“Hugo’’ is based on Brian Selznick’s 2007 young-adult novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,’’ 
and is converted in this beautifully fluid movie 'Hugo'
A nice movie, deftly made for those who love the art of movies and feels their importance. And for those who feels for young minds and hearts and cares for their imaginations and feelings... want them to see dreams, nurture  and follow them.

Hugo Cabret is a young motherless boy, living a happily guarded life with his clock maker father, who also works in a Museum .When his father (Jude Law) died in a fire accident in the museum , he had to live with Uncle Claude in railway station compartments ,where, he keep on living secretly even after the death of Claude. though the station is a hub of all the life activities, nobody ever noticed incongruity !

All he has now
is memories, love for tinkering with machines ,a notebook of his father's sketches and notes, and an ingeniously crafted but incomplete  automaton with a mysterious heart shaped lock ....Then he met cantankerous Papa George who has a secret past life and a friend in form of Isabelle; papa George's  adopted daughter  ,who has  a carving for books and adventure and who incidentally loves Dickens!

 In these conditions, fascination, dreams and passion for one's craft adds the emotional drama and the  blue ,sparkling eyes  of the boy and the innocent, infectious grin of  Isabelle pours soul. The station master, the florist and the book keeper sailed through their assigned roles with ease and elan` conveying many feelings  in few scenes.

There's one scene without mentioning the review is incomplete , where the first movie's ever scenes were shown.. the train pulling into a station and the audience reacting in terror thinking it will run them over!! It was marvellous. (though with technology but REAL then any other thing I have seen in 3D so far. )

Though a kid movie and perhaps, a little loaded for them....but good nevertheless.


Bringing Down the House : Review

'Bringing down the house' stars my two favs Steve martin and Queen Latifah :) so expectations were high ...only to be crashed again.

 A story idea with potential which turned out half baked as too many ingredients like the  Victorian attitude, the nanny-thing,blind -date-backfire, kids-need-attention, still in much love ex-couple ingredient....and many more.Different natures of these ingredients prevented the dish to bake fully. Alas! an amazing star cast but a moderate product. 

The most it will do is just bring down your expectations .
Still U can give it a try :)
Mostly for the sake of the lead pair which certainly shows sparks in this otherwise lack lustre film


Movies Wise Wisdom !

Knowledge is what is scripted in papers and  bound in books. It can be given, fed, crammed and caned into, forced upon us and is applied by us when conditions demand.
Wisdom is what is sprinkled here and there, everywhere, waiting patiently to be picked up. From most improbable quarters it can dawn on us, like a sudden flash of lightening.
And we use it if we are wise enough to, without  realising it because, once gained it never leaves and becomes a way of life ...something essential yet mundane, like breathing.

I, for one (and like most)  got the least from lectures, teachers and classes and the most from movies, book , kiddie cartoons, hostel-life, people and life in general!

The other day while scrubbing the kitchen floor I thought about compiling all the wise ideas which I get from various quarters other than the obvious - parents, friends and  text- books.
 Leaving the rest for some other post, here are some movies which I feel wise enough.

The wisdom which I got is necessarily not the one which the director-writers of these works were trying to impart ... and that makes the experience a wise one as unpredictability added to the charm!

1) From 'The Nannies Diaries'

I understood what  Rousseau's meant by  Negative Education.
It's only by living and experiencing the life we don't want, we'll be able to decide what we really want  which is worth enough to die for. The last scene of the  movie where Scarlett's character decides to go to Anthropology says these ILLUMINATING words - 

"There's a popular belief amongst anthropologists that you must immerse yourself in an unfamiliar world in order to truly understand your own.."

 So true..
And not to mention, how miserable I was to find this truth so late in life!

2.) From 'Harriet- the spy'

I am  glad it came before the end of my teens.  I remembered these lines rest of my life and these  helped me immensely in my University days not only for staying the same BUT in also accepting the cost of being what I was...and believe me it was pricey :/ 

In the movie, The Nanny said these wise lines to our protagonist Harriet, making me re-consider about nannies. The Nanny Intelligence, in general, seemed coming from a much higher plateau!

You're an individual, That makes people nervous. And it's going to keep making people nervous your whole life ....You stay true to Harriet and you accept the cost"

3.) From 'Finding Nemo'

Well, that it's courageous to keep hanging on but even more in letting go! 
and that NO plants grow under big Trees .

Very-very Good ! A  gentle reminder to me  as I watched this one, as a mother of two.

My maternal grandfather had this superb quality of 'letting go' He 'Let' those  go who were precious to him, even more than life itself . But then, he, understood life and its ways far better  than me !
I  knew it, agreed to it but to practice it is different .Nemo helped me in MY 'letting go' s for the sake of kids ....

4.) From 'Hum Dono'

 Unconditional Love.
That asking one's lover to poverty  and misery in the name of love is not love.  
There is a scene between the boyishly charming and effervescent  Dev Anand and heroine Sadhna's father regarding Love. due to the layered dialogue  it went so well with me. It was a reality check as it truly defined selfless, unconditional love. I liked it for its underplaying  harshness but then, truthfulness can never be harsh just like right is always the beautiful!

 5.) From 'Never Been Kissed'

 With this, I realised how much I love to attend classes, write reports, submit projects and being with friends and reading literature! when Drew's character got admission in High-School , it was me who was thrilled and when she dressed up as Shakespeare's Rosalind, it was me who was ecstatic! Even fell in love with  her teacher!

That undercover act,to be able to see the world of a 17 year old by the eyes of a 25 year old and the prom-night scene where she spills the beans about her identity and the importance of being young,of being in high- school  and being yourself  got me. 
Specially, the eloquent speech about ways and feelings of high- school 
"And there's still that one guy,  the one who is so perfect in every way, from  ......  to the way he, in his own way, struggles to uphold tradition.
 High school would  not be the same without him. I would not have been the same without  him."

wisdom I got...I married THAT guy! :)

6.) From 'Sugar and Spice'

that its all about money, honey! If u have pounds no one can cut u around!
especially after marrying the aforementioned guy! and to plan a family... however I  used that   lingering wisdom in getting a good job rather than robbing a bank.

That's why knowledge comes and may go if it choose to.
 but wisdom, well it  lingers...

A Cinderella Story : Review

A story of Cinderella with cell phones and Mercedes for tinkle bells and Pumpkin chariots and the scrubbing of floors of  daddy's diner for the cindered grate!

 The movie is as uninspired as its Cinderella is ...just the way she was ages before- helpless, pitiable and sweet,simply waiting to be saved! 

And this time  she is saved/liberated by the no-nonsense Fairy Godmother Rhonda  who invokes the magical qualities of self-respect and mental independence in her. Great job done by Regina King as Rhonda .

The wicked step mom Jennifer Coolidge and the dumb n jealous sisters are well played , same is true for characters of Carter and Shelby, but lack of layers in characters puts a damp on almost everything.They ended up looking like caricatures of themselves.
It is plain and uni layered and can be  be told in six lines flat.
The only saving grace is the Prince charming who IS charming,looks genuinely confused and disinterested amidst the flashy riches. 

His is the only part written while keeping human goodness and weaknesses in  mind and is portrayed by Chad  M. Murray  as perfectly with all the nuances of hesitation, loneliness and search for true love  as the script permitted him to do.
Overall watchable.
(At least For Mr. Murray )

I liked him in Freaky Friday as well.But then Freaky Friday was SOMETHING !
Its a  PERFECT movie in animation category -'The Incredibles'

Its been in my list of PERFECT TOP 10

What can I write....its fantastic, slick, cool, fabulous, awesome, irresistible ..... simply INCREDIBLE!

The idea, the story the dialogues ,costumes.... er, sketches, animation ... real, witty, intelligent and though a superhero movie its completely believable.
... The short story at the start of the movie is sweet and meaning kids love it very much.
And then the Incredible household grabs our full attention...reference to all other superheroes is intelligent and MY fav. character -- well ALL of them :) even the twisted and wicked   Syndrome and the abominable   Boss of Bob - Gilbert Huph !

 And with a VERY special mention to EDNA MODE whose voice acting was done by the writer BRAD BIRD himself (yes! a guy) and isn't that INCREDIBLE!

 All the stunts ,the gadgets are slick and super cool. Nothing new but to present them in such a spontaneous and believable way as if the super heroes and the 'ism' is a routine thing is  masterful.
My verdict- Shun everything grab a DVD of it. Well, well,well ..
 U must have done that ages before :)


Like most classic buffs I LOVE to watch period dramas and movie adaptations of literary works. And Jane Austen being one of the Favourites; its natural only that I'll watch adaptations of her works.

I thoroughly enjoyed 'Sense and sensibility' , 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Emma and 'Mansfield Park'' However What I'm posting here is about 'Becoming Jane' - a slice from of Austen's own life. Played so convincingly by another favourite Anne Hathaway , it is like a melody sometimes smiling sometimes melancholy but always flowing sweetly, never out of tune.

Though the movie  ,when released was received with equal numbers of bouquets  as well as brickbats ...from Austen lovers for its historical inaccuracies but, for me a true slice of life is MUCH more about catching the right flavour and air ..what we call as 'BHAAV PAKSH' in Hindi. And it's perfectly able to depict that. The emotional tug, social conditions, mind set, language and the picturesque beauty of locales in the way as Austen herself would have done.. true , simple and not over the top.

 James Mc Avoy was too good in the department of facial expression but it was Anne Hathaway who steals the show as simple, homely, sensitive, observant ,intelligent and highly sensible Jane.. almost like Ms. Bennet or Elinor . Yes, certain sequences are like straight from the pages of 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Sense and Sensibility' but then, it was her experiences of life which made her able to write what she wrote and in the way she did that!

For me - Nothing less then .. Perfect !!
Watched and liked YJHD. full on masti .

 Contrary to most reviews I found R.K.  as Bunny ,NOT selfish but a little self centred and then there is  lively and a not-so-confident paddhu Naina ,a very vella and dependent good guy Aditya roy kapur AND my fav character Aditi played by KALKI.
 Though bunny is shown as a self centred guy, I liked him for his Honesty and will power. A down to earth , smart and desi values wali naina only can mellow him down for responsibility and to adapt acc. to life's plan rather then always adapting life acc to your own plans . Naina 's character seems able to do that without lecturing..that's another why I liked the movie.
Besides Bunny I liked Aditi as the girl who loves from the depths of her soul, still moves on and chooses a diagonal but secure life rather then wasting it with a person who's not able to realise his own worth .

 Another like for the 4 character accepting that 'things are not what they used to be....' as in real life ALL of us feel sometime... somewhere ...
Another for like for 'wistfully wishing to relive some moments of past again and better..................' some thing which ALL of us do.

 So FOR me YJHD is Good!! for its SUBTLETY and Flow ♥ ( minus some songs which are a tad lengthy .)



Before watching ''BRAVE' I have to brave so many ads regarding the movie on Star Movies, declaring it as a rising of a princess against her destiny .. . that I was really curious on watching it... and as expected ..... it was full of exciting, twisting , turning, bouncing, billowing, galloping ,fierce, shining AND blazing Hair !!
That's ALL !  :(

Well, to make this small n  Honest review into a large and honest review ... we should start with the story which is .It is the first Disney-Pixar movie which terribly let me down in the department of story, plot, screenplay.

  Extremely beautifully done Scottish landscape, The castle, the stupid King Fergus and the wise Queen Elinor, the three th naughty brats as princes and ...the spirited princess ,Merida a brave archer with fiery red hair blazing and billowing in the wind, as she gallops on her horse .

 The animation done for her skills is absolutely breathtaking and for the Scottish landscape...Marvellous. She is shown as a gifted archer, an exceptional rider and an extraordinary person driven by passion and impulse.

But after this introduction the story gets confusing and muddy. HOW is she Brave ? as for me she was selfish in the beginning and remains the same at the end! In fact it is Queen ELINOR who is the wisest and possess heroic qualities and a sound and clear head on her shoulders amidst her sons, daughter, husband and relatives.
And it is not clear HOW Merida changes her Destiny ?? by not marrying the princes? No. What if one of the three princes were to be handsome, smart and a good archer? She'd been SMITTEN and perhaps tied her flame like hair in a bun to have a nice view ?

And the spell was SO Pathetic and GROSS. Though accidentally, but to change ur mother into a .. Grizzly BEAR ...eww.

The only impressionable scene was where Merida tells to her father and suitors about the going against tradition and marrying for love and to let everybody follow their heart and dreams .....but BEHOLD !! this eloquent heart warming speech was not Merida's but she was the instrument of Queen Elinor ......SO AGAIN Its ELINOR WHO right from the start WAS and EMERGED again and again as THE HEROINE AND THE TRUE PROTAGONIST.

 No doubt. Pixar technique and voice acting was FAULTLESS. They told on TV how PHd mathematicians and acoustic people have worked hard on this movie to make the animation real. True, because animation and technique are the only things which are good  in it.sadly, these can't work as a solid and clear storyline. 


 SO Highly NOT  RECOMMENDED  unless u love to see the red hair reacting to every slightest change in weather...dampness, wind, sunlight, moonlight, messy-tangled look etc.etc.

If Animation sights are  only what u love then its ...SPECTACULAR.



Watched 'Arthur Christmas'
Like most Hollywood animated movies, its good.

 Though not as great as 'Over the hedge and 'The Incredibles' , parts of it are witty and intelligent like the whole techno-gizmo workspace of Santa, the militarised approach for Christmas as a mission and the way the father-sons relationship Of the 3 generations of Santas with their bonding, longings for old and new, jests and competition.
The grandfather Santa, now retired , wobbly and suffering from all physical and psychological things defining OLD AGE , the Current Santa...on the verge of retirement, tired, just want to finish the work nicely type of attitude, and the sons i.e. Future Santa.
The elder ,serious and sincere Steve working towards the post of next Santa while the younger ,sentimental and a worrier Arthur managing the Postal department of Santa Claus, North Pole!

 How an error of 0.000052% caused havoc in Santaland and how it makes all in the family to sit up and realize the true spirit of Christmas.. is what the movie is about.

lines wrapped in layers of meaning, delivered well is the forte`of Hollywood writers and they nailed it again.

As for other things which I liked : -

Arthur's apple green(was it neon green?) Sweater, Steve's Fir tree shaped Goatee, the magic dust from Aurora Borealis AND the Packer Elf !

For me it was just a little Predictable , for Ani it was Too good!
So watch it ...U might feel the jingles.


The Water Babies : Classic Review

“The most wonderful and the strongest things in the world, you know, are just the things which no one can see.”    
"But remember always, as I told you at first, that this is all a fairy tale, and only fun and pretence: and, therefore, you are not to believe a word of it, even if it is true."

These seemingly contradictory lines are from the book 'The Water Babies' by CHARLES KINGSLEY  which urges  us to believe the unseen yet  not to believe and  follow blindly. To keep the moral compass correct and mind alert.
It is an underwater adventure saga written for children much back in the year 1862!

From here his story of adventure and moral lessons of life begins leading him from river to the ocean and in the end due to his good deeds back on land in human form to become 'a great man of science'.
The story unfolds while meeting various characters in between.


 Beautifully accurate sketches of aquatic creatures and other marine characters, pretty verses and the biological accuracy of the description made for my lack of finding novelty in it. As a study it is good. The book somehow seemed to me to be written by Charles Darwin as a break from writing biological books!!! as it  supports his theories of evolution and questions those who beg to differ.

 I like is the introductory part where we feel sympathy for little Tom and the pages seemed to be from a Dickens classic.

It has BEAUTIFUL short moral lessons in it, tucked away nicely to be understood by an observant  reader and I'll not present that to spoil it for you.

If  we talk about quotes almost all lines are quotes. Its amazing how Kingsley in those times thought about a child-centric environment , an atmosphere of love, care and freedom of thought , about the probabilities of science...he seems so progressive and advance to me .
look at these lines-
'Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster? And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world? People call them Pterodactyles: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons, after denying so long that flying dragons could exist'


How do you know that? Have you been there to see? And if you had been there to see, and had seen none, that would not prove that there were none ... And no one has a right to say that no water babies exist till they have seen no water babies existing, which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water babies

The only lacking was that....
It must have been quite good to read before the discovery kids era for now I found it a trifle hard to captivate me as a story..

If you like scientific stories woven with morals and manners into their DNA and ONLY if you like to get the feel of progressive ideas at Victorian times, then this one is Good for you.


To Russia, With Love

To Russia.....With Love

It was an Indian childhood immersed  in Russian books ,stories and characters.
Though we lived in plains of Northern India, I dreamt of snow covered lands of Taiga and Tundra. 'Mitushka' was to me as 'Kanha'  was to other kids! and all adventures of Aldar kose, Badi Buddhi wala Chota Ivan and the highly intelligent and beautiful Buddhimati Vasilisa  compete neck to neck with Tenaliraman , Singhasan Battisi and Vikram and Betal ,while the Baba Yagas and cruel Baaay (landlord in russia) gave Mahishasur a run for

The strange charm of birch, Balut, firs and poplars conquered me  hands down while I read them under the shady Neem of our ancestral home.. The castle of The Three Fat Men and life of SU-OK  was a dream .


The Three Fat Men

There was this  pro-Soviet environment in our home. We the Gupta-Mahalwaala family used to receive Soviet books and newsletters at economic  prices via International Post. At that time (and maybe still ) the books were published by Raduga  or Vostok Prakashan. Raduga's icon was a single stemmed gentle tulip like flower bowing shyly in side an ellipse.
The Raduga books were good in paper quality, had sturdy and neat binding and smooth, creamy pages with black letters shining like jewels guiding me to unknown lands...
Their illustrations mostly had Ink Blues and deep violets playing  happily with bright yellows and pure whites.

'The Little Red Cock'- I heard,learnt,sang,
retold to my cousins. Now my kids have
learnt it,enacted it as a play, reinvented it by
changing the wheat grains with chocolates, chips
and coke cans and sending the cat and the bird to
 jobs as a Scientist and a teacher respectively,
instead for wood-cutting!
 As I look  back, I can vividly see my parents talking about the Soviet customs,dresses,festivals and dances. We used to get calendars with picturesque scenes of rural Russia, women dancing ,wearing colourful skirts with scarves on their heads, flowing braids and lots of merriment. The Soviet Sangh magazines with large pages and beautiful pictures were eagerly awaited. 

The Soviet magazine and Osho's newsletters ,both had a similar look but  I could easily differentiate simply by their colour ... Osho's were brown and coffee based while Soviet ones were in shades of blue .

The Russian touch went on with our lives till the demise of my father after which the newsletters and books by post ,ceased to come. So,there was a gap of about 10 years ,duly and successfully  bridged  by other books which Mum's shack and her college library could provide.They were good but let's talk about them in another post :)

Aldaar  kose
When I reached University I came within reach of Meerut bookshops and my search for Russian books restarted and came to a dead end as Messrs Lal and Co. Book Shop didn't keep Soviet Books! Even his estranged (hearsay) brother and business rival The Loyal Book Depot  was bare of those jewels.
Disheartened, I  gorged on Christie, Hardy and Munshi Premchand .

Then chance knocked !
The famous Nauchandi of Merrut came up with a solution in the form of a Blessed tent-shop of Soviet Books!!!
Nauchandi Fair, Meerut
The old Raduga Publication after such a long time!!I touched them and met them as with a long lost friend...
May God Bless that man who put that  tent in the fair. Raised on brown, rain sodden earth ,supported by bamboo sticks with only a black tarpaulin as a cover for books against sudden torrents, it had all the magical and mysterious qualities a soviet book shop must have. From here the Russian journey continued with Maxim Gorky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Boris Polvoi, Ivan Turgnev and many more.....

books at Nai Sarak, Delhi
From then, this love for books had taken me to many places.From Chandni Chowk , Nai sarak and Dariya Ganj of Delhi to Hazrat Ganj of Lucknow, from bylanes of Meerut to Avenue Road  of Bangalore, from Rues of Pondicherry to second hand book shops of Mysore.................. every where for one single purpose-  in search of literary gems..

Its been a long time from when I was a child, carefree and happy..... these books are my memories of that sunny time, of that home cooked food by mum, my father's lap , of long walks in wilderness of Daakpathar (Dehradun) with my parents and  of conversations of Books.....Soviet Union Books.....of Mitushka and Najanu, of birch trees and of lots of lots of snow....

With Love to Russia.

ग़ुलाब- The Rose

                 ग़ुलाब एक...                                    डॉयरी के पन्नों में,                                     कोयल ने फिर कुह...