Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Movie review: Haunted (3D) --> Hindi

Saw "Haunted" (3D) today. It is one more horror movie from the Vikram Bhatt factory.

Story Summary:
A property dealer (Mimoh aka Mahakshay Chakraborty) tries to find the reason behind why the house that he is selling is haunted. He finds that a female spirit (Twinkle Bajpai) is being held captive by an evil male spirit (Arif Zakaria) in that house and does unspeakable things to her. The evil spirit refuses to let her go even after 80 years.

Mimoh tries to free the good female spirit by going back in time into her era and getting rid of the evil spirit.

I watched this movie expecting "paisa vasool" 3-D horror. It didn't live up to those expectations, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I would call it a masala + "IPL" horror film. This is a kind of film that is not pure horror, like IPL is not "pure" cricket - but it entertains!! Also it had a lot of (unintentional) comedy in it, that made us laugh till tears came from our eyes.

The real "hero" of this piece is Mimoh. He is going to be in the same league as the legendary Bharat Bhushan !!
Other actors have a lot of expressions for all kinds of scenes. Mimoh proves that that is totally unnecessary - he has 1 expression for all kinds of scenes!! Whether he is sad, happy, shocked, terrified, sentimental, intimate - all result in the same kind of expression. He could have made a good ghost, actually.

When Mimoh spouted intense dialogues, the theater roared with laughter. Especially the "Iyer", "Iyer", "Iyer" scene (yes, we finally have a South Indian ghost in Hindi films! Progress???)

Also Mimoh walks like a robot most of the time (maybe he was Rajni's duplicate in that movie). And he runs like no other filmi hero has run so far! His style of running is inimitable. Koi Shaq?

Arif Zakaria as the evil spirit does as decent a job as he could have, considering that he is shown as disfigured and generally yucky looking for most of the movie. He does all the required gruesomeness and "sounds" as per requirement. He also portrays lust using heavy breathing techniques that sound like bad Pranayam/Kapal Bhaati .

Halfway through the movie, Vikram Bhatt probably realized that Achint Kaur would also look damn good as a ghost. So Arif enters her body and Achint also gets to don the glamorous maggot-eaten-face, with blood splattered strategically. She also does a "lust" scene with Twinkle that seems to have been deliberately inserted to titillate, but just ends up leaving you feeling gross.

Twinkle Bajpai is no twinkling star. Her acting is just about OK. She plays an extremely dumb character, which explains why the evil Arif chose her as the victim (such an easy target is extremely hard to find).
She does the looking scared part decently. And considering that that is her look for 95% of the movie, that is good enough.

Some of the scenes are scary, others feel deliberately inserted. There are some good 3-D effects. Others are there just to make you feel happy about spending more on 3-D. I watched this on E-Square (Pune) screen, where the 3-D effect was not that great, just tolerable.

There are extremely corny dialogues littered throughout the movie . I think that the Bhatts keep cost down by using underpaid writers and copy-pasting dialogues from old movies.

Best enigmatic dialogue: "Yeh mujhe jaanta nahin, pehchanta hai!" (only 0.5% of the folks in this world understand it, including Mahesh and Vikram Bhatt).

There is a break dance scene where except for his facial expression, Mimoh does a pretty neat job. After all, dance runs in his veins! Koi Shaq?

Getting rid of spirits is done the old-fashioned way - with some national integration thrown in. A Christian priest prays, a Dargah pays a vital part and the Hindu concept of five elements is used.
What more do you want? Eliminate the entertainment tax on this movie right now!!

Watch this movie with an open mind, and you won't regret it. If you look for Omen or Poltergeist or "The Ring", you are bound to be disappointed.
Relax, chill, and enjoy the show!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Found this nifty tip on the internet. You can blog directly using MS Word (Office 2007/2010 only) .

Just open Word, and select New --> Post.
If you are posting for the first time, then you will have to enter the credentials for the blog account (in my case, Blogger or blogspot.com).

Once you finish your post, click "Publish" and voila! Your post will be created!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BBB zindabad!!

This is a post thanking the BBB (Better Business Bureau --> http://www.bbb.org/ ) for their help in getting an issue with an online merchant resolved for me. And hopefully it might help some other folks if needed in the future.

It all started in Sep 2010. I had ordered a few perfumes from FragranceX (http://www.fragrancex.com/) using my credit card online. The perfumes didn't come even after 3 months. So I wrote to them asking about the status.

Then started a series of "the package is in the mail" kind of replies. It was always the same story - "We have shipped the package, you should be getting it soon." Pretty soon I got frustrated and asked for a refund after 6 months had elapsed. But even for this request, I got the same replies - how much time is one expected to wait until a package comes from the US to India???

Then finally I thought about contacting BBB - USA. Basically BBB is an organization that holds businesses to a high standard, and only businesses with a high degree of integrity and trust make it to their list.

Snippet from their site:

BBB works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing them with valuable information on potential frauds. Many times we are the first organization to know about a developing scam and alert authorities and the public.

I opened a case with the BBB. It was assigned to the New York chapter as FragranceX is based nearby, in NJ. To cut a long story short, after BBB followed up with FragranceX, the money got refunded!

The main thing to note for me was that I am based in India. Yet BBB helped me get a refund from a company based in the US.

Thanks, BBB!! I wish there were more organizations like you!!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spare a thought for Gary Kirsten

The Indian cricket team is being lavishly praised, and rightly so!

But in the midst of all this, let's spare a thought for one man who has played a major role in us winning the World Cup - Gary Kirsten!

Gary came in after hurricane Chappel had left a trail of destruction in his wake. Many players had gone off-track in their careers - the most notable being Irfan. Others were low on confidence as "great" guru Chappel had messed up their minds.

Gary brought about a sense of calm to the team. He was the perfect coach for Indian conditions. He adjusted to our way of thinking, and went about his job systematically & sincerely.

He was always in the background, working hard at building team morale. He got in mental conditioning coaches to inspire the team at just the right moment.

At the same time he was very good at giving technical advice to those who were floundering; Gautam Gambhir being one of the most prominent ones to benefit.

Gary never said "I am the coach and whatever I say goes!". He always said "This is Dhoni's team". I don't think you would find a single Indian player who has bad things to say about him. And in our country, that counts for a lot :-).

Thank you, Gary. Hope you come back and take up this task again ...