Friday, December 9, 2011

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

Ricky Bahl has many names. Sunny Singh, Iqbal, Deven Shah, Vikram Thapar, etc etc. He is a con artist. He lives his life off his talent. He fools girls for money and quickly changes his identity. Three of the thirty girls he has conned are Dimple Chaddha, Raina Parulekar and Saira Rashid. Raina happens to be a big shot. She decides to take revenge against him and get all her money back. She teams up Dimple and Saira and makes a plan. To con him this time.

Ishika Desai is a simple sales girl who never lets anyone leave her showroom empty handed. She makes everyone buy something or the other. Raina and team approach her to play by the plan and con Ricky Bahl. Ishika agrees and swears to finish the job with expertise.

They meet. Ricky Bahl is a pro. Ishika is confident. Both try to con each other. Ishika has a team working hard with her; Ricky Bahl has his talent with him. Things take a turn and he falls for her. What happens after that? Who succeeds in the mission? Who wins in the end?

The Good:

Ricky Bahl: Ranveeri Singh is a star. Believe me when I say this. He may be a man infamous for his tomfoolery in reality but when he’s on screen, you’re bound to like him. He brings with him oodles of confidence on screen. Plus, he has carried a blockbuster on his shoulders previously. His hard work shows in every character he plays in the movie, in his accent, in his body language everything. Ricky Bahl was tailor made for him. Well oiled and chiseled abs, his expressions and his dialogues very well qualify for hoots and claps.

Ladies:  If Ricky Bahl is a star, ladies aren’t far behind him. They give him competition in every department. Show stealer among them is easily the debutante Parineeti Chopra. Anushka Sharma is experienced and is expert in playing roles like these, but was outdone with Parineeti this time. Dippanita Sharma Atwal plays her character of a corporate and confident woman well and manages to play the head of the team with finesse. Aditi Sharma as an introvert Lucknow girl looks natural and cute, and her dialogue delivery is excellent. But for me, find of the movie is easily Parineeti Chopra.  Her role as a bubbly and pakki dilli waali ladki was hilarious. Her comic timing, her expressions and her dialogue delivery, everything was amazing. All whistles for her. Simply awesome! Me likey. Me a fan.

Story & Direction:  If you think Maneesh Sharma could be a ‘one film wonder’, you’re wrong. He returns with this light comedy-family-drama which is bound to make you smile, laugh and fall in love with his characters. The best part about him is that he makes the story and his characters so relatable and simple that you don’t need to stress out while watching nor use your brain. Stress-buster, to be specific.

MusicIf you think the music of the movie is ordinary and doesn’t grow on you, listen again. You might actually start humming along and move your legs in sync with the beats and rhythm. ‘Aadat se Majboor’ ‘Jazba’  need a special mention.

The Bad:

Second half:  If first half was funny, fast paced and cool and whatever; then second half slackens a bit at places. Some of you may yawn a few times or check your watch or call the scenes clichéd or check your messages or update your status or whatever stuff you mostly tend to do in these situations.

Love Chemistry: Nothing was actually wrong in Ranveer and Anushka’s romantic chemistry but somehow you tend to compare it with their on screen romance in their previous movie together and feel unsatisfied.

The Ugly:

Editing:  If you find second half a little slow at places, you’ll abuse the editor, for some scenes were actually should’ve been edited out from the movie but were present in the movie.

*  *  *  *  *

Why you must watch the movie?
Light hearted comedy, hilarious moments, family drama, good music, and two hours of fun never really hurts.

Why you must not?
If you have a habit of watching serious and heavy drama and have a knack of comparing each and every goddamn Indian movie to Hollywood flicks. Seriously.


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Dirty Picture- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Reshma is a small town girl who wants to be an actress but is fed up of her failures. She dreams of being with Suryakant, the megastar, but is unable to do anything about it. She, then, decides to take a bold step and uses her body to attract attention of the makers. Abraham, who comes across her, gets irritated of her boldness and alleged shamelessness that he starts hating her. Meanwhile her item song in the movie becomes hit and the film’s producer decides to find her and give her a big break, and also the screen name Silk.

Silk is given a chance to do an item song opposite her childhood fantasy Suryakant, whom she lures and seduces well. Her item song becomes an instant rage and she becomes hit. Everybody wants her to do an item song in the movie and at the same time people hate her in actual for she is bold and doesn’t hesitate.

Suryakant, finally gets bored of her, and starts ignoring her, and that exact moment, his brother, Ramakant, a struggling writer expresses his love for Silk.

Meanwhile, Silk’s downfall has begun as people have started getting bored of her and media has everything bad to say about her. Abraham, finally rises and acts in the same movie he directs, written by Ramakant and becomes hit.

The Good:

Vidya BalanZindagi ek baar mili toh do baar kya sochna!’  Vidya Balan has kicked some serious ass in the movie with her over the top flamboyance. She has set a new milestone to achieve for the other actresses. Full marks for her performance. It must have taken enormous amounts of guts, determination and confidence to take up a role as bold and dangerous as Silk and to perform it with natural flair. Obviously, she is the soul of the movie and has outdone everybody. Superb!

Dialogues: Aapko holi khelne ka toh shauk hai, par aapki pichkaari me dum nahi.’  Brownie points to Rajat Arora for the dialogues. Of course they are highly adult, ambiguous and are perfect examples of crude humor which one certainly cannot enjoy with family, but you can’t take away the credit from that man. Witty and original and funny and so true! If Vidya Balan is the soul, then the dialogues are the heart of the movie.

Male Actors:  Jab Sharafat ke kapde utarte hain toh sabse zada maza shareefo ko hi aata hai.’  I had developed loyalty for Emraan Hashmi due to role and acting his recent movies, but this is for the first time, I am admitting openly that I am his fan. What a man he is! Same can be said aboutNaseeruddin Shah. What is it that this man cannot do! Amazing performance. His shady character always moves the story forward and every time he is present on the screen, you know something different is gonna happen. Tusshar doesn’t get much of the screen time but he has done Okay! All I can say is that he’s getting better with every movie.

First half: ‘Film sirf teen cheezo se chalti hai: Entertainment…Entertainment…Entertainment. Aur mai vo entertainment hoon.’  First half of the movie is the best. The rise and rise of Silk and her exotic moves along with double meaning dialogues and fast paced plot keep you hooked. During the first half, you hear the most claps, whistles and hoots.

Direction: ‘Film me sirf ek hi hero hota hai. Director.’  Milan Luthria has very well tried to pull off a masterstroke by sensationalizing the biggest mystery of Tollywood of 80’s. He has tried to make everything in the movie as authentic as possible with the looks, sets and characters. He gets the credit for making the characters the way they are in the movie.

Music: ‘Ooh  lala…Ooh lala. Tu hai meri fantasy.’  If I were asked, what is one particular thing that Vishal-Shekhar are best at, I’d probably say their choice of Singers for the song. Be it Lucky Ali, Akon, Saleem Merchant, Shankar Mahadevan or, in this case, Bappi Lahiri. They make their singers sing in a way you just can’t resist but love the songs.

The Bad:

Screenplay: ‘Kahaani me masala nahi hai sahab. Nahi chalega. Silk ko bulao. Aag laga degi.’  If Rajat Arora gets all the whistles for the dialogues, then he also gets thumbs down for his loose screenplay. He could’ve used his male characters in a better way and could’ve presented the life history of Silk way better than he actually did. The character detailing is bad and the second half becomes too lengthy and boring, especially when Emraan Hashmi returns in the movie.

Theme: ‘Silk jo chahti hai, kar ke dikhaati hai.’  Sadly, the movie focuses more on Silk’s love, lust and loneliness along with the industry’s love for flesh which turned Reshma into Silk; instead portraying the life history of Silk and showing her in and out. You go into the theater expecting to know more about Silk but end up seeing everything you already know.

The Ugly:

Cleavage: ‘Public samaan dekhti hai, dukaan nahi.’  Before I say anything, understand this - I am a perfectly normal guy who loves girls. And their assets. But Vidya Balan has left me surprised with her ‘too much exposure’ of her body. In the beginning, I was jaw-dropped at her boldness and loved it. Slowly became used to as the movie proceeded, but then towards the end it started to irritate, and I was like, ‘Why is she not wearing any clothes! Damn!’

Editing: ‘Mujhey paise kamaane aur public ko entertainment chahiye. Mai Silk ke is gaane ko daalunga aur dobara film release karunga. Fir dekhna.’  Believe me when I say this, second half dr…rrags unnecessarily. There are moments when you think the movie is about to end but then again takes a new turn and goes on. You will witness the unexpected for sure. But with a negative impact. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: Haunted - Douglas Misquita

I love books. I love everything about them. They take me into a new world altogether. I get to learn things, I get to experience things. They absorb me, they move me.

I love thrillers. They are fast paced, they are engaging, they are interesting and I find solace in them when I am dead bored. Nothing can beat a good thriller, I tell you.

‘Haunted’ by Douglas Misquita, an international thriller is one unforgettable book.

The Blurb: FBI Special Agent Kirk Ingram’s life is torn apart when his family is brutally murdered before his eyes. Devastated physically and psychologically, he vows to destroy organized crime in all forms.

Across the globe, an international trade house brings terrorist activities and organized crime together in a deadly nexus that threatens to bring the world-order to the point of anarchy.

And only one man stands in the way of global terror and paranoia — one man seeking redemption, and waging a personal battle against the demons of his past...

It’s almost impossible to believe that ‘Haunted’ is the first published work of Douglas Misquita, but it is the ultimate fact. The strength of the author lies in his strong imagination, rich vocab, enormous research, vivid description and visually powerful writing.

First off, let me warn you that if you think you can get away with light reading or breezy reading of this book then you’re highly mistaken. The book demands concentration and full attention. The best way to enjoy this story is to keep imagining the scenes described and by giving a ‘face’ to the characters.

The whole story revolves around Kirk Ingram seeking revenge and fighting against terrorism. There are too many characters in this complex story but the ones that stay long after you’ve finished reading the book are Kirk Ingram, Detective James Connor, Lars Gunther and Amanda Gunner. Had the story was written with limited characters, the reading pleasure would have doubled.

Talking about the content, the story begins with Kirk losing his family and then moves on with more mysterious happenings across the globe. A Balkan terrorist group operating under a tyrannous dictator has its feet firmly planted in the US and Russia. They move their ‘goods’ through a safe network. But the dominoes tip over with the hunt for a certain fatal nerve agent as well as the death of an important person. The author has done a good job with connecting each and every chapter with one another. The characters are introduced at regular intervals as the story proceeds and we get to know more about Ingram. The characters are easy to connect, and if you, like I said earlier, are successful in giving them a ‘face’ you’re going to have a mind blowing reading experience.

Also, I’d like to add that I learnt so many new things about Guns and other weapons after reading this book. It was hard for me initially but then gradually I started enjoying it.

The only fact that can push away the readers is that it is actually a very complex story with too many characters. It might confuse them if they don’t pay full attention.

The surprising and another good fact about ‘Haunted’ is that it doesn’t have any spelling and grammar mistake. It is perfect. The publishers have also done a good job in production.

All in all, a great book if you’re a fan of Dark Thrillers and are a diehard action lover.

Pros: Action packed story, super twists and turns, mind blowing research, perfect and visual writing and an apt ending.

Cons: Too many characters, too complex a story.

Overall: 4/5

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rockstar - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Janardhan Jakhar is a typical North Delhi guy whose passion is music. He wants to be like Jim Morrison. He likes singing for people but is unsuccessful. His college canteen owner tells him it isn’t cake walk creating music as the true art oozes out due to the pain. Due to The heartbreak.

He sets out to propose a girl who is touted as the heartbreak machine as many guys fell for her and she rejected all of them. Heer. He proposes her for fun and she rejects him. He acts like heartbroken and the canteen owner calls him a dork for doing all this non sense drama. Janardhan then goes to apologize Heer and hence begins their fun story. She then gets married and starts living a conventional life in Prague.

Meanwhile Janardhan aka Jordan rises. He signs a deal with a company and goes on music tour to Europe. He again meets Heer and this time falls for her. Things get ugly and she tells him never to come near her. He then sets out on a journey of fame and self destrution.

The Good:

Ranbir Kapoor.  He is Palang-Tod in the movie. Absolutely incredible. His expressions and different looks get along so well with the situations. The innocent Janardhan, the beginner Jordan and Jordan, the rockstar; all were played brilliantly by him. His performance is surely gonna get him adjacent to the Khans. The scenes in which he lip syncs the songs make you realize how much hard work and effort he has invested in the role to try and make it look natural and perfect. And, well, he made romantic scenes look… actually romantic!

Music. A.R. Rahman, after ages, proved why he is A.R. Rahman! What a music! What songs! Sheer genius. Pure genius. The maestro covers a myriad of moods which reflect the emotional graph of Janardhan Jakhar. Mohit Chauhan has put his soul in the songs. His job was the most imortant and film was to ride on his voice. Well, he succeeded and in what a way! He had to be the voice of theRockstar and reflect his mood depending upon the situation, and he succeeded! His life time best.

Imtiaz’s freshness. The movie, out of the all movies released this year, has least number of clichés. Dialogues of the movie are mostly witty and few qualify for roars, claps and whistles, while few are uproarious. Also, it is a rare situation when you try to predict the next scene and it comes out to be true. Kudos to Imtiaz for that.

Direction. Okay, Imtiaz Ali is not a perfect director and he certainly cannot make timeless classics all the time. But, he has his way. Had it been a Madhur Bhandarkar movie, you’d have witnessed drugs, alcohol, illegal jobs and loads of sex in the journey of Janardhan Jakhar from rags to a Rockstar. But Imtiaz chooses to keep it strictly about Jordan and his disastrous coming-of-age story, blurring every other character or event in his life that don't take the story forward. Rockstar is also a story about two unusual and curious individuals and their insuppressible connection.

The chemistry. Ranbir shares a very explosive chemistry with Nargis. Be it their to-do lists and other weird ideas or be it their sensual and seductive moments, you fall in love with their characters. Brownie Points to Imtiaz for handling their fun, unexpressed love, intimacy and rush of their sexual urges with expertise.

Opening Scene. First scene of the movie and you’re hooked. You’re instantly curious to know everything about Jordan and his journey so far. It leaves a terrific impact! 

The Acting and Cinematography. After Ranbir, it’s Kumud Mishra, who leaves a lasting image on your mind with his natural acting of Jordan’s advisor cum manager. He was exceptional. Shammi Kapoor has not more than five scenes and dialogues in the whole movie, but every time he shows up, it’s a moment to devour and cheer in admiration. Piyush Mishra as the owner of the music company was brilliant. He makes an interesting grey-shaded lead. Anil Mehta’s cinematography leaves an impact and makes the visuals stylish. The flash backs and his stage shows were beautifully captured.  

The Bad:

Script. Imtiaz Ali wanted to fuse in the journey of a Rockstar and his love story together. And this is where he failed. He got so confused that he could not express his imagination impeccably. After you get out of theater and recall the whole movie, you ask yourself, what exactly the director wanted to convey! First half showed the rise and rise of Jordan and his growing love for Heer. Second half got lost in expressing his heartbreak, his journey, his bad image, his self destruction, and again, his everlasting love for Heer, simultaneously. You don’t exactly make out anything in specific from all of it.

Nargis Fakhri. Like most of the other female debutantes, Nargis Fakhri is mostly bad. Her voice is dubbed and in many scenes she fails to express the emotions. She does remind you of Katrina in her early days, though.

The Ugly:

Ending Scene. Okay, the moment the end credits begin out of the blue, you are like, what the hell! Is this the end?! The director wanted to keep it open as to make way for a debate but again fails. You end up bad mouthing it and do not go the way Imtiaz had wanted you to.

Length of the Movie.  Sitting and watching the screen continuously for close to three hours in a theater does agitate you. How you wish the movie had been a little shorter and the second half could’ve been better and simple. The disjoint and confusing narrative, sometimes, add fuel to the fire.

All in all, a movie with a powerful opening scene, wonderful music, explosive love chemistry, wits, dragged second half and a bad ending scene.

Movie is bound to generate mixed responses. Either you’ll be able to understand Jordan’s disdain for the system, disregard for his fans, read his eyes, feel his pain, and understand his feelings. Or you’ll question the script like how come he never expressed his feelings for Heer earlier in the movie, why he never talked to his mother or vice versa, why he never cared for anybody, including Jim Morrison, and why the movie ended without any drama and left everything unanswered!

Ra.One - The Review

‘You celebrate Dusshehra and burn Raavan every year because (he) evil never dies and you cannot destroy (him) it completely.’      – Ra.One.

Being a diehard SRK fan, it’s very, very difficult for me to write an honest and unbiased review of the movie for which I had been waiting badly for almost two years. Well, I’ve tried my best to write and here are the answers to almost all the questions such as, ‘Will SRK as a super hero work?’ , ‘SRK has overhyped the movie, will it fulfill the expectations?’ , ‘SRK has copied something or the other from every super hero movie and created one of his own, is it even worth watching?’ blah..blah!

Shekhar Subramanium is a game programmer in a big company based in London. The company’s last two games bombed so his team is given a task of making a game which is completely different and highly engaging. His son hates him for he thinks his dad is a complete South Indian geek and is very uncool which is embarrassing for Prateek, his son. Sonia, his loving wife, tells him to ask his son to obey him and give respect.

Shekhar then comes up with an idea of making a villain so powerful and having all the evils which surround us that it becomes almost impossible to destroy it. The villain, Ra.One, powered by Artificial Intelligence, has a feature that after each level it innovates and leaves behind the flaws. So when Prateek, aka Lucifer, defeats it at level 1 and pauses the game indefinitely, it comes alive to destroy him.

Now only one can save Lucifer from Ra.One. G.One is then given the artificial intelligence and is programmed to protect Lucifer. 

First off, the comparisons: SRK had already admitted that he and the director Anubhav Sinha watched around 200 movies which were full of special effects before starting the shoot. Whether the movie poster, his sitting posture while holding the rod, cubes combining among themselves, his eye color and super smooth skin, some action sequences etc, are directly copied or not, please understand he has never denied about these, rather he has stated that these are actually the inspirations.

Yes, of course it would have been a lot better if he would have come up with something completely original but then he at least did try and he did a lot better than all our Bollywood makers.

The effects: You have to admit that the VFX shots are mind blowing. His hard work and money shows in movie. You can actually hear the ‘wows’ . He hasn’t compromised with the quality and the resources he had. Hats off.

The Acting: To expand the Hindi film business in the southern part of India, he plays a south Indian for the first time, and acts in the same way as every typical South Indian does. The accent, dialect and pronunciations are near perfect. Of course he brings along with him, the typical SRK which you have seen more than a few times in the last two decades. Kareena Kapoor has looked HOT! Err, heracting, was good and natural. As she is looking smoking hot in the movie, you’re not gonna observe her acting, anyway. Arjun Rampal’s role was tailor made for him, it seems. The expressionless robot with a rage in its eyes and monotonous voice was played perfectly by Arjun Rampal; no pun intended. Armaan Verma, being the first timer, did pretty well by his standards. He would have looked better with normal and comparatively shorter hair. The supporting cast, including Shahana Goswami did well in whatever footage they had.

The Direction: Those unfortunate humans, who have seen CASH, had another leverage to criticize the movie. ‘Anubhav Sinha? Seriously?’ was their favorite question. I wouldn’t say he was perfect for this movie for he has not done full justice with direction. Some scenes could have been picturized in a much, much, much better way. G.One’s entry scene, the final battle between Ra.One and G.One, Aakashi’s role, the conversations between Lucifer and G.One could have been made perfect.

The Cinematography and other technical aspects: Since it is Ra.One, you can expect top notch technical work. The Camera work, locations, fight sequences, and scenes capturing Ra.One and G.One were marvelous. No doubts. Editing required a little more experienced professional but it is fine. Choreography and Music? Well, I don’t have anything to say about them.

Overall: See, the movie is not perfect and will make you use phrases like ‘could’ve been, should’ve been, would’ve been’ after you’re out of the theater. But still, it is good. And way better than all the previous movies having special effects. The best Indian super hero movie so far. I’d say give it a try and do watch it for its genuine moments, different experience and entertainment. I cannot speak anything about figures but I know as a fact that it has blockbuster written all over it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review: Of Course I Love you! - Durjoy Datta | Maanvi Ahuja

A lot has been said, read and heard about “Of Course I Love You..! Till I find Someone Better!” already. The book, that made an average looking ordinary B.Tech student a star, has something special which cannot be put into words. You like it, you love it or you hate it, but you cannot ignore it. People say Five Point Someone brought a revolution in India. Wrong. It just made people realize that a book cannot just be written by Special People. Anyone having way with words and a strong imagination can do that. The revolution, which is being discussed here, began with the release of “Of Course I Love You”.

An ordinary guy’s extra ordinary story made people laugh and fall in love with the lead characters ‘Deb & Avantika’. It inspired hundreds of people to believe in themselves and expand their imagination. And thus, the era of commercial fiction began. Each month, guys with a story started coming out with their books and the dominance of campus fiction began.

Why “Of Course I Love you”?

1)      It remains the original and the highest selling campus fiction (Well, of course after Five Point Someone) till date.
2)      It talks about the dirty secrets behind most relationships.
3)      It talks about how every guy thinks when they do or say certain things.
4)      It talks about the journey of ‘Deb’ from a lusty guy to man deeply in love with the most beautifully perfect woman who, herself had had a disturbing past.
5)      Well, of course, the passionate ‘love scenes’.

Talking about the writing style, the language used in the book is full of wits, wicked humor and highly imaginative description. The book can be breezed through anytime and any day and one can seldom get bored. Plus, it has its moments when you say, ‘Wow, that’s me there,’ i.e. it is highly relatable. Many complain that it has all the exaggeration in the world and is unreal. But then, have they really seen the world and know the actual difference between reality and imagination? Of course like every other book “Of Course I Love You” has It flaws but that was the  author’s first attempt at book writing, and you cannot expect a perfect book at that stage.

About the author – Well, what can you say about a guy whose life was, once surrounded by books, girls and sometimes friends? He dared, imagined, did and finally conquered. And now he rules. His fan following has been increasing exponentially since the day of the release of “Of course I Love You!” and hasn’t deteriorated ever. He has been writing and churning out more books on regular intervals and doesn’t give a damn about what others think about him. He let himself tortured for a while in a day job but finally gave it up to do what he has been wanted since long. Yes, he now owns a publishing house called Grapevine India. Yes, he is none other than Durjoy Datta.

Pros: Whacky Humor, Enjoyable Writing Style, Highly Entertaining Story, Deb-Avantika and the love scenes.

Cons: A few mistakes here and there. A few alleged exaggeration and well, a few ignorable content flaws.

Overall: Must Read. 4/5.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

MTV Roadies 9: Delhi Auditions - Exclusive Coverage

Stage is set. Crew members have taken their position. Security guards have been alarmed. The queue is getting longer every second. Meanwhile, I am standing at the gate. Nervous. I have been invited to witness everything and to blog about it. A girl comes out and shouts my name. I go to her, she gives me a badge which says Roadies 9 – Press. She explains the whole scenario to me and I nervously nod to everything she says.  “4000 people have already entered the center and it’s only 11.15 AM!!” she says.

I say, “So Ma’am, where should I start?”  She replies, “Just call me Upasna. And you are free to go anywhere you want and talk to anyone you want. You can start from wherever you like,” and passes a lovely smile. Nervousness increases.

I am standing inside the premises of the expocenter. Everyone looks crazy. People are standing, walking, running, shouting, screaming and scolding. I gather my confidence and suddenly Suchit Vikram Singh, from Roadies 8, walks by me. The crowd standing just outside the premises, which has glass doors, shouts “SUCHIT!!! SUCHIIIIIIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCHIT????????SUUUUUUU…..!!! AUTOGRAPH PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!” He stops. Smiles.  And walks out to acknowledge them. I stand there awestruck. Like everybody else, he was my favorite Roadie too. Not knowing what to do, I decide to enter a hall which is producing the maximum noise. My jaws drop. Crazy crowd. There is a stage on which a female anchor is trying to bring some fun in the hall but people are going nuts for the Group Discussion round. No body looks tired. Many have done much homework to look different. Some have a visibly big tattoo, piercing, weird clothing and hairstyle. Most of them are busy filling their forms. I find one guy very interesting.

“Hi” I say.
“Hello Sir” he replied. I look back to find out who he is replying to. I can ’t find anybody.
“You work for MTV?” He asks while looking at my badge.
“No! No, I don’t. I am here to observe everything and to blog about it.”
“Oh! So you actually are the press. My name is Akash. Nice to meet you.” He offers handshake. I feel embarrassed .
“How long have you been waiting here?”
“Aah, I have been standing in the line since 3 AM. Finally I’m in for the GD.” He looks very excited. I smile. I take his form from his hands and glance through it. He is from Bhopal. He must have traveled all the way, I presume.

“Feeling confident about the GD?” I ask.
“Yes! Yes! Of course. Are Raghu & Rajeev here already? Very excited. Hope I clear the GD so that I can sit for the interview.” He actually looked confident.
“Ohh yes. They are here.” I lie.

I move on to the backstage area. I see 5 verrrrry long queues. Guys are sitting and going through the forms again and again. I see many confident, nervous, weird and idiot ‘looking’ guys in those queues. I decide to take a walk through them and I get to hear ‘not so alien’ stuff:

“Arrey hamaari photo bhi le lo, kaha chaapoge?” | “Arrey media waale hain, pose do kal akhbaar me aa jaoge.” | “Bhai saab, kaha se hain aap? MTV?” |  “Rannvijay aaya hai kya? Milwa do please! Ek petis (patties) khila dunga.”

On hearing the fourth statement, I stop. I walk towards that guy while controlling my laughter and the moment he sees me walking towards him, he feels intimidated.

“So, you’ll make me eat petis if I let you meet Rannvijay?” Hearing this many guys turn around to look at me. Then they look at my badge and start paying more attention to what I say.

“Yess Yess I will buy a petis and I will gift you.” He says.

“Okay, I’ll make sure you get full attention during the GD.”
“Arrey nahi nahi sorry sir!” he shouts.

I pay no attention and walk away. Feeling victorious. Feeling proud. Feeling priceless.

Suddenly my phone rings and I am called for a meeting. I quickly walk past everything to go to the place I am called. I see all the bloggers who were invited by to cover the auditions standing there. I shake hands with all of them. Then we are invited to a room. I’m standing last in the line and walking slowly. I turn back to check if anybody else is there. And I find Raghu standing behind me. I let out a huge sigh. He notices my nervousness , passes a smile and says, “Keep walking.” My legs start to shiver a little.
There is a circular table inside the room. We are asked to be seated.

Rajeev: “So you people are bloggers.”
We: “Yes Sir.”
Rajeev: “Come on. This is not a class. Don’t say yes sir, no sir, present sir.”
Rajeev: “So how come you people blog?”

Pin Drop Silence. At this point I am wondering if we look too foolish to blog or too intelligent or too young or too..
Rajeev: “Okay leave it. What do you blog about?”
I finally speak. “Anything that catches my fancy.”

A fellow blogger laughs. Rajeev has that ‘I can penetrate you’ look at my face. I feel like hiding it.
“That means you only write about girls, right?”

Raghu laughs. The other bloggers and Rajeev join him.  I got to get my nerves back..I got to be smart enough to match the level of the conversation that has thus begun.

The blogger sitting beside me takes out his video camera and starts recording. I, then, take out my cell phone and open the video camera. I feel very, very excited and nervous. We ask the clichéd questions and they both reply each and every one of them, over and over again, politely. God! They should be known for their patience too!

 Suddenly  Rajeev gets a call and he tells the guard to open the door. In walks Karanvir Bohra ( of ‘Kasautii Zindagii Kay’ fame), and Raghu is immediately ecstatic. He says, “Guys, Karanvir has just given a GD by being a mock participant after standing in line for hours and he is the right one to talk to. “ Karanvir waves and says Hi. We say hi in return. Hopefully some more interesting stuff!

Karanvir speaks, “Standing in line was exhausting and tiring. Kudos to all the guys standing out there. Filling the form felt like I am back in college, and I felt a bit nervous. But then the GD was mind blowing. There were 19 girls and just one guy. Why so Raghu?” “You were nervous while filling the forms?” Raghu laughs. We join him. “Yeah, I don’t know why. I mean I am also a human.” “Hmm.  Its Delhi’s reputation. We can’t take even an iota of chance with security. So we feel it’s better to let the girls do the GD and everything quickly so they can go back in good time.” Raghu speaks. We nod.  I am an awestruck guy who is impressed too. I hope that makes sense.

“Okay, yeah. Right. So the topic for GD was, ‘Should Prostitution be legalized in India?’ and I was in favor of the question, and there was this Jaat Girl who literally road rolled us on hearing I am in favor of the topic. She started shouting and we got scared.” Karanvir continues. Involuntarily, I give out a quick loud laugh.  Silence follows. Karanvir looks at me as if I’m some sort of a criminal. Raghu and Rajeev look at me and then at each other. I feel sweat down my forehead in the air conditioned room and gulp. Everybody bursts into laughter.

Raghu then points at me and says, “Any questions?” I stammer and ask, “What would you say to people who say that Raghu & Rajeev only know how to abuse and insult others?” He points his middle finger and says in a stern voice, “F**k off!” I feel like running towards the toilet. Hands of the blogger sitting next to me, begin to shake. He quickly removes his video camera form the table, that has been unabashedly recording all our moments for posterity till now, as if a student has been caught cheating ‘red handed’ by his examiner!  Everybody who was not looking at Raghu, stares at him dumbfounded and everybody who was looking at Raghu, doesn’t know where to look.  Raghu finally smiles , “No, no. Don’t get intimidated. ” Skeptic smiles return everywhere!

An hour long session with Raghu and Rajeev comes to an end.  My graph for that hour would have shown an extra ordinary range of emotions in my brain.  But man, I can’t have enough of them!

We go out to receive the Roadies 9 merchandise. I get a T-shirt and then Gayatri from MTV asks us if we want to leave. I choose to stay back as I want to explore more.

I take out my camera again and walk to the hall. I see Vibhor Sharma, Renee Dhyani and Suchit Vikram Singh along with Raghu and Rajeev giving an interview to a news channel. I see lot of people surrounding them to get one glimpse of their favorite Roadie. I wait silently. After giving that interview, all the ex-Roadies come inside the hall premises. I walk towards them and shake hands with all three. I congratulate Suchit for winning hearts and for being the star, Renee for just being herself and for showing the guys what girls can become in extreme conditions and finally Vibhor to be the youngest and toughest guy on the show who had won Roadies battleground after winning the final task where he had to arm wrestle with John Abraham.

Suchit is called by Raghu, Renee goes outside to acknowledge the fans. Vibhor is busy with a phone call. I wait. I plan. Just then Vibhor hangs up the call, and I turn to him and say, “So how’s life after Roadies?” “Good. I feel redeemed. I have no fear of anything. I simply go to college and now that Roadies 8 fever is long gone, not many people recognize me and gather me. I can walk around anywhere not being recognized and still feel amazed at my achievement.” He replies. I smile. Renee joins us. She looks at my press badge, “So whom do you work for?” She asks. “I am here to witness the auditions for I have to go home and blog about everything.” She smiles. “I’ll look forward to your blog post, do mail me.” She smiles and gives me a hug. Does the world know she just might be a warm person too?  I feel more confident. I ask both of them, “So when people say that Roadies is scripted and everything, how true are they?” Vibhor shots back, “I used to feel the same when I used to watch it on TV. But believe me when I say this, nothing is scripted on Roadies. Everything is impromptu.” I feel satisfied. “The Video blog you see in between the show of each Roadie is the only thing where each Roadie is speaking the truth and doesn’t feel like lying. Crew members ask us questions and we speak everything on camera.”

I do my ritual.  I get a picture clicked with them.

Suchit comes out. I turn to him and ask, “So how’s life after Roadies?”  (Please don’t accuse me of being cliché! In fact I have far more sympathy and empathy for all those ‘how are you feeling’ journalists on our daily TV, after my stint today!)

“It’s great. I mean people now recognize me and pay respect and many of them call themselves my fans. I feel both nervous and amazed at my achievement. I plan to come again on camera soon.” He pats my back and smiles.

Suddenly we hear a huge roar from the hall and everybody runs to see what has happened. I decide to leave after waiting for few minutes as I feel quite exhausted. I call Gayatri to handover the badge and take her wishes for the future. I, then, go inside the hall, to bid goodbye to all three ex-Roadies and wish them all the best.

I walk out of the center feeling satisfied and proud.  I am a changed man. I make myself a promise to start losing weight.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: I'm Not 24! - Sachin Garg

They say Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all. They also say Fiction is better than Reality. That implies if that fairy tale is told in a fictional way, it becomes even more wonderful. What if an experience, an extravagant one, like the one you’ve never heard before, was told in a way that not only attracts your attention but also takes your imagination to a next level and shocks you with the real incidents? Sachin Garg’s I'm not Twenty Four... I've been nineteen for five years!” somehow manages to do all those things.

Saumya:  A typical Delhite having a unisexual name who just after completing her MBA gets placed at a steel plant and, blame her name, gets her posting by mistake at a village in Karnataka. She is terrified but doesn’t have any other option; begins her work at Toranagullu and describes her whole experience.

Shubhro: A smart, brainy, talented and wasted Indian Hippie who loves travelling around the world and has a motto of not staying at any place more than 90 days.

Malappa: A well built, clever and an ambitious guy of Kannada decent who joins the company along with Saumya and becomes the important of Saumya’s chapter at Toranagullu.

Amit: A humpty dumpty mugger batchmate of Saumya also joins the same company but with different vision.

What happens when Saumya, who is used to a comfortable and luxurious life in Delhi finds herself in a land devoid of pretty girls and full of Kannada people and other colleagues? What incidents connect all the characters? What happens with them? How Shubhro enters Saumya’s life? What are the ambitions of Malappa and does he achieve them?
“I'm not Twenty Four... I've been nineteen for five years!” has answers to all these questions. Grab your copy now.

Sachin’s writing style is simple yet brilliant; keeping aside a few glitches (they go away with time). The best part is, being a guy he chose to tell the story with a girl’s point of view, that too in first person. At times you tend to forget who the author is and just enjoy the situations and Saumya’s route out of every morass. Language is not at all verbose; rather he has used very apt words in most of the places.

Since the Author himself is a back packer and has lived in Toranagullu, he has used all his experience of the same village and various other countries and described them beautifully. Shubhro being the best character in the book flaunts every quality that Sachin wanted him to have exceptionally well. The mystery that surrounds him is bound to impress and intrigue you.  Plus the incidents happening in the book may seem unreal but most of them are not, Sachin has described each scary or haunting incident, which might disturb you, outstandingly.

The first half of the book can be breezed off quickly as there is a bit of Delhi in and Saumya’s skepticism which you wouldn’t remember once you’re done with the book. It’s when Saumya drops all her shyness and starts taking bold steps, only then you’re bound to connect with her feelings and her thought process.

All in all, a good book with an honest and straight from heart writing by Sachin Garg and his risky step of writing it with a girl’s point of view. 

Pros: Honest writing, Good research, Beautiful description of Toranagullu, Saumya’s life at a steel plant, The mysterious Shubhro.

Cons: Ignorable first half.

Overall: 4/5! Brilliant Read

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: The Tenth Unknown - Jvalant N. Sampat

Like thrillers? Have interest in world History? Have knowledge about the World War II? Know about Ashoka? Heard about the rumor of The Nine Unknowns? “The Tenth Unknown”, debut novel by Jvalant Nalin Sampat, deals with the myth, fact, rumors and the events that occurred during World War II. Starting in Emperor Ahoka’s court in Rajagriha, Magadha in 232 BC and ending with India’s independence in 1947, this action packed thriller, set primarily against the backdrop of World War II, is sure to hook you up with its first page.

Prithvi Rathore: An aspiring cricketer, used to a rich and comfortable life, who is uncertain about the role of British rulers in India and has no viewpoint on India getting independence and cricket is his priority.

Richard Youdale: A British Officer who had joined Indian Civil Service more for the money than the prestige.

Joseph Heidler: A reluctant member of the Nazi Party who did not attach too much importance to the Nazi Ideology.

The Story begins with Ashoka stating his followers that, as a child, he came across nine books in a dusty library and through which he obtained the rare knowledge of mass destruction and methods of defeating every possible nation on the planet and how sorry he is for his deeds. He assigns nine unknowns and entrusts one book to each unknown to keep them safe and away from destructive humans.

Thousands of years have passed and during the British rule in India, a few German Archaeologists have accidently discovered the first book and Hitler is using that book for his own benefit to eradicate all the Jews and Gypsies and to trigger the war. Heidler is assigned the task of hunting down the remaining books.

Prithivi’s grandfather, who is among the nine unknowns, assigns him to prevent the remaining books before they fall into Nazi Hands.

The British officers are puzzled as to why the Germans are interested in digging India’s past and they assign Youdale to obtain the thorough dossier on Heidler and eventually, finding all the remaining books before anybody else does.

Who is The Tenth Unknown? What happens when all these three guys collide? Who finds the remaining books? Who deciphers all the clues and the codes? Read “The Tenth Unknown” to find all the answers!

Talking about the writing, Jvalant and his editing team have used the perfect language throughout the book. Since it deals with all the Englishmen, Germans, and Indians, language is just perfect (though a few printing glitches can be easily ignored) with appropriate and excellent use of correct words wherever necessary. Also, it’s upto the reader whether he/she is able to comprehend the hidden humor in many of his lines in the book.

Though it was visible in a few places that this is the first attempt of the author at storytelling, what amazes the most in this book was Jvalant’s boldness and extreme research. Not every author can infuse the mysterious rumor as a fiction into facts, reality and history successfully. It doesn’t matter if you love reading world history or not (I don’t, for instance), Jvalant’s way of storytelling will surely make you get addicted to his book.

All in all, a great book for all thriller, mystery and history lovers and for all those rare humans who have heard or read about the nine unknowns, it is time they should be aware of the Tenth Unknown.

Pros: Theme, History, Mystery, Thrill, Nine Unknown Books, Perfect Language, well connected story, terrific ending and Author’s Research.

Cons: Not an easy book to read. Many might question the events occurring in the story.  

Overall: A Must Read. 4/5 

Book Excerpt: