Saturday, April 04, 2015

Vaastu Prakaara Is Disappointing

Vaastu Prakaara is definitely not about Vaastu or its misinterpretations. But then what is it about is also unclear. Senseless talk of people who are in love, philosophical takes on love and life, if life is boring you ought to talk with a friend over a drink  and everything ends well in the climax - Yogaraj Bhat's formula for his brand of movies lately continues here too.  Only difference this time being all the dialogues are spoken in far off Switzerland and not in Karnataka. It isn't surprising if you find shades of Deepa Sannidhi from Paramaatma, Nidhi Subbaiah from Pancharangi or Aindrita Ray from Mansaare. It just goes to show that you have seen enough of Yogaraj Bhat's movies. The talk of invention of a new language for this movie, during the promotion of the film in the TV channels is a farce. It is speaking gibberish, which is neither new in Indian movies nor it requires an extraordinary talent. Convenient usage of English wherever required is enough to say that new language thing is just a gimmick. 
Vaastu Prakaara Kannada Movie Poster
Picture Courtesy : nowrunning.com
To make a film around the popularity of the word 'Vaastu' is a commendable job. In the first scene, when a Vaastu consultant in a TV program gives suggestions on Vaastu and at the end of the movie, on the same TV program, when words are spoken against Vaastu are the only two instances where Vaastu discussion comes into picture. But all the while, it is said that there is nothing called Vaastu. Also, when Jaggesh and Rakshit Shetty posing as Vaastu consultants talk about Vaastu compliances and what needs to be changed in the house of the client, they do not look convincing. A hurried script is evident from the dialogues. I would have expected some funny situations arising out of misinterpretations of Vaastu or some serious debate over it. More so, because director's earlier movies had dialogues or lines in songs which mocked Vaastu. But you would find none, which is very disappointing.

Only bright aspect I could find in the movie is the melodious song - besara, kaatara, gadda, hale haadu - which you would have already heard on FM radio or seen in a TV channel. So, the movie can be avoided at best.  

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Mythri reaches out well!

You can read the review of Mythri in Kannada here.

Mythri, the Kannada movie, presents a serious issue through humor as well as touches the cinematic sensibilities of the audience on the way. That apart, catchy punchlines set the tempo in the movie! It is not that movie is without stereotyped characters or predictable twists in the story. But the film manages to go beyond that and raises the voice of that social segment which is downtrodden and considered to be antisocial. We have seen the crew in other films boasting their film to be different during promotions, which more often than not prove to be false. But Mythri truly differs in treatment of the subject handled by very few. It is also heartening to see Giriraj utilizing second half and climax in the movie to full effect, which is a rare phenomenon in Kannada cinema nowadays. There is no hesitation in calling this movie, a bridge film as it finely blends elements of parallel and mainstream cinema. But some scenes which show too much violence and some which seem explicit could have been avoided. In that sense, movie could have been subtle in some aspects. Having said that I would say movie is a fine effort in a time when Kannada movie industry is stuggling to come up with original scripts.

Juvenile crime and harsh realities around it form the crux of the movie. Depiction of antisocial elements who take advantage of the loopholes in juvenile law in India and prejudices against juvenile criminals come out well in the film. Though at times one feels the shadow of the Slumdog millionaire on the movie, Mythri retains its distinctness.
Picture Courtesy : nowrunning.com
It is good to see many hands join for a movie made with a good intention. Many big names in the industry - Malayalam movie legend Mohanlal, Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar, director Shashank, Atul Kulkarni and Ravi Kale, who are known for their fine performances play their part in acting. Music maestro Ilayaraj has rendered the music for the film. Yogaraj Bhat and Jayanth Kaykini well known for their lyrics for popular Kannada numbers and poet H S Venkateshamurthy have penned the songs. Bhavana Menon, Satyajith, Sadhu Kokila play guest roles. Interestingly, director Giriraj himself has lent his voice for Ravi Kale’s role of Guli Prathap. Success of Mythri is a tribute to this combined effort as film continues to run for the second week in many theatres of Bangalore. Already the buzz in Gandhinagar is about this movie being made in Telugu with Nagarjuna playing the of role which Puneeth played. If that materializes, it would be a feather in cap for the team.

Earlier, B M Giriraj had directed a short film ‘Navilaadavaru’, much before ‘Jatta’, which won Karnataka state award for being the second best film. You can find review of ‘Navilaadavaru’ here. Also, have a look at the trailer of the movie Mythri in the youtube link below.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Forum Mall, Mangalore

Forum Mall is the latest addition to the list of malls in Mangalore. It is the largest mall in the city and is located in Pandeshwar. It houses the popular cinema chain PVR. Here are the latest photos of the mall when it was soaking in the festive spirit of Onam.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

PAGDI Explores Our Life And Times

Dhalwinder Singh is a typical happy go lucky guy who has followed the regular path of an I T professional and now he is about to land in the world of opportunities – The United States. Dhalwinder, brought up in a middle class conservative family in Amritsar, always dreamt of life in live and happening Delhi. So, when he gets a chance to pursue his engineering degree in the capital, he grabs it. Life in Delhi and an IT job in Bangalore – Dhalwinder’s dreams of a materialistic life come true. In the process, he would have soured ties with his family, his father in particular who was not in favor of him leaving his hometown.

In the US, when he receives a message of his father’s death, he comes to know of a fact which disturbs him. He then recollects his past years to know what went wrong. Presented in first person, life of Dhalwinder is portrayed brilliantly by Samta Shikhar and Vivek Vijayakumaran.
What do we lose in our endless pursuit of world of opportunities and wealth? How much we give up in this chase or rather how much should we give up? The English play PAGDI tries to answer these questions in a subtle way.

Dhalwinder is proud of being a software professional unlike Bunty his cousin, who runs a travel agency in Amritsar. He is proud to be in the US. He had seen his father showering praises on foreigners for them being polite and courteous and terming his own countrymen as barbarians. Dhalwinder was puzzled at his remarks then. Also, it made no sense to him why his father was so religious. He always wanted to come out of all the mediocrity surrounding him. But at what price? He was soon going to find out as he starts pondering over the end result of the race for a better life. One interesting part of the play is the climax. Though seems unconnected many times in the play the sequences, they converge in the climax which is sure to thrill the first time audience. Kudos to the playwright Swetanshu Bora for keeping the viewer puzzled till the end.

Dialogues of the play are hard hitting. On landing in US, Dhalwinder quickly proclaims ‘A job in the US cut shorts the years of slog in India’. After introducing him to the employer he sheepishly says ‘I will not leave your country’. In these competitive times, he asserts ‘Nobody has the time to look at and analyze the past’. Looking at profession Bunty is in, he questions ‘Do you think you are more successful than me?’ When Dhalwinder's sister Pummy messages him about her marriage in English mentioning 'Marriage Next Month' with venue and timings without any pleasantries either in English or Punjabi, for which Dhalwinder exclaims 'We have gone so far that language between us had changed' indicating the missing hospitality of mother tongue and sweetness of inviting lines.

Though PAGDI does not explores many facets of what we lose in our materialistic desires, it uncovers a face and it is worth watch.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lucia is brilliant

Lucia made news right from its funding. Every move team Lucia made was exciting for the audience which is predominantly Facebook generation which was getting regular Facebook updates from Pawan Kumar. Many of us became integral part of the movie in various ways - by becoming producers, by being part of the film shoot, by competing to become a contributor to the movie or simply by observing the developments. Now after seeing the movie, its brilliant execution makes us proud for a movie which we call our own.

Lucia is a ground breaking movie with a story line which is unusual for a Kannada flick. Awesome camera work captures the essence of the engaging movie. Nikki is an usher in a talkies who suffers from insomnia. He starts getting wild dreams of becoming a film star after a fateful encounter. Real and imaginary halves of Nikki which are intertwined form the crux of the story line.But to find when the fine lines between reality and illusion blur you need to watch movie.
Lucia Kannada Movie Poster
Though a thought provoking film, Pawan Kumar has not shied away from adding commercial elements to the movie like an item song and action sequences which fit perfectly. Witty dialogues add to glamour of the movie. As in his previous movie, he presses for the cause of Kannada without being rhetoric. One can also see the dig at the way Kannada film industry is run today without being explicit. You can also find Pawan paying tribute to other equally good directors in the industry today in some scenes which is an encouraging sign. I believe Lucia should herald a new era in the Kannada film industry and Pawan Kumar has found the audience he was targeting at for these kind of movies.

Following is the video where one of finest actors of Indian cinema, Irrfan Khan shares his thoughts about the movie.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Renovated Putturu Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple and Annual Chariot Festival

800 year old Putturu Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple was renovated recently. With the help of devotees and volunteers temple was restored to its glory in a year's time. Punarpratishta and Brihmakalashotsava ceremony was held from 5th May to 16th May 2013. Due to renovation, annual chariot festival of the temple had been postponed and was held between 16th to 26th May 2013. Here are some photos of the temple after renovation. Also, included are the pictures of chariot festival held this year.
Mahatobhara Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple, Putturu, D.K
Mahatobhara Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple, Putturu, D.K
Shivalinga in front of the Temple
Shivalinga in front of the Temple
Temple Chariot of Putturu Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple
Temple Chariot of Putturu Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple
Entertainment stalls at the Festival
Entertainment stalls at the Festival
Toy store at the Festival
Toy store at the Festival
Bird's View of Puttur Mahalingeshwara Temple Festival Ground
Bird's View of Puttur Mahalingeshwara Temple Festival Ground
Temple Chariot (Brahma Ratha) electrified
Temple Chariot (Brahma Ratha) electrified

Shiva Statue has been shifted to new place
Dragon Train at the festival
Dragon Train at the festival
New cartoon characters on display at a traditional setting
New cartoon characters on display at a traditional setting

Friday, April 26, 2013

Koormavatara Kannada Film Review

Lord Vishnu takes the form of tortoise(kurma) in his second avatar according to Hindu puranas. Girish Kasavalli's film Koormavatara which is based on a story written by one of the finest writers in Kannada, Kum Veerabhardappa, takes this pretext in its plot. 
Dr Shikaripura Krishnamurthy as Mahatma Gandhi in Koormavatara Kannada Film
Dr Shikaripura Krishnamurthy as Mahatma Gandhi in Koormavatara
Rao, a government employee cares less for his family but more for his work resembles Mahatma Gandhi in appearance. On being asked to play the role of Gandhi in a TV serial, though he initially refuses finally he yields to familial pressure. But Rao, an emotionally withdrawn person, finds it difficult to act. Also, he does not know much about the Mahatma. Gradually Rao improves his acting skills as well as his knowledge about father of the nation. In the process, he also imbibes Gandhi's ideals. How does this change his life and lives around him forms the crux of the movie.

For most past, feature film draws parallel between life of Mahatma Gandhi and that of protagonist. It also represents different perceptions prevalent about the man. But Rao's transformation to a man of emotions does not look convincing. I also found lack of clarity in some sequences. For instance, there is a sequence where Rao helps a guy in renewing his license to operate a shop which sells tobacco products (which is located near a school) when officials did not renew it even after accepting bribe. But here, there is a rule which says one should not be allowed to sell tobacco products within one hundred meters from the school premises. Gandhi's ideals do not come into play here, which is surprising. Next example is of share trading compared with gambling.

In the end, abrupt climax leaves the viewer in bitter taste. Definitely, not one of Kasaravalli's best.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bangalore - One Day Trip

Being a proud Bangalorean, I am often being asked about the tourist spots in the city. I faced the same question when I wanted to take my relatives for tour of our city. I jotted down and made a decent list of places to see in namma Bengaluru. If you hire a multi purpose vehicle like Chevrolet Tavera or any other vehicle for that matter for a day tour of Bangaluru, they charge you as follows - There will be fixed charge for the first 8 hours which assumes that you don't travel beyond 80 kms. For every additional hour, you will be charged 100 Rupees. Also, for every km beyond the fixed 80 kms, you will be charged according to the vehicle you hire. I had to keep all these constraints in mind to make the trip optimal and economical by utilizing the available time following a shortest path algorithm. Anybody remembering Dijkstra's algorithm?

I hired Chevrolet Tavera starting from Vijayanagar at around 9 30 am. First place we visited was Basavanagudi. I believe Dodda Ganapathi Temple and Bull temple are must visits for a newcomer in Bengaluru. 
Bull Temple, Basavanagudi
Bull Temple, Basavanagudi
Basavanagudi : Lord Ganesha sculpted in a huge rock is a treat to the eyes. It would be great if you visit the temple when the idol is decorated with butter. Next, horns made of rock invites you to the famous temple of Bengaluru - the Bull temple. The biggest temple to Nandi, the bull houses huge sculpture of Nandi.
Basava Statue, Basavanagudi
Basava Statue, Basavanagudi
Lal Bagh : Our next stop was Lal Bagh. Glass house, floral clock, aquarium, bonsai garden, Lal bagh lake are the prime attractions here.
Lal Bagh, Bangalore Entrance
Lal Bagh, Bangalore Entrance
Namma Metro : Trip to modern Bangalore is incomplete without a joy ride in Namma Metro. We boarded to Namma Metro at M G Road station, went till Indira Nagar and came back to M G Road again. Ya, it is a kind of toy train till it completes all the stretches are complete.
Glass House, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Glass House, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Shiva Temple, Old Airport Road : Shiva temple behind the Total Mall in old airport road though not visible from the road, once you enter premises 65 feet Shiva statue sure to delight you.
Shiva Statue, old Airport Road, Bangalore
Shiva Statue, old Airport Road, Bangalore
Vidhana Soudha, High Court (drive through) : I instructed the driver to drive through Vidhana Soudha and High Court to reach K G Road.

Adigas Majestic : Adigas Majestic was my choice for the lunch that day.

ISKCON : After lunch, we headed towards ISKCON. In ISKCON, cameras are not allowed. Situated on top of Hare Krishna hill, from ISKCON, you can have a panoramic view of West Bangalore. New landmark of Bangalore, World Trade Center can be seen from here.

After visiting ISKCON, when we reached Vijayanagar back it was 5 30 in the evening.
Bonsai Garden, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Bonsai Garden, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Statue of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Statue of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Floral Clock, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Floral Clock, Lal Bagh, Bangalore
Following is the map of places visited.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hunt for Alexander's treasures in Indian subcontinent

If winning numerous battles to form one of the largest empires in the world was a big challenge then, bigger challenge was to manage the huge wealth acquired during the process. One of the most celebrated emperors of the world, Alexander the Great faced the same problem during his conquest of Indian subcontinent. K N Ganeshaiah's novel Chitadanta begins with this dilemma of the emperor. If Karisiriyana, Ganeshaiah's earlier novel focused on the history of south India, canvas here is bigger. It spans from the present Afghanistan to modern day Patna. The story even revolves around several kingdoms - Mauryas, Nandas, Kingdoms of Kalinga, Burma and Sri Lanka. 
Chitadanta Kannada Historical Novel
Chitadanta Cover Page
Decoding the treasure map making use of Buddhist, Mauryan and Greek symbols and riddles makes this book a fascinating read. In the process, the author busts few historical myths. You would definitely find the answers to the following questions in the book - Who are Ajivikas and Theravadis? What is the significance of Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Kandy in Sri Lanka? Why did Buddhism almost vanish from the country of its origin, India? Though Buddha was against idol worship, how did his idol become the most recognizable symbol of Buddhism all over the world? Who are the people of Kalash community living in the present day Pakistan? Why did Chanakya make Amatya Rakshasa, a Nanda loyalist who was dead against the Mauryan empire, the minister of Chandragupta Maurya? What is the significance of the solar eclipse which occurred during Emperor Ashoka's reign? Why did the famed king Ashoka build a hell(naraka) in his kingdom? What was the reason behind Alexander building the city of Alexandria Bucephalous? What more, you have real life characters like Osama Bin Laden and Dalai Lama. I think these teasers are enough for the history enthusiast to venture into the amazing world of Chitadanta. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Japanese way of doing things

More than anything it is the way doing things which astonishes a visitor in a foreign land. I too had my share of surprises.

Distance measured in time : I did not find anywhere how much is the distance between various places in the city. Instead, everyone was indicating the time it would take to reach any place. Forget people, there was not a sign board in roads where distance was written. Quite clearly, it indicates what Japanese respect most - time. On a professional front, it translates to every minute in a day being accounted for some task or the other.

Cleanliness : Every street and corner was neat and clean. Though this is a general observation in many developed countries, I was informed by my friend that Japan is much cleaner than US and most other developed countries. Though I could only find a cigarette butt thrown in a sky walk which was an exception. I was trying to compare the situation in India. In India, people who litter in public are more but in Japan more people keep their city clean. What I also observed that people who had flu or cold would wear masks when they are in public places. What way to take care of health of fellow citizens.

Metro is underground and accessible from every corner of the city : Tokyo metro is completely underground and there is a different world operating beneath earth - with people commuting and super markets, restaurants and what not. Tokyo metro is accessible every corner of the city and more often than not all tourist spots are at walking distances from metro stations. Some times, this takes away the thrill of exploring new places. Also, metro is the most economic way of transport in this expensive city of Japan.

Love for their mother tongue and culture : Though you can live in Tokyo without knowing Japanese as everywhere you find English along with Japanese - in announcements and in sign boards. But not everyone speaks English and even if they speak, it lasts few sentences and all the executive meetings involving foreign delegates involve translators. Even the power point presentations would be in English as well as in Japanese. In a way, they are preserving their language in a global economy and also make sure people who know Japanese find employment wherever information is conveyed in Japanese. Being a modern industrialized nation, Japan has not forgotten its roots - historical monuments are well preserved and ancient traditions are still revered and followed. Apart from that, Japanese people are very friendly and gentle to foreigners.

Influenced by American culture : Though I said Japanese culture is alive and thriving, you can also find youth in their fancy American attire, hairstyles and makeup. So, you find both extremes in Japan. Consumerism is at its peak in Japan too and you would be amazed how you would become an impulsive buyer when you are in Japan just as I felt.

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