Saturday, 9 July 2011

Murder 2 review

Cast: Emraan HashmiJacqueline FernandezPrashant NarayananSudhanshu Pandey
Directed by Mohit Suri
Rating: *
Mahesh Bhatt presents (a squirt of paan). A Vikram Bhatt production (a spew of ketchup). A Mohit Suri film (a splash of red curry). When the credits roll like this, it's not surprising that 60 percent of the film has some substitute for blood being spat on the screen. 'Murder 2' is, as you would imagine, a bloody thriller.
The film's lead hero, Arjun (Emraan Hashmi) is Goa's very own Robin Hood. An ex-cop who is now engaged in almost all illegal operations that can be managed wearing a leather jacket. He doesn't believe in God but regularly visits church to donate fat bundles of money to orphans. And yes, somewhere towards the end of the film, he does reinstate his allegiance to Christianity, inappropriately accompanied by the song 'Aye Khuda Mil Gaya'. And what transforms him into a believer is a series of painfully graphic and ridiculously illogical incidents.

Arjun's lady love, Priya (Jacqueline Fernandez) models for sleazy magazines. Naturally, in every two out of her three scenes, Priya is required to shed some part of her clothing. So, for anatomy students, it couldn't be a better way to learn about the human body. Most of Priya's dialogues are lost inside Arjun's mouth as he indulges her in one smooch-athon after another. And when she does get a chance to speak, it's a bit out of sync like the late-night dubbed teleshopping ads.
But what really adds thrill and lots of screams into this thriller is a cross-dressing psycho-killer, Dheeraj Pandey (Prashant Narayanan), who loves mutilating sex workers while singing 'Bheegey Hont Tere', unmelodiously and with sadistic lyrics. Why? Because his characterization is deep fried. Oddly enough, he gets caught early in the film and even confesses to his sinister deeds. But there are so many reels left? So, just to pass time, Arjun is assigned the task to find clues and evidence to corroborate Pandey's confession by a bewildered cop (Sudhanshu Pandey). And just to double the excitement, he has to do all this over a night.
Will Arjun manage to flick his Little Richard bangs and save Pandey's last victim? Despite confessing to finely chopping several whores, will Pandey be let off for his odd political connections? Will Priya's lips continue moving for seconds after her dialogue completes? These questions are only rhetorical and best unanswered.
The dialogues in this film are downright tacky. An interaction between the lead pair just after a ferocious make-out session goes like this. Priya: "Khaaye, Piye, Khiskay? Arjun: "Hotel mein khaane ke baad koi baitha rehta hain kya?" But the dialogues don't even compare to the magnitude of clich├ęs in the plot. Arjun's 'Ma-Behen-Baap' have all deceased due to poverty. Eunuchs have been portrayed as a cult that worships the devil and let's not even get into the cop with the fake Goan accent.
The film's sound effects could have you shrinking into your seat. But largely, it's less scary and more disturbing. Emraan manages a great job of letting his mouth do all the acting but his constipated expressions are only marginally different from his remaining expressions. Jacqueline is an ideal pin-up girl and those considering this film just to get a glimpse of her would be happy to overlook her lack of acting skills or inability to enunciate.
One could safely call this film as the 'Silence of the Bhatts', with Emraan almost managing the Jodie Foster hairdo. And since the penalty for several murders is the same as that for one, let's just hope the third one is a bit more premeditated.

Maruti stops Swift production

India’s largest carmaker Maruti has ended the production of its highly selling premium hatchback Swift, to make way for the next generation Swift, which will be launched in late August or early September.
Dealers have started accepting bookings for the new Swift. Maruti has codenamed the new Swift as YP8 and its trial runs are on in the Manesar plant, reports Economic Times.
According to a report in Business Standard, The car will come with 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel variants. It was reported that the new model, built on a slightly longer yet new platform, will be little extra roomy, lighter and return better mileage than the current generation Swift. Besides, engineershave also achieved a substantial reduction in the overall weight of the car by replacing the metal fuel tank with a plastic tank. This will improve its fuel efficiency by a little over 13 per cent. This will be the first major face-lift for the Swift since it was launched six years ago. Pricing details of the new car has not been shared by the company.

It was also reported that the new Swift will be produced at the company’s Manesar facility inHaryana, which has recently seen labour unrest. The petrol variant will return a mileage of around 20 km a litre, as compared to 17.9 km per litre certified by the Automotive Research Association ofIndia. Similarly, the diesel model will deliver around 23.8 km per litre, as against the existing 21 km a litre.
The report stated that for installing the plastic fuel tanks, Maruti Suzuki India has tied up with France’s Plastic Omnium, the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic fuel tanks as it was mentioned that plastic fuel tanks are usually 25-35 per cent lighter than the conventional metal tanks. Besides, these are corrosion-free, durable, non-explosive and easily recyclable. Maruti Suzuki India has entered into a tripartite joint venture with Suzuki Motor Corporation and Plastic Omnium to manufacture fuel tanks at the Manesar facility. The new plastic tank manufacturing facility, Inergy Automotive Systems Manufacturing India Private Ltd, was inaugurated in Manesar on Monday.
According to the report, Maruti may also offer a four-speed automatic transmission option in the petrol version, besides the regular five-speed manual. The Swift which is available now in petrol, diesel and CNG versions and priced between Rs 3.9-5.5 lakh, sells close to 12,000 units every month. It recorded a growth of 21 per cent last year selling over 140,000 units as against 116,000 units sold in the previous year. The Swift accounts for about 25 per cent of the hatchback segment, and competes with Hyundai i20, Volkswagen PoloSkoda Fabia, Nissan Micra, Fiat Punto and Toyota Liva. It was also mentioned that Maruti is also preparing to launch a new Swift Dzire, which will be cheaper and will probably hit the market by early 2012.

Supreme Court bars opening of Kerala temple's sixth vault

The Supreme Court Friday said that the sixth vault of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala will not be opened till the treasure recovered so far is properly documented.
An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik said that the the sixth vault (Kallara B) will not be opened till the treasure recovered from Kallara A is videographed, photographed and its inventory is prepared.
The court directed that the Kallara A which has been resealed, will not be reopened till arrangements are made for its videography and photography and a curator is appointed to assess the antiquity and valuation of its treasure.

The court also took note of a statement by former prince of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore, Sree Marthanda Varma, who is the chief trustee of the temple that the former royal family has no claim over any part of the treasure found in the temple.
The temple belongs to the public and the treasure belongs to the temple deity, Varma's counsel K.K. Venugopal added.
The court also noted the statement of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that the government has no claim over the treasure.
The Supreme Court had appointed a seven-member committee in May, to open the vaults of the temple, which led to the discovery of huge treasure estimated to be around Rs.1 lakh crore.
There are six vaults in the temple, five of which have been opened.

Mumbai, New Delhi among 5 cheapest places in world

Government may be finding it difficult to battle soaring inflation in the country, but a global survey has found two key Indian cities -- Mumbai and New Delhi -- to be amongst the five cheapest places to live.
In a Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, India''s financial capital Mumbai has been ranked third cheapest place to live, while national capital New Delhi is fifth.
The annual survey, conducted by international research firm Economist Intelligence Unit, claims to rank as many as 134 major places across the world on the basis of costs of various items ranging from food to transport to toiletries.
In this year''s ranking of costliest cities of the world, Mumbai has been placed at 131st position, up a place from 132nd a year ago, while New Delhi has remained at 129th.
The only two places found to be cheaper than Mumbai are Tunis in Tunisia and Karachi in Pakistan. Tehran in Iran has been ranked as cheaper than New Delhi at 130th position.
Japan''s Tokyo has been ranked as the costliest place in the world, followed by Oslo (Norway), Japan''s Osaka Kobe, Paris (France) and Zurich (Switzerland) in the top five.
Others in the top-ten include Sydney, Melbourne, Frankfurt, Geneva and Singapore.
The Indian cities'' ranking among five cheapest has come as a surprise, as soaring prices have been a matter of grave concern for common man as also policymakers in the country.
Only yesterday, the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said there was inflationary pressure in the economy, although inflation in the food segment has declined marginally.
He also said that the overall inflation figure for the month of June could see some upward movement, from 9.06 per cent recorded in May. .

India loses the charm of cheap labour

The recent move by UK- based telecom outsourcer New Call Telecom to move its call centre from Mumbai to the UK is another sign of India's advantage of cheap labour losing its allure.
New Call Telecom, which started the call centre in Mumbai three years ago, said that it chose to shift base to Lancashire as it feels that labour is cheaper in that country than in India. The shift will create around 25 jobs in the UK with the figure rising to about 100 in a couple of years.
The move by New Call Telecom, which provides broadband and telecom services, is not the first such. Two years ago, British Telecom shifted 2,000 call centre jobs from India back to the UK. This is a far cry from the days when companies from countries such as the UK and the US outsourced jobs to offshore locations in India as they had to pay staff less here. However, with salaries in India rising fast, some companies are finding it difficult to maintain profit margins.
Salaries in India Inc are set to rise by 12.9 per cent on average in 2011, according to a report by global human resource firm Aon Hewitt.

India's Greatest Batsmen And Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Dhoni has had a spectacular run as captain over the past 12 months - World Cup victory, number one Test team, IPL triumph and Champions League trophy. These victories should put him in the running for 'winning-est sportsman of the year', though Novak Djokovic will end up winning that title come December 2011 (no, it's not an actual title, but it should be- you ought to be able to recongnise the greatest champion across all sports for a calender year). But Dhoni has not had the greatest run with the bat, particularly in Test matches. His last Test century came over a year ago on a flat Kolkata pitch on which four Indian batsmen scored hundreds in the innings. He's averaged 26 with the bat over the past 12 months and his overall Test average stands at 38. That's not bad for a keeper who bats at seven. But this is Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a man who is on course to become on of India's greatest batsmen ever, at least in the limited overs game.

So how good has Dhoni been in ODIs? He's 49-88 (Average-Strike Rate, rounded off). In comparison, Tendulkar is 45-86, Ponting is 43-81 while Lara finished at 40-80. Bevan wound up at 54-74, Kallis is at 45-73 and Richards is 47-90 (which is mind-bogglingly brilliant considering the era he played in). Now granted Dhoni has about a third of the career runs of a Sachin and still has a way to go in his career, but at his current pace he's on track to be rated one of the greatest ODI batsmen ever. And it's not just about the numbers - Dhoni can also talk about delivering quality performances when they matter (World Cup final or in tight chases in general). His critics talk about his unorthodox technique or his not-so-elegant shots, but the bottom line is the man gets the job done and finds a way to adapt to different situations.

With Tests though, Dhoni has lost his way a bit. Yes, there have been a few unlucky dismissals, but for the most part he hasn't batted well. Here's a look at where Dhoni stands amongst the India's greatest run-scorers in Tests and ODIs

We are simply looking at overall averages in Tests and ODIs, while ignoring other variables like strike rate and era the batsmen played in. Tendulkar stands out for his ability to deliver in both forms of the game. Laxman and Gavaskar show up to be clear Test specialists - amongst the best in the five day game but didn’t have the same success in ODIs. Who's the other surprising 'Test specialist' in there? Virender Sehwag, who really has no business being there (he should be in the Tendulkar category), but is highly inconsistent in ODIs and only averages 35.

By contrast, Yuvraj and Ganguly are ODI specialists, who thrived far better in the 50 over format. Dhoni seems to be the most extreme ODI specialist - the next Bevan - if he keeps going at his current pace. However, he really should be doing better in Tests and he'll be hoping to get back into some form during the England series. He was averaging about 43 is Tests one year ago and India will need him to get going against a strong opposition.  

‘People can get bored of item numbers’

Katrina Kaif doesn’t regret any of her decisions and feels people can get bored if every film has item songs

What excited you about ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’?
The film itself excited me. Whatever genre I work in, I try to ensure to check if it’s entertaining for the audience and that’s what I did for this film too. It’s a youth film and a lot about what our generation is feeling today. And you don’t have to do the same kind of comedies just because it’s working. So I wanted to be a part of this because it was a different film. 

Every film is different, how is this any ‘different’?
Like ‘Ajab..’ was a commercial comedy aimed at kids and ‘Rajneeti’ was a serious drama, this in that sense is a different film and one that I felt that people will enjoy watching.

Do you have a checklist for selecting a role?
No, never. I follow a very general instinct. If I like something and it sounds like it’s going to fun, I go for it. I don’t calculate or check that the film has this or that. It should just be an entertaining film for the audience.

The film looks like it’s about three guys on a road trip. So have you been on one yourself?

I travelled a lot across Europe when I was growing up. But those were not so fancy as this and not so much fun either and I was very young then. I wouldn’t call this a road trip film though, it’s just a backdrop of the film. It’s more of a ‘coming of age’ film about these three guys at a turning point of their lives.

What were the challenges in playing your part in this film?

The challenges were in the adventure part of it but in a film like this when you have very good actors, it’s just that everyone plays their part and there are not many challenges.   

In a multi-starrer like ZNMD, there’s a huge chance of getting lost, so how do you create your identity in the film?
You just have to try and do it. That’s part of the challenge. 

Since it’s a fun film, did you guys have a blast on the sets?

It was definitely a very memorable experience. And I feel everyone just came together in a way. When you’re travelling constantly, going to different beautiful cities in Spain, everyone has to put aside their personal issues and airs for a while. And we did bond a lot and it was a special journey in a way for all of us. 

Since you’ve been branded for your dance numbers, what are the pros and cons for the same?

I don’t think there can be any cons for it. But that doesn’t mean that every film should have a dance number in it. I think it’s wonderful that they’ve accepted and liked my songs and my dancing. But if it’s there in every film, they’ll get bored of it. You have to break it up. Like in Rajneeti, there were no songs. And at that time, songs were a huge part of what I was doing. The audience wants to see a complete entertainer, songs or not. The next film I’m doing with Imran Khan is a full-on musical and will have dance number again. So you have to keep changing. 

At this point of time in your career, which are the decisions you’re proud of and which are the ones you regret?
You cannot regret any decision you’ve made. Because every decision you’ve made was with a good intention. As long as you don’t do things with the wrong intention, its fine. You did what you felt was right at the time of making the decision. There are no absolutes to films you pick. If you’re doing it for honest reasons, whatever be the outcome, it’s OK.

Your name ranked as the most searched keyword on Yahoo! India last year. But in the end of the day what really matters?
What I find special about that and I won’t give myself a pat on the back for this, is that many people are interested in you and your films. And the audience is supporting you and your films and that means more to me than any award. If I can have that and retain that, its means everything. If they’re searching for you, it hopefully means they support you, right?

Do you have a dream holiday?

Mexico because it’s a place I’ve never been to it and it’s beautiful.

Health dos, don't for a better looking you

Good looks come with good food and a healthy lifestyle. What you eat is what shows on your face, hair and figure.
Want to eat right but not sure how? Divide your plate. Half should be full of vegetables, and the rest should be divided between proteins - chicken, fish, tofu, egg white, sprouts - and cereals. Include two servings of fruit.
To keep your metabolism high: Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Ditch your three meals a day and eat five-six small meals instead. Leave a gap of three hours between each meal. Nutrients for good skin include proteins, essential fats, vitamins A, E, C, B complex, selenium, zinc and copper.
Get your proteins right: Essential fatty acids (linoleic and alphalinoleicacid) which are found in seed oils are important in maintaining lustrous skin. Fatty fish, alsi (flaxseeds) and evening primrose oil provide essential fatty acids for the skin.
Vitamin A: Best known as a vitamin for healthy skin, is found in fish liver oil, liver, carrot, berries, melons, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, papaya, mango, green leafy vegetables, tomato and yellow pumpkins.
Vitamin C: Also boosts collagen production, which helps keep the skin firm. Top up on citrus fruits (orange, lemon), guava, amla (gooseberry), papaya, broccoli, berries and green leafy vegetables. These have Vitamin C - vital to maintain good skin.

Vitamin E: Is an antioxidant that helps maintain good skin health, and protects from sun damage. You can get it from vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower, soybean), butter, nuts, wheat germ, whole grain cereals, eggs and green leafy vegetables.
Your body requires antioxidants to keep healthy and glowing. Herbs and spices such as cloves, turmeric, dalchini (cinnamon), ginger, pepper, oregano and peppermint, and tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, beans, peas, black pepper, sunflower and sesame seeds are rich sources.
Reach for THE yoghurt - the probiotics in it enhance absorption of antioxidants and other nutrients.
Avocados are high in calories, but they're a brilliant source of healthy nutrients including good fats, vitamins A, E, C and B6.
Snack healthy with a handful of nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflowers seeds, alsi (flax seeds) and pistachios. Walnuts are a rich source of fatty acids and almonds contain more calcium than any other nut. All of them help you feel fuller for longer.
Trans fats are a by-product that are formed during the process of hydrogenation - adding hydrogen to liquid oils to make them solid. This way, cheap vegetable oils can be made more like animal fat. Vanaspati, Dalda, margarines, shortenings and butter substitutes fall into this category.
They increase the risk of degenerative chronic diseases. Almost all commercially prepared and pre-packed ready-to-eat foods, including commercially prepared biscuits, cakes, cake mixes, chocolates, doughnuts, cereals, fried namkeens and French fries, have trans fats.
Cigarettes are a smoking gun: With every puff producing millions of free radicals, depleting the skin of oxygen, leading to dryness and dry spots, premature lines and wrinkles, dull unhealthy-looking complexion, and loss of radiance.
Alcohol: Excessive alcohol is a dehydrator, which also damages your cells and leads to dull skin, enlarged pores, discolouration, wrinkles and sagging. An occasional glass of wine has antioxidants - "occasional" and "glass" are the key words.

How about a beer with your iPhone?

You can do a lot with an iPhone these days -- text, take pictures, surf the net, and even make a phone call.
And soon, thanks to two Australian entrepreneurs, you will be able use it to open a bottle of beer by way of the "Opena," a hard plastic case that fits over the iPhone and is equipped with a slide-out bottle opener.
"Basically, Australians are fairly heavy drinkers, as you may or may not know," said Melbourne-based Chris Peters, an industrial designer who developed the product with Rob Ward, a former toolmaker.
"We're always out at friends' houses and so on, and in some cases you may not have your keys on you... So we thought, why don't we attach a bottle opener to an iPhone case? We always have our phones on us."

Working from three basic rules -- the case had to be slim, there had to be no chance of the opener scratching the iPhone, and the opener had to work without putting any pressure on the phone -- the two developed a prototype.
Testing including running through what a promotional video termed "the worst case scenario" in which a friend has shaken up the beer and it foams over. The case -- and the iPhone -- came through unscathed every time.
Aside from a few initial glitches because the first prototypes were too weak, development went smoothly. Start-up funding via an internet site that allows anybody to pitch in, has also gone well, enabling a sales launch within weeks.
"The strangest thing that happened was when we were doing the filming for the video and we had a courier drop off a parcel," Peters said.
"He gave us some very unusual looks when we had about 20 open beers at seven in the morning."
Though some who posted on the pair's Facebook page expressed doubt about the wisdom of putting a phone that close to a foaming beverage, the response was mainly positive.
"Finally I can combine my love of drinking and tech," one said.

Complaints about land grabbing flood TN police

The Jayalalithaa Government in Tamil Nadu has launched a crackdown on land grabbing with special police cells set up across the state being flooded with complaints.
In the past few weeks, over 550 complaints had been lodged with police after special anti-land grabbing cells were set up in all the districts, police said.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa during her assembly election campaign made land grabbing a major plank, alleging that powerful DMK men were involved in it and vowed to crush it.
In many instances, complaints have been filed against local DMK functionaries but party Treasurer and former Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin dismissed them as cases lacking evidence.

"These are all cases filed without any evidence. We will face it," he said recently.
The anti-land grabbing cells were set up on instructions of Additional General General of Police (Law and Order) S George, according to police sources who, however, maintain there was no political overtone to their action.
George said "there were some who used power in various ways for different means but now more and more number of people are approaching the police."
Chennai''s suburbs, particularly in adjoining Kancheepuram district, had seen an increase in land grabbing incidence as real estate prices have shot up in the area of late.
The district has become the preferred choice of IT and multi-national companies, including automakers, in view of its proximity to Chennai.
"The creation of these cells has been well received by the public. We have received over 80 complaints. These cells are helping us focus more on these issues," Kancheepuram District Superintendent of Police S Manoharan told PTI.
"We have assigned one Sub Inspector and one constable each in all police stations to focus on land grabbing," he said. (MORE) PTI DSJ MS VS BN

Shahzad was kidnapped, killed with government sanction: US admiral

 The killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad was 'sanctioned' by the Pakistan government, said a top US official.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: 'It was sanctioned by the (Pakistan) government.'
'I have not seen anything to disabuse the report that the government knew about this,' he said during a Pentagon briefing.
Admiral Mullen is the first American official to publicly accuse Pakistan of the kidnapping, torture and death of 40-year-old Saleem Shahzad, reported the New York Times.

Shahzad, 40, was kidnapped in Islamabad May 29 and his body, bearing marks of severe torture, was found dumped in a canal in Punjab province two days later.
He is widely believed to have been seized by intelligence officials for alleging in an article that terrorists attacked a key naval base in Karachi May 22 after the navy refused to free sailors held for suspected militant links.
Admiral Mullen said he could not specifically tie Shahzad's death to the Inter-Services Intelligence, although Obama administration officials believe that the ISI ordered the killing.
The ISI has denied that it killed Shahzad.
A military official later said that Admiral Mullen was 'appalled' at learning of the circumstances behind Shahzad's death.
A doctor who conducted the post-mortem examination said the journalist had sustained 17 lacerated wounds, a ruptured liver and two broken ribs.
Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, reacting to Admiral Mullen's remarks, said Pakistan has appointed a commission to probe the death.
'Any evidence that our American friends have should be shared with that commission,' Haqqani was quoted as saying.
'We are as interested in getting to the bottom of this matter as anyone else in the world, given our concern about human rights.'

Confirmed: Women are worse drivers than men!

 It is official. Scientists have discovered that women drivers are more dangerous behind the wheel.
A University of Michigan study found that female drivers get in more accidents despite driving less often than men do.
Researchers looked at 6.5million car crashes and found a higher than expected number of accidents between two female drivers.
They also discovered that women have a tough time negotiating crossroads, T-junctions and slip roads.
The results are even more surprising given that men spend more time behind the wheel than women. On average, men drive 60 percent of the time, and women 40 percent.

"The results indicate that in certain crash scenarios, male-to-male crashes tend to be under-represented and female-to-female crashes tend to be over-represented," the Daily Mail quoted Michael Sivak, of the University of Michigan, as saying.
The scientists also found that women were more likely than men to crash at a junction - their cars are often hit on the left-hand side when trying to make a right-hand turn, and vice versa.
Sivak said this might be due to height difference between the sexes.
He said: "There are three dominant driver-related factors, including the probability of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, one's own driving skills and the driving skills of the other driver involved." (ANI)

Chillar Party review

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Sanath MenonRohan Grover, Naman Jain, Chinmai Chandranshuh, Sherya Sharma
Directed by Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari
Rating: **
If you're here to read this review, you're either a minor or you're still stuck in your childhood, mentally. If not, you better be because this film, featuring an adolescent army, is by, for and of thekids (and may be the parents, who have to endure this film with them). And thankfully, the kids in question are remarkably unlike Bollywood kids. They're not pathetically dull, yet not over-smart like kids in TV soaps.
The movie begins with an innocent and a grammatically challenged acknowledgment, 'For the love of dog'. While you try to imagine if editing studios have spell-check, we cut into a detergent commercial. Yes, a commercial after the opening acknowledgment (is still better than in-film?). Since the commercial features kids, some people in the audience will actually applaud it, assuming that the movie has begun. Sigh.
Soon, we're ushered into an average middle class housing colony in Mumbai called Chandan Nagar Society. Each kid residing here is introduced deliciously along with peculiar details that dictate their nicknames. Like the one who's always handed down his elder brother's clothes is called 'Second-hand' and the one who doesn't wear an underwear is dotingly called 'Janghiya'. Anyway, these kids are cumulatively called 'Chillar Party' (CP) by the many neighbourhood uncles, aunties and a certain man who sounds like a woman (appropriately called Googly).
The film picks up pace and interest, as there's a new addition to this merry troupe of toddlers called Fatka, a little labourer who enters the society as a car cleaner with his mutt Bhidu (not to be confused with Jackie Shroff).
Just as the kids get into the swing of things, a politician declares a new law which would make Bhidu a chief target for the dog van. Now, although this may seem like a frivolous issue, it becomes a paramount concern for the CP. And the build-up is such that their concern and stress over the silliest things will easily trickle down to you.
The team of tiny tots formulates several stunts to stir media and public attention to take notice of their humble predicament. With just the right amount of drama, this seemingly trivial film, takes a turn for the better and becomes an inspirational tale of standing up for what you believe in. Unfortunately, it can't maintain the energy till the end. And when we reach a critical juncture in the film where there is a televised debate between the politician and the CP, it ends up being a preachy moral science lecture. Yawn.
'Chillar Party' gets full marks for the background score that actually holds up the intensity of scenes which would otherwise be ignored as feeble and weak. And also the screenplay is tight enough to hold your attention, even without the lure of a recognizable star or the attraction of an earth-shattering story.
Perhaps, debut directors Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari should be lauded for trying their best (and succeeding to a large extent) in engaging us in a story which has little potential, yet a world of possibilities.

Harbhajan needs to redefine himself

In KR Guruprasad’s delightful book Going Places which profiles India's small-towners turned-superstars, Harbhajan Singh's mentor Devender Arora describes a memorable incident from an Under-16 match — one, which would underline Harbhajan's bowling prowess.
Arora coached the Jalandhar side in an inter-district match in Patiala. Arora noticed something on the good length outside off-stump. It was an ant mound. The ball would misbehave upon landing on this soft, sandy patch.

Arora called Harbhajan and asked him if he could see this spot from the bowling end. Harbhajan could. Arora told him to land the ball on the spot. He could.
The 13-year-old spinner took 15 wickets in that match just by landing the ball on that spot.
"Even at that age," said Arora, "Harbhajan was so accurate that he could land the ball wherever he wanted to. It was a God’s gift. I was very sure from there on that he would be a great bowler."
It's been 18 years since the incident. Harbhajan is 31. He sits on a pretty pile of 400 sticks — a number that may have exceeded even Arora's expectations.
Only 10 men have done better. Most of them had begun contemplating a life away from cricket after this milestone. Not so for Harbhajan.
He has age on his side. But his challenge is to remain relevant to India's plans. In recent times, Harbhajan's penetrative abilities have resembled that of a rubber duck trying to take on the INS Viraat, more so in the World Cup where he played minimal part in India's triumph and was overshadowed by Yuvraj Singh.
Harbhajan's Milestone Wickets
His apologists say Harbhajan's defensive skills — chiefly, his leg-stump darts — build pressure and create wickets from the other end. The problem is, India have had to rely on the other end far too much. While he may get away with it in one-day cricket, he won't in Tests.
This stands true even in the Test series in West Indies. He has seven wickets in five outings in the most bowler-friendly conditions he's going to get all year, and against a weak opponent too. Notably, this is a series where bowlers on both sides have improved their standings.
After beating Pakistan in Mohali, MS Dhoni tacitly admitted to carrying an under-performing bowler before adding "as long as we're winning." It's hard to question a captain who wins as frequently as Dhoni does. But then...
The Harbhajan of old was about offense. About starting fires. About changing the status quo. About drama, and making things happen.
He was the firebrand Sikh bent on winning, if not annoying his opponents. The one who'd complain about the quality of his lunch first, worry about being expelled from the NCA next. The sort whose memory evokes crude remarks even from seasoned opponents.
And then, there was the turn, bounce, dip. The countless revs on the ball. The hissing sound the ball made as it spun by. And his ability to land the ball on the spot, day after day. It made the Australians look ridiculous in the summer of 2001. There was the doosra. It even seduced Jacques Kallis into a rare failure. No sir. This bowler, this man, was no status quoist. He was the man you give a Molotov cocktail and let him start a riot. He was all about aggressive change.
Things are quieter now.
There aren't nearly enough revs. His doosra is preserved somewhere in cotton wool. And even on days Harbhajan gets troublesome bounce around off-stump, he settles into his around-the-wicket leg-stump line which rules out an off-spinner's classical dismissals: bowled through the gap, LBW or bat-pad. The exhibitionist now looks clerical.
He now reminds one of a commonplace government employee, holding down a 9-to-5 desk job, clocking his mandatory hours, keeping things quiet, content with whatever little comes his way, not worrying too much about the bottomline or about losing his job. It helps that he has friends in the right places.
Delusions about being an all-rounder are frequently visited, even though he does precious little to fulfill his primary function as a bowler.
Harbhajan's Test Record: Team-wise Break-up
Harbhajan's Test Record: Team-wise Break-up
Harbhajan often credits Anil Kumble for part of his success. Perhaps he should seek inspiration from what Kumble did after being dropped for the tour of Australia in 2003 because he was deemed ineffective abroad. But after Harbhajan got injured on the tour, Kumble returned. And what did Kumble do?
He bowled with venom, determined to prove his detractors wrong. As a result, 24 wickets fell to him in three games, including 12 in Sydney.
In 32 Tests abroad since that series, Kumble's strike-rate dropped from 93.1 to 58.9 — eight points better than his strike-rate at home in the same period. His 146 wickets in those matches set up some memorable wins. But since that Australia series, Kumble left no doubt about who India's No. 1 spinner was.
So — where does Harbhajan want to go from here? Would his legacy would be of India's finest off-spinner or of the faded prima donna who got in the way of budding talents? A true great, or just a pretender?
It's all in his hands, or rather, his fingers. Truth be told, if he held a magic mirror and asked it "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is India's best off-spinner today?" the mirror would instantly reply "Ravichandran Ashwin".

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