Friday, February 28, 2014

Shaadi ke side effects: a review

Vidya Balan and Farhan Akthar's names are enough to draw the audience to the theaters. The promos, anyways, are attractive. But this movie, like all sequels, fails to be as engaging as the original. Brilliant acting doesn't hold up due to lack of a strong script.
If you put these negatives aside, the movie is thoroughly entertaining, especially in the first half. It has an excellent build-up, pacy narration, a vibrant, energetic and heart-throbbing beginning. As a sequel to Pyar Ke Side Effects, Trisha (Vidya Balan) and Siddharth (Farhan Akhtar), a married couple, demonstrate in the beginning of the movie how the spark of romance in one's married life can be kept alive.
Everything goes well till an unplanned child happens. How priorities change, how one feels stifled with added responsibilities and grapples with these form the crux of the movie. The story, narrated more from the male perspective, speaks of how Siddharth who in trying to adjust to parenthood, finds an escape in his own way, eventually (and predictably) ends up  returning to his family.The great acting of Farhan and Vidya and the wonderfully conversational dialogs written for them make the two characters so identifiable!
What started as a super exciting ride, a build up, the beautiful chemistry between the lead pair, kind of fizzles out in the second half, where it adapts a slightly preachy tone...not enough to bore you but somehow the energy of the first half is greatly toned down. Also the way the movie ends, we are left confused as to what was the message in the movie? Who is right and who is wrong? Is it okay to break trust in a relationship?

The pluses: Great chemistry between the lead pair, great energy, a good & vibrant story, optimal use of the cast, great acting,  no unnecessary songs to distract you.
Ignore the tepid ending and it is worth a watch. You will not be let down nor bored. But that's about it.
My rating: 3.5/5
Go watch!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sigree at Begumpet

Sigree, though almost next door, was never visited since it started three years back. But then repeat recommendations made me curios and I visited them yesterday. It being a Valentine's day, the prices were jacked up a bit. The weekend fare of 450/- was charged for veg buffet and slightly higher for the non-veg one.
We made a reservation, just in case, and went there around 12.30 pm and found ourselves the first ones to visit. From the word 'go' I found superb service. Seated promptly and glasses filled, we were asked for a choice of mocktail/cocktail. We were served strawberry and peach mocktail each and found it quite decent in taste.

Strawberry drink
We started with tomato shorba which was served warm but then our request to heat it up was promptly attended to. Nicely balanced in taste. The starters were served on the table. We started with Veg Sheekh Kabab, followed by Dilli Tikki, Pepper Paneer, Tandoori Gobi and Pani Puri. There were more in the non-veg section. Veg sheekh kabab was good but could have been softer. Same applies to Dilli Tikki. It was served with curd and theekha chutney smeared on top.Paneer was outstanding as it was a melt-in-the mouth experience. Very succulent. The Gobi served was very bland. Looked like it was just pushed into the tandoor and served without bothering with the marination or spices. It was well-cooked but then no taste at all. The pani puris were ok. All the three dips, raw papaya chutney, pickle and mint chutney were great. Loved the sweet-sour raw papaya chutney the most!

The starters
When we expressed our disappointment with the Gobi, we were offered a marinated version of the same. The marinated Gobi was tawa-fried and was simply awesome!
I being a salad & starter person went looking to fill my plate with salads but found nothing but sprouts and some sliced vegetables. Utterly disappointed, I returned to my place, called the captain and gave him feedback about the lack of a salad section. To my utter surprise, he whipped up two salads just for us. Being a strictly Indian restaurant, they don't serve dishes with mayonnaise. Hence prepared them in a cream base. Both the salads were yummylicious!
In the main course, were Bhindi-do-Pyaza, Dal makhani, Palak paneer and a Ajwaini vegetable. The nan stands out with its amazing softness. The veg biryani and the curries were ok though not outstandingly tasty. But then I didn't care anymore as I got what I went for.

There was a huge array of  desserts, all of which were delicious.There was kheer made of very thick milk, not too sweetened, two ice creams (didn't touch them), shahi tukda, malpua, caramel custard, bread sandwiched with cream and butter (forget the name of the dessert-this was the only disappointing item in the dessert section as it was a tad hard)
The cutlery was a little heavy and kept slipping from fingers. Threw them away to eat with hand. The seating was a little uncomfortable as the sunk-in cushion made it difficult to get up every time. The ambiance was decent and the place well-lit. Excellently maintained washrooms.
What will make me go back to the restaurant? The service, for sure. The prompt attention and care. The tiniest trace of discontent attended to and rectified promptly.
I think it is sometimes the fault of the customer when she doesn't raise her voice and asks for her dish to be re-done. It is otherwise tough to cater to palates which have tastes so varied.
I left the restaurant with a satisfied smile on my face and wowed to return to the place which cares for its clientele so well. Thanks vastly to Mr. Chandra.

My Rating:
Food: 4/5
Ambiance: 3.5/5
Service: 5/5
VFM: 3.5/5  ( at 450/- for a vegetarian buffet, felt it was slightly expensive)