Thursday, December 03, 2015

Movie Recommendation: Tamasha

Vidit Bhargava

One of the best parts about Tamasha is that there's a story oozing out from everywhere. From AR Rahman's Music, to Ravi Verman's flawless cinematography, every elements stays true to Tamasha's spirit of Storytelling.

We're introduced early on, in Tamasha, to one of the chief characters in the movie, played by Piyush Mishra. The actor is playing an old story teller, who cleverly (and deliberately) messes up with the story's characters, starting with new ones every time there's a break. His reasons? Well, at the end of the day you are listening to the same story, and should enjoy that, rather than fretting over petty details like characters and character names. And to be honest, I'd love to meet such a story teller, for he gives more than what's worth of the many disjoint stories he tells, it's no wonder that Ranbir Kapoor's character who grows up listening to the storytellers tales, experiences all sorts of stories around him. Some playing in his head, some involving more human characters.

This pretty much sets the tone for Tamasha's unconventional narrative. The narrative being the best thing that Tamasha offers. Oscillating between the past and present, real and imaginary characters, and adding flashes of other parallel and similar stories to the Frey. Tamasha's narrative is similar to that of a complex painting which has lots of elements and all of which are trying to convey something meaningful. In a phenomenal execution of a “sad” song, Imtiaz Ali offers us three punjabi folk singers (most probably placed inside Padukone's character's head ) telling us how very sad she is. And as is the case with mind dwellers, the singers are almost certainly enjoying themselves. In fact, this is how most of the movie plays. We are treated to multiple flashbacks of Ranbir Kapoor's character's childhood and subsequent struggle with Mathematics when he begins to realize that he's slowly being cast into a culture that he's been pushed into and is not necessarily something that he enjoys. While, all those things are kept at bay, when the same character has a great time in Corsica.

Tamasha also has a lot of literary references to offer too. We see Ranbir Kapoor reading the Joseph Heller's Catch-22, a book apt for the character he's playing here. In fact he's even caught in one himself, when he's repeatedly motivated by his manager, even after his deliberate pranks in the middle of important presentations. The sequence in itself is a stretch, and probably should have been edited out, but the catch-22 inspiration was unmistakable. There's also a nod to Honne and Tatemae from the Japanese culture, which forms most of the premise of the second half. All of these are respectful odes to some amazing literature, all in a non-plagiaristic manner. Which is so refreshing to see.

Like I said earlier, every element in Tamasha is trying to put forward a story, and perhaps the most powerful way in which this is done, is the music. AR Rahman's music goes beyond the obvious song and dance sequences here. It goes on to tell a story. It's used as an element to express the narrative. It's phenomenal. And one of the best examples is the song “Wat Wat” that plays in the later part of the movie, which is actually two stories intertwined in one. This music is one of those rare AR Rahman compositions that touch a completely different level of awesomeness once experienced with the movie.

There's not a single actor, supporting or leading, who under performs here. It's almost as though Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor were in a competition of sorts to outperform each other's performances, and Piyush Mishra as the old storyteller leaves a mark in a role that only lasts for minutes on the screen. The characters these actors get in turn, are carefully thought out and full with a lot of depth, and The portrayals, spot on.

And yet, Tamasha isn't perfect. It's screenplay is overstretched in the second half. There's a lot of time lost in over explaining. Where things were being conveyed so poignantly in a song, long and cliché conversations take the same point and try to drill it into your head. Which is where your patience might be tested at times. When the camera, music, acting and narrative stop telling you the story, some dialogues just ruin the experience. It doesn't help then that the narrative feels a bit self indulgent too. Yet, these pitfalls (if one would call them so) are mostly restricted to the last hour of the movie. And for most of the part, Tamasha is pretty well done.

Tamasha is one the best movies I've seen this year. It's pretty far from perfect and not everyone will enjoy it as much as I did. But Tamasha's spot on portrayal of characters, Amazing Narrative and A soundtrack that works on so many levels, makes Tamasha an enjoyable experience, worth multiple viewings.

Rating : *** ½

Sunday, November 08, 2015

My Experience at Au Bon Pain

Vidit Bhargava
Last month I had the opportunity to go to Au Bon Pain in M-block market, of Greater Kailash (Weird Market, its practically a labyrinthine of shops, so easy to get lost in), in New Delhi, while I was looking for a quick sandwich and something to drink along with it. Au Bon Pain (French for The Place with Good Bread) is an American bakery that offers sandwiches, salads, soups, shakes and smoothies. Au Bon Pain is particularly famous for their nutrition transparency and (apparently) quality breads.

The Bon Pain I visited looked a lot like a hybrid between Dunkin Donuts and Subway, with Subway's Sandwich making counters and a seating that looked a lot like a Dunkin Donuts outlet in Central Delhi. To be honest, I felt that the space they spent on providing the dining experience was a bit of an overkill. Personally, for something like Sandwiches, I'd rather get them packed and eat them on the go, instead of “dining”. But none the less, Au Bon Pain's GK Outlet is pretty well designed. I liked the placement of the transaction counter. It's just next to the exit door. So basically, you don't have to go out of the way to pay for your sandwiches and it doesn't feel like that they'd much rather have your money first, (Restaurants and Cafes that have the counters next to the food preparation tables fall in that category).

On my visit, I got a Caprese Sandwich, a Veg Pesto Club Sandwich and a Mango Smoothie. A word about the packaging here, it's great. On my way back, l took a wrong turn and landed on the other side of the market (like I said, it's a labyrinthine of sorts), and had to traverse through the entire market to reach the parking. And all the while the package was swinging in my hands But the smoothie was pretty securely packed and didn't leak.

I was pretty impressed with the Smoothie itself. It was delightfully rich with the right mixture of milk and ice-cream, and extremely fulfilling. If I ever go back to Au Bon Pain, it'll be for the smoothie.

The sandwiches are okey-ish. The breads are good. The sandwich is pretty well made, none of the sauces or fillings ooze out like Subway's do, and the sandwiches are pretty filling. But there are two big problems that I have with the sandwiches. First, There's just too much garlic in the breads for my liking. Second and this is the major issue, the sandwiches leave a dry aftertaste. This is true for most of the sandwiches that I've had. With all the preservatives that are added, there's a characteristic dry after taste that they induce. This is true for the Subway Sandwiches too, but Au Bon Pain which is providing a much more premium experience, doesn't do much to improve upon it.

For me, what could have been a truly great experience was hampered by just a few trivialities. The place is so much better than the rest of the crowd but with their dry after taste, the sandwiches really are underwhelming. Which is why I'll probably not visit Au Bon Pain again, the smoothie is great but not enough an incentive to go again.

P.S. Couldn't click the pics myself when I visited the place, Have used some on Zomato Instead.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Views on Shaandar

Vidit Bhargava Shaandar is actually three stories rolled into one. A fairy tale, A Father-Daughter Bonding Story, and another which closely resembles in content to Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Dil Dhadakne Do. And this is Shaandar's biggest problem, There's just too much for Vikas Bahl to juggle with.

Shaandar begins by keeping the fairy tale about an insomniac rich kid who must be put to sleep, as goofy. The Father-Daughter bonding between the characters played by Alia Bhatt and Pankaj Kapoor is kept Subtle and the third story involving a fat girl being married off to save a dying business is intended to give a social message with humor. Something that's totally fine. Had the movie kept all the three stories with their governing emotions isolated, it probably might have proven to be decent watch. But with setting for the three being this far away from each other, it becomes increasingly hard for the director to make everything blend in, more importantly it becomes easily tough to isolate the emotions to their respective stories. So you end up getting a dash of childish goofiness, subtlety and attempts at well natured humor spilling everywhere. Almost as though a paint bucket would fall over a partially painted sketch.

Too many stories is just one of the many Problems in Shaandar. Shaandar's Screenplay is so patchy and shoddily written that you'd think the writers were half asleep while writing it. There are just too many randomly inserted crazy moments to make any sense of them: Like the intoxicating reaction that a pair of Mushrooms and Brownies have at the guests of a party, or the utterly random Paragliding instance between Pankaj and Shahid Kapoor. And then there's this flash back On Pankaj Kapoor's character. It's animated. Why!? You'd never know. What if I told these are the same writers that gave us Lootera and Queen?

To top that, the last thirty minutes are completely trash. Their straight out of Priyadarshan's movies from the late 2000s (Strong echoes of Malamaal Weekly). If the two hours were hard to make sense of, this is worse.

But to be Honest, Shaandar for all its flaws, works when the right setting is placed in the right story. So Shaandar is actually an enjoyable watch, in parts. There are few genuinely funny moments, then there's the Father-Daughter story that's been nicely done. And for a fairy tale's characters Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor do a fine job.

If Shaandar works at all, it's because of its actors. Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor and Pankaj Kapoor do their roles with effortless ease. Some of the best moments of the movie are provided when the three of them aren't surrounded by the loony support characters.

Shaandar could have been a decent movie, had it been clearer with what it wanted to do. Sadly what I saw yesterday wasn't even clear about its target audience. An ambitious effort, that works only in parts. Shaandar is barely watchable and that's pretty much because of the lead actors.

Rating : ** (There's little that's 'Shaandar' about it)

Monday, October 05, 2015

Silent Mode by Default

Vidit Bhargava

I'm tired of hearing the sounds that my phone makes. It rings like a bell to to notify me of new messages, new email, incoming phone calls, alarms, timers, et all. It's almost as if the phone wants me to be at the beck and call of every individual that I'm connected to. I'm not always free to take a phone call, yet whenever my phone rings, it sends a jolt of panic, creates an urgency to be picked up, to stop whatever I'm doing and to pick up that phone! With Messages the phone irritates me with persistent demands to be picked up. You get it, in its default state, the phone with its numerous notifications, is just providing an irritating user experience, one that's controlling in nature, rather than being helpful.

Alarms are the worst. I don't put my favorite music as an alarm tune for the fear of ruining it. Why do I hate alarms? It's simple. Alarms are a poorly crafted combination of tunes on loop and vibration (that comes more often than not from a rotational vibration motor, which is extremely annoying for its noisy function). The auto loop is discerning. If this is how people were woken by humans, they'd hate the person who wakes them up. Maybe phones could take a cue from people's lives and have alarms that wait a minute or two before replaying the alarm, instead of jumping into the long unending diatribe of screeching alarms.

There are solutions of course, one of them involves keeping the phone on vibration mode. Another form of annoyance. Most phones use a rotating vibration motor these days. These motors have an extremely loud function, something that basically defeats the purpose of vibration mode, when your phone is on the desk. You aren't hearing a ringtone now but you're still being constantly buzzed with vibrations, diverting your attention.

There is however, another type of solution for this problem. One that works in many cases. It's Taptic Feedback. So, the newly released Apple Watch and the iPhone 6s has this feature where it taps you on the wrist to notify of updates, something that works great with native applications, where the notifications feel more like a tap than a tiny vibration, which is the case, when there's an incoming notification from the phone. The problem with the Taptic Engine is, no matter how subtle it is, it's still distracting me. Yes, I can choose on ignore a phone call, without having to take out my phone, yes, I'm saved from all sorts of alerts. But truth be told, notifications are a sort of dumb-pipe system. They aren't aware of when I'm free, or when I'm busy, what tasks need an immediate attention, what notifications can be checked later in the day, what notifications are emergencies and require me to drop all the work. So, it's still not the right experience to receive a notification for a promotional Email in the middle of the day. Even if it's a gentle tap on my wrist.

What I'm looking for, is a contextually aware Do Not Disturb mode. One that's aware of my working hours, and hours when I take a break to use my phone. In addition to that, there should also be a smarter Notification Center, one that can sift through, the urgent, important and unimportant notifications, so that I'm reminded about them at the right times. The current Do Not Disturb mode on any phone don't provide much of under the hood settings.

For now, my phone stays on do not disturb and silent mode for most of the time, with the exception of receiving phone calls from a few people, I'd like that to get more customizable to ultimately provide a better user experience.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Stop Judging Your Teachers

Vidit Bhargava
Today is Teachers Day. The Social Media is full of students thanking their Teachers. But are we giving Teachers the respect that we should? We aren't.

Most of the students are busy judging their teachers. They try to measure the capability of the teachers by the amount of knowledge she seems to have, whether or not she's just reading out her notes, whether she's just making you do the easy solved examples and ignoring the complex questions. Based on their analysis during the class, you'd often hear them announce a judgement: “Oh! She doesn't know anything.”, “"Must have got through by reservation”, “He's so stupid, just reads out of his notes, must hide them away someday to see what he does then”.

I find these remarks to be evil, full of vice and am tired of hearing these judgements, year after year. They begin in School of course. This is something you'd often hear amongst the extremely intelligent lot, and it's a SHAME. Not only are those students intelligent, they think they know it all, know it more than the teacher. Reality Check: If you knew more than the teacher and were far more skilled than her, you'd probably be considerate enough to not pass of such remarks in the first place.

One of the “Intelligent” students I had a conversation with on the matter, said this “I only have respect for the good teachers, the intelligent teachers. Not them (referring to the teachers that were teaching him at the time)!”. By intelligent, he meant the teachers who had knowledge that he didn't posses. Such shallow was his criteria to measure someone's intelligence. It is ironical, that it was a teacher that once told me that Intelligence is not a measurable quantity. Ah! But only if students listened.

But then, who doesn't dislike the teacher that makes you do your assignments, over and over again, or the teachers who are too strict with the students? Everyone does, at some point. But dislike is not the same as disrespect. I dislike a lot of teachers, but I've hardly ever been disrespectful to anyone of them, in their presence or absence.

Most of us are pleasant to our teachers in their presence. But all this judgmental disrespect happens in their absence. I wish that changes soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Movie Recommendation: Bahubali

Vidit Bhargava Bahubali: Image Header
It's hard to review a movie, when you know that the makers aren't done with the story when the end credits start rolling. They are of course, only setting things up for an epic conclusion. How do you, then, sift through what has been kept under-wraps and what has been left hanging to your imagination? Bahubali: The beginning is only one part of a two part tale.

The story here is pretty much a template plot for brewing up a revenge saga. Bahubali: The Beginning is about the history of the kingdom of Mahishmati, where two cousins compete for the throne. Both equally skilled, powerful and clever. It's hard to declare one the king, without doing injustice to the other. But amongst the two cousins, one is good (Bahubali) and the other evil (Bhalaldev), while one cares about the kingdom the other only cares about destroying the enemy. In present day, the good prince (Bahubali) has been killed, with the evil one at the throne, torturing his kingdom into submission. Bahubali's son is our central character. Smuggled out of Mahishmati as a baby and raised by the village tribals, He is completely unaware of his royal lineage and finds himself in a situation where he must know who he really is.

If Bahubali's Central plot is simple, the treatment it gets is anything but that. Slick Computer Generated Imagery and a grand landscape setup form what is, one of the most engaging movie watching experiences I've had in the recent times. S.S. Rajamouli's imagination is top notch. He carefully blends reality with lumps of comic-book Superhero flair. He's well accompanied by the amazing CGI which is carefully used an seamlessly blends into the real world. In one of the early scenes in the movie, our protagonist climbs a stunning waterfall with the help of a kedge sent from a bow and anchored to a tree at the top of the cliff. The scene was perhaps the highest point in Bahubali's GGI, it was so convincing, that to anyone not aware of the fact that the movie is using extensive CGI it would have seemed like a real stunt on a waterfall that big.

The second half of Bahubali, much faster and engaging, is filled with epic war visuals and expansive landscapes. The war visuals are well executed. The thirty minute war has a nail biting finish. But what truly works for the war though, are the visuals, the carefully planned defense strategy, the reckless massacre of the enemy's army and the frankly too high-tech a weapon for its time, all get the extra sheen on brilliance due to the graphics.

Sathyaraj as Katappa Amongst actors, Prabhas, in a double role, as Bahubali and his son Shivudu is pretty impressive. Rana Duggabati does his menacing act nicely but it's Sathyaraj, as the able warrior Katappa who steels the show here, watch him in that scene where he dismisses an Arab Sheikh's greatest sword, calling it too slow for his skill, you'd never imagine such swiftness coming out of the character.

Bahubali : The Beginning can best be described as a visual storytelling experience. You are not watching it for an extremely complex or perplexing screenplay, you don't care what language the movie is playing in or that it's dubbed in another (in fact you wouldn't even notice the dubbing Sync issues because of everything else that's going on in the movie). With Bahubali, just like with Avatar and Intersteller you are sitting to experience a story and S.S. Rajamouli deftly tells you a simple tale set in a stunning landscape, in a way that's highly engaging. And they leave the first part at such a cliffhanger that I just can't wait for the conclusion.

Rating: **** (Watch it in a Theatre)

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Inside Out - Review

Reilley's move from Minnesota to San Francisco isn't exactly smooth

Vidit Bhargava Hidden inside the wonderful world of InsideOut is a tribute to the Reality Distortion Field, often associated with Steve Jobs; A comment on how careless people are about 'facts', and a reference to the booming startup scenario in the Silicon Valley and having to cope up with moving to a completely new city. InsideOut's details are sharp and the plot boiled down to the simplest possible form.

When Reilley's parents decide to move from Minnesota to San Francisco, her world's about to change, both Inside and Outside. Inside the 11 year old's brain reside Five Basic Emotions, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger, taking turns to control Reilley's Actions and collectively controlling the generally peaceful headquarters of the brain. But things go awry when Sadness, the often neglected emotion, begins to tinker with the core memories.

Pixar creates a delightful world with InsideOut

The most interesting part of InsideOut is the brain. Pixar constructs a simple world full of wonderful things which Joy and Sadness end up exploring. There's a brain headquarters which control Reilley's actions, her actions define her memories which land up in the brain as shiny little balls and while most of them end up in ‘Long Term’ Memory, a library of sorts which contains a lot of memories stacked together in giant shelves and maintained by the ‘brain cleaners’, some memories form the core memories of Reilley. Which in turn define her behavioral ‘islands’ like Honesty, Family Values, Goofiness. Then there are tiny little ‘adventure parks’ too, like Imagination Land where Reilley's imaginary friends reside or the Dream Creation Place where dreams are projected. There's also a 2D world, where you end up as Picasso like objects (The favorite part of my film was to see the transition from 3D to 2D to just shapes). InsideOut throws In words like Core Memories, Long Term Memory, which would otherwise be suited more to a computer class Than an animated children's movie but these explained so simply that it's hard to think that anyone would have a hard time understanding them. InsideOut is a ride you'll love to take and the director spends time in letting you discover the details.

Long Term memory is a library of memories

The Brain has been very systematically made. It's not simple by any means but the complexities have been presented in such a way that you want to visit the carefully structured world. It's beautifully designed and well constructed. This has been a long standing strength of Pixar. From the carefully crafted world of Toys in ToyStory to the fine world of Fiats, Volkswagens and Racing cars in the Cars (Highly Underrated), they create worlds that you'll just love to visit again. InsideOut is no different.

InsideOut poses another interesting question though, fundamental to the movie's plot: Do joy and sadness in everyone's brains go through the same ride that Reilley's emotions went through? Do they comeback or do some stay back in long term memory for very long? It's when you start to ponder on the uncanny partnership of Joy and Sadness, that you realize how their sync is highly important. InsideOut associates these events with growing up, Reilley moving to her teenage years. It is a very interesting indeed.

Sadness and Joy need the sync

In the nearly pitch perfect world of InsideOut what sticks out though is the slightly jagged speed with which the screenplay moves in the second half, and even more so when the focus shifts from the characters to the beautifully created background, it's beautiful but it's best in background, but then again it's a kids story and they won't mind a peak into an extremely creative brain.

I saw this movie about ten days ago and the characters have stuck with me, the idea of tiny little creatures controlling a person's is extremely interesting. Few movies have this kind of impact, and coming from a an animated movie, is only an indication of how far the medium has gone into making extremely special movies.


Pixar's InsideOut is the best movie I've seen this year. It's easily one of the best animated movies ever made. It's a movie that just can't be missed.

Rating: ****


P.S. A note to theatre owners and Disney India

Its one thing to offer viewers the relatively new experience of 3D, it's another to ram that stinking pile of garbage (3D, Ofcourse) down our throats. I wish theatre owners and Disney India in particular understood that no one gives a damn about watching a movie in Three Dimensions with the help of an extremely unhygienic pair of glasses.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Asking on Quora

Vidit Bhargava
I've seen a lot of weird (and frankly stupid) questions on Quora off late. There seems to be a confusion of sorts on what to ask on Quora, given the broad terms in which Quora summarizes itself. Here's a small diagram that might help:

- This is by no means an exhaustive list. There's a lot more that'll yield great answers on Quora.

- Note: Along with Reading a book you can refer to Wikipedia as well. But don't forget to see the citations over there. Wikipedia articles while almost accurate, are easily manipulable and take some time get moderated.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tanu Weds Manu Returns Review

Vidit Bhargava
Somewhere, roughly 30 minutes before the movie ends, you realise how poorly it is going to. You know the next 30 minutes are going to be a drag, yet you sit with hope that something saves Tanu Weds Manu Returns from a crash landing of a climax, a convincing sub plot, or maybe a twist in the tale? Alas, nothing such happens. Despite brilliant acting by Deepak Dobriyal and Kangana Ranaut, It’s hard to call Tanu Weds Manu Returns a great movie.

A sequel to the 2011 movie Tanu Weds Manu (Nothing great either), Tanu Weds Manu Returns follows roughly the same story line, given that the original leads are on the verge of a divorce. There are some good points that the movie tries to make, simple ones about forgiveness, but most of them are lost in the attempt at throwing out punch lines in every scene of the movie, some of them are even likeable, you chuckle a bit, a lot of them are cringe-worthy. It’s just hard to take any character seriously and hence, what they say lacks weight.

All is not bad with TWMR though, there’s Kangana Ranaut with what I think is the best double-role played by any actor, ever. The last I saw someone pull off multiple roles with ease was Paresh Rawal in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. Ranaut’s double role extends beyond the look, or an accent. The difference in demeanour is noticeable. She goes through a complete transformation between the two. You could hardly say they are the same actors. In fact when I first saw the trailer of Tanu Weds Manu Returns, I looked back at the star-cast to check the name of the ‘debutant’ who plays the Haryanvi character in the movie. Only to realise, it was Kangana Ranaut playing a double role.

The support cast is commendable too. Deepak Dobriyal shines among the rest though. Never missing a comic-moment, Dobriyal’s acting is natural and is seldom over-board or hammy. Swara Bhaskar and Jimmy Shergill do a good job in their cameos too. Zeeshan Ayub does fairly well in a rather poorly written character, which is made to shout out lines, it’s a sham, I was expecting a lot better for Ayub, given how he single-handedly made Raanjhanaa as interesting as it was. Madhavan’s dependable as usual.

The biggest problem with Tanu Weds Manu Returns though, as I mentioned above, is the insistence on punch-lines and sounding cool, instead of substance (The prequel had none of it, and so it was forgettable, this one though had it all the time, but it was only side-stepped for more punch-lines). It’s a very indisciplined movie, if I may say. It spends a lot of time on what should have been on the side-lines, and as a result it ends up with an unconvincing climax.

That’s not to say TWMR doesn't have its moments. For a good part of the first and second half the movie is engaging. The soundtrack was unpredictably good, it fits in well with the movie, the songs hardly seem out of place are well composed.

But the ending is plain stupid. Rai builds up great characters. He sets the movie up for a serious 30-45 minutes of conflict. Only to squander it away, in what looks like a very very unconvincing ending. In the end you couldn’t care less who the characters went with, their decisions extremely baffling. The worst part is, it’s all predictable. How the movie ends is visible from miles away and so is the slump of a climax it is about to get into.

A lot of people liked Tanu Weds Manu Returns. It seems to have got a cult following already. You might like it too. But I didn’t (1). It was fun in parts but never turned out to be a memorable experience. If you must, watch it for Deepak Dobriyal and Kangana Ranaut’s acting prowess. You could even give it a miss, if you are finding it hard to get the tickets.

Rating: ** 1/2 (Watcheable but not Memorable)

1 : I didn’t even like Queen. Couldn’t believe a character like that of Kangana Ranaut can exist, or simply couldn’t connect with the character, it seamed far from real. Some people tell me that such people ‘do’ exist and that her portrayal was pretty accurate. Characters like the ones she portrayed in Tanu Weds Manu Returns definitely do exist and she’s done great acting here too. But both Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns are over-rated in my opinion.  

Monday, June 08, 2015

A Trip to the Sodabottleopenerwala Cafe

Vidit Bhargava

A few days back, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Sodabottleopenerwala (Yep, that’s somebody’s surname!) Cafe, in Delhi’s Khan Market, which I had previously missed for a much more unique menu of La Bodega, a fine dining Mexican Restaurant, but more on that in a later posted. Sodabottleopenerwala is the kind of crowded Iranian Cafe, that you’ve probably heard exists in places like Mumbai. It’s extremely noisy but the Cafe insists that it is what they intended to make.

Getting the Irani Cafe touch right, Sodabottleopenerwala is unabashedly skeuomorphic, it looks like a Parsi home that was made into a cafe. Proud to be Parsi, the cafe has a lot of references to them, like the stairway to the cafe, which is filled with the diminishing community’s family photographs, even the menu items contain some of the culture references to them. If you were looking for an Irani-Cafe experience in Delhi, I’d recommend this to you. It’s super good at emulating one. 

But perhaps, in capturing the essence of an Irani Cafe, Sodabottleopenerwala also looses its productivity. It appears crowded, noisier than it should be (It’s probably the construction of the cafe which helps in resonating the noise) and slightly clumsy. This is not the cafe I want to go to have a peaceful afternoon of work. 

Sodabottleopenerwala probably has the most innovative menu I’ve seen in a long time. With food items termed as “Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlet” and “Jardaloo Ma Tarkari” it’s hard to not notice how much Sodabottleopenerwala Cafe loves it’s Parsis. (And, yes, there’s an Eggs Kejriwal too, if you are feeling too political).

So after some ‘intense’ reading of the menu, which involved me having to read the descriptions thoroughly as the names weren’t really indicative of the nature of the dish but rather the people who seemed to have liked it, I ordered the ‘Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlet’ , ‘Tardeo AC Market Mamaji’s Grilled Sandwich’ and a ‘Sikanje Bin’. The service was a little late, these three items took over half an hour to get served.

Food Items at the Sodabottleopenerwala Cafe have the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Everything, from the mint-beverage I had to the vegetable cutlet has a very unique and strong taste. Nothing tastes neutral, there’s an excess of some or the other ingredient, but that’s not to say, it tastes bad. It actually tastes pretty good. 

The Mint and Dried Plum drink I had was pretty refreshing, and tasted a bit like Spremuta. The Sikanje Bin is highly refreshing. Even the grilled sandwich was pretty well done too. Although, it had excess onion to it, it tasted very original and was completely different from all the other grilled sandwiches i’ve had. If I were to go back to Sodabottleopenerwala I’d probably order the Sikanje Bin and Grilled Sandwich. The Same however cannot be said for the Vegetable Cutlet, which just had too much garlic to taste good. The Vegetable Cutlet leaves a very very sharp taste in the mouth and is avoidable. 

On the Whole, the Experience was a different one. Did I enjoy it? Yes, for the sheer delight of experiencing something completely new and different from the regular cafes. Will I go back to the Cafe? Probably Not. I enjoy less noisier places.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Movie Review: Piku

Vidit Bhargava

Shoorjit Sircar’s Piku has a lot of things to say, and all of them are surprisingly well woven into a two hour long nerd comedy about Motions.

Piku’s characters are 'motion' nerds. They are obsessed about Motions. They literally know everything about them. From awkward squatting techniques to chewing food like a cow, you name it, and like every other nerd, they have nothing else to talk about. Every discussion they have, somehow connects to their subject of interest. This uncanny obsession about Motions is perhaps, the movie’s driving force. It’s what induces laughs from the unlikeliest of places, and eases an otherwise tightly packed screenplay about Family values, women liberation and sticking to the roots. 

Shot partly as a road trip, Piku is a story about how Piku, the movie’s central character, decides to fulfil her father’s curious wish to travel to Kolkata by car, because, well, he neither likes Air Travel or Trains, or their effect on his motions (You might have guessed that by now!). The local taxi drivers shudder at the thought of travelling fifteen hundred kilometres with the Banerjees, who are perhaps the hardest people in town to get along with. In the end, it’s the owner Rana (Irrfan Khan) who must drive them to Kolkata. The ride is a predictably bumpy one for Rana, who finds hard to comply with the absurd demands of his client. Woven smartly into their banter are the movie’s many messages and never feel preachy.

One of the reason why Piku works, is the near perfect work done by its crew. Particularly well done is Anupam Roy’s music and Kamaljeet Negi’s cinematography. Juhi Chaturvedi’s screenplay is well done for most of the part.

Needless to say, the actors too are in prime form. With Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, Sircar, probably gets the best actors he could as for. Though, Amitabh Bachchan as the cantankerous Bhaskor Banerjee pretty much outshines everyone. Amongst the supporting actors, Raghubhir Yadav as Dr. Chaturvedi, stands out. The friendly chatter between Yadav and Bachchan make some of the funniest parts of Piku’s first half.

But, perhaps one of the downsides of making a ‘nearly’ perfect movie is that the minor hiccups in the screenplay are largely noticeable (A problem evident with the likes of Haider and Lootera), The climax involving Bachchan riding a bicycle on the streets of Kolkata, is overstretched, and A subplot or two go awry sometimes, not making much sense in the bigger picture. The subplot involving Bhaskor’s abandoning of his ancestral house in Kolkata could have been clipped out, and so could, much of the pointless banter that takes place in Kolkata in the later half of the movie. However these are only minor bumps in an otherwise likeable story.

Sircar’s best work yet, Piku is an enjoyable nerd comedy. Few Hindi movies have the power to deliver genuine laughs with subtlety, Piku is one of them.

Rating: **** (Worth a Watch)

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy - Movie Review

Vidit Bhargava
Movie: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Music: Sneha Khanwalkar, Madboy / Mink and Other Artists
Actors: Shushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwary, Divya Menon, Meiyang Chang

The Key to a great Murder Mystery is a well told story and not necessarily a big surprise, some of my favourite Detective fiction mysteries are written beautifully with Murder often being a consequence of a chain of events. Dibakar Banerjee’s Byomkesh Bakshy is a well told story but lacks a surprise element.

Byomkesh Bakshy is a surprisingly fresh take on regular detective movies / shows. A pleasant departure from the tradition of portraying a detective as some one who is extremely observant, infinitely more intelligent than his peers and somewhat invincible (Look no further than Cumberbach’s and Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Sherlock). Banerjee’s Byomkesh is a young amateur enthusiast, vulnerable and prone to making mistakes, He’s not a professional, can hardly be called a detective but learns quickly. Teetering on the thin line between what’s legal and what’s not, Byomkesh’s investigations are based on straight forward questioning, street smart trickery and a bit of trespassing. It’s refreshing to see to see a younger, learning detective. The imperfections in Byomkesh lend an element of adventure to the movie. In a well shot sequence that shows Byomkesh’s inexperience, Straight out of a negotiation from a Chinese Gang, Bakshy reaches out to a British Inspector (Mark Bennington) with a proposal to provide the villain in exchange of a favour, only to be sternly reminded by the inspector that it’s the Calcutta police, not a Chinese Gang.

Set in the 1940s Calcutta (Now Kolkata), the first accomplishment of the movie is perhaps being able to create a beautiful 1940s environment and not go overboard by showing off long shots of the vintage Kolkata. The next accomplishment is the brilliant idea of setting up contemporary characters in a period setting. While the sets give an impression that the movie is set in the colonial times, the language and characters are very much nearer to the present, being instantly relatable. By eliminating a steep on-boarding that a period film with period characters would generally go through, the director spends more time on building up the key characters like Byomkesh Bakshy and Ajit Banerjee. Setting up the plot takes up a lot of time and might appear slow to some but I felt it was quite well done, given that we’re looking at a franchise in the making here and not a one movie series.

Music is a big plus too. Done by Sneha Khanwalker and a bunch of other artists including Madboy / Mink, the soundtrack makes the movie all the more special. It’s one of those soundtracks that you’d buy after watching the movie. Music is key to storytelling and in many ways Khanwalker and team has hit the ball out of the park here.

Good Mystery movies in the recent times have been largely influenced by the Detective fiction written by Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle. Reema Kagti’s Talaash’s screenplay was largely Agatha Christie-que in nature. Kahaani with the hired Assassin playing a crucial role might have been a little Dan Brown-ish (Not in the bad sense of the word, at all) in it’s dealing with the screenplay. Byomkesh’s screenplay remains largely untouched from such influences, there were odd nods to Conan Doyle and Christie, with the paper cutting threats being straight out of The Hound of Baskervilles, the Poirot style Climax where every suspect is invited to a roundtable meet and Byomkesh starts telling the story, and an incident of strychnine (a favourite drug of Christie) poisoning but apart from that it didn’t seem to be ‘inspired’ by any previous Detective fiction. The style of writing was neither inspired from Christie or Conan Doyle, which is a rather good thing.

But Byomkesh Bakshy isn’t perfect. The lack of a good surprise element is telling. It makes for a rather boring climax, where you already know who the villain is. The big reveal is guessable miles away from the climax and it isn’t something special. This is something that comes of as a surprise to me, as Dibakar Banerjee’s previous thriller Shanghai, featured a very unconventional ending. Having said that the gripping screenplay does cover for that. There’s also a lack of depth to some of the characters, like the inmates of the boarding lodge that Bakshy stays in, except for Chang’s character none of them really have a story to them. Also, the steady pace and a significant lack of action in the first half might irk some, but to be honest, Detective movies aren’t meant to be a barrage of gunfire, they are meant to give you time to sink your teeth in to the story.

Acting for most of the part is fine with Shushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwari, Divya Menon and Mark Bennington giving standout performances. Swastika Mukherjee hams it a bit though but given that her role isn’t very big, her acting doesn’t really have a big negative impact on the movie.

Minor issues aside, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is a solid start to the Byomkesh Series. It’s an unconventional take on the detective fiction genre and is certainly a job well done. I’m already excited about the next in the series. Byomkesh Bakshy is a movie that just can’t be missed.

Rating: **** (Don’t Miss This)

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Imitation isn't flattery. It's Stealing

Wait? That’s not LookUp advertising?
Yes. It’s not LookUp the elegant dictionary advertising. It’s another supposedly “visionary” startup which has just begun its campaign called LOOK UP. 

As the co-creator of LookUp ( A dictionary app for the iPhone ), I have a message for
In the ad, promoting your “LOOK UP” campaign, you call yourself visionary, hardworking and game changing. Visionary. Hardworking. Game Changing. That’s What you aren’t! (Or at least that’s what you show us, when you so shamefully copy our branding and spin out an advertising campaign on it!)

This is what our brand looks like: 

Just as much of a growing brand is in it’s space, we too although small are in a similar position in the app business.

Blatantly copying our brand and logo isn’t right. I’m not sure how your conscience allows you to do this. Some may say, Imitation is the best form of flattery. But Personally, I’m not flattered. We spent a lot of time in making our logo, deciding the name. I’m not flattered by you blatantly stealing our identity. To quote Sir Jonathan Ive, “Imitation isn’t flattery. It’s stealing.”

Vidit Bhargava
Creator, LookUp: An Elegant Dictionary
Cofounder, The Tangible Apps

If you haven't tried LookUp yet, here's a link:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Movie Recommendation: Badlapur

 Vidit Bhargava

Director: Sriram Raghavan
Actors: Nawazuddin Siddique, Varun Dhawan, Kumud Mishra, Huma Qureshi, Radhika Apte

In one of the best opening sequences for an Hindi Movie, the movie’s chief antagonist Liaq and his ally rob a bank and flee by taking hostage a lady and a young child. Both the woman and the kid die and thus begins our protagonist Raghav’s road to revenge.

One of the best things about Badlapur is its actors. Just about everyone does their work brilliantly in the movie. It’s hard to find anyone who’s not performing well here. Nawazuddin still steels the show though. He’s miles ahead of every other actor in the movie and that’s when everyone’s doing a good job. He plays Liaq with great finesse, capturing the tiny details right. Nawazuddin gets the best lines too. Watch him taunt a fellow inmate about a trip to Bangkok during his short hiatus from the prison or His face off with Dhawan’s character Raghav, where he makes him realise the brutality of his revenge plan. (That scene is going to stay for a long long time with the viewers). 

Varun Dhawan as Raghav is good, Dhawan plays his character with surprising ease, this being a completely new territory for him. Amongst others, Kumud Mishra has the pot bellied police officer is impressive (Reminded me of Mr. Plod from Noddy :) ) , Huma Qureshi plays here role with much aplomb, though short her character is extremely well written. The same applies for Radhika Apte’s, Ashwini Khalsekar’s and Zakir Hussain’s cameos, their screen time may be short but their performances leave a mark.   

Badlapur does benefit from some extremely well written characters. Taking a leaf out of Mani Ratnum’s Raavan, Raghavan puts no one in black and white here. There are no completely evil or completely good characters. Every character has layers of depth to it. Every evil character has a somewhat good side to it and there’s a dash of evil in the good ones too. Liaq’s is perhaps the best written character in the movie. By the time the movie ends, it’s hard not to like “Liaq” and that’s partly because how well Liaq’s character is written and partly because of Nawazuddin’s acting prowess. 

Despite the tone that Badlapur’s trailer sets, it isn’t an extremely violent movie. In fact, there’s a lot of good dark humour here. Raghavan’s judicious use of violence and humour in unexpected places, strikes an uncanny but good balance over here, making the movie extremely engaging. 

Badlapur’s screenplay is highly gripping, there’s also a strong Johnny Gaddar echo here, which isn’t necessarily bad for Badlapur. Badlapur isn’t perfect though. It’s pace does slacken a bit post intermission but it’s only a minor hiccup in what is other wise a pretty great movie. Also, those looking for a violent and bloody revenge story will be slightly disappointed. However, Running at about 2 hours 20 minutes, there’s hardly ever a dull moment in Badlapur!

There’s isn’t much to dislike about Badlapur. It’s an exceptionally well made movie. It’s the best I’ve seen so far in 2015. Badlapur’s not a movie to be missed.

Rating: **** (Don’t miss this one! )

P.S. Don’t Miss the Beginning, Seriously don’t. Not only does it have an awesome opening sequence, the first 15 minutes of the movie are extremely crucial. If you miss them, you’ll have a hard time figuring out what’s going on, and you might not enjoy the movie to the fullest.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Buying a Book Online isn't the Right Experience

Vidit Bhargava
I went to a bookshop last Sunday, my first meaningful visit to one in three years. Traditional Bookstores have always worked for me, a lot more than the online ones. So, for the book I bought, I browsed a lot of others too.

So why do traditional Bookstores work for me? They get a lot of things right.  Serendipity for example. So, when I went to a bookshop last week, I not only got the Agatha Christie novel I was looking for, I also discovered a book on Pakistan’s Cricket History, A book by Basharat Peer and an architecture and design magazine. Fortunate Happenstances like these seldom happen on Amazon or Flipkart. 

Back in 2010, I was a regular at a bookshop in New Delhi’s Connaught Place. The bookseller gradually picked up my reading habits and would suggest me a book or two, while I was at his shop browsing for new things to read. At times, it would be something I really liked at others not very good. But, there’s something to be said about Booksellers here. They are some of the best book curators out their. They lend a Human Touch to the book buying process. Go to a Bookshop about where the ones selling you a book are just as enthusiastic about them as you are and you’ll realise the value of the little suggestions they give you.

The New Book Depot, now closed, was one of the best Bookstores in the city!

Also, you get to the feel the paper, turn the pages and select the book and the paper and bind quality. Now, this may seem trivial and in reality it is indeed a minor detail which many might ignore, but to me making sure that the book I’m buying feels good in hand, is essential in the buying process.

Online stores on the other hand, lack the human touch. Personally, I’ve felt this ever since I started buying things from Flipkart / Amazon. There’s little emotion in the selling process. It’s a mechanical warehouse culture that these books are subjected to. Wrapped in a cardboard box ready to be ‘shipped’, the Book is just another courier consignment and not a doorway to another universe full of amazing things.
Wrapped in a cardboard box ready to be ‘shipped’, the Book is just another courier consignment and not a doorway to another universe full of amazing things.
On Flipkart or Amazon, you get what you want, but seldom do you come across something new. Seldom does Flipkart suggest something that you really might want to read. Both the websites its seems, are always embroiled in a battle to provide the cheapest rates possible. None of them seem to care about the condition and quality of the book they are sending the readers, there’ve been many instances for me when an Amazon fulfilled purchase ended up in a book with dust and scratch marks on it or even a torn cover. Even though the online stores provide an image with every purchase, you still don’t know what you are going to see at your doorstep.

Having said that, the online stores deserve some credit for having a much larger collection of books than a conventional bookstore might have. There’ve been a lot of times when I was unable to find a book any where in the city but found an import edition on Amazon. Also, some of the online stores do care about the books, Flipkart was famous for sending some really beautiful bookmarks, back when they were young and few people knew them.

Buying a book online is sometimes a necessity.  For every other time, I’d prefer to walk to my Bookstore where the experience is much more human. 

Movie Review: Baby

Vidit Bhargava
Director: Neeraj Pandey. 
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Rasheed Naz, Danny Denzongpa, Anupam Kher and Kay Kay Menon.

Here’s what a Neeraj Pandey movie generally is, it’s a decent story with an extraordinary climax and brilliant performances by all actors, which is what makes it a memorable experience. Baby, however is no crowning jewel for the director. 

A terrorist escapes prison, a supposed Dead Agent shows up in Nepal and a trusted recruit turns Rogue, putting the Baby team, a special cell of the ATU, hot on the trail of a major terror attack plot against the country. Complete with Thrilling chase sequences, Guns, Gadgets and espionage, it has all the makings of a decent thriller. 

Coming from the director of ‘A Wednesday’ and ‘Special 26’ both of them known for their originality of ideas and out of the box treatment, this movie’s disappointing in a lot of areas. Baby’s neither got wildly original ideas nor does the thriller genre get a special treatment. Borrowing ideas from Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, it’s a conventional spy-thriller which relies more on thrills and impressive fight sequences rather than content.

In a slow and jerky first half, joggling between frequent lapses in logic and jingoistic dialogues, Baby’s hardly passable. In one of the early sequences, The escape of a terrorist in broad daylight on a busy Mumbai road is just one of the many logic-less sequences from the movie.The second half however, catches a bit of pace, providing better thrills and with a much more gripping screenplay and even though the climax isn’t entirely original, it’s extremely gripping.
Rana Daggubatti deserved a lot more screen space, He can definitely act! 

Baby’s strength however lies in crisp conversations with clap inducing dialogues and some good comic timing in particularly tense situations. That, along with good performances from every one makes Baby an enjoyable experience. Amongst the actors, Rasheed Naz looks in good touch in his role of the Terror Master Mind, Anupam Kher and Rana Dugabatti, although in short cameos are extremely impressive. But credit to Tapsee Panu who plays her cameo with surprising aplomb.

Going to watch Baby, I was expecting a different take on conventional thrillers. I was disappointed. What I got instead, was an enjoyable and brisk action thriller, but hardly something memorable. Despite it’s many flaws, Baby is still worth a watch but don’t expect too much from it.
That's how they shot down logic!

Rating: 7/10 It’s good but not Neeraj Pandey Good

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Imitation Game: Review

Directed by: Mortem Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbach, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Running Time: 1 hour 54 minutes

At one point in the movie, the character of Joan Clarke tells Turing that while taking a train to the city she went passed a village which wouldn't exist had it not been for his genius. This is exactly the reason why you should know about Alan Turing too, had it not been for his work and genius we'd still be years behind in technology.

The Imitation Game is a biopic which heavily benefits from the protagonist's character and some powerful performances by Benedict Cumberbach and Matthew Goode.

Based in the 1930s, The imitation game tells the often ignored story of how Alan Turing broke the Enigma codes to help England win the war. While, also touching on the subject of inclusivity and how geniuses sometimes find it hard to have a social life.

Packed with powerful performances from Benedict Cumberbach, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley, the imitation game manages to strike the right chord of emotion throughout it's 2 hours of running time.

A strong story and a well written screenplay captures your attention even in the most trivial of mathematic discussions.

There's also something to be said about how well shot the movie is, from the perfect reproduction of the 1950s, to long shots of Turing with his computer Christopher, the Imitation Game is a very elegantly made movie and incredibly calm for a movie about the very urgency of war time problem solving.

But the Imitation Game is far from perfect. There's a touch of everything in the movie. It's a war movie, a spy thriller and a science drama at the same time. The imitation game discusses the war time problems, Turing's personal challenges (to which Cumberbach lends  surprising finesse) and Turing's relationship with Christopher the computer and the genius of Joan Clarke at good lengths but it's only skin deep when discussing about mathematical and engineering challenges. Going to watch a biopic on Alan Turing, I was expecting a little more on the Enigma Codes. The director, generates a whole lot of interest in cryptography and enigma codes and mathematics but doesn't really let the movie sink it's teeth on those subjects.

Despite Cumberbach's award worthy performance, the socially inept genius character is starting to show its age, Jim Parson's already doing it as Sheldon in the Big Bang theory and Cumberbach's doing it in Sherlock too. Nearly 8 years into watching these types of characters on TV shows, one wonders if it's time we took some break off them and talked about the more social academics, one's who don't insult every passerby on the street.

Also, The Imitation Game is a movie that’s best watched without an interval. Sadly, however not many theatres offer that privilege in India. So I’d suggest you either ask the theatre personal before hand about the no-interval screening (if its available, though I am heavily skeptical) or watch it at home through a legally distributed copy, for the best experience.

It’s also interesting to note the makers’ choice of using Imitation Game as the title, which is a direct reference to Turing’s work on what we now call Captcha, instead of something like Enigma or Christopher. Moreover, the way the Imitation Game was used in the movie’s narrative is surprisingly good, it doesn’t stick out as odd or unnecessary, moreover you expect something like this from Turing.

The Imitation Game isn't a perfect movie but it's definitely worth a watch, just for the story itself! Alan Turing's is a story that every one must hear and the Imitation Game does justice to it a large extend but you still come out wanting more.

Rating: 8/10 ( Worth a Watch)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Movie Recommendation: PK

Vidit Bhargava

Movie: PK
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Story: Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi
Actors: Rajkumar Hirani, Anushka Sharma, Sanjay Dutt, Parikshat Sahni, Amardeep Jha and Roshitash Gaud
Rating: *** 1/2 (A Must Watch)

PK is a well made Satire, It's a strong message served with comedy and emotion in equal quantities and most importantly PK is an enjoyable experience. 

To start with, PK has a good and innovative story to tell, with an Alien on board, It’s not conventional science fiction, in fact it’s not even Science Fiction. The writers use an Alien to tell the story of human prejudice here, giving it a satirical treatment more than Sci-Fi or Drama. 

The First half is pretty much flawless, the movie breezes through with a some exceptional comic timing and a tight screenplay, there’s also a tinge of emotion which lends a lot of depth to the central character here. 

To be honest, PK works because the central character is entirely believe-able, which is where Aamir Khan does a great job here. This is easily one his best performances. As an alien, PK is intelligent & observant, yet vulnerable and distraught when he loses a valuable when he arrives on Earth to carry out a research on the living beings on the planet. With no external cues from anywhere, this is an extremely difficult role to play, Khan makes sure that his Portrayal of the Alien, doesn’t only tick of the character traits but lends a certain amount of charm to it, making PK a character that’ll stick longer than the movie itself. 

Amongst others, Saurabh Shukla is just flawless in his role of the fake godman, Again it’s a combined effort of good writing and brilliant acting, notice how the character of ’Tapasvi Maharaj’ shows his skills of a powerful and observant public speaker when he turns the tables on the journalists who come to question him over PK’s allegations. If the movie’s a showdown between the two, the actors make sure that they give an extra edge to their characters.  Sanjay Dutt does an impressive job of playing Bhairon Singh, in the little screen time his character gets, Dutt’s acting leaves a lasting impression.

For the support cast, the director sticks to his regulars here, and they don’t let him down. Parikshat Sahni, Amardeep Jha and Roshitash Gaud leave a mark here. They play their short roles with great conviction. Their performance being just as good and important as that of the lead actors.

But Not everything’s great about PK. If the first half is flawless, the second half’s where the narrative slips and topples upon the ‘well trodden path’ problem. For a first half that was unique in all aspects, the movie’s second halves a sham. Hirani & Joshi use the same media ploy they used in Lage Raho Munna Bhai. It’s so repetitive that at one point PK feels more like a sequel to Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Then there’s the rushed up and unconvincing climax, which definitely leaves a lot to be desired from the film. But it’s still pretty much watchable. 

PK’s soundtrack isn’t great either. However, it’s not something that comes in the way of the movie watch experience. It’s in an unimportant position here, It doesn’t really add much to the movie watching experience and could be loads better but it isn’t something that’ll hinder the movie flow or make you say, “what’s up with the music, it’s irritating!” (believe me, a lot of mainstream movies have managed to do that off late).

The message here is about Human Prejudice and how people are shy of reasoning, and how to some, Asking ‘Why?’ seems to be a lot more difficult than just following. The questions that the movie raises are directed more at it’s audience than a certain group or its followers.

PK has Rajkumar Hirani written all over it. There’s a strong Lage Raho Munna Bhai vibe to the movie, which isn’t necessarily bad but tells a lot about the director’s style of making satire with a message. It’s a well made movie, gets a sufficient amount of critical acclaim and yet is an entertaining experience which gets a good commercial response, not judging a movie by its commercial success but it’s definitely worth noting that some of the other good movies this year, didn’t even find enough theatres in the metropolitans, what could are great stories, if there’s no one to hear them?

PK is largely an enjoyable satire. Watch it for Aamir Khan’s portrayal of the alien astronaut, this is arguably his best acting performance, ever. It’s definitely a good movie, which ought not be missed!