Monday, October 30, 2006

Stream of consciousness

Completely snowed down under work, so here's a post that requires almost no effort:

"When a garbage can is ridiculously feline, another chess board over a wedding dress graduates from a highly paid carpet tack. Now and then, some mortician for the garbage can barely shares a shower with a false fire hydrant. When an orbiting buzzard trembles, a wheelbarrow hides. Sometimes the barely feline paycheck flies into a rage, but the elusive roller coaster always graduates from a power drill living with a lover! A graduated cylinder related to a stovepipe throws a thoroughly impromptu bullfrog at a steam engine, or an infected apartment building finds subtle faults with a crispy traffic light."

Was half of a spam mail from god knows where - quite creative cos it gets through most spam filters. Whoever wrote it was really in his/her stream of consciousness... or is just a really smart program. Whatever. Good entertainment at this hour. Now back to work.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Coffee is the spice

Interesting Dilbert strips happened last week. It started with this one:

And then continued with this:

Followed by this beauty:

If you're a Dilbert fan, in all probability, you've read this - so what's the big deal, you ask? Chances are that you've also read Frank Herbert's SF/Fantasy masterpiece, Dune. Well, this is why it's interesting - Dilbert's coffee seems to have the strange properties of the melange spice found on Planet Arrakis - Dilbert's prescience and heightened awareness seem unnaturally similar to the effect of the spice on Paul Atreides in Dune. It could be a coincidence, or it could be that Paul Atreides is a descendant (several hundred generations removed, of course) of Dilbert?!

I need some coffee. And something to do on a Sunday evening!!

(This is not my first post on Dilbert's relation to other fictional characters - this was the first.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tum Jane, main Jane-man

This photo was taken over the weekend at the theatre where I watched Dor (I'd written about it here).

As you might have guessed, knowledgeable reader, this should have been Jaan-e-mann, Shirish Kunder's debut directorial effort (Shirish Kunder who? Farah Khan's husband. Farah Khan who? Well, never mind).

Jane-man, on the other hand, sounds just right for a metrosexual 21st century version of Tarzan - ironically, both Salman and Akshay (who're acting in the original) could fit the bill for a buff, Indian "Jane-man". Screenplay writers must be salivating at the prospect of writing killer dialogues like "Tum Jane, Main Jane-man" accompanied by chest thumping (bare-chested in the case of Salman) and war-cries.

Once released, ex-Tarzans (like Dara Singh and Hemant Birje) will rue the fact that they were born too early and never got to play a cool metro role like Jane-man. Tough luck, dudes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dor - Kukunoor's coming of age

I watched Dor, Nagesh Kukunoor's latest, yesterday. The last two movies he's made (Iqbal and Dor) have given evidence to a maturity that was missing in many of his earlier ventures (Rockford, Hyderabad Blues for example). I've enjoyed both movies thoroughly, and find Kukunoor a director to watch out for - and here's why.

First up, I like the fact that Kukunoor's art is focused around telling the story, so everything else is but garnish and seasoning to the main hero: the tale that waits to be told. There is no gimmickry in the story-telling either - no plot twists by the second, no major sub-plots, no big stars, no random fights, no sudden baring of a heroine's fair midriff, no fashionable clothes, no foreign locales, no nothing. Just clean tellin' the story like it is. And it's completely enjoyable to watch the story as it unfolds, sans frills.

And this leads to the second - his excellent characterization. Dor moves at a languid pace, even more so than Iqbal. Kukunoor takes his time to develop the characters, but when the tale takes off, you know the characters like they were siblings. You love and hate them for the things they do; more importantly, you understand why they do them. And clearly, it needs great faith in your script and even greater faith in your abilities as a director to dare to linger over characters at a time when audiences are like babies who need cinematic rattles to constantly keep them focused. The characters are memorable - Gul Panag's strong Zeenat, Ayesha Takia's girlish Meera and Shreyas Talpade's chameleon-like behroopiya are etched in your mind - only because Kukunoor takes the time to give us a glimpse into their lives before getting on with the story.

And my third reason to like his recent work may have a lot to do with the second - he gets the best out of his actors. If Shreyas Talpade was a revelation in Iqbal, he continues to delight - his motormouth role more than makes up for his silence in his earlier film, and his mimicry is is truly chuckle-worthy. When his character summons Dutch courage to admit his love to Zeenat is a fabulous moment, one among several. He only plays second fiddle, though, to the two leading ladies, Gul Panag and Ayesha Takia. The memorability of their characters is partly due to the story-telling and characterization, but a large part is based on some terrific acting. And remember, till date, these were performers who'd made it in Bollywood primarily on the strength of their looks. To trust the script in their hands, and to bring out their best in de-glamorized roles must have been Kukunoor's most difficult, and to me, most admirable feat yet.

Sure, Dor had its faults. Yeah, the ending was DDLJ-esque and quite predictable. Maybe it could have been more tightly edited. All I can say is watch out for Kukunoor's next. It's as much in the telling of the tale, as it is in the tale itself, that a movie-maker's art lies. And Nagesh Kukunoor is slowly, but surely, becoming quite the artist.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The first thought that struck me when I read about Orhan Pamuk's winning the Nobel for Literature was that finally, I've read a Nobel Prize author before (s)he won the Nobel. My second thought was that it's a definite sign of growing old.

Pamuk had come highly recommended by the Milo-man, but somehow I'd never gotten around to reading him. As Milo-man threatened fasts unto death et al, I finally took the plunge last month when I began his latest work, Snow. And it mesmerised me. It spun webs around me thick and fast, and I emerged it from it, 3 weeks later, awed by the book. At one point, I actually thought the book would sit up and talk to me with words of wisdom and sadness - it was that good. And no, I wasn't smoking hallucinatory substances, thank you very much.

More interestingly, when I'd just begun Snow, DK2 happened to see the book, and mentioned that Pamuk was in the front-running for the Nobel. I didn't think much of it, till I found out how clairvoyant DK2 was. Did you make any money on that call, mate?

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I watched balls go back and forth for 6 hours and some, at the Kingfisher Airlines tennis open at CCI in Mumbai yesterday (Sep 30). It started at 5 PM with the first singles semi between Berdych and Koubek, went into the second singles semi between Tursunov and Robredo, and ended with the doubles quarters between Paes and Bhupathi finishing at close to 11:30 PM.

Not having EVER watched a tennis match from such close quarters, it was pretty cool to be there. The coolness was dampened a little bit by the first match. It was fairly ill-tempered, with both Berdych and Koubek taking issue with the chair umpire on the line calls. The quality of the play wasn't of the highest order either (honestly, neither was the line calling!), and we were quite happy that it finished as soon as it did!

The second match was a different story altogether. Tursunov played like a man possessed,
playing some scorching groundstrokes, with a forehand that moved faster than the eye could see. Watching him was a little bit like playing Russian roulette with blanks - he threatened to explode at any moment. There was one point where in frustration at a missed forehand, he raised his racket over a linesman's head - luckily, it didn't come down with any velocity or we'd have been short one linesman for sure! And there was enough swearing from the man when nobody could really understand why and in a language that nobody could really understand - I'm guessing Russian, but it could have been Hebrew for all I knew.

But interspersed between all the swearing and general racket antics was some fabulous clean hitting, and Tommy Robredo just had no answers to Tursunov. He did try gamely though in clawing a set back, but Tursunov was just too good for him. The crowd got in behind both players - of course, the only problem was that "C'mon Tommy" made it sound like one was calling out to a favorite pet! :)

By now, in spite of the great tennis, we had been sitting for more than 4 hours and the plastic chairs were having an unpleasant effect on our butts, and we couldn't wait for the Paes-Bhupathi clash to begin. The crowds had swelled up in anticipation of this game, with Bhupathi getting VJ Anusha (I think) and Rahul Bose in his corner, and Leander getting Rhea Pillai in his. In the first set, it looked like Paes-Qureshi would get blown off court in quick time, and we could all go home to a late, but not-too-late dinner. But then, some Indo-Paki vibes happened, including a classic point, where pushed back by a terrific Ancic lob, Qureshi scrambled to the baseline, and responded to Paes' frantic cry of "Oopar maar!" with a fabulous return lob - this was definitely the turning point of the second set, and Paes and Qureshi went on to win it in some style.

But it wasn't to last long - the last set was a washout of the worst variety, Ancic and Bhupathi raising their game ever so slightly to take the match in a canter. In the final analysis, I would think Qureshi was the weak link - he was amateurish at moments and seemed intimidated by both his partner and his opponents. Luckily for us, though, the match finally ended, cos I was hungry enough to eat the tennis ball that came free with the ticket (Yay, freebie!). And we were back home by midnight... in preparation for a busy Sunday!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The blogger-whom-no-one-reads II

In response to this comment, another Pastis special from 3 weeks before :))

Rat rocks!!