Archive for January, 2012

Question : What do you get when you put two geniuses like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in a movie that uses little other than standard Hollywood clichés and a storyline that could not have been any more predictable?

Ans : Larry Crowne. A movie that makes little sense, lets you figure out the ending about 10 minutes after the opening credits, and somehow, still manages to keep you glued to the screen with a stupid grin on your face. That is, provided you sat down to be entertained and not to go through it as soon as possible so that you can publish your invaluable opinions on film-making on IMDB.

The movie is Tom Hanks’s second as a director. While he’s no Stanley Kubrick and this ain’t no “Full Metal Jacket“, you won’t find much reason to complain either. Most notably, unlike most other actor-turned-directors, he doesn’t see the need to put himself in every shot and scene. Tom plays Larry Crowne, a terrific salesman who was fired because he didn’t have a college degree. He, of course, enrolls in a community college where Julia Roberts happens to teach “The Art of Informal Remarks.” Er, that means speaking in public. Anyways, Larry Crowne, Tom’s character, is struggling with a lot of things like unemployment, a mortgage, a divorce etc etc. While Ms Tainot, played by Julia, is suffering through a marriage where her aspiring blogger/certified asshole of a husband spends his time browsing through porn on the internet while pretending to write. I could go on with the story but I won’t. Not because of spoilers, but because  you can figure out the rest.  The supporting characters of the movie are, frankly, brilliant. To be an unknown and share screen space with the likes of Tom and Julia And to be able to hold your own is not easy. And this, is the half the reason this movie is worth watching. There’s Lamar, the neighbour, who seems to have a perpetual garage sale going on, the economics professor with his accent and his rules, the scooter gang which lets Larry in without a question, and of course, the lovely, bubbly, cute, sexy Talia played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

The other half is Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts,who appear to be nothing more than two middle-aged people with difficult lives. Hell, they don’t even try to appear to be good-looking. And somehow, they do the most ordinary and also some absurd things in so convincing and endearing a way that you find yourself reluctant to be analytical. The high point of the movie, in my opinion, is the scene where Tom Hanks in full punk gear (complete with haircut, leather and chain) carries a drunk Julia Roberts home on, of all things, a blue scooter.

Larry Crowne isn’t a laugh riot like Hangover or a brain teaser like Inception, neither is it a computer graphics overkill like Transformers. It doesn’t leave you drained like The Dark Knight( We’ll talk about That One some other day), it isn’t even an intense romance like, say, The Notebook.  And the best part is that it doesn’t try or pretend to be any of those things. It’s just a pleasure to watch, an hour and a half of honest, happy entertainment. It’s what you should watch when you’ve had  a long day in the office and want to shake off the bad mood before you go to bed, or when you have got home from a particularly nice date with your girl and don’t want to let go of that warm feeling. Larry Crowne doesn’t try to be an Oscar winner or even a contender. It’s just a simple, entertaining, feel-good movie that makes you happy. And sometimes, that’s what a movie should be.

Someplace Else (Kolkata) Stage.jpg

Image via Wikipedia

If I think about bars and pubs the first thing that comes into mind  apart from drinking is either good food, nice music with good ambiance, cheap booze and cheap food or hot chicks around. That’s how I classify the bars and pubs. I would like to site some examples and discuss about them in short.

To be honest the pub culture in Kolkata is not up to the mark if we compare it to cities like Bangalore, Delhi or Mumbai. The sad part is if you speak about this topic to any orthodox Kolkata lover they will talk about the 70’s when Kolkata was the pioneer in pub culture. Trinca’s being the most famous pub at that time along with Blue Fox, Moulin Rouge or  Oasis. However the scene these days are not that good. The city now which is the pioneer in this culture is Bangalore or Delhi. I have visited a lot of pubs in Bangalore and few in Delhi. If you visit Bangalore do not miss Legends of rock (personal favourite), Mojos, Hard Rock Cafe, Purple Haze, Peco’s or Styx or @Live (try out their Mojito) in Connaught place , New Delhi. However, nothing beats the feeling of drinking in your own house or in your friends house with an ‘used to’ and homely environment around you.

Now let us give you brief idea about the classification of the bars in Kolkata along with examples.

  • Bars and pubs with good food : These are pubs which serve not average but really good food. If you are going for Continental food do not miss out on Mocambo in park street. They have a wide variety of delicious continental dishes like sizzlers, chicken melanese, devilled crab and many more. I do not want to mention any more dishes or my appetite will increase and I will have to starve till its morning.   Other restaurants include Peter Cat, famous for Chello Kababs. You can try out One Step Up, Moulin Rouge, they also serve good quality continental. If you are trying for oriental dishes don’t miss out Tung Fong in Park Street or Beijing in Topsia. For spicy tandoori with beer try out Tandoor Park in Dhakuria. If you want something over the top then go for Sigree, Ivory or try out the bars in the top notch hotels. But I would not suggest these if your pocket is not heavy.

  • Bars and pubs with good music and ambiance : Well Kolkata lacks in this category a lot. The only few almost affordable places are ‘Someplace Else’ in The Park hotel, ‘Gossip’ near Ajoynagar, ‘Opium’ in sector 5 saltlake and ‘Princeton club’ in Prince Anwar Shah road. I would have also included ‘House of Kommons’ in saltlake sector5 but the pop/rap/punk loud music created nothing but headaches. If you want to enjoy live music try out Princeton club or  Someplace Else (some people prefer calling it Sampi). Sampi have an excellent 7 day band line up.The line up includes bands like Krosswindz, Insomnia, Crystal Glass, Orient Express and  my favorite  Hip Pocket who covers amazing classic rock bands like Pink Floyd,The doors, Santana, CCR, Jimi Hendrix and many more  and they are just perfect. If you want to listen to Amyt Dutta‘s “Pink Noise” then go to Princeton. Other places like Gossip is famous for the cozy dim light ambiance. Opium is great for the music (Pink Floyd, The doors, pearl jam, scorpions etc) and the underground garage theme, plus they have a good variety of affordable drinks and food. Am really digging in to find more pubs in this category. So guys if you know of any other places please let me know.

  • Bars with cheap booze and cheap food : The first thing that comes into my head is “Shaws”. Now this  is one place that needs a description. This place has rules like you cannot enter the bar if the darwan (a government employee security guard) guesses your age to be under 22. I must say he is not a good guesser as he did not allow a friend of mine who looks pretty old and aged 28. The bar does not allow any girls so its like a sausage festival inside.  The last rule is you HAVE to drink if you are inside or else they will throw you out. The food served are all snacks of tremendous variety. They serve everything ranging from chilly chicken, keema curry to cheese, salad, chips and  guava slices worth 2 rupees.  Everything over there is pre-paid. The foods are carried out by people like vendors in a bus or train. If you call them they will show you what they have and you can pay and get them. The drinks menu is displayed in an electronic board just like stock prices in share markets. The booze is pretty reasonable. You get a large peg of Royal Stag for 45 bucks. However, don’t be surprised if you find out that you are the youngest in a crowd of 150 people drinking around you. Now if you want to find cheaper booze you have to head towards Topsia and visit Chinatown. Its a den of Chinese restaurants and you can choose to order full bottle of  Royal Stag for 500 bucks. The food is all Chinese and we are regulars at a place called “China Gardens”. There is another very old and famous place in Park Street where you get pretty cheap booze and a good variety of  low price continental food called “Oly Pub”. Its famous for its Beef Steak and Chicken A-la-Kiev. Am pretty sure there are more of these in Kolkata which I have yet to find.

  • Bars and pubs where you will find drunk chicks: There is a simple definition for these kind of of places. More the sugar more the sweetness. So guys you will have to really pour your cash from pockets and drink  in places like Someplace Else, Roxy, Venom, The Underground and Tantra and you might be fortunate enough to get lucky.

Wishing you “all the best” for your pub ventures. Now its my time to enjoy a good drink. Cheers!!

Listening to: Do the Evolution (Pearl Jam).

Mood: Violent, nostalgic.

It was 2005 , we were covering Roadhouse Blues by The Doors in my college band. Well I nailed that song that day, actually that was the only song  I nailed during my brief singing career. I was high on two joints and Old Monk Rum. Perfect dope for singing like Jim Morrison. I was so high that I started screaming Fuck you ! Fuck you ! on the microphone while the entire institute management was sitting in the first two rows. However my vision was only limited to the friendly crowd who were standing and cheering right at front.

It was too alluring when thoughts arrived like flashes of Eddie Vedder, AXL Rose, Phil Alselmo,Kurt Cobain, Farhan Akhtar in the movie ‘Rock On’ and many other rockstars doing a perfect Stage Dive . Well I still remember there were so many moments when I walked to the edge of the stage and stared at the crowd and then backed off. Don’t know why at that very moment I couldn’t do it . Maybe I was remembering the scene from the movie School of Rock where Jack Black did a stage dive and landed up on the floor ‘face down’ after the crowd refused to catch him. Ouch !!

I dream a lot about it. Me jumping on a pool of crowd. I think doing a stage jump is like going for those rides which looks dangerous. If you gather enough courage to do it once then it gets into you and you repeat it whenever you get an opportunity. The reason why you get scared is you are never sure if the crowd loves you “that” much. If they are ready to risk their muscles to lift a 75kg throwing itself into them. If they don’t realize enough the “rockstar” inside you then they will surely mock and laugh at you and call you a “wannabe”. You get scared if some damages happen to you as well. There should be a huge positive energy flowing inside you, before you dare to do something like that.

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Well the master of stage jump is Eddie. He does it the wild style. Well, being a member of a band like Pearl Jam makes it easier for him I guess. If you haven’t seen him doing it , see “this (Caution: Do not try this at home . It is performed by a rockstar who is ready to die and is definitely going through high adrenaline rush) . You got the picture ? There are bands like Greenday where front man Billie Joe Armstrong did a stage jump in Lollapalooza and hurt himself badly. There is AXL rose throwing himself dangerously from a high stage.Then you have lunatics like slipknot front man Sid Wilson doing a balcony jump from 15ft above or Kurt Cobain leaping on the crowd while playing the guitar. Its mindfucking “. You know what else is mindfucking ? Lady Gaga doing a stage dive and crowd surfing in Lollapalooza. Her outfit which she wore and jumped on the crowd do not cover anything, well basically she jumped into the crowd  naked. I am actually surprised she made it out alive / unraped. Check this” out in YouTube if you do not believe me.  Maybe this shows how beautiful and lady like Lady Gaga is.

Since time immemorial rockstars are doing stage dives and its a part of the entertainment, some do it for their own experience and some to win crowds. All  you have to do is  “trust your crowd and take the leap of faith .

Dear Deepika,

I am leaving you.

I am sorry to do this. I love you, you know that. But I can’t do this anymore. You broke my heart. I am leaving you, and I am moving on…maybe to Anushka Sharma, maybe to Mila Kunis, I haven’t decided yet.

Let me tell you, most of these liars who call themselves your fans noticed Deepika Padukone for the first time in the pathetic Om Shanti Om. Whereas I, on the other hand, have been in love with you for almost a decade now. It was love at first sight when I saw you in that Limca commercial ages ago. And I have loved you ever since. You were so lovely, so lively, so sexy, so desirable, so….perfect, that I had practically stopped looking at other women. They were just not good enough. You, my love, were everything that a man could ask for, and a lot of things that he cannot even dream of. You, were my life.

Did you know that I have watched every single one of your films, every TV appearance, every YouTube video? Would you believe that I had every one of your Kingfisher calendar photos pinned to my wall, along with 27  other posters and more than 50 newspaper clippings? That you had been the wallpaper for both my cell and my computer for about 5 years now? Do you know that I have read and filed every article of praise that has been written about you? And that I have burned every piece of paper that I could lay hands on, that printed one negative sentence about you? Do you know that I kept showing your pictures to my dog, so that if I could bring you home someday, she wouldn’t bark at you?

It was in 2007 when you first made me less than perfectly happy with you. Om Shanti Om! Seriously, babe, I can forgive you for acting, or trying to act, or actually failing to act in a movie that bad. All Sharukh Khan movies are more or less of that standard. And although people called you wooden, I knew the real reason. It was beneath you to give your all to something so sub-standard. That’s okay. But how could you possibly decide to make your Bollywood debut in a movie that is called “Om Shanti Om”? I mean, for God’s sake, who the hell names anything “Om Shanti Om.” ? What comes next? Lingerie named “Ayushman Bhava”?

Karthik Calling Karthik

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sorry. I got a little carried away there. This is not about your career. Although, if I could just  say, you were great in Love Aaj kal, incredibly sexy and dirty in that number in Dum Maaro Dum, so casual, carefree in Break Kke Baad, so desirable in Karthik calling Karthik, and so, so celestially beautiful in each and every one of them. Even in the disaster called Desi Boyz. By the way, speaking of Dum Maaro Dum, did you know that I actually punched a guy in the face because he said he had dirty thoughts about you after watching you dance in that short skirt? I’m sorry. Like all responsible lovers, I am a little too protective of you.

Critics say you cannot act. Screw them. Why would you  have to act? You are already perfect. The fact that you indulged me, by being on screen, so that I could look and look at you is reason enough for me to be grateful to you forever.

Some people also say that you are a gold-digger. Now that, in a way, is what this is all about. Wait! I DO NOT consider you a gold-digger. Please. How could you even think that I would have such thoughts? You are the kindest, most compassionate human being that has ever walked on this planet. An angel, no, a Goddess. Why else would you adopt an entire village?

Anyway, to get back to what I was saying, people say you are always after guys that have more money than they know what to do  with.  Don’t worry. I never paid attention to these jerks. I was actually secretly happy when you were linked to MS Dhoni. He was a man worthy of you. Then you said those were rumors. That was fine, too. But then Yuvraj Singh came along. Now, I like that guy. But he seemed a strange choice after Dhoni. “She must have her reasons.” I told myself.  Then, surprise again, Ranbir Kapoor. This time I was shocked. Yes, you two did look good together. But he looks and acts like a baby, for God’s sake. What were you doing with him? Eventually, I convinced myself that it was merely career move, and I was proved right when you dumped him. “I knew she’s smart”, I told myself.

And then the Rich Man’s son appeared. I’m sorry. I loathe him for stealing you from me. And I would not take his name. When the first rumors surfaced, and my friends started winking at me, I ignored them. “Media people”, I used to snort, they’ll say anything. The rumors got more frequent, and persistent, and I kept ignoring them. “It’s business.” I told myself. “She’s their brand ambassador, of course she has to appear in public events.”

And then You, you heartless woman, you had to kiss him in public. Do you know that I actually cried that day? I mean, how could you do that? I know that you’ll dump him soon, but how could you let yourself be linked to someone like that?Please. Tell me one positive thing about him. Money? No. You’re not that sort of a woman. Besides, you already have enough money for both of us. Then why?? What does he have that I don’t? I even look better than him. I love you with all my heart, I dedicate everything I have to you, and then you do this to me? How could you? didn’t you see how much I loved you? Wasn’t that enough?

Speaking of love, years ago I made a promise to myself that I’ll always love you no matter what. I’m sorry. But this is where I draw the line. As soon as your lips touched his on that day in that packed stadium, I felt like somebody had crushed my heart in a vice. It’s kind of numb now. I don’t feel anything there anymore. I’m sorry again. Maybe you are regretting your actions after reading this, but it’s over between us.

I never told you, every year for the last 5 years, I have thrown a party on this day with a huge cake that said ‘Happy Birthday Angel.” Today, I guess I’ll just go out and get drunk. I’m sorry I’m telling you all this so many days after that public display incident. I was in too much pain. Besides, I wanted to end on a positive note. Today seems best. My best wishes for the “good times” you appear to be headed to. And may I also say,

Happy Birthday!

Love,

Bottles of Chivas Regal

Image via Wikipedia

It was 2:30 am, 3 liters down, New Years eve. I was sweating , trying hard to sit straight on the couch  while my head was spinning like a merry-go-round. I saw  my  two brothers  were carrying my sloshed brother-in-law  in hope of bringing him into senses by forcing him to take a shower.

I have always wanted to drink like a gentleman specially if I am drinking something like Chivas Regal 12 years old. Like suited Hollywood characters filling the glass with ice cubes as it makes the twinkling sound, then pouring the sparkling gold-colored scotch from an elegant looking bottle slowly into it. A perfect Hollywood  moment. But alas,  I ended up doing clumsy bhangra to the song “munni badnam hui ” and puked the next morning.

I decided I should limit myself to Blender’s Pride. The problem with drinking these expensive scotch is you keep drinking it because it is much much much smoother than regular whiskey and then when it hits you ? you won’t get time to recover, the world will spin and you will end up cursing yourself like me. Anyways, I missed my chances with the Chivas, but you should not miss it. I figured out that one should follow three rules while drinking expensive scotch :

1. It must be served on the rocks.

2. Consumed slowly.

3. You should limit yourself to 4 or 5 pegs or else the taste buds will not respond and you will not be able to enjoy the rich flavor.

Drink like James Bond drinking Vesper, Bill Murray drinking scotch in the movie Lost in Translation , Jeff Bridges drinking White Russian in the movie  The Big Lebowski , Robert Duvall aka Captain drinking Mojito in the movie Thank you for smoking  or any other rich aristocrats who drinks like them.

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However alluring it might look on movie screen but honestly it is not always possible for general crowd like us to drink like that. So we are conducting a poll so that we get know each others drinks. Since it is humanely not possible to mention all of the brand names on the list, we are only mentioning the types of drinks on the poll . However feel free to let us know what’s your brand through comments  so that we can be more knowledgeable in this noble subject. Lets see how many drinks we come up with , so that we can try out each others choices.

Drink responsibly. Cheers!!

Did you read Chacha Chowdhury comics when you were a kid? If you did, then I’m sure you remember that volcanoes used to erupt in the planet Jupiter when Sabu, the immortal and indestructible giant, was angry. However, do you know what can make Sabu‘s head erupt in flames even when he is far away from earth, taking a stroll in Jupiter? Easy. Rajnikanth singing Kolaveri Di from his home in Chennai.

I agree. That’s a bad joke. I’m sorry. But given what we are talking about, I can’t do any better than that.

Let’s get one thing clear here. I don’t care how much you like it, I don’t care how many people like it, I don’t care which celebrity endorsed it, I Hate that f**king song. I hate it.

You think it’s a great song because it went “viral” on the internet? You think it’s a great song because Japanese women were seen dancing to it? Well let me tell you what else women were seen doing. Let me tell you what else got viral on the  internet recently.  A video of two women taking a crap in a cup and then eating from it. (Google “2 girls 1 cup” if you don’t believe me.) Get the picture?

I’m told the composer wrote this piece of crap in about 5 minutes. Yes pal, I can see that. If you had put a little more thought into it, you would have come up with something more suited to the human species. Some people are claiming that the lyrics are simple and easy to understand, even for common people who know nothing about music. Really? I know nothing about music. Would somebody please explain

distance la moon-u moon-u, moon-u  color-u  white-u, white background night-u nigth-u, night-u color-u black-u” to me?

People are explaining very somberly how this song is about a boy in great pain who is trying to express his feelings after he got dumped by the girl he loved. They are discussing very seriously how beautiful an expression of melancholy this “song” is. I’m sorry. I’m a bit lost here. Which part of the song am I supposed to deduce all that poetry from? ” lovvu lovvu, oh my lovvu, you showed me bouv-u,cow-u cow-u holi cow-u, i want u hear now-u” ??? About the tune being catchy, well, I’d rather listen to catchier tunes than this. Most notably “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Happy Birthday to You.”

And please, let’s drop the excuse that it must be good because so many people are hooked to it. Please. People are hooked to abominations like Bigg Boss and Splitsvilla too, aren’t they?  People are fans of baba ramdev and rakhi sawant too, aren’t they? A  lot of people are impressed by the fact that this farce got praised by a lot of famous  people, like both Bachchans, Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan et al. Are you really so stupid that the word “marketing” doesn’t occur to you? Besides, let’s not forget, this “song” has the blessings of Rajnikanth. If somebody says anything against this, he’d be speaking against Rajnikanth. And let’s not forget, even Rajnikanth doesn’t speak against Rajnikanth.

My respects to Javed Akhtar for speaking out. He went ahead and said what every sensible person knew to be true, but wouldn’t say aloud for fear of going against the trend and be called uncool. He wrote, “Every one is praising the robes but the emperor is naked. Tune ordinary, singing substandard. words an insult to sensibility…” Couldn’t agree with you more Sir.

And our Anna Hazare has got it all wrong. Instead of starving himself to death, he should sit down in front of parliament and sing Kolaveri Di till the Govt. agrees to Lokpal and anything else he asks for. I bet it wouldn’t take 3 renditions.

One final word. I’m sorry if anyone is offended by my cracks about Rajnikanth. Please. I didn’t mean to. I respect that man immensely. And I’m sure when Rajnikanth farts ( if he does at all), it produces much better music than this kolaveri di.

It was the winter of 2005, I was sitting in the corner of my hostel room when I heard the band which changed the way I used to look at life. The songs were this dark, sad expressions of life which kind of brings out the darker side of you . The lyrics runs through your blood like a poison and gives you goosebumps and makes you feel suicidal . You feel like “down in a hole , losing control ” . If you have understood which band am talking about then you probably have felt the same way .

When I  heard the first song by them , it was quite dramatic .  It was a night of chilly winds and thunderstorm . The window was open and rainfall was softly touching my skin . I was alone in the room , smoked up , bunked the last class , hungry , penniless . The room was quite dark with just a yellow bulb glowing in one corner of the room . I was staring at the bulb and played the song . The instant chill was something which I have never felt after listening to a song . The song which helps you directly connect yourself to the lyrics, the feel and the spirit . Was lucky I guess to get such a surrounding to fall in love with them .

Well let us not torture you guys any longer the band name is Alice in Chains , the Seattle based grunge band which started in 1987 with the major band members Jerry Cantrell ,  Mike Inez , Sean Kinney and Layne Staley and it is still making music with the help of their new singer William DuVall . However I do not listen to the new tracks any longer after the front man Layne Staley died in 2002 , the reason of death ?? The autopsy report concluded that Staley had died after injecting a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a “speed-ball” . They could only release 3 albums before Layne died . Facelift (1990) , Dirt(1992) , Alice in Chains(1995).

Most of the songs were written by Layne and Jerry Cantrell (lead guitarist). The lyrics were related to feelings like depression,  sadness, anger, betrayal, death , shallowness … you get the drift . Layne’s lyrics mainly portrayed the pain and the suffering he experienced since childhood . In early 2002, shortly before his death, he would describe the experience of witnessing his parents’ divorce as “My world became a nightmare, there were just shadows around me. I got a call saying that my dad had died, but my family always knew he was around doing all kinds of drugs. Since that call I always was wondering, ‘Where is my dad?’ I felt so sad for him and I missed him. He dropped out of my life for 15 years.”In that same interview he hinted that his parents’ break-up and his father’s drug use were at least partially responsible for his own drug problems, and also said that he was convinced that if he became a celebrity his dad would return. His Drug addiction then went from bad to worse . During his final years Dirt producer Dave Jerden ,who was originally chosen by the band for the production said, “Staley weighed 80 pounds…and was white as a ghost.” Cantrell refused to comment on the singer’s appearance, simply replying “I’d rather not comment on that…”, and band manager Susan Silver said she hadn’t seen the singer since “last year” . (courtesy www.wikipedia.org ) .

Here are a couple of samples of the expressions which they tried to portray through lyrics :

Down in a hole and I don’t know if I can be saved
See my heart I’ve decorated like a grave
You don’t understand who they
Thought I was supposed to be
Look at me now a man
Who won’t let himself be

or

Forgot my woman, lost my Friends
Things I’d done and where I’ve been
Sleep in sweat the mirrors Cold
See my face it’s growing’ Old
Scared to death no reason Why
Do whatever to get me by
Think about the things I Said
Read the page it’s cold
And dead .

Their songs have ranged  from slow psychedelic to hard rock . The music was brilliantly composed with the help of Jerry Cantrell’s different guitar style , Jazzy drumming by Sean Kinney(listen to MTV unplugged and you will understand ) and  Mike Inez’s grunge style bass guitar playing . Layne needs no description as he is the reason why the band needs no more musicians to make it perfect .

That’s about it for now.  Here’s some free advice. If your internet speed is good enough then download the discography. It’s worth the download time. Else you can listen to the songs angry chair ,bleed the freak , brother , don’t follow, down in a hole (personal favourite) ,I can’t remember , rooster, I stay away , nutshell , love hate love. Watch their  MTV unplugged concert , its a must .

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