Every post in the blog is an original piece of work by the blogger. Do not use the pictures, posts on the blog without the consent of the blogger.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by CopyscapeCreative Commons License
Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Friday, January 28, 2011

'Wild Dining': Restaurant Review

To Nishant, Shobhit and PamPam, my accomplices to this place. What the hell, Shobhit, you ruined my diet plans!

In a lame gully somewhere in Andheri near Oshiwara police station is this place called 'Wild dining'. (Naam shady hai) It's on the top floor of this place called Om Heera Panna Mall. The location is quite out of the way and that works against the place to an extent.

This is a buffet-only place. You pay a cover charge and you eat around. (Mineral water is free. unlimited. Nahaa bhi sakte ho... ) Have been told people spend as many as four hours here.

The place is dimly lit and has leopards, tarzans and monkeys and artificial trees and branches all over. The music plays on in (thankfully) a low volume but suits the mood of the place. The table looks like a typical log cabin table - and thankfully, the tables are set sufficiently apart. Ambience ke liye full marks.

Now, I am one person who ALWAYS visits the loo each time I eat out. And like I tell my friends, it's not that I am eternally dysentrified. I believe that a good/well-maintained washroom is a sign of a good/well-managed restaurant. The washroom here is made up like a forest cabin with "For Lion" written on a sign outside and smelled good. Full marks on that too. (I am talking about the gents washroom here. Didn't really go to the other half which said "For Lioness")

The staff is dressed like forest officers and is almost always attentive - though our starters (which are served at the table) came quite late. No complaints overall.

Coming to the food, there was a good variety of salads here. We had the vegetarian soup (the name of which I do not remember). It was a Chinese soup but the taste was just not right. They have a live pizza/pasta/tacos counter. While all of them were strictly average, we couldn't help but have almost two servings of each. The main course consisted of four vegetarian and a couple of non-vegetarian (chicken/kheema/fish) sabzis and some biryani/fried rice stuff. The main course was fine. The fish tasted good.

The desserts were extremely tempting and I couldn't help but take half a spoon of some of it. (Swear, only half a spoon) (They had pastries, four flavours of ice cream, phirni, souffle and gulabjamuns) The souffle and the gulabjamuns were particularly nice. The ice-cream must've been good too but since they didn't make it (or so I think), you can't really give them the credit for that.

On the downside, there is nothing 'free' to drink apart from the fukat ka paani. And the mocktails and cocktails are quite overpriced.

Meal per head (inclusive of taxes): 430Rs. (This was the cover for a weekday dinner. They also have lunches)

Overall, excellent ambience, good food. Good for the treats where a group of people cannot zero in on the kind of food they want to have. (or for people who want to hog around.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dhobi Ghat: Movie review

Dhobi Ghaat

The review is divided into two parts. Part one: My senti take on the movie. Part two: My not-so-senti take on the movie. Take your pick. I'd prefer that you read both. *grins*

Part one:

The movie has an additional title 'Mumbai diaries.' That's what the film is. The storywriter tears off a couple of pages from the diaries of these four characters and hurls them in the air. The pages sway on their way down pushing each other occasionally. But unlike other movies, each of the characters retains his/her own story - the interaction with the others is solely a matter of the diary pages rubbing against one other. As the pages settle on the ground, you know that their stories aren't over but they will perhaps take time to touch each other again.

THIS is what I think the movie is... starts abruptly, ends on an as much abrupt note.

Part two:

Move aside puraane-zamaane-ki-grey-streak-of-hair-wali-saasu-maa. Aamir Khan with a grey blot of hair (instead) is here. Nayaa hairstyle hai bhai. (He, obviously, does a super-excellent job.) And he plays a railway engine which keeps smoking throughout the movie. He is joined by a goodlooking actor Pratik Babbar (who calls himself only 'Pratiek'.. and I guess he spells his name in a funny way.) who is effortless. I personally saw several glimpses of Smita Patil from Umbarthaa (A Marathi movie of hers) in him. The firang chick looks extremely good, has a strong accent (and she speaks to a washerman in English with that accent. Too much re.) and does a very good job. The actress playing Yasmin is also very good.

The stories of these characters keep taking twists and turns but the best part of the movie is the way they open, almost like layers. The dialogues are very good - the ones in Hindi as well as English.

And a lot will be said about the camera work by everyone who talks about the movie. While a part of it is essentially arty (with a handycam staggering away), it is also visually enchanting when the camera is not shaking. The background score completely fits the mood of the movie and keeps you hooked despite the slow speed. There are visuals of fisherwomen, local trains, bhelpuri walahs, photographers at gateway, dhobis, Ganpati visarjan - all talking about a different kind of people in Mumbai.

On the downside, the movie is essentially slow. The characters are doing arbit things which may look senseless. Haath mein chappal leke beach pe chalne wala Aamir Khan, doosro ki khidkiyon mein abruptly jhaankne wala camera... can get boring if you are expecting something to constantly happen in the movie. But wait. Something is, always. Just that the director does not mind having punches unrelated to the central story.

Overall, I loved the movie. Did get bored for ten minutes but did not sleep at all. (Rare.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two chocolates

"Two chocolates, uncle!"
A hand holding a tattered rupee note appeared from the other side of the counter.

Baniya ji (Baniya: A grocer. In the wake of shopping malls and their patrons, this species may soon join the league of dinosaurs and dodos.) walked out slowly and pulled out the bottle containing small round chocolates. The chocolates were unwrapped and had bright colours. Baniya ji began opening the lid which creaked with every turn. He pulled out two chocolates which looked particularly tiny in his huge hand.

"No! I want the yellow ones."

Baniya ji frowned and dug his hand deeper. He placed one yellow and one blue chocolate on the pale wooden counter.

"One more yellow chocolate, Baniya ji."

"You kids are pampered for choice! We never had chocolates in our times. Take them yourself." Baniya ji almost banged the bottle and went back to the chair where he had been sitting and flipped open the newspaper.

A tiny hand dug deep into the bottle. There was hardly any room but the little boy continued hunting for the chocolate he wanted. He pulled out one. The blue chocolate did not seem to impress him and he went for another chocolate.

Baniya ji did not even notice the boy jumping out of his shop - triumphant to have found two yellow chocolates - just the way he wanted them.

Some things that mean nothing to you could mean the world to someone else. Respect the differences.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

You and me

Disclaimer: Not a great post. But some posts have to be published

You sat on the couch leaning against the table. You looked like a hungry kitten. When the food arrived, you pulled out the fork and began eating. It was only after you had eaten a few morsels that you started talking.

You smiled and you talked. You laughed and you joked. You told me about the politics at work, about the plans that you had for the weekend. And for the years to come.

I kept staring at you. I did not touch my plate. Having seen you smile, I had had my dinner.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mothers #5

Disclaimer: Very Dark. Sorry for that. I start off writing a blogpost without thinking of the way it would go and sometimes, it just turns out this way.

She had taught him English at home because they could not afford an English medium school. She had not eaten for three days when the school teacher told her that her son had copied in the examination. She cried the day he became a doctor and firmly believed that had it happened five years earlier, her dead husband would have not succumbed to an abrupt spell of fever.

She deserved to know. She deserved to know the truth that was so close to him.

The first few lines on a note in his drawer read: "Dear mom.. there is something that I need to tell you. It's not that I am guilty or wrong. It's just that I understand that it will hurt you. And I somehow cannot bring myself to doing that."

He carried her on his shoulder today. He was going to carry the burden of not telling his mother this truth for the rest of his life.

Do you have a secret, a truth that you want to tell your parents too?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Tube of light

Note (for the untrained :P): Blogposts like these don't have one inference or one moral per se. They are meant to be abrupt - because they are meant to make the readers think and make their own interpretations.

I took a step towards the hut. An old wooden plank that barely covered the entrance formed the door. The plank that was hinged at only one place creaked as I pushed it open. I was scared to let go of it. I thought it may fall apart.

An old lady sat on the floor blowing into a long tube to ignite the fire. She looked at me and kept the tube down. The way she wiped her forehead with the back of her palm had something familiar about it.

A tube of light entered the hut from the center of the roof. The cyclone had torn apart her roof at several places.

"He was my son who died in the cyclone", she said handing me what looked like an old photograph. She spoke with a strange accent. But somehow, I could follow it.

I stared in silence as I saw her son. I looked at the tiny mirror hanging on the wall by a peg. I could not believe the resemblance.

I could not see more. I woke up drenched in sweat.

Friday, January 07, 2011

'No one killed Jessica' - Review

Note: Some short stories in the pipeline. Keep reading the blog if you like 'my' kinda stories ;)

'No one killed Jessica' is a movie that grabbed my attention from the day I saw the first look on television. A lady-on-fire (she was smoking. literally :P) Mukherjee was all over the promos with a Vidya Balan occasionally walking around here and there wearing glasses meant for Khali. (Kaun Khali mat poochna.)

Cut to the theatre where I sit day one show two. (An early morning.. sasta wala show. Where the popcorn comes for a 'combo'.. a.k.a. the theatre s trying to make some more money. Did I, btw, hurt the multiplex's ego by calling it a theatre?! :P ) The movie opens with visuals of Delhi which 'Dilli 6' missed. The visuals during the opening credits have Delhi in its different forms - the chaat walaas, the Metro and the President's House.

And opens the first half which is in one word 'captivating'. Director Gupta keeps his tempo of 'Aamir' (which was his first movie) totally alive where drama is mixed with an element of mystery at every instant. As the story unfolds, you have no time to think (and I had no time to eat my popcorn). And while Rani Mukherjee dominated the promos, it is Vidya Balan who outshines her TOTALLY in the first half. In a very 'de-glam' role, Vidya 'acts'. And for my friends who justify Katrina by saying "Katrina cannot act. Vidya cannot dress well.", I'd like to say that the two are ACTORS first. The music complements the proceedings with 'Duaa' being the memorable track.

Rani second half mein bahut footage khaati hai.. second half is more 'Nayak'(Anil Kapoor...?)-esque - full of sting operations and "badal diya system ko"-style portions. Rani does come out very well in the second half though.

The actual murder sequence definitely tops the scenes that are the highlight of the movie. I mean, I knew ki ab Jessica maregi... par fir bhi, I could feel the blood curdling. (Mera.. Jessica ka nahi). The scene with Vikram's sting operation is also remarkable for sure. The climax with the two ladies is very Sanjay-Leela-Bhansali .. and I am talking about his good scenes.

When the song 'Mehfooz har kadam karna aee khudaa' started in 'Aamir', owing to the whole situation in the movie AND the amazing song, I had goosebumps.. there is NO goosebump moment in this one.

Vidya Balan actually exhibits a GRAPH to her character - the changing levels of confidence are expressively shown. Rani Mukherjee comes across as a strong-willed journalist and maintains that THROUGHOUT. This actually adds to the mystery of the character. (Aage ke naam are the character ke naam. I do not know the actors' names...) Vikram is VERY good. There is a criminal ki mummy who has only dialogue in the movie - who is very funny and I guess very real. (Ek maa ko apne bete ki suraksha ke alawa kya chahiye....... Ok! I'll not watch K3G again) The newcomer Myra does what Sonam Kapoor has done in all her movies: Smile around and wear skimpy clothes. (Acting ka kaam pappa ke paas rakha hai Sonam didi ne). The investigating police officer, Jessica's father are very good.

Overall, I am a fan of Director Gupta now! The second half is not half as good as the first half. The movie on the whole is DEFINITELY a good watch!! Please download karke chindi quality ki copy dekhke 'bakwaas movie hai' mat bolo.. Watch it in a theatre. I think it is worth it!

While the Kareenas and Katrinas can show off their jawaanis and whatever, Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee show that they are what their profession is called - ACTORS.