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!