Template movies…..

January 3, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s been some time now since my last post and I decided to take this topic up for the greater good of the average Bollywood cinema-goer. Not that many people are going to read this post. Also, it is not like I am too much concerned about what Bollywood offers us. This post is a result of innumerable conversations I have had with Hitesh and Kiran every time one of these TEMPLATE movies releases and we keep on cribbing and make a collective decision not to watch the movie.

Though I must say that most actors/actresses are guilty of acting in such movies I have few repeat offenders in mind – Imran Khan being one of them. Imtiaz Ali and Karan Johar are repeat offenders in the director and producer categories respectively.

Moving on to the template, it is as follows:-

  • The hero and heroine are child hood friends
  • Either of the two gets into a relationship/ gets engaged to someone else (sometimes Step 2 Is iterated with multiple people)
  • The said person in 2 above starts getting confused whether he/she is taking the right step
  • The other person goes out of the way to convince his/her friend that they are right
  • In the end, the external forces (read parents/ career/ friends etc) make them realize that they are best suited to each other and they oblige. THE END

Another variation of the above could be that Step 1 and step 2 are swapped. i.e. the hero and heroine are already in a relationship with someone else but they  meet each other later and it’s the same step 3 onwards.

The first movie that comes to mind is Imran Khan’s Jaane Tu ya Jaane na…..which starred none other than the great Imran Khan. After a couple of non- template movies like LUCK and KIDNAP, the great Aamir Khan’s great nephew came back to the template. What followed was a barrage of movies all of which are same.

  • I hate luv stories where Sonam Kapoor is a colleague
  • Break ke baad where Deepika Padukone is a childhood buddy
  • Mere Brother ki Dulhan where Katrina Kaif is his would be sis in law. (This one follows the variant of the template)
  • Gori tere pyaar mein
  • Katti Batti

To be frank I haven’t watched the last two. But I don’t think these would have been any different. Once upon a time ..dobaara and Matru ki Bijli ….were also template movies but the focus was not on the hero-heroine alone. All this while, the only non template movie he acted was – Delhi Belly. Ek main aur ek tu was a bit different

Let’s move on to Imtiaz Ali – I have already written a post on this great director, Each of his movies are one and the same. After the above post, he has come out with Highway and Tamasha. Highway was no different while Tamasha – I can not comment as I have not watched it yet.

Now lets come to Karan Johar. Most of the Imran khan movies above were Dharma productions.

  • I hate Luv Stories
  • Hasee Toh Phasee
  • Humty Sharma ki Dulhania
  • Kabhi ALvida na Kehna
  • Kuch Kuch Hota hai

In some of these movies, the fiancée or boyfriend/girlfriend of the main actor involved is a complete giveaway. So much so that this actor might not even show up in the trailers. Even before the movie begins, the audience knows that the two main actors are going to end up together. For e.g. no one expected Kareena Kapoor to go with Tarun Arora in Jab we Met at any point in the movie, how much ever twists and turns the director tried to place in the movie.

Now, we must not confuse the template with love triangles. I would call Student of the Year a typical love triangle as the story being told is not focussing on a hero and heroine. I mean, both Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra had equal weightage. Main Tera Hero would be another Love Triangle.

Almost all actors post 90s have of acted in a Template movie. SRK in Kuch Kuch hota hai and Kabhi Alvida na Kehna. Akshay Kumar in Humko Deewana Kar gaye. Saif Ali Khan in Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste,  Salman Khan in Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya and of course all the younger ones would have at least one such movie.Ranbir Kapoor in Tamasha, Ranveer Singh in Band Baja Baaraat…

At a personal level, even if I have an iota of doubt in mind that the movie could be a template movie, I wont go to watch the movie. But these days, people go watch a movie because there is nothing better to do on a weekend and the people who make such boring, repetitive, mindless movies will keep laughing their way to the bank.

Categories: Movies

2015 in review

December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 830 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Numbers

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Numbers

10000 Club members – who fares better?

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

I recently read this blog comparing 10K plus run makers in Test and trying to find out if they have played a weaker or a stronger opposition.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/718821.html

I for one, feel it would be completely unfair to compare completely on the basis of opposition bowling’s performance that too only past performance and not the career performance. Agreed it would be difficult to take career performance into account as most of the bowlers are still playing.

I generally agree with the base premise of the analysis. I keep saying that the current lot of batsmen might not be as good as the ones from the past generation because they have not played quality bowling. The current lot has not played the likes of Akram, Younis, Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, Mc Grath etc. Steyn, Philander, Mitchell Johnson and Jimmy Anderson look like world class ones similar to the ones mentioned in the last line. But again, an Ishant Sharma could also be destructive on a given day.

To compare the 10K makers, I would drop Sunny Gavaskar and Border from the list as I would like to limit myself to the current (or recent past) generation who would have faced largely the same set of bowlers give or take a few. Also I would like to change the concept of Average a bit. I find averages very misleading because of the not outs. Steve Waugh has 46 NOs. Agreed it is one thing to remain not out and see your team through. But when it comes to such comparisons, I feel, runs per innings counts much more than runs per wicket. So I will be comparing only two kinds of averages. A player’s performances in various continents and also his performance in home/away conditions. Neutral will be counted as away. Also I will be looking at standard deviation to see who all are consistent

10kstats

Points to be noted:-

1)      Averages in descending order – Sanga, Lara, Sachin, Kallis, Jayawardene, Ponting, Dravid, Chanderpaul and Waugh

2)       Now let’s talk about home away conditions.

  • Only Waugh and Sachin have a better average playing outside  than home.
  • Dravid too comes close.
  • Lara and Sanga have a very decent Away record but theirs is eclipsed by their superior home record.
  • Kallis and Ponting are not doing that great outside home conditions.
  • Next comes Chanderpaul.
  • And worst is Jayawardene who seems to be a home pitch bully.

3)      Now quality and consistency of play.

  • Sachin has got the least standard deviation. He has got an average of more than 40 in all conditions and his superior record in Europe and Oceania hold him in good stead.
  • Next is Ponting, has got a great average everywhere. In subcontinent though the average is a bit below 40 (owing to his pathetic record in India)
  • Next comes King Kallis. Has a strong record in African conditions but leaves a lot to be desired on English pitches.
  • Next is Lara. Lara has scored more than 40 in all conditions. Only his above average in West Indies and Asia has spoiled his standard deviation. But I would actually put him at the top, even before Sachin
  • Next in Chanderpaul. Barring his superior performance in Europe, his averages are below 40 almost everywhere. Nothing to write home about
  • Steve Waugh. Now this guy has got a great record in Africa and West Indies. His not so great record at home and in subcontinent has betrayed his consistency scores
  • Jayawardene. Should we even be looking at this guy’s scores? With average tilted so much towards home conditions it was but obvious this guy does not perform anywhere else
  • Surprisingly Sanga who has the best average is the most inconsistent across geographies. His record in England and West Indies is pretty bad.  But an average of 51.58 in Oceania easily saves him from the ignominy of being called a subcontinent bully.

So, to summarize, I think Lara is easily the best batsman with Sachin coming a close second owing to his superior away and otherwise consistent performance. Wouldn’t place Sanga at the top for the following 3 reasons:-

1)      Any player’s average starts dipping towards the end of his career and Sanga is still playing. So can’t be very sure.

2)      Sanga still lacks the consistency across geographies that other have displayed.

3)      And there is always this lingering doubt in mind that Sanga has got so many runs thanks to Bangladesh.

As an afterthought, and also due  to questions raised by some friends I have appended the post with details if we take Zimbabwe and Bangladesh out of the picture.

10kstats_excl

As can be seen, Sangakkara, Dravid and Steve Waug are the bigest losers after this. Sanga’s  and Waugh’s average has gone down while Dravid’s average as well as consistency has taken a hit. Rest everything is pretty much the same. Specially Lara remains unaffected.

Another set of stats – Kallis is best in South AFrica, Lara is best in Windies as well as Subcontinent, Dravid in ENgland and Sanga in Oceania

Categories: Cricket Tags: , , , , ,

2013 in review

December 31, 2013 Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Numbers

Eurotrip – Planning and Paris part 1

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

First of all apologies for putting in this article so late – more than a year after the trip – so there are chances that I would miss out on certain details. But for those who are interested – you can still read along, it might help you plan your own trip. So, this was one of my longest trips – both in terms of days spent as well as number of places visited. And pretty obviously, it had to be a costly one too. There were only two of us – Me and Pradeep. Smaller group meant lesser leave approvals, lesser convincing and easy planning.🙂 .   So the optimizing function was simple, maximize the number of places and minimize the cost.  So basically we had to plan for the following:-

1)      Flight tickets

2)      Hostels

3)      VISA

4)      Intercity Travel

5)      Prebooking for monuments

in that order. Now, this is a lot of planning considering that flight tickets and hostels have to be submitted as part of VISA documents. So obviously, it is always advisable that you get enough of insurance against visa rejection by getting refundable flight tickets and hostel bookings. To give you an idea of timelines, we started planning on about August 1st for our Sept 22 trip. And we had applied for Visa by about 17 August. And we had to plan and make the bookings before the 17th August.

Dates – we had decided to take two weeks off. So we decided to maximize the length of the trip by leaving India early Saturday Morning (22nd Sep 2012) and reaching back two weeks later on a Monday morning (8th Oct 2012).

After chalking out the important cities that had to be visited, we decided that we will have to start our trip from Paris and make Rome our last place of visit. Now, needless to say, a round trip flight to a city would be much cheaper than having different port of entries and exits. So we had two options – either go catch a flight/overnight train back to Paris so that it is a round trip ticket OR maintain Rome as the Port of Exit.

But fortunately for us, we got a Kuwait Airlines connection –a Chennai Kuwait Flight and then a Kuwait Paris one (with a layover at Rome)  for the forward journey and for the return journey the same flight from Paris (but we could catch it from Rome) and the Kuwait Chennai flight. An online booking would not have helped so we got ourselves a ticket through Akbar travels where it was recognized as a return trip and we could get the tickets for about Rs 34K, whereas individually it could have easily touched 45-46K.

Now, we started booking the hotel rooms. Hostelworld.com was referred to by many as the best site. We booked dorm rooms for almost the whole trip excepting the Switzerland leg where our friends n Germany were going to tag along with us and they made the booking arrangements separately. 10% had to be paid upfront for each booking. We took up another option – extra payment of  2 €s per booking – a kind of  insurance by which we guaranteed that in case of Visa refusal this time, we could use this prepayment for upto the next 6 months.

Now Hostel Bookings and Train Bookings have to be done in Conjunction. This is because if you have an early morning train to catch and if your hostel is nearby, it helps. This specially matters in places like Venice, where you might not get any transport to the station early in the morning.  Apart from that the train travel bookings were quite simple. Specially for some places like Italy we could get even long distances like Pisa to Rome which is quite a lot of distance for 9 € each.

Please find below some of the railbooking websites:-

Italy lefrecce.it
France sncf.com, tgv.com, thalys.com
Switz sbb.ch
Austria oebb.at
Germany bahn.de

And by the way, we didn’t go for a euro rail pass because individual tickets were working out cheaper for us. Also for the Switzerland leg of the tour, we had a rented car.

Forex. We took a forex card – an HDFC prepaid card. Since we were done with the train bookings and part of the hostel fees, we only had to account for food, local travel and 90% of the hostel payment. So we took about 1000 € in the card and some cash.

Now, another particular aspect of the tour which I need to mention is getting tickets early on for some of the places. We got tickets booked online for the following:-

1)      Eiffel Tower

2)      Leaning Tower of Pisa

3)      Colloseum

4)      Vatican City Museum

Also, we saved a lot on Audio Guides etc. within a museum with the help of Rick Steve’s Audio guides .They really helped a lot. These guides not only explain the structure be it a Cathedral or a Musuem inside out but also there are extra guides for a particular part o the city. For e.g. Historic Paris Walk, Salzburg tour etc. with the help of which you get to know places and things on the way which otherwise you would not have been able to. It’s pretty simple. I got the audio files downloaded into my PC and transferred it to my ordinary mobile. But there are iphone and android versions of the same too. We could get Audio Files for Paris, Florence, Venice, Rome and Salzburg.

Now to the actual trip. Our flight to Paris via Kuwait was scheduled at 6 00 but it got delayed by an hour or so. But in the end it did not matter as there was a 3 hour gap between the flights at Kuwait.  After the stop over at Rome, we reached CDG by 19 00 local time and by the time we were done with the formalities etc, it was about 20 00. Our first interaction with the French was at this point.  We had to but a metro ticket from the airport to our station Volontaires. We were a bit apprehensive whether the lady at the counter would understand English. Of course she knew and we bought our one way tickets. Luckily, we had looked online for these details and we knew which metro lines to catch – where to change over and we reached our hostel in about an hour’s time.  It was pretty cold outside probably

We had chosen Aloha Hostel mainly because one of my friends had referred that to us and due to its proximity to the main city. It was near to Pasteur (bigger) as well as Volontaires(nearer).  The receptionist was very cute (as was mentioned even in hostelworld.com reviews😉 ) and very friendly.

The next morning on 23rd, we first had first planned to visit Versailles Palace. It was a cold morning, we got up early and reached the station by 6 30 am or so. The person didn’t understand much of English though the vending machines helped us eventually.  The regular metro lines within the city won’t help you get to the Versailles. You need to get a RER-C line for that. We bought a Paris museum pass near the gates worth 39€ which entitled us to free entry in about 33 odd museums/palaces in Paris including the Louvre. This is something which we heard can be obtained at CDG as well as major railway stations.

IMG_0020

Versailles palace was really beautiful – the gold plated gates, the beautifully painted walls, the satins, the crowns, the cutlery, everything. It kind of gives you a fair idea of the life and times of Louis XIV and the French nobility. Rick Steve’s audio guide was also a lot of help here. The restoration work done by the government is commendable. We skipped the jardines (palace gardens) because we had to buy an additional ticket for that and didn’t look worthwhile.

IMG_0033 IMG_0072

IMG_0317We wanted to go to Montmartre too that day but nevertheless we decided to go by the most operationally efficient way by the map. By this time we were well versed with finding our way through the Paris Metro Network. We decided to go to catacombs. Catacombs was bang opposite a metro station and we could see the entrance and a long queue. But to see the end of the queue, we had to circum-ambulate a park almost full 360 degrees. 2 hours later, we reached the counter. I wouldn’t recommend catacombs as such because the return of investment was way too less. 2 hours in the queue all for seeing a lot of skulls and bones arranged in interesting patterns. There were few other articles of paleontological significance like shells of m  ollusks, limestone deposits etc. Half an hour later , we got out of catacombs. By this time , we had realized that Mont Marthe was out of the question at least for today.  We had a light lunch from a nearby brasserie and went to Notre Dame Cathedral.

IMG_0112 IMG_0387

The Cathedral was very beautiful in itself, specially the architecture of the exterior. Rick Steve did a great job of explaining to us the background behind the construction.  There was this small replica of ‘Christ the Redeemer ‘ statue from Brazil too at the entrance of the cathedral. Later on we took up the historic Paris walk, where Rick Steve guided us through a walk along the banks of Seine and also some old roads and buildings in the nearby area. This included the conciergerie and the Saint Chapelle.  It was 6 00 pm by then and since the structures had started closing, we couldn’t visit any of these.

Enough for now. More of Paris in my next post. Also Brussels and Amsterdam.

IMG_0419

Survival of the fittest – But can the planet fit in all who survive????

March 24, 2013 Leave a comment

21st December 2012 has gone by without any or rather no major events.  And just Yesterday (March 23) we celebrated another earthhour. But I have got this personal feeling that 2013 or 2030 or some year or some day, the end is certain. We are hurtling towards certain DOOM. And pretty obviously, by end i do not mean –  the world or for that matter human beings would simply cease to exist. BUT the sustenance of life on this planet would become very very difficult.

Most of what I have written above or what I am going to write will seem pretty obvious but what is not obvious is – THAT very thing or element or the holy grail which we would fall back on for the solution for the current problems is the problem in itself. What is this secret element I am talking of? It is Science or Technology or Development or simply put – the HUMAN BRAIN.

I am not saying evolution or human evolution was a bad thing to happen. Now, let’s take it step by step.

 

 

 

1)      DEER AND TIGER  Conundrum– DEER in EXCESS

Let’s for a moment take human beings away from the equation. There is a huge forest which currently is home to 100 deer and 10 tigers. The deer start multiplying and in a century’s time there are not 100 but 10000 deer which threaten the existence of the forest and start being a threat to the environment.

But wait, this can not happen for 2 reasons, the deer can not eat up the whole forest’s tree leaves of course due to their bodily limitation and their numbers will be kept in check by the ever increasing number of tigers too. Their numbers would also be kept in check owing to natural deaths.

2)      TIGER IN EXCESS

What if the tigers start multiplying and become a huge force to reckon with (as if they are not the apex predator already) and become a threat to environmental balance. Again, this is not possible because the number of deer would be limited and hence because of resource limitations, the female tiger can successfully raise only a limited number of cubs

3)      INTELLIGENT ANIMAL

Now, let’s complicate things by adding a new animal –an ape which is pretty intelligent, which can use its fingers, can talk, communicate with each other, draw paintings on the walls of caves.

So far so good. The new animal is just a part of the ecosystem – it may hunt both the carnivore and the herbivore for food but that’s about it. The same animal might be bumped off by a tiger.

4)      NEW DISCOVERIES – NEED FOR COMFORT-EARLY SIGNS OF UNNECESSARY CONSUMERISM

The above situation does not stay the same for long – the new animal is smart enough to make tools and weapons for self protection – probably the same weapons it used to hunt down its food. But the new animal also has the option of using these weapons to kill animals not just for food or protection, but for decorative purposes. The reason could be greed or lust for power.

The ape next door  killed a tiger yesterday to decorate the floor of his cave. Lets kill two tigers to decorate ours.

5)      NEED FOR COMFORT- NEED FOR FUEL

Also, now that it has started thinking, it finds that the food is tastier, more palatable when cooked – cooked on fire. Where does the fire come from – wood/trees/dry grass. Here we see early signs of production of green house gases. But no one is complaining. By the way, what does  green house effect mean to this new species anyway?

6)      NEED FOR COMFORT – MOVE AWAY FROM FORESTS – MAKE TOWNS/CITIES- DOMESTICATE ANIMALS

Again, now forests are being cut down to accommodate farming, more clear spaces, ancient towns/ cities.

The animal has started rearing farm animals for farming and for feeding itself. More animals , more methane. More green house. Also more cattle means more cattle feed which means more deforestation .

7)      DEVELOPMENT IN MEDICAL SCIENCE- LESSER DEATHS

The new animal has also started getting some control on the life-death cycle by cheating death and prolonging life – to me, this means expanding your population by cheating nature and hence causing an imbalance in the environment.

8)      INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Now, this must be the final nail in the coffin – Industrial revolution led to more mining, the concept of engineering, more production, more consumption, automobiles, aero planes, computers, laptops, tablets, what not.

So here we are now with the following problems:-

1)      Ever decreasing resources – Oil, fresh water, energy, food electricity and an ever increasing number of many mouths to feed, to keep happy.

2)      Heights of consumerism – We can make do with lets say X number of clothes but we would be having like 5X clothes. Same with gadgets. Excuse given is – Quality of life. At the cost of what Environment and quality of life of fellow EARTHLINGS(including humans).

3)      Too much competition – competition has been the name of the game since time unknown. All the other animals and prehistoric animals used to compete for territory and food. But here we are competing at a completely different level – We are the only animals who are consciously COMPETING – i.e. we are competing just to outdo each other instead of trying to live within our means.

4)      And last but not the least, the climate, the environment, which was all tuned to help us realize the maximum out of the earth is now working against us  – sea levels will rise, climatic conditions would change, untimely monsoons etc would definitely spell doom.

Is there a solution to this problem? Lets discuss that later….STAY TUNED

Categories: Paleontology/Biology
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