My 2 cents

A new address

Posted in Me, Something New by urmilesh on April 22, 2011

Hey there.

Until now I have had two blogs, this one for posts and one on blogger for pics. But I realized that I don’t really need to have 2 blogs at this point of time, what with the Bermuda triangle of Twitter-Facebook-Gmail already eating up so much of my time, and thus I have moved all my content back to one blog (blogger since I already have storage from Google, don’t want to shell out extra bucks).

Also, rather than buy it back from some random stranger one day when I am filthy rich and famous, I have chosen to block the domain name for my name. Smart decision I know 😉

So if you are one of the few who still come to this space, please consider moving to http://www.urmilesh.com – it’s not my site, just an intermittently updated blog. There will be no more updates here in the foreseeable future.

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Dhobi Ghaat (Mumbai Diaries)

I am not sure if Dhobi Ghaat is an apt title for this movie, just ‘Mumbai Diaries’ would have worked better for me. Or maybe ‘Bombay Diaries’ since no one in the movie refers to the city as Mumbai anyway, not that I am complaining.

Most of our movie experiences depend on two factors – our expectations from the movie and our mood while watching it. This is one movie where these factors become crucial, really crucial. Most of the people watching the movie with me (not just my gang, the entire hall) did not like the movie and were pretty vocal about it (sadly during the movie also), I enjoyed it. This is one movie which wants you to let it be, had no pretensions of being conventionally engaging, does not offer any sort of  closure for any of the lead characters, does not have any larger than life characters and does not have any item song (shudder!!!).

Yet it is engaging and interesting, makes you think enough for it to be called smart, and is funny and endearing in enough places. You are invited to view the lives of young Munna (Prateik Babbar, the best of the lot in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and very good and endearing here) and Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra, simply the most outstanding performer here), through the eyes of Shai (Monica Dogra, looking okay but performing just adequately) and Arun (Amir Khan being Amir Khan). As an added attraction you also get a peek into the lives of Shai and Arun.

Yasmin is the one you empathize with most even though she has the simplest story. You feel for her as she tries to find (or create) capture-worthy experiences in her apparently routine and to some extent boring life. Her interview of her maid and maid’s daughter is easily the highlight of the film, the one scene where even the naysayers in my theatre were hooked. It was interesting to notice how Arun’s attitude towards her story changes as the movie progresses. At the start he had her story at his beck and call, pausing and rewinding as he pleased/needed. But later, the story took over him and ultimately his decision (of moving house) was controlled by the story, a far cry from him having the control.

Munna is next in the list of characters that made you feel for them. He has dreams, and he is working towards them even though it is highly unlikely that he will be able to realize them, he keeps on working towards them. Even adding Shai to the list of apparently unachievable dreams that he has. Where the film succeeds is in making viewers also want the success of Munna. Prateik is endearing and honest in his performance and I feel this is only the second of many such performances.

Shai should have been the more intriguing of the two observers since she is an outsider, more than Arun anyway, but it is Arun who is sucked in more. Shai is in turn intrigued by Arun and is apparently oblivious to the feelings Munna has for her, though she genuinely cares for him and is in no way using him. Initially I felt that Shai was looking at everything with Slumdog Millionaire eyes, but her genuine feelings for Arun as well as Munna made me feel otherwise. Her story is the one that comes closest to a closure in that she has something to look forward to when the movie ends. Munna is looking at a life of responsibility and hardships and Arun is plain lonely, but she has a choice and a chance to pursue what she wants.

The best way to watch this movie would be the way Arun watches Yasmin’s videos, at our own pace pausing/rewinding at will – continue if we are interested or just leave it. So once again I would say wait for the DVD, else you might be in the majority who won’t like this experimental movie.

In one of the pre-release interviews Kiran Rao said she was not comfortable being known just as Amir Khan’s wife. While I do feel she is a talented director, I think she will have to face that predicament for some more time. This movie would not have been made, analyzed so much, and gotten an international release without Amir Khan’s name attached to it. Amir’s name has a certain credibility which ensured that scores of people went in to watch a non-conventional movie on the first weekend of its release and the ones who liked it are a small subset of those people. Even the ones who liked it might not have gone for it had it not been an Amir Khan production. This was an Amir Khan film first for most of us. But looking at it, I feel the audience of a Kiran Rao film is already building up.

Avatar

Posted in Last movie I saw, Movies, Movies I recommend, review, something I like, Something New by urmilesh on December 23, 2009

It is not often that you are witness to a human-alien war and you side with the aliens – Avatar is the experience that will bring this change in you.

I’d been hearing about this movie for a long time now, and saw the first visuals only last year. And I was so hoping that it is not one of those movies where the special effects guy takes over as the director. Well it turns out the director here took over as the special effects guy, and found a way to let us peek into his mind and see what he is visualizing. Yes he did do that.

For once you will not feel betrayed at paying the prohibitively costly ticket prices, you might in-fact feel lucky to be able to witness something so path-breaking and so revolutionary for a couple of hundred rupees. As it happened in my case, you will also not mind the long wait for parking, the utterly mis-managed queues for 3D glasses distribution, and the jostling crowds. Yes it is that kind of a movie.

There is nothing much to say about the story, it is fairly predictable. But the depiction, the visualization and the execution are AWESOME. Every little detail has been tended to, and there is so much rich content on the screen in almost every frame that you just HAVE TO watch this in 3D. I am hoping to get a chance to watch it in IMAX for my second viewing. Yes a second viewing is a very real possibility – It is such a great movie.

Hindu mythology says that Vishnu will come to earth in an avatar whenever the right is over-powered by the wrong; and he shall do so for not more than ten times in total (out of which nine incarnations are already past us). There is an interesting theory on PFC about how Avatar is the story of the tenth incarnation of Vishnu. It is very well possible that JC himself is the supposed tenth guy burdened with the task of salvaging movie-making (since the world seems to be beyond Vishnu’s saving power anyways :P) and Avatar is his way of doing it. Yes, it is such an act of brilliance from him.

Go watch it, in 3D.

Kaminey

Posted in Last movie I saw, Movies, Movies I recommend, review, something I like, Something New, Songs by urmilesh on August 14, 2009

Since I posted last (which it seems was SOME time back), I have seen a number of movies; have liked some and hated some. But none of them got me to write something about it, for a number of reasons. Kaminey is one exception, and a pretty good one at that.

First, I am pretty thankful that there are some directors who do not require us to leave our brains at home when we come to watch a movie (because it’s pretty much impossible to do so). Because I do not like spoon-feeding, non-linear narratives generally work for me (not the regular flashbacks that are so prevalent). And though Kaminey does not have a very complicated non-linear narrative, we do need to stay focused to understand what is happening on the screen, and to the credit of the director, it is not very taxing to stay focused.

The performances are first-rate. If Omkara made me notice Deepak Dobariyal, then Kaminey had Mikhail (I missed the name of  the actor who played this character). Shahid Kapur brought enough nuances to the twin roles he portrayed, this was pretty different from what he had done till now. Priyanka was adorable, Amol Gupte was effective. Actually everyone fitted what he/she played and so a blanket ‘well played’ is in order.

There are some scenes which I want to mention for the way they were conceptualized/portrayed but I guess I will hold off on that for now.I do not want to share the story here. Not because there is some high-voltage suspense, but because it would be better appreciated as it unfolds in front of you. So what I am saying is, take your brains with you and go watch Kaminey.

Oh and Yes….the music is awesome and very well used in the movie.

Welcome to Sajjanpur – movie review

Posted in Funny, India, Last movie I saw, Movies, Movies I recommend, something I like, Something New by urmilesh on September 26, 2008

There are times when, quite unexpectedly, you discover who you really are; what you really like; when you really laugh…and if you are a movie person like me then most of these times will come when you’re watching a movie. Last weekend told me that my sense of humour is twisted in some ways because I found myself laughing all through Zohan…and I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see that I was not laughing the loudest in my gang; and yesterday I realized that I can even laught at real world problems or very real looking people…only requirement is for a master story teller to tell that story in a funny way.

And Shyam Benegal has done just that. He has taken a setting in a very real world village, not one of those filmy villages you see in movies almost always (Lagaan included). I could very easily think of similar people in my village in eastern UP, and that is when I don’t visit there that often; and he has told their story…no no…he has made us see their tale from the eyes of Mahadev (nice performance by Shreyas Talpade). Their problems, their griefs, their daily trials, their dreams…and while it is nice that we enjoy and admire their dreams….we also laugh at their problems. Agreed the story unfolds in a very light-hearted manner…and there are some places where even the stoic of faces will show a grin….but still, it’s someone’s grief we are laughing at. Did Shyam Benegal realize that the only way he can ensure a large audience for his close to life movies is to view them humorously?? rather than seriously…I don’t know.

Well, this thought apart…the movie is a very nice collage of everyday characters from a village that could be anywhere in India. No one seems to have been cast out of place…everyone has done justice to their part; and in turn to the story. A movie which will not disappoint you…and make you feel that even the highly overpriced tickets at these city malls are justified. One thing I particularly liked was the dialogues of the movie; they have been written very well and the delivery matches the writing. And thankfully, the accent has not been toned down….that is something that adds to the movie.

Go watch…

Finally…

Posted in Something New by urmilesh on February 25, 2008

It has happened, you can now go ‘invisible‘ on google talk; you liars 😛

Testing in progress

Posted in Something New, Technology by urmilesh on February 21, 2008

Hi,
This post is just to test the blog editor of the new age browser Flock.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tags:

Once upon a time…

Posted in Bangalore, cribbings, Life, Lucknow, Me, My Day Includes, Random Thoughts, Something New by urmilesh on October 23, 2007

I used to be a regular in my local gymnasium and used to treat big weights like small playthings. That was the time when I’d just come out of school and I’d convinced myself that I’m preparing for IIT-JEE (aside – going to the most popular coaching classes in the city and ogling at gals there does not amount to preparation 😉 neither does having night-outs at friend’s places in the name of problem solving…this I knew then I guess but realized later). At that time I also used to take time out every morning to go to one of the most famous gymnasiums in Lucknow, Bodyline in Bhootnath (again one of the most crowded and worst equipped hang-out places in Lucknow).

So, I used to get up every morning at around 5 (if any of my current project mates are reading this, YES I am capable of waking up at that time) and head off to the gym. And then for the next 2-3 hours it used to be me and the weights, and the constant scolding of our instructor (Mr Sharanjeet Singh, a man who deserves more than one post to himself). I sometimes used to think, that if I even put half of the gym-dedication (new word, I know :)) into my studies, I may well have been an IITian today; but I never realized why I was not able to do that. It is a bit clear to me now, I used to enjoy what I did in the gym and I was really in to it. And contrary to what my friends would think, very small part of that 2-3 hours was spent in admiring myself in the mirror.

Whenever you are doing any exercise, if you’re doing it properly, each set and each repetition will take all of your strength and all of your concentration, nothing less. If you have any strength left right after a set, then you are not doing it right. And I used to do it with all my heart 🙂

Then, as time moved on, I did not get selected in IIT (big surprise), and took admission in one of the private colleges in the city. I got busy in student life and tried to make myself believe that I am a gym regular but I never was. All through the last 7 years I have been going to the gym on and off but I have never spent one day in the gym which could have matched up to those preparation days.

That changed this week. Or rather, I decided to change that this week. The last 3 days have been physically one of the most taxing on me for maybe the last 7 years, but I once again got a glimpse of the enjoyment that I knew back in 1999. I sure hope I am able to keep that up.

Why am I writing this here? Because I may need to come back here and read this to make myself go on.
Why I need to go on? Because I have been stuck in an unhealthy lifestyle and an unhealthy body for too long and I want out.

I want out now.

Windows Live Writer

Posted in Something New, Technology by urmilesh on May 26, 2007

It has been some time since I started using Windows Live Writer. And I am not sure if the product is the reason, but I have written more and posted less ever since I have been using it 🙂

The product is good and gives me options to do pretty much anything that I can do from the website (and then some more), without being as slow (when will we get really fast internet speeds) and without needing an internet connection all the time (you only need one at the time of publishing…but I don’t think that is too much of an advantage since most people have always on connections now-a-days. Maybe for the travelling and writing folks).

Why I think I have not posted too much is that using the writer gives me the option to save and review (and re-review) the post and then it always turns out that I am unhappy with the end result and so I skip posting it. Earlier, even though I was not completely happy with what I’d written, I’d post anyways because it would seem like what I have done would be wasted. Now I have the option of reviewing it later at my time, which I don’t come around to doing.

Anyways, do try this out if you are a frequent blogger and if you use the same system (not meant for cyber cafes or computer labs since it is an personalized application).
It is available for download here.

Why use gmail???

Posted in General, Something New by urmilesh on March 12, 2007

I have my own reasons for using Gmail, but this ad is kinda cute 🙂