have an opinion? got feedback? drop me a line- pooja.x.rao@gmail.com
Can also read my posts at Mumbaikar.com and filmi features @ Bollyspice.com


I - Me - Mumbaikar.

You curse the traffic, snub hawkers, bear the local cabbie, dodge pedestrians, spend more hrs traveling than at home, pay toll to enter the city, wade through knee high water, battle for parking everywhere, have had atleast one encounter with the traffic police (albeit you worked you’re way out of it). Despite all this,  you know with all your heart there isn’t a better city to live in. If all this & more applies to you, then my dear friend you are bitten by the bug I like to call “MUMBAI”
If you eat, sleep, breathe Mumbai, then you deserve to be called a true-blue ‘Mumbaikar’. And, in order to celebrate all things that characterize ‘Mumbai’, Dubai based digital advertising agency ‘Flip Media’ launched the website “www.mumbaikar.com”. The idea was to encourage people to voice out opinions, suggestions and share experiences. Another USP is that Mumbaikar.com quite literally puts you on the map of Mumbai, as all their data is geotaged.

The site is bliss for Mumbaites & people who would like to get acquainted with the city. It gives extensive data on places, events, incidents, happenings & is a one-stop shop for all you want to know about the city. Since its launch around 2 yrs back, the site has seen tremendous growth & response. Like Amit who has been working on the portal admits, “Although I was born & brought up in Mumbai, I hardly knew the city. Working with  Mumbaikar.com has given me good exposure and there is  always something new that I come across. I am sure no-one can say I know Mumbai in & out”.
True that! Being a guest blogger myself, I can vouch that the site helps create awareness and surprises you by how little you know about the place you call home. So don’t wait further, join Mumbaikar.com today.
Like the site’s mantra goes “It's all about people, place and things that matters to you”.

And for the fun of it, you are a Mumbaikar when (my random 5)-
5. SAFFRON means shiv sena before anything else.
4. Paying 10,000 bucks for a 200sq.ft flat (size of a walk-in closet) is an awesome deal.
3. First thing to read in the morning is “Bombay Times”
2. Every 3 months you look at your street & sigh, "Why're they digging the road again?"
1. Wonder why “Mannat” isn’t a wonder of the world.

"Politics Personified" - Raajneeti Movie Review.

We are surrounded by it. Furtively consumed by it. We have little choice but to live with it. Politics is a vicious arena, we hear about it, talk about it, yet consider ignoring it. Prakash Jha picks enthralling subjects Mahabharata & Politics, entwines them together and the outcome is an anecdote of a complex & dirty game, one that is camouflaged with lies, lust, deceit, vengeance, all for a menacing attainment of POWER. 
Celebrate the return of meaningful cinema. Lately, Bollywood has surrendered itself to scripts that are held on a string and dipped in slapstick humor with nil importance to story or characterization. Raajneeti is a sign that superior cinema still exists and comes as a fresh breeze amidst the flurry of mindless films.
The film is about the feud between the kin of the Pratap family for the political throne. When senior leader Bhanu Pratap is bed-ridden after a stroke, his younger brother Chandra Pratap and nephew Prithvi Pratap (Arjun Rampal) are considered the obvious successor. This is challenged by son Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpayee), who deemed himself the rightful heir. Enter Suraj (Ajay Devgn), a dalit leader with poor upbringing but lofty political ambitions. Veerendra teams up with Suraj to form an association that will impede rival cousin Prithvi’svision of rising to power. An untimely assassination and other unfortunate incidents compel Prithvi’s younger brother Samar (Ranbir Kapoor, ‘an outcast to politics’) to abandon his academic dreams at NYU, leave American girlfriend Sara (Sara Thompson) & move back home in order to hold together the reins of the supremacy. Articulately, Samar masters the rules of the game under the guidance of mentor Brij Gopal (Nana Patekar), power moving positions swiftly like a game of chess, leaving behind a blood strewn path because power comes at the price of bloodshed, backstabbing and treachery. Caught in the mesh is Indu (Katrina Kaif), rich princess, Samar’s childhood friend who adores him and is willing to go lengths to support him. Entirely exhilarating treat.
Will the na├»ve & innocuous Samar survive the warfare? Will Suraj’s past catch up with him? Who will outlive and how the forces of greed and growth consumes the family forms the crux of the movie.
Director Prakash Jha depicts the sad state of Indian politics where ambition envelopes emotion, greed crushes morals, and victory is imperative even if it comes at the cost of misusing or sacrificing relationships. Jha who has had insider exposure, having fought elections himself from Bihar, knows his subject distinctly and paints the entire canvas admirably giving every actor his due. Reliably supported by Anjum Rajabali on screenplay, Raajneeti compels the viewer to stay alert and puts into perspective the thin line that defines good from bad. By the end of it, you are not sure who the hero is or the villain. Every character expertly transforms to match the pace of the movie and borders on shades of grey.
Raajneeti draws its base references from Godfather and Mahabharata, but retains a soul of its own. If you are expecting to cross-refer subplots from the two sources, you are in for a shocker. The film grasps you and keeps you delightedly engaged. Although the 3hr length could have felt stretched & gone completely off beam, thankfully it didn’t. The story adjusts relentlessly & unravels twists that leave you in awe. The cadence is just perfect and not aggressive; the screenplay is subtle yet very commanding.
The entire cast connects to the film as if tailor-made but bonus brownie praises for Ranbir, Arjun & Manoj Bajpayee. Ranbir Kapoor delivers a mature superlative performance & once again reminds us of the proud lineage he belongs to.  Never going over the top, he plays ‘Samar’ with ease and doesn’t look like he is trying too hard. Manoj Bajpayee is brilliant. He expertly blends into the character & the viewer is left with images of Veerendra Pratap, who is a conniving, iniquitous and very convincing. Nana Patekar is admirable. His reactions are outstanding and lets his expressions do most of the talking. Ajay Devgn is effective, proves his prowess but does not have much scope to go beyond something he has not already done. Katrina Kaif displays an improvement, hardwork on diction shows, shimmers in her chemistry with Ranbir. National Award? Cannot really say these days. However, the icing on the cake and definitely the scene-stealer for me is Arjun Rampal, a revelation, confident, assured, commanding screen presence, nuanced and a welcome surprise.
From the moment the film opens, the audience is sucked into a cinematic frenzy coupled with a plot that is a serious cine-goers delight. Having said that, the movie is not executed perfectly to the T and has its share of visible loose ends. Scenes like Suraj’s confrontation with his mother, some of the violent killings, love scenes should have been crisper to draw viewers’ empathy. Luckily, the casts’ stellar performance, gripping dialogues and technical brilliance distracts one from these minor lapses, which then seem like a speck. 
Raajneeti doesn’t show anything about politics that the viewer doesn’t already know. Yet Prakash Jha has handled the technicalities of this opus deftly bound to leave the common man fascinated. In short, Raajneeti is a gripping shrewd take on politics “as it is”- multi-layered, ruthless; inhuman that leaves a solid impact. It is worth watching for its thrilling narration, transparency & overall celluloid luminosity.
And for all those who don’t think likewise, Im positive Mr Jha would have a fitting reply. Kararra Jawaab Milega.”

Jab woh "Milenge"

For all of you, who didn't believe in time-travel, here's your chance. A plumper/blonder version of Kareena Kapoor, an oh-so-tepid form of "chocolate/baby face" Shahid Kapoor, 'Oh dear!', put one & two together and you have Boney Kapoor's latest offering, "Milenge Milenge". Errr...only it's not sooo latest. 
But you have to hand it to the producers/director/crew for having the grit to finally go-ahead with releasing the movie. The film (which was to release in 2005) has seen delay in every possible way - ranging from casting to financial problems, the lead pairs breakup culminating in them not wanting to work together, dilly-dallying of dates, havoc schedules and if that weren't, natures fury in the form of 'Tsumani' hit the shooting area. Uh-umm i'd think its some kind of a jinx. But the point is, beside all this the movie (which gossip mongers speculate is B-towns take of 2001 hit "Serendipity") is all set to release in July 2010. 
Despite the lead pairs "now hot-now cold" anomiosity towards each other, I think the chances of this movie being watched just tripled with all the bytes it got. Should they get back together? Will they have chemistry? Is Saif insecure? Will he get another tattoo? its all helluva intriguing..
The promo released earlier this week, had me running for my ear buds. Himesh crooning "kuch tho baaki hai" does not make me want to look forward to the music one bit but watch this space for the music review which is out June 8.
P:S: Apparently the lead just recently shot(separately!) a part of the movie. The song is about separation of lovers.. uh-ummm that must have been easy ! Tch tsk!! 


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