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

Sunday, 4 September, 2011

Restaurant Review: News Cafe

Place: News Cafe
Location: Inorbit Mall, Hitech City
Cuisine: International
Meal: Dinner

Was supposed to hit a pub on Saturday night. This time around, I even had company to go with. But as unfortunate as I am, headed off to News Cafe for a meal. Ive heard some good stuff about this place so was very eager to try it out. Also, having starved the whole day, was very very hungry.

At 9 PM on a Saturday night, the place looked quite empty. Only the tables on the balcony facing Secret lake were occupied. There were four of us, and we found a table to the far end of the balcony, under the air-condition compressors. Beautiful view of the lake made us accept this table, but we began to regret sitting here after a while. There were loads of mosquitoes, and there was nothing the guy could do to help it.

Anyways, unable to bear our hunger, me and my friend ordered a pasta each while the other two planned to skip a meal. My friend ordered Penne in Alfredo sauce, while I went for Spaghetti in Walnut cream sauce (Spaghetti on consecutive days). We also asked for Apple flavored Hookah (not for me).

The Hookah was served first. I took a taste of it for the first time. Strangely, I couldn't feel a thing, it was as if I was breather air. But the second time, it made my throat go dry. I wonder what pleasure people get from it. I personally didn't like it one bit!

My friend's pasta was served first, and it looked alright. But it apparently dint taste that good. I took a taste, and thought it was very very bland. Mine was served a while later, and was much much better than his meal. It wasnt as great as the one I had the previous night at Little Italy (Review), but no qualms. It was creamy alright, and there were a couple of crunchy walnuts here and there. The garlic bread served along was good, so ordered more of them. Since I was really hungry, I actually dint care much for the taste.

We sat here for about two hours, but the place got duller and duller. There seemed to be absolutely no life at the place. All four of us were starring at each others faces for most of the while. The prices of the food and liquor were exorbitant, and the food dint taste amazing either. The quantity of food served was also quite less. Added to this, the server was quite rude. He wanted us to move to a table for 3 in between, as we were having only food and hookah (he actually said that!!). On the whole, I was very very disappointed. I was hoping for a better end to a long day, and it was absolutely thwarted!!

Food: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 6/10 (Thanks to the beautiful view of the lake)
Service: 5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 1850/- (Including the Hookah and a pack of cigarettes)

Dumbo's Review: 6/10

Friday, 2 September, 2011

Restaurant Review: Little Italy

Place: Little Italy
Location: Rd. No. 92, Jubilee Hills, Rd. adj. to Volkswagen showroom
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner

On a Friday night, I badly wanted to go to a pub. But lack of company got me sitting at home as usual. Determined not to stay at home again, decided to go out and eat some good food. So here I was at Little Italy, my favorite Italian restaurant in town. Not wanting to leave amma alone at home, I treated her to loyalty (I am such a doting son :D ).

Since it was a Friday night, I thought the place would be packed, so decided to reserve a table by calling an hour ahead. But surprisingly it was quite on this night. Located on top of a hill at Jubilee Hills, this place has an awesome view of the city, and has great ambiance. But the tables are placed quite close to each other which makes it look a little congested. They have cozy tables for couples outside on the balcony, which provides a better view of the city. The dim lights set you in the right mood to enjoy a sumptuous yummy meal. A great place to visit with family as well as with your better half.

I should have clicked more pictures

I was not really hungry after munching something at home late evening, so decided to go light on the meal. We ordered Crostini Alla Ragusana for starters (Sliced farmer’s bread, grilled and topped with artichokes, olives, capers, Italian mayonnaise, pesto and fresh chopped tomatoes). I am actually not so fond of Bruschetta, but wanting to taste something different made decide on this one. Also, the sound of Italian mayonnaise was tempting enough.


And I was very happy with my order. Ten pieces of bread were quite yummy. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy, and the artichokes very tender. The mayonnaise was a little too sweet, but had good flavor.

For the main course, I ordered a Lasange alla Gypsy for amma (Layers of home-made pasta, b├ęchamel sauce, tomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino cheese, mushrooms and aubergine, baked in oven), and a Pasta Gambaza for myself (White creamy sauce, mushrooms, asparagus and Italian herbs).


The lasagna looked very good, but tasted alright. It had a strong after taste, probably because of the pecorino cheese. The mushrooms were strong and had good flavor to them. It wasn't the best lasagna Ive had here, but amma seemed to love it.


I choose spaghetti for my pasta. It turned out to be delicious. Very very creamy, as I asked him to make, it was cheesy as well. The spaghetti was tender and perfect. I had little trouble forking it but made my way through the entire bowl in about ten minutes. Amma had a taste, and thought it was a little too bland. I asked for some oregano, which disappointingly was very very dry. The mushrooms here weren't as strong as in the lasagna. Overall, Bliss!!

The service was very friendly. It took a while for the food to be served, but we weren't in a hurry, so it didn't matter. Great food and good ambiance makes this place a must visit. The prices are on the high end though. Their large vegetarian menu is something you don't find at any other Italian eatery in town. They also serve a good range of mocktails and Wine. I dint know that these guys had branches in Mumbai, Pune, etc. till recent, with the same menu served everywhere. So, if you loking for a lavish Italian meal, head on to Little Italy.

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 1200/-

Dumbo's Rating: 8.5/10
Amma's Rating: 8/10

PS: The price played a big factor for the final rating.