Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is he listening?

People's exhibit 1:
Me: Do you want to stop by at the Temple on the way to B Aunty's house?

Husband (with a genuinely confused expression) : But B aunty will serve Desi food. Why do you want to go to the temple?
People's exhibit 2:
Me: Do you want to stay at N's house after dinner tonight or drive back?

Husband: I don't mind either ways.

Me: I think we should drive back because we have a lot of things to do tomorrow and will be good to get a head start in the morning.

Husband: Right, I will check with N if we need to bring our own sleeping bags.
I rest my case.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Khuda ke liye /Aamir

After reading a lot about Khuda ke Liye and Aamir, I finally got to watch these movies over the weekend. I write about both these movies in the same post because I couldn't help notice the similarity between the two, themes centered around Islam, lesser known actors, debutant directors and great music.

Khuda ke liye is the story of two musician brothers Mansoor and Sarmad and their British cousin Mary. After a brief introduction to the characters, the real story starts when Mary visits her cousins in Pakistan and Mansoor leaves to the US to study music. Since there are reviews and plot outlines everywhere on the web, I will stick to what I thought of the movie here. Shaan, who played Mansoor in the movie, Wikipedia tells me is a popular star in Pakistan. I am guessing his past experience came handy coz he has done an excellent job without at any point appearing to try too hard. He sounds convincing and absolutely lovable even when his tells his American girlfriend that his religion prohibits him from drinking liquor or that women cannot pay when a man is involved (I would have been up in arms against any other man who told me I cannot pay because I was a woman). Iman Ali, again a popular model in Pakistan, looks pretty and plays Mary without appearing too over the top. Apparently Shaan had sneered at Iman saying models cannot act (yeah, I follow Lollywood gossip too) but I am sure he will have to eat his words after this movie. Iman Ali and Shaan were the two actors that stood out for me in the entire cast. The excellent music is yet another reason for me to like Khuda Ke Liye. I am still struggling to pick a favorite between Tiluk Kamud and Bandeya Ho.

Aamir is about a doctor who returns to Bombay from UK to find himself involved a sequence of strange events. Without giving the plot away, lets just say the movie tracks the hours ensuing Aamir's return to Bombay. Rajeev Khandelwal, a first timer on the big screen, plays Aamir and carries the movie almost entirely on his shoulders that too effortlessly. Although the painstakingly slow scenes towards the end help create drama and give Khandelwal immense opportunity to perform, the movie could have done much better with some editing. Towards the ending, more often than not, the audience want the movie to end just so they could go home/go to bed or to do whatever they do after a movie ends. In stead, this film seems like it goes on forever. I am guessing the climax scene was shown in real time which could've definitely used some much needed chopping. What I like best about this movie is the transformation of the main character from your average guy to the man who takes charge all while displaying an entire range of emotions without appearing like the usual macho bollywood hero. The background score was great and Ya raham, my current favorite, is very addictive.

Both movies are likable because they come across as extremely real. No make-up, no gaudy outfits, no stopping in between for a duet in some glamorous location, no melodramatic dialogs, no item numbers, no sir, none of your bollywood stereotypes. These movies instead are armed with a strong story and an intelligent screenplay. Full points to debutant directors Shoaib Mansoor and Raj Kumar Gupta. Also there is good music in both movies but the songs don't distract you from the story. Its like a little respite from hectic storytelling through which you don't want to take a bathroom or ciggy break lest you miss something important.

The husband mentioned how Khuda ke liye is a bold movie to make especially in a country like Pakistan. Even Meetu of withoutgivingthemovieaway was of the same opinion. I fail to understand why. Despite touching upon issues like double standards, violence and abuse against women and racial/cultural prejudices of the west and conservatives in a religion, at no point does the movie speak ill of Islam. It does use the most popular of Islam preachings such as teetotalism, preventing marriages into other faiths etc but at no point does the movie come across as anti-islam. If anything, Naseeruddin Shah's character speaks in defence of the religion. The take home message from the movie according to me was that no religion preaches bad things. Its just the way the religious teachings are interpreted that makes people do good or bad things. And if anything, I was very surprised that a movie like Aamir got away without any trouble. Remember Bombay, Black Friday and many other movies that had a terror plot?

Overall, both movies are a must watch if you like movies that try to break away from the candy floss romance formula.

On an aside, while I love Wikipedia, its annoying that the Aamir movie page has entire scene-by-scene details including the climax. I noticed that I best enjoy a movie when I know absolutely nothing about it. The more reviews I read, the more my expectation of the movie rises.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Home Alone

Staying alone at home while the husband was traveling for work, I have discovered

...that it is not that hard to eat alone at a restaurant. Granted it is a small eatery in a corner where you have to bus your own table. But with a book in hand, it is a piece of cake to order your food, wait for it to be ready and eat it, all without having the company of another soul.

...that it is really hard for me to survive without internet and TV. I need one of the two unless I am sleeping or in the bathroom.

...that watching 8 back to back episodes of Law and Order SVU scares you enough to not be able to go even to the bathroom when it is dark. There such creeps in this world I tell you.

...that I can make a sandwich complete with onions and tomatoes during TV show breaks. It sucks that they dont have breaks in between episodes anymore. Its always after an episode starts but thank god for title music and end credits.

...that you can survive 3days without any in-person human interaction and still manage to stay sane enough to write about it. I couldn't even catchup with people on the phone coz we ran out of minutes on our phones. Oh wait, does ordering food at the restaurant count?

...that a dinner of cereal and brownies is fun.

...that I cannot for my life figure out what Tharoor's point is in his new book the Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone. About 100 pages into the book and I see he uses his favorite metaphorical writing, talks bollywood, politics, families and rants about hindutva. Pardon me but I cannot understand where he is going with all that cliched writing.

On an aside: Tharoor writes that former first lady Mrs. Shankar Dayal Sharma was a big fan of Swabhimaan, one of India's first soaps. Apparently she made sure her entourage recorded every episode of the show to ensure that she did not miss even a single episode in the process of delivering her first-lady duties. I remember running home right after school to catch the show and had a big crush on Rohit Roy. I am dying to watch the show again and cannot find it anywhere online. Does anybody know where Mrs. Sharma lives now? Maybe I can borrow her tapes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

10 ka dum

Chandni has called me bakra and tagged me to reveal 10 of my secrets. So here we go in no particular order.
  1. I act like I am always in control in the kitchen. I believe recipes aren't meant to be taken too seriously. One quick glance at the recipe and I decide how I want to make it my style even if it spells disaster.
  2. I obsess over my footwear. I need to wear shoes that are well co-ordinated with the rest of my outfit otherwise, I feel like everybody is staring at my shoes and shaking their heads in disapproval.
  3. I never wanted to be a child and thought of myself as an adult. As far back as I can remember, I always thought I grew-up enough.Only when I look at myself back in time I realize how childish I was and how much growing up I still need to do.
  4. I think being liberal is fashionable. Somehow being conservative seems so dull and boring.
  5. I cannot win a spelling bee contest even to save my life. I am a terrible speller and can never be thankful enough to spell check!
  6. For the longest time, I believed beauty and brains dont come together. I thought I was a rare exception until I met women who were both more beautiful and more intelligent than I was.
  7. I have a constant fear of obesity. As a child, I remember reading an article about a woman who woke up in the morning and found herself heavier by some insane number of pounds. It haunts me to this day and thankfully keeps me away from most calorie bombs.
  8. I am a hypochondriac.
  9. I spend insane amounts of time window shopping on the internet. And nothing fancy or designer for me. I hangout at the safe Oldnavys and JCPs for the fear that I might fall in love with something I cannot afford.
  10. I hate documents that are not justified. I cannot bring myself to read badly formatted articles either.
Phew!!! That wasnt too hard. Now comes the fun part. I demand to know 10 secrets from
The Mad Momma
Good day Sunshine
Blue Bike
and anyone who feels like confessing some of those secrets!

The Big Move

It finally happened!! The husband and I finally moved in together. I took a break from school to move in with the husband hoping he would be done in school by the end of summer. Well it actually happened two weeks ago. But thats how long it took for me to complete moving, setting up the new place, cleaning up the old place, catching up on my Google Reader and finally moving my ass to write.

Living with the husband has been lots if fun so far. Its like playing Home Sweet Home except with real furniture and a real husband who does not go-to and return-from work in a flash. Deciding on the furnishings (mostly convincing the husband that my ideas are right), setting up the furniture and making the place live-able has been much more fun than I imagined. In the process, I realised how much I want our new home to look like my parents' place. Especially with little things like arranging fridge magnets, books and clothes the way my mother did it. Being the foodies we are, grocery shopping and visits to the local farmers market has been our favorite weekend activity. We have had plenty of cooking adventures and baking disasters. Our kitchen has been learning lots of new languages from around the world mostly with a 'spicy' accent. And booze is flowing freely than ever. The husband used to allow himself a drink only on weekends but now wine and beer have become everyday fair. We are trying to recycle as much as possible (yeah we finally got those reusable shopping bags) along with reducing our electricity consumption as much as possible. To bring on the summer spirit, we even have a few flowering plants, spinach, mint and tomatoes planted in pots.

When we decided on moving in together, we have agreed that the husband would take care of all the money matters while I run the show. But now I am getting a taste of how it is to be dependent on someone even if it is your significant other and I dont like it. Although it is very difficult for me to finish shopping and not take my wallet out to pay, I feel like I have the husband dependent on me as well. I know where most things in the house are and the husband often comes to me asking where to find something. This in some strange way gives me a sadistic pleasure. It is not like the husband cannot or will not find it without me. But just the thought that I make his life easier gives me that much needed boost.

In a nutshell, it has been a lot of fun to set up our own little nest and live in it together. Now all we have to do is finish school, find real jobs and buy a house for ourselves.