Friday, April 27, 2007

The Good German

I almost missed this gem!!

Even though today is a working day, I went out to watch 'The Good German' in the multiplex close by. The two hours it took away from my day were repaid in ample measure by this searing movie set in 1945 in Berlin.

The movie is in black and white, and stars George Clooney, Tobey Maguire and Cate Blanchett, and is the fifth Steven Soderbergh movie I've seen (Traffic, Syriana, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve being the other ones). Apart from Ocean's Twelve, which was so-so, all the others have been brilliant movies.

The movie is set in post-war Berlin, and is a tale of murder, intrigue and mystery. It is Hitchcock-like in its use of frames without dialogue, and background scores which heighten the tempo. Most of all, it is a movie that makes one realize the horror of war and the depths to which human kind can plummet.

Like Traffic and Syriana, this movie also takes 15 minutes after the movie has ended to figure out, and once you do, it stays with you for very long!!

For reviews, visit this

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bheja Fry

I saw this movie recently, and only the magical sight of the sun setting into a calm ocean could get me to recover from the impact. But first, the context -

I had heard great things about this movie from a dear buddy, who confidently expressed great approval of the plot. Therefore I stood in line for a significant time on Sunday afternoon, and actually gloated when I managed to procure the last ticket in the house - a front row seat about two feet away from the screen.

My enthusiasm waned a bit when I entered the movie hall and saw the seat I had got. Anyway, being a philosopher, I accepted it as fate and settled down to enjoy the movie. With every additional tortuous idiocy from the main character, my neck got more and more sore. At one point in time, I felt the distinct need to shake the main characters by their lapels and ask them to PLEASE get some sense.

I came away from the movie strangely irritated, although I think other people in the movie hall enjoyed the shenanigans of a half-wit idiot and the weird cast of characters. Thinking back, I think what got to me was the complete lack of reality in the movie - such incidents could never happen in real life. Though the acting was good (I particularly liked Ranvir Shorey's cameo), the story and the treatment left me very very cold.

All in all, a complete bheja-frying experience!!

The dome

I have not updated my blog in a long time, primarily because I have been in Mumbai for a couple of weeks and have been doing the usual office-hotel-office routine that leaves such little time for creativity. However, there is one good thing that I have experienced during my stay here which is worth a mention.

And that is the Dome. The dome is a rooftop open air bar at the Intercontinental Hotel, overlooking Marine Drive. Nice seating, a pleasant breeze and nice drinks characterize this hang out. I was at the dome on a leisurely Sunday evening, and the sight of the sun setting into the sea was extraordinarily beautiful. The skyline in the distance and the absence of the normal road noises made the moment quite magical (though I'm sure the large quantities of vodka I had imbibed also helped).

Although I've heard that the food is not great, it is a must-visit, if you need to surround yourself in beauty and contemplate the meaning of life, the universe and everything!
I think I will visit again this week...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I am recently back from a vacation in Phuket. I absolutely loved it :-) Apart from the usual vacation type things (beach-bumming, speed boating, getting drunk, getting more drunk, canoeing, getting tanned, getting drunk yet again, gorging on seafood, making a fool of myself on the ramp), I had a new experience - snorkelling. Alas, I dont have any pictures to share. So I shall have to remain content trying to describe the experience.

Snorkelling is essentially scuba diving without the scuba gear and without the diving :-) You put a really tight mask around your eyes and nose, and bite into a clamp which lets you breathe only with your mouth. Then you go underwater, floating just under the surface of the sea. And if you are anywhere near the coral reefs near Rang Yai near Phuket, you try to get used to all the fish ramming into your eyes, hands and body :-)

The fish are truly spectacular - shiny and multiple colored. The sea floor is invisible - its covered with coral. The water is cool and mighty. Strange patterns, shapes and forms become suddenly visible. You realize the fragility of your breathing. You try to get used to the strange wheezing sound that signifies your breath. And you wonder at your insignificance and loneliness in this wondrous world. The sea is lovely, dark and deep. It is at once dignified and dangerous, unfamiliar and friendly, ever changing and always the same.

I would LOVE to go snorkelling again :-)

How I got my blog back

I just had a terrible last thirty minutes. Apparently big boy Google has done some skullduggery with my modest blog, and moved it to some new version or some such. Now usually I set cookies so that I can login to blogger and start posting right away. Because of this version shift, I was asked to login to blogger, and when I did so with my google account, it logged in nice and proper, but I could not see my blog!! In other words, Nothing Spectacular was frozen in time for ever, never to be updated!!!
Now I'm usually quite casual in updating my blog, and have never afforded it any kind of importance. But once I realized that I had lost it, I was frantic!! I felt unheard and invisible. My identity had vanished!! (I may be hyperventilating a bit here, but I really was quite upset).
Various help queries and a million links later, I was struck by one stray thought, which led me to check on some old file where I usually store my myraid usernames. A quick check, and I realized the goof up that I was making, so finally I got my blog back... Yippee :-)

This has a few lessons for me (in random order):
  1. Backup, backup, backup - usernames, passwords, posts, everything
  2. Google really does hold a lot of power over my life (and its surely and steadily increasing)
  3. No man is an island - I realize I've begun to covet my blog!!
  4. You realize the value of something only once you lose it
  5. All's well that ends well :-)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

hazaaron khwaishen aisi

I saw this movie recently, and was quite struck by it. Starring Chitrangada Singh, KK Menon and Shiney Ahuja, and directed by Sudhir Mishra, the movie packs quite a punch and is not easy to forget.
The movie tells the story of three college friends - the privileged guy who can afford to care for society and his dream of the Marxist revolution, the pretty girl who will follow him anywhere, and the smart wheeler dealer who is in love with the girl.
The movie follows their story over a decade, and ends on a tragic, and yet ironically twisted note. Wont reveal too much because would like you to see it for yourself.

Yet what struck me in the movie was the passion that each character displays. They do anything to uphold what is dear to them. Somehow, I dont find this passion in too many people around me today.
Is it a function of the times - were the 70s a time of nation building and taking sides? Or is it to do with the fact that its fiction and therefore needs to be made interesting? Anyway, I came away from the movie quite inspired to believe in a cause - feel a passion - and not give it up in the face of the most tremendous odds!
May this feeling thrive!!