It’s only fair that I follow up a post on my Favorite Male Literary Characters with one on my Favorite Female Literary Characters.

So here’s my list of the 10 female characters I've enjoyed reading the most:

1) Nancy Drew - She was my early teen idol. Nancy Drews were the only books I ever read in school. Young, smart and glamorous, Nancy Drew has been a formative influence on a number of girls worldwide. Nancy did not have a job or go to school. She spent her life going on vacations with her enviable girl gang comprising Bess & George, and solving mysteries. She was wealthy, attractive and talented. All of 18, she could paint, speak fluent French, drive, swim, play tennis. And she had a super hot boyfriend (Ned Nickerson) who would surprise her by visiting her when she least expected it! How could you not like someone with such an enviable life?

2) Bridget Jones - I’ve read both Bridget Jones books many times over. Often when I’m in need of a pick-me up, I open a random chapter of the book and read for a few minutes (since it’s in the form of a diary, you need not read it in sequence). The books are insanely funny and instant pick-me ups.

Bridget’s is a character women from all cultures can identify with. She constantly frets about her weight but is otherwise a happy person, and she falls for the wrong guy over & over again when the right guy is standing right in front of her! And of course, she ends up with Mr Darcy. Who wouldn’t want to be in her shoes?

3) Miranda Priestly - Bitchy, cruel, tantrumy, Miranda Priestly is every working woman's nightmare. I've read the book (The Devil Wears Prada) as well as watched the movie, and I must confess it's Meryl Streep who's made the character one of the most memorable ones for me. In the book, Miranda Priestly is a Size 0 and far bitchier than what she is in the movie. Yet, I don't think anyone could've played her better than Meryl Streep. She's brought the character to life with so much style and elegance, it's difficult to forget her.

4) Rebecca Bloomwood - She's hilarious, what more can I say! The kind of excuses she comes up with to buy things she doesn't need and not pay her credit card bills, cannot be matched. She's not dumb, she just has a very strong weakness....don't we all?

5) Hermione Granger - Let's face it, Harry Potter would not have got out of half his troubles without help from Hermione Granger. She's the intelligent one, has the answers to all questions and the unmatched ability to exasperate Ron. She's also the only one who dared to punch Malfoy in the face. Though she's a nerd on the face of it, deep down she's very much a girly girl. She's principled, yet willing to make concessions for friends; cautious, yet reckless. She's a dichotomy...just like all other women :)

6) Portia - I don't like Shakespeare but I do like intelligent women, and Portia was one of the most intelligent characters that Shakespeare ever created. "Only a pound of flesh, but not a drop of blood". Heard anything smarter than that?

7) Jo March - The second eldest of the March sisters (Little Women), Jo March is smart, independent and vivacious. She's also quite tempestuous. She'd rather read or play than primp & gossip with the girls. Just the kind of girl I'd get along with :)

8) Elizabeth Bennett - Playful, good natured and quick thinking, Elizabeth Bennett is the most popular of Jane Austen's heroines. She has the guts to reject a wealthy but foolish suitor (Collins) - something not many women of that era would've been able to bring themselves to do. And she gets Mr Darcy. That's reason enough to like her, I think.

9) Scarlett O'Hara - It's difficult to like Scarlett O'Hara per se. She's spoilt, selfish, shrewd and vain. But she's also strong willed and challenges the gender stereotypes of her time. And that makes it difficult not to admire her.

10) Madame Bovary/Anna Karenina - Okay, so they may not be the most likeable women in English literature but this list isn't about the most likeabile women either. It's about the women I've enjoyed reading the most, and both Emma Bovary & Anna Karenina fit right in. These two characters probably changed the way the "heroine" was portrayed in English literature until that time. They may not have been as strong and morally upright as Jane Austen's heroines maybe, but they were "real" women - they had their faults, they could be unsympathetic & self-centered, they made mistakes and they paid the price for it too! These characters freed women from the bonds of morality and the arguably stifling social fabric of that time, and let them loose to carve out their own path in life.

Do tell me your favorites...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Werewolf 'Eclipsing' the Vampire?

“Let’s face it, I am hotter than you are”

How hard must it have been for Taylor Lautner to say this to Robert Pattinson with a straight face?

Yes, that is exactly the kind of movie ‘Eclipse’ is. Teeny bopper, immature, brimming with sexual tension, cudding-is-okay-but-sex-is-not kind of movie. But am I complaining? Hell, no! Neither are the other “Twihards” (a.k.a. fans of the Twilight series) across the globe, I presume.

Okay, so maybe that’s going too far. I wouldn’t go to the extent of calling myself a “Twihard”, but I did enjoy the books. They’re silly and that’s exactly why they're so much fun. They take you back to the time when love meant butterflies in the stomach every time you spotted the object of your desire, stolen glances in the classroom and stolen kisses in the corridors. There are enough 30-40 year old fans of the movie, and I suspect this is the reason why. Also one of the main protagonists - Edward. That kind of boyfriend/husband/partner doesn’t exist. Now, at any rate.

I've always rooted for Edward but after watching 'Eclipse', I’m with Jacob all the way! And I have a feeling that Melissa Rosenberg - the scriptwriter of the movie - may have had a big role to play in this.

Now, the debate over the comparative hotness of the two males done with, let’s come to the movie. I liked the movie (gasp!).

The last two movies were real letdowns. For one, Edward has been portrayed as this gorgeous, sex-on-toast vampire in the books. He was made to sound so delicious, you couldn't wait for the hotness to drip down the screen. However, in the movies Robert Pattinson is made to look way too pale. The fact that he is a fairly bad actor didn't help matters.

Secondly, 'Twilight' & 'New Moon' were badly directed. 'Eclipse' on the other hand is reasonably well directed and fairly engaging.

The movie is bursting with sexual tension down to the last frame. It’s a lust triangle between two gorgeous men - one “cold” & the other "burning hot" - and on top of the triangle sits Bella, the morose, confused, spineless female protagonist of the novel who, apparently, loves Jacob but loves Edward more. can she not love Jacob more???

1) He's pining for her & she knows it!

2) He risks his life to protect her, knowing fully well that she’ll choose Edward over him eventually (though he keeps hoping otherwise till the end!)

3) He saves her from freezing to death in an ice storm and the one kiss he shares with her towards the end of the movie is WAY more sensuous than all the kisses she has shared with Edward, combined.

4) His shirtless body can put any Calvin Klein underwear model to shame and he doesn't like wearing his shirt too much. See for yourself...

5) Unlike her boyfriend (Edward), he doesn’t reject her sexual desire, he welcomes it!! Stupid stupid woman.

6) He tells her that being with him would be as easy for her as breathing. B/c he’s the closest she’s got to human, in Forks. B/c he’s warm, not cold as marble all the time. But she’s not interested in breathing…or even being alive. She wants to have the life sucked out of her by a vampire so she could become cold & clammy too.

There are enough scenes in the movie that make you want Bella & Jacob to end up together. Like the garage scene where Bella asks Jacob if he’s imprinted yet (you feel for him, man), the scene where he tells her he loves her, the scene where he carries her into the forest (twice), the scene where he wraps himself around her to keep her warm, and finally, the kiss!!

The theater was packed during a non-peak hour show, that's the 'Twilight' craze. Though there were way more men in the theater than there should’ve been. I think they were dragged there by their gigling, squealing girlfriends. I genuinely felt bad for those men. Ladies, get a life! Go watch 'Breaking Dawn 1 & 2' with your girlfriends. It'll be much more fun and you won't have to listen to drivel about how dumb and tortuous the movie was, later.