The Common Man Speaks


Housefull 2 Box-Office Prediction

Star Value: Housefull 2 has a long list of actors including Akshay Kumar, Asin, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, John Abraham, Boman Irani, Ritesh Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade, Jacqueline Fernandez and Zarine Khan. It also has few other stars in special appearances. Naturally, one can say it has a very high star value.

Hype: The two crazy promos of Housefull 2 have created a good hype for the movie. The film is in the news due to its ensemble star cast, which has young faces as well as the veterans of Bollywood.

Music: The peppy fun number ‘Papa Toh Band Bajaye’ has been liked by the masses. Apart from the witty lyrics, ‘Anarkali Disco Chali’ has become popular as it is Malaika Arora’s first item number after ‘Munni Badnaam’. Hence, the music has also helped popularize the movie.

Prediction: Mostly due to the huge star cast, Housefull 2 will surely get a positive opening. Whether Sajid Khan will score a hattrick of successful films will depend on its initial response.

If it does receive thumbs up at the start, it will become the highest money-grosser of the year so far. However, if it doesn’t, it will still earn good returns for the producers in the first week (especially first weekend). The big advantage that Housefull 2 has is that it caters to single-screen as well as multiplex audiences.

(Posted under the category BOLLYWOOD.)


Kunjam Kunjam Down Memory Lane!

Like most Twitter users, I too have a habit of glancing at the ‘trending’ list as soon as I sign in. Last week when my eyes fell on it, I was highly surprised to see Baba Sehgal’s name in the list. As people start trending even for all kinds of antics (slapgates being the latest), my first concern was to see the reason behind the trend. Fortunately, it was for a good reason. Baba’s latest single ‘Praji Kunjam Kunjam Control’ had become the talking point among Twitteraties.

This took me down memory lane – back to the early nineties when Baba was the talking point (only in real world as there was no virtual world back then). I clearly remember during that time, after returning home from school; my daily winding up task included listening to the whole cassette (CDs were unheard of) of Thanda Thanda Paani (Baba’s first album). It had become a daily activity, apart from watching the same songs on TV.

Coming back to his latest single, it can be said it’s a typical rap song which can be easily associated with Baba. However, despite that, it has something which is never found before in a Baba number: it deals with the social issue of killing the girl child.

There have been numerous documentaries and short films urging the society against killing the girl child. Unfortunately, they have not created the desired impact on the youth, who term them as boring. But the message coming from a rap song will certainly make heads turn.

The credit mostly goes to the lyrics for putting forth the message in a clear, straightforward manner. But in doing that, Baba hasn’t compromised on the rap factor. Example – ‘The Jhoola Is Jhooling, But She No More Living, Hey Butcher Stop Your Fun, Please Let Her See The Sun’. Of course, there are some vague lyrics in between but that is how Baba’s rap songs have always been. From the video, Baba showing affection towards an old lady deserves mention.

Just hope this doesn’t turn out to be just one off incident of an Indipop artist trending. If it doesn’t, one day Indipop itself will trend!

See the song here -


Agent Vinod Review

Direction: Sriram Raghavan

Production: Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan for Illuminati Films

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Adil Hussain, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Shahbaaz Khan, Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover, Maryam Zakaria, Ravi Kissen, Ram Kapoor

Music: Pritam

Rating: * * ½

Plot: While on a mission in Afghanistan, Raw Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) gets caught. Somehow he manages to free himself. After his job forces him to travel all over the world, he gets to know about something called 242. What is 242? In his quest he comes across unusual characters. He also meets Dr Iram (Kareena Kapoor). But can he trust her?

Review: After debuting with the impressive Ek Haseena Thi (2003), Sriram Raghavan came up with Johnny Gaddar (2007), which according to me is one of the best thrillers ever in Bollywood.

The promos of his third flick Agent Vinod promised a roller-coaster experience. But all promises aren’t fulfilled. Despite having international standard resources and a super-creative director at its disposal, the Saif Ali Khan starrer is let down as the script, which is the most important element, isn’t up-to-the-mark although interesting. Therefore, the product turns out to be a one-time watch and that too only for hardcore action thriller lovers.

Your expectations are raised in the initial minutes when the credits roll while the first fight scene is carried on. The super-stylish way of presenting the opening credits produces a seeti-bajao effect. As the tale unfolds, your interest continues to be stable until Kareena’s character arrives which brings some complications in the narrative.

Although there are a good number of twists in the second half and the film continues to move at a brisk pace, the complications seem to increase. There will be a good part of the audience that will find the proceedings a lot confusing. Thankfully, some thrilling, nail-biting moments in the climax provide some satisfaction although the film shouldn't have been dragged after that.

Sadly, the flipsides don’t end here. There a good number of logical errors which can not only be pointed out easily but are also pure laughable. And then there is the usual Hindi fillum formula of not a single bullet hitting our hero even when thousands are showered on him. One surely expected more intelligence from someone who has Johnny Gaddar under his belt.

But what makes the film a one-time watch is some Hollywood-like action and stunts, clever editing, brilliant cinematography, smart dialogues and some creatively directed scenes. The scores for these areas are definitely high. A gun-fight scene with a romantic song in the background deserves special mention.

The same can be said for Pritam’s music. Songs like ‘I’ll Do The Talking Tonight’, ‘Dil Mera Muft Ka’, ‘Govind Bolo’ and the theme song suit the content perfectly. Although 'Pyar Ki Pungi' is an enjoyable number, it just doesn't suit the nature of the flick. Its placement is also faulty.

This is not one of the best acts by Saif Ali Khan but it’s surely one that deserves appreciation. He manages to play a difficult character with maturity. Kareena Kapoor does well portraying a mysterious character. A very smart and impressive performance is given by Adil Hussain. Shahbaaz Khan and Prem Chopra fit their character well.

The rest of the cast including Gulshan Grover, Maryam Zakaria, Ravi Kissen, Ram Kapoor are good too, especially the last one is terrific and hilarious!

Overall, Agent Vinod is yet another Bollywood action thriller which is let down due to the writing department although it is very well directed. Due to this, the film won’t gain very good collections at the box-office.



Bhagat Singh, Sukdev, Rajguru 81st Death Anniversary… Same old story!

Like every year, this year too there is hardly any hype about Martyrdom Day, i.e March 23, the day when Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru happily accepted death at the hands of the British 81 years ago (1931). Terrible is a small way of describing this situation where the biggest sacrifice for the independence of India hasn’t received the notice it deserves. Over the years our government and even media has failed in honoring the greatest of revolutionaries.

This, however, isn’t going to lower the spirits of all of us who heartily admire the trio for their unmatchable service for India. We will continue to worship them!

Talking of the trio, I would like to point out something about Bhagat Singh which is not known to everyone, especially those who don’t admire him. By doing this, I am also trying to rubbish-off a myth related to Singh and his comrades who have been a part of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).

There has been a wrong widespread belief that the members of HSRA were violent. Time and again, they have been accused of endorsing violence. However, all those who have done an in depth study on their life would highly disagree with it. These revolutionaries had always believed in achieving their mission in a non-violent manner.

There have been instances where they have used violence but it’s only as a means of self defense or when there isn’t any hope of achieving the goal through non-violent methods.

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To prove their non-violent nature, I would like to point out few instances from their revolutionary life:-

* On April 8, 1929, when Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt exploded bombs in the Central Assembly in Dehli to oppose Public Safety Bill and Trade Disputes Bill, they purposely used bombs which don’t hurt anyone even a bit. Plus, they exploded the bombs in vacant areas. Their only motto was to create sound.

* Of course, they did avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai by killing British officer Saunders but they did that as there was no hope of getting justice from the British government. They had to take the step as a last resort. A pamphlet distributed by HSRA said, “We regret to have had to kill a person but he was part and parcel of that inhuman and unjust order that has to be destroyed.”

* Instead of fleeing from the spot, Singh and Dutt court arrested themselves. They could have escaped as the HSRA had weapons at their disposal but they didn’t even think of doing such a thing.

* After being sentenced, Bhagat Singh, along with other members of HSRA, started a hunger strike as the Indian prisoners were debarred of basic amenities unlike the British prisoners. This was akin to Gandhi’s mode of Satyagraha.

If the members of HSRA really believed in violence, the above mentioned incidents wouldn’t have taken place.

Coming back to the first point, I would like to offer the highest tribute to the trio of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. We will never be able to repay the biggest sacrifice ever to the nation.

Have a look at some of the original photos of Bhagat Singh and his comrades: -

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Bhagat Singh (Picture Courtesy - Click to enlarge)

News of the hanging of the three martyrs (Picture Courtesy - Click to enlarge)

Bhagat Singh's mother with a wellwisher (Picture Courtesy - Click to enlarge)

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Bhagat Singh as a student in National College, Lahore (Picture Courtesy - Click to enlarge)

Rajguru (Picture Courtesy - Click to enlarge)

Sukhdev (Picture Courtesy - Click to enlarge)

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India-Pak final? Only if Sri Lanka obliges!

So, the whole of India, including me, is going gaga over India’s remarkable victory against Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup. It also looks like Virat Kohli will be the next big thing after Sachin Tendulkar for Indian cricket after he amassed an earth-shattering 183 in the match.

However, India is still isn’t certain of meeting Pakistan in the finals. For that to happen, Sri Lanka must beat Bangladesh in the next match.

As I look at the situation, the terrible thought of history repeats is coming to my mind due to some striking similarities. By history, I mean just the last one-day series in Australia. Just consider both situations as follows: -

* India played exceedingly well in their last league match in the tri series in Australia by chasing more than 300 very easily. The same thing has happened in India’s last league match here in Asia Cup.

* In both the occasions, Kohli scored a magnificent hundred.

* In the Australia series, India, to reach the finals, depended on the Aussies to beat Sri Lanka. Here, India has to depend on Sri Lanka to beat Bangladesh.

* In Australia, India failed to reach the finals after Australia lost to Sri Lanka.

* What will happen in Asia Cup?

Well, all Indians would hope history doesn’t repeat and we get a mouth-watering India-Pakistan final in the Asia Cup. But everything is in Sri Lanka’s hands. In Australia, they disappointed us by winning the last league match. Let’s hope they don’t disappoint us again by losing this time.


Agent Vinod Box-Office Prediction

Star Value: Saif Ali Khan’s star power isn’t as huge as that of the three biggest Khans but it is certainly big. Apart from him, there is Kareena Kapoor who is at the peak of her career. Hence, one can say the star value for Agent Vinod is high.

Hype: The makers have succeeded in creating hype for the movie by spending a huge amount on it. The very first promo of the movie generated excitement. The same can be said for the second one as well. And Saif’s slap controversy has also indirectly helped a bit in publicizing the movie.

Music: The ‘Pyaar Ki Pungi’ song has gained instant approval from the audience due to its funny and roadside flavor. ‘Dil Mera Muft Ka’ is also known while ‘I’ll Do The Talking Tonight’ hasn’t grabbed that many eyeballs although it’s a fabulous club dance number.

Prediction: Agent Vinod will surely receive a positive opening at the box-office. The film is expected to be a quality thriller since it is directed by Sriram Raghavan, the man who made the super-impressive Johnny Gaddar and the well made dark thriller Ek Haseena Thi. If Raghavan scores a hattrick, Agent Vinod will be a big success at the ticket window.


Sachin scores 100th century! I am pinching myself!

There have been very few occasions in my life where I have pinched myself in disbelief! One such occasion was few minutes back when Sachin Tendulkar finally (I feel like repeating the word 5 times) scored his 100th international century against Bangladesh in Mirpur in the ongoing Asia Cup 2012. Finally!!!

The feat for which the whole of cricketing world and not just India was waiting since more than a year has just happened! During all these months, every time Sachin went into bat, almost every cricket fan from around the world expected to see his 100th century. However, it just refused to come. There is a saying in Hindi – Intezar Ka Phal Meetha Hota Hai. Well, this was proved today in Mirpur.

The Master Blaster did come terribly close to achieving the mega milestone on December 2011 when he dismissed for 94 in the third test match against West Indies in Mumbai. Never had I seen the crowd so stunned in disbelief before when the great man was dismissed in that innings by Ravi Rampaul. People from Sachin’s hometown had spent an abnormal amount to the blackers for the ticket of the fifth days play after Sachin was not out on 70 odd at stumps on day 4.

I was one among thousands who faced disappointment at not getting a ticket (at original price) for the fifth day. However, I plainly refused to buy the ticket in black and returned home khaali haath! How fortunate I felt later on to have such principles!

After that innings of 94, Sachin failed to achieve the feat in the whole of the tour of Australia. As he also started going through a bad phase, the expectations for the biggest achievement ever also fizzled out!

I guess it was the pressure of the expectations that got the better of Sachin. Now, that there were no expectations, he easily achieved the feat and how! I wish the people and media had controlled their excitement all these months! Anyways, it’s better late than never.

Hearty CONGRATULATIONS to the greatest cricketer for the greatest achievement any batsman can imagine. I repeat this – We have been fortunate to have got a chance to grow up along with Sachin’s career!

Have a look at the moment when Sachin achieved the feat and the world went in a frenzy. (Video of Sachin scoring his 100th run) : -

Pictures courtesy -


Music Has No Language!

By: Keyur Seta

Music Has No Language - I have heard this phrase time and again but never really believed in it. In 2000, when I boarded a train for Jaipur from Mumbai Central station, I didn’t have an iota of idea that I would start believing in it after the end of the journey. Almost all pleasant experiences in my life have taken place in the most unexpected situations. This was one such instance.

When our train entered the territory of Rajasthan, I was all excited and eager to reach Jaipur. Just an hour or so before reaching the final destination, an usual sound startled me when I was busy appreciating nature during the journey. Initially it irritated me as I don’t like being disturbed when I am relishing nature from my window seat. I saw it was some performer playing a musical instrument in order to raise money (I will never call him a beggar).

After half a minute of or so, I started liking the sound. Then came the big splash! The man, while playing the instrument, also started singing. Within seconds my whole attention was hooked onto him as I was super impressed by his voice and style.

The passion with which he sang, the pain and anguish in his voice, his dedication, all sent me in a musical trance from which I didn’t want to return. It was that kind of satisfaction which one experiences at a concert after paying a hefty amount for the ticket. But here it was, all for free. Well, not quite. I paid him before he even asked for it.

But in all this, where does the phrase ‘music has no language’ fit in? It does fit in for the man was singing in Rajasthani language. As I don't understand that language, I hardly understood the song or its meaning. But still, it produced one of the most long lasting and impressive musical effects on my mind. Hence, I started believing that music has no language. It all happened in a totally unexpected situation. Such is the magic of Indian Railways where almost every journey becomes memorable!


Kahaani Review

Direction: Sujoy Ghosh

Production: Boundscript Motion Pictures Pvt. Ltd, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Pen India Pvt. Ltd

Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Indraneil Sengupta, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Darshan Jariwala, Saswata Chatterjee

Music: Vishal-Shekhar

Rating: * * * *

Plot: Arnab Bagchi arrives in Kolkata from London for a two-week work related visit. During his stay in the city, he is constantly in touch with his wife Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan). However, all of a sudden communication between Vidya and Arnab ceases. Left with no other choice, Vidya arrives in Kolkata, in a pregnant condition, to search for her missing husband.

Sub-inspector Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) helps Vidya as she struggles to find any trace of her missing husband. So, what exactly happened with Arnab? Is there something more than meets the eye?

Review: Let’s face it. There has been a dearth of quality edge-of-the-seat thrillers in Bollywood. In the last five years or so, only Johnny Gaddar (2007), Race (2008), A Wednesday (2008) and Maharathi (2008) have managed to impress in that genre. But finally, there comes a new addition in the list in the form of Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, an applaud-worthy effort having all the necessary elements needed for a quality suspense thriller.

Script is the most vital department in any flick of this genre. Ghosh, Suresh Nair and Advaita seem to understand this well as their writing manages to grip the audience from start to end. You instantly become a part of Vidya’s quest in finding her missing husband. Elements like twist, thrill, amusement, humour as well as shock are peppered very intelligently throughout. Since there’s unpredictability in plenty, it becomes a kind of a roller-coaster ride for the viewer.

But that’s not all; there is also a strong emotional connect which does the important task of making sure the audience feels for the central character.

(Review continued after picture.)

In such films, it is absolutely necessary for the climax to have a satisfying effect. No matter how good your efforts are in the first 80-90% of the film, it proves to be a waste if the end suspense becomes predictable. Thankfully in the case of Kahaani, that doesn’t happen as the final twist and the truth related to Arnab Bagchi takes the audience by surprise and shock. Job well done!

Having said all this, few incidents in the later part of the second half become complicated. Therefore, a section of the audience might have trouble grasping the events in this period.

It would have been a mammoth task for any director to handle such a film as a major part of its shoot took place in real-life locations in a city like Kolkata. Sujoy Ghosh not only manages that perfectly, he also creates a large number of praiseworthy scenes. Personally, I feel Kahaani is his best effort till date.

Other critical areas like cinematography (Setu), editing (Namrata Rao), action (Sham Kaushal) and background score (Sanjay Maurya and Allwin Rego) are praiseworthy too. Only two of Vishal-Shekhar’s well composed tracks (Aami Shotti Bolchi and Ekla Chalo) are used in the background. They suit perfectly to the mood of the proceedings.

Vidya Balan is on a roll. After giving an earth-shattering act in The Dirty Picture (2011), the actor packs in a powerful punch in Kahaani. Playing such a character would have been highly challenging for any seasoned actor. Vidya fulfills the challenge by displaying different emotions with perfection. This is another performance worthy of all awards!

Parambrata Chattopadhyay turns out to be a surprise package. Despite Vidya’s continuous presence, the actor impresses with his fine acting skills. There is Saswata Chatterjee who is another surprise element. It is amusing to see him do about his ruthless activities. Nawazuddin Siddiqui deserves equal praise too as a hot-headed intelligence officer. Rest of the cast including Indraneil Sengupta, Darshan Jariwala, Dhritiman Chatterjee, etc provides ideal support.

Overall, Kahaani is an intelligently crafted new age suspense thriller which shouldn’t be missed. The movie hasn’t had a very good opening at the box-office but there is a chance for the collections to rise if the word-of-mouth spreads.

(Filed under the section BOLLYWOOD.)


Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna…

All Good Things Come To An End – I have been hearing this proverb ever since my childhood. However, it is just since yesterday that I am truly able to feel the bitter feeling behind it. It’s the retirement of Rahul Dravid, one of the best cricketers ever produced by India that has enabled me to understand the true meaning of the above proverb.

Dravid’s greatness is such that by merely saying, “He was a great cricketer,” isn’t an enough tribute to him. Frankly speaking, it is not possible to explain in a few pages the career of a cricketer who took the very heavy load of expectations and responsibilities on his shoulders. Those like me who have followed his career throughout would understand this and agree with me.

Personally, I feel Dravid was the unsung hero of Indian cricket. I say this because a number of his achievements went unnoticed or didn’t receive the importance it deserved as it got overshadowed by an achievement by a fellow cricketer or due to some other reason.

For instance, in the famous Kolkata test against Australia in 2001, the Karnataka batsman played one of his finest knocks by scoring 180. However, VVS Laxman’s 281 is what people remember more from that test although Dravid’s innings deserved equal praise since it also played a vital role for India to turn the tables and beat the Aussies in one of the greatest fight-backs ever!

Another example is during the 1999 World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Taunton, England where Saurav Ganguly registered his highest one-day score of 183. He had a 300+ run stand with Dravid who scored a fabulous 145. But here too, it is Dada’s innings which is remembered more while one should also remember that Dravid’s score was at that time the highest by any wicket-keeper in ODIs.

I would also like to state Dravid’s most under-rated innings in ODIs. It was in the 1997 Independence Cup match against Pakistan, where the Wall scored his maiden ODI century (127) which didn’t prove enough. Since Saeed Anwar registered the highest ODI score ever earlier in the day with 194 and also because of the fact that Dravid’s knock was in a losing cause, it was forgotten soon.

Likewise, throughout his career, a number of innings by Dravid didn’t receive the due credit it so much deserved!

Moving ahead, I have no qualms in saying that Dravid was victim of the idiocy of Indian selectors! Dravid resigned from the captaincy (both in tests and ODIs) in 2007 in the interest of the team as he wanted to concentrate on his batting. However, he was unable to concentrate on it in half or more than of the matches as the selectors dropped him from the ODIs!

Dravid during his innings of 145 against Sri Lanka at Taunton in the 1999 World Cup.

The move of dropping him from the ODI team is the biggest blunder ever by Indian selectors! Time and again Jammy had proved his mettle in ODIs as a quick scorer but the selection committee dropped him saying he is unable to score quick runs. Just some time before he was dropped, he had scored an earth-shattering 90 odd in just 63 balls in an ODI in England.

In fact, he has been handy even in Twenty20 matches. On numerous occasions in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Dravid has proved how wrong the selectors were. Then in the 2011 ODI series against England, they picked Dravid as there was a dearth of quality batsmen in the team. Although the Wall played in the series, he announced his retirement from ODI cricket just after he was picked. A good indirect way of giving thumbs down!

Today, looking at the huge number of messages of praise that are pouring in for Dravid on social media and the internet, I get a feeling the world has understood his worth and importance. It is been proved that someone who is one-of-its-kind will never get overshadowed!

Although this is been said again and again today, I would still like to repeat that Dravid is irreplaceable!

I would like to wind up with a small shayari on the great man: -

Bahav Ke Sath To Har Koi Beh Sakta Hai,
Jo Bahav Ke Khilaf Bahe Wohi Farishta Kehlata Hai


Video of Rahul Dravid's retirement speech: -