Friday, August 31, 2012

The story of Shirin Farhad, Tivoli Theater and KFC

Been to see "Shirin Farhad ki tho nikal padi" yesterday at Tivoli Theatre.
Shirin Farhad is a love story between two people who are 40+. It is a heart-warming film and portrays the joy that being in love brings to two people irrespective of their age. The movie, simple in concept and an uncomplicated narration, has you smiling throughout as you relate to the joy of the couple in a new-found love. Its subtle comic moments too have you smiling.
The movie endorses the fact that there is no 'right' age for falling in love and that love brings happiness at whatever age it happens. Boman Irani is known for his acting abilities but it is Farah Khan who is a surprise element in the movie. She is such a natural in front of the camera that you wonder where she has been all these years. Her acting career should have begun 25 years back! The chemistry, evident between the pair adds to the credibility.
This movie comes as a refreshing story as the romance isn't mushy with fluttering eyelashes, balloons, chocolates et al. It is so wonderfully sane and practical. Even when Shirin wants to hug Farhad, we don't find the invitation of come-hither looks but a simple, "idhar aa, let's hug"  :)
Yes, like all love stories this movie too has the lead pair suffer a brief separation but they are,of course, back together.
The blessing while watching this film is that there are is no sleaze which makes you squirm. If you go to the film after watching those lingerie selling promos and expect more of the same, you'd be disappointed. Those scenes in the movie are just limited to the ones shown in the promos.
A simple heart-warming love story. A 3.5/5 for me.

About Tivoli theater: The pain of traveling over long distances on the congested roads of Hyderabad has me experimenting with single screen cinemas closer home these days.  The charm of multiplexes are worn off due to the distance and the time that it takes to reach the theaters. Increase in the movie ticket rates by 50% and the equally exorbitant parking tickets are also instrumental in people clustering to the single screens. I ventured to the Tivoli which is closer to my home than all other multiplexes and also showing the film at the most convenient time for me. I had been on Wednesday but I was told that they had run out of tickets. It seems the 2 pm matinee is shown in their smaller screen of 50 people capacity. I bought a ticket for the next day. Was slightly skeptic of going to this theater as I knew that this was one of the older theaters of Secunderabad. But to my surprise, the small theater with 7 seats per row not only had very decent seating but also good acoustics. The screen was proportionately small and I blessed the ticketing guy in my mind who had me have the privilege of getting the middle seat. Because of the small capacity, the tickets for this show run out fast. ( I came to know later that this was a new theater added to the older one and hence plush).
Now coming to the minuses, the washrooms have excellent infrastructure but pathetic maintenance. We women had to rush out with our noses closed.
The snack counter, almost beside the entrance to the washroom, is also a put off as the rates on display equal or surpass those at the multiplexes. 
Another pathetic act was that of the parking guys. If you happen to be new to the theater (as I was), you have to be there at least 15 minutes before the movie starts despite holding a valid ticket. Because that is the time required for you to search for the parking on your own. Only when you make the wrong moves and are struggling to get out, will someone tell you that you aren't supposed to park there. You are completely left to fend for yourself and if you go just five minutes before the show begins, you are sure to miss some of it. It's not as if they are there to help you but that you are at their mercy as you wait for them to come over to issue the parking ticket
An important update:  Went to see the 11.30 am show of Barfi,on another screen in the new theater, a 100+ seater, and for the three hours, there was NO AC. The hall was fully booked and being enclosed for three hours with no air-conditioning was greatly stifling. Half the pleasure of watching such a great movie was taken away. After about half hour into the movie, someone had the sense to open the exit doors opposite each other which brought some respite as there was some cross-ventilation. After 10+ years of living in Hyderabad, I dared to visit Tivoli and I have now sworn off the theater forever. Will rather wait and hope for a decent multiplex experience in the upcoming Sangeet. Until then, it is back to traveling all over the town for a pleasant watching experience. Tivoli, never again!

About KFC: Happened to go over to KFC close by at Karkhana after the movie. I used to visit this place when I worked at the office at Karkhana location and would drop by at end of the day. Though I have eaten at many KFC outlets since then, this remains my favorite as I recollect great taste of the burgers there. But I found that the quality has deteriorated. I try to avoid fast food centers usually, as all that I am piling on are lot of empty calories. After about 3 months, I visited one again and ordered for their Zinger meal. The guy who took the order (sameer) asked me whether it is single cheese or double cheese. Double cheese, eh? No way, I thought and said give me single. When I was given the bill I saw that I was charged separately for the cheese. I asked him and was told that the extra price was for the cheese that I ordered!!!!!!! This I find is the tactics of many a fast-food center. They add something to your meal and make it seem as though it were a part of the order and it is only later you realize that it is an addition. Though not unfamiliar with these tactics, I was surprised this time because earlier when I had ordered from the same place, I was never asked the question. I wasn't in the mood to argue. I think this is how they get away with this kind of charging as they reckon that there will be very few who are going to argue and will quietly accept.
The order itself was pathetic in taste. The cheese slice turned out to be an unwanted and unnecessary addition to the burger. The burger itself has shrunk in size. The fries didn't look as though freshly fried. There is nothing more tasteless than having cold french fries. And maybe due to the cheese, there was a mild burnt smell to the burger. Earlier the same order would stuff me to the gills but yesterday, I was left with the feeling that I could have some more. The succulent taste is missing and the burger felt quite dry to taste. As it is I don't frequent these fast food outlets and I have to be really desperate to go to one again.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sudigadu disappoints

Let me confess: I enjoy movies which elicit a hearty laugh and therefore I see (Allari) Naresh's movies. Seemingly brainless, we know how tough it is to conceive these ideas and execute it successfully.
One of such movies was the Hindi movie, "Khichidi" adapted from the TV series with the same name. It was a laugh riot and if you expect any sense out of it, you'd be greatly disappointed. Lovely movie, one that you can watch many times.
I haven't been watching Naresh's movies in a movie theater for a long time because his movies, despite being high on comedy quotient, seem to have become repetitive in content. I wait for them to be telecast on TV. Suidgadu had good reviews and that made me decide to go to the theater to watch it.
I was egged on by the fact that the movie was supposed to  be a spoof on the theatrics that the Telugu film heroes are famed for. It is exactly on this count that the movie disappoints.
None of our actors have the guts to take it on chin when being made fun of. They forget that imitation is the best form of flattery. There was also one open threat which said that if the director wasn't careful and made fun of their super star, the actor's fans would take care of him! How I wish the director had the gumption to take on more of the actors and made a better parody. There is so much potential in this theme!
The movie does have its high points though, but the laughter is provided more by the incidents which are not related to the actors. Like all other Naresh's movies, this one is also not a bore but doesn't really stand out.

ps: One must be an avid movie-goer to know which movie scene is being portrayed  or which actor is being impersonated or else there is not much  fun in watching  the movie.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From Pretty to Plastic

Image Courtesy: Google
Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle
                             A tale of the present-day women actors as they peak in their careers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage

'Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage?' debate two chirpy girls barely out of their teens on one of the entertainment channels.
This was a question which people used to ask in the more  conservative 80s. But even then, this was a question or rather a fear that the parents had; we young girls were all impatient to try our wings and were raring to fly. Many of those girls have done well in their lives today. When I say us girls, I refer to the mostly middle- class, small-town, close-knit, education-focused cosmopolitan crowd. We didn't know then what happened beyond the gates of the steel township. We didn't have girls discussing marriage. The question was always what next in life.

When the name of this serial was announced, I was taken people discuss 'Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage' these days? On the flip side: how does it matter how you choose to die? It's like asking someone, if suicide is better or being murdered? On a serious note though, do people care these days? For this generation in their 20s, they freely discuss everything with their parents and if they find a Mr /Ms Right, they let their parents know. If they don't find someone, they are equally comfortable about asking their parents to look for them.

The serial strengthens the idea in conservative Indian minds that a girl's existence centers around marriage. To add fuel to the fire, I heard an elderly lady advising someone, "get your daughter married before she falls in love with someone." That the girl is good at studying and had earned a Master's from abroad holds no importance.

Indra Nooyi, Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are just a few examples of India-born women who have done wonders with their careers. All three married at a time they chose to, to a person they chose to, have empowered themselves, live with dignity and turned out to be iconic leaders who knowingly and unknowingly inspire thousands of women to fulfill their dreams. Girls! Be firm and tell your parents, "Marriage can wait, education cannot.”  (Khaled Hosseini).
More than anything else, the Govt. of India must make it mandatory that no marriage takes place until the girl holds at least a +2 certificate, if not a degree. Unless the woman is educated and empowered, the nation CANNOT move forward. To quote Nehru, "If you educate a man you educate an individual, however, if you educate a woman you educate a whole family. Women empowered means Mother India empowered." 

In your teens, dear girls, fill your eyes with these dreams and hearts with these aspirations and not ask 'Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage?'

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

100 Degrees

Since I had the sizzler at Kobe, Chennai, I was looking for a similar outlet serving the sizzler at Hyderabad. Kobe has its presence in many cities but not Hyderabad :(
Having tasted it, I was insatiable till I had more of it :)
While searching for the sizzler at Hyderabad, I came across Yoko Sizzlers and 100 degrees. It seems Yoko, which has superlative reviews, also has its presence in many cities, but couldn't survive in Hyderabad for long. For Ohri's 100 degrees, the reviews varied from awesome at 4 star experience to awful at 1 star and a horrible service experience as well! These reviews kept me away for a while but the sizzler experience beckoned me strongly. I decided to go there the last month. It was easy to locate on the Necklace Road, right next to Moksh which has been there for a long time.
First, the ambiance--quite decent, with three dine-in options: the regular tables laid out inside the main dining area, a glassed-in private dining area and the open space with an awesome view of the lake. The ambiance does add to the experience. I went there around 1 pm and found the place entirely to myself. I focused only on the sizzler part of the menu.
The restaurant has a buffet too and the waiter was nudging me towards it but I had made up my mind to have the sizzler. Nevertheless, I did go out to check the buffet priced at Rs.399/-. There was half and half of vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections with a live chat counter and a pizza counter. For me, there wasn't anything that set the buffet apart from lots of other buffets. To boot, this one had only one veg starter and  one plain salad...two parts of a buffet which are very important to me.
I stuck to my original choice of a sizzler.
I found the waiter quite helpful as, when I was trying to choose a sizzler, he placed before me an additional print of menu which listed various offers on sizzlers. As I was not too familiar with a sizzler, I played it safe by opting to replicate my Kobe experience by choosing a similar order. He helped me further customize my sizzler by offering a choice of sauces and noodle/rice combination according to my taste.
My order was a new (unheard to me) starter called 'vegetable flutes' and a veg sizzler.
The vegetables flutes were a variant of spring rolls but without all the oil. They looked baked and were about 5 inches long, 1.5 cms thick, and stuffed with a mix of spinach and cheese. I had expected them to be succulent but there was just a hint of the stuffing which went in the right combination with the flour in which it was encompassed. It was served with a dip.There was also a choice of other sauces available at the table-side.
Before the sizzler was served, I was served a portion of bread, again accompanied with a dip.
My sizzler was served with a vegetable cutlet, accompanied with beans, peas, potato fries, carrots, and rice...all encompassed in sauces.
I liked the sizzler but having tasted the one at Kobe, this sizzler which I tried to match with the one eaten at Kobe, doesn't stand a comparison. The beans were all stringy, the fries weren't as crisp. I also came to know that the chef had earlier worked with Kobe and this was obvious as he had tried to replicate the taste. If I hadn't eaten at Kobe, I would have said that the taste was quite decent but now I can say that they could have taken better care of cooking the vegetables and rendering a sharper taste to the dish with the right mix of sauces.
The sizzler @ Rs. 225/- is ok but the starter @ Rs. 135 seemed a bit expensive. Yet I can safely call this a value for money experience due to the quantities served.
Yes, I think I'd visit again, maybe this time to have a taste of their Pizzas.

ps:  They have a service charge of 10% AND VAT of 14.5 % on service charge + watch out for this amount in the bill.