Monthly Archives

July 2017

Barso re megha (Day 1137)

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Romance in Hindi films is synonymous with rain sequences. Much before the item numbers dawned into our entertainment business, rain songs were the only ticket to erotica in Hindi movies. Not all of them were explicitly sensual but they reflected a longing, an admission of desire and therefore all these songs were memorable. We remember some of these numbers for the extraordinary lyrics and the melody and some for the song situations and choreography.


How can we forget the spirited Aishwarya Rai dancing to ‘barso re megha…’ in Guru,  Kareena Kapoor drenched in the shower seducing a shy Rahul Bose in Chameli and before that a cheerful Madhoo jumping in the paddy fields singing ‘Dil hai chotasa…’ in Roja..?


My favourite song for today is Barso re megha barso

My favourite scene: The flood scene in the climax in Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

For more on the #Monsoon Magic tune in @927BigFm Monday- Thursday all week.

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Tip tip barsa paani

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The rainbow has seven colours, the dancer on stage portrays eight roles, life offers nine emotions and the Hindu deity has ten avatars. Have you ever wondered how many shades exist to monsoon?  Hindi films portrays a million moments of this romantic season. In the coming days, I will unfold some mesmerising moments of the Monsoon Magic and will also share one favorite song and scene of the magical season.

My favorite song for today is Tip tip barsa paani


My favorite scene: Nargis fighting to save their crop and field in Mother India.

For more on the #MonsoonMagic tune in @927BigFm Monday- Thursday all week.

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Movie Review: Jagga Jasoos – Detective loses the plot

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Film: Jagga Jasoos

Date:   14 July 2017

Writer/ Director: Anurag Basu

Music: Pritam

Stars:  Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee

Ratings: 2 stars

I have often wondered why a film that has been in the making for too long somehow never appeals to the audience. Does the film get delayed because the people making it lose interest or does the delay become the cause of the loss of interest among those involved? It is a mystery I have never been able to resolve. One thing is certain however the audience always senses the vibration of a film they somehow always know instinctively what’s going to work for them and what’s not.

Jagga Jasoos is the story of a lovable orphan raised in a hospital, until one day he finds a Godfather/ Bagchi who brings him home and fills his life with care.  The paradise is short lived because Bagchi/ Saswat Chatterjee has a secret mission to fulfil and admits Jagga into a boarding school promising to fetch him soon but never comes back. Months roll into years and now Jagga is a big boy/Ranbir Kapoor who has a nose for mystery and his friends call him Jagga detective.

At the onset, it has to be said that Jagga Jasoos is not a regular film. It is scripted like a play and shot like an opera where characters break into a jig and song every time they need to express themselves. Initially, it is all very attractive and we are drawn into the meadows and the melody, the yellow fields, the singing birds, the grazing animals and the mesmerising nature but after a while, the one-dimensional characters and the monotony of the treatment become a tedious watch.

When Jagga does not receive his annual courier from his father he sets on a distant journey to find him and accompanying him is his new friend, accident prone journalist Shruti Sengupta/ Katrina Kaif. The second half of the film travels to exotic locations and combines action an adventure but we are not entertained because the narrative is dull and far from engaging.

As Ranbir’s father Saswat Chatterjee delivers a convincing performance but the normally dependable Saurabh Shukla has no scope to shine. Katrina Kaif looks visibly disinterested and Ranbir Kapoor mysteriously lacks the zing! Just a few years ago director Anurag Basu and Ranbir Kapoor together gave us Barfee that we have yet to recover from. Now they bring us Jagga Jasoos after a three-hour watch I have yet to recover from!!

Watch Jagga Jasoos only if you are a Katrina- Ranbir fan so that you can resolve the mystery what went wrong and why. I failed and therefore rate Jagga Jasoos with 2 stars.

Mr Dhokla (Day 1134)

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Driving from the venue I realise I have not tasted the dhoklas brought for me because Parthiv Gohil’s musicians have finished them backstage. I feel deprived and call up Sohan Kalsariya. He promises to bring a parcel for me at the hotel in the morning and as promised arrives with neatly packed different types of dhoklas. Utpal Bhayani and I are tempted to carry the boxes with us to Mumbai and even though our bags have no space, Hitenbhai helps us to adjust the boxes amidst our clothes.

Over breakfast served at the hotel restaurant, we discuss the plus and the minuses of last night event. All good organisers must do this in order to retain the quality and content of the show. It is am and time for us to leave for the station. Hitenbhai cannot take the risk of me finding the bogey on my own and escorts me to the station. There is still time for the train to arrive and I am excited to notice coolies eating/ drinking/ washing face in exactly the same way that Manmohan Desai had projected Amitabh Bachchan in his film Coolie. Close to the bridge on the same platform I spot a shoeshine boy and think that so many years have gone by but Salim Javed’s Deewar but the character is still visible on the streets even today.

13 b

My journey back home is as comfortable and I spend time observing people on the trains, most of them are either sleeping or reading, some are on the phone discussing GST what else. I am hungry but I will not open my dhokla box in front of strangers, so wait patiently to drive home…



Yours Sincerely (1133)

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The English publishers usually release their books without any fanfare but the Gujaratis have a culture to combine a literary event with entertainment and the audience loves it. All of them organise a new release with drama and music, some sher-o-shairis from the anchor and some terrific word flow from sparkling speakers. Image Publishers are a front runner in this genre and make a star of an author overnight. All their events are innovative and a house full, not surprising that their members eagerly look forward to all Image events.

11bToday, the auditorium is packed with the who’s who of the city and everyone is prepared for a larger than life release. A 6feet tall book cover is wheeled on stage which I am expected to unveil.  It is a mammoth task and I include author Ajita in the process, we open the cover together housing many copies books and present them to all on the dais. It is time for group pictures, more smiles and more poses.

Finally, it is time for the author to make her speech, to tell all of us what made her turn into a writer. “I have everything a woman can ask for but there was something missing, something I could not define but it is called an identity beyond the many roles I play in life and I was searching for an outlet when came this opportunity and I grabbed it”.

Ajita is nervous and has a prepared speech so that she does not make a mistake. Hesitantly, she begins to tell her story, how the idea of the book came about and how her friends encouraged her to share her thought process. She remembers to credit everyone who made this dream possible, her team, her immediate family, her friends and finally, then the speech is over, Ajita looks visibly relieved.  She can finally heave a sigh of relief and enjoy the concert performed by Parthiv Gohil and his team.


I don’t wait for the concert because I have food on my mind, more on this tomorrow…

Sanjeev Kumar Auditorium (Day 1139)

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As our car drives inside the Sanjeev Kumar Auditorium, I recall all my meetings with the actor and suddenly feel emotional. If he was alive today he would have felt so proud of this hi-tech, fully equipped with the latest technology auditorium built by the BMC in honour of their Surat celebrity. There is still time for the show to begin and I am introduced to the Mayor, the MP and the minister of the state. I am told that no function in Surat begins on time because the business community packs up work late and never leaves home without dinner.

11 aAt 9:30 Finally, the evening begins with a mono act based on the book to be released today. This is just a trailer for the larger picture to follow but before that, some formalities have to be observed so all the honoured guests are invited on stage and what follows are speeches. The minister makes a diplomatic speech, the motivator packages a social presentation and as the chief guest, I entertain my audience with stories from the film world. The topic for the evening is women and I pay tribute to all the women in the film fraternity who have influenced my worldview as a journalist.


It is imperative that I speak about the author Ajita Italia who has courageously penned her intimate thoughts as a diary in the form of a book. It is not as simple or easy as it seems. I’m curious to know what made her write Yours Sincerely, curious to know her conflict and anxiety during the process and curious to know what she is feeling at the moment but for that, we have to first release the book and for that, you will have to wait till tomorrow…



Bhuj Express to Surat Day 1138

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I am invited by Image Publishers to inaugurate a book by a debutant author in Surat. I realise it is not as simple to travel by train because all the roads are dug up and it takes an eternity to reach the station. I am scheduled to reach Borivali at 3 pm for my 3.30 train but at 315 I am still navigating the suburban traffic. Hiten Anandpara the organiser of the event is aware that I am not familiar with travelling by railway and has sent his expert assistant, Sejal Pondaa, writer and an actor of repute to facilitate my travel. Sejal warns gently that there is a possibility that I may not be able to get on to the train and we need to think of travel options. At 3.20 by a stroke of luck, my driver makes it to Borivali and Sejal rushes me on the bridge and then the platform to almost run to find our waiting bogey. I make it just in the nick of time.

10 a
It is a comfortable three hour drive to the city of diamonds and I spend time looking out of my window, reading and also sleeping. At Surat Station another assistant of our host, Naveen has come to fetch me and drives me to the hotel. We have some time before the show and I decide to have tea with Parthiv Gohil who is performing at the show. In his room, he introduces me to two dynamic boys Vishvesh Sanghvi and Shaival Desai has revolutionised digital media with their super successful portal called CityTadkSurat. I tell them I have a craving for dhoklas and they immediately phone a friend.

10 b
By the time Parthiv and I have changed to attend the show, CityTadkaSurat friend MrDhokla is waiting in the lobby for us. More about him and the event tomorrow.

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Karwanda & Sunshine (Day 1137)

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It is still raining and we don’t want to be stuck in Ganeshpuri forever so have a quick cup of coffee with meduvadas in the local canteen of the temple supervised by my friend and get ready for our return journey.

On our drive back my friends fill me with more stories about Baba Nityanand and his miracles. It is all so fascinating and to think that their guru was alive a few decades ago and my friend and his siblings have played in his lap, walked around Ganespuri holding his hand as little children.

21367907It is still raining but not pouring like in the morning and floods have cleared all the way. We feel gratitude for making it to our destination without hurdles. I have come to realise that blockages come into our lives to teach all of us a lesson.  They come to test our endurance and we must not fail in our patience! If we hold faith and walk the path we set for, the blockages dissolve with time and new opportunities surface, if we lose faith, we lose opportunities.

14.fWith time I have learnt that what we often describe as destiny is actually self-created.  We are responsible for every experience in our life, for instance, my friends and I could have been intimidated by the floods and changed our plan, we didn’t and went head on for an experience!

(To be continued)

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Movie Review: Sridevi overwhelms as Mom Day 1136

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Film: Mom

Date: 07 July 2017

Director: Ravi Udyawar

Writer: Girish Kohli

Music: AR Rehman

Stars: Sridevi, Adnan Siddiqui, Sajal Ali, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna

Ratings: 4 stars


In a dark night on a lonely street, a car drives soundlessly fighting the lashing rains, after some time the vehicle stops and you notice from a top angle that the passengers have changed seats. The camera does not allow any invasion but AR Rehman’s melancholic score breaks your heart! This is just one of the many brilliant sequences in the film.

Mom opens as a family story where Devaki/ Sridevi is an empowered biology teacher in school. She likes to make the class interesting for her students so demonstrates the various muscles in a human body projecting a picture of Salman Khan. Her husband Anand/ Adnan Siddiqui is a globe-trotting business man. Over dinner at the dining table you sense tension brewing between the grown-up Arya/ Sajal Ali and her mother but it is subtle and underplayed and we have faith that the unrest will dissolve with time.

Misfortune always comes unannounced so while Anand is away on a tour Arya attends a valentine party and does not return home pat midnight.  A worried Devaki ventures to the farmhouse and later to the police station to finally locate her critical on a hospital bed!

The first half is superbly executed and breathless. Sridevi is chillingly dramatic be it her breakdown in the hospital, her outrage in the court or coping with a clinically depressed Arya at home. The second half unfolds as a revenge thriller gets predicable and overlooks pertinent details for example, it is a bit strange that none of Arya’s school friends ever come visiting her home. There are no inquiries from her school or the neighborhood and most important, no invasive media waiting outside their home which is unrealistic following such a big scandal!

There are no surprises in the plot because all of us are familiar with the story, rather read about it every day in the newspapers. Years ago Amitabh Bachchan starred in a similar story called Adalat and Raveena Tandon addressed the same issue a few months ago in her film called Maatr so what makes Mom special?

There are many pluses: the treatment, the projection, the pace, the energy and the expression be it Akshaye Khanna, Sajal Ali or the magical Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Monisha Baldawa’s editing and Anay Goswamy’s cinematography combined with AR Rehman’s heart-rending melody is a perfect backdrop to portray a flawless and scintillating performance from Sridevi.   You cry with her when she breaks down at the hospital, you are outraged when she is let down by the judiciary, you are humbled when she swallows her pride for her children and fearful when she dares into the devil’s den. Sridevi proves that 50 years and 300 films later she still has a lot to offer and English Vinglish and Mom is just the beginning.

I rate Mom with 4 stars and a big salute to Sridevi.

Medical Camp & Doctors (Day 1135)

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I am surprised that a small place like this can offer all the facilities to the poor and the needy.  A voluntary group of able doctors and experts drive every weekend to Ganeshpuri to organise a nonprofit camp to treat the locals free of charge. A large room divided into four sections addresses all kinds of problems be it blood pressure, diabetes, knee joint pain and even more serious issues. The locals stand in an organised line and are led to respective sections by volunteers. When they finish consultations they are led to the medicine desk and this goes on from morning till evening.

The camp is clean and well maintained and all problems of the patients are needed to sensitively.  I speak to the doctors and to the moving force behind the camp, he says he wants to do more for the locals and is in the process of collecting resources in order to dream big.  On our way out I spoke to some locals waiting in the queue, if they were satisfied with the medical attention and all of them express gratitude, say that it is because of the local camp they don’t have to travel out of Ganeshpuri to seek a doctor or medicines. So much of good work and so quietly in a small town of Maharashtra and people like us living in Maharashtra don’t know anything about it.

(To be continued)

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