Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Four movies and a Bike Ride

Warning : Blah alert! I will make contradictory statements here.
Lets begin with the first one - I have been surprising myself with the amount of stuff one can do in 24 hours! Also, I have watched 4 movies! Yes, amigos, after a decade and a half, I still have it in me!

Yes, I am going to tell you about them; yes, I have been neglecting the writing bit, and yes, the bike ride bit comes later.

The no-brainer : Put Disney-like storyline with really ugly looking creatures in the most fantasized planet ever (mars, martians...), a few smartass dialogues, a confused earthling and an alien princess (who wears far less than she actually should) and you get a strange concoction called John Carter. Watch it only if you want to see how our imagination has really taken a long, long walk! Or like in my case, watch it if you want the kids to understand a sci-fi.... after all, there is verrrrrrry little 'sci' in it!

The D-uh...... comic book? : A stubbly hero (with an uncanny preference of dressing like Bond) who seems to be going through menopausal symptoms (how else do you explain the mood swings?), a heroine who seems to have decided to give up acting after getting married (if she keeps up the acting talent shown in this movie, it certainly is time she did give up acting) and a storyline that looks exactly as if it were right out of a comic book. The only thing the director has remembered to do is to make the dude and the dudette look good - even in a torture cell, with terrorists bashing the hell outta them, they gotta look cool - just like the comic! A few smart lines, a few overlooked moments of dark humour and a few exotic locations are what Agent Vinod is all about. Worth a one-time watch, but please do leave your brain at home.

The Kickass one : A disclaimer here : if you haven't watched Vidya Balan in her heavily pregnant avatar yet, someone will soon blurt out the story, and you will end up torturing that person by making him/her watch one of the above. Sincere advise : Watch it! It may not be perfect, it may have jumpy editing and preposterous judgement calls, but it most certainly is a movie that will make you walk out of the hall dazed that you too were fooled! *Bows down here to VB* That's it! If I say anything more, I just might end up being the tortured one. In one sentence : Kahaani can take on Don, Ra One and Agent vinod - blindfolded!

The One that blew my breath away : For all the non-mallus, you probably will never know what this paragraph is all about - and I really hope there comes a time when we have as mature a treatment of a movie in Hindi. 'Beautiful' is not a new movie. It was last years surprise package - no big names, and no exotic locales. No action, or mouthful of unfathomable monologues by the hero. This one is Jaysurya in the most mature performance I have ever seen him do and Anup Menon in the most endearing portrayal of a loving, but flawed friend. Awesome songs ('Mazhaneer thullikal' being the song I have been listening to the whole day last week), lovely editing, fantastic casting and awesome storytelling. But what takes your breath away is the freshness of it all - including the dialogues. Intelligent humour and well placed comments..... can't stop raving about the movie. If there are any of you who haven't watched it - this one is a must-watch!

Now for the bike ride : After what must have been over 14 years, I was on a bike feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. I was in Bangalore, met up with old friends, discovered that they still brought the house down with their jokes.

A long heart-to-heart chat with a friend who defied odds to remain a friend, and meeting his wonderful family.  An unplanned meeting and subsequent dinner with yet another friend and his wife - at 2 am (a couple of drinks down and we women started talking business!) .... and ofcourse some real kickass home food! Life's good!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The rise and fall of the big 'E'

"Wait-a-minute!!" The grimacing smart-alec from a decade old marriage (eleven years to be precise, and still counting) said to me in between chomping through dinner. "Are you sulking?" This was followed by a grin that looked like the Cheshire cat playing the role of Voldemort.

The dignified, mature, well meaning indivdual that I am, I chose the best form of revenge known to womankind  - Silence. But the TV remote seemed to have suddenly, mysteriously disappeared - only to surface AFTER an eventful cricket match. I am sure The better half is still appreciative of the few kilos shed between all manual channel surfing.

You bet I am sulking! It all began with a short story competition that led to a bewildered me (read that as me pinching myself every 5 minutes to see if I was awake!) dreaming night after night of signing books (not unlike the dashing Castle and that wicked smile of his - just imagine the female version.....ummm..... yuck! on second thought, make it more like Beckett!) and finally being hailed as the answer to today's Sheldon ... or maybe even Edgar Allan Poe....

What? A girl can dream, can't she?

Well, lets just say the book got published. And then a co-author and I were just whining that there aren't any reviews for OUR book (among various theories was that the cover did not have a beautiful lady, and that probably was why) when kabam! ... in flow the reviews! And what awesome reviews they were. If the reader remembers (I insist on calling you that - so what if I am not a famous author?), I had, in an earlier post, voiced my fear of being singled out as the worst story teller ever, in that collection. Well, lo and behold! I have discovered another talent in the already too-talented-for-my-own-good self! I now can predict future....

Every review spoke highly of so many stories.... You would think a few of them would feel pity on me too, right? No way - where have all the be-nice-even-if-you-didn't-like-it people? The good news is that Urban Shots Bright Lights seems to be a voice to reckon with. Do read the reviews here to find out for yourself. And ofcourse, my good friend Dr.Roshan (oh yes! the name dropping was on purpose! He most certainly is on his way to being Castle... ! ) does get oppurtunity to hog the limelite here (which, by the way  is well deserved. But not that I intend forgiving him for it.....)

As if this wasn't enough, there were reviews that spoke about some stories (very rare) that were not too impressive in the collection...... you would think I would have made it to THAT list atleast. No. Nada. Zilch! I deserve a little sulk time, don't you think?

I was just my own, sulky self one day, when I recieved a phone call that made me grin like a monkey with a first time shot of tequila. Turns out, one of my stories have been selected by another publishing house for publication... and they want me to read a para at the book launch next month.

Now, let me not give you any wrong messages - I am, in all sense of the word, blowing my own trumpet here! And please do tell me you want to know which publication, and which date and all that... (which, shhhh! is still confidential for another yet week...)

Sigh! Looks like I will be having visions (yet again) of autgraphing my books to a long winding queue of excited fans - till the next review at least

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mamma's kids

Being a parent is something like learning to use a new confusing software - the moment you think you have the hang of it, the whole damn equation has changed. I mean, just look at the progression :
  • Just when you think you FINALLY understand the difference between a hungry baby and a wet-nappy baby, they aren't babies any more!
  • Just when you get the hang of feeding semi solid mush into unwilling mouths, they are ready to eat potato chips off a bag!
  • Just when you start understanding their baby talk, they have begun using words you cringe when you hear
  • Their shoes have shorter life spans than your toothbrush; but their jeans seem to outlive all logical reasoning
  • They have barely learnt to identify colors, and here they are, disagreeing to wear dresses of a certain colour (It doesn't match the hair-band, you see!)
  • Just a while ago, you were teaching them to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's, and today they are completely capable of writing 3 page essays on why you should buy them a particularly popular toy (the fact that this sometimes comes in a hand-made birthday card is small consolation)
  • You had just a few days ago, trained them to sing 'I am a little Tea Pot' with actions to perform on stage, and they can now give Oscar-winning performances to skip school
  • From a time a kiss and a hug took the tears away, they now need back up plans and solemn promises to be pacified (rest assured, these promises WILL BE reminded to you at regular intervals)
  • You had only a few days ago, told them stories with a message, and today they remind the message to you
Suddenly, its a time when the little one has turned around to me and said, "But YOU do it all the time!" and the older one has declared that she has "the worst Mom ever."

Sigh!! Back to learning parenting all over - yet again!