Monday, December 24, 2007

A tale of 3 cities - Part Three

I just love the climate during this time of the year in Pune. If you are particular about good climatic conditions for a good living then Pune is the place to be. You will have a good 4 change of seasons, each one with a charm of its own. Especially for a South Indian like me who has not seen much of a winter, Pune would be the apt place to get started. It is not nail bitingly cold like in the northern part of the country, but it is not just the early morning chill either that you would find down south. The summer is not that scorching either. And if you are a rain lover, then you must visit this place 3-4 weeks after the monsoon arrives. Since it is surrounded by hills and army occupied barren lands, in and around Pune is painted green.

No, the Maharashtra tourism board is not sponsoring this write-up. I truly love this place for the natural beauty and blissful climatic conditions. I have been in Pune for over 3 years now and must admit that this place has grown on me. Initially I found it quite difficult to adapt myself to the people, road-rules and especially the food. The sugary sambhar and vada inside a bun never appealed to me. But then I discovered that there are other interesting food options that I can explore. The people of Maharashtra are quite aggressive by nature. You won’t find the auto walas to be too friendly. Of course you would be at advantage if you can speak Marathi. For the Marathi bonding is quite strong amongst people out here and perhaps, rightly so. The traits of Chhatrapati Shivaji are prevalent here and he is no less than a God for people out here. The array of forts that he used to occupy is a must visit too. Most of them are a good trekking destination these days. And Pune is a trekkers’ heaven. Even a lazy bone like me could not resist going on a couple of them. Apart from the famous Lonavala and Khandala there are umpteen number of weekend getaways around this place.

Pune faces the same problem that the major cities in the other part of the country do – Infrastructure. It is aggravated by the fact that the Pune Municipal Corporation is, least to say, useless. The roads are so bad that the buffaloes and cows are finding it hard to walk in the middle of the road these days! A 3 KM stretch near my house, enroot to the airport, is being constructed for over 2 years now. That would give an indication of how serious they are about constructing the roads. I understand that the majority of funds that is allotted to the state go to Mumbai. But I am sure that the funds which do come in for the city is not utilized at all. And honestly, the opposition is bothered only about people celebrating Valentine’s Day in the state.

The pollution level in the city is exorbitantly high. I hate them for two reasons: One, they harm my lungs, eyes and the little hair that is left on my head. And two, it makes the girls in the city cover their faces! You would not find a single girl walking or riding on the streets unmasked. A real shame for beauty lovers :). From green eyed beauties to micro skirt clad babes, you can find them all here. The migration of huge number of people into the state adds to its variety. The educational hub that it has been and now an emerging IT hub, the place is buzzing with youth. But the culture of the city is not yet dissolved. The blend is perfect, at least for now.

All you can see around Pune these days is the high rise. With flats/malls being constructed in every kilometer of the city, the city sure is going to get more crowded. I sincerely hope that the PMC does some kind of justice to the potential that the place has to become a high end city, lest, it should become another Bangalore. The next 3-4 years would be crucial for the city’s growth prospects. The best time to visit the city is during Ganpati( Ganesh Chaturti). The festive season rocks. The only thing stopping me from settling down in Pune is the fact that I can’t watch Tamil & Mallu movies here!!! But then, those are the compromises you have to make in life. And if destiny were to have it, I would be speaking Marathi fluently.

Song for the Occassion: Pune Dhol

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dance with her ...

This post is dedicated to my darling … Nisha Ji !!

The sitar begins to play in the background as he unlocks her hair. They fall down gracefully over her pink gown. She looks gorgeous as ever.

Have seen this scene for over thousand times while watching HAHK. Was missing the magic on the screen until yesterday when I saw Aaja Nach Le. There she was again dancing into the hearts of millions of her fans.

I was quite skeptical of how she would be able to carry a whole movie on her shoulders, given that only heroes tend to do that in Indian movies. But the movie was not disappointing. Thanks to some well sort out screenplay writing by Jaideep Sahni. He has proved that Chak de was not a fluke. In fact I was comparing this with Chak De as I was watching the movie. The baseline is pretty similar. A person making a comeback proving everyone wrong and winning at the end in a thing he/she is passionate about.

But again, only Madhuri could have carried the movie through on her own. Even though everyone else played their part to perfection, they were hardly noticed. Except for probably Akhaye Khanna, who plays a cameo. Although the story is quite predictable it is the screenplay that holds the movie together. The scenes between Akshaye and Madhuri, the auditions and the ones featuring konkana and Kunal Kapoor all have a spice in them. And needless to say Ranvir and Vinay are the essential parts of any “different” movies that come these days. And they do their job to perfection.

Rediff quoted “Madhuri shines in a nice, boring movie”. The boring part comes at the end I guess, when they tried a ballet of sorts as a grand finale. But honestly, it is the best they could have done for a climax. Not sure how well people would receive it though. For one the music, atleast for the ballet, could have been better. You need good music to stir your emotions in a ballet. And this ballet surely lacked that. Watch out for Madhuri in a yellow and red dress dancing in the ballet. OH MY GOD!!!!

On a whole my money was definitely worth. Just to see madhuri on the screen, I can pay a fortune. I sincerely hope the hindi movie industry does make movies which can give substantial role for the queen. If they can make 10 movies keeping Big B in mind, they sure can make atleast 2 keeping madhuri in mind. And I hope all the nonsense about banning the movie does not hamper a good comeback. And I hope she keeps dancing all her life with the same charm.