Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Glass Wall

This Saint-Gobain advertisement always used to make me smile. This and this are more amusing Saint Gobain ads that end up embarrassing people. Yours truly had a similar experience with such a clear glass last fortnight. However, it was more than just embarrassment I had to endure because I failed to see a glass wall. I had wanted to write this since the incident but typing with just three fingers of the left hand is much more pain than I had imagined. Here is how it happened:

Saturday Night Fever. It was one of the those Saturdays when I keep sleeping the entire day and spend most of the conscious time with my beloved I am typing on right now. 18th October 2008 was one such lazy Saturday when at 8:11 in the evening popped up an IM window titled Kushagra, asking me to come to the paani-batashe-waala exactly midway our apartment complexes. Now I am not a big fan of gol-gappe but my sister definitely is, and we decided to go out. After all it was Saturday night.

We teleported there in a minute, and after sis and Kush had their fill and Pawan and I tasted a few paani-puris, the question of what next on Saturday eve arose again. I suggested tea and junta readily agreed. There were numerous options thrown at me: the Day Fresh bakery behind where we were standing, the tea stall beside Spencer's, mom-made tea at my and self-made at Pawan and Kush's house, MSRIT Canteens, Freska, CCD, and Barista.

Final Destination. The two smaller joints were ruled out because they do not have good tea. Going back home was out of question. We wanted good tea and not coffee hence CCD and Barista were eliminated. Pawan and Kush had been to Freska the day before and had good basil tea, so we narrowed upon the MSRIT canteen. Kush picked up his car and we went out in an expedition to the Engineering College canteen I had been to once, five years ago when I had visited Bangalore on a college project. Despite walking around half an hour, and thanks to some really helpful and knowledgeable security guards, and my brilliant memory, we could not locate the canteen. Almost giving in, we went to the Food Court, but they did not have tea. Similar was the answer at the doors of four other canteens in the campus we knocked.

Someone suggested we go back, but how could we accept defeat after wasting an hour in the quest of tea on a Saturday eve? We decided to (or were destined to) visit Freska, a small but nice Continental restaurant on 80-feet Road, Dollar's Colony.

The Happening. We park. Freska looks crowded. Now this place is like a boutique restaurant with different compartments. There is a huge table seating almost a dozen people in the front room. I, leading the group, see the passage to the other room beside the overcrowded table and move my rudder towards that vacant passway.

I had not even entered the place when I stopped in my tracks. For almost three seconds I did not know what happened. Ruhi later tells me I stood there in shock and exclaimed "Abe!" thrice. The door was in front of the table, and I had walked into the very clear glass wall beside it. The whole glass had come crashing down. I looked down and cursed aloud when I saw blood gushing out of a one-and-a-half inch deep and equally wide wedge in my right forearm.

Rush Hour. No sooner had I exclaimed than everyone realised the gravity of the situation. Kush swung the car into a quick U, and we headed back towards the Ramaiah Campus, which was luckily only 200 meters away. We were stopped by a gang of four cops in this small distance, but they easily let us go without even seeing my arm that soaked the car seat completely. Ruhi had started crying though I had absolutely no sensation of pain, maybe the shock was higher than pain.

Pawan and I were dropped at the hospital gate and Kush and Ruhi went to park. They later followed my blood trail on the tiled floor to locate us in the emergency. A team of three doctors greeted me and went to action on my arm. They asked me not to look but I rather took this photo. (Disclaimer: Click at your own risk.) I was xrayed and cleaned and administered local antihaemorrhagic agents, and later sutured.

The Others. There is a wound on the little finger of the left hand, and I refused taking a suture there. There are at least six scratches and bruises on the right wrist. And there is a huge slash on the dorsal side of the right forearm that I noticed when the doc was about to stitch the deep one, over an hour later. This slash led to a flap of the skin bent up, which was put back and required more stitches than the deep one. This flap has necrosed now, and a thick, hard clot has formed over and beneath it, and doctors and I are still worried about it.

Office Space. The ensuing two weeks saw turning my room into office and my bed into workstation. The crucial release made me work with three gauche fingers. Office was manageable, but everything else is hindered, from brushing the teeth to eating to bathing. Clumsily, gauche'ly in the literal sense, struggling like a toddler, I've been doing everything with the left hand till today, when I can move the mouse around and press backspace and delete with the right. Now the right hand is behaving like an infant and I'll have to teach it many things.

The Great Escape. I am really thankful the glass did not cut any tendons/veins/arteries. The glass did not hit my face/head/eyes. Or the chest or neck. The outcomes are unimaginable. Worse could have been had it fallen a few inches north and slit my wrist. I shudder to think how vulnerable I was during those few seconds.

The storm is now over. Me back to blogging makes me feel things are falling back in place. I shall be back in full action very soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Movie Time

Amid many other pending posts, this is one I have been wanting to publish since almost two weeks but could not complete it. Could not leave it either.

I watched a lot of movies in the month of September, some new, some old, and this post serves as small reviews. The movies are listed in reverse chronological order of their release dates, mentioned alongside the title, and a rating I would give them on a scale of 10.

Welcome to Sajjanpur 19-Sep-08 8 /10  
Nice comedy set up completely in the rural India, with jokes that make good sense in the local dialect which should not be difficult to comprehend. Ace director Shyam Benegal has made a perfect movie, albeit quite different from the serious classics he has directed in the past. Shreyas Talpade as the aspiring novelist ends up being a scribe, and therefore has a peek into everyone's lives in the village. Ends up manipulating people's lives through letters, especially his love interest's. Quite a number of funny sub plots follow, and the humor doesn't let you feel they are getting too many to remember. A few melodious numbers add to the movie.

1920 12-Sep-08 7 /10  
A typical horror movie composed of all the elements--eerie winds and big empty bungalows, darkness and candles, mirrors cracking and moaning sounds, possession and exorcism, love and lust, betrayal and revenge--you name it and you get it. Set in 1920, it has tremendous similarities to The Exorcist. Though it failed to scare me, it was an okay watch despite the rather funny ending, where both Christianity and Hinduism were used to exorcise the evil spirit. Adah Sharma acted well, though the completely non-glamorous white maxi gown she wore all the time actually became an eyesore.

The Last Lear 12-Sep-08 9 /10  
Rituparno Ghosh. Amitabh Bachchan. William Shakespeare. I had already started loving the movie when I knew these were the names involved. An intriguing movie in typical Ghosh style, where people quietly sit and talk and the narration is by means of flashbacks. The story is that of an ageing and ailing stage actor being persuaded to act in a movie, which happens to be his last, and has been left in a coma as the aftereffects of the shooting. Idiosyncratic, vain, impetuous he is, occasionally lashing out at the modern world, and using too much of Shakespearean verses in normal conversation. Though AB looks funny in the poster, he looks amazing in the movie, and has delivered an intense performance. Preity Zinta's role is her most un-bubbly one, and her English dialogues are only slightly better than the rest of the cast, in which case they sound like recitals. Out and out an AB film. Watch it for him.

Saas Bahu aur Sensex 12-Sep-08 6 /10  
Another interesting title. I had half expected Saas-Bahus fighting over PE ratios but was wondering how would the saas-bahu clashes blend with the stock market. I am still wondering after watching the movie. The movie had too much--a multi-cultural neighbourhood, call center classes and frolic, share market excitements, women empowerment, and even a love triangle, without which most movies seem incomplete these days. The sensex part was very little, so was the saas-bahu part. It was good to see Farooq Sheikh after long, and a slimmer Tanushree Dutta, but then the movie did not have enough substance, and also that I had expected something else.

A Wednesday 5-Sep-08 9 /10  
An interesting title. A very interesting and well-made movie too. The plot is simple but provokes thought: a bomb threat and a demand to release four terrorists is made by an anonymous caller perched at the terrace of a high-rise in Bombay. The alert police tries to locate him and foil his attempts. The climax has a totally unexpected twist that makes you go into the thought mode. Naseeruddin Shah was at his intimidating best and gave a power-packed performance, maintaining the thrill throughout. Overall a very good movie; the only out-of-place thing was the hacker's one-minute dialogue.

Hijack 5-Sep-08 5 /10  
Small films are in. Shot completely inside an aircraft, the movie, as the name suggests, is about a plane hijacked by 6 terrorists demanding release of their boss. Shiney Ahuja, the ground maintenance engineer, manages to sneak in when the aeroplane is forced to land at Chandigardh airport. Nothing other than the expected follows when he kills them one by one and frees the hostages, his daughter being one of them. Oh yes, the starcast has Esha Deol too, as an airhostess who doesn't have to do anything anyway. The movie failed to create any interest, the age-old formula used, with no thrill whatsoever.

Rock On 29-Aug-08 7 /10  
The movie failed to rock me as much as the hype. Farhan Akhtar chose not to direct but do everything else. Produce, sing, act. With a lisp that becomes irritating at times. Wonder why did he trust one-film-old Abhishek Kapoor to direct a somber, serious, 'grown-up-DCH', and made Papa Akhtar write some Kaale-Neele-Peele rock songs which became nonsensical and had to be somehow fitted in the drums and guitar. The soft ones like 'Tum ho to gaata yeh dil' and ''Kabhi khud pe hansa' are very good though. I did not like the basic premises of the plot that four very good friends don't interact for 10 long years just because of a stupid altercation. The pony-tailed Arjun Rampal and beautiful Prachi Desai provided some saving grace to the otherwise boring cast.

Chamku 29-Aug-08 6 /10  
Another one-film old writer-director Kabeer Kaushik presented Chamku the same Friday. However, it failed to match his earlier venture Sehar. Chamku is the story of an eponymous character played by Bobby Deol, whose parents were brutally murdered by naxalites when he was a kid. He later gets picked up under a covert Govt intelligence program to carry out political assassinations. The character is almost unbreakable as he survives several gun shots and multiple murder attempts. Though a female character was not required, Priyanka Chopra looks good in a perpetual blue chiffon saree with a stringed blouse in her kindergarten teacher role. An outdated revenge drama, Chamku failed to shine at all.

Wanted 29-Aug-08 6 /10  
The promos made me go wow over the action scenes and Angelina Jolie's new avatar with smoky eyes and tattoos visible. There was not much more in the movie than the trailer. The plot begins very well but ends up pathetically. A software engineer is kidnapped by Jolie and Morgan Freeman, who head a secret Fraternity, and is made believed of his 'elite' assassin lineage when he is able to shoot the wings off three houseflies when a gun is put to his head. The movie progresses with a boring and somewhat gory training in the Fraternity, and then he is ordered to kill people from the Loom of Fate, a loom that gives names of targets through binary code hidden in weaving errors of the fabric. A twist comes towards the end, and excellent Rajnikant-style bullets that can curve in mid air are used extensively. The end pisses you off and makes an otherwise good movie turn average. Watch it for the sexy Angelina and some good stunts in the first half, but keep your brains at home.

C Kkompany 29-Aug-08 4 /10  
Balaji Telefilms hired debutante director Sachin Yerdi to write and publicise a long advertisement for their soaps and their stars. Targetted to be a comedy, the movie failed to humor me. The jokes are bad and acting poor. The plot revolves around three losers who are troubled with their lives, and threaten the son of one of them under a fictitious underworld company called C Kompany. The prank turns serious and people start getting afraid of them. Don't know what is Anupam Kher doing among a bunch of jokers here. Mithun the don irritates with his patronizing soap stars, and tear-shedding at soaps. Tusshar Kapoor is repulsive as usual. A total crap. Watch it only if you want a reason to pull your hair out.

Phoonk 22-Aug-08 5 /10  
RGV and producer Azam Khan had promised a reward of 5 lacs to anyone who sees the movie alone in the theater. I wonder how can someone live in such a big misconception. Did they not watch the movie themselves? It is a below average movie where you feel like laughing in the first half at the strange camera angles and sounds and ear-piercing laughter Ramu used in a failed attempt to induce horror. The clichéd demonic possession, exorcism, and black magic remind you of Bhoot and Exorcist. The only good part was the kid Ahsaas Chhanna's acting.

Mumbai Meri Jaan 22-Aug-08 9 /10  
A brilliant movie that showcases few days before and after the Mumbai serial blasts of 2006 in the lives of five different, unrelated characters: Software Engineer Madhavan, constable Paresh Rawal, roadside coffee vendor Irfan Khan, TV reporter Soha Ali Khan, and a Hindu fanatic Kay Kay Menon, and everyone has lived to expectations. Each parallel plot is a story in itself that becomes interesting as the movie progresses. The movie touches many issues: Soha being interviewed by colleagues about her fiancé’s death, the loser constable reflecting on his idle police service at retirement, software engineer considering fleeing the country, Hindu extremist bridging the Hindu-Muslim divide. Light traces of humor can be found in Kay Kay's anger, Paresh Rawal's sadness, and Irfan's helplessness. The blast scene is a bit gory and painful to watch, but could be very close to reality. Amazing talent shown by director Nishikant Kamath in his first Hindi movie after just one Tamil and one Marathi movie. Though a bit heavy, a must watch. The end leaves you lighter with the evergreen song from CID that gave the movie its name.

Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam 22-Aug-08 7 /10  
A comedy on the lines of the classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, starring the hit Rahul Bose-Mallika Sherawat couple from Pyaar ke Side Effects. The sexy, naughty actress bored from her married life with Paresh Rawal wants to have fun, and Bose is on a secret mission to save the world from a disaster. The entire drama company joins hands to save the country from a bomb blast. Performing multiple roles in disguise, they make you go crazy. Paresh Rawal is as usual the best, even Kay Kay Menon acted well in comedy. The movie would be a good watch to kill time with friends.

Bachna Ae Haseeno 15-Aug-08 7 /10  
One guy, three girls, 12 years. Three heartbreaks, first two girls and then the boy. Realizing it now, the hero repents and goes back to make up for his deeds even after suffering humiliation, and gets pardoned. The story is okayish, the narrative swinging between past and present, and all the girls Deepika, Bipasha and Minnisha look gorgeous. The music is good. Light humor at times. Overall, a good one-time watch.

Prom Night 25-Jul-08 4 /10  
The expected fun at a prom night is ruined by a psychopath who turns out to be an obsessed lover. He had murdered the protagonist's parents some years ago and she had witnessed it. He stays in the same hotel as the prom night, and kills everyone including friends and the staff who cross his path. Nothing remarkable about the movie; ends a normal happy ending.

Via Darjeeling 27-Jun-08 6 /10  
Tried to make a Rashomon. Except it was a love triangle instead of a rape. Did not work well though. The different versions of the same story are told in an unreliable fashion; it looked more like fantasies or amateur creativities of the inebriated narrators. Even good actors like Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Sandhya Mridul and Kaykay Menon could not make the movie interesting.

De Taali 20-Jun-08 7 /10  
Good timepass. A cheerful comedy with no toilet humor. Even the sad and emotional moments are laced with humor. The movie is about three childhood friends and a triangle, when the fourth character, Rimi Sen's arrives and makes matters interesting. Some scenes are really good; in one such scenes Rimi is tied to a chair and tortured by making her watch RGV ki Aag. Light movie with a happy ending. Innocent Ayesha Takia looks cute and the vampish Rimi looks sexy.

The Happening 13-Jun-08 6 /10  
As always, the Shyamlan dude had a very intriguing concept. Very gripping apart from the last half hour. The movie carries on throuhout the mystery factor typical of Shyamlan, and you keep expecting a very interesting end. However, this one has the crappiest ending ever. It was like he had an idea, and started making the film, but could not think of a decent way to end it, and abruptly ends it explaining totally incredulous things through 5-seconds TV news clippings. Mark "Departed" Wahlberg was underused, though he tried to overact at times.

Traffic Signal 2-Feb-07 8 /10  
A typical Madhur Bhandarkar flick with the lives of a small sect of professionals as the subject. The traffic signal includes a microcosm of people who derive their daily livelihoods from it. There are beggars, prostitutes, tricksters, eunuchs and others who sell clothes, flowers and trinkets who owe hafta to the Signal Manager, Silsila. Kunal Khemu, Ranveer Shourie and Konkana Sen perform as expected. Life goes on through ups and downs but the movie ends on a sad note, as expected from Bhandarkar. But the movie entertains you throughout, especially with the Bambaiyya lingo, at the same time makes you think about people you normally never do.

Final Destination 3 10-Feb-06 7 /10  
Very similar to the earlier two movies in the series, this involves a different accident (a roller coaster one) that is avoided as the result of a premonition. However, since all those people were on Death's list, they die one by one in freak accidents: you cannot cheat death. I liked watching this thriller even though it was an old concept. And I am already awaiting Final Destination 4, scheduled to release in Aug 2009.

If Only 11-Feb-05 8 /10  
Cute romantic movie with a nice concept. The protagonist gets a chance to relive a day, everything happens the same as the previous one, and he knows his girlfriend is going to die at the end of the day. He tries to avoid it, but realizing he can only slightly change it, tries to give her all the happiness in that one day. Though the movie ends with a twist, is one of those feel-good movies you like to watch when you are feeling down.

Sixth Sense 6-Aug-99 10 /10  
One of my all time favourites. The reason I love Manoj Night Shyamlan. An intriguing concept, and a drama directed and acted out well. Most of the movie revolves around the young boy seeing and talking to dead people and the child-psychologist trying to cure him. The last 10 minutes provide a drastic twist that jolts you along with the two main characters and makes you re-think the entire movie in a new light. Chilling and thrilling, serious and scary at times, Sixth Sense makes an interesting watch, a must for all movie goers.

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