Monday, October 30, 2006

Khosla Ka Ghosla

I know I am too late on the subject, but better late than never. This is the only movie I have seen in last three months, since Omkara, and that too on a pirated DVD.

I doubt whether it is still running in any of the cinema halls near by you, but those who haven't watched it yet, you must have a dekho on DVD, at least. It is as refreshing as was the last year release Mai Meri Patni Aur Woh.

I am not telling the story, but somewhere down the line, it quite reminded me of Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less the first novel attempt by Jeffery Archer, but later I changed my mind because though the revenge was not a penny less, it was quite a many pennies more.

Actually speaking, the whole story is quite simplistic, but its the scenes, characters and dialogues which make the movie refreshing and believable.

Khosla(Anupam Kher), as an honest, simple and gullible person to the fault makes you pull your hairs out in frustration. For once, you wonder whether a person like this can exist, but look around and you would find many. Agreed, as a government servant, it is impossible for a person to lead his full life in honesty, and remain successful to cling on to his values till retirement, but yet, you would find them many.

And Kher pulls off as Khosla like a dream. Khosla who is irritatingly idealistic; who is a father who wishes good for his children, but in his own way, without listening to their view point; who thinks that this world is an ideal place to live, until he meets Khurana.

Khurana(Boman Irani) is a wily land grabber. He grabs lands with fake papers, deep contacts and money & goonda power. He is the type of person who guzzles the likes of Khosla without even a burp. And Irani plays the part as if he has been a land grabber all his life.

Credit goes to script writer Jaideep Sahini to able imagine and write such characters.

Just look at Khurana's body language - flashy clothing, lavish jewelry, deliberately protruding belly, measured gait - everything is so imposing about him, and yet he is not a Mogambo type, strike-terror-in-your-face type villain, rather he is wily, smooth talker, with a ready smirk, and he is a Bhakt of Mata Rani like an every devout Punjabi. He never verbally threatens, but gives enough hints which are enough to run chill down the spine of his victims.

The meeting between Khosla and Khurana is one of the finest scenes of the movie. Every dialogue is well chosen, I especially liked the fact that Khurana calls Khosla as "Uncle Ji", despite being of roughly same age. The message is simple - "You are an aging, bungling, middle class, loser and I am the boss."

Also, the way he dismisses the shocked, dumbfounded Bunty(Ranveer Shourie), the eldest son of Khosla, who was accompanying him to the meeting, it was an intelligent trick. Khurana immediately realizes that he can be a nuisance during the negotiation, and that his father would be an easier prey to feast.

Coming to Ranveer Shourie, I must say he has the best character and best dialogues in the movie, and surprisingly he is the most effortless performer.

As the jobless, idiotic youth, who derives scant respect in the house because of his joblessness, and rank stupidity of his remarks on the various situations. Aimless and looser though he may be, he means no harm. Tries to help the family in his own way, just that his cerebral faculty just can not come up something which makes sense.

Ranveer Shourie cake walks the role. His fluent Punjabi accent, his eternal perplexed expressions are the special features of his acting in this movie. He is the character next door, indeed.

Again, in one of the better scenes of the movie - when Khoslas find out that someone else has been squatting on their plot, then there is a confrontation between the Haryanvi guard, and Bunty. Its a laugh riot. Both Shourie and the guard made the scene memorable.

Bapu(Navin Nishchol), who runs an acting school, takes part in the con job of hoodwinking Khurana. His character is a reluctant one, and he does an admirable job there. But he really lifts himself when he masks himself as suave, filthy rich Sethi from Dubai who wants to get rid off one of his property.

When Sethi and Khurana meet in a 5 star hotel to discuss the deal, this, to me, is the best scene of the movie. In this scene Sethi and Khurana want to assess each other. The scene is very well conceptualized, as both the parties don't give an inch to each other. Both act recklessly cocky.

In the same scene the demure Bapu beats the daylights out of his assistant(another conman), when as a bold Sethi, without giving any expressions, he brazenly asks Khurana - "Aap Broker Hain Ya Party?" Khurana is visibly shaken, but puts a brave face and answers in negative. Hats off to director, scriptwriter and not to mention Irani and Nishchol!

Well, there are other amazing scenes like when Khurana goes to visit and revisit(even more amazing) the land site he is going to buy from Sethi, or when Khosla and his younger son Cherry(Pravin Dabas) have a confrontation over going US and later over Cherry's ridiculous name (his real name was Chiraunji Lal), or when exceptionally talented Vinay Pathak as Asif Iqbal, who was the mastermind of the whole plot to cheat Khuarana himself, breaks into "Jai Mata Di" after plan's success, surprising Cherry, since the former was a Muslim.

There are so many of them.

The other character which I found soothing was of Sardar Sahini played by the person who was the only link between this film and Mai Meri Patni And Woh - Vinod Nagpal. Sahini was the good old friend of Khosla, with whom latter shared his problems. He was very likable in the film.

All this while, it would appear whole plot is about to get revealed by some unwanted, unexpected situation, but it didn't. Jaipdeep Sahini had added enough ups and down, and they were all very well written.

What I didn't like was Tara Sharma, and the tele-serial like production quality of the movie. There were a few minor flaws in the script, for eg, just too many people knew about the whole plot to cheat Khurana, and this was the not good for plot's success.

But these can well be ignored. One must watch this one at leisure with family.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Aminabad vs Laxmi Road

It was Dhanterus a few days back. Believers amongst the Hindus buy something, especially the female ones (Here I must add that it is not necessary to be a believer or a Hindu to buy something).

Aminabad and Laxmi Road are the major shopping places in Lucknow and Pune, respectively. Not of the branded kind. It is mostly the local, indigenous, and modestly cheap stuff, which is found here. Both are huge markets, and always have great rush - festival or no festival.

They look similar, but only superficially. Scratch the surface, and you see the difference.

Aminabad is an orderly chaos. In the narrow labyrinths and mazes of its lanes and bylanes which run into kilometers, you will find every item under the Sun. Exquisite chikan work, and amazing food are its specialty. Every shop floor space has been taken, each pavement is encroached.

The place is biggest feminist statement that one can give out. The odds of finding a male specimen in that place are no more than finding the same in a convent. That's one place where the male-female ratio in the country - in favour of females - is something to boast about. Even the most claustrophobic or demophobic female would be at utter peace with the place. They would feign fake reluctance, but throng the place with extreme vengeance.

Not that men aren't there at all. Usually, they are on the wrong side - the utterly demure shopkeepers. Some of them could be found devouring delicious Galawati Kebabs at 'Tunde Kebabi', or enjoying Kulfi Falooda from 'Prakash Ki MashHoor Kulfi'. And if you still find some shopping, rest assured that they are more an observer than a participant.

If bargaining is an art, then Lucknowites are master at it. But beware, they know difference between bargaining and haggling. This amazing battle ground is right here in Aminabad, and its fun to be part of this game. I have been a witness to many such battles since childhood, when I accompanied my parents and at that time I used to a bit embarrassed of all this.

The shopkeepers are incredibly polite and recklessly persuasive. Even when one is passing by a shop, and has no intention to enter to it, every effort to persuade, except physical, will be made to lure him/her to the shop. New relationships like Bhaiyya, Didi, Beti, Beta develop out of blue. Any outsider, would be pleasantly shocked, but locals know it better.

Inside the shop, you can do window shopping or just idle. No bar. Attendants would tirelessly show whatever catches your fancy, praising the customer's eye for good taste. Meanwhile a cold drink or tea would be at your side, many times without even asking the customer. My mother likes this idea big time, and heavily favours such seemingly caring and benevolent shopkeepers.

Once you have selected the item, bargaining starts. That can last as long as both the parties want. At the end of it, you might have seen thousand items, enquired about the prices of another thousand, and still you might end buying nothing. But no hard feelings. Shopkeepers still have kind departing words for you. Sometimes, they even bring back the customer from the door giving another 'fantastic' offer!

Probably, that's why a long term relationship develops between customer and shopkeeper. All in all, an absolute paradise for the shoppers.

Laxmi Road is more orderly than chaotic. The variety is same, except it is Puneri, than Luckhnawi. Items are good albeit very costly, and unlike Lucknow, they can't be brought down to your price by bargaining. And here lies the difference.

The famous 'Sadashivi Pethi' attitude of Laxmi Road, so eloquently expressed by great Pu La Deshpande comes into picture. He had said that most unvaluable and negligible thing found in Pune shops is customer. They are treated with utter contempt.

Shopkeepers are brusque, and seemingly rude. Window shopping is big no. The concept here just doesn't exists. The moment customer enters a shop, s/he starts getting cold vibes. Worse still, nobody will come forward to cater you. In fact, if you decide to walk out, it just might go unnoticed. They simply don't care if you buy or not.

Bargain at you own risk. Problem is not just of no success. You might be outrightly refused business, and rudely at that. Apney Ko Maal Nahin Bechney Ka!

Still, I would say one can do without above. The biggest problem is of choice. One has to be very precise of his needs. They will keep on asking you what 'egzhactly' you want without actually bothering to show you the stuff you can choose amongst. They don't deal in abstract, you see.

I remember, once I went to a very big and famous shop called Abhyankar Opticals for my Specs. When I asked the attendant to show the frames, he straight away asked me the number of my lense which is usually the last thing asked. When I asked him the reason, I was informed the type of frame depends upon the number of lense.

That was news to me.

Then this guy started showing me thick rimmed carbon frames which people used to wear in early seventies. I rejected them in one go, and asked for light, rimless ones. To my shock he flatly refused. With my number, which wasn't much anyway, he announced I can't wear rimless. I insisted, and he refused again.

Felt pity for his customers, including me, I walked off. Its another matter, I later bought a rimless one from the shop of a Sindhi. Pu La Deshpande was great observer and writer, I agreed. The most amazing aspect about these shops is that they are always closed from 2 PM to 4PM, for daily siesta.

Despite all of this, every one seems to be doing great business. This is because of the high disposable income with the people.

I bet if Lucknow shoppers come and set shop here, they will triple the money they make back home.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Diwali

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Aryan Update

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Aryan is in chatting mode these days. He gets up at 5.30 am in the morning, like a Raja Beta, cries hoarse till he gets the breakfast, and then he needs to some one to talk with. So what if one is feeling sleepy.

He will blabber, continuously fidget, smile, even occasionally chuckle. Usually, his head, hand and leg are in continuous sharp movements, but in the morning they are frantic.

He has also developed tearless cries which are clearly fake. I know better than that. Most kids develop them to blackmail in a lawful way. He has just joined the club.

Now about the words, if they can be put under the category. His favourite one is "Gaya", usually blurted when he is not happy. But he speaks that word in various Roop(as in Sanskrit). Some times it is "Gyaa", other time it is "Gayaaaaa". Often it is nasal, and rarely it is gargled with milk, - "Galllayaan".

I wonder if I should rename him "Gaya Prasad"! His recent learn is "Nayin", though I am sure he doesn't mean this.

His mother's favourite phrase to pacify him is - "Kisney Maara Aryan Ko? Aryan Kyon Roya?" The questions, he cannot answer as of now.

And yes, before I forgot his latest liking - TV. If placed in a comfortable position, he watches TV without blinking, especially songs. May be he likes colours, or movements, or music or everything.

He has also learned to follow people with eyes. He rolls them, and even turns his head till the person is out of sight.

Lets see what he does next.



Monday, October 16, 2006

Teething Troubles

Where in world do they suggest root canalling for a four year old kid who still has milk teeth?

I am not sure where they teach, but they practise right here in Pune.



Friday, October 13, 2006


Jeevan, by Aarsi Prasad Singh.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dilli Ki Thug

In all my life, till now, I had never come across a female crook. I finally chanced upon one such Femme Fatale at the Delhi Airport.

The lady concerned was at the Air Deccan counter issuing boarding passes. She was young, and beautiful as is usually the case with Airline crew, unless, of course, it is Indian Airlines.

As it turned out, my return luggage was fifteen kilograms extra, and she coolly told me that I have to pay thousand bucks extra!

This latest piece of news sent me into the tizzy. I mentally cursed everyone who gifted extra sweater, extra clothing to Aryan. Their noble gesture had not only cost me extra coolie charges at Lucknow and Delhi Railway stations, this had also turned this no frill, low cost airline into no frill, still high cost airline.

After momentary lapse, I regained my senses and asked her to reweigh the whole stuff and show me the reading. It was what she told.

Reluctantly, I paid the said amount, and waited for the receipt. There was no sign of it. After waiting for long enough, I verbally asked her for the receipt. It was then she murmured something inaudible, as if she was trying to confide some big secret to me. Since, my ears failed to register that I begged her pardon.

This time she was a little louder. After hearing to what she has said, I couldn't believe someone can be so moron to think others are absolute morons. Well, she said that since extra weight was 15 kg, and per kg charge is 70 bucks, it was coming out to be total 1050 bucks. Therefore if I asked for the receipt, and then I might have to pay 50 rupee extra!

She presented the whole thing in such way that it seemed that she was doing me a favour, by saving a fortune that was fifty rupees! Of course, her whole idea was to pocket 1000 rupee for herself.

I told her "Thanks Ma'am, but its a bad day for both of us. Just give me the receipt." On any other day, I might have complained to airport authorities, or given her a piece of mind. But Aryan was in his elements, and boarding had already started, therefore I just moved on.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Delhi Impressions

While landing at Delhi, it was a beautiful sight. A planned landscape presents before us. Roads appear so wide even from half a Kilo Meter up. Apartments look neat, with so many open spaces and parks around.

Truly a contrast view from Pune's skies. Unplanned, and congested.

The promise shown above meets the expectation down below. Roads were indeed wide. Flyovers -so many of them - make the journey hasslefree. Not much waiting at signals which are few and far in between, courtesy flyovers. Decntly green city as well.

And for the first time in eighteen months, I had a potholed free ride, and that too from Airport to South Delhi, at least 20 KM stretch. In Pune, hardly a 100m stretch of road remains pothole free.

Infrastructure at its best. Delhi, matches up perfectly to the billing of a nation's capital.

However ...

However, brazeness of the language hits you hard, especially if one has stayed in places like Lucknow and Pune. Everyone seems to be angry, even when he is actually not.

My friends tells me of an incident, when once he was parking his bike and suddenly someone shouted with a Theth Harayanvi accent - "Oye Gaadi Udhar Se Haataale!!". When he actually looked at the offender, that guy was smiling. He was in fact trying to help my friend since latter was parking his vehicle at "No Parking".

Then I came across the "Ogling men", Delhi is becoming notorious for. And they were no ordinary men. They were poice wallahs on the bike, in posh Chanyaka Puri, bang in front of IAS bunglows. Afsar Logon Ka Bhi Darr Nahin! But then, Delhi is becoming more notorious for its Police force than anything else.

More on Delhi later.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

The Invention Of Millenium

At the fall of last millenium, Safety Pin was declared as The Invention Of Millenium. It was invented by Walter Hunt in 1849.

However, last two months have taught me that diposable Diaper invented by Marion Donovan in 1946 should have won that prize. At least, one can sleep for three hours at stretch during nights.