Best Bollywood Movies of 2014
When in comes to Hindi movies and Indian Cinema, the tastes differ, the personal choices vary. Some like action while others prefer drama, and yet others long for serious films. Here are some of the best 2014 Bollywood movies:
Queen – Rani (the name translates to the ‘queen’) is an average girl with below-average self confidence. After her fiancé calls off their wedding, she embarks alone on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam. This comedy-drama film is beautifully directed by Vikas Bahl. The film stars Kangana Ranaut in the lead role with Lisa Haydon and Rajkummar Rao playing supporting roles. This is a lively and a well-done movie, highly praised by the audience and the experts alike.
Happy New Year – This film is one of the most expensive films ever made in Bollywood. The action packed heist story can also be branded as a comedy film. The movie has a lovely direction by Farah Khan and is produced by Gauri Khan. The star studded cast includes Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and Jackie Shroff. It is a very entertaining film, and has rightfully clinched the most number of trophies at the 2014 Stardust Awards ceremony.
PK (Peekay) – This is a comedy film but a brave one – a full fledged satire on God and the religions. Some of the scenes include money extraction at temples, coconuts being offered in at a church… There is nothing comic about a Muslim girl’s dialogue, “Itna chota nahin ho sakta hamara khudaa, ki use hamare school jaane pe aitraaz ho.” (Our God cannot be that ‘small’ that he would object to girls attending schools). The plot begins with an alien landing on Earth but is stranded in Rajasthan when his spaceship’s remote control is stolen. The film stars Aamir Khan in the title role, with Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla, and Sanjay Dutt in supporting roles. The truth delivers under the guise of comedy is always a brilliant idea, nothing so alien about that.
Dedh Ishqiya – Crackling humor, fitting dialogues and beautifully written story that is punctuated by comic scenes throughout the movie…. This a refreshing comedy directed by Abhishek Chaubey and is a sequel of Ishqiya. The Movie stars Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah and Huma Qureshi in the lead roles. I wish I could understand more Urdu!
Haider – The film is a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. The crime drama is set amidst the 1995 Kashmir conflicts and civilian disappearances. Haider, a poet, returns to Kashmir to seek out his disappeared father and ends up in the middle of the state politics. Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, it stars Shahid Kapoor in the lead role, co-starring Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor and Kay Kay Menon, with Irrfan Khan making a special appearance.
Continue reading Top Bollywood films of 2014
An Indian Thanksgiving for the vegetarians!
So, you don’t eat turnkey, or any other meat dishes! However, with Thanksgiving approaching, everybody is talking turkey. Thanksgiving menus are built around turnkey and meat entrees; without turkey, it is not really a Thanksgiving dinner, right?
If are vegetarian, you have a big dilemma at your hands – what to cook and what not to make for this holiday family feast! There has to be something in your dinner menu that stands out!
Don’t feel left out, there are millions of vegetarians out there facing the same question. Of course, we all take this challenge differently or underplay it, like….
“Thanksgiving is not really our holiday; we don’t celebrate it!..”
“We will just make one extra dish,… and a desert….that should do the trick!”
“Have to sleep early for Black Friday shopping next day, we will do something special for Christmas…”
If you are looking for an excuse to avoid thanksgiving dinner, there are plenty of them out there.
But, Why? Why pass on the chance to get together and have some fun with your family and friends! the Thanksgiving is all about showing the appreciation and thanking your loved ones! So, go on; celebrate! Put something together for the feast! Something that you are good at, something that is filling and ‘festive’!
The menu does not have to be American style or Indian style; it can be either, or a combination of the two. Pick out the dishes that you really enjoy; talk to your friends, build a menu in advance! Believe me, it is not that hard! You can start with something common.
Here are the suggestions for an Indian thanksgiving menu: Continue reading A vegetarian Thanksgiving feast – The Indian Style
Can India replace China as world’s manufacturing hub?
The question is often asked, but seldom answered. The reason: there is no good answer; no one knows if this is possible in the near future. There is a wishful thinking and a hope, but no clear proof so far.
China has established itself as a dominant force in the manufacturing arena. Chinese have experience, which is hard to replace or reproduce. They have infrastructure specifically designed for outsourced manufacturing and they have no shortage of labor. As a result, ‘Made in China’ is a world force to reckon with.
However, China may be reaching its capacity in manufacturing labor. The wages are going up, the labor market is becoming more demanding. There are only so many workers you can hire at the rock bottom wages.
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. The western companies need to find an alternate to China; they need a back-up plan at the very least. That’s why more and more companies are looking towards Indonesia, Vietnam, and oh yes…India.
India is world’s second most populated country; no shortage of worker here. hence the question: Can India replace China as a manufacturing hub for the western companies? If you ask anyone including the Indian Government, the answer is Yes, with an ‘*’. Anything is possible, as they say and India has the size to stand against China. So what is the problem? Why India has not made much progress in this area?
Well, there are many ‘problems’, not just one. Continue reading Why not ‘Made in India’?
Climbing the corporate ladder: The ‘top executives’ in USA and the path to the top jobs
A job in the IT field or a small businesses ownership – when it comes to the favorite employment preferences of the Indian Americans, these are the two most common perception. The new generations of Indian engineers and medical professionals are crowding the US industries. The thrifty approach of first generation Indians over the decades continue to contributed towards successful family businesses as well well as upbringing of a highly educated second generation of American Indians.
One field where Indians have not fully caught up is the top executive tier of the US companies. While we continue to move into the middle class management, the success in the top tier jobs is not that prevalent.
One thing to keep in mind, there are only limited numbers of top executive jobs. There is only one CEO, CFO or COO in a company – large or small. There could be many head-of-department positions in larger corporations but the numbers are relatively small. So, this could be one of the reason for limited success beyond middle management; there are just not that many jobs for top executives and competition is fierce for this cream of the crop.
The ‘top executives': A summary
Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (US Department of Labor), here is an insight into the American ‘top executives':
What Top Executives Do
Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations. Continue reading The top executives in America… and the path
Brazil eats, sleeps and drinks football. It lives football! ~ Pele
The World Cup fever is in full swing all over the globe. Soccer, called ‘football’ everywhere except in America, is one of most popular sports if you step outside America. Many European and South American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Uruguay and England have some of most fanatic soccer culture. Soccer is their favorite pastime, a part of their daily life.
And, every four years during the FIFA World Cup, the soccer mania is everywhere, even in America. It is the World Cup time… and boy, we love the World Cup soccer! During this season, even the America joins the FIFA World Cup fan club band wagon.
FIFA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is the international governing body of soccer. It organizes the World Cup. During early days, FIFA pushed for Soccer to be a part of Olympics, but without success. So, they started their own world competition repeating every four years, just like Olympics. Today World Cup is as popular as Olympics, if not more, in most parts of the world. The sport commands billions of audience during this competition.
2014 World Cup in Brazil is no exception. USA, along with other 200 plus other countries competed for one of only 32 slots available in the World Cup match-up. The most talented teams are in the field in Brazil, fighting for the top honor – to be the 2014 World Cup Champion.
In many countries, especially in South America and Europe, football (the soccer, as they call it in America) is a religion. Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres are worshiped like gods, more popular than the Hollywood stars. Continue reading We love soccer….but only every four years!
A tribute to Maya Angelou – a life well lived.
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom Continue reading ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou
They say, time changes everything. Now, how fast or how slow? – It depends on the time or the force of change!
The Indian elections bring one of the biggest change in the political scenery. The Congress Party – the ruling party for decades, has been voted out. The Gandhi dynasty is gone, for now. The Indian public have spoken, They wanted a change, and the change they got; at least that’s what they think!
However, lets be clear; BJP is the winner by default not by merit. People wanted congress gone, no matter who the opposition is. The change is more driven by the fact that Congress was dissed by the masses, not because BJP is embraced by everyone. In other words, the common man on the street was more interest in ousting the Congress party. As a result, BJP came out a winner in big way.
This is a major change in Indian politics after a long time. The majority of Indians are happy about the results. But, are they more hopeful for a better future, for a better India? Not necessarily, not if you look around. Nothing is changing in a hurry; there is nothing new on the horizon!
For example, take the case of common corruption. The corruption runs deep in India, it is an accepted way of life. When it comes to corruption and the common ailments of Indian society, the boundaries of political parties don’t matter. No matter who sits in the high office, the middle management is still the same. An honest police chief will be always honest no matter if congress ruled or BJP. A corrupt office will still be corrupt, even if there is s change in the political party. So, the things have hardly changed for the common man even though there is a major political change.
So what gives! The BJP promise of better days ahead – is it false? It may not be false, but it is not so true either. There is not going to a change overnight, let us be realistic. The web of Indian corruption and other political evils has deep roots, it cannot be eliminated by taking out the current ruling party. It is not so simple. It is not the color of a party’s flag but the color of money that drives India and the Indian infrastructure. And lots of that money is still black, no matter which party rules the high offices.
For an average man, there is hardly any change – nothing, nada, zero!!
So, are the better days ahead? Not in the near future, not for a common man. Continue reading Indian Elections and the Change – Not so fast
Affirmative action has many names in different parts of the world. Some call it positive discrimination; Canada touts it as employment equity; it is ‘reservation’ in India and positive action in the UK. Affirmative action is the policy of providing special opportunities for a disadvantaged group of society who suffer from discrimination. It is an effort to ‘equal the playing field’ by favoring a weaker/minority group.
The nature of positive discrimination policies varies from country to country. Some countries, such as India, use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of jobs or school vacancies must be set aside for members of a certain group. In some other regions, specific quotas do not exist; instead, members of minorities are given preference in selection processes. The US public colleges and Universities often consider race and ethnicity during admission process.
The Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities for the minority groups – to give them equal access to that of the privileged/majority population.
Now, there has been ongoing argument that the affirmative action is an unfair system and prefers certain groups during a selection process. The Michigan state has been in the news for many years now as the argument (for and against affirmative action) started in a school, leading all the way to the Supreme court. Here is a quick summary:
October 1997: Two students (Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher) sue the University of Michigan regarding the affirmative action policy used in undergraduate admissions after not getting into the College of Literature Science and Arts.
December 1997: Barbara Grutter sues the university regarding the Law School’s use of admissions, which considers race in reviewing applicants.
June 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court held in the Grutter case that diversity is a compelling interest in higher education, and that race is one of a number of factors that can be taken into account during the admissions process. The Court upheld the holistic review used in the Law School’s admissions policy. Continue reading The ban on Affirmative Action – a new trend
The best Bollywood Hindi films of 2013
The tastes vary, the choices differ. When it comes to the Bollywood films, some like them spicy and action packed thrillers while others prefer sweet and romantic dramas. Some like suspense while others prefer plain old romance. The films below are some of the best standout Bollywood features from 2013.
1. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: This is a sports drama film produced and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra; the script is written by Prasoon Joshi, based on the life of Milkha Singh – an Indian national champion runner and an Olympian. The movie stars Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Pavan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Meesha Shafi and Prakash Raj. 2014 Filmfare Awards recognized this movie with multiple awards including the Best Movie, Best Director, along with Farhan Akhtar receiving the best actor award.
2. Chennai Express: This is a romantic action comedy film directed by Rohit Shetty and produced by Gauri Khan under the film production company Red Chillies Entertainment. The film features Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in lead roles, along with Sathyaraj, Nikitin Dheer and Kamini Kaushal. The movie is about a man’s journey from Mumbai to Rameshwaram and what happens along the way after he falls in love with the daughter of a local don. The melodious music is composed by the duo Vishal-Shekhar; the lyrics come from Amitabh Bhattacharya and Yo Yo Honey Singh.
3. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: This is a coming-of-age romantic comedy, directed by Ayan Mukerji and produced by Karan Johar. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in lead roles – the duo know for their on-screen chemistry. The cast includes Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin and Kunaal Roy Kapur. Madhuri Dixit appears in an item number titled “Ghagra”. The soundtrack score is composed by Pritam, with lyrics from Amitabh Bhattacharya and Kumaar. The popular songs include ‘Dilli Wali Girlfriend’ and ‘Badtameez Dil’.
4. The Lunchbox: This artistic film is a romantic drama written and directed by Ritesh Batra. It stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead roles. This unexpectedly refreshing and slow-developing love-story has a touch of loneliness, highlighting complicated human relations. The story is simple and supported by brilliant acting. The film was screened at International Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and later won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award also known as Grand Rail d’Or. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival as well. Continue reading Best Bollywood Movies of 2013
Another day, another year.
May 2014 open many new doors for you!
Wishing you adventurous and exciting times ahead!!
Anther day, another year.
Laugh a lot and travel often!
Time flies by; live the laugh to the fullest!!
Another day, another year.
New moments, new memories!
Have a healthy, wealthy and prosperous 2014!!
Happy New Year!
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.
The Indian Version:
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NDTV, BBC, CNN and other media outlets show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast – ‘How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer! What an injustice!!’
So, Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter . Mayawati states this as `injustice’ done on Minorities.
Amnesty International and United Nations criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper, many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance.
Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers. Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’. Continue reading The Ant and the Grasshopper – The Indian Version
Diwali – the festival of lights, the king of the all the Indian festivals. There is nothing more festive and more celebrated than Diwali in India.
You have to be in India to understand and experience this festival. A few candles and some firework – that’s nowhere c;lose to the actual Diwali. But, we are not in India; we have our own style of celebrating Diwali abroad.
All around the globe, Indians celebrate Diwali festival, but in our own way! The families and friends get together to drink and dine, to party and dance. Seems familiar? Well, that is how we celebrate almost everything abroad – by drinking, dining and dancing! Be it a wedding, a birthday party, even the Holi festival.. or anything in-between …. we never pass on an excuse to drink, dine and dance!!
‘Festival of Lights’ is an understatement to describe this celebration in India. But, then again, we are not in India. The euphoria of Diwali, the traditions of the day, the competing fireworks late into the nights are hard to describe, even if you try. The feeling and enigma of Diwali is beyond what words can narrate. The thundering sound of the fireworks and the glow of night-lights gets lost somewhere in the translations, the translations from Indian culture to the life abroad! Continue reading Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!
Her grandma had a cat; a cat she found wandering around in her farm when she was a little girl. That was a long time ago, even long before India’s partition in 1947. The life on the farm was simple back then.
The little cat loved to run through the farm and all over the house, always on the run. Grandma named her Tufaan, which meant storm.
The day her grandma got married, they caged the cat under a big wooden box. Perhaps, they did not want Tufaan to run through all the sweets and the decorations. The grandma remembered it vividly – the cat scratching the box, begging to be freed. They had to put extra weight on the perforated box to keep her from escaping.
The wedding went smoothly, grandma lived a long and happy life.
“Let me tell you Aman,” Grandma would love to talk about her cat, ” Tufaan was my good luck. Our family’s prosperity is tied to that cat! She was my best fried!!”
Twenty years later, when Aman’s mother got married, grandma told the servants to arrange for a cage. For two days, during the ceremonies, grandma made sure that the cat stayed in the cage.
She repeated the same ritual when he other daughters got married!
“I am not very superstitious, only when it is logical,” Grandma would say if anybody asked about her cat being restrained in the cage during the ceremonies. Nobody questioned her; they did not question their elders back then.
And then, many years later, Aman came to Canada for studies. After her graduation, she got a good job in Toronto and decided to stay in Canada.
For last two years, she was in her first serious relation. She was happy, for a while. Earlier this year, she decided to back out; things were not working out.
Last month she went ahead and bought a large animal cage from the local pet store.
Now, all she needs is a man, and a cat.
Did I tell you – she is not very superstitious, only when it is logical!
Other Short Stories Continue reading The cat and the cage
The top Bollywood films of the 1960 decade
The decade of 1960s was unique for Bollywood in many ways. The legends like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajender kumar, Sunil Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dharmendra were the leading heroes. The beauty and acting of Saira banu, Sadhna, Vyajanti Mala, Mala Sinha, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz was at its prime, adoring the big screens. The color movies had started to replace black-and-white cinematography. Mohammad Rafi,Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey were at the peak of their vocal magic….
The decade of 1960s delivered some of the ever-green Hindi films, supported by soulful music and memorable acting. Here are some of the top Bollywood movies from 1960s.
Mughal-e-Azam (1960): This is one of the all time greats and one of the most expensive Hindi movies ever made. The star cast is great: Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Durga Khote. The acting is very ‘real’. The dance sets are unparalleled for its time. Some of the famous dance sequences of Madhubala are filmed in the Shish Mahal -The Palace of Mirrors- in Lahore Shahi Qila.
Barsaat Ki Raat (1960): This is beautifully told love-story; another classic B/W of the 60s. The film starring Bharat Bhushan, Madhubala, Shyama, Mumtaz Begum and K.N. Singh in the lead roles. With lyrics from Sahir, the film is also popular for its qawwali songs, the likes of ‘Yeh ishaq ishaq’.
Chaudvin ka Chand(1960): Another great movie with equally great music. The film centers on a love triangle between Guru Dutt, Rehman and Waheeda Rehman. The ever-green songs are composed by Ravi and the lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni. Rafi delivered a very versatile vocal performance for the title song ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho’ and other songs like ‘Mili Khak Main Mohabbat’.
Junglee (1961): The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Lalita Pawar, Shashikala, Asit Sen in the lead roles, along with Saira Banu in her debut role. The movie is lighthearted musical; it established Shammi Kapoor’s as the youth icon of the times. The song ‘Yahoo’, sung by Rafi, became a symbol of Shammi’s wild (Junglee) and lover-boy image.
Dharmputra (1961): Directed by Yash Chopra, the film features Shashi Kapoor and Mala Sinha as the lead cast. The movie is based on the the partition of India and the Hindu fundamentalism at the time. The film deals with the issues of religious bigotry and fanaticism during the dark days of 1947. This was Shashi Kapoor’s first film as an adult actor. Film’s music is by N. Dutta with lyrics by the famous poet of the era – Sahir Ludhianvi.
Bees Saal Baad (1962): This is a brilliant suspense thriller; the spirit of a dead girl, who committed suicide after being raped, seems to avenge her rapist. The film stars Biswajeet, Waheeda Rehman and Madan Puri among the main actors. With lyrics from Shakeel Badayuni, and vocals from Lata and Hemant kumar’s, the movie has some of the most memorable hits songs, like ‘Bekarar Karke Hume…’. Continue reading Best Bollywood movies of 1960s decade