Thursday, March 30, 2006


This is one surprise package. For an O .Henry and Jeffrey archer aficionado, yaani ki, me, it was a treat. There we are, chugging along a la Bunty aur Babli (not comparing, but a con film coming close on the heels of B&B is bound to draw at least a mention of the latter) and then wham! We sit up and pay more attention. And at the end of the film, we want to go back and see everything again from a new perspective. So I’m not saying anything about the ending, so that all you folks who haven’t seen it repair the error immediately. OK, that was too gushing. Hmm. Fine. Relax. Sorry. My mistake (that’s quoting from B&B by the way). The big B said it was Aby baby’s best performance yet. Now that is gushing. It was not so much his performance as the story, the format and the dialogues.
Riteish was the surprise package. Never seen him in any movie before so can’t judge his performance, but I saw bits of Masti and was pretty turned off. But hey, in Masti, even Vivek Oberoi looked weird, so we can’t really form opinions based on that. Riteish somehow reminded me of Amol Palekar in all those 70’s films. Not hunky looking, but sort of ordinary-man-on-the-street. There is a lost look combined with mischief combined with naiveté----nice cocktail. The way he seems so eager to learn the ropes, and the way his enthusiasm first puts off Abhishek and then spurs him on---it was another facet of male bonding.
Priyanka Chopra was adequate( I think I qualify as a genuine reviewer now!). Nana Patekar--- na, na karte we admire him. It makes me want to see Taxi no. 9211.
The music is good---the remixes of the old songs are different in the sense that the flavour brought out their basic purpose, viz., the boys "desperately" enjoying themselves on their ill-gotten gains. The way they break into jigs after each heist, that too to tunes of the 70's-80's---their dance movements seem perfunctory, which suggests that they are dancing with skimpily clad girls, because it is the done thing!It seemed like the filmmaker is laughing at his ilk, or we are laughing at ourselves together, at our collective enjoyment of our cinema
Hope I have not flung in any spoilers---except the reference to O. Henry! Go figure!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New excuse

Daughter doing maths. homework.
Me: Ooh, matrices, that too with trigonometric elements! Yummy!
(Here I must explain that I refer to interesting maths problems as tasty papads and vodiyums (south indian) or badies(north indian)
Daughter:(Not amused and fixing me with baleful eye): Yeah, I can tell my teacher my Mom ate my homework!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Book Post

My first ever tag and it’s about books! Thanks Kiwimyl!

1. What is the total number of books you've owned?

Oh, hundreds! I still have the Noddys, other Enid Blytons and Amar Chitra Kathas of my childhood, so including all these, I have around 500.
“I” alone cannot consider myself the owner of all my books. Some are still at my parents’ place, out of these some are jointly owned by my sister and me. And now lots of books are jointly owned by R and me. And with wifely possessiveness I’ve appropriated those of R’s books which he owned before marriage as mine too! If one really gets down to counting, we’ll have to use set theory--- “A union B intersection C” and all that!

2. What is the last book you bought?
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Oxford Dictionary of World Mythology.
After The Funeral by Agatha Christie.
Peril at End House by Agatha Christie.
These were all bought together, so, I can’t name any one.

3. What is the last book you've read?
Jeffrey Archer’s False Impression. Nowhere near his earlier books. The “surprises” were labored, and predictable anyway. The way everything turns out fine was very contrived.

4. What are you currently reading?
Re-reading, actually. After the Funeral, by Agatha Christie. I binge on Agatha Christie quite often. I find that sometimes I genuinely don’t remember who the murderer was, and even if I do, I enjoy the unraveling and the character sketches.

5. What are the 5 books that have meant a lot to you or that you particularly enjoyed?
Five? Here are ten!
(a) The Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye---Isme drama hai, action hai, emotion hai,suspense hai---it satisfied my greed for an interesting, never-ending book. I have a sneaking suspicion that the sati rescue scene in Mangal Pandey was inspired by the one in this book. Whether or not that was the case, the scene in Mangal Pandey seemed absolutely insipid, because the benchmark was the sati rescue scene in The Far Pavilions. The terror of the sati-to-be, the frenzy of the crowd, the sheer inexorability of the ceremony---it still chills me. Another first---the heroine was not beautiful in the conventional sense. And the British Hindi was charming.
(b) A Town like Alice by Nevil Shute: The closest thing to a modern fairy tale. A saga of a woman’s courage, spanning three continents and several years.(Yes, that sounded just like a burbling blurb but that’s what it is) The courage is not militant, in-your-face, but a quiet deep power. There is a thread of humour running through the whole story which underlines the other emotions, be it poignancy or hope or even shock. I dip into the book now and then.
(c)To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Ooooh.
(d)Brinkley Manor by P.G.Wodehouse. I nearly died laughing! When I was studying in Hyderabad, I used to read Wodehouse on the bus to and fro college. I would start laughing out loud. I had to stop reading when I noticed that I was getting strange looks from the other passengers.
(e)Raise the Titanic. I forget the author’s name. Action and adventure, with cutting-edge technology, but I may be confusing the last bit with
(f)Thin Air (again Author’s name forgotten) Wonderful Sci-fi based on matter-energy interconvertibility.
(g)Sci-fi collection edited by Isaac Asimov. It had “Royal Jelly” by Roald Dahl, which was so chilling. Another story (I think it was called “Night”) was one in which a planet is lighted by many suns, so it never knows darkness except once in a few millennia, when all the suns get eclipsed together. At that time almost the entire civilisation is wiped out, because the concept of artificial light is just not there. Those who discover that fire can also be used for light, survive. And once the eclipse is over, everything has to start again.
(h) Doctors by Erich Segal. The whole book was wonderful. The issue of euthanasia.Transference in psychiatry. Medico-legal issues. The scene in which the Negro doctor picks up a knife to save a choking diner at the restaurant was very thrilling. It was made even more twist-in-the-tail-ish by the way he gets misunderstood---he is seen as a black man attacking a white one with a huge knife!(sorry if this is a spoiler for anybody!). Only the end was so Hindi movie-like that I began to wonder---why do we scoff at our movies?
(i)Chariots of the Gods, and
Gods from Outer Space by Erich von Daniken
(j) India Unbound by Gurcharan Das. I'm all at sea where Economics is concerned, but this book was interesting and clear.

5. What book(s) would you wish to buy next?
(a)I would like to own “The Feynman Lectures” which is in 2 or 3 big volumes. Richard Feynman explains the principles of Physics with, yes, humour so beautifully in everyday language that even those for whom Physics is a bugbear will get converted. I would like to share it with my children. But I don’t think I can ever buy it---it was expensive even when I first discovered it. So I’ll probably just buy a Wodehouse to add to my collection.
(b)Gone with the wind---I read it a long time ago, and I want to read it again now, and also own it. The only thing I liked about the sequel, Scarlett, was the concept of C-section in those times---it seemed practically like science fiction in that setting!
(c)Lost Horizon by James Hilton. I read it long long ago—I’ve practically forgotten everything but the main theme. I’ve borrowed it from my sister, and will read it soon. I would like to own it too.
(d)The Doctor series, by Richard Gordon. I have only “Doctor in the house”. I would like to complete the collection.
(e)The “Mrs. Harris” books by Paul Gallico. Read them and enjoyed them. Would like to buy them if they are still available.

6. What book(s) caught your attention but you never had a chance to read?
(a)Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I borrowed it from a cousin, but it was whisked away again! But I will read it one day. The TV series used to air on Doordarshan in the early eighties, and I used to look forward to it every week.
(b)The “In-Law” books by Henry Cecil. When I was a kid, my parents used to rave about them, having borrowed them from libraries. When I was old enough to want to read them, they were out of print. They have now made a comeback, and I am rubbing my hands in anticipation. Digression:
Long ago (when dinosaurs roamed the earth, as my son would say!) there used to be mobile units of the Delhi Public Library. Membership was 50 paise or some such sum. On a fixed day of the week, the van would stay at our locality for an hour or so, and during that hour, we would greedily try to read a book as well as select two others to take home for a week. This is where I first read the Jennings stories (Anthony Buckeridge), William stories (Richmal Crompton), and probably even Billy Bunter. All the books were in a uniform dull green binding which made them even more exciting---you never knew what treasures you would find!
The other library which to my childish eyes seemed like heaven on earth was the Defence Services Staff College Library at Wellington, Tamil Nadu. It was on at least two floors, and part of the charm was that it was set into a small hill in such a way that you could enter the first floor from the outside, without any stairs! The ground floor was at the bottom of the hill, of course.
(c)Godfather by Mario Puzo !!!! * Running for cover* Never read it, nor saw the movie. In “You’ve got mail” Tom Hanks keeps quoting Godfather which deepened my resolve to read it, but somehow I never seemed to be in that frame of mind. Anyway, with books, resolves are silly—you want to read it, you’ll read it! I read books while stirring the curry even!

7. What book(s) that you've owned for so long but never read?
The Tao of Physics. It used to be spoken of a lot at I.I.T.D, and I sincerely wished to read it, but then it seemed like a busman’s holiday at that time, so----!

8. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
I’ve seen this tag on some posts, so I guess I’m one of the last people to be tagged for this! However, if they don’t mind, I’d like to tag Meghalomania, The One and Shankari, because, I’ve seen how they write, now I’d like to see what they read.

Can I add my own Q’s? If so, here goes:

9. What book have you wished you had never read?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It was very impressive, yet after reading it I had such a melancholy feeling. And melancholy is something I can do without, thank you very much!
Shobha De’s novels. Her non fiction is so good. Wonder why the dichotomy.
It by Stephen King. Too scary by half!

10. Books/ authors I am not crazy about, but don’t mind reading:
Wilbur Smith
Robert Ludlum
Leon Uris

I had a great time doing this!