Friday, April 29, 2011


One more experience at Big Cinemas that I wanted to write about separately.

I am not too keen on having the National Anthem played at movie theatres. Please don’t mistake me. I have absolute respect for our country and for great leaders like The Mahatma. This has nothing to do with that. I only believe strongly that you are going to have fun at the movies and National Anthem is something serious and needs to be reserved for a more sober platform.

That aside, The Silent Indian National Anthem was a class apart. It drove me to tears just before the film began – twice on that day – before Rango and before Rio. Do check the video on the above link and you will understand what I am talking about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It was Good Friday and the beginning of a long weekend. My daughter Vini had already left on a trip with her college friends after her exams. While my son Viggy and I wondered what we could do, my husband was feeling a bit under the weather and was not keen on going out himself.

That’s when Viggy and I decided to go watch a couple of animated films that had released. Venkat is not too keen on animation and hence we had no qualms about going by ourselves.

Viggy booked tickets for Rango by phone as the film had just released that very day. We reached Big Cinemas at Wadala by about 12.30 and got the tickets. I browsed through some books at the Crossword outlet there. Then we picked up our samosa-popcorn-pepsi combo at the counter on the first floor before heading to Screen 5 on the second floor.

We had taken the premium seats that are actually cushiony sofas. Aah! It was wonderful – my second visit to the theatre.

After the film, the two of us got out and went to have lunch on the first floor. The restaurants are on the same line with cute seating arrangements. We ordered a tomato-cheese thin crust pizza at Garcia; a Green Thai Curry and Phad Thai noodles (all vegetarian) at Zenzibu Orientals. Everything was amazing. We were surprised to receive a helping of rice along with the Thai curry while the rates were so reasonable. We enjoyed the food. We were not keen to drink the ‘Springs’ mineral water which is the only brand available on the premises. It tastes ‘yuck’ and we knew that from a previous experience. Luckily for us, there was a water cooler that served decent purified water.

Viggy went to purchase the tickets for the second show of the day – Rio. He returned to ask me whether I  would like to play air-hockey. I did not even know what he was talking about but decided to give it a try. It was such fun that I cackled my way through four games in a row. I lost most of the time ;) but we had a whale of a time. There were a couple of times when Viggy told me that I was laughing and jumping like a kid. And then he gave up!

We had ice-cream at the counter on the first floor. The college kid who was handling the counter asked us to rush with our orders as the poor thing had not had a lunch break with so many orders in the heat of summer. Then, it was already time to go to Rio on Screen 2. Awesome film! Great fun! And super premium seats again!

We got out and Viggy headed to Zenzibu Orientals to place an order of take home Thai curry for Venkat while I went to Crossword to buy all the books that I had checked out earlier in the day.

Armed with both the parcels, Viggy and I headed home happily, after a super day at Big Cinemas.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Film Review: RIO

Voices: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Jemaine Clement, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan
Director: Carlos Saldanha

The Story: A bird-catcher catches a huge load of exotic birds from the jungle in Rio de Janeiro. He sells the lot to someone in the city. Some of the birds are transported to the USA. A parcel falls out of the truck and in it is found a tiny blue macaw. A small girl finds him and takes him home for her pet. Linda (Leslie Mann) calls her pet Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Blu grows up to be more human than bird. He gets educated along with Linda but never learns how to fly. A scientist and researcher, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) goes to Linda’s book shop. He tells her that Blu is the last of his species of blue macaw. He also says that Jewel (Anne Hathaway), the last of the female of the species, is with him at his lab. Tulio suggests that the birds are brought together in their homeland of Rio to ensure that the species do not die out. At first hesitant, Linda agrees to his suggestion and takes Blu to Rio against her better judgement. Watch the colourful and hilarious turn of events when they get there right in the middle of the Rio carnival and finally Blu meets Jewel. Jewel is a smart bird with a lot of bird sense. Blu is also smart but very human and pretty sophisticated at that. Will the two get along enough to get together?

My Perception: What hits you most about this 3D film is the rainbow dance of colour. It took me back to our visit to Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. There are so many exotic birds that thrill your heart. 

The wake-up sequence first thing in the morning in the Rio jungle right at the beginning, sets the movie off on the right note.

There is Blu – so suave and smart. He is absolutely knowledgeable about just about everything that one can learn from books and the internet. It’s fun hearing him talk. He cannot fly to save his life – literally.

Jewel is wild by nature and lovely to look at. She is forever trying to escape Tulio’s lab. Desperate to get away, she gets so angry when she falls out of there to land in another jail – that of a bird thief.

The wild cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) plays the perfect villain. He is admitted to Tulio’s lab pretending to be horribly sick. He wakes up in the middle of the night to steal away all the exotic birds that are homed there. Super villain!

Rafael (George Lopez) is a toucan with a large family and a domineering wife. He goes along with Blu to help him get back to Linda. He’s quite romantic and is keen to get Blu and Jewel together.

Then there are the thieving monkeys of Rio; Bull dog Luiz (Tracy Morgan); the red-crested cardinal Pedro (Will-i-am) and the little yellow canary Nico (Jamie Foxx). All so cute and important characters in the film.

The film takes you from the wilds of Rio at the beginning to a small town in the USA and later back to Rio de Janeiro. It takes you into the slums of Rio and all the way to the grand annual carnival. Beautifully picturised!

A cute bird story that looks gorgeous in 3D animation, edited and directed perfectly.

Verdict: GO FOR IT if you like animated flicks!

Rating: **** Snazzy

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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Film Review: RANGO

Voices: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Oliphant
Director: Gore Verbinski

The Story: This animated film is about a chameleon that falls out of its owner’s vehicle on a highway that runs through a desert. The chameleon tumbles into a town called Dirt, desperate to find water. But there is no water available in the drought-ridden town. He goes into a tavern and meets a lot of baddies there. With a bit of wit and cunning, the chameleon convinces them that he is smart and courageous. He also gives himself the name, Rango. This paves the way for Rango to meet the town mayor, a tortoise. The mayor appoints Rango as the town sheriff. It’s not long before Rango finds out that it is the tortoise that is holding the town to ransom by ensuring that their water supply is cut off completely. Watch the film to find out how Rango manages to save the town from the mayor and his henchmen.

My Perception: The animation was nothing short of amazing. With a cute story woven in the style of western flicks, with characters that stick to your memory for a long time after the film is over, with excellent editing that makes sure that you are glued to the screen throughout, with superb direction that makes you wonder whether what you are watching is animation or for real, the film grips you from beginning till the end.

The animated animals don’t necessarily stick to original sizes, but look awesome. Special mentions need to be made of the owls in the musical band; the tortoise mayor; Jake the rattler; the town baddies; the flying bats and most especially Sheriff Rango himself.

I am not too fond of Johnny Depp and his acting skills. But his voice (Rango) in this film was too perfect. It suited the character very well. Kudos!

The music, the songs, the background scenes and the settings were wonderful and take you back to the olden days of American western films.

The dialogues are crisp and the film is precise with a plot one can relate to. A problem that is caused by an evil tortoise and is solved after all these years by the hero of the tale – simple and stunning!

Verdict: If you like animation - DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!

Rating: *****Super

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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Film Review: மாப்பிள்ளை (MAPPILLAI)

Mappillai (2011)
Cast: Dhanush, Manisha Koirala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vivek, Hansika Motwani
Writer-Director: Suraaj

The Story: Sharavanan (Dhanush) lives in a friendly neighbourhood in Chennai and is the envy of all the neighbours. He lives with his sister and brother-in-law and spends his time visiting temples. Chinna (Vivek) and his friends are the bad boys who loaf their lives away. Sharavanan happens to rescue the daughter (Hansika Motwani) of billionaire Rajeswari (Manisha Koirala) from a scooter accident. The girl falls for him and seeing him for the quiet boy he is, Rajeswari decides to make him her son-in-law and keep the married couple in her own home. Just before the wedding, Rajeswari finds out that Sharavanan is not the simpleton that he appears to be. While she does her best to keep him out of her daughter’s life, Sharavanan sticks to them like glue and the rest of the story goes on to show how he proves himself to be a good son-in-law (Mappillai).

My Perception: The story sounds familiar? Yeah, of course, you have seen it either in Tamil – Mappillai (1989) starring Rajinikanth with Srividya playing the mother-in-law and Amala as Rajinikanth’s heroine. OR you have seen it in Hindi – Jamai Raja (1990) starring Anil Kapoor with Hema Malini playing the mother-in-law. Incidentally, Madhuri Dixit played Anil Kapoor’s love interest.

Getting back to this film, it began extremely well. Vivek’s comedy timing was perfect and the dialogue was quite witty and sharp during the first 45 minutes. Even the song – Kandhanukku arohara Muruganukku arohara – was good. One could relate to the lyrics that were quite well-written following the life-story of Lord Murugan. One could very well understand how young men from the lower and middle-income groups could relate to Dhanush, the actor. He looks like your local rickshawalla who can sing, dance, fight and romance. While he looks anything like a hero, Dhanush can definitely act. He so reminds me of Rajinikanth when he was new to films. The superstar used to look a lot like his mappillai (the pun is intended as Dhanush is married to Rajinikanth’s daughter in real life) and I remember not liking him much.

But later, I, like millions of others, fell for the superstar’s style and there was no looking back. I went to watch this film for the same reason, hoping to find some kind of a style in Dhanush that I could relate to. Maybe I am way too old and cynical, but, alas, I just could find nothing in the hero that could charm me, despite his good (just good, nothing exceptional) acting skills.

After about one-third of the film got over, it went straight downhill. While I really admired the writer-director Suraaj for the dialogues in that part, I was totally disappointed with the way the film moved steadily from bad to worse, with no surprises. I could have uttered the dialogues myself as it so closely followed the original Tamil version. BTW, I have seen both Rajinikanth’s and Anil Kapoor’s films.

Manisha Koirala has done an excellent job. Taking on this role must not have been easy to someone who had been playing the heroine not so long ago. But this was indeed a smart move as the mother-in-law’s role is fairly stylish and that of a vamp. Kudos!

Hansika Motwani had a negligible role that does not enhance her career in any way.

Vivek was excellent and I sincerely wish that he had had more of a role in the film. I had thought that his career was taking a downward spiral, but this film proves that the actor has a lot more comedy in him that he could share with the public.

Verdict: A must watch if you are an ardent Dhanush fan. Otherwise, keep away. I am sure Vivek's comedy scenes will soon be on TV. You can have your fun then if you are a Vivek fan. 

Rating: ** 1/2 (One of those stars solely belongs to Vivek)

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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

WORLD HEALTH DAY: Living forever

Today is World Health Day and I am glad that I am finally back to blogging after two months and that too with one of my favourite topics – health.

There are two ways to maintain good health – prevention and cure. As far as cure is concerned, every time you fall sick, you have to be treated and the more medication that you feed into your body, the worse off is the system. The resistance power in our systems continues to weaken each time we take a course of antibiotics and worse yet – steroids. Then again the pollution surrounding us is so much that there is not much of a chance avoiding this.

Then how to avoid falling ill? This brings us back to the best method – prevention.

Eating the right foods, drinking enough water, deep breathing and keeping fit are various ways of ensuring that we remain healthy.

Sure, if we follow all these regularly. Only, most of us don’t. Then there is also the pollution in the atmosphere, the change in lifestyle, consumption of junk food, alcohol, etc. that do not allow for the best health.

That’s when you adapt yourself to Forever Living Products. I can divide my life into two parts – before and after FLP.

These products are manufactured by a 32-year-old American company called Forever Living Products Pvt. Ltd. The vision of the creator is nothing short of amazing.

Most of the products are based on a plant called Aloe Vera that belongs to the cactus family. There are more than 3000 types of Aloe Vera that grows on earth. Out of these, only three or four are edible and the founders of this company have segregated the right kind, cultivate it and give it to us in the form of Aloe Vera Gel – that I could term ‘the essence of life’.

There are approximately 140 products that are manufactured by this company based on Aloe Vera and Bee products. The Aloe Vera and beehives are cultivated in about 7500 acres of desert land in Arizona. This place has been kept absolutely free of pollution. The vehicles used here are all run on electricity. No chemicals such as pesticides or fertilisers are used on this land and everything is grown naturally.

That is the most important point where these products are concerned. In this blog, I plan to write to you the use of Aloe Vera Gel – just one particular product of FLP.

Why do we need to consume Aloe Vera Gel?

As I had mentioned in the Arogya Deeksha blog earlier, 90% of our physical ailments occur due to constipation. We study at school level, how the small intestine helps push faeces out of our system. When this does not get out 100%, the villi in the small intestine trap this excretia and block the pores in the small intestine. These pores are the gateway to health. When food is digested, the nutrients are absorbed into the body through these pores and the waste is thrown out as faeces. If these pores are blocked, the body loses out on a lot of nutrients and we suffer poor health. The problem continues even if we consume multi-vitamins or calcium in the form of tablets. These are also not absorbed properly by the system.

Aloe Vera
When we drink Aloe Vera Gel regularly, the first job it does is to clean up our intestine – the villi – and regulate absorption of nutrients into the system. The main block for good health is removed.

Aloe Vera Gel acts as a coating against the stomach lining, healing it completely. It heals all parts within the abdomen, to begin with.
Once the digestive system gets cleaned up, the skin begins to glow, automatically getting rid of pimples, acne, etc.
Aloe Vera Gel brings to your body 46 nutrients that you never get from the day-to-day food that you consume.
It’s the best thing that could happen to women as the uterus responds extremely well to the consumption of Aloe Vera Gel. Periods are regularised with menstrual pain and pre-menstrual tension disappearing completely.
Haemoglobin count increases with the consumption of Aloe Vera Gel.

These are but a few of the advantages that I have personally seen happening within our family.

Real life experiences:

1. My husband, since the time I know him (that’s almost 27 years), has always suffered from an irritated stomach. Every time he consumed something that was bought from out, he used to either have loose stools or constipation – both accompanied by stomach pain. Consuming Aloe Vera Gel for but a few weeks has healed his stomach completely.

2. The varicose veins on my legs are reducing by and by since I began consumption of Aloe Vera Gel three months ago. I feel way more energetic then I used to be.

3. My parents, aged 68 & 78, have never been able to cross their legs while sitting on a chair since a few years. After consuming Aloe Vera Gel for just a week or so, they have been able to do that. It’s nothing short of miraculous.

For those who are interested in knowing more or purchasing the product, you are welcome to contact Vigneshkumar Venkatraman, Direct Distributor of FLP on 9920054207.