Archive for the ‘Bollywood’ Category


The Road to Taste of India

April 10, 2013

I recently saw Road, Movie and it proved to be a quite an interesting watch. A movie about a mobile cinema being transported through a desolated desert, with just a handful of characters and no song-dance routines – a tough task for a director to keep an audience interested. But a compact and tight script with good actors and a brilliant background score had me engrossed.

There was an very interesting scene in the middle of the movie, where Satish Kaushik brings Abhay Deol and gang to a place in the middle of nowhere, expecting a mela of some sorts to be going on where they could show their movie. Disappointed, Abhay starts venting his frustration, but Satish confidently tells Abhay to setup his cinema. “Cinema hoga toh mela bhi hoga. Khana hoga, paani hoga, log bhi aayenge.” And guess what, thats what happened. The movie of course was a disaster at the box office. No song and dance. Come on. But then, that is not the point I am trying to make.

AID Penn State had its fifteenth annual food festival, The Taste of India on Saturday and as always the event turned out to be a sublime blend of various cultures coming together to make the evening very special. I have been a part of the volunteering team for this event for a few years now, and every time I try to imagine how someone could have conjured up this idea back then, to cook food for over 500 people. That too, Indian food; for the culinary complexities differ depending on which part of the country one comes from. To someone from Gujarat, Kadak would be an evening snack, while to someone like me, it would rather refer to a special kind of tea. I once remember being an audience to a conversation between two friends who were arguing as to how Idilees should be made – both guys were from different states. I ended up  having a sandwich for dinner that night. But I digress.

So to conceive this idea of cooking Indian food – that too vegetarian food in a predominantly meat-eating country – for such a huge gathering and then, expect people to show up for it is like expecting Sachin and Ponting to bat for the same team. Oh wait, isn’t that happening this year in the IPL.

So while this idea was bold and out of the box back in the day, it worked, because it was a good idea. Indian food is tasty, there are no two ways about it. And once a recipe is fixed upon, then the execution is straight forward. Heat oil, throw in cummin seeds, fry the onions, add turmeric powder … you get the gist. And then, when you have a strong student-community bonding to top it off, then to make an idea like this to work is like asking Shahrukh Khan to overact in a scene.

ToI has slowly evolved with time. As students come and go, new logistics are thrown in. Some stick, some are forgotten. But it really is endearing to see a lot of alumni make it a point to come for this event and make it an evening to remember.

Here’s to the hope that ToI gets tastier with every passing year.


Na Tum Jaano Na Hum

January 23, 2011

I happened to watch this Bollywood movie Johnny Gaddaar last night and most of you Bollywood fans may be wondering, “Hello, Tera Kya Hoga Johny release ho gaya aur yeh bhaisahab ab tak Neil Nitin Mukesh (NNM) ke pahele film par atke hue hai.”  But you see, the former movie released at a time when I was still coming to terms with the intricacies of Graduate life and a lot of good movies made their way unnoticed by my erstwhile filmy eyes.

So yesterday as I perused through my portfolio of potentially good movies that I perhaps may like, I decided on watching Johnny Gaddaar, which as per Wiki has been hailed widely as a path breaking film in the Hindi movie industry. The film begins with a dedication towards Vijay Anand and James Hadley Chase and works of both personalities make their presence felt as the movie progresses. But, I feel the movie is also an ode to Big B. The introductory music piece is very Don-ish and the plot keeps referring to Parwana – one of Big B’s pre-Zanjeer movies. Its amazing how Big B’s movies are still a source of inspiration for the Bollywood fraternity. Be it Farhan’s version of Don or the soon-to-be-remade Agneepath. In fact the night after the Philadelphia marathon, we were having dinner at a desi dhabhi-like place close to downtown. And in the sitting area, a tiny TV-VCR was setup showing Big B’s Hera Pheri. I was reminded of Shanky’s famous dialogue, “All the way you came here to do what – sit in a dhabha and watch Big B’s movies’ on VCR.”

All in all, I was highly impressed with Johnny Gaddaar. There are a few flaws and assumptions but the movie moves swiftly from scene to scene and one is sucked into the plot through some wonderful performances by Vinay Pathak, Dharmendra, Zakir Hussain (not the table maestro) and last, but not the least, NNM – playing the protagonist. I was in fact surprised by the veracity of Johnny’s character who has to make impromptu decisions as he makes his way through crime and commotion. It reminded me of the game Mafia that is so popular at most pot-luck parties.

There is one scene that I particularly liked where NNM asks Dharmendra, “Sir, itne paise ghar par rakhkar aapko darr nahi lagta, aapki umar bhi toh… ?” but before he can complete his statement Dharam twists NNM’s hands behind his back making NNM go into spasms of pain. Dharam in his inimitable style says, “It’s not the age, it’s the mileage.

The movie also briefly flashes scenes of the Pune Railway Station and the Pune Airport bringing back some sweet memories of both. For there was a time where my life revolved around transiting between Pune and Hyderabad, be it by plane, train or bus.

The fifth and final ODI is about to begin soon. Will India create history by winning it’s first ODI series in SA? Will the Weather Gods make their presence felt again? Or will SA triumph coming back from a 1-2 deficit? For the sheer love of the purity of sport, I hope nobody knows yet – Na Tum Jaano Na Hum…