Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

After last Sunday's burns caused by Yuvvraaj, I was not willing to go out for a movie this weekend. Anyway there were not many releases this Friday, and I had almost seen all the previous ones. PP had wanted to watch one, and had suggested Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. But to her sheer disbelief, I had not bought tickets in advance and had half expected we wouldn't get them over the counter. I knew this was only wishful thinking because all theatres were less than half-booked even by late afternoon, I guess due to a sense of mourning for (or fear of?) the Mumbai Massacre.

So we still had seats available after the bloke ahead in queue had wanted 9 tickets and took 9 months deciding between Gold and Silver. As we settled in our seats and went through promos, I prayed for Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal and Khosla Ka Ghosla director Dibakar Banerjee. None of them disappointed me in the comical drama that takes us first through the adolescent life of Lucky, and then his excursions in his profession, giving us a detailed tour through residential areas of Delhi from Tilak Nagar to Rajouri Garden and Rohini to Defence Colony.

The narrative keeps you bound and you don't feel bored for a minute. Intelligent use of still photographs has been used more than once to fast forward the movie. The screenplay is great, and the humour is good, non-cheesy, and light without much of other emotions, though you feel a bit sorry for the parents. Otherwise the movie is strewn with laughter throughout, both during the present Lucky and the past. Money is shown as the biggest power. The music is all Punjabi but not that good, except the title track. But since most of the songs play in the background, they did not seem to be needlessly inserted and did not obstruct the flow.

Abhay Deol seems to have developed a knack for signing up the most hat-ke low-budget movies that are all different from each other and are critically acclaimed. OLLO is no exception. The dimpled actor keeps his innocent smile even when he is wanted by the police. Paresh Rawal was not his usual timid, mindless comedian but played three powerful, intelligent characters, as Lucky's father (not as strong as the other two), and the other two characters who patronize Lucky at different times. Some good serious acting on his part. Neetu Chandra was sweet but did not have much screen time.

Though it might be too early but Dibakar Banerjee's second venture shows a trend here. Quite a few similarities can be drawn between national-award winning Khosla Ka Ghosla and this one, the most prominent being being shot in Delhi and the use of local Delhi language, a mix of Hindi, Punjabi and Haryanwi. The movie might not qualify for the national award this year, nor the director, but he has nevertheless done a very good job in writing and directing a script so well.

To sum it up, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! was full paisa-vasool, though I would have loved it on the small screen too. My verdict: 8 on 10.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grey Skies and Glooms

I have been trying to start writing since the past two hours but it is not easy. I had originally started yesterday evening mentioning an overcast Bangalore the whole day and the gloominess it brought upon me, adding to my melancholy of the past few days. I would have ranted about the new grey template on my blog that sort of counteracted the grey skies by totally engrossing me in the various widgets where I got deep into css, javascript, and HTML to tweak the widgets according to my taste.

But things are quite different now. Today was overcast again and was dripping the entire day, the only thing that reminds of the 64 lives claimed (till the time of writing) in Tamil Nadu by Cyclone Nisha, a news subdued by the live coverage of terrorism in Mumbai since the past 24 hours. The war going on between creators of terror and NSG, RAF, Black Cats, and Mumbai Police at three sites in Mumbai has made the entire nation edgy. The grey moods and my kvetches are not even a drop against the oceans of depression and gloom brought in by the largest-ever terrorist attack on India and her populace.

The use of AK-47s and other automatic weapons did really create more mayhem and terror than bombs, which have anyways kept blowing intermittently. Firings could be heard throughout. The Indian financial capital has come to a standstill. Friends in Mumbai told me every Mumbaikar was afraid to go out today, nobody was sure whether they would come back. At times like these you feel very vulnerable and helpless. You don't know whether to cry over it or to blame the authorities for not having taken enough measures to foresee and prevent such acts of terror.

The entire sequence of events looks straight out from a Hollywood action movie, but the entire world is shaken. But that also depicts how cheap a human life is, an Indian's all the more. One 9/11 happened, and the US screwed up the entire world. Let us see what the Indian offices of power do. By evening the number of miscreants was decreasing, and various ministers could be seen on TV. Hostages who were spared the gun were being evacuated to safer places. The war is still on, and I know the armies and the forces will win; not reaching back alive would sure have been a part of the intricate plan the terrorists would have drafted.

The media has been sickening and overkilling, with all news channels removing everything else off the screens; even the tickers that keep shouting of Breaking News are all occupied by this horrendous incident. However, the media is the reason we know the exact picture out there and have so strong sentiments against both the terrorists and the lawmakers. Switching off news streams and delegating to the corrupt ministers won’t help. We need to do something proactive, starting from the root level. We need drastic reforms in our society and constitution and law and order. Don’t ask me where to begin; I don’t have an answer, we’ll have to find one.

PS: Rediff has a live commentary here on the ongoing war.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yuvvraaj the Musical

Hire the prettiest face in the industry, the best music director and the best lyricist, and shoot in picturesque European locales and grand, opulent sets. Take an Oscar-winning script, beat the shit out of it, and add a shallow direction to it. Insert an extra 'v' in the family name, and you have Yuvvraaj. And yes, I forgot, add some jokers and crappy acting according to taste, and you have the full recipe.

Even though you have the recipe, it is not easy to waste big names like Allah Rakha Rehman and Sampoorna Singh Gulzar on the pretext of creating a musical movie. Music did they create, and quite good one at that, but using it inappropriately at the wrong places, with gaudy and tawdry costumes and portly female side dancers spoilt the fun. Yuvvraaj does not look like a musical at all, only the Manmohini track seemed to fit, and to some extent Zindagi. The others could have been not in the movie at all.

The storyline has no meat at all; I was trying at interval to recap and realised to my utter disbelief that the plot hadn't moved. The second half brought no surprise. Katrina Kaif had nothing to do but look pretty as always, and beau Salman Khan couldn't stop hamming. Anil Kapoor tried to copy Dustin 'Rain Man' Hoffman, but he was not even close. The only good part was Mithun, and the three new faces, who were hot, especially Aimee Maghera. Even Boman Irani sucked.

One mystery I was unable to solve was how does everyone in Prague, London, and Austria speak Hindi? And those who spoke English were vexingly subtitled in Devanagiri. Now who does that and why? And who translates 'sexy' as 'jaaneman'?

Subhash Ghai said in an interview he has more competition than Subhash Ghai (whatever that means); he has competition with Khalnayak and Ram Lakhan. You are partially right Mr Ghai, but you have competition with Kisna and Yaadein. And congratulations, Yuvvraaj wins. Your golden period was the 80's where you gave memorable hits. The 90's have been an advent of your downfall. Except Black & White earlier this year. Now that was a movie that had an interesting plot and did not call for unnecessary display of grandeur. That is why I liked it, and perhaps that is why it did not do well at the box office. But yes, movies like Aitraaz and Iqbal were good. Good that you only produced them. You are getting older and senile, why don't you sit back and sign cheques and hire someone else for the director's chair?

Overall, a huge let down. Watch it at your own risk. You might want to walk out after the Tu Hi Meri Dost Hai track. I'd suggest buy the music CD instead.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Ok, like the last time I participated in Cuckoo's Le Titre in an eleventh-hour-rush, here is my entry for this month's topic: Conspiracy.

Four people conspiring under shadows

Sifting through my photographs, I had found two photos that I sent to someone to help me decide one from, and soon I saw this third one which both of us felt was more appropriate for conspiracy. The reason: four people conspiring in shadows.

This time's participation is better than the last one because I am writing this before the deadline and shall upload the photograph too before the contest closes, unlike last time when I had simply created a blank post and posted the url on the participation, and finished up later.

And this takes me back to the state of mind I was in sitting at that beach in Pondicherry, and though the sea was calm, I had tides within. I was wondering at the effect the sea had on my mind, and was thanking someone (To Whoever it may concern types) that I lived far from the sea.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tu Hi To Meri Dost Hai

Listened to this number on FM a few days ago, and before I knew it was from Yuvraaj, written by Gulzar and composed and sung (in part) by A R Rehman, I was humming it all the time. I simply can't get it off my head. Everytime I listen to it, I find myself in a different world.

Gulzar is superb, much better than Akhtar, who disappointed me with his kale-neele-peele songs in Rock On. Plus the refrain by Rehman. You have to listen to it to feel it. One more reason this track is particularly intriguing is because it talks about a 'dost' rather than the hundreds of synonyms for a beloved. There are a lot of songs on dosti but not often do you listen to 'meri' dost.

I could probably put it as my most favourite song of 2008. A very close contender would be Teri Ore from Singh is King, which, though quite soothing to the ears, lacks in the emotional content in this one.

There were a few more ear-friendly songs this year, not listed in any particular order:

  • Teri Ore (Singh Is King)
  • Bakhuda Tumhi Ho (Kismat Konnection)
  • Khuda Jaane (Bachan Ae Haseeno)
  • Kabhi Kabhi Aditi (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na)
  • Zara Zara Touch Me (Race)
  • Chaar Dino Ka Pyaar (Jannat)
  • Pichhle Saat Dino Mein (Rock On)
  • Pehli Nazar Mein (Race)
What do you think? Do you feel this is the best song of the year or am I getting too emotional?

Aaja main hawaon mein bitha ke le chaloon/ Tu hi to/ Tu hi to meri dost hai...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Drona Kidnapped by Hari Puttar?

Okay, the title of the post would have been of relevance a month ago, but those were the latest movies I could write a review upon. So, like the last month, the movies are listed in reverse chronological order of their release dates except where there is a series or movies based on the same book and like.

Parenthesis after the release date contains the country it was first released, if the movie was/is not released in India. Mentioned alongside the title in brackets is the IMDB rating at the time of writing this post, if the movie features in the top 250 list. The last column contains a rating I would give them on a scale of 10.

Title (IMDB Rank) Release (Country) Rating /10  

Hello 10-Oct-08 6 /10  
Good treatment of the book. The movie adds or subtracts nothing. If you liked One Night at Call Centre, you would like Hello. If you didn't, you wouldn't. I found Five Point Someone quite gripping but Chetan Bhagat's second venture was rather mediocre. If you thought the first one was far-fetched, which I believe was not, this one is much more. If you haven't read the book, you might like this short movie based on a few friends in a rather empty call centre office. Acting wise it is okay with Arbaaz, Sharman Joshi and Sharat Saxena playing their usual roles, and Gul Panag, for a change, a slightly glamorous character.

Drona 2-Oct-08 3 /10  
Drona, for me, was shattered expectations. The starcast, the promos, the publicity, all seemed promising. But it turned out to be a superhero who is slow and dumb, portly and bearded, stoic and expressionless. The movie is slow paced, almost as if shot entirely in slow-motion, everyone takes ages to understand and react. The plot has one bit from Indian mythology, the treatment of the yet-to-become-superhero from Harry Porter, action sequences from Mummy and Torque, and has almost no substance. The only bit of attempted comedy is clichéd and boring. Abhishek and mommy's jobs were done easy by director Goldie; they had to carry the same stupefied expression throughout. Kay Kay is more comical and stupid than terrifying, this is perhaps his worst ever performance. The only good thing was the great locales, and the sexy, smoke-eyed bodyguard in Priyanka Chopra, whose character was a bit nimbler. The open end hints at a sequel, and I shudder at the thought of it.

Kidnap 2-Oct-08 4 /10  
The promos show you the nouveau physiques of the kidnapper and the kidnapee. And the kidnapee's bikini in which she gets kidnapped underwater. That is it to this Kidnap. The recently-turned-adult Minissha is kidnapped, and the über-rich father Sanjay Dutt is asked for odd errands in return. What follows is a series of phone calls and some supposedly confusing clues that fail to scintillate, and changes of one-after-other mini-dresses for Minissha in captivity. Irfan looks better in this non-chocolaty-role, but cannot act and deliver dialogues properly; his pout comes in the way. The storyline is rather bleak and predictable and music short-lived.

Hari Puttar 26-Sep-08 3 /10  
Home Alone the Indian way. Even the title is not original. Saurabh Shukla's getup had glimpses of the great Rubeus Hagrid. I love kid movies but I doubt if children would like this. The movie had no substance at all. The jokes are poor and at times improper for a younger audience the movies targets. Swini Khera looked quite dumb after her remarkable performance in Cheeni Kum, the other two kids are hopeless, and the elders didn't have much on-screen time.

Journey to the Center of the Earth 12-Sep-08 7 /10  
Also known as Journey 3-D, this would definitely have looked amazing on 3-D. True to the name, the movie is about a journey, a weekend trip to the centre of the earth by a volcanologist, his nephew, and a beautiful mountain guide. The movie is more of special effects and thrills and striking visuals, and is like an amusement park more than an adaptation of the serious eponymous 1864 classic by Jules Verne. The book and notes on it by the scientist's late brother are used for the journey, similar to the notes by Arne Saknussem in the book. The major incidents are picked up from the book, though very little care is paid to explain the scientific facts as there. The cast is only three people for the entire movie except the first and the last 5 minutes; the Icelandic beauty Anita Briem looked gorgeous though she did not have much else to do. The roller coaster and other rides do not let you feel time passing by. The witty one-liners add a welcome lace of humour. Overall, a good watch, but do not expect the science and math that were an integral part of the Jules Verne novel.

Journey to the Center of the Earth 16-Dec-59 (USA) 7 /10  
This one is the original movie based on the book by Jules Verne, and is quite a good adaptation. There are a few changes of course, but the movie stays close to the idea. The movie has quite a depth compared to the contemporary Brendan Fraser counterpart, and tries to explain things and make sense rather than being just a visual treat. The interior of the earth is depicted in quite a detail, and the special effects are commendable for a movie of the 50's. The journey takes them almost a year, and that is the core part of the movie, as opposed to the three minutes of free fall in the younger movie. Excellent use of imagery and light gives an eerie and frightening touch. The performances are good but you easily notice the differences between two movies half a century apart. Overall, an interesting watch if you haven't read the book.

Death Race 22-Aug-08 (USA) 8 /10  
2012. The US economy has crippled, unemployment and crime are on the rise, and private corporations run prisons for profit. Terminal Island is one such prison, and Death Race is broadcasted live on the internet and viewership charged. The cars are highly modified, the drivers are convicts, and the rules are simple: there are no rules; win and win your freedom, or die trying. Such a plot calls for high action and thrill, scheming and conspiracy, courage and intelligence in a fight against the authorities. The movie is like a modern Gladiator, the heavy metal armours replaced by tank-like cars, and swords and maces by machine guns and force fields, but slaves fight and kill each other to entertain the masses. At times it looks like a video game. A few killings are quite violent and gory. Jason Statham's abs would make the Shahrukhs shy. His role was energetic and powerful like the one in Transporter. The Mustangs and the Dodge Rams and the Jaguars and the Porsches are amazing, and the 18-wheeler Dreadnought breathtaking. Overall, a fast-paced adrenalin-pumping thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout.

Tropic Thunder 13-Aug-08 (USA) 3 /10  
Tropic Thunder is the story of filming of a war movie Tropic Thunder wherein pampered lead actors are dropped in the middle of the jungle with hidden cameras so that the movie can be shot guerrilla-style. Very soon the director dies in a landmine, and the cast are caught by a heroin-producer-gang and it is quite some while before they realise they are in the real and not the reel world. The movie failed to humour me at all, the action scenes are quite realistic and grand, and therefore, again, do not create humour. Some of the comedy attempted is by means of people getting killed or their limbs getting cut off, disgusting things like eating bats. Probably the producer-director-writer-actor Ben Stiller could never make up his mind whether he wanted to make a satire or a mockery of war movies or a slapstick comedy or simply a drama. I fail to understand how could this comedy lacking totally in wit be on the top of box office for three weekends.

Hancock 11-Jul-08 9 /10  
Superheroes are smart, fast, attired in sleek dresses and masks, and generally live under cover. Hancock is just the opposite: dirty, unkempt, smelly, and lazy, dressed in baggies, and sleeps on a roadside bench. But he helps innocent people and fights crime, is disliked by police and authorities. Extremely powerful, completely scratch-resistant, doesn't even budge when a locomotive hits him at full speed. Flies without wings or webs. Blows up a house when sneezes. Leaving apart all these superhero traits, what is most exciting about Hancock is his history and the chemistry of his existence. The last third becomes all the more interesting, also because of a bigger surprise, and the end is satisfying. The movie is proper masala: emotion, comedy, drama, and obviously action, perhaps the reason for such a high rating from my Indian palate.

Ramchand Pakistani 10-Jul-08 6 /10  
My first Pakistani film. Didn't seem any different than Indian movies. Not even the language. So, the movie is a good adaptation of a true story, that of a seven-year-old and his father who accidentally venture into the Indian side of the border and are held prisoners, and the wife-mother fights for survival. Provides a counter-view of the oft-used topic in Indian cinema. Good screenplay, realistic acting, rich emotion and drama, is what Ramchand Pakistani offers. Though it gets a bit slow at times, and the only Indian actress Nandita Das did not live up to the expectations. The kid who played the young Ramchand did an appreciable job. The movie was showcased in India in the CINEFAN festival in India even before it was released in Pakistan.

Ek Chalees ki Last Local 18-May-07 8 /10  
The movie begins with a romantic angle but turns out into a dark, quirky, slapstick comedy with quite some gore, unnecessary violence, crude and cheap jokes and expletives, sick characters and a somewhat incredulous storyline. I still give an 8 to the debutante writer-director Sanjay Khanduri for giving Bollywood a pulp fiction in the true sense. Bollywood has grown up in time, and while this one will not be taken well with the family knd of audience, it is good that people are trying out things. Another thing Khanduri should be commended is the real-time narrative, set in a night between the last local train in the night at 1:40 am to the first in the morning at 4:10 am, 150 minutes packed in 143. So much happens in that short period, and it still does not drag at any point. Watch it for crude humour, shooting-without-talking, and a few interesting plot twists, and of course good acting by Abhay Deol.

28 days Later 1-Nov-02 (UK) 8 /10  
The London metropolis. Silent. Devastated. Empty. Nary a soul. These are the most intriguing and brilliantly shot scenes when the protagonist wakes up after his coma 28 days hence his road accident, and discovers Britain is evacuated. Perplexed at the vacant city, he soon realises he is not alone. His company is zombie-like people who are infected with a 'Rage' virus and are out to infect anyone who doesn't have it. This interesting but unimaginable idea is not the only thing that makes this movie good. The entire treatment of the savage zombies and the rage, the escape and fight by the uninfected few, the always crowded London locales completely empty, the ever-suspenseful ascending background score, all make up this one an interesting watch.

28 Weeks Later 6-May-07 (UK) 7 /10  
I like it when the sequels are named so intelligently, and are made just because they have an original movie and an interesting name for the sequel, but the sequel still does well. 28 Weeks Later follows the sequel-can-never-be-as-good-as-the-original axiom, but it is only slightly below, even though the idea was no longer novel. This was gorier, had less of logic, and was predictable at times, even though it was the story of a family rather than an entire populace in general. The best part of the movie is the very good background score that sort of intensifies the suspense and thrill. The epilogue hints at another sequel.

Julie 23-Jul-04 5 /10  
I did not quite get whether Julie was intended to be a hot movie like Jism or a thought-provoking one like Chandni Bar. Perhaps it was tried to have the best of both. And there is where it failed. Julie is a prostitute falling in love with a business czar and standing against the society, in a wide and reaching-the-masses fashion. No doubt a bold movie but a decent plot is lacking. The story of she becoming a prostitute is what we've heard and seen many times, and the latter part of the story goes almost in fast forward. The motive of her daring act to feature on live TV was inexplicable. Neha Dhupia showed more skin than she acted, and Priyanshu Chatterjee was dumb as ever. Some bold dialogues are added that are aimed to hit hard but they fail to, because of the way they are delivered. Some changes to the plot and a decent direction and concentration less on skin-show could have improved the movie considerably.

The Animal 21-Mar-01 (USA) 6 /10  
Okay flick. A weird, inexplicable, incredulous concept that gives the cop Rob Schneider animal powers. He outruns horses, beats dogs in chasing Frisbees, chases cats, and dances like dolphins. His animal powers help him in his duties as a policeman at times. Whether his newfound celebrity continues can be found by watching the film. The antics are good, the 'animal's' girlfriend Colleen Haskell beautiful and mature enough for her only movie, and the storyline comical though nonsensical. The combination of so many animal powers in one human is good for a thought-experiment, but the movie has simply too much of it. Enjoyable without the brains. I missed Jim Carrey and his facial expressions for the role of Marvin.

Cube 9-Sep-97 (Canada) 8 /10  
This Canadian film is all about cubes. Seven people caught in a huge labyrinth of cubes try to figure their way out. I had disposed off the film after the first scene where an inmate reaches a particular cubical room and is cut into small cubes that fall apart one by one by a huge dicer that swings from the ceiling. When I later took up the film 7 years later, I found it interesting, puzzle-like, where the prisoners use a lot of mathematics and logic to understand the mechanism of the cubes and save themselves from deadly traps set up in some of the cubes. And not gory apart from that first scene. The film appeals because of its Kafkaesque settings, not much is explained about the cubes; how did those people reach there, and nothing about the outside world. The people discover there are 17,576 such cubes, and, with the help of numbers at each door on each side of the cube and colour of the cube, and some more interesting observations, they try to reach out, following power struggles and clashes among themselves. Overall, a gripping, horrifying watch puzzled with riddles and logic and math. Interesting.

Hypercube 29-Jul-02 (Canada) 7 /10  
What else could the sequel have been called? Add another dimension to the 3-D cube, and make a movie out of it. The extra dimension makes things more complicated, abstract, and somewhat weird. The tagline says it as a new dimension in fear, though I did not feel so. While the Cube gave a surreal feel, and was based on logic, science and mathematics, the Hypercube gives a perplexing feel, and anything defying laws of science is added as a part of the fourth-dimension: horizontal gravity, slower and faster passing of times for different people, parallel universes and moving of people and objects between them, an expanding tesseract that cuts anything like blades that occupies the same space/time as it. There was a single cube this time, which existed in multiple times and parallel universes and kept interacting with itself. Also, this cube is brightly lit, and the characters have colourful dresses compared to the dark cubes and prison robes in the first one. This reduces the terror but overall the movie is too complex to watch and comprehend even for someone who studied science at college.

Cube Zero 15-Oct-04 (Canada) 5 /10  
Since a cube in five dimensions was impossible to create even on the computer, a prequel of the original Cube was made, in an attempt to explain some mechanisms of the working of the Cubes and the life of people controlling them. A lot of detail is given on how people enter the cube, why do they not remember anything, how the traps operate, how are people killed inside, and what happens to their remains. This film is more gruesome than both of the others in the series, has deadlier traps, and gives faces and names to unknowns that control it all, or was supposed to be an experiment gone wrong. While this aspect is more horrifying, it sort of makes the first one diminutive in effect. Cube Zero does not explain everything clearly though, and does not give any explanation for the Hypercube. Perhaps that was too surreal, else you could have expected a Cube One-Point-Five sometime soon.

Twelve Monkeys (# 183) 27-Dec-95 (USA) 10 /10  
The best time travel movie I've seen so far. I generally find Bruce Willis a better actor but Brad Pitt overdid him in this one, not that Willis did not act well. The plot is intriguing, oscillating between past, present and future, and has quite an element of abstractness in the storyline that keeps you glued. A new paradox or rather, a new form of time travel paradox is depicted: an attempt to find the cause is the actual cause. No sooner than this is realised than every piece of the jigsaw falls into place. The various small subplots make quite sense and no single shot seems unnecessary or out of place. No next-century gadgets or computers working with sounds at animations. I could not help getting amused at a news channel covering the story of a child fallen into and stuck halfway in a borewell, a la Prince and several other children who've followed him in India. Anyways, a movie worth spending two hours of complete attention. The movie ranks # 183 on IMDB; I would place it in the top 20 in my list.

La Jetée 1962 (France) 8 /10  
La Jetée is credited in Twelve Monkeys as the inspiration. While the adaptation is a real good one, the original is almost a piece of art. Constructed entirely through black and white still photography, this 26-minute French film has a post-World War III plot, and one of the earliest time-travel movies. The movie has no dialogues, only a French narration and therefore still photos with English subtitles was like reading a comic book with a background score. The plot becomes quite abstract due to the brevity, and is elaborated much better in Twelve Monkeys. Quite a few things are left unexplained and to the imagination of the audience. This is where Twelve Monkeys scores over this; the plot is still very intriguing and abstract though elaborate, and of course a motion picture is more expressive against a still-photo-film.

Vertigo (# 41) 9-May-58 (USA) 9 /10  
This quinquagenarian Hitchcock classic is a delight to watch. The intriguing thriller revolves around a retired detective afflicted with acrophobia, who falls in love with the woman he is hired to tail. That this is just a part of a very large scheme is revealed towards the last third in a shocking twist. And the way the mystery unfurls and the protagonist goes into and comes out of his shell again at the revelation. The black and white winter scenes in high winds give an eerie feel, and the crisp dialogues and the long silent scenes add to the mystery. Oscar winner James Stewart looks almost like Sherlock Holmes in his investigation, and the gorgeous Kim Novak looks beautiful in all her getups.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

21st Century Healthcare

"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."

These were the closing lines of my last blogpost. I stand corrected. If anything, it was the calm before the storm. The very next morning (of writing that post) I woke up with quite a pain in the arm. An hour later, it had started bleeding profusely and I had to be rushed to the hospital. I was glad I had changed to Columbia Asia from Ramaiah a week ago. The doctors in the casualty could stop bleeding by the evening but I had to spend a few days in the hospital.

The first couple of days were painful but the next two turned out as an extended weekend where I rested well, watched a lot of TV, read, and enjoyed hotel-like facilities while under good medical care. I haven't visited Apollo but this was far better than Manipal, which is regarded the best in Bangalore by people living close to it. But Manipal isn't half as sleek, efficient, and clean.

Columbia Asia looks like a corporate office more than a hospital. A huge reception where reps help you in the queue and then escort you till the respective department/doctor, a spacious lobby sided with a CCD outlet and a bookshop, and a smart decor and lighting take you in surprise. The wards look like hotel rooms with Sony Bravia TVs and Italian couches for attendants, and wifi internet. I, however, stayed away from my laptop else I'd have been blogging this from my bed or would have been w-f-h (hospital). The bathroom had Biotique toiletries. Good-looking bellgirls serve food to the patients' rooms from a choice of menu; I had delicious pasta one day, noodles another day, and different soups everyday. The normal thalis were tasty and filling too. I was put directly on line with the chef when I had wanted to have a variation in a side-dish.

The doctors and nurses were patient and quite dedicated. I had a surgeon, a haemotologist, and a physiotherapist visiting me frequently and following my case keenly in an almost VIP-treatment. The finance guys visited me at my bed to help me when I wanted to file a claim. You are known through your MRN and your entire case is accessible from any computer on the hospital network. Your prescriptions are ready at the pharmacy even before you reach there to collect them. Ok, it is a bit expensive (my room was twice as expensive as a room in Ginger Hotels, and everything followed suit), but the comfort is worth it.

Constructed in a 130,000 sqft campus by Brigade group adjacent to their upcoming 30-storey state-of-the-art office space with a helipad, this was the Seattle-based consortium's second center in Bangalore. There are 12 more Columbia Asia facilities in operation in India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, and 26 projects under construction/design.

The cool facility rose my spirits instead of dampening them as it generally happens when you have to stay in a hospital. Good care was taken of my arm, and though it will still take some time to heal completely, here I am, exactly one-week later, all praises. There is another facility near Hebbal, and one coming up in Bangalore South (Jayanagar?) and one in Whitefield, by 2010. I would not wish any of you visiting a hospital, but if need be, I'd definitely recommend Columbia Asia.

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