Saturday, 22 September 2012

Heroine- A Movie Review

For want of something to do on a Friday night, hubs and I ended up watching the Movie 'Heroine'. The director who gave us gut wrenching Movies like Chandni Bar, and Fashion that gave a National award to Priyanka Chopra, is not able to create the same spark with 'Heroine'. This Movie could not keep the high I had, after watching a beautiful movie like 'Barfi'.

Image Courtesy: Wikepedia
This Movie is in the typical Madhur Bhandarkar format, where he portrays the rise and fall of the the main character 'Mahi Arora' played by the beautiful Kareena Kapoor. The Movie is very predictable, just like the rising gold prices .The canvas is so similar to Bhandarkar's other Movies that you can actually guess what is going to happen in the next shot.

The Movie starts at a good pace but starts losing its grip very soon. Firstly, the Movie is peppered with too many characters that are one dimensional and then you have the requisite Gay fashion designer who is more of a caricature, the bitchy actresses, super bitchy journalists, womanising heroes and haughty star wives who keep their husband on a leash. I am sure you got my drift. 

The Movie keeps meandering in the first half and you wonder 'What is it, that the director wants to say through this Movie?'. The only saving grace is Kareena, whose performance is superb as the actress who comes from a broken home and suffers from a bipolar disorder. She is shown to be vulnerable, bitchy and an erratic actress who learns that to survive in Bollywood, she needs to cross all limits. Mahi is shown to be constantly in search for love and happiness. She tries to find it and when she gets it, she rejects it for something else. 

Kareena does justice to her role and is a treat to watch. She effectively comes across as a person who is troubled and is slowly losing control over her life. Arjun Rampal, is shown to be a playboy who is in love with Mahi but is commitment phobic. I felt, he was a bit wooden in certain scenes.Randeep Hooda is a cricketer who is  madly in love with Mahi. When he proposes to her, she rejects him and chooses her own career over love. His character seems a little impractical, as he does not understand the reason as to why Mahi is giving importance to her career over marriage. Does he not know that a heroine has a very short shelf life in Bollywood and marriage can end their career?

It is more difficult to like this Movie cause the story of Mahi never touches your heart. Her pain does not become your pain. The story is neither about an underdog like in Dirty picture, nor is it about the trials and tribulations of the human spirit, like in Chandni Bar. It is a plain linear narrative of a character called Mahi, without giving any depth to her character. 

The ending of the movie is abrupt and a liittle unbelievable. It looks as if the Director did not know how to end the Movie and so hastily put something to end it. 

I will give the Movie 2.5 starts out of 5 only because of Kareena and her acting. Would recommend all you good people to save your money and watch it free, when it is aired on Television. Save that money and go watch 'Barfi' again.

Movie: Heroine
Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sweet Nothings

Nah, Nah, you got it all wrong. I am not writing a Romantic post here. Psst...let me tell you a secret, though I  am a sucker for Romance, I hide it quite well with my brash attitude. There, now it is out in the open. 
Sweet Nothings is a part of the 'Cooking Disasters' series, and my dish was actually on the verge of becoming, a Sweet NOTHING.

Come festival season and the women in Indian households go into a cooking overdrive. My FB wall is plastered with orgasmic pictures of delicious dishes, posted by many a budding 'Nigella Lawsons' (I think she is too hot). Many of my old readers know that I am repelled to cooking and I really have nervous jitters, when there is a party at my place (I pretend to pass off restaurant bought food as my own..just kidding). I feel that the 'cooking gene' was really watered down by the time it was passed over, from my Mom to my two older sisters and finally me. 

To come back to Sweet Nothings, this 'Ganesh Chaturthi' I decided to make 'Ukdiche Modak' or sweet dumplings or Momos, made from Coconut, Sugar and Rice Flour. I know, it was either brave of me or I was just being plain stupid. I girded my loins and dove in deep into this uncharted territory.

I followed the instructions of making the sweet filling for the dumpling, by cooking the coconut and sugar together. If you will notice, that in all cookery shows, the cook will never tell you exactly as to how you can recognise when the dish is actually cooked and it is time to switch off the heat. In my over enthusiasm, the mixture got over cooked and was on the verge of becoming dry as a sand, before I rescued it. 

 Next came the turn of the Rice dough for the dumplings. The dough needed to be cooked in boiling water and thankfully I was able to avert a mishap.

The third step was to knead that scalding dough till it became softer. That lump of dough resembled a blotch of lava fresh out of a Volcano, only that, it was white in colour. I put my fingers in it and out came a string of cuss words starting with 'WTF' followed by '@#$%^^', from my mouth and not my fingers. I had to wait a while so that the lava was cool enough to knead. After bashing the hell out of that lump of white, I worked on making a dumpling. 

Believe me, If I would have studied with that much fervour and concentration that I used to make the dumplings, I would have gone places. My first two attempts were a total washout. Those damn suckers  kept expelling the sweet filling. Try as I might, I lost that battle.

I had to make 21 dumplings. not counting the two defectors. It was a long road ahead and my patience was already wearing thin. I kept at it and finally managed to finish making all the 21, without putting my fist through the wall. 

I steamed them and Voilà the dish was ready. It was offered to Lord Ganesha as Prasad.

As per my Mom and my eldest sis, this dish was not too hard. Them, who slept and dreamt cooking, all dishes are easy. This word 'easy' can be quite misleading, so never fall for it when someone says the dish is so easy. It sounds as easy as sharpening a pencil but the dish always turns out to be extremely complex.

Have you had any cooking disasters lately?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Trip to Four Seasons Winery and Vineyard

Wine is bottled poetry - Robert Louis Stevenson

A few days back, I had a chance to see the Four Seasons Winery of the UB group at Baramati near Pune, Maharashtra. Being related to the chief winemaker, Abhay Kewadkar, has its perks. Hubs and I travelled to Baramati one fine morning and reached the Winery in around two hours.

The minute you get close to the Vineyards, you can see a majestic  building surrounded by vineyards. The building is styled as a French château and looks really pretty.

The Winery has fourteen suites where people can come and live. The suites are luxuriously decorated and very comfortable. The suites overlook the vineyard and each one has a balcony where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of the rolling hills and the vineyard.

           Beautifully landscaped interiors inside the Château

The lovely stained glass windows

Another beautiful piece

         A swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a large party deck that overlooks the vineyard.

               The lovely Bar and Dining room

       The Lab and tasting room where they check the quality of wine

             The crushing room where the grapes are brought after being harvested 

     The bottling and labelling room

 The pressed grape juice is stored in these huge steel drums that are temperature controlled. The juice is left to ferment so that it turns into wine.

Some of the Red wine is stored in Oak barrels for it to mature. The Red wine can take anything from 6 months - 3 years to mature.

The barrel hall at Four Seasons Winery is in a cool dark place in the basement. 

   One of Four Seasons most expensive wines. This wine has been matured in Oak Barrels.

It was an incredible experience to see the whole wine making process and enjoy the sumptuous wine and food served there. My smile says it all.

The wine culture is steadily gaining popularity in India amongst people who enjoy liquor. Wine tourism has become fashionable these days, with more people visiting wineries as a holiday destination. Wines are here to stay, as many people are now enjoying a glass or two of wine with their Tandoori chicken and Fish Tikka, instead of Hard liquor.

Do you think a Winery is a good holiday destination?

To know more about Fours Seasons check out their website

Click here, to see an illustrated guide of 'How wine is made',

Monday, 3 September 2012

Trapped inside a Nightmare

I could see the bright light through my closed eyes, I knew it was there, I was sure that it was not a dream. I tried to speak, but my mouth felt as if it was taped shut. I could hear them speaking, there were words, low murmurs, sound of metal striking metal. I felt a pressure on my abdomen and heard water gushing some where.
Photo Courtesy: Free Digital Photos

My heart was fluttering and I was unable to swallow. I wanted to move my hands and scream, 'I am awake', 'I can feel and hear you'. I tried to open my mouth to scream but no words came out. My hands felt as if they were made of lead. I used all my strength to move them, to lift a finger, to show them I was awake. No one could hear the scream inside my head. I was a trapped inside a nightmare, from which there no escape.

My confused mind started playing tricks and I thought I was in a bad dream. A nightmare, that was so vivid that it seemed unreal. I thought, that I will wake up soon and feel silly about the nightmare. I will laugh it off and even forget about it. My mind started rationalising my thoughts.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my lower abdomen and felt a tug. There was a spasm and something was pressed hard on my face. My terror returned with a vengeance and I saw darkness closing around me, as I fainted.

When I came to, I felt unseen hands covering me. There was a clack of wheels and a feeling of being moved. My heart was thudding against my chest as I opened my eyes and saw the face of hubs looking down at me. All I could say was 'I was awake, I could hear and feel everything'.

There was shocked silence as the Doctor asked me 'Were you dreaming?'
Photo Courtesy: Free Digital Photos

I told him how I had felt, when I was in the operation theatre. I told him of my panic and the terror of being locked inside my head, unable to move my body.

He told me, I had experienced 'Anaesthesia awareness', as I was undergoing a (keyhole) Laproscopic surgery of the Uterus.

Anaesthesia awareness is a phenomenon in which the patient is fully aware of what is happening during the surgery, when under general anaesthesia. Not all patients who suffer from 'Anaesthesia awareness' feel the pain of the surgery. Some like me could hear what was happening in the operation theatre, some others even had an out of body experience, where they could see their own body lying on the operating table.

After I went through this experience, I read about 'anaesthesia awareness' and found out that I had not dreamt it, but had actually experienced it.

After that operation, I went under general anaesthesia three more times, for IVF procedure. Each time, I was in anguish and my heart dropped to my stomach, as I lay on the table and the doctor pushed the medicine into my arm. Thankfully, everything went smoothly and I never had to experience anaesthesia awareness again.

Even though I did not suffer from any post traumatic stress because of this incident, I can still recall very clearly the horror of that stressful experience. It is something I will never forget, the feeling of being caught inside a nightmare.

Click here to know more about Anaesthesia Awareness.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

How to have fun on the beach

So you have decided to take in some Sun, Sand and Surf and are set to have a fun day on the beach. Pardon me, Mumbaikers, this post ain't for you. We all know the state of the beaches in Mumbai. For you to have fun on a beach, it should first resemble a beach and that is the most important part of the whole fun part.

And remember how much ever we love to ape the West, never ever visit the beach in Summer when in India, like they do. All you will get, is some charred skin and your will totally end up looking like a peeling carrot. Don't you think we are brown enough already? Try to visit a beach in the winter, that is when you will have the most fun.

There are some cheesy things you have to do on the beach. It is compulsory to do them else your body will be fed piece by piece to Zombies. Don't worry, I totally made that up. That is my hangover talking, after watching too much of the fabulous 'The Walking Dead'.

So back to the Beach, here is how to to have fun on the beach.

Building Sandcastles : All of us love to make them, admit it. Put that artist in you to work and Voilà', you might just have something like this

My sandcastles end up looking like a poor man's hut more, than a castle. But the fun is in making them, right?

Taking endless walks on the beach: The waves splashing against your feet, as you walk bare feet on that smooth silken sand. There is nothing more therapeutic. Don't forget the crabs in the sand.

Write your name in the sand and wait for the waves to wash it away (That is the cheesiest photo I could find).

Collect shells: This was my favourite pastime, when I was younger, but I had to do this for hubs on this vacation. He wanted me to bring him one, with a pearl still inside it. Hey, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Watch the Sunset. Sunsets are always so glorious and spectacular on the beach. You can see the Sun slowly melt away in the waves. It is also very romantic.

If you have kids, then you can have a picnic on the beach. Carry some food in a basket. Have a blanket and you are all set to go.

Become a kid again. Jump into the sea and splash water on others who are with you. Pretty soon the whole gang will join you and you will end up having a lot of fun.

Click photographs and create memories. The waves look beautiful and you can have some exquisite pictures of the sand and surf.

Just relax and do nothing. If you are on a holiday to unwind, then absolutely not doing anything is the thumb rule. Lie back down on the sand with your favourite book and get lost in the story.

What is your favourite thing to do on a beach holiday?

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