Of clashing Egos and succumbing Heartbeats

He gains consciousness & finds himself lying on a stretcher inside an ambulance. He does not feel his body; it’s all numb. He looks at the oxygen mask & the white light, listens to incessant honking, sirens blowing and gets delusional. His mind takes him to the night three months back. That night they watched the movie “As good as it gets”. Nisha, his fiancee, loved Helen Hunt in it. Later that night the movie title got stretched to ‘as sexy as it gets’, to ‘as close as it gets’; they laughed. Laying in bed as she tickled the black birthmark on his shoulder, she said that “It is as dark as it gets“.

His wandering mind gets into a maze, a labyrinth of memories and mathematical concepts; he loved math and taught Physics for a living. He gets lost but keeps regaining consciousness as a mathematical variable trying to become constant. Back and forth, like a pendulum.

45 minutes before, a traffic light turned red, vehicles across the road moved ahead to cross the square towards the other side. A guy in an expensive car jumped the light, hit a bike, bumped a pole, kissed another car and raced ahead. Minutes later the only guy with serious injuries was in the ambulance.

300 meters ahead of the ambulance two egos were clashing one driving a bus other a car, causing a 2 km long traffic jam. There were no cops on duty this side of the city as a minister’s ego required special measures for road conveyance. Amidst all that, his heartbeats were gradually sinking in the ocean of big fat unrelenting egos. Trying to fight, hold back a little longer to see another day, to breath another second, to live another time.

He could feel his valiant heartbeats were about to succumb. He looked at the black nurse, thought of ‘as dark as it gets’. Smiled and smiled forever, ever.

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Of Ambition and out of Love

It wasn’t just another morning jog for her. This morning she ran as if running away from her past demons. It had been one month since her breakup with the boy she thought loved her more than anything in this world. That’s what he recited every night before saying good night on the phone. She believed it, with all her heart. This past one month was traumatic; she missed him as a parched land would long for raindrops, as a retired soldier yearns for days of glory and war. Her soul was like that of a person crippled by an unfortunate accident, denied its full potential, forever.

Two months have passed; she thinks she’s slowly getting over him. Young love lasts longer in memory and heart; she was told. It is summer break; she turns to painting, her hobby and the only thing that can completely occupy her attention for the time being. For as long as she is awake she paints. Pictures of houses with kids playing outside, of mountains and terrains, of mosques and faith, of obscure feelings, of abstract ideas. One week and 36 of them get done. She wouldn’t have done this in another year. Finally, she could make good use of her sorrow and the impending boredom of spending summer with a sore heart.

A stroke of good luck struck her. Persistence bears fruit every single time, and she stood witness to struggles of now rich Uncle Tom with making a living and a stammering elder brother who eventually became a professor. She unclenched herself from the deathly hollows of a broken heart to explore her newfound interest in life. And she stumbled upon ambition.

Several thousand kilometers away in a 108 floors building on the 27th floor, in the corner office sat a young lad taking over reigns of his father’s empire after forcefully marrying a business tycoons daughter. His father’s ambition had brought him there, leaving behind the love of his life. And somewhere in the girl’s heart ambition hijacked the purpose of life, love.

ambition over love

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Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation

*spoilers alert*

mission impossible rogue nation

The film is the fifth in the franchise of Mission Impossible, which had the first film released 19 years ago. We still remember the drop of sweat about to fall onto the floor, the superbikes fighting it out, the Rabbit’s foot we still don’t know about and the Burj Khalifa pull-off. That’s what I starkly remember from the four movies of the series. This one is special, Tom Cruise is now 53, Christopher McQuarrie has directed Cruise before, but this is their first MI movie. The trailer had set the tone exhilarating and expectations high.

The movie begins with an army airplane about to carry poisonous gas; Cruise and team are to prevent it from flying with it. So Ethan goes for a Hunt and jumps onto the wing, runs all the way to the door, clings to it and the theater goes all Whoa! Those 15 seconds are amazing. You are into the Mission Impossible zone, and you know it.

So then comes the time when Ethan gets reassured that the Syndicate exists. It is antithetical to the brazenly named IMF (Impossible Mission Force). Then begins Hunt’s love affair with a women spy working for the rival syndicate, but both are still caring enough for each other.

There is this four-minute opera scene (Venice) that is for me the best part of the movie apart from the action sequences. The music plays in harmony with the happenings, below is a video with commentary from Christopher McQuarrie demonstrating how they set it and how well it turned out.

Here is the original source of this video:

Ethan becomes fugitive, the CIA is after him. Benji comes to his rescue and joins him in the process. The plot gets interesting before losing its shine in the second half.

Towards the second half, Ethan travels to Casablanca, holds his breath, goes short of oxygen and predictably makes it out safe. Pulling off an underwater mission impossible that doesn’t look challenging, though. Then comes the car chase, followed by adrenaline pumping bike chase. I particularly liked the direction of bike chase.

So then there is someone called a villain who doesn’t intentionally orders to pull the trigger and goes on to give chances. He is a weak link that essentially is a result of a lacking script. In the end, he gets played by Hunt. There comes that moment, strangely the women (Ilsa) chooses not to kiss, instead picks to hug Hunt. And that’s about how Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation impresses with stunts, actions, lacks on script side and overall manages to do good. It is worth the time, money for it has Ethan Hunt “THE LIVING MANIFESTATION OF DESTINY.”

4/5 stars

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Piku Movie Review_Amitabh Bachchan_Deepika_blog

From the looks of it the movie is simple, straight story of an adult woman and her constipated father. Through the first 20 minutes the movie tests patience and if you pass it the rest 100 minutes are smooth. I am saying this because the camera during those first few minutes is constantly shifting focus from faces to faces.

Amitabh as old Banerjee perfectly embodied the eccentric character, meeting expectations. He is so good that Piku the main character at times gets side-lined. Deepika as Piku gives a reasonable performance. Piku as buddying young independent professional suits Deepika but there are still some lacks especially when she argues, gets angry. Coming to Rana Choudhary, the witty, blunt Taxi fleet owner played by Irfan Khan; his scenes with Amitabh are a treat to watch. One thing different about Irrfan is that we usually have casts where the leads act opposite each other.  Irfan’s character is with (not just opposite) the main character (Piku), trying to impress the hard to get Piku.

Shoojit Sircar is excellent with endings, as was in Vicky Donor. Piku is no different, the expected does not happen instead the message, and the take-away gets insinuated subtly. Piku is about moving on with life and owning up the responsibilities we are laden with. We owe it to our parents. The movie leaves you feeling the same as a good long drive would. A long drive, free from hassles and enough time to introspect, think.

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Badlapur – Movie Review

Bollywood has got in Badlapur a defining thriller. The movie is intense all through its length. It is a mix of meaningful flashbacks amid ongoing narration. The script impeccably narrates what it sets on to tell. All actors played their part well; there is apparently no visible weak actor in the cast. Storytelling is fast paced for it never sidetracks into unnecessary spheres. The music scores in evoking emotions, laudable for its essence. Good direction along with excellent performance from lead actors brings synergies which are defining elements of the film.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is spectacular; he is complemented well by Varun Dhawan who is playing intense role for the first time in his career. While Nawazuddin is the Character for the audience, Varun is at times caught trying to be the character; although this is not often and is less noticeable. Huma Qureshi spices up the screen, has got a reputation for it since Gangs of Wasseypur. Divya Dutta, in her supporting role of defense lawyer delivers as usual.

The opening scene sets up the movie, with the camera not moving as the robbery unfolds. Sriram Raghavan shows promise in the first few minutes and lives up-to it throughout the 135 minute film. And then there are Nawazuddin’s puns & mocks. One particular scene has him threatening the guy who is seeing Huma Qureshi (his love) he ends the threat with a Good Night. There are a handful of such scenes.

Badlapur is all about revenge and its inability to satiate the avenger. Vengeance at times breeds one more monster, bigger than the one who triggered it. Varun in the movie unknowingly becomes one.

badlapur Review_ Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger_Wordpress_Movie 2015_Nawazuddin_Huma Qureshi_Yami Gautam

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Kejriwal – The Catcher in the Rye

I firmly believe that Indian Politics need Kejriwal. This starting statement might result in people not reading the entire piece and that’s not something I care about. This is written not to reason with unreasonable people.

AAP is an alternative to these long standing substitutes BJP and Congress. By virtue of being an alternative AAP should be given a chance (a second, a third or a fourth may be; how many have we given to Congress and BJP???). The chance was given the last time Kejriwal became the youngest CM in Indian history. They ruined it, paid for it. Now they are back and back with a bang.

Look at the series of events in the run up to the Delhi elections. It is evident that the Modi wave has receded as the vote share of BJP has declined steadily in the recent assembly elections. Facing this decline, plus popularity of Kejriwal, irrelevance of Dr. Harshwardhan and the not so promising leader in Satish Upadhyay the BJP decided to rope in Kiran Bedi(Reminder- yes she didn’t tow Indira Gandhi’s Car) as CM Candidate. It backfired.


Kiran-Bedi__Blooper_Blog Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger_Experience of Onlooker_Delhi Elections_analysis of AAP_Kejriwal the catcher in Rye Yogendra-Yadav_Blog_Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger_Experience of Onlooker_Delhi Elections_analysis of AAP_Kejriwal the catcher in the Rye

To say the least, Kiran Bedi is just not the right person for the job. Her comments, demeanor and lack of diplomacy do not reflect political maturity. Follow this to see her blooper remarks.
Least I write about the Congress the better (as if I have something to write about). They have accepted defeat even before fighting elections. Their campaign was never spirited, nor convincing. All Congress is left to is an ‘also ran’ in the race for elections in country’s capital. Bravo to Ajay Maken to have taken the meaningless position of being the face for the party. He is indeed a willful scapegoat. Let’s not get into Rahul Gandhi, he is perhaps busy in increasing his party’s failure tally.

Well, doing away from the Over Confident Ones (BJP) and the Also Ran ones (Congress), and coming back to the (Common) Man of the moment. I am in awe of him since the time I saw his interview with Barkha Dutt on NDTV, here’s the link. Look at this man clad in red sweater, regular pants and a muffler wrapped around neck and ears; neatly branded as Common Man. His answers are logical, he does not shy away from questions, and neither does he run away from interviews. He is resilient, rational, sensible and gutsy. When did the last time you saw a politician who was all this? (There are a handful of those but they belong to an ideology, an already existing party) Don’t presume that I mean he is the ideal one. All I am saying is he is the best of the rest in Delhi.

From being virtually written off after resigning from Power in Delhi, AAP has shown commendable spine to stand up to the so called Modi Phenomenon. For the reason that it will not be easy for BJP to swipe Delhi, for raising itself back from doldrums, for standing up for its cause; the Kejriwal Campaign deserves applause. It is plausible that AAP has stood up and successfully offered a challenge. If not the mandate of people, AAP does deserve praises for what it has achieved so far. Whatever may be the result on 10th, this should be remembered.

Arvind kejriwal_Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger_Experience of Onlooker_Delhi Elections_analysis of AAP_Kejriwal the catcher in Rye

One for the Title: I am here drawing analogy with the words of JD Sallinger, author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Kejriwal is the Catcher in the mountain of (Rye) corruption, unscrupulous political environment, bureaucratic red tape, crime and the perils people face in day to day life.

P.S. – I hope Delhi at least does not give itself another fractured mandate.

Yours Truly


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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Movie Review: Ugly

Mind You: Spoilers Ahead!

Ugly Movie Review

The film tries to showcase a bunch of opportunists who would not leave a chance to get their hands on easy money. A 10 year old girl gets kidnapped, instead of interrogating backgrounds of the obvious suspect who dies on the run, immediately after shrouding the girl; the police goes awry. During the opening 15 minutes of the film there’s a stretched scene, where the protagonist and his sidekick describe the incident of kidnap to police. Its almost like the scene should have ended minutes ago but all you see is the same people talking the same shit. Arouses urge to fast forward, the bar is already set low. Damage control begins when Ronit Roy delivers as usual, playing the tough, unemotional policemen, impeccably.

The story lacks purpose, it is Ugly because there are only few who are willing to find the girl but also people looking for ways to make money out of it or avenge past scores or both. A couple of scenes have uncontrolled cursing, which is evident of Anurag Kashyap. Some scenes are appreciable but overall the film lacks. It is short on substance. For instance, the policemen in Ronit Roy can easily tap the phone of his junkie wife but can’t for the usual suspect, his wife’s ex-husband. Another one is towards the climax when the money is to be handed over to the supposed kidnapper; the police can’t tail a car properly. A cake walk, dream job for any felon.

It is unimpressive but grapples, involves much guessing, asks too many questions in too little a time and reveals too late. The interest is dead already. Performance wise, Kashyap’s star cast knows to act which is a winner. Character portrayal is decent, apt. The emotions are showcased aided by the direction. Anger, frustration, pain and helplessness to name a few dominant ones.

2.5 Stars on 5

Yours Truly

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Dhoni’s Mysterious Retirement

Yesterday, I got back home from office and opened my phone to read this tweet by Harsha Bhogle:

Like the rest of cricket fans, I was taken aback by his out of the blue decision to retire amidst an already lost test series. A draw is the best India could get in Australia and he possibly didn’t think he will get another chance in Sydney. But his decision raises questions.

Well, he has captained longest, has commendable record while doing so, but retiring in the middle of a series is like leaving a sinking ship. The captain goes down with the ship- as goes the idiom, remember Titanic. What was Dhoni thinking? he could have played one more and retired then.

All his cricketing career he has been unemotional, pragmatic. He does not invoke emotional response from fans which other greats did. His test retirement thus justifies the manner in which it happened. No fanfare, no retirement speech, no statement. It was abrupt, indirect (through BCCI) and unexpected. Unlike him, the decision looks controversial.

Adam Gilchrist realized he was past his best when he dropped VVS Laxman, and decided to retire. I wonder what was Dhoni’s instant – an argument with Kohli, an impending Supreme Court Judgement on conflict of interest in IPL, a pathetic test record abroad. We shall keep guessing until the man himself decides to tell us.

Yours Truly

My Remarks on Twitter:

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My Year 2014 Reviewed in 12 Words


My Year 2014 in Review _12 WORDS_Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger

12 Words to express and summarize a complete year. Succinct, limited but still says a lot.


Yours Truly

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