Sunday, 31 December 2017

Seema Biswas on stage

“Can you please take your seats, Seemaji has a back ache and cannot be in this position for long” tells us an usherer addressing this to the attendees of her play.

This is a double act - two single act plays both performed by Seema Biswas for Tagore's centenary celebrations. Both are based on stories by Rabindranath Tagore. The first is directed by her friend and the second one is directed by herself.   I have purchased tickets for both plays and just happy that I have got this rare chance to watch one of the finest actresses from India perform on stage live.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The very talented Mr. Subodh Poddar

Its very rare to be a witness in the creation of beautiful art, and I was lucky to be on the sidelines and watch as this happened. 

So, I am in the company wide Jamboree that I had spoken about earlier (much much earlier, when this blog was created here), and one of the 200 attendees is Subodh Poddar, a film maker, creative director and also artist.

Maa Retire Hoti Hai

I had the fortune of watching the premiere of the play “Maa Retire Hoti hai” starring Jaya Bachchan.

This was in Dubai, and there was no chance in the world that i could even dream of attending this, and not just because I couldn’t afford it.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Telugu Cinema Industry - “Muthyala Muggu”

Most of my exposure to Telugu films was thanks to the India’s national TV channel DoorDarshan. When I was a kid there was only the local TV station which was in Hyderabad and used to broadcast only a few hours everyday. 

While the programming was mostly terrible, the good part used to be the movies they showed. There used to be a Hindi film and a Telugu film shown during the weekends, and they were mostly from the B&W era, and very rarely a few recent films.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

From Dusk till Dawn- the movie

I recently completed viewing The hateful eight by Quentin Tarantino (recommended viewing, will surprise you).  And it reminded me to complete this post about 'From Dusk till Dawn' (FDTD) which is one of the most ‘wild’est movies I had seen, which was written and directed by Tarantino’s friend, and featured Tarantino as one of the lead roles.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

National Geographic Magazines

My relationship with NatGeo is a little kinda ironic. On the rare occasion when there was a great deal on their subscription I took the plunge and subscribed to it for 2 years, and didn't read a single copy of the magazines.  But when I stopped and would get my hands on any issue of the magazine, it would be unputdownable, usually in flights, and I could read it cover to cover.

And that was the irony.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Shree Thaker Bhojanalaya - my tribute

Lets get the difficult things about Shree Thaker Bhojanalay out of the way first.

I visited it only twice in my life, and will admit that its difficult to find even the second time.  In Old Mumbai in an area near Bhuleshwar (called because you’ll forget where you are - its a maze of confusing criss-crossing, non-linear lanes). So, I will explain how I go about locating it shortly.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Murakami’s book The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (WUBC) was more of an experience rather than a book, and a surreal experience at that

I was introduced to Haruki Murakami only a couple of years back and didn't know of him or any of his work earlier.  I tried to read as many books and his stories as I could, and enjoyed most of them.  I of course couldn't afford quite a few books of his and saved them for later…

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Munich, Fauda and The Bridge of Spies (& Badlapur)

There’s a common thread to these (& Badlapur too).

The movies Munich & The bridge of Spies come from Steven Spielberg, while the TV series Fauda comes from Israel.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A part of my soul - the amazing Hyderabad

There’s almost no one who has stayed in Hyderabad and not liked it.  (Though it offers many many reasons to do so, still).

The Hyderabad I know and love is long gone but I saw traces of it and its a little wishful to think its essence will be retained. But for sure, its worth celebrating and cherishing.

Hyderabad is the original and possibly the only TRUE cosmopolitan city in India besides Mumbai, and the best place anywhere for the middle class in India.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Satyajit Ray Presents 1 & 2

Doordarshan is India’s legacy national TV channel, owned and managed by the Government.  This was the only TV station available for my generation in our childhood and we therefore had mostly limited choice and terrible stuff to watch.
Yet, sometimes they’d get it right.

One such was when the almighty Satyajit Ray, possibly India’s greatest film director, collaborated with his Son Sandip Ray, to produce a TV series aptly named… “Satyajit Ray Presents” (SPR)  They produced another sequel a few years later named SPR2.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Guru-Shishya parampara in Hindi film songs

A common recurring theme employed  in Indian film music is the Guru (teacher) singing with his Shishya (pupil) and gently urging him/her to follow the lines s/he’s singing and then take wing...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Ice Creams From South Kanara, Karnataka

Let me tell you about some of the best ice creams in the world. IMHO you’d find them in the South Kanara district of Karnataka around Mangalore (and Udipi).

India has some fabulous ice creams that have become famous locally - Jigar Thanda in Madurai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad also have some local ice creams that are hugely popular.

Jana Aranya (The Middleman / Agent) by Satyajit Ray

How time makes a difference - the same movie which I disliked as a teenager was something I absolutely relished when I saw it decades later.  

When I first saw Jana Aranya (JA) - I was in college and my mind was fully occupied about future employment prospects, what I need to be doing, what options lay ahead of me, etc. etc. And when I saw the movie I was doubly depressed and I don't think I saw it fully.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Avaakai - the mango pickle

Avaakai  is the name for the raw mango pickle prepared in Andhra, and is possibly the BEST pickle in India and the world - at least for me.

My memory of Avaakai and why its so good is because it was made at home by my mom and her neighbor, and the batch they produced (lasted nearly a decade) was the BESTEST one ever ever produced in the world.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Brun Maska Chaai of Mumbai

When I worked in Mumbai as a bachelor I was at the mercy of what Mumbai had to offer and usually very hard to replicate what ghar ka khaana and swaad for me.  Neither is good food easily readily available, affordable nor is it healthy. (one of my friends who used to eat from a road side idli supplier was infected by hepatitis – he learnt it the hard way). 

Priya Tendulkar – India’s first TV superstar

Television in India bloomed pretty late and even after it took off it took forever to get traction.  Today some of the best talent in India work in television, right from production to scripts to acting – and this is across both Hindi General entertainment to regional TV content. I think Indian talent is among the best globally and they work hard and try and be as professional as they come.

However the first ‘star’ in the true sense (at least for me and folks of my generation) would be the late Priya Tendulkar.

Sunday, 9 April 2017


For me the book makes it to my favorites more because of who recommended it rather than the actual story or movie based on it.

Its been nearly over a decade since I read the book for a third time & finally handed over the book to my social circle. The movie was frankly terrible and Clint Eastwood was quite choppy and still getting his grip as a director with most dramatic scenes handled terribly.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

My CTR Adventure & its Benne Masala Dosa

I have written about my experience and feelings for Bengaluru and my sojourn in Malleswaram before.  

And while I write about my favorite foods, I wouldn't call myself a ‘foodie’.  In fact I personally do not like the idea of going early or standing in a long queue - however great the food might be, sorry thats not me.   In Bengaluru, sadly that’s how it is.

Thats one of the reasons I missed out eating at CTR the last time I was at Malleswaram as CTR, a popular landmark restaurant was always crowded.

Derek O'Brien - my favorite quizmaster

I wish I’d written this post before Derek became a politician, anyways it still holds true - as a quizmaster, he is a big part of the faves in my life.

Most people I know do not like Derek O’Brien as a quizmaster.  But I absolutely loved his quizzes, and he was one quizmaster whose questions were closest to what I’d have set myself.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Lata Mangeshkar - the soul of India

As a kid I strongly believed that If God had to speak she’d sound just like Lata Mangeshkar.

In the Western coastal belt - Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka - most of my generation grew up listening to bhajans of Bhimsen Joshi and Lata Mangeshkar.  The great Bhimsen Joshi renowned for classical music was at stratospheric levels that seemed beyond reach. Even singing his Bhajans was impossible.  Lata Mangeshkar on the other hand seemed part of everyone’s family and a voice that soothed everyone.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Chennai Kitchen - the best South Indian Restaurant in SE Asia

When we go abroad, and live out of a suitcase it is hard to express how much we miss home made food. There’s always at least one Indian restaurant in each city and you can eat there some times, but very few of ‘em match the palate and the feel of home cooked food.

And when you do, it is important to celebrate and call out them like I am doing – for this fabulous restaurant that I had the privilege of enjoying more than 10 years ago.  This is the Chenai Kitchen in Bangkok which I am hoping is still going strong, as I haven’t been to the city in nearly a decade now.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Delectable Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun’s are one of those Industrial scale produced sweets and in some locations in India, you get the same across all outlets. 

Yet IMO its one of the few ones I don't mind eating even if you get this wrong, and the reason I like it of course is because it brings with it a wealth of memories that I experienced as a kid.

Aparna Sen and her ’15 Park Avenue’

Ever got envious of mind-bending films like inception or shutter island and wonder if Bollywood can produce such films?

There was one such film I can think of, which I thought was better and an even bigger mind-bender but not as much celebrated. This is ’15 Park Avenue’ from Aparna Sen.