Come Sunday, the 22nd of February, Dhoni & Co. would be put to the real test. We’ll get to know if India’s first win on Australian soil (last week against Pak) in three months was really the beginning of something spectacular. Before going to the battle on 22nd, let’s revisit the previous three instances when India and South Africa met in World Cups.

Clash #1: Benson and Hedges World Cup 1992

The match, held at Adelaide Oval was reduced to 30 overs a side due to rain. After putting India to bat, South African bowlers restricted India to 180 for 6, with “White Lightning” Alan Donald striking twice, in 6 overs. Donald dismissed Kris Srikkanth for a duck. It marked the end of Kris Srikkanth’s illustrious World Cup and ODI career (His “seedan” Virender Sehwag would go on to play three World Cups for India). South Africa chased down the target with 5 balls to spare.

India exited in Round 1 while SA would go on till the Semi Finals, when Duckworth and Lewis decided to give them a target of 22 runs to win in 1 ball

Clash #2: ICC World Cup 1999

This match marked the debut of Stalwarts like Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, among others in World Cups. After Azhar decided to bat first, Dada-Dravid partnership of 130 (Dada – 97 run out Rhodes, Dravid – 54 b Klusener) helped India put up a decent total of 253 in 50 overs. Kallis’ Man of the Match winning 96 and Rhodes’ quick 39 off 31 helped South Africa effect a second consecutive win against India in World Cups.

Rahul Dravid against South Africa in 1999 World Cup

Rahul Dravid against South Africa in 1999 World Cup

India exited in the Super 6s while SA would go on till semi finals yet again, to choke against the Aussies. That match, in many ways, was the beginning of the rise of Australian cricket. Australian cricket never turned back, for the next 8 years. They would go on to rule the next decade.

Clash #3: ICC World Cup 2011

267 for 1 to 296 all out. Indian middle order never looked so pathetic before or after this match. At one point, it looked like India would reach 350 (at least), before Morkel triggered a collapse in the 40th over with Sachin’s wicket. Dale Steyn ran through India’s middle and lower middle order, picking up 5 wickets. Sachin scored his 99th International Hundred in this match (the 100th hundred would elude him and his fans for a long long time).

#99

#99

A combined batting effort helped South Africa reach the target with two balls to spare. Ashish Nehra was back to form, conceding just 65 runs in 8.4 overs.

What the faf!

What the faf!

Clash #4: Mauka pe Chakka?

South Africa has never looked this world beating coming into a World Cup. Steyn is preserved and fresh. Hashim Amla is scoring centuries for fun. AB de Villiers is in red hot form. They have a bunch of other kids (faf du Plessis, Morkel, among others) who are equally motivated and prepared.

Too many match winners in a single frame!

Too many match winners in a single frame!

India, on the other hand, has had a patchy 3 months down under. The win against Pakistan will by no means make India complacent. Dhoni will know that South Africa is the real test. If they can beat this South African team , early on in the tournament, it will be a huge morale boost for the men in blue.

Steyn vs Kohli, Ashwin vs AB de, Indian Pacers vs Mighty Hash, lot of battles to look forward to. Can’t wait for the clock to tick 9 am, on 22nd.

Edit:

Oh, and if you are not regular on social media and haven’t caught hold of the ambushes to Star Sports’ “Mauka Mauka” ad, you MUST see these videos.

Star Sports’ initial video on Ind vs Pak.

Star Sports’ “Mauka Mauka” video on Ind vs SA

Ambush #1

Ambush #2

February 15, 2015.
This was one day Indians didn’t need an alarm to wake up.

The buildup to this day started many months ago, when the fixture for Cricket World Cup 2015 was announced.
India vs Pakistan was (and will always be) more than just a game. These are matches that will be remembered, decade after decade.

People might not remember much from the ’96 World Cup, but the Sohail-Venkatesh Prasad duel will be etched in the minds of every Indian fan. India won many matches in South Africa in 2003, but defeating Pakistan was the sweetest (Cricket lovers just cannot forget that 98 from the little master). Across formats, across geographies, across time, nothing in sport beats an Indo-Pak encounter, for an Indian supporter.

Indian supporters were found smiling sheepishly when Star Sports came up with this brilliant ad, a week ago.

This is a great start to the tournament by the defending champions. More importantly, the bowlers showed signs of awesomeness, in bits and pieces. If they are able to replicate such performances consistently and against better quality sides (SA next weekend, for example), Dhoni will have an easier job, defending the title.

Today, Pakistan didn’t have the likes of Ajmal, Hafeez, Gul, etc. None (or maximum 1 or 2) of the players from today’s Pakistan team would have made it to the Pakistan team of the 90s. India (despite a pathetic season in Australia so far) were the better team on paper, easily. Still, they had to go out there and win it, which they did.

Sharing a few tweets which did the rounds during the game.

Now, it’s time to get back to the reality of life. Until next Sunday!

Movie Review: Shamitabh [No spoilers]

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Diary

Big B + Dhanush + PC Sreeram + Ilayaraja + Kamal Haasan’s bloodline (Akshara).
Talk about dream combinations…
I was not going to miss this movie. By any chance.

Shamitabh

Shamitabh

In this age and world where movies run behind 100 Cr clubs by catering to the “masses”, Director Balki deserves a pat on the back just for choosing a performance oriented script and executing it to perfection, almost.

If with Aadukalam, Dhanush proved he was as good an actor as anyone else, then with Shamitabh, he’s widened the gap between himself and the second best (in his generation of actors). To share the screen with Big B and still catch eyeballs is no easy thing, and Dhanush has done that in more scenes than one. With Shamitabh, the “Kolaveri” man has announced his entry into Bollywood in style (considering Raanjhana wasn’t received very well).

It doesn’t look like this is Akshara’s first movie. Of course, it’s there in the blood. :)

Akshara Haasan

Akshara Haasan

After Paa, Balki has hit the winning note for a second consecutive time, with Big B. Yet again, Big B delivers what exactly was required for the role of Amitabh Sinha.

If “I” was the mother of Product placements, then Shamitabh is the mother of all mothers. Product placements throughout the movie. Not that it affected the story in any way. Just an observation.

Shamitabh deserves to be watched a second time, just for the Maestro’s re-recording. Well, let’s not get into how awesome Ilayaraja is, again. :)

Bottomline: Match winning “partnership” in 150 minutes.

It’s been a long wait for Ajith fans, past 3-4 months; from the time #Thala55 was titled “Yennai Arindhaal” to the time the movie released, on Feb 5. Everything related to the movie became a national trend on twitter – the title release, motion poster, teaser, single, trailer and then the movie itself. Not that they all deserved to trend; just shows the number of fans this man has.

Staying outside Tamil Nadu has its benefits, like getting tickets to watch a Thalaivar (Lingaa/Kochadaiyaa) or Thala movie (Yennai Arindhaal) on the first day. Felt completely at home when “Ajith Kumar” appeared on the big screen with a ear deafening roar from the audience. I am not talking about Kasi Theatre in Chennai. This happened in PVR (Gurgaon), more than 2200 km away from Chennai.

Sathyadev IPS

Sathyadev IPS

That title card was pretty much Ajith’s presence in the entire movie. There was no Ajith after that. It was just Sathyadev I.P.S., the character he played (rather lived) in the movie. Yennai Arindhaal, I realized, isn’t a mass movie, made just to cater to Ajith’s die-hard fans in Tamil Nadu, like a “Veeram”. It wasn’t meant to be.

It’s a fitting finale to Gautham’s COP Trilogy, after Khakha Khakha and Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu. Ajith just oozes class (like he always does) in all the different shades of Sathyadev. It was heartening to see Ajith, the actor throughout the film. He just nails it, as a righteous COP, bereaved husband, caring father, and a man seeking revenge. There are two things in this world that don’t go down – one is age, and the other is Ajith’s screen presence.

I’ve been a fan of Gautham Menon’s type of movies. He’s created a style of his own. The heroes adore their dads and see them as role models, heroines are portrayed as independent, people generally tend to use English a bit more than normal Tamils would do, etc. Yennai Arindhaal has all these elements, which is why, like his earlier movies, it might not reach out to B and C audiences, in specific.

Gautham has got the casting bang on in Yennai Arindhaal. Well, it takes two to tango, and Arun Vijay has played one of the best negative roles in the past year or so. His phone conversations with Ajith in the second half is one of the most riveting hero-villain duels in recent times. After seeing weak Villains in Shankar’s “I” and Thalaivar’s “Lingaa”, it was more of a relief when Gautham Menon gave us Victor (Arun Vijay). Welcome back to Tamil Cinema, Arun Vijay.

Hemanika (Trisha) gives a tough fight to Jesse (Trisha again) for Gautham’s most beautiful character. Gautham’s female leads always look great (Maaya, Meghna, Jesse, Nithya, Hemanika, to name a few). Vivek as comic relief and Anushka Shetty do justice to their roles.

Bottomline: Another episode in a Police officer’s diary which you just cannot miss.

Startup Diaries #1: Zomato

Posted: January 6, 2015 in Food, Startup Diaries
Tags: ,

I just happened to download the Android App of Zomato a couple of days back, and fell in love with it, at first sight. The seamless interface, ease-of-use and the business problem it solves for, all made me an instant Zomato loyalist. This is for a person who is nowhere close to being a connoisseur and is very selective about his food. Makes me wonder about how useful it can be to people who actually have a thing for food.

Zomato is a perfect example of creating a business that delivers value to all stakeholders. The customer has the power to decide the best eat-out place suited for him/her in his/her locality. Restaurants get added traction because of their visibility to people even outside their locality. Zomato, obviously monetizes from the restaurants that are listed on it.

Zomato was a great business “idea” (not sure if there are older players in the same market) even before its App was launched, when it was present only in one platform – the Desktop site. With the launch of its Mobile App (in 2011), the end customer got to search and visit restaurants in and around the area where he/she was currently standing.

This gave the end customer a lot of options to choose from – ITC Grand Chola to Rahul Tea Stall, any place could get itself listed on Zomato. Deepinder Goyal (Founder) would have had a challenging time trying to accumulate the first set of restaurants to list themselves on Zomato. Once the initial barrier was breached, it was only about scaling up to add more and more restaurants, by showcasing success stories of already listed restaurants. The model built by Deepinder and Co. was easily scalable, which is why they were able to expand rapidly across hundreds of cities in India, and abroad, in so little time.

Rather than just being an online search service which aggregates restaurants in a particular locality, Zomato enabled the user to rate and review restaurants. This meant that the restaurants listed on Zomato took additional care to “delight” the customer, for they knew that the customer would use the power of social media to spread a word about them, positive or negative.

Zomato made use of the insight that “people like to talk about the places they visit, verbally or through social media”. They helped create an all new ecosystem for people who like to discuss food.

I’ve been a big fan of their marketing campaigns too, be it the “There are two kinds of people” campaign or their minimal poster designs which regularly do the rounds on Social media.

I came across an article that listed Zomato’s App as one of the most downloaded Apps in 2014 (in India). After downloading the app myself, now I know why.

Keenly looking forward to what Zomato has in store, in 2015.

Next on Startup Diaries: Ola Cabs!

Thank you, Dhoni!

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Cricket, Thoughts
Tags: , ,

90 matches, 4876 runs, 294 dismissals, 6 hundreds, 33 fifties and 10 ducks

It’s hard to believe these numbers are never going to change.

With the sudden announcement of his retirement from Tests earlier today, Dhoni has taken the phrase “Expect the unexpected” to an all new level. As an unabashed Dhoni fan , it was extremely shocking and disheartening for me to hear the news, initially. Seeing Raina’s tweet (embedded below) with tears in Dhoni’s eyes after announcing his Test retirement was literally a “kanla thanni” moment for thousands of fans, like me.

All his heroics in Tests (only a handful, but still) began flashing in my eyes. As a batsman, his ruthless assault at Faisalabad (148, against Pakistan) and match winning 224 at Chepauk (against Australia) would stand out. And then there were the double century stands with VVS, and valuable 50s, 60s and 70s when he batted with the tail. Frankly though, he hasn’t left behind an irreplaceable void in terms of his batting, in Test Cricket.

MSD at his ferocious best - Faisalabad, 2006

MSD at his ferocious best – Faisalabad, 2006

He’ll however be remembered in Test History as the Captain who led India to World No. 1 Test Rankings. To captain a side that was built by Sourav and led by Dravid and Kumble was not an easy task. The nonchalant ease with which he took up the challenge and led India on its way to glory was commendable. In the process, he also became the most successful Test Captain for India, in a list that features greats like Dada and Dravid. That’s something he can feel extremely proud of.

MSD, the MSC (Most Successful Captain)

MSD, the MSC (Most Successful Captain)

To think of it, Dhoni could not have timed his retirement better. Virat Kohli seems to be in great form as a batsman and has shown good signs of captaincy (in Adelaide, aiming for a win). I am sure Dhoni’s decision to retire would have materialized only after he got the faith that he’s leaving Indian Test Cricket in safe hands. He wouldn’t have thought twice to carry on with captaincy had he not been sure about Virat’s capability to lead the side, even if that meant bearing the brunt of the media and fans, for another away series defeat. Selfless cricketer, he is.

Saw a few reactions on News channels that Dhoni has abandoned a sinking ship by retiring mid-series. Now let’s assume he carried on as Captain in Sydney and India drew/lost the match. He’d have had to face allegations of carrying on as Captain despite performing poorly “away”. Players like Dhoni are always caught between the devil and deep blue sea; they get criticized no matter what they do.

However, it was very heartening to see some good reactions too, appreciating his personal decision to retire from Tests.

 

Thank you, Dhoni, for everything you’ve done for India in Tests.
Looking forward to March 29 now.

There are days when the body refuses to come out of the quilt as late as 8 am, in the freezing cold here in Delhi; snooze button always takes priority. Today was different. The prospect of watching Murali Vijay and Co. batting their way to glory against the Aussies was too much to sacrifice for a few hours of sleep. And so I (like most cricket crazy denizens from India) woke up at 5:30 am to watch India bat.

Monk Magic

I’ve been a Vijay (not to be confused with Tamil actor Ilayathalapathy Vijay) fan right from 2009 when he scored a classy 80 odd against SL in the same match Viru bullied SL bowlers on his way to 293 in Mumbai. There was an elegance in the way he caressed the cricket ball, even then, 5 years ago! How much he has improved over the years. 97 against Steyn and Co. in Durban last Boxing Day, match-winning second innings 95 at Lord’s this summer and all his five innings this series so far stand testimony to the fact that the Monk has made the opening spot his own, for the next 2-3 years at least (he is 31 now, almost).

VVS Vijay

VVS Vijay

The fact that his wicket in Adelaide (on 99) changed the course of the match speaks volumes about the value he adds to the current Indian team. I personally feel he could open for India in the ODI World Cup coming Feb, considering his current form down under. His ODI record so far might work against him though. He’s played 13 innings at 19.46 without a single 50 against his name. The tri-series next month (Ind, Aus and Eng) will answer a lot of questions.

Kohli – Rahane marathon

If Rahul Dravid feels that a talent is promising, he HAS to be promising. Rahane played brilliantly in patches in the SA, NZ tours and initial parts of the English summer, and is slowly arching out a name for himself in this Aus tour; two fifties and terrific century in five innings so far. In today’s innings, more than the number of runs he scored, it was the way in which he scored them that stood out – innovative upper cuts, flashing drives and confident pulls, treat to watch.

Innovative Jinx

Innovative Jinx

Kohli has grown so much in the minds of an average Indian cricket fan that when he gets out for 169, fans are disappointed. He’s slowly but surely becoming the next Sachin Tendulkar in terms of mounting expectations from fans.

Think about this. Kohli now has as many Test hundreds in Australia as Dravid, Ganguly and Sehwag combined in all their tours to Australia. And he is 26.

As an ardent cricket fan, it was extremely pleasing to see two young Indian batsmen pull Mitchel Johnson at will, in his own backyard. It’s not something you get to see everyday.

Mitch vs Kohli - talk about epic on-field rivalries

Mitch vs Kohli – talk about epic on-field rivalries

Rahul and MSD dismissals

Promising young talent KL Rahul made his Test debut today. Two ugly Tino Best-esque heaves on his debut innings is not exactly the way he would have wanted to start his career with. But spare a thought for the youngster. He’s just playing his first ever innings in Test cricket and a lot of nerves might have played on him. I’m sure he’ll go on to play for India for many years in the future, if his domestic record is something to judge him by.

With all the Dhoni bashing going on, saying he needs to stop playing Test cricket for India, I sometimes wonder if the Indian fan has a very short memory. He was the second highest run scorer for India this English summer with two eighties, one seventy and one fifty against his name, when Kohli averaged 13.5 in 10 innings.

The road ahead

There’s so much to look forward to, in the remaining 7 days of this series. It’s not like India is ruling Australia at their home or something. We are trailing 2-0 and staring at a “chance” of defeat in the third test, but we’ve had our moments; much more than we had in the series three years ago. To think that India would be relegated to No. 7 in Test Rankings if they lose this series 4-0 is a bit scary. Who knows, for all you know, India might weave some magic in the last seven days to level the series, 2-2. That’s the beauty of Test Cricket.

If you’ve landed here directly, without reading about the story behind the making of Noor-E-Medley, do read this.

Here’s the YouTube link to the song.

Brickbats and bouquets, most welcome.

Noor-E-Medley – 2 days to go!

Posted: December 17, 2014 in Music
Tags: , , ,

It was one of those Sundays when I was lazing around at home dong nothing, when I got a call from Saurabh Lalwani, a good friend of my good friend Anupam (Pam, going forward).

Though I hadn’t spoken to Saurabh at all until then, I had come to know a lot about him from Pam while in Shillong. Saurabh was Pam’s college mate from NIT Surat. While in Surat, he had developed a keen interest towards music, so much that he decided to make a career out of it. I was very surprised at the sound quality of the songs Pam had sung for Saurabh and was hoping I could sing for him, someday.

So I was elated when Saurabh asked me if I could sing for him. The song was a medley of two songs – Noor-E-Khuda from ‘My Name is Khan’ and ‘Walk On’ by U2 (Unnecessary Trivia: Sachin Tendulkar’s favorite band :P).

Walk-On-Canadian-Single-Version-2-cover

The next weekend, I went to Vaishali to start recording for the song, ‘Noor-E-Khuda’. It wasn’t easy for me, considering it was my first recording in 7 years. The scale of the song (D) too was two notes higher than the highest I’ve ever sung in my life (C). All did not go well initially since I couldn’t hit the high notes in D. After a week’s practice in D, I did manage to hit the high notes and Saurabh recorded them. Noor-E-Khuda was born.

2ytrwvb

Saurabh had already recorded the other portions of the song as well as the ‘Walk-On’ part with Bhavya, Utkarsh and Chanchal, all of them being established musicians in their fields; Bhavya – vocal, Utkarsh – keys, Chanchal – Tabla and Saurabh – Guitar and vocals. After the song was done completely, we decided to take it a level further by making a video – on the lines of a home jam.

10846238_4703324398890_9195573040221573672_n

According to me, it has come out really really well. The song is releasing this Friday (19th Dec, 2014). Watch it and let us know your comments.

Lingaa – Music Review

Posted: November 28, 2014 in Diary

It’s not very often that A. R. Rahman comes up with 4 Tamil albums in the same year. In fact, the last time before 2014 when four Rahman albums got released in the same year was 2003, when I was studying for cycle tests in Class VIII.

So firstly, thank you Deivame, for all the releases this year. :)

Now coming to Lingaa, this is a project where Thalaivar, Rahman and KSR have come together after 15 years. Remember, their first two films together, Muthu and Padaiyappa were absolute gems, both in terms of the songs and movie as a whole. Cult movies. So expectations were always going to be sky high. And hey, the songs to me have met the expectations. All of them.

“Ungalukku innum vayasaagala” is the phrase that comes to your mind when you listen to the Legend SPB’s voice in the opening track, “Oh Nanba”.  SPB, one of the most versatile singers of our country, never ceases to entertain us, over all these decades. He just keeps getting better with age.  Vairamuthu deserves a pat on the back for some meaningful verses.

Srinivas makes a comeback with ” En Mannava”. Aditi’s voice is a new find. Carnatic enthoos will like this track.

And then there is the crowd favorite “Mona Gasolina”. Impactful rendering by ” Thamizhagathin Rockstar ” Mano ji. Neeti and Tanvi are no less. The grand trumpeting, heavy orchestration all make for a dramatic Thalaivar style picturization. There’s little doubt this song will rule the charts for a good four months.

Kaaviya Thalaivan made me a fan of Haricharan, and “Unmai Orunaal Vellum” just reinforced my stand.
“Unmai oru naal vellum, indha ulagam un paer sollum, andru oorey poatrum manidhan neeye, neeyada”. Some thathuvam filled lyrics throughout the song, in the lines of ” Thalaimagane kalangaadhey” from Arunachalam. Lovely lovely song.

Few things in this world are more pleasing than listening to Rahman singing for his own tunes. “Indiane vaa” is my pick of the album. There are singers. There are awesome singers. There are super awesome singers. And then, there is Rahman.

Song level: Deiveegam

The track gives a fair idea about the time the story is set in. Around the time of our Independence.

Considering “Rockstar” had 14 tracks, “Lingaa” is a relatively small album (5 tracks) and nowhere close to Rahman’s best. Buy hey, Rahman at half his best is good enough. :)

Now, keep calm and wait for December 12. Thalaivar is back! \m/

It’s been a year now since Sachin Tendulkar (hereby called Thalaivar in this post) kissed the Cricket pitch goodbye! He has moved on in life, spending time with family, adopting villages, writing an Autobiography, etc. The Nation is yet to move on. He is the nation’s (okay, majority of the nation’s) greatest pride. So when his Autobiography hit the shelves recently, it was only natural that his countrymen and cricket lovers world-wide expected it be as awesome as his batting. A lot has been written about the book already. I will reserve my comments for a later day. Today, I list down 4 Life Lessons that stand out in Thalaivar’s “Playing It My Way”

Do your duty, everything else will fall in place

To put it bluntly, Thalaivar is just another human being like you and me, who went about doing his duty diligently, day in and day out. When he failed, he practiced hard. When he succeeded, he practiced harder. It’s amazing how just by doing his duty (along with some God given talent), he is literally worshipped by millions of people.

If you deserve something, you’ll get it somehow; today or 20 years later

Imagine. Thalaivar had to see the likes of Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg lift the World Cup before him having got the chance to do so. Throughout the book, Thalaivar describes the painful journey of working so hard to win the coveted World Cup and failing five times, in succession.  It all comes down to the clichéd phrase, “Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit”.

Music heals

If there’s anything apart from Cricket that Thalaivar mentions in “Playing It My Way”, it’s music and food. Music is a great healer. It’s a man’s best friend when he is dejected/disappointed. It helps channelize your emotions and concentrate harder. No wonder a lot of sportsmen (including the likes of Thala Rahul Dravid) take to music to improve concentration levels.

Be grateful to your teachers, family and God

Ramakant Achrekar would have been a proud teacher just to see his pupil (Thalaivar) excel in International Cricket, let alone Thalaivar crediting a major chunk of his success to Achrekar Sir. Thalaivar (mentions in his book) never fails to pay a visit to his teacher Achrekar Sir, his aunt (who played a major part in his early years as a budding cricketer) and two local temples, every single time he leaves India for an away series. Such a simple life lesson – be grateful to your teachers, family and God!

“I” – Music Review

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Diary

After a gap of three long years, 2014 has been the year when at least three Rahman albums have been released in Tamil – Kochadaiiyaan, Kaaviya Thalaivan and I.

In 2011, there were none (In fact, Rockstar was the only Rahman album that got released in the entire year).

Rahman gave us Kadal in the fag end of 2012, and Mariyaan in 2013.

So it was indeed a “Kanla thannee” moment for Rahman fans when he decided to treat us with so many songs in so little time. Kaaviya Thalaivan songs were barely about to sink in when “I” got released.

Kaaviya Thalaivan and Kochadaiiiyaan for a later day. Today, let’s talk “I”.

Shankar - Rahman - Vikram

Shankar – Rahman – Vikram

Firstly, “I” is so un-Rahmanic. Had someone made me hear “I” songs without telling me they were composed by Rahman, I would never have guessed (even in my dreams) that Rahman composed them. And that’s exactly why I feel the album is awesome. It’s  so unconventional for a Rahman album.

“Pookkale Satru” will be hummed by music lovers even in 40000 AD, towards the end of Kaliyug. Evergreen. There are very few things in this world that are better than Shreya Ghoshal singing for A.R. Rahman. The lyric and Haricharan’s voice add up to the Ghoshal-Rahman combo to give us a masterpiece.

“Ennodu nee irundhal” is the type of song you want to listen, sitting in your balcony, sipping a piping hot cup of coffee. Pleasing to the ears song. Sid Sriram has done a masters in these type of songs, it seems. Adiye first, and then this. It will be interesting to see if and when Rahman uses Sid’s voice for songs of a different genre.

“Mersalayitten” of course will be the “crowd’s favorite” song, that will rule FM radios and Music channels for the next few months. Easily the pick of the album. Not the kind of Rahman song that needs to be listened to 10-15 times before developing a taste for it. Anirudh’s voice and slang perfectly suit the song. The legendary MSV (in multiple songs), GV, Yuvan and now Anirudh, have all sung for Rahman.

Aditya Rao’s effortless way of singing, is the highlight of “Aila Aila”.

“Ladio” sounds like one of those english songs that they keep playing in the background in hotels and malls. The only average song of the album, in my opinion.

Just like in the past, pretty sure Shankar’s visuals will take the songs to an all new level. It’s “I” time for now, till Rajni-Rahman come together yet again, for Linga.

“Modha daba kaetten unna, bejaar aayi poyi ninnen ninnen… Naan merasalayitten”

I can count on one finger how many Malayalam movies I had watched in my life, before Drishyam.

Rave reviews in Social media and Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan planning to remake it in Tamil, made me curious to watch the movie.

I had no background about the movie whatsoever, when I started watching it; whether it was a laugh riot or a thriller or a fantasy movie. Nothing. And that helped.

You might come across a lot of movies across languages and borders, which would have certain scenes just like that; for the sake of it, without any real impact on the story or how it progresses. On the contrary, Drishyam doesn’t have a single scene that doesn’t take the story forward. Director Jeethu Joseph deserves a pat on the back for that. 

Georgekutty and family - Drishyam

Georgekutty and family – Drishyam

Mohanlal fits the boot of Georgekutty cheta, a middle class cable TV operator,  to perfection. Of course, one cannot expect anything less from him. Such a natural.

Meena has done a good job too, other than the scenes where she’s supposed to look terrified.

Jeethu Joseph, the Director is the real winner, actually, which is the reason why the movie is being remade/dubbed into a number of languages.

I’m sure the movie will be as interesting or more, in Tamil, what with the Ulaga Nayagan adding his own flavor to the movie. We saw that with Unnai Pol Oruvan, a remake of Wednesday.

Anyway, glad that I caught hold of a brilliant Malayalam movie. Next in the list – Bangalore Days.

Requesting my Mallu brothers to throw some light on other masterpieces in Malayalam Cinema. 

Restaurant Review – Rajdhani

Posted: July 13, 2014 in Food
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I’ve seen this restaurant in Express Avenue (Chennai) but never had a chance to eat there, until a couple of weeks ago, in MGF Metropolitan, Gurgaon. For me, there are only two types of Indian Cuisine – South Indian and North Indian. So when Sashi asked if we could dine at Rajdhani, which offers unlimited Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine for lunch, I agreed mainly because I couldn’t think of any alternative, being new to this place myself. The restaurant was fairly deserted, considering the fact that we went on a Sunday afternoon. Don’t know if that was the reason on anything else, but the service was super fast, true to its name, Rajdhani.

Rajdhani believes in standardization. They offer only one product, the Thali. Hence, they are able to serve their customers real fast. When I say real fast, I mean it.

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My plate at time ‘t’

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MY plate at time ‘t’ + 30 seconds

 

For someone very selective about eating my food, I myself had 12-13 items to choose from. There were Chota samosas, Rotis, Sweet Polis, Milk sweets, chips/flakes, Paneer Butter Masala, and a hoard of other anonymous items (at least, I can’t name them).

And everything was unlimited. I think the servers in Rajdhani have it in their KRA that none of the customers’ plates should be empty at any point in time. As soon as they see some food item diminishing in your plate, they’ll make it a point to replenish it even if you say your tummy can’t take anymore.

The servers are sweet too. When I said I didn’t want a particular item, the server said with a beaming smile, “Ek bar try kar do, saar. Bohut pasand ayega aapko”.

Definitely worth shelling out 350 bucks if you have an empty tummy and a liking for unlimited Rajastani food.

The art of leadership

Posted: July 9, 2014 in Diary

If you are a Dhoni fan, like I am, then enjoy this interview of his and get inspired, all over again by the Midas Man.

If you are not a Dhoni fan as yet, even then, read this piece, and then become a Dhoni fan and get inspired. 

http://www.bcci.tv/news/2014/features-and-interviews/8203/the-art-of-leadership-by-ms-dhoni