Monday, June 30, 2008

Stray thought

I was reading another Wooster and Jeeves short story and couldn't help wondering if life would have been simple as a Wodehouse novel. I mean wouldn't it be just awesome to live life of the 'idle rich'?Chill out in some club, have countless pegs of whiskey and soda and spend days in the comfort of the country side. The best part of it is however the "engaged to be married" funda so frequently tried by the protagonists of his stories. You see a girl and fall in love at the first sight. You overcome all butterflies in the stomach, formulate a scheme to have her pushed in the lake n then save her and finally go up to her and ask "Wat ho!will you be my wife?" Forget the years of courtship and spending buckets of moolah on dates. A simple yes or no question does the work. If the object of affection replies in an affirmative "Coo!" then all is jolly good. If not, some one will say "tut!" and still everything will turn out fine. Simple as ABC. Boy! I really envy Bertie Wooster!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Keira Knightely

This is probably my most favourite one...the eyes have come out exactly the way i wanted them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Another vector portrait

This one is of my nephew Sid...

My first vector portrait

Wat do you think?

p.s. Created using Adobe Illustrator CS.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dial 911 if this doesn't make you smile :)

p.s. The adorable baby in the vid is my nephew.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sarkar Raj

*WARNING: Spoilers ahead*

To be frank, I wasn't so keen on watching the next installment of the Sarkar series. I had liked Sarkar. I thought it was a decent remake of the Godfather and certainly proved that Abhishek B. can certainly do the thing with his eyes and expressions when cameras are focussed close enough to spot the white anomaly in what is otherwise a what-daddy-would-be-proud-of black stubble. What I didn't like in the movie was just the "Govinda Govinda" soundtrack playing in the background while the actors lipsynched to what one perceived as poor dialogues in the script that were edited out. Besides, too much of the same thing (YRF another guilty party in this celluloid crime) makes a movie goer buy cheap pirated DVDS. The excessive use of the Factory formula of using close-up camera mechanism and giving the backgroud track more prominence than dialogues coupled with the 24/7 news channel's excessive promotion of buy-2-get-1-free Bacchan family pack did dampen one's spirits.

However, dampened spirits or not, one doesn't have much choice if its raining continously when one's vacationing (read- reading the adventures of Bertram Wooster and watching yet another horror movie on DVD). So when a close pal phoned up, off we went to watch Sarkar 2 aka Sarkar Raj with the following expectations which Ram Gopal Varma (Wormaaaa nahi Varma) duly catered to:

1. Microscopic detailing of the wrinkles on Big B's face, extra-smooth-Loreal-she's-worth-the-millions-we-paid-for face of Ash R.B and its-after-all-in-the-genes-damn-the-writer-is-obssessed-with-hypens-in-adjectives angry young man look in the eyes of the Junior B.

2. The aforementioned background "Govinda Govinda" soundtrack played as a tribute to the legendary Virarian, yet to be seen doing a pelvic thrust in a RGV phillum.

3. Tanisha dying in a car bomb blast. Yuss, the Rawle brain anticipated what the other matinee show watchers at Chitra Theatre didn't. Common sense - RGV or no RGV, you cannot have a AbhiAsh movie without a romantic angles between them. Also, the tribute had to be kept pouring to the Mario Puzo classic and what was perceived as a loss of memory on the screenplay writer's part in the first movie was merely an inability to adjust the death of the first wife within the length of the FEquel.

4. A good script (need of the hour after watching dozens of RGV movies post Sarkar) and some bole toh ekdam kadak dialogues.

So far so good. But it got even better. Firstly, Dilip Prabhavalkar (to those not familiar with Marathi television, theatre and movies: the dude who played M.Gandhi in Lage Raho...Munnabhai) as the Gandhian Raosahab was something refreshingly new in the typical RGV starcast. I'm a huge Prabhavalkar fan. The dude is true master of disguise and has delivered stunning performances on TV as well as the movies.

Secondly, deja-vu in the character of the Somji, the angry young leader, who is against the city politicians and businessmen, aka outsiders, setting up a power plant in his matrubhumi. A spectacled young leader, against the Sarkar, seemingly fighting for the cause of Maharashtra-now where have we seen that before?

Finally, what worked for me was the plot twist towards the end. I sure as hell didn't see that one coming. This was some sort of a relief after being subjected to kuch-bhi types plot-twists in movies like Race.

The only disappointing scene in the movie was the one in which Kantilal Woraaa pays a visit to Sarkar and Pushpa Nagare serves him idli sambar. It was a tailor-made comic scene for Supriya Pathak to go overdrive into Hansaben mode and ask "Hello!how are?khaana khaake jaana ho" to the visiting Vora (Woraa). Sadly, RGV's script writers aren't smart enought to think of that and Pushpa Nagare exits the scene dialogueless, as she does throughout the movie.

So, all-in-all, one ends up pretty alright if not satisfied after watching Sarkar 2. With the ending, RGV does keep one guessing if there will be a TEQuel which will showcase the rise of Chiku as the heir to the Sarkar throne and the disputes over the leadership in the Sarkar camp over the citizenship of its current First Lady. Or would Chicku be treacherously plotting the revenge for his fathers death?Will RGV make the casting coup of the century by unveiling Mimoh Chakraborty as Chicku Nagare? With Mrs. Rai-Bacchan as the mother Maharashtra in the next movie, one thing is for certain..."chicku ya audience..koyi toh ek definitely pakne wala hai"

Sunday, June 08, 2008

...not this year!

Nadal prevails for yet another year! Sublime display by the lean Spaniard yet again and surely this must be the highest high of his career with the sheer brutality displayed against the world no.1. Nadal must be oozing with confidence going into Wimbledon and must be really fancying his chances on the grass on which Federer has ruled for a long time.

So Federer has to wait for another year to have crack at the title which has eluded him much like the roadrunner has proven elusive to the wiley coyote. Coming into the tournament, Federer did dig deep into his supply of Acme "Win the French open" toolkit and hired the services of Jose Higueras, a man with a great knowledge of the clay surface. The way in which the draws panned out, Nadal was always going to be the one that Federer would have to worry about. To be fair to Jose, all he could have done in 1 month was give Federer insights into Nadal's game, point out possible weaknesses and come up with a strategy to combat Nadal.

Throughout the match, one could see that Federer had a gameplan and it was a good one. Push Nadal on the backfoot, open up the court and then finish off the point with a strong approach shot or a precisely angled volley. But sadly, he couldn't execute it to perfection. A key to this plan was getting a high percentage of first serves in. But Federer struggled with his serve, right from the first game and was broken time and again by Nadal. Federer's points conversion on the second serve was even more miserable and he managed to win just 5 points on the second serve in the whole match.

On the times when he did push back Nadal and went for the kill, the net seemed to get in the way of his volleys every time. Federer, well aware of the speedy Spaniard's quick court coverage, tried to be Euclidienly precise with his angles, but sadly the shots just didn't seem to come off. Nadal was ruthless on his own serve and gave Federer few chances. Federer did stage a momentary fightback in the second set but Nadal was well in control and by breaking his serve in the second set dealt a major blow to Roger's confidence. Federer gave up after 2 breaks on his serve in the third set and Rafa finished him off 6-0.

So, will the grand old tradition of Rafa munching on the Roland Garros trophy and Roger adding more pockets to his jacket at Wimbledon continue? Will Rafa, Djokovic and Roddick stop Federer from making a style statement of adding a pocket on the back of his shirt or will the Federer express roll on the grass? My money is on Nadal this time. He came close last time and has hit a purple patch this time around. Ofcourse there are 2 more weeks to go but if he carries the same form into Wimbledon, Roger's task will be cut out. Hopefully Wimbledon will be more interesting than the French open. One can only hope!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Can he do it??

Will the force be with Federer?

Will Roger be the roadblock in Rafa's run?

Will Rafa djokovic Roger?

The odds are stacked heavily in favor of Nadal. Can a struggling Roger Federer tame a rampaging Rafael Nadal? Hope this turns out to be one hell of a final!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is our PM a good leader?

Great minds are not necessarily great leaders. Knowledgeable and brilliant minds are not necessarily great teachers. I remember my days in college where I occasionally made serious attempt to stay attentive in the class when a certain professor with a reputation of "knowing his stuff" would teach. However, I couldn't help falling asleep. Now leaving aside a chance of iron deficiency, there were two reasons for this. 1. My own lack of interest in the subject. 2. The professor unable to convey his ideas effectively. I was in a mess and if it weren't for Primera Vista and Maddy I would have flunked my vivas. The point I'm trying to make here is that both these guys were of my age and the professor in question had more knowledge and experience than both combined but they were able to able to communicate the concepts more effectively than the professor. The problem here was that the professor knew his stuff but couldn't make the class listen.

I got the same feeling today after listening to our Prime Minister's address to the nation where he explained how the recent hike in fuel prices was inevitable. It is pretty obvious that his party would get the stick from the Left and the opposition for hiking fuel prices when the country is battling against inflation. But it was something that had to be done. The state-run oil companies could not absorb more losses than they already have and the only alternative left was to transfer some minimum burden onto the junta. It makes sense to present the case before the people but it was really sad to see the PM sounding extremely apologetic about the steps he had taken. It sounded as if we were attacked by our neighbours and the PM was conceding defeat. I couldn't take it after 2 minutes and I switched the channel. As a Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh failed to communicate his ideas to me, a common man.

Now, no one can doubt Mr. Singh's credentials as a top economist and a brilliant finance minister. After all, he's a key architect in Indian economy's resurgence in the last 15 years. However, it doesn't make him a leader with natural charisma that captivates and awes the millions when he speaks. The last one year in particular has been a test of his leadership capabilities. Right from convincing his own allies about signing the Nuke deal with the US to the present oil crisis, our PM has compromised and bent before his party's wishes. A mild-mannered PM appeared perennially bent at the hips and could not push forward his policies to his own allies, let alone the opposition. He came out with the right ideas but fell short of convincing everyone about them. This probably is the difference between an economist and a voice of a billion people. Compare that to Narendra Modi, a man everyone loves to hate but listens to. He's brash, with no remorse for his sins, a man who should be tried for mass genocide, but when he speaks Gujarat listens. And because he can make them listen, they feel that he's fighting the Hindutva cause, he's the man that will change the history of Gujarat, he's their voice.

Leadership is not about being the most qualified in terms of knowledge in the domain. It is about mananging people and making them listen to you. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was the voice of our generation. Pratibha Patil isn't. Mayawati is the voice of the downtrodden in UP, Rahul Gandhi isn't. In Maharashtra, the ones reaching out to people are the Thakarey cousins. The Congress is silent. The Congress is facing a void in leadership since the assasination of the Gandhi mother and son, who could reach out to the people. They never filled up that void and now its hurting them. The secular flag won't work now. Billion people want their voice to be heard. They want someone to give them that voice. Who will step up and answer their call?