Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantum of Entertainment

We interrupt the stalled story of the KF Panda to bring you matters that are even less relevant to reality

It is humbling sensation to realise that, in spite of all the efforts of the best humourists, the funniest things still remain side effects of human (mis)behaviour.

In other, possibly unrelated news, it turns out that you can still discover new fundamental particles even when the LHC is not yet at absolute zero. We refer, of course, to the discovery of the smallest possible particle of entertainment after watching the latest Bond movie.

The movie itself is nothing special (more on that later) but when you consider a remarkable conversation that the cricketer (bunking yet another collapse) and I were privileged to witness on our uncoordinated shamble towards the door (due to a regrettable combination of fairly evident factors, reproduction is, as mentioned in the disclaimer, likely to be faulty but covers the essentials):

"...I tell you man, this movie is only for the illiterates who have not read the originals by Iron Flamingo"

"Agreed - did you know that in the original, Felix Leiter was a white guy in a straw hat?"

Forgive us, O potential vegetable for our transgression. We shall not err. Or not more than the permissible error rate, anyway.

There then followed an unrepeatable discussion of the flaws and nonexistent virtues of the current actor, and a historical comparison to the disadvantage of most of the other actors except that Remington Typewriter guy. As we all know, there is only one real Bond whose first name is Fevi: it therefore seems redundant to comment any more. It might also be that you need to be female to appreciate the comparison, of course, which masterwork of logic seems to have crossed my ears more than once recently.

Quanta of Enjoyment aside, it is fairly obvious that someone at the studio has somehow misspelled Jason Bourne as James Bond, having him drive, of all things, a hybrid SUV? The DBS passes through too, as do some horrendous boxes driven by Holga that we will pass over lightly since any application of weight might lead to the unwelcome discovery that they are made of paper.

(Image stolen from

No Bond movie is complete without eyecandy, and we're not referring to Aston Martins or gadgets which are conspicuously low key, if that isn't a contradiction in terms. In fact, I believe the last few movies might end up in giving a whole new meaning to the Bondmobile. Anyway, Holga is the delectable bond girl, and after Hitman, Max Payne and this, she seems well on her way to becoming Ukraine's answer to Milla and Michelle. Gemma plays the quick and the dead, in the process generating perhaps the only picture worth adding to this not-review. The real Bond girl, though is Dame Judi, with whom we even see (if one eye is closed, and the other squints sideways) Bond show a bit of emotion. Next thing you know, Bond is going to act in a good movie with Eric Bana about a senseless terrorist act.

Now this might even be better than Hitman, but one does wonder if Nicky Parsons smiled only because she knew that Jason would surface with yet another loss of memory, and find a pulp fiction paperback in his pocket that miraculously survived the Potomac to give him his name and a back story (which, by the way, is worth reading: the Bond website may be overly reliant on Flash, but the aggravation is worth the new backstory.)

We might, by the way, make an interesting comparison of Bourne and Bond:

  • Chase sequences: Bourne excelled, and borrowing a roof or two from him seems to be Bond's way out of (and into) trouble

  • Hot girls: We may be devout believers in the Theory of Dyevolution, but Bourne has Franka and Julia, while Bond has Eva and Holga. No contest.

  • Conveyance: Both realise the utility of two wheels instead of four while travelling 'other' countries. I should probably not even mention the hybrid SUV again, but it strikes a sore nerve.

  • Widespread conspiracy theories: Hell, Ludlum developed his Burnished Brass, while Bond sticks to physics instead of metallurgy.

  • Lone psychotic with a gun against the world. No Jimmy, you cannot eat world - it is inedible.

  • Both push back the boundaries of scientific discovery: Bond by demonstrating the difficulty of making a Focault pendulum using two people, and Bourne by staying sober in Goa

  • Globe-hoppery

  • Both treat hotel rooms very badly

  • On a less serious note, both are major reinventions of the originals, to 'keep with the times'

In other, perhaps more welcome news, A Most Wanted Man is fairly high on the bestseller list that the city's practitioners of KF do their best to populate. Maybe there is indeed a God, even if it is dyslexic.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The K.F. Panda part 4.141592: A New Soap

Long long ago, in a Union Territory not too far away, there lived a panda. This was no ordinary panda, but one who lived within sight of the snow-capped peak of Mount I, wherein the best of the best of the best of the best of the best[infinite loop detected] passed (in some cases, only figuratively) the best years of their lives.

Naturally, with aspirations of climbing ABO peaks, it was practically certain that the panda would soon have the engineering dream, and so it happened: one day, the panda dreamed that it was located in a square, enclosed area with incomprehensible instructions pouring in from unknown directions. This naturally made the panda and its nearest and dearest think long rosy thoughts, with a perfectly predictable and completely irrelevant outcome.

We now carefully skip through a few boring parts, wherein the panda jumped backwards through a few hoops (note: simulated hoops only), bent over backwards to bite its own tail, and generally made an ass of itself while demonstrating its ability to climb the estimated 2.5e5 steps that took it to Mount I.

Now, once the climb was over (with a lot of dubious side effects that are the subject of a fascinating psychological study someplace), it found itself near the peak. It was here, that it had its first sight of the cream of the cream, the practitioners of K.F. This event changed the subsequent life of the Panda

Now, the ancient and holy art of K.F. is a curious one indeed: as a bystander explained in passing to a now wholly chastened and gullible panda:

"You see, the true art of K.F. has reached fruition in its exponents before you: note the careful and apparently artless positioning of the string backpack as armor, inspired entirely by the noble turtle. Next, the careful use of filler material to give the backpack solidity without mass - and at the same time giving the exponent the capability to inscribe profound thoughts influencing our very existence. Then of course there is the air, no doubt acheived through the combustion of substances that hone the practitioners art while at the same time preserving their ability to appreciate it..."

Leaving the rest of this description (deserving of a new post in itself), we proceed to the first challenge faced by the panda: not getting kicked out. It might please you (but I doubt it) that there were no explosions as the panda managed this stupendous act.

(Yes, I know. It is, after all, part π+1, with many many more iterations to go)

Appropriate vusic mideo for the challenged is here

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bergmania in Bangalore

For what it's worth to the people who read this blog, we have not blogged since the time Aamir Khan had hair on his head but oh well.

So Palador decided that they had to popularize one of our heroes. And so there was the film festival at our old haunt. Which means that the crowd that loves to kiss the air next to the cheeks of the person they are meeting was present en-masse. So you can understand what an odd figure a couple of bag-toting bespectacled geeky engineers cut.

Anyway arriving slightly early at such events has the advantage that we could get seats to sit on, the usual ones at the extreme ends of the row below the fans, which in retrospect did turn out to be the one time we regretted it.

And since most people in this great city believe in IST there was the crowd that came about 10-20 minutes late and not everyone found a chair to sit on. There was this couple that found just one chair left, so the lady decided that she better sit on the lap of her partner. To re-affirm one's love for each other every 10 minutes by cuddling up and muttering sweet nothings loud enough to carry over to the row behind, resulted in our co-author (who incidentally was in the row next to them) of the blog watching shall we say shots of movies from the dark side.

**Hint to TAM to pen a post on this as vitriol is much better coming from him**

The movie in itself was good and TAM already has a review here.

And then there was this girl who was sitting next to me. Apparently she seemed to have got too tired taking baths/showers in mere hydrogen-di-oxide so she decided to experiment. And experiment she did we believe in Davidoff, she seemed to have just swum in a pool of it and come over to the movie. Now when the fan was such that the wind blew towards us we breathed Davidoff and not oxygen and since our body is not accustomed to such experimenting we ended up coughing. Apparently the Davidoff experiment has still not gained ground even with the arty crowd since when the fan changed directions there were a couple more guys whose lungs still seemed to be more accustomed to elements with atomic number 8 rather than aforemetioned perfume.

We must say when we walked out, never in our life have we been happier to breathe in the air of Bangalore.

The next movie Summer Interlude was about first love. It portrays how the choices we make when we react to a tragedy (unfortunately first love here does end in tragedy) end up making us the person we are. The ending of the movie is marvelous. A characteristic of his used here, to show mundane events interspersed with the intense emotional turmoil the characters are undergoing, in this case a practice for a ballet performance is something we admire. A similar theme is also found in The Magic Flute where the narrative of the play is shot between with the reactions of the audience, and conversations between the actors during the breaks.

(Image Courtesy :

The third movie to be screened was Through a Glass Darkly the first part of his famous Faith Trilogy. An extremely claustrophobic movie, it is shot mostly on a small island with just the four principal characters. Bergman is at his best where he is dealing with questions of faith. Tackling questions of the purpose in staying alive and if there can be a single objective reality. An extremely bleak melancholic movie so characteristic of Bergman.

This was followed by Winter Light, our pick of the lot. The main character in the movie is a priest at the Church who is having his faith deeply questioned due to all the despair and unhappiness he sees around him. When a fisherman who is having similar doubts plaguing him and tormenting his mind enough to contemplate suicide the priest is not able to offer any succor. The whole movie spans between two services in the church and left me deeply shaken. There is a deep resonance to be found as the priest grapples between what he has been taught and what his surroundings are leading him to believe in, if one has personally undergone the same crisis of faith. A must watch if you like Bergman. (Incidentally this is the second part of the Faith Trilogy and is panned by all and sundry film critics, Bergman himself did not think too highly of it)

(Image Courtesy :

Next up was The Silence (the third part of the trilogy) followed by Summer with Monika. We skipped the former as we had already watched it. Summer with Monika is about love between the tempestuous Monika and literally the guy who works next door Harry. After a date he falls for Monika madly and once Monika has a quarrel with her family, Harry decides to escape in his boat with Monika to an island. By the time they are done with their holiday Monika is pregnant. After having the baby Monika figures out that her priorities in life are to have a good time while her youth and good looks last while Harry wants to work and study towards a better future for him and his family. And an all to predictable end comes to it. Later we find Harry reminiscing about his Summer with Monika; less troubled times, might just be the happiest time of his life.

What we found even better was the FTII short film (Was screened before the beginning of each movie) titled "The eight Column Affair". It tracks a marathon winner who falls for a tennis player both of whose snaps are on a newspaper. As he goes through the various sections of the newspaper trying to reach his love forms the movie. Quite easily the best of all the FTII movies that were shown, it is no wonder that the director went on to shoot Johnny Gaddar.

Concluding the festival was The Devil's Eye, all we would say is that directors who are good at dark despairing melancholic movies should not try their hands at comedy.

There was another excellent FTII movie starring Sonali Kulkarni that we liked, anyone who can re-collect the name of the movie shall be appreciated.

And to conclude TAM's hypotheses : "Any movie shot by Sven Nykvist is twice as better as any movie shot by anyone else".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

5 Reasons We Love Ana Ivanovic

Reason #1:
(Image Courtersy :

Reason #2:
(Image Courtesy :
Reason #3:

(Image Courtesy :
Reason #4 :

(Image Courtesy :
(Did we hear someone yawn and say Anna Kournikova's better, well beat the next one)

Reason #5:

(Image Courtesy :

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Two technical PJ's and one courtesy Tashan

The technical ones are of course courtesy a manger G at the place where I work:

Q : Why is Abhishek Bachchan a bad actor ?

A : Coz both Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan are good actors and hence due to common mode

rejection he is a bad one.

Q : Why is Abhishek Bachchan so tall ?

A : Because of differential gain!!!!!!

Now our riposte was :

Q : Who is Saif Ali Khan's favorite pace bowler ?

A : Dilhara Fernando

Why you may ask and we say just watch Tashan and see Saif go "Dilhara re Dilhara hara Dilhara re"

Youtube Link here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ek Purana Mausam Lauta

As we have previously indicated we are big fans of Rohit Brijanth's writing. And so we link to yet another article of his courtesy a friend from school P. It talks about one of our favorite batsmen Mohammad Azharuddin.

Circa May 1990 :

Nightwatchmen then is in a summer camp fast nearing its end. We are being coached on the game we love to play and watch from then till today. A time when we would laugh so much while Appa was tossing and lobbing his slow off breaks that we would inevitably get out bowled. A very thin slightly tall for his age NW is coached to bat but also to bowl left arm spin. Today is the last day of the camp and to sign off we have Azhar and Maninder Singh coming over. So NW bowls a spell to one of the most beautiful players that the great city produced. At that point in time life was worth living and we were on top of the world.

Later in 1992 we see India playing Australia in the world cup. India lose the match by one run but one shot stands out. McDermott pitches one in short slightly outside the off stump, Azhar shuffles across and with a flourish of the wrists plays a back foot drive over the bowlers head for four. To generate that kind of power with wrists off the back foot was a sight to behold.

Fast Forward to the 1997 tour of India to SA. India are 58-5 in reply to SA's 529. Out walks Azhar and in the company of the greatest batsman of my era plays the kind of innings most batsmen can just dream about. First there was a cut that was played behind point off Allan Donald (and for all those who think Shoaib Akhtar is quick, they ought to take a look at white lightning). Not a single fielder on the off side moved. And Donald moves his point finer to where the ball sent. Next ball and the shot is played oh so squarer and again the result the same, all fielders left static almost admiring the shot. The look on Allan Donald's face was quite the look of incomprehension usually reserved for a Class IV student getting quizzed about Maxwell's equations.

(Image Courtesy :

Rewind to December 1996. The Eden Gardens where for some reason Hyderabadi batsmen seem to find their best touch. India are 119-6 in reply to South Africa's 429. Out walks an injured Azhar and proceeds to play the sort of knock only he can. With Anil Kumble for company by the time he is out India's score is doubled and Azhar has made 109. It also included an over for the poor debutante Klusener (he made up for it in the second innings) who got hit for five boundaries.

The same series the third test match is at Kanpur and it is a square turner of a pitch. First innings either team does not pass 250 and India has a lead of 60 runs. India are at a tricky 121 for 4 when Azhar starts batting. The way he batted and the rest of the batsmen plodded was to use a cliche chalk and cheese. Top scoring in the match and remaining undefeated he put paid to any hopes that SA entertained of winning.

One of his Derbyshire team mates I forget who once had this to say about his batting "There was this bowler who bowled him a half volley on off stump, Azhar opened the face of his bat square drove him and scored 4 through point. The next ball was a similar one but this time Azhar chose to close the face of his bat and flick it through square leg for four. It could hardly have been done by any other batsman in the world".

For the right reasons he became a much hated player towards the end of his career. We believe that his career and life took a down turn the day Raj Singh Dungarpur told him "Miya captain banoge"

But to us he will always remain a player who was very easy on the eyes (when the bowling was not directed short and at his body) and one of the main reasons we took to the game.

P.S : We could not get the photo that we took with Azhar on our camp since by the time the snaps came we were leaving the city to go to some other place where Appa was transferred to and Appa did not have the change for the photo and neither did the organizer have the change for 100/-

P.P.S : If you are a fan of Jagjit Singh and have not listened to the ghazal in the title of his post, do not miss it. Make sure you somehow listen to it right away.

P.P.P.S : There is also a review of an excellent biography of him by Harsha Bhogle here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stranger and Strangest interpretations

We have been listening to this song from a movie called Super Star.

Youtube link here.

Lyrics go something like this :

Ajnabi khwaab main dekha ta jo, ho tum wahi.

Well the object of this post is whether there is a comma after Ajnabi.

Now the usual interpretation of pretty much everyone has been that it is actually:

Ajnabi, khwaab main dekha ta jo, ho tum wahi.

Which sort of translates to "Stranger, you are the person we dreamed about"

We think the comma is not there.

We believe it actually means that "You are the person we saw in a strange dream", strange dream being "Ajnabi Khwaab".

Now we have no takers for this interpretation amongst the people that we talk to. Instead we have gotten lot of suggestions for psychiatric counseling.

We hope of the people who read this blog that if you do agree with us, please to comment so. Even if you do not let us know why ours is not the better one :)

Either way, whatever interpretation you do follow, it really is a great song isn't it......

P.S : Ever wondered why hurricanes are named after Bollywood actresses Katrina and now we have Nargis ? (Well maybe actress is paying too much of a compliment to Katrina maybe, what say ?)

Monday, May 05, 2008


We watched a Korean movie called Chihwaseon (Painted Fire) on the Thursday of last week. The movie is about the life of a painter called Jang Seung-Up. Born in poverty he is noticed by a noble man as a child. He mentors him and makes sure he gets the training an aspiring artist gets. But the need of his to gain acceptance while at the same time not conforming to what the artists think "art" forms the crux of the story.

This inner conflict is bought out quite excellently in one scene. The artist has just finished copying a painting by a Chinese artist. His mentor and some of his friends who are connoisseurs of art (or at least think of themselves that way) are at a loss to differentiate between the original and the fake. But there is a difference, the fake has an extra sparrow in the painting. "Alone and desolate", isolated and then they cut to a close up of the artists face which reflects precisely the same emotions. (We would have rather preferred not to have the close up since we figured that the point was made). Almost the whole movie is spent in the artist trying to re-concile himself between being popularly accepted and to follow his own heart and develop an individual style of his own. And it is this that makes the artist go on drunken binges and shout at the top of his voice from a roof top. We would recommend that you not miss this scene when you watch the movie.

Also woven very well into the script are the loves of his life. From the perennially ill younger sister of his mentor, to shall we say "the-ladies-of-the-night" and a flute player as well. If you are a romantic you would love the scene where he paints a grand screen for his lady love #2 when on the verge of breaking up with him she asks him for a painting that will have good market value.

With the artist's mentor being one of the prime movers behind the reformists, we are also given an insight into the political upheavals happening in Korea in the latter half of the 19th century.

If you are a painter, a writer or even a techie who has had to face the sort of questions and make the choices that Jang Seung-Up had to then you will be able to truly appreciate the movie.

(What is the question for a techie you might ask, Well to choose between what you believe in and what your manager believes in ???)

(Images Courtesy : Cinemania and

Friday, May 02, 2008



This was originally going to be a post about an obscure little gem called Pants of Fire (sadly, no, it was "Painted Fire", though I like the UK title better). Fortunately, sanity intervened in the form of a surprisingly good movie by Abbas Kiarostami, whose only other movie we watched had more Epic Fail Guy per frame than a Pshaw rooke ad for the kolkroaches. All right, no more links to E.Dramatica. For a few more sentences, at least. Particularly considering the alternative (just search for India). Mind you, the State names are hilariously funny enough to make me wonder if an Indian wrote it. If so, may we express the opinion that India's search for its very own Dave Barry and Art Buchwald has ended.

Now, on the surface of it, Ten is not precisely the sort of movie that ought to expect rave reviews: it's shot in a car, with cameras aimed at the occupants. For some reason, we see only one of them at a time, though as the movie goes on, we do get to make a catalogue of the rings worn by the driver. It also starts off with the sort of effortlessly irritating spoilt brat that makes you weigh seriously the pros and cons of genocide. As the movie progresses, though, it provides small glimpses of the lives of a certain number of Iranian women, in a way that actually makes you want to watch the rest of the movie. On a highly unrelated aside, why weren't the feminists born to write in sandland? That may have been where they could have done the most good, and it might, just might, have spared us some amount of ghastly reading brought about by an overactive curiosity.[1]

This sort of a minimalist approach to filmmaking was last panned in the Bleary-eyed Bitch Project. Leaving apart the fact that we consider minimalism essential in only a single subject, the minimalism works - and surprisingly well - for Ten: you actually want to hear the stories being narrated without the usual Amitabh-voiced sanctimonious prig. Starting right from the appropriately named Mania's messy divorce and subsequent remarriage, and her discussions with her bratty son, the sister, the old lady, the prostitute, the heartbroken and the hairless woman (whoever is absent, pleej raije your hand) their stories are presented, with plenty of reading between the lines (or watching between the frames, as you prefer). The net result was that the movie was never boring: a considerable achievement since all you can see is either whiny brat or whiny woman, the rings or other assorted jewellery, the (chaotic) traffic that reminds us of a certain hellhole - all of which are subjects guaranteed to bore us out of our tiny skull within seconds. The fact that it does not do so is both a credit to Kiarostami, and a reason to watch this movie.

(an aside: did you know that Bheja Fry was never a dish of exotic ganglia cooked in oil and served in a neatly trepanned cranium of the enemy? And here we were, having such pleasant dreams. For the record, 300 is reviewed in a highly better way by Ruthless - go and read it there.)

[1] For the record: we have no quarrel with the aims of the femi knists (apart from considering them irrelevant in an ideal world) but do have quite a few objections to their methods. Was it Holmes who had madness in his method, and method in his madness?

Edit: 10+4? 10+4!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The First rain

So while we were playing Badminton on Tue night suddenly we felt that the roof would cave in on us. Such was the din that the first rain of the summer was causing.

With much trepidation we left office once the rains abated since there is almost always a huge traffic jam once it rains in Bangalore. (There are jams on only two days in Bangalore, the cardiac-arrest-inducing ones on days it rains and the merely frustrating ones on days it does not)

Photo Courtesy : Google search that led to a flickr user by the name Jace.

And so it turned out to be. Traffic was clogged horribly till we crossed KR Puram bridge and as we took the flyover to get onto the traffic free zone we were praying that the radio plays a song that we like, and so it turned out that as we joined the Outer Ring Road a personal favorite "Maula Mere Maula" from the movie Anwar was played.

YouTube link of the song here.

There is something about Sufi Music that is so uplifting, as if one is transported to an alternate universe.

And onto home after a great dinner, we were sitting in our room with the balcony door open and the cool winds blowing in (since ours is a west facing balcony and the summer being hot by Bangalore standards at 38C cool winds are not so common) we find that a friend who is now in the US is online and wants to play Scrabble on Facebook.

We have played maybe thrice on Facebook with A and lost all three times. But on this day everything was going our way and we had a string of firsts. Our first bingo on Scrabulous (83 points at that), 400+ points for the first time in Scrabble. And this is how the board looked at the end of the game :


NightWatchmen : 454
A : 263.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Leaky? No, that's not right...

Lekha Washington, image from

The rather glaring omission made by the mad cricketer in his post on commentators is (in retrospect) explained easily. Categorisation, however, proved harder. That's not Leaky Washingstone, by the way.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A spirited (hic) PJ

Came up with this one while sipping on a Mojito last Friday evening at Take 5.

Q : What do you call it if you clone a person with infinite capacity for alcohol 8 times ?

A : "Nau"tanki

For the uninitiated, aforementioned person is usually referred to as "tanki" (As in a tank, not to be confused with the LC tank.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The commented become the commenters

It is the season of the IPL, with all the cheer in the air what strikes a discordant note an extremely amplified one at that are the people who at one point of time had their moments of glory unfortunately for our well being on a 22 yard stretch of clay a.k.a as the pitch. And to compund our agony they have not gone mute as yet.

(Photo Courtesy : HT)

Here is a sample of some of them:

Exhibit A: The Improviser

His biggest claim to fame is that once upon a time he would walk out to bat with a person whose batting I would admire more than most.

Sample his commentary:

i. Bowler bowls a dot ball : "This is what a bowler MUST do in 20-20 cricket, vary his pace and improvise".

ii. Aforementioned bowler gets carted over mid wicket for a six : "This is what a batsman MUST do in 20-20 cricket, improvise and hit boundaries"

Our comment : We should improvise and collect all the bowler hats on earth and try and smash them on his vocal chords.

Exhibit B : The Italiciser

His biggest claim to fame is that once upon a time he bowled on a rough patch outside the leg stump of what the rest of the world thinks is the best batsman on earth. (We of course believe we qualify for that honour)

Sample : That was exquisitely timed. The bowler really has to get his line and length absolutely right. And the captain has to ensure that fine leg is really fine.

Our comment : He really ought to stop italicising all his statements before some ex-leg spinners who are excellent commentators decide that he is spoiling the reputation of the clan and decides to do something drastic.

(Photo Courtesy : The Age)

Exhibit C : The Ominous one

Now this man's biggest claim to fame, is err well he has none.

Sample : Gilly has not fired so far this tournament, those are Ominous signs for the bowling team. Shane Warne has really not done anything great in this tournament so far, ominous signs for the batting team.

Our comment : When this man says ominous, the signs are ominous for our physical well being.

P.S : To quote Jane Austen in the times of IPL "It is a fact widely acknowledged that a man in search of a hug from Preity Zinta, on not getting it, cries openly on the field"

P.P.S : If you still insist on watching IPL without muting the idiot box, maybe it is better to listen to this at the end of it so that you do not end up being a homicidal maniac.

P.P.P.S : Our suggestion to SRK that his next show should be titled "Kya aap in commentators se acchi commentary kar sakte hain ?" I think it will be a big hit since almost anyone who gets picked will win!!!!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Loaves of Others

Sometimes, a batsman hits a century in 24 balls. Sometimes, a director makes a movie so poignantly beautiful that my stock phrasebook of negative statements (most of which are machine translated from the original Dot) seems woefully inadequate to pan the movie. The Lives of Others is one such movie.

That paragraph above ought to be enough to encourage you to go and watch this movie, particularly since it's been rerereleased in Das Vaterland by the Bulla and Ch- sorry, wrong movie, that would be BharatBulla, er, BharatBala Productions, who were also apparently running an online fillum contest related to this movie.

A recent weekend back, yours truly, the cricket mad fiend, and another anonymous person goose-stepped our way to the local, highly expensive tent house to watch this movie. We interrupt the proceedings to remind you that local tent houses in the Pensioners Hellhole charge enough for the privilege of sitting in inflexible chairs with wobbly backs that it tends to attract our favourite breed of two-legged ape originating from the north of our favourite Carcinogenic line across the globe.

For no good reason, we will ignore the differently volumed people who tend to somehow get the seats to the edge of the rows in which the cricketer's good efforts to book tickets well in advance place us. After all, personal attacks ought to be made only on people who can help being what they are. And the bloggers, and the banjo players. And the old lady in (but you get the idea.)

For some reason, I actually had the foresight to take the seat between the two other unfortunates who accompanied me to this movie, which means that instead of having to actually listen to the thought processes of alien movie watchers, I was surrounded by popcorn, which is the sort of auspicious happening that makes me immediately suspect that the movie has a special appearance by Corrino K to balance things out. As it turned out, however, the cricketer had to spend an hour each time listening to edifying statements before he could run to the safety of the rather large and low-ceilinged restroom, while I could enjoy the movie more or less undisturbed. For my own amusement, and to test your patience, the usual nebulous statements about the movie will be interspersed with pearls of wisdom from the couple next to us (conveniently named H and S, for He and She.)

The movie opened auspiciously enough, with "Captain" HGW (no, not that Captain, who shall not be linked to in an effort to keep PageRank from dropping even more) teaching a class of aspiring Staatssicherheit officers how a person is to be interrogated (O Wilt, Wilt, wherefore art thou, Wilt?)

Naturally enough, once this successful demonstration commenced, we (for once, not the Royal we) were apparently treated to the following statement:

H: "Oye, is movie me sub taaitul hain"

We refrain from further comment, and merely observe that it is clear that the language of one Vaterland has inspired an official language of a Vaat-er land to do away with the Neuter gender, leading to much aggravation when we actually had to pass exams for such things.

Soon enough, HGW accompanies his facial-hair endowed superior officer to a play by "Laszlo"[1], where we meet our heroine (or is it heroin? No matter) of the drama. One thing leads to another, and HGW is put in charge of investigating "Laszlo" for whatever form of thoughtcrime it is that Type 4 artists are supposed to indulge in. Aided in this noble endeavour by the great minister Schlumppf (no, Hempf), a listening post is soon established over "Laszlo"'s residence, and HGW and Sarge Udo settle down to listen in to our officer.

In what ought to be a characteristic of such situations, Schlumppf is apparently in lust with our very own Christa (who is, of course, the previously unnamed heroine of this movie), which is why the HGW's sharp instincts that suspect "Laszlo" of, shall we say, unwanted tendencies to put pen to paper, are allowed free play.

For reasons of his own that have no doubt to do with the listening to advanced classical muzique over telephone wire, a precursor of the modern and holy system of being put on hold by customer disservice, HGW lets "Laszlo" get away with quite a bit of stuff that he might have, with profit, shown to his boss.

S: "ooh he has started liking them"

We also discover that Christa has this annoyingly stupid habit of popping pills:

H: "What medications is she taking?"
S: "For depression" [Prozac in the eighties, of course. Very advanced,
these germans]

Which naturally leads in to a good reason as to why she would be unreasonably susceptible to blackmail. When the inevitable blackmail happens, we get:

H: "Bitchhhhh"

Ah well, the rest of the story need not be told, and while it ought to be worth the watch, you might perhaps choose a more congenial theater. Or, in normal countries, to buy the DVD. It's rare to see a movie that does not exactly go overboard with mawkish sentimentality when speaking about the triumph of humanity uber alles (if such a triumph does happen, you might be entitled to string together a coherent thought or two of suicide.) Instead, this movie sets the right note, and even though it could have profitably have ended about five minutes earlier, does not follow in the footsteps of the Melodious Monkeykar to screw it all up with a sermon at the end. In case you haven't realised already (and have actually had the patience to sit through disjointed ramblings to reach this point, I consider this the best movie of 2008 (er, no, 2006) so far. Which might actually be amusing, were it not for the fact that we watched Anthony Con Hai some time before watching this. And while watching Minissha Lamba might be distracting, we'd rather encourage the cricketer to put a large picture of Amrita Rao in the previous post.)

Of course, there only remains one unanswered question at the end of all this: What would H and S say if they watched something by E I Bergman?

[1] sz z? Zzz!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Shaurya kya hai ?

Long long ago there was a movie named after some behemoth buses that run in Bangalore. One of the scenes that one remember about this movie is one involving shall we say S**T packaged in a perfumed box. Most new Bollywood movies actually remind me of this scene and it is nowhere more truer than the one that any person of even Forrest Gumps IQ by now would have guessed we watched over the weekend (Hint: Please to read the title).

Shaurya seems at a first glance to be a rip off from that Hollywood Movie which stars the intolerable guy who made shades popular. But there are such basic errors as calling
the same Army regiment Rashtriya Rifles half the time and the other half metamorphosing into the Rajputana Rifles. And for some strange reason the director thought that putting a nose stud on Minnisha Lamba (yeah the same one who played a super girl and in the process almost disproving our hypotheses that no role can be essayed any worse than what Rakhi Sawant can) would somehow give her a rugged tough journalist look, well one-nose-stud-no-the-maketh-a-jodi-foster.

There is Rahul Bose (RB) who is supposed to be defending an army man accused of shooting his senior. Javed Jaffrey (JJ) handles the prosecution, and Kay Kay Menon (horribly over-rated as an actor in our opinion looking at his recent performances)is supposed to be playing a brigadier and to mouth:

"You wanna know the truth you cannot handle the truth!"

That seems to be the story. Now to the other things that go up in making the movie, we must say they are all so uniformly mediocre that we think that the producer is an idiot and if he is still alive be a living proof of the adage that "A fool and his money are soon parted". So we first started by saying that the director has no idea of using long shots, then the person next to me said that he cannot use close ups till about half an hour into the movie we concluded that he handled the camera with as much ease as the way the room-mate of TAM did his march past at the turn of the last millennium. Then we get to the sound track, there are songs that pop up like ghosts in one of those dark room of horrors and leave you feeling the same way, cold and physically afraid of the next one. And the music at some places is as inappropriate as a Sanjay Leela Bhansali shot without any hint of ostentatiousness.

But as Manasi Sinha used to tell us long back, go beyond the obvious look at the deeper meaning. Maybe this was a tribute not to Hollywood but to that great man Francois Truffaut and his movie Jules and Jim. There is definitely gay bonding between RB and JJ, nothing more demonstrates this than when both are drunk all JJ can come up with is that RB looked more handsome than him in some attire. Plus when JJ is posted to a different place, the escapades that RB described that the two of them had together we really have to now think of another Bollywood classic Dharam Veer. Maybe at a later time this movie might be called as the harbinger of love triangles where the love vectors add to zero (a.k.a JJ loves RB who loves Nandini who loves RB, by the way Nandini is supposed to be married to JJ).

We must say that the only whiff of fresh air during this whole process of masochistic indulgence was Amrita Rao who looked oh-so-desirable in a white saree.

Some piece of trivia : The Hollywood movie talked about led to a change in a George Michael video where he wears Ray Bans, whether it made him look any cooler is debatable but for sure you can see the camera in one of the close ups in the video.

Finally to answer the question that is the title of this post, Shaurya for us was to spend 200 bucks and since there were 5 of us close to 1000 bucks on a venture such as Shaurya. (Yeah right we know we are idiots and are hence further living proof of the adage we so cleverly bought into this post)

Monday, March 17, 2008

The three (or so) laws of Frustodynamics

Dedication: To the unknown soldiers of HogUARTS.

To keep in line with the Fravian definition[1] of a blog, we provide below random crap for your amusement.

Once upon a time, in a far-off university called HogUARTS (there exist many other possibly valid names for this place, but we prefer this for what ought to be obvious reasons) there came into being a concept. This was called, for want of a clever acronym, frustness. We leave it to your imagination to deduce the proper state of mind required to conjure up such a concept, and merely remark in passing that while certain other not-quite-"first"-rate institutions may lay claim on the concept, it is to be found in its purest form in exactly one place in the universe.

We elide an explanation of this concept, since it is as much of an in-joke as "Vladimir Vapnik, Cosmic Conqueror".

Much time passed after the above earth-shaking paradigm shift (not to be confused with per diem) occurred, there occurred much research into this concept, whose results we present you (having plagiarised from like-mindless people) below:

The laws of frustness:

  1. Zeroth law: The law of pseudomathematical equality

    This really requires a pretty diagram to illustrate effectively, but we make do, and state:

    "if A is as frust as B, and B is as frust as C, then A is as frust as C".

    Roughly paraphrased, this states that equal amounts of frustness do not usually result in noteworthy incidents, but in the event that there is a significant discrepancy in the quantaamounts of frustness, an equalisation process occurs. For example, if individual A was frust, and B was not, prolonged (or in some cases, instantaneous) contact usually results in B becoming at least as frust as A. The second law usually applies in such matters, though...

  2. First law: The law of conservation

    "The total frustness of the universe remains constant"

    Unfortunately, this says nothing whatsoever of the actual distribution or evolution over time of frustness, and neither does it provide any constructive method of determining said distribution. It therefore suffices to say that if you're reading this, you are a local maxima of the distribution. Cautious application of the first law usually results in your reaching the global maximum. This explains why people of similar frustness levels tend to congregate, as might be proved by your favourite local Orkut groups. Note, however, that the constancy over the universe implies that there exists at least one recycler of frustness somewhere in the universe under consideration.

  3. Second law: The law of entropyincrease

    "The frustness of an isolated system increases with time."

    Usually used to determine the direction of the arrow of time, this very useful law serves as an explanation of why things are as they are, particularly since it applies, through some oversight, to systems that are not isolated, too.

  4. Third law: Asymptotic (un)stability

    "Frustness can tend to, but never reach, zero."

    Since it is far more likely to go in the opposite direction, this law might seem redundant. It's most useful function, however, is both as a reminder that there is a minimum, and that you can't quite achieve it no matter how hard you try.

Examples of the last two laws are left as an exercise to the reader, rather like this review does.

Disclaimer: No claim whatsoever of originality is made, indeed, it would surprise us if we were involved in this particular formulation of the above laws, since they quite likely date from the time Maxwell's demon's memory overflowed, or even the Carnotaurus.

[1] A blog is...[2]

 The most over-rated nonsense on the internet. It's essentially someone's rambling, online diary, that links to real sites in order to pretend that there is actual content, (other than the self-absorbed, indulgent crap that makes up most of it).

[2] Our clarification: Anything whose title is a permutation of "random [verb] [proposition] [article] [adjective] [noun]". Note that only the word "random" is not negotiable.

PS: It turns out that this marks a century. How appropriate.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing

Came across this. So decided since we did not have anything blog worthy we might as well do the lazy thing.

The rules are:

1. Put your MP3 player/Media player on shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write the name of the song no matter what.

Metallica (Kirk Hammet) - One

Ye Kaisa Jawaab Hua

Queen (Brian May) - Brighton Rock

Though TAM might say &^@#%@^% Rock

Smashing Pumpkins - Geek USA


Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train

Finally we get to show off our Scrabble Lingo --- BINGO

Metallica (Kirk Hammet) - Fade To Black


Pink Floyd - Money


Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower

Now we are TALKING

Eric Clapton and Allman Brothers - Layla


Eric Johnson - Cliffs Of Dover


WHAT IS 2+2?
Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven

Absolutely right 4 is the Stairway to Heaven or for rather large values of 2 it is 5.

Eagles - Hotel California

Not unless it is the Mallu version :)

Jimmy Hendrix - Purple Haze


Pearl Jam - Alive

And we do it again BINGO............

Eric Clapton - Cocaine

Rather than becoming can we sort of become a user

Sublime - Santaria

We would prefer the former.

Pantera - Cemetary Gates

No surprise to the zero readership of this blog.

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

Rather interesting sight that would be or on second thoughts maybe not.

Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing

Ok no smart comments come to mind.

Black Sabbath - War Pigs

For some reason this leads us to think of a random Forsyth novel.

Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil

Oh yeah absolutely

Phish - Stash

Phishing is of course a hobby of some of my friends I would like to think. Sadly like Hobbes these are also just thoughts.

Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing

How apt :-)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Superman tripping on capes

Came across this excellent article on Federers dip in form in 2008 so far. Do read it, fascinating writing because of which we are still great fans of The Hindu.

In other news The Alternate Mobyeus has been to the Hard Rock Cafe in Bengalooru and went absolutely frusth there after having to look at Madonna next to Clapton.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jodhaa Akbar -- The Review (Or the lack of one)

To all the non existent readers of this blog, we are pleased to start posting once again.

Over the weekend we found ourselves in Fun Cinemas watching Jodha Akbar, if only its title had started with a K we would have been completely convinced that this was an Ekta Kapoor production. For the time being we will have to satisfy ourselves with the theory that the premise proposed in the Antara Mali flick Mr ya Miss has actually come true and that Ashutosh Gowariker's soul had swapped places with Ekta Kapoor while the making of this movie was going on.

All in all this movie is what would happen if an Opera singer were given stock options a.k.a. so(a)p opera.

We really hope that this movie gives rise to characters like Travis Bickle in Indian society.

By now you would have realized that we do not propose to give this movie any sort of respect by blogging anything more about it, if not then a better post about it can be found here by a much better (and may we say funnier) reviewer.

Mit Mithya, jäh?

(yes, making multilingual puns in languages we don't understand proves that we suck.)

The Academy Awards were announced today, and as might have been expected, Pixar's Magnum Opus on the rendering of multiple hairy animals did win something. This is not about that movie, unfortunately, since the idea of a rat cooking up anything other than Plague a la mode is endlessly entertaining.

Mithya is, at its simplest, a remake of Don. Lest this bring to mind that insipid overhyped Pshaw Rooke starrer, we hasten to remind you of movies like these, which lend their inspiration well (don't you love euphemisms? No? Oh well.)

Mithya starts off well, with a bridge that might have served Guy Ritchie well being turned into the scene of a shootout, and Ranvir Shorey(VK) hiding, terrified, under it as two people who we shall know by the names of Inspectors Ram and Sham do their utmost to adjust the pH of the waters below (It is suggested that any subliminal imagery you might see of curvy horns and con men might be replaced by this. It does not make much difference to the eventual outcome.)

Earlier, our hero plays his part by playing the part of an extra at a film, wherein we first get to see Neha Dhupia(forget her name, at least till the end of this review) playing her part (now, and throughout the movie) as a Cicinnurus regius impersonator. More generally, she does try to cover all the Paradiseae, sometimes with incongrous results (but we are getting ahead - or behind) the story here. Sadly, she's no Zeenat Aman, but then, who could be? She still does provide a restful, if lush, backdrop to the increasingly grim stuff put on screen in the name of realism, though of course, we wonder about the rocky docky imagery.

Somewhen (it is rather confusing) during, before, or after the process of pH readjustment, the inspectors inspect the visage of VK, and find it (as you might have expected) a rare match with the Don, and a reaction of substitution is initiated. There follows a rare comedy sequence reminiscent of the reactions of someone presented with their first digital camera, ending in a barber shop where the shot is taken. Sadly, we never see this theme develop any further, remarks about brains and backsides notwithstanding.

Naseeruddin Shah and That Other Guy Whose Name I Do Not Know play the competition to Don, though in a rather effective way, which provides for a certain amount of restful tranquility as we wait for the inevitable ending to this movie.

This provides a rather nice spot to bring up our main complaint with this movie? Didn't someone say that switching genre mid-movie is bad? After all, there are only a finite number of ways to end a movie like Don properly (or worse, improperly), and the darkly (or otherwise) humourous first half offered so much more potential; particularly when a sane viewer would have been enormously tempted to bail out during the first 45s of the movie, given certain a priori assumptions.

The humour works extremely well, but once we start getting to the unfunny parts (which tend to be as gripping as a bald radial tyre on a bicycle being driven through yet another Himalayan avalanche), the predominant thinking is a wish that whoever did the scissorwork had had the good sense to borrow from this movie. It would have enlivened the proceedings, and probably would not have caused lasting harm to its eventual success at the bocks ofis. After all, if you can inspire a fan site (or a great citizen of the east) into speculating about what the movie really means, you have a classic some decades down the line.