Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are you as crazy and insane in your browsing habits?

Open email to do important work. 

Click on Twitter while the mail takes 2.5 seconds to open. Since thats too long time to wait idle. While at it, lets hit the bookmarks of Facebook and personal blog as well. Think of tweeting something. But get carried away scrolling through the timeline. Come across a blog post link. 

Click on the post. Find that it’s an author’s. Go to the blog post. Read it. Scroll through archives. Open a couple of more posts with interesting titles. Find the blog interesting. Meanwhile, open Amazon to check out the books and reviews. Bookmark or copy paste blog link in the file with 206 other links stored for later reading. Sigh at the mounting number of things pending. Remember why you got on to the browser in the first place. 

Click back on email. Check mails. Open Linkedin to check requests. Give in to the temptation of scrolling through the home page. Mr. X is coming up with another seminar. Open tabs for the seminar page and the profile page of X. Leave him a message for more details. Check out his profile. 

Click on his profile page. Go through the page. Look at his schooling year and try to figure out his age. Remember why i came to Linkedin. Go the requests. No one seems a potential client. Open tabs for discussion groups.

Click on Facebook and personal blog one after the other. Browse through the home page of Facebook. Note that some more people have had kids. Check for any new comments on the blog. Find that there aren’t any. 

Click back on Amazon to check books and reviews. Go to Google to check if free pdfs are available. Come across a blog that has free pdfs of other books. Browse the categories and labels to find something interesting. Open a couple of tabs with interesting categories. 

Click back on Twitter and check tweets of the author. Find another author she’s taken pics with. Go to the 2nd author profile. Check her books. Check her blogs. Ponder whether to bookmark her blog. Groan at the piling list and lack of time. Think of why you came to the browser to begin with. Remember there was work to do. Look at the open tabs of discussion groups, Facebook, Twitter, blog, blog links, Amazon, book reviews, Google search for pdfs, tabs for pdf categories. 

Click X to close the whole browser. Give up in frustration to come back another time.

Another time. 

Open email to do important work. 

And you know the drill. Does this happen to you too? Isn’t there too much of information vying for our 2 little eye balls and one brain? With unending content online, can we catch up with anything substantial? Is there a way out? Do we need an information detox, or call it browsing detox if you will? What do you think? Drop in your comments below. I would love to hear from you! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Am I old-fashioned?

A recent conversation, a very unwelcome one at that, with someone made me realize i am old fashioned in so many ways. I realized i am stuck to some concepts which definitely are rapidly becoming old world, if not totally defunct yet! Though, the way the world has changed at a blistering pace in the last few years, the world as people of my generation knew it is vanishing. 

So, the conversation that led me to this realization was about the changing concept of a work place. To me, work is still a place you get dressed every morning and go to. In fact, the getting dressed part is where much of the charm of going to work lies. At least, for me! Having been a freelancer for the past 6 years, i still miss having to choose my clothes everyday, get decked up and head out of the house in the morning geared up for work. Freelancing gives you the freedom to choose your work but i am definitely more lazy than i was when I worked full time. So, my worldview of the world felt a lot dented at the realization that the idea of an office is a vanishing concept. A laptop and a smartphone and you could work out of a beach! 

This could be your workplace!

One of the other old ways that i realise i have stuck to is my love for pen and paper, despite all the gadgets i have. i just can’t get my head around making notes/lists on the new fangled gadgets and apps available to me. i do that sometimes with grocery lists etc so that i have it handy on my phone. But such a practice is rare. The joy of holding a pen and writing each letter in my own handwriting is too much to give up. Nothing can replace that! It's easier to add things to existing points. And the happiness of ticking a task done on your to-do list is matchless!

And the third thing that comes to my mind doesn’t surprise me or anyone else who knows me. i still believe in complete sentences and correct spellings. Though, i will confess that i have slipped and resorted to chat versions of words due to lack of character space in some media. But the satisfaction of writing out proper sentences and then editing them for correctness will never go out of fashion in my life.

Watch your language!
i am appalled at the state of English, thanks to the onslaught of online medium that encourage, rather force you to conveniently compromise on the written word to express your thought. Felicity of words and cadences of phrases have no meaning in this world. Words like selfies  with no literary depth are conjured just for convenience! And more horrifying is that an entire generation is growing up exposed to such language and God knows where we are headed to with this.

Even if these things are not the current norm, i think i will hold on to them for old times sake. Are there things you are attached to but seem out of sync with the times? Do you think there is a charm of its own to keep these things alive? And isn’t it comforting to continue with old habits in this ever-changing, ever-evolving world? Feel free to share your thoughts below. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Khoobsurat (2014) - some thoughts

Photo credit

First of all, i am strictly against remaking any old classics. i think no one can do justice to the hits of yesteryears. And any attempt to recreate the old magic will at best be an unsuccessful one. (i thought the Don series were well re-made even though i don’t think anyone should have dared to touch a Bachchan classic) 

Coming to Khoobsurat, the spirit of the original film - that of a bubbly girl coming over and toppling the regime of a strict matriarch but later turning out to be the sensible one - is present in the background of the film. Though, it’s a little too much of bubble and much less of a regime. It also doesn’t have the large family the original had, which means less fun. It’s like the director got lost in the insipid love story of the lead pair and forgot the rest only to add them as after thoughts.

The first thing that strikes me is overly, artificially bubbly Sonam in the most garish clothes. i wonder if the bright, uncoordinated outfits are meant to bolster her bad acting skills. i wouldn’t reinforce a stereotype that doctors should always be serious people but Sonam’s character crosses the limit of even being a sensible human - sometimes with even no sense of manners. Supposed to be funny? Irritating, more so. Most of the I-am-so-clumsy incidents appear forced. 

i wouldn’t even venture to compare her to the incomparable Rekha. Rekhs was the true bubbly, fun-loving girl. Sonam just kills it with over-acting. No wonder, daddy dear has to make films for her to keep her going!

Fawad Khan has pretty much the same expression in the whole film - blank! It’s like his facial muscles are frozen. And too bad for him, he’s so cold even in the romantic parts of the film. The only 2 times some light flickers on his face is when he confesses his love and his Punjabi style dialogue in the end. 

The sibling or the fiance in the film seem like an after thought and are potential sources of adding fun wasted. 

Unlike Finding Fanny, the 2 moms are in their element and which is exactly the reason why I went to watch the film. Can skip this. You won't miss much.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Anupam Kher Show - some thoughts

The new kid on the block!

In times of revival of comedy, Anupam Kher has come up with a talk show. Beating Koffee with Karan and Satyamev Jayate isn’t easy. But, somehow, i like the concept of the show. Even though Mr. Kher has a lot of catching up to do to develop the natural flair that Karan and Aamir have as hosts.

The Good

The first thing i love about the show is its positive packaging. While Karan cashes in on the controversies and Aamir thrives on his pseudo-altruism, this show genuinely brings out the motivating stories of life. The inspiring undertone with the tagline - Life mein kuch bhi ho sakta hai - brings before us the lesser known facts about celebrities who have achieved success through their grit and determination. It seeks to debunk the popular myth that stars are just plain lucky.

Photo credit: The episode with Kapil Sharma
Every episode unravels facts about stars we didn't know. Vidya Balan was thrown out of 12 films before she finally got Parineeta. Kapil Sharma’s story is the common man’s victory through sheer hard work. David and Varun Dhawan's life seemed to be a story straight out of a middle class family. Kangana Ranaut ran away from home to make it big. And Parineeti and Varun wanted to actually become banking professionals! All these people come alive just like you and me who have had failed plans and not so rosy lives!

Photo credit - The set of the show
The not so good

i’ll begin my list with the garish set. It seems very artificial rather than a real place where people have just come together to talk. The false ceiling is the limit of the artifice! Added to that, the host’s 3-piece suit in every episode is a bit jarring on the eye! I can understand that people of a certain generation would consider nothing less for formal wear. But i think the show would get a lot more chatty feel if the host is more casual, albeit still crisp looking.

While all aspects of the show are well researched, the segment where a member from the audience is chosen to speak to the stars needs work. No one has thought of tweaking the concept and prepping the person before they shoot the segment. Most of them are either star struck or really have nothing to ask. And then Mr. Kher has to come with ideas to cover the goof up! It’s things like this on the show that make it lack finesse that the other talk shows have.

The tagline is a tad bit overdone. The repetition of it through the show is unnecessary and redundant.

Finally come to the show host himself. With all due respect to Anupam Kher for the incredibly amazing actor that he is, he needs to brush up his hosting skills. His diction is great and so is his narration. But he doesn’t look very comfortable doing that. Also, one thing that even others on social media have noticed is Anupam cuts the guests across/interrupts their stories with his questions. Sometimes even unrelated. It’s like someone’s talking about an incident and we don’t get to hear the end of it because the host has moved on to the next thing. The whole idea of a chat show is to chat leisurely. But wonder why it looks like the host is in a hurry to finish the questions in his list irrespective of whether the answers do justice to them. Even more strange is that no one seems to have noticed this and sought to correct it in the subsequent episodes. i would give Mr. Kher the benefit of the doubt and blame my critical eye to just a hangover of KJo!

But all bad things apart, the show is still a winner. The artificial sets or a lame segment with the audience will not deter me from watching a show that stays true to bringing out the inspirational from people's lives.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Finding Fanny - did you find Fanny?

Photo credit

Finding Fanny was a damp squib for me. By the end of the film, i wasn’t sure if we really found Fanny or if the person we found was really Fanny! 

i guess because my expectations were quite high thinking that the film will be in the league of Being Cyrus. But that is not the case. The first half goes well. In fact, the interval seemed to be too early and the film hadn’t got us to the point of “what next?” And the second half made no sense.

Good things first. The look of the film is good. The actors roped in is perhaps the main reason why so many people made it to the theaters in the first place. The best part of the film were the dialogues. The Goan style of English is well captured. And the parts written in English are also above an average Bollywood film. 

But to me, the goodness ends there. The film fails to capture any potential that the film’s lead actors or the fabulous supporting cast offers. There’s promise in the introduction of Dimple Kapadia but the film fails to take her role to the level of Being Cyrus. Naseeruddin Shah marvelously portrays the aging, lost lover. But he too, like Dimple, has no scope to spread the magic of his presence beyond a point. 

When Arjun Kapoor enters the scene, you hope that there will be revival of old romance and at least that thread of the story would take you somewhere. But except for a scene groping in the dark, there is no depth to this angle as well.

Photo credit
So, at the end of the movie, i want to know if this was a love story? No. Because the lead characters don’t go through one in the film. Is this the story of unrequited love? Maybe. Because Ferdi does venture out to find his lost love of 46 years. Is this a tragedy? Maybe. Because Fanny isn’t part of Ferdi’s life despite the effort. But, like I said earlier, I am not even left with the satisfaction of having found the right Fanny in the first place! 

i guess this film is going to cash in on the initial boom of the wonderful trailers which portray it as a winner. But by next weekend the boom would have gone bust! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

iPhone, iPad, iPod and all that

The world is taken by storm every time Apple launches its products, not to forget the buzz that precedes the event. Same is the case with iPhone 6, iPhone 6plus and the Apple watch. From the unique features of the gadgets to kidney-selling jokes on twitter to be able to afford it are a part of discussions on social media. i always wondered what is so big deal about a piece of gadget or a spanking new car! Wondered what made people so crazy about it. But having one such fanatic as my husband, it has made me realise that boys and their toys work perhaps just like girls and our make-up!

i am no techno enthusiast. So i cant give a feature by feature account of the new devices launched by Apple. But yeah, all the drooling over around me makes me sit up and think about my experiences with Apple products that i have used over the years since 2008.

Photo credit

i was introduced to Apple at a point in my life when i did not even know the importance of the brand. i only knew Microsoft. But thanks to my Apple-freak husband, my first laptop was a 15 inch MacBook Pro. It has a nice, big screen and keyboard you can spread both your hands on! It took me a while to figure out all the wonderful features of the device. Being able to add the range of Microsoft features like word etc made it easier to get used to the Mac versions of the same.

And soon, i felt like a spastic if i had to use any Microsoft computer. Like people who have used Apple say - you cant use anything else once you are used to Apple! i still use my Macbook even though Apple has put it out of any kind of service or warranty about 2 years ago. You see, Apple moves on to newer versions each year and hence don’t have the time to look at aging machines. The CD drive has a problem and there are display issues, but I know there’s a lot of life left in my Mac yet!! And i am not replacing my constant buddy of 6 years any time soon!

My husband always wanted a Mac for himself. But his company IT policy wouldn’t let him use one for official purposes. But piddling company policies don’t stop a real enthusiast! He bought a 15 inch slim Mac and now i am typing on his 13 inch Mac. (extra gadgets are given away to people who will value them!)

And oh! An iPod touch was his first gift to me even before i knew this guy who i was about to marry was a gadget freak! i started using it only after marriage. A worthy gift since i love listening to music. Though adding songs is a painful and time consuming process. My current iPod is a tiny, old 16GB iPod nano which i have stuck to despite newer versions being bought and given away to people. Well, i don’t want to change iPods and keep shifting songs. Secondly, i am fine with gadgets as long as they serve my purpose. i am not crazy about advanced technology that comes with newer versions.

Coming to iPads, i thought it was really intelligent to change an iPod touch version to an iPad! Larger than the iPod and smaller than the laptop, it seemed the perfect size. By this time, i was kinda getting to understand what is the big deal about new gadgets!

The year iPad 1 was launched was also the year my husband bought one. (It looks so clunky compared to later versions now). Hubby dear used it for a year and passed it on to me when his company gave him iPad 2. i must just read some books on it not having figured out all other things it could do. And as luck would have it, he quit his job 3 yrs ago, returned iPad 2 to the company and happily bought iPad 3, which he uses even now!

Never crazy about an iPad, i’d occasionally play games on his iPad. A mini iPad is the first gadget i asked for in January this year. i thought the size was perfect for browsing and reading books/blogs. With compatible keyboards with iPad, it becomes the smallest computer like device possible. Even though it’s not the best for typing stuff since the screen and the keyboard are small, i can always carry it to meetings and cafes to type out blog drafts. It is also great to watch videos, access maps and check social media on the go.

Coming to iPhones, i reluctantly shifted to an iPhone 5 from my Blackberry bold which i was happy with. We had iPhone 5 lying around, thanks to my better half who is happy to just buy the newer versions but not keen to use them himself. When there was word out iPhone 5s being out, i thought that our iPhone would become an old version without even anyone of us using it. i was apprehensive about the touch keypad since i message a lot. But it took me no time to get used to it.

Just as i had put this one to use, hubby dear promptly went and bought iPhone 5S which was launched some time later! i am absolutely against upgrading to new gadgets every 6 months or throwing away money on buying them when we don’t need them. But do husbands care? No. (And no, even though the 5S is lying around, it’s not being given away to anyone)

So having been through an entire range of Apple products, what do i think? Apple products are great and Apple ensures that we get newer and better versions every year. The displays are great, keyboards comfortable and the basic features only get better in the future versions. Did Apple change my life? Maybe. i guess, if i did not have it, i would have just gotten used to what i had!

But i have a problem with the rate at which they release their new offerings. Yes, there was a huge difference between the first Mac and Air version. But there is only so much that you can do with each upgraded version. To make the laptop slimmer, the CD drive is missing. The projector cable slot is gone - which is important for me as a trainer when i conduct sessions.

i don’t see much difference between my iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S which my sister uses. Screens can get bigger and the body slimmer, but is my current phone - now it is 2 versions old - that old? Will i, as a customer, throw away a perfectly fine phone and spend a fortune on the latest version? i don’t think so. And i guess that’s why i don’t understand Apple’s strategy of introducing new products so fast.

And i definitely think that Apple products, especially iPhones, cost a bomb. These shiny new gadgets have a lot of aspirational value. But wouldn’t that close-to-a-lakh be better spent elsewhere in your life and otherwise? Here i’ll definitely say - it’s just a phone! It takes crap loads of effort to make that much money. And such are the times that we are expected to just blow it on a phone!

To all of you slobbering over iPhone 6 and feeling disheartened about not being able to afford one, take heart! It’s no big deal! Your phone is good enough for now! Do you want to regret spending a fortune this year when Apple comes up with an even more desirable iPhone 7 next year? Because you know it will!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sojourn at IIM Indore

It’s the first day of engineering college and Rancho is grinning happily in class! When asked by the professor why he is smiling like an idiot, he responds that it was his dream to get into engineering. And now that it has actually come true, he is feeling very nice about it! Sitting in a classroom at IIM Indore this August, the smile on my lips reflected the same feelings! It's always a dream to be a student at IIMs and i was living it, albeit just for 3 days. 

The name badge on my seat
i have had an indirect connect with the IIMs as a trainer who trained MBA aspirants, including people who subsequently got calls from IIMs. But i never aspired to be there because i knew i would never clear CAT thanks to my pathetic math. Years later, in the current time, i was looking for certification related to training and went to the websites of IIMs. i didn't want to do something just for the sake of an IIM in my resume. Not finding relevant courses in IIM A, B, C, i settled for Indore which offered an advanced certification in training, which is very similar to what i wanted. 

Having enrolled myself in the course, the prospect of going to an IIM was exciting. And the sojourn totally lived up to the hype! i was picked up from the airport and driven through the city to reach the campus. The rooms, though very basic, sufficed the purpose. The campus is huge with sprawling green lawns, made even more lush by the recent rains. The spotless clean campus had narrow roads leading you to everywhere in the campus. Though having to walk all over the place did get a bit tiring!

The beautiful campus made even more lush green by the rains 

 Roads that take you around the campus

The real thing was to be a part of an IIM classroom and learn from professors who were, without doubt, an authority in their subjects. We had lectures on a variety of HR and training related subjects. It was inspiring to see the professors walk the talk. Their knowledge of the subject, energy levels, style of delivery is worth learning from and emulating in real life. The peer learning, which i was also looking forward to, turned out to be a dud because we had 80% participants from a govt insurance company who had spent a good 2 decades of their lives in the same job. i don't think there can be anything more opposite to the vibrant, contemporary culture of corporate training.

The session in progress
The final presentation (non-evaluative) was a group task where we were supposed to create an session plan for a 2 day session outlining the instructional approaches we would use. The group comprised my room mate and 2 other fellows. They boys were least interested and i had to use some force to get them to do their part. What followed our presentation was the most fun. Some senior members of the class from the govt company raised serious objections at our presentation because it talked about brushing up grammar and vocabulary to improve communication. Even though it wasn't meant for them, they took offense at grammar being included in a presentation made before such a senior group. The professor was proactive in controlling the crowd. Though i was tempted to answer these gentlemen back, i resisted since i wasn't supposed to justify the contents of my presentation. And the professor was already there to talk to them. But thanks to this hullabaloo, we missed out on the professor's comments about our content!

The final presentation
All said and done, it was a proud moment to be certified by an IIM!

And Convocation!
What remain after the program, apart from the certification, are valuable insights learnt about training and HR. As a freelance trainer for 6 years, i am already at a time in my career where I want to do something more fulfilling. The visit to the IIM came at the right time driving home the point harder that training is indeed just a small function of HR. There are so many interesting and challenging allied functions which i never get involved in due to the nature of my work. So i have been involved in some thinking about the future course that my profession should take.

I think we lament when we are forced to be students in school/college but jump at every opportunity to become a student later in life!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

100th post - my blogging journey

Finally, i am at this important milestone on my blog - my 100th post! i thought this would be the right time to look back and reminisce about my blogging journey. To begin with, i don’t think 100 posts since 2009 is a great achievement. In fact, when i noticed, recently, that i hadn’t even hit the 100 mark in all these years, i was surprised! On checking my stats, i found that i wrote with gusto in 2009 with maximum posts in the year. The enthusiasm was at its lowest in 2013 and completely absent in 2011. 

 I started my blog one afternoon in August 2009 when the social media bug hadn’t yet bit us. In hindsight, I was a social media virgin. I don’t think I had heard of Twitter and definitely not about Wordpress. That was the time I was still wondering about this phenomenon called blogging. And the curious cat that I am, I had to do it myself and see what it was really about. So, armed with no knowledge of setting up a blog and only writing as a passion, I set up a blog. In fact, it seems pretty adventurous of me to have embarked on a technical task like this. I did seek a little help from someone and setting up a blog on Blogger was pretty easy.

Set up over, what next? Since it is a general blog, it was hard to come up with exciting topics to write. I had to try hard to squeeze out topics to write about because lets accept it - we start blogs as a hobby but do want to make it interesting so that we have readers dropping in comments! But i guess my blog writing has been intermittent and I did lose steam for long periods in between.

Blogging as a hobby is actually misleading. Blogs can be started as a hobby but to keep it going is like nurturing a baby. You need all the time and passion to post frequently. It’s a high maintenance hobby in terms of time and discipline that it demands. 

Coming to the recent times, one of the resolutions for this year was to write more often. And I did do it once a week! But another major thing that happened to boost this space is my foraying into Social Media. I have been doing extensive research on the phenomenon for professional purposes. And since this blog provides me a ready platform, it has only benefitted by my new knowledge of strategies that make a blog better.

So the future seems bright. Many more milestones to reach and hope the fascinating journey ahead is going to be more exciting than ever! So fasten your seat belts again and here we go.....

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Maiden trip to Colombo

After considering Colombo for a vacation many times, the opportunity finally presented itself as hubby's business trip. i am generally jittery before travel but Columbo seemed like a cakewalk. Thanks to visa on arrival and a flight duration of just 2.5 hours from Mumbai, this trip hardly felt like international travel. And truly enough, on arrival, it was like being in some part of India with people of similar ethnic background and sari clad women around! 

For some unrelated reasons, i did not really look forward to the trip or research much about things to do in Colombo. i just took it as a break where i wanted to relax. But when i did go online to see what adventures the city holds for first timers, i wasn't very happy with the results. The sea promenade was closeby, the shopping scene wasn't too great and i wasn't interested in temples and museums. 

The only thing that probably will succeed in pulling me back to Colombo is the food. No, i am not a foodie and i am fine with whatever's available. i have never really loved food outside India since it is usually bland. But food in Colombo managed to impress an indifferent person like me too. The food is mostly inspired from South India, especially, Kerala. Their spring hoppers made from white rice and brown rice are idiappams from Kerala. 

String hoppers (left), Appam (top right), Pittu (bottom right)
Another common breakfast item is egg hoppers or appam, as they are called in Kerala. And also pittu, which is known as puttu back home. Apart from chicken, fish, pork, mutton and prawns cooked in gravy to go with with rice, spring hoppers, pittu or appams, there are a variety of chutney like condiments to add to the taste o the main dishes. The one that my husband relished the most was seeni sambol which is mainly onion and red chillies mostly ground on stone to retain the fresh taste of the ingredients. 

Clockwise from top left: Fried jackfruit seeds, Vegetable kottu, Lamprais, a selection from traditional food
The first thing i had which just left me speechless was chicken kottu. This dish is made of strips of maida paratha and chicken tempered with spices like red chilli, curry leaves and mustard. Served at the hotel with a tangy tomato gravy, it was a party of flavours in the mouth. Kottu also has vegetarian and egg variety. 

Another interesting dish typical of Sri Lanka is lamprais. This wholesome meal has yellow rice, lampara curry (made of chicken, pork, mutton, beef or lamb), seeni sambal, a boiled egg, a fish cutlet, ash plantain curry and eggplant bhaji. All these are wrapped and baked in 20 inch square banana leaf for 30 minutes. Even though this sounds like too much in a single portion, the distinct flavours of each component in the meal ensures you wipe the leaf clean! 

Colombo is also known for their wide variety of tea and fragrant, indigenous spices. I bought loads of flavours in tea and green tea. There are fruit flavours, mint, lemon - you name it and you have it in green tea.

Variety of green tea and a selection of spices

Not just food, the juicy mangoes also ensured we did not miss home much. They have their own varieties which was a welcome change. Rambutan, a fruit we discovered during the trip is somewhat like our litchi back home. It has a red, hairy exterior and a white, juicy, edible part inside when the outer layer is peeled.


Juicy mangoes and luscious Rambutan

Even though Colombo wasn't upto the mark in terms of touristy things, the food amply made up for the lack! Looking forward to another trip just for the food! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finally watched Gunday - some thoughts

Photo credit:
i watched Gunday last evening on DVD. Ranveer Sigh has been definitely promising and one of the reasons why i wanted to watch the film. And true enough, one’s eyes are treated to not just his well-sculpted body but Arjun’s too! 

The beginning of the film is power packed. The child artists who play Bikram and Bala as kids have done a great job. You can see the hot headed and cool shades of their characters right at the beginning. The 70’s scene is successfully set and you feel as if you are really watching some Shatrughan Sinha film set in the coal mines era. The narrative keeps you on the edge with some moments where you are wondering “What next”? Thankfully, no cliche plot of a love triangle here where the lady love has to belong to one hero and the other one is conveniently killed off in the end. 

The performance by the leading men is mind-blowing. Although, i feel, Ranveer overshadows Arjun just a tad bit in the acting department. They continue to remain extensions of the characters they were as children. Even the scenes where they vent their frustration at the system sound real rather than pompous dialoguebaazi. Ranveer and Arjun have an amazing chemistry on screen and you can feel the bonding as if it was real. At some places it seems to go overboard, thanks to the matching costumes they are given. Red hearts on white clothes on the front and on the bum seem a bit too much!

Enter Priyanka Chopra and the whole feel of the 70’s, so well created till then, is destroyed. Neither her costumes nor the way she plays the character has anything to do with the 70’s. The film fails to create the retro cabaret feel that could have added to the charm. A wig of hair and backless cholis just aren’t sufficient to create the look that goes well with the rest of the film. And Priyanka, somehow, doesn’t fit a character from yesteryears. 

Irfan Khan is at his best trying to break the apart the duo of Bikram and Bala. As an understated yet confident police officer, he definitely steals my heart every time i watch him onscreen! 

The music of the film is great. This did make for a great music albums and thereby royalties. But it only curbs the flow of the movie. The drama that it manages to create is diluted by the unnecessary songs where they are least needed/expected. Probably that’s more meat for Priyanka’s role or what does she go to the gym for? 

Photo credit:
Also worth mentioning are the numerous scenes where Bikram and Bala run. They just run. Towards the coal trains, away from the police, in times of sheer joy and sometimes, for no apparent reason. i think they look so good running synchronously together that the editor got carried away a bit. And i guess these boys have completely cashed in on all the well spent hours in the gym. In every single scene of the film, their shirts are button down to expose their chest. Treat for the ladies? Sure is! 

Overall, a refreshing change from the current movies. While Lootera, being off-beat, was more arty type, this one is a complete masala film packed with a lot of colours, music, thrill, suspense and romance.