Thursday, 29 December, 2011

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadow


With rotten status on rottentomatoes.com (59%), I was not so eager to watch the movie. But finally decided to give it go for Guy Ritchie, and Hanz Zimmer's music. And I am so glad I did. Brilliantly shot, great acting, awesome direction and great music make this movie one of the best I've watched in 2011. 

With its twists and turns, Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows is a typical Guy Ritchie film (If it weren't for him, the film would have barely made it to the theaters).  Plus points are direction, music and ya, Robert Downey, Jr., who comes up with a really good performance. I thought is was way better than the first installment, for it had a much simpler story-line. Only drawback for me was the length of the movie.

I would definitely recommend you to go watch the movie. I happened to love it for I went without any expectation, so do go watch it without any expectations!!

Dumbo's Rating: 8/10

For a detailed review, read on...

Plot
Miscreant from the first installment, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) makes Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) deliver a package for him. The package happens to be a bomb which is diffused on time by Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.). Holmes discovers that Moriarty is responsible for a series of murders and terror attacks across Europe, but has no proof to prove his case. Holmes is trying to solve the case while his best friend Dr. Watson (Jude Law) gets married and is off on his honeymoon. To avenge Holmes's intervention, Moriarty first poisons Irene, and then tries to kill Dr. Watson and his newly wed wife Mary (Kelly Reilly). The rest of the story is how Holmes saves Watson, and solves the case with his help.

Actors Performance
Robert Downey, Jr. is really good in the lead role. His antics and body language make you fall in love with his character. He generates ample amount of humor with his stupendous comic timing and one liners. His performance in the climax is really good. Jude law is good as Holmes's long time friend Dr. Watson. He supports Robert Downey, Jr., while never overplaying his role. Rachel McAdams has a limited presence and is good. Kelly Reilly and Noomi Rapace are perfect for their respective roles. Stephen Fry was excellent as Mycroft Holmes. His comic timing, again, was superb. I thought Jared Harris could have come up with a  better performance, for his face lacked expression on most occasions.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Even since I've watched Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I've been a big time fan of Guy Ritchie. His films, similar to Quentin Tarantino's, are very different and intriguing. Though not a caper film, Guy Ritchie makes this movie look like one. The story written by Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney is very simple, and there's nothing really great about the script, but with his typical style, Ritche gives the film the punch required for an action detective film. I loved the way he shot the train episode, and the climax. The last scene of the movie just happens to show his brilliance. Except for but the fight scenes towards the beginning, I thought that the screenplay was really good.

Other Departments
Music by Hans Zimmer is a definite asset to the film. I loved the theme score of the first film (it's one of my favorites), and he doesn't disappoint on this one either. The sound effects were alright (maybe could have been much better). Editing by James Herbert is alright. I don't know if its something wrong with me, but again I felt that the film was a little too long, and needed trimming. Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty decent. I thought that most shots lacked enough lighting and were snowy, but I have a feeling that it was intentional. The CGI team did a pretty good job of recreating Europe of 1890's. Production values are really good.

Friday, 23 December, 2011

Movie Review: Don 2

Did I go to watch the Don return, or was it Mission Impossible 5?? There were car chases, buildings being bombed, hi-tech bank robbery sequence, 300 feet jump off a building, a mask involved.. did I miss anything?? In one word, it was a potpourri of say all the MI, Ocean's Eleven, and every other Hollywood action film of similar genre put together into a 2 hours 26 minutes film. But wait, it doesn't end there; unlike all other films, this one has the bad guy playing the lead role.

Directed by one of my favorites, the film is very stylish, but is also long and disappointing. I expected something more sensible from Farhan. I never thought I would say this, but go watch the film only for Shahrukh. He's perfect for such kinda roles, and he sure delivers. He tried to carry the entire film on his shoulders, but its the script which fails him. If you aren't too fond of him, wait for the DVD to release.

Dumbo's Rating: 6/10

For a detailed review, read on...

Plot
With the European mafia planning to kill him, Don (Shahrukh Khan) surrenders to the Interpol in Thailand. He  is sentenced to death, and is sent to a Malaysian prison where he meets Vardhaan (Boman Irani). Don and Vardhaan escape from the prison and reach Berlin. Together, they plan to rob a bank while Interpol officer Roma (Priyanka Chopra) is trying to chase them down. The rest of the story is all about how the robbery is executed, and Don's real motive behind the robbery.

Actors Performance
Shahrukh Khan is brilliant as Don. He suits such kinda roles to perfection. I cant think of any actor from the current generation who can do a better job than him. Hrithik Roshan just proves that in his brief cameo as Don (oops, sorry!!). SRK looked really stylish all throughout the film. I liked his antics (which are very decent unlike his regular films) and dialogue delivery. Priyanka Chopra has a limited role in the film. She tried too hard to get into the character, and failed miserably. Kunal Kohli was alright in his brief role. Strangely, both Om  Puri and Boman Irani looked out of place. The guy who played the role of Jabbar, Nawab Shah, was pathetic. Lara Dutta was pretty good in her cameo.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Written by Farhan Akhtar, Ameet Mehta and Amrish Shah (also credited for the screenplay), the film, as mentioned, relies too much on other films of similar genre. The first half of the movie was well written, and made sense, but the second half was like a half-baked cookie. The whole episode of the bank robbery, which forms the crux of the story, just doesn't make sense. If anyone could walk into a bank and get into its safety vault so easily, I believe there would be a robbery every other day. And ya, why did Don need Vardhaan with him exactly?? The best part was Don going back into the bank with Roma in order to save the hostages. Even better, what's with the bomb blast after Roma was shot?? The whole episodes involving Don and Roma seemed entirely ridiculous. The screenplay was decent, but too haphazard, especially towards the climax. For the first time, Farhan Akhtar fails as a director. Except for SRK, I thought that everyone looked out of place, with blank/straight faces for most of the movie. He shot the film very stylishly and even brilliantly in parts, but failed to generate performances from his artists.

Other Departments
The usual's of an Excel production film are all here. Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is a definite asset to the film. There are only three songs in the movie though. More than the music, its the background score and the re-recording which make an impact. Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, and dialogues by Farhan are good. Editing by Anand Subaya could have been more crisp. Cinematography by Jason West is again, fantastic. The action sequences were alright, but a little to much to handle. With the 3D, I could neither make head nor tail of most of the action sequences, cos everything happened really fast. Otherwise, the 3D effect was alright. Production values by SRK and Excel Entertainment are pretty good. It is apparently the first Indian film to be shot in Germany.

Verdict
Inspired from a whole bunch of movies, Don 2 lacks the punch of the first Don. Its not that MI - Ghost Protocol dint have its flaws, but it managed to cover them with the action and direction. But for this film, except for SRK, nothing else holds. Plus points are SRK, music, cinematography and a couple of action sequences. But its the senseless script script and mediocre direction which pull the film down.

Wednesday, 14 December, 2011

Movie Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

It's not a great film, period. But thanks to its adrenaline pumping action sequences, a decent story, direction, and acting, it delivers to its expectations. The awesome cinematography just helps the case. I would have loved to hear better use of the MI theme though. It’s a lil boring in parts, but you’re too engaged to notice these flaws. Its without doubt the best film of the series so far.

Watch it for sure, and if you do, watch it on IMAX (I've watched it both on IMAX and regular screen. The regular screen just doesn't do justice to the film, there is no adrenaline rush!!). Ive never seen the audience clap without any particular reason, but they did today for the spectacular sequences shot using the IMAX camera. They left me spellbound.

Dumbo's Rating: 8/10 + 1 for IMAX

For a detailed review, read on....

Plot
The Kremlin is destroyed, and the Russians believe that the IMF is responsible for it, following which the US government disavows the IMF. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) takes up the mission of trying to find the guy responsible for the blasts, and stop him from starting a nuclear war. But he has to do it like a ghost, with only three team members, and without any kind of support. The rest of the story is about how Hunt, along with his team, accomplishes the mission: impossible.

Actors Performance
Tom Cruise is absolutely brilliant in the lead role. He looked old, yet fit, and performed the stunts with great ease. It takes real guys to perform the stunt on the Burj Khalifa without a double. He gets a close to perfect score on acting front as well. Jeremy Renner was very good as the ‘helper’. He looked really dashing, and at times, better than Cruise. Simon Pegg was excellent, and created quite some humor in the film. Paula Patton was alright. She has great body. I hate to say this, but Anil Kapoor was pathetic as Brij Nath. I don't even understand why he took up such kinda sleazy role, which lasts less than 5 minutes (I don't think an actor of his caliber should do such kind of roles, just to make a mark in Hollywood). Rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
The story of the movie is very simple. Someone blasts a building in Russia, the Russians want to attack US, but our hero (or rather his team) tries to stop them and evades the nuclear invasion. Actually, now that I am typing it, it sounds very familiar to X-Men: First Class. But writers André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum did a pretty good job with the simple script. They added quite a number of twists and turns, or rather challenges to our team. But its Brad Bird (director) who makes this simple script look amazing on screen. Having directed animations like Ratatouille and The Incredibles in the past, he uses all his experience from the Incredibles count on this one. His take on the movie was absolutely superb, and I don't think anyone else could have done a better job. His persistence on using the IMAX cameras really pays off. The shots are out of the world!! On the downside, there were a couple of dull episodes (the climax especially), and unrealistic scenes which could have been handled better. Screenplay was excellent. (I am now eagerly waiting for 1906).

Other Departments
Music by Michael Giacchino was pretty decent. He did a good job of the original MI theme composed by Lalo Schifrin, but the punch was missing (I wasn't quite satisfied with it). He did a horrendous job with the Indian music though. Editing by Paul Hirsch is pretty neat. A few of the scenes could have made the cut on the final print. After 2 hours 15 minutes, you don't feel bored, but you want the movie to end. Cinematography by Robert Elswit is absolutely brilliant. The IMAX shots in Dubai are spell-binding. Production values by Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are really good, but I wish they had shown real India instead of a set somewhere else in the world. And when you say Mumbai, shoot it in Mumbai, not Bengaluru.

Foot Note
I really don't understand why these Hollywood films make a mockery of India. I mean, when you say you are in India, shoot in India for God's sake (they did in parts, but not completely). Its not that we don't have the resources or production equipment we are home to the biggest film studio in the world. And I hated Anil Kapoor's role more for the reason that it will now symbolize how Indians are to the rest of the world (just like Slumdog Millionaire did). And again, when you say you are in Mumbai, shoot in Mumbai. Oh btw, for my foreign friends reading this, no, we are not perverts like Anil Kapoor; no, we dont have so many sexy BMW's on road; no, we don't have automated car parking systems yet; no, we don't play that kinda sad pathetic music at our parties; and no, those Indian streets they show in the movie are not real.

On another note, you get to see Allu Arjun, Gopichand and a couple of other Indian stars on screen.

And finally, this is what Wikipedia reads: The first public viewing of the movie across the globe was held in Hyderabad, India at Prasads IMAX. The movie released ahead of scheduled start on the 14 of December and the first show was at 10:30 AM IST.

I was there!!

Sunday, 4 December, 2011

Movie Review: Puss in Boots

Its a story about how Puss turned out to be Puss, far before he met Shrek. Its a pretty decent watch, nothing as great as Shrek. Its got its own twist and turns, but the story lacks the punch. The animation was spot on, 3D effects not so great (definitely not an IMAX film).

Bottom line, its an average movie which will make you laugh, but doesnt leave you spellbound. Watch it at your leisure.

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10

Saturday, 3 December, 2011

Movie Review: The Dirty Picture

Plot
Reshma (Vidya Balan) is a small town girl who wants to make it big in films. She runs away from her house to Chennai a day before her wedding. She tries to get a supporting role in a movie but is insulted for her looks and is rejected. She somehow manages to get the role of an erotic dancer at a later stage. Her act goes viral and she is christened 'Silk' by producer SelvaGanesh (Rajesh Sharma). She continues to act in sleazy film and achieves fame envied by her counterparts. The rest of the story is about how she handles the criticism and responds to it.

Actors Performance
Oh Vidya Balan, you have stumped me!
Its an out and out Vidya Balan film and she oozes out oomph factor in each and every frame. She should be really appreciated for taking up such a role, shedding all her inhibitions. She looks dusky and really good during the first half of the film, and then puts on flab like crazy for the second half (I know how difficult it is to lose those tummy tires, god knows how she managed to lose it so soon). She was absolutely brilliant, and is sure to bag all the awards for best actress in 2012.

Naseeruddin Shah is excellent in the role of the elderly actor who sleeps around with all his female co-stars. I cant imagine anyone else doing a better job. Its one of the best roles Tusshar Kapoor could have got, and he doesnt disappoint. He looked idiotic in his costumes, but he does justice to the role. Emraan Hashmi has limited presence in the film, and portrays a character very different from his usual genre. He was very good as well. Rajesh Sharma (SelvaGanesh) was excellent as the director. Rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It is very difficult to make a film based on the life of an actress who committed suicide (Silk Smitha). But writer Rajat Aroraa (story, dialogues and screenplay) comes up with a very good script without going too deep into details on Silk's personal life. The plot of the film is something similar to that of Kalki Koechlin role in Dev.D - people want and watch girls in skimpy clothes doing sleazy dances on screen, but then insult the same girls and label them as sex-sirens off screen. The story revolves around how Silk handles this situation, and how she gives in into it towards the end. Though well written, the story tends to lose steam towards the second half of the movie. Dialogues are brilliantly written and act as the second lead in the movie. Screenplay could have been more effective towards the climax. Direction by Milan Luthria is good. He's certainly improved on his directorial skills since Taxi 9211.

Other Departments
Music by Vishal-Shekhar is alright. Audiance were going nuts for "Ooh La La". Background score is good. The south-Indian track "Naka Muka" is very effective as the BG. Cinematography by is pretty good and editing by Akiv Ali is decent. Production values by Balaji Telefilms are very good. They did a very good job recreating the 80's.

Verdict
As already mentioned, its an out and out Vidya Balan's film. If it weren't for her, this film would have been crap. She has portrayed the best role of her career so far. Brilliant dialogues, superb acting by Vidya and Naseeruddin Shah, effective background score, and the oomph factor are the plus points of the film. On the flip side, since its based of a true story, it might/will bore you. Its not a great film by any means, and even I found it boring at times, but Vidya made sure that I walked out of the theater satisfied.

To quote Vidya, 'Filme sirf teen cheeso ke vaaje se chalti hain - entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.' She definitely was Entertainment!!

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10  + 1 for Vidya :)

Monday, 28 November, 2011

Movie Review: Desi Boyz

Plot
Jerry (Akshay Kumar) and Nick (John Abraham) are two friends living in London. Both of them lose their jobs during recession period. Unable to find anything else, they end up working as male escorts with 'Desi Boyz' as Rocco and Hunter. Nick's fiancee Radhika (Deepika Padukone) soon finds out about his job and dumps him, and Jerry loses custody of his nephew to a foster home. Rest of the story is about how Jerry and Nick accept responsibility and find better jobs.

Actors Performance
After delivering series of flops for the last 3 years, I dont know what better I was expecting from Akshay Kumar's movie (other than the loud cheap comedy and double meaning dialogues that is). On the scale of pathetic acting, he scores a perfect 10. He's a 44 year old guy, why doesnt someone tell him that he should start acting in sensible movies now at least. He's a good actor, but I dont understand why he's wasting his talent by acting in such second grade movies.

John Abraham scores even better than Akshay, for he cant even act. As in Force, his body looked a little too beefed up. He seriously needs to go train at an acting school before its too late. Deepika is alright as Radhika, but even she needs to find better scripts to work on. Chitrangda Singh had no major role, and looked horrible in the film. Anupam Kher and Omi Vaidya are wasted. The kid couldn't act for nuts. Rest of the cast was mediocre.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
David Dhawan was very famous for his cheap comedy, but his movies did make sense even if they were too loud. But his son, Rohit Dhawan (story, screenplay and direction) seems to have forgot to use his brain while scripting and filming this movie. The story made no absolute sense. The best part is that Jerry doesnt lose his job because of recession, but because of his careless attitude. But then, he's good enough to become male escort. Nick joins him because he doesnt want to leave his friend alone (I have tears in my eyes). I dont wanna talk of rest of the movie, cos it will take forever for me to finish. To nail the coffin, direction is pathetic. Forget John, he couldnt even make the kid act. Screenplay was mediocre.

Other Departments
Barring two songs (Desi Boyz and Hero), music by Pritam is nothing great. I liked 'Hero' song quite a bit. Background score by Sandeep Shirodkar is alright. Cinematography by Natarajan Subramaniam is pretty decent. With so many films being shot in London, he dint have anything new to capture. Editing by Nitin Rokade was alright. Production values could have been much better, for the sets used in the film are worse then the ones used in 1950's (a very bad painting of a skyscraper at the window is supposed to make us believe that the courtroom is in London).

Verdict
Unless you are jobless like me, or unless you have a thing for cheap senseless humor, please avoid this film at all costs. Its an absolute waste of money. The story is pathetic, direction worse, and acting mediocre. I wish Akshay Kumar would stop acting in such 'ghatiya' movies.

If you want to watch this film even after reading this review, go watch this film with a group of close buddies so as to have a laugh at least.

Dumbo's Rating: 4.5/10

Friday, 11 November, 2011

Movie Review: Rockstar

Spoiler Alert!!

Plot
Janardhan Jakhar/JJ/Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor), a middle class Haryanvi guy is a wannabe Jim Morrison. His college canteen owner, Khatana bhai (Kumud Mishra) philosophizes that a person needs a heart break to create awesome music. Going by this, JJ tries to woo the heartbreaking chick of the college, Heer (Nargis Fakhri). After a series of comic episodes, they become very good friends, and JJ helps organize Heer's wedding. The rest of the story is about how JJ and Heer realize their love for each other, and how the heartbreak makes JJ a Rockstar!

Artists Performance
Ranbir Kapoor is fantabulous in the lead role. Its clearly visible that he had put in a lot of effort into this character. He has about five different get ups in the movie, and he carried all of them with ease. The only problem was his characterization (Il get into that later). Nargis Fakhri is a good find and looks really beautiful (though I thought that she looked very very lean). On acting front, she aint that great. It looked like she tried to imitate a number of actresses through the film. She's definitely got talent which can be probably be put to use in better films. Shammi Kapoor has a very small role, and was good. Kumud Mishra is excellent as JJ's manager. Aditi Rao Hydari was good as the journalist, who later becomes JJ's ***. The rest of the cast was relatively new, and alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Boy oh boy, where do I even start?? After roaring success of Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal, director Imtiaz Ali seems to have lost his head. With Rahman to support him on music front, all he could churn out was a pathetic story; a married woman suffering from cancer, who cant even stand on her feet, sleeps with the lead actor, gets pregnant, and then slips into coma. And this forms the core story around which our loser becomes a rockstar. Seriously dude, WTH?? I dont even want to get into rest of the details. The first five minutes of the film had brilliant screenplay and so I was hoping for one hell of a film. Even the first half of the film actually turned out to be good. But post interval, everything went down the drain. The guy sitting in the next seat kept repeatly asking his friend "Why is he doing this???". We all need an answer Imtiaz!.

Being titled Rockstar, there is nothing rocking about the script. All the characters were very badly scripted, worst being Jordan. This guy seriously doesnt know what he wants. He initially cant even pronounce Prague properly, but then becomes perfect at everything. He is supposed to be in love with Heer, but is more than happy to kiss and play around with other girls. There was absolutely no conflict point in the movie for Jordan to actually go through pain, cos Heer is more than willing to sleep with him (forget constantly kissing him backstage, while her husband is sitting in the front row). The most disappointing part was the lead up to 'Sadda Haq'.

Imtiaz was able to get awesome performance from Ranbir, and even from Nargis in parts, but with such a weak, draggy script, Rockstar/Imtiaz disappoints!!

Other Departments
The pre Slumdog Millionaire Rahman is back, and he absolutely mesmerizes us with his music (though it aint exactly Rock music). The background score is very good as well. I loved the way he mixed the tracks for the bg. I was disappointed on the fact that my favorite song 'Sheher Main' was missing in the film. Lyrics by Irshad Kamil are a lil too complicated to figure put, but good. Cinematography by Anil Mehta is excellent, but most of the shots in Himachal looked similar to the ones in Jab We Met. Editing by Aarti Bajaj is pathetic. The story itself was such a drag, and on top of it, there are like 'n' number of scenes which could have made the cut but dint. Production values by Eros and Ashtavinayak are excellent.

Verdict
Ive been waiting for this film for a long time now, and was really hoping that it would do well. But alas, it competes with Ra.One on the level of stupidity (actually, ignore that, nothing can ever be compared to Ra.One). As mentioned, the first of the film is pretty decent and promises a good film, but the interval bang and post interval episodes are pathetic. I really couldn't understand why Heer would sleep with Jordan in the first place, and then scream her lungs out after everything was done. And this leads to 'Sadda Haq' (listen to it lyrics, then you'll  probably understand why I keep saying that). The audience started clapping when Heer slips into a coma, which proves how good the movie was. And later when she steps onto the stage for 'Tum Ho', followed by the end credits, I could hear at least ten people scream 'What the ...'.

So that basically sums up my Rockstar experience. I got out of the theater with a nice head ache. Except for the music, this film doesn't even deserve a one time watch.

Dumbo's Rating: 5/10

PS: Go get a DVD of a Telugu movie 'Prema' which runs on a pretty similar but much better story line instead of watching this!!

Thursday, 10 November, 2011

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin - TSOU

Plot
Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young journalist, happens to buy a model ship named Unicorn. Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) tries to buy the model from Tintin, but fails. The model is stolen from Tintin's possession, and he soon discovers that there's more than meets the eye. He goes on about an adventure trying to solve the puzzle, and meets Captain Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis) through his journey. The rest of the story is about how they solve the mystery together, and discover the lost treasure of the Unicorn.

Artists Performance
Honestly, it was quite difficult for me to judge the artists performance, as it was motion/performance capture film. It was also hard to imagine most actors in their respective roles. Jamie Bell was alright in the lead role. Andy Serkis was brilliant as Capt'n Haddock. His comic timing was superb. Daniel Craig was good as the sinister. He was the most difficult one to imagine (James Bond playing a negative role!!). The true star of the movie though was Snowy. He was a brilliantly created traditionally animated character.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Based on three of Herge's original comic books (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure), screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish was very well written. Ive never read the comics myself, but do remember watching the cartoons as a kid, and I thought these guys did a pretty good job of combining the three to write an effective screenplay. I did feel that it was a little too long at times, but with a running time of 107 minutes, it actually wasn't. Direction by Steven Spielberg was again very difficult to judge. Id say that he did a pretty good job. I thought a couple of scenes in the movie were brilliantly shot: the one where Haddocks recalls the story of the Unicorn (running in parallel to reality), and the scenes after Haddock  blows the dam in Bagghar. Though he dint direct the movie, the motion capture work by Peter Jackson does deserve a mention in this section.

Other Departments
Music by John Williams was a disappointment. For a franchise of such magnitude, I expected a haunting theme music. Cinematography by Janusz Kamiński was excellent. The zoom out shots were really good.  My only problem was with the 3D. Except in a couple of scenes, there were no 3D effects. It looked like a 2D film being screened on 3D. Editing by Michael Kahn was pretty decent. The animation was of top notch quality, and every character and location looked very believable.

Verdict
First thing Ive realized after watching this movie is that its very tough to review an animation film (at least, this one was made using motion capture). Though everything seemed to have worked really well for the movie, I somehow wasnt totally satisfied when it ended. The spark you expect in an animation was missing. The story also seemed a little complicated. It is a adventure film with its share of fun moments. Overall, a pretty decent watch, but not a classic!!

Dumbo's Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, 7 November, 2011

Restaurant Review: Palace Heights

Place: Palace Heights
Location: Abids, behind Taj Mahal Hotel
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine
Meal: Dinner (with a couple of friends)

Place/Ambiance
Palace Heights is one the oldest restaurants in the city. Its located in a small lane behind the Taj Mahal hotel, on the 8th floor of Triveni complex (It can be a pain to find). The interiors and decors are very well done, and the elevation gives us an exquisite view of the city.

Its been a while since I last came to this place and I was kinda excited to be here. My friends wanted to go to Santosh Dhaba, but I somehow convinced them to come here, promising them awesome food.

Menu
They have a huge menu, right from Punjabi, Chinese, to Mexican food and Sizzlers. They even serve drinks. We ordered Vegetable Gold Coin and Chilly Panner for starters, Malai Cheese Kofta and Panner Khurchan along with Kashmiri Naan, Masala Kulcha and Stuffed Paratha for two of us, and Chicken Biryani for the third.

Food
It took forever, and I mean forever for the starters to arrive. After 30 minutes, and reminding the guy a couple of times, the Gold Coins and Chilly Panner were finally served, with Schezwan sauce and some kind of chutney.


The Gold coins were crispy and very well baked. They had few cashew nuts here and there, the bread was good, and the stuffing was tasty. The Chilly Panner was excellent. Its probably the best Ive had in recent times. Even my friends loved it. The Panner was fresh, and well fried. It wasnt too greasy though. Not so spicy either.

Though we were miffed because of the long wait, perfect start to the meal. And then came the rest of the stuff we ordered.


The Panner Kurchan was alright. Ive never actually tasted Kurchan before, so had nothing to compare it with. It pretty much tasted like a blend of Panner Butter Masala and Kadai Panner. I thought that it was pretty dry with not much gravy to it. 


The Malai Kofta according to me was really good. It was very very creamy, and the kofta ball was very very soft. I couldnt feel any cheese, but there were quite a few nuts in there. 

The Kashmiri Naan was pretty good. There were three huge pieces of it. It was a little sweet, but no so much to spoil the taste of the subzi. The first two pieces were well baked, but the third was a little too crispy. The Masala Kulcha was alright, and the Stuffed Paratha was excellent. 

My friend was happy with his Chicken Biryani.

Service
For a restaurant of such high reputation, the service was pathetic. About three guys were rushing us to place the order from when we were seated, but no one bothered to respond after the food was ordered. We actually dindnt know who was incharge of our table, cos there would be a bunch of them when food was served, and they would disappear into thin air thereafter. My friend had asked for paper napkins, and each guy would point fingers to the next one to get them.

Verdict
Having pulled my friends from a cheaper, better place to this one, I was almost thrashed when we got out of the place. The food was alright yes, but the prices were exorbitant. It wouldnt have mattered so much if each of us enjoyed our meal, but thanks to the horrible service, we were quite disappointed. The starters were great, and the rest of the food was alright. The quantity of food served was pretty decent (we had leftovers packed up). The ambiance was definitely a plus, but the place was too loud at times. 

Overall, a pretty average meal.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Service: 4/10

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10

For more reviews, do visit Zomato.com - India's biggest online food & lifestyle guide

Tuesday, 1 November, 2011

Movie Review: Real Steel

Plot
Set in the future, where robot fights are a craze, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer, who survives on unsanctioned robot fights. He comes to know that his ex-girl friend is dead, leaving him his 11 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo). To clear his debts, and buy robots, Charlie gives Max's custody to his ex's sister Debra on payment of 100 grand. Max stays with Charlie for a couple of months before Debra can take him along. During these two months, Max discovers a obsolete scrap robot Atom, and pesters Charlie to train Atom. The rest of the story is about how Max changes Charlie's life, and how Atom goes on to become 'The People's Champion'!

Artists Performance
Hugh Grant is excellent as the careless, indifferent father, who isnt serious about anything in life. He plays his character to perfection. The true star of the movie though is Dakota Goyo. He brings in a lot of innocence to his character while thinking very maturely, and was really really cute. His expressions while talking to Charlie are brilliant. Evangeline Lilly has a limited role in the movie, and was good. I would have loved to see more of her on screen.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
The story of the film is very very predictable. Its got a Rocky Balboa kinda theme to it, but instead of boxers fighting out, its robots. Story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven is pretty decent, but director Shawn Levy couldn't get everything right. The story seems to drag many a times. He tried to play with a number of emotions, instead of sticking to one thread. He handled the scenes involving the kid very well. He was able to generate subtle humor through the father-son relationship. Screenplay by John Gatins could have been better, but I have no qualms.

Other Departments
Music by Danny Elfman is alright. I liked a couple of soundtracks. The sound effects weren't as great as Super 8, but were pretty decent. The Animatronic robots used looked very real and believable (Tom Meyer). Cinematography by Mauro Fiore was excellent. The scenes involving shadow fighting were shot brilliantly. Editing by Dean Zimmerman could have been way better. As already mentioned, the film dragged in parts, and a lot of scenes could have made the cut. Production values by Dreamworks are good.

Verdict
I didn't like the trailer, and therefore was planning to skip watching this movie. But I finally did after a number of people told me about it (and in fact asked me for a review). And thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. But I wasn't too happy either (mainly because of the Dolby turning on and off during the movie in the theater, Inox). It was a pretty decent movie which had its moments. The climax of the film was brilliantly shot, and makes up for most of the flaws in the movie. Plus points are Hugh Grant, Dakota Goyo and the shadow cinematography. But on the downside, I could see similarities to a number of hit flicks. I actually felt like I was watching a Bollywood film because of the drag and sentimental scenes.

Its Rocky Balboa, but instead of Sylvester Stallone, you have Atom fighting the fights.

Dumbo's Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, 30 October, 2011

Restaurant Review: Just Parantha

Place: Just Parantha
Location: Rd. No. 12, Banjara Hills, further to Santhosh Dhaba
Cuisine: Punjabi
Meal: Takeaway

I saw this place once while travelling on Rd. No. 12 and wanted to try it ever since. So here I was to pick up dinner one night. Its a small joint, something similar to a pan dabba to look at. Its got a couple of chairs laid outside to sit and eat at the place. It serves a wide variety of paranthas and Punjabi curries.

I ordered Pyaaz, Gobi, Aloo Meethi and a special paranthas. I wanted to order Panner Masala, but they were out of that. I ordered a Shahi Panner to go along. I wanted to order Pulao, but they were done with that as well. I also ordered a couple of Phulkas. It took a while for him to prepare all of these. He had customers pouring in. Roaring business. He gave some pudina chutney along with the paranthas. I also took a Punjabi Badam milk bottle.

The paranthas were absolutely delicious. The special parantha was the best of the lot, Pyaaz was excellent. I was not so happy with the Gobi initially, but it was really good. I dint taste the Aloo Meethi, but I suppose it was good. The Phulkas were soft and fluffy. The Shahi Panner was alright. It was a little sour, and wasnt fresh. I figured that all the subjis were precooked. The pudina chutney wasnt so good either.

The best part of my meal though was the Badam milk. It tasted like little drops of heaven. It was really really creamy, full of cut badam pieces. It wasnt too sweet either, which made it taste perfect.

On the whole, a very very decent place. It was an easy on the pocket meal. The paranthas were very reasonably priced at 20 bucks a piece (except the special which was 30).  The subji was 70 bucks. The size of the parantha was pretty good as well.

I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who's looking for a good meal. Dont forget to try their badam milk.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: NA
Service: NA
Meal for 3: Rs. 185/-

Dumbo's Rating: 8.5/10

For more reviews, do visit Zomato.com - India's biggest online food & lifestyle guide

Sunday, 16 October, 2011

Movie Review: Super 8

Plot
Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is a 14-year-old boy who recently lost his mom in an accident. His dad, Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) is the Police deputy of the small town they live in. Joe and Jackson are going through a tough phase with the recent death. Joe, his secret crush Alice (Elle Fanning), and his friends are shooting a Zombie movie at an old train depot, when a huge train crash occurs. The event gets recorded on their camera. The rest of the story establishes reason for the crash and its consequences.

Artists Performance
Every artist in the film was absolutely brilliant. Joel Courtney was excellent as the lead kid. His expressions were good towards the climax of the movie. Kyle Chandler was good and fit the bill perfectly. Riley Griffiths was fantastic as Jack's best buddy, and the director with a secret crush on Alice. I loved the scene where he asks Jack if he could manage things without him. The best performance though, is by Elle Fanning. I was absolutely spellbound by her act as the heroine (like everyone else), and even as the zombie. She looked really mean and scary while dressed as the zombie. Other friends of Jack were great. It was a perfect ensemble of cast.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Written and directed by J.J. Abrams, Super 8 is one of those freaky, sci-fi alien movies which makes an impact. It was like watching a Steven Spielberg's film, but with a different take on things. I loved the screenplay. The way he scared the living hell out of the audience, without actually showing us the alien was brilliant. Also, I liked the way he established the animosity between Jack's and Alice's dads as the story progresses. The direction was spot on. He was able to generate the best out of the kids, while infusing subtle humor throughout the film. The movie never lost its momentum. The Zombie movie during the end title credits was brilliant.

Other Departments
Ive seen quite a lot of movies, but Ive never watched anything which literally made me jump of my seat for its sound effects. This film did that. Credit goes to Michael Giacchino for the mind blowing music, re-recording and sound effects. CGI effects house Industrial Light and Magic are really good. The train crash scenes had the best effects, and was very well canned. Cinematography by Larry Fong was excellent. As already mentioned, the way the alien was never shown properly in any frame until the climax was brilliant. Editing by Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey was perfect. The film never dragged. Production values by Amblin Entertainment (Spielberg), Bad Robot Productions (J.J. Abrams), and Paramount Pictures are excellent.

Verdict
Its one of the best movies Ive watched in recent times. It was spooky, freaky and humorous, all at the same time. The actors fit the bill perfectly, and did an awesome job. I felt that the movie had a message infused into it. Plus points are the casting, brilliant screenplay, direction, and the sound effects. I cant think of any negatives. Its a film to be watched in a theater. I absolutely loved it, I hope you do too.

Dumbo's Rating: 9.5/10

PS: The film released about 4 months ago in the U.S, but released just a couple of days ago in India. Ive been waiting all along to go watch it in the theater. And it was worth the wait!!

Monday, 10 October, 2011

Restaurant Review: Alex Kitchen

Place: Alex Kitchen
Location: Liberty Circle, Opp. TTD Kalyanamandapam
Cuisine: Chinese
Meal: Dinner

Alex Kitchen is one of the oldest and famous Chinese restaurants in town. It’s a small place right next to Universal Bakery, a little inside the building, is little cramped, but has a decent décor. I remember my brother bringing me here along with his friends while he was doing his Hotel Management. They knew the Chef back then, and used to get into the kitchen. Over years, Chefs have kept changing, and the standard kept falling. But still, hoping for some miracle, me along with a couple of friends dropped by on a Friday evening. And to my surprise, it was packed even after all these years.

It took about 10 minutes for us to be seated at our table. Once seated, it took forever for the waiter to serve us water and take our order. We almost had to struggle to get his attention. We ordered Noodle Soup, Spring Rolls, American Chopsuey, Soft Noodles and Manchuria (all Veg.).


The soup was served first. The quantity was pretty good, but it tasted bland and had no flavor to it. Even adding tons of chilly sauce, salt and pepper dint make any difference. Next came the Spring Rolls. I remember them being really good, and for once I wasn’t disappointed. They were infact excellent. Crispy, fried to perfection. Yummy!


After a long wait came the Chopsuey, Noodles and Manchuria. The Chopsuey was very very sweet, and I've never tasted an American Chopsuey so sweet. It had some crunchy noodles in between, but not a lot.


Thankfully, the Noodles and Manchuria weren’t sweet. The Noodles was alright, nothing great. Manchuria was good. The sauce was thick and tangy, and the balls were well cooked.

We somehow finished everything but just weren’t satisfied. We had definitely hoped for a better meal, but I atleast was disappointed. The quantity of food served was good, but what is the use if it doesn’t taste good? The service was pathetic. I had to ask 3 people to get some water. This place is the best example to show how bad a restaurant can get if the standards are not maintained. Except for the Spring Rolls, rest of the food was forgettable.

Food: 7/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Service: 4/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 500/- (Approx)

Dumbo’s Rating: 6/10

Thursday, 6 October, 2011

Movie Review: Oosaravelli

Plot
Oh boy, this is gonna be tough. Tony (NTR) and Niharika (Tamanna) are kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir. They somehow manage to escape from there. Tony follows Niharika to Hyderabad, and makes her fall in love with him. At the same time, he is also plotting to destroy a gang of goons. The rest of the story deals with establishing why he is after the goons, and how Niharika is involved in all of this.

Artists Performance
NTR is good in the lead role. As the tittle suggest, he is a Chameleon in the movie, in all aspects. He is brilliant in few scenes, and sucked in a few others. You think that he's looking good for a second, and immediately there is a fatso in the next frame. He looked terrible in the last song. But otherwise, he was pretty decent. His comic timing was good, and he was pretty much the only one to provide laughter in the movie. His dances for 'Dandiya' song are really good. It would be great if he could lose some weight and maintain his figure (sheesh, never thought I would say that for a guy!!).

Tamanna has a very very good role in the movie, and is excellent. She should be really thankful to have bagged such a meaty role in a Telugu movie. She was actually brilliant in few scenes, especially the flashback episode. She looked gorgeous in the songs.

Prakash Raj has a relatively small role, but is excellent. Jaya Prakash Reddy was really good, and so was Raghu Babu. Vidyut Jammwal (Force fame) was absolutely wasted. The girl who played Tamanna's freind, Payal Ghosh, was good. The rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It was one hell of a story by Vakkantham Vamsi. It in itself was a Chameleon. It apparently is inspired from a Chinese movie 'Vengence'. The first half of the movie made no absolute sense. It was only in the second half that the motive was established. The problem is that the motive aint strong enough. As mentioned, its a story which changes colors. A small girl sitting in the next seat couldnt make head or tail of the movie. But even though it looks so complicated, it is actually not. Its the screenplay which makes it look so. Director Surender Reddy did a decent job. Only glitch was that he tried to hold the main plot till almost the end of the movie, which made the audience feel uncomfortable, as they (me included) couldnt understand the motives behind what was happening. But otherwise, the screenplay and direction were alright. Unlike Dookudu, the movie didnt have much comedy, but makes it up with a better story line.

Other Departements
Music by Devi Sri Prasad is good. I loved the first track of the movie 'Brathakali'. The background score, especially the theme bg score is excellent. Dialogues by Koritala Shiva are pretty neat. There were a number of words which made the cut during sensor, which was a little irritating. The climax set work (Art by Ravinder) looked really fake. Otherwise, it was pretty decent. Fights by Ram-Laxman are decent. If you thought that Dookudu was shot beautifully, watch Oosaravelli, cos the camera work by Rasool Ellore is absolutely brilliant. Graphics by Cgtrix are of top notch quality.  My friend who works for them just happened to mention that they they really had to work hard for this movie, and it shows on screen. Production values by BVSN Prasad are good.Thought he didnt spend a lot, he made sure to mint money by releasing the movie in record number of theaters.

Verdict
Its one hell of a movie. Whether you take it positively or negatively is your choice. It was a different film, alright, but could have been dealt with in a much better way, A strong motive in the flashback episode would have done wonders to the film. Its good to see a heroine oriented film in Telugu. Though its all and out NTR film, the narrative is based on Tamanna's character. Plus points are NTR (not the fatso), Tamanna, good music and excellent cinematography. Though the movie was long, it dint feel long. On the downside is the complicated looking screenplay. Its a pretty decent watch, but everything depends on how audience reacts to such different story line. In my opinion, it is better than Dookudu (by a wafer thin margin), but am sure not all of you would agree with me.

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10

Saturday, 1 October, 2011

Movie Review: Force

Plot
Yashwardhan (John Abraham) is a tough police officer working for the narcotics control bureau. He keeps bumping into a social worker Maya (Genelia D'Souza) often, and eventually falls in love with her. On job front, he kills a drug lord Anna (Mukesh Rishi). Anna's brother Vishnu (Vidyut Jammwal) kills Yash's team member to avenge his brothers death, and is after the rest of the team. The movie ends with an wrestle fight between Yash and Vishnu.

Artists Performance
"I don't want to do action like that because it does not look real, but the masses like it and the film becomes a hit. Maybe sensible people don't like it, I don't know. I am comfortable doing realistic stunts."
--John Abraham in an interview with Rediff.

Oh John, what was all that about?? He himself says that sensible people might not like it, and still goes ahead with the project. That's fine, but I really dont understand why he had to look so beefy in the movie. He looked more like a goon or the villain than the hero. And in which country does a police officer walk around wearing a vest while on duty?? John is not a great actor, period. His assets are his body and good looks. But since they aint enough for a movie to work, he needs modulate his expressions in a better fashion. In certain scenes, it was like, as my friend put it, watching a piece of furniture act. He was alright, but could have been much better. I cant think of a better choice than him for this remake, but he was no where close to match up with Suriya (Tamil).

Genelia needs to realize that Bommarillu (Telugu movie) is a thing of the past. Yes, she is great while portraying such bubbly characters, but I believe this was a more serious kinda role. After watching Jyothika (Tamil) and Asin (Telugu) do such beautiful job in the regional versions, it was quite difficult for me to watch her. She was good in parts, and a little irritating in few other.

Vidyut Jammwal is a cool hunk. Similar to all the guys with the great body, he cant act much, but can do much better if he works on it. He gave a tough fight to John in the climax. Mohit Behl, Mukesh Rishi, Raj Babbar were alright. Sandhya Mridul overplayed her role.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It is very tough to remake a film. There are a number of factors which help a film work, and you cant get all of them right every time. The original will always be better (and mostly work better) when compared with the remake. Keeping all this in mind,  I deem Nishikant Kamat did a pretty good job. He stuck to the original Tamil plot while making very few changes, but he could have worked a little more in fine tuning the script to suit Hindi junta. The screenplay was really good. I loved the way where in he showed multiple fights at multiple locations in parallel. Direction was good in parts. He should have tried to generate more from John while extracting little less from Genelia.

Other Departments
Music by Harris Jayraj  is good. He used two of his old tracks, Uyirin Uyire from Tamil original and Manasa from Munna (Telugu). Other than these two, the rest were nothing great (He should have used Ennai Konjam as well). Background score by Sameer Phatarpekar was mediocre. The sound mixing and recording was good. Action by Alan-Amin was fine, but went overboard at times. Cinematography by Ayananka Bose, and editing by Aarif Sheik was alright. It was comparatively low budget film.

Verdict
Frankly, I liked it better than the Telugu 'Gharshana' according to the story line. The Telugu one was a drag in the second half, but this one had better screenplay and left out lot of unnecessary senti crap. Acting wise, Tamil 'Kaakha Kaakha' wins the trophy hands down. Both John and Genelia could have performed better. Music is a plus. Overall, a gory but neat film, and a decent watch.

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

Movie Review: Dookudu

Plot
Shankar Narayan (Prakash Raj) is a responsible political leader, who wants his son Ajay to follow his footsteps and become a politician in the future. Shankar is hurt in an accident and goes into coma. Ajay (Mahesh Babu) grows up to instead be a police officer, and is put in charge to track down a mafia don Nayak (Sonu Sood). Shankar recovers from his coma after 14 years, and to satisfy his father’s wishes, Ajay dons the role of a MLA. The rest of the story is about how Ajay hunts for Nayak, and takes revenge on the people responsible for his father’s accident.

Artists Performance
It’s a tailor made role for Mahesh Babu. He is absolutely brilliant in the movie. He looks dashing all throughout and I loved his styling (I believe he is one of the best dressed actors in the industry). I thought his dialogue delivery was a little awkward in few scenes, especially the use of Telangana dialect. Having said that he was brilliant, I feel that he could have done much better in senti scenes. Probably because of his films being dubbed into Hindi by Salman, he used a number of punch dialogues.

Bramhanandam and M.S. Narayana have better roles and more screen time than Samantha. They are outstanding in their respective characters. Bramhanadam once again proves his mettle. His portrayal in the scenes where Mahesh describes the requirements for the reality show, and where he talks to Nagarjuna over the pen cam is terrific. M. S. Narayan entertains us with his show reel.

Samantha is alright as the female lead. There is no proper characterization to her role, and had less than 30 minutes of screen time on the whole. I believe Samantha suffers from the same problem as Vidya Balan and Kamalini Mukherjee; after essaying a beautiful, deglamorized roles in their first movies, it is quite difficult to accept them flirting and romancing with the hero. It looked quite odd. She also looked very lean.

The rest of the cast was alright. Sonu Soon had a different get up and was good. I felt that Prakash Raj’s character went a little over board. Bharani, Chandra Mohan, Suman, Nazer, Naga Babu, Ajay, Subbu Raju, Bharat, Sayaji Shinde, Kota, Dharmavarapu, Shafi, Vennela Kishore, Sonia, Parvati Melton, and the list goes on – this movie had them all. It was like watching a mini Maya Bazaar.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
In the first ten minutes, I thought the screenplay was running really fast. At the end of the three hour long moving, I realized why Srinu Vytla was rushing through the movie. Its because he tried to infuse so many stories into one film. Funnily, the stories he tries to infuse are all from his old movies. It was like watching all his movies together, right from Anandam to Namo Venkatesa. Senti scenes, family bonding, comedy bits, marriage song, we’ve seen them all before. But luckily, it works for most of the while. He also inserted a number of unnecessary concepts which made the movie lose its steam in between. Though there is absolutely no freshness in the story line, the strong cast helps him hold the movie together.

I have lot of qualms regarding the story, but since it’s a Telugu film, won't complaint much. Most noticeable was the lack of chemistry between Samantha and Mahesh. Except for the first few scenes after they first meet, there is not much happening around them. Also, Sonu Sood, who is shown as a big time scary don, seems to lose his steam towards the end. Him running away from Mahesh in the climax fight made no sense.

The screenplay, as mentioned, though rush in the beginning was fine toward the end. Direction was good in parts. Srinu Vytla’s plus point is his ability to create humor without trying much, and he was able to do that through most of the movie. 

Other Departments
Music by Thaman is average. Except for the title song, none of them had any impact. Background score was good in parts. Though the punch dialogues lacked punch, dialogues by Kona Venkat are really good. Editing by Varma could have been better. A number of scenes should have made the cut. Cinematography by Guhan and Prasad Murella is absolutely brilliant.  Thanks to them, people dint notice that Mumbai's police commissioner had his office on top of a multi storied building. The shots in Istanbul, and for one of the songs in US are really good. The graphics could have been much better. Producers Ram Achanta, Gopichand Achanta and Anil Sunkara spent a lot of money and it was visible. They had most of the Telugu industry cast in the movie.

Verdict
It was a boring, draggy, potpourri of movies which would never end. But still, it had its brilliant moments which makes the movie work. More than being a Mahesh's film, it had Srinu Vytla written all over it. Mahesh just helped it reach the pinnacle. Bramhanadam and M. S. Naryana's video clips shall be on almost everyone's facebook pages in the near future. Actually, its not Mahesh, but them who make the movie reach its pinnacle. Better editing and screenplay could have helped. On the whole, a decent film. Could have been much better, but with the recent dearth of good Telugu films, this movie is something most of us can feast on (count me out!!). 

Dumbo's Verdict: 6.5/10

Sunday, 18 September, 2011

Restaurant Review: Sri Sai Santosh Dhaba

Place: Sri Sai Santosh Dhaba
Location: Beside Anand Theater, Begumpet
Cuisine: North Indian
Meal: Dinner

On a fine evening, me and my friend were travelling towards Begumpet. We happened to be really hungry, and stopped at this Dhaba Ive been wanting to visit for a while. Its a small place, right on the main road. Walking in, it looked alright and was not crowded. The decors seemed ok, and tables were fine. And so, we were ready to hog.

Firstly, I noticed that the prices were pretty reasonable and comparable to my favorite Santosh Dhaba. We ordered Rani Kofta, a Garlic Naan, Stuffed Kulcha and Kaju Biryani.


There was only one waiter serving about 4 tables and it took forever for the order to arrive. We were getting really impatient and I was on the verge on screaming at the guy when food was finally served. The Kofta looked good, but seemed less in quantity. It was empty in just one serving for each of us. The gravy was thick and really tasty, but the Kofta ball was a little raw.


Ive never tasted Garlic Naan before, but I thought that this one was pretty good. It was well baked, had chunks of garlic to give a good flavor. On the other hand, the Stuffed Paratha was a big disappointment. It wasnt stuffed properly and was under cooked. 

Next came the Kaju Biryani.  And it turned out to be really good. I was disappointed that there were not many cashew nuts, but the masala was really tasty and spicy. The quantity served was also really good. A happy ending to an average meal. (I thought it was little overpriced at Rs. 150/-)

Overall, a decent place with decent food. The service wasnt too great, and neither was the ambiance. Every time the door opened, the place was close to rattling because of the traffic outside. I still prefer Santosh Dhaba, especially for their super fast service. But a change is good once in a while, and this place fits the bill.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 267/-

Dumbo's Rating: 7.5/10

Tuesday, 13 September, 2011

Restaurant Review: Utupura Kerala Restaurant

Place: Utupura
Location: Road No. 10, lane adj. Karvy, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Kerala Food
Meal: Dinner

Amma and I were planning to hog on Onasadhya on Onam for about a week. We couldnt eat at the restaurant, so instead brought parcel. I did read that this place is small does not have great ambiance, but on Onam, it was jam packed. I had to wait for more than 30 minutes to get my parcel.

The food turned out to be great though. The Sadhya had 17 items (I think one item was missing). I am not fully aware of the items served, so Il skip that part. It was served with brown rice. I and amma struggled to finish one meal. I initially felt that it was too expensive, but later realized that the price was justified. I was really impressed with the food and decided to give the place another try, this time for regular mallu food.

So here I was again 3 days later, this time for dinner with mom and dad. It is located on the first floor of an apartment building, on the lane next to Karvy office. As mentioned, it’s a small place with so so ambiance. It is basically an apartment turned into a restaurant. From the looks of it, it seemed like a famous food joint for nearby office crowd (lunch) and non-veg eaters. It wasnt packed for dinner though.

As expected, there was nothing much vegetarian on the menu, except for Appam, Idiappam, Porotta, etc., and a couple of wet dishes like Stew, Veg. Korma, Channa Masala and Mushroom Masala. The Appams and Porottas were reasonably priced, but the rest seemed to be a little expensive. Anyways, we ordered Appam with Veg. Stew, and Porotta with Channa Masala (I wanted to order Veg Korma, but the guy suggested Channa Masala).


It took about 10 minutes for the items to be served. Weirdly, the Stew and Channa Masala were served first without the Appams or Porottas. The Appams were cooked at a live counter at the other end of the restaurant. The Stew smelt really good and tasted excellent. It was a little sweet and I could make out that it was made out of fresh coconut milk. The Appams were very good. The Channa Masala was a little disappointing though. It was made with black channa, and was a little thin. The Porottas were the best I have had in twin cities. They were amazingly good, and I immediately ordered for another one. 


We did order Idiappams and a Chapati later on. The Chapati turned out to be really soft, while the Idiappams were cold and were not so great.


Overall, we were satisfied with the food. And it went easy on the pocket as well. A little better ambience, and better service could have made this a great experience, but it was good one nevertheless. From the menu, and as expected, this place should be a feast for any non vegetarian. For my vegetarian friends, as long as you don’t mind beef and fish being served around you, this is a place you should try. As I said, their Porottas are the best I have had so far!

Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Service: 7/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 216/-

Dumbo's Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, 11 September, 2011

Movie Review: Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

Plot
Luv (Ali Zafar) breaks up with his girlfriend Piyali (Tara D’Souza) for no particular reason while in London. Post break up (in the next one hour), he assigns his brother Kush (Imran Khan) to find him a bride. Kush relentlessly tries to find a good dulhan fro his brother and finally zeros on Dimple (Katrina Kaif). As expected, Dimple and Kush fall in love instead, and the rest of the story is about how Kush ends up marrying his brothers dulhan.

Artists Performance
Fifteen minutes through the movie, I was starting to wonder if whether I was watching a Yash Raj movie, or if it was a soap on Star Plus!! Cos not a single actor in the movie was acting. Instead, they were all overacting (trust me, that's an understatement). Imran Khan, high on success post Delhi Belly, seemed to be the only actor who dint overact as much as expected. He was alright. He does look like his mamu Aamir in few frames (With beard on, he reminded me of Aamir in Andaz Apna Apna). Katrina, who played such a beautiful and matured role in Zindagi, was absolutely wasted. I wonder how she even accepted to do such a dumb role. She was good in parts, but I couldn't watch her plummet so much. And where do I even start about Ali Zafar?? Agreed, he wasnt great in Tere Bin Laden either, but he crosses the line totally in this movie. Right from the first frame, he seems to be in his own world, of over-action. Even talented actors like Kanwaljit Singh and Parikshat Sahni were absolutely wasted in this mindless film.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
First time director Ali Abbas Zafar (Assistant Director of Badmash Company, New York, Tashan etc.) brings to screen a totally mindless entertainment flick, which doesn't even entertain us totally. Talking about story, there was absolutely none. It is well known (right from the title) that the movie is about falling in love with your brothers dulhan, but seems like Ali Abbas Zafar forgot that he needs to run a thread where in they would actually fall in love. The way Kush and Dimple fall in love makes no sense. Who asked you to flirt around with your brothers bride and get close to her in the first place?? Added to this, there was absolutely no chemistry between them. His direction was totally melodramatic. In one word, it sucked. Big time. Screenplay was alright.

Other Departments
Music and Background score by Sohail Sen was average. Except for "Choo Mantar", all other tracks made no impact. I liked the way he used old classics for BG. Editing by Ritesh Soni is alright. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is good. Production values by Yash Raj are excellent. I wish they invested in a better script though.

Verdict
There are so many useful things I could have done on a Saturday night. Instead I wasted two and half hours watching total crap, which did entertain once in a while. Actually, it was the over-action which entertained. Few people around me did seem to have fun (I wonder why). Katrina, though thoroughly wasted, is the only saving grace of the movie. A better script and much better direction, could have made this movie a good watch. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good either. Overall, overacting overdose!!

Dumbo's Verdict: 6/10