Sunday, February 28, 2010

Madhuloka woes

Madhuloka, the leading chain of liquor boutique, was one of the attraction while moving into the present locality. They have a great store featuring all kinds of liquor. They also deliver at your doorstep. Knowing the malayali penchant for liquor, a friend boasted about his flat fetching a great price if he sold as it is closely located to Madhuloka. According to his overly simple reasoning, the door delivery feature coupled the customer friendly store personnel provided a good enough reason for a malayali to invest in this locality!

Madhuloka has everything to enhance your drinking experience. In addition to variety of liquors, they also offer all the necessary accessories like chips, roasted nuts, openers, glasses, cigars and cigarettes. They have everything to enhance the drinking experience but nothing to prevent you from getting into trouble! The display and the lighting scheme at their stores inspire the shoppers to browse their various collection by completely forgetting the original purpose of their visit! I have spent precious time checking out the various labels they offered in their wine section in spite of all these being unaffordable.

As with any growing organization, Madhuloka is moving away from a customer centric model to a corporate one. In the past one week, there were two sour incidents while dealing with Madhuloka. In the first incident, when a delivery order was placed, it was not matching up to the minimum amount. Although, it has almost reached the minimum amount, they were unwilling to send their delivery boy unless another bottle of liquor is purchased! In the second incident, they refused to sell ice cubes unless liquor was purchased!

With a Total Mall and a Spencer Megamall around the corner, what is the differentiating factor for Madhuloka? A couple of months earlier, I would have said “friendly neighborhood liquorstore”! But, not anymore! As more retail outlets are being added under their list of stores, they are becoming less friendly!

As for my friend who was proud to be located closely to Madhuloka can scratch this from his list of nearby attractions and think about something else to promote his flat!

Picture Courtesy: http://bangalore.burrp.com

Tags: Musings,Bangalore,Madhuloka,Liquor

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fighting laptop distraction

Have you been in a meeting where all the participants are huddled around a table but still working on their respective laptops? Until I subcontracted for a product company based in San Rafael, California, I had been a traditional meeting person. I always walked into the room with my notepad. But the agile development team in the product company walked into the meeting room with their laptops. After sitting down, they resumed  work on the laptop. They only took their eyes off the laptop screen when they had to speak. They spoke only when they were asked a direct question!

No wonder the professor in the video decided to send a message using Liquid Nitrogen!

Tags: Videos,Laptop,Liquid Nitrogen

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gifting on Valentine’s day!

What is tougher – selecting a gift or handing over the gift? In this age of overnight delivery, handing over the gift is an easy task compared to the arduous hours spent in selecting the appropriate gifts. After the Valentine’s day, my wife shared a story of a friend who experienced a mental block while selecting a gift and a stage fright while handing over the gift. The gift was intended for his wife.

When the Valentine’s day approached, he was clueless as to what to get for his better half. He asked my wife’s assistance in selecting a gift. My wife, after her analysis, suggested a dress material and also chose the best one possible in his budget. But, on the D-Day, he could not hand over the gift fearing his own mother. He was so worried about his mother and her raised eyebrows since they had spent a good amount of money during their recent visit to the mall citing Valentine’s day.

Finally, the romantic in him succeeded in finding an appropriate excuse to hand over the gift on the D-day. He handed over the gift in front of his mother saying he won this in a contest at work!

Who says life is easy for married men?

Picture Courtesy: http://www.tradeindia.com

Tags: Musings,Valentine,Husband,Wife,Mother

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What is a browser?

What is a browser? If you are reading it, the chances are you know it already. Check out the video to see if these people really know what a browser is!

Tags: Videos,Browser

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sausages

If you had always thought sausages were yummy fattening stuff, check out the alternate use for sausages in the embedded video.

Tags: Videos,Sausages

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Movie: Bodyguard

During his childhood, Jayakrishnan steals a snake from a snake charmer. He then creates a panic in his school when he tries to charm the snake. As a result, the snake is killed and Jayakrishnan is caned by his father. This event makes him learn the importance of fear. Gradually, he admires the people in the society who generates this fear. As a result, he respects cops as they generate fear in people. But, when he sees cops fear the notorious dons, he is disillusioned and eventually starts respecting the dons.

Now, an young Jayakrishnan(Dileep) works as a bodyguard for the local don Shanmugham after abandoning studies. On seeing the fearful look on Shanmugham’s face while being threatened by Ashokan(Thyagarajan), Jayakrishnan decides to work for Ashokan. He sets out to find Ashokan with a recommendation letter from Warrier, a common friend. While travelling to Ashokan’s house, Jayakrishnan meets Dhanapalan(Harisree Asokan). The bumbling idiot Dhanapalan soon spins misguides everyone to think Ashokan’s life is in danger and Warrier had sent Jayakrishnan to save Ashokan.

While waiting for Ashokan’s arrival from Dubai, Jayakrishnan saves the household help Ammu(Nayanthara) from Rajeevan. After getting beaten up, Rajeevan becomes unconscious. Then, Ammu requests Jayakrishanan to escape after telling him the truth. Ammu and Rajeevan are Ashokan’s children. Jayakrishnan had mistaken Rajeevan’s playful intentions and attacked the latter to save Ammu. After confessing the truth to Ashokan, Jayakrishnan is retained after seeing Warrier’s letter of recommendation. Everyone in the house thinks Jayakrishnan is an idiot. But when Jayakrishnan saves Ashokan’s family from Shanmughan’s hired men, Ashokan begins to trust him.

After the attack, Shanmugham flees to Malyasia. Being careful, Ashokan appoints Jayakrishnan as a bodyguard when Ammu returns to the final year in college. Ashokan also arranges Jayakrishnan to study in the same class as Ammu. Ammu is accompanied by a friend Sethulakshmi(Mithra Kurien) and two household helps, Dhanapalan and a lady, while studying in the college. Very soon, Jayakrishnan becomes an embarrassment for Ammu and Sethu due to his attire and mannerisms. After Ammu knocks at all doors to bring Jayakrishnan to tow the line, she takes matters into her hands. What follows is a love story where Jayakrishnan gets attracted to a person whom he has never seen.

Siddique comes out of hibernation to direct this love story, scripted again by himself, which is emotional and humorous. This time around, he has kept the dose of humor lesser than his previous outings. But he has maintained the emotional quotient like his previous movies. The director-writer shows his command on the medium in several sequences. The director excels in the fight inside the temple where Jayakrishnan saves the Ashokan family. The writer excels in etching out Ammu’s weakening resistance after she decides not to talk to Jayakrishnan. The climax, which was hastily done, was a brilliant stroke from a writer’s point of view which is not as impactful when translated to screen. The climax, if stretched out in pace, would have given audience a better understanding of the movie. During the initial scenes of the movie when Jayakrishnan’s character is built up, the audience mistakes this to be an action or a comedy movie. This works against the movie.

Dileep is perfect as Jayakrishnan, portraying him sensitively while adding a pinch of humor. He plays the sensitive and innocent Jayakrishnan without going over the top. Jayakrishnan is serious while his antics might not be. Even while shaking a leg(and the upper body) to Prabhu Deva’s choreography, Dileep’s mannerisms come to the forefront instead of the choreographer’s. Imitating Prabhu Deva would have been disastrous!

Nayanthara, after the makeover, is a dream. The same cannot be said about her portrayal of Ammu. It is a difficult role and she has not let us down completely. Her Ammu is confused and torn between her feelings for Jayakrishnan and what has been decided by her family.

Mithra Kurien springs a surprise. Thyagarajan stares without emotions. Luckily for him, that is all needed as Ashokan. Harisree Asokan is okay as Dhanapalan which is a new addition to his enactments as the idiot. Guiness Pakru evokes laughter by constantly referring to his physical stature and also using the same to create comedy. Janardhanan is wasted as there is nothing to do as Sethulakshmi’s dad and Ashokan’s caretaker.

S Kumar’s camerawork makes the mundane surroundings look more colorful. Even Ootty looks different through his lens. Ouseppachan’s music is pleasing to the ear and the song are pictured elegantly with S Kumar’s camera, beautifully choreographed steps and Siddique’s direction.

Believe it or not, Siddique has not lost his style. See it for him as he may not direct another movie for years.

Language: Malayalam

Genre: Romance

Rating: ***

Picture Courtesy: www.nowrunning.com

Tags: Movies,Dileep,Thyagarajan,Harisree Asokan,Nayanthara,Mithra Kurien,Siddique,Guiness Pakru,Prabhu Deva,S Kumar,Ouseppachan,Romance

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lessons from a Goa-Karnataka crossing

  1. Do not cross into Karnataka from Goa with a Fenny bottle in your bag.
  2. Never let your wife take control of the negotiations at the border when you are stopped.
  3. Always have a camera in hand if negotiations at border turns sour.

My friend learned the above lessons on his return trip from Goa after spending the new year’s eve there! When he embarked on this trip, little did he know that this new year was going teach him the above valuable lessons. At the time of commencing the journey, he was more worried about the unruly mob in Karnataka as the state was still recovering from the death of actor Vishnuvardhan. In order to protect his car from mob fury, he promptly printed out the photos of the actor on A4 sheets and stuck it on his car. But, all these precautions were unnecessary as the journey from Bengaluru to Goa was uneventful but tiring. The return journey also would have followed the same pattern but for the encounter with the border officials at the Karnataka side.

My friend was travelling with his wife and another couple. During the customary check at the border, the lone bottle of fenny in their bag awakened the spirits of a dutiful border official. Arrack is banned in Karnataka and fenny being a variant of arrack is also banned in Karnataka! This was the first lesson. The border official refused to let them carry the bottle into Karnataka.

The offensive bottle of fenny was intended as a gift. So, the border crossers hesitated in throwing away the precious bottle of liquor. After brainstorming on the next steps, they decided to tempt the dutiful border official in forgetting his duty by paying a price for his forgetfulness. So, the person who was the most fluent in Kannada was selected for negotiations. My friend was chosen as the negotiator. In order to integrate with local working population, his employer had organized a Kannada class for all their interested employees a long while back. My friend had enrolled for these classes and time has come to display his talents.

My friend eased into his role as the negotiator effortlessly and talked to the border official. The dutiful border official was ready to feign ignorance on the arrack ban while these people crossed the border. But, unfortunately, the negotiator couldn’t quote an amount that the border official couldn't refuse. The border official wanted a paltry sum that was equivalent to the price of a bottle of Fenny. When negotiations were not leading anywhere, my friend’s wife quietly picked up the bottle of Fenny and drained the contents on to the road in front of the border official. This formed the basis of second lesson.

The border official was enraged at a woman taunting him with a bottle of Fenny. It was insult to his manhood! As a result, my poor friend was caught between the devil and the sea. Being magnanimous, he decided to ignore the insult to men and sided with his wife. The border official and my friend had a heated exchange in Kannada. My friend was once again grateful for the Kannada lessons sponsored by his employer. He used most of what he learnt for effectively communicating his displeasure! Meanwhile, his friend, who was inactive till then, started recording the entire episode using his cell phone. This was the third lesson.

By the time, the entire quarrel was being recorded using the cell phone, the border official was joined by his colleagues. Seeing the recording in progress, the colleagues, who joined in the melee, nudged the deeply hurt border official to calm down. Within minutes, the problem was solved and the two couples resumed their journey back to Bengaluru.

The cell phone helped even though it was a lousy model without a camera!

Picture Courtesy: www.webshots.com

Tags: Musings,Goa,Border,Fenny,Cell Phone,Negotiator

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Movie: Asal

Jeevanandham(Ajithkumar) is an arms dealer who supplies arms to international governments. He lives in France and has three sons – Sam(Sampath Raj), Vicky(Rajiv Krishna) and Shiva(Ajithkumar). Shiva is born out of wedlock. But, Jeevanandham loves Shiva as he is more daring and trustworthy than his brothers. Jeevanandham is also sad as Sam and Vicky are always alienating Shiva. Sam is calculating and patient whereas Vicky is very impulsive. Sara(Sameera Reddy), a cultural attache at the Indian embassy in Paris, shares a good friendship with Shiva and also secretly admires him. This irks Vicky as he wants to marry Sara.

When Jeevanandham dies, Sam and Vicky signs on with a cartel to oust a Mumbai based don, Brijesh Shetty(Kelly Dorji). Their maternal uncle Kalivardhan(Pradeep Rawat) and a French cop of Tamilian origin Daniel Dharmaraj(Suresh) helps Sam and Vicky in this enterprise. In order to teach the brothers a lesson, Shetty kidnaps Vicky. Very soon, Shiva flies down to Mumbai to save his brother. In Mumbai, he meets his dad’s old friend Mirasi(Prabhu), Sulabha(Bhavana) and Don Samsa(Yugi Sethu). In Mumbai, Shiva studies Shetty and gains entry into Shetty’s fortress by killing two of Shetty’s best men. When Shiva returns after saving his brother from Shetty, he is shot by his brothers and falls into the river. The rest of the story forms the mystery of why he was shot and how he extracts his revenge.

Saran directs this movie and Ajithkumar co-directs this movie. The action scenes are the only thing good about this movie. But at the same time the action scenes also are not world class. If you consider the recent movies, this has substandard action scenes. The story which is credited to Saran, Ajithkumar and Yugi Sethu is wafer thin and the story takes a lot of time to unravel. For a movie which is marketed as slick, this has an adverse effect.

Cinematography by newcomer, Prashant D’Misale is impressive primarily because of the exotic locations(France, Mumbai and Malaysia) and the color palette chosen.  During the title sequence, the cameraman falters as the aerial view of France is marred by unsteady hands on the camera which results in shaky frame and a spoiled shot.

Ajithkumar proves once again that he is not capable of any histrionics. But, he look dashing with the friendly mutton chops, the stylish costumes and the cigar.

The villains ham and the girls provides the glam quotient. Yugi Sethu stumbles through the movie as an idiot without impressing anyone. Prabhu is wasted.

If you term this as a sequel to Vishnuvardhan’s 2007 hit Billa, then it would be an insult to both Vishnuvardhan and the movie Billa.

Skip this.

Language: Tamil

Genre: Thriller

Rating: *

Picture Courtesy: www.nowrunning.com

Tags: Movies,Ajithkumar,Prabhu,Sampath Raj,Rajiv Krishna,Sameera Reddy,Pradeep Rawat,Suresh,Bhavana,Yugi Sethu,Saran,Prashant D'Misale,Thriller

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