Popcorn, anyone?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Seeti For CCTC.....

I’ve been staring at the Chandni Chowk To China CD for a while now. The cover credits proudly list a melee of music composers: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Kailash Kher-Naresh-Paresh, Bappi Lahiri and Bohemia. Naturally, I’m expecting a LOT of versatility. Without much ado, then, I slide the CD into the drive, sit back, frown and prepare to be delighted.

You know what they say, right? “The first impression is the last one?” W-ell….going by this age-old adage, this one’s going to be a major disappointment. S.I.D.H.U begins with the regular Kailash Kher tabla-sitar solo followed by the words “Bade, bade” in an annoying loop. A minute later, Kher thankfully lets you know it’s dreams he means and not…..forget it. I’d hate to be rude to the redoubtable trio of Kailash-Naresh-Paresh and that’s why I won’t elaborate, but this song sounds like one of those irritating commercials for rice that you keep seeing between cricket matches. Enough said.

But who said life doesn’t give you second chances? Well, even if life doesn’t, music albums do :-D. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s masterful composition of the title track, Chandni Chowk To China, is what hooks you right from the word go. It begins with a distinctly Oriental (for wont of a better word) jingle which soon gives way to the Indi-pop beats we’re so used to by now. Neeraj Sreedhar’s smooth voice lyrically blankets these Indo-Chinese beats and you know you’re in for a killer time when he intones “From Chandni Chowk To China”. Anoushka Manchanda, who I’ve got to say doesn’t usually impress me (she’s far too repetitive), surprises me. She’s lightened up her usually husky voice, opting for a playful, melodious and subtler vocal texture which totally rocks. Shankar Mahadevan, as usual, makes you wish he sung more often, the man’s a freakin’ genius when it comes to singing. The lyrics are simple, which is a good thing because they don’t distract you from the music.

India Se Aaya Tera Dost, Bappida’s iconic song of the late 70’s, is what you’d call “Much hype about nothing”. It’s pretty much the same (track name notwithstanding—the original song was called Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost) as the old version from Aap Ki Khatir with a few beats pointlessly injected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, it’s just nothing new. Bappi and Bappa Lahiri zing things up with drums and electric guitars, serving you (re)hash browns on a Chinese platter (the Oriental jingle heard in the title track is repeated in the middle).

The only romantic ballad in the album, Tere Naina, and the second (and last) song composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy shows you exactly why they reign supreme. Shreya Ghoshal, in a completely new vocal avatar, is the perfect foil to Shankar Mahadevan’s strong rendition. It’s a fluid number and pulls you deeper as it progresses. Take your girl for a long, long drive down Marine Drive and watch as she embraces you while you tackle the sharp turns (on second thoughts, just listen to it at home).

Chak Lein De, another Kailash-Paresh-Naresh compostion, is the most confusing track in this album. It kicks off with some superb trance music (which, incidentally, reminds me of some Vishesh Films recent number. Can’t place it!!). Kailash Kher assumes control of this moody number exactly 30 seconds into the song (I counted), preceded by a flute I wish I could hear more of. Now I happen to be a major Kailasa fan (the band consisting of the three composers) and, to me, Chak Lein De sounds way to similar to some of their earlier numbers, reminding me of Teri Deewani and Tauba Tauba in places. The song ended and I replayed the title track (I’m in love with it) but I found humming “Chak Lein De” quite a few times. Is this what they call a track “growing on you”? I guess it is. I listened to it again and I realized that it’s Kailasa’s signature style at work here. I heard it yet another time and I realized I did, in fact, like it.

CC2C, abridged name apart, is the shortest song in terms of length…..thankfully, because it also happens to be the worst in the album, beating S.I.D.H.U by a cymbal’s breadth. Akshay Kumar quite obviously has a Singh Is Kinng hangover—here, he teams up with domestic rap legend Bohemia to give us CC2C. The song begins quite hilariously with Akshay Kumar telling you to shut up and listen to him (though in the Chandni Chowk vernacular) and I waited with bated breath for the ‘song’ to begin (I’m a major Bohemia fan, too). I was disappointed by the less-than-average rapping (by Akshay Kumar and Bohemia) and the nigh-dead beats that get on your nerves after a while. This one’s got repeat value though: I felt like repeatedly beating Bohemia over his head with it. Akshay Kumar, sir, stick to Snoop Dogg, will you?

The rest of the songs are remixes (of Chandi Chowk To China and Chak Lein De, respectively). I’m not much of a remix person, they do nothing for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the title track remix version. Seriously, after Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’s Dance Pe Chance, this one will make you want to shake your booty. The second remix is ok, I guess, but I prefer the unadulterated version more.

That’s a wrap.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You Should Miss The Zohan.....

He's crass, he's crude, he's grossly perverted and he's horribly unabashed about the whole thing.....sounds familiar? Yep, Adam Sandler it is.

He returns to the silver screen with You Don't Mess With The Zohan in which he plays an Israeli Mossad agent. He's their ace guy/person/dude (his rank/position is never defined) and can break down walls, stop bullets with his fingers (and nostrils) and jump and run around like Spiderman trying out Parkour.

He's also tired of doing what he does.

In fact, much to the amusement of his parents and contemporaries, he wants to become a hairdresser!!! When he realizes he’ll never be taken seriously in Israel, Zohan fakes his death and escapes to the States.

Once there, he gets rejected by his idol, the great Paul Mitchell, but finds a job at Rafael's, a salon owned by Dalia, a Palestinian woman (Emmanuelle Chirqui—splendid in her beauty), where he services old hags in his own style--he well, er, "bangs" the ladies at the end of each cut.

Old enemies and new friends pepper this sorry excuse for a comedy, along with a tackily written love angle between Zohan and Dalia. Each joke, each situation is overdone, each dialogue repetitive, specially the ones involving Zohan’s genitals.

The climax is so drab to the point you don’t care what happens. It's also quite insensitive to the whole Israel-Palestine war, ridiculing the Palestinians openly.

Another thing: it's simply too long and everybody acknowledges the fact that you can't take Adam Sandler for over two hours (himself included). By the end of it, you're too dead to even get up and exit the hall. Clearly, it’s Sandler’s worst film to date.

I'll go with a 1/5 for Adam Sandler's You Don't Mess With The Zohan--a pretentious film that thinks bathroom jokes and sexual innuendos can still make the audience laugh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monkey Business.....

The name "Nuri Bilge Ceylan" might not, of course, ring a bell. It's a name to contend with, however; the man it belongs to won the Best Director award at Cannes this year.

The film begins with a brilliantly shot footage of Servet, an aspiring politician, falling asleep at the wheel. As his car turns a corner, you hear, rather than see, its tires screeching to a halt, followed by a dull thud.

However, a politician to the core, Servet convinces his driver, Eyup, to take the blame for him and go to prison, with the promise of a "lump sum" of cash on his return. Eyup reluctantly agrees, being in dire need of money at the time, but when he returns after nine months, he finds his family torn apart by deception, failure and adultery (his wife, Hacer, begins an illicit affair with Servet and his son, Ismail, gets into the wrong company after failing his University exam).

The rest of the story revolves around how the family chooses to work around these issues rather than address them directly (hence the name "The Three Monkeys--See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil").

The film is a canvas for the DOP. Gokhan Tiryaki's jaw-droppingly astounding cinematography (yes, yes, more superlatives please!) deserves a standing ovation. He effortlessly captures Turkey's stunning locales, using dark green and jet black hues to his advantage. Crisp editing (which could, of course, be "crisper" in terms of frame length) and an apt background score round up the technical aspects.

It's Ceylan's direction, however that leaves you yawning and snoring throughout; each scene is so long, each emotion so tediously brought out that by the end of it, you just don't care about what happens to whom (indeed, if you remember their names to begin with). It's as if the director didn't know what do after capturing a shot and decided to stall for time till he thought of what to do next.

The film's length, mercifully, is a pithy one and a half hours, so you're not tortured for too long.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thank God It's [A] Wednesday.....!

When you "voice the nation's fears" and you "tell it like it is", you inadvertently take a risk far unparalleled.

Records and experiences tell us that we, as a people, are far more volatile when the fingers are pointed at ourselves, at our faults and at our inner misgivings (which is a way of saying that we don't trust as easily as we should).

That's where A Wednesday scores a point(one of many). It isn't afraid of doing the one thing we Indians are so unsure about: taking the initiative.

Now here's an interesting concept (specially for all those terrorists out there); we, the people, the nation, are ONE. Whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh, this nation is secular to the core. Fine, we've got our communal riots, we've got our social disputes, we've got a pleasant bunch of irrevocably weird "bad" men. Cool, I acknowledge that (along with a billion or so others, of course).

But what we don't realize is that an INDIAN, above all, is responsible for the crimes. An INDIAN is the terrorist, whether he sets fire to a Hindu-loaded train or ruthlessly cuts unsuspecting Muslims in "retaliation". An INDIAN is at fault when he's caught plotting against the British/American government. Yes, we are O.N.E.

And that's exactly what A Wednesday embodies--it tackles the issue of terrorism head-on; it approaches the subject with a clear-cut view of things and a solid idea of right or wrong. But most importantly, it finds a solution.

And how.

The tricky part here would be to explain the plot to you--there's no possible way I can do it without revealing to you the "twist in the tale", which, of course, is the mainstay of the film. Here goes:

Naseeruddin Shah plays a nameless, faceless man who, seemingly, has an agenda of his own. He cunningly devises a plan to secure his identity and yet "harass" the already tired Mumbai police (headed ably by Anupam Kher) by sending them on a "treasure hunt"--the treasure, albeit, being six bombs that he's allegedly placed across the city.

While Mr.Kher and gang are initially inclined to believe the call to be a hoax, Naseer reveals that he has, in fact, planted a bomb at the police headquarters right across the street from Mr.Kher. A hunt and a few tense minutes later, the bomb is found.

And Naseer establishes that he, indeed, means business.

The film progresses quite like the way that most terrorism inspired flicks progress--with the age-old demand by the "kingpin" to have his comrades released and be gathered at a specific point. Anupam Kher (helped by Jimmy Sheirgill and Aamir Bashir), obviously, has no choice but to comply, the deal being that once the terrorists are handed over, the locations of the six bombs will be revealed.

However, nothing is quite like it seems; when the four terrorists are gathered at an abandoned Juhu airstrip, they are, literally, "blown away"--by a bomb.

Yes, Naseeruddin Shah portrays the common man, the "stupid common man", as he calls himself, the common man who's started living a life of fear.

I'm not gonna give anything else away, I've already revealed to you the twist, but suffice it to say, the end moments of the film and the "showdown" in the end are some of the most gripping scenes in cinema. Period. I mean ALL cinema, Hollywood included. It's not an exaggeration, mates, it's seriously the voice of a billion odd people. And BOY is it loud.

The acting? Here's the lo-down:

What can I say about Naseeruddin Shah? I mean, what can I say that's not already been said? What I admire most about the man is his uncanny body language. He fits any role he's given, like a hummingbird to air, like cactus to sand (cheesy, I know), whether it's the dull, lazy, alcoholic washed-up-has-been in Iqbal or the upright, scared, intelligent and ever-hurting common man in A Wednesday. He's just simply outstanding--what with the perfect modulation and dialogue delivery, Mr.Shah has truly outdone himself. And not for the first time ;-D

Anupam Kher, as the totally in-control police chief, is marvelously restrained. After watching him in the AWFUL C Kkompany (and other such recent disasters--Dhoom Dhadaka, too, comes to mind), I'd given up hope of seeing him actually "act" and not "ham". But he's the perfect foil to Naseer's character, something very, very few actors could match upto. I guess it helps having been Naseer's friend for years and years, getting to know the subtleties of his acting and, resourcefully, having developed his own personal nuances to complement those of his co-star.

Jimmy Sheirgill's role is the most perplexing of the lot and it's not because he acts well (which is also not because he doesn't act well--wait, lemme explain). Fine, the director wanted to establish that he's a no-nonsense, violently-inclined, no-holds-barred officer, but what, may I ask, does that have to do with the damned film??? Not ONCE is his character effectively used--for all it mattered, he could've been a whining wimp (or Bobby Darling, for that matter) of a cop! Weird.

Aamir Bashir is good as the pleasant, bhola-bhala officer. A nice change from the "Shinde"'s we've become accustomed to in recent years.

A note, however, to the director: why waste talented actors like Jimmy Sheirgill and Aamir Bashir in such roles? Seriously, they could've been done by just about anybody with half a brain and a scowl and smile, respectively.

A special mention to Gaurav Kapur, the man who plays the lead terrorist in the film--he's very, very effective as the scared terrorist trying to weasel his way out with words. A very gifted actor, I hope we see more of him.

Okay, on to the technical department:

I must say, it's consistent, alright: consistently bad. The DOP somehow decided that he'd love to chop the top half of just about everything in the film, including cell-phones, tables, roofs, the sky, and, in several cases, even normal humans! I mean, sure, you wanted to let the audience know what Jimmy Sheirgill doesn't have a brain (which is quite obvious, actually, from the fact that he chose the role in the first place), but that doesn't mean you'll chop his head off! Also, the over-usage of the fade-outs is very jarring. Cinematographer Fuwad Khan does NOT live up to the visual expectations from the theme itself.

Thankfully, there's no music and really no need for a background score, either. The sheer "blandness" of the film, music-wise, that is, is a point in its favour since it doesn't distract you from everything important.

Minimalistic make-up and really no need for costumes round up the technical aspects.

Now here's what I REALLY wanted to tell you. The dialogues, the dialogues, the dialogues. I won't go further, I wouldn't want you to develop a bias coz of me, but the DIALOGUES!

The two lines that summarize it all and, at the same time, manages to shake you up and introspect is this:

1.) "They attacked us on a Friday and on a Tuesday. I am responding on a Wednesday".

2.) "Usnein mujhe apna naam toh zaroor bataya, par woh main kissi ko bata nahin sakta--aadmi naam mein mazhab dhoondleta hai". (He told me his name yes, but I can't tell anybody--man tends to find religion in a name).

Despite the visual shenanigans the camera plays with the audience, I'll go with a full 5/5 for A Wednesday, director Neeraj Pandey's debut film. It's an amazingly crafted treat to watch and one with the most socially relevant message in years.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Rock On Is Spot On.....

Disclaimer: No, I have NOT been paid by Farhan Akhtar and co to write this review.

Short of panting, dropping to the floor and writhing about in an physical fit of sorts, I'd done absolutely everything I could in anticipation of Rock On!!

I'd gone around diagnosing the film's expected fare at the big B-O; a premortem, if you will. I'd irritated my friends to the extent that the ones who'd been looking forward to the film developed a rather extreme hatred towards it. I'd taken it upon myself to advertise the film wherever I went, hosting protracted discussions on the film and why it'll be the biggest hit in years.

So you can imagine when I finally went to watch the film this Saturday, I was nearly frothing at the mouth. Clutching my popcorn and Pepsi in a death-grip, I entered the hall.....though not my Chakravyuh, I felt my ultimate test had begun.

Rock On's!! about "Magik" (very apt), a successful Indian rock group that, at the height of its popularity, is forced to disband. Years later, Fate deals them another hand and this time they know exactly how to play their cards right. It's a simple, non-convoluted story and you totally know how it's gonna end. But it's in the treatment that Rock On!! scores its biggest victory.

The opening scene of Rock On!! will just leave you begging for more.....that is, if you're a TOTAL music addict (as the Joker would say: "Like me!"). If Rock rocks your world and you count your breaths to the beat of Gods like Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, The Who and (the Lords of 'em all) Pink Floyd, then Rock On!!'ll be the ultimate high; a "trip" that'll last you for a long, long time after the movie.

Back to Rock On!! now.

Socha Hai, that clever, introspective and insanely wittily written piece, kickstarts the movie. To see "Magik" on stage, creating stupendous magic, is one of many, many highlights of the film. What's so endearing and so likeable are the genuine smiles on the four band members: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli and Luke Kenny. You can tell that they're having the time of their lives jamming on stage, pleasing that crowd, getting them to sway to their tunes. Yes, that's a LIVE performance you see in front of you! (Prior to the film's release, Magik went on an all-India tour, performing in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and a few other cities....all the songs you see Magik perform on stage are actual versions.....)

The first half of the film, admittedly, is a lil' drab. It's not in keeping with the general pace and mood of the film and will most definitely make you wonder whether Abhishek Kapoor (the director, of "Aryan" in-fame) didn't really know how to begin the film. Even then, however, you get a decent glimpse at how the lives of Aditya (Farhan), Jo (Arjun), Killer Drummer/KD (Purab) and Rob (Luke) have changed, post-Magik. And you relate.

Aditya's become an extremely successful investment banker. He's lost his passion for life and he's forgotten how to smile and he's the most disillusioned and crabby one of 'em all. He's got an immensely loving wife, Saakshi (Prachi Desai--more about her later), who's desperate to make him smile, desperate to become a part of his life.

Jo's started teaching lil' children how to strum the guitar, including his own son, Andrew/Andy. He's constantly being nagged by his wife, Debbie (Shahana Goswami--I'll reserve my comments for now), to get a job.

KD (reluctantly) assists his father who has absolutely no appreciation for his kid.

And Rob? Haha, well Rob's tuning it up for none other than Anu Malik :-D That part's too good.

Miscellaneous flashbacks, a birthday, confrontations, a few cuppas of tea and an interval later, you see Magik reunite, albeit with a twist. And what a wild ride it is, thereon.

This review won't be complete without a quick music review, as well. Bear with me!

I won't give any more than this away: the music simply ROCKS!!! It's some of the best compositions you've heard in a long time. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy tweak it up with some superbly crafted tunes; watch for the killer guitar solos in most of the songs, they'll make your eyes roll inwards and dance. Same goes for the insane, maddening, kickass drumming.

The best tracks? All of 'em! Seriously, the way the music's been used in the film should be a lesson to all of those dance-around-trees maestros we've applauded for so long.

Sinbad the Sailor is possibly the most effective piece of music in years. If you don't know what that means, you will when you watch the movie. It's "effective". Period.

Pichle Saat Dinon Mein's got wonderful, wonderful lyrics. The music's awesome and the words're superb. It's one of the most enjoyable tracks in the film.

I loved the three slow-ish numbers: Tum Toh Ho, Tumhari Meri Baatein and Phir Dekhiye. They're pictured beautifully, specially the latter two and it doesn't hurt that they're very melodious, as well.

Perhaps the BEST Hindi song I've heard has GOT to be the title track: Rock On. I won't go further. Just hear it and live your life in those three and a half minutes. It's perfect.

The acting. My second favourite part.

I'm one of the few who genuinely does not like Arjun Rampal (in other words, I'm a guy and not a swooning girl). However, Rampal, as Joe Mascarenhas, the lead guitarist of Magik, delivers a truly inspired performance. It's without a doubt his BEST role till date and he's gone the whole hog--starting with his rock star look (man, that hair...yep, now I've got no qualms sounding like a swooning chick) and ending with the restrained dialogue delivery, peppered with just the right amount of pain. The only thing I didn't really like, despite the fact that it goes in keeping with the feel of the film, was his Texas Oil-magnate type moustache. It takes away from his character. Still, it was an experiment and I guess it shows that the makers've got some killer guts.

Luke Kenny as Rob, the electro-percussionist/light technician of the band, fits his role to the T. He might not be the perfect actor, but coupled with his fair, sophisticated, good-boy looks, he, too, manages to impress you very, very much. I loved the way he carried off his nearly-bald look.

Oh man, Purab Kohli, Sir, you are outstanding. Please stand up, take a bow and revel in the adulation you're gonna receive. You convince par-excellence of your drumming capabilities, your comic timing is marvellous, your dialogue delivery is nigh-perfect and both your looks in the film suit you so damned well; it's obvious that your look's been worked upon the most. Simply too good.

Farhan Akhtar. I reserved him for the end coz I've got special words for the man. Being an unabashed FA fan (ever since Dil Chahata Hai--it didn't even diminish after how he painfully murdered Don), I naturally will sound as if I'm biased but I couldn't care less--I know for a fact that what I'm gonna say now will be seconded by everybody who watches the film, regardless of the fact that they like the film or not.

His is the most important role and he shoulders the responsibility with such elan that you get a nagging suspicion that he's "been there, done that" many times over. How his character, the perfect personification of a pendulum, swings back and forth and how he realizes his ultimate dream is a treat to watch. This man is to watch out for coz he can give any of the lead actors a very tough run for their money: he's got a lean, mean physique, he's got the looks and he's got a very different voice which really suits him (a "rasp"-berry, if ever there was one :-D).

I'm now going to praise Prachi Desai and Shahana Goswami to the skies. Again, bear with me!

Prachi Desai, as Saaskshi, Aditya's loving wife is really, really amazing. She delivers a raw performance which only helps accentuate the porous edges that she lends to her character. She's fragile, wants to be accepted and how she does it is something to see. To begin with, you can see her nervousness displayed on screen, Rock On!! being her first movie, but as the film progresses, she settles into her role. It's nice to see that the eye-candy's finally being used as a major character, not as a showpiece. Hopefully, this film'll set a few trends.

Shahana Goswami is OUTSTANDING, AWESOME, ELECTRIFYING. She's the most underrated actress I've seen. Back off, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor and the likes--you don't stand a chance against Shahana. She's arrived and with a MAJOR bang. Watch out for her, she's gonna rule this industry soon.

This might come as a shock, but I'm gonna go with 4/5 for Rock On!! I didn't have that much time (or space) to mention this before, but there're a few cliches in the film that take away from its overall refreshing experience. And there's the issue of the length, as well. Well over two hours long, some crisp editing was required. Still, 4 isn't all that bad, eh?

Rock On!! guys, you deserve it like crazy :-D

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good Luck Harm.....

Last evening, I caught the press show of an hitherto unknown film called "Good Luck".

I plan to change that--I wanna let EVERYBODY know about this film. I want the whole WORLD to chant this film's name foe eons and eons; I want this film's name to go down in the journals of every human being on the planet at this moment--I want our great-great-great grandchildrens' great-great-great grandchildren to grow up on this film's screenplay--who needs Cinderella when we've got Good Luck, eh?

Alright, if you've missed the heavily veiled sarcasm, here's the real lo-down on the film--it's B.A.D BAD. It's pathetic, it's horrible and it's disgusting, to say the least.

Sayali Bhagat, as a in-and-out-of-luck professional hams and hams till she sounds cheesy. She isn't even a great looker, forget her inability to play a diva. Aryemaan as the out-of-luck singer is made for television--I can tell you now, this very moment, that he will be the next big thing on the soap scene, if he decides to join now. He either overacts or mumbles his lines incoherently. He can't dance, he doesn't have a fabulous body, and, for some reason, he has this funny dopey look on his face in all of the scenes he doesn't have to mouth any dialogue in.

Of the supporting cast, only Ranvir Shorey (as a charming gigolo) manages to impress you yet again, though you can't help but wonder what on earth made him sign the film in the first place. Lucky Ali, as the music mogul, shows you he can act but cannot, for the life of him, choose his roles. Archana Puran Singh, as the forgetful tarot card reader, irritates in her now monotonous style of comedy. Sharat Saxena, as the supposedly funny cop, is as unfunny as you can imagine, constantly screaming out his lines. The rest of the cast are either so bad that I won't mention them or so good that it's sheer injustice to relate them to this movie.

Shoddy production values, corny dialogues, a overtly confused screenplay, inconsistent cinematography, tuneless songs and badly choreographed steps would be how I'd describe the technical aspects of the film.

As for the director, Aditya Datt (of Aashiq Banaya Aapne fame), I prefer not to mention him. For one, this film has neither the technical elan of ABA nor the sweet seduction of Tanushree Dutta (Sayali Bhagat shows some basic skin in that one song shot on the beach, but that's about it--and even in that it's Aryemaan who looks better), both of which reflect on the director and his "vision".

The highlight of the film, however, is most definitely the blatant brand advertising--a prominent advertising agency's vice president has been given some major screen time during the course of which he is even made to 'act' (read: he has to smile and look important). Truly the funniest product placement in recent times, topping even the preposterous one in Mission Istanbul.

Quick Take: Watch this film only if you personally some of the cast/crew (But think about it, even then).

Monday, August 4, 2008

What A Load Of (S)crap.....

Whenever I think of this, about what happened, I always come up with this one song. It's the title track of a show I'm rather sorry I used to watch: Taina. I think they used to show it on Cartoon Network or Pogo in India. Or maybe it was Nick. Doesn't really matter.

Here're the lyrics (the first two lines of the chorus, at least):

[You know I can't wait to see my name in lights
No one's gonna stop me you'll see...]

Hmmm, so here's the deal: my by-line got scrapped, ok? Yeah, I know it sounds kiddish, I know I'm gonna receive a lotta flak for this, but I don't care. I was excited, I was hopping on one leg, I was smirking at you lesser mortals, but now...now I'm part of the crowd. I don't got no by-line no more, man :-(

Anyway, that ain't the point.

No, no, wait, that is the point.

Whatever the point, actually, the point is that I have a point.

That's besides the point.

So is this :-D

Sorry, couldn't resist that one.

Now the problem is this: I've gone and blown my own trumpet far and wide--practically half the world now thinks I'm getting a by-line.

Oh, I work at Filmfare, by the way. I should've mentioned that before, I guess.

So yeah, now I don't get to read my name in lights...I mean print and that's pissing off.

Don't get this wrong--don't mistake my flippant (oh yeah, I've still got the vocab) tone for a well-healed heart. No, my friends, my readers (however few you are), my people, I am nursing more than a few bruised veins. I'm clutching the remnants of a few happy memories. The moment, that one golden moment, when I realized that my name would be printed where few mens' names've been printed.

But no! No, this is not Utopia, now, is it? No! This is reality. HARSH reality, if you will. MY reality!

Yep, no by-line for me...scrap it, he's just a kid. Cut it, tear it, rip it apart....in fact, why don't we just remove the goddamned page? Hahahaha! That'll teach him to get his hopes high! Mwahahahahaha!

Welcome to my world.....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back To Black.....

Jack Black is back, baby! Woohoo!

One of my favourite actors of all time (sorry, random fact, I guess), Messr.Black voices the animated panda, Po. Bumbling, overweight and often clumsy, Po still dreams of become a Kung Fu warrior (like his idols, the Furious Five).

Po's father, however, has different plans for him; Mr.Ping (daddy goose), you see, owns a flourishing noodle restaurant which, he hopes, Po will take over some day. For that to happen, Mr.Ping instructs Po in the art of noodle-making but constantly refrains from letting Po know the "secret ingredient".

Kung Fu Grand Master Ogway, meanwhile, gets a premonition that the dreaded Kung Fu Warrior Tai Lung will escape prison and threaten the Valley of Peace once more. To counter this, he announces that he will soon choose the new Dragon Warrior, the one fighter who will stop Tai Lung once and for all.

I won't spoil the fun and tell you how this happened, but what happens is that Po inadvertently gets chosen as the Dragon Warrior (like you didn't already know/guess).

What follows is an intensely hilarious tale of a coming-of-age blundering panda. Yes, there are foes-turned-friends, there are caricature villains, there's the inevitable disapproving-but-proud father track, but it's all been presented in one of the best ways ever.

But the most amazing thing about Kung Fu Panda is its hidden message (which only becomes clear towards the climax of the film): belief.

I won't expand on that, go watch the movie, but lemme tell you this: it's the stuff legends are made out of. The message might be lost on kids and adults alike, specially since it's being depicted in an animated film, but I'll go so far as to say this is the second best moral-driven, comedic animation flick ever (the first being the Lion King, of course).

The animation rocks. It's been superbly done by DreamWorks who, of course, prove time and again why they're one up on Disney and Pixar. The expressions of all the characters are nearly life-like, specially in the close-ups, the one place where you'd most expect the life-likeliness to fail.

As the voice of Po, Jack Black is phenomenal. I can just about imagine him in the studio, coffee cup in hand, going crazy with Po. This film is his stage to prove to the world, again, just WHY he was born. He rocks. I'm sorry if I'm gushing but I can't help it. I am a maniacal Jack Black fan and extremely proud of it.

Angelina Jolie's inclusion in the cast was much hyped but, frankly, she doesn't live up to it. Don't get me wrong, as the voice of Tigress, she's awesome--but there's nothing of the Angelina Jolie stamp in her this time, no extra zing like there usually is. At the end of the film, I realized that this was a role any female could've done, which is weird since I walk out of most Angelina Jolie films either drooling/foaming at the mouth or talking so loudly about her that my friends usually stand a few hundred feet apart pretending not to know me.

Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu is just perfect. I seriously cannot imagine any other actor whose voice would've suited the character more. Maybe, just maybe, Marlon Brando in his Godfather days but, sadly, this film is a few decades too late for that.

Jackie Chan's role, too, was much talked about. But as Monkey, he's there for hardly a few scenes (where he's required to talk. Otherwise, he's there in the entire film, like an animated extra). He's simply wasted but I guess including him was the producers' way to lure the audience (specially after the success of The Forbidden Kingdom).

Lucy Liu as Viper rocks. Again, it's a role that any other lady could've done, but Lucy Lui's good, no doubt about it. I'll give credit where it's due. :-D

A very, very special mention to Randall Duk Kim, the man who voices the tortoise, Grand Master Ogway. He's TOO GOOD. He's hilarious and he's old and restrained and he's convincing and he's annoying all at the same time. Phew! Imagine one guy doing all of that in one sentence! That's Master Ogway/Duk Kim for you :-D

I go with a 5/5 for Kung Fu Panda (only for the third time in my history--after The Shawshank Redemption and, more recently, The Dark Knight). If you walk out of this film without a smile on your face, you're out of this world....and I don't mean that in a good way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(Hi)Jacked Up.....

PRICE: Rs.200

For a first effort, the soundtrack of Hijack isn't really all that bad. However, debuting music director duo Justin-Uday still have a long, long way to go.

The soundtrack begins with an easy on the ears track called "Aksar", rendered soulfully by KK. It's a medium-paced jazzy number which'll have you humming it for a while afterward. It would've been great, though, had the duo not fallen in love with their own composition--because there are not one, not two, but FOUR different versions of Aksar. One a remix, one an "unplugged" version (dunno what that means) and one a "sad version", along with the original itself. Frankly, apart from the original, the rest fail to impress (including the unplugged version which has been sung by Shaan).

Aksar's followed up by a peppy "Dekh Dekh" sung foot-tappingly by Sunidhi Chauhan. Simple lyrics, simple beats, it's definitely the one aimed at night clubs.

The next song is Koi Na Jaane, performed by KK and Shilpa Rao (of Jaane Tu...fame). It's a slow-ish number and, frankly, it's a disappointment. It's got a major Pritam feel to it and that's exactly what I'd call its bane. Come on guys, be a little more original, will you?

Now one of the best songs in this albums comes by way of the main theme of Hijack. It's fast, the lyrics "simply rock" (pun intended)and if the visuals live up to the track, you've got yourself a super-hit number. Way to go, guys, this one's killer.

The rest of the tracks are remixes of each other and are just plain unnecessary.

On the whole, not a bad debut by Justin-Uday. If the main theme's anything to go by, then their forte lies in rock and metal and should concentrate on it.

Quick Take: Download the main songs, don't waste your money on the CD.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Funny Money, Funnier Honies.....

Before I start this review, let's get a few things straight:

This movie, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai, stars Aftab Shivdasani, Upen Patel, Celina Jaitely, Kim Sharma, Sophie Choudhary, Hansika Motwani and a decidedly senile Prem Chopra (though it's got nothing to do with the character he essays). So, however crazy a movie-goer you might be, you cannot possibly have any expectations from this no-brainer.

However, it also stars Govinda, Manoj Bajpayee and Ravi Kishen (all of whom, time again, have proved they are actors par excellence). So I guess you've got yourselves a few redeeming factors after all.

Let's get down to it, then, shall we?

Prem Chopra plays an extremely successful industrialist by the name of Jaiswal. He's super-rich and super-crazy! When he realizes that he has no heir to his empire, he dreams up the names and numbers of six losers (Govinda, Patel, Jaitely, Hansika, Aftab and Manoj). In the process, he ends up annoying Ravi Kishen who's been his faithful manager for eons and was waiting for the day the reigns would be passed over to him. (How he dreams them up is another matter completely and one which nobody thought mattered enough to explain. Oh well).

Govinda plays a rich spoilt-brat of a kid to Javed Sheikh (who, after commendable performances in Om Shanti Om and Jannat, delivers a damp squib here), a harassed rich dad, and Ketki Dave, a soap-opera-obsessed mother. Ketki's entire life (and her household's) revolves around the sitcom "Meera" whose title character is (surprise, surprise), Hansika Motwani!

Aftab Shivdasani is down on his luck loser in life. He's an advertising guy who's "catchy" lines never seem to work. He also loses his girlfriend, Kim Sharma (awful), to a richer, more handsome fellow. Obviously, she's got her priorities right.

Celina Jaitely is a fashion designer (huh? She can't even dress herself) who can't earn a buck out of designs; all because of super-evil, richer, better-known designer Dolly (Archana Puran Singh--finally in a classy comic role. She's just perfect) who buys her designs at dirt-cheap prices (though Celina does get Dolly's stamp on her clothes. Frankly, I think this's is a classic case of 'beggars can't be choosers'. But who'm I to comment?).

Upen Patel is a model. . .for "Fauji" underwear. He's handsome, he's got the moves and he's got......Dolly? Patel plays a sexually-exploited aspiring model who's just dying for a deal with a soft-drink company. It must be mentioned that even though he CANNOT act, his specific sub-plot isn't all that bad though I guess most of the credit goes to Archana Puran Singh for adding a zing to the tale.

Manoj Bajpayee plays an anti-Murphy--a repeated failure when it comes to business, he refuses to give up and maintains an optimistic approach to life (constantly chanting that even though he lost a truckload of money, he gained invaluable experience). His role may not be extensive but, trust me, he's simply fabulous. What little this film has to offer, Bajpayee plays a huge rule in it.

Hansika Motwani. Ok, she is SO pathetic an actress, I find it hard to comment. I might be harsh, after all, she's just 16, but mincing words won't change things: she can't act. She plays "Meera" (mentioned above), a spoof of the surprisingly popular Parvati from Kyunkii Saas Bhii Kabhii Bhau Thii (give or take a few i's, a's or k's) and she's desperate to leave the boob tube and head for Bollywood.

A special mention of the Hansika angle, though. The directors have either forgotten that she's just 16 or they're a bunch of perverts. Whatever the case, they're exploiting the natural beauty of this lil' girl--cleavage enhancing/baring costumes, miles and miles of legs and a skin show Celina Jaitely would redden at (and if that isn't a yardstick to measure the titillation by, then nothing is), specially in that semi-belly dance number she does with Ganesh Acharya (who's really, really fat but a really, really good dancer).

The acting, eh? Well, here goes...

Being Govinda, you know he'll always be worth a watch, but it's sad that he's being made to act like a 20-year-old when he's clearly nearing the mid 40's. As long as he acts his age (like he did in Bhagam Bhaag) he's extraordinary.

Aftab's okay-ish, I guess. It's not a very extensive role but he does justice to it (though I still think he was way better in De Taali).

Upen Patel can't act. Let's just leave it at that. Oh, he's also got a beer-belly in this film. It looks quite strange compared to his bulging muscles.

Celina Jaitely is surprisingly restrained, a remarkable departure from her usual dare-to-bare act. She flaunt no skin and she delivers her dialogue well. Weird.

Manoj Bajpayee is AWESOME. No other word for him, he's simply a genius when it comes to acting. He fits like a rhythm to a rhyme when it comes to a role and this one's no exception. Outstanding. Take a bow, sir.

I've avoided mentioned Ravi Kishen till now but that's only because I feel he's a rare talent. He speaks English beautifully and his Hindi isn't as punctuated with the Bhojpuri you're familiar with (i.e, if you're familiar with who he is in the first place--he's a superstar of Bhojpuri cinema). How I wish he had a larger role to play. Along with Govinda, Manoj Bajpayee Kishen delivers a comically superb performance.

The cinematography is okay-ish, nothing to write home about though. Most of the clothes arouse your suspicion that the designer was either playing a practical joke on the actors or was love with the clearance sales at the local bazaar.

I'll never understand the reason a song's shoved into the middle of a movie for no apparent reason. I wonder what they write in their screenplays: [Camera pans white beach sand--cut to song--damsels waving their bodies seductively]?

The music is a complete let-down considering it's a Govinda film. However, if there's any one song worth watching, it's the one Esha Deol makes an appearance in. She's so scorchingly hot in it, it isn't funny. Watch it for the way Govinda moves and grooves, watch it for Esha Deol's perfect body. Simply wonderful.

So, finally, I go with a 2/5 for Ganesh Acharya's Money Hai Toh Honey Hai. All in all, it's an average affair. It isn't completely horrible but it isn't a great film, either.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kross This Konnection.....

There're some films which make you think.

Kismet Konnection is one of them.

It makes you think what the bloody hell you're doing watching it....

It's not as if the story sucks or the actors fail, no way. It's just that this film's been caught in a tremendous time-warp. It's a 90's film being made in the 2000's. There's no possible way that it could work.

If you're thinking there'll be a few redeeming factors at least, you're in for a huge disappointment.

Again, I'll be clear when I say that there's nothing wrong with the film, per se. It's just the timing that's wrong. If Kismet Konnection had been made on the heels of Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman ('94) or even Yes Boss ('97), it would surely've been a super blockbuster. Of course, Shahid Kapur would still be a back-up dancer in Shiamak Davar's dancing troupe and Vidya Balan could well still've been a teacher, but, hey, what's Shah Rukh there for, eh?

Speaking of SRK, the Kingh Khan does a snazzy intro for the movie. I must clarify here that I'm a super-huge SRK fan and hearing his voice right in the beginning made me sit up and smile. That, of course, lasted for barely a minute, as you'll soon find out.

It's not surprising that nobody beyond India takes Bollywood seriously. I mean, sure, we love our whole song and dance routine, our Bollywood tracks are the only chartbusters we actually know or hear, and our music directors are legends in the world of music (some, like Panchamda and A.R. Rahman, deservedly so...among others, of course). But the whole fiasco begins when the damned POINT of a song becomes unclear.

Case in point: Shahid Kapur asks Vidya Balan out for coffee. Cut to the next scene: Shahid Kapur dancing a la Justin Timberlake in Aye Pappi. Though the song rocks (as does the choreography), you just can't help wondering whatever happened to the damned coffee....? (Did they drink the coffee and then come to the club? Were they talking about Irish Coffee to begin with? Did they order the coffee and forget about it? If so, why would they.....and so on and so forth).

And that's the case with every song. Vidya agrees to spend the day with Shahid after much pooh-ing and pouting (on Shahid's part, by the way. Weird, yes, I know) and the next thing you know, Shahid's crooning "Bakhuda" on the streets of some godly place in Canada. And then we question Xenophobia....

In the acting department, Shahid Kapur delivers a performance that can be described as "ok", at best. He isn't bad, I guess, but his Raj Malhotra in Kismet Konnection isn't a patch on the Aditya he portrayed in Jab We Met.

Which brings me to another point (before I review Vidya Balan).

Comparisons to Jab We Met will be inevitable. Justifiably so. I mean, why not? It's Shahid first release after JWM and the one that's being touted as a make or break movie for him (though I very much doubt this'll pull him down in anyway. The girls in some halls were busy whistling, letching, ooh-ing and aah-ing at him, I'm told). Oh, and he's supposed to be seeing Vidya Balan off-screen, too, along with Sania Mirza. (Quite a player, the guy. But that ain't any of my concern).

But just in case you do go and watch Kismet Konnection, I'd implore you to go without expectations. That way, you might even enjoy the movie because, all in all, it isn't horrible. If you don't compare Aditya to Raj and just go for the Shahid konnection (oops, connection, I meant), you'll see that the boy ain't half bad and that he'll go a long way if he chooses his movies better.

On to Vidya Balan.

She can't dress. She just can't. Whatever she may say in public ("I don't care what people say, I am who I am and I'm happy the way I dress", "It used to hurt, now it doesn't"), well, she should know that she's got NO style in her. It's very easy to blame the costume designer for failing to make her look good, and I'm sure that's what a majority of you'll do, but come on. Doesn't she have a say on what might look good on her and what'll make her look like an oversized racoon, escpecially in long-shots?

I have no idea WHY she hasn't lost weight yet, despite coming under fire time and again. She's someone who debuted with a truckload of promise and potential but so far, apart from the fluke Bhool Bhulaiyya (fluke in the sense that she got signed for it. As far as I rememember, she wasn't Priyadarshan's first choice. The film rocked), she hasn't lived up to either: she was horrible in Heyy Babyy, she was lacklustre in Lage Raho Munnabhai and she's plain old and fat in Kismet Konnection. Speak up, Vidya, it's in your DNA...

Of the supporting cast, Vishal Malhotra as Shahid's panicky best friend serves his purpose well, I guess. Only problem is, he isn't any different from how he acted in Kaal or Salaam-e-Ishq (surprise, surprise, he was a "best friend" in both of those, as well. At least he's carved a niche for himself). He was infinitely better in Kunal Deshmukh's rollercoaster hit Jannat because he had a meaty role and he had his heart in the right place. Here, he acts as if he's in desperate need of the money.

Vidya Balan's fiancee, whatever his name is, is a good example of bad acting. Enough said.

The old people at the nursing home Vidya runs are just plain irritating. Again, enough said.

Om Puri should be banned from cinema and be made to watch his own films from the past (starting with Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron). Maybe then he'll learn that he's become a washed-up-has-been. Unless he reinvents himself, and fast, nothing can be done to revive his sagging career (though Priyadarshan might do an RGV and swear to cast him till he becomes a hit again. In that case, Priyadarshan himself could do with some solitary confinement). I'm guessing we're gonna see a bit more of Om Puri make a fool of himself in the upcoming Singh Is Kinng, so I'm not very hopeful.

Boman Irani, surprisingly, is effective in the four or five scenes he was paid for. A marked improvement over the jackass of a role he had in Love Story 2050.

A note about director Aziz Mirza. He's good, he's still got his touch, but I just wish he'd get in touch with today's reality. I still respect him, I still adore him as the man who made Yes Boss, one of my all-time favourite movies. Sir, just stick to SRK, will you?

Whoever else was in the movie was either so bad that I'm not gonna mention them or so good that they don't deserve to be mentioned in relation to this movie.

I'm going with a 1/5 for Aziz Mirza's Kismet Konnection. It's not as bad as it's made out to be, so maybe it's worth a one-time watch...in a cheap theatre. . .with no air-conditioning. . .

Monday, July 21, 2008

Knight In Shining Armour.....

While my gut (yes, my GUT...in your face) tells me that nothing is perfect, my eyes and my mind (and my heart....quite romantic, yes) heartily/mindily/eye-ily (sorry for that) disagree.

That was a very weird introduction. It conveyed absolutely nothing (except, maybe, that I've gone mad).

Anyway, my madness aside, The Dark Knight is......well, it's perfect, ok? Go watch it. What the hell's the point of me telling you what's so great about it if I'm not allowed to include spoilers? Blah-blah-blah.

Fine, here goes, then.

I'm gonna start off with the obvious question: Does Heath Ledger Live Up To The Hype His Role And His Acting Created?

No. He didn't.

Surprised? Well, that's purely because he FAR EXCEEDED anything that anybody could've ever said about him. It's a pristine (though villanous) performance by a man who surely would've gone on to become one of the most respected actors the world has ever seen.

It's amazing how he's created so many character quirks for the Joker and even more amazing how he maintains ALL of them, right till the end of the film. However repulsive the sight of him licking his lips, however shaggy his eccentric mop of hair, however evil his saccharine voice, you just can't help worship the guy.

Kudos to the scriptwriters (the Nolan brothers) for creating one of the most remarkable characters in the history of cinema. Well, maybe most of the credit goes to the prolific Bob Kane for creating the Joker in the first place, but it's the Nolan bros who manage to bring out the best (or worst, I guess) in him for the first time.

With all due respect to Messr. Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger has more than made his director proud. What Nicholson lacked, for no fault of his own, was a rock-solid script and, for fault of his own, a vision. This is where Heath Ledger scores (apart from in all other areas, actually).

There were media reports of him locking himself up in a sleazy hotel room for a month to prepare for the role. That's where he came up with the unique lip-smacking, the voice and the walk for his Joker. If you see him on screen, you'll know that this genius more than just did his homework: he created a work of art Picasso would be proud to claim as his own.

Heath Ledger lives on. It's a performance that'll draw you to the silver screen time and time again, no matter how well-versed you are with the movie.

Oh yeah, there's the Batman, too, isn't there? Haha, I almost forgot, how funny.

Christian Bale, eh? Well, the name sounds familiar (think American Psycho. More recently, think Batman Begins). See, Batman Begins was Bale's film. And he was outstanding. He was refreshing, he had the intelligence to change his voice everytime he adorned the Batsuit (unlike Blondie Clark Kent who, in a decision that still doesn't make any sense, decided to pull a string of his hair down to "disguise" himself. Micky Contractor, sir, you listening?) and he was just a helluva lot better than Chocolate Boy (Old Guy, actually) George Clooney or Holier-Than-Thou Val Kilmer. This guy could think.

He hasn't changed much. Save for his body which is fitter, tighter and a lot musclier than it was before. It suits him and, of course, Batman.

But it's not his fault that this flim doesn't really belong to him (I might've mentioned someone called Heath Ledger above....hell, he should posthumously buy the rights to this film, it's his all the way). True, he's still magnificent as the Caped Crusader but you just can't help waiting for him to clash with the Joker. And when they DO clash, you just can't help blocking Batman right outta your mind. Again, it's not Bale's fault. He's still awesome and he's still the best damned Batman ever. Maybe the next film'll have somebody less talented than him. Who knows? I hear they're planning to resurrect the Riddler and if that happens.......well, you all know Batman doesn't like mind games.

Of the supporting cast, Michael Cane emerges, yet again, as an extremely bankable actor. He exudes his natural wit and charm even in the role of Butler Royale, Alfred. To say that he supports Bruce Wayne/Batman on his extremely able shoulders, would be an insult to the man. He handles with care, yes, but without his advice, without his spontaneous dialogues, the film would've stagnated; Batman wouldn't've known what to do or how to move on (oh damn, that's a sort of spoiler, isn't it?). Yes, Michael Cane rocks.

Aaron Eckhart. Oh man, I had seriously no expectations from this guy. For one, he looks weird and two, he's just not that popular an actor, let's face it. BUT (finger raised, pointing in the air, fierce expression in eyes for effect), he's just too good. If ever a Harvey Dent exists in real life, Eckhart draws the most amazing parallels with him in reel life. He's simple awesome as the flambouyant yet restrained DA of Gotham City and he's so damned convincing, you just keep on wondering whether he's been a lawyer before. Rock on, Mr.Eckhart!

Morgan Freeman will, I guess, have to settle for his blink-and-you-miss role in the new Batman Series. While in Batman Begins he was there to explain and to create and to invent, in the Dark Knight, he's incredibly effective as the inventor with morals, Lucius Fox, specially in that scene where he "resigns". Amazing.

Gary Oldman, as always, is marvellous. Jim Gordon, the character he essays, is more of a hero than anybody knows and the Dark Knight is his mantle to prove it. The stage is yours, Mr.Oldman.

A special mention must be made of the kick-ass cinematography and the extremely, extremely, extremely detailed make-up. You know, as the film progresses, you start seeing the Joker's face-paint peeling off, cracking in places and you think the make-up guy's've goofed off.....but you soon realize that it's all part of the "plan" (contradictory to the Joker's theory, by the way) and the lack of attention to detail is, paradoxically, very detailed! Take a bow Mr.Cinematographer and Mr.Make-up Guys(s).

Hans Zimmer is GOD. The background score for the movie is so damned awesome, there's no way you won't feel a part of the movie when you watch it. And it's been used to amazingly. Mr.Zimmer, shimmer and shine, your music's divine.

So, yeah, that's it, I guess. Covers all aspects of the movie, I hope.

So go and watch it, I give it a full on 5/5 (the only time since the Shawshank Redemption).

My Time Is Now.....

You know how it is, right, when all you ever wanted comes true so fast, and so unexpectedly, that you've got no idea how to react?

I've become so numb.....

It's been that way for a while with me now. Initially, I told myself that this was just way too amazing to be real. You see, my reality's different. It's formatted, planned, almost clinical in the way it functions. So for me to've bagged this opportunity. to've clinched it (and to be holding it close to me, playing this one "close to the chest"), is disconcerting. Not in the negative way, no, but I'm suddenly in an alien world and, surprisingly, I've got a strong foothold here already! I'm not slipping or sliding or fumbling or mumbling....I'm just being me.

Apart from feeling settled here already, I'm surprised at how comfortable I am with everything. Much more comfortable, in fact, than I was previously. I know it'd be too cliched for me to say "I was born to do this, baby", but, well, what can I say? I really WAS born to do this.....baby.

Filmfare does that to you, you know.

It's an infectious environment. It's brimming with activity, all the time. There's not a single moment in the day that you'd find somebody lazing around, doing nothing, chilling (which is NOT to say that it's a slave-house). There'll always be people running around, discussing their latest stories, sipping chai/coffee, typing away to glory. It's nice and busy.

And you know what the best part about this is? This place is so steeped in films that even if you're Bollywood braindead, it won't really take you time to "fit in". Giant posters of Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, and one very good-looking woman in black and white whose face for the life of me I can't recognize (it's agonzing, by the way, since she's freakily familiar) "decorate" the office. Hell, I bet even the HR people discuss Bollywood (and you KNOW that that's a yardstick to measure Bollywood's popularity by. Of course, it could also be put down to the fact that the HR people sit right where all the action is, but I'd rather stick with the first one).

It doesn't hurt that I'm called a "Multimedia Executive" over here. Sounds snazzy and very "corporate-y". I love it! "Hi, I'm Harsh and I'm Multimedia Executive at Filmfare". Nice, eh? I thought so :-D

Haven't really explored the place too much, though the 6th floor's where the action's at: The CANTEEN! Man, one ENTIRE floor devoted to the Glutton's Workshop. Talk about employee motivation and work incentive! I always knew that TOI treated it's employees really well, but this is amazing! Dirt cheap, awesome veg food, what more could you ask for (yes, I know you cynics out there'll come up with a billion lists but, please, keep them to yourselves, will you? Spoilsports).

So that's my first impression of Filmfare magazine--a world within a world.

And yes, inevitably, I now incorporate the title of this blog over here: My Time....(pause)....Is NOW.