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2009 promises to be an awesome year for the movies. Now only if the crappy multiplex strike, producers strike, IPL matches get over quickly, we could have real entertainment back on again.

My pick of movies for this year are:

1. Watchmen
I can hear most people going – WHAT?
But sad as it may be, this film has not come to my city of Pune as yet. It has been months since its release and I’ve also seen it doing rounds in the metros – but I’m waiting and watching and really trying very hard not to watch it at home.

Why is  this movie hot?
The movie is directed by Zack Snyder. After watching 300, I would blindly go for any film directed by this man just be part of the 120 minutes of cinematic brilliance!
I have also read part of the graphic novel and it is very intriguing to say the least.

And have you seen the trailer? It’s brilliant.
Can’t wait, can’t wait …

2. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
Coming: 24 June 2009

I had missed Transformers in the theatres – but when I later caught the movie on my tiny TV, I realised what I had missed. The movie sounds kiddish – but the visuals were brilliant and breath taking.

Plus, its Michael Bay. Watch the trailer and you’ll realise why it is going to be an awesome movie – even if nothing else works for it – the visuals and cinematography should be more than enough to recover your investment on that cinema ticket you purchase.

3. Terminator Salvation
Coming: 21 May 2009

Terminator 1 was awesome. Terminator 2 was awesome-r!
Terminator 3 sucked (just like Matrix 3) – but I somehow have hopes for the fourth instalment.

It also has Christian Bale – whom I have high expectations from after Batman and Prestige.
So lets hope for the best.

Either ways, I’m sure its going to be a movie to catch in the theatre.

4. G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA
Coming: 7 August 2009

I could not believe a GI Joe movie was being made when I first heard about it.
I remember waking up at 7 am on Saturdays when I was in school, so I could tune into Star TV (Star World now) and catch GI Joe. The cartoon was pretty kewl (guys never grow up).

I checked out the trailer and it looks very promising.
Directed by Stephen Sommers – the guy who made the Mummy movies along with Van Helsing.

Not expecting the movie to be an Oscar movie – but I’m pretty sure it will be a bang-for-the-buck kinda film.
Really looking forward to this one!

5. Star Trek
Coming: 8 May 2009

I didn’t like the last star trek movie (First Contact). I loved the original 1966 series with William Shatner though.
This movie is based on the original series, is directed by JJ Abrams and has Zachary Quinto playing Mr. Spock.

What other reason you need to go catch this when it comes?
Trailer below …

6. Angels and Demons
Coming: 15 May 2009

I loved both the Robert Langdon books (Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons) but liked the latter one more as it was completely action packed. I remember reading the book non-stop one evening till I finished it. I did not put it down – even for dinner.

The Da Vinci movie was pretty disappointing – especially from Ron Howard’s perspective – but I’m hoping the latter one will live up to the book’s reputation. Hoping for the best!

2009 promises to be an awesome year for films! If only they released them here in India along with the rest of the world!

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Just a cry for help!
If you have had some bad experience with the Nokia Customer Care, leave a comment.

If you can help me by getting my phone fixed under warranty, please, please do let me know.
My phone *IS* actually under warranty but those dumb nuts at the Nokia Care Center are out to rip me off!

Thanks again.

If you do not fall in either one of those categories above, you can safely skip this post.
Though a dig post would be useful ;)

Here goes:

Nokia is an excellent phone company. It really is.
We have had about 6 Nokia handsets in our house – and all of them have been rock solid and given brilliant performance – even under severe conditions.

I just love the UI of the phones. They are not over the top – just simple, intuitive and gets the job done bloody well. I’m a fan for life and would not dream of getting any other phone.

But that’s where the honeymoon ended a while ago.
God forbid something happens to your phone – you will be at the mercy of one of the worst customer care units you can experience in your lifetime. Even the government run BSNL customer care units are friendlier and more informative than the morons that populate the Nokia Care service centers.

I purchased 2 Nokia E51s for me and my dad last Feb in 2008. The phone is a gem.
It’s a perfect business phone and there is nothing that you cannot do on it. I fell in love with it the moment I read the feature list on the back of the box.

However, this phone has also been the reason for much pain and suffering.
In June the same year (2008), the message key of my phone suddenly stopped working. It just wouldn’t respond. I ignored the problem as I was not using that key anyways and continued to use the phone – I was able to live with it.

The problem really took off later when by September 4 of the number keys stopped working completely. They would start responding erratically every now and then – but mostly they wouldn’t work at all. So, I was stuck with a brand new 15,0000 bucks phone with the number 5, 6, 8 and 9 keys not responding at all. I could not message any longer – nor could I add contacts to my address book or even dial numbers not within my address book.

I decided to take it to one of the Nokia Customer Care centers (Kaustubh Telecom at Golibar Maidan) in Pune. After checking the piece, to my utter shock and surprise, the guy informed me that the phone was no longer under warranty as the problem I was facing was due to water getting into the handset.

I assured the engineer that no such thing had happened as I was extremely careful about keeping the cellphone dry. It had never gotten wet in the rain and what he said was impossible.

When I told him to show me the water damage, he refused to do so.

He however told me that he would try to fix my phone using one method which would cost me 350 bucks. The other method would be to replace my keypad which would cost me 1200 bucks. I opted for method 1.
He took the phone inside, tried something but could not fix it.

When I later called the manager of the shop and asked him to fix my phone under warranty, he started arguing with me. He hung up on me yelling that his engineers were trained and if they said there was a water problem, there was one.

I left the center completely disillusioned. When I got home, I realized that the engineer had even managed to crack the body of my phone by screwing in the screws real tight.

I kept using the phone as it was – just receiving calls and making calls using the address book.

I later learnt that there were a number of Nokia Care centers in Pune and that Kaustubh Telecom wasn’t the only one.
I decided to go and try another one – at F.C. Road.

On showing the handset there, the engineer informed me that the base plate of the keypad has been scratched by a very sharp object and hence will need to be replaced.

This will definitely not come under warranty as there is a physical damage to the internal parts.
On informing them that I had shown it to Kaustubh Telecom – their own Care Center branch, they told me to take it up with them – which I am sure is going to be of no use.

One more shocking thing is that these Nokia Care centers refuse the warranties of 90% of the phones which come to them on the grounds of water seepage.

Their modulus operandi seems to be:

  1. Accept the phone under warranty.
  2. Open it up (or pretend to do so).
  3. Report a water problem and then charge the hapless victim large amounts of money to do nothing at all.

I am completely angry and disillusioned with this entire episode and my faith in Nokia has gone down quite a bit. Not because they make bad phones – but their after sales service is so pathetic that you would be better off throwing off your 15K phone and getting a new one than get aggravated and cheated in chasing around these Customer Care people.

This is definitely one place where Nokia can learn a lesson or two from the Sony Erricson guys and Motorolla guys. These people atleast honestly repair your handset if it is under warranty even if they charge astronomical sums post warranty.

But I guess it’s the model which Nokia has chosen to follow – that of franchising the service.
There is no non-static room to speak off – their engineers work out in the customer area, they (engineers) also seem completely uneducated, freshly graduated students and their main goal seems to be “ripping off the customer as much as they possibly can”.

I bet they even have a “Ripper of the month” contest going on to see who can extract how much money from an unsuspecting customer.

Feels like your dentist doesn’t it? But believe you me, this one is a lot more painful.

My advice now is – buy a Nokia phone if you really need to – but pray that nothing ever happens to it.
That will probably be your worst nightmare!

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I’m not sure how late I am to learn about this – but just found out about this feature on IMDB which gives you exhaustive details about the demographics of users that voted for a particular title.

Being a movie and a stats junkie, this is just too freakin’ brilliant for me :D
Do check it out.

Click here to get to the page

Click here to get to the page

Summary of Information

Further demographic breakup

Further demographic breakup

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One thing I love to do – sometimes even more than reading is watching films.
In my humble opinion, a good film talks to you at so many different levels and takes you to so many different places in those 120 minutes – that nothing else compares to it.

Well, there are books of course – but the joy of watching a well made film comes very close to that of reading an extremely good book. I do believe that making a film is a lot more difficult than writing a book.
A director has to deal with gazillion different things simultaneously as well as please the millions of people who would throng the talkies to watch his masterpiece.

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Excuse me while I get all sentimental and emotional about films – because I have just come back from one of the most horrific film moments in my life. I have just returned from watching the Bollywood film – Black and White.

The greatest of the directors — the Peter Jacksons, Steven Spielbergs, Martin Scorseses, Quentin Tarantinos, the James Camerons give you — the viewer — the respect that you deserve when you walk into the talkies to see one of their films.
They know that their audiences are not stupid idiots who will watch and take any crap dished out to them.
Walking out of the theatres, watching one of their creations — you feel special — pampered in some sort of a way and take that nice, happy, satisfied feeling all the way home.

I’m extremely sorry to say that Indian directors on the other hand – are exactly the opposite.
They think — we — the audience — are a bunch of morons who will lap up all the meaningless, mind-numbing crap that they throw at us — with our mouths wide open – asking for more.

There are definitely some good film makers in India right now (Aamir Khan, Nagesh Kuknoor, Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap) — but the percentages of the films these guys produce compared to the vast numbers that are being churned out annually is very, very meager.

I have no idea why such crap is made and even accepted by the masses.
Today’s film for instance (Black and White) would insult the intelligence of even an eight year old. The research these guys do is limited to their imaginations – and the dialogues are as cliche’d as ever.

It’s about time I think – we guys really refine our tastes and get some quality cinema out.
Please God – let it happen soon :)

(If you are wondering why I went for this movie if it was full of horse shit – was because my mom wanted to see it for some inexplicable reason and me and my brother volunteered to take her.)

The pain and agony of those 140 minutes I tell you – was unbearable.

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The Band’s Visit …

After all these years, I have come to realise that blogging is a lot like going to the gym.
You start with all the gusto – only to find that you have a blog space somewhere and you don’t feel like writing anymore.
One can always try again .. right?

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The Band’s Visit

Anyways, I am sorry about writing another movie review out here – but I just wanted to get the word out on this movie which I just caught.
It’s called – The Band’s Visit and it has to be one of the simplest and sincerest movies I have seen in such a long time!

The movie is for most parts in Arabic — and is about an Egyptian police band which comes to Israel and ends up in the wrong town. The movie has an extremely high rating on Rotten Tomatoes (98% critics) – and that is how I came to know about the movie.

The movie is advertised as being a comedy – but it does not have many ha ha moments. On the contrary, it is pretty sad at places. However, the characters are extremely endearing and five minutes into the movie and you know you have gotten a winner. Once the movie was over, I could not believe how something so simple could be so enjoyable and captivating at the same time.
The way the characters interact with each other and the social situations that they get themselves into is extremely heartening and a pleasure to watch. You can relate to the movie at so many different places!
The movie is by director Eran Kolirin and he does a marvelous job at it. It also happens to be his directorial debut.
The runtime of the movie is about 1 hour 20 minutes — and if you are into foreign films and don’t mind sub-titles, this will be an extremely refreshing change to the mind-numbing, fast action paced movies out there.

Two thumbs up from my side :)

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Om Shanti Om :)

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I have been wanting to write a couple of blogs since some days now …
But have had to put that off for more important work (read writing Requirement Documents :p)

Anyways, its 1:54 A.M. right now — and I am back after watching one of the most enjoyable films that I have watched in a while – so I am just going to go ahead and gush about it in this post.

I don’t know what reactions other people had about Om Shanti Om – but I absolutely loved the movie!
It makes me want to put on my music full blast at 2 A.M. in the night, get creative and do some loud, colourful design work!

Initially, I was expecting the movie to delve into a deep reincarnation love story by looking at the initial promos.
However, thanks to a few early reviews that I read, I dropped all such expectations.

In short – Om Shanti Om is a complete entertainer!
Do not expect a complex story out of it – or any story whatsoever.

It has all the right ingredients — which make hindi movies what they are.

It has the following in ample proportions:

  1. One of the best hindi music scores I have heard in a long time!
  2. Sharukh Khan (for some, Sharukh Khan – topless!)
  3. Cliche’s
  4. Deepika Padukone (She is sooooo pretty !!!!)
  5. Shreyas Talpade
  6. Ample of jokes, gags and intelligent parodies.
  7. The 31 stars song!

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Om Shanti Om is all loud music, decent humour, larger than life sets and plenty of colour.
Something western audiences go to hindi movies for — and I am dead sure its going to do as well abroad as it will in India.

The songs are lovely and if nothing, go and watch it for Deepika Padukone. She looks absolutely gorgeous in the entire film!

Even though going for a movie at prime time nowadays, costs a sizeable fortune, I felt this movie was complete worth it – total paisa vasool.

If you wanna know, the first “half” lasts for one hour and is completely fun to watch.
The second “half” lasts for around an hour and forty-five minutes — pegging the runtime of the entire movie at around two hours forty five minutes.

But at no time did the movie drag. It was always fun and though in the middle I felt Farah Khan was losing it, she managed to pull it back with a decent ending.

Even the rolling credits in the end are fun to watch and lets you leave the theatre feeling good about the entire experience.

In short, a complete fun, enjoyable, masala movie!

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This is to inform all you people who doubted me – I finally finished Atlas Shrugged!
Woohoo !!!

Okay, I shamelessly took 2 years and 2 attempts (the first time I gave up mid way at the John Galt speech) to finish it, but I finally did it last week and just wanted to pat my back a bit for the achievement …

Honestly, Atlas Shrugged is not a page turner per se …
It requires a good amount of dedicated reading and a lot of effort to get through some pages sometimes.
But saying that, its an awesome, awesome book – and a definite read if you had read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and liked it.

I am not going to do a book review here (because I am pretty sure I’ll suck at it) but if you have sometime to spare and want to get into the entire philosophical reading mode (without reading absolutely boring theoretical stuff), I suggest this book would be a good read.

The scope of the book is quite far fetched and exaggerated – and yet you wish such things could happen. You wish one person could stand up and stop the functioning of the world.

The name comes from the question about Atlas.
Atlas is shown carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders … What would happen to the world if he shrugged?

One of the most powerful lines from the book and my favourite (which is kinda clichéd) is by John Galt – the main protagonist of the book. It goes like this:


“I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 83.]

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