Saturday, November 30, 2013


Hotel Punnami is very close to Dwarkamai & Chavadi
Shirdi being a pilgrimage haven, one cannot help but find a number of hotels and restaurants all around. The restaurants sell all kinds of cuisines under the sun while one can never be sure how authentic they are.

Venkat and I saw a few restaurants saying that they served South Indian Thali and Andhra meals. I was quite impressed with the Tamil boards actually. Venkat told me that they could be printed at a cost and did not necessarily mean that the meal was authentic. He was proved right pretty soon.

We walked into a restaurant run by a Maharashtrian and spoke with the manager. He explained that most of the restaurants were run by Maharashtrians and Biharis and they all sold their own versions of South Indian meals. The man was nice enough to tell us that there was one restaurant on the first floor above his that sold Andhra meals. While he also told us that the food was not great, we decided to risk it.

Are we glad that we did!

The table is set for lunch
There were huge name boards written in Telugu and we did not even know the name of the restaurant when we entered its precincts. I could not take pictures of the place or the meal that we ate as our mobiles and camera were at the temple counter.

We asked for a meal and were told that the cost was Rs. 70. This was for two vegetables, pappu (dal), sambar, rasam, rice, avakkai pickle, green chilli chutney, powder chutney and rice – all unlimited, along with a cup of curd. Everything tasted yummy if you like your food a little spicy and sour with tamarind. We loved it!

Venkat pays the bill after a hearty breakfast
The next day morning, we went back to Hotel Punnami – I managed to locate the English name board in broad daylight – and had breakfast.

It was 11 am and they were getting ready for lunch but did not mind giving us breakfast. We asked for upma and medhu vada and were disappointed when both the items turned up cold. We asked them if they could serve us something hot. Without a protest, they removed both items and offered us idli and dosa. Both came piping hot with two types of chutneys and delicious sambar. We relished the breakfast along with coffee and left the place with a satisfied stomach.

Friday, November 29, 2013


As I was planning our trip to Shirdi, I checked the internet for suitable hotels for stay. After checking the excellent ratings on, I zeroed in on Hotel Sai Moreshwar. I found their website and realised that they also had branches at Lonavla and Pune. After finding contact numbers, I called one to find that it was a Mumbai number.

The reception at the hotel
Ms. Vanitha answered the phone and told me that rooms were available and I could book a double non-AC room for Rs. 1526 per day including taxes. After consulting Venkat, I booked a room for two days. I also called the other local number to check about the availability of room service, a restaurant, hot water, etc. They even have a free wi-fi connection for guests that could be used in the reception.

Our room
We walked from the bus stand to Hotel Sai Moreshwar that was just a couple of minutes away and booked in. We were lucky to get the rates that we did as walk-in guests usually pay Rs. 1700 + taxes for the same room. I went to check the rooms – they have regular and deluxe, which is with a balcony. All the rooms have air-conditioners and we could use one of them without using the AC there as the weather was quite pleasant.

Venkat relaxing on the bed
The room we booked into – No. 302 – was very comfortable and quite big. The bathroom was also large and the best was the availability of hot water round the clock.

I have to mention that the service was excellent. They provided us with fluffy towels on both days, cleaned up the room very well and room service was very prompt.

The food was not too bad
The food at their in-house Restaurant Sai Maurya was good, not great. We had only a couple of meals there.

When we planned a trip to Shani Shingnapur, the hotel manager had the AC car booked for us at a reasonable rate.

All in all, we totally enjoyed the stay at Hotel Sai Moreshwar that is located barely a few minutes from Shirdi Temple.

Click Here to find out more about the hotel and contact numbers for booking. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Lord Shani!
I have heard about Shani Shingnapur from a number of people. The thing that most struck me was what I had heard about houses having no doors as the people felt quite safe under the protection of Lord Shani. Venkat had visited the shrine once before.

The entrance
We hired a car on Tuesday morning and went to Shani Shingnapur. The temple is about 70 km from Shirdi. The only problem is that half the distance is covered on horrible roads. The driver took more than an hour to traverse the tortured 30 km and then another forty five minutes for the rest of the distance. We reached the town at around 12.15 pm after a scenic drive full of green fields. I managed to see grapevines, sugarcane fields, flowering plants and a farm full of brinjal plants.

Bullock carts loaded with sugarcane
We passed by a number of bullock carts loaded with freshly cut sugarcane that was being carted to a nearby sugar factory.

Near the car park
I just loved seeing all those wooden sugarcane juice machines that were being run by bullocks. I insisted on stopping at one to have fresh cane juice on our return journey.

That's me at the entrance
We reached the temple area and parked the car. Many vendors approached us to sell til oil and flower trays. They also insisted that Venkat should not wear a leather belt and that we should remove our footwear right there. Venkat had already had an experience of walking a long distance on the hot roads without slippers during his earlier trip. He refused to remove either his footwear or belt and told me that we should go on till someone officially stopped us.

This majestic king of the forests was guarding the entrance
No one did, actually! We had to walk for about 5-6 minutes to reach the temple complex. I was so relieved to see that there were no rules here at Shani Shingnapur. We left our footwear at a counter manned by the temple employees and walked into the temple with our mobiles and my camera. There was no one to tell me not to take pictures. It was a joy to walk in. While there was a crowd, there were no snaking lines. We all had the freedom to walk in and take darshan to our hearts’ content. The stone – a swayambhu – depicting Lord Shani is placed in the centre of a compound with a metal railing. One could walk around and pray at will. There were a couple of security personnel who just kept a watch without interfering. There were a few pundits ready to offer pooja if anyone was interested.

For meditation
We walked up to the deity and prayed peacefully for a few minutes. Then we walked around the compound, checking out the different counters.

Venkat chanting 'OM'
There were two tall structures where one could meditate. While they were not in the shape of pyramids, they had a high ceiling and Venkat’s voice echoed when he chanted OM a few times. It was nice!

Farmers and cattle relaxing after delivering sugarcane to the factory

There is a huge garden in the front. We sat there for a few minutes before leaving the temple, totally satisfied with Shani Bhagavan’s darshan.

A house without a door
We left the temple to visit the village by car, checking out the houses. It was amazing to see that they really had no doors. Some of them had curtains while the others not even that. I managed to click a couple of pictures of this incredible phenomenon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The Sai Baba Idol that we brought home
When Venkat asked me whether I was interested in going to Shirdi for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance as it was around 18 years since our last visit to Sai Baba’s shrine.

We decided to go to Shirdi by Neeta Travels and I booked our tickets for Monday, November 25, 2013 on a Mercedes Benz. The bus left at 8.30 am from Sion. It was quite comfortable with pushback seats and an excellent AC.

We had already booked a room at Hotel Sai Moreshwar after checking the excellent ratings on In the meanwhile, the Neeta Bus attendant did his best to persuade us to book a room at Neeta International Hotel at Shirdi. We tentatively agreed that we would consider it after checking out the rooms there. We did not want to commit ourselves as we had never heard of this hotel and had not seen it recommended on the net. The man went on to make a receipt in our name – he already had my cell number as I had used it for booking the bus tickets – and insisted that we pay Rs. 1000 advance. The worst part was that he said that we had to pay up immediately as he had to get off at Thane. I don’t know what kind of fools he thought we were!

On the way
It looked like he had also approached a number of other passengers for similar deals. I don’t know for sure whether he was being honest or not, but Venkat point blank refused to pay him an advance. The man left in a huff.

The bus reached Shirdi at around 3 pm after stopping twice for breakfast and lunch on the way. Luckily for us, Hotel Sai Moreshewar was just a 2-minute walk from the bus stand and we checked in without any difficulty.

We found out the timings for darshan at Shirdi Temple and decided to go after the 5-7 pm arati got over. For those interested, the Shirdi Temple opens at 4.30 am and the last darshan is at 10.30 pm. The temple was a few minute walk from our hotel. We stopped for a snack at an Udipi restaurant and then went for the darshan.

In the garden at the hotel
Mobile phones and cameras are strictly not allowed. They have a counter where you can deposit them and get a receipt in exchange. This is right next to the shoe counter. After collecting the respective receipts, Venkat and I went to stand at the entrance queue. I have to mention that the experience was way different from what it used to be during my earlier visits.

I had been to Shirdi five times before this trip, if I am not mistaken. We used to just enter the hall and pray to Sai Baba, do namaskar, get out from behind the shrine, visit Dwarkamai, the Chavadi and the bazaar. It used to be child’s play.

Not so now! The marketing bhoot has taken over Shirdi also and the place has become extremely commercial. A guy approached us and said that darshan could take 4-5 hours and he could help us get in by a special queue. While the charges were Rs. 500 per person officially, he could give us a deal at Rs. 300 per head. We refused him as we did not have much else to do and were not too fazed by waiting for darshan for a few hours.

We were surprised to enter the temple and walk in and out of snaking queue-lines – the crowd was not much, actually. We walked round and round, went down a staircase and went up another before entering the main hall of the temple. Luckily for us, we took barely 25 minutes to reach the hall. After that, it was another 10-15 minutes before we could get near Sai Baba. There was a ratio of one security person to ten pilgrims. I felt it was atrocious. They kept pushing the devotees making it impossible to pray. One kind of tends to forget why one is visiting the temple. Marketing at its worst!

Lord Hanuman at Shirdi
All I wanted to do was connect with Sai Baba for a minute in peace. That was just not possible. I even forgot to pray. I had a good darshan in the sense I could see Sai Baba and I could touch the padukas. Before I could imbibe the atmosphere, I found myself being cast out of the hall. Venkat and I did not give up. We managed to get in again without going through the whole queue line procedure and managed to get one more darshan.

We finally managed to come out of the compound only to realise we were nowhere near where we had entered. When we showed the mobile-camera receipt to a security, he guided us to return to Gate No. 1. We had to walk for a few minutes before we found the place. There are at least six gates there to my knowledge.

The next day was Tuesday. Venkat and I hired a car to visit Shani Shingnapur. In the evening, we again went for Sai Baba’s darshan. This time round we managed to complete the darshan in 20 minutes. We also got to visit Dwarkamai, Chavadi and the market place.

I was shocked to see the dhuni (sacred fire) had been enclosed in a metal mesh on all sides. The dhuni used to be in the open – with a roof – and was a source of joy and solace to devotees. I don’t know what has come over the trustees. I could not see the dhuni at all, could just feel the heat coming off the metal.

We also had a darshan of Lord Hanuman at a shrine near Dwarkamai. We went inside the Hanuman Temple the third day morning as there was no crowd at that point.

All my prayers I managed to complete in the hotel room as it was not possible to pray at the temple.

All in all, an excellent trip with a lovely darshan! Thank you Sai Baba!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Ceiling of Heritage Building, CST

I had read about the Heritage Tour offered by CST in Mumbai Mirror. The article is probably some months old. From that day I had been planning to go for it and I finally managed to take the tour last week.

CST Building was declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004
I reached the Heritage Building at 3.10 pm. I got a ticket and was assigned a guide even though I was alone. I felt quite impressed by the service. Kalpana took me to the Railway Museum first and told me all about Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) that was formed by the British. I was most happy as they let me click pictures.

Engine Model of GIPR
The Railway Museum traces the history of the Indian Railways since GIPR (Great Indian Peninsula Railway) was established in 1844. It houses some drawings by Architect FW Stevens; models of engines from those days; posters of the original board of directors; the huge bell that was used in the beginning to announce the arrival and departure of trains; the hand bell that was used by the guard in those days; number plates that were used; a clock that used to hang at the station and more. There is also a gorgeous model of CST in a glass case.

Kalpana took me through all the relics and patiently answered my questions. After completing with the museum, she took me inside the Heritage Building along with three others who had joined us by then.

The original bell that was used to announce arrival & departure of trains
CST used to be called VT. Even before that, in the beginning, the station was called Bori Bunder. The first railway track used to run trains from Bori Bunder to Byculla to Thana. Engines and carriages used to be imported from England via the sea.

Water pots used for serving water - the black one for first class passengers and the brass pot for the 3rd class
Victoria Terminus was constructed in 1888 to house the company headquarters of GIPR. Frederick William Stevens was the architect who designed the building. He has based the design on the Victoria Station in London while adapting Indian architecture including the Mughul influence. I was quite enthralled.

The very first number plate created. It is still used by the toy train at Matheran. Don't miss the first railway timetable

The land for constructing Victoria Terminus was donated to the British by Jagannath Shankar Seth. The building itself took ten years to complete. The building is constructed in the Indian Gothic Style. It has been declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004.

The impressive entrance to the Heritage Building
All I can say is CST looks gorgeous not just from outside but from inside too. The main dome’s interior is an impressive structure viewed from within. I have added some of the pictures that I clicked of the Terminus which will give one an idea of how it is.

Different sections of the Dining Hall
There are three floors in all – ground, first and second. The ground floor is built in the lines of Neo-Gothic Style; the first floor follows Mughal Architecture and the second floor is influenced by Romans. Impressive, isn’t it!

A stone lion welcomes you!
There is a majestic stone lion sitting on its haunches in the entrance hall near the stairway. He looks so handsome. We went up the wide, curving staircase to the first floor where the Dining Hall is situated. It’s huge and had been built for the staff. Nowadays, it’s maintained for show. There is a large dining table on one side while you will find comfortable sofas on the other. Many carvings of animals are found on the panels while the hall is held up by pillars of Italian marble. What came as a surprise was the toilet facility behind the dining hall. It was quite posh and clean with granite tiles, considering that it is part of an Indian railway station.

Another angle to the dome from within
We walked up to the second floor admiring the arches and ceiling before being guided to another small hall. Modern seating was available here where the tall windows gave us a bird’s eye view of the bustling station. We were served hot tea and biscuits by the CST staff.

The Star Chamber ceiling - the ticket counter is right below
The next stop was at the Star Chamber that houses the ticket booking office of the station. The hall got its name from the ceiling it sports. It used to serve as a resting room for the staff of the British. There is a clock tower above the ticket counter that houses a mechanical clock that is wound up once a week even today.

That lady on top of the dome is called The Statue of Progress
Not bad, I thought before walking down to write in the visitors’ book. A worthy visit indeed!

Different angles to the Heritage Building

The garden in front of CST

Monday, November 18, 2013

Film Review: Goliyon Ki Raasleela: RAM-LEELA

Ranveer-Deepika scorch the screen!

Venkat was not keen to see the film as we are never sure what to expect from Sanjay Leela Bhansali. But Vinny and I were quite impressed by the promos and decided to go. We went for the mid-morning show at PVR in Phoenix Market City on Sunday. The theatre was packed as the film has had consistently good reviews.


The film is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. It’s set in Gujarat and is all about the enmity between The Rajadis and Sanedas. Ram (Ranveer Singh) is the younger son of the Rajadi house and wishes for peace. It’s love at first sight for him and Leela Saneda (Deepika Padukone), the laadli of the Saneda female head (Supriya Pathak Kapur). Leela’s wedding is fixed with an NRI from London. Only the lady chooses to run away with her lover. Things don’t work out and the two return to their respective families. Anger and battles are interspersed with goliyon ki baarish and people die on both sides. Will their love survive?


As I mentioned, the story is loosely based on Romeo Juliet – in that it is a tragic love story. In the Shakespeare tragedy, the hero and heroine were immature youngsters. Not so in Ram-Leela.

Both Ram and Leela are extremely mature and know what they are about. The characters were superbly etched and both the actors have played them so well. I have seen Ranveer Singh in Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. In both films his roles had been light and fun. I was quite impressed by the actor’s dialogue delivery. In Ram-Leela, Ranveer Singh has many opportunities to emote and does he squeeze your heart! He was excellent. He looks so good too! I used to think that he did not have the ‘pizzazz’ to compete with the Bollywood Biggies and I am glad he has proved me wrong. Excellent Performance, Ranveer Singh! Keep up the great work!

Deepika Padukone has slowly but surely grown up from her partying girl avatars to more mature roles. She looks gorgeous and has acted so well. She blazes across the dance floors with Ranveer Singh and their chemistry scorches the screen. Her overnight transformation from a laughing young woman to the serious head of Sanedas when her mother is injured is nothing short of amazing. Superb, Deepika Padukone! Way to go!

Gulshan Devaiah
I just love the riot of colours, the exotic backgrounds and stunning costumes along with the elaborate song and dance sequences of some of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films. While not a great fan of the producer-director’s works, I especially loved Devdas. This movie is simply amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The music and dance was awesome in the film and they fitted so well, not taking away from the story. I did not much care for the violence, but then that was very much part of the story and one cannot do away with it.

All the other actors have also performed very well. A special mention for 2-film-old Gulshan Devaiah and Richa Chadda!

Supriya Pathak Kapur’s performance as the head of Sanedas is striking. She looks the personification of evil and does an amazing job of her role. Kudos!

VERDICT: It most definitely worth a see!

RATING: ****Snazzy

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Chin Mudra
I have always been one for alternate therapies, especially yoga and meditation. I find that they are the best as they don’t bring you any harmful side effects. More than that, the chances are that you receive a number of unexpected positive side effects.

While I learned about Yoga Mudras from many sources – people and the internet – I use the following Mudras to improve my health and lifestyle. I bring you this article from my own personal experience. Most of the Mudras are best done on an empty stomach.

These are long term therapies - or rather, a change in lifestyle. You start doing these Mudras and see the effect over a period of time for yourself. It’s best that you continue with them through your life for preventing a number of illnesses while bringing you tremendous energy. You need to spend less than half an hour every day to do all of these. Believe me, it most definitely is worth it. While I have mentioned a limit of 100-200 counts of deep breathing for each Mudra, you are welcome to do more if you feel so inclined.

There are a number of Mudras. I just bring you those that I personally found useful and know the positive effects of.

Chin Mudra

Most of you must be familiar with this Mudra that brings together the tips of the thumb and index finger while holding the rest of the three fingers straight. I do deep breathing while holding my fingers in this Mudra. One can do 100 to 200 counts of deep abdominal breathing depending on the time one can spare.

This Mudra is effective for de-stressing, bringing down one’s blood pressure and getting sound sleep. It improves one's concentration and focus too.

Go Mudra
Go Mudra

Go’ means ‘cow’ in Sanskrit. This is called the Go Mudra as it resembles the head of a cow. You bring the tip of your thumb to touch the middle and ring fingers together while holding the other two fingers straight.

This Mudra helps strengthen your pancreas and keeps away Diabetes. Amazing, isn’t it! But so true. Imagine being able to lead a healthy life free of diabetes by doing 100-200 deep breathing along with this Mudra. It takes less than five minutes.

Varun Mudra
Varun Mudra

As the name suggests, Varun Mudra balances the water content in your body. You bring the thumb tip and the tip of your pinky finger together to do this Mudra. Deep breathe 100-200 times keeping your fingers in this state.

Varun Mudra helps strengthen the kidneys and bladder. I hear that most women of 40 years and above suffer from Incontinence – lack of control over the bladder. This Mudra is extremely powerful in setting that right. It also helps in making sure that you don’t ever get dehydrated. I find this very effective.

Surya Mudra
 Surya Mudra

The name suggests the influence of The Sun. Surya Mudra helps improving the metabolism in one’s system. You bend the ring finger so that the tip touches the middle of your palm. Then press the thumb over the second phalange of the ring finger. Hold your hand in this position for 100-200 breathing counts to bring about tremendous changes in your body.

While officially this Mudra is supposed to improve thyroid function, set right metabolism and do away with constipation, what I found was something more and even better. I had – note the past tense – been suffering from Osteo-arthritis since three years. Those who are familiar with this problem will know that doctors advise losing weight in the short term, recommend steroids most of the time with patients ending up doing knee surgery in the long term. Doctors also insist that the patient should avoid climbing stairs, squatting and a number of other things.

Doing this Mudra with 200 counts of deep breathing brought such tremendous relief in just a couple of months. I had stopped doing Surya Namaskar because I could not bend my knee properly. Now I am able to do Surya Namaskar as well as a few squats because of this Mudra.

Of course, I would suggest you consult your doctor before doing any strenuous exercises. But the Surya Mudra definitely helps in making your body strong. This is one Mudra you can do on a full stomach too. It helps reduce the feeling of heaviness after a meal.

Aakaash Mudra 
Aakaash Mudra

Aakaash Mudra is performed by bringing together the tips of the thumb and middle finger while holding the rest of the fingers straight. This can also be done for 100-200 counts of deep breathing.

This Mudra is effective in reducing blood pressure, cleaning out your sinuses and keeping your heart going strong. Incidentally, it also helps one grow spiritually and is a path to enlightenment.

While a number of websites recommend that the Mudras should be performed for 15 minutes to half an hour, I would suggest that you inculcate them in your lives for about 5 minutes or less. That way, you will not feel the strain of spending a lot of time on this while reaping the golden benefits that these Mudras bring.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Aloo Paneer Kofta
I was keen to make Paneer Kofta for Diwali. I have never made this before and so I browsed the net and checked out a few recipes. Armed with this knowledge, I set out to make Aloo Paneer Kofta in both tomato and palak gravies. They both turned out to be delicious.



Potatoes – ½ kg
French Beans – 100 gm (chopped fine)
Carrots – 2 (chopped fine)
Paneer – 150 gm (grated)
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Mirchi Powder – ½ tsp
Dhania Powder – ½ tsp
Jeera Powder – ½ tsp
Kotmir – 2 tbsp (chopped)
Corn flour – 100-150 gm
Salt to taste
Oil for frying


1. Boil the potatoes. Peel the skin and mash them in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the chopped beans and carrots to boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes before draining the water completely. Add these also to the bowl.
3. Add grated paneer and the many powders along with salt and kotmir.
4. Sprinkle the corn flour over this and mix well into a thick dough. Add flour as per requirement.
5. Shape them into round balls or ovals as you please.
6. Deep fry in medium hot oil till golden brown in colour.
7. Remove and keep them aside.

The Aloo Paneer Kofta is ready. They taste yummy by themselves - but more so with the gravies.

Aloo Paneer Kofta in Palak Gravy

I am giving the two recipes together as the basic masala is the same – the only difference being tomato and spinach themselves.


Onion – 6 (large; chopped)
Tomato – 4 (large; cut into pieces)
Palak – 2 bunches (chopped roughly)
Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
Dhania Powder – ½ tsp
Jeera Powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Mirchi Powder – ¼ tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Kotmir – 1 tsp (chopped; only for tomato gravy)
Salt to taste
Oil – 3 tbsp
Fresh cream – 5-6 tbsp


Cashewnuts – 8 (soaked for 15 minutes)
Garlic – 6-8 cloves
Green Chillies – 8 (less if you don’t like spicy)
Ginger – 2” piece

Aloo Paneer Kofta in Tomato Gravy

1. Boil the palak in salted water for 3-4 minutes before draining the water completely.
2. Grind the masala ingredients to a smooth paste.
3. Take a kadai and heat oil in it before adding jeera.
4. Once that crackles, add chopped onions.
5. As it begins to turn colour, add the ground masala.
6. Keep stirring as you add the masala powders and salt.
7. Cook for 3-4 minutes and switch off the gas.
8. Remove half of this cooked mixture into another kadai and leave the balance in the same kadai.
9. Add cooked palak to one kadai and chopped tomatoes to the other.
10. Add a cup of water each and cook both the gravies with the lids on for 6-8 minutes.
11. Switch off gas and grind both the gravies into a coarse consistency with a hand blender.
12. Check for salt and cook them for 2 more minutes each.

For serving Aloo Paneer Kofta in Palak Gravy

Place 2 Aloo Paneer Kofta on a plate and pour a few spoons of palak gravy on them. Add some dollops of fresh cream on it and serve hot with puris or rotis.

For serving Aloo Paneer Kofta in Tomato Gravy

Place 2 Aloo Paneer Kofta on a plate and four a few spoons of tomato gravy on them. Add some dollops of fresh cream and sprinkle chopped kotmir on it and serve.

Both of them taste absolutely yummy, I promise!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Film Review: Krrish 3

Krrish 3
It looks like Vivek Oberoi has finally found his calling!

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Kangna Ranaut
Director: Rakesh Roshan

We have seen Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish. Hence we did not have a choice but to see Krrish 3. I don’t think there was a Krrish 2. I don’t understand the sequence, but anyway, Venkat and I went to watch Krrish 3 on the day of its release at 10 pm at Cinemax Sion.


The story picks off some time after Krrish. Rohit (Hrithik Roshan), Krishna (Hrithik Roshan) and Priya (Priyanka Chopra) live in a bungalow in some remote corner of Mumbai. Rohit continues with his scientific experiments at home and also works in a research lab. While Priya is a reporter with Aaj Tak, Krishna keeps losing jobs as he runs away from work most of the time to save the town as Krrish.

Rohit is into some research that uses solar energy to bring life back into the dead. He tries it on a plant and it explodes. That’s when he concludes that a filter is necessary to do the same. In the meanwhile, Kaal (Vivek Oberoi) is a paraplegic with telekinetic powers. He can use the muscles above his neck and two fingers besides this. He’s completely negative and wants to rule the world. He is based in a lab somewhere in the Alps off Switzerland. Kaya (Kangna Ranaut) and a few others are the Manwars that he has created with his experiments. Manwars are clones made from human (his own) DNA combined with animal DNA. Kaya is a chameleon while there is a frogman, rhinoman and a few others. Kaal hopes that the bone marrow from one of his creations will help bring life to his own body. But he has been unlucky so far. He also creates a virus and has its spread in Namibia. People fall terribly ill and die by the hundreds. Later, he comes up with an antidote that makes him millions.

His next target is the highly populated Mumbai. But he has not bargained for Superhero Krrish……


Hrithik Roshan was just fabulous as Rohit, Krishna and Krrish. It was amazing to see the narrow shouldered, slightly paunchy Rohit with traces of his retarded nature and the finely honed and chiselled Krishna come together on the same frame. And of course, the man can act too. Congratulations Hrithik on your fantastic performance!

Priyanka Chopra’s role is negligible and nothing worth talking about it.

It looks like Vivek Oberoi has finally found his calling. He plays an excellent villain as Kaal. While the actor’s career path has been pretty turbulent over all the years, he has proved that he is after all in the right profession. Kudos Vivek Oberoi!

Kangana Ranaut has proved once again what a fine actress she is. She has played a very good role – it’s also chunky – as mutant Kaya. A special applause!

Now comes the film! The story is good and the sequences equally so. What I really did not appreciate are the song and dance sequences. They kept distracting everyone from the film. Why can’t we do away with them completely? And they were not even good.

The Namibia virus sequence was horrendous. I for one am glad that my kids are grown up and I did not have to take a 10-year-old to watch this superhero film. I wish they could have gone easy on this one.

While other critics keep insisting that the film apes Hollywood, I would say, why the hell not? If Hollywood films can ape themselves, why shouldn’t Bollywood do that? The fight sequences – while resembling a couple of Hollywood films – were very well shot. Not that I would recommend it to kids, but they were very well made.

I liked the idea of there being a Krrish in every one of us. That is something that will really appeal to kids and those with young minds. It did to me, definitely.

One thing that was not so appealing was Kaal’s tin costume. On the wheelchair he is all elegant. But out of that, I wish they had given him a classier outfit. The tin suit looked quite ridiculous. A cool villain should terrorise, not appear funny and stupid.

VERDICT: All in all, it was a good film. It’s up to the parents what they let their kids see on the big screen, of course.

RATING: ***Smart

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

Friday, November 1, 2013


Pindi Chole
I have tasted this version of chole at a few restaurants and I liked the one at Cream Centre best. Asking a couple of friends and using my imagination, I arrived at the following recipe. It was yummy, to say the least.


Kabuli Channa – 250 gm (soaked overnight)
Tea decoction – 1 cup (Boil 2 tsp of tea leaves in 2 cups of water until it becomes 1 cup. Filter the decoction and keep aside)
Jeera – 1 tsp
Bayleaf – 2
Turmeric Powder – 1 large pinch
Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
Dhania Powder – ½ tsp
Jeera Powder – ¼ tsp
Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Kotmir for garnish


Onions – 3 (medium; cut into pieces)
Boiled channa – a handful
Garlic – 5-6 cloves
Ginger – 1” piece
Green chillies – 3
Tamarind – 4-5 strips (soaked in water)
Jaggery – 3 tbsp


1. Pressure cook the soaked channa along with the tea decoction, some more water, ½ tsp of salt and one small pinch of turmeric powder. Allow it to cook for 8 whistles.
2. Grind all the items under masala to a smooth, thick paste.
3. Take a kadai and heat oil in it.
4. Add jeera and bayleaves and allow them to crackle before adding the masala paste.
5. Cook for a while with the lid on, stirring on and off.
6. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, dhania powder, jeera powder and garam masala powder to the cooking gravy and stir well.
7. Add salt and cook for 4-5 minutes till you see the oil surfacing above the masala.
8. Add the boiled channa to this along with the water it was cooked in.
9. Allow the mixture to cook for 8-10 minutes on a slow fire, stirring occasionally.
10. Allow the chole to reach a thick consistency before switching off the gas.
11. Garnish with kotmir before you serve hot with puris, rotis, baturas or naans.

The Pindi Chole turned out to be as tasty as the one I ate at Cream Centre.

NOTE: The tea extract gives the channa a lovely brown colour. One might ask why use white channa and make it brown. Why not use brown channa instead? Well, brown channa’s flavour is very different and does not suit this dish, that’s why.