Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

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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”

The whispers and the shouts

“You have to go! I am done with you! This marriage is over!!”
She said nothing.
“Wait till I show these pictures to your family!”
“Please listen…” she stopped mid sentence, not sure what to say next, or how to explain it.
“Sleeping with a married man! Shame on you!!…” Panting and puffing in anger, he paused to catch up his breath…., “You are disgraced all over Surrey! I will make sure!!”
Tears dribbled down her big brown eyes, scrolling down to the flustered cheeks, and to the sides of her big red lips. Her dark brown hair all ruffled up, she periodically wiped her forehead with the back of the right hand. With each and every nervous motion, in the nightlights of the front hallway, her tall and slender frame looked very fragile
It was late night, long after dinner time, long after the bed-time. He had already opened the door, asking her many times to ‘get the hell out of my house’. She resisted, she pleaded. Her futile efforts were useless. He grabbed her by the shoulder, almost pinching her with a firm grip. Turning her around, he pushed her out of the door.
She cried, this time much louder, but the door was already shut and locked behind her.
Standing at the front porch, she looked around. The upscale neighborhood was deserted. Other than a couple strolling down the side-street towards the pond on the far end, there was no one around. She was relieved that nobody saw her being thrown out of her own house.
The relief lasted only a few moments, only a few seconds. She looked around again; she looked down. She was bare feet. Scantily dressed in her summer Indian clothes, she was already starting to feel the chill of September night. The British Columbia weather and a full night ahead – she was scared. Very scared.
She turned around and knocked on the door, gently at first. No response. Then she banged on it, much harder. She could hear his footsteps on the other side of the door, getting closer and closer. She waited.
“Go away! Go call your boyfriend!” Her husband shouted from inside the house.
“Please open the door, Raj!” Her voice trembling, barely audible.
No response. She started to panic. They have had fights before; they have had long arguments that lasted beyond midnights. Being thrown out of the house, this was the first time.
A car drove by. She turned around, facing towards the door; pretending, as if unlocking the door. The front porch was dimly lit. The solar lights alongside the hydrangea bushes lit up the well-manicured front yard. The half moon was up in the middle of the sky; the stars were already out. For any other day, this would have been a perfect night to be outdoor, to admire the nature. Not tonight. Beyond the lights, moon and stars, she was more focused on the dark – a long night ahead.
Another car drove by, slowing down as passing by, perhaps to look at the house with woman standing at the door.
“Open the door!” She banged the door again. Continue reading “The whispers and the shouts”

A boyfriend, a husband and the God

“Oh God, what should I do!!” She asked

‘What do you mean?” The God replied.

“I mean what should I do?”

Silence. There was no response from the Almighty.

“Seriously, I am in pain. Please help me!”

“Pain? Are you sure? Why?”

“You are supposed to answer my prayers, not ask question after question!”

“That is what you think!” He paused. “Why would you be still in pain?” the God asked again.

“My husband hates me, and my boyfriend doesn’t want me anymore?”

” A boyfriend and a husband –  looks like you have one of each. That is non-traditional. Most women have them both covered in one person!” The God chuckled.

“I know, I am torn! That is a sin, right?”

“It depends on you!”

“For my child, I have decided to stay with my husband. Not an easy choice, you know.”

“I know!”

“But he is mad at me everyday!”

“Oh!”

“He found out about my boyfriend!”

“Love is hard to hide, especially the forbidden one!”

“Forbidden, I know, but I could not help it. My boyfriend gave me love that my husband could not!”

“Looks like a bad husband.”

“He never loved me!”

“Did you love him?”

“I tried, yes, since the day I met him.” She paused, “We rushed into the marriage.”

“Why?”

“My parents liked him because he lived in Canada; I did not think twice!”

“Arranged marriages – very common in India.”

“i did not know what I was getting into!”

“That is normal….And, your boyfriend?” Continue reading “A boyfriend, a husband and the God”

Indian values or right values?

Learning the mother tongue…
The Sunday classes in the temple or Gurudwara…
Attending religious recitals even if you don’t understand what the priest is saying….

Growing-up abroad is a challenge in itself, not that we realize it when we are kids. Being a minority has its own offshoot effects that you cannot control.You cannot change your skin tone, unless you are Michael Jackson – not so easy, and you are still the same person inside! 🙂

Being an Indian overseas comes with its own demands. You not only have to worry about the the bigots and the racist idiots on the street, but your parents and elders are paranoid to the point of obsession; the obsession with raising the kids with ‘Indian values’.

Growing up in India – you are amongst your own kind; you are immersed in your own culture. As a child in India, the social values are spoon-fed over the years; you are surrounded by your own kind; you are the majority. No confusion, no duplicity.

Living abroad however, our culture at home is often different than the culture on the street. We are dealing with a multicultural society. Our social settings are totally different and multidimensional. As a kid growing up, we adapt to the surroundings, to the society we grow-up in.

Growing up in American or any other Western society, the Indian American families tend to hold on to the inherited culture and Indian social values much more closely. The parents cling to the carried-over traditions from India, holding on to the Indian roots very dearly. The Indian families make a very conscious effort to instill the Indian values into their kids. Continue reading “Indian values or right values?”

The art of elocution

Elocution – The secret of effective speaking

In movie The King’s Speech (2010), while watching a clip of Hitler speaking in German language:
Lilibet: What’s he saying?
King George VI: I don’t know but… he seems to be saying it rather well….

And, you ofter hear people saying:
“Choose your words carefully; you may have to eat them!”….

“Be careful what you say; it may come back to bite you!”….

Yes, it is important what you say. But equally important, perhaps more important is how you say it. After all, it is not what comes out of your mouth, but how you deliver it. Your style, your tone, your body language….all that adds up to the actual message.

Elocution is the basis of effective communication skills. Elocution is the art of clear and concise manner of speaking, with clarity of meaning and thought. Elocution originates from the word ‘eloquence’ – fluent, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is the knowledge of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language and with the power of persuasion.

Effective speech has deep roots in elocution – the pronunciation, the accent, the grammar, the tone and the gestures play a key role in forming a meaningful and desired message. Elocution is been considered a key aspect of learning the art of communications. The art of elocution has been dissected, studied and taught in the schools for a long time. According to McGuffey’s New Sixth Eclectic Reader of 1857, the key principles of elocution are:
I. Articulation
II. Inflections
III. Accent and Emphasis
IV. The Voice
V. Gesture
VI. Instructions for Reading Verse

I. Articulation: How you phrase your message and enunciate it, how you put your thoughts into proper words is the most important aspect of effective speech. By definition, articulation is the act of vocal expression and enunciation; it is the act or manner of producing a speech sound. Continue reading “The art of elocution”

Plight of a woman in the NRI Marriages

“Indian men are the most ugly men on this planet. Their hearts so ugly that u can not even imagine. I am Indian married to an Indian, the pain and the suffering he has given me and continues to give me, is crazy. Why?……. Indian men in India may be good, Indian men who come to the west are ugly ugly men…may god give me courage to remove this painful lump( my husband) out out of my life forever.. ” Says Katiyani while commenting on this article.

Many parents in India prefer to marry their beloved son or daughter to NRIs.  Their main hopes and wishes for their kids are to see them will settle abroad and prosper. A common man still looks up to the other countries as the ultimate salvation for their offspring.

Yes, arranged marriage is still the most common way to matrimony in India, especially when it comes to marrying abroad. With very little knowledge about a ‘funny dressed’ visitor from the west, people are willing to wed their son or daughter overnight. They don’t want someone else to steal their opportunity – the opportunity of a golden ticket to go abroad.

Marriage is supposed to be a sacred bond, based on mutual love and respect. However, NRI marriages are fundamentally based on greed. It is the greed that results into lifelong headaches for many couples, and heartaches along with it. Continue reading “Plight of a woman in the NRI Marriages”

Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?

Opening a can of worms here. 🙂
This may seem like a very personal question and you probably won’t get an honest response if asking someone point blank. After all, no one wants to be stereotyped. However, it is a fair question that is seldom asked and often ignored:
Are the white women less attracted to the guys from India or those of Indian origin? And if so, Why?

Myth or truth:
Is this really true or is it just is a myth?
Based on all kinds of on-line discussions, observations from different corners of the world and feedback from many, it is most likely a true observation. However, it may have more to do with the social and cultural tradition of a race or ethnic group to stay within their own kinds – within their own race or social group. The question or observation may not be different from ‘Do white women find Hispanic men less attractive?’ or any other combination of ethnic mix. So, don’t take it too personal, this is not be your fault. Blame it on your social upbringing.

Under ideal circumstance, a relation should not be based on the color of the skin, but it is not a perfect world we live in. Without any sugarcoating, here is some of the common logic or reasoning behind this behavior:

1. Peers and parental influence: The family and social aspect always comes into play in our personal choices. After all, racial biases and racial issues are still very much alive in every society. Yes, these biases are not as bad as in old day, but it is not a color-blind world by any measure. Many of our daily decisions are influenced by the peer pressure and the racial biases that are rooted deep in the society, choosing a partner is one of them. The birds of a feather, flock together – as they say.

2. Unconscious bias: It is human nature, we have our own biases and prejudice, and sometimes we don’t even realize it. If a white person has always seen her friends and families – since she was a kid – sticking with their own kind, her first preference is likely going to be someone of her own kind, even without her realizing it. We are a creation of our environment; our surroundings always influence our actions. So, once again, not your fault or her fault, blame it on the hidden cleverness and treacheries of our brain – the unconscious bias.

3. Not enough in common: A friendship or a relation is often built on a common bond. Coming from a different background and raised very differently, an Indian guy may not have much in common with the white women. For example, if your favorite topics of discussion relate to Bollywood, the game of cricket, desi music…., you probably won’t make very good company for a white person who knows little about all this. Understanding the other side and making a connection based on personal likes and dislikes makes a big difference.

4. Good hygiene Rumor: Some have said this (anonymously) and others have heard this through some friend-of-friend, that their experiences have not been very ‘pleasant’ when it comes to personal hygiene. Not sure how true this is, or if it could be some isolated incident. May be the smell of Indian spices from desi food linger on us much longer than it should, or some other issues…., Or, may be white women are attracted to certain male odor that we – most Indians – lack. In any case, use your own judgment at personal level, and if in doubt, make a trip to the supermarket and buy some new colognes; and buy it from a white sales clerk, just to be sure. 🙂 Continue reading “Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?”

A father’s Pride

The Air Canada airline captain continued with his announcement:
“….. We have started our descent into Toronto Pearson airport…please have your Customs and Immigration papers ready along with your passports….”

An Indian flight attendant, who knew by now which passengers didn’t understand English, walked over to Nehal and his wife Geeta, and translated the announcement. His casual Punjabi attire with a loose turban and her bland Punjabi suit  stood out among the mostly white passengers …a couple out of place,
He had already checked his passport and rest of their possessions. He repeated this ritual of self-assurance many times during the flight. It was his habit – to worry, to double check everything and check again.
“Look outside Geet”, he nudged his wife, probably 10th time in last 6 hours announcing the same observation, “We are flaying over the clouds.” He had always called her Geet, instead of Geeta. She did not like flying at all. Half scared and half asleep, she ignored him.
“I always knew our son will do great”, he said, trying to start a conversation, his voice filled with pride,
“What is great about dividing up the family across the oceans? We get together only when someone is getting married or when someone dies” she quipped
“Raj is probably waiting for us at the airport already,” he continued, ignoring her response.

Nehal, a middle class farmer had spent a better part of his married life raising his only son. He always wanted Raj to be ‘something big’, something that he couldn’t be – may be a doctor, or an engineer, or a captain…he could never make up his mind. His favorite time-pass was day dreaming, day dreaming about his son being a ‘big shot’.

“I hope he is in good health, he used to get so sick when he was little” Geeta said.
“He was always in good health; you just ran to the doctors even if he would sneeze.” He said with a chuckle.
“A mother’s heart…” her unfinished sentence was so complete; he knew what she meant, and how much they adored Raj as a little kid.

To this day, both of them remember all the doctors’ visits they made for Raj, when he was little, some in the middle of the nights. She used to pray all the time in the waiting room of the hospital; and he would watch the doctors, imagining a grown-up version of his own little kid. Most of the time he did not understand what the doctors or nurses said to each other; it was half English mixed with half Hindi. The diagnosis in the end always used to be  something minor – a common cold, a simple rash, or mosquito bites…
“Thank God, for listening to my prayers”, she would always say after a doctor’s visit with her face toward the sky, speaking to the God directly.
“One day my son will speak English like that doctor, may be better” used to be a typical response from Nehal…. Continue reading “A father’s Pride”

The best Bollywood movies of all times!

Bollywood Movies- The best of best!

The opinions vary, the tastes differ. When it comes to the best of Bollywood movies, it depends; It depends on who you ask and in what mood they are! There are way too many VERY good movies out there. Here are some of the best ones:
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Sholay: Sholay needs no introduction. The dialogues, the story, the cast, the acting…everything is so refreshing. The story moves at its own natural pace. Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema. When first released, the movie did not win any major awards from the film critics, but it has a cult like following. At the 50th Filmfare, it received the award as the Best Film of 50 Years. The mega cast includes Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan.

Pakeezah: This is another legendary movie from the 70s; with a larger than life appeal. Beautifully directed by Kamal Amrohi, this movie is a combination of good artistic tastes, lovely costumes, a fluid storyline, excellent settings and melodious music. The film is a story of a Lucknow tawaif (courtesan) played by actress Meena Kumari. Raaj Kumar and Ashok Kumar lead the cast. The evergreen and superb music comes from Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad.

Mother India:The first Indian movie to be nominated for Oscar, this is one of the highest ranked Hindi movies in the international film festivals, and for a reason. The cast of Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar and Raj Kumar delivers a brilliant acting. Superb music and an evolving storyline are the hallmarks of this classic gem.

Mera Naam Joker: Raj Kapoor spent every penny he had on this movie, and it flopped during the first release – it was just too long with run time over 5 hours. The second release, the re-edited and compressed version, ended up as one of the most successful film of all times. This comic but sad story has something for audiences of all ages. The mega cast includes Raj Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Manoj Kumar, Rishi Kapoor and Dharmendra.

Mughal-e-Azam :This is one of the most expensive Hindi movies ever made of its times. It took more than 9 years to complete this feature. The star cast is ultimate; 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. Continue reading “The best Bollywood movies of all times!”

How to lose your accent!

Communication Tips: Accent softening & accent reduction methods
Accent improvement for effective communications is a key part of personal growth and personal development. As I said before, changing the way we speak is equivalent of breaking a habit.

How to lose your accent!
How to lose your accent!

To break one habit, we need to develop a new one -to ultimately affect the way be speak. This is not going to happen overnight, but you will see an improvement right away, that is if you are serious about losing your accent.
Here are some of the routines to help reduce, and ultimately lose your accent:

Plan ahead: If you are still in India, in the planning stage of immigration, one of the best thing to do is to expose yourself to the spoken English language, Western style and slang, as much as possible. Some of the simple suggestions include: Continue reading “How to lose your accent!”