Monthly Archives: June 2009

Bandra-Worli Sealink Bridge

The Bandra-Worli Sealink was finally inaugrated today by Sonia Gandhi

The Bandra-Worli sealink

The bridge will be toll-free until 5th July. Sonia Gandhi traversed the length and  breadth of the bridge which is named after Rajiv Gandhi.

The Bandra-Worli sealink

Length of bridge (4.7km): 63 times the Qutub Minar

Weight of bridge (6.7L tonnes): 50,000 African elephants

424 cables for main roadway: can support 900 tons each

Length of steel wire used (37,680km): Nearly the earth’s circumference

Concrete used: 2.3 lakh cubic metres

Height of main towers (126m): 43-storey buidling

Pile caps: Bridge rests on 135 pile caps, the largest being 55 m in length and 55 m in breadth (half a football field)

Peak-hour sweat: 4,000 workers and 150 engineers

The Bandra-Worli sealink

The roundabout distance that used to take 35-40 minutes to cover, will now be covered in 6 minutes.

The Bandra-Worli sealink

Its taken 10 years to complete this marvel, and a sum of whopping 1600 crores. Here’s a small video which explains the architecture better:

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Posted by on June 30, 2009 in general


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Music Review : Love Aaj Kal

After the huge success of Jab We Met, Pritam and Imtiaz Ali are back again to entertain us. And not to forget the lyricist Irshad Kamil, who wrote some really good lyrics for JWM, is also a part of this bandwagon. The expectations from this movie and the album are big. Its one of the biggest releases and most awaited movies of this year. The movie is yet to come but the album is here and it delivers. Its a great mix of folk, punjabi songs, remix, soft romantic song and foot-tapping numbers; all in one album. There are 10 tracks overall, but 3 of them are remixes; so we have 7 chartbusting numbers.


TwistNeeraj Sridhar
: The album opens with this fine fusion of the 1954 classic Man Dole Mera tan Dole and Neeraj Sridhar doing what he does best, rap inane lyrics. But it makes for a nice hearing, especially because Pritam knows exactly what can set the foot tapping.

Let’s have some ranouk shaunak
Let’s have some party now
Let’s have some rolla rappa

Round de chak hey
Round de chak

Let’s have some dhol dhamaka
Let’s call the dholi now
Let’s have some matti tappa

Chalo chalo ji lak lak ga lo
Chalo chalo ji mauj mana lo
Chalo chalo ji nach lo gaa lo
Pakad kisi ki wrist

And we twist
We twist

This number is already quite popular and it sure will go on to be a big hit with the FM stations and discs. Both, the original and remix versions, are good.

Aaj Din ChadeyyaRahat Fateh Ali Khan : A soulfully romantic song by Rahat after such a long time. The last I liked him was in Teri Ore from SiK. The lyrics are very sweet:

Phool sa hai khila aaj din
Rabba mere din yeh na dhale
Woh jo mujhe khwab mein mile
Use tu lagade abb gale
Tenu dil da vasta

The strumming of guitar is a nice introduction, making it sound like a fusion between sufi and country music. And as usual, Rahat hits those high notes with such ease.

Baksh gunahon ko
Sunke duwaon ko
Rabba pyaar hai
Tune sab ko hi de diya

Meri bhi aahon ko
Sunle duwaon ko
Mujhko woh dila maine jisko hai dil diya

Its a melodious track and will be remembered for a long time.

Aahun AahunNeeraj Sridhar : Another song by the rapper, this time borrowing the tune of a popular Jazzy B song. Its remixed well by Pritam, the way he keeps shifting between the genres of punjabi folk voice of Jazzy B and Neeraj Sridhar’s fast paced words is fabulous. This song is bound to be another superhit, it has a nice rhythm and will find much favor with DJ’s. This song is also accompanied by its remix.

Chor BazariNeeraj Sridhar & Sunidhi Chauhan : This is a weak song and seems to be a worn out effect of Pritam. Its quite a laborious work, trying to come good but that never happens. The singers have given their best but the lyrics and the pedestrian music lets them down. Its just about passable. The song also has its remix version which I was not very convinced about.

Ye DooriyanMohit Chauhan : A lazy effort by Pritam, the song lacks soul. Mohit’s voice suits the song, but its undone by lacklustre tune which suffers from a hangover of Tumse Hi from JWM.

kyun koi paas hai
door hai kyun koi
jaane na koi yahan pe

aa raha paas ya
door main ja raha
jaanu na main hoon
kahan pe

ye dooriyan..

in raahon ki dooriyan
nigahon ki dooriyan
hum raahon ki dooriyan
fanaa ho sabhi dooriyan

Its a song about the pangs of separation and a hope of re-uniting again; about distance and spaces between people. The tune could have been much better with a little bit of rework, nevertheless its very hummable number. Mohit is carving a niche for himself with such romantic tracks which gives him the freedom to croon.

Mai Kya HoonKK
: An electronic-keyboard driven number offered by Pritam, to which KK does complete justice. It has a nice tune which KK takes to a crescendo and ends in a yoddle. The fast and pacy beats is the highlight of the song. Lyrics is the weak link of quite a few songs, this one included; but not many care for it. So, enjoy this typical KK number; he does not disappoint.

Thoda Thoda PyarSunidhi Chauhan
: Another heavily loaded punjabi song, it has a folksy tune starting with sangeet situation and Sunidhi gives it the much needed rustic touch. This song will be quite popular in the northern belt for sure. It has some naughty lyrics as well, which are synonymous with lots of folk songs, and Sunidhi renders it with gusto.

Saif Ali Khan, being the producer of the movie, must have really worked hard alongwith Imtiaz Ali and Pritam to bring out the best. After some lacklustre music in Billu, Pritam has come into his own and brought in a freshness. Whatever people may say about him, copy or no copy, he has a good sense of music. This album is a winner, go get it.


Posted by on June 29, 2009 in bollywood, movies, music review


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a day in the life of chennai

This short film won the Gold Lions in Cannes, this year. The first ever such award for India. It was a campaign made by The Times Of India. In all, it won 3 awards. Watch the video:

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Posted by on June 28, 2009 in general


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A Tribute To Michael Jackson

Dangerous – Live Performance

In The Closet

Smooth Criminal

Billie Jean – Live Performance

Do You Remember The Time

Black Or White


They Don’t Care About Us


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Posted by on June 27, 2009 in hollywood



michael jackson dead … end of an era

its been a sad day in the lives of millions of music lovers and dancers, and not just michael jackson’s fans. the news was as shocking as the death itself. a man in his 50’s with access to best of facilities dies due to cardiac arrest. the paramedics were called, but all they could do was see him enter coma and never to comeback from that state; he was finally declared dead.

for any youngster who grew up in the 1980’s, he must surely tapped his foot to MJ’s tunes and glared wonderously at his moonwalk, mesmerised people with some fantastic music and lyrics. i was a little late on catching up with his music. i did hear ‘beat it’ and ‘smooth criminal’, but i was totally into him when ‘dangerous’ was out. the music was awesome, lyrics were great and each song was picturised beautifully. i saw the ‘jam’ music video for the first time in ‘the world this week’, a news capsule program by ndtv. i loved all the songs of that fantastic album and ran from pillar to post to lay my hands on that album.

his moonwalk is out of the world, nobody comes close to his level of perfection. he was an institution on his own, spoiling an entire generation with ‘break dance’ and the rhythmic tunes. he was a complete entertainer and his songs were well thought out, especially ‘heal the world’ and ‘black or white’…fantastic stuff.

i must confess one thing though. i think his death was a good thing for him as he is finally resting in peace. the last 10 years of his life were filled with controversies. he was just running away from one controversy and landing into another. he was deep in debt, with no money and nothing working for him, he finally decided to do a world tour and raise money. but that didn’t happen. he is now no more, but his songs will remain with us forever.

he was a legend in the true sense, brightening lives and giving hope to millions. its end of an era, may his soul rest in peace.

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Posted by on June 26, 2009 in hollywood


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John Milton : On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.
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Posted by on June 25, 2009 in literature, poem


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Gospel Of Matthew : Parable Of ‘Talents’

This is a popular anecdote taken from Gospel of Matthew which tells a tale of wasted talent. Its one of the simpler stories from the gospel and talent here means a type of currency doled out in coins; but in context of the story it not just stands for money but also for skill and abilities.

The story is of a master who has 3 servants at his service. He wishes to go out of town on some personal agenda and he distributes a few talents to each of his servants and asks them to make best use of it as he will take account of it on his return.

The master gets back and questions his servants on usage of the talents given to them. The first servant was given 5 talents and he manages to double the amount. He hands over 10 talents to his master thereby pleasing him. The master is all praises for him. The second servant too doubles his talents and wins his master’s trust and faith in him by returning him 4 talents.

Now, the last servant digs into the earth and brings out the 1 talent that he was given. The master is unhappy with him because he has wasted his talent. The servant had no clue on how to use the talent to his advantage, he had hidden it.The last servant incurred the wrath of the master; he was stripped of his job and all responsibilities.

The story has the moral teaching for us that we ought to make use of whatever talent that has been bestowed upon us and not just let opportunities go abegging.

The same anecdote also appears in Gospel of Luke and its title Parable of Minas. Another interpretation of this parable is that the third servant did not take part in the vice of his master; he did not multiply the money thereby not giving himself into the hands of a capitalist. But the most accepted interpretation is of ‘wasted talent’ which also has a mention in John Milton’s sonnet On His Blindness.

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Posted by on June 24, 2009 in literature


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fiat grande punto – first look

a hatchback from fiat will soon hit the roads in grand style. yes, its the grande punto!

not very impressed with its front look, resembles a tata indica. the rear looks like maruti swift and the profile view is like hyundai getz prime.

this car is the successor of fiat uno, and the hangover of uno can be seen allover its design pattern.

it would be priced around 6lakh including road tax. if its priced more than that, it would be difficult to seek buyers since they face stiff competition from hyundai and maruti in this segment of hatchback.

for more info, check out TEAM-BHP


Posted by on June 23, 2009 in cars 'n' bikes


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The Shawshank Redemption : God Sees The Truth But Waits

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
– A line that Andy Dufresne says in the movie

There is never a wrong time to watch the right movie. And I am not just saying this because I saw the movie The Shawshank Redemption a decade and a half after it was made, I am saying it because its a movie that everyone should see. On hindsight, I feel that its a good thing that I saw the movie at a time when I would be able to absorb more of it than I would have been able to, had I seen it when I was 13 yrs old. But at that age, I did read a story by Count Leo Tolstoy, as a part of our ICSE syllabus, called God Sees The Truth But Waits. Although the gist of the story by Tolstoy, Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption story by Stephen King notwithstanding, is the same; but the movie achieves what the story does not. The movie is the ultimate example of hope against reason, happiness against murkiness and victory of the human spirit against all odds.

The movie starts with a double murder and the ensuing court case, but that’s not what the movie is about. That’s just the catalyst which brings Andy Dufresne, the murder accused, and Ellis Boyd Redding, a term serving prisoner who has been in jail for 20 years and still counting. No two people could have been as different as these two were; different race, different socio-economic background, different crimes, different outlook towards life – what a leveller the prison is! Its an unlikely friendship that they have, which starts off as Red being the person who can get things into the prison for his inmates and Andy contacting him because he needs a few articles from the outside world; and this acquaintance takes the shape of friendship as time passes and as they begin sharing their innermost thoughts and confide in each other.

When Andy enters the Shawshank prison, he is your typical blue-collared banker who keeps to himself and is taken to be a snob. But the realization soon dawns upon him that he has to spend two back-to-back life terms amidst these very people. Just as water takes the shape of the container in which its poured, so also Andy learns to adapt. He brings his banking experience to play doling out tax advice to the warden and other keepers of the prison; he starts filing their taxes and advices them on loans and insurance. He wins them over with his smartness, but annoys them once in a while with his obstinacy.

Andy is a very unassuming character; he never chides at anyone, never complains out of frustration, never blames God or destiny for his current status in prison. He takes things as it comes, very calmly. Life moves on, Andy continues impressing the warden with his accountancy skills, running a small scam, making big bucks for the warden. Andy also gets himself involved in trying to get funds from the Govt for the prison library. He manages to get $200 sanctioned after writing to them a-letter-a-week for 6 years on the trot.

In the meantime, an old prisoner, Heywood, who had spent 50 years in jail, gets a parole and release. When an eagle is raised among ostriches, it never learns how to fly. Heywood suffered from the same problem when he was asked to leave the prison, he just wanted to stay-on because he knew no other way of living. He did go out, but it was not very long before which he gave up his life because he could not come to terms with it. I guess he desired for a greater form of liberty, not just from the prison!

Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so we don’t forget…that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone, that there’s, there’s somethin’ inside that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. It’s yours.

I do believe that books and music are two things which nobody can snatch from us. Even if we are taken captive, the offenders can take our freedom but not the soul, they can brutalise our bodies but not bend the spirit. And thats the code Andy lives by. The immense pleasure he derives out of listening to Mozart on the gramophone, in the face of open rebellion, signifies that. He later pays for it by spending one-week-in-the-hole but he finds that totally worth it. Red, as a narrator, is among the prisoners who enjoyed those few minutes of Italian music, although he understood nothing of it.

I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are better left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

Red has two parole-seeking interviews, one when he had completed 20 yrs in prison and the other when he completed 30. And he is disillusioned about ever getting out of the jail. On the other hand, Andy is a man of hope and will power. Hope is like the candle in the wind, it can guide us home if we have it or it can dessert us if we don’t. Hope is what drives the world, what makes us open our eyes each morning in search of better tomorrow. Hope is what pushes an egyptologist in search of Tutankhamen, what forces a scientist to continue his endeavour in string theory and hope is what makes a geologist excavate a 500 yard tunnel in search of a newer world. But hope can be a dangerous thing, as Red warns Andy. Hope can drive a man crazy, looking for neanderthal in the artic. That’s the reason Red does not want hope, he believes hope has no place in Shawshank.

But Andy, with hope in his eyes and will in his heart, continues biding his time. His hopes suddenly gain new hooves when Tommy enters the prison for a two year term. Having got bored of his current responsibilities, Andy finds a new way of killing time. He takes Tommy under his wings and begins teaching him as Tommy wishes to complete his education. But again, Tommy is not merely a timepass, he is a messenger of God. What he reveals to Andy is almost incredible and it gives wings to Andy’s flights of fantasy. Andy begins dreaming of a life outside of prison, sooner or later.

Andy : Tell you where I’d go. Zihuatanejo!
Red : Zihuatanejo?
Andy : Mexico. Little place right on the Pacific. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I’d like to finish out my life, Red. A warm place with no memory. Open a little hotel right on the beach. Buy some worthless old boat and fix it up like new. Take my guests out charter fishing. You know, a place like that, I’d need a man who can get things.

What transpires next is a mere formality because I always knew it all along. It was just a matter of time, and the time had come. Destiny beckoned Andy and he did not look back, ever again. As Red narrates in his inimitable voice:

Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

The movie is also about great friendships, as I had mentioned earlier. The bonding and the feeling of camaraderie is for real. While Andy is still in prison, in his astral projection he has already been to the hayfields of Buxton in Maine, and near the oak tree, under a rock, he has placed a little something for Red, if he were ever to get out of prison. Andy gives the best thing that any friend can ever give – that little something is more than hope, its a reason to live. And that’s what great friendship is all about, having and sharing.

Its a new day in Shawshank, and a new officer who comes to interview Red for his parole approval. In a very uncharacteristic manner, Red tries to be as undiplomatic as possible. He has had enough of this farce and in his third appearance at the hearing he no longer cares whether they accept or reject his nomination. He has no faith in God and no hope as well. But God works in strange ways. Sometimes we toil and toil to the best of our abilities but have no outcome; whereas sometimes a little nudge, a small push just moves a mountain; it probably works on law of averages. Anyways, God did not answer Red’s prayers because Red never prayed; but he did listen to  Andy’s hopes and dreams.

Rehabilitated? Well now, let me see. You know, I don’t have any idea what that means…I know what you think it means. To me, it’s just a made-up word, a politician’s word so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?…There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. And not because I’m in here or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then. A young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him. Tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone. This old man is all that’s left. I gotta live with that. ‘Rehabilitated?’ That’s just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.

Red, finally, gets the the approval for parole this time; much against his own expectations. He lands up in the same shanty quarter where Heywood had resided for a while. But that was the only coincidence, because fate had different things planned. Red recalls what Andy had once told him about the volcanic glass and the rock under which something awaits him. Yes, Red is now filled with as much anxiety as Archimedes was filled with when he cracked the floatation theory, and wanted to get there in a hurry. He does so, and as promised by Andy, there lies a box filled with hope, fufillment of a promise, a testimony of friendship and the freedom of a seagull.

Redemption, hope, friendship and undying faith in God’s actions, is what differentiates the Leo Tolstoy story from this movie. The movie is an absolute delight as we see Red setting off on a journey to begin life all over again.

I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain… I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Morgan Freeman as Red is fabulous. His narration is filled with poignancy, enthusiasm, emotion and chirpiness. And his performance is among the best that I have seen of him; pausing at the right moments, speaking when required, emoting when necessary and breathing life into the role. Tim Robbins, as Andy Dufresne, on the other hand has given a well restrained performance. I had earlier seen him in Mystic River, another grave movie. He excels in the portrayal of the never-say-die spirit. Its all credit to the script which gives him enough scope to bring out the best in him. And finally, Frank Darabont as the director, has done a wonderful job. This actually is the first full length directorial venture of his, but that never shows in the movie. That in itself is the victory of the director. He steered the ship of the movie so well that it earned 7 Oscar nominations, no wins though.

Ending the post on a happier note, I think its one of the best that I have seen. The movie has a lot to offer, it just does not end there. It gives us a thought to take home and churn. Ultimately, there are only two ways to lead life, it just boils down to a simple choice … Get busy living, or get busy dying …


Posted by on June 21, 2009 in hollywood, movie review, movies, world cinema


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amrita rao turns sexy

Amrita Rao

Amrita Rao and Arshad Warsi

Amrita Rao

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Posted by on June 18, 2009 in bollywood