Monday, August 30, 2010

Laden with laughs

Just when I had given up hope of Tere Bin Laden releasing in Singapore, it did! And here are my random thoughts after watching it. I'll try my best not to have too many spoilers in case you have yet to watch it.

Image courtesy

  • First, brilliant brilliant casting, especially Pradhuman Singh who plays Noora/Osama. Director Abhishek Sharma had real vision to imagine that this guy could pull off such a convincing Osama! I especially loved the way he said, "Aande" and "Kukkad". You could really feel his deep and sincere love for his aande and his kukkad.
  • Ali Zafar, who plays Ali, is absolutely great. He acted so well I did not believe google when it told me that he's a superstar singer in Pakistan! He's got the right blend of Shahid's good looks and Sharman's bechara-ness, which make him perfect for this role.

  • The story is, of course, completely fresh, and not something every director would approach without fearing the ramnifications. But Abhishek Sharma makes it work and how. I wonder if being the writer of the movie you're directing helps to put on celluloid exactly what you envisioned in your mind when you were writing.
  • I loved the fact that there was no unnecessary romantic angle in the movie in spite of the good-looking lead actor. I was a little worried that they would have something between him and Zoya, but they really surprised me very pleasantly when the subtle romantic track turned out to be between Zoya and... oh well, you gotta watch the movie!
  • I am a little surprised that the US let this through but Pakistan banned it.
  • The scene with the truck reminded me of my Pakistan trip. Though they shot most of the movie in India, I was thrilled to see that they had got hold of an authentic Pakistani truck for these scenes.
  • There were only about two songs, and one of them goes something like, "He's a gudd-looking ullu da paththa." Now normally, I hate songs that mix Hindi and English, but this song is so apt and catchy, it really sticks in your head. Viv and I were singing it as we walked back from the theatre to the bus stop! (Viv corrected me when I sang, "He's a good-looking ullu da paththa" and said it's actually "gudd-looking" instead. Point taken.)

  • The flow of the movie is brilliant -- how Ali meets each of the characters who partner him in the scam is done very naturally and help to develop the story. Why they would agree to be part of the fiasco is also very believable, and not to mention funny, especially the RJ's reason.

  • The movie is hilarious -- laugh-out-loud from start to finish. It is a spoof but not the annoying kind. The screenplay makes it really work. It experiments with all levels from humour -- from the very subtle (watch out for the umbrella that wouldn't close -- it comes back!) to slapstick (the scene involving Sikandar and the grenade).

  • In spite of being a comedy, the movie has its hard-hitting message all right. Cue the scene at the coffee machine.

  • The problem with most Bollywood movies that start out being very funny is that after the interval, the fun dies and the melodrama starts, leading to an extremely lame end. It's like two movies from completely different genres were sewn along the interval. Not with Tere Bin Laden though. The movie actually gets funnier as it progresses (yeah I know it's hard to believe!) and it has a great ending.
  • The dialogue is utterly witty. Almost every scene has a classic line. You'll really need to watch it again to fully catch each line. I can safely say that this is in the top 5 list of the funniest movies I have ever watched.

  • I wonder if Osama himself watched it, and how he reacted.

  • I can't wait for the DVD.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Family feud

"Yenna vishesham?"

I did a double-take. Had I called Dad-in-law by mistake? Nope, it was Dad all right because the pronunciation seemed a bit bonkers.

"Huh? Wha... wha... WHAT?!" This is all I could manage.

"Yenna vishesham?" He repeated cheerfully.

"What do you mean?" I asked, still stumped.

"You don't know 'Yenna vishesham'? You're married to a Tamilian and you don't know what is 'Yenna vishesham'?????"

"I know what is 'Yenna vishesham' all right. How do YOU know 'Yenna vishesham'???

"Of course I know what is 'Yenna vishesham'. Do YOU know what is 'Yenna vishesham'??" He laughed.

Okay, this was going nowhere.

"'Yenna' means 'what' and 'vishesham' means 'special'. So you're asking - 'What is new/special?' Okay now? Happy?"


"What correct? Of course I know it's correct."

"But you didn't use it in a conversation. I did." He said proudly.

"Well, I don't randomly use it to impress people. I use it when... erm... it's... needed."

Dad had gifted me two books on how non-Tamilians can learn Tamil in 30 days. Viv is a terrible teacher when it comes to Tamil and the only useful stuff I learn is when the in-laws come over, so my Dad thought he could supplement my education with the books. Word of advice -- Do NOT believe a word of what those book titles say. 30 days my foot. Sure I can now almost pronounce 'kozhambu', almost differentiate between kannadi/munnadi/pinnadi and nariya/periya/seriya and almost insult people by calling them 'korangu', but I am still far away from really knowing the language. The last thing I needed was my Dad learning more Tamil than me.

Anyway, I let the incident go and dismissed how thrilled Dad had sounded at his 'victory'.

Until this evening when Viv sent me an sms, saying he was going to get home late from work.


Quick as lightning, I messaged back, "Yenna vishesham?"

Viv's response was in Singlish, which loosely translated to emoticonspeak is this --> :O


Now I just have to call Dad and ask him if HE has ever been sarcastic in fluent Tamil. Ha!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Money talks

Okay, so this video is like FOUR years old but I don't care. I just chanced upon it (thanks to Bivas) and it's awesome and it's the video of the week at the bar. :)

If the embedded video is lagging, you can watch it directly on Youtube.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Taking st-age - results show

The results of the last poll are out!

According to the bar's bewdas and bewdis, the Bollywood personality (female) who looks the best according to her age is... you guessed it, Hema Malini!

Here's a recent picture of our 62-year-old Dreamgirl.

Image courtesy

And... the Bollywood personality (male) who looks the best according to his age is... bet you guessed it again, Anil Kapoor!

And here's a recent picture of our 51-year-old Lakhan.

Image courtesy

On a very related note, I saw a recent interview by Anil Kapoor where he shared his secret. He said something like, "We make our bodies work for us 24 hours a day. It's not asking for a lot if we just take 1 hour every day and work for our bodies."

Very cool. Very inspiring.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Taking st-age

Bewdas and bewdis, it's time for a Bollywood poll at the bar!

Name one male and one female Bollywood celebrity who looks the best for his/her age now.

Drop your vote in the comments box. Comment moderation will stay on till the results are revealed in the next post, so you won't be able to see your (or others') comments until then. This is actually a good way to see if bewdas/bewdis read the post before yelling 'Gold!' :P

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bad Company

Sayesha Smitten Showbiz Kitten (SSSK) is back, bringing you an exclusive interview with the writer, director and actors of the movie 'Once upon a time in Mumbaai'. Writer Rajat Arora and director Milan Luthria are seated on a couch in SSSK's treehouse. Emraan Hashmi is on another couch, and Prachi Desai is trying to inch away from him. Kangana is at the bar, drinking herself silly. Devgn is brooding because he doesn't have any other look. Randeep Hooda has made himself comfortable in a beanbag. SSSK is outside on a branch with her notepad and a pencil.

Milan (giving SSSK a strange look) - Errr... are you sure that's where you want to take the interview from?

SSSK - Oh yes, it's an inspiration thing. Don't worry about it. Shall we start?

Rajat - Sure!

SSSK - So Rajat, Milan, kya picture banayi...

Rajat & Milan (grinning) - Thank you thank you.

SSSK - Nahin, mera matlab hai... kyaaaaa picture banayi yaar... Company ki remake?!

Rajat - Company ki remake?!

SSSK - Woh bhi such a bad one? Picture ka naam rakhna tha Bad Company! (guffaws at her own joke)

Milan (stands up in indignation) - Company?! Kaun Company? Kiski Company? Main kisi Company ko nahin jaanta!

Randeep - Arre she's talking about the movie Company. Ramu ki Company. Same story as our movie, no?

Milan gives Randeep a dirty look.

SSSK - Wait, so are you saying that this is not a remake of Company?

Milan - Of course not!

Kangana - It's not?!

Rajat - Kangana! We talked about this!

SSSK - Let's see. Company was the story of a gangster and his right hand man, and their fallout. Once Upon was the story of a gangster and his right hand man, and their fallout. Both had Ajay Devgn in the lead...

Rajat - Oh please! There are obvious differences, ok? First of all, Ajay still had the 'a' in his surname when he did Company. Now he doesn't. And... and... the right hand man in Company was Vivek Oberoi and here it's Emraan Hashmi. And... Company wasn't set in the 70s ok, our movie is!

SSSK - Speaking of that... what was with the 70s? It looked so fake. It was very spoofy-70s, much like Om Shanti Om.

Milan - Ugh. Nooooo. Please stop bringing in more movies to compare!

Kangana - You mean my clothes were not inspired from Om Shanti Om?

Rajat - Aaaarghhhhh! Is bewdi ko kahan se lekar aaya re... Milan maine mana kiya tha... teri casting... aaaargghhh!

SSSK - The clothes looked really silly, didn't you think?

Ajay (mutters under his breath) - Tabhi toh I insisted on full white. Cartoon nahin lagna tha mujhe Emraan ki tarah...

Emraan - Excuse me?! I was looking like a cartoon?! Tu... tu... chalti phirti Nirma ki dukaan lag raha tha!

Milan - Guys, guys, relax. SSSK, actually the 70s theme was crucial to the story.

SSSK - But why?!

Rajat - Errr... What do you mean why? (looks at Milan for help, who shrugs helplessly)

SSSK - My theory is that the dialogue of this movie was written in the 70s... so you decided to make it a 70s movie. Am I right?

Rajat - WHAT?!

SSSK - Of course. Who talks like that anymore? Which movie has dialogues like 'Aaj ka kaam kal karunga toh aaj bura maan jayega' and 'Main teri dua khaunga' and 'Ghoda jab langda ho jata hai toh uska ek hi anjaam hota hai'?

Rajat (turning red with rage) - Stop. Asking. Questions.

SSSK - And what's with the spelling of Mumbai as Mumbaai in the title?

Milan - Dammit, Ektaaaaaa!

Rajat - Maine mana kiya tha, Milan...

Milan - She's the frickin' producer! What was I supposed to do?

SSSK - Hmmm... Ok, Ajay, let me ask you something. Do you now give a discount to producers who cast you in gangster movies? Why are you doing the same thing again and again?

Ajay - Grrrr...

SSSK - Udhar Kajol is back to her shrieking self -- I just saw the trailer of 'We are family'. Naya kaam nahin mil raha hai kya dono ko?

Ajay - GRRR...

SSSK - And what about you, Kangana? Why do you keep playing the same role in all movies?

Kangana - Same role? All movies? That's not true. See, usually I play a psychotic actress or model who's in love with the wrong guy, and she is addicted to drugs and alcohol and dies in the end, right?

SSSK - Yep. That sums it up nicely.

Kangana - Well, in this movie I play an... uhh... actress... who is... uhhh... in love with a gangster... uhh... and she has a drink with him every day and uhh...

SSSK (grinning broadly) - Yes, go on?

Kangana - Oh... hmmm... good point. But hey, I am not psychotic and I am not a drug addict in this movie, okay?

SSSK - But your character is.. guess what... dying... again!

Kangana - Hmm... another good point. But hey, usually I die in my movies by committing suicide okay??? In this movie, I am dying of... con... congee...

Rajat (sighs) - Congenital heart disease, Kangana...

Kangana - Yeah! That one! So there! I don't kill myself. See? See?

SSSK - Sigh... Emraan, your turn now. Same question. Why do you keep playing the same guy in all movies?

Emraan - What?! That's not true! I usually play this grey-to-negative character who only has bedroom scenes, right?

SSSK - Right.

Emraan - Well, in this movie, my character is...uhh... kind of grey... to negative...

SSSK - Uh huh...

Emraan - But hey, not every scene is a bedroom scene, okay?? In fact, I have some very nice scenes. There's a very romantic one where I watch the movie Bobby and then I buy the Bobby outfit for Prachi and make her wear it...

SSSK - And what's the scene right after that? Once she wears it?

Emraan - Uhhh.... forget that. There are other scenes... like the one where I go to a pub with my guy friends and we're just chilling out?

SSSK - And what's the scene right after that?

Emraan - Uhhh...

SSSK - And now you, Prachi! Same question.

Prachi - Hey I am only two movies old.

SSSK - And your second movie also shows you as this seedhi saadhi ladki who is trying to get her man to change his ways?

Prachi - Erm... uh... I'm pretty, okay? Okay! No one cares what role I play.

SSSK - And you, Randeep. What the hell was your character? Why didn't you just kill Ajay and Emraan when you had a chance? You kept talking about Emraan as the mohra but he wasn't even on your side. And when he tried to kill Ajay, you tried to stop him. What on earth was your role?? Why would you blame everything on yourself and try to kill yourself after 18 years?? WHY??????

Randeep - Arre! Emotional mat ho. I am just happy I got a movie yaar. Who cares that the character is dim-witted as long as he's a hot cop? I was hot, wasn't I? What a contrast to Mohanlal, eh? (looks at Rajat and Milan)

Rajat (grinding his teeth) - AAAARGHHH!!!

Milan - For the last time, this is NOT a remake of Company!!!!

SSSK - Okay okay, calm down. One last question, okay?

Rajat - Okay fine...

SSSK - So what was the point of the movie?

Milan - All right. That's it. The interview ends right here. Pack up!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Not a good sign

There is this temple near the community centre where I play badminton and I only recently noticed the sign it has outside. Now I am not a big fan of temple signs, not since the time I visited Jagannath Puri as a kid and saw this rather shocking sign in big and bold -- "ONLY HINDUS ALLOWED".

So when I saw this sign, I was curious whether temples in Singapore also did the same thing. Well, I was very pleasantly surprised to read what the sign said...


...until I read the last line.