Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

<< June 2005 >>
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My Past
Loyola High School Patna
Delhi Public School RK Puram
Institute of Technology BHU
Infosys Technologies Ltd
IIM Kozhikode

My Present
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

My Future
My Life

Project Nanhi Kali for the girl child

Movie Reviews at Mode C

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Batman Begins
War of the Worlds
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Bunty aur Babli
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Veer Zaara
Phir Milenge
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
Spider Man 2
Main Hoon Na

Book Reviews at Mode C

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish
The Inscrutable Americans
Harry Potter - Half-Blood Prince
The Monk who sold his Ferrari
Angels and Demons
Life of Pi
The Da Vinci Code
The Tristan Betrayal

IIM Kozhikode Bloggers

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Beena (Class of '08)
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DAR (Class of '07)
Deepak (Class of '05)
Dhananjay (Class of '05)
Divya (Class of '05)
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Paromita (Class of '07)
Pragna (Class of '03)
Pranay (Class of '06)
Prashant D (Class of '05)
Prashant JK (Class of '06)
Pratik (Class of '07)
Priya (Class of '06)
Rahul (Class of '08)
Ramesh (Class of '06)
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Other B-school Bloggers

Chandoo (IIM Indore, Class of '06)
Nishith (IIM Lucknow, Class of '06)
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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The drums are rolling..a la..a la...a la la la

Congratulations are in order (in no particular order...ain't I funny :-)) to:

Yash Sehgal, for becoming a certified derivatives and commodities trader

Vishak Hemchand and Rahul Nallari, for keeping Ernst & Young buzzing all summers and grabbing a PPO (pre-placement offer) each

Rajan Venugopal and Nimish Menon, for doing the same at GE Money

R Vishwanathan, ditto for Wipro

Jaspreet Chandok, who did the same at ICICI OneSource

Kunal Bharadwaj, for the PPO at Godrej and Boyce

Rohit Bansal, for bagging the second best summer project award at Godrej

Kiran Rama, Manish Shukla, and Prashant Kowshik, for receiving a PPI (pre-placement interview) each from Patni

Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode,
for being brave, bullish, and agressive enough to increase the batch strength to 180 (from 120)

The Class of 2006 at IIMK, for the success stories yet to come and for making their mark wherever they went this summer

The Class of 2007 at IIMK, for having decided to spend the next two years of their lives at God's own campus.

Sandipan and poor-ole-me, for having managed to scrape through the summers :-))

Posted at 06:15 pm by Nitai

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Monday, June 06, 2005
From the mountains to the lakes

As the taxi driver steers the vehicle over the umpteenth uncovered manhole, a smile starts playing on his lips while he calculates the huge fare that he is about to receive from the four co-passengers...people who, he thinks, can not even comprehend the speed of his thoughts...who have no way to know that he can calculate 1.7 times the meter reading faster than they can say "Joka Management". And what about these co-passengers? They appear to be tense and seem to have little time to devote to saying "Joka Management" (having already said that when they had specified their destination). They have even less time to think of the taxi fare or ponder needlessly over the extended tables of 1.7. All they are worried about right now is a place called Pailan where the last of thier saviours exist.

It is eleven in the evening (evening!!! exclaims the taxi driver but who's listening) and there is the whole night that is to be brought to life. Bringing nights to life, if you have not noticed it already, requires a little more than idle chanter and any charms that even the elusive Joka Management might have for the first timers (which is the category that entails three of the four co-passengers of the now-never-been-happier taxi driver). As the taxi screams down the dirt track, putting all dirt track taxis of the world to shame and screeches (okay, maybe whimpers) to a halt outside the place that the helpful directions refer to, the co-passengers stare in amazement at the run-down dhaaba and the even more run down (if that is even remotely possible) surroundings. But cease the amazement does as the saviour comes forth from the drakness with his shining torch, the elusive elixir that promises to bring the life to the night ahead.

Tucking the nectar under their arms, they make their entry into their nightspot. As the first of the lakes looms up on the visible horizon, there is very little for the first time visitors to drop down for. This however, as promised, is not all and yet to come are the gleaming beauties of OH, the NH, and of course, the WH. As the taxi toils on (but not the taxi driver...he knows what's coming and is...lovin' it), some more lakes pass unnoticed and so do some of the monuments of learning that stand quite close to but quite different from those of education (if it is not too difficult to get, I am sure that you must have realized that I am talking about the academic and the hostel blocks).

Finally, the deserted Annexe welcomes the weary travellers but with nectar in its various forms to refresh one and all, the weariness is soon washed away (or perhaps down) in tune with the exit of the taxi driver (who could not hide his hideous grin as two papers with an old man staring out passed hands). A couple of people can be heard (seeing is difficult because of the all pervasive darkness...of soul??) moving in and lest there be panic, there appears light at the end of the staircase. As the party moves up the staircase and looks down at the central quad, short talk of the possibilites of one-tip-one-hand cricket passes around.

And then there comes civilization as the travellers knew it. The computer screen is flashing, the speakers blaring and the playlist stuck (that was after one of the travellers tampered with it) at the "Kajraare kajraare" song from Bunty aur Babli. Like moths get attracted to a light bulb, the nectar does bring life to the sleeping campus (or would you prefer to say that  no one had been home at all...not yet?) as the room next to the top floor square gets filled up with intertwining limbs and light hearts. The neighbours are not in and they shouldn't have been especially since the genesis can be quite upsetting for some but then...perhaps not for this neighbour. Paper leaves orphaned and even the book trees abandoned, the beast sits proudly. The future Frankenstein and/or(?) Dhapadhap is stationed in the corner in all its glory and as the new comers struggle to get the better of its experience, the beast plays along.

It is time soon for the ultimate journey...the goal whose pursuit had brought the new comers to this strange land. Despite having come from the hills and having lived on clean and thin air, they were prepared for what was to come. As the bridge (with a famous name sake) appeared and the stories were re-laid about morning sojourns and nightly crawlings, the visitors are amused...the grass lands they come from and the wood and concrete and iron that they find...interesting is all that they say with any sort of commitment. The next in line are the temples. The travellers are wondering if the temples are spelt as Temples and while all this wondering is happening, their eyes dart all over the pithy quotes strewn all over the place. There  is darkness all around but as must have been the case with earlier visitors (in front of whom the temples are always showcased), they seem to feel the light.

From temples, across muddy lawns after the evening's showers that were not threatening enough to act as spoilers, our vaoyageurs move on to the Big one. The nearly 500 seating auditorium with enclosing lakes in abandon (and of course, the only  parking lot nearby) seems to entice the travellers, mock them with its grandeur at the same time. While they ponder on all this and pass by the academia again, they stop...not physically but to apply their thoughts...what lies beneath, they speak aloud?

And then come the tales of glory, of tradition and bravery...of raids on the enemy and the wars...of digging the tyre in and getting it out...of liquids less than a month old...of booking advertising space by forming human chains...of the con and the parties...of other nights that have been brought to life earlier...of the silver jubilee reunions...of the hang outs and the jetty...of boating round and round and not being able to find the shore...of climbing atop the 70 feet high water tank and getting scared coming down...of much much more.

As the travails of the day start taking their toll and the wanderlust seems to have taken a break, and as the firt timers retire to bed, one of them can not but think of what sets this place apart. It is not the lakes...not the buildings...not even the bridge or the temples or the audi or the huge acres of land that stare at you as you peek out of the balcony. It is people who have made this place what it is right now. It is not by virtue of being the oldest that it is grand, but it is by virtue of having played host to people who wish to return, to keep themselves associated with the tradition that they had helped set up.

It is because of all these things that one of those three people, the new comer...the traveller...the first timer, while setting his body and mind to rest on a very early Sunday morning, says his final words aloud, "I salute you, IIM Calcutta".

Posted at 05:54 pm by Nitai

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Friday, June 03, 2005
Ye jo world hai na world...

Aisa koi saga nahi, ki jisko thaga nahi
Aisi maari langdi, ki kabhi jaga nahi

Amitabh Bachchan tucks in his upper lip while he lets the lower one drool...the eyes are popped open and the eyebrows raised a little...Sharaabi, Laawaris, Amar Akbar Anthony anyone?
Abhishek Bachchan tucks in his upper lip while he lets the lower one drool...the eyes and eyebrows are covered with black glasses...ummm...he also has a red, heart-shaped balloon in one hand and his father's arm in another.

Amitabh Bachchan romances Rekha on screen and the rumours of their off-screen chemistry fly thick and fast.
Abhishek Bachchan drinks at a bar and later dances to the tune of a soulful kawwali...ummm...but not before some yesteryear songs featuring Rekha have already been played in the background.

Amitabh Bachchan is the undisputed and charismatic leader of the cheats and thieves who can never be wrong...Don anyone?
Abhishek Bachchan is on his first con job while the song that plays in the background is...ummm...the legendary "Are Deewano, mujhe pehcaano" from Don.

Amitabh Bachchan displays some acrobatic skills on a motorcycle with an attached car and of course, with the irresistibly funny Dharam paaji.
Abhishek Bachchan uses almost an exact replica of the bike with the attached car and as a replacemnt of Dharmendra, he has...ummm...the un-put-downable Rani Mukherjee.

Amitabh Bachchan says "Is duniya me do tarah ke keede hote hain...ek wo jo gandi naali me rehte hain aur doosre wo jo samaaj me rehte hain"...Hum anyone?
Abhishek Bachchan says...ummm..."Ye jo world hai na world, isme do tarah ke log rehte hain...pehle wo jo saari zindagi ek hi tarah ke kaam karte rehte hain aur doosre wo jo ek hi zindagi me saare kaam kar dete hain...aur hum un doosron me se hain"

Welcome to the very first movie that stars none other than the First father-son duo of Indian moviedom...the movie that has been touted to be the ultimate entertainer...the movie that is expected to put Abhishek firmly on the path to success that he has embarked upon, post Yuva...the movie that people believe is sure to cash on the amazing Abhishek-Rani chemistry...the movie that attempts to transform Ahishek into the next Amitabh. Bunty aur Babli does all this (except the last one, for there is no other way) and more.

Overheard in one theatre at Kolkata, "it is almost never that I am impressed by a movie, especially not if it is a Hindi movie, but this one sure has some interesting moments". Words of praise, or what? The movie begins with the invigorating "Dhadak Dhadak" song picturised all over Banaras and neighboring areas and right from the word go, sets the tone for the rest of the stuff that's going to come on. As Abhishek and Rani gyrate (in one of the most natural-yet-prepared choreographic displays which to the viewers' pleasant surprise, is maintained throughout the movie, right across the songs) to the tunes of the song, the expectations are set and the viewers are seen visibly loosening up in anticipation of something good.

From the small towns (Banaras which is not shown to be Banaras, Lucknow with its Miss India-hosting HBTI, Kanpur without its Miss India-hosting HBTI) that stifle the dreams of the two protagonists to the big, bad world is one eventful journey which is as hilarious and entertaining as it is meaningful and reflective. The amazingly visual portrayal of the fascinations of the small town youth is incisive as Vimmi from Pankhinagar is seen clinging to her pin-ups of models (all female, BTW) and as Rakesh from Fursatganj (aptly named, BTW) fixes up the shower at his terrace, refusing to go to the community tap for a bath like everyone else does.

While one gets lost in the entertaining escapades of Rakesh aka Bunty and Vimmi aka Babli, at display is one of the more effective directorial styles seen in recent times. Instead of making the entire thing look like episodes of some comedy soap on television, or like the Anil Kapoor-Madhuri Dixit (or Anil Kapoor-Sridevi) con-after-con movies, the narrative style is very different...just weaving together tales in the lives of Bunty and Babli and bringing it all together like postings on a collage...letting it all conjure some sort of magic that sets the note for the second half to begin.

And then the second half begins and how! Abhishek Bachchan has been shouting himself hoarse and that too from the rooftops that he wants to go to the theatre to watch Bunty aur Babli and throw coins when Amitabh Bachchan's first shot is shown and why not? The rock star get-up complete with the leather jacket, the Bihari style of talking complete with the red gamcha (towel for the more cultured ones), the burning of the 100 rupee note to light up his bidi, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dashrath Singh has an amazing entry.

Unfortunately however, the story suffers from another of the directorial experiments here on, the first of which had been going so good so far...but not this time. As the narrative changes from a visual inspired yet audio complete sequence of events to more of the still photography, newspaper clippings, scandalized expressions kind of thing, all things come to a passe. Even the voice of Amitabh Bachchan as the narrator does not offer the same pace to the happenings as the zestful effort by Rani and Abhishek had done in the earlier half. A slightly different ending (very slightly, mind you so don't raise your hopes sky high) does manage to stem the rot somewhat but the rot had begun to set in, no doubt. In fact, had it been another set of actors or rather had it been anyone else apart from THE MR. AMITABH BACHCHAN, there just might have been a few problems.

The direction is good in the sense that the way the scenes have been panned and arranged with able support from the editing and cinematography departments is truly outstanding and almost a trendsetter. The only low side can be the obvious effort at trying to cash in on the Amitabh and Abhishek combination but this being the first time, I guess it can be pardoned...nay...even appreciated. The music is mind blowing and the choreography absolutely spot on. The music is in tune with the spirit of the movie, whether it be Dhadak Dhadak that starts the proceedings or the immensely classy rap song that ends it. In fact, I haven't seen more people stopping in their tracks during the rolling of the end credits...not even two hot couples from the Tauba Tauba song in Kaal had the effect that an old, 65 odd year old man had in this one.

And then of course, was the Different (with D in capital) kawwali that features none other than the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai. As she sways to the tune of "Kajraare Kajraare" in a backless folksy ensemble, trying to woo Amitabh and giving the cold shoulder to Abhishek (you read that right, no misprints), the initial reaction from the audience is rather low key. It is only when Amitabh and Abhishek get into the act and the music gets hotter and faster and Different (with D in caps again), that the feet start tapping and the wows start coming.

Talking about guest appearances, there is Raj Babbar in an extremely short role that has been made rather inconsequential, keeping in mind the entertainer tag of the movie. Prem Chopra makes an appearance, too and if you are not looking carefully, the makeup and his rather straight voice (so different from the days of "Prem...Prem Chopra naam hai mera") might just prevent you from realizing who plays the cameo.

Amitabh Bachhcan rules the roost and though he appears for just one third of the movie, he has a greater impact on the proceedings and the movie's fortunes than Abhishek and Rani combined. This, however, does not take anything away from Abhishek and Rani who have both given their best and come out wonderfully, what with their post Yuva on-screen chemistry "rocking" and all that. Rani Mukherjee is Babli personified, all chirpy and young and bubbly, except in the fag end where the entire movie gets a little slow. Abhishek delivers another good performance. Apart from the forced sitting posture and the change of voice in one of the con scenes to sound and look like his father did in Agneepath, his has been a mature portrayal of a small town dreamer who can think like an unattached, insular adult but is yet a child, and a prankster at that, at heart.

Abhishek is no Amitabh but Amitabh, of course is...Bunty aur Babli is no Don or Amar Akbar Anthony or Satte pe Satta or Sharabi...but nevertheless, an entertainer it is. The Amitabh-Abhishek combo is no Amitabh-Govinda (refer Bade Miya Chote Miya) but immensely nostalgic it makes you you look at the duo dancing together and start realizing how similar the son and the father look and dance and act and react and walk and talk...okay let's cut the talk bit for the AIR reject has got something completely different going for him...but the rest really makes you all dreamy eyed and open-mouthed as you celebrate the final coming home of all that you have been doing right from the first Abhishek movie...trying to compare him with his father, the one and only Big B.

Posted at 03:07 pm by Nitai

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005
In transit

Can we postpone the movie for the next weekend please?

Now why would you want that? You were the one who asked us all for the movie...

Yes, I know but you see...there is this training thing starting on Monday and I don't want to start my first day at my first job without a good night's sleep behind me.

The first day at the first job. Like so many other firsts...first love, first kiss...the first job is the platform that so many of us have come across (and so many will) while making our transition...a transition from a carefree world where dreams know no end and reality hasn't sunk in yet to a world that is as clear as is round as is straight. The stepping stone to the so-called and much-hyped corporate life, the first job prepares one for the days ahead...or does it?

In the very beginning, isn't it all about trying to maintain a straight face with head held high but all the while thinking about what the manager, the colleague, the fellow trainee, the trainer...or even the peon is thinking about one self? Am I dressed the tie the right length...have I combed my hair the dignified way or are there traces still of the last weekend's spikes...are my shoes there a smile on my face when I greet my I interacting sufficiently with my colleagues or becoming either a recluse or too garrulous??? There are so many questions but not as many answers as one bumbles from one formal relationship to another...from one errand to another, trying to find a balance.

The balance does come but a little late, late enough to make you realize that all you have thought of to be true may not be able to stand the test of time and experience. The ideals that your college life taught you, the dreams that you had of your hard work resulting in handsome returns are just those...dreams and ideals. The real life is so different, you feel. There is no one who is your friend in the real sense...all of them are professionals, waiting to bite your back the moment right after they have just scratched it. You start feeling that the veil has lifted and you know that efforts are all good to speak of but in reality, there is much more to success. You start getting the idea more than anything else, that your fortunes depend not solely on the amount of work that you put in or the nature of results that you have generated but more on how well you have been able to present well you have been able to network, to suck up to the people who matter.

The above two stages are so very transitive and boundary-less that many-a-specimen of the first job population that I have been discussing are often left wondering. They don't know when they move on from the confused-and-scared stage to the cynical-and-rebel one. In some cases, the employees' prejudice makes them start off with the second stage itself and the first stage is lost in oblivion just because of the rather uncommon cockiness that might have come from peer advice or to resort to a cliche, general knowledge. However, in almost all other cases, there is this uncertain beginning that is to be invariably seen and following it may be a gradual or sudden movement to the second stage. The second stage is particularly seen to be harmful for the company and this is where the possibility of attrition looms large. In fact, if we take a careful look at the attrition details of most companies, we can quite easily realize that there is simply too much supporting data for the above observation.

Whether it be the attrition data or the employee surveys that the progressive companies undertake, the result is often seen to be the same. There are people belonging to a third class (apart from the above two) who are the most satisfied lot. Not that they do not have ambitions...not at deed, they are much more focussed at what they want from life and are working the fastest towards it. In fact, if we look at the profile of people who hav reached this stage, we will soon realize the reason for their apparent satisfaction with their work place and at the same time, their contribution to what is often known in the corporate lingo as organizational inertia.

This third stage is reached when the winds of change have passed through and done the damage that they could have. It comes, but rarely, to those who let themselves be uprooted by the winds ever so often. It comes to everyone at some stage or the other but it comes earlier to the steadier of the lot, the more focused of the group, the more determined of the pool...people who have spent their work life not cribbing and complaining alone, people who have been at the top without thinking too much about it...people who work smart and not just hard (another cliche, yes but pretty much suited).

This is where the lateral entrants (people who are into their second, third or later jobs) and the experienced people come in. These people have already arrived...they are thinking of strategy (and not in the sense an MBA student thinks about it, if you please)...they plan to align themselves with their company...they wonder about the performance linked incentives with more than mere wonder or a sort of indifference...they either feel themselves to be a part of the family or are too unattached to let even anything else (like a probable increment offered by some other shark in the pond) cloud their actions.

A journey from uncertainty to rebellion to acceptance, the corporate life is not at all as simple and as appealing as it looks from the outside. Of course, there is the financial freedom to a certain extent but at what cost? Is it just a mirage, then, that we look at when we are burning the midnight oil for that entrance, for this interview? A lot depends, I would opine, on the mentality of the person if this question is to be answered. The first stage of hesistant exploration is for the most innocent of them all and honestly, the longer it lasts, the better for all concerned. The sceptic moves on pretty soon to the second questioning stage and if there is a lack of clear puprose, this stage gets prolonged for just a bit too long.

The step that shall benefit the employee as well as the company is to arrive at a mechanism by which the third stage becomes much more porous...where, just like the transition between the first and the second stages, there are ways in which smooth transfer may take place between the "oh wow!" and "oh ok!"...where the enthusiasm and first-timer's freshness contribute just that little bit more to the big picture.

Posted at 01:07 pm by Nitai

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Monday, May 30, 2005
Black wind in the wings and the climax

I have been thinking and this time, there are good reasons for it. The summer project, after days of absolutely-nothing-to-do, is heading for a typical Hollywood climax. Although there aren't going to be exploding tube stations and car chases and that final kiss, but the last few days at this place are sure going to be one whirlwind. With the gap analysis being the mainstay of my project (or rather the project in its totality) and the system B (out of the systems A and B, between which the gap analysis is to be done) not being available yet, and lest I forget, with another four working days to the final presentation, things can be said to be growing into interesting, to say the least.

Be as it may, it does not stop me from having a good time in Cal and since these are the last few days of vacations before I get on to another sort of vacationing on the beautiful hill resort down south, I plan to do anything but let sleeping dogs lie. This weekend, it started with a bit of shopping at Pantaloons on Saturday (after the French class, of course). I and Sandipan got a great Tees bargain and before you start wishing that both of us will be dressed in the same tee some day on campus, let me tell you that we have already entered into the pact not to. Tanu (Sandipan's girl friend) and Rohit (in the E n Y office a few floors above the Pantaloons) were there as well and surprisingly, none of them cribbed about the quality time we were spending looking at and trying out one thing after the other.

However, not to take any chances, we moved on to Sheesha Bar next. I know that the name sounds pretty corny but the place is anything but corny. It is a pretty classy place, in fact, that does not allow people in slippers (not even the funky Yankee travellers, one of whom turned up that day in rugged tees and shorts and of course, slippers). After a few drinks and eats, Sandipan and Tanu made their way to some other Rendez-vous (without the bones in the meat) while Rohit and the poor old me went ahead to a filled-beyond-capacity Pizza Hut. This was the second time in a Kolkata Pizza Hut for me and not any different from the first one: good pizzas, good crowd, and of course, the typical birthday celebration complete with the song and dance and claps routine.

Compared to Saturday, Sunday was not all that exciting. A late Saturday night meant that I got up just in time for the French classes (which start at 3 in the afternoon, by the way). With Sandipan having another plan with Tanu, and Rohit enjoying the roller coasters at Nicco Park with his friends, I was left all alone but not for long as Rohit joined me a little later at City Centre for some coffee table conversation. I must say that the conversations with Rohit over the weekend have been pretty interesting and there have been occasions where both of us have been able to read beyond what the other has spoken. Apart from the conversation, the next best part of the evening was the Masala Cola that we had just before calling it a night. Amazing style, some solid taste and the earthen cups made for some good entertainment. The way the Masala Cola Dada was preparing the thing would have put any bar tender worth his salt to shame. Sprays and mixes and popping the caps and juggling the bottles were all there and more than the drink, the entertainment gave me the paisa-vasool.

Like any other weekend, this one would have been incomplete without the usual dosage of movies. Although Bunty and Babli had to be shelved for a later date because of non-availability of tickets, there were quite a few CDs available at the BJ Market shop. The first one was the screen adaptation of the immensely popular work of fiction, "Gone with the wind". After "The Sound of Music", I had been expecting a lot from this movie as well but for some reason, despite the ten Oscars that it had grabbed in its time, the movie really failed to excite me as much as the other one had.

Scarlett O'hara and Rhett Butler, Melanie Hamilton and Ashley Wilkes were the same, no doubt and the actors did do justice to the roles but still it did not feel the same as reading the book had done. The actors did settle into their characters gradually but their introductions in the movie were not impressive at all. Most of them, when they appeared for the first time in the narrative, looked like caricatures and the gravity of the story got reflected in their faces only when the second half of the movie had well and truly started. Personally, I missed the story of Eileen and Gerald O'hara and Scarlett's early youth that had formed such an enjoyable part of the novel. In fact, the entire good-old-South imagery has been done away with to accommodate the misery of battle and the greed of man that destroys the old order and sets in the new.

The movie is good effort, however, to bring the mammoth classic to everyone's doorsteps and I must say that it has satisfactorily brought the gist of the story up front. Ever since I read the book, I always used to wonder about possibly how the entire length and breadth of the story could be captured on reel but that, the movie has been successful in doing. Probably, if only for this, it deserved its ten oscars and perhaps even more.

The other movie this weekend was the first of the Batman series titled "Batman" (what else? :-)). The Batman series has got some big names to boast of, right through the four movies that have come so far. Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Bassinger, Danny De Vito, Jim Carrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicole Kidman, and Drew Barrymore are just some of the people who have played some character or the other in one of the four Batman movies. The DC Comics character has always been fascinating read for me beacuse of his, amongst other things, roguish nature and the very absoluteness of his character as far as the nature of dealing with crime and criminals goes.

The movie "Batman" does miss this aspect of Batman's character and though the hooded hero scowls in his mask, Bruce Wayne is shown as the part-bumbling part-brooding character who seems to be as confused as Peter Parker of Spiderman about his convictions (which actually, is not the case if you read the DC comics a little more carefully). All said and done, the movie was some good time spent and I did relish the bringing alive of characters like The Joker, Alfred, Bruce Wayne, and of course, Batman complete with his Bat-mobile.

The last of the movies that I watched over the weekend (not last, literally as I watched it on Friday) but the one that had the greatest impact was "Black Friday". The censor board is not allowing the movie to get to the cinema halls in India but fortunately or unfortunately, the original print of the movie, complete with the candies ads has found its way to the neighboring CD shop, all the way from our beloved neighboring country. The movie, if you haven't heard about it already, is based on the Mumbai riots and specifically looks at the way Mumbai police cracked the entire operation open and how the actors in the crime were brought to book one by one.

The police officer in charge of the case is played by Kay Kay and he has done justice to his role. Confident and strict and determined to find the truth and nail the criminals, he is human enough to be disturbed over the torture that his men have to resort to in order to get the truth out. All the supposed villains (the movie does present a rather single side of the entire issue, proclaiming only the Muslims to be repressed and villainous), apart from Dawood Ibrahim, are handled well and despite the torture and the subsequent opening up, they manage to maintain their convictions and more importantly, the actors have been able to effectively portray this dimension of their characters.

The movie also brings to light one of the most effectively planned criminal activities and on top of that, one of the most successful crack polce campaigns ever. The way one little clue leads to another and the very tenacity with which Mumbai police is shown going after the suspects fills you with a kind of reluctant admiration (reluctant only because of the apparent unfeeling nature of all police men apart from the inspector played by Kay Kay).

In the midst of all these movies and the good time that I have been having in Kolkata, I have also been a little worried lately about the conclusion of it all. I just hope that all this fun is not at some unreasonable cost and that the project thing goes off properly enough. With much depending on how I and Sandipan perform here, I do not want to be a reason for my institute not getting the respect that it deserves...not if I can help it.

Posted at 02:55 pm by Nitai

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