Jun 6 2014

Holiday- Movie Review

Roochster

Holiday-2014-Movie-PosterFrom the looks of the poster I thought ‘Holiday- A soldier is never off duty’ would be an out and out action flick starring Khiladi Kumar but let me tell you it was a lot more than that.

Plot in short– On leave from the Indian Army, Virat Bakshi (Akshay Kumar) is bride hunting and meets Sahiba (Sonakshi Sinha). Along with his cop buddy (Sumeet Raghavan) he catches a terrorist who is part of a sleeper cell. From then on, he is engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with a terror mastermind (Freddy Daruwala).

The Good– A R Murugadoss who has written the story for popular films like Ghajini and Jai Ho in Bollywood, has written and directed Holiday. The film which has a fairly large patriotic streak is for the aam janta. It’s what we call a ‘masala film’. There is a little of everything and most importantly a message for the people of India. While the story is good, I wouldn’t say the screenplay and direction is superb. If it hadn’t been for the story, three hours of watching the film just for Akshay Kumar would be a nightmare! A crisper script and fewer songs would have helped increase the pace. The acting is definitely up to the mark, be it Akshay Kumar who had people blowing whistles and clapping everytime he appeared on screen. Sonakshi Sinha could have got a better role but she didn’t do a bad job with what she got. Supporting actor Sumeet Raghavan was natural. Govinda who made a special appearance was ok. The baddie Freddy Daruwala got the expressions right but failed with dialogue delivery. The action sequences are well choreographed. The cinematography, art direction and styling make the film look rich.

The Not-so-Good– As I mentioned earlier, the screenplay and direction could have been better. The editing could have been crisper. Pritam’s music is decent. Songs are placed anywhere and for the heck of it. They don’t take the story forward.

Verdict– Holiday is meant to be an entertainer for the masses so please don’t watch it if you’re going to crib. I didn’t think it was bad at all. Watch it especially if you’re an Akshay Kumar fan or if you want to watch a film about our war heroes.

Rating– 3/5

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May 7 2012

Elephanta Caves (Gharapuri), Maharashtra

Roochster

I’m a typical Arien who needs something or the other to keep me going all the time and so I get pretty random and crazy ideas when I’m bored. I had made up my mind on Friday night that I have to do something exciting to get out of my daily school routine. Basically, I needed to do something different and so; I decided to go to Elephanta Caves! After making some last minute calls on Friday night, Fash agreed to come and I was super excited to finally get out and do something ‘different’ from the usual. Saturday was one such impulsive day and I honestly don’t regret it.

How to get to Elephanta Caves? Simple. Go to Gateway of India (Mumbai), buy tickets for the ferry to go to Elephanta. They’ll be available at the entrance and priced at Rs. 130 for a return journey to Elephanta and back. If you want to go on the upper deck, its Rs. 10 extra. Mondays closed. It takes a little more than an hour to reach so make sure you carry some sweet or something in case you’re the type who gets sea sick. Once you reach the island, there’s a mini train ride that costs Rs. 10 to drop you to the entrance of the Elephanta market leading to the caves.

The Journey– Before the market, you have to pay Rs. 5 as tax to enter the island properly. The market goes uphill towards the main entrance for the caves. You’ll find everything from Indian accessories to bags to tshirts to show pieces to leaf paintings to pretty wind chimes to what not! Oh yes, you’ll also find lots of monkeys so DO NOT buy corn on your way up because you wont be able to eat even 3 bites before a monkey comes and intimidates you and snatches your corn away! That happened to both me and Fash! These monkeys are big bullies! They even snatch bottles of water! To reach the top, it took us about 20 mins or so because there were so many steps!

The entry fee is Rs. 10 for adults and Rs. 250 for foreigners. Really sad! I wish the government wouldn’t be so shameless! Anyway, so then you walk ahead and you’ll find the first cave which is the main and the best cave. There are beautifully carved stone sculptures of Shiva and other Gods. They’re all works of art and it’s amazing how people had so much time thousands of years ago that they created such beautiful things for us to see. You’ll find 3-4 other caves ahead but they’re all incomplete and not as lovely. You might get a little bored after seeing the first 2 caves but make sure you see all of them since you don’t get to go to Elephanta Caves very often!

Food– After seeing all the caves, we decided to have some nimbu pani made by a local lady which was quite nice, especially in the garmi. And then Fash had some ‘Chicken Freiad rice’ (as it said at the small restaurant in the market where we ate) and we both had Fresh Lime Soda which was quite bad! I chose not to eat cause I was having a major Mc Donald’s craving so decided to go there once we reached Gateway. I bought corn on the way back though, once we crossed the marketplace (where the stupid monkeys were). So we had left at 10am from Gateway of India and were back by 3 in the afternoon.

Overall, it was a good trip. Not a ‘wow’ place but definitely worth visiting especially if you’re a Mumbaikar or if you haven’t seen the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad which are way better than the Elephanta caves for sure!

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Jul 20 2011

Club Mahindra Varca Beach Resort, Goa

Roochster

Club Mahindra Resorts are very famous all over India and known for their lovely resorts in Goa, Munnar and a few other places. I recently went to the one in Varca, South Goa and I’m just going to tell you why it’s an awesome getaway.

I went to Mahindra in June (rainy season) with my family. We were 10 of us and trust me, we had a super time! People who say going to Goa with family is ridiculous are crazy or they just don’t know how to have a good time with their family. So anyway, Mahindra Resorts, Varca is beautiful! I loved it the moment I walked in. They have 2 restaurants, a bar, 2 swimming pools, an activity centre, a private beach, a shack at the beach, a paintball field, aqua zorbing, a kids’ play pen, a gym, a spa, loads of rooms and what not!

Mahindra Varca Beach Resort, GoaMahindra is all about luxurious living. The service is great, the food is pretty good. Do not miss the pizzas and the lovely breakfast buffet! The rooms are amazing! We had taken 3 rooms. The one I stayed in was for 4 adults with an attached mini kitchen. It was fun ‘cause we made some of our meals in the room too and ate together as a family.

In case you want to try different food, there are a few restaurants just 5 mins away from the resort and a couple of Hotels around too so you can go and get a taste of the flavour of Goa too.

It’s a place I recommend for sure! If you’re a member of Mahindra or a RCI member you must visit this resort for an absolutely memorable experience and even if you’re not, do give this is a shot!

Rating– 4/5

How to get there? Railway- Madgaon Station- 11 kms

Air- Dabolim Airport- 30 kms

AddressClub Mahindra Varca Beach Resort
Survey No 176/1, Varca Village
Salcete Taluka, Goa – 403 721. India.

More information: http://www.clubmahindra.com/res_goa_factSheet.pdf

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Aug 16 2010

The Hidden Village, Atgaon

Roochster

On India’s 63rd Independence Day, the Roly-poly Gang a.k.a , K, S, F & R (me) set out to explore “The Hidden Village” located at Atgaon in Maharashtra.  By the way this sad name (Roly-Poly Gang) was thought of by none other than Mr. K!

Being a Sunday, we were lucky enough to catch an empty train from C.S.T (earlier, and still known as V.T). Tony, the owner of The Hidden Village, instructed us to take a Kasara fast train and get off at Atgaon station from where a rickshaw driver called Sudham would come and pick us up. [People who are too cool for trains can go by car also!]

We were super duper excited about this trip, more so ‘cause it’s a very different place from any other we’ve been to! The moment we entered, there was this old stone which had “Hidden Village” engraved on it and trees all around. A little wooden bridge connected the entrance to the resort. The weather was awesome! It kept drizzling from time to time. We were greeted by a big black turkey that made funny sounds along with its follower turkeys. There was also a little lamb under a big hay basket. We couldn’t wait to start our day and were quite hungry so we jaldi se ate breakfast- anda bhurji, matki, roti and chai and headed to our room. Ashok was the guy in charge there.

Our cottage was sweet. 2 rooms with 2 double beds, 2 clean bathrooms, a tv and a refrigerator. Quite fancy for a place I thought was like a typical village. Each cottage had an open shower and a stone tub outside which I thought was quite cool!

On seeing the beauty around me, I quickly removed my camera from my bag and started clicking while K made sheesha for us. S as usual was posing away to glory. All 3 of them wanted to chill for some time while I wanted to explore the place and get pictures of the strangest creatures and other things with my camera. I was super restless! It was lunch time at 2 and I was hoping I’d get to eat some junk food, even though I knew we’d get only home type of food. They made gobi, chana, chicken, dal, roti, rice, chhaas & kheer. F and K enjoyed eating their chicken while S and I somehow tried to enjoy eating our veg food. It was quite spicy!

We were prepared to get into the water right after lunch, especially under the awesome waterfall! The feeling was great… being in the running river. There was also a small space where those Garra Rufas or Doctor Fish come and nibble on your feet… but the rainy season is not the best time for them so I couldn’t get my Fish Spa! F, S and K didn’t really care much about it…they were just chilling in the water. The waterfall was strong! It’s like getting a back massage or something. The water comes with so much force! Oh and something really funny happened. K and I saw ducks on the other end of the river and we started flapping our arms on the water like them. That must’ve scared the ducks ‘cause they came flying towards us and in turn scared the shit out of us!  Hahahah it was kinda funny now that I think about it! We were all running for our lives! As soon as that happened, we were out and headed back to our cottage. We didn’t spend much time in the river unfortunately. It was soon snacks time at 5ish and so they sent us Poha and Chai to our room and we happily ate!

After some more sheesha and feeling clean after a good bath, we headed to play some games. At the Hidden Village you’ll find a Games room which has Pool, T.T and Carrom. The good thing was that since it was Sunday evening, almost everyone had left. We had the entire Games room to ourselves! Good fun! We played T.T, Pool and Carrom after sooo long! The only sad part was that there was no fan there and it was very hot!

It wasn’t time for dinner yet so we headed back to our room, this time with the help of the resort people and their torches, since it was quite dark. S was fattoing already and thought it would be better if we sat in the room and ate; but we thought it was better to go back down and eat as there would be a lot of stuff for them to get to our room.

So we went down for dinner at about 8 30. For veg there was bhindi, cauliflower, dal, roti, rice; and for non-veg there was fish. I didn’t like the sabjis at all so I asked them if they could get dahi. Unfortunately the dahi was sour! We felt bad wasting it. The thing is that these people make the food with so much love and there’s always one person standing there to see if everything is ok, that you end up feeling really bad for wasting food.

But anyway, dinner was over and we proceeded to our room again. I slipped on the way because of my stupid slippers! By the time we reached it was only 9 30. We were wondering what to do for the rest of the night considering we didn’t really have any games or anything for time pass. We had sheesha, music and ourselves for conversations and that’s it. Of course, there were insects there too flying around and annoying us. Luckily we had Odomos to protect ourselves from the giant-sized mosquitoes. They gave us Odomos and Kachhua also.  F was already sleepy and went to sleep at 10! She came back an hour later though. The funny thing is that we thought we’d get bored and probably be asleep by 11 considering there was nothing to do really. But somehow we bonded and were up till 1 a.m talking! S and K told us about their love story which was very sweet! K also killed 2 big grasshoppers with his CAT shoes!

After getting good sleep at night, we woke up to leave. I didn’t want to, to be honest. I was loving the place. Oh and I also spotted a small snake crawling pretty close to where our cottage was… Scary! We quickly walked to the eating area and waited for the chai & biscuits to come but it was getting too late. We had a train at 8:40 and the next one at 10:25 and Fash had to get to work. So we had a few quick bites, paid up for the stay, food and thanked Ashok and the others and left in a hurry.

One thing I must say… The people working there took really good care of us. In fact, they were awake for us even at night and made sure we were happy with everything. Great service and great ambience! Ok the food was not my kind of food, but I guess it was just for a day so it’s fine. Next time I go there I’ll make sure someone or the other gets games or something for entertainment!

On reaching CST, S, K and I were hungry so we went to Radio Club for breakfast. Ate like bhukkads! Felt nice to be back to aamchi Mumbai but this one day trip was a much needed change. I will definitely want to go there again! 🙂

Psst!  Raj Parekh! Thanks to you I got to know about The Hidden Village. Awesome experience!

Website- www.hiddenvillage.in

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