Wednesday, December 3, 2008

26/11: My Take on The Mumbai Attacks

I really wanted to write a post on the Mumbai Attacks much earlier, but due to my exams, I couldn't. Well today marks one week after the attacks started off in the financial capital of India and much has been said about the incidents, a lot of introspection done by everyone who could have helped curb the tragedy, the plot uncovered and what not. So, I don't want to go into the details of the exact incidents but wish to speak my mind as to what I think of the whole situation.

Slap on the Face for The Indian Intelligence

As soon as the terrorists held two of the biggest hotels of the nation captive, the first thing that probably went though everyone's mind was- How could a strike of such large magnitude have been missed by the Indian Intelligence? Just how could a dozen terrorists swim across oceans and rivers in steamboats and hold a whole city under siege?

Well, actually, it turns out that Indian Intelligence did not miss any of the information. That is what is even more astounding! India had almost every last detail of how the attack was going to be held and there were even warnings on the day before the attacks took place. But the bureaucrats of this nation love sleeping, and sleep they did! My say is that these irresponsible officials should be sent packing this very moment! We need to look after the security of a billion, for Heaven's Sake and if these are people who are assigned this task, we might as well take a knife and stab ourselves. But not all is the Intelligence's fault. Yes, they did not act timely and appropriately to the threat, but when they did forward their concerns, there was zero co-operation from the Maharashtra State Government! What sort of leaders are they! The Navy Chief in a press-conference yesterday said that the information received from the IB was not something they could act upon and that they should have sent better information! Crap! How's that for partnership!

We Need Answers!

As citizens of India, I guess we all have the basic right to safety. If such a major incident could happen under the noses of the Ruling Party (don't want to get into politics here), then what hope is left with the common Indian? And we might have given ourselves false hopes had this been a first attack of its kind. But no!! 6 major cities attacked in 6 months! Jaipur, Delhi, Assam, Kashmir, Mumbai... the list never ends! Its scary to think of the depths of the oceans we're swimming in. What we first need is a Government which can answer to the public. We don't want diplomats repeating in nasal voices the same old lines about "bringing the guilty to justice" and "condemning the dastardly acts on innocent lives"! When I heard that the Prime Minister was going to address the public on national TV during the attacks, I really did not have many hopes from him. But the monotonous nature of his speech let me down, nonetheless.
What good is a Home Minister who does parrot-talk every time innocent people are massacred in the nation. The sense of deja-vu never ends with these rusted 'leaders'.

Take Out Those Camps Across The Border

Now this is one part that I'm sure every Indian has a voice on. More than a 1000 people killed this year in terrorist activities in India and we still find it a doubt whether or not to remove those militant camps in PoK. Our neighbours want a never ending list of 'evidence of their involvement'. Kargil '99, Red Fort and Parliament '01, Delhi '05, Mumbai '06 and now in '08. We have shown the world everything there possibly can be to prove that its 'Pakistan' that reflects in everything related to terrorism in India. The ISI funds, the 'banned' organizations like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar and others train and the Pak Govt supports!
Any self-respecting nation's leaders wouldn't have had second thoughts of taking over ever single piece of weed that flourishes under such animals after so many provocations! But here we are in India, still taking permissions from the super-powers and try to convince Pak that it was they who killed, when they know that fact best! Who the heck is anyone else to tell us what to do in such situations!!?? We take out any and every threat to the peace of this nation and I don't think we are answerable to ANYONE in the world!
But let me make it clear! We do not want a war against Pakistan, we want a war against the terrorism of Pakistan! And May The Lord Be With Us In This Fight!

Wake Up From Thy Slumber, India!

We obviously cannot forget what has happened, but we sure can learn from it and make sure this doesn't repeat itself. And this time the reaction from the masses is different. The youth are taking up the cause to the streets in candlelight protests across the nation and Indians worldwide are feeling an anger and frustration they haven't felt in recent times. The Media has played a responsible role so far, too! Usually, terrorist attacks make 2-day news in India. But The Mumbai Attacks are still fresh in the minds and hearts of everyone. The internet is buzzing with voices! Major changes are being made in the political arena, sending us rays of hopes that times are changing for the better. Though it is sad that it takes 350 lives and 700 casualties for our nation's eyes to open, it is better late than never.
The Security Forces, on whom only a fraction of the required amount is invested for training, need to be bettered. The nation owes an eternal debt to all those ATS, NSG and Police Officials who laid down their lives for the nation.
One also feels disgust towards figures like Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, who conveniently invited son Ritesh and director Ram Gopal Verma to tour the Taj, as if some party would be organized there. Also, Mr RR Patil, who had the guts to say that 'such small incidents keep occuring in big cities'. The Kerala CM, Mr VS Achutanandan, had the mettle to say that had it not been Maj Sandeep's house, not even a dog would have turned up at the residence of the slain hero's parents. Meanwhile, Raj Thackrey kept up his good work by promptly asking his wife to send an SMS to all her friends stating that all the victims and rescuers were Marathi. Talk about Patriotism!
Keeping the negatives aside for a moment, this one attack has united Indians more than ever, I feel! This is the momentum we need to carry for this fight against terror go ahead. Many have set the ball rolling and it is now upto us, in whatever small way, to never let this flame die off!
Proud To Be An Indian.
May All Those Who Died Rest In Peace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Review: Quantum of Solace

Name: Quantum of Solace
Directed by: Marc Forster
Produced by: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Starring: Daniel Craig , Olga Kurylenko , Judi Dench and Giancarlo Giannini
Release Date: 31st October, 2008 (UK);14th November, 2008 (USA); 7th November, 2008 (India)

Ok, so here goes. The 22nd Bond Movie of the James Bond Franchisee released in India a week before the USA release. At first look, it might sound really striking and even I wondered how this could be possible. The reason is simple. The film was slated for a November 7 Worldwide Release. But in August, it was announced that Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (considered a rival release for QoS), which was set for a November 21 Worldwide Release, was postponed to a July 17, 2009 release. Thus, QoS releases were spread over over 2 weeks. The British date was made a week earlier, on 31st October and the US Release was delayed by a week on 14th November. This allowed the distributors to market the film over the Fall blockbuster Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In countries where film revenues would not be affected much due to lower audiences (i.e. India), the release was unaffected.

Back to movie now! This movie is a full-on action packed flick. But that's where it loses its track, too much emphasis on the roofop chases and car crashes than the actual Bond Matter itself. Daniel Craig makes a marvellous performance as James Bond and the overall acting is good.

In the previous movie, Casino Royale (2006), the central theme was terrorism. This one focuses on environmentalism. The movie starts off from where it left in Casino Royale and depicts James Bonds' new avatar as an emotionless killer who is hell-bent on avenging his lover, Vesper Lynd's death. Bond also has to stop the merciless Dominic Greene's plans to take over the water resources of Bolivia. Bond literally transforms into a killing-machine, oft against the wishes of MI6 itself.

There are a lot of changes from the previous Bond movies as well. Olga Kurylenko, the Bond Girl, has too-little screen time in the movie, though her appearances are not wasted. The martini's neither shaken nor stirred and the most amazing absence is of the ever-green dialogue: The Name's Bond, James Bond. Also, the issue of overtaking Bolivia's Water Resources is not given its due importance.

But overall, though different from its predecessors, the movie is a good one. One can watch it for the high-adrenaline stunts or the great acting. Its just the script that dissapoints.

My Rating: 7/10. Certified Good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Diwali!!

Here's wishing every reader of this blog a very happy Diwali!! Have a blast today! Burst a lot of crackers, but play safe with them. May you have a great year ahead!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Review: Google Chrome Web Browser

The big launch!! Google's very own web browser to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox! Released yesterday, I downloaded my copy this morning and have just one word for the Beta Version- Wow!
You'll love it from the moment it starts. For beginners, it copies all your major settings from Mozilla Firefox / Internet Explorer, like your bookmarks, your password settings among others, so you don't need to waste an hour or so configuring it to your needs. At first look, it looks a bit blank and simple, just like the Google Website. But don't get fooled by the looks. The speed is 3X compared to what Firefox gave me and 5X to IE! Once you start using it often, it shows the web pages most often visited by you on the right side as soon as you open Chrome! The bookmarks are there as well, making navigation difficulties a thing of the past!

Adding and editing bookmarks is similar to the function in Firefox. Its the best Browser for Gmail (and other Google services) users! No crashes in Gmail! The Gmail and Orkut pages would hang or at least slow down my old computer ever so often, but Chrome's got no such issues! And there always is a guarantee that this is a product from one of the best software industries in the world.
This one is going to be a giant killer in the web browsing market! Google took 1 year of research work to finally come up with this BETA Release. Microsoft and Mozilla beware! This thing is going to be the next big thing! Already creating ripples in the virtual world, Chrome was a silent release (unlike the hyped Firefox 3.0 release, which I didn't find much different from Firefox 2.0), but I guess its not got even one rotten review so far! Go for it, you wont regret it! That Firefox update can wait guys!

Download Google Chrome:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Got the Sony Bravia LCD TV!

This was due for a long time and finally, last week, we got it! The 32" Sony Bravia LCD TV! The model name is KLV-32S400A from the Bravia 'S' Series. The sleek look and the features made me fall for it and i knew at that very instant, if we were to buy one, it would be this one!

The features now. It boasts of the HD Tech and the Bravia Engine 2, which incorporates full digital signal processing technology in all high-quality image processes, maximizing the features of display devices and producing life-like images. The fully digital video-processing circuit can reproduce optimal, high-resolution images from SD signals and HD signals. The Dynamic Contrast Ratio is 15000:1 and the panel contrast is 1800:1. The display resolution is a healthy 1366 x 768. Among other Audio capabilities, its got good surround sound tech and looks good on a wall-hanging!

Love this thing and the first major experience is watching footballing action on it! What a difference from the previous 20" TV!! Feels like those giant screen telecasts compared to them..! Whoa! A very good buy indeed!

In short, The Bravia Series sure lives up to the expectations..!! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review: Wanted

Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman,Angelina Jolie.
Release Date: 27 June, 2008 (USA)

This movie could either make you gasp loudly in admiration every 2 minutes or it'll give you a new headache every 2 minutes. Me? I had the head-aches more often.
This movie has been dubbed 'The best action movie this summer', and i guess they should just remove the 'best' out of it. For the whole movie has just one-thing in it, slow-motion action scenes featuring bullets ripping brains and hearts to shreds. And the slow-motions makes you feel the movie would have been half in length had it not been for them.

The plot is based on Wesley (James McEnvoy) who plays the protagonist. A man, who enters Bullet-Motion Mode (straight out of Max Payne, i guess) each time he's in trouble or needs time to adjust to his target. He's taken into 'The Fraternity', who assasinate world leaders and corrupt people to 'maintain the balance of power in the world'. Wesley's partner in action is The Fox (Jolie) and they bodyguard their leader, Prof Seltzer (Morgan Freeman).

The movie shows violence in excess, but the plot is interesting. The only thing that failed (and failed miserable at it), is the presentation. The first half-an-hour makes you feel the movie is trying to prove Einstein's Theory of Relativity of Time. But the casting is good, which saves the movie from being disgraced. We all know about Angelina Jolie, though you may have not seen James McEnvoy many times. This guy from the award-winning movie 'The Last King of Scotland' does as good as he could and Morgan Freeman, as always, creates his elegant charm on the screen, speaking few but wise words.

But then again, this movie might blow your mind too, if action is your idea of a perfect movie. But i just didn't like the repeated bullets whizzing around, the blood splattering in slow-motion the same way a thousand times and the wastage of a potentially good movie.

I would give it 6/10.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Review of Batman: The Dark Knight

A movie I had been waiting for sooo eagerly!! For 2 weeks, I counted down to the 18th of July i.e. the date of realease. And what I saw today justified the wait!!

Over-anxious for this movie, I watched the first Batman movie, Batman Begins twice in a week. The build up for the movie was huge, obviouly Warner Bros had done their bit in Marketing the movie!

Now, it's been a trend of late to promote all the super-hero/fantasy movies as 'a darker and deadlier version'. That was how Spidy 3 was, all the Harry Potters are and well, yes, that's how Batman was being promoted! But comparing Batman:The Dark Knight to the other movies is laughable. This heart stopping action-thriller keeps you stuck to the screen the moment Joker enters and continues till the very end.

And yeah, I almost forgot! The Joker! He was the reason probably why my adrenaline was pumping at the thought of the movie, even before it released! The ghastly yet somewhat elegant looking 'freak' was probably the highlight of the whole movie! And what a great performance by the late Heath Ledger! His last completed role is surely one for the Oscars! His slightly tilted head, that wide, wide smile with the scars and that gory lipsmacking make him stand out as the performance of the whole movie!

Well, enough said about the movie's pre-release build up. Let's talk about the movie in general. The movie begins with the entry of The Joker, living up to the brutal image created of him in the Comic Book Series of Batman. As the movie moves on, The Joker exerts himself as the Classiest Criminal in the whole of Gotham, who does what he does, not for money, but 'to watch the world burn'. Batman aka Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), finds himself in two-minds as to his role as the hero beneath a mask and starts believing that Gotham needs a hero with a face, which it finds in the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Katie Holmes is replaced in this movie by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who according to me, fails to conjure the charisma of Rachel Dawes.

With perfect portrayals of The Batman, The Joker, Harvey 'Two-Face' Dent and Jim Gordon, this is one of the best movies of the year. With more adrenaline, meaner Bat Toys, deeper emotions and a clinical script, hats off to Christopher Nolan! A must must watch for all Batman fans and non-fans alike! A guarantee, you'll love the movie every bit!

I would give it 9/10.
Consider the next best movie this year rated somewhere between 7 and 8.5. So now you know how big 9 is on my rating meter!