Monday, December 31, 2012

Movies Roundup 2012

And we're back! 2012 turned out to be a decent year in terms of quantity and quality of movies. Saw the highest number of movies since 2008 and had the highest average rating since I started keeping count. Just like in 2009, 2010 and 2011 I have made a note of every movie I watched in the theatres (and also the movies released during the year but watched on the small screen). Will be following last year's format of sharing the 'tweet-review" and rating on 10 of every movie watched, something for the statistics lovers and also the top 5 movies. As always this is most fun with your inputs and comments, expecting some usual fireworks! Here we go.

Year     # Seen Hindi:English:Bangla Top Rating Avg. Rating
2007     32               22:10:0                           9.0             5.78
2008     30               23:7:0                             8.5             6.35
2009     24               18:6:0                             9.0             6.85
2010     25               16:9:0                             8.5             6.62
2011     22               15:6:1                             8.5             6.77
2012     28               12:11:5                           9.0             7.33

The top honours go to (only movies watched in theatres):

Rank 1 - Barfi

Rank 2 - Kahaani

Rank 3 - Paan Singh Tomar

Rank 4 - Argo

Rank 5 - English Vinglish

Below, find the detailed tweet reviews (140 character limit) usually updated within an hour or so after watching the movie. This is in chronological order.

Here's the summary:


  Mission Impossible 4 -sinister scientist, nuclear destruction, breathtaking stunts, happy ending. Buffoonery by Anil Kapoor. Watchable. 6/10

Sherlock Holmes 2 - Brilliant scenes & lines between Dr. Moriarty & Holmes. Strong performances again. A tad too long at 2:09 hours. 7/10.

Tintin - Brought childhood to life. The extraordinary graphics and sticking to the original story added to the charm. Must watch! 7.5/10

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Frankly I didn't understand the movie enough to talk about it. Also, didn't enjoy that much. 5.5/10. 

Agneepath - Powerful and imposing, in terms of story, direction and performances. Kancha is menacing, HR outstanding & RK brilliant. 8/10.

Ek Main Aur Ek Tu - (Anjaana Anjaani + Jab We Met) stripped of romance & climax. Tried to be different, became average. 5.5/10

Kahaani - Fantastic performances and solid storyline. Leaving your seat even for a bathroom break will be a challenge. That gripping. 8.5/10

Paan Singh Tomar - Heart wrenching plot made into gripping screenplay. Taut throughout. Impeccable Irrfan. Skip it & loss is yours. 8.5/10

Agent Vinod - Some good action sequences, too many unnecessary characters, weak(er) climax(es), slick camerawork. Potential wasted. 6/10.

Vicky Donor - Genuinely funny almost throughout, a great find in Ayushmann, unique subject well handled, could've been a tighter end. 7/10

The Avengers - Usual world coming to an end in NY and superheroes saving us all story, but told in a way that'll make you cheer them on. 8/10

The Dictator - every stereotype, every racist joke, every soft spot touched upon. Crass, sharp, hilarious. Worthy successor to Borat. 8/10.

Hemlock Society - one movie that can genuinely stake claim to being that elusive "different" & quite good at that. Humourous & real. 7.5/10

22 Shrabon - A near-perfect thriller/mystery with effortless acting, taut storyline, quirky, coarse language and unexpected twists. 8.5/10.

Memories In March - exceptionally natural & restrained performances, mature handling of an issue that can become easily dramatized. 8/10.

Gangs of Wasseypur - puke inducing violence & gore throughout. So earthy that you can almost smell the scenes. Gritty performances. 7.5/10.

Autograph - engaging first half, slick photography, slightly affected dialogues, predictable & disappointing finish. Could've been. 6/10.

Bhooter Bhobishyot - Making up for the lost 20 years of Bengali cinema. Mind blowing concept, execution & delivery. Refreshing. 8.5/10

Barfi - will remain a high point of the careers of every member of the cast & crew. Sensitive, funny, touching. RK & PK brilliant. 9/10.

Heroine - download Madhur B template & music, plug in a generic movie industry story, dunk Kareena in kohl & glycerine and serve cold. 5/10

English Vinglish - Sridevi delivers a superlative performance and makes most of us think of our mothers throughout. Warm fuzzy feel. 8.5/10

Argo - Compels you to root for the characters & research the incidents immediately after you leave the edge-of-your-seats. Don't miss. 8/10.

Skyfall - Perhaps the most personal Bond movie. Devoid of gadgetry but with a most sinister villain & a story. Batman-like in parts. 7.5/10

Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Hmmm. 5.5/10.

Lincoln - Human take on one of modern history's heroes. Strong performances. Background reading on civil war recommended preparation. 8/10

Life of Pi - A difficult story to portray on screen, but magnificent effort by Ang Lee. Breathtaking visuals, brilliant performances. 8/10.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Farewell, Girl

My friend +Tanmay Mukherjee came up with one of the most touching posts I have read about the girl whom we shall never know, but know very well. If you can read Bangla I will suggest don't bother with my post and just read his original blog post.

However, I thought the post deserved to to reach out to a larger population and so I translated it on the fly, almost literal in parts, trying to keep the essence intact. Feel free to share all feedback with him directly.

Also, came across this very ironic Calvin & Hobbes strip earlier today, shared by Diptakirti


Farewell, Girl

I was here just now. Now, no more.

Dad's job, Dad's vote, Mom's parantha, Mom's vote, Brother's cricket, Brother's vote.
My college, my just-turned-twenty-one, my doe-skin, my vote.
My friends, my friend. Gossip-stories-mischief. A bunch of our votes.

Dad used to say that after I completed my studies, I'd take up a good job and visit a foreign land. Will also take my parents. Three votes, will dress up and visit abroad.
Mom used to say my husband would take me abroad. Another family. A whole lot of votes.
He used to say, "I will show you a foreign land. Breathtaking landscapes, charming cities; Explosions of development and technology all of them" A fellow helpless classmate's vote. Innocent vote.
Everyone had known that this girl wanted to go abroad.

"If you don't study hard, how will you go abroad, you fool?" - and so would go my Mathematic's tutor. Just the other day somehow got a 96% in maths and told Sir "Just give me another five years, You will need to come abroad to visit me"
Some would get irritated with my passion to go abroad "Why? What is missing in our country?"

True. What really is missing in our country? Development, a growing GDP, World Cup win, what's missing? We have everything. Just that getting scared had become a bit of a habit. Scared of what?
In trains, buses, Metros,
In the bustle of local markets,
In the masses at religious places,
Was scared of any gathering of people.

Who or who all would be lurking in that crowd and attack me?
The filthiest of words would waft through, lecherous looks would be flung all over my body, and sometimes a few dirty hands would grope me.
Mom used to say I was responsible for my dignity was in my hands; nobody else. These things will always happen in trains, buses and other public places. However, I shouldn't make a scene so that others start talking about it. That's far more dishonourable. She used to say that these things happen anyway.

Used to loathe myself. Who does such things in the streets? Whose brothers? Whose fathers? Does that mean my brother, my father too...! Mercy! Steadily I learnt to not trust others. So had decided to leave everything and move abroad.

The funny thing is those whom I used to detest, those from whom I wanted to run away to a different land, ended up making all arrangements to send me abroad. A few of those dark men tore me apart to such an extent that the entire country and the Indian government gave up on me: they said that they weren't capable of taking care of my recovery. The affectional government bore the entire expenses of my treatment, in fact flew me to Singapore. And in the meanwhile I believe they lathi-charged some unknown faces, set the water cannons on a few unsuspecting ones. Apparently those lunatics had tried to show the government the way. Can't those rascals see that our father-like government has established a "theek hai" empire in our great country?

Finally our most honourable and compassionate media gave me many new epithets and the news vessels overflowed with those monikers, soaring through the skies with TRPs.

Apparently my family was very pleased with my treatment, or so I was told by the media and government. Salute to them.
Apparently I fought like a braveheart, I am courageous, fearless and of an indomitable spirit; the media and honourable government proudly proclaimed. Salute to them.
But believe me, I did not want any of this. I am really scared of those dark men. I am really scared of the unfeeling, all powerful government.

I just wanted to live. No revenge, no cleansing of society. While on the ventilator, the little that I could think of was a desire to live. I did not want to make any official statements. I have to live, I must live. Mom, I will live. Dad I will live. Brother, please...can I live a little?

I failed. I couldn't live. None of you could get away by calling me 'India's Daughter' and my survival story. All of you had to take the blame of my death.

However, you will still have your little sister, your daughter to protest. The government still has it's votes. My parents became a little lonely. Let them be. In all this, at least there was a little good - my plans of a trip abroad materialized.

Singapore. What a beautiful city, just like a picture postcard. No, I couldn't see much of it.
In those crowded buses when someone would come and grope me, I would feel like tearing up. And would say to myself "Will go away and not die in this wretched country."

Thanks to the Almighty. At least I didn't have to breathe my last on my country's soil. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

20 Years of Indian Cricket (1992-2012) - Highest Run Scorers & Wicket Takers

Earlier this morning I got into a little to and fro on Twitter about whether Sachin should carry on and if it's time MSD called it a day based on form? This led to digging up some numbers on Stats Guru. The complete details are available below: Highest Run Scorers (Test, ODI, T20 and overall) and Highest Wicket Takers (Test, ODI, T20 and overall) from 1992 to 2012. You can play around with the numbers by clicking here.

For me the main highlights were as follows:


1) We cannot overemphasize how much the team has depended on Sachin over the past twenty years. Genius is one thing, but being a genius for twenty years, consistently takes you to a different level.

2) If it required any more highlighting, Rahul Dravid deserved less attention than anyone else would have by not only being the highest scorer (all forms combined) 6 years (5 of them in a row - 2002-06) but also being the highest scorer in ODIs (a format he was apparently not good enough to make the playing 11) for 3 years (in a team with Sachin, Sourav, Laxman, Sehwag and Yuvraj at their peak). Also, he made his exit by being the highest scorer in Tests during his last year. Way to go.

3) Sourav Ganguly's comeback in 2007 (highest Test scorer, and also overall) after being in the wilderness for two years, is just a script waiting to be made into a movie.

4) There is no denying Virat Kohli's future. If he can look back at the last couple of years by the time he retires and calls it "not too bad" he's a legend.

5) Back to Sachin, highest scorer in both forms of the game, in 5 of the 10 years from 1992-2002, is perhaps a feat that will not be repeated again


1) Anil Kumble has been to Indian bowling almost what Sachin has been to the batting. Given the batsman focused nature of the game he hardly got the attention he deserved.

2) The present state of our bowling reflects in the stats from the past few years - lack of consistency. And if R. Ashwin is to become the greatest bowler we have in the team, it will remain like that for a while.

3) If we had one magical bowling year by anyone during this year it was Harbhajan Singh in 2001. The only 100+ wickets in a year spell.

Of course there's a lot more that can be gleaned from the data. Look forward to your insights.