Tech-Savvy Woes

I’ve written earlier about the advent of Alexa in our lives. Red was in the market for good quality speakers and was considering buying Sonos and then suddenly got his head turned by the cute lil dot that now talks to us in a STRONG American accent and frequently gets our song choices wrong because she doesn’t get us much. And that’s funny because the offspring has his own twangy accent that sounds kind of like Alexa and yet they don’t always communicate correctly.

Properly enunciated crisp diction rings her bells though. Take for example, MLM wanting to hear Ra.One’s Chhammak Chhallo. He yelled out into the general direction of Alexa, “AlexaplaymeChamakChalo” and pat came the reply, “I’m sorry. I am unable to understand you.” El Brato grumbled, “Stupid Alexa” and then yelled out to me, “Ayu…come and tell Alexa the song I want to hear. It’s not listening to me.”

And there I was, speaking to the dot, yet again, telling her to play Chhammak Challo, said with tight lips and no hint of any accent anywhere. And she popped up saying, “Here’s ChamakChalo from VishalShaker”. I swear there was no difference between her and MLM but someone must have a hearing problem somewhere so I’m still running interference for them both and waiting till he asks me to tell her to play ‘Rashke Qamar’. Last time he asked her to play the song she played Paula Abdul’s Rush Rush

For my troubles, I get to hear the dratted song on loop till my brains start to leak out of my ears. *rolls eyes*

Signing off!

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Movie Review: Pari

Image result for pari movie poster

This movie is Prosit Roy’s love affair with the older parts of Calcutta, the bits that make it stand apart from every other city in India. It is strangely enough, also an ode to the nail cutter and umbrellas. Never has the humble implement of hand and foot hygiene received so much spotlight neither, for that matter, has so much water fallen on the city of Calcutta.

I fully expect the sales of nail cutters and umbrellas to go through the roof post people watching the movie.

The devil is invoked. He of the run-of -the-mill horned-head fame and blood thirst, comes (excuse the pun) and impregnates women (poor, low-income…take your pick) whose gestation period lasts for all of one month (the only bright spot in the movie) and then a belly button-less and umbilical cord-less child comes forth into the world. Their goal? To increase the progeny of their father. But all banality aside, the Devil needs his flesh and blood to aid in eventual world domination. The world domination bit isn’t referred to but why be the Devil if you can’t rule over the world, am I right?

That in a nutshell is Pari. The tagline claims that it’s not a fairy tale but fairy tales are replete with angst-ridden, unhappy characters who utter curses as easily as they breathe.

So why is this movie not a write-off? Because the cinematography sets the tone and mood of the entire movie without having to resort to cheap gimmicks of blood and gore to live up the “horror” genre.

The by-lanes of Calcutta, the moss-laden walls, the sooty shutters and a slightly sleepy, lethargic ambience lull you into the story only to be jarred from the calm and into the world of the preternatural. Compared to RGV’s Bhoot and movies of it’s ilk, Pari doesn’t rely on a sudden loud noise which has you clutching your heart in fear.

Anushka Sharma’s vulnerability makes you wish the bad juju doesn’t catch up with her and gulp her down. This movie is Anushka’s vehicle but she has to work at being creepy and you feel sorry for her plight. She can be de-glam but she still has to nail being ferocious.

The rest of the cast is passable with Mansi Multani (Kalapori) and Rajat Kapoor standing out for their respective roles. They are by turns creepy, scary and the chief ingredients needed to bring in a bit of shiveriness to an otherwise droll “horror” movie. Kapoor with his fake eye, stoic and almost amused-countenance is a true reflection on how normal people can become evangelical and take on a mantle of evil themselves under the guise of the greater good.

The role of the crone playing Kaali Pori (Mansi Multani) has been enacted well with her entry coming in sporadically to scare the life out of Anushka. That and her sing song voice while she plays the conduit for the demon is well portrayed.

The male lead-Parambrata and Ritabhari (Piyali) do justice to their roles with the former playing a person with values and morals but still dragging his feet throughout life and becoming proactive when you least expect him to. He seems confused through most of the movie and even his repentance at the end seems to fall flat.

But all this dissection aside- kudos to Anushka for not going the expected path of KJo-type movies alone. She can emote and emote well.

Pari is all about her. But I give it half a thumbs-up because a horror movie shouldn’t just be about pathos…it should be a bit jarring. Pari fails to do that.

Alexa Mornings…

Red bought an Echo Dot for th house last year. Suffice to say it’s the digital pet. The offspring has bonded with Alexa quite a bit. I keep hearing his voice trilling , “Alexaaaa” on and off right from the time he’s up in the mornings.

Echo Dot has more capabilities that can be tapped into if you’re an US-based user. Lesser so in India. But apparently this year Amazon Music will be making its entry into the Indian market and then this kid will really go wild. Now there’s a Bluetooth sync with my phone and the songs which are saved on a separate song app or on my phone can be played. But we have to be far more hands on. And we’re all about remote management in this house. If we can just park our butts somewhere and just ask for songs to be played, it would be a pretty darn good thing!

This morning the offspring woke to a house with an absent father (courtesy a business trip) and he sat and pouted about missing the parent for a bit. And in an effort to cheer himself up, he turned the house into a dance club, playing Bollywood hits before 6:30 am. All courtesy Alexa.

Where’s the parental settings people? Is that in the next upgrade?

In the meanwhile, Kala Chashma gets looped sun up to sun down just because Alexa can!


A Few Words From A SAHM

I am a SAHM. I like writing the abbreviation rather than typing out the whole shebang viz Stay At Home Mom. And I think quite a bit of time and effort is being spent on Mira Rajput and her choice of words regarding her own daughter.

I suppose if I wanted to, I could extrapolate, that when Mira Rajput used the word “puppy” in reference to leaving her child behind at home while she went out to work, she was likening all the children “left behind ” to puppies. It could also be that it was a less than tactful choice of words to describe a situation which is touchy, difficult and something that women can genuinely never really come to terms with, IMHO.

But again IMHO, Mira Rajput is neither a role model for women, of any age, to emulate; nor is she an expert in parenting. She is merely a young woman who is thrust into the limelight because of the man she married and because of whom each and every action of hers is scrutinized and dissected.

Do I think it was an unfortunate choice of words? Yes. Do I think it was maliciously meant and demeaning to women around the world? No. Why not? Because I don’t give a fig about Mira Rajput or her opinions! I am too busy “working” as a SAHM raising my own “puppy”.

Ladies, with all the nonsense that surrounds us in the world these days; can’t we ever let go of the stuff that the media reports? Choose not to get wounded when nouveau celebs express their opinions about random things. Because it’s on their radar, doesn’t mean it should resonate so strongly with you. Or jar you so badly. These people aren’t the last word. Let’s stop giving them the podium and pulpit.

*mike drop*


Movie Review: Tridev

After a looooooooooong time I turned the telly on last Sunday in a rush thinking I’d missed out on the Oscars and found Tridev was playing.

Released in 1989 and a blockbuster by the yardstick prevalent back in the day; the movie is a laugh and minute even during the scenes which are supposed to be very high on the emotional quotient.

Madhuri Dixit, Jackie Shroff, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher and a plethora of other chamaktey sitaarey (shining stars) of the era come together to make a 2 hour plus movie which is replete with the all the symbols of the 80s; and therefore was a total trip down nostalgia alley for me.

These are the tropes in the movies of the 80s and early 90s that I remember vividly-

  • Minimum 3-4 outfit changes for the female lead in the course of a song.
  • Each outfit quite outlandish and fairly garish and gaudy.
  • Villains are OTT evil and had to have a trademark evil laughter. Said trademark had to occur with each evil soliloquy.
  • Women are props. Used to pretty up a scene or as lures to get the male lead to come and duke it out with the bad guy. Women also need to sing during their captivity.
  • The police always arrive after everything ends and essentially are clean-up crews.
  • The back-up dancers are drab-faced people who end up dancing either like they are on meth or are stoned and never vary from either of these two extremes.
  • There is *always* love at first sight.
  • Love is expressed via song. At Least twice. First time: Initial expression. Second time: Reiteration.
  • The fight sequence is totally of comic book proportions without the blurbs spelling out the KAPOWS.
  • Each time anyone gets hit, they fly through the air a la The Matrix and the resulting sound effect is LOUD!
  • There is no anti-hero: there is black or white.
  • There is a weird depiction of a jungle tribe replete with loin cloths, tiger-striped clothing and jungle drums.
  • The jungle tribe utters inane stuff like Jinga Lala Boom etc.
  • Party scenes are usually where everyone is standing still like statues and one person moving about tipsy and singing an alcohol-related song.
  • Patriotism is also OTT.
  • The level and diction of the spoken Hindi is far superior than that spoken these days.
  • The music is catchy and unashamedly borrowed (bits and pieces) from dance hits famous overseas.

Since the advance in special effects hadn’t happened to the extent it has nowadays, things looked made-up and really clichéd but still entertained in a way many movies of today don’t.

While I may have laughed at Sunny Deol’s “angst” at finding his dead father, Amrish Puri’s Bhujang-avatar or even Sangeeta Bijlani’s determination to find her dead brother’s killer by becoming a gangster’s moll; the fact remains is that those movies entertain!

Oye oye!

Image courtesy-


Movie Review: Rustom

It’s good to watch movies. Good or bad. Gives one an idea about the kind of things film makers are thinking about and if they do have the pulse of their audience. With Rustom they succeeded in breaking out of the run-of-the-mill Bollywood masala grist and yet failed to craft a taut film that makes the movie goer sigh/nod in appreciation.

Based quite obviously on the Nanavati case that rocked the India of the 50s, the movie has a very staged look and feel with the characters not quite coming across as convincing in the roles they are essaying.

Akshay Kumar looks good in uniform. For a man his age he is in fine form physically but is rather wooden. He doesn’t come across as a Parsi at all and wears his uniform throughout the movie without it ever getting creased or dirty even while he’s incarcerated. Full marks to the jail dhobi!

Illeana D’Cruz looks pretty as a picture. Wears simple and elegant sarees and is quite effective as an ornamental prop. She neither carries the weight or punch that the role requires.

Esha Gupta smoulders like a femme fatale would and is by turns slutty and pull of pouty attitude. If attitude was the only requirement that the role had then she aced it and how! Barring that, she too has very little meat in her role and comes across as a spoiled rich socialite and not much else.

Arjan Bajwa is quite well cast. You can feel the smarminess come off him in waves and I can see him getting typecast as a Lothario in future projects.

People like Sachin Khedekar are rather miscast and arereduced to being ranting buffoons who really don’t belong in a biopic; even a loose one.

Anang Desai, Kanwaljeet Singh and Usha Nadkarni in their supporting roles add the necessary flavor and yet, despite it all, the movie leaves you wanting.

It doesn’t end in a manner which satisfies but neither does it disappoint in toto.

A bit of a limbo of a film and yet it’s good to see Khiladi Kumar embrace more roles of this ilk. He’s moved way past his Churake Dil Mera days...

Let me start by saying that I’ve usually felt that Salman Khan is akin to a horse’s ass. He isn’t that good an actor and the only thing I can say in his favor is that at his age, keeping up with that kind of body and dancing like a lunatic takes stamina. So yay…kudos for him.

My lack of gaga factor over him is due to the frivolous roles he’s usually done and the fact that he can’t keep clothes on his body and needs to strip down to his bare torso or an undershirt whether the role calls for it or not. I haven’t seen too many of his movies because they bore me. I consider him a ham and a bad one. But that’s enough about me and what I think. The rest of his audience viz most of the paanwalas and autowalas out there, think he’s aces and so be it!

This is what’s happening with this “paragon” of Bollywood who happens to run an NGO, donate to charity and generally does his bit for philanthropy when not allegedly running homeless pavement dwellers over, shooting endangered wild life and also making highly inappropriate comments. After a rather hectic (so he said) shooting schedule for his upcoming film (which he gets to legitimately have a reason to be bare-chested), he likened himself to a woman raped due to his weariness and inability to walk.

Ok. Let’s drop a bomb on him for saying that. If only stupidity could be punished thus then GW and quite of few of our own home-grown politicos would have disintegrated by now.

Was it unwarranted? Yes. Should he have known better? Yes. Has he goofed up in the past and seemed content to be branded as an enfant terrible? Umm…yeah! But is that the only thing at play here?

I personally feel the media usually conveniently plates up someone to be carved up by a host of others and sits back to watch the mayhem. Couldn’t the media persons have said, “that was an inappropriate comment to make”? on the spot and seen what kind of turn things took? Yes they could have. But clearly they didn’t. At all. They seem to prefer to see this 50-year old, whose brains are probably addled from all the blows (fake or otherwise) he seems to have taken while shooting for Sultan, be made a spectacle of again rather than move onto something more meaningful or relevant like him retracting things a split second later. When that brouhaha gets done with they’ll move onto his bachelor status (again) or his bracelet (gimme a break!)

This isn’t merely about a right or wrong. This almost seems like the media telling tales and tattling on SK all over again just to sell some papers or get hits on their website.

And what about the main in question, Mr.Foot-In-The-Mouth himself? Well, his father’s issued an apology and he seems to have been apologetic as well so that ends there. Whether Twitter lets up on him or the  rest of the country does is anyone’s guess. His movie will get released and he’ll make money and go back to doing what he does best…be shirtless. And in time, people will move onto something else to be outraged and gasp about..oh wait! they are already moving onto another topic of vital importance.

Read about something else people. Leave the celebs to their own lives. People say stupid things all the time. For once give the poor rich man a pass and read about something of substance! Because this time instead of Being Human, he was just Being Inappropriate.

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