Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Long time no see

Was out of town for a couple of days ... nothing new to report, but I'll try to post some pics from Kerala.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Of Om Shanti Om

Believe it or not, I just watched Om Shanthi Om. I know its late but I've been avoiding this highly awaited movie from Farah Khan for a long time now. I hated Main Hoon Na ... and i hated the way this woman directed. Yep, I'm one of those people.

Now about Om Shanthi Om. A few scenes after the interval I realized exactly what this movie was. I checked the internet and found no reference to it ... it seems no one has caught this. So for everyone out there and thinking that the movie is original with its final climactic twist : the movie aint original at all. This is a re-imagining (not a remake) of the 1958 Bimal Roy classic Madhumati starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjyanthimala. For those of you who dont know about this movie check it up on Wikipedia.

So ... its this old classic movie in a contemporary setting. Where have I heard that before ? Oh yes, RGV's Aag. I guess Farah didnt want to take the same chances by announcing that her "magnum opus" was also a remake.

Anywayz as everyone knows by now its a re-incarnation tale set in the high fly 70's of Bollywood with the reincarnated appearing in contemporary Bollywood. So there's a lot of glam and such and critics have called it a "homage" to the old 70's flick. Lets get this straight: its not a homage, it makes plain fun of it.

So the big question. Did I like the movie ? NO !

SRK is fine ... he does what he does best : spread his arms like an eagle for romantic comedy scenes and douse himself in blood for the action scenes. Sure thats corny but he does it well and any other actor would have made a fool of himself. Deepika is not worth all the critical acclaim everyone keeps showering on her, period. Arjn Rampal is pretty good which is saying something. the others are all set pieces remnant of previous SRK movies. The movie is glamorous. I'll give it that but thats all its got.

The first half is fine ... I seriously liked some of the comic scenes in the beginning ... they really made me laugh. But after that Farah brings in the same mindless comic and drama scenes she did in Main Hoon Na and this is especially obvious in the second half. And believe me, the second half is just no good.

So what is OSO in short ? Every reincarnation movie you've seen in Bollywood with the Madhumita storyline sandwiched within Farah's pathetic sense of humor. Watch it if you liked her earlier debacle but if you didnt like MNH you'll find solace knowing that OSO is a lot better than that. Atleast the first half.

Of Anger and angels who wouldnt care less

Let me tell you a story. A story that begins with death.

Ben was 51 years old when the car hit him. He died instantly. The crowd picked him up and rushed him to a hospital but there was no miracle to be. Ben was dead. His time was up.

And he saw himself in the hospital as doctors tried frantically to save him. He wanted to tell them that it was of no use but he couldnt directly speak to him, this he knew. Besides doctors would always be doctors.

There was no sorrow for a lost life. And somehow deep within him he realized that there was no sorrow for the dead. They accepted their fate and moved on ... to what awaited them. Ben hoped that that would be God. He had a few questions for God.

"What sort of questions?"

He turned and saw a man dressed in a white suite sitting on one of the chairs outside the operating theatre. The man was looking at him, smiling as he reached inside his coat for a cigarette and proceeded to light it.

"What sort of questions, Ben? You were grumpy, moody and depressing all your life. Its over now, why barrage God with your questions?"

"Shouldn't I know ? Dont I have a right to know where He was all my life ? When I needed Him the most, God turned me down, left me to live an entire life without peace? Shouldn't I know why He gave me a crappy life? "

"Bullshit," the man said and Ben winced.

"A crappy life is one where your parents would have abandoned you in some smelly sewer; a crappy life is where you would have been adopted by beggars who would have used you to scrape out a days meal. The last time I checked you were born to perfectly normal middle class parents. You had a fairly happy childhood. No one tortured you, no one abused you, no one neglected you. You had a good education which prevented you from becoming an illiterate anti-social. You had none of the horror stories I have personally seen. So what crappy life are you talking about ?"

Ben turned back to look at his body. True, his childhood was ok. So when had he started to hate his life ? When ?

Of course. It was ....

"During my college years. They were hell for me. He never stood by me. He left me in tatters."

The man laughed. "You were in love, and you blame God for that ? You loved a woman who could never have been yours and you neglected your studies. How did you think you were going to graduate ? Was He supposed to write your term papers for you?" And he laughed some more.

Ben closed his eyes. Jennifer. His first love. Memories at this point of time seemed like salt on wounds.

"How could you have known she was never going to be mine ? And even if she wasnt in my destiny or fate or whatever you call it ... then why did He let me fall for her ? Why did He make me go through that pain ?"

The man shook some ash of his coat. "She was a Mormon. You were a Catholic. Do you really think she would have married you? And to answer you're second question, you knew it would never work. But you were blinded by an impossible love. Deep within you, you knew this to be true. So why? Why did you go on with it ?"

"When you love, you love with your heart."

The man chuckled sarcastically. "If I had a penny for everytime I heard that lame line I wouldnt have this job of hauling your poor souls to heaven. You should have used your brains, Ben. He gave you a goddamned brain for a goddamned reason!"

Ben turned to look at him. "Are you supposed to swear like this."

"Of course I can. At total idiots like you. So ... college was a disaster because you listened to your heart. Hardly any fault of His. Was that all ? Was that why you think you had a crappy life ?"

"No!" Ben fumed. "No! After college I started my own business with my dad's money. It worked well. In fact it was fantastic! I had it all, everything ! A wife ... money ... a house ... cars ... everything ! And then God took it all. Why ? Why did he have to do that?"

"Again I ask you. What did He do ? You had your business ... a very successful business, but what did you do after that? Did you think success would be the same if you kept everything as it was after 10 years ? The secret to every business is expansion. Branching out. Did you do that ? Why didnt you ?"

Silence. Yes, why didnt he?

"I was scared."

"Scared of what?"

"Scared I would fail. I thought my success was a fluke. Something out of luck. I didnt want to jinx by wanting more."

The man stood and straightened his coat. "So let me get this straight. God gives you success and you thought it was a fluke. You have a failure because of your fear and you blame Him for it. Wow."

Ben looked down at his feet. Oddly he realizes that he is also wearing white.

"What about the rest of the years ? My wife ... her affair ... and finally she left me ... with my children. Why wasn't He there ?"

The man stands beside him. "You were to blame there. When your business failed ... you vented your anger on them. When you had a severe financial crisis, didnt you at least once want her and the kids out of your life ? That formed the basis of all your thoughts in later years. Heck, before you died, in the coffee shop you were thinking the same thing. What did you think she would do ? She stood by you for all those years. Did you appreciate it during the crunch years?"

Tears drop down his cheeks. So the dead do cry. "Why wasnt He with me for the last few years ? Why did He leave me alone ?"

The man moves closer to him and whispers in his ear. "He was always there for you. You just never saw Him."

And then he drew back. Stood in the middle of the light that was rapidly filling the room. Ben looked back at his body ... the doctors were finally giving up. With dejected faces, they leave the room.

"I gave you life as a sandbox. It was upto you to do the right thing. I was always there for you, with you whispering in your ear ... trying to influence you into the right way. The one opposing voice to your ideas was me ... but you chose to ignore it. And when things went wrong you chose to blame me."

"It's not what I gave you that counts, it's what you do with it."

He stepped back into the light, smiled and said: "But that's all in the past now. It's a new beginning from now on and we dont want any grudges do we ?"

Ben smiled back. And stepped into the light.

Ben, 51 years of age died of a car accident and left without grudges.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Song of the moment

Halo 3 theme

Halo 3.mp3

India shining

Well, well, well looks like its a good day for Indian sport in Australia. Not only has the Indian team done well today, Sania Mirza moves into the third round of the Australian open with a nifty comeback in the middle of the match. Read about her perfomance and the scores here.

Of Perth and the second day

We have spirit. No one can deny that. We sure have spirit.

As predicted we were bowled out early in the morning session having added only around 40 runs to the overnight total of 297. We were a tad bit unlucky as Dhoni was given out LBW under very similar circunstances of Tendukar's decision. Pathan went out to a low full toss striking him on the pads plumb in front of middle and the tail just came and went. We lost our last 4 wickets for only three runs.

But we bowled our heart out. Again I am amazed to see the youngsters brewing with energy and aggression. A few years ago had we been bowled out for such a score we would have let the Aussies take a huge lead of around 350 to 400 and bowled ourselves out giving them an innings victory. But not now. Not in this generation.

Pathan scalped the first wicket trapping Rogers in front although the ball might have been missing leg. Two balls later though he gets Jaques with some great swing bowling. Now these were two batsmen new to Test cricket and I have to confess; I didnt think the Aussies would crumble after this blow.

But crumble they did and how ! Hussey went for his first duck in Test cricket after an amazing outswinger from RP Singh. Ishanth Sharma, the tall long haired pace bowler then took the prize wickets of Ponting and Clarke with some good line, length and bounce. Gilchrist and Symonds tried to recover from the collapse with some quick scoring (both reached their fifties with a strike rate of 100) but after Kumble took Symonds as his 600th victim it was only a matter of time.

Singh tore through the Aussie tail as well as the dangerous Gilchrist and Kumble took the last wicket putting India comfortably 118 runs ahead at the start of the 2nd Innings with three more days to go.

OK now, predictions. We are in a very good position and the opening Jaffar and Sehwag gave us has put us across with a lead of 170 runs. But we have lost a wicket. Jaffar succumbed to his inexperience by trying to cut Clarke and gifting his wicket to him in the penultimate over of the day. Sehwag looks in good touch and Pathan was very good this morning. So if we can bat through the entire third day ... post a lead of around 350 to 400 ... we can win. Not just have a chance, but actually win.

The Aussies wont give up without a fight though. They know we havent done well in the second innings as of late. And they've seen how well we utilized the bounce on this pitch. They'll come out tomorrow, guns blazing, and try to bowl us out within a lead of 300.

The third day is decisive. We are in the drivers seat now, but I wont say we're on our way to victory unless the third day is over.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Of Perth and the first day

Why oh why did we have to lose wickets in the final hours of the first day. We were cruising so well with Sachin and Dravid. Then why ... why are we looking at the very real possibility of being bowled out early in the morning session of the second day ?

Sachin was unlucky not to go on for a century. He was adjudged LBW of the bowling of Lee even as the ball hit on the upper knee pad clearly missing the stumps. Problem is with his height its tough to decide leg before's and thats a mistake any umpire could have done. The issue that might arise with this decision is that it was a Pakistani umpire who gave him out. There shouldnt be an uproar over this but with the Sydney debacle still not forgotten who can tell ?

Dravid. How could he have played a horrible shot like that ? After all the concentration, brilliant timing and hard work he put in for his 93, Dravid fell for Symonds by trying to pull the ball from outside the off stump to mid on. That is not the type of stroke you would have expected from a player with his caliber. Granted, it might have signalled a return to form for him but he got out at a crucial time. Had he continued to score his century India would have been in a much better position than it is in now.

Dravid's dismissal brought in Dhoni who's always been a bit jittery in tests. And with Lee bowling scorching bouncers its only a matter of time before Dhoni knicks one to Gilchrist or the slips. Laxman looked in good form, timing the ball well but fell to Lee trying to pull a short ball but ended in the hands of mid off.

This brought Pathan who just looked out of sorts with the bounce of the pitch. He survived the last over of the day from Lee but mind you it wasnt the most comfortable six balls he had faced.

India are now at 297 for 6 at the end of day one. With the way Sachin and Dravid was going I had expected atleast 350.

Bit of trivia: I think its the first time in cricket that the ball hit the stumps but failed to knock off the bails. Batsman at the time was Sehwag and I dont remember who the bowler was. I'll see if I get a video of that ball.

Cloverfield reviews

Cloverfield had an advanced screening yesterday and the blogging community has already gone apes out it. According to them J.J. Abrams has created a classic !

Let me remind you that this is not a run of the mill monster movie. Nor, so it seems, is this a Blair Witch ripoff where you only get to see the monster at the end. This is however a movie of five friends and their will to survive the worst nightmare they could ever think of. So dont expect a Micheal Bay or Roland Emmerich movie. I would expect something more on the lines of Spielberg's War of the Worlds where the entire story was told from the normal everyday man's point of view.

I'm not posting any links to the reviews as some of them have spoilers but I will leave you with a few picz from this much awaited movie.

Song of the moment

Missing by Everything But The Girl

Everything But the...

Of cancer, laws and sympathy

I was cruising through my reader a few minutes ago and this caught my eye.

Apparently a 39 year old cancer struck Ghanian woman was deported back to Ghana after her visa expired. She had already committed an immigrant violation when she started working on a student visa. The woman was taken from the hospital where she was undergoing treatment and accompanied back to Ghana.

While the debate rages between the doctors and officials that wasnt what surprised me. What surprised me was this quote from a reader in Portsmouth.

"Why should the British public be expected to pay for someone who technically should not be here. The Lancet needs to be reminded that it is the national health service not the international health service."

I really dont know what to say to that. If you are to argue on whether he's right or not that would take ages without result.

But lets not forget thats a human life we're talking about. Shouldn't we show some sympathy ?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Of frogs and fairy tales

Once upon a time long long ago there a lived a young beautiful and inevitably naive princess. She was a huge fan of the folk tale "The Frog Prince" and always wondered when and where her prince in shining armor wud come to wed her. Countless suitors from far off lands asked for her hand but she didnt want to marry in an ordinary fashion. She wanted adventures, witches, furry talking animals preferably a donkey, a couple of dwarves, magic carpets and wise grandfather trees. Of course at the end of it all the ever elusive Prince with a capital P.

And so one day it came to be that while she walked by the royal lake daydreaming epic tales of love a frog hopped out of the water and in front of her. At first she was startled but then recollected her thoughts. A frog ! Jumped out of the lake ! In front of her ! Of course this had to be a cursed handsome prince awaiting her kiss of true love so he may return to his real form.

You as well as I know thats a load of crap. Frogs have a real creepy habit of hopping in front of people to scare them. However, this frog also had a heart. And that small heart nearly had a stroke as it gazed on the immaculate beauty the princess had. Yes, ladies and gentleman ... it was love at first sight. And so the frog waited daily for the princess and when she did come he would hop on to her hand and listen to her whispers and her songs and feel his small heart go at a 100 mph.

Now, why didnt the princess kiss the frog on sight. Well you see the kiss is supposed to be of true love ... and kissing someone on the first date isnt true love. No, she had to feel affectionate towards him, gaze into his frog eyes and see the light ... all that love crap.

A month passed by. The frog could not believe the whirlwind in his life. Yet there she was holding him in his hand and her beauty never failed to dazzle him. She on the other hand had decided this was the day, this was the day she would kiss him because she knew she felt true love for him. And so .... taking a deep breath she closed her eyes and brought him closer to her lips.

The frog realized what was about to happen. His heart wrenched. His first kiss from his first love. He closed his eyes too.



She opened her eyes. Still a frog.




Unwilling to believe that her prince was'nt coming ... she kept kissing ... as for the frog, well I dont think he could contain the elation inside him and so he shouted in joy:


That was when the magic broke. She saw him for what he was.

Screaming and crying she dropped him, disgusted. Turned and ran.

The frog may have been in love but he wasnt stupid. He could understand her mood as she dropped him. So he fell to the ground and sat there watching her run away. He would never know why she left him but he knew it was for good.

And so he sat there watching her run away, a huge tear running down his green cheek and his small heart twisted in pain.

Yet he smiled. A sad smile. And said to himself: "Serves me right to believe in this fairy tale ..."

K joins the fray, V changes his name and couple of 'em UFO's

Well it looks like K has decided to start blogging. His first post came in today from his office, its down below, but for those of you lazy to scroll : here it is.

V accepted his contributer status a few hours ago but decided being named with a single letter wasnt enough. So he changed it.

V will now be called Vlad the Impaler.

(I'll still call him V, Vlad if he gets physical)

Well, cant wait for him to start blogging ... I think he has a few satirical ideas to start with.

Well looks like a good start for this little project of mine so until my next post ... c ya !

Oh, CNN reports fighter jets chasing UFOs. Crazy huh ?

Song of the moment

Lonely Soul from UNKLE feat. Richard Aschroft

Unkle - Lonely Sou...

Of caps and sweethearts

Ok, so here are the details. I had a cap which was very nice but has been missing for around 3 - 4 months now. I've looked for it high and low but it seems to have dissapeared into thin air.

That is until now.

While snooping thru V's laptop (which by the way is the one we use to surf the net) I found this discriminating piece of evidence.

Ahhh ... it all comes back to me now. That last time I saw the cap we were in Bandipur going on a reckless dangerous and stoopid amateur trek thru the jungle. It had started to drizzle and V asked for my cap so he wouldnt wet his head.

That was the last time I saw it.

GRRRR. That makes me mad.

V - I know you'll read this. And I know you wont give me my cap back so I took it a step further. I took ur sweetheart hostage.

The cap for the girl. Standoff baby !!!

Not a holiday..

Uff...my first blog..

Im feeleing sleepy...had a heavy lunch..
In the morning i was trying to install GRUB in a new server..
The idea still stucks somewher..since i don 've a redhat first CD..

People knows i don 've a deep knowledge in penguins OS..
Still I've tried..

Some body told he shall bring that ROM tomorrow..

Ok i'll wait for that...

But ya know Its not a holiday..im sure 'ive some sort of work to complete..

it was funny to read about Mcone's caps
n Sweet hearts ...

Its a holiday

Hey ... its pongal today. Since I basically come from kerala I dont know a lot about this festival but you can learn more here.

Its a holiday, and I had planned to sleep through the day before I switched on HBO. There's a corny B rted special effects movie with a hot short red sportbra clad chic.

I'm hooked.

Happy Pongal!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cloverfield Clues

I've found an interesting blog that's everything Cloverfield. Beware though... spoilers abound!

Old is Gold

Mere Mehboob from Mr X in Bombay.

Mere Mehboob Qayam...

Blogs I've read

The Religious Policeman is the blog that ignited my interest in the whole phenomenon. It was created and maintained by a Saudi man who now resides in the UK (or so it may seem to be). The blog's name is the translation of the much feared "muttawa" in Saudi Arabia.

You might have heard of the Saudi intolerance and medieval style of living, but this blog gives you a first hand account of the day to day life of ordinary Saudi's who are torn between living in a extremely restricted society yet at the same time having western culture infused within them.

Saudi bloggers criticize their government at an extreme risk. Freedom of speech is virtually non existent in the Middle East and bloggers usually use pseudo names in an effort to protect their identity. However one blogger dared to reveal his name and shared his views of freedom and his unflattering stand on the government. The bloggers name is Fouad al Farhan who was detained by Saudi authorities on December 1oth 2007 and remains to this day under arrest.

For those who would like to know more about Fouad, you can access his support site here.

Anywayz, back to the Religious Policeman. The Saudi gentleman does not maintain the blog anymore as in his own words, they no longer trouble him for the moment. Give this blog a glance, you're bound to be intrigued.

Song of the moment

Mann Bawra from Pyaar Ke Side Effects

Get this widget Track details eSnips Social DNA


Cloverfield is a PG-13 rated monster movie from J.J Abrams (Lost, Alias) and directed by Matt Reeves releasing world wide on Jan 18th.

While Hollywood really has produced one of the most memorable monster movies of all time in King Kong (1933) it hasnt quite held its own with the cheesy low budget but memorable Godzilla movies from Japan. Granted you could argue that Jurassic Park was a monster movie, but we all know what everyone means by the genre. A monster comes out (usually from under the sea) and then wrecks havoc on a huge metropolis knocking down skyscrapers with its elbow. The last time this was seen in Hollywood was with Roland Emmerich's Godzilla which to me resembled a video game more than a movie.

So whats special about Cloverfield ? Well for one, its produced by J.J Abrams who brought us Lost. Two, it has an extremely well defined marketing strategy. The monster has been kept in the shadows and no one really knows what destroys New York. Third, it's the story. Five friends with a digital camera try to survive the colossal onslaught. Blair Witch meets Godzilla.

The trailer was released (curiously) without a name during the Transformers screening. It, along with an exclusive clip has already generated buzz and speculation among movie bloggers and critics. The severed head of the Statue of Liberty has by now become an almost iconic moment in the trailer thus making Cloverfield one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2008.

Although it releases on the 18th, I'm not sure if Bangalore will get a glimpse of this monster at the same time. But I'm gonna watch this movie come rain or hail and review it right here. Oh did I mention that before ? I'm a fierce movie critic. :D

Check out the movie website here where you'll also be able to watch an HD version of this now famous trailer.

I'll keep posting every new update I get to hear.

One New Year's Day ...

Everyone had their resolutions. V resolved not to drink anything other than wine, K resolved to quit hardcore drinking and I resolved to quit smoking. At the same time everyone had their passions too, V found drums, K discovered violins ... I had nothing yet.

Two weeks later I find blogs. Not that I've never known them before, I have another blog but that went inactive ever since I've had writer's block. But this time I wanted something else. This time I decided to write down every rant, rave, belief and opinion I will form about anything I may see, hear or read about. Even if it wont amount to some extreme social commentary I can atleast keep this as a memoir to look back on when I may have nothing to do in the future to come.

That was a the idea. Romantic and all ... but hey, every idea is like a matchstick. It burns ferociously at first, stables itself and then dies out. So in a burst of excitement at finding something that I may actually like I started out on this blog.

Thats when the other idea came up. Why not make it a three person blog. Bring V and K into it. The idea has been passed at them, and I'm not sure if they feel the same way about this new venture, but it would be a blast. Me, with my socio-political views, V with his dissillusionment of life views and K with his romantic dreamy eyed views. Hell; would be quite a blast.

Thats the final idea that I have. My passion for the new year. They might stand by this or they might not ... but they will be featured in most of my entries coz I'm going to try real hard not to let this one die....

....This is Alex Mcone with V and K, reporting ... live from Bangalore.