April 20, 2011

The Top 20 Biopics of All Time


Traditionally, biopics have been one the most favourite genres for the Oscar Jury members. Almost every year, amongst the Oscar nominees, you will find movies based on some real life character. And almost every year most of these manage to pick up awards. I believe it’s the unique experience of watching history unfold through the eyes of an interesting/eccentric character who, in some way, helped shape it, that makes biopics such great dramatic experiences. No wonder many of the movies on my list of 20 of the best biopics of all time are multiple award winning movies.

Now I am biased towards movies about art and artists, and against war and gangster movies. I believe that explains why I haven’t seen Lawrence of Arabia and Patton, two movies which would be on anybody’s list of ten best biopics of all time. Perhaps that also explains why Goodfellas is so low in the ranking and why 9 out of these 20 movies are about artists.

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August 8, 2010

Chapter Two: Rusty The Dusty


Couple of weeks back I put up the first chapter of my novel along with a prologue. Please read chapter 1 before proceeding with this.

Chapter 2
Rusty the Dusty

Rusty was not nice at all. No he was not! In fact, some guys (as you will see with Caramel) would call him a jerk. And this is precisely the reason why he has been given the role of a villain in our story. Our elders taught us that you should know your enemies as much as your friends. So even though Caramel is our friend and we need not bother ourselves too much with Rusty, we should take a short break from the story and know more about him.

Born and brought up in Bombay, Rusty was a major headache for his parents when he was a kid. He broke objects at home, beat up other boys in the neighborhood, regularly smashed window panes of the neighbours whenever he played cricket in the compound outside their house and got complaints from his school teachers about his indiscipline in class and low scores in tests. He bullied other weaklings in his class and bragged about himself in front of girls, making all the other boys mighty jealous of him. They complained regularly to the teachers about Rusty and the teachers, in turn, complained to his parents.

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July 26, 2010

Why Do Women Love Jerks?


I have decided to share with you, my blog readers, the first two chapters of a novel I am writing. But before that let me tell you the story behind this novel.

What is the secret behind attraction between men and women? This question has fascinated me since a long time. Why and how men get attracted to women is a pretty simple question that anyone who is accustomed with the ways of the world can answer. Male psyche works in a fixed way and that’s why we men fall prey to female charms very easily. So there is no point talking about it. We already know everything that there is to know in this regard.

But why and how do women get attracted to men, romantically, or more precisely, sexually? This is a very tricky and mysterious question and unfortunately, people rarely have the right answer to this question. The blame, obviously lies with men, who make the mistake of assuming that women think the same way as they do, and so, get frustrated when things don’t happen the way they want them to.

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July 21, 2010

India’s Most Loved Videos 1


The other day I was searching for the title song of Jungle Book. Yes you are right – Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai, chaddhi pahan ke phool khila hai – that’s the one! It took me quite a while to get the free downloadable mp3 file but while searching for it I came across a couple of other videos and songs that reminded me of the good old days. The days when life used to be much simpler, when we had much lesser choices of entertainment but more meaningful ones. when Sunday used to be the day of Duck Tales and Mogli and Ramayan and Mahabharat and Chandrakanta and Malgudi Days and Surabhi, when wednesday evenings used to be reserved forever for Chitrahar, when SMS were just three meaningless letters and when we used to send real postcards to rank songs in Superhit Muqabala, when Thanda Thanda Pani was more than just that, when Lalitaji’s advice was taken as seriously as that of a sister’s, when National integration meant watching Mile Sur Mera Tumhara with the whole family, when “soaps” were only used in the bathroom, to wash the skin and not the brain, when Hum Log never quarreled amongst each other and when kitchen politics wasn’t glamorous at all, when our family values and our culture was the Buniyaad of our existence, when a child enjoyed his/her childhood and was taught about Ek Anek Aur Ekta and not forced to become “little champs.”

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July 19, 2010

Movie Review: Inception and Udaan



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Film: Inception

Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan

Lead Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watambe, Tom Hardy

Rating: 8.5/10 – A classic in the making
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July 16, 2010

An Exclusive Interview of Paul, The Octopus!


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The FIFA World Cup 2010 has been unique in many ways. For the first time ever, Spain not only went to the finals of the world cup but also became the champions. This world cup has seen the humiliating exits of the defending champions Italy and the prestigious contenders France. This world Cup also saw what some romantics call, “the defeat of flamboyance and style.” A columnist in a news magazine berates the fact that in this world cup, efficiency and organization won over beauty and artistic football suffered a huge setback because of the early exit of Argentina and Brazil. The beautiful football is not beautiful anymore. A “good portion of the world wants to see the Maradona moments” he says. Alas! That was not to be.

And while Shakira gyrated her hips, chanting “Waka Waka…this time for Africa,” this time, as in earlier times, wasn’t really for Africa. South Africa crashed out in the first round and Ghana, after an inspiring run, were defeated by the “hand tactics” of the Uruguayan players.

But more than spectacular goals, controversial referring decisions, early exit of big names, and the deluge of yellow cards in the final match, this world cup will be remembered for a new psychic sensation called Paul, the Octopus. After correctly predicting the outcomes of seven German matches in a row and the final match between Spain and Holland, Paul became the biggest star of FIFA World Cup 2010. Paul was one of the top 10 Twitter trends in the last week of World Cup. He made many rich and gave a tough time to bookies all over the world.
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July 9, 2010

Guest on Storyflakes: Shahnaz on Love and Hope


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A couple of weeks back I had an idea. Why not use this blog as a platform to give voice to the ideas and passions of people who don’t have a blog, but want to write something nevertheless? I have spoken to my heart’s content for quite a while now and I thought it would be a nice idea to take a break and give someone else a chance to say something important.

So I sounded off a few of my acquaintances and gave them an “exclusive offer” to post their write ups through my blog.

A couple of them took the bait. One of them is Shahnaaz.
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July 3, 2010

Movie Review: I hate Love Storys


Film: I Hate Love Storys

Director: Punit Malhotra

Lead Cast: Imran Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Samir Dattani, Samir Soni, Bruna Abdullah, Ketki Dave, Anju Mahendru

Rating: 4/10, A cliched love story making fun of other love story cliches. That’s height of dumbness!
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June 27, 2010

A Message to My Fellow Young Indians


My Dear Fellow Young Indians,

We are the most privileged generation in the history of Independent India. If you are reading this message it means that you are educated and empowered with technology to en extent which was unimaginable even a few years back. The fact that I can reach out to hundreds of people through this blog at the click of a button, is a matter of great priviledge. And I get this privilege at no cost.

In the age we are living in, it is no more a question of can we reach out to people. There are hundreds of ways by which we can. But as Seth Godin asks in his blog, the more important question to ask right now is do we deserve to reach out to people, to be heard? Are we saying something important enough to be heard?
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June 20, 2010

Demystifying Creativity: Part 2 (The Emotional Freaks)


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This is part two of my two part write-up on creativity. If you haven’t read Part One , I suggest you read it first before proceeding further. In part one I talked about what creativity really is and here I will talk about a particular human trait (found in almost 20% of us) that enhances our creative ability tremendously.

A self Portrait of Vincent Van Gough


A few days back, while reading a blog, I stumbled on to a quote by Pearl S. Buck. Pearl was an American writer and missionary and wrote extensively on Chinese life and culture. She was also the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She says,
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June 12, 2010

Movie Review: Robin Hood


Film: Robin Hood

Director: Ridley Scott

Lead Cast: Russell Crowe, Kate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt

Rating: 6.5/10 – A visually good film with a confusing plot
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June 11, 2010

Demystifying Creativity: Part 1


Years ago, when I was still in school, one day, in my childish enthusiasm, I had expressed my desire to work in an ad agency after college to my father and elder brother. My father, having spent his entire career in a PSU bank, was aeons away from the world of advertising. So he turned towards my brother, silently seeking help. My brother, finding himself in a position of knowledge and authority, promptly dismissed my desire as a whim saying that, “You have to be very creative to get into advertising.”

But why am I raking up this relatively inconsequential piece of family conversation after all these years? Do I still hold a grudge against my brother?

Of course not! The reason why I mentioned this incident here is something different.
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June 5, 2010

Movie Review: Raajneeti


Film: Raajneeti

Director/writer: Prakash Jha

Lead Cast: Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai

Rating: 8/10 – Perhaps the best ever political/family drama in Bollywood
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June 4, 2010

Movie Review: Prince of Persia


Film: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Director: Mike Newell

Lead Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 – entertainment, entertainment, entertainment!
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May 18, 2010

Movie Review: Iron Man 2


I had seen Iron Man 2 two Fridays back when it was released here in Bombay. Going by my standards, it’s late to write a review on it now. But still I am doing it because of other reviews I have read in newspapers and magazines and seen on TV over these past ten days. A couple of these reviewers pointed out a few things which makes for an interesting debate on superheroes and their morality. And this will be the focus of my review today. Among other things, I believe a movie review should be more than just a bland assessment of story or the work of the people involved in making the movie.

Movie: Iron Man 2

Director: John Favreau

Cast: Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson

Rating: 7/10 – Don’t expect a masterpiece, but do expect a smart and sleek superhero movie which entertains
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