Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Kurbaan: Terror flick in un "saif” hands

I saw “Kurbaan”, the much hyped Hindi thriller from Karan Johar factory.

I can give it only 2 out of possible 5. And that is considering its very few meritorious points.

The possibility of an intelligent Hindu Green card holding Psychology professor ( Kareena) falling in love with an aging( Age shows) Muslim professor( Saif Ali) who comes up with unbelievable corny lines, is in itself a no-brainer.

Add to this, the chances of both getting Visa/ permission or whatever to USA in this day and age is too slim to be swallowed too.

Once in USA, she insists on renting a house which has strange neighbors who later turn out to her hubby’s fidayeen unit members with evil designs, wanting to cause mayhem for US’s Afghan atrocities back home..How all of them managed to reach the shores of USA after 9/11 ad Iraq is again implausible...How and why Kareena managed to select the very same house from amongst many houses they see in the process is also baffling…The director meanders along with a medley of soulless characters, the best of whom is Vivek Oberoi, who starts well but when he says that ‘he will take on suicide bombers on his own without Police help’, you ask yourself, “Is he for real?”..And he is supposed to be a media person with American upbringing…hmmm..

If that was not unbelievable enough, the normal American intelligence guys and why , even commoners who call FBI even if their cat caught cold in the snow are credited by Karan Johar and Co with as much 'intelligence' as the normal Mumbai policemen exhibited during 26/11 times..

Saif looks jaded; his transformation from a wooing professor to fearless terrorist lacks conviction…Kareena is OK in parts but looks wafer thin…

Their much discussed Chemistry?...Well , it is more ‘Physics’, I daresay…

Karan Johar and terror subject looks to be a very un”saif” proposition indeed…

And yes, "New York " was much better somehow…

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Under 'mining' trust for power!



Under 'mining' trust for power!

Like many simple minded people who in India live more on hope than facts, I too felt that BJP was 'different' or at least they had vowed to make a 'difference' from the shady Congress-JDS types in Karnataka...

The warning signs were there to prove me wrong all the way but I tended to gloss over them deliberately giving them a soft corner in my heart...

Then came the Mining kings, called in Kannada as "Gani dore" , who had pumped in money for Elections ensuring victories in God knows how many constituencies... and now all they wanted was pay-back...their pound of flesh was demanded in the most shameless fashion yet seen in BJP annals or in the checkered political history of the State.

Arm twisting techniques coupled with 'Resort politics' was enacted out in the most undignified way possible in front of a stunned, flood-battered state.

Yeddyurapa stood exposed as the man who 'took from them' when it suited, and now 'refused to give'! The Reddys wanted nothing but the heads to roll...
Fiery words and false hopes ensued from both the embattled parties and the scene shifted to Dilli Durbar for show-down...

And what a poor show it turned out to be with the BJP Leadership acquiescing to most of the repulsive and rampantly corrupt demands of Reddys for 'benefits in their backyard'...

Tears were all Yeddy had for the people of the state as a disgraceful and unbelievable patch up was acted out purely for media benefit and gullible public consumption...

Reddys and their coterie of chosen IAS, IPS men will now rule over their Districts with impunity and gay abandon...

Jai Karnataka mathe...A Great gift for the Rajyotsava month...

How long will this unholy truce last , only time will tell...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

on 2 comments

Terror on silver screen


I’ve just been to the much awaited Tamil movie with family- Unnaipol Oruvan.
While this Kamal Hasan’s version of the Hindi original A Wednesday, stays faithful to it barring a few scenes, there are some differences as well…

Unnaipol Oruvan is taut and engaging and boasts of sterling performances by Kamal and Mohanlal, though I would think Naseeruddin Shah was more intense and plausible as the ‘common man’, than the underplaying Celebrity actor that Kamal is.
Yes, it is hard to believe Kamal Hasan who has been lighting up the silver screen for 5 decades now, as ‘just one of us’ , though he wears a non descript shirt and pants without makeup.( That’s quite a break from his routine, I mean the ‘make-up’ part!!).

As for the ‘stupid common man’ as he claims himself to be is concerned, you or me wouldn’t be a ‘Communications expert’ who can scramble Police networks, make our cell-phone locations untraceable and can match wits with a computer hacker…
Hell, I could shiver with fright, just imagining talking to the Police commissioner of my City!

Nor would I or you know how to make bombs merely by ‘googling’ nor park a bomb laden jeep right by the runway of an airstrip!
We would find this all quite uncommon to do, especially with a bag laden with tomatoes and drumsticks in the other hand.

So, he is then a very bright , net savvy common man, but that is still fine.. So was Naseeruddin Shah in the original, so that’s not a big change in the remake.

But I could never figure out why he had to plant bulky black bags slyly in trains and malls all over the City and we are simply told at the end that ‘they were all empty and none had bombs’ …Kind of self-defeating exercise , especially when no one finds them in the end either. And the Director keeps you confused by repeatedly showing the Train bogie with the cop’s wife and child as if there was some big peril right above their heads…Talk of Red herrings!

But it is really the stout Mohanlal here who really betters the bald-headed Anupam Kher of the Hindi one.. This man has wonderful screen presence and is a pleasure to watch in the expressions department…
Ganesh Venaktraman who plays toughie cop Arif is damned good find too.

Shruti Hasan in maiden outing as a music director goes ‘bang bang’ rock music throughout, apart from it there is a song that goes ‘allah jaane allah’ etc sung by Kamal.

Go watch it , for Kamal has given us , the common men, a two hour glory and heroism in the face of death dance of Terrorism ..

My rating : 3.5/ 5.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

on 5 comments

Bridging the gaps



As a Civil Engineer and especially an ex Gammon staffer who started his career there, it hurts me no end to see the flak the company received for the recent accidents and loss of lives and thus its own loss of face.

Don’t think for a moment that I condone the lapses that resulted in the earlier Hyderabad and the recent Delhi Bridge site mishaps.

I don't.

But then its just not about a single careless Gammon India and only them that should be blamed…It goes much, much deeper than that.

We talk about safety standards or the lack of them and hasty arrangements in the Delhi or Hyderabad mishap sites…Do we for a moment pause and think whether we as Indians are safety conscious at all?

To ask difficult questions, by way of introspection,

1. How many of us , I mean the educated citizens, always wear helmets while riding two wheelers on metro city streets?
2. How many times don’t we overtake from left, jump the signals and bribe the greedy cops at street corners for our lapses?
3. Isn’t it quite common to see hasty two wheeler riders zip along the foot paths in Bangalore or Chennai just to get ahead to the signals throwing pedestrian safety to wind in their wake?

To be more specific to the Construction Industry,

1. How many of the construction labourers are provided even basic safety gear by employers, how many of them default on these unabashedly and again bribe their way out with ‘powers that be’ to carry on nonchalantly?
2. How many construction labourers in Indian sites have been trained and taught not to ignore helmets, boots and safety harnesses while working in dangerous conditions? And how many follow them despite being a declared rule in many Corporate construction sites?.. How many trained personnel or licensed drivers only operate and handle construction equipments and cranes and lories laden with materials?
3. How many times have we not seen steel rods sticking out dangerously from Lorries in front of us with a red kerchief tied to them? And what about carrying wooden poles and long furniture on pillions on scooters and sticking out of Auto-rickshaw sides?

I have seen many construction sites in my career and believe me the answer to safety questions followed is shockingly negative.

I am equally amazed now working in a British MNC from their site pictures and videos that not once, even by chance do ‘they’ miss out on life saving precautions in UK and elsewhere…Not once and not anywhere…Safety and equipment training are scrupulously followed and are given paramount importance.

Let’s face it, Safety is not in our blood…Ask any NRI on visit to motherland if he dares to drive cars on Indian roads today…They shiver with fright…

Then add to this deadly risk- corruption, greed and utter carelessness…You have the perfect recipe for sudden death and destruction!

The bottom-line is- It is for us to cultivate safe working habits and bridge the gaping holes in our system before finding easy scapegoats for short term goals.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

on 1 comment

When the Cup slipped....



The proverb says that there are many slips between the cup and the lip…It however doesn’t say much when the cup itself slips out… I am talking of course about the T20 World cup of Cricket which India managed to lose…

There have been of course hoarse cries baying for blood and ‘off with his head’ sentiments expressed plenty already. Difficult for saner voices to be heard..

We will have to examine carefully the performance of Indian team to get a clearer picture…One striking thing is that Dhoni didn’t strike the ball well ( pun unintended) as good as he used to and in critical times too…Then some tactical blunders like Jadeja’s, that he did…All that is still acceptable and to some extent forgivable…
But not when he says, post match, that India is a ‘sentimental country’…
Sentimental countries forgive you, sir, when you ask….Not cold blooded countries who merely act than feel…
Dhoni perhaps a needs a lesson in sensitivity there…

Success is not always being first, its really about doing better than you were, said a wise man…That is what makes us sit up and ponder…We were doing much better than failing to chase ( a self inflicted injury after winning the toss!) a mediocre target of 153 runs against a ‘not too hot to handle’ English team..
What then happened this time around..?

IPL, that’s what it’s all about…

How can we expect, most Indian players who contested fiercely against each other in IPL so very recently, to fight for a common cause and jell as a team in the T20 WC?
There were some still unhealed ego wounds somewhere hanging over from those emotional Chennai superkings, Delhi daredevils and Punjab Kings XI’s close contests.. Most International players now playing for their own countries were their recent team-mates...


Besides most became exhausted , ‘fatigued out’, home-sick and some like Viru picked up unwanted injuries at a crucial time…

Its not me who feels this way;Gary Kirsten, our Coach does, as well…He was there throughout and he should know…

If you make cricketers slaves to money merely by hosting dissimilar tournaments and in different continents too soon, then you forget the human factor… It was too much, too soon...

Success is not final and failure is not fatal, said Churchill...

And then every machine needs a rest too…Don’t our cricketers?

That’s what all of us need too…Rest and some cold introspection at our calendars..
Rest will take care of itself…

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

on 2 comments

Mamata or Karuna...No love lost already?


Mamata or Karuna...No love lost already?

Look at the names...Mamata and Karuna, the names of the undisputed winners belonging to UPA from two states which had no hesitation in giving them a free reign of the next 5 years of their collective destiny!
Mamata and Karuna both mean the same thing...Compassion, love, camaraderie...something like that...


If only names were true indicators of their behaviour and character, Manmohan would have been 'sing(h)ing' a different tune by now...

But belying all expectations exhorted by their names and meanings, the greedy allies are pushing for maximum pound of flesh without any karuna or mamata to each other or to the beleaguered congress!

From TN, the DMK patriarch is behaving as if there is a single point agenda of sending all his children and kith and kin to the Union cabinet , believing that it is his 'berth' right for having trampled upon Amma's two leaves and gotten the Congress a few seats in his State! In fact they 'engineered' a miraculous recovery and win for Chidu in Sivaganga...He was trailing behind ADMK candidate all the way to the last 10 mins and suddenly he scraped through ...The Home minister was home safe!...Who says secret ballot doesn't work?...

Pity, they could not serve Main shankar Aiyer too similarly...Probably he did not matter!
In the fracas for Minister seats ,the so-called poetess-daughter Kanimozhi silently dropped back, saying she will spend her balance 2 year Rajya sabha term ' honing her parliamentary skills'..Some sensible lady that!


But 'Madhurai veeran', Azhagiri had no such qualms..Hopefully he will not replicate the Madhurai's winning formula in the Capital..Don't know what that means?...Ask anyone in/ from Madhurai...

Mamata on the other hand with her unrestrained attacks , riding the anti incumbency wave, 'left' the Ruling party in WB far behind in the race for power and has resurfaced on the national arena as ebullient and as shrill as ever..She wanted Railways and nothing less...To victor go the spoils, they say...As long as she does not 'spoil' the existing healthier condition Railways find themselves in Post- Lalu era. Already indications are that she issued a populist statement saying she will issue Rs 15 and Rs 20 passes to people below Poverty line.. as if that 's what matters to the poor souls first!

But if they want to issue such passes in this densely populated nation, they will have to multiply the present Railways staff by 10 times at the least, says a very senior journalist on a Talk show...

As soon as DMK upped the ante and threw a king sized tantrum on Minister berths, Mamata too joined the rat-race and says 'why not me?'..Give me more, is the shameless cry from the ‘allies’...

Why talk more?

The Elections are over...We, the people have gotten back to our jobs and life and Politicians to theirs...No one has time for each other, at least for the next five years, hopefully...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

on 5 comments

Rising Sons en(N)d DA


Rising Sons en(N)d DA

Everyone was waiting with bated breath for the Election results, switching TV channels from T-20 matches to News. Like I did.

Then yesterday it became amply clear by mid-day that the ‘rising’ sons of the grand old political families like Azhagiri fighting on the party’s Rising sun symbol from Madurai in TN and Rahul from the Gandhi family with his young ‘Hand’, who scorched the soils of UP in harsh sunny May days, had their last laugh…

….Exceptions like Raghavendra , Yeddyurappa’s son in Shimoga eclipsed the Machiavellian Bangarappa of the Congress too… then there were Kumaraswamy, Jyotoraditya and Milind Deora all carrying their fathers’ political genes had reasons to smile, for their ‘Dilli dreams’ had come real.

Varun , son of Sanjay Gandhi has made his political debut too… But unlike Azhagiri or Rahul Gandhi he did not belong to the UPA…But in his own ‘foot in the mouth’ way, he might well have contributed to the ‘end of NDA too’!

But while a Raghavendra or a Varun bloomed ‘Lotuses’ with their individual victories, Stalin , the other son of the DMK patriarch and Dayanidhi , the son of Maran family worked behind the scenes to ensure that their ‘Rising Sun’ verily burnt Amma’s ‘Two green leaves’ in TN…

The UPA which dashed and ended NDA’s comeback hopes this time around with resounding results is yet to mop up the remaining numbers to hit the magical 272 to resume Power…But then who will be naive enough to think that they won’t, with all their machinations and persuasive skills and resources available in plenty?

If you look at the background of it all and what must have transpired in Indian Voter’s minds, you would see a dismal Market scene where thousands continue to lose jobs, bursting population , Infrastructure at breaking point and burgeoning pollution and a threatening Global warming…Plus the shifty and ‘blow hot blow cold’ BJP Politicians with rampant in-fighting on the Right extreme and Left parties belonging to another age and time with their ‘no-takers’ Marxist philosophy might have been seen as poor alternatives indeed..

No wonder then that the voter must have heaved a resigned sigh and shook the ‘ Congress hand’ to guide them to a centrist path…for immediate survival and possible development…

So then , that’s how it must be… hopefully for five more years……Amid echoes of ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Singh is King’, the ‘Queen’ preens and smiles benevolently from 7, Race Course Road…

Dare you not talk in disdain about Italy and pasta ever again…
The Queen in sari rules with an iron ‘hand’…

Sunday, April 05, 2009

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Selecting To Elect:



The elections are upon us.. Yes, 'upon us'- sounds as if its a necessary bitter medicine forced down your throat every five years , sometimes far less than that...

Suddenly the same rusty old party functionaries and fat bellied, balding leaders are grinning at us from ear to ear from Wall posters, banners and TV screens...

Let us get one thing clear...

It is one fashionable thing for celebrities like Aamir Khan to hand out encouraging platitudes and inspiring words about the 'need to vote for future’ and or management fundas like 'be the change you want' etc...

But it’s quite another to separate the tolerable from the rotten, the solid ones from the riff raff or filter the promising ones from the hopeless stinkers that inhabit the plane called Indian politics...

The mindboggling question refuses to go away:

Whether we should vote on party principles , if you can manage to find some, that is, amid the chaos of alluring promises they make only during the elections, or… vote on individual candidates as per their integrity, character or social standing, again, if you have the time and tools to measure them….

So how easy is it to inspire the nonchalant electorate to ‘go and out to do your job’, when the whole onus always falls on his or her frail shoulders as to who to vote…
Oh, sure, its fantastic to have all these illuminating websites like jaagore.com or media campaigns like Lead India…

Even if you do walk into the designated polling booth on the said day and time , is there any guarantee that you will find your name figuring on the rolls , will you be allowed to vote or turned away, just because you did not bother to check in advance to confirm it…?

So selecting to elect your representatives still is the core of the problem…
Amid, in spite of the reports of ‘cash for votes', liquor and other ‘timely incentives’ doing their job in the background on the bulk of the ‘gullible electorate’, as they are termed…

I have an issue with that too, just because one is uneducated or poor or both, is that enough reason to be unethical, greedy and susceptible to corruption…?? Doesn’t speak much of character or integrity on the part of voters there, now , does it?

Meanwhile the Tamasha unfolds on most major TV channels..

Mother versus the Magic woman Mayavati, ‘Operation Kamala’ by which BJP will, without pangs of conscience or ethics, swallow the hardcore Cong men and burps…

One Gandhi scion , Varun ‘rains’ abuses on minority community and gets himself jailed and becomes a sort of martyr, while the other , Rahul already a crore pathi tries to woo the secular public of UP…

All aged and ageing film stars have already entered the fray making this a mega multi-starrer blockbuster…
So, ‘collections’ will surely be heavy this time….In fact, these collections will go on till the next five years, unlike the shorter shelf life of their forgettable films…

A kind of a big Political multiplex arena, this one…Which will be a ‘hit’ and which a miserable ‘flop’?
If we cannot 'hit upon' the right candidates, it will surely hit us hard!
( pun unintentional)



Sunday, March 15, 2009

on 1 comment

A Different Ball-game!

A Different Ball-game!


IPL Season-2 is here. It could not have come at a worse point in these troubled times than now. Its just not about Cricket either...

It is hailed as a big extravaganza spanning two tumultuous months...The sub-continent is going through an unprecedented tense period, hardly conducive to playing host to a galaxy of International cricketing stars who will land here to taste individual success under the Corporate Sponsors and line their pockets nicely on the way out..

Economic slowdown has already painted a pall of gloom universally and money has all but disappeared from people's wallets. Must people be tempted to spend their leftover money on the tickets now?

Terrorism has cost us lives and landed us in an unenviable position of being an unsafe place to tour or do business with as far as rest of the world is concerned.

26/11 is now a wound that has hardly healed and a stigma that just can't be wished away...This time the media has doggedly made sure that it won't..

.....IPL authorities are planning to inaugurate the games in the same city now. Am I being paranoid, tell me?

The once in five year Political circus of Parliamentary elections is also here in the same period and the country will be subjected to escalating political pressures and many criminals will go into active mode across the country in this period under the aegis of various aspiring political bigwigs...

How can anyone guarantee that among the milling, yelling, flag waving spectators that there is not one unsporting character who has a hidden agenda...? A devilish package hidden among his belongings?. Cycles, Tiffin boxes have all been used as killer bomb containers before..

How many security men will be needed and what all can be checked and passed at the these venues scattered all over the country...? Some of the places are known to be notoriously vulnerable to terrorist threats before...Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad...Which city is insulated from these murderous threats?

Even if nothing more dastardly happens, you can be sure the furore from cultural police against the scantily clad young cheerleaders could ricochet again too...


But the new Team owners like Preity Zintas and Shilpa Shettys are not too worried…They issue platitudes like the insensitive Lalit Modi who has had to eat his own words no sooner he used them..


Ms Zinta says. "Even Srilankan cricketers who were attacked recently in Pak, are also ready to play..what are you afraid of etc".. 'Preity' bad example indeed...We are afraid of this, exactly, Miss Celebrity...Insensitive and greedy people like you who walk over other's graves without a pang of guilt!

We do not know whether to regret about such callous celebrities who are anxious to fill their coffers and have their hour of glory at whatever cost...or shock about the recklessness of these Cricketers who make up their minds, without ‘minding’ the perils they are walking into, when they trot out into grounds...

And we have not even started talking about Srilanka and Tamil genocide and the undercurrents of this resentment in Tamil nadu, or the Maoists and Naxals who blow up roads, bridges and train tracks in umpteen states regularly with utter disdain towards life and properties of others...Nor have we even discussed about the ever changing political -army turmoil next door in Pak or the recent horrid Army mutiny in Bangladesh...

We will have players from all these places and we should believe nothing will happen and game should go on..

Yes, Game should go on, may be. But Life..or Death..?
We are not so sure now, are we?


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