Jun 21 2012

Mantralaya Fire, June ’12


A wild fire engulfed Mumbai’s very own Mantralaya on 21st June 2012 from 2:45 pm, after employees in the building probably must’ve just finished lunch. Some say it was a ‘saazish’ to destroy all the ‘Adarsh scam’ files and some say it was a short circuit that struck the 4th floor and then went upto the 7th floor.

I’ve never witnessed  such a huge fire and since I stay close by, I left my place and reached there by 4 30 pm and decided to do a photo story. The Mantralaya, for those who don’t know houses offices of the chief minister, key ministers and top officials. So this was a very important event and I went to capture it. Roads were blocked and there was a huge traffic jam starting from Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade. When I had reached at 4 30 pm, one side of the fire was almost under control whereas the other side was still growing. I could hear so many blasts from where I was standing- computers, acs, etc.  bursting, window glasses breaking and falling down and what not. Tons of fire engines, ambulances and police personnel, NGOs and NSS students from KC college were there.  I didn’t see the point in so many fire engines being there though because barely 4 to 5 of them had hose pipes that could reach so far and extinguish the fire. The others were just standing there and occupying space, going back and forth and making the cops shift us more and more behind. Luckily I had carried my DSLR which is why noone stopped me and I could continue shooting as a part of the press.

It was crazy ‘cause when the front side’s fire was almost doused, the right side was up in flames. Now, there’s a petrol pump just next door and I was only hoping that the fire wouldn’t spread and touch the petrol pump. Luckily it didn’t. Mad fire went on for more than 5 hours! All in all, it was something that shouldn’t have happened.

After standing for more than 3 hours, my feet were aching and I thought its best to go back home with the photos I got.

While going home, I stopped by next to Bandstand garden, had sugarcane juice, Maaza, bought Perk and Fatatat and went home. So yeah, quite an adventure it was! (Note: This line has been purposely added to highlight how lightly the incident was taken by the fire department of Mumbai and the government of India that it felt like an adventure being there and witnessing it. No offense.)


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Aug 12 2011

Aarakshan- Movie Review


Aarakshan- This word is so irritating! I’ve been saying Aakarshan Aakarshan since so long! They should have just named the movie Reservation to make it easy to remember! Anyway, so here’s what I thought of it.

As the title suggests, Aarakshan is based on the whole Reservation problem we have in India. How students struggle to get into colleges based on merit and how the underprivileged lot need reservation to help them come up too. Now I’m not sitting and listing who plays what and blah blah. There’s a principal who firmly believes that the underprivileged should get a chance, there’s a private classes tutor who is against it and cares only about making money by commercializing his coaching classes. Bas then story mein how much you want to know? Just go watch the movie for that na!

You have Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai, two very powerful actors playing the protagonist and antagonist in the movie. Also, you have Prakash Jha directing it and Saif & Deepika so that the youth has a reason to watch it too.  I somehow thought even the supporting actors have played a very important role and done a good job.

About the story, to tell you honestly, I got very bored in the first half. I was losing interest and felt like it was such a waste of my time. They didn’t even show the story properly and neither was it gripping. The second half however, was damn good but hardly related to the subject and more about competition and teaching a lesson to the bad guy. It was strange to find that Saif, Deepika, Prateik all start teaching for free but where do they earn money from then that too at such a young age? What’s the point? I just felt that there was too much to say in one movie but they still did and made us sit for so long in the theatre! Even though I liked the second half, I was like chalo yaar khatam karo mereko ghar jaana hai!

The music in the film is below average. Shankar Ehsaan aur Loy ne jaise ehsaan hi kiya ho waisa!

All in all, Aarakshan is decent. Not bad but could have been shorter, crisper and more focused on the subject.

Rating– 3/5

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Jun 6 2010

Raajneeti- Movie Review


I cannot understand what made people like this movie! It’s so full of crap! Based on the Mahabharat, this political-themed movie is not at all interesting. The first half was so bad, one of my friends actually wanted to walk out!

There is an endless list of points which I think make the movie quite a disaster. The message to be given out is good but unfortunately it has been executed so badly, that you’d feel a disconnect throughout.  All that publicity about Katrina Kaif playing a character similar to Sonia Gandhi’s is such bullshit cause if you see in the movie, she’s dressed like that for only the last 10 minutes! A brilliant actor like Naseeruddin Shah is completely wasted in this film! Ranbir Kapoor is good but his character goes through a very weird change, as if two characters have been meshed into one… it doesn’t even seem appropriate. Arjun Rampal as I can see is trying really hard to prove his acting skills…There’s this one scene in the movie in which he means to act like the bad guy where he starts to sing the famous song “Akhiyaan milaaye kabhi akhiyaan churaaye” from the movie Raja and it’s supposed to be creepy, but the way he sings it, one cannot help but laugh! The editing in some parts is done very badly and the cinematography is also not worth mentioning. Manoj Bajpayee is outstanding! Nana Patekar and Ajay Devgan are ok…nothing great!

The romantic angles in the movie are quite messed up and what’s funny is that almost all the characters are negative characters so it would be confusing to understand the difference between good guy and bad guy in this film. The second half is thoda bearable with a little drama at least but it doesn’t really do much for the movie as a whole.

The ensemble cast is probably one of the reasons film critics have given the film 3 stars and above; otherwise the film would flop without a doubt!

Rating- 2/5

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