Monday, May 31, 2010
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (2010)
Producer: Walt Disney
Director: Mike Newell
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and others
Rating: *** (3 of 5)
It's not uncommon for a movie to be turned into a video game. It is however, rare for a video game to be made into a movie. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time stands as out as one such movie. In fact, the movie itself feels a lot like a video game!
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Prince Dastan, a Prince of Persia sans royal blood. Dastan is a fierce warrior and when he is instructed by his elder brothers to raid a holy city, he does so, only to discover a dangerous secret. And so the story goes on.
The action scenes tend to take up nearly the entire duration of the movie. That's not a bad thing, but the story tends to be a little far-fetched at times. Yet, thanks to the regular humor provided by a shrewd Persian tax-evader, there are lighter moments.
First and foremost, the special effects are highly commendable. From showing an entire city covered in dust to a man being covered in fire and taken back in time: this movie stands on its SFX. The actors do very well, although Gyllenhaal's unending smiling tends to be inappropriate at times. Nonetheless, his body and stunts give you the feeling of playing that old video game, where the Prince could jump off a hundred stories and land gently enough not to wake up the palace guards!
The costumes were well-suited for the movie as were the props. The story itself is somewhat engaging, although it could have been better. The only problem I found was that the story was confusing at times, tempting the viewer to just watch and not think too much.
All in all, PoP is a good movie to view if you like fast-paced action and is a must-see if you've played the video game. (OTFS)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
- Construction of a temple on the Ramjanmabhoomi site in Ayodhya which witnessed the Babri Masjid Demolition;
- Revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India; and
- Introduction of a Uniform Civil Code in India.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Two girls, good friends of mine. "Please come with us for buying new clothes!" I check my watch. Hmm... one hour to go for an IPL match at Abhi’s place. No problem. Why disappoint the ladies?
Saheli Emporium... fancy name. Fear grips me. Why are there no men? But... ah, there’s one! It’s safe to go in then.
Inside. Sexy posters of women. Nice! Girls smile at me. “Not bored, are you?” Of course not, girls...
“Bhaiya, shaadi mein pehne ke liye kuch dikhao.” “Abhi dekhiye, madam.”
He pulls out something. Beautiful. “Take it, it looks good.” They laugh at my suggestion. Guy pulls out more things... and more. Good heavens!
“You take this one, it looks nice, doesn’t it?” I tried. “No, no, she also has one like that. How can both of us have the same kind of lehenga?” “Uhh... don’t wear it on the same day?” Angry looks. I retreat. Head burns at mad logic.
“Accha, theek hai bhaiya, woh pehle wala zara dikhana.” Oh! So now that she’s seen the entire place, she has the hots for the first one? “Yeh bahut posh aur gaudy lag raha hai kya?” WTF! What does that mean? Think. Men magazine... looking fat, looking old, big nose, big toes... nothing about posh and gaudy clothes!
I take a chance. “Nahi, accha hai, le lo.” “Arre, wait yaar, you’re not bored are you?” Dejected face from girls. Emotional blackmail. “Oh no, take your time.”
“Theek hai bhaiya, woh blue wala hi de dena.” “Madam, south ke silk wale suit zaroor dekhna.” I look up. Southern silk? Betrayal from the same species! Anger... Hell hath no wrath as a woman’s friend scorned!
“Madam, yeh latest fashion hai. Sab pehen rahe hai.” Oh really? Tu kyun nahi pehen raha, Mr. Fashion? “Theek hai, woh green wala de dena” Shock! Decision in under two minutes! Third umpire’s magic...
“Ab bas measurements dene hai. No problem na?” Oh no, of course not... smile.
Tailoring section. Measuring tape out. I take a seat and watch.
“Bhaiya, yeh aapne kya likha?! Itna zyaada nahi hai, thoda kam karo!” “Arre bhaiya, aapko itna bhi nahi aata hai? Phir se lo!” I stare in wonder. Some other lady comes to tailor. “Bhaiya, yeh itna chhota kyun banaya?!” I think I can answer that, lady...
Over at last! Bills paid. Phone call... “Abhi! Yaar, match shuru hua kya?” “Mumabi jeet gayi, saale. Kahan tha?”
I look at girls. They pluck a kiss on my cheeks. Very close to lips... “Thanks so much, you’re our best friend!”
I smile. “Bas shopping, Abhi...”
(An OTFS Original)
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I got 24/80 or 30%, my lowest ever. With 43 as the final total, I got a C+ after much struggle and pain. That was electronics.
Fast forward to the next semester. It's C++, another treat (!!) from the same department. But this time, it's different. I can actually solve the questions! I can understand what's going on! I don't need the tut solutions! And, most importantly, the teacher is friendly! Oh yes, the stage was set for a grand act of revenge, from a C+ and lots of pain to a much higher grade without breaking a sweat.
Then came the end-term. A question from last sem's paper, another from a tut... it paid off to study for this exam! And I score 70% without a sweat. And the final grade will most definitely be an A.
That's right, I won at the end. I might have been beaten and bruised in EC-102, but I won in EC-101A. And I won with a fury... and revenge is mine at last...
For this sem, my SG (not including NSS and PR) stands at 9.667, assuming an A in EC-101A and EE-101 as well as an A+ in HS-102 (though an A would not make any difference either). Okay, so I know it's very high. Then, I've got 8.333 last time thus averaging out to exactly 9.000. At that, I've still got no chance for the BCs except CHH. Oh God, I so wish I could revoke my BC Application!
So now, about today's papers. It started with EC-101A in the computer centre. I am happy to say that I have had my revenge with the EC Dept for their atrocities in Electronics. I can expect an A. Although the profs there came with a major attitude problem (one of them threatened to give me a zero in a question for asking a doubt!) I managed to come out rather happy.
Then, after a very long yet enjoyable wait, came EE-101. The EE Dept is rather like a maze and after we finally found the Committee Room, we discovered our dear old prof sitting there in a foul mood as usual. Anyway, despite having to make him come to Roorkee in this heat (his words, although he traveled in an AC Car and went straight to an AC Room while we had neither) he showed us the papers. As expected, the correction was very soft, with the paper itself being very easy. Sure, the examiners tried to provide every excuse as to why they cut marks but at 88%, I didn't care to even ask...
So now, with the end of first year in toto, all I need to do is pack (big job!!) and bare the food a little longer and I'm home for a solid two months. After that, fun again... hopefully without a branch change!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Starring: Nana Patekar, Shahid Kapoor, Ayesha Takia, Sunny Singh, Saurabh Shukla and others
Produced by: Eros International
Director: Milind Ukey
Rating: *** (3 of 5)
It’s pretty rare these days to come across a movie that lacks in frills, glamour and slapstick comedy and yet leaves a mark. Paathshaala is one such film sticking out of the comity of absurdity that Bollywood has been dishing out recently (read, Houseful).
The noble profession of teaching has become a profitable business today. So-called ‘International Schools’ are cropping up everywhere and parents are attracted towards them by the prospect of glamour, ignoring the toll it takes on their children. Education means money and few schools stick to the core values of education. Saraswati Vidya Mandir (SVM) is one such school that believes that true profit comes from the success of their children, not by glamour.
Led by Principal Aditya Sahay (Nana Patekar), the school nutritionist (Ayesha Takia), English teacher (Shahid Kapoor) and other dedicated staff, the school lives by its reputation instead of profits. However, as commercialisation begins to seep in, the management turns the school into a ‘5-star school.’ And that’s the main focus of the movie.
Amazingly, virtually all of the actors play equal roles, with Shahid Kapoor getting into the limelight just briefly. While watching the movie, the sheer simplicity of the story will surprise you, while the liveliness created by the children and young adults will keep you engaged. There are the typical characters: the poor, friendless boy, the girl who has a crush on her teacher, the boy who’s daddy to everyone else. The movie sticks to the basics of a feel-good Bollywood movie but does not feel artificial.
Nana Patekar’s acting deserves great praise. Moving easily from the strict Principal to a loving father-like figure, his style and speech fit the character perfectly. Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia play their roles well, simple and down-to-earth as the roles are. The supporting staffs put up a good show, while the children – both the younger ones and the adolescents – keep the movie alive with truly commendable acting. The music is the highlight of the movie, coming in occasionally to fit the moment (rather than making an abrupt entry). My personal favourites are Aye Khuda and Bekarar (which is played with the credits). The costumes and set work well for the movie, although Shahid Kapoor’s costumes seem a little out of place for a school teacher.
Alone, the movie is a no-frills, feel good take on modern education. Put into context, it leaves you thinking about where society is going. At just over an hour and a half long, it’s a great watch this summer. But don’t take my word for it: see it yourself! (OTFS)
Friday, May 14, 2010
Waiting to see the answer sheets can be a boring, seemingly-pointless task. I mean, for how long can you do the same things again and again? The only interesting part - believe it or not - is going to Roorkee to see our papers.
Of course, it's fun only if you're in the department. The travel is no fun at all, given the heat. Amazingly, Roorkee is hotter than Saharanpur despite being closer to the mountains! And then there was the embarrassment of going to the Physics Dept having misread PH-201 as PH-101!
Luckily, the professor and I cleared things up and we'll be shown our papers on Monday ("you've done well" were his parting words). MA-102 will be shown on the 19th. Fortunately, we got to see our final marks not including the ETE.I got 42.5/50: extremely high,higher than even MA-101, I must admit!
As for the other subjects, there was no news at all... the godforsaken EC Dept had no news on EC-101A, and the EE Dept didn't care as usual.
Well, just six days to go and I'll be home. Can't wait to leave this stupid place...
The construction for the new technical block is going ahead full steam, with more workers from the countryside coming in. The new block is now taller than the existing block and going by the pace of construction, will be completed by the end of this year.
This is the last collage before the summer break.When I return, there will be a lot more things to talk about, as we witness the making of a monument!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has always been known for his in-your-face style, never ceasing to lose and opportunity to make a few memorable comments. In Copenhagen, his famous "We Want a Deal" remark went around the world, symbolising a confident Indian panel.
And he's done quite a lot of good as well: the thawing of Sino-Indian ties after COP15 has proven to be of great use as the two Asian Giants try to get over their suspicions of each other.
However, in his recent visit to Beijing, the MoEF made a very serious remark, that an "alarmist Home Ministry" was threatening to endanger ties once again, was just one step too far. Agreed that the ties could be strained if the Home Ministry does ban Chinese Mobile Phone imports, that does not mean that we should put national Security behind Economic Gains.
A Home Ministry that takes adequate steps to protect Indians,even if it goes a few steps too far now and then, is far better than the I-give-a-damn Home Ministry that we had under Shivraj Patil. After all, in a chaotic and complex security environment, some sacrifices must be made. The fact that Jairam Ramesh chose to make that comment not in a Cabinet Meeting but before the media just adds to the idea that he wanted to make another memorable statement for the media to digest.
His statement not allowed went beyond his brief, but he also went on to comment on India's foreign policy, which is the MEA and PMO's domain, not his. PM Manmohan Singh's rebuke to him is perfectly justified and Jairam Ramesh should learn to keep to his brief in the future.
Anyway, I was so lucky and fortunate that my name was amongst the last dozen to be pulled out. That would have given me an unwanted room: if not for the quick observation that too many rooms were crossed out and there were too few left (2 for 12 actually). So, with two new corridors opened up, I got a room on the top floor. Sadly, all my wingmates are away from me, we've been divided into four groups, actually.
I thought, at first, that I would play enough politics to change my room. I was very upset. But, now that I've evaluated my potential wingmates, I might just stick to this configuration.
There is one more reason: it feels like a war is going on within me. I am attempting to break what I've never tried to break before,a bond that I learned to value since I left Bombay. And yet, the sheer incompatibility: it's like listening and being rebuked for commenting! Let me not go beyond these metaphors, but know that changing my room as I have been allotted will be for strategic reasons as well as convenience: the partial pullout today will end with a complete pull out in July, and a return to Independence. Let me say just that much.
Unless, of course, I get a branch change! Oh God, I've been flooded by the BC jokes for so long and from all sorts of people: from Raman (of course, even though he himself is in the race with serious chances) to Abhimanyu! It would be a great anti-climax if nobody got a BC from PST! But if I do get a BC, it would be disastrous... oh, all my plans down the drain! I don't even want to imagine it now...
Well, so my new room is Sethu's last. The wingmates include some great friends and some not-so-great ones, and one useless bear-like creature to boot. And with Palsule coming to us in the next year, it sounds very exciting indeed!
A complete review of this academic year, right from the first day to the last few days, is on the cards for sure. A lot of changes have happened recently,and I'm excited to write about them.
A new documentary- Now Boarding: IC-814 - will be up in early June. A few funny graphics are also on the cards.
A documentary or series on ragging will be the flavour of the summer,and it will be in two parts, the other one next summer when I can properly deliver an insight from a senior's point of view.
A new Documentary Series - The China Project - will be completed over the summer. I'll discuss it whenever it's unveiled.
A lot of new ideas are on the cards on OTFS. You don't want to miss it!
Nonetheless, assuming that this coalition, unlike all the previous ones,will not end in a few months, a lot of changes are expected to come to Britain. First and foremost, the welfare state will take a beating, as Britain desperately needs to clear its massive deficit. However, with the economy still weak, political rhetoric might have to give way to hard realities.
Then, there's the issue of immigration on which the new PM is quite clear: massive cuts in the number of immigrants from non-EU nations are all but guaranteed.
A word to former PM Gordon Brown, whose three years in the saw his popularity slide despite (in my opinion) his deft handling of the economy. But, given his lack of media-friendliness and the slow movement of Britain towards an individual-centric polity a la the US, he knew what was coming. For Labour, this will be a good time to reflect on why their party fared poorly (to be fair, the numbers were not all that poor) and plan for the near future.
For, the marriage in the ruling coalition might not last long and a fresh election might be on the cards sooner that later.
It all started with the exam that commands the highest credits:PH-101. It went significantly better than expected and, coupled with my high sessional marks (49.7/60), could land me with an A.In fact, most of the exams went quite well. MA-102, a most infamous subject, turned out with the easiest paper in several years, leaving a smile on everyone's faces, including the Army of seniors who were repeating the paper (some for the fourth time!)
While BT-101and MI-102 were perfect to the T, HS-102 was also perfect but thanks to Dr. Palsule, who took the initiative to introduce himself to the first year PST students (with a bit of fireworks, of course!), it was a delight (for once) to write a Behavioural Science exam!
EC-101A was a challenging paper and a lot of people felt that they could fail in it. For me, it wasn't all that difficult, but challenging all the same. Still, I'll do well. The real surprise was EE-101: the paper was the easiest in the entire semester. Indeed, given the extremely difficult papers that kept coming, there was a fear that the EE Dept was going the same way as the EC Dept. Fortunately, they made the paper easy, otherwise half the people would have failed, or the cut-off would have gone abysmally low.
So, all in all, the exams went surprisingly well. While I did make a few silly mistakes here and there, I should get good grades overall.