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

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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