Thursday, January 14, 2010

Avatar - 'Pretty' 'Dumb' !

Ok people.. brace yourselves if you've been all gaga over Avatar.. and those of you who are already 'die-hard fans' might want to click on that little red cross button right away.

For all the hype-hoopla, all the build-up of expectations and all the talk of it being the "biggest movie ever", Avatar barely manages to be not-so-disappointing. As for the reviews which have been literally worshiping the movie, all I have to say is - if $300 million were spent on the making of the movie, another few millions on PR would have seemed like a good deal to the producers ;)

Coming down to brass tacks - Avatar is a pretty movie without a storyline of any kind. It makes you wonder if James Cameron just woke up after 14 years of creating eye-candy in 3D to realize that he totally forgot to script anything ! And then he opened up the newspapers, read something about Copenhagen in the headlines and decided to fit in all the 3D glitterati in an extremely preachy man-abuses-nature-and-nature-fights-back theme.

The result is before our eyes - an extremely slow and dragging first half of the movie where the director's sole aim seems to be to establish some sort of a flimsy premise for the ensuing war post-interval. The saving grace is that he manages to do the latter pretty well. The world of Pandora, though appearing to be lit up with Chinese lights sold during Diwali and Xmas, is breathtaking at times. The war sequences almost come alive, especially in 3D, what with the fleet of iron-men being squished to pulp by rhino-like gigantic creatures,and the herd of flying pterodactyl-like creatures making a grand entry at the call of Eywa (the Nature God, apparently the tree lit up with Chinese lights) !

I'll give credit where it's due.. Avatar deserves a 4/5 for the special effects. It deserves a 1/5 when it comes to the storyline though. The winner, in my overall experience, was the 3D screen at iMax, Mumbai. Undoubtedly, the best move watching experience you can get in India.

And finally a word about those sacrilegious comparisons between Avatar and Lord of The Rings trilogy. Don't ! Perish the thought ! Lord of the Rings was a movie that created on-screen magic not solely because of its visual splendor. Along with some of the most vivid visual recreations of Tolkien's Middle Earth, that movie had a storyline and a soul which is not easily achieved by all filmmakers..

Till next time..


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Need Web Help ? Ask Me ! (Mozilla Service Week Volunteer)

The World Wide Web, more commonly referred to as the Web, is more than a resource for most of us. It's an integral part of our daily routine, it's a way of living and often, its a second life too ;) Either through PCs at home, office or cyber cafes, we all access the Web and sometimes contribute to the Web too. It's time we realized that the Web is not a third-party or a bunch of mammoth corporations out there whose services we avail when needed. In the Web 2.0 era, WE form the Web - we express our views, we create content, we share, we discuss and we collaborate on the Web !

In order to ensure maximum productivity in the time we spend with the Web, we need to ensure a few things - pretty much the way we need to keep servicing our vehicles to ensure maximum mileage! On the occasion of Mozilla Service Week (Sept 14 - 21, 2009), I make my humble attempt to volunteer my guidance for PC owners in:
  1. Maintaining a healthy Web access environment on their PC
  2. Solving any Web related queries

Please feel free to access the form below to send in your queries to me. If you have any specific query pertaining to your internet browser, your web-based applications, messengers etc, you may provide details in the appropriate fields. If you are only interested in getting a basic Health Checkup done, simply fill up the mandatory fields and submit the form. Ensure that you provide your current active e-mail address where I can reach you with resolution of your queries or with feedback on your PC maintenance. I shall make all attempts to respond to queries within 24 hours.

Those of you who would like to get in touch with me over phone, or bring your laptops to me in person (I stay in Andheri East, Mumbai, India) for either of the above 2 issues, are also most welcome. Simple drop me an email at after you've submitted the form.

Click here to open the Web Help and Health Checkup Form.

Finally, requesting everyone to support and spread the spirit of Mozilla Service Week !

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Firefox 3.5 - The Web Has Been Upgraded !

Yes.. it's true. We're not talking about a browser upgrade or a new release here. We're talking of an upgraded web experience! Ladies and gentlemen, pros and amateurs, believers and disbelievers.. behold the new age browser in it's Fastest avatar ever - Firefox 3.5 ! Come Tuesday, 30th June 2009 and the world wide web will be a better place with the launch of Firefox 3.5 !

It's good enough that Firefox is undoubtedly the best and one of the fastest browsers around. What makes it even more exciting is that it keeps surpassing itself with every new release. Firefox 3.5, originally versioned 3.1, was later re-christened to Firefox 3.5 to signify the leapfrog improvements featured in the revamped version.

The list of features that Firefox 3.5 brings to the table is endless and needs to be experienced rather than be told. With newly introduced Private browsing mode, Location Aware Browsing, ability to re-open closed windows and tabs with a single click, Lightning fast browsing and a lighter-than-ever memory footprint, Firefox 3.5 is the ONLY smart way to surf the web. Visit the official homepage and watch the video to know more : For the curious and the impatient, the "release candidate" of Firefox 3.5 is available for download at the above webpage.

For those of you who worry about the Firefox memory footprint need to take a look at this link : Against popular myth, Google's Chrome may be as fast as Firefox but at the same time is also 3 times heavier on your RAM! Firefox 3.5 has the smallest memory footprint among all the web browsers tested. So if you love your RAM, Firefox 3.5 gives you a good reason to switch.

Going by past trends, experts predict that the the might of Firefox 3.5 might be sufficient to accelerate the decline of IE as the once-reigning web browser. Read here for more:

Get smart ! Switch over to Firefox today !

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kate Winslet dazzles in Revolutionary Road !

I've been trying to catch as many of the Oscar nominated movies this year as possible and so far most have been a disappointment - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Milk are just worth one watch each, Slumdog Millionaire is good but you won't find me raving about it. Valkyrie, not Oscar nominated but much hyped nevertheless, was a complete disappointment. But just when one begins to lose faith in the movie churning factory called Hollywood, there's a gem that's rolled out and it manages to reinstate one's faith in the art of film-making. Welcome to Revolutionary Road. The movie, aptly named after the street on which the protagonists, Mr and Mrs. Wheeler (Di Caprio and Kate Winslet) reside, is a class apart.

Tumultuous marital reations have been the subject of many movies but very few are crafted to such excellence and topped with truly incandescent performances by the lead pair. Cutting the long story short - watch this movie to witness the sheer adroitness with which Kate Winslet carries off the character of April Wheeler. She dazzles at the right moments, and does not simply emote, but radiates emotions all over the canvas. As the aspiring wife who wants to break free from the monotonous and illusioned life she's leading with her husband, Kate Winslet takes you through a roller coaster ride of hope, disappointment, unrealistic expectations and shattered dreams. She leaves you spellbound with her performance, arguably one of the best seen on screen this year. I have reasons to believe that the only performance that could challenge this one would be her own in The Reader, which I haven't seen yet. Reviews have been raving about Kate Winslet being one of the finest actresses of her generation, and now I see a good reason why !

Leonardo DiCaprio does a swell job of playing the distressed man who's directionless about his future. He has come a long way since Titanic and complements Winslet's show-stealing act perfectly.

The movie doesn't have a story that'll bind you but makes up for it by performances and direction that'll leave you mesmerized. A must-watch this season !


Friday, March 6, 2009

Premchand - The Forgotten Master of Hindi Literature !

The Jeffrey Archers, Sidney Sheldons and Dan Browns of the world might have successfully driven the lesser known masters of the Indian prose into oblivion, but a peek into some of those literary masterieces is enough to make us realise what we are missing!

I've recently completed reading Munshi Premchand's exemplary creation - Gaban (embezzlement). For those who haven't had the privilege of being acquainted with the works of the Master of Hindi / Urdu prose, this novel is but a peek into his sheer brilliance. The story revolves around Ramanath and his wife Jaalpa. Rama is the archetypical Indian husband who is too proud to admit his weaknesses to his wife. Jaalpa is the innocent but demanding wife whose biggest incentive to marry was to be loaded with exotic jewellery by her husband. The story unfolds into a saga of rising expectations and blundering lies, leading Rama to embezzle government money and then escape for the fear of being caught. Premchand's proficiency as a writer is exhibited as he traces the growth of each of the characters, their ambitions, motivations and priorities in life. Never has another author done such justice in identifying and illustrating the psyche of the rural Indian society and its members.

But do not be tricked into believing that Premchand's stories are "outdated" and "irrelevant". Even after almost 70 years of the passing of the genius, his stories and novels remain timeless and relevant. His understanding of human behaviour and the foundations of Indian society, as depicted in his short stories and novels, are assets which we must make use of and preserve.

It's nothing less than disturbing to see that the richness, depth and the wide latitude of emotions captured by Premchand has been replaced by superfluous and commercially-oriented Hindi literature available on stands today. Step into a Landmark or a Crossword and amongst the vast rows of well arranged and indexed Paul Coelho and Arvind Adiga novels, you'll find an isolated rack of regional literature. It won't be indexed and the books will be piled up unceremoniously on each other. Last when I saw, some great masterpieces by Saratchandra were buried under a pile of "Surakshit Sex Kaise Karein" !!

We preserve national treasures and monuments (or at least we try..) - this isn't different! How we do it, is a question that's for us to answer...
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