Monday, October 26, 2009

In the lap of the Himalayas

I had gone on vacation recently. The idea was to get as far away from the madding crowd (read: office) as possible.

Every place I considered (South India, Goa, Maharashtra) was literally washed out by sudden floods, accompanying landslides etc. I was beginning to think if God was trying to tell me something here ("No vacations for you my girl") and so I headed for the Himalayas. In other words, Gangtok. Of course, as soon as I had decided, there were heavy rains and landslides there as well, but I gritted my teeth and prayed hard to the Sun God.

Well, my prayers were answered and I enjoyed beautiful weather while I was there. In fact the weather took me by surprise since I was prepared to get "chilled" out. It was comfortable in the daytime and cool in the evenings.

I had a great time switching off from the worries of daily life as I gazed at the blue mountains, listened to the chants of the Buddhist monks and watched people milling about aimlessly on MG Road (yes, there's one there as well).

Here are some photographs from my trip. In case, you don't realise, let me warn you beforehand, I am an aspiring professional photographer as well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Zinger, this one's for you!

I think I may be addicted to KFC.

I'm serious. I just love the place. Their Zinger Burger is right up there on my list of soul food. I have been told that I get this freaky, blissed out look on my face as I munch my way through a Zinger.

I don't know what they put into their fried chicken but the Colonel had it right. To think that a piece of fried chicken with a dab of mayo and a piece of lettuce trapped between the bread could be this delicious! The chicken doesn't even have enough masalas or gravy that justify 'taste' for us Indians. Add a slice of cheese and my day is made.

I had a Supercharged Zinger burger when I had gone to Cape Town (told you I'm addicted to it). It's a much spicier version of our humble Zinger. The fries that I got there were also awesome - soft, not looking as though the life had been deepfried out of them and dusted with chilli-salt which was provided in a separate packet. I don't know why our local KFC doesn't introduce these. Sure to be a hit with a populace that has grown up with spicy food.

I have had other items from KFC as well but really nothing compares to what I feel for the Zinger. By the way, I don't understand people who order one of those rice meals. I mean, can we go without rice for one meal at least?! And if you want to have rice, then why come to a chicken and burger joint?

KFC has launched a new set of drinks recently. I had the Sparkling crusher and the Strawberry one and both were very good. The Sparkling one was like a non-alcoholic Mojito while the Strawberry one was like a smoothie and had chunks of strawberry. In terms of burgers however, I think they could introduce a few more items - the options seem a bit limited to me.

All said and done, KFC truly IS 'finger-lickin good'! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And Sid woke up...

As the coming-of-age story it is supposed to be, "Wake up Sid" (WUS) works.
The story, like so much of real life, is not particularly original but is still refreshing in its individual approach. Spoilt rich kid, Siddharth Mehra (Ranbir) is living the good life with his dad's credit card. There is really very little of the 'hero' about Sid in the first half - he is rude & thoughtless with his mother, happy to spend his father's money, a sore loser and ingrate of the highest order. he flunks out of college and gets thrown out of home without a penny. What follows is Sid's slow awakening to a realisation of what he wants out of life. His journey to the surface is tempered and helped along by Aisha Banerjee (Konkona), the 'New girl in the city'.

For Ranbir the role of Sid fits like a glove - he is very believable as the thoughtless, impulsive, dreamy youngster. I did however feel that there were moments when his expressions were unfathomable. Whether he is still inexperienced to be able to convey the right emotion accurately or whether it was just a shortcoming of the screenplay was hard to say. There were instances when I thought the dialogues and expression on Ranbir's face were a prelude to something..but that next course never quite got served. All said and done, he is still one of the better performers among the new crop of actors and can only get better with time.
Konkona plays her part with consummate ease. Her character is a mish-mash of roles she has essayed in earlier movies. Her Aisha is soothing with calm self-possession and confidence that holds a clear attraction for Sid.
I was really amazed to read somewhere that Ayan Mukherji the director of WUS is only 24! Consider this and the movie seems even more credible. The very real "young" feel of this movie, one feels, is no doubt because the director himself is so young. The son who is churlish with his mother, the relationship where age is not a barrier, the alternative career choice - these are all relatively fresh themes to be tackled barring a few movies like "Dil Chahta Hai".

The movie is overall well put-together. One area where it could have really scored more would be the dialogues. While definitely not run-of-the-mill Bollywood, they lack the bite that helped films like "Dil Chahta Hai".
The music of the movie is catchy enough, esp. the title track and "Iktara" also strikes the right chord. One does feel however that the tracks are somewhat forgettable.

Overall a good watch that leaves you with a smile on your face. I would give it a 7.5/10