Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ode to the Best Pal and his new job...

And so the King, he takes his leave

Off to a distant kingdom to pursue his dream
Rooms to clean, food to serve
Bags to carry and hear the guests scream

As usual there was a choice to make
Between the confusing horns of dilemma
A small new resort he chose over the might of the Oberois
And the wishes of his Papa and Amma

Managing a hotel could never be easy
But who could've predicted such precarious predicament?
Before the King began his sojourn
His plans suffered not an aberration, but a heavy dent...

A message arrived from the other kingdom
Putting his future into serious doubt
'Your training is postponed for two months due to unavoidable circumstances'
His ambition jolted, his smile turned into a frowning pout...

The brave King decided he would yet take the plunge
And fight the odds, after assessing the situation on the ground
Later at a royal dinner in his departing honour
He sat grumpily, still he frowned...

To you, brave King, I offer my best wishes
For success in putting the foot in the closing door
I'm sure your previous experience will prove your friend
If anything goes wrong, move on to pastures greener and opportunities galore

This from a friend who has known you for summers ten
May you attain the successes you desire to achieve
When in doubt, look within yourself
And remember the old Bosconian mindset - WE BELIEVE!

Heaven - too easy!
Hell - taken over!

* * * * *

Suppi, mere bhai, ye tere liye... Go make us all proud... And dont forget the 25% discount you'll give me when I come as a guest to ur hotel... Nahin to fayda kya hua tere GM banne ke khwaab ka???

'Hideous progeny... Go forth and prosper!'

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Over-eating and other random thoughts...

And so The Phoenix is back in blog-action after a month-long hiatus. Well, almost...

In this month, one has seen Ms Mayawati come to power in U.P. with a simple majority (I repeat, U.P. - SIMPLE MAJORITY), violent clashes between the Akal Takht and the Dera Sacha Sauda, bomb blasts in Hyderabad and Gorakhpur, Gordon Brown's impending succession to Jeeves' house, the Phoenix (no relation to the author) Suns crashing out of the NBA playoffs, Felipe Massa and Scuderia Ferrari winning two dominant F1 races, the Indian public rejoicing at the cricket team's successful tour of Bangladesh (that isn't a typo) etc...

On a personal note, the M.A. Part I exams finally got over after an ordeal lasting over a month (see the correlation?), the I.I.M.C. entrances were dealt with and efforts were made to beat the heat (about which Doc Vebhuti will argue).

And now, boredom (which is not the assumed name for a person) is back into my life, in full force... Yawn...

* * * * *


You have a stack of bills in your pocket. Money-bills, silly, not your electricity/telephone ones. You decide to go to the most famous restaurant in the city (I dont frequently eat-out in Delhi, so those familiar with Jaipur - well, think NIROS or SHARMA DHABA). You order the best stuff. It arrives. You start eating. Yummmm. It is better than you expected. You eat some more. And then some. And then, when you've almost licked the pots and pans clean and are busy licking your fingers, savouring the last bits of the melt-in-your-mouth curry and the enchanting aroma it carried, you realise that you've eaten too much. Way too much...

R. Balakrishna, or Balki's 'CHEENI KUM' is that curry. Quite simply put, 90% of it is MAGNIFICENT. The other 10% is over-eating, caused by the sheer delight of the first 90%, that'll give you a hard time come morning. Everyone knows the story - 64 year old Chef-cum-Restaurateur Amitabh Bachchan falls in love with 34 year old Tabu, whose father, Paresh Rawal, is 58. Complications, anyone?

The idea is marvellous. The dialogues are uproariously funny and touchingly sensitive, sometimes even at the same time. And that isn't a bad thing.

What does one say about the actors? This is Tabu's best performance I've seen. Maqbool included. Haven't seen The Namesake yet, so I'll reserve judgment on this matter. Paresh Rawal as the modern-day 'anything goes' Gandhian is his usual, brilliant self, though his role constitutes most of the latter 10%. Zohra Sehgal as AB's mother is, well, Zohra Sehgal. A typically 'oh why isn't she my grandmom' role, and she's as delightful as ever.

Now on to the Emperor himself. I wonder where was Amitabh Bachchan the actor during the 1970s and 80s. The Angry Young Man was alright, the Superstar was acceptable, but WHERE was THE ACTOR??? Thank heavens that the modern movie revolution came in his lifetime, and in some part DUE to him. In Cheeni Kum, he is ego-maniacal, a perfectionist, a Prufrockian procrastinator and a hopeless romantic, seamlessly progressing from one essentialised figure to the next. Another acknowledgment is to the little girl who plays 'Sexy', a 6-yr old Leukemia patient whose relationship with the angry old man reminded me more than once of 'Anand'. She teaches the old man how to live, period.

The USP of the movie is undoubtedly the silences. Tabu does not speak for the first 10 minutes of the movie, and yet, her eyes, her expressions speak. Ditto for AB. The humour in the movie is very ironical and spontaneous, and doesn't sound forced.

Oh what could this movie have been were it not for the predictable melodrama of the latter 10%! The length could've been atleast 20-30 mins shorter, without compromising on the splendid first half (at the risk of sounding REPETITIVE). First, a long scene where only AB speaks, reminiscent to my mind of the terrible last scene in 'Guru'. Then, a predictably superstitious resolution of the crisis - what Aristotle would've scoffed at as an example of a Deus Ex Machina.

My opinion - i would say the movie is a 'should-watch'. Watch it for the intelligent humour in this age of Masti, No Entry, Bhagam Bhag and the 2006 Golmaal slapstick, watch it for AB, Tabu and the little girl. And do take intelligent company for the experience; it is not a movie every Delhiite can enjoy, as evidenced by my neighbours at the theatre. 'Cheeni Kum' needs zyada brains...

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