Thursday, November 28, 2013

Moral policing on Social networks

 Social network has become the outlet for rants which can be shared with at least 500 odd friends and get little solace and peace. However there has to be little control on what and when to post. There were many social network crimes or cyber-crimes since the advent of Facebook , twitter, Myspace and many more social networking sites in to people’s lives.

Sometime in September 2011 a boy has put status message on FB stating he dumped his girlfriend. Immediately after that Malini Murmu an IIM Bangalore student committed suicide amid these FB messages! There are many more such cases which lead to family devastation like a boy informing her girlfriend that he is going to kill himself on FB and doing the same, a girl reporting every one that she is about to die, so on so forth. In daily news you will come across many such hard to believe crimes and suicides over the social network the reason for which is a subject of interest to psychiatrists. The impulse people face these days on facebook and other sites is unmatchable! Social media does assist the police to catch the criminals. Many people foolishly leave their footprints on social networking sites and it has become easy to catch the criminal.

The question is how much can the moral police stop crimes driven by emotional trauma? Will their laws be able to stop crime? Will this change the mind-set of people?
Everyone must be aware of the old news where two girls were arrested on the grounds of moral policing by the police of Thane station in Mumbai and just 9 days after that arrest one more guy was arrested on the same grounds!

Do read the rest of the article  at "Half Baked Voices" 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Street food for the street smart Indians :)

 Originally published at - "Street food for Street smart Indians"

With festivals around the corner one thing which we Indians cannot resist is binging on all the delicacies endlessly. We worry about weight but postpone the worry to the end of December or may be New-year so that we take the new-year resolution to reduce weight only to break it later on in the year when festive season starts  :- ) :- ). Jokes apart, the first and the foremost thing which people in India miss when they move to abroad is the food here. Street foods are lavishly spread everywhere in India. Street foods / fast foods are pretty famous in India as they are tasty, economical and comprise a wide variety including local , regional , national and international cuisines.
Everyone is well acquainted with chaat bhandaars in India. Chat ke thele (the mobile chat shops) are pretty famous here and if you haven’t tasted chat at least once, you are missing out the spice in your life! Just a memory of the tangy flavour tickles my taste buds and my mouth starts watering.  Pani Puri , Aloo tikki , Sev puri , Samosas, Pav bhaji, Vada Pav are few to name.  The masalas, chutneys, tamarind, black salt are all carefully selected and mixed in correct proportions to bring that godly taste to the dishes. It’s an art to make a yummilicious chat.

 Image source: Pani Puri

Image source : Indian Street Food vendor
Rajasthan and Maharashtra are famous for chats but  tasty chat counters are available in all the cities and the dishes are even regionalised as per the taste of localities’ and few foods are given local names too. My most favourite foods are Ragda Samosa and Mirchi Bajji . Mirchi Bajji is the south Indian nomenclature for the dish shared in the pic below.  It is the pic of a bajji made by me on a rainy day. The bajji / Bhajiya topped with onion coriander and nimbu (lemon) is heavenly. It goes well with heavy rain by your window side ;)! The more I write about chat, the hungrier I become.

Dosa is a famous street food in South India. One cannot leave Bangalore without tasting a Mysore masala dosa. Similarly the Mughlai Cuisine is famous in places like Delhi and Hyderabad. Hyderabad is famous for its Biryani but street foods like grilled chicken and widely available haleem during Ramzan month are also famous here. One has to go to Charminar in the festive season to have visual and tasty treats! We love our snacks with Irani Chai and Osmania biscuits in Hyderabad!
 Image source: Irani Chai and biscuits
We even have the chin-Indianese noodles everywhere. Many street vendors become famous for their Indianised noodles.  We turn it to an Indo-chinese dish as much as we can. Maggi is an instantaneous food present everywhere in India. Chinese may not be aware of maggi but here a person around every street corner knows what maggi is. When you visit mountain regions maggi is their street food, staple food, lunch, dinner and everything as it is easily available and is easy to cook.
Our street foods also comprise of momos, Lebanese rolls which taste yummy at Saket in Delhi. Momos is the most loved food by many in India.  We have varieties for all. Veg momos , chicken momos and chocolate momos- All these can be made in no time and you can gobble them to subside your hunger! We are particular about our chai and lassi too. We gorge on our paranthas and wash it down with lassi or fruit juices, nimbu soda or even chai. In Hyderabad tea is served even in weddings as it is believed that tea is good for digestion.
   Image source: Chicken Momos

If someone wants an elaichi chai, some other wants ginger tea or lemon tea. A chai vendor selling all kinds of tea is a common sight during tours and in railway stations and at many places when you are on the road. We have innumerable varieties of sweets too which grab our eye balls and we get drawn to the counters to have a piece or two. Jalebis, rasmalai, Halwa puri are few to name.
Image source:  Jalebi
If I keep on writing about street food in India my diet plan will go to toss and I will have to do a triple-work out in gym ;- )  For now I am taking a break to have some diwali festive delicacies ! How many ever Mc. Donalds or KFC and Dominos branches open up they can’t beat the street food in India! Enjoy your food and enjoy the festive season. Happy Diwali!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gravity: A Review

Originally published at viewspaper -"Gravity-A must watch"
 Gravity A review Gravity: A Review
Something More Than A Sci-Fi

Every time I think of Alfonso CuarĂ³n’s film Gravity, I can feel the goose bumps on my skin. No words can describe how overwhelmed I was after seeing this movie. Adding to my excitement was Sandra Bullock (Ryan Stone) and George Clooney’s (Matt Kowalski) performance who played the characters of a medical Engineer and a senior astronaut respectively.

I have always been enchanted by the idea of space but never realised the many difficulties that astronauts have to face. I knew about the challenges but it was only after watching this movie that I realized, that going to space isn’t a joy ride. The picturisation in Gravity is such that you will not want to flutter your eye lashes lest you miss even a second of the film .

Almost all the reviews claim that Gravity is a science fiction movie (sc-fi). However,I can assure you that it is anything but sci-fi. The movie is realistic and does not restrict itself to talking  about the technicalities of space shuttles and rockets. It starts off as a documentary but as it picks up the pace you realize that the core factor of the movie is its emotional quotient.
The movie is all about Ryan and Matt’s struggle and how cleverly they plan to travel back to Earth. The hurdles they face during the journey are extremely dangerous. They oscillate between life and death every second making the viewers sit at the edge of their seats.
Personally speaking I was touched by Matt’s inspirational discussions with Ryan especially after he finds out that all their co-astronauts are dead, and even the chances of their survival are minimal. I was caught in  Matt’s charm and almost fell in love with Ryan’s and Matt’s attitude towards life and their courage.
As surprising as it may sound, I was literally in tears when Matt  talks to Ryan over the radio after she finally manages to go to Russian Soyuz. I can never forget the dialogue, “You should learn to let go Ryan.You can do it. It’s not rocket science.”
george clooney gravity Gravity: A Review
When a German astronaut Urich Walter was asked about his views on the movie, he said that it is tough for an astronaut to keep spinning or drifting in space as we see it in the movie. In fact, a fire in space doesn’t and cannot last for so long and therefore the crash that we see in Gravity should have killed everyone. On the other hand, he agrees that the movie is shot hyper realistically and there is no denying that it captures most of the facts.

Sandra bullock gravity Gravity: A Review
However, I did think that the movie ended abruptly. Houston is not shown at all and Ryan stands up as soon as she touches land, something which I don’t think is scientifically possible.
Despite its small flaws Gravity is sure to leave you stumped. I, for one, watched it twice and that too in 3D. This is indeed the most enchanting movie of the year and is sure to grab many awards.  So if you haven’t seen it yet then you better catch this epic movie today!

Friday, November 1, 2013

“The art of remaking- A ready made Business”!

Originally published at "Half Baked voices Blog!" 

Remaking a movie is a huge business. Since my childhood half of the movies I watched are remakes. They either get welcomed with a red carpet or get bounced at box office.  Copying from Hollywood is an art in India.  Oops! I should not call it copying. Remaking a movie is a stylish way of saying that you have copied!  Sometimes copying is done with permission and many a times they are simply copied. Their songs, posters, dialogues or the full length-movie, everything can be easily remade by our film makers. Recently I came to know that my favourite movie Zindagi na milegi Dubara’s poster is similar to a 2005 movie – Lords of the Dog town’s!  Now the yet to be released Dhoom 3’s poster looks like it is inspired by The Dark Knight Rises. Of course it is edited a bit .

Anything and everything made outside India is taken and blended with the local nuances to make it appealing to Indian viewers. Few things from here are also copied there but we master in remaking! We inhale and exhale movies in India so we always fall short of movies.  We cross all the boundaries and copy English, French, Korean and many more movies.
If you keenly observe eight out of ten movies you liked would have been copied or should I say inspired from Hollywood!

Sometimes we are content with all the regional flicks. South Indian movies are remade in Hindi .Few Hindi movies are made in various states in their respective film industries and one more trending and money saving style of making movies is to just dub the dialogues and not change the actors. The movie gets released with a funny title and funny songs. Maine Pyar Kia was kind of a trend setter and every one followed suit. Maine Pyar Kia was a huge hit. Till date whenever I see a white pigeon I remember the song Kabootar ja. Not sure of the lyrics in Telugu but I am sure they must be funny! Rajnikanth’s latest Robo/Robot left me in splits when I heard the songs in Hindi. Kilimanjaro Ladki parbat ki yaaro , jungle jungle pukaro , yaaro !! Like really? I can’t even decipher the original song and Hindi translation increased the fun factor in the song. Nevertheless the movie was a huge hit in all the languages wherever it was released. There is no need to specially mention the Rajni factor in the movie.
But this trend became so popular that all the south Indian movies are being dubbed to Hindi and released in U.P, Bihar and many other states. Even if some are not released in the theatres they are regularly telecasted on the small screen. The titles are utterly funny. Badle ki aag , Sabse bada dilwala, Mazduron ka daata are just few among many such movies. Surprising fact is it is a flourishing business as many viewers are liking them :- (
One more trend which started is remaking the old blockbuster movies. New actors who fit in the role are handpicked and the movie is remade with the same story line or with some minor tweaks in the story. DON made in 2006 with SRK in the lead role was originally played by none other than Amitab Bachan in the year 1978. We all know this fact. The new one was made with an interesting plot. However DON 2 didn’t meet the level of Don. There are many remakes which got bombed at the box office. Zanjeer (originally Amitab’s movie) in which Ram Charan Teja acted is a fresh example. There are many such lousy remakes like RamGopal Varma ki aag which spoiled the master piece Sholay, Chashme Baddoor which was not even near to the original one, so on so forth.
It needs lot of re work to even make a remake work! It needs a good team and loads of creativity used in the right direction to make it an interesting watch.
The remake of French Kiss- Pyar to Hona hi tha is an unforgettable one. Till date, the song aaj hai sagaai is played in weddings, whereas skipping the discussion of remake of my sassy girl – Ugly aur Pagli (Mallika Sherawat starrer) is a better decision.  Dil hai ki Manta nahi is a movie loved by all. It is a remake of the movie, “It happened one night.”  Check out the posters below.

Even the super hit Dilwale Dulhania Lejayenge is inspired by a movie “The sure thing” in which John Cusack acted. We all know how much DDL is loved by the movie goers. Jab we met is inspired by “A walk in clouds” but it also came in the news that Jab we met inspired a holly wood flick “Leap Year”. We all get inspired by each other :- ). Chak de India is inspired by Miracle on Ice. Similarly there are many such good movies which are inspired by Hollywood films. Remakes don’t work always but people watch it with the curiosity to see how it is made. More than half of our movies are remade.
Every year the champs of film industry jot in their notebooks (U me aur hum), travel back in Time machine (Love story 2050) to check the repository of old movies and they come up with an already used idea. They present it to us topped with Indian spices. We are the God Fathers (Sarkars) of the remakes. Kuch to hai in our filmmakers as they know what to do last summer, this summer and every year and then they forget what they did like a Ghajini (Memento)  :- )

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