Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Film Review: KITES

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Nick Brown, Kabir Bedi
Director: Anurag Basu

I know it’s pretty late in the week and the movie has been in theatres for six days. But, what to do? I found it so hard to kick up the enthusiasm to write about it. Such was my disappointment!

THE STORY: J (Hrithik Roshan) is an orphan who lives off his wits in Las Vegas. He teaches dance and also makes some extra money marrying illegal immigrants who want to gain green cards in the USA. One such ‘wife’ is Linda. Gina (Kangana Ranaut) falls in love with J and would like to marry him. He is not interested in her until he realises that she is the only daughter of a millionaire casino owner (Kabir Bedi). He is accepted by her family and soon they are a pair. Gina’s brother Tony (Nick Brown) gets engaged. At the engagement party, J gets re-introduced to Linda as Natasha (Barbara Mori) who is Tony’s fiancée. As expected, J and Natasha aka Linda fall in love. While the one can’t speak Spanish, the other cannot speak English. That is the beginning of the end of their lives as the powerful casino family has friends in high places and cannot take an insult – a double one at that. J and Linda are on the run for the rest of the film till they meet their deaths at different times.

MY PERCEPTION: Why call the film Kites? Kati Patang is more like it, but I suppose the title had already been taken by the Rajesh Khanna-Asha Parekh starrer of the 70s.

Why does Rakesh Roshan believe that resurrecting a Romeo-Juliet tragedy should pay off at this point in time? The times are not the best we have seen and people are looking to sources to raise their hopes. And Bollywood is facing a dearth of good films and scripts. I definitely expected way more from Rakesh Roshan. This is just too sad for words.

That said, I would not say that the film is a complete write-off. It does have its actors and moments. Hrithik Roshan looks GORGEOUS and acts extremely well – his dialogue delivery, his emoting and his onscreen chemistry sets you drooling.

The cinematography is just awesome and the visuals are a joy.

Barbara Mori looks good and acts well. Simply sweet! Why go all the way to Mexico to bring home an average actress is beyond me.

The poster of the film exuded more heat and sensuality than any of the scenes from the film itself. Work of the censor board – I refuse to believe that one.

Kabir Bedi had a blink-and-miss role while Nick Brown gave a good performance as his son Tony and the villain. Kangana Ranaut as the rich Casino owner’s daughter who falls in love with her dance teacher J, is good, nothing exemplary. I think it’s about time she changed the waif-like looks to something a bit more interesting. It is just too repetitive.

The swing from Spanish to English to Hindi – I know we are going global – but to put it in simple Hindi – कटक्था है. You want to write a story, make a script out of it and present it as a film taking on board an excellent Indian hero and an international (?) heroine. You spend millions on this project. But don’t you care that people understand and enjoy what you have created? This is what I would like to ask the Roshan duo.

Verdict: Those who would watch it would do that anyways as I would never have taken someone’s advice if they had told me not to see the film. You have to actually see it to feel the impact of the disappointment hitting you.

Rating: *½ Shaky (Extremely)

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It’s a very hot summer this year, the worst probably in the past half a century. And if the cribbing and complaining that we hear could have a positive effect on the atmosphere, the weather should have got cold. But, alas, that is not so and the irritation and heat is just building up all the more.

Some cool ways to beat the heat:

1. Drink Coconut Water every day. It cools your system like nothing else can. It also replaces the salts that you lose in sweating.
2. Wear cool cotton clothes in soft, summery shades or white as they absorb the least heat. Avoid dark colours, especially black, as they absorb the sun rays and burn your skin.
3. Use glares to protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the midday sun.
4. Eat light meals with little or no oil and drink loads of water to feel energetic.
5. Water melons are available in abundance. Cut it up and eat it or make a juice and drink it to cool off. Avoiding sugar will help here as consuming more and more sugar only makes one thirstier.

I can hear some of you say, ‘I have done all these and more but still my body feels hot and irritated. Help!’

Here is the help – Simple and easy. A breathing technique that will definitely cool you down; tried and tested on me and my family members!

Take a deep breath through your nose and let it out through your mouth with your tongue folded lengthwise to form a tube. Check the picture for the correct way to do it. Do this but 5-10 times – will take you probably 2-3 minutes a day – and see the difference.

No eye-burn, no bad stomach, no rashes, no whatever!

In the picture: Vinitha
Picture Courtesy: VigneshKumar

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Vir Das, Melyang Chang, Anupam Kher, Kiran Juneja
Director: Parmeet Sethi

The Story: Set in the 1990s, Karan is a 21-year-old genius who has just completed his degree exams along with his best friends Chandu (Vir Das) and Zing (Melyang Chang). The three guys want to make money and go to a guy who deals in imported goods. They act as his ‘Carriers’ and get to see Bangkok at his expense while making a small packet for themselves. They meet Bulbul (Anushka Sharma) on their first trip and the four become great friends. While Karan’s father (Anupam Kher) wants him to do his MBA, Karan is not interested in further studies. All he is interested in is making fast bucks – in a straight or crooked way – he does not care. And make money he does with his maternal uncle’s help. His disgusted father shows Karan the door. Not that it stops the young man. The four of them land in America and continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the law. But after a point, the other three want to call it quits. But Karan wants to go on. The clash of personalities and what happens to them in the long run forms the rest of the plot.

My perception: A mediocre plot and colourful cinematography. Anushka Sharma looks gorgeous and the film has been shot on wonderful locations, but all seen before. Shahid Kapoor has done a good job, but nothing exceptional. Chang and Vir Das have done their roles very well considering that the film is their first. Between the two, my vote goes to Chang.

With Vir Das on board, I did expect to fall off my seat laughing, but alas, nothing close to it. I think Bollywood scriptwriters don’t know how to inculcate comedy in their films. They seriously need to look southwards for this one.

What is wrong with the film? An average story presented in a very ordinary fashion. Nothing grips you about the film – no shocking twists, no earth-shaking climax – just a flow from A to B to C.

I think WE, the audience, have come to expect way more than this.

Verdict: It will soon show up on TV. Watch it then. It is worth a see.

Rating: ** Shaky

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Environment: SAY ‘NO’ TO PLASTIC

This is the second one in the series of Global Cooling. We use plastic carry bags to take home provisions, vegetables, fruits, flowers, you-name-it.

Sometimes we store these bags and many-a-time we just throw them away. As many of us are aware, plastic is not the best thing for the environment.

Effects of plastic bags in your garbage:

1. They choke up drains and will not allow water to flow freely. This causes flooding during heavy rains and we have seen the terrible effects in Mumbai and other cities as well.
2. Plastic clings to tree roots and will not allow water to seep into the soil. When there is not enough water, trees don’t survive long. And how that affects the environment is another story altogether.
3. The earth or soil cannot digest plastic. So any layer of muck that is added over plastic gets decayed but does not get mixed up with the soil as the plastic acts as a buffer. The plastic does not get digested by the soil nor does it allow the rest of the garbage to get absorbed. This leads to a mess that stinks and produces mosquitoes and diseases.
4. Animals feed on garbage containing plastic. We have heard of cows being operated for diseases where a huge amount of plastic has been found in their abdomens. The body has not been created to digest plastic, same as the earth. Plastic that is consumed by animals cannot leave their systems as it is not possible to digest. They might get killed due to this.
5. We tend to think that we are using maybe a couple of plastic bags each. So what big deal? But do multiply that by the number of families living in the cities. The mind boggles!

Forget about the strength of the plastic used. Just stop using them. It is a change in your lifestyle, but it is not improbable.

The situation can be turned around over a period by adapting simple methods. Use a cloth bag or a basket, whichever suits your taste and use that every time you go shopping. If you are a working individual, carrying a cloth bag folded in your handbag or briefcase it quite easy. Bags and baskets are available aplenty in the market in different shapes, colours and sizes to suit everyone. A very simple change in your lifestyle, but believe me, you will bring about a huge change to our environment.

There are many shopping outlets such as Cottonworld and Fabindia who have taken to handing out cloth bags or recycled newspaper bags to their customers to carry their purchases in. Kudos to them! Believe you me, they do know what they are doing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quick-fix Meal: BEETROOT SOUP

Yeah, it may sound incredibly strange, but I am talking about a soup made of beetroots. It’s a double whammy – healthy and yummy.


Beetroot – 2 (medium-sized)
Potato – 1 (similar size)
Salt to taste
Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
Cheese cube – 1 (grated)
Milk – 50 ml (½ a tea cup)
Cream – 1 tsp (optional)


Wash, peel and cut the beetroot and potato into pieces and pressure cook with water and salt for two whistles. Wait for it to cool and run it in the food processor till it makes a smooth paste. Add more water if required to bring it to the consistency of a thick soup. Bring the mixture to a slow boil.

Run the milk, grated cheese, pepper powder and cream in the blender and add to the boiling soup while stirring. Cook for five more minutes before switching off gas.

Serve hot after garnishing with cream or grated cheese along with some garlic toast or bread or bread sticks.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Mother's Day falls on the second Sunday of the month of May, the 9th this time round. I find the whole concept strange on having one day fixed for revering one's mother. But then again, it is a fad today to choose one day to celebrate one thing. I am using this opportunity to introduce my mother to my blog readers.

The grand lady who gave birth to me so many years ago is Vijayalakshmi. The picture at the top is how she looked a couple of years before she gave birth to me.

My mother was barely 18 when I was born to her and I am her second-born. She was very young (just 15) when she got married to my father Durairajan and while he was living with his parents and has only one younger brother, to this day, my mother helps and guides a string of cousins and their families from both branches of the family - my grandpa's and grandma's.

My mother loves to cook and more than that, loves to feed people. Anyone who turns up at our house, never leaves it hungry, to this day.

She is a very strong personality and has always guides us when we are confused. She is the one who introduced me to positive thinking. In those days, it was more important for women to get married than to study. Along with my father, my mother was the one who encouraged all of us five daughters to become graduates.

My mother is very good at organising events, especially weddings - along with my father. It is sad that they never took it up as a profession but have always helped and guided anyone who needed it. Their experience is obviously rich considering that they have conducted the weddings of five daughters.

I dedicate this blog to my mother on Mother's Day. It is a day late but then I had spent Mother's Day with her at Chennai, so I suppose it is perfectly alright.

The second photo on the right is my mother holding my daughter Vinitha when I became a mother myself.

The third photo on the left is my mother as she is today.

Photo credits: Lakshmi Ranganathan

Monday, May 3, 2010

Film Review: HOUSEFULL

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal, Ritesh Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Lara Dutta, Deepika Padukone, Jiah Khan, Chunky Pandey, Randhir Kapoor, Lilette Dubey, Malaika Arora
Director: Sajid Khan

The Story: Arush (Akshay Kumar) leads a jinxed life in the United States of America. He appears to bring bad luck to everyone around him. A casino employs him for the sheer bad luck he brings along to ensure that customers lose. He is in love with Pooja (Malaika Arora) and believes his marriage to her would change his luck overnight. But she wants out as he has brought nothing but ill luck to her. The sad Arush takes a flight to London to visit his friend Bob (Ritesh Deshmukh). Bob is married to Hetal and it is on their second anniversary night that Arush lands up at their home as a surprise (shock). He almost gets thrown out but Bob is too fond of his friend and takes him back in. Hetal and Bob introduce Arush to their employer Kishore Samtani (Randhir Kapoor) who is a billionaire. His daughter Devika (Jiah Khan) agrees to marry Arush the moment she sees him. Arush is thrilled to get married to Devika and they become owners to 500 million pounds from Devika’s father. Arush goes on his honeymoon but is heartbroken to find out that Devika loves an Englishman and had agreed to marry Arush to escape her father’s clutches. Arush jumps into the sea to commit suicide only to be saved by the beautiful Sandy (Deepika Padukone). The story continues with the luck changing in Arush’s favour. Don’t want to say much more and give out spoilers….???

My Perception: This is Sajid Khan’s second film and considering what I thought about the first one – Heyy Babyy (“boring” in one word) – I should not have gone to this. But what with the dearth of Bollywood films, I went to see it along with my husband and daughter in a kind of desperation. Of course, I made sure that I left my brain back at home. Even then…

Akshay Kumar has taken to acting a fool in all his recent films. Does that mean that it is less of an effort and that’s why he is taking on such roles? He is a very good actor and why he would continue to take such dumb roles is beyond me. He works hard (?) to create forced comedy that is not funny at all.

Ritesh Deshmukh was very good in his role and so was Lara Dutta, but nothing outstanding in either case. Deepika Padukone was sizzling hot. She looks gorgeous and her acting skills are improving day by day. Arjun Rampal looked hot too and was excellent in his role as Major Krishna Rao. Boman Irani brought on a number of laughs as Lara’s father. Chunky Pandey’s acting and dialogue delivery is definitely worth a mention. Jiah Khan looked and acted like a slut. I wonder whether the role demanded that. Lillette Dubey had a blink-and-miss role that did not demand much of her acting skills. Randhir Kapoor was in a drunken stupor in all his scenes. That maybe came naturally.

I need to mention here that a part of the film – where the partners are interchanged to fool the parent and uncle with a large home and a fake baby – is a rip-off from the Kamal Haasan-Prabhudeva starrer Kadhala Kadhala. The Tamil film was far superior to this flick.

Yes, I did laugh a lot during the film. But ask me what I laughed about – I know not and I care not.

May be Sajid Khan does not care either.

Verdict: I am sure anyone who watches Hindi films will see it as there are not many offerings from B-Town.

Rating: **Shaky

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sharing: MAY DAY

The 1st of May is called May Day internationally and is celebrated as Labourers' Day. Locally it is called Maharashtra Day. I believe that I am an Indian and have a global sense of belonging and so will stick to the concept of May Day, a celebration for workers.

I dedicate this blog to my home helpers who do their best - which is a lot - to make my life a great one.This is Jaya - she is kind of the head of my team of helpers. She washes vessels, clothes, dries them, gives the right ones for ironing, cleans the house, does the jaadu-pocha and umpteen other tasks that are required to keep the home front going. She is a treasure and I really appreciate and cherish her. She is truly a God send! She is very professional in that she takes leave only when necessary and does not stand me up every other day like some people do.

The second in line is Muni. We go back over twenty years. She is into her fifties and cannot do very heavy work. She cuts vegetables for me, artistically, in fact. And she is the stand-in just in case Jaya falls sick. I can always rely on Muni to help me in times of trouble. God bless her!

This is Tina, my most recent discovery! Or should I say that she found me! Her cooking is divine. And most importantly, she does it with love and never loses her cool even if do so at times. She is totally regular and refuses to take an off unless I insist. A gift from God indeed! She makes my life way easier in the mornings, leaving me time for my yoga, meditation and exercises.

The last pair of pictures belong to Shaila and her cousin who make garlands of flowers. They supply to our home come rain or shine and have been doing so for over more than 20 years. I really appreciate their work. God Bless!

Of course, there are many more people who are a great help in my life on a regular basis, my vegetable vendor, the lady who sells bananas, my watchman who also gets the milk home every day and Afroze, my beautician. Only I don't have pictures of all these people. This blog is all about how I totally appreciate each and every one of these people. Thank you all!