Akbar-Nama

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A day in the life of Jalaluddin Akbar

5:00 am Woke up to the first rays of the sun. To my surprise, I found myself in bed with Abul Fazal. Don’t know how this happened –I distinctly remember asking for directions to Abu Begum’s quarters.

5:30 am Bare-chested sword play in front of the harem. What makes it totally cool is that I did not even have an actual steel sword. Yep I am naughty in the mornings.

6:30 am Nothing better than to start the day off by taming a wild elephant. And oh boy did this one shake its trunk and almost flatten me twice with its huge feet before I could grab it by the tusk. But then the page-boy tells me I have made yet another mistake. Instead of going to the pit, I had wandered into the courtyard of one of my most senior wives, who seems to have been pissed off with me for some reason.

Damn. Two mistakes and its not yet 7 am.

Note to self: No opium shots in the morning.

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Jodhaa Akbar–the Review

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Whoa ! Is that man with the disheveled hair and over-all Pagal-e-Azam demeanor Emperor Hemu, the overlord of Delhi? Is that scuffle between underpaid extras, fought with the intensity of a ludo game at an old age home, a recreation of the historic battle of Panipat? Is that Amitabh Bachchan hiding amidst the shadows during the Akbar-Jodhaa love-making scene saying “Aiii, kahaan haath lagata hain” as Hrithik and bahu-rani Aishwarya make agonizing faces of passion all the while kissing foreheads and avoiding passionate tongue-action, which as we all know raised the heckles of the B-family previously? On a related note, why does Hrithik never offer a lift to Aishwarya in his helicopter?

Doesn’t Aishwarya Rai look like Zhang Ziyi in her white ninja get-up? Was the climactic one-on-one battle inspired from “Troy”? When an angry Jodhaa drops a purdah in front of Akbar, why does he not sing “Purdah nashin ko be-purdaah na kar doon to, Akbar mera naam nahin hain” ? How long does it take for a man shot full of arrows to die? Did Akbar invest so much time in wooing each of the hundreds of “companions” (spoils of war) that lived in his harem? If he did, no wonder he never got around to learning to read or write. And finally will the great emperor actually turn to Jodhaa, Dhoom II style, and say “Are you like checking me out” when he spies her ogling his bare torso as he does his morning sword calisthenics?

These and other ponderous questions (including “when was the last time I checked my car’s tire pressure” and “was the front door locked when we left”) occupied my mind as I labored through the three odd hours of “Jodhaa Akbar”, a fictional love-story overlaid on actual historic events, that is neither a compelling re-telling of the past nor a soaring romance. The best I can call it is an average, overdrawn period-piece which has its flashes of excellence, that are alas way too few and far in between.

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Mooh Kala Muqabla Oh Lailaa

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I just love the Bajrang Dal and their women’s wing Durga Bahini. Not only do they tirelessly uphold our Hindu traditions day in and day out, they also provide us moments of unalloyed mirth.

Bajrang Dal activists out to spoil celebration of love on Valentine’s Day made a couple sitting in a Bhopal park tie the knot and blackened the face of a foreigner. It, however, emerged later that the saffron brigade had wrongly caught a married couple.

In other words, quoting from that source of all knowledge “Gunda”, someone should tell the Bajrang Dal “Abbe nanhe-munhe, mare hue ko kyon maar rahe ho?”
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GooGooGaGaChoChweetChweet

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[Update: Many of the video links are dead links as Youtube seems to have suspended many accounts of users who have uploaded Hindi movie songs.]

Yes folks. Valentine’s Day is almost here. Which means its time to show how much you love your lovey-doveys. And as we all know there is nothing that expresses ethereal longing as purely as expensive greetings cards, shiny chocolates and overpriced flowers. But, this year, before you rush over to the Archie’s outlets either to empty your wallet or to try to pelt stones at the store and harass its customers, let me take a moment (and a few more) of your time to tell you of a new Valentine’s Day gift-item that is sure to arouse your interests.

Among other things.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present GooGooGaGaChoChweetChweet, a CD of the very best, and I mean the very best of Valentine’s Day music brought to you by GB Industries —yes the same corporation that ushered in a lingerie revolution in India with its “Victor Banerjee Secrets” line of sensual inner-wear.

Oh no you say. Been there, heard that. “Valentine Day ke din main kahe doon ankehi”. “Abh mujhe raat din tera hi khayal hain.” Every music company with a CD burner releases these sappy tracks around this time of the year, hoping to rake in a quick buck.

But wait. This one is different.

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Cloverfield–the Review

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A hot summer day. A party is underway, in an upscale Manhattan apartment. Beautiful people abound. A friend of the host, slightly worse for the booze, has been assigned to record the party on a digital handicam. Inane shout-outs into the camera, scraps of conversation are recorded on tape. And then suddenly, without any of the ominous background score and the other standard portends of cinematic doom that announce their arrival, death and devastation intrudes on the merry gathering, in a way eerily reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of Red Death” .

“Cloverfield” , reportedly “inspired” by the South Korean movie “Host” (which I have not seen) is the latest in a long line of apocalyptic monster/alien/virus themed movies that Hollywood churns out with monotonic regularity, almost identical in their depiction of epic carnage, gore, ugly monsters and superhuman heroism. Except that here, there are no sweeping camera angles, no explicit story arc, no backstory or solution, and no superstud who saves the day. Instead what we have is a 84 minute, single-person-wielding-a-handicam perspective of a few hours of urban terror, where shaky shots of collapsing buildings pack as much horror as that of a character, hiding in a deserted metro station, breaking the news of his brother’s death over the cellphone to their mother.

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New Construction Sena

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“New Construction” Sena and Sons and Nephews Thereof is a grassroots organization dedicated to “new constructions” in Maharashtra, preferably in Mumbai and Pune. We are “promoters” of regional pride which we also sell, preferably by square foot. Following is the aptitude test for those sons of the “soil” who wish to “develop” our cultural “property” by becoming members of our noble organization

Question 1: Spell your name in Marathi.

Question 2: The greatest Manoos is

a) Bal Thackeray b) Uddhav Thackeray c) Raj Thackeray d) William Makepeace Thackeray

[Hint: William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta]

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What If

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Members of the Sri Lankan camp in Australia for the CB series were the target of verbal abuse and had eggs thrown at them on Thursday night in Hobart. Muttiah Muralitharan and a team selector were part of a group walking from a restaurant to the team hotel and the selector was hit on the back by an egg. As a result, the Sri Lankan board has asked Cricket Australia (CA) to tighten security around the team.”Muralitharan, along with one of the selectors and the team masseur, were walking on the street in Hobart when suddenly from nowhere a car passed them and the guy starts abusing,” a source close to the team confirmed to Cricinfo. “He then came back a few more times and repeated this and suddenly he started throwing eggs in their direction. One landed on the back of the selector.

[Link]

Now here is what I think will happen after this.

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